Friday, February 29, 2008

Oh, the things they say!

Lilly was half listening to the news while we were eating lunch, which you'd think I have learned my lesson (you may remember this from a time before). There was a traumatic school bus crash that was covered on the news. When hearing about the "deadly bus crash," as the newscaster said, Lilly exclaimed....

"Oh, no! A dead butt crack!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

I LOVE our dog!

I LOVE our dog, Sunny. She's a 5.5 year old (wow, where has the time gone?!) slightly overweight Yellow Lab that my husband kind of sprung on me. We had a one-year-old lab mix and a 1.5 year old daughter (Alayna) and I was going to college full-time as well as working, on top of Andy's full-time work schedule, too. We really didn't need another dog. Maybe that's why he sprung it on me at the last minute, with a bit of desperation.

"I've always wanted a hunting dog, and Kane (our other dog at the time) is more your dog. I promise that I'll be the one to work with her, train her, etc... She's pure-bred and has papers, so we could always breed her, too!" You know how things like this go. I agreed and he informed his co-worker that we did indeed want the puppy. What I didn't know is that we couldn't pick her out ourselves, his co-worker was getting her from a friend on a trip to Iowa. Hmmm, okay.

It was one of the best choices we made. She was the calmest puppy, never really went through that puppy stage of chewing, biting, eating everything, peeing all over. She was great and only got better.

Sunny has never really turned into Andy's hunting dog, though she is his companion. But she does get excited when he gets his shot gun out and loves to go with him to the farm for shoots. She also loves to just ride into town with him, she gets angry if he feeds the animal without her and will whine from in the house, she wants to be in the garage with him while he's working, she just loves Andy.

But the thing that puts her over the top in our hearts is that she loves the kids and I, too. She will let the girls crawl all over her, take food from her mouth, use her butt as a pillow and she never does more than watch what they're doing and sometimes heave a big sigh. When she's had enough, she waits for a break in the action and will quietly sulk off to "safety." She never growls, barks, snips, or even gives a dirty look.

The part that makes her indispensible to us is that our Sunny is also VERY protective. She doesn't trust dogs she doesn't know, and they'd better not get too close to her girls. Andy's aunt and uncle had their dog learn that the hard way this summer when she got a little too close to Lilly (sorry again, Kim!) It's actually quite funny, because she seems like such a laid back dog unless someone is "threatening" her family. When Andy's home, she'll do her mandatory bark to inform us someone is here, and then she'll go back to her nap. But when he's not home...watch out strangers. She barks at anyone who comes to the door, won't let them in the house unless I tell her it's okay, and then anxiously waits nearby if it's someone she doesn't know well. When Andy's gone at night, she sleeps at the top of the stairs and doesn't move once unless it's to let me by, though when he's home she lays in the middle of the hallway and ignores us all.

Andy never really believed me about how she changes when he's not here, until recently. Obviously, if he's not here he doesn't see how she acts. A few weeks ago Andy left for work, but couldn't continue because he was feeling sick to his stomach. He drove to our friend's house who he was ride-sharing with, gave him his car and took our friends' truck home. Enter Protective Sunny. It was 5:00 am and dark, Andy had already left and a strange vehicle pulled into the driveway. I woke up to Sunny growling quietly in the hallway. I got up to see what was going on, and she took one look at me and growled more loudly. I could hear that someone was stomping their boots on the porch, but Sunny didn't move until that person reached for the door handle and starting trying to unlock it. The instant Andy got the door open, Sunny raced down the steps, barking fiercely and lunging for the door. Andy realized that she didn't know it was him and quickly flicked on the light and said her name. She instantly stopped, sat down and looked up at him like she was apologizing. Andy said he was certain if he hadn't said her name and turned on the light, she would have bit into him good. He finally realized that she does have that different side to her when he's not home. Good dog.

Sunny is a HUGE part of our family and we wouldn't trade her for the world. We couldn't have asked for a better dog. We love you, Sunny!

Sunny as a puppy and Alayna at 1.5 years old











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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Questionnaire

So you know all those e-mail questionnaires you get asking your favorite color, drink, color of your bedroom carpet, etc? This is a computer version that I thought would be appropriate for the blog...

  1. What kind of computer do you have? I have a Dell monitor, printer, keyboard, etc with a tower built for me by a friend
  2. What is your operating system? Windows XP
  3. How many items/short cuts on your desktop? 20
  4. How many times do you check your e-mail/bulletin boards/websites daily? several, since the computer is in the family room where the majority of our time is spent in a day
  5. In an average day, how long do you spend on the computer? 1-2 hrs, all spread out over the day-not straight time
  6. Do you have a color printer? yes
  7. Do you print out your own pictures? I could, but I don't
  8. Where do you host your digital pictures? I upload to who ever is having the best deal for developing at the time I want prints. I have accts at Kodak Gallery, Snapfish and Wal-Mart photo
  9. Do you have a webcam? no
  10. How many e-mail addresses do you have? 3-one for all the junk mail, one personal/family, one for Home & Garden stuff
  11. Are you on Facebook or MySpace? I have accounts on both, but rarely ever check in on MySpace
  12. Do you have a blog or personal web page? ummmm, yep-just a blog
  13. If you answered yes to #9, how many other blogs/personal web pages do you check regularly? 10 or so
  14. What is your favorite website to visit? probably Yahoo b/c I can get my news/info and check in with friends...but I have a "trashy side" that really likes celebrity gossip and for that it's People.com (even though I hate how they aren't allowed to live normal lives b/c they are famous...I know, hypocritical)
  15. What is your desktop background picture? my 3 girls outside this fall
  16. Do you play any of the games that came with your computer? I like to play a game of Spider Solitaire or Free Cell to wind down
  17. Do you play any games on-line? I play Text Twist occasionally
  18. Do you keep your computer on continuously or turn it off every night? I keep it on continuously, but shut it off if we'll be gone all day or I won't be on in over 24 hrs. I make sure it's shut down at least once a week. I know I should shut it off every night to save energy, but it's such a force of habit to leave it on for easy access
  19. Do you have DSL, cable, wireless or dial-up internet connection? we have DSL, but that's only been since this past summer. Before that it was dial-up because that's all that was available (we live in the boonies, remember?!)
  20. Do you know what most of the acronyms on bulletin boards stand for? I know the ones from my days on Babycenter like DH, DD, DS, etc.
  21. If you have children, are they allowed on the computer? yes, Alayna and Lilly both have games and websites that they work with. Mikayla not so much...

Okay ladies and gents, I want to see your answers on your own blog or webpage soon!

Interesting "Test"

I'm a sucker for all those tests you can take on-line these days. Who are you most compatible with? Are you your true Zodiac sign? What kind of mom are you? etc, etc. I just get s kick out of them as some are pretty accurate, while others are completely bogus.

This particular one was sent to me the other day from a friend (thanks, Karla G!) It asks questions about your lifestyle and then helps you calculate your "real age," or in other words, how old your body is. I know it's not real scientific and could get much more in depth, but it was interesting none the less.

http://www.embedtube.com/uploads/33101407Realage.swf

My chronological age is 26.5, my real age is 7.4 and my life expectancy is to live to be 92.6...What's yours?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Water Fun!

This weekend was a lot of wet, water fun for our family. Wisconsin is known as the Waterpark Capital of the World (well, Wisconsin Dells is anyway) and we took advantage of one of those waterparks! The one we went to wasn't at the Dells, but it was still a blast. Our family, plus my parents, sister, aunt and her family went for the weekend to celebrate my mom and aunt's birthdays (Happy Birthday Mom and Di!) We rented a villa that was great-2 bedrooms, a loft, a full kitchen, laundry facility, living & dining rooms, 2 bathrooms-it's nicer than some homes I've been in! We played games, watched movies, ate lots of yummy food, and oh yeah-went to the waterpark!

The park itself has a children's area that had 2 curvy waterslides, 4 straight waterslides, various water spouts and shooters, swings, 2 toddler slides, a zero-entry pool, etc. This is where we spent a lot of time, obviously. The rest of the park has a pool, water basketball, water balloon fight area, indoor/outdoor hot-tub (it was neat to sit in the outdoor hot tub while it was snowing) lazy river, wave pool, 2 tube slides and 2 body slides (all 4 of which were enclosed and went outside for spacial reasons) The lodge also has a game room, restaurant, snack bar, and tons of activities planned. There are also activities in the summer, though we haven't been there that time of year. Anyway, if anyone is looking for a lot of fun and a great place to stay (they also have rooms in the lodge besides the villas) here is the link.

So without further ado, here are some pics and videos from the weekend!

Daddy and Mikayla are taking everything in a bit before they go in the water

This was Mikayla's favorite thing at the waterpark-a spout to play in!

The kiddie waterslides, which Lilly would do over and over and over again.



Mikayla and Mommy on the lazy river. She would almost fall asleep, then someone would bump into us or talk too close to us and she'd have to check it all out.


The park is based on Yogi-Bear, so in the kiddie pool area there was a picnic basket that would fill with water and then dump every 15 mins or so. Alayna is in the pink suit...




Mikayla's first waterslide, followed by Lilly's 1 millionth


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I guess since today is all about love and hugs and kisses, I should write something about it, right? Blah blah blah...Just kidding.

Today is Valentine's Day, a day to honor the people that you love and that are a special part of your life. Some cynics out there complain about it and say that it's all about commercialization, card companies, that you should show your love every day, etc. Well, they may be right. But all too often, you hear of people taking those they love for granted. At least Valentine's Day is the one day a year where you are almost forced to recognize those that mean a lot to you.

I am incredibly blessed to have a lot of terrific people in my life, and I'm going to take a moment to honor them all:

To my wonderful husband, Andy-I love you. You have been the best partner I could ask for and the most fantastic father to our girls. You always do what you can to give us "girls" the most of everything. You are loving, supportive, caring, gentle, funny, and just simply amazing. Thank you for everything you do for our family. I love you! Happy Valentine's Day!

To the three most wonderful girls in the world: Alayna, Lilly & Mikayla-You all are the best! I am so blessed to have been chosen as your Mommy. I could never have imagined myself as the mother to 3 such perfect little people. Thank you for all the joy, hugs, kisses and love you have brought me through the years. I love you always! Happy Valentine's Day!

To my parents, who have always supported me. They have always been there for me, either holding me, rooting me on, laughing or crying with me. Happy Valentine's Day, I love you guys!

To my sister, who has also always been there, too, though sometimes-as young siblings-I couldn't wait for you to go away! As far as sister's go, you're not too bad! ;-) Love ya, Happy Valentine's Day!

To my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...Thank you all for always giving your love and support. I have so many wonderful memories of family gatherings full of love, laughter, craziness and joy! I love you all, Happy Valentine's Day!

To my In-Laws, thank you so much for raising such a fantastic person for me to marry and have a family with (okay, you can stop laughing now) He is who he is because of you and I wouldn't trade him for the world. Thank you also for welcoming me into the family with such open arms. Love you, Happy Valentine's Day!

To all my friends, who have been there for me in so many ways. I can't thank you enough and want you all to know how much you really mean to me. I cherish all the times-the laughing, the crying, the hoping, the long talks, even the "boring" times of just being together. Love you all, Happy Valentine's Day!

You all are such wonderful people and I am so blessed to be surrounded by such loving, thoughtful, caring people. I love you all! Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Interpreter wanted

WANTED: One interpreter who can speak fluent baby gibberish. Must speak fluent adult as well and be able to translate between the two languages. To apply, please translate the below video, then send the transcript via e-mail or arrive in person at our home. Favor will be given to applicants who can disregard haphazard slip covers, avoid toys like landmines, aren't bothered by children running all over, and don't mind the level of noise that is associated with doing daycare in the home. Pay scale is minimal, but you will forever be in our hearts for helping us figure out what the heck she's trying to tell us!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Anal tendencies

I know that everyone has some anal tendencies, but the question is, do you admit to them? I have those tendencies and I'm the first to admit it. Call it my cry for help or just simple excuses for my oddities, whatever you'd like. But I'm going to lay it all out for the whole world to see.

~I have a certain way that I like my bath towels folded. I fold them in half, then half again, then thirds. Andy was kind enough to fold the laundry the other day and as I put the towels away, I found myself cringing as his towels didn't line up with mine--he'd folded into quarters. BUT, I was quite proud of myself for NOT refolding them (I've been known to do that in the past, but I'm learning that even if it's not done my way, at least I didn't have to do it!)

~My girls have never liked a sippy cup with fancy lids, spouts, valves, etc. They like a plain plastic cup with a snap-on lid and no valve. Yes, they get messy without the no-leak valve, but they are cheap and they work as a plain cup once lids are a thing of the past. Anyway, you can buy these cups in packs of 4 at Wal-Mart for a buck-fifty, all the same color. We have yellow, red, purple and orange (I do daycare, too, remember) When I put the clean cups away I cannot have 2 purples or 2 oranges touching one another. I will go out of my way to make that not happen and if it has to happen, I find an excuse to use a cup right away to remedy the situation.

~Along the lines of the above confession, our every day dishes are solid colored stoneware in 5 colors. I have 2 plates and 2 bowls each in cranberry, blue, maise, olive and orange. I cannot have them stacked together with the same colors touching. And in my plate stack, it's even worse. I have to have at least 2 other colors between same colors (blue, olive, orange, blue, etc.)

~I coordinate all the closets in the house. The girls' closets, as well as mine & Andy's, are coordinated in colors and styles of clothing-short sleeved, 3/4 length, long sleeved, dresses, dress pants...whites, yellows, oranges, reds, pinks, purples, greens, blues, blacks.

~I always hang the clothes the same way. The clothes "face" to the right when you are looking at the rack from straight on.

~The toilet paper roll must always roll from the front, not the back, of the roll. I have been known to change that, too.

~I really dislike when houses have random window placement (or worse, huge blank spots without windows) and it doesn't look uniform from the outside. You can imagine the discussions this has brought up with Andy being a carpenter and all.

~I like the look of things being off-centered, but never in my own house. I can see something that I like at another location and think it's great, but when duplicated in my own house I HATE that it's not all symetrical.

Okay, so now that you all think that I'm deserving of a bed at the local "inn" for a few weeks accompanied with some fancy "cocktails," I challenge you. Post a comment with some of your own anal tendencies...please...I need to feel normal. (and yes, I know exactly where my qualities come from)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gender Trends

Some of my girlfriends and I were talking genetics the other day. As some of you know, genetics was one of my all-time favorite classes in college. I loved learning about the transmission of genes, the odds of passing on certain traits, how those traits combine to make what we "see", etc. It's all absolutely fascinating. Anyway, after our talks about genetics, I got to thinking about the make-up of our groups of friends.

In "real-life," Andy and I primarily hang out with 7 other couples. Between the 8 of us couples, there are 7 of us with a total of 17 children. Of those 17 children, there are 4 boys. Yup, only 4 and each of those boys are the only boy in their family. F1=3 girls, F2= 2 girls, F3= 1 girl, F4= 2girls, one boy, F5 & 6= 1 girl, 1 boy, F7= 3 girls, 1 boy.

Then I thought about my on-line group of friends. There are 9 of us in an exclusive group and we have a total of 25 kids. Of those 25, only 9 are girls. F1=3 girls, F2=3 boys, F3=4 boys, F4 & 5=2 boys, 1 girl, F6=2 boys, F7=2 girls, 1 boy, F8 & 9 both have 1 boy, 1 girl.

Now I remember from my genetics class that the odds and the probability of having children of all one sex are different. And I could dig up my old notes (yes, I still have them in the closet) but I really don't want to do that. So I found this link instead: http://www.in-gender.com/xyu/odds/gender_odds.aspx It helps to explain the likelihood of having children of all the same sex. And it's funny, because even though the odds decrease (there's hope, Carol!) that after each child, they will all be the same sex, it seems that it happens more and more. I know of a family that has 3 children (2b, 1g) and they each went on to have 3 children, all same-gendered within each family. And of those 9 children, 3 have gone on to have children (3, 2, 2) and they are all same-gendered within their families, too. Hmmmmmmm...

Anyway, I was just thinking about this and wanted to put it out there. By the way, as many of you know, I come from a family with 2 girls and most of my cousins are all same-gendered as their siblings, too. Just a little food for thought on a Friday morning!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's official!

Well, it's official. Mikayla is now what I consider a "walker." I am a little different than a lot of people in what I consider a walker. While Mikayla has been taking several steps for months, she hasn't had the confidence to step away from her support on her own accord. Sure, if we set her in the middle of the room without support, she'd walk away until she came to a chair, toy, whatever, that could support her. But just Monday night she finally took the initiative to step away from the couch on her own. She hasn't looked back since. She will walk and walk and when she falls, she'll crawl to something, pull up, let go and walk away. *sigh* she's really no longer my baby, but a toddler. So while I go and cry into my pillow for the millionth time (just kidding) you all can enjoy a few videos from last night.

*Besides the wonderful content of the video, you will be bombarded with the noises of our house-Laurie Berkner on the stereo, Lilly playing Sesame Street on the computer, the dog, the dishwasher...ahhhh, gotta love home!
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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Best Things in Life

*Holding my babies, whether for the very first time as a 2-minute old baby, or the 153,678,452nd time as a 7-year-old

*Hugs, especially from Andy since he can completely envelope me in his huge arms

*A warm blanket, popcorn and a good movie on a snowy day

*Brownie sundaes with lots of caramel sauce

*Sleeping with the windows open and a light rain outside

*A good book and uninterrupted time to read it

*Family time of any sort

*Snuggling with my girls

*Riding horse through the woods on a beautiful fall day (bareback, of course)

*To go along with the previous point, riding a horse that is running like the wind

*Baby kisses, even the open-mouthed slobbery ones

*Holding a sleeping baby (Mom?!)

Friday, February 1, 2008

An Update

Remember when I posted a few weeks ago, asking for prayer for a family that was in some pretty dire straits? Their story is incredible and a true sign that miracles can happen and prayers do get answered.

As a quick recap, the blog is written by Nathan and was meant to journal his wife's journey through a double-lung transplant because of her Cystic Fybrosis. Just as she was going to be added to the transplant list, they found out Tricia was pregnant. The pregnancy was very high risk, obviously, and their beautiful little girl Gwyneth was born around 25 weeks gestation on January 8. There have been some amazing ups and downs with both Gwyneth and Tricia, but the ups are SOOOO much more than the downs.

Just in the past two days, Nathan has been able to hold his precious daughter for the first time. They are doing what is called Kangaroo Care, where he holds her against his bare chest. This is amazing enough, but they have pictures on the blog and they will bring tears to your eyes. Little Gwyneth is still only slightly larger than her father's hand. And the look on Nathan's face is too much for words.

The other major miracle is that Tricia has been re-approved and will be placed on the transplant list, possibly as soon as Monday! This is huge, as it will mean a chance for her life to continue much longer than without the transplant. Yes, things could go wrong, but it's a chance for more life and time with her husband and daughter. This is also huge because they weren't sure after the delivery of Gwyneth if she'd ever be strong enough again to get on the list. She was basically in a coma for several days after the delivery.

I'm only telling part of the story, so if anyone is interested in the whole thing from their own perspective (plus pics of all three of them) then I encourage you to read their blog at http://cfhusband.blogspot.com/ or I have it linked on my sidebar. I am warning you though, you may not want to read this blog while at school or work. As my mom put it, you don't want to be "a blubbering mess" while at your desk.