Friday, October 30, 2009

What's Up?

I am almost a master when it comes to funny facial expressions. Besides my naturally funny-looking face, I can do some pretty weird stuff with my features. I can cross my eyes like no one I know--even moving them and making them dance while crossed, I can wiggle my nostrils, wiggle my ears, raise only one eyebrow and wiggle that...My girls have all tried to mimic me and my mastery, and they continue to try. BUT, last night I noticed that one of them mastered one of my skills and it's just too cute not to share:

*I posted another Mikayla funny below, so check that out, too! And in the above video, please disregard the basket of laundry waiting to be folded...I've been busy.

You says Me

We have the Leap Frog Fridge Phonics for the girls.  Mikayla loves playing with it and plugging in the various letter magnets.  The base recognizes what letter is in the window and will sing a little song about that letter.  The song gets stuck in my head for hours on end...

"P says 'puh', P says 'puh'.  Every letter makes a sound.  P says 'puh'."  When a letter has two sounds, like A, it does both.  "A says 'ah' and A says 'aye'.  Every letter makes a sound.  A says 'ah' and 'aye'."

The other day, my mom and I were sitting in the kitchen and Mikayla was playing with the Fridge Phonics on the floor.  "U says 'uh' and U says 'you'..."  Mikayla gasped and said, "Mommy!  U says ME!"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Playing House

Sometimes, I feel like I'm playing house and I'm not really old enough to own a home, pay bills, be married, have children.  When I say this, I don't mean that I feel dettached or anything.  I just mean that when I look at myself, I don't see my true age--I think of myself as younger.  I also sometimes learn something and think, "I don't need to know that until I'm older and settled..." then realize that I am older and I am settled.  I do need to know things like interest rates and how our property taxes get paid and what to do in case something serious were to happen to my husband or children.

When I see strangers at the store about my age, I often think of them as being older and more mature.  They must have it all together and know all they need to know, because they're at least 30.  They must have it all figured out.  They must know.  But why must they?  Why must they automatically know any more than me or Andy?  Because they are 6 months older, or 6 years?

I am incredibly blessed and I love my life.  I know the things I need to know, I learn what I can to know more.  I pay our bills and take care of our home.  I love my husband and children and watch them grow with every day.  They make my heart sing and I feel like I'm on the top of the world.  Nothing brings me more pleasure than seeing them thrive and grow.  But sometimes, I feel like it's all just a game.  If I make the right move, X will happen and everything will stay the same.  If I make the wrong move, Y will happen and things will be lost.  Like I'm playing a video game that's in virtual reality.

I don't really know why I'm going on about this.  Maybe just to get it out there--I know I can't be the only one who feels this way.  And it's not all the time, or even that often.  Just sometimes I feel like I can't really be living this life and being this lucky.  Like it's all just a dream and I'll wake up and be 15 again, just starting to date my husband.  Like my entire life is still in front of me.  But if I were to wake up and find myself at 15 again, I wouldn't do anything different.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sick, Ick and Blah

This post talks about sickness and things associated with it, so if you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip it.  I'm just saying...

This fall has been such an interesting one so far.  The temperature has been going between 50s and 20s in the blink of an eye, we've been getting snow and rain, and the general consensus is that it's just not been normal so far.  Which is fine.  I'm not normal, so I don't expect my seasons to be.  But why must that also mean that our health cannot be normal? 

We are usually a very healthy family.  We seldom ever get the flu or stomach bugs, colds are usually quick and mild, and I can count on one hand the number of times all 3 of our children--put together--have been on antibiotics (between the 3 girls it's 4 times, if you're wondering)  We are rarely sick...but that's in a normal year.  This fall we've already battled severe strep throat for Lilly and bronchitis for me, plus a cold for all 5 of us. 

This past weekend was supposed to be a fun, adult weekend away with friends for Andy and I.  We were all so excited to get away and have some fun, relaxing times without our kids.  Well, for Andy and I it wasn't quite that.  He woke up on Friday morning with a headache that he nursed all day with lots of water and ibuprofen.  Then Saturday he woke up with a back-ache and another headache, which progressed into a high fever and raging migraine Saturday afternoon.  He felt better for awhile Sat evening, but during the night his fever returned.  Sunday was a day of slowly getting better and feeling more normal.  This was all while staying at a cabin with friends, who we pray don't get sick.  So I spent my kid-free, care-free time caring for my husband.  He felt awful physically, but mentally too, for keeping me from fully enjoying my time away.  Eh, it happens.  And to be honest, I have a nasty head-cold that would have kept me from fully enjoying myself anyway.

So last night we were snuggled in bed and fast asleep when we were woken up (at 10:00 pm, mind you) by a sick child.  Ugh.  Alayna has only thrown up 3 times in her almost 9 years, so it scared her and she came to our room instead of the bathroom.  Yup, carpet scrubbing and sheet changing ensued while she showered.  She's home from school today and seems to be feeling fine, but we'll see. 

This is the sickest our family has ever been.  I'm not kidding.  We've had a bought here or there where we all get a cold or flu-like symptoms, but never this much this often or soon in the season.  I really hope that we're just getting it all out of the way and will be healthy the rest of the winter.  If you have time, would you mind saying a little prayer for us all?  We'd really apprecate it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The One Where I Had A Headache

Yesterday I had a headache all day.  It was one of those that was there and noticable, but not bad enough to actually stop me.  I still did the dishes, I still played with the kids, I still played chauffeur to basketball practice and vhicle swaps between my husband and his parents.  But then it got a little worse.  I didn't make dinner and I let Andy put the girls to bed.  Then it got a lot worse.  I'm talking bright lights and loud noises crippled me, worse.  At 8:15 I had enough.  I crawled to bed, climbed in and was asleep in less than 5 minutes, according to the man. 

Migraines suck.  Thankfully, I don't get them often--maybe 2-3 a year.  But every time I get one, I am so thankful when I wake up the next morning and it's gone.  Or like this morning, when I woke up at 3:00 for Mikayla's coughing fit, 3:52 for her potty break and 4:46 because her stuffed Nemo was bit by a shark and she thought her followed her into her room.  Each of those times, the headache was gone.  And because I'd been to bed so early and crashed so hard, I don't feel tired this morning.  There was some Superior planning in that one, I suppose.  I'm just thankful that nights like that are rare around these parts.

It's Tuesday and Emily is asking us to unwrap something beautiful, unexpected or everyday that we're thankful for.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bragging Rights

Alright Grammas to my kids, is this your reason to brag?

How about this one?

OKay, maybe it's this one.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's up with toys these days?

Lately, we've been having some pretty naughty toys.  I don't know what they have to act out against, honestly.  They have nice cozy homes in the toy box, bins or shelves; they have tons of other toys to play with; the kids are generally nice to them; and the dogs leave them alone, for the most part.  Sounds like a pretty good life for a toy, right? 

So why are they acting out?!  The other day, Diego got all lippy and said something was "stupid."  Well, stupid is a word that we don't use in our home, and he knows it.  He was tattled on by Mikayla and promptly put in the corner for time-out.  Then only minutes later, his sister Alicia said the same naughty word, was tattled on by Mikayla, and also put into time-out.  Those siblings are trouble, I tell you.  Not only that, but apparently they've been saying those naughty words to the other toys and continuing to spread their mischief.  Mikayla just came up to me with a CareBear--a CareBear of all things, who are supposed to be kind and caring--and told me he called her stupid.  What am I going to do with all these rule-breakers?

I took the CareBear, and Mikayla, in my lap and reiterated that stupid is not a good word to say and we don't use it in our home.  Then I told Mikayla that her toys needed to stop saying it as well.  She was incensed that I was talking to her about it.  "Mommy, my no say it!  The CareBear did!"  Clever, but I wasn't born yesterday.  The funny thing is, the CareBear never did say it.  Not in it's beary voice or Mikayla's, I was within earshot the whole time.  She's obviously just trying out limits to see what will happen when she/someone says something that's "naughty."  This littlest princess of ours has always kept us on our toes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Clean House

If you read my last post about all that happened in the last 4-5 days, then you know that we were really busy.  And if you read my blog with any regularity or know me in-real-life, you know that not only do I have 3 children, but I also watch some of my friends' kids as well.  So our house is always full of kids and toys and more kids and more toys.  Which makes keeping it clean next to impossible, unless I were to never sleep or eat or sit down or do anything other than clean.  I don't think the kids, or their parents, would appreciate me neglecting the children so that my sink was shiny and my floors squeaked.

Don't get me wrong, my house isn't dirty.  There aren't dishes laying around, piles of dirt on the floor, or mold in my windowsills.  But there are stacks of papers on the desk, a haphazard tower of toys in the corner of the family room, laundry that needs to be put away on the living room couch.  It's usually a quick 15 minute pick-up until it's company-ready.  If you add to that the unpacking of 3 days at a waterpark, our cleaning for the party after church on Sunday was a little hectic.  The kids were putting toys and clothes away.  Andy and I were going in every direction, putting things away, picking things up, throwing things in the garbage.  If I'm being honest, I'll admit that we got a little snipppy with one another.

"Why can't the house stay clean?!  Ten minutes in each room 1-2 days a week would do wonders."  My husband is a great man, he really is, but sometimes he has no clue.  Some days I have tons of time because all the kids are being good and playing nicely.  Other days, I have -45 minutes at the end of the day. I just never know how it's going to be until it's that day.  So how did I respond to his comments, which I know weren't directed at me so much as the situation?

"Does a clean house really make us that much happier as a family?  If it's messy, do we laugh less?  Does our food taste any worse or is any less nutritional?  Do we sleep worse at night?  Do our bills get paid wether the house is clean or dirty?"  Then I stormed off to clean the bathroom.  And it hit me.

I was 250% right and I needed to hear it as much as Andy did.  A perfectly picked up house doesn't make us any happier, or well-rested, or anything else.  Sure, it looks great and does make me feel good, that's not what I'm saying.  I'm saying that 20 years from now, we're not going to remember if the desk was cleaned off or the floors spotless.  But we will remember playing games or doing puzzles in the family room, or cuddling together to watch a movie, or making supper with everyone having a role in helping out.  And that's a gift that I hope to unwrap for many, many years to come.

Emily is hosting Tuesdays Unwrapped again!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Let's See...

...where did I leave off almost a week ago?  Oh yes, our middle baby girl turned 5.  Oh, the things that have happened since then.  It seems like it was a few weeks ago instead of just 5 days.  In those 5 days we went on a mini family vacation, dealt with a very sick child, got SNOW!, bought some furniture, did some home improvement projects, and we hosted a birthday party.  Whew, I needed the week to start to give me a break from my weekend!

The girls didn't have school on Thursday and Friday because of the WI state teacher's convention, so we took advantage of the opportunity (and a great deal I found on-line) to trek north to Duluth and the Edgewater Resort and Waterpark.  We stayed Wednesday night through Friday morning.  My parents joined us and we had a great time playing in the water, swimming, doing a little shopping (including purchasing a few Christmas presents!) and spending time at Canal Park to see a ship come into port.  We also celebrated Lilly's birthday, since we went up on Wednesday afternoon!

However, on Wednesday night, Lilly started complaining that she was very tired and cold.  By Thursday morning she had a high fever and wasn't able to keep anything in her stomach.  I felt so bad for her, as she was the most excited about the waterpark trip and had been talking for a year, since our last visit, about going back.  She was able to play a little on Wed afternoon and Thursday morning before she was too sick to continue.  So while the other kids and boy adults played in the water, Lilly spent time with Mommy or Gramma in the room watching movies, coloring and playing games.  We took her to the doc on Friday when we got home and they tested her for the flu, did a finger prick and eventually a throat culture, determining she had a severe case of strep throat.  After only a day of antibiotics, she was back to her normal, spunky self!

Saturday morning we woke up to 2" of snow on the ground!  The girls were so excited to see the white stuff make it's first, very early appearance of the season.  They were hoping it would stay and didn't quite understand when I told them that it would stick around for a little while, but would melt by mid-afternoon because the ground wasn't frozen yet.  But it was fun to play in a little bit and look at.

Later on Saturday, I was listening to the radio on our way to my in-laws' house and I heard that a furniture store about an hour away was going out of business and having some great deals.  So, I talked with Andy and off the girls, my MIL and I went to see if there was anything good for us.  There was.  I came home a few hours later with a great cocoa colored micro-fiber sectional sofa.  We love it.  It's so nice and comfy and looks just great.  It's only the second brand-new item of furniture that we have purchased in our 9+ years of being together, our bed being the first.  The couches that we replaced had rips in the cushions and the slip covers and were bought at a garage sale about 3 years ago.  Yeah, it was time for new.  This new piece is big enough that it helps this awkward family room seem not so long and skinny, but not so big that it seems out of place.  So Merry Christmas to Andy and I! 

As most of you know, we have lived in our house for almost 5 years (we got the phone call from our realtor that our offer was accepted while I was in labor with Lilly!) and we've slowly been making changes to update the house and make it our own.  The bathroom light fixtures have always been a sore spot for me, in particular.  The upstairs bathroom has a large vanity and mirror, and the lights were globes on chains that were both hung to the left of the sink.  It made for an unevenly lighted room.  It also made for ugly because the globes had brown flowers painted on them.  Two weeks ago a light bulb burned out for the first time, so I pounced on it and pronounced it time for a new fixture!  So we found one we liked, as well as a matching dome light for above the toilet (there was a globe there that matched the others...bleck)  The only requests I had at the time of purchase was that my darling husband not try to install it when I wasn't there to help him or call 911 if needed, and I wanted it up in time for Lilly's party, which was yesterday.  So you guessed it, he chose yesterday morning at 8am, right before church, to install the lights.  But they are up and they are lovely, though the lighting is so good now that I can see every flaw in my body and bag under my eyes in alarming detail.
The old lights, though you can't see the "pretty" design on them.  It's the only pic I could find that showed them.

And all of that happened before the main event of the weekend--Lilly's birthday party.  This girl had me going in all directions.  First she wanted a lawn-mower birthday party, then a Dora party, then Dora on a lawn-mower, a pumpkin party like last year and finally she settled on a princess theme.  So I bought some princess napkins and made some princess cupcakes and cake.  We had a great time with our family and friends who came over to help us celebrate our little girl's life!  Thanks, everyone!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lilly-kins!

Today, we officially became the parents of a five-year-old.  Almost 6 years ago, we went through a lot of excitement and turmoil in the few short months from October to January.  But at the end of it all was a healthy, very exciting and somewhat scary pregnancy.  That pregnancy went just fine, though, and the fears were unfounded.  Then I went into labor and we had a pretty terrifying experience.  But really, that went just fine, too.  And we were blessed with our beautiful, brown-eyed little girl.

Through the years, Lilly has grown into such a wonderful person.  She's funny and caring.  She loves to help people.  She learns more and more every day.  She loves to snuggle.  She's incredibly sweet.  She's the perfect person for our family.  We love you, Lilly!  We're so proud to call you our daughter and your sisters are so lucky to have you as a sibling.  Happy 5th Birthday--you're a whole hand old now!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Marley!

Today is a BIG day in our house.  Our little puppy, Marley, is turning one.  She's been such a wonderful dog to know and love.  I have always wanted a Great Dane and she has only strengthened my love for the breed.  She's intelligent, gentle, great with the kids, protective, funny, has only ruined one pair of shoes, and loves to snuggle.  Of course, she also thinks she's a lap-dog at times and uses her height advantage for things like getting your attention (kinda hard to ignore her when you're sitting on the couch and her head is the same height as yours) cleaning off the edges of the kitchen table and peering in the windows on the ground floor.  But we love her all the same!

Happy Birthday Marley!  We're so happy you are a part of our family!

The day she joined our family, Nov 15 2008

She'd grown quite a bit by early March!

In late April, she napped with Mikayla and Sunny

In May, she showed her size comparison with the same bowl from her first day here

This past week, with her bowl again

What a pretty girl!  Still a little gangly, but this next year she'll start to fill out more
and not be so skinny and anorexic looking--trust me, she's NOT anorexic!