Friday, September 28, 2007


We've been spending a lot of time in the car lately, so most of these are moments from Mom's Taxi:

Josh: "Alright Mom, Round Two!" These are the words he shouts as we drop off Owen & Ellie at the sitter, and then head back to the van on our way to his school. (secretly, I say "round three" as I head on my way to school after dropping him off.)

Ellie: "Mom! We IN a cloud!" (a foggy morning sparks a science lesson on the way to school one day this week)

Owen: In his rear-facing car seat he's discovered that he can strain his little neck far enough to see me in the front seat. It's too cute to look back and see him peering over the edge of his seat. I wonder what he's thinking...probably "why are you over there and not back here having fun with me?"

The Hubs: Our Sunday morning rides are amazing quiet as the kids color and listen to music on the way to church. We've had some great conversations lately. Not to mention I get to eyeball him in his handsome church clothes without him noticing...

Me: I'm in love with Fall. I find myself purposefully standing at the back screen door watching the clouds, feeling the cool breeze mixed with warm sun. I've been peering at the leaves watching just the tips begin to change. I've loved having the windows open in the house and in the car, getting a little "air in our hair" as we've now dubbed it. I know winter is coming...but for now I'll enjoy my favorite season.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Crazy hair Day At Josh's School

This is the best we could do for Crazy Hair Day. It's punky and cute, but definitely not as colorful as some others we saw at drop-off this morning. Maybe we'll include an "after" picture. After a whole day at school, his hair might have a whole new look!

(if you click on it you can see it bigger...just ignore the messy kitchen in the background!)

Owen Update: 5 months

My darling Owen is charming everyone lately. I believe I am the one most smitten, but this little one is all about spreading the joy. A good friend of mine recently said that he happily sits on a hip until someone comes by and "activates" his smile. This is so true. He is such a content baby and his smiles are readily available to anyone looking his way (this includes trees, and several other inanimate objects).

He loves rolling over and seems to be a bit more purposeful about it now. Everything goes into his wide open waiting mouth including hair gripped in his pudgy little fingers. (The Hubs has to watch out for Owen's groping hands on his hairy arms! Ouch!) Owen is attempting some solo sitting, but often slowing falls to a side or onto his nose if we aren't watching carefully.

We're waiting a couple of more weeks to introduce any solid foods and so the stories of food flying and oozing will just have to wait yet. He continues to be a great sleeper taking 2 naps a day and a quick snooze around dinner time. He's usually in bed between 8:30 and 9:00, but can be an early riser, waking around 6-6:30 am. We've even been able to lay him down with his eyes open/drowsy, and he finds his sleep on his own.

I think the thing that I love the most about him, besides his goofy smile, is that he really enjoys his siblings as much as they enjoy him. Josh was the first to get him to laugh out loud by some action other than finding his tickle spots (shoulders, armpits and lower back). Owen will just crack up if one of the kids grabs his hands or feet and just wiggles them with all their might. Although he spooks easily, Owen seems to enjoy the kids surprising him around a corner or with a raucous game of peek-a-boo. These are the moments that get the whole family laughing, and that is music to my momma ears.

**Oh, p.s. I'll try to post a picture soon. I don't have any super recent pictures, so I'll be taking some and sharing soon!**

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Hobbyist

**Note to readers: I LOVE my husband. And I have gotten permission to write this blog.**

My darling Hubs is a hobbyist. This is something I didn't exactly know about him until a few years into our marriage. He has always been into "stuff" and loves trying new things. Let it be know that these are some of his best character traits. The Hubs is always encouraging new family outings and helping us break out of our routine with something new. For this...I love him dearly.

Problem comes in when all of these new activities hit the pocketbook. It actually began with small things like a football ("what if I want to toss it around with your brothers?"...*note the appeal to my love for family bonding*), tennis rackets for both of us ("now we can play together!"), or a video game system ("they have games that girls like, too!"). Then he jumped up a notch or two with the urgent need to purchase...a Jeep. (ok, more than a few notches). This was a hobby purchase because soon we were on Jeep trips to the dunes, off-roading one of the cars that got us to work each day, and filling it with a sound system to rock out on when the sun was shining and the wind was blowing through our hair. The only way that one got traded in for a more sensible choice was with the promise that someday he will own one again.

Since then it's been various sports like softball (bats, gloves, shoes), biking, fishing, and landscaping. (If you don't think landscaping is a sport, try digging a hole for a 6-7 foot tree...not to mention there seems to be a competitive thing about it among male neighbors.)

So when he told me he wanted to take up running, I about peed with excitement. I began to think this one through. This could be the only sport that requires no purchases, equipment or other paraphernalia. All you need are legs. You don't even need to go anywhere special for this. I thought this was his best idea yet. I fully endorsed the idea with a slap on his rear as he headed out for his first run. (ok, maybe that is a bit of a fib, he runs at the crack of dawn). He researched a plan to take him from couch potato (which he's not) to 5K in 6 weeks. I applauded him for his enthusiasm and was so pleased that he had finally found a hobby that wasn't going to cost us a penny.

I was wrong.

It began with the watch. This is a special watch that beeps intermittently to let him know to change from his running pace to a walking pace as he increases his endurance during the journey to his 5K goal. Then there were new clothes. Ones that are meant to wick away the sweat, and keep you cool or warm, all the while sporting a nice spot to secure your IPod. New shorts. A visit to the shoe store. Talks of joining actual 5K runs that have entrance fees.

Running IS NOT a cheap sport. I was amazed. Either our society has found a way to capitalize on every sport possible, or my husband is a cunning individual set on owning every piece of sport equipment and/or hobby paraphernalia known to modern man.

I think he wants to try rock climbing next. That can't be too expensive, right? I'm mean rocks don't cost a thing, and they're everywhere...right??

Friday, September 21, 2007

Life with Kids

So much of our lives lately have been kid-focused. I began to think about what life what like B.C. (before children). It took a long time to remember. Although there are many things that are harder now that we have kids, I also found that there are many things that are easier now that we have kids. So here is a rundown of some of these life lessons I've learned since having kids. It's the hard and easy of it....

1. Having a plan/schedule: This is harder to do with kids. It's hard to predict what small ones are thinking and they are definitely NOT thinking about your plan for the day. BUT, it's easier to drop everything and say, "Let's go to the park!" Somehow, "the plan" doesn't seem so important anymore and you actually might have more fun.

2. Bodily functions: Both yours and theirs become the center of attention. Not only is it harder to use the bathroom solo, it becomes a matter of discussion. BUT, it's easier because "practice makes perfect" or at least creates a desensitized nose when it comes to the more nasty events of a body.

3. Toys: It becomes increasingly harder to control the toys. I'm pretty sure the ones at our house inspired the movie "Toy Story", only ours haven't learned the Clean-up song. BUT, it's easier to get down on the floor and reclaim your childhood by playing with said toys, plus you always have an excuse..."the kids begged me to play with them."

4. Drive: It is definitely harder to look cool in the family truckster. Nothing says "I've made it" like stickers on windows, slobber on seats and a vanful of carseats. BUT, thanks to the marketing departments out there, it's easier to get in and out of vehicles with many children, seat them safely, enjoy a few fun gadgets, and have a least a dozen cup holders to spare.

5. Conversations: If you don't have kids you have no idea what it's like to try and hold an adult conversation with children present. Simply put, it is absolutely harder. BUT, it is easier to indulge your childish side by conversing in sillyspeak whenever the mood arises. Again, a handy excuse is readily available..."but honey, the kids just love it when I use my Donald duck voice..."

6. Read books/blogs: Time is the key factor here. It is harder to find the time to read adult books and you always feel guilty, even when they are quietly enjoying their own books. BUT, it is easier to write blogs...what else would I have to say if these little corkers weren't around??

7. Money: Hard to hold, easy to spend. 'Nuff said.

8. Sleep: It's harder to find continued sleep, even after they get older. You find yourself wondering how long you'll make it that night, hoping the planets will align and the stars will shine on you to give all three one good night's rest. Yep, if it's not one, it's another. Oh, and it's even more interesting when you get the multiple different's like a very cruel joke. BUT, it's easier to actually fall asleep, or pass out into your pillow...however you like to think about it.

9. Vocabulary: It's harder to use adult vocabulary because you are often trying to describe items, words or events in their terms, so they can understand. BUT, it becomes much easier to understand the importance of using good vocabulary, otherwise, you find yourself saying things like..."Could you get me the gray rectangle shape thing with the numbers on it in blue and red?", instead of "Could you hand me the remote control?" Oh, and you also become oddly equipped to interpret all kinds of "kidspeak." Too many examples to name...

10. Emotions: You find that it is increasingly harder to hide your feelings of love, sadness, anxiety, silliness, hope and joy from these little ones who have captured your heart. They trip, and you catch your breath; they laugh at your jokes and you smile like you've made it on Saturday Night Live; they cry and your heart breaks just a bit as they learn tough life lessons. BUT, it is definitely easier to laugh, cry and love this stage of life.

I wrote this because I've been riding the roller coaster of parental balance lately. I want to have more time to do things that I want to do...but I can't because we have kids. I want to meet friends, go shopping, have Bible study without organizing a military coup to get out of the house and keep them occupied while I spend a few moments with Christian friends. I ache for more quiet time with my Hubs, without the planning and timing of bedtimes, and getting ready for the next day. I feel selfish and sinful that I occasionally see them as something that gets in the way of my own desires. BUT, then I am quickly reminded of the blessing they have brought to our lives. I am a more patient, understanding, joyful, laid-back person because of them. I have found joy where I never thought I could. I have found that my heart can fill with and give more love than I knew I matter how many little ones are hanging on my legs. I'm not sure that I am making any sense as I read over this, but I know that even though it's hard to be in this stage of life, their faces and features that reflect mine and the man that I love, make it just that much easier to make it through the day with strength that comes from a love that was first given to us through Christ.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Here's what I've been hearing lately:

Josh: Mom, now take your time when you pack my lunch, because you don't want to forget my snack like you did yesterday.
Mom: Yes, Josh. **sigh**
(the errs of motherhood, so vividly remembered)

Carmen (a girl in my class): Could you open this for me? (it's a snack item)
Me: Oh, actually you can open that yourself, just use your scissors to cut it open.
Carmen: Oh, Ok. (now on her way back to her desk...she says this to her table mates...)
Wow, guys, she's really smart, she told me to use my scissors and it worked!
(ah... I think she might be one of my favorites this year...)

Ellie: Mom, I have to do my homework.
(This is a new found activity, most likely based on the fact that Josh also believes he has homework. Needless to say, I have many beautiful pictures drawn for me that were previously labeled "homework.")

Friday, September 14, 2007

Advice needed

Ok bloggy mommas, here's one for you:

Our dear "widdle" Ellie is into the talking back stage. With Josh, we defined talking back to him, he understood, if we called him on it, he said he was sorry, and we moved on. (yes, he is an angel). Not so with our Elle Belle. The problem I have is that even though she talks back, she still actually does what I've asked her to do. Here's an example:

Ellie walks in with two pieces of paper and a permanent marker. Mom takes note of marker and her desire to color and says if she would like to draw that she needs to put the marker back and find a pencil. An emphatic "NO!" flies out of our dear child's mouth and then she leaves. She comes back with a pencil and sits down to write.

SO...Do I call her out on the talking back because it is disrespectful? Or do I bask in the joy that she actually listened? Looking for ideas on what you all have done with the all-too-fun stage of talking back. Waiting on wisdom...!

Bowling is cool

I never really liked bowling. Our extended family would go after our annual Thanksgiving getaway, but I didn't like it. Mostly because I was bad, really bad. We've gone a couple of times and I've tried to follow the advice of those more learned than I. But I still stink.

So, the answer? Go with your kids. You'll always do better than they do. (hehe).

We actually had a ton of fun when we went as family recently. The Hubs had taken a day off so we could go to the zoo, but the weather was not cooperating, so off the to alley we went.

First of all, I have to note that bowling alleys have seriously updated in the last decade. There is no way anyone could be bored. Actually, there is no way anyone can think, talk or even focus on one thing. This alley was decked out with automatic scoring, automatic bumper bowling (yep, I used it..I am not ashamed), and several TV's with music videos streaming. It was quite the experience. So, armed with the thought that my 5 year old shouldn't really be seeing these videos with half-naked women dancing oh-so-close with their male friends, we dove into a very fun game of "Only watch the bowlers!"

The kids had a blast! And in turn, so did we! I am always amazed at how something previously uninteresting can turn into super fun when you have kids involved. Here are some pictures of our adventure. We will definitely be going again, especially if the kids have anything to do with it. My favorite picture is Ellie mid-sprint back to the couches (oh yes, no more hard comfy couches!). She did this every time she bowled. Bowl, sprint, watch the pins. It was way too much fun!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Joining in on the game

Ok, I should be blogging about so many other things, but there's a game I just gotta play... Thanks to Sarah and Emily for getting it going!

ACCENT- None that I can tell. Every now and then I like to whip out a "y'all" or "momma" with a southern attitude attached, but I'm pretty sure people just think I'm from Crazyland, not from the South.

I DON'T DRINK - Vodka. Bad experience. Broken toe. Enough said.

CHORE I HATE - Oh, let me count them....My least favorite is actually washing dishes. So if you ever see me doing dishes in a sink, I'm either trying to get out of doing something else or I'm ill.

PETS - We used to have a dog, Abby. No lie, she was the BEST dog ever. She had really bad ear infections (very common in Labs) that continued to get worse. We had to put her to sleep in March of 2006. It was a sad day for all of us and if I think about it, I still cry. She was our first "baby" and the sweetest dog, too.

ESSENTIAL ELECTRONICS - My Mac at home. (oops sorry Hubs, did I call it MY Mac??). I also adore my cell phone, a cute pink think I got for a Mother's day gift. I also have relied heavily on this monitor that is in Owen's bed. We borrowed it from a friend when we figured out he was a tummy sleeper. It monitors the baby's movements, and if there is no movements (ie. breathing) after 20 seconds, it sounds the alarm. This was ESSENTIAL for my peace of mind as we began to put him on his belly at night.

PERFUME - None. I wish I could but I just haven't found one that I liked and felt wasn't overpowering. I come with my own fragrance I guess. (eww???)

GOLD OR SILVER - Silver. My wedding ring is the only gold thing I own that I like.

INSOMNIA - Not usually, but recently I've been waking up at 5 am or so and finding small amounts of sleep until it's time to get up. (ps. thank you to Owen, who is sleeping peacefully through the night!)

JOB TITLE - Mom, wife, second grade teacher...the list goes on but these are the biggies.

MOST ADMIRED TRAIT - Openness & Gentle honesty. I am always impressed when others tell the truth, especially when it means that someone (including myself) may not like to hear it. I am not a big fan of those who say something just to make you feel better, or think that is what you want to hear. I also admire those who share things openly. I'm not a fan of those (including when I do this myself) who wear a mask or say things are "fine" when they are not.

KIDS - 3 Kids, Josh, 5...Ellie, 3....Owen, 5 months.

RELIGION - Christian, adoring a Lord who knows my heart and still loves me

SIBLINGS - 3 brothers! Dan, Tim and Mark

TIME I WAKE UP - Usually around 6:15am to get ready before the kids get up. On my off days, I try for 6:45!

VEGETABLE I HATE - Oh, let me count them...Actually, I like way more veggies than I ever did, thanks to my in-laws. So the standouts are: any kind of beans (those are veggies, right?), artichokes and asparagus.

WORST HABIT - I can talk too much. Sometimes without even knowing it. I can't even move into a circle of friends without occasionally taking over the conversation. I've tried to make this a goal. I need to be a better listener.

MY FAVORITE MEAL - The easy answer is pizza. GOOD pizza, like Giordano's, Connie's or Rosati's. The breakfast one would have to be french toast (thick slices). But a good PB & J made with my mom's jelly is a great one for lunch. There are many "fancy" meals I really love, but I guess I'm just one for the easy meals!!


Just a quick one:

Ellie: This is up (pointing down) and this is down (pointing up).
Mom: Oh, Ellie you are so silly!
Ellie: No, I just kinda silly.
Mom: Kinda silly?
Ellie: Yep, just a widdle bit silly.

If you know this little chickadee at all...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

His Presence

Life is busy. I've thought of so many events and happenings that I could write about lately, but just haven't had the time...Josh's first soccer game, Ellie and Owen's days at the sitter, running to and from schools, family fun at restaurants, airports, zoos, and at home. All of these things, and more, are certainly fodder for many a giggle or guffaw. They happen quickly, some of these moments, so fast that if you don't try hard, they will quickly leave the short term memory and straight out of your head. Some others stick with you, but they all add up. Lately, all these moments have made for some stressful times and downtrodden days.

But then it happened.

I have been praying fairly earnestly to God for some relief. I knew that the actual daily events can't go away because we all need to get to school, the sitter, the store, or back home again. The dishes, laundry and other obligations will still be there, no magic wand here. But I felt like there was something that had to be done. I actually thought of getting down on my knees one night because I was so in need of His presence. Instead, I prayed earnestly and with focus. The kids were in bed and the Hubs was off playing softball, so I had the time and the opportunity. He answered. Not in the way I thought, but He did.

It began with small things. Like when I went to drop Josh off at his before-school care class (which normally is cause for dismay), he happily bopped into the classroom, plunked down his backpack and reached for a kiss, smiled and sent me on my way. Another time, it was a smooth transition from home to school on a day I needed to be on time. In other ways I seen His answer in additional and loving help from the Hubs...he's taken over breakfast prep while I nurse Owen before we all head out the door. Sometimes, it just the song that comes on the radio on our many trips in the van. But the most significant difference is a change in me. He changed my heart. He gave me something I needed desperately...peace.

I wish that I could quote a verse from the Bible here, or wax poetic on some bit of religious thought, but that is not something I can do, because it wasn't anything I read, heard, thought, or created. It was HIM. His presence. I am in awe of it and I want to always be in it. It is something I need. Not only because it has given me the chance to relax and enjoy our days of busyness, but because it is how I can be close to Him, right now, in this crazy stage of life.

I recently heard someone say, "If Satan can't make you bad, he'll make you busy." Being busy is just part of this stage of our lives. I've heard so many times about how families look back at these "young family" years and laugh at the craziness and how quickly it has flown by. I know the busyness will not go away, but if I am in His presence, His peace will make these days blessed ones.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Ellie:"Mom, I mad at my poops."
"They hurt my buns."
(this was after a bout of constipation because she didn't want to poop on the potty, sorry Elle my belle, you gots to go!)

Hubs: "Ellie you can't keep pooping in your pull-ups, they cost mommy and daddy money to keep getting new ones.'
Ellie: "I got money."
(our new tactic of good ole-fashioned Dutch penny-pinching guilt didn't work, apparently all those coins in her piggy bank can cover at least one package)

Hubs: "Hey kiddos, let's play pirates!"
Ellie: "Ok, I da Mom pirate."
(It should be noted that in whatever game we play, Ellie is always 'da mom.')

Josh: (on fourth day of school) "Mom, when is kindergarten done?"
Mom: *sigh* "Well honey you have a few more seasons to go."
Josh: "Oh."
Mom: "Why, aren't you having fun in school?"
Josh: "Oh yeah, it's awesome!"
(either he knows what he's supposed to say, or he just wanted to know how long the fun was going to last)

Mom: "Josh, did you make any new friends today?"
Josh: "Yep, Jennifer, she's a girl."
Mom: "Oh really? How did you get to be friends? Did you ask her to play with you?"
Josh: "No, mom, that's not how you do it. I went to her at recess and said, 'I want YUMMY GIRLS! And then I chased her."
Mom: **big sigh**
(oh dear, my son, the girl chaser...does this start already in kindergarten??)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I'm getting back to cooking again. Life was a bit more settled over our long Labor Day weekend, so I had some fun in the kitchen. On Friday, we spent the day at our favorite zoo and then had a great family evening "in" by watching a movie and having this special treat! Milkshakes! Ellie was loving these. She even complimented the fine dish by saying..."MOM! This a Frosty!" (Of course, in Elliespeak that's pronounced "frosting.")

We also enjoyed a garlic shrimp pasta that turned out fairly tasty. I think I would add more garlic next time, but live and learn. It was a fairly simple recipe and I'm pretty sure I played the galloping gourment in the way of adding ingredients. We had spaghetti a few nights before so I cooked extra pasta, added olive oil, some parsely and a grated cheese mix and put it in the fridge. So when I was ready to make the garlic shrimp, I just cooked the shrimp in some butter (ok, a lot of butter) and minced garlic, added the pasta, cooked some broccoli and threw that in. Yep, I am one detailed cook.

It was fun to be back in the kitchen after too many unplanned and hectic meals. I'm working on my meal planning, especially since school has started. Hopefully I'll have lots to post again soon!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ten things I learned this summer

I am "borrowing" this idea from my friend Emily, who did this same idea recently.

1. Josh is more brave than I thought he was.

2. Ellie is might be as brave as I thought she was or maybe not.

3. I REALLY love my husband, even after (especially after) 12 years.

4. Medical bills suck.

5. God created amazing animals and my new favorite place to see them is Lincoln Park Zoo.

6. Friends can be found in the oddest of places. Like right under your nose, or across cyberspace. (I could link to several of you here, but you know who you are ;)

7. Bowling could be our new favorite family sport, if we weren't so doggone bad at it. (this requires a blog to follow..lots of fun pictures)

8. A day of summer fun only requires...lots of pools or water, numerous preschoolers, and tye-dye t-shirts.

9. I'm not such a bad cook after all. My husband even says so. (again, blog to follow with pictures!)

10. Third time IS a charm.