Thursday, January 31, 2008

On it's way: A Key part of the Plan

One part of the Plan is on it's way.  This is hopefully going to be my next new favorite thing.  I'm looking forward to seeing all my control-freak ideas in one handy dandy wire-bound notebook.  

Currently my love affair with wire-bound notebooks is strikly focused on the one my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas.  It's original intent was to give me a place to log the blog ideas, but has grown into the place where the Plan was born, my continuing To Do list, and the list of my purposeful parenting goals for the kids.  I adore this notebook.  It's cute, handy and cute.  I also got four adorable colored pens to use with it.  It was like Back-to-school euphoria all over again. The other day I lost it.  It had been a crazy couple of days, but because of the new Plan I knew I hadn't cleaned out the area where the notebook calls home until Friday.  I began to retrace my steps.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  I kept thinking...MY PLAN IS IN THERE.  I got desperate.  I even called in reinforcements.  With Ellie and Josh on the case I was sure to find it.  After a brief possibility of the notebook being stashed in Ellie's room (totally feasible...she lost her blankie once...later it was found in the pantry was in there for a Ellie-induced timeout), I was getting a bit sad.  At that point I was sure I was going to find it in the refrigerator getting cozy with last night's leftovers.  (it wasn't, I actually checked)  So when Hubs came home I shared my stress and he (love this man) began a regional search (his words actually). 

He walked around the circle one time. 

He opened one drawer.  

And there it was.  In the "junk drawer."

After apologizing profusely to my dear notebook for accidently relegating it to the junk drawer, I could smile again.   

So, dear friends, I await the postman, who will soon bring the next installment of the Plan.  

(you don't think I've gone a bit overboard in this whole control thing, eh?)


At dinner the other night we were discussing some of the words Josh is learning in Spanish at school.  Since the Hubs and I took some Spanish we've enjoyed remembering words we thought we'd forgotten.  Ellie has also gotten in on the action as well.  She loves Josh's Spanish CD that we listen to in the car...a lot. 

Josh:  Mom, how do you say 'apple' in Spanish?
Mom: Manzana.
Mom:  Oh yes, (to the Hubs) Ellie is learning a lot of Spanish words, too.
Josh: Oh yea, watch this Dad...Ellie how do you say 'orange' in Spanish?

(Hmmmm...not quite, but good for a great family belly laugh)

The Plan Part 2

Ok readers, I've been wanting to write about my new cleaning schedule for awhile now, but wanted to make sure that the love I feel for the Plan was not just another fleeting crush.

I L.O.V.E my cleaning schedule.  

The idea is not my own (a rare few things are), and I can't even pinpoint the one blog I read but the thought began a while ago.  I felt things kinda spiraling out of control in the home cleanliness department here and knew it was time to do something about it.  And since I'm a big fan of controlling things (just ask the Hubs), this sounded like something I could grab on to.  So I did what every other young mom my age would do...I surfed the blogs.  From that, I came up with the Plan.  And I am pleased to say that contrary to many other ideas I've had, I'm not in love with just the idea, or the planning before the idea, but the actual real live results.  So here's how I started...

I made a list of ALL the cleaning I could ever imagine I would need to do in our house.  From the small (mail sorting) to the big (basement cleanup), and matched it with the daily and the weekly and the monthly chores.  Armed with this immense amount of information I then aligned the planets and...just kidding...just a bit excited... I wrote out the days of the week.  For each day I gave a certain number of daily and weekly jobs.  The daily jobs were necessary to write out only because it reminded me of how if I don't do these things everyday, they will add up and one day I will be found under a large, yet strangely comfortable pile of dishes, toys, dishes, coats, shoes, lunch bags, and dishes (did I mention dishes?...eek.)  As for the weekly jobs I gave myself "time off" on Mondays and Tuesdays because those are the days I work a full day.  This was one of the best things about the plan.  It gave me a sense of relief because I knew I could just rest and focus on my family one those nights, because I could see that all those other tasks would get done later in the week.  It says so in the Plan.  

Only for the sake of posterity will I post the plan.  I'm sure I'll need a laugh someday about this obvious need for controlling something in this phase of our lives.

Sunday:  Refrigerator cleanout, Begin laundry (clothes only) -(this was a necessity...remember the "Monday Man?" Well, Mondays didn't work for us and neither did waiting until later in the week to wash what we needed. Plus, with a more laid back schedule because of the Lord's Day, it often works out really well)


Tuesday:(days off...but a good time to put away laundry from 
previous day or finish that last load)

Wednesday: Laundry (towels, sheets), Diaper Bag/Purse clean out and switch, Prepare grocery list (for those of you who can relate, the idea of being able to carry just a purse instead of a honking diaper bag is a beautiful thing.  On the days I work I get to bring a super cute purse the Hubs bought for a birthday gift, and then the second half of the week, I trade it in for the diaper bag, a.k.a. the place where they stuff everything they don't want to carry anymore)

Thursday: Bathrooms and Grocery shopping

Friday: Vacuum first floor and mop kitchen floor, Sort papers on counter

Saturday: Dust first floor, Bedroom clean up, Vacuum second floor, Deep clean Kitchen

Needless to say this has actually freed up so much time for me.  I don't feel like I have to do everything in one day, and I feel confident to invite friends over on a whim because I can actually say I know when the toilets were cleaned.  I've found time to do some preschool activities at home with Ellie, read more with Josh when he gets home and guessed a bit.  

Now I just need to do an inservice for the rest of my family and get them on board.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Mary is hosting Tiny Talk Tuesday...And I'm finally well-planned enough to participate!

I've shown the kids my blog and others that I visit, especially family so they can see their cousins. They always laugh when they see themselves on my blog.  I joke with them whenever they do something funny or crazy that I have to put that on my blog.  
The other day they were up to their usual antics and Ellie came over, whispered in my ear..."You should put Josh in your log."
Will do, honey.

Getting ready for school in the morning, Ellie is playing with Owen.  Owen lays back against her.  
Me:  Whoops, looks like Owen is laying down on the job!
Ellie:  No Mom, he's laying down on ME.
(DuUH, Mom)

I looked out the back door and noticed it was snowing.  
Me:  Look Elle, it's snowing!
(didn't catch that I was telling her it was happening RIGHT NOW)
Ellie:  Yea, I want more snow.
Me:  Yes, it's snowing right now!
Ellie:  (Running to the door, looks, comes running back.)  MOM!  You're a genius!
(apparently I am now responsible for the making of snow.  Or keenly observant.)

Here's a couple others from last week.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Round and Round

Do you have the "circle" in your house?  You know, the one path that makes somewhat of a circle around the main floor of your home.  If you can't find your kids.  They instinctively know where this is.  Sometimes they find it by accident (ie. someone is chasing them), but most are just exploring to see where their feet will lead them.  

We've enjoyed having different friends and their kids over from time to time.  And EVERY TIME, I kid you not, someone ends up running the path of the circle in our house.  Ours goes through the kitchen, the eating area, the living room, into the foyer, through the dining room and around again through the kitchen.  I find this hilarious.   You can almost count the minutes until they find it.  It's usually about three.  And that might be stretching it.  

So, come on over friends, come run our circle.  It's winter...what else will we do??

Owen Update: 9 months

This little guy is already 9 months!  I know it's cliche', but it's amazing how fast he is growing.  It seems I was able to savor these stages a bit more with Josh, and with Ellie, we just were holding on for dear we actually wanted her to move through some of her stages!  

He's doing well with baby food and is even drinking out of a cup now.  He's a guzzler and often is a bit too eager to drink down the new found joy of juice.  He was sick a while ago and I thought maybe he might even be done with bottles, but I was more interested in getting him the nutrients he needed than trying to see if he'd take his formula from a cup.  Oh well, that stage will be here before I know it.  

Owen is truly one of the most easy going kid I know.  He actually plays by himself, or at least follows his sibs around and gets into whatever they are playing.  The older two are still pretty infatuated with him and don't mind his intrusions.  Josh has found that Owen seems to love his big brother the most, and the two are like clowns together.  One of these days I'll post the video of the two of them and their antics around our couch's ottoman.  Josh plays peek-a-boo and then jumps on the top of the ottoman and Owen laughs.  Josh has even said, "He thinks I'm hilarious!"  One time Josh jumped hard enough to slightly knock Owen down.  Thankfully, Owen thought it was so funny that he got right back up and when Josh jumped again, Owen purposefully "fell" and they were both giggling away.   Ellie just likes talking to him in baby talk, adorning him with necklaces and "including" him in her games of playing house.  

Owen's newest skills have been so much fun to see.  He babbles, blows raspberries and we've even heard "da-da" (once right when the Hubs came in the door!).  He likes cars and especially balls.  He'll chase a ball around the kitchen floor for ten minutes!  He even seems to be trying to throw the ball, or at least toss it out away from himself.  Between that and our kitchen cabinets of tupperware, that's how mama gets dinner done!  He's given up the "night nap" that used to allow me to make dinner in peace, but thankfully, he's willing to be occupied.  Although, most times when the Hubs comes home from work, Owen is on my hip and I quickly want to hand him off to his daddy. (nothing like hitting the ground running, eh, daddy?)

He continues to sleep well at night, but he does occasionally have a couple nights in a row where he'll have trouble sleeping.  When that happens he gets really upset and needs a good long time cuddling before he's ready to go down again.  When we can rule out any serious reasons for him being awake, we've tried letting him cry a bit to allow him to sooth himself or at least wear him out!  That's a bit hard on me (always has been) and I also wonder if the other kids hear him.  If they do, they don't get up, so hopefully they are mostly sleeping through that.  Thank goodness for the fact that each have their own bedrooms!

We're looking forward to Owen's next nifty tricks...most likely clapping (he's mostly got it) and waving.  Each time I see the sparkle in his eye, I am reminded what a blessing our children are to us.  It's hard to remember that sometimes, and it's my constant prayer that we never take for granted the gift of healthy, happy children.

PS.  Because of our dear boy's track record with losing his socks and the winter season, this child is constantly in sleepers and pj's.  We did get some great socks from his Grandma Carol this Christmas, but I tend to save them for going out and not just hangin' around the house!


Upon hearing my cell phone in the car, while I'm loading groceries in the back.
Ellie:  Mom, your phone is calling you!

On our way home from picking up Josh from school, we're all kinda quiet, looking out the windows at the cold snow.
Josh: Mom, when will we get to the corner of spring?
(we've talked about different things/seasons being "just around the corner...too bad spring isn't a closer corner)

Josh: I don't know how to whistle (big sigh)
Me: Yeah? Oh well, I'm sure you'll be able to do it someday with practice.
Josh: Well, I can do it now...only through my nose, though.
Me:(stifling a giggle) Really?
Josh: Yeah, but only after I wake up in the morning.
(those darn morning boogies) 

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Troubles in the Bathroom

Ok, Ladies...A design challenge!  Recently we needed to patch a bit of a hole in our first floor bathroom.  Apparently, Josh thought that the towel bar would actually hold him if he hung on it.  Because of this we have begun to look at what other changes we can do to the space.  The only item we've ever added to it was the cabinet above the toilet. (great buy at Tar.get)  Anywho, what we are dealing with is this....
We want to do a towel ring on the right side of the pedestal sink instead of the previous towel bar on the "big wall."  What else can we put there once the original towel bar is gone? (and the patch is painted..hehe..working on that one)
Lighting is REALLY bad in this space because there is only the light above the mirror.  Granted, you don't need stadium lights in there for the business conducted, BUT, (hehe) it would be nice to have a bit more light in the toilet recessed area.  Any suggestions for easy lighting?
Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what the space currently looks like.  Can't wait to hear what you think!

Looking straight into the bathroom from the hall.  Big (now) empty wall to the left, toilet to the right.

Cabinet above the toilet.

The recessed area where the toilet resides.

Big wall (in need of paint from patch job..but you get the idea)
Pictures?? One big one?? Many small ones?? What color frames??  What should the pictures show??

Monday, January 21, 2008

Love notes

I didn't think I'd have to worry about this kind of thing this soon.

Here are a couple of notes that Josh has gotten from one of the girls in his class.  He's had several others that I didn't get to photograph before they "disappeared." (aka, Dad) 

My little boy.  He's turning 6 (!) in 11 days.  Plus, I think he's getting married from the looks of that first note.  Don't worry you're all invited.


I Caved

I caved.  I made a meal made from deer meat.  Although this is not an unthinkable act, I've bucked against it for a long time.  The Hubs hunts deer in the fall and often brings home the.. er...bacon. My motto has always been, "You kill it, you cook it."  But, I caved.
And it was good. Really good.  

We recently had a deer roast at my sister-in-law's and so I thought I'd give it a go.  Plus, the amount of ribbing I got from not wanting to try it motivated me a bit, too.  

SO.  No fancy recipe.  Just the roast, water, and an onion soup mix packet.  

Even the kids liked it.

I can hear the "I told you so" ringing across the lake, Sarah!

Ps. The green beans are one of my favorites to make...super simple...french style green beans and toasted sliver almonds.


I was sitting at the computer, when Josh came up to me and said,
" You know what you did for me yesterday, Mom?

(feed you, clothed you, loved you...) 

"What's that, Josh?"

"You got the seat at the computer warm for me before I got on it."

Glad I could help.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


My dearest Ellie,
You have made a great discovery.  You can hold your sleeves with your hand as you put your coat on.  This may be small in the grand scheme of new learning experiences (i.e. potty training...still workin' on that one), but the way your face lights up when you have successfully put on your winter wear without your sleeves stuffed into the recesses of your coat, is precious.  Your eyes get big and your mouth is open with happiness.  You shrug your shoulders as if to give yourself a hug for the accomplishment.   The glint in your eye screams "success!" and I love it. 
I love you.


Friday, January 18, 2008

It's all in the Presentation

I've been trying to get the kids to eat pretzels as a substitute for the "occasional" chips we have with lunch.  The Hubs loves pretzels so I knew either way they would get eaten.  After a slightly failed attempt with the loopy ones (apparently the novelty of biting off parts to make smiley faces wears off quickly), I went with the sticks.  I wasn't sure how I could sell/encourage the kids on this one, but it was worth a shot.  

Enter, one lunch with Daddy. 

Apparently if you hold a pretzel stick lodged between a few fingers, and then bop your forehead with them, they break in a very kung-fu, tough-guy kind of way.  

Let me just say that the showmanship related to the opening act of this amazing feat by the Hubs was Osca*r worthy.

Now I know who to turn to when vegetables lose their luster.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Three Strikes...I'M Out

I've been peed on three times in two days.  

I've laundered two pairs of pants and a bath towel.

I washed the carpet twice and the side of the tub once.

You'd THINK I'd learn my lesson.

It IS a conspiracy.

Naughty or Just Busy?

When I was young we visited my mom's family often.  They were farmers and really good people. They worked hard, laughed hard and loved quietly.  My grandparents were average people in the world's terms, but had lots of love for family.  They had 5 kids, (my aunts and uncles) who in turn had anywhere between 4-7 children of their own.  Each one of those kids (my cousins) has had anywhere from 1-6 kids of their own.  You do the math, but I assure you that's a whole lotta family. I believe that they all took the words, "Be fruitful and multiply" very seriously.  

Some of my favorite memories of my grandparents were when they would get together with their own kids and tell stories of the "old days."  I loved hearing the tales of my grandfather on a motorcycle, the things they did for fun and the trouble they caused with cars.  All the while they would always say, "Aw, I wasn't naughty, just busy."  To this day, this phrase is oft repeated as the myriads of us get together for different family functions.   
So it should be no surprise when looking for Owen, who's been quiet for a few minutes, that I find this.....

Ah, the genes run true.


Ellie is fond of shopping.  She is such a girl.  (I love it!)  I informed her we were on our way to the store the other day and she wanted to know where...
Ellie:  Is is the one with the bench carts (Me*ijer) or the two seats(Tar*get)?
Me:  The bench carts.
(Ah...she defines her shopping trips by the carts she gets to ride in.  Me?  I define them by how much I spend.  Me*ijer=spending too much, Tar*get=spending way too much.)

Looking out the back slider door...
Me:  Oh look, Elle, the bunny is still hiding under the playset's slide.
Ellie:  Yep, he having a sleepover under there.

Josh and I were thinking of our favorite things to do with each one of the people in our family. Here's his list:  Ellie: wrestle, Owen: wrestle, Daddy: wrestle, Mommy: "loves" (cuddles on the couch).  I guess mom isn't getting down on the floor for a little WWF!

In the same conversation Josh asked me what my favorite things were to do with each person in the family.  Here's my list:  Josh: puzzles and games, Ellie: read books, Owen: play on the floor, Daddy: go out to eat by ourselves and talk. 
Josh quickly replied, "No, Mom, your favorite thing to do with Daddy is to cry on his shoulder."
Hmmm.  Musta been a rough week.

He Shoots, He Scores

It was bedtime. I could tell by the beginnings of fussiness and the rubbing of eyes. So I grabbed my darling little Owen and began his last diaper change for the night. I laid the sleepy bundle on our changing table (aka, the living room floor). I adeptly swept off the old diaper and glanced to the right to grab a new one out of the handy dandy basket set up for just such this occasion.

And then I feel warmth.

I hear trickling.

I am getting peed on.

Now this is not a new occurrence or even a shocking one.


My reaction? To try and save our carpet (why?) by catching it in my hands. CATCHING IT IN MY HANDS. As I held the pee now leaking through my feeble attempt as a potty, I thought...exactly when did THIS become my reaction?  

Soon I was changing out of my at home uniform (pj pants) into more of the same and I thought about my reaction.  It seems that I have moved slowly but surely from shock at the expulsion of bodily fluids, to the acceptance and even clever MacGyver-type actions to save it from totally ruining my house.  

It's a hope I have.    

**Updated to Add:  I forgot to describe my verbal reaction to this lovely event.  I LAUGHED.  I sat there with a yellow pool in my hands, helpless to keep Owen from rolling over and dragging his shooter across the floor.  Although I guess the sight of his dear mother laughing her fool head off was enough to keep him planted where he was.  Thank goodness.**

Friday, January 11, 2008

"Just let me outside"

Could this kid be any more ready for spring?


Ellie and I sat at lunch the other day.
We chatted about our day and what to do tomorrow.
I mentioned that her grandma was coming to visit the next day, we'd do some shopping, lunch and then grandma would probably leave after Ellie was in bed for rest and snooze time.

With large hand motions and super-animated facial expressions she asked, "Well, what we do affer that?"

I laughed out loud and asked her where she learned to act like that.

In a quick response...


Oh dear. Our greatest strengths and weaknesses reflected in our children is most humbling.

THE Plan

I now have a plan.

I have to say that I am more excited about this than the return of LOST. It's a funky kinda feeling, because it's Yep, as you collect yourself off the floor and back onto your comfy desk chair (which I am finding now is THE most important comfort item to own), let me explain. I do not have a fever...I checked.

I have always given myself the excuse that "if I was home all the time" I could TOTALLY be able to have a schedule for everything and life would be grand. BUT, as moms who do stay at home know this is a bunch of BULL HONKUS. Life is crazy whether you work or don't. Lately, I've been having quite the pity party for myself...complete with streamers and party favors. I kept saying how hard it is to "do it all." Well, I had a bit of a news's hard for I got over it. See how mature I am? I realized that not only is this angst over the craziness of life too much like a soap opera or junior high, it's also NOT what God calls us be like. My selfish pride and "woe is me" attitude kept me from taking ownership of the one place where I can praise God loud and home. I can pass this onto my children, too. Read this and I think you'll be inspired, too.

It all began as I was browsing through the Works for me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer. I found so many blogs about organizing and getting your family life in order that I was compelled to browse the blogosphere for way more info than I needed. (Hmmm, so that's why I didn't get anything done yesterday).

So now I have found a way to put one of my new year goals into action: A Cleaning Schedule. This is one of the many ideas "borrowed" from a post about family binders.

I began by listing the things that need to get done, daily, weekly, and monthly around the house. I even kept a side list going of things that aren't cleaning related, but still items of note (making lunches, grocery shopping). With all of these normally overwhelming tasks staring at me like "get 'r done already" I began to split up the week. Each day gets a cleaning chore or two, with most of them landing during the last part of the week when I don't work. Because I also realized it was slightly unrealistic to think I would be able to get anything done besides the basics on the days when I work.

What made it even more exciting is that I began to see windows of time OPENING UP. I'm pretty sure that previously I spent that time looking out said window, moping about how I just can't do it all. Now, some of my other goals for this year (teaching the kids memory verses, preschool activities at home with Ellie, playtime on the floor with Owen) don't feel like they are taking away from the stuff that "needs" to get done...because it will get done...the schedule says so.

Ok, I'm not totally so far down the idealistic road to think that maybe, once in a while my all-wonderful plan won't work out. But, for now I think it's a great start. I hope to one day with vim and vigor, and without the cigar in my mouth, mutter a once famous phrase, "I love it when a plan comes together."

Now to go back to the master schedule and block out chunks of time for blogging...hehe

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mom's Meatloaf

One of the things I want to continue this new year is try new recipes, perfect old ones and in general, keep the family on their toes when it comes to dinnertime! I've been pretty excited this past year making new things and ideas from great cooks.  So I thought it was time to bring out a family favorite.  This IS the best meatloaf recipe I have.  It does not photograph well, but I promise you it is YUmmy! 
P.S.  I made the potatoes myself, too!  Hubs said that I need to ONLY make those whenever we have roasted potatoes.  I mixed olive oil and this rosemary/garlic spice mix that I got from AL*DI and threw those puppies in the oven.  Go figure.

Mom's Meatloaf
From: Grandpa W.

1 1/2 lb ground beef (or pork/beef mix)
2/3 C soft bread crumbs
1/2 C chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 C. milk
Piquant Sauce

Piquant Sauce:
1/2 C brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/2 C ketchup
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine meat, onion, salt, pepper, eggs and milk in large bowl; stir well.  Shape meat mixture into dome-shape loaf in baking pan (choose your favorite).  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and pour off liquid grease.  Spread piquant sauce over top of meatloaf and return to oven for 15 minutes more.  Enjoy!

Into Retirement

Well, for any of you who don't want to hear my sentimental musing about being ALL DONE with with nursing Owen...look away.

It was a gradual event.  Owen began weaning himself a couple of months before the new year.  He became less interested in nursing and would hork down a bottle instead if it was offered.  I was glad that the grand retirement of my body as a feeding machine was gradual.  Although, with this being the last baby in our house, it was still a sad milestone.  Even though nursing comes with many ups and downs, it has been one of those special bonds that I've had to share with each of my kiddos.  On the upswing, I am very excited to have my body back to myself, too.  I'm hoping that now I can go and find new underattire that will lift my spirits, and anything thing else that needs lifting after three nursing children.  I'm also hoping that with this new freedom, exercise will become more of a desire and opportunity as well.  

So, new baby teeth, disinterest and the need for me to feel like I'm not an absolute essential to their nutritional intake won me over to saying goodbye and farewell to one of my now fading, but favorite memories with my babies.  

So Bon Voyage nursing!  Fare thee well!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

WFMW-Kitchen Desk Organizing

Hi there! Hoping to get some great ideas about how to organize this space:

This is my calendar central, coupon corner, pencil parker and all around paper plot. It's a relatively small space, but it was one of the things I loved about our new house-a place in the kitchen for mama's information central! I need some good organizing ideas about how to contain all these essentials without it looking like a paper bomb just went off. I do have a cork board that hangs nearby with other important long-term family items of note, but I really like to have a place for my calendar and central locale for coupons, pencils, etc. Help! Need ideas! Drowning in papers!


Check out more people who could use your advice here!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Owen Update: 8 1/2 Months

Well, this little guy is growing up way too fast! He's loving his newfound mobility and gets everywhere now! His favorite things are any of the toys/precious items/belongings of his older siblings. We hear, "OWEN!" many times throughout the day as he maneuvers his way into the other's play. I love this picture because it's a perfect example of one of his many funny faces that he makes once he's discovered playing with a "big kid" toy.

He's also quite the daredevil. Owen loves to climb (oh dear) and I am trying not to project into the future the climbing of cabinets, counters, and other precarious places. Hopefully we'll be playing outside by the time that stage comes around and that way he can fall on the "soft" ground. Hmmm.

Owen is making new friends all the time. He's become more shy or at least not so overly-smiley to strangers, which isn't all bad. But it's good to know that at least he likes the vacuum now. I also wanted to post this picture to show what a good Hubs I have. He cleans. He vacuums. Nice.

One of his greatest milestones came on New Year's Day. He stopped nursing. It was a milestone for both of us because I also got my body back (or at least that part of it). He's a bottle baby now and I am very proud to say that I made it to 8 1/2 months for one last time. So Happy New Year, booty man! It will definitely be one filled with more exciting adventures for you!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

(I know most of you are over the holiday spirit, but I'm just now getting to posting about our jolly-holly-days!)

This year I am convinced that we had the most beautiful tree in our 13 year history of Christmas trees. I'd love to say that there was a grand hunt for it through the lovely winter weather, kids bundled and shouting, "Pick that one!"...but I'd be fibbing you. This year, the Hubs went to the local hardware store, grabbed one that was already wrapped, plunked it on the roof of his beloved truck and took it home to mama. Here's to the tree that was a true present already wrapped up and waiting for us to call it our own.

Each year we've gotten ornaments from the Hub's family. It began from the tradition of his grandparents sending some of the most interesting (read:odd) finds from their home in Georgia to be opened on Christmas here. Each small gift was opened with a slight wince and a anticipatory giggle. They have all become well-loved and certainly some of the precious memories we have from Christmas' past. This year there were no ornaments from his grandparents. They have really aged in the last year, and I think this was a difficult tradition for them to continue. Thankfully, my mother-in-law has jumped in and picked up this wonderful tradition. She actually embroidered these adorable ornaments for each one of the grandchildren this year. I absolutely love them. I think if I could keep them up all year I would. To me they show how much she loves them, enough to take time to carefully stitch each of the letters in their precious little names. We really enjoyed putting all of the ornaments on the tree this year and I know next year will be just as exciting, especially when we see these dear reminders of a grandmother's love.

Cutting down the family Christmas tree has been one of my family's traditions for years. We would do the proverbial bundling, traipsing and huddling, until my dad would station us by a "possibility, yep, a real possibility!" We would stand guard by our tree hoping that the rest of the family hadn't found the final choice and was cutting it down while you froze protecting a "possibility." It was always enjoyable, and we would inevitably come home laughing about something that had transpired in the vast fields of trees, or if we maybe, actually, finally, came home with one that didn't look like it was about to give birth to another small evergreen. So one year when I got this red truck hauling a Christmas tree I just about cried. It was from a student in my class and I'm sure they had no idea what precious memories it stirred in me. This year we didn't get to do the hunt through the field, but maybe when the kids are older, and they can do the traipsing on their own. For now, I have my truck.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Josh: (upon being shown Owen's two new bottom teeth)
"WHOA! They're so tiny!"
(and yet they pack a powerful bite! So long nursing...fodder for a later blog)

Me: (we're playing a puzzle game on the kids' new toy)
"Wow Josh that was a really smart way of figuring that out."
Josh:  "Yeah... I learned it all from kindergarten."
(an appreciation for learning at such a young age...warms my teacher's heart)

Ellie: (after a desperate plea to get her cousin and Josh to play house with her)
"Guys, when I don't play house, I'm just really sad."

Ellie: (after being asked to bring her plate to the kitchen after dinner)
"I can't mom!  I don't have my muscles!"
(misplaced or just conveniently out of town?)

Ellie: (she and Josh are playing trains through the living room/kitchen)
"Jo-uh-sh! I being the chugga!"
Oh, by the way, that is how she says Josh's name ALL the time.  There is a definite "UH" syllable added to the middle of his name.  Especially when he doesn't seem to be listening to her. 

House of Pain

Owen is learning that our warm, comfy home is also a house of pain.  I'm pretty sure he's found every corner, sharp edge and hard spot in the house by now.  The poor guy is just too adventurous for his own good. (it doesn't fall far from the tree...Hubs).  He's discovered the stairs and makes a beeline for them as soon as I turn around or head around a corner.  The "alarm" sounds when he does.  Thankfully, he has two older sibs who watch him like a hawk. Shouts of "OWEN'S ON THE STAIRS!"  are fairly common around here now.  

Owen's other favorite spot to pull up and stand by is the corner of the coffee table/end table between the chair and the couch.  He spends a considerable amount of time cruising from one to the other, narrowly missing the corner on his way.  

One thing is for sure though, he is a careful guy.  His descent from standing to kneeling or sitting is a slow, calculated move.  My hope is that these little bumps and scraps will be the extent of his learning life the hard way, and his careful, purposeful movements will be the beginning of a man who loves adventure (like his dad), but is willing to more carefully explore the world (like his mom.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmas in Pictures

Josh was the first to find his stocking (no surprise there). He even found Ellie's. And Owen's.

I'm not sure Ellie was fully awake for the beginning of stocking opening. Josh had found her stocking about 10 minutes before and was just "waiting" anxiously for her to come downstairs. As soon as she did, he lead her right to it. "Ellie, maybe we should look on this couch under the pillow?" It took her just a minute though once she saw the shiny items just waiting to be unwrapped!

Here's Owen "opening" his stocking. He picked out his own stocking this year. How did he choose this one? It made noise. Jingle all the way!

A much needed stocking stuffer!

One of the best parts of this Christmas was seeing one of my sisters-in-law who has been living and teaching in South Korea. It was very precious time spent together as we caught up as much as we could over the long weekend. Here's the Hubs with his two sisters hamming it up.

Just the gals!

The guys made a snowman the first day we were there. When we woke up the next morning, the warmer weather had taken it's toll on the poor thing. But, it was not to go down without a fight. This well-packed snowman leaned almost perpendicular to the ground for at least 2 days before it finally took a header into the snow. But even then, in a last act of strength, it held itself together and fell intact into the snow.

Here's the Hubs speeding away on the snowmobile with Ellie! Ellie loved the snowmobile and you could hear her screaming with glee as they speed past! She was always the first one to volunteer for a ride!

Josh and Ellie had a ton of fun on the sled which was pulled behind a four-wheeler through the snow. The kids went up and down small hills, along the fields, all the while singing "Jingle Bells!"

Do these kids love each other or what?

I even got into the action on the four wheeler!

"Snow Love!"

Owen LOVED ripping the paper. He would tear off a piece and go to town on that one piece until he had the smallest fuzz left. Of course, in the mean time he had totally forgotten about the lovely present he had yet to unravel!

Ellie and her cousin, Kyra got the same toy (thankfully!) We had given this lovely Little Pon*y Tea Mansion to Kyra. Before it was wrapped, Ellie would eye it longingly. One time we even caught her sneaking off with it ("I was just going to open it and look at it.") After explaining to her that it was not hers, we quickly wrapped it so there wouldn't be any "accidental" openings. Ellie was ok with that but she made sure that we knew, "OK, you can wrap it, but Kyra will share with me when she open it." So, she was ecstatic when she opened her own, soon after Kyra opened hers. Kyra was kind enough to share and they played for a long time!

Even Owen had to get in on the action!

The snowfall made these moments extra fun!

All in all, it was such a wonderful Christmas season for us. We did so many things it would way too much time to explain here. Spending time with kids, making traditions and eating tons of amazing food made for a very memorable last couple weeks of 2007!