Thursday, May 29, 2008

10 Things I Learned this Spring

Maybe because I didn't learn enough last summer, or maybe because I just want to remember these days....

1. The Family Road Trip ain't that bad. (note: DVD player is a must)

2. Easter is a great time to be with family. Oh, yeah, and being in a warm climate is nice, too.

3. Our kids love the outdoors. We couldn't wait for the long winter to be over!

4. We can't pull off the time-honored parent trick of spelling words to communicate secretly in front of our children. Josh has come a long way. (way to go, buddy!)

5. Decisions regarding school/future stink. Until you finally give it to God. Although we were waiting for the holy 2 by 4 to knock us into the right decision, the still small voice was just as powerful.

6. We love the RED BOX.

7. My Hubs continues to impress me with his dedication to exercising and especially running. I love that he got us all into the game!

8. Life got you down? Read blogs. They are chicken soup for the soul.

9. T-ball is our life. For now.

10. I can't wait for summer.


This game takes over your life.

The best thing about it is that even though there is no score and everyone cheers for everything, the game is so fun to watch! His last game was especially exciting. He played first base and actually caught the balls that were being thrown to him and got kids out! Here are some great shots of our little T-baller and one of his biggest fans.

Little bro Owen cheering on big bro playing first base (in background). Go Yankees!

Here's our favorite Yankee covering third base. He looks ready for anything! (Note the Hubs coaching out in left field...what a guy!)

Applying the tag at first base...he's out!!

A big hit!!

And, of course, he has to slide!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Family Visit Adventure

Recently we had the chance to visit with some family members that we don't get to see very often.  My cousin, Daria, her husband, Frank and their beautiful girls, Neesa, Ellie, and Sage were on their way from California to DC, on a cross-country moving trip.  Their jobs were moving them across the states and they took advantage of it by taking in the sights along the way.  We were so glad that they were able to take time from their trip to stop by my Mom's house to visit.

What a great night!  We hadn't seen them in at least 2 years.  Sage wasn't even born yet when we had saw them on a visit to my brother in CA.  To say that these girls are adorable is a huge understatement.  Poor Frank.  He needs to stock up on stress meds, because the boys will be knocking down their doors!  The girls easily fell into girly play with my Ellie and cousin Anika. Josh and cousin Trev were content to play soccer outside, but did feel a bit left out.  But hey, girls will be girls...can't beat 'em, join 'em!  The girls were really inspired to put on a "show" which consisted of them starting out a bit embarrassed from the attention of the adults and turned into an all-out scream fest of dance moves and party time!

We did get all our little crazies to the park for a while which was a relief to Daria and Frank who had been dealing with 3 girls stuck in a van for hours.  We had a great time just watching the kids, chatting about movies, their new house, life changes and eating pizza.  Even though we were totally out numbered by the kids (don't tell them!), we were still able to catch up as if no time had passed.  My only regret is that I didn't take any pictures!  I'm hoping the word will get passed on to Frank who was clicking away to send us some of the good ones!  Hopefully then I can post some pictures.  Until then, check out my cousin's blog (Daria's sister) for some pics of their family (scroll down the sidebar).

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ode to Joe and Sally

Joe and Sally,

You are dear friends to us.  Although no one can see or hear you, except Josh and Ellie, we find you to be one of a kind friends.  You got your names from some horses we saw along the road.  We named them Joe and Sally and soon, after we met you, those names were passed along.  Now that Josh is in school all day, we are so glad you have stuck around to hang out with Ellie.  She is very fond of you, even though I think you spend much of your play in time out (especially you, Joe).  It is so kind of you to interact with our kids and teach them to play nicely with others.  I do have to say though, you do seem to cause a lot of trouble, or at least that's what Ellie tells me.  If something is broken, lost or not where it should be, you both seem to always be at the heart of the answer.  Well, we still are happy that you are a part of our family.

Oh, and PS. I am sorry about sitting on you so many times.  I really will try to keep an eye out for you.


Josh:  Why did the duck cross the road?
Mom:  Why?
Josh:  To go to the store to get underwear!
Mom:  I didn't know ducks wore underwear?
Ellie:  That's why it's funny!!

(Duh, mom!)

It was bound to happen...

I felt bad, but I had to.  I had to scare my kids a little.  

Recently, I was reminded about the awful people in the world who take children from their families in busy places like grocery stores.  Nothing happened directly to us, but it was a story that was circulating that brought those scary thoughts back to mind. 
So, in my infinite wisdom... I freaked out a bit. 

 I had to go to the store with all three of the kids one day after picking up Josh at school.  I told them that EVERYONE was getting in the cart today.  Even Josh.  Josh hasn't been a cart-rider for at least two years.  So, I squashed my tall-for-his-age six year old in the back of the cart with his dear sister, and buckled little Owen in the front basket seat.  And off we went.  You would have thought there was a sale on cute children in aisle 8, and I had a coupon.  After checking out we began our trek back to the van in the parking lot.  I was chatting along with my basket of children, when a car backing out of it's parking space nearly backed right into us.  I skidded to a stop (no small feat seeing that I was hauling around 100 pounds of kiddos) and shrieked a bit to get the driver's attention.  She noticed us, and with an apologetic wave, stopped long enough for us to pass. 
Can you say...irony?  

Here  I am trying to protect my children by hording them into one place, and in doing so, just about got them all bumped by a car in one fell swoop!

Yep, I was learning a life lesson.  Right there in Me.ijer's parking lot.  

So, I told my kids.  I felt that my overreaction was obviously the wrong reaction and I needed to tell the kids why safety at stores was so important as opposed to playing the mother hen and hiding them under my wings.  I was trying to avoid imparting this information about the sin in the world, but they are getting older and I felt the need to be honest, if nothing else.  I am always vigilant when we are at the store about their proximity to me, but haven't really explained why, except to say it was safer. Oddly, they took it well, and even after Josh and I went to the store today (which I would totally NOT recommend on a holiday), a quick reminder and he said, "Oh, right mom,  because of the bad people."  Hand in mine, we chaperoned each other through the store sharing a physical reminder to all that we were together and not to be separated.  He wasn't traumatized or scared, but now, hopefully, just a bit more knowledgeable.  I, on the other hand, am not looking forward to more of these types of conversations.  Only resting in the knowledge that the Lord watches out for us like He promises.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You know you're a Daddy when...

The Hubs:  So, what's for dinner?
Me:  Chicken nuggets and smiley face potatoes.
The Hubs:  Cool!
Me: Yeah, sorry, not exactly the fancy adult meal you might have been looking forward to.
The Hubs:  No, seriously, that is cool.  I love those!
Me: (speechless)

Love you, dear, that smiley face potatoes is all it takes to make you happy about dinner.  I promise grilled citrus tilapia soon.  That's about as fancy as it gets.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Team Wise

What a great day...terrific weather, a great course, and the kiddos did an amazing job!  We even got done in time with our 3K walk to see the Hubs cross the finish line for his 5K run!  It was so fun to hear the kids cheering on their dad.  We had  a few tired moments, but then reminded ourselves about those children who needed us to do our best so they could have food.  It put things into perspective for all of us.  It turned out to be such a great day for us to bond as a family and raise money for a worthy cause!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

Thought #1: It never ceases to amaze me how the beauty of nature (even tiny, bright golden birds) can remind us of how God watches out for even the small.

Thought #2: Oddly, after all we went through to get this little tree here, it doesn't seem to be making it in our yard. Hmmm....Spider revenge?

Thought #3: A couch is an excellent stage, especially when your cousin is accompanying you on the piano. (this shot was taken "unawares"...I love doing that to the kids!)

Thought #4: What is he thinking about?

Thought #5: Never knew how handy a stool could be for entertaining small children. Here you can see it in use as a chair/desk combo.

Thought #6: Girls have more shoes than boys. Even when they are only three. Sorry, boys.
(Ellie's shoes are the back row. Can you see Josh's three shoes at the other end? Second row? Waaay down there?)

ps. only because I can't help myself... just so you don't think I bought all these shoes....95% of them are hand-me-downs or garage sale finds. Em, recognize any of these?

Thought # 7: I love swings. Warm spring evenings. And a Hubs who actually thinks to capture a quiet, sweet moment between Mom and her baby.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

I have no pictures to celebrate this year's Mom's Day...all the more reason to blog!

I recieved the first of many handmade gifts from Josh. It was a lovely tissue flower in a hand-folded "pot." He made this adorable card that unfolds and reads "My love for you, grows, and grows and grows!" He made me a very cute pin that claims to be a sunflower, made of painted beans. I wore it proudly to work today. A few questions, but all smiles when I named it's creator. No orders taken, but still, smiles. Josh also told me on the way to church that he wanted to be a teacher. *sigh* The best mom's day gift ever, even if it never comes to fruition. He said it. And I'll take it!

The Hubs hit a homerun this year by generously giving me a spa gift card. Even more good friend also got one to the same spa, so now we can go together. Hmmm...pedicure....manicure...massage...the choices!

Ellie in her own bubbly way throughout the day would hug-tackle me with a sing-songy voice, "Happy MOTHERS Day!"  I love that she still likes to cuddle.  *sigh*

Owen.  My dear Owen.  This child is such a joy.  Although no words on Mother's Day this year (not sure yet if the "" is about me or food!), his looks and smirks are enough to melt this momma's heart.  

(Summer come soon!  I can't get enough of these kiddos!)

It was a busy weekend, but I think my favorite part was waking them up over the weekend. Their morning vision found me...and then they smiled.  *big sigh* 

Happy Mom's Day to all.  

Off to the Races!

Hello dear friends! I'm hesitant to post about this, but I really feel strongly about this cause.

We are participating in a 5K run/3K walk on Saturday. It is for a great cause supporting the efforts of Bright Hope in Africa. We have dear friends who have gotten us excited about this effort and we are glad to be a part of it. Check out the homepage website about Bright Hope and, if you can, help us by pledging even a small amount towards our goal. Thanks for checking it out! Now, I've got to get training! (actually the Hubs is running...he's been training for awhile now, and I'm walking with the kids...!)

Here's the site address....
(sorry I can't link this, I'm at my school computer today...)


**Updated to add** Here's the link. Don't feel obligated to donate, just want to spread the word on a good organization! Went for a power walk tonight with the kids for "training." (read:get them used to hanging out in a stroller for a half hour, and Josh walking instead of scootering, biking etc.!)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The end is near...

Today I wrote this note to my custodian at school:

"Dear E,

I have a student which has lost it's screws. I have the two screws. Could you come and put them back in?


Good thing I reread this one before I gave it to him. We might have major surgery on our hands and not just chair repair.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Design Time

Over at Mary's she started some thing fun and I'm glad to join in!

Being that the Hubs' job is all about design, I often have to opt out to his more experienced opinion. That being said, there's something to say for compromise!

Our whole first floor is painted in a great color by Benjamin Of course, at the moment I can't think of what it is...but it is such an interesting color because it almost changes with the lighting. On bright mornings, the color goes almost beige, and in the darker corners, it looks like a soft shade of green. Odd. But fun.

Here in our living room we had a big wall over the couch that needed "something." One picture would be overwhelming so we took an idea we saw in a magazine, probably Potte.ry Barn, and bought simple black wood frames with matting. To create a bit of conversation we "borrowed" some great landscape shots that my sister-in-law took on a vacation to the Smoky Mountains. does a great job with large size photos and...viola' By God.

Since our first floor was mostly one color, we wanted something different in the main floor bathroom. We loved this dark color (again by B. Moore), and decided to do a fun stripe as well. The stripe was achieved after painting the whole room. We just went back and...eekk...painted polyurethane for stripes. It was a fast way to get the look we want. Only's there forever. But we love it and we've gotten many compliments on it. It also adds some drama to an otherwise ho-hum room. I recently posted for ideas for the wall space, and oddly enough, I found these pictures in a closet that just hadn't found a home yet. Yeah, for cheap tricks!

I really love to give rooms personality through color. One of my favorite colors went into the one room the Hubs allowed me to pick the paint for...all by myself. The laundry room. How fitting, eh? I didn't care because the color in this room brightens any mood, no matter how dingy or stained. I think I freaked out a good friend at church one day when I ran up to him, pointing at his shirt, and said, "THAT is the color I want to paint my laundry room!" I think he was ok with it, because he literally was willing to give me the shirt off his back. So, a grand search went out for the "perfect pumpkin" shade. Found it. Love it. (Oh, by the way, the spots on the door are a paint splatter from the first month we were in our house. Our dog at the time somehow managed to pull a paint can off the counter and it splattered the whole room, washer, dryer and all. Since she's passed away, we just haven't the heart to paint over it.)

Keeping the idea that all rooms get their personalities from color, Ellie's room got some sweet, girly colors with a whimsical touch. The "wave" was a bit of a challenge, but I created a stencil and used colored pencil to trace the lines I needed to follow. The colored pencil was the same color as the wall color so I didn't need to worry if I didn't fully cover a line. It took a while, but I was 9 months pregnant and Josh slept 2-3 hours at a time for his afternoon naps. What's a girl to do with herself? I painted the flowers, butterflies and bugs with stencils and stamps and filled in the stems and bug trails by hand. It's one of my favorite things we've done.

Josh's room got some great boy colors in terrific shades of blue picked out and painted by the Hubs. He did the chair rail as well. The cute wall stickers were found at Bomba,yKids, and I splurged on the matching quilt for his bed. I wanted something that would last the test of time and so we went a bit retro on the design and later found the cool black and white baseball pictures at Tar.get.

Owen's room shows how things change with your third child. His room was painted to be simple and versatile. I think Mary and I saw the same picture for this idea. The white stripes are actually made by putting down the thin blue painter's tape in two parallel lines on the white walls. We then just painted around them. Take the tape off...and viola'...white lines. The green was a bit brighter than what I anticipated, it actually glows a bit on a sunny afternoon. But it doesn't seem to be keeping him awake at night. *Hehe.* We took similar colors to the quilt on his crib, a hand-me-down from Josh.

No photos or cute items up on the wall yet. I did make some canvas pictures with car/boat/train stamps but I haven't figured out how/where I'd like to hang them. I also have his name in letters I'd like to put up. I LOVE words on the wall, hence Ellie's name, and in Josh's room, he has the words "play ball." Originally, I wanted to free hand some words like "zoom, fly, race, etc." but the dear Hubs was hesitant about my skills and I couldn't really disagree. So if any of you have a steady hand and know a fun font...come on over!

As you've seen, even the bathrooms need personality. For the kids' bathroom I went with a fun frog theme. I found some cute stamps and added these little fellas to the room. I love how they look like they are jumping right into the shower with them! We hope to find some "famous frogs throughout history" (kermit the frog, frog and toad) photos and frame those by the sink. Hey, if you can't have fun in a kids bathroom...

So, I'm pretty sure I've given you a tour of most of our house! Of course, the one room that has no personality yet guessed it...our bedroom. We hope to paint it this summer and create one more room with personality by color... you'll have to just wait and see...

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Nice try

Ellie just came down from her "nap."

"My eyebrow hurts."

Nice try, you go...

Never leave the goods on the table

Today at lunch I wanted Ellie to help by bringing some plates to the kitchen. She's normally very helpful, but today was feeling less than motivated...she just wanted a few more pretzels. In my infinite wisdom, I told her I would "pay" her three pretzels if she brought the plates to the kitchen. I laid three pretzels on the table and began to put away the rest of lunch. I turned my back and she had taken the pretzels, giggling and eating. With threats of "taking back" the eaten pretzels, a few tickles later, the hiccups came and she eventually did her job.

Upon reflection I saw that I broke the cardinal rule of any business transaction.

Work later.

If you don't have anything nice to say...

One thing I like about reading blogs is that most people are so positive. Upbeat posts and reflections on how God is working in people's lives brings my heart a much need respite.

That would be the main reason why I haven't been blogging lately. A few too many crazy things happening at once is enough to make it hard for me to find the joy in the small things. So I opted out of blogging for a while because I guess what my mom said still rings true..."If you don't have anything nice to say, than don't say anything at all.

So, sorry if my posts haven't been as upbeat or as frequent. The Lord's working on my heart and my faith.

Don't give up on visiting....

Belated Birthday and One Year Update

Owen turned one a couple of weeks ago, and in true Party House fashion, it went on for a couple of weeks. His birthday brought up several mixed emotions for me, both sad (our last 1st b-day celebration) and happy (he's at my favorite stage!).

This first year truly has gone by very quickly. He started walking about a month ago and hasn't stopped moving since. Owen is into everything, cabinets, toilet paper, and, of course, all his sibs toys and goodies. They have been really understanding and often include him in their games. Josh is very watchful of his little brother and will sound the alert if any trouble arises. Ellie likes Owen as long as he doesn't want the same thing she does. Her patience with him is about as short as he is.

Speaking of height, at his recent 1-year appointment, the doc said he was tall and thin. I look at his pudging belly and I'm not so sure. He did lose some weight since his last visit, but that could be a result of his newfound mobility and the switch to milk. The switch to milk went amazingly well. In one week we were formula free! A big sigh was heard from my wallet. Ellie was fully potty-trained about the same time and I thought I'd pass out from excitement. Two down, one to go! He has just recently begun to be more consistent about eating table food and again, a big sigh for fewer purchases of expensive baby food. It makes putting together a lunch for him at the sitter a bit more tedious, but I'm up for it!

Owen already has a great sense of humor. He gives you a look and a giggle and you're off on some hilarious "conversation." This is truly my favorite stage when they are beginning to see how their reactions and interactions can be a part of the world around them. Dinnertime ends up with us laughing at some funny face or sound that he makes. Currently, his new trick is to try and stand up in his high chair, an offense that gets a round of "Owen, sit down," from everyone at the table. His babbles are turning into more meaningful sounds like "mama, dada," and the occasional "ruff, ruff, and quack, quack." He loves to point out things in books and outside.

He LOVES to be outside. I'm ready for lots skinned knees and hands, because he wants to keep up with big sibs and their outdoor games. Oh boy...busy summer ahead! We've already been exploring the backyard playset and he's found he can get up to the "fort" to turn the wheel and freak his mother out. Our time outside will definitely keep me away from the computer this summer!

So here's some pics of Owen's birthday and a recent spring day outside. Enjoy!