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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Solid Experience

Yesterday, Owen got his first taste of delicious rice cereal . . .
I had lots of helping hands--eight to be exact--anxious for their chance at getting him to eat off of a spoon.  It was quite a momentous occasion.
Owen's thoughts, "It's okay.  I've had better.  But since I'm such a good baby I'll let you stick whatever you want in my mouth and go along with it amicably enough--just keep that kid away who sticks the spoon in as far as it can go."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

4th of July Inspiration

Just a quick little post to share a link--if you need some ideas of fun foods for the 4th, head here.  I especially love the ice cream floats using red/blue soda and the layered red/white/blue jello.  I also have some 4th of July sprinkles on-hand for some star-shaped cookie decorating.  I'm not sure if we'll be doing any other crafts . . . wouldn't it be fun to tie-dye in red/white/blue? I don't think I'm that ambitious though. ;o)

Oh--and just found this--that might be easier then tie-dye!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summertime and the livin's easy . . .

What we've been up to:
From the looks of things, not the laundry.

Last week Jackson was assaulted by a bug of unknown origin, probably a mosquito, but who knows.  The bites got huge and red, one cheek swelled up, got all hard and was hot to the touch--long story short, they were infected and he had to go on antibiotics.

Emmett has the stinkiest shoes in the world.  (and feet to match . . .) ;o)

Upon seeing some kids selling lemonade on the corner Marissa asked in all seriousness, "Are they orphans?"
A lemonade stand is going on the list of things to do.

In a moment of pure bravery (or sheer insanity, you decide) I took all five kiddos BY MYSELF to the cheap movie they were showing yesterday morning--HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (or something like that).  We all got in for $13.75.  That's a deal, and it's the first time my boys have been to a theater.  It went pretty well.  And I enjoyed being a "fun mom" for a morning.  Usually, I'm the "no, you can't mom" or "no, that's just not gonna work mom."  Sometimes it's good to step outside your comfort zone. ;o)

Yesterday, Jackson approached me and said, "Look, I've got a banana in my pocket!"  And yes, there literally was a banana in his pocket.

I found a dresser last week and I've pulled out the black paint again . . . can't wait to get my new storage system up and going.

Bedtimes have been later . . . usually swimming, ice cream, or both are at fault.  I think Jackson slept until 6:45 this morning.  I could get used to that!

It's been a pretty good summer thus far~hope yours is as well!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happy Half Year!


I truly can't believe my baby (who was supposed to remain a newborn forever!) has reached his half year already. Have I mentioned before that I love him? ;o) He is SO sweet, a joy of a little boy.  (I'm still holding out hope that I'll have one little boy that doesn't contribute to my premature aging).  ;o)
Six months finds him . . .
-still trying to coordinate the crawling efforts (can't get the arms working in his favor)
-discovering his "raspberry" blowing capabilities
-stealing food from my plate, a handful of manicotti here, some ice cream there . . . (I just bought some rice cereal today to give the whole "starting solids" thing a whirl . . . I'm sure I'll be back with some pictures in the next week) ;o)
-sitting (more or less), perhaps "supervised sitting" would be a better assessment
-mobile in his own way, scoot backwards, roll, up on the hands/knees, rock, plunge--he gets where he needs to be
--utterly and completely doted upon by all members of our family, can't imagine life without an Owen

Monday, June 21, 2010

Trash to Treasure

~BEFORE~

~AFTER~
I found this little desk about three months ago on craigs.list, and it's still not officially "done" (a few more paint touch-ups, needs a sealer . . .) but "done" enough to share a photo.  It started out REALLY UGLY.  I had Josh pry off the hideous "holey" old back, and we cut some bead board paneling to fit.  Other changes (besides the obvious paint coat)--a wood applique glued to the top and some lovely little glass knobs.  I'm pretty happy with the finished product.  I had seen this quilt (at Wal-mart of all places!) and really loved it, and while I have not yet acquired it, it has been the inspiration behind this little desk.  Eventually I'll pull it all together (or at least I hope to pull it all together . . . that's kind of an ongoing wish with life in general, right?). ;o)  Now the grand question what does Josh think of a purchase he originally thought ridiculous?  Well . . .  Here's the thing, he admires how I've fixed it up, likes my "vision" and all, but the light and frivolous shades of blue I adore?  He abhors them. ;o)  But he's a gracious kind of guy and since in the end things like this really don't matter to him (he claims he'd be happy living in a box) he gives me full creative license.  A license I truly appreciate. ;o) 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

~For Josh~



for better
for worse
for richer
for poorer
in sickness
in health
to love
to cherish
from this day forward until death do us part

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The one where I'm too tired to think of a clever title

Sooooo, Jackson has been "Jackson" with a capital J, helicopter top and all.  His mission as of the last couple of days--to irritate, aggravate, and infuriate the company he is with--in whatever way possible.  Consequently, the resident mommy is bone-weary tired, and honestly downright discouraged (how is she ever to raise him to adulthood?!?!)
However, in a search for silver linings I share three things that have made me smile:
#1--
He decided he needed a place to hang a bag, and rummaged up a screw-in hook from who-knows-where, and then installed it all by himself . . .
(a few test holes were needed . . .)
(On second thought, you KNOW it's been a bad week when a damaged wall is actually amusing!)
#2--
He wrote his name for the very first time EVER, with me dictating the letters!!! Definitely a highlight of the day!
And #3--
Today I was asked the very cliched, "Why is the sky blue?"

And now I do believe there is a bowl of ice cream calling my name.
I shall sit in the dark and quiet and enjoy it. ;o)

Monday, June 14, 2010

On the Homefront

Josh--headed back to school today, class from 8-5:30.  In one week's time he'll have a whole class done.  He's doing two classes in a row, this week and next, a week off, and then two more classes.  We've worked/planned it out so that he can take off from one of his jobs during this time, which should alleviate some stress, but I have a feeling it is still going to be a bit wearing.

Marissa--would be happy swimming every day and reading through Madeline L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME series (she REALLY likes fantasy).  She had a wonderful time at camp--her most favorite thing it would seem was catching lots of frogs.

Isabella--still recovering, the past few days her biggest issues have been nausea/vomiting but today we had the first tears over pain.  She's been promised a Val's buffet as soon as she's better. ;o)  And a funny story, but I had an email from somebody at church that she had approached someone about playing offering for children's church.  First of all it was shocking that my shy Bella would actually approach someone, but what's funnier is that she has never had a piano lesson.  She taught herself to play "Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee" and has been asking me to play in church but I kept putting her off because she can't "really" play--wrong fingerings, etc.  In the end, a bad mommy moment--just because it's not technically right doesn't mean I should keep her from doing it.  Sooooo, she's set to go on the 27th. ;o)

Jackson--where to start . . . ;o) We've spent the last month answering myriads of questions, honestly I've felt like I'm being interrogated at times!  From "How do they make the roads?" to "Did Great-Grandma die on a cross?" I've had to come up with answers for it all.  It makes my head hurt.  He's also been "stretching his boundaries" again, definitely keeping Josh/I on our toes.  He draws and draws and draws.  He has begun to say things like, "Well, ACTUALLY . . ." and informed Isabella the other day that "You smell terrible!"  He's convinced his eyes are green and likes to draw himself wearing a tuxedo.

Emmett--loves cars, trains, and dill pickles (could eat a whole jar in a day!!) and he's dealing with a few little behavior issues of his own. :oP

And Owen--I've spent the last two weeks watching him perform "the plank" and then get up on his hands and knees.  He's gotten himself in a few situations:
(under the table)
And then he got on his hands and knees:
(rocking out to "Joyful . . ." under the piano)
Yesterday I saw him bunny-hop his little back legs.  As soon as he gets those arms coordinated he will be off. Can you believe it?  All the others crawled around the 9-10 month frame.  And maybe he won't figure it out until then either, but he sure does seem determined to get going.  I won't lie, it makes me a wee bit sad (and also panicked because that means I will have three boys with moving capabilities!) ;o)

And as for me--I'm trying to get better homekeeping routines down (a never ending story!) and also making my way through all the closets.  I have a great new "school room" organizing idea that has me stalking craigs.list for what I'm in need of . . . no success yet.  It involves moving my dining room book shelf to the living room and getting a nice big dresser (or buffet) to store all our school books/art supplies in.  As much as I try to corral things to crates/baskets I just don't like having to SEE everything in plain sight.  I think if everything had a drawer to go into I'd be much happier.  If I don't find anything I may take that free dresser I had acquired for the boys and use that . . . we'll see.

Well, that sums up life right now.  Hope everyone else is having a great (and productive?) summer! ;o)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oh Boy!!

Cow-
-a-

-bunga!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lessons in Convalescing

Isabella's getting her tonsils/adenoids out tomorrow.  While we have had our share of minor illness, scraps and scrapes, this is our first "biggie" on the kid front.  I've been rereading a chapter from Edith Schaeffer's WHAT IS A FAMILY, the chapter where she talks about caring for your family when they are sick, recovering, etc. 

Quoting her, "On a human level, children are meant to learn how to comfort others with the same kind of comfort they have received in their own pain, sicknesses, and deep troubles.  Children are meant to understand compassion and comfort because they have received compassion and comfort--and this should be in the family setting.  A family should be a place where comfort is experienced and understood, so that the people are prepared to give comfort to others.  Comfort should be related to the word family."

In light of that, I've been making some plans on how to make this time of recovery special for Isabella--she's supposed to be a "couch potato" for a week, doctor's orders.  Here are a few ideas should you ever find yourself in a similar situation--

1.  Tasty stuff--obviously her throat will be sore, but I'm stocking up on juices, popsicles, etc. I also bought "Ensure" it's a nutritional supplement, each bottle has 350 liquid calories. I figured her barely 40 lb frame doesn't have a whole lot to spare! ;o)
2.  Presentation--a special floral cup to drink out of, small blue snack plates with matching striped napkins . . . just some sweet and simple ideas to convey "You are special!" and hopefully make whatever I'm serving up a bit more tempting.
3.  A t.v. tray ready and waiting by her bed
4.  Hanging up a wire/ribbon to clothespin "get well" cards to so they are there for her to look at
5.  Getting the other kids in on the action, making get well cards and posters, getting her some balloons
6.  A few special things just for her . . . vivid turquoise nail polish for an at-home mani/pedi, a new book filled with craft ideas, some refreshing coconut/lime lotion for foot rubs, beads and stretchy cord for a quiet activity of making necklaces/bracelets . . .
7.  And maybe most importantly--availability, for holding and loving, reading to, watching a movie with . . .

I hope in the end she'll come away with fond memories of being cared for.  It's not just caring for physical needs but caring for little souls (and big souls too!). It's a wonderful opportunity for each of us to practice having a servant's heart and develop empathy for the plight of another. We all like to be loved and feel special--and I hope we can successfully convey that to her while she recovers.

 If you have anymore ideas to add to my list do share!  We'll be reporting to the hospital at 7 a.m., surgery begins at 9 a.m. and hopefully we'll be home mid-afternoon.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pondering Small Appliances

"Happy anniversary to me . . . hum, hum, hum-hum, hum, hum . . ."

So, next week is the "big one."  Number 10.  In honor of that a few more appliances bit the dust, namely the toaster and blender.  Kohl's was having a decent sale this weekend (plus the added bonus of the employee discount Josh gets working there) so we decided it was time to find replacements--breakfasts were getting rather boring around here, nothing to toast with, no orange julius to whip up . . .  I told Josh it could be my anniversary present, at which he was mightily relieved, and now I'm the proud owner of a dual blender/food processor and a four-slice toaster. Yippee! I've never had a food processor before, so I'm excited to experiment with it.

But it got me thinking about about the state of a lot of other things we had registered for when we were young and starry-eyed.  A few towels still linger on in their nearly threadbare state, copper-bottomed pans not looking so coppery, not enough bowls left in my original dish set to feed my own family let alone a dinner party of twelve.  "The Originals" have certainly taken a beating. Worn around the edges, scuffed, wobbly, dented . . . It describes a lot of stuff around here.

If I'm honest, a marriage of ten years (or twenty/thirty/forty . . .) shows similar wear. Disagreements, disappointments, unmet expectations, hurt--a marriage can take a beating.

But the joy of the years passing, God's grace growing us, changing us, is this--
A marriage scuffed, dented--it's not something for the trashcan.
It is a beautiful thing.

I came across these words "a fickle feeling turned into a ripe and firm decision" and I thought about how true that is.  What did I REALLY know of love at the age of 20? 
THAT is beauty, broken in, worn around the edges . . . We're softer now, laugh lines and crinkles more visible, a few silvery hairs having the audacity to appear.  And there's a graciousness to each other that has slowly been ripening all these years, a yielding, an acceptance. I can only imagine that with each passing year . . . decade . . .
That SOME things . . . they DO improve with age.
(Toasters, blenders, towels . . . not so much).
But a marriage--it can only get better.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Off to Camp

(Marissa, my sister Lynsi, and Marissa's friend Tara)

A few questions I had to answer today--
From Isabella "Why do they have camp when the sisters and brothers left at home are going to be sad?"
From Marissa "Could you read to Bella every night while I'm gone?"  (Marissa has been reading her a few chapters each evening from the Little House on the Prairie series)

Marissa is currently en route, and I'm thinking she'll be fine (seeing as I had to remind her to hug me good-bye and all).  Isabella proved to be stoic through her sisterly hug, but then I glanced back in my rear view mirror on the way home to find her quietly crying to herself.  She cried the whole way home, and then went to her room and laid down and cried some more. :o(  A movie for the afternoon has proved to be a good distraction.  But talk about breaking my heart.  I knew this would be a hard separation, but hopefully we can find enough fun stuff to do to keep her busy. Poor girly. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Amusement

Jackson made his first sign today--those miscellaneous letters read something like "No girls only boys can come in but Rissy can come in but not Bella."  Note the sad girl.  Don't pity Isabella too much, she had a sign of her own and claimed only "cute boys" could come in, referring to Emmett and Owen (yeah, I was concerned there for a minute too).  Apparently Jackson is no longer cute.

And a little update on the summer reading--I found Josh pondering the girls' reading records--Marissa around 700 pages so far Isabella around 300--and he looked at me with fear in his eyes and asked "What is the plan here?"  I told him how Marissa gets $1 for every 100 pages, Isabella $1 for every 50.   And suddenly we each were hit with the revelation they just might make us go broke.  I should have made it lower, like $0.25 or something.  We may have to set a lid . . . Maybe once they hit $20 there will be different awards like read 1000 more pages and go to Sta.r Ci.ty Sh.ores or something like that.  But I had myself a good giggle as Josh muttered something under his breath about "weirdos." ;o)  I guess having an incentive is good motivation!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Trip Pics



I'm finally getting around to getting a few pictures up, trying to pick and choose what best represents everything we saw. I can't recommend the Museum of Science and Industry enough if you ever happen to find yourself in Chicago . . . there was a whole area devoted to farming with a real combine and tractor available for exploration, an awesome weather area with a live "tornado," tons of other real stuff like airplanes and trains that you could go inside. One of the most fascinating (but also sad) exhibits for me was a collection of actual unborn babies that have been preserved. (to their best knowledge all the pregnancies ended naturally/because of problems). It was amazing to see a baby just past 9 weeks in development with everything there. The tiny little fingers were astounding.

Our last day spent on Michigan Ave. was great. (I could have spent A LOT more time there . . . ahem). ;o) We had to navigate ourselves down there because Garmin refused to speak to us. We happened to walk past a Garmin store and took him inside only to find out they needed to send it off because of a bad file. Bad Garmin. We had whole bunches of fun getting ourselves out of downtown Chicago using our 'L train map. (If you remember how well that map helped us on the first day). ;o) The American Girl store was amazing. And we ended up eating at a different restaurant due to a looooong wait, which was fine. (Plus the other restaurant validated parking, woohoo!)

We got in shortly after midnight Monday morning. The kids traveled well--going back is always more wearisome than heading out. I had wanted to switch Jackson to his own seat instead of his usual seat between the girls. That would have been a smart decision. ;o) Let's just say when he gets bored he finds ways to amuse himself that others don't find amusing. Overall, we've basically recovered. I do need to get some groceries, but the laundry is all caught up. (Well, by "caught up" I mean washed/dried, not exactly all folded . . .) ;o) We had a great time, and now I have a daughter to prepare for her first heading to camp experience and another one to get ready for surgery (tonsils/adenoids). A busy June!