Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursdays With Tiffani and 8 Things

Alrighty, I was tagged in a meme this morning by by bloggy friend/cousin Gina. It is similar to Thursdays with Tiffani, so I am combining these two together to make for one long post. Because I can. And because I am too lazy to blog twice.


8 Things I wish I could do:

  1. Live happily and healthy (healthily?) on four hours of sleep a night.
  2. Take the kids on a road trip, or a vacation as a family.
  3. Look like I did at twenty-three.
  4. Live where we do, but bring Hawaii's weather to us. And the beaches. And flowers.
  5. Have the energy of my four year old, with the wisdom of my father.
  6. Eat as much chocolate as I want and never gain an ounce. Better yet, invent a new super chocolate that tastes like Swiss but has the benefits of a multivitamin and has negative calories.
  7. Keep my house clean.
  8. Have the time, energy, money, and mental stability to adopt the sixty-seven new brothers and sisters that Emma wants, but get them from orphanages around the world.
8 Things I am looking forward to:
  1. Drew sleeping through the night.
  2. Finishing painting the living room (no, it's still not done!)
  3. Someday buying a new computer that can handle all my pictures and still be super-fast!
  4. Finally not being pregnant or nursing anymore. I have only had that for three months of the last three years.
  5. Planting the garden and eating fresh peas.
  6. Watching movies with the "World's Crappiest Digital Projector."
  7. Saying goodbye to socks as summer approaches.
  8. Getting out my bin of pre-pregnancy clothes and having them fit.
8 Things I enjoy:
  1. Nap time - need I say more (Amen, Gina!)
  2. My family. My hubby, my kids, my in-laws, the whole lot of them.
  3. Chocolate.
  4. Sunny days - spent outside. Going to Birch Bay.
  5. Children's deep belly laughs. Especially in twos, threes, or fours.
  6. Barbecuing steaks and potato packets.
  7. Photography.
  8. Blogging (duh!)
Now onto Thursdays with Tiffani!

I am Thankful for... The view out my kitchen window. I took this picture standing in front of my kitchen sink. It's not really clear, since I did not remove the screen from the window first.

The freshly tilled garden, the tulips blooming, and the cherry blossoms so beautiful with their teensy, delicate flowers. The leaves on the trees, finally appearing after being gone so long. And all the green! I love it here.

I'm listening to... The quiet house as the kids are sleeping. The front door is open, so I can hear the distant caa of the neighbor's confused rooster (We are awake, you know! It's three o'clock!) The wind moving gently through my wind chimes, and the tweet of the birds all around. Pure heaven.

I'm looking forward to... Warm weather, going outside and cleaning up the yard some more. Planting my garden, and eating peas. Barbecue three night a week. Have I mentioned I love springtime? And yes, this is the same answer I gave a couple of weeks ago, but I am excited!

What's for Dinner Tonight... I don't know. It's my MIL's turn to bring dinner!

Missing.... LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I'VE FOUND THE MILK CUP! And Marty, who is my hero, cleaned it and there is no smell! WooHoo! It was under my bed, which is strange, as I looked under there several times. I am wondering if the cat hid it deep in there at first, but as time wore on, he pushed it to the edge to try and get us to find it. Who knows, who cares, I am just happy it has been found.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Raccons, Revisited

I apologize in advance for the stupidity of this post. I don't know what I am thinking this morning.

I was informed through the comments on yesterday's post that I was remiss in my raccoon dialogue. I was scolded informed that since we live right outside a Dutch Community and five miles from Canada, the raccoons needed to sound more Dutch Canadian. My raccoons yesterday seemed to be a bit Jersey-Italian-Mafia, which is entirely inappropriate for this area of the country. If you have no idea what I an talking about, go HERE and read it first, we will wait for you.

OK, done? Good.
Just so you know, I do not know much about the Dutch world, I am Swedish. Since Holland is close to Sweden, I am making my raccoons a little more Scandinavian.
Because it's my blog, and I can.
As I wish to have this blog be as honest as possible, I need to re-write the previous post.
Scandinavian-Canadian style.
(I sure hope I am not completely offending the Dutch people here. If so, I apologize.)

Ladies and Gentlemen, the raccoon conversation from yesterday, in more accurate terms:
"Come now, everyone, we all know Ollie's place, the one that had that wunderful cat food ya know? Now they have treats that appear every day, ay! Like Lutefisk from heaven! If we could only get inside that van in the driveway, we'd be stuffed for life, ya sure, ya betcha!" "Oh, yeah, I know the place! It's the one with that guy who keeps throwing cereal out of the van onto the ground, thinking he is feeding the birds, ay?" "Yah, the birds, hahahahahahahahahaha!" (Insert rounds of raccoon laughter here, mixed with some "uff da's" and a few raccooney knee slaps.) "The only place better than that one, ya know, is the dumpster after the fattigman and krumkake dessert buffet!" "Oh, yah, a lutefisk dinner, and the fattigmann and krumkaga dessert buffet is aboot the best there is, ay?" "We must encourage Ollie to move to greener pastures, ya know? Uff da, Sven, I know he's your cousin, but we've gotta get rid of him and get a hold of those snacks, ay!" "Yah, and lets tell those folks to start feeding the kids Jule Kaga in the van, ya know, ay?" "Yah, lets get our wooden clogs on and get ourselves a new hoouse, ya sure, ya betcha!"

(See, I threw a little Dutch in there after all!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Secret Life Of Raccoons

Last night Marty and I were enjoying a nice relaxing evening. The kiddos were in bed, we were watching the Biggest Loser and I was trying to figure out Photoshop. I really thought I would be better at Photoshop, I used to be the Director of Marketing for a graphic design company and I used Photoshop a lot. But that was twelve years ago.

Yikes.

Photoshop has changed, and I have forgotten a lot. I have to basically start from scratch. It's going to be a while till I figure out what I am doing.

Anywhoo.

So there we were, Marty on the couch and I on the computer. Suddenly we heard this strange, loud sound. Kind of a screeching, chirping, screaming, thumping noise that left us looking at each other in wide eyed disbelief. Always up for witnessing a good animal fight, we bolted for the door.

We stood on the porch, trying to figure out the source of the rather obnoxious, yet somewhat intriguing noise. Almost like cats fighting, but more screechy and loud and less meow-ey. Was the cat being attacked by a screech owl? Did the eagle suddenly become a nocturnal hunter?

We decided the noise was coming from high in the trees, and thought it must be raccoons. Suddenly, there was a loud screech, rustling and a crack. More cracking, cracking, still more cracking as we heard the branches breaking from high up, down, down, down, and then a very large raccoon fell to the ground and loped through the yard, out the gate and away. His racconey friend (or not) soon climbed down himself, and started to follow across the yard till he saw us and went another direction.

We heard them fighting three more times before we went to bed. I would think that after the fall out of the tree, the one would head off to lick his wounds, but no. He was a tough little raccoon, probably trying to defend his turf which is constantly being replenished with cheerios and crackers, like "manna from heaven." This must be a great yard for raccoons to live in.

"Seriously, you guys, Phil's place, you know the one that had the great cat food? Now they have snacks that appear every day! If we could only get inside that van in the driveway, we'd be stuffed for life!" "Oh, yeah, I know the place! It's the one with that guy who keeps throwing cereal out of the van onto the ground, thinking he is feeding the birds!" "Yeah, the birds, hahahahahahahahahaha!" (Insert rounds of raccoon laughter here.) "We gotta take Phil out. Vinny, I know he's your cousin, but we've gotta get rid of him and get a hold of those snacks!" (Why did these raccoons have New Jersey accents as I was writing this?)

Not Me! Monday! Tuesday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! Tuesday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This is NOT my second Not Me! Tuesday! because I cannot seem to finish them on Monday! lately.

I did NOT find my spacebar under the desk. I was NOT disappointed as I was hoping to discover Ben's Secret Stash and maybe come across the missing milk cup before summer comes and our guests start suggesting we hang out outside because our house smells like a missing-for-months milk cup.

We did NOT take the kids to Emma's new elementary school to show her the playground she will get to play on in Kindergarten. She was NOT thrilled beyond belief, and I was NOT just a little freaked out by this sign in a window of the basement.

Marty did NOT tell me to get over myself since the kids don't play in the basement.

Ben did NOT have a grand time letting Grant drive him around in the pretend car.

The kids were NOT just ecstatic about the whole idea of tether ball. They did NOT all have a grand time swinging that old ball around.

Emma did NOT beg and plead for Marty to play with her. When he finally tossed that ball around the very first time, she did NOT scream her little head off and run away.

No, she is NOT ducking in that last picture, she IS trying to hit it. Really. Oh, wait, no, not really.
Anywhoo.
Emma's screaming and running away did NOT prompt Grant to do the same, even though he had no clue why she was screaming or running away.
Emma did NOT decide to become a sailor and sail away into the night. I do NOT love this picture, but think I need to cut more bangs since she always has hair in her eyes.
On another note.
The twins' room does NOT look like this, even after all the laundry has been put away, simply because those dressers are so small that they do not fit all their clothes.

I did NOT straighten up a little before taking the picture, and I did NOT zoom in to cut out the baby powder that is spilled on the floor that I have not cleaned up yet. I am NOT disappointed that I missed the pillow under the chair, since if I am going to fake organization, I should really do it right.
I do NOT need to trade dressers with the twins, so that they have the one I share with Drew and Drew and I can have these. I am NOT dreading this project. I am NOT blogging instead of working on this. I am NOT using the excuse that all the kids are napping and I should not be working in their rooms right now. Yeah, that's it.
I did NOT find this this morning after I did the Great Computer Swap.

Those are NOT pieces of three different puzzles in there. All three puzzles are NOT going into the trash, and I am NOT hoping that Emma will not notice the missing puzzles.
It did NOT take two full CD's to copy all of the pictures I took of the kids in April. That was NOT after I went through and trashed half of them.

I did NOT invite my Aunt up for Friday to give myself a reason to finish painting/cleaning/swapping dressers.
I do NOT need to get off the computer and get to work.

A New Computer

I am so excited to announce that I am typing on a brand new (to me!) Computer! WooHoo! This one had some added features that my last one didn't, like a spacebar and the ability to get online faster then our previous average speed of six minutes. I am still getting used to it, I have to figure out how to add other people and do something about my brother-in-law's face staring at me from the desktop. I love you, David, but it's creeping me out a little.

Why are the fonts so different, and why don't I have favorites in the toolbar anymore? And why is everything so dang big? All the icons are humongous, I wonder if I can change that. Sheesh, I'm computerally illiterate.

Anywhoo, I am going to find out if I can change things and see if the Photoshop on here works (please, please, please!) I will be back later with Not Me! Monday! Tuesday!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Not-me!--Monday!

Not-Me!-Monday!--Is-being-postponed-until-tomorow,-since-a-child-that-will-remain-nameless-(cough!Ben!Cough!)-stole-the-spacebar-off-the-keyboard-and-hid-it.--And-typing-like-this-is-extremely-annoying.--At-least-my-kids-give-me-lots-to-blog-about,-even-if-they-do-everything-they-can-to-make-blogging-more-difficult.

On-a-much-brighter-note,-baby-Stellan,-who-we-have-been-praying-for-as-he-has-spent-the-last-five-and-a-half-weeks-in-the-hospital,-was-discharged-today-and-is-headed-home-tomorrow!--Thank-you,-Jesus,-for-your-care-and-healing!

My-thumb-hurts-from-trying-to-hit-the-missing-spacebar-and-just-hitting-keyboard-instead.--I-hope-to-have-this-fixed-by-morning,-and-I'll-catch-you-all-up-on-Not-me!-Monday!

The Family Swap Meet And Other Finds

This weekend marked our I-don't-remember-how-many-times-we've-done-this annual springtime garage sale. We get the whole family together, get rid of all the stuff we don't need and collect more stuff we may or may not need by sifting through each other's stuff. I think we all did pretty good on the not bringing home more than we started with front, but it was not our most successful garage sale ever. I came home with $55 to put towards my new grill. But it didn't last.

Last year Marty and I got the great idea to have fun parties in our backyard. We have a large, fenced backyard that is surrounded by trees, so it is very private and secluded. The back of the house on that side has only one small window, so the majority of it is just siding. What better place to set up a digital projector and have movie nights in the yard? We had images of us curled up in lawn chairs, cuddling children and eating microwave popcorn and sipping hot cocoa as darkness came and our sleepy children looked into our eyes and proclaimed, "You guys are the coolest parents ever!"

We put out plan into action by trying to find a digital projector. And then the action stopped. Digital projectors are expensive. We called the library, to see if we could rent one. Nope. We called rental companies and found they started at $100 a day. Sheesh. Our dream of outdoor movies continued, but it did not look like it was meant to be.

My daily Internet hopping includes a site called woot.com. They sell one thing every day. If you see something you like, you have to buy it then, because you cannot buy it the next day. I have never bought anything from them, but I enjoy the quick peek at new stuff and their snarky descriptions of some of their products. They are honest in their descriptions, and are often quite funny. Last night, during my wind-down web surfing, I went to woot.com and found what I was looking for. Advertised as the "World's Crappiest Digital Projector," it was only sixty bucks! and I an not kidding here, they actually called it the "world's crappiest digital projector." Their words. And there was a review to back it up.

So herein lies the question, is it the "world's crappiest" to technology junkies, who care about things like contrast ratio and pixelization? Is pixelization even a word? Do I care? Is it good enough so that people like me would not even notice, since all I want is a movie on the back of my house to watch in the yard with the kids?

I looked up a few more reviews online. It seems to be OK quality, and one reviewer described it like taking a DVD and making it VHS quality. Well, we are the family that still has a record player and ahem, even an 8-track, so VHS quality is just fine for us.

I am not the "spend money on frivolous things" person. I am also not the "buy something right now because it's cool and you want it" person. I am the "I have no hubcaps or working speedometer because I don't want to spend the money and it's working fine for me" person. But alas, last night I bought the World's Crappiest Digital Projector.

The grill will wait a bit longer. But now I can watch crappy quality movies on the backside of my house, with my adorable children who are thinking I am fabulous. I am so excited!

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Husband, The Meanie-Head

Mother's Day is just around the corner. This starts the usual round of, "So honey, what do you want for Mother's Day?"

I have thought long and hard about this. Our budget is small, but I want something that will be important to me. Something I will appreciate, something I have been doing without due to our sacrifices this last year. Something practical, but just a teensy bit frivolous. And finally, I decided.

I want new hubcaps.

My van is missing both front hubcaps, which is strange, since there are three or four dark green Dodge/Plymouth vans around here that are missing both front hubcaps. Maybe they were faulty hubcaps to start with? Is there a Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge hubcap reunion or party going on around here that I am not aware of? Is someone stealing them and melting down their scrap metal formed plastic to make a time machine, or to use in paving the Guide?

Anywhoo.

My husband, however, refuses to get me hubcaps for Mother's day. He absolutely will not be that man that has to tell his buddies that he bought his wife hubcaps. I don't see the problem, anyone who knows me knows that I am not all that excited by flowers or a new dress. I like things that will make my life easier or more pleasant. And hubcaps will do that.

To Marty's credit, he really wants to get me some new hubcaps just because, and then get something else for Mother's day. I have a hard time with that, though, since he always puts a much bigger budget on things for me than things for him. Last Mother's day, I got an i-pod. Last father's day, the kids made him finger paintings. Things are not quite fair.

I know I should not be complaining here, (Oh, my, how horrible! My husband loves me and wants to take care of me! And puts my needs before his own! Whatever will I do?!?) but I want to take care of him, too. So I have some thinking to do.

What are you all wanting for Mother's day?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Learning By Doing

This morning, I was laying in bed, nursing Drew who was half asleep, and enjoying the early morning sun peeking through the blinds. All was quiet, as the older kids were not yet awake. Suddenly Marty comes into the room.
"Honey, come quick! There's a bald eagle standing by the pond, and he's HUGE! Seriously, like this big!" (Holds hand to just below his hip.) "Quick! Take a picture!"

I quickly located Drew's bink, stealthily un-latched him and slipped the bink in before he really noticed. Went out into the living room, and saw the eagle trying to sit on a tree branch, but failing as he was much too heavy for the flimsy branch. I ran to the kitchen, switched to the zoom lens, grabbed a fresh battery and quietly snuck outside.

I am just getting stared in photography. Meaning that I am still learning and not sure what to do when things go wrong. I am borrowing this lens from Amy as this will be my primary wedding lens, and it turns out there is a dial on this lens that switches it from auto focus to manual focus. And if that dial is halfway in between, you cannot change the focus at all. Drat.

The eagle swooped, and before I had a chance to zoom in or try and find out why the camera was not focusing, I just shot.


By the time I figured out what was wrong, I must have scared the eagle off, because he did not come back. Marty had to leave for work anyway, but now I know to watch for him in the future. I am disappointed that I was set up to get a really great shot if I had a clue what I was doing more experience, but hopefully I can get the shot again.

At least the ducks get to live to see another day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bloggy Block

I have been neglecting my blog lately.

I used to blog every night and set it to post in the morning. Then, I started just blogging in the morning and posting it immediately. Now, I am lucky if I get it done by noon.

I don't know what is the biggest problem, if the slow computer makes me frustrated so that I just don't want to make the attempt, knowing the whole thing is going to shut down unexpectedly at some point in the process; or if I am so tired at night that I can't think clearly enough to write a coherent sentence; or that I am spending so much time outside with the kids that the housework is getting further and further behind, so I have a hard time justifying the computer time. Maybe it's the fact that kids are so crazy that I can't focus on anything for five seconds without hearing, "Moooooom! He took my toy (that I stole from him in the first place, but if I say he took it, maybe I can keep it, because my attempt to make him hit me over the head with it have failed!)" I don't know. Maybe I am in the midst of a run of bloggers block, and inspiration is not striking. Maybe it is a combination of everything.

Case in point: It has taken me three hours to write this much. I just took some stickers off the front of the TV that Emma had given Grant, and Grant decided to decorate Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse himself. Grant threw a fit that I threw the stickers away, and Emma told me that she had given him the stickers to make him happy. I took the stickers and made him unhappy. That was rude of me to make him unhappy. Rude, Mommy!

It took forty minutes to write that last paragraph.

I need to get through the garage sale this weekend, I need to get my house in order, and I need more sleep. I desperately need sleep. I have had about twenty nights of getting eight uninterrupted hours of sleep. In three years. And that is not because I am a restless sleeper, it is because I have been woken by small children or a pregnant bladder almost every night. My brain is not functioning well, I type and my left hand moves faster than my right, so the words end up all messed up.

Oh, I did manage to get pictures hung back up on the wall last night from painting the living room. I bought new frames so that they would all match, but have not yet printed pictures to fit the new sizes. So I have a wall of nicely hung pictures of the 'picture frame model family' on my wall. It's progress, though, right? Right?!?

Please bear with me as my blogging is a bit unscheduled as of late. I will try to get things back on track ofter this garage sale. Or after I get more sleep. Or after Drew goes off to college. Something like that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Things We Have Learned, Part Three

Once again, it's time for "This week's life lessons and new discoveries!" (Also known as, "Looking on the bright side so you don't cry!")

Marty discovered that if you have a two year old who is learning the difference between an "L" sound and a "R" sound, and is a teensy bit argumentative, saying, "Grant! Clap!" and clapping your hands excitedly, it is heeeee-larious when he responds, "No, Daddy! No Crap!"

If there is a two year old wandering the house saying, "No crap!" and Marty is rolling on the floor with tears running down his bright red face, laughing so hard he looks like he is about to hyperventilate, I probably need to intervene.

Grant learned that when you are consoling your littlest brother, if you try to squish his cheeks to force a smile, it only makes him madder.

I learned never to turn my back on the sweet boy who seems to be quietly singing to the baby.

Grant learned that if Ben is chasing you down and trying to take your Lightning McQueen toy, if you simply hit Ben over the head with the toy a couple of times, he will stop chasing you.

About two seconds later, Grant realized what a very angry Mommy looks like.

Ben discovered that if your head splits open and you are bleeding from a Lightning McQueen-shaped injury, you get extra special cuddles and you get to play with the Lightning McQueen toy for the rest of the night.

I learned that the pain relieving spray that they give you in the hospital after having a baby works really well on a two-year-old's head.

"No crap, Daddy!"

Marty learned that it is possible to suffer a nipple contusion while playing softball. Seriously. I am not making this up.

The thought of a nipple contusion is a lot funnier to me than to my husband, who does not seem to appreciate the pointing-and-laughing type of sympathy.

"No crap, Daddy! Hey, no crap!"

I have discovered that my daughter thinks she knows everything. Well, I discovered that a long time ago, but her latest is being a backseat driver. "Mommy, stop! The light is red!" "Yes, Emma, but it is a quarter mile away. I will stop when I get there." "Mommy, you went in front of that car, and you didn't stop and wait your turn." "Yes, Emma, that car had a stop sign, and I didn't. It was my turn." And the latest, as we are pulling out of our driveway onto our road, which traffic usually travels about 55-60 mph: "Mommy, don't go fast! You are going to get a ticket like Daddy!" I decided she needed a lesson in respect. "Emma, do you have a driver's license?" Little, small voice: "No." "Have you ever been to driving school?" "No." "How many years experience do you have driving?" Sudden teenager-ish attitude: "Mom, I have driven down the driveway before." (Insert four year old eye roll here.)

The lessons in this story?

1. Marty learned that if he laughs uncontrollably, he will get his ear flicked. Hard.
2. I learned (again) that I am in sooooooo much trouble when she is a teenager.
2. Emma learned that sometimes, a smart retort will end the conversation, even though she does not know why her parents were covering their mouths and shaking in silence.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Life in Comics



I couldn't help myself. I love this, it is so true!

Not Me! Monday!

Not Me! Monday! was created by MckMama, who is still with her darling baby Stellan in the hospital. Stellan was flown to Boston last week and is scheduled for a very risky heart surgery tomorrow, so please continue to keep them in your prayers!


Welcome to Not Me! Monday! Big Giant Mess Edition!

Grant did NOT start taking his clothes and diaper off when he gets bored. I did NOT put a nice piece of John Deere green duct tape over the tabs. He did NOT manage to get the duct tape off and remove his diaper again, causing me to put a larger piece of duct tape on it. He did NOT remove that one as well, leaving me with no other choice, in order for me to keep my child's diaper on, I have to duct tape it all the way around. He is NOT getting excited about his new "tummy sticker," insisting that he has one every diaper change and that Ben does, too. He is NOT refusing to go on the potty as well, leaving me wondering how much duct tape I will go through until these boys are potty trained.

I did NOT start my period during the family pictures of the wedding I helped shoot this weekend. I am NOT totally frustrated, since by history, "Aunt Flo" should not be paying me a visit for another six months or so. Maybe she did not get the memo that I am still nursing.

I did NOT use my electric double breast pump in Amy's car as she drove us from the ceremony to the reception. Her car is NOT low to the ground and lacking tinted windows, there is NO WAY I am crazy enough to pump my boobies in the passenger seat while driving through Lynden.
Amy did NOT laugh at me the entire way to the reception.

I did NOT manage to spill two ounces on my own breast milk in my lap in Amy's car. I was NOT more upset at the wasted breast milk than the fact that I looked like I peed myself walking into the wedding reception, and that I made a mess of the pump.

Drew is NOT growing so much right now that on Saturday he nursed every hour and finished the ten ounces I pumped on Friday. I did NOT decide to start my baby on solids early in order to fill his tummy and get some sleep. He did NOT love the rice cereal and eat a whole bowl, and sleep well Saturday night.

At the same time Sunday night, Drew did NOT get super excited about the idea of more cereal, and make a big 'ole glorious mess while eating.

I did NOT take this slimy, sticky baby, bumbo and all, and put him on the changing table and just wipe him down with baby wipes instead of bathing him. I did NOT justify this action by telling myself that bathing babies every day will dry out their skin, and that rice cereal must be moisturizing.

I am NOT getting ready for a garage sale this weekend, meaning there are boxes and bins completely covering my house. I am NOT completely frustrated by the mess, but also thrilled at the idea that I will be getting rid of lots of stuff.

I am NOT spending my garage sale earnings on the new gas grill that I want, since my previous gas grill budget was spent on Marty's speeding-through-a-school-zone-while-talking-on-the-cell-phone ticket. I am NOT feeling like I really shouldn't buy a grill until I get my spedometer fixed, but at the same time feeling a little bit haughty that I haven't had a working spedometer for two years, and Marty was the one to get the first ticket. I am NOT feeling bad about feeling haughty about Marty's ticket, since he drives around the county every day for his job, and I drive maybe once a week.

My kids have NOT spent the morning fighting over the same three things. I am NOT about to take all three away, but knowing that if I do, they will just find three new things to fight about. I am NOT tempted to let this be a "TV on all day!" day so that I can save my last shred of sanity get some work done.

Friday, April 17, 2009

T G I Friday!

This has got to be a quick post, but I just wanted to announce the GREATEST DEAL IN ALL THE LAND! I was tipped off by a friendly twins mom who is having another garage sale and selling her twin boys' clothes. She calls me twice a year, and I go and load up. I got nineteen pairs of pants, sixteen shirts, two hats, and two jammies for the twins, three pairs of jeans, three skirts and a vest for Emma, along with and a new toy for each child, all totaling $65! These clothes will all go in a bin for next fall, and next fall I will go to another garage sale of hers and load up on all her kids' spring/summer stuff for next year.

I love good deals.

I am off to shoot a wedding today, so here's hoping the rain stops and we have a great day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursdays with Tiffani

I have been working all morning, wondering what I should post. Was Emma's story this morning funny enough? Probably not. Am I feeling deep and reflective? Nope. What do I do?

Then it hit me. Duh, it's Thursday, which means Thursdays with Tiffani time! Remember, this was created by Tiffiny, go check her blog out! And feel free to do a Thursdays with You if you would like, too!

I am Thankful for... Naptime. It's been one of those days, where naptime didn't come soon enough. I have stuff to do, but for now I will sit and blog to clear my head.

I'm listening to... Drew cooing on my lap, and the rumbling of our very loud computer, as it tries to hold on just a little longer. (You can do it, computer!)

I'm looking forward to... Warm weather, going outside and cleaning up the yard some more. Planting my garden, and eating peas. Barbecue three night a week. Have I mentioned I love springtime?

What's for Dinner Tonight... Tonight, we are going to the buffet at the casino as a family. Not our little family (no, I am not taking my kids to the casino) but rather as an extended family. The grown ups. I am having dinner with grown ups! And I don't have to cook or clean! Oh, happy day! Now, if I could just be like that lady that won ten grand on the penny slots recently, it would be the best day ever!

Missing.... Still missing the milk cup. It has been two weeks now, which means it is time to buy a new one. I don't like to waste money, but by the time I do find it, it will be worth four bucks to me to not have to clean it. Totally worth it. I am also missing sleep, as Drew thinks it is fun to wake up every hour and a half to feed at night, and wants to play at 4:30 am lately. I hope this growth spurt passes quickly.

Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Rollercoaster of Life

It has been interesting around here lately.

We were thrilled with the letter that told us our $4,600 hospital bill was taken care of. We had $600 saved for it, and were planning on how to spend the money. Marty wanted me to take some of it for myself, since I worked so hard getting everything together and applying for the program. I have wanted a gas grill for a long time, and I think it would pay for itself considering how much I spend on charcoal. I started pricing grills, and found that Sears had last year's models on closeout, which means screaming deals right now. Then Marty got his $400 ticket. That was my grill budget and then some. Drat.

Marty called me on Sunday, he was following me to church and my tire was really low. I just filled it up three weeks prior, and have had a problem with a slow leak for a little over a year now. It's time for new tires. Double drat.

When we met at the doctor's office for the twins' appointment, we went home separate ways to test to see which one was faster. When we got home, he asked if I had gone the speed limit. I replied, "I think so, but you know my speedometer does not work." Why am I thinking of a new grill when I don't have a working speedometer?

Emma's cousin Lily was over yesterday, and I had the girls stand back to back. Lily, who we get hand me downs from, is only about an inch taller than Emma right now. Soon, we will be giving our hand me downs to Lily. I am going to have to start buying Emma clothes. That is the downside to being freakishly tall, having tall children. Drat-e-ola.

Drew is in the midst of a growth spurt, and is waking every two hours to eat in the night. He has not done that since we left the hospital, and the lack of sleep is wearing on me.

This morning I woke up and stumbled, bleary eyed out into the living room, and the sun was shining, bathing the living room and kitchen in the most lovely glow. The sun is getting high enough in the sky to shine through the skylight in the morning and place a warm sunny spot on the kitchen floor. The trees are starting to show sprinklings of green as the leaves are budding and growing, and hummingbirds are coming by for a springtime visit, their darting about enticing playtime and fun. I breathed in the clean air, and was teased with the aroma of coconut lemongrass, my newest Scentsy scent. A good big stretch made everything fall into place.

Life is grand. I can grill with charcoal a while longer, and I have a van that runs, even though it has it's issues. My kids are healthy and my husband is great. The rest will figure itself out.

For now, I am going to play with my kids and enjoy the weather. And maybe grill steaks soon. Charcoal tastes better anyway.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some People Actually Think I Am Cool!

A couple of weeks ago, I was awarded two wonderful awards, but I have not had a chance to post them yet. Not because I am ungreatful, not at all, I just have a lot of kids and answering questions takes thought, and I don't have thoughts to spare some days.

Tiffany over at Reagan Marie gave this Kreativ Blogger award to my little blog! She lives just a little bit north of me in Canada, and I wonder if she says aboot. You can't tell in her blog. Thanks, Tiffany!

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Post the award on your blog, and link to the person who gave you the award.

2. List seven things you love.

3. List seven blogs you love.

4. E-mail or comment on those blogs to let the people know you've given them the award.

Seven things I love:

1. Jesus. He ROCKS!!

2. Chocolate. (Duh!)

3. Good food. I love the Melting Pot, wine, and nummy, tasty food. Like chocolate.

4. My kids, husband, and my life in general. Especially with chocolate.

5. Blogging. While eating chocolate.


6. Going to the park. And then eating chocolate.

7. Did I mention chocolate?


From JoEll at Life With a Toddler, I was nominated for Mom of the Year! WooHoo!

I am very grateful that people enjoy my blog enough to give me awards, and I will never complain about that. But this graphic in particular seems a little... depressing to me. Mom of The Year, and is the little girl crying over a couch, or is she laid over a knee? And "Sorry, honey?" What is that about? It seems like this is for "Not now, honey, Mommy is blogging!" or maybe "Dysfunctional Mom of the Year." I will admit, I am dysfunctional, you should have heard the snickers in line at the shoe store as Emma was telling a woman that the Easter Bunny poops on our floor every year, but this just seems a little strange, even for me.

But I digress. I do very much appreciate the award, and I know JoEll did not design it, she just found it in her kind heart to bestow it on me. Thanks, JoEll!

Here are the rules for this one:

•Admit one thing you feel awful about involving being a mom. Get it off your shoulders. Once you've written it down, you are No Longer allowed to feel bad. It's over with, it's in the past. Remember, you're a good mom!

I had a hard time with this one. I am not one to carry "Mommy Guilt," so finding something I feel awful about just isn't me. I write my Not Me! Mondays! because I can laugh about it, and I know that I am doing the best I can, and I'm not going to stress about anything. The kids will be fine. We have fun. No guilt.

•Remind yourself you are a good mom, list seven things you love about your kids, you love doing with your kids, or that your kids love about you. These are the things to remind yourself everyday that you Rock!

1. I love that they love singing and dancing together. They may not be the most musical and/or coordinated bunch, but we sure have a good time!

2. I love that they love each other. There is no jealousy in the household, and each child seems to appreciate the other kids for who they are. They also know how to show love to each other, which is amazing.

3. I love that they are all so very different. Each has his or her own strengths and personalities, and all get along for the most part.

4. I love that they love to snuggle me. I love family movie time, where Marty and I lay out on the couches, and each have a couple of kids snuggled up with us. It's the greatest feeling in the world.

5. I love taking them to the park like I did tonight. I love that the boys are starting to listen, so four kids at the park by myself is becoming more manageable. And by 'manageable' I mean we can go there but if Emma has to go potty, she's just gotta hold it till we get home.

6. I love going out in public and having complete strangers tell me I have a beautiful family and that I have extremely happy kids. And they are beautiful and happy. I have no idea why I am so blessed.

7. I love being silly with them. When Emma asks a question and I answer with, "I don't know, I think it was a monster," and she knows not to believe me. Or chasing the twins around with a plain sock on my hand, because we once had a sock puppet so now every sock is something to chase people with. Or just cooing at Drew. I love my kids so much.

OK, here's the deal. I am not going to assign winners of each of these awards, but I will list seven people I will award, and YOU get to choose which award and meme you want to display. My choices are:

1. Melissa over at Full Circle. I love her blog, she is in the amazing journey through the foster parenting process. And I get to send HER an award this time!

2. Gina at 7th Inning Stretch With Team D. What's better than adorable blog about an adorable pair of little girls? When the blogger is a lot like me, does Not Me! Mondays! and prays for Stellan, loves Jesus, and she married my cousin. I just found her blog last week, but I love it.

3. Amanda over at Vintage Dutch Girl. She is crafty (in the good way) and has creative skills I only wished I possessed. And who doesn't love someone who finds great bargains and then shares the details?

4. Tricia at Pure Chaos. This was one of the very first blogs I followed when I started blogging, and Tricia is fabulous, multi-talented, and a great mom. She rocks!



5. MckMama at My Charming Kids. MckMama is everything I strive to be in a blogger, and an excellent mother to boot. She shares her struggles and triumphs with such grace, and talks about her walk with Jesus openly and honestly. Seriously, if you have not read MckMama's blog by now, do it. Now. Seriously.

6. Christy at Butterflies In The Car Line. Christy shares her poetry, paintings, thoughts, and struggles in her blog with such an artistic flair. she truly is an inspiration, and has become a good bloggy friend.

7. Tiffiny at The Story Of Our Life. She is the originator of Thursdays with Tiffiny/Tiffani, and is a very creative gal and a fun blogger.

OK, ladies, here's the list! Choose which award you prefer, or if you want, take both. Whatever! Have a great night, and happy blogging!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Not Me! Monday! Easter Weekend Edition!

Not Me! Monday! is, as alwasy, created by MckMama. And we are still praying for precious Stellan. Go check her blog out!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! Easter weekend edition!

Saturday:

I did NOT go to the mall on Saturday to buy all our Easter basket fillers. I am way more prepared than that. I did NOT cringe over the prices of little sweaters for Emma that she will only wear once. I did NOT find one at Old Navy that was half price because it had a stain on the front. I did NOT look at it, and think, "I can get that out!" buy it, and go home without any sort of a backup plan for if I was unsuccessful. Marty did NOT say that he didn't think it would come out, and I was NOT completely successful at getting the stain out! Also, I did NOT do a little dance when I showed Marty that I did it. That would have been rude.

I did NOT get frustrated with Ben during bath time because he kept standing up and sitting down fast to splash a ton of water around. I did NOT just pull him out of the tub, throw a towel around him and put him in the naughty spot, naked. I did NOT go back to get Grant out of the tub, and when I checked on Ben, I did NOT find him sitting on the floor, playing in a puddle of his own pee.

I did NOT send Marty to the store at ten o'clock at night because I forgot to buy the Raisinettes that we need to create Easter Bunny Poop on the floor. Safeway has NOT stopped selling Raisinettes, and Marty did NOT have to drive around for a while until he found a bunny-poop appropriate candy.

I did NOT lament to Emma about needing to potty train all the fairy tale creatures that come into our house, and threaten that if she ever loses a tooth and the Tooth Fairy poops on the floor, I'm going to make her clean it up.

Sunday:

The Easter Bunny did NOT poop on the floor AGAIN this year.


Grant did NOT come running in, first thing Easter morning, and start eating the Easter Bunny poop. We did NOT immediately start yelling, "Ewwwww, gross, Grant, that's poop! Disgusting!" And start making gagging noises.


Grant did NOT get over his initial shock and decide that Easter bunny poop tastes a lot like Milk Duds and go for a second helping.

We did NOT force all the cousins to try and look happy for pictures before we let them go look for eggs. They did NOT cooperate for the first year, ummm, ever.

It was NOT raining sideways, forcing us to have the Easter egg hunt indoors. We were NOT hard pressed to find places to hide eggs for seven kids in the lower level of Auntie Ruthi's house.


Ben does NOT have yet another bruise on his head that is very visible in the pictures. I do NOT fear that the kid will have large bruises in every holiday picture for his entire life.


I did NOT capture this adorable Auntie/baby pic of Amy and Drew.
Amy did NOT catch Drew yelling at her. He is NOT saying, "Hey! Where's my eggs, huh? Just because I am a baby, you think I don't want to look for eggs?!?"
We did NOT get this cute, updated sisters picture adding Jessica. I am NOT calling this a "sisters" picture even though Jessica is not (yet) a sister, just because I hope she will be one day. (L to R, Holly, me, Jessica, Amy)


No, I did NOT just link Holly's and Amy's blogs up there. Sheesh.

I did NOT get home and decide not to fix any actual dinner since I was exhausted, I had a splitting headache, and we ate Easter dinner at two. I did NOT decide to have family movie night and feed the family microwave popcorn and chocolate bunny heads for dinner.

Tiffiny at The story of our life is NOT saying, "Hey! Our living rooms are the same!"


Monday:

This is NOT the most embarrassing Not Me! Monday topic yet. I did NOT come really close to not posting it.

I am NOT so desperate for a good conversation with a friend that if I suddenly have to go potty, I will just cover up the mouthpiece of the phone so that he/she does not know what I am doing. I did NOT attempt that this morning, and find myself not just needing to go number one, if you catch my drift (wink, wink.) I did NOT decide to flush later, knowing that flushing would give me away. I did NOT finish my business without my friend knowing anything.

Fast forward a couple of hours.

Those of you who read my blog often and/or know my children did NOT just groan reading about my bathroom experience, then reading "Fast forward a couple of hours."

You are NOT correct that the story doesn't end there.

I had my cousin Joell over today. During our nice girly chat, Grant did NOT come up to me with a very wet hand and say, "Mommy, big rock?" I was NOT confused as to what he was talking about. When he asked for a kiss on his hand, I was NOT smart enough to say, "I'm not kissing it till I know why it's wet." I asked him to show me the big rock he was talking about, and he did NOT lead me to my bathroom, in the process demonstrating that he can now open doors easily, and show me the "big rock" that I had left in the toilet.

I am NOT so incredibly shameless that I am willing to blog about my own poop for a laugh.

I did NOT spend $60 in co-pays at the doctor today, certain that Ben had and ear infection and suspecting that Grant might too, just to find that they are teething.

I did NOT do and I-told-you-so song and dance for Marty, since I have told him that Bluetooth is cheaper than getting a ticket for talking on a cell phone while driving here in Washington.

He did NOT get caught for speeding through a school zone while talking on a cell phone (to me.) He was NOT pulled over right in front of his sister's house, and was NOT being ticketed just as the school bus came, dropping off his niece and nephew, and his whole experience was NOT witnessed by his sister, too.

My husband, the insurance agent, was NOT driving without current proof of insurance in his car.

I did NOT laugh and laugh at that one.

(OK, in his defense, the road is long and suddenly goes from 50mph to 40mph, and almost immediately enters the school zone at 20 mph. He was still slowing down, and entered the school zone at 32 mph. And he was on the phone with me as I was telling him about the boys' doctor appointments, so I am not mad at all. I completely understand. Yes, he deserved the tickets, yes, it sucks that they total $395, and yes, I am going to make fun of him a little a lot for it, but I understand it could have happened to me just as easily.)

I am NOT hoping for an easier (and cheaper) week this week.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Random Musings on Easter

I have been mulling over the Easter story lately. Of course, the season brings it out, and I cannot help thinking deeper than just the storybook, "He died on the cross to save us from our sins and then he rose again" thing. I think we all know the basics of the Easter story, but I frequently find myself in awe of some of the most minute details. The ones we often pass over, but are so incredibly important.

Bear with me here, I am feeling a bit ramble-ish tonight.

The garden of Gethsemane is my pondering today. Six little verses, often skipped over, but telling a deep story in themselves. Mark 14:32-38 says:

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to the disciples, "sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will but what you will."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Jesus was man, and Jesus was God. I know that I get caught up in the idea that Jesus was God, and only attribute the "man" part to the fact that he lived in a human body. But that is not true.

Have you ever dreaded something? Not just, "I really don't want to go to the dentist," but really dreaded something? I remember being in eighth grade, and lying to a teacher. It became apparent that I needed to confess the truth, and I knew that the truth would make a lot of people disappointed in me. I felt heavy in my stomach, and dread filled my soul until nothing else could get in. The weight of it pulled me down so that I could not stand straight, and I felt that my face even sagged under the weight of it all. That was pure dread. But I cannot imagine the dread that filled Jesus that night. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," is a very deep dread. He knew it was coming. He knew he was going to die. And he knew it was going to be excruciating.

Jesus goes off by himself to pray. He prays to God the Father, and I picture Jesus and God having some pretty deep conversations. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will but what you will." Now, Jesus knows the prophecies, He has stated them to his disciples. He knows he is the one to die, yet He still begs God for another plan. Why would He do that?

Because he was only human.

Think about it. If you were facing certain, horrendous, painful death complete with mocking, ridicule, and betrayal and abandonment by your closest friends, wouldn't you be waving your little white flag and asking for plan B?

"Yet not what I will but what you will."

He knew that He was going to die. He knew that he didn't want to. He knew that it was going to be the most painful death known to humankind. But He also knew that God's plan was the best, and that God knew what He was doing. He was willing to trust God with his life, even knowing the horrible outcome ahead of time.

He must have been so tortured that night, knowing what was coming, and wanting with everything in him for the answer to be something different. He said his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. And we know Jesus does not exaggerate. That was torturous for him. But what did He do, when His soul was sorrowed? He got down on His knees, and turned to his Father. And we can too.

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

This part really bugs me. You are the followers of Jesus! You are His chosen ones, out of everyone in the history of the world, He put you on earth at this time, and chose you to follow Him, and you fell asleep?!? Chronologically, this happened just after the Last Supper, when Jesus predicted that Simon Peter would betray Him three times. If I were Simon Peter, I would have to say that I would be trying to prove Jesus wrong. I would be very attentive and aware. If I were told by Jesus that I would deny Him three times before the rooster crows, I would certainly not fall asleep on the job after Jesus told me to keep watch, since His soul was troubled to the point of death. Seriously. The book of Mark says that He went away once more, and returned and found them sleeping again. Really? After being reprimanded by Jesus, you will do it again? What idiots! Stupid morons, and they are Jesus' chosen ones?

But suddenly it hit me. How often do I do that very same thing? I was so tortured after having to confess my lie, but have I told the truth every time in the years that have passed that event? No. I have done it again. I am the stupid moron. I have learned lessons the hard way, and then had to learn them again. I make mistakes, and sometimes repeat those same mistakes every day. Why can't I learn the lesson only once and be done?

How many times has God told me, "watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." I don't think I can even keep track. Why don't I listen?

I wish there were an easy answer to this one, but I really don't know. I do know that the closer you walk with God, the less chance you have of "forgetting" His teachings.

I have always pictured a large room. In one corner is God, and in the other is Satan. In Satan's corner is everything that Satan promotes. Riches, pride, fame, power, alcohol, grudges, spitefulness, anger, deceit, every kind of sin, they all belong to Satan. In God's corner are the fruits of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. If you turn and face Satan, you cannot fully face God. If you turn your back to Him, it is easy to ignore His voice. Turning towards Him involves turning your back on Satan and all he is involved with. You cannot turn towards God and also turn towards money, or lust, or anything else that is Satan's. Every time you sin, you turn your back on God, and it is harder to hear His voice. I need to find the areas of my life where I an hanging on to sins, and that are keeping me away from fully facing God.

This Easter I am, as always, very grateful and humbled by what Jesus did for me. I am going to try and keep my face to God, and not be as much of a stupid moron. And I know God is waiting, just itching to hold me and help me, because I am one of His chosen ones, too. He loves me and he wants the best for me, and He will never turn His back on me, no matter how often I turn my back on Him and ignore His voice.

Have a happy Easter. He is Risen!

Friday, April 10, 2009

What They Say VS. What They Mean

What twins say:
"Mommy, Queen, car wash!"

What twins mean:
"Mommy, I put my Lightning McQueen in the cat's water dish, and dumped the cat food in, too! Isn't that cool?"


What Grant says:
"Mommy, what Ben doing?"

What Grant means:
"Hey, mom, look at Ben. He found your stockpile of pumped breastmilk and is pouring it all on the floor!"


What Grant says:
"Bubba taked! da toy! fwom Gwant!" (Accompanied by crossed arms, a big lower lip, and a foot stomp)

What Grant means:
"Bubba took the toy from Grant."


What Grant says:
"Bubba (mumble) da toy! fwom Gwant!" (crossed arms, little lower lip, and no foot stomp)

What Grant means:
"I see Ben with a toy that I want. I am going to say he took it and see if you will give it to me, since he won't."


What Ben says:
"..." (Ok, Ben doesn't usually say a lot. But he will look right at you, with the biggest, happiest grin on his face. And sometimes, he will maintain eye contact and grin right at you. It's the eye contact that defines this one.)

What Ben means:
"I'm doing something naughty. Are you going to catch me? I know it's naughty, because I was just told not to and/or was just sent to time out for his very same thing. But I like to drive you crazy, Mommy, so I'm doing it again! Are you going crazy? Are ya? ARE YA?"


What Emma says:
"Mommy, I have a plan. Ok, this is serious. It really, really is serious. Really. OK, um... I really think we should... after dinner... I'm gonna eat my dinner all gone, first, I'm gonna eat the rice... then the chicken, then the beans, no, wait... first the chicken, then the beans... and then the rice, and after that I'm gonna drink my milk... Except when I drink my milk while I'm eating, silly me, I get thirsty! Hahahaha, I'm so silly! So after that, and after the boys eat all their dinner and after you eat all your dinner and after Daddy eats all his dinner... Ok, I'm serious. This is the plan. After dinner, I need to go potty, wipe, flush, and wash my hands, and then we can get our shoes on and... no, wait, our socks, then our shoes! For serious! We can go play outside! And I will dig, and Grant can swing on the swing, and Ben can ride his bike. Actually, we can all ride our bikes, but we have to get our helmets first, so we can be safe. Mommy, I know where my helmet is, we just have to finish eating and find the boyses helmets and we can go play, isn't that a great plan?"

What Emma means:
"After dinner, can we go outside and play?"


What Mom says:
"Hey guys, I know it's TV off time, but how about we have a special treat and you guys can watch a long movie?"

What Mom means:
"I need you to stop running around/asking questions/fighting/making noise/destroying piles of folded laundry/playing tug-of-war with the cat/shoving things in the VCR. So I am going to let the TV keep you occupied so I can stay a little sane. Just a little, that's all I'm asking for."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

Today has been a blog-worthy day. I have not had many of those lately, as things seem to be running rather smoothly around here. Either that or I have lost all sanity and in the process of continuing to lose my mind, I am now losing memories of blog-worthy things. Entirely possible, but I am going for the former.

There was that time a couple of nights ago that we put the twins on the potty, then gave all the kids a bath. After the bath, I sent Grant out first to get a diaper from Daddy. Little did I know he took Grant into the boys' room to get diapered, for some reason I thought he took him into the living room. I then sent Ben into the living room to "go find Daddy!" not realizing he would be alone and naked. I pulled Emma out and gave her her towel and let her dry herself off, drained the tub and headed into the living room to give Marty a hand. I found Ben standing tall and proud, big grin on his face, feet apart, hands on hips like Peter Pan, and peeing all over the living room floor.

That was fun.

On another note, we have been having problems with our phone service. It seems to work fine until it cuts out and while I can hear the person on the other end of the line, they can no longer hear me. It worked great on a telemarketer this morning, but not so much when you are trying to catch up with your mom and your phone cuts out five times in the conversation. I called Comcast and they were sending a technician over this morning "sometime from eight am to noon."

Great.

I planned on getting up early to shower, but Ben had a rough night and Drew was not cooperating either, so by the time seven rolled around I was barely coherent enough to tell Marty that I needed more sleep. I snoozed for a while longer, fed Drew in bed, and finally got up and headed out into the living room. I still had a bit of a mess from my clothes sorting project I had done last night, so I needed to clean that up, get myself dressed and presentable, get the kids dressed, serve breakfast and try to look like I had it all together by the time the Comcast guy came.

I put Drew under the activity mat behind the baby gate, grabbed two diapers and clothes for the twins, and went out to the living room to dress them. Grant started crying. I told Emma to go potty and get dressed, and tended to Grant, who couldn't find lightning McQueen. Drew started crying, and Ben started crying from the hallway as well. I went to give Drew his bink, and found Emma in the bathroom, opening the door just wide enough for Ben to see her and get excited, and then slamming the door shut and making him cry. Again and again. And again.

I sent Emma to her room, and went back to the living room and binked Drew. Found Ben still in the bathroom, trying to get into the bathtub. Ushered him out of the bathroom, shutting the door behind me. He cried. Went out to the living room and got Ben diapered and dressed. Started hearing Slam! Waaaaaaa! again, and found Emma doing it again, this time with Grant, and from her room where she was in time out. I had a firm talk with Emma about slamming doors and listening to me the first time. Emma stayed in her room for a much longer time out and I dressed Grant, but by then, his pants were missing. Picked up some of the clothes that needed to be washed from being in the shed, and headed to the laundry room. Drew cried, Ben cried, Grant cried, Emma cried. Binked Drew and ignored the rest.

Emptied the dryer, putting the clean clothes on my freshly made bed. Gave a quick glance to see if there were any clean Grant pants, and saw none. Ben snuck into the bathroom while I was rotating laundry and made another attempt at the bathtub. Tried to usher Ben out of the bathroom, but he pointed at the potty, so I helped him out of his clothes and onto the potty. Drew started crying, and I hear Grant saying, "S'ok, Baby Dwoo, Gwant here for yoo!" That might spell trouble, so I booked it out of the bathroom and find Grant leaning over Drew's fence, just talking to him. Whew.

The phone rang and I grabbed it, but it cut out and I never got to talk to whoever was there. Now, what was I doing? Oh, yes, I needed to get dressed, so I headed into my room and got halfway dressed when Drew cried again, and I heard a crash from the living room. I ran into the kitchen and found Grant trying to get the toys out of the bin, but the rest of the clothes on the floor made him stumble with the bin and fall. He was fine, and I let Emma out of time out and after she apologied, I headed into the laundry room to put the rest of the clothes in there. Started a load in the washer, and went back out to find Ben in the bathtub again. I lifted him out, and failed to notice that under his long-ish shirt, there was no diaper. Forgetting that he was NOT the one without pants, I simply let him go play. Still only half dressed myself, I went into my room and finished getting dressed as the older kids decided to chase each other around the kitchen island. They were laughing, Drew was crying, but I decided to take the two seconds I need to do my hair, and pulled it into a ponytail and called it good.

I heard what sounded like a herd of buffalo crashing into each other in the kitchen, so I binked Drew, promising him that in just a few minutes, I would be able to pick him up. I checked on the herd, and was shocked to find Ben half naked. I suddenly realized that I had left him on the potty in the bathroom, and forgot about him. Whoopsie! Drew started crying again, that sad, pathetic, "Mommy! I want you! Don't you want to come play with me?!? I will giggle and coo if you just pick me up!" I called out my apologies to Drew and took Ben to get a clean diaper and his pants, then started the task of figuring out wherever Ben had gone and searched for a puddle of pee. Emma started singing Christmas carols to Drew, who screamed louder, as Emma seems to be as talented a singer as her mother, which is not a good thing.

The Comcast guy showed up and Grant greeted him at the door with no pants. I picked up Drew, who was instantly happy. I stopped running around, turned the TV on and started Cars for the kids, and suddenly, all seemed calm. I managed to find some pants for Grant and the kids were on their best behavior the entire time the Comcast guy was here.

Now, why didn't I think to have the television entertain my kids all along? Silly me.

Thursdays With Tiffani

I am Thankful for... My hubby who gave me a gift certificate to The Chrysalis Spa a while back. Holly for going with me, and Gabby at the Chrysalis for giving me a fantastic pedicure. But most of all, I am thankful for my brother-in-law Dan, who was willing to watch all six kids by himself while we went and got pampered, them when we returned, roto-tilled my garden for me. Thanks, Dan! You are an incredible guy, and Holly is lucky to have you.

I'm listening to... Emma following Ben around, singing Christmas Carols to him. Yup, it's April. My kids are nuts.

What I'm looking forward to... Easter! The traditional raw egg toss, and good food and family. Remembering why we are here, and thanking God again for his incredible sacrifice. Holding my kids close and fighting back tears as I picture what God went through for a crazy, flawed, sinner like me. Wow.

What's for Dinner Tonight... Really, I should plan dinner better so this is not a problem every Thursday. Last night was red curry over rice. I have n idea what tonight will be, but I better figure it out soon so I can get something thawing.

Missing.... A lot of things now. However, with last weeks adventure of Ben losing Ted and his milk cup, I was able to find, (drumroll, please!) my nursing bra! Yay! It was in a box of Emma's outgrown clothes in her room, along with a single sock of mine and a sock of Marty's. Strange. I did find Ted, but the milk cup is still missing, a week later. That's gonna be nasty.

I went through the boy's clothes in the shed last night, bringing in 10 boxes and bins and trying to find the twins' old spring clothes for Drew, and my stocked up supply of spring clothes for the twins. I was successful in finding clothes for the twins, but I cannot find anything for Drew in the sizes between three months and twelve months. Which means in the massive amount of un-organized boxes in the shop or the shed there may or may not be boxes that may or may not be labeled correctly with boy's clothes. And if I don't find them today, I have to go out and buy Drew an Easter outfit, when I may or may not have two perfectly good ones already.

Remember to pay a visit to the original Thursdays with Tiffiny author!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How We Got Here

My freakishly tall friend Brent published a story on his blog about how he and his wife met and started to fall in love. He put the challenge out to have people write their story, and because I cannot ignore a challenge, I decided to respond. Because I am pretty wordy, I decided to post the story instead of leaving a twenty page comment on his blog. I'm not sure about the blog etiquette, but I'm pretty sure that would be a big old no-no.

I have mentioned before that Marty and I met while working at Lids. I saw in the job book at customer service that Lids was hiring, and thought it said they were hiring for a manager. I walked into the store, and standing behind the counter was a good looking guy with amazing green eyes. I told him I was interested in the manager position, and he replied something to the extent of, "Well, I hope they are not hiring for a manager, or else I'm out of a job." I looked at him and replied, "Wow, what a tough way to find out you are getting fired."

I was hired as the assistant manager, and during the three weeks we worked together, we learned a lot about each other. I learned that he was a driven, talented smart ass who was a little too cocky for his own good. He claims he learned the same about me. I distinctly remember a time where I honestly thought to myself, "Wow, I pity the poor girl who marries this guy."

I was promoted to store manager within the first month. He moved on to manager another store, but still lived in his same place. Over time, a friendship was born. He had a girlfriend at the time, and I was kind of dating someone else, but we started hanging out to do laundry on our day off, since I did not have a washer in my apartment. While the laundry was going, we would go out and do stuff. We wandered Goodwill and Value Village, trying to find treasures. We went swimming, and to the movies. Eventually, both of us found ourselves "un-attached" to others, and Marty told me (and I quote,) "I am through with girls for a while, I'm just going to hang out with you."

I was fine with that, and we became each other's standing Saturday night "dates" and would go shoot pool at Dr. Cue's in Seattle. We would leave and go through the Taco Bell Drive thru, then he would take me back to my car at the mall and we would sit and talk. Sometimes we would sit for hours, just talking about everything. I started to really like him, but I knew we were just friends, and didn't want to say anything to ruin our friendship.

After about six months of being friends, we got together with another friend of ours and had a party at her house. Over the course of a few tequila shots, we finally got the courage to vocalize our true feelings. We started dating, which was funny, since nothing about our routines changed. I still went over to his place to do laundry, and we still hung out on Saturday nights. We still went to Taco Bell and still talked for hours.

Marty got promoted again to area manager, and was given four stores in his area. He moved to Tacoma to be closer to his stores. Mine was not one of his stores, but since he was still further up the ladder than I, and since our boss, Lloyd hated him (although our boss's boss, Steph, loved him) we did not tell anyone we were dating since it would give Lloyd a reason to get rid of Marty. This was a challenge as Marty's new roommates were other managers in the company.

We dated in secret for eight months, and then one day I decided that I needed to know if this was the guy for me. We had been doing the long-distance thing for a while, I was in Everett, and he in Bellingham. (That's about an hour drive one-way, for you non-locals.) I decided to move to Bellingham and see if anything changed. I called up a friend and made arrangements to become her room-mate. I started to look for a job. I forgot to mention this whole plan to Marty. He was a bit shocked when I told him I was moving to be closer to him, and looking back, maybe I should have talked to him about it first. Oh, well. He says it was a defining moment for him, too, hearing about my move and getting excited instead of scared.

I think a big part of the reason our relationship is as strong as it is now, nine years later, is because of the friendship that was in place well before the relationship. When times get tough and the 'romance' fades for a while, we have or initial friendship that is always there.We have worked together, which gives us full confidence in each other's abilities. No matter, what, he is my best friend and the greatest husband ever. And I can whoop him in pool.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Not Me! Monday! Tuesday!

Not Me! Monday! was created by MckMama, who is still with baby Stellan in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of Children's Hospital in the midwest. Stellan is still having problems with his heart, and is now scheduled for surgery. They are really trying to attempt medications to get his heart beating normally so he can grow a little, as the surgery on this young of a baby is extremely risky. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! Tuesday!

I did NOT purposefully ignore my Not Me! Monday! yesterday as the sun was shining, it was 70 degrees, and I wanted to play outside with the kids instead of finishing my blog. Oh, wait. Yes, yes I did. HeeHee!

Ben does NOT have his third mystery black eye in as many weeks. It is NOT always the same eye, and I am NOT clueless as to what keeps happening. I am NOT starting to worry that people think I am beating my children.

I did NOT give Ben a banana to eat to distract him while I cut his hair. I did NOT justify it by telling myself that hair is protein, so if he did get some on his banana, it would be good for him.

I did NOT go into the twins' room to get them for lunch, and find Grant standing on the glider rocker to turn on the fan, and Ben standing in a dresser drawer to try and stick his finger in the fan. I did NOT make a sarcastic comment in my head to my hubby in the 'told ya so' tone about why I really wanted to bolt their furniture to the wall, and he did not think it was necessary.

I did NOT feed my kids hot dogs for lunch. Two days in a row. Mmmmm, nitrates, anyone?

I did NOT burst into tears when I got the letter in the mail from the hospital that we were approved for the program that allows our remaining $4,598 hospital bill to now be $0. Marty and I did NOT do a happy dance since being so poor last year finally paid off.

I did NOT wonder why the kids were so cranky at 10:30 in the morning last week, and then suddenly realize that I forgot to feed them breakfast. Nope, not me!

I am NOT sitting here, Drew on my lap, knowing I have more to write, but cannot remember right now. I am NOT giving up and letting this be it for the week because the sunshine is calling once again.

Monday, April 6, 2009

From SAHM to Working Mom

I have been a SAHM (stay at home mom) for two and a half years now. Oh, I have done odd jobs, helping out my aunt in her business on occasion; shampooing carpets; washing windows; grooming dogs (or cats, depending on the need,) for some extra money for the household, but nothing that would even remotely qualify as a working mom.

As of this weekend, I am a SAHM no more.

My extremely talented sister in law Amy Parsons is a wedding photographer, and I get to be her second shooter. Marty keeps cracking jokes about me being the second shooter on the grassy knoll. (Get it? JFK? Yeah, I know, it's dumb.) Weirdo.

Anyway.

I did a few weddings with Amy last year, and am really just learning the ropes in photography. I did photography in school and I was a photographer for JC Penney Portrait Studios for a while. The studio thing really didn't count since everything was automatic, and back in school everything was so different. Digital brings a lot of flexibility, but with that comes a lot to learn. My first wedding with Amy, she handed me her Nikon D200, set it to manual and told me to figure it out. Really, that is the best way to learn and I hope I have been improving with each wedding.

I had a blast getting back into it, luckily this first wedding was just around the corner from our house so I was able to run home to nurse Drew a few times. I was exhausted by the end of the day, and so was Marty, as this was his first day with all four kids. I don't think they understood that Daddy needed them on their best behavior, and they gave him a hard time. He did well though, 'cuz he is super-dad.

My second venture (since I am an idiot and cannot limit myself to just one thing) is starting a business with my best friend, Teresa. We have been talking about it for years, but have been alternating being pregnant for a while. Since neither one of us plans on any more kids, we thought we'd give it a go. We make beaded bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, jewelry, garland, wine glass charms, and anything else we can think of. We got together yesterday and sat in the beautiful sunshine, watched the kids play, and did our crafting. I will post some pictures of our product as I get some. The kids were great, and the day would have been darn near perfect if it were not for my hubby's allergies that came in full bloom and made him miserable. Seriously, his eyes were so red and swollen he looked like he was high as a kite and unable to breathe. Poor guy did not have a great weekend.

I am loving this since the beads are something I can do after the kid go to bed, and the photography is on the weekends when Marty is home to take care of the kids. And, photography involves talking to grown-ups, and beading is with my best friend. Yay!

So there you have it. Last week a SAHM, this week a mother of four under five, entrepreneur, and photographer. Oh, and blogger. Can't forget that one!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Duct Tape is My Friend

My kids have all been good about bedtime. Part of it is early sleep training, and part is a blessing from God, but when we put the kids to bed, they go to sleep.

Most of the time.

Last night was an exception. Ben's secret stash (which I still haven't found) has devoured his Ted and morning milk cup. Teds are very important, they go everywhere with the boys and are must-haves for sleeping. Here's Grant and his Ted. Sometimes you need Ted, but don't have free hands to carry him.



Ben's Ted is identical, but blue. And it has been missing since before naptime yesterday.

Naptime went OK, I was able to trick him into loving up on another toy, but bedtime was a different story. Yesterday the boys got new Wonder Pets from my friend Brenda who came up to see us, so we decided to let the boys go to bed with their new toys to try and distract from the missing Ted.

And distract they did.

We put the boys to bed, and about five minutes later, we hear them giggling a little. The giggling turned in to full blown laughing, followed by jumping and shouting. We ignored them, knowing they would calm down eventually. After about a half hour, Marty went in to try and settle them.

They were riled up because of the toys, not doubt. But somewhere in Grant's little two-year-old mind, he thought it would be a good idea to do a little bed re-arranging.

Marty walked in to find Grant, quite proudly, standing buck naked in an empty crib. Ben was hanging out very comfortably in his crib with two pillows, two blankets, two dinosaurs, two monkeys, and Grant's diaper. I have never understood the logic of a two-year-old.

When Emma was little, she would take off her diaper in her crib and finger-paint with the contents. I bought pink duct tape with Emma, and duct taped the tabs together so that she could not get the diaper off. Today's task is going to Michael's craft store and buying some cool camo-print duct tape to keep Grant's diapers on. 'Cuz you have to be stylin' when you duct tape your children, or someone might call CPS.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's Meme Time!

Tricia over at Pure Chaos posted this meme but didn't tag anyone, so I am tagging myself. 'Cuz I'm weird like that.


Here are the guidelines:

1. Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention; add a question of your own.

2. Tag eight other un-tagged people.


What is your current obsession? Trying to set a schedule and task list to better utilize my time. I am listing every chore I do (or should do) daily, weekly, and monthly. Then I am going to put them into an excel spreadsheet and do little check boxes and have one page for each month, with different lists on them. Then I will hang it on my fridge and forget all about it be more organized.

If you could go anywhere and guarantee your kids would behave perfectly and not run off, where would you go? I would take them to Pike Place Market and explore the waterfront in Seattle. There is so much to see, and I loved dong that as a kid.

Do you nap a lot? No, but I dream about napping a lot. Mmmmm, napping...

Who was the last person you hugged? Grant, getting him up from nap. Or was it Ben? Well, whichever boy got up last.

What’s for dinner? It's just me and the boys tonight, so I am thinking leftover turkey stuffin' meatloaf or stir-fry. I don't know which.

What was the last thing you bought? New jeans at Old Navy, new black pants at Kohl's and a belt. I love getting money and gift cards for my birthday.

What are you listening to right now? The twins playing nicely. The click, click, click of Drew's swing over the baby monitor. And my conscience, yelling at me since Drew is sleeping and the twins are playing nicely, so I should really be getting stuff done.

What is your favorite weather? My favorite kind of weather is 80 degrees. Sunny, blue sky and gorgeous. Hot enough to be comfy in shorts and a tank top, even if the wind starts going a little, but not so hot that you are sweating.

What’s on your bedside table? Our room light (it has to be off the floor so it doesn't end up as a jungle gym) my lamp, my alarm clock, and the TV remote.

Most used cuss word? The worst I use are crap and pissed. I am trying to work on it, and I don't say those in front of the kids.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be? Right here. Well, not exactly here, but in our county somewhere.

Favourite vacation spot? Ummm... Riiiiggght...

What would you like to have in your hands right now? A winning lotto ticket. Or a milk chocolate truffle.

What is your favorite tea flavor? I like Long Island Iced Tea. I am not really a hot tea drinker.

What would you like to get rid of? My belly flab and stretch marks. And the clutter that seems to multiply around our house.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? I would go to Thailand and get some real authentic, not made from cat or golden retriever Thai food.

What did you want to become as a child? A model or a photographer. I did the modeling thing in high school and college, and I am working on photography now.

Where would you like to be in five years? In a bigger house, with a successful business and photography on the side.

What are you reading right now? A hand-me-down magazine from Marty's Grandma, it is a current edition, but I don't remember what it is.

What's your favorite brand of jeans? Gap long and lean

What designer piece of clothing would you most like to own (new or vintage)? I have no desire for designer clothes. Wait, I want a really expensive designer handbag that I can return and take the money to the outlet stores and get a whole new wardrobe. My new black pants today were $8.29.