Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Facts

Thankful for: In this time of sickness, where I have six of six family members ill, I am grateful for my kids' health. I know, that sounds strange to say, but if the worst I have to deal with is a nasty cold, I think I am doing great. I keep hearing about people with kids with cancer and heart problems and the like, and I am so very grateful that my kids are healthy and happy and that we don't have to deal with illnesses that might take their lives. I am thankful for that.

Looking forward to: This weekend, we have no plans. Isn't that great? I am so excited that we have a weekend at home and maybe, just maybe, we can get to the bottom of the laundry pile.

What's for dinner tonight: I'm feeling like steak tonight. I wonder if it will clear up enough for me to barbecue. On Valentine's day, I made beef tenderloin medallions with pan-seared prawns and a Manhattan sauce, and I have been craving that Manhattan sauce again ever since. Just seeing Manhattan sauce on the screen is making me drool!

Listening to: Grant is in an extended time-out for pushing Drew down, and then pushing him again while he was in time-out. So he's quiet. Ben and Drew are playing with one of Drew's toys, so Ben is telling him about the horsies in the cave and Drew is saying "This? This? Up, up!" Which are his two main words he uses for everything.

Missing: Unfortunately, my cell phone has not been seen since Sunday. I don't really use it at home, so I didn't notice right away, but now I have no idea where to find it. I am blaming Drew. He seems to be taking after his hero-brother Ben.

Wanting/needing: I am needing to fatten up Drew a bit. Or a lot. He is almost fourteen months old and he weighs just over nineteen pounds. He is in the 75th percentile for height, but not even on the curve for weight. The thing is, this kid eats. It is not for lack of calories that he is not gaining weight, he will eat an entire chicken breast and a half a cantaloupe in one sitting, and ask for more. Four to five meals a day, every day. I'm not kidding, my nineteen pound baby eats more than an average adult.

But he is constantly moving. Oh, the activity level of this child amazes me. He burns so many calories a day, he just can't gain weight. I've started drizzling everything he eats with extra virgin olive oil, he eats salmon and avocado and good fatty stuff. But he needs to gain weight. I can't keep pants on the skinny little kid.

Quote of the Week:
Me: "Baby Drew, say Mama!"
Drew: "Up up up up up up!"
Me: "Say ma-ma!"
Drew: with a big grin and a twinkle in his eye "Up-up!"
Me: "Silly boy, say MA-MA!"
Drew: still grinning "UP-UP!"
Me: 'MA-MA!"
Drew: can hardly contain himself now, he's laughing at his joke "UP-UP!"
Me: "I'm your mama, say, MA-MA!"
Drew: "up-up, up-up, up-up, ma-ma!"
And then we dissolved into a giggling heap on the floor.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Grand Prix

Last night was Emma's Awana Grand Prix. I never did Awana as a kid, and I saw my brother do his Boy Scout Grand Prix every year (and was incredibly jealous as a child), so I was so excited for Emma to be able to take part.

Marty and I discussed at length how involved we wanted to be in the process. On one hand, Emma deserved a shot at winning, so we could do most of the car ourselves, with Emma's help and input. However, there was the idea that it was much more important to let Emma do it herself with our guidance, so that the creation was entirely hers (and that satisfaction of doing it herself would far outweigh the satisfaction of winning with a car her parents designed.)

It was a discussion for a while, but eventually, Marty had to go to work and I got to do it my way. Or, should I say, Emma's way.We worked together on the car, and it was fun. She designed the car, and I smoothed out the wavy edges on her drawing till we had it exactly how she wanted it. (They had the jigsaw at Awana for a couple of nights so a leader could cut out the design we drew on the block of wood.) We sanded together, and then she sanded by herself. She did a great job sanding the top of the dining room table her car, and she was so proud of her result.

We painted together. She got to decide what color paint to use, and went with an every-panel-is-a-different-shade-of-pink-or-purple scheme. I got to help, under her direction and make sure the table did not get painted, too. She added flames to one side, and drew stars all over it with Sharpie.
To see the joy light up her face was so worth it. She made this car all by herself. She was proud, and we were happy.

While we waited for the race to start, Drew found a new place to hang out and travel.
Hey, there's probably a lot of Cheerios down there. I don't blame the kid.

Emma raced in four different heats, and her car took second each time.
She didn't make the finals, and she didn't win a trophy. But she raced her own car, and even though she was disappointed that she didn't win, she was happy. She is already talking about her car design for next year.

Way to go, baby girl. You did awesome, and your car looks fabulous.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bike for Haiti Update

This weekend, my precious Emma joined Holland and his friends and biked around Lake Padden to raise money for the people of Haiti.

There was a good turn out, several families joined in. You can see our crew on the far left of this photo. I think there were a total of eight kids on bikes raising money, and of course, the families came along, too.
I had the twins in the double stroller and Drew in the front-pack while Marty went along side Emma and helped her along. She is not the best at biking (since we live on a gravel driveway and a road that no parent in their right mind would ever let their child ride a bike near) so the hilly trail was something that she needed assistance on from time to time.

I stopped partway around to get this shot, it was beautiful. It's amazing to think that we all went around the entire lake, and my five year old just kept going. She never said she wanted to stop, or that she was tired, or anything. She was such a trooper, we were so proud of her.

Here she is approaching the finish line. My amazing girl, making a difference in the world.

I am proud to say that Emma raised $175, and the whole Holland bikes for Haiti event brought in over $1,700. Way to go, kids! This is amazing as it was an event that was thought up by a four-year-old. How far can $1,700 go in Haiti? I cannot even imagine.

Emma was thrilled at the amount she was able to earn. She asked me, "Mommy? Do you think it's enough to build a roof?" I don't know, baby, but I bet it's close.

If you ever feel that you can't make a difference in the world, think again. This just proves that anyone can so anything, if you just put your mind to it.

Great job, Emma! We are so proud of you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday!

As always, this was created by MckMama, head on over to her blog to see what she and everyone else have NOT been doing this week!

It has NOT been three weeks since I have done a NOT Me! Monday! There is NO WAY I would neglect one of my favorite topics for that long because of sickness/tiredness/overall laziness.

We got our tax return a couple of weeks ago, and I had a blast spending some of the money. I planned a huge shopping day, complete with detailed lists and budgets and everything. I actually do love that type of organization. It's just the remembering what day it is and doing the right thing on the right day stuff that gets me.

My first stop needed to be Costco, so I threw a cooler in the back of the van to keep stuff cold while I finished the rest. I had a reasonably-sized list, I did NOT buy so much stuff that I truly struggled to fit it all in the van. I did NOT spend a few minutes staring into the van and wondering if I would have to bungee-cord a case of diapers to the top. I did NOT end up with two cases of diapers on the front seat next to me, meaning when I met up with my hubby after work he had to put them in his car just to fit himself in mine.

My next stop was Walmart, which is a place I detest. However, we needed a new toilet seat, and the prices there cannot be beat. I was NOT so over-eager upon leaving, that I exercised my fabulous push-button-back-hatch-opener-thingy while we were still a few cars away from our van, so that it would be completely open by the time I got there. NOPE, I didn't! So there was NO WAY I was holding hands in a nice long chain of kids with Drew and a toilet seat in my arm, and about twenty feet away when the hatch started to open, quickly revealing that the load had shifted in transit and the cooler was leaning on the back gate.

I mean, how horrid would that be, if I were walking along and could watch the cooler sloooowly tilting further and further, and be powerless to stop it, until the door opened completely and the cooler dumped out of the van, the lid flew open and then it rolled a few feet, spilling all my food across the parking lot of WallyWorld. I'm so glad that did NOT happen to me. Because if it did, and the Costco-sized carton of eggs were in the cooler, and therefore cracked open, spilling suddenly-scrambled eggs all over my packages of salmon burgers, meatballs and cheese, I just might have cried right there in the parking lot.

That was a close one. Glad that was NOT me!

And since it WASN'T me, I don't have to worry about the fact that the cooler's lid snapped off on impact, leaving behind a broken, egg-covered mess of a cooler.

And since that still WASN'T me, I certainly would NOT have been so mad when I got home that I unpacked the cooler, washed off the contents, and left the egg-soaked broken mess outside on the patio, contemplating just throwing the whole thing out for so long that the egg inside started to stink. NOPE, I'm so very glad that was NOT me!!

What have you NOT been doing this last week (or three?)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Emma Bikes For Haiti

I try to expose my children to life in our world, just enough that they can see exactly how blessed we are, and how important it is to help others. We have been watching some videos and looking at some pictures since the quake, and Emma seems to get it, as much as an extremely sheltered American five-year-old can. Yes, she is sheltered. I am sheltered. I think we are all sheltered, we have no idea what it is like to be truly poverty stricken.

I watched the new "We Are The World" video with her the other day. As usual, I cried at the images of the Hatians lifting their hands up and dancing with joy. I paused the video at certain scenes, telling her about how all the buildings and houses were destroyed in the earthquake and now these wonderful people lived under tents and had very little food. She listened intently, and took it all into her tender little soul.

Later, she asked me to play the video for her again. I started it, and she called Grant up to sit by her. As I walked through the kitchen, I could hear her telling him about it. I cried again.

"Look Grant, see here? They only get this bowl of cereal and that's all they get to eat all day. And these tents are their houses. All their houses got squished. They don't have anything left."

Suddenly, she noticed me, and started whispering to him, and I was unable to hear.

We know of a four year old boy named Holland who is going to ride his bike in his own fundraiser for the people of Haiti. As soon as Emma heard about it, she wanted to go, too.

"Mommy, we can raise money and send it to them so they can buy stuff since they don't have anything!" The pride and excitement in her eyes, the ability to help in a seemingly impossible situation is amazing.

My mommy heart is bursting with pride to tell you that this Sunday, Emma is going to ride her bike two and a half miles around Lake Padden to raise money for the people of Haiti.

She is joining Holland and about twenty other kids that have gotten involved as well. If you would like more information on this amazing event, go to Holland's website by clicking HERE. If you would like to donate, you can e-mail me at tiffanileone(at)yahoo(dot)com and we can work out the details.

And if you live in our area, feel free to come on by and show your support at Lake Padden on Sunday, from 2-4.

I'll be the one crying.

Adding Another Notch On My Mother-Of-The-Year belt

Ahhh, Valentines day.

I remember loving Valentines day as a kid. The school parties were great, and I LOVED handing out Valentines and getting some in return. Emma has had parties at her pre-school before, but this year was her first real-school Valentines day party.

She was so excited.

They sent a letter home in her pee-chee folder a couple weeks beforehand, and we had been diligently working on her Valentines, a few each day, ever since. Valentine's day was on Sunday, so I just assumed the party was on the Friday prior.

You can imagine my sinking-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach horror-type-feeling when my darling daughter got home from school on Wednesday wearing a heart-shaped crown and carrying a bag of Valentines.

I missed it completely.

A beautiful stack of Valentines, just sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting to be delivered to her classmates and the party went on without them.

I was devastated.

Emma was fine.

"It's OK, mom," she told me. "Teacher says we can bring them next year."

"Next year, or next school day, baby? Did we miss it completely?"

"Ummm... maybe next school day. No, I think next year. Yup, it's next year. Don't worry, mommy, I can just save these till next year." Her sweet smile tried to cheer me up. She could tell how upset I was, and she wanted to make it right. That girl has a tender heart, I tell you.

"Sweetheart, next year you won't be in the same class as some of these kids. Try and remember what your teacher said."

"I think she said next week. Yup, it's next week. for sure."

Turns out Friday was a teacher workday, so no school. The bad thing is, remember my big beautiful calendar I bought to try and be more organized? Yup, it has "No School" written in on Friday. I didn't put it together. The letter that came home clearly stated the party was on Wednesday, I just assumed it was the school day before Valentines day, which, technically, it was.

I gotta start writing a lot more stuff on my calendar.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chuck E Jeez-can-I-get-a-beer?

For the longest time, I did not understand why they sell beer at Chuck E Cheese.

Then I had four kids.

I get it now.

We went there this past weekend for a birthday party. I am not a fan of the place, it is hard to keep track of four kids when there are only two adults and all four kids want to go different directions. The kids love it there, and every parent I know hates it.

I know, some of you say, "Just let them roam free! That's what Chuck E Cheese is all about!" If that is your philosophy, I respect our difference in opinion. Let me know next time I see you, and I'll smack you a good one.

It's the roaming free mentality that makes me want to drink large amounts. But I don't have time, since I am chasing my kids, and yours will eventually trip me and I would spill my beer.

So not cool.

It was the unsupervised one-year-old who was at his own one-year-old party that thought it was a good idea to climb up on Emma's Skee Ball machine while she was trying to play. I tried to gently pull him down, saying kindly, "Oh, don't climb up there sweetie, it's not safe!" and figured the parents had just lost track of him for a minute and would be coming soon. Nope. Ten minutes later I simply blocked him with my leg and told Emma to finish her game quick so we could get out of there.

It's the unsupervised children that really get to me, but not quite as much as the unruly-yet-still-supervised ones. Like when my daughter was riding the horse, and a little girl of about four tried to climb up on the horse with her while the ride was going. Emma told her to stop, but the girl insisted that she wanted to ride, so she proceeded to pinch her hard in the back in an attempt to get her off the ride. And the mother was standing right there, watching the whole thing, and never said a word. Marty said he scolded the girl, and was about two seconds away from telling the mother that she needed to control her child or he would teach his to start kicking.

Oh, and there were the kids from another birthday party that were rummaging through the gift bags at our party, checking out the goods. And their parents were watching. And didn't care.

This whole thing really scares me. And not just because I feel that I will become an alcoholic if we ever have to return to that horrible place, but what are we teaching our kids here? What is going to happen to these children that have no boundaries, no respect, and no self control? I am terrified that these kids will be going to school with my kids, and that they will be their friends and peer influences.

And what will happen to then as adults? If they have no boundaries as kids, if they have no concept of cause and effect or consequences, the government will provide consequences for them. Should we start clearing land for more jails now? Because people don't realize, in an attempt to let kids be kids, they are ruining any chance of them having a life as an adult. Period.

OK, I'll get down off my soapbox now. I'll continue to teach my kids the difference between right and wrong and to respect other people's belongings and personal boundaries.

And I'll avoid Chuck E Cheese for a while. Honestly, if their beer is as good as their pizza, I'd pass anyway.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Proof my children are severely abused

Sorry for the lack of blogging, Drew now has croup and an ear infection. I have some sort of nasty yuckiness that is making my head all swirly and I'm weak and tired and my legs are cramping. I'm trying to drink lots of water to get rid of the leg cramps, don't worry!

I'll be back with tons of fun news later this week, but for now, here's a little video of what happens when I leave the kids at Holly's house. Yup, Drew gets shot with a nerf gun. Auntie Amy is the one doing the shooting, you can hear her laughter in the background, and you can see Grant running around getting the nerf thingys.

When the cat's away, the mice will... well, shoot the baby.

Go HERE to see the video of my child being terrorized. I mean, you can just tell he's completely distraught by the whole event. Poor kid.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Facts

Quick update: I took Emma to the Dr last night after she had been complaining of ear pain all day, and started running a slight fever. The doc took a look, and said he couldn't see the eardrum with all the wax build up, so the nurse needed to irrigate her ears.

It was nasty.

Picture a clump of earwax the size of a pencil eraser. Now, picture four of those clumps in one ear. I almost lost my dinner, I am so very thankful I am not pregnant or I certainly would have. The other non-hurty ear had two clumps like that, plus a lot of loose goo. Sorry for the gross-out factor of this, but this is my blog and I get to share whatever I want! HeeHee!

The nurse told Emma that she has so much wax that she could send it all home with her and Mom could almost make a candle out of it. I politely told the nurse that that was fine, but she would then need to clean my vomit off of her shoes. She laughed.

Anyway, Emma has an ear infection, and for some reason she makes earwax that is so thick it cannot drain on it's own. There is no way to clean it out with a q-tip, that would actually make it worse. I got prescriptions for antibiotics and numbing stuff and something to keep her wax loose so this doesn't happen again.

Moral of the story? I now feel bad about how many times I have told her lately, "I know you can hear me, and I expect you to listen the first time." And then there's, "If you want, I can call Santa and have him bring you new ears instead of presents, since your ears appear to be broken." Oh, and, "Emma, stop shouting. I am right here, you do not need to yell for me to hear you." I am expecting some flabbergasting behavior issues will go away now that she can hear again.

Thankful for:
I am thankful for my extended family. For the fact that when we need car repairs, we can easily borrow a car and not be stranded for a while. That we have a wonderful support network here that helps us out whenever needed, and that we are always here for each other. Our family is fabulous, and I am so thankful that we do not have family drama. We have our differences, mind you, but we all get along and whenever there is an issue, we work it out and move on. Time with family is fun and cherished, and not a time to dread or simply survive. I am so thankful for my family!

Looking forward to: Valentine's day! My fabulous sister-in-law Holly has offered to take my kids overnight so we can get out for a date night. My brother-in-law works on an oil barge, so he is gone for half the year, and is gone right now, so she tries to help out other people when she can. She had a great post on Valentine's day on her blog, you can read it by going here. Truly, this day is about love, and you can show love to others whether you are in a relationship or not. Holly is a great example of someone who truly knows how to show love. Thank you, sister!

What's for dinner tonight: Tonight we are going to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party tonight. Dinner will be the fabulous pizza they serve there. There is a good chance I will have a sandwich at home beforehand, although I am not "dieting" in the traditional way, I have no desire to consume that many calories on something so nasty.

Listening to: The kids watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Drew had a rough night last night, so he went down for a nap at 8:15 this morning. Yeah, that kind of rough. I want a nap, too!

Missing: Ben's Ted has been found, now Grant's has been missing since last night. Grant's is usually easy to find, I'm sure he just set it somewhere random and it will show up by later today. I know, famous last words.

Wanting/needing: A date night with my hubby. Two days, baby!

Quote of the Week:
Those of you who follow Still seeking Sanity on Facebook will have already heard this one, but I wanted to put it here as well. What's that? You didn't know this blog was on Facebook?!? Well, go HERE and become a fan!

Anywhoo, Earlier this week Grant woke up sobbing from a bad dream. The next morning, Marty asked him about it. "Grant, did you have a bad dream last night, buddy?" Grant looked so solemn and serious as he replied, "A monster took my dream." Ben, who was standing there as well, piped up, "A monster di nit take my dream. I put it in my pocket." And then he opened up his pocket to show Marty where he had put his dream to keep it safe from the monster.

Later, I talked to Grant about it again, and he basically said that he had had a bad dream, but then a monster came and took the bad dream away so he could not remember it anymore. I tend to occasionally forget that my kids love monsters and that they are the good guys sometimes.

Have a fabulous weekend, and Happy Valentines day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yes or No?

Ben's Ted has been missing. Again.

As of yesterday, it had been almost a week. I had looked everywhere. It was not in the crisper drawer(s). Not behind the oven. Not in the couches, or in Emma's sock drawer, on top of the hot water tank, or behind the desk where my shoe had been. I could not find it anywhere.

Ben was really starting to miss Ted. A few days ago he started crying for no apparent reason, so I lifted him into my lap to talk. I asked him what was wrong, and he cried, "I miss baby Ted!" Poor kid. He's not one to show his emotions like that, so I knew it was really bothering him. "Buddy, do you remember where baby Ted is? Do you know where you put him?" He looked at me and replied, "He gone forever!" and then he collapsed into my chest sobbing. My heart broke as I held him.

Last night I put him to bed, still without baby Ted. He hadn't mentioned him since the sobbing-in-a-pile-on-my-lap episode, but I decided to bring him up again. While we prayed, I said, "...and dear Jesus, please help us find baby Ted. Ben misses him a lot." When we were done, Ben was a little surprised. "Mommy, you ask Jesus to find baby Ted?" I stroked his head. "Yes, baby, Jesus cares about the things that are important to you. He knows you miss Ted, and He wants you to find him, and we can always ask for His help."

Ben considered this for a moment. The sheer magnitude of a huge God that created everything caring about his Ted was something to marvel.

"Mommy?" he asked in his cute little voice. So deliberate in his speech, wanting to make sure I understood. "Did Jesus say yes, or no?"

Oh, the lessons we can learn from a child.

The fact is, God does answer each and every prayer. Sometimes He says yes to our requests, and sometimes He says no. Sometimes, He says wait. But our requests are heard by God, and He answers every. single. one.

Isn't that fantastic?

Now I know that every person alive has heard God say no to some request or another. And that hurts, because we don't understand it. I don't know why my sister died at the age of twenty-three, it doesn't make sense to me. But what does make sense to me is the fact that God is in control, and He knew it was her time to go, and whatever that reason was, I won't understand it on this side of heaven. That's OK, because I know He loves us completely.

Last night, God said yes.

I prayed a lot last night, as I went through the house, searching for Ted. I felt led to a pile of laundry in my room, and behind the stack of bedding that we had borrowed for the new bed, was Ben's baby Ted. Since that pile of folded-neatly blankets had been there since before Ted had gone AWOL, and did not look disturbed, I had not yet looked behind it. But there was Ted.

My friend Kelina was over and we went into the boys' room to give Ted to Ben. But Ben wouldn't wake up. I was so excited to see his little face when he saw Ted, but I was literally shaking him, holding his arm and using it to smack himself on the head, and he slept through it all. I tucked Ted under his chin, held in his arms, kissed him and left the room.

This morning, Ben came running into my bedroom with the biggest grin on his face and Ted in his hands. "Hey, Ben! Oh, look, there's Ted! Where did he come from?" I asked, and he grinned at me. "Jesus found him!" he replied, his face lit up with joy.

I smiled at my boy. "Yes, baby, He sure did."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pot, Meet Kettle

"OK, boys, you may go in the living room, as long as you stay super quiet. Drew is still sleeping, OK?"

It is early this morning, and the boys are done with their morning snuggle. They want to go out into the living room and start playing with the toys, by themselves. They love the independence of being able to go out unsupervised, and I appreciate a few minutes to pee and brush my teeth, well, unsupervised.

All is calm for a while. I am brushing my hair, and can hear their little voices chattering away. Suddenly, Grant seems to get too loud for Ben, and Ben shushes him. However, Ben's shushing is apparently too loud for Grant, and Grant tells him to be quiet. So Ben shushes him. Grant gets louder. "Benja-Ben! You be quiet! You no wake baby Drew!" "Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!" "Benja-Ben, be quiet!" "SHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Back and forth, louder and louder.

"Hey, boys! Please stop. That is not necessary!"

Instant silence. I go back to brushing my hair, wondering if a little baby powder at the roots would count as washing it today. There is suddenly a little boy behind me.

"Mommy?" His baby voice is just stinking adorable.

"Yes, Grant?"

"Mommy, Ben is the loudest boy ever." He stands so serious, looking up at me with those sweet, deep brown eyes filled with concern for his twin.

"You think Ben is the loudest boy ever?" I ask in the way parents do, repeating the statement to buy time to think of an appropriate response, and to try and keep from bursting out laughing. He stands there still, fiddling with his baby Ted, looking up over his gently furrowed brow in total concentration. "Yes, Mommy, Ben is the loudest boy ever."

Time is not helping me. I cannot think of an appropriate response, but a response is what he is looking for. "You know, buddy, I think you might be right." That's all I can muster, any more words and I will lose it completely. I manage to match the seriousness in his face, as happy at my response, he slowly turns and walks out of the room.

I return to brushing my hair and finally release the laugh that has been just below the surface. It's going to be a fun day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Facts

Thankful for: Today, I am thankful for my wonderful neighbor who, upon realizing we did not make it to the school bus this morning, came over to see if we were OK. Which made me realize that it was Friday today and a school day, a fact that I had missed completely. Ensue running-around-the-house-to-get-everyone-ready-super-fast mode. And then drive Emma to school, unshowered and still in my jammies. Very thankful that I didn't run into anyone in the parking lot.

Looking forward to: I am so very excited our tax return came today! WooHoo! I am looking forward to spending money on things we need, but have gone without. For example, I have been using the same razor for two years. Yeah.

What's for dinner tonight: I don't know, but this money just might burn a hole in our pockets and we might splurge. Maybe, just maybe, we'll hit up the ever-so-fancy Costco hot dog line. Yup, we're living large.

Listening to: The Imagination Movers on TV, and Grant playing with his fire truck. Drew's sleeping and Emma's at school (finally) so the boys are happy watching TV. I have been trying to enforce turning the TV off early in the day, so that might not last too long, though.

Missing: Not missing my shoe. Not missing my Costco card. Still missing the hairbrush that disappeared out of my bathroom drawer during Marty's birthday party a year and a half ago, but have given up on that one. Wow, I think I'm good right now. Scary!

Wanting/needing: Definitely some organization around here, since I can't even keep track of what day it is vs. what day Emma goes to school. Must work on that one.

Quote of the week: From Ben: "You gotta get over here and get me apple juice!" and "You gotta change me!" as well as "You gotta come here!" oh, and don't forget "You gotta get me this show!" Yeah, that's his new phase. It's fabulous. Let me tell you, it's working out really well for him. I love it. OK, I'll stop now before the sarcasm drips off your screen and makes a little Tiffani-sarcasm-pool on your desk. Trust me, that stuff's hard to clean up.

Don't forget to visit Tiffiny at The Story of Our Life, who created Friday Facts! What are yours?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ask Tiff! Part Three!

Alrighty, folks! I aim to finish the Ask Tiff questions that you, my loyal readers, want to know!

Stephana said...

How many times a week are you jogging/running?

-your running partner!!

Well, my darling running partner, since I always run with you and only you, you would know as much as I! For the rest of you, Stephana is my good friend, fabulous hairdresser, and my new running partner. As a wonderful new year's resolution to get in better shape, we wanted to run together. And it sounds so fit and fun to have a running partner. We have a great time, talking about running, Facebooking about running, joking about running, it's almost as good as if we were actually running together.

I love having a running partner! It just makes me feel athletic.

Anonymous said...

When you were young and dumb....were you always responsible and make the right choices?
Might be some funny stories there!

Brenda A

Oh, I'm sure there are some funny stories there! Like any child, I did not always make the right choices, but I think I was overall a pretty good kid. Nothing like my Dad, though, I mean, I never hung Bradley.

Have you ever heard the hung Bradley story? No? Well, let me fill you in to try and distract you from the fact that I am not telling my own story of childhood disobedience!

When my dad was a kid, he was playing cowboys and Indians with Bradley, a neighborhood kid. Since Bradley was the bad guy, my dad thought it would be a good idea to put a chain around his neck and around the top of the swingset. Sure, it was all fun and games, till Bradley didn't like it anymore and accidentally kicked the bucket he was standing on out from under himself, and was suspended in the air by a chain around his neck. My dad, being the completely responsible kid he was, got scared and ran away, leaving Bradly to hang.

Luckily, my Grandma saw this out the kitchen window and saved Bradley. And I have to say, many times in my childhood I thought a punishment was too severe, but nothing compared to what happened to my dad after he hung Bradley.

Snow Mommy said...

Are you ever going to buy new tennis shoes?

I am so excited that since you asked this question, I have found my tennis shoes! It's funny though, they had been missing so long I had built them up in my mind to the point that they were practically new, but reality means they are a lot more worn than I remember. I will buy new tennis shoes fairly soon, especially since I need a good pair for all the running I have been doing lately. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tiff Answers, Part Two!

Ok, here's the (very late) answers to your burning questions, here is Ask Tiff, Part Two!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever had a "defining moment" in your life? An "ah-ha" moment when you knew things had to change, were going to change? What was it and what did you learn?

This is a great idea...I may do it on FB

See you tomorrow!! Kristen

I think everyone has defining moments in their lives, and I can think of one in particular. I won't go into too many details, but I had decided that I wanted to see what it was like to live life my way, and not following God. It was fun for a while, but not real fun, just the temporary fun that makes you regret it the next morning. I got really good at the perfect hangover cure!

Well, as usual, a life lived the wrong way tends to lead you to the wrong place. I found myself evicted from my apartment when my roommates (whose names were not on the lease) disappeared one day while I was out. I lost my job and had no money. I was homeless, jobless, and the friends I did have left were not good influences.

It took me a while, but I started to realize that it was my string of bad choices that led me to that point. I couldn't blame my roommates or my boss for my situation, I would never have been at that point if I hadn't relied on unreliable people, or been so very unreliable myself.

I was able to turn my life around and return to God. It's funny, but when you follow His plan for your life instead of your own, it always works out better, and is so much more fun and fulfilling! Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realize that, though. After looking for a job for over a month, surfing from couch to couch and finally moving back in with my parents, I was hired at Lids as the assistant manager, by the man who became my husband. And the rest is history.

Beth said...

When will your brother and I get to have dinner with all y'all again? =)

How did you decide on all the kids' names (first and middle)?

When you are able to get a bigger place, will you get any other pets besides Teddy your cat?

Love you! ~Bethany

Beth, I love you, too! I don't know when we will see you next, I'll have to call you and we'll find a time to have you come up. :)

We actually picked Emma's name before we were married. My middle name is Leone, my mom's middle name is Leone, and my Grandmother's first name was Leone. We knew we wanted to continue that tradition, and I liked the name Elle Leone. Marty didn't like Elle, and he suggested Emma. This was back before Rachel on Friends named her daughter Emma, so it wasn't the most popular girl's name ever then. When we found out we were having a girl, we knew it was our Emma. It wasn't till after that we discovered the name had soared up the ratings and that she would be one of many, many Emmas.

The twins were more difficult. Once again we had girls names picked out in case they were girls, but we struggled with the boy names. We had liked the name Benjamin, but had brought that up to people and someone who was closely related immediately said, "Oh! Yeah, then we can call him Benji!" and we immediately decided against the name. See, our family is BIG into cutesy nicknames, and we are not. So we wanted to be careful. Marty is still called Mart-fart by his family.

Grant is the name of our pastor at church, he started as Marty's middle school pastor, and moved through the church as Marty grew. He was also his high school pastor, his college pastor, and moved churches after Marty did and was the pastor who did our pre-marital counseling as the young marrieds pastor. He is now the senior pastor at our church and is a wonderful, caring, enthusiastic, Godly man. We were honored to name our son after him. Grant's middle name is David, after my dad.

We has a really hard time with the second twin name, and finally came back around to Ben, with the agreement that he would never be Benji. He is Benjamin Ryon, Ryon is Marty's favorite cousin who he spent a great deal of his childhood getting into trouble with.

Drew was a tough one. Because Marty had basically picked out the other three kids' names, I got to pick this one. I could not decide, though, (Marty had veto power and did not like the names I loved) and by the time he was born I had it narrowed down to Andrew, Jason, or Jackson. We were almost certain he would be Andrew, but when he was born, we knew he did not look like an Andy. He was taken to the nursery soon after his birth, and I could not pick his name without seeing his face, so he was a couple hours old before we decided he was still Andrew, just Drew instead of Andy. We really like Drew's name because he has choices later in life. Also, Drew Stauffer sounds like a football player, Andy Stauffer sounds like a baseball player, and Andrew Stauffer sounds like a lawyer or business owner. He is Andrew Martin, after Marty.

As far as other pets, I would LOVE to get a dog or two. I really am a dog person, and had dogs growing up. Plus, I would love to have a furry vacuum that can keep the kitchen floor cleaned! It's hard because we have the perfect yard for dogs now, but not the greatest house. Or time to take care of a dog. Or money to buy dog food. But I am really looking forward to having a dog again!

Well, I was planning on finishing this today, but I'll have to do a part three instead. Grant has decided that today is the day he wants to go pee-pee on the potty, and I'm not going to do anything to impair that. Remember the 27,000 diapers? Yup, I'd like that to end as soon as possible.

Have a great day, and I'll do my best to answer the rest tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I got this e-mail from my wonderful mother-in-law Lori Gardner after she watched the three oldest kids at McDonald's while I took Drew in for his checkup. I laughed at the image this brought, and I thought you'd all enjoy it, too!

Had to share the McDonald's rescue yesterday since normally a play day at McDonald's is pretty uneventful. Pictures are attached.

After each of the lunches were finished, kids were excused to go play on the play equipment. All three took off shedding shoes & socks, then climbing, sliding, crawling, and climbing some more. Eventually I saw Grant and Emma coming down the slide, but no Ben. Just as I was about to ask Emma if she knew where her brother was, a little voice softly called out from the top, highest level in the play area, surrounded in mesh. "Grandmaaaaaaaa" drew my attention and a young father nearby looked at me and said, "I think it's one of yours." I could only see this blonde haired child with a face smashed against the (germy) mesh and his little fingers hanging on like a monkey in the zoo. I called out to Ben and asked if he was stuck. "Uhuh" he answered, then I asked "Do you need help?", and he answered, "Uhuh".

At that point I grabbed Emma and told her that Grandma needed her to go to the top and rescue Ben. She quickly scurried up the multi-levels and once she reached Ben, she attempted to assist in his removal. Ben started hollering and resisting her help. Emma called down, "He won't let me!", all the while drawing a larger focus by other adults, on the stuck child at the top. I looked around to see if there were any older children that could help with the understanding that Ben didn't want to come down with the assistance of another child, but wanted Grandma to come up to help, and couldn't. Each time Ben called out from the top in his pitiful "Grandmaaaaaa" I was imagining shedding my shoes, and then planning my strategy for the shortest route up and the fastest one down. I could see the slide entrance was only one level down from Ben and if Emma could just get him to that tier, he could exit smoothly. Soooo...... One last time, I sent Emma to the top. The instructions were, "Grab his ankle and just pull until he slides off the top to the next level down. Do it gently, but don't stop until he can reach the slide entrance." Emma looked at me puzzled as if she had never hear such orders given to aggressively wrestle her sibling. "But Grandma, Ben keeps kicking."

So Grandma gave her a hug and said, "It will only last for a minute if you do it fast and you need to let him know you are trying to help."

Emma headed for the top... again, and grabbed Ben by the ankle and started pulling. Several adults laughed as a screaming three year old was trying to hang on for dear life, and a persistent 5 year old was following the orders of Grandma with an intent to accomplish a goal. She kept yelling, "I'm trying to help you Ben!" and Ben's resistance would get louder. As the hollering stopped, I called up, "Did you get him?", not seeing either of them for a moment, and then a proud voice answered, "Yep, I got him Grandma!"

And just a moment later to my relief, Emma and Ben came spitting out the bottom of the slide. Emma was proud of her accomplishment, and Ben was ready for a hug and assurance that he was okay and that maybe he shouldn't climb so high ... just yet. Parents cheered and everyone went back to their Happy Meals and McCafe's.

Ohhhhh .....the joy of Grandmahood!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This was created by MckMama, head on over to her blog to see what she and everyone else have NOT been doing this week!

We do NOT have a household of sickies. We did NOT spend the weekend cleaning up a couple of piles of puke, and reminding kids over and over (and over) to cover their coughs. We did NOT decide last night to opt out of a family gathering so as to try and not infect the rest of our family with our germs, even though the puking had ceased and we all seemed to be on the mend. Nope, we are NOT that responsible!

So there is certainly NO WAY we decided that we were too sick to hang out with family, but well enough to take the kids out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. I mean, we would NEVER take coughing children out in public, just because we have a coupon and very little groceries. NEVER.

And while we were there, we did NOT run into another family member who was skipping out on the family gathering, without the excuse of being sick. This family member shall remain nameless. (But we know who you are! Buuuuaaaahahahahaha! OK, I don't know why I just did the big evil laugh. It just seemed to fit.)

We did NOT have a certificate from for $25 off a purchase of $35 or more. Marty did NOT think it was off a purchase of $50 or more, so he did NOT keep telling me we needed to order more food. I was NOT so tired that I could not figure out for myself that two appetizers, two adult meals and three kids meals were going to be well over the $35 mark, and that they were not necessary. NOPE, I can do basic math and that would NEVER be a problem.

We did NOT decide that it was fine that we spent so much, as this might be our last meal out as a family for a long time. You know, depending on if the mechanic says Marty's car is fixable or not, and how much this new repair will eat into our tax return.

I did NOT go to the cupboard this morning to get myself a granola bar, only to find the cupboard without granola bars. Which is strange, since I bough three boxes at the grocery store last night. I did NOT then go through the evening in my mind, and realize that we went out to dinner, then to the grocery store, then the gas station, then another gas station because I forgot to get a paper at the last one, then another place since the gas station was out of papers, and by the time we got home it was past the kids' bedtime and we did NOT completely forget the groceries in the van.

I did NOT then call my husband, who has the van because his car is in the shop, and inform him of our mistake. Even though it is the middle of winter, I did NOT check the overnight temps because it has been hovering near 50 and would not be cold enough to handle the refrigerated stuff. I am sure his co-workers are NOT going to laugh at him as he brings six gallons of milk in the office to put in the work fridge instead of letting them spoil in the van all day.

I do NOT still want a granola bar.

What did you NOT do this week?