Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Before going to Florida for Christmas, we went to a friend's house for dinner & cookie baking. We all had a great time. Next year I'll have to remember to use MaryKay's idea of paintbrushes for decorating cookies. The kids had quite the dance party after dinner which helped everyone go to sleep quick that night. Friday we enjoyed the good weather with Fun Fridays at the park and then had lunch at a friend's house. It was wonderful to get to know a friend better while enjoying fresh coffee, grilled cheese sandwiches, & lunch with an adult. Saturday morning we headed down to Florida- I didn't pick books on CD as well at the library but we made it okay and even had time to play outside & go to Bibb park.

Sunday morning, we paid our taxes (canned goods) to the tax collectors and saw a Roman centurion on a horse. The boys loved the music in church then played in a Sunday School room while another centurion gave the sermon. During our short time in Madison, we did have time for the locking monster strike to again- it's a good thing C is pretty cute especially since it's really to find replacement keys for the ones that are supposed to be on top of the doors.

We headed down to Tampa after church. My parents rented a house in Tampa- the neighborhood was beautiful with a park right down the street & a nice lodge, pool, & hot tub, and lake a couple miles away. We spent lots of time at the parks & pool. (The cranes didn't follow the crane crossing signs so these birds nearly became Christmas dinner.)
Monday afternoon we went to see Ty & Anna at the VA hospital. I am so thankful that Ty is improving. When I got to his room, Anna was helping another family- so touching to see her helping others while they're going through hard times. Then we went to Curt & Michelle's house. The kids sure have grown over the two years since we'd last seen them. After dinner, we headed to the aquarirum which the kids (and adults) all loved. We even got a picture of the 5 kids with Santa.

Tuesday we went to the beach on MacDill AFB- I do think MacDill might edge out Fort Bragg for prettiest post :) The kids had a blast running around the beach, digging sand, flying kites, scaring away fishermen. A great afternoon.
Wednesday we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner at Curt & Michelle's and then went to their church for the Christmas Eve service. The boys got to be part of their first Christmas Eve program- K & Cousin W were wisemen, Cousin K was a sheep, & C was the littlest angel. Very cute! That night Santa made an appearance at Curt & Michelle's house- I wish I could have taken a picture of the look on K's face as Santa came in the door.The boys woke up so excited Christmas morning. We spent the morning opening stockings, baking Christmas cookies, decorating a gingerbread house, opening presents, & falling/ jumping into the pool in the backyard. (C falling/ me jumping- thankfully my phone was the only thing hurt.) The Hubbards came over and we enjoyed yummy Christmas brunch, opened more presents, then spent the afternoon at the park & pool- a beautiful 80 degree Christmas day.K said he was tired & went to bed before dinner- we saw him the next morning in time to go to Sea World. I did get a little teary during the Salute to the military before the Shamu show- really made me wish James was there with us. The boys all loved Shamu. They've been doing whale shows ever since & say they are going to grow up to be whale trainers (except K wants T to be a builder so he can build houses for all of them.) We had a great day at Sea World- neat shows, great animals, yummy BBQ, right price. We said goodbye to the Hubbards and ended the neat with ice cream for dinner & kids falling asleep on the way home!

We spent our last afternoon in Tampa at the park/ pool with Curt, Glenn, and kids. T loves the water, K had a blast jumping in and kicking around the pool, and C loved the splash pad. The end of a good trip. The next morning Nana took the boys to the park while Dad & I packed. T became quite the slide- he's trying hard to keep up with big brothers. We headed back to Madison, had lunch out, & back to my parents' house. That night we had a first celebration of C's upcoming birthday- he was very excited about singing, his cupcake, & his present. Now he sometimes says he's 3 (since he blew out candles) and sometimes says he's 2 (when he doesn't like what 3 year olds do.)

Lessons Learned

We had a wonderful Christmas trip which I'll write about tomorrow but I did want to share some of our lessons learned from the trip before I forget-
1) One pacifier is not enough for an 8 hour drive/ several day trip especially if you can't find the Pooh pacifier keeper- I think that was my most often asked question in FL: where's T's pacifier?
(K found his other one today)
2) Put a nametag on your stroller when you have to use stroller parking in case you have to chase your stolen stroller across the park.
3) It sure is nice to have some days where the adult:kid ratio is even.
4) I sure do miss afternoon naps when we're away but missing them makes bedtime easier (that's the glass half full side- the half empty is sometimes grumpy kids!)
5) Before you pack to drive 12 hours south, you should really check the weather (so you don't pack turtleneck sweaters, jackets, and one shirt & pair of shorts for 80 degree weather)
6) The warm weather is really nice- pretty fun to go swimming outside Christmas Day.
7) Cell phones don't work well if you jump in the pool with them. (The good news is you can cancel Sprint with deployment orders.)
8) Packing some toys & books in the boys' backpacks works just as well as a Happy Meal to keep boys busy on the road (and we save money instead of buying greasy food!)
9) We sure miss have James with us for Christmas.
10) We definitely miss him as we're trying to assemble toys (K said today "Mommy, boys are better at putting things together than girls."
11) It is nice to come home to a clean(ish) house even if it only lasts until we start unpacking.
12) it was possible to leave the refrigerator even emptier than Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Beach video

Merry Christmas everyone!
I'm going to write more later but I wanted to try to post this video of T loving the beach. He started out fully dressed but as he got sandier & wetter we took more of his clothes off. He couldn't get enough of the sand & the water. All the boys loved it but it was just extra special to watch T find this new fun.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Bathroom House

The locking monster strikes again. Thankfully, this time no pregnant women had to climb out of windows, but we may be down to one bathroom until James returns. :) Where do you get those keys that are supposed to go on top of doors?

Other than that, we've had a pretty (what's the word- quiet & slow don't seem to fit) week where we haven't done much away from home bc the boys had runny noses & coughs. Sunday we went to most of church. Monday we went to K's speech therapy (I've started maximizing that 30 minutes- last week 2 boys & I went to the post office, this week we went to the grocery store while K worked on talking like a turtle.) Tuesday we tried to sign K & C up for gymnastics, but K's class was full already so maybe karate? We didn't go to the PWOC Christmas program, which was supposed to be K's acting debut (he was going to hold up one of the letters that spells Christmas). If you'd seen their morning show, their coughing doesn't seem to be slowing them down any- I just haven't wanted to spread germs (as K now reminds his brother). I tried to upload it but I think the unicycle riding/ ball juggling/ banana eating all at the same time was a little too much for facebook.

We have done lots of "preschool" at home- some baking (although I burned the biscotti a little & have been forced to eat it myself instead of sharing), some decorating (although I'm not sure which got decorated more the table or the ornaments), we finished raking the yard (no more racing stripes- funny the things you sometimes do to make work fun)

I thought I'd share one of our frequently used recipes- it was quite a hit tonight! make sure you follow it exactly :)

Open refrigerator, find any leftovers (meat, beans, rice, veggies, ...), mix the leftovers with salsa (or any other condiment that seems like it goes with it), wrap into tortillas, place in baking dish, cover with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 until hot. (I've been thinking about sending this one into allrecipes.com but thought they might want amounts listed)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Fire Deparment did not come to our house today

I guess I should be thankful for that everyday that we don't have a fire, but I don't usually think about it. I think it was the blaring alarms all over the house or it could have been the fire in the oven that made me thankful for today. Unlike Saturday, today started very calmly/ routinely. The boys woke up, had oatmeal, played, T took his nap, we read & played more, the boys "helped" me make things in the kitchen, we went to K's speech therapy, had lunch, ... Then I decided to finish making the granola they were helping me with before speech therapy. I tried a new recipe (well, if you've seen me cook- this was my version of "trying a new recipe"- I borrowed pieces of different ones, adapted those, then tried it out.) I'm not sure which piece of this "new recipe" I don't recommend- maybe the combo of a little olive oil/ butter with the broiler of a gas stove- I definitely don't recommend the big flames which came out of the oven.
Amazingly, the alarms didn't wake T up from his nap, K didn't get up (although later he said it's very hard to go to sleep with alarms going off), and C did go to sleep a while after the alarms ended. It's good to know the alarm works- I did tell the alarm company that we didn't need the fire department to come- even though the boys would have been very excited to see fire trucks with wreaths on front come to our house! I am pretty sure that this is not what the granola was supposed to look like:

After that excitement, things went back to normal- although I don't know if the oven just got used to burning but the baked goodies we made for a friend are a little darker than they probably should be.

I started to write a post yesterday about how therapeutic raking leaves is, but as I continued to rake, I realized it's only therapeutic for the first 10 minutes or so- after that it turns into work! I have enjoyed the first minutes of raking for the last few days. The boys helped some and played lots and it was great to be outside. T started kicking the soccer ball across the yard- he's always trying to keep up with big brothers!

Sunday the "big" boys went with me to my "class" at church to hear the Christmas program- they loved the music. We did leave a little early (when the preacher started preaching)- I thought I'd used up all the sitting still time during the music. We got home and had time to do some more raking- I'm aiming to be finished my first raking of the whole yard before Kayleigh arrives (of course by then, it will be covered again:)
Tonight we went on a walk- K wanted to show me the house that he's going to buy when he's grown up & turns 20. He did say that kids don't always live where they grew up but then he picked out houses for the 3 boys. I guess we still have time to pick one out for baby sister.
I forgot to write about the different types of trees. As we through Pinetta, FL, K said that sounds a lot like Pine Valley. We started talking about pine trees and he said "there's four kinds of trees. Pine trees, other trees, apple trees, and Christmas trees." pretty cute!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good Day

So we went to bed early last night to be ready for a fun day with family today, but I didn't expect quite the adventure that we started with. I'd just been thinking we were having a nice morning- 3 boys woke up happy and not too early, then waited pretty patiently as I made pancakes. Just as I thought that, K ran into the kitchen and said "Mommy, T's in my bed". I walked into the boys' room and saw our 15 month old had climbed K's ladder and was happy as he could be playing on the top bunk. K watched as I took him down and then I heard C run in, yell "I locked it", and slam the door. So there the four of us were locked inside the boys' room. I calmed down a little since I knew that Grandma and Uncle Brian were coming today so we could get out. I was very glad we got a one story house as I climbed out the window today.
From our slightly crazy start, we had a wonderful day! Grandma and Brian got here before 10. The boys were super excited to see them. I left to run a few errands- it's amazing how much I appreciate a little time away from the boys and how much easier errands are with only my own carseat to buckle. Then, I came home to folded laundry, changed sheets on the boys' beds, and a wonderful lunch that Grandma brought. T made his rounds around the table seeing who would give him some ham. Then, we opened the wonderful presents from Grandma, Uncle Brian, and Leon. The boys were so excited- I was too! We read some of the boys' new books, had a costume party with the Brian bears' new clothes, used their telescope, T learned to open presents, C was excited about everything. I got a a calendar with quotes about peace for moms (I needed that this morning :), a beautiful antique cow plate, and a gift certificate to go to the spa (along with the promise of Grandma to babysit when I want to go- how sweet!!) We were so blessed today with all the wonderful gifts and the day together. I wish James could have been here too!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's amazing how quick boys go to bed after playing lots with lots of friends. We had a fun day- I can't say that our bread turned out the best tonight but it was fun to get together with friends. we had two other moms & 7 kids over for dinner. K got his wish for another costume party as we had Superman, Flash, Eeyore, Pooh, Karate Man, Home Depot girl & few more running around. The moms even got lots of time to talk while the kids played & played. Our fun with friends began early today as we got to watch a friend's little girl while she had her baby boy today. If you'd told me a few years ago that I would voluntarily take four children 4 & under in to Walmart by myself, I would have said you were crazy. But there we were this morning and it was really ok. A little practice for this spring when Kayleigh arrives! We made gingerbread cookies again- they turned out better today than yesterday although you can see the boys enjoyed them yesterday too when they got to play with friends, drink hot apple cider, & decorate & eat a gingerbread man.When our friends got ready to leave, poor K looked so sad as he heard his friends were headed home to watch movies & he knew he was headed to a nap. I know that it's ok for our kids to have some disappointment but this time I tried to change the subject to something happy & said we could put some Christmas lights up after naps. It worked but of course, after naps, he didn't forget about the lights so I headed back into the attic where I'd looked lots of times for our Fisher Price Nativity; today it was right there. So for our Family Time we did the Nativity story several times- I read and the boys acted it out with our Nativity figures. Then we recorded K telling the story. After I recorded it, I opened James' Christmas card and read where James asked us to record the boys acting it out- pretty neat!

The boys were also super excited to get the Christmas ornament from Daddy. When we get to Skype, James and the boys lots of times do "I'm a Moose" just like the ornament & Daddy's picture-it was perfect!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Talking T

Last night T saw a picture of a bear and said "Pooh". K told him "no it's corduroy." but I thought Pooh was good! Then this morning he said "door" and at dinner quickly learned "pop" for poppers. He's also saying "Ba" for banana. I think I started this post almost a week ago but we've had a whirlwind week- lots of time with friends, too tired at night for much time on the computer. (although I made up for that tonight in my LONG attempt to be able to schedule appointments online- sometimes computers don't make things easier- I'm only trying one more time!)

We got home Monday night and didn't stop- we had dinner with friends one night, Pine Valley Playgroup, Fun Fridays at the church playground, Cadence House for dinner, visit with Santa, Home Fires dinner Sat night, Singing Christmas tree Sun night- what a week! We also decorated & set up our Christmas tree and began our nightly tradition of reading a Christmas story & adding an ornament to our tree. We made and painted salt dough ornaments and colored lots of Christmas coloring sheets. The boys "helped" me rake the pine straw- although they were very confused about why we "don't like pinestraw" any more. The boys made these awesome Santa handprints at the Home Fires dinner. K loved the "Singing Christmas Tree"- he got to sit in the row in front of me with his friends. Tonight we went out to our Veteran's Day dinner at Golden Corral with Leon- the boys were very excited especially with the dessert!

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving. We drove down to Florida on Tuesday and missed all the holiday traffic- we made the 480 mile trip with one 25 minute stop- not bad! Wednesday morning Papa took K out for a big boy breakfast- K was a little nervous before he left but was quite excited when he came back. He even brought back some of his pancake face to share with C who got his own special trip to Papa. He went to mail something to Daddy and to the fire station. They came home with fire hats for everyone- what a good morning! My parents dug out some of my old books and Fisher Price toys which the boys had a blast playing with while we were there.On Thursday, we played in Bibb Park for a while and then went to Enid & Kevin's house for dinner. I babysat her three girls when we were growing up- lots of cooking, driving, & cleaning lessons- it was fun to get together & lots of yummy food! The boys were wonderfully quiet at first until Enid helped them feel so comfortable that they started growling loudly. Nancie's sweet baby girl turns 1 in January on C's 3rd birthday. Here's several turkeys- Dad's carving one and the boys coloring them.
Friday we went to the science museum and lunch in Tallahassee. We all enjoyed the museum- the pulleys were more fun once we figured out to put K on the one that did most of the work! We continued both Friday night pizza night & day after Thanksgiving tradition with Friday night dinner of turkey sandwiches & turkey pizza. We did do some after Thanksgiving shopping on Saturday- my kind of shopping- about 10 minutes in 1 store! After a trip to the library, we went to Becky & David's for lunch. K & C weren't sure what to think about Shep (their dog) but T liked him a lot and Shep put up with him. The boys loved the apple dumpling, ice cream, and big journey to see George the Turtle's holes. That night we went to Wild Adventures' Festival of Lights which was great (except for the rain!) K said his favorite was the Living Nativity- complete with camels, sheep, donkey, wisemen, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, & Baby Jesus. The lights & music were very pretty too!
Sunday morning the boys wore their new Christmas sweaters to church. They weren't sure about sitting still during the talking but they loved the music. It was great to see everyone there. We had a rainy afternoon but it cleared up long enough to walk Nana up to a "meeting"- an open house for the Madison pregnancy center where Mom talked to the Executive Director about vasa previa. I was glad that the Director wanted to learn about this condition and took some IVPF brochures to help spread the word because "it only takes a moment to diagnose life..."
We missed the holiday traffic again by driving back Monday- an all around good visit!

Not Me Monday

I am not writing my first Not Me Monday on Tuesday after spending 8 hours driving home from FL yesterday. While in Florida, I did not take my boys (and my parents) to an amusement park in the rain and feed them part of a giant pretzel and crackers for dinner Saturday night. I also did not almost lose a finger which was not clamped down on a peppermint for T to lick so he would stay quiet during the Living Nativity. I definitely did not almost lose the same finger the same way the next morning in church while I was not checking the bulletin to see how long until the children would go to children's church.
I did not eat so much brownies/ cake at PWOC that I didn't want anything for lunch. I also did not have someone in line say something about how much I got. I did not consider waiting another week to go to the grocery store until I did not see that only two of the five non-condiment items left in the refrigerator were before their expiration dates. I did not finally decide to go grocery shopping when I saw that the powdered milk was almost gone.
I did not think about joining the people writing Not Me Mondays (See more Not Me's on http://www.mycharmingkids.net) after reading about my friend not finding a mouse under her desk. I did not decide for sure to post not me Monday after an unnamed son's pants fell down to his ankles on our walk and he was not walking down the road in 40 degree weather like that. Then I did not have to remove a popper (edamame) from the nose of another son during dinner. Not Me!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Great-Grandma!

Saturday we went "over the river & through the woods to Grandmother's house we go"- we sang the song lots along the way & saw a little bit of the snow from Friday on the way home. The only bummer of the day was didn't get to see Uncle Brian much- we got to Grandma's house right after he left for work. T is positive he's a big kid now- he looked right at home playing with all the toys. After a little playing, pottying, & leg stretching, we went to see Great Grandma. C gave her a sweet kiss & K & C both sang "Happy Birthday" before getting chocolate cupcake crumbs all over her room. Then we went to Brian's work & got to see him for a few minutes- long enough to ride the escalator up & down. Grandma made a very yummy lunch that we all enjoyed- the boys especially loved the ribs & banana pudding. T made his rounds around the room looking for any food he could find! The boys were also happy that Leon drove up to spend the day. After a big lunch, I snuck in a nap & the boys played- we all had a great afternoon.

Sunday we were super excited to have some friends go with us to church & then we all went on a walk on the nature trail by our house. T loved watching our friends' dogs run. K & C both pet the dogs and liked them from a distance. That was the closest C has stayed to me on a walk- I think to keep the stroller between him & the dogs.
Monday was another speech/ karate day. K has graduated from working on F and is now trying to work on slowing down to "talk like a turtle". When his speech teacher told him that, he told me "turtles don't talk" so we'll see how that works out! K loved his karate again- I think the sparring (wrestling) part has been his favorite- he was trying to get extra turns. C &T & I went to the playing spot for a while where T flirted with everyone & tried to see how far away he could go.

For our preschool this morning, we made dinner with what was left in our refrigerator. C helped make carrot pancakes & K made leftover oatmeal pancakes (I found another use for old-fashioned oatmeal.) Pancakes were a big hit- the boys asked if we could have pancakes every Monday. Now, I'm procrastinating finishing packing- you'd think I'd be finished by now with all the help I got. Reason 679 we miss James- loading the van!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Awesome God

Tonight T starting singing C's favorite song "Awesome God " on his own. Here's a clip of the boys singing- T has the first motion down right!
His singing made me feel better than C's choice of songs- he asked me to sing "God's American Pie". He said the one about "men drinking whiskey and dying." It made me think twice about what songs I sing around the house!

So somehow I think I missed that Pirates of the Carribean is a pretty goofy movie. I started wondering when the previews played- now I'm not crazy about the movie but I can't send it back without watching it- can I? I think I just saw a talking crab/ man.

Since Feb when I first saw this house, we've liked the neighborhood, but I think we like it more and more as we get to know some of the people in it. Yesterday I was standing outside watching our three boys and a friend's little running around our yard on a beautiful fall day and thought how good it is. They were having a blast. I tried to take some pictures but they just don't show how beautiful & fun it was. K was so excited that we get to see them 3 days in a row! We went to a neighborhood playgroup this morning and then had more fall fun after naps today as we got to see our friends down the street. I'm so thankful for all the people God has put into our lives especially with James deployed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chilly Days

So I've been thinking that it must be harder on parents to live up north because these days that we stay inside more bc it's colder are harder! K wasn't ready to begin wearing coats today so we had a few rough minutes this morning. We all got much happier while we were at PWOC- so we were able to go to lunch with Erin. I realized my boys eat more than I think as we polished off all the food I ordered, all the chips (& C ate lots of the hot salsa), and some of Erin's food. It was great catching up with Erin and she brought a CD with pics from our trip up to VA in Sep. Later this afternoon, we got to take our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes to the pickup spot. The boys were excited to pack their boxes Sunday & really enjoyed taking the boxes today. The chocolate and stickers probably helped too!

Monday, November 17, 2008

better Day

So today wasn't perfect, but it was much better than yesterday. First we got a couple pictures from James and got to see him on Skype wearing the dinosaur mask that K made him. Then, I got another good update on Ty- he has been laughing & today returned a salute from a Marine CPL who saluted when leaving his room today. I got a nap today too! The pumpkin pie with whipped cream I just ate made me think less about a 4 year old saying too often "I don't want to", a 2 year old not wanting to go to bed, and a printer that is sure that there's paper still stuck in it. Other good things, K & C really liked packing their Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes this morning. We tried to drop them off this afternoon but got there a little too late- we could use a project for tomorrow!
K's speech went really well. He was so excited to tell his teacher that he can say "Four & Five" very loud & without biting his lip (the speech trick that helped him start saying F right.) K loved his karate class today- they did play sparring where they tried to pull two belts off their opponent- K had a blast & won his turn. We did stop by a karate place on our side of town but couldn't schedule a first session bc the scheduler had just gone to the Golden Corral. I must have forgotten our earlier attempts at eating free Veteran's Day dinner at the Golden Corral since I told the boys hurry & we'll eat there. So they hurried, then I drove up & saw the line that went way way way into the parking lot so we went home. The boys weren't too thrilled to go home for beans when they thought we were going to eat out. they ended up liking our dinner- my version of taco salad- this time the only thing I substituted was peas instead of meat- pretty close!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Roller Coaster Day

After a wonderful Saturday of lots of time with other moms & time that my kids played with other kids under the watchful eye of wonderful caregivers, today was quite the rollercoaster. Before I tell of some of her ups and downs of today, I should say what a great night we had yesterday. The boys all wore themselves out playing at Manna in the morning so we all took good naps and then headed to Home Fires (a program through a local church which supports wives of deployed soldiers through monthly dinners complete with free childcare.) We had a very yummy dinner & time talking while the kids ate and played with other kids. It was great!
all that said, I shouldn't complain about today, but it was such a rollercoaster! We started out great- K & C slept in until 7- yes that's sleeping in. Everyone loved my breakfast casserole. K picked out very cute clothes for all the boys for church (he still likes to match- I know one day he'll outgrow it but now it's cute!) Then the roller coaster started heading down- I really wanted to take pictures of these adorable boys with cute nondirty clothes, clean bodies, cut & washed hair. (I began my haircutting days yesterday- I don't think I'll go into business but they look pretty good if you don't look too close!) The boys were just not having anything to do with picture taking- no one looked at me, no one acted right, they didn't listen, ... Finally I gave up on the pics & we headed to church (the roller coaster was going back up! Michael Fletcher preached a good sermon, I saw lots of friends, the boys were in Sunday School!) We headed home (& T fell asleep which later turned out to be the beginning of downhill.) Still good James called, K & C ate their lunch nicely & then played together for a long time so nicely that I was able to have an uninterrupted phone call with James until the end of it when C hung up on James while I was picking up screaming T from his bed. Hindsight 20/20 I should have let him scream until K & C were in bed, bc T being up was way to exciting for the other boys to go to sleep. Again, I gave up & decided we'd go somewhere. Then the computer woes began, arguing/ not listening boys, ... so the smart person I am, we decided to go to walmart. I was still determined to get some pics of these cute boys. We didn't get pics taken but fortunately, the boys behaved amazingly well in Walmart. So well that I decided to stop at the library after Walmart (well, their good behavior plus I wanted to check out a book for me- I've given up on TV.) The library trip went ok until the rollercoaster reached the lowest part of the day as a man in the car next to us said to me "so you've got the grandkids for the day." :( On a positive note, I did NOT say to him- "just because your mother was 15 when you were born doesn't mean everyone is" (but I guess I did think about saying it to him.) But what a not great thing to hear. The rollercoaster is headed back up since I put all 3 boys in bed before 7, I'm blessed with a wonderful family (even if boys don't always behave), we miss James but he is safe even if far away, God is very good to us, my friend opened the rootbeer so I can have a rootbeer float tonight, and I have some chocolate in the house (even if it was supposed to go in a Christmas package.)

I posted that way too soon as it's after 7:30 now and I think C has climbed up K's ladder at least 10 times now. So... I know today's roller coaster will still end well- it just may take more prayers (and more chocolate!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fun Days

Wasn't it just yesterday that K & C were riding a bike like this.We continue to be blessed with fun with friends which helps to fill our days until James comes back home (which we're still praying for him to be home before Kayleigh is born.) Thursday morning after preschool (baking pumpkins & making pumpkin squares & 2 pumpkin pies) we went to Pine Valley Play Group. We're enjoying starting to get to know more neighbors & it's nice to not have to leave the neighborhood and still get kiddie playtime & mom talk time. After good naps for everyone, we had some friends come over for bread making & eating spaghetti & pumpkin pie. The kids had a blast & we made 5 loaves of bread & some rolls. The boys slept good after so much fun with friends- I was much happier with waking at 7 Friday instead of 5 am Thursday.
We had a rainy day Friday so we were very happy to have Fun Fridays go to the indoor playground at our church. Boys nap (and eat) so much when they get to burn off some energy. So more good naps & then the boys were so excited that friends were coming for dinner again. Three beautiful little s came for dinner & a movie; we're practicing having little s here :)
Here's the clip I tried to add the other day of T's new sign "more" which he used again tonight for more pizza. Mary Kay's s were shocked at how much pizza the boys ate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our first pink

So this afternoon we got our first pink thing in our house- my wonderful neighbor gave us his baby girl's carseat-it's pink & black and looks brand new. K thought it was pretty neat that we're going to have a baby girl & someone gave us something pink.

We had a good day. "Pops Leon" (as the boys call him) came for lunch- I think he may have been amazed by the amount of chilli that T & C each ate. The boys were excited that he came to visit. I was glad too- it's always good to catch up and he definitely made my errands easier this afternoon. I thought about staying longer after T's doctor appointment since it was so quiet with just one boy there :) and it's amazing how easy it is to pick up a few groceries by yourself! Very good afternoon! We went to K's karate & T's gymnastics after that. K enjoys his karate and T absolutely loves gymnastics- although I wasn't sure if we were ever going to leave the balance beam today.

Yesterday was another good day- we had new friends from our neighborhood over- an adorable little girl C's age & cute little boy T's age. The kids had a blast playing. I'm so glad God puts great new people in our lives. We had a great time and it helps me focus less on missing James. The boys always ask for "big Daddy"- the full screen skype picture. The boys have been doing lots of "preschool" (their favorite time of day besides snacks)- making granola & flourless cornbread today, making feltboard Thanksgiving story characters, lots of coloring and blocks (K made him playing soccer).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Great weekend!

After our wonderful ultrasound where we got to see our beautiful little Kayleigh for the first time, our weekend continued to be good. When I picked them up from Rodriguez CDC, the boys said they had a really good time and they ate lunch without me (a big deal to them!) They were a little too excited to nap- either about their baby sister or Grandma & Uncle Brian coming to visit. C was all over the place when they got here- a combo of excitement & exhaustion! The boys are always so excited to see our family visit that I don't get much time to visit- so it was nice to have a car ride with Brian to catch up with what he's up to. When we got home, the boys tried to rush me out the door which was okay with me since I'd been looking forward to my night out with the s for a while. 12 of us went to Olive Garden for Christy's baby shower. It was wonderful to have a meal where I could have whole conversations, only feed myself, & only use one napkin. We had a great time! I got home way past my bedtime. The boys went to bed "in the middle of the night." (After dinner, K saw how dark it was outside & said "it's the middle of the night," headed to his room, & got ready for bed.)
This morning the boys ate their weights in pancakes (although we saw today that C is up to 36 lbs so maybe he didn't!) It was nice to have people helping flip and cut all those pancakes too! T took a good nap & the big boys played with Grandma & Uncle Brian while I cleaned up our attic, ran some errands by myself, & got my haircut. Then we all had lunch at Chick-Fil-A (Sat lunch is a crazy time there) & went to Fascinate-U (the children's museum.) T now knows that he really likes to copy the big boys doing everything- driving firetrucks, demolishing construction sites, mailing packages, ... The boys were very happy to sing "Happy Birthday, Uncle Brian" again this afternoon (I missed the first singing last night.)C really wanted to go home with Grandma but K told him he'd have to go to work if he went home with her. T was our only napper this afternoon so he got to stay up a little later than his brothers & started putted shapes into the shape sorter tonight.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Beautiful Baby Girl!

We were so blessed this morning to go have a wonderful ultrasound. I knew this baby was wonderfully made & knit together by God, but it was so good to see. We're also very excited (and a little nervous) to find out we're having a baby girl! The boys are excited about their baby sister Kayleigh Grace. She was quite the busy girl- she's practicing going fast to keep up with her big brothers! She stayed still long enough to see that she is a baby girl and was on the go after that. What a blessing! And James got to call me soon after- he was excited to open the pink Cowboys' onesie.

Now I get to celebrate tonight- we're going to have cake to celebrate Brian's birthday. Then I'm going out with friends while the boys play with Grandma & Uncle Brian. What a good day!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Since a dear friend reminded me to be thankful, here are some of the many things I'm thankful for.
Today we had an absolutely beautiful fall day & 3 boys who were well & could go out and enjoy the beautiful day!
We've met some great new people lately who I look forward to getting to know better. I was able to IM with James which is definitely not the same as him being here but it's good to be able to talk to each other. Tomorrow is my ultrasound and I will be able to see this baby that God knit together in my womb. I have some great friends who prayed for me while the boys and I were sick. I assume the political ads are off the air now (the good news from them is I mostly stopped watching TV & now have time at night for reading, blog updating, facebook time wasting, or I guess I could clean my house better!) I'm thankful to God who gives all the good things.
I could go on and on with things I'm thankful but right now I'm very thankful for a quiet house so I can go try to get some sleep before our big day tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Out of the house

You won't believe that I went shopping again- I used to think that I would go insane if I had to go shopping; today I went to stay sane. We were having quite the morning. I'm not sure if the boys were upset that I stayed up & watched a movie last night (Seabiscuit) or upset about the bad news on the election. Either way, T was up at 5:15 and C not long after him and neither one happy. When we all finished breakfast before 7 am- I thought we're in for a long day. When C didn't want to leave my lap, I was really worried. So we went shopping- three stores- none of them walmart or the commissary! I did find some great Christmas gifts at Tuesday morning- I have a good friend with four kids and found several instrument sets- drumset, horns, recorder, electric guitar- won't that be perfect! I also figured out the source of C's whining- he didn't like being up early either- he fell asleep in the car before we left our neighborhood.

Everyone took good naps & we had a much better afternoon. We went to C's first gymnastics class- he had a blast. Right up his alley- run, jump, knock things down (I'm not sure that he was supposed to do that.) Then off to the park- the first nice afternoon in a few days- everyone loved being outside. We saw a dog at the park and T walked right over and said "Dog". Neat to see him learning new words.

I got my camera back yesterday so soon I'll start adding pics again (although it's probably good that I haven't put pics from the last few days!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's not easy being green

Well, we painted the town red last week so I guess we can't complain much about being sick this week. But it's still not fun. We are praying that this is a 24 hour bug and we are all back to healthy tomorrow. Funny, when I was up for about an hour each night with C, I prayed to sleep all night; after being up so long last night, an hour doesn't sound bad!

We did enjoy some more fun things before this yucky bug caught up with me and the boys. Saturday morning was K's last soccer game. He didn't kick the ball much this season but he sure had fun playing which is definitely what counts especially when you're 4! Another good part of the weekend was all three boys went straight to sleep at 7- I think a week of lots of late nights drained all of us- and then an extra hour for Fall Back. Yeah!!

Sunday we went to church and then a neighbor's son had a birthday party- firetrucks everywhere. The boys all had a blast. T is definitely trying to keep up with his two big brothers now- he's even figured out how to put legos together! So fun to watch him learning new things.

Pray for us to all get better soon especially with my ultrasound Friday!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What a week cont.

Thursday we did our own pumpkin carving- K had been talking all during pumpkin season about Daddy carving the pumpkin and taking the sin out. Last year we talked through the Pumpkin Parable as James carved the pumpkin. This year the boys got to take the "mushy/gushy sin" out themselves- I roasted the pumpkin seeds but now they told me they don't want to eat sin. We also did lots of pumpkin painting- the boys painted 40-50 paperplates orange for their friends to decorate at our costume party.That afternoon was K's last soccer practice with a pizza party at CiCi's after practice. I'm very thankful for friends who help with kids bc otherwise it would be very hard to get started feeding 3 little boys at a buffet. K was very excited to get his soccer medal- he had a great time playing soccer this season. That night I followed my good friend's advice to not spend much time cleaning before having a houseful for a costume party Friday morning.

Our phone started ringing at 9 and didn't stop until 1030. As several women called to say they had sick kids, I started thinking we might have a small group. I didn't think they for long- I think we ended up with 57 people- 20 moms, 37 kids (30 were three & under). I guess my friend was a little right when she called me nutty for inviting so many. K & C were superman and flash gordon again- T dressed as sleeping baby (he slept from 9-1130.) I barely saw K & C- they had a blast decorating paper pumpkins, coloring, & playing with friends. We were blessed with awesome weather which meant some people could go outside. I was also blessed with plenty of friends who helped set up, clean up, and just keep things going ok. Another friend took a ton of pics which I'll add when I get them. It was a little crazy but a lot of fun!We were all worn out from all the fun & took good naps which was good since we had even more fun planned for that night. Our friends the lamb, butterfly, bumblebee, & their mommy went wiht us to the Cadence Hospitality House. On the way we stopped at one more trunk or treat where we got lots more candy. We were again blessed with great people who helped with our kids so we could fix food for 6 little ones. Everyone had a good time except little T who I thought was just tired until he got sick all over his borrowed Pooh costume. He seemed happier after that. The kids did relay races and bobbed for apples. Another fun, late night!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What a Week!

This has been a whirlwind week of parties, fall fests, trunk or treats, end of soccer season- lots of things to keep us busy and trying not to dwell on missing James & waiting the 6 more days until my ultrasound. Monday was a pretty normal day. T did start putting God's Word in him- "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the Lord our God." (I'd be happier about it if it went into his understanding instead of his stomach as he chewed on one of our Experiencing God memory verses. We did go to Art Attack at the Fayetteville Museum of Art. The art teacher told a story and talked about the wooden sculptures. Then taught them how to paint trees & flowers.

Tuesday was another good, routine day of PWOC. Except, my friends won't believe this- I went shopping. I actually went to the mall, went into a couple stores, and bought a few things. That doesn't sound like me, does it? K really needed shoes and socks.

Wednesday was when the excitement began. We got to have dinner in a mansion- the boys were so excited. Our tour of the house took quite a while to make it through all the rooms. The chef prepared a wonderful spaghetti pie dinner which my boys devoured- I'm pretty sure T ate more than my friend's 8 year old- we may need to buy a cow before the teenage years! After fun playtime, we headed to Trunk or Treat- 3 superheroes, a lamb, a butterfly/ballerina, and a bumblebee- very cute! The kids had a blast going from decorated trunk to trunk. I wasn't sure that I would be able to get any of the boys out of the bounce house.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Party Time!

Sunday we went to a birthday party and a fall festival! The boys were so excited to go to their friend's birthday party. There were lots of little boys there- I think 8 boys five & under! When T had a piece of Grandma's cake yesterday, he figured out that cake is something he likes a lot & was pretty excited to see the birthday cake (I'm glad he doesn't know about icing yet!)
After the party, 3 little boys got in their costumes- we'd planned on Superman, Flash, & Spiderman, but Superman changed to Super Eeyore, and then to Eeyore, so of course Flash changed to Pooh. Even though Tigger was a tad small, you can't have Eeyore, Pooh, & Spiderman so we squeezed the big belly into Tigger one more time.
My boys & their friends (Dorothy & two super heroes) had a great time playing the games (ring toss, bean bag toss, milk bottle, duck pond, ...) I think they were a little excited about the candy too! Then they went trunk-or-treating. I tried my hardest to convince K that it was trick or treating but he wasn't convinced. Maybe we'll try again Wednesday!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


What a weekend! I did some crazy things Saturday while Grandma watched the boys: I went inside a convenience store and bought a drink today-yes, I know I didn't need to waste $1.50 on a drink but it was just so crazy to only undo one seat belt that I had to do it! Then I went to Bible study, the commissary & two other stores all by myself- it doesn't get much crazier than that! K found my shoes for me this morning before Grandma got here to make sure I was ready to go. They were very excited for her visit! Now they're all asleep before 7- I don't know if it was the fun of having Grandma visit, not taking a nap, coming to visit me during the night, or having a friend over to visit last night. Friday night when my friends brought their daughter over, I think they left a little worried as 3 little ones raced around the house plus T not far behind. But, pizza quieted everyone down and then homemade playdough, books, and bed.

Saturday night T started blowing bubbles in the bathtub- maybe he'll be our swimmer! He is so sure he's one of the big boys now!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

575, 576, 577, ...

Reason Number 575 I miss James being here: having to reconfigure the computer router
576: a riding lawnmower is harder than it looks
577: I just miss him.

C was so sweet the last couple mornings- he woke up and said "I love you Mommy & I love Daddy. and God loves me." We did Skype video chat today. The boys loved seeing James on the whole laptop screen. T waved lots & lots. K said "Daddy looks like blocks."

We haven't been eating much meat lately- mostly because it's easier not to cook meat. We had butternut squash soup Sunday, lentils & rice Monday, baked potatoes for dinner Tuesday. Last night, I made a big pot of black beans for black beans & rice Wed night, southwest salad for lunch today, & southwestern egg rolls tonight. My little carnivores are good little veggie eaters now!

This morning, we went to K's speech therapy and then Toddler Playtime at the rec center. The boys got enough playing to tire them out so we all napped this afternoon. Yesterday we took a friend to the park with us & this afternoon one went to one of K's last soccer practices for the season. K heard someone talk about next week's CiCi's pizza party & still happily ate his dinner- which wasn't pizza! Boys are definitely meant to play hard; then they eat and sleep much better. (I didn't even have any boys come to our bed last night!)
Thank God for more answered prayers: Ty is in Walter Reed and improving- he's been awake some and is trying to breathe on his own. Anna sounds good and is very thankful for all the prayers. Virginia is in Japan and will bring the kids back to the states next week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

James Pics

We were so excited to get pictures of James on his recent trip away from the palace. He sent pictures from the helicopter flight, with a Market America energy bar, and in front of lots of Army equipment.

Blogging Addict?

I'm not sure if I'm addicted or we've just had a lot going on! Some of our most exciting news is communication. T started sign language yesterday- he's now saying "please" lots! I think he may think he's saying Eat because that's what he seems to be asking, but it's very cute to see him especially so proud of himself. Yesterday K said the Lord's Prayer. He also said lots of F words (like fish, fork, five). I'm really glad he's going to speech therapy- he really enjoys it and he's gotten so much clearer.

Sunday after church and family naps, we went back out to West Produce. The boys are so excited to see all the animals and played for a long time in the kid's farm. C became quite a good cow milker- maybe he can do that when he grows up if he doesn't become a clown.

Our excitement Monday was watching the sprinkler man finish repairing our sprinkler- he said it was the worst installation he'd seen. He was great with the boys- he told them to pull up a chair and watch him work. The boys loved it until C couldn't stop himself from playing with the dirt. So they helped me pick lots of tomato and basil.

Blessings and Prayers

I was so glad to get a phone call from my Mom which said that Ty was stable enough to be medevac'd to Germany, Anna was enroute to Germany, and Virginia enroute to Japan. Then I got an email from Jena with this link to stay updated on Ty: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/tyedwards I was very thankful for God's healing today as I read that Anna & Ty are enroute to Bethesda, MD. They still have a long road ahead of them so we will continue to pray, but thank God for answered prayers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Praying for Anna & Ty

Last night I was surprised to get a phone call from my friend Jena from Madison. We call each other every once in a while but not usually late Saturday night. I knew something was wrong when she said you haven't talked to our moms (who usually keep us each informed on the other.) Then she told me that her cousin Anna's husband Ty had been shot in Afghanistan. I've only met Ty a time or two but he and James talked a lot the times we were together & I've known Anna since we were little kids chasing crabs together at the beach. Anna andtheir son & daughter are in Okinawa, Japan. Her family is trying to get to Japan to get the kids so Anna can go to Germany where doctors plan to medevac Ty when he's stable. He lost a lot of blood and is in a coma. Sunday morning I learned he'd been on a convoy and at least one other marine was injured when their convoy was attacked. I know that God is the Great Healer and can heal Ty but my heart aches as I think about Anna and their children. I lift the whole family up to God. I just heard the radio announcer talking about the Michael W. Smith song they just played. He said that after Michael W. Smith's family tragically lost their daughter, he wrote another verse to the song and really learned to trust that whether you're in a horrible tragedy or good times, it's all in God's hands. He is good. We may not understand everything this side of heaven, but we must trust Him. Please pray for Anna & Ty and their families.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good weekend

Fun Fridays was really fun this Friday. We went to the park by the library on post & met lots of old & new friends. The time flew by although it was harder since now I have to keep up with 3 boys at the park. I had a few easy months where K & C could do almost everything by themselves & T was content in the stroller. Now he's gotten a taste of freedom & doesn't want to stay still. Yesterday he found a set of stairs that he went up over & over & over. The big boys were excited to share their pumpkin muffins with friends. All were worn out & had good napping so we were able to go to Cadence hospitality house for dinner. I met Joan (who along with her husband Mac is the interim missionary here at Fort Bragg) at PWOC a couple weeks ago and she invited us to the House (as regulars call it.) Cadence International (www.cadence.org) is an evangelical mission agency dedicated to reaching the military communities of the United States and of the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We had a great dinner & enjoyed meeting with everyone there. Everyone was super nice & we had a good time except T but next week we'll try setting up a bed for him there.

I tried telling the boys that we you go to bed late you can sleep in but 4:30 didn't seem like sleeping in when C came to my room. neither did 5:00 when K did. Thankfully they went back to sleep until 7. It definitely taught me that the family bed is not for me- not that we were considering it but it's impossible to sleep well with two little boys beside you. K's soccer game got rained out today but we went to Truman's Pumpkin Patch. We met several friends there & had a good time. The 10 kids all loved all the bounce houses- even T bounced for the first time. I didn't think I was going to be able to get him out. We went out a hay ride & a train ride. We did miss the ponies & petting zoo but the boys were very excited to pick out another pumpkin. I am so glad that God keeps putting great people in my life. I really look forward to getting to know new friends more! We had a slightly crazy trip to Wendy's with everyone- after we got our food all was quiet, it was just getting food ordered for 4 moms & 10 little ones that was hectic.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Elephant Stampede

This morning at 0530 I heard a herd of elephants storming across the house. I thought please let this be part of my dream. I love my little boys but would really be happier to see them at 0700. They did manage to stay quiet enough not to wake up the little one.

Today I signed K up for Karate & C for gymnastics- although C says he wants to be in K's class. Then, we went to the park by the airstrip on Pope AFB. I'd forgotten that it's such a nice park & the boys loved seeing the planes fly overhead. We met some new moms & kids there & are looking forward to Fun Fridays tomorrow.

I don't know if it was the 5:30 wakeup or all the playing at the park but K & C both took good naps & were excited to wake up to see the Sprinkler Man here. He was very nice to the boys; they told him all about their bikes, their Daddy, playing soccer, & everything else important to little boys. Between their questions, he was able to find all the places our sprinkler system was falling apart.

We've had some yummy smoothies recently. K asked for a Funky Pig today but was happy with his pumpkin smoothie. I don't have a recipe for a Funky Pig- we do have Funky Monkeys (peanuts, walnuts, cashews, powdered milk, water, banana) & Funky Horsies (same but apple instead of banana.) Powdered milk is so handy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Science Wednesday

Today we did our first science experiment. Actually, second- today we started with a repeat of dancing popcorn that Janelle showed us late week. Another lesson learned- popcorn doesn't dance in sprite that has been open for a week. After that didn't work I looked for another experiement that a 2 & 4 year old would enjoy. I found this website: http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/. They really liked getting the egg to float in salt water. I should have just stuck with that but I thought we'd try some more. One was supposed to be putting drops of water on a penny & the other dropping pennies in a cup- I can't say that either really looked like that but there was lots of water everywhere.

I baked spaghetti squash for dinner; we had spaghetti squash marinara with half & spaghetti squash pie with the other half (mock coconut.) I planned to attach the recipe but you can find it at allrecipes.com. We all liked dinner a lot- even the green spaghetti sauce.

K is very excited about our costume party coming up. He wants to invite all his friends. He's asked several parents at soccer & on our daily walks if their kids can go & today he wrote an invitation on the driveway. In case the writing didn't show up dark enough, K wrote "Keegan's dress up party"- I couldn't get it all in the pic but pretty cute!

I got to talk to James today. He's back in Baghdad now; hopefully we'll get pics soon. Boys were worn out today & went to bed a little after 6 pm.