Sunday, May 29, 2011


I’ve got some serious catching up to do in this space. I have much to say and no time to say it.

First, I want to share that Brian lost his Grandma last Thursday, so please pray for him and his family. Unfortunately, I never got to know his Grandma when she was healthy and well, but she is the matriarch (6 kids!) of the family that eventually created my husband. My children carry one eighth of her genetics. We are bonded, no matter how well I knew her, and I am sad to see her go.

This loss comes toward the end of an incredibly crazy 6 weeks for us. I’ve had the walk, Mother’s Day, the end of the school year, 2 family visits, hosted 2 birthday parties, attended a wedding out of state, and will now attend an out-of-town funeral before hosting a baby shower this weekend. And THEN it will feel like summer break.

So today’s picture has nothing to do with any of that. It has to do with two things.

One: I got a haircut. Short. I was feeling shaggy and frumpy and I needed a change. So there’s that.

Two: From age 5-21, I wore glasses every day of my life. Once I got contacts and my own vision insurance, I just didn’t bother to shell out $200 out of my own pocket for glasses, just to use as backup. So I haven’t had a functional pair of glasses in a LONG time. Recently, Money Saving Mom shared about getting prescription glasses at for less than $20. I could hardly believe it, but I went on the site and it’s true. I got these glasses, both lenses and frames, with my prescription and all the usual anti-glare and stuff, for $17.95 including tax and shipping! SEVENTEEN NINETY-FIVE!!! So far I am perfectly happy with them. And they even have a feature where you can download your picture and “try on” the frames, which is good for a laugh if nothing else. I just had to share it, because, seriously, that’s like a 90% discount and I want to spread the word. (Tip: if you go to get an eye exam and intend to use the prescription on, make sure they give you your “pd” measurement, which is pupillary distance. They don’t usually take it until you are ordering your glasses, but you need it to buy them online).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A week's worth of celebrating

 Side note #1: What is up with Blogger? All week I thought it was down, but then Brian told me to try it in Firefox and that worked. So if you are having issues in IE, try FF. 

Side note #2: Requesting prayer for my Grandpa, who fell and broke his hip on Monday and had a partial hip replacement on Tuesday. He's not one to enjoy being immobilized, so I pray that he's back up on his feet quickly. 

Side note #3: I wanted to clarify since someone asked once: if I post pictures of other people's kids here, I have asked for their permission, and I don't share names. All the kids' moms are good friends of mine, and many of them have blogs of their own. I don't want anyone to think that I haphazardly post pictures of anyone who stands still in front of me.

Oma came a week early and let her pick a cake at the store. Katy had met the baker on a fieldtrip and knew that he had been decorating cakes for 15 years and knows how to write all 26 letters.

For the day of her birthday, I made this number. Katy helped me select it from a group of pictures online.

Grammy, Papa John, Grandpa, and Grandma Sue all came for her birthday. We played mini-golf, which is a hoot.

She takes it very seriously. Like I said: competitive.

Eventually the stroller would no longer contain him. He got so wet and dirty, but that's how it goes these days.

Pile-o-gifts and the manicure that Grammy got with her.
And then we had a friend party, which landed on the ONLY day in all of April and May with both pleasant temperatures and no rain. Seriously, we were SO lucky.

It was a Garden Party, and I had such a blast with the kids (and their moms!). It was a really good time. 

Instead of baking again, we made dirt cups. First, they crushed oreos for the soil.

Taking a lemonade break if necessary (it's hard to see, but Katy made flower straws).

They all helped scoop the "mud," then add the "soil" and the "worm."
Next we made elephant watering cans out of milk jugs (I needed so many jugs that I had to pilfer from other recycling bins. No shame.)

They looked like this!

The tree swing was very popular.

Finally we planted some flowers in pots to take home.

This is laughable because I know nothing about gardening!

Giving her new flowers a drink from the elephant's trunk.

Lunch is coming.

Sanity saver tip of the year: keep the food super simple. They like it better anyway.

They formed a line for the swings - how cute is that?

The dirt cups are ready, and they hold a 5 year old candle just fine. Thanks, friends!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Half a Decade

Dearest Katy,

There is something significant about turning five, it seems. Like crossing a bridge from "little kid" into "big kid" or something. Which is hard for me to grasp, because you are physically so little, that I don't think of you as being a big kid at all, until you say something mature and I am reminded that you are growing up.

I am really enjoying being your mom right now. We have some very interesting conversations (you ask LOTS of questions, really good ones), play games that I enjoy as well (Uno, Skip Bo), and we share a bond over being the only girls in the household. You help me with your brothers quite a bit, which I hope doesn't become a burden for you. For now you seem to enjoy helping, especially in the kitchen, and you have a curiosity about cooking that I do not possess. Recently you asked me if I knew how to make Cheez-Its at home. The thought has never crossed my mind.

You love crafts, which was the theme for your birthday gifts this year. Perler beads are your favorite, and there is a continuous string of them waiting on the kitchen counter for me to iron. You're also into books on CD, especially ones that chime to remind you to turn the page. I just started reading a chapter book to you, the Mouse and the Motorcycle, as recommended by Kelsey.

You're determined and competitive, and we're figuring that out together. You're working on learn-to-read books and a basic piano primer with the keyboard that Oma gave you. You just asked me how old I was when I got my ears pierced and I cringed (and resisted lying) when I told you I was 4 (my mom was there and she cringed, too. Thanks, Mom! :) You want to do things like a big girl. NOW.

You love your brothers more than I could have imagined possible. You and David and roomies and best buds. I know you won't share a room forever, but I wouldn't even consider separating you right now because you both love it so much. You bicker like crazy sometimes, but then when he comes to your preschool classroom you literally take him under your wing and guide him sweetly through the room. And oh, how you adore your baby Luke! He can do no wrong in your eyes, and you light up at the sight of him. You get so excited at each milestone that he achieves, and at any given moment you can tell strangers how many teeth he has and which sounds he can babble.

But I still cherish the moments when I realize your innocence. I overheard you telling David, "It's okay to call someone a 'baby' in a nice way. Like Mommy calls me her 'Baby Girl.' I like that."

This coming year promises to be a big one, but for now I'm looking forward to sharing the summer together. You are counting down until the days of zoo, pool, day camps, and visiting family. You've grown and matured so much this year, I can only imagine what you will be like as a 6 year old!

Happy birthday, Baby Girl!

Mom (as you said recently, "I like calling you 'Mom.' I think it's a cute form of 'Mommy.'")

Monday, May 16, 2011


It was only two years ago that I was agonizing over the decision of whether to put Katy into preschool, and where. Last week, she had her last day of preschool. And unexpectedly, I sobbed.

The good news is that I cried because I am confident that this was the best decision for her, because it has been such a great experience, and because I really love her school. And because now we're entering the next unknown, which is public kindergarten. Oh, how I hope that I'm crying the same kind of tears on her last day of that!

But truly, I was reflecting on how nice it is to feel confident about a decision for a change. Confidence is not my strong point. I doubt almost everything that I do all day every day (<----working on this). But on this side of the preschool experience, at least for our first child, this was a good one.

And I don't know why it was so bittersweet, because we'll be walking through those same doors in a few short months to bring David for his first day of preschool. But it's a milestone for sure, and Katy is maturing so quickly before my eyes (it's birthday week! Lots of 5 year old activity going on over here).

One of her teachers read this poem through her own tears:

I give you back your child, the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last August. I give him back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature then he was then.

Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.

I give him back reluctantly, for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other.

Ten years from now if we met on the street, your child and I, a light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our lips, and we shall feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.

We have lived, loved, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him back I must. Take care of him, for he is precious.

Remember that I shall always be interested in your child and his destiny, wherever he goes, whatever he does, whoever he becomes. His joys and sorrows I’ll be happy to share. I shall always be his friend.

~Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Which came first: the 3rd child or the laid back personality?

The differences between my first child and my third are astounding. Totally different worlds. A few examples:

-Katy screamed her head off inconsolably for the first 3 months of her life. Luke slept soundly for 22 hours a day for the first month, and then once he woke up, he sat there and cooed at us.

-I remember that I couldn't sit her down (in a bouncy seat, etc) for more than 2 or 3 minutes before she started fussing. With Luke, sometimes I would realize that the poor child has been in the exersaucer for waaaay too long, time to get him out.

-Katy would only sleep in her crib - never EVER EVER in the car seat past the newborn stage. Just last week, at 10 months old, Luke passed out in the car seat on the way home from preschool pick-up and I carried the car seat in so he could continue to snooze in the living room while I got lunch together. He snoozes in the car seat several times a week.

-I literally scheduled my life around Katy's nap schedule, because if I didn't, she was so miserable if she didn't get her sleep. Now, I am always home to give Luke an afternoon nap in his crib, but I don't ever schedule around the morning one. If he's tired, he catches it while we are out and about. But there are some days that he just doesn't get one, and he's fine.

So I really debate in my head - was Katy that much more difficult by nature of her personality? Or is it me that has changed? I don't go running at the first whimper and he has learned to sleep on the go out of necessity? 

Many people will say that their 3rd (4th, etc) kids were more laid back because they as parents were more relaxed. I think that HAS to play into it. But I've had friends whose third babies turned their world upside down, and were definitely their most challenging kids yet. So I suppose it is a little bit of both. I know for sure that there is a difference between Luke and Katy's personalities at the core.

So Luke chugs along with his easy going temperament. In the past couple of weeks, he has given up nursing entirely, started sleeping through the night (he did 3/4 nights on his own, just need a leeetle encouragement for the 4th night), and has decreased his dependence on the morning nap. He's sweet as can be and I'm loving this almost-toddler stuff.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

We did it! And thank you!

Kate, sister Mel, me, and Christen (aka My Recruits)
I am happy to report that we walked 10 miles, and it did not rain! It's a miracle! The walk was great. It was good to support the cause and learn a little more about it and how we can help. The biggest thing that I learned today was that the problem isn't just overseas. It's here. In Ohio. In fact, Ohio is one of the states that is most heavily trafficked. Again, hard to understand.

But this wonderful team of ladies helped do a little something about it. The money that YOU lovely people donated will be used to help build a full time shelter for some of these kids in Cambodia and literally get them off the street. It feels great to contribute to something that will make such a significant impact on young lives.

So here I am, exhausted on the evening before Mother's Day, but thankful. And blessed. I hope you feel the same way.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Will and determination

I've mentioned before that Katy has a strong will. For most of her life, I have viewed this as an area of struggle. As an infant, she would fight sleep, fight nursing, refuse to eat, and scream and cry inconsolably for hours. As a toddler, she required many, many, MANY reminders not to do things that were not allowed. And if she gets something in her mind, watch out. You won't hear the end of it until it is done.

But I've always had the fleeting thought that some day this determination would serve her well. I'm starting to see some examples of this, like when she learned to ride her bike without training wheels in a matter of minutes, and when she decided she was going to climb our crabapple tree and then did it.

So last week, we went to the pediatric dentist. When we had gone before, they had asked me if she sucked her thumb, and then merely encouraged me to let her know that big girls eventually stop sucking their thumbs. No pressure at this point. I may have mentioned it to her once, but it was not a battle that I was prepared to fight just yet. She does it exclusively when she is holding Blankie in her hands(you'll notice she doing it in every photo in that post), which is only occasionally during the day, and then to fall asleep at night.

But at this dentist visit, the dentist spoke directly to Katy and said, "Now that you are almost 5, it's time to try to stop sucking your thumb. If you keep sucking, it will move your teeth and make your smile look different. You might have to wear braces on your teeth!". They told me about a book called David Decides, in which the little boy (who I can tell must be my age by now, and I wonder how he feels about being the poster child for thumb sucking) decides on his own to stop sucking his thumb. They gave Katy a sticker chart and told her that if she can go 30 days in a row without sucking, she can bring the chart back and have her photo on the wall and get a prize.

I left the office curious to hear what Katy would say about it, but still not 100% convinced that we were going to fight it yet. It just wasn't on my radar screen. But she didn't give me a choice. The rest of the day she bugged me until we went to the library and got the book. Then she insisted on wearing band-aids on her thumb during the day and mittens to bed.

She has not sucked her thumb one time since we left the dentist's office over a week ago. She didn't cry the first night, just took a little longer to fall asleep, and that was that. She's been sleeping in mittens and placing stickers on her chart one day at a time.

I am floored. This was a battle that I was dreading. But that girl has a mind of her own. Challenge her to do something, and she's going to do it. As long as she thinks it's her idea.

However, try to take her Blankie and she will fight you to the death. She recently asked me if Blankie would be able to come to heaven with her when she died. How do I answer that?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Last call!

If you have been intending to donate for Traffick Jam, the walk is this Saturday! A couple people have mentioned wanting to donate, so if you can get the money to me by Friday, that would be awesome. Thank you all SO much for your support.