Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Highlights, in photos

Brian, Mel, and Katy have been working on this 3D puzzles for weeks - they finally finished it!

Christmas Eve morning with Oma and Opa - starts with stockings and breakfast.

The gift from Oma this year was a puppet stage and puppets for all the kids. The stage doubled nicely on Christmas morning when Katy got magic kits and was able to perform several shows for us.

What was that I was saying about aggressive boys? David LOVED the Michigan punching bag from Oma.

An up close look at my girth, 37 weeks. You know, for posterity (and Cindy, who requested an updated pic).

After church on Christmas Eve, I just love the family by the tree. You'll see 2 more families below in this same pose.

So tough to capture them...and we totally cheated and got Luke dressed just for this picture. He didn't go to church because I didn't want to put him in the childcare area when he puked the day before. Not nice to do that to other families. The big kids sat in big church with us (and did great! The guy in front of us said "Your kids did really well," and I said, "I learned my lesson from last year and brought things to keep them busy. Last year I was embarrassed.").

"Dear Santa. I hope you give me something great! My brothers have been nice. Love, Katy. P.S. Merry Christmas."

This year we bought a new book for Advent, The Story of Christmas. It has 24 little mini books that each tell a small portion of the Christmas story. You can hang each book on the tree after you read it on the appropriate day, but we read Book 1 on Dec 1, Books 1 AND 2 on Dec 2, etc. So here is Brian reading all 24 books on Christmas Eve.
Christmas morning with Grandpa and Grandma Sue! Luke got a huge stuffed giraffe from Aunt Mel that he couldn't stop hugging.

Katy brought down this chair from her room for gift opening and she just looked so grown-up lounging there.

David in a new Spiderman jacket, which his BFF Frank also received for Christmas. Super twins!

Grandma Sue made Christmas jigglers which were a huge hit.

Getting a ride from Grandpa without releasing his grasp from 2 of many new trucks.

Katy and David decorate Jesus' birthday cake. It's a Christmas tree and says "joy" at the top. And "544" is the largest number they could create with the candles we had in stock, so we rounded up.

We had such a nice day of relaxing, enjoying good company and food and new toys. David didn't want to get dressed so we didn't make him.
Several days (of illness and winter weather) later... the cousins arrived! Grammy and Papa John stopped by for part of the visit as well.

We dug around and got creative in order to dress 6 kids for snow play!

Brian pulling Katy and Carrie.

Uncle Mark gives David and Leah a ride (our "hill" is quite mild so you really need a pull for it to be very exciting).

Group effort snowman! They stayed out for almost an hour - I couldn't believe it!

All of the cousins are great piano players - so they were helping Katy play some simple Christmas tunes she's been learning.

At one point we showed them how to "Elf Yourself" on your smart phone and everyone was leaning over their devices in the kitchen cracking up.

When they are together they play lots and LOTS of games.

And they enjoyed the new "school" set up.
Uncle Mark and Kimmy.

Grammy reading books with Lukey Loo.

Final family picture. Grammy and Papa John brought us dinner that they made in their own kitchen, including dessert! They spoil us.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Updates that i don't want clouding the Christmas post

Soon I will get around to posting pictures from the last week. The kids had a great Christmas despite many many rocky moments. But first I wanted to share some news...

Good news:  We were all feeling well all day on Christmas Eve (when we celebrate with Oma and Opa) and Christmas Day (when we celebrated with Grandpa and Grandma Sue). Those were the most important days of the week, so I was really relieved.

Bad news: Shortly after grandparents left on Christmas night, I fell victim to the bug, and fell hard. I was up through the night getting sick and could not get out of bed the whole next day. That morning, Brian also got sick and had to retreat back to bed.

Good news: Melanie jumped up and just took over caring for the kids while Brian and I were so sick. I don't know what we would have done without her.

Bad news: Due to all of these relapses, I was never able to meet up with my friend Cindy during her holiday visit.  She's only in Ohio about twice a year so I was really sad to miss her.

Good news: At my OB appointment on Friday, I was 2 cm dilated and found out that I have an induction scheduled for January 9th!!!! I am soooooo excited to meet this baby girl!

Bad news: This isn't really bad, but more of a flip side: I start to panic a little bit every time I think about having this baby in TEN DAYS. Holy cow! This is really happening.

Good news: After deliberating back and forth about whether or not they should still come, Brian's family decided to keep their plans to visit us for the weekend and celebrate Christmas. We only get to see Mark and Kelly and the cousins 2-3 times a year so it was tough to cancel. We had a really nice time and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bad news: Even though we took every precaution, they did not even finish their 9 hour drive home before one of the girls got sick. And at last report, 3/5 of them are down.  I feel absolutely terrible. I HATE knowing that we've made someone else sick. (Grandma Sue caught it from us, too, earlier in the week.) It put such a huge damper on Christmas that we had to evaluate every set of plans and try to decide if it was worth the risk of sharing germs. We made decisions based on what we knew at the time, and several family members did not get sick. But it feels like a big wet blanket on the whole week.

Good news: Let's end on a positive note, shall we? We spent today deflating air mattresses, washing the 20th load of laundry this week, putting Christmas away, and getting out baby stuff. I went through Katy's box of newborn clothes that I haven't touched in 6 years! This is surreal, I can't believe we're having a baby girl so soon. So soon!!!

Pictures next...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Spoke too soon

When we got up yesterday morning, Katy said, "That was a REALLY bad night." It was. One of the toughest nights we've ever had.

Right after I posted that I was crossing fingers that we were better... shortly after midnight Melanie knocked on our door (she was sleeping in with Katy and David while mom and Greg are here) to let us know that David had barfed everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It was awful. Took us 30 minutes to clean up. Before we were finished with that, Katy started crying in pain that her stomach hurt. Crying escalated as we tried to settle David into our room. Right around that time, a full size fire truck and ambulance came down our court and took our elderly neighbor away in the squad. Brian said, "Were the Mayans just a day off?"

Without going into detail, Katy seemed to have some kind of set back in the tummy department after 2 days of feeling well. She ended up in our bed with us and I was up her at least once an hour for the rest of the night, lots of clean up involved. David was up a few more times as well, more yuckies. Of course I was laying in bed paranoid that I felt nauseous myself and continuing the scenarios in my head of cancelling Christmas.

In the morning, I was trying to catch a few extra Z's when Brian went to get Luke out of his crib. You guessed it - he had also vomited everywhere. So I got up to assist with that clean up and set up a new camp out on the couch for all the sickies.

Twenty-four hours later, it's Christmas Eve morning and I'm cuddled on the couch with the kids waiting for the grandparents to get up so we can have our first Christmas celebration. So far, everyone seems to feel fine this morning. I'm really thankful to be in the this moment with no barfing. Now my biggest fear is that we'll get all the grandparents sick (and that they'll go on and share it with other family members that they visit after us). But at this point, we've done what we can, made decisions the best that we could at the time, so we might as well enjoy the holiday the best that we can.

Here's hoping that you are cuddled up with a healthy family and enjoying a nice Christmas. Love to you all!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fingers (still) crossed

So Katy's bug was a 24 hour thing, and as of now, it's been more than 72 hours since she last got sick, and no one else in the house has come down with it. I still feel a little nervous to "call it," but I'm optimistic that maybe we dodged a bullet and she's the only one who got it this time. My mom and Greg arrived this afternoon so we can start celebrating, so we're crossing our fingers that the bug is gone.

Menu is planned, groceries are purchased, house is clean, gifts are wrapped, family is here (and coming) - it's time to enjoy Christmas!

(Oh, and I had an OB check yesterday - baby is head down, I'm dilated 1-2 cm, and they are still working on scheduling the induction. Three weeks or less!)

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Does anyone else remember that last year I started puking 4 days before Christmas and spent the time totally paranoid that we were all going to get the stomach flu and ruin Christmas?


Yesterday was both Katy and David's Christmas parties at school on their last day before break. I went to David's in the morning. I was a little confused about whether I was supposed to attend Katy's, because they whole school was watching a play put on the high schoolers and then having cookies in their classroom provided by PTA, so it didn't seem like they needed parents. But I told Katy I'd come in for at least a few minutes, just because it's nice to be in the classroom once in awhile.

So I showed up about 15 minutes before the end of school and walked into her classroom where all the kids were sitting quietly on the carpet with the teacher. Katy hadn't even seen us walk in, when she turned to the teacher and said, "I don't feel well." The teacher looked at me and said, "That's the 2nd time she has said that. I asked her if she wanted me to call you but she said no." Katy stood up and walked toward me, burst into tears, and then vomited all over the classroom floor.

We've been fortunate in the stomach flu department in the past, so I can only think of one other time that Katy has thrown up. But she is intense when she's sick. The next few hours were awful. She was MAD. Mad at me for not giving her medicine to make it stop. Mad at her classmates for giving her germs. Mad that no one else was feeling as badly as she was. Mad that God didn't instantly heal her when she prayer. She was in the bathroom screaming all kinds of things as me while she got sick. People are born with certain personalities and this is my daughter's. Has been since day one. Never ceases to amaze me (and sometimes concern me).

She finally stopped and fell asleep a little after 8 (on a mattress next to our bed). She slept through the night and this morning she says she feels better, but she's still complaining that her tummy hurts and panicking that she's going to throw up.

So after she calmed down last night, I started the panic mode about all the possible scenarios for the upcoming week. I had to skip my Girls' Night Out last night. I had to cancel my visit with my friend Cindy today who is in town from Seattle. I'm supposed to see Abigail tomorrow (in town from Colorado) but have had to change those plans too. The first round of family is supposed to come on Saturday and I'm freaking out that we're all about to get sick and have to cancel everything.

But I'm praying that we'll have another Best Case Scenario on our hands (could we be that fortunate 2 years in a row?) and maybe it will stop with Katy? Fingers crossed...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tidbits: week before Christmas edition

Note: When the school shooting first happened on Friday, I was feeling like I was in a fragile place, and could not let the reality of it sink in or it might be too much to bear. But now, after a few days, the reality is there, unable to be ignored, and it is beyond sad. I can still only carefully consider small pieces of it at a time, for the whole is too crushing. Lord, please comfort these families through their unthinkable pain. And please know that this week, I appreciate the regular tidbits about our family's life more than ever because of what happened...

- The kids are getting super excited that Christmas is so quickly approaching. We've got about 5 different countdowns going in the house, and this coming week is packed full of school parties, visits from long-distance friends, specials dinners, and the first of our family guests this coming weekend. We have finished shopping and wrapping and have started menu planning. Because I am not able to travel this Christmas, I am very fortunate that everyone is willing to come HERE. That also means that I'm getting ready to host 4 different family units over seven days. It will be tons of fun, as soon as I figure out what we're going to eat.

- Our 4 year old laptop is having monitor issues, which are apparently critical in nature. Right now we have our laptop hooked up to a spare monitor (all you other IT people have spare monitors in your closets, right?), so it's functioning as a desktop. Which is fine for now, but eventually we'll be looking for a new laptop. Which can be filed under "Expenses we weren't planning on in the near future."

- I am completely surprised how well potty training is going at this point (after 2 weeks). Luke is doing really really well....AT HOME. He's not having very many accidents (of either type) for the past several days. And most of the time, I've been able to convince him to wear EITHER pants OR underpants - don't push your luck on both. (Fair warning to all who are about to come and visit - I'm working on it, but I cannot promise a fully clothed two year old at any given moment). Our biggest hangup at the moment is that he will not use any other potty other than his small plastic one at home. He won't use our big one, even with a potty ring, he won't use the little (porcelain) potty at church, won't use the potty at a friends house, or heaven a public place. So. For long outings we are still wearing diapers because we will be out somewhere and he will tell me he needs to go but won't go near the toilet. Then he tries to hold it (and does a pretty good job) but eventually has an accident. So that's where we are.

- After all the bunkbed drama on Black Friday, I'm embarrassed to say that we still gave our money to KMart in the end, because try as we might, we could not find another decent quality wooden bunk bed, even used, for the price ($160, if you are curious). The KMart one went on sale again, we tried ordering it online again (because our local store said they were out of stock and they weren't on sale in store), and crossed our fingers. It took almost a week, but finally we were able to go pick it up. It took literally ALL DAY yesterday to put it together, including taking down the other two beds and doing a thorough room cleaning. But Katy and David were really invested in the project, and they really and truly helped. They are SO excited about their new beds. And the best part is that we now have a big empty floor space that can house air mattresses for incoming guests (Christmas and new baby will bring quite a few), AND it is fully ready for either Luke's crib or toddler bed to sneak in there when we need him to move for his little sister. Behold!

This shot from last month gives an idea of the previous bed placement.

The kids gave me an update at one point: "Mom, only 52 screws left to put in and then it's DONE!"

Finished! And Katy slept until 8:15 this morning (the last possible moment that I can let her sleep and still be on time for school), so it must have been comfy!

Not too long before this is a reality (trying to put all 3 of them to bed in one place). There's room for Luke's bed where the pink chair is. And I've already heard several stories of broken bones from falling off of top bunks, so I'm on high supervision alert (and I moved the string of lights this morning after paranoid mommy-thoughts overnight).

- I'll end with this: random photo dump of face painting from kids' night at Skyline Chili.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


Potty update: A couple of days ago, after a really rough patch of potty training (48 hours of refusing to even sit on potty, lots of tears and refusals), I was ready to throw in the towel. Brian and I decided to step back and just try a more casual approach for a few more days and see what happens. Keep offering it if he wants to, no pressure, wear diapers if we're going out for longer than a few minutes, just see what happens.

It seems that as soon as we took the pressure off (him and ourselves), he started making progress again. Several times he would start to pee and stop and run to the potty to finish. Progress. Did the same thing once with poop. Progress. He is willing to go to sit on the potty and try a few times, especially when it's associated with an activity ("Before we go bye-bye, we always try to go potty.") Progress. So I'm not saying that we're close, or that we're in it for the long haul, but it seems worth continuing in this fashion for now.

Baby update: I go back to the OB this Thursday and then I'm on weekly visits! Can you believe it? At my last appointment, she asked me to look at our calendar, considering the days that she's at our hospital the week before I'm due, and come back with our preferred induction date. Ummmm...really? Pick our baby's birthday? So I've got my preference lined up, but I'm not ready to speak it aloud until it's scheduled. We got the bassinet from Dad and Sue's attic when we were there at Thanksgiving, and it's sitting in our bedroom as a reminder that things will be changing soon. (Not that we need a reminder considering my physique). That's the only physical thing we've done to get ready, but the rest I think we can get out right after Christmas. I've never delivered early before so I'm not going to get my hopes up by having everything set up a month in advance like I've always done in the past. :)

Party update: Katy went to the sleepover party tonight, although I picked her up at 9pm. When I dropped her off, I had somewhat of a wistful feeling, because there were 10-12 first graders from her school, and I know most of them and their families through either Girl Scouts, church, or soccer. So I thought, "Oh, what a great group of girls, I'm so happy that Katy has good friends at school." When I picked her up, she was in a good mood and had a good time, but she said she felt left out because only she and Rachel were not spending the night. (Rachel is my friend Wendy's daughter, we had discussed it ahead of time so we could assure our daughters that they weren't the only ones not spending the night). I was really surprised that all the other girls were sleeping over. I still feel confident about our decision for our family, but I guess I just wish that there were more families who had the same rules. It would certainly make it easier to enforce - I don't want to always be the most protective parent in the bunch.

Perfectionist update: Speaking of my first-born child, she came home a bucket of tears on Friday afternoon. Not because someone had hurt her feelings, but because for the first time all year, she missed ONE word on her weekly spelling test. And it was a review test based on FORTY words the teacher picked from the whole year to practice this week. We practiced them the night before (she asked me to), and she only missed one out of forty. During the test, the teacher randomly picked 16 words, and she spelled "where" as "whare." Buckets of tears. I asked, "Is there ANYONE in your class who has never missed a spelling word? Everyone makes mistakes, honey. Even your teacher." She sobbed, "But Raul got all the words right on THIS test and THAT makes me feel like I'm a BAD SPELLER." Lord help us. If this is how she reacts to missing one word, we have a lifetime of big disappointments to get through. I wish I knew how to help her, but it's a struggle that I share with her.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Lead-up to Christmas

So potty training has gotten more challenging with each day that progresses. He now throws a fit every time I try to take his diaper off (when he wakes up, etc) and he refuses to sit on the potty no matter what I say. He hasn't sat on the potty for over 24 hours now. I've cleaned up several accidents, but not as many as you would think. I think he's actually holding it until I put a diaper on him at bedtime/naptime. I feel really drained with the whole thing. I'm willing to stick with it for a week or so, just to see what happens, but I don't know. Giving up altogether feels like failure. (I did look back at the blog to when I trained David and had forgotten that I tried when he was 2.5 and it was a disaster, so I waited until he was almost 3 and he learned really quickly.)

We've gotten to do a few holiday celebration-type things to help get into the spirit. The kids are enjoying opening up the advent calendar everyday to find out what's in store for the day. Last weekend we went to a holiday film festival which also included crafts and a Santa visit. We got to see our friends Pam and Craig from the old neighborhood. Somehow moving 20 minutes away means you only see each other once a year? I'm glad that I get to keep up with her on her blog. Our first babies were born within a few weeks of each other and it was great to learn the ropes of parenthood together back then.

This Santa was SUCH a good Santa. Very personable and friendly with the kids, getting down on their level and very interested in what they had to say.

Katy and David each brought a list (Katy: "Magic set or school set", David: "Torque from Cars 2 or sword like Franks'.") and Santa carefully read the list and then folded it and tucked it carefully in his pouch around his neck.

As I assumed, Luke wanted nothing to do with Santa. But later he saw a picture of him and said, "Santa Claus! I sit Santa Claus!"

David's BFF Frank and family met us there as well, and these two were cracking each other UP during the short films. Too sweet.

Katy and Jack...not babies anymore! They also had a live kids' band in the theatre and eventually the kids warmed up and danced down in front. I'm sad that I didn't get a picture of Danny and David. They played well together, too, and Danny is a sweetheart.

Luke was pretty much clung to Brian until the very end. But I know he enjoyed it.

We also went to the local Christmas parade. It takes about 1 minute to drive there and the parade lasted a whopping 25 minutes. But the kids enjoyed it (and got a handful of candy, of course).

Santa and Mrs. It's officially the season!

In Which I Eat My Words

I mentioned that my sister had organized our whole family to give Brian a gift card for a flat screen TV for his birthday (and Christmas). Neither of us have ever purchased a TV before, we've always used hand-me-downs until there was a weird line across the screen or the volume didn't work. Then...on to the next hand-me-down.

So Brian found a model that was being discontinued but had all the features he was wanting. He had to drive 30 minutes to get one left in stock, but it was marked down on clearance and ended up being almost entirely covered by the gift card. He is really, really excited.

Several weeks ago, we had put our entertainment center up on craigslist, even though we didn't have much hope in being able to sell it. These things are a dime a dozen on craigslist, because everyone is getting flat screens and don't need these enormous (and SO heavy!) pieces of furniture. We kept lowering the price, but we couldn't even give it away.

You wouldn't believe how huge and heavy the TV and entertainment center were. It took a dolly and THREE men to move it out.

Brian had mentioned a couple of times the possibility of sawing off the top of the entertainment center and just using the bottom part for DVDs and the DVR. I literally laughed at him. Said it was ridiculous. No. Laughed some more. Told my friends and my sister and we all got a good laugh.

But after we couldn't get rid of it, he said, "If I'm just going to put it on the curb for trash anyway, and then we'll have to shell out some cash for a new piece of furniture to put under the new TV, what's the harm in letting me try to saw off the top?" So I snickered a little and said, "Okay...give it a try."

This is the part where I eat my words. It took him about 6 hours, but it looks perfect. Like we could have bought it at the store this way.


So he is really happy with the new set up, and I have to admit that I am impressed with it as well. The new TV makes a big difference in picture quality and opens up the room more. Thanks to everyone who made it happen!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Potty Training Luke, Day 1

Oh my. Brian and I are both completely exhausted after today. We told Luke before bed last night that he was going to go on the potty today. We bought M&Ms and juice boxes and got out the little potty for the first time.

Luke doesn't have quite the language development that David and Katy did when we started their training, and I felt like I could tell. It took some time for it to click with him what we were asking him to do. And underpants were very confusing to him - every time we put them on he thought it meant that he was supposed to go sit on the potty - with them up. His first "success" on the potty, he still got his underpants wet because he was still wearing them. He went naked the rest of the day (refused to even wear a shirt).

Around 11 am, something seemed to click, and he started peeing in the potty...NON STOP. I literally could not get one cleaned up before he was sitting back down on it. So clearly he isn't emptying out completely and is still figuring that out. But it was great progress. We still had a couple of accidents after that, but he must have had 10-20 successes, I'm not even sure.

He pooped on the floor once, but after that he pooped right in FRONT of the potty 3 more times. (Yeah, that's normal for him - really looking forward to getting him trained because 4 poopy diapers a day is...yucky). So he's starting to get it, but hopefully it's a matter of time before he moves a few inches and makes it into the potty.

The task ahead feels overwhelming. I can't imagine taking him out of the house. I've got a clear schedule all week so we can stay home except for school drop offs/pick ups.

I spent some time looking back at potty training archives here and it helped me to keep things in perspective. I always hear stories of other toddlers who spend 3-5 days naked at home and then are trained forever and ever amen. That has not been my experience in the past, and it seems to be the exception instead of the rule, based on the comments on past posts. So we will see how this week goes, hope to be one of those stories, but try not to be disappointed if it doesn't happen.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Box Tops Lady

I missed the last couple days of November, but 20-some posts in November is better than 4 or whatever I was doing before. I look forward to sharing Christmas posts this month. We went to a fun little festival this morning and saw Santa, and we've a couple of other holiday activities this week, so pictures to come! Also, I think we're taking the potty-training plunge tomorrow, and I'll certainly have stories!

So last year when Katy was in kindergarten, I volunteered in her classroom a couple of times a month. But it was a challenge because Melanie had to watch the boys around her work schedule. I was excited this year to find a way to volunteer to help at her school without having to find childcare. I volunteered to be the Box Top lady.

Many of you probably collect Box Tops and Campbell's Labels For Eduction for your own schools. But basically you can find these little coupons on various products that you buy - each Box Top is worth 10 cents, and the Labels are worth certain numbers of points toward merchandise from a catalogue. So all the students in the school collect them at home and put them in a box in the hallway at school. I empty the box periodically and then recruit friends (other moms at the school) to help me sort and bundle and count them. They have to be trimmed to a reasonable size (some people just rip the whole top of the box off), sorted into different point values, bundled into groups of 50, and packaged to ship back to the company. This past submission, we earned $1200 worth of Box Tops, which was 12,000 Box Tops that were processed. We also collected several thousand Labels. I had recruited a group of 6 moms, and it took us almost 3 hours to do all of that.

But this week I got to experience the reward. Part of the position is also determining what the school needs the most and spending the money/points accordingly. The first batch of equipment that I ordered arrived, and I went to school and passed it out. Some of it was for gym class, and some of it was for outdoor recess. I hadn't even told Katy about any of this, and that afternoon when I picked her up from school, I asked, "So what happened at school today, anything new?" The first thing she said was, "We got new stuff for recess! New jump ropes, these little skip things that go around your ankles, soccer balls and big bouncy balls...." Then a neighbor girl skipped up to us and said, "Yeah, I loved the new skip things!" 

It was nice to have some tangible evidence that all those hours and collecting and sorting and clipping ended up amounting to something. (Good equipment for recess is important, I think!) And we've got another order to place this month, so there's more to come.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


As I mentioned when we visited the Indian Caverns, part of the goal of Girl Scouts is to improve confidence in girls, to help them to try things they would not have otherwise tried and then experience success. This week we took our first grade girls to the rock wall at the rec center. We asked them ahead of time if they would like to try it. A few girls were hesitant, but when we took a "secret ballot," they voted unanimously  "yes."

I was so proud of all the girls!! They all climbed. They all improved. By the end, none of them were scared. They were all proud of their accomplishment and having a good time. They cheered for each other, encouraged one another. And several of the girls asked their parents as they left, "Can we come back tomorrow, pleeeeeaassseeee????"

Actually, the girl who climbed the highest of all of them? She was one of the hesitant ones, and her mom said that right up to the minute before they arrived, she wasn't sure that she was going to try. So it's a good feeling to be a part of something like that.

I was proud of Katy, too, but for a different reason. She had been to the wall before, and although she has many fears and anxieties, climbing isn't one of them. However, she's so very competitive. And I was completely shocked that she wasn't a bucket of tears that she didn't climb the highest. She never once mentioned trying to do better than another girl, and she cheered for her friends and tried to improve on her own height each time. Progress!!

Katy is in the black pants. Don't they look so tiny up on that wall?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Super fun, super exhausting...

In what is becoming an annual tradition, my Dad and Sue were here today watching the kids so that Brian and I could go Christmas shopping. I look forward to this day, because it's a nice change of pace, I love shopping (especially on a weekday), and it's like a really long date for Brian and I.

We had fun, found a lot of good deals, and are finished with our kids and some other family members. I kept needing to take breaks off of my feet, including once when I sat down next to an elderly gentleman at the mall and waited for Brian while he went into a store for quite some time. He and I sat there, in silence, resting our feet and watching the people go by, impressed by their energy. I don't know if he was chuckling about it to himself, but I was.

The other part that was fun this year was that my Dad and Sue were here on a school day, so they had to do pickups for both Katy and David. I gave very detailed instructions (it's not hard, but if you've never been to the school before, don't know the procedure, etc), and for the most part things went smoothly. But I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when my dad went to the wrong preschool classroom, and to see David's face light up with excitement to ride in Grandpa's truck, and to see all the kids in front of Katy's school petting their dog Scout. Luke was along for the ride, and when I got home he gave me a big hug and said, "Mommy shopping." So I wonder how many times he asked where I had gone.

It was a good day. How does it feel like full fledged Christmas and it's not even December?

Monday, November 26, 2012


My kids have no idea how spoiled they are to have such a fun Daddy. I would never go to this much effort! Lights in their bedroom!?!?

Luke's annual ornament selection. He insisted on playing with it and broke Buzz's arm off within an hour. It was one of 3 items that needed superglue after we decorated.

Katy's selection. She gives us an update on the countdown every once in awhile.

Should I be worried now or wait 12 years? David picked a Harley. Picturing my son on a motorcycle makes me short of breath.