Monday, April 30, 2012

Not as much progress, but a little

This past week has NOT turned out like I planned. And I'm a planner, so that really gets my goat. Luke's "ear infection" turned out to be some kind of virus with fever, headache, sore throat, (with a little rash that only the boys got) that eventually everyone in the house got except for me. I was thankful that I stayed well so I could care for everyone. It made everyone pretty sick for a day and a half, staggered throughout the week. Missing school, work, my last Bible study of the year, etc. But then the hardest part was cancelling my mom and Greg's planned visit to build the shed. But it had to be done, Brian was really sick and could not work. This has also caused me to postpone my garage sale for a few weeks, because everything has been pushed back some. I had a little heart trouble letting go of that one, but this really will be better, for several reasons.

But everyone felt better by Sunday and we DID make some progress.

Speaking of a little progress...we have two chrysalises, no butterflies yet...

Digging, leveling, building frame for the gravel base.

Three and a half tons of gravel dumped on our driveway (the boys loved watching THAT), and the pallet of supplies that will be a new shed.

Who needs grandparents to help when you've got these 3?

How did all this gravel get here?

One shovel-full at a time. Or as David prefers, one rock at a time.

Then wheel it around to the backyard.

He said they were lighter than the gravel.

We were able to still host our Girl Scout marshmallow roast on Sunday evening as planned. We even dug out this new brick and gravel spot for the fire pit. You can see in the background the finished gravel base for the shed. I'm dying to show you more cute pictures from the roast, but since I don't have permission, here is one that I can show. My sweet neighbor boys, who happen to be Boy Scouts, volunteered to come and show the girls fire safety, how they build a fire, and teach them a campfire song. It was so fun and they did a great job.

He used a lighter for quickness, but other than that it was middle-of-the-woods fire building.

So I was all set for this week to be a back-to-normal type of week, but this morning the van wouldn't start. And it's been doing this a few times lately so it's time to give up and put it in the shop again. I keep thinking, "Surely we've fixed enough things now, and NOW it will run well for several months." Ugh. And just the logistics of trying to get the van to the shop and get by with the Corolla for a few days...causes more headache. But after THAT, maybe the week will go as planned.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tidbits: Busy edition

I'm a bit bleary-eyed, as we've had two rough nights in this house. First, after Luke was diagnosed with an ear infection, he was up seven times in the night. Then last night, when I thought surely he'd be better, he was up from 11:30-1am, then again at 3. Right when I got him settled, thunderstorms rolled in, which means the two big kids are in our bed. Those storms lingered all the way until morning, so the kids were in there the rest of the night. In addition, I discovered at 5am that David had a fever of 103. This morning Luke has spots in 3 areas of his body that make me suspicious of Hand Foot & Mouth Disease. It's been going around, so I have a feeling it has hit our house.

But I can't complain about a little sickness and sleeping distress since we've had a healthy winter overall. And we're in the middle of a busy few weeks. Here's what's going on:

*This last 6 weeks of school is our busiest part of the year for Girl Scouts, probably because we got a slow start at the beginning (didn't get started until November). So we've got several fun things coming up, including a marshmallow roast in our backyard, a visit to a nursing home, and a year-end picnic. (I really wish I could show you pictures of our adorable troop. They are so sweet, but of course I don't have permission from their parents to post here.)

*Brian ordered a shed online and the parts (it needs to be built, of course) will be delivered this weekend. So he's been busy preparing the spot in the yard and making arrangements for building it.

*I'm getting ready to have a garage sale as a result of my 40 Bags in 40 Days project. I will feel that it is complete when they stuff is completely physically out of the house.

*Katy started her 2nd season of soccer, and it's been fun to attend the games. We've had great weather so far, and so many kids in this area play soccer that we ALWAYS know someone on the opposing team. So it's a big social event at every game. Brian is coaching, which he enjoys. Brian says that Katy is observing the game and learning to strategize more than last season. To a parent who doesn't know much about soccer (me), it looks like she isn't doing much, so we'll go with Brian's assessment.
Consulting with the coach

She insists that she doesn't need to tie her hair back

*We're closing on another refinance of our house today. I don't know much about finance, so I let my husband (who majored in it) make the calls. But apparently the rates! Keep getting lower! And the appraisal made us feel better that our home value hasn't fallen much - there have been a couple of low sales recently that made us worry.

*The kids finished this year of AWANA at church. They really love going each week, but by April I am ready for a break, so I enjoy the closing ceremony. :) It's always fun to see them earn their awards. It doesn't look like much, but each of those little jewels on Katy's wings (green thing on her right shoulder) represents a section of scripture memory. She worked hard to complete her book and review badge.

David earned all of his "A" patches and his Cubbie Bear for first year of Cubbies.

*It's hard to believe that in four weeks, the school year will be over and all of this done for the summer. (Our district is done before Memorial Day) Next fall, David will go to preschool 3 mornings a week at the same school where he is now, and Katy will go all day for first grade. (Lunch! Recess! Yikes!)  Which means 3 mornings a week it will be just Luke and me! That will be a different pace than we've kept this year. But first, I am really looking forward to doing lots of fun things this summer.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

For the love of The Wiggles

I remember the first time I watched The Wiggles, I thought, "Turn off that obnoxious noise!" It was cheesy and cheeky and just. so. smiley.  The way many people cringe at Barney, that's how I felt about those four men from Australia.

But I learned quickly that if my kids love something, and they are happy when they are listening to it or watching it, it grows on me. Because I see it through their eyes, and I am thankful to the group for entertaining my kids for a period of time. So I got used to The Wiggles.

Fast forward a few years, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I LOVE those Wiggly singers! Really truly love them. Katy and David will pick their CDs at the library every single time, and we listen to them in the car for hours on end. And in this day and age when there is so much negative influence, I'm just so thankful when the kids love something fun and innocent. Bieber fever can wait a few years, I'll happily dance around at a Wiggly Party!

I even looked up their summer tour and considered for a moment whether I would drive 3 hours to Indianapolis to see them (okay, I guess it doesn't go that far).

Right now we have The Best of The Wiggles out from the library, and the kids hold the case in the backseat of the van and shout out, "Now Number 10, Mom! Okay, Number 17 next!" Luke even tries to sing along with garbled up syllables. I will always fondly remember these moments.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Science! and Spiderman

We've been up to a little science around here lately. We took the Girl Scout troop to COSI (children's science museum) for a day camp program. It was our biggest field trip of the year (it lasted all day) and I must have counted to 8 (heads) about 50 times throughout the course of the day. But the girls had a blast. And the best part was that they got to take home a caterpillar that will become a Painted Lady Butterfly. Katy thinks this is as exciting as having a pet, and she's making all kinds of observations throughout the day. They have already tripled in size in just a few days. I was glad that we got to take home 2 of them (since I had paid admission as well), so that we had double the chance of actually ending up with a butterfly.

David's preschool class is doing a sunflower challenge. They each planted a seed at school and brought it home to care for it. Then they bring in observations to school each week and on the last day of school they will each bring in a picture and declare a winner. (That part is a little unclear to me - a winner?) But David is REALLY excited about his sunflower. Two inches of growth in the first week! 

And finally, I wanted to capture a video of Luke saying "Spiderman" because it is so darn cute. You get a little Real Life with this one because first of all, Luke is wearing a mismatched outfit (that's what you get when someone has an accident and you send the 5 year old to retrieve a new outfit). Secondly, the playroom is a total disaster. I could pretend that this is really unusual, or I could be honest and admit that it's not.(Sorry about the squished video - I don't have time to figure out how to fix it...)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spotlight on: Lukey Loo Loo

My friend Cindy (Happy Birthday, dude!) requested a little focus on Luke, my precious little stinker of a 1 year old. It's true that I haven't shared nearly the volume of info on the boy, largely because he's so active (and we're so busy) that it's tough to find the time to grab the camera or sit down to type. But in the past couple of months, I feel like he has matured somewhat past "aimless toddler" into the "almost two year old." So I'm desperate to capture a view of him before he changes too much.

I notice that most toddler boys seemed to be obsessed with either cars or balls. They might enjoy playing with all of the above, but one of those two is their true love. Luke seems to have followed in his brother's footsteps: he's a car boy. He will be outside playing and suddenly go sprinting into the house and make a beeline for the car box, rooting around like he's on a mission. He'll find the vehicle he was picturing in that little mind of his, then return quickly to his playspot outside. He'll run that vehicle around and around, making what Katy calls "really good car sounds." His newest discovery is airplanes. Whenever one flies overhead, he'll point to the sky and say, pretty clearly, "oh-fwayne, oh-fwayne" and when you say, yes, there's an airplane, he says, "high? high? high?" until you say yes, it's up high.

His other love-of-the-moment is Spiderman, which is 100% the influence of his brother. David has a Spiderman dress-up costume, and awhile back we discovered that if we put on the mask and chase Luke around, he squeals and screams like he can't decide if he's more scared or thrilled. Sometimes he even brings you the mask and shoves it at you, like, "Chase me!" He has a pair of Spiderman jammies, and he gets excited whenever he sees the hero's face, saying "pie-ah-mah"or something of the sort.

He's constantly on the move, and doesn't sit still long enough to watch any TV at all. (I thought that by this age my other 2 would sit for 10-20 minutes? I might remember that incorrectly.) Katy said to me today, "Maybe I could start trying not to be scared of Sesame Street anymore, because Luke might like that show." We haven't watched Sesame Street in this house for 4 years, my eldest is so scared of it. Darn Count. Luke loves to be outside as much as possible, and if the other 2 are out there, he's clung to the door begging me to let him out like a dog. Of course if he's outside, I have to be right next to him, because he cannot be trusted. He's getting much better though- he knows not to run into the street, and he will hold my hand in public because he knows the other option is to be carried (which he does NOT want).

He wants to do EVERYTHING the older kids do. You can't get away with changing things for him because he's little. Slice his banana? Throws a fit. Carry him through the parking lot? Fit. Lay him on the changing table? MAJOR FIT. He's at least 3, he's CONVINCED of it.

Helping Katy and David get ready for "crazy hair night" at AWANA (church)

His language is developing, although it would be nice if he could tell us what he wants. Several times a day, he is gesturing toward something that he wants, I don't know what it is, and he's screaming and in tears over it. *sigh* But he's very good at repeating what we say. Just today Katy said, "Luke is a copy baby," and he said "copy baby."

I feel sheepish to admit that he still takes a bottle at bedtime. But it's because he LOVES it. He can be playing contentedly around bedtime, and if I walk into the room with a warm bottle? He stands up, tells everyone in the room, "Nigh-nigh!" and heads toward the stairs. Then he lays on the changing table quietly drinking while I get him changed, and then he lays on my lap in the rocking chair to finish it. It's the only snuggle I get, and I'm not worried about it. I remember with Katy that I got her to give it up by 15 months because the pediatrician said I should. Oh, well.

He still wakes up at night sometimes, standing in his crib and crying. But it isn't overly disruptive, because all I have to do is go in, pick him up, he collapses on my shoulder and I rock him for about a minute and then lay him back down. He's still awake, but it's as if he's scared and just needs to feel safe or something.

He drools a TON. Soaks several shirts per day. I kept thinking it was teething, but it's been months and months, so I'm guessing it's just an issue we'll have to work on.

He's happy and sweet much of the time (except when he has something in mind that he wants, and he's not getting it :). He gives kisses and has even started saying "date doo" without being prompted. We all love our Lukey Loo, and probably baby him a bit too much. (Aunt Mel says we act as if he can do no wrong, especially in sibling squabbles.) We're so glad he's our boy.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Weekend in Photos

Luke's first carousel ride at the zoo - he clung to Brian and wouldn't take his eyes off the mirror in the center.

Katy convinced David that we should pick the carousel instead of the boat ride. As the ride began, he shouted, "You were right, Katy, this IS fun!!!" Love this kid.

Note to future self: the zoo on Good Friday (especially a beautiful one) is comparable to the day after Thanksgiving. PACKED. But still fun.

Oma and Opa joined us for the weekend. During the backyard egg hunt, it didn't take Luke very long to figure it out.

She found the Golden Egg. And they were very good about leaving the "easy eggs" for Luke.

Getting ready to dye eggs. At first, he thought I was taking a picture of just the eggs, so he didn't smile, but then when I said he was in the shot, too, he gave me some sweetness.

Loved it!

One brave Oma - helping a one year old color eggs. He MUST do what the big kids do.

See what I mean? This is the face when he thinks I'm looking at the egg. So serious. He was really proud of this pirate skull tattoo.

The egg tattoos were tough for the kids to handle, but I really enjoyed them.

Baskets, which the kids totally forgot to anticipate. On Easter morning I was trying desperately to get them to come downstairs at the same time, and they had no idea why. It was fun that they were surprised.

My mom bought all of their outfits for church.

Luke's "shortpants" got all kinds of comments at church. I have to admit that it was pretty stinking cute.

Such a handsome big boy!

She wanted yellow this year. She loves dresses!