Thursday, March 28, 2013


David is five. Wow, do I love five year olds! He has been so stinking cute anticipating this birthday. The celebration is a bit spread out between friends and family, so I had to draw him a chart of what was happening on which days this week so he wouldn't be disappointed to get no cake or gifts on his actual birthday. But even before any cake or gifts, he proclaimed yesterday evening that this was "the best birthday EVER!" What else can a mom possibly want to hear?

I cheated the system a bit. I had told him that he could invite a couple of friends to go somewhere fun - he chose the bounce house. He also chose 3 friends, who are conveniently the children of some of our closest friends, which works out great. They also have siblings that are great playmates for my other children, so before you know it, it's a bigger party than you intended. However...we found a groupon for pizza and bounce during their open bounce time, which we were able to buy for all 4 families (including ours) for less than a third of the price of having a party there. When I called to schedule the 4 families to come at the same time, the lady warned me in a stern voice that we canNOT have a birthday party during open bounce. No gifts, no singing, no cake. Luckily my friends are good sports and we all had a laugh about whispering "Happy Birthday" while we ate pizza. And they all followed me to McDonald's afterward to have an ice cream cone and sing Happy Birthday as loudly as we wanted. Like I said: great friends.

It was a long day while Daddy was at work, waiting for 5pm to arrive. We went to Sonic for the first time (the only place I can imagine taking the kids "out to eat" by myself), and he LOVED it.

Oh my. Unsupervised 2-year old eats lunch in back seat of van while mother eats optimistically in the driver's seat. (and he is the one who buckled that chest strap to sit and eat - hilarious)

Time to bounce! David and his friend Buddy take a slide. David was so red-faced and sweaty the whole time.

Katy had a blast bouncing all over the place with Buddy's sisters, Elizabeth and Reagan.

Once Landon warmed up - he was a bouncing maniac!


These 3 boys (David, Buddy, and Frank) would NOT stop moving so I could take a picture of them. Had to catch them as they piled up at the bottom of the slide.

The girls, smiling politely.

The boys. Being boys (so nice to be somewhere you can let them just be boys).

The groupon came with game tokens, too. Landon loves anything to do with basketball!

Taking up the whole bar at McDonald's. Singing LOUDLY. :)

My mom came and got Anna and took her home, which was an amazing help. It's still not sinking in how awesome it will be to have grandparents in town.

David got some new Lego sets, and I was blown away at how well he put them together - just following the picture instructions with very little help from me. And THEN he spent 45 minutes diligently writing "Thank you" notes. I guess he is really living up to being five? Hard to believe...

Cake and presents with family coming up...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blue Jackets

- More plan changes...Melanie gave in to the stomach bug on Wednesday night, and the poor girl falls hard when she gets the flu. Grammy and Papa John were supposed to come on Friday night to take Katy and David to a Columbus Blue Jackets game (ice hockey) as a kick-off for David's birthday. But with Mel sick, everyone thought it was best to reschedule so that we didn't give our extended family the flu twice in one year, and to let Melanie stay comfy in her room. But Brian still took the kids to the game, and got to invite David's BFF Frank and his dad to come along and use the extra tickets. Thanks to Kathy and John for the tickets - they all had such a blast!

Dinner at Buca di Beppo's. So many memories of this place from my single days...they make the BIGGEST deal out of singing to you on your birthday (one time they made everyone in the room sing to me "We won't shut up until you skip around the room, skip around the room, skip around the room..." until I did it. They had David stand on a chair, which he LOVED.

She told Grammy they ate at a "fancy restaurant."

At the stadium, they got free hats, and they looked so cute coming home in them.


Cutest fans in the stands! Up waaaayyyy past their bedtime.

Now...we are supposed to take a day trip to visit all the great-grandparents on Monday, but they are predicting 5-9" of snow!!! Urgh!!!!!! So I'm not sure if we'll get to go, and every other day this week has scheduling challenges. I'm so ready for spring!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tidbits: Deliver Us From the Stomach Bug edition

- I really thought that we adults had escaped this time. But alas, I gave into the stomach bug, again, this weekend. Spent the better part of 3 days in bed. While my saint of a husband took care of 4 kids and one sick mommy, including bringing the baby to me every time she was hungry (nursing with stomach flu - not my favorite).  But I'm much better now, and I'm really ready to move on from this piece of evil, so please, please, please, may Brian and Melanie be spared, for the love!! We've got lots of plans starting this weekend, so if there is a bright side to all of this, I hope it is that we'll be healthy as horses for spring break! *please!*

- My mom is in contract on a house that is ONE MILE from ours. Amazing. I love the location. Her house in Pittsburgh is getting all fixed up and will be on the market this coming weekend. She isn't feeling well today and I am really hoping that we didn't get her sick in the brief time that we saw her last week. :(

- My friend Kate and I were just talking last week about how our almost 5 year old boys had ZERO interest in coloring, and always only scribbled across the page and ran off to play. About two days later, David opened a superhero coloring book that we've owned for at least a year, colored Iron Man, and was SO proud of himself that he continued to do another one, and another one and another. Half an hour later I walked by the fridge and it looked like this:

But he won't color anything else. Just superheros.

I was especially impressed with the smiling sunshine over Iron Man's shoulder.

- Luke's potty training is back to ground zero. Literally. He had some veeeeeerrrrryyyy unfortunate accidents while he had The Bug, which led to wearing a diaper for a couple of days. He was having frequent accidents before, but after that it was all over. Took the diaper back off and he just peed and pooped in his clothes all day long and never ever sat on the potty. So. Back to square one - December 1st, 2012. Naked. Set the timer. Make him sit on the potty every hour. Progress.

- Katy's had a good week at school. We're not worry-free but I'm hoping we're climbing out of the hole.

- Anna has changed so much! And we've been too sick to capture it! So extra attention for her...

A beautiful smile. I love that moment when she's done nursing and she just smiles and smiles and smiles at me. It's like she's just daring me to try to put her down now that I'm holding her.

That scab on her forehead is from Luke dropping a monster truck on her face. Poor baby sister.

Practicing sitting up - she likes to do pilates moves on her back - they look like ab crunches. And when she's in the mood - she imitates facial expressions - it's amazing! Sticks her tongue out when you do, tries to blow raspberries when you do, etc.

And her most impressive goal - trying to get that thumb in her mouth! She's been working on it constantly lately, and getting better every day. The pacifier won't be around much longer.

Another thing that won't be around much longer...she's going to outgrow the bassinet in the next few weeks. I have mixed feelings - I like having her so close at night, but it's really crowded in our room with the extra furniture (bassinet, glider, dresser). And just as difficult as moving her to her room is moving Luke in with the big kids. I'm not sure how he's going to do. (for example, he likes it pitch black and they like a light on.)  But in a few months I'm sure the new set up will seem normal and everyone will be sleeping as well as they were before (right?).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Turned the Corner

During the past 4 days (FOUR!) that my 3 children have had a terrible stomach bug, I've thought many times about posting. But first, I couldn't find the time between rubbing backs and holding hair and changing sheets and rinsing buckets to find the time to do it. And second, a part of me knew that it probably wasn't best. It wouldn't have been a very pleasant post because I wasn't in a good state of mind.

I've changed my perspective on the stomach flu. In the past, I've always thought: well, yes, it's gross and incredibly contagious, but at least it passes quickly and you're done with it until next year! Well, apparently, that isn't true. We got it twice in one winter, and both times it carried on and on for days and days. Even Melanie, a stomach flu medal-earning veteran, said she had never had it like the kids have had it this week. Awful.

But finally we have turned the corner today. No big messes to clean out of cribs in the morning. No moaning and crying and screaming (no, seriously, blood curdling screaming) in pain for hours and hours. The doctor said, "Wow, normally I would tell you to go straight to the ER, because that's appendicitis, but they can't ALL have appendicitis." Ugh. He also said that the stomach flu is just super strong this year and lasting longer than normal. When I called Katy's school to say that she'd be out, they said, "everyone with the stomach bug is missing at least 3 days."

Today is a bonus day at home for Katy. She probably could have gone to school, but I wanted to make absolutely certain she wouldn't be feeling bad, because our challenges at school have been so intense lately and I didn't want to add to her fears and anxieties. David hasn't passed the 24 hour rule yet, but he's so much better today that I think he's on his way. And Luke was more of the traditional 36 hour bug, but it takes his system awhile to regulate.

So thankful that Anna didn't get sick (knock on wood!). So thankful that the adults didn't get sick. So thankful that Brian's work is flexible so he was able to move some things around and be at home some.

I enrolled David in kindergarten last night. It will be so nice to have two of them in the same building next year! Even though David will only be half days...

David and Anna had well visits in the midst of this illness, so here are some stats:

David at 5 years: 42 pounds (65 %'ile), 43.25" (65%'ile)  - so proportionate. :)

Anna at 2 months: 11 pounds, 2 ounces (50%'ile), 22.25" (40%'ile)

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Spoke Too Soon

Katy came into our room at 2am and said she couldn't sleep because she couldn't find Blankie. Just as I got up to go looking - I heard a huge *thud* and David screaming. He had fallen out of bed and busted his lip. It's pretty fat today.

Brian got in bed with him to settle him down and Katy said her belly was hurting so I let her stay with me (she is terrified of vomiting every since our Christmas stomach flu episode). As soon as Brian came back, David came in saying his mouth hurt. I got up at 4 to feed the baby and laid her back down in at 5:30. At 6:15 Katy got up screaming guessed it...another stomach bug.


She threw up every 30 minutes until 3pm. Missed Father Daughter Bowling with her Girl Scout Troop. And chanted all day "Mommy, Mommy...make it stop! Please!!!! Pray for me!!" (yes, she was screaming at me to pray for her.)

At 5:00, while I went for a walk around the block to catch my breath - David gave in.

I know this isn't the right reaction, but I am struggling with a bit of anger. This isnt' FAIR. We've done our time with the Stomach Flu for this year. Two whole weeks. AT CHRISTMAS!!!!! And we've had various other illnesses for the past month. And we have a newborn!!! UNCLE!!!

But I know in the grand scheme of big deal. It's a stomach bug. In a few days, it will (hopefully) be over. But dear Lord, I am not in a good mood. We'd love a break. Please!!!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

8 week updates

*Our last 2-3 weeks have continued to be dominated by illness, including the hard fall of Katy, who missed 3 days of school (and should have missed four, if I had believed that she was really sick on the first day). But I am very happy to report that, at least for this very hour, everyone in the house is healthy. Most notably Anna, and I'm so relieved. *No jinxing, please*

*We have a snow day today. We had one a couple of weeks ago, and as soon as Brian walked in the door at the end of the day, I burst into tears about how exhausted I was, and I spent the evening looking at summer day camps and programs.  (kidding. kind of.)

*Anna is 8 weeks today! She is really changing, starting to look like one of our babies, and I see resemblance to her siblings all the time. After sleeping with us for over a week, she moved back into her bassinet (just in time for Katy to move into our bed for a few nights) and I've even put her to bed a few nights and come back downstairs. Which is a liberating feeling after keeping her up with me for so many weeks. She's moving into her 3-6 month clothes (Luke is moving into size 24 months as he approaches his 3rd birthday, the peanut), nursing well, still just napping wherever she can catch it, and is generally a "good baby." (Not that any baby is ever bad, but people always use the term "good baby.") Oh, and it is a strange feeling to get rid of the clothes that Luke and Anna outgrow. I'm in the habit of packing everything away and labeling's somewhat freeing but also sad to toss them in the donate/garage sale bin.

*Sometime recently we let the kids watch Wheel of Fortune. The funny thing is that they LOVE it, even though Katy has only ever solved one puzzle before the contestants ("breakfast cereal"). Eventually Brian made up a home game of Wheel using a wipe-off board and a Twister spinner. We are playing it constantly...and it has morphed into a combo of Wheel and Hangman. The funny thing is when David creates the puzzle, because he usually only knows the first letter of any word, and the rest is all jarbled. It's quite a challenge to guess what he's trying to spell.

*David and Luke have really started playing together well - with bursts of fighting, of course. But it's fun to see, especially how much David enjoys the big brother role when Katy isn't around.

*I would consider Luke to be potty trained, but we've been having daily accidents lately. I think I remember all of the kids going through this type of set back after being trained for awhile. Just keep chugging along, cleaning it up, eventually it will stop. But man, it's messy.

*My mom started her new job this week. She is staying with Greg's daughter Mary who lives about 25 minutes from here (there no room at our inn).  She came over last night for an hour or so, and it was so surreal. My mom has NEVER walked through my door without a suitcase. And it was so weird for her to leave and say, "Okay, see you tomorrow!" The transition will be gradual as they are putting their house on the market and trying to buy a new one here. Greg is still back in Pittsburgh for awhile wrapping things up.

*Other stuff is starting to slow down. I finished Box Tops and the large part of my responsibility for scholarship committee. Girl Scouts is all planned for the rest of the year and cookies are 90% delivered. It was a tough decision, but we decided to stop doing Tae Kwon Do for now. It was so hard to get there after school twice a week with all 4 kids in tow, timing it around nursing, then keep control of Luke, there was no bathroom that I could get to without crossing the mat, and I couldn't start dinner prep until 5:15. By this time next year, David will be old enough that I can drop him off at 5pm in the big kids' class. That would be so much easier. The hard part, though, was that he was SO sad when I told him. But this spring we're not doing soccer - and both Katy and David are going to do a once a week Rock Climbing class. Then next fall they are looking forward to getting back to sports. There are so many great opportunities, and they are at an age when everything sounds fun to try. So I feel like we're in this stage of trying to figure out what they would like, what our family can handle, what's appropriate for their age and abilities, etc.

*Many of you are probably tired of hearing about this, but Katy's still having a hard time. I only mention it again because it weighs so heavily on my mind and is a daily struggle around here. What breaks my heart is how she talks about disliking school now, when she used to love it so much. How I long for the days that she skipped happily in the door! I've also been really disappointed with how the teacher has handled the situation, and it's been the first episode of being unhappy about school. I'm trying to figure out the balance between advocating for my child and becoming "that mom" that has a reputation in the school and none of the teachers want her kid in class. (Just to clarify, her unhappiness has nothing to do with the school itself, it's just leaving me that is difficult. Going to a different school would be the same problem - except that perhaps a different teacher might help us navigate it a little better.) Anyway, I'm going to try talking about it less, to see if that helps me not to worry about it so much.

*Coming this month...kindergarten registration, David's 5th birthday, spring break, and possibly a new venture for Easter. And hopefully some warm weather!! Please!