Monday, April 29, 2013

A little bit cray cray

Holy cow, things have been busy here.

(Ha! I wrote that first line 3 days ago and it's been sitting there all lonesome ever since. Case in point.)

I don't even know where to start.

*Back on April 12th, Mom and Greg closed on their house (did I mention that it's ONE mile away? Amazing.).  Greg is still working back in Pittsburgh and trying to sell their house (original contract fell through), so he's gone during the week. Brian is playing a big role at the new house, fixing up as much as he can and helping my mom hire out the rest, spending many of his non-work hours over there getting things arranged. I spent some time over there painting this weekend - it was a nice change of pace. The end result will be awesome - having Oma and Opa close by (as well as the house will look great), but in the meantime it's a lot of work.

*Sometime during that week, I hurt my back and was in a lot of pain for several days. It was a combination of wearing the Baby Bjorn and helping Luke on the potty and I felt something pop. Things are much better now, but it made for a challenging week, and I'm still trying to fit in some appointments to see my dear friend Kate's family practice of chiropractors.

*Speaking of Luke on the potty, one day last week he decided he was done with the plastic potty (which he previously refused to use anything but) and wanted to use the big potty. He's been doing really well with it lately. It's been 5 months since we it possible we're close to being done?

*There's lots of end-of-year stuff going on for school, Girl Scouts, and church (MOPS, AWANA). Can you believe that David's last day of preschool (ever!) is next Thursday?! Oh, man...letting that sink in. Katy's done a couple weeks after that.

*I took this picture of Anna when she turned 3 months, and now the poor baby is approaching 4 months before I get around to posting it. She is super sweet, lots of smiles, nice temperament. We think she rolled over yesterday, although none of us actually witnessed it, she was just suddenly on her tummy when we hadn't put her there. She's sleeping in the pack n' play (still in our room) because she outgrew the bassinet. (Aunt Mel is trying to decide if she might move out sometime soon, so we're holding off on moving's easier this way). She's hit that stage where she wants to be rocked to sleep and put down in her crib. Both of which are difficult with 3 older kids. So I'm up and down the stairs a lot, fighting with her to nap/stay asleep/get up to pick someone up from school/go back to sleep/stay swaddled/try it without swaddling, etc etc. It's exhausting, but I know it's a stage.  Oh, and I think she has eczema, so I'm trying to increase her bath frequency to use the special cream to lock in the moisture.

*In lieu of soccer this spring (thank the good Lord we aren't doing soccer! that would have sent me over the edge), Katy and David are doing a once a week rock climbing class at the rec center. They both really like it - Katy passed levels one and two on the first try and has been working on level 3 for a couple of weeks. David is getting almost halfway up level one these days, which is progress for him, and he's proud of himself for this accomplishment. He's working hard.

*Last weekend, we took a break from the house stuff and took a girls' weekend to Pittsburgh. Katy, Anna, and I drove over (with Greg's daughter Mary) and we all stayed in a hotel, which is Katy's Disney world. The purpose of the trip was to attend a Victorian Tea where my mom received an award in recognition of all the volunteer work she has done for Sojourner House over the last 5 years. It was a great honor to be there for her, and to hear about all the great work that the organization does. I didn't fully understand until I saw it for myself. Oh, and you were supposed to wear "your favorite spring hat."

Katy won "best hat" for our table. She borrowed this from her friend Rachel.

Greg (Opa) and his daughter Mary

For obvious reasons, I had to borrow a hat from my mom.

So proud of Oma! She has given hours upon hours to the cause!

*Our Girl Scout troop bridged up from Daisies to Brownies. We had a beautiful night at the park for our ceremony and the girls were SO excited to receive their new sash and officially become brownies. 

One of the moms (more creative than I) made these brownies.

Skipping across the bridge as a brand new Brownie!
*Both kids have fieldtrips this week. I'm still working on my OT coursework. Brian's doing a half marathon this weekend and we have friends coming to visit. David's getting over strep throat and I think he has seasonal allergies. I could go on, but you get the idea. "Jerry, you are hanging on by a very thin thread. And I DIG that about you!"

Monday, April 08, 2013

Tidbits: Finally spring edition!

- The weather is finally warm, and although I don't have any pictures of it, we've been spending tons of time outside. We dug out all the bikes and riding toys and wagons and once again, we cannot park any vehicles in the garage, but that's ok. Going outside has challenges at this stage... Katy and David are old enough to be out there alone (with me watching from inside), but if they are out there - Luke wants to be out there. And he's insistent, so he'll throw a fit and make you miserable until you take him out. Which means I have to bring the baby out, which requires making sure she's fed, warm, putting on some kind of carrier or something. Then she only lasts so long before she's fussy, needs to be fed/changed/rocked or Luke needs to be pottied/changed/disciplined (for running into the street, commonly). So then I'm fighting Luke to come inside about every 20 minutes, trying to keep an eye on the older two and it's a circus. A CIRCUS. But  I'm so relieved we aren't doing soccer this spring. That would have taken me over the edge.

A few weeks ago, Katy had spirit week, including Wacky Wednesday. She came up with this outfit.

The hair was my idea.

Sue is taking our dining table chairs one at a time and replacing the dirty cloth seats (no seriously, the picture does not do it justice. They are so filthy that I am embarrassed for people to sit on them), and replacing them with the brown vinyl material on the left. Wipes clean! Amazing! We are so thankful for her effort.

- Every other spring, I have to do some coursework to maintain my occupational therapy license. I can do it all or mostly online, and I'm working on it now during evenings and weekends. It's not a huge deal, but every time I do it, I debate whether I want to keep the license. It's an expense both time-wise and financially, and the farther I get away from it, the more unsure I am that I will use it in the future. However, if I let it lapse it is very difficult to get it back (I'd likely have to take some classes in order to pass the certification exam again). And if I needed it, it's definitely a good job to be able to get (lots of openings all the time, good money). So I consider it an insurance policy of sorts to keep it up, even though I don't anticipate using it in the near future.

- This past weekend, Grammy and Papa John came into town (rescheduled from 2 weeks ago) for more grandkid spoiling:

Brian wanted to take everyone to cosi for their S'more making kit. The kids had a blast roasting marshmallows at the table!

The little bunsen burner takes patience.

Eventually we did eat S'mores.

Then it was on to Build-a-Bear - David had never been before and got to pick out an animal for his birthday from Grammy and Papa John.

He chose a leopard and named it Diego. He loves playing with animals and knew exactly which one he wanted.

Bath time for all the bears. Katy and Luke brought bears from home that had been stuffed on previous occasions. Katy brought her own money (she's been earning $2/week allowance for chores, splitting the money into spend/save/give categories in her bank) and bought socks and hair ribbons for her bear.

So relieved when the worker emerged from the back of the store with one remaining Iron Man costume! He had seen it online and had his heart set on it. Have you ever seen a leopard dressed as Iron Man? There's a first time for everything.
So happy to see April! Hopefully outdoor pictures will follow...

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Great-Grandparents/More Birthday/Easter/House Update

We had such a good visit with my grandparents. It's always fun to introduce a new great-grandbaby.

My grandpa is amazing. Not only does he rock the baby to sleep, but he rides his bike to get the mail and uses a chainsaw to cut firewood.

Oh, and he pulls the kids in a tractor.

My grandparents' backyard. I wonder how many hours of my childhood I spent in this woods?

Love it here.

He would only sit on it when it was turned off. He's a cautious boy.

Over at my Grandma Martha's house, Dad and Sue planned a little party for the kids. They had to find their Easter baskets hidden around the house.

Superheroes were the gift theme for David this year. He will look stunning for kindergarten!

Anna was so happy in the great-grandparents' arms.

Sue mixed up the cupcakes with letters on them and challenged the kids to spell "Happy 5th Birthday David". They got a kick out of that.

Back at our house, we combined Easter with my mom and Greg, mom's birthday, and David's birthday.  David loves Angry Birds, so I wanted to make him an Angry Birds cake. Which might be quite challenging, except that Brian had the idea to just buy this game, put the pieces on the cake, and then wash the pieces off and give him the game afterward. Brilliant. And they actually LOVE the game, too, and it's a good skill-builder, as they have to copy the designs for the towers.

David's gift from us was this Razor Rip Rider 360, which we found at Christmas-time for 80% off clearance. It's like a big wheel, but you can also spin around on it and do 360's.

Easter egg hunt. The best part was the weather (it's been so cold still, so 55 degrees and sunny felt like heaven!), and the fact that they kept re-hiding and re-finding the eggs all afternoon.

What is it about Easter egg hunts? The kids look forward to this all year.

So. Easter choir. Katy really wanted to try it this year, and my mom was singing, too, so it was nice that they could go to rehearsals together, she'd be up on stage, too, etc. I still wasn't sure how she'd do. This is her pre-service nervous face. So on Saturday night at the first service, we were all there, in the front, she saw us, and she did fantastic! I could NOT believe how beautiful she looked, and how expressive she was. Lots of people made comments about what a good job she did (she was one of the littlest), and the overall director said she was a future worship-leader. :)  But then Sunday morning, she ended up getting nervous and didn't see me right away and she came down from the stage and sat with me in the front row. We didn't stay for the rest of the services. I was really disappointed because she did SO great Sat. night. So I'm going to post this short video clip to celebrate her success at the first service. (There are about 70 people in the choir, but I framed it so Katy is in the lower left and my mom is in the upper right.)

Easter morning baskets. (Highlights: matching "Angry Birds" shirts for the boys, "Operation" band-aids, and Disney story books.)


New at our house this year: those plastic wraps that you put on the egg and shrink with a hair dryer.  I love those things!

So now Spring Break is over, April is here, and I'm glad to get back to a regular routine. C'mon, spring!