Thursday, March 31, 2011

What A Day

 You know those days where it seems like it's one thing after another? And by 3pm you're ready to crawl under the covers and pretend you never woke up?

I kind of had one of those days. Really, as I look back over it, it wasn't really terrible, just a lot of little frustrating things all piled up!
 First it was laundry day and I'm going to be really honest here and say that I am SOOO over dragging laundry out to the laundromat every 2 weeks. I have really tried to suck it up and not complain but let me tell you that dragging 6 bags of laundry plus all laundry supplies + a baby out at 8am (right after dropping boys at school) is not easy!

If I get there any later than 8:30am, it's almost too late to do it because everybody and their brother comes in. And then there are only the dinky small washers left and a broken dryer here and there.

Today I got there at 9am. Sigh. Let's just say it wasn't a pleasant experience today. I'm really glad to have clean laundry but boy is it a process to get it that way!!

And then our sweet Princess decided she didn't want to nap today even though I did every thing in my power to create wonderful napping environments for her. Let's see....she took a 45 minute nap, followed by a 25 minute nap and iced the cake this afternoon by napping for a whopping 15 minutes and then cried her little heart out for the next 40 minutes.

Because she was tired. Good thing she's so cute!

The boys and I made a trip out and got some probiotics for her to help her digestive system since she's still having issues. She is still acting much better although she now has eczema all over. If it's not one thing, it's another!

And then Zakkai decided he didn't want to nap either which meant mommy's quiet time in the afternoon went kaput. He alternated between coming out every 8 minutes saying, "Moooooommmmmmyyyyyy. I've been in there a really long time and I'm all done sleeping!" and banging against the door from the inside like a prisoner trying to break free from his cage.

It was really fun.

"What a day dad mom had."

I finally got to the point where, as I was preparing dinner, Zakkai came in to talk to me and I had to tell him (many times) that I just needed a few minutes to be quiet and not talk!! ("Quiet" is not a word in Zakkai's vocabulary...)

Honestly, underneath the minor little things that built up, it is probably really a build up of tension as we are waiting for some decisions to be made about next year and the unknowns and uncertainties are really wearing on us!

We are trying very hard to be patient and wait on God to answer but the ups and downs are tough!

It sure makes us extra thankful for Florida!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stylin' Baby

 Alternately titled: Cindy Lou Who  :)
Little Cindy Lou loooooves her bathtime! Unlike the boys, it has become a nightly routine to give her a bath as she adores it so much and it calms her. E has loved bathtime since she was born. She knows it is bedtime after her bath!

She is continuing to make some improvements, thankfully. At least, she is back to being pretty happy and it's nice to see her smiling again! I'm hoping her digestive track will get back to normal soon and am not sure how long that will take...

Because now that I am not eating dairy (which I am a little skeptical of...), I WANT it so bad! Grilled cheese, ice cream, a glass of milk......I must be pouting or something because it makes me not want to cook. If I can't have milk, no one can have milk!

Bah hum-bug.



Well, I supposed after looking at this little cherub face...it is worth it:)

Yes, definitely worth it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Att-ti-tude!

Want a little glimpse into 5 year old attitude?

And so it begins....
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Yesterday Samuel came with me on a diaper-run after school and it was so nice to spend a little bit of time with just him; something that doesn't happen very often these days. As we were pulling into the parking lot he said, "The clouds looks so fluffy and soft! Are they made out of cotton? Can we get one down?"

After fumbling through an explanation of what clouds are made of (science refresher anyone?), I explained that we couldn't get one down . We got out of the car and he paused and said, "Couldn't we get a really tall ladder and get one down with a rope? They have some ladders at school.."

I love kid's imaginations!!
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I tried to get a picture of Z today but he wasn't feelin' it. So he ran away:)
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I took Eliana to the Dr's today because she just hasn't been able to shake this virus so I wanted to make sure that she is okay. It was as I suspected: a virus and I was told to cut out dairy products from my diet for a few days because after a gastrointestinal virus, you are temporarily lactose intolerant. So that may be the cause of her continued symptoms, I guess.

Thankfully today she seemed happier and more lively than she has in a week so that is good news! Here is a video for your enjoyment of her trying to roll over:) She tries (sometimes half-heartedly) many, many times (as you can see)before she finally gets it. She thinks it's funny to roll away and come back to us and has really enjoyed time on the floor lately!! She getting so fun!

And of course, she didn't actually roll over in the video.....She did it 1 minute later! Silly girl!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Project Simplify

I finally made it to the store to empty my camera's memory card on CD's. Over 900 pictures later....

Yikes! I had over a year's worth of pictures on my camera and am still working my way through, erasing them one by one. Why not just erase them all at once, you ask? Because the CD's wouldn't accept my videos, so those have to stay on my camera. Any great ideas on how to save those safely? They are on my computer but this computer is a dinosaur and heading in the direction of the computer retirement home so I need to back-up them up somehow and I'm no computer genius!
 Anyhoo, I'm now free to take as many pictures as I like of my sweet chickies! Take this one for instance: Rosy Cheeks? Check. Golden dark blond hair? Check. Baby blues? Check. Pretty dress for church? Check. Kissable? Check. Check.
Not much new to report here other than still longing for spring, warmth and health! Z has yet another cold but at least he had a brief respite before getting another one. E still has some strange virus or something but hopefully will be coming out of it soon. She finally slept really well last night! She really needed a good night's sleep. Now if only she could stay consistent...

I wanted to share a blog that I came across that is doing a 5 week "Project Simplify"...right up my ally!! She chose 5 "hotspots" to go through in your home, 1 per week, and help get rid of clutter and organize. I totally missed doing it with them but am going through on my own. It really helps to have someone guiding you through organizing. Well...it helps me anyways;)

It took me awhile to do the closet one because Miss E has taken over our room and it seems like she's always in there sleeping or trying to sleep (or fighting sleep) so I had to do it in snatches. Amazing how many clothes you shove to the back of your closet and avoid because you don't like them that much.

Anyways, join if you want and share with me and help me feel like I'm not the only one with clutter in her home!:)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's Going On?

Today's updates:

*Eliana rolled over from back to stomach!! She was so happy, too, and had her brothers and I cheering her on all the way:)

*She also started pushing herself backwards in her walker. She is changing so fast everyday! Samuel said, "Stop changing so fast, Eliana!" We wholeheartedly agree!

*Poor little thing just keep fighting sickness. She just hasn't been herself 100% for a few weeks. She has some stomach virus or something and had a rash for a few days, a runny nose and has had diarrhea for the past 3 days. Her poor bottom is raw! I just wish she could fight this off and get healthy!

*Zakkai came home from preschool the other day and told me that one of his teachers, Mrs Darby, wasn't at school. I asked why and he said, "Because the boy that is Mrs. Darby's son was growing up." I said, "Are you sure he wasn't....throwing up?" He shook his head adamantly and said, "No! He was growing up!" His teacher got a kick out of it when I told her the next day:)

*Tonight at dinner Ben was telling me about how a fellow student has a new girlfriend and suddenly Samuel leaned over and really softly said, "I have a girlfriend." WHAT??? My baby has a girlfriend? How does he even know what a girlfriend is? (Never mind the fact that I had a "boyfriend" in first grade. His name was Sam and he ate paste.) I hastily choked down the food in my mouth, tuned Ben out (sorry, my Love!) and carefully looked at him and said, "Oh really? A girlfriend? What's her name?"

He said, "Carlina." and added shyly, "She likes me." Ben was still talking in the background so I stopped him and casually drew his attention to our little side conversation. Then Samuel said, "She likes Eric, too." I asked him if another girl (who sits next to him) was his girlfriend and he paused and said, "Yes. They are all my friends."

Whew! Crisis averted. My baby doesn't know what a girlfriend is. And I hope that lasts til he's 23.

*This morning, we tromped outside for school only to find the weather was cold and there was actually frost on our car windows again. Samuel looked confused and said, "I thought it was Spring? Is winter...coming back?" I had to explain Chicago's unfortunate tendency to prolong winter and delay spring. (as in: Winter=7 months, Spring=1 month.) Poor kiddo got a good taste of spring in the past week and has so enjoyed going to the park. Soon!

*Zakkai, who has wanted to be very close to me lately, was sitting on my lap this afternoon and he turned and looked at me with his gorgeous blue eyes that are going to melt some girl's heart someday and said, after a moment, "Mommy, you're pretty." What a charmer!

*And speaking of charming, these sweet boys have been complimenting me at every dinner saying how wonderful the food is and thanking me. It's a very nice reward after working hard to get a nutritious meal on the table!

*I am still on a roll with weeding through our overwhelming material possessions (where did all this stuff come from?) and have 3 more bags of stuff in my trunk to give to the Salvation Army! Somehow that is always the hardest part. The bags sit in my house forever and then I finally lug them out to the car where I drive around with them for so long that they blend into the car interior and I forget they are even there! 

*And last but not least, today I am wishing a very Happy 1st Birthday to my sweet nephew Jacob!

Yea for Friday tomorrow!

ps. sorry no pics! I need to empty my camera because the memory card is full!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dreaming..

 Tonight I am dreaming about vacation.

We took our very first family vacation last year to Florida and had a mostly really great time. The only hard part was that it always takes us (some of us more than others;) a little while to truly relax. It's probably that way for most people! But Ben has an especially hard time since he has a never-ending mountain of work looming over him. So everywhere we go, the books and the computer go.

But tonight Ben told me that on this vacation, he will not bring one.single.book. (except some Tolstoy~a little light vacation reading;) I admit that I cried when he told me because it will be the very first time in at least 5 1/2 years that he has truly taken the time to relax and just "be" with us.

I cannot tell you how much I am looking foward to it! Especially since we are both feeling rather drained and depleted at the moment from years of stressful living.  I know that we all will soak up every single moment we have together, whether doing something exciting and "Florida-ish" or just sitting still and "being."

Thank You, God, for this vacation!!!





p.s. Can't wait to see little E in the sunny southern sunshine!! :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Late!!

Anyone else wishing spring would just stay already?? The weather has been so up and down! We had some gorgeous days this past week or so and then the past 2-3 days have been cold and rainy. Ick!

I like to blame the weather for our recent trend of being late to school. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? The gloomy mornings make us feel more sluggish and man, have we had a hard time getting out the door on time! I'm usually stepping on the gas (carefully:) by 7:53am, praying that we'll miraculously make it to school by 7:55am. Hasn't happened yet on those mornings:)

And lately at school they've had the "Tardy Police" (I haven't copyrighted that name yet but I'm thinking about it..) standing in the hall as soon as you go up the stairs. If you are even 1 minute late, the T.D. say "Tardy!" and point you to the office where you have to shamefully wait for the little pink slip of doom, written out by the cranky, no-nonsense receptionist.

Doesn't make much sense to me that even if you're a minute late, you have to stand in a long line, get the slip and then take your kids to class where, by that point, they have now missed at least 10 minutes of class!

Today, miracle of all miracles, we were actually early. I almost felt like a rainbow was going to break through the cloudy, drizzly sky. But it didn't. We had a talk last night about moving up our morning routine time-frame and everybody cooperating to get us out the door!

Let's hope we broke the late streak!

Because it scares me to go into that office. Suddenly, I feel like I am 5 all over again...
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The boys were watching a little movie this weekend while Ben ran to get something from the store and I was putting E to bed. Ben and I both came out/home at the same time to see these sweet brothers snuggling close on the couch.

They look a lot alike, don't they?
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Little Miss isn't feeling the best this week, with another cold infesting her chubby body. She has perfected this new whine/whimper that has surprised us, as the boys were never "whiny" as babies! I've heard girls are different so I guess she'll show us!  Thankfully, it doesn't seem to be bad like her last one, just enough to make her uncomfortable. Hopefully it will pass soon.
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And last but not least, I just wanted to say thank you to those of you who commented on my post yesterday. Your comments always make me so happy and keep me motivated to post often!! So keep the comments coming! It gives me something to look forward to in the evenings;)

Happy Tuesday!



Monday, March 21, 2011

Main Squeeze(s)

 I'm pretty lucky. And blessed:) I've got some really cool guys in my life. I've got my best friend, the Hubs and I also have my other two main squeezes.

These two little dudes and I used to be like white on rice. Like p'sketti sauce on spaghetti. Like jelly on toast. Like....well, you get the picture!

Before school-age cropped up, you could find me anywhere with my two guys glued to my sides. One for each hand. As a matter of fact, if I ever went anywhere without them, I felt almost...naked! More unsure of myself and what to do with my empty hands.

Who knew that a gal with a gaggle of sisters would ever end up having boys? I used to think "boys?? What in the world will I do with boys?! I'll make them girlie! I don't know a  things about dirt or trucks or being stinky or loud! Boys??"

But beyond the stinky, dirty, wrestling part, there is a really really great side to having boys. They love their Mama. They protect me, care for me, hug me and kiss me and really enjoy being around me. And that's even after all of the mistakes I've made raising them!

I really love my boys!
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Okay. I need your honest opinion. I'm reallllly going out on a limb here even posting this picture and will probably kick myself for the rest of the evening for being so silly and vulnerable.

But then I'll eat some chocolate so I'll feel better.

What would you say if I got bangs? I know, right? I have always shied away from bangs because they have this terrible rep. There's always this really awkward phase that you have to go through where the bangs are down to the tops of your ears and you can't pull them back and you can't wear them down. But supposedly bangs are "IN" now. And surely, they know how to do bangs better than they used to?

So I tested them out on Ben and Samuel yesterday as best as I could. (ignore the straggliness of them. They aren't real! yet..) Just to see what they would say. Ben stopped talking in mid-sentence and just stared at me bemused for a minute. He continued to stare at me oddly for the next half an  hour when he thought I wasn't looking. Clearly, bangs are a very deep, philosophical debate to be waged over.

Samuel told me I looked skinnier, younger and my eyes looked lighter. And after he, too, stared at me for a good half an hour, he asked me to take them away and said he didn't like them because they were "different" and "weird."

So I can't count on the men in my life. They are too freaked out.

So it's up to you to talk me out of it or to let me go wild and have a mid-life crisis!

Of course, if I should start wearing aqua eye-shadow, french rolling my jeans and wearing leg warmers with 6 different pairs of differently colored socks, go ahead and just lock me away.

It means I've lost my mind for good this time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy 5 Months!



 5 Months ago, our family was completed with the arrival of our little Princess! We are in shock each month at how fast time is flying and how quickly she is changing.

How did she go from a tiny 6 lb peanut to a sweet butterball who has more than doubled her weight?

She has changed even today! In this past month Eliana has:

*Started rolling over more from stomach to back (probably so we'll quit giving her tummy time!)

*Started rolling halfway over from back to stomach

*Gone paci-free:) She now chews on her fingers, especially her thumbs and her blankets. Just this morning I came in to find her with her blanket hanging out of her mouth!

*Really started laughing. Like the rest of her, it is really soft and sweet like she is tickled, not big belly laughs.


*Upgraded from a compact to a minivan, a.k.a. the cradle to the crib! She is lovin' the extra space! (and so are we:)

*Has taken over our bedroom! Hopefully if we move sooner or later, we'll be able to have our bed back:)

*Started wearing 3-6 month clothes but still wears a lot of 0-3 month, too. Still wears size 2 diapers.

*Got pink-eye and her first really nasty illness. She just got better and sadly is sick again:(

*Has started in the past couple of days changing how she talks. Instead of only cooing and "ahh's", she is adding a few "eeee" sounds and soft "da's." It's very cute!

*Started to grab her legs. She's working down to her feet but for now is grabbing her sweet, fat knees:)

*Is in love with life! She loves to watch her busy-bee brothers, adores fresh air and sunshine, can't get enough of daddy and wants to cuddle with me at all hours of the day (and night).

*Has the nicknames: E, Princess, Sweetiana, Baby, Little Girl, Chubster, Missy, Little Missy, Precious, Sweet Girl and probably more;)

So thankful for this precious Gift every single minute of the day! We love you, Eliana Caroline!

Friday, March 18, 2011

3 Chickies

 You know what's nice about having kids?

Everyday is new. Not one day is exactly the same. They say funny things,  get into mischief, say sweet things, get into more mischief....

My life is full of funny, mischievious, sweet things. And their names are Samuel, Zakkai and Eliana;)


Samuel, posing as Papa:) Papa likes to hike his pajama pants up high, too!
*Samuel is very proud because....he learned how to tie his shoes!!! We have been meaning to teach him for awhile but keep running out of time. Finally yesterday morning, I had a few extra minutes and sat down with him to teach him. He was trying so hard and was eager to learn, if not a little frustrated that he couldn't do it perfectly;) (that's my little perfectionist!)

And lo and behold, Ben called to me this morning to come see and Samuel had tied his shoes all by himself! This afternoon he had to ask for help to untie them because he decided to triple knot them at school.. haha! Way to go, Samuel!


*Zakkai got to pick out a present at Target today with a birthday giftcard he received and this was the lucky gift! A brand new suitcase that he is dying to pack up for Florida:) This suitcase has already started racking up mileage.

He toted this thing around behind him ALL day! So far he hid some new books inside and his Rays:) I had to take it out of his bedroom at naptime when I heard him rummaging around in his room instead of sleeping. Sneaky boy! He is very excited to show this off to people and had cautioned me that we need to keep it in a "safe place where no strangers will come steal it."

Can you guess two hot topics of conversation here lately? haha.


*And this little butterball of Sweetness is in love with the outdoors! It's a whole new world...literally! She's having fun grinning away at anyone who stops by to say hello to her:)

Unfortunately, her cold seems to be ramping up a bit and she was a bit fussier today and is coughing in her sleep tonight. Hopefully, she'll sleep it off and wake up as happy as a meadowlark. I can dream, right?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cleptomaniac in the house

zakkai has a bit of a problem. It started with hiding my keys in his bed. And then Reese's under his bed. His boots in the closet. My booklight in his room.

And today....today he suddenly came out of his room with a stuffed animal I've never seen before in my life! His eyes became very shifty upon close questioning and his little creative brain was working hard to come up with a plausible reason why a strange beanie baby is in our house tonight.

The thing I love though is that he always tells me the truth in the end. He can't help it! I just wish he'd tell it to me the first time;)

First he found the stuffed mouse in their closet. And then as I insisted that it wasn't ours, he moved to the story that he "found it at school on the carpet." It then changed from being no one's stuffed animal to suddenly being his friend Taylor's that she accidentally forgot.

He sat out for a very long time and after which, we had a serious talk about "stealing." He's been known to come home from school with paper clips and little random things he picks up, even a cell phone battery a couple weeks ago!

But even as his orneriness moves to a more mature level and changes from coloring on our very white walls to sneaking things, his conscience and sweet heart seem to be maturing as well.

He has been voluntarily admitting to wrong lately, even when I didn't know he did anything in the first place! He came out with my booklight the other day and before I could say a word, handed it to me and said (with his big baby blue's), "I'm very sorry that I took this, Mommy and I won't do it ever again!"

How can you possibly be mad at that???

How if only we can get his itchy fingers under control, I think we'll be okay....
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Eliana is really growing fast! We are starting to get lots of comments at school like, "She's like a real baby now instead of this tiny sleeping creature!" or "She is so big now!"

She's really blossomed again this week, finally showing that she is back to herself after her illness. She's congested again but seems to be happy still. She is talking a lot again (she has a lot to say!) in her sweet, soft voice and laughing. I put her in the Moby wrap a couple of times when we went to the park and her little head just swivels left and right as she tries to take everything in! She really loves to be outside:)

She's starting to move her body around a whole lot more, too. She rolled over (stomach to back) 3 times this afternoon and is rolling halfway over from back to stomach. She is always turned sideways in her crib, too, with her feet up on the side rails:) We love this little creature!
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Samuel is learning so many new things at school now! They are starting to work on telling time, the value of pennies and nickels, telling the temperature outside, and more. It is funny when he comes home spouting off facts about things I didn't even know he knew about! (take a minute to decipher that sentence....)

He loves to argue with us, like we don't know what we're talking about. Must be something just born in kids: "Watch out, that's hot!" Kid's response: "No it's not."  "Bananas are yellow." Kid's response: "No, they're not!"

Wow, I wish I'd known everything I needed to know at 5 years old:)

But even if he thinks he knows everything and raises Zakkai right along side us, he does have this amazingly wonderful ability to elicit immediate smiles and laughs out of his sister with his sweet, high-pitched voice and gentle spirit. He's a great big brother!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BattleMaiden

I feel like I am at such war today. Battling between excitement over some recent gifts and blessings and fears over future uncertainties and difficult upcoming decisions. Why is it so hard for me to just relax and be at peace?
When I figure it out, I'll let you know! I am constantly trying to "take every thought captive" because it's the little thoughts that creep in and try to steal my joy and spread dangerously like a fast-growing cancer. Just for once in my life, I'd like to believe that God really loves me and that I am worth a gift or two.

It's just such an example to me of the power of a parent's words over their child and the life-long lasting effects they can have, whether good or bad. I am thinking of my earthly father and the devestatingly powerful effect his mocking words had on my life. So much in my life has been healed but I know that I will continue to fight to break the power of his words over me with God's words. And the main message of those words that I continue to battle is: "You're not worth it."


So tonight I will take on the meaning of my name that has come in handy so many times over the  years and drape it over me like armor. Tonight I will become a "Battlemaiden" and choose to accept Love.

Because only when I accept it, can I truly pass it on to the most important little people in my life.


God is Love.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On This Day..

8 years ago, I had the honor and joy to marry my best friend! Three and a half years after we started dating, on a bright, sunny 65 degree day in March, we exchanged vows in front of our very loving, supportive family and friends (and a few people we didn't know:)

We were talking tonight about how when you get married, you mean the vows as you pledge them to one another before God and family but you don't really know what it will mean to keep them. I feel like we have really had a chance over the past 8 years to fulfill our vows and love each other through sickness (some serious, some not) and health, for richer or for poorer (but mostly poorer!), through good times and bad (some of both). We have had chances to test our commitment to God and to one another many, many times and have grown so much through our years together.

It's amazing to be able to have the chance to love and be loved like this. So Happy Anniversary to the most faithful, loving friend I've ever had in my life. I love you, Ben, and feel honored to share in this life with you!

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And for your enjoyment, a little questionnaire:)

Favorite memory of our wedding:
Ben~"Riding in the car with you and getting Rally's (fast food) right after our wedding."
Heidi: "I think my favorite memory is our first dance where you sang 'My Girl' to me and seeing and feeling everyone's smiling faces around us while we danced."

Were you nervous the day of our wedding?:
Ben~"I mean, just excited. Not nervous."
Heidi~"Not one bit! I felt such amazing peace that day!"

3 Things that you like about our marriage/each other:
Ben~"1)Your smile  2)I like that we get the privilege of parenting together. 3)That our love gets stronger."
Heidi~"1)How we laugh together and have a lot of silly inside jokes. 2)How sure we are about our commitment and faithfulness to each other. 3)I still like holding hands with you."

Piece of advice to newlyweds:
Ben~"Keep God first."
Heidi~"Never stop making time to talk and share with each other."

Something you look forward to in the future:
Ben~"I look forward to owning a house with you."
Heidi~"I hope we get to travel together someday and see all the places in Europe we've been dreaming about for so many years."

(Ben's question)Did you like our wedding cake better on the day we got married or on our first anniversary?
Ben~"I enjoyed it more the year after because it had been preserved well and I didn't really have a chance to enjoy it on our wedding day."
Heidi~"I only got one bite on our wedding day and was afraid to eat much of it on our anniversary. As I recall, I ate one piece and you finished the cake!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Musings

I do love a day where it feels like a lot got accomplished. Make it a Monday and we're off to a good start! Now if only we could all get healthy....


1)Operation Kill-The-Germs was a success (I hope) this morning. The minute I got back from dropping the boys off at school (E slept the whole morning), I spent 2 hours scouring the house from top to bottom....or really, side to side:) From the table, counters and sink to disinfecting cups and throwing out toothbrushes, changing bedding, vacuuming, bleaching toys and the bathroom and more, our germs made a run for it! I hope....


2)Every single one of us has some varying form/shape/size of illness. Every blasted one. The baby only wanted to sleep ALL day today and when she was awake, just whimpered at me. I have no idea what is going on but I can only pray she will wake up fine tomorrow.


3)Operation Sunshine: Had a miracle answer to prayer today! All day I kept thinking "How is God going to answer this prayer? I just know He is!!" And then this afternoon, I checked my email and found out we made a simple, easily corrected error on our taxes and it resulted in some extra money...the exact amount we were praying for!! So, we are hoping to get some much needed away time together as a family next month.


4)Dinner was a big hit with all 3 of my "men." (Sausage Gumbo Soup and Homemade Bread) and I was declared the "best cooker ever" and "an excellent mommy!" Who wouldn't be a little puffed up with that kind of praise?:)

5) The boys, as you probably know, have a prize bucket where they can pick out a small prize after earning a certain amount of stars in their jars. The Target dollar section can be hit or miss so sometimes (like now) the bucket dwindles to practically nothing. So I decided to add some of my "own" prizes

Can I tell you how excited the boys are to pick out one of these??? And the nice thing is that most of them don't cost any money! Zakkai has already laid claim to the candy one....as you might be able to tell:)

6)Life Simplification Tips: I know I am no record breaking genius when it comes to figuring out how to simplify my life. As a matter of fact, I'm probably a little slow on the uptake!  But I feel pretty proud of myself when I do change something small or big in our life that makes a big difference with time (of which I never have enough of!) or just makes living...easier!

          *Today's Simplifying Thoughts: I have a friend who helped me figure out how to manage the crazy dinnertime hour with having multiple children, one of whom wants to go to bed at 5pm (AHEM, Little Miss!). She encouraged me to prep for dinner earlier in the day to save time at the end of the day. So now, during Eliana's naps, I start chopping veggies or even just measuring out ingredients for something to be made later. It really helps! Today I went a step further: while she was sleeping and I was making dinner early, I went ahead and sliced up ALL my veggies instead of just the portions I was using.

       Now I have vegetables already washed and sliced, ready for easy snacking (I don't know about you but I eat fresh fruits and vegetables much easier when they are easily available and I don't have to do a lot of prepping) and ready for easy dicing for other dinners this week! Why I haven't been doing this all along....

        So now after a produce market run (like today), I plan on washing all produce (that won't get moldy, like berries) and preparing it for the week in one afternoon! Genius.

       *My friend also does a really smart thing and as soon as she buys a package/bag of chicken, she goes ahead and cooks the entire thing, dices it up and freezes it so she has ready made meat for meals. I, who cannot stand the sight, touch or thought of raw meat (shuddering now...), totally put off doing this but I know it would make my life so much easier. Maybe next month....

And one last thought: While I was wielding my trusty (broken) knife in the kitchen, I was thinking about my latest urge to simplify our life here by getting rid of things, selling things, cutting down on "stuff", organizing.... and I was wondering why I am feeling this way, almost like I am "nesting." And I had the thought that I am "preparing" for something or perhaps "being prepared." That maybe God is going to bring some change into our life soon and I am starting to get ready. I don't know if we'll be moving on (it would be a miracle for this next year) or what but I'm really curious to find out what/when it is!

Whenever it is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are feeling a lot of things change within us and around us, sure signs that something is coming.

I'll give you a hint to one thing that is coming...tomorrow!
Hint: "Here Comes the Bride..."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Operation

We are still chugging along over here in our germ-infested home. There are several "Operations" that will be put into play soon due to a stressful winter and 6+ weeks of constant illness.



1)"Operation Kill-The-Germs"



*Effective at 8:15am tomorrow as soon as I get back from dropping off the boys.



*Doesn't matter how cruddy I feel....all germs must go!!




2) "Operation Sunshine" (otherwise known as "Operation De-Stress")



*We are on a prayerful mission to somehow find the money to go on a little

family vacation, as we find ourselves reaching the stress limits of 5 1/2 years of
graduate school and big-city living and are desperate for a little time away!


*The boys and I pulled out our coin jars (the large jars we toss loose change in) and began the tedious process of counting. So far we tallied enough for 1 whole tank of gas:) woohoo.




3)"Operation Spring"



*Not much we can do to hurry this one along but we plan to take full advantage of any fresh air/warmer temperatures that come our way in hopes that outdoor exercise and a little Vitamin D (not to mention happier spirits) can chase the icky sickness away!



E having tummy time on our wonderful couch-bed:) She loves watching her crazy big brothers!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fun in the Sun

A Glimpse of Spring:
(Samuel was FAR too busy to stop for a picture!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Down, Down, Down





(Cue heroic civil war battle music)






It began with Zakkai. And passed quickly to Samuel and back to Zakkai. And then Zakkai again. On to Eliana and just when she began to show signs of recovery, back to Zakkai (again). And then on to Ben, most recently.






I have fought a valiant fight, amidst kissing and loving little sick ones, caressing fevered brows, administering medicines and hugs; changing bedding and tossing snotty rags in the laundry. I stood firm through 4 drs visits in 1 1/2 weeks, through being sneezed and coughed on with alarming regularity. My hands were cleaned thoroughly after wiping noses, disinfecting toilets, door knobs and light switches daily. I plowed on with the enduring strength that only a mother, who has no time to consider anything else but keeping on with the daily schedule despite the attack of germs on every side, can have.






Yet tonight I find myself sinking into the mucky mire faster than a torpedoed battleship. I'm going down, down, down with the best of them. But even as I feel the claws of sickness grasping at me, trying its hardest to lure me in, I will still fight.






Because when the mama goes down.....we all go down.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dear...

Hi, I'm Eliana and I love my world SO much that I don't want to eat or sleep ever again! Now that I'm feeling much better, I am smiling and kicking again. I am always wet with drool because I love to chew on anything I can get my hands on! Including my hands...




My name is Eliana and I'm cute.




P.S. I am just 1 lb bigger than Daddy was when he was born. Crazy, huh?!



(pic taken while sick:( But still cute!)

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Hi, my name is Samuel and I'm really brave. Sometimes going to school is really hard for me, especially when I have a substitute teacher or things are uncomfortable for me. But I try really hard when mommy and daddy ask me to and they are really proud of me!




I adore PB&J sandwiches, any kind of bread, fruit snacks and t.v. I also love hugs, kisses and time with my family.




My name is Samuel and I am super special.




P.S. I don't suck my fingers ANY more! I worked hard to stop and I'm proud of it!





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Hi, my name is Zakkai Nathaniel Thomas, as I like to tell everyone lately:) I am proud to be 4 and am getting pretty tall and skinny! Today I got into the freezer while mommy was busy and I turned it off. I guess she and daddy didn't realize it until an hour ago when they noticed the ice cream was all melted. I love to do stuff like that!



I also like to hide things in my room. Let's see....I hid the car keys in my bed during my nap yesterday so Daddy was late picking up Samuel from school because they couldn't find them anywhere. I just wanted to see what they looked like! I also hid some Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs under my bed and some boxes of tissues (my newest obsession) behind the window curtain.



My name is Zakkai and I'm stinkin' cute! (or mommy thinks so anyways...)



P.S. I really like to wear my shirts backwards and wear mismatched socks. It's my own style!



~Love,
Samuel, Zakkai and Eliana

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Boys in the Kitchen and Bumbos!

For the first time in a week, we finally had a decent day without major illness or mishap! And that doesn't count Z and his current 3rd (or 4th?) cold in the past 5 1/2 weeks or the diarrhea battle the boys have both been fighting. Eliana is well on her way to recover (finally!), except for leftover congestion and a cough she can't shake.

It's hard to feel down with 47 degree weather and sun, though!


E would like to thank her special friend Miss Jennifer, for the gracious gift of a Bumbo seat! She likes to sit in it for a few minutes while I prep for dinner:)
It's the cutest thing ever to turn around and spot this little dainty butterball sitting in her little "couch" on the table!


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And speaking of dinner: The boys (with a little help from Daddy) made dinner on Saturday night! We are instituting a new weekly dinner where the boys get to plan it out and help prepare it. This is in addition to weekly homemade pizza (Fri nights) and Breakfast for dinner (Sunday nights).


They were SO excited to help! They got busy washing and chopping fruit for the fruit salsa, using their Ikea plastic knives. They did a pretty good job!
They also helped to make Sweet N' Sour Meatballs (they looked and tasted much better in person, promise!) and Rice. They measured ingredients and even dug in their (clean) hands to mix the meat and other ingredients and help form the meatballs.


The fruit salsa was accompanied by cinnamon tortilla chips, which everyone loved!
Proud Chef #1 thoroughly enjoyed his meal! Makes everything taste a little better when you put a little work into it:)
And Picky Chef #2, who would have happily dined only on Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips if I would've let him.


They are already happily planning the next edition of "Boys in the Kitchen." :)



Recipes adapted from: www.jrcuisine.com

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Year Ago...

We were getting ready to go to Florida for our first family vacation....


And I really, really, really...
Did I mention really really?
Want to go back!


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Just waiting for my million dollar check to come in the mail first....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Letters from Sickago (hahaha)

Hey Guys,


It's been a rough 6 days, as you can see... Please don't judge my hair, okay? This is what happens when you can't sleep too well 'cuz your nose is all stuffed up and you cough a lot. Your hair sticks straight up! Mommy called it "bedhead" or something like that...

My mommy says she saw a little spark of life come back into me today because I smiled at her a couple of times. I haven't felt like smiling much this past week. Or talking or playing. I've been feeling pretty bad.



I learned a secret though...

All I have to do is get sick, you know...red-rimmed, water eyes, tons of snot, nasty cough and cry a really pathetic cry and then my mommy will hold me lots and rock me and even let me take naps on her just like this....



I've got her ALL figured out! She's a softie, you see. I think I've got her and my daddy wrapped around my little finger. My brothers, too. I like this family! It seems like I was made for them:)



But boy has it been a rough week. I sure don't like this "sick" business. I was feeling fine one day and then BAM! the next day I was feelin' all cruddy and it just hasn't stopped.

Mommy says she hopes tomorrow I'll turn the corner and start feeling more like myself and then I can be all happy like in this picture. This was before I got sick. And maybe I'll feel like playing with my toys again and sitting in my "new" Bumbo seat that mommy's friend sent me.



Say a prayer for me to get better soon and for mommy NOT to get sick! It's a lot easier for her to take care of me and my brothers if she feels good.



Love,

Miss E

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