Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Woo! A fire has been lit and there is some serious preparation going on over here! I admit, despite feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed, that it feels good to be motivated again and feel like I am actually accomplishing something.






I finished painting the table today which was much easier to do without 2 little certain someones begging to wield the paintbrush (dangerously, I might add) or use the screwdriver. They both were very happy for me when they got home and enjoyed getting Daddy to guess what was "new" in the kitchen;)






In Chillins' news: Zakkai is continuing his fantastic poo-poo streak! Can I hear an amen? I think (although I am kicking myself for saying it out loud even as I write...) that his nighttime pooping in the pull-up business is over!!! He is on star #12 of 30 and when he gets to 30....he gets his "new" blue spray-painted bike with the black horn!!






Even though he is maturing so much in so many ways, there is still quite a bit of fight left in this kid. He regularly has to be told multiple times to do something which results in a time-out, which he HATES (as in screaming, kicking, wild animal crazy!). The funny thing is we tell him, "If you would just listen...you wouldn't get a time-out! It's that easy!" Too easy, I guess....






He still makes us words regularly and uses fantastic adjectives and verbs! For example: the other day he was talking about a toy and he told us that it "ploked right down." A new word! He also likes to tell on Samuel, "Mooooommmmy, Samuel just went thundering past Eliana's door!" And just today at lunch, as he talked incessantly, he asked me what "sucillius" meant. When I told him it wasn't a word he said, "But what does it mean?"


He never believes us the first time.

Samuel is preparing for Kindergarten Celebration in 2 weeks. All I know is that they are going to perform at least one poem/song. Today he asked why they have to say stuff on the stage so I'm guessing the kindergartners are going to put on a show for the proud parents!!

He told me today that he told his class he is moving and going to a different school but he promised them he would visit. I asked what they said and he told me, "They said, 'Yay!!'" According to his progress reports he is well-liked by his fellow classmates! He reads to them and gets chosen to do weather many mornings. It makes me happy to know he has good friends!

Eliana is...just plain cute! She surprisingly loves peas. Her Mugga would shudder if she heard this:) The boys "Ew!" over her baby food regularly and can't believe I ever fed them mushy, runny baby food!

Daddy is teaching her to say "Dada" when she sees him! She was really quiet yesterday afternoon for me and Ben popped in while I was giving her her bath and she looked up at him, grinned and immediately said, "Da-da!" The boys swear it's her first word:)

I always knew she was a baby genius.



Some adorableness to think about as you drift off tonight.....

Monday, May 30, 2011

MakeOver

I wish I could tell you that I am the one who got a makeover but alas, it isn't true.

Instead my kitchen table and chairs are getting makeovers! Or plastic surgery, whichever you want to call it...


We were given our table and chairs by a friend 4-5 years ago for free. Can't beat that price! They used to be the beloved treasure of a 90 year old lady. As you might be able to tell from the lovely fabric....

I thought about making play clothes out of the cushion fabric for the children and I so we could hang from the trees like in Sound of Music....but there wasn't enough fabric to go around.


Darn.





Phase one of the transformation was a good sanding and a couple of coats of white paint! Already looking much better.....



Then the kiddos and I made a trip to JoAnn's (Have I ever mentioned to you how much I love this store??? Craft-Lover's paradise...) to buy some new fabric. Thankfully the boys and I were able to come to a unified decision:)


We also got some new foam to replace that nasty disinigrating spongy foam that was underneath the equally nasty, shredding fabric, er, I mean lovely vintage fabric that previously covered our chairs.


And for a grand total of $24.40 (all supplies included except labor:), we now have these:






Aren't they pretty??!! (just tell me they are, even if you don't agree, okay? It's good for my ego:) The blue is a little darker than the picture shows but I am so happy with how they turned out!!!


I got all 4 chairs done today and started on the table. I was hoping to get it all done today so I could pack like a crazy woman without interruption tomorrow but despite working like a horse, I wasn't quite able to manage it. Oh well!



I'm pleased! Now I have to go wash the paint off of my toes and out of my hair....

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Goodness

Tonight's Breakfast For Dinner is brought to you by Pumpkin. And Goodness. And Love.

Best tradition I ever started!

Usually we have fresh fruit with our special Sunday night dinners, only I am biding my time til the 1st when the ole' budget starts over and I can fill our fridge again!



So I was scrounging around in the seriously depleted pantry, hoping for a genius idea to spring out at me to serve with our scrambled eggs, when I discovered the last unopened can of pumpkin leftover from the winter. (not that it's really spring here yet.)



I toyed with the idea of making pumpkin waffles but since that would require making syrup, too.....I decided to look for a different recipe.



Meet Pumpkin Coffee Cake. My new best friend. (Well, as much as a food can be a best friend anyways:)



DEFINITELY a must-try recipe, my friends!! Esp if your weather is yuck-o like ours is and you haven't banned oven-use for the next 3 months or so yet.


Pumpkin Coffee Cake


Topping:


1/3 cup brown sugar


1/3 cup white sugar


1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


1/3 cup flour


2 TB cold butter, cut into small pieces


Cake:


1/2 cup butter, softened


3/4 c-1 c white sugar (recipe calls for 1 cup~think next time I'll reduce it)


2 eggs


1 cup sour cream (I substituted vanilla yogurt)


1 cup pumpkin puree


1 tsp vanilla


2 cups all-purpose flour (would substitute 1/2 whole wheat flour next time!)


1 tsp baking soda


1 tsp baking powder


1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I also added extra cinnamon!)


1/4 tsp salt



Preparation:

1. Combine topping ingredients, except butter, and set aside.


2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.


3. In small bowl, combine pumpkin, sour cream (or yogurt) and vanilla. Mix well. In another small bowl, combine dry ingredients well.


4. Add pumpkin mixture and flour mixture to butter mixture alternately (How many times can I say mixture in one sentence!!) and beat on low speed until just blended.


5. Divide batter between 2 greased 8-inch round cake pans. Sprinkle topping over both and dot with butter pieces.


6. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Fantastic! If you wanted to be sneaky, you could add all sorts of good things to this (carrot or squash purees, shredded zucchini, etc). The boys inhaled it!



Think about us this week or say a quick prayer or two~it's going to be a doozy of a week! B and I sat down to work out our schedules for the week and especially the last few days of the week are so crazy we have it scheduled hour by hour.



Plus it would be great to pray that we have enough help and that all goes smoothly! Thanks!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

TaDa! For real this time:)

Drumroll, please! (badadadadadadada) I think after 2 long days and nights (with possibly a few breaks for snacks and sleep and children-watching in between), I have solved my video-posting problem!



Now you really have to enjoy this video after all the hard work I've put in!


Why don't I get paid for this stuff??


Enjoy!




video


Friday, May 27, 2011

TaDa...or not

Well. I was about to tell you how computer savvy I am after having solved some very annoying blogger issues to upload my very cute video..


Only I didn't solve them. And it's been 2 hrs now since I started trying to upload the video. Grr. So you will have to wait a bit longer before I show you a cute bundle of sweetness.



Instead, I suppose I'll ramble about today for a few min. Z and I worked very hard on packing today, as it's his one day off of preschool. He "helped" me. He started to help me anyways and got quickly sidetracked by the discovery of an old lost set of keys.


He quickly abandoned me for long happy moments taking his keys on and off the keyring. I have always said, it doesn't take much to entertain kids! Save your money and give them a big box, some crayons and paper, some blocks, a few matchbox cars and apparently..keys!


Eliana was a bit fussy today which is unusual for her. She had a major random crying episode in the middle of the night so maybe she was extra tired or something? Who knows with babies! Really. I will be a millionaire...no, a trillionare if I ever write a baby manual that comes with tips and information on what to do in every possible scenario with a baby. And believe me, there are a lot of them.


I think I'll go start writing it now...



Happy Friday!





Thursday, May 26, 2011

This n' That

Missy started doing something very cute tonight, just when daddy came home! But....blogger won't let me upload my video til tomorrow night (long story).

Will that make you come back to see it? Hint: It is adorable and it made Daddy's day!

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I got a bit overwhelmed today with the whole moving business, suddenly realizing that I have ONE week left to get everything into ship-shape before people come to help. I wasn't exactly as prepared as I should've been last time (which led to far too much last minute stuff being thrown into trash bags!) and overwhelmed with all the j.u.n.k. we had.

I have grand visions of having the entire place lined with perfectly stacked boxes, a beautiful spread laid out for the hard workers and me sitting outside sipping lattes (not that I drink lattes...). Okay, maybe my visions aren't exactly realistic......I guess:)

Anyways, you know what I'm up to! Samuel is handling the move much better now and has jumped on board the "excited wagon" that the rest of us are in! I am so glad that this end of the transition will be good. The school transition will be another story but at least we don't have to deal with that yet!

And the part that Zakkai is the most excited about? Getting to stay in a hotel with Grandma next Friday night! The boys get to have a fun night/day with their Gma (and not under our feet!), who is helping us SO much by coming to help out with them. Plus if Z were around, he would be stopping the movers every 3.4 seconds to ask them questions about the truck, the boxes, their shoes, the lights, the new apt, etc:)
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Next Thursday I have a federal investigator from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety something or other coming to talk to me. We had an "incident" the other day that I reported. In February I bought a lightweight sweatshirt at Target for E to wear. She's worn it a handful of times and I love(d) it because it is super-soft and keeps her not too hot/not too cold.

But. Little Miss puts-everything-into-her-mouth likes to chew on her clothes and especially zippers. Can you see where this is going? Thankfully not as bad as it could've been! The other day I took her out of her carseat and was holding her on my hip while I hung up my coat. She was holding onto her sweatshirt and I heard the sound of something metal hit the ground.

It was the zipper handle. Just completely detached. I was very upset when I thought about how easily that could've been in her mouth or even her hand! She so easily could've choked on it or swallowed it. So I reported it to Target that night, thinking that they would want to know so as to prevent a more serious incident from happening with another baby.

They sent me back an email saying they were "so sorry I was disappointed with my product" and that they knew "how frustrating it can be to have a product not work out." blah blah blah. So I reported it to the safety consumer people and they obviously are taking it seriously! They are coming to take pictures, take the sweatshirt and zipper part and are going to Target to buy more sweatshirts to send to get tested!

I'm just thankful E's guardian angel was watching over her and that she wasn't chewing on the zipper this time when it fell off.

And last but not least.....I made this again tonight and highly recommend! Yum.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In which you are lucky enough to read my rantings and ramblings:

My extremely valuable thoughts for today:

*Yea, Scotty!! I was a huge American Idol fan for the first few years and have gradually lost interest due to crazy judges (ahem, Paula!) , bad decisions (teeny boppers always keeping the worst contestants on), etc. But I got into it this year (and don't let Ben fool you: he did, too!) and thought it was one of the best seasons yet! I said it here first: Scotty will make it big!

*What is up with the crazy weather? I was talking to my mom the other night, as she was hiding in the closet with my stepdad, 3 cats and 1 puppy, and she told me there have been over 1000 tornadoes this spring in the U.S.! Wow. I am so sad for all the people who have been affected by this.

*I did not enjoy going out to do laundry this morning in the POURING rain but I had put it off long enough that we were out of towels, undies and school uniforms. Definite signs that a good ole' trip to the laundromat is needed! And there was this crazy guy there who came in towards the end of my invigorating experience. He must've been high or something and started yelling at the attendant for quarters; "MISS! I NEED NEW QUARTERS. THESE HERE QUARTERS GONE BAD!" And then he put his one item in the dryer, once he figured out how to use it, went outside into the pouring rain, came back in FIVE minutes later, opened the dryer door and started cussing at the dryer for not drying his clothes yet!

The best part? He slammed the dryer door shut as hard as he could and went outside and screamed really loudly! When I left the laundromat, he was talking at the top of his lungs (not sure to whom...)about how he brushed his teeth this morning....

I heart Chicago.

*Ben went and got me the perfect boxes for books, etc tonight (what a keeper, he is!). The only problem? He got them at the liqueur store (we've heard that is the best place for boxes) and they are covered with pictures of sexy women. Yuck! I'm almost tempted to waste a whole bunch of my time coloring over them with permanent markers or something...

Except I value my time a lot:)

*We were running so late this morning for school that we didn't eat breakfast in time. They now serve (crappy) breakfast at school and up til now I haven't let the boys eat it (seriously...allow me to rant about the breakfast in one moment, please.) but today I let them. Not that I had a choice.

Zakkai burst into tears and howled that he didn't want to eat breakfast at school:) It's been a new routine at CPS schools that I abhor since it has totally messed up the school's morning routine, made teachers snappy at parents and (the part that I am going to rant about...) they serve JUNK to the kids!

They do serve milk each morning, which is a plus and rotten bananas and kids have a choice of cold breakfast or hot breakfast. Things that might be included? Sausage biscuits, cheese sticks, apple juice, graham crackers, eggs with salsa mixed in (Z took one look at that this morning and quickly turned up his nose! It smelled nasty.) and almost every single day...raisin bran.  Seriously? That's the "healthy and nutritious" breakfast they are serving our children every morning?

No. Thanks.

*Let's see....what else can I rant about now that I'm on my soapbox.....:) I have finally, after many hours on the phone, set up all our utilities for the new place. The new landlords (whom I can tell we will love!) called and said are getting a brand-new bathroom before we move in next weekend!! They weren't sure it they could get it done in time but some things fell in place and they were so happy to tell us that. Woohoo!

*Now on to the little people (much more exciting than crazy people, rain and american idol anyways..); Eliana is starting to rock on her hands and knees. Ah! Not ready for this yet! We are going to have to set up some serious lego/small toy rules for the boys. She is reaching for everything around her. We have switched her from rice cereal to oatmeal which she seems to like better and her face has cleared up, thankfully. She is really enjoying life and is so happy and chatty these days!

Zakkai has had a 4 year old 'tude lately. Just when we had high hopes that he had grown out of it.....sigh. He rolls his eyes and yells that he doesn't want to do anything that we ask him to. 4 going on 14. Oh and it's really great when we try to sit him in time-out and he SCREAMS "Ow, ow, no, I don't want to!" at the top of his lungs so it sounds like we are torturing him. I always want to run up to the neighbors and say something like, "I know it sounds like we are pulling out his fingernails one by one but I promise you we are just trying to get him to sit down on the ground in time-out. We're great parents...really!"

I don't know it they would believe us....

Samuel's class is getting all ready for their Kindergarten Celebration (they won't let them graduate anymore..) in a couple of weeks. Sniff!! How is my baby almost done with kindergarten and about to turn SIX?? wow. He reads like a pro, is learning math, can tell time (somewhat), aces his spelling tests, is slowly improving his atrocious handwriting (is that a boy thing?), and loves to write in his journal before bedtime. (his journal entries are ADORABLE and complete with pictures:)
To use Zakkai's newest favorite word: My life is so "instresting!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rabies

 We live up on the second floor of our little house/building and we have a nice little porch to go out on during the 3 1/2 nice months of the year;)

The other day the boys and I went to go outside when we were stopped short by a territory battle between a robin and a squirrel. You might think the squirrel with its bushy tale and little claws might win but let me tell you, don't mess with a mama robin (or a mama bear or a mama cow or a mama....well, you get the picture!). She has a nest in the next door neighbor's porch and Mr. Squirrel must've gotten a little too close for comfort...
Poor Mr. Sq. lost a few years off his life (how long do squirrels live anyways?) and had to take a breather after the mama lion, er, bird flew off...


 Which gave us all sorts of time to talk about rabies....which gave Daddy all sorts of time to come up with rabies jokes to torture the boys with. Boys!! (even big ones!)
I'm glad there are two of us in the house that are still sane.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Horsey and Friends

 This past weekend we had the pleasure of having some friends over that we haven't seen in awhile! When we lived back in H.P. we were part of a special married couple's group at our church. It was where Ben and I formed our closest friendships here!

About a month before our sweet girl arrived, one of our friends welcomed her first baby into the world! And this weekend, the two babies got to meet.

A. is almost 8 months old and sits up with the most perfect posture I've ever seen! She was very sweet and liked to "pet" E. on the head;)

 They enjoyed a rousing round of "who can drool on the toys the most?!" They did really great for being kept up from naps too long. Of course, it does help if you are surrounded by many admirerers:)
 Our friend Miss Abby holding Eliana:)
 Then before bed, Daddy (otherswise knows as "Horsey") and the boys played a rousing game. Giddyup!
 They were shrieking and laughing and having a blast! Daddy knows how to rile these boys up....especially before bedtime!
Miss Beauty has been such a good girl lately! Not that she knows how to be otherwise.....:) She has learned to be so flexible which she has to be, picking up her brothers at all hours of the day and being woken up from naps and spending lots of time in her carseat. Today she woke up from a FOUR hour nap (a rarity!) and ate before coming to pick up her biggest brother from school.

After watching the boys play on the playground for a bit, she got sleepy and fell asleep cradled against my chest. It was so sweet and peaceful and I loved and treasured every minute of it;)
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Mask

Today we decided to try out a new church closer to our soon-to-be new home. We had high (ish) hopes for it.

It was nothing like we had pictured (or hoped) it to be. So we probably won't be going back.

Sigh.

This afternoon I got a brief Sunday afternoon nap with Miss E. Aren't Sunday afternoon naps the best?! Eliana woke up so happy and cheery and shortly after she woke up, I picked her up and lifted her up over my head like a flying baby, which she usually loves!

2.4 seconds later, my entire face was covered in a huge nasty mask of spit-up. A mask. I froze for a minute and blindly with my one available eye, handed the baby over to Ben and stumbled for the bathroom. I hoped that it wouldn't be as bad as it felt.

It was bad. Really bad. My entire face, the left side of my hair, in my ear, on my earring, my neck was completely covered in a white mask of curdled vomit. TMI? Oh, I'm sorry!

It's just that weird thing that happens once you become a parent and you can talk about poop, vomit/spit-up and all sorts of nasty bodily fluids without flinching.

You'll have to forgive me. I don't talk to adults much....

We ended our Sunday with a nice walk around the neighborhood, narrowly missing the thunderstorm and our weekly Sunday "Breakfast For Dinner," consisting of Applesauce Breakfast Cake, mini sausages and eggs:)

I love Sunday! Except when I get thrown up on....

Friday, May 20, 2011

7 Months

Happy 7 months, Baby Girl! Today snuck up on us and we can hardly believe all these months have flown by.

You are now:

*In size 3 diapers

*Thoroughly enjoying grabbing your dainty feet and chewing on them (esp the left one:) It made it pretty hard to get you out of the bathtub tonight!

*Rolling all over the floor, off the rug onto the hardwood floors. You like to check out new areas:)

*Making silly sounds like "Tsss" and "Pffff" and spitting. A few times when you have gotten mad, you have said, "Da da!". I am working hard on making you say the "Mmmm, Ma-Ma sound!" Except hopefully you will be happy when you say it;)

*Still working on sitting up. We practice a lot but you like to throw yourself backwards....which makes it pretty difficult to practice:)

*Eating cereal every night. You make a huge mess because you're still getting the hang of the spoon in your mouth and also grab it from us every chance you get. You have also had carrots, sweet potatoes and pears. You started breaking out on your face earlier this week so we reverted to rice cereal only for a week til you clear up. Hopefully you aren't allergic to anything!

*Have to be watched very carefully, as you put EVERYTHING in your mouth! You have gotten my pens, your hairbows and some of the boys' toys in your mouth. You are dangerous!

*Enjoying playing peek-a-boo, especially with Samuel. He had you giggling in the car today!

*So sweet and fun. You grab our faces all the time, especially mine. You love to reach for me and come towards me and gnaw on my chin:) I love looking into your blue eyes and coaxing a smile out of you!

*People comment all the time on what a good baby you are, so sweet and content. You will sit at the laundromat with me for 2 1/2 -3 hrs and play, eat and sleep!

*So much fun! We treasure every moment with you!

Love you, Sweetness!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

 Or Not.

All I have to say is: If someone ever tells you that parenting is easy or makes it look easy...it's a lie! Not to discourage you or anything....

Okay, maybe that isn't all I have to say:) We had a bit of a disrespecting issue today after school with a certain usually-very-sweet almost 6 year old that I know....

And honestly, without going into details (gotta respect the kiddo's "privacy" somewhat:), I am beginning to wonder if the influence of his best friend isn't always the best.....Let's just say that his buddy isn't always so respectful to his mom and gets away with it and I'm wondering if Mr Samuel decided to try out a few tricks to see if it would work with me.

It didn't. And the poor kid got a majorly long time-out (to think about his actions), lost his bedtime story and has to take back a book that we bought at the book fair today. Being a kid is tough.

And sometimes being a parent is even tougher.
Eliana has finally made it from reaching for her very fat dimply knees to her sweet little toes and took her first taste tonight;) She started with sucking on her big toe and went to pushing about half of her foot inside her mouth! Silly baby:) 

It is so different loving this sweet Last-Baby of ours. We fully admit that we may possibly be spoiling her a bit and squeezing her a bit tighter as her baby days speed by.

But haven't you ever heard the saying "You can't spoil a baby?"

Or did I make that up....:)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tidbits

Here we sit, steep in the land of moving. Surrounded by boxes.


Surrounded by packing tape, sharpies and labels. But most importantly....surrounded by lots of stuff that needs to go inside the boxes. There are certain times in my life that I have wished I could be like Jeannie in "I Dream of Jeannie." 

This is one of those times. Wouldn't it be cool to just blink and it all would get done instantly? 
*I made some headway with moving details today, in between contacting our current landlords about a shorting, buzzing wire that we have inside one of our light switches. I might be crazy but...I'm pretty sure that's a fire hazard... And it's in the bedroom where E sleeps. (Formerly known as our bedroom!)

They never called me back.

*This afternoon while I was preparing dinner, the boys sat at the kitchen table doing homework. Real homework for Samuel and "homework" for Zakkai, which consists of practicing his letters in a special workbook we have. He loves having homework like Samuel! He worked very hard and set it aside at dinner, asking if he could do some more homework tomorrow before dinner;)

I should make a video of this to show him when he is a teenager.....

*The boys actually ate salad for dinner tonight! It is something we have been slowly progressing towards. First I would give them the veggies that were in B's and my salad and then I started adding little bits of lettuce on their plates at certain meals (like with tacos) but tonight (a historic moment that I shall forever remember) they actually ate their own bowls of salad!

I had hope that they could eat it after they recently gobbled up TWO big helpings of a salad our good friend, Miss D, brought over recently. Her salad (clearly highly superior to my salad:) always has bits of fruit and nuts in it, which the boys apparently adore!

This day was a long time in coming:) Hip Hip Hooray!

*Not too much else (exciting enough anyways) to report here today.

Off to bed at a decently early hour! This might be a historical moment, too....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Zest

Well! I got a bit of my zest back today! I hit a motherlode jackpot of free boxes on craigslist today which is helpful and spent a lot of time doing a (much-needed) scouring of the kitchen, mopping and all.

I think everyone probably has a room (or more!) that really stands out to them as being important to keep clean. It might be your entry way (if you have one) because it's the first thing you see when you walk in, or your bedroom because it's your "haven" or your bathroom..(because you spend a lot of time in it?:). For me, it's the kitchen! It drives me insane to have a nasty and/or partially cleaned kitchen. Which often happens on or around the weekends when it's somebody else's turn to clean it.

I shall not name names.

It stifles my cooking-creativity (what little I have anyways!), my desire to be in the room and makes me in general feel overwhelmed and gross! We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, too, cooking, doing homework, crafts, eating, etc. Tonight I actually enjoyed being in there with my family! Now if only I could keep it clean...

Samuel is starting to adjust to the idea of moving. He's been pretty upset about it but part of him is intrigued with the idea of having kids to play with (there are kids that live in the buildings around us) and some of whom he will go to school with! I also know the draw of having green grass (gasp!) right outside is a winner, too! Imagine grass. Oh you have some? Well, don't judge, okay? We only see grass about 3 times a year when we visit family!

Zakkai is my happy go-lucky kid so he is excited about the move and wants to help me pack all his toys up! Right now. It takes a lot of convincing on my part to assure him that he is going to want to play in the next 2 1/2 weeks and might want to leave some of his toys unpacked:) He is still doing awesome at using the potty (and to clarify; it's not numero uno that we've been having trouble with...it's the other~the nasty, if you will!) and has gone more consecutively (he's a regular kind of guy!) than ever before! So proud of him!

Eliana is starting to figure out getting on her hands and knees more and more everyday. She looks like an inchworm a lot of times when she scoots backwards:) Just when we get her sleeping settled (AGAIN), she always has some new development that throws it all off! Now she'll wake up crying because she's stuck on her tummy in the corner of the crib, unwillingly getting on her hands and knees. I can only imagine what it will be like when she gets to that terrible stage of pulling herself up and then crying for help because she can't get down!!

Anyways, she's a cutie pie and crazy stages or not, we adore her:) We adore all 3 of our munchkins!!

Hoping for some more "zest" tomorrow!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shhh

 I thought it was a little too quiet yesterday afternoon....

Somebody isn't quite ready to give up naps yet:)



Sweet Dreams.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mrs Simplicity

All this talk and impending pressure of moving has re-kicked my derriere into gear in terms of organizing and simplifying!

I took a brief hiatus. Okay, actually I was feeling pretty down this past month and lost my interest in doing a lot of things, including tossing el-junko.

But. With less than 3 weeks to de-scarify my home so any poor soul who comes to help us doesn't run away screaming, I have to get busy!

Remember this?
I've been continuing my read of this fantastic book and my high first opinion of it goes unchanged. What a great book! I love that she challenges you to decide what your priorities are as a family and to arrange your home in a way that reflects those priorities.

For example: She says to walk through your rooms and ask yourself questions like, "What is this room used for?" "Who uses this room?" or more specifically, something I am hoping to change, "Does the tv have to be the focal point of the living room?" (a.k.a. all furniture arranged around it in adoration).

There are also 2 key questions to ask yourself about the items in your home. 1)Is it useful? 2) Is it beautiful?  If the answer is no...toss it! (or donate or sell:)

I am finding these tools really helpful as I am starting to pack up our belongings once again; many things that I have faithfully dragged along with us over 3 states and 6 apartments, including things that are neither useful or beautiful!

It has been so freeing for me to let go of things that I have held on to for so long whether I needed them or not. But the best part, the part I am looking forward to the most, is the author's idea that once you get your home simplified, chaos-free and organized, you will have more time for the things that are important to you and fun for you!

And for me those things are spending time together as a family NOT in front of the t.v. but rather reading together, playing games, and enjoying one another and also personally, crafting. I can't wait to be organized, clutter-free and have more time (and hopefully energy) for doing things that I love!

So here's to my future organized, clutter-free life! And an easier move..hopefully:)


Friday, May 13, 2011

Bribes, Babies and Boys

I'm back! Blogger was having issues last night so it wouldn't let me get on to post. Bummer.

Not too much going on the past couple of days. Zakkai has been my buddy since he had no preschool the past 2 days. He has taken advantage of it by spending lots of time riding Samuel's "big boy" bike on the front porch:)

Speaking of bikes...Zakkai has officially been bribed to do his "business" on the potty (instead of his pull-up) ALL the time (instead of once every other week). He has been told that he can earn a big boy bike of his own and he has requested a blue one with a black horn:)

The only problem is that Samuel's bike is the perfect size for Zakkai and Samuel needs a bigger bike. Plus no money for TWO bikes (let alone one!) makes for a rock and a hard place! Ben's solution is to spray paint Samuel's bike blue and buy a horn to make it a "new" bike for Z and then we can ask for $ for Samuel's upcoming bday this summer for a new bike for him. Desperate times call for desperate measures...

But I do feel bad that Zakkai always gets the hand-me-downs and rarely the new stuff! But as long as he is happy with the solution, I guess that's what matters!

Plus, it's motivating him to do his "bidness." :)

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Little Sis is doing her own "bidness" these days;) Starting to get on her hands and knees, scooting backwards and generally instilling fear in her old parents. She is waaay too close to some serious mobility for my liking! And much earlier than her big bros, for that matter.

Babies. Why do they have to change so fast?!
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And last but certainly not least, my soon-to-be kindergarten graduate (double sniff!) is just so sweet. He has been begging me to sleep with him in his bed some night and I kept putting him off, being that he sleeps on the top bunk and I have fears of it collapsing into a heap of wood and stuffed animals as soon as I climb up!

But last night, as Zakkai was sitting on the potty and Samuel was laying quietly in their room, I hoisted myself up into the top bunk and laid next to my sweet boy and we had such a nice conversation without distractions. It brought back memories of sleeping in the top bunk myself as a little girl. He loved hearing about that;) We talked about all sorts of things for a little while and he gave me the biggest hug before I left.

It's the little things that matter!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Big

 News!:

 For several reasons, we've decided...
 to make a big change around here..
We're moving!

Yup, that's right. Again.

It's all happened pretty fast...well, after months and months of prayer and many "What in the world are we going to do next year???" questions anyways..

This next year doesn't look anything like we hoped it would and it's been really difficult to let go of those "dreams" for now but we must and we did. Or are trying anyways:) So. Since we are here for the next year while Ben finishes up his dissertation, we had to make some decisions to fix some of the "problems" we are facing. (i.e. bad school situation for S, bad landlords, no church or community, etc)

We found a place in the suburbs that will fit our needs so much better and so I have 3 weeks to pack us up! Good thing I've been getting rid of lots of stuff over the past few months..(last year's move was a real eye-opener..) because I've gotta get busy!

Oh yikes...did I say 3 weeks??

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Firsts

 Eliana has experienced a lot of "firsts" lately and I have tried to take as many pics as I can;) I am trying to savor every minute of this last babyhood that I get to experience!

E's hair is getting so long and I have to put it in bows everyday or it hangs in her eyes. But there is always another alternative....

Meet...Pebbles!! My mom laughed when she saw a similar picture I sent her because she used to do the exact same thing to my hair when I was a baby and called me Pebbles, to boot! Actually, I think she looks so much like my baby pictures in this picture that it's uncanny....my mini-me?

 And then Pebbles got to sit in her new highchair for the first time! (courtesy of Grandma!) Here we are preparing to play another rousing game of "Musical Spoon." She also got to taste carrots for the first time this weekend. She's not quite sure about food but we keep trying..
 Missy Pooh is also becoming a pro at tummy-sleeping. I think we're over the waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-screaming-b/c-we're-on-our-tummy phase. That's a relief!! She still doesn't prefer it but at least she's not protesting quite so much. Don't worry, the elephant in front of her face got moved:) She is becoming buddies with her pink elephant and elephant blanket!
 We're working hard on sitting up! This is one of the first pictures I've gotten with her sitting up. Okay..the second:) She is also wearing her beautiful hand-knitted sweater from our good friend, Miss D!
Jumping in the Jumparoo! I'm still not quite sure what she thought of the whole experience. It was so different for her and the boys were in her face the whole time, enthralled by this amazing new toy. I think if we hadn't kept a closer eye on them, they would've either swung her around like a monkey in a tree or climbed in themselves. Boys!
video
Jumping Jelly-Bean!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blur

 What a full day we had today! Mondays are always busy~the jump start into the week. This morning E and I ran a couple of errands, including a much-needed trip to the produce market. I love filling up our kitchen with fresh produce! It always gets eaten so quickly but I guess that's the way it's supposed to be:)

Love all this summery produce that is starting to appear in the markets! Fresh pineapple, corn on the cob, green beans, melons....mmm!
It was warm enough today to walk to school, so Missy and I went to pick up Zakkai and the 3 of us had a nice time enjoying the bright tulips that are planted in almost every yard in the neighborhood on the way home:)

After a lunch of some of the above-mentioned yummy produce, the 3 of us snoozed, (only a cat nap for me~mama's gotta have some energy!), I worked on cleaning our toy-strewn turf that we call home and then we went to pick up S from school.

 Along with his best-buddy, Peter! I can't even describe to you how excited these two get that they are allowed to have a play date. They have decided they are going to live together when they grow up and do whatever they want! Including staying awake alllll night long. Ah, the good old days...
They played right up until dinnertime and then it was the usual dinnertime/bedtime chaos that reigns in every household with children 5 and under....(The bewitching hour, if you will....).

And so, here I sit, unwinding from the constant blur of color, noise and energy that fills my life these days.

I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

 Mother's Day. I must say it is so weird to be celebrated on a Day that in my mind, is a day especially set aside for my mother. Am I really old enough for this? (side note: turning 30 this summer = mid-life crisis!)

Zakkai made a very special present for me at preschool this week. He apparently is a very good secret keeper because he brought home his tissue-wrapped gift, specifically wrapped in my favorite color (yellow!), asked Daddy to help him hide it and didn't say another word til today!

He woke up this morning and said, "It is Sunday today. It's Mother's Day! Daddy, can you get my present down so I can give it to mommy?" :)

He presented me with his special gift very proudly and stood by anxiously while I unwrapped it. The tissue paper fell aside and revealed a popsicle stick framed picture of Zakkai made out of clay. He hand-painted it in bright colors, painstakingly printed his name on the bottom and was incredibly proud! It meant the world to me:)

And then he gave me his card in which he drew a picture of Daddy....haha!
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This afternoon we went on a fun outing to a new park and enjoyed a picnic!
It was a beautiful day here today with the warm sunshine shining! And after we ate Ben and Samuel went across the street to use the bathroom and came back with a bouquet of roses for me:) Such sweet men I have!

 We had so much fun climbing all sorts of ladders...
 Chewing on toys....
 Looking pretty!
 Eating sandwiches..
 Swinging for the very first time ever...
 And the first time this spring!
 Daddy makes swinging even more fun!
 And of course I could not resist the opportunity to get a picture of my three munchkins that made this day possibly for me:) Turned out pretty great if I don't say so myself!
 And then I squeezed in for a shot or two..
And we finished our fun day with some ice cream at Coldstone (free for me!). It was a very special day and one I will treasure!
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A very special Happy Mother's Day to my mom and my Grandma. Two very special women whose everyday grace and inner-beauty have shaped me into the woman I am. I am so very blessed to know and love you both and my appreciation for you grows every single year. I love you!

And a Happy Mother's Day to Ben's mom who's sweet, loving heart forever imprinted the life of my husband and made him into the wonderful man, husband and father that he is. You are a lovely woman and very loved by all of us!

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