Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick-Or-Treat!

It was an exciting day around here for our munckins with parties, costumes and most importantly.....candy!

We had some new characters around town today:

A sweet little kitten....soft and cuddly!


A brave and handsome fireman, ready to save the day!

 And a good-lookin', athletic professional baseball player!
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 Zakkai watched the clock like a hawk all day, waiting for the little hand to get close to the 2, because that was when his party started!
 He got to do an eye-ball relay race...
 Wrap a friend in toilet paper, decorate a candy apple, have treats and he even won the game of Musical Chairs:) He had a great time!

 The boys were dying to go trick-or-treating tonight. Quite literally, driving me up the wall! We ate an early dinner and then headed out with our crew...
 And Kitten sacrificed an early bedtime to ride along and make sure her big brothers got only the best candy:) We wound our way through the neighborhood, spending most of our time close to the school where most houses were inviting little treaters. The highlight of the night for the boys was probably when we found S's teacher's house!

She promised her class that if they found her, they would get the most candy:) Over an hour later, we trudged home with brimming buckets and 3 weary trick-or-treaters...not to mention a tired mommy and daddy!

But there was still enough energy to look over the night's loot and choose a piece or two for a treat:)
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Samuel's school had a parade around the building after lunch today so all the parents could come and take pictures. Zakkai, Eliana and I went to wave to our baseball player and got a little video. Enjoy!

video

I'm sure the boys won't miss a piece of chocolate or two, right? :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Recovering.

 I am very happy to report that it was a wonderfully, peaceful, uneventful night last night. Ben slept peacefully all night and woke up feeling SO much better and I, whose eyes were red, puffy and burning like I'd poured lemon juice in them, blissfully surrendered to dreamland at 8pm and with only 2 brief child interruptions, slept until 7:30 this morning.

Hallelujah!

B's medicine doesn't make him feel the best, a little dizzy and a little blech, but all in all, we are both so glad his horrendous pain is gone and pray the dr's will be able to give us wisdom this week.


We spent a completely quiet, boring day at home recuperating today. The boys were ecstatic when I offered to make new playdough with them after getting E down for her nap. They literally spent hours playing playdough today!

 You are never too old for playdough! (I should know:) Samuel requested orange playdough this time.
 I don't even have to ask the boys to pose or smile anymore when I whip out the camera. They just automatically put on a goofy grin and say "Cheese!" They are well-trained:)

Z requested red playdough but unfortunately, the more red food coloring I put in, the more hot pink it turned out. Oh well....he was happy!
Later this afternoon during playdough round 2, even I got in on the action, helping the boys make pigs and pretend food and all sorts of fun things.

Like I said, you're never too old for playdough! And just in case I've tempted you to try out a little playdough for your kids or even for yourself (don't worry, I won't tell!) here's the recipe. Take less than 5 minutes!

Playdough
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup salt
1 tsp oil
food coloring.

Preparation:
1) Add all ingredients except food coloring to a medium saucepan and stir together with a wooden spoon. Heat over medium-low heat and add food coloring to desired color. Keep stirring continuously until playdough starts to thicken and unstick from sides. Will start to form a ball (your arm will be tired by this point!)

2) As soon as playdough forms a ball (or close enough) take off heat quickly. Scrape out playdough onto a clean surface and knead until smooth. It will be hot and a little sticky at first but the more you knead it, the less sticky it will get. Knead until nice and smooth! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Middle of the Night Trauma

Well, we had an exciting night over here....but not in a good way:( In the middle of the night, Ben woke up suddenly asking me if we had anything for stomach pain. It took me a minute or two to clear my foggy brain but I found him some tums. He told me he had severe pain in his upper abdomen/lower chest area.

He followed me into the hallway and I saw immediately in the light that he was pale and breathing hard. I realized quickly that this was no minor pain or heartburn that he was complaining about but something far more serious. We decided to call 911, seeing how miserable he was and I was really afraid he was having a heart attack.

I got him down to the couch and got one shoe on before the paramedics showed up. They asked him a few questions and then took him to the local hospital. I was just standing in the living room shaking and praying with my whole heart and wondering what to do. Should I wake up all the kids and take them over or just wait? Did I have anyone to call to come help me?

I finally got ahold of Ben's mom, letting her know what had happened and it gave me such great comfort to know that I wasn't the only one praying for him.

Thankfully, not long after arriving in the E.R., Ben's pain subsided a bit and they were able to determine after monitoring him for a couple of hours that it wasn't his heart but possibly a gallbladder attack or a bad ulcer. They released him with some medicine to take over this next week until he can get in to see his doctor.

I piled the crew into the car at 4am to go pick him up. The boys were scared at first and jerked awake when I told them where we had to go. We all came home and tried to snatch a little more sleep. The kiddos went right back to bed til about 7:30am but Ben and I were up off and on because he started feeling bad again.

I was so nauseous this morning, probably from little to no sleep or from eating what Ben ate (we think the food plus severe stress probably triggered whatever happened) so he and I were pretty much worthless! B has been sleeping off and on all day, having moments where he feels and acts better and then times where I can see that he is feeling bad again, although with the pain not as severe as in the middle of the night.

If you think of us, please pray for wisdom for the doctors to find out what's going on for sure and for protection over our family, as we have really been battling fear over different things this week and feeling under attack.

I'm hoping for a better night tonight! We all are...

Friday, October 28, 2011

He

is going through a phase, one of many, and often drives us up the wall with his determined, stubborn spirit and willfulness. Funny how people's strengths can also be their weaknesses.

 He expresses his opinions with great passion and earnestness. He is never wrong. He has to learn the hard way sometimes and it hurts me just as much as it hurts him.

He has a new "listening chart" that we made together today and he will get a star or sticker or silly face drawn in a square every time he listens the FIRST time. We are desperately hoping this will help!

He has so many different careers ahead of him. I love his ambition. He got to meet a retired fireman today and I could see the awe on his face. I wonder what he will really become?

He is fascinated with machinery and the mechanics of how things work. He was always the one to touch buttons and switches. To him they are like the red flag luring the bull. If you want him to NOT touch something, just tell him to touch it. It works like a charm.

He will follow any sort of workman around asking 1000 questions a minute about their work. It must feel good to them to have someone show such an interest....even if he's only 4:)

He loves chocolate, plans on having a garden someday and a race car. I had to talk him out of speeding away from policemen when he grows up. He thinks he'll be too fast for them to catch. I am going to start praying now....

He tries so hard to be well-behaved but his passion and impulsiveness get the best of him. It is so hard to teach him but it is well worth the effort. He adores his new light-up shoes, loves to splash in puddles, says he'll have a zillion dollars someday and share half with us, talks in his sleep and loves to help cook and wash dishes.

He's a very special little guy and I'm blessed to have him.

He is Zakkai.

*Pictures taken today while he was watching our handy man seal the driveway. So cute!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mutiny

This is what happens when you leave the cereal bag within reach of the baby...




This is what happens when you pull out "forgotten" toys from the closet....instant fun!


This is what entertains the Biscuit all day long.....lids!


It doesn't take much to entertain kids! I always say, give them a box, some crayons and paper, probably some glue if you're brave, a few little odds and ends and they'll entertain themselves!

I wonder what they would say if I told them I wouldn't buy anymore toys for them? haha:) I'd probably have a mutiny on my hands.

But my house probably wouldn't be so messy....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Well...

It's official.

Morton, Melissa, Matilda, Melvin, Morty Jr. and Mildred are here to stay. Apparently our house rocks.

I was right in the middle of emailing my friend who sent me the ultrasonic pulse things (a.k.a. Scare-Away-Mice-Gear) and asking her how to tell if they were working when Ben suddenly called to me from downstairs!

I raced downstairs and he told me that he had just seen Morton racing from the dining room into the kitchen! Yuck. I just knew that rice hadn't disappeared all by itself! We are suspecting it's our neighbors who are harboring a mouse nest in their home since the only people who have called about mice problems are us and the people on the other side of our neighbors.

Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

Hopefully they will be scared away with our new mouse armour!
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The weather has turned colder again, probably for the last time. I think our brief streaks of beautiful Indian summer weather are over. And now we supposedly face the worst winter Chicago has seen in a long time, if ever.

Wonderful! I just love a good, hard, cold, never-ending winter! Oh wait. That's what we have every year here;) At least we aren't in an apartment with little to no heat and parking on the street this year!!
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We have started reading the Magic Tree House series with the boys since Samuel started reading it in school. Hopefully it will be good! The books are simple enough for Samuel to read and will help build his confidence:) He's a great reader but I think he's afraid to read chapter books since they seem so grown up or something. There is a girl in his class that is on the 5th book in the Harry Potter series! I couldn't believe it when I saw it ~ 1) that she can read that well at 6 or 7 years old and 2) that her parents would even let her read those books that young. Wow.

Zakkai's teacher pulled me aside this afternoon to tell me a funny story about him. I guess in gym today this girl was trying to organize a game with everyone and all the classmates cooperated except...you guessed it! Zakkai.

The girl went up and told the teacher, "Zakkai won't let me talk and play this game!" So Mrs. C. called Zakkai over and asked him, "What's up, Zakkai? Why won't you let Emily organize the game? Why don't you want to play?" And Zakkai (and I can picture his expression quite clearly in my head!) shook his head and said, "Well...she's just too much!"

It made the teacher laugh and she gave him a big hug:) He's such a little character!

And Eliana was as sweet as pecan pie today:) She just wanted to be near us while playing and kept coming over to me, pulling up and laying her head on my leg. Then when Ben got home, she would not let him put her down. She just wanted him to keep on holding her and she was so happy! Of course, he is easily sucked in by her charms.

I can literally watch the stress melt away from Ben's face as his precious little girl lays her head on his chest and then looks up at him and says, "Hi!" He asks her questions and she'll say, "Yeah?" So cute!

This afternoon I banished the wild hooligans...er, the boys upstairs to their room to play so I could skype with a friend and Eliana stood at the bottom of the stairs for the longest time calling up, "Da? Da?! Dayayaya!" She wanted her brothers to come down:) They entertain her all the time, eliciting the most adorable giggles! She can see them better in the car now that she's in her "big girl" carseat and they play peek-a-boo with her and sing her songs. I love it!

And to leave you with a smile....here's something my dear hubby sent to me:)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10 Ways to know you have Lost Your mind.

1. You have to program everything in your phone (even if it's on the calendar) so you do not forget. Including when to pick up your children from school.

2. You are behind on everyone's birthdays and they are lucky if they get a gift a month later. Or even at all:)

3. Everytime you go to the store you are positive that you are out of carrots. So you buy a new bag. Only to go home and find that you already have 3 bags in the refrigerator.

4. You walk into random rooms of the house and pause for a minute or so, wondering why in the world you are in there....

5. What was I writing about?

6. You call your children and your husband by the wrong names. "Samu...Zak...Ben, whoever you are!!!"

7. You used to bee a grate speller and now you dont no how anymoore...thank goodness for spellcheck!

8. You have to make lists of your lists to remember what was on your lists. Lists are good.

9. You get so busy getting breakfast for everyone else, making lunches and rushing off to school that you forget to feed yourself.

10. You repeat the same stories to the same people because you forget who you told them to. Maybe one of those lists would come in handy....

If you've seen my mind, would you send it back to me?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pictures

A few pictures...


E's very last time in the infant carseat on Friday ~ sniff, sniff! It was a chilly day last week and we had just come back from dropping S off at school and she wanted out! Hence, the pathetic face:)

 How a lot of pictures of her look these days....we're much to busy to stop and pose for mama!
 Z listening to his book on tape:) One of the few activities where he's actually quiet for a few minutes...
 I love how the boys look like little men in their robes:) Poor Samuel has another cold and he never quite recovered from his last one, with a cough hanging on all these weeks. Now he's hoarse and I'm hoping he doesn't get worse!
What we've had with dinner the past 2 nights....homemade biscuits n' homemade apple butter! Deeeeeeeelicious!

*Samuel's actual final t-ball game should be tomorrow, weather permitting. He loves Tuesdays!

*The boys are counting down until next Monday when they can dress up and get candy... Maybe now would be a good time to throw out last year's Halloween (and Valentines...)candy that is still in their pumpkin buckets??

*As I was talking to my Grandma this afternoon, she unwillingly had to listen to a complete meltdown from the boys. As in screaming, crying, time-outs, etc. The consensus was that they were tired and I hadn't fed them snack quick enough:) Promise our house doesn't always sound like that, Gma!

*Eliana is making the funniest faces these days. She tucks in her lips and makes an "old lady" face which I think is because her fangs feel funny! Speaking of fangs, her 4th tooth (and 2nd fang) poked through on her bday. It's funny to see her bite down on food and it's pretty cute when you get a glimpse of those teeth!

*Suspecting that Morton isn't quite as gone as I thought he was....My friend sent me some nifty gear to scare away the mice and we relaxed after we hadn't seen any evidence (nor hide nor hair) of Morton and co. But, I became suspicious after I dropped rice the other night and left it to dry so I could sweep it up in the morning, only to find zero evidence of the rice in the morning. I laid down a test crumb in the middle of the kitchen a couple of nights ago and found that, too, missing.  Hmmm...must be time to put out the battle gear again!

Have a great night!

*

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Weekend.

I am picture-lame here on the blog this weekend~sorry! I pictured myself out on E's bday, I guess:) We've been having a quiet-ish weekend, just enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather before the cold sets in this week.

The boys got these new cool glow-in-the-dark footballs that our friends brought on Fri night and they've been playing with them all weekend outside. They even wanted to sleep with them in their room and use them as "nightlights." I nipped that idea in the bud quickly because I have learned a thing or two as their mommy!

Can you just imagine the fun they would have??

Eliana is turning into a one year old quickly, as I knew she would. She is starting to stand on her own for a few seconds at a time! I am not ready for her walking but what can I do?! She also learned another word; "Yeah?" We realized that we often say it to her when she babbles. ("Yeah?" or "Oh yeah?") It's pretty cute when she says it:) Maybe not so much to the people around us in church when she yells it out though....

She's also figured out that she can try to get what she wants or get her messages across very clearly by screaming. We keep trying to teach her sign language but really, is that as fun as screaming at the top of your lungs and getting a reaction? I think not!

Girl has some lungs!

Not much else to report. Just same old, same old: busy life, loud kids having fun living, making small memories and being together...

Not a bad weekend;)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Highlights

Today's been a good day, although it's about to end! Highlights of today:

*Getting the house cleaned for company. Always feels good to have a clean home!

*Watching Zakkai listen to books on CD on my computer with earphones. It's his new favorite activity and it's so cute to see him enjoying himself so much:)

*Buckling Eliana into her infant carseat for the last time (sniff!) and hooking in the "new" one (Which is really Z's old one;) She seems to like it so far! And just in time, as the infant carseat is about to expire....Did you know carseats expire?

*Happy that E actually slept for more than an hour~hooray! She of the napping-strike has been driving me batty. Just when I think I've got the darn schedule down, she has to go and change it!

*Going to the store with my youngest munchkins to get a few needed items and watching Zakkai's face light up when he got new shoes. Boys are tough on shoes these days! Both boys' shoes only lasted about 3 months. Yikes!

*Watching Eliana crawl around with her new baby doll in her hand all day. Baby came with us everywhere we went! So cute!

*Best of all, having old friends over for dinner tonight. We were so blessed to be a part of the best housegroup ever for a few years and formed some wonderful friendships. We spent a fun evening catching up and just being blessed by being around people we love. Wish it happened more often!

*Enjoying the sunshine that has been absent lately. Sunshine is wonderful!

*Going to bed before the roosters wake up:)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Birthday Girl!

Dear Sweet Eliana,

Today you are ONE year old! It is such a special day for us to be able to celebrate 365 days of pure joy and sweetness with you as our daughter. Here is a glimpse of what life with you has been like.....

Here are your last minutes in my belly!

And you crying with sweet breath. The most beautiful sound....
We were captured by your big dark eyes and head covered in silky dark hair. You looked so much like your big brother Zakkai when you were born!
You got to meet your anxious big brothers for the first time. We talked for months and months about what it would be like when you came and they could hardly wait to meet you! You now have 3 overprotective guardians:)
Daddy and I fought over who got to hold you in the evenings while you were sleeping:) There is nothing in the world that beats the feeling of holding a sweet-smelling, soft, moldable little newborn.

We watched you slumber peacefully, never able to get enough of you!

Even from the first few minutes of your life, you stared intently at us, soaking up our voices and our presence.
You started to grow so fast, changing from our little 6 lb "Birdie" with the chicken legs to a soft wonder with the start of double chins. You first month flew by....
We started doing tummy time and you never disliked it quite like your brothers did:) You spent a lot of time on your tummy, checking out the action of the household.

You turned 2 months old just before Christmas and spent Christmas being loved and admired by your family in Ohio. You even started sleeping a lot better while we were there, although it was in your carseat:)
We started a new year with you in January, falling more and more in love with you. We watched you start smiling and cooing and even making silly faces!

You have been the little darling of our family since the minute we met you.

And who wouldn't fall in love with this sweet, soft doll baby?!
Your brothers begged to hold you and have me take pictures. They even liked to pick out your clothes and a bow for your pretty hair.
3 months flew quickly by and before we knew it, it was February. You survived your first blizzard!
I took lots and lots of pictures of you, knowing that the precious moments with you would slip away all too quickly...
You turned 4 months old on the same day your big brother turned 4! We took a trip to a museum and you enjoyed looking around and spending time in the arms of your ever-willing daddy:)
Samuel and Zakkai have always been able to get you to laugh and smile in the blink of an eye! This is one of my favorite pictures of you and I remember that you started laughing for one of the first times and I captured just a second of it on video. So precious!

It's been such a change to see all of this pink around our house but it fits you because you are so soft and pink and girlie:)

You learned to sit up....in a Bumbo, that is; seeing life from a different view!
I dressed you up in pretty dresses for church, this being one of my favorites! You always look extra pretty on Sundays:)

You are my little Cindy-Lou Who! You have adored bathtime from your very first bath! I always know I can get lots of smiles out of you if I just show you the bathtub and a little water....
In April, at 5 1/2 months, we finally started venturing outside again as the weather thawed a bit. You loved seeing the big, wide world with so many new things to see and explore!
We also decided to try cereal for the first time in April, just days before you turned 6 months. You weren't too sure about it at first but then decided it wasn't so bad;)
For your 6 month birthday, you got to take you very first vacation to Florida! You did so great on the long (LONG) trip there, only becoming inconsolable just before the end. It was so fun to watch you swim in the pool with us, soak up the sunshine (protected, of course!) and even ride in a golf cart!
You were an absolute butterball at 6 months! So squishy and soft and just perfect!
We dressed you up for Easter but it was so hot that you couldn't wear your matching sweater or even the bonnet for long....
Just like with your brothers, I check on you every single night before I go to bed. There is not a more peaceful sight than a sweetly sleeping child. I bought you a pink elephant before you were born and you have slept with it every single night since:)
In May, you started working on sitting up, although it was awfully hard to support that little body for awhile!
You showed us that not only are you sweet and lovely but you're pretty cool, too;)
For Mother's Day, we spent some time picnicking and playing at the park, where you took your first swing. You thought it was pretty good but now you don't like it at all!

You made my Mother's Day specially wonderful and the 3 of you gave me the most perfect gift: a picture of you, my treasures.
At the end of May, just after you turned 7 months, you got to meet a long-distance buddy. The two of you are only weeks apart and I hope you get to meet again soon! Her mommy's pretty cool;)

We are often just stunned at your beauty and sweet spirit. We can never get enough of looking into the blue eyes, called "Blue Gems" by a cashier recently:)
I pray that you will always know how much I love you and how I hope that we always have a really close relationship like I do with my mom.
This is one of my favorite baby poses! And made all the sweeter with a ruffle;)
We moved in June when you were 7 1/2 months old and you did great, adjusting fairly quickly. You even got your very own room for the first time and it's just perfect for you!


You started trying more and more foods and have liked most of the things given to you. You must not take after me in that way!

 I've put up your hair in so many ways over the past year because it's so long! It has gradually turned from dark brown to a golden, honey blond over the months.
 At 8 1/2 months, we took a trip to Ohio to celebrate the 4th of July and your big brother's 6 th birthday. You loved spending time outside in the peaceful country!
 You even got to try some juicy, sweet watermelon with Grandma!
 You have always had a great sense of humor and can make us laugh very easily with your silly faces and orneriness!
 You finally started sitting up well at 9 months old and thoroughly enjoyed a whole new world with a new view!
 We took lots of walks this summer, to the farmer's market and the parks and sometimes it just plain tuckered you out....
 We took you to the zoo in August and it was fun to show you all the animals...not that you cared too much;)
 I have enjoyed dressing you up in pretty dresses! This one is one of my favorites and you obliged me by posing nicely for pictures!
 We did a little more swimming before school started, which you loved, of course!
 You started to get really busy just before you hit 10 months, learning to crawl and pull-up within a week of each other!
 And you love to pull up on anything and everything!
 You may look girlie but you have no problem playing with your brother's cars and other toys left around the house (and there are many!)
 As September rolled around, you personality continued to shine and blossom. You have learned to be silly and make us laugh and get so much joy from just being near us! And we get joy from being near you...
 You got to go apple picking for the first time at 11 months old. You discovered that you adore apples and we discovered that a good apple core will keep you happily occupied for many long minutes!
 Just a couple weeks ago, you got to help pick out a pumpkin for our family!
 And then I blinked and today you woke up and turned ONE! I don't know how it happened! You got to open a present right away, a special box that came in the mail from 2 of your Aunts that live far away. Your very first pink and purple toy and it's just for you!
 You pretty much spent the entire day carrying around these two lids and riding on your new toy:)
 Mommy made you get all dressed up in your princess outfit, with the shirt and birthday hat that she made for you;) You are very good-natured!
 After reluctantly posing for a couple of pictures, it was back to your new toy...
I don't think you will ever understand how precious you are to me, to us and the simple, raw joy that your smile and presence brings to us until you have a little person just like you someday...

 Mommy and Daddy took you on a special shopping trip this afternoon, all by yourself! You got to pick out a birthday present and you chose your very first doll baby. Mommy just handed it to you to see what you would do and to our surprise, you started smiling and laughing and loved your new baby so much that we just had to get it! You also got some new bathtoys and a new rattle:)
 I threw together a pink elephant cake, going with our pink elephant theme because you just love your special pink elephant so much and have really bonded with it in the past couple of months!
 Unfortunately, it had been a really, really long day and you were SO ready for bed by the time I finished it....
You tried a taste or two and decided that it was enough and time for bed!
video
After a chorus of goodnights from your big brothers and loving Daddy, I carried you up and got you all clean and tucked in for bed, just like I do every night.

It is the simple moments with you that have made everyday so wonderful. You are a light, a gift and a pure joy to us, Sweet Eliana Caroline.

You changed our lives forever 1 year ago and we can't wait experience the rest of your life with you!

We love you.

Followers