Friday, January 30, 2015

Books galore and projects!

Eliana and I have actually had a fairly quiet day today, which is rare for us! She is always coming along with me to clean houses or running errands, going to preschool, etc. We weren't intending to stay home today but plans changed because Ben was sick this morning (he is better now) and Eliana agreed that it was nice to just "be" today!

We played some Legos. She is getting quite a nice little collection of Disney princess Legos and Lego Friends. We have them set up on top of her low bookshelf. She has Frozen legos (of course!), Rapunzel's tower, a lemonade stand and a farmer's market. Pretty cute!

We also weeded through all of our kid's books this morning. I did that before we moved but the boys especially are moving into harder series and leaving behind easy chapter books like "Magic Tree House," which were the series to jumpstart Samuel into loving to read! The boys got a huge collection of Roald Dahl books for Christmas that they just love. Samuel found a series that he is really into these days so he often looks a lot like this:

He definitely comes by it honestly!! Give me a good series and I will be happy to ignore cooking, cleaning, talking to people, etc. And we got that from my mom!

Zakkai is an eclectic reader. He flits from one thing to the next and can often be found reading 4 books at the same time, sometimes finishing none of them. We are working on that!

Samuel giving Eliana a ride on the recycling bin train the other day:)

You can often find Zakkai and Eliana looking like this these days! When he isn't annoyed with her and being a complete police man (grr!), he is the sweetest thing ever with her and will play for hours! She loves to ask him to play because 9/10 times he will say "yes!"


I am undertaking a huge organizational project. I finally (to Ben's relief!) am cutting down on my cooking magazines. I started getting "Quick Cooking" (which later became "Simple and Delicious")in 2003 right before we got married. My all time favorite cooking magazines ever! Then I switched to Taste of Home (by the same company) because I got a good deal. You get 6 magazines per year so you can imagine....I have probably close to 100 magazines. I attempted to file and organize them years ago and got through 2010 before giving up:) Now, I am ready to admit that I don't even use all of them because there are so many!

So, I am going through them, cutting out my favorite recipes or ones I really think I will try, and tossing the magazine. It was hard to make that first cut! I don't like cutting up my magazines! But it has gotten easier with time and now I have gone through about 60 of them. I am going to glue/tape them to paper, put them in plastic sheet protectors and file them in a binder, with tabs. I think I will use them a lot more often then! It's been so interested going through them and finding forgotten oldies but goodies and realizing that these magazines really taught me how to cook! I knew a few things when we got married but these magazines really got me off to a good start (with a few memorable boo-boo's in between!) with creating new, tasty meals for our growing family. Ah, to wax nostalgic...

I squeeze in some cutting time while dinner is cooking each night or during E's rest time in the afternoons. Sometimes Eliana sits beside me and cuts through the mags I have already weeded through and saves her own recipes:) She loves to tell me about the delicious recipes she is cutting out! I am really looking forward to having this done, although I think it will take several more days.

Call me a nerd but I do love a good organizing project!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Piddly Snow Days!

 So. The longer we have been back here in Ohio, the bigger the differences we have noticed from Chicago. One big thing is that they cancel school at the drop of a hat! In Chicago, there must be about 50 feet of snow and -30 degrees to cancel. Okay, okay, maybe not that bad but seriously, Chicago schools closed down for the first time in years when we had the blizzard back in 2011. It was a big deal!

The boys' school last year closed 4 days total because the temps were -12 before windchill. Totally understandable! Here? They have had a 2 hour delay (back in November), and canceled school at least 3 times already for piddly snowfall or temps being "too" cold. One day was about 2 inches of snow! It is so silly. Ben and I don't remember it being so bad when we were young. I guess Chicago toughened us!

So...another snow day today. We did get around 4 inches, which was fun! The kiddos found some old recycling bins and used them like trains:)

Zakkai worked very hard to make train tracks.

Eliana tried to convince everyone to take her on train rides:) She loves playing outside with her brothers!

Samuel quickly grew tired of ferrying around his little sis and resorted to just good old fashioned playing in the snow.


I had to work to get Z's attention!

He was nice enough to stop and give me a quick smile! Soon after, we went in for hot chocolate and a movie. It was a nice morning!

Later in the afternoon during E's rest time, the boys went out again and spent a lot of time building forts. It was fun to look out the window and watch them:) Now we have a huge pile of wet coats, snow pants, scarves, gloves and boots by our front door.

Oh, the joys of winter!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Beautiful Eyes!

 It has been the busiest week this week! So many appointments and errands, working, etc. Ben has had meetings and things every night this week except Tuesday and has to work double jobs tomorrow night. Whew! We are counting down until Saturday:)

On Tuesday, we finally got Eliana to her new eye doctor. She has been long overdue for a check-up because everything got put on hold with the move this summer. I was SO proud of her during this visit! She had to meet a new dr, go through the full check up (which takes almost 3 hours!) including eye dilation and she was an angel. The dr said that if all of the kids he saw were angels like her, it would make his job a whole lot easier!

She was too cute answering their questions and trying to see the letters on the screen. Whenever she wasn't sure of a letter because it was too small, she would get really quiet and shrug a little and put her hands up like, "I don't know!" They were so patient and sweet with her!

She has to get new lenses though. They completely changed her prescription in hopes of making her eyes match up vision-wise a little better. I always dread a prescription change because a) it costs a lot and b) it makes me nervous that it won't help her or be the right prescription. Silly Mama.

I've been checking into the best options for getting new glasses or lenses because of the cost. We just got her current pair a little over a year ago and were hoping that she would have plenty of time to wear them and grow into the frame. A new pair of her glasses are $230. They said if we did lenses only, she would have to send in her current pair and they would be gone for up to 2 weeks, leaving her to wear an old ill-fitting pair. But the cost is a lot cheaper.We tried to explain that to her last night and tried on the old pair and she got really upset! She did not want to send in her new pair!

Today we went back to the eye dr and spoke with the woman who handles new prescriptions and she agreed that Eliana was too stressed out over wearing the old pair and we should find a different route. She suggested taking her pair to Walmart and they can fit lenses in in less than 1 hour! Sure enough, I took her over there right away and they confirmed that they can do that and it's no problem with her bifocal or anything (which sometimes causes issues!) So tomorrow morning she will hopefully have her new lenses and it costs a whole lot less than a new pair. We can save that for next year. Whew!
The boys are doing so well. They both did some testing at school and got into some better programs to challenge them. Both have been expressing a lot of boredom, which we hate to hear! Hopefully everything will work out really soon.

And Samuel joined the student council! He has his first meeting tomorrow morning:) He has been alternately excited and nervous but felt better when another classmate of his signed up. Can't wait to hear how it goes!

The boys are waiting for me to read a book to them before bed so off I go....another day down!

Monday, January 19, 2015

School break and Zoo trip!

 I have had all sorts of blog posts rolling around in my head this past week but unfortunately, they have been competing with a sinus infection and the sinus infection won. Grr. All thanks to that flu we had a few weeks ago! Thankfully, antibiotics are fighting the good fight and my brain is starting to unfog. Always a good thing:)

The kids had the day off today and I just thought I was going to be driven to drink. They were driving me mad! We've just had too many days cooped up together lately and the boys, especially were like two puppies fighting. Ugh! So I finally forced everyone to get out of their pjs and into the car and we went to the zoo! It was 40 and sunny today and the zoo wasn't too crowded.

A fun picture I took this morning of Eliana's and my cups. Love the colorful shadow!!

We went straight to the polar bears by unanimous vote and found this cutie all stretched out resting. Samuel said he wanted one for a pet....

They do look awfully cuddly from far away!!

Then my little bears lined up from littlest....

To medium sized...

To biggest!

Three little bears:)

I tried to get them to take a picture and they were like, "Mommy, we can't see! The sun is so bright!" oops. haha.

This was Zakkai's favorite animal of the day. They reindeer! They did look pretty fuzzy and cute.

A lot of the exhibits are closed for the winter (boo) but we still found plenty to entertain us. We went to the aquarium part and found this funny guy.

We found some manatees, too. They are funny, gentle looking creatures. The "little" one on the left is only two months old!

The only animal we could see in the Australia exhibit were the koalas. Now that is an animal I'd like to take home!

So cute and snuggly!

And on our way out, we saw some penguins. This funny guy really liked Eliana's light up shoes and kept coming back to look at them:) So funny!

We also saw 3 dogs at the zoo. It surprised me because it's not something you are used to seeing but apparently they live at the zoo and do some shows and tricks. They were very sweet!

It was nice to get out and get a little vitamin D and exercise and a little break from the cooped-up-fighting. I have to admit...I'm a little thankful school starts again tomorrow:)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bucks, Movies and Veggies!

 Monday rolls around so quickly, doesn't it? Amazing how time flies! On Friday night, I got "How to Train A Dragon 2" from Redbox and we watched that while we (and by that I mean, Ben) made pizza. I pulled out a veggie tray (seriously, one of the best things I buy!) for everyone to munch on while waiting for our pizza deliciousness. The kids go mad over it!

Movies and Veggies:)

Eliana got some new Frozen sheets for Christmas from her Grandma. I didn't get around to washing them until this past week because we got sick right afterwards. I promised her I would get them on her bed a.s.a.p.! Wow, that made her happy! The pillowcase is Anna on one side and Elsa on the other. She chose the Elsa side, of course;)

This afternoon we were waiting for the boys to come home on the bus and Eliana wanted to play hide and seek while we waited. I counted and this was her hiding spot:) She was a rock. Very hard to spot in her bright pink coat!! haha, love it!

And last but not least, Go Bucks! The boys are wearing their Buckeye sweatshirts to bed in honor and we are trying to see if we'll even be able to watch the game. Not very often but sometimes, it stinks not having cable. Why in the world they can't show a big game like this on regular tv channels, I'll never know! Oh some roast Duck, Buckeyes!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Snow days!

 I heard rumors that December's weather would be mild (it was!) and that winter would hit hard in January. (It has!) It is SO cold outside! I just got back from walking the boys to the bus stop and my hands are still a little numb.

It's been hard to get back into routine this week because of the days off of school. They went Monday, were off Tuesday, went Wednesday, were off yesterday and back today! I admit that it was a little hard to have the snow days because we were cooped up so much together last week that we needed a little break from each other!

Thankfully, we had some fun together while they were off. I had to find something to do or I was going to go crrraaazzzy!

We did a couple of puzzles over break (in between illnesses!) This is one of our favorite Christmas puzzles. Everything in the puzzle is made out of something else. For instance, the table legs are nutty bars, the toy box is triscuits, etc. Very cute!

My mom gave B and I this one for Christmas. Can't go wrong with a Charles Wysocki!

For Tuesday's snow day, even though it was very cold, we bundled up and went outside to get some energy out! I made the boys go first because they were driving me nuts! They did some shoveling for awhile and then I packed up E like a little snowbaby and we went out.

I love how brightly colored they are in the snow with their coats on:) Like little cardinals or bluebirds!

Haha, they didn't even pose for this! They were playing follow the leader and turned around and I snapped this really quick. So funny:)

Snow day! After getting some energy out, we went in and thawed out with some hot chocolate and played The Game of Life. (One of our favorites!) It was a nice day overall.

Yesterday, we went to Costco with my mom and Evy, which is actually a fun place. What does that say about us?! The kids love to go for the samples:) Then I surprised them and took them to a movie! There is a movie theatre that sells tickets for $1.25 a piece for matinees so for $5 we had a treat! We saw "The Book of Life." It was interesting. Very different from other cartoon movies we've seen. It was very very colorful and pretty cute. Eliana sat on my lap the whole time and I must've gotten a little cozy because I totally dozed off at the beginning:) That's what happens when a busy mama sits down!!

When we got home, we found a special package in the mail for the kiddos from St. Nicholas! Apparently, he dropped it off his sleigh when he was on his way to Ohio and mailed it to the kids:) Boy, did he make their day! Not only is it fun to get a package period, what was inside entertained them the rest of the afternoon! The boys got some cool flying disks (kind of like Frisbees) and came up with a fun indoor game and Eliana got a cool set where you build something to go along with a book you read. She is still playing with it this morning! I will have to take some pictures, just in case St Nicholas reads this blog so he will know how thankful we are! :)

Today, the boys are back in school and Eliana and I are headed out to clean my grandparent's house. Hoping you have a happy Friday!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ready or Not...

I am very happy to report....that we are still alive! This flu hit us so hard. The kids bounced back pretty quickly, other than lingering coughs and congestion. Zakkai got it the worst of the kids and still has a pretty nasty cough. He was pale for a few days and just had that "sick eyed" look but thankfully is feeling good now.

Ben went straight into a sinus and ear infection and is on antibiotics. Thankfully, today he finally started to notice an improvement! It is going to take us awhile to get our strength back for sure. I have only been out of the house twice since last Sunday. The second time was today to get a few groceries at the store. I took Z with me and about halfway through, all of the sudden I thought, "I can't do this. I need to go home!" Somehow I pushed through and after putting the necessary groceries away, promptly fell sound asleep in my chair in the living room. It doesn't take much to wear us out.

Samuel keeps telling us that this was the worst Christmas vacation ever! (except for the parties and seeing family and the toys they got. Except for that, it was the worst.) I keep telling him that I am so sorry, we did not choose to get sick! I do feel bad that their last week of vacation was trapped in here. Thankfully, Ben's mom rescued them yesterday and took them out for the afternoon to have some fun. It was refreshing for them and for us so we could rest with a little peace and quiet!

School starts again tomorrow for the boys, preschool on Tuesday for Eliana and back to work for Ben. I pray his body can continue to recover as he jumps back into the busy schedule he's not quite ready for yet.

Ready or not, here comes life!