Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa the Claus is coming... soon as someone goes to bed. Sweet Marissa had just the right amount of nap to keep her up. I keep telling her that Santa can't come until she goes to sleep and she's got all sorts of comebacks. She just informed me that she's been a nice girl because she hits and that if Santa the Claus gives her "cold" in her stocking she's just going to put "cold" in Santa's stocking. (I guess she overheard our babysitter telling about how she got coal in her stocking before). Earlier this week in her prayer she said, "Please bless that Santa can get here safely." And then I overhead her singing, "We wish you a Merry Hanukkah." (That's how you know we live in Florida.) She is such a funny kid. When asked when she is going to be potty trained she says, "In three minutes." (FYI--that was way more than three minutes ago.)

This week we made a gingerbread house (look at Jared's concentration). Also seen in the background is Simon's favorite new bed which will be opened tomorrow. Sorry kitty. It's the giantest present we've ever had. Shh... we'll find out tomorrow what it is.Our kids look a little scrappy in the picture. I'll say sorry in advance (you know, for when they're teenagers and wonder why I allowed them to look like that). It was either then or never. They were about to go to bed. I also must take some credit for the sloppy spots on the gingerbread house. I know I should be better what with all the models I've made in my architecture career, but in my haste I cut the opening of the frosting bag too big and schlepped it all over the thing. Good thing I'm not being graded on it. The kids loved it.Tonight we let them open one present. Marissa said she hoped it was a toy. Nope, I'm way too predictable and practical for that. Give them a toy on Christmas Eve? Ha! No, they were my homemade pajamas that I finished and wrapped at 4:30 pm today. Hey, I would have had them done sooner if I hadn't lost their waste measurements. I got them done. The pants were easy and the shirts were just the pack of T-shirts that I ironed on different designs I created. Also super easy, and they cost about $2.50 a piece. They loved them. I even think they were being sincere with their thank-yous, but you never know. We've been practicing opening fake presents and showing gratitude all week. I was pleased with the response. We just may not have to take any presents away after all. They look so cute! (Never mind the fake smiles.) Monsters for boys and Princesses for girls. Is it cheesy that I like to dress my kids alike?
This one shows the stockings in the back. Notice how one is red? That was all Erin's idea. These are the cheap stockings we got from the ward Christmas party the last two years and then Erin had a red one with her name on it, probably from pre-school some time. Since we only had 5 of the others, and because I never got around to making stockings (yes, another sewing project), I let it slide. It doesn't dawn on any of the kids that having one red stocking with Erin's sparkling name on it is weird, while everyone else's are blank. I finally put names on the other ones.All right, now everyone is all nestled in their beds, including Jared zonked out on the couch. Where's that fat guy anyway? It's go time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Life is...

The last couple of weeks we have experienced a few disappointing things. I don't even want to mention what they are because I am trying to block them out of my mind, but they are not insignificant. It actually is working because I realize that while these things are truly a bummer, they don't affect things in the eternal scheme of things--and there are much worse things that could have happened. Today I am so grateful for my family, for our health, for the beautiful Florida weather, for being able to wear jeans without sweating, for happy kids playing outside on the first day of Christmas vacation, for being able to drop my kids off at the gym and work out, for a loving and understanding husband who supports our family so well, and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thinking about Christmas and what His life meant really puts things into perspective about what is really important, and not important. I've realized more lately that life is full of disappointments, but isn't that part of our experience here? I am determined to have a good Christmas, despite what may have happened and hope that it will be a joyous occasion filled with family and close friends.

Yesterday we took some self-timed pictures after church because I felt Christmas-y. These may or may not end up on a Christmas card, although I'm hoping we can take pictures next week in the now almost finished Christmas dresses. I sure love these guys!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

It's been a while, I know. I meant to write things I was thankful for in November, but that didn't happen. So my next great idea was to write a thankful post every day in December... which I actually did begin. It just never made it onto the blog. And now here we are in mid-December already. Where to begin...

I feel a little jumbled about what to write, so I'm just going to write, stream of consciousness style. One thing that really amazes me is just how messy our house gets in a matter of 24 hours. This place was clean last night. We had just finished doing a month's worth of shopping, taken inventory of our food storage and organized our pantry. The floors were picked up and recently swept and vacuumed. Today I look around a little discouraged. Granted, we spent a total of 8 hours at church today, in two shifts, took a couple hours getting ready, some time preparing and eating food and, of course, the mandatory Sunday nap. I know the day of rest probably doesn't mean you shouldn't do your dishes or put kids shoes away, but Sundays are so tiring that I have no desire to do anything like that. Luckily, it's all reversible and I know I'll have the energy to reverse it all tomorrow (as long as I don't stay up too late blogging).

Christmas is upon us and it is a special time of year. We have our tree up and just seeing it there all lit up is magical. We got our family ornament and this year it is huge, seeing as we needed 6 penguins this time. I like that tradition, even though it's the one thing I am anal about the kids not breaking. Is it good to have something so special for the family that the family can't even play with? They're at the top of the tree and none of them have broken yet.

I've done most of my shopping for the kids. Here's the summary:

Connor-I could get him a box or some junk mail and he wouldn't notice, but I have to get him something or the other kids may get suspicious (due to the fact that Connor was definitely not a naughty baby). He certainly doesn't need anything, based on the selection of toys he has to choose from, but like I said, he will get something. So I got him a gift that he's already chewed on for half an hour while I was shopping with him. He seemed to like it.

Marissa-She knows exactly what she wants: a computer. Luckily she is two so the computer she is referring to is most likely pink, has a keyboard in alphabetical order (very confusing by the way), and is less than 30 bucks. I know she will be excited about anything she gets and will jump up and down with joy like she does about everything exciting, such as going to the grocery store or getting to eat a clementine (her favorite right now--one day she ate an unmentionable number). I could buy anything for her and it would be okay. I don't know if it's her age or her personality, but I love that about her right now.

Alex-When you ask him what he wants for Christmas he says he doesn't care. I'm pretty sure he wants something, he just doesn't care what it is. He will be happy with anything he gets too, like sincerely happy. The only thing that makes him a little more tricky is because he's not into any specific thing, which is probably why he doesn't care what he gets. We cleaned out the play room the other day and put about 1/3 of the toys in the garage to make room for new ones and to rotate them back in when Connor gets older. Alex wanted to put all his cars, his dinosaurs, Legos, Super Why stuff, balls and sports equipment away--basically every present he's ever received he wanted to put away. Now, I know he plays all the time, but I'm not sure what he plays with. Blankets? Nail polish? Seriously, I need to pay more attention to that child because I can't think of much right now. As for what I got him? I got him something that I want to play with (that way I might actually play with him) and something that Connor can use if he doesn't like it. Good to go.

Erin?---oh boy, Erin. Well, I went shopping for the kids last week and got everything I wanted for the other three and not a single thing for Erin. Why? Because everything I see I assume she won't like. Last year she opened a present and just by looking at the box she declared, "I don't like this game" and threw it to the side. Turns out she actually does like it, but that kind of ungrateful attitude drives me crazy. Is it the age or the personality? I have my hunch about which one it is. She is already not getting a birthday party next year because of her ingratitude. What I don't understand is how kids can act so ungrateful and naughty in December, when Santa might not get them presents. Does this ever cross her mind? Obviously, she has never gotten just coal in her stocking or maybe she would be acting nicer. I did tell her that if I hear the same thing from her about any of her presents I am going to take all her presents and give them to someone who will appreciate them. Mark my words, I am dead serious. Why is she so hard to please? We have been working with her lately about her attitude and about her trying to think about all that she has and not how horrible her life is. She's the child that always makes me feel like a failure as a parent (which is why I am so grateful she is not an only child--the other ones make up for it). Nothing I do is ever good enough. I finally realized that it really is something within her that needs to change, not me doing more for her. I could do the exact same thing for a different child (like make them a birthday cake) and get a completely different reaction. Any ideas for me here? One day last week I wasn't doing her hair with the right brush, apparently, and it ruined her day. I mean, how could I possibly do such a thing to her? And right before school? I told her to think of one thing she was grateful for before she went to school, and even gave her ideas (like that I was doing her hair, that she had hair, food, shelter, health, family, freedom, friends...) Nope, she couldn't think of anything. That was fine, but she was not going to play with any friends for a week, including an ice cream party. After school I made her write a whole page of things and here's what it said: What I am thankful for--chrch, family, friends, school, toys, food, temple, animals and most inportent is Jesus and god (unedited). Okay, so that was good, but I tell you, she will give me a run for my money, I am sure. I did end up getting her some things but I still imagine her opening them and being disappointed. I already talked her out of the only two things she asked for (she saw them on TV no less) because the reviews were horrible. Good grief. Like I said, good thing I have other kids to jump up and down for me.

Also on the Christmas 2010 agenda:

Making Christmas dresses. I know. I should have learned my lesson around Halloween, but I guess I need to fulfill my dream of making my little girls dresses. They are looking cute, but I've been trying to work on them without them seeing me so that usually means midnight-ish. Marissa did however see hers and was as excited as ever about it (and good thing I tried it on her because it was almost 6 inches too long--better too long than too short?). My biggest fear is that one will fit one of them and the other won't fit. Or that Erin will say she hates it and I'll have to give it to a homeless child who will appreciate it. Either way I still have a bunch of things to finish on them, not to mention the other sewing endeavors I took on this holiday season--not as time consuming as the dresses, but still, I've got my work cut out for me.

Our Christmas concert was tonight--check. Jared and I both sang in the stake choir and I played my flute. I was responsible for the last song not being accompanied by the MoTab. It was the Hallelujah Chorus and we'd practiced it a lot. But for the past few years our director has played the Tabernacle Choir version along with our singing and it is usually a disaster because the timing is never right. If we had practiced with the recording at all it would have been fine, but don't do it at the last minute. I expressed my feeling about it 2 minutes before the concert started and the director listened to me. I think it went better, but that's just me.

Deliver Christmas cookies to the neighbors--will do tomorrow night. I have had them since Thursday from a cookie exchange party, but we haven't had the energy to deliver them yet. I hope they're still good.

Christmas cards? Those are still up in the air. We don't have a picture of the fam right now, which is the biggest issue. I'm not saying it won't happen. I'm not saying it will either.

Make a gingerbread house--I bought a $5 kit complete with everything at Tar-jay yesterday so we just have to put it together one of these FHE's.

Go see Christmas lights--It'll happen. Just not sure when yet.

Be grateful for all that we have. I am! I have been feeling so very grateful for everything I have, maybe because I am making Erin try to be more aware of it. Maybe because of Thanksgiving. I just have so much. My family means so much to me and I love them so much. It was such a blessing to be able to go to Utah this Thanksgiving and see almost all of both of our families. We are blessed to both have wonderful parents who are welcoming and supportive who will do anything for us. My parents even gave up their nice car so that that we wouldn't have to rent a van. I am so grateful for the temple and that we were able to be together in the temple with Jared's family. They have had a family goal to all meet in the temple in 2010 once (what they thought would be) their youngest child got home from his mission. In fulfillment of prophesy, that family goal was fulfilled as the 8 oldest children, 7 spouses and his parents met in the temple this year. One of the most amazing things for me was when we were all going up the escalator one couple after another and just seeing so many people that I love there together. It was truly a great and emotional moment. I only hope that my own family can reach the same point in the future.

Many more things to be grateful for but this house ain't cleaning itself tomorrow. Good night!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkins, Paint, Primary, Pillows and Push-ups

(a super long post because I kept thinking of more and more things that started with P)

Due to the fact that we haven't hit Thanksgiving yet, I feel justified in posting the Halloween pumpkin patch pictures. I had an image in my head of sitting my kids down in the pumpkin patch and taking the cute festive pictures that everyone seems to have, but in my estimation, my kids were not exactly picture perfect. We went on the day before Halloween so it was a madhouse and it was really hot and I was alone with all the kids and they were all really tired. I tried to get good pics but was either holding a baby, weaving a double stroller around pumpkins in hay or just trying to get them all to look at me. Unsuccessfully. These were the best I could do.

Nobody looking at me...
Didn't get a single one of him looking anywhere near me...I like this one of Marissa. As usual she is completing the circuit which she does a lot, but especially when she is tired. I could not get her to take her thumb out of her mouth to say cheese.And let me tell you, if you think it's easy trying to carry two good sized pumpkins while pushing a double stroller full of tired kids by myself to the outer edges of the overflow parking (remember, madhouse?), it can only mean that you've never tried to do it.

We did carve those pumpkins, on Halloween no less. Why do I feel like things are going to be fun and then they just end up more stressful than I imagine? Why do I feel like such a grinch sometimes? Side note. This time things ended up okay, mostly because the younger kids were asleep. The Jack-o-lanterns turned out just how the kids wanted them.

Erin drew hers out and added some permanent marker for color.
Hers also featured a spider web (courtesy of me) on the back and I think that's a witch riding her broom on the side as well.
This face was the inspiration for Alex's (Jared helped him).
In case you are wondering what happens when you leave a jack-o-lantern outside in Florida when it's 80 degrees for four days, here it is. Even though the thought of all that mold was disgusting, it did look pretty sweet like he was growing hair.And this is what it looked like one day later. Old man hairy face bit the dust.

Face paint that is. On Saturday we went to a free fair thing where the kids got their faces beautifully painted. When Erin said she wanted a butterfly we imagined one on her cheek, not this. Whatever.
Of course they were very excited about their balloons as well. So easy to please.Primary
Sunday was our ward Primary program and all the kids did great. I was especially impressed by how well behaved our whole primary was. We thought we were going to have some problems with kids sitting still to practice for two hours three weeks in a row and there were (almost) no problems. We really are lucky to have such a great primary. Oh, not sure if I ever mentioned it on the blog or not, but I am the Primary secretary now... as of 5 months ago. It's a great calling if you have a baby and can't go to class anyway. I still feel somewhat useful and I don't have to do sharing time.

This was Alex's first primary program. He didn't stand up for a single song and he was sitting on the second row so we couldn't see him at all except for a few times when he slowly popped his head up. Kind of funny. But he surprised us by doing a great job on his part though. I wasn't sure if he would be too scared to talk or not, but he not only said his part, but he said it really loudly into the microphone (and it was memorized). It went something like, "My faith in Jesus Christ is strengthened when I O-BEY!"

Erin did a great job too. She had kind of a long part with some tricky words (like established, ancient and apostasy) but she read it perfectly. She also sang a duet and in another smaller group of girls and did really well. I think she likes to sing. I also think it is so funny that I worried so much about her when she was three and she cried all the way through her pre-school graduation and didn't sing a single song. I never imagined that she would be doing what she did on Sunday without being scared at all. It makes me realize that most things work themselves out or pass and that I really shouldn't worry so much about my kids. Like when Erin was 4 and I was so frustrated because she just wasn't getting the teen numbers or her twenties. I made these stupid flash cards and practiced with her. Hello? Poor first child. She does great at math now. She was only four! This is why I don't care if Marissa is potty trained or not. We're all happy with her in diapers and I have complete confidence that she will be potty trained by kindergarten.

I found this fabric at Walmart for $1.50 a yard so I bought a yard and made new covers for some pillows I already had. I love them! It's such a small thing but it brightens up my life when I see them. I've spent so much money on so many things that I want to make or do and sometimes the things I spend the least money on are the things I love the most. Ironic.They are also very comfy. Erin fell asleep on one the first day I made them. Push-ups (just because it starts with P)
Connor has really been moving a lot lately, usually backwards. He's starting to get up on his hands and knees now or his hands and toes and then flop down so it looks like he is doing push-ups. And yes, he's in my favorite outfit again.This picture reminds me of a while back when the kids were all looking at Connor and saying, "Whatcha lookin' at?" and Marissa said it, "Whatcha wookin' at?". After I said it that way she realized she was saying her L's wrong and fixed it on the spot. I still say it like that sometimes though just for fun."Whatcha wookin' at?"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just Another Random Post

Lately I've been trying out some new things. The first one came while I was watching the Food Nanny (on BYU TV). The basic thought was that even though I thoroughly can't stand cooking, I need to just buck up and do a better job with dinners. Seriously, what's so great about just standing there and stirring and cutting and did I mention just standing there? What kind of bad attitude is this? What kind of mom am I anyway? I have quite a few kids and quite a few years to feed them. I just can't keep hating to cook.

I've always considered dinner time important. That's how I grew up and I knew I wanted it that way in our family. No TV or reading or sitting on the couch. We always sit around the table and eat. It's just the making food part that I loathe. I've also tried many times to make menus and let me tell you, it always makes life like 300 times better. My strategy this time? Oh, it's the same. Plan out meals, make a shopping list and oh yeah, stick to it! That's got to be the hardest part. The first day of November I planned out all my meals until December (ha, we'll be gone for 10 days of that). So far, life is at least 300 times better.

The other thing I started is trying to eat better. This is such a no-brainer, I know, but when I eat lousy I feel lousy. You know that mid-afternoon stretch that is so hard to get through without say some chocolate or a couple of brownies? Well I know it. But the thing is that eating candy or cookies just gives you a temporary fix and then makes you feel even more tired and yucky (but they are so good and so tempting!). So being crabby and feeling yucky was one reason for trying to eat better, but let's face it, I've got plenty of unwanted baby weight that's still hanging on. You can only use that excuse for so long before you are just permanently 15 pounds more than you want to be. Also, and tell me if this means I'm getting old, but lately things are actually tasting too sugary to me. Like cereals that I never considered to be sugar cereals because they don't turn your milk red (i.e. Rice Krispies, Life, Raisin Bran Crunch, Honey Bunches of Oats)--they are all of a sudden too sweet for me. What's that about? Turns out they do have just as much sugar as the so called "sugar cereals".

So my friend and I were talking about eating better and exercising more and decided to be accountable to each other. Like with a scale and everything (gulp!). We write down everything we eat, how much water we drink and how much we exercise and then weigh in at the end of the week. And of course we try to eat better foods more often. No starving ourselves or any crazy diet schemes, just good old fashioned "eat right and exercise". Go figure. I have never done anything like this before, probably because my favorite food is cookies, but I've also never felt like I needed to lose 10+ pounds before either. Writing everything down really makes me think twice before I eat something and get this: I haven't had any Halloween candy for over a week, and not because there aren't three buckets of it staring at me from on top of the fridge and not because the kids aren't eating it constantly. It's more a matter of not wanting to write down "8 snickers bars" on my list. Amazingly, but not really surprisingly, I feel a lot better! I am not quite as crabby with the kids and can get through the afternoon better too. Then with dinner planned, life is better.

What else... I've been thinking about life with three kids at home during the day. This really is the first time I've had three kids at home (because Erin always had pre-school). Definite pros and cons to this situation. The best thing about having three is that the older two always have someone to play with. I have no idea what I would do with just one. Of course, the bad part is that you have all these kids with you all... the... time. Trying to go places like the store is hard, so I try to avoid it at all costs unless a) there's a severe need or b) I'm not in my right mind when make that kind of ridiculous decision. Even taking a walk or run with the kids is terribly impractical. Usually Alex holds Connor in the back of the double stroller and Marissa sits in the front, but I can't expect that configuration to last more than 10 minutes. It's a challenge to keep up with anything or even have time for myself. They are great kids so I guess I am lucky, but sometimes the demands just get to me (usually in the last 30 minutes before Jared saves me). I always complain about the same thing, but that's because that's basically my whole life right now.

Okay, random picture of my four couch potatoes. I sat Connor there while I was doing dishes and they were watching a movie. Looks like he's getting an early start on the TV watching. Notice how none of them are looking at me and how they are all on 1 1/2 cushions? They always sit right next to each other. I love it!Connor is almost 5 months which means... there's only one more month till I can bring him to the kid's club at the gym. I don't know why this is so exciting, but it is. I've been going in the morning before Jared goes to work without kids and it is glorious, but on the days that that time doesn't work out I would have the freedom to exercise at the gym with them there. Although, I just realized that Connor is becoming a little bit harder to leave places. We got a babysitter a couple of weeks ago while we were singing in the adult session of stake conference and Jared had to leave half way through to go get our screaming, no bottle taking baby. He used to be great, but recently--not so great. I'm also wondering when he will start sleeping for longer than 20-30 minutes at a time. He's definitely in the between stage where he doesn't sleep all day but he's not on a normal nap schedule yet. And our great sleeper who has slept through the night since he was 8 weeks now wakes up every night to eat and usually ends up in bed with us. Growth spurt? I also started feeding him rice cereal and have to say, he is the messiest eater ever. He sucks his thumb between every bite then rubs his hands all over his clothes, head, feet, high chair, etc. Usually I have to give him a bath after his meals. This picture doesn't show his legs, but I assure you that a bath was necessary.He sure is cute though. (FYI Krisanne, this is one of my favorite outfits for Connor. He's starting to out grow of it now.) I was trying to get him to smile while taking the picture, which explains the cut off head. More artistic, right?All right, I'll end this random, rambling post. But update on the weigh-in today: I lost 2.8 pounds! I didn't think eating better and exercising for one week would do that much but it has. Yay!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Homemade Halloween Fun

Warning: Lots of pictures!

For some strange reason that I am still not entirely sure of, I decided to make Halloween costumes this year. That's right, make them. It was never my intention to do so. In fact, I intended to buy them all. It started in mid September when I overheard one of my friends talking about what they were going to be for Halloween. Then I got to thinking that we should do a family theme, started looking up ideas on the computer and finally let the kids decide. And the decision was......Toy Story 3! (Okay, is it even possible to take a picture with everyone looking normal?--This was the best I could do.) I started looking up prices for costumes and realized that Bo Peep was outrageously expensive, so I decided to make that one. All along I was just going to buy Woody and Jessie, and even did buy Woody, but after seeing the Target jumpsuit next to Bo Peep I decided I could do better and took Woody back.

And a Toy Story 3 themed family would not be complete without...
...Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. Yes, I made those too, without a pattern.

Let me just say that these dang costumes have taken over my life the last three weeks. Remember all those projects I had to do for school? How they filled up my dining room, made a huge mess and consumed my life? Well I certainly haven't forgotten. Somehow I imagined that my life would be different once I graduated, but I find myself in the same project-focused state of mind more often than I would have thought. No all-nighters anymore, thank goodness. Is that just part of my personality or something? Do I need to be creating something to have fulfillment in life? To a certain extent, yes. Sure, I could have read the book club book instead, or painted the garage, or made better dinners for my family, but no, I just had to make 6 (six!) Halloween costumes.

I will admit that I've always had it in the back of my mind that in order to be a good mom I had to make my kids' Halloween costumes. Totally not true, but I had to attempt it anyway--and while my kids were still young enough to like the things I made. My kids would have probably been just as happy wearing a pillow case. All the way through the process I kept wondering why I was doing this and that this would be the first and last time. The jury is still out about whether I actually like to sew or not. I think a few people were amazed that I even knew how to sew (i.e. Erin and Jared). Just because I haven't sewed anything in years doesn't mean I can't. I am grateful to my mom for teaching me how when I was a kid. Thanks Mom!

Connor as Buzz Lightyear
The only one that I bought was Buzz Lightyear and now I wish I had made his too. What am I saying? It was soooo much work! But everything came out so cute that I just wish his had been homemade too. It wouldn't have been that hard either. I thought his would be the one that I wouldn't have to worry about, but that actually didn't happen. I ordered a 0-6 month size online because he is within that range, but when I tried it on it was way too small! I almost injured him getting his shoulders in and trying to snap it up around his chunky chest was comical. His thunder thighs barely squeezed in that thing. I don't know if you can't tell from the picture, but it was two weeks before Halloween and at the rate this child grows, I knew it wouldn't work. 'Suck in Connor!'I ended up buying him a 12-18 month at it fits him great. I even added my own little touch on the foot. Here he is all tuckered out from the ward Trunk-or-Treat.Marissa as Bo Peep
Like I said, any Bo Peep costume was super expensive and now I understand why. I would say that it was definitely cheaper to make it, but it was probably the most expensive one because of all the lace, ribbon, zipper and material. There were a lot of pieces to make (hat, bloomers, dress and apron) but I got started early so it wasn't so bad. I never saw a sheep staff anywhere (and believe me, I checked) so Jared took a blow torch to some PVC pipe we had lying around and bent it. The fumes were cancerous, I am sure, but she got her hook. I had some blue spray paint so it was perfect. Everyone loved her costume, including her, though I don't think I got any of her really smiling.This is her at a bean bag throw with her best friend Sam. She carried the staff around with her for the whole party.Every event that we went to she fell asleep in the car on the way there. We had to wake her up half way through the Trunk-or-Treat and half way through another party that we went to when they broke out the pinata. I knew she would be sad if she slept through anything involving candy.

Asleep again...
Pinata fun after waking up (using her sheep staff).

Alex as Woody
For Woody I got a pattern for a vest (I used the chaps of the same pattern for Jessie) and got some cow print material 40% off. His shirt was a turtleneck I found at Good Will that I altered to make a collar, painted with fabric paint and glued on some fabric "buttons". The hat and bandanna were each a dollar from the dollar store, the belt and badge were leftover material from the potato heads that I painted with glitter fabric paint and I finally broke down and bought some boots at Walmart. I think he looks just like Woody and is so cute!
We had a little get together at the park the other day and found that his friend who is the same age as him was also Woody. By the way, Halloween costumes were not meant for Florida weather. It was way hot at the park and the Trunk-or-Treat. I felt so bad for those kids in long sleeves!
The cookie he decorated.

Erin as Jessie

I ended up making an extra costume for Erin's friend Clara because they wanted to be twins (the real reason being that I wanted Erin to like her costume and knew she wouldn't if her friend had the Jessie jumpsuit and she didn't). So hers is pretty much the same as Woody: Walmart boots, homemade belt and chaps, thrift store shirt that I added yellow to and painted with fabric paint and a dollar store hat that I sewed a yarn braided wig to. I had a few issues with wet paint and a certain cat (er..), but with my handy patch job you can't even tell (don't look too close!).
Look at this cute model!Hitting the pinata.

Jared and Laura as Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head
I don't think making all the costumes would have been so overwhelming if I'd just kept it to the kids'. These took way longer to make than I intended due to all the pieces, the velcro and some hand sewing. Anyway, I made the pieces interchangeable. We ended up winning first place at a costume party for these babies! I guess all the effort paid off.Jared is such a good sport for wearing this ridiculous costume with me! (Sorry Jared, I think you have some candy in your mouth.)
All right, be honest. Does this make my hips look too wide?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Too Late

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's really late and I should be in bed... (here it comes) BUT...

First, Jared is out of town again (for the second time this month). This time on a some Boy Scout camp out that supposedly he is in charge of but I know nothing about... except that he is gone. The schedule, personal discipline, dinner, etc. is always thrown off when he's not here.

B. Because all of the shorts that fit me are either stinky or in the dryer, which begs the question: What the heck does this have to do with me being up at 1:00 am? Well, they are being washed because I have somewhere to go tomorrow morning and don't want to be stuck wearing the way-too-tight-make-me-feel-huge-pants-that-I-can't-do-up that I am wearing today to avoid dipping back into the panel fronted maternity shorts (it's been 4 1/2 months for gosh sakes!). And the reason I have to be awake for the drying cycle stems from a family I heard about as a child whose house burned down from a dryer malfunction while everyone was asleep. Irrational? Sure. So is locking my car doors when my husband runs into the grocery store to return a video while the car is running because someone could jump in, hold a gun to my head and kidnap/kill the whole family. I blame Reader's Digest for that one. Hey, it could happen.

and 4. Because Erin's friend is sleeping over and can't go to sleep. What gives? It's one thing to go to bed and leave your own child up to roam the house in the middle of the night, but I feel a little funny doing that to someone else's kid, especially with the dryer running. Here's why I think she can't sleep. Not only did they stay up 2 or 3 hours past their normal bedtime because of the unwritten sleepover rule that says you must, but because she can no longer suck on the two middle fingers that she has sucked on for the last 7 1/2 years of her life, starting tonight. Why? Because her dentist told her that once she lost a tooth, she could no longer suck her fingers or she would develop buck teeth or something. So guess who decided to lose her very first tooth tonight at our house? And when I say lost it, I mean we have no idea where that thing is. I swept the whole house and dug through the debris, which is harder than you might imagine seeing as we had rice last night for dinner. But no tooth. I told her "no tooth, no tooth fairy." I don't want to be responsible for giving her the wrong amount and causing tooth fairy questions on her first tooth. For all I know, she swallowed it, but I'll keep my eye out.

And speaking of swallowing things, it is highly likely that Marissa swallowed a penny tonight. That's what she told me anyway, although she also told me that she is 6, is in Kindergarten and that her mom is bald so there is a slight chance that it didn't actually happen. However, I did see her playing with a penny and told her to take it out of her mouth and she told me she swallowed it so, yeah. Any experience with swallowed money out there? From everything I've read online (because that's the most trusted place to go for medical help), as long as she can breathe, it should go through her system in a couple of days and I should be on the lookout, if you catch my drift. I remember taking care of my friend's kid who swallowed a penny and having to bag up all poopy diapers for a home inspection later. Hopefully it all comes out okay (yes, pun intended).

Uh, is that dryer really still going?... because the friend is asleep now and I'm coming off my Halloween candy high now. Which may also explain this post...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly Side of Me!

The Good
This is my annual "THIS is why I love living in Florida" post. I know, I say it every year and I'll say it as long as I live in Florida: I love Florida winters! September always seems to drag on with the months of humidity we've already had, being trapped inside, sweating through your clothes just going out to the car and constant AC usage. October marks another fresh start, a new beginning. It means going on family walks in the evenings, it means I can tell the kids to go outside and play and they will for hours, it means I won't have to use the most commonly used phrase of the summer "Close the door!" as much, it means I can go out to the garage without sweating, it means no more humidity headaches, and definitely most importantly, it means it's now officially park season!

The weather has been amazing this week. It just happened one day, when I realized that the air was the absolute perfect temperature on my skin--not hot or cold--and that the pressure in the air was gone. Ahhh! It really gets so bad in the summer that I'm afraid to go outside for fear of getting a headache. But now, it's winter--or whatever. I guess you could call it fall. In my view there are only two seasons in south Florida: pool season and park season.

I think I will enjoy park season this year for a few reasons. Marissa is now old enough to climb on everything without me having to watch her so much (unlike last year as a one year old). The other day she and her friend took off their shoes somewhere in the park and were running around for over an hour like that. I wish I had a picture, but she kind of always looks like an orphan or a homeless person these days, what with her knocked out tooth, her wild hair that she always pulls out and the bare feet. She has fun anyway. Connor is not old enough to go anywhere yet and Erin and Alex are still young enough to find the park an extremely exciting place to go. As for me, I need the time with my friends too. Much better than taking all the kids to the pool and attempting to have a conversation with the moms while trying to keep your kids from drowning. Park season.

The Bad
Also, I have been so overwhelmed with taking care of the house lately. I'm hoping that spending more time at the park and in the backyard will help this problem some. I'm not talking about having a spotless house; I'm talking about doing normal everyday things like dishes and laundry and picking up. At least once or twice a week I feel down about my inability to do these simple things. In a matter or two days or less the house gets completely trashed, like really bad. It is so frustrating! It's like stringing beads on a string without a knot on the end of it.

When I was in school my house would get like this whenever I had major projects (okay, all semester when I had Design classes). But I assumed that it was just the way it was when I was in school and that things would be different when I didn't have that anymore. True, it is definitely easier and I clean more often, but it turns out that I'm just not a very tidy person. I wish I could be a neat freak, but I just can't keep up the charade. At least 2 or 3 times a week I'll get the house looking pretty good, but the days in between make it seem like I'd never done anything.

I feel like I'm the only one doing everything for 6 people. I know it's my job, but I guess I'm just not that good at it. Yes, I realize that my kids aren't quite old enough to do more than clean the toilet and that I have three kids who dump toys everywhere home with me all the time and that I'm nursing a baby 50% of my free time, but it's still so frustrating. I've heard that you always have one more kid than you can handle and I absolutely agree. We were getting by pretty well with three, but I think we are still at the three kid level. Jared does help at certain things and when I ask him, but it's still at the three kid level. It's not enough. Maybe it's just the demands of a new baby that throw me off. Anyway, I hope we catch up at some point. Until then, forgive the mess until we get things under control. That will happen, right?

Also, little Connor turned 4 months this week and he has his first cold. I've never heard of a baby losing his voice, but he did. He tries to cry but it's barely audible. Poor guy. I hope he feels better soon. He also got some immunizations today and has been sleeping for hours and hours with a little Vicks on his feet. You'd think I would have been able to get more done with him asleep for so long. Oh yeah, I have these other kids.

The Really Ugly Side of Me
This is a little hard to write because it shows a side of me that I don't really like, but here goes. I can delete it tomorrow, right? I'm what I refer to as a "Silent Explosive" (no idea if this is a real term or what, but I still use it). What this boils down to is that I am very calm and even tempered most of the time, until something makes me mad and I explode. And I mean really, really lose it. No, I'm not going to go out and kill anyone or drown one of my children, I just mean for me it's just pretty bad compared to the calm me. People get scared when I explode so I try not to let too many people in on it. Luckily it only happens once a year or so. I don't like it. I can recall this happening at work one time (oh man, I had a great boss who gave me the rest of the week off and whatever else I wanted) and once with my primary class. I am still so embarrassed that I got so mad for whatever reason, but it's just how I operate. Look, it's more like a look on my face that tells you to get out of my way.

Anyway, I exploded one day this week and I'm both happy and embarrassed about it. Embarrassed because a few of my friends saw me like this and were really concerned, but happy because I guess I had been holding in a lot of emotions without even realizing it. I don't know if this has anything to do with postpartum or not, but I feel like I've been a little emotionless since I've had the baby. Just like numb. I hadn't cried at all, and I think there were occasions when I should have. I also have been having trouble sleeping and I've never in my life experienced insomnia (of course with all my sleepless nights in Architecture school, you never know about my sleep patterns). It's not because of the baby either; he's slept through the night since he was 8 weeks old. I usually just lay there until I finally get up and do something. Nope, not housework--see paragraph 5. I do feel a lot better after getting that out and talking to a couple of people about it. Now we'll see if I can sleep tonight wondering if I should delete this part or not. Ugh.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I love dates like this! Here's a random picture of the kids on 10/10/10. I love it even though they are kind of making weird faces, because it shows me how much they love each other.
Today was even more special because it was Alex's fourth birthday! Alex is such a sweet little boy and is really growing up in so many ways. A couple of months ago he started reading three and four letter words and now can read short beginner books (with some help). The other day he counted to 100 and just today he learned how to snap! I was so amazed by the snapping. It's a great life skill, don't you think?

He is a deep thinker and really takes things in when you tell him something. Once he's thought about it for a while and makes up his mind about something, he is determined. For instance, when he was little any amount of food or water on his shirt would warrant a new shirt. After I told him it was okay to wear a shirt more than once as long as it was not too dirty (because I was sick of all the extra laundry), he thought about it for a while and then started putting back all the clothes he ever wore into his drawer--the opposite extreme (but it's a lot less laundry). Also, when he was little he would resist putting on his seat belt until I told him that kids could die if they don't wear them. He thought about this for a bit and from that point on, he would scream if the car started moving and he didn't have it all the way on yet.

Alex is a quiet boy. Sometimes I have to ask him to talk louder so I can hear him from the back seat. He's quiet, but he is usually not afraid to tell you what he is thinking. Of course, he does have a loud side and that is when he cries. He screams like a limb has been severed for so many things that I sometimes wonder if I would even come if that really did happen to him (we're working on it).

Another thing about him is that he is well-liked and gets along with everyone. He plays so well with both his sisters and is so loving to Connor. I don't even think he realizes it when people like him, he's just a gentle fun-loving boy. His best friend is a girl who refers to him as "my boy Alex" and they play so well together. There was another little girl who kept begging to play with Alex and would scoot herself closer to him whenever she saw him (and he didn't even realize it). He has always been so well behaved in nursery and now primary. In fact he sat so still that he would fall asleep almost every Sunday in sharing time when we had late church. I don't think he likes to draw attention to himself either. He refused to stand in front of the Primary today when we sang him the birthday song.

For the past couple of weeks Alex kept telling me he wanted different kinds of cakes whenever I asked. It went from an UmiZoomi cake, to a Spiderman cake, to a Lego cake, to a bunch of cakes that I don't remember, and finally to a Toy Story 3 cake. I am a fan of the cake shows on TV where they make some amazing cakes, so I figured I could handle this simple cake. Here's what I learned: our cake was no where near the caliber of cakes on those shows. And for many reasons. First and foremost, because there were three kids sticking their fingers into the frosting, licking the frosting knives and excitedly trying to "help" while the baby was crying the entire time (yes, the entire time). And probably a very close second reason is because we (Jared and I) have no idea what we are doing. Cake crumbs kept getting into the frosting and the rice crispy treats we used for the bed frame kept slumping over and messing things up. And all so that we could fulfill Alex's birthday cake dream. In the end, I think it turned out pretty good. We already had the toys so we just placed them on Andy's bed and called it good. The best part for me was hearing Alex say, "This cake is exactly how I wanted it." That made my day!FYI: I did the headboard and Jared did the foot of the bed. His is way better than mine. But in my defense, the headboard was taller and I was a lot more frazzled than him at the time, what with all the crying and commotion and such. So here's another thing I love about Alex. He didn't care about if he got a birthday party or what presents he got, he was just so happy for everything we did for him. We got him a musical birthday card because the kids love to look at them when we go to the store, a game, a book, some cars and my personal favorite, a Lego set of a beach house which I will let him help me build tomorrow.
I love my sweet, cuddly Alex. I simply can't imagine my life without Mr. Alex around. Happy Birthday!