Monday, June 30, 2008

Look Alikes?

Which sibling do you think Reese most resembles? These photos were all taken around 7 months of age. Leave a comment to give your opinion.




Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cool Bugs!

We made a cool discovery today while trying to finish priming the fence (which still didn't get all the way done thanks to the questionable weather). The kids and I were moving all these big rocks we have and looking all the rolly-poly bugs, slugs, ants, beetles, and whatever else turned up. The kids are really into bugs right now --- so much that one day Ethan was holding a bee and he knew it was a bee -- he told me so. He was holding it by the stinger and hugging it and cried when I told him to let it go -- maybe he'll be an entomologist? Anyway the kids started saying, "Mommy, look at all those ants" and pointing at the old well pump we have. I looked and at first I thought it was covered in lots baby spiders but at closer inspection it was tons of mini preying manti. They had just "hatched" from the egg case that I saw on the pump handle. It was so neat to see so many of them. The kids were fascinated by them and so was I. We studied them for a while and throughout the day Addison would go back out to check on them. She said they were playing with toys and they were little people or ladybugs. Unfortunately after some rain they were gone. It's so fun watching them discover new things like this makes me really appreciate things and see it from a different perspective. (Click on the pictures to make them larger and really see the babies up close)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fence Painting Day 1

We are finally back to the long, long list of to-do's in order to get this house ready to sell. Today we started painting our picket fence. It's only been up 2 years. We were going to use rollers to prime and paint it but our backyard neighbor said we were crazy and it would take way too long. He offered his electric paint sprayer. I was afraid it would waste our 5 gallon buckets of primer and paint ($200 worth!). But once Aaron got the hang of it, it did work so much faster. I worked on rolling the inside of the fence and Aaron got more than double the amount of fence primed than I did. We still have to do more priming tomorrow. I thought we would get the whole fence primed and painted this weekend . . . remember DIY home improvements always take longer than you think. We had to stop around 3 pm to go to our neighbors' 50th Anniversary Party -- Congrats, Lyle and Sandy! So tomorrow is back to priming and maybe during the three day 4th of July holiday weekend we can get the 2 coats of paint on! It looks so different even with primer and once we get the house painted, the new roof on, and build a deck we will be living in a whole new house -- hopefully not for long though.

The kids were really good while we painted and kept themselves busy in the yard. We put up the TeePee that Aunt Keely and Uncle Jeremy got them for Christmas. They played on their swingset and in the pop-up School Bus. Even Reese kept herself busy and never cried . . . she sat on a blanket playing with her toys and enjoying the outside. The best thing for the kids was the blow up pool without water -- they played in there forever bouncing on the sides in some weird game that made them laugh hysterically. We even had a picnic and I had planned a fun dessert but someone ate almost all the cookies so I had to quickly improvise with makeshift banana splits. They turned out pretty good for something I threw together in a couple minutes. I have to remember to hide food even from Daddy now if I have plans for it later.

Friday, June 27, 2008

7 months?

Really how does she get to be 7 months already? I can't believe it. I didn't even realize she was 7 months until about noon today and was a little sad because Reese and I are having a thrush/yeast infection issue. She seems fine, just me that is in pain and feeding her is excruciating. I used this medicine that turns everything bright purple: her, me, our clothes . . . and I don't even know if it's working. This morning I looked at her and she had a purple nose, cheeks, lips, and fingers . . . looked like an ink pen exploded all over her and it doesn't come off so easily. I thought now her 7 month photos will be interesting. I gave her a bath and it helped some but not all the way! The photos I took will probably be changed to black and white. She is such a delight to me everyday and the kids just love her to death. I love watching the new things she does everyday and I imagine in a short time she will be crawling but for now I just love to watch her sit and play on the floor. I'm enjoying every minute of her.

Favorite Thing Friday

This is certainly not something glamorous but it's something I currently use on a daily basis around here. They're called Kandoos Wipes. Basically it's baby wipes for potty trainers and beyond. What's distinguishes them differently from baby wipes is they come in this small colorful dispenser that sits on the back of the toilet. I like that you can buy refills in 2 packs so you don't throw away containers (thinking green). I also liked that most of the ones I have were free. A while back when Keely was in her coupon/CVS frenzy (and I was copying her), Protector and Gamble would put out Kandoo coupons once a month that were buy one product (like diapers) and get a Kandoo product free. We stocked up and coincidentally, they no longer put out that free coupon. I like that they are small in size, perfect for the tushes they are being used on and they can be flushed which baby wipes cannot! I am the one using them on the kids as they haven't figure out this particular skill of potty training yet and that's fine with me because if you've ever seen a three year try to get toilet paper off the roll they might as well just leave it all on the roll and throw the whole thing in the potty -- definitely an acquired skill that is we have not acquired yet. We love the Kandoo soap too and that's all I have out right now so if you come to my house and use the potty, you can sample some of the soap. Looks like my Kandoo stash is getting low I'll have to start stocking up as I still have 50% of my kids to potty train!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

3 things

1. We have a van with bad, bad {sounding} brakes and an appointment with our mechanic on Tuesday. This is a long time for the kids to stay home. We've been doing it since Monday (although we had an appointment today but was sorry I drove it as it sounded even worse by the time we got home).

2. I am loving recipe blogs and sewing blogs so darn much lately! I have found some awesome people who make equally awesome projects and food. Of course, I've blog jumped so much that I'm not sure where I found some of them and if I'll ever get back there again. Maybe it's for the best do I really have tons of time to be sewing and cooking? You know the answer to that.

3. I really love donuts and wish we had some right now!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Witching Hours

The hours between 5 pm and 7 pm are definitely the time of day when I start to rethink this whole mommy thing . . . it's the part of most days that I say "Having 4 kids is hard!" This was more than true today as Aaron didn't get home at his usual 6:00 but instead at 7:40. It's only an hour and half more but that time was more draining than my entire day. The older kids normally are up around 5 and if they sleep they are grumpy when they wake up (who do they get that from????) Reese is usually up by 4 as she usually lays down earlier. Today Addison and Caden did not nap at all so at 4 I let them come downstairs. The kids tend to be extremely demanding at this time of day: they want snacks, they want desert, they want lunch (they aren't quite clear on the meal order yet), they want to go to the park, they want to play with Sammy (who isn't home), they want to go outside, they want to watch a movie, they want to play a computer game, they want to do a project, they want to go to Walmart, they want McDonald's. . . if you are exhausted at reading that list just think about me here listening and doing some of these things all the while the baby is fussing here and there . . . wanting to eat, be held, changed, played with. I finally gave in to Addison's request of an egg on a BIG plate and then I took them to the park. I swear as soon as we touched the playground equipment it started to sprinkle. We stayed for a while anyway -- they need washed off and there was no way we were up for baths tonight. Then Reese wanted her paci and I forgot it so we had to leave. The whining, demanding and fussing continued so I finally resorted to putting in a Baby Einstein DVD. I know if you are a parent of more than one child, you know about Baby Einstein. It's mesmerizing to them all 6 months or 3 years, just look:

First time I think I've ever gotten them all in a photo without someone crying. Notice the naked kid in the back, he's taken his clothes off more times today than I can count . . . he's going to be a nudist -- I just know it!
Side Note: here's the reason why Slip and Slides are made for kids and not for adults.
Aaron says a pinecone did this to his arm while he played on the slip and slide on Saturday. Now that's a mean pinecone!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lucky #7

photo by Addison

Happy Anniversary to us! We celebrated with a dinner at The Packinghouse (we had a coupon!). Grammy and PaPa came over to babysit even in their exhausted state from unending remodeling and constant railroad working -- thank you! It's seven lucky years now, 4 kids, a LOT of stress, just as much FUN, and a WHOLE lot of LOVE! We're very honest with each other, sometimes maybe too much -- like the other day when we were yelling and cussing at each other in the Hy-Vee parking lot after a rough grocery shopping trip. As mad and stressed out as we get with each other, we get over it quickly because nothing is held back and we move on. It's hard to tell by seeing us in action on a day-to-day basis but we're happy . . . and tired . . . but mostly happy!

Weekend WATER Fun

We've been playing in the water a lot over the weekend. Friday, we had a Water Day at Preschool in the driveway and the kids splashed and played and had a great time, even Reesey!

On Saturday we got out the Slip and Slide we bought at Target on clearance last year for $2. The kids had never seen one of these and had no clue how to do it. Even when we explained it and I showed them (bad idea) they still didn't get it! So it was more of a Push and Slide as Aaron had to push them down the slide but they loved it but it wore him out fast!

On Sunday we filled up last year's pool. They were dying to swim but it was super cold. Our neighbors, Sam and Brady, came over to play too. Sam is about 6 months older than our trio and Brady is 2 months older than Reese. Brady's mom says he just started crawling and is already pulling him self up and wanting to walk! At 9 months! Yikes! Addison didn't walk until she was 14 months old . . . I bet Reese will crawl very soon and then want to walk even faster . . . scary thought! Dang . . . how does the time go so fast . . . I was just beginning to tell people a year ago that I pregnant.

We made these fun sponge balls too for the pool and water table. They are like water balloons but don't break and aren't as dangerous for little ones. 2 sponges and some dental floss make 1 ball. You can find the directions here. I'm thinking they can easily be thrown in the washing machine if they get yucky but haven't tried it yet! Hope you're enjoying the outside as much as we are.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Favorite Thing Friday

I am back to being an avid reader of a blog called Amazing Trips because Jen has triplets about a month older than mine and she has a baby about 6 months older than Reese. Last week she started doing Favorite Thing Friday where she describes an item that she absolutely loves and can't live without. Last week it was a chopper thing and I must now get one because I am easily persuaded by other triplet moms and/or blog entries. Anyway I thought I would do the same: show an item that I love, triplet related or not, large family related or not, practical or not . . .

We bought a recliner about 3 years ago when we turned Aaron's Man Den into a playroom. The room is on our main floor and it's our third bedroom and not very big. Before the kids were two years old, I would spend a lot of time in there with them and there was no place to sit but the floor. Aaron and I seldom agree on TV shows so he needed a place to sit and watch his shows at night. We decided a recliner would be great since we didn't already own one. We went to a chain furniture store and picked one out in a dark tan microfiber fabric. I thought it was a great color for stains. We also spent an extra $50 on a warranty that covered anything humans or pets did to the soil the fabric. For 5 years if anything happened to the chair, they would try to clean it for free or if it couldn't be cleaned then we would get a new chair (for free!). This is an excellent deal for someone with 2 old cats and 3 infant babies. We used the chair and then we used it some more. I never worried about anyone eating or drinking in it or the cats laying it. First, I don't believe in buying something and then be so overly concerned with keeping it "new" that you can't relax and enjoy it and second, I knew we would be getting a new chair in 5 years or less. Then the furniture company announces it's going out of business. So even though it had only been 2 years I decide to call them to get my cleaning/free chair NOW! Well, it wasn't so simple -- they were claiming bankruptcy so basically I got nothing but a form to fill out and maybe I would get part of my warranty money back -- still waiting on that. I borrowed by sister's carpet/upholstery cleaner and it didn't help. I warn everyone that if you are considering new furniture to stay clear of microfiber/microsuede anything if you have children, know children, or even on occasion think of children even if none come to your home -- bad stuff! Aaron hated sitting the chair but it was the only place to sit if he wanted to watch TV. It was really disgusting (see photo above)! We were ready to throw it away and I wasn't even sure the garbage man would touch it even if he had gloves on. I hated to buy a new chair in fear of of the same thing happening all over again.

So this week my favorite thing is triplet, large family, and practical all in one! It's a slipcover for the recliner! Now I know you're thinking: that is just stupid and when I first heard of it I thought the same thing. After all, I've owned slipcovers before. It can takes hours to get them on right and they can make a ugly or used piece of furniture look so much nicer until someone actually sits on the furniture and then it looks like you threw a sheet over your couch to cover it up. We were at Target looking at slipcovers. I noticed that they come in pieces (ours is 4 pieces -- one piece for each arm, one for the back, and another for the seat/footrest) rather than in one big sheet you have to tuck and tuck and tuck. And this one is stretch so it fits our recliner (which is a Stratolounger) like a glove and the best part it's washable! Now I can take off the dirty part and wash and dry it . . . oh heaven! Our chair looks so much nicer that I even moved it out of the playroom and into the living room. I noticed they have the same stretch slipcovers for loveseats, couches, other types of chairs, and even ottomen at Target in this stretch fabric and it comes in several colors. So if you have a piece of furniture that is disgusting or just disgustingly ugly I would try one of these out.

Also if you would like to join me on Favorite Thing Friday, please post on your blog and leave a comment on my blog so that I can enjoy your favorite things too!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sounds of Summer: Loud and Fun

Okay I've mentioned it a million times here I am not a morning person when I first wake up. I hate people saying "Good Morning" or acting happy or basically even talking . . . I just need about 45 minutes before I can associate with others . . . does that happen here? Of course not. The kids are so loud . . . all 4 of them. They need a volume control. Even the baby has to growl and squeal at deafening volume . . . then the kids start playing with the baby and they are all trying to out talk, out laugh, out fight each other. I like to watch the first part of the Today Show but every time something interesting is being reported I can't even hear it. Maybe that's why I have been purposely leaving off the TV lately since it just adds to the loudness. When they nap I have started to listen to music and in case you haven't hear of Pandora check it out. My sister, Monica, told me about it and you can create stations of your own and listen to your style of music. It's pretty neat and I can turn the volume down as low as I want and still hear it when the kids are asleep.

We spent over an hour at the park today after we walked the LONG way there. Then came home and broke out the water sticks that Aunt Ashley got them last week at the Dollar Store. The Dollar Store/Dollar Tree/Big Lots has great seasonal toys. I find that most seasonal toys don't last through one whole season anyway so why pay $7 or $8 (times 3 or 4 here) for something that will break just as quickly as the dollar version. They had a lot of fun with the sticks and I even got sprayed.

Yesterday we made Grape Pops that I found here. We put grapes on sticks (I used shish kabob sticks but cut off the point). The kids helped put them on the sticks -- I told them to find the "belly button" of each grape to help them get them on the stick and that worked. We stored them in a ziplock bag in the freezer and I thought they probably won't be so great but they were. They tasted just like a popsicle but are way more healthy. Next time we do it I think I will just let them do 4 or 5 grapes on each stick instead of 8 or 9. Addison devoured hers and Caden ate most of his. Ethan took some bites but then I found it on the ground covered in ants. I even let Reesey try it a bit but she thought it was really cold!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday . . . I mean Tuesday

I found a cool blog that showed this neat idea for Muffin Tin Mondays. Tonight Aaron was gone and normally for dinner I fix our bigger meal of the day which is usually something that Aaron and I like and the kids like it or lump it (I can't stand picky eaters!). But since I was home alone I decided tonight was a good night to throw this together. If I had thought ahead, I would have put in some healthier options but this was spur of the moment so I was grabbing quick things: goldfish crackers, fruit loops, grapes, wheat thins, star marshmallows, cheese cubes, bananas, pineapple chunks. I put some items in a couple of cups because I knew there may be some hoarding/fighting over certain items. It was a hit! They ate almost all of it: 3 cups had a little left in it. It was fun for them and a good lesson in sharing (plus only one dish to wash). So I think I am implementing this idea once a week during our lunchtime and next time will add some healthier and possibly introduce some new foods to them.

A moment of insanity . . .

okay not a moment but two hours of insanity. I have taken my four children to the grocery store before. Actually several times but thinking about it after the fact I realized never have I, alone, taken ALL of them to buy a week's worth of food. I've taken all four them to buy a "few things" or a few of them to buy all the groceries and in either scenario that usually goes okay. So in my lapse of saneness I took them in and we had to get the grocery cart that looks like a pick up truck because I wasn't chasing Runaway Boy up and down the aisles during the entire trip. I can buckle him in the truck and then Addison and Caden take turns sitting in the truck with him. Only thing is the truck is really not like driving a normal cart maybe more in the order of driving a real 18 wheeler semi, I think. It's heavy with 3 people in it. The baby's car carrier blocks part of my view and then the "walker" feels the need to be in front of the cart at all times. The walker also has difficulty in either keeping up with me or being a whole aisle ahead. So I am constantly yelling to keep up or get back here. The two riders are doing God knows what in those seats but they laugh and giggle until someone starts crying or a man tells me "she's squishing the devil out of her brother (please no one can squish the devil out of Ethan)" At one point Caden is doing a "bear walk" in the middle of the aisle. Ethan's shoes were taken off in aisle 3. Then in the fourth aisle Caden announces he must use the bathroom NOW! So off I go to take all 4 of them in the public restroom while they are holding the free cookies. Yum! Yum! Then back to trek across the store where we left off. I tried to write my list in order of the aisles because I hate to go back once you forget something . . . it's worse with the semi cart that gets heavier and heavier as we go. Things began to fall off the bottom rack. Then in the dairy aisle I look at Ethan and he's missing his shirt (remember he has no shoes either). He decided to "Hulk up" and ditched his shirt. Luckily I could see it so I sent Caden back to get it and he decided to run in Hulk slow motion the whole way there and back. Then in the baby/pet aisle some lady and her mom were contemplating birdseed for about 8 minutes. Their cart blocked one part of the aisle and they blocked the other part. They had to know we were their patiently waiting, after all how quiet can 4 kids and their stressed out mom be? Even so, they took their time to get just the right birdseed and carefully to place it perfectly on their cart. You're welcome, birds! It was in the bread aisle that I realized I forgot 2 things way back and there was no way I was fitting my lifeline Mountain Dew on this cart, no way, no how. So I decided we're checking out with 75% of the list done. Ethan screamed/cried during the long process of checking out because he saw the goldfish crackers and kept telling everyone "GIVE BACK CRACKERS! MY CRACKERS!" Most moms would just open them to keep him quiet, not this mom, not on this day! I paid and then we had to switch to a regular cart to get out the door because you can't take the semi cart to the parking lot -- you know, someone may just steal it because it would fit in just about any car well, maybe a semi truck. I love my grocery store because you can drive up and they will help you load the groceries in your car (I was thinking can't they help load up the kids too). I asked the man if I lot of people took advantage of their online shopping service where you order via internet for an extra $5, and pick up your groceries. He said many do. $5 is worth two plus hours of my time and all the stress of taking them to the store. So I'm off to check it out and I'm pretty sure therapy costs more than $5 a week!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thinking of . . .

my blog readers and my friends, Chrissi and Cathi, and their entire family at this time. Their father, Bunk, passed away suddenly on Sunday. Their family is one of the strongest and closest knit ones I have ever seen. They work together, play together, and take care of each other all the while never hearing one complaint from any of them. They are a complete inspiration to me! I didn't know their dad that well but the few times I have talked to him he was a gentle, sweet family man and a hard worker. I visited their home when the trio was little and had a photo of Bunk holding Addison and Caden. Rest in Peace, Bunk.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Daddy Day!

Happy Father's Day, Aaron! I know I get a lot of credit for all the work that goes into raising four little kids but the truth is I couldn't do this without him at all! He picks up all my slack (and there's a lot) and gives me encouragement on "those days". You know the days where I am standing on the sidewalk at the end of block with all 4 kids watching for his truck -- this happened last Thursday and he walked into the house after being gone his normal 11 hours and told me that he needed to go mow and I started to cry. He said, "What's wrong?" I answered, "I suck at this." "What?" he said. I said, "At this mom thing -- I can't do it!" Realizing I needed a few moments to myself, he said "I'll take the kids to town and get a few groceries, pick up my prescriptions, and get a pizza." He did. He was gone almost 2 hours with the trio. I managed to take a shower, clean up the house a little, put away some clothes, feed the baby, sit for a few moments, and completely change my perspective on my mommy life. I'm sure he was more exhausted than me that day but he knew I needed some alone time to pull myself together. He's like that all the time. He really puts effort into spending time with the kids and me. Sure, he has his moments of showing frustration and losing his temper with all of us but that's the stress of our life and I am the same way! He is the best Daddy I know and I appreciate everything he does for our family!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sand in My Underwear

Today on Simple Mom she wrote about thinking of your home as a business. She has good insight about SAHMs. I left her a comment telling her that the hardest part of my day is the interruptions that 4 little ones can cause in a day and therefore I feel as if I accomplish nothing. Her reply really put a different perspective on my definition of interruptions:

A few years ago, a mentor of mine told me something that rings true for me every day - that those interruptions we have every 5 minutes as SAHMs aren’t really interruptions, they ARE our day. I may have an agenda to pay bills, clean out the fridge, go to the post office, etc., but my primary job really is to be an influence on my children. It’s worth the time to discipline for those little things, because that’s my main job. And it’s worth it to stop what I’m doing and play with blocks.

Wow! The whole reason I'm staying home is to be with the kids and I do get irritated with them for interrupted the housework -- that is backwards thinking! Lately I had really been putting more of an effort to spend small amounts of time with them throughout the day but today I did it even more. I even did a small scale of Simple Mom's Daily Docket. I wrote down my 3 MIT (most important things) I wanted to do today, what we were having for dinner, and 10 things I'd like to accomplish. In my list of things to do, activities with the kids were included like painting wrapping paper for father's days gifts and going to the library. Now I didn't get everything done but 75% of my list was crossed off and I feel like I did a lot more with the kids. We walked the long way to the post office, painted outside, played in the yard, walked to the library and park, read books, and I played in the sandbox with them. I'm tired as usual today but I feel more of a connection to the kids. I didn't get their dresser cleaned off today nor did I get the presents wrapped but I got sand in my underwear! After all, the presents and the dresser will be there tomorrow or the next day but my kids will only be 3-1/2 years old and 6 months old for a short, short time . . . and I hope to have more sandy underwear days!