Saturday, August 30, 2008

Husband Brag!

I'm going to do something that I don't do often enough and that's brag about my hubby! He does work hard everyday and helps out at home A LOT and he's still roofing the house . . . but that's not about any of that. Today he gave me an extra break . . . he took all 4 kids to a birthday party at a park . . . by himself! We were all invited to our friends' son first birthday but it fell on the same day as my monthly scrapbook class. I hate to miss it because it's something paid for in advance and if you don't attend then I still have to drive the hour each way to pick up my stuff and I miss out on the instruction part. It's really the one thing I get to do each month and I have taken Reese along with me many times since she's been born so it's not often I get away all by myself. Aaron said he'd take the kids' to Carter's party without me and I was surprised. I had to pack up everything they needed because "he doesn't know what they need" but they left and I had extra time to do a little shopping before my class (got those running shoes I needed) and eat at Panera Bread in peace. After my class I went to Hobby Lobby for a while. I don't think I've been to Hobby Lobby by myself in 4 years! I ended up being in there for over an hour and found some good deals: a "naked" coat hook that I am going to paint for dress up clothes, a cool basket to display some of my mini books, and of course some scrapbook stuff I couldn't live without! I was gone six hours and it's so nice to get away for a little while and do stuff I want to do. Aaron said everyone had a good time at the party which was bug themed and they came home with some live crickets (in their new bug houses). He even took the new camera and took photos. What a man! I don't know too many other dads that would do that so he's earned some "brownie points" with me! He's a good dad and an even better husband!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Favorite Thing Friday

I’ve kind of been slacking on Favorite Thing Friday. Partly because by Friday my life has fallen apart so much that I’m lucky if I can find all 4 of my kids -- forget about actually “thinking” of something that is making my life easier or better – lately my life seems anything but easy or better! But this week is different I knew exactly what my favorite thing is. I was even so sure that I typed this up on Thursday! Can you guess what it is?

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer – it’s . . .


I am so happy with how well everything has gone! I kind of feel like I’m on vacation – no kidding! I’ve gotten a shower every day and this is before we leave for school. Not to mention that I am fixing a semi-decent breakfast for them (and me) – we don’t have time for donuts in the car – we live 2 blocks from school now! They’ve brushed their teeth every morning and Addison’s hair is combed and they’re wearing shoes and socks, their glasses, and hearing aid and we’ve made it to school by 8:30! We’ve walked every day except Thursday (and Friday) because it was monsoon season.

The kids love school and their teachers and aides! Ethan has been doing well after the first day and has earned all his “stars” on Wednesday and Thursday! I have less laundry because kids aren’t changing their clothes on a whim, they are super hungry for supper because they aren’t eating junky snacks all day so their eating healthier, they are fighting way less when we are home, they seem more cooperative when I ask them to do something, and they are going to bed without coming downstairs even once at night. Of course the house is easier to clean because they aren’t destroying things as soon as I pick it up.

Now all this really may be a mirage -- I may just think they are fighting less and cooperating more because I am not extremely stressed and exhausted by 10 am and by the time I have everybody back home at 3 pm I feel like I still have a lot of patience and I want to be with them. I have even enjoyed cooking supper and have time during the day to “think” and plan what we will be eating instead of panicking at 5:30 or 6:30 standing in front of the fridge trying to pull something together.

The best thing is I’ve had uninterrupted time to complete a few things. I redid our playroom on Tuesday and took every toy upstairs that wasn’t safe for Reese to play with and I also picked up the whole house on Tuesday to prepare for our bi-weekly cleaning. On Wednesday I got the oil changed in the van, went to two grocery stores, went to Walgreens, took Ethan and Reese out for lunch, and dropped off our recycling. Thursday I learned something: I need to have plans. I thought after I got the kids to school and got Reese down for a nap that I would figure out what to do. Well that’s not such a good plan. I didn’t feel like I was accomplishing anything but I did put away a bunch of scrapbook layouts in albums, picked up the house from last night, sorted through some dresser drawers, cleaned out our linen closet, made some appointments, and worked a little bit on a scrapbook layout. So I got stuff done just felt like I had no direction. I need to schedule time to do stuff I need to do and stuff I want to do like scrapbook. I’ll be working on that the next few weeks. I feel like I have time to think thoughts and just some peace and quiet instead of hearing screaming, whining, and complaining. I have been leaving the TV off and sometimes turn on music but sometimes just enjoy the quietness of the house.

My only complaint is preschool is messing up naps for Reese and for Ethan. Reese goes down for a nap at 9 and normally I let her wake up on her own, which is anywhere from 2-3 hours. I have to wake her by 11 now because we go get Ethan at 11:45 and she will need to go back to sleep by 1. I put both Ethan and Reese down at 1 but they have to get up by 2:45 so we can be at school at 3 to get Caden and Addison. Normally Ethan and Reese could easily sleep 2-1/2 to 4 hours in the afternoon but I have to wake them up after an hour and 45 minutes. Today I had to lay Reese back down at 4 as she was getting grumpy and she slept until 6. There’s really nothing I can do about it but it’s just an adjustment and it will all get figured out in the upcoming weeks.

So I’m lovin’ preschool after the first week!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This just in . . . Latebreaking News

I reported last night that Ethan pottied on the potty for the very first time ever! Well, he did it again this morning. Then before his nap he pooped on the potty and if you know anything about potty training this is a huge step! Then he pottied again for me this afternoon! This is unbelievable! I started potty training these kids more than 18 months ago. He is so stubborn and it has to be his idea I guess. Anyway, he's doing well at preschool, seems to be getting the potty training thing down too, so now I think I'll have him start looking for a part-time job next week!

A Happy 9 Months!

*She is a moving machine on the go, go go! Actually, she’s never really held still from day 1 (probably making up for the lack of moment in my tummy). Even when she’s nursing she’s moving in someway usually pushing me with her arms, hitting me, or even “jumping” with her legs even in the middle of the night when she's half asleep.

*Still getting up 1 to 2 times a night to nurse – I really don’t mind that much though.

*Another ear infection when she was working on getting some top teeth.

*She can clap and does so whenever someone says "yay"!

*She only wants to play with “contraband” (as Keely would say). Who wants all those dumb all baby toys – after all we have so many. I’ll tell you who wants them is 3-1/2 year olds! Reese would rather play with tiny blocks, plastic sacks, small Spiderman figures, crayons, onion skins, paper, or folding chairs.

*She loves the water! Bath time is a favorite and darts for the bathroom door the minute it opens! I can usually find her playing in the cat’s water bowl soaking wet – having the time of her life!

*She mumbles "mama" and "dada" over and over again. She also growls, laughs, squeals in delight, and imitates blowing.

*She loves to feed herself Puffs and Wagon Wheels. She really likes most baby food. However she is also a human vacuum. So far she has eaten popcorn, fruit snacks, bacon, onion skins, leaves, animal crackers, fruit loops and probably a million other things I don’t know about.

*She thinks she’s 39 months not 9 months, if she could go to preschool, she would and probably love it! She loved circle time at All Aboard Preschool and actually did some of the songs with the other kids.

*She loves to dance as soon as she hears music she's bouncing up and down.

*One of her favorite toys is a bouncing Tigger that Cathi gave us several months ago and I just got around to putting batteries in it this week (I'm quick!). She loves it and bounces with Tigger and likes to put his nose in her mouth while he bouncing!

*I think we are in trouble. I think she's ornerier than all 3 of the other kids combined. She's into everything and has quite a temper when she doesn't get her way. I told Aaron the other day if the other three kids had been into everything as much as her, we probably wouldn't have had her but I'm sure glad we did!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ahhhhhhh . . . photos

Could you hear the sigh of relief from me . . . I finally got the photos downloaded from the fabulous new camera. It only took about 6 emails from Canon to figure it out. I had to unplug my printer/scanner to download them. Now I don't know if that's a one time thing or every time flippin time I want photos I have to unplug my printer, seems pretty inconvenient? Whatever . . . So here's photo montage of our week thus far:

We went to the Glenn Oak Zoo in Peoria last Saturday. What a great little zoo! It's small but really nice. If you look closely in this photo Ethan is pointing at porcupines. They are in that window that looks like a painting. I thought porcupines were pretty small turns out they are the size of a small pig! Who knew?

Here's Addison and Ethan chasing after a "goose" at least that's what Addison thought it was. They got so close I thought they were going to step on its tail.

And because the "goose" wouldn't "wait, stop" Ethan thought he would tip-toe up to it and yell really loud in case it was hard of hearing!

Here's a couple of good-lookin' guys that I love!

The salsa I made! I'm gonna make some more.

Here's the load of stuff we had to take to preschool on Monday. This is just for Ethan!

Doesn't he look like a big boy walking to school! So cute!

Here's my brave boy with his new stitches! Ignore the dirty nose and the ketchup on his mouth but do pay attention to those blue eyes!

Here's the second trip to preschool to drop off the supplies! What a load -- thank goodness we have the Choo Choo Wagon!

Our neighbors, The Agan's, walked with us to preschool. Their daughter Sam is in class with Addison and Caden. This is quite a long line!

Here's someone who thinks she is hot stuff riding like a big girl in the wagon. She was squealing and raising her hands above her head. I think she's ready for roller coasters already!

I can't believe they are old enough for preschool and that she has a locker!

First day of school!

Addison was so excited for school and is still loving it!

Ethan loves having his photo taken. He had a much better day today according to his teacher. I didn't get any details but I think I'll leave it at that. And guess what? Today he peed on the potty for me! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops but the best I could do after I screamed hysterically in the bathroom was open the window and yell the news to our rooftop to Daddy and Papa!

Mr. GQ himself. He's too cool to smile on his first day of preschool. Look out ladies!

And they're off!

This is for Aunt Keely who bought Reese this super cute shirt and wants to see her in it!

Tah Dah! He made it through the first day!

Rub-a-Dub-Dub, these 4 kids really don't fit in one tub.

This one loves the water! If she sees the bathroom door open, she speed crawls to get in. Once in she's trying to pull herself up to stand by the tub! I have found her way too many times in the last two days playing the cat's water bowl. Clothes and hair soaked, and she's loving every moment of it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The First Day

I think all in all the first day of school went pretty well for everyone. We made it on time and I even took a couple of photos beforehand (still can't get the camera to download photos though). No one cried not even me! I kind of felt bad later on that I wasn't upset when our neighbor, Courtney, called and said she broke down when Sam got on the bus at the babysitter. I started thinking that since I have 3 kids I don't have time to focus on the moment I guess. When I dropped Caden and Addison off at their classroom first just trying to get them to put their book bags in their lockers was a major feat while Ethan was trying to run in their room to play and crying and then dragging him by the arm, carrying his book bag, and trying to steer the stroller . . . I barely remembered to kiss them good bye. Ethan stopped crying when he got to his room. He must have thought he wasn't going to get to play. When I left he looked like he was going to start to break the crepe paper barriers she put up to keep them out of certain areas. Mrs. Flynn told me to come back at 11:30 to pick him up.

I got home, put Reesey to bed, and started to clean like crazy (cleaning lady coming tomorrow). I always seem to move super fast when I'm home alone -- I'm hardly ever home alone and my 2-1/2 hours went fast. At 10:30 Mrs. Flynn called and said Ethan was doing wonderfully but he was asleep on the carpet. What???? She wanted to know if I wanted to come get him. I really didn't because Reese was asleep, I was cleaning, and I want him to get into the swing of things. She said should I wake him up? I think she was worried he would be a big grump but he normally is good natured when he wakes up so I told her to get him since they were having snack but call me if she needed me to come get him early. I arrived at school at 11:30 and I was watching through the class window. Ethan was sitting on the aide's lap while other people colored. Then most of the time he was playing in the centers while he was supposed to be sitting on the carpet. That is typical of him but I felt my sails deflate a little. He noticed me and started calling my name so the teacher said I could come in. I stayed while they had restroom breaks. He wouldn't sit in line with the other kids and kept running away. We returned to the classroom and he did sit in the circle after I dragged him there a couple of times. They sang a song and the teacher would call a child's name and they would stand in the circle and "do" something like hop or perform a somersault. It was Ethan's turn and he almost did a headstand -- pretty impressive for a 3-1/2 year old -- but then he wouldn't stop he just kept doing it. They moved on when he wouldn't listen to the teacher. Finally she had to pull him to her lap. He's all about attention and he's nothing about waiting. At 112:10 we left and made it home for lunch and naps then it was back to get Caden and Addison. They had "awesome" days as their teacher wrote. Addison was perky and happy to see me and Mrs. Duncan said Addison told her all day she was tired but then when it was nap time she didn't sleep . . . imagine that? Caden only slept 20 minutes she said because some girl next to him woke him up. He cried a little when he saw me but I think he was a little tired. They played at home a lot and weren't too grouchy. They went to bed right away at 8:15.

I think it went well. They didn't have a lot to say about school. They said they ate. Aaron and I both talked to Ethan about behaving and listening better. I hope it gets better for him. He's not being "bad" just wanting to do his own thing. I have some fun photos to share if I can ever get them off my camera!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Summer Vacation Leaving Us in Stitches

So this was officially the last day of summer vacation for the kids since Preschool starts tomorrow. I kind of thought I should have planned some extra special fun time for this day but we had to go to school to drop off all their supplies and see their rooms and the kids have not been behaving very well in the last week and I didn't feel up to treating them to fun stuff when they don't deserve it. So we went to Ethan's school and dropped off his stuff first. There's no way we could have done all 3 of them because we used our Choo Choo wagon. Reese sat in one car and another one was full of school supplies and Ethan carried his backpack which was full too.
We came back home I was feeding the baby lunch and the boys were outside in the backyard. Caden came in crying (which is nothing out of the ordinary). I looked at him and there was blood all over his mouth so I didn't panic just cleaned him up and realized there was a big gash above his upper lip. It wasn't bleeding so much but it looked really deep. I don't know much about cuts and stitches so I called Aaron and he said call our doctor. Of course it was lunch time no one there but the receptionist and she said they don't put in stitches at the office and I was to go to Prompt care or Emergency Room. I got in touch with Aaron's mom and she was going to meet me at Prompt Care. I grabbed everyone, had to dress the baby who who naked because she had spilled the cat's water all over her earlier and we headed to Galesburg. I called Prompt Care on the way to ask if they do stitches and she said not on someone that little when it has to do with the face. So we headed to the Emergency room. By the time we got there it looked like it was scabbing up and I thought I'm totally overreacting. But when the nurse looked at him she thought he needed some glue to hold it together. Then the nurse practitioner came in and she said that we were going to need stitches as the glue was just going to keep opening when he talked and ate. So he got some numbing med on his lip for about 20 minutes. Then they had to give him a few shots of numbing meds right in the wound which was the worst part and he cried. He got TWO stitches. He was fine after the whole ordeal. It took about 2-1/2 hours from the time we walked in the ER and the kids hadn't eaten lunch -- it was 3pm. So they all got Happy Meals. He was so brave and such a big boy! I can't believe we've gotten this far (3-1/2 years) and only 2 stitches. Now the cause of it is still a little ambiguous since it was just the boys outside. My first thought was a stick because I saw them playing with some earlier. But Caden said Ethan hit him with his glasses which made me think Ethan had his glasses off (metal frames) and was swinging them around but Ethan's was still wearing his glasses and he can't put them on by himself. So I think they bumped heads just right and that's how it happened. Or theory number 2 is the alligator. When we got back home I asked Caden again what happened and he said an alligator bit him in our yard -- look out if you visit us!

Then we had to go back to school to take Addison's and Caden's supplies to their classroom. What a day! I'm exhausted and I haven't gotten a thing done! Tomorrow I'll have some time and I'm excited. I'm a little nervous for the kids and hope their day goes well. I have tons of photos of everything but for some reason I can't get the photos off the camera and on to the computer which is driving me nuts! I'll post some as soon as I get it figured out!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Salsa, Anyone?

I love, love, love fresh tomatoes from the garden. My mom used to take out the salt shaker to the garden and eat tomatoes right there. I'll admit I do it too but usually I'm eating them over the kitchen sink or in the back yard (with the salt shaker). We don't have the right kind of yard for a garden -- we have too much shade. Aaron's parents always grow tomatoes and our {slave} neighbor Neil does too. They are both so generous to give me lots! I always wanted to make salsa but thought it involved a lot of work including canning and I'm sure it can be complicated but I made salsa for the first time today and I think it turned out really good and it was easy.
I got my recipe from All Recipes which I turn to a lot when I'm not sure how to make something or am just looking for something new. I look for recipes with 4 or 5 stars usually.

******Imagine a really cool photo of my bright red salsa here, but I can't figure out how to get any photos off my new camera -- since it's midnight that's not helping either!******
Here's how I made mine in case you are drowning in tomatoes.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 Serrano chili, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced

In medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice, and salt. Chill for one hour before serving.

It's nothing like the jar versions at all which I don't think I will ever be able to eat again. The recipe called for 5 of those Serrano chili peppers but I only used one. It's not hot at all and I used the seeds and everything. I think it could use more but probably not 5! Let me know if you make it! And I did give the slave neighbor some since he donated the tomatoes and he is roofing our house that should make it even, right?

I'm Ready

Preschool officially begins in 2 days. We have to go to an open house on Monday to drop off the supplies and see the classrooms and meet each teacher. I thought I would be really emotional and who knows how I'll feel on Monday after we attend the open house or how I'll feel after I drop them off on Tuesday but right now I feel I'm ready and they're ready. After a lot of soul searching, well over a year and half about my feelings on preschool, this is right choice, right now. I was a little disappointed at the beginning of the summer when I was called and told the kids had to go all day and not half days as I had requested. Ethan is going half days but Addison and Caden will go all day. I asked why they wanted them to go all day and they said we were taking up 3 spots for other children that could go all day . . . hmmmm . . . I wonder if three moms said they wanted each of their children to go mornings only would they let one mom do it and not the other two? Probably not, so I feel like I'm being "discriminated" against (in a way) because I have triplets. I figured I'm going to pick my battles so I let it be because who knows there may be worse things around the corner. Anyway Caden and Addison are ready to be there all day and since they pretty much don't nap consistently or at all . . . let the teachers deal with that rather than me. Ethan, on the other hand, will need to come home to nap (and let's not even think of how he would act at lunchtime); I think his teacher will be more than ready to send him my way at 11:45 each morning. I have concerns that they will all be in trouble a lot and hope that the superintendent doesn't have to install a hotline directly to our house or he has to set up a little corner of his office for Reese and I to just hang out there every day. Ethan is so challenging at times and I hope he is cooperative at school with the other kids and teachers. I worry . . . I've been a teacher . . . I know how it is . . . I don't want him to be the student that the teachers say "YES!" under their breath when he's absent from class. I want him to love it and I want them to like him.

I could have just kept all of them home another year as they can go to preschool next year too. But really I know I am doing this more for me than for them. I need the break especially after this summer of Aaron roofing. I haven't had much of a break at all in a few months. It's hard and even harder when there are many, many days they don't nap. I feel so "behind" with so many things. I need some time to myself. I need some time with just Reesey. I need to be happy to see the kids at 11:45 and 3:00 instead of looking at the clock and seeing how much longer until bedtime.

When we went to registration, Ethan's teacher said, "You aren't going to know what to do with just the baby at home. You'll probably just spend the entire time looking around asking yourself, 'What should I do?'" I think she's right. Last week I started a list of things I want to do and things that need to be done. And I do think I'm going to work out some kind of schedule for myself so I have time to run errands, workout, complete house projects of painting and cleaning (oh, the closets), and do stuff like scrapbook and just relax with Reese. I was ready to try to figure all this out on paper and start in on Tuesday with a schedule but then I decided that maybe we need a transition period for all of us. So I think I'm going to play it by ear for the first couple weeks just to see how it all works. It's really weird though because I can't really comprehend some things without 4 kids because I keep thinking things like I need to get my hair cut so badly -- it's been about 3 months -- I start to stress about it wondering when can I do that with Aaron roofing every night after work, it's not the kind of thing I can take 4 kids with me to do then I remember, Oh yeah, I'll only have Reese I can just schedule it when the kids are in school. She can easily sit in the stroller for 20 minutes when I do that. It's a whole new way of life for me.

I wouldn't be surprised if my attitude about school changes a lot over the next few days but with a little time and patience I think things will work out and I may feel a little less stressed about life in general!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New "Toy"

So the new camera arrived yesterday. I am excited to have it even though I emailed Keely just a few weeks ago saying I don't think I would ever want one like it . . . but after seeing a few of her photos I could really tell a difference and since scrapbooking is so much better to me if you have really good looking photos and Aaron saying this is the camera he's been wanting for years and we already have 2 lenses to go on it -- we bought it.

After taking about 200 photos yesterday of randomness like eating PB&J sandwiches

and people eating disgusting $2.25 Spiderman and SpongeBob ice cream bars from the ice cream truck that any child under 10 can hear 10 blocks away

and a little boy who is in love with our neighbor girl so much he can hardly stand it

and the man who claims he will be taking lots of photos now they we have a decent camera when he hasn't picked up the point and shoot more than 5 times in the last 2 years

and a little boy who constantly said "cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeese" everytime I went to take his photo

and the Jim Carey of babies, she has a million and one faces, folks, a million and one . . .

I discovered I do not know how to use this camera so I will have to be a self taught learner and hopefully the photos get better . . . hopefully

Friday, August 22, 2008


Here's my layout for The Story Matters blog challenge.

The journaling says:
It's not a place but the people who live there
they are my home, my comfort, my life.

Having Faith

The challenge for One Little Word blog was "faith". This one was easy as to what my subject would be: Ethan's NICU story. It's one I can't tell enough and have documented several times in layouts before and I'm sure I will continue to revisit this story over and over again. It actually becomes harder to think about the further down the road it gets -- seems like it would be easier to deal with but its not. I love this photo of him holding my pinky -- wish it wasn't so blurry but I still love it! Click on photos to see them larger.