Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas time .... An Early Gift

Christmas is here in full swing at our house.  We've seen Santa twice ..... I think we are going to get to visit with him again tomorrow.  Some people are very definite with their lists here and repeat it like lines in a play.  Others {Addison} like to say a new item each and every time they are asked what they are hoping for, might be forgetfulness or might be a strategy.
Elfie is being "bad" according to the kids this year.  He has been doing all sorts of crazy things around the house like wrestling Woody with lots of on-lookers, a snowball fight with legos, building a snowman out of marshmallows, and today he's driving a tractor full of dolls around on the dining room table.
One day he drew on one of family photos.  I love the mohawk Aaron has here:
The girls and I made Christmas cookies.  I have been invited to my first cookie exchange and I wanted to try out a new recipe.  I am so excited about the cookie exchange.  I think it's such a fun thing, I almost didn't do it because I was afraid I was over-committing myself (like I always do) but I think it's going to be fine.
It snowed twice this week. The first time was just a little bit but the kids were so excited so we went outside and played for a while.  We made snowballs and even a pint sized snowman that Reese smashed before I got a photo.  Today there was about an inch or so of snow .... snowboots were needed as well as snowpants ..... we had to make a trip over to the big house to dig out one pair of boots and all the snowpants .... I found them all.  But Ethan took a pair of 3T snowpants to school when he really needs a 5 or 6 so I don't know what happened when he tried to put them on.  Tomorrow snowpants for Ethan are on the shopping list.
I usually sew quite a bit for Christmas for gifts but this year with most of my sewing supplies over at the other house the list is quite limited.  But I did make this new tree skirt for us.  I have a few more things to make but time is running out.
I've have 75% of my shopping done and most of that I did on the internet.  The only part of Christmas that I dislike is the shopping .... ugghhh.  I like everything else: the decorating, the food, the events, the celebrating, the excitement, .... the gifts of what to buy, where to find it, how much we've spent, the limited time I have to shop and my hate for shopping in general is the yucky part for me.  Of course without the gift what's the point of the tree with a big space underneath it or why would the kids be super excited?  Enough of my Grinching!
And then today I got an early gift.  It was a note from Ethan's special education teacher, Mrs. Collins.  She was reporting that Ethan had made significant gains in the areas they were working on.  Several weeks ago I had a report come home from school that wasn't so great and it looked like he was going backwards rather then maintaining or moving forward.  Today when I read the note, I cried.  He struggles so much, it's hard for him repeating kindergarten when his siblings are in 1st grade.  He has to work so much harder than the other students and still it's not always good.  He fights us at home to do work.  But today shows that slowly but surely he will make gains.  So the grinch is right:
"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a bit more."
I thanked Mrs. Collins for the early Christmas gift ..... Christmas comes once a year but we receive "gifts" all the time ... we just have to look for them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Surprise!


From our house to yours, I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as ours was.  The food was yummy and I am glad everything turned out.  I always have turkey issues normally it's not done on time. Well this year it was done 2 hours early according to the button that popped out but I didn't trust it and kept on cooking it and it was just fine.  Aaron's parents joined us this year so it was a small gathering but very fun.  We wrote what we were thankful for and did some art leaf pictures -- all 8 of us.  We ate pie and ice cream and cookies even though we thought we couldn't eat anymore. 

Addison took this photo of me pulling out my pumpkin pie yesterday.  I've spent this entire week cooking our meal little by little and thinking about how this could be our last Thanksgiving in this house.  Although I am ready to move to our other house, it makes me so sad to think of leaving this one.  It has been our home since we were married and served us well, seen us through our struggles with infertility and bringing home triplets and then Reesey.  As I look around, we finally have this house decorated the way we like it and now we are starting over.  Don't get me wrong I know that many more exciting memories will be made in our new home and we can spread out a bit there too but good-byes are hard even with houses.
The girls and I made these cute napkin rings yesterday for our Thanksgiving table.  They turned out so cute for using toilet paper rings and scraps of paper that I hoard (that my sister always makes fun of me for saving so much of that kind of stuff).  I love doing stuff like that with the kids.  It's so much fun now that they can help do little things like this with me.
The kids dressed up this week as Indians for a Thanksgiving feast at school.  They look so cute!  

I made the same paper bag turkey that I did last year.  Aaron "carved" it.  Ethan said "I hope it's cheese inside".  But it was the same as last time:  popcorn.
The yummy food, the togetherness, and the memories made for a great day.  But I think the best part of the day happened by chance.  Aaron left to have a drink with a friend for a bit and I decided it would be fun to put in the video of the triplets when they were babies.  We've never watched it.  It's very long and mostly a camera in front of a babies face for like 5 straight minutes with me talking in high pitched/annoying baby talk then moving on to the next baby.  And then suddenly there it was:  a couple of times I recorded the kids while my dad was here.  And I got to see him and hear him talk, just briefly, but he was there just like he was every Thanksgiving.  Then I remembered this photo taken on Thanksgiving 7 years ago when we only had 2 babies home and Ethan was still in the hospital:
I'm counting all my blessings this year, even my dad's "surprise" visit!  Thanks, Dad!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Off to See the Wizard!

I almost deleted my blog.  I never ever update it.  Seems like another obligation rather than a memory keeper.  But I think I'll give it another go and try to get back on track.  We just celebrated all the kids' birthday with one big Wizard of Oz bash.  That's what our family costume theme was this year too:  The Wizard of Oz!  The kids were so cute!

We had 15 kids at their party and we played a lot of games/activities.  It was fun (at least to me).  But I didn't think ahead and get very many party pictures.
 I made our pinata again and this time EVERYONE got a turn at bat.  It was hard to break this time around.

 This is Caden running in the witch relay race ... it looks more Harry Potterish to me but still cute!
Reese was the only one that wanted to wear her costume at the party.  She has loved the Wizard of Oz for a couple years.  She was so excited for Halloween and their party .... she still hasn't had her birthday yet .... couple more weeks and she'll be FOUR (how can that be?).

I worked on the party for weeks (as usual). Seriously I do love doing it.  I love to think of ways to make things without buying them.  The favor bags this year were made out of grocery sacks .... yes, I weaved 15 baskets from grocery sacks.  I know, people are rolling their eyes, it didn't really take that long and it was free. 
The rainbow cake turned out at 11:30 the night before it didn't seem like it was going to work.  Each layer wasn't coming out the pan so nicely.  I sure thought it would fall apart when I cut into it but it didn't and kids liked it and it tasted good.
I really love doing these parties and I hope the kids remember them but even if they don't, I know I will.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School

The summer flew by and so did the last week.  The kids are back to school.  I felt like we weren't quite ready but in just in the nick of time, I packed up all the backpacks and remarkably we had the correct supplies and Grammy took the kids shoe shopping about 4 days before school started.  Good thing every one's foot grew lots and no one could squeeze into their old tennies.  They are all in different classrooms this year.  We've never had that happen yet.  Before it was always 2 in one and 1 in another or all three in the same.  
Addison is in Mrs. Wallace's 1st grade class.  Addison loves school.  She loves to stay busy, quite like her mama.  She is so enthusiastic about 1st grade.  She has been coming with lots of completed work and I had to talk to her about slowing down and making silly mistakes but the next few days I could tell she listened to me and her work was much better.  She has been quite emotional this week in the evenings but I think she is just tired from the routine.  I think she will have a great year.

  Caden is in Miss Patterson's 1st grade room.  Miss Patterson is a new teacher to our district.  She is not new to me, she was in my 3rd grade class when I was teaching.  Caden is super shy at school.  I asked him on Friday after 5 days of school if he had talked to Miss Patterson yet and he said he hadn't.  So we are going to work on that a bit and remember to raise our hand to answer questions and such.  Caden is enjoying 1st grade so far and I think he will do well and hopefully talk to his teacher soon too!

Ethan is repeating Kindergarten this year.  We have known since last January that he would need to go through kindergarten again.  I was not surprised, but it is still hard.  I taught for 10+ years and I've been on the other side of the table telling parents that their child needs to repeat a grade.  It's hard no matter what position you are in this case.  I don't think I would have gave it a second thought if Ethan was not a triplet.  It's hard for everyone to see his brother and sister move on when he isn't.  But it was evident he was ready for 1st grade at all.  We couldn't just move him on just because he's a triplet just as we couldn't hold Caden and Addison back for a year because they are triplets and their brother isn't ready.  Even though they came as a "group" they are individuals with different needs.  It's been hard for him too.  When we first told him that he would be redoing kindergarten at the beginning of the summer, he cried saying that he wanted to go to 1st grade with Caden and Addison. It was hard but he got used to the idea.  He had a hard time getting used to the idea that he switched teachers too.  We loved Mr. Sanberg and he did a great job with Ethan, and we love Mrs. Ray too so we know that this year will be good for him.  He did really well the first week of school, no fits and getting going on his work right away is what Mrs. Ray reported.  But he's still having a hard time understanding the whole situation.  It broke my heart, a few days ago when I said it was time for school and he asked if he was going to 1st grade now and I told him no he'd been doing kindergarten all year.  He said "But Mom, I already did kindergarten."  He wants a puppy in the worst way and a puppy would be good for him so I told him if he worked really hard in kindergarten doing his work and listening and not throwing fits and we get our BIG house to a decent state, he could get a puppy. 

I think it will be a good year overall not without challenges but I think there will be a puppy waiting for us several months down the road.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Line

Sometimes ......

you have to draw that line even if it means you are all alone on the other side. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Team

T-ball is wrapping up at the end of this month.  I can really tell a major improvement in all 3 kids' skills and attitudes toward the sport this year compared to last year.  Aaron is a coach this time, which I was not thrilled about because I was not about to be a "coach" when he couldn't come due to work conflicts and I absolutely did not want to sit in the dugout with impatient pre-k kids and  kindergarteners.  I'm a teacher .... I only do stuff like that when I get paid!
 Addison is pretty good at the sport.  She is only one of three girls on the team.  Most girls play softball on a separate team in North Henderson.  We've been asked a lot why we didn't sign her up with the girls' team.  It's simple:  I don't want to go to twice as many games.  We have 3 games a week as it is .... that is a lot for us.  I think playing with the boys makes her better anyway. 
 Last year I had to drag Ethan out of the van, onto the field, bribe him, yell at him .... just to get him somewhat involved in the game.  This year he has declared several times, "I quit baseball" when he realizes that we have a game.  But he has gotten out there every game.  He has even hit the ball off a pitch a couple times.  He gets so excited when that happens.  One game when he was on third base, the ball rolled his way and he picked it up and handed to the third baseman before he ran home. 

He does sit in the outfield and play in the dirt which drives his dad crazy.  He takes dirt showers, tasted the dirt once, and even lays down making dirt angels (which did stop a ball once).  He did try to slide home at the last game.  Big progress for him.
 Caden is very serious about baseball.  He has quite the batting stance and runs very fast to the bases.
He is a pro slider.  He is quite brave to do that in my opinion.  He always has the dirt stains on his pants to show it.
I'm very proud of our little team.  I can't believe that next year, we'll be moving on to a new chapter of regular baseball with more than 2 innings, pitching only where they count the fouls and strikes, and keep score.  Yikes, I don't think I'm ready for any of that but I'm sure my team will be!

Friday, June 17, 2011


She is cRaZY.  She is 3 and a half.  She can go from 0 to 60 in one second.  She says funny things.  She won't let me come her hair.  She doesn't really listen to me and does what she wants.  She is cute.  She fell asleep on the porch as we were getting ready for a t-ball game a couple days ago.
I really wanted to leave her there and stay home from the ballgame but I was afraid she roll down the stairs.  She did look so sweet and peaceful for a few minutes of her life.

Then today, as we were riding bikes to the post office she fell head first into a mud puddle.  I told her not to ride through the puddle (I told you she doesn't listen.).
Doesn't she look so pitiful?  In the end she was happy because she got to take a bath all by herself in the middle of the day.
She drives me crazy but I love her and that crazy personality.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Crack house

Things sometimes get worse before they get better.  Our new house is no exception.  My mother-in-law and I took all the wallpaper off the living room walls on Tuesday.
Sort of looks like a "crack house".  I have to say the 1992 peach wallpaper was doing a lot for this giant room (indcluding holding some of the walls together!).  4 garbage bags of peach wallpaper decorated this room.

All we are really missing is some homeless people.   It's getting really hard to picture my Christmas tree in that window now.  And the scary part is ... it's going to get a lot worse than this.  Deep breath.  After talking to a previous owner, I am realizing that this poor house hasn't had much, if really anything of major importance (other than paint, wallpaper, carpet, a counter top) done to it in 25 years or more.  Isn't that sad?  Everyone calls this house the Van Fleet house because the prominent Van Fleet family lived here at one point and anyone who had been in it said it was quite a house in its day.  It's just like a person, if you neglected your health, body, and appearance for 25+ years, what kind of shape would you be in?  I'm going to think of it that way, like a person, it needs some TLC ..... maybe we'll even give it a name
We could go with the more Au natural, and give the house the Tuscan look:  leave some exposed walls, paint some green and browns .... old Italy.  Second thought, no, but the Tuscan look is at least a few steps above the crack house look, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I would rather

scrapbook, go shopping, swim, go out to eat, plan a party, have a clean house ...... anything other than what needs to be accomplished.  Of course, isn't that how it always is, if someone said I had to scrapbook right now, I'd probably find some other endeavor I'd rather do.  

2 houses and things to do at each is very overwhelming.  Aaron was laid-off on Friday so now we will have some time but he's helping out some people right  now .... so I'm still on my own.  We made a smaller list of "to-dos" at the current house, it didn't even fill up a piece of construction paper.  I'm scheduling 2 weeks!  Then we MUST get this house on the market and get to working on the BIG house.  I'm coming to terms with things at the BIG house.  After scraping some paint on the stairs I will be living with mostly white woodwork, which is very trendy right now .... I'm even tempted to rip up carpeting upstairs and have painted pine floors for a while until we can afford new hardwood.  We'll see .... It's going to be a work-in-progress for a loooooonnnnngggg time!  It will be okay.  I'm try to pack up "extra" clutter and stuff here and take it to the BIG house but that is also a slow process for me.  I'm just slow!  I seem to be more motivated when my hubby is here.  I also am not sure where to put things so they are out of the way and I don't have to move them several times.  Speaking of which, I have moved these banana boxes no less than 30 times.  They've been on my porch in several places, in the house, in the yard, on the sidewalk, in the backyard, depending on what project I'm working on and where they have to go for a while.  They did come in hand when I painted the porch .....

paint drying baracade!  Of course, I'd rather build things out of banana boxes than do what needs to be done!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It was a long day.  I was woke up at 4:45 am by my husband, who after he went to the bathroom and drank loudly from a water bottle said, "I'm wide awake", then he promptly crawled back in bed and fell asleep in about 2 minutes.  Then  I was wide awake.  Both sisters and families spent the night and I didn't want to get up too early so I watched TV in bed until 6 then started my day.  My day involved: a Memorial Day Parade with complaining kids about being hot and thirsty, craziness at Lowe's while trying to decide what flooring we will be using that included a child knocking over a cart onto himself and spilling a shake, leaving Galesburg with no groceries because we were too mad to take them into another store, lots of yelling at home about what the heck we are doing with that house and at children who are not helping matters when we are trying to talk, painting around windows, power washing the porch, and cutting tile for the laundry room (that would be all stuff at the OLD house not the new).  In all the commotion and yelling and discussing what did we figure out: we don't know what we are doing.  No plan .... I don't work without a plan ... it drives me crazy.  It stresses me out and makes me feel overwhelmed.   After the kids were in bed at 9:15, I had to go buy groceries.  I had to weigh it out:  going to the grocery store at night when I'm tired or taking 4 kids there tomorrow.  I think I made the right choice.

So we in trying to do something "right" today, I read bedtime stories (on our summer list).  I'll admit I don't normally do it because by the time bedtime rolls around I am D.O.N.E. with kids, not the right attitude at all.  In Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse  it was right there: 
"Today was a difficult day;
tomorrow will be better."

That sums it up doesn't it?  It will all work out, we'll figure out what flooring to get and how to pay for it.   I'll decide if I am stripping the stairway railing and steps, we'll get out current house ready and it will sell.  We'll come up with a plan when Aaron isn't completely exhausted from working these long hours and someday soon I'll get a few hours to myself where I can think clearly without people talking non stop.  I'm off to bed .... tomorrow is almost here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I'm REALLY into lists.  In February when we decided we needed to get serious about buying a different house (we've only talked about it for 5 years), I sat down and made this huge list of all things we need to do to sell this house. 
Aaron made fun of me for making a GIANT list but I said if we wrote on a small paper we'd lose it and if we don't have a list we will forget what needs to be done. We've accomplished a lot on the list and as soon as he is finished with this temporary job, I think we will be able to finish this up in a reasonable amount of time.

The kids and I brainstormed for our summer list.  This is all the things that Aaron and I (or just me) want to do with the kids.  It makes us keep "fun" in our summer.  With so much still to do at the farm and all the work on the new house, I didn't want the summer to slip by and realize we hadn't done much family stuff.  The kids are excited (and so am I).

I so overwhelmed by the BIG house that I want to make a list but where to begin is the question.  And truthfully I can't make a list by myself; it's something that Aaron and I need to be on the same page.  If I ever see him again, maybe we can make a list.  Here's my start:
Seriously that says it all, if I wrote down everything it would be a novel.  I think we need to think first things first.  If we could get some electricians over to look at our wiring that would be a good start.  It's so overwhelming.  I need a foreman over there to boss me .... that will where my hubby steps in next week, I hope.