Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Simple Life



So what do I want for the new year? I want just what I have. My perfect family living a perfect life. I feel so very blessed right now with everything God has given us. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Little Momma

Madelynn has turned into such the little momma. In the morning she lays out Annie and Joy's clothes (complete with socks) in little piles for them to wear.  She loves to help Annie get things she wants, and tells me when Annie is getting into trouble. She enjoys wiping Joy's mouth when she spits up, and today she started wiping Annie's nose with kleenex when it starts to run.  I really have been blessed to have such a great helper!

Annie is turning into a great helper too!  Annie helps me 'fold' laundry and puts it on the counter to be put up. She helps unload the dishwasher and actually puts the pans and wooden spoons up in the correct spot! She has alot of fun helping me dust furniture, and loves to tuck a blanket around Joy when she gets fussy.

I can't wait until they are old enough to cook. We are going to have some fantastic meals in the future! ;)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our New Neighbors

I'm so excited about our new neighbors! They are really friendly, and just love the girls. Mr. B has already invited Madelynn to come over and meet their little dog Bonny and some new puppies after they move in. Madelynn of course will not let me forget! ;)  Mrs. B used to be a hospice chaplain before she retired. They have moved here from Dallas to be closer to their grandchildren who are 2 years old and 6 weeks old. I'm sure the kids will have a great time together! Now, if we can just get a great family in the other house next door......anyone looking for a house?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oops, wrong sister.....

I've been having fun singing Christmas carols around the house, and Madelynn loves trying to learn the words to them.  The other day she requests I sing that song about her sister. I ask, "what song is that?"

"You know, it goes Annabelle to the world..."

"Wha?......Oh! Do you mean Joy to the world?"

"Oh yes, Joy to the world"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My view this morning


I did not take this picture, and these are not my kids; but it is fairly accurate of my view at 6:00 this morning.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Annie in a toddler bed!

So the other night when it was time to go to bed, Annie climbed into her toddler bed.  Thinking "we'll see how long this lasts" we let her go to sleep there.......and she slept there the whole night without getting up!  Shocking!  She actually fell out of bed at some time during the night and continued sleeping on the floor (we have guard rails up now.)  She has continued sleeping there every night since without getting up......I guess when she makes up her mind to do something, she does it!  I've said this a million times and I'll say it a million more: Annie is so different from Madelynn!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Are you going to try for a boy?

I've been asked this question a lot lately.  I'm not sure how to answer. I usually say something like "we'll be excited with whatever God gives us."  I've been thinking how God has given us an absolutely perfect, complete family.....very different from what I had originally 'planned'.  I had 'planned' to have 2 boys first, then maybe a girl....or a third boy, then just one girl.  Yet, now I can't even imagine life any different from 3 perfect girls.  Would I one day like a boy? Yes....I think....I'm actually not even sure anymore. I could imagine life absolutely perfect with more girls too. You may be thinking "but, what about Jake?"  That is actually another comment I get frequently, "your poor husband."  I don't think Jake feels like he is missing anything. He feels as complete as I do.  He rough-houses and plays sports with the girls just as much as he would with a boy.  And the girls just absolutely adore him!  Jake can't even go to the bathroom without them banging on the door asking if he's done yet.  When he comes home they scream at the top of their lungs as they nearly kill themselves racing to hug him.

I don't think I'm going to 'try' for anything. I'm going to continue to have faith that God knows exactly what is perfect for our family.

Here is a great article I read about another family of 3 girls. While it's not exactly like our family (the first daughter is adopted, she had lost her son, and they are Jewish;) it still holds the same sentiments I feel about having a family of girls.

It's Not About A Boy

November 5, 2010
We did not find out ahead of time the gender of our new baby. It was fun to speculate with Katie and Annie Rose about whether they would end up with a little sister or a little brother.
Annie Rose expressed a preference for a brother. Halfway through my pregnancy, she declared, “If the baby is a girl, I will respect her, but I won’t love her.”
“Respect is a good place to start,” I told her.
Whenever I was out somewhere without the girls, strangers would notice my big belly and ask,
“Do you know what you are having?”
“We’re not finding out. Keeping it a surprise.”
“Is this your first?”
“No,” I would reply. “My third.”
“Oh, what do you have at home already?”
“I have two little girls.”
“Maybe this time you will get a boy!” was always the response.
The above conversation played out countless times over the past nine months. It astonished me how many people assumed I was hoping for a boy, expecting a boy, needing a boy for our family to feel complete.
The baby was born three weeks ago. She is most definitely not a boy. And we are delighted with her. In fact, when she was born and I saw that she was a girl, I realized that a girl was exactly what I wanted. (I think if the baby had been a boy, I probably would have felt that a boy was exactly what I wanted).
Quite simply, I want whatever I have. I once had a boy. My first pregnancy was a boy, a desperately sick little boy. I do not have him now.
Every time someone asks me if I want a boy, I think about my first baby. When people comment that our family only “makes girls”, I remember him and I know that in an alternate universe, we would have a 7-year-old son right now.
I have several other friends who also lost their first babies. Curiously, each of us has gone on to have single-gender families, with our surviving children being the opposite sex of our lost children.
And frankly, we all want what we have. We are grateful to be parents, and we would never trade the children we have for those we lost.
Cleo is the ninth girl in a row for my parents. My mom and dad have four daughters and five granddaughters. There are no sons or grandsons. Although my parents would have gone a little crazy buying blue things if Cleo had been a boy, they don’t love her any less because she is a girl.
I am actually relieved that Cleo doesn’t have a penis, because I didn’t have to deal with a bris (the Jewish circumcision ceremony on the eighth day of life). The postpartum hormone drop was formidable between days four and eight, and it would have been quite a feat to pull off a bris. I could barely make it through breakfast without crying.
For those few days that I had the baby blues, I wept at just about anything. I cried because I was in pain from the delivery and breastfeeding; I cried because my older girls were being difficult. I cried because Cleo was up all night (and still is). I cried because I couldn’t find time to write or paint or shower or clean my house. I cried because Cleo would be my last baby and as miserable as I felt, I was still sad that she was already starting the irreversible process of growing older.
But one thing I did not cry about is the fact that Cleo is a girl.
I look at my little trio and I see years ahead of ballet recitals, princess costumes, pink ribbons and braided pigtails. But I also see years of soccer games, Star Wars toys, softball tournaments and rough-housing. For the past two years I have coached Katie’s soccer team, amidst a sea of male coaches, and it has been great fun to watch my little girl learn to play the sport.
During the years that my parents were raising four daughters, they spent evenings and weekends at our basketball, soccer, softball and baseball games. They attended track and cross-country meets, and they watched tennis matches. In fact, they came to see us perform at far more sporting events than dance recitals.
It is too soon to say what my little girls will want to pursue for their serious extracurricular activities, so right now we dabble in everything. We cart the girls to piano and ballet lessons alongside swim, soccer and art classes. Yes, they do gravitate towards glittery, pink clothes, but we give them the opportunity to embrace so-called “boy clothes” too. Katie loves her White Sox shirt. Annie Rose prefers nudity.
When people say, “poor Andrew” about my husband who lives surrounded by females, I know that in reality Andrew loves being the king of the house. Katie idolizes him so completely that she won’t tell me what she wants for breakfast until she sees what Daddy is eating, so that she can eat the exact same thing.
Andrew and Katie attend White Sox games together and play catch outside. And I don’t think he ever laments the fact that it is a daughter and not a son who joins him in cheering on his favorite teams.
And now that Cleo is here, Annie Rose assured me that she does love her. She calls her the “sweet chicken” and smothers her with kisses every chance she gets. Ironically, Annie Rose loves Cleo but does not respect her personal space.
Once I was going to be a mother of a son. Now I am the mother of three daughters. If we had not lost Matthew, we would have never adopted Katie. Our lost boy’s legacy to us is that he set us on a course to bring our first daughter into our lives, and she was meant to be with us. Our second and third daughters are icing on the sweetest cake ever created, and our family is complete, even without a boy.

Carrie is an artist and a writer living in Evanston. According to her, ‘I was actually trained to exercise the other half of my brain and worked for years in the Financial Services sector after receiving an MBA in Finance from Kellogg. But I had a change of brain after going through the harrowing process of adopting our daughter Katie, and I could no longer think in columns of numbers. I thought instead in splashes of color and shades of light and dark.’ When Katie was nearly a year old, Carrie left banking and started her own oil painting business, Artwork By Carrie. Working as an artist has allowed her to create a flexible schedule to spend more time with Katie and her second daughter, Annie Rose. Read her blog, Portrait of an Adoption.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baby Joy's Birth Story


Joy’s Birth Story

          On Monday, October 18, 2010; at about 4pm I started having those “wow, who stabbed me with a knife” contractions.  After about 20 mins, I had another. After about 5 of them I realized this is starting to form a pattern of coming every 15-20 mins, maybe I should warn Jake. I call Jake and let him know that he should probably go ahead and be prepared to take Tuesday off. 

At about 8pm the contractions were becoming closer together at about 10mins apart. We go ahead and warn our parents that it looked like this was going to be the night.  We put the kids to bed, and started watching episodes of Eureka (yes, we’re geeks.)  Jake times the contractions for me. 

At about 10:30pm the contractions start becoming very regular and hard at about 5-6mins apart. We go ahead and call our parents to come on in.  We call the midwife at about 11:00pm when the contractions are about 4-5 mins apart (sometimes 3mins when I stood up to walk) and was getting chills at times. 

The parents arrive at about 11:30pm. Jake’s mom and dad watch the kids for us, while my mom comes to the hospital with us. Only a few traffic laws were broken during the ride to the hospital (construction had blocked our usual path.) 

We arrived to the hospital at about midnight, where after being flagged down in ER to provide insurance information (we firmly stated that they would have to wait…..in which they waited 30mins before calling to insist Jake come back down with the information) we arrived at the L&D floor to find me at “a solid 5cm and cervix very stretchy.”  My midwife Jeanean Carter, CNM (very awesome) arrived shortly after and stayed with our team the entire time. Every 30mins or so they would need to move the continuous (still a VBAC) outer fetal monitor lower as the head quickly slipped lower -that was so gratifying! 

After about 2 hours I started vomiting and feeling the urge to push. Jeanean stated I’m at about 9 and a half now (with just a small lip left) but I can go ahead and push and if I don’t want to use the stirrups I don’t have to- love that woman! I start pushing and use the stirrups just at the end when I needed stabilizing.  While pushing I feel a pop, then hear a splash across the room. Apparently, my water broke and just missed the midwife’s head as amniotic fluid shot across the room. Quite the unexpected, though very comical twist (Jake says "now I have a story!")  After pushing for about 20mins, the head and shoulders emerge and I get to pull Joy the rest of the way out. Jake cuts the umbilical cord again (he’s getting to be a pro at this) and Joy is born! We got to have some time alone with her before the RN team arrives (“She’s born? Why didn’t you call me? I just heard crying and came to see…”) It was a very wonderful experience- I got to have my home birth at the hospital!

Her official birth stats: 
Born: Tuesday; October 19, 2010 at 2:27am
Weight: 8lbs 10oz
Length: 19.5 inches

The nursery RN’s say that with the cold front and rain coming in (weather pressure shift) a lot of women went into labor and had very quick labors that night.  Out of 6 babies in the nursery they say Joy is by far the loudest. I guess she has to be with 2 sisters to talk over ;)
They also say she was born at just the perfect time.  Her umbilical cord was starting to wear very thin at the belly button. They had to clamp low on the cord so that it wouldn’t rupture.
Joy is another cuddle bug, she loves to rock with me and is a wonderful breast feeder…..however, she takes very long feedings (I suspect she enjoys the alone time.)
Joy had bad baby acne right after birth, but after coming home it has cleared up quickly. While this could be from hormones, I suspect it’s more from very sensitive skin.

At the 2 week checkup, Joy is now 8lbs 13oz and 20 ¾ inches long. The pediatrician says “she is absolutely perfect!”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Raising Children


I found this article on another blog. I loved it and thought I'd share:



Raising Children, by Anna Quindlen

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief.
I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast.Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.
Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon, and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages, dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, and finally what the women on the playground, and the well-meaning relations — well what they taught me was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all.
Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything.
One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.
When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.
I remember 15 years ago pouring over one of Dr. Brazelton’s wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.
Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made.They have all been enshrined in the “Remember-When-Mom-Did ” Hall of Fame.The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs.The times the baby fell off the bed.The times I arrived late for preschool pickup.The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp.The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, “What did you get wrong?” (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?
But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top.
And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity.
That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me awhile to figure out who the experts were.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A photo for now, birth story later


Abigail Joy Wells born October 19, 2010 at 2:27am. 8lbs 10oz. 19.5 inches.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cervix of Steel

So Joy's head is between my knees, but my cervix is as stubborn as all my kids (must get it from Daddy- haha!) I'm actually a little grateful I get at least another week to wrap up loose projects before having a crying, hungry infant strapped to me. Last weekend was my last day at work for 8 weeks, so it helps to have this extra weekend at home too. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to hold my precious baby to my chest, and rock her while she does all those cute baby squirms and fist sucking (oh, I miss the cute fist sucking!) I'm just a very goal oriented person, and it drives me nuts if all my goals aren't completed before baby arrives. Poor daddy, as I get bigger his list gets longer too....I just have to add to the end of the list all the reasons he married me. ;) Are kids a good reason, or bad one? haha- just kidding!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Getting ready for Baby!

I went to my first weekly OB appt. yesterday. Wow- can't believe I'm already at that point! Madelynn and Annie both did great! We had a backpack of supplies which lasted them the whole 2 hours. I was alittle worried because while I get the nonstress test (NST)and Biophysical Profile (BPP sonogram) done, I'm strapped to a chair and table and cannot attend to them. Madelynn did a wonderful job helping Annie look through books and play with stickers. I'm so very proud of both of them! Hopefully this will last through every weekly test..... ;)

So the baby is VERY head down now. In fact, the sono tech couldn't even get a profile picture for me because the head is so low in my pelvis (guess that explains the reason I have to pee every 5 mins.) Also, she showed a really good clear picture of the baby parts; and let me say this baby is DEFINITELY at girl! No mistaking it! I'm thinking we are going to have a huge tomboy on our hands- should be lots of fun and keep us in shape! ;)

So we started getting serious about names. I really like the name Joy and Jake really likes the name Abigail. We thought about naming her Joy Abigail Wells, but it just doesn't flow as nicely. So we are naming her Abigail Joy Wells, but will be calling her Joy. Jake has always liked being called by his middle name, so she might like it too.....

Well, I guess that's about it on the baby....I mean on Joy ;)
Let's see.....with Madelynn: she is really into reading lately. She is almost always with a book in her lap looking at the pictures, or 'reading' from memory as she turns the pages. I'm really excited that she loves books so much! She is also into hiding things under pillows. I find the funniest items under all the pillows in the house. Socks, toys, sippy cup, just to name a few.
Annie is walking more and more everyday! She just decided on Monday that she would walk more. She still crawls most of the time, but I'm excited that now she is walking at least 25% of the time! She also copies Madelynn on everything! Even tries to copy what she says. Annie LOVES to sing! She will 'sing' a song, then clap and clap! It's the cutest thing!

Well, that's about it for now. I better try to get more done while my nesting hormones are raging! ;)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Right Time Right Place

My Grandparents (my Mom's parents) were recently in an article in the Arkansas Gazette. Here is a copy- I'm very proud of them!


RIGHT TIME RIGHT PLACE 54 grandchildren ago she had doubts
By Kimberly Dishongh

LITTLE ROCK — Henri Pote’s routine kitchen work got a little spice when he saw Cora Mitchell stroll through in the summer of 1946.
They were both students at the Southern California Bible College - now Vanguard University - in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Henri, who had finished college at 19 before being drafted into the U.S. Army to fight in World War II, needed that one course to graduate from the seminary.
Cora was working as a bookkeeper in a garage downtown, although she had worked in the kitchen in the past and knew everyone there.
Henri, part of the dishwashing crew, had heard about Cora before they were introduced that day.
“My friends said they would have been glad to go with her, but she was a couple of inches taller than both of them,” Henri says. “They recommended her. They said she was like a big sister - you can tell her your troubles and she’ll listen to you and sympathize with you.”
Cora had other things on her mind.
“I had always been taller than most of the girls around, and I had in mind that I was going to marry someone 6-foot-4,” she says. “Well, Henri was a couple of inches taller than me. That wasn’t enough in my viewpoint.”
Cora had tried - and failed, repeatedly - to run a mile without stopping or walking.
“One of the three men students that were doing this would stay back and walk with me, and Henri enjoyed doing that a little bit,” Cora recalls. “Then he asked me to take a walk with him and we found where a campfire had been in a canyon right near there.”
They sat by the campfire talking for hours, returning to campus well after curfew.
“We were all supposed to be in bed by 10 o’clock and Henri says it was a quarter ’til 12,” she says. “And we met, of all things, the president. I was sure I was really going to catch it, but he just greeted us and went on along, never said a word.”
Later that summer they rode on a bus together to a church assignment at Mount Wilson.
“I was always burning the candle at both ends in order to work and go to school,too,” she says. “So I was always short of sleep. I got sleepy and he invited me to lay my head on his shoulder.”
At Christmas, Henri met Cora’s family.
“He asked my parents if he could court me. I was kind of bugged about that because he hadn’t said anything about it to me,” she says.
When Henri went off to seminary, he and Cora exchanged letters.
“My older sister was veryirritated at me. She said, ‘Cora this just isn’t right. You’re just keeping him on your string.’ Well, I didn’t think of it that way, but anyhow I quit writing to him,” Cora says.
Henri’s mother, though, continued writing to Cora.
“After two years, my life seemed like it was getting more off course all the time,” she says. “My folks were moving to Prescott, Arizona, and I just felt like I was going nowhere. I couldn’t keep up the work and the study, righton the edge financially all the time, and I got depressed, so I quit college.”
Henri’s mother invited her to visit their family in Pennsylvania. When she arrived early that morning in October 1948, Henri’s mother called Henri.
“She said, ‘Henri, I think there’s someone here that you want to talk to,’ and she gave the phone to me and I said, ‘Hello Henri.’ I couldn’t believe it - he immediately said, ‘Hello, Cora,’” she says. “That he would recognize my voice from that after two years.”
Henri asked Cora to go for a walk.
“On that walk, he said, ‘Cora, you know that I still love you.’ And for once I answered, ‘I love you, too,’” she says.
During the time they had been apart, several people asked why she hadn’t married Henri.
“And I would say, ‘I didn’t think I loved him,’” she says. “I didn’t have enough emotion involved in it to me at the moment.”
They were married on Dec. 18, 1948, in a Baptist church in Ogden, Pa.
Henri and Cora have lived in Pine Bluff since 1963 when he took an administrative assistant position with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a job that would bring in more money than his work as a nondenominational preacher.
They raised 16 children - 14 of their own, and two they adopted as foster children - and they have 54 grandchildren and 35 greatgrandchildren.
“God has been so good to us,” she says. “There have been so many times we have just felt so blessed. And I am so proud of our children. I really am.”My advice for a long, happy marriage is: She says: “Be committed in the first place, and always try to be pleasant with each other and with the children.” He says: “Marry someone you met and love as a fellow Christian, and get married with the intention of being married the rest of your life.
My favorite memory from our courtship is: She says: “When we were visiting an invalid lady in an Italian home and they asked him to read the Bible and talk and somehow as he talked, my heart just thrilled with how God used him.” He says: “The long walk we took together in 1946 when we were both in summer school.” As we prepared to take our wedding vows, I was thinking: She says: “If I’m going wrong let the church fall in if need be, but don’t let me take the wrong step.” He says: “Well, the Lord has finally brought to pass what I so earnestly asked him for. He brought me a good wife.”

This article was published June 13, 2010 at 5:16 a.m.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Birthday

It's my birthday tomorrow, and the only thing I can think of right now is:

'Yes! I'm still not 30!'

haha- so sorry to all my big 3-0 friends ;) I'm sure next year I'll be the one crying....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Embarrassing?

"Madelynn, you need to put some shorts on so you don't show your panties"

"Why Mommy?"

"Because it's embarrassing to show your panties, and rude"

"Embarrassing? Cause people will run away screaming?"

I bust out laughing, and Madelynn goes on....

"Cause people will run away and go AAAAHHHHHH?"

LOL! She sure keeps me sane.....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Married 72 months

I treasure all our memories
and I feel so grateful too,
That I have been so lucky
to have shared them all with you.

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful and amazing Husband & still my Best Friend!

Thinking back to our first anniversary, we had so much fun sky diving. Then I think the next year was the wine tour package at the Gaylord Hotel (I think we bought our couch and bed for our new house too). Year 3 was spent at On the Border, then shopping to prepare for the birth of our first daughter: Madelynn. I was 8 months pregnant then, the empanadas and shrimp were so good! Year 4 we took a family trip to Myrtle Beach. We thought it was so tough traveling with 1 kid, haha! Year 5 we dropped off Maddie and 2 month old Baby Annie and rushed off to dinner at The Silver Fox, then to buy our new TV. Now we are at year 6. The plan: Eat at On the Border (currently at 7 months pregnant, I can't wait for the empanadas and shrimp) then buy our new kitchen faucet. A long way from skydiving our first year!

Wow- 2&1/2 kids later, I feel we are stronger than ever before! I am so blessed to have found a man that will put up with all my craziness- and still love me despite it. ;)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Never a good sign when your belly protrudes farther than your boobs......unless you're pregnant....

So this pregnancy has been so drastically different than my pregnancies with the girls. Besides it being a complete surprise, yadda, yadda, yadda..... I look so different with this one than with the girls. For this reason, I'm uncertain if I believe that this baby is a girl. Either this girl is going to be a complete tomboy, or this baby is a boy.

I need another sono techs opinion.
I get one in a month.
I can't wait a month.
Jake's making me wait a month.
It's hard.
I'm told patience builds character.
So I blog about it to help with the wait.

Differences in pregnancies:

Girls: I had a huge sweet tooth
This one: I love carrot and celery sticks

Girls: I gained weight fast from the beginning, and ended at +45 lbs each (might have something to do with that sweet tooth....)
This one: At 6 months I gained 4 lbs. Now at 7 months I've gained 8 lbs.

Girls: I jumped sizes in pants and jeans as my butt and hips got huge....almost elephant sized ;)
This one: I continue to go down sizes in pants and jeans as I fit into clothes I haven't worn since pre-Madelynn

Girls: No belly until about 5-6 months along
This one: Huge pokey belly at 3 months....accused of having twins/triplets many times

So funny tangent on the huge belly thing.... I was in Home Depot this week and the cashier was all:
Wow! You're about to deliver any day now!
No, I still have about 2 months left....
What?!?!?! No way! That baby's going to be HUGE!

Another tangent: I like huge babies! I hope all my babies are huge. It means they are really healthy, and I don't have to worry about them as much. Scrawny babies you have to worry about....are they eating enough?....Will the dog knock them over and they will be damaged forever?.....Are they sleeping too much? Big babies you can just not worry about.....they are of a tougher breed.

So in conclusion of my long discombobulated rant.....how can I talk Jake into letting me get a 3D/4D sonogram soon? ;P

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blogger Bandwagon

So I've fallen off the blogger bandwagon. I've been thinking of all sorts of things to blog about: road tripping with kids, Annie's Birthday, etc.... I just have been feeling so melancholy about writing it. I love to write, but is it a waste of my time? It's hard finding a balance. I don't want to keep pushing my kids off while I blog, but it's nice to have time to myself sometimes too; blogging is a way I can kinda 'get away' for a short while. I guess finding that balance between being 'me' and being 'mommy' is a life long struggle. When I'm at work, I always feel like 'yeah, I could head that committee!' and 'Sure, I could do an inservice on that!' But then when I get home, I'm like 'thank goodness, I didn't volunteer for more time at work, home is where I belong...' Then I go to work again, and the cycle starts all over.... This even spreads to vacations. I would love to go parasailing, and rent dune buggies on the beach; or take a quick 6hr drive to Paris while in Europe. But I have to think of the kids and what they will enjoy. It helps to think that one day Jake and I will have all our kids in college and then we can enjoy these activities once again. We'll be the coolest old fogies around!

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Song I Like

I decided I like this song.....but not sure why....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Burned Biscuits

Thought this was a good lesson I needed to be reminded of....




When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.



On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides - a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!"

You know, life is full of imperfect things.....and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else.What I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each others' faults - and choosing to celebrate each others' differences - is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today. That you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal- breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the basis of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket - keep it in your own."

God Bless You.... Now, and Always....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Kids Update

Some cute things Annie's been doing lately:
- She tries to put all shoes on her feet
- She loves stuffed animals and all things soft
- She'll be playing, then come give me a hug before crawling off to play again
- She's started saying 'oof, oof!' when she sees a dog, then sticks out her tongue and pants like a dog. She says 'lia!' for Goliath. She loves to follow Goliath around trying to pet him (in that slapping the rear baby way)
- When she falls, she gets up and says "OK!"
- She's getting her top front tooth and top side tooth in
- She's been signing 'more' when Madelynn signs it

Madelynn is also learning more and more every day. She's really into big words lately. Some of her more favorite ones: Horrible, Comfortable, Delicious, just to name a few. She will say a word 20 times when she first learns it to try it out in different sentences. She is really into craft projects and playing dress-up and make believe. I absolutely love her imagination!

So we had to take Madelynn to the ER on Wednesday night. Her left leg suddenly started hurting Tues. night (she refused to walk on it) and then at noon she started running a 103 temp. When we went to the Pedi. she said she thought it was the hip joint hurting and needed xrays and lab draws. So we go to Medical City ER and Madelynn temp was 103.9 when we arrived. After about 5 hours of waiting (tests only took about 1 hour) they said everything looked good and was probably just a virus which can cause inflammation of the hip joint. So Motrin and rest was all that was in order (and here's your $200 bill for that...) So the next morning she was feeling great and walking great (of course.) Until.......she started throwing up that night and running another 103 temp. So after getting her some clear liquids and getting her able to keep medicine down, her temp finally went down and she seemed to have a good night sleeping. This morning she's back at 101 temp. and Tylenol seems to work better at keeping it down so far.....we'll see as the day goes on. I really hope she doesn't pass this nasty virus on to anyone else in our family.

Well, that's about all of the update for now. I'm excited Maddie starts art class next week, then music class in July. We're thinking possibly swimming and soccer in the fall. Should be fun! More updates later...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So Blessed

I've been feeling so blessed lately. God is SO GOOD to us! I miss not spending more time with Jake, but we only have a little longer to sacrifice before I can have more weekends at home; and my job is so great to me- I really have no reason to complain. I know, I need to write about our Germany trip, but I've been so busy lately. I was thinking the other day I need to start planning Annie's 1st birthday party. YIKES! She's almost 1! I just can't believe it! We really do have the best girls in the world! (No biased opinions here- wink, wink) Well, just a quick blog today..... I've been basking in so much love this week, I send everyone some love rays of your own:
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
;P

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Surprise! ......... Again!

So we had our sonogram today.
The doctor says: "It's a girl!"
Me: "Are you sure? We thought it might be a boy at the last sonogram..."
Doctor: "Nope, it's a girl. And it's not going to change."

So I guess she just has a really long umbilical cord. ;) We are a little disappointed, but I happen to think we are very good at raising girls. God knows this and entrusts us to raise another one. Plus, it does make things a little easier with buying clothes (I don't think she'll mind the stains and holes) and the kids room is really really pink.

She is keeping us on our toes for sure! Makes me a little worried about what kind of surprises she has up her sleeve for the delivery....

She is wonderfully healthy, and the doctor says: "just perfect!" And that is what matters most.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Swagger Wagon

So we're looking for minivans.....Not sure if I'm ready for this or not.... This video helps ;)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Escape Artist

Annie has learned how to escape her Bumbo and bouncy (vibrator) chair. We're all in trouble now....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Germany!!!!!

Yes! I'm going to Germany!!!! I'm so excited! About the trip that is......NOT the plane ride.....  I keep thinking that after torturing ourselves with 2 babies on a 10 hour plane ride, then the reward will be even better and grander than imagined. Then, like in the movies, after such a horrifying experience we will emerge even closer as a family......hey, a girl can dream. ;)

So my manically organized side has taken over. I've made a tour book for all the places we'll be exploring. It's complete with pictures, maps, and even common German phrases. I kid you not, it's 117pgs long. Manic..... I know.  It's great though- I found this awesome website (and OK, I know I'm really far behind all you new age techies) called www.wikitravel.org. LOOOOOVE IT!  It has the history of each place, places to see, things to do, traditional foods you have to try, drinks, etc, etc, etc.....  It is like wikipedia, where you have to be aware that people fill everything in so it might not all be accurate; however I found it to be totally interesting (yes, I stayed up until midnight last night reading about everywhere we're going.) Then, I found myself filling in more and more places to go and see into our itinerary.......we don't really have to eat, do we?  I know we'll probably be scratching off alot of places as our 2 preggo women and 3 toddlers in the group start whining to go slower; but so far we plan to rent a van to travel and explore Southern Germany, Northern Switzerland, and Northern Austria. So EXCITING!!!!!  (yes, alot of capitol letters and exclamation points in this post...) ;)

I also am bringing my trip journal with me.  Made me start to reminisce about my Grandma Dollar.  She got me started on my first trip journal.  I still have it and can remember her telling me about ideas of things I can write about along the trip.  I still bring one with me on big trips to make sure I don't forget any detail.  I can't wait to get my kids starting on their journals too.  I think it really helped to fuel my love of writing.

We leave Monday; May 3rd and will return Thursday; May 13th.  I can't wait to write all about it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

South Padre Island

Wow, what a trip! We were only on the island for 1 day, but we did so much it seems like we were there for a week!  We picked up some good tips for our Germany trip (gotta remember to bring trashbags and laxatives....no relation to each other...) and increased our confidence in the girls' ability to do long trips well.

The drive down was surprisingly very pleasant! We started off really early in the morning, and the trip ended up taking about 12hrs, but we made sure at each stop (3 total) that the kids really ran around and got their wiggles out. It got really rainy and cooler than expected; however the kids did great watching movies and sleeping the whole time! Mickey Mouse is the new favorite movie (Winnie the Pooh and Veggie Tales are a close 2nd and 3rd.)

I made a picnic lunch, but got worried if we would be able to enjoy it with all the rain.  We finally found a rest stop during a short break in the rain and grabbed the opportunity.  Madelynn loved running around ("mommy, I'm exercising!") and picking the wildflowers.


Once we got there, we went to the rehearsal dinner (for Aunt Rachel's wedding) at the Shrimp Haus in Schlitterbahn Park.  It was really good food, and the views of the ocean were great! I loved the centerpieces: they were little buckets of crayons and beach toys. Maddie is still holding onto her "crab balloon" and water gun. Madelynn also loved playing with her cousin Ian! He is such an adorable and sweet boy!


The next day (Saturday,) we got to eat breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa before heading out to see the sights.

Of course, before we could actually hit the road Madelynn had to stop and try out the "sand box, sand box!" (we worked on saying beach, but she loves "sand box!" instead- lol!)

Her comment was "kinda like mud, momma!" haha!

So first we headed to the Bird Reserve with Grandpa and Cody (Jake's cousin.) Funny how you see no birds in the photos.....I think they were all still in hibernation.  Needless to say, Maddie and Annie were not amused.....it was a quick trip.


Next was Sea Turtles, Inc. where they find and rehabilitate injured sea turtles. They have a one legged turtle that they have attached a prosthetic 'rudder' to to help it to swim. Very interesting.  Madelynn loved looking at all the turtles, and even Annie seemed interested in watching them swim around.












Next, we went to Pirates Landing for lunch. It's a restaurant where everything is pirate related.  At first, Maddie was unsure of the pirates. But she warmed up quickly, and soon got into the pirate spirit.

Where do pirates go to school? At the arrrrrrrt institute!  Sorry, I couldn't help myself- lol!

Then we were off to the touch pools.  Madelynn got to feed the hermit crabs (shrimp bits) and touch some starfish.  She didn't want to leave.

Right outside, there was a man with some birds.  We got the unexpected opportunity to play with them. Madelynn was in heaven! Cindy (the bird) was great with Maddie!

Whew! We were pooped by then! Well, I guess I should say Mommy and Daddy were pooped! Annie was asleep by now, and Madelynn was.....well rearing to go swimming!  So, off to the beach we went.  I have never heard so much excited screaming from Madelynn.  She had a blast!

The water was freezing, but we were running around so much that we didn't even notice after a while.  Grandma and I took turns with Maddie's high energy- lol!

Then it was off to the wedding!  What a beautiful wedding, and an absolutely gorgeous bride!  We got a great surprise, and got to see Ian get baptized as well!

The reception was held at The Pelican Station. It had fantastic views of the ocean and the food and music was wonderful! We had a great time! As you can see, Madelynn and Annie promptly fell asleep, and Jake and I got to fit in one dance together before crashing back at the hotel.

The ride back was alittle more difficult than the drive down.  Madelynn and Annabelle had tasted freedom, and were not so willing to be strapped down for another 12 hrs.  We made it unscathed though (except for Maddie who decided to draw on her arms with a pen- lol!) It was cool and rainy on the way back as well, but again we found a quick stop in between showers for a picnic lunch and to run around some.

So today is lazy Monday for sure!  It's always more fun to pack, than to unpack from a vacation......so I'll just procrastinate on that- hehe!  I have more pictures uploaded on Facebook, but these were my favorites (then cut in half so the blog wouldn't take 2 pages.)  I'm sure I'll have to tell our Germany story in several parts ;)  Well, here's to many more great vacations!  Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Brand and great job on the fantastic celebration!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Springy House

I've been doing some small and inexpensive things around the house to celebrate Spring!  I'm a decorator at heart, so it is so much fun for me to change things around the house with each season.  Of course, I'm a broke decorator; so the things I change have to be cheap (or free) and in small doses. ;)

Since buying a house, I've become a huge fan of wreaths! I think they make a wonderful first impression, and can express so many seasons and holidays.


Hydrangeas are such a beautiful Spring flower.

Remember that wreaths don't have to go just on the door.  They look great hanging on mirrors and windows too!

I bought some apothecary jars awhile back, and love filling them with beautiful items.  Of course, they are set WAY back on my counter, out of reach of coasting baby hands ;)  Here are some ideas for Spring fillers:

You can buy the bags of fake fruit (apples, lemons, etc...) and fake flowers for an inexpensive price at Walmart (where nobody cares how loud my children scream) ;)

A beautiful Spring tablecloth or place mats are next on my list.  Here are some pretty ones at Pottery Barn (I'm waiting for a good sale to get some) ;)

And last, but certainly not least; I take out my vase to start filling with all the beautiful wildflowers that Madelynn loves to pick for me (and a few garden flowers too.) ;)

Have fun turning your home into a Springy one!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Madness

Being goof-balls this morning.


Annie on the Loose:


Friday, April 2, 2010

Surprise!

Jake and I thought it'd be fun to announce the pregnancy on April Fools Day..... I guess the joke is on us because only a few people remembered it was April Fools Day- lol!  Oh well- yes, it's no joke. I'm pregnant- and everything about this pregnancy has been one surprise after another.

First it started with me just feeling kinda crummy. I was irritable and tired all the time. Of course that little voice pops into my head, 
Could you be pregnant?
No, no, I would think, it's only been 3 weeks since my last cycle; must be PMS
But after a couple more weeks of this nonsense, and starting to have that I have to eat NOW, or get sick sensation; I found myself lingering just alittle longer in front of the pregnancy tests at the store. 
Well, I might want to pick one up.....you know, just in case I ever just feel like peeing on a stick...

One morning in March, I woke up at about 5am and started feeling really sick.
OK, I have the test. I'll just take it to set my mind at ease so I can go back to sleep.
Yes, ladies and gents; it was positive. There was no going back to sleep now.

I told Jake that morning, and he did as all men do: he laughed. Yes, he LAUGHED....I think he was hysterical and in shock at this point. Boy, I'm glad I married a man with a sense of humor- you can either laugh or cry....I prefer to laugh.....then I cried.

So I made the appointment at the doctors to get the sonogram and confirm everything. The sonogram went something like this:
"Wow! That's a big baby!"
"What? What do you mean?"
"I mean, you are NOT 8 weeks along, you are definitely already in your 2nd trimester."
"No, no, that's just not possible! You see, I had this VERY heavy cycle in February..."
"I'm sorry sweetheart, but this baby is 12 weeks not 8."

Yes, 3 MONTHS along! As I quickly do the math in my head (baby due October 16, Annie will be....) Yikes! Annie will be 16 months old!!!!  And the gray hair begins..... Sorry folks, but for the next several years I will officially be that crazy woman who never leaves the house. I may start writing crazy blurbs intermittantly to attempt to communicate to the outside world, but they will all begin with 'there was an old woman who lived in a shoe....'

Then, the next surprise.....
"Want to know what the sex is?"
"You can do that?"
"It won't be 100% until later, but we can get a pretty good idea"
"OK! What do you think?"
"Well......yep, that looks like a little penis- it's a boy!"
And then the excitement starts to set in....a little boy....a sweet little boy! How fun! Of course, he'll probably spend the first year wearing all pink; but a little boy!!!!!

Wow, I've been through every emotion in the book these last few weeks....about five times, and I'm still making the rounds..... But I just have to trust in God, and I know that He has a plan: a Divine Plan. It may not always be MY plan, but it always turns out much better than I ever could imagine.

Whew, I'm tired just writing about this roller coaster. Please keep us in your prayers, and I'll keep you updated.

There was an old woman, who lived in a shoe.....  :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fool's Day!

It's funny how when I was little I loved playing jokes on my siblings (harmless ones of course.)  As I get older, I like this day less and less.  I think I've become the person who hates surprises (type A nurse coming out perhaps?)  Jake and I decided we would not play jokes on each other....I wonder as the kids get older if I'll again look forward to this day....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You know you're on the internet too much when.......

Recently, I've caught myself from almost saying "lol!" and "J/K!" and "rofl!" in a verbal, face to face conversation with someone.  That is really sad......

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Weekly Post

I had hoped to be better at this, and do more than a weekly post.......but life gets in the way sometimes.  Still working on a routine at home (though I hear that NEVER happens with kids........and I'm starting to agree.) 

Let me just say right now that I refuse to comment on the Health Care Reform. I'm sick of hearing about it. The End.

Madelynn's imagination is so wonderful, she is a wonderful daughter and big sister. Even though she is starting to experience the pains of sharing with a sibling, she gets so worried when Annie cries and does everything she can think of to help her.
"I get toy for Annie"
"Mama, Annie needs bottle"
"Annie, don't cry! I kiss your booboo"
"You want song Annie?"
She continues to go down the list until Annie stops crying. It's so cute- she is so sweet!

Annie got her 9month check-up yesterday. She is 18lbs (35%) and 28" (65%).  Head is still ridged, but growing appropriately and no need for worry (if she ever shaves her head, I'll be worried; but not about the ridging....)  It is so hard for me to not compare her physical progress with Madelynn's at that age. Maddie was crawling on all fours, and pulling up to standing by that age.  Annabelle is army crawling, but shows no interest in being on all fours. She has learned how to go up stairs, but not pull up to standing. I think it is just a difference in personality.  Annie is a very laid back child (thank goodness) so she is just happy sitting there. Maddie was always on the move, couldn't ever sit still.  Even knowing this, I still worry.  It is my job.......or curse......

I got the opportunity to watch my nephew Ian last week. It was lots of fun! It was great to see how it would be with 3 kids.......now all future kids have to be as good as Ian. 
Here is a blackmail photo we captured:


My kids are forced to love me- bwahaha!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Time to open up the Grill!

Sorry, I've fallen off the blog bandwagon lately. I've been preparing my house for spring (more to come on that subject later.) 

With spring on the way, I can't wait to start grilling! Jake is going to start a new hobby this year: smoking! Ok, people don't get all but it causes lung cancer on me. He is going to start smoking MEAT! He is going to make the smoker using this site as guidelines:
http://www.randyq.addr.com/ecb/ecbmods.html

Should be interesting! I shall have to post pics and the results afterwards. If everything goes well, it'll be really yummy! The oncology nurse in me does want to add the disclaimer that eating lots of smoked meat puts you at risk for colon cancer- so just everything in moderation!

Jake and I love a good cold beer with chips and dip while we grill. Here is our favorite dip recipe- it's the best!


Southwest Dip

One medium sized container of sour cream
One packet of Taco Seasoning
Throw it all together in a bowl, mix, and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Attention Homeschoolers!

A Beka Book Materials Displays/Conventions coming to Texas! March-April: check out the website for more information.  If you order at the convention, there is no shipping cost.

Website Here

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Funny for the Day

Madelynn was eating her dinner of fishsticks with ketchup and ranch (such the southern girl.)
Jake says: "Madelynn, what are you going to put on your fishstick?"
Maddie: "My mouth Daddy.......my mouth"

Friday, March 5, 2010

This too shall pass

Cool music video! Just had to share!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies


If you're needing a good sweet snack and don't want to go to the store, these are the best and easiest cookies to make. I love making them with Madelynn too because she can help roll the dough and place them on the cookie sheet (and of course she gets to lick to bowl afterwards....)



Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

1cup peanut butter (sometimes I use creamy and sometimes crunchy...both are good)
1cup sugar
1 egg

Mix together and roll into small balls. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 325 degrees. Cookies will be soft when taken out of oven and will harden as they cool down.

Sometimes I make them extra small and add icing to them (or make an icing sandwich with them.) ;P