Sunday, July 28, 2013

Been busy

I mentioned a few posts back the girls changed roommates. In that process, life size Justin Bieber posters were removed from the wall. He took the top layer of wall board with him. I've never been a fan. Anyway, that led to a repair and paint project this weekend. Lauren chose Tiffany Blue for the wall color and I chose the dresser color. The results are beautiful.

I also wrapped up the living areas a few weeks ago but never updated with photos. My sister complained. She rarely does that so here are the "after" photos of living room and kitchen. Once again, I love the results. I just hoped my failure to post photos would have encouraged her to visit and see it in person. Sigh.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The celebration continues.....

Makenna experienced Cheesecake Factory for the first time and was impressed with her birthday choice. Erin and I were pleased to be invited along; however, I picked up the bill so perhaps I should have declined. 
Makenna was the last remaining preteen on the planet without a cell phone, or so she believed. Nearing her thirteenth birthday, she created a persuasive power point presentation for us in a final attempt to convince us she was ready for her own phone. Greg and I had maintained sixteen was the right age for our children to acquire that responsibility; however, we have reached the point of finding Makenna constantly out and about with friends and no way to contact her. Public school is on the horizon next week and she plans to be involved in multiple activities so we decided to bend the rules. We didn't mention this fact to Makenna so she was in no way expecting a phone for her birthday. It was a fun surprise.

Last night we hosted a houseful of her friends for a bonfire. They joined Jill and Aaron who were visiting from Dayton for a lot of laughs, cupcake wars and hot dogs. It was a beautiful night and the perfect ending to Makenna's birthday celebration. Had I not been sitting and enjoying my time with Jill, I would have had the camera handy for memorable moments like my son chasing Jill's with a Nerf gun through the yard with a look of pure glee on his face. The teens covered in icing from impromptu food fights may have also been photographed; although I would have had to acknowledge they were taking place in order to capture the evidence. I pretended not to notice in exchange for conversation.

All celebrations have concluded. We are now the parents of three teenage girls. Pray for us.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Another Teenager!

For all intents and purposes, this beautiful girl has been a teenager for at least 18 months, but according to the calendar, today is the big day. Happy 13th birthday to you, Makenna Grace. You are still the gray that buffers the stark black and white differences of your older two sisters. Their polar opposites brought closer together with the addition of you into our busy family thirteen years ago. Your quick wit, sparkly personality and ability to negotiate calms a lot of storms when you choose to be that force. The days you don't? Look out because you have real zeal in the final word department too.

The summer of 2000 was the busiest season of our life thus far. Your dad fell 25 feet and spent three weeks in the hospital enduring multiple surgeries. We chose to move your birth to the same hospital as your dad so your sisters wouldn't have to visit their parents in two different locations. You held on for several days after the doctor insisted you were ready to be born (dilated to 7 cm for four days) because Mom needed to support Dad through an eleven hour surgery; or so she believed at the time. From the beginning, you have laid back and waited for the convenient time to make an entrance, selfless most often. Our largest baby at birth, 8 pounds 11 ounces and the earliest at 37 weeks gestation, you wouldn't know it now, being the shortest of your peers. We tease you are "fun size" and fun, you are.
To this day, I promise friends the third is the easiest baby because you were. You were the most patient, least fussy and most pleasant of all my babies. You went with the flow and at the time of your birth, the flow was much more like rapids but you weathered it all beautifully. To this day, you take and take all you can take until you boil over. It's colorful and almost amusing because seeing you take a stand is powerful but rare. We're glad you focus that energy on the issues that matter. You are a good friend, an awesome sister, nurturing, silly and an overall amazing person. I am glad God chose you to be in our family.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend Glimpses

Screeching from the kitchen called me to attention. Greg handed Ty a requested drink of water in the red dinosaur cup. Ty likes the blue dinosaur cup. I casually mention this fact to Greg who is standing over our dramatic son with an expression of confusion on his face. The expression quickly changed to the all too familiar raised eyebrow as I exchanged cups. Greg headed back to the boy with a new cup and I quietly stopped him. He requests four ice cubes in his cup because he is four now. It was three just over a week ago. I was met with a questioning stare. We live in chaos. Chaos I have unintentionally created in the name of peace. I choose my battles wisely. They are too frequent and I am out numbered.

As I was walking out the door for bible study last night, my teens were suddenly exchanging words not permitted in our home. One was in tears believing she isn't loved by her sisters. One felt poorly for expressing herself in the heat of the moment and one stood stubbornly by her hatefulness. I didn't go to bible study. Greg and I supported the girls navigating feelings and expressions. At a few intervals we exchanged looks of "how did it come to this?" and "where to do we go from here?" I pray they can find their way back to friendship. It breaks my heart to see them on teams, battling one another. Glimpses of responsibility were noted but we've got a long way to go and I fear our time is running out. I know families where all the adult siblings cannot get along despite efforts of their parents. I pray that isn't our story.

Roommates were changed this weekend. It was our first room change since preparations for the arrival of Ty began. Kate now shares with Lauren. She eliminated the shabby chic bedding as zebra prints were requested instead. Seven year old bedding was washed and donated to a family with young girls; little signs of wear present. I was melancholy transferring it. Time, I want to hold on as long as I can.

Erin and Makenna now share the space upstairs. I wont likely visit often. They are the opposite of Lauren and I as perfectionists. As I said, there are battles I am not willing to engage.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A New Buddy

Erin took Ty on a little frozen yogurt date yesterday. George went along too. 
My little boy picked out a new friend this week during a marathon jean shopping escapade with Makenna. Let's go ahead and add jean shopping to that list of experiences to be avoided; right after bras, bathing suits and dresses. Anyway, Ty was incredibly patient but after an hour and a half running in and out of the fitting room, I let him choose a toy to play with while we remained stuck at Kohls. Ty chose George and their adventures together began immediately. George practiced flips and jumps in the isles. He talked Ty into asking for french fries and being purchased. Ty was thrilled to be permitted to buy George at the end of our shopping experience. He had birthday money from my friend Kristil and I had to agree to the new toy, having never witnessed him interact with a stuffed animal before. His play is always quite imaginative but the way he's playing with George is unique and special. It's been fun to listen to him talk to George and watch him care for him too.
George wanted to help but Mom insisted he say dry. So he kept watch over the pool filling detail. 

George needed his own seat belt in Erin's car

George requested a sleepover
If this special bond lasts many more days, I may be sneaking a back-up George into the house.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why do we buy toys?

Mom got a new washer but the kids got the best part.....
the awesome box! My kids have literally called neighbor kids to invite them over to play with the new box. I think I will hit up my favorite UPS guy for empty boxes and call it Christmas around here this year.
I talked myself into the washer purchase once I learned my neighbors were consistently saving $150/month on their water bill after investing in an HE model in December. They were the second family of similar size to make that switch with incredible results. I am tired of spending $300/month on water and Sears had a great sale. It will pay for itself in three months.

The day after we invested, Anne's washer threw a fit and tossed 45 gallons of water all over her house. She and Greg spent a few hours cleaning up the mess and that afternoon Anne also bought a new washer. At Sears. The same model. From the same salesperson. She's a copy cat. We both installed our new machines yesterday and continued to text one another about features until Anne ended our little dialog with one final text, "we need a life". Amen.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Today I found time to read. It required I changed locations a half dozen times to find relative peace but I enjoyed a book.

Today my sweet boy told me he wants to be three again because four is really hard. Someone's had several busy days in a row and is pretty tired.

Today I spent my morning teaching with another adult I hadn't worked with before. His wife and kids are out of town so he showed up to help alone. He has three older teens, a nine year old and a four year old. I can't wait to meet his wife! I have never met another family like ours before.

Today I worked with a special needs little one who stirred my heart. She smiled so big and held on tight to my fingers the entire hour. I wish I could find as much joy in the simplest of activities like Olivia. She was precious.

Today I also worked with a spirited four year old who told me I had five minutes to wrap up our bible lesson or he was running. That reminded me of the time when Lauren was three and hadn't been feeling well so she was in big church with us rather than her classroom. We had a very elderly preacher leading prayer that service and his prayers were lengthy to say the least. Lauren reached her limit and yelled, "Amen already!".

Today I woke with rings that fit my fingers and shoes too large; my inflammation levels already responding to this torturous diet. I suspect dairy will be the culprit in the long run but eliminating all possible sources for awhile will help best determine what needs to be permanently deleted from my diet.

Today I texted my parents the good news about early results and said I was thrilled to see something because I have been rather grumpy on this diet. My charming father responded the diet was a likely excuse for my grumpiness.

Today ends vacation. The extra little ones return tomorrow. It was fun while it lasted but there's something to be said for routine as well.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday, Ty!

This awesome little boy says he got his four today. He is a busy joy. He talks non-stop and is in constant motion. I wouldn't have it any other way. His mannerisms, mispronunciations and stories brighten our days.
Today, we celebrated Ty with nerf guns, water balloons, a football, bikes, trucks and cupcakes. It was "a big birthday" according to our favorite four year old.
Looking at baby photos 

At this point it was determined Greg would be getting the only time out of the day for mis-using Ty's new toys

While Daddy filled water balloons, Kate and Ty bombarded him with water balls. 

Daddy got even with the hose, or at least attempted to because Brutus kept jumping into the stream of water

Nerf bullets were aimed at the sliding glass door. Daddy is pleased to report the boy already has a great shot. 

Happy birthday little man. We love you. 

During bedtime tonight, Ty reported having cupcakes with his friend Lincoln was his favorite part of the day. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Greg took Kate and Ty to Ohio to see both sets of grandparents and have his annual appointment with his surgeon. They were gone for three days and two nights. I was supposed to go along to see friends, have dinner with my husband to acknowledge our nineteenth wedding anniversary, celebrate Ty's upcoming fourth birthday and relax by Mom's pool with my little people; but the teens had conflicting schedules and an additional driver was required at home. That driver had to be me since Greg's bones were needed at the surgeon's office. Greg hesitantly took the little ones along, not confident this was a solid plan given how little he honestly has to provide for all their needs for extended periods of time. Each check-in proved he was enjoying time with them. Each check-in also found me in a state of disbelief. I was alone a lot. I mean ALONE. As in all by myself! This is a foreign concept for me. I am always meeting the needs of others and one hour alone in the grocery store constitutes a break in my world. But, I enjoyed it. I was relaxed even though I wasn't completely sure what I was going to do with myself. There were painting projects I could have delved into. I could always find something to clean but I made myself relax instead. And I did it. I wandered a few stores aimlessly. I chose meals at the last minute and once fed my teens a healthy and indulgent dinner of crab legs, asparagus and peaches....all off the grill and incredible. Four hours later they kidnapped me and held me hostage in an i Hop because they were starving. Given I have started a grain, dairy and sugar free anti-inflammatory diet, my options at i Hop were quite limited! Having never been to one before, the kids were convinced it was a travesty and insisted we eat there at 11 pm! People, I should have been in bed but found myself inhaling in a cheese-free omelet and enjoying it. Other than the i Hop incident, I dined on smoothies, soups and salads. Not feeding a small army left me to my own whims and it was good. Really good. I accomplished very little and for me, that was amazing. I am not skilled at this relaxation gig but I not only survived, I enjoyed it.

They returned today full of stories, laughter, messes and noise. My world has been restored.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fun with Shelby

Shelby gets to spend some time with us while her mom is in the hospital. I told Jennifer she doesn't have to be admitted to get me to keep this sweet girl because we're happy to have her. In all seriousness, keep Jenn in your prayers. It's been a long and hard journey.

We were so dirty from catching crawdads, we had to rinse off in the pool and then jump on the trampoline to dry off enough to get into the shower.
 We followed the shower with a tea party.....Ty's favorite.

Bedtime prayers have been spoken and little ones are tucked in for the night. Tomorrow promises more adventure and good times.