Saturday, January 29, 2011

This is my life.....

My parents are here....the sun was shining all day and I was able to take a walk with my mom. Yep, it was good. Church was fun because my classroom was down to 16 four year old bundles of energy rather than the 31 from last week. Thank God Miss Amy was back to tackle half!
Tonight we enjoyed sharing our pork carnitas and double chocolate cake with friends and then watched Toy Story 3 with Kate who is still running 102.6 temp after a week. I still get misty eyed when I watch that movie. The scene where Andy's mom comes into his empty room as he is ready to head to college moves me. I see that coming into my life way too soon. Anyway, I was an irresponsible mom and let Kate play in the front yard all bundled up for a little while this afternoon because I think the sunshine did her soul some good too. She loved it. All her spring toys were all over the yard and sidewalk chalk made an appearance on the driveway as well. Why not? It was in the mid 40's and THE SUN WAS SHINING!
Our final evening hours were spent laughing so hard our heads hurt as Lauren and Makenna put on quite a show for my parents. They've now seen my life as it typically is.....loud, crazy, unusual and downright silly. I just never know what will come out of their mouths or dance moves will be created. Tonight they teased their dad to the point he had them in head locks. All of this took place around our sleeping Kate who never stirred. As I said before, this is typical and I love it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Poor Kate

It's been a long couple of days and nights. This sweet girl can't get rest as a result of congestion and drainage. She is pretty miserable.

Greg brought it to my attention that my previous post sounded a little "braggy" which was certainly not my intent. I wrote that entry because I have had several friends ask me how I can possibly shop a month at a time and if that saves me money in the long run. I was sharing what I do in hopes of helping and in all seriousness, hoping others will share their tips to further stretch our grocery dollars.  Next to our mortgage, food is our biggest expense. And, "the sad state my family was in without me" was simply referencing the sick factor in our house this week and how much everyone wants Mom around when they don't feel well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sick days......and grocery shopping

Kate and Ty were feeling pretty puny today so cuddle time on the couch was in order.

Motrin kicked in.....peek.

Cold sore number 9 in 10 months arrived this evening and it is going to be a nasty one. I've debated the maintenance meds because it isn't life threatening but I am really tired of seeing these ugly things on his sweet face.

Ty started with a fever last Wednesday after his 18 month checkup. He's still feverish and very congested. He still finds the energy to play some throughout the day even though he isn't eating well or drinking much. All indicators are that he also has a sore throat. Poor thing has been miserable again. Kate started with the sore throat on Saturday after church and the fever kicked in on Sunday. She's sleeping more than he is.

On a completely different note, I did my monthly grocery shopping today after dropping Erin off at work. Or at least, I did the Meijer portion of my shopping. I spent the earlier part of the day creating a monthly meal plan which simply means that I made a list of all the meals we would eat in the next 30 days (I ask my family for suggestions so we have everyone's favorites throughout the month) and then made a corresponding grocery list. I have pre-made lists for Sam's Club and Meijer according to store layout and the items I generally purchase.  I also keep a magnetic shopping list on my fridge to note staples as we run out of them. Once I have my competed shopping lists, I typically hit Sam's Club first because I can shop Meijer's sale ad online before heading out to compare meat prices and such. But, given the sad state my family was in without me today, I only made it to Meijer. I had to go alone which was tough on my tired body (have I mentioned my 24 lb son only wants to be held when he doesn't feel well?) but I managed to pull two overflowing grocery carts through the store. Teenagers are wonderful helpers in the grocery store and I missed mine today. I spent $326, but took advantage of a lot of personal item sales and needed meds for the kids. Meijer brand lotions, body wash, deodorant, feminine products (we should be buying stock in that stuff and toilet paper here) were all buy one get one free or 50% off. It was worth stocking up now. I had a few coupons but I find that store brands are cheaper overall and the hassle of finding and clipping coupons has not been worthwhile for me. Meijer brand is all natural without the preservatives found in most name brand products. I am well stocked in meat, beans, fruit, veggies, milk, yogurt, butter, cereal, snacks, canned goods, pasta, bread products, salad dressings, baked goods and soy milk.
Later in the week I will hit Sam's for diapers, all paper products, seasonings, coffee, tea, frozen veggies, flour, sugar, peanut butter, fish, bacon, salsa, dog food, water softener salt and cheese. I will likely spend another $200 there. We will be set for the month with the exception of fresh produce, milk and eggs which I pick up weekly after church or dropping Erin off at work because Meijer is so close to both of those locations. The weekly stops are quick and run me around $40 each. I have tweaked my system several times but for now, it works for us. I would like to find additional ways to cut costs, but feeding a family of seven fresh, whole foods is expensive. My kids clean out a ridiculous amount of fruit each week.....literally in four days, we go through a bag of apples, 3-4 pears, a package of strawberries, a bag of cherries, a bunch of bananas, 3 cucumbers and two tomatoes.
I do my shopping around Greg's monthly paycheck because it helps me stay on budget. I don't pick up things not on my list because I am already buying so much! I would like to eliminate paper products because of their cost, but I happen to live in one of the most expensive areas for water. My monthly water, sewage and trash is $200. Assuming, I'd be doing more laundry as a result of doing away with paper products, means the water bill will increase and frankly, I do enough laundry! If you happen to have any savings tips you don't mind passing along, I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A boxload of fun!

My friend, Erin Jackson sent us a box full of hand-me-down twin bedding for Ty's upcoming big boy bed. It is construction themed and so much fun.....I'll post photos when everything gets put together. Anyway, the kids are having a blast with the box......

I've had little sleep the last three nights for a variety of reasons. Last night, just 10 hours after Ty's WELL baby visit, he developed a 102.4 fever. He was up and down all night and is miserable AGAIN. Thank God we get to wait six months for our next appointment. I wish doctors made house calls.

So, the box has provided art class of sorts for the girls today. We haven't done any art projects this year because I have been so focused on the basics and preparing Lauren for high school next year. Given my level of sleep deprivation, it was a good day to set the books aside and let them create, play and imagine together.

Parenting has presented some new challenges this week. It's been tough. I can't say the teen years are more difficult than the earlier phases, they are just different. Erin was presented with something that put her in the middle of an uncomfortable encounter. She handled it well, but she was depleted in the end. Sometimes the hard choice is the right choice. I am proud of her. On top of her situation, we've been presented with some worldly issues. The kids' music selections have left Greg and I wondering if they should be allowed to choose what they listen to. It is such a tough line to draw. At what point do you allow them to make choices and learn from them and when do you say "absolutely not"?  I have discussed the "if Jesus were in the room with you, would you be comfortable listening to/ watching this?". Revelations this week proved they aren't applying that rule to their decisions. I'm praying...

Speaking of prayer, I very selfishly prayed last night for God to help Ty sleep all night because I was tired. I had tears in my eyes...exhausted and yet feeling guilty for even uttering the words. There are so many mothers desperate for real healing and serious issues to be resolved. Sleep deprivation adds to my selfishness.

Makenna in a box. She'd like to wear makeup like a clown but clowns scare the heck out of Lauren.....that almost makes it more tempting for Makenna!

I could get real used to having him confined like this!

Lauren is on the back side of the box, once again hiding from the camera. Her side is all about Justin Bieber.....Ty's latest words!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

18 month check up

He can now open the door!

This is probably not a good location for a random table....

But it's fun!

Look at me!

He was saying "fish" because they were on the wall.

Ty was calling Pa-Pa......

He doesn't appear to have service in the exam room? Hm....we'll have to call Pa-pa later.
Ty enjoyed showing off for Dr. Rezaei once again. He talked, identified his body parts, growled like a bear, jumped and climbed. She was impressed as she giggled "boys are fun". She says he is ahead in verbal and physical milestones and looks great. He has gained one pound and one inch in three months. He is now in the 85% for height at 33 1/2 inches and 25% for weight at 24 lbs 6 ounces. He was pleased until the nurse returned to administer his final vaccines until his 5th birthday. As soon as Gina walked in, Ty said, "all done" and started heading toward the door. Poor broke my heart.I took these photos while we waited to see the doctor in the exam room.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Over due!

Our last family photo was 4+ years old and a FEW things have changed since. So, I made an appointment for the only afternoon in a week we are all together....Sunday. Click Portraits came highly recommended and I have to add my referral. They were wonderful.

Erin 15, Lauren 14, Makenna 10, Kate 5, Ty 18 months and we'll just leave it at that!
This is a photo of a photo since we no longer have a working printer or scanner in the house.....I love the shot. Lauren literally breezed into the studio for 15 minutes and was right back out the door. A car dropped her off and returned that quickly to pick her up! Social agendas determine her every move! I thanked her for stopping in for her photo op!
Our OSU tees drew some attention, as we aren't fans of either local team....we met some friendly adversaries in the waiting room....Michigan fans, in from Michigan for extended family photos. They were fun, at least until their son kicked mine. Greg and I watched a child bully Ty in the church nursery last night too. In both cases, Ty seemed oblivious. Lord help us when he catches on. He did enjoy the big open studio where he was able to run, play and dance. The shoot was quick and painless. We MAY not wait another  four years to do it again!

Now, for Ty's latest tricks. He turned 18 months on the 13th. He added "baby" to his vocabulary this week. He likes babies, including photos of himself. He decided to start wearing his "stinky shoes" on Friday. He now has opinions about pajamas....really? Who would have thought he'd care about anything in his wardrobe?

The stool was pushed across the floor in hopes of reaching the cookies on the plate above. I snapped the photo and then moved the stool back. He is fearless and determined!

Popcorn and a movie are still highlights to our Friday nights. Both Kate and Ty love popcorn although Kate asks for peanut butter popcorn every week. I don't make that one available very often. 

My sister called on Monday to share the news that her sister in law has been matched with a baby boy who was due on the 23rd for adoption. They were placed without warning and needed to pull things together quickly. Given the expedited pace this was suddenly taking, the expenses skyrocketed. Their family had three prior adoptions fall through so they didn't prepare much in advance to help prevent further pain. Anyway, that meant we were all pulling our outgrown things together to pass along. I met Theresa and her family in Lexington on Wednesday for Donatos (I wish we had one around here!) and to hand off the items I cannot believe we are already finished using. Time flies. Nathan James was born this afternoon and his new parents are in route to meet him. It's a beautiful thing.

Ty likes Donatos too!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Praying hands are so sweet!

I always hold Ty's hands when we pray at dinner. Tonight, he was ready on his own!

Snow Day 1-11-11

A morning snooze to kick off our snow day.....I love waking up to this scene. Greg gets Ty every morning after he gets home from work and they were both out cold this morning when I woke up.

Makenna wasn't interested in being outside for photos.....we got two shots on her way to her friend's house.

Lauren has to prove she's crazy and is outside in SHORTS!

Lauren thinks it looks like she is being hit by a UPS truck.

Kate would play outside all day.....she loves the snow.

Erin's friends, Tori and Stephanie came over the day after Christmas and immediately climbed into Kate's tent. Stephanie stayed there the duration of their visit, dressing Fancy Nancy, reading books and pretending on Kate's level. Kate started making plans to have Erin's friends over for a sleepover in the tent. It was on the calendar for this Friday night but Erin's boyfriend sent a last minute message last night that he is having a birthday party on Friday. Kate casually responded that Erin could go to Stephen's but Tori and Stephanie would still come to Kate's party. Erin was clearly uncomfortable as she tried to explain that the girls would go to Stephen's also. Kate broke down crying that they can't change plans because she already wrote it down, "in pen"!  As I was putting Kate to bed a little while later, she became upset again as she talked about her first sleepover being ruined by Stephen's "dumb birthday party".  All the girls like Stephen, but I suspect Kate is no longer one of his biggest fans!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kristin and the boys visited!

Makenna and Ethan were as imaginative as usual...this was Ethan's game called "old man".

I had to sneak this him!

Makenna would dress like this without a game involved....she loves to accessorize!

Avry's saying "cheese"!

Attempts to get these two to pose for a photo were exhausting and in the end, well, we didn't get a shot!

Team work....

Kristin's arm is cropped out of this one...she's literally holding Avry in the shot! The big girls refused to participate.

Yes, there is another cold sore....

Both boys like their "phones".
After what may have been the longest drive ever from Dayton to Louisville, Kristin and the boys arrived Saturday morning. They left Dayton Friday afternoon......after five hours stuck in Cincinnati traffic, they ended up in a hotel Friday night and made the remainder of the trip on Saturday. Disappointing, to say the least. At any rate, we were able to relax and play with the little ones for 24 hours. We ate well and the kids had a great time playing. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Risky Business!

I took little man to Stride Rite today to use his Christmas gift card from Grandma Carol. We had exactly two brown shoe options, both of which, Ty declared as "stinky shoes" and refused to put on. Once I literally wrestled one pair onto his feet, he took off out of the store so I said, "we'll take them" as Makenna caught him and Lauren created a game of riding in the elevator out of there! So we have a great pair of stinky shoes and a strong reminder of how much fun toddlers are in the mall.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


The date looks significant. The dropping of the ball typically invokes deep emotions. The gathering of family and friends to ring in the new year around the wii with a few wild children who are pepped up on enough sugar to make it four hours past their bedtimes usually keeps me nostalgic. But...not this year. Weird. I was good, really good through the holidays. I embraced them, enjoyed them and found simple pleasures along the way. However, I found myself numb as everyone around me seemed to be celebrating. Not sad. Not mad. Not emotional in any way. Just there, sort of. Numb. Nothing is bothering me. I'm not in deep thought about anything more than usual. I'll be in prayer about my demeanor this week. I am typically so emotional that music, life stories, commercials and books make me cry. This was a strange feeling for me.
So, we ushered in 2011 and then said little people into bed just in time for one sweet baby boy to sing out "pa-pa". We discovered that Ty doesn't sleep well if he isn't in his own bed. Fun discovery at that late hour and ALL NIGHT LONG! Much to Makenna and Kate's dismay, we packed up and headed home today rather than have "one more sleep over" at "pa-pa's house". The older girls are always ready to go home to their own beds, friends and social agendas so the abrupt decision suited them nicely, but was met with disappointed tears in Makenna's eyes. The kids also voted to skip out on a family vacation this summer with "pa-pa" because they don't like to travel. Their choice was met with more disappointment on the grandparent end, but in all honesty, the kids get that from me. Don't mess with my routine. I don't like it. I spend entirely too much time working on the planning and such that I don't relax and enjoy vacations. I'd rather stay home with my nose in a book on my swing. I am pretty low maintenance.
We were able to see our favorite hairdresser while we were "home". Miss Beth is always a treat to visit and I feel like I am back into my own hair afterward. It's been 6 months since the kids had cuts because it has been that long since we saw Miss Beth. Makenna made the most dramatic changes to her hair, adding bangs and a sharp angled cut. She is thrilled. Kate requested her hair be "cut longer". Since extensions seem a little unnecessary for a five year old, we opted for a minor trim. Lauren added more side bangs and long layers. She's thrilled. Erin had a basic trim. We love Miss Beth and wish we could see her more often, but that brings us back to traveling.....
I pray I grow, serve and love in 2011. I pray God continues His hard work on me. I've teased that my New Year's Resolution is to NOT travel with teens or tots this year, but I suspect more serious spiritual matters will be worked on instead. God knows I need it!