Monday, February 23, 2015

Newport Aquarium

A month ago I realized I wouldn't have extra kiddos on February 23. I talked with Kate's teacher and arranged a personal day for her so she could go with us to the Newport Aquarium. They were once again offering two free kids with one paid adult. I invited Kristin and Avry to meet us. Lauren figured out what surprise I had planned and harassed me and her teacher endlessly until she was also cleared to go. Lauren loves sharks. We are all glad we went. It was a great day.

upside down jelly fish were beautiful
The sharks were a bit timid with busy little fingers so the boys didn't get the experience Kate and Lauren did.

The girls spent a great deal of time in this location. They loved it and talked at length about the different species they saw today on the way home. Lauren dreams of swimming with sharks in South Africa someday. Her mother would rather not think about it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Yellow Bunnies

The weekend held more relaxation and desperate attempts to entertain the family. We are a bit stir crazy at this point. A wii bowling tournament over popcorn and ice cream commenced Saturday night after we shoveled the driveway and back deck. Kate and Ty were finally able to get back outside for a bit since the freezing rain subsided and temperatures rose to freezing. Fresh air, no matter how cold is always a good idea.

Greg and I slipped away with our final Christmas gift card to Longhorn for lunch today. It was as delicious as usual. We've barely connected the last few weeks so the uninterrupted meal was more than appreciated.

Kate rode with me to drop Makenna off at a friend's house this afternoon. The next thing we knew, we were in Target. It's crazy how that happens. I now own a sweet little rabbit figurine. It's yellow. And happy. And says spring will arrive. I promise it was worth the $3. Maybe it's just me but the tulips will be adorning the front door before the week ends because I am tired of depressing browns. Spring will happen. Soon, I hope. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Arresting Elsa

So we're knee deep in day number five of snowed in, too cold to play outside and "oh my God will you just be quiet for five minutes!" My house is a disaster. Mopping is done in vain at least once every day. I am finding humor in places I shouldn't. Come heck or high water, we have to get out of here if even for ANOTHER grocery run. The food consumption this week has been insane. Three more inches of ice are expected overnight. I might cry.

Rumor has it the Harlan, KY police department has issued a warrant for Elsa's arrest. I second that motion. I want spring wardrobes, tulips and green grass. I need to send my children out of the house, even if for a few hours. Spring. I need spring.

It hasn't been all bad, this blistering cold week. The sun has come out almost every day and the bright white snow has elevated it's effect. I have caught up on some of the reading the lovely people at Amazon gifted me. Some recent favorites The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle,  A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson, Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The first three reminding me of the blessing of friendship and marriage. The last was raw and difficult but full of redemption too.

We've played all the games. We've worked on some school projects. We've baked and eaten too much. At one point, Lauren and Kate were holding me hostage for a High School Musical marathon and I about lost my ever loving mind.The weekend promises more of the same. My kindle and I will be curled up in hiding somewhere. Fortunately my parents were here last weekend so I still have some chocolate. There is a strong chance we will all survive two more days of this. Please let it be only two more days.

In adorable news, Ty wishes he had the money for a ninja costume. Until that day he has decided red on red on red works quite nicely.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Days....

Erin's best friend got engaged this weekend. She's asked Erin to be the maid of honor. The wedding is in September of 2016 so Erin immediately signed up for Pinterest and has started planning. Justin has known for a year and a half he will be the best man in his cousin's wedding this May. He has so far failed to make the first plan. Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you the difference between men and women.

I worked on the kids' scrapbooks. I have completed Kate's final pages. From now on, her books will be digital. I have mixed feelings about this.

I ended up at Meijer today. The main roads are passable but not pleasant. Four kids piled into the van, desperate to get out of the house. We should have not needed a grocery run this soon but seven people in the same house for 48 hours tend to clear out the food pretty quickly. More snow is expected tomorrow. I don't mind being snowed in a few days here and there but the truth of the matter is that I am desperate to see spring's arrival. I always am.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Weekend Review

We keep Valentine's Day pretty simple around here. There aren't expectations beyond a treat for the kids to share. As Greg likes to boast, the last time we celebrated Valentine's Day, we ended up with Lauren. It's not that we don't love Lauren, but she was totally God's idea. Anyway, this year was no exception. Trying to navigate when to give the kids a treat was the tricky part. Everyone has opposing schedules. So I decided to set things out after everyone went to bed Friday night so as they all started their Valentine's Day, they'd be met with a sweet reminder of our love for them. Kenna called from a friend's house Friday night requesting she get to spend the night. I reminded her of our valentines and she told me she didn't want to hurt her friend's mom's feelings because they have the same idea in their house. It's nice to know where I stand in these situations.
They all looked so cute chatting together until I picked up the camera. Teenagers are the least cooperative people on the planet sometimes.

My parents spent the weekend with us. Mom and I sat down today to search rental properties for the St. Louis area and booked a villa for Spring Break. We are now seeking an itinerary for all things free in St. Louis to entertain three generations. I think we'll love it. 

The Louisville Slugger Museum made the cut for today's activity when we learned about the $5 admission for this month. Ty loved it and wants to return soon. Finding his name throughout the museum amused him. "My name is here and not yours because I am famous".  In a round-a-bout way, Ty was sort of named after Ty Cobb. Greg's maternal grandfather was given the name George at birth but was such a great ball player, the community referred to him as Ty after Ty Cobb. When we were seeking names for our Ty, that story kept popping into conversations. I wanted John David but Greg's brother has John as a middle name after their paternal grandfather and we didn't want to use the name Brad may one day want to pass down. So, Ty David it is. It is famous after all.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Two year old Anna in a very serious tone said to Oliver, "alright now, let's be careful". Oliver promptly swatted at the finger she had pointed at him. She then looked at me with the most sincere expression and said, "Oli-ber is not listening"
Our little mailman is pretty adorable and takes his job very seriously. Anna's mom owns a preschool and brings extra crafts to Ty a few times each week. The letter carrier bag was a big hit. He loved making it, as he enjoys all the crafts he completes with Amanda and more so, he loves creating mail for the neighbors. Since our little mailman has limited boundaries, the four neighbors within tight proximity to our house have been inundated with drawings of superheros. The word, "MAIL" is written on the outside of their taped up packaging. He has practiced writing neighbors' names too. It's serious cuteness.

I had an emotional moment this week after discussing college plans with Lauren. This conversation fell on the heels of a discussion with Erin about her internship ending with multiple job offers. The one she wants to take will move her across town. As in AWAY FROM ME. The nerve of these kids to grow up and move out. As we talked about room arrangements and things that would change around here when they both move out, I started to cry. I tried to keep it together because Lauren tolerates very few tears in all situations, especially from her mother. Ever so helpfully Lauren offered to look at baby photos for her senior yearbook to distract me. She's helpful.  Or not.

We had one of Lauren's final conferences Thursday. She was supposed to find a senior quote to accompany her baby photo for the yearbook and so far, none of them are fit for printing. For the love. We are so proud. I spend a lot of time breathing deeply while rubbing my temples in these conferences. May God bless her teacher. She's been through a lot these last three years. For the record, I suggested, "am I in trouble" for her senior quote because any time Danielle or I call her into a discussion, she responds with, "am I in trouble?"

Erin rear-ended a middle aged man on the highway this week in stop-and-go traffic. There was no damage to his car and only her license plate was cracked. The man got out of the car apologizing to her and making sure she was okay. He assumed full responsibility for the accident and asked if she wanted to call the police. Erin said she'd rather not be late for work but would call if he wanted. He agreed to let it go, gave her a hug and again made sure she was okay. Only Erin would get a hug and apology from a perfect stranger for something she was responsible for.

Getting kids onto the bus at 6:50 each morning has it's perks. God shows off a bit at sunrise. This would be the only perk to that horrendous hour but I will take the gifts.

Meanwhile at Meijer.......

Someone chose her own shoes for the day. Anna is one of a kind.
He talked me in to a swiffer so he can mop all by himself. He begged for Oxyclean laundry detergent. "Mom, it is a powerful clean!" I may be raising a germ-a-phobe, a slipper wearing Super germ-a-phobe.

As we entered Meijer he asked what was on our list. I started listing veggies and he let out a deep sigh. "I am so glad Grandma and Grandpa are coming tomorrow. They will bring the good food."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Snow Day Fun

When it's too cold to play outside, just bring the outside in!
Having fun, Devyn?

Someone swiped the camera for a minute this evening while grilling our dinner. He's pretty awesome.