Monday, January 31, 2011

A laundry moment

So after a week away on the cruise the laundry was piled a mile high, to say the least. Literally 7 loads later, I sat back to survey my efforts. Then, Jack got sick.

It wasn't pretty, I changed his sheets about 3 times a day for a couple of days. We were just coming out of that when Ryan started up with the both ends least I have very considerate boys. With one exception, it has been contained to only sheets and themselves (no couch, bumper, pillows, or me).

So, just as I was about to relish the all clean, folded, put away laundry for the second crazy round since being out of town, Ryan got sick. So I'll say, yet again, laundry is an evil vicious cycle. No matter how on top of it you are, there is never caught up and nothing is ever clean at the same time (unless you make everyone run around naked some day, but, at least in Jack's case, that wouldn't help the overall clean effect I would be going for.)

Gonna go start another load.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

She's growing up

A couple of weeks ago Anna-Kate said she never wanted to turn five that she wanted to stay four, and my little girl, forever. I assured her she would always be my little girl {"even when I'm old, like thirty?" she asked. Hmm.}. She said, "let's make a deal. You stay 29 forever and I'll stay four forever--OK?". Done and done, girlfriend! If only I could freeze time...these are certainly precious days I am living right now.


As I heaved to pick up and carry Anna-Kate to bed last night she laid her head on my shoulder and said, "Mama, when I turn five you can't carry me anymore because I will just be too big. You can still hug me though. Ok?". Tear.


Anna-Kate and I were driving home from a special shopping/lunch "date" and we heard a commercial for a father/daughter date night at Chick-fil-a (love that place!). She said, "Mommy, do you and Daddy still pray for my husband every night?". I choked back tears as I said that indeed we did.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I don't *do* new year's resolutions.

However, I read "Heaven at Home" while I was on the cruise and it got me thinking and really challenged me. This is a sequel to a book I read last summer, "Don't Make Me Count to Three" (also excellent). I gleaned a lot of great ideas for sibling peace and love (that's for a future blog post) and there were a lot of great chapters, but I was particularly struck by the final one: hospitality. Before I began the chapter I thought to myself, "I'm a Southern girl, and my mom is (practically) Martha Stewart--I ooze hospitality, it's in my blood". {Insert, "pride goes before fall" or God knocking some sense into me, whichever.} So, imagine my surprise when the opening of the chapter talked about how she saved this one for last since it would be so easy--she is a type A clean freak with a spotless house who loves to have people over and is a Southern hospitable girl. {In my head} "This can't be good".

Ginger Plowman talked about the difference between genuine hospitality and entertaining. She wrote about her husband and kids hiding from the tornado (that was her) before company came as she madly made things perfect. {Guilty.} She talked about the pride she took in how her home was decorated, the perfect centerpiece, the illusion of perfection she reflected to outsiders and the pleasure she got from the compliments that came from it {Ouch, ouch, ouch. Guilty again.}. She then pointed out that true hospitality is opening your home when it's not convenient, when things aren't perfect and when it necessarily isn't the best time for you--hospitality is about loving and serving others. Not about perfection, or more accurately, the illusion of perfection. Hospitality for a Christian is opening your life and home to others so that they can see Jesus through you and so He can work in their lives.

As I thought about it, and have since been praying about it, I have been struck by now not-hospitable I am. So, I don't resolve, but I am praying that 2011 will be the year that I learn to be genuinely generous and hospitable. Stop by sometime, unannounced even, and I'll push the clean pile of laundry to the other side of the couch and we'll have a cup of coffee. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christmas in January?

Well, I originally wrote this post yesterday, you know, exactly one month after Christmas. Well, now it's one day later as I pushed publish and it erased. So sad. I might have had tears in my eyes. Anyway, without further ado, Christmas pictures, 2010 edition.

The kids with Mana and Papa in their new home.

Whole family.

Always happy when food is involved!

Concentrating on making his cookies hold the maximum amount of icing. :)

Decorating cookies (THANK YOU Laura!! Santa wouldn't have had any cookies without you!). :)

Ryan was crazy about Rachel this time and had such a good time decorating with her.

This picture makes me laugh--like, "word". Ha. :)

Jack is such a happy smiley baby and loves being the center of attention!

Opening his first Christmas present!

Love these sweet smiles! Anna-Kate is such a wonderful big sister.

Opening their traditional 1 present on Christmas Eve...

Yay for new jammies!

Anna-Kate was clearly thrilled by hers! (lucky for me, she loves to match the boys!)

Christmas morning Ryan came tearing down the stairs and then ran right past me (and the tree, stockings etc) and kept going. Hilarious.

Anna-Kate loves a surprise--funny thing is, she admitted to peeking from upstairs and knew she had a Rapunzel dress waiting on her. Little booger!

Ryan was BEYOND thrilled to get Cranky the crane.

So happy with a new dress-up.

Thrilled with her {stick-on} princess earrings! How old does she look here??? Geesh!

The kids took such delight in picking out gifts for each other. Ryan meticulously looked at all of the "girl" aisles at Target until he spotted an Angelina (Ballerina) doll and dvd set. He never wavered in wanting that for Anna-Kate--and she loves it (and sleeps with it every night!)

Anna-Kate picked out a train, Peter Sam, to give to Ryan along with a Thomas dvd. They could hardly contain their excitment to give their presents to each other. It delighted my heart.

Matching Christmas (eve) jammies! Love these kids!!

Anna-Kate's big gift from us was a tent for her room. It has been the.biggest.hit.ever! I love to see them play creatively and so well together!

Props to Disney marketing. Despite never having seen the movie, Anna-Kate asked for both the Rapunzel tag reader book and the dress-up. Clearly, thrilled with both.

Jack was thrilled with his new sippie cup and snack holder for the umbrella stroller {poor third child!}.

Anna-Kate was beyond thrilled to receive an American girl doll that looks just like her! She named her Lizzie and they are inseperable.

My sweet parents.

The day came to a close with a first for me--a white Christma! I was near giddy to see the beautiful flakes fall. What a wonderful day, and a special first Christmas for little Jack!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I just spent for-e-ver uploading Christmas pictures. I finally wrote a Christmas blog. It took me well over an hour to get it up. I pushed publish, and gone. There are no words.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Anna-Kate has a bad history of ear and hearing problems. As a newborn, she failed her hearing test multiple times (evidently, c-section babies don't get "squished" and all of the fluid doesn't drain out of their ears).

ANYway. If you'll recall, {back at Kaiser. Urgh. I so thought that statement would be done by now.} Anna-Kate failed her hearing test at her 4 year well-child. She went back in for a recheck and the nurse chalked up her not saying when she heard a beep to be shy (yes, she cleared her for "shyness"). She had an ear infection early this fall but the ear wax was so bad that the doctor couldn't even see her eardrum, he could just see redness. We went in for a follow up to remove the ear wax and allhellbrokeloose as they shot pressurized water into her ear, which dislodged some wax, but then shot water directly onto her ear drum (I have chills just thinking about it. It was horrible). I was supposed to take her back in for a follow up, but she was so traumatized, I just waited until we switched back to our old pediatrician.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. I took Anna-Kate in for an infected splinter on her foot (I know, it's random--it was black and raised off of her foot) and while there had the doctor check her ears, just for kicks. She was alarmed at the amount of ear wax, got some out with a pick thing, about hit the roof when I told her that she'd been passed for hearing because of shyness and did another hearing test. Which she failed. Utterly. I left with instructions to clean her ear every night with 1/2 peroxide/water mix and come back for a re-check (and if she failed that we had to go to an ENT for a complete audiology work up). Today was the day. I felt fairly confident we were doing well and got there ready for a quick hearing test and then off to school. The appointment was at 8:40, we left at 10:15--to say it was a long morning would be an understatement. In fact, in Anna-Kates' words, "I've had a very rough morning".

She looked in the ear and found more junk. She tried to clean it out but it was too pressed in. She failed the hearing test (both kinds. She only heard the beep on the loudest time). My doctor said she needed to go on to the ENT as she was basically not hearing out of her right ear. However, she suggested fully cleaning it out and trying one more time. They didn't use the pressurized water, but like a water bottle thing. However, Anna-Kate flipped out when she saw them walk in with it and her water in her ear (she totally thought it was going to hurt like the last time). I'm talking it took me and another nurse to hold her down and she was still struggling. Her face has broken blood vessels around her cheeks and eyes because she was crying so hard and so long. She screamed like someone was torturing her. It was horrible. I cried. The boys both sat there still (amazingly) staring wide eyed at their poor sister. Random little pieces and four chunks (about the size of half of a dime)came out(about 25 minutes to get it all).

I got out of her afterwards that she was more scared than hurt. Coulda fooled me! However, praise the Lord, when the doctor checked her ears again (that would be the fourth time in 2 weeks) she has perfect hearing! Now, I evidently have to clean her ears with peroxide/water every other night indefinitely. {Yippee}. Though, if we can avoid ever having to do that again, I'll call it a success.

{Though she knocked the pan catching the "goodies" and I was covered--knees down--in peroxide and ear wax. Ewww.}

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A cruise to Mexico

Welcome to the Carnival Elation!

Our room (on the bottom floor. It was exactly 88 stairs up anytime we went anywhere. That was our deal with each other--we ate whatever we wanted, but we never took the elevator. Worked out OK. Upon actually weighing myself today it was only 1/2-1 lb I

Hubs taking in the sunset the first night (still cold in Alabama-bummer!)

We had gorgeous sunsets every night...

My view from the "adults only" deck on the back of the ship. We spent a lot of time sitting back there in the chairs or in the hot tubs. Heavenly.

Before dinner some night. :)

At our formal dinner. We had delicious shrimp and Chris had lobster tail. I had a steak.

In Progresso I got an hour long massage out on the beach (under a tent thing) for $20. I could hear the waves crashing, a mariachi band playing and Chris sat under the cabana near me. It was the absolute most relaxed I've ever been in my life. I got up walked 5 feet to where he was, and we had the best Mexican food I've ever eaten--a pile of fresh guacamole and pico de gallo, steak fajitas and veggies, fresh made chips and tortillas and delicious margaritas with tons of fresh lime! {I might be salivating right now thinking about it.}

In Cozumel we went on a zip-lining excursion. It wasn't what I had envisioned, but it was A LOT of fun. And, since it was just us and one other couple, they let us go through it all twice!

In Cozumel, sitting on some Mayan something-or-other {Chris should have left the hat on--just sayin'}.

Some Mayan Indians in Cozumel. I took this picture after we talked with the kids from a coffee shop with a wi-fi hotspot. We were able to facetime on our iphones (I left mine with my mom--it's like skype). It was so great to see them, but they started crying {and I may or may not have as well} and we were ready to come home right then!

I'm the rootin-ist tootin-ist cowgirl...Yee-haw!

Chris generously sharing his coca-cola light with the donkey.

Waiting on dinner--more guacamole! {Notice the crazy sunburn under my neck-yowza!! That was only from a couple of hours! Oops, guess I shouldn't have fallen asleep. :)

Goofball, "pulling" the ship in. :)

The ship was SO big!

Goodbye, Mexico!

I simply had to get a drink with an umbrella! It was called a "kiss on the lips"--yum!

We definitely spent some time at the sushi bar. After eating it every night I am positively craving a spicy tuna roll!!


mini-golf CHAMP!!

Another beautiful sunset--sure love my husband!

Chris and I had such a wonderful time getting away on our cruise!! :) Thanks again, mom and dad, for keeping the kids, thus making it possible for us to get away! (and extra blessings on my poor mom who was a bit sick herself taking care of Ryan. He kept spiking fevers, though thankfully, no croupy stuff!).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let the diet begin!

Pictures to come...but, we had a wonderful time. :) Some thoughts...

Carnival was a fine ship, but I do think that Disney has spoiled all vacations for us. Nothing else can measure up. :) We would walk around and see how many dishes were on the tables or how many pieces of paper were on the floor and think "wow, someone would be fired by now at Disney..." (I know, we're sick). The food was either great or pretty bad, but I clearly managed to not starve as I gained about 2 lbs! Yikes! There was a nightly sushi bar that was fantastic (if you're curious, spicy tuna is my favorite!) and the non-stop icecream was super (reminded me of college...and those pesky freshman pounds...). The biggest killer was the diet coke situation--$2 a coke! Yowza!! I got one. Sadly, when I went in search for one in Mexico I only found "coca-cola light" (which is what they had in Europe...) which absolutely is sub-par. (it tastes like real Coke). Sad.

In my observation, it took about 24-36 hours for me to get out of "mommy-mode" and be able to truly date my husband and talk about us and adult thing--not constantly circling back to the kids. But, on the other hand, being a mom is who I am, so it was weird to meet people who didn't know me as such and didn't know my kids. (and, if I had a dime for every person who said, "what? you have kids? WHAT? THREE???" we could pay for the cruise pretty much...). We were definitely ready for the cruise to be over and to get home (it could have been a day shorter and we would have been fine with that!). My friend, Emily, linked to some conversation questions to help you re-date your mate so I printed them and brought them a long. It was really a lot of fun and I am beyond thankful to my parents for keeping the kids so we could get away. While I don't know if we'll do a long cruise anytime soon, we decided we definitely needed to get away more often!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My little snow baby

I'm {finally} going to document Jack enjoying snow. :)

Jack gets the hugest grin on his face when we walk outside. I think it's shock at the cold air hitting his face, but he is always so smiley and happy that "shocked" looks extra happy.

Just plopped him down by the snowman. :)

Umm, not sure about this, and I'm freezing, mom!

Hey what's this cold stuff?

Awesome, they are letting me eat stuff off the floor--I love snow!