Friday, February 29, 2008

Tubby's Tubes

Though things are so busy around here, the kids miss daddy. It is interesting, because it is not unusual for them to barely see him some days when he is so busy at work. But because they know he is physically so far away, they are missing him. Melissa said that she almost started to cry again at school today when she told her teacher that daddy had gone....and I am pretty sure that the way she phrased it, it made it seem like he is not expected to come back. She also got all teary eyed after viewing the picture daddy had sent us from one of his golfing expeditions today next to a giant cactus. Thomas also seems to be saying "da-da" a lot today...I think the kids are talking about daddy A LOT. Maybe he will check this posting and see how much his family misses and loves him!!!

Now that Thomas scoots so well on his butt, his new found mobility extends him no patience to sit still. That means no more content playtime in Tubby's turnaround, and no more bouncing bashes in the jumperoo for kicks. He just wants to be on the move...constantly. He spends his days following me around, and scavenging for crumbs on the floor. This is all well and good by his standards. But what REALLY makes him happy?

The answer is quite simple, but perhaps unexpected. What really makes this little boy happy (besides being with his daddy), is a tube. That's all. A simple tube of something, of anything will do. From a tube of butt paste to a favorite green tube of professional grade pampering lotion, as long as it is tube-shaped, it is as if pure gold to my boy. He will hang onto one tube for literally HOURS as he scoots around the house on his butt. Beware if you try to remove the tube from his grasp, his wrath is quick and furious, and he is not likely to forgive any time soon. It is the first thing that he finds in my closet in the morning as I get ready for the day, and it is the last thing he holds onto, holding on tightly even in sleep. This tube of peach body lotion kept him busy for 4 hours today....I am not kidding. OK, kids, let's put away all the bulky baby toys, Spring is coming, and with it means lots of sunscreen..... plenty of tubes to keep my baby happy!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Destination Known

With the soft snowflakes falling, dancing in the frequent gusts of wind, my husband packed his bags and left me. Not for good (at least I hope not!), but destined for a few well deserved relaxing days golfing in Arizona with a great friend. All the kids gave him hugs, and Melissa broke down in tears as we waved good-bye from the frosty window. Thomas chanted "da-da-da-da" while maintaining his adorable cheeky smile. One last wave out the window, and it was back to business for the rest of us.

Melissa and I finished boxing up her girl scout cookies, and she braved the cold to make a few deliveries in the cul-de-sac. We had a gourmet dinner of leftover pizza warmed in the microwave before throwing the last pile of cookies at the dad who was in the doorway to pick them up. Then we were rushing out the door with Grandma Z(rather, almost running her over) to get Michael's skates sharpened before getting Jonny back up to school on time for his primetime performance. Whew! Grandma C had been one of the lucky few adults to view the matinee showing of "Destination America" (I had been at an ortho appointment with Alex). She gave it rave reviews and mentioned how impressed she had been with a very talented young lad named Jonathan. We were eager to see this play for ourselves....and to get to the school safely as driving conditions were rather icy and treacherous.

The 4th graders did not disappoint, and the play lived up to it's good word. Jonathan seemed so comfortable up on stage, dressed as a Broadway producer, singing, speaking, and dancing in front of the crowded stands in the gymnasium. He sang a solo into the microphone, introduced a scene, and was one of the dancers on the floor. I was so very proud of my son....he really did a great job with every part, and I am not just saying that as a biased parent. I think that this may be his niche! He certainly seems to be like his father who was involved in all of his school plays and musicals as he was growing up....and only one of the lead characters would ever do! Jonny certainly does not get it from me....the thought of standing up there in front of everyone stresses me so much, it makes me want to throw up. I was comfortable with the behind the scenes type of work....decorating the sets and playing my instruments in the darkness of the pit orchestra. But Jonny? He could very well be destined for the real Broadway someday!

After the play, we set our own destination course back to home, sliding only part of the way. It was eerily quiet at home....Michael had entertained the younger kids and had them mesmerized by something Star Wars related in the library, and Alex had gotten the baby to fall asleep peacefully in his bed(Alex's bed...heaven forbid the baby sleep in his own crib!). The house was under control, albeit a bit messier than when I had left in a rush, and the kids all went up to bed without complaint. I had this odd sensation that my kids were all working with me as a true family team. It was wonderful! Jonny, Michael and I caught up on American Idol, and then watched Survivor as we realized we would not have time to watch it before Michael leaves tomorrow for his tournament. It was a late night, ending at about 11pm. And now my destination is bed, as I am very ,very ,sleepy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hockey Seems to Go On Forever...Maybe Because It Never Ends

Tonight we had Michael's hockey end-of-year banquet. It was a fun, casual gathering at one of the player's homes, and like always, it is with relief and some sadness that we turned in our jerseys to end the season. The season is so long, at 6 months in length, and we all start to feel a bit burned out by March approaching. At the same time, we spend so much time doing the hockey thing and being together, that it is sad to realize that chapter is ending. Some of these people we will rarely see again, as our interests over the off months disperse in many directions. With some luck, about half of us will end up on the same team together again next year.
I will admit that I will not miss the many emails that seem to pop up out of nowhere in the middle of the day announcing another added game or practice that requires our attention immediately. I will certainly NOT miss the practices that go until midnight, or the ones that begin at 7am, meaning we have to arise at 6am or earlier on the weekend. But I will miss watching these kids play and improve...we have watched them all so long and closely that in some ways, they all feel like our own kids, and we are proud of evey single one of their accomplishments.

(Sidenote: Thomas was so nervous about the 2 dogs walking around, that he was clinging to Bob for dear life. It was so funny....he wouldn't even let ME hold him. He sure loves his Daddy! Even at hockey games, he would always search for Daddy standing on the back wall while he was sitting in my lap. He has the sweetest and most genuine smile of pure love saved only for Daddy. Here, he knew he could count on Daddy to keep him safe, while Mommy would probably just put him down on the floor as soon as she had the chance.)

We did not have to wait long to jump back into hockey. To be precise, we were done with hockey for only 1 hour and 45 minutes. Just as we were about to leave the party, the head coach announced we had been invited to participate in a tournament THIS WEEKEND in Brainerd, as another team had to cancel their spot emergently. Of course, the kids went nuts, and were jumping all over the place, excited about the prospect to play more hockey, when we all thought it was over. The parents' reactions were mixed, between sighs of "Oh, no!", to exclamations of "Yes! Game On!". The end result was decided to do the tournament...the kids are so psyched!

Unfortunately, poor Michael will be going alone with the neighbors....this will be very odd for him because Daddy does NOT miss a single game or scrimmage. But Bob will be enjoying his vacation in Arizona this weekend, golfing with his good buddy, and I will be home alone with the rest of them. Trying to manage them in a hotel room all weekend by myself just does not seem very appealling. Plus, I have Jonny to focus on this weekend.....he has been rather neglected during this hockey season, and he has done SO MUCH babysitting to help us out. This weekend, he and I are going to work on his pinewood derby car....and gosh golly, we are going to make a winner this year! I offered to take the neighbor girl for the weekend since they will be taking Michael....kid swap. We'll see who gets the better end of the deal!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things I Do Not Want to Live Without

Kind of a humdrum day, just sitting around eating cookies while waiting for everyone else to come by and pick up cookies. So here are just some random musings.....

Things I Do Not Want to Live Without:
*God
*Husband
*Kids
*Moms & Dads
*Family/Relatives
*Good Friends
*Our Church
*My House
*My Grand Piano
*My Bible (ESV)
*My Camera!
*Waconia
*Music
*The ability to cook well
*Babies in the house(I am going to have to get creative about this one)
*My kids laughing/giggling
*Hugs and little "I love you"'s
*Plasma cars(have I mentioned yet how much we LOVE them??)
*My new biodegradable cleaners....all of them!
*"My Pillow"...the absolute BEST pillows on earth(made in MN)
*My Tempurpedic bed (Ahhhhhh....)
*My Truck!!!
*KTIS 98.5FM
*Ju Ju Be Diaper bags
*Seventh Generation Diapers(they beat ALL regular brands hands down)
*Backrubs
*Purple
*Butternut Squash Ravioli
*Fresh Lemonade
*The ability to ice skate(I am joining a Womens Hockey League soon)
*Seeing my kids truly happy
*Walks
*Autumn
*Mountains
*Sunsets
*Sense of Humor
*Cherry Coke and Cappuccinos
*My GPS...now I can go, go, go!
*Flowers/Lilacs
*Prayer

This is certainly not a comprehensive list...only the first things that come to mind.
Have a lovely day!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cookie Day

The big news for today is that the Girl Scout cookies are here! Melissa just loves it that I am the Cookie Mom for her troop. For me, that means organizing the sale for our troop, with some gentle prodding reminders along the way, keeping track of orders and totals, picking up the cookies for everyone on delivery day, and finally collecting all monies and ensuring everything balances correctly. I get to do detailed work, which I love to do (like when I worked in the business office at Herberger's balancing the store totals each day). For Melissa, it means she gets to help separate out the boxes of cookies for each girl in her troop, and feel special by being helpful and an important part of this group. Sure, we have 69 cases of cookies in our living room which totals out to 828 boxes, but all the kids help in some way, and everyone looks forward to this time of year at our house. Michael helped me bring them all in the house from the truck which was packed, front to back. Crispy worked on the inside, placing the boxes in groups according to type. He spent the rest of the afternoon playing legos in his cookie fort. Laura helped where she could, carrying smaller boxes from here to there (and other random places, like the stairs). Jonny separated one of the large orders, and Melissa pretty much did the rest. Extra bonus for us, since I like to be perfectionistic and have nice, even numbers on our troop's order, we always order enough boxes of each type of cookie to make full cases. That means extra cookies (about 100 boxes)for us! Trust me, they do not last long with all of these kids!

Michael had his last hockey game of the official season tonight in Inver Grove Heights. I was so happy (not) to be driving an hour to the cities yet again. I just didn't feel like I had done enough driving this past weekend. Instead, Bob was able to get home early enough by changing his schedule to take the boys to the game early(they need to arrive 1 hour before game start). Thomas, Melissa, and myself rode along with my neighbor and her daughter an hour later. That gave us just enough time to heat up some popcorn chicken(cheater's meal) and water to drink for dinner. The really funny thing was that on top of such a bogus "meal", the kids decided to have a picnic, and were all sitting on the floor in the kitchen, next to the garbage bags that needed to go out to the garage, cuz there wasn't any room anywhere else to sit due to the cookie invasion. Yes, my kids were slumming tonight. I really wish that it had not been so hectic....it would have been a great time to stop and take a picture.

Michael's game was great. The kids gave it their all, and finished the season off as winners. Thomas took bites of soft pretzel tonight, and didn't gag so much after the first 10 minutes. He held onto a small section which he gnawed away at for the duration of the game. He even dabbled with the cheese sauce dip every now and then. Meanwhile, Grandma Z was back in Waconia attending Alex's "surprise" band concert....I was very surprised when Alex came in the door after school today announcing he needed to be back there again at 6:15. It would really be great if he could let me know what's up ahead of time. He has been pushing to get a job so badly, but this is one of the reasons I am not for it at all at this point. We need to have a bit more advanced planning around here with all of the crazy things going on. Anyhow, thank you Grandma for filling in on pretty much no notice, again!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Big Day for the Little Boys(and Girls)

Crispy had his first real hockey game today! Okay, so it was actually only a scrimmage, no one took real score, and they were playing on only 1/2 sheet of ice, but boy oh boy, was it exciting for all of these little people! They got to scrimmage a Bloomington team at the Ridder Arena at the U of MN. This is the girl's hockey arena, and it is very very nice. Not too big, but definitely big enough to create some excitement for five and six year olds. My mom and dad came out to watch him play. We all watched Crispy skate back and forth, not quite aimlessly, but with not much of a plan either. Towards the end of the game, he actually made contact with the puck! How exciting!
Crispy was acting kind of shy...I think that he is another kid who does not like to be complete center of attention. Asking him about his game, his responses were "good" and "I don't know", at decibel levels barely audible. I guess we need to spend more time with this little guy and show him that it is okay to feel special sometimes.....he is too used to being the humble little background helper! And a fantastic helper he is!!
***
We had lunch with Grandma at the Good Earth before heading back towards home. We just HAD to buy some gigantic cookies to go...the iced ginger are my favorites. Crispy must have worked really hard at hockey, because not only did he eat a pizza the size of his plate and drink an entire smoothie at the restaurant, but as soon as we were driving, he asked for one of those big six-inch M&M cookies and ate that too! This boy can really eat....he often will eat about as much as his teenage brothers. He has certainly been blessed with the Connelly high metabolism as he is still stick skinny, too!
***
The kids had JAM & JELLYS rehearsal as usual on Sunday evenings (BTW, Spring Show is May 3, and the JAM kids will be singing at all of the morning services on Palm Sunday). Jonny got an exciting call from the JAM director yesterday......he has an actual character part this season! He will be Bubba, the Solid Rock Cafe cook. It also comes with a short singing solo. Jonny is so excited...he has really been showing interest in acting. He also has several parts in the upcoming 4th grade play on Thursday. I think he is following in Daddy's footsteps! Crispy has a character part this time around,too...he will be Matt in the 3rd scene. He will have to practice being the center of attention for at least a little while. However, it does seem easier to pretend to be someone else than to put our own true selves in the spotlight. (Why is that?)We always said we had interesting characters living in our house!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Driving to South Dakota

This morning, Melissa and I were up at the crack of dawn and out the door with the baby to go to a Brownie Scout event at the Minnesota Children's Museum in downtown St. Paul. The girls learned various games and crafts from around the world, made 3 projects, played hop scotch in Italy and Africa, read stories, and earned a patch, in a whirlwind 60 minute time period. Melissa enjoys arts and crafts so much, and she tries so hard. She tries her very best, and ends up with something looking like Laura did it, but she is proud of it all the same. Good for her!

Upon returning to Waconia, we made a non-nutritious stop at McDonald's for an emergency lunch for everyone. 10 minutes later, Crispy and I left with Thomas to go to his hockey practice in Richfield. It was such a lovely day outside, and here we were, driving back and forth to the cities all day....would have been more fun to take all that time and land in the middle of South Dakota. What a drag. On the upside, Crispy did an awesome job at practice today. He really boogied out on the ice, listened to his coaches, and worked hard. I was very proud of him. Since I had such a nasty headache, I had left my huge diaper bag in the truck...I always bring it in with me, no matter what, but not today. And wouldn't you know, the baby had a huge poopy mess, through his clothes and all! The nice part was the excuse to leave the indoor arena and walk back outside to the truck to change my stinky boy. I may have taken an extra minute or two breathing in the fresh air and soaking in some sunshine!

We stopped at Costco on the way home and loaded up with fresh fruits and other things. Costco is really the best place around here to buy produce for our big family....too bad it is 30 minutes away. We arrived home finally at about 7pm and were starving. I used all of the influences of watching the Iron Chef on tv to quickly make the best chicken fajitas ever, with homemade tortillas, and corncake from scratch....all in under one hour! It sure hit the spot after never once making it to Don Pablo's last weekend though we had been in the cities so many times. It was really yummy. Could I ever replicate it? Don't know....I rarely use recipes, and things just seem to work out, sometimes more awesomely than other times.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Night Out

My baby did something very unexpected today....he fell asleep in his glider while I was taking a shower, and stayed asleep for more than 2 hours! Since Halloween, he has not taken a single nap unless it has been in someone's arms(mainly mine). This allowed me to make lunch for the kids, clean up the kitchen, vaccuum the entire main level AND mop the floor! I also wiped down and de-germinized everything(chairs, sofas, furniture)....had to get this virus out of the house! I was thrilled. And this was all on top of spending 45 minutes this morning cleaning out my truck. It has been months since I have felt like I have had a really productive day. I am sure that once again, my husband won't even notice.

Laura and Thomas are still requiring nebs and look sad... not pathetic anymore, just sad. I felt a bit apprehensive about leaving them this evening, but Grandma Z was capable and in control. Bob & I enjoyed an evening out with some of his co-workers and golfing buddies at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater's one man show "The Wonder Bread Years". The food was great, the show was really funny and entertaining, and Bob's friends were hilarious. Quite inappropriate at times, but hilarious, nonetheless. They were all so quick and witty...I nearly split my sides laughing at them during intermission. I couldn't come up with anything to say that didn't make them look at me like I was from Mars. I discovered I am an even more boring person that I thought was even possible.

Sorry I am so boring.......

Thursday, February 21, 2008

You Scream, He Screams, They All Scream

Things look like they are finally turning around. The baby has not had a fever again, and he has replaced his moaning and whining with something that takes a little more energy~screaming. It is really okay....I am just happy that he is not so ill anymore. He still needs nebs to settle his cough, but they have been regular, almost exactly every 4 hours to the minute. Overnight was a bit more challenging, but it was not until now that I remembered I only got 3 hours of sleep (must be my new energy tea!). Laura has also been using nebs today, but she is stable. Between treatments for the two of them, at times I felt like I was running a clinic over here!


I am feeling MUCH better, and the pain is subsiding, meaning I can get back to work! First things first, I got my sink shining again. Melissa has really taken charge of the dishes, and I unloaded a gleaming plate, bowl, cup, and 2 knives from the washer this morning! We may need to chat about the concept of filling up the machine frist. Crispy and Michael opened the dinosaur molds today....as you can see, kind of cool, but I still think I would pass up the stress of the production over the results. Laura opened her ladybug village...we haven't sent away for the larvae yet, but can you see where this will be going in a few weeks? Melissa came home from school having a meltdown because Jonny threw a snowball at her on the way home. Classic Jonny is always a "Wha...?" response. What really irks me is that he thinks we are stupid enough to believe that he is dumb enough not to know what the heck we are talking about. He got an extremely firm talking to(he'll probably say screaming at) about what I think about that ploy of his. After today, if he even thinks about trying that again, I may have to rethink how smart I think he really is. (This is so twisted, even I don't know what I am talking about anymore.)

The neighbor girl came over when Michael and daddy left for a hockey game. Everyone played very well in the basement with the cars. They were having such a great time! Screaming continuously, but they were screams of joy(admittedly the 3 girls' screams were a bit rough on the ears), and the sounds kept Thomas interested by the gate at the top of the stairs, letting me clean my kitchen after dinner. I also had time to mix my new cleaners and germicide so that I would be all set for my cleaning/disinfecting marathon tomorrow. I'm so excited! After about 1-1/2 hours, the kids came up for snack singing, "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" Now how in the world did they know that was the blogging theme of the day? Smart kids!

Oh! And happy 11 month birthday to Thomas! I can't believe that he is getting so old! I am thankful for his small size...it makes him still seem so babyish. I hope he has an even better day tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Don't Cry Over Spilt Peanut Butter Toast

Today was simply filled with more of the same sickness as yesterday. Thomas' fever has subsided, but he is still fairly miserable. Anytime he cries, even for a short while, he is set into such a coughing fit with his croup/asthma that he sounds like he is choking on his own windpipe. He inevitably ends up puking, saturating his blanket, and continues choke/coughing until I give him a neb. It has been lovely....two loads of laundry lovely. This Nerds Candy Rope was the only thing keeping him happy today....he wouldn't let go for anything else.

I ended up with mastitis on top of this illness (it actually began the same day, so perhaps I do not actually have the virus that Tubby does, but merely fever and aches from the infection just coincidentally at the same time?). It has made the past two days even more difficult. It is extremely challenging taking care of a sick baby who needs you so much when you, yourself are sick! Bob called in some antibiotics for me this evening. I have big dreams that tomorrow will be a much better day when the meds begin to kick in!

Laura is getting quite rosy in the cheeks...that is usually her "tell" that she is developing an illness that will require nebs for her. But she is still happy, running around the house, making messes everywhere she goes. She is however, becoming more receptive to parental requests to clean up....she lets us know that she is not pleased with this set up, but at least she WILL do it. Michael insists that he is not sick. Yet I wonder: when he broke down in tears today after he dropped his peanut butter toast on the couch, it seemed a bit suspicious.

Thankfully, the kids found plenty to do today regardless of sickness status. Crispy, Michael, and I worked on a paleantology project exploring fossils and making dinosaur molds (thank you Miami Connellys!). The box says ages 5+, but this project was almost too difficult for the 3 of us put together! We really needed about 10 hands to keep everything in place to make the molds. Cool idea, but if you have a low frustration tolerance, stay clear of this Discovery Store item. Crispy's Star Wars legos from Amazon.com were also a hit with everyone today(thank you Chris & Ali!)...we nearly had an intergalactic war going on in our kitchen! Laura's favorite is "Chocolate", or Chewbacca, to the rest of us.

With three plasma cars, more kids are able to race together which occupied 4 of them after dinner until bedtime. Laura can even give Crispy a ride... these things are so great! The kids were having a blast, and using up all of their excess energy appropriately. These cars really should make a top ten list of things absolutely necessary to have in a household with small children. They are one of the best purchases I have ever made.

Tonight we all had the rare opportunity to stay at home...no games, meetings, or other things necessary to attend to. The little kids all went to bed on time, (and most were already asleep when we went to get them 20 minutes later to see the lunar eclipse), and the rest of us relaxed with cozy blankies and squishy pillows and caught up on some American Idol. This season looks like it will be extremely good, as all the finalists appear to be quite talented. Ahh...the simple pleasures of being a couch potato.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

But We Got Our Flu Shots This Year...Honest!

Poor Thomas is so sick. He has been running a rather high temperature since last night of 102-103 degrees. He is just whining and whimpering.....so lethargic and pathetic looking. Every few hours, he is throwing up, but I still think that is because of his cough. Crispy stayed home from school because he felt ill....he ended up okay, but it was good for me to not have to go out and pick him up at the bus stop. I was the lucky recipient of this illness at about 10am this morning. By 10:20, I was miserable too, with chills, fever, and body-aches. Thomas and I spent the rest of the day on the couch, both of us downing a dose of Tylenol every four hours without fail.

Even though he has been nursing constantly, he has only had two wet diapers and looks very pale. He can hardly keep his eyes open. I found the same to be true for myself....I kept falling asleep regardless of how noisy it was around here. And I never nap, so this must be a real illness.

Jonny had his Blue & Gold banquet for cub scouts tonight. Because of his procrastinating mom, he had no dessert to bring for the contest tonight since there was no way I could even try to help him today. Last year, he won Best in Show for his dirt cake with blue and gold silk flowers in a bright blue bucket. I did manage to muster enough energy to take the 5 youngest ones with me for an hour so that they could have dinner there(meaning I didn't have to cook at home) and we could witness Jonny getting his Webelos badge that he has been working on all year. Bob was at a hockey game in Edina with Michael, so we were on our own, sick baby,sick mommy and all.

It was a struggle to walk all the way back to the car, but we finally made it through the cold wind. Jonny stayed to watch the magic show which he said was really good, and another mom drove him home. Thomas and I took our spots back on the couch and quickly fell asleep by 7pm. We were oblivious to the kids playing Wii next to us and Alex fixing the computer~he replaced the video card, so now it works again. Hooray! Melissa wanted to be a big helper for me, so she emptied the dishwasher and filled it with dirty dishes. I could hear some of her comments as she went..."Ewww! Gross!", "Somebody makes very dirty dishes", and "That's disgusting". Crispy came downstairs and eagerly helped her, putting the soap into the machine. It will be interesting to see how the dishes turn out tomorrow.


Michael and Bob came home at around 9:30pm, and Bob ushered me up to bed. He thinks we have influenza...so much for the flu shots we had gotten this fall! All the other kids chose the intranasal administration....hopefully that is more effective than our shots were! Bob said that the kids played one of their best games ever tonight (even though they lost), so he had bought a Gatorade for each player. What a nice guy! Only a couple more weeks of hockey, then things will slow down a bit. And hopefully tomorrow will be a better day....I don't have time to be sick!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Catching Up?

Boy, I am so far behind on blogging, I don't know quite where to begin! I plan on adding other post-dated entries soon(Update 2/19~post-dates complete...now up to date). Our computer has been broken again for the past week, and our internet abilities have been spotty. My laptop is the only thing besides Alex's personal setup that still works, but being that all the other computers were destoyed by little hands, I am being selfish and not allowing any children access to it! My laptop works great for surfing the net and checking emails, but typing is a bit challenging as my "g", "h", "p", and "5" keys only work sporadically. It gets old pretty quick. I am surprised by how much we rely on the computer and internet. I need to check emails at least 2-3 times a day to verify that practices, meetings, activities, etc., are still happening as planned or to see if one has just been added (Michael missed an extra hockey event on Laura's birthday because I had not checked email since the early morning, and they added something in the afternoon for that evening). This morning, the internet was not working on my laptop (due to stupid human error), but I had to call my sister-in-law whose new phone number was still in my email inbox. Michael came to the rescue with his Nintendo Wii of all things...video games, workout routines, weather reports, and internet service....what an awesome gaming device!

The kids had today off which was just the thing we needed after such a long, tiring weekend. We had planned on meeting our twin cousins at a cool indoor playland today, but that fell through due to sickness, so we improvised with an unorganized and somewhat chaotic Plan B. Michael and Jonny each had a friend over for the whole day, Melissa played with the neighbor girl for a while before she needed a break (sometimes the negative influences make her tired), and Crispy spent most of the afternoon across the street with his good buddies. I was able to spend some time with Laura playing with her new Dora legos....we made a wonderful casita and playground for all of her little figures. Oh! Even with a housefull of 10 kids today(one being a very sick baby), I was blessed with about 30 minutes of piano playing bliss. Sure the baby was crying half of the time next to my piano bench(rather it was more like a pathetic "I'm sick" moan....sounded like singing!), and the living room was torn apart as the kids were drawn in (by the melodious magic, I am sure), but by golly, it was rejuvinating!

The kids seemed to have a good day. In particular, they enjoyed Pizza Ranch for lunch (I was not going to attempt making food with all of the extra kids around), and the arrival of a new hot pink PlasmaCar....yes, that now makes three for us. Have I mentioned how much fun they are???? This one only took me two minutes to put together. No kidding. I am a pro now. I also took the new iGallop out of the box. It is an excerciser made to simulate horseback riding. It helps strengthen core muscle groups and balance. I bought it with Melissa in mind, but actually, many of us can benefit from it. All the kids took many a turn on this thing. Between all the car racing and horseback riding, we are all going to be skinny-minis soon!(gee, I wish!) We also got buds on four of the herb plants in the Aero Garden already...I can almost taste freshly seasoned home cooked meals!

I was lucky enough to avoid the cold air most of the day. I did not have to leave my house until a boring meeting for the Pinewood Derby this evening at 7pm. I am now resting in my cozy bed (with new sheets cuz the baby pooped and puked all over them this morning) with my sleeping baby next to me. He has a fever, and a croup-asthma cough that sometimes makes him puke. Nebs help only minimally. His nose is dripping thick bugary sludge, he had dried up blood on his right ear where he scratched himself from digging at it so much, and he looks rather pathetic....but is still so very cute, especially with those rosy red cheeks. Poor baby.

Speaking of poor babies.... Mary's youngest, Blaise, is in the hospital on IV antibiotics for an unknown infection that they are guessing my be sinus. Please pray for a speedy recovery and that Mary will get through it with her nasty "morning sickness" in full swing. That's right....the girl's pregnant again! She insists that she doesn't know how it happened........ ;o)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Time Diary of a Day

*7:36am~hit snooze button for 6th time in a row...I really need to get up now!
*8:15am~leave 10 minutes late for church
*10:15am~drop kids back off at home, keep Crispy and Thomas in truck to go to hockey in Delano
*10:50am~Crispy is all ready to get on the ice...10 minutes early! WOW!!!! Nurse the baby
*12:55pm~arrive back at home, make PB&J lunches with yogurt and strawberries for the kids
*1:20pm~everyone pile into truck to go to final tourney hockey game....Ewwww! Poopy blow out! Give baby a necessary bath and change clothes
*1:30pm~leave driveway 15 minutes late......*ding ding ding*...out of gas
*1:45~leave gas station with half tank of gas now 30 minutes late...drive like a speed demon(within the legal limits, of course!)
*2:45pm~arrive at White Bear Lake arena....only 15 minutes late. Whew! The games are running behind! We now are 30 minutes early!
*3:15~bribe kids with popcorn and Gatorade so that some of the game can be viewed
*4pm~what about baby? Nurse him in Women's restroom since no other appropriate space available
*4:30~leave game with kids in the middle of last very disappointing period....chances of winning are nill.....drive like crazy to Westwood as we are 15 minutes late of leaving
*5:15pm~drop Jonny, Melissa, Crispy off at church for JAM & JELLYS still 15 minutes late....go have ice cream and chili at Culver's with Laura
*6:15pm~bundle the two little ones, throw them in the stroller, and make the long trek across the parking lot to pick up kids in church....so crowded!
*6:55pm~arrive back at home finally..."Mom! We're hungry!!".....chips and cheese and salsa tonight
*7:45pm~finally crash on couch, have pajama party with kids while watching new Max & Ruby DVD
*8:15pm~I think I am asleep, phone rings....Alex needs a ride home from Youth Group....wonderful husband picks him up.....fall back asleep with my kids huddled in "the pocket"

The End


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Party Day

It's party day for Laura! She has been looking forward to this day for a while now....this year is fun with her because she actually understands a bit more how special birthdays are. Yesterday, she was so excited to see Papa Don again that she insisted that he was the only one she was inviting to her party (and Grandma and Grandpa too...). She was really stubborn about it and stuck on this plan. She had decided that they were going to play hide and seek, and then go get ice cream. Everyone else could stay home until next year.

Well, little Laura had a house full of "uninvited" guests. Ultimately, she was glad for this...she felt very special. (Though she still states "I didn't want to have a party.") She got to spend some time playing with Papa Don at his house before they drove over to Grandma and Grandpa's house. She was glued to him for the entire rest of the day. She did not want to open a single gift or have anything to do with her cake unless he was right at her side (or rather, she was in his arms). She was thrilled to spend special time shopping for a present with he and Grandma Z later. I think that this little girl kind of likes her Godfather!

The party was great.....my mom and dad had done a wonderful job decorating. Lots of pink balloons, Tinkerbell, and hearts. It looked like a little girl's dream party! They got to showcase their new kitchen...it was fabulous for a party. It was like being in a model home. I had ordered a frosting sheet personalized picture of Max & Ruby to place on Laura's cake (off of ebay)....it worked perfectly! In the middle of such a hectic weekend, it was nice to spend a relaxing afternoon with so much family.

Michael's team played well this evening. It was a very exciting and close game. They ended up losing 2-3, but had played so hard. Tomorrow they will play in the afternoon again....this time for third place!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Unexpectedly Nice Afternoon



Today we had an unexpected surprise as Grandma C came back out to Waconia. She came to pick up the family pictures we had had taken in December when my brother and his family from Florida were here. The pictures look great. It is amazing how the photographers at Wedin Studios got 20 people looking so good....a few digital head switches can do wonders. I very gladly hung our new family photo above our mantel, eager to replace the previous one from 2 years ago. There was something about that other one that didn't make me feel happy...we HAD just lost two babies shortly before the picture had been taken, perhaps that was the reason? That reminds me, the other day, just out of the blue, Crispy asked me if Ashley and Matthew would stay forever as babies, without growing up, in heaven. I answered that I guessed they would, as perfected little babies. We talked about our imaginings of Jesus holding them safely in his arms as they wait for us. Once we join them, I will get to hold my own babies forever....babies forever, my dream come true! Now I can let my other kids grow up instead of trying to (ineffectively, of course)convince them to stay little.

We had a lovely little lunch at the Mocha Monkey, and really just had a nice afternoon. Grandma took Michael back to the cities with her so that he could get to his tounament game early in White Bear Lake and I could wait for Bob to get home so that we could ride to the game together. I made the kids homemade waffles before we ditched them for the rest of the night. Michael's team played very well, and WON! Hooray! We will play again tomorrow at 5pm.....after little Laura's birthday party.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Recipe for a Great Valentine's Day...Manage-er Requested

If it is the thought that counts, then I really made it the best Valentine's Day ever in the history of the world for my family. I had purchased each kid a special balloon (and a deluxe singing and flashing gigantic balloon for Bob) which I tied to a box of candy hearts(each), and placed them next to a special little present at each kid's usual seating place in the kitchen. I had special cherry turnovers for breakfast for them to eat (in the truck on the way to school, of course!), and pretty little heart shaped cookies for snack. We had pink things available to drink all day, and an assortment of red foods which actually made up a well-balanced lunch and dinner. Everyone also had red and pink clothes from which to choose from to wear. The kids were happy and excited about the day, their Valentine's Parties at school, and Melissa, for her field trip to the Children's Theater.

The morning items went over well, and as planned. But from there, the day slowly fell apart into something almost even less than an ordinary day.

My mom, bless her kind heart, came out early this morning to watch the kids so that I could enjoy some time in Crispy's classroom at his party. She insisted I go, even though the baby had been crabby again all morning, making getting ready to go a near impossible task. I went, Crispy was glad, and the baby was fine. Hurrah! After lunch, Grandma left, and Michael set up my new herb garden (AeroGarden) from my thoughtful husband. I am so thrilled at the prospect of using my own fresh herbs to cook with in just a few short weeks! It is also going to help serve as some good homeschooling for Michael, as I have decided to trade his current boring science program over to something more interesting----botany! What perfect timing! Laura, Tubby, and I raced around the kitchen on our plasma cars....we were having a nice late morning/early afternoon.

I don't know if it was all the riding on the little cars, allergies, or not sleeping well at night, and feeling like I have not been breathing well the past few days, but I ended up having a horrible headache for the rest of the day. It was one of those miserable, nauseating, muscle-aching, bone hurting kinds. All I could do was huddle under the eletric blanket in the sauna room, close my eyes, and pray for the Rapture to come. Not so lucky for me......the Rapture didn't occur, or if it did, I am still here, horrible headache still intact. So either way, not so lucky for me. Gone were the rest of my plans for the family. Our dinner was haphazzard, not anything as I had planned, barely red, and certainly not special. Melissa had girl scouts(where she cried when I dropped her off), Michael had hockey, and I found myself driving all over Waconia for a good hour and forty-five minutes.

Our lovely family show night fell apart just as dinner had. Bob and I even declined an offer from Pam to watch our kids while we went out...we both had been looking forward to spending the evening at home with the kids. Between the evening activites, and my headache, strawberry shortcake dessert was delayed until 8 :30. The kids once again were sent to bed way too late, and now us adults were beginning to crash too. To top it off, we let our dog in and realized she had been attacked outside by something(probably the psychotic owl or the sneaky fox). She had a nice sized bald patch on the top of her head, oozing with blood. Poor puppy! But she is so sweet, she did not seem disturbed in the least, even when I tried to clean it. We were finally about to start, when Bob's aunt called us (accidentally...she was trying to call Bill's house). As many of you can guess, this accidental call lasted quite a while. By the time I was finally free to join my family, it was about 9:30. We began Survivor, and at the first commercial break, only 2 minutes into the show, Michael decided to get some milk. For some unknown reasons, this task took him more than 3 minutes. At this point, Bob had had it, gave up, and went to sleep. No kettle corn, barely one show, and no fancy dinner. Not anything like how I imagined this special day to go. I will just have to pump up their morning memories of the day so that perhaps their minds will be reprogrammed into believing that great things happened on Valentine's Day 2008.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Being Prepared

Laura had a very busy morning today...she had to play with all of her toys that she opened late last night. When she wasn't opening new boxes, she was zooming around the kitchen island on one of the plasma cars. She never once asked to watch a video or play computer today....she had so many other things to do. Michael helped her with a giant Max & Ruby floor puzzle, Crispy helped her set up and play with her Dora dollhouse and the 50 new pieces, Melissa did plasma car racing with her in the afternoon. Laura took little breaks now and then to play her Clickstart computer hooked to the tv. So, how our main computer broke again while we were at hockey tonight, I do not know.....Jonny?......Melissa?....

We had a very early dinner (4:15) of spaghetti before Michael left with the neighbors for his game in Burnsville. I cleaned up the kitchen and finished some laundry while I waited for Bob, so that we could go to the game together. The kids finished up their Valentines to bring to school tomorrow. Melissa set up a Webkinz account for her little sister. Bob ended up having a very sick patient, and didn't think that he would be able to make it. That left me and the baby on our own with only 30 minutes before the start of the game. Hmmmm...it takes at least 45-50 minutes to get there....better drive fast!

Even though I arrived almost 30 minutes after the start of ice time(and Bob walked in right behind me!), the kids were only halfway through the first period. We soon figured out why....the refs were calling EVERYTHING. Any little falter, any little misstep, any accidental move....it was ridiculous. At least they were calling everything on both teams so that no one was unfairly managed. It just made both teams very annoyed! And made for a long game. It was all worth it in the end because we WON our first district game! Yahoo! Now we won't finish the season in absolute last place!

It was a slightly harrowing drive home on the back winding roads in the freshly falling snow. At times it was difficult to see where the road was in the country fields. I guess my new habit is to grocery shop before each winter storm and deep freeze.....I found myself stopping there as I slid on into Waconia at 9pm, my sweet baby sleeping in his seat. It took a bit longer than expected, and Jonny ended up having to go to bed before I got home without watching American Idol. We will have to have a Survivor/Idol party tomorrow night to celebrate Valentine's Day. Sorry, Jonny! At least we won't starve in the next few days!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to Laura!

Four years ago, I was wheeled into the NICU after emergency C-section recovery and held the tiny little hand of my little baby girl. Born 2 months early, under quite stressful conditions, having had no amniotic fluid for 16 weeks, and on maximum respiratory support now, this tiny little girl was fighting for her life. Actually, she had been fighting for 4 months already...since the doctors had sent me back home to wait for her to die after my water broke at 16 weeks. She looked so beautiful...even attached to too many tubes and lines to count. I felt helpless as all I could do for this perfect little baby was to hold her hand, somehow hoping she would be able to gather my strength with her and feel how much she was loved. I knowingly listened with tears glistening in my eyes as her doctor apologetically told us that there was nothing else they could do, but to wait, most likely meaning that she would not make it through the night.

Well, look at her now!!! Little Miss Laura is nothing short of a miracle. She is amazing from before she was born to everyday since birth. She is spunky and stubborn, silly and crazy, smart and creative, and absolutely loves life. What a happy day this is to celebrate the miracle of her birthday!!!

Today was filled with things that she loves to do. She played "My Bedbugs" on the computer this morning without a time limit, took a relaxing bath in the big tub with Thomas, and we went to the Mall for the day, where we met up with both Grandmas. She got to visit Build-a-Bear for the first time ever. She immediately picked a pink and sparkly bear "skin" with which to stuff. She was quite leary about the whole process of kissing the heart to be placed inside, and pressing the foot pedal to activate the stuffing machine. However once the bear was stuffed, she enjoyed giving it an air "shower" and brushing it's fur. She named her "Princess" and picked out an adorable outfit--pink, or course! Crispy had a great time too, and made a very cute turtle, dressed him up in Minnesota Wild gear, complete with the cutest little breezers and skates, and creatively named him "Turtle Z".

Laura wanted a hamburger (a surprise) for lunch, so we ate at Applebee's in the mall. She chose chicken fingers instead, and we ate our ice cream cone cupcakes while we waited for our food to arrive.....dessert should always be first! She opened a present from Grandma C, and wanted to start putting the puzzle together immediately, but luckily our food arrived to divert her attention. The waitress brought her a special birthday sundae to top off her meal.

She had to spend the rest of her day waiting to open the mountain of presents in the living room. Most of the waiting time was spent riding around the new Plasma Cars I put together this afternoon. These things are awesome! They work not by foot power, but by arm power, moving the steering wheel back and forth to make it go. Within minutes, everyone had figured it out. With a weight limit of 220, this is a great toy for adults too! We had a blast racing around the kitchen, and later, the basement. A perfect thing for these long winter days cooped up inside....energy so positively expended. Everyone needs one, preferably two of these in their home. Everyone! Check one out...many colors to choose from, and shipping is free with some with Amazon Prime:http://www.amazon.com/PlasmaCar-Red/dp/B000GUEXBG/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1202937910&sr=8-1

Jonny and I played a rough game of parents vs. kids as his last basketball event of the season. It was fun to play, and we showed them some mercy, but not enough to embarass ourselves. Meanwhile, Alex played in the pep band at a girls varsity basketball game. Laura's wait finally ended at about 8pm, and she was a stitch to watch and listen to as she opened each present. She had been so moody and odd about getting special attention earlier in the day, but now, she was all for it. Her comments were continuous as she opened one present after another, often not even stopping to look into the box, but saying a brief thank you before moving on. She was especially pleased with her first Webkinz panda, and a special light-up princess wand from daddy.

She made a wish for more Max & Ruby toys before blowing out the 4 pink and purple candles on her cake sprinkled with pixie dust left by Tinkerbell. As an extra special treat, Laura, Melissa, and Crispy had a sleepover in the new Dora pop-up playhouse and tunnel.....it takes up about half of our living room! They were so excited as they placed their sleeping bags and pillows inside by the soft glow of the Tinkerball lantern....Crispy chose to sleep in the connecting tunnel. Melissa read one of Laura's new Max & Ruby books as a bed time story. With a smile on her little face, and all of her favorite things beside her, Laura drifted off to sleep. I am pretty sure that she had a very good day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Writer's Block Blahs

Hmmmm....Mondays are becoming writer's block days. Perhaps my Sundays just zap every last bit of brain power from me so that on Mondays I need to recharge? I don't know....but this is the second Monday in a row of feeling a bit brain dead in the head.


Laura had a bit of an emotional meltdown today as we talked about her upcoming birthday tomorrow. She said she didn't want to get bigger, and didn't want her birthday. After trying to talk to her about many things, she seemed to feel better after I assured her that she would still be little even though she was turning four, and that she certainly did not have to go to preschool if she didn't want to (apparently four was the magic age for school in her mind). When I reminded her that Crispy never went to preschool either, she got a big smile and was ready to play. We had some good quality time this morning, as the baby was busy exploring the room. We were able to read halfway through one of her magazines, and did the bunny hokey pokey several times. It was a really nice morning with my little La.

A brief bout of creativity returned this evening for about an hour. Jonny's den was given the opportunity for a drawing lesson from a local artist. While they were drawing portraits of each other, Pam and I worked on wording and phrasing for wedding invitations. Despite starting in an overwhelmed state, I think we came up with some pretty good ideas. Hopefully Lyle will like some of the ideas too.

That's about it. Blah blah for now.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Church, Church, and More Church

To Crispy's dismay (and Mommy's delight), his early morning scrimmage was cancelled due to a conflict with ice times at the arena. This left our morning open to more possibilities of an actual sane start to our always crazy Sundays. That thought was quickly squelched almost as soon as it was thunk(I don't think that is really a word, but I like it anyhow, and it IS my blog after all). Knowing how much the kids enjoy morning church and prefer it over the evening service, some of us bundled up to brave the frigid morning temps of -11 degrees(that's without the wind chill). Brrr....
Meanwhile, back at home, Melissa was having church for Crispy and her stuffed animals. Her creativity was impressive. Each animal or doll had a piece of paper next to it which Melissa had designed with a picture, maze, or some other type of puzzle, all with references to God in some way. Each one was unique, and each one listed name, date, and activity on the back. She had also produced a very detailed seating chart on her white board. By the looks of it, she had been working on "church" for our entire 3 hour absence. What a girl!

The rest of us(Laura, Jonny, Thomas, Michael, and I) stopped at the party store on the way home to prepare for Laura's birthday. She is a huge Max & Ruby fan, and that is the cake I plan on making for her for her party at Grandma and Grandpa's on Saturday. But it is so old news, that there are no other decorations to match. We settled on some pink shiny hearts, and butterfly candles for the cake. She also picked out Tinkerbell themed napkins for her cupcake party at the mall on Tuesday. She was especially happy with her Tinkerbell balloon boquet.

The stop for party supplies and trip to Taco Bell left us with only 30 minutes at home before having to leave for Crispy's hockey practice all the way out in Delano (unfortunately NOT cancelled). Since we were going to have to leave for church immediately from hockey to get the kids to rehearsals on time, 5 kids had to come with me. Bob stayed behind to take Michael to his hockey game at Minnehaha. Popcorn, pretzels with cheese, pop, and Gatorade helped everyone remain pleasant throughout the practice. Laura surprised me by insisting that she go to church again, and miss the shopping/grocery trip to Target with Mommy while the kids rehearsed. Once back at church, Jonny was extremely helpful and brought all the little people in with him, checked them into the system, and got them safely to their classrooms so that I could spare the baby yet another outing across the parking lot in the cold cold air. Now with just the sleeping baby in tow, I was able to enjoy a completely stress-free shopping excursion.

After picking up the kids, we high tailed it back home to get Alex to his own church youth group. He was almost an hour late.......bummer for him......he really could use a driver's license on nights like this. I made a very boring dinner for the kids: popcorn chicken and cheese bisquits. It was all I could come up with at 8pm...these kids needed to hurry it up and go to bed! A little blessing came by way of Alex getting a ride home from a friend just when I could not bear the thought of leaving my house yet again today. By 9pm, everyone was up in bed, Michael & Daddy were home, and the baby & I were crashing on the couch. What a long day!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

They're Growing Up

More milestones for Thomas today. It started this morning with his usual perusing around the kitchen floor while I did the dishes and made lunch. He then started picking up small things from the floor...still typical for him. The next part was a surprise...he put those things in his mouth! Wow! Up to this point, anything edible placed anywhere near the vicinity of his tongue caused a gagging reaction near to the point of puking. This was excellent progress. I ripped a small piece of cheese from our homemade tortillas, and he refused to even open his mouth. I put him back on the floor, and he began to scavenge again, trying chips and peanuts almost faster than we could stop him. Hrmmmmm....

I decided to encourage this new experimenting of his in a safer environment. With Michael posted on Baby Choking Guard, I brought the high chair up from the basement, and quickly wiped it down (hey, even 2 years of caked on food was no match for my new cleaning products). Thomas looked so proud and excited to be sitting in a big chair. I placed the same ripped up cheese on the small tray in front of him. Lo and behold, the boy took it up in his little fingers, placed it in his mouth, "chewed" on it for what seemed like an eternity, must have swallowed, then reached for another piece. He can eat!!! No gagging involved! Incredible!

This new skill of his allowed me extra time to do things I normally do not have time for. I was able to clean my kitchen, do the dishes, make more tortillas, prepare dinner so we would not have to worry about it later after the hockey game, make bread with Laura, and even look up new recipes and make dessert. How about that?!

My oldest son had a growing up experience of his own tonight: his first semi-formal high school dance. He looked so handsome in his newly washed and pressed (and awesomely clean smelling) shirt, pants, and tie. It doesn't seem that long ago that he was the one sitting in that high chair in the corner. Now look at him! All dressed up, getting ready (albeit 40 minutes late) to pick up his girlfriend.

The wind chill was approaching -45 degrees as we crawled up the highway to her house, sometimes barely being able to see the road due to the newly fallen blowing snow. She looked beautiful, almost magical...very petite in her little green dress. What a night for these poor girls in their spaghetti strapped gowns! Though very exciting, it almost made me cry, taking pictures of my first baby with his girlfriend of 1-1/2 years. Why does time speed by so fast? Jonny and I took turns opening the car doors against the brittle winds for the special occupants in our car. As we watched the two of them enter the building surrounded by similarly dressed "growing-up" kids, we both commented on how "sad" it was.....but "sad" in a "happy" way, if that makes any sense.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Getting Out

After doing so many loads of laundry and scrubbing all the walls this week, it was definitely time to get out of the house. After Crispy's Kindergarten and Michael's Band at school, we drove out to our favorite mall in Burnsville. One of the things that has been tough about adjusting to living in Waconia is being so far away from a shopping center....not that I enjoy shopping, but there always seems to be something that someone needs, and we can't just run out and get it like we used to do. We have to gather up our list over time and actually plan a trip since all the malls are roughly 35-45 minutes from our house.

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Panera Bread.....another thing we miss is getting good food! We then spent the next 2 hours "power shopping", getting everything we needed. We accomplished getting new shoulder pads for Michael(he has been asking since December), new soccer shoes and shin guards for Melissa, Valentine's gifts for the kids, MN Gophers apparel, Cinnabons to bring home, and nice clothes for Alex to wear to his semi-formal dance tomorrow...the real motivation that brought us to the mall today. Though it seemed like we were spending money like water (and it usually does since we have to stock up on one trip), I was really impressed with myself to stick with the list....no impulse purchases, and nothing extra today!

I had the pleasure to complete my day by going to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert with Pam. It was her birthday present to me, and what a wonderful gift it was! It was a fantastic concert, full of great music and worship...the perfect way to spend any evening. Since we did not have time to go to dinner beforehand, we stopped at Biaggi's (one of my favorites) for dessert after the concert. Upon walking in at 10:30pm, we both suddenly realized how starving we were and ended up getting dinner instead. Pam retained self control and only ate half of her meal to save room for dessert. I couldn't stop from eating my entire plate of butternut squash ravioli...who needs dessert after something that wonderful?

It was so nice to have the night out. When I arrived home at the stroke of midnight, I found daddy and Thomas snuggled sweetly on the couch. Thomas just loves his daddy and is always such a good boy for him. That is a good thing for me too, cuz then I get to leave him more often without the usual "mommy guilt"!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Back on Track

Our washing machine officially works again! Hooray! I do not know how many loads of wash I have done....maybe only 7? But I am just about caught up now to where I was a week and a half ago when the thing broke. There was a tight hair turnaquet wrapped around the water pump mechanism which had stopped it's draining ability. I had planned on checking the pump myself a few days ago after looking up info online, but I never got around to it. Rats....could have saved $145 (that is assuming I didn't wreck the entire machine in the process). Oh well......it works! The computer is also now fixed this morning, so I am able to much more efficiently catch up with all of my computer related "work"(like blogging and finding decorations for Laura's birthday!).

I have been using my Shaklee detergent and softener.....LOVE IT! It is just as wonderful as everything else. Now that I have been using this stuff exclusively around our home for a while, I am totally sold. Not only does it work fantastically everywhere, it is so gentle and smells good too. It just smells clean. I am already planning on ordering more dishwasher detergent and hand soap to replace all the other junk we have around here. I was also pleased to be able to move full time to my new BioKleen dish soap that my wonderful friend Lisa gave to me for Christmas. It cuts grease like nothing, and has the best lemon scent. And of course, it is good for you and the environment. I suppose one day soon I will have to put it on hold for one day just so I can try the Shaklee stuff to complete my review....but for now I don't want to give it up because it is really fantastic!

Thomas learned quite a few new tricks today. He now scoots expertly on his butt, allowing him to get to wherever he desires. This has been especially good for me today as it has kept him happy while I have been catching up on the laundry. I have even folded and put all of it away! That is really saying something since I still have 3 baskets of clothes sitting in my room that are full of summer and early fall items belonging to all the kids. He also learned how to do "High 5!" today. Kind of cute. But the best part was getting his "prayers" on tape. For a few weeks now, every time we say prayers for meals or bedtime, Thomas participates too with his hands folded and head bobbing, similar to the way Laura says her prayers. It is just way too cute and sweet. Very special little guy!
Survivor started up again tonight, so that put me on kettle corn duty. This time, I used the Cub Scout popping corn.....it was great! Most of the kernal brands we try pop such small puffs on the stovetop, but big puffs in the air popper. This stuff popped puffs at least twice the size of any other on the stovetop. It made for the best kettle corn we have had in a long time. Perfect blend of sweet and salty and puffy. Great way to start the new season. I suppose I have now raised the bar for myself and will be expected to make it this well every week! (This is a picture of Jonathan's "National Treasure" Valentine's box that he worked on for several hours today...very creative!)

All these things today were great. But the highlight for me, hands down, was bedtime. Not because the kids went to bed, but because we all piled onto my super comfy Tempurpedic mattress, full of the best fluffy pillows in the world (My Pillow~made in MN), pulled up the soft, microfleece blanket, and read a bedtime story.....just like the "old days" when life was actually not quite as hectic. With the baby sleeping in daddy's arms downstairs, I had plenty of stress-free, quality time with my next 4 youngest kids. We read stories, talked, and finished with a sweet bedtime prayer. It was heavenly! Something I would like to aspire to every evening.....unfortunately, I know that is not a realistic dream....but I'll keep trying!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pop Star Princess

As Melissa is getting older, her awareness of her limitations are becoming more obvious to her. This has been the time in her life that I have been dreading most. For the most part, she does very well, and remains happy, playing with her toys, taking care of her web-pets, enjoying her dolls, excitedly making her own craft projects. But more and more, in frustration over things that seem to come so easily to others her age, comes this simple question from her..."Why can't I do it?" She does not ask this looking for permission...we pretty much encourage her to try anything she would like. She is asking why she physically can't perform the way she is expecting to: like dancing a routine, or making a paper crown actually look like a crown, or opening a toy cell phone, or just fitting in with a group of girls. It rips at a mother's heartstrings and the helpless sadness drops like a boulder in the pit of my soul.

Tonight, we were invited to go to the Hannah Montana 3-D concert movie in Edina with our neighbor and another girl from Melissa's class. This is something we would have normally just skipped completely....Melissa does not have any current interest in this teeny bopper thing. But because we were invited, she was very excited to be doing a regular, normal girl thing. Ugh...what we will do for our kids.

We arrived at the theater with some extra time to spare, so after shelling out $15 each (it must have been for the cool 3-D glasses), we walked around the mall. We stopped in the girls' favorite store, Claire's, and found some cute bargain $1 purses and fun hair things to pep up the mood even more. Melissa was thrilled to now wear a blond and purple hair extension while toting her brand new shiny pink pony purse, her cool 3-D glasses tucked safely inside.

The movie was not remotely as horrible as I expected. I really had been dreading it all day, but was going for the joy it was bringing to my daughter. In fact, the movie was kind of interesting, and a really nice way to experience a concert....in comfortable seats, being able to see the performer without binoculars, sound controlled, and the best part was just being able to drive away at the end without being trapped in a congested parking ramp for an hour. On the way to the car, Melissa held my hand and said,"Thanks Mom, for inviting me to this movie. You're a really nice mom." Yes, I am so glad we went.....good night my princess. Enjoy your pop star dreams!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Falling Down

Laura is one of the most motivated kids in the morning. Even though she is not the one going to school, she gets ready as quickly as she can. In a flash, her feet are correctly in her boots, jacket is on, and hands are snug and warm inside her pockets. She stands pateintly waiting at the front door as her siblings gather their items necessary for the school day ahead. As soon as the first one is finally ready, she is out the door with them and eagerly climbs into the truck, snapping on her seatbelt (or at least trying REALLY hard to).

Today, one week before her birthday, her eagerness left her face down on the cement porch when her foot became trapped inside the house as the door was closing behind her. Poor girl! Her nose was scraped and oozing from the immediate bump on her nasal bridge to the tip on the end of her nose. Blood was dripping from her nostril at a steady rate, leaving a polka dot trail of red from the front door, which culminated in a little red pool by the kitchen sink. 10 minutes of ice and a lot of TLC helped prepare her for attempt #2 out the door. Whew! Success! Her very understanding and compassionate siblings were all late for school today, but no one seemed to mind. It's funny how a little bit of blood can totally freak out a bunch of kids...it makes them quite alert and compliant. I should have taken pictures before I washed all the blood off the floors and the smears off the walls....they could have proved helpful in the future on bad behavior days!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Grateful

Monday, Monday.....what to say?
The snow is so pretty as it falls today.
The kids are at school,
The baby's not sad,
All in all,
It's not too bad.

The laundry smells,
The computer broke,
The phone doesn't work,
And we're out of Coke. (Cherry Coke, that is)

The kids are happy,
The homework's done,
The chores can wait,
So we had some fun.

We read some books,
Colored a page,
Sold some cookies,
Oh, the money we made!

Had some dinner,
Whittled some soap,
Played some hockey,
Told "Skipper" jokes.

Came home late,
Went to bed,
Found Brietta.....
.....the rabbit is dead.

(Grateful I'm not the rabbit)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Sunday

Beautiful winter day.....the thick fog we drove through last night on our way home from the hockey game transformed the landscape this morning to a gorgeous sparkling world covered with frost. The thick cloud cover protected the delicate crystals from certain demise incurred by the meeting with direct sunshine, leaving us to enjoy this glorious blessing as we went about our day. It is fitting that it lasted nearly this entire Sunday, helping us to remember God's hand in our lives, even in the seemingly little things, as we devote the first day of our week to Him.

This Super Sunday was pretty slow for us....surprising for sure. Michael's coach took him to hockey this morning, which allowed the rest of us to sleep in. Bob was spending the day catching up on nearly 300 dictations. The kids and I spent only 30 minutes getting ready for morning church(with two in the tub!)...a new record for us! Thomas screamed when I dropped him off in the nursery, and according to their report, was fussing the entire time. This has been his norm now in the morning for the past few weeks. When we came back to afternoon church, Thomas screamed again when I dropped him off, but according to their report, he had been very happy and smiley, moving all over the place playing with toys. This too, has been his norm for afternoon church. The afternoon people absolutely adore him and miss him on the days I leave him at home....the morning peole have never said anything positive about him. I think he can sense who really likes him!

We had a low-key Superbowl "party"....in fact, it was just me and Tubby for most of the first quarter. Bob was still upstairs working, Michael was playing pond hockey on the lake with his friends, Melissa was next door with the neighbor girl, and the other kids were upstairs playing new video games. Having never made it to the grocery store this weekend, and being out of pretty much everything, I was surprised with the fantastic dinner I managed to derive out of nothing: steak, corn on the cob, chips with homemade dip, grapes, and french silk pie. We also had pre-game snacks of cream cheese wontons, and spinach and feta pastries. The treat for the kids was having green kool-aid, usually only reserved for summer thirsts! Impressive, huh?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Playing Games

Today was a rush from one thing to another as is par for the usual course on our weekends. Crispy and I won the short straw to hockey practice early this morning in Le Sueur. We spend so much money in fees to play hockey as it is, that it seems so cruel to also make us drive to crazy places that are an hour away for a simple PRACTICE for 5 year olds who barely even know how to skate. These days, the gas alone probably cost me about $35 for one of these trips. Yeesh! Anyway....thanks to my new Brittish travelling buddy, "Daniel" (my birthday GPS), we arrived at the arena in 35 minutes instead of the hour it normally takes by the tried and true route. That was exciting because we had left the house very late(I am SOOOO NOT a morning person), and I had already warned Crispy to expect half of practice to be over by the time we got there. As it turned out, we only missed a bit of the beginning warm ups. Thanks, Daniel!

While we were at hockey in a remote part of Minnesota, Bob was at Jonathan's basketball game in town. Jonny was happy that daddy took him today....it was his first chance to show daddy his stuff! I am not really sure how it went since neither of them gave me any details when I asked about it. The most descriptive responses were, "Yeah, it was good", and "Fine". Sometimes it is exasperating living in a house full of the male species.

Crispy and I made another stop at Target on our way home per his request (WHY???? It was 20 minutes out of the way and weren't we just there???), then picked Alex up from his sleepover. We stopped for Chinese food to go per his request (is anyone else getting the sense that I am a pushover for my children?), and left for home with over 6-1/2 pounds of rice, eggrolls, and a little bit of chicken. Everyone must have been starving...it disappeared faster than it had taken Alex and I to fill the containers at the restaurant.

A few short hours later, I took Jonny to his next basketball appointment. His team got to play during halftime at the Crown College Basketball game. The kids played for about 10 minutes, and looked so hot and exhausted just after that short amount of time. Not the sport for me~I hate being hot! Jonny had the ball a few times, and even got his name announced over the loudspeaker when he assisted a team mate's scoring basket. That's pretty neat for a young player!


We arrived home with 15 minutes to spare before leaving (with Jonny at home in charge of making dinner for the rest of the little ones)for Michael's 8pm hockey game in Bloomington. We faced the undefeated Bloomington team who kicked our butts figuratively and literally. These guys played tough, and the refs let them get away with nearly murdering a few of our players.....murder on the ice, not a pretty sight. Grandma and Grandpa C met us at the game which made Michael very happy(I think he even smiled). It also made Tubby happy: he was held the whole time by people who were happy to hold him, he got to do "funny walk" with Grandpa, and he played a very silly game of Throw the Bottle with Grandma~over and over and over again. Throwing things has been his newfound favorite thing to do, but it quickly has gotten old for the rest of us. He was giggling so much, and was thrilled to have someone playing along with this funny game. I took a short video clip because it was so cute....maybe someday I will figure out how to post those too!