Thursday, December 27, 2007

So close, but so far away!

So, I had this whole posting written in my head about how great Luke was doing in the potty training department, how I'm sure that we all but have this kid potty trained and how he has gone several days in a row without an accident, until....

We had a bad day! 2 "accidents". I don't really call them accidents, since it is ON PURPOSE! He either gets too busy playing and doesn't want to stop playing to go potty OR he doesn't want to go if we are anywhere other than the house. So we are dragging him, kicking and screaming, to the bathroom when we are out in public. We are all about subtlety.

I understand baby steps, but this is ridiculous!

C is for cookie!

Here are some pictures of our annual family cookie decorating!

Isn't my mama cute?! This is one of her favorite things to do with us at Christmas. She and Joseph really get into it! Joseph is rarely excited at first, but once his creative juices start flowing, there is no stopping him. Even though this isn't his favorite activity, I love that he participates because he wants to build family traditions, knows I love doing this and knows that his boys are watching him and taking cues from him! I love my man!

I think more frosting got in Luke's mouth, than on Mr. Gingerbread Man

And here is what my two little sweet peas did while we were decorating. They were pretty content to watch the action at the table. I didn't get the picture in time, but both of them at one point were biting the noses off their stuffed animals and talking to them.

A glimpse of Christmas morning...

We had a wonderful Christmas! Joseph and I decided that we would only get the kids 3 things each (just like Jesus got from the wisemen) and it would be 3 things that we knew they would absolutely love. It's hard because you want to buy your kids everything and, as I was shopping, I saw all sorts of thing that I knew the kids would like. It was hard to control ourselves, but we did and we are happy that we did so. Less emphasis on presents, more emphasis on Jesus!
My mom came and of course that made it even more special for all of us. She made sure that the kids had plenty to open up Christmas morning!
Our good friends, the Lams, also came over later in the day and we had dinner, walked around the neighborhood looking at lights and ate yummy pie!
It really was an awesome Christmas!!!

Caleb, Luke and I on Christmas morning!

Caleb got a rifle with a scope. He has been asking for this rifle (he loves it because it has a scope!) for months and was thrilled when he finally got it!
Luke has almost all the trains in the Thomas the Train collection. It's always fun when we find a train that he doesn't have and he is so appreciative.
A future NRA member.

Luke got a train table!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Our first Christmas!

A few of my favorite's from the above slide show...

Lily and Ella had some cute "My first Christmas" jammies that they HAD to be photographed in! They are so stinkin' cute I can hardly handle it!

Ella Grace on the left & Lily Kate on the right!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry CHRISTmas!


The Mads

The twins new ride!

The girls got a new stroller. A super cute Maclaren with reversible printed seats. Love it! I told Joseph that we now own every type of stroller with the exception of one. He said that we aren't getting that one. He thinks the amount of strollers we own is ridiculous. I think that it's practical. There are many situations in life that call for different strollers. Don't the Twinkies look cute?!

Friday, December 21, 2007

One giant leap for Caleb

My amazing friend, Michele, is a homeschool mom and sent some books to us for Caleb. I have been asking him for the past couple of days if he wants to read together, but he had no interest...until the other day. He picked up the books and started reading them!!! Joseph and I were shocked! Granted this isn't Moby Dick, but he is doing a great job reading these phonic books. All on his own. But that is the kind of kid Caleb is. His way, his time.

Here is is wondering why I have to document his life for my blog fodder!

And this is what Luke is reading these days...catalogs!

This is what he is reading in case you are interestedPosted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bah, humbug!

So I am having a dilemma that I have never had I send out a Christmas card or not?

I usually look forward to this time of year for many reasons, one of them being my love of sending and recieving cards.

But this year I'm just not feeling it. Bah, humbug. I don't really know what to write about. I don't want to write some cheesy letter about how great our family is (although, between you and me it is!) and trying to get all 4 kids to look at the camera and smile is impossible. Besides that, doing a card is a lot of work. Is it worth it? Does anyone really care? Bah, humbug.

I really want to write a letter that has some depth to it, but who really wants to hear that? And how vulnerable is too vulnerable? And is a vulnerable letter really appropiate amidst the happy, cheesy letters? Bah, humbug.

So, I'm not sure that I'm going to send anything out. I better make a decision soon or it won't be a Christmas cards, it will be a New Years card. Maybe that will be our new tradition...

Bah, humbug!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

7 month old Twinkies!

The girls are 7 months old and I'm not even going to discuss, yet again, how fast it is going by! I will only say, "Do not blink". We are introducing more solid food and Lily definitely has her mama's appetite. That child will eat anything that is placed in front of her! The only thing that Ella has gotten from me is her dramatic nature. She gags and thrashes in her seat when we try to feed her.

Since Joseph is now home he is working on teaching them to sit up. Ella is pretty good at it and Lily is not. Lily, on the other hand, is great at being on her stomach and Ella can't stand it. I often wonder if their entire lives will be filled with people comparing them. The one thing you can't compare is their cuteness; they are both stinkin' adorable!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Welcome Home..I'm not so sure you're glad to be here!

Well, lots has been happenin' at the Mad House!

I didn't share this with all of you bloggity readers, but Lovey has been gone for 3 weeks!! Yup, I have been doing it by my lonesome and it was exhausting. Completely, totally, absolutely exhausting. There were many moments where I was done. Stick a fork in me done. But still had to forge on. I definitely had my not so stellar moments, but we all made it through alive. And we are excited that we won't have to be doing that again for a while. A long while. And we are thrilled to have Joseph home. The boys were are so adorable and very excited about having their Daddy back. They needed some of their toys fixed, scopes put on their guns, rough wrestling matches and discipline! And I desperately needed a break.

Since Joseph got home, things have been crazy around here. We have had shopping to get done, parties to go to and a stomach bug to pass around. Oh yeah, you read correctly. Yesterday I got one of the most fast and painful stomach aches than I have had in a while. We went to Luke's "best buddy's" (that's what he calls him and it's so cute!) birthday party and I felt fine all morning, then suddenly around noon I started to not feel so well. By 2 I was doubled over in pain and... let's just say I was hugging the toilet. I slept for a while and felt much better. Just in time for our bible study Christmas party that I really didn't want to miss. I didn't feel great while we were there and didn't get to enjoy all the yummy food, but had a great time nonetheless.

Then Luke started throwing up at 11pm. After we washed him off, changed his sheets and got him back in bed we went to bed ourselves. Around 1 am something happened that almost never happens in the Mad house. A child came walking in our room in the middle night. I can count on 3 fingers how often that has happened in 5 years. And after throwing up in our room, something else happened that almost never happens in the Mad house. A child slept in our bed for the rest of the night! And after the sleep that I got last night, I remember why we don't allow children in our bed. No one got any sleep and my body is sore from being kicked and contorting myself in weird positions to avoid being kicked. Yep, I am so thankful that our children do not share our bed!

So day 3 of Joseph being home will be a day shut in the house with all our germs. Even though I am sad that this is how we are spending Joseph's first days home, I am so glad that he has been here to help me with this drama. Hopefully we all start feeling better soon so that we can start doing fun things together before he has to go back to work.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Here are some cute pictures that I took of the girlfriends sleeping. They are still sharing a crib and somehow still fit...they're tiny! I know that it will soon be time to move them into their own crib, but I worry that they will be scared and lonely without their friend. And they still stay (mostly) on their side of the crib for now. So adorable.

They really are great sleepers. All my kids have been, since we sleep train, but the girls really like to sleep. This is a good thing and trust me, I am NOT complaining!

To the left is Ella and I know that because she sucks her index and middle fingers by bending them backwards. It doesn't seem comfortable to me, but apparently it is for her. Lily Kate is on the right and she sucks her thumb.
As you can see we still swaddle them, but with one arm out. All our kids were swaddled for a long time.
We went in for our 6 month check up last week and the girls are still petite little ballerina's. They are in the 15th percentile for length and not anywhere near the charts for weight. Lily was 12.8 pounds and Ella was an even 13. We have a fantastic pediatrician (who also happens to be a friend of mine) and she isn't alarmed by their petite-ness. The boys both did this same thing, so between that and the fact that they are staying on their own curve - she wasn't worried. Now their inability to sit up was more of a concern. But since they almost never get any time on their tummies or the floor (it's dangerous down there with these boys in the house!) it's not suprising. I just need to work with them more. In my spare time.

Little history anyone?

Y'all are going to think that I'm crazy, but as I was thinking about what to title this post I was thinking about the Mother Goose rhyme "What are little boys made of?" So I started to say the rhyme to myself (Snips and snails and puppy dog tails), I realized I had no idea what the heck a "snip" was? Do you? This rhyme I had heard dozens of times and said myself, suddenly made no sense to me. (And while I was thinking about thhe other ones, they didn't either!)

So I did research in the only way I know how: I googled it. And come to find out, some believe that the words were, "Snips of snails'. Ah!, with these boys, that makes total sense to me.

Alright, now that we have that tangent out of the way, my post was going to be about what I found in the dryer. Not the washer, but the dryer. It already went through the washer!

Here is a close up of what's in the dryer:

The sad thing is that this isn't really the worst thing that I have ever found coming out of the dryer. You wanna know what the worst is? This is terrible: a pull-up.

How do I miss these things? I'll tell you how - 4 kids!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Is there a doctor in the house?...

...not yet, but there will be in MAY!!!! And he will be an Emergency Medicine doctor!

Joseph got his first pick for residency and first pick for location!!! We are thrilled! Joseph has worked so hard and I am so proud of him. The man is amazing. I could try to explain to you how hard what he has accomplished (especially in the military) is but it would be too difficult to explain. So I won't. Instead I will just tell you that he got chosen for a very competitive residency and is stinkin' brilliant. That's all.

Hey, this is my blog and my hubby...I'm allowed to brag shamelessly!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hopefully I will be able to sleep tonight!

Tomorrow is a big day around here...

Joseph finds out if he got into residency. I'm so excited! It would be wonderful if he got in, but it will be wonderful to finally know whether or not we will be moving and if so where?!?!

Stay tuned...

Breath of Heaven

Love this song...speaks to my heart, these days in particular. ~S

Breath of Heaven
I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I’ve done.
Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now to carry your son.

I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.

Do you wonder as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place,
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong.
Help me be.
Help me.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.

Mother of the Year is overrated!

I had a terrible day yesterday. Terrible. Okay, even as I write that I realize that "terrible" is relative, so since all my children are alive and we have a roof over our head I guess it wasn't that bad. But in my world, it was bad.

It began with my intelligent, beautiful, gorgeous 5 year old. He's driving me nuts these days. He defies everything I tell him to do, argues with me constantly and replies with "why" to any thing that comes out of my mouth. It isn't in a I-want-to-understand-how-things-work-way, but a are-you-really-the-boss-way. And I engage him. I argue with him, attempt reasoning with him and try to prove that I am in charge and what I say goes. If I just had one child then that would be difficult, but instead I have 4 and it is exhausting.

So Caleb tried me all morning and I lost it. One of the worst parenting moments that I have had yet. I talk to the boys all day about patience, kindness, self-control and gentleness and exhibited none of these characteristics. No mother of the year awards here.

After calling my amazing mentor mom and calming down, I brought the boys in bed with me and we talked under the covers. They forgave me, I forgave them and we laughed, giggled and wrestled under the covers until I got hurt.

5 minutes later Caleb is at it again. Driving me nuts. So much for our honeymoon.

I decide to take the kids to Mickey D's for lunch with some friends. Caleb was in a...mood on the way there and the whole time we were there. Pushing all the buttons. And once again I engage in the drama with him.

Then once we get home, he completely changes personalities and is sweet the entire afternoon.

One storm passes, just in time for another....

Ella starts throwing up. Now, let me stop here and tell you that I HATE stomach bugs. Colds, coughs, runny noses, & blood, don't bother me the way that stomach issues do. In my mind, my worse case scenario is all 4 kids throwing up and Joseph gone. Seriously, some moms consider childbirth your "badge of motherhood". Not me. When you have a child that has fluids coming out both ends and you do too, it is then that you have the badge. Until then you are only wearing a patch. An iron on patch. But once again I digress...

Ella starts throwing up. So I bathe her because it is all in her hair, bed and clothes. As I am bathing her, Lily is crying and the boys are fussing because they are hungry for dinner. And Joseph isn't home. The next 2 hours were difficult with lots of tears from all of us. Lily and Ella on a normal day fuss from 5:30 pm until they eat for bedtime at 6:45 pm. They only stop fussing when they are being held or when in the car. So when Joseph isn't home to help me hold a baby, then I load the kids in the car and we go through the drive thru and eat while looking at Christmas lights. Last night Ella threw up in the car, Lily was screaming and food was taking forever at Sonic.

Not feeling like mother of the year. Children eating fast food, driving aimlessly to keep kids quiet, and being impatient and frustrated with the boys who are desperate for some attention so fighting and arguing and crying. Nope, no mother of the year here.

I started praying. Out loud. For Breath of heaven to hold me together and pour Holiness over me. For angels to surround us and help me. Because I'm not sure how much more I can take.

And Grace arrives. Poured on me. I hear Caleb tell Luke, "Let's pray for Mommy." And so they start praying together. For their family. Their Mommy, Daddy and baby sisters. (I heard something about trees, Christmas lights and cups too!) Lily Kate stops crying. Caleb says, "See Mommy, God heard our prayer and the angels helped Lily to stop crying. She's not crying anymore!" Then I hear Luke ask Caleb where angels live. His reply: "They live in heaven. You have to go up, through the sky and past outer space to get there." Grace poured.

Holy God, use me to reflect your image to my babies. I want them to know you, seek you and love you with all their heart. Raise these little oaks into believers who see righteousness and holiness. Use me, in spite of me.


End note, we are so blessed. A good friend of ours is a pediatrician and he came over last night. Ella slept all night and hasn't thrown up today. Neither has anyone else. It really wasn't such a bad day.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

We got elfed...but who didn't?

We got sent this "hey I just made a total elf of myself" email by so many people and I didn't see one of them because I could never get the website to load the page. Well, I was finally able to see the one that was made for them by Angela.

If you are interested check out the kids making a total elf of themselves the go here:

I love their expressions!

Friday, December 07, 2007

We are dedicated to freezer meals

Kellie and I had another cooking day yesterday. It was very different then the one we had last time. Yesterday was crazy. Okay, crazy isn't exactly a strong enough word. Psychotic or insane is better. Much better.

My adventure began after a busy morning of dressing 4 kids, nursing 2 babies, feeding 4 kids cereal, packing 2 lunches and school bags, loading all kids in car, taking kids to school, coming home to put 2 babies in bed. And that was all before 9:15 am!

As soon as I got the babies down, I loaded Christmas music in the CD player and started cleaning chicken. And cleaning and trimming. And cleaning and trimming. And cleaning and trimming some more! Unlike last time, yesterday's cooking adventure included 44 packages of chicken. No, there wasn't a typo - 44 packages of chicken. They each weighed 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, so that means we used... LOTS of pounds of chicken. (There are reason's that Kellie is the one that is in charge of the math!) We needed 100+ breasts of chicken and 30 cups of cooked chicken.

We decided that it would be faster to grill the 30 cups of cooked chicken that we needed. Great idea until my grill ran out of propane before all of the chicken was cooked. This was a foretaste of things to come. From this point things started to go awry. The drama really began after almost 3 hours of cleaning/cutting chicken when I sliced off a chunk of my finger. My finger started gushing blood. It was then, that I found out that Kellie has an aversion to blood. She started turning pale. Apparently she has passed out, on previous occasions, at the sight of blood. That was the last thing that we needed. After we stopped the bleeding, had Kellie sit for a minute, oh and pick up the piece of my finger I cut off and threw it away - we started the marathon back up again. We are dedicated.

By this time it was after the noonish hour and we were going to have to go get the kids by 2pm. We worked fast and furiously the rest of the afternoon away. With kids underfoot and through the drama 6 kids can be at times. By the time we were done it was 5:30pm. We all were hungry, Kellie and I were dehydrated, the kids wanted attention, the house was a mess and my finger was killing me! This was the point that I melted down. Lots of tears and in front of Kellie's hubby, Dan. Lovely. Just Lovely.

The good news is that we each have 28 meals. Or something like that. And we still have at least 8 cups of cooked chicken that we are planning on doing something with. By golly, we will use the chicken that blood, sweat and tears went into (metaphorically people). More meals baby!

Aside from all the drama, Kellie and I are quite pleased with the results of our afternoon and are all about doing it again. Minus the dehydration, hunger, kids, blood and finger loss.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I could be way worse

Last night I stayed up late watching Jon and Kate plus 8. Joseph thinks it is absurd that I watch this show. I've mentioned before that bed time around here is wi-ld, chaotic and noisy. So Joseph can't fathom why as soon as we put the kids to bed and return to our quite living room, I turn the tv on to this show and listen to their screaming kids.

I have tried to explain to him that it makes me feel better. It makes me think that I have it under control over here. And that things could be worse...way worse. Not only could things be worse, I could be worse...way worse! If you haven't seen the show the mom, Kate, is a demanding, impatient, bossy, germaphobic, perfectionist, controlling - freak. She's crazy. And watching her drives me crazy. She annoys me. And she reminds me of me! It's terrible. I do take comfort in knowing that I'm not quite that bad. Almost, but not quite. She's really crazy. I'm only kinda crazy.

And the Dad, Jon, reminds me of Joseph. Laid back, easy going, extremely helpful, and puts up with the drama. If you doubled our kids, it would be like watching us on TV. Except, I'm not that bad. Really, I'm not.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


"Hey, if you get your fingers out of your mouth and smile, she may stop making stupid faces at us and quit flashing that bright thing in our eyes."
"Listen, you're the one that isn't even looking at the camera. We've been waiting on you. I'm not the one holding up the show."
"Oh great, now your gonna be a crybaby. Well I guess that's one way of getting us out of this. I'm gonna put my fingers in my mouth and look cute."

"I'm not a crybaby. I'm just sick of this. And in case you haven't noticed, if you cry she picks you up first!"

Aren't my sweet girls so cute!

Fun with Dora and Diego!

Joseph's grandparents headed down south from Alaska in their RV fo a visit and we took them to the botanical gardens. Dora and Diego were there and we all had a great time. Below are some pictures from our fun day!

The boys with Dora and Boots.

The boys and I in the Japanese gardens. So beautiful it looks fake.

Ella having so much fun she can hardly contain herself.

There is that beautiful smile!

Daddy and the boys feeding the ducks

I love these little brothers...

Camo Caleb

Luke being sad because I wouldn't take his picture with Camo Caleb. He is so dramatic. I have no idea where he gets that from!

Alrighty, Camo Luke!

The boys with Great-Grandma Carol

The brothers with Diego