Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday!

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

  1. Brisk Fall mornings!
  2. Second chances, Third chances, Okay most of the time fourth chances...AND the One who gives them!
  3. Date nights!!
  4. People who inspire me with their amazing stories.
  5. Clean vehicles...
  6. and the healthy, little people that make them so messy!
  7. Soccer season. And good friends on the team.
  8. Exercise. Okay, maybe not exercise but the way I feel when it's over!
  9. The 2 1/2 hours of complete silence that happens in my house everyday...
  10. and the sound of complete chaos when all my babies have returned home to me!

Thanks to our great hostess Mrs. Brownstone for giving us weekly opportunities to be mindful of all that we have to be thanful for!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On today's agenda...

  1. Shower! (RARELY the first thing on the list!)
  2. Luke to soccer practice
  3. Rush home to make lists and prepare my sisters for watching all 4 kids by themselves for 5 hours (there is a lot of work that has to be done in order for me to leave the kids, without either The Love or I, for that long!)
  4. Go scrapbook for 5 uninterrupted hours, free from my Darlings
  5. Rush home and quickly pack
  6. Drive 3+ hours to my parents
  7. Put exhausted-past-their-bed-time-excited-to-see-grandma kids to bed
  8. Fall into bed completely exhausted!

What are you doing today?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Reader Problems!

People, I am so not tech savy. Joseph has to put songs on my ipod for me (which is why I only have 27...the man doesn't have time for that!) and the fact that I can post a picture on my blog, or that I even have a blog, makes me techy in my world!

So, I have a problem with my blog's feed. (I'm really clueless about feeds and am thrilled that google makes it really easy to subscribe to them because I wouldn't have any idea how to do it on my own.) I think that I fixed it, but really have no idea what I am doing. I really just kind of guessed and pushed some buttons. Add a little banging and that is how Joseph fixes things around the house!

Anyway, thanks to my friends Anna and Melonie for letting me know there is a problem with my feed. Please let me know if I fixed it!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Eye of the Tiger

I've been going to the gym for a couple of months and am completely addicted. I love going. Love it.

For the past couple of weeks, on my running days, I have watched this trekking class happening just a few treadmills down from me. I've heard them talk about training for a half marathon, their long runs on the weekends, and I always think, "These ladies are serious runners. I want to be like them someday." The instructor that leads the class is hardcore and pushes her hardcore class to the limit. I've watched and watched for weeks.

Then today, I got up the nerve to join the class. Oh yeah, baby, you heard me. I walked up to the instructor, looked her in the eye and confidently said, "I'd like to join your class today."

"Well, we actually have a full class today. You have to sign up for the class ahead of time..."

Completely relieved I quickly said, "Oh, I totally understand! That's fine, maybe another.."

She interrupted me, "But we'll make room for you. It shouldn't be too difficult because today we are actually going to be doing run/bike intervals. It'll be a great work out! Hop on a treadmill and start warming up."

WHAT?!?! Seriously. I think that I must have paused too long because she said, "Don't worry, it sounds worse than it is."

I tried to make some more excuses, but she was having none of it so I got on the treadmill and thought, "Why do I get myself into these situations? Ugh. I'm going to get my butt kicked and fall off the treadmill. I hate the bike! These ladies do yoga, eat edamame and drink soy milk - they are real runners. I'm...an eater! Oh, Lord, please don't let me die!!" (I wonder where my kids get their flare for drama?)

So we start.

And I shocked myself.

I not only kept up, but smoked the lady next to me! Alternating between the bike and treadmill, we biked 3 miles and ran 3 miles...in less than 45 minutes! And I seriously felt so good that I really think I could have kept going!

It was awesome! And I am so proud of myself. Afterall, I am the chica who thought that running for 4 minutes straight was miraculous.

I first, give thanks to God and then to my ipod! Without you two, I would not be able to run! ( I kid you not, I have Eye of the Tiger on my ipod and don't think that I don't picture myself in Rocky - running up those steps in Philly!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ella Update!

So, I still can't figure out what Ella's deal is. At 10:15 last night (15 minutes after Joseph left for work - isn't that how it always happens?!) I heard Ella crying. I gave her some meds, and some milk and she was quiet for a while. And then at 10:30 I heard her crying again. I got her out, held her and she went back to sleep. That is, until I tried to put her in her crib. I wanted to see if she could soothe herself back to sleep, but after 20 minutes of off and on crying (and waking Luke) I grabbed her and put her in my bed.

I held her until she fell back asleep and then for the next 15 minutes, I inched my way to laying her down so that I could get some sleep. By this time I was exhausted, my back was killing me and I was praying that she wouldn't wake again.

And that is how we slept. Her 2 foot tall/20 pound body right in the middle of the bed and me, balled at the foot of the bed and terrified to move for fear of waking her. She woke up off and on all night, but wasn't too difficult to calm back to sleep.

It wasn't good sleep for either of us.

She seemed fine all day, so I still have no clue what her problem was. I called our doctor (also known around here as 'Daddy') and he wasn't impressed that it was anything I should rush her to his ER for.

This morning Caleb came in and found us both sleeping in bed. He woke me up to do his quiet time and said, "Ella is sleeping with you! She looks so cute in your bed!" And while she certainly did look cute, I have no desire to do that again tonight! Please Lord...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sweet Mama Moments!

Ella has been so sweet this weekend. Just a little sweet pea! I am smitten with her. Completely smitten.

(One of the hard things about having twins is that when I say something sweet about one, I feel obligated to say something about the other sister. So, let me get that out there so that I can finish talking about Ella. I love Lily Kate and think that she is gorgeous, just beautiful! Okay, now on to Ella...)

Ella really is so cute and has the cutest personality. I love her "toddle" walk. If you are a mama, you know the one...wide legged, like a drunken sailor, with that big "diaper booty" that comes in handy when she falls on her bottom! Love it!

And I love when she babbles and looks right at me. She'll throw in "mom-mommy" every now and again just so that I know she is really telling me something!

Ella is the one that is most adventurous, she tries hard to sing B-I-N-G-O, loves to be chased and swung around in the air, always messes up her hair and pulls her hair tie out, likes to wear necklaces and carry a purse, but at the same time is also rough and likes to wrestle.

She is just a little baby doll that is always on the move! (Although, if you are sitting on the floor and she wants to sit in your lap, she will back up and sit on you!! One word - adorable!) So because she is so active when she sits in your lap for longer than 5 minutes, it's special. With that said, you can imagine how special it was when Ella fell asleep in my lap at the dinner table tonight. While I hope she isn't sick (because seriously, this is very rare) I was thrilled that I got to hold that sleeping baby! *BIG sigh* So sweet and melts my heart!

I really love my kids!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Snapshots of the week

My poor little neglected blog...how I've missed you! Life has been so busy and you my little blog have had to suffer. I am going to try harder. I promise.

Since I have done such a poor job documenting life here, I thought that I would provide you with some snapshots of The Mad House:
  • I still have Ike evacuee's at my house. One of my sister's and my brother left Thursday and two of my sister's stayed. It has been so fun to have them around and the free babysitting has been fabulous! F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!!
  • I have gone to the grocery store at least once a day since the siblings got here.
  • Neither of my parents in Houston have electricity and haven't for the past week.
  • My parents that live in Seabrook had 3 feet of water in their house. They have been working since Tuesday to get the carpet out and clean up. They're still not done.
  • The Love's schedule this past month was wonderful!! We saw him lots and had a lot of fun family time together. We even cleaned out the garage the other day...it was way past time! Last night, The Love started his month of nights. He was zombie-like this afternoon, but I have high hopes that it will get better in a couple of days. I hope they aren't too high!?
  • I have already started shopping for Christmas! Seriously, what is that about?
  • Caleb is loving school. I'm not sure I'm loving his school.
  • Because the weather has been so delicious out lately my kids have been spending LOTS of time outdoors. I don't think that Caleb watched TV all week...love that!!
  • I went to a super fun luncheon today and was reminded how proud I am that my husband has chosen to spend the early years (and at the rate we are going the later years will be included at some point too!) of his career in the military. It was so nice to be on base and with other wives that take pride in their husbands careers and want to get involved with the many amazing military service organizations. I met some new friends and had a great time!
  • The little Twinkie girls are getting too big, too fast. I absolutely adore them and really want another one (or two!). Shhhh...don't tell The Love. He loves the idea of baby making, but isn't too keen on the idea of baby havin'! How's that for TMI?!
  • I went to this party this week where these ladies were selling vinyl lettering that they make for home decor and am now addicted to putting phrases all over my walls. Seriously, addicted.
  • I have been scrapbooking at night and watching way more Disney Channel than anyone over the age of 14 should ever have to watch thanks to my sista's! I had never seen Hannah Montana, Suite Life or Life with Derek until this past week and I hope I never see them again!!
  • When my sisters learned that I couldn't send a text message, they were completely shocked and amazed! (How in the world have I gotten this far in life without that important skill!?) So, while talking to me like I was a 65 year old grandma that had never heard the word "email" they taught me. I am still no where near as fast as they are, but at least I can send a "text"! Now they are disturbed that I only have 27 songs on my ipod, that holds like 2000, and I have no idea how to use itunes. I am so not cool!

Well, friends, that about sums last week up. Yeah, I agree, you didn't miss much! Thanks for checking in with me and I would love to hear from you all - even you stalkers blog watchers!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday...a day late!

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

So, I meant to participate int Ten Things Tuesday yesterday, but life got in the way. Not just any life, but this amazing, blessed, fabulous life that I have the pleasure of living! With that said, better late than never...

  1. I am thankful for a husband that ran with me (even though I am way slower than he is he still was so sweet and complimentary!) yesterday and encouraged me during the terrible hills!
  2. I am thankful for my siblings being here and all of the many hours of free childcare that they really love playing with my kids.
  3. I am thankful for the fun memories that the kids are getting to build with their aunts and uncle.
  4. I am thankful that my parents house is still standing and that they have such a good attitude despite their not-so-great circumstances.
  5. I am thankful that The Love's schedule has been so amazing for the past month and will be for many to come!
  6. I am thankful for my friend 2 amazing friends (one in Minnesota and one in North Carolina) and how much they love me and let me call them when I am in crisis and talk all about myself.
  7. I am thankful for cooler weather where I can leave my windows open and enjoy fresh air.
  8. I am thankful that I have stayed relatively injury free despite my many hours at the gym.
  9. I am thankful for all the scrapbooking that I have been able to get done in the evenings and all the memories that we have been able to capture, by photograph, over the years.
  10. And last, but definitely not least, I am so thankful for my Love and the four little Darlings that we call ours!

To see what others are giving thanks for head on over to Mrs. Brownstone's place!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurrican Ike and Teenagers

Well my friends, life has gotten a bit busier in the past couple of days. I got a call from my stepmom late Wednesday afternoon saying that they thought that the hurricane would be headed that way. My parents live in a little suburb of Houston called, Seabrook and their house is less than a mile from Galveston Bay. I offered to come and get my siblings (ages 11 - 19) and have them come and stay at my house until the storm passes.

My stepmom thought that would be a great idea and I planned to drive down there Thursday morning to get them. By Thursday morning they were under a mandatory evacuation and my little brother decided that he wanted to make the drive here with my other siblings. Both of my parents work at a hospital and their hospital was being evacuated and they weren't allowed to leave the hospital until the last patient had been evacuated.

My siblings got here Thursday afternoon and I'm glad they came. My parents evacuated early Friday morning to my Uncle's house in north Houston and saw the water coming before they left the house.

I talked to my stepmom this morning and she was, understandably, completely overwhelmed. They don't have power and the roads are blocked off by down power lines. They have a generator that gave them power for a little while, but that was dying when I talked to her last. They heard on the news that all of the roads leading to their house were submerged under water, which left her feeling hopeless about the state of their house.

So, I am now caring for 8 kids, ages 1-19. Other than the fact that the teenagers are eating us out of house and I may have to take a second mortgage to afford groceries, we are having fun! My kids are getting lots of attention and I am getting some help around here. Here are a few observations I have about teenagers:
  • They eat A LOT!!
  • They are on the computer A LOT!!
  • They must have really good muscles in their fingers because they use them to text , A LOT!!

While our house isn't big enough for 8 kids we are all making it work and enjoying the time together. Please send some prayers down to Houston and all those that are affected by Hurricane Ike.

I'll try to blog an update when I get one, but remember my computer time is being taken over by teenagers, so I may not be blogging as frequently as usual.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Works for Me - Teaching babies boundaries

Before I go into my "What works for me" I want to say a few things. When I first had Caleb, and he was still a baby, I was so judgemental of other moms. I clearly remember seeing a child screaming and kicking his mother in Target and was sure that his behavior was due to a complete lack of parenting on the part of his mother. "My kids will never act like that," is what I told myself (and others!) And then he turned 3. And I was humbled beyond belief. Many times over. Many, many, many times over!

So my philosophy on parenting goes like this: if you are training your child, seeking God's wisdom and it works for you - GREAT!

I know that what works for me, may be what you want to do (and vice-versa) and that is fine with me. With that said, some of you have asked me about 'carpet training' or 'boundary training' so I will share what works for me. I am NOT telling you what you have to do OR that you are a bad mother if you aren't doing it!!

Got it? Good! Now that we have that out of the way...

We teach our children boundaries at the early age of...when they can crawl. And one of the methods that we do it, is by teaching them to stay on the carpet in our house. Most of the things that are off the carpet in our house are things that I don't want the kids into anyway, so this works on so many levels for us. Here is what we do:

Once our kids are able to crawl we don't let them crawl off the carpet. If they do we redirect them back onto the carpet. It takes a lot of work and patience, but the payoff is so worth it (for us). Since this usually takes place around the 6 month age, we use redirection not discipline.

Here are the reasons I like to 'carpet train' (I really don't like that term because it sounds like something you do with 4 legged furry animals, but I guess that babies are kinda a 4 legged...I digress...):
  1. I don't have to chase my baby (or babies) all over the house and wonder what they are getting into.

  2. It teaches boundaries at an early age.

  3. When we go to anyone's house they stay in one spot and look to me for guidance on where they can go.

  4. It allows me the opportunity to expand their boundaries as they get older instead of restrict them.

  5. The 'carpet' can also be a blanket when we are outside and I don't want them roaming around.

Now here are some commonly asked questions/misconceptions:

Baby's learn by exploring...how do they get to explore if confined to a carpet?
I don't want them exploring the bathrooms, kitchen, stove, pantry...and other areas that are usually not carpeted. The space that they are confined to is large and has lots of toys and other age appropriate things for baby's to explore.

What if I have a 12 month old...can I go back and teach them to stay on the carpet?
Yes, but it's a LOT more work than if you start when they are young and they never know there are any other options. It also takes more time and patience.

When do you let your baby off the carpet?
As they get older we allow for more freedoms. My girls are 15 months old and still on the carpet.

My little Mikey/Janey is really strong-willed. He/She would never do that.
I have 4 kids, all with very different personalities, yet all train-able.
How do I know if my baby understands what they are supposed to do?
When your baby starts to put their hand off the carpet, only to look back at you first, you know that they get the concept of what they are supposed to be doing. It's been my experience that they understand it very early on. Way earlier than I would ever give them credit for!

Do your kids ever get off when they aren't supposed to?
YES! I have a child (or two!) that love to test the boundaries. So we redirect (or discipline when they are older). And in that they learn a lesson on consequences.

Alrighty, whew that was a long one! As an end note I want to reiterate that this is about what works for me. If it doesn't work for you...I'm okay with that! To see other ideas, check out Rocks in my Dryer.

And how could I forget this one?!?!?

11.) I am SOOO thankful that (as of this morning) I have reached my goal of running 3 miles!!! I am so proud of myself! I can remember back to when I was able to run for 4 minutes straight and thought that was a miracle.

Now the big question is, will I be able to keep on to the half marathon?!?...

Ten Things Tuesday

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

Some of my friends have been joining in the 'thankfulness' over at XBOX WIFE and I thought that it be fun to jump in this week! There are so many times that I get caught up in the, "if I only had..." game and in truth, we are so blessed and it's nice to have that reminder.
So here goes:
  1. I am thankful that my husband took care of our kids so that I could run, go to my bible study and have lunch with some friends today.
  2. I am super thankful for the group of friends that I have here! They are an amazing group of Jesus -lovin' women whose friendships bless me beyond belief.
  3. I am thankful that Caleb loves his school where he learns about Jesus.
  4. I am thankful for moms that meet together to pray over Caleb's school, teachers and the students. And I am thankful for the opportunity to join them.
  5. I am thankful for friends that want to swap freezer meals and for all the new recipes that we will get to try (that I won't have to slave over!!!!!).
  6. I am thankful about a great gym to workout at and awesome, loving childcare workers who take care of my kids while I workout.
  7. I am thankful for a husband that loves his job and finds fulfillment and satisfaction.
  8. I am thankful for friends that hold me accountable and ask me the hard questions.
  9. I am thankful that my parents live close and we get to see them, at least, monthly. That is so rare and precious for a military family!
  10. I am thankful for my gorgeous Beauties and my adventurous Jedi's! Oh, yeah, and that I am married to a ROCKSTAR!

That's what I'm thankful for, what about you? To see what others are giving thanks about go here.

Monday, September 08, 2008

We won't be hanging this sign on the door!

Caleb is really loving school. I did, however, catch him in his room crying on a Saturday morning because they aren't doing math yet. (Soooo, not my child!!) Outside of that little mini-drama he has loved school. Loved it!

School has been motivating Caleb to start trying to spell out words that he doesn't usually try to spell on his own. Before church yesterday he came up to me with a sign that he made. When I figured out what he was trying to spell I laughed. Hard. And so did Joseph when Caleb showed it to him. Take a peek and see if you can figure it out:

Let me translate for you:


Men and Women

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Pictures from Darth Luke's Birthday Party!

Well, my little Lukie turned 4 and has been so excited about his big birthday party. I sent out invitations through evite and here is what it said:

Four years ago a baby boy was born. He was named Luke and he was strong in the Force. Unfortunately the evil Emperor has converted Luke away from the ways of his Master. We need all young Jedi's to come and persuade him from the dark side.

Please inform the Jedi Council whether or not you accept this invitation by sending a reply.

Come and join us! You're our only hope! May the Force be with you as you make your journey to a galaxy far, far away!
(I was impressed with my creativity!)

As usual we decorated the Birthday Boys' room with his favorite colors...black and red! My mom and I decorated the night before his party and then at 4 in the morning I am disturbed by a very loud noise. Luke was popping balloons! At 4 am! And the best part was Caleb was sleeping through the whole thing. (sigh) Luke, Luke, Luke.

I love this picture of Little Miss Princess getting ready to put Darth Vader's belt buckle on his belt. Isn't she cute?! Princess shirt, fingers in mouth and all!
Dr. Lees and Darth
Look at this cute little face!
I made this cake for Luke. Homemade (meaning no box) cake and frosting. The cake broke, so I had to use some of the frosting to piece it back together, therefore ran out of frosting. So I hid the drama with - peanut butter cups! Yumm-o!

Some Darth Vader pinata action. Isn't it cute how they decided to use light sabers to beat the candy out of his head?!
Broken pinata = Excited kids!
The prego's! Aren't they beeootiful with their bumps?
Star Wars loot. These are all the gifts he got for his birthday. And now I should go write those thank you cards!!!...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Am I insane?

There are days in my life, where at the end of the day I think to myself, "Sab Mad - YOU are I-N-S-A-N-E!" Today is one of those days.

The day actually began last night when I started cooking 23 packages of chicken at 7:30 pm and wasn't done until 9:30 pm. Yep, you guessed it! Today was another psycho cooking day! Remember the last one that almost killed me? Well, this one was better. I was determined to learn from our mistakes.

This time I cooked all the chicken the night before, bought a frozen pizza so that we could eat during the madness and picked a day when The Love could be around to help with The Beauties.

And while today went MUCH better, it was still exhausting. I started cooking by 8 am and had already finished my first meal by the time Kellie got here. Between the two of us, we cooked roughly between 35 -40 meals! Seriously.

I sat for 15 minutes to "relax" and then it was time for the boys to come home from school. We did the "after school" drama and then I loaded the kids up and we headed out to the gym. Worked out, headed home to feed the beasts and clean the kitchen after the cook-a-thon. While I love Kellie, she really is the messiest cook I have ever encountered. (Can I get an Amen Kellie?)

And here I sit, exhausted and ready for my boys to fall asleep so that I can get in bed! And for once, I hope that I can dream about something other than food!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It's Backwards Day and I need help!

It's Backwards Day over at Rocks in my Dryer and this is a time for me to ask your wisdom instead of sharing my folly! Initially, I didn't think that I had any questions, but in the last 10 minutes I have come up with about 20 questions.
So here is one that has me stumped: allowance. I want to start giving Caleb (age 6) and possibly Luke (age 4) allowance, but I don't know how much or how often. I want it to be a relevant amount that can actually be spent, saved and tithed. I'm also not sure if I want to attach it to their chores. But if I did, would I penalize for poor behavior, attitude and lack of job being done?

Yeah, see I need help! Share some ideas with this mama!

Monday, September 01, 2008

A walk down Labor Lane on Labor Day

Rocks in my Dryer is having a little Labor Day fun and I thought it would be fun to participate.

How long were your labors?

Kid #1, 14 long, terrible hours.
Kid #2, 7 hours.
Kid #3 & #4, maybe 8 hours...I actually don't remember - it's all a blur.

How did you know you were in labor?

Kid #1, I was induced at 7 am with Pitocin. I swear, 10 minutes after you have had Pitocin the contractions come hot and heavy. Very hot and heavy. You know you're in labor.
Kid #2, I labored at home for 5 hours with some serious contractions. Once the contractions came 5 minutes apart I woke Love and we went in.
Kid #3 & 4, The pitocin once again reared it's ugly head after I had THE most painful maneuver ever done to a woman prego with twins!

Where did you deliver?

They are all hospital babies. I'm that kinda girl.


Yes, please. Seriously, I'm that kinda girl.


Hallelujah, praise the Lord - NO!!! Baby 3 (Lily) wanted me to have one. Really bad. So did Baby 4 (Ella) for that matter. So I had an "external cephalic version"...TWICE!! It is seriously the most painful thing that I have ever had done to me. I was that desperate to not have a C-section. It took 1 doctor, 2 nurses and Lovey to hold me down while my OB did the version. Lily turned. Then turned back a couple of hours later. So they did it all over again a week later. (Did I mention I was desperate not to have a C-section?) Lily turned again, and this time they had me sit on a ball for 45 min while administering (that dreaded drug) pitocin! Lily was born head first, Ella came out feet first. NO C-section!

Who delivered?

Doctors, and that's the way it should be!
With Babies 3 & 4, Joseph wanted to deliver them. I didn't love that idea so much. I wanted him to be dad, not doctor. He was good with that.

Let me know if you decide to play along because I would love to read your stories!