Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!

This morning while I was listening to the news, I heard a news reporter refer to Leap Day as a "kind of a goofy day". I thought that was kind of strange for a reporter to use that term to describe this particular day.

However, I was lying in bed waiting for the boys to come down and thinking about what to post. Then I heard this person make the statement. Then it came to me. If today is a "goofy" day, then there is no better day to share some "goofy" pictures that would probably never be posted at any other time. Enjoy!

"Too Loud"
Aaron's reaction to the 17 year Cicadas outside Chicago last year. It really was deafening!



















Noah showing off the hat he made at the New Year's Party at the Children's Museum



















Aaron sharing a little too much love to his cousin Kira on the swing



















Noah dancing/flying during musical chairs at school















I don't know what Aaron is thinking in this picture, but I love the body language and facial expression



















This is Noah's latest answer to "say cheese"



















This is very much my boys' personalities today....Noah goofing around and Aaron watching everything he does















Noah's vampire teeth that he won at Chuck E Cheese



















Aaron's cool shades



















Noah being silly after swimming lessons with Abby and Hannah, daughters of Deb Mom of 3 Girls

















And lastly, please feel free to make up your own caption...I can't think of the words :)























Have a great Friday!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Morning Update

50th Post...yea! I'm half way to my first 100.

I will try to post a regular entry later but I just have to say, my week #1 weigh in this morning was a happy one...down 4 LBS. I know from experience that each week won't be huge like this but it tells me I'm on the right track. I have done very well with my calorie counting although last night dinner at church made things very difficult. I saved most of the day though and just too very small helpings of everything. I split a TINY brownie with AA for dessert and the funny thing was I didn't even crave all the cupcakes that were up there. My husband has been very supportive which is a good thing because I know I couldn't do this all on my own. I will be turning in my application for assistance at the Y tomorrow after I get my pay check stub from the music store. I really hope they see us as good candidates.

My mother-in-law is interested in joining me in this quest so I need to get the courage to reveal my scale number to her. When it is all said and done, I hope to post a picture of the two of us in our new Chadwick's outfits. :)

IN other news, Noah has had two yellow days in school in a row and I am getting frustrated again. He hasn't had a yellow the entire month of February and hasn't had two in a row since October. I asked the teacher to step up her standards and be harder on him so that he could get ready for first grade so I know that's why but I still also know that he can avoid being disruptive in class when he wants to. His conference is next Thursday so I know I'll have a better handle on things then. We will definitely finish out this year in his current class and I have a working plan for 2nd grade in place but I am back to contemplating homeschooling for just first grade. He will be taking choir at church and Tae Kwon Do at a local studio so I don't worry about the extras and he has already read through the entire first two sets of BOB Books and we are starting on the third (which are considerably harder I must say). I haven't made a decision yet. I am hoping that Tae Kwon Do will help but unfortunately I can't afford to start him until the "rebate" comes and I don't know how long I'll be able to keep him in before the funds run out.

So my little post about this morning's weight loss has turned into a vent, once again. That seems to keep happening. Shame on me.

Oh well, I think I should end this entry on a happy note so I'll share the newest use for my
trampoline last week...a great place to spill
ALL of the little legos to see what they want to use. Guess how long it took to clean up these little suckers?




We're supposed to get yet another snow slam tonight...Is it Spring yet?

Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

WW # 7 Latching on: A substitute for mommy?














Aaron and 2nd Cousin Nicholas at 8 weeks old

Monday, February 25, 2008

Thoughts Of Family

I was looking through pictures on the computer tonight as I was trying to decide which picture to use for Wordless Wednesday. It was making me a bit nostalgic. One of the things I was thinking about was how lucky my boys are to have so much family close to them.

Both of their sets of grandparents are close enough to spend time with often.
























I remember growing up, with the exception of my cousin Anna who I would spend time with a couple weekends a year, we didn't have a real relationship with our cousins. They were people you would see at holidays and by the time you started talking to them and having fun, it was the end of the visit until the next year.

My husband's family has cousins with a WIDE span. The funny thing is, within that span, each cousin has an age match. With the exception of Aaron, every age match is a gender pair. Noah and his cousin Olivia are only a few months apart, as are Aaron and his cousin Carter. Here is a picture of the group with Steve's parents this past Christmas (minus two who were unable to celebrate with us this year).














My family is quite a different story. My sister and I are SEVEN years apart. My brother and I are FOUR. Because of this, we never dreamed that we would ever have kids the same age. Well, life hands us different circumstances and thankfully, the result is a large group of kids who are growing up together. I have one niece who is in high school, and the other TEN are all seven years and younger. They are not only close in age, but they DO spend a lot of time together, even though some live a few hours away, and they talk about each other daily.

I love these pictures of the crew at the farm last fall(minus the babies that weren't born yet and the high schooler who I think was at a Band function). They show their personalities so well. I didn't want to save them for Wordless Wednesday because I needed to be able to say, once again, how lucky we are.
Maddy, Kira, Piper, Odin, Noah, Patrick, Jamie, Aaron

I think my dad has blown this picture up and added funny captions to each kids mouth. It does kind of look like a mob line-up, only cuter.







Odin, Noah, Patrick, Jamie, Kira, Aaron, Maddy, Piper

I don't know why there need to be pumpkins on their heads. Just goofy, I guess.

Family has a different meaning to me now than when I was growing up. The ability for love in a family is so much wider than I believed a few short years ago. Family is not determined simply by blood. It can also be those friends who have carved a special place in your heart (many of whom I know are reading this...yes, this means you). Family is defined by those around us who care about how we're doing, worry about us when we're hurting, and celebrate with us when we triumph.

Thank you God for family, who are a symbol of Your Love here on Earth.

What Sledding Taught Me

So we finally had a winter day that was decent enough to go out and actually ENJOY the snow. When we got home from church, we put the boys down for quiet time. Noah pitched probably the biggest temper tantrum in his life and then fell asleep (which he has done only a handful of times in the last three years) for two hours. Aaron never fell asleep, which is unusual. Sort of a role reversal day, I guess.

At about 3:30, we decided it was probably time to wake Noah up so he would sleep at night. After much cajoling, he finally came around and we decided we had to get out of the house.

After more 5 year old whining about finding his saucer sled (which I think is buried under two feet of snow in the backyard) and 3 year old whining about going on a sled by himself, we made it into the car and about three minutes away to a local sledding hill.

Here's what I learned at the the sledding hill...

Noah is a daredevil. Mind you he still has a bit of a broken hand. But that didn't stop him from trying to ride the sled down the hill like a snowboard (He saw other kids doing it). He made it half way down before wiping out. I didn't get a picture because I was too freaked out about him injuring his hand again. It was also important to him try head first, backwards, and lying down completely so he couldn't see a thing.















I learned that 3 year olds really can slide down a huge hill by themselves without wiping out and love every minute of it.



















I learned that it is really hard to take good pictures as people are sledding down a hill very fast.















I learned that my baby is growing up and likes to be more independent than I am comfortable with. He would rather do it by himself than wait for the family.



















However, I did get a couple of shots of my happy boy between runs.
















I learned that sledding is as much fun for the Daddy as it is for the kids.














I learned that when you're tired of climbing the hill OVER AND OVER again, it is just as much fun to throw snowballs at the ones you love.















I learned that if you're the family photographer, there will be no pictures to prove that you DID indeed go down the hill quite a few times..


And best of all, I learned that any day spent playing with my three boys is a good day.















Have a great week.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My give-away win

I participated in my first bloggy give-away carnival a few weeks ago. I wasted WAY too much time entering tons of contests.

Now you must know....I NEVER win anything. I was the kid in school that never won Math Bingo or any drawings in my life. My husband, by contrast, won a stocking bigger than himself filled with toys and candy in his hometown when he was about eight. He is the lucky one.

So after spending, again, WAY too much time entering for all kinds of things and then checking a lot after the week was over, I was SHOCKED to find I'd actually won something.

Juliana at A Daisy A Day gave a away a gift card to Coldstone Creamery (yum) and I actually won! She emailed me for my info and I was so excited.

I really didn't think much of it until a few days later, when she responded to one of my blogs apologizing for not getting my card out sooner and linking back to this entry on her blog. It was an entire entry about how much stress my little gift card had caused her. It was quite an amusing post but I also felt bad that she had worked so hard.

So a few days ago, a small envelope arrived in the mail. Not only did it have the gift card, but also 5 handmade note cards that she had added to my package just for a little extra. Isn't that sweet? I was so honored that she thought to add a little something. Here is a picture of what I received.



















I had to laugh that it arrived the day I professed my diet to begin on my blog.

So I figured, why not share the wealth. It was not going to be enough to take out my whole brood of boys so I continued to think. Deb over at Mom of 3 Girls and I were going out every Friday night for awhile just to get some "girl time" and we hadn't been out for awhile. Plus, I never would have started blogging had she not sparked the interest...a perfect reason to share the card with her.

So last night after kids went to bed, we went. I spent quite a bit of time online earlier in the day researching which items on the menu were lowest calorie and ate accordingly all day to plan for it. I think that's the thing about this weight control journey...it all depends on planning. It's when I don't plan and eat on a whim that it all goes out the window.

So we had a fun night out of ice cream, Target shopping for Easter presents (and a VERY rude cashier....I may expand on that another time...this is too happy of a post for that), and then back to my house for more bloggy tutoring and then we ended up talking to my husband in the living room until after midnight.

All in all, I'd say a good night out, all because of the Great Bloggy Giveaway Carnival. So maybe my luck has changed, maybe not. But I know that good luck was not just because of a yummy gift card, but also because it gave me yet another chance to connect with a friend.

Friday, February 22, 2008

WOW!

THANK YOU...THANK YOU...THANK YOU!!!!!!

I must say that when I started writing yesterday about my inner turmoil, I was thinking it was a big pity party. You wonderful ladies have shown me something else. Not only do I so appreciate all the kind words yesterday but I feel so encouraged that I really don't feel as if I am facing this battle alone. You strong amazing women have given me many ideas to implement and I will keep you all informed if, no when , I make some progress.

Back to my regularly scheduled blogging soon...I promise.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm gonna do it!

Okay, so this post will not be interesting to anybody...so don't bother reading it.

The only reason I'm writing it down is to keep myself honest. It is purely for self-motivating purposes.

I just got finished taping pictures cut out of the Chadwick's catalog all over the kitchen. I have cut the faces off.

If you are still reading this, you must be thinking at this point "What kind of sadistic person is this?"

I got the catalog two days ago and started looking. However, flipping through made me realize that wearing any single item in the catalog is a pipe dream in my current stage of personal body health.

Six years ago, the week before I found out I was pregnant with Noah, I achieved my lifetime member status at Weight Watchers.

Without any in between information, which would be purely derogatory anyway, I am now quite a bit above what I was when I started that Weight Watchers journey the first time. I tried over the years but with just lack a serious amount if will power.

Watching Biggest Loser has become a struggle because of my constant bottoming out (literally) of self image and I do believe this has led me down a path of self destruction including taking the kids down with me. My current size of jeans is bursting and I REFUSE to break out the "fat jeans" I guess I would rather suffer from stomach aches every day. How stupid is that?

My sister has also struggled, yet I've watched her become physically active and running in numerous races and attaining her fitness goals. She has become what I wish I could be. I have resorted to excuses (what do I do with the kids, I can't afford going anywhere, I just don't feel like jumping on the mini trampoline for an hour) and I am beginning to feel like it is a battle that can't be won.

Then the Chadwick's catalog came.

Now, I have to face reality that shorts weather is coming. I couldn't possibly wear a single thing in that catalog without looking like a bloated whale. I don't want to feel this way anymore.

I thought maybe I could buy a new pass to Weight Watchers with our tax refund but what am I supposed to do with the kids? When Aaron and Noah were little, I got kicked out of a meeting because the kids were making too much noise and I never went back.

So after a lot of time on the computer last night looking up different options, I got out the booklet from so many years ago and I am going to try it again. I really won't be able to do it all at once. I will start with the calories and go from there. Hopefully, I will add the physical in as I go...back to jumping on the stupid trampoline since we will never be able to afford going to a gym and it is just too darn cold to go outside.

I really thought I could wait a while longer. I thought that we would have one more bundle of joy and then I would worry about it. It doesn't seem to be in the cards and I no longer want to use this as an excuse.

I know I can do it. I've done it before. I just want to feel good about myself again. I want to stop feeling so bad that I take my frustration out on my kids. I want to stop feeling like a blimp every time we get together with Steve's family (I think the combined jeans size of the other three sisters-in-law adds up to mine). I want to feel pretty. I want my husband to look at me and see the person that he sees on the inside.

And best yet, the day I attain my goal...I WILL buy those items from the Chadwick's catalog!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's finally found us

It seems that in the last few weeks, every other site has been spotlighting a sick child. My friends have all reported the "yuckies" going through their households. Up until now, I have been sitting on pins and needles because we haven't dealt with it much (other than the "flowers" a few weeks ago.)

However...

The last couple of days Noah has been complaining about a "belly ache" and today he woke up at 5 AM and didn't fall back to sleep. I hemmed and hawed about whether I should send him to school , but finally decided , "he's not hot, let's go for it"

About quarter to noon, guess who called? Oh, yeah...
"Kristi, this is Mrs. S, Noah hasn't been eating all day and is lying around the room"

Before the sentence was finished, my response...
"I'm on the way"
When I got there, the secretary told me that 4 out of 8 in the class went home sick. I wonder what the teacher did with four kids for the rest of the day.

By the time we got home, Noah was falling asleep in the car and lied on the couch sleeping for two hours. His fever was somewhat low for him, 101.5 orally.

Yes, that is low for Noah. Usually if he gets a fever, it runs around 104 regularly. So I haven't worried much. I ran to CVS to get some dye-free tylenol and gave him some. Now, about an hour after the medicine went in, the kid is bouncing on the trampoline like nothing was ever the matter but still won't eat.

I hate these "non-illnesses" where you really don't know if they're sick or not. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it runs the course of the house. I can handle me and the boys getting sick. It's the biggest boy (aka husband) that I dread catching it. That will become a major ordeal.

The biggest bummer of the day was that during the full two hours of sleeping from Noah, AA decided that he didn't really need a nap today. MY quiet time was foiled again. Curses!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend Happenings

So, we had a pretty eventful weekend. The biggest plan was for yesterday, and was in the planning for several months.

As I have told you in the past, Steve is lifelong Barbershopper. (Click on the word if you are unsure what this means). He has been singing his whole life. He and three of our friends from college actually sang two songs at the beginning of our wedding ceremony. We have been to many shows together through the years and I have attended many in which he was performing. He has always had favorite performers, as all people do within any music genre.

This past Saturday, one of his favorites, Power Play, gave their farewell performance after 20 years of singing together. They also had several other great quartets performing. So we bought tickets with the help from Steve's mom and planned to find a babysitter and drive to Detroit for the concert and come home. Over the last few months , we toyed with other ideas: leave the boys with Steve's parents an hour north of here, hire a babysitter, call Steve's brother who lives nearby, etc. But every idea seemed to have a snag in it. So finally I said, "Why don't we just take them with us?" Steve has been playing BBShop music for them on You Tube and the CD he copied (shhh, don't tell anyone) So he called and got us two more free tickets for the kids and we decided to try it.

The drive ahead was about 2 and a half hours between home and Detroit (actually St. Clair Shores, for those of you who know Detroit) so we tried to plan accordingly. When would Aaron get the best nap, when should we stop for dinner, etc. We finally decided that if we left too late, Aaron would take a nap too late and be a mess. So we decided to go do lunch somewhere and then hit the road.
We ended up at Chuck E Cheese because we had a ton of tokens from previous visits and the kids played hard for about an hour and a half.














Then we still had to go to Art Van to complain about the crappy bed we bought last year (which is going to be replaced later this week...yea!). The kids love playing at the "castle store" as they call Art Van because they have a big Kids Castle play area while the parents shop.

So it was finally about 3:00 O'Clock and we figured we might as well hit the road. The trip went SOOOOO well. We are still in shock. Aaron fell asleep almost immediately and between Color Wonder markers, a Leap Pad and a used Leapster I got on ebay, Noah stayed pretty content.
He did start to rest near the end. We stopped for dinner where the kids were REALLY well behaved and ate great and then they watched a movie for the last hour of the trip.














We made it to the concert location with 45 minutes still left and the auditorium was getting crowded. Steve wanted to sit up close and I worried a bit but I understood. This concert really meant a lot to him.

The concert started around 7:30. Let me just insert here....my boys' bedtime IS 7:30. The kids were amazed at first. The first group, Rural Route 4, was one of the first groups Steve ever played for me and they are HILARIOUS. They did a very entertaining version of Old McDonald which was perfect for the kids.

After the first group the kids started getting restless so I took them up to the top of the auditorium where they could move around a little without disturbing others. Aaron snuggled into my lap for most of the time.

At intermission, we took the kids out and got them into their pajamas and Steve ran out to the car to get their blankies. They looked so cute walking around in their sleepers.

Then the concert started again and they did better but I still wondered just how the rest was going to play out. By about 9:30, there were still two groups left to perform and Noah was begging to go to sleep. So I picked them up and headed for the car.
As we were heading out, one of the members of Rural Route 4 came walking by. Aaron was SOOO excited. "You're one of the barbershop guys!" He couldn't stop talking to him...it was like he was meeting a celebrity. He talked about it for the next ten minutes and much of the day today.


















I drove around and they fell asleep in the car and Steve came out about 45 minutes later.

The drive home was pretty difficult because I swear my eyes closed at least a half dozen times. We got home around 1:00 AM and fell into bed.

I know this was a long post...sorry. However, I needed to share the whole experience so that we can remember when we look back on it. The kids were so good, so excited, and both want to go again.

I think my favorite quote of the night was Noah's. The reason I liked it was because it was the EXACT same feeling I had after the first barbershop event that I attended and I remember it so well.

"Mommy, even though the songs are over, I still hear the music over and over in my head."

Thank you, God, for sensitive little boys. I love to share new things with them and getting the chance to experience things again for the first time.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Famous Boys


Both of the boys had pictures taken for the newspapers in the last couple of weeks. We haven't seen Noah's yet because it was for the newspaper up where my in-laws live and I couldn't find the web site. But I did find Aaron's. While we were at Musikgarten class a photographer showed up. We didn't know about it so Aaron's hair was not combed and was wearing an unattractive shirt but nevertheless, this was the goofy photo in the paper. Yes, he is very excited about playing those bells.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Snow memories

I'm cooooollllllldddd!!!!!!!!!!!

Have I mentioned within the last 3.2 seconds that I haven't been able to feel my fingers since October. I know that here in Michigan we always get a lot of snow and it is always cold in Winter, but this year I have had it!

Last night I actually taught piano in my socks (yes, I know...very unprofessional), because I stepped in slush on the way in and froze my toes. It was -12 wind chill outside at the time.

So, instead of my constant complaining about the cold, I thought I would instead simply remind myself that once in a while, we do actually have fun outside in the snow. I would be remiss if I didn't bring you along for the ride.

We did have fun leaving out reindeer seed on Christmas Eve















We did have fun sledding behind Papa's tractor




















We did have fun sledding last year at the park




















We did have fun at the Christmas zoo with our cousins Odin and Kira and Aunt Jenny



















We did have fun making a snowman with Daddy. (That is not Noah's middle finger)















So next time I start griping about my frozen fingers, I now have something on which to look back.

I also remember what my friend Carole said at church this past Sunday. We have a refugee family from Burundi that we have taken under our wings as a church. The kids are starting to learn a little English but the parents are still struggling. Carole had them over dinner last week, and she said the adults couldn't stop giggling at the snow.
I also remember the New Year's Eve when I was in college when I went to an ecumenical college student convention in St. Louis. There were college students from all over the country together. It snowed that night and it was the first time I had seen people react to snow who had never seen it before. It is a sight I still remember even though it was 13 or 14 years ago (Steve would know how long... we started dating about 24 hours after this trip was completed.)
So there it is, I have to accept that snow has it's good points. I know about 7 months from now, I will be creating a post complaining about how HOT it is outside and how I wish for some snow.
That is the good thing about living in Michigan. If you don't like the weather, wait 24 hours and it will change.
Have a nice Tuesday.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fancy Footwork

I think Noah is going to follow his Uncle Matt into the world of uninhibited dancing. We have only recently discovered just how much of a dancer he is. It started last summer when they just started dancing in the gazebo in Grand Haven.



























Then came our family Christmas party where Uncle Bill put on some very loud music and Noah, along with Daddy, Uncle Bill, and cousins Carter and Olivia, cut a pretty good rug.


`




















Then, a week later he once again rocked it out at the New Year's Party at the Children's museum

































Last night, the fever struck him once again as Daddy found "The Choo-Choo- Train" from Playhouse Disney on the computer. While we were waiting for supper to finish, the boys started dancing around the kitchen. I actually took several videos that were hilarious but I chose this one because of Noah's footwork. I only wish I could be this free. Steve loves to dance and I can't seem to make myself look like anything but a fool. (Yes, Daddy is indeed the "fun" one.)
Enjoy.
video


Have a great Monday.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Fun Saturday

We had a fun day today up at Steve's parents house. The community in which they live had a winter carnival. The majority of people who live in the community are retired couples who are living the good life and they bring their grandchildren to share in the festivities. We went last year and had a great time. Word must have gotten out that it was so much fun because the crowd was VERY large today. Fortunately, we had stopped to eat on the way. The kids NEEDED to eat. Unfortunately, Steve's parents had hoped to eat hot dogs at the carnival and the crowd was so big, they ran out of food. Come to think of it, they never ate after we got back to their house either. (You guys must be starving)
We did have fun though.

The kids got balloon wands. The balloon guy reached over and signed Noah's cast before we knew what was happening and he signed it "ballon guy" Complete with his career likelihood MISSPELLED. Kind of funny.














Steve LOVED holding the balloons while the kids were drinking their hot chocolate.












The kids also made a snowman thermometer craft














Got their faces painted

















Saw many pretty impressive snow sculptures.














We also went on a horse ride but I'm saving that picture for next Friday.

When we got back to Steve's parents' house, the kids were ready to play. I spent some time time sharing my recent blog entries and conversed with Steve's Dad about how to make movies on his digital camera while Noah played games on the new laptop.














While all this was going on, I guess none of us noticed that we hadn't heard from AA in awhile. When he was finally discovered, he had not only "flowered" in his underwear, but had also discovered some very pretty nail polish. He knew he had gotten busted BIG TIME! Don't his nails look lovely?


















So now we had a shark on one cheek from the carnival and a beautiful line of nail polish on the other.














We had a fun ride on papa's tractor before we had to head home so Daddy could go sing at a restaurant.















I'd say we fit a lot in for a quick trip up North. We are getting an "arctic blast" as I write this according to the weather forecasters so I'm glad we got outside today. Tomorrow we have forecast wind chills of -10 to -20 degrees. How's that Florida heat, Dad?

Have great Sunday.