Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Should've named her Butterball

Daisy, our rat, is a big butterball.  It seems more often than not, she's finding an excuse to lay on her back with all four paws in the air.  Usually all it takes is a willing subject to tickle her during play, rub her tummy because it feels good, or just because she is relaxed and wants to take a snooze. 

Jeff and I were hugging each other next to the couch the other day.  The rats were on the couch playing with the girls.  Next thing I know, Daisy is crawling up my side trying to get right in the middle of Jeff and I.  She's such a ham.  So much personality packed into such a tiny package.  We sure do love that little rodent! Perfect pet for small children and a busy mom.

If you look close enough you will see my smile.
A little to the left please.
May I have a sip?
Just hanging out in my Grandma's sleeve!  Cozy and snuggly in here!

Branson Tornado

Last night I awoke by horrible winds, rain, and thunder.  I was groggy and kept thinking the weather sounded pretty bad.  A couple times I even thought it sounded like that "freight train" everyone describes when speaking of a tornado.  It was 1:30 in the morning.  I stewed over whether it was bad enough to get up and check the television and then decided it was.  We didn't have any reception on our computers or TV.  We try not to wake the girls unless it is obvious we were in danger.  I hate to say it, but I think I slept through the worst of it and was awoke towards the end.  When we finally did gain our reception back I was startled to know a tornado had went through Branson.  About 30+ people were treated at the hospital for minor injuries but no casualties in Branson.  There were several hotels and a couple businesses and theaters hit on the strip namely the Dick Clark Theater and the Variety Show theater.  I think most of the residential areas were spared.  Someone did loose their life to the tornado in Buffalo, MO not to far from here.  The Branson Landing was hit, mostly the Hilton convention center.

Anyhoo....when I finally woke for the day I got news that Branson schools were closed for the day.  The strip was closed to traffic because of debris and the kids literally couldn't get to school although we are told their school suffered no damage.

After seeing the pictures and knowing we should have been downstairs during all that, but didn't know it was going on until it was too late, I decided it was time to invest in a weather radio.  Hopefully we get good reception out here.  Why oh why do tornadoes seem to strike when everyone is oblivious to them in the dead of the night?  We can't hear the sirens where we live thanks to the ozark mountains and we were only a few miles from the devastation.  Scary.  Anyhoo...if you are interested in seeing more pics, there are several more at:

 After seeing the devastation the Joplin tornado did, I consider our little town very lucky.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Skating Party

Kadyn got invited to a birthday party at a skating rink. I wouldn't have been able to make it because it landed at the end of my work day, but Jeff was kind enough to fill in for me for the last two hours. It felt sooooo good to get out and just spend time with K doing something super fun!  I was worried I was going to crash and burn.  It's been YEARS since I have roller skated.  Although very wobbly at first, it came back to me within about an hour. I did crash once, but this was only because a little kid rolled right into me from behind and knocked my knees out from under me. I felt really bad because I landed right on him.  Poor kid!  The rink was allowing kids to ride trikes, scooters, and anything with wheels.  This kid was on one of those scooters that you wiggle the handle bars back and forth to make it move.  He had a helmet on, thank goodness. I found his mother later to check on him and make sure he was still ok even though he told me he was ok after it happened.  I could tell he was trying not to get upset, but the tears were starting to gather in his eyes. was pretty chaotic.  With all those different types of wheels on the rink (even tiny remote controlled cars) and a bunch of beginning kindergartner skaters, it was a little crazy.  They had these cool walker things on wheels made out of pvc pipe for the beginner skaters.  Kadyn could't really skate without one of those things.  She L O V E D it!  We did try to go out once without one and it was a complete disaster, she kept falling and couldn't get back up even with my help.  We laughed pretty hard.  We also got to play limbo and a little bit of that game where you skate to a number.  By the end of our time she was BEGGING me to buy her skates for her birthday and wanting to come back the next weekend.  If they will allow for Bren to use her trike, we may just have to make that happen again soon.  Such a fun family activity.   

Date Night

Jeff and I get to go to a black tie event each year about this time.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of Branson.  Jeff is an ambassador  for the chamber or commerce.  He was recognized at this event along with several other ambassadors.  There were many awards given out to outstanding individuals.  The food is fantastic and the attire, oh the attire!  I always feel like I am attending the grammys or oscars.  Some of these women go all out.  Jewels, dresses that drag the ground, glitter, glam, fancy updos, flowy down dos, you name it!  Half the fun is looking at all the dresses. For the past two years I have reworn formals that I had acquired from college.  This year I got to go shopping and found a cute little number on clearance.  It wasn't the fanciest dress, but it did the job.  It always is a bit awkward because I never know anyone and I get introduced to a ton of people through Jeff.  You just have to smile, pull out as much charm as you know how, and play the part of a financial planner's wife.  PS. I am NOT pregnant in the photo LOL.   Not sure what was going on with my dress; I look 7 months pregnant  It seemed to poke out a lot in this photo, but Kadyn was manning the camera and it was the best shot we could get.  Oh well!

The girls stayed with our next door neighbors Roger and Teresa.  They are an older couple.  They have no children so it was a lot of fun for them to watch the girls.  The next day I received and email from Teresa saying that our girls were a joy to watch and the most well manner children they have ever babysat.  She said she'd be glad to watch them again anytime.  It always feels good to hear such kind words about my children.  You go through a lot as a parent, but when you hear things like that you know it is all worth it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mom update 2

Thankyou! Thankyou!  You're prayers are working.  My mother came out of surgery in sobs because for the first time in 10 years she could take a deep breath and there is no more coughing. She says she feels better after surgery than going into surgery.  The oxygen levels in her blood are supposed to be 90% or better to have the surgery and hers were 91% going in.  After the surgery her levels went up to 97-98%.  I'll be curious to see what her lung capacity is now that the surgery is done.  The last check before surgery was 59%. 

Anyhow, the procedure did what it was meant to do.  She had a fungal infection inside and they were able to clean it out.  Her latest scans are actually showing that her lungs look better than they thought.  She does have sarcoidosis, but the scarring on her lungs isn't as bad as they thought.  Praise Jesus!  I'm so glad to know my mom is happy and back on the road to health, hopefully!

Mom update 1

Thank you everyone for your prayers after my last blog.  My mother is in surgery as we speak.  She regained enough strength to get through the surgery so they went ahead and scheduled it ASAP.  The procedure is an out patient procedure, and typically only takes an hour, but they are going to take 3 hours.  They suspect there is a fungal infection on or around her lungs and want to take their time and look around and try to figure out what is really going on and gather material for further testing.  She saw the pulmonologist a couple days ago and he is not 100% sure she has sarcoidosis.  Yea, for other opinions! She assured me that the doctors don't think it is cancer.  Whatever it is, we want it gone.  She's had it for 12 years and it only seems to be getting worse.

Anyhow, we are hopeful that this surgery will be a step towards a recovery that will last.  I will keep you posted as I know more.  Thanks again!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Prayer request

Hi friends,

Many of you know my mother has been battling Sarcoidosis for many years.  This is a serious lung condition for which there is no cure. It is best described as a crystallization of the lungs.  Because of her condition she is more prone illnesses during cold and flu season.  This season has been no exception.  She has had pnemonia once and now it seems she may have it again although they are not sure.  She was scheduled to have surgery tomorrow to do something that they are hoping will help her, but she is currently not strong enough for the surgery.  Today she couldn't even lay down long enough for them to scan her lungs.  She just couldn't breath.  A couple weeks ago before this current illness hit her lung capacity was at 59%.  I'm not sure what it is with this new development. 

Needless to say I am very worried.  I am unsure if any of you knew the actor Bernie Mac.  He died of pnemonia. He also had sarcoidosis.  Knowing this makes me very, very scared.  It is hard to get through a conversation with her on the phone because she just can't catch her breath and is constantly coughing.  She can not even pick up her youngest grandchild without loosing her breath. 

For now they are going to get my mother on prednisone to try to treat whatever it is that is preventing her from recovering enough for surgery.  I ask my praying friends to please send up a prayer for her and my family. These are scary times for us and it makes it hard that I am so far away and can't be with her. 



Friday, February 17, 2012

Snow Day 2012

I almost thought it wasn't going to happen.  The only child that couldn't go outside was the one child that showed up to daycare.  My heart was breaking for my girls.  They had their noses pressed against the window begging me to go outside.  To make matters worse, some boys came and started sledding down our hill.  They got to be the first to put tracks down that  mountain of fun.  I think they watched those boys for half and hour from the window.  Jeff was puking so he wasn't going to able to come through.  I texted the baby's Dad requesting he come pick up baby early if possible (her mother was home puking) because my girls really wanted to go play outside.  Afternoon came and I wasn't sure it was going to happen so I sent them onto the deck and the baby and watched from the inside.  An hour later, baby's Dada showed. I was soooo grateful.  It's days like that that I just want to be mom and nothing more.  Just glad we got to be outside after all.'s the proof.  The second video is the best!

Almost forgot

We got to see the Chase family on our holiday break!  We went to Silver Dollar City together. It was a very short visit, but sweet none the less.  The girls really got along great.  We sure do miss them and are hoping they move our direction soon!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dream On

Ever since I was a child, I dreamed about my life as an adult.  Something I never really realized until now was that my dream kind of never went past having kids.  The entire time I was in High School I dreamed about meeting that special someone.  Once I met that special someone, I was in a hurry to get out of college so I could start my adult life, buy a house, and have kids.  Now, I have the kids and a house and I'm sitting her thinking, now what? 

It was always get to one goal so you could hurry up and get to the next.  I'm not sure I'm in a hurry to get my kids grown up and out on their own.  In fact, for the first time I want things to slow down.  I'm at a place where I realize a big change is coming.  My youngest is getting closer and closer to going to school and I'm done having kids.  My role as a full time mother is about to expire.  When I say full time, I mean watching them 24 hours a day.  Once Bren starts school or I return to work (whichever comes first), my full time hours will be reserved for breaks and weekends only.  I'm excited, nervous, happy, and sad at the same time.   

So since I don't want to set any goals to grow my kids up fast, I guess that leaves me with just living my life one day at a time and dreaming on about how wonderful I'm going to make my days with my children while I still have them.  Someone once told me that our children are never really ours, we just get to borrow them for awhile.  I really identify with that.  After they leave our home, and are no longer under our control or watchful eye, it is totally up to God to watch over them.  What a change that will be.  I admit, I have imagined it a few times, what it would be like to be an empty nester, a grandma, just a couple of old people finishing their life together.  Yes, I have thought about it, but it's not a goal at the moment, just a thought.

Anyhoo...I guess all of this is to say, I've been working a lot on recreating my dream since a big chunk of it has transpired.  It's a work in progress.  It's fun, nerve racking, and foreign all at the same time.  Glad I have Jeff by my side to figure it out.  He's the most supportive husband ever! No matter what my dream becomes, I think he'll be glad to ride along.     

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Knock and it shall be opened.....maybe?

I can't explain much, but sometimes it's fun to keep people hanging.  So here goes. I found a door.  I'm going to knock.  We shall see if it opens.  If it stays closed, this will be the last you hear of it.  If it opens, there's more to come.  Stay tuned.....or not.  This could take awhile.

Hee hee!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Really? This early?

I've been noticing changes a lot this year in my body.  Things I thought wouldn't happen until I was much older and one thing I thought I'd never deal with again.  Perhaps if I made working out a priority these things wouldn't be issues.  Maybe my body has been put into overdrive in the aging department since I haven't worked out and since I've decided it's done making babies.  I don't know.  What I do know is that if this is happening already, what in the world am I going to feel like in my 40's, my 50's, or even my 60's.  I'm scared.

One of the things that's really started bothering me is my knees.  Do I dare say that running on them a year ago killed my knees for good?  My left knee cracks every time I go up the stairs.  Too me it's like nails on a chalk board listening to it crack and creek with each step I take.  If I sit "criss cross applesauce" as Kadyn calls it because "Indian Style" is no longer socially acceptable, then my knees really start aching and hurting within a few minutes.  My knees first started bothering me when I started running and I guess that it hasn't really gone away since, thus the all the blaming.  It saddens me.  I wanted to think I'd get back into it when my kids were at more independent stage and I felt better about leaving to go work out.  But after the knee issues, I doubt running will ever be part of my workout routine.  At least I can say I was a runner at one point in my life.  Something I'd thought I'd never be able to do.

Pants....they won't stay up without a belt.  I never had that problem before babies.  I don't weigh any more than I did before babies, almost the same.  It's as though my middle has thickened up a little and therefore a little bit of my curves have left.   Actually, I like my body's new look; just don't like the way clothes fit my new body.  Makes my thighs look smaller with a thicker middle.  Just really annoying to have to wear a belt all the time.  Wearing fitted shirts over belts just looks...funny. 

I have heart palpitations.  At first they bothered me.  Now I'm used to them.  Seems a lot of people have them but some never notice.  Maybe I've always had them.  My doctor said he'd check into it if they didn't go away in a year, but didn't seem too concerned.  I think we won't do any checking, my last visit almost costed me 700 dollars because of a coding error for health baseline testing. 

My skin....ugh!  Dry, dry, dry.  I have to lube up constantly with lotion.  Curel is the ONLY thing that works on my hands.  Took me years to figure that out.  Every winter I would battle cracked finger tips that were so painful.  I even run a humidifier all winter to add moisture to the air.  Never bothered me before.  Oh, and since we're on the topic of skin.  Now that all the baby hormones are out of me, break out after break out.  I've tried everything.  Just when I think something is working  I break out again.  I've been the doctor route.  Been on antibiotics, even did the dreaded accutane.  It worked for a couple years, but obviously it isn't a permanent fix.  The antibiotics worked for awhile but eventually made me lactose intolerant while I was on them.  Just don't want to go that route anymore.  So lately, I've been just resulting to acceptance and prayer to get me through.  Sounds vain I suppose to be so concerned with it, but your face is something the world gets to see.  There is no hiding it.  It's a little embarrassing to be dealing with it at 34 and it is a bit of a confidence buster.  I thought this was something only teenagers had to go through. I always wanted to be that mom that could go without makeup and feel confident, this just isn't possible with my skin.  So thankful for good makeup.  This pic of me is on a rare day where I am mostly clear and the makeup covers the rest.   Ugh!

My feet hurt the moment I get on them when I first get out of bed.  It's a sharp pain.  I had this once before when I was working at JCPenney's in High School.  I was wearing dress shoes and they killed my feet.  Stopped wearing the shoes and my feet got better.  Now I wear no shoes.  Wondering if my feet just need extra support these days, but I don't want to wear shoes on my carpets.  It wears them out twice as fast.  Sigh!  What's a girl to do?

My hair.  Got my first few grays when I was in my late twenties.  Now they are just pouring in and they are so stinking wiry and thick.  I HATE them.  My days of chin length to longer hair are going to be coming to a close within the next 5 years I'm afraid.  Sometimes I wonder if I didn't dye my hair just how much older I'd look.  I do have some silvers on my mother's side of the family.  Looks classy on some woman.  Maybe I'll get the courage to pull it off in my late forties?

 So anyhoo...all this is to say, this has been a year of definite changes in my body.  I've been really surprised and a bit disappointed with most of the changes.  Hoping they slow down.  Aging can be the real pits! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Good old standbys

Every family has them. Those meals that everyone loves and become a standby or a repeat in the meal rotation schedule.  In order for a meal to make my rotation or become a standby it has to be mostly healthy and easy to prepare.  Sometimes I wonder what makes the cut in other homes.  Feel free to share.  I'd love more ideas of what your families love.  When I meal plan, I typically make my standbys for 2 or 3 days and then I try something new for 1 or 2 days and they we eat leftovers all weekend. If any of my new meals make the cut, they get put into my rotations to add variety.  I probably have more meals that fail than meals that make the cut, but I contribute that number to having a picky eater in the house, and I don't mean the kids.  Ahem....!

Breakfast burritos-I saute a green pepper and tomato in olive oil and season with greek seasoning then throw it in the eggs.  Next I wrap up the mixture in a whole wheat tortilla and throw in a handful of cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Fast, easy, and meat free!  Usually serve with sweet potatoe fries. 

Mushroom sandwhiches-no my kids won't eat them, but Jeff and I love them.  Kids eat chicken patties on this night or healthy grilled cheese night with pureed veggies in their grilled cheese.  For the sandwhiches, fry up mushrooms, season with greek seasoning (works on just about everything).  Pick out some gourmee cheese.  Cut up some french loaf bread and make your sandwhich with the cheese and sauted mushrooms.  Toast them in the oven and serve with salad and chips or tator tots.

Tofu lo mein- fry tofu until golden brown.  Using two packages of oriental ramen noodles, throw in 2 cups boiling water until soft.  Add 1 tbs of soy sauce and seasoning packet.  Cook up one bag of stir fry veggies and season a bit with greek seasoning and then throw tofu and veggies in ramen noodles!  Um, yummy!

There are three of ours.  I would add frozen pizza, but doesn't everyone do that? The girls always eat cheese, Jeff does pepporoni and I always cut up veggies and make mine vegetarian.  Every Friday night we do pizza family movie night that way.  Love it!  Healthy, no.  However, Jeff may divorce me if we didn't have pizza at least once a week and I'm OK with that because I love it too.  I used to make it homemade but was always tired of cooking come Friday night.  Frozen is just easier. We have the rest of the week to be healthy. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

I-Spy with a secret twist

Sorry if this sounds like an infomercial.  Have you ever just felt like sitting your butt on the couch and doing nothing?  Tired of fighting the kids to pick up their rooms?  Tired of waiting forever to see a job get done when you know it would go twice as fast if you just did it yourself?  I have.  And let me tell you for the past couple months I have just given up on having the kids pick up toys and done it myself.  I got tired of being that nagging mother.  Plus, I have the added bonus of having to stay on a schedule because of the daycare.  Sometimes I just don't have 20 plus minutes to wait for the kids to finish picking up.  I don't have the luxury of taking toys away if they leave them out.  With four to five kids in the house, I need plenty of toys to go around.  I have a solution for you!!!!

One day as I was scanning our basement and looking at the tornado that had just struck, I came up with an idea.  Remember that I-Spy game?  I played I-spy with them. I'd scan the room for a toy and say, "I spy a stuffed animal."  They had to go find it and put it in the toy box.  I tried to make it competitive by saying things like, "Who's going to find it first? Oh my, you're fast."  After more they get the hang of it start spying 2-3 toys at one time to make things go faster.  They fall for it hook line and sinker.  In no time the basement floor was visible again, and I hadn't lifted a finger.  No one complained.  There was no nagging.  I didn't take over to just get the job done.   No one got distracted.  They were EAGER to pick up the toys.  Can you believe that?  Granted it would be a whole lot faster if everyone just pitched in at the same time instead of picking up a couple toys at a time.  However, by the time you remind the kids to stay focused and stay on task, I think this method might actually be faster and everyone leaves the experience feeling good.

I know, I know, this isn't rocket science and maybe it's been done before.  I'd like to think it's all my own ingenious idea.  I didn't read this in a magazine like so many of my other parenting tricks I have acquired.  Thus, I thought I'd share this little trick with others.  So when you have your own, sit on my butt and let the kids do all the work thoughts, think of the I-Spy pick up game.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

18 problems, one solution

I have 18 problems:

1.  Toddler man is going through a horrible hitting phase

2.  I have to remember to close 5 doors in my hallway or toddler man gets into things he shouldn't
3.  I am constantly tripping over toys on my way through the hall to get things out of the laundry room, bedrooms, bathroom, and utility closet.
4.  The big kids can't play with toys that have little pieces because of toddler man and baby
5.  The big kids can get loud when they play in the hallway and wake baby in one of the bedrooms
6.  I have to pick up the playroom every time I put toddler man down so he won't play with toys during nap time
7.  Toddler man is also going through a stealing toy phase
8.  Toddler man is also going through a follow the big kids around and mess up their games phase
9.  Baby and toddler man follow me to the bathroom in hallway and sit outside the door and whine.  Then baby leans on door and comes crashing to floor when I open the door.
10.  Baby gets in kitchen and pulls on my pant legs while cooking and whines and then I trip over her. 
11.  Baby gets in dishwasher if it is open.
12.  Baby picks the tiniest crumbs off floor in kitchen and tries to eat them if I miss them when sweeping
13.  Baby plays with humidifier in kitchen and tries to chew cord
14.  Toddler man keeps bringing toys into the kitchen even though I have a no toys in kitchen policy
15.  Baby comes into kitchen during craft time and eats paper bits on floor
16.  Baby and toddler man come into kitchen and try to get into cabinets
17.  I step on toys and trip over kids trying to get little ones to the changing table to change a diaper in playroom. 
18.  When kids run from the playroom to living room back and forth there is a blind spot where they often run smack into each other.

I'm sure there's more, but needless to say, with all these problems I decided something needed to be done for my sanity.  Curious?  Here it is:

I have blocked the entryway to the hall and kitchen with two toyboxes.

Now my hallway stays kid free and clean!

And this mess is contained to the living room.

And I don't have to trip over toys or kids to get into the laundry room, bathroom, or bedrooms.  The baby and toddler man can't get into the kitchen, hallway, or playroom and have all the toys they need in the living room.  The playroom is reserved for big kid play only.  The big kids can play with their little toys in that room and take a break from toddler man's incessant hitting, stealing, and game meddling. I can still keep my eye on both groups of kids from the kitchen.  I can go to the bathroom in peace.  There is no more running through the hallway and bumping into each other or being loud by baby's room.  The big kids pick up their own toys before nap time in the playroom for the grand price of one chocolate chip and then I don't have to do it.  I can leave doors open and don't have to worry about toddler man and baby getting into things they shouldn't.  And most important, my sanity is back!  It's like everyone has their own zone, including me!  If I had to do one more time out for hitting, stealing, getting into things, etc. I think I would've lost it. 

The big kids can climb over the toy boxes so they are allowed to wander as they please and I trust them.  Toddler man has managed to get past my barricades a couple times, but I am swift with discipline and I'm hoping to break him of the idea of gettig past them soon. I also have to make sure the kids don't completely empty the boxes, or the toddler man and the baby can push the toy boxes and get through.  The toy boxes slide easily on the carpet so I put them away after daycare each day and get them out each morning.  It' s a hassle, but the benefit is WAY worth it.  A weird post?  Perhaps....but something that solves this many problems deserves a post. Sigh!