Sunday, February 28, 2010

missing: fresh air

I haven't breathed a breath of fresh air in over 3 days.

This may be a record for me.

Friday, as you may recall, was the big "poopy" and "half-birthday" day, so we pretty much just hung out in the house all day.

Oh, I had grand plans to run errands on Saturday.  And with the heat wave we had (like in the 30's!) I thought maybe we could even get out and play in the snow without freezing our eyelashes off.

But my dreams were shattered when my poor girls woke up Saturday morning coughing and sniffling.  By lunchtime Addie had developed a fever of over 102 degrees (which she tends to do when she's sick).  And Millie's was over 100.  So we stayed inside and watched movies and played Memory.  

At least we'll get to go to church tomorrow, I thought naively hopefully.  I'm sure everyone will feel 100% better by then.

Then Chad decided that he wanted to start coughing too.  (Okay, so I guess that's not fair.  I suppose he couldn't really help it.)  And when the girls woke up this morning with high fevers again, I suddenly realized that this weekend was going to pass by without even a single whiff of fresh air.  Oh, I suppose I could've stepped outside to catch a few breaths, but between taking temperatures, doling out meds, doing laundry, and feeding and entertaining my babies, I guess I never really thought to do so.  (I will give Chad credit though.  Even though he wasn't feeling up to par and had tons of grading to do, he helped out tremendously with the kids.  He's awesome.)


However, I did end up enjoying some super special cuddle time with my girls throughout the weekend, which doesn't get to happen a whole lot at their rambunctious ages.

AND I did have another bright spot in my weekend.  One of my super cool friends made a button for my blog! Without me even asking her to do it!  I'm pretty sure I never even mentioned it to her.  It's kinda creepy because I was seriously thinking yesterday morning that I wanted to figure out how to make one and then I checked my email and she had already made one for me!  Yowzers!  I was very pumped.  So, make sure you check out her lovely little creation over on my right sidebar and, if you feel so inclined, you can even copy it to your blogroll!  ;)

Oh, and a big THANK YOU to all of you who commented on my "how much do you pay?" post.  I didn't realize how many of you had the same question and was glad to see many of you pay about what we do.  I also learned that I want to start babysitting for one of my friends who has been known to pay $25 for a couple hours for one child!  Anytime, Katie, just give me a call!  :)

And to leave you with a smile...
Here's to summer days relaxing by the pool with friends...  That's just around the corner... right?

Friday, February 26, 2010

potty mouth

*WARNING*  The following post uses the word "poopy" a lot.
*************************************************
Our little Millie is officially 2 1/2 years old today!

You know what that means?  I'll give you a hint:  it rhymes with "naughty staining."

Did you guess "hottie craning?"  Well, you're wrong.  It's "potty training."

We've been working on it for awhile now.  She's been good about going on the potty when she wants to.

But it's seldom that she lets me know she has to go.  And even more seldom that she actually poops in the potty.  We had this problem with Addie.  Pee trained?  Completely.  But she was scared to poop in the potty.

So just now, after her nap, I put her on the potty and I could tell she had to poop but wasn't going to.  And all of a sudden, these words popped out of my mouth:

"Millie, do you know what poopy likes to do?  Swim.  And do you know where poopy likes to swim?  In the potty!"

Then her little eyes lit up.  "Mommy, I think my poopy's crying because it wants to go swimming."

"Well then, you'd better let them out so they can swim!"

And guess what?  It actually worked!  She got a little out at first and then said, "There's more in my bottom that wants to join its mommy."  So then she went more.

When it came time to flush, I could tell she wasn't so sure since she knew her poopy was having so much fun swimming.  So I said, "Do you want to send them down the waterslide?"  And that was all it took.

I'm sure many of you other much smarter moms have used this trick before.  I can't believe I hadn't thought of it until now.  Maybe it would've helped Addie.


And in honor of her half birthday, I had some really grand plans for today (We don't usually do this, but since it's been such a long, dreary winter, I thought it might help).  I told the girls we could have a 1/2 cake tonight (we'll have the other half next week for Addie's celebration) and do other fun half things.  Of course they loved the cake idea, but nixed all my other super cool ideas - like coloring half a picture, wearing only one pigtail (which I did this morning anyways), watching half a movie, play half a game... But I guess none of those ideas sounded like fun.  We'd much rather do whole things.

I guess we're just "wholesome" like that.  ;)

Happy half birthday, Millie!

I love you to the moon.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

how much do you pay?

Yup.  That's pretty much all this post is about.  How much do you pay your babysitters?

I'm just being completely nosey.  Maybe it's none of my business.  But I'm just curious if we're even in the ballpark.  I don't want to be the family that the babysitters avoid because we're cheapskates.  And I do love our sitters and want to know that we appreciate what they do.

So, I'll be honest with you.  When we just needed a sitter for our 2 girls, we paid $5/hour to high schoolers and $6 to college girls.  Now that we have 3 kids, we've upped it to $6-7/hour.  Is that way below what we should pay?  (And I'm talking midwest pay here - I've heard what some of you big city folks pay and nearly peed my pants.)

Also, before you judge us... you should know that our kids go to bed at 7:30.  Usually we need a sitter around 6:00, so for the majority of the time, the kids are in bed.

So, help me out!  Tell me what you pay!  And if you want to tell me anonymously, I totally respect that.

Or, if you are a babysitter, what do you think is fair?  (Because I know my "mommy-blog" has a huge following with the hip young crowd.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

half birthday

It seems like only yesterday you were born.

Our first son.

Our only son.

And now you're six months old.

But what a smart baby you were even back in those first few days.

For instance, you could pee on command:
video

And you could even wave:
video

And although you can't do those things anymore, you can chew on your toes:
And you still have those adorable "Michelin Man" legs.

And you're still the cutest little boy ever.
Now stop growing up so fast.

I love you, Tate.

Happy 6-months!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

the last dance

From our first dance class,

to an ice cream outing before our last.

Thank you, winter storms of 2010, for canceling our class twice and allowing this Christmas gift to extend two extra weeks!

Monday, February 22, 2010

confidence busters

The following conversations took place already this morning. It's only 9:45 a.m.  By the end of the day I just may be in tears.

Addie:  Mommy, will you be the dragon in our play?
Mommy:  Sure!
Addie:  But the dragon can't wear long eyelashes.
Mommy:  (feeling very flattered thinking her eyelashes must be very long) But I can't take my eyelashes off - they're natural.
Addie:  It's okay, Mommy.  We can barely see them anyways.

***************************************************

Mommy:  You guys are getting so big.  Just bigger and bigger everyday.
Addie:  You're getting bigger everyday too, mommy.  SO BIG.

Just what every mommy wants to hear.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

more revolting...

No, I don't mean that kind of "revolting," (adj. causing abhorrence or disgust).  Don't worry, I'm not trying to disgust any of you.  I'm sure I've already done that in some shape or form on this blog.


What I mean is that we've been revolting more.  
(v. to oppose or refuse to accept something)


What do we oppose, you ask?  


Winter.  


This terrible, loathsome, frigid, arctic-like winter, that's what.


It started out delightful.  Just a few cute little snowstorms, giving daddy a few snow-days, and the family a chance to huddle around the fireplace.


Then it took a turn for the worse.  It just didn't stop.


If you're still not sure what I mean, read this post.


Then check out how we revolted the first time.


And now, months later, we're just trying to figure out how to survive this nightmare with still a few shreds of dignity.  And some sanity - that would be nice too.


I know I'm not alone in this, so I've put together a few ways we've been trying to brighten our dreary days.


GRILLING!
Yes, our outdoor grill is covered in a mountain of snow, but we got a Grill It!  I feel like an infomercial here, but it is super easy to use and the burgers really taste grilled.  Because they are.  But on your very own stovetop!  And you don't even have to take your burner off - it just fits right over it!  Cool huh?  Get one.

Going through old cards.

Yes, this seems too simple, doesn't it?  Well, it is and it has provided hours of entertainment for these girls.  Luckily, I've kept all their baby cards and all other cards they've ever gotten (because I'm sentimental that way, that's why) in cute little storage boxes and save them for days when they need a little sunshine.  They sort them, make up stories with them, "read" them, etc.  So easy.  So fun.

Becoming Picassos.
We brought this easel up out of the basement (where it never got any use) and put it in the kitchen for a few days.  All of a sudden it was like a brand new toy.  You don't have to have an easel - just rotating your toys can do wonders.  We keep a big tub of toys in the basement and bring it up every month or so and rotate the toys out.  It's like Christmas morning all over again.

Easy, fun, "crafty" lunches.
English muffins + pizza toppings = a yummy, edible "craft"
I'm sure many of you do this, but I had forgotten about this easy meal so it was fun to break it out again.  The girls would love to do this every day.

Tickle wars.

Yes, nothing beats a good ol' tickle war.  A sure way to let those giggles out.  Even Tate got to participate.

And lastly, cuddle time.

Tate can stay content for an amazing amount of time when his sisters cuddle him.  And yes, here they are all in his crib.  Pretty sure the crib isn't meant to hold all this weight, but hey, he's our last baby so it's not like we'll need it that much longer, right?  :)

So, this is what we've been doing.

What have you been doing to beat this nasty winter?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

laissez les bons temps rouler!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Some of you know that I used to be a French teacher.  I love anything French.  
Okay, maybe not everything - like I doubt I'd ever learn to like escargot... 

That is also why my blog name is in French - "another mom."  
All the other blog names I came up with were taken, so I thought I'd go with something French.

And I do love Mardi Gras!  It helps that my in-laws live outside New Orleans.  Unfortunately, due to cost and work/school schedules, we've only gotten to be in New Orleans on Mardi Gras one time.  But it was a blast!

I may have posted these pictures before.  If so, I'm sorry, but I guess you'll just have to deal with it.
Chad's brother Mark, cousin Betsy, me and Chad



And just to head off the nasty comments... no, we did NOTHING immoral to get these beads!  We just smiled and waved.

Last year we celebrated Mardi Gras by hosting a Cajun Shrimp Boil.  Click here to see lots of pictures.  And yes, E.R., the price of shrimp was a lot higher than we anticipated...

We have no big plans for Mardi Gras this year.  I had big plans of making a King's Cake for the fam, but it kinda snuck up on me this year.  But I will be getting the beads out and let the girls go crazy with them!

So I hope today you can find a way to "Let the good times roll!"
(title of this post translated for ya)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

our story... part three

If you haven't read part one and two, please read those first so you get the whole story.
***********************************

So the week was over.

Saturday morning all the campers left, along with the gorgeous boy counselor.

But not to worry.  The weekend was just beginning and there was a lot of fun to be had!

So, it was the first weekend of the Cherry Festival, which is a huge deal in Traverse City.  The girl and a few friends decided to go downtown to get in on the festivities.  Luckily, one of the friends she was with was friends with one of the boy's friends.  (Are you still following this?)  So they got in contact and decided they'd all meet up at a restaurant later that evening for dinner.  At dinner, the girl and boy sat across from each other and flirted to no end.

The next day was the 4th of July.  After church, the girl and her friends decided to go to the beach.  The boy's friend had contacted them and decided they'd join the girls too.  Their towels were placed strategically next to each other.  And the girl watched as the boy showed off for her, and she loved it:
He's on the left.  I know, hot, huh?  Ladies, please stop drooling.
(He's so going to kill the girl when he sees she posted this picture.  And no, his friends aren't gay... they just like doing water pyramids...)

That night the group of friends decided to stay on the beach and watch the fireworks together.

He made a "sandcouch" for the two of them and laid down a blanket so they'd have a cozy spot to see the fireworks.

Then came the question:

"So... what do you think about us?"

"I like it," she replied.  "But what about the whole Michigan - Iowa thing?"

"I think we can do it,"  he said.

And that's where it all started.

They saw each other every weekend the rest of the summer.  They even got to counsel together another week.  They knew their good-bye would be coming soon, but they were so in love that they knew it really wouldn't matter if they were 9 hours apart.

And it didn't.  He drove several times out to see her on the weekends.  And she took the train up twice to see him.

6 months later, on January 4, 2000, they were engaged (while visiting his parents down by New Orleans).

6 months after that, on July 29, 2000 they were married.

And almost 10 years, 2 states, 5 homes and 3 kids later, they are more in love than ever.

Happy Valentines Day, Chad!  I love you!

Friday, February 12, 2010

our story... part two

If you're just tuning in, be sure to read my last post first so you can get caught up on the whole story.
*********************************

So there she was.  Boyfriend-less, but happy.  Genuinely happy.

She was having fun being a counselor at the best camp in the world.  She was seeing kids make decisions that would make big differences in their lives.  She was seeing God work in some pretty cool ways and realizing how big He was.

Then, one weekend she went to Wal-Mart.  (If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know how much I don't like Wal-Mart.... but I guess this girl didn't mind it so much...)

And something pretty crazy happened.

She ran into an old friend she knew from her freshman year at college back in Iowa.  She knew this friend lived in Michigan, but didn't know she was from this town.  She was really excited to see her old friend, but she was also very curious about the tall handsome guy she had with her.  She knew her friend was getting married that summer and this guy was not her fiance.  Her friend told her this boy was a friend of her brother's.  She was introduced to the boy (who she knew had to be the cutest guy she had ever seen), but she also remembered that she wasn't trying to pursue a relationship.  She was fine without one.

And she really was.

But then why was she hitting it off so amazing well with this boy?  For the little bit they talked at Wal-Mart, she felt as if she had known him forever.  Seriously.  She had never felt this way after first meeting someone.  Ever.  And she had met a lot of people.

As they talked, she learned that he was actually a substitute counselor at the same camp she was working at and that he just might see her some week in the future if they needed someone to fill in.  Coincidence???  I think not...

Well, that would be cool, she thought.  I guess maybe I'll see him again and maybe I won't...  But I really hope I do...


The very next Sunday night she got a call from her friend telling her that a certain boy was at her house and maybe she'd like to come and hang out.  

She was there in a flash.

While hanging out, she found out that he was heading to the camp that night too because he was going to be counseling that week.


Oh, I hope he has Juniors, she thought, since that's what she had that week.

"And I'll be counseling Juniors,"  he said.

Hmmm... another coincidence?


It was starting to get late and the girl and boy needed to be back at the camp since they were counseling the next morning.  I forgot to mention earlier that this girl didn't have a car at camp.  Her parents drove her up, remember?  So another friend (who was actually a friend from Iowa and was with her at Wal-Mart the other night too) had brought her to their friend's house that night.  She was a lifeguard and didn't have to be back as early.  So she said maybe the boy could give the girl a ride to camp.  The boy immediately said yes.

The ride back to camp was only about 15 minutes, but in that short amount of time, the boy and girl talked so much that they became fast friends.  In fact, the next morning at the counselor meeting, as they sat and joked around together, everyone was surprised to find out that they barely knew each other.  It was assumed they were longtime friends since they seemed to know each other so well.

That week was a crazy one.  Imagine a cabin full of giddy 4th - 6th grade girls who have seen this gorgeous counselor:

And they wanted so badly to hook him up with their girl counselor.

They made him "milk-carton-ring-hearts" and passed him love notes and said they were from her, much to her embarrassment.  The sound of giggling girls was heard whenever they talked to each other.  They tried to get their counselor to sit by him whenever possible and, being that they were 4th-6th graders, they weren't very "cool" about it.  They begged him to join them in a group picture so they would have to stand next to each other.



And although this was all rather embarrassing... the girl didn't hate it.  And little did she know, neither did the boy.

Weeks later, other counselors talked about how it was obvious to everyone that they liked each other.  During chapel and meal times they were constantly glancing at each other to see what the other was doing and to see if they were looking too.  And when they would "accidentally" catch the other's eye, they would smile and turn away in embarrassment.

The week was coming to an end, and all too quickly...

What would happen after this blissful week was over?

Remember... she wasn't pursuing a relationship.  It had only been a month since she had told God she didn't need a boyfriend.  Surely God didn't think she was ready already... did He?  Why would He bring this guy into her life who was perfect for her if He didn't want them to be together?  

Maybe God just wanted her to come to the realization that she could be satisfied with Him alone.  

And she had done that.  

Well, she still wasn't pursuing anything... but she was reallyreally hoping this boy wouldn't just slip through her fingers either...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

our story... part one

In lieu of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share a story with you.  It's about a girl who meets a boy and they fall in love.  Think you've heard it all before?  Well, take another look...

*********************************

Once upon a time there was a girl who lived in a cold and snowy tundra called Iowa.  She was a good girl.  Loved her mama, loved Jesus and America too.  (Name that song and win a prize my respect!  But she really did love those things... and her dad and brothers too, of course.)  She was your typical girl.  She had friends, but was by no means popular.  She dated some in high school, but wasn't asked out all that often.  She was just normal.

Then she went to college.  She started getting asked out a little more often and soon was dating quite regularly.  She started to really like having a boyfriend and when one relationship would end, she would seek out a new one.  In fact, it was so bad that once she even dated her ex-boyfriend's best friend just months after they had broken up.  Tacky, huh?  I know, I mean... she knows and she's sorry.  She felt secure with a boyfriend.  She didn't want to be alone.

She wasn't happy alone.

During her sophomore year of college she saw that a Christian camp she'd heard of up in Northern Michigan was looking for counselors.  "Wow," she thought, "an exotic place I can escape to for the summer and meet some hot boy counselors make a difference in kids' lives.  Sign me up!"

So her parents drove her the long 12-hour trip up and left her there.  Alone.  Well, kinda...  she was surrounded by trees.  And sand (seriously, I don't think they have dirt up there... trees actually grow out of sand).  And scary black squirrels that don't exist in Iowa.

Soon she made some very cool friends.  And got in good with the local police.

She was having fun... but something was missing.  She didn't have a boyfriend.  She was starting to get antsy.

But that first week of counselor training, something changed.  She stumbled across these verses:
"Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."  Psalm 73:25-26
Wow.  "So, I should be happy with God alone," she thought... "why hadn't I thought of that before?"  She had a good relationship with Christ.  She had known him for a long time and trusted him with her life.  But hadn't completely trusted him with her dating life.

So she decided right then and there that she was going to be happy with God.  Nothing else.  She wasn't going to pursue a relationship.  And when God felt she was ready, He would give her someone.  Or maybe He wouldn't.

And she was fine with that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

they're here...

Remember how I said I was pretty sure Tate was getting his canines first? (Or excuse me... eye-teeth, for those who think I'm referring to my doberman when I use the word canine)... you know who you are... ;)

I was sure I was going to have a baby vampire. We could see the whites of his canines swelling right underneath the gums. His doctor even verified this at his 4-month appointment. She was sure the only swelling in his gums was occurring by his canines. She checked the bottom gums. No teething going on there. None at all. She was sure. Just the canine region.

So, about 2 weeks ago, just a few days after turning 5 months old, (I know, I know... I'm late to post this...) after a long and sleepless night with my sweet baby, I was feeling around by his canines to see if they had popped through yet... and he BIT me. With TEETH! Where in the world did that come from? I wondered. Then I saw it. The sharp little sprouting of his first tooth.

And right where it should be.

I took this picture Monday. You can't see it that great here, but his second tooth popped through Sunday night, right beside the first one.

So there go my visions of my vampire baby. I was so looking forward to dressing him up with a black cape and painting his face white. *sigh*

Actually, I was excited for his canines to come in first because it would allow me to nurse longer. My babies are "munchers." At least that's the word the lactation consultant used with Millie. And Tate's even more vigorous. Fun. Even more fun with teeth. *bigger sigh* I think I'll be okay until the front top ones come in though. So I really am hoping those canines will push through first now!

He is so stinkin' cute though.
I could just eat him up.

And now I'll leave you with a video that you may find a little creepy. I think Tate did. To give you a little background... it started out with the girls saying "Peek-a-boo" in funny voices and Tate laughing hysterically. By the time I got the camera out, it had started to get a little weird. You'll see what I mean...

video

Welcome to life with 2 older sisters.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the results are in...

and I'm....

drumroll please...

stop trying to read ahead...

I'm...

are you ready?

Are you sure?

Okay...

I'm... not!

Yay!

Whew!  Huge sigh of relief.

This is the first time I've ever been relieved to see a negative pregnancy test.  And not cried.

But isn't it funny that no matter how badly I DO NOT want to be pregnant again, it's still a tiny bit sad to see that negative sign?

Don't get me wrong.  I am DONE.  Completely.  But there's just something about that motherly nature that makes me sad to know I will never be pregnant again.  Ever.

But it's also very relieving.

I'm so sorry for all the distress I've caused you.  I didn't think so many of you would actually think I was pregnant.  I did tell you we've been really careful, right?

But really, this was so fun.  I'll never get the chance to announce a pregnancy ever again, so this was kinda like my last chance to do that... even though I'm not.  It was so fun "seeing" you all wondering and  edgy and... well, angry at me.  I can handle it.  I guess I like to watch people suffer.

I'm sick, I know.

Now I just hope God doesn't think it would be funny to make me pregnant after posting this.  He does have a strange sense of humor sometimes.  Maybe I should just shut up now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

am I ...?

Are you one of those people who have a knack for telling if someone is pregnant?
I mean, without first asking them when they're due and being embarrassed to high heaven when you realize what you thought was a baby protruding from their tummy isn't a baby at all?

I have a good friend (L.C.) who just always seems to know if someone is pregnant.  I don't know how... she just does.  I think she sometimes may even know before the mother does.

Another example is a pig farmer I know (yes, I know a pig farmer - I do live in Iowa) who told me he could tell I was pregnant by the look in my eye.  I guess I had the same look as a pregnant sow.  Wow.  NEVER EVER tell a pregnant woman she reminds you of a sow.   I would've kicked him if I thought I could manage to get my leg high enough off the ground to do any harm.

But man, I sure could've used that pig farmer this past week...

I have all the signs of being pregnant...

*I'm very, very, very tired.  Very.
*I have to pee.  All the time.
*I haven't gotten my peri*d yet (I normally get it when my babies are 4 months old... Tate's over 5).
*I've been a little queasy at times.
*It's the time of year that I would be in the early stages of pregnancy... remember that my children are all born between August 24 and September 3?
*Did I mention I'm tired?  Well, I am.

Seriously...

I've been freaking out.

Here are the thoughts that have been running through my head...

"If we are pregnant, we'll have to buy a new car.  At least a bigger SUV, if not a *gulp* minivan.  Yikes."

"If it's a girl, we'll have to buy all new clothes since I sold all the girls' clothes on garage sales.  And if it's a girl, can we fit another girl in Addie and Millie's room?  Would that just be cruel?"

"I can barely keep up with 3 kids, let alone 4!  We would have 4 kids under the age of 5!  Is that ridiculous?!"

"My body can't be pregnant again.  This 30-year-old can't handle it anymore.  I don't want to sleep in a recliner again for several months and I definitely don't want to have to be pushed around in a wheelchair, which almost happened here."

"Plus, I sold all of my maternity clothes.  I refuse to buy more.  Ever."

"It's really not even possible, right?  I mean, we've used protection every single time.  But then again... look at Ross and Rachel..."

"And I definitely don't want to look like this again."
Now I can see the sow resemblance...


Remember this post where I said our family of 5 was now complete?

Well, what if God has a different idea of complete for our family?

If I am pregnant, this would definitely not be an "oops baby."  There definitely was no "oops" involved.  We have been very careful. Very.

It would definitely be a "miracle baby."  Because I'd say a 0.1% chance is pretty much a miracle.

So, if I am pregnant, this baby will surely be special.  And wanted.  Just not expected.  But then again, who expects a miracle?

I didn't want to take a pregnancy test.  I didn't really want to know.  But I just couldn't stand the suspense any longer.

I had Chad pick up a test on his way home from school.  Then I did it.  I took the test.

And the results...

Well, what do you think the results are?  :)