Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gracie's birthday!!!

We had a great time and a great turnout. We had 17 kids and babies, 10 parents, 2 grandparents and an aunt!! It was tons of fun. The kids wore themselves out with an hour of playing on all the bouncy blow up toys and slides and then we had lunch and cake and finally presents. It was so much fun!!!

I can't believe she's (almost) 3. Amazing. The phrase "they grow up so fast" doesn't even begin to explain it!!!

Here are the pictures:

Gracie and Ian getting ready to leave for the party.
Birthday girl!
Gracie and Claire on the merry-go-round.
Mommy and Ian on the big firetruck slide.
Gracie, Iris, and Halem watching Atreyu and others come down the slide!
The beautiful princess cake!
Gracie listening to us sing happy birthday to her.
Waiting to eat cake!

I have to get some more pictures from April's camera and if there are any more good ones I'll post them!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Quick post!

Tomorrow is Gracie's birthday party so today I will finish doing up the little party bags and making sandwiches to serve for lunch. We are doing a light lunch and cake after the kids play for an hour. I'm just gonna make finger sandwiches and have veggies and snacks to grab. Simple and easy.

We got her a bike like this only I got it at Target so it was just $50. I don't know why I can't find it on the Target site. Anyway...these bikes are suppose to be great for kids to learn how to balance and steer before adding in the complication of having to pedal. I hope it works and she likes it, she's been begging for a bike but she is a perfectionist and she insists on doing things herself. I think this will be a good idea because she will be able to do it without help from the start. I saw this kind of bike on Sesame Street actually, when Grover did a thing about riding bikes in Denmark. So if this goes well I can thank Grover! We picked up a helmet and little knee and elbow pads the other day. I can't wait to see how excited she will be to get it!

I have decided to take on another part-time job. I will be watching Dominik's little baby cousin 2 days a week for just 4 hours each day. It will be different days than when Dominik is here so I will only ever have 3 children which I think is just plenty. His name is Blake. They brought him over the other day and he is a cutie!! It will be fun to have a baby in the house, and even better that I get to hand him back to his parents after just a few hours!!! He'll be 9 weeks old when I start watching him, still little and scrunchy. This means I will be working 4 days a week now, two 4 hour days with Blake and two 9 hour days with Dominik. 26 hours a week on top of my own little ones. I'm a busy lady!

I'll post pictures after Gracie's birthday party!! I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Back in the saddle again!!

And boy can I feel it!

It's a very happy soreness though. I went for my first ride on Saturday and tried out both horses. It was nothing short of heavenly really. Both horses are a little rusty from not being ridden all winter which makes it a little more fun! I learned a lot about their personalities and styles though which was good. One of the obstacles in riding them is the fact that they are a very tightly bonded couple. They pulled carriages as a pair and they really like each others company. Cola is the boss but oddly enough she's also the one that is most afraid to be away from her partner. She is a beautiful horse (they both are actually), and she has lots of spunk, but she is very insecure without Pepsi at her side. Pepsi is definitely the follower of the pair and she is much more obedient and easy-going. I think I have figured out that Cola was always on the right and Pepsi was always on the left, in riding them that is the side of the road they go to if you let them have their way. It's actually pretty funny!

They both ride well though. I rode both on Saturday and found Pepsi to definitely be my favorite. She listens better and I felt more secure with her. I love a challenge but I haven't ridden in nearly a decade and I really would rather go with the easier horse for now. On Saturday I rode with their owner Stefanie which actually proved fairly challenging because she's not a very good rider! None of them are, they are actually very green first-time horse owners with very little experience. It has me slightly worried because I don't want them creating bad habits in the horses. One thing I learned is that she will let them run back home once they are headed that way. The biggest problem with that is that once they have the house in sight they become pretty aggressive and think they don't have to listen anymore. I am going to talk to them about some of those basic training type things on Saturday. Yesterday I rode Pepsi and brought her fairly close to the house 3 times but then made her go the other way. We practiced lots of starting and stopping and standing too. She was pretty headstrong at first but then she realized I would let her do what she wanted if she would listen when I ask her to. I let her run and trot a bit too, but not too much because I don't want any injuries. It's really early in the season and she was huffing and puffing once we got back home even though we had taken the last bit easy. She's 20 years old which is no spring chicken!

It is going to be so fun though, and such an awesome release for me. I am so thankful James is understanding how I need something other than the kids to focus on. It's a great break from the stress of being demanded upon all day long. And just so everyone knows I am encouraging him to find a hobby or regular activity of some sort too. It's a new stage in our lives, being able to take breaks and get back to some of our pre-parent selves. We've found ourselves a great babysitter too, so we get some couple time in. I love little cuddly babies, but I have to admit that I am glad that intense and demanding stage is over.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I finally have pictures!!
Here's Gracie and Horace and I last Saturday night.

Gracie gathering Easter eggs.

Ian in his snazzy new bunny ears.

Gracie sporting her ears as well.
Ian and his punchball.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Is anyone else having trouble posting pictures? I haven't been able to for days now. I don't know what the deal is.

We've had two puke free days here now so I think the worst is behind us. Knock on wood.

We received some really tragic news last night. My dad called to tell us that Helen's niece Summer and her 15 month old baby girl were murdered. The babies father killed them both and then killed himself. I don't really know many details but please be praying for Helen and her sister Jan and everyone else that is affected by this. I just can't wrap my head around the kind of evil that does that. It's just so sad.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I get to go riding either tomorrow or Sunday depending on if we actually get any of the snow they said we were going to get. Originally they were predicting over a foot of snow but apparently the storm stalled and may never reach us. That's fine with me, I'm over winter.

I'll try to post pictures again later......

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Today we head to the doctor.

Gracie threw up again last night.

I know it's probably just a virus and there probably isn't anything we can do about it but I'm going to take them in anyway just to be sure.


ETA: Well the doctors appointment went as I suspected it would. Most likely a virus, not much to do except push fluids, rest, and wait. The doctor did give us a kit to collect a stool sample so they can check for parasites if we want them to. I told Gracie I was going to have her poo in her little potty next time so I could put some in the little cup for the doctor and the only thing she said was "Can I help you pick up the poo?". Toddlers can be so weird!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

If you are reading this post you have discovered I have made our blog invite only. This is for a few reasons but mainly it's just because I felt like I had too much out there for the general public. If for some reason you know of someone that wants access just have them e-mail me and I can add them to the list. I just want to know exactly who is reading our blog for right now.


No one puked last night!!

I celebrate the small victories.

(Sorry for no pictures, blogger still won't let me)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Where do I begin?

A lot has been going on, here's a recap:

We have decided once again to not move. Things just weren't coming together and we didn't want to push it. We never found a house that we just loved and we weren't getting any bites on renters. Those were two huge issues of course!! We are going to wait til the end of summer and then revisit the idea.

One of my friends and Gracie's very good friends moved away this week. I am really sad to see them go. Kim is an awesome mom and has been such a great example to me about how to mother and communicate with my kids. Her little girl Marilyn and Gracie are great friends and always play so well together. Luckily they moved to the Chicago area so we will be able to see them hopefully when we visit there!

The kids have been sick. This is one of the strangest illnesses we've ever had though. It started last Thursday with Gracie really not wanting to eat her dinner. I thought that was weird and sure enough she tossed her cookies about 2am requiring a bath, a change of clothes, and a complete change of sheets for the bed. Lovely. She was fine all day Friday, as was Ian. But then at 3 am that night Ian threw up all over himself and the bed requiring more bathing, clothing and bedding changes. Saturday everyone seemed fine. But once again Gracie threw up in the middle of the night. Last night.....same thing, after being fairly normal all day she threw up at 10:45. I am at my wits end at this point. We have completely cleaned the house from top to bottom trying to wipe off every surface this crud could possibly be living on. Ian isn't throwing up but he is having very disgusting abnormal diapers. So he's got it too, just dealing in a different way I suppose. It's so exhausting. Gracie, who is never very calm about anything anyway, completely freaks out when she throws up and each time it has taken a good 20 minutes to get her to stop screaming and crying. We have run baths and laundry in the middle of the night for the last 4 nights. We have had to make and remake beds. Each time this has happened has taken a good hour of our night away. Last night while sobbing in the tub Gracie declared "I hate pukies". I fully agree.

If you read the post below you can hear in James own words how he knocked Ian down the stairs. I won't go on about it....except to say it was horrible.

Some exciting news to share....we are adding another pet to the family. This one won't live with us though! It lives on a farm out east of us. I have decided to lease a horse!! Actually it's kind of an open agreement to ride one of two horses. They are two Standard Bred mares. Their names are Pepsi and Cola. They are former carriage horses that this family adopted in part to be therapy horses for their daughter. The family lives in same area we hope to be able to move to someday, in fact you can almost see one of the houses we looked at from their back yard! I am very excited, I haven't ridden regularly for years and I have been wanting my own horse as long as I can remember. Of course these horses aren't mine but I will be able to ride as often as I want so it will be almost like having my own. Being they are former carriage horses they are, as the owners put it, "bomb proof" so I can also introduce the kids to them and know I can trust them. We went to visit with them and see how things are yesterday and I will start riding them next weekend. I meant to take pictures yesterday but I forgot, so I will do next time. They ride them with western saddles, but they both direct rein because of how carriages are driven. They also have a colt that they are in the process of breaking and they plan to train him to ride English. I am hoping if they get an English saddle I can try it on the mares. I really love riding English.

We have planned Gracie's birthday party and it is going to be so awesome! We are going here. Our place just isn't big enough to have a bunch of people over for a party with all the active kids, so we had to do this. It should be a ton of fun! Auntie April is coming into town for the festivities which has Gracie very excited!

Blogger won't let me upload pictures so I guess I'll save that for later.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

so it turns out, stairs are extremely dangerous. i accidentally bumped little Ian down the stairs today. I don't know what happened, but as I turned from the linen closet at the top of the stairs, i bumped something. I turned. and saw Ian tumbling down. rolling parallel to the stairs.

i was so overwhelmed. panicked. unholy thoughts run through my head.

I ran after him. He came to rest at the bottom of the stairs. On top of the vacuum. which had been there after the day's cleaning. (the kids have been puking at around 3 am the last 3 days. first G, then little I, then G again) which is ridiculous. and has required a large amount of cleanup. I was unable to catch him. I tried though. and I couldn't reach him. Imagining the worst. he was shrieking. I thought the worst. I picked him up. and comforted him as best as I can. then I passed him off to Alice and he nursed for a few minutes crying oww all the time, and was up and running again like nothing had happened. nothing but a black eye. or two. in just few mins....

Thank God. words can not express how bad that might have been. and how upset that thought has made me.

God is merciful and forgiving. Praise be.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I love to Freecycle!!

If you don't belong to your local freecycle group you really should join up! I know that most suburban areas have them, I'm not sure the more rural you get though. Just check Yahoo groups in your area. You can also check your local Craigslist group, they have a free section as well. If you can't find what you need for free Craigslist has ads for many used items as well.

I have become a major freecycler. It's such a great way to get rid of stuff you don't need and to get things you do! We have given away a bunch of stuff, computer and electronic stuff, kids clothing, toys, our huge TV cabinet, tons of little knick-knack stuff, a sink, a changing table and a cat (Connor is still loving the country life by the way! They got him a girl friend, he sleeps all day and kills mice when he feels like it. Not a bad life at all for a huge orange cat!) We have received kids clothes, a sandbox, a couch, a teeter-totter, a golf ball holder (I really need to mail that to my dad!) and a giant metal fold-down dog cage. The free stuff we have gotten would have literally cost us hundreds of dollars.

I think it's a great way to make sure your stuff finds a new home and doesn't end up in some landfill. It's also easier than making donations to someplace like goodwill because you don't have to take your stuff anywhere and then people don't have to pay for it at all. I mean, if you're going to donate it for free someone mine as well get it for free too, right?

Anyway, just thought I'd let you all know how fun and easy it can be to get and give free stuff!!! (Find your state on the right and click and then you will get a list of local groups. Once you find your local group you can bookmark it so you don't have to go through the main group every time.) (Put your local town name and the word freecycle in the search box. Join up and you are good to go!)