Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fevers. Ugh.

That's about how I feel right now. I mean really...fevers for a week? Why??? I know. There are worse things. We are thankful the kids have been so healthy this winter up until now. There are many things that definitely put this into perspective. But whenever you usually have healthy kids and they are sick, you obviously want them to be better.

So yes, we've had fevers around this house. C started it and then (of course) it travelled to A. C has been to the doctor twice in the last week. Today they checked him for just about everything: strep, influenza and his white blood count. From what J said he was a trooper. The other thing that has gone along with this is a lack of appetite. And everyone knows that if you don't eat, there's no energy. So as a parent, all you want is for your kids to eat. Not to be so.

Everyone is getting a bit better, slowly but surely. A went to school today and was happy to go. C was home, but improving a little. Let's just hope this is the end. Because fevers, we do not like you and we wish you would go!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Changes Around the House

Many of you have seen the changes around our house, but I thought I'd post some in-progress pictures to give the full effect of what's really happened around our house! We feel so lucky to have been able to do what we've done lately. We've waited a long time to do some of these things and know they have only made our house better and more lovely to live in!

The first thing we did was to change up the is the before:
And here is the after:
We changed the paint color but the big change happened with the counter tops. We had an application called Granicrete done. It is an interesting process where you get to help with the coloring as it is being done. There are 4 layers of concrete that go right over your existing counter top. Yes-right on top! It's incredible, really!
We had LOVELY (do you sense the sarcasm?) powder-blue laminate counter tops and they used a watered down mix of concrete to cover and make texture right over the top.
It's a bit hard to describe, but really neat.
When that is all done then they mix up various colors in spray bottles to give the counter top the color. No two counter tops are the same. We did a bit of gray, brown, black and white on ours. It was fun being able to color it however we wanted to adding a bit here and a bit there. It's like an art, really.
We love our new counter tops and the color as well. We couldn't be happier with how the kitchen turned out!

Then it was on to the bathroom downstairs. Now if you have been to our house before, you know that the bathroom downstairs was great when we moved in, but ended up not so great in the last year or so. We noticed it first with water leaking out from the shower. Then tiles began crumbling off of a step to the shower. Then there was the black mold growing up the sides. Needless to say, something needed to be done. We were finally in a position to do something this fall, so we hired Darr Construction, Inc. to do the job that we knew was way to big for us to handle ourselves. Here are some before and after pictures:
Can you see the transformation?!?! We just LOVE it! The main thing in the bathroom was to get the shower OUT. It was horrible and probably not doing good things for our health. So that was the first thing to go.
Then they had to figure out where everything had to go for the new shower. One day I came home to this
where they had to jackhammer a hole in the concrete to re-work the plumbing underground. That wasn't the only plumbing work that was done. If you look in the before pictures you might be able to see that there isn't a ceiling so all of the pipes are exposed. You can even see J's shower towel hanging on one of them! The people before us had done the bathroom themselves (this was clear...) and used PVC piping to "get by." Well that in combination with original (I'm convinced!) piping from 1946 meant it was time for a change. So now we have brand new pipes and a ceiling too! It feels so much more like a real bathroom and a finished space. I have to say, as much as I love the ceiling, that's not my very favorite thing. This is...
Yes, it's a floor. But it's not just a floor. It's a HEATED tile floor. Just a little step up from the stick down tiles that were there before. I'm a bit bummed because this bathroom isn't technically my bathroom. It's really J's bathroom, but after having the before for the last 7 years, I think he deserves it!

We are blessed to be able to do these things to our house. Thank you to those who helped make it so beautiful over the last few months! We love everything about it!

Sledding Fun

Sledding is a "winter sport" where we live. It's one of those things that you do with your kids. It's one of those things you do as an adult, too! Sledding this year is much more fun and sustainable than it was last year. Let's just say we (meaning A & C) were not as acclimated to the weather and the happenings with sledding. This year is different-they get the fact that you might not make it all the way down the hill, or that you might turn around and go down backwards, or that you might fall off of your sled. All of these being possibilities are ok with our kids. It makes it much more fun and makes things easier for everyone!
When their cousin Liam was here around Christmastime we went sledding altogether and had a blast!
There were many trips up and down the hill by everyone. Jake-J's brother went too and introduced our kids to the saucer. Yes, our 4 year olds went all the way down the hill on the saucer and absolutely LOVED IT! They did better on that than they did on the regular sleds! Needless to say I didn't look right away when C went down on it the first time. It's a little daunting watching your kids go by themselves without fear, but at the same time knowing you did the same thing when you were that age! I'm not as fearless as I used to be.

We sledded until dark and until all of the streetlights came on.
I'm sure we could have gone longer, but legs were getting tired and hot chocolate was calling.
We can't wait to sled with Cousin Liam again!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'm stronger than you

C: "A, I'm stronger than you. Watch, I can pick you up. See? Can you pick me up? Nope, that's because I'm stronger than you because I have an extra tooth. I have 21 teeth and you only have 20 teeth. That's how come I'm stronger than you."

Monday, January 10, 2011

The things boys say...

After seeing these girls on TV before the Ducks football game, C was heard saying,
"Daddy-I really like their belly buttons."
Oh the things boys say!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Aaron Daniel

 There's a new member of our family. His name is Aaron Daniel. He's pretty cute. At least we think so.
He has the cutest lips. The best cheeks. But my favorite part is his little chin.
He has one proud daddy and more than one proud uncle.

 His cousins can hardly wait for him to grow up so they can play with him. For now they'll just look at him and kiss his forehead. We love you Baby Aaron!


(I am so behind on so many other posts I have want to write, but I have this on my mind right now.)

So you think I would be prepared for my kids to be in school, being a teacher and all, but I'm not so sure. The kids are in a pre-K program this year and it has been wonderful. They are in a school right by our house and is our neighborhood they will (probably) go to for kindergarten. Anyway, we have seen nothing but happiness when the kids come home. Well, happiness and tiredness of course. It has been a good place for them to be. This week has been a week of all of us getting back into the swing of things, from getting up early, remembering every one's things and playing with friends. That last part-playing with friends-seems to be the hardest thing for A.

Two days this week A has come home talking about 2 of her friends from school. "They won't play with me. They tell me I can't play with them. I'm not pretty enough to play with them. I don't have blonde enough hair to be in their BFF club. You know, like Best Friends Forever?" WHAT?!? She's 4. I'm not ready for this to start. All along I've always said that J is going to be more prepared for all of this than I am. I guess with teaching the grade level I teach I know what can happen at such a young age. But I wasn't ready for it to start now, at age 4. It breaks my heart to hear her talk about these things already. I can't believe she is already talking about how she doesn't like her red hair and how she doesn't think it is shiny enough or blonde enough. Isn't that something she's supposed to worry about when she's 14 instead of 4? Being the worrying mom I am, I had to talk to her teacher to see what was really going on, since this wasn't the first time she had talked about the girls. Come to find out it is as we expected...all of the girls take their turn with the whole-You can't play with me-thing. That's what J and I thought the more and more we talked about it, but you never know. Hopefully things won't continue like this with her for forever-I'm going with...It's a phase. That usually works being a parent. Everything is a phase. But this phase is one of those that we really need to focus in on and teach. There are going to be more and more of those times where we really have to do some teaching.

On a completely different note in school we have C. In talking with their teacher about how much we love where they are this year, she shared a bit about him. She talked about how serious he is with his work. When they go back to do their seat work he is very focused and concentrates so hard on what he is doing. We see this a lot with his coloring at home. He takes a long time in coloring one page whereas A will get through 3 pages without as much detail as C. I love hearing that about him. If you know C at all, you know that he is a boy-boy; a boy full of energy and life who can be rambunctious at times. He runs everywhere when given the chance and jumps around a lot (an understatement!). So it is really nice to hear that he is doing well with his work at school. Kara (one of his teachers) said she's seen a huge change in him from the beginning of the year.

School. Ready or not, here it comes. I definitely take off my "teacher hat" when I think of my own kids. I have my "mommy hat" with them, as it should be. It will be interesting to see how things progress as they really start school next year with kindergarten. I guess we keep doing what we're doing...staying interested in what they're learning, how they're learning, who their friends are and how they are doing as kids. Things will happen and we'll do our best to help when we can.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Pink Party

Survivor. It's a strong word, meaning "one who endures through disaster or hardship" (Wiktionary). Hardship. Is that what they call it? I call it the-crazy-roller-coaster-no-one-tells-you-about-or-prepares-you-for-because-there-is-no-way-to-describe-it. Hardship puts it mildly. But that's not what this is about. It's about the survivor part. It is about the 5-YEAR survivor part. Yes, 5 YEARS!! Goodbye breast cancer, hello survivor. Survivor is my MOM.

Do you know my mom? If you don't, here are a few words to describe her:
Mom, Mamma, Wife, Friend, Horsey, Teacher, Listener, Shopper, Confidant, Survivor. She loves her family to pieces, especially her 2 grand kids, her husband, her son-in-law, and me. She listens, laughs and cares so much for her friends; her friends who supported her through the good and the bad times, and are still here for more of the good times. That's just a bit about my mom. The survivor.

I decided it was fitting to have a party. You see my mom isn't one who likes to have people fuss over her. She doesn't like to be the center of attention, but let's face it, sometimes it's good to be the center of attention. So we decided to make it a surprise. There was one other time J and I pulled off a surprise and it was for their (my parents') 50th birthday. Now, put that count to 2, because she was completely surprised!

This started off as a Pink Party like we used to have. When Mom was going through chemo 2 other couples along with J and I would rotate houses every 3 weeks and have Pink Parties. They consisted of dinner, dessert and lots of laughing and fun. These were the days and nights that were supposed to be her "best" ones because it was right before she went in for chemo, usually the next day. Anyway, this surprise party was going to be just the 8 of us, like before, and then I thought, "Forget that! We're going all out!" And we did.
Thanks to lots of help we had cookies with her picture on them
along with other fabulous desserts (Thanks, John and Lynda!), along with more food throughout our house than we could have imagined. Our house was also filled with people.
Cruise and Neighborhood Friends
Lunch Friends
and Family...One (of two) Sisters
and Sister-in-Law, Brother-in-Law and Niece
who came to support her like they always had before. It was a sign of true support to have everyone there. I loved it. She loved it. It was better than we could have ever imagined it to be. Surviving is better than we could ever have imagined it to be.
I have one last thing I'd like to is some writing I did this summer as a part of a writing group through the U of M. I wrote about my mom. I hadn't ever had time to process what happened with her being sick because (luckily!) J and I got pregnant with A & C towards the end of her treatment. You see, it's not about my plan, contrary to my belief. It is about His plan, and we found that out through this road. So here is some of my writing-just a small part I'm willing to share-about my mom and this "season" we made it through:

"We did it! You did it! Surgery, check. Chemo, check, Radiation, check. We made it through. How did we do it? Support, that’s how. Support from everyone, no matter who they were. People who supported us just because. Just because…Meals brought and visitors came. How did we do it? Prayer, that’s how. Prayers said. Again and again and again.

So here we are, December 2005 and we say, “See ya cancer!” No turning back. No going back. No more doctors. No more any of that.

Moving ahead to grandbabies, cruising and life. I love you, Mom."

Christmas, part 3

Ooof! There's a lot of writing that comes along with a holiday like Christmas. So here we are, part 3 (or 4 if you count the Santa one). The last one. Our Christmas ended with J's family for some dinner and family time. It was great to see people we see only a few times a year. We got to see new baby Aaron (more on him later!), which was a great surprise!
Thanks, Dan and Denise for making a surprise visit! It make Christmas complete!
The final part of Christmas was back at my mom and dad's the next day celebrating with more family! We are so blessed and lucky to have so much family so close!! It was another day filled with food and presents and lots of fun!

The first fun thing were these...
Socks! Great idea-everyone got a pair of socks since every one's shoes were going to be off. So yes, that is a picture of our feet. Stinky feet, as C would say! We had lots of smiles,
rock and roll poses,
and musical entertainment. Thanks, Dad! If you didn't read about it here, you really should. I love that we were able to hear some music, even if it wasn't an entire song. The kids loved it too!
The kids got Cars (C) and Barbie things (A), however you may think differently after seeing this.
However, let's just say that the playing piece is a bit different when C plays with it verses A. Things aren't quite as neat as they were to begin with!

We had a great Christmas weekend filled with so much family, so many blessings, and time to reflect on what the season is all about...Him!