Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's a New Day

I was just reading Ali Edwards' blog {she's my favorite scrapbooker} and this week she is leading a project on documenting your everyday life called A Week in the Life. I did this last year and now it's one of my favorite albums to look back on. I journaled every day about just the ordinary details of life: chores around the house, my routine with Maddie, places we went, people we saw, funny things she said, crafty projects I was working on, etc. There were lots of pictures to document everything: from a special date with Nana to October decorations on our doorstep to a pile of dirty dishes in the sink. {Hey, it's reality!} Back then I thought, "Oh, we do the same things every day. How ordinary." But you know what...big changes can happen in a year! Now we have James and our daily life has a much different flow! I really want to do this project again and capture this time in our lives because hopefully by next year James' medical needs will have greatly diminished and what now seems so ordinary and routine will someday seem extra-ordinary! But this is not the week for this project...Keith is having a much deserved Guy's Weekend here at the house. Three of his college buddies are flying in today from Ohio and Alabama for a little vacation, so the kids and I are shipping out to my parents' house {um, good thing we have a new car with a BIG trunk...we're gonna need it for the billion things I need to take with me!} I'm so excited for Keith, though--he definitely needs a break and time to just relax and laugh and have fun!

Hopefully the guys will take some photos to document their time together, but I'm guessing it will be somewhat like this: fire up the brand-new BBQ grill he bought last night {yay! Can't wait for this!! We've been without one for a year or two}, eat {our kitchen is now stocked with just the essentials: Oregon beer, Diet Coke, kettle chips, steaks & brauts}, perhaps go on some kind of outing, come home, play cards/board games, drink, watch movies {we literally have about 1000 movies on our XBox Media Center system now}. Repeat. {Sounds good to me!} :-)

And now I leave you with my new favorite quote, which applies to everyone, but especially anyone in the trenches of parenthood:

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This and That...and a SURPRISE!

Tonight I am tired (um, yeah, I just spaced out and was staring at a blank Post-It Note on my desk for about the last 30 seconds)...and to go along with the randomness in my mind, I'll give you a little bit of this and a little bit of that. :-)

1) I just read this on a blog and laughed out loud because they really are the truth!
I can SO relate!


1. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

2. Was learning cursive really necessary?

3. Bad decisions make good stories.

4. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

5. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - e.v.e.r.

6. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste. (TOTALLY!)

7. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

8. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

9. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

10. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

2) Have I ever told you that having a dad in construction comes in SUPER HANDY when you're doing house projects? Nothing like somebody who can say, "Yeah, sure, I'll just whip over to your place with my Bobcat and dump truck!" Maddie was pretty fascinated with the whole thing...well, until she could stand the waiting no longer and just HAD to get started on the serious business of blowing bubbles outside with Papa! He's always willing to indulge her every whim :-)

When I first saw this picture, I had complete deja vu! It was like looking back in time 30 years ago. My parents have almost the exact same shot of me and my dad on the Bobcat when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I remember how cool it was that my dad was always teaching me how to drive the Bobcat or the tractor or help him with projects. Maddie and James will be so blessed to grow up with the same memories!

3) Some days all your hard work just catches up with you and it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. So all you can do is lay down wherever you are and take a little breather...

4) And now for the SURPRISE!!! I make sure to tell my hubby this, but it always bears repeating: I married the most wonderful guy in the world who is so perfect for me! He does such a good job taking care of me, he always puts our family first, and he works really hard to support us and give us a comfortable life. He works all day, comes home and works around the house and plays with the kids {who both adore him}, and even helps me clean! He knows how hard it is to be a stay-at-home parent and is always supportive of me, even on the days I lose my cool. I'm a very lucky girl. :-)

Today when he got home from work he walked over and dropped something into my hand and said, "Take a look outside." Guess what was waiting there for me?!? THIS...

A new 2009 Kia Optima!

Okay, so granted, this wasn't a total surprise...we'd been talking about getting a new car for months {maybe a year?} and I just test-drove it last night and gave it my seal of approval, but how awesome is that?! Our Jeep has been in the shop {again} for the past week and a half {they keep finding new things wrong with it} and both of us are totally sick of the whole deal, never knowing when it may be working or not. And considering our other car is a small pickup truck that we can't take the kids in, if the Jeep isn't working then I'm pretty much stranded. So Keith found this Kia online {a year-end close-out deal} and got a great deal on it...$4000+ off the asking price. {Keith's haggling skills have come in handy many times during our marriage!} I'd looked at photos of it online and wasn't impressed at all, but once I drove it I really liked it! Reminds me a lot of the Honda Accord in terms of how smooth it handles and how quiet it is inside. But most of all I'm just so relieved to have a car that I know will start every time I need it to and won't leave me or the kids stranded somewhere! Way to go, Hubby! :-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Diggin' in the Dirt

{Note: See previous post below for a family update and kid pictures!}

For the past few weekends and multiple weeknights, Keith has been hard at work in the backyard. In case you've never seen it, it's the Ugly Stepsister to our front yard.

The beautiful front yard looks like this...

While the back yard hides it's ugly head in shame...

So it's finally getting a much-needed spruce-up. We've wanted to do this project for a few years, but somehow any extra money gets eaten up elsewhere (hello, medical bills). But we really wanted to have an outdoor space for Maddie to play and Lucy to run free, before we hit we're starting with the cheap stuff! A while back, my dad was remodeling his office/warehouse and was getting rid of old decking lumber--hey, we'll take it! Free!

Many hours with the planer and sander + a few trips to Lowe's for hardware
+ my husband's handiwork =

Beauty! This deck is just off the French doors in our master bedroom, so we'll have easy access from there, or through our back door which leads into a screened-in "porch" {aka-current recycling bin area & future BBQ grill area} and then out to the rest of the back yard.

Step 2: Railing and stairs. Can't wait! I can already a little bistro table and chairs, ready and waiting for my morning cup of coffee or summer evening glass of wine!

This morning the rest of the back yard looked like this...

{that wall with the window is the side of our garage
the little sliver of wall in the foreground is the screened-in porch}

Then Keith spent all day doing this...

{our driveway-turned-construction-zone}

And by this evening, we had this lovely blank canvas...

Tomorrow = Leveling the dirt in preparation for framing the hardscape...a four-quadrant grid that will have brick borders and poured concrete insets, then a border of plants all along the fence. Next year we hope to build a short stucco wall along the perimeter of the fence for raised planter beds, but for now it will probably just be dirt.

We're off to a great start! :-)

Catching Up

So it feels like I've been away from the blog forever! Mostly we've just been doing the regular day-to-day stuff, with a few spurts of excitement in between. :-) Last weekend we had our good friends the Newell's over for dinner. I'd made a Barefoot Contessa's Frozen Key Lime Pie about a month ago and stuck it in the freezer...gotta love having dessert already made! What a time-saver! And boy was it delicious. Great ending to a Mexican meal!

Maddie and Lucy are so funny together...just like sisters. Their brothers, James and Henry, are the same age and the girls are about 1 year apart. Watching them play so well together made me think, "Boy, it's going to be so nice when James and Maddie are old enough to keep each other entertained!" :-)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

James continues to do great and is growing stronger. Last week we had an evaluation from Early Intervention (like pre-Special Ed. for kids birth to age 5) and James qualified for services, so soon he'll start getting physical therapy at home a couple times a month.
He's getting better control over his muscles and can now sit up for up to 10 seconds at a time
(and then promptly does a face plant), but he still really hates Tummy Time.
I'm sure that won't get any better until quite awhile after abdominal surgery!

Speaking of surgery, on April 27th James will have a dye contrast study done in Radiology at Emanuel to determine if there are any blockages in his intestines and hopefully get a picture of how viable everything looks, then in the afternoon we'll meet with his surgeon. We're hoping to schedule surgery for mid-late May.

Please pray that his intestines look strong and healthy with no blockages or complications!
Also pray that his large intestine will begin functioning again quickly after surgery (we'll be in the hospital for up to a week) and that he can tolerate more tube feedings and formula by mouth so that eventually we can cut down on the amount of time he's connected to IV's and tubes (currently 20 hours a day, which makes it hard to have a life...for all of us!)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Speaking of entertaining herself, Maddie took this idea WAY too far last week. We have a little (luckily old and junky) side table next to our couch that is sandwiched between the wall and the couch, so the only visible part is the top. When I was cleaning the house, I happened to move our rocking chair in order to vacuum. You know what I discovered underneath? EMPTY sticker sheets. Never a good sign. Then I moved the couch and went to vacuum under the table. Can you already guess? Stickers *covered* the entire underside AND legs of the side table! Lovely.

I give Maddie "The Talk", start her peeling them all off, and continue cleaning.

{Mistake #1: Leaving her alone for more than 2 minutes.}
{Mistake #2: Forgetting that I'd left art supplies on our kitchen table.}

I come back from vacuuming the bedroom. I look around for Maddie. She's under that table, hiding. [Do you hear the ominous music starting?] Guess what I saw this time.
Stickers + crayon AND purple glue stick all over the wall/baseboards/floor/side table!
Yes, an entire new glue stick.
{And don't let those manufacturers fool you.
The fact that it is purple "but dries clear!" is not a comfort at this point!}

{The meltdown is beginning. Mine, not hers!}

She gets a swat (apparently meaningless), a talking-to,
then upstairs for a Time Out in her bedroom.

I spend 15 minutes scrubbing said wall/baseboards/floor/side table.
Have you ever tried to get 1/4 inch thick glue stick off anything? Gross.

I take a deep breath & go upstairs, prepared to debrief with Madeline. I open her door and she's nowhere to be found. Not a good sign. I call out her name and she sheepishly peeks out of her closet, looking like this...

L: What in the world do you have on your face?
M: Nuuuuh-thing!
L: Then why does that look like ink? What IS that?
M: I dunno.
L: Did you have markers in your room?
M: No...just some stampers...

Then I see it. Behind her easel in the corner...

Did we not just have this conversation 15 MINUTES AGO downstairs?
So while you're in Time Out for this very crime,
you decide it's a swell idea to re-create it?!!

This Mommy was done. D.O.N.E.!!!
Complete meltdown right then and there. Crying, the whole works.
You know those days when you just wish you could fast forward to the end and be done with it?
Give me that dang fast forward button!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Fun

One thing I look forward to as my kids grow older is being able to involve them in fun projects and start family traditions with them. One of my very favorite traditions for the holidays is the Easter Basket treasure hunt. My parents started this with Dana and me when we were little kids and I begged my dad to keep it going for me all the way through COLLEGE! {In fact, one year I brought my college boyfriend home for Easter and my dad even let him join in.} My dad is a great writer and has a very clever mind, so the night before Easter each year, he'd sit at the kitchen counter in the half-dark and write out complex clues for us to follow in order to find our Easter baskets in the morning. When we woke up, there was always a folded Post-It Note by our bed marked CLUE #1. We had to solve the clue/riddle, which directed us to another spot in the house {or even outside, on occasion} and the next clue. We had a lot of clues and I remember one year, probably in middle school, when the clue was so hard that I was on the verge of tears because dang it, I couldn't figure it out and I just wanted that stinkin' Easter basket already! But mostly I just remember all the fun. I decided Maddie was old enough to start this year, so I created her clues and glued them onto egg-shaped scrapbook paper and hid them around the house.

Her first clue {on her bedroom door} said: "What do you love to have very first thing in the morning? {hot cocoa} What do we pour it into? {sippy cup} Look there for your next clue!"

She got all 6 clues right and found her Easter basket hiding in her play kitchen.

We just started a chore chart with her, so we've been talking about getting her a piggy bank to store her pennies she earns doing chores. She loves Mickey Mouse, so when I saw this bank I knew it'd be perfect! She was thrilled! {Note: It's the most random product combination...piggy bank on one side, bottle of bubble bath on the other. Naturally!}

Check out that craaaazy bedhead! :-)

Nana got Maddie this Easter dress with the matching doll dress. So cute! The best part is that when Dana and I were growing up in Saudi Arabia, we went on vacation to London and got matching dresses just like this one at the Laura Ashley store! Like mother, like daughter.

We packed up our car and trekked over to Nana and Papa's house around 9:00am. My dad and Maddie and I went to church while my mom and Keith stayed home with James {they'd gone to the Good Friday service instead}. Baby James looked so adorable for Easter! Mr. Preppy.

This is my mom's exercise ball...flat on one half. Maddie thinks it's the greatest thing ever and could bounce on it for hours.

I was so excited to see James all dressed up in REAL clothes, like a normal boy! This only happens on holidays because with the catheter and ostomy bag {which hit right at the waistband} and the need for button-down clothing to accommodate the tubes, it's all just too much hassle during the day. He's usually stuck in his button-down pajamas. :-)

How stinkin' cute are those shoes?! His whole outfit was from friends. Tiffany Tom gave him the pants and sweater vest, Alli gave him the hat and Christine let us borrow the shoes. Love that!

This one is getting the 8x10 treatment! :-)

Happy Easter from our home to yours! :-)