Wednesday, March 28, 2007

and we're off...

Nothing like getting a family of four out the door for a last minute trip.
You wanna know what it entails?
In the last 24 hours we...
got the approval from the relo people to take our pre-decision trip
planned the trip (rental car, hotels, contacted realtor, planned dinner with friends)
compiled a list of houses and areas to look at with the realtor )too many houses to choose from!)
did two loads of laundry (so we had clean clothes to pack)
packed (clothes, snacks, toys, everything but the kitchen sink)
made, addressed and sent out SJ's birthday party invitations (I really couldn't wait and do them next week)
had the cable guys at our house rewiring our basement (hopefully we're back to reliable internet service)
cleaned the house (people are coming over for game night Saturday... timed closely with our return home)

oh, and don't forget we had our third child with us all morning (Wednesday is a Porter day as Savannah would say)

Then we picked up the rental car and drove four hours to Indianapolis. We decided to split up the drive to St. Louis and stop here for the night. Dinner at Chick-Fil-A, of course. Our hotel is connected to the Circle Center Mall here in Indy, so we ate at the food court and did a little shopping. Got Savannah an Easter dress. Maybe. I mean we bought it, but I'm still going to check Target and Old Navy. She likes this one though. Then we came back to the hotel for a quick swim. The kids loved it, but it was quite late, so we weren't down there long. And now we're holed up in our room with a couple of sleeping kids. I think we're going to make the best of the situation and go to sleep early.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Happy Monday

Sorry for the downer post. Just a couple of things over the weekend that got me going. Nothing new, I'm just tired of it and I needed to vent.


We had a happy Monday around here.
Day four in a row of spending half the day outdoors in the great spring weather!!!
78 degrees today. I love it!

We went to another park today. A family from Savannah's school was there and she had a blast running around with Zachary all afternoon. We also met a few other moms from our new group there. It was such great weather! The kids were wiped out by the time we got home. They ran around non-stop for two hours straight!

Then tonight, we had a little Moms night out with all our new friends. There were eight of us there and we had a great time chatting and laughing and hanging out. It was a nice break, and it was good to get to meet more of these new friends we've been chatting with online since getting this group started. Why didn't we think of this months ago?

Well, I'm headed off to bed... I feel a headache coming and morning is going to be here real fast.
Hope everyone's weeks are off to a great start. And I hope this weather sticks around here for awhile!!

p.s. Amie- I don't have your email address... can you email me so I can get it?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

To Whom It May Apply:

(and I think you know who you are.)

Please choose one of the following to sum up what I am to procure from your attitude towards our friendship.
Are you telling me...

A. "I simply don't care for you, or to be friends with you or your family."

B. "I think we have an obstacle from the past in our relationship that I just cannot or do not want to get past."

C. "I am basically just a selfish and flaky friend, so deal with it."

D. All of the above.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

make that a sunny Saturday afternoon

Our weather here changes faster than anything I've ever seen. I'm getting used to it. Our Saturday started out rainy and gloomy, but by 4 this afternoon it was the most beautiful day! We went to Cascades, the big park down the road from us, and took a nice long walk, chased a few geese around, and the kids played on the playground...

random blogging on a rainy Saturday afternoon

We were looking for an excuse to get out of the house today. These two wild kids someone traded our perfect angels for were driving us nuts.

So where do we go for a family outing late on a Saturday morning?

We were wandering around, checking out lights to replace all our old ugly outdoor lighting, when we heard a bunch of hammering.
Turns out they were holding a free kid's workshop and so Savannah jumped right it. It was so cute; her and Ryan building away. They had cute little mini-hammers for the kids, complete with safety goggles and work aprons! The thought actually crossed my mind today to grab my camera when we left the house, but I thought no, we're not going to be doing anything fun or interesting. But I wish I would have had my camera for this. Savannah was very into the "building". They made a basketball hoop and backboard. She worked very hard nailing it all together and stringing the net on the hoop.
Here's a picture of SJ showing off her handy-work when we got home. Quite proud of our little "handygirl"!

woah... back up!

It just seemed like this week flew by!
Not sure where the days went. Let's see...

Wednesday was kind of a lazy day. Nicole had Aria here for most of the afternoon, so the girls played, the boys napped, and we just sat around and chatted. Nothing too exciting.

When Ryan got home that evening we went out to dinner to celebrate his job offer.... not that we're sure we're taking it yet, but because of the fact that several people wanted that position and he was the only one in his group offered it. Yes, it's a little presumptuous, but I'm proud of my husband!
We had dinner at Outback, and it was, as usual, deelish. Surprisingly, Sawyer didn't want any of their awesome bread, or much of his chicken finger meal. You know what that kid ate? The Bloomin' Onion. We gave him a bite and he loved it. He seriously ate half that bloomin' onion!!! And we could hardly keep up with him, he ate it so fast. Besides the fact that I've never met a toddler who would sit and eat onions, with as picky as he's been lately, I was shocked.

Thursday was a super busy day for me and the kids.
Savannah had a field trip with her preschool class to Kid's~n~Stuff in Albion. She was very excited to go over there with all of her friends. This was the first time Sawyer's been there since he's really been truly walking around, and he was all over the place. Wore me out!

After a full morning there, we had a bite for lunch and then headed home for a quick nap.
At two thirty, I woke Sawyer from nap because we were heading out the other direction to Saline to meet up with our playgroup at a new kid's place there called Urban Toddler. It was a fun little place and we finally got to meet more of the moms and kids that have become part of our Cheeky Little Monkeys group. (Don't know if I ever mentioned it, but Nicole and I wanted to meet more moms and families in our area, so she started up an online group to hopefully make it easier to connect with moms and kids our ages in our community.) There were six of us moms there that day with seven kids ranging in age from Savannah at almost 4 years to Little Kate who is just two weeks old.

The toddlers and Savannah had a great time wandering around the kid-centered hang out, and I think the moms with the little ones had a relaxing time sitting back and "comparing notes" about their new roles as moms.

When Urban Toddler closed at 5, we all headed over to Red Robin for dinner. Ah... Red Robin. That is one restaurant we miss around here. Yummy food, easy atmosphere, great for the kids. You should have seen the look on the host and hostesses faces when we walked in and asked for a table for seven plus three highchairs plus three sling stands (for the infant carrier seats). It was pretty amusing watching them scramble around trying to fit us in somewhere with ALL THOSE LITTLE ONES!
Anyway, we got seated and ate a ton of food and got to chat quite a bit more. It was a good afternoon.

But exhausting!!
By the time I got home after 7:30 that evening, I could not believe how wiped out I was. Carting those two kids around all day is getting to be wearing! Sawyer is such a handful himself, no matter where we go, and let me tell you about our car rides these days.... H-E-double hockey sticks. I'm serious. I'm thinking of getting a minivan just so they can ride in separate rows. No matter how many books or toys or songs or things for them to do I try to be prepared with, our car rides are getting insane. They just get so silly and wound up and loud. They get each other going and it just escalades. They spend all their time in the car either screaming/laughing because they're being so silly or screaming/crying because they're fighting. It's driving me crazy. I'm ready to start carrying duct tape with me.

Anyway, after taking those two to three different "outings" in one day (and driving a total of 120+ miles) I was done! Too much for me. Never again!

Oh, I also took a few quick pics outside Thursday morning. It was really eerie outside... a storm was coming and it was just past sunrise and the whole sky was just heavy with this strange post-sunrise pink mixed with that eerie yellow/green the midwest sky gets before a big thunderstorm. It was 8 o'clock in the morning and it was windy and about 65 degrees outside. I tried to get pictures of it because it was just so different, but I don't know how much you can really tell. It may have been more feeling than you can get in a picture...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring Cleaning (and planning and debating and creating and stressing and....)

It's a beautiful 1st day of Spring today. Could be a little warmer, but I'll take the sunshine anyday!
If I didn't know it was still a bit chilly out there, I'd want to open up the house and do some big time Spring cleaning today. Windows, floors, have everything opened up and aired out. Oh, and it would be nice to do that without these two little twerps following me around, "helping" or just undoing my cleaning almost immediately. Hmmm... maybe I should save some of that big day of cleaning for when our family is here and they can keep the kids occupied or out of the house for a solid chunk of time.

All about the lists today!

Here are my to-do's...
for today
  • finish last two loads of laundry
  • get out for a walk around the block or to play in the backyard
  • clean dining room, kitchen, back entryway floors
  • make stroganoff for dinner
  • paint back entryway and hallway
  • put in Scholastic order for Savannah's school
before this weekend
  • make and mail out three birthday cards/gifts
  • get out Easter decorations
before April
  • clean craft/laundry/storage room (again)
  • wash and make bed downstairs
  • give the whole house an overall 'Spring Cleaning' in preparation for guests
  • plan meals (my lofty goal is to sit down and plan for the whole month of April since we'll have guests for at least all but 8 days of the month)
  • supplies for decorating Easter Eggs and everything ready for the kid's Easter baskets
  • decide on a plan for SJ's birthday party
SJ's bday. Not sure if we're doing anything for that. I mean, I know we'll have a good family party, but I don't know if we'll do anything with any of her friends. She's been talking about wanting some of her friends from school to come, but I'm not sure how we'll do that. It'd be fun to have a friend party, but frankly she really doesn't have many friends here. Just the girls in her class. Luckily there are only 4 other girls in her class (evidently there was a baby boy boom here four years ago!). She has also many times mentioned she wants to invite Noah from her class to her birthday too. But I told her if we have a party we would only invite the girls. I think it's okay to only invite the girls, but if we cross over to boy territory, I'd feel like we need to invite her whole class. KWIM?
But even the girls... I don't know if they're even very good friends. And I only barely know one of the moms. So I feel like it would be kind of awkward. I just wish we knew more families around here. It'd be so fun to do like a little tea party or baking party or something.
Honestly, when I ask her who she wants to come to her birthday party, do you know who she lists off? (not counting friends from back home)
Porter and Little Donnie. Yes, my almost four-year-old's best friends are one year olds. Poor kid.

So my idea so far is to pick one friend and invite them to go out to the zoo with us. The Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek has a beautiful new Carousel they're opening in April. And yeah, Savannah did her birthday at the waterfront carousel last year, but she is so excited about one opening here! So that might be an option. I need to think about all that. I'm going to run out of time before I know it! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Can't wait for Spring to really feel like Spring!!!

rules to live by

Just a friendly reminder, it's that time of the year again.

March 20, 2007 - 1st day of Spring.

Please raise your BIG TOE and repeat after me:

As a member, I pledge to follow The Rules when I wear sandals and other open-toe shoes:

1. I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. And the sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps.

2. I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact andchip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.

3. I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow.

4. I will shave the hairs off my big toe.

5. I won't wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend/co-worker/mother/sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.

6. If a strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it -- no matter how much it hurts.

7. I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl's if my feet need him.

8. I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $3.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids' sizes . This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat, and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.

9. I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.

10. I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/co-worker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes look like they've been dragged behind her car on the way to work and no sandal in the world is going to make her feet look good.

11. I will promise if I wear flip flops, that I will ensure they actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my f eet while wearing them.

And finally...

12. I will promise to go to my local beauty shop at least once per season and have a real pedicure (they are about $20 and worth EVERY penny).

I say spend another $20.00 and get an even better one.

For all our sakes, please don't keep this to yourself - pass it on

Monday, March 19, 2007

and a long weekend it was

I feel like I haven't had much to say lately that's been blogworthy. A combination of not much going on around here, and not feeling motivated (or maybe just not making time) to sit down and write. I mean, I went almost a week before updating my picture page. I haven't been that bad all year.

I guess I could look at it as a good thing. I've been trying to make a point of not being on the computer when the kids are around, or at least when I'm the only one here to entertain/interact with them. And I've also been trying to not be doing very much photo sorting/editing or blogging or IMing or any other computer stuff in the evenings after the kids go to bed because I felt like Ryan was starting to complain about me spending too much time on the computer. So really, my only time on here has been for about an hour in the afternoons when both kids are down for naptime. Until today, I hadn't even downloaded pictures from my camera since Thursday morning. For me, that's unheard of.
Anyway, all that to say I haven't spent much time on computer stuff lately. And while I miss it, now that I'm sitting here I'm kind of struggling for what to write.

Our weekend.
It felt like a strange weekend to me. I felt totally lazy, but kind of restless at the same time. Becky was here visiting and we pretty much did absolutely nothing. I didn't plan ahead and think of anything for us all to do all weekend, and I felt like we were just slugs. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a nice lazy weekend every once in awhile, and normally a weekend of just hanging out at home and running a few errands is fine with me. But with my sister here, I felt like we were just all sitting around staring at each other and like we should be entertaining her. But without planning ahead, and the freezing cold weather all weekend, there is just NOTHING TO DO IN JACKSON! Pretty much all we did was go shopping and go out to eat. Woo-hoo! Welcome to our town.

On Friday Becky, Nicole and I went and saw Premonition. I thought it was a pretty good movie. At first glance, there seemed to be a few irritating loopholes, but the more I think about it afterward, the more I think I kind of "get" those loopholes. Anyway, that was a fun little night out.

Saturday we had a few people over for another game night. It's always nice to hang out with everyone and as usual, we had some great laughs. Huffs, we missed you guys. Andrew and Maria, sorry you couldn't make it but we'll see you next time!

Oh and on Saturday Ryan and I probably spent three hours between us on these riddles. They are ridiculously mind boggling, addicting and so fun to get through! We're up to level 54. It's been really fun doing them together. I would have given up long ago if we hadn't teamed up. It's neat because some things Ryan is really good at getting quickly (like code breaking) and some things I get faster (like patterns and visuals) so when we're both working on these riddles that have so many different components we make a good team. If you're up for a challenge you should try these out. And if you need hints or help we're available and more than willing to help you along the Weffriddle journey. It's fun to exercise your brain in a fun and different way once in awhile.

Well, I think I will head off to bed. Maybe I can think of more blogworthy notes tomorrow. Or feel free to throw me a topic and I'm sure I can find something to babble about!
Ta-ta for now.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Fun Friday Stuff

Just a lazy Friday around here. I'm so glad it is though! Friday, I mean. I love weekends!!

My sister Becky arrived last night. She's visiting for a long weekend. It's really nice to see her as we haven't seen her since she left to move to Las Vegas about a month before we moved out here. The kids, as always, are having a blast with another family member here.

Speaking of family, I just realized we'll have a few other visitors here before we know it. Ryan's Mom and stepdad are coming for a few days the beginning of April. It'll be nice to have family here for Easter. And then my parents are coming for Savannah's birthday and staying for two weeks again. We're playing around with the idea of taking a little trip while they're here, but I don't know if we can fit it in or not.
I can already tell the month of April is going to fly by!

Anyway, we spent the morning doing a bit of shopping.
New shoes all around. Well, minus me. But the cute ones got 'em, so that's what counts.

And groceries. That's always fun!
Actually it was fine because I had the company and help of my sister. Plus, I bought some fun stuff to make treats for our game night tomorrow. St Paddy's Day you know.
I'm also indulging and making a Whoppers Pie for us tonight. Mmmmmm!!
I made one a couple of weeks ago (with the left over Whoppers candy from our movie game night) and I am in love! Three of my favorites together... ice cream, malt, and graham cracker crust. Can't beat it.
Here's the super easy recipe if you're interested...
Whoppers Candy Malt Shoppe Pie
9" graham cracker crumb crust
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
1 8oz tub Cool-Whip, thawed
2 cups Whoppers Malted Milk Balls, crushed

Combine softened ice cream and whipped topping until well blended. Mix 1 cup of candy into ice cream mixture; spoon into crust. top with remaining crushed candy. Cover; freeze 4 hours or until firm. Optional: serve garnished with additional whipped topping and whole malted milk balls.

Also thinking about us girls going to see a movie tonight. Can you believe I've only been to one movie since we've lived here? And that was to take Savannah to see Happy Feet -not my idea of great entertainment. Kind of looking forward to getting out.

So that's what we're up to today. Not a whole heck of a lot.
Hope you all are looking forward to a great weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

So this is what we're looking at today.


Yeah, two days ago we were outside playing in the green grass and 70 degree sunshine and today....
well, we're not.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Time Flies

They really do grow up so very fast.
I know everyone says that, but really- isn't it absolutely crazy how fast it goes?

I threw a couple of things in Sawyer's closet a few months ago from Savannah's. She's growing out of all the 3T's and he's wearing 2T, so I figured if it's a unisex piece of clothing, why bother packing it away. He'll be in it soon enough. Well soon enough turned out to be a little sooner than I expected.

I pulled one of those shirts out today, and to my surprise it fit him like a glove.

I don't know why, but all day today, every time I look at my little baby, I think how can my little baby boy already be wearing that shirt?! Savannah was only wearing that a year and a half ago.

(don't they both look drunk in this picture?)

That was before Sawyer was even born! And now here he is in the same shirt, looking almost as grown up as she. Crazy!

Also, going back through old pictures....

this one yesterday

reminded me of this one three years ago...

I think it was the striped shirt. Wasn't she just this little?!

cute curls and toddler trials

Savannah was so excited because she slept in curlers last night.
She got them for Christmas in her stocking and we have attempted "the big curl" a couple of times, but by the time we get her wet hair (so much hair!) in the curlers and she tries to get to bed, she complains that she can't sleep with the curlers on her head.
Anyway, she made it all night last night, and she was super excited with all the curls this morning. She called three different people to tell them about her curls today. She also loves the fact that I told her my mommy used to do my hair like that when I was little. And I think she was even more excited when she was showing her curls off to Nicole today and Nicole told her she used to do that when she was little too! Savannah has reminded me of that three times already this afternoon.... What color were your curlers? Pink! Miss Nicole had pink curlers too! Pretty cute stuff.

She's happy, I promise... she just wasn't being so cooperative with my wanting a picture!

Let's see, what's the news of the SawMan lately? Um... you mean besides being a textbook toddler? Seriously. Why do toddlers do what toddlers do? Or don't do I should say.

Sawyer is driving me crazy with his toddler pickyness when it comes to food. I mean, it is plenty hard enough to figure out what to feed him with all his allergies. But then when he changes his mind every day?! Actually I'm lucky if he changes his mind... at least then he might eat something. Here's the current list of his allergies and likes/dislikes.

He breaks out (severe eczema) if he eats:
  • any dairy (which in a normal toddler makes up approximately 95% of what they actually like, right?... cheese, yogurt, milk, mac&cheese, goldfish and numerous other snack crackers with cheese, etc.)
  • including eggs
  • acidic fruits (oranges, peaches, nectarines, kiwis, tomatoes- meaning no pizza or pastas with tomato sauce. but remember, no white sauces either with dairy!)
  • any legumes (beans, peas, soy -that one makes the no dairy harder!, tofu)
  • berries

Now for things he can, but will never eat:
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • avocado
  • most other vegetables
  • raisins

Things he used to eat, but now refuses:
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • pork
  • sausage
  • ground beef as in meatballs, burgers, etc.
  • carrots
  • potatoes- white, red, and sweet
  • bagels
  • toast

Which leaves things he will currently eat:
  • ham
  • hot dogs
  • fishsticks
  • crackers (and crackers and crackers)
  • apples (he's just agreed to within the last few days)
  • pears
  • bananas (I couldn't begin to count how many bananas we go through around here)
  • chicken only in fast food/freezer nugget form (he refuses even homemade nuggets or strips and you can forget about baked, broiled or otherwise healthy poultry)
  • veggie pasta
  • veggie stix
  • his dairy/egg free frozen waffles (sometimes)
  • cucumbers
  • olives
  • pizza crust (can you tell I'm reaching to make this list longer?)

I've just recently started letting him *go hungry* if he doesn't want to eat what we offer him. I've always kept his likes and dislikes in mind (and obviously his allergies) when I make up a meal for him. And I try to mesh it with our meals as much as possible. For example the other night, we had Meatballs Stroganoff over noodles, with mixed peas and carrots. He had plain meatballs and noodles without the sauce, with carrots. Or if we're having salmon, and I know the kids don't like it, I'll make them fishsticks instead of the salmon. I try to make it as much as a family meal as I can while not catering to them, but avoiding the biggest struggles with things I know they won't eat.
But with Sawyer's newfound pickyness, especially the things he used to love like chicken or sweet potatoes, there is just no happy medium.
So now I'm offering him a combination of something I know he'll eat, something he used to eat, and something new or that he hasn't agreed to before. If that's what we're having. And that's all he gets. No more serving the turkey bites with carrots and having them all smashed into his hair instead of his mouth, so then giving up and warming him last nights chicken nuggets. If he doesn't want to eat it, he can get down from the table.

I've hesitated before on doing that, because I feel like he's too young to understand the whole I'm hungry because I didn't eat anything, and frankly, I don't want to hear about his empty tummy at 2 in the morning. But enough is enough and if he's hungry, he's got his chance to eat with the rest of us. If he really doesn't eat anything, then we'll usually offer him some oatmeal or applesauce or something later before bed, but as a bedtime snack, not as a meal replacement. So hopefully he'll make it till morning.

So far, no progress. He's still not eating any better at meals. But obviously, he's not starving to death. It's just frustrating. Can a kid really live on chicken nuggets and bananas? I hope he outgrows these allergies.

Anyone have any new ideas, both parenting-wise and food suggestion-wise, for things to try with him?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

a sneak peek of spring

69 degrees

more tomorrow
(writing that is. not sure about the weather. and probably no zoo.)

oh, I have to add that Sawyer found himself smitten with a little girl on the playground... he followed her around for a bit and then he kissed her in the tunnel!! Isn't she so cute!

and Nicole, here's the other end of the hug you got the pre-shot of...
yeah, I think Porter had enough of that!

and you can find my favorite zoo pic of the day here