Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Yesterday it was a beautiful winter day. It was about 35 degrees with no wind with falling heavy snow. John built a MASSIVE castle. While the kids and I build a snowman. We went to the evening candle light service and Caleb was overjoyed to be able to hold his own real candle.

It was a great day.

Thanks Aunt Amy for the snowman pieces. I think I have gotten a picture of the kids every year making a snowman with them. If I remember right this would be the 6th winter we have had them. Even Nathan got in on the action shoving the nose piece in.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I am on the nice list!

Just a quick post.

Night before last I am putting the boys to bed and after our bedtime prayers Caleb asks if I will snuggle with him for a bit. So I climb into his bed and he smiles so big,dimple and all, puts his arm around me and says:"Mom, I am going to put you on the nice list for Christmas."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

putting up the christmas tree

Here are the boys decorating the tree.
I only put the lights on and three ornamants and they did the rest.
Dad of course made the tree straight first.

Caleb thought the green tree stand was the tree trunk. So needless to say his "helping water the tree" incident was actually watering the carpet. He was so proud thinking he was the big man when in fact he basically just threw water all over the floor. I did not react well. Not one of my better mom moments. Poor kiddo. I imediatly felt bad.

Enjoy the clip. Listen closely and you can hear Caleb finding an ornament for Nathan to put on the tree, so he isn't left out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who needs a white Christmas!?

This clip pretty much sums up how I feel about our current season.

Nathan takes his first steps

So right after standing with no help, he takes his first steps. He is still primarily crawling if he wants to get somewhere fast. Now he is trying to walk first, takes a few steps, falls and crawls the rest of the way. Not long and he will be running with the big boys.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nathan stands all by himself - finally!

Nathan is 15 months already. He is such the baby of the family. He is just first now learning to stand on his own. Check out the clip.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

we love our part time dogs

Aunt Kiki comes over almost every Saturday. Which is so great for all of us.
My kids especially love it when she brings the dogs.
Here is a quick post to show you the cutest pics of the 3 kids with the 2 dogs.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It is winter indeed

Monday we received our first big snow. By Tuesday I was already sick of it. So in an effort to loose my BAH HUMBUG attitude I decided to be crazy mom for one day. (happy is a choice I tell my kids - I better listen to my own advice)

We bundled everyone up and went outside for a snow ball fight. Poor Jared the mail man was delivering mail on our street when I had this bright idea. So Olivia thru snow at him too. He is such a good sport. We made snow angels. We pulled off icicles to lick. Yes I let them do this.

After coming in for hot chocolate, the kids still had plenty of energy, so I let them burn it off by jumping of the couch. Can you believe I said yes to that?

Even Nathan got in of the action. I was mid diaper change and he was so excited about it he crawled away and got on the couch and joined in, pants less.

Here is a clip in case you don't remember what it was like to have energetic kids and a long cold winter ahead.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hard economic times require parents to say....


Today I am reading the headlines on FoxNews. The 2 that catch my eye are:
"Wal-mart employee dies after 'Black Friday' shoppers break open door" and
"Toy advertising under fire"

Ok so here is the gist. There is a parental agency petitioning parents to write letters to the toy manufactures to tone down their advertising of their toys to kids via commercials.
The bulk of the article is filled with statements like these:

Unfortunately, I will not be able to purchase many of the toys that my sons have asked for; we simply don't have the money," wrote Todd Helmkamp of Hudson, Ind. "By bombarding them with advertisements ... you are placing parents like me in the unenviable position of having to tell our children that we can't afford the toys you promote."

"It's cruel to dangle irresistible ads for toys and electronics in front of kids — encouraging them to nag for gifts that their parents can't afford," she said. "It's just not fair."

"I had one parent who said she'd prostitute herself to get what her child wants," Almodovar said. "It's heartbreaking. They feel inadequate as parents.

Ok so here is what I say to you parents"

SUCK IT UP. SHUT OFF THE TV if you don't want JR to be overstimulated by the commercials.

How about a lesson in earning something thru WORK?!? or better yet how about learning to say NO.
Stand in front of the mirror and repeat after me "NO" ok try it again (it gets easier with repetition "NO" Ok getting the hang of it yet?)

Here is a tip. Jesus got 3 gifts on that 1st Christmas. It was HIS birthday, the magi were late, and he was GOD for goodness sake!

So take little Johnny aside and give him what you really ought to for Christmas this year. An experience in giving to someone who has LESS than him. Which for most of us would be easy to find!

Ok the headline about the Wal-mart employee dying because of a stampede of rude shoppers with a gimmie-gimmie attitude.

I can't even fluently comment. I need to go vomit. Do we even remember what it is like to not be so selfish? Someone should be showing Veggie Tales "Madame Blueberry" to the line at 2 AM while they wait for the people WORKING (hint hint) to get the doors open.

An Excerpt from the video:
"I thank God for this day, for the sun in the sky, for my mom and my dad, for my piece of apple pie..." "That is what I want., says Madame Blueberry a Happy Heart!" What isle is the happy heart in?

Monday, November 24, 2008

A trip to our favorite gas station

So Caleb and David want to go to the BP after Davids musical (it is already 8:30 on a school night). The responsible mom in me wants to say "NO WAY!" But the kid in me want to say "OK"

The kid wins this time around. I ask what treat they would like. David says "KIT KAT!" and Caleb says:"I want a beef stick please!"

A beef stick? What? A beef stick. Are you kidding me? You want a beef stick? (we don't watch tv so where did he find out about a beef stick?)

I guess he and John and tried one together some time ago. I did not know he had ever had one before, so his request was super funny to me.

Ok Slap into a slim Jim it is. Guess he needs meat!

The BP is 2 and 1/2 blocks from home. But check out this picture. This is how messy Nathan can get in 2 1/2 blocks with a kit kat piece. Imagine seeing that in your rear view mirror. HA!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nathan is already using his manners

Just a short clip of Nathan.
We have been sick and Nathan has caught on that it is polite to cough in your sleeve. Here he is copying me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

David's 2nd grade musical

David had his 1st class play/musical last week. It included all the Evansville 2nd grade classes. Each class is in a different color shirt. (David's class shirt was pink) I included a 3 1/2 minute clip of the hour long production. I spliced together some of the musical numbers so you could see how many 2nd graders there are in this tiny town (there are 141 2nd graders about 16 or so per class). This music teacher really has things under control for being so outnumbered.

In the first part of the clip you can see just how many kids there are in 2nd grade here in Evansville. The place was standing room only for just the parent/grandparent show last Thursday.

In the beginning of the clip you see David looking around for us. Then later you see him find us and give John a wink and a 'I love you' sign. At the very end you see him give us the "I'm Joe Cool" look.

At the end of the show the music teacher got all teary eyed and said how much fun she has at her job and how much she loves the kids. It was a great experience for David.

Enjoy the clip

Oh sorry about the Nathan coughing episode half way thru. We are all just now on the mend from being sick for the last 2 weeks. Amazingly David was the only one who did not get it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A simple trip to the library - well not so simple

Why does it have to be so complicated?

All I wanted to do was make good on a promise and take Caleb back to the library so he could play with this puppy toy they have in the kid’s section.

You see last night, many of the items I had requested from the public library were ready for me to pick up. So I ran out after supper, with Caleb only ,to go get the items. I told Caleb before going in that we were not going in to spend the day playing – just get our stuff and get out. He agreed. For the most part he was really great about it. Except then he eye-spied this new puppy in a doghouse toy that has never been there before. He was all over it. I told him that we could come back tomorrow with Olivia if Nathan took an early nap.

Sure enough Nathan took an early nap and Caleb remembered. So off to keep my promise we went.

You know what? The library is only like 8 blocks from here. Amazing what I have to do to get three kiddos out the door for a 45-minute playtime at the local library. Nathan slept thru snack time so I had to bring something for him in case he got hungry. Every needs a juice cup. Olivia took her socks off – now where are they? Caleb has his shoes on the wrong feet. Nathan needs a diaper change. Olivia needs to go potty, Caleb needs to go potty. I need to go potty. Now get jackets on. Olivia’s zipper is stuck. Caleb is frustrated because he can’t get his snaps snapped. Nathan is crying because the stairs are blocked off.

Ok found the socks for Olivia, shoes too. Oh Olivia left the toilet seat up and did not flush. Guess what? While finding her socks and shoes, Nathan goes in there playing in the “water” AUGH! YUCK. Nice.

Ok wash him up. Get the snaps on Caleb. Shoes on everyone’s feet – on the correct feet. Out the door. New porch is slippery – don’t fall!

Oh look snow! No one listens to me they are playing with the snow. Ok. Olivia is in her seat, Caleb in his, Nathan screaming to get into his seat harness (as it is just about EVERY single time he gets in the van – little turd) It has been like 20 minutes to get out the door. Now lets see how long to get out the driveway?

Back up – oh Hi mailman –good thing I looked. Jared (the mailman) is a celebrity in this town – would hate to fess up to being the one who ran him over.

Get to the library. Park van, open doors. Olivia seat belt is not on. I know I put it on her – she says, “I took it off!” Before or after I parked? I ask. She says nothing. Which is code for “whatever I was not suppose to do – yup that is what I did. Aren’t I cute?”

Get in the building. Olivia and Nathan head over to the kitchen play set in the corner. Caleb immediately heads over to the puppy toy in the opposite side of the room. Olivia pushes Nathan over saying this is my kitchen! Jeepers.

No other kids are there so we have the place all to ourselves. Miss Sandy and us, the librarian whom I have known for years. She knows all my kids names and approx. ages and interests. She used to comment about how polite David was (years ago when I only had 1 kid and had time to be nice.)

Boy your kids are getting big she says. No kidding - all they do is eat!

Everyone is happily playing with a toy and then I hear it. Olivia begins to grunt (she is wearing a pull-up because she is supposed to be potty trained) I say, “Do you have to go poop Olivia? The library has a bathroom we can use.” “Nope” she says and proceeds to fill her pants. Now in her defense she has had the most stool issues I have ever seen in a kid. Probably I think this because she is not my kid, but jeez. She doesn’t go for 10 or 11 days, and then she bows out. So her Dr recommend that she gets stool softeners and laxatives daily. Still doesn’t go. I guess all she needs is an inconvenient trip to the library. Because now she is going to go in her pants.

From previous inconvenient poops I have learned a few things about the library bathroom. For one you can hear EVERYTHING going on in there when you are in the children’s section. The toilet auto flushes when it feels like it and it is loud and scary. Frequently there is no soap. Worst of all worsts there is no hand towels just the auto hand dryer that is about as loud as a freight train and is also auto activated by movement. Is now the time I remind myself how unsanitary the bathroom floor is and that there is no lid for the public toilet. Nowhere for Nathan to be while I deal with Olivia’s ordeal? Add eye roll.

Ok so it has to get done. We all go in together. No exaggeration the hand dryer goes on and off 9 times. The toilet flushes 6 but Praise God there is Soap!

Nathan crawls all over the DISGUSTING floor, gets to the toilet 3 times during the ordeal. Caleb is covering his ears from the noise and standing there with body tense and teeth clenched. Guess what I don’t have in with all my stuff? That's right folks. No extra pull-up or underwear for Olivia. Ok, well you get to go commando kiddo. Hope you like the breeze. In the days when I only had 1 kid this would have meant the end of our trip to the library. But not today. That is what you get for telling me “nope” and then pooping your pants. We go back in the kid’s section and finish our play date with the library and go home when we planned. After all, I have to get my times worth. I should at least be able to be out of the house as long as it took to get out of it!

As I drive home I smile to myself and hear the song Pastor Bartz talked about months ago. “You’re gonna miss this” Yup and I will probably never forget it either.

Monday, November 17, 2008

David takes his 1st communion

For some time I have been talking to David about what Holy Communion is. In our church you must be able to look back at a time in your life when you asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. You don’t need to be a member, but you do need to understand that the elements of the bread and wine (grape juice) are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus and that he willingly sacrificed his sinless self to pay the penalty of our sins, so we don’t have to.

John serves the elements of communion to those who are elderly or disabled or who are unable to come forward because they are serving the children downstairs or are simply unable to walk up to the communion table. So David has had a lot of questions about what dad is doing, in the past. I have been wondering for some time when David would want to partake in Holy Communion since he has indeed asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior and fully understands what this means.

Well Sunday, November 2nd, David decided he wanted to participate in taking Holy Communion. I asked him some questions to make sure he knew what he was doing and this was not just snack time. He gave me a look like “No kidding mom – geez!” I felt bad about saying that after the look he gave me. Like I insulted him for even suggesting that was a thought he might have. When we walked up together he was all like the big man getting his 1st taste of being an adult. He was very respectful and proud.
Afterwards he asked if everyone who was in line has asked Jesus to be his or her Savior? I said yes. So he smiled real big and said: “So they will all be in heaven with us some day?” Yep. He was so excited about that. He just loved it

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Parent Teacher Conference

We had our very 1st parent teacher conference this past week.

I hope all of the conferences we go to over the years have as glowing of a report as this 1st one.

Mrs. Wade had all good things to say about David. She said it was hard to watch David realize bit by bit that the world isn’t as kind as he once thought. (This was one of the big reasons we put David in school – for him to learn some of the hard social lessons now before he gets to middle school) David has such a sensitive spirit and Mrs. Wade said he is so kind and polite. David was the very 1st home-schooled kid Mrs. Wade has had so far and I am happy to say she must have a good 1st experience with David. What teacher doesn’t like a rule follower?

His test scores are WAY above the classes (which we knew a long time ago) but now we have documented teacher confirmation of this. David is the youngest kid in the class and he is #1 in all 3 of the catagories.

His Math score is 191.
(Class average is 175, Evansville district 2nd grade is 179 and National 2nd grade average is 180)
His Reading score is 188.
(Class average is 163, Evansville district 2nd grade is 171 and National 2nd grade average is 180)
His Language score is 185.
(Class average is 158, Evansville district 2nd grade is 175 and National 2nd grade average is 181)

I tell you I sure have a lot of respect for Mrs. Wade and the work she does everyday. She has 16 kids (11 boys) who range from beginning 1st grade reading to 3rd grade reading. Her class is low for the district average and the district is below the national average. So who was it that told me WI has such GREAT public schools and that Evansville school district was so grand? I would think that by the 2nd grade you should be able to read – don’t you?

John and I went to David’s class a few weeks ago to hear them read to us their “Spooky Halloween Stories” It was painstaking to listen to them struggle thru reading a one page story that they wrote themselves. Maybe 4 kids in the class could actually read them fluently. (They should know what word comes next because they wrote it! Plus they practiced it all week in preparation for the event)

Now his 1st public school experience has already met the goals we had for him (none of which were educational, they were all social this year) He has already had his first fight at school, he figured out how to deal with the class bully and has learned how to raise his hand, wait his turn and help those who need extra help. He learned how to let others lead and has had a teacher who was not his parent.

So far so good.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Playing with the neighbor boys

We are blessed to have 3 boys right across the street from us. Boys with manners and great parents. Bonus!

When I was a girl there was only 3 kids in the whole 4 block neighborhood. David has 3 contemporaries that we approve of, right across the street. Davids world is so full of blessings.

When it got cold this month (it actually snowed already here in October) we had 2 of the neighbor boys into the house to play a game of Candyland.

Now, this is not the Candyland board game we had as kids. It is an interactive, move your body DVD. (thanks hionis family for lending it to us).

I captured this really funny clip. Enjoy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Playing in the leaves

This cute clip is of Olivia (my daycare girl) Caleb and Nathan enjoying our leaf pile in the front yard. It so captures how much fun it is to be a child.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sucker for the middle child

I was not a middle child. I was the baby. So it is not because I am "projecting my past"that I write this next post.

My Caleb has my heart strings in the palm of his hand (not that my other kids don’t also). I am just a sucker for the underdog.

Yesterday, I opened another savings account just for the boys. I have been holding on to some money gifts for them for some time. Problem is, I needed to go into the bank, not just the drive thru. No big deal right – well maybe if you don’t have 3 kids in tow and visible candy machines at a BORING bank that has a forever line. (add eye roll)

So as I make my deposit, I realize I have a LARGE gift for David, an almost as large gift for Nathan and the big NOTHING for Caleb. That is NOT because he spent it on toys or anything. It is just that both my other boys have someone “Special” that takes an added interest in their lives besides their parents. But Caleb does not. (these "Special people are not sponsors or God parents or anything else of the like, nor are those relationships something we initiated. They are simply spontaneous wonderful relationships that God gifted to my 2 boys)

Now before I continue, let me be sure I emphasis that Caleb is well covered on the clothes, toys and love department from his Grandpa Paul (who actually is Santa for those of you who don’t believe) and from us of course. Maybe it is just me, but Caleb seems to be the one who is forgotten (when one of them is forgotten that is).

I can recall 3 times in the last month where someone at our church or our IMMEDIATE family forgot his name (but not the other 2) or asked us about David and Nathan but not Caleb. I actually had a family member say “ok, so now you have David and Nathan right?" At first I blew it off, but I am beginning to wonder what it is about Caleb that makes him so forgettable. He is certainly NOT shy nor QUIET. Is it because David was the 1st and Nathan is new that Caleb isn't in the memory?

It actually took 2 years for him to get added to our family in our church directory and has yet to have his birthday put on their distributed calendar (although Nathan’s and David’s is there) yes I told them about it.

Then today I get in the mail a card that is addressed to David and Nathan. It is a cute Halloween card that has a few bucks in it. Some for David and some for Nathan. But you guessed it, none for Caleb. UHMMM don’t want to seem ungrateful or anything but it is pretty hard to explain to him now that he is 3 and understands he is being left out. (Where is mine?) This isn't the 1st time Caleb was missed in the holiday card thing, actually it was the 3rd. But neither of my other 2 have been missed. Weird.

You know what? This post sounds like I am ungrateful. I really am not. I just feel so bad for the kid. He doesn't notice that people forget his name or that his birthday or picture was missed, but I do.

Maybe I need to change my heart and attitude, I will pray about that. But in the interim I am going to be busy making sure Caleb isn’t left feeling like the forgotten middle child.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nathan my sports boy

Nathan does not yet walk on his own, but for months now he has been kicking a ball. He would spend most of the day walking with your fingers if you would let him, especially if you gave him a ball to kick.

He does not yet say mama, but he does say throw and kick. (very clearly I might add). So here is a quick clip of him playing soccer before he can walk and baseball before he can stand.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In case of emergency

The morning of the second sleepover I get up earlier than the kiddos and made pancakes. It is Sunday morning and I am running around trying to get 5 kids (and myself) ready for Sunday school.

I get everyone their pancakes and sausage, we pray, and I run upstairs to get dressed. John is downstairs with them eating. Thank goodness.

Our guest (who shall remain nameless) shows David how to eat his pancake in a new and exiting way. "You fold it in half and then fold in half again and shove it in."

David is clearly impressed and gives it a try. Only 1 problem. He chokes. Like not a little bit, like CHOKES. Now I have heard many a close call but this was the real deal.

John actually has to give David the Heimlich (how do you spell that?) I am upstairs getting dressed. Thank goodness John was there - he would have been turning blue by the time I decided what pants to wear. (what mom doesn't carry her own load of GUILT!)

John is the guy you want to be with when there is an emergency let me tell ya. I have seen him run into a building in order to put a fire out once. We were just driving by and he pulled over, passed the people standing like idiots watching, ran in got the fire extinguisher and put out the fire. Climbed back in our car and proceeded about his day.

Once while having dinner with friends, I saw him fly over to a hostess who passed out. Before I even knew anything was happening he already had her head back and was assessing her breathing and pulse.

Once on main street he saw a man get hit by a car and called 911, talked to the locals and because of his descriptions and keen eye he gave testimony that led to the arrest of the hit and run driver. This was on MAIN STREET and everyone else just stood there like a bunch of statues.

Thank goodness for John being there while David choked. John, you are my hero.

I will wager to bet that David will forever more cut all his pancakes into bite size pieces.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Homecoming football

Recently our whole family went to Evansville Homecoming football game. I think it may really honestly be the 1st time I attended a homecoming game since I was in High School. That would be like 16 years ago.

David LOVED it. He was old enough to understand the game. It was rather exciting too as there were a number of interceptions, turnovers, blocked punts and almost scores. (In the last few minutes the other team scored and won). Our local babysitter was in the marching band and of course he got to raid the concession stand.

Caleb was great for the whole thing. He got cold and tired and snuggled with Dad and fell asleep. Of course that meant 1 thing. When it was time to leave (we were WAY up in the bleachers and stuck there) He woke up on the way to the van and peed all over John and himself. So both of them were cold and wet and I lead us the wrong way to the van. Stellar.

Nathan stayed awake for it all and even clapped at a few cute moments when the crowd cheered. He didn't care who was winning, he was happy to be out of the house with action all around.

In the beginning of the game they announced the players, their numbers, positions and height and weight. I glanced over at the cheerleaders and remembered what it was like to be in those skimpy outfits holding those poms. I laughed at the change in perspective I had. Years ago as I stood there cheerleading I would listen to them announce my teams players and rate them based on cuteness and how much fun they would be to date, etc.

Now I sit in the stands, bouncing a baby on my knee and hear over 6 players taller than 6 feet 2 inches and over 240 pounds. I am not thinking the same thing I was 16 years ago, now I am thinking: OH MY GOODNESS WHO FEEDS THEM? I actually let out a sigh and think to myself
I will have to go back to work just for the groceries - we are doomed - we have 3 BIG BOYS! AUGHHHHHHH.

So half my life ago I was thinking about kissing them. Now I am thinking about feeding them. Yup, I have officially accepted the fact that I am old and out of style.

Homecoming is sure different than the last time I remember it.

Frost and Shorts?

Sorry I haven't posted in a week! This past 5 days we had 3 different sleepovers. It takes me a day or two to recoup from that. The kids are overtired and John is overworked between finishing the porch and doing ABCS appointments and his normal work and commute. So we are just surfacing now.

I have a few things to post. One of them is what I witnessed yesterday as I dropped off David, Noah, and Naomi at school. Not just 1 kid but at least 3 boys wearing shorts. Big deal right? Well maybe if it was August, but that morning I had to scrape my windshield in order to see those kids. The ground was a blanket of white at the school and they were wearing shorts.

Only in WI do you see kids in shorts at the same time as there is frost on the ground. I tell you for the most part I like to be an optimist but the 35 years of winter are wearing me thin on how much I enjoy this season. Ok I will just come right out and say it. I HATE IT! (We are not allowed to use the word hate in my house so hopefully David won't read this anytime soon and remind me of the "rules".

I hate it already and it is only the second time I had to scrape my windshield so far this year.
As the day progresses Caleb begins to talk about snow and getting our Christmas tree. Even he knows it is coming. (Could that be because when we go shopping the stores are already tying to sell Christmas stuff? Can't we just skip winter 1 year? sigh.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Our Anniversary

Yesterday John and I celebrated 14 years of marriage. I can hardly believe that much time has gone by already!

We went to a beautiful resort in Galela IL the 1st weekend in October to celebrate. We were actually gone 26 hours with no children. It was so wonderful to get away together. (fireplace, birds singing, amazing scenery)

Last night we went out for dinner and had a wonderful time. During our conversation we realized there was really very little we would have changed if given the chance to go back with hindsight 20/20 knowledge. It truly has been 14 good years.

As we looked forward to the next 14 years we noted that David will be out of the house and Caleb will be on his way out, Nathan would be in High School. We will be approaching the empty nest stage in our life. I am careful to not "wish away" these years with our boys but yet the thought of having John all to myself is exciting.

I wouldn't trade this man or these boys for any corporate success the world has to offer. I feel so blessed to have been able to make our house a home with my full time effort.

I thank God for his wisdom in choosing just the right mate for me. Even though I was aware of his character when I married him, I am still amazed at the gift God gave me the day I married John.

So hears to the years to come!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The kid who lies

So I am picking up David and his buddy from school and I hear some interesting banter in the back seat of the van.

"Did you see that boy who was next to me at recess?"
"Yeah, You mean that one that LIES?"
"Yes that is him. I pretend to be his friend but really I am not because I don't want to hang around kids who LIE!"
"Yes you are right. Me NEITHER! But I will still be nice to him though."
"Yeah me too"

Well I guess I don't have to go over that lesson again. Both David and his buddy have figured out for themselves what to do when they encounter a kid who is not telling the truth.

It sure was interesting to be a fly on the wall when they said those things.
It made me smile.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Apple pickin'

The boys and I went apple pickin' with Aunt Brenda, Zach and Sam today.
Check out the video - we sure had a good time.
Now I am off to make my grandma's recipe for apple pie!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Carving our pumpkins

Ok this is great.

Yesterday Caleb is "negotiating" with me to get something he wants. I can't even remember anymore what it was. He decided to use one of dads favorite lines.

So he says to me. "OK mom. Here's the deal..."

"Here's the deal?" I say back. Are you kidding me? "Here's the deal?"

He flashes the usual dimple grin. I laugh out loud and say a silent prayer for the wife he will have some day.

I actually get him saying it on tape later on while we are carving pumpkins.

AND if that is not enough - after carving his pumpkin he lovingly looks at it and says
"I wish I had a pumpkin like that."

Listen to him on the clip it is soooo funny because the pumpkin he wishes he has is actually his pumpkin!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nathan's crawling styles

A quick clip of Nathan getting around.

For some time he has been "army crawling" but after an evening with Naarah Hionis he figured out that she was moving much faster than him!

"How does she do that?"

So now he is up on all fours motoring around after a ball.

I apologize for the "NOISE" on the 1st part of the clip. The boys were watching Incredibles in the background and it just happened to be on a "hero fight scene". I admit it is normally loud at our house but I felt like I had to defend myself and clarify that was not actually my kids fighting or anything.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

David rides the bus

Most of the time David gets dropped off by me in the morning for school. But once a week he takes the bus. He loves this because his buddies across the street go on the bus.

I asked him the other day how he felt about the bus and he said: "I love it. But you know what? The bus driver starts driving away before we are even sitting down AND there are NO seat belts!"

This rule following child is going to make such a good policeman some day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nathan's 12 mo checkup

Nathan goes to see our favorite family doctor for our routine 12 mo check up.

She is the best Dr we have had for the boys, but she sooooo granola. You know what I mean by granola? No shave legs, no shave pits, no makeup, all natural, nurse till your kid is in kindergarten type. Let me say again she really is the best Dr we have had though.

So I have to tell her Nathan is no longer nursing and is now on regular whole milk. She is less than thrilled by this news. So she looks at his growth chart (He is 22 lbs and roly poly for those of you who haven't seen him lately) and informs me his growth curve is beginning to fall off the chart.

I think I may have actually rolled my eyes in front of her. For goodness sake you La Leche Natzies want kids on the boob forever. He is a chunker pants! I really don't think he is any worse for the wear for being on cows milk. I think maybe his curve might be going down because he is starting to move - you think? Falling off the charts - BAHHH.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Everything I say gets repeated

So we are driving home from the grocery store and Nathan is his usual cranker pants in the car seat. In a moment (and I mean moment) of frustration I say:"Jeepers dude, what do you need! You are driving me NUTS!"

Fast forward 1 day.

We are in the living room and Nathan starts crying over being stuck in his walker. Caleb walks over and says: "Nathan STOP CRYING! You are driving me PUTS."

At once I begin to bust out laughing and out comes Calebs adorable grin, dimple and all. Believe it or not the laughing makes Nathan stop crying.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Dirty Meatball

So I am taking off my mascara with my eye makeup remover and cotton ball, in walks Caleb.
He exclaims: " WHOA look at all that dirt on your meatball!"

It was just so funny I had to post it. Confirmation that I don't get out much.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Drive Thru Daycare?

So I am listening to the local Christian radio station and hear the DJ say:" A recent survey was taken to answer this question: Life would be more convenient if only there was a drive thru _______. "

I am thinking a drive thru laundry might be nice.
1st window you dump off your dirty laundry, 2nd window you pick up clean folded laundry. Oh wait I would still have to put it all away. Bummer.

Some time goes by and the DJ says the most popular response was a drive thru daycare.

Literally my mouth drops open. This country is full of spoiled brats!~ If it isn't bad enough we don't have to actually raise our kids during the day now we can't even give them 3 minutes to say good by or hello? And we wonder why our kids are so over medicated and messed up. UHMMM HELLO?!?!?

Lets see drive thru food - hmm cheap, nutritionless and you regret it a few hours later.
Now drive thru daycare - hmmm convenient, cheap, you regret if for your lifetime with the added bonus of an angry resentful generation of kids (boys especially). Good idea.

Good idea folks drive thru daycare. You people need a spanking. But hey we can't do that anymore.

If I was in charge of this country it would be a lot different. There would be lots of lazy, spoiled people with handguns lined up to shoot me.

Some day I actaully hope to be part of those in charge but 1st I am going to actaully raise my kids and dream of a drive thru laundry.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Catching up

It has been awhile since I posted. For that I apologize. It is not for a lack of material. Just a lack of many other things. (sleep being one)

For those of you who have asked: "No my toilet is no longer in my yard." My bathroom is as done as it is going to get for a while. Not finished but it is functioning.

John has returned from his trip to Texas and things are returning to normal again.

With that said I have a number of things to post and a limited amount of time.

So here are some highlights.

Caleb and Nathan have some sort of mystery poop thing going on. No one has any virus or cold symptoms but both of them are on a "CLEANSE" of some kind. It makes me wonder if some sicko nursery worker didn't serve them cookies made with exlax?

If it was you - may you turn to stone this instant! The have (no exaggeration) gone 5 - 7 times (not diarrhea either) daily for the last few days.

Because I really did not believe Caleb that he had to go AGAIN - I told him to go to the bathroom and take off his pants and underwear and get on the toilet himself. Now before you think I am a total meaner you should know that he can actually do this, just not in a hurry. I did after all see all his previous trips and was positive there was nothing left to come out for goodness sake.

Well I was wrong. He of course was obeying but not getting things done fast enough for natures call. He gets undressed and gets on the toilet in such haste he falls in butt first. I tell you I need to put a video camera in our bathroom I could make a fortune on Americas funniest videos if I just caught one of these things on tape! Problem is I don't get to be in the bathroom alone and I sure don't need it filmed when I am in there.

Caleb thinks this is funny. Because he is a boy and everything horribly gross is so darn funny when you are a boy. He proceeds to convince me he does not need a bath. "I fell in before the poop was there the water is clean!" Hmm nice try mister.

Nathan is not walking yet but boy he sure can run in that walker.
When you stand him up and hold his hands he will walk well too. Probably he will be running free in 3 - 4 weeks. His favorite thing is to walk with your hands holding him up and kick a ball. He will be my soccer player. David the wrestler, Caleb the football player and Nathan the soccer player. He laughs so loud when he kicks the ball it is great. Have yet to get that on tape too.

David is adjusting to school well. I have a million stories on that. More of that later. Right now he is showing me his Mexican jumping bean. So far his school experience has been positive for him and the rest of us. Now we actually get a word in edgewise when he is gone. (Maybe he will be on the debate team instead of the wrestling team)

I have officially given up caffeine. My poor kids.
I am on day 3 so I am on the upswing.

I n my infinite wisdom I thought it would be good to give up caffeine the same time that the pooping thing started and the same time we disconnected our cable. I may need therapy after this.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nathan's 1st Birthday

Happy Birthday to you.

We live in a zoo.

You finished year one.

We're sure glad it's done.

Here is the cake made with no eggs. (Nathan is allergic to eggs)

I made it in the logo for Baby Einstein because it is Nathan's favorite video. The music note is for the fact that he loves only the Mozart and Beethovan videos. Hmmmm classical music lover coming from 2 parents of 80's big hair rock? weird.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

David goes to school

So here it is - the very 1st day David goes off to school.

When I woke him up this morning he shot up out of a deep sleep and exclaimed " 1st day of school don't want to be late - where is my clothes?!"

Last night as we were praying he asked God to help him remember all the things he needed to remember. Then as I turned and asked if he wanted to talk about anything else before going to bed he said no, then briefly got teary eyed and said he would miss me tomorrow. That was one of those moments a mom can live a whole year off of. I will miss him too.

There he goes - my first born - off into the world. Surprisingly I felt no anxiety. (because I spent most of the wee hours this am pleading the Lord's protection over him)

A gradual letting go of my baby bird - fly little one fly.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Let them eat CAKE!

Good friends is one of lives best blessings.

Us Baierls are truly blessed. We have just the best time with the Hionis'. Over the years we have created quite the brood of offspring. I marveled over this fact yesterday on Labor Day when we had a cookout with them. Chris and Amy have 4 kids and we have 3. Even if all the adults are present, we are still outnumbered.

Thru the years I have the Hionis' kids present in most of the pictures of the milestones in my kids lives. Fortunately, they have had a baby about the same time we have had each of ours, so each of my children has a Hionis contemporary. This is so great.

So it was only natural for us to spend the last day of summer break together in yet one more photo opportunity. (the 2 babies are playing together in the living room and not pictured)

This is so cute! I hope you enjoy watching this clip of us decorating our American flag cake.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Out to eat in a small town

After the school open house, my friend and her family decide to join us for a meal out.

She has 4 kids and I have 3. We have 3 adults (John, Jenny, Amy) and 7 kids. Kids that know eachother real well and are in a rowdy mood.

The local fare is limited so we decide to go to the sub shop on Main street. It is 6:45 pm on a Thursday night and guess what - they are out of bread. That is Evansville for you folks. You can run a sub sandwich shop and on a regular business night at dinner time you can run out of bread. Are you kidding me? So we go to the local restaurant next door.

We blow in like hurricane Katrina. (we left about that much damage when we exited too)
They have 1 hour 'till they close.

There is one other family at a table and a single senior citizen grandpa at another.

We take up 2 booths next to grandpa. Who informs me he has shut off his hearing aid upon our arrival.

Our waitress must have had a brood of kids because she in neither flustered nor fazed by our entrance.

The old man however cannot help himself to comment (AKA criticize) on his way out.

He asks me: " Do you plan to buy these kids that food? I tell you when I had my kids in a restaurant I expected them to behave....... If they didn't they did not get to eat...... I was strict with them."

I reply: "Oh hmmm how that work out for ya?"

This was quite mild considering what I could have said. I just smiled and thought to myself. "Yes and I will be just as annoyed when I am driving behind you tomorrow as you are to eat behind my family today. "

But thanks for the unasked for advice (criticism) you go home and pat yourself on the back for raising perfect children.

Meet the Teacher

Today we met David's 2nd grade teacher. She is young and pretty and David noticed.

He told John that she was A LOT different then what he expected. He said he thought his teacher was going to be like 900 years old.

He is sitting in the front row, 1st seat, wobbly legged desk. She is going to regret that. But that is what you get when your last name starts with a B. she said. I smile thinking about how very many opportunities she will have to be reminded that David is in the wobbly legged seat right in the front row. (imagine a small chuckle escaping my lips - oh ok you're right, it is a down right out loud laugh)

David already found 2 library books on Bionicles at the school library to check out on the 1st week. Yeah this kid is ready for school.

I took a quick glance at his books in the desk. She better enlist this boy as a helper right away or she will be doomed. The math and reading are below his level and when he gets bored he TALKS!

Can't wait for the 1st parent teacher conference.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My very own shower

Yesterday I showered in my very own new bathroom shower.

Wow was that nice.

2 weeks with no shower of your own sure helps you appreciate the simple things in life.

The tile looks great. It looks like it will be easier to clean too since there are no built in nooks and crannies to get gunk in.

I bought a shower caddy and smiled at the thought that when it gets dirty I can just throw it out!
(refer to post about being a pitcher by nature)

David took his own shower today and loved the fact that he could change how fast the water sprayed out. He adjusted it to barely trickle down. Whatever it takes to get the hair clean without a fight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A View to Die For (or From)

Late Night Excitement took on a whole different meaning the last 5 - 10 years of my life.

Now it usually means a night waking or 2 from one or more of my children.

Last night it took on a whole new meaning.

As you can see from the above picture we are looking at the insulation and studs in our bathroom. (ceiling and all) The calming ambiance is overwhelming. It is like camping, just a lot more expensive.

Well wouldn't you know it, the amazing view came with an extra perk, a night visitor.

Somewhere between 2:30 and 2:45 am a bat began to circle above my head in my bed.
That is right folks, over my head swooping around my room. I could feel and hear the breeze. AAUUGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This isn't our first bat so I knew what to do. Pull the covers over my head, shriek and inform my husband he was on flying mammal kill duty.

You see when we bought this old house it came fully equipped with a load of projects and an attic full of bats. During a 2 year span we had 4 bats make it into the house. It took us 3 trips from the bat proofer and over $2000 to eradicate the bats and their remains from our house. Oh but old houses have so much character. Yeah. Beautiful original doors and woodwork tend to mean cracks big enough for wildlife.

I should have known that the construction project would have reintroduced us to our neighborhood bats. Guess the last 3 years of no bats made me forget all about them.

John, my hero, successfully rid our room of the rodent (oh umm mammal). Great now I can't sleep. That was it for me, no more shut eye.

So not only is our bathroom view not one "To Die For" it is one "To Die From" (if you were a bat that is)

Now we poop outside too!

So it is one week since we started our bathroom remodel.
We do indeed have a toilet but I wanted to share a how exciting this has been for my Caleb.
He was inconvenienced the least with the no toilet thing. After all he still fits on the potty chair.

During this time he needed to do his "big job", so we took the potty chair out to the garden.

John dug a whole, took out the bottom of the potty chair and sat him down on it.

I wasn't sure how this would go over but of course he loved it.

He got the cutest little dimple smile and said: " This is fun! I poop outside now!"

Glad he enjoyed it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Half way there

I have never been more excited about a toilet then I am right now.

The plumber just came and replaced the flange and the toilet in our half done bathroom.

We officially lived 5 days, 1 hour, and 9 minutes without a toilet. (2 of those days with no water at all) Not that I was counting or anything.

David and Caleb both had to flush it to make sure it worked. I am thrilled. It does not rock, it does not shift, it does not leak, and it does not get stuck and run water all day.

Oh it is the little things in life that bring so much joy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There is a bathroom in my kitchen!

So today our bathroom was demolished. No, not by my boys.

I have been wanting for YEARS to have a bathroom that actually was done right and today the project was started. (mostly things in my house have been done by the owners - which have been MANY since our place is 140 years old)

Today I took the kids to the zoo in order to keep them away from the demolition activity. Well, and near a working bathroom. You see we have only one bathroom. Normally this is not an issue because everyone but me can pee outside standing up. (add eye roll)

Our trip to the zoo was classic Baierl fodder. Of course Nathan falls asleep on the way there. Caleb and David fight some of the way. I realize I forgot 2 of the 27 items necessary to have an outing. We get to the 3rd animal and it starts to sprinkle.

Ok no biggie, I keep umbrellas in the van and we are only at the 3rd animal. Then it hits me -I vaguely remember the boys playing with the umbrellas in the back yard a few days ago and think - Those umbrellas aren't in the van are they? Nope, not with us at all. Well it is only a sprinkle.

Cue downpour. We are hovering under a tree, unsuccessfully shielding ourselves from the rain. It becomes obvious we will have to RUN FOR IT. Either to a shelter building or the van. We choose the van.

Cue screaming Caleb.
Cue screaming Nathan.
Cue David falling on wet pavement.
We make it to the van. I take off Caleb's clothes and wrap him in a blanket. I strap Nathan in his seat so his screaming fit is at least hands free. I discover the bandaids I have aren't big enough and Davids knee is actually scraped up fairly deep. I rummage thru my 1st aid kit and clean the dirt out, cut the gauze with a fingernail clippers I keep in the glove compartment and wrap his knee. All the while I am still getting soaked because there is so much toys and JUNK in the van I couldn't do that between the car seats and such. It looks like I took a shower with my clothes on. Nathan is still screaming. I get in and turn on the heat, wipe off my running mascara and have a 5 minute pity party. During which time I inform the kids that the next one to ask me a question will be beheaded. I am just kidding about the beheaded part. But I thought it.

I drive my 3 wet, unhappy sons to the Children's Museum. I change everyone into dry clothes (everyone but me- good thing my shirt wasn't white) I pay $15 to get in, $3 to park and the sun comes out. GRRRRRR. Where is my dental guard? I am clenching my teeth again.

We have the absolute best time there. Praise the Lord He redeemed the day.

While in the "Musical" room AKA NOISE room, my cell phone rings. It is a call informing me I will have no working toilet tonight. Poor Steve on the other line must have wondered what zoo I was at? I expected this, so I am not alarmed.

I come home late, with a van full of tired kids. I have dirty sippie cups, spilled popcorn all over the van, a change of wet clothes times 3, dirty bottles, a bag full of fast food wrappers, 4 dirty diapers and no running water anywhere in the house. Oh yes and a stripped bed that needs to be reassembled because the bed was peed in last night. Grand.

Nathan needs a bottle to go to bed but I have none that are clean, so he gets his milk added to a remnant of lemonade. What can you do? 'Must have liked it, he drank it all.

The whole bathroom is in my kitchen, except the toilet. That is outside. Hey, now I can pee outside too!
At least I won't need a shower tomorrow. I took 2 of them today.

David's 2nd Grade Class

We did indeed register David for Evansville 2nd grade.

We just got his class list and teacher assignments. He is in a class of 16 kids, 11 of which are boys. His teacher is MS. Mackensie Wade. She is young, and has a class full of boys. (Should be interesting, I am already praying for her)

David is elated that his neighbor friend, Parker, is in his class. That was such great news for both us moms.

He was so excited to pick out his school supplies and his Clone Wars Star Wars Backpack and lunch cooler.

He is so ready to be at school and I am excited for this new chapter in his and my life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Good bye Crib

I have to admit it is a bit soon to take down the crib. Nathan isn't even 1 year old but none the less the crib is history.

A few days ago Nathan kicked the crib sides right open. He proceeded to roll right out onto the floor. The back gate of the crib opened like a flap and plop onto the floor he went. (the crib survived 4 boys - mine plus my nephew so it was more than USED!)

Imagine how mystified I was in the wee hours of the morning going into his room, hearing him crying, but not seeing him in the crib!?!?!? (The back of crib flapped back into place and looked normal at first glance) I tell you what, I was fully awakened with a shot of terror.

Now he sleeps on the cutest little toddler bed that matches the other boys' beds. How adorable is that! He doesn't even crawl or walk yet and he is in a big boy bed.

I took the hardware off the crib and put the pieces out for the trash. I gave myself 10 seconds to stare at it and ask myself if I would miss it. UMM NOPE I slapped my hands together as to signify my "washing my hands of the thing" and went into the house thinking - one step closer to the end of this 1st year.

Nathan doesn't know it yet, but I too will be celebrating when he turns 1.
No more 1st years. No more breast feeding. YAHOO!

Bring on the toddler years. I LOVE THOSE!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Look at Me! I'm an Airplane!

So we are at the park. It is the perfect Wisconsin summer day. Hot, humid and infested with mosquitos.

It is myself, my niece Lisa, my day care girl Olivia, and of course my 3 sons. You know I just never envisioned myself actually filling all the seat belt slots in the van. (I am smiling now at the memory of being a one-kid mommy)

Olivia, Nathan, David and Lisa are all under the play scape having a grand time in the sand (shade). Caleb is on the swings. Can he swing on it like you are suppose to? Of course not. That would be what a rule following older brother would do.

So he is laying on his belly on the swing. Arms out wide like an airplane. He starts out cautiously. Then progresses to the point where he is not only shooting his arms out wide but lifting his feet up too. I am actually impressed. He really does look like an airplane. Then it happens. He is mid laugh, mouth open wide, arms out, legs up and BLAMO the swing breaks. I actually see him ricochet, somewhat like a skipping rock over the pond.

Sand in his eyes, in his mouth all the way to his molars, in his hair, neck, ears, you name it.

I run over concerned he may actually have broken his nose. After we calm down and clean up I think -"I wonder when Hollywood will have its next writers strike?" I could make a fortune. Too bad I wasn't filming him.

What the heck are the chances that the swing would break on that kid?

Yes, an airplane all right, crash landing and all.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Yet Another Caleb Pee Story

Ok so 3 really is my most favorite age. If a professional comic ran out material, all they would need was 1 week with a 3 year old. I will miss 3 year olds, when mine get older.

Saturday night is bath night. I am running around getting Sunday clothes ready, getting 3 naked boys clean, dry, nails clipped, hair brushed, and dressed in PJ's. We do our nightly devotions and prayers and they are out like lights by 9:30. I am exhausted and John and I marvel that it is only 9:30 the chores are done and the kids mouths are closed!

Hi! Want to sit with me and watch a tv show? Whoa a tv show. You mean one that doesn't teach the ABC's or plays Classical music to a puppet show? Oh my! What is on the Tv now a days?

I climb in bed at 11 pm and just start falling asleep.

Cue Caleb.

I hear him calling for me. I get up and go see what the problem is. Caleb is standing there next to his bed asleep. He is standing, calling for me but is actually sleeping.

I figure he must have woke himself up because he has to pee. So I ask "You have to go potty?" No response.

Silly question, of course he has to go potty. I get the potty chair (we have only 1 bathroom and is downstairs - not a good idea when you are standing up ASLEEP)

I tell Caleb "I am going to have you sit on the potty chair to pee, ok?" No response.

I pull his pj bottoms off and immediately he begins to pee, all over the carpet and David's clothes dresser.

I shreek "Caleb,wake up, you need to sit down to pee on the potty chair!"

He turns his body looks like he is about to sit (eyes still closed) and proceeds to pee standing up the other direction. All over the sheets, his comforter, the window, the floor and my legs.

You know I should have just let him pee the bed. It would have been less clean up!

I wake him up enough to get him to sit on the potty and finish his business only to realize the potty chair isn't really put together correctly and pee is leaking all over the floor under the chair bottom.

Why did I even bother? That is it! Everyone wears diapers til they are old enough to operate the steam cleaner.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


If any of you are a snorkel fan you will understand this next post.

When you breath thru a snorkel to look at the amazing sights in the "deep blue", you tend to get lost in the moment and forget how little air you are breathing. Until you "surface" and take off your breathing hose and breathe in a full breath of cool, clean air.

That is how I have been feeling these last 2 days. I feel like I am finally surfacing.

This past week I not only enrolled David in "regular school', but I also stopped nursing Nathan.

I can't tell you how amazing it feels to have made it this far. I have been "swimming in the deep blue" for so long I hardly remember what it feels like to take a good breath and let myself relax for a minute.

Now that Nathan is finished nursing, I feel more like myself and less like a moo machine. (cue the song "I feel Like a Woman" by Shania Twain)

It is like taking one long, good, full breath and letting the body drink in all the oxygen. I cut my hair, I painted my toenails a pretty pink french manicure, I wore a non-nursing moo bra. Whoa!
Stand back world, sound the alarms, Jenny has officially surfaced.

I must say the view of my "deep blue" is worth every minute of the reduced breathing, but every once in awhile a big breath doesn't hurt.

As excited as I am to have enrolled David in school, I am elated to have invested the 2 years of home school. The kid is such a joy.

The 10 1/2 months I nursed Nathan have been worth it too. I am just happy to be on this end of it instead of back in the beginning.

So the last 2 days I have had my fill of deep Jenny breaths. I am refreshed enough to get back to my mom job with renewed strength. But if you see me walking with a bit lighter of a step or see me mouthing some words to a silent tune, just know Shania Twain is reminding me that I am not just a mom. I am also a woman.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Different Mommy

I just got 5 inches of hair cut off and colored my hair back to its original color.

I was tired of the blond with dark roots and the damaged ends. For a year I have been growing out my bangs and so I had my stylist cut all my hair to the same length as my bangs.

I have to admit it is a pretty big change.

I walk in the door and David exclaims:"MOMS HOME!!! I like your new hair!" He actually ran to the door to greet me.
(see note on previous post about just once being the fun parent)

Nathan looks at me and takes a double take. Who is that? - oh it is mom! Hi!

Caleb says: "Mom you look like a different mom, did you cut your hair?" "You look like an ugly mom."

Gee thanks, son.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ambitious Day

It was an ambitious day. I had my 3 boys and our daycare girl Olivia and a list of things to do.

It was one of those days where everything worked out perfectly. The kind you want to remember and pat yourself on the back for accomplishing.

I loaded everyone in the van at 9 am to set off to the sanitary landfill in Janesville. Nothing spells fun like a trip to the dump. Yes, a trip to the dump. I am a pitcher by nature. My husband is a keeper. Together we try to not irritate each other too much. I am sure I will annoy some of you by saying this but I really do believe everything should be disposable. Diapers, wipes, kids clothes, etc.

My boys love the dump. Big trucks, stinky smell, huge piles of junk. What is not to love? To me it is freeing. Open the hatch, pitch, ditch, drive away. My kind of entertainment. Sort of like molting. Can you tell I live in a world of boys?

Next stop, Good Will. See comment above about being a pitcher by nature.

Next,Target to retrieve the portraits that have been waiting for a month. Here is where it gets exciting. You know everywhere I go at least one person says: "Boy you sure have your hands full".

I have all I can do to restrain the old nature Jenny when this happens. What I would really like to say is "Yes, want to help? GREAT! Here is one of them and half my list, meet me out front in 15 minutes" The new me just thinks it and smiles. Yup, hands are full. (mind getting out of my way?)

While in Target all the school supplies are out and we roll past the kids lunch boxes. There it is, the object that today will be the source of the fight. An Optimus Prime Transformers lunch cooler. Caleb eye spies this from across the store. I sigh knowing right now this will not end well.

Of course we go look at it and he shows me how perfectly it fits in his hand. "Look it has a nice handle. Can we buy it?" It is times like this I use the line: "I am not sure, we will have to check with daddy." When in doubt, pass the buck to dad. After all he isn't here to be the bad guy. By the time he gets home, the thought has long sense left.

One day, just one day, I would like to be the one who gets to walk in the door and have them all run to me with arms wide open. To not have told them "no" or "stop that" 17 times already today. Ahhhhh to be the fun parent whose kids jump up and down just when the car pulls up.

But, that is ok. I am not in it to win the popularity contest.

After a bit of coaxing Caleb agrees that today we will not buy Optimus Prime. We have the money for the $10 lunch box (and the $3 fish crackers and the Gatorade requests that followed)but I am more interested in molding their character than giving in to their whims. Kids today are more than spoiled and nothing is a treat. Too many kids (and adults) going around with an entitlement attitude. How can something be special when you get it all the time? Doesn't anyone have to EARN it anymore? Well my kids do.

We leave Target to proceed to Woodmans. The grocery store. A necessary evil. I really dislike the grocery store.

God was merciful to me today. David pushed Nathan in the stroller. Both of them thoroughly enjoyed this. David felt like a big man and Nathan loved the Mach 2 ride. Caleb and Olivia rode in one of those "kid carts" You know the ones that you need a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) to steer. After 70 minutes of loading up the cart, we proceeded to check out.

We drive thru to get the groceries and drive the 25 minutes home. We get home at 12:45 and no one ruins their nap by falling asleep in the van! It really is a stellar day! Everyone goes inside and plays nicely. Is it a full moon? No fights, no baby crying, no constant cries of "I am HUNGRY".

Then tonight, to remind me that God surely has a sense of humor, David prays" ....... and God please keep Caleb safe while I am playing at Aedons house tomorrow and let us earn enough money to buy the AA batteries and the gallon sized Gatorade.....Amen"

A small giggle escapes my mouth listening to David pray about the things I said no to today. To which Caleb says: "Mom! Shhh it is sleep time!"

A good day indeed!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Even the Zucchini is a Weapon

I tell ya, I really needed to have a dad.

I am still, after all the years of being a boy-mom, trying to figure them out.

Today we discover in our garden that the 1st zucchini has arrived.

I tell the boys to come and check it out. They look and are so excited that it got so big in the last few days.

I let Caleb take it off the vine.

The 1st thing they do is make it a weapon and hit each other with it. Sigh. It is a vegetable for goodness sake! This is not a bomb, a gun or anything else.

Guess I have a long way to go in civilizing them.

Nathan's 1st Haircut

Along with his first tooth this month, Nathan gets his first haircut.

I think the pictures tell the story in itself.

I don't think he liked it. What do you think?

Friday, July 18, 2008


Youth is wasted on the young.

I remember hearing "If I could go back knowing what I know now" as a child and thinking - boy that is a dumb statement!

Of course I thought it was dumb. I did not yet know the "what I know now" part, then. Did you follow that? Someday, David will say that too about how he treated his little brother Caleb.

Today I am watching the boys interact as brothers. I wonder if David will remember when he is an adult how merciless he sometimes is to Caleb. In the same moment of David being incredibly unkind to Caleb he will walk over to Nathan and delight in him, play with him and have such compassion for him.

I am such a sucker for the underdog. I need to keep myself in check constantly so as to not always take Caleb's side. I just feel for the kid. Poor middle child.

Today, David had a friend over for a play date. Caleb was experiencing his first "you are not part of this club" letdown. David is yelling at him "Go away, I need some space from YOU!"

Caleb's reply just about melts me into a puddle. He says thru tear filled eyes:"But, But, But I don't want to give you space - you're my best friend!"

Now I know someday David will see the value in having brothers, but that day isn't today. (of course someday David will also regret picking on Caleb, especially once Caleb is bigger than him) That day will come sooner than he thinks!

They did eventually allow the "little brother" into their club and Caleb and David ended the day as "Friends".

Friday, July 11, 2008

Under A Shady Tree - You and Me

If you are a mom of a toddler you probably know the title of this post is also the title of a song sung by Laurie Berkner. I love her songs. They are catchy, clean, and relevant to what really matters. The time you spend making memories.

Anyway, after the whirlwind of this AM's Dr appointment, our family went to Warner Park for TDS FEST. This is a very nice carnival/fair that John's employer puts on for their employees and families. It is very well done and everything is free to the TDS families.

It was HOT. about 86 degrees and muggy. So after an hour of running around in this my boys are hot and sweaty.

TDS has thought of everything. They give you a sport bottle for each child and free beverages. Plus, they have a snow cone stand.

David fuels up on lemonade and runs toward the obstacle course.
Caleb wants a snow cone.
Nathan just wants to be pushed around in the stroller for a breeze.

John takes Nathan and David to one side of the park and I take Caleb to get a snow cone.

This is grand for me. I always had the opportunity to do things like this with David because there were no other kids when he was 3. (so far 3 years old is my FAVORITE age) Not so with Caleb. Poor middle child has to deal with his older brother and then just to make matters worse we went and had a little brother too!

I enjoy jumping over mud puddles on our way to the snow cone area. We stand in line all dripping in sweat. Caleb decides he wants a Bubble gum flavored snow cone. (ICK!) I get lime.
Caleb says:"I'm sweaty! Let's find some shade." No small task since TDS FEST has like 1200 people and all of them have the same idea.

We actually find a nice spot under a shady tree. After we cool down and share eachothers snow cones, I ask if Caleb if he wants to go play the games. He says: "No I want to sit with you under this nice, shady tree." So I start singing the Laurie Berkner song. He and I have a great heart connect moment that about makes me melt as he sits on my lap slurping melted snow cones. Giggling that it is dripping all over our shorts. Who cares!

It gets better. We are driving home and David says: "That was the best fair ever!"

We get home, get cleaned up and in bed. Caleb and I have a clash of the titans because he does not want to go to bed (Umm it is 10 PM little man!). I am telling him as he goes up the stairs that his job is to obey and my job is to make sure he obeys. So he climbs in bed all sad and pouting. Then he turns and says "Friends again, Mom?" I agree:" Friends"

I ask Caleb and David what was their favorite parts. David talks about this bouncing pit that he loved and Caleb turns to me and says: "The snow cones! Thanks for sharing your lime snow cone with me mom." This in itself is so sweet, but even more so after our clash of wills 2 minutes previous.

So the boys drift off to sleep as I sing to them "Under a Shady Tree".

What a great life. What a great memory. Thanks God.

Nathan's Heart

We just got home from Nathan's Pediatric Cardiology appointment.

The Cardiologist said the following:

He has a moderate case of Aortic Valve Stenosis
His Aortic Valve does not separate into three pieces to allow blood flow thru (as shown normally above). He separates into two pieces.

This impedes the blood flow and causes more pressure to the left ventricle when pumping the blood to the body(45MMGH for those of you who know what that means). If his blood pressure was taken on his arm and it was 100 over 60 it would mean his blood pressure inside his heart is actually 145 over 60. Make Sense?

At this time he recommends no additional treatment. Nathan will be seen again in 6 months to measure to what degree the pressure has gotten worse (if at all). He will have regular EKG's and Ultrasounds of his heart to measure the pressure of his valve.

Once the level gets to over 50, then treatment begins. At first they do a non-invasive opening of the valve with a balloon. Balloon Mitral Valvotomy is it's official name. This is done in an effort to allow enough pressure relief to get him to his adult hood. He may need this valvotomy done in 1 year or in 18 years - depends at what rate the pressure worsens.

Our goal is to get him to adult hood before he will have his heart valve replaced. Which is his long term prognosis. So that he only has to have the heart surgery once and have it with a valve that doesn't need to get bigger in size.

There is no restrictions on his physical ability today or for when he is toddler or preschooler. However, strenuous resistance types sports are to be avoided. (like wrestling and football, weightlifting etc).

This is a genetic heart defect - nothing could have prevented it and there is no medicine that makes it better, it does not go away.

Ok with all that said I want to stress that what I have written here is what Dr Ralph told me today. I have yet to hear from the Lord as to His plan for Nathan's life. I don't want you to get the impression I have accepted this hook,line and sinker and plan to have a pity party.

As I was driving home I was reminded pf Proverbs 3 that talks about not "leaning on your own understanding" and also Matthew 7:7 - 11 "...How much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him."

I wanted to get this posted to keep all of you who have been praying for Nathan informed.

When We get the prognosis from the Great Physician we will also post that here.

As for now, we will hold close to the fact that God is still on His throne and He still reigns. (Isaiah 30:18) Therefore, me and my house will continue to serve the Lord, anticipating the day we can rejoice together in Nathans amazing healing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

No Training Wheels!

David can now ride his bike without training wheels.

Hold onto your shorts mom, your first born has officially left that last bit of preschool-like behaviors behind. (get a grip mom, he is 7 after all!)

Our local park has a skateboard ramp area. Since it is day 1 with no training wheels, David and his buddy Noah, decide they are ready for the ramps. (Is this when a mom begins to wrap their kid in 6 inch thick bubble wrap? Does Sam's Club carry this by the case?)

I was actually busy attending to Nathan and Caleb to not witness this. Good thing John was supervising. I would have had eyeballs the size of saucers.

As John is telling me about the boys' ramp adventure, I am reminded of the words of my mother-in-law (God bless her). She always said that John's bike was in the air more that it was on the ground. Oh No! Did she give him the mother's curse?! (You know the: "I hope you have a child just like you!")

I am not sure how to feel about this. I mean, John lived right? He only broke his bones from the bike once. I think.

I better start wearing my dental night guard. I can feel the clenching and grinding coming on right now.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our Gas Station Memory

The holiday is over and we are back to the daily grind.

David resumed his regular baseball schedule today. Since his games are at the local park, it is fun for Caleb and Nathan as well as David.

It has become somewhat of a Baierl tradition to fraternize our local BP gas station for a fun summertime beverage. Lemonade after a ball game, a wagon ride for an ice cream sandwich, a lollipop stop after our hair cuts. You see when you live in a small town there really isn't that much to do. When my kids are grown I will miss the trips to the BP.

So today, after the game, we are in search of our lemonade. Surprisingly, the BP is completely sold out of lemonade. So off to Citgo we go. Knowing they don't sell lemonade there I ask:" How about some flavored water or maybe a Gatorade?"

David agrees. Yes Gatorade is a good idea.

Caleb, not wanting to be left out in any way, decided he wants Gator Eggs too (whatever that is).

You know life is so simple when you are 3 years old. Let's go to the store to buy Gator Eggs, surely they sell them. Oh and get the red ones, they are the best.

I have never liked the taste of Gatorade, but I can bet sometime when my kids are gone and I am real old, I will stop to buy a Gatorade just to remember Caleb's Gator Eggs.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Summer, Summer, Summertime!

As I was walking to the 4th of July parade today, I noticed that all the members in my family were wearing hats, except me. That would be because everyone in my family is male, except me.

I had to smile at my family of guys. How great it must be to just throw on a hat and your hair is done. I think I will get a crew cut too. Wouldn't that be funny!?!

Here are a few snap shots of my men at the parade. All three boys got candy. Yes even Nathan. He literaly got hit in the head from a flying piece of tootsie roll.
Ahhhh Summer, Summer, Summertime.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rhyme Time

Caleb has discovered how to rhyme.

This is the new game of the moment.

So he walks around and whatever he sees, he makes up new rhyming words.
Toys - boys. (A few more steps) Stairs - pears. etc.,

You experienced moms ALREADY know where this is going don't you.

He walks into the kitchen. Hmmm kitchen - can you think of a word that rhymes with kitchen?
Perhaps a word that starts with a B? Yup, you guessed it - out comes his rhyming word - his very first swear word. sigh. Can you visualize this (all that was missing was the hand gesture)

Now of all the letters of the alphabet to pick - he has got to pick B. Why wasn't it Kitchen - pitchin'. Because God thought I needed a laugh, that's why.

So John and I are doing all we can not to laugh out loud, as that would surely bring a repeat performance.

I tell you what, I can't even enter my kitchen without thinking about it. As a matter of fact as I type this (in the kitchen) I can't help but smile.

Now why am I surprised?

Monday, June 30, 2008

They Will Make a Gun out of ANYTHING!

Clearly anyone who believes that a child is born a "blank slate" and we mold them thru nurture only, has never had children.

I am the only female in this house, and I do not even know how to make boy noise. Nor do I want to learn.

I don't know how to break a stick until it looks like a revolver, nor do I know how to eat a sandwich until it resembles a truck. But my boys do and they did not learn that here, from me or their dad.

David was playing with some buddies at the park a week ago. They were ducking into bushes, checking out cool hiding spots. I saw them running in and out of the rows of bushes playing some sort of GI Joe deal. When I got close enough to be "discovered" I was ambushed by them. I like to think I know how to play along, but mostly I think they are rolling their eyes at me when I am not looking. (Can I get and A for effort?)

I throw my hands in the air and say "I surrender!" One of the buddies pulls out his stick (it really does look like a shot gun - how do they do this?) He makes the shot gun cocking noise and says " AAGGHH I'll shoot you anyway! POW. (The girl in me is alarmed - someone call Miss Manners!)

Before I can comment, out comes the other buddy. He doesn't even ask for a surrender, he just shoots me on sight with his revolver. (also a stick) BANG.

2 seconds later David jumps out and he has this teeny tiny little stick in his hand. (I actually have the thought that he is being "robbed" of his chance to shoot me) So I inquire - don't you have a gun? To which he exclaims. NOPE! I have a hand grenade. KAPOW!

Now, just imagine what it would be like if we allowed him to watch PG movies.

' Leave it right there

Putting the boys to bed tonight had me remember one of those
"I have got to write that down" memories.

When David was 3 years old he was such a joy to put to bed.
We would have great special moments where you can see right into his heart.
It was like a window to his spirit and it was always filled with good things.

One night, we finished our bible story and prayers and I gave him a kiss on the cheek. As he was drifting off to sleep, he reached his hand out, placed it ever so gently on his cheek where I had just kissed him and said: "I am going to leave it right there." and proceeded to pat his cheek and smile until he fell asleep.

A mom can live a whole life for a moment like that.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Caleb Potty Training Story # 2

So Caleb is out of diapers for about 2 weeks. We go to a few garage sales and he has to pee. A park is near by so we stop there. To our disappointment the bathroom doors are locked.

No problem, I have boys. Except Caleb has not yet learned to pee standing up. So I convince his older brother to "show him how to do it." I accomplish this by telling Caleb he and David can "cross their pee streams over by that bush." Dont forget I am holding their wiggly 8 month old (at the time) brother too.

Caleb of course thinks this is the best thing since sliced bread, so he tries it. Both boys have a successfully fun time "crossing their pee."

The trouble came the next morning when Caleb determines to never sit on the toilet to pee again. He wasn't tall enough to stand and pee (and actually get it into the toilet) at home. No problem he thought - we have a stool!

Ok so it is 7 am and we are having a clash of the titans over how pee is going to get from his body into the toilet. Mind you he doesn't wear a diaper over the night, so this is the 1st morning pee and it is alot! Not only are we fighting over him standing on the stool naked, he is also doing the potty dance during the fight because he HAS TO GO!!!!!.

I had just gotten out of the shower. You know sometimes my day just never even gets that far. But this day I was up early (with Nathan) and I had decided to not go back to bed. I had on my makeup and the whole nine yards. I am kneeling on the floor holding my sleepy, dancing, naked son. I agree to him peeing standing up (this should have been my 1st clue - I KNOW better than to ever let him win!) .

He of course begins successfully, but gets overconfident. You guessed it - he not only falls right in to the toilet, he lounges his right hand all the way to the bottom flush hole. Getting most of his upper body into the pee filled toilet. Falling off the stool, splashing pee all over me (did I mention I had JUST SHOWERED!), the floor, himself. Oh and yes he is still peeing. You know once you start you can't stop. So that is all over the linens, the floor, the wall, the shower curtain, and the tub.

Now this in itself is enough. But even after that disaster he says: "See I can pee standing up." in the I told you so voice.

Oh you are right honey - why did I ever doubt you?