Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Something New

This past weekend we went to Ikea (more on that to come), and I came across these colanders that rest across the top of the sink.  I had seen one similar to them a few months ago and had wanted one, but I had not seriously looked for one.  (and I doubt that I could have found one for the Ikea-kind-of-price)  I love having washed fresh fruit sitting out for the kids to munch on when they want to, and the brightly colored fruit is a bright spot in my kitchen when I pass by. 

Grocery Store Musings

It's cold here today.  The kids are home from school for an "ice day", and I ran to the grocery store this morning to stock up in case we are "iced" in for a day or two.  There are certain things that you simply must have on hand on cold days... chili, corn bread, hot cocoa, etc.  I typically do not like to go the grocery store, but today I really enjoyed myself while I was there.  I got to thinking about that while I was shopping... and this blog post developed in my mind.  Here is some totally useless information about my trip to the grocery store today.  Can you relate to any of it?

* I love grocery shopping when there is a mild hysteria in the air - whether that be an impending holiday or a snow/ ice day.  To be in a traffic jam with other shopping carts in the bean aisle as everyone is gathering their chili ingredients just brings me a bit of a warm and cozy feeling.

*Going to a grocery store that has a Starbuck's inside on a cold day and shopping with a Peppermint Mocha in hand makes me happy.

*Going to the grocery store by myself... peaceful.

*Getting a phone call from home during my peaceful shopping trip with screaming kids in the background... maddening.

*Saying, "This better be good or your grounded from Wii the rest of the day." then hearing "Nevermind."... Mom-Power!

*Hearing "Singing In The Rain" in the produce section as the veggies are sprayed with water makes me want to sing.

*Marking things off of my list makes me remember what it was like to feel organized and accomplished.

* The bakery lady that smells like Giorgio perfume made me smile as I remembered junior high - my Giorgio wearing days.  

*Pudding that is Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn flavor sounds gross.

*Having an employee actually walk me to the sauerkraut that I could not find is a rare treasure.  Kudos, Mrs. Meat Counter Lady.

*Unexpectedly finding party favors for an upcoming party on clearance makes my day!

*A store where employees pop out from every display with their big ol' smile and greet (scare) me then has 1 checker at the front makes me frustrated.

*I love having all of my groceries rung up THEN having the checker scan my store card while I watch the total bill decrease!  Today... I had a "Remarkable Savings" of 74.29, and that just makes me all giddy inside.

*Having someone offer to take my groceries to my car makes me feel like a valued customer.  I miss the days when that was "normal".

Monday, January 26, 2009

A New Nephew

It seems that I am a few days behind on all of my blog post lately... life is hectic right now.  Hectic but good.  And one of the best things that is going on is the baby that is growing in my sister's tummy right now.  Last Thursday, Emily & Allan had a sonogram and found out that their baby is a BOY!  His name is Jacob Allan, and he is adorable!  (Just take a look at that cute little profile!)  

Baby Jake makes grandchild number 9 in my side of the family.  He is the 4th nephew and there are 5 nieces.  He makes #18 for all of my nieces and nephews combined.  (Corey's side of the family plus mine)  Now that's a lot of kiddos... and that's not to mention my 2 great-nieces and my great-nephew!  

Jacob's big sister Claire is so excited about him and about being a big sister!  She says cute things about her baby "bwudder" all of the time.  One of the cutest things she said was yesterday - She told Emily, "When your baby falls out, I will catch it."  If only it were that easy!  However he finds his way out, he is greatly anticipated arrival should be this June, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on him!  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Day At The Zoo

Last Wednesday I had planned to take my kids to the zoo.  We had a day off of school last week because of MLK Day, and the weather was supposed to be nice.  A perfect combination for a Zoo Day!  It turned out that 3 of my friend Suzanne's kids came along, and we had a great time!  The weather was, in fact, perfect and the kids were great!  I had a blast watching my kids interact with their friends.  It was a low-key, fun, relaxing day, and I loved every minute of it!

~ The 6 Kiddos looking at the monkeys ~
Allie, Jack, McKenzie, Maddox, Cooper, & Michael
The lions were probably the highlight for most of us.  Cooper has been lovin' the Narnia movies and was so excited to see "Aslan"!  The lion put on quite a show for all of us which included a lot of growling.
The mama lion & the cute little lion cubs were in the exhibit next door to the daddy which kinda concerned some of the kids.  Maddox went on and on about them being separated... he was sure that the mama lion and the daddy lion had had an argument and that the daddy was trying to apologize when he was growling.  :)  

The aviary is the exhibit that we spent the most time at. There were hundreds of birds, and the kids loved feeding them on the seed-sticks that we bought!  Cooper kept catching a bird on his stick and turning it over to look under it.  He began to seem very frustrated then he started to fuss and say, "I keep getting girls!  I want a boy bird!"  When I realized what he was looking for, I could hardly stand up I was laughing so hard.  (Allie was the photographer for this exhibit.)

~ Coop & Me ~
The penguin exhibit was new since the last time that we visited the zoo.
Cooper asked me, "Why are they wearing floaties?"  Again -- I laughed so hard.  The little ID bracelets on their wing (Is that what you call a penguin arm?  The kids thought they might be called flippers.  We need to Google it.) did look like little bitty "floaties".  This is one of the reasons I LOVE having kids!  They say the most wonderful things and bring me so much joy!
~ Buddies ~
The sun was not very cooperative (shadows in the first photo of the 6 of them... now this), but I took the shot when I could.  I didn't want to harass the kids to pose for me all day.  

Allie loves otters.  This river otter is so playful, and she loved watching it through the window!
~ Jack & Maddox ~
Maddox was asking me if they got to come home with us after the zoo.  I was joking with him that I was just going to keep them forever.  He said, "Okay!  That's perfect!  Allie could have McKenzie, Jack could have Michael, and Cooper could have me."  I bet that would last about 24 hours before he would want his wonderful family back... but I would love it!  If I could have 3 more kids, I'd do it today!  Here are the 3 sets of buddies...

And a couple more shots of the little guys...
(They were asking me to take their pictures at this point in our day.)

~ Me & My 3 ~
We literally shut down the zoo.  It closed at 4:00, and we drove away about 4:20.  So, we were some of the last ones on this pathway as we exited.  I thought that it was so pretty - the 6 kids, the path, the trees.
~ the end of a very good day ~

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Basketball Has Begun

The kids have actually been playing basketball for a few weeks, but this is the first game that I have gotten pictures.  (They're not the greatest - but they are pictures.)  Our Saturdays have been crazy busy with the big kids both playing ball, at two different times, at two different locations, but we love it!  Watching my kids play sports is one of my favorite things to do.  They are both on great teams with some of our friends and coaches that we know and love, and they are both learning so much!

~ Jack bringing the ball down the court ~
~ watching his team ~
~ Allie playing Point Guard ~
Notice anything out of place on this sideline?  Yes, Cooper thinks he is one of the team, and loves to sit by his sister when he can get away with it.

I just remembered that my friend, Kim, sent me these photos after last weeks game:

~ Cooper - A good little spectator at all of his big brother & sister's games ~
Sometimes, he's just had enough of the spectating though - and this is how he feels.  :)

Family Game Night

Friday was a hard day for me... nothing really to share about... it was just hard.  That evening Corey came through the door with grocery bags and flowers... he wanted to make stew and have a family game night.  He's such a good man!

It always enjoy cooking more when he's in the kitchen with me.
He brought me yellow tulips for my otherwise not-very-yellow-day.  
And he left me this message on these cute little clips that he picked up at the store on my desk.  (See my "Happy" blog entry waiting to be posted on the monitor?)
After our delicious dinner of stew and cornbread, we played Cooper's new game that he got for Christmas... Chutes & Ladders.  Corey & I must have played this game 100 times with Allie & Jack when they were his age, and it was fun for all of us to get to play it with him now... all these years later.  Cooper loves that he has his very own game and really enjoyed playing it with the family.  That night he called it "Chutes & Kids" (there are kids on the box), and later the name of the game evolved into "Shoot The Kids".  We think he is hilarious!  

Cooper was the winner!
After a game of Chutes & Ladders Cooper went to bed, and we played Clue with the big kids.  It is fun that we are getting to play some of "our games" with the kids now that they are older.  
On Saturday, we did it all again... "Shoot The Kids" with Cooper and Clue with Jack.  

Amazing how a little family-time, a few board games, and some unconditional love helped me on my not-so-good day.  Thanks Honey!  

Friday, January 16, 2009


Today - on this cold and dreary day - these things are making me happy. 

Last year my sister, Sara, moved to a new town... in a new state.  She didn't know a soul.  My sister is a social girl, a friend to many.  I didn't like that she was so far away from me, all of her family, all of her friends.  The day that she arrived at her new home, a friend of her mother-in-law that just happened to live in the new town that Sara's family had moved to came to say hi and to bring dinner.  (a very delicious dinner, by the way!)  From that day since she has been a friend to Sara.  She loves my sister and her little family, and I love her for that.  Her name is Dina.  

Soon after I met Dina I was invited to go to her home to look at her quilts.  Dina is a quilt maker.  I love quilts - I always have.  When I was a little girl, I remember going to my granny's house and asking her to take out her collection of quilts and tell me all about them...   That day that I went to Dina's house to look at the quilts that she had made all of the feelings that I used to feel at my granny's house came rushing back to me.  Looking at all of the pretty fabrics.  Being amazed that a lady could make such a beautiful, comforting thing out of scraps of fabric.  I was impressed with Dina and her masterpieces that day.  

When the time came to move Cooper to a big boy bed, I asked Dina what she would charge me to make quilts for his bunk beds.  She politely said she didn't like to make quilts for money or to anyone's specifications.  She found joy in making them for friends and family as gifts.  She has made my sister, Sara, a Christmas quilt and another beautiful quilt, and she has made special little quilts for my nephew and niece too.  

On Christmas day this year I got a text message from Dina.  She asked if I had seen Sara yet.  I answered that I did not plan to see her until the next day.  That got me to thinking... was something wrong?  I texted her back and asked her if everything was okay, and she told me that she was fine and was cuddled up with her quilt... and that I should see Sara as soon as I could.  That night I ended up seeing my sister and was thrilled when she handed me a gift from Dina.  I opened it, and it was a BEAUTIFUL quilt made by her for me.  I have loved it thoroughly already.  I love to snuggle up in it and watch the fire dance in the fireplace while I drink my coffee.  I love to sit with it on my lap as I read to my little one.  I love to lay on the couch covered by my quilt as I watch football with Corey and doze off for a nap.

Thank you Dina for this beautiful, wonderful gift.  And thank you even more for the gift of friendship and love and big-sisterhood that you have given my sister when I could not be around.  I love you!


And my Fiesta coffee cups!  I love my Fiesta cups!  Before Christmas, I posted about my idea for a new collection.  I want to slowly collect FiestaWare dishes as I find them on sale, at thrift stores, etc., and I started my collection with a single red coffee cup that I found at a going-out-of-business sale.  I adore it!  A few days before Christmas a friend that is just about the most thoughtful thing out there dropped by my house, and she had a Christmas gift for me.  I didn't have one for her - mind you.  I am not nearly as thoughtful as she is... but she had a way of letting me know that it was okay that I had a gift to open when she did not.  She gave me 3 more coffee cups for my Fiesta collection.  It was so thoughtful!  I love them!  I almost couldn't wait to take the Christmas decorations off of the shelf in my kitchen where I instantly planned to display my new collection.  Every single day I look at my cups and it makes me happy... the bright colors, the cute little circle handles, and more than anything the memory of a friend that knew me well enough to know that 3 little coffee cups would bring me a ton of joy.  Thanks Bea!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not Ready

Today Cooper and I headed out to look at a couple of preschools that I am considering for next year.  Before we left, I was excited.  I had narrowed my choices down to 2 schools out of a gazillion.  In researching those 2, I had gotten excited about all that he might learn and do at preschool.  Both tours were nice.  Both directors and all of the teachers that we came into contact with seemed really friendly, and both schools had Cooper's #1 request - a playground!  At both places he would go to chapel, learn Spanish,  do art... all the preschool stuff that you would expect.  

When we drove away from the second school, I realized that my excitement had turned to a sick feeling in my stomach.  My baby - possibly my last baby - going to school.  I know... it's just preschool, but it is a step away from me.  If I do this, my job will no longer be to take care of him 24 hours a day.  Still 19 hours a day, but not 24.  I will still be a full-time mom... just a full-time mom with a much needed break twice a week, but somehow in my mommy-heart this is hard for me.  The thought that all of my babies will be away from me... without the hope of another baby coming to fill the "baby spot" in this mommy's house and heart...  It just somehow fills empty.  Like if I really, actually send him to preschool that something is over.  A significant stage in my life.  Over.  And I am not ready.  I know that it is inevitable and necessary that he grow up and experience each new and different stage of his little life, but I am not ready to be done with this stage of mine.   

Now I know why some mom's cry when they take their kids to their first day of kindergarten.  It is not because they don't want or need the few hours of a break that they get while their kids are in someone else's very capable, loving hands.  It is because it is just weird... almost wrong-feeling to me... to conclude this stage of life with children.  

I watched you, little one.  
Every moment that I could.  
I soaked you in.  
Every hour of every day.  
I knew I should.  
I knew that I had to.  
And still, it was not enough.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jack's Medieval Festival

One of the many things that I love about Jack's school is the way that they study history.  In each grade they learn about a different time period and how it relates to the Bible.  They have a festival each year where the kids dress in costumes and present things to the parents from their designated period of history.  Then, the day is always topped off with food and games.  Festival Day is always a big deal for the kids... and to many of the parents.  I love helping with the kids' schools as much as I can.  Today some moms and I were talking, and we figured out that this was my 10th festival to help with.  I think that I get some kind of star in my mommy-crown for that, I am not sure.  Either way - I love school festivals... mostly because it gives me a few minutes to sit back and watch my kids.  Somewhat undistracted.  Every time that I actually stop myself long enough to remind myself to pay attention,  I am a bit overcome with love for my kiddos and disbelief at how time flies.  

~ Jack the Squire ~
(Doesn't he look tough?)
~ me and my boy before school ~
At the festival, Jack had to recite some information that he had memorized about a squire's duties.
Then, the kids did a mini-play.  Jackson played the part of "the old doctor".  He was such a ham!  I have not looked back at the video, but I think that it will be one that we laugh at for years to come.  The boy loves him some audience!
~ taking a bow ~
~ playing games outside ~
(I love this photo - the trees and the shadows... and that sweet little boy!)
~ Corey & me with Jack ~
To see Jack's festival last year, click here.

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