Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yesterday at the park

Remember this?

Here's a reminder, just in case...



Well, at the park yesterday:






What a BIG girl she's getting to be!

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Catching up after the weekend

I'm sorry I haven't posted much this weekend, but Ron had both days off and we spent most of it doing family things and just spending time together. Having him around for 2 days in a weekend hasn't happened in close to a year, so we wanted to take advantage of it.

Not to mention that it just took me an hour to catch up on all of my blog reading that I missed over the weekend too. :)

The girls and I got home on Friday to find Ron already there - he'd managed to end up with that day off too, so it's been a much-needed 3-day weekend for him. Having him around for dinner was a blessing, but also created a problem as our grocery-starved house just didn't have anything to offer all 5 of us for dinner. Now we used to go out to eat a lot but over the past year we really don't very much, partly because Ron's never here and partly because we can't afford a nice sit-down meal. We do fast food more often than we should, of course, but it seems like birthdays or my mom's visits are the only times we actually have a meal served to us lately. So we took the opportunity of Ron being home for dinner for once and went out. Besides, I was hoping that Applebees would honor the 3 free kids meal coupons I had been hanging onto for a while.

The dinner was nice, the kids (generally) behaved themselves and the restaurant did honor 2 of the 3 coupons. Our server was incredible and we felt very pampered. All in all, it was a good experience.

Later that night, my friend Kristi picked me up for what is becoming a tradition of going out after all of our kids are in bed for some shopping, dessert and kid-free mommy time. We talk, we shop without having to hear, "Can I have that?" even once, and we have dessert at a restaurant without needing kids menus or crayons. I'm starting to really look forward to Friday nights! It will also come in handy in the next couple of months to be able to buy birthday and Christmas presents on these kid-free trips too.

Saturday morning involved a lot of soccer, like usual. This week we had Abby's game first though, since she played at 9:00 am. I noticed that her team seemed a bit more sluggish than usual and they lost 3-0. I don't think the early morning time is the best for them. I didn't get many pictures this week since Ron was with us finally (he's the reason I generally take so many photos to begin with since he hadn't made it to any games until now), and Abby played forward on the opposite side of the field from us, then sat out a quarter, then was goalie, and then on defense. Not much opportunity for good photo-taking. Nobody on their team is real aggressive as forwards - one reason why they didn't score at all yesterday. Abby saved a couple of goals but let one through. She did get two great stops while on defense though - the first time she's really ever even tried to kick the ball while playing defense.

(Abby as goalie in the red jersey, running the ball back out to throw it after saving a goal)

(This is mostly what Abby does while playing defense, but she really got in there yesterday when she needed to!)

After Abby's game ended, we had to rush right over to Hannah's. Our soccer games are played at a couple of elementary schools and Abby plays at one while Hannah plays at another. Neither of the schools offer any restroom facilities for soccer practices/games. This hasn't been an issue for us, luckily, until yesterday. As soon as we got to Hannah's field, Abby had to go potty. I am so thankful that Ron was with us! I was able to leave Becca with him and just take Abby and run over to WalMart - the closest restroom available to us. We got back and I dropped Abby off at the school playground and headed back to Hannah's game.

Hannah's been really tired lately. Her moods, fit-throwing and potty accidents have been telling us that. And I can tell on the soccer field too. Instead of being aggressive about going after the ball, she'll kick it and then stop instead of running after it. And she kept complaining yesterday about being tired. She did play pretty well considering all of that though.



Here you can kind of see what I mean - the other two girls are running after the ball pretty hard and Hannah's just kind of jogging...



They both said they had a good time though - and that's really the only important thing!

It was nice to have soccer over and done with by lunchtime - we were able to head home, eat and then do nap/quiet time. Afterwards we took the kids to the park with Steve (my friend Kristi's hubby - she was working) and his 2 boys, then we all came back here for pizza. More about the park later - this is getting pretty long already...

Two more weeks of soccer left for the fall season - as tiring and stressful as it is making sure we make it to everything on time, I will miss watching the girls play. There will be 6 more weeks again in the spring though.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Contest round-up #4

Here we go with the fun contest stuff for this week!

Over on the Bloggy Giveaways page at Rocks in My Dryer, you could win one of 5 copies of the book, Cool Stuff 2.0 - all about today's coolest technology and how it works, in an easy-to-understand way. Head on over and leave a comment before October 2nd. Also, you can enter to win bedding set (comforter and sham) from Olive Kids! You'll have to enter this one by October 1st though, so hurry! I know that I'd love to win a bedding set for when Becca moves to a 'big girl' bed. And with 3 girls, I know I'd also love to win any two hair accessories from Oopsie Dazie as well - you can enter too, just leave a comment by tomorrow (September 30th).

Mom 4 Life is having a month of giveaways in October! There are a ton of great prizes every week and you can enter any of the weeks or all of them! Head on over and check it out - how fun!

You could win an autographed copy of the book, Love Letters to a Child, over at Our Seven Qtpies (enter by October 14th):

"Do you long to connect deeply with your children? To have a positive impact on their lives? To celebrate successes and discoveries as well as ordinary moments spent together? If this is what you want, but the distractions of daily life get in the way, then this book is for you."
Here's another one that you'll need to enter soon since it also ends tomorrow (September 30th). At Two Moms in a Blog's Birthday Parties & Themes site, you can sign up to win one of several great prizes (including a make your own stuffed animal kit, a 3-month subscription to Menu Planning Central, and more!). Plus, everyone who enters automatically gets a $5 coupon code toward a free animal from funontheark.com!

Have you checked out Skimbaco yet? Katja offers wonderful boutique clothing that I only wish I could afford for my girls. But I may not have to because over at So A Blonde Walks Into a Review, you could win a $100 shopping spree at Skimbaco! You'll have to enter by 11:59 p.m. EST on September 30th for your chance to win.

Congratulations to Janice from 5 Minutes For Mom on the birth of Olivia Janae on September 28th! Head on over to see her first photos! And while you're there, you might want to check out these contests - you could win one of five copies of Professor Pocket — Our Silly Farm Adventure (enter by October 1st), a planner from BusyBodyBook (enter by October 3rd), or one of three Western Digital Passport Portable Hard Drives! Enter this one by October 5th for your chance at this great way to back up all of your photos and other computer files.

Over at Pinks and Blues Girls, you can enter to win a $50 gift certificate to In The Pink Designs. Their jewelry pieces are beautiful, so head on over by October 2nd for your chance to win.

Don't forget about BAFAB Week - and head over to Write From Karen before October 4th to enter for your chance to win a free book!

Right now at Love, To the Moon and Back, Blessed Nest is holding a giveaway for a Baby Bundle of Momma Must Haves, which includes over $150 value in wonderful products for moms and babies. Head on over by midnight on October 5th to find out how to enter!

And at Crunchy Domestic Goddess you could win a Halloween infant creeper (onesie) or infant/toddler t-shirt from her store Cute As A Bug! These are just too adorable - I'd love to win one for Becca. You have until October 5th to enter, so go check it out!

Starting this coming Wednesday (October 3rd) there's going to be a new weekly feature over at Scribbit. With winter in Alaska looming in front of her, Michelle is holding a Winter Bazaar!
"It can get pretty quiet up here you know--all that snow and darkness and hibernation--so each Wednesday from October through March I will post activities, decorations, games, recipes and crafts centered around a monthly theme and I've invited other blogs to participate. These ideas could be for children or adults, the only requirement is that they fit the seasonal topics..."
Check out her site for the monthly topics and more details about how to participate. Sounds like fun!

There's still time to enter a few of the contests featured in last week's Contest round-up, so check out 5 Minutes for Mom, It's Write Now, SuperFundraiser.com, and Rocks In My Dryer. Plus the contests at Pediascribe and Camy's Loft don't end until the end of October so there's still time to enter those as well.

If I missed any other contests or exciting events going on our there, just leave a comment or drop me an e-mail and I'll include it!

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Will there be one or two coming?

I hate party invitations. Especially for birthday parties. I never tend to get the things out when I'm supposed to and nobody ever RSVPs so I still never know how many people to count on.

I think for Hannah's birthday in November it's going to be different though. I'm going to put Abby in charge of the invitations and RSVPs.

On the way home tonight after we treated the girls to having dinner out (Ron was actually home for once and we had coupons for 2 free kids meals - always a bonus!), the girls were drawing on a couple of clean napkins that they'd brought with them. Abby decided to make a list of everyone who was going to be at 'movie night' that Ron tries to do with the girls every weekend.

"Mommy, are you going to be at movie night?" She sounded all brisk and professional.

"Nope, Mommy's going out to the store tonight, sweetie", because it's Friday night and my friend Kristi and I have been going out wandering the stores together (without kids!) for the past few Friday nights.

"Ok," she thinks for a minute and then, "I'll put your name on the list and then cross it out".

"That'll work."

"Will Becca be at movie night?" Becca isn't always allowed to stay up for movie night because it's usually past her bedtime and she's not very good at sitting still for the movie yet. Not to mention she's really too young for them anyway.

"Probably not tonight."

"Ok, I'll put her name on the list and cross it off too", and she does so with gusto. Then she checks her list,"so that means that Daddy, me and Hannah will all be at movie night but not you or Becca".

She really gets into this whole 'invitation' thing - wanting to make up and 'write' invitations to everything from real parties to imaginary ones. I think it's about time I tap that talent. Not to mention that that she'll probably be more effective than I am at getting people to RSVP because when she sees them, I know that will be all she'll say, "are you coming to Hannah's party?" and if they say they don't know yet, she'll ask again, five minutes later, "are you coming to Hannah's party?". And repeat until she gets an answer. Hey, nobody can think a cute 6-year-old is rude for asking, can they? :)

I think I'm onto something here!

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Book + Free = Two of my favorite things!

It's "Buy a Friend a Book Week"! And while I can't afford to buy each of my wonderful friends a book, I can let you all know of an opportunity where you could win a free one! Over at Write From Karen, you can leave a comment and enter for a chance to win a free book (up to $15). She'll draw the winning name on October 4th.

Win a FREE book at writefromkaren.com

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Aloha Friday #1


Kailani has started a fun new meme - it's Aloha Friday!

"Aloha Friday is a very popular term used in Hawaii. It’s basically a day where we take it easy and look forward to the upcoming weekend - kind of like T.G.I.F. In keeping with this idea, I thought I would have an Aloha Friday on my blog as well. No long posts, no deep soul searching revelations . . . just a little fun.

To accomplish this, I’ll be posting a simple question or topic of conversation and then opening up the comments to you. If you’d like to join me, just post something on your blog with your own question... Then we can all go around and visit each other. Simple, huh? (BTW, you can still answer the question even if you’re not participating.)"

So here's my question for this first Aloha Friday post - answer it in the comments if you wish!

Did you play a sport in high school? If so, which one? And if not, do you wish you had?

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Smiling, schmoozing and reflecting...

Really folks, this is getting quite embarrassing. Another Friday, and more blogging awards to humbly accept and pass on. You do know that I'm going to be quite disappointed one of these weeks when I can't show my blogging friends how much I love them by giving them awards, right?

Really though - you all are so sweet and amazing! Truly. :)


MomOfThree has given me the "You Make Me Smile award", saying "I look forward every day to reading how this other Mom Of 3 juggles her kiddos!" And I look forward to reading how she juggles hers. And she needs some good thoughts today since they're on the fourth bout of stomach flu in her family - yup, the three kids and now Mom. I hope she's feeling better and back to blogging again soon! I'd like to pass this award along to Chronicles of a SAHM and We Are Reilly because they make me smile.

Kellie from Confessions of an Organized Mess has given me both the "You Make Me Smile" award again and also the "Power of Schmooze" award. I was curious about the history of this award, so I searched and found out the following - it was created by Ordinary Folk and Pink Internet Marketing:
"Schmoozing as defined by Dictonary.com is the ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” When it comes to blogging, schmoozing is your ticket to making new friends, getting yourself noticed and building a reputation. Some bloggers are gifted with the ability to effectively schmooze and others not so much."
I am completely honored that Kellie thinks I deserve this and I pass both awards right back to her since she always makes me smile as well. Thank you so much, Kellie! I'd also like to pass the Power of Schmooze award to Corey at Living and Loving Every Minute of It, and Tisha at CrAzY Working Mom.

One of my very favorite bloggers has also given me an award - In The Life of A Child gave me the Blogger Reflection Award, which "is intended for bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, and who have given an impact in some way...". And to make my day even brighter, she had this to say as well:
"Deb is an incredible mom, an amazing blogger and a dear blogging friend. She is everything the Blogger Reflection Award is about and so much more. She is on my list of must reads for the day and I always look forward to what she is going to say next. If you have never stopped by her blog, you are truly missing out! Thank you Deb for being such an inspirational Mom and encouraging friend!"
I hardly know what to say, but if you haven't checked out her blog you are in for a treat, as she is a wonderful writer and an incredible mother to her two children. And not only did she give me this award, she happened to notice that I hadn't made it on to her list when she originally intended to give it to me and so she did so today. What a lovely friend she is! And another ill Mama lately, so send some good thoughts her way too... :)

I'd like to pass this to three blogging friends who have been an encouragement to me, Summer at Summer's Nook, Karen from Pediascribe and Eileen at A Life of Triggers.

And because I know you're reading this, Kristi - you'd so be getting these if you had a blog!!! Hint, hint... :)

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Leaving home for college

Yes, I know we're many years away from having to deal with an 'empty nest'! But for some reason, Hannah has begun to worry about college.

Not about getting good enough grades to get in or having enough money to afford it (both worries of mine for her and her sisters) - she really doesn't understand those things yet.

No, she's worried about having to leave home.

I'm not sure what sparked this fear of hers, but a few times in the past weeks she's asked me what the 'last' grade of school is. So we talk about 12th grade and being in high school. Then she asks me what she'll do after that.

Now, I want my kids to go to college - I don't really want them to think that there's any other viable option (except maybe a technical school if they've got the skill and desire for that). That's how I was raised - it was just understood that college came after high school in the same way that 12th grade comes after 11th grade. So I answer Hannah's question and tell her that after high school she'll go to college.

This is where she starts getting upset. "I don't want to go to college!", she sobs (ever the drama queen, of course).

"Why not?", I ask.

"I want to stay with you and Daddy! I don't want to go away!" More sobbing...

Is this some form of separation anxiety, that she's so worried about something that won't happen for another 14 years? Has she seen too many Blue's Clues episodes with Joe taking over when Steve left for college? We don't have any family members or friends who have graduated from high school or left for college recently. I can only assume she's picked something up from hearing others talk or from television.

I reassure her, "Hannah, you don't have to go away - college isn't for a long time yet." And believe me, by then I'm sure she'll be glad to get away, like most college-aged kids! Although she doesn't believe me - that's the problem.

"Can you come with me to college?" she asks, still sobbing.

"Sweetie, Mommy already went to college. Besides, you probably won't want me to come with you when you get old enough to go to college. Or there are colleges near home so you could live at home with me and Daddy. You don't have to go away if you don't want to."

"I don't want to!" She's adamant about that.

"Ok then, see it's all right, we've got it all figured out."

"But will you still come with me?" she looks up at me, apparently still not completely convinced that we're not going to sneak her stuff out and onto some college campus one of these days when she's not paying attention.

I sigh and give her the answer that I know she's looking for, "Yes, Hannah if you still want me to when the time comes, I'll go with you to college."

"I do want you to." She gives me a hug and a kiss, satisfied for now.

"Ok." And I know that when the time does come someday, I would go with her if she still wants me to. But I'm 99.9% sure that when she is a high school graduate looking forward to the freedoms and challenges of college - or whatever else she decides to do then, her mother is the last person she is going to want to take with her.

So I'll enjoy the being wanted and needed for now, for as long as I can, as many years as possible, since I know they'll pass by way too quickly.

I'm not ready for her to grow up quite that fast! :)


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Throwback Thursday #9 - Ron and I


I went looking in my photo album photos this week and dug up these photos of Ron and I together, before we were married. They range in date from late 1998 until early 2000. Looking at these, I realize just how horrible different I look now. I need to keep looking at these older photos as incentive to eat healthier and exercise - both to lose weight and to feel (and look) more like the way I want to.






Check out more Throwback Thursday over at Pinks and Blues Girls!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Contest winners!

Well, I'm excited to announce the two winners of my very first giveaway!

Just to let you all know how I did this - I numbered the comments and used Random.org to generate the numbers for the two winning comments.

I was prepared to let them argue it out for who got which copy if both winners wanted the same one, but it turned out that the two winners, comment #6 (Jean) and comment #4 (Lesha) each wanted a different one. Phew!

So please send me your contact information and I will forward it on to Stacy to have a copy of "Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten" sent to Lesha and a copy of "Let's Get Ready for First Grade" sent to Jean. Congrats to both winners! I'm only sorry I can't send a copy to everyone who left a comment.

Thanks to everyone who entered! This was a fun experience to be on the giving end of a contest and hopefully I can hold another one soon.

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Thursday Thirteen #8 - Television favorites


Thirteen Things about television shows I'm looking forward to watching this fall!

It's been a long day and I'm having a hard time coming up with anything new and fresh for my Thursday Thirteen post. As I sit here watching the season premiere of Criminal Minds, it's taking me longer than usual to get anything written. It's been an exciting week of season premieres and so I thought I'd share which shows I'm a fan of and which new ones I'm looking forward to.

So here are 13 of the shows that I'm going to be watching this fall:

  1. Heroes - I missed the first 10 minutes of the season premiere on Monday but thought the rest of it was great. I'm looking forward to another season, hopefully as good as the first!

  2. CSI: Miami - Definitely the most thrilling of the franchise and an exciting twist in Monday night's premiere.

  3. Journeyman - I really wasn't interested in seeing this one, but Ron asked me to at least watch the first episode with him. And I think I'm hooked.

  4. NCIS - The season premiere was really gripping - I'm looking forward to this season!

  5. House - The doctor you love to hate, or hate to love... They're really changing things up this season and I'm really interested to see where they go with it all.

  6. Law & Order: SVU - I'm glad Mariska Hargitay is back full time!

  7. Criminal Minds - It's dark and disturbing but the side of me that loves true crime books also loves this show. I'll miss Mandy Patinkin though.

  8. Private Practice - I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt because I love the Addison Montgomery character - hopefully it'll be as good as Grey's Anatomy!

  9. CSI: NY - Probably my least favorite of the 3 CSI shows, but I still love it. I'm watching the season premiere as I type this. :)

  10. Grey's Anatomy - I love, love, love this show! I just hope they finally let Derek and Meredith find some happiness, either with each other or someone else.

  11. CSI - My guess is that Sara won't survive, but I'm looking forward to finding out!

  12. Without a Trace - I'm really curious to see how things go with writing Poppy Montgomery's pregnancy into the show this season - should be interesting!

  13. Cold Case - Love the show, love the characters, love the music. What more can I say!
And if I could add a 14th, it would be NUMB3RS - another Ron-inspired favorite. Especially now that Peter MacNicol is back from his stint on 24!

I'm also looking forward to the Lost premiere, but since we don't get to see that one for several months yet, I left it off this list.

Can you tell I'm a fan of the crime drama, LOL? There just haven't been any sitcoms that I've been able to get into over the past few years. I'm glad we have a DVR - all of this tv watching is going to seriously cut into my evening blogging time! ;)


Links to other Thursday Thirteens!






Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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You're putting that tube where?!

My daughter is very bouncy today.

Hannah, that is. It reminds me of a line from one of the girls' favorite board books, Tumble Bumble, where it says, "So the crocodile sang him a song, and as she sang they bounced along...". I've had the lines from that book in my head all day anyway since it's currently one of Becca's favorites and I've read it to her 4,567 times over the past 2 days. Yes, I have the darn thing memorized!

But back to Hannah. I picked her up at daycare after lunch to take her in for the tests which we'd set up to see if there's a physical reason that she's never been able to stay dry for more than a week or two at a time. She was very excited that Mommy came and got her from daycare early and to be heading out just alone with me.

I'm now wondering if there's something wrong that my daughter is excited to go have medical tests done because it means more 'Mommy' time?

Anyway, we drove and sang along to the CD from their Vacation Bible School this summer. When we got to the parking garage, Hannah didn't just walk alongside me into the hospital.

No, she bounced. Through the parking garage, down the stairs, through the skywalk bridge over the street to the hospital, down the elevator and to the information booth. Then she bounced through hallways, another elevator and all the way to Pediatric Radiology.

I do have to say that I am extremely impressed with our children's hospital. It's part of the campus of one of the larger hospitals in town, but the Pediatric Radiology department at least was very, very well done for kids. The waiting room had toys built into the walls, a huge aquarium in the room divider and of course, a tv with small chairs. We hardly had time to watch the movie though (Barnyard) because after only about 5 minutes we got called back for Hannah's ultrasound.

Yes, my 4-year-old has now had an ultrasound. Specifically, a renal ultrasound, of her kidneys. But it works exactly like the kind I'm more familiar with except that they're looking at the kidneys and bladder instead of the uterus. Hannah thought it was very cool to have goop put on her belly and to see inside of it. Then they had her lie on her stomach and looked at her kidneys from the back while I read her a book.

And then she bounced some more as we went from the ultrasound room over to the x-ray room. Where she got a test called a Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG). I'd had no idea what this test involved (other than x-rays) so hadn't been able to explain it to Hannah beforehand. Considering what the test turned out to be, I can see where many kids would freak out or get upset.

Not Hannah though. She was smiling and bouncy through the whole thing - well not bouncy while she was lying still. And again, I was so impressed with how the staff handled it - you could tell they were extremely used to dealing with kids and making them comfortable. Someone came in first and showed Hannah step-by-step what they were going to do, using a doll, and having Hannah actually perform the test on the doll herself. I changed Hannah into what I think was basically scrubs - the shirt anyway, in a grown-up size - that was like a gown on Hannah. She thought that was very cool. And they had a portable DVD player set up so Hannah was able to watch Dora throughout the whole thing. The technician explained everything she was going to do and let Hannah watch, to make sure she was ok with it and comfortable (or at least as much as possible).

You see, this test basically looks at how the bladder does when it fills and empties. So they have the child lie down, they clean 'down there' and then put in a tiny catheter tube, which they tape to their leg to keep it from accidentally coming out. Then they connect it to a bag of sterile water and let her bladder fill. When it's full, they put a basin underneath her and she pees it all back out, including the catheter tube. The whole time, there's an x-ray camera above her taking photos of her bladder.

It really didn't take very long and Hannah did amazingly well. The technician was impressed - and surprised. She said that Hannah did perfectly and she couldn't have asked for a better patient. in fact, the only time that Hannah got upset, the entire time we were there, was when I told her it was time to leave. But she got to pick out a prize (a rubber ducky - sorry, a baby rubber duckie, according to Hannah) and she bounced all the way back to the van.

So, her favorite part of this whole thing? The paper hospital bracelet they gave her, which she refuses to take off. It's got foam cushy stuff under it and has her name on it and she thinks it's very, very cool.

I wish I could've just taken her home and spent the rest of the afternoon with her, but I'd already missed 2 hours of work so back to daycare she went. I think the worst part of the whole experience was Becca seeing me bring Hannah inside at daycare and assuming I was there to pick them up. She got all excited like she usually does but then turned into one angry little toddler when I told her I had to leave and go back to work. This is why I don't visit them at daycare very often. I'm sure she was fine after I left, but it's so incredibly hard to leave a screaming, crying, reaching little girl behind.

And now we wait, for the test results. We have an appointment with a pediatric urologist on October 17th so I'm assuming we'll find out then. The x-ray technician did say that she didn't see anything abnormal on the VCUG, but the urologist will be able to tell us more. I'm not sure what I'm hoping for - a physical cause might at least explain why she keeps wetting her pants after 2 years of potty training. If there's nothing physically wrong, then I have no idea what to try next.

And oh yes, Hannah had an accident today at lunch, before I came to get her. She wet her pants right at the lunch table at daycare. She'd done really well since school started until Friday when she had an accident, and then again on Sunday. And now this one today.

Sigh.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Works for me Wednesday #4 - Coloring like the 'big girls'

My 20-month-old thinks that she is 6. And she is convinced that she should be doing anything that her big sisters are doing. This causes some issues when faced with things that are perfectly reasonable activities for a 6-year-old and 4 1/2-year-old, but not something I want their little sister attempting.

Like coloring. I think it's great that Becca wants to sit and color at the table whenever Abby and Hannah are. As soon as I mention the word 'homework' to Abby, Becca chimes in with "I cowa!" and heads right for her chair.

Unfortunately though, the 'chubby' crayons that I bought for her didn't appease her for long. She didn't want those 'baby' crayons - nope, she wanted markers. Like the big girls use. And washable or not, I am not about to let this stubborn little girl color with markers since she has a habit of climbing down from her chair and attempting to take her coloring on the road.

Luckily, I found a great solution - and it's something I already had from when Abby and Hannah were younger. Color Wonder markers and paper may be more expensive, but they give me peace of mind and allow Becca to 'cowa' just like her sisters do. I sit her at the table with a Color Wonder book and pull two markers out, take off the tops and give them to her. I switch the colors out for others so she can have a variety, but she can't keep track of more than 2 at a time very well yet, I've found. I put the tops back with the other markers until she's done - they don't dry up easily and the tops have a tendency to disappear in my house once they fall on the floor and become cat toys. When she's finished 'cowa-ing', I fish out the tops, put them on and put the markers and book away. Becca is happy because she feels like a 'big girl' and I'm happy because nothing turns any colors that aren't supposed to be there!

Abby and Hannah still like the Color Wonder markers also, but I try to limit how much they use them right now since they can use the regular (washable) markers just fine and tend to use up the Color Wonder books way too fast. I also try to stock up on the CW books when I see them on sale, which helps to keep the cost down as well. Once Becca is older, she can start coloring more with regular markers, but for right now, this works for her - and me!

Check out more Works For Me Wednesday tips at Rocks in My Dryer!

And check out my very first giveaway - you could win one of a couple of great books to help your kids prepare for school! Enter by 5:00pm Eastern time today!!

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Midnight awakenings

Someone in our family has been waking up right about midnight every night so far this week.

(and it's not Ron or I - mainly because we're generally still up at that point, so it can't really be 'waking up' then, can it...)

It starts by us hearing a small voice fussing through the door to her room. We hold our breaths and wait, hoping that she will go back to sleep as up until now, she usually has.

Instead, the soft sobs and pitiful wails escalate to all out screams of "MOMMY!!"

Normally, I'd probably still just let it go, except for two things. First is that hearing her actually call my name in such a panicked tone instead of just crying makes me think that there indeed must be something horribly wrong. And second is that I'm not the one who is usually suckered in by the cries to answer her call and rescue her from the doom that is her bed. Nope, that would be Daddy. Who - somewhat understandably - wants to see his little girl since he's generally not home before she is tucked up in her crib for the night.

I'm not sure what's been waking her up right about midnight every night. She generally wants to get right down and marches into the kitchen (even if the light's off) asking for "a-cup" or "I s'ack" (cup or snack for those who don't understand Becca-ese). The first night it happened, over the weekend, Ron tried bringing her into bed with us since we had just gone to bed when the crying began. After about a half hour of being poked, prodded, kicked and climbed on, I gave up and followed her out to the kitchen. One snack, and a cup of milk later, we took her stuffed doggie, blanket and stuffed Pablo back to her bed, turned on her lullabies and she went back in without a peep.

Last night she woke screaming both my name and "I stinky!" and yup, she was. I wasn't surprised that she woke up at that point. However, after the diaper change, I was surprised when she squirmed to get down, marched into the kitchen, pointed at the refrigerator saying "I s'ack!" and once Ron opened it, grabbed an applesauce cup and walked over to the table with it. One very determined little girl, we seem to have here.

So after an applesauce cup (much of which joined the yogurt she'd had earlier as a bedtime snack on her pajama bottoms and t-shirt), several pieces of apple which Daddy cut up for her, a cup of milk and one episode of the Backyardigans, it was back to bed. With quite a few peeps this time - more like loud protests even. But within a few minutes she was back asleep.

As cute as I think she is during these midnight wakings, I fear that we're seeing the start of a pattern. Tonight I think we're going to have to resist the urge to get her out of bed (and I know how hard that will be for Daddy) if she wakes up at midnight again. On the other hand, I don't want to potentially let her lie in a stinky diaper all night either. It's so hard to know what to do sometimes!


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Wordless Wednesday #11 - Whee!!




and...




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And check out my very first giveaway - you could win one of a couple of great books to help your kids prepare for school!

Edited: Sorry - forgot to add Mister Linky until now! oops...

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Tackle It Tuesday #9 - Mostly the usual

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

So it'll be hard to out do last week's tackle. I really could go for that one every Tuesday! Unfortunately the amount of PTO left in my leave bank is hurting at the moment, so that one won't be happening again for quite a while. Darn.

Today is going to be busy, busy just with the 'normal' stuff. And it's a busy day here at work too, so this post is going to be on the short side.

Of course, they are forecasting a 70% chance of rain today which may cause Abby's soccer practice to be canceled. I'm rather hoping it is, because sitting in the rain with 2 other kids is not what I think of as a 'fun' time.

But if everything goes as scheduled then my day will involve the usual working, running home at lunch to put together sandwiches to take to the soccer field with us for dinner, rushing to daycare to pick up the kids in enough time to make it to soccer practice, chasing Becca all over the field while Hannah plays on the playground and Abby practices, packing everyone back up and heading over to church for kids' choir signups then (finally) heading home for bedtime routine and collapsing. Me, that is - for the collapsing.

Rain might not be a bad thing actually if soccer practice gets canceled - it would free up a lot more of my evening. And maybe let me get some things done around the house that do need to be tackled along with everything else I need to do today.

Like laundry - poor Becca wore pajama bottoms and a t-shirt to bed last night because she was out of clean pj's. So on tonight's agenda is making sure that her laundry gets done and back upstairs because now we're even out of clean pajama bottoms and t-shirts...

So that's my rambling post for today - sorry, I'm a bit scattered since I had to get the girls on the bus this morning (our neighbor who usually does it for us couldn't), so I got to work a half hour late and I've got a meeting in about 1 minute. I really, really miss last Tuesday! :)

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

What are you tackling this week? And check out other Tackle It Tuesday posts over at 5 Minutes for Mom!

And check out my very first giveaway - you could win one of a couple of great books to help your kids prepare for school!

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Heads or Tails #6 - Pets or Pet Peeves


This week is all about either pets or pet peeves. I'm going to kind of do both of them but cheat a little too... A few months ago when I first started this blog, I wrote about our pets so I'm going to refer you to that post and also include a (somewhat) recent picture of our two kitties - Misty and Snuggly. Aren't they cute!


Ok, now that we've gotten that taken care of, on with the pet peeves!

You'll notice that my husband has a knack of doing many things which are pet peeves of mine. He'll try to tell you that I'm just too sensitive or picky, but we all know better right? Right? Um, well anyway...

One of my pet peeves is when people pick something up to use and then don't put it back where they found it. Things like pens, scissors, nail clippers, cordless phones, remote controls... So when I go to use it next, it's not where it's supposed to be. This behavior drives me nuts because I then have to waste my time searching for whatever-it-is instead of doing what I was going to do with it. (Confused yet?) Which adds a lot of time on to various tasks. If certain people (including but not limited to my loving husband) would just put things back when they are done with them, I everyone would be much, much happier!

Ok, this isn't meant to be a husband-bashing post. I'll try to contain myself. Really, I will.

Another pet peeve I have is when someone (who shall remain nameless) finds it necessary to leave articles of clothing in the exact spot that he he/she he was standing in when said article of clothing was removed. So then I find myself tripping over discarded shoes, socks, sweatpants, shorts and underwear. I've noticed this phenomenon occurring even when this nameless person is standing right next to the laundry hamper! Imagine that. Hard to believe, huh? But yep, it's true. I must also admit that this trait is apparently genetic because it seems to have been passed down to the next generation (Nameless Jr. and Nameless Jr. #2). So far only one other person (short, bald-ish and incredibly cute) in the house is good about putting things away and not only will put away her his/her own stuff but also anything else she he/she comes across lying around. I'm going to fight to keep this one on the right path!

That brings us to pet peeve number three. Or at least the third one that I'm going to bring up here and now.

There are times when I will buy a specific food item for myself. Or where I buy enough of a food item to make sure that I have enough to last me for a week's worth of lunches, or for a specific purpose. Not only do these food items tend to disappear from time to time but the culprit has the tendency to simply expect me to go out and replace them! Myself! I argue that if someone else is going to eat food that was intended to be mine then that person should be the one to go out and replace it. The counter to that is that we are all a family and should all be able to share things like food and if I run out of something then I should just go out and replace it.

And yet this person also complains when I eat a bag of 'his' 'his/her' Skittles... Whatever happened to sharing as a family then, I must ask? Someone should know better than to leave a bag of Skittles lying around for day after day - I tend to assume that it's not wanted by that point. Makes sense to me, right?

So I'd better stop here before I really get myself into trouble. I'm fully expecting someone to see past all of my (not so) brilliant attempts at being anonymous...

Ron - Sweetheart, Dear, Honey... I do love you, you know! :)


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Two great carnivals to check out this week

Just a quick note to let you all know that two of my posts are included in carnivals this week!

Head on over to From Under the Clutter to read all of the great posts at the Carnival of Mothers and Daughters! My post on Taking Sides is included as well - many thanks to Lynnae for hosting!

And check out this week's Carnival of Family Life, hosted at Mom on Wheels to read an amazing assortment of wonderful posts on topics from family and kids to recipes, tv, fatherhood and 'Going Green'. My post, Only 40 days until Halloween... is included. Thank you to Terry for hosting this week!

Happy reading! :)

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Memory Lane Monday - Favorite vacation

I've been sitting here trying to think about my favorite vacation. Not that there are too many to choose from - we really haven't had a 'vacation' as a family yet and those from when I was growing up were also few and hard to remember nowadays. I remember a trip to Houston, two trips to Florida involving lots of sand and sun (not my favorite things at the time!) and a trip to Boston/Cape Cod/Toronto. Then there was the fiasco vacation to New Jersey with my dad and stepmom in 1995 which I'll have to address if there's ever a topic of worst, or most stressful, or 'help, get me out of here!' types of vacation memories. And of course, there was our honeymoon, but I don't really count that as a 'vacation' in the general sense.

For the past 20 years or so, my 'vacations' have involved work-related trips which, with finagling, allows time for sight-seeing or family involvement. We just haven't been able to afford to take a trip on our own yet. Otherwise, I travel to visit friends for a weekend or extended weekend a few times a year, and that's about as close as we get vacation-wise. Someday I'd love to do a cruise, or a Disney trip with my kids.

So after all of that (sorry for all the detail, but you got my thought process as it went along, LOL!), I think I'll have to talk about the trip that I took with my family when I was 11 - to Boston, Cape Cod and Toronto (we also hit Niagara Falls on the way back as well, if I remember correctly). I think I even have a few photos somewhere that I can dig up as well.

I know it was a work-related thing for my dad, but since he was a self-employed manufacturer's representative (salesman), he was pretty free to do whatever he wanted with it. We had a full-sized van so drove there and back and I remember sprawling out on the bed in the back playing board games and stuffed animals with my brother most of the trip. Those were the days, huh - no car seats, seat belts or portable DVD players! I shudder to think of it now - we were lucky my dad never got into an accident.

We stopped in Boston first and hit the market area, walked the Freedom Trail, went aboard the USS Constitution and saw a replica of a Boston Tea Party ship. We visited (and climbed) the Bunker Hill Monument. Here's a few photos from Boston:

(me and my dad on the replica Tea Party ship)

(love the pose, huh! Not to mention the knee socks... Ugh!)

After Boston, we went to Cape Cod. This was late August, early September and it wasn't warm enough for swimming of any sort. I remember visiting the guy that my dad had to do business with at his house and my first experience with eating seafood (I wasn't impressed at the time). The only other thing I remember is that our vacation got extended because a teachers' strike at home delayed the start of school and we didn't have to hurry home.

On the way home we stopped at Old Sturbridge Village and drove into Rhode Island (so we could say we'd been there, I guess?). We drove through New York State and into Canada - with the extra time we had, my parents decided to swing by Toronto and Niagara Falls.

I remember seeing the CN Tower in Toronto:




We checked the news daily to find out about the strike - and made it home easily in time for the start of the school year. Although I don't remember a lot of the details, I just remember how much fun this trip was and how I loved traveling to and seeing all of these different places, especially the historical ones. I wrote an essay about Boston for history class that fall and it was awesome being able to include details that I had seen in person.

I want my own kids to have experiences like these as they grow up - now that they're getting older, I think we're going to have to try to do some family vacations in the next few years.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Please do not feed my kids candy as a soccer snack!

We made some fun discoveries on Saturday after the soccer games were over:

  1. Giving the kids a bag of Skittles as the 'after game' snack is a recipe for disaster in my house when we have to come home and put the tired grumpy toddler down for a nap immediately afterward and then try to keep 2 kids on sugar highs quiet for a couple of hours. Believe me, I wasn't the one who brought snack that day - any kind of candy wouldn't be my first (or second, or third...) choice!

  2. Taking said kids to the mall once baby sister wakes up (after a much too short nap) is a good way to run off all of that extra energy, especially if the mall has a play area where they can run, yell, jump, etc. to their hearts' content.

  3. Going down the slides in the play area at the mall is much more fun with soccer shorts on. The nylon makes you slide much faster so you zoom right down every time.

  4. You need to make absolutely sure there are no kids standing at the bottom of the slide before you slide down while wearing nylon soccer shorts because you come down faster than they are expecting and don't always have time to get out of the way.

  5. It's ok for babies and toddlers to cut in line at the slides because they don't understand yet about taking turns. This was an important lesson for Hannah to learn and involved a lot of tears on Becca's part when Hannah wouldn't let her squeeze through to the front of the line to slide down.

  6. Taking 3 kids to the mall by yourself doesn't involve any kind of relaxation for mom, especially when the only one of them in diapers decides to pee a ton, making it necessary to pull the other 2 out of the play area, put shoes on and head with you to a nearby (yet still so far!) store bathroom to change the full, droopy diaper. Then, only 5 minutes after you get everyone back into the play area with shoes off and they are off and running, she decides to poop in the previously clean, dry diaper that you just put on her.

  7. There are only so many times you can take the kids into a toy store without buying them anything before, "we'll put that on your birthday/Christmas list" doesn't cut it any more.

  8. Pizza makes for a great supper for a tired out mom and 3 hungry kids!

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Another weekend flown by - are you tired of soccer pictures yet? LOL

Sad isn't it, how slowly the weekdays go and then how the weekends just zoom right by... I can't believe it's Sunday night again already.

We had a good weekend. Yesterday was filled with soccer, of course - 3 weeks down and 3 more to go for the fall season. I think the girls were tired yesterday - Hannah had fun, but wasn't very aggressive about playing. She'd kick the ball but then stop instead of running it down to the goal. I asked her afterward if she was tired and she said yes. I think she's also been fighting a cold or allergies too, which probably didn't help any. She said she had fun playing though, and that's what's most important.


Here's a great shot of the ball being kicked right between Hannah's legs, LOL.


We were facing right into the sun and it was bright out. This was Abby during the first part of Hannah's game:


She did get up and run/jump/cheer/bounce around after a while though. She and Becca actually kicked the ball around a little bit together - it was really cute!



Abby's game was another exciting one - her coach is doing such an awesome job of keeping the girls focused and in the right places for whatever position they're playing. And Abby even got in a few kicks while on defense - she's never even tried to kick the ball when she's been playing defense before, she just usually stands there. There were 2 girls missing yesterday from her team so the 8 of them who were there had to all play the entire game. Even with that - they still won, 3-0! Abby was thrilled. During the first quarter, she was bouncing around so much - one of the other dads joked to me that we should stop giving her sugar to eat before the game. I had to admit that she's always like that - she just gets so excited and has trouble containing herself.

She played midfield for 2 quarters of the game and she did a ton of throw-ins, probably at least partly because she doesn't throw it very far and tends to throw it right to the other team, who would promptly kick it out again.



She did get in some kicks too, but I was wrestling a tired grumpy toddler (1:30 games are not good for our nap schedule!) and didn't get a lot of photos of her game. You get extra points if you can spot her in these (she's #4):



Becca, other than being tired and grumpy, did have a good time watching the big girls play. As you can see...

(It takes concentration to eat and pay attention to the game at the same time!)

(Abby's game action had her on the edge of her seat...)

("Ok, got my ball, I'm set to go! When's my game start?")

Not for a couple of years yet, little one! :)

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Why aren't the leaves falling yet, Mommy?

This is the question that first greeted me when I got up this morning.

Hannah has been counting down the days until the first day of Fall. I've been a bit curious as to why this is such a big deal to her. Now I know - apparently all of the leaves were supposed to turn colors overnight and she expected big piles on the ground to jump in this morning.

Not so much.

One of the trees in our front yard does have a small group of red leaves right in the middle of it, but so far that's about it for autumn colors.

Fall apparently means different things to kids as to adults - while I love the colors, I also look at the trees with a bit of trepidation, knowing how much work will be involved in raking and bagging especially with a husband who is not home much to do all the raking help. I have the feeling that the leaf raking will go about the same as lawn mowing did this summer - and the jungle-like state of our lawn currently tells you how that went.

Hmm, I wonder if I can take this excitement of Hannah's and put it to good use.

Now where did we put those kid-sized rakes... :)

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Out of this world!

So I'm getting really spoiled here as it's another week where I need to acknowledge a couple of awards that were given to me - and I get to pass them on to others too, which is the truly fun part, of course!


I received the Blogging Star award again, this time from a new blogging friend, Laura P. at Dare to Get Organized. I'm really enjoying her blog too - thanks, Laura!

I'd like to pass this one along to Donetta at A Life Uncommon andAnna at Beth & Cory's Mom - I love reading both of their blogs!

And I'm very proud to be one of the first recipients of a new award, created by Nap Warden (Chronicles of a SAHM) - the Out of This World award!

As she says, "I have started a new "Out of This World Award" and I am passing it to... five other blogs that I think are....you guessed it....out of
this world!
"

Well I think yours right out of this world too! Thank you!

And this is fun - to pass this new award to some other blogs that I think are great ones, so I'm giving it to Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess, Write From Karen, and Jenny and Emily from Mommin' It Up. Enjoy, ladies! :)


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Contest round-up #3

Well, we're back from soccer and the girls are down for nap/quiet time. So let's get to the contest fun! There's a lot this week so good luck to all!

Have you joined BlogRush yet? If not, click on over and check it out! :)

I'm going to start with my contest since I can, LOL. Don't forget to enter to win a copy of either "Getting Ready for Kindergarten!" or "Getting Ready for First Grade". Just leave a comment here by September 26th at 5:00pm Eastern time and let me know which book you'd like if you win. And please link back to the giveaway post if you can or let some friends know in order to pass the word on.

Here's one you'll have to enter quick since it ends tonight - over at DE Reviews you could win a Gauze Wrap from Hug a Bug Baby! I'm still searching for babywearing options and this looks like a great site for slings of all kinds!

5 Minutes for Mom is having several new contests this week! You could win one of 10 copies of Phonics 4 Babies (enter by September 25th) a Chicco stroller (enter by September 28th), a Toddler Coddler travel carseat pillow and Kids Car Organizer Compact to hold all of those things that tend to get scattered all over your back seats (enter by September 25th), a Busy Woman's Basics MAUVE Binder Classic daily planner (enter by September 25th) or a pink Dyson vacuum cleaner (enter by October 1st). Head on over and leave a comment at the giveaway posts to enter!

Over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess you could win one of 2 re-usable bags from Reusable Bags! Head over and enter by 10pm on September 26th for a chance to win.

And here's an exciting one - over at It's Write Now you could win a new 8 GB Red, iPod Nano (video)! Head on over and check out how to win - you have until midnight on Halloween (October 31st) to enter!

Here's first giveaway on another blog as well this week - over on Fun With The Friesens you could win a nursing bracelet from Amy May's Etsy Store to either use yourself or give to a new nursing mom! I wish I'd had something like this when I was a nursing mom. Enter by 9pm CST on September 25th for your chance to win!

SuperFundraiser.com is having a "Back to School" Writing Contest! Simply write a post on your blog about anything related to K-12 schools and e-mail it to them by midnight CST on October 5th, then head back after October 9th to vote for the best posts! You can vote even if you don't enter, so it's all in your hands to see who will win each of the 3 $25 Amazon gift certificates. A 4th gift certificate will be given to a random winner of everyone who votes for their favorite posts by blogging about them. You'll have until midnight CST on October 23rd to vote. Sounds like fun!

Check out the giveaways at Rocks in My Dryer this week! You could win one of 5 copies of Casting Crowns' CD, The Altar and Door (enter by September 25th), a $40 gift certificate to Arte Bebe (enter by September 24th), or a $12 gift certificate to Bella Grano, a pair of Easy Spirit wedge clogs (enter by October 1st).

See - already found another one to add...

How would you like to win $50 to spend in a vintage children’s store? Kailani of
An Island Life is holding a giveaway to Warm Biscuit Bedding Company. Stop by before September 28th for all the details.

There's still time to enter some of the contests featured on last week's round-up - check out Camy's Loft and Pediascribe for more details!

If I missed any other contests or exciting events going on our there, just leave a comment or drop me an e-mail and I'll include it!

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Only 40 days until Halloween...

It's that time of year - all of the spooky, ghoulish costumes and candy start appearing in every store from WalMart to Walgreens. So although it's still a little ways away, I thought it might be fun to start thinking about everything Halloween-ish.

This is such a fun kids' holiday - I mean, who doesn't like to be spooked and of course there's all the candy... It's a dentist's nightmare! And it's not like it's limited to just the one night of trick-or-treating anymore - oh no, there are the Halloween parties, the pumpkin patch trips, the neighborhood or city-wide events. I think my kids dressed up in their costumes last year at least 4 or 5 times before the big day itself, just for other events - all of which included bringing home a ton of candy, of course. My kids were thrilled and I carefully snuck all of the 'good' stuff out of their bags and buckets for Ron and I to enjoy. Hey, it's not like they actually need all of that sugar anyway, right?

I think I'm going to try something different this year. In years past, we've let the kids have several pieces of candy on Halloween night - I mean, you can't let them go hog wild or you'd never get them to sleep that night from the sugar rush. Then we usually let them have a piece or two a day over the next few days weeks months until everything that they (and we) like is gone. Then, whatever is left is usually donated somewhere - except for last year's leftovers which are still in the kids' buckets in the back of a cupboard somewhere in our kitchen. I guess we probably should just get rid of those before the kids start asking to play with their Halloween buckets...

I read somewhere last year about a family who allows their kids to eat as much candy as they want - just for a day or two - and then everything that's left is gotten rid of in some way or another. I kind of like this idea - I think giving them a ton of candy all at once is much better than spreading it over the months it takes to get through it a piece at a time and by then they're so used to begging for candy after every meal that it's hard (ok, impossible) to break them of the habit. Not to mention by that point we've hit Christmas, Valentine's Day and Easter - all of which involve even more candy. Yikes! And even if we're not giving (much) to our kids, they seem to get it from everywhere else - school, church, well-meaning neighbors... Abby brought home so much candy last year that her bus driver gave her - if that happens again this year, I'm complaining to the school district. We did such a good job of limiting sweets when they were younger - I think we still do rather well... if it weren't for all of the darn holidays.

My kids love candy - I mean, who doesn't? I think it's interesting though that the kinds that they love the best aren't the ones I think you'd expect. Abby's not a huge chocolate fan, so her favorites are Smarties, Sweet Tarts and candy necklaces. She will eat peanut butter cups too. Hannah likes chocolate, but her favorite candy is any kind of sucker. I'm not sure about Becca yet - this Halloween will pretty much be her first real exposure to candy. I'm glad they're not into chocolate much - since that leaves all of it for Ron and I. Maybe that's not such a good thing though. LOL
Then of course, there are the costumes. Abby and Hannah are old enough now to decide for themselves what they want to be, which makes it much more difficult for me. Last year I did manage to convince them to wear costumes that we already had but I'm about all out of options for this year. Abby wants to be a butterfly though - and since we do already have wings, the rest of hers should be pretty simple. Hannah wants to be Tinkerbell so we'll be looking for a cheap option there. Becca is still little enough to go with whatever I choose, so I'll be keeping an eye out for something cute (and cheap!) for her too.

Here are some pics of the girls in previous Halloween costumes:







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