Friday, November 30, 2007

Here's a recipe for you...

Ingredients:

1 - vehicle in the shop, leaving one (annoying) vehicle to transport a family of 5 all day.

1 - appointment at 4:10 pm to have family/holiday/5-year-old portraits taken at a portrait studio that you've never been to before.

2 - children who are wound up, not listening to repeated requests to 'settle down!', 'stand still!' or 'stop doing *blank* to your sister!'

1 - hungry, tired toddler who wants to have nothing to do with standing/sitting still or smiling.

1 - husband with little to no patience for portrait taking to begin with and even less when added to previous ingredients.

Cooking instructions:

Mix first and second ingredients with a child needing to be picked up at school at 3:38 pm, an auto repair shop that closes at 5pm, a child needing to be picked up at daycare, and stir thoroughly.

Add in the last 3 ingredients along with a dash of runny nose, , a smidge of chapped lips, and a pinch of static-laden hair.

Optional ingredient for a special treat - mix in a 20-minute wait while 3 photographers attempt to fix the camera which broke halfway through the portrait session. And increase the amount of ingredients #3-#5 by 100%.

Another optional ingredient for a really extra special treat - attempt this recipe on one of your children's birthdays so that you feel incredibly guilty for yelling at them to be still, smile and stop fooling around. Feel even worse when they end up in tears.

Simmer all of the above for almost 2 hours.

Recipe makes a hungry, tired, frustrated family.  And somehow, by some strange miracle - this recipe also makes 13 amazingly good holiday portraits (to be posted when we get them back).  However, it is recommended to try this recipe only at your own risk as it could potentially lead to parental and marital problems of enormous magnitude.

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Aloha Friday #10

It's Friday again! My favorite day of the week... :)

So here's my question for this week's Aloha Friday:

What are you wearing today?

It's casual Friday here at work, so I am glad to be able to be wearing jeans (my only pair that fit unfortunately) and my favorite sweater, a cable-knit one with earthy colored stripes (greens, browns, a bit of blue, off-white). And gym shoes - although it snowed a bit this morning, so I probably should have worn boots.

Head on over to Kailani's to join in on the Aloha Friday fun!

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NaBloPoMo is over...


This is it - my last official post of November (probably not the last one I'll post today though).

I did it! :)

It's strange how stressful it was to make sure that I posted every day, when I generally do so anyway. Somehow having the added requirement of 'having' to really was more than I thought it would be. I'm proud to say that I accomplished it but also glad that it's over and I can go back to 'usually' posting every day!

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Apparently it costs to be warm

So I took the van in this morning to have the window looked at. Ron checked it last night, along with our neighbor (who works on cars) but they couldn't get the window up and figured it had to be an issue with the motor or the switch.

After I sat at the car repair shop until 9:30, Ron came and picked me up (he has today off for Hannah's birthday, but had to run into work to drop off his paperwork this morning) and since I was planning on taking off early today anyway (we're getting Christmas pictures taken this afternoon since who knows when Ron will get another day off anytime soon), added to getting there late, and a ton of stuff to do at home, I decided to just go ahead and take the day off. I have a a lot to do at home anyway that I'm way behind on (yes, I know I'm sitting here blogging instead...) and Hannah will love having both of us home to spend the afternoon with her when we pick her up from school at lunchtime.

So how much will it cost to get the window in my van fixed?

$184. Sigh...

I wonder if the plastic and duct tape option may have been a better idea? Cheaper, for sure!

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Thursday Thirteen #17 - All about Hannah

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Thirteen Things about Hannah!

Today is Hannah's 5th birthday. I can't believe it's been 5 whole years since the day I went into the hospital to be induced. Her birth was so very different from my first labor and delivery - I blogged about it a few weeks ago here. Since today is all about Hannah - here are 13 things you may or may not know about her!

  1. Hannah was the smallest of my girls, weighing in at only 7 pounds 6 ounces at birth. This may be because she was induced early - the doctors thought she might actually be larger than Abby was at 9 pounds 2 ounces. Oops...

  2. Hannah was a very easy baby, except for her bout with reflux when she was about 2 months old. After about a week of an inconsolable baby, we took her in and she was prescribed an acid reflux medication that helped immensely.

  3. She has always been a Mommy's girl. She loved to nurse and would fall asleep at the breast often and snuggle. Neither of my other two, even when breastfeeding, have loved to snuggle as much as Hannah. And she still loves to snuggle with us even now.

  4. Hannah is a drama queen with a capital 'D'. The bigger the audience, the bigger the drama. She loves to act silly and goofy for attention and is already becoming a teacher's pet at school.

  5. Hannah was born just 2 days before the school cutoff date in Michigan. While we had the option to send her to kindergarten this year (and her evaluation recommended it), we chose to hold her back and put her in Young 5's (developmental or pre-kindergarten) instead so she'll be an older child in her grade instead of the absolute youngest. I think it was the right decision.

  6. Hannah loves animals. At not even 2 years old, she could do all of the animal noises. Her favorites by far are dogs and horses though. Her collection of stuffed dogs is slowly taking over the house. And she's getting another one for her birthday today - I just can't help it because she loves and plays with them so much!

  7. She is very stubborn and doesn't do anything before she is good and ready. Like walking - at a year old she would stand in the middle of the room, then crouch down and play, then stand back up, etc. But she wouldn't take a step - even though she was perfectly capable of it. Nope, she waited until she was ready to do it, a month later. Same thing with potty training - like everything else, it happened in her own time, on her terms.

  8. Physically she couldn't be more different from Abby. She is slight where Abby is solid, blonde and blue-eyed to Abby's dark brown hair and greenish eyes. She is very social - not at all shy, and often will show Abby the way around someplace new when Abby is scared or unsure of herself.

  9. Hannah has my middle name, Lynne. I never liked my middle name very much, but wanted her to have a family name and couldn't come up with anything else that went well with 'Hannah' and our last name.

  10. Her favorite thing to do at school is music class. She loves to sing and when she tries, without being goofy, she has a sweet voice, even if she isn't quite all in tune yet. I foresee the stage in her future in some fashion or another.

  11. She and Abby are only 20 months apart and in a lot of ways interact with each other more like twins since Hannah is a bit mature for her age and Abby is a bit immature. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out as they get older.

  12. She is the difficult one to get out of bed in the mornings. Abby pops right up and out of bed with no problem, but Hannah only leaves her bed grudgingly, protesting all the way. Which is exactly like me. :)

  13. Her favorite color this year has been orange. Before her birthday last year, it was green. According to Hannah, you choose a new favorite color every year on your birthday, so as of today, I believe it's going to be red, unless she changes her mind to something else at the last minute.

Happy Birthday, Hannah-bear!

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Throwback Thursday #18 - The Day After Thanksgiving

It was five years ago, on November 29th, the day after Thanksgiving, that you were born. My little peanut, my Hannah Banana, Hannah-Bear, an after Turkey-Day sweetheart. My Black Friday baby.

You came into a world of hustle and busy-ness, with the holiday spirit aglow. To a loving big sister (sometimes almost too much, LOL!), family and friends.

You took our comfy little world by storm and you made it sparkle and shine in true drama queen fashion.

For you, life is better with an audience after all.

I've watched you learn and grow into the beautiful 5-year-old girl that you are today and can't remember when you weren't in my life.

Happy Birthday, Hannah. Mommy loves you very much.




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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Brrrrrrrrr.......

I. am. cold.   Very. very. cold.  Very. very. very - well you get the idea...

This morning, as I drove into the parking lot at work, I clicked on the little button in my van to lower the driver's side window so that I could punch in the code that would let me in. Which is something that I do every time I drive into this lot - it's the only way we can get in to park. So you may be asking then, why is this something that is worth blogging about?

Because of what happened next - as I drove into the lot, looking for an available parking space,  clicking the little button that usually closes the driver's side window allowing me a few more minutes to bask in the warmth that my busy little van heater creates.

Note that I said 'usually'.

Which means - not in this case. And not for the next 5 minutes that I sat in the parking space in my van, giving my finger a workout as I tried to get the window to close - as if I could somehow will it to shut or pull hard enough on that little switch that my brute strength would cause the window to rise the way it's supposed to.

Also note today's current temperature and you can see why this is of concern:

image

I'd planned on going home for lunch today so hadn't brought anything with me. And the only options within close walking distance from work are our vending machines (believe me, only if absolutely necessary since even the options there are limited) or the gas station across the street. Having decided that candy bars and Little Debbie brownies were not what I wanted for lunch, I chose to drive the 5 minutes to the nearest fast-food option - Burger King.

A 5-minute drive is not normally a big deal. Especially with the heater at full blast and my iPod for company. However, a 5-minute drive with freezing wind whipping into my van is not something I'm anxious to ever experience again.

Would you believe that I didn't think to bring gloves with me today? Normally I just stuff my hands in my coat pockets as I walk into work from the parking lot (and vice versa), so I tend to avoid gloves until I absolutely can't anymore. I may have to re-think that policy after today.

I went into Burger King to eat instead of driving through for one main reason - my hands were numb and I needed to thaw out. Not to mention the line of 438 cars in the drive-thru lane. I picked a seat next to the window so I could keep an eye on my van, thinking that the nice open window could possibly be shouting 'Come take me!' to any potential car thieves out there.

Although if their purpose were to steal a car to get out of the cold, they'd be horribly mistaken to choose mine anyway...

After eating some hot food and thawing out for as long as I could possibly stretch it out, I braved the cold and wind to drive back to work. Trying that little annoying button over and over, of course, still hoping that some latent Jedi powers might kick in and I could 'force' the window to close. Unfortunately, as you can probably imagine, nothing happened.

At least the window was already open when I pulled into the parking lot at work - saved myself about 3 seconds of time it would normally take to open it. Three whole seconds versus hands I could barely feel by this point and the tip of my nose going numb as well...

I've been back inside work for almost an hour now, and my hands are still cold - although I think this typing has finally started to get the blood moving a bit. So I can maybe kind of justify the time I'm spending writing this post during work hours as therapeutic...  Hey, it's working, anyway!

The drive home looms ahead of me tonight - my normal 10-15 minute commute which will feel 3 times as long as I shiver my way to pick the girls up at daycare. And then the short drive home as the cold wind whips into the back of the van where my girls sit. Not an acceptable option to me - I plan spend some valuable work time this afternoon scrounging around for plastic and duct tape. While it may not look attractive, at least if it keeps that bitter wind out, I don't really care.

Oh, and did I mention that the forecast calls for a possibility of rain/snow this afternoon?  Sigh...

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Works For Me Wednesday #13 - Greeting card display

For years, whenever a holiday came around that involved anyone in our family getting cards of some sort, I would stand them all up on the top of our entertainment center for a week or two so that we could view and enjoy them.  This worked fairly well in several of the places that we lived and although the cards would sometimes fall over or get knocked down, I never thought much about it.

Until we moved into our current house. And the entertainment center was placed right next to our front door. In the winter, this wasn't a problem, but in the spring, summer and fall when we had the door open to let a nice breeze through the house, there were some unintended consequences as far as greeting card displaying went.

They blew over. They blew off the entertainment center onto the floor. I was constantly picking cards up and attempting to stand them back up - which was an interesting feat, especially once they got warped or bent (especially by little fingers when they oh so conveniently landed within reach). And then of course there were times when a card we received was odd-shaped or just wouldn't stand up on its own at all.  The silly things were driving me nuts! I thought about taping them to the wall (tacky! And not to mention sticky tape residue on my walls - yuck) or getting a bulletin board to tack them up on (but what to put on it during the weeks and months with no greeting cards to display?), but just couldn't find an option that I really liked.

Until I noticed the bulletin boards in some friends' houses. Ones that had ribbons criss-crossing them that would hold the items in place with no sharp tacks or pins involved. And that were themselves decorated with fabric so they looked nice even when empty. So I went hunting for one of my own. And last year, while Black Friday shopping, I found this:

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It displays our greeting cards perfectly and matches our living room decor (such as it is anyway) when we have no cards to fill it with. I don't have to worry about the cards being knocked over or pushpins falling onto the floor.  And I can use it to display other things as well - the kids' artwork or photos. It's so easy to slide items in between the ribbons or pull them out when I want to change things up.  This bulletin board really works for me! :)

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

 

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Well at least something's decorated!

So we have a grand total of zero holidays decorations up around the house so far, but I did talk Ron into making a cool new holiday header for my blog - and I love it! :) I played around with the colors a bit too - and I think that Mom of 3 Girls is now properly in the holiday spirit...

It's time to Deck The Blogs if you have one (and you can still participate even if you don't) - why don't you play along? :)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wordless Wednesday #20 - Have fun storming the castle!

Hannahs5thBdayParty

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You say it's your birthday?

In two days, my middle child will be able to use one full hand to show how old she is. Yep, Hannah will  be turning 5!  We had her party this past Sunday, which is why our weekend was on the crazy side with house guests. Thanksgiving was actually on the relaxing side for us this year, LOL. My friend Mary came up on Saturday with her 2 kids and my mom and brother also drove over from Detroit and Ann Arbor that day, thinking the party was on Saturday instead of Sunday.  Oops...  So we had a very full house Saturday night!  :)

The 3 guys (Ron, my brother Donnie and Mary's son Matthew) spent the evening playing a new card game that Donnie had brought - called 'Set'. I won't go through the mechanics of how to play, but let's just say I am not good at this game. Even the 10-year-old (Matthew) was beating me. I think Ron has a new addiction though - I foresee this game showing up in his stocking on Christmas morning...  :)

Mary&DonnieVisit-Nov07_024

With all 3 of our girls having cold-weather birthdays (the closest we get to spring is Abby's on April 3rd and that one's a hit or miss, and pretty much impossible to predict for any particular year...) we are unfortunately restricted to indoor birthday parties. We've done many of them in our house, but I had decided for Abby's 5th birthday party a couple of years ago to take the whole shebang on the road. I liked several things about that - no having to clean my house beforehand and afterwards... No coming up with boring annoying fun games and other ways to keep the kids from tearing the house apart... The down side is, of course, the cost - so it's not an option for every party. But since we'd done Abby's first off-site party for her 5th birthday, we told Hannah she could do hers at the same place as well.

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All of that's a very long-winded (sorry!) way of explaining why Hannah's party was done at a local place that has inflatable stuff for bouncing, ball pits, climbing structures, play houses, games and lots of room for kids to run and make noise. Perfect for birthday parties!

Hannahs5thBdayParty-Playworld_094

One thing I learned after Abby's party, where we'd invited friends, family and all of the girls in her preschool class (9 plus Abby), was that a large party is really, really hard to manage in a place like that. So I limited Hannah's invitations to a total of 10, figuring that some of those kids wouldn't be able to come anyway, especially on a holiday weekend.

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The fact that I never actually got invitations mailed or sent out?  My fault...  I did e-mail or tell people in person, but there were a few kids from school that Hannah wanted to invite and since I didn't know  their last names or how to get a hold of them (and didn't want to send invitations to school since not every kid in the class was being invited), I just let it go.

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So in total we had 6 kids, plus our 3 girls. A couple of the ones we'd invited couldn't make it. It really turned out great though since it was a small enough number that all the kids could really play with each other.

And play they did. They ran, they bounced, they swung on rings over the  ball pits, they slid down slides, they drove plastic riding car toys... We fed them cake, opened the 3 gifts (we had 3 sets of siblings who came), and then ran and played some more.

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By the end of the 2 hours, we had a group of very exhausted, tired, worn-out but happy kids. And one toddler who hadn't napped and was pretty much wandering around in a sugar-induced haze by the end of the party.  :)

Hannahs5thBdayParty-Playworld_060

All in all, it was a really  good time. And I enjoyed talking to my friends Mary and Kristi (we don't all get together in the same place very often anymore), playing air hockey, not chasing Becca around (it was nice to have Ron there!), and (of course) taking pictures!

Here's the photos we took of all 7 of our kids - it's  been about a year since the last time we were all together...  Not the best pictures, but considering that there were 7 tired out kids at the time, not too bad either!

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(Front from L to R = Abby, Emma, Hannah. Back from L  to R = Noah, Aaron, Becca, Matthew)

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Tackle It Tuesday #18 - Big girl bed

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My littlest girl is growing up... Sigh. This weekend we moved her out of the crib and into a 'big-girl' toddler bed. We did it now for a few reasons. First, she has been wanting to climb up onto Hannah's bottom bunk in the girls' room and pretends to sleep on it, complete with tucking a blanket around her and snuggling with her stuffed animals (yes, it's darn cute! See the picture below...). She loves climbing onto the bed in our room as well. She's also tall for her age and I've noticed a few times where her little feet have gotten stuck between the crib slats - something that might be contributing to her midnight awakenings, I think. And, the timing worked out perfectly for a swap as well.

BeccaLyingInHannahsBed_001

You see, my friend Mary is pregnant - her baby is due on Becca's 2nd birthday, in January. They have 2 older kids (10 and 4) but had gotten rid of all of their baby gear after Emma grew out of it. The crib that they thought they could use didn't work out, but they did have a wooden toddler bed that Emma is no longer using.

Cue *light bulb over head* moment that I had in the van while driving back from Detroit a couple of weeks ago...

We have a crib - Becca is ready for a toddler bed. Mary has a toddler bed but needs a crib. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.

Our crib converts into a toddler bed, but even on the lowest setting is still too high for Becca to climb in and out of easily. But in order to get her used to the idea, we went ahead and converted it last weekend, like this:

BeccasCribIntoToddlerBed

She did really well sleeping in it, with just a couple of exceptions. Then, when Mary came up, Ron took the crib apart (Abby helped - she was so proud that she was allowed to use the screwdriver, LOL). and we put the toddler bed in it's place. Then Ron loaded the crib parts into Mary's van and we were all set. :)

Becca is very excited about having her own 'big-girl' bed that she can climb in and out of by herself!

BeccasNewToddlerBed_007

Now I just have to figure out what to do about the fact that she's always slept in the other direction! We'll probably look at re-arranging her room a bit to get the bed facing correctly with her head where it's supposed to be. Her room is a bit trashed after the weekend anyway, so that's the rest of my tackle for this week - to get Becca's room all set and figure out pillow and blankets and all of that. She's slept in the toddler bed for 3 nights now with no fuss, no climbing out when we don't want her to be and very little waking up in the middle of the night. We'll see how it goes from here.

My baby is growing up! *sniff*

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

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Heads or Tails #15 - Mark

This week's topic is Mark. A couple of people named Mark come to mind, but what I'm going to write about is a different kind of mark - the kind that my kids make when they draw or write.

Last weekend after raking leaves, my girls asked to get out the sidewalk chalk. Sure, it was cold and windy, but what the heck - if they wanted to draw... Somehow the colors look so much more vivid now in the autumn than they did when faded by the summer sun.

Here's Hannah's marks on the pavement:
HannahsChalkPictureOnPorch

And Abby's marks:

AbbysChalkPictureOnPorch

Pretty similar, huh! I'm not sure which of them copied from the other, but it's interesting to see the differences and similarities - how each of them leaves their mark on the 'canvas'.

Check out other Heads or Tails posts at Skittles' Place.

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What do you do with 5 bored, tired kids?

Get them together to amuse each other, of course!

So, it was Friday afternoon and Kristi and I were both winding down after a long (long!) morning of shopping. My kids had been home with a babysitter all day and were climbing the walls (so to speak). Kristi's boys had been home with her hubby or out shopping and at lunch and were definitely ready for a change of scenery. So they came over.

It's always fun to watch my girls play with other kids. And they generally play really well together with Kristi's boys - they've known each other all of their lives, which helps too.  Seeing how silly and goofy they can be is always good for a few laughs.

The dress-up clothes were a big hit on this occasion.

Noah Monster  From a 'scary' monster...

WheelerVisit-Nov07_004 To a happy one!

WheelerVisit-Nov07_006 A messy-haired Care Bear.

We put on a Little People video for the kids to watch after dinner to get them wound down.  I think it worked.  At least on Becca and Aaron...

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Yup, the 'big kids' were pretty mesmerized too!

WheelerVisit-Nov07_001

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Give Me Five Monday #2 - Shopping

The topic for this week is, "Give Me Five pet peeves or dislikes associated with shopping." Hmm, I think this one will be easy to do since Black Friday is still so fresh in my mind! smile_regular Having said that though, I do enjoy shopping usually, even with the annoying or frustrating parts of it. And I enjoy it even more when I have money to spend... smile_wink


  1. I think my biggest pet peeve with shopping would have to be when stores don't have enough registers open or enough cashiers to work all of the registers. Especially during peak or busy times - it's one thing to wait in line if everyone working is truly busy, but I hate standing in a long line staring at all of the empty checkouts that could be helping to alleviate the wait.

  2. One thing that we noticed at one store on Friday was that they had several great items advertised, but when we got there, they were out of almost everything. Now, you can generally tell what things are going to be popular, and many stores had adequate stock of all of the big deals and kept re-stocking throughout the morning, but this one had apparently not planned well enough ahead. It's incredibly annoying to make an effort to shop somewhere only to not find anything that you wanted to buy there!

  3. Shopping with kids can be either wonderful, or in my usual experience, incredibly stressful. There's usually no avoiding the whining, begging, running down aisles, etc. unless you either strap them into the stroller or shopping cart (add screaming to the list) or threaten/bribe them well enough. I don't mind when other people's kids are throwing fits or tantrums - my own do so plenty, so I usually give a commiserating look to the parent and move on. But one thing does annoy me - when people bring kids shopping on busy days like Black Friday, when you know that the stores are going to be a crazy mess and the lines are going to be long. Little kids shouldn't have to be expected to behave during hour-plus long waits or be punished when they get bored, tired, hungry or restless. It's just not fair to them. I know there may not be a lot of options for parents, but finding a babysitter if possible is better for everyone, I think.

  4. Sloooooowwwwww lines at the checkout. I know there are a lot of good reasons why lines move slowly, and I've caused backups myself enough times, but I still hate to wait for a slow-moving line, especially since I always seem to pick the slowest one when I'm in a hurry!

  5. The last one that I can think of at the moment is when stores play music way too loud. All that makes me want to do is leave - not spend money there!
So what are your 5 pet peeves or dislikes about shopping? Head on over to Becca's Buzz to share yours and check out more!

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