Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

We carved pumpkins yesterday. Emily's is the one with star eyes.

Ben has officially declared Halloween as his favorite holiday, even over Christmas. He doesn't even really care for the candy. He just likes to dress up. Although, I'm sure he'll change his tune come December.

We have two different trick or treat events to go to later today.
Hope you have a fun Halloween.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Party

Last night, our friends were hosting a Halloween party. We met them three years ago when we were trick or treating in our neighborhood. They lived around the corner from us and we quickly became friends. I wrote about them a few months ago here. They just moved into a new home in Prescott, about 25 minutes from us. I was excited to see their new home and visit with friends and the kids were excited for the party.

We have three different dress up events this weekend, so I told them lets dress up as three different things. So last night, Ben was double Batman because he combined two Batman costumes. Emily went as a pretty witch, and Noah was Batbaby.

David and Noah hanging out at the party.

They made hot dogs and chili and chili dogs. We all brought side dishes and dessert, and there was a huge igloo full of hot cocoa. Perfect for a cold night.

Emily and her friend Alanah were both witches.

We went out front to get Noah's stroller and this girl on her horse showed up. I said, "You're either Sacagawea or Pocahontas." She was Sacagawea. Only in Prescott would somebody arrive on horseback to a party.

She took the horse in the backyard so all the kids could pet her. A few minutes later, the horse had enough and left a party favor for the kids as she was leaving. I guess she didn't enjoy the party?

They thought of everything in making this a fun party for the kids. They put up their tent trailer and had ghost stories being told in there.

Sacagawea is telling my friend Dakri about the surgery they did on this guy earlier. We all got to feel brains, guts, an ear, bones and eye balls!

They have a lot of property and they made a haunted forest for the kids to walk through. Ben and Emily are waiting their turn.

David went with them which was good because Ben got a little freaked out.

We had such a great night. Ending with two out of three kids falling asleep on the drive home. We are so blessed that we have met such great friends up here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Big Boy

I thought Noah was getting 4 teeth at once. He's getting 6 - 4 molars, 2 incisors and I'm sure the other 2 incisors are just waiting to grace us with their presence. What this means is that Noah is very very cranky, which means Mommy is very very cranky. In order for both of us to make it out alive, I am going to give him Tylenol and Ibuprofen throughout the day. I made this decision yesterday when Ben was holding his ears and asked if he could go in my room and watch TV with the door closed because Noah was giving him a headache. He even said, "Noah is a pain the butt." Whew...I thought he was going to end the sentence with another choice word that I know I used a few times yesterday. Enter Ibuprofen and we got a 2 hour nap and a happy baby the rest of the night. Thank God!

With Noah's new teeth, the kid is becoming very picky. He doesn't want fruit or vegetables or any of his old favorites like yogurt. He wants toast, granola bars, goldfish crackers, pasta. The kid just wants to carbo load. And since I am picking and choosing my battles these days rather than check myself into an insane asylum, I am indulging his carbo loading.

This mornings breakfast was a nutrigrain bar while watching Sesame Street with a side of Tylenol.


I am never winning mother of the year.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Complete

I always wear a mother/child pendant on my necklace. It's simple and pretty and reminds me of my kids. My old one had two birthstones, one for Em and one for Ben. For my birthday, David got me a new one with Noah's stone in it.

The baby is in gold and the mother is in silver. Since Em and Noah are both August, she has already claimed that she is the bigger one at the head.

And since we are done having children, my necklace is complete.
I love it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Around Our House

We said goodbye to Grampie on Saturday. The kids always love when he visits. We will all miss him.

Aunt Pam (my BFF) can't make it up for a visit before Halloween, so she sent the kids some gifts in the mail. She's always so sweet and gets them books for each holiday. She's been a big contributor in our 500 book library for the kids.

As soon as they opened them, they immediately went to sit down and start reading.

Even Noah wanted in on the deal.

Yesterday another box arrived filled with goody bags of candy. They were in the process of putting goody bags together for Em's class and we had to stop to enjoy some sweet treats. Even Noah was enjoying a bag of M&M's.

The kids somehow convinced me to make pumpkin cookies. I don't' think they had to twist my arm too much. These are my favorite. I love them, a little too much. We all do. We will eat 3 dozen cookies in 3 days. The kids were busy "helping" me make cookies. Which means Emily was eating the leftover pumpkin in the can and Ben was licking sugar off his hand.

Noah got his first taste and he is a fan as well.

Em and Ben put on a tap dance for Noah the other night. I love that Ben will put on tap shoes and dance with his sister, and Em will put on a karate outfit and have fun doing that. They are awesome.

Emily has her very first field trip today to a pumpkin patch in Chino Valley. She is so excited. Not necessarily about the field trip or the pumpkin patch, she can't wait to ride in a school bus! I can't wait to hear what she thought about it.

Last night was the annual changeover from cotton to flannel sheets. And just in time, the house was 63 degrees this morning. Tonight the heat will have to go on.
Last year at this time, we had our first snow flurries of the season. Hoping that can hold off a little longer as it feels like Fall just got here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Back

When we got back from San Diego, I couldn't find my groove. Everything that I used to do felt like a chore, dishes, laundry, carpool - yuck, I just didn't want to do any of it. I spent my days playing on the computer, reading a book and catching up on TV shows that we missed while we were gone. I wondered when I'd get my mojo back.

Noah is getting 4 teeth at once. Two molars on the bottom and two of the canine teeth on top. He's been a little out of sorts this weekend. He was running a slight fever due to the teething and was not happy.

Friday night he was screaming in his crib. It was 3 in the morning and I was tired. I got Noah and brought him in bed with me. David went to sleep on the sofa. I had read somewhere that being held by a parent is better than medicine when a baby is sick. So that's what I did.

I had on a big scoopneck t-shirt and I put him right on top of me. His head rested on my bare chest. I could tell he was instantly soothed. I realized that I hadn't held him quite like this since we did kangaroo care in the NICU.

Kangaroo care is skin on skin contact. You take off your shirt and bra and wear a hospital gown with the opening in the front. The baby lays on your bare skin. Hearing your heartbeat and being warmed by your body helps babies thrive.

I layed with Noah on me for over three hours. If I tried to roll him to the side, he would wake up and cry. So I just held him. I rubbed his head which was right under my chin and his toes were at my knees. When did he grow so much? A year ago, he was like a tiny kitten. Now, he was the length of half my body, which isn't exactly hard as I'm only 63 inches. Time is going by too quickly. I soaked up my alone time with my baby boy. And I thrived. Maybe kangaroo care is just as much for the parent as it is for the baby.

I found my mojo in my son at 4 AM. Who knew? It's always the last place you look. I realized that the things I do everyday aren't chores. I'm taking care of my family, the people I love the most in this world, and that is never a chore.

Noah was content to lay like this all weekend taking turns between David and I. David is laying on Noah's pillow pet. Maybe I should get him one for Christmas.

And then last night, tough love had to set in. Noah got used to sleeping on us in just two days. He liked it and he wanted to keep doing it. I let him scream for over an hour. I went in to check on him to make sure he wasn't wet or stuck in his crib. And when I left he yelled, "Mama". It was the first time he ever called me Mama and I felt horrible that I couldn't go in and just love on him.

But, I held my ground and let him cry it out.
Mama with all her mojo is stubborn.
He finally fell asleep and so did I.
I am back in the groove.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

5 Grandkids

My father in law has been visiting for almost three weeks. He leaves today for Orlando. My job is to put all of the pictures from his three weeks onto discs for my mother in law. Actually several times a year, I send her all of our photos on CD. For the kid's birthday every year, she makes wonderful DVD's of each kid with all of the pictures with music and captions. They are awesome.

When we went to San Diego, she had wanted a photo of all 5 of her grandkids. Let me just say that the grandkids are 6, 4, almost 2, 1 and 10 months. Which means, it is virtually impossible to get a photo of all 5 kids together.

We were all together earlier this year in March and this was the best we could do.

When I was putting all the pictures on CD tonight, I realized that we got a great picture of all 5 grandkids last week in San Diego.

Drumroll...

And that's as good as it gets.
Sorry Gwynne...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mojo Where Are You?

I still can't find my mojo. I'm sure it will return next week, just in time for Halloween and parties. Or maybe it will return because of Halloween and parties. It's always a fun time of year.

In any case, this is Ben's cute picture he drew at preschool today. Can you tell the letter of the week is R? I see quite a few R's in his picture, but he told me it's his family. The teacher wrote on top what Ben said about the picture. "I love my sister. I love my brother." Isn't that sweet? I think I'm the little person on the bottom left whose head got smeared by a rain drop on the way out of class.

I still feel like my head is smeared by a rain drop.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another Year, Another School Picture

Things have been busy since we got home. I just can't seem to find my groove. We were only gone for 8 days, but it seems like I forgot how to run my household.

While I continue to try to figure it out, please enjoy Emily's 1st grade picture. It scanned in way redder than it appears, but I don't have time to adjust it. She looks cute no matter what.

Need to make dinner, get to gymnastics, get homework done...how did I do all this before? I don't remember. I think I left my brains on the beach.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Unexpected Highlights From Our Trip

We made it home safe and sound. We took a different route which was longer in mileage, but cut out the super windy road that we all puke on. It also shaved off about 10 minutes of our drive. We are tired, unpacking and glad to be home.

I wanted to point out two cool things about the week that were unexpected.

Who would think that a supermarket would be picture worthy? Not me. But, this Ralph's in San Diego is so cool. Parking is at a premium, so you park in the underground garage and take the escalator up to the store.

Even better when you leave with your grocery cart, you take it down the escalator. It locks into place, so you don't go flying down. Pretty cool. Ok...maybe I'm easily impressed?

Our beach house is truly lovely. It looked pretty in the online ad. But you just don't know what you'll get when you get here. We needed a place to sleep 10 people. I didn't want anybody to have to sleep on the sofa for a week, so it was difficult to find a place. This home is perfect.

The cost was $2,000 for the week plus tax and cleaning fees. We split it with David's sisters family. $1200 for each of us for the week wasn't very much since we've made lots of meals here. This home also has every perk you can imagine, beach chairs, umbrellas, BBQ, hammock on the balcony, they even had birthday candles which the kids used to sing me happy birthday.

When choosing a home, I made sure it had air conditioning. You'd think you would just want the ocean breeze and sound of waves crashing, but things aren't always that perfect. The first two nights were on the hot and humid side. And since I could jump from roof to roof here, there isn't any privacy as far as noise goes.

I'm a light sleeper. I wear ear plugs to bed and have a fan on to reduce noise and I could still hear the kids whimper across our house. And if you ask what noise the fan reduces, I have no idea. There isn't any noise in Prescott Valley. No traffic, no loud cars with music, nothing.

The first night we turned on the AC as there was a beach festival going on. People were hooting and hollering and having fun. With the windows open, it sounds like they are in the house with us. The AC didn't work. We called the property manager who also couldn't get it working. The next day I e-mailed the owner of the home. I thought maybe we weren't doing something right. I also didn't want her to think we broke it.

As it turns out the AC is broken. I didn't really care as after the second night, it cooled down a lot. Sure, the outside noise was a bit bothersome with the windows open. Something woke us up every night and Emily too and sometimes Noah. Ben sleeps like a rock. One night it was a few people going to their car in the alley and chatting away. Another night the guy next door tried to start his car 11 times at midnight. Oh and there were people walking down the alley talking about how high they were from all the "blow" they just did. Then last night, a guy on a bicycle with a boom box attached to the handle bars rode by our house blasting Herbie Hancock's Rockit. While I have done the robot to this 1983 tune a few dozen times, it's a little annoying when you are trying to sleep. Every morning we'd talk about it and it was almost like a dream. Did you hear the neighbors alarm clock at 4 AM? It was kind of funny.

The owner e-mails us Tuesday and tells us she isn't repairing the AC and will give us a full refund. What? We were in shock. I didn't even really complain about the AC, just brought it to her attention so she didn't think we broke it. But we all felt a little guilty about getting a full refund. We are enjoying her house and loving our vacation. The AC was just a tiny detail. It wasn't a big deal.

Then my husband, who is a much better person than I am, says we should tell her that we don't want the refund. What? What? What? Maybe he was doing blow in the alley with those people. But, he was right and we all felt the same way.

So, I sent her an e-mail and told her we wanted to pay something to stay in her home for the week. Maybe refund the first two nights and we'll pay the rest. We are 100% happy here and we crack up at the tales from the midnight hour in the morning. David and I were in tears laughing about Herbie Hancock the next day.

She sent back an e-mail stating she is giving us a full refund regardless.
That much money is huge for us.
Who goes on vacation and makes $2400?
Us! That's who.
We'll take it. Happily. Even though we still feel a little guilty.

Friday, October 15, 2010

San Diego, Day 7 1/2, Beach Day

After all the babies woke up from their naps...

...we headed back down to the beach. Our last dip in the water.

I will really miss these two guys together. They were so cute...sharing food, fighting over superheros.

They are so alike and so different. They cry almost identical. Noah is content to sit on the blanket and stay dry.

Greg is like a tractor plowing over the sand.

David got in some boogie boarding.

The girls practiced surfing.

I wanted to get a picture of all 5 kids together, but even getting my three was difficult.

Since it was our last day, I had to give the boogie board a try. I caught an awesome wave.

And got all wet.

There were some guys doing 50 yard sprints down the beach and Ben wanted to beat them. He actually did really well.

We had a great dinner here at the house and started packing things up.
Sad to leave, but taking great memories with us.
We'll be back.

San Diego, Day 7, Beach Day

We woke up this morning and it was overcast. There was a mist in the air and it was chilly, but we weren't going to let that stop us from heading to the beach.

Noah practiced walking with David first.

The water was cold and the air was colder. But, the kids didn't seem to mind.


But in 62 degree weather, the kids got cold quickly. So, we headed back to the room and let Noah nap.

Then, we all went for a walk to Crystal Pier on Pacific Beach.


The kids were watching the surfers.



These boys were cool just chillin' in their strollers.

Little Rachel was trying to keep up with her big cousins.

Emily catching a free ride...again.

We were asking a fisherman on the pier when the dolphin usually come by. He told us they swim up and down the shoreline all day, but he hadn't seen them today. So we started leaving and a minute later we spotted them.
Three dolphins swimming by the pier.

We are having a barbecue at home tonight. Steaks and shrimp. We will hit the beach again in a little bit for one last frolic on the shore. We have lots to pack up and we are heading home tomorrow around 9:00. It's been a great trip.