Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Can't Miss the Movie

Any given weekend or summer night, you might find all three of the older kids camped out on the girls' bedroom floor in their sleeping bags.  It is as if they think it is a sleepover, of sorts.  They never complain that the floor is too hard.  Actually, they don't really even try to stay up late anymore.  

One of the first weekends that we had CM visit, I wanted to do something a little special for the big kids because they had been so patient and helpful.  While we tried to soothe the little girls into their bedtime routine, I set up a movie on the portable DVD player in the girls' room for them to watch.  They have never had a TV in their room so the idea went over well.

After the two little ones settled down, H and I got caught up in cleaning up, setting out clothes, checking email, etc.  Then J came down and whimpered that she was tired now.  I told that since she'd seen the movie before, she could go ahead and go to sleep.  I kissed her and she took off to her room.  

The kids were so quiet and content watching the movie.  It was great.  Then I noticed that it was getting a  little late, so I went up to check on them.  I opened the door to see the DVD player turned off and put away, and everyone sound asleep.  YEAH!!!!  I didn't think twice.  I kissed everyone and got ready for bed, feeling content about how responsible they had been.  A minor parenting victory!

The next day, I thanked them for cleaning up and going straight to sleep when the movie was over.  

L and P gave each other a confused look and said..."What? Wait a minute! J came upstairs and told us that you said that we HAVE TO turn off the movie and go to bed, so we did."

I looked over at J to see how she would defend herself this time...

He words said, "Well...I didn't want to miss the movie."

Her face said, "DUH."

That girl has a tricky little mind.  Watch out for that one. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sharing Saturday- Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Our oldest child is in love with horses and was even more excited to know that 
horseback riding is also being used therapeutically for adults and children with disabilities.  We decided to 
research organizations that do this, in our area.  

You can "meet the team" on their website.  L's favorite is "Sky" because 
he "looks really gentle and sweet...and really cute."

P.S. They are also looking for sponsors, donations, and volunteers. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kitchen: Finally Finished Friday!

I have a functioning kitchen and half bath now.  I have a kitchen table that will seat my whole family so I am not standing at the counter (unless I want to).  I am happy to announce that the remodel is over (mostly).  Now we do have a few things to do to finish it off, but the contractor part is finished. 
We still need to put everything away, put up the new lights, touch up paint on walls and ceiling, and one more coat of slate sealer is needed on the backsplash before the face plates can be put back on,
but it feels great to see it all come together. 
We love it.

Here's a few BEFORE pictures...

Now the AFTER pictures...
 Our new table from IKEA.  It is big now but has 2 more leaves, so come on by for dinner.

This is the overall look.  We'll add another stool to the island and one to the office area.

Like my little rooster book ends?  I am still undecided but I love the slate backsplash I got on clearance.

These are basic tan curtains from Wal-Mart with a ribbon sewn onto the bottom for a little pizazz.  Thank you Grandma for your help!

The updated half bathroom.  A little boring but I am working on adding color and frames.

Our solid surface countertop and sink, along with a shiny new faucet.  I missed having a kitchen sink the most.  So glad to have it and the dishwasher back!

I guess that I actually have to cook now.  ERR.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Funnies: My Mama...

We had been playing at the park for a while, JJ was getting restless, and I gave the kids a 5 minute warning. 

PT had been playing with a friend from school that happened to be there at the same time so I can only imagine that he wasn't thrilled about leaving.  When I told them it was time to go, PT suddenly morphed into a singer-songwriter...or rapper...or something.   I overheard him "sing" this rhythmless lyric...

"My mama's butt is soooo big she's making me gooooo."

I pulled him aside and spoke to him about it.  I swear that kid had NO idea why I was irritated.  He didn't seem to want to hurt my feelings and wasn't looking to get in trouble.  I just never know what is going on inside that head of his.  It was as if his first "Yo mama" joke turned it into a "My mama" joke.

Oh well, I hope he doesn't try to make a career of it.  I don't think my ego will survive.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sharing Saturday: March of Dimes

This past two weeks, we have been very concerned for friends that H has known since college.  Their triplets came early and unexpectedly at 25 weeks.  I can only imagine what their first few days of parenthood has been like with just dramatic ups and downs.  They have been writing updates that fill us in on the details of their struggle as well as paint a beautiful picture of what each of their little ones is like. 
We can tell that they are such wonderful parents already. 

Sadly, their son "J " passed away a few days ago and they greatly need prayers for their daughters "A" and "E."   Please pray for the little girls, their parents and family, and for their medical team. 

In honor of these children and their VERY brave parents,
we are making a donation to the March of Dimes.
Their mission statement is "working together for stronger, healthier babies."  
You can learn more about their "Prematurity Campaign" here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Simply" Perfect

This birthday has been great!
It has been filled with simple and thoughtful gifts and birthday wishes.

I woke up this morning to...

Freshly baked cinnamon rolls, 2 dozen roses, and Lime tortilla chips (my fav) from my hubby.
Notice that they are on our new kitchen table that he put together last night.  Love that guy!

Then, as all confident 35 year old women who have turned 29 seven times, do on the morn of their birthday, I dyed my hair.
Bye bye gray hairs...for 4-6 weeks at least.

With my hair all-a-goo, all of my dreams came true.  Starbucks delivered to my house!!
Not really, but my dear friend Tricia did.  Yeah!!

Then my sweet L presented me with my gift.

How clever is she? This is a card that is also a frame on the back.
Notice her wording: "Jokes so bad it's funny"

Then J gave me her gift.  Man, was she excited!
There is a picture of she and I, an orange silly band, and a piece of cardboard with eye stickers on it.

She said that the eyes will make me happy when I am sad.  It has made me very happy already.

PT suddenly remembered that he never finished the project he was making for me.  Instead, I
received a private reading of a comic he wrote.  He said he wrote it when he "was like 5."
The best plot ever: super hero fights off toilet-themed super villains. 
I am not sure if he meant to, but he has hugged me freely at least 3 times today!!!

I spent lunch time at a friend's house. 
We got to chat while our many kids played and put on a show for us.
Thank goodness for the little ones' naptime that followed.

H came home from work and surprised me with a frame that I have wanted from Pier 1 Imports.
It has room for 5 pictures and says, "May all of your dreams come true."
I am hoping to fill it with little faces.

H grilled out burgers and we had a simple and yummy dinner at home.
We had chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream for dessert and I was serenaded by a
choir of children as they sang, "Happy Birthday."

I have had a few minutes to read messages on Facebook and listen to phone messages.  I am
thankful for the birthday wishes.

Tomorrow, I get to go out to breakfast.  Just me and my dad.  It's a date!
We'll have dinner with H's family on Sunday.  Carrot cake, yum!

As I blog and watch Pay It Forward, H is cleaning up the dishes so that we can have some time together and possibly
get a whole night's sleep. What more could a girl ask for, seriously?

I am happy today.  I am blessed to have family and friends whom I love so much.  I am so thankful to each of them.  Life is good and today was crazy at times simply perfect.

Even if I am 35 already!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We're Recruiting!!

NEEDED: (2-3) Adults without small children willing to join us at all "Kids Eat Free" events. 

JOB DESCRIPTION: The qualified individual(s) will be required to pose as the "parent" to one of our children throughout the duration of a meal and during checkout.

QUALIFICATIONS:  A good sense of humor and table manners desired.  A clear understanding of the terrible injustice being placed on large families participating in "Kids Eat Free" nights when "only one child per paying adult" restrictions are being unfairly instituted, is required.  A flexible value system may be beneficial.

BENEFITS:  You will be allowed to choose which of our very cute children will be "your child" for the evening.  Reimbursement may include messes, jokes, laughter, bathroom trips, dessert requests, sibling squabbles, and moderately tasty food.  Payment in full at time of service.

HAZARDS:  Children can be unpredictable, have a tendency to whine at times, and may get you dirty.

BONUS:  You get to go home alone :)

 FINAL REQUIREMENT: Don't forget. Must also be willing to pay for your own meal.

INQUIRE: Via blog comment.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are You Kidding Me?

Yesterday was not my best day.  It truly was a manic Monday.

I did the normal morning and lunch routines with all five kids.  We packed up and heading to JJ's therapy program.  The older kids didn't do their reading that day so they decided it would be a great idea for  L to read to them in the car since PT and J get car sick.  Sounded good to me.

We get out the door but later than I hoped.  We might be a little late.
I turn onto the main road at the exit of our subdivision. 
The other lane is completely torn up and there is no detour signs or visible traffic control.
The road workman at the end of the road sent traffic my way...head on!
I detour myself and find my way back to our starting point. Errrr.

I get out of the subdivision a different route.
We are stopped  for a lengthy time by the (previously mentioned) unseen traffic control person at  the intersection.  Now we are officially going to be late.

I make it to the highway and make decent time.
Then the highway comes to a stop for a little while for a wreck or something.
Now we are very late!
At least the kids are really content listening to the book.

I turn into a spot in the parking garage.
I start grab braces, snacks, my purse, and the diaper bag.
I hear the dreaded words for PT, "Mom, I am going to throw up!"
I throw myself out of the car and bolt to his side and...THE DOOR IS LOCKED!!
PT's cheeks bulge out as he tries to pry the impossible lock up.
He unlocks it and I whip the door open.
I lift him out and....SPLAT!
This splatter hit both of our shoes and severely blocked the car next to us from accessing their door.
(So very sorry Mr. Blue Car Owner)

Don't forget we are really late now.
J repeatedly comments how terribly DISGUSTING it is.
We hurry back into the car to move a few spots away from the splatter.
I look back in the mirror.
J's cheeks are bulging out too!

Again, I throw my body out of the car and run around to her side.
I grab her and whisk her out of the car and SPLAT!
Luckily, a much smaller splat this time.
I check on both of them and they confirm that they "feel good now" and that
they weren't reading the words but they were staring at the words and pictures the whole time.
I review what not to do if you get CAR SICK.

We practically run to JJ's appointment to be greeted by, "Great, we weren't sure we'd see you today."
Then a bunch of questions about our fall plans for therapy follow.
I assure them that this may not be the best moment to ask about my desire to keep making this trip
a couple times each week with a handful of small children.

We spend the next two hours keeping ourselves busy at the gift shop and walking around
which is tiring in itself.
We pick her back up and everything is back on track.

The kids play.
JJ enjoys a slice of fruit.
I go to wipe her mouth and simultaneously her gag reflex kicks in and SPLAT!
Right into my hand.
I think again, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"
JJ just smiled at me sweetly.

I take CM back to her family, get some things done, and make it to bed later than I hoped.
(Actually, I make a bed on the couch due days of having a nagging cough.)
I am happy to leave some of today behind.
I am having a better night's sleep.
Then H comes down and flips on a light in the other room.
I sit straight up, a little startled and hazy.
"What's wrong? What's going on?"
He quietly says, "L just threw up."

All I can say,

Update:  Don't worry, all of the kids seem fine today and we had no further splatter issues.  However, H came home from work today and said he felt a little nauseous! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday Funnies: J's Checkup Gets A Little Uncomfortable

J was getting her 4 year old check-up last week and everything was pretty routine.  The doctor
reviewed with her that when at a doctor's office (with the permission of mom or dad) it was okay for the doctor to briefly look at her private parts to make sure everything is okay.

As the doctor took a very quick glance, J turned her head to me, made a perplexed little face,
and said very matter-of-factly,

"Now,  this is a little inappropriate."

Before she could finish saying it, the doctor was done and we looked at each other and slightly grinned.  What a big remark from such a little body! Poor thing was just uncomfortable and who wouldn't be?

Needless to say, we reviewed appropriate and inappropriate behavior again and reminded her that it is always okay to tell us if something or someone makes her uncomfortable. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sharing Saturday: Stranger

H and I had a "date" tonight!  We met some friends for a really nice dinner and went to Graeter's for yummy dessert.  On our way home, a stranger approached us in the parking lot. 

He, his girlfriend, and a small child were traveling to and from Akron today to see a grandmother that had suffered a stroke. They were almost out of gas.  Would we help get him some gas?

First of all, I was pretty caught off guard.  I just looked at H and waited for his response.  H smiled at him and said, if you follow us up to the gas station, we can help you out.  The man and his family did just that.  We got them some gas (and they truly were on "empty") and we all went our separate ways.

When H returned to the car, we both felt a little uneasy.

Did we just get taken?

Who knows?  Maybe or maybe not?  It doesn't really matter at this point, does it?  After all, we can't control what others do with our good will.

How do you deal with requests from people you don't know??

P.S.  Grandma, thank you so much for babysitting!!! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Do We Have To Have Quiet Time EVERY DAY??

Well, everyone is past having a naptime except JJ (and CM when she's with us).  However, I haven't been feeling very good over that last few days, therefore, I have needed a few minutes of calm around this place to lessen my headaches.  I have went back to instituting a little "quiet time" or "down time" in the afternoon when possible.  They can read, play very quietly, or sleep.  With all of the time in the sun, later bedtimes,
and summertime fun we all seem to need it.

Today, PT said "Mom, do we have to have quiet time EVERY DAY??"

My simple reply, "Yes."

Sometimes parenting can feel like treading water.  Sometimes you just need to make it to the
shore to take a quick "breather" before you jump right back into it.  Believe me, my "breather" usually involves getting a task completed that has been undone for way too long, paperwork completed, posts written, mail read, or phone calls are finally returned.  There are no bon-bons involved (however, at the moment I am having a piece of the kids' confiscated candy without them knowing).

What do you all do to recharge?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Remodel Update

I haven't blogged in way too long but frankly, remodel ups and downs,
multiple doctor and therapy appointments, a head cold, a leak in the basement, a trip to Columbus to shop with friends (so fun), swim lessons, and go-go-go with the kids has taken over.

As for the remodel, it is starting to look great and we are beginning to see it all come together. 
Here is a little picture tour. 
Lookin' good.
But what's up with the hole in the great room wall?

 Uh oh!! We noticed over the weekend that water was leaking through the basement dry wall ceiling and had gotten our carpet wet as well. We discovered (with a plumber's help) that when a screw (that was in a pipe) was unscrewed, a leak formed and was running down the inside of the wall.  Great huh?
Good thing it is fixable.  Brett is patching the holes that we now have in the kitchen and our great room, and will address the basement ceiling as needed.  Soon we won't even know that it happened.

Here's the new cabinets.

 The desk area.
 The sink and stove areas with the new microwave.  The best part is that I read the numbers on this one vs. our old one.  (By the way, anyone want a black, large countertop microwave that cooks well (even has a popcorn button) but the digital numbers aren't readable?  Free to a good home.)
This island is my favorite.  The drawers are deep and the cabinet on the right has a pot and pan organizer. 

Brett from The Boss Home Improvement and Remodeling has kept the project moving right along.  The countertop is being made, backsplash tile is chosen, and a few minor ceiling and wall touch ups stand between us and a completed project. 

 I would also love to show you the picture of the updated bathroom (Thanks honey.) but my camera battery just died and the charger must be packed away in one of the many boxes in the basement or garage.
Wish me luck on finding that. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Where'd the Food Go?

Dinner seemed to go a little too smoothly.

They liked the food...tilapia, edamame, and corn.

They loved eating outside on the deck, picnic style.

No one tried to negotiate for less of something.

My thought...This is an Oreo's for dessert kind of night.  So the kids ate 'em up quickly and we move on to clean up.  This is what I found when I picked up J's plate and cup.

Food is gone.  Just shells from the edamame left.  "Way to go J!" I thought.

This is where it all went!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sharing Saturday: ReStore

Most people have heard of Habitat for Humanity but now we are more familiar with
our local ReStore organization. 

The website reports the ReStore Mission as the following...
"The Cincinnati Habitat ReStore is a building materials recycling center that provides a sustainable source of income to Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity. The ReStore accepts material donations from a variety of sources and uses new materials whenever possible in the construction of Habitat homes. The balance is sold to the public at greatly reduced prices.
Cincinnati Habitat's ReStore is an extension of our housing ministry. Your donation will benefit our entire community by offering low cost building materials and items to our customers and it will keep recyclable materials out of our area landfills. It will also help eliminate sub-standard housing in our neighborhoods through our home building efforts."

You can also donate your used/broken electronics and Ohio Drop Off will pay Habitat for Humanity for being a drop off location.  Check it out here.
We were really to have the opportunity donate our older cabinets, 2 sinks, 2 faucets, and countertops from our kitchen and half bathroom.  We also donated our dishwasher. 

They did come to pick up the donations, however, they recommend a $10 donation to offset delivery expenses. 

If you aren't local, don't forget to check out Habitat for Humanity and ReStore in your area.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

She's On the Move

JJ gave new meaning to "Independence Day" this year. 
She decided, while at a family Fourth of July party, to take her first few independent steps.  This immediately turned into walking about 7 feet for cheers and applause, of course.

As some of you might know, she has Cerebral Palsy and has been doing therapy since she was tiny.  Now at 19 months, she has achieved a goal that we have been anticipating for a long time.  As a therapist and her very biased mom, I was always confident that she would walk despite her difficulties.  However, I was caught a little off-guard by how emotional it was be for me when she did.  I have caught myself tearing up over and over since then (including now), but why?

I remember feeling proud, as well as, cheering and applauding when each of our children reached this exciting milestone.  It still makes me smile to think about it.  The difference this time is that I don't just see her taking steps without me.  I see her overcoming an obstacle and possibly exceeding some people's expectations.  I see her being one step closer to reaching all of her physical goals.  I see the reward of her working so hard for months in therapy and at home. 

I am one proud mama.

She is one tough cookie.

 ...and now she is on the move!

Watch out world!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Funnies: CM is Sweet and Silly

As most of you know, we have been spending a lot of time with CM in hopes of transitioning her into our home in the next few weeks.  Everyone involved is trying to work together to give her ample time to feel comfortable.  We want to give her as healthy of a transition as possible. 

When she's here, I am always caught up in the organized and unorganized chaos that only 5 young children and a remodel can bring.  So I want to take a moment to jot down a few of the sweet and funny first moments with us, so that I don't forget them.

During her second day with us, we noticed that we were having a little trouble hearing her at times.  We were adjusting to her 2 year old vocabulary and her quiet voice.  We all went outside to ride bike and her face lit up.  She had a great time trying to pedal a bike.  Then we got out the Cozy Coupe.  As we moved down the sidewalk a bit, she saw a neighbor across the street, busted out a great big smile, and unexpectedly shouted, "THIS IS MY CAR, YO!"   The neighbor and I couldn't help but laugh to hear such a big voice out such a little body.  I think she was starting to be herself.


On a different occasion, CM was running around playing.  She came over to me while I was working at the computer.  I picked her up and sat her up on the computer desk in front of me.  We were talking and she smiled and looked right at me and said, "Mama, I love your hair."  I melted a little bit with that little connection (although I thought she might be a little near-sighted, just kidding) and smile.  "CM, I love your hair too." I said.  We gave each other a hug, and off she went to play. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sharing Saturday: Cystic Fybrosis Foundation

This week we are supporting someone who is running the Chicago Marathon in the fall.  He is raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Rob and his wife Meg are driven to raise money for research as the search for better treatments and a cure continues because their young son has cystic fibrosis.  Luckily for Nolan, he is thriving and doing great!  We all hope that this continues and we pray for a cure for all of the families affected by this condition.  If you would like to contribute to Rob's efforts, click here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Our Goals

Last night we met with our case worker to talk about our re-certification as a foster and adoptive home.  There is paperwork, of course, as well as, a few interview questions.  One question stuck with me...

What is your goal for this upcoming year as a foster family?

The answer was simple for H and I.

To be an adoptive family (and for me to be better at doing JJ's hair).

Even more simply, we just want to be a family. 

I have realized that our family has been constantly growing and adjusting for almost 9 years.  Selfishly, I'd love to have our family complete and to adjust to being together forever.  No more waiting.  No more worries (related to foster care or adoption of the girls).  No more uncertainty for the children.  No more calling for permission to go out of state or to give a medication.  No more "foster mom" or the "hopeful adoptive mom". 

I just want to be "Mom."

We hope to settle into the blessing-filled chaos that comes with a big family. 
We just want to love all of our kids for the rest of our lives.

We pray that it is God's plan as well.  In the meanwhile, we'll be having a heck of a good time.