Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Things I Won't Pay More For...

There are a few things that I will NOT, or at least, try NOT to pay a premium for.

1.  Mommy and Me Classes
I am doing most of the work, dang it.
Plus, I have to find a way to entertain my other kids if Dad isn't available.
They need to cut the price a bit, buy me a drink,
tip me, or something!

2.  Large Designer Labels
I have never cared about having name brands or designer labels
so it is easy for me to avoid the big names...for now.
I am well aware that the teenage years are approaching for my daughters, and all of my ideas may change, but I will hold out for as long as I can.
I am not getting paid to advertise for them so I am not going to pay extra
to wear their label/logo/design.
I am not necessarily talking about wearing a specific brand,
but rather wearing a sweatshirt or purse with the name/logo largely plastered across the front.
While, I still don't perfer to be a billboard for the company,
I don't mind as much if I purchased the item second hand or on clearance.
I just try not to pay a premium to do so.

There are a few things that I will pay extra for...
1. I will sometimes pay a premium for convenience.
I have been known to drive farther to access the Starbucks with a drive-thru,
when we treat ourselves to overpriced coffee, which is rare now that we have a Keurig.
2.  I like, when the budget allows, to buy...
from local businesses,
items with greater safety or quality for the kids,
or things that could last a long time like a home or car.

What will you pay or not pay a premium for??

Monday, January 28, 2013


Some people actually run on their treadmill.

Some people hang clothes on their treadmill.

Some people use it for this...

At our place, we turn Mommy's treadmill into a beautiful "mansion"
(complete with various rooms)
and have a total fit when Mommy dares to use it.

I guess I should just go ahead and blame these kids for my thighs, huh?

Friday, January 25, 2013

That's My Girl

Sometimes it is hard to tell,
but Maryn has cerebral palsy.
She has been in therapy since she was just a few months old.
She had a stroke sometime as an infant which affects the use of the right side of her body.

The reason I bring it up now, is that when I was
going through old paperwork to file important adoption and foster paperwork
I came across some of the very 1st  notes from our visits with neurologists, therapists, and case workers.
It brought back a lot of emotion.
I recalled being so afraid for her health, fearful for her future,
pressure to be a good advocate for her,
thrilled with every new milestone she reached, thankful for all of the help she received,
in awe of her determination,
and determined to help her achieve her best.

Maryn is now three.
She is a rockstar.
She continues to get better and better
and is smart as a whip!
She is very independent and determined (causing many a battle around here lately).
God has his hand on this kid, let me tell you.
Day after day, we work with her on reaching new milestones like any
other parent.
She just happens to have some motor deficits that make it a little more challenging.
It hasn't really stopped her from anything.

But just every once in a while...
I still can become overwhelmed when I am faced with big decisions and plans for her, 
even thought I am an occupational therapist..
Botox shots or not?
Casting or not?
E-stim or not?
Which preschool can best meet her needs?
How do I teach her to swim?
That brace will cost how much?
Did the doc just say that they needed to do cognitive testing in a couple of years, just to be sure? 
But she's so smart!
Is this potty training issue related to her delays or just to being a stubborn girl?

I get a little choked up sometimes when I hear of a kid being left out for being a little different,
because I can't help but wonder if there isn't a mean kid or two that she might face someday.

These moments are rather rare because Maryn's
motor issues have become such a tiny part of who she is.
She seems to overcome whatever comes her way.
Her needs could be so much more involved.
Thank God that they are not.

She doesn't know anything different.
She sees something that she wants and she, like any other kid, finds a way to get it.
Our kids automatically encourage her to develop new skills and have been really
instrumental in encouraging her and modeling new things for her.
This kid really is going to continue to do great things,
but just every once in a while Howie and I worry.
Just for a minute.

Then she does something awesome like this...
This picture was taken by her awesome preschool teacher and emailed to me.
She said that Maryn picked up the cup with her right hand and did this, without prompts.
Way to go Maryn!
That's my girl!!

Now I need to go break up a cat fight between those three sisters.
Life just keeps going.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Desserts from the Baptism

Any good holy event needs sinful desserts, right?
For the baptisms, I made these treats.
This cake is easy.
I frosted the cake, cut out a cross out of a paper plate, 
and held it over the cake as I added sprinkles.
NOTE: You have to do it when the frosting is really fresh and moist or 
you will have little sprinkles bounce and roll right off...
all over your kitchen floor like mine!
I saw a picture on Pinterest,  and followed it HERE.

These very tasty cupcakes were not easy!
They were worth it, but I won't make them often because it has a lot of steps.
It is a chocolate chip cookie cupcake, 
hollowed out and filled with egg-less cookie dough,
with a chocolate chip butter cream frosting!
You can find the recipe I followed HERE.
Note: The batter made 30 cupcakes but I didn't have enough frosting to make it all
swirly and cute because of the extra cupcakes.

Now, if you want a yummy professional cake,
I have a talented friend who makes AMAZING cakes.
She has just started her Facebook page
so I'd love it if you'd check her out at

Hope that you all have a SWEET day.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Some of you might remember that I wrote about
I read that post again from May 2011, and it is so weird to read about
before Julia was a part of our family,
before we were absolutely certain of our adoption future,
before we had the right as their parents to have them baptized.

Well the wait to celebrate Julia and Maryn's baptisms
is over.
It was well worth the wait. 
Our pastor, David, made it so special.
We were able to incorporate Holy water from Howie's childhood parish,
water from Israel that a friend brought back for me,
and water from my parents house.

 Leah, also wrote a beautiful prayer, 
with a little help from Josie and Porter.

This is what it read (remember a 10 year old wrote it)...

Lord, today we are giving our two beautiful, wonderful girls that we love so much,
Julia Faith and Maryn Joy, to you.
You put them in our lives and now our family is complete.
We pray that you grant our hopes that you:
Keep them from harm,
Protect them from evil,
Lead them through the labyrinth we call life,
Forgive their sins,
Love them forever and ever,
Let them live eternally with you,
and give them a wonderful life.
These girls are a blessing to this family and we promise to guide them towards you always, Lord.
Thank you Lord, AMEN.

And if you ask the girls what happened to them, it sounds more
 like bath-tized.
It is too cute to correct them.
They said that we put water on their heads because God loves them so much,
and he does.

We got all gussied up,
(Thank you Tricia for the dresses.)
and left the house EARLY!
Can you believe it?...
Then we realized the gas light was on, 
so it took us a little longer that we hoped to get to church.

On the way, the kids were bickering and I said,
"Remember...What's this day all about?"
Four out of my five children proudly say, "GOD!"
Oh, but not Maryn.
Simultaneously, she shouts, "It's about CAKE!"
We all laughed and I thanked Maryn for clarifying for us.
Her sincere reply made it even funnier, 
"Oh, you're welcome."

It really was a beautiful experience for our family.
Here are just a few pictures of before and after,
since the pictures of the baptism
are on Uncle Brian's much nicer camera.

What a blessing!
Thank you to all of our family that could and could not be there
for all of your support along the way!

Also check out this post I wrote on Martin Luther King Jr. Day,
last year, called
I am Living It.
It's the truth.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Not a Woman?

I was working with an elderly gentleman
and he was talking about his prayers.
He talked about thanking God each day that he is not a slave.
My thought...Amen!
He then went onto to say that he also thanks God, that he is not a woman
because of the many issues that women face.
My thought...You say what??

I have had time to think about it now.
His perspective and life experience is so different.
A lot of the people I work may not have born in the USA.
They have lived during and through times of terrible hardship and
sometimes, atrocities like the Holocaust.

Here I sit, as a woman, 
at my computer,
 in my safe home which I share with my supportive husband,
 filled with healthy kids,
sharing my views and beliefs openly online.

I don't think being a woman is so bad.
Frankly, I kind of like it.
I am a blessed woman.

But this man's statement stuck with me a bit.
It is a humbling reminder that being born a woman in this country, 
at this time in history,
into a family who loved me 
believed in me, 
where my needs were always met,
is a blessing
to never be taken for granted.

OK, so there are some womanly issues that are less than awesome,
and men's clothes look so much more comfortable,
but, heck I'll take it.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

She's Famous...Sort Of

This picture appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on January 5, 2013.
Yep, that's my girls.
On the left you will notice Julia's nose and eye.
Maryn's big dimples in the middle,
Josie is grinning on the right.

Our girls are in love with going to Story Time at the library on Fridays.
This picture captured one of those great days.

I went to Josie's parent teacher conference on Monday to discover
that Josie is a bit "famous" at school now (per Josie).
Her teacher reports that Josie had to be corrected for
having paper and pencil out when they were supposed to be sitting and listening.
Her teacher told me that Josie simply
defended herself by saying that
she "HAD to sign an autograph" for her friend.

She cracks me up.
Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Crazy Technology

Now I have seen it all...

Got $40 bucks to help get that kid out of diapers?
The iPotty will arrive this spring which is compatible with the iPad.
It is meant to keep kiddos entertained while he or she does his/her "business."
Check it out HERE!

Can you say over the top?
But who am I to judge? I still have one in diapers that clearly is above
sitting with books,
bribery, and wanting to get out of wearing messy drawers.
Who knows what I might resort to someday soon?

Facebook is also jumping in on the "crazy tech train."
They now have an app called,
It states that it can't really help you feel better but
it will help you find "someone to blame."
Read more about it HERE in the HuffPost Healthy Living article.

Please share about any apps/technology that you can't live without
for yourself or for kids.

I need some new ideas!
I welcome any crazy tech you've seen too.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This Job is Gross

Much to my surprise, 
one of my little ones (who I shall not name)
came home from school on Wednesday in different clothes.

"Oh no, she peed her pants at school.  Poor thing." I thought.
She told me that she was waiting in line to use the restroom and it just took too long.
She didn't seem traumatized. 
These things happened.

I got her to bed and went to clear out backpacks.
I found a bag with what I thought were her wet clothes in it
but to my surprise,
they weren't wet.

And to even my bigger surprise,
or my dismay rather,
two little (now quite solid) turds began to fall out of the underwear.
I didn't need that to come home too.

I took care of it.
I gagged a bit.
Then I laughed.
This job is gross sometimes isn't.
(Sorry if I ruined your breakfast.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Last Hoorah

The hubs and I shared a last hoorah on Sunday.
Take out from Outback.

We, like a bad cliche, have decided to eat better (aka. "eat less")
and hopefully drop some pounds.

Why do I share this with you?
Because, now I have said it out loud and
maybe that will help.
Shame goes a long way, right?

Who else is giving it a go as well?
What works for you?

Feel free to post ideas 
 on my Facebook Page.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Love a Good Deal, Don't You?

We spent a lot of time inside during our winter break
as you can recall from THIS POST.

I had a bit of cabin fever (aka: clearance shopping fever)
and headed out to the grocery store (aka: everywhere but the grocery store)
to get a few things (aka: great bargains that I didn't really need).

Unfortunately, most of the clearance items were gone but I found a
few treasures.

 This huge wreath was at Michaels.
It was originally $149...I scored it for $29.99!

I wanted to buy this one at Kirklands before Christmas but it was $24.99...too much.
I grabbed the last one for $6!

These ear muffs are ridiculous, I know.
They are also so cute, and a fan favorite for the my girls at $4.48 at Target.

What girl doesn't need a white feather wreath, marked down to $6?
I have plans for adding holiday ribbon on it and using it for Valentine's Day
or Memorial Day.
I wanted to make one of these using a craft store form and boa but it would have
cost more than $6.
(I know, I am rationalizing.)

Did anyone else score good after holiday deals?
If you did, 
do you want to go with me next year?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Blog that No One Ever Read...

I had forgotten about where all of this blogging began until I saw these posts
from the original blog I started in 2008 named, One More Makes Four.
I never made it public and I had no idea what I was doing.
I just wanted to capture some of journey we were headed on to adopt a child...
from Ethiopia...
then a change of plans...
then through foster care.
Here is a quick flashback of what I wrote way back then...

Hello Everyone! To all who know me, know that developing a blog is not considered within my average skill set. ya go. I find myself having so many things that I am working on and working toward lately. This may be an avenue to share a little with you...and therapy for me. As you may know, Howie and I have decided to add to our family through an adoption of a child from Ethiopia. We have begun to research how to get our resources in line and we will await Josie's 1st birthday in June before the paperwork and home study begin. I just want to take a moment to thank all of you who have taken an interest, asked a question, or frankly not called us crazy to our face for wanting 4 small kids running around our home. This journey began many years ago when Leah, our oldest, was less than 1. Howie and I read a message in the church bulletin calling for adoptive parents. We experienced some change in plans since then, yet that has brought our family of 5 to a wonderful place. Leah is a strong, smart 5 year old...Porter is a creative, witty almost 4 year old...and Josephine is 10 months old and grinning and stealing our hearts. Howie and I could not be happier to see where we have been led and are so excited about what lies ahead. We welcome you to share in our journey. Posted 4/13/08


Wow! One year later and I haven't blogged since. So much has happened so I couldn't possibly caught you up. All we know is that life is quite different. Howie is doing a great job as a stay-at-home dad. I am getting back in the swing of things being back at work full-time. On top of all of the changes that this transition has brought, we are also so close to being a licensed foster to adopt family through the county. I find myself strangely patient and calm about the whole thing, while we wait. I am filled with excitement about this new journey in parenthood that has been years in the making, yet a little nervous about yet another transition. It also goes against the grain for me to have so little control over timing...we have no idea when we'll get a referral, gender, race, circumstances, etc. Strangely enough, this too is exciting. I just pray that we will be guided as to which referral to accept. You can only prepare so much, then you just have to trust each other and go for it!

The kids are doing well. Porter just graduated from preschool and anxiously awaits juming on that kindergarten school bus next year. He started t-ball and is a hoot! He pays more attention to the color of the dirt than to the ball, but he's having fun. He has become a daddy's boy, more and more since I went back to work :(

Leah has a few more weeks of school and loves to socialize with her friends. She moves onto a different school next year and seems excited about it. She is enjoying softball and has joined Porter's karate class too. She enjoys doing things for little kids like Josie and loves babies.

Josie has ceased biting, for the most part but can be a spunky little thing. I tried to give her a 2nd kiss on Wed morning and she turned her head and said, "I done with that!" I asked for just one more kiss and she again said, "No, I done." We love her curls and her facial expressions couldn't get much cuter now that she is growing into this little spirited personality.  (Note from 1/3/13:  When I read this I realized that I always thought it was Porter who did this!)

Well, enough for now. I hope that you all are having a good Memorial day weekend!
Posted 5/24/09

I don't know where this blog is taking me now,
but I am certain that I will love looking back...
and probably laughing at myself.
Enjoy the journey with me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

There's SNOW Place Like Home

Christmas was really fun around here.
We had a white Christmas...
well, actually the snow came right after Christmas.
The great thing about snow and a little illness here and there is
that it caused us to slow down a bit.
We spent a lot of time in pajamas, seriously.
Here's my recap in pictures.

Did you all have a good time in the snow?
And more importantly...
is there anyone out there that
did not have at least
one sick person at their house over the last 2 weeks??