Wednesday, December 24, 2008

hello?...hello?...hold on. i can't hear you. i've got a banana in my ear.

i did that "joke" today at lunch, while attempting to get the kids to eat more fruit, and they loved it. so riley adopted it as her own and proceeded to carry that 'nana around til it was bruised and squished and inedible. she kept getting the punchline wrong, though. she kept saying something like,"hello? i'm be coming to you house." but no one corrected her since her version was way cuter than mine.

afternoon of the living dead

when our geriatric (and quite senile) computer finally joined the giant hard drive in the sky, we researched laptops. and discovered the one that we wanted was perfect, but far too expensive for a grad student with 4 little monkeys who would be pleading to use it. and the idea of grubby little hands and electronics makes john paul cringe. so we felt a more family friendly computer would be best for now. (at least until graduation.) and then the kids would inherit this one and we could finally get our macbook. ( macbook.) but somewhere between "i'm bored" and 29 degree weather the internet became a nice little form of entertainment. (which, like all electronics at this house, had to have a time limit attached.) but their faces, oh the faces. they've become zombies for the allotted 25 minutes a day.

close encounters of the red kind

i think i might have one lone picture of zoe on santa's lap stashed away somewhere. she would have been about 10 months old, and thinking something like,"hey, there. how's it goin'?" other than that, my kids have all been quite stand-off-ish to the white haired old man from another state...or planet...depending on which one is telling you about him. and i never pushed it, never really wanting to wait in line, not really desiring one of those photographs of panicked babies and desperate st. nicks. you don't have to tell him directly, anyway, i've heard. you can send letters, or so i've been told. (or yell across a crowded mall like the 3 year old zoe lane. "HEY, SANTA!! I WANT A BARBIE! A BARRRBIEEE!) and, to be perfectly honest, i never really know how to handle the whole "santa claus" issue. what form of christmas do i really want to perpetuate, here? but on the other hand, who am i to say he doesn't exist? after all, to this day my own mother claims there is a santa. so i find myself still believing. at 32. and when my children ask me details about the jolly man's personal life, i pull a louise. "how do you think he gets in to a house with no chimney?" (wait for answer) "hmmm. that sounds like a good idea." but this year the primary had a real life santa-sitting. and with no expectations, i found myself last in line with my 3 oldest. all of which completely and totally surprised me by sitting on that guy's lap and telling him what they would love most for christmas. after the fact, i inquired about their new found experience. jakob expressed some disbelief that he was in fact the real santa clause, because his hair and beard looked an awful lot like "grass". and when i asked what they told him they desired above all else, i discovered that silly little santa put words in their mouths! (i'm assuming that it was an attempt to counter act their hesitant requests, but come on.) "how about a really big race car!" excuse me? he's been asking for star wars for the last 11 months. let's not shake things up now. and baby bird informs us constantly that "santa say he bing me fee bahbies. pincess bahbies." that's "3 princess barbies" for those of you who do not speak riley's dialect. (but she's not all that reliable.) hmm. well, santa had you pegged for a dora girl. when did this princess business start? and zoe was feeling a bit too tall to be sitting on a stranger's lap, but forgot all about that when she was presented with a goody bag bursting with candy canes and chocolates. they were all really happy with the whole situation. and i found my smile permanently attached that morning. maybe because i had a pretty good idea of what was coming. or perhaps because my babies were so well behaved as they stood in line for so long. but it could have been because if that guy wasn't the real deal, there is a very likely possibility he knows the big man personally. so i imagine that very soon, they will have a brief, yet effective, discussion on the word "vague".

Sunday, December 21, 2008

max's greatest day ever

1 crushingly adorable baby boy + 1/2 peppermint oreo on the floor (no one's claiming responsibility) = 1 happy little maxwell


a couple of weeks ago we noticed jakob saying things like "sLide" and "sLick" and "pLay". as opposed to the previous forms of "sWide" and "sWick" and "pWay". it's the end of an era. i'm not quite sure how i feel about this.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


about a month after we moved to texas, zoe started giving us accent lessons. "you don't have to say potato, you can just say 'tata. and if you are talking to a lot of people at once you just say "y'all" which stands for "you all". instead of saying "you guys" or "all of you". and words like "friends" and "hey" can have 2 syllables, if you want." we thought that was so observant of her. and just about a week ago, she pulled out her very own "y'all." "hey, do y'all want to go in the backyard?" john paul and i smiled at each other. so proud of our little texan.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

sick sick sick

in the last 3 days:

  • 2 ear infections have been diagnosed and treated.

  • 2 top teeth are coming in all lopsided and adorable and owie.

  • 1 case of the chicken pox has reared it's ugly little head.

  • and 2 stomachs have thrown it all up...multiple times (one while sleeping, so all over the poor little one and then, stumbling in the dark, finally made it to the bathroom. put the dirty jammies in the laundry basket and changed into clean sweats, all while the rest of us slept. came in to my room, after the fact, simply to inform me of the goings on, then immediately fell asleep next to me. the other barfer, however, cried for 2 hours, layed down on the floor, then puked all over said floor. took a big, fat, long nap. then woke up crying and whining {sometimes yelling} went back and forth between the bed and the couch, continuously expressing pain and discomfort and unhappiness. and in response to our inquiries of how we could help, would yell "I DON'T KNOW!" finally stayed in bed long enough to puke all over the blankets, carpet and clothes. the throw up trash can was literally right next to the bed, surrounded by puke, but nevertheless, untouched.)

so far:

  • 4 doses of amoxicillin have been administered

  • 2 teaspoons of tylenol have been chugged

  • 8 ear drops have tickled on the way down

  • and 1 children's chewable pepto has been chewed up and spit out
we average:

  • 4.5 hours of sleep a night

  • 3 movies a day

  • 1 nap per person (everyone but me, that is)
the best part of having sick kids:

  • 4 for 4 have fallen asleep in my arms

  • they are all a bit more snugly, allowing me to hold them, rock them, hug them a little longer

  • their appetites have faded (so i don't have to make lunch)

  • and what with all the napping going on around here, i get to watch something that isn't animated, for a change.

Friday, December 5, 2008

a thanksgiving in pictures (none of which i took)

this has been one of our favorite thanksgivings yet! and here's why:
we went here: because these guys ROCK! and let all 17 of us invade.
we ate something that resembled this: and all of the other warm thanksgiving-y goodness that you're supposed to eat.
we played this:with these guys:
and these guys, too: the final score said we tied, but bobby debated that. he may have been right. how could we tell, after all, since katherine kept leaning on the dry erase board that tallied our final score and it ended up all over her forearms. 78..79..freckle. good thing i'm the least competitive person ever, or there could have been a good old fashioned brawl.
and these guys: took all of us:here:
plus they watched the remaining 9 kids so we could go with these guys: to see this movie:and it was OH SO FUN!! plus they had one of these:in the bathrooms. and even though i didn't have to "go" i HAD to try it out. so i washed my hands about 3 times. and it totally lived up to all my expectations.
it snowed our last morning in kansas,so the monkeys filled up on snowball fights with the cousins and froze their little noses off for a little while so they could take some of it back to texas. (if only in their minds.)


**somehow i escaped thanksgiving with no pictures of my own, so i stole these from google images, my ghetto scanner, her and her, who just so happen to be my diggety-dope sisters in law.

and, at risk of going way too cliche, here are some things i'm especially thankful for this year:
  • my husband who knows his way around a stove, ironing board and washing machine. (thanks, paula.) we're still working on the dishwasher.

  • my babies' health, happiness and their "i-just-can't-help-but-squish-you" adorable-ness.

  • texas a&m's late acceptance date.

  • my family, who i would want as my friends even if we weren't related.

  • my faith that gives me a deeper understanding.

  • and last but not least, the absolutely AWESOME friends we have fallen in love with in texas. (you can meet some of these little lovelies here, here, here, and here.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

pretty much

riley was hugging and snuggling with us on the couch last night (or was it the night before) and out of the blue she said, "i pitty." and it reminded me of another little girl i know. when zoe was about 18 months, john paul was always telling her how pretty she was, but in an effort to express that beauty wasn't the only desirable quality, he also added that she was smart and nice and sweet and fun and happy she would walk around informing all, "i pitty. i smawt." and we loved it. i quickly realized that i also want this precious little girl to know that looks aren't everything. so as riley had me in a headlock (which was meant to be affectionate) i told her, "and you're smart" to which she replied, "but i pitty." "and you're nice," i coaxed. riley's response,"i pitty, too." "but you are also sweet." "but i mo' pitty den sweet." so i gave up. "yes, you are very pretty, are funny." "mm hmm. i pitty funny."
so true.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

what must it be like...

to have a mommy and daddy always kissing you at the same time. one on each cheek. to have a zoe and a jakob fight over who gets to sit by you in the car. to always wake up smiley and sweet. to have a riley who is so concerned if you utter any type of discontented grumble. "you okay you okay you okay." to have a zoe who laughs and smiles at you even when you are pulling her hair. to have a mommy who will bark like a dog to make you laugh and keep you distracted in the midst of continuous diaper changes. to have a big brother who falls asleep asking about you, wakes up looking for you and goes to school missing you. to melt hearts with each "gah!". to have nothing to fear. to be thoroughly entertained splashing in the water, not caring in the least who the bath was intended for. to be adored by all clerks, tellers and sweet old ladies (not to mention the old men). to have no prejudices, few demands, and rare complaints. to make everyone around you happy just by being. to be max.

ham and eggs

zoe and i were on the trampoline when she started showing me some stretches she had learned in p.e. "this is how you stretch your triceps." "you do this if you want to stretch your quadriceps." "and this is to stretch your hamstrings. see this?" and she poked her calf. "that's where the ham is." poke poke poke. "i have a lot of ham in there, huh?" cute little girlie.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

my apologies

dear fellow church go-ers,
i must apologize. i am sorry. i'm sorry that you thought you were safe and sound, sitting quietly in your seats, prepared to listen to the speaker and feel the spirit, only to find that we had snuck in beside you/behind you/in front of you at the last minute. i am sorry that while you and/or your spouse and/or your children were reverent and listening/coloring/sleeping we were not. we were giggling/arguing and/or biting. i regret that my baby girl has recently taught herself how to belch (quite loudly, i'm afraid) and that she always decides to reveal that hidden talent when the sacrament is being passed/a baby is being blessed/a prayer is being uttered. i apologize for my boy's fetish for office supplies, which often means our pew is littered with tiny paper/pens/ pencils/paper clips. not to mention the pretzels/goldfish and/or cheerios. i'm sorry that i often appear unkempt and immodest with my little ones crawling all over me. my skirt pushed up to my waist before i realize it and /or a baby's tiny hand pulling down my top to reveal more than ever necessary. i apologize that i, on occasion, forget where i am, and perpetuate the irreverence with tickling and loud kisses in efforts to get the baby to laugh. i'm sorry that my husband often appears uninterested and/or bored. (i have no explanation for that.) i am sincerely sorry about that one time my sneaky little children kept the tiny little cups intended for the sacrament water to play "tea party", but i was so happy they were being quiet, i procrastinated putting a stop to it. i apologize, dear saints, that i warned the young mother in front of me (whom i've never seen nor met) that i might steal her adorable baby boy so that max could have a twin. i shouldn't have suggested such a thing. i would never...probably. i am sorry that i am often found whispering in ears/writing secret messages on backs and/or stifling my loud laughter. i simply can't help it. the monkeys are far too sweet/funny/precious for me to contain myself. we will try to do better next sunday. i promise.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

trick or treat, smell my feet

halloween just sort of came and went this year. usually it's weeks, even months, of planning costumes and decorating and buying candy, and then having to buy more candy because we ate all of the candy. but this year it snuck up on us. all spoooky and eeerie like. and since, for halloween, all anyone wants is they are, in no particular order:

max was a beastie boy."no sleep til brooklyn!" or nap time. whichever comes first.

jakob was a star wars character (for 2 years running). he was annakin skywalker this year, who eventually becomes the evil darth vader. jakob assured us he will never join the dark side.

zoe was the happiest little 50's girl you ever did see. (she comes complete with her own poses.)

and since riley can never be bothered with is one of her sitting still long enough to get the mud off of her shoes.

these are our fav halloween cookies. the witch's fingers even have a pretzel in the center. nothing like the crunching of bones while you're eating a fat little phalange. and the halloween decorations were converted into littlest pet shop hotels. nothing spooky about that. unless the hotels were haunted and the only music in the elevators was boyz II men. right, john paul? right? heeheehee

***witch fingers***


2 1/2 lbs. powdered sugar (that's one bag)

2 cups peanut butter

1 lb. softened butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

You'll also need:

almond slivers

bag o' small pretzels

strawberry jam

mix all ingredients together until it's sugar cookie dough-like. mold into finger shape (stick a pretzel in center for delicious bone crunch.) dip one end in red jam (for lovely look of blood) and press a slivered almond on other end (for the fingernail). use a toothpick to make the lines on fingers. chow down.

Friday, October 31, 2008

toto...i have a feeling we're not in kansas anymore

we went to pittsburg, ks last weekend for the shortest trip in the history of the world. zoe's best little friend, krishel, was being baptized. they've been best friends since they were in utero, and we simply couldn't miss it. it was amazing. so fun to get to stay in poppy's basement. and have "slumber parties" with cousins and best buds. it was perfect. just way too short. but the drive only took 6 hours, so we will plan another trip. it was actually a very strange experience for me. the whole "going home" business. my parents don't live in the house (or any of the houses, for that matter) that we grew up in. so going to visit them is always just that. we are going to visit them. we have no connection with the town, no memories of the bedrooms, no funny stories of what happened in the backyard and no friends that we get to bump into at undisclosed locations. i, of course, always love visiting my family, but i have never gone "home". until now. and now i get it. i understand. the familiarities. the comfort. the simplicity. while we were sitting in the primary room at the baptism (the very primary room that my monkeys were sunbeams in, that i fumbled through prelude music in, that i whispered into my babies ears for scriptures, talks, and prayers in) zoe looked up at me and whispered, "mom, this is our home." and she's right. even if we never live there again, it is our home. after my dad had gone to bed one night, he heard jakob and cousin colton outside his window talking. making wishes on stars. "i wish we lived in 'picksburg' again." but in reality, he just adores his cousins. he wants to be wherever they are. 'picksburg' or mars. it wouldn't matter. i love that they have so many cousins so close to their ages. i never had anything like that and i hope they will get to develop these sweet little relationships their whole lives. jakob was thrilled that he got out of school early (so we could get to kansas before it was pitch black) but clearly annoyed that we would not be staying forever. "you mean we have to come back?!" but they are loving school and adore the friends we are making here. it's just hard to leave the cousins. the aunts. the uncles. the best friend. the grass. the red and yellow leaves. the laughter. the middle of the night. the pond. the haybales. the smiles. but we'll take the memories. and, of course, the stars.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

curse you ovaltine!

(as i shake my fist in the air.) okay, i'm just being dramatic. but seriously, my day started off a little like this...we RARELY have pee sheets anymore, so what the freak?! two nights in a row there was a midnight changing of linens. then, today i wake up to multiple bed wetters. so, whatever. every sheet in the house probably needs to be washed anyway, right? it's not like i have to stick my hands in the urine and scrub away on a washboard or anything. (thank you, maytag.) but then, in riley's efforts to be independent, i occasionally let her put the two scoops of ovaltine in her milk. this morning i was a little distracted with my children's overactive bladders and trying to get the crock pot dinner ready, so who knows how many scoops she ended up dumping in there before she knocked it off the table and on to the floor. it was like syrup. but at least max was napping and not crawling through it. and i probably needed to wipe down the floor, the table and chairs, the oven, the refrigerator, and, oh yes, the ceiling fan, anyway. and lest we forget about riley. naked, of course (because she still has to be totally bare to go to the bathroom) doesn't get a drop of the gooey chocolaty mess anywhere on her marker-covered body, but the clothes she had JUST taken off and were laying ever so casually on the floor, are more or less drenched. so do i throw them in the washing machine with the pee sheets or toss them on the laundry room floor and forget about them until they are pretty much stained beyond recognition? you pick. now it's time to plop riley in the tub to start scrubbing off the dry-erase marker she has tattooed herself with (thanks to an unobservant daddy). stay here for one second while i go get max (who has just woken up from his nap, all smiley and perfect). but wait, he's poopy. it takes a minute to find the wipes in the piles of clean laundry that i am only half way done folding. but the wipes are nowhere to be found. (how is that possible? we have 3 boxes of wipes in a little bitty house.) i put max down in the living room in an effort to keep the stink in his diaper and not squished out on me. but that kid is fast, and he bolts for my bedroom while i find a box of wipes in the barbie box. (what the?) i hear max yelling for me to come see how he has pulled himself up on the side of my bed all big and proud. i get there in time to tell him what a big boy he is, and in his excitement, he topples over and lands safely on a pile of my clean clothes. phew. wait...that's not good. so i scoop him up and put him on the changing table to discover that in his efforts to recover from his tumble, he gooed out of his diaper on my once clean, previously folded clothes that now just have to sit in their stink because the pee sheets have taken over and the ovaltine is waiting in line. so as i change max, i decide to put him in the tub with riley. wait. riley! i try to appear casual as i run in to the bathroom, (the water was not left on, but still) to find that she has dumped out the entire contents of the shampoo bottle. are you serious?! who would leave the shampoo out at riley level?! oh. wait. that was me. (in my defense, i thought i was going to take a shower earlier but then was interrupted by who know what. i'm not usually this much off my game.) so, whatever. there was hardly any shampoo left and i don't really like that kind anyway, all with the conditioner snuck in. finally, the drama appears to be over. but as i'm writing this, john paul comes home for lunch. after i'm done telling him about my morning he says something like, "riley, don't play in that." and then repeats himself multiple times. i see him go outside and assume that whatever disaster she was contemplating has been avoided. wrong-o. i don't know what the daddy did, exactly, when he went in the backyard, but it was not 'put-the-grill-back-in-the-shed-and-out-of-sight'...or at least 'dump-the-ashes-out-of-the-tray' that the little girl had been warned (over and over) not to play in. apparently daddy decided that telling riley "no" was good enough. so she came in with briquette ash all over her hands, face, feet and hair. pretty much her whole body. yes, the very body i had just scrubbed. and shaking the dust all over the freshly mopped floor, table and chairs, etc. so FINALLY, she is almost asleep with her blankie, watching diego saves christmas and i'm off to take a shower. (it being just shy of 1 pm.) but as messy as today is, i kind of like my janitorial duties. i'm happy that i don't have somewhere else i need to be or someone else that demands my time and attention, turning days like this into a nuisance, making them frustrating and stressful. i'm glad that i have chosen to be a mom that gets to be a mom. i am happy that i was able to laugh today, even in the face of pee. i am happy that there is no conflict, no struggle, no debate over what is most important and what can wait. these are my babies. and they will only be sucking thumbs and sleeping with blankies for another minute. and then it's gone. i'm happy that i can live in this moment. as sticky and gooey as it may be. i love this life. love it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

baby bird turns 3!!!

some things we absolutely adored about 2 year old riley:

  • referring to herself in 3rd person. as in "riley's hungry/funny/not happy."

  • terminology. "bootie butt" "wahwee gace" "heavenly bunny" "team pahty"

  • her ease of potty training. (except for that whole wiping poop on the wall thing. that wasn't cool.)

  • her love of books. that little girl will sit still for as long as anyone is willing to read to her. especially leslie patricelli. "yummy yucky" "big little" "blankie" "no no yes yes" are some of her favs.

  • she's so funny. like that time i found her in the backyard, totally naked, all by her lonesome, covered in mud. before i could say anything, she said, "WOOK at me!!! wook at DIS!!! WHO did dis to me?!!"

  • her sheer joy and excitement for life.

  • her love for her family. she is one of the snuggliest monkeys ever.

  • she is (almost always) willing to do what she's told. although, i just remembered that one time when she wouldn't give up the flashlight. so i threatened the naughty chair. but to my surprise, she not only knew what it was, she was thrilled about it. so she happily climbed into the computer chair while i put the big kids to bed. john paul was on the couch as she started climbing down. he asked, "aren't you supposed to be in the naughty chair?" to which riley explained, "mmm, i'm not mean anymore. i'm dist happy."

  • she easily expresses her appreciation. "ta-hanks, mom" all sincere and nasally (and not always at the most appropriate times. i.e in the bathroom, after she burps, when we tell her it's time to go.)

  • she has her own sense of style. like wearing headbands over her eyes and dress up clothes to the grocery store and tap shoes to bed.

  • the fact that she's a late sleeper. she's our first (and only, so far) that regularly sleeps past 7 am. she usually stumbles out of bed around 9 (disheveled and giggly), but has even been know to sleep past 10. it's a miracle, i tell ya.

  • her funny little tip toe crooked run dance. (that's the best way i can describe it.)

  • her explanations. "something is making me bark on the inside"= hiccups

things we wouldn't mind if they do not accompany her into three-dom:

  • her potty narrations.

  • her ability to stay awake later than me.

  • her neglect of all things fruit and veggie.

  • her never ending state of naked.

come on 3! give us all you've got!! we can take it!!! wish us luck.