Saturday, November 10, 2012

Another Birthday and Another Trip to the ER

My goodness, I promise that I don't intend for this blog to be a catalog of my kids' various injuries and trips to the ER. One of these days I'll fill you in on The Great Road Trip of 2012, but first.....

Happy First Birthday Stella June!
Stella is full of life, looooooooves playing with her siblings, waving hi and bye at every.single.person that she sees, courtesy laughing when she hears other people laughing or being crazy, and snuggling and giving hugs. We liken her to a little puppy because she's always following us around the house and eating anything and everything from the floor. We've also been known to call her Rod Stewart because of that, um, beautiful hair do that she has.

At her check-up, she weighed in at 23lbs 1.8oz. I can't seem to find the exact numbers for the other kids at 1, but I do know that Emma was in the low 18lb range and Landon was around 21 lbs. Needless to say, she's big. And strong.

And yesterday, 6 days after her 1st birthday, she got her finger smashed in a sliding door. In God's mercy, Dylan was there right away and able to rescue her, and our friend was here and able to watch the other kids so that we could rush our screaming baby girl to the ER. Once she calmed down, she really didn't seem to be bothered  by the fact that the tip of her finger was literally just hanging on by a small piece of skin and bleeding all over the place. (TMI?) She was waving her hands all around, and playing peek-a-boo and clapping, enjoying the extra attention from her parents and lots of nurses and doctors.

Her left middle finger was fractured and the nail completely removed. The doctor stitched it up on either side of the nail bed, and said that hopefully she won't lose her fingertip and hopefully the nail will grow back. Yes, hopefully so! Meanwhile, we have to keep her finger bandaged well and try to keep her from ripping it off! Yikes!

In other news, we have officially met our health care deductable this year so any other injuries, illnesses or surgeries will pretty much be free for the rest of the year....

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Birthday and a Head Wound

Today the most independent child in the whole wide world turned 3. It was a bit anticlimactic since we celebrated 3 weeks ago. Really, Landon was quite confused every time someone told him happy birthday since he's been calling himself "bigger enough" since his party. 

Isn't he cute?

After lunch the kids were playing in the back yard and Grady came running into the house yelling and motioning that Landon hit his head and it was cut open down his whole entire face. Needless to say, I ran out back right away, only to find my sweet little birthday boy running toward me with blood pouring from his head and down his face. One good look at the super deep gash in his forehead and he was off to the emergency room with his dad. Four stitches later, he looks like this....

Even though stitches aren't a good thing, after seeing the rock that he fell on (over the fence in the neighbor's yard where he isn't supposed to play), we are SO thankful that it wasn't worse. And if you ask Landon, it isn't bad at all. He stopped crying before he even got to the hospital and since he got frozen yogurt afterward, he is just fine. Really, he hasn't slowed down at all. He's still climbing and jumping and being his typical daredevil self. Oy!

Will someone please tell me that this isn't a foreshadowing of the year to come!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Celebrating Dylan

Once upon a time, my super hard working husband was reading Joy the Baker's blog about a trip she took to Maine and a lobster boil she had on the beach. (Yes, my husband reads Joy the Baker, and no, Joy the Baker is not my sister Joy). Since his birthday was coming up in just a few days, and the superhero party that I was planning for him and Grady and Landon to share didn't really seem to excite him much, he decided that he should throw himself a party on the beach, complete with a lobster boil.

Well, we don't live in Maine, near a beach, or have any clue how to do a lobster boil, but since you only turn 33 once, Dylan called up the family and invited them along anyway (we had to keep the guest list small because, um, lobsters aren't cheap... and by small, I mean that we invited our 26 immediate family members).

After a trip to Ranch 99, the Asain supermarket that sells live lobsters, we headed 2 hours away on windy, bumpy roads, through super thick fog and arrived at the McClures beach parking lot. At some point along the drive as we were receiving not-super-excited text messages from our fellow travelers, ie."dude. are you serious?" Dylan realized that he may be just a little bit like his father in thinking that this whole trip was perfectly reasonable. And then, once we made it to the parking lot, we had to trek down a mountain sherpa-style with our arms and backs loaded down with kids, firewood, buckets, pots, blankets, extra clothes and some back-up food in case the boil didn't work out. But, in the famous words of the middle-aged lady we met last time we went to this beach, YOLO.

Well, Joy the Baker and the rest of you will be happy to hear that it all worked out just fine. No one caught hypothermia, no one got sick from eating food cooked in ocean water, only one of the kids almost died, and after we all hiked back up the mountain and drove 2 hours home in the pitch dark, people said it was the best birthday party they'd ever been to. Success all around!

In case you're ever wondering how to have a lobster boil, here's what you've gotta do:

1. Get a big galvanized party bucket and fill it half way with ocean water. Cover with foil. Place on a raging fire.

~let the kids explore, get drenched, cliff jump because it's gonna be a while before dinner is ready~

2. Let the water come to a boil and then boil for 10 minutes just to be sure to kill any bacteria or funky stuff that may be in the ocean water.

3. Throw in some halved onions, heads of garlic, and little potatoes.

4. 10 minutes later, add your live lobsters.

5. 3 minutes later, add some ears of corn.

6. 5 minutes later, pull it all out and help yourself to an amazing feast!
(yes, those are hot dogs in the foreground. they were the back-up plan and a bit more popular than lobsters with the kids)
You should totally do it some time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Super Star

The first year that Emma played soccer, she was terrified. She wouldn't touch the ball during the games and most of the time, she wouldn't even make an effort to look like she was even pretending to be playing. Knowing that her fears were part of her bent toward perfectionism and that she wouldn't ever enjoy something until she was at least a little bit good at it, I made an ultimatum. She had to play for two more years and then she could decide if she ever wanted to play again or not.

The second year, we figured out that she wouldn't just play soccer without some parameters. So we told her that she should try to kick the ball 10 times during each game. It worked like a charm. She'd run right into the bunch, kick the ball lightly- right back into the bunch- and then look at us to make sure that we saw what she did. A big improvement but she still didn't like playing.

This year (her final year if she so chooses), she has some super stars on her team so she's convinced herself that they don't really need her on the team "because I'm not very good at scoring goals." Even though I've explained that there's more to soccer than scoring goals (I was a defender in my past life and in 12 years of playing soccer I only scored like twice), she's not convinced that it's worth her while to show up to the games. With lots of encouragement from her wonderful coaches, and a healthy bribe from her parents (treats for lots of contact with the ball and an ice cream sundae for a goal), she has been becoming a little bit more aggressive and trying to be a part of the action. For the first few games she had no problem earning treats for touching the ball, but this past Saturday, she earned this:
My baby girl scored a goal!!!!!!! 

[And I may have caused Stella to lose hearing from my screaming so loud!]

Seriously, after more than two years of dragging her to practice and games and trying to convince her to at least try her best, we had all but given up hope that she would enjoy playing sports. And I was [kind of] okay with that. But now that she has scored, oh man, oh man is she into soccer! She's been practicing in our yard every day and saying that she's going to score more goals every week. For her dad's birthday on Saturday, she's going to score 5...

She's still not sure if she'll play again after this year, but at least she's enjoying herself!

On another note, what's the deal with parents not cheering for their kids anymore?! Seriously, I'm all about obnoxious cheering, but most of the parents just sit and watch quietly and clap a little bit when their kid scores. I mean, people are encouraging and all, but I guess at some point in the past decade it has become un-cool to cheer wildly and loudly for your team. Lucky for us, we never were cool to begin with so we aren't ruining our reputation or anything ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

And so it begins....again

I'm not organized. My house is a mess. My baby won't sleep anymore. But we're doing it anyway, so help us God! 

We are home schooling Emma again this year. We switched home school programs and hope to have more accountability and support this year... but I'll have to do more work so we'll see how that goes ;) One thing for sure is that we are going to miss our former adviser SO much. Hopefully our new one is just as awesome! We are looking forward to lots of fun things like art and science classes, gymnastics classes and a two-week road trip to visit Aunt Joy in New Mexico.

Grady is going to do home school pre-kindergarten this year. Although he loved his teachers at preschool last year, he didn't really care if he went or not, so I decided to save hundreds of dollars per month, not to mention hours and hours of driving time, and teach him at home. He will also most likely be going to speech classes at our neighborhood school a few times per week to get some extra practice with his L's, R's, and a few other consonant blends.

Here we go!!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Random Thoughts from August

  • Emma started soccer again. She has WONDERFUL coaches this year and will hopefully begin to enjoy the sport. Her team colors are navy with red and white accents so they named themselves the USA All-Stars. She's not into that name- she would have much preferred something along the lines of the Striped Unicorns or American Flag Princesses. I guess the other 2nd graders don't feel the same way. I'm pretty sure she won't play again after this year, but hopefully some of my other kids want to play because I drive a minivan so it's pretty much expected of me.
  •  Stella had her 9 month check up this week. She's 20lbs 10ozs. I'm not really sure what the other kids were at that age, but I'm pretty sure no one was over 20 lbs at 1 year. Emma now weighs 44lbs. She'll be in a booster seat until she's 13.
  •  We start school NEXT week! Does that seem crazy to anyone else but me? School is supposed to start in September and end in June. I'm not ready for the summer to be over already.... mostly because I'm totally disorganized and without the slightest hope that I'll become organized by next week.
  • Stella is really into hair. When she's tired or upset, she wants to bury her hands in my hair. On more than one occasion when she has woken up in the middle of the night, the only thing that I can do to soothe her is to lean over her crib with my hair and let her stroke it until she falls back asleep. Last week I chopped my hair off and she's not too happy about it. 
  •   Emma and Grady have been working on their Christmas lists aaaall day. It's August 17th. Maybe it's because every time they ask for something, I tell them that I'm not gonna buy it but they can ask for it for Christmas. Grady is dictating his list to Emma and she's writing it down for him. I guess it's good handwriting practice so I shouldn't complain. FYI, Grady wants a real gun.
  •  A bunch of girls from my family are doing a Mud Run in October. My sister-in-law who will be 7 months pregnant, my mother, and my aunt are all doing it, so really, I have no valid excuse to not do it... other than that I don't like mud and I pretty much don't like running. It's supposed to be a team building experience so, um, that's good, I guess.
  • I  made some homemade laundry detergent this month. It's still in it's trial period but it seems to be working great and it was pretty easy to throw together. And cheap. If I keep liking it, I'll share the recipe with you soon. Lucky you!
  • We have lots of tomatoes in are garden this year. Last year we hardly had any so I'm VERY happy about this. We also have a bean plant that produces about 2 green beans per week, a hot pepper plant, and zucchini and cucumbers that are  producing just enough to not be considered duds. And we have a GIANT pumpkin growing. Dylan bought seeds for the pumpkins that win awards and, while we won't win any awards, it is pretty cool so see how big one could grow in not ideal conditions and without TLC.
 Well, that's all I have for you today. Stella's upset so I gotta go give her some hair....

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What. The. Heck. Raccoons.

Around here, we used to really really dislike raccoons. They tear up our lawns and frighten our children and keep us awake at night with their chattering and dig through our trash and make big messes in our yard. We used to  dislike them, now we hate them....

Last night while Dylan and I were watching some two-day-old dvr-ed Olympics, we heard someone walking around in our kitchen (God bless our noisy kitchen floor!). Of course our first thought was that one of the children must have snuck out of their rooms, but they would have had to walk right past us to do this so it wasn't likely. When we stood up and turned around, we saw a RACCOON running out of our kitchen. WHAT. THE. HECK! It ran back through the family room, over several nerf guns and bows and arrows, and paused at our broken screen door, then went outside. Dylan ran to find his pellet gun (that he bought soely for this purpose) and I scrambled to find my camera. The little stinker popped it's head back through the screen just as I was taking the lens cap off my camera, but ran away before I could take a picture. We went out back with a flashlight and the pellet gun but saw no sign of it except for some piles of dirt from where it was digging up our lawn.

As I was trying to sleep last night, I kept thinking about how many times I've come out in the middle of the night for one reason or another and realized that as we were locking up, we left the slider open and just had the broken (as in ripped off the frame on two sides so that it blows in the wind and the kids can just walk through it without bothering to open it) screen door closed. In fact, just the night before I was laying on the couch all night trying to console my screaming, teething, stuffy-nosed baby. Maybe the door was open then? What if I came out in the middle of the night for a drink of water and was attacked by a hungry raccoon? What if this raccoon has been coming in every night? What if it tried to eat my children? What if it was having babies in my house?

Basically, I think it's time that we get the screen door fixed. Or at least remember to close our doors at night.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

So what does an ear tube look like anyway?

Remember when Landon got ear tubes put in?
(December 2010)

 And then he looked like this when he would take a bath?
 (go ahead and laugh, we won't be offended)

Well, today he went to the ENT for a check-up and his right tube is still in place, but his left tube had fallen out and was just sitting in his ear canal. The doctor used some super long tweezers and pulled it out, wrapped it up in a piece of gauze and sent it home with us for show and tell....

So there you have it, something new you learned today :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Favorite Things: Dishwasher Soap That Really Works

About a year ago, I started noticing that my dishwasher detergent wasn't working very well. There were sometimes food residue left on dishes and my acrylic "glasses" were suuuuuper cloudy. So I started adding some vinegar into a dish on the top rack and that helped to clear up the residue on my cups, but I still wasn't entirely satisfied. 

Enter Pinterest, aka. the World Wide Web's newest black hole. After searching around for a bit looking for dishwasher detergent recipes and then reading the reviews that different readers left, I settled on this one  because there are only 3 ingredients and NO prep or pre-mixing needed. Sounds good, right? And you know what else is good? It works GREAT! And it's really, really inexpensive- like pennies per load. 

If you want to join the cool club and make your own, here's what you need:

1 teaspoon oxygen bleach (Oxiclean or a generic brand)
1/2 teaspoon liquid Dawn dishwashing soap (the blue one)
1/2 cup plain ol' vinegar

Put the Oxiclean in the soap dispenser and add the Dawn. Close the lid.
On the top rack of your dishwasher, in among your dirty dishes, place a dish with the vinegar.
Run the cycle. 
Be amazed.

If you don't want to take my word for it, click the link above for more information, instructions and lots of reviews.

Some notes: 
*although my glasses were MUCH less cloudy after the first wash, they were completely sparkly after a few.
*I tried just splashing the vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and also adding it to the rinse aid slot- this didn't work.
*Don't worry about putting liquid Dawn into your dishwasher. It's such a SMALL amount that it won't suds very much and ruin your dishwasher or overflow into your kitchen.
*Sometimes the silverware doesn't seem to get very clean- I'm not sure why it works better sometimes than others, but for now I'm going to put the handle side down and maybe this will help. Also, I pre-wipe the extra sticky things like the knife from the peanut butter or the spoon from an avocado. {My regular detergent had a problem with these, too, so it's probably a problem with my dishwasher, not the cleaning agent}

Monday, June 25, 2012

Camping: The Great Equalizer

Here in middle-class suburbia, we spend lots of money and energy trying to live in the nicest houses and neighborhoods within our means. We send our kids to the best schools possible. We take care to find and encourage quality friendships with "good kids" for our children. We turn our noses up at fast food and try to buy organic food for our families because we don't want to die (or at least become genetically mutated) from eating bad stuff. High fructose corn syrup is synonymous with the Devil and we take the five-fruits-and-vegetables-a-day rule very seriously. We send our students to D.A.R.E. and M.A.D.D. assemblies so that they learn that drugs and alcohol are bad. And we never leave our houses without looking put-together.

Then we go camping and even though we bring our super-high-tech REI camping gear, brand new KEEN sandals, and french press coffee pots, at the end of the day, we're covered in dirt and mosquito bites (because our "green" bug spray didn't do a thing expect for act as a glue for dust), sleeping on the ground, and lining up with the rest of humanity for our turn to poop in a pit toilet.

We essentially become equals with our neighbor campers who may or may not: a)smoke weed and blow it into our campsite, b)walk through and pee on a tree in our campsite, c)loudly coach their children on how to be "bad ass" as they walk through our campsite drinking their 40s. And as the week goes on, it becomes perfectly acceptable that we haven't showered for a week. Tooth brushing becomes optional. Diets get thrown out the window and white sandwich bread is allowed (gasp!) along with consuming junk food whenever possible. Organic fruit gets traded in for canned peaches in heavy syrup. Our children are allowed to take off adventuring unsupervised. We don't recycle our paper goods or compost our food scraps; to heck with the ozone, we burn everything!

And you know what? Us filthy, uncivilized, non-green people end up having the best week ever.

and my personal favorite:

Monday, May 21, 2012

iPhone pictures. Not Really.

I don't have an iPhone.
I really only want one so that I can take pictures and videos and immediately publish them to facebook or my blog or at least save them to my hard drive. Currently, I have to bust out the ol' digital camera when I want to take a picture. Then I have to dig the usb cord out of my junk drawer to upload the photos to my computer. Or, I can take pictures with my 2 megapixel cell phone and text them to my email account and then save them to my computer. Basically, my life is super hard.

Dylan said that since I never leave my house, I don't need an iPhone. His old iPod touch should suffice. Or my camera, usb cord and laptop. If I'm at home, it doesn't need to be convenient. Hellooo, I totally leave my house at least twice a week! He obviously doesn't feel my pain. 

  Well, since whining and complaining aren't getting me anywhere, I'm trying to embrace the technology that I do have and have been having fun taking pictures to document even the little things that go on around here. Here are some pictures from today. Enjoy!

(ps. VSCO cam people, please don't hate because I'm still using instagram. i'm taking one baby step into technological enlightenment at a time!)

Emma went to  Build-a-bear for her birthday with her grandparents. She built a bear that personifies herself perfectly.

We've recently discovered a show on PBS Sprout called Noodle and Doodle. It's like a craft and cooking show in one. While I find the show ridiculous and think that even though they're supposedly creating things that kids can reproduce, they aren't at all. But, my kids LOVE it. Of course. The other day we saw an episode where Sean (the real person character) taught kids how to make their own book backpacks out of recycled cereal boxes. Yeah right. Well, Grady made one today all by himself. He only asked me at the end for help attaching the straps. Needless to say, I was impressed!

I married an engineer. Then had his offspring:

Little miss Stella is a rolling machine! I'll put her in the most un-messy part of the floor and turn around and find her across the room tangled up in who knows what. Yesterday I found her eating a lego guy. I guess it's time to teach the boys to put away their bouncy balls, marbles, legos, coins, etc.

So there you have it. A little snippet from our life today :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012


It's really hard to believe that our firstborn is now seven. An age that is half grown up and half little kid. An age where fairies and princesses and make-believe are still acceptable, but iphones and computer games and real-life things are more important. An age where personal opinions and preferences begin to take precedence in every single aspect of life. An age where independence is trying to rule, but mama and daddy are still very much needed. And even though this maturity seems a bit scary to her parents, I think this year will be the most exciting yet.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Really Big Deal

Emma had her first piano recital on Sunday. She has been agonizing about it for weeks (months, really). Losing sleep at night over it. Not able to eat because of it. 
Most days, we'd have a conversation that went something like this:
Me: Emma, you need to go practice piano.
Emma: I don't want to. I hate piano.
Me: No you don't. You love piano. You just don't want to play in the recital.
Emma: I NEVER want to play piano again.
Me: Well, you need to. So go practice.
Emma: Fine. I'm gonna practice. But I'm very mad that you're making me play in the recital....

and on and on and on....

Because of her extreme distress and because her piano teacher is a saint, we gave her 3 choices:
1. you can play by yourself.
2. I can sit up there with you.
3. You can play a duet with your teacher.

This was a pretty big decision for her that she agonized over (I'm not exaggerating), but finally she decided that she'd play a duet with Ms. Jane.


We tried to coerce encourage her as much as we could (neither of us is known for the gift of encouragement) :
"Emma, you're going to do SO well."
"As soon as it's over, we'll take you to go get a treat."
"Daddy loves listening to piano more than anything in the world. You're going to make him so happy."
"Emma, if you throw a fit and make a big deal about it, everyone is going to be watching you. If you play really quick, your turn will be over really quick and they'll start to pay attention to the next kid."
"Elijah is playing two songs and you're only going to play one, so it should be really easy."

Poor girl.

Anyway, all weekend long she complained about a stomach ache. And she couldn't sleep at night. And she'd be talking about her recital as soon as she woke up. She didn't even want to wear her fancy dress- just her plain ol' comfy one. As we drove to the recital we asked how she was feeling (she looked a bit green) and she said she was mad at us. Oh well.

When we got to the church, she wanted to sit by her cousin Elijah (not me or Dylan). And when it was her turn, she went up to the piano, made a last ditch effort to convince her teacher to play her part of the duet on the high notes (audience side of the piano), and when that didn't work, she did what any self-respecting six-year-old would do....

she played her song. beautifully.

Way to go Emma! We are SO proud!

Friday, May 4, 2012

6 month stats

14lb 12oz, 26.5in

16lb 6oz, 28in

16lb 6oz, 28.5in

18lb 8oz, 28.5in 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life With Landon

Today, within the space of an hour Landon injured his eyes. Twice. The first was with some hairspray (not horrible). The second was with some cayenne pepper (horrible).

You may be asking yourself, "Is this kid for real?"

Yes. Yes he is. 

And he has two very proactive, involved, dedicated parents who are trying their darndest to keep on top of his antics. If you measure their success in doing so by him staying out of trouble, then his parents are failing miserably. If you measure their success by the fact that he's still alive and relatively uninjured, then they're doing a superb job!

In closing, I'll leave you a picture of this little independent, spirited, strong-willed child, who is wearing an outfit that he proudly picked out and put on all by himself....

 (i can't help but think of  jim carrey in a tutu in ace ventura!)

..... any and all prayers on his and our behalf are appreciated!