Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The confession of Lazy Parents

Here it is....drum roll please.....the confession that Alec just gave up his papi (code word: pacifier) on Monday night! Yes, I know, he's three (a very new three though!) but you have to hear our side of the story before you judge us too harshly. Here are our excuses (you can validate them or not):

1. Alec is child number three and we're getting old! (and lazy)
2. Alec has ALWAYS been a lousy sleeper, starting with tummy troubles as an infant (colic????) which has conditioned him to have interrupted sleep (can anyone say 4 a.m. visits to Mommy and Daddy's bedroom?????)
3. Whenever Darrell and I discussed taking away the papi, one or the other would get a wild, panic look in his/her eyes and say, "but I NEED my sleep tonight" so it just wouldn't happen.
4. We also moved twice in Alec's life and just didn't want to interrupt the momentum.

So back to Monday night, Darrell could not find the one and only papi we still had left in the house. After much time tearing the house apart we looked at one another and said, "It's time he went 'cold turkey'". AND HE DID FINE!!!!!! He hasn't even asked for it! Now that's something to be thankful for. Now if he would only poop in the potty..............

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Alec's 3rd birthday weekend

Pictures from Alec's Saturday night birthday party:
Four families invited equals 10 kids and 8 adults!
A "Cars" movie themed birthday complete with whitewall tire cake.....and the middle cupcake hand decorated by my friend, Jessica!

Alec's hiding place to protect his new toys during the party......
and a special Sunday evening dinner with Pap to complete a fun-filled weekend.
Happy birthday, my precious 3 year old!

Friday, November 21, 2008

More snow and preparations

Well, here are more snow pictures from this week. As you can tell, there are no children in these shots. That's because Darrell and I got the stomach virus at the same time! So it's been snowing on and off since Sunday, and Darrell and I have been sick. The children seem fine and have been happy....we've played lots of board games and have read lots and lots of books, so they are content for now. But the snow is not stopping!
And below is Alec helping me clean for his birthday party tomorrow. He thinks it is cool to use an old toothbrush to help me clean the floor. What fun! He has, in the past, understood not to put the toothbrush in his mouth, but he's recently been on a "testing the boundaries kick" and I caught him with it in his mouth today! I don't think Murphy's oil is too toxic...he's still running around with lots of energy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snow in mid-November!

Yes, it's true! My sister in Iowa confirmed that we have more snow here in western PA than the true midwest! It started flurrying on and off Sunday and hasn't truly stopped since. Nothing was really sticking (see picture above from yesterday) but we woke up this morning and the ground is covered! Plus, it's been basically snowing all day. The "weather people" here blame it on "lake effect" snow....storms that come off of Lake Erie. Who knew????? Stay tuned, maybe we'll have some fun late Fall snow pictures to post later today.
I was going to post this separately, but I'm being lazy today so I will title this middle section "When Mom's away, the kids will play!" While I was out running errands last weekend, Darrell let the kids roll the last of our (moldy!) pumpkins down the hill. (Don't worry, Darrell was at the bottom making sure no bodies were following the pumpkins.)
And finally, Alec's third birthday is this weekend so I've been teaching him how to hold up three fingers to tell people how old he is. He finally got it, so here's the picture!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A peek into Evan's mind

This morning before school, the kids were playing "Ben Roethlisberger" in the living room (sorry to my midwest kids think they were all born and bred Steelers fans). Someone scored a "touchdown" and I heard Ann-Marie ask Evan what a touchdown was. Here is Evan's response in his own writing (I had to have him write it down for me):

"It is called a touchdown because you half (have) to touch were (where) you get a score and a lot of times people would be down if it wasn't their (there)."

Yes, I had to ask for an explanation also. Here is his explanation: You have to touch the end zone for the touchdown, so that's part one. Part two is that often, when players make a touchdown, they are getting tackled or jump really high and fall down, so even if they didn't land in the end zone, they would still be down.

Makes sense to me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lovin' the long weekend

Since we have two children in school, Darrell and I look forward to no school days. This weekend was a long weekend for us since Evan and Ann-Marie had yesterday and today off. I first considered traveling to Chicago to see my Aunt and Uncle, but then decided that it would be too much on us and we needed to stick close to home. It was still a very busy, and fun, weekend. It started out on Friday night by watching the Yowler children in the first (but hopefully not last) babysitting swap to reclaim date nights. Saturday brought a surprise that my cousin, Josh, was in Pittsburgh for a conference (he lives in Seattle) and we were able to meet him in Pittsburgh for lunch. We took him to Wholey's fish market, which is always fun because the kids get to see strange fish being cleaned, gutted, and sold. This time it was fun! After spending a couple of hours with Josh, we headed to Irwin for our nephew's 16th birthday party. A strange, but fun, family tradition is the annual pumpkin slinging off of the deck of my sister-in-law's house. Pumpkins and apples are flung from a very large slingshot, which is a lot of fun for kids and adults!

Sunday brought our usual church routine, and Sunday night we were able to drop our kids off at the Yowler's (thanks!!!!) so we could go out for dinner and a movie - "Fireproof" which we highly recommend!

Monday brought our promised trip to the Carnegie Science Museum, which was so much fun for everyone we ended up buying a year's membership to the Carnegie museums. Along with all the fun exhibits, we were able to catch a show about "Meringue madness" and "Stars over Pittsburgh." Pictures are below.

And now onto today.....I declared today "pajama day" in which the kids can stay in their pajamas today and be lazy. Well, not to be outdone, Evan declared it "backwards pajama day" and turned his pajamas backwards and Ann-Marie followed his example. So I expect (hopefully) lots of lazy day activities today. Enjoy your day!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

a quote got me thinking......

I was reading a book last night and a quote caught my eye:

"You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you." - Frederick Buechner

Wow...this created a stream of thoughts that have not stopped. I've been reminiscing a lot this past week and this quote just jolted me into another direction. Shortly after my mom died, the middle school guidance counselor, Mr. Fate (what a great name, huh!) did some one-on-one counseling with me before I moved to Chicago. I clearly remember one session with him where he wanted me to envision myself as a circle (stay with me here.....) and that circle is made up of many parts, which are the people that make up my life. Each person has a different sized portion of my circle; my mom would have had one of the largest portions whereas other people in my life would have occupied smaller portions (such as friends or family members I didn't see as often.) His point in doing this exercise with me was to help me understand that even though my mom had left a very large portion of my circle "void" by dying, others would come in and "squeeze" her portion smaller - so although her portion would never leave completely, it would be made smaller by the love of others so that eventually the void would not feel so all-consuming as it did then. Looking back at that time and seeing how my life has unfolded, the circle analogy has stayed with me and it has proven true.

It is so easy sometimes to concentrate or focus on what God has taken from our lives instead of what he has added. This is when I think about the circle analogy. My life has been, and continues to be, blessed with incredibly close and rich family and friend relationships. So even though I can get sad thinking about what has been taken from my life, it is hard to stay in that mode of thinking when I think of all the incredible relationships that have been added to my life. And yes, each friendship has lessened the void in my life in it's own way. I think of friends that came into my life during troubled times, friends that came into my life for brief times, friends that do not live near me but continue to pop into my lives occasionally, friends that have stretched me and made me grow, and I could go on and on. I think about my best friend who has been my longest friend, the ones that I can go months and months without talking to but still pick up where we left off, and the ones I've had to let go of because of differing schedules or differing life circumstances. They all make up the fabric of my life. I think about the family I'm blessed to be a part of who love me so very much not because I'm originally one of their own, but I got to marry my best friend. And every day I think of my immediate family, none who live nearby but I think of and pray for daily.

I'm going to end this post by quoting the words to a song that still makes me cry. This song was sung at my high school baccalaureate, and then a few short months later sung at the funeral of a classmate and friend that died (we actually lost two that day in the same car accident). You'll most likely recognize it......

Friends by Michael W. Smith

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Cant believe the hopes hes granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But well keep you close as always
It wont even seem you've gone
cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the lords the lord of them
And a friend will not say never
cause the welcome will not end
Though its hard to let you go
In the fathers hands we know
That a lifetimes not too long to live as friends.

With the faith and love gods given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you'll live in
Is the strength that now you show

But well keep you close as always
It wont even seem you've gone
cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

Friday, November 7, 2008

Photo Friday

Here's a preview of our family pictures taken last week by my wonderful friend, April. Check them out at her blog:

Thanks, April! They look AWESOME!!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

21 years later....

It was an "Indian Summer" day, not unlike the weather we've been having in western PA this week, when my life and the lives of many of our close family and friends were changed 21 years ago when my mom was tragically killed in a farm accident. So what does 21 years feel like? Some days it feels like yesterday, other days it feels like an eternity ago. Some days I remember a lot about my mom, other days I don't think about her at all. Sometimes I miss anniversaries of her death, her birthdays; other times, like this time, they hit me like a ton of brick. So today, to mark the anniversary of her death, I'm going to post the poem the pastor of our church read at my mom's funeral. Our pastor found this poem on the refrigerator of our house, clipped out by mom. This poem has turned up several times in my life, I like to think always as a reminder from my mom.

DON'T YOU QUIT (author unknown)

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -

The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Tell the people close to you today how much you love and appreciate them! Life is short, but very precious.