Sunday, March 30, 2008

We Made It

I've had a few opportunities to blog since we arrived...but I think I was so scarred from the flight here that I needed some time to decompress. The logistics went well. Getting to the airport, curbside check-in, security, lunch, bathrooms, etc. Once on the full flight, Baileigh and Mckenna...great. Brooke...two! Terrible Two. She woke up an hour earlier then normal the morning we left but I decided this would be okay because she would be exhausted by the time we took off at 1:00. True, she was exhausted...but she fought it the entire flight. I did my best to keep her quiet and happy...or at least just not crying and screaming...which meant feeding her all the extra Easter candy I brought in case of emergencies and allowing her to essentially eat a tube of Chapstick. Nice. She finally passed out as the pilot announced we would be beginning our descent to land!

On a brighter note, Brooke has done fantastic with the sleeping arrangements. She is on a crib mattress on the floor pushed up against the wall and surrounded with pillows in case she rolls off. At night she goes to bed well and doesn't try to get up. Nap time has been 50/50 but that is true at home, too.

The weather was 85 the day we arrived but then the past few days have been gray and cool in the mid 50's! Today it was finally back up in the 80's and the girls had fun (despite complaining about the heat!) being outside and playing.

On Friday we had the chance to meet up with my friend in Fort Worth at the Botanical Gardens. The girls had a great time catching up and exploring the Butterfly exhibit and the gardens. I have a ton of great pictures to post but it's taken me about an hour with this slow dial up just to manage these photos so this is it for now...plus I'm sure that Lisa, the semi-professional photographer that she is, will have a few better pictures to email me.




Over the weekend Grandma took the girls to a local theater production as well as a movie. I've stayed home with Brooke during those times since it was during her nap...its been nice just to have some downtime to myself with no real agenda (when she actually napped!). Tomorrow we'll do a little driving as we're going to see Brad's Grandma who is in a nursing home a few hours away. Afterwards we'll spend some time on his grandparents farm hanging out with the cows.
Brad will join on us Friday. I feel like he has been deployed to Europe, not just gone on a 2 week trip. It's so hard to connect with phone calls when you factor in the time change, traveling, international calling etc. so we haven't been able to touch base too frequently. We leave for California on Wednesday...I'll have to make sure I have time to stop by a store and pick up some Chapstick and chocolate in anticipation of the flight!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Time Has Arrived!

We've been anticipating Brad's sister's wedding for months now and the time has finally arrived. We're leaving tomorrow to fly to TX to visit some family and then on to CA next week for the wedding. While Brad is eating Belgium waffles smothered with chocolate and fresh strawberries on the streets of Brussels, I will be flying alone with our 3 children to visit his family in Texas. Then on to his sister's wedding!

I'm just teasing...I love his family and he couldn't change the dates of this European trip he had to take with his class. Since we're on our spring break I decided to take the girls to Texas first to visit family that won't be able to make the trip to California for the wedding. He won't meet up with us until the Friday afternoon of the rehearsal...just in time for the Saturday evening wedding and then the flight home on Sunday with me and the kids.

My posting will be infrequent as my in-laws have dial up...I really want to take my laptop but considering the bag per person ratio I'm already undertaking I don't think I can manage one more thing. Did I mention I have 3 flower girl dresses and 1 fluffy bridesmaid dress to transport in addition to car seats and suitcases...including clothes for my husband for the rehearsal and the remainder of the weekend in CA.

If you've flown with 3 children ages 6, 4, and 2 you will understand how much I am anticipating the leisurely travel experience I am about to undergo. The fact that I get to do it solo just means that the fun will be all mine to cherish and I won't have to share it with anyone else! So if you think of me tomorrow please say a prayer for my patience and sanity...and if you're kids are driving you crazy just be glad your not confined to row 15 seats A,B,C and D!

Mistaken Identity

In the next few days there are going to be a few feature stories on the Today show (Thursday) and on Dateline on Friday evening with the release of the book Mistaken Identity.

If you recall the story that made headline news of the mistaken identity of 2 girls after a crash that killed five people on I-69 two years ago. I read the news story I linked you to and watched the video clip with Matt Lauer. I got chills! It's an interview with Matt and a local ancor from another station about Matt's interview. Matt was talking about the great faith these families demonstrate. If you're home on Friday night tune in to Dateline, or Tivo it if you have a more exciting social life then me!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Big Girl Bed Update

A few days ago I mentioned how we converted Brooke's crib to a toddler bed, against our own will but because she had learned how to escape and made it into a big game.

I am pleased to say that in general it is going really well! Only on one occasion has she opened the door to leave her room. I've caught her a few times out of bed getting a book. But after those few episodes she seems to have caught on and it now obeying pretty well. With all the girls it seems like they hit this point where they act like caged animals in their cribs and when we switch them to a big girl bed they seem to calm down with their new found freedom.

The only negative has been that Brooke has started throwing major tantrums on her way to her nap. She goes screaming and kicking and flailing and tries to run away...but once we sit and look at a book and I put her in bed she settles down. I could do without the fights but at least she gives up once I put her in bed.

We're heading out of town on Thursday for 10 days and in some ways it will be nice to not worry about cribs and pack-n-plays, but I'm really not sure what her sleeping accommodations will look like. I'm not too worried about bed time, but I'm not sure how a nap is going to work in a strange place when I can't confine her. Maybe "vacation" is the wrong word for this trip!

Who Needs a Cleaning Lady!

My friend told me about this story on the Today show this morning. It's about a 6 minute segment...but if you're a mom who stresses about never getting your house cleaned to the level you desire then watch this video and feel good about the dirt on your floors!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Quiet Day

This Easter is a little different then I had envisioned. Brad left this afternoon for a 2 week trip to Europe with his class. I wish I went on "field trips" like that when I was in school! Brooke is napping...probably crashing from her sugar buzz. Baileigh and Mckenna are coloring and watching the Veggie Tale movie, The Easter Carol. I'm waiting on my coffee to brew and watching a few deer pass through our back yard. It's relatively quiet and in light of all the events of the weekend it has me reflecting.

Easter a year ago was also unusual. Completely different circumstances, but unusual in that we were in the midst of experiencing a crisis within our circle of friends. I remember how emotional Easter morning was as the sacrifice made on the cross for our sins was seen in a new light. This year I thought about the celebration of Easter in light of my friend's accident on Friday...especially since I sit here alone due to those events. Just as a miracle happened 3 days after Jesus was nailed to the cross, I truly believe a miracle happened on Friday when Bryan was thrown from their car on the highway and was able to walk away.

I'm beginning to wonder if God thinks I'm not getting it! Do I really need these major life crisis' near every Easter to be reminded of the sacrifice that was made on my behalf and the forgiveness I've been offered?!

Apparently.

Apparently I loose sight of that when the water is calm. Apparently I try to control things and make life work on my own. Apparently God is trying to shake me and return my focus to where it should be. Apparently. I would like to think I could grow in a crisis free environment. Without trials or tribulations. But since that option isn't even a reality then I guess I'll keep trying to see adversity in the light of it's potential to help me grow and hopefully develop a consciousness that enables me to cherish every day as though it were Easter.

Easter Egg Hunt


Happy Easter!

This morning started off with the girls discovering their Easter baskets. They searched around the house but were very disappointed to see that the Easter bunny had not left them any eggs...until they noticed that there were eggs outside on the front lawn! They were ecstatic and couldn't wait to come home after church and hunt for eggs.
Pretty soon Baileigh will be too old for the Easter Bunny...she had alot of questions this year that lead me to believe she isn't as convinced about the Bunny as she is about Santa.
Checking out her loot. This age cracks me up, when they don't understand but they are totally into anything that gives them candy!
Each girl got a small present with their basket. Mckenna got a mini tea set and preschool devotional, Brooke got bubbles, and Baileigh got a paint set.
After baskets and breakfast we got dressed for church.
This was the best picture I could manage of the three of them when we're already running late for church. I wanted them to stand up so I could see their dresses better but Brooke kept running away.
Brook initially hated her dress this morning, but by the time church was over she was spinning around and comparing fluffy dresses with the other little girls.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday. Very Good Friday!

Today has been a roller coaster of emotions.

We were anticipating the late afternoon arrival of my dear friend Laurie and her two teenage children. They were driving here from MI to spend four days with us and make some day trips to NYC and Philly.

I had spoken with Laurie a few times on their drive. The kids were snoozing or listening to music and the drive was going smoothly. They left MI around 5:00am and were on schedule to arrive around 3:00. Around 11:45 the phone rang. It was Laurie saying they had been in an accident and rolled their car and Bryan, 14, was thrown from the vehicle. I could hear the EMT talking to her and telling her where they were going.

Is this for real? That is what is going on in my mind. I was starting to panic. Laurie was calm, strangely calm, eerily calm...shock. She said she would call when they got to the hospital and knew more.

So, I begin freaking out...seriously. Like a chicken with my head cut off. Do I jump in the car and drive? Who do I call? What can I do? Is Bryan okay? What happened?

I think I scared the girls. Baileigh started crying and I saw how my panic was freaking them out as well so we stopped and talked and prayed. I began packing us up to drive the 4 hours to the hospital. Laurie called to give me an update, but I didn't really know much more. I met with Brad to drop off the girls when Laurie called again. Bryan's MRI and Cat scan were clear and they were waiting on a few more tests to make sure he was okay.

Apparently he was sleeping in the back seat of their car, laying down and wasn't wearing a seat belt. When they went off the road the car began to roll and he was thrown out one of the car windows about 20 feet in front of the car which was then rolling towards him! Thankfully he landed in a soft muddy area and the car stopped rolling before it got to him.

Laurie and Brittany were relatively unscathed physically...emotionally they are all obviously shook up and a little gun shy about driving. Laurie called her husband as soon as the accident happened and he immediately began driving to them. Just as I was dropping off the girls so I could drive to the hospital Laurie called and said that she thought they would be discharged by dinner. That was what ended up happening but I still regret that I let her talk me into not coming. I should have gone. I know it wouldn't have changed things but by the late afternoon Laurie was sounding exhausted and the emotions were catching up with her and I wish I would have been there for her and the kids.

Thankfully Bryan is doing well. They discovered two hairline fractures in his lumbar and he has some bruises and a huge rug burn type of marks on his back. But considering he was thrown over 2o feet from a moving vehicle and can walk away without a stitch I would say he is very fortunate. Tonight they are all at a hotel by the hospital. Nobody felt like driving anymore and they thought it may be a good idea to stay close to the hospital for the evening and drive home tomorrow. Their car was a total loss.

We're obviously disappointed that they won't be visiting us this week. But more importantly we're extremely thankful and praising God that they are all okay and something that could have been very tragic turned into something that we can rejoice about.

This whole thing instantly took me back to the tragic accident two months ago that claimed the lives of Carrie and Lucas Pedersen. I had to go back and read my own words that regardless of the outcome God doesn't change. I thought about that several times today as I waited and wondered to find out what happened to Bryan.

Thankfully today was a Good Friday. A very Good Friday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Brooke has been fighting her nap the past few weeks. But I refuse to let her give them up. Today she had been in her crib about an hour talking to herself. She started to fuss and call for me. The bus dropped Baileigh off in front of our house so I went outside for a few minutes to greet her. When I came inside Brooke was still fussing (aka yelling and crying and protesting) so I decided to go upstairs and let her get up.

I opened her door quickly...usually when I do this she instantly drops from her feet and lays down and pretends she was being quiet. Today as I thrust the door open I didn't see her in her crib, at the very same moment I heard a big thud and then screaming. Apparently she had climbed out of her crib for the first time and was standing right behind her door. I hit her in the head with the door handle and it knocked her into the wall. Oops...nice going, Mom! She has a nice knot on her forehead tonight.

This is the third time we've used this crib with our kids but the first time any of the girls has escaped. Granted, Brooke is older then either of the other girls now and still in the crib. Baileigh was out at 21 months because we needed the crib for Mckenna and with Mckenna we converted it to a toddler bed just before her second birthday because she was starting to potty train.

All that is to say that tonight we converted the crib to a toddler bed. This was the last thing I planned on doing tonight, this week, or this month. We were hoping to wait until June when we move and do the big girl bed and potty training all at one time. Nope. So tonight was the first night in her big girl bed...sorta big girl. She was tired from not having taken a nap so it went rather smoothly. We did her normal bedtime routine and I sat behind her bed in the dark for a few minutes. She fussed for about 30 seconds and that was it!
She looks so big! Sometimes I just don't feel ready for her to be at this point and moving towards potty training, too. I don't know why but she still seems so much like my little baby.
That was easy! Easier then a lot of nights in her crib! I'm just dreading the morning...and even worse, nap time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Her New Talent

Brooke has learned how to take her pajamas off. Last night before I went to bed I checked on her like I do every night and found this.
On the floor were her pajamas. I rolled her over and noticed that she attempted to escape her onesie too but failed. As I was taking her picture she opened her eyes...she doesn't look too happy with me, does she!?
This morning when she woke up I found her again in her onesie holding her pj's in her hand saying "Oh no!" and then "Brrr"...as in "I'm cold."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Our Announcement

Wow...a lot of you immediately assume "announcement" means pregnancy (see comments from previous post) as well as you have a great memory back to April Fool's last year...I completely forgot about that post!

Our news has nothing to do with a baby, however...it is a major life change. We recently learned of our next assignment and in late June we will be moving to the DC/VA area as Brad will be working at Headquarters Air Force in the Pentagon. So, if you're keeping track or at all confused...it looks like this:

Spring 2007 in WA. Summer 2007-Summer 2008 in NJ. Summer 2008 in DC.

Got it?! This was our first 1 year assignment and we're so fortunate that it was in a location where we still had a lot of friends from our previous stint in NJ. It has been a great year rekindling friendships and it will be hard to leave them, again! It will be nice to only be 2.5 hours away so we can visit on occassion.

We've already spent two weekends in DC exploring and checking out the housing situation and trying to determine the area that we want to focus in on in our house hunt. We're both a little excited and apprehensive. There are a lot more factors to consider in this move...Brad needs to commute by public transportation so we're looking for a house near one of the many commuting options. Our other major factor is the schools. We found an area we really liked but the schools got terrible reviews. So, cross it off the list. We spent an evening creating a spread sheet that shows the best schools in the county where we're looking to live and then mapping their school district and essentially we're telling our realtor to show us houses within those areas...unfortunately a lot of the houses in those areas are million dollar homes which are slightly out of our price range.

So...that is the "announcement"...hope I didn't disappoint! Apparently I don't seem busy enough in my posts and everyone thinks we need a fourth child!

Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm Here

I've been quiet for a few days...crazy around here. I'm working on a post with an announcement, so check back soon.

In the meantime, if you have been following Leslie's blog and praying for her family you may have read that tomorrow is both her birthday and hopefully her release date from the hospital. Keep that in mind if you're looking for somewhere to comment...ahem.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Two Year Old Pictures

Yesterday we took Brooke in for her 2 year old pictures. I usually go to Picture People but my past few experiences there haven't gone well so I decided to try some place new. I went to a place called Portrait Innovations. They were great. It took Brooke over twenty minutes to let go of me. She was clingy and acting shy. The photographer just sat on the ground with us and talked and waited patiently. She got a ball out and rolled it up the back drop. Eventually Brooke decided she wanted to try it and within seconds she was laughing and running around.

The photographers use high end digital cameras with a fancy flash and they are much more flexible to move around and take a picture when the opportunity presents itself (they aren't cameras mounted to a giant wheeled contraption that they move around). Our photographer was down on her knees, on her stomach, etc. She suggested some ideas but if Brooke objected (which she did) she didn't persist. It was the perfect environment for Brooke because she felt more in control then in a more traditional portrait studio where you have to sit in a certain spot, tilt your head a certain way, etc. so she relaxed and took some decent pictures.

The other thing I liked about Portrait Innovations (you think they'll give me a discount for this plug?) is that you immediately get to see all your pictures (she took 33!) and then narrow down your favorites and then see them cropped, b&w or whatever you want. Twenty minutes later they are ready and I think that the picture quality is better then Picture People...clearer and better lighting!

Ideally I would love to always be in a park or the woods with a photographer getting beautiful pictures taken in a natural setting...but the reality is that I can't afford to always do that type of photography so if I have to settle for going to a studio then I'm pretty pleased with this place.

My Mom has been in town and had these pictures with her of me at three years old. Do you see any resemblance? She definitly looks more like my side of the family then the other girls. It's funny how much that seems to matter to extended family. I don't really understand why...but regardless it's funny to hear Grandparents and relatives comment on how much one of the girls may look like my husbands side, or my side, or like a certain relative etc.





Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Practicing for the Big Day

In just a few more weeks all three girls will make their debut as flower girls in my sister-in-law's wedding in California. We tried on the dresses and shoes one last time yesterday to make sure everything fit okay.
I'm not sure how Brooke will do, but Baileigh and Mckenna are very excited and very serious about their job!

After we took their dresses off Mckenna decided she wanted to practice for the wedding. She improvised a basket and flower petals for a hat and plastic balls. She also came up with this song to accompany her performance.
video

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Surgery Day

While you are reading this (if it's Monday) the odds are that Leslie is either in her 8 hour surgery or in some phase of pre or post operation procedures.

Please keep them in your prayers today and let them know that you are thinking of them.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Barnyard Bash!

Friday was Brooke's second birthday. I can't believe my baby is now 2! Amazing. We were saving most of her celebrating for Saturday, but on Friday we opened a few presents, ate some cupcakes and did some of Brooke's favorites like coloring.
The highlight of the day was that Daddy came home after being out of town for 10 days...just in time for the party.

We had a Barnyard party, complete with a cow cake I made that I'm pretty darned proud of if I do say so myself! Brooke thought it was cool and kept "mooing". We almost got a decent family picture. I'm taking Brooke for her 2 year old pictures next week...I'm sure that will turn into a blog post!
What? Is she looking at the camera? Smiling? Surely not? Perhaps she is turning over a new leaf at the age of 2?
We just had a few friends of Brooke's from church. The girls had a fun time playing and since the mom's are all friends we had a good time enjoying coffee and cake and ice cream at 10:00am!
She got a lot of neat presents, but always an old favorite is a toy cell phone. Is that a bad sign of things to come?

The twisty cheese puffs (we called them pig tails in staying with the theme) were almost more popular then the cake. I admit, they were pretty good! Brooke's new sparkly shoes from Nana were a hit. I love her little chunky legs in this picture...they are looking leaner every day as she is showing more and more signs of outgrowing her baby days!

Happy 2nd Birthday Brooke Elizabeth! Mommy and Daddy love you!

I'm Impressed!

So I was hoping for 20 comments to encourage Leslie and Tyson in my previous post...last I checked they had 31 comments! Nice going! I am definitely not taking credit...there were a lot of names I recognized but a lot I was not familiar with either that have started to follow this blog through other blogs. It is fun though to see the ripple effect and read how the word is spreading. This is where/when I love blogging...it's potential and power to disseminate information and be a tool or aid in helping.

So hopefully you are now keeping them in your thoughts and prayers and making them a part of your daily blog reading regardless of my encouragement. If that describes you then you might already be aware that Leslie made a post today sharing a little more about her thoughts in anticipation of her surgery on Monday.

Hope you consider taking the time to offer some more encouragement.

Friday, March 07, 2008

My Baby is 2!





Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Please Read

Leslie's surgery has been scheduled for Monday.

Please take a second to visit this link and comment and spread the word. I'm hoping for 20 comments! I think we can do it.

Thanks.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Self-Imposed Time Out

Occasionally Mckenna finds herself in the time out chair in the corner of our kitchen. Apparently Brooke has noticed...I came into the kitchen the other night and found that she had moved the chair and was just hanging out in the corner.
This is a pose she learned from Mckenna who dramatically hangs from the chair rail emphasizing her suffering and our cruelty as parents for subjecting her to a time out.
I don't think we'll be able to use this technique with Brooke since she already thinks its a fun game!


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Making Peace, with Ann Jillian

Several weeks ago I compared Mckenna's haircut to that of actress Ann Jillian. I received this comment from Ann Jillian on one of my posts!

Well...supposedly Ann Jillian. I'm skeptical and have been interrogating my friends to no avail. My husband keeps telling me of rather common computer software that allows you to be notified when your name is used on a public domain and thinks that Jillian's management has such capabilities and they monitor how and when her name is being used.

Perhaps.

So, yesterday I received another comment on an older post after I mentioned Ann Jillian again after Mckenna's recent haircut. This time the comment was from Andy Murcia, Ann's manager and husband.

Perhaps.

I had my suspicions about one friend making the comments, but the most recent comment was posted while she is away in France. I suppose she could still have taken the time to research Ann's bio and then posted the comment impersonating Andy Murcia.

Perhaps.

I truly hope not...she is in FRANCE! Surely she has better things to do! And it could be someone else that decided to go the extra mile with this last post.

Perhaps.

Or perhaps Ann's husband/manager did comment on my blog. I read back through my posts to see if I had said anything offensive about the actress. I won't deny that my comparison of Mckenna's haircut to Ann Jillian was not necessarily complimentary...but that was 1980 and Ann no longer wears her hair in that exact style, either! I was complimentary of her character in the sit com It's A Living...I was even a fan. I also remember watching her with Bob Hope on the U.S.O specials.

So what is the point of this...I guess I just want to make peace with you, Ann. I meant no harm when I compared my daughter's haircut to your once trendy locks. I have great respect for anyone that is a breast cancer surivior, a supporter of the U.S.O, and a motivational speaker. I wish you nothing but the best and hope that you didn't internalize any of my comments too personally.

I've always tried to be a responsible blogger. It's a fine line in being able to freely speak my mind while being conscientious of my readers and my fan base. I've always assumed that I have a celebrity following. Why? Why not! Safe assumption, I assume!

So not only do I have to keep in mind the friends and family that follow my blog, now I need to keep in mind the managers, agents and celebrities!

So, I think this is a good time to try to clear the air with a few other people. Oprah. George Clooney. Julia Roberts. I hope I didn't say anything in previous posts to offend you. Call me.