Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Tis The Season

Its Christmastime.  I have always enjoyed this time of year--its even more fun now that we have children.  We take them to look at Christmas lights, watch Christmas shows and movies with them, make Christmas cookies, make crafts, and the boys sing the carols they learn at school to us.  There is always something magical about Christmas.

This Christmas we have decided not to travel.  Yes, I heard all the gasping--just hear me out.  Traveling is hard enough with two kids.  You drive two hours in the cold and hope you don't have car issues or a flat along the way.  You spend night after night in a place that isn't your home--in a bed that isn't your bed. You spend day after day going from place to place for scheduled Christmas gatherings.  Its always great to see people and we always enjoy ourselves, but this year we are tired.  We are up with Kaitlyn 3 or 4 times a night and I can't imagine doing that in some place other than home. I remember when Logan was 8 months old and we traveled for Christmas--it was horrible.  He screamed the entire way because he hated being in his car seat--Kaitlyn is the same way. I can't imagine driving with a one month old screaming the entire way. I can't imagine getting up with her several times throughout the night and then getting ready for another Christmas gathering the next day after being up with her all night. Alex and Kaitlyn both have runny noses and are congested and I don't want to travel in the cold with two snotty children. Kaitlyn's pediatrician even encouraged us not to travel too far because we need to stay close to Childrens in case something happens--this statement has our attention now that Kaitlyn has a runny nose. She said that since Kaitlyn's immune system is still building, something as small as a runny nose can quickly turn into something more serious.  I am reminded of one Christmas that Logan (as a baby/toddler) got sick and we were far away from home, far away from his pediatrician, and we had to drive the 2 hours back home with a screaming child who didn't feel well.

We have offered to have people come here for Christmas which has led to people getting upset that we're not going to THEIR place, people telling us that it will be crowded (which is code for "you need a bigger place"--don't even get me started on that one), and people getting their feelings hurt.
We want to be with our families for Christmas--we do--We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or make anyone upset or be difficult, but no one seems to take into consideration all it entails on our end just to get where we're going with everything we need, etc.  We have done it every year in an attempt to be with our families for Christmas.

So, this Christmas, we have decided not to travel.  We know people are disappointed, some are upset, but we hope everyone understands. We love our families and want to be with them on Christmas, but just for this year we are choosing not to travel.  We apologize and hope you understand!

And, as always, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!! ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A 6-year-old's View of "The Grinch"

I had the chance to sit and watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas with my boys this evening.  We had a picnic dinner (now that they are well--thank God) and sat and watched the movie.  The boys laughed so hard.  Alex seemed to relate to the Grinch.  He said, "I know why he feels mad at those kids.  Those kids are mean to him.  Kids are mean when you're different."  He paused to watch more of the movie and after a while he said, "I know I'm different from other kids."  I said, "How are you different?"  He said, "I talk different and my arm is different and I can't do things everybody else can do."  The mother wheels in my brain started turning and I opened my mouth to tell him just how perfect he is but before I could say anything he said, "The Grinch wouldn't have been so mean if he had a good mommy and daddy."  We watched a few more minutes of the movie--Alex laughed with Logan (because they think Jim Carrey is hilarious as the Grinch).  Then, Alex snuggled up to me, grabbed my hand and said, "If the Grinch had a mommy and daddy like I have then he wouldn't have been so mean.  They would have helped him and told him to be nice."

Alex also said that the Grinch's teacher wasn't nice and he (the Grinch) deserved to have a nice teacher like the teachers Alex has.  He said, "I have really fun and nice teachers and I don't want to be mean.  The Grinch didn't have a nice teacher, either. No nice mommy and daddy and no nice teacher."  I said, "You don't think she's nice?"  He said, "She laughed at him and didn't make the other kids stop being mean--no, she's not very nice."

At the end of the movie when the Grinch becomes nice Alex's face lit up and he said, "See, mom?  Cindy Lou Who was nice to him and his heart grew and he wanted to be nice."  He looked up at me with those big, beautiful blue eyes and said, "Everybody needs some one to be nice to them and love them. I have a whole family and a lot of nice teachers." I said, "Yes, you have a lot of people who love you."  He smiled and said, "That is why I'm such a good boy, mom."

I am so proud of Alex and I will never look at the Grinch in the same way!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Who Says

I heard a song today that I really, really liked.  The first thing I noticed was the music--it was a pop song but the music was fun and I couldn't help but like it.  Then, I noticed the lyrics and decided I really liked the song.  I haven't heard much by Selena Gomez--I actually know her mostly from Wizards of Waverly Place because Alex went through a phase about a year ago where he watched it.  I haven't really followed her singing career, but have to admit I really like this song.

Right now everything is crazy in our house--I am happy to get 3 or 4 hours of sleep in a row when it happens.  During the day I get so caught up in doing all that needs to be done around the house, getting ready for Christmas, getting ready for Alex's birthday, getting ready for Alex's surgery, and a hundred other things that need to be done, that I never think to lay down while Kaitlyn is sleeping.  By the end of the week I'm exhausted and after a while that can start to take a toll on your emotions as well. My incision is still hurting and hasn't healed 100% which I find to be extremely frustrating.  I want to do EVERYTHING on my own and don't want to NEED people to help me. I lost 35 pounds after having Kaitlyn and now it is as if I have hit a brick wall.  I gained 55 pounds with her so I realize that losing 35 is quite an accomplishment, but I also realize that I still need to lose 20 pounds to get my "old" body back--maternity pants are baggy now and, of course, don't fit right, and non-maternity pants don't fit and hurt my incision.  Its funny how many frustrating things you encounter after having a baby.  Because of all these things, this song, sung by a 19-year-old, really got my attention.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Photo

I wanted to take a picture of all three of my children wearing red and sitting in front of the Christmas tree to put on our Christmas card this year.  I put sweaters on the boys and Kaitlyn had a cute little red velvet dress and some red tights she got to wear.  The boys kept smiling and Kaitlyn would cry, scream, or make a face.  She kept giving me these looks like she was more than annoyed with what I was doing.  I kept saying, "I just need one good picture!"  The boys would smile and I'd say, "Let's try it again."  They would moan and sigh.  Aww . . . 'tis the season!  Photos have become more challenging now that there are three children in the picture instead of two.  The boys will look down at Kaitlyn instead of of the camera, one of them will have their eyes closed, Kaitlyn will be crying or screaming or wiggling around, her dress riding up nearly covering her face.  I was determined to get one good picture of them--eventually, I did.   Christmas cards are made and now I just need to send them out.  Christmas card photos are always so funny.  The children are smiling and look so happy when in reality they just wanted to be finished with the photo so they could go play.  I'm holding the camera and saying, "Okay, guys, look at me.  No, look at me!"

I remember taking photos for my mom's Christmas card growing up and by the time we finished we would all be mad at each other.  Our experience with this year's Christmas card wasn't anywhere near that bad but the boys had other things they wanted to do.  They were good sports about it and Kaitlyn was patient and cooperative for the most part.  Now we can wish everyone a Merry Christmas with our children's bright and smiling faces.

Brothers and best friends--looking handsome for the picture!

Kaitlyn all dressed up.  She was a good sport about it and she looked so pretty!

Another Christmas card out of the way!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Its Been A While!

Wow!  Its been a while since I posted on this blog.  We have been just a tad busy in the Astley house with the arrival of Kaitlyn about a week and a half ago.  Since her arrival I have found myself trying to be more patient with my boys and trying to find more time to spend with them, talking to them, listening to them, and doing  things with them. Kaitlyn is a newborn and therefore requires A LOT of attention--the boys are 5 and almost 7 and are very independent.  I don't want them to feel like Kaitlyn is getting more attention--I think THAT has been the hardest thing for me.  Otherwise things are going great.  The boys adore Kaitlyn and go on and on about how cute she is.  They want to help her, hold her, touch her, and love on her.  They truly are her biggest fans! I love watching them with her--how gentle and loving they are with her.

Jacob made a Thanksgiving dinner yesterday for us--every year we try to make a Thanksgiving dinner at home the day before Thanksgiving.  We can spend Thanksgiving as a little family before we go spend it with the extended family.  Jacob did a great job on the meal and we ended the day by watching Gremlins with the boys before they had to go to bed.

So, between school, therapies, bottles and dirty diapers we have been staying busy here.  Here are a couple of pictures . . . until next time.

Yes, this child has some CRAZY hair!

Logan wearing his "I'm a big brother" band

Alex wearing his "I'm a Big Brother" band . . . they're not proud brothers or anything.  Ha.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Update on The Astleys

This is a picture Alex took.  We are now actually down to about 2 and a half weeks. Kaitlyn has run out of room.  We are all ready for her arrival--at this point we feel as if it is hanging over our heads. People keep telling me the time will go by fast--in some ways it is and in some ways it isn't.
My doctor says that walking is good so I try to do it from time to time.  Yesterday was Jacob's birthday so he took off at 3:00, went with me to pick up the boys from school (which was a big surprise for them), and then we went to a park.  The park has a ton of walking trails and it is just so beautiful.  The temperature was perfect and a cool breeze was blowing.  I walked on one of the trails with Jacob and the boys for a while.  We went to the look out spot and I stayed there while Jacob took the boys hiking up the hill.  I watched them all hiking together, getting farther away, and thought about how blessed I am.  When they  got to the top of the hill Logan turned and waved, then they came back to me.  The boys wanted to keep hiking/walking so Jacob took them and I found a picnic table where I sat, enjoyed the cool breeze, and waited for them to come back. I really enjoyed it.  We came home and I made fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and biscuits for dinner (its one of Jacob's favorite meals).  We gave Jacob a card game he has been wanting and also got him a new Texas Rangers hat he has mentioned wanting for his birthday.  It was a good afternoon/evening.

We have been busy trying to get things ready for Kaitlyn's arrival--packing, making lists, cleaning, getting all of her little things ready for her arrival, getting things ready for the boys, etc.  We have a lot of lists and a lot to do.  My body hurts and it takes me 3 times longer  to do something than it used to. We are trying to stay caught up with all of the boys' homework and Alex's therapies and extra work from speech and reading class.  I realized yesterday that I am not Super Mom and I can't do it all. Logan informed me that his teacher tested him on sight words and he didn't know them all because I haven't worked with him on them.  He is right.  I completely forgot about the sight words.  I felt horrible!  So much attention goes towards Alex and all of his extra needs and getting ready for Kaitlyn.  The whole "Middle child" thing came to mind.  I talked to Logan and he, of course, told me it was okay.  I talked to his teacher and she said that he knew half of the sight words, which is more than a lot of the kids knew. She acted like it was no big deal and was very understanding.  I was upset about it and Jacob said, "The fact that you care and you're upset about it proves that you're a good mom."  Have I mentioned that I love that man!  LOL  We are hoping that once we get Kaitlyn home we can develop a new schedule and routine and get everything done that needs to be done.We have already decided that once a month Jacob will take the boys to the park or out for ice cream, etc. and once a month I will do the same with the boys so they get a little extra attention.  Jacob has even mentioned taking the boys to do things on their own that they like--taking Alex to an arcade or taking Logan bug hunting, etc. The boys are actually excited about Kaitlyn--they rub my tummy and kiss it and say they love Kaitlyn. All I know is that she is going to have two awesome big brothers.

Now we're just waiting to get her here.

Until next time . . .

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Enjoying Autumn

Like most families we look forward to the weekends.  We always try to do fun things with the boys on the weekends--they will only be this age for a little while and we want to enjoy every minute of it.  Friday evening we went to McDonalds for dinner.  They have been advertising the Halloween pails that the happy meals come in and the boys were excited about getting them.  They got the Jack-o-lantern pails and put the face stickers on them--they were surprised to discover that the stickers glow in the dark.

Saturday morning we got up and I made breakfast toaster sandwiches and then we cleaned.  The boys cleaned their room and Jacob and I cleaned the rest of the house. The house was a mess and it needed to be cleaned--it was nice to have Jacob's help.  We hung out with my cousin, Matt, and I tried a new recipe which was a BIG hit--mini shepherds pies.
Alex loved these--which means we will be having these more often!
The boys watched Matt and Jacob play a card game and we watched the Rangers game.  The boys got to stay up late, which is really cool when you're little.

We bought a hay bale and sat it near the porch with a scare crow and some pumpkins.  The boys helped Jacob make two Jack-o-lanterns.  It turned out really nice!

I made Pumpkin spice pancakes and bacon for breakfast and now we are just relaxing and enjoying a clean house! LOL  We have plans to use our hot dog cooker to cook some hot dogs for dinner later. It has been a fun weekend and I am excited to try a few more new recipes for dinner this week.  We actually have a busy week coming up--Logan gets to dress up as a book character this week (there will be pictures) and the boys' school fall parties are this week.

This is a busy, but fun time of year--and we are trying to enjoy every minute of it. ;)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Baby's Room

I have had a lot of people ask me to post pictures of Kaitlyn's room when we get it finished. Well, as of yesterday, it is pretty much finished.  The boys told us they thought it looked good--Alex said he thinks Kaitlyn will like it.  Since it has her big brothers' stamp of approval I thought I'd share some photos of her room with those of you who have asked to see pictures and those of you who are interested in seeing them.

The window, changing table and a hair clip holder.  The changing table was given to us by my friend, Sylvia.  We have gotten a lot of compliments on it.  The hair clip holder was made for Kaitlyn by my cousin, Ann.  It looks great hanging in her room!

The wall above Kaitlyn's bed.

Kaitlyn's crib

A pink table given to us for Kaitlyn's room by my friend, Brittani.  The frog bank matches the small amount of green in her room and was given to her by her Nisa (Denisa).  The bottle bank was given to me by my friend, Sunshine.

Above the pink table we have our first green shelf, with the ancient TV set (LOL) and a bunch of pink things. The teddy bear on the shelf was mine as a little girl.  One of my mom's friends made it for me.  She received another hair clip holder from Denisa, which is good because she has a ton of clips and bows.  The tissue flower hanging on the wall was made by my sister-in-law, Payten, and the robes were given to Kaitlyn by my friend, Crystal.  (Its neat to look at all of these things and remember where they all came from!)

The second green shelf in Kaitlyn's room is above the brown futon.  All of the stuffed animals on the shelf, with the exception of Ruby (the rabbit from Max & Ruby) were mine as a little girl. Ruby was Logan's--he had Max and Ruby and told me he thought Kaitlyn would like to have Ruby, so she went up on the shelf with the others.  The picture below the shelf is one that my cousin, Ann, made for Kaitlyn's room.

We framed the T-shirts the boys wore to announce they were getting a sister, along with the pictures we took of them announcing they were going to be big brothers.  We have gotten a lot of compliments on this, too.

The far corner of Kaitlyn's room.  A tissue flower, made by her Aunt Payten, hanging from the ceiling, and a lot of pink and brown.  The name banner was made by my friend, Sunshine, for her room. It looks awesome in there! Sunshine did such an amazing job on it!  She has a ton of headbands and my mother had some one make a head band holder for her, which is sitting on the left side of her chest of drawers.  We have the nursery scentsy in the middle and the cool Wonder Woman lamp (Also from Denisa) on the right.

This is the Wonder Woman lamp.  It is probably THE coolest lamp I have ever seen.  We don't have to mess with a lamp shade or a big light bulb--its filled with a strand of lights and it is just cool.

The cool hair clip holder my cousin, Ann, made for Kaitlyn.  When I pulled it out of the sack I noticed it has bows already attached to it.  The bows are pretty cool as well!  I love that Kaitlyn has so many things in her room that were given to her by people who already love her!  She isn't going to be rotten at all! LOL

The hair clip made for Kaitlyn by Denisa.  It is so cute!  There are some great things in her room that were made just for her.  I love it!

The picture my cousin, Ann, made.  This is something I will always cherish--and it looks great hanging in Kaitlyn's room!

So, there you have it! We are very happy with it and are now just waiting to get her here. ;)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is Your Life Like A Sitcom?

Life is filled with people fighting to get to the top or struggling not to hit rock bottom.  There is a third group of people, though--the people stuck in the middle.  I have referred to ABC's The Middle before but it always comes to mind.  The Middle is a show about a middle class family (the Hecks) with parents hitting middle age living in the middle of the country. There are many days in my world that I think my little family would fit right in living next door to the Hecks.

This week I have been home with two sick boys.  They have fevers at night and then during the day they feel fine so its a constant struggle trying to convince them that they need to rest. Then the evening hits and back come the fevers.  I'm 8 months pregnant waddling around on swollen ankles and feet, trying to keep the house clean and keep up with the laundry and life is pretty interesting right now.  We had people come into our home yesterday and clean the fire place, chimney, and the dryer vent.  The dryer was running fine when they arrived.  I had to turn it off so they could clean the vent.  After they left I put a load in to dry and after drying for two hours they were still wet--not damp, but WET.  I noticed a hissing sound coming from behind the dryer and we realized that while cleaning the vent and moving things around they had busted a hole in the tube that connects the dryer to the wall.

I go to the store and people stare.  Why?  Have they never seen a pregnant woman before?  I realize I don't have the tiny figure I once had but I'm certain I'm not the first pregnant woman who had a huge pregnant belly.  Let's face it, I'm not that tall and the baby has no where to go but out. I have about 6 weeks left in the pregnancy and I'm more than ready to get the show on the road.  If  Kaitlyn decided to come early I would be very proud of my daughter.  LOL

Retirement is being taken out of Jacob's checks right now so money is tight, if there at all and Jacob's job is more than stressful.  Alex is struggling with spelling words and therapies, appointments, school and other activities keep us busier than we'd like most days.  There are days when I could see our family being in a sitcom like The Middle.  Yesterday I made the boys scrambled eggs for breakfast and they didn't want them because they wanted the eggs cooked differently.  I pointed my spatula at them and said, "I bet there are kids at your school who would be happy to get burnt eggs to eat, much less nice scrambled eggs like these."  I could actually hear Frankie Heck loudly saying the same thing to her children.  Alex rolled his eyes and walked away and Logan just stood there and looked at me.  Ha.
I thought about The Truman Show the other day as I looked around for the cameras.

Each week seems to give us new challenges--it keeps us on our toes, keeps us from getting bored, and helps us appreciate the things we have.
Now, please, excuse me while I go try to convince my boys to lay down and rest instead of wrestling with each other.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Countdown Begins

In case you are wondering I HAVE been counting down the weeks until I have this baby.  I have a little over 9 weeks left.  I have had several people tell me that being pregnant in your 30s is different from being pregnant in your 20s.  Boy, were they ever right.  Being pregnant with my boys seemed easy. This baby is a WHOLE different story, though. My body hurts, its hurts to walk, my feet, ankles, and fingers keep swelling, I have little energy and feel like I have to lie down most afternoons, I just feel huge and uncomfortable--yup, I'll be glad when I get her here and I can hold her in my arms and not have to be pregnant any more.  Jacob has been doing more things around the house to help me and he has been very understanding and supportive through all of this.

When I felt up to it over the long holiday weekend we tried to make some fun food and also hit some sales at Hobby Lobby.  Jacob did a lot of hanging and we just enjoyed being together as a family.  It was nice.

One night we splurged and made Juicy Lucys with cheddar bacon fries.  Not the healthiest of meals, but its fun to splurge from time to time.

The "All Star" hat rack we purchased for half price at Hobby Lobby.  We have been looking for a hat rack for the boys' room for a while now and this one was perfect.  It was even more exciting that it was 50% off!

The boys' backpacks are always on the floor and in the way.  I found this double hook for half price and bought it to hang the boys' back packs on.  We hung it in the hallway at the boys' height so they could hang their back packs and get them for school.

Another day we made taco salad and made mini tortilla bowls by using an upside down muffin pan.

Finished products.  Alex loved these!

Taco salad

Here's to more fun discoveries and new recipes!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What I've Learned

Some one once told me that life is basically one lesson after another--the trick is to pay attention and learn from these lessons.  For some reason I was thinking about this today and started thinking about all the things I have learned in the past few months.

The first thing I have learned is that friendships aren't always what you expect them to be.  Pablo Neruda (one of my favorite poets) once asked if man actually learns kindness or if we just learn the mask of kindness.  This "mask" applies to so many things in life.  I have learned that masks are apparent in friendships as well, we just can't see them at times. I have met some great women over the past several months and have made some new friends.  I have also learned who my real friends are and who just wear the mask of friendship.  Sadly, the ones wearing the masks are never the ones you would expect to be wearing masks.  As an adult, real friendships are important to me--and all the others just aren't worth my time.

Another thing I've learned is that I really like . . . no, love . . . Miranda Lambert's music.  I am not quite sure what it is about her.  I'm not the biggest fan of country music and the twangy stuff is some of my least favorite music, but I can listen to her stuff over and over again and just really enjoy it.

What else have I learned?  To pick my battles.  I am learning to do this more and more with my boys.  It makes life easier to let the little things go and focus on the bigger, more important things.  Yes, their room may be a big mess, but at least they are playing and using their imaginations and NOT sitting in front of the television.

I have also learned that the saying, "You are what you eat" isn't true.  I have been craving cereal the past few weeks and if that saying were true I would be a walking, talking cereal box and that hasn't happened yet.  (YET).

There are many more lessons to be learned--I just hope I notice them when they happen. ;)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Trapped In A Box

Today has been a busy day in our house.  The boys started another year of school this morning and after dropping them off I had to go have my blood glucose test done.  I have learned that in reality things never go like you think they will.  I knew it took an hour to do the test so I figured I'd be there maybe an hour and 15 minutes.  I guess I had a momentary shortage of brain cells.

It is funny to me how the waiting room in the lab is always full--one side full of pregnant women and the other side full of elderly people.  I signed in and found an empty seat, pulled out my Kindle, and began reading where I had left off in Tina Fey's Bossy Pants.  About 15 or 20 minutes later the young lady behind the counter called my name and asked me to come sign some insurance stuff. I answered all her questions, initialed here, signed there, and then she said, "You don't look your age."  What?  What did she just say? "Excuse me?"  She smiled and said, "I was saying that you don't look your age.  You look a lot younger."  I tried not to smile, I really did, but I couldn't help it. "THANK YOU" I blurted out.

Back to my seat I went, pulling out the Kindle again, and waiting.  Another 15 or 20 minutes passed when my name was called.  I walked to the back where I was handed the dreaded drink and told to drink it in under 15 minutes.  Ready.  Set.  GO!  I unscrewed the lid and took a sip.  It was gross, but not as horribly gag-inducing as the orange stuff I was forced to drink while pregnant with my boys. I drank it quickly, maybe in a minute if that, and she sent me back to my seat.  This is where the fun began.  I knew I would be there for at least an hour so I came prepared.  I brought my iPod with me as well as my Kindle.  Hey, I didn't have my kids with me so why not live it up a little, right?

Time passed and I looked at the clock.  WHAT?  It hadn't even been 10 minutes.  This was going to be a long wait.  People came and went. A young woman came in and her perfume immediately hit me. I thought I was going to sneeze and then I thought, "Why are you wearing so much?"  An elderly woman with a walker sat beside me and spent five minutes trying to open a Jolly Rancher candy.  I felt bad for her.  Her twisted fingers shaking and focusing only on getting that candy opened.  She smiled when she finally opened it and was able to enjoy it. This was around the time I noticed my tail bone was starting to hurt.  I switched positions and looked at the clock.  Thirty more minutes to go. Jeez.

I was reading my Kindle, which was resting on my stomach.  You know all pregnant women do that.  My third grade teacher was pregnant and she always rested papers, books, anything she had on her pregnant stomach.  The baby (my baby, not my 3rd grade teacher's) started moving and kicking--the Kindle would bounce and I would wonder if anyone noticed.

More people came and went and my tail bone continued to hurt. Finally, I heard my name.  I walked back and she said, "Which arm do you prefer?"  Now, let me take a moment to say that when people take blood from me they usually have to stick me two or three times before they can find a vein that works.  Sometimes they even dig, which doesn't make for the most pleasant pregnant woman. I said, "Wherever you think you can find one that works."  She laughed.  "Lady, I'm serious!"  She found one and amazingly it worked on the first stick.  She asked about my Kindle and we talked about how our husbands want iPads but they are too expensive.  Then, she was done.

Every friend I have who has had this test done in the past 6 months has failed it and had to go back for the longer, more brutal test. We won't know until Tuesday but I hope I pass it.  Sitting there for about 4 hours (after they do paper work, etc.) or longer--is REALLY going to make my tail bone hurt.

I'll let you know how it goes. ;)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Death of a Challenge

The blog challenge has kind of died.  The point of it was to challenge myself to do the blog every week.  I am now behind--which seems to happen more and more. I am not too proud to admit defeat.  It was fun while it lasted, though.

Until next time . . .

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When It Rains It Pours

. . . and then the flood comes and you better grab a manual on how to build an ark super fast!

This week we didn't have our manual. LOL

This week has been one that Jacob and I will not only be happy to see behind us but also one we hope to forget once its over.  It has been one thing after another--days filled with worry and stress and long nights filled with sleeplessness because of worry and stress.

The boys and I were driving home Tuesday afternoon after meeting my best friend for lunch when out of the blue the car started acting up.  It was hot, a storm was coming, and I had my pregnant self and my two kiddos in the car--I did NOT want to get stuck on the side of I-44.  As I was losing speed I took the first exit we came to and luckily there was an insurance building and a parking lot right off the exit.  We parked in the parking lot and I called Jacob to let him know what was going on.  I then called AAA to come and get us.  I was talking to AAA as it thundered and lightninged and the boys were telling me they were scared because of the storm.  We finally got all the information to her and hurried inside the insurance office as the wind picked up and the first storm came through.  The people in the insurance office were not friendly and acted like they didn't want us in there, but I wasn't going to sit in my car in a storm when an air conditioned (and safer) building was right there.  So, we waited over an hour for the tow truck.  He showed up about the time the second storm came through.  It started raining as he hooked up my car and the boys and I hopped in the tow truck. We ended up going 35 on the interstate because it was raining so hard.  Logan was asking the driver about his truck, showing the driver his stick on tattoos, and loving every minute of it.  We stopped to get gas and the driver asked if we wanted anything.  Alex and I immediately said, "No thank you."  Logan (of course) requested chocolate milk--which the driver got for him.

We finally made it to the "car doctor" as the boys call it and Jacob picked us up.  That day was spent waiting on the tow truck and waiting to get home. 

The next day was spent waiting on the auto repair place to call us and tell us what was going on and how much it was going to cost to fix.  At this point we had already spent $700, including the $66 it cost for the tow truck, on the car in less than two months.  I was feeling stressed but trying very hard not to get upset until we heard what was going on.  Waiting is a very stressful process.
Jacob finally called and said the head gasket on the car had busted and it would cost $1800 to fix. I wanted to laugh and then I wanted to cry.  By this point I was done with this car.  It was old and had a lot of miles on it and I no longer trusted it or wanted to bother driving it anymore. In the back of my mind I knew something else would just break and this cycle would continue.
So, the stress level rose, the pregnancy hormones kicked in, and I felt overwhelmed.  I started emailing dealerships to see what our options are.  I quickly learned that the amount we could afford to pay each month on a vehicle would only get us another vehicle with over 100,000 miles on it IF it got us a vehicle at all. Our only other vehicle is the one Jacob drives to work.  It is16 years old, has no air conditioner right now, and the driver's side door won't open from the inside.  I'm sure there are other issues with it that I don't know about--quite frankly I'm fine with not knowing at this point.We went and picked up the car yesterday evening, spending ANOTHER $53 to get new spark plugs put in it so it MIGHT make it home. It did make it home,  but that was a stressful drive--with Logan in the backseat talking about flies and the color white.  I was glad he was with me--in Logan land its always a happy place. LOL

Today has been another day of waiting, worrying, and stressing.  We thought the problem was sorted out and then I filled out the loan application online and was sent an email stating it needed further review.  Great--more waiting.  I have had to cancel all of Alex's therapy sessions this week because we have no car to get him there.  I had to cancel last week because the car was in the shop for other things. We have been stuck in the house for two days and the boys are fighting and whining--it has been crazy. There are days when I wonder if life is always going to be this way.  We are in our 30s now, with two boys and a daughter on the way, and we are still struggling to get by it seems. Once we get over this vehicle hurdle life should go back to normal--but until then it has been impossible to relax, to sleep, and to NOT worry and stress.

Let's hope next week is a boring one! LOL

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer

Everyone is so busy these days.  I'm sure we can all appreciate a lazy day.  A day when nothing is on the calendar, its hot outside, and its nice to just stay indoors with the cool air and do something you enjoy--something you don't get to do often.  Yesterday I spent a lot of time reading, which was really nice.  I finished a book I had been reading for a while (funny how its hard to find time to read when you have little boys running around) entitled Dead Until Dawn by Charlaine Harris.  It was recommended to me by a friend and I have to admit that I did enjoy it.  I even started reading a new book, Bossypants  by Tina Fey--which I am really enjoying. 
Jacob and I watch old episodes of 30 Rock every night and its hilarious--this book is just as hilarious.  I have just started it but am looking forward to reading more of it--and getting involved in it if the little ones I live with allow it.

It is so hot outside that we do most of our venturing outdoors in the morning.  By 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. it already seems too hot and we come back inside. The boys play with their toys, board games, puzzles, Play-doh, Tag readers, and we even watch movies.  We stay inside and appreciate our air conditioner. I love when the weekends roll around and we have an entire afternoon with nothing planned--the boys play and Jacob and I sit with our Kindles and read.  I have to admit that I have become pretty spoiled to my Kindle.

Today has been another day with nothing on the calendar. I've done some laundry, the boys watched Iron Man, and played with the Bat Cave.  I have been cleaning the kitchen and put together the ingredients for crock pot lasagna for dinner tonight.
I have made this before and all of my guys liked it. It is super easy to make and it nearly cooks itself.  The great thing is we will get two meals out of this, which is always a plus!

I hope you all are cooking fun things and enjoying your air conditioner when you get a chance by watching a good movie or reading a good book.  Before we know it summer will be over and school will be starting--until then, let's enjoy things as much as we can!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Last week (hey, I'm only ONE day late this time--LOL) the challenge was to post a picture of a flower. I remembered being in a place that I thought was beautiful and was sure I had a picture of it.  I went searching for the picture and, amazingly, found it fairly easily. 

While in New Orleans I stumbled upon this beautiful park. It was one of the prettiest things I've ever seen.  I remember sitting there, listening to the birds sing, and feeling the breeze blow through the park.  It was such a peaceful and beautiful place.  I walked around the park for a while and came across this area that was just covered in these beautiful flowers. So, this is the picture I wanted to share. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Situation Comedy, Anyone?

It occurred to me this week that our life could be a sit-com.  The television show The Middle comes to mind.  There was an episode where the mother buys some make-up thinking its $20 and discovers later it was $200.  She and her husband both have to get jobs to help pay for the make-up. There are so many sit-coms where families live in big, nice homes and drive new cars.  I can't relate to that.  I can relate to the family who gets excited about finding a $5 coupon for pizza, who accidentally spends $200 and wipes out their bank account, who lives in a normal house, gets frustrated with their children, and some times struggles to make ends meet.

This past week has been a stressful one for us--and I told Jacob it was like we were trapped in a sit-com.
It started when some one took our trash cart. We learned that they thought it was an extra one and didn't realize we paid extra each month to have a second trash cart.  Jacob pointed out that even if it was an extra cart we were obviously using it. It was returned to us full of trash, pizza boxes, and beer cans.  Jacob walked in laughing after it was returned.  I said, "What?" He said, "Guess what's back?"  I said, "The trash cart?"  He said, "Yes, and its full of trash so I now get to drag some one else's trash to the curb."  We have been working on the baby's room and it would have been nice to have our cart to put trash in, but since it is full things are sitting in the baby's room--waiting. They stare at us and mock us as we walk by--I even heard laughter once, I think. 

We tried to get sliders at Home Plate Sliders for lunch.  We called the order in so we could just pick it up and bring it home--knowing they would be busy since it was lunch time. The woman on the phone said they would be ready in 15 minutes--so we gave them 25.  When we got there we waited another 15 minutes, at least, because, for some reason, our order confused the the cash register.  The woman finally handed me our food and one cup (we had paid for 4 drinks--there ARE 4 of us).  I said, "We paid for 4 drinks."  She looked at the order, sighed, and handed me 3 more cups. We got in the car and Jacob said, "What was the point of calling the order in?"  By the time we got our food home (after all of that) it was all cold and my slider was pink in the middle.  Hang your head and cue Charlie Brown music! LOL

We went to Jacob's grandmother's for a get together with his family and once there, the car wouldn't start. When we finally got it started we brought it home and discovered it was hissing and spewing coolant.  We tried to take it to the machanic on the 4th and just leave it there but the parking lot was full because of a parade.  Again, we laughed.  You know the laugh--the stress-filled, "If I didn't laugh I'd cry" laugh.  Yeah, that one. We brought the car back home and took it back yesterday morning. Later Jacob was informed that the car was starting fine and they don't know why it wouldn't start at his grandmother's.  There were other problems they had to fix, which made me laugh. We spent $360 exactly a month ago getting the brakes fixed and having a  couple of other things done on the car.  Now we are spending another $230 to have things fixed.  I told Jacob that we have spent nearly $600 on this car in a month's time. Yes, this makes me laugh.

It is funny how you try to manage money and make plans and things happen that force you to change your plans. We are having to put off buying a baby bed because of the car issue and I was going to buy the boys' tennis shoes, back packs, and lunch bags with this paycheck and save school supplies for the next paycheck since the boys' supply lists are frighteningly long, but plans have once again been changed.

These things are all inconveniences--nothing major.  I know things will fall into place and everything will work out, but until then--the sit-com continues! I've been looking for the camera crew, but they are hiding really well.  LOL


Last week's challenge was to post a picture about nature.  I found these two pictures that Jacob took a year or so ago and thought I'd post them.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Sometimes in life we are lucky enough (or blessed enough, if you will) to have people in our lives who love us for who we are.  Period.  They overlook our flaws, our annoying ticks, our bad attitudes, and our inner dorks that somehow seem to surface when you least expect it. Today I would like to blog about one such person.  Today is my best friend's 30th birthday.  I wanted to take the time today to blog about my best friend and wish her a very happy birthday.  She deserves all the happiness in the world and I hope that today is an awesome day for her--a day in which she is shown how much she is loved and appreciated by those around her.

Birthdays are special. The day of your birthday is your day--its a day to celebrate you.  So, today, Denisa, we celebrate YOU! You are an amazing wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, and friend. I am so glad you were placed in my life and so glad I can call you my friend.  I hope today is filled with joy and you feel as special as you are. 

I love you, Liv--Happy Happy Birthday! (Love, Emma) ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


This week's challenge is to post something round.  There are so many round things out there that this challenge opens up a whole new world of possibilities, but seeing as how I feel very ROUND these days I decided to post a picture of my pregnant self. 

Here is my example of something "round."  I'm about 19 weeks along, here--the doc keeps saying I'm 19-22 weeks.  We hope to find out EXACTLY on Monday when I go back to the doctor and have another ultrasound done.

So, there is my picture of something round.  Ha. Until next time . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Day For Dads!

Life can be an amazing journey.  When I was a little girl I was my daddy's girl.  He had strong hands and I always felt safe when he was around.  I had no worries--all of my needs were met and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that both of my parents loved me more than life itself (this was even more evident when the teen years hit and I not only tested them but broke their hearts at times too). Life goes on, time passes by, and we all get older.  Now, its my turn to be the parent and I  understand so much that I once didn't understand. 

While in college I met this cute guy.  What really amazed me was that this cute guy was a super nice guy, too.  Talk about butterflies!  Boy, oh boy!  We went on our first date on August 5, 2000.  My dad always said that when your little girl grows up you want her to find some one who will love her just as much as you do.  When Jacob asked my dad for permission to marry me my dad told him (and later me) that he couldn't have picked a better guy if he had picked Jacob himself.  I can honestly say that I am very spoiled.  My Grandpa Jack spoiled me, my dad spoiled me, and Jacob now spoils me. 

That old saying, "Life is what you make it," always comes to mind.  We now have two little boys and another baby on the way--the road hasn't always been smooth. There have been financial difficulties, discovering we have a child with special needs, and dealing with overwhelming job situations.  Through it all Jacob remains the strong person I met nearly 11 years ago.  He makes me feel safe, loved, and wants nothing more than for me and our children to be happy and taken care of.  He spends as much time with the boys as he can--he even cracked a couple of ribs last summer playing on the slip 'n' slide with them.  He plays with them outside, reads to them, and even helps them with their homework. He works really hard not only at home but at his job--and he does it all for us. 

I look at our two children and see that same look in their eyes that I once had growing up--feeling safe and loved.  All of their needs are met and they are happy and healthy boys.  Jacob has those same strong hands that I remember my dad having when I was a little girl.  He is my rock and he is the best father my children could ever have.

Father's Day is coming up--it is a day that serves as a reminder of all the wonder fathers I have been honored to know in my life--especially the man I am blessed to call my husband, best friend, and father of my children. 

Happy Father's Day to all the awesome dads out there!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This week's challenge (yes, I'm doing it early so it won't be late!  Aren't you proud of me!) is blue.  Yes, blue.  It can be anything.  I could get creative with this and have a lot of fun with it, but the minute I read that the challenge was blue I immediately knew which picture I wanted to use. 
This is a picture of a blond-headed boy who ate a Smurf!!  No, really, its just Logan eating a blueberry snow cone.  We all went to the little stand last week and got snow cones.  Logan wanted me to try his.  I was surprised at how sweet it was.  He, of course, loved it!  His teeth were blue, his tongue was blue, he spilled some on his legs and they were blue.

A cold snow cone on a hot summer day--what more can you ask for??

Getting Caught Up! (Feet/Hands)

Guess what??  I'm behind again.  About two weeks behind to be exact.  So, I'm going to do the past two week's blogs to get caught up. 

The first challenge (in this line up) that I missed was "feet."  So, here is the picture I chose.
I bet you can't guess who these feet belong to!  Ha.  Two pairs of little boy feet.  This was taken last week when we let the boys stay up late--we sat outside and the boys tried to catch lightning bugs.  It was a fun evening.  These two pairs of feet are going to do great things some day!!

Last week's challenge was hands.  This was a little harder. I looked through so many pictures trying to think of one I could use when I came across this picture--one I had forgotten about. This is a picture of hands doing big things!
This is a picture of Alex buttoning up his shirt for the very first time.  I remember this day.  He still struggles with tasks like this and it takes him twice as long to do them as other kids, but he sticks with it.  These hands go to OT to help them work together better and to help them do things easier.  I am proud of these little hands AND the big boy they belong to!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Late again.  Oh well . . . at this point I think my best friend and I are doing well just to post when we can.  LOL. Part of the fun is wondering if we'll get our blog posted before the end of the week.  I will be the first to admit that my challenge--and meeting the "deadline" has been and epic fail.  Ha.  That is okay, though.  LAST week's challenge was shoes.  So, I'm posting a picture my shoes of choice these days. 

Flips flops!!  I have several pairs of these and wear them everyday.  I DO make sure they match my clothes, though.  Does that count?  LOL.  Its getting warmer outside and these days I just want to feel comfortable so flip flops are my shoe of choice! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I decided to do today's challenge RIGHT NOW while I have a few minutes--otherwise it will be late again.  Ha.  This week's challenge is sports.  We have come to love sports in our house.  We enjoy playing sports with the boys (although I do more watching than playing these days) and we enjoy watching professional sports on TV.  There is just something about it that we enjoy.  Its great to make a fun dinner of finger foods or hot dogs or even grill some kabobs and eat while you watch a game.  The boys love playing sports--soccer, baseball, football, and basketball are all played pretty regularly here.  The boys even have a basketball goal in their room.  I thought for today's challenge I would post a few pictures of my boys playing some of the sports they enjoy! 

Monday, May 16, 2011


Once again I'm behind on the blog challenge.  LAST week's challenge was to blog about food.  So, here is my food choice for this blog. :) 

This is a small container of ice cream that Jacob bought for me one day last week.  We have been keeping ice cream in the freezer on a regular basis these days.  Foods smell and taste funny to me right now.  Ice cream, however, still tastes like ice cream so I've been eating a lot of it lately.  I don't think I have ever appreciated ice cream (other than the home made Butterfinger ice cream my grandparents used to make at the lake when I was little and we'd go camping) as much as I do now. 

So, here's to ice cream and to possibly trying every flavor available!  Ha.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Well, I'm behind on this challenge.  We have been busy with field trips, end of school activities, Logan's birthday party, and my cousin, Matt, has been staying with us since Saturday.  So, I'm doing last week's challenge today (shhh!).   The challenge was numbers, which of course could be anything.  I thought I'd have a little fun with this one. 

Here are the 4 numbers I have chosen for this blog.

Now to explain my crazy reason for choosing these 4 numbers.  First of all, these numbers are the ages of everyone who lives in my house.  I was thinking about this the other day and something wacky occurred to me so I thought I'd use it for this blog.  I am 33 years old.  If I take the numbers in my age and add them together (3+3) I get the number 6, which is Alex's age.  Jacob is 32--if I take the numbers in his age and add them together (3+2) I get the number 5, which is Logan's age.  We could even take this a step further and multiply the numbers in my age (3x3) and get 9, which is the number of years Jacob and I will be married this year. And if you multiply the numbers in Jacob's age (3x2) you get 6, which, again, is Alex's age.

Isn't that crazy?  I had fun with this challenge though.  Ha.

Friday, April 29, 2011


 Jacob and I enjoy watching a show on BBC America called Top Gear.  It is a show all about cars.  It is also a very funny show. We love the hosts and the crazy things they do, but it is also interesting to see cars that are so expensive that only a few are ever produced.  So, since this week's challenge is "cars" I thought I would post a picture of the most expensive car ever built (according to several articles and the Top Gear guys themselves).  It was designed and developed in Germany by the Volkswagen Group and produced in France.  The Bugatti Veyron!

 It costs about $2,600,00. It can do 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and the top speed was found to be 267 mph.  It is named after a French driver and has received praise from many of the worlds automobile critics.   Jeremy Clarkson, one of the hosts of Top Gear, stated that it is "the greatest car ever made and the greatest car we will ever see in our lifetime."

I think this is the coolest looking car and can only imagine driving it.  Logan keeps asking me if Transformers cars are real.  I look at this car and for what it costs I can't help but wonder how cool it would be if it was, in fact, a Transformer!  Ha.

Maybe someday . . .

Friday, April 22, 2011


This week's challenge is to post pictures of animals.  We don't have pets, but this was easy for me thanks to a certain 4-year-old boy.  We always say that Logan lives in his own little world.  So for today's post I am going to post pictures of monkeys. 

Why monkeys?  Well, apparently Oklahoma has jungles and in these jungles there are monkeys.  These monkeys play games and steal food from people's picnics (because people apparently picnic in the jungles of Oklahoma).  This information was given to me by my 4-year-old son.  His class did an art project in which they colored cowboys and on the cowboy's hat it said, "I'm proud to be an Okie because . . . " and the children told their teachers why they were proud to be an Okie.  Logan told his teacher he was proud to be an Okie because he liked the monkeys.  Logan later told me that he didn't know what an Okie was.  He said, "I was going to tell my teacher that I'm not an Okie.  I'm a boy and my name is Logan."  He said other kids were answering the question so he just went along with it and thought of monkeys.  It was one of Logan's stories that I really enjoyed so, since today's theme was animals I thought I'd share this fun "Logan story" with you all!  Just remember to guard your picnic baskets if you stumble across a jungle in Oklahoma. ;)