Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Molly the Owl: An International Sensation

Three cheers for Mommies of multiples! Have you heard about Molly the Owl? She is the proud mother of four sweet owlets. Her 5th baby will hatch any time. Click here for the live owl nest box cam.

We have especially enjoyed watching/listening in the evenings. She calls for her husband, McGee and he will come shortly, bringing her gifts of mice and bunnies.

A Conversation with Violet

Violet and I, looking at a book about shapes:

What shape is this?

V: Um, what dat again?

It's a triangle.

V: Oh yeah, twiango.

What shape is that?

V: circle

Right, what about this one?

V: Um, tar!

Yes, it is a sss-tar. What shape is that?

V: quare!

Yes, it is a sss-quare. Can you say your “snake” sound with square?

V: SSSSS-quare!

Good job saying your snake sound with square.

Can you say your snake sound with sss-tar?

V: SSSS-tar!

Nice job using your snake soud on star.

What shape is this?

V: SSSS-rectango.

Me, uh huh, a rectangle, and this one?

V: SSSS-moon shape!

Very good Violet, you are a fast learner.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Took it in for a Tune Up

Our marriage that is. Seemed to be running pretty well, but after 14 years, we decided it was time for a tune up. So we spent the weekend at the Sheraton in Overland Park at A Weekend to Remember marriage retreat.

The conference was amazing and the hotel was beautiful. I told Ricky it was the nicest place I had ever stayed. It beat the socks off of a Holiday Inn. He said he felt sorry for me. (Apparently the hotels he stays at in Asia for work are pretty over the top.)
Ricky in our room, enjoying a big bottle of water, that we later found out cost us $4 a piece.
Us working out at 6:30 in the morning before a long day of sitting at the conference. It made up for the Cheetos we had for breakfast, maybe.

Our friends from Clay Center, Taren and Chris were also at the conference. It was great to see them again and we are looking forward to getting together with them and all of our kids this summer.

Update: If anyone is interested in attending a Weekend to Remember, just let me know. I just got an email from the nice people at Family Life with a code for half-price admission, so it would be $129 a couple. Worth every penny!

Annabelle's Second Crush

This is Dawson. He is Annabelle's latest crush. Handsome young whipper-snapper if I don't say so myself.
They had a date before home school co-op on Friday to eat lunch together at the park.

Dawson is a shy kinda guy, but as they say, opposites attract. (He didn't want to look at the camera.) Apparently he does reciprocate Annabelle's affection because he told his Mom, "Annabelle is about the nicest girl in the whole world."

He is the reason Annabelle's father wanted to purchase Interviewing Your Daughter's Date at the conference we were at this weekend.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Blog Has Been Hijacked!

While I'm away at A Weekend to Remember, my wonderful sister and brother-in-law are watching the kids for part of the weekend. My sister has discovered (only because she's addicted to her many blog subscriptions on google reader), that my blog account is logged in on the computer, and she can make posts.

I'm feeling slightly confused and disoriented, so I'm going to stop typing as if I'm supermom/wife/sister... I mean, Christie, and admit that this is her sister!

We've been having lots of fun while Ricky and Christie are away. Chad and the big girls worked on this puzzle. This picture was taken before Annabelle told Violet that she could not help, which only resulted in big alligator tears (don't worry, it wasn't the only occurrence of the day).

Aliah proud of the finished product!Meanwhile, my 'child' is slightly anxious in a new setting, with new housemates. Thumper likes that he can see out into the backyard, but is a little uneasy about Roxy taunting him through the window.

I wish I could capture the hilarious spunk and facial expressions of Violet for you. She has cracked me up all day long. Of course my witty husband is also here to add to the comedic value...
Violet: Cay-yen, your bottom is falling down!
*I give her a confused look.*
Violet: I mean, your pants are falling down.
Chad: Violet, do your pants ever fall down on the ground?
Violet: No
Chad: Violet, do you ever look like a fool with your pants on the ground?
Violet: No.

My sister has such a beautiful family, and 12 hours of pretending to be her is exhausting! I've always looked up to her and been in awe of what she does, and after today, my respect and admiration for her just continues to grow!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

School at Home

This is where Aliah prefers to read:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just Call Me the Bag Lady

I came home from Target yesterday all excited about my new bag purchase. Ever since reusable bags became popular I have had a bit of a bag obsession. Some of you know how much I dearly love my Trader Joe's Bag. And how much I adore my second, more feminine Trader Joe's bag that I had to purchase after my husband abducted my first to house his Sunday School teaching materials. Just call me the bag lady.

I found this insulated tote. It makes me happy. I am dreaming of how many times a week the girls and I will use it this spring and summer as we have lunch on the go. This is the perfect size for our lunch and is easy to carry over the shoulder. It will make many trips with us to the park, petting farm, zoo, and swimming pool.

I went for a neutral black, less feminine design that I thought would not show too much wear. But they had several cute, fun, feminine designs:

I could see my sister Caylyn with this one:

This pink-a-licious tote would look fabulous on my friend Heather's shoulder:

And this trendy tote would keep my sister-in-law Deidra's or my big-city friend Melissa's lunches nice and cool:

Monday, March 22, 2010

The First Day of Spring: Suprise!

This weekend we were hit with what was hopefully the last snowstorm of the season. Aliah measured the snow on our deck to be 12 inches. What a way to bring in Spring 2010!

Despite it being cold and snowy outside, we broke out or ice cream maker for the first time for 2010. We used some of our home made yogurt to make chocolate frozen yogurt. It turned out delish and was much healthier than our typical ice cream recipe.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Violet and Her Dresses

Violet loves dresses. She has a heyday everyday with the dress up clothes, which are mostly old dance costumes. Much to her Mother's dismay, she changes her clothes about 15 times a day. Various Babylegs (legwarmers) accessorize her arms and legs with each new outfit. Here's one of her finer selections. Now, my oldest child never would have left the house this way. But that's just how Violet rolls, Crocks on the wrong feet and all.

This particular dress was Aliah's dance costume at last years recital. Let's just say she wasn't the most comfortable dancer, as it was about 3 sizes too small. Loving the granny-training pants.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What Do I Say?

"Mommy, I don't want my best friend to move." Aliah told me with tears in her eyes as she realized Friday at home school coop it was one of the last time she would see her friend Isabel.
It broke my heart. I feel so bad for Aliah, experiencing a loss of a friend for the first time. But Isabel's family moving away means more than that. It also means I am losing one of my best friends, her mother Kim. Don't feel sorry for me yet, it gets worse (can you tell this is devestating for me?)

Fate would have it that my other best friend, Heather, is moving away on the same day this week.
My two besties with Aliah's bestie:

So all I can tell her is that, "I know how you feel honey, and it's okay to be sad."

On a lighter note: Check out these old-school sunglasses Kim was rockin' in. They even have the dip on the sides, like what I wore in 2nd grade. (I think my glasses where so large, I also put stickers on them for fun, I will have to dig up some pictures.)

Not many people can get away with that. She is a beautiful mother of four!

Science Fair

This week, the girl did their first Science Fair project. Being the germ-a-phobic mother that I am, I steered them toward a experiment about germs. More specifically it was about why it is important to wash your hands, with soap and water, even when your hands look clean. We used glitter to simulate germs and how they spread.

Aliah did a great job explaining her poster board to the students. I was very proud of her, getting up and talking in front of 20 kids and adults isn't an easy task. Even Annabelle decided she wanted a turn. She got up and told how she assisted her sister.

This girl extracted DNA from an onion. Wowzers.

Anxiously awaiting the anticipated explosion from Diet Coke and Mentos:

Traci's kids chickened out and left her all by herself in the range of the Diet Coke spewing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Captain Mike's Cakes

Last weekend, my Dad was the key player in a fundraiser for our friends the Northrops. As I have mentioned before, Dusty and Heather are leaving for missionary college in a few weeks. The pancake feed at their church was a final fundraiser for their future mission work. The pancake feed and silent auction raised close to $7,000 in funds. Here is the Northrop's blog if you would like to learn more about their brave family.

Captain Mike flipped pancakes for for almost 7 hours! Not to mention entertaining by making Micky Mouse pancakes for the kids and tossing giant pancakes, like the one above, to unassuming attendees. Thanks Dad for all of your hard work and for making this event so successful.

Heather's wonderfully organized friend Trudy (above in the white) oversaw the silent auction, pancake feed set-up, and volunteers for the event. What a blessing to have friends who come together for a great cause. We love you Northrops and know that God has great plans for you!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To Violet:

Violet's older sisters think it is their responsibility, no their right, to to discipline Violet. When they hear me yelling, I mean disciplining, they join right in. I have had to put a stop to this quickly. Violet does not need 3 Mothers harping at her.

So Aliah got creative and took a different approach. She wrote Violet a note. This is what I found on Violet's bed last night when I tucked her in:
"No pee een on the bathroom flror Violet"

I told Aliah that Violet can't read, so it probably wouldn't do much good. Aliah replied, "I know, that's why I put a picture of a big pee puddle on it."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bubble Rice

Have you tried Quinoa? I had the hardest time pronouncing it ("Keenwa"), let alone finding it at the store. But finally I found it at Walmart. I dubbed it "Bubble Rice" for the girls because of tiny circular shape. Foods that have fun names usually go over well at our house.

It is cooked much like rice, but is considered to be one of the best whole grains you can eat. In fact it is considered a complete protein. After doing some research, I found that it matters how it is washed, because there is a bitter coating in the natural state. I have always been happy with Bob's Red Mill products and decided to go with that brand the first time I bought it. It turned out to be a good choice. We like it best cooked in broth.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Freezer Cooking

I like to cook my family home-cooked meals. Because lets face it, cooking yourself is healthier and it just feels better to know what is going into our meals. Cooking is time- consuming proposition, and as we get busier, I am always looking for ways to make it easier. One way to do this is to do freezer cooking.

I have a group of friends that I like meal swap with. We each make 5 dishes of the same meal. Something time-intensive like lasagna or enchiladas. Then we meet and exchange meals. We each walk away with five different meals to stock our freezer.

Today I tried another version of this. Today was my bulk cooking day. I even got a new stock pot for the occasion. Today I made and stocked my freezer with:

6 batches of home made Spaghetti Sauce
2 batches of Teriyaki Flank Steak
3 batches of Sloppy Joes (plus 2 I gave away)
3 batches of Chicken Pariesienne
3 batches of Chicken Cacciatore
2 batches of Bruschetta Chicken

That's 19 meals that are ready to go in my freezer! As a bonus, my sister Caylyn is making 4 meals so that we can swap for more variety, and I also swapped my Mom one. So that will give me a variety of 11 different meals for us to eat over the next month.

Here are the ingredients I used for my spaghetti sauce:
Do you have a favorite freezer friendly meal?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Quotes

Annabelle: "I have a hypothesis. Whenever Violet does something naughty, she covers her face. She thinks it makes her invisible."

Violet (telling me what she had for lunch): "finch fies, chicken nuggets, lollipop, candy, ice cweam, cookie, swush, juice box"

Aliah: "I wish I had some balls!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eat a Short Stack for A Tall Cause

This is the apron my Dad will be donning while he flips pancakes on Sunday. "Captain Mike" is donating his services to help my friends fund their mission work. Come to hungry Life Church in Olathe this Sunday to support a great cause. There will also be a silent auction with some pretty great items, such as a night at Chateau Avalon, spa services, and gift cards for fine dining in the KC area.

Thought for the Day

"When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That's if you want to teach them to think."

- Bertrand Russell

Monday, March 8, 2010

Whatchoo Talkin 'Bout?

Sometimes, my precious youngest daughter gives me attitude when I ask her a question. For example, if I ask her to go put her shoes on or go pick up a toy, she responds in the cutest voice she can muster "Whatchoo Talking' Bout Mama?" As if it will get her out of doing whatever I asked.
My daughters have never heard of or even seen Different Strokes, so I have now idea how she picked up this catch phrase.
Regardless, my daughters are masters at trying to weasel out of things and Violet is no exception.

Sleep Over!

Our friends the Northrops spent the weekend with us one last time before they leave for their missionary training. It was time full of giggles, games, and lots of little girls!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lookout Summer. . .

because here comes Annabelle!
She and her stark-white bird legs,are ready for some sun!

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's Grilling Weather

We initiated the grill for the season with some salmon. Hurray for warmer weather!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

One of My Favorite People

I got to see one of my favorite people today. This is a picture of him. He's a pretty handsome guy. But that's not why I like him so much. He is a really nice fellow. But that's not why I like him so much. He also delivered most of my babies. But once again, that's not why I like him so much.

This is the doctor who found my cancer.

My cancer, that was causing me no ill effects. My cancer, that was was not visible to me or anyone else. My cancer, that left unchecked may not have been found until it spread to another area of my body. My cancer story may not have had such a happy ending if that had been the case.

Dr. Eric Peck is my OBGYN and I swear he has magic cancer detecting fingers. Maybe he is extra sensitive to it since his wife was also diagnosed with cancer at a young age.

Needless to say, it is amazing that at my first prenatal visit (when I was pregnant with Violet), he felt some unusual lumps in my thyroid gland when he asked me to swallow. Very few OBGYN's do a complete well woman exam at a patient's prenatal visit. Boy am I glad that he does. If he had not, it is likely that my cancer would not have been detected until a few months after Violet's birth, at my next annual exam.

Every year I have the privileged to tell him "Thank you for finding my cancer." Today after I expressed my appreciation, he gave me a big hug and told me , "You are very welcome."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How We Spend Our Wednesday Nights

Every Wednesday night, we head to church before 6:00 to serve as leaders in the Awana program. It is such a blessing to our family, especially since our kids have been participating since they were three years old. Rick has the 3rd-6th grade boys and I am a leader for the Sparks, the 1st and 2nd graders. Below, I am helping one of my kids work on their memory verse:
Some of my kids from my group: Maddy, Josh, and Dwight. They love me so much, that they gave me bunny ears:
Our whole Sparks Club:
Ms. Diane leading the lesson with Aliah assisting:
Wrapping up the evening after game time in the gym with prayer: