Monday, December 31, 2007

Quick Footnote

To follow up on the post about Maddie going to the Doc, she currently weighs in at a hefty 19 lbs, 5 oz. She still sits backwards in her car seat, at almost 17 months because you have to be 20#'s to sit forward. She got some good genes from her dad's side, his paternal grandmother in particular who was cute and tiny.

Her betrothed, my future son in law, was born at the end of this past May and already weighs over 20 lbs. He is the cutest, fattest, happiest baby I have ever seen. They will make a great couple someday, but he'll have to learn she wears the pants and although she's tinier than he is, she's like a freaking mighty mouse. I hope he stays as easy- going as he is. With her temperament and her midgety kung-fu like skills he's going to need a sense of humor.

I will extrapolate later on the fact that I have already arranged a marriage for my daughter. Couldn't have asked for better partners in the inlawing business. It's really all about us mothers in law to be anyways.....(Oh, and the garbage disposal 5 gallon margaritas don't hurt in the planning process either!).

The confusing gets Confusinger....

Last week while running on the treadmill (almost 4 miles in 1/2 an hour thank you!) I had the "pleasure" of watching Oprah play "Deal or No Deal" on her show. Ultimately, she was trying to win an audience member 75K. In a case of "How Many things are Wrong with THIS picture" I ran, listening to my iPod, reading the close captioning, entranced.
Here we have a KAJILLIONAIRE trying to win pennies for someone in her audience, and FREAKING OUT as the higher numbers were eliminated. Um, hello, Oprah? If you want to give someone 75 grand, just do it. Write it off on your taxes somehow and feel good about yourself. I truly, truly failed to see how stressful this situation was for her. If it was moi, well, 75K, That's a big deal. Not so much for the richest woman in the milky way galaxy.
I'm hoping it wasn't just me going "What the Hell" and thinking that if I wasn't at the gym working out, I'd never watch this crap. Oprah sweating over money just pisses me off.

Best News Ever

After almost a week of snot,drool, coughs, and 102 degree fevers, Madilynn's boogs FINALLY went from clear to yellow, so John took her in to see the Doc. Sat. and she has an ear infection in BOTH ears!! Yay!

How is that good news? Any parent with a miserable, feverish child knows a doctor will say clear snot and a croupy cough is viral. "Nuthin' we kin do about those viruses!" Once that snot changes color, all bets are off and there are medications out there to fix the week of sleepless nights.

Thank god.

Now, it's Nate's turn. Just waiting for the snot to the mean time, if anyone needs to chat at any given point in the middle of the night, give us a call. I'm probably up, consoling somebody who feels like crap.

This shit's worse than having a newborn baby, and having had 3 of those in 3 years, I think I know what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

OH, and boy did the FAT MAN come!

Santa made quite an entrance this year. All three kids are into ripping and tearing the heck out of their presents, glancing at it for about 3 nanoseconds, and then moving on to the next big thing. So, here we are Christmas morning, opening our first few.

And here is the aftermath. Note that Madilynn is playing with a dinosaur from Nate's new collection. Forget dolls. She likes things that go RARRRR!

All Jack wanted for Christmas was Star Wars stuff. Star Wars guys, movies, Bideo games, and he's been saving his chore money for a 'light saver' just like Anakin. Super Oma got him this pretty rockin' costume. Everyone who knows Jack knows he loves to dress up, and when he opened this with the SPRING LOADED LIGHT SABER he was so excited he was shaking. That alone was worth the exhorbitant amount of money my mother spent on this costume. It was pure joy, excitement, and such a supremely innocent expression of emotion. THAT is what Christmas is about. Seeing so much happiness....

This is what makes Nate happy at holiday gatherings....

Opa and his girls, Maddie and Brooke. Brooke was in her 3rd outfit of the day and her Jammies. Maddie just lost the pantyhose and shoes and kicked it hillbilly style. They're checking out the train around the tree. All the kids got a big kick out of it!
Merry Christmas everyone...I hope you all got what you wanted from Santa!

A Chicago Christmas

Chronologically, the pictures are WAY out of order. We took the kids on a weekend "ACASHUN" to Chicago, and on Friday visited the Museum of Science and Industry. The boys got to see the Star Wars exhibit ( and Maddie and I checked out the kiddie area in the basement and spent some quality time with the new U505 exhibit, which was so incredibly amazing, I made John and the boys go after lunch. After that, we chilled out at a hotel, and checked out the zoo lights at Lincoln Park zoo. We tried to get into a real Chicago pizza place, but the wait was over an hour and a half so California Pizza Kitchen it was.

Saturday, we went to the Chicago children's museum at Navy Pier. It was a 9 block walk from the hotel and a free trolley ride back to get our car. The kids had such a great time!!!

At the Children's museum there's this huge Curious George exhibit. The kids got to climb a rocket, and then go down a slide. Nate really liked this part!
Such a scary likeness, isn't it? She may look like a Fraggle, but poses like a cartoon monkey.

Probably my favorite moment of the ENTIRE trip caught on digital film. It doesn't get any better.

This is on the ride home. The end of the trip. Total burn out. FABULOUS quiet time.

Now we're at the museum. This is the boys in the U505 exhibit pretty much drunk driving a submarine. They failed the 30 second test and were sent to the galley by the German Admiral.

This is us with the ComEd bear at the zoo. The glasses everyone has on made all the big globe streetlamps have a Santa or Frosty illumined halo. It sounds weird and made my head hurt so I took mine off.

It's just not Christmas without Charlie Brown.

Nate had to have a picture with his true bretheren, the gorrilas.
At the hotel, snacking on Shrek Cheeze-its, watching the magic glowing box and having fun eating in daddy's bed (I slept with Nate since the boys couldn't settle down together).

Okay, back at the beginning again. Team Ireland in front of the "Irish Tree" at the MSI. The trees around the world is pretty much my favorite exhibit ever, and they do it every year. I love all the cultural representations. Funny fact: Columbia's tree had little coffee bean ornaments!

Of course there was a Star Wars Tree. No star on top of this one. Those are Jedi Sabers.
Future techie geeks in the making for certain.

The cardboard cutouts didn't faze the kids, but according to John, neither of the boys wanted anything to do with the Chewbacca Wookie costume on display. It kinda freaked both boys out a bit.

But fighting with the "Yoda Hands" didn't seem to be a problem.

It was such an awesome trip. I hope we can do it again sometime, maybe hit the Field Museum and the Aquarium next time, who knows. There is always something to see and do in the Second City!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

There is a Rumor...

That on Christmas mom's "borrowing" one of these bad boys from the neighbors for dessert. I may also "borrow" it indefinitely.
Oh, bring on the Christmas Nutter butters, coconut marshmallows, poundcake, oreos, and some fruit just to pretend we're being healthy.
I'm missing Omaha at the moment, my first experience with a chocolate fountain, as I REFUSE to ever try one in a public setting. I've seen double dippers! 4 women doing crafts is another story.... Doing a chocolate fountain with your brother and sister...sounds like an adventure!
Mmmmm....Favorite items to dip anyone? List them in Comments!

The Ones that Didn't Make it....

People are going to start getting their Christmas cards soon. It was a nightmare trying to get them done, and then I went and had to play with the coloring on the photos, so my kids look pasty and blurry. It was me, all alone doing gymnastics trying to get this to work, and well, what went out was the best of the bunch. Here were my other choices....

Merry Christmas, let us choke you!
Not quite the look we were going for....

Maddie, checking her nails, while sneaky Nate is trying to grab her hand and run. Jack looks just like his dad in this pic.

Yay, Jack and Maddie. Too bad your hillbilly brother couldn't get his act together!
There's a few more, but these were really the good ones. Maybe next year I'll put a good one and a bad one on the card. The strangulation hold is actually quite funny in retrospect. Wouldn't be my kids if there was a perfect photo every time!

Merry Merry!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Vote Now...

Personally, I don't see the problem. We should all be so lucky, but this is a very HOT topic right now. And no one would care if she wasn't half famous. So, is she or isn't she?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My New House

We found our new house on a whim, not something we were expecting to go for so soon, so while we have already put down our Earnest Money, please pray for us that our current home sells. Jack's having a hard time, he doesn't want to leave all his toys and go to a new home. Since this house is a foreclosure, there is NOTHING there. All the toys are coming with, and when I say there is nothing there, there is NOTHING! No curtains, no fridge, no washer/dryer, etc. But it's fun that we get to take a 4 yr. old home and start from scratch. We need a deck. And doors on the den. And check out the side window on the right. We need glass in it. I think it broke when they roughed in the french doors for the den/office.

I took a lot of photos of our problem areas, so sorry that there isn't more to share. This is the front, in a "bump out" or cul-de-sac that isn't really a cul-de-sac.
This is my kitchen with the island you can eat at. Check out all that wicked cool cabinet space. There is also a Butler Pantry to the left leading into the dining room. Nothing spectacular, just a little hallway with more cabinets.
This is the downstairs family room looking out from the kitchen. I don't particularly care for the spaces above and next to the fireplace. Some homes put t.v.'s in there, but this is too narrow for a t.v. I think they had a stereo in there, if you notice the holes in the ceiling (surround sound) and the hole under the window on the right was probably a subwoofer. Check out the wires hanging down. Those were from the ceiling fan the previous owners took with them, but I found on a return trip that they left the ceiling fan remote.

My plan is to put our current entertainment unit on the far right wall. Not sure about what to do about the open spaces next to and above the fireplace. I guess wood can go next to it, but then what?

Here is the den/office/5th bedroom/whatever the hell you want to call it room. The kids really, really love the french doors, which is okay because they distract from the sliding glass door off the kitchen that leads to a 15 foot plummet to brick paver patio. We need a deck (you busy this spring dad?)

What I don't understand is why they put in just a roughed version of the doors. They aren't stained. Any ideas dad? Also, what goes above the doors?

This is the upstairs family/media room. By Jack, on the right hand side is a heating vent, so there is this "storage" shelf that you can't close off. Aesthetically, I am not sure what to do with this, but the idea of the room is pretty cool. This is next to my master bedroom, which also has a fireplace/sitting room. It's really my reading room, but don't tell John.

So, that's it with what good photos I have. Everything else is like, wires and open random space. No curtains, which means my favorite Auntie Eileen may be getting a very desperate phone call. She sews, I don't. She's crafty, I'm not. (Don't worry Uncle Bob, I think the carpet is okay for a while!! :-P )

We may close January 11th, and when I told Jenny she said, "Okay, I'll help you clean on the 12th". I replied, "I can't have you cleaning my house. I can't ask people to do that!" And she said, "You didn't ask. I'm telling you that's what I'm doing. That's what friends do." (paraphrased etc). And, last night at scrapbooking, the girls said, "We'll move you in and then have our Superbowl Party, it's perfect", and it is. You know you have good friends when you don't even have to ask for help. They just know when you need it and help you and give you every ounce of moral support you need, and they love you no matter what. I have said it before, but I am so blessed by the people I have chosen to surround myself with.

I can't wait until this is truly our home and I can invite friends and family over. I haven't been this excited since John proposed, and this is the home we plan to stay in for a long time. It's very close to the elementary school, and Junior high the kids will go to.

My home is and never will be "company ready", but it is always ready for those we love and care about and those who reciprocate. Anytime you want to come for a tour, let me know. The door is always open, on the new house, and the old!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

What a Beautiful Tree it Is!

We went after Thanksgiving to get our tree. It is a tradition to chop it down and then go for some hot cocoa. We went to a new place this year that was so much fun. The hose drawn wagon ride out to the tree fields was incredible, these horses were HUGE.

Here's Daddy and Nate on the wagon ride. Everyone on the wagon was super nice that day.
Me and Jack and Maddie. We sat opposite John and Nate.
Here it is! The tree on our left is the one we took home. It's a little shorter now but very, very, very full.

Oh, Griswolds How do we love thee?
Now that we have the tree I hope Santa is good to all of us!

Christmas Outfits

I have been mildly stressed with trying to find the boys' Sweater Vest of the Season and Maddie's Christmas dress for family pictures and of course the actual holiday.

This is how I torture my children: "Put on the Sweater Vest Dammit! Enjoy it! Stop Crying, you look good!"
Mads keep squinting when I take pics. She's still all smiley and cute, but her eyes are closed and squinty. Anywho, here is outfit number 1. She looks really cute as Ms. Santa.

Here is outfit #2. I also bought a furry stole wrap thingie to go on top of it. She looks good in red, what with the blonde hair and all.

This may be the look we end up with anyway.
Vote for your fave for M. on the left. Jack of course will match Nate.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Really, I'm just not that Interesting!

I keep getting these e-mails from various folks, so instead of doing more mass e-mails, I've just decided to post it here. I'm really not that interesting (remember, from a previous blog).

> 1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I hate wrapping, irregardless of how it's done. Ask my friends from college. I'm just BAD at it.

2. Real or artificial tree? Nothing beats walking into the woods after a horse drawn sleigh ride, chopping down a tree and having the fresh pine scent in your home. NOTHING!

3. When do you put up the tree? The weekend after Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down? After Christmas, sometimes right after New Years, but it all depends on garbage day.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yum, but fatty. If you add Brandy the calories don't count.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Maybe a bike...maybe a telescope. Not my Favorite? Oh, the time "Santa" left Bras and underwear hanging on the tree like Ornaments. What if my dad saw??? (Horror of horrors to a 12 year old).

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, and a Funk little Who-Ville Village that goes up. None of that icky country crap (sorry guys).

8. Hardest person to buy for? Nate

9. Easiest person to buy for? Probably my dad.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A Year long membership to Jelly of the Month... (he he he)

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life (Tradition w/my dad), and of course, Christmas Vacation

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? This year, I bought Brooke's present in AUGUST!!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Hell yes. I do it all the time. Teachers and Developmental Therapists alike get a LOT of candy that is just wrong to consume on your own. Not to mention, there are just some presents that mere words can not describe and so, they get sent on to some other unsuspecting fool....

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Filet and Lobster. My mom's dinner ROCKS

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored. The world is more beautiful looking thru a multi-colored lens.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night, at midnight service, with the candles. Nothing more peaceful on Earth.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Over the river and thru the Oma's house we go.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Donder, (Yes w/ a D, check the Night Before Christmas book). Blitzen..........Rudolph.............. and Olive, the Other Reindeer (cute kid's book)..

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I had an angel for a while, but she freaked me out in all her spooky "I look possessed glory" so we switched to a star very similar to the one my parents used to put on the tree 30 years ago. It's all about Nostalgia.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? John's side does the Eve, everything else is Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The fact that I'm trying to shop with 3 kids up my ass all the time. It just doesn't work well.

23. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color? Do I seem like the person organized enough to do a theme anything? Theme Charlie Brown maybe? Theme disaster? Theme, Oh look at all the kids ornaments that are only on the bottom 3rd of the tree while the top is sparsely decorated with lights and garland. Hmmmmm.....

24. What do/did you leave for Santa? Cookies and carrots for the reindeer and a bottle of booze. Something's gotta have incentive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

C'Mon, Try my Meat Muffin--You'll love it!

My children have all decided they don't want to eat. Or barely eat for that matter. Even on Thanksgiving, nobody really ate too much. Granted, Nate was vomiting the night before and had the trots all day, and Maddie got the Sweet Patata preview before dinner actually started, but otherwise, no much meat was actually consumed by my kids. For some odd reason though, they had no problems with the cookies and pies. Even Nate was okay gastroenterogically speaking.

Sooo, long story short, at Church on Sunday during parent fellowship another mom said that she makes meatloaf (of all things) in muffin pans and her daughter LOVES it. I thought I'd give it a try last night.

Now, my meat loaf is NEVER the same. I make it up everytime. However, this time, my children DEVOURED the meat muffins. They loved them so much they are eating them for lunch today. I am so excited I can't contain myself. I'm dying to try other delicious entrees via muffin tin. Move over Jessica Seinfeld and your sneaky broccoli puree...just put serve some Meat Muffin's and your kids will eat.

Anyone else have any "food tricks" they can share with me? Were it not for Halloween candy and brownies, my children would be wasting away!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Just a Cute Photo

I get to spoil Brooke at Christmas, and Oh! Auntie will do you good. I promise. I'm so glad Maddie has you as her "sister". She needs some "Girlfrendz..." Maybe the next time I see you your mom won't have downed and ENTIRE bottle of wine. Although, it was fun telling your mommy she couldn't discipline you because your my Godchild and I get to spoil you. And she couldn't argue because she enjoyed her Riesling a bit much. It's all good.

And just remember, you WILL like me more than Uncle John. Even if he gives you sweets. And is way cooler. Stick with me sista, we'll have some fun.

Love you!


In light of everything going on lately, (ie: John's recent ER visit to say, "you may have gall stones or ulcers") and my recent EKG to find out I have really LOW iron (Thank you Thalessemia) and may be having stress related panic attacks, I can say I am thankful for the following:

The BEST damn pilgrim on the Mayflower. Check him out...right up front. And you should have heard him singing at his program. I could hear everything he was saying, since he'd been practicing for weeks for everyone to come watch him perform. He is the neatest, smartest, most precocious kid ever met, and he's all mine. I hope he does great things with all these gifts he's been given.
I am thankful for this beautiful boy's sense of humor. He smiles and can light up a room. Even when he's been totally busted and is in the naughty corner he'll do something hilarious that makes you hate yourself for having to punish him. And even though he is so busy sucking his thumb he doesn't talk much, I think he's pretty smart. Smart enough to keep his mouth shut most of the time anyway....

Aren't these the cutest kids ever? Why is it my Goddaughter is the only one smiling? Probably wondering how she wound up next to all the nuts in the family! And we're slightly jealous she has to get her hair done. Poor Mads and her business in front party in back Mullet!

I am thankful for this little blessing who was the biggest surprise of 2006/2007 but has made our family what it is nonetheless. What would we do without Lallan Gwace?
And of course I am thankful for such good friends who have provided an ear when I've needed to bitch, provided clothing for my kids as hand me downs, and have just been who they are and given my family love unconditionally.
I am also Thankful that mom made dinner tonight and allowed us all the opportunity to be together AND that I was able to thoroughly enjoy it as this is the first Thanksgiving in 5 YEARS I haven't been pregnant or breastfeeding. It was a pretty sweet dinner too.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Winter Coats

The weather is getting chilly. Children 1 and 3 needed new coats, Number 2 can live with Hand Me downs. He's not exceptional, all three kids have had hand me downs, and we like to pay it forward. Jenny and Kristen get all my boy stuff and they love it. I haven't quite figured out what to do with all the girl stuff, but some will go to baby Molly for sure.

Check out the purple passion. Love the smile inside the hood!
We let Jack pick out his own. We will NEVER lose him in a crowd in "Big Lellow" as he calls it. Sweet!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Surgery: A success

Today was Maddie's Frenulectomy. I cannot wait for the hospital bill to arrive for this 13 MINUTE procedure. I'm not kidding, I checked my watch to be sure.

She's doing great, took a bit of a nap earlier, but hasn't been able to rest since the boys got home. I can't imagine why.

Thanks to everyone for your well wishes. Thanks Rachel for dinner. Just one less thing I had to deal with today that just made my evening a heck of a lot easier.

Thanks everyone for keeping baby girl in your prayers. She is just as fiesty as ever.

Monday, November 12, 2007

FINE! I'll Just eat my Boogers then!

Sometimes, the retaliatory remarks from a pissed off 4 year old can really make your day. Even when you want to strangle him.

Diagnosis of the Day

Since I haven't felt well in a while, I tried to diagnose myself with Chronic fatigue syndrome. Darlene fairly pointed out that it's really called "Chronic 3 Kids Syndrome." Damn. Pretty sure there aren't any drugs for it either....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Welcome Molly and Evan!

My cousin's wife had twins 6 weeks ago, and today was their baptism. Welcome to the world beautiful Molly and handsome Evan! Congrats Ricky and Kristen--we had such a nice time at your home today spending time with your growing family!

BTW, mom, a mini-saint gave birth vaginally and the twins were born 2 minutes apart. Another small miracle? Mom was induced 16 days early, and Evan was over 7 lbs., Molly over 6. Thirteen pounds of baby on this girls tiny frame is nothing short of marathon-esque, AND she's breastfeeding them both.

God Bless her, and please let her at least get a nap in every day. And maybe 4 hours of sleep at any given point at night.....

Congrats Jack and Jenny!

I don't have any photos to post, but Saturday we were at John's cousin's wedding reception. These guys have a special place in my heart because they are also named "John (Jack) and Jenny". Maybe their first born will also be a John/Jack. Who knows. On a side note, I tried to count all the Jack's in the room that constitute John's family. Counting my husband (who is called Jackie by some of his uncles) there were at least 6 I think. No lie.

The bride of course was lovely...stunning really in her champagne colored dress, and the groom-very happy indeed. He gave a toast to his bride and said a lot of really sweet things. I think it's always a testament to a guy when he can express how he feels in front of God and everyone and just say some really cool things about the person he has chosen to love for life.

We had a tapas meal, which was totally awesome! Since I am known as the food snob, I of course loved the deviance from a typical reception. We've gone to some great weddings lately that have been so different, it almost makes me wish we had waited and had the really cool wedding we/I wanted. (Okay, I lie. To this day I wish we had eloped. What could've been better than a beach in Mexico in December? Nothing, and the whole churchy thing was what John thought I wanted).

It was good to see John's extended family. He has such a great family of cousins, aunts, uncles, and everyone's spouses whom are so amazing. Everyone has a story to tell, a life to share, and mostly what stands out is the value they place on family. I love these events for the simple fact you get to know everyone just a little bit better. Just a little bit, and what strikes me is the genuine affection they all really have for one another.

All the little kids are great too, and it's such a treat to see everyone and catch up. It's really too bad everyone lives so far away (okay, we live the furthest, next to his "New York" cousins who don't really even live in New York, they're just known as the "New York cousins"), but sometimes I think it would be nice to see everyone more. Just to know everyone a little better.....

Congrats Jack(John) and Jenny. Best wishes for a beautiful life together.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Me and the Kids

I think this is the only photo I have of me and the kids. Plus Olivia in Omaha. It's all good.
Saturday we went to a birthday party for my friend's son's 1st birthday. The kids had such a good time with all their friends. Nate had a good time eating cake.
When we got home we did baths, and stories. Then we all cuddled in my bed under my nice warm electric blanket (the BEST Christmas present ever--even if I'm supposed to tell people my "good" gift was the ipod). We were all quite cozy under that warm blankie, and we played our favorite game, "What Was Your favorite part of today?" Sometimes we do it at the dinner table, sometimes in the tub, but the best is when we're all Walton-esque in the bed. John's favorite part of the day was playing catch with the boys while I was at work. Jack's was playing with Jonathan and Jason at the birthday party. Nate's was eating cake. Nobody asked me what my favorite part of the day was, but that was it. All 5 of us in our own little world. Warm, Safe, happy, together.
That's really all I need in this life.