Thursday, August 28, 2008

Speed Racer

Okay, so he's not really a speed racer (but don't tell him). He's much too methodical, orderly and careful for that, but I'm just thrilled that he's finally riding his bike. You know, the one he got back in June for his birthday! He hasn't ridden it at all in the last two months. Probably because it's slightly too high for him and the seat doesn't go any lower and because Abby usually asks him if she can ride it and he happily obliges since he really loves his tricycle.
A few days ago (when Abby wasn't around) he asked if he could ride his new bike. I excitedly agreed to help him and we spent the next hour traveling up and down the drive way. When daddy got home he was waiting on his bike ready to show him what he could do. He has literally spent hours on that thing this week!! A minor wreck didn't even stop him!

An old friend

I haven't seen this "old friend" in 17 years!! I think I was 13 the last time I used one of these in middle school gym class. I was hoping we would never have to meet again, but my body just does weird stuff sometimes. For example: Two Christmas' ago I had a severe reaction to shrimp. I had eaten seafood my entire life. I loved basically every kind of shellfish and then all of a sudden I've got a deadly allergy to it. Very weird! So that brings us back to the present - for about five days I felt like I couldn't get my breath. I haven't been sick, so I couldn't figure out what was going on. Finally I went to the doctor because I had never ever felt like this before. I took Christian and McKenna with me to the doctor visit because I thought it would be really quick. I was wrong! Thankfully Christian was a great big brother and he entertained McKenna and gave her a bottle while they ran all sorts of tests on me, including an EKG. Good grief! The final diagnosis was that I needed an inhaler because I have asthma. I looked at that doctor like she was crazy, but I got the prescription filled and it's been making a remarkable difference. So I'm hoping that I'll get to outgrow this issues for a second time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

!!Bragging Alert!!

You've been warned: bragging is about to take place. I'm just so excited (Aunt Sue and Heather W...the two speech therapists in my life will understand why). The other night when I was up with McKenna in the middle of the night she started saying "dada." We always play around and try to get her to say "dada" but I've never been really serious about it, she 's only 6 months old for Heaven's sake. It was about 3am and she started saying "dada" over and over again. She stopped for awhile and I tried to get her to say it again and she did. Hmmm...So I started wondering if she really could say it on command. The next day I called my mom and put McKenna on speaker phone. When I told her to say "dada" she actually did and I had a witness that heard it too! Then all day Christian was getting her to say it and finally daddy got to hear it too! I'm sooo thrilled! I know that she hasn't attached the word to the actual person yet, but that will come.
Just to give you a little perspective; Christian was quite speech delayed. This time last year (he was 2yrs 2 months old) he could only say three words (dada, mama, ball). I worried about him for months, had him evaluated, had his hearing checked, etc. He finally started talking last fall and now I just long for moments of silence :) but as a teacher I was really concerned about him.

So that's why I'm so excited about McKenna. Maybe I won't have to worry this time. Maybe she'll be like her mommy and it will be hard to get her to be quiet! Maybe she won't have hearing issues or articulation issues! What a relief that would be!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another First

Although this time it's not a good one. McKenna has her first ear infection. We had an absolutely miserable night last night. I was up with her from 1:30am - 5:00am. I woke Ryan up at 5:00am because I seriously couldn't take it anymore. Both Ryan and I have been a little sick this weekend too, so that's why you haven't heard much from us.
Oh dear, my girl is crying. I've gotta go.
Hopefully next time I'll have better news.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Abby's Day

Abby's been going thru a bit of a rough spot lately. And it's perfectly understandable to me. She's the middle child - enough said! As a middle child I can understand how life doesn't seem fair because the older sibling gets to do stuff you don't and the younger sibling seems to get away with everything. Emma has gotten to do a lot of fun things this summer that Abby hasn't gotten to do, so it was time to turn the tables. Emma went to daycare today and Abby got to have a special day with me! She spent the first two hours of the day taking care of McKenna. She really wanted to and even told me to go back to bed. So I did go upstairs and watch the news, check my email and take a shower and Abby kept McKenna happy the whole time. She even gave her a bottle. It made her feel very special to be the "babysitter." This is a task usually given to Emma, so Abby was loving this!

Then we went to the pool. We've never been to this pool since it's not in our town, but it was worth the drive and the price to get it. The water was freezing and it's not a super hot day, so I spent the first hour telling Abby and Christian to play in the water (and stop asking for snacks) or we're going home.They eventually got used to the water and ate all the snacks we had, so the whining did stop!
Look at that cute little belly peeking out of that suit!This is the water slide.
Here's Abby at the top of the water slide. And then you'll notice that there is no picture of her coming down the water slide. That's because she came back down the steps. Maybe next year.
A lesson learned about swim diapers: They really don't work! McKenna pooped out the side of her swim diaper all over her carseat. It was such a mess that Abby and some random woman ended up helping me juggle McKenna and a million wipes while trying to clean up the poopy disaster. Now I'm going to have to wash the cover to her car seat!
These two played together so nicely. Other kids tried to play with them, but they weren't interested. In fact, Abby even told one boy she didn't want to play with him because she was playing with her cousin.

They look cold don't they?
Does it look like she had a fun day or what?

10,000 HITS

Wow, we've had over 10,000 hits on our blog. It never ceases to amaze me that people would be so interested in our very common lives. I would understand if we were adopting a child or dealing with an illness, but we have just been blessed with a very ordinary existence, which is just fine with me! I am thankful for all of you who check in with us and love us on a daily basis.

In honor of reaching 10,000 hits I think it's time for some of our "blog lukers" to "delurk." I know that there are lots of people who read this blog who have never left a comment and that I have no idea who they are. That's just how the blogging world works. There are several blogs that I read that I don't know the people and sometimes I read their blog for a month or so (that's called lurking) without leaving a comment. Eventually I do let them know that I'm there because I know that I like it when people leave me comments, so I try to do the same.

So if you've been lurking for awhile - leave a comment. I would love to meet you! Even if I don't know you, I'm happy you're here and I would love to hear from you! I know that my blog is linked to other people's blogs, so if you found me through them let me know about it.

Now I'll just wait and see if anyone new actually leaves a comment! I hope so!

To leave a comment:
1. Click the word comment at the bottom of this post.
2. Write your comment in the box.
3. Don't forget to sign your name to it.
4. Click anonymous
5. Click Publish Comment

Thursday, August 21, 2008

blog book

I actually have had a babysitter here all day just so I could try to get my blog book done. I've been working on it four five hours and I'm not even half way there.
Just a few lessons I've learned so far:
1. If you want to turn your blog into a book, do it more than once a year. My book is going to be huge. Right now it's probably going to be around 344 pages. My computer is getting bogged down trying to work on a file that big.
2. Using the software from is a little frustrating.
3. The quality of some of the pictures is not going to be that great, so don't just count on the blog book as your photo album. Make sure you still print out pictures that are really important to you. (I haven't been doing this and now I'm regretting it).
4. Make sure you have lots and lots of time to work on it if you decide to wait too long like me!

I'm really tired of working on it and I haven't gotten anything done today, so I'm a little frustrated!! It will be totally worth it in the end, I know that, I've just got to get it done!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Purple Bibs and Wiggly Teeth

Yesterday was Abby's first dentist visit and Emma's second.

Emma was returning to have some sealants put on her back teeth. She went first while Abby was very nervously observing. Abby had been to the dentist before with me, so she knew what to expect, but she was incredibly nervous. If you've ever had sealants put on your teeth (I have several times) you know that they taste awful. Emma is not one to handle awful tasting things, but you would have never known. She knew that Abby was watching her and that she needed to do her best to encourage Abby so Emma kept giving us two thumbs up the entire time (45 min) the hygienist was working on her! Way to go Em!!
This is Abby closely watching all the action.
And then it was Abby's turn. She hung on me and hid behind me until I had to pick her up and plop her down in the chair but then she got excited about the purple bib. She even asked if they had pink! And then the hygienist told her that there would be a princess prize at the end and that's all it took for her to calm down.
Our hygienist Heather was great. She let Abby hold and touch all the instruments so she knew exactly what was going in her mouth. I did spend a great deal of time talking to the dentist who is also an orthodontist. Abby has a pretty significant under bite. They seem to think that her top palate is not growing as fast as her bottom one has. This is causing some wearing on Abby's top front teeth which isn't good. Not a big deal with baby teeth, but a big deal once her grown-up teeth start coming in. This could mean some serious orthodontic work in the future if it doesn't correct itself. It still could correct itself, so that's what we're going to pray happens.
The girls wanted to show you their sparkling clean teeth. Emma spent the rest of the day "showing" everyone her sealants. Abby was very excited when the dentist told her that her two bottom front teeth are wiggly. Barely, but still just a little wiggly!
I'm always sharing stories about Emma's kindness, so I just had to share this one about Abby. The girls got to pick out stickers and a prize from a treasure chest. Abby was thrilled when she found a Hannah Montana sticker. I don't think she's ever even seen Hannah Montana, but she knows that she's very cool and that girls are supposed to like her. Emma saw the sticker and really wanted one too, so I looked through every single sticker and didn't find one. Abby was peeling the paper off her prized sticker when I told Emma that I was sorry but they must have only had one. Without skipping a beat Abby took her sticker and stuck it on Emma's shirt and told me that she would take a Nemo sticker. Emma was actually shocked I think and I was a little surprised too! What a sweet girl!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Baseball Comeback?

SURPRISE: A post about someone other than my children or the cousins!

FIRST A LITTLE HISTORY: Most of you probably don't know much about my husband, Ryan. He grew up playing baseball in central Illinois farm country. He was a pitcher. His freshman year of college was probably his best year. He threw in the 90s and had major league scouts looking at him. His sophomore year of college he started having elbow and shoulder problems. I met Ryan at Liberty University. It's a Division 1 school and he was there on a baseball scholarship. I never saw him play in his glory days. I met him after shoulder surgery and an elbow surgery. He never really recovered from those injuries. Baseball has always been Ryan's passion and it's still in his blood to this day. That brings us to the present.

I'm not going to call this a "mid-life" crisis because he's a little young for that. I just think he's watched the Disney movie The Rookie a few too many times. For those of you who don't know, that's a movie about a 30-something who is a high school baseball coach. His high school players make a bet with him and he ends up going to a major league try out and he eventually plays in the major leagues. It's a true story, thus giving Ryan just a little glimmer of hope. So when Ryan's friend Graham, a baseball coach at Notre Dame, got him signed up to try out for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ryan jumped at the chance to see if he still had it.

The kids and I arrived at the stadium at 8:54 am. The tryout started at 9am and I was sooo impressed with myself that I made it in time. We had to leave the house at 6:30am, which is never pleasant. Ryan spent the night there the night before so he would be well rested. As we were walking up to the stadium I decided to take a picture and my camera said NO MEMORY CARD. I just about had a heart attack. Ryan had been looking forward to this day for two months and I didn't have a memory card in the camera. Ugh! So I drove way too fast and found a Staples. Left the kids in the car (don't worry...I never do that...just in emergencies...and this seemed like an emergency to me), found a memory card, ran back to the car, raced back to the try out and I didn't miss a thing. I was back by 9:09am. Whew.

After about two hours of warming up, running sprints, catching, and throwing the ball around it was finally Ryan's turn to pitch. I was a little nervous for him. All the other guys were so much younger (like by a decade). I knew Ryan had no intention of signing a minor league contract (you know those guys make about $700 a month, not something a family could live on)he was really there to see how fast he could throw and because this sort of thing is really fun for him. He enjoys playing on a real field, not just a church softball field. He enjoys having other decent players around. Ryan had injured his wrist back in June, so I wasn't so sure how this would go, but he held his own. He was just as good as everyone else there, if not better. He had control the whole time and didn't throw any wild pitches. He was a little disappointed that he was only throwing in the low 80s. He said he felt tight and that he could tell he wasn't "bringing it" like he knew he could. All in all, I think he did great. It was a great experience for him and a fun day for all of us. Emma was totally disappointed that he didn't make the team, even though I kept telling her he wasn't going to, she still had faith in him :)

My favorite picture. Christian was really excited to see daddy on the big field.

You know I had to include a picture of the cheering squad. Emma had been practicing a cheer for Uncle Ryan for about two hours in the car, but then got too embarrassed to do it once we got there. They were both pretty happy eating a ton of snacks and Emma took Christian on lots of adventures. The stadium was relatively empty so they climbed mountains (up to the upper deck), explored caves (concession stands), etc.

This was one of the ways the kids stayed entertained. Christian was such a good sport. He must have bought 15 pretzels from Emma in her pretzel stand.

Look who was being happy even though she had been up since 5:30am!

We even brought our own camera crew. Suprise, suprise...we were the only ones with a camera crew. Todd and Kurt work with Ryan and came to check out the action and video tape Ryan so he can watch the tape and work on his skills. Apparently Ryan wants to do this next year. Oh my!

Our adventures continued on the trip home. This is Ryan's very, very flat tire. Thankfully it happened in a little town reminiscent of Mayberry. A gentleman put air in the tire for us and then pointed us down the road to a small service station. When we pulled in their were three older men sitting around drinking their coffee just waiting for someone to stop in. It took 10 minutes and $6.00 to fix. AMAZING!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Photo Shoot

My three year old.
McKenna's dedication dress that I wore as a baby (and so did Amy and Emma...Abby was too chubby :)
Their first real picture together.

Getting pictures taken is always a little stressful for me. Christian NEVER wants to cooperate. McKenna, on the other hand, is so easy! This was probably our best photo shoot ever. I came prepared with M&Ms and the only thing I forgot was the diaper cover that matched McKenna's dress, but you can't really see her diaper too much, so I was pretty happy. I still think I prefer it when my friend Lori takes pictures. It's not nearly as stressful, but she's had a lot going on lately so we'll get pictures with her sometime this fall. In the meantime, I think these turned out pretty well.

Christmas in August!!

We are blessed.

Seriously blessed.

Miss. Laurie is one of those people that makes me cry because she is constantly thinking of ways to bless us. Whether through encouraging comments on my blog, by stopping by to visit all the way from Massachsetts or by sending really awesome packages.

Last fall when Amy first moved here she knew that having all the kids would be a challenge for me and she gave me four sticker books and a ton of stickers (we're still using them). She knew that I needed a positive way to encourage good behavior with everyone and it worked.

Well, apparently Miss. Laurie has been doing a little shopping lately!

Last week two huge boxes arrived on my front steps.

Christian immediately knew who they were for. One box had a princess, Cars and Thomas sticker on it (that would be the box for Abby, Nate and Christian). The other box had a High School Musical sticker on it (who do you think that was for?).
Do they look excited or what? And that was when we had already emptied half the box.The boys opened their package first and inside they found new shirts, pants, coloring books, water bottles, stickers, etc.
It was like Christmas morning!

Christian was particuarly thrilled with his new shoes. He immediately said, "Look Mama, running shoes. Fast ones." When I asked him why they were running shoes he said, "Because they have strings on them like Daddy's." Who knew laces could be such a big deal. I always get velcro, but those days are over. He loves these shoes.

Getting right to work with their stickers, coloring books and new lunch saks.

Each girl got several pairs of shoes.

And then the modeling began. Emma tried on every single outfit and put lots of thought into what she would wear on her first day of school.
Cute dresses. Abby added the cape herself just to add to the drama of the fashion show. Christian was being the announcer (I didn't get a picture of it).
Emma decided that this would be a good outfit for the first day of school.
Nate immediately took all of his clothes off so he could participate in the show. Emma decided to make him clothes out of the tissue paper. Nate tried on every single pair of shoes the girls got.

Sorry the picture is sideways, but McKenna was not forgotten either. I can't wait for fall so she can wear some of these adorable outfits. Too cute!

McKenna modeling one of her new outfits.After the fashion show was over, we packed up the girls clothes again so that they will stay nice for the beginning of the school year. Thank you Laurie for blessing our families with your over-the-top shopping! What on earth are you going to do when you have grandchildren of your own? In the meantime, we love it that you love our kids. Thank you for being such a blessing to us!