Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Great Opportunity & My Favorite Cuties...

Most of you that know me know that when my husband asked to support two U.S. soldiers for his Father's Day gift two years ago, it was a great decision for our whole family. It has really blessed us to be pen pals and provide care packages for our troops. You think you're going to help them and it ends up blessing you more than you can dream of.

Anyway - I just got an email saying that they are pretty desperate for support right now. If you have any interest in being a pen pal and/or care package provider for one of our guys or gals overseas, you should check it out. Just go look and see what you might possibly be moved to do. They also have some special programs and holiday support, so look at those, too. It's a wonderful organization -- I can't say enough good things about it.


I just uploaded some new pictures from the camera and thought I'd share. It's amazing to me how quickly these kids grow. (And I have the receipt from a recent shoe shopping trip as proof!)

Miss G is so good at making messes. As you can see, she loves it. What you don't see in this picture is that she has the ENTIRE newspaper spread across the living room floor. She had just as much fun picking it up (I had her put it all in the empty laundry basket - it was just easier that way) as she did taking it apart. And it let me get dinner together, so I didn't mind too much.

In case you are wondering what Mason might look like when he's 5, here's a rough estimate:

Mason clearly enjoys being admired by his Big Sister. I think that she was singing "Twinkle, Twinkle" to him.

I love the little moments that make up our days together. Most of them, anyway...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mini-Me Friday #1

Yes, it's back. Well, I'm back. Hmmm - well, my efforts to slim down a bit and get healthy are back.

I gave myself the 6 weeks after the baby to let my body heal without getting too crazy, and lucky for me - the very next week my First Place group started up again! (It's basically like weight watchers, but is a christian group - so therefore, not much like weight watchers at all, I guess. Well, hopefully you get the point.)

So, last week was our first meeting. Let me tell you, for some reason - it's more motivating to me to eat well when I know that someone is going to be reading about everything I put into my mouth. Why it's not just as motivating to me that MY body is going to look/feel better instead of that someone else is holding me accountable, I will never know - but that's the way it is for me. At least at this point, anyway.

Week #1 - I've done pretty well. I set my goal at 20 pounds for the 13 weeks of this session. I figure that is attainable and not too crazy. Oh - and before any of you get all over me about not dieting and breastfeeding, I'd like you to know that not only did I add 400 extra calories onto my plan for breastfeeding, but that I sought and received my doctor's approval before I began, so there ya go. Besides, really all I've changed is the quality of what I'm eating -- not really even the quantity too much.

We had our meeting last night and I lost 2 pounds this week, so I feel like I'm off to a good start. Yesterday was the first day that I was able to work out. I'm okay with that because I did get a major handle on changing my eating habits this week, and I had a pretty stressful week with MUCH less kid-free or reduced-number-of-kids time than I anticipated having. It's hard to exercise with all 3 of them around. I think I'll put my exercise log in the sidebar again, that helped me stay on track last time.

Georgia got sick last week and then this week, we had a strange deal with hand, foot & mouth disease. You'd think that Miss G would get it, but it was actually Mitchell who showed up with it. Luckily, he only had sores in his mouth and not on his hands or feet, but they were pretty painful. They are almost gone, thank goodness. For 3 days he was talking like he had just been to the dentist for a filling and we had a pretty limited range of foods that he could eat without pain. We've been really, really trying to keep it away from Miss G and Mr. Magoo -- hopefully they will be able to escape it. So far, so good.

ANYWAY - having him home from school, keeping him away from the baby, keeping the other two from fighting, etc. - a good challenge for me in the ol' emotional eating department. Oh, and did I mention that Miss G is giving up her nap? Yeahhhhhh...sigh...sad, but true.

I started really paying attention to myself with regards to eating because I try to write down what I eat the minute I eat it, otherwise I'll forget. I noticed that whenever I would be talking on the phone to someone about what was up with us these days or right after the kids were stressing me out with fighting, I'd end up standing in front of an open refrigerator looking for something to munch on. The good thing is that I had really set myself up for success. I made a menu and planned our meals -- side dishes and everything -- for two weeks before I went to the grocery store so the only groceries I bought were things for our lunches and dinners and healthy snacks. Let's just say that I have eaten a lot of cucumbers and celery with roasted red pepper hummus this week...which feels like a good change from goldfish, chips/salsa, or some ice cream.
(By the way, two tablespoons of hummus is actually quite a bit!)

So, there you go. Emotional eating in the wake of the first week of mops (and all of that yummy food!), a 5 year old hand, foot and mouth victim, a semi-nappy two year old, a boob-loving newborn, a hubby with a stressful, very important week at work, a dinner date and concert, and a women's conference -- that was week #1. I feel BLESSED to have come out 2 pounds lighter at the end of all of that, now that I read it that way.

I think I'll end each mini-me update with the memory verse that I learned each week, since for me - the beauty of my First Place experience is that weight loss is pretty much a bonus. It's what it does for the WHOLE me, not just the chubby parts that I love. This first week I got to pick my own verse, and it sort of sets me in the right frame of mind. I am His, this body is His.

Romans 6:13 (NLT) "Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Have you ever...

This looks fun, and who doesn't love an already done for you blog entry? Cheri had this on her blog, and I thought it would be fun to see what you all have done, too - so feel free to do it. Just copy and paste the 200 statements then bold the ones you have done...the idea is to highlight the things you have done out of the 200 items on the list.
If you see bold in this one, it's because I've done that. Okay, here we go...

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby's diaper (about 2 minutes ago, actually)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain (most of the way, anyway)
9. Held a tarantula (I passed on that one when given the chance. *shudder*)
10. Said "I love you" and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (not smart enough to actyally FEEL that way ,ost of the time, sadly)
38. Watched wild whales
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don't
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone - verbal not physical
67. Bounced a check
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy - PLAYDOUGH, YAY!!
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
71. Called or written your Congress person
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all four
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people
108. Brought out the worst in people
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where four people asked for the recipe.
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway (or equivalent to your country) play
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced at a disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone
122. Ridden a train
123. Brought an old fad back into style
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant
127. Published a book
128. Pieced a quilt
129. Lived in a historic place
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one **just in mini-golf! :)
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Ran a marathon
136. Learned to surf
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class-
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sang a solo
143. Gone spelunking
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love-story
146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted
150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
151. Ran away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss
154. Sat on a jury
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet
157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunch box
160. Gotten food poisoning
161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Hiked the Grand Canyon
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine
168. Attended the Olympics
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life
176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint
178. Laughed till your side hurt
179. Straddled the equator
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle
183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Joined a union
187. Donated blood or plasma
188. Built a camp fire
189. Kept a blog
190. Had hives
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR
197. Ridden in or owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime
200. Responded to a NJP newsletter

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What a weekend...

This is a long one, so you might want to grab a snack and a beverage. Hmmm, well, considering the content, perhaps just a beverage. And a comfy chair.

Miss G hasn't had a great weekend so far. Thursday night, I started my First Place weight loss group meetings again (so watch out for Mini-Me Fridays to start over!) and Chris had the kiddos at home. I didn't realize until I got home that I had actually left my cell phone in the car. It had slid under one of Mason's blankets in the front seat. I walked in the door and his first question was "Where is your phone?"

Uh-oh. That's never a good welcome home question.

"Ummmmm, probably in the car, I'm guessing."
"Well, you should think about actually HAVING it with you more often."
"Yeah, I'll look into that."
"Where is the vinegar?"

Uh-oh. That's not good either. That means something needs to come out of the carpet with my super-duper, fantastic diaper-assisted removal technique.

"Why? What happened?"
"Just where is it?"
"Why???? What do you need it for?"
"She pooped on me, okay? She pooped on me AND the carpet, and I want to get it out! I put both of us in the shower with our clothes on, if that tells you anything."

Ohhhhkay then. Poop. The Cabana Boy has some major poop-related issues, so this was not a good night for dear ol' Daddy in the "quality time with the kids" department. (If you've seen the youtube collage of men changing babies' diapers, they are his kindred spirits. The 2nd man reminds me of him during our Norovirus night earlier this year, and the 3rd guy reminds me of when he changed Mitchell's diapers with a painter's mask on for the first few weeks of his career in Fatherhood. No kidding.) Did I also mention that we *just* had our carpets professionally cleaned last month? Yep, sure did. Oh, and I mean what I say at the top of my blog, by the way. You've been fairly warned. Poop seems to come up a lot around here.

Anyway, I helped Chris expertly extract the yuckiness from the carpet and then we got everyone into bed. It occured to me that in order for the poop scenario to play out the way it did, something was up with our baby girl's digestive world. It also came to mind that my first MOPS meeting of the year was in the morning (of course!) and she would probably not be a good candidate for the childcare situation. I am on the steering team (Alana, since you asked - I do publicity) and really needed to be there to help with the registration process and providing some of the food. Things got even worse when she woke up screaming her head off at about 2 a.m. She has issues with the lights being on - like the ACTUAL light in her room, not a night light. (That is a completely different post in itself that I'll bless you with on another day.) This is what she was screaming about, but while I had her in the bathroom going potty and all of that 2 am fun, I noted that her nose was running, she was all kinds of crazy stuffed up and had a cough.

Basically, she was a complete mess.

Luckily, my father-in-law wasn't working the next day and when I called him in the morning, he willingly agreed to put his own health at risk by watching this little germ factory for us. I went to pick her up after MOPS and he reported that she was as goofy as ever and that she didn't act like she felt bad at all. He also handed me a bag that held some rinsed out pants in it, meaning that the poop situation was not yet resolved. (It was also majorly putting a kink in our Operation Potty Training effort. *sigh*) As I put her into her carseat on their driveway, I asked if she had gotten stung or bit by something. He said he didn't think so, but I was looking at this.

As you can see, she isn't all that bothered by the ginormous welts taking up half of her sweet little face, but I sure was. I am allergic to bee stings and swell up in welts like that when I get bit by spiders, so I was thinking that was probably the case. She helped her Papa pick tomatoes in the garden, so it was a completely plausible theory at the time. I gave her some benadryl before I fed her lunch and thankfully, they disappeared after about 20 minutes. I put her down and she took a great nap. No pictures this time, but when I put her on the potty, I noticed that the rash had done a magical reappearing trick as it was now only on her left thigh.

Hmmmm. There goes the bite/sting theory.

Have you ever noticed that kids tend to get this sort of thing ONLY when there is something great going on that you have been looking forward to? My husband and I had a fun date night planned -- we had tickets to the Montgomery Gentry/Toby Keith concert. Of course.

I think we might have the best parents in the entire world because much like my hubby's father, my parents completely threw caution to the wind and gladly welcomed our little hive-sporting, snot blowing, poop shooting two year old into their home with open arms. (I should mention this would also be their first time babysitting all three of them at the same time!) I agonized about leaving her while she was sick, but again - she was running around like her normal little self, minus being a little sleepy from the Benadryl. We ended up going to the concert and having a wonderful time...I'm really glad everyone convinced me to still go. Miss G did fine - the poop situation improved and my parents said she did great.

We all spent the night at my parents' house since we got back so late and their house was so close to the concert location. When my mom and I got Georgia up in the morning and put her on the potty, the hives were back and in full force. This time they were on her right cheek, all over her stomach, and up and down both legs. It was just so bizarre! Thankfully, she wasn't itchy or in pain, but it was really starting to worry me.

Yeah, about that looking forward to stuff thing? My friend, Erin, got a free parking pass and tickets to sit in a suite at the Women of Faith conference and would be picking me up in about an hour and was taking Mason with me. Mitchell would be going to the CSU football game to watch our cousin play. I told Chris he just had to call the pediatrician and take her in now. It turns out that she has an ear infection. I guess the tube in her left ear isn't working like it should and that it is all tied to and possibly originated from her two year molars coming in.

Poor sweet girl. She never once said anything about her ears, and we asked! In fact, we just went to the pediatrician not too long ago to get her ears checked and they were fine. It was Mitchell who had the ear infection.

I always feel badly when it ends up being an ear infection, it makes me feel like we should have known and gotten her in sooner or something. The thing is, in this case, her ear infection was camouflaged. We saw hives, a runny nose, poop issues, no pain, and an overall happy little girl. Not what typically happens when she gets an ear infection.

I started thinking about how many times I do that in my own life. One issue gets covered up with something else. Something completely seeming unrelated gets piled on and before you know it, like my sweet Miss G, I am a complete mess.

The other day is a great example. We ran late for school. The carpool kiddo I pick up was runing even later. Mitchell left his lunchbox in the car and I had to take it back to school. A cup of milk got spilled on the floor I had just swept and mopped. I went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription to find out they still hadn't gotten the refill authorization from my doctor that was requested a week before. The kids wouldn't nap at the same time. Mason was nursing while Mitchell needed help in the restroom. Miss G woke up from her nap early. I made tacos for dinner and as I went to put a filled up shell onto a plate, I fumbled it and everything dropped on the floor. That I had now already swept and mopped twice.

Ever had a day like that? How do you even begin to untangle that mess and figure out exactly where you started feeling annoyed. Or weary. Or frustrated. When do you physically break down and start crying? (For me, it was the taco that put me over the edge.) By the time my husband got home, I was not in a good way. I was covered in spit up, my hair was in a ponytail and pulled halfway out in little loops from Miss G's makeover attempts with her Dora brush, a trail of taco meat covered my shirt and pants, and my eyes were rimmed from crying. I think he deserves a shout out for not turning on his heel and running a four-hour errand or something.

The thing is, not once during the day did I stop to ask for help. I called my husband to vent and I got a latte, but neither of those made my insides feel any better. The one thing I didn't do is the one thing I should have done, starting with running late for school. I didn't pray. I didn't ask God to help me. To strengthen me. To give me an extra dose of patience. To give me an extra measure of laughter. To give me some p-e-a-c-e.

Seriously, Tara. What a bonehead move. I know that if I ask, He will give it to me. Now, for my friends who are not on the same page with me on this one, I'm not saying "give me a million dollars" and poof - it's there. I'm saying that when I pray for peace and comfort, I get it. Does it mean I'm not worried about things anymore? No. It means that the peace and comfort offsets the worries and anxieties of my life and things are more tolerable and less intense.

Please, learn from my mistake. When you have "that" day, don't wait until you end up being a complete mess before you take a breath and look to Him for some help. There's a good chance your day will turn around, and even if it doesn't, you won't be as weary and beaten down at the end of the day. Diagnose the problem early, and call The Doctor.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Six weeks later...

And here I am. Still somewhat in awe of the fact that I have three children.

Let's put it this way - I can only offer to drive two children somewhere and I have a MINIVAN, people. There should be wayyyyyy more room in there! But, no -- we pretty much fill it up on our own. Very strange. (In a wonderful way.)

Anyway, I'm getting ready to go to bed soon but thought I'd do a mini update.

Mitchell just started (and is LOVING) kindergarten. He had to miss the 2nd day of school because of a cruddy cold, which we found out today ended up turning into an ear infection. Go figure -- healthy all summer and BAM. Instantaneous illness with school starting. Nice. Doesn't it always end up that way? He is all kinds of excited because his teacher is taking them on a REAL treasure hunt tomorrow. He keeps emphasizing the "real" part to me. They are all dressing in their pirate best and everything -- he could not be more excited. I'm wondering what the treasure will be. I'm hoping it's celery myself. I would love something like that to be the ending. Tee hee!

Georgia just started (and is also LOVING) preschool. I am told that "she is a pro" when it comes to school. Now, if we could just get her to be a pro on the whole potty training thing, I'd be good. My hair stylist recently informed me of some gray hair sightings...I blame the potty training. She is more into playing with her babies these days and has developed a serious need to sing every day. Not a preference. A need. The girl must jam or things go south. She is also all about anything princess or princess-related. I believe it is an illness, actually.

Mason is growing like a crazy man. He is a little chunk and those baby smiles and coos just melt me and then some. He is the sweetest baby boy! At my MOPS steering retreat this weekend, I believe the longest he was not held was for about 7 minutes. He was a spoiled boy and just ate those ladies up. He would just snuggle in and the next thing you know, all sorts of hormones and "I want another one" comments just started flyin' around the room! He is a joy.

So. There you go. Again, I'll leave you with some pictures. First day of school and Mason at 6 weeks. The picture of him is actually the result of Miss Sassy Pants refusing to stay in her bed tonight at bedtime. We had to remove her beloved Duck and Blankie from the room. Mason was guarding them with his life, as you can see.

I hope to get back in the bloggy saddle soon - both reading and posting. For now, I'm doing the best that I can. Love to all...