Monday, March 31, 2008

Then and Now

So this weekend was "Rendezvous." This is a time for me and four of my dearest friends from college to get together and play, reminisce, and get away from everything for awhile. We have tried to do this once a year since we graduated college, and for the most part, have managed to pull it off. Of course, there are life issues that come up that have made it hard some years for everyone to make it, but we have stayed in touch and stayed close, and when we get together it's as if we've never been apart. I thought I would share a few photos of us, back then, and now, just for fun! The five of us are: me, Melissa, Joy, Rachel and Jillian. We all met our freshman year at Baylor and clicked pretty much right away. At one time or another, I think we all either lived together, or spent so much time at one another's places that we might as well have lived together. We were all volunteers for K-Life, a youth discipleship organization. And we had many, many crazy, silly times together. The first picture is of Melissa, me and Joy. I have no explanation for it as I have absolutely no idea why we were dressed up like that. We were freshman in this picture, and sadly, we probably left our dorm looking that way.
This picture is of Melissa, me, Joy and Rachel our senior year in Mel and Rachel's apartment. I'm pretty sure this is the night that we decided to try and meet once a year after graduation. We celebrated that decision with wine coolers apparently...
Here is one of our random, silly pictures. Honestly, I have so many fun, goofy photos of us all that it could have taken me hours to look through them all. Even though the five of us were involved in several different organizations, we still spent so much time together. From late night "swims" in the lake, where we trespassed on someone's property (and got caught), to ski trips, to midnight excursions to the David Koresh compound (one of the more foolish things we did), we always seemed to gravitate toward one another. I cherish each one of these girls deeply and still feel grateful to be a part of their lives.
Here we are at my wedding. In the past eight years since we graduated we have seen each other through many wonderful times, as well as many terrible times. Since these photos were taken we have had 11 children, with three more on the way this summer! That is wild.
And here we are this weekend in San Antonio where Jillian (bottom right) lives. What a fun time away it was. Because Jilly had to start a new job this week, she wasn't able to join us in Waco where we met up with Joy for the day. Joy is pregnant with baby number 5! She is seriously upping the baby production of our group. Last weekend was Joy's husband's 30th birthday so she wasn't able to meet up with us for the whole weekend, so we spent the day walking around Baylor campus, reminicsing. We even got to visit our old dorm, which sadly hasn't changed a single bit in twelve years. It even smelled the same. Gross...
As you can see, I am the only one not pregnant in this photo. I wish I could have captured the looks on the faces of the people we passed as we walked campus. It was hysterical. Everywhere we went, people stared at us with their mouths half open. They didn't even try to hide their shock. Some even pointed. It was as if we had descended from some alter universe. It confirmed to me that though I feel like I still look quite young (I have three more months to relish my 20's!), I don't fit in with college students any more. Especially when I'm surrounded by pregnant people! Anyway, to my dear friends, thank you for all the years of memories! I look forward to so many more. How blessed I am to have you all be a part of my life!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cats and Dogs

I think I may go crazy today. It's a good thing I'm leaving town. Cats and Dogs have nothing on my kids. They've been at each other all morning. Can you put kids up for sale on ebay? Just curious.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Locks of Love

I went all Hollywood today and decided it was time for a major hair change. Well, in actuality, I wasn't looking for this major, but the stylist told me I had enough hair to donate to locks of love and I thought that might be a fun little thing to do, so off went my ponytail! She cut 12 inches off! EEK! Well, at that point, I figured we might as well just keep going, so I told her to put in some fun layers. Ummm...she took me rather to the extreme. She kind of stacked it in the back. Not my favorite, but whatever, it'll grow back. Then, I decided to have her color it a little blonder, only something happened and it ended up turning kind of a strawberry color. I'm going to give it the weekend to see if I like it and if not, I'll go back next week and have her fix it. I'm going to San Antonio this weekend with some girlfriends for college so I'm sure I'll get a couple of pics and I'll post one. We do this every year. We call it rendezvous, although this year I am lovingly referring to it as my "absence makes the heart grow fonder" trip. There's nothing like a few days away to make you really miss your kids, ya know?

We did it!

We pulled the trigger last night and put Landon in the room with Tia. The kids did great. I, however, did not fair so well. I woke up at 3:30 and laid awake all tense, just waiting for Landon to wake up. He slept until 4:50 though, so I laid awake awhile. I'll have to get used to this. But I don't think Tia even woke up when he did. I rushed in there and got him out before he could make too much noise. I didn't quite have the courage to put him back in her room after feeding him so I just put him in the pack n play in our room. I'll try that later when I am feeling braver, and when I haven't been up half the night. Sheesh. But, this is just one more hurdle that we had to get over on the road back to normalcy. YAY!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A few pictures

Miss Sassy Pants
Landon in his life vest on the boat
Tossing sand at the beach
Sloan at the world's shortest St. Patty's Day Parade
All three kids at the condo

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ten things I learned in Florida

1.) When a four year old shoves a two year old so hard that her feet leave the ground and she thumps onto her back, it doesn't long as they are standing in the sand. When she hits the tile floor, however, it does seem to sting a bit.
2.) When said two year old is pushed, she is quick to seek revenge, generally in the form of hitting or pinching.
3.) A day at the beach when the winds are whipping up to 40 miles per hour is not a lot of fun.
4.) A restaurant located right on the beach so the kids can play in the sand while you wait for your food is pure genius!
5.) Kids do get sick in Florida. Rachel Hyser, you were right! But, I think Sloan brought his illness with him to St. Louis, so I'm still holding out some hope that perhaps Florida is a sick free zone. Which brings me to my next point...
6.)Kids still get scarlet fever. Are you kidding me? Scarlet fever? The image conjured up in my mind when I first heard scarlet fever was Doc Baker from Little House on the Prairie packing Half-Pint in a tub of ice to bring down her fever. I truly had no idea people still got scarlet fever. But guess what? My kid got it! Which brings me to my next point...
7.) It really is a small world after all. This was evident when the doctor at the Pediatric Urgent Care center we visited in the middle of nowhere told us he moved to FL from Chesterfield three years ago and he lived just down the road from my parents. Weird.
8.) Travelling on an airplane with three kids is stressful no matter how good they are.
9.) Florida on a bad March day is still waaaay better than St. Louis on a decent March day. I mean, seriously, no matter what you get to go to the beach. Is their really any comparison?
10.) A neon pink swimsuit, though designed to be immersed in water, still fades. It will indeed turn her skin so vibrant pink that you will think she was sunburned severely, but no, it's just her skin. Nice.

We had such a wonderful and fun trip. The kids did great, but we are glad to be home. I'm thrilled to see some of my plants starting to bud and the grass looking a little greener. It's made coming home a little less depressing. I'll post pictures later.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why I love Florida...

So we are three days into our Florida vacation and I thought I'd just document how much I love this state. I was born here, so I honestly think my blood is just a little salty. Too much time away from the beach and I think my ph balance gets all out of wac (wack?). That's just a hypothesis, it's not scientific or anything. Every other year growing up my parents would rent a condo in Florida for a month and we would come down here and live. All of our family would visit us at the condo, so most of my fondest memories with aunts, uncles and cousins are playing at the beach and swimming in the pool. I get a little emotional when I look at my own kids now and realize that they are forming some of the same memories that I have as a kid. I think we are going to come down here for a month in July and hopefully my cousins and their kids will come over and play with us. What fun!
I love that my kids are totally into the beach. Sloan absolutely loves being down here. He made his first trip when he was 10 weeks old. Tia was four months the first time she came and Landon is three months. This is their second home and that warms my heart.
I love being on a boat. My parents recently bought a boat down here and we spent the day on it yesterday. What a wonderful way to spend time as a family. There is nothing more relaxing than being on the water, even with three kids. Oh, and I must brag on how awesome my kids have been down here. The airport and plane ride were down right relaxing. All three kids were angels and travelled so well. Sloan has been fighting off some kind of fever and sore throat (*update...he actually has scarlet fever/strep throat, which I know because we just returned from the Urgent Care Center - awesome), yet he's been a joy to be around(seriously, he's been so awesome despite being so sick!). Tia, who is our wild child, has been very sweet and adaptable and has just done amazing. And I swear that Landon is teething early, but despite his obvious discomfort he's been so sweet and fun. He slept the whole boat ride and has just adapted to whatever crazy situation we put him in. My kids rock! Anyway, despite the fact that the weather hasn't been ideal, we're having a wonderful trip so far. This is one of my favorite places in the world!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The way I see it...

We're leaving for the airport to fly to Florida in one hour! Whoop! (Did I just type whoop?!?) Since yesterday I've been cleaning and preparing like a mad woman. You see, there are only two things that truly motivate me to deep down clean my house. Having a party and going out of town. I hate leaving a dirty house. And the bigger and longer the trip, the deeper I clean. I have mopped, vaccuumed, cleaned bathrooms (including toilets and showers) and washed every item of laundry in this house. So, the way I see it is we just need to travel more so my house will stay this clean. I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gettin' Along

For those of you that have spent time around my kids recently, you know that while they do love one another, they fight like cats and dogs. Literally, they make each other bleed! So this morning when they were playing in the basement and I heard them laughing and giggling for a good fifteen minutes without any screams, tears or fights, I had to peek and see what was up. This is what I found them doing. They were having a ball.


Just a quick rant to ease some frustration. I went to Country Club Car Wash today to have my nasty car washed. It was one of those that guide your car along, which I hate and I didn't know that until I'd already purchased the car wash or I wouldn't have done it. Anyway, I'm driving into the car wash and all of the sudden, my left front hub cap breaks in half from the dumb guider thing. This lady comes running out and motions for me to roll my window down then says in this snotty, condescending voice, "You're not supposed to steer. You just broke your tire. You have to read the sign!" I then ask, "Uhh, what sign?" She points. Oh, you mean that tiny little sign on the sidewalk to my left? Gee, I'm sorry, I was staring at the giant flashing green sign in front of me that said Drive forward. Silly me for not craning my neck to the side to check for further instructions. So what does this lady do? She picks up my broken pieces of hub cap and hands them back to me and tells me to be more careful! I was so pissed off. So now I have a barely clean car and a broken wheel. Nice. I mean, I know it was technically my fault. I get that. But the lady was so obnoxious about it that it made me even madder. Okay, I was hoping that ranting here would make me feel better. It didn't. I'm still annoyed...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Just because they fit...

So Lee had a special business program/dinner last night that I went to with him. Before we left I tried on my size 8 Gap slacks and they fit! They weren't loose by any means, but they fit comfortably enough that I could move around and even sit without splitting them. I was so thrilled that I decided to wear them to dinner. Mistake number one. Because, you see, all I'd had to eat for lunch was a Slim Fast (which are nasty, by the way, but apparently they are working) so of course my pants fit well. By the time I finished my salad, however, I was miserable. I'm in a room of 17 doctors listening to a presentation and all I can think is the button on my pants is going to pop off and embed itself into someone's forehead. Finally, knowing there was no way I'd be able to eat my steak when it came, I discreetly unbottoned my pants, mistake number two as now it would be impossible to discreetly button them back up since they were so dang tight. After dinner, Lee calls me to come over and meet one of the doctors. I panic slightly before deciding to just go for the buttoning and hope no one notices. Luckily I was sitting by two women that I know well and am friends with so they were the only ones that saw me and we all enjoyed a good laugh. So, now we know. Just because they fit, doesn't mean you need to wear them out. I think I'll give myself a little more time before I wear those pants again.

The Next American Idol

Here is Sloan's YouTube debut. He loves to "play" American Idol. Note that the words to the song should be "Deep WAY Down" not Deep Where Down. The kid knows just what to do with a microphone. I have no idea where he gets that! A few desclaimers: First, he always wants me to be Simon and I do a horrible British accent. Please do forgive! Second, for some reason he wanted me to "introduce" him as Krut Stuart. I have no idea why. Third, I was feeding Landon a bottle while taping so you can hear Landon grunting in the background and that's why the video is a little shaky. Finally, for some reason he wanted to change Ryan Seacrest's name to Brad. Again, I don't know why. But you don't argue with a four year old about such matters. Anyway, enjoy this video of our little ham!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My boy Sloan, part 2

I thought of a few more Sloan stories that I wanted to document. Perhaps some of my fondest, and most embarrassing, moments, have been with Sloan learning the names of body parts. Let's start with when he learned the name of his own body part. For all you psychologists out there who say it's best to teach the proper names for bady parts - umm, do any of you actually have children that you have to take in public? Because my kid went through a phase where he loved to say penis everywhere he went. No matter how hard I tried to get him to understand tht we didn't use that word in public, he still managed to shout it out at least once a day in public, usually at the grocery store or Target. One day, while he was sitting in the cart at the store he turned his head slightly and looked at me with a devilish grin, then grabbed himself and said, "Oh wook. Heeeere's my peeeenis!" The two women beside me cracked up. I blushed and tried not to encourage him with laughter. That day I came up with the solution that we would only be allowed to use that word in the bathroom. That worked well until we were in a public bathroom and he yelled it at the top of his lungs. That was the day that we made it a bathroom word only at home. Sheesh.
The next great Sloan story, and most of you have heard this but I have to document it for later so I can humiliate him, was his obsession with women's chests. Only he didn't call it a chest, he called it a "nest." Everywhere we went, he commented on women's nests. "Ooooh mommy, look. That lady has a huge nest!" Or, "Mommy that lady's nest was really small." Or, "Look, that lady has flowers on her nest!" He would point and comment constantly. The only thing that kept this from being entirely mortifying was that usually people didn't know what he was talking about. While I was horrified at this obsession, Lee found it hilarious. His response the first time I told him about it? "At least he's not gay!" which he emphasized by thrusting his hands into the air. Apparently there was some concern...

My last story is probably one of my favorite. When we went to the Bahamas this summer we had to make a stopover in Miami. All day, Lee kept telling Sloan that we had to spend th night in Miami before we would get to the Bahamas. When we finally arrived I asked Sloan what he thought of Miami. Looking very serious he said, "No mommy, it's daddy's Ami. It's his Ami." He thought Lee had been saying we were going to MY-Ami. Those are my favorite Sloan stories so far. I am sure we'll add many more to those over the years.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Meet Cody the Snowman

I'm so freakin' ready for winter to be over, it's ridiculous. We got 9-10 inches of snow today. 9-10 INCHES!!! It was crazy. Never mind that it was 76 degrees on Sunday. The kids were itching to go out and play all day but it was snowing so hard that we had to wait until 4:00 before I felt brave enough to let them try it. I didn't think Tia would like it since it was so deep, but she had a good time for about an hour before she was ready to come in. Lee built a lovely snowman. It's not as good as our friend's Mike and Melissa's 7 foot snowman, but it was still a lovely little guy that Sloan affectionaltely named Cody. That was the name he wanted to give the baby but Lee and I gently nixed. It suits the snowman much better.

It's been a wild couple of days around here. Tia has croup. It's our first experience with croup. Croup sucks. I always thought of croup as being a barky cough, but Tia never had a cough. She just came out of her room Sunday night heaving and panicking, at which point Lee and I both panicked slightly. My first thought was that she was having some kind of allergic reaction to something and her throat was closing. Lee was ready to call 911, but calmed himself down enough to try the pediatrician exchange first. After taking her in Mon. morning (yep, one more co-pay!) I was told it was croup and to wait it out. Poor baby. She sounds awful, like a little old man. Actually, it's a little cute. I videtaped her talking today because her voice is so hoarse. Lee ended up having to drive to Mt. Vernon, IL tonight because he's got an early procedure in the morning so I'm manning it alone, which could be interesting given Tia's health and the fact that Landon also has a cold. But, drumroll please, he did sleep all night last night! He slept sitting up in his car seat in front of a humidifier. You better believe we're gonna do that again tonight! Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My boy Sloan

On Friday, Sloan and I had an awesome time of just sitting on the couch together talking and laughing and reading the Bible. At one point I asked him if he make sure to never get too big to sit on my lap and give me kisses and hugs. "Okay, mom," he said. "But when I'm 49 I might be too big." Well, I'll take it. Sitting there with him being all snuggly and cute made me want to document some things about him. This blog is kind of like my journal. I am printing off every month and storing it in a notebook so I'll always remember these stories. So, let me tell you a little about Sloan. He's always been a really funny little kid. It took him forever to start talking, not quite as long as his sister, but close. But the words he said were really cute and random. He was big on making the sounds of things to let you know what they were. A firetruck was a Weeaw-weeaw. A bird was a tee-tee. When he wanted you to sit down, he'd point and say "ahs," which sounded an awful lot like ass. We don't know where it came from and were a little glad when he stopped doing that. For a long time he called my mom "House" because we always said we were going to byshka's house. We were also glad when he stopped doing that.
Sloan is a very passionate and excitable little guy. One night, when he was about 2.5, we were driving and the moon was really big out his window. In his loudest voice he exclaimed, "Wow! Wook at da moon. It's pitty (pretty)." We then turned a corner and the moon was in front of us. "Mommy wook," he said pointing. "Two moons! Der's two moons tonight." Every time after that, whenever the moon was in a different window he got excited about another moon! When he was three he was big enough to sing on stage with his class at church. They crowded the kids in groups around several mic's. Sloan kind of looked from side to side at everyone, then stepped proudly in front of the microphone, put his mouth up on it and sang his little heart out. And he knew all the words. It was darling, and like a good, proud mama, I caught it on videotape. I may post it sometime...if I ever figure out how to do that. Sloan loves to sing and will do so loudly, even if he has no clue what the words are. It's hysterical to hear how he interprets songs.
Sloan is very empathetic. He does not like to see people hurting or upset. Despite his orneriness (is that a word?) he really adores his sister and wants her to play with him at pretty much every moment. The other day, we were talking about how his Byshka (my mom) was in Florida so Boss (my dad) was all alone at home. "That's so sad," Sloan said. "What if a monster comes to his house. What will Boss do?" There are so many funny stories about Sloan it's hard to keep them all straight. Mostly, I'm just so glad he's mine. Even though he's a bit sassy these days, sitting with him by the fire on Friday reminded me that he's still my precious little boy and according to him, he will be until he turns 49.