Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Retrospective









Happy 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lucky Day!

I got an email a while back that I needed to return my old 1st Generation iPod Nano to Apple because the batteries were blowing up or something.  So I did a little research, learned that it was legit, put my serial number into the website, qualified for the return, and sent my iPod off to be replaced by a refurbished iPod.

I received the replacement today.

It's the brand new, 6th Generation Nano with twice as much memory as my original had.  SCORE!

Thanks, Apple!  You are a class act!

In other news, I decided I could no longer deal with the leftover Christmas chaos that was everywhere (the usual laundry pile up, new clothes waiting to be washed because of three kids with sensitive skin, gifts still in boxes waiting to find a home, toys EVERYWHERE, cookies and candy EVERYWHERE, etc.) and I went on a tear this morning.  I got a bunch of laundry done, cleaned our room and Jack's room, and put a heck of a lot of stuff away.  BJ cleaned the kitchen (what a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man!).  So I'm feeling much more sane now.  Am I the only one who goes a little insane when the house gets above a certain threshold of messiness?

We need to find a toy box for Jack's room.  We bought him an airplane themed bedroom (a lamp, a "ceiling sculpture" which is a mobile for big kids, wall decals, curtains, sheets) for Christmas, so I'm hoping to find (make? Hahaha...) something that will go along with the theme.  Add that to the list of things to Google, after I get done looking at Nano accessories (lanyard or watch?  Hmmmm...).  Oh hey, it looks like this:

...only we didn't get all the stuff because that would be ridiculous.  For one thing, crib bumpers aren't safe.  For another, he doesn't need a cutesy hanging thing for diapers, and babies don't need quilts and he doesn't sit in chairs...  But that gives you the general idea if you want to shop along at home and leave comments about an appropriate toy box that I should buy (with links, please!).

The dog is driving BJ insane.  I'm sitting here waiting for him to put her through a wall.  He's trying to read something and she's trying to eat his hands and feet.  If it weren't so damn cold I'd take her for a walk.  While I was editing just now, she unplugged the lamps in the living room. Seriously.

The kids need to go back to school.  Long breaks are ridiculous.  They get SO bored, even with major holidays and tons of new stuff involved.  I don't know what we're going to do this summer.  Summer break is the worst idea ever.  We had a playdate today, thank goodness.  I think we're going to take them bowling tomorrow afternoon.  It was awesome when the kids could take the dog for a walk, but sadly she's growing faster than they are, and it's no longer safe for anybody.

Grandpa Bob watched the kids last night so that BJ and I could go see the new Sherlock Holmes movie.  It was fun!  It had been a long time since we'd been on a date.

Ok, I have many things to Google, and a dog that needs some attention.  How are your winter holidays proceeding?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

It's past one in the morning and I'm too jazzed to sleep, because the kids are going to have so much fun tomorrow!

Merry Christmas, I hope you're jazzed about something too. Love to you all!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jack's Birthday Party

We had a wonderful time at Jack's birthday party today, and then at Grandpa Bob's for an early family Christmas celebration.

My friend Monica, as she was leaving, remarked that her parents don't have siblings in this country, and that her husband's an only child and his mother's an only child, so they're not used to big family get-togethers.  It got me thinking, again, just how lucky our kids are to be so surrounded by so many people who really love them.  They have relationships with their aunts and uncles, as well as many great-aunts and uncles, second cousins, in-laws and out-laws.  There were many more people I would have loved to have seen today, even though our house would've burst at the seams.

I'll make no apologies for being inclusive when it comes to our family.  Sure, it would be easier to just have a family party with BJ and the kids and a little cake from the grocery store, but it's the times when we come together as a family to celebrate each other - to cheer each other on; to applaud each other; to bear witness to a milestone like a birth or a birthday, or a marriage or even a death - that shape and define our lives.  With each party, I'm teaching my kids, "Family matters."  I'm giving them deep, strong roots, so that they can grow tall and reach high.  Actually, I take that back, everyone who loves them is giving them those roots. I'm just the one sending out the invites and bringing the snacks.

I love celebrating my kids' birthdays with the same aunts and uncles that came to my birthdays growing up.  I love watching my kids play with their cousins and second cousins and twelfth cousins.  I hope that when they're grown, they'll still want their aunts and uncles to come and watch their great-nieces and great-nephews blow out their birthday candles.  Won't that be something?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Jack

Dear Jack,

How is it possible that you're a year old already?  It's so hard to believe that a whole year has gone by.  But then I look at pictures of you when you were new, all covered with bruises and teeny tiny, and I look at pictures of you now, and I think, "How did he grow so much in one short year?"

December 18, 2010

December 15, 2011
You are such a sweet little boy, and everyone loves you.  We have a record number of people coming to your birthday party tomorrow.  I'm honestly not sure where we're going to put everyone.  It's going to be so much fun!

You love to smile and wave at people when we go out.  You flirt - it's the cutest thing - you go all eyelashes and dimples and grin and look down with this, "Aw, shucks," expression that melts hearts.  You don't "make strange" as one little old lady put it when I let her hold you.  You go to everyone, whether you know them or not, with a big smile and an open heart.  I think that says a lot about your personality, and the way you're going to be as you grow up.

Birthday Boy!
We gave you your presents just a little while ago.  A dump truck with blocks that's bigger than you are, a shape sorting bucket, and a Glow Worm.  We went easy, because Christmas is right around the corner, and because you're just as happy playing bowls on the kitchen floor as you are with toys.  We're (finally) decorating your room for Christmas, too.  We decided to go with an airplane theme.  I'm pretty sure you're going to love it.  You love to travel (lots of new people to flirt with in airports!).  We've gone on three plane trips this year (two to Florida and one to Louisiana) and you were awesome on all the flights.  

Rah Rahs!
You love your sisters so much.  No one can make you laugh they way they do.  When we went on trips without them (twice), you really missed them.  Whenever you heard kids, you'd smile and try to find them.  I could tell you were looking for your "Rah rahs."

It seems like no matter how bad you feel, you always have a smile to share.  We got your one-year shots yesterday, and you slept for a record number of hours last night (you went to bed at 8 pm, then woke up at 9 something, and then slept until 6 am!), and even though you must have felt poorly, to do that, you were still cheerful yesterday for the whole day.  You're a tough little guy!  When your reflux is bothering you or you get plowed over by a sister or the puppy, you might fuss about it for a minute but you go right back to your usual sunny self really quickly.

Your favorite toy for playing is:  Mommy's rainbow mixing bowls - you push them around the kitchen and make a lot of wonderful noise

Your favorite toy for snuggling is: the puppy crib toy who sings and whose nose lights up 

Your favorite food is: banana

Your favorite book is: SMILE!  A book we got for keeping your sister's well-baby appointments.  It's just a bunch of baby faces smiling, but you smile right back at them.

Your favorite activity is: crawling

Your favorite place to go is: anywhere with lots of people

Your best friend is: your "Rah Rahs" (sisters)

Something new that you're doing: standing up on your own

Something you've mastered: flirting

Something people say about you: "Look at that curly hair!"

Something that you're saying is: shaking your head "no no no," the sign for "more," waving hello and goodbye, "Mama," "Dada," "Rah rah."

Something Dad and I are proud of you for: you are working really hard at being a better sleeper

Something surprising about you: you LOVE music, especially your magic song, "Magic," by Ben Folds

We love you so much, Jack!  It's hard to believe that my baby, my last baby, is already a whole year old.  Please don't grow up too fast.  But you can keep sleeping all night, if you want to, that was pretty nice.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jack with Santa

And he's NOT screaming! That's a first!
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Karen and Jim's kids with our kids and Santa

Karen and I met when we were pregnant with Mary Grace and Owen. Then we were pregnant with Claire and Cameron at the same time. Then she skipped ahead and had Kade. Then we were pregnant with Jack and Laney at the same time. 7 kids in six years. It's the best kind of chaos when we get everyone together. I love them like they're my own.
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Claire and Santa

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Mary Grace and Santa

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sleep: Lack Thereof

Wow, I've neglected you all for almost a week.  That sounds about right.  After Jack basically stopped sleeping for more than an hour and a half at a time for the entire month of November, we decided that BJ will be the only parent on duty from 7 pm to 7 am.  We started this Monday night.

You can only imagine how much not-sleeping has been going on in this house ever since.  Because even though I'm not on duty, I'm laying awake feeling guilty while Jack cries, or while I wait for BJ to come back to bed.

I am getting more rest than I was, and my old personality is starting to come back, but it's going to take time.  It got so bad that the cashier the other day said, "Are you ok?" when she looked at me.  I said, "Yeah, I'm just tired."  It was 9 am.

I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but I just took this sleep quiz and got 44%.  I'm flunking sleep.

As you can imagine, this situation is not conducive to creativity.  We're still here, we're mostly fine.  We're getting ready for Christmas (a scaled-back, more reasonable version of Christmas, this year, which will hopefully prevent me from getting all crazy like I normally do).

I guess I'm not going to win that award for most compelling blogger this year.  Oh well.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  Right now I'm trying to keep Jack from eating toys while trying to inspire the girls to actually clean up their crap in the family room, so that maybe BJ and I can watch a movie tonight after the kids go to bed.  And I need to start dinner.  Fascinating stuff, here, internet.  How are you?

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'll Bet They're Crunchy

For several years I've subscribed to the Food Network's 12 days of cookies email, where for the first 12 days of December you get a cookie recipe a day, delivered straight to your inbox, for free.

Day 1 was interesting.  The email's subject line was "Ina Garten's Shortbread Cookies."  I was all, "Huh??" I clicked through and quickly scanned the ingredients list, looking for ingredients like blue cohosh and placenta.  It appeared to be a completely normal recipe, much to my surprise.  Then I realized...

I was thinking of Ina May Gaskin, famous midwife and homebirth advocate, not Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa.

Ina May Gaskin - probably makes terrible cookies

Ina Garten - probably didn't give birth on a farm
But if Ina May ever starts making cookies, I have the perfect cookie cutter for her!