Friday, April 30, 2010

eenie meenie miney moe

I can't decide what to blog about today.

Do I tell you about the Canadian Goose that I saw get hit by a truck today on the way home from the Y? Maybe I'm getting old (that was rhetorical, thankyouverymuch) but when I was little it was a treat to spot a Canadian Goose. I'm from Ohio- which isn't all that far from Canada, so it wasn't exactly like spotting an elephant or anything. But it seemed like when I saw one it was *special.* I don't know about where you live, but around these parts you can't go more than a few blocks without nearly running into one. Well, that's exactly what happened today. There were two in the middle of a rather busy 4 lane road. I'm not sure if this truck driver was impatient, didn't see the goose or is a heartless jerk, but let's just say it was all kinds of feathers and down flying across the road. The goose was clearly still alive and I'm not sure if the injuries were fatal or not but the goose plopped down in the middle of the road after making contact with the truck. I was headed in the other direction and contemplated for about 10 seconds what to do.

I had my boys with me and tried to figure out how badly an injured goose could attack me. I decided on pretty bad. So I said a quick prayer and then kept driving on toward Target.

Which leads me to the second story to tell or not tell. I guess I'll tell. I've been *training* the boys on how to walk with me in the store. Obey. Not touch a million things on the lowest shelves. Not run ahead- too far. And not to plow into other shoppers. We had a go at it last week that ended in 100% pure disaster. I decided to get back on the proverbial horse again today. It was successful.

But while we were shopping a dad with a young boy in the cart *pulled up* next to us in the middle of the wide aisle and said, "Hey, where's that kid's mother?" I looked around. I didn't know what he meant. So he said it again, but a bit sassier and more judgemental tone, like some irresponsible mom was letting her kid run wild through Target. "That kid? Where's his mom?" Then it dawned on me. He was talking about Quinn who was about 6 steps ahead of us. I looked at the guy and simply said, "Oh, that's me!" I was put off for a moment thinking he was judging some mom and then I realized in reality he was judging me! Ha. But of course he wouldn't know I was his mom. The kid is Chinese after all. And, um, I'm not. But for the first time I got sad. A lifetime of questions for my sweet love. Lord, protect him from ignorant people who will shuffle in and out of his life. The guy kept walking without any kind of apology or acknowledgement of his blunder. Duh, guy, he's adopted!

Then there was that other thing that happened at Target. The thing that happens when you run into another acquaintance while shopping - and you realize the total crap you are about to purchase and you are now exposed! I had 2 bottles of apple juice, 3 bags of Goldfish, Dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, a box of Luna Bars for breakfast, 4 clearance boxes of Chewy Sweet Tarts and 3 boxes of fruit snacks. (Food Pyramid at its finest!)

Hey, I've never claimed to be a health food freak. But I totally felt like I got caught with my pants down in the middle of Target. Especially since this lady is *especially* healthy and an all-natural kind of person. I had exactly NOTHING in my cart that she would have approved of. *blush*. Oh well, at least at that point my boys were not flinging things off the end caps or pinching each other or yelling "STOP IT" at the top of their lungs.

So those are the stories I couldn't decide on. And because of my indecisiveness... you get them all. Have a great weekend- and watch out for the goose poop, dumb dads and healthy friends.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A simple stress test

Let me start by saying I am in DESPERATE need of a new camera! Steve is so tired of hearing me talk about what bad pics our camera takes. Its mostly due to the fact that it has such an incredible delay that with a house full of fast moving kids, we mostly get pictures of the backs of heads and missed moments. Today... we have halos. And I'm *pretty* sure this ain't no house of angels.

But I digress. Life has a funny way of providing a laboratory for the lessons you're learning in your head, doesn't it? There is a small group of ladies from my job (oh, that makes it sound so mandatory, when really these are ladies that I hold near and dear to my heart and are more than friends, they are truly sisters) that I meet with every other Wednesday. We call ourselves a *growth group* and we hope to be just that.
We talk about where we are trying to grow, personally. We talk about things God is teaching us and where we need to grow as moms. I've learned a ton from these girls and I feel 100% safe to share anything going on in my life. I also trust that they will give me honest and loving feedback. Today I shared some struggles I'm having in my stress levels as a mom. We got down to some core issues and I found that I need to let go of some expectations of my life. Mainly the "me times" of my day. You know... nap time is *me time* etc. It was good stuff and although I won't go into all the details here, I feel like I have some steps to move forward in personal growth in this area.

Then I got home and life hit. The rubber met the road and I got to see if I was going to make some strides in letting go of my expectations for my day. Because poor Quinn woke up with a fever and looked pretty miserable (see the first picture and tell me if you agree!) He then proceeded to lay on me for 2 1/2 hours. An hour and a half later Olivia came down with a headache, a tummy ache (which I would have sworn she was making up in order to compete for attention with her brother) except for the fact that she had a fever as well. She also fell asleep on me as we were praying at bed time. Sweet girl.
My day didn't go quite as I expected. Me time was few and far between. And on this rare occasion, I was fine with it. I'm not attributing this to miraculous growth, but it is good to talk about and expose expectations that as a parent of three kids 4 and under might be unrealistic at this season.

Plus, how can you get stressed out when your kid is THIS cute??

Monday, April 26, 2010

I live it... yet I paid to see it.

The circus that is. The Shriner's Circus came to town and a bunch of our co-workers and the 5 of us went to see it. It's been years (like nearly 30) since I've been to the circus. When I was 7 or 8 I was actually IN the Ringling Bros. & Barnum Bailey Circus. They picked a handful of kids to ride on a *float* and although I spent most of my childhood hiding behind my mother's skirt, somehow I managed to dig deep and get the guts to do it. It's one of those lingering childhood memories that *sometimes* comes up in those ice breaker kind of games where people have to guess which one you did. "I was in the circus when I was 7." That and "I've never broken a bone." Fascinating, I know.

Well, let's just say that the Shriner's Circus is Ringling's ugly little stepsister. (Bless it's heart.)
Now I'm no Animal Rights activist, but let's just say I felt a little *dirty* after watching the Siberian Tiger act.

Olivia's friend, Ava, seems in utter amazement. Olivia, notsomuch. Those hands on the hips tells it all. And SURELY she didn't get that pose from me!
As for the boys, they mostly spent the show riveted. Quinn clapped and danced at all of the appropriate places. There was even a short dog act that was performed to several Madonna songs and he did an interesting interpretive dance to Vogue (which seemed all too appropriate after this week's episode of Glee. Pleeease tell me you saw it!)
Turner? He spent a large part of our time at the circus asking for glow in the dark toys that they try and convince today's youth they need.
Funny, I'm pretty sure they were selling those toys 30 years ago.

And when they weren't pushing glow in the dark weapons of death, they were pushing Spidermen on a stick. My poor, deprived children went home with out riding an elephant, or anything that glows in the dark or dangles from a stick.
But they did get to see some high jumping dogs, some pathetically caged animals and some oooollllldddd clowns.
Now, that's privilege at its finest, if you ask me!
PS. YES, that is a Mommytime Design dress that O has on in the previous post. Our dear friend, and my hair stylist, Aimee, bought that for her. Isn't that the cutest dress ever?! Too bad she didn't get to wear THAT in the fashion show!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Girls just wanna have fun

It was a busy day for us girls yesterday. It started out with a quick trip to the Y. From there, Olivia and I hurried over to a local banquet hall where we were going to be models in a fundraiser fashion show for the Dayton Panhellenic Association. Because you see, once upon a time, I used to be a sorority girl. Yep, I was an Alpha Phi... the ivy vine of friendship and all that jazz.

A couple of years ago I found out that our neighbor two doors down was also an Alpha Phi (at a different university and *several* years before me.) She has been pestering (I mean inviting) me to alumni events for years and I finally ran out of excuses. So when she asked O and I to model, I said yes. Mostly because I knew Olivia would L.O.V.E. it.
Well, unfortunately, we had to select our outfits from a department store that I would not normally shop from. On top of it, we were not allowed to choose any outfit that was marked down. And don't you know that the weekend we went to pick out outfits they were having a great sale. Good for you, not for us.

So let's just say that I would not normally wear that dress nor those shoes. But what could I do? Yeah, it was pretty much an old lady fashion show. Oh well.
After the fashion show, we were off to the mall for a Build-A-Bear birthday party. So far we have managed to keep Build-A-Bear a secret from our kids. Now the (expensive) cat is out of the bag. The bears themselves aren't so expensive, its more all of the ten thousand accessories you can pick up along the way that add up.

But for a birthday part, it is a fabulous idea! the girls had a blast and ended up all making the same bunny, dressing it in the same outfit and even naming it the same thing, Flower Bunny. Now that is some Montessori creativity at its finest!
Then it was off to the food court for cake and ice cream. Raine's mom had brought a cooler with ice cream and Capri Sun's along with a cake from my favorite bakery in town.
I mean, Olivia really enjoyed it.
I didn't know I would enjoy all the things that come along with having an older kid. But big kid birthday parties are super fun (especially when they are at the mall and you don't have to be there and you get to go grab a Starbucks and sit on a sofa and go to the Gap.... I'm just sayin'.)
It was such a fun and busy day, all that was left for a little girl to do was snuggle up and with Flower Bunny and crash!
Now, I've got to run because we're off to the circus. For real. More on that later...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Time for the rest of the story

Every Friday over at Kelly's Korner she has something called "Show us your life" and this week the topic is how you met your husband. I've never participated, but this week I thought I would since I've never posted about meeting Steve. And it's a fun story (if I do say so myself.)

Fall of 1999 I found myself moving half way across the world to Shanghai, China. That's a whole other long and fun story that I really should post sometime. But I digress... I was moving from New York City where I had spent three fabulous years living the good life, in Manhattan and generally loving life. My first year in China was rocky. It was hard to adjust to the culture, the language and being back in school (I found myself as a foreign student there studying the language.) Because of my rocky first year, I thought I'd stay for a second now that I was relatively adjusted and might have a shot at enjoying it. Lucky for me I stayed, because word on the street was that there was a cute single new guy joining us. And after a year in a foreign country, fresh meat was good news! (This picture was my best group of friends over there that year. Steve is the guy on the far left in the red -tucked in shirt- and I am in the middle with the black hoodie doing the sorority pose.)

Steve entered the picture my second year and quickly became a fast friend. As it turned out we had TONS in common. We had even grown up in the same town. His family moved away in 7th grade, but we had several friends in common. I had even taken one of his best buddies growing up to a dance my junior year of high school. My college roommate's mom and his aunt were sorority sisters and stay in touch to this day. Our dads had grown up in the same polish neighborhood in Toledo. After a bit of research, we found that we are NOT related. (whew.)
But I had made it a policy to not get all crazy about a guy unless he asked me out. I was 28 years old and had learned the hard way not to get all crushed out, only to have them like your roommate- youknowwhatimean!

Good thing too, 'cuz he never asked me out. I ended my second year and was asked to stay a third year. It was a hard decision, I was ready to go back to NYC, but in the end I decided to stay in China for a third year. Over that summer while I was home, I started to date a guy. Little did I know that as we took that photo above, Steve was getting ready to ask me out. But right after that picture, my friend Lisa said to him, "Hey Steve did you hear? E's DATING!" From what Steve's told me, his heart sank and he asked me how the dating thing was going. According to him I was beaming and excited (hey, what can I say, I hadn't dated anyone in about 8 years at that point.) So, after 2 months in the States we all got on a plane and headed back to China. My long distance relationship with that other guy only lasted another month or so when we got back. It was October 1st, 2001 (Liberation Day in China) that I told my friends I had broken up with the guy back in the States. Steve later told me it was HIS liberation day too. Although it took him another month and a half to finally get the guts to ask me out.
My parents had come to visit me over the Thanksgiving day week so I was already having a great week. And right before they were getting ready to go back home, my phone rang. It was Steve "checking in" on how my time with my folks was going. Of course I thought it was so sweet of him to call and check in. After about 5 minutes of me going on and on about something stupid I'm sure, he finally just said, "OK. Why I really called is... do you want to have dinner with me?"

Speechless. Ummm... hello?! YES I'll have dinner with you! I had only been hoping for this for a year and a half. I had gotten rid of that other guy because I kept secretly comparing him to Steve the whole time. Even if he had never asked me out or asked me to marry him, Steve is the kind of guy that sets the bar high for all guys out there. He is a man of God, full of integrity, handsome, funny, smart, a good question asker, a good listener and has finally learned to NOT tuck his t shirts into his shorts!

We went out at the end of November and he left China at the end of January. We had a long (and I mean L.O.N.G. distance relationship) until I came home in July. Then we were only 2 hours apart. We saw each other every weekend. We got engaged on December 23rd, 2002 and we got married May 3, 2003 (a month away from my 31st birthday). Nearly 7 years ago.

God took me half way around the world to meet the love of my life who had grown up 10 minutes away from me as a child. Ridiculous I tell you.
And that is my real life fairytale!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

it still suprises us

Last night, Steve and I were plopped down in front of American Idol (for an excessive 2 1/2 hours I might add) for the night they call Idol Gives Back.

Three years ago (I think) was the first time they did it. They pulled out all the stops back then and boy was I moved. All of the scenes of starving/dying/impoverished/adorable kids and orphans in this country and around the world. I cried and I donated. It was a wee bit less intriguing to me last night. But I was still moved by the photos and the help that just a few dollars can be to someone who has nothing. I cried again.

Then at one point, Steve looked at me and said, "Can you believe we adopted a kid?"

It's funny. Most days we just roll through life around here and I don't even stop to consider what has happened. What God's done. What we've done. What we've accomplished. Not in some noble way. Because trust me, we are NOT noble. But this little kid, born with a cleft lip and apparently a propensity toward bad hair, became ours and turned into this...
a happy go lucky kid (with the continued propensity toward bad hair.)

And we are the ones who are blessed.

It's just funny that 3 years ago when we were watching faces of needy children and I felt compelled to open my wallet, I didn't know that a few mere years later we'd be opening our home, not just our wallets.

Quinn has now been home nearly 9 months, but according to him, he's always been here! We are the ones still making the adjustment. What a turn of events.

If you are at all contemplating adoption, I'll tell you what... you will not regret it. I hope we never get tired of turning to each other and stating in amazement, "Can you believe we did it?!" Yeah, that's cool.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Goin' with the flow

Yesterday Steve called to let me know that we would be having a showing of the house this afternoon. NOT good news for several reasons. One being that the house was a pit and because of several things going on yesterday it was going to be a real effort/time crunch to get it in order for people to walk through. But whatever. The bigger reason it was not good news was that there was a big 'ole play date scheduled during that time at our house. I did not dare disappoint 3 super excited pre-schoolers.

We were able (and by we I mean Steve) to arrange with the realtor to have the people out by the time we got home. AND we were able (and by we I mean me) to pull the house together to be in mostly *show ready* state.
HOWEVER, this morning as I got in my car after working out, I found out the people had cancelled the showing and now want it tomorrow. Then a call back from Steve 20 minutes later saying they now want it Thursday.

Dear people who apparently hate me and want to see me in an early grave,
Please keep your commitments. I broke my neck cleaning this house for you, the least you could do is show up. The most you could do is buy it. Please buy it so that I can then move on and work through the evil thoughts I've had about you.
M'kay thanks,

As for the play date? Huge success. No cat fights. No whining. No crying. And the girls did pretty well too. The brothers even got in on the action and the girls didn't mind (too much.) I even had a moment to sit by myself and eat lunch as all 5 kids ran laps around our upstairs. There was yelling, laughing and slamming of doors. And I didn't get up once to correct them.

Until this happened. I'm not sure if you can tell but that would be a pastel shade of pink Tinkerbell lip gloss applied to my *show ready* stair case. Thankyouverymuch, Turner.

Well, here's to keeping the dust bunnies to a minimum and the lip gloss in it's tube until Thursday.
Friday? We're back to slobs r us.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Move over Martha

If you're looking for a 4 year old interior decorator... I have one who is available.
(and now I'm off to clean my light switch plate. ewww.. grosss. No wonder the house isn't selling.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sour Patch Kids

Thanks for all the encouraging words and tips on how to deal with our sassy situation over here. Its continued to be a bit of a challenging week but as with all of this child rearing stuff, I do well to remember "this too shall pass." Can I get an amen? Like when you think your kid will NEVER sleep through the night. Or feed them self. Or learnCheck Spelling to use the potty. I could go on and on. The problem is, I tend to *over react*. Ackhem. (who? me?)

One friend had a great tip we implemented on Wednesday. Instead of soap (which never sat right with me... and then I saw this report on the evening news that night about toxins in soap, oops) or instead of hot sauce (another interesting suggestion, but hey lets face it, Steve and I are slightly obsessed with spicy food... like the numb your lips, eyes watering snot flying kind of spicy... and I didn't want to ruin any chance of passing that down to my kids) vinegar was suggested.

Shannon told me they use it for any "sins of the mouth." Love it! So lying, talking back, meanness etc all get vinegar. I just use a medicine dropper and squeeze enough (maybe an 1/8 of a tablespoon) so they have to swallow it. I sat them down (yep, all three. It was rather comical) and explained the new rule. They get one warning and then upon a second offense (umm, no, i didn't use those words with them) they get vinegar. I explained that those sins don't taste good to God and that the consequence won't taste good to them. Then I had everyone dip their finger in the vinegar so they could taste it. Turner shuddered and said, "Its no yummy, mommy." Olivia refused and declared that she would rather get soap and Quinn was neutral.

Well it took Turner exactly one hour before he got his first dose. His whole little body actually shuddered and his eyes watered from the sour. Point taken. (Today he's gone vinegar free.) Olivia has made it without an offense. Quinn had his first dose yesterday. He took it like a man. Then... he smiled and declared, "Mmmm... I like vinegar." And he DOES! Since then he's followed me around telling me no and stop it and then smiles and says, "Now I get vinegar?" Figures. Its probably those Chinese taste buds.

Today I was feeling pretty confidant in making strides in the sassy thing. That is the cardinal sin of parenting, right?! 'Cuz it always bites you in the buns. Now instead of "stop it" and "knock it off", they have decided to take it upon themselves to declare when the other person gets vinegar. On the way home from the Y today the boys were in the back seat. Quinn was yelling, but more of a playful singing kind of yell (Annoying? Yes. Punishment worthy? No.) Turner didn't appreciate it. Finally, Turner declared, "Mama. Quinny get vinegar in mouth!" Ummm... sorry little man. You don't get to make that call. About five times since then they've gone back and forth on who gets vinegar when.

So, that's where we stand. Its sad enough that I drive a mini van in the first place, but I now drive around in a van with a bottle of vinegar and a medicine dropper in the cup holder. AND I live with a second bottle and a second dropper on the kitchen counter in plain view. If you happen to stop by or go for a ride with us and you notice a souring smell; no we're not making sauerkraut! It's just the smell of discipline.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stop it, mom!

It's been one of *those* days. Or has it been one of *those* weeks?! I just can't seem to get it right. On the motherhood front, that is. In fact, as I type these words, I feel the hot sting of tears welling up in my eyes. A fear that I might be damaging my little ones. Its a cycle that just doesn't seem to end this week. The two boys have picked up a REALLY bad habit the past few weeks of yelling at each other. And I'm not talking playful banter, I'm talking mean-spirited, spiteful words and tones.

"Stop it!" (Picture daggers and evil being thrown with each word) seems to be a favorite right now. "Stop it, Quinn!" "Stop it, Turner!" "Stop it, mom!" Oh those words send me. It's not just the words, its the tone. The meanness that should NOT come from a two year old heart. Or maybe it should. If I believe in a sin nature (which I do!!!) I should probably be more surprised when a loving, caring and thoughtful word flows forth. But oh the nails on the chalkboard.

And I swear they totally have me. The worst offenses happen as we are traveling 70mph on I-75 and I am utterly defenseless. Every threat of consequence is empty, because lets be honest, what am I *really* gonna do about it? Even by the time we get to where we are going, the *teachable moment* has passed us by (going 70mph, I might add.)

Example today, after lunch, even Olivia got into the act. The "stop it's" started to fly. Then the physical pickings started to happen. I calmly and collectively put O in a time out. Her response? "NO!" Okay, I don't know about you, but the sassy attitude and disrespect from a 4 year old gets me like no other. I'm sure Super Nanny (or the Holy Spirit for that matter) would have me coolly and calmly walk over to her, give her a choice to enter time out by her own free will or have me carry her there. Instead, I whip out my pointer finger and order her to time out (again.) Her reply? "NO!"

In the maturity of the 37 year old mother that I am, I reply, "FINE!" And I pick her up and forcefully put her in time out (don't send the authorities to my place, it wasn't THAT forceful.) In which she replies, "NO" and stands up. I warn her if she sasses back during time out there will be a consequence of soap in the mouth. She replies "no" under her breath but certainly loud enough for me to hear. Crap. I have to follow through. I get the soap. And stomp back to her. She starts screaming, kicking and shaking her head violently. I manage to rub my finger to her lip. Just as she opens her mouth a crack she pushes my hand away and my thumb nail catches the inside of her lip/gum line. She is screaming bloody murder and a touch of blood trickles down her chin.

Now we are both in tears and I apologize for accidentally hurting her. But what I really want to do is blame her.
"If you hadn't disobeyed me in the first place... "
"If you hadn't pushed my hand..." etc.

After the tears and theatrics were done, (and once O stopped crying too) we managed to talk it out. I explained that consequences could be avoided with obedience. (Maybe that one was more for me than her.)

I guess all in all, I'm just having a hard time figuring out what is worth punishment and what to let slide. What are my personal issues (being disrespected, pride, expectations etc.) and what are true character issues that need to be addressed in my children.

I am sad that I don't do it perfectly. I am sad that my kids don't do *it* perfectly. I am sad that Jesus had to die on the cross because we don't do it perfectly. I am thankful for grace and mercy. But I just wish I didn't have to learn hard lessons at the expense of my kids.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. As would prayers! Lord knows we need 'em around here! And if you can't relate because your children are angels than you can just STOP IT!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why didn't you tell me???

Today I discovered the best kept secret (maybe it was just a secret to me and everyone else knows this) but big kid play dates are THE BEST.
Up until now, play dates have been the kind where some of my friends and I get together and supervise the madness of a bunch of babies or toddlers. Only to leave feeling frustrated that there was nary a conversation finished, perhaps not even a thought completed.
But today entered a real live independent play date. The kind where the other kid's parent isn't even there. Raine, Olivia's "favorite buddy" (that is truly what she calls her) came over for an hour and a half after school to play. (Oh my word, are they not the cutest pair!)
Raine's mom is going back to school and can't make it in time to pick Raine up, so she asked if I would give Raine a ride to our house each day and she picks her up on her way home. That is no problem. Except that Raine and O are sad everyday because the 10 minutes they spend in the car (not to mention the 3 1/2 hours in school each day) just isn't enough!
So, I mentioned to Raine's mom that perhaps one day a week, Raine could spend an hour and a half playing and then Raine's mom can just pick her up at 1:30. I'd like to call it a win/win/win/win! The girls had a BLAST, I didn't have to talk to a child for nearly an hour and a half (although the girls didn't want the pesky little brothers around, they didn't really have a choice) and Raine's mom got an extra hour and a half to herself. Bliss.

Naturally, Lei'asya (the other pre-school BFF in their posse) found out about the "play date" and will be included next week. Hey, the more the merrier if it keeps the kids out of my hair. (Oops, was that out loud?)
The boys, however, were sad because their nap time landed right in the middle of the girls' play date. When I announced it was time to go up for naps the boys took off.

This is where I found them (after a sweet forever of looking for them, I might add.) In Olivia's closet... with the door closed. I only found them because Quinn can't keep his mouth shut. Turner, on the other hand, is suspiciously stealth. It's actually a bit disturbing!
And YES, that is Turner, eating a hanger.

Never let it be said I never told you... big kid play dates are the bomb!

All that to say, the forecast calls for a little Raine to keep my spirits high.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A little ridiculous

First of all, its a little ridiculous that I got all of this stuff at CVS today for only $35 out of pocket...and that I took home 18 ECB's for my next trip. Let me break it down for you:
4 12 packs of Diet Coke
4 Purex 3-in-1 sheets (l.o.v.e. 'em)
6 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats
1 razor
1 Right Guard deodorant
1 Dove shampoo
1 Dial shower gel
Like I said, ridiculous!
But is that more ridiculous than these three? Quinn is either casting a spell or *breakin' it down*, Turner can't believe his eyes (apparently) and O? Yeah, your guess is as good as mine.
Ridiculously cute.
The kid is such a ham. He has been rockin' the glasses since he got them two days ago.
Too cool for school? Ah, yeah, ridiculous.
This hairdo? Ridiculously in need of a cut! I'm *almost* embarrassed to take these three in public b/c of their hair. I say almost. But then I remember the alternative it staying home. I usually reconsider.
Haircuts are on the to do list. Getting there, ridiculously tricky!

Come party with me

Hey there friends, it's time to party.

I participated in the Ultimate Blog Party last year and had a blast visiting a ton of new blogs. I hope you'll join me. Just click on the button to the left of my blog and then start wasting time, I mean, making new bloggy friends.

If you've found me via the blog party, welcome. My name is Elizabeth and EEK are my initials and when I started blogging nearly 2 years ago I couldn't believe I was entering this world. Now, I'm totally addicted.

I am a wife to Steve, 7 years in May. We grew up in the same town in Ohio but met 1/2 way around the world in China when we were in our late 20's.
I am a stay at home mom to three kids. Olivia, 4, Quinn (adopted from China 8 months ago) 2 1/2, and Turner, 2 1/4. Yep, my 2 boys are 3 months apart- twins seperated at birth- by an ocean. Things got A LOT louder around here in August.

My blog is a way for me to stay sane. It helps me to find the humor during some stressful days. It reminds me to be thankful. It's a journal and a scrapbook that I don't keep otherwise.

I hope you'll read, laugh and snoop around. You are welcome anytime.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A hard lesson

Well, its official. I am definitely NOT getting Mother of the Year this year. This is the only Easter morning picture I got. No festive pics with the basket (we do a family basket around here) no pic of O in her Easter dresses (yep, she did a wardrobe change mid-way through the day to optimize the occasion) no pics of the egg dying. And only this one lone photo of Quinn in his *very springy* outer space jammies. Lovely. But he sure was jazzed about finding that egg.

Its been a real sobering week around here for me. A week ago yesterday, a University of Dayton volleyball player and her dad were killed in a plane crash as they were on their way to pick up her sister in Chicago. The girl was a junior, and although I had never met her, several of the athletes that I work with at UD knew her. Furthermore, the plane crash happened at a small little airport that is right next to the Y that I go to nearly every morning. And when I say right next to it... I mean you can see the runway from my aerobics room. So every morning this week on my way to work out, I passed the burned out patch of grass where the plane rolled, tumbled and then exploded.

I have found my mind wandering to the wife/mom a lot this week. How do you pick up and keep on living when your husband and youngest daughter have been instantly taken away? Half of her family, wiped out. A tragedy like this always serves as a wake up call. Am I complaining too much? Am I taking my family for granted? Do I live to make each day count... as if it may be my last? Do I REALLY believe that if I breathe my last breath today, I'll run into the arms of Jesus? Do I REALLY believe that is a good thing?

I am so prone to get annoyed at the little details of life. I listened to my kids fight, yell and irritate each other for most of the afternoon. Honestly, I'm human. It got on my nerves. I wanted the noise to go away. But oddly enough, my mind wandered back to that mom who is most likely longing for when her daughters were years younger, arguing in the back of a car as her husband drove them down the highway. Perspective. I lose it. I need it. But mostly I need Jesus to remind me that TODAY is a gift. My family (yelling and all) is a gift. I want to relish it. I want to be thankful for it. I want to hug that mom and tell her that Jesus is big enough for her sorrow. And that sorrow is okay.

That is the meaning of Easter. So although I might not win Mother of the Year for all of the traditions of Easter, I'm working toward Mother of the Day for delighting in my Savior and my family. I may not get it today, but I'll try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gimme a break (from our break)

I'd love nothing more than to tell you this is the way that I spent Spring Break '10.
Or even that I spent it this way. Floating in a pool. But actually, I'm not sure how we even captured a sense of relaxation, because I'm pretty sure these were exactly the only two times I even sat down over the course of five days (other than the sweet forever we spent in the car getting from location to location.)
Our trip did start out in a super fun way! We spent two nights with our dear friends who worked with us the past 6 years but recently moved to Ann Arbor, MI. Their daughter, Mikayla was Olivia's first friend. It was fun to stay with them and see their new life. (FYI, that is NOT me reading books, but it IS my daughter all snuggled up, thinking she belongs... because she does. That's just the kind of friends they are!)
In fact, over the years, Sarah has taught me more about hospitality than any other person. And this trip was no exception. I mean, really, its not easy having a family of 5 move in for 2 days while your life is still marching on. But I never felt like we were a burden. I have a lot to learn! Thanks for having us, Sarah.
Then it was off to Kalahari Water park in Sandusky, OH. Steve's parents had *won* a night at the park by bidding in a silent auction. As it turned out, we stayed in the African Queen Suite. This thing could have slept about a dozen people, but it was just the five of us. (I'm not sure what the boys are looking at, but it makes you want to look up, doesn't it?!)

We were only there a total of 24 hours, but we made the most of it. We had junk food for dinner, ice cream for a snack and played our guts out. It was fun because Grandma and Papa were able to join us at the water park but went back to their own hotel for some peace and quiet (and although it was a big room, I'm sure they got better sleep than we did. Why is it when you go away there is always a barfer or a cougher? This time we had a cougher!)
The kids loved running around the joint. It ended up being unseasonably warm and if I wasn't such an uptight mom, the kids probably could have run around outside in their bathing suits. If it weren't for all the coughing and stuff!
I do believe Turner is getting the hang of this vacation thing. But don't believe for a second that he lasted longer than a minute sitting down. This guy is our handful!
Queen for a day. O was in heaven that she got to have a *princess* room all to herself. Yeah, that's what happens when you cough all night. No one wants to sleep with 'ya. I'm going to start working the cough and see if I get my own princess anything. I'm guessing not.
The boys enjoyed Turner's blow up bed that we now take with us on trips. We are about to put up their bunk beds, so we thought we better ease them into the idea of being out of a crib. Good luck with that. If you can't find Quinn, he's under his brother.
And that *might* be an evil grin on my face as daddy has to deal with two unhappy kids in the wave pool. This photo was snapped moments before he got the whistle blown at him for having two kids on his lap. Either that or the lifeguard had pity on him and was trying to help a brother out. Steve has all the luck.

All in all it was a good (yet exhausting) road trip '10. One of these years I hope I get my way and we go to the beach. Because I'm sure that will be WAY more relaxing!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Somebody better check the temperature in hell, because I'm pretty sure it just froze over!
I have found myself staring down some mind boggling events this past week. First off, there I was sitting in some OUTSTANDING seats at the women's sweet sixteen game, thanks to a UCONN player we met at a 5 Guys Burger the other week. I'll spare you the details, but the tickets were offered and since we're shameless, we accepted. And there we were, 5 rows up from center court. That might have been where hell frosted over.

Next I found myself cruising down I-70 toward Indy to attend a men's Final Four breakfast. It helped that we had a table full of friends and family to sit with, and that Steve was going no matter what. The craziest part? I actually enjoyed myself (so much that I even watched the games later that night.) Is that the dink of hail I hear? Hail, no.

But you want to know what really makes Hades look like Rockefeller Center on a mid-January afternoon? My son, Quinn, ate a piece of broccoli tonight. Seriously, in the past 8 months I have n.e.v.e.r! seen him put something green (that wasn't filled with sugar and cancer-causing food dye in it) in his mouth, and actually swallow it. So, somebody buy the devil a nice pair of Uggs, it appears he's going to need them.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wanted: June Cleaver

Today was one of those days. I looked around for the grown up who is charge. Then I realized, that person is me. I know its silly, I'm 37 years old, I have three kids, I've been married nearly 7 years, I own a house... but when it comes to all that's on my plate- it just can't be possible that I am the one in charge.

Steve and I woke up early this morning in Indy, went to a Final Four breakfast and then I jumped in the car (in the driving rain, thankyouverymuch) so that I could get home and relieve our babysitter from her night/morning duty. I drove alone because Steve managed to score some game tickets for himself and our brother-in-law. (He's there as we speak. I don't usually "do" basketball, but I just watched Butler win it's game in hopes to connect with my hubby! Now THAT is love!) He'll be home around 1:30am... until then, I'm on duty.

When I got home, the kids were napping. I got to have a few quiet moments (thank you, Lord) and then the craziness began. I decided to get a jump on tomorrow's Easter dinner. Ham, check (just gotta heat that sucker up in the morning) cheesy potatoes... 15 minutes to put together, check. Green bean casserole, 10 minutes, check. *Pretzel salad* (which in no way shape or form resembles a salad, but in my family, if you call it a salad, you get to eat two desserts- shhhh.. don't tell my friends at Weight Watchers;) a little more complicated, prep time 1 hour 15 minutes, check. The real dessert, an *eclair* 35 minutes. This is where the adult needed to enter the picture. Because when did I become the mom? Mom's are suppose to easily balance life, dinner prep, etc. Getting a holiday dinner together is an art form. And apparently I missed that lesson!

And then there is the whole egg dying tradition. Who thought it would be a good idea to let little hands near dye? You can't let the 4 year old do it without the two 2 year olds pitching a fit. Our time of dying eggs really revealed ugliness on my part. I have a real hard time going with the flow. Who cares if their fingers are blue/green/orange? (ummm.. I do?!) Who cares if the eggs are u.g.l.y. (yep, me again!) No pics. No fond memories. Mostly stress! (How do single moms do it???)

Then... to top it off, Baxter seems to have some kind of problem with his leg and he's been gnawing on it all evening. Because I was attending to kids, dinner prep, egg dying etc. I didn't notice that he was oozing blood all over the downstairs. Two nice rugs... done. Blood everywhere. And what grown up is going to handle that? (Since one is cheering his head off in Indy, I guess we know the answer to that one.) But hey, I'm not bitter. Just confused. And wondering how I got put in charge?

Praise the Lord that Steve gets home in a few hours and pass the cheesy potatoes! So, what is on YOUR Easter menu?

Friday, April 2, 2010

lost and found

Here I am. You found me. What I've lost though, is my mind. Once upon a time (several weeks ago) we thought this past week would be a good idea for our family. It WAS good but it was alos a crazy maker.

It was spring break for Olivia so we hit the road. Ann Arbor, MI, Sandusky, OH and Toledo. More to come on details, photos and funny stories. Lots of miles, lots of beds and lots of fun. But I'm exhausted! And in 3 hours the babysitter comes and Steve and I hit the road, one more night away, in Indy. We are headed to a Final Four breakfast and Steve *might* stay for the games. Yay. I guess that means I head home to relieve the babysitter and start preparing Easter dinner. So you'll have to wait for all the updates for now. But rest assured, I'm back and ready to share.

But before I head back to the open road I want to leave you with my thoughts on Good Friday. It is good because it reminds me of the price paid for my soul. It reminds me of the sacrifice on my behalf. It reminds me that true love is painful and pure all at the same time. It is good mixed with the horrible. It is humbling and mind boggling. It is good. I am thankful. I was lost and now I'm found. Thank you, Jesus.