Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sash sayings

I am short on time and words this week, as apparently is Sascha, who has begun shortening all her words and created a shorthand language that only she fully understands.

Examples . . .

As we pulled into Kroger, she said, "Mom, are we at the groc (pronounced growsh)?"

Or as she was running to the bathroom, I could hear her yellling, "I have to tee!"

She just finished lunch--a wrapper, pretzels and some yog.

She is cracking me up (what else is new).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bozer Dozer

I just signed this sweet baby up for kindergarten.

Please let us have a moment of silence because my heart. is. breaking.


And it's true, they don't go to kindergarten in diapers with pacies. (Although, there were times I worried about this guy.)

Now he looks like this

And more often he looks like this

(never fear, kindergarten class of 2012-2013, Captain America will be with you!)

I have never taken kindergarten registration lightly. I am sentimental and (quite overly) attached to my kids, so there was wailing and gnashing of teeth with the other 2. But with Bo, I filled out the paperwork with bittersweet thanksgiving.

Bo is a SMART kid. He is great at math. Bo is a sweet kid too. But Bo has had to work hard at a lot of stuff that came easily to my older 2. His speech has been (and is still) delayed. A lot of things with this little guy have come slowly. He walked much later than the first 2, his eating is still a struggle, potty training almost killed both of us, even his physical heart has been slow to finish developing as evidenced by the murmur we had to have checked out last fall at Children's. Bo has some sensory integration and processing issues that we are working on and believe that he will overcome. And while he functions just fine, his speech and sensory issues have made us wonder if he would be ready for kindergarten this fall. Josh and I have weighed the pros and cons of waiting over and over and created scenarios and possibilities and played out all the what ifs time and time again. And even though he didn't always seem "age appropriate", neither of us were feeling right about holding him back. We knew registration time was coming, though, and hoped for a "sign" of sorts to help confirm our thoughts.

Today, I got to Bo's preschool a little early and was sitting in the carpool line. His teacher "just happened" to pass by our car and I called her over to the window to get an update on my little man. Bo really struggled at the beginning of the year with circle time and worksheets and anything that wasn't playground time. They didn't have behavior problems with him, but his attention was lacking for sure. At this impromptu parent-teacher conference, I was prepared to hear her say that he was behind and wouldn't have been surprised to find out he was doing ok, but what she said floored me! It was definitely a God-thing to bump into her because she told me she felt academically he was definitely ready for kindergarten, she doesn't see any hyperactivity in him, and she thought the attention/sensory things would improve with time and continued therapy. She even told me some of the areas he is excelling in.

How's that for confirmation?

Excited to have an answer, I met Josh at the big kids' school (sob) and filled out the paperwork (sob).  I fought back tears of gratitude that he is able to go and I fought back tears of sadness that my sweet, paci-loving baby boy is 5 1/2 and heading off to big kid school. I pretended to cry with him and said, "I can't believe you are leaving me!" He looked up from what he was doing and said, "You don't have to worry about me, Mommy. I will be fine."

And I know he will.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Whole Dozen

Yesterday, Josh and I celebrated 12 years of wedded bliss. 12 years ago, 2 stupid, naive, in-love kids got married and started a journey that has included moves, jobs, kids, deaths, happy times, hard times and sometimes regular days. Sometimes we look at my wedding portrait and laugh at all the things we would warn our young selves about if we could. We were clueless.

Last night over dinner we listed some highlights of the last 12 years (not including kids because they are no brainer benefits to our union). I won't bore you with all of them, but I will share 2. When things are great and when things (pardon the expression) really suck, Josh and I seem to really stick together. Clinging and celebrating seem to be our stronger points. Not perfect. Not without the need for change or improvement. But when the going gets tough, we have really rallied together. And when there are milestones or moments to make much of--we're your guy! Birthdays are celebrated, Christmas is full of traditions, days off of school blown out . . . one thing we have said is that we would never want our kids to feel gypped individually because they have 3 siblings. We try to know and celebrate each of them.

Let me be the very first to say that we have SOOOOOOOO much to work on and SOOOOOOO many areas to grow in, but we are committed to doing it together. Even when it's hard. Even when we don't want to. Even if it kills us (you know, 'til DEATH do us part). Not all of my friends are so lucky to have a husband who feels the same way about marriage, so I do NOT take for granted how blessed I am.

Happy Anniversary, Josh. I love you.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Little priss

Oy! If only my pictures would upload .  . . because Miss Thang is dancing now. (Don't call it dance, though, be sure you call it balyet.)

I am always a little afraid when I go to pick her up, because, well, it's Sascha. In public. With other kids. And grown-ups who, up til now, have only known Caroline, the sweet, compliant child I birthed and don't worry about in public (with other kids and grown-ups).

Already I am hearing stories . . . one mom said, "Oh! She's yours. My little girl came home and said there was a new, short girl named Sascha who ran around a lot."

Yep. She's mine.

And her teacher informed me that today while changing from tap shoes to ballet shoes, Sascha had to stop and answer her princess phone (which was in her Dora purse in her dance bag). Can't miss a call from Cinderella, can we?

Sigh. She's gonna be the one . . . the one who keeps me humble and helps me remember to watch what I say (even at home when I think that no one else is listening).

Oh, but she's cute. And when she tells me I'm her garel (translation-girl), I'm a ooey-gooey puddle.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bananas and Diet Coke

I have debated writing this post for a couple of months.

I don't like feeling like Debbie Downer or Complaining Carol or Feel-Sorry-For-Me Phoebe or Wendy Whiner.

BUT this blog is supposed to be about our life and I DON'T feel sorry for me, so, hopefully, I can convey this fact of my life (our lives, I guess) without coming off all pouty and pitiful.

You may remember this post where I mentioned something about recently acquiring (is that the right way to say that? as if I inherited or earned something great) a nut allergy. I tend to NOT schedule doctor's appointments for myself in a timely manner, but something about a sudden and possible deadly reaction to nuts out of nowhere got my attention. Josh travels enough that I felt it would be irresponsible as a mom to take chances when I am home alone with the kids. I got in to see the allergist quickly and she was amazing and thorough and asked some great questions that helped piece together this puzzle. Turns out the chronic stomach aches and nausea I had been experiencing (and self-medicating) were food related. My tests came back positive for nut allergies and although I don't have celiac disease (so glad), I do have a gluten intolerance.

Do you know what gluten is?

Josh says he doesn't know the technical definition, but he thinks that basically it's what makes food taste good. It's in everything. I'm serious . . . it's in EV-ER-Y-THING. Toothpaste, make-up, shampoo, deodorant, cereal, soup, bread . . .

And if it doesn't have gluten in it, guess what it does have?


For about 2 weeks, it felt like all I ate was bananas, chex cereal, and Stonyfield Yogurt. But amazingly,  I actually felt incredible. Better than I had in years. I thought that I was just feeling rundown and tired because of my season of life and I am so thankful to know that there is something I can do to feel good now. I am learning to really listen to my body and weed through what I can tolerate and recognizing when something I ate didn't work for me (casin-free cheese is good, eggs and chicken kill my stomach and give me killer headaches). Obviously, I can eat more than bananas and diet coke, but I don't stray too far from it without regretting it. Fresh fruits and vegetables prepared by me are always good, as well as steamed rice, legumes and peas (like black eyed, purple hull and butter beans). I tried eating the toppings off of pizza, but since they were baked with the crust, I had a reaction. The good news is, the gluten won't kill me, I get a rotten headache and feel really sick to my stomach--basically carsick and kind-of tired and light headed. You've heard the phrase "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels," I would amend that to say, "Nothing tastes so good that it's worth feeling that bad!"

Occasionally, when I am picking up donuts for the kids or pass Old Mill, I long for some gluten-filled yumminess, but 99% of the time, it's no big deal. It's been a learning experience and, come on, it's just food. I don't have cancer or a debilitating disease, I just don't have as many options when it comes to food choices. This gratefulness is genuine because during this allergy testing process, I found a bump/lump under my arm. My allergist suggested I go to my PCP because I had a couple of these lumpy bumps in other places, too. He felt like it was too close to the breast not to have it checked, so I went on to have a mammogram and ultrasound of the lump. That was the loooooongest 2 hours of my life, but when I left with it diagnosed as a non-inflammatory cyst, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and perspective. Cutting out gluten is not that big of a deal.

If you see me at the grocery store intently flipping through my phone, I may be looking up an ingredient or a brand. I'm still learning. And sometimes it is overwhelming, but, here is where I hope to be helpful because I have had a few helpers make this transition easier for me:
1) You can eat great food that is gluten free. In fact, it is almost trendy to be g-free, so more and more companies are, at the very least, labeling things better, and in a lot of cases, making these things taste better too.
2) Dempsey's Bakery in Little Rock has some amazing, fresh bread and bakery type options. They are pricey, but if you go in the store, there are samples to help you decide what you like and the staff is so, so, so helpful. (And their iced shortbread cookie is just as good as Community Bakery's iced sugar.)
3) Elisabeth Hasselbeck's book, The G-Free Diet is a good one for women because it talks about the beauty and skin products as well as the food aspect.
4) And while yes, occasionally, I hit up Whole Foods or Dempseys, I am still able to buy 95% of what I eat and shower with at Kroger or Target. (And the left-over 5% is just sweets and extras.)

Honestly, I think what has been the hardest part of this process for me is I feel weak and silly. I am SUPER careful about eating nuts because, YIKES, I don't want to try out my Epi-pen, but I am learning after several mishaps and rashes and tongue swellings that I really can't even touch them. And the gluten . . . I felt like I should hike my pants up and get some pocket protectors. My body makes me feel nerdy and wimpy, but I am learning to get over it. (I'm not totally there yet. I made Josh promise not to mention it when we were with his family over Christmas because the thought of the explanations and attention made me uncomfortable.) I feel stupid when I have to turn something gluteny down, but I am learning that it's not worth feeling lousy or needing to take an abundance of advil and zofran to survive the rest of the day.

So, there ya go. Wanh-wah. Tomorrow I will tell you a knock-knock joke or some Sascha stories. Something funny and light.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tidbits from my thoughts

Here are some random thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head over the last few days:

* I love Tate's optimism! EVERYTIME Josh and I get up from the couch at night or walk towards the kitchen, that sweet pup is at our heels hoping, believing, silently begging for something to eat. Even if I am going to the bathroom or the laundry room. I hate to correct Emily Dickinson, but hope isn't the thing with feathers on it around here, it's the furry thing with the collar.

* (just so you know, there will never intentionally be a live thing with feathers on it around here. Ever. A bird flew in our garage over the break and it took all my grown-upness NOT to use the front door for a good, solid week. Birds frighten me.)

* Autocorrect on text and email amuses and annoys me. How chest turned into Elvira today eludes me. However, if you want a good belly laugh, get on Pinterest and look at that category. Then clear your computer's history because it will contain words your kids should not accidentally come across.

* Speaking of Pinterest, I am completely offended because I requested an invitation to join and never got one. So I requested another one and it replied, "you are already on the request list.". Basically, it told me, "yeah, we know you want to join, we just havent decided if we want you to join." Well, jokes on you, Pinterest! Robin is going to invite me. I'm backdooring my way in. It's like when you were 16 and had to have a friend who was already 17 buy your ticket to the R-rated movie. I mean, what I bet that was like. I never did that. I only watched Disney movies.

Well, I'm off to follow the bus (which defeats the reason I have my kids ride on the bus) because Caroline almost hyperventilated about the supposed new route. She's afraid they won't bring her home. Trust me, if she freaks out like that on the bus, she will be the first stop.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Under Construction

(beadboard is cut and primed and ready to be painted and hung and it is all I hoped it would be!)

We have turned into our own little HGTV family around here. And as soon as we finish and I remember to take the computer to the Apple store for a little help, I will post pics of it all. But for now, you will have to settle for this riveting verbal account and a few pics.
We have a space in between the eat in portion of our kitchen and the laundry room that has (until now) proven to be decoratively challenging. Is it a niche? Is it a hallway? Is it an office for me? Could it be storage with a buffet? When we first moved in, we had a large black thingy (I know, I know, so technically correct) that matched our kitchen table. First of all, it was too matchy matchy and secondly, it was good for little. Not deep enough to store well, but not just display enough to keep us from collecting stuff that we really didn't need but for whatever lazy or sentimental reason chose not to throw away immediately.

I moved it into Sascha's room (I think) at some point for storage and display and then eventually sold it because it was not serving any real purpose other than collecting dust and junk.

When I moved it out of the area off the kitchen, I replaced it with a desk for me. You know, because of all that desk work I do . . . oh wait, I really do no desk work, so it just became a great place to pile stuff when you came into the house from the garage. And unlike the big black thingy, there were no drawers or doors to hide it all.

Then Granny died and I hoarded brought home as much of her furniture as I liked and thought I could use. Included in that was a beautiful painted buffet that worked with our colors but was a little bit too big for the space and hard to decorate in that area and also attracted clutter. So I moved it to our entryway (duh, why it took me a year to do that is beyond me because it looks muy bueno there and makes the space feel larger) and brought the desk back up because I had been missing having a place to do all my desk work.

Oh. Wait. I forgot AGAIN that I don't do desk work and (all together) it just collected crap, stuff, clutter, junk, and dust.

Meanwhile, my kids were at a loss as to what they should do with their bags and coats and shoes. And in their poor distress, they just dumped them wherever the urge overcame them. (Usually about 8 inches inside the door.) After another semester of tripping over bags and shoes and coats while trying not to curse (outloud), I decided while lying in bed frustrated by my lack of clutter control that it was time to make a mini-mudroom in that space.

So, the morning after we drove back from Georgia, I headed to Home Depot and bought 2 kitchen cabinets. Josh took the doors off and I painted the cabinets and helped him hang them. (I am proud to say I was truly helpful and no one said any bad words.) After we got them up, we bought 2 pieces of molding and a 2x4 . . . I really don't think it's 2 (insert measurements) by 4 (of any measurements), but to me that means it was a piece of wood. We painted them, hung them and added some hooks for back packs and coats. Now I was getting excited, because what I picture in my head rarely looks like what I am able to create, but we were actually taking our time, being smart and knocking it out of the HGTV park. My next step was to find a bench and 4 baskets and decide if I wanted to put beadboard up (I do and it is on the list for this week). The bench was proving to be the biggest challenge and that really surprised me. I could not find one that was long enough, tall enough, and the right style. On line searches were frustrating too because they were beyond my budget or hard to gauge by the small pic and oh-so-expensive to ship and then what if I had to return it?!

Then it happened. That glorious find that is euphoric and amazing and you want to stop strangers and tell them all about your little victory . . . Bo and Sascha and I were running some errands while we waited for the Terminix guy to leave when Sascha (in a very panicky voice) said, "I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM! I AM ABOUT TO PEE PEE IN MY PANTIES!!" She is a girl who means business when it gets to this stage of the potty timeline and I knew our time was short. I decided that my parents' house was the closest and easiest to get too and we sped over and made it just in time. On the way through their garage, however, a little cream piece of furniture I have walked by a thousand times or more caught my eye. Once Sascha was settled in her carseat and the potential crisis had passed, I whipped out my little tape measure and, GLORY HALLELUJAH, it was THE. PERFECT. SIZE. STYLE. COLOR. AND PRICE--FREE!!!!! My bench had been sitting in their garage for a while because they didn't have a place for it and it was tucked in just the right spot that it wasn't in the way either. It was waiting for me.

I am so thrilled with our mini-mudroom. It is semi-functional at this point and will be complete in all it's glory with-in the week. Josh has been an amazingly patient and kind Bob Villa through it all and I have had a blast scoring it under budget. (My cabinets were 20% off. Happy, happy.)

This project has kicked off some others around the house in an effort to reduce the clutter of our lives and simplify things. With 6 of us, it's easy to amass junk and we are trying to be more mindful of that. We cleaned Josh's office out over the weekend and are going to sell his desk and turn that room into a guest room. I am so excited that instead of having a room to store more things, we will have a place to "store" people.

(Oh and the desk that was in the niche is now a sofa table with lamps and pictures on it and it has brought the coziest touch to our family room. Josh and I race to sit down and read or watch tv or talk when the kids are all in bed. I love me some redo's around the house . . . especially when they are relocation redos and virtually free.)

 The niche
 The cabinet (with door)
 Doorless with some paint

 Confession . . . we are still kind of surprised that the molding stayed up the first time. It was kind of tricky.
 (Not that y'all care, but I have bigger baskets i like better in the cubbies now)
Sofa table

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas recap (part 1 because getting these few pics up was a beating)

Dear Mac computer . . . I miss you. Trying to work a PC is no fun. Please help me clear some space up on your hardrive so I never have to load pictures like this again. Love, Rachel

Our Christmas happened in 3 parts: My family, our family, and Josh's family. The kids' expectations may never be righted. In fact, Sascha keeps asking when our next Christmas is. Santa only came Christmas Eve/morning, but here are a few shots of Christmas with our families. I literally had to reopen 4 folders and find the picture I wanted for each time. For whatever reason, uploading multiple pics at once was not an option, so in order to NOT spend my ENTIRE day doing this. Here are a selected few. The kids had a wonderful time and were grateful and content and excited which makes it 10 times more fun to give them stuff. Sascha could NOT have had more Christmas excitement and spirit. She and Bo are my carol-loving soul mates.

 The boys decided to wear their suits to my parents. So cute.

 Poor Sassy was so sick.

 She kind of rallied for presents.
 In front of Josh's parents' house. This was our best shot before going to his Nonnie's house.

 (this is what most of them looked like)

 Waiting to open presents Christmas Eve at Mimi and Grandpa's

I had just asked, "Who's ready to go downstairs and see if Santa came?!"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Resolutions-0, New Year-3

So . . . it's Thursday and my plan (resolution) to blog consistently is already on the downhill slide. I have a couple of "good reasons" (like being a fun mom and focusing on my kids Tuesday since it was their last day of vacation and then the reentry backlash of the first day back, but according to The Biggest Loser, we are in the season of no excuses, so you can ignore those).

Failed resolution 2 . . . getting up before my husband and kids so I can have some quiet time and get prepared for the day. Hmmm . . . let's just say the wailing and gnashing of teeth yesterday morning weren't all from those 10 and under.

Make all lunches the night before--strike 3.

I did get up this morning and work out and I didn't go back to bed when I got home (not that I have ever done that in the past, ahem). I am blogging now and was showered before 8. Perhaps there is hope for this new year after all.

(Oh, and technically, I never make ACTUAL resolutions because that is just a set up for failure and I HATE to fail. I tend to come up with a word for the year and some ideals to shoot for. Much easier to live with myself that way come March or June or January 5th.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Never disappoints

Well . . . I'm not sure if it's a proud way to start the new year, but I know I'm not alone when I admit that I watched all 2 hours of the Bachelor tonight.

Here are my observations . . .

#1--These women had enough time to spray tan (no judgement) and buy multiple rose ceremony dresses (some deserve judgement), but those were the best opening lines they could come up with?

#2--You must have to FAIL a mental health exam to move on in the interview process

#3-- I am now CONVINCED that the producers get to pick at least 2 of the rose receivers in the first episode for dramatic draw. Please refer to Monica and Jenna if you don't believe me.

#4-- After watching the previews for the rest of the season, I. Am. Hooked. Shamefully, set my DVR, promise not to watch while the kids are awake hooked. (Well played, ABC, well played.)


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Ok, first new year's resolution is to get back to blogging regularly! The holiday season has been fast and fun and memorable and blog worthy but not always blog accessible. I am kind of bummed that regular life is about to resume. Josh has been off, the kids have been out of school and I have enjoyed our time together.

Christmas was great! And I will post a good recap later . . . it involved happy kids and an adorable nephew.

Meanwhile, here are a few things that I learned this year and hope to take with me into 2012:

 - when you have a kid with the pukes, make SURE they are done throwing up before you offer them red jello

 - keep two eyes and one hand on Sascha after taking her floaties off at the pool

 - if Bo and Sascha are together and it is quiet, stop whatever you are doing and go find out what mischief they are making

 - if you have a house alarm, turn it on before you leave the house just in case you are robbed. feeling stupid on top of scared when there are police at your house filing a burglary report does not help the situation

 - if you decide to start using the house alarm after said theivery and you leave your oldest at home to run to the bus stop, make sure you engage the correct one and NOT the one triggered by movement inside the house . . . I'm not sure what was louder--the alarm or Caroline's screaming

 - think twice before giving Tru your phone number and access to a phone . . . he LOVES to call (and call and call and call)

 - know where sharpies and nail polish are at all times (and it is helpful to know where Sascha is in relation to these objects)

 - if you think you smell dog poop, check the kids' shoes yourself--they will all say it's not on theirs (even when it very obviously is)

 - having all 4 kids potty trained is a BEAUTIFUL thing

 - convincing all 4 kids to try and use the bathroom at the same potty stop on road trips is a work in progress

 - the side of the road is ALWAYS an option for boys

 - speech therapy is an amazing thing and worth every penny (too bad our insurance company doesn't follow my blog)

 - facebook causes me great anxiety so I only use it to shamelessly promote my blog or share things--I don't check the news feed or people's profiles anymore

 - I don't miss facebook at all

 - hearing my 2 babies (ok, 2 youngest) sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" NEVER got old or less sweet sounding to my ears

 - my relationship with God is more about me hearing His voice and following it than anything else

 Happy New Year! May we all be aware of God's blessings over the next 12 months!!