Sunday, December 20, 2009


This weekend about 18" of snow fell at our home. It came in the middle of the night while we were sleeping. When we woke up the ground was covered with a thick blanket of snow. It was beautiful. My husband wasn't as enthusiastic about it. I understand his point. When he sees snow he can feel the cold in his bones, anticipate all the traffic problems for his work day and the hours spent shoveling our very long driveway.

I love snow. When I see snow I feel like I'm in another world. It's crisp. Bright. Clean. Peaceful. Quiet. It reminds me of my childhood. We lived in a neighborhood with other kids my brother's and my age.

I don't remember what year it was, but I remember one snow in particular from my childhood. At the end of our driveway, just in between our house and our neighbors house was a street light. Dad got our driveway and sidewalk cleared and there was a huge mound of snow piled around the light post. A bunch of us kids decided to pack it down and make a "snow chair". It was awesome. There were probably half a dozen of us out there all working together to form this 'snow chair'. After the chair was finished we all took turns sitting in it and pretending to be the Ruler of some distant land.

After playing with that for several hours we went on to our front yard and gathered most of the snow in the front yard into a huge mound and made a snow fort. We sent my brother in to dig our a tunnel for us to all get in and dig out enough room for us to all fit in it. The guys dug and the girls made a window, the 'front door' and 'back door' of the fort.

Those were the good ol' days. That was back in a time were there were no computers, Xbox, Play Station, cell phones or even TV channels dedicated to cartoons/kid shows all day long. We played outside. In the fresh crisp air.

Unfortunately I wasn't prepared for this snow storm we just got. My kids don't have snow suits or gloves warm enough for playing in the snow. My son did go out for over an hour while Charlie was shoveling our front porch and walkway. I had him bundled in a wool lined thick jean coat, jeans with a fleece lining inside and 2 pairs of baby socks to cover his hands. He was having a blast trying to grab 'handfuls' of snow to throw at Charlie or at me on the other side of the front door.

The next day the snow was finally done falling. Charlie got bundled up to shovel our very long gravel driveway. Tabytha got herself dressed and I got John and Jessi bundled up. We all went outside to play. John was having fun, Tabytha soon lost interest and Jessi was miserable. She refused to walk and just stood wherever I put her. She had no interest in the snow. I don't blame her, it was pretty windy outside and the snow was nearly up to her armpits.

I think, as my youngest ones get older (and I'm more prepared with warm gloves and snow suits) we'll all have the same kind of fun I did when I was a kid.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It Runs In The Family

22 years ago I committed my first felony. I forged my mothers name. I was 7 and in second grade. I don't remember the circumstances leading to a letter from the teacher to my parents, but I was suppose to deliver it. Whatever I had done I didn't want my parents to know about so I hid the note from the teacher and signed my mother's name at the bottom. I took it back to school the next day and gave it to my teacher assuring her my mom had seen it.

Let me just say, my mom has the most beautiful handwriting of anyone I've ever known. I had relatively good handwriting for a 2nd grader. It was neat and legible. Nothing compared to my mom's calligraphic handwriting, though. So, my attempt at signing my mom's fancy handwritten name stuck out like a sore thumb.

I got busted.

Fast forward to yesterday. My oldest daughter is now in second grade. She does well in school, loves to read, has her own circle of friends. . .etc. . .

Yesterday I had a similar experience with Tabytha that my mom had with me so many years ago.
Normally, after Tabytha gets off the school bus she gets a snack, does her homework, gets her chores done and then has the rest of the evening to play, watch a show or two or read.

Sometime after Tabytha had finished her homework and I was in the middle of wrangling one of the little one's, she started writing on a paper. Nothing out of the ordinary. She loves to draw and there's usually some blank paper on the table for when she or John get the urge to draw a picture. So, when I came into the dinning room and Tabytha quickly stood up and put the paper and pen behind her back I knew something was up.

I put my hand out and asked "what are you hiding?". She gives me the pen she was using while her other hand was clenched behind her back. I asked for the paper behind her back and she gives it to me. I look at it and it's the reading calender that the school gives each student. It's a calendar that parents sign off on each day of the week their child reads at home. At the end of the month the calendar is turned in and the child receives a coupon for a free personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut.

Tabytha had signed my name to the remaining days of December. I won't lie. I was really upset. I gave her 2 swats on the butt with the spanking spoon and told her after her chores were done she was to spend the remainder of the evening in her room. At the dinner table, eating our pizza we talked about what she had done wrong and why it was wrong. It was a good talk. She understood what she had done and why it was wrong and sincerely apologized for it.

I can only hope and pray she learned from this and won't do it again. Heaven knows I didn't learn my lesson and went on to sign my mom and dad's name to lots of stuff when I got into 8th grade.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Year Goes By So Fast

One year ago today Charlie and I welcomed our third child. She was a scheduled c-section because big sister and big brother had both been c-section babies as well. The day before I took Tabytha and John to my parents house to stay with them while I was in the hospital to have Jessi.

Nov. 25, 2008 Charlie and I woke up around 7am. I took a shower, got dressed and we headed out the door to have a baby. My c-section was scheduled for 11am and we needed to be at the hospital 2 hours beforehand to sign final paperwork and have blood work done.

We get settled into our room, sign paperwork, get blood drawn and get hooked up to IV's. Then we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Time stands still when you're waiting to have a baby by scheduled c-section. I try to get some rest while we're waiting and Charlie's watching TV and relax. It's so hard knowing that in a few short hours we'll be holding our new baby girl.

The doctor comes in to say that the anesthesiologist is caught up in another surgery and we won't be going in at 11am. We have to wait until he's done with the patient he's with before we can have baby. We're disappointed and I'm at the point in my pregnancy that I REALLY want this baby OUT! So, I try to get some rest again, but the waiting is killing me!

FINALLY. The doctor comes in and says we're ready to go. I get taken into the OR to get my spinal while Charlie waits outside the door. I prep for the worst because both other times getting a spinal have been agonizingly painful. But, praise the Lord, this time he got the spinal in quickly and with minimal discomfort. I know what's coming. My body gets warm and goes numb. I'm laid back and the curtain goes up. Charlie is allowed in and comes to my side. He's giddy with excitement and I'm groggy and trying not to throw up all over the place.

This time around I actually wanted pictures of baby being born. I never wanted pictures with my other children. I had no desire to know what it looked like having a baby pulled out of my body, but this time was different. I NEEDED to see THIS child born. I had given one of the nurses my camera as I was taken into the OR and she was ready to start taking pictures once I was opened up.

I hear the suctioning and know they're close. I'm tired and numbly nauseous. The nurses know I've been through this before and don't sugar coat it when they say "You're gonna feel a 'little' pressure". I know it's coming and like each time before they press on the top of my pregnant belly to push baby toward the c-section opening and I let out a loud grunt as all the air is pushed from my lungs temporarily.

She's out! Nurses take her to the scale to clean her up and weigh her. Charlie goes with her to finish trimming up the cord. She's 8lbs 3.5oz and 20 inches. That's IT?!?! She's tiny compared to my other children at birth. I dub her my runt and the nurses whisk her off to the nursery, along with Charlie, as I get put back together and closed up. Then I'm taken back into my room and wait for Charlie and Jessi to come back from the nursery.

I'm exhausted, sore and overjoyed. Charlie brings Jessi back and I meet my little runt. She's beautiful and perfect.

Today my runt is a year old. It seems like just yesterday and at the same time it's hard to believe it's only been a year. Jessi has grown so much. She began crawling at 6 months old, sat up independently a week later. She has 8 teeth and she began walking just before 11 months old. She can be as rambunctious as big brother and laid back as big sister.

Jessi had truly blessed our lives and our family was completed when she came into the world.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Can't Believe She's 8

8 years ago my oldest daughter came into the world and blessed my life. I was due Nov. 5, 2001 with my first child. My due date came and went. No baby. I was growing impatient. My body wasn't giving me any signs I was ready to have a baby. Baby never dropped. I never dilated. My water never broke and I never lost the mucus plug.

The week after my due date (Nov. 13th) I went in for a regular check up and had a sonogram. The sonogram tech said there wasn't enough amniotic fluid, it wasn't alarmingly low, just not quite enough to let me go any longer waiting for labor to begin. I went home to pack a bag and my mom took me to the hospital later on in the evening. I was hooked up to a pitocin drip over night to jump start labor. The next morning my doctor came in to check my progress and NOTHING HAPPENED. I wasn't even contracting yet and had been on pitocin for 12 hours at this point.

So, the nurses increased the pitocin dosage every 15 minutes until I was at the limit. As the day went on I began feeling some of the contractions. Doctor checked me sometime after lunch (now on pitocin for 18 hours) and STILL NO CHANGE. Baby still hasn't dropped into position, no water breaking, no dilating.
By dinner time I was getting contractions every 2-3 minutes and they were getting really uncomfortable. Around 7:30pm (24 hours on pitocin now) the doctor checks me again . . . and . . .


You guessed it.


No dilating. No baby dropping. No water breaking. Nothing but uncomfortable contractions. The nurses take me off pitocin because my body is saturated with it and it hasn't worked well enough to jump start labor. So I relax, have some dinner (Chick-Fil-A sandwich and nuggets provided by an old high school friend and his girlfriend).

Around 11pm the nurse comes to let me know that Tabytha's heart rate is a little too high, so she has me lay on my left side for about 30-40 minutes to see if that will help. It doesn't. Her heart rate actually increased a little. The nurse comes back in and puts an oxygen mask on me thinking maybe Tabytha isn't getting enough oxygen and I continue to lay on my left side. Another 40 minutes goes by and still, Tabytha's heart rate is too high (around 210-220 bpm).

The doctor comes in and explains to me she doesn't like the way things are going and my lack of progression. Tabytha's already a week overdue, the amniotic fluid is low and her heart rate won't come down. She wants to do an emergency c-section to get her out since my body wasn't responding to pitocin and wasn't going into labor.

(12:30am, Nov. 15) I muster up enough of a voice to ask if I can call my mom so the doctor can explain what's going to happen. I dial. Mom answers. Doctor says "Emergency C-Section" and mom's dressed and out the door to come be with me.

I'm prepped and taken into the OR. It takes about 10 minutes for the anesthesiologist to get the spinal going.





Mom gets there just as the anesthesiologist gets the spinal in. My body gets warm and goes numb. I LITERALLY feel nothing below my ribcage. So much so that I begin hyperventilating because I can't feel myself breathing. Mom reassures me I am, in fact, breathing.

Then it happened. I couldn't feel it, but I knew it was coming. My mouth began to water. I was going to get sick. This should be fun. I can't move. Can't wrench my stomach like a normal person getting sick because the stomach muscles are sleeping from the spinal. I turn to my mom and say "I don't feel so good" and no sooner did she grab a kidney dish, I let all my chick-fil-a out. I didn't feel much better, a couple minutes later I get sick again.

I'm getting so sleepy. I hear suctioning. I'm opened up and they're close to getting Tabytha out. They need to push on the top of my belly to get Tabytha closer to the c-section opening. The nurse says "Ok dear. You're gonna feel a little pressure". Boy, was she wrong. I thought someone jumped on my abdomen and let all the air out of my lungs in a huge "Ouf" I Mom stands up to peek over the curtain and they've got Tabytha's head and one shoulder out. She watches them pull her out and proclaims "That's My Grandbaby!!!!". She goes with Tabytha to finish cutting the cord. I hear her cry and I feel relief. She's here!

The nurses take Tabytha to the recovery room. Mom stays with Tabytha while the doctor puts me back together and staples me up. I'm then wheeled into recovery to meet my new daughter.
She's perfect. She weighed 8lbs, 12oz and was 20 inches long.

It's hard to believe she's 8 years old today.

Happy 8th Birthday my sweet Tabbykotka!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ebay Heartache

My husband is not an avid sports fan. He doesn't spend his weekends glued to the television watching whatever sports game happens to be on. But, he has been a Washington Redskins fan since childhood. If a Redskins game happens to be on and he's not busy with other things around the house, he'll sit and watch it.

He mentioned early in the season that he'd like to have a John Riggins (retired Redskins player) or a Chris Cooley (current Redskins player) jersey one day.

Aha! A Christmas gift idea. I went to Ebay to search out a Riggins jersey. There were several. More expensive then I was expecting to find on Ebay, so I sorted by lowest price and found one for around $15. Shipping was $19!!! More then the cost of the jersey!!! But, it was still far less expensive then the other jerseys I'd researched prices on. So, I bid on it. I won the item and paid immediately through the paypal account.

2 weeks goes by. Still no jersey. No word from the seller. I email the seller asking were my item was and why it was taking so long to receive. A few more days go by and the seller sent a message saying he'd been sick and in the hospital for 2 weeks. He automatically refunded my purchase w/o seeing if I still wanted the item. There's plenty of time before Christmas. I still wanted the jersey. But, it wasn't going to happen. At least not with that seller.

I search again and find another Riggins jersey, this time a couple bucks cheaper, about $13 for the jersey. But shipping was $19 again. I bid on it. I won.

2 weeks goes by AGAIN. Still no jersey and still no word from the seller. I go check the shipping details for the item and the seller states items ship within 2 days of confirmed payment. Well, paying through our paypal account puts the money into the sellers account immediately. The item should have shipped by now. I contact the seller to find out when he plans on shipping my item and tell him that since he didn't ship within 2 days like his shipping details specify I thought it only fair that he refund my shipping charges, but keep the $13 for the jersey because I still want it. A couple days go by. Still no contact from the seller. I send another email, same as before, but this time a little more firm. 'I want the item, you still haven't shipped it, please refund my shipping cost, but still send the jersey, I'm willing to pay what you've asked for it minus the shipping cost'.

The next day. A message from the seller. All the money has been refunded to me, sorry for the inconvenience. But NO JERSEY!!! ARG!!!!!!!!! What's a girl gotta do to get a simple jersey?!?!?!

At this point I've given up. I told Charlie he wasn't gonna get his Christmas gift and told him my ebay fiasco. He asked what I'd gotten him that's causing so much trouble. I tell him what I was trying to get him a John Riggins Jersey. Since I can't seem to get it I figure it's no big deal to tell him. He was really bummed out. I told him I was really sorry, but everywhere else I looked was more expensive then we can afford at the moment. So he tells me to call his buddy who's got a couple Redskins jersey's and find out where he gets them.

So, we hang up and I give his buddy a call. I tell him my story and ask where he got all his jersey's. His reply?

wait for it . . .


I wanted to scream!

So, needless to say, Charlie's not getting a Riggins OR Cooley jersey for Christmas. I'm sorry. Maybe I'll use a little bit of our 2009 tax return to get him one and save it for Father's Day next summer.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

#2 For Dinner

I made "Stew Beef Casserole" for dinner yesterday. It's my grandmothers recipe and it's very simple and ANYONE can make it. It takes about 5 minutes to prep and 4 hours to cook and your house will smell like a little piece of heaven. I typically make egg noodles to go with it. So, I plated everyones dinner and we sat down. Charlie prayed and we ate. (I actually made myself 2 small chicken patties because I don't like beef). John scarfed down his egg noodles and rubbed his belly saying "Mmmm". When I told him to eat his meat he looked down at it and said "Ewww! Poo!!!"

Well, that made me feel REAL good to have the meal I prepared for my family compared to 'poo'. We couldn't help but laugh, though. He's only 2. He doesn't know any better. I can understand the comparison because what he 'deposits' in his pull-ups each day is very similar in color to the beef that was on his plate.

I've made it before and he's happily eaten every other time. Guess I'll be making him something different for dinner next time I make it. Charlie, Tabytha and Jessi tore it up. Charlie and Tabytha liked it so much they wanted to take leftovers for their lunch today.

My Grandma's Stew Beef Casserole
2 lbs stew beef
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, diluted
1 pkg of Lipton Onion Soup mix
cooked rice or noodles of your choice
(I like to add a can of mixed veggies)
Combine ingredients and place into a casserole dish. Cover & bake at 300 degrees for 4 hours. Serve over cooked noodles or rice.
(told ya it was easy! Enjoy!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Handmade Memories

A package came in the mail today for Tabytha from my Aunt Georgette. She'd been cleaning out a closet and found a box that had an afghan crocheted by my mom's mom (my Babci). Babci was always crocheting. Baby clothes, doll dresses, scarves, hats, afghans. . .if it could be crocheted, she did. She always hummed while she crocheted. I still hear it every time I think of her.

Babci passed away nearly 6 years ago. Tabytha was 2 years old. She has no actual memories of Babci, but I have lots of pictures of them together. Tabytha was her first great grandchild.

So, out of sheer curiosity for what could be in the box sent from Aunt Georgette, I opened it. (I felt 'justified' opening the package because the label was addressed to "Tabytha, c/o Charlie and Jamie"). I read the note and then took out the afghan. Tears began to well up in my eyes.

My mind was flooded with memories of my Babci. I loved her so much. I got teary eyed for the short time Tabytha had to know her, but this afghan, crocheted with Babci's own hands will be a treasured possession for her.

So, after composing myself I took the afghan back to Tabytha's room to lay it out on her bed for her. I waited outside for the school bus to bring her home and told her she had a surprise waiting for her in her room. She perked up and wanted to know what it was. I told her it was something made by Babci many years ago, before she passed away and she wanted to hurry up and see what it was. I told her to go look on her bed. I followed her back to her room and heard her exclaim "AWE!!! It's SOOO beautiful!!!"

My heart melted.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grandmothers Are Special

Tabytha brought home an assignment she'd done in school. It was titled "Grandmothers Are Special". While I was reading it I immediately knew which grandmother she was talking about. My mom. It was a fill in the blank paper. Here's what said (her answers are in italics). . .

"Grandmothers Are Special
Grandmothers are special in many ways. My grandmother treats me in special ways because she 'takes care of me when I am hurt' and 'talks to me on the phone.' Sometimes grandmothers have hobbies. My grandmother's hobbies are 'praising the Lord' and 'making breakfast'. My grandmother lives 'over the bridge'. When grandmothers get older they begin to change. Now that my grandmother is older, she 'has hair that changes color' and 'has a deeper voice'. My grandmother is very special because 'she loves me for who I am' and 'she loves me and I love her'. I love my grandmother."

I'm not sure about the 'deeper voice' thing, but all in all it was touching to read what makes my mom, Tabytha's grandmother, so special to her.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Paging Dr. Mom

All children dream of what they want to be when they grow up. I was no exception. I wanted to be an actress or a teacher. Neither of those career choices panned out. At least not in the way I expected.

As a mother I am indeed an actress and teacher in my own way. I'm also a head chef, personal shopper, chauffeur, accountant, house keeper, Laundromat, events coordinator and Doctor among a few others.

During my pregnancy with Tabytha I worked at a nursing home and received my CNA and GNA certificates (Certified Nursing Assistant and Geriatric Nursing Assistant). I took care of the elderly's basic everyday needs (bathing, feeding, dressing, changing. . .ect. . .). This helped prepare me for motherhood in it's own way. Most of motherhood is 'on the job training, though, no matter how much "prep" you do for it and advice you get from other mothers.

I recently received some tips on how to fend off the cold and flu viruses that are floating around. I reminded Tabytha the importance of washing her hands and coughing into the crook of her arm if she gets a tickle in her throat. I told her it was also important to use the Germex that's kept in the classroom as often as possible to keep the sick bugs away. She told me "I always use it. It says it's 99% so I use two squirts so I get the whole 100".

In the list of tips for fending off the cold/flu virus it said to swab the inside of your nostrils with warm salt water or peroxide and to gargle with warm salt water. So, I collected the peroxide, warm salt water, tissues and Q-tips. I had Tabytha gently blow her nose and then swabbed the inside of her nostrils with peroxide and had her gargle with the warm salt water. When she was finished I swabbed inside John's nose with peroxide. While I was doing that Tabytha asks "Mommy, when you were a little girl, were you a doctor?". I chuckled and replied "No sweetie. I was a little girl when I was a little girl".

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Step By Step

For quite a while now Jessi's been standing up independantly and cruising along the furniture and bracing herself on the wall side stepping down the hallway (when she isn't speed crawling to catch up to big brother or big sister)

This past Friday I was in the living room with her and she stood up and took 3 small steps towards me. I was able to witness her very first steps (which is not something I can say for Tabytha or John). I scooped her up in excitement and smothered her in hugs and kisses and "Good Job Baby!!!!" and "That's my girl!!!". I set her down and grabbed the camcorder and tried to get her to take a few more steps so I could record it. After about 15 minutes she still wouldn't take anymore steps, so I put the camcorder away and called Charlie to tell him what his little angel just did.

He said it was great and he was a little sad he couldn't be there to have seen it for himself so I told him I'd push her down if she tried to take anymore steps before he got home from work. (Of course I wouldn't actually push her down, but it made him feel a little better, lol)
So, when Charlie got home Friday I sat down a few feet away from Jessi and called her over to me and she took 4 small steps towards me for Charlie to see. He was so excited!!! She's so close to being a walker and she's not a year old yet.
I'm certainly ready for her to start walking. I've heard from a couple friends of mine who have a couple kids of their own that the last one was always the hardest to watch grow up. Not the case for me. I'm honestly ready for it and look forward to Jessi growing into a toddler.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chicks Dig Scars

If you've been keeping up with my blogs, this one will come as no surprise. Over the weekend John sliced his pinky toe open. We had company over during the day and I cooked steaks and chicken on the grill for everyone. There's a BBQ 'tool box' next to the grill that has steak knives, grilling tongs, wire brush for cleaning the rack, etc. There's also a large long handled knife to use to cut and check the center of the meat w/o putting your arm over the flame.

Fast forward to after our friends left to go home. Charlie went outside to cut the grass, Tabby and Jessi were in their room playing. I was on the front porch swing and John was coming in and going out of the house to the back deck. He often goes out on the deck and plays with his riding toys and the dog. After cooking on the grill I forgot to close the grilling 'tool box' and while John was outside he got hold of the long handled knife and sliced open his toe. I heard him fuss a little, but it didn't sound like a major injury cry. He came in the house looking for me and found me out front. He came outside and I saw all the blood. I sat him in the swing with me to get a better look and saw his pinky toe was split open from his toe nail to the joint. I told him to sit tight and I'd get something to clean his foot up. I saw a blood trail, so I cleaned it up on my way back outside to clean up the wound. The next time Charlie came around the front of the house on the tractor I got his attention and called him over. I couldn't take my hand off John's foot cuz every time he moved his toe it would start bleeding again. Charlie took John to the hospital to get stitches. (Did I mention it was 6:30 in the evening when this happened?). A simple band aid wasn't going to work to keep him from making a bloody mess in the car, so Charlie wrapped John's toes to the ball of his foot with a paper towel and painters tape. It was secure and immobilized good enough to get to the hospital.

Off they went. I stayed with the girls and waited for updates from Charlie. He was there for about 2 hours and had his own set of troubles while he was there. In the hustle to get to the hospital I forgot to send the diaper bag and John's social security number with Charlie. And of course, when the boys get there John had a load in his pull up and the nurses wouldn't get a fresh diaper for him until he go back into an exam room. Poor John had to sit in his stink for about 45 minutes. Since Charlie didn't know John's SS# the staff couldn't pull up John's name in their system, when they finally found it they turn to Charlie and ask if he's 'Jamie L. Simkins'. He said he wasn't and they asked who he was. He told them he's John's father and they gave him looks, as if they weren't sure to believe him. The doctor comes in and says his toe is too small to stitch so a nurse was gonna come in and use butterfly strips to close it up.

It's finally time to leave. Charlie stops by Walgreens to get an antibiotic for John (to prevent infection) and they head on home. Charlie said John was really good and hardly fussed at all at the hospital. Once John gets in the door he begins whimpering and reaching out for me, lol. I take him in my arms and sit on the couch and snuggle him. He stayed up about an hour longer and then I put him to bed and Charlie and I went to bed. It was about 11pm.

John's getting around just fine now. Aside from the butterfly strip and cut on his toe you'd never know he got hurt.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Never A Dull Moment At The Zoo!

The last blog I wrote about John was when he got into powdered cupcake mix and poured it all over the baby, himself and the girls bedroom. Well, he's gotten into LOTS of other little mishaps like that since then. Instead of writing about them each time, I've compiled them into one neat and tidy blog. You can't turn your back on the boy for a second or it's chaos! Here's why. . .
Some weeks ago, Charlie had just gotten home from work and I was plating up dinner. While Charlie was putting Jessi in her highchair he smelled an overwhelmingly strong scent of baby powder, within a couple seconds I, too, smelled the baby powder. We go into the living room and John had figured out how to open the baby powder and pour it ALL OVER the living room. All over the couch, chair and floor. This was all in a matter of about a minute and a half!!! I sent him straight to his room for 'time out' and while he was in his room I managed to get a few pictures of the baby powder mess. (I try not to take pictures of 'incidents' because I don't want him to think it's OK to do these things cuz 'mommy thinks it's funny and is gonna take pictures of it', so I don't always have a photo to go with the story) But he was in his room and I thought it was kinda funny. One picture has our dog's paw prints and John's footprints in the powder. I got all the baby powder vacuumed up, living room straightened back up and called John out from his room and we all sat down to our dinner.

August 15th Charlie spent the day at Bud's Creek watching his buddy drag race and I was invited out to celebrate a friend's birthday in the evening. My in-laws came over to watch the kids so I could go out. About an hour before I wanted to leave John had slipped out of our sight and went back into the bathroom in the girls room and turned on the sink faucet. It overflowed onto the bathroom floor. I was actually in the kitchen with my mother-in-law (who was feeding Jessi) while I was getting dinner cooked for her and the kids. When the pizza was in the oven and Jessi was done eating her food we went into the living room. I noticed John was soaking wet and I heard water running in the back bathroom. My first thought was he turned the shower on, not THAT big of a deal. I asked Tabytha to go turn the shower off while I cleaned Jessi up from her dinner and changed John's wet clothes. She comes running back up the hallway saying the bathroom's flooded! ARG!!!! I was in the middle of changing Jessi, so my mother-in-law went back to see how bad it was. She said there was water everywhere. I finished with Jessi and got all the towels out of the closet and Tabytha and my mother-in-law started cleaning up the water while I dealt with John. I disciplined him and had him go in the bathroom to help clean up. It was a mess, but it wasn't the end of the world. My father-in-law was the most upset, but no one was hurt, nothing was ruined and the water got cleaned up (about 15 bath towels later). I'm glad this happened before I left. It was handled and after the kids ate their dinner they went out back to play and I used that opportunity to head out for an evening free of the kids to hang out with a couple friends. It was great.

John's gotten into an odd habit of sleeping all over his room. Each night Charlie and I look in on him before we go to bed and find him in some of the most unusual places. He's been asleep beside his bed, in the middle of his room, at the doorway of his room. . .etc. . .Well, one night after I put Jessi in her crib for the night I looked into John's room to check on him and he was nowhere to be found. He wasn't in his bed, on the floor, behind his door, next to the closet. So, I go back into the girls room to see if he found his way in there and he wasn't anywhere to be seen. I looked all over the girls room. No John. I go into Charlie and my room. He's not in our bed, next to my side of the bed or Charlie's side of the bed, he's not even under our bed. I'm getting worried and a little panicky. I can't find John!!! There's no way he could have gotten past us in the living room before I put Jessi to bed. I go in his room again, this time I turn the ceiling fan light on and start checking under stuff and that's when I found him. He was in the far corner of his room, on the floor at the foot of his bed half hidden under a teddy bear. I breathed a sigh of relief and chuckled a little. I left his room to get the camera and show Charlie the boy's new sleeping spot. He got a chuckle out of it and I got a picture.

John's most recent escapade was this evening. Tabytha asked if she could make herself a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich. I said she could. John saw her making her sandwich and she asked if she could make one for him, too. I said “yes”. She made him a sandwich and they sat at the table and ate. Well. Tabytha didn't put anything away after making the sandwiches. About half an hour after later, Tabytha's biological grandmother and aunt came to pick her up for the weekend. While I was in the living room inviting them in and saying hello, John comes running out of the kitchen to say 'hi'. (He likes Tabytha's biological Aunt). He looks like a ghost. He's covered in fluff!!! He's got it all over his face, up to his elbows, on his shirt and all in his hair. I wanted to cry. At first I had no idea what he had gotten into. I couldn't figure it out. So I went into the kitchen and there was fluff all over the counter and sink. He had been playing in it while I was distracted with our company at the door. I called Tabytha into the kitchen and had her clean up the mess and put everything away like she should have done when she was finished making the sandwiches. As soon as Tabytha left I put the boy in the shower. Thinking it was gonna be really hard to get the marshmallow out of his hair, but it was really easy. It washed right out of his hair and off his face, arms and hands.

He's quick and sometimes sneaky, but I love the boy. I'm going to have so many funny stories to tell him when he's all grown up.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Recap (2009)

The summer began with Tabytha finishing 1st grade, John turning 2 and Jessica's first tooth coming in. June was pretty laid back around the zoo. July came and along with celebrating Charlie's birthday, we also celebrated his rebirth in Christ. Charlie accepted Christ and I came back to Christ. The kids and I spent most of July at grandma and granddaddy's house. Tabytha and Hannah would go off and play together, John would occasionally join them, but often played independently while Jessi and I would spend our time with my mom talking and watching Jessi explore the living room and play with toys.

Early in the summer I signed Tabytha up for the AACS summer program 'Princess Ballerina: Perfect Tea Party'. It was a day camp at the high school I graduated from. My mom signed Hannah up for the same program so the girls could participate in it together. Tabytha was so excited because not only was she going to a day camp with Hannah for a week, she would also be spending the week at grandma and granddaddy's house! Tabytha and Hannah had a lot of fun together all week at camp. The final day of the day camp the class put on a show for the parents. Hannah wasn't feeling well and my mom offered to watch John and Jessi while I went to see Tabytha's performance. I videotaped it so Charlie could see it after work. That same day, after the performance, Charlie and I were set to meet with Pastor Tom about becoming members of the Church and having Charlie, Tabytha, John and Jessica baptized by Pastor Tom. While Charlie and I were meeting with Pastor Tom, Tabytha's biological grandmother and Aunt came to my parents house to pick her up to take her on vacation with them for a week. She spent a few days in Niagara Falls for a family reunion with her biological grandfather's family and then spent the rest of the week in Williamsburg, VA. She went to Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg and the beach. She had a good time and while she was with her biological grandparents she got all her school supplies.

She came back to us Aug. 9. That was also the weekend my brother, his wife and twin boys were in town. It was a weekend of celebration at my parents house. Jeremy had returned home from a year long tour in Afghanistan and my family wanted to celebrate Charlie coming to Christ. My dad got a sheet cake for Charlie and Jeremy. One half had a cross and said "Welcome to the family Charlie" and the other half had the Navy Seal on it and said "Thank you for serving Jeremy". My parents house was full of people celebrating with us. Friends from church and family from Delaware and VA were also there.

The rest of August was a little more laid back. Spent some more time at my parents, found a great PCA church in Dover, and Tabytha began 2nd grade. When the kids and I weren't hanging out with my parents and sisters we were home and John was finding things to get into. lol!

So, now as summer fades into fall Tabytha starts 2nd grade. She likes her teacher and I'm sure she'll have another outstanding school year. John's still an active toddler and always into something and Jessica is right there with him. She seems to be taking notes for when she's big enough to carry on when John's old enough to begin school himself. lol!

The weekend of Sept. 11th will be another weekend of celebration at my parents house. The 11th my brother will be re-enlisted in the Navy at the Pentagon in DC and the 13th Charlie and I will be welcomed into membership at PEP and Charlie and the kids will be baptized.

The Lord is doing such wonderful things in our lives and I'm looking forward to all the blessings He has in store for me and my family.

Monday, August 3, 2009

On The Menu: Baby Cupcake With Trouble Icing

This is one I'm gonna love telling John and Jessi when they're older. Last night Charlie and I were in the living room relaxing. I knew that John and Jessi were in the girls room playing. I should have known better. It was quiet for too long. I heard a small thump and decided to go back and check it out.

What I walked in on really shouldn't have been a surprise and I couldn't help but chuckle. Tabytha was given a cupcake maker for Christmas. It came with everything you'd need to make about a dozen cupcakes (powdered cupcake mix and powdered icing mix). John had gotten it out of the closet and decided to open a couple packets and pour them over the baby and sprinkle them all over the floor around them. Jessi was completely covered in powdered cupcake mix and just sitting there playing so nicely while John was making a big mess.

I called Charlie back to the room to see and he chuckled at it, too. Charlie stayed back in the room while I got the vacuum. He picked up Jessi and I vacuumed most of the powdered cupcake mix off of her and off of John. Charlie took the kids and put them in the bathtub to get them cleaned up while I cleaned up the mess in the girls room.

I only wish I'd have gotten a picture of the kids before they got cleaned up in the tub. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of the things to come with John and Jessi. I have a bad feeling that wherever John is getting in trouble, I'll find Jessi there, too, mostly as an 'innocent' bystander, but none the less, there in the midst of it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Terrible Twos

A stereotype is a type of logical oversimplification in which all the members of a class or set are considered to be definable by an easily distinguishable set of characteristics . . . Stereotypes often form the basis of prejudice and are usually employed to explain real or imaginary differences due to race, gender, religion, age, ethnicity, socio-economic class, disability, and occupation, among the limitless groups one may be identified with. (as defined and paraphrased by 'Wikipedia').

Term [Stereotype]: Terrible twos
Definition: A stage of development in which toddler behavior is a particular challenge
Example: Alternately clingy, whiny, negative, fearful, and loud, their unpredictable behavior is epic, and it's often been written off as the Terrible Twos. (as defined by '')

With that said I would like to say that my son is the poster child for the 'Terrible Twos'. John is quick to throw himself into a tizzy if he doesn't get what he wants when he wants it. If there's something other then Nickelodeon or Disney channel on he brings me the remote and points to the TV. When I tell him "no, mommy's watching something" he immediately begins crying/screaming and even sometimes hitting. I don't tolerate hitting, so I discipline according to the offense and an and I'm working with him teaching him to apologize when he's done something wrong. If he continues to be aggressive then I put him in his room for 2 minutes (one minute for each year he is) then I go in after he's settled down and sit on the floor so I'm eye level with him and tell him why I put him in his room, tell him why it was wrong, reassure him I love him and have him say sorry to the one he wronged. (which for right now is giving the person and hug and kiss because he still isn't talking).
Some days are much better then others, but the bulk of his frustration and everyone else's frustration is the language barrier. Yes, he's 2 years old and many 2 yr olds are speaking and putting sentences together. John isn't. He still mostly baby babbles. Some of his words are discernible, like 'mama', 'dada', 'no', 'ease' (for 'please'), but in general, he doesn't talk yet. It's difficult on everyone.
He's also found ways around all the child safety locks I have around the house (except the cabinet doors in the kitchen). I had the plastic door knob covers that spin around unless you grip them tightly, well, he breaks them off. I have a lock on the refrigerator and he pops the latch and still gets into the fridge. If it was up to him he'd graze out of the fridge all day!!! I have to tell him "no" all day long and listen to the fits and tantrums because he's not getting his way. John doesn't seem to care that I have 2 other children who need attention from me or housework for me to do each day.
I'm aware that it's our sinful human nature to be selfish and want instant gratification. From the moment we're conceived we're taking for ourselves. We're using our mother's bodies to supply our needs for growth (unconsciously and as instinctual as it may be). Children have to be taught how to behave and use manners because it doesn't come naturally. You don't have to teach a child how to be 'bad', lol.
I know he'll 'grow out' of it one day, and I'm doing my best to instill morals and values based on God's word in my kids, but that day isn't coming soon enough, lol!!! I'm ready for John to speak in understandable sentences and have fewer fits each day. Until then I'm just trying to keep my sanity in tact, lol!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sleep Over At Grandma & Granddaddy's

Saturday morning I packed a couple bags, gathered up the kids and headed to my mom and dad's house. I don't get out of the house much and really just needed to get out of the house. I had talked to my mom a day or so before and she mentioned me bringing the kids over Saturday, staying the night and going to church with them Sunday morning. It sounded great to me. Charlie had to work Saturday and he had plans to work in the garage Sunday so he really wouldn't be missing much time with me and the kids. It gave him the opportunity to have a quiet house and not come home to a chaos like every other day when he gets home.

The kids and I got to my mom's around 11:30am. Hannah and Tabytha immediately went off to play, John found something to entertain himself and Jessica played with some toys my mom has kept since Bethany was a baby. Mom made the lunch for all the kids (chicken nuggets and french fries). After they ate I laid John and Jessica down for a nap and mom filled her baby pool for Tabytha and Hannah to splash around in for awhile. When John woke up from his nap he wanted to play outside as well. Mom has a sprinkler that looks like a sunflower. She got it set up in the front yard and John, Tabytha and Hannah all ran around and played in the water spraying out of the flower. I stayed out front to keep an eye on them and mom stayed inside to listen if Jessica woke up.

Mom made spaghetti and her homemade spaghetti sauce for dinner. All of us sat together and enjoyed a delicious meal. After dinner the kids went back to playing while mom, dad, Bethany and I looked up different things on 'YouTube'. Dad took a break to go out to the store real quick to get a few items needed for the next day and brought back Frosty's from Wendy's for all of us. It was a nice treat. It's been YEARS since I last had a frosty.

9pm rolled around and it was time for the little ones to go to bed. Hannah got her bible out and Dad sat on the floor with Hannah on one side and Tabytha on his other side. The rest of us sat around in the living room listening to dad. After the devotional we all gathered in Hannah's room for bedtime prayers.

Now, to put John and Tabytha to bed (Jessica was put to bed while dad was doing the devotional so she would get to sleep before I put John down to sleep in the same room.) Tabytha slept in Bethany's bottom bunk and John and I shared an air mattress in the school room along with Jessica who was in the pack-n-play.

Turned out to be a really bad teething night for Jessica. She was up several times throughout the night screaming which not only woke me up, but John, too. The first time I got her a bottle and she fell back asleep, but not long after that she was up again crying and screaming. I took her out of the pack-n-play and laid her in bed with me and John. John tried to make her feel better by petting her head and trying to give her kisses, but she wouldn't be still. After awhile she would wear herself out and finally doze off for a about 2 hours and then we'd do it all over again. The next morning while getting ready for the day mom discovered a top tooth that had broken through and 2 more teeth working their way to the surface of her gums.

Mom, dad and I collect all the kids and head off to church. Bethany and dad offer to stay in the nursery with John and Jessica while mom, Tabytha, Hannah and I sat in the sanctuary to listen to the service. John cried pretty much the whole time in the nursery because I wasn't there with him. Jessi was good. After church we went back to mom and dad's and had lunch and John and Jessi took a nap.

After naps and making sure all of our things are packed up Tabytha, John, Jessi and I head home. We had a really great time at our 'sleep over' at grandma and granddaddy's house.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Adventures In Potty Training

Up until this week John really hasn't shown any interest in using the toilet. No biggie. I wasn't going to pressure him into potty training. I've been waiting for cues from him that he's ready for going potty like a big boy and getting out of diapers. Sure, a few times in the shower he may have wet down the drain, but that hardly counts as 'ready' to go on the potty.

Monday I was feeding Jessica and heard the back bathroom toilet lid slam shut. Jessica was secure in her highchair so I go back to see what John was up to. He was playing in the toilet, soaked head to toe with toilet water. (Luckily whoever was last to use it remembered to flush). So, I send him to his room for a 2 minute time-out. When his time is up I go into his room, sit on the floor to be eye level with him and tell him playing in the potty is a "No-No", but making a 'wet' in the potty is good.

He pointed to his diaper and then to the hallway bathroom door. I asked him if he wanted to make a wet in the potty and he turned back to me and shook his head 'yes' and hummed "uh-hum". So, I strip his wet clothes off, take off his diaper and he takes my hand and leads me across the hall to the bathroom.

The toilet seat is too tall for him to stand on the floor and be able to aim inside the bowl, and the step stool makes him stand too tall over the toilet seat and he'd aim over the bowl. So, I pick him up under his arm pits and he goes potty in the toilet. When I set him down I praised him and gave him a 'High Five', then he brushes past me and puts the seat AND lid down and flushes the potty!!!! I give him more praise, clap my hands and give him a hug.

So, everyday I've been encouraging him to use the potty more and more. I discovered yesterday that Tabytha's old car booster seat stands John at the toilet bowl just right. The toilet bowl isn't too high he can't aim inside the bowl and he's not standing so high above it that he'll miss the bowl. It's perfect. I'll ask John if he wants to go potty and he'll shake his head yes and run to the bathroom to go potty. Even if he can only manage a little tinkle I praise him for it, and then he put the seat and lid down and flushes.

We had a small mishap this morning. Just after I was finished my shower and began drying myself off Tabytha comes in and tells me John stripped his diaper off and"pooped on the floor". Oy!!! So, I dry off quickly, get dressed and go clean up the mess off the living room floor. It made me wonder if he's ready to try making a 'stinky' on the potty, but I figure he should get a little better wetting in the potty first and then we'll tackle making #2 on the potty.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Growing Up

I've posted quite a few blogs about the kids, and yet, I haven't written much about our youngest one, Jessica. She's just over 7 months old now. She's a joy to have in our lives. Tabytha and John adore her. She's been sleeping through the night since around 5 months old. She's on a regular sleeping 'schedule' now and I can put her down for her nap or for the night without having to wait for her to fall asleep before putting her in her crib. Which is great. I can just put her in her crib at nap or bed time and know she'll get herself to sleep. Routine is awesome.
Jessica has 2 teeth (one top and one bottom) and another bottom tooth just recently broke through her gums. Along with her regular bottle feedings she has Gerber baby food. She loves squash. She eats more Gerber veggies then fruits.
Jessi began crawling at 6 months old! Before she could even sit up by herself. A lot earlier then John and Tabytha did. (Tabytha didn't crawl until 10 months and John began 'army' crawling at 7 months then moved onto hands and knees crawling about a month later). Jessica just got up on her hands and knees one day and figured it out! Same thing with sitting up by herself. One day she just did it! I didn't position her or place tons of pillows around her. She just sat herself up and stayed there. It was a beautiful and surprising thing to see.
Just this past weekend she began pulling herself up on the couch and standing up. She seems to be flying through milestones, I guess she needs to so she can keep up with Tabytha and John. Soon enough she'll be walking. But not yet, and that's fine with me!
(Side note: the dress Jessi is wearing in the picture was my dress from when I was a baby!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4 Years Ago Today

It's 7pm as I begin writing this blog. Four years ago today Charlie proposed to me. I remember it clearly. Just a couple weeks before he had taken me to look at engagement rings. He wanted me to pick my ring so he knew I'd like it when he proposed. He didn't tell me when or where he'd propose. He gave me a price range to stay in and I found a ring I really liked. The jeweler got my ring size and said she'd have to send it out to be sized, the one in the display case was too small for my finger. It would take about 2 weeks. No biggie. Charlie and I had only been dating 3 months at this point. I wasn't in a rush to get engaged, but at the same time I was looking forward to his proposal.

July 5th, 2005 was a Tuesday. Tabytha and I had spent the day at my mom's house. Charlie was working at a body shop in Dover. When I got home from my mom's Charlie wasn't home yet. His dad told me Charlie had gone to Lowe's to get a new air compressor for the garage. He got home around 6:30pm. We all sat down to eat dinner and after dinner Charlie took me back to our room and sat me down on the couch and told me he needed to talk to me.

He began telling me how much he loved me and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and then pulled the ring out of his pocket, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I teared up and said "Yes!". We hugged and he kissed me. We went out into the living room to show his parents the ring. I got on the phone and called a few of my girlfriends and told them the great news.

The next day I went back to my mom's house and got there with Tabytha just before Dad left for work. Tabytha went downstairs to play and wait for Hannah to wake up and I went up to the kitchen while dad was getting his travel mug filled with coffee to head off to work. I said good morning and told them they were one step closer to getting a son-in-law and showed them my ring. They were very happy. Just a few days before Charlie had come with me and Tabytha to meet my family in Delaware and there he sat with my dad and asked him for my hand in marriage. So, my parents knew he was going to propose at some point. Dad had to get to work and mom and I sat at the dining room table with our coffee and I told her how he proposed. I stayed at mom's until dad got home so he could get a good look at the ring. Then I was on my way home again.

Fast forward to today, July 5th, 2009. Charlie and I have been married a little more than 3 years now. We have a wonderful home and 3 beautiful children. I'm blessed beyond words to have Charlie as my husband and father to our kids.

Before I Was A Mom. . .

Some days I can't believe I've been so amazingly blessed to be a mom to 3 precious children. All moms believe their children are the most beautiful children in the world and I'm no exception. I love getting stopped at stores and outings by people wanting to tell me how adorable and beautiful my children are.
I saw the 'poem' below several years ago and every time I read it, it brings tears to my eyes as memories of each sentence floods to mind. I know all moms out there can relate to it and know exactly what I'm talking about.

Before I was a Mom I never tripped over toys and forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.
Before I was a Mom - I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.
Before I was a Mom I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.
Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put them down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.
Before I was a Mom - I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.
Before I was a Mom - I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

Jessica (7 months old)

John (2 yrs old)

Tabytha (7 yrs old)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rules of a Toddler (aka ~ John!)

If it is on, I must turn it off.
If it is off, I must turn it on.
If it is folded, I must unfold it.
If it is a liquid, it must be shaken, then spilled.

If it a solid, it must be crumbled, chewed or smeared.

If it is high, it must be reached.

If it is shelved, it must be removed.

If it is pointed, it must be run with at top speed.

If it has leaves, they must be picked.

If it is plugged, it must be unplugged.

If it is not trash, it must be thrown away.

If it is in the trash, it must be removed, inspected, and thrown on the floor.

If it is closed, it must be opened.

If it does not open, it must be screamed at.

If it has drawers, they must be rifled.

If it is a pencil, it must write on the refrigerator, monitor, or table.

If it is full, it will be more interesting emptied.

If it is empty, it will be more interesting full.

If it is a pile of dirt, it must be laid upon.

If it is stroller, it must under no circumstances be ridden in without protest.

It must be pushed by me instead.

If it has a flat surface, it must be banged upon.

If Mommy's hands are full, I must be carried.

If Mommy is in a hurry and wants to carry me, I must walk alone.

If it is paper, it must be torn.

If it has buttons, they must be pressed. (this includes mommy's 'buttons', too!)

If the volume is low, it must go high.

If it is toilet paper, it must be unrolled on the floor.

If it is a drawer, it must be pulled upon.

If it is a toothbrush, it must be inserted into my mouth.

If it has a faucet, it must be turned on at full force.

If it is a phone, I must talk to it.

If it is a bug, it must be swallowed.

If it doesn't stay on my spoon, it must be dropped on the floor.

If it is not food, it must be tasted.

If it IS food, it must not be tasted.

If it is dry, it must be made wet with drool, milk, or toilet water.

If it is a car seat, it must be protested with arched back.

If it is Mommy, it must be hugged. (as long as it's on his terms)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Play Date

A little background before I get into the play date blog . . . I’ve known my friend since high school. She was class of ’99 and I was class of ’98. We lost touch after I graduated. We ran into each other about 2 years after high school and caught up for a few minutes and really hadn’t talked until about 2 ½ years ago. We found each other on MySpace and reacquainted ourselves since so many years had gone by since we last saw each other. Another year goes by and now we both have Facebook accounts. We began talking more frequently through messages and comments on each other’s web pages. She has 4 children now and I, of course have the 3. Her children are 8 yrs old, 5 yrs old, 3 yrs old and her baby who will celebrating his first birthday in July.

Today my friend brought her kids over for a play date. We had just been to her house last week so the kids were all excited to see each other again so soon.

My friend is also a stay-at-home mom and can relate to the craziness of managing multiple children running through the house day in and day out. So, we’ve been making fairly regular play dates to give each other the chance to get out of the house and hang out with another grown up while our kids play together. It’s great for us because all our children are all close in ages so everyone has someone to play with. We take turns going to each other’s houses. Fortunately we live relatively close to each other so it’s not a terrible inconvenience to pack up our broods and travel far for visits. Our kids really seem to have fun playing together and even our babies, who are just a mere 4 months apart, are buddies.

The house is immediately filled with children running around and finding things to do. John and my friend's 2 daughters immediately get into the baby pool and play, my friend's oldest son and Tabytha go off and hang out and her 11 month old is stuck in the kitchen with me and my friend because Jessica was napping when they got to our house. I get lunch fixed for the kids, they take a break to eat and then get back to playing. By now Jessica has woken up and the big kids all go play in the girls room while my friend, her 11 month old, Jessica and I chill in the living room for a bit. After some indoor playing the kids all go outside to play. They play on the swing set, rollercoaster and moon bounce. I LOVE seeing the kids all playing together. Now, it’s not always perfect, there’s 7 kids running around, it’s not all fun and giggles every second. For example, John had one of Tabytha’s fairy princess wands and hit the 3 yr old on the head. I took the wand and made him give her a hug and kiss to say he was sorry. She accepted his ‘apology’ and things were fine. It gets kinda crazy with so many children together and my friend and I are WAAAY outnumbered but all the kids are good about listening to us (if the kids ever figure out they outnumber us almost 4 to 1 they may ban together in mutiny and trample all over us, lol.). But for now, my friend and I still have control and even though there’s a little scuffle here and there, in the end, everyone has a good time playing together. So, until the next play date Tabytha will be asking me everyday “Mommy, when are we gonna go to your friend's house for a play date again?”

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fun At A Friend's Birthday Party

Tabytha was at her biological grandparents house for the weekend and Charlie was in NJ to see his friend drag race his 6 second car. So, John, Jessica and I went to my friend's son's 1st birthday party. There was a moon bounce slide with a pool at the bottom of the slide, a clown to entertain the youngsters, a baby pool, swing set, playhouse and numerous other outdoor toys in the yard for children of all ages to play. There was also a cotton candy machine and popcorn machine along with juice boxes, hot dogs, party snacks and birthday cupcakes. You couldn't leave saying you were bored, that's for sure!
Now that it's summer time I keep John's swim trunks, a couple 'little swimmers' diapers and a dry change of clothes in the diaper bag. Shortly after arriving at the birthday party I take Jessica over to where my friend, her daughter and her son (the birthday boy) are sitting watching the clown. John is busy exploring all there is to play with in the yard and I could see him from where we were sitting. Well, about a minute after setting Jessica down I look up to see where John is. He's in the pool part of the moon bounce slide. Yup, he's still got his socks and shoes and street clothes on and climbed his way into the pool. I fetch him out and take him to an area of the yard where no one else was and get him out of his wet clothes and get his swim diaper and swim trunks on and set him free again to go play.
He had a blast. Jessica had a lot of people coo-ing over her and telling me how cute she is (which I never get tired of hearing, lol).
Time comes for all the kids to line up and take turns hitting a pinata and after all the kids have had a turn John realizes he's missed out so he goes over and he's allowed a turn. He strikes the pinata 3 times to no avail and puts his head down in disappointment, until everyone cheered for his efforts. Finally a big kid breaks it open and John runs away from all the kids jumping around trying to get candy. Once the crowd disperses he goes back to collect a few lolly pops and opens and eats two.
Two of my friend's brothers were there and one of them got John a cotton candy and he actually sat down and stayed still while he chomped down on the fluffy blue sugary goodness. John also took a few minutes from playing to munch on some popcorn and drink some of a juice box. Now it's time to sing 'Happy Birthday' to the birthday boy. John wasn't interested in that so he went to play while Jessica and I watched the birthday boy chow down on a green frosted cupcake. I forgot my camera but offered to take a few pictures for my friend (with her camera) of some of the kids playing around and got a couple pictures of her son with green frosting on his face so she could pass out cupcakes to the guests.
Jessica was an angel the whole time. She didn't fuss once. She enjoyed watching all the party fun and having people oogle over her. Jessi's friend (who's 4 months older then her) was also there with his brother, 2 sisters and mom. Jessi and her little friend laid together on the blanket I brought and drank their bottles together and 'baby talked' with each other.
It was a great afternoon celebrating a 1st birthday and being with friends.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Too Much, Too Soon?

For the past couple of months I've been letting Tabytha be more independent when it comes to breakfasts and lunches. She can get her own cereal, bowl and pour the milk. She's even toasted frozen waffles for herself and John. Tabytha can make herself peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or get a hot dog and heat it up in the microwave. No problems. She's recently started making her own instant oatmeal in the microwave with the tiniest bit of assistance from me with the milk and measuring cup.
Well. Today she wanted to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I said "OK". She got the bread, butter and cheese out of the fridge. Put the sandwich together and asked if she could put it in the toaster oven. I, again, said "OK". She's used the toaster oven before so I didn't think to stay in the kitchen and oversee her.
My mistake. About a minute after she puts the sandwich in the toaster oven she comes out of the kitchen and says the plates on fire. WHAT?!?!?!?!? WHAT PLATE??? I hurry into the kitchen and see that she put the paper plate she assembled her sandwich on IN the toaster oven and the heating element has now gotten hot enough and caught the paper plate on fire. I quickly turn off and unplug the toaster oven, go to the sink and fill a cup with water and open the toaster oven door and throw the water onto the blazing paper plate. In the madness of the paper plate fire I yell at Tabytha and quickly regret it. She's 7 years old. I'm suppose to be the 'responsible' adult and should have stayed in the kitchen overseeing her use the toaster oven properly. I should have done a better job instructing her on what to do and how to use the toaster oven to cook a grilled cheese sandwich, which she'd never done before.
After everything is under control I apologize to Tabytha for the way I spoke to her and yelling at her. I tell her if she'd like to try again another day I'd let her prep the sandwich, but I'd go ahead and cook it for her.
So. After all this, Tabytha has no sandwich. I tell her she can go ahead and make herself a peanut butter and fluff sandwich if she wants and that was fine with her. She made her sandwich, nothing caught on fire and she got to enjoy her lunch. (I may need a new toaster oven after this)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fun Day At The Hospital

So. Yesterday morning John woke up with Croup. So, I call his doctor and get an appointment in 45 minutes. So, I pack the kids up in the car and realize I left the TV on. So I run back in the house, turn off the TV and hurry back outside to get John to the Doctor. Only, instead of a smooth exit, I step wrong and land sideways on my left ankle. I go down HARD. I let out a loud yell and wriggle around on the front porch for a minute or so. Tabytha makes her way out of the car to see if I'm OK. I look at my ankle, which has now swelled to the size of a baseball (no exaggeration, it REALLY was the size of a baseball). I have Tabytha go in the house and get my crutches and she gets back in the car and I make my way to the car. On the way to John's doctor I call my mom and tell her what happened and that after John's appointment I need to get to the hospital for an xray but have no one to watch the kids. She lets dad know what's going on and she's on her way with Bethany and Hannah.
I get to the doctor's office and Tabytha goes in to ask one of the nurses to help bring Jessica in while I use the crutches to get into the office. One of the nurses comes out to the waiting area and looks at my ankle and puts an ice pack on it. About 10 minutes later it's John's turn to get looked at. His doctor, a visiting doctor and 2 nurses come into the room (John has a bit of a reputation). He has croup. Nurse 1 tries to get the pulseox monitor on his finger. John's not having it. He's getting worked up, crying, squirming, coughing and gasping for air. Nurse tries to put it on his toe. Not having it. He's really upset, trying to breath and wanting OUT of there! FINALLY, we get the monitor on his toe long enough to get a faint reading of his oxygen and heart rate. It's not good. Oxygen level was at 79%, heart rate was really high, but the main concern was his oxygen level. He wasn't getting enough. Doctor has a nurse call 911. While we're waiting for the ambulance to arrive I'm finally able to get John calmed down and resting his head on my shoulder. Doctor gets a nebulizer treatment started and tapes it to my shoulder where his head is resting on me. The ambulance gets there and brings the stretcher back. The female EMT holds John long enough for me to hobble over and get on the stretcher to hold John. My legs get strapped down, John snuggles up to me again with his head resting on my shoulder and they take us out. As we get up the hallway my mom shows up in the doorway. She made it in the nick of time. I leave the diaper bag and my car key and she gathers up Tabytha and Jessica and make their way to the hospital.
In the ambulance my cell phone rings. In the midst of the chaos I hadn't called Charlie to let him know what's going on. I answer my phone. He tells me to turn the radio down and I tell him it's not the radio. It's the ambulance siren and EMT on the walkie next to us. He got upset and started yelling for me to tell him what was going on and what's wrong with John and he's on his way and I should have called him. Long story short. We get into the hospital and get wheeled back to a room in the ER. The EMT tells the nurse it's a "2 for 1 special. Child has croup and mother has injured ankle". I tell them to treat John first and worry about me later.
My mom finds her way to the room John and I are in. The steriod shot John got in the Doctor's office is working and the oxygen is taped to my shoulder blowing in his face to help him breath. He's getting better. John's still clinging to me which is fine. I'd forgotten about my ankle and as my adhrenaline rush from fear for my son fades the pain in my ankle floods to the top of the list. I burst into tears. Mom tells me it's OK, she's here now, everythings gonna be alright. I ask her how Tabytha and Jessica are doing and she assures me they're fine. Bethany's got a handle on everything in the ER waiting room. There's a play corner that Tabytha and Hannah are playing in and Bethany is entertaining Jessica. I finally start feeling more at ease and can start relaxing knowing my mom and sisters are here to help. John dozes off on my shoulder. He's exhausted from the mornings events at the doctors office. He's resting comfortably against me. Charlie calls my cell again. This time my mom answers and he's really upset because he doesn't know what's going on with John so mom trys to calm him down and explain to him what happened and what's going on now. Until this phone call he was unaware that I was injured also. I didn't tell him because my injury wasn't keeping me from breathing like John's croup was doing to him. I'm not sure how much time has passed but it's FINALLY my turn to get looked at. A nurse gets a wheelchair for me and wheels me to xray. She takes 3 xrays of my ankle and sends me back to my room. MORE time goes by. Mom goes to check on the girls and Charlie finds his way to the ER room John and I are in. After awhile the ER doctor comes in and says my ankle isn't broken or fractured, just badly sprained and John's oxygen levels are back up to 100% and he and I are allowed to go home. I get a brace for my ankle, Charlie gets John and I hobble my way out.
Mom and Charlie pack the kids in the car, I get in the driver's seat and Charlie takes mom and Bethany in his truck and we go back to the doctors office for mom to get her car. Everyone gets in their car/truck. Charlie goes to get John's medication and mom follows me home to help bring the kids in the house.
Once home, Mom and Bethany get John and Jessi into the house, Tabytha and Hannah go out back to play and I limp my way in. We get settled in and mom does what she does and begins straightening up my kitchen. I'd been gone all day and didn't get any housework done. We left the house a little after 9am and it was now about 3:15pm. The day was gone and my house was a mess. I didn't even care. John was doing better, no major meltdown from Jessica while we were at the hospital and Tabytha and Hannah had fun in the waiting room playing together. My ankle was throbbing, but I was fine. I took an ibuprophen and mom, Bethany and Hannah got going.
Charlie took over 'zoo keeper' duties for the evening. He tended to all 3 kids, cooked dinner and tended to me while I was keeping my ankle elevated.
I'll never be able to express how grateful I am for my mom and Bethany for dropping what they were doing and coming to the hospital to help me in my and John's time of need. Charlie took today and tomorrow off to let me rest my ankle before taking back my full time 'zoo keeper' duties.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Update

An event filled weekend for us. Charlie took Tabytha to a local "water park" to have a 'daddy/daughter' day Saturday. Well, the water park turned out to be a bust. Charlie and Tabytha were excited when they got there and their excitement was soon squashed. They weren't allowed on the water slides because Tabytha had in earrings and Charlie wouldn't take his wedding band off. Charlie didn't have anywhere to put Tabytha's earrings or his wedding band so they stayed off the slides. Charlie tried to play around in the deeper end of the wading pool and was quickly told to settle down. So, after about 2 hours of floating around not being able to play they headed home. Tabytha didn't think it was all bad and she was happy to have some alone time with her daddy. Saturday evening a small thunder storm rolled through, but I already had plans to grill outside. So, after the rain passed I went out and got the grill going and put hefty trash bags on a couple of the deck chairs and Tabytha dried off the kid picnic table and we enjoyed some grilled chicken, ribs and corn on the cob on the back deck. Charlie filled the small pool John got for his birthday and Tabytha and John played around in the pool for an hour or so. It was a nice relaxing evening with the family.
Sunday was a busy day for us. It was Charlie and my niece's 2nd birthday. (Charlie's sister's daughter). The birthday party was at 2pm. I put John and Jessi down for early naps so they wouldn't go without a nap completely before we needed to leave for their cousin Shelby's birthday party. Got all the kids packed up in the car and headed to Aunt Faye's. We made a quick stop at the Outlet Center for Charlie to get a pair of sneakers real quick then we made our way over the bay bridge. Just before we get on the bay bridge Tabytha tells us her tummy was upset. We figure she's just hungry and tell her it won't be long before we get to Aunt Faye's house and she can have a burger or hot dog when we get there. Just after we get off the bridge Tabytha gets sick. She covered her mouth with both hands trying her best to keep it from getting all over the car. I pulled over under and overpass, put the emergency flashers on and got out to help clean her up. She got it all over the front of her and some found its way onto the back of Charlie's arm and shirt sleeve. Well. Now the car has a bit of a stink to it and it was warm day and Charlie didn't want to smell like vomit and I didn't want Tabytha running around smelling like it either. We cleaned her up the best we could with the baby wipes and headed right to the new Target in Annapolis to get Tabytha a change of clothes and Charlie and clean tee shirt. I hadn't been in the new Target in Annapolis and was blown away by the building when we came to it. It's the Target shopper's "Mecca". It's massive. I've never seen anything like it. It's a 3 level building with a parking garage. So, we find our way into Target and Charlie gets a shirt and Tabytha picks out an outfit. We pay and finish our 'journey' to Aunt Faye's house. We finally get there around 3:30pm (an hour and a half late, and 2 1/2 hours from the time we left our house). Charlie and Tabytha get changed and cleaned up a little bit more. Luckily we hadn't missed much of Shelby's party. The party was great. There was good food, a moon bounce for the kids to play on and a field outside of their backyard fence for kids to run around and play. We brought a blanket for Jessica to lay/crawl around on, John kind of did his own thing and kept to himself for awhile and Tabytha played with some of the other children there. Although we were late getting there we didn't miss Shelby opening her presents or the beautiful princess castle birthday cake Faye made. Shelby got a lot of wonderful gifts. We got her a personalized Sesame Street book and a battery operated bubble blower (all the fun of bubbles without getting the bubble soap all over you, lol).
So, despite the 'obstacles' during our drive to and showing up late to Shelby's birthday party, everyone had a great time celebrating our niece's 2nd birthday and spending time with family.
We love you Shelby and we're so glad we were able to celebrate your birthday with you sweetie!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer Vacation Has Begun

Today was Tabytha's last day of 1st grade. Summer vacation has begun. Her teacher had given her a book as an 'end of school year' gift. She brought home her 4th quarter report card and received the equivalent of straight "A's". (K thru 2nd grade don't get actual letter grades, i.e. "A", "B", "C". . .ect. . . until 3rd grade). Back in April Tabytha received the "Student Of The Month" award for her class. At the award ceremony when Tabytha received her award her principal said Tabytha was nominated by her teacher because she's polite, kind and always looks for the student who doesn't have someone to play with so no one is ever left out. (When I heard that I got choked up). Tabytha also received a 'Certificate of Recognition' for her "positive attitude toward learning". She loves to learn and read. When something exciting happened at school she'd stay excited until she came home to tell me all about it. She's excited to learn new things and share everything she's learned when she gets home. Tabytha started the school year learning to distinguish which number is bigger or smaller then another number and ended the school year being able to add and subtract 2 digit numbers. She couldn't tell time at the start of 1st grade and now she can look at the clock and tell me what time it is (whether I asked to know what time it is or not, lol) She began the school year reading at a 1st grade level and ended the year at a beginning 3rd grade level. School has always been 'fun' for her and I've always done my best to encourage that. I still can't believe sometimes that Tabytha is 7 and in elementary school. Where have the years gone??? It seems like just yesterday I was watching her take her first steps. I blink and now I'm watching her get on and off the school bus at the end of our driveway. If I blink again I'm afraid I'll be waving goodbye from the front door as she heads off to college. She had an excellent school year and we'll have a super fun summer. Charlie is taking her to celebrate the end of the school year by taking her to a local water park for a 'father/daughter' day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Party at the Zoo

Things were pretty hectic at the zoo over the weekend. We had about 35 people here for our son's 2nd birthday party. It was a cookout. We grilled burgers and dogs, had beans, chips, a veggie platter, and birthday cake. My MIL brought potatoe salad, my mom made 'pigs in a blanket' and fruit salad served in a carved out watermelon and I made crab dip and cheddar/bacon dip.
Charlie expanded our penned in area in the backyard for our kids to play in and it was nice to have it done for the other kids who were here for the party. The kids all enjoyed playing on the moonbounce, the swingset, slide, play house, rollercoaster and riding toys.
When it came time to sing "Happy Birthday" and blow out the candles John shouted "NO" in protest to the singing. He also didn't want to blow out the candles, which was fine. However, he had NO problem eating a piece of his birthday cake and chowed down! =) Being only 2 years old he didn't grasp the concept that all these people at his house were here for him. He spent the whole day playing and having fun. A couple times we tried to get him to take a break to open his gifts, but he didn't take the bait until Charlie called him up to the deck and began opening a present to show him there were actually things inside the wrapping paper. He tore through the paper to find gifts like a Transformer Mr. Potatoe Head, a Monster Truck, a Big Rig, a Little People tractor, clothes (which he quickly tossed aside looking for more toys), a foam baseball bat and ball and more. . .Grandma and Granddaddy got him a Step 2 Picnic Table w/ umbrella that seats up to 6 children and 'Uncle' Howie got him an inflatable pool.
All in all, the day was a success. It was a day full of lots of yummy food, wonderful family and great friends to celebrate 'baby' John's birthday.
(On a completely different note, among the birthday celebration for John, our little angel, Jessica, began crawling! At barely 6 1/2 months old she's figured out how to put getting up on her hands and knees together with moving forward! Very exciting and milestone filled weekend)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Birthday John!

Two years ago today, at 8:22am, my son entered the world. It was a beautiful moment for Charlie and me. Well, I was a little 'out of it' because our son was born via c-section and I was heavily medicated.

Our son's birth was a scheduled c-section so June 5th, 2007 my day began at 4:15am. My c-section was scheduled for 8am and we needed to be at the hospital by 6am (to fill out paperwork, draw blood, get me hooked up to IV's and such). So, having to be at the hospital by 6am meant we had to leave by 5am. I got up to shower before we left and Charlie and I went to the hospital. We got there around 5:45am. Already it felt like the longest day EVER! I had blood drawn, got set up with IV's and finished up hospital paperwork within an hour after getting to my hospital room. So, Charlie and I had an hour to wait before it was our time to go to the ER. I tried to close my eyes and get a little more rest. FINALLY, it was time to go to the OR for the section. I had to have a Spinal and Charlie wasn't allowed in the OR while that was being done. It hurt SOOO bad and he wasn't allowed in to hold my hand. After about 5 minutes of poking to find the 'right spot' the anesthesiologist got the spinal in and my lower body began getting numb. I was positioned on the table and Charlie was allowed in. I turned my head to see him and hold his hand but no sooner did I turn my head then the wave of neausea come over me and I had to turn my head back to the anesthesiologist to get sick. Spinals and I don't get along. Getting sick when you have no feeling below your rib cage is a challenge to say the least.

So, avoiding a few graphic bits of the story later, the Doctors have opened me up and they're pulling John out. I hear one Doctor say "Wow, he just keeps on coming, doesn't he?". That's it. John's finally OUT! I hear him cry and I begin to well up. I manage to turn my head to look at Charlie and see he's a little teary eyed too. Charlie goes to the area in the OR where the nurse cleans him up and Charlie finishes cutting the cord and sees the nurses weigh and measure John all while I'm getting cleaned up and put back together. John weighed in at 8lbs 11.5oz and was 22 inches long. He was perfect. Charlie never left his side from the moment he was born until we were all together again in our hospital room. If the nurses needed John for ANYTHING Charlie went with them. Charlie also changed John's first diaper, gave John his first bath and gave John his first bottle (after I had given nursing a try for a couple days).

It's now June 5th, 2009. My 'baby' boy is now 2 years old. His birth seems like just yesterday and seems so long ago all at the same time.

Happy Birthday Bubby. Mommy, Daddy and big sister (and baby sister) love you sooo much!!!

Newborn John

1yr old John

2 yr old John