Saturday, December 31, 2011

Countdown to the move - Day 30

I'm digging myself a hole.

Still need to blog day 31, which I mislabeled yesterday as day 32 because I was too tired to count properly.

And now I'm giving you a bullet point list of Day 30 for the same reason. So. Tired.

- Kids wake up, trickle into our bed, fresh round of diapers.
- Make breakfast, send kids down to play, make my blessed french press of Christmas Blend and sip in (semi) peace.
- Make some phone calls to schedule move related things, check some boxes off of my to-do list while Rob packs up the office.
- Shower and take Robbie with me to run a few errands.
- Check in on the kids and Rob at home, drop Robbie off and head over to the new house to meet up with the realtor. Get estimates for painting and blinds.
- While we are in the house, discuss with our realtor how overwhelming the task is of choosing paint. She goes to work with my fan deck and I kid you not, pulls colors out that I love and will probably paint our house with. If you need a realtor anytime soon, YOU NEED OURS.
- As the last person was giving me a quote, something felt funny in my mouth and I realized that I had cracked a tooth and half of my molar was stuck inside the gum I was chewing. This is a horrible feeling. I was mortified, a little panicked, and very thankful that I didn't have any pain at all. Then I laughed at the thought of making time for a root canal/crown at this point in time. WHY NOT!? Nice timing, too - on top of the move, I crack a tooth in half the night everyone is closing up shop for a few days. Excellent. Because she is more than just a realtor (interior designer, etc.), my relator calls her dentist on the phone right then and there and gets them to agree to call me tomorrow and see me even though their office is closed. I am beyond grateful. Also? My tooth is starting to hurt.
- Come home, laugh and play with the kids, feed them dinner and throw them in the tub. Pj's all around, and they were all 3 asleep by the time we got downstairs and turned the monitor on. Yesterday really wiped them all out!

Funny things to remember:
Robbie: "Hallelujah! means 'Thank You' in spanish!" {Lost in translation, thanks Dora}

Ellie: "Mommy, I need to brush your hair. You have food in your hair. I get out all the tangles." {As she drags a toy comb through my hair in the wrong direction. Poor girl, I must say this every day to her! "I have to brush the food out of your hair, hold still."}

Today while Robbie and I were out together we happened upon a man who was in need, so we gave to him. As I explained to Robbie what we had done and why (the man didn't have any money, had such-and-such need, God has given us plenty and we want to share it with others, etc.), the simple verbalization of it all brought me to tears. Robbie too, as he talked it through out loud and realized for maybe the first time that some people don't have any money or a bed to sleep in. I could tell it made him so sad and he was quiet for a little while afterwards. I pray that he has a sensitive heart for others in need and always has a quick compassionate response. These are the moments that make me wish that the world were a different place, and then on the heels of that I'm so grateful for what Christ has done for us and the hope of heaven that we all can have.

And since it's New Year's Eve (what?!), Happy New Year! We're tucking in as usual. Wild party animals over here.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Countdown to the move - Day 31

*UPDATE: I've finally uploaded pictures of our time in Wisconsin!
On December 30th we traveled up to Milwaukee to the Larson's home (Jeff's parents' house) to celebrate Christmas. I think we figured out that although the adults have gotten together a few times, it had been an entire year since the all the kids AND adults had been together.

We met around lunch time and Becky had put together a great meal for us - The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti and a skillet apple pie that was amazing. The kids had fun playing together in the basement between meals and it was the first time the adults could actually sit nearby at a table and have a conversation with minimal interruptions! The injuries were minimal, the fights as typical as those between cousins, and the interactions between kids equally precious and hilarious. There is something that is so special about 'Aunties and Uncles' who love your kids almost as much as you do, and to see all of these relationships continuing to form. It is such a gift, and although we wish we lived closer together, once we get to have the Larsons back within driving distance (WI) we can't wait to make these get togethers more frequent.

We all planned to bring our kids' Christmas pjs for the annual group Christmas picture. The busy rug beneath them ended up giving us pictures that will give you a headache if you look at them for too long! Haha. Photography lesson learned.

It took quite a while to just line the kids up and get them to stop messing around or wrestling.

{Pictures are grossly out of order}

It was crazy just trying to get everyone into the pjs in the first place. There was an excess of energy and excitement!

We had decided again to do a gift exchange and Becky had drawn names for all of the kids. Every child gave and received one gift each. It was perfect. Hilariously enough, after all the gifts were opened, everyone ended up playing with the gifts they GAVE.

Ellie received a snow white princess dress and princess puzzle, and gave Charlotte some art supplies which we christened. A big drawing pad, satchel with markers etc. to go, owl window clings and a matching owl art smock.

Char insisted on wearing the satchel right away! (Isn't it fun when kids love the gifts you give them?) Matt joked that she looked like she was going to a Phish concert, with her long hair falling down into her eyes as she marched around the room with her satchel slung across her chest. She is too cute. And very independent!

Joey stayed well hydrated during our time together. No one knew whose water bottle this was.

As we packed up to go, the Bellito twins kept coming over to Maddie as she waited in her car seat, and wanted to smother her with goodbye kisses! It was the cutest thing you ever saw. Until one of them crawled in there to love on Maddie, and she grabbed for his face and accidentally clawed him on the cheek. He scooted back out, totally confused as to why Maddie would respond to his love by scratching him!?

Earlier in the day the dads made a big fort, which every child wanted to climb inside. With the exception of Maddie, they got everyone inside. What a cute memory.

These twins - I can't get enough! They are turning into such big boys. They LOVE to wrestle, and will throw themselves down bum-first into another child's legs to try and start a wrestling match. It is so hilarious, I wish I had gotten it on video. Robbie was happy to oblige, until one time he ended up on the bottom of the pile, laughing so hard he couldn't get up, and everyone else took their shot at jumping on him until he finally took a knee to the head and started to cry.

Charlotte is in a precious stage of wanting to watch and help with everything. Neither of my kids are like this yet, nor do they show any interest in helping me with Maddie. But Charlotte was at my elbow with every diaper change, and asked to help feed Maddie her bottle when she needed it, totally unfazed by the awful smell of her formula. I have not seen a more patient 3 year old - she held Maddie for the entire feeding, quietly holding up her bottle and making adjustments as Maddie would squirm. And the look of love on her face the entire time!
{Mama Becky stayed close behind Char to help so that I could snap a few pictures}

This is my favorite picture from the night.

Aunt Becki with Maddie! Maddie had no problem warming up to everyone. I think she knows how loved she is by this crew.

Funny story about that beanie baby...

Beautiful Becki with some of the boys.

Miss Elle got to skip her nap but it came back to bite us around dinner time. She was soooo tired!

Sweet Joe, our godson. Talk about personality, this kid had us in stitches. Especially when he would get excited and show off by whipping toys clear across the room without warning. Everyone would duck and then try not to laugh as Becky would request that he stop chucking toys.

At one point, Char was doing a somersault and Robbie 'helped' her over. She was not pleased, and stopped what she was doing to complain.

Hilarious! Her mom encouraged her to talk it out with Robbie, and so she did. He apologized, and then as he did a somersault of his own, she 'helped' him over, evening the score. ;)

Two of my kids drew the Bellito twins, so we got them superhero capes off of Etsy. They were a huge hit! (Thank goodness, I feared that I went too old with their gifts and that they wouldn't have a clue as to what to do with the capes.)

The girls commandeered the capes and ran around the basement in circles screaming, until they needed a break to catch their breath {insert heavy breathing here}:

Aaaand, back at it.

The boys did get to try on their presents...

And are hopefully running around their house in Wauconda - saving the day and protecting their mommy from the bad guys.

Long but fun day! It's late, and this post needs time and thought in order to do it justice. So just a few pictures to hold you over and warm your heart - to have friends who feel more like family is a rare blessing. We are so thankful for these sweet people and all that they mean to us.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Countdown to the move - Day 32

Oops. No pictures today.

Rob took today and tomorrow off of work (translation: he asked for Friday off so that we could take a day trip to see friends, and his coworker - BLESS HIM! - told him not to come in on Thursday either). So he was home today, which was great.

We started the day as usual, in our bed with all 3 kids snuggled close, but with Daddy there too it was way more fun.

Then we headed downstairs for breakfast, and I made the kids scrambled eggs to go with leftover reheated monkey bread from Christmas. Once they all had their plates and cups and were happily tucked into their meal, I made myself a french press of christmas blend and a fried egg breakfast sandwich (this has become my favorite way to start the day, but I'm limiting myself to once or twice a week).

Then we got to work. Rob disassembled the twin beds while I packed what we don't need for the next month from the kids' closets. Note to self: you need baby blankets like you need tea, mugs, and a hole in the head. Apparently that's a thing for me.

We kept packing, changing diapers, wiping noses, throwing food at the kids, napping them randomly, moving stuff to the garage, etc. until about noon when I realized I needed to take a shower and we needed lunch. Does it go without saying that there is little to no cooking happening right now in our house? That includes lunch. I consider throwing turkey between slices of bread cooking at this point. I ran a few errands and brought lunch back within an hour, and we all ate together just before the painter came over to give us an estimate on a few projects we want to get done before listing the house.

We spent the afternoon packing more, and then I took Robbie over to the storage unit with me. We have actually filled the first unit and needed to look into renting a second one. On the way there, he needed to potty. We pulled over just in the nick of time to use the car potty I keep in the back seat, in a church parking lot. Why does this stuff not even faze me anymore? Here, son - pull your pants down in public (it's a balmy 43 degrees!) and pee on a plastic potty right off of Main Street. I will then dump its contents nearby and pretend that it is completely clean and put it back in the car, and we will continue on with our day until you yell at me 30 minutes later that you've gotta go again.

We secured a second storage unit and also learned a few new things about our facility that made me swear off ever going there alone and/or at night. When we got home, Aunt Kels was there to keep an eye on the kids so that Rob and I could drive a load of furniture over to the new storage unit. This was a really awesome thing she did for us at the end of a very long day, and I'm so thankful for her and her willingness to help us when she can.

We started the bedtime routine when we got home, and while I ran the kids' bath I let Maddie crawl around the hall near the bathroom. I had made it almost 4 years with small children and never had them choke on something other than food, but tonight Maddie found one of those large pieces of sequins (from WHAT? I have absolutely no idea) on the floor and apparently tried to eat it. All I know is that one minute I was running the bath, and the next I see her coughing and choking, and I just sort of held her up, trying to see in her mouth when she vomited all over my lap and kept struggling. Of course I yelled for Rob and grabbed the bulb syringe (? ok, I panicked) and waited for her to stop being able to take a gasping breath between chokes/vomits, but thankfully she never really stopped breathing or got into serious trouble. After a little bit I saw something shiny in her mouth and swiped through her mouth with a hooked index finger like you're supposed to, and fished out the sequins. Then I held her close and tried not to breathe through my nose because oh my goodness it is for sure now, vomit makes me want to vomit and it's not getting easier like I thought it would once I became a mom and vomit became my second job, mothering being the first.

We tucked the kids in for the night, and since the twin beds are out of both rooms the rest of the furniture has been rearranged, namely Robbie and Ellie's beds. This threw Robbie for a loop, and he voiced fears tonight about the dark, wanting his crib moved back to its original location, etc. We prayed together, I re-tucked Ellie in and he called me back over so that I could listen to him pray to Jesus again.

Robbie: "Dear Jesus, please watch over me while I sleep tonight because the I'm afraid of the darkness and right now it's a lot more light but when mommy leaves and closes the door, it's only a little light and it's darker and that makes me afraid. So Jesus please help me not be afraid and you and God watch me when I sleep."

Oh man, my little guy's first really honest prayer. It broke my heart and made me so happy all at once - to hear him talk about his fear but also to be bringing it to God at the tender age of 3! And trusting that God will take care of him. We talked for a while about the Holy Spirit, and His role in our lives. Which led to a discussion of the trinity (very basic!), and I laughed as I left the room at how some of my best conversations with the kids are the ones before bedtime. Glad I wasn't in a rush tonight, it was sweet time with Robbie.

Dinner was carry out from Smashburger (chicken sandwiches and smashfries... mmm!). And since there's still no great TV to watch, we are enjoying all the real estate shows, namely House Hunters. But also whatever the one is called where the twins in Canada get unsuspecting couples to agree to let them help pick their next home and renovate it, except the twins (who I suspect have high opinions about their own looks) are constantly squashing people's dreams as they start to renovate the newly purchased fixer-upper and come back to the couples saying things like "oh, we found faulty wiring that needs to be completely replaced" or "this plaster won't hold new cabinetry in the kitchen" etc., and then tell the couple the cost of the unanticipated project and watch them change from hopeful about creating their dream home to crestfallen as they realize they now have to choose between a brand new kitchen and adding a bathroom in the master suite. It's sort of a horrible show, but in the end everyone seems happy enough so we keep watching it (?!).

Enough about TV, my pillow is calling and we have a VERY fun but full day planned tomorrow. I promise pictures, and they'll be good...


Funny things to remember about today: Ellie's hilarious and adorable mood; finding Jesus' birthday cake, which had been sitting out on the counter without plastic wrap covering it, with chunks missing and trails in the icing made by little fingers - we have no idea when Robbie even attacked it but we narrowed it down to sometime this morning!; Maddie refusing to give up on crawling towards Robbie's sippy cup, no matter where we moved it to be out of her reach; Robbie acting weird and doing a very awkward dance while I tried to fill out paperwork at the storage facility.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Countdown to the move - Day 33

Today's big event: taking the train downtown with Robbie and Ellie to visit Rob's office and have lunch!

A day of fun to balance out all the work we've done this month... my mom came over this morning to stay at the house with Madeline while the kids and I left to catch a train just before 11am into Chicago.

Robbie checked the schedule on the wall - yep, right on time.

Ellie consulted her hard copy.

Patiently waiting for the train to arrive - we got to the station with plenty of time to spare. You never know with kids what you'll run into.

We moved to the benches outside when the train was due to arrive, and it was chilly so the kids got all snuggly.

So the train ended up being a little late... and waiting was getting boring.

Robbie threatened to go back inside the station because of the cold, so I told them to find their pockets and pull their hoods up. It's amazing how entertaining things like hoods and pockets can be.

Cozy and warm inside the train on the upper deck. Ok, so I look as tired as I feel. Kind of thought I was pulling off the "I'm awake!" look until I saw this picture. Not so much.

Sharing mom's scone.

These two had fun together on the train ride - everything is so novel to them and they are such buddies. I think they enjoyed having all of my attention as well!

A little catnap on the coats.

Group picture!

They got antsy so I broke out the Dots from their Christmas stockings. Still a big hit, even a day later. And they take forever to peel off and eat. BONUS for mom.

We got to Ogilvie and Rob was waiting for us on the platform! He walked us up to his office (he works in the building), which was just renovated. It was beautiful. We caught up with Aunt Megan inside the office and she showed us around the upper level.

Peeking in at Megan's desk.

All the world's a playground when you're 3.

Hiding under the conference room table.

Of course they found a nook that also had a ladder in it. Magnets for trouble, these 2.

Sneaking up on Daddy at one point when he had to slip away to do some work. I love how Rob's coworker is egging Robbie on and playing along! "SShhhhh... don't let him hear you!"

We ate lunch in their new kitchen area which was adorable, and walked around a little while longer before heading back downstairs to catch our train home.

The kids were exhausted. And punchy. It was a lot of work to ensure we weren't making a scene on the train ride home. Probably bad parenting, but I told them the conductor would not be happy with them if he had to ask them to be quiet / sit down / stop kicking each other on the train. Thank goodness it worked! They shaped up.

Mom, you realize it's well past my nap time, right?

Is this kid a Livingston or what?!

Sadly, our fun outing ended poorly. We walked into the space between cars just inside the doors as we were pulling up to College Ave Station, and I had a firm hold of both kids. Additionally, the conductor was standing just behind Robbie on a lower step, and as we braked I held tighter to the kids, anticipating the jolt. Well it might be my imagination but it was a very abrupt stop and I couldn't keep Robbie on his feet. He fell to the side and sort of down one step right into the conductor, and hit the side of his head on one of the metal poles. The upper part of his ear took the impact and somehow bled from the inside (don't worry, not below by the ear drum area). As I was consoling him and trying to get the 3 of us off the train before the doors closed again, I looked up to see a girl from church that I've gotten to know mostly because we are always at the gym at the same time! "Oh, hey! How are you?!" I joked amidst our chaos, crying and blood. She has twin 4 year old boys and they were there with her husband as well, and they helped us get off the train in one piece. Then they stayed nearby (so sweet!) and her boys actually ended up distracting Robbie from his woes. By the time we headed to the car, the kids were all running around playing and laughing together.

All's well that ends well. On the ride back to the house the kids looked like zombies.

When we walked in the door, I gave them milk cups, tucked Robbie in on the couch with Peter Pan and laid Ellie down for a late nap. Auntie Cheryl was home from her Christmas travels and had come over to catch up with my mom while we were out. So we chatted with her for a little while before she left.

We couldn't play all day... so I emptied out my nightstand drawer after feeding Maddie a bottle and putting her in the exersaucer, and sorted junk and receipts. Called a painter to schedule a visit for an estimate on the things we need freshened up before listing the house. Called the doctor to schedule Maddie's 9 month well check up. Called the storage facility to book another unit (who knew we'd be moving so much out of here before we actually moved?!).

Rob came home and we fed the kids dinner. Overheard at the table:
Robbie: Mom, it's garbage night tonight.
Ellie: Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way... Oooohh (pause, trying to remember the next verse)... Old McDonald had a farm (?)...
Robbie: Oh what fun it is to ride!....
Ellie: {whispering, looking over the back of her chair at me as I cut her more oranges} Trust me, mommy... trust me!

It was straight to the tub after dinner since they were literally dripping with orange juice. We put them in warm pj's and snuggled through one episode of Blue's Clues on our bed after Maddie went down. The kids went to bed, I picked dinner up for Rob and I, and we relaxed for the rest of the evening.