Friday, January 27, 2012

Still kicking

We are here... Exhausted and without Internet (thank goodness for the 3G network!) but with happy memories made today as we moved across town. More later. Bed is calling! Thanks for all the well wishes, offers to help, and food you threw our way. We felt very cared for and loved.

Sidenote: I find it unlucky that of ALL the boxes we moved today, the only one that has gone missing is the one that has my undergarments inside of it. I wish I was joking.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Countdown to the move - Day 2

Only 2 days left until we move!
Wednesday mornings are preschool/Bible study mornings, and I wasn't about to give that up just because we are about to move. {Yeah, I like our small group that much.} If we are all healthy, we're there.

We needed to let the painters into the new house again, and they start at 8am. Preschool starts at 9am, and Bible study at 9:30am... so, that meant we left the house at 7:45am, stopped at the new house to unlock it, and got to church 1/2 hour before preschool began. I had packed a picnic breakfast for the kids (including Maddie's oatmeal and prunes!), anticipating the gap of time between activities, and we ate in the church lobby. And yes, I was tired by the time I dropped Robbie off!

I put the girls in their classrooms once Robbie was settled, and had a wonderful morning with my girls at Bible study. Have I mentioned that I love these women? I always leave feeling challenged and encouraged, with deeper relationships to show for the time.

I gathered the kids from their classrooms, and the girls were happy and perky but Robbie is always a hot mess by the time I pick him up. The later night last night had caught up with him and he was all out falling onto the ground in dramatics, begging for a snack and his juice cup and eventually losing his cool in the lobby. We got home and I put all 3 kids down for a nap right away. It took some convincing for Robbie to lay down but after a while he was out like a light. Then of course Ellie woke up an hour later, thus waking him up. I can't win with those 2 at nap time! Maddie woke up as well and everyone was a little cranky.

So I did what most mothers do in my situation - I gave them food and we got out of the house for a change of scenery. Forget packing, you can't get anything done on a normal day with fussy cranky kids underfoot! I took them back over to the house to check the painting progress, and then we stopped in at Miss Kate's store. I let Robbie put the quarter in our parking meter, like always, and they asked to see the compost worms right when they walked in the door. Kate always obliges, even letting Ellie squirt the worms with the water bottle.

I left Kate's store feeling encouraged (as usual - she is the sweetest!), and thankful for the break that stop provided us. We picked up a prescription at Walgreens and a stack of empty boxes on the way home, thanks to our local Christian bookstore Johnsen & Taylor. They are so nice over there in Town Square! I love their boxes for books and small heavy things as we pack.

Then we headed home and I did get a handful of boxes packed while the older two played and Maddie napped - and it would later be apparent that she had actually gone to bed for the night, not just for a nap. Tired girl! I made the kids dinner and played with their food before I served it to them. ;)

Robbie trying to smile like the man on his plate:

I got the kids going with dinner and then sitter arrived so that Rob and I could go to a Family Dedication class at our church. On Sunday we are dedicating Maddie to the Lord, just as we have done with Robbie and Ellie. It's not a baptism, just a public statement that we intend to raise Maddie to know Jesus Christ as the Lord and hopefully lead her one day to know Him as her personal Savior. So tonight was the preparation class... Rob met me over there straight from work, and it ended earlier than it was scheduled to. We stopped at Muldoon's for dinner on the way home and had a mini-date, which was nice! Conversation is such a luxury, especially when it's uninterrupted. And we could use the small break.

We came home and after chatting with the sitter and her husband, said goodbye and boxed up a few more things, and are now heading to bed. Goodnight!

ps. Special thanks to Matt and Suzi for making the evening so fun. :) You can have her back now, Matt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


From the last few days...

Ellie accessorizes her nakedness with Maddie's paci and (what else these days) her winter hat:

Find the baby / try not to pack the baby:

Ellie, smile with the box you just packed for me:

My littlest helper, lining boxes up for me to use in the kitchen:

An important conversation:

"Peanut butter jelly time!" on Dad's iPhone at Chili's while we wait for a table:

Our dining room, currently:

Someone learned her lesson the hard way and will not be unbuckling her car seat buckle while the van is moving. 2 goose eggs and a bloody lip are apparently more effective than mommy's warnings and encouragement to obey the rules. (ps. she is fine!)

Finally, a sippy cup that works for her! Making progress:

Exploring the new house:

A cookie picnic to warm them up to the idea of a new home:

Brother approves:

Sister's not sure what's happening but she's in if Robbie is! (And why are we putting our hands in the air again?)

Still cannot believe some days that these 3 little people are my kids.

Sibling love:


We love Auntie Cheryl!

Countdown to the move - Day 3

TODAY was Day 3 - it's been hard to post at the end of the day and keep up! There's always more to do or pack, and if not we just fall into bed. But today was a big day and I want to get it down before I forget!

We closed on the house this morning. The walk through was at 10am, and the closing meeting at 11am. My mom came to the house and stayed with the kids while Rob and I were out for most of the day. Everything went smoothly and we got the keys. We needed to stop by the old house after the meeting to get ladders and brooms from the garage for cleaning. Then we went straight over to the new house to open it up and get ready for the painting crew, cleaning women and the man installing our blinds. They all came between 1pm and 1:30pm. I made sure everyone had what they needed and didn't have any questions, and then Rob and I ate a quick lunch and headed back to the kids around 3:30pm.

My mom had the house all picked up and the kids were happy (Maddie was sleeping). But I could see my mom's eyes that she was exhausted, and she claimed that all she needed was a little caffeine. I asked her if she had helped herself to the coke in the garage, and she laughed and said "I didn't have time!". I GET THAT. I totally do. Sometimes I get halfway through the day and wonder why I feel irritable, and it's because I've had to go to the bathroom for hours and have been ignoring my own needs. So we caffeinated my mom STAT, and she bounced right back. ;) Then I kicked her out and told my dad, who had stopped by to check in, to take her out to a nice dinner!

We played with the kids and fed them dinner, and then I told them that if they were good and ate all of their dinner and took good baths, that we would have a cookie picnic at the new house before bedtime. They liked the sound of that idea, although Robbie is still slightly nervous and unsure about it all. But I think the cookie part lured them, and so after baths we wrestled everyone into pj's with cups of milk and took off for the new house. Rob and I actually needed to go over and lock up the house behind the blind installation guy, who had just left, as well as take another load of things we would prefer to move ourselves vs. the movers on Friday. So I thought it was a good opportunity to involve the kids and make it fun.

On the drive over I called Auntie Cheryl and invited her to join us, and then picked up coffees for us. The kids were excited to go inside the house, as we've been doing drive-by's for the last few weeks. They knew their bedrooms had been painted today, so they ran upstairs to check them out. Everyone was happy with their room, and then we just let them run around and explore and wrestle. We threw the blanket down on the kitchen floor that I had brought along, and had our cookie picnic somewhere in the middle of the visit. Then more wrestling, which turned into melting and tripping and falling and lots of bumps and tears as bedtime rolled around. Ellie asked to go upstairs to bed, and when Auntie Cheryl explained that her bed wasn't here yet, she asked "Where's the door to leave?". The girl had HAD it! Put me to bed.

We loaded the kids back up in the car a little before 8pm and headed home. It was a very quiet drive back and everyone went right to sleep when we put them to bed. Then Rob and I reheated pizza for dinner, cleaned up the house and tried to sort a few more odds and ends into boxes. Oh, and I sat on the phone with Comcast for 20 minutes only to get halfway through my question and get disconnected! I called right back and somehow my call was answered right away. We spent 15 minutes trouble shooting our modem and router and got the internet connection working again. It had been down all day, and it was a really odd feeling. For whatever reason, our 3G network was down also so our iPhones and iPad were useless as far as data was concerned. But while we were out at the closing meeting it worked just fine. We can't figure it out but it's resolved now.

And now we just throw the rest of our belongings into boxes and head for the finish line - Friday morning!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Countdown to the move - Day 4

Monday was Day 4 - and it would have been posted sooner but our internet was down! {*I wrote it yesterday and am not going back to edit it from present tense to past tense.}

I'm feeling energized and got up and ready before the kids woke up. I don't want to waste any time this week so I think this is a necessity. I brought everyone downstairs ready for the day, passed out milk and as soon as my mom came over we served breakfast. Then I laid Maddie down for her morning nap and while the kids played with Mima, I ran to the dry cleaner and grocery store. When I got back, we all took off for Two Toots - and Mima treated Robbie and Ellie to lunch by themselves while I ran to Babies R Us with Maddie. {Sidenote: we have a diaper genie, the original one, and they do not sell the green garbage liners anymore that go along with it! I have now checked B R Us and Target. I am so annoyed - we have 2 of these diaper pails and nothing to line them with. Thoughts?}

I picked the kids up on my way back, and my mom left from there to volunteer at ReNew. On the way home Ellie unbuckled herself from her car seat, and before I could pull over to buckle her back in, I had to brake just hard enough that she tumbled forward and conked her forehead on the little metal bars in the floor where one of the seats usually is but is currently removed. She bit her lip as well, and I think she learned her lesson the hard way and will not ever unbuckle herself again. I felt awful, obviously. But she has done this before and received stern warnings. What are you going to do? She had quite the pair of goose eggs on her head for the afternoon but they've gone down and she is fine.

The girls took their naps while Robbie played and I worked on my Bible study. It was so nice to have an hour to myself to take a mental break. My friend Suzi stopped by and brought us coffee cake for breakfast to have this week, and we had fun catching up for a few minutes in the foyer while Robbie snuck from box to box pulling out snacks and eating them just out of sight. I could hear the crinkle of wrappers and boxes being opened, but had no idea he was eating my special treat from Whole Foods - French donut holes called Mini-Beignets! He polished off 4 of them before biting into one that was jelly filled, and gave up. Little stinker. I tried one and they are oh so good. I will be back for more! And this time I'll hide them out of reach.

I made a few phone calls before the girls woke up from their naps, and then the kids played while I made dinner.

Rob came home and we put the kids to bed soon after. Then I folded baskets and baskets of laundry while watching The Bachelor.

Monday: The End.

Countdown to the move - Day 5

Sunday was Day 5 of the countdown. We decided to really make a big push to get as much as we could into boxes, and so we stayed home from church and got started early. But not before I ran out to pick up donuts {with sprinkles!} and coffee to celebrate our last weekend as a family in this house. I think there is too much to think to be sad over these little 'last moments'. I'm just thankful that I have my family in tact and that we will all be moving together, simply across town. We have loved this house but the next will feel like home soon enough, and I'm excited for the memories we will make there.

We skipped showers and even putting on clothes, and in our stinky pj's we happily packed until the dining room had stacks of boxes as tall as I am. It was a wonderful day.

I would venture to say it was educational for Rob, as he brought box after drawer after ziplock baggie full of office supplies into the living room to be boxed up. After we spread out and sorted what we thought was all of it, we taped boxes up only to find more binder clips or sharpie markers or notebooks.

I can't help it. Pens and paper and supplies CALL TO ME. They make me want to write and create and organize! Which is ironic, since I have no time for any of that right now. Whatever, the result was a strict rule that no office supplies of any sort are to be purchased for the remainder of my life. Deal. It was slightly embarrassing to discover the hidden stashes, but after dealing with my tea, coffee, and mug obsession these things hardly come as a surprise to Rob anymore. {He hasn't found my lip gloss box and I pray he never happens upon it accidentally. I cannot even explain that one.}

So we literally packed for hours, and my mom came over midday to help entertain the kids so that we wouldn't be bothered. As a result, we are feeling really good about where we stand as far as being 'ready' for the movers on Friday. We still have things left to pack but I think it's doable in our spare time in the evenings after the kids go to bed.

We decided to call it quits around 5pm, in preparation for the big game. I laid Maddie down for her evening nap and took the older 2 kids with me to drop off library books and pick up pizza and salad for dinner. {Ask me how excited I am that we will soon live 1 minute away from Lou Malnati's!} I let the kids eat nuggets and apples in the car as we drove around, and we swung by the new house so that they could see it again. We do this several times a week - by now they are asking by we aren't getting out and going inside! Ellie actually said "Put my boots back on mom, and I go inside the new house!" and I said "Oh no, honey, we're just driving past it to look at it!" and she let out one of her disappointed adolescent sounding "Awwww!"s.

Just as I was serving dinner Cheryl stopped by to check in on us and offer her help, and I enticed her to stay for pizza. The last 2 times she's stopped in, which have been far apart, we have been eating Lou's. It must seem like we eat it all the time! She explained all that she plans to do to help us with the logistics of the move, and I am so grateful for her and her willingness to help. She had thought of moving all of our refrigerator items out of the old house and into the new one the night before the move, which I thought was a brilliant idea. Plus she's coming over to help me execute that. She also has a few awesome ideas to help the kids feel at home and get excited once we bring them to the new house, and I am so grateful for that since I'm sort of at capacity just trying to make sure the logistics are straight. Creativity and thoughtfulness are escaping me, presently.

We put the kids to bed and I headed up early to work on my bible study and take care of the paperwork for Maddie's dedication next Sunday. Rob finished watching the game - hmm, I wonder who won? Seriously don't know - and we went to bed. Thankful for a great day.

Countdown to the move - Day 6

Saturday was Day 6 - I'm falling behind!

Everyone slept in until 7:30am, with the exception of Rob who slept until 8am. My husband is so exhausted and he just keeps moving forward - I don't understand where he comes up with the energy and inner strength sometimes to just. keep. going. But he does, even finding it in himself to remain thoughtful and gentle while feeling pressed. {So many reasons for me to love him, and I do.}

I had an appointment at the new house to get another painting estimate, so I dressed myself and Maddie and the two of us made our way across town. The roads were well plowed so we didn't have any trouble getting there. We received the estimate, decided to hire the company to do all of our interior painting, reevaluated a few of our paint color choices and swapped them for better ones, and picked up lunch on the way home. After lunch we laid the girls down and spent a few hours packing before heading out to Chili's for dinner.

Let me tell you, it is neither restful nor enjoyable to eat out right now. But we were getting stir crazy and I have now packed up our entire kitchen so our options were few. :) We had dinner and Rob took the older 2 to the van before the check came so that I could finish feeding Maddie her baby food and finish my own dinner as well. Without a certain 2 year old kicking me in the elbow and laying all over me. {Bless that husband!}

We detoured to Target on the way home so that I could pick up diapers, formula, milk and a few other essentials. Then we headed home to put the kids to bed. I have zero recollection of what Rob and I did before bed, but it was probably packing or sitting on the couch in a daze! Ha.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Countdown to the move - Day 7

Friday was Day 7, and it was also the day of Rob's company party.

The sitter came in the morning so that I could run out and get a mani/pedi. The day was kind of a blur of keeping the kids happy and fed and napped as I simultaneously tried to pick up the house and get ready for the night. It was snowing pretty hard, and when the came back around 3:30 the roads were already a mess. I made it to the train on time (thankfully!) and rode down with my friends Kris and Emily, which was a lot of fun. The train was packed.

We thought the hardest part about making it to the party was behind us, but we were wrong. Once we met up with Rob at his office (which is in the same building as the train station), we stood outside trying to find a cab for an hour. It wasn't looking good! We thought about taking off and walking the 6 blocks to the hotel where the party was being held, but I was already dressed in my knee-length strapless dress. Although I had on a (dressy and short) winter coat and boots, I was already freezing. Somehow we found other company employees nearby who were in the same predicament as us, and they were being picked up by someone in an SUV. We were invited to join them in that SUV, and when it pulled up Rob ushered the girls and I in, and when it was obvious that we were one seat short, he shut the door and took off to walk the 6 long blocks in the blizzard to the hotel where the party was, in his dress shoes. I was so proud of my chivalrous husband! And we all felt awful for having a cozy ride, knowing he was trudging through the snow.

We all made it to the party, and everyone had their own story of how awful it was to make it there. But the party was very nice, as it always is, and we enjoyed having a nice dinner together without the kids! We got a cab back to the train station and made it without a problem. We even had a few minutes to spare so I had time to change out of my dress, which was a good move because by the time we got to our cars in the train station parking lot, they were covered in snow. Rob dutifully brushed and scraped snow and ice off of the van while I sat inside, then did his own car. The moral of the story of this night is that I have a pretty great husband who takes good care of me (and everyone else). It's nothing I didn't already know or appreciate but I was reminded with every selfless act.

We drove home to find that we couldn't pull into the driveway - there was probably 5-7 inches of snow on the ground plus the big pile of crusty hard snow that the snowplow lovingly leaves at the base of your driveway. So we pulled our cars up to the curb, and again Rob made me go inside with the sitter while he shoveled her car out of the driveway so that she could leave to go home. Then he stayed up and finished the rest of the driveway. It was after midnight by the time we got to bed, and we have never been so tired. A night like this after the week/month we've had was exhausting. Rob actually slept in the next morning until 8am, and we think it was a first since we've been married that he woke up after me.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Countdown to the move - Day 8

Yesterday was Day 8 - Thursday.
I had our sitter come over in the morning so that I could run some errands, including returning the dress I had originally picked out for Rob's company party on Friday night and hopefully finding a different one. I don't know what got into me when I picked out the first one, but it was sequins with horizontal stripes in 2 shades of charcoal. Really cute, but not me at all. I like to try and blend in at events like this, not wear something that screams "look at me!". So I found another dress pretty easily which was great since the party is in 36 hours. It's black and simple. :)

I got home and Maddie was ready for a nap, so after putting her on the kitchen floor while I made her a bottle we headed upstairs for some quiet time.

This is her favorite position when she's just hanging out watching what's going on around her - she rolls onto her side from her belly and it makes my back hurt to watch her twist like this!

Below: My little yogi. I'm so proud. I think Maddie was attempting a modified 'side plank'. She's certainly got 'happy baby' nailed.

Just like our days in this house, these days of her taking a bottle on my lap are numbered and coming to an end.

Both girls napped and I forget what Robbie and I did during that time! But when the girls woke up, they were in very sisterly moods. Ellie helped Maddie keep her balance while standing.

Had a moment of shoe envy and tried to jam her foot into Maddie's dress shoes.

And played 'where's the paci?'.

The afternoon passed in a blur of picking up the house, breaking up fights, and getting one last nap in for Maddie before we left to have dinner at our friends' house.

Kris and Steve just moved this year, also across town, into a beautiful house that they built. They invited us over for dinner, knowing that it's really not easy to cook decent meals for your family just before you move! The kids and I went over around 5, and the dads got home from work around 6. We had fun catching up, and our kids loved playing together. Robbie and Jack wrestled, which was awesome to Robbie. Jack also has a train table in his bedroom, so whenever we couldn't find Robbie we knew just where he was. I went up to check on him once and found him using Jack's bathroom. You know, like he's been potty trained for years and can just find a potty when he needs one and use it perfectly. Anyways, I was incredibly proud of him! Ellie and Molly are the same age, and are still in the independent play phase. It'll be fun to watch them play together as they get older though, because their personalities are very similar! And they are both hilarious and adorable.

We fed the kids dinner at Kris' island counter, and thankfully neither of my kids fell off the stools (*I was a little worried). I had talked to both kids before we left, explaining that whatever Mrs. Roth served them for dinner would be wonderful and yummy, and that I expected them to try at least one bite of everything and to say thank you for their dinner. I said in the unlikely event that they didn't like what they were served, they could try it and then quietly tell me that they didn't care for it.

Well Kris served hot dogs, apples, raspberries, animal crackers... a kid's dream dinner! Robbie was thrilled, and Ellie's a little dust buster so they were fine.

I scooted Maddie's high chair close to Ben while he ate his dinner, and turned my back for 2 minutes and this is how I found them:

Oh my word if those 2 aren't the cutest babies you've ever seen! They seem very serious about their relationship.

After dinner Kris served the kids a cake that her kids had helped her make. The adults were sitting at the table, and I could hear Robbie praying again over his dessert so I walked over to listen and this is what I heard:
"Dear Jesus, Thank you for Mrs. Roth's cake."
Kris said that might be one of the only prayers of thanks God has heard for her cooking! Hilarious, but untrue. She made us a fabulous dinner and we were so grateful and satisfied.

We didn't head for the door until after 8pm! All the kids were melting, running into things, etc. It was getting comical. As we walked towards the front to put our shoes on, Jack was head down in the exersaucer with his legs in the air. A wonderful send off if you ask me! I'm still laughing at the thought of that sight.

Ellie tried to put herself to sleep on our way out.

We got home and put the kids right to bed - they were all asleep within minutes of their heads hitting the pillow. Isn't that wonderful when it happens? We needed a few necessities from the grocery store so I went back out in the 5 degree weather and raced home to tuck into our warm bed.

Another wonderful day, much to be thankful for and sweet memories to take across town!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An honest take on parenting

More encouragement for those of us raising kids... click the link below to read it. Well said, Glennon.

And to the anonymous person who led me to this article in the comments of my last post - thank you! (Who are you?)

Countdown to the move - Day 9

Yesterday was Day 9, and it was Wednesday.
I have been looking forward to this day for a long time because our Wednesday morning Bible Study started back up at church. Our small group of women reunited (plus one - excited to get to know her!), and it felt so good to be back around that familiar table. I have loved every group I've been able to be a part of but this one is unique. I'm so thankful for it.

Getting the kids up and out the door is always a juggling act, and this morning we had to be out by 8 before someone else came to do a few things around the house. The kids were not especially obedient and I was tired from having woken up the night before at 3am unable to get back to sleep quickly, which made me less than patient and less able to put energy into coaxing them into clothes, shoes, coats, and hats and away from toys that needed to stay picked up. Sometimes I think it's a small miracle that we go anywhere, when the baby is crying in her carseat for a bottle while the older 2 run away from me as I try to dress them for the cold weather and convince them their breakfast (milk cups and baggies of cereal) are in the van.

I lost my temper and yelled at the kids before we even left the house, which I think might have worried Robbie because even though he went to the bathroom at my insistence before we left the house, he completely unloaded his bladder in his car seat on our way to Bible Study/Preschool. I was so disappointed, mainly because I only pack one spare pair of pants and one or 2 pairs of extra underwear in his backpack for preschool. So I pulled over and made him try again on the car potty before changing him out of sopping wet pants and into his only spare pair of underpants and jeans. Since his car seat was soaked I had to buckle him into the car without it, which made me so nervous.

Then Ellie dumped her baggie of cereal all over the car, and when I ordered my coffee and drove away I realized they didn't make it right and it was too strong and not very sweet. I think I was just feeling irritable because my jeans felt too snug and uncomfortable (which is fair, my gym attendance lately has been lacking), and I also hate not having a shower each morning and yet I had showered last night and woke up this morning with curly hair, so I went with it and skipped the shower, opting for the curling iron instead to save time. Yuck. Not doing that again, I felt dirty all day!

I felt a little defeated and it was only 9am when we pulled up to church to take Robbie to his Preschool class first. Just one of those days where things seem to go wrong if given the chance, no matter how insignificant. When I dropped the girls off, I realized that Ellie was not placed in the same class as her best friend Fallon (whose mom is my good friend Kacey). It was a huge bummer since they had been in class together last semester and both Kacey and I had been talking to the girls about how fun it would be for them to reunite again in their class!

I brought Maddie with me at first so that I could try to feed her oatmeal before putting her in the nursery but it was too loud and busy for her to concentrate. She did fine without it, even napping in the swing in her class! Sweet baby.

Robbie and Ellie had done just fine, and Robbie's teachers gave him a glowing report about how well he had done using the bathroom all morning. One teacher said that he actually does have to go more frequently than the other kids, but that he does a good job now paying attention to it and going when he needs to, and even when he doesn't if a teacher asks him to try before going to the gym, etc. I was so proud of him and relieved that he hadn't had another accident since we had no back up clothes and it was below freezing outside!

We made our way home, picking up lunch on the way as is our Wednesday routine. All 4 of us are tired by the time we get home, so we eat fast and then everyone naps or rests. I tried laying Robbie down for a nap along with Ellie because he was so tired and hasn't napped in maybe 2 or 3 weeks? No go. I have to give up the dream of him ever napping again. He rested for an hour or so which was good.

The kids played in the family room while I fed Maddie again in the kitchen and then started to work on cleaning out the cedar closet in the basement that was full of clothes no one is wearing right now. I wasn't feeling well - sort of dizzy - and so the fact that the kids played well all afternoon together with minimal fights needing my intervention was much appreciated. Even the one time both kids showed up at the top of the basement stairs naked turned out to be a blessing - Ellie wanted to try using the potty so we sat there together for a little while and she actually peed on it! I put her in a pull-up for the rest of the night and although she tried before bed, she didn't have any repeat success. I was proud of her effort though.

I got the closet cleaned out, which took hours, and brought all the tupperware bins up to the living room. Box count: 7-10! The kids had all the cushions off the couch and were playing in them on the floor when Rob walked in. I said I was picking my battles. :) I made chili for dinner and we fed the kids while Rob cleaned up the family room and kitchen, bathed them, put them to bed, and ate dinner ourselves.

I was thankful for the good parts of the day in light of a hard morning! And now we are in single-digits as we count down and get ready to move, which makes me feel very conflicted. I cannot believe I actually have moments where I feel like "What have we done? I don't want to move!" because really, I know that I do. It's just unnerving to face transition, and I think more so when your kids are involved and you don't know how it's going to unfold for them. I think I'll feel better once I spend some time thinking through what is best for them the day we move and the first day at the house, what I can do to make it a fun transition and not scary or sad, etc. I haven't gone that far down the road in my mind yet, and I think the Type-A planner side of me is panicking that there is not a fully formed plan in place yet!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My friend Becky...

...has the greatest encouragement (or maybe a challenge?) for moms today on her blog. You can read it by clicking this link HERE.

Countdown to the move - Day 10

Yesterday was Day 1o - Tuesday.
Kind of a rough day since Maddie ended up having a worrisome breathing episode the night before and needed to be checked out. Everything was fine, but it was late by the time she and I finally crawled into bed. So I was not at my best the next day, tired and a little anxious still from the night before.

One of our sitters was scheduled to come over in the morning so that I could get some packing done, but instead I slept in with the kids until she arrived, and spent the time showering and going to the grocery store. Then my mom came so that I could go to the doctor, and by the time I got home we all needed a nap or rest. So she left and we all laid down.

The afternoon was pretty mundane, picking up, running laundry and doing dishes. Then my friend Carly dropped off dinner for us, which was really humbling. She also moved homes recently (in-town, like us), and I hate that I had no idea what a gift it can be to bring a meal to a family that is trying to pack up and move. I wish I could rewind time and do the same thing for her in the days before her move! Now I know. I'm so thankful for the ways that my friends teach me about serving each other, and about expanding my sensitivity and compassion. Thank you again, Carly!

Rob's train was slow so he was a little later than usual, and so I fed the kids dinner and put them to bed on my own. It wasn't especially pretty, and so he helped calm them down and settle them in to sleep right after he came in. Then he let me escape to the gym for a much needed run. Some days are like this, right?!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Countdown to the move - Day 11

Yesterday, Monday, was Day 11 of the countdown to our move.
It was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which meant Rob was home from work for the day. Too bad holidays are overshadowed by the moving process right now, or we would have done something more fun with the day!

Instead, we hung out upstairs while the painter finished his work around the lower level of the house. Then we all started to get stir crazy and lose our minds, so I took the older 2 kids to Target while Rob stayed home with Maddie while she napped.

We brought lunch home and the painting was finished, so we ate at the kitchen table (GASP!).
Still wet, so the knobs were off, but the cabinets look great in a bright new shade of white!

Ellie took a nap, Maddie hung out with me in the kitchen and snacked on Cheerios and prune/apple juice, and I started packing up our mixing bowls, tupperware, and other things that we don't need for the next 2 weeks.

Rob worked on packing the garage while Robbie played in the family room with trains, his Leapster... let's be honest, I really have no idea what he was playing with but he was occupied.

Then at just the right moment, Kelsey called to say she needed a study break and could she come play with the kids? {UM, YES}

She helped me bundle them up and took them outside to play in the snow. Good thing, because I'm a horrible mother and had no intention of taking them outside to play! Too much to do, didn't really want Maddie out in the frigid temperatures, etc. Everyone needs an Aunt Kelsey in their life (kids and moms included).

Ellie looked hilarious and adorable to me in this getup... is it the tiny body and huge hat? I can't figure it out. But I love it.

Oh my word. Those eyes. The lips and cheeks.

Packing just takes forever, doesn't it?! I got about 10 boxes done and I must have about 100 to go because when you look at the places I packed things up, they aren't empty. Sheesh. {And I thought being a mother eliminated any sense of satisfaction of being able to complete a task. It makes me happy and fulfilled but it sure doesn't make you feel like you've gotten much done! Packing = the very same feeling.}

I just found Ann Voskamp's January Joy Dare HERE, and want to follow along.
Here's my catch-up...

1. 3 things about yourself you are grateful for: my health, my compassionate side, my love for writing.
2. A gift outside, inside, on a plate: mild temperatures in January, freshly painted cupboards, dinner that will come from a friend this evening.
3. 3 lines you overheard that were graces: "We are best friends..." {the kids}, "I have felt the same way you are describing and it's hard..." {a friend who shares a similar internal struggle}, "She's so sweet, we're sad to see her move up to the next class because we enjoy her in here..." {childcare workers in Maddie's class about a little girl who needs to move on from the 'crawlers' room to the 'walkers' room - they really love the kids!}.
4. One gift old, new, & blue: God's Word, our new home, my kids' matching blue eyes that watch me every day
5. Something you're reading, you're making, you're seeing: Humility by C.J. Mahaney, a book about our old and new house for the kids to help them understand the transition, my own faulty ways of thinking about my abilities and limitations vs. the way God has made me and sees me.
6. One thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart: my lost-without-it day planner, homemade roasted tomato basil soup, the desire to be courageous.
7. 3 graces from people you love: Kelsey's gift of time yesterday, my mom's willingness to help me with the kids in the next 2 weeks, Rob's quiet help around the house as the tasks pile up.
8. Light that caught you, a reflection that surprised you, a shadow that fell lovely: the early sunsets this month, walking down the street with my 3 kids (so many blessings in just 3 years), the dark spaces in the arboretum that go unnoticed.
9. A gift in your hand, a gift you walked by, a gift you sat with: Our Arboretum and Gym membership cards {places that give me energy in different ways}, a dear friend at church in the hallway, a bowl of soup and a piece of chocolate cake.
10. A gift that's sour, a gift that's sweet, a gift that's Just. Right. : the limitation of time, waterproof mascara from a dear friend who knows the tears that will come, flowers from my husband.
11. 3 yellow things that strike you as fresh mercy: sunshine during a dreary month, candlelight, tulips as I enter my favorite grocery store.
12. Something above you, something below you, something beside you: A great cloud of witnesses, lovely new rain boots from my parents for Christmas, Maddie content to be with me as I cook, pack, write...
13. 3 sounds you hear: happy shrieks from the baby, endless clacking of plastic trains on plastic tracks, nonstop singing and the narration of everything as it unfolds.
14. 3 ways you glimpsed the startling grace of God: observing another's heart that warms to the things of God as He is rediscovered, studying Colossians, health when illness was feared.
15. One thing you wore, one thing you gave away, one thing you shared: daily my cherished engagement ring and wedding band, my time for others in little ways (on the phone, in the church nursery), my experience as a first time mom with a friend who has a new baby and is uncertain.
16. 3 ways you witnessed happiness today: Robbie eating snow and expressing contentment around the dinner table as we spent a quite evening as a family, Ellie being picked up by anyone, Maddie with her siblings.
17. One gift that made you laugh, one gift that made you pray, one gift that made you quiet: Ellie's dancing while she watched Wonder Pets, a friend's vulnerability in sharing her chronic pain and current struggle with it, traveling in the car by myself.

Counting joy brings a new sense of thankfulness.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Latest and greatest

Robbie and Ellie are so hilarious right now, and I know this phase will be over before we know it which is so sad.

After our big snowfall last week, Robbie was looking out the window and said "Mommy, I can see the snow but I can't see any grass. The grass is hiding under the snow because it needs privacy."

And then, to Ellie while they played for the 100th time with a box containing Robbie's comforter that simply needs to be taped up and labeled for the move, "Ellie you can curl up in this box like an armadillo!"

Ellie can be heard saying:
"Leapsturd" for Leapster
"Baby Soup" for bathing suit
"Macktin Akerikta" for Captain America
"I HAVE A CRUSTY!" for anytime anything is stuck to her that she doesn't like, food or dirt

And the other day, the kids had been particularly naughty all morning, and after a pleasant afternoon, I must have taken a deep breath as I sat down to rest because Ellie was right next to me saying "Mom? Sometimes you are frustrated? Don't be frustrated, Mom. Just take a deeeeeeeeep breath!"

I love these two and the precious things that come out of their mouths.

Countdown to the move - Day 12

Today was Day 12, Sunday.
Why are Sunday mornings so exhausting?! We went to church (noteworthy: Maddie moved up a room and is now in the Snails class where everyone crawls and eats cheerios! Adorable. Embarrassing: I was looking back at Ellie as we walked through the hallway because she was lolly-gagging and I ran smack into someone. Although I knew him, aren't those moments always just mortifying? Then I walked out of church without my purse. I was not feeling like I had my act together this morning!). We came home, ate lunch quickly, and put the girls to bed. We tried unsuccessfully to nap Robbie because let's face it, Rob and I were hoping to get a nap in as well.

Rob scored huge points by letting me crawl back into bed while he kept half an eye on Robbie. I slept for 2 hours and it was glorious. Meanwhile, we did not realize that while Rob rested his eyes on the couch, a certain 3 year old snuck away to scavenge the kitchen. Only later in the day (including just now at 10pm!) did we discover what Robbie had gotten into... the sugar bowl (floor was covered with sugar and I could see finger poke marks in the dish), as well as my dessert cereal Reese's Puffs (laying sideways and open on the living room couch) among other things. Apparently Robbie inherited my sweet tooth.

After my nap the girls were up and the kids were basically mine since the Giants were on today! I tried to keep the kids occupied while I also made lasagna for dinner. I've been a little anxious to get back into my kitchen so I made it a big night and baked a chocolate cake, too. Deprive a cook of her kitchen for a week and culinary therapy will be in order. Carry out holds very little appeal to us anymore. I'm sad to begin packing up my kitchen this week! I may start to dream about the first meals I cook in the new house. But enough about that.

The face plates we got the kids for Christmas have been a lot of fun to use. I called tonight's dinner "Afro Lasagna" (with cucumber earrings and a cucumber beard/mustache). Also notable, Robbie discovered tonight that he loves garlic bread and asked to have it tomorrow morning for breakfast.

I gave Maddie a sippy cup of water and some puffs as I cooked and she kept me company, sweet thing.

I love this little scene...

I gave Maddie her baby food and milk bottle as I ate with one hand. Lately she's been messing with her bottle while we try to feed her - and won't finish her milk, ever! I don't know if she's tired of it or likes her food better or what the deal is. Tonight she kept squeezing the nipple as the bottle was tilted towards her face and this happened...

Too cute. It surprised her.

Robbie wanted to make faces in my camera phone so we goofed off while the girls finished eating.

Never one to miss out on an opportunity to goof off...

He loves his baby sister and was trying to help her figure out how to use her sippy. Something was hilarious!

I cannot believe how big Maddie is getting. I feel like I was just taking pictures of her all naked and tiny as a newborn. We snapped a picture just the two of us before bath time.

I let all 3 kids start off in the bath together. I usually have to keep 2 hands on Maddie as she frequently loses her balance between her rowdy siblings in the water. But something has shifted without my notice, and tonight she needed zero assistance from me!

While I was significantly bummed out by her independence (why do babies have to grow up!?), I was happy to snap way too many bath time pictures.

The Bath Sessions...

And then Ellie refused to let me wash Maddie, insisting that she could do it by herself (a theme lately...)

We wrapped slippery wet kids in warm towels and dressed them in fresh pj's. Once Maddie was tucked into her crib, the older two nested between Rob and I in our bed with sippys of milk for one episode of Olivia. This is the kids' favorite end-of-day ritual. Robbie always starts out by Rob, with Ellie by my side, and then halfway through Robbie asks to switch places with Ellie so that he and I can snuggle too. They both went to bed without a fuss, even though I thought Ellie would not be tired because of her midday nap and let her take a book to bed. She was out in record time! Lesson learned.

Rob and I watched the Golden Globes and then he tucked in just as I was starting to get this post together. There is something wonderful about looking back over images from the day before going to sleep, remembering the sweet things the kids did or said, seeing their adorable faces in all of these pictures that I know I'll be glad I took in the years to come (even though it always seems like overkill now). It has helped me appreciate what I have, WHO I have, much more than simply thinking about how tired I am at the end of the day or what I need to accomplish tomorrow. Just enjoying each day for what it brings, and not getting too far ahead of myself, is a good practice.

That being said, I packed zero boxes today. At some point this needs to change. If I keep saying things like this at the end of every post, I'll actually start to pack again, right?