Somewhere Between a Baby and a Big Girl

Kaitlin has been wanting to try sleeping in her BGB (big girl bed) since we took our trip to Omaha. While in Omaha she slept on a make shift bed instead of a crib and she has been talking about her "own bed" ever since. Last night she actually crawled into her BGB, so we transfered all her favorite stuffed animals, blankets and pillows to let her try it out. She was thrilled. We read Goodnight Moon, gave her the pacifier that she still gets to sleep with, and kissed her goodnight. I was thinking the minute we shut the door she would be out of bed and we would have to put her back in the crib. Minutes spanned into an hour. We turned on the baby monitor and silence. She had fallen asleep in her BGB. I was shocked and I must confess a little sad. My baby is growing up. I think Max was a little bewildered about the tears welling up in my eyes. At times it seems the restless nights and never a moment for ourselves all day will never end. Then at moments like this it is so poignant how quickly it all goes by. She is on the verge of officially leaving the baby stage forever. While I am eager to watch her take flight part of me wants to hold her back and keep her my sweet, little baby forever. I guess that is probably a mommy thing. Growing pains for sure.
I was just the slightest bit happy when at midnight she awoke crying. I think she was confused and disorientated in her new bed. We tried a few times to soother her but ultimately going back in the crib is what she wanted. I smiled when I woke up. I guess she hasn't crossed over just yet. I have a few more stolen moments of babyhood to soak up.

Diaper Duty

Today I took on the Museum of Nature and Science with the kids and I lost-majorly! This was our first visit since Hank was born. I thought I had a handle on it. I thought I could swing it. I was wrong.

As we were driving down to the museum, I was mentally patting myself on the back for getting all the kids dressed, hair done, shoes on, pottied, diapered, a shower for me, and lunches packed before 9 a.m. For Pete's sake I even had healthy stuff like grapes and oranges. I had nursed Hank and changed him right before we walked out the door. I was only ten minutes late. I was thinking, not too shabby momma, see you can do this 4 kid thing. With my led foot problem we even arrived on time to meet our friends. Cathy and I were sorely out numbered at a rate of 7 kids aged 7 and under to 2 adults. But we are old pros at this, so I thought...

At our first exhibit Hank started to get a little noisy, so I though I would put him in the Maya to fall sleep. I picked him up and instantly felt wet. As a mom, you know immediately what has happened. You would like to think he spit-up and somehow it reached his bottom or that some of your water you have yet to drink somehow dripped on him, but no. You know instantly that the baby has exploded poop all out of his diaper and there is some now resting on your hand. You brace yourself to see just how bad the blow out is and just how much fecal matter is on you. I took a peek and it was bad. But it appeared that me picking him up had caused it and it was just starting to leak up his outfit and out the leg hole. Unfortunately it was all over my hand. I rushed to the nearest bathroom with the shirt I had thrown in at the very last minute, wipes and a diaper. By the time I reached the bathroom the poop was running down my forearm. Thankfully the bathroom was empty, but it didn't have a changing table. There was a large counter that extended off the sink. It was that or the floor. So I grabbed a bunch of paper towels and attempted to not contaminate the counter. Let me abbreviate the rest of this diaper change and just tell you it is impossible to get the poop covered outfit off the kid without getting poop all over the kid and yourself. It was messy. Right in the middle of it a lady walks in. I am mortified. How disgusting to be changing a fecal infested baby on the counter near the sink. Hank is naked but half of him is covered in pea green soup colored poop. I apologize to the lady and she replies, "we have all been there." Thank you Lord for sending a kind woman and not one that would report me to the museum staff who would then throw me out. I washed him all up and then attempted to scrub up to my armpits with soap and water. YUCK! Now what to do with the outfit? Throw it away? I just couldn't. It is one of my favorite outfits. So I wrapped it in 10 paper towels and threw it in the bottom of the stroller.

Back out with Cath and the kids I put Hank in the Maya and all was well for the next 2 hours. We then stopped to have lunch and I nursed Hank. I burped him and we were going to go see the dinosaur bones. That is until he puked up half of his meal all over the front of me. So I went to set him in his car seat that has one of those head and body support cushions in it so I could wipe myself off. There were no visible signs of poop but as I set him in it and my fingers felt that immediate wet doom. When he had blown out, it shot down between the cushion and the car seat. I lifted the cushion to discover a poop pool in the bottom of the seat and all over the bottom buckle. Now what to do with the car seat? Throw it away? I just couldn't. I had to get Hank home. So, I used every last wipe I had and cleaned it as best I could.

Well, the only positive at this point was that I had already had lunch. Now that I have been up to my elbows in baby poop twice and spit- up down the front of me, I think it is time for a shower and some laundry. I now see all to clearly that this mama ain't got it together.

No Joke

I am always up for a good laugh and happy to provide a good laugh for others. Recently we were at Barnes and Noble searching for a gift. After I drug the four kids all around the store searching for this book a nice employee came up to me to see if she could help. I can imagine how I looked hauling Hank around in his car seat with one arm, holding hands with Kaitlin with my other. My purse had slipped down my arm that I was holding Kaitlin's with and was lightly dragging on the floor. Karlie was holding Kaitlin's other hand and Hailey was trailing behind us. Of course there were plenty of "no, don't touch that, and no you can't have that, and oh, shhh Hank, it's ok we are almost done" comments as I drug them through the store. I had a bit of baby spit-up on my shoulder, my unwashed hair in a pony tail, no make-up on, and I think both my shoes were tied. I must have looked as frazzled as I felt for the lady to leave her post at the information desk to seek me out or maybe she could see a future melt down about to occur and was hoping to shoo us on our way before we disrupted the entire store.

Anyway, she was kind enough to help me locate the book. She asked politely if there was something she could help me find. I happily said, oh that would be wonderful if you could help me find Taking Charge of Your Fertility. She tried very hard to conceal the smirk and little giggle that escaped as she quickly turned and said, "Oh, yes, I know right where that book is." She led us to it and handed it to me with a grin from ear to ear. I could have said it was a gift, or that we had that surgically taken care of, but I just smiled and said thank you. I am sure she was thinking I should have invested in that book a little sooner. :)

Christmas in July?

I walked into Kaitlin's room and found this interesting arrangement. Hailey is the only one that could have reached the fan, so I called her into the room to inquire about it. She replied, "its a real life crayon ornament with real crayons." I see that, but what exactly is it? Hailey said, "it is a Christmas ornament that I made for Kaitlin. She can hang it on the tree at Christmas." Of course, how could I be so silly. She then informed me "that you know crayons can go on a Christmas tree!"

So does this mean I have to keep it here until Christmas?

Olympics 2012

The girls completed their summer gymnastics class this week and got to try out all the events. I think they will be ready for the 2012 Olympics. :) Watching the older teens do their routines it was apparent to me what incredible strength and talent it takes for olympic gymnast. Watching them bound and flip across the floor looks effortless, but seeing "real" girls attempt some of the maneuvers showed just how difficult it really is.

This was Kaitlin's first session of gymnastics. She is fearless and eager to try everything.The Bars.
The Beam.
The Rings.
This is the "Peter Pan belt" that hoists the kids in the air so they can learn to do flips. Kaitlin's age group just gets to fly like Tinker Bell. Kaitlin kept saying, "more, more!"


Karlie is light as a feather and seems to be a natural at gymnastics.
Here she is up on the big beam.
You can see how high the cargo net goes up to the ceiling on the left hand side with a big foam pit below.
Karlie started to climb to the top. Here she is about half way up. That is when we yelled to her to come back down. I was afraid she would get up and then not be able to figure out how to get back down. She did great and next time, mommy won't be such afraidy cat and will let her go as high as she wants.
Karlie flying on the Peter Pan belt. I wasn't able to get Hailey. She was so fast it came out blurry. She did multiple flips in the air. Looks like fun!
Here is Hailey at the very top. They have a cow bell that you ring. She rang it with all her might and I gasped. She is so strong and courageous. Hailey's best event is the rings. She can hold herself upside down and make the L shape. She makes it look easy. I doubt if I could even hang on and swing myself.

What a fun summer of gymnastics we have had. I think Kaitlin and I will continue the Parent-Tot class but the big girls think they may try Tae Kwon Do.

3 Months Old

My how time flies. I can't believe Hank is already 3 months old. He weighs 12 pounds, nearly double his birth weight. He has the sweetest smile with faint little dimples. He coos and is regarding his hand. He has started to try and grab his toy that hangs from his car seat handle.
He still nurses ALL the time but gives me a 4-5 hour stretch each night. He smiles at his sisters when ever they come near him and he prefers ladies to hold him. He has decided our bed is a much better place to be than the bassinet. I will pay for this later, but it gives me a little more sleep now. He looks pretty happy with Max.

Family Reunion Omaha 2008

Here is the whole crew! Back row: Clayton, Kerrie, Snork, Max
Middle Row: Scott, Chrysti, Mom, Grama Helen, Me, Hank, Mel, Colin
Front Row: Titus, R.J., Karlie, Kaitlin, Hailey, Maximus

Most of the pictures I took were in the car. I guess that was when I had the time and that is what we did for most of the trip. It was a long drive with Mr. Hank. He still likes to nurse frequently and car seats and seat belts are not conducive to that. We made many stops but made it in 8 hours each way.

The older kids did great. Once again I will say what a life saver car DVD players are. Our new car has one built into it and wireless head phones so the kids were sucked into the TV completely. They got these mouth open, zombie stares and the miles just flew by for them.
It was nice to meet Snork's whole side of the family. We also went to the Coco Key water park. It had 5 indoor water slides, a kiddie play area, a splash zone, and a lazy river. It was very kid friendly but not pocketbook friendly. The kids had a blast and we played until Kaitlin got so tired she had a nuclear meltdown and couldn't stop crying. She was asleep before we even left the parking lot. We also played at the hotel pool on Saturday, which was nice and relaxing.
Gramma Nette made the girls matching shirts and skirts. I couldn't resist getting Hank a pair of red shorts too. They looked so cute.



Here is my picture of heaven on a car trip. Yes, for about an hour all four kids were asleep. :)

Happy Birthday Mel!


Happy Birthday sister! We love you and hope you have a wonderful day.

The Difference Between Mom and Dad

I guess this is a 2 for Tuesday!Hank had a pretty fussy day yesterday and was only content when nursing or in my arms. It was frustrating because the house was in utter chaos and needed a good cleaning in a bad way. So I managed to vacuum, mop, clean the bathroom and the kitchen and get 3 loads of laundry done. Oh and then there is bathing the older kids, getting a shower myself, and taking Kaitlin to parent-tot gymnastics thrown in too. Hank cried some but mostly I got to carry an extra 12 pounds around with me all day.

Max got home late and I had promised Hailey I would take her to get her a clip lamp for her bed so she can read after bedtime. I also was looking forward to being 12 pounds lighter for just an hour. Hailey and I dashed off to Walmart and when we returned I found my beautiful, sweet girls resembled members of the Hells Angles!
Karlie took up a new career interest as a tattoo artist. She applied 12 tattoos to herself and Kailtlin. When I asked Max what happened, his reply was "that I was only trying to have one screaming child at a time." OK, but did you have to let her use all the left over tattoos from the pirate and princess party we had? What would have happened if I had been gone longer? I am sure the nail polish would have been next. :)
Interestingly, Karlie choose to give Kaitlin all the Pirates of the Caribbean tattoos and used the Tinkerbell ones for herself.
I especially like the skull on Kaitlin's foot. And that is the difference between mom and dad with a fussy baby.

Camping With a New Baby

We love the outdoors and love to camp. But trying to camp with a new baby isn't exactly my idea of a good time. The girls have been begging Max to do a camp out in the backyard and last weekend he surrendered.
All three girls and Max piled into our two man tent from our B.C. (before children) days that had a fragrance similar to rotting cheese. The girls brought their blankies, their stuffed animals, their pillows, their books and flashlights. Max must have been so comfortable and had a restful night of sleep. I on the other hand climbed into our bed with fresh sheets, 3 pillows and Hank. It was rough, but I managed. Around 10p.m. Karlie came into my room and said she was getting her bed. I guess she had had enough of "camping." Kaitlin and Hailey stuck it out the whole night much to Max's chagrin.
Since we didn't get to make S'mores Hailey suggest we have S'mores pancakes. That had never occurred to me. Max put chocolate chips and tiny marshmallows in the batter. When the marshmallows cooked they turned into little sugar pits. They were a huge hit and I can see they will be a new menu item at our house. I think I might like this type of camping! :)

Happy Birthday Scott!

Have a great day and enjoy your trip to Florida! We have a little something for you when you get back.

Congratulations Sam and Heather!

We are thrilled to welcome another precious nephew to the family.  Baby Arthur arrived today weighing 8 pounds and 10 oz!!  Both mom and baby are doing well.

One Hulu of a Deal

Max and I don't get out much and we pretty much only watch sports on T.V. PBS kids is the main feature at our house. If you figure the cost to go have dinner, see a show, and pay for a sitter, we are looking at a months worth of diapers for two kids! My brother-in-law, Scott, introduced us to Hulu. It is a FREE web streaming site where you can watch movies and TV shows via the web. It has classics like Ghostbusters and The Breakfast Club to realitively new movies like Knocked Up. This is like finding a pot of gold for Max and me. We can tuck the kids in and catch up on all those movies we missed over the years for free!  So check it out.

Go Figure

Lately Hailey has been very interested in looking on items to see where they are made. After a few days of this and reading the small American flag she had was made in China, she exasperatedly asked me if everything was made in China. I had to laugh.



Last night while eating our homemade Chinese food which consists of sesame chicken, white rice, and steamed broccoli; we had the sesame seeds, the soy sauce, and the chili paste on the table. Hailey grabbed the sesame seeds and read the back with excitement, "Mom these are made in the U.S.A.!" We remarked how funny that was because they had Chinese (I think) writing on the front. Next she looked on the back of the Kikkoman soy sauce and sure enough it was made in the good old U.S.A too. We a laughed at the irony when she read the back of the chili paste and it was made in California. So while it seems nearly everything is made in China, our Chinese dinner was 100% made in America. Go Figure.

The Beginnings of our Great Nation

Happy Fourth of July!
"My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!" ~Thomas Jefferson

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
Benjamin Franklin

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
John Adams

“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
Patrick Henry

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
Thomas Jefferson

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
James Madison

"To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian"
George Washington

Blueberry Season

One of my favorite things about summer is the abundance of inexpensive fresh produce, especially blueberries. Our grocery store has amazing prices on blueberries every summer and I take full advantage of it. This year I made 3 blueberry deserts. I had never made a blueberry buckle and saw one on Lacey's blog and had to try it. It was delicious. My only complaint is that I ate 3/4 of it! It was so wonderful I ate it with my coffee in the morning, at lunch as a little treat, and for desert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I guess I won't be losing that baby weight anytime soon.

The next dessert we made was a Blueberry Pie. I must say it was quite delicious. Something about using fresh fruit makes a pie so much better. I was better about sharing this one and even let Jeanette have a piece.


But the best summer 2008 blueberry desert was this Blueberry Cheesecake. Just saying those words makes my mouth water. This is a pretty time intensive cheesecake, but well worth the effort and calories.

CRUST
Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 5 cookie sheets)
2/3 cup vanilla wafer crumbs (about 20 cookies)
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter

To prepare the crust combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl and drizzle with butter. Toss with a fork until moist. Firmly press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.

FILLING

2 ½ cups fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 (8oz) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8oz) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
5 large eggs

To prepare filling, combine blueberries and 1 Tbsp cornstarch in a food processor and process until smooth.
Place puree in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Cook for 6 minutes or until slightly thick.
Cool slightly and reserve ½ cup of the puree for sauce. Set remaining 1 cup of puree aside.

Place cheese in a mixing bowl and beat on high speed for 3 minutes until smooth.
Combine 1 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp cornstarch, and salt in a bowl.
Add mixture to cheese mixture and beat well.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Pour batter over prepared crust.
Pour 1 cup of blueberry puree over batter and gently swirl with a knife.
Bake at 325 degrees for 70 minutes or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan it touched.
Place on a wire rack to cool but leave oven on.

TOPPING

1 ½ cups fat-free sour cream
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

To prepare topping, combine ingredients in a small bowl. Spread sour cream mixture evenly over cheesecake.
Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove cheesecake from oven and run a knife along outside edge.
Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 8 hours.


SAUCE
Remaining ½ cup puree
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries

To prepare sauce combine reserved puree, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes or until sauce is thick, stirring constantly. Gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries.
Remove from heat and cool.

Remove side of springform pan and slice cheesecake. Spoon sauce over each piece and enjoy a delicious dessert.

Looks like raspberries are next!

A Dream Come True

I have really come to understand the expression of living vicariously through your children. Growing up I always had a love for animals, horses and dogs in particular. I tried very hard to become a veterinarian. I always wanted to learn how to ride a horse and compete in shows. In high school mom and Snork got me a few lessons one summer and I was thrilled each time I got up on that horse. I would still like to learn one day.
Hailey has had a love for horses AND unicorns since she was 3 years old. I have been waiting for her fascination with them to wain but it has only grown more intense. She has dreamed of horse lessons for two years. For this years birthday that dream became a reality. We found a great lady near by for Hailey to take lessons from. Thanks to her grandparents' birthday presents she will get to take them the whole summer. Watching her ride Rocky the pony makes my heart swells up with joy as if I were the one riding.