Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Family Fun...!!!

Every now and then - we try and have a family movie night. Since it's (almost) Halloween... this seemed like the perfect time for Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie! And since we tried on our costumes today... it seemed like the perfect "theme" for our day! We had dinner... made caramel apples (YUM! although they aren't as good as the ones the Mike and Brenda send home each fall...)... and then we watched Pooh's Halloween movie. McCaleb hasn't been able to make it through an entire movie at night - until this time. It took a lot of coaxing, a lot of shhhhhh-ing, a lot of "sit still's" and finally 66 mintues later... he was READY for bed! I was just thrilled that Ali's eyes were open in all of these pictures!!! She has blinked or turned her head in every photo the past 2 weeks... and look how beautiful she looks tonight - WITH HER EYES WIDE OPEN! :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Fairytale Reality

I live a pretty charmed life... and I count my blessings because of it. But don't let me kid you --- we aren't the Cleavers. I'd like to think that I have three very well-adjusted and happy children, that play well together and get along at all times, constantly thinking of others and putting off their own needs in deference to that of their own siblings. That our home would be a constant example of order and sanity ... from being clean and organized... to running on a tight schedule maximizing each moment of every day. That the kids would be playing quietly (and with one another) - when their Father returned home at the end of a very hard day... to dinner ready and on the table... soft music playing... and his wife dressed and wearing pearls. No discord, no disorganization, no disharmony, no disarray.

Well... NO WAY.

Our life is so far from that picture... that I think the only part that can possibly apply, is the three, happy and well adjusted kids. The Cleavers we are NOT. However, it got my mind to thinking... how can I adequately describe this crazy, fun, roller-coaster ride that we are on to those of you that we don't get to see that often? I have been racking my brain - and I cannot come up with the perfect comparison just yet. But there are glimpses of many things that REMIND me of our life at home...

Today's winner: Rachel starring as George Kastanza from Seinfeld.

So here's the scenario: Friday morning poor little McCaleb wakes up, sad and still uncomfortable. Right now - the LAST thing he wants to do is have his diaper changed. And who could blame him, really?? So the girls have been really good sports of trying to keep him happy... and helping out with all kinds of little chores. I have McCaleb on my bed, getting a new diaper. Rachel has taken the WET (really wet) diaper and is going to throw it away. Ali is supervising every move I make. (The typical big sister...watching over little brother and saying supportive things like: "Oooo. THAT had to hurt.") Suddenly we hear screams from the bathroom:

Rachel: Hey Mommy! There's clothes in here!!!
Me: (assuming that she means there might be dirty clothes left on the floor...I half way ignore her and say something like) Oh. OK.
Rachel: Can I have them?
Me: What?
Rachel: Why, look! It's a perfectly good T-Shirt!!!!!!!!
Me: Rachel, what are you talking about?????
Rachel: (comes out carrying her new trophy) Look! This perfectly good T-Shirt was in the trash!!! Can I have it?
Me: Rachel, what are you doing digging in the trash?? (Suddenly I realize that it's a white work T-shirt that Tim was throwing out because the neck was fraying...and I'm now thinking - I hope he didn't clean out his underwear, too...)
Rachel: Well.. that diaper was really yucky (her new favorite word) and I wanted to make sure I wasn't throwing it on anything good. (because, apparently we must keep lots of good stuff IN THE TRASH...)
Me: (stunned silence. Yes, I was left speechless... standing there with visions of her going out rummaging through OTHER trash cans, eating half-eaten eclairs...or WORSE...)
Rachel: (huge smile - very proud of herself at this point.) So... can I keep it? (again - another big grin...)
Me: (still partially speechless...) Sure. Why not?

She wore that poor shirt (holes and all) all morning over her PJ's, then after breakfast when she changed her clothes, she wore it OVER her sweatsuit... all day. At bedtime, after her bath she was digging in the clothes pile trying to find it to sleep in. Fortunately for me (and Ali, who sleeps with her) she got Mac-N-Cheese on it. So it really needed to be washed. (Besides... did I mention it had BEEN IN THE TRASH????) Bless her heart. She was very proud of her new "cinderella". This is what she calls dresses and gowns.

So I guess in some ways, our life can be similar to Seinfeld. We have Rachel - and her Georgeisms. We do have a lot of close talking...for some reason especially after they have eaten Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches. There are definite similarities to the Soup Nazi... they all watch to see who got what to eat and how much. (And they are quick to point out and overages or shortfalls...) They all three think they are stand up comedians... and love to perform. (Just ask Joanna... she can't keep a straight face at the office.) And like the Junior Mints scene... there are many things flying through the air around here at various times. But there is one HUGE difference between my life and Seinfeld. The entire premise behind Seinfeld was that it was a show about "nothing"... and I have to say... these three little ones are definitely SOMETHING.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Technician in Training

McCaleb LOVES his Daddy. He runs to the door screaming the moment he hears that Tim is home... and he follows him around like a little shadow the entire time they are together, unless he can talk Tim into lifting him high on his shoulders. He helps feed the dogs and horses...he helps with trash...and the cutest thing is that as Tim walks around talking on his cellphone... McCaleb walks around talking into his play cellphone (or his hand if he can't find the cellphone...) and mocks Tim. He wants to BE just like his Daddy. I have been calling him "Tiny Tim"... and he really likes that. Tonight, however... was just a bit too Tim-ish for me. He climbed up on the barstool (yes, Jamie... that's your barstool that I STILL have from my fractured pelvis days...) and put Tim's Bluetooth on... and began to work on the laptop! I guess the company will be in good hands one day! Hi-Tech here he comes...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Two Surgeries... in Two Days... is TOO MUCH!

OK... I don't mean to complain...OK - maybe I do. What a crazy couple of days! First of all... 2 weeks ago today we came home from the Funeral Home to find Sunny covered in blood. Dog fight...lost her collar...apparently lost the battle... and had the pink stitches to prove it. Then, last night before the kids and I sat down at the table - I decided it was too muddy for the dogs on the dogpen. (First mistake...) So I left them up on the deck with the gates closed, while we were eating dinner. (Second mistake...) When Tim pulled in the drive-way... the thought very briefly flashed in my head that they would start to jump - and someone would catch one of Sunny's stitches (that SHOULD HAVE BEEN REMOVED ALREADY...third mistake)... so I started to get up. That's when I heard the snarling, snapping and general gnashing of teeth. (Have I mentioned that we have 9 dogs???) I grabbed the first thing I could get my hands on - which is the bell pull on the back door...threw open the door and found Sunny laying down on the deck with two of the black dogs with their teeth firmly embedded in her skin. I began screaming and beating them with the bell has some really big brass bells on it - believe me it hurts. (THIS part of the story reminds me of Mom and the McDonalds cheeseburgers...and Jodi being abducted by the man leaning in the car window...) But it didn't even phase the dogs! (Making yet my fourth mistake... what was I thinking going in the midst of 700 pounds of dogs with BELLS????) By this time, Tim had gotten out of the car and realized what was going on - and jumped the rail - and, NO LIE - once his boots hit the deck - dogs scattered. The BIG DOG was home. ;) As you can imagine... more blood...more wounds... and yes.... we knew there would be more stitches. I called Dr. Tritsch - and he met Tim at the vet clinic. The "stitches" turned into surgery and a drainage tube to prevent infection. LOVELY. (See for yourself... photos included...) Top that off with the fact that Tim was supposed to be working, so when he got home at 11pm... he still had to finish working. Then - it was off to bed sometime after 1am... to get up at 5:30 this morning! So..... 6:20 am we (the whole family...) leave the house to head for Lexington and Dr. Ray's office. Poor little McCaleb... he had no idea what was in store for him. They were absolutely WONDERFUL at Dr. Ray's office. I can't say enough good things about them! McCaleb got through with his surgery...(the boy-thing... so no photos of THAT will be posted...) and truly the only time he cried then or cries now is when he has to go potty. BLESS HIS HEART! He is such a trooper. I feel like a heel... but he has handled this all like a big man! He was giggling and laughing when they took him away from me to go back for surgery - and never cried a tear. Then when I went back to see him in recovery - he was nestled in Ms. Lana's arms getting lots of loves and cuddles. He never cried a tear - until he had to "go". Then he was ready to GET OUT OF THERE. He didn't cry on the way home... which really surprised me. (He is still only so-so about his car seat.) He was such a big boy! Mamoo came over and rocked him to sleep...which was wonderful for Mommy... and all in all he really hasn't complained much at all. He is such a sweet little baby...and they are so helpless at this age...and so trusting. It makes me wonder HOW IN THE WORLD Mom and Daddy were able to stand all those surgeries with Jodi. This was so minor in the great scheme of things - and yet my heart was breaking for him. (still is...) I can't even remember how many surgeries Jodi had been through before she was 5... but what is scarier still... is that I don't remember her being home, much. I remember her in various hospitals... or her at home one day - going to bed... and waking up in someone else's house because she had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. Then there was the bicycle incident... and the broken leg...I DO remember her being home for that. :) Parents have to get their strength from God. (Philippians 4:13) I don't know how else we get through the tough things without Him.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Good Times, Good Friends... and GOOD FOOD!

Something that we really enjoy is spending time with family and friends. These photos are from Labor Day Weekend...and I almost forgot they were on my camera! I came across them trying to figure out how to delete photos from my "Memory Stick"...and I'm so glad that I did. They are really cute.

We had a Potluck at the Bivens' house out in Stamping Ground! Mattie (Brenda's sister) and her husband Steve came down from Ohio... and any excuse to get together is a good one! We love going to the Bivens'... we love having a Potluck... and we LOVE having a good time! This was the first paddle boat ride for McCaleb - and the first canoe ride for all three of the kids. Tim (Grubbs - not Hanks) had all three of the Hanks kids, along with his oldest son, Sam out at the same time! What a brave soul! He was very kind... and taught the girls how to use the oars. They actually did quite well! I was very proud. They also did a little fishing, a lot of running and chasing the cat from next door... and had S'mores! YUM! Mr. Gallagher made sure that the marshmallows were perfectly cooked... and Mrs. Gallagher helped McCaleb with his very first S'more! Mattie helped us create beautiful beaded bracelets... and even finished them for the girls! It was a fun night for all of us!

Times like these remind me of the wonderful memories from my own childhood. The friends that we spent our time with were families from church. Those times were precious to me... and I can't imagine growing up without those wonderful memories. There are so many things that I "HOPE" for our children. I hope that they will know the value of hard work and that homegrown tomatoes really DO taste better... that there is nothing better than a jar full of lightning bugs...except letting them go...that singing songs by the campfire is FUN...and that being silly and spontaneous is also OK... that it's good to laugh until you cry... and that crying when you're sad is OK, too...I want them to learn all of these things - and MORE. I hope that they see these lessons in the life I am living - and that they can learn to be forgiving and understanding when I mess up - even as their Mom.

I recently told my Sunday School class about a poem I heard when I was younger that I recite to myself at least once a week:

I'd rather SEE a sermon, than HEAR one any day -

I'd rather you go WITH me, than merely POINT the way -

The EYE is a more ready pupil, than ever was the EAR...

Good ADVICE is often confusing - but EXAMPLE is always clear.

I pray that I am the example that they need, each and every day! But when I fail... and I know that I will time and time again... I pray that I handle those failures with grace and love.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Today at the office Joanna, Jana and I were talking about how fast the kids are growing. Why can't we just stop time - turn back the hands and freeze these moments to savor them for as long as possible? Even McCaleb - in his 5 months home... has changed so quickly - it's hard to remember what a precious little guy he was. I was so amazed the day they brought him to us - I just kept saying over and over to Tim... he's so little...

WHERE does the TIME go???

I had to look back through some old photos... which is not always the best idea. Moms tend to get a bit weepy... and perhaps I am the worst of them. I find myself wondering how time got away from me... I have been HERE WITH THEM almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tim has graciously afforded me the opportunity to be home with our children... and when I do need to go to work... I take them with me. The ladies in our office have also graciously taken my children under their wings as well - and it is a team effort most days. (We are currently on the "man-to-man" defense program... 3 ladies in the office/ 1 child per lady. It works very well.) They do go to Mother's Day Out at Grace Christian Center in Georgetown two days a week for a few hours a day... and they love that time. Their teachers are wonderful - and the program an answer to prayer... so with all this time spent with them... HOW can I still feel like I'm missing out and it's going by too quickly???? If anyone can answer this for me - please do. In the meantime - I am going to cherish every moment... I will snap lots and lots of photos... and one day (in my SPARE time) I will put those into scrapbooks full of memories of all the funny things they do and say. They are such wonderful, precious babies... and we are so blessed. So as I sit and wonder where the time has gone... please enjoy some of my favorite moments along the way. (Incidentally... this is also a great stall tactic since my memory stick in the camera is full and I have NO IDEA how to remove those photos! ha!) Enjoy my trip down memory lane...