Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wedding Bliss

Saturday was the big day: Uncle D got married!  I am just going to put up a couple pics here for now.  I want so badly to tell you all about it but my to-do list is a mile long today! 
The A family...up to 12 now!

Okay, I'll have to get back to you.  I just spent 15 minutes of my precious preschool time unsuccessfully trying to upload pics to blogger. I posted a few on Facebook last night if you are really itching for more.  Got to go get Aunt A's birthday lunch ready...the twins decorated the cake.  Oh it is gorgeous!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

True Noble Right Pure Lovely Admirable Excellent Praiseworthy...think on these things.

John 14:27 Says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Jesus promises us his peace.  Even though I was not directly affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston or West, Texas this past week, and my heart prays for those who have been, I have been watching and listening to far too much news.  If you really listen, all you hear is that the world has gone crazy, that it is full of evil people out to get us, that there is no hope for the future.  Perhaps Carmen had it right back in the '90's: "The only hope for America is Jesus/the only hope for our country is Him..."

When things go badly, I tend to chime in with my own trials. My mind always turns to what's gone wrong - the weather, the flood in our crawl space killing the heater, the bills in the mail, the diaper rash on my baby's bottom, the van needs new brakes, and on and on.  But Phillipians 4:8 says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

So I spent some time with the news off, the radio off, the incessant chatter of PBS cartoon shows off. I was reminded to celebrate the Goodness of God, all the things that go right and well.  Because I live a blessed life, have healthy kids, a wonderful Husband and family...my life is full of His goodness and grace and blessings. 

So here are a few good things that happened for us during the last 7 days of crazy current events.  Perhaps they are not spiritual or even surprising, but normal good stuff. 

1. Haircuts for the kids and fresh highlights for me.  Hubs is getting his hair cut this week too.  Gotta look sharp - Uncle D's wedding is in 3 days!

2. My renewed MN teaching license arrived yesterday, valid until 2018!

3. We had some positive news in regard to our MN townhouse.  Namely, our good tenant is staying.

4. I've been researching, shopping for, and cooking some dairy free recipes - N and Hubs are both needing to avoid it.  This week I attempted coconut shrimp for the first time ever and it was successful.  The kids both ate their required share, so that was a success, too.  And I made hummus because I bought a big jar of tahini (for a recipe that flopped) and didn't know what to do with all that!  Well, lo and behold, I can make a tasty hummus, of which I consumed a massive quantity for dinner last night night.

5. MY FRIEND A HAD HER BABY!  Yes, sweet little baby girl C was born last Friday in the cold snowy MN spring.  Mama and baby are home and doing well.  I'm so happy and can't wait to hold her little treasure next month!

6. I picked up the boys' photo CD and ordered their pictures.  I can't wait to get the 11X14's up on the wall!

7. I also completed a wall art piece that I've been wanting to do for months.  It turned out well in the end, but like most Pinterest inspired projects, I'm learning, you just have to make it up as you go along. 

8. Saturday's forecast is currently 62 and partly sunny - good wedding weather, praise the Lord!

Are you thinking on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy?  I'm challenged to do so.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Digger, Backhoe, Trencher, whatever.

My boys have one obsession: trucks.  They are usually doing one of these things:
1. Playing with our fleet of toy trucks and vehciles
2. Watching "Mighty Machines," the 39 episode series on Netflix about every kind of truck you can imagine.
3. Reading books about trucks.  M makes a beeline for the "Tonka" paperbacks when we visit the library. I made a rule that we can only check out hardcover books because of it!
4. Looking for and identifying trucks, sometimes educating me about trucks!

Come to find out, our new house is well situated for doing just that.  We live across the road from an AT&T building, where dozens of work trucks pull in and out of every day.  We also live across the street from a school bus stop, so we get to see the kids get on and off every day.  We also live one block from the City Hall and Police Station, where all of the police and city vehicles also live!

Yesterday was the first day in well over a week it was nice enough to go outside, so when C woke up the boys wanted to go for a walk.  They'd spied two - count them, TWO! - Consumer's Energy cherry picker trucks parked in the city hall lot and one of them was pulling a trailer containing a "digger." (More on that, later.)

So we went.  And we met two of the nicest grandpa-type guys who were very happy to chat with my almost four year olds at the end of their lunch break.  M was bursting with excitement, asking endless questions and touching everything!  N was shy - he was frightened by the horn the driver so kindly blew for the kids.  To make up for it, I think, he went to the back of his truck and produced 3 rolls of colorful electrical tape - one roll for each kid - to decorate their rides! 

There is much kindness in the world, still. 

One of M's questions was about the trailer hauling what I so erroneously called a digger.  M very sternly informed me that it's a BACKHOE, MOM!  I knew he was right - I remembered the page in the truck book identifying the different TYPES of diggers, but I have no room in my brain to store and retrieve such useless (to me) information.  Then our friend told us it was a "trencher," which, I suppose must be a subcategory of backhoe, which is a type of digger, of course. 

I'm sure M will use that information against me next time we spot a trencher.

I suppose now it will take 30 years to be smarter than my kids again, when they finally have children of their own.

I tried to find an image online of what we saw (because I didn't want to be that weird lady yesterday...I try to take time off from that) but this is as close as I could find.  See how it looks like a little bulldozer with an attachment?  Could you possibly call this a bulldozer?  Can you see how I might not have said "trencher?" at first?  Back me up here.   

And one more thing...M saw the "construction cake" image I posted to Pinterest because I am also planning the twins' party and thought it was a cute cake.  He won't stop talking about it.  Here's the image...cute, right?
Construction Birthday Cake Recipe & Tutorial... Awesome! check out the INSIDE of the cake!

 So I looked up the directions...um, no.  This person must have a PHD in cakes...she's all dying the cake with black and yellow gel and slicing and reassembling to make the insides construction stripes.  I like Pinterest when it doesn't make me feel completely inferior.  As in, I could just put the toy on top of the cake with a pile of Oreos, right?  There I go, trying to skate by with my "digger" attitude again...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Easter and Wedding Suits

 Here's the last of the photo dump to update you!  I'm realizing that since I'm IN most of these photos, that means I'm not TAKING them, so I need to get on the stick (whatever that means) and start taking more photos now that I'm running out!  Here are the twins searching for their Easter baskets Easter morning.  That bunny did a better job than she thought because N's proved rather difficult: it was behind the big red chair.  And she also put PAJAMAS in there - now I know why the bunny always brought ME pajamas - because kids need new ones about this time of year. (Theoretically.  It's been too chilly to wear them yet, much to their chagrin.)
Here it is!

Pajamas!  I "wove" da "cwab"!

C was happy just playing with the decorations on my lap.
 After church and before lunch, so that we could allow N to take off his horrendous "button shirt," I asked Mom to take a photo of all 5 of us.  We never got one at Christmas, the last time we were all dressed up at a family function, she here we go.  After about 10 takes, this is the best one - everyone is facing the camera and some are smiling...kind of.  Heavens, I hope for just 10 seconds of cooperation when we are in our wedding clothes in two weeks. I only need ONE shot.  Just one.  That's all I'm asking for!
Picture perfect!
 Speaking of picture perfect and wedding clothes, remember I mentioned I spent most of a week gathering wedding suits for the boys?  I decided that since I spent a SUM of cash on these, since the clothes will only fit all 3 of them for a few weeks, and since it's near all 3 boys' birthdays, I would dress them in a practice run of the clothes and get photos done. 

I'm so smart it makes my brain hurt.  Or maybe it's caffeine withdrawl.  Anyhow, after scheduling a Sears appointment (remember photog friends, you are letting this one slide) and Sears' photo studios GOING OUT OF BUSINESS THE NEXT DAY (no lie, absolutely true) and scrambling to get a NEW appointment at JCPenny studios in a different city in a different mall, because we only have ONE SHOT at this - suits fitting, Hubs off work on a weekday, yadayadayada - to get this done, here we are dressing the munchkins:
M was seriously in LOVE with this suit.  Maybe we have a little fashionista?

Getting his tie just so

This is so precious to me

Showing him the finished product

Speaking of product, Hubs' fixes M's hair in an updo
There are no photos of N getting ready because it was an absolute nightmare!  He's my kid and I love him with my whole heart and soul, but he has Serious issues about wearing a polo shirt with two buttons, so the entire suit was just a disaster.  It was so bad we videotaped his meltdown to show him how naughty he was.  Fortunately, he had a show, a snack, and a half hour ride to get over it and gave us some nice smiles in the studio.  Hopefully it will go better next time 'round....

Here's the link to the photo shoot....
Boo. Okay, they've made the site so the only way to share images is by sending you a personal link via email.  But in a week, I should have the CD and be able to share them then.  They turned out well and I finally got a shot of all 3 boys smiling together.  Praise the Lord, it can be done.  Just need to do it one more time with us all in our wedding clothes and we will have our Christmas card...who cares if the photo will be 7 months old?  It's unlikely that we will get another one all year! 

Hope you're getting dug out of the Minnesota snow, or staying afloat of the Michigan rain, or just surviving the crazy spring weather wherever you are!  And happy second birthday to my sweet niece L!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happy Rainy Wednesday

Now that we've been here 2 months and I was beginning to miss MN a bit, I learned that they are getting a bunch of snow so I'm feeling a little more positive about today being our THIRD straight day of pouring down rain.  It's melted all the snow and I see grass greening up and some what could be tulips poking up from underneath what I am calling the "bird bush" - because I don't know what it is, but it's full of birds all the time. Now we are seeing blue jays and robins in addition to the chickadees and sparrows.  With any luck, the boys will make birdhouses at Lowe's on Saturday for them (because we showed up last week only to learn we had the date wrong...typical).

I was trying to be responsible and do something productive while the boys are busy and the baby is sleeping and the dishwasher is washing, like renew my MN teaching license.  I received an email that my hours and "reflection piece" were approved (big HOORAY so that I don't have to re-write the bugger) and I can go ahead and apply.  BUT the website wants my serial number located on my paper license.  That's in addition to my file folder number, which I actually DID know.  So now I have to wait until the baby wakes up because the only possible place in the whole world for that license is going to be SOMEWHERE in the filing cabinet in his room.  Foiled again.

Now I'll try to upload some pics because the boys' show is over and they are playing "Mighty Minds" at the table (which claims to make kids smarter, probably like how fizzy fun keeps kids busy for HOURS) which should last approximately 5 minutes.

N is totally loving dyeing eggs. Here he's dissolving the tablet and laughing how it's fizzy.

Aunt L and N making pink eggs

Action shot!  We are just dissolving tablets here I think, but the boys loved it all

M was so into it!!

N is counting them up...12 eggs dyed, one smashed to smithereens.  Not bad!
 The day after egg dyeing we took the boys to see baby bunnies at Warmbier Farms, a local plant and garden shop.  While the boys enjoyed the bunnies, it wasn't the raging success I was envisioning...M was trying to feed the bunnies straw, which kept hopping away because they weren't really holding them, just mushing their heads and fur.  Oh well, the 6 and 8 year old girls snuggled them back to health after my boys took their turn and seemed no worse for the wear.
Warmbier Farms' baby bunnies. 

C was not impressed, either.

See how he's being so gentle?  Kind of?
 Here we are at the Chippewa Nature Center with Uncle A.  We went the day before Easter, the last weekend they had the Sugarhouse open.  We learned how they make maple syrup - did you know it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup? - and even taste it.  It was a fun day to be outside!
Uncle A and N checking out the buckets

Daddy and M watch the sap drip drip drip into the bucket.
Just like I thought.  It's been 10 minutes and the boys are bored with Mighty MInds and play dough and the baby is crying.  Happy Rainy Wednesday!

Monday, April 8, 2013

More Pics!

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 They are going to be out of order...first was the first day of preschool then a few days after that we got a giant snowstorm that dumped over a foot on us!  The next day Uncle A came over to help build a snow fort, which the guys totally loved! 

 Then there was Valentines Day, which I blogged about here. The boys got so much candy at school that I think there are still a few stray heart shaped lollipops in the cupboard.  I'm going to have to decide waaay before Halloween how much creative energy to apply to the holiday...as in, whether to be lame and give one piece like I just did on VDay, or to put my back out trying to keep up with some of the moms.
C was really into this project...N, not so much.

 This is photographic evidence that I like to be creative (just not when it comes to giving excessive candy to three year old twins) and actually use some of those Pinterest ideas.  Here's one that kept ONE mom's kids "busy for hours." We called it fizzy fun...just vinegar and food dye dribbled into a pan of baking soda.  It kept my kids busy for a quarter of an hour, so I suppose if we do this 3 more times I can make the same claim.  I did move the pin into a file called "Pinterest stuff I actually did," so there.

 Here's a collaboration of ideas used to make my favorite new wall in the house. Three cans of paint and some thrift store frames and utensils and here it is!  Because the kids kept asking what it said, I've changed the phrase to a different Bible verse every week.  The Word says to write it on the doorframes of your house, so I think that goes for homemade chalkboards, too.
This is the one where I taught myself how to display an old quilt without damaging (read: sewing) it using a dowel rod, ribbon, safety pins and 3M hooks.  This quilt was made for me by my Grandma P while I was still cooking and I just received it (again) recently.  Thought it would be appropriate for the changing table area.
First Day of Preschool!  Feb 5 2013

Even C is smiling big!

Walking in for the first time (in 22 years)

M and N had lockers ready and waiting!

 Now we are getting to the March photos...here we are with Hubs' family (he's photographing) at Gengi (where my fab brother in law D manages!) celebrating Mom and Dad A's 35th wedding anniversary.  We chose it because it's a fun Japanese steakhouse that we all love, including the boys, who were enthralled with our teppanyaki chef, see below!  Uncle A's special lady was even able to attend!  I'm having fun getting to know Ms. A.

 Here we are with the delicious (but accidentally cream cheese frosting) cake and balloons the boys picked out which I am so glamorously trying to get into the pic yet stay out myself, and Hubs is trying to get Dad A to OPEN HIS EYES!  WE have a half dozen of this shot, NONE of which have Dad's eyes open!  Oh, and, I think C was swiping the icing!

Happy 35th Anniversary Mom and Dad!
 Okay, remember the Easter Egg Hunt gone bad?  Read about it here. We did capture these two cuter than cute photos BEFORE the siren wailing and the whole world falling apart!  There was also a mom, grandma, and two kids next to us (I think that's her in the white coat behind C) who were marveling that we actually HAD ANOTHER BABY because she has THREE YEAR OLD TWINS AND.....she trailed off without finishing the sentence, so I just had to guess she wanted to say "the kids are eating her alive!" but couldn't because the twins' mom walked up with the little girl whom she'd been taking potty.  What did I say?  Your brilliant girl just said, "Well, it can be done."
C is the happiest baby on earth I think.

My absolute fave photo found in the camera today!!!

Not liking this waiting for the hunt to begin part.
Okay, that's enough for now.  I'll finish up March and what we have for April next time.  After that I hope to keep up a little better.  Good night friends.