Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Long time coming

So, can you even consider yourself having a blog if you don't touch it for 5 months? I'll give myself a pass this time on my long absence (and I hope you will too)! I cannot believe I haven't updated in so long. I LOVE looking back and reading old posts, but sitting down to write new ones is, well, just not a high priority. I have been intentional the past six months or so about not having my face constantly in my phone/Kindle/computer. I refuse to let the memories that my children have of me be those of non-interest, half-hearted mothering, or feeling like they are less important than what is going on on my cell phone. And so, you see, I've been away. I hope that very soon I can come back and post more updates---SOOOO much has been happening in our family that I would love to capture. But please forgive me if I fail at this again. =)

Thanks for checking in!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Max's 3 Year Stats

This week Max saw Dr. Koil for his 3 year well check. It was an awesome appointment for a lot of reason's... Max's favorite reason being that he didn't need any shots!!!

It is soo cool to see how the boys have grown from year to year. This year, Max has grown over 3lbs!!! (See last year here). His weight at age 3 is now 23.4 lbs. Although he gained 3lbs, he is STILL off the charts small, although he has gone from the negative 10th percentile to JUST below the 1st percentile. His growth 'dot' on the chart was still off, but just barely.

I can't seem to find my note with his height, but it has been consistently in the 10th percentile.

So very thankful for healthy children!!

Brother coloring

 Max being himself and wearing mama's sunglasses :) 

And then we were off to some much deserved park time before it got too hot! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mr. Maxwell is THREE!!

As each child has another birthday I try to grab a hold of the walls and keep time from flying by so quickly!!! These years with so many little boys in my house are going too fast. Miles (my husband) and I were talking yesterday at lunch how now when we go to Costco or run errands, we HAVE helpers (in Miles V and Max) vs. NEEDING helpers. It is amazing how sweet and wonderful and helpful the little boys in my house are!! For example, the other day Miles V was helping me with some cleaning. I felt like I had been asking him to do a lot, so I said: "Buddy, would you mind going and getting the trash from your bathroom?" He said, "Of course not, mom, I will do anything you ask me to do." =)

Today Max turns 3 years old! He told me on Friday that he liked being 2 and wasn't ready to be 3. I think once he comes downstairs and sees the hoards of presents waiting for him, he will be ready!

A few things about Max at 3 years old. He is HILARIOUS. He is always making a funny face, telling a funny story, or just doing something funny to make us laugh. He loves to 'read' books like his big brother. Yesterday, he grabbed the novel I was reading and told me a story. It was the story of Noah. Did you know that on the Ark, when the animals got hungry, Noah made them some delicious pasta, and gave them lots of milk to drink? :)

When I did Max's interview this year, he told me that Miles and Mason were his best friends. As a mom, one of the things I have prayed for most for my children is that they realize that the siblings sitting around our table are their best friends. So far, it seems to be true. Miles and Max are really good buddies. They do fight occasionally, but that is to be expected. For the most part, they play together, look out for each other, and genuinely love each other. And Max is learning to stick up for himself when he needs to which makes me smile.

A few other of Max's favorites: Book? The Hungry Caterpillar. Food? Rice and beans and little corn dogs and tacos. :) Song to sing? Jingle Bells. TV show? Superman. Bible Story? Noah and the Ark (of course). Color? Orange.

There is nothing I don't love about this little boy. Even his stubborn streak about learning his letters is a little endearing. :) We ask a lot of him for a three year old. Way more than we ever asked of Miles V at this age. And Max does it all and takes it in stride. I am SO very proud of him.

I love you, Max!, SO much! Happy Birthday, buddy. I am so excited to celebrate with you!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Road Trip 2013--Organization

As many of you know we just returned from a 9 day whirlwind road trip! I have to start off by saying that when my father-in-law and husband propsed this trip back in April, I was not too excited about it. They wanted to go to Yellowstone National Park, and then added a leg through Mount Rushmore as well. I thought the destinations themselves would be great but I was not at all excited about traveling 1800+ miles roundtrip with three kids four and under. BUT.... that being said, I did a lot to prep for the trip, and I am SOOO glad we did it. We are already talking about where to go next summer!!

My in-laws have a 5th wheel, so they towed the camper and we followed in the van. Once the camper was parked, we were able to set up all three boys across the back seat so we had room for Gma and Papa to ride around and sight see with us. Sure, we had some crabby days; some unexpected events (namely, the truck breaking down, resulting in Miles and Janet STILL stranded in Casper, Wyoming as we speak)... but overall we had an awesome time! As I am sitting here reflecting while my kids are still sleeping and recovering from the journey, I am sad that it is over.

To ease my stress over so much travel with the little boys, I set out to be as organized as possible for the trip. I also wanted to eliminate the need to put on movie after movie after movie to enteratin the kids in the car. So I spent a lot of time on pinterest (of course) to come up with some ideas to help with the drive.

Here are a few of the things that I prepped:

#1. The Binders:

 In the weeks leading up to the trip I hit the internet to print out all sorts of activities for the boys. Max's and Miles's binders were obviously different, tailored to their ages. I also ripped some pages out of workbooks we have in the house. Each binder had about 40 pages double sided (so about 80 activities).

I bought them some new crayons, colored pencils, and markers for the trip. I split them each up between the binders. Therefore, no fighting over who had what, no sharing required. :)

I bought some stickers, because every kid loves stickers, so both the front and back pockets were well stocked with stickers. And each binder had a pencil holder that snapped into the binder to hold all of their writing utensils.

Here are some of the pages from the binders.

The state licence plate game proved to be the most fun and interactive of all the games. Some of the pictures below are outdated, but since Miles V can read, he was very into this game. And we found EVERY plate except Hawaii and I think one other. Miles had a great time crossing them out as we found them.

And I got these little sticker books on amazon. They are reusable stickers that you can place in the scene in the book and change over and over. The boys liked them!

Here they are actually using the binders! Success!

It is amazing how different each of my children are. Miles V was SO into the binder, and was meticulous about reading the directions on each page, doing each activity, crossing things out as we saw them, etc. I was almost worried that he would use his binder up on the first leg of our journey!! (And thankfully, for a kid who usually gets super car sick when reading in the car, he was completely fine this time!!). Maxwell, who is so super smart but also stubborn and who refuses to show any interest in learning his letters and numbers, had a little different experience with the binders. I printed out pages for each letter of the alphabet with corresponding pictures to color (A for airplanes, apples, apes, etc)... I thought, "Ok, this is the time he is going to learn his letters and their sounds." Well, sweet Max, as always, had his own plans. The included putting stickers EVERY where.. and this (probably one of my favorite pictures from all of the trip):
Using his markers to color a 'mustache' (more like a beard!!) on himself. Man, I love this kid!!! 
Aside from the binders, I did a few other things to keep us sane and organized in the car and camper.

#2. Snacks: 

Ah yes, snacks. The key for any parent to a successful trip in the car. Whether driving 30 minutes or 30 hours, snacks. Now, I'm usually kind of anal about what the kids are eating, how much junk food and sugar they consume, etc. However, Miles and I decided that vacation is vacation; that means fun in all areas, including snacks. So, the boys like Cheetos (yes, Cheetos. They must not be my children!). Cheetoes usually don't see the light of day in my house, but I bought Cheetos for them for vacation. They also love fruit snacks, and so I bought fruit snacks. Before we left, I bought each kid a little tackle box to use for snacks. I labeled each one, and when were were ready to head back out on the road I re-stocked their snack boxes. When they asked for food between meals, they got their boxes filled with treats. I did try to limit the amout of sugar in each box just so they weren't bouncing out of their carseats, but they LOVED this. One time they had Skittles for a treat, sometimes fruit snacks, etc. But this way, they could eat whatever they felt like within reason in the car, and got some treats in the process. Plus, it kept them occupied for awhile!!! Also, each boy had a designated 'car cup' for the trip. It was filled with nothing but water and didn't leave the car (hypothetically... we actually left Mason's at a resturant). But I re-filled the cups about  3/4 full after each stop, and the boys knew that is all they got to drink until the next stop so they learned to ration it. This helped them not have to stop for the potty too often but they stayed hydrated.

Here is a picture of the snack boxes I stocked before we left. I did not make one of these for the baby. Since I could reach back and touch him, I passed him snacks whenever he needed something.
For the first leg of the journey they got crasins, almonds, teddy grahams, 'gold penguins' as Miles named them, and a few fruit snacks. 

#3. Trays: 

I guess I didn't get a picture of these, but I got three trays at (gulp) Walmart before we left. They worked perfectly when we needed to eat on the run, or when the kids wanted to spread out their binder's and color. The trays were affordable, and when we weren't using them we flipped them over and put the book basket on top of them so they weren't in the way. In the picture below they are right under Max's carset.

I also picked up the white baskets pictured above. They fit perfectly next to Mason's seat. The bottom was filled with toys I could grab to entertain Mason, as well as the books I took along to read on the trip. The top basket was filled with snacks for the car. I used these snacks to refill the boy's trays, to give to Mason as needed, as well as for Miles and I.

#4. Miscellaneous: 

Between the big kid's car seats I put a basket with some little toys. Superman, Batman, toy cars, diggers, mixer trucks, and those toys with the strings that you can lace up. (They kids 'fished' with those). They were in reach of both the boys and they played with them alot. They threw them back in the basket when they were done with them, and I'm happy to say that the car stayed as neat and organized after driving for 52 total hours as is possible with three little kids. (In the picture below, you see the basket of toys, and two tupperware containers. Those were our barf bags. Miles and Max both knew if they felt sick they were to grab them and puke in them. I am happy to say they were unused!!!).

Each boy had their own designated car blanket and pillow in or near their car seats for when they wanted to rest in the car.

And finally, movies and CDs. We bought the kids each two new movies to watch on the trip. In addition, for $5 we found an AWESOME DVD with Bible Stories on it. It was like 7 hours of Bible stories, really well done, two discs full. And the week before we left we raided the library's audio book section and checked out a bunch of audio books. The kids tend to NOT nap in the car if there is a movie on, even if they are tired and in need of a nap. So the days when we were driving during naptime, I would put on an audio book for Miles to listen to, which Max soon lost interest in and would sleep. Mason didn't care about movies or books, so he slept no matter what. But the audio books created a sort of 'quiet time' for Miles similar to what we do at home, and it worked beautifully. 

I will be back with some more details and pictures of trip soon. For now, I wanted to share some tips that helped us immensely on the drive. 

Oh, and there is just not a good way to entertain a very active one year old for very long in the car. Mason was good for about 3 hours, and then we had several hours of fussing and sometimes all out screaming. We gave him breaks when we could, and sometimes nothing, not even snacks would work. But overall he did well, and I think all three of them had an awesome vacation. I know Mom and Dad sure did!!! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Father's Day 2013

This summer has been SOOOO fun so far, and each weekend it just seems like we have another fun thing to look forward to. Last weekend was our first lake trip of the season, and really, one of the first we've had in a few summers. Last year we had a newborn on our hands so we only went on Labor Day, and that was not the most enjoyable trip dealing with fussy baby, and a baby who couldnt be in the sun, etc. So Papa and Daddy were very excited to hit the water for Father's Day. 

Unfortunately, the trip didn't start out as planned. Friday we ran into one obstacle after another trying to leave. Recently repaired A/C in the Suburban went out, even though it was working perfectly the night before. So we switched everything over to Papa's truck, only to get in and realize that his truck which isn't very old and had no problems whatsoever also had the A/C go out, and then other problems like a belt falling off, etc. So back to the Suburban it was. Once we were finally ready to pull out hours after planned, with the Suburban's AC working but not very well, a small accident occurred between my inlaw's 5th wheel and the post for their camper port. The damage was minimal and repairable, but as the storm clouds rolled in, Gma Geez and I realized that God was trying to tell us to not to go that night. So, the guys fixed the camper, the kids played, the baby napped, and then we all headed out for Mexican and an unexpected (but wonderful) Friday night at home. We got up Saturday morning and tried again, this time without incident. 

We arrived at Abiqui lake and got set up. Camper was leveled, stuff unpacked, and then we realized that the hookup for the electric wasn't working. After about an hour of checking fuses, changing plugs, etc, the camp host was able to get it going. Whew. By this time, the guys were super anxious to get on the lake, but the lake had other plans and the wind had picked up. So everyone went out for a nice boat ride, and Mason and I stayed behind and napped. When they returned, Geez and I had to run into town to get some stuff we needed for the boat and jet skis that we were test driving, and then it was time for dinner. The boys hoped to get out skiing after dinner but again the weather had other ideas, so we just hung out. The kids played, we had a nice dinner and relaxed. I was nervous to shove all 5 of us into the bunkhouse, but sleeping actually worked out PERFECTLY. We were cozy, the boys didn't wake each other up, and Mason actually slept straight through until 430am!

Sunday morning dawned, and with it so did we. An anxious grandpa made us breakfast and got us up at 6 to take advantage of the amazing early morning water. It was perfect skiing conditions, and although it was a tad cold, even mamma couldn't resist getting out there and skiing. We had such a beautiful morning on the lake and I was so thankful that the dad's got to do what they love on Father's Day. After skiing we came back, had a nice pasta lunch, and then headed home. It was a great way to celebrate Father's Day, and I know that Miles loved it. (We did not, however, love the sore muscles all week. I guess that summer off last year took it's toll on our skiing muscles!!). 

Throughout the hustle and bustle of the weekend, we were able to steal some quality time and just enjoy being together. That is one of my favorite things about going away to the lake for the weekend. We are smack dab in the middle of God's beautiful creation, with the people we love, and no 'work' to distract us. We get to sit around, read books, talk, play cards, and enjoy our family. This weekend especially, we were so happy to get  a day to celebrate daddy. I wish I could convey in words the amazing man, father, and husband that God has blessed our family with. Miles is everything I've ever dreamed, and more. I am SO very proud of him, and my boys absolutely adore him. When you ask my four year old what he wants to be when he grows up, without missing a beat he says he wants to be a dad, and to work with HIS dad at Duke City. He also tells us that he will move in with his wife to our neighbor's house and live right next to us. Yesterday I asked him what he would do if his wife doesn't want to do that. He said, "Well I will just tell her that is what we are going to do!" HAHAHAHA I am so thankful for this family!!!! Thank you Miles for being a shining example of God's love to me and our kids! We love you so much! 


Here was Max being so helpful and pulling in the rope. 

Max pretending to skii like Daddy and Papa

Papa's turn

Daddy's turn! 


And here is Miles jumping into the lake like a big kid! He is doing SOOOO well swimming and we are so proud of him! 

And Mama got in on the action! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mason's One Year Well Check

Last Thursday Mason had his 1 year well-check and we were very anxious to see where he was on the charts. He took his shots like a champ, only crying for literally 5 seconds.

He weighed in a whooping 17.8lbs. When Dr. Koil pulled up the chart, Mason was less than the 3rd percentile. I thought that sounded familiar, so we pulled up Miles's stats at the same age, and sure enough, they are almost identical for height and weight. Miles was 17.6lbs. It was at 12 months with Max that he literally fell off the charts and Dr. Koil ran him through a battery of tests, even testing for cystic fibrosis to make sure that he was healthy. Max at 12 months weighed only 15.2lbs!! We knew he was tiny but it wasn't until I lookat Mason now to realize how small Max was. Looking back at pictures from Max's 2nd birthday, Mason is now wearing the clothes at 1 year that Max wore at his two year birthday. Its amazing how different one child to the next is. We are so thankful that Max turned out to be healthy, is growing, and now is very normal sized for an almost 3 year old.

I know it is kind of hard to see but here is Mason's chart for weight.

Doctor's visits are always fun for us (minus the shot part). I love seeing how the boys have grown, and it helps that we love our pediatrician. We spent 25 minutes talking to him about life and our families before we realized that maybe we should talk about Mason. :) Sorry to all those patients waiting after us!

Here are the brothers waiting patiently while Mason got checked over. These are some awesome little men!!!

This picture was a few days after his checkup, but I couldn't resist posting it. This kiddo loves to eat and he practically inhaled his white cheddar shells and cheese macaroni from Panera Bread. But then again, it is about the most delicious thing, I wanted to inhale it too!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mason's 1st Birthday Party

When Mason was born, a sweet friend from church gave him a little stuffed duck. It is the 'lovie' that he has latched on to and it only seemed right that we themed his party around the duck.  His invite said "Splish Splash, we're having a bash!" And the bath/ducky theme was carried on throughout the party. The kids had so much fun playing, and as a bonus Aunt Amber, Uncle Charlie, James and Katie were in town so the cousins had an amazing weekend (more on that visit in another post). It was 100 degrees on Saturday, so naturally, a water-fight ensued, and even the birthday boy received a water balloon in the back of the head! He laughed and enjoyed it too!! Enjoy some pictures from the day! 

The 'Goudie' bags as they were named after Mason's nickname. The squirt guns were the inspiration for the water fight. Yes, those are ducky whistles, and Superhero-themed rubber duckies!! (How I love Amazon!)

These are the labels I made: "I'm a lucky duck. Thanks for celebrating with me!"

The completed bags

 On the left is the ducky that inspired the whole party. The cake on the right was one of my husband's famous 1st birthday cakes! He made Mason a ducky sitting in a bathtub.

Ducky feet leading to the house.... 

When Miles and Max heard about the theme of the party, they said they wanted to help make some decorations. Over the past few weeks they had colored, cut out, and glued these ducks to construction paper to make a banner for the party! 

Here is the birthday boy with his G-ma!!! 

I found inspiration for this ducky punch on, of course, Pinterest. It was delicious! 

Mace surprised us all and wasn't too into his ducky cake. I thought he was going to devour it, but maybe it freaked him out a little. Who knows, but he was really timid with it. (I think he just didn't want to ruin daddy's awesome creation!). Either way, he was happy when he got a piece of the regular cake!  

Mommy trying to egg him on

 Happy boy eating his cake! 

'Do you want some?!'

Here he is after the traditional 'after cake' bath! 

Present time! 

Loving his new sun hat from Auntie and Uncle! 

After presents, Britton and Mason had fun playing with balloons while the others were out starting the water fight! 

Water fight time

The kids (and most of the grownups) were soaked and loving it! 

Auntie Amber! 

 Great-Gma Jean was in on it too

Papa filling up the ammo

And here are the adorable cousins enjoying a snack as the party was winding down. James is still pretty wet!! 

We had such a fun time celebrating Mason, thanks to everyone who joined us!!!!