Friday, April 11, 2014


Ellie has responded to another person's smile with a bigger one for months.  Now she's starting to mimic other behaviors too.  If her siblings jump in front of her while she's in the jumper, she jumps bigger.  My mom waved to her the other day, and she waved back.  If someone laughs, she'll often giggle as well.  I was up pacing the floors with her this morning, she was wide awake at 4:30 (!) for some reason.  I was patting her on the back and she reached over my shoulder and started to pat me too.

 Hopefully she won't pick up on any of our bad habits.  Surely not.  Right?  Ha!  Hopefully this is a sign of compassion and empathy already showing itself.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

All Together Again

For the very first time Justin took some of the children and left the house for an overnight trip.  He took Kate and Gabby to camp in a nearby state park.

Ellie, Nate, and I stayed busy playing, having dinner, and they took a bath together.  Then I got everyone off to bed.  That was when it got very, very quiet.

I've never lived alone.  Ever.  I lived at home until I got a dorm room at 19.  In the dorm there were many people around all the time.  I lived on the same floor as several girls I knew from the Wesley Foundation, and I had a room mate.  I moved back home for a month after my sophomore year of dorm life and then I moved into an apartment with Justin after returning from our honeymoon.  He rarely travels for work, so I am almost never home without him.

It was so odd to know half of our family wasn't under the roof.  I tackled the girls' room to give me something to do.  I made their beds up freshly, pulled out ill fitting clothes from the drawers as I carefully folded and placed the clothes in nice neat stacks.  I matched mix-matched socks.  I pulled odds and ends out from under the dresser and their beds.  I placed these items on their beds to be put away when they arrived home the next afternoon.  Next I tackled the kids bathroom.  I scrubbed the walls, the vanity, and wiped it all down.  Finally, I climbed into bed with a book.  I knew it would be hard to sleep, but since it was nearly 11:00, I thought I might be able to fall asleep soon.

Suddenly the phone rings.  At that hour, it is either a wrong number or something is wrong.  Something was wrong, but thankfully not a big deal.  Justin called saying they were not able to sleep because it was too cold, so they were heading home.  I went to clear off the girls' beds and turn on a few lights for them.  Once they got camp broken, they called to let me know they were on the way.  I was able to tuck in the girls and kiss them good night.

It made for an awfully short night, but I was glad to have them home safe and sound.  And I'm sure I slept more soundly with Justin home than I would have.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Funnies

Because this little gal's faces are so cute and funny...

A contagious grin (and giggle)

 Her new favorite trick

I will eat your brain!

Eat or be eaten?

 That tongue again!

 If those didn't make you laugh, then maybe a jumping, giggling baby with hiccups will help!

Happy Friday!

Monday, March 31, 2014

What's Cooking

Since it is the end of the month, and I'm sure everyone has been waiting with baited breath (Ha!) to see what I've been cooking lately, here it is...

I made spanakopita bites to take to a ballet recital/tutorial ceremony thingy.  We haven't actually eaten them yet though!  They are supposed to freeze well, and since our thingy is on a weekday evening, I made them up ahead of time.  Justin got to eat the first, awkwardly shaped, one.  He assures me they are awful, while simultaneously asking if I need others disposed of, so evidently he thinks we should keep them here--good news.

I made the Italian Wonderpot recipe.  I've seen it around for awhile.  We thought it was quite good.  It was a bit light on the protein for Justin, so he was still hungry.  I think perhaps I'll make it even more Mediterranean by adding some beans at the end when I make it again.

The kids aren't big fish fans, so we always have fish on Friday's during Lent, despite being Protostant, because we think the practice is food for them (on more than one level)!  I made Crab Cakes, but we really weren't impressed.  I much preferred the tuna ones I made from an old fashioned cookbook--if you know what that is, these days!

For dinner tonight I'm making wraps.  They are inspired by Pioneer Woman, but in my true style, they are only vaguely reminiscent of her recipe, since I used more what we had on hand and less sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese type things.

Have you found any great new recipes lately?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just Another Day

We were having a good day.  A great day even.  We got through school with only tears during, ironically, Handwriting Without Tears.  The liars.  (As an aside, I actually like the curriculum, we just have a child who weeps easily when her errors are pointed out.)

I met another homeschooling mama to buy a couple of books for next year--Sequential Spelling for the girls and a book teaching letters with Cuisinaire rods for the boy.  I want something tactile for him since he's always asking to 'do' school with the girls and we're more than a year from kindergarten for him.  We stopped by the store and bought some extra produce for the week.  The kids asked for pears and asparagus, not cookies.

We came home, seeing a lemonade stand at the front of our neighborhood.  I opted to take the kiddos home for a quick lunch and then walk back in the crisp air to get lemonade.  We ate lunches.  The kids had peanut butter on wheat with carrot sticks, and I had a salad.  We took a nice walk, but when we got there, the young entrepreneur had packed it in.  Maybe she would have done better with cocoa today.

The kids took it well.  I promised them we would make our own lemonade for snack time.  We marched back home, a mile round trip.  I opened some windows upstairs and we had 'quiet' time.

We made lemonade.  There is always a bit of a struggle when the kids are in the kitchen.  They all want to get to do the most.  No one wants to share, but we got the lemonade made with relative ease.  I let the big kids sit on the front porch with the storm door ajar, the baby in the jumper, and I was between them in the dining room straightening up our school books.

Suddenly there are shouts from outside.  Gabby knocked Nate's lemonade over, soaking him.  He sat there, dumbfounded, continuing to soak up the lemonade with his pants.  I called them all in, shutting the door and putting his cup, with some lemonade remaining, on the table.  I told him to take off his shoes and his pants to change.  Instead he takes off his jacket and tosses it on the table...knocking the rest of his lemonade onto our school books.  We wipe it up as best we can and he runs off to change.

The big kids finish their snack at the kitchen table.  Now the baby is finished jumping.  I go to retrieve her.  I had changed a couple of dirty diapers earlier, so I was shocked to find that she had leaked some on to the front of her clothes.  When I laid her down, matters got much worse!  Two grocery sacks (retrieved by Nate), 15 baby wipes (fetched by Gabby), and a bath (run by Kate) later the baby was clean...then off to treat her clothes (by the way, I've found a paste of Shout and an oxygen cleaner works wonders--not a paid endorsement, but it has saved several outfits, even if they ran through the wash, but not dryer, first) and the jumper, which does not have a removable seat, despite the fact it is fabric.

Now to get dinner on the table.  I wonder what adventures that might hold!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kate's Half Birthday

1. What is your favorite color? purple
2. What is your favorite toy? star bear
3. What is your favorite fruit? grapes & apples
4. What is your favorite tv show? Rescue Bots
5. What is your favorite movie? Peter Pan
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? maxi dress
7. What is your favorite animal? unicorn
8. What is your favorite song? Be Our Guest
9. What is your favorite book? Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
10. Who is your best friend? Ruby & Mimi
11. What is your favorite snack? Moon pies
12. What is your favorite drink? grape soda
13. What is your favorite breakfast? pancakes with fried ham
14. What is your favorite lunch? macaroni & cheese with peas
15. What is your favorite dinner? spaghetti
16. What is your favorite game? Stratego and chess
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? doing tricks on the trapeze
18. What is your favorite holiday?  Easter
19. What do you sleep with at night? Collette, Star bear, & pink blanket
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? artist, teacher, mama, barista

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

6 Months!

Happy Half Birthday to our sweet baby girl!

Miss Elliana is sitting, rolling, and lurching in our arms to get to what she wants.
She bounces, smiles, and giggles.

 And wonder of wonders, she sleeps through the night some nights.  We're not at 100% yet, but I got up this morning before she did. 

She's starting to try baby foods.  We've made some and bought some, but we've been mostly sticking with vegetables so far.  We'll see what she thinks of some other things soon.

 She also hangs out in 'tents' her big brother makes for her in the mornings sometimes while the big girls are doing school.

 We love you Ellie-Bellie and can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for you!