Thursday, February 27, 2014

Holey Pants and Leggings, Batman!

We had a re-emergence of winter this week.  I'm really ready to be done with cold weather, mostly because of this:

My 6 year old son has created holes in the knees of nearly every pair of his jeans and my 5 year old daughter has created holes in the knees of nearly all her leggings.  I do not want to buy them new pants, it will be shorts weather very soon, but maybe not soon enough to save my children sporting some ragamuffin clothes for the next few weeks!


Tonight at dinner we had to correct a child for pretending their spaghetti pasta was dental floss.  Honestly!


Teddy has been my constant companion this week.  He's Little Girl's best friend of the week.  

But even after I drop her off at school, Teddy hangs out with me, smiling from his carseat in the backseat.

He's a most cheerful companion, if not a bit odd.  Little Girl refers to him as a "him", like she will tell you "His name is Teddy."  But, he's always dressed in girl clothes, a new feminine outfit every day!  While I really don't have the bandwidth to tackle Teddy's gender identity issues, I am glad we no longer have to worry about him being denied service by any businesses in Arizona!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  We're hoping to take the kids to see The Lego Movie

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Third World Drug Store

Last week I had an issue with our local Walgreens.  Something with some medicine I needed refilled for one of my children and a hassle getting the drug store to fill it.  There were a few different phone calls, too many minutes spent on hold, red tape with insurance, and a frustrating conversation with a pharmacist where they made me feel like I was doing something wrong when all I was doing was following the doctor's orders.  And it, of course, came right smack dab in the midst of a day with many other unrelated headaches, because that's just how life is sometimes, right?

But, once my pity party lifted, I was convicted afresh. 

What in the world was I complaining about?!!

A minor hassle.  Obviously I've spent way too much time in a 1st world country!  Now for a little perspective on how some of the rest of the world attempts to get needed medicine.

Here is the "Zee Drug Store" I took a picture of while in Ethiopia a couple years ago:

It's OUTSIDE, with bags of who-knows-what to be rummaged through!

May I in America never get so busy with my complaining that I forget my blessings!

Monday, February 24, 2014

My New Favorite Lunch

The past several months I've been trying to add more veggies into my lunches.  

I typically eat at home with my 5 year old daughter and do not want the quesadillas or grilled cheese or pizza she typically wants for lunch, but at the same time after fixing her a lunch (not to mention the other 3 lunches I've sent off to elementary school earlier that morning) I don't have a lot of energy for my own lunch.

So, I typically get something I like and eat it nearly every weekday.  Boring?  Maybe, but it works.  I have the ingredients on hand and know what to do/expect.  I've been known to stick with an entree for a few months before tiring of it.

In the fall, my staple was a whole wheat tortilla, spread with hummus, topped with sliced red bell peppers, spinach leaves, small tomatoes, and rolled up.  Easy and yummy!

But, then it got cold, like really cold for a few months, an unusual winter for us, and all I wanted was something warm to eat at lunch.  Sure, I could heat the wrap, but it took too much effort to get it heated all the way through (remember we do life without a microwave).

So, I ended up dumping some left-over roasted vegetables from the night before (like zucchini, carrots, &/or bell peppers just cooked in olive oil with Kosher salt in the oven for 20 minutes) with fresh spinach and tomatoes and a little olive oil into a small skillet.  I tossed the whole thing for a couple minutes, poured it onto a plate, sprinkled on some raw almonds and walnuts, and OH MY, IT WAS GOOD!  Kind of like a hot salad!

Ta da!  My new lunch!  Now to just have left-over roasted vegetables to use every day . . .

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Time Marches On!

Honestly I've not yet recovered from Valentine's Day 

 (The Valentine's aftermath .  . .)

I've yet to force the kids to throw away the Valentines from their school friends so, while my table is no longer completely covered with Valentines, they (all 80 something of them between the 4 kids!) are crammed into various nooks and crannies of my house and the clutter is about to give me hives!

Yet, tomorrow we are celebrate our oldest turning eleven!

Time, I need you to slow down just a bit so I can catch my breath!


Speaking of time marching on, when I map a location on my iPhone GPS device, as I did tonight, and then hit "route", while I sit there waiting for the directions to load and the voice to tell me how to go, I typically hold up my GPS device and say to it, "Talk to me, Goose!"

Only just tonight I had the eerie realization that none of the other 4 people in the car with me (my children ages 10 -until tomorrow, 8, 6 and 5 years old) get this joke AT ALL!

Not a one of them has seen the movie Top Gun which was such a quintessential part of childhood growing up in the 1980s.  And even though I can still clearly picture and hear Maverick in his fighter jet saying to Goose, his wingman, "Talk to me, Goose!"  My children have no clue!  They must just assume I occasionally call my cell phone, Goose!

Oh, well, just another story they can banter amongst themselves one day about just how crazy Mom was while they were growing up!


Although I have tons more I could share, this week has nearly done me in, and obviously I HAD to watch the ice skating tonight on TV even after getting home from my adoptive moms support group at 10:15pm, because you know, well, PRIORITIES, so I'm going to bed!!

Have a wonderful weekend, Friends!  

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Transitions From 1 to 2 Children and 2 to 3 Children

Today I was in a doctor's office and when he heard that I have 4 children he asked, "So what was the hardest transition?  From 1 to 2, 2 to 3, or 3 to 4?"

In hindsight I should have asked him how many children he had before answering, but I quickly answered as I always do to this question.  "From 2 to 3, defnitely!"

My husband and I agree on this 100%.  We are not at all sorry we had an 3rd child.  Having 3 kids is awesome, but it was a hard transition.  Our 4th child was added to our family via adoption at age 3 so that was a little different than adding a newborn child via birth, but still as far as numbers and 2 parents learning to manage 4 children (even a 3 year old one who didn't speak our language for a while), that was not as hard as the challenges that came with learning to manage 3 young children.

Of course with my definitive answer about 2 to 3 children being the hardest transition, you guessed it, the doctor has 2 children ages 5 and 2 years old and his wife is pregnant with their THIRD CHILD!

So, I had to quickly add in some things about how it really is great having 3 kids and you learn to let go of so many things and how well they play together!

The conversation reminded me of a blog post I wrote on the transition from 1 to 2 to 3 children a few years ago.

Maybe someday I'll write a post about going from 3 to 4 children, but for today, here's a repost of my thoughts from 4 years ago.  All still true!

Originally published March 8, 2010:

So before we add a 4th child with our adoption from Ethiopia and I completely forget what life was like with only 3, here are my thoughts on the transition not only from 2 to 3 kids, but 1 to 2 also. 

When you have your 1st baby and you give him a bath for the 1st time in the baby bathtub, you are thinking, "Is the water too hot? Too cold? How much soap do I use? How exactly do I wash that area of his neck under his chin (the spot where the spit-up collects)? How do I get this slippery baby out of the tub? What if I drop him?" 

When you have your 2nd baby and you give her a bath for the 1st time in the baby bathtub, all you can think is, "Wow, she is so tiny! I love the baby bathtub! Oh how quickly she will outgrow this!" 

When you have your 3rd baby, you think, "I know I didn't give him a bath yesterday, but I'm so tired I think I'm gonna skip that bath again today. He's a newborn; it's not like he played in the sandbox or anything! I mean, how dirty could he be?" 

When you have that 1st baby obviously everything is new and exciting. But it is a huge life change! Nearly everything becomes different overnight when that baby is born! Honestly it is hard for me to even remember life with zero kids but the adjustment from 0 to 1 kid has to be the hardest. 

I think everybody ought to have at least 2 kids, because the huge blessing of that 2nd baby is that you enjoy them so much more. Now you know a little more what you are doing, you worry less, and you know just how quickly all those phases pass! The baby is the easy part about having a 2nd child. The big adjustment is managing the toddler/bigger kid with the baby. There is no napping when the baby naps if your 2 year old is awake! And try having the patience needed to manage a toddler when you have been up all night with a newborn! My husband used to say the adjustment to 2 kids was harder on the dads because their free time diminishes substantially. After mom has been juggling two kids all day, when her husband gets home he's either taking 1 or both those kids. The other big adjustment with having a 2nd child is the sibling fighting. In my experience, this is an issue earlier if your firstborn is a boy. From day 1 you will have to worry about him being too rough with the baby, both by accident and on purpose. I remember distinctly the first time my son hit his baby sister. Oh the conflict when your mama lion instincts see your precious baby hurt by someone but realize that someone is your beloved other child! At the same time, you get to witness the blessing of watching the sweet interactions between your 2 children, and watch their friendship grow. With the addition of a 2nd child there's also the issue of managing 2 different kid schedules. With one baby, life revolves around their nap schedule, but with the 2nd baby you will have to navigate around the older child's activities, and you'll find yourself waking up that baby to go pick up the older child at school. But as a positive, most second born kids are more easy-going as a result! 

Now the transition from 2 kids to 3 brings, for lack of a better word, chaos. If you are a momma that must have your children under control, perfectly dressed, noses wiped, nobody crying, and everyone with shoes on the correct feet every time you go out, don't have 3 kids (or at least not 3 close in age to each other). Because you are 1 momma and there are 3 of them. Chances are very high that anytime you are out and about with all 3, someone will spill a drink, have a fit, get lost, fall down, or do something embarrassing. You just can't control them all, all the time. The best way I can describe having 3 kids is more life! 

You have one more child and with that one more child you have more joy, more wash, more hugs, more crying, more smiles, more messes, more laughter, more teeth to brush, more dancing, more throwing up, more playing, more getting hurt, more "I love you"s, more runny noses, more kid artwork, more dishes, more memories. 

More love! 

Of course, the more is there with each of the transitions but it becomes more pronounced with the move from 2 to 3. For example, moving from 1 child to 2 children the noise will double in your household, so for the move to 3 children it triples, right? Wrong! Multiply the noise level by about 10! I'm not sure why it works like that but I've noticed that math is true even for playdates among non-sibling kids. A playdate with my 1 child plus 1 friend (2 kids) = rather calm and quiet but if I add another friend (3 kids), suddenly it is like a stampede of elephants have invaded my home!

How many children do you have?  What transition was the hardest?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How I Shoe Shop For My Children

The 6 year old had a piece break on one of his tennis shoes, the ones he wears every day to school, so he needed some new shoes.

I used to actually take my kids to the shoe store when they needed new shoes.  You know the old fashioned way?

But, there were several issues with that method:
1) The obvious hassle/chaos of taking kids anywhere when you have 4 children
2) The store would not always have the style or size we needed
3) My kid would sometimes pick out ugly shoes.  On principle I won't pay $40 or $50 for shoes that I don't like because you know my children are not the boss, they get input but I get final veto.  Yes, I am The Grinch and ALWAYS veto the light-up shoes.  I know, my children will need therapy some day to deal with the devastation of never having light-up shoes!  So, I get veto-power, but depending on the day and the kid and how much sleep they had the night before, sometimes that veto met with some drama that was not fun for anyone.

Thankfully the gift that is The Internet allowed me a new way!

Here's how I've been shopping for shoes for my kids for the past couple of years and it is working awesomely:

Step 1:  I measure the kid's foot with this handy sizer: Squatchi, Kid's Shoe Sizer, Green (it measures from toddler size 2 to youth size 5 -- sadly I do now have a child with a foot too big for this tool).

Step 2:  I go on where I am a VIP (really I am!) and therefore get free next day delivery and free returns, and I order a few (sometimes even 5 or 6) different shoes that I like in the child's size (I order 1/2 to 1 size up from whatever they measure at).

Step 3:  When the shoes arrive I set them all out and the child tries on a different shoe for each foot.  We have a contest nearly exactly like the Olympics where the shoes compete.  The child decides which shoe he or she likes better, left foot or right foot shoe.  The loser shoe is eliminated from the competition.  The winner goes on to face a new challenger.  Once a clear favorite has been determined, both matching shoes are tried on just in case, and then the winner is officially declared.

Step 4:  All loser shoes are boxed back up in their original shoe boxes and then put back into the shipping box they came in.  

Step 5:  I go to and select my order and follow the short, easy steps to print a return label.  I tape the box shut, tape the label on, and drop off the package at a UPS facility.  I have a box, mail place that is super easy to just run a box in and set it on the counter.  Since there is already a shipping label there is no need to wait in line.  Then Zappos credits back my credit card for the returned shoes.

Shoe shopping, the fun way!  Have the shoe store come to you!

My kid gets to feel like he or she has picked out their shoes but really they are only picking from a small, pre-screened group of shoes all of which I like!  Parenting wins are hard to come by, so I certainly celebrate the beauty of this one!

***I am not compensated in any way by for this post.  I am just sharing what really does work for me in my real life.***

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

In Summer . . .

In the hit movie, Frozen, Olaf the snowman sings a song about what he thinks he'd love about summer.  (I know this fact extremely well because my 8 year old daughter has listened to the Frozen soundtrack so many times she has the words memorized to many of the songs!)

Do you know what I love about summer?

The long, lazy days.

The extra time with my children when they are not in school.

The days when we only wears pajamas and swimsuits.

The vacation to the beach.

The blueberries and homemade ice cream.

Yes, yes, all those things!

But, really, truly, what I'm looking forward to right now is 


Take my sock pile during tonight's folding session:

There is no sock pile in the summertime!  My kids wear only sandals and Crocs.

And the shear volume of wash is so much less because there are no bulky sweatshirts, no jeans, no layering of clothes for warmth!  I can let the wash go for days and still fit it all in one load!  In the past few months with 4 kids wearing multiple layers and bulky warm jammies, too, if I let the wash go more than a couple days it is overwhelming!

Now, when I'm melting in our 100 degree days this summer, everyone point me to this post and remind me to be thankful.  "Hey, at least you don't have much wash to do!"

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Valentine's Day Edition

Do you want to know what is going to be the death of me?

Valentine's candy corn.

Seriously, candy corn is best left with just one holiday per year, Halloween!  You eat a handful or two because, you know, Halloween only comes once a year, but then suddenly, Bam!, there they are again at Valentine's in all there red,pink and white sugary goodness.  And you are powerless.  Just done.  The candy corns win!


I do think, though, that the Valentine's candy corn is the only thing that got me through the massive homemade Valentine's creating session with my 4 kids.

The pictures are lovely and idyllic, everyone is helping.

But, what you fail to see in the photos is those 4 children going to bed at some point and me there at the dining room table late at night, by myself, finishing up exactly 84 homemade Valentine's!


I bought myself some flowers about a week ago, red tulips!  And they were a beautiful gift to remind me that even though I was freezing to death in our colder-than-normal-winter, spring would come.  And then today, finally we had a beautiful, fairly warm afternoon.  I do hope we've seen the last of winter!


Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One Question

I want to share one question I heard at my Bible study this week and have been thinking about since:

What if God only gave you tomorrow the things you thanked Him for today?

Find more Thankful Thursday here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Never Run Out Of Spoons Again!

Where do the spoons go?

Does anyone else have this mystery at their house?

I have no idea where our spoons disappear to (although I do blame the kids), I just know that we had gotten down to 3 spoons in our everyday silverware and maybe 8 in our nicer silverware for our family of 6 (who happen to love our cereal and ice cream)!  And I can tell you from experience that it's just no good eating your cereal with a soup spoon!

I figured out I could buy replacement spoons to match our flatware on the Internet for fifteen dollars per spoon!  That seemed like a hefty price considering I needed like 10 spoons and also taking into account the hard truth that my children are most likely accidentally throwing my spoons away when they clear their spots after eating something in a disposable container, like yogurt or applesauce!

Then I found them -- good quality, elegantly plain, stainless steel spoons on for $11 FOR TWELVE SPOONS!  I wasn't immediately sold on having the mismatched flatware in my drawer, but considering the low price, I decided to try them.

The results after two months of the new spoons?


I can't tell you how much I love having a full spoon drawer again, and the quality of the spoons is really good.  They feel every bit as sturdy as my more expensive stuff!

Ah, don't you just love opening the drawer and seeing that stack of spoons!  Okay, maybe that's just me after doing without for so long!

Are you running low on spoons?  I know we are not alone in this, I polled some of my friends with 3 or 4 kids and we all have the same mysterious phenomenon going on with vanishing spoons.  Buy yourself a dozen new spoons.  It will change your life!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

***Disclaimer:  I am an affiliate and will receive a small portion of the sale should you buy using my link, but I only mention products that I have truly used myself, love, and would recommend to close friends.***

Monday, February 10, 2014

Easy DIY Valentines, Ideas for boys and girls

I wrote on Friday that Valentines was stressing me out what with 4 kids to supply with Valentines to hand out to all their classmates, not to mention the things to do for their various classroom parties. 

I visited the Valentine aisle in Target during a shopping trip and didn't really like any Valentines I could get store bought.

Not to mention, I really could not find anything that seemed appropriate for my 5th grade son to hand out.

Well, it turns out that Pinterest really IS my friend because just a bit of looking and I found a cute and easy make-it-at-home option for each of my kids.

For the 10 year old boy who has lately enjoyed using his video game time to play Minecraft, I found these free printable Minecraft valentines.  They are very cute with little creeper wrappers that you wrap around mini Hershey bars and attach the to the cards.  I printed the cards on thick cardstock paper and the wrappers on regular paper.  And the best part was that my 10 year was able to use our paper cutter to cut out all the cards and wrappers himself!

For the 8 and 5 year old daughters who love frozen, I found these cute Frozen movie Valentines that feature the beloved Olaf with the line "Hey Valentine!  Do you want to build a snowman?"  and you attach the card to a baggie that you fill with marshmallows, pretzel sticks and chocolate chips to build a snowman.  My girls were super excited about this idea and having them both do the same will make it very economical as they can share the supplies to go in the baggies.

For my 6 year old son, I found another Frozen themed Valentine that seemed fun for him, these where Olaf has been impaled by a lollipop stick.

Aside from figuring out valentines for all 4 of my children to give, I'm feeling a lot happier about Valentine's Day today as I learned that we have FREE BABYSITTING for all 4 of our kids for Valentine's evening!  Let's just say we go to a really awesome church!  I'm certainly looking forward to a dinner I don't have to serve and can eat without telling someone to "sit flat" or cleaning up a milk spill!

What do you think of Valentine's Day, is it sweet and fun or just something that requires work?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Week Off?

So, I didn't intend to take a week off the blog, but lo and behold, it has been a week since I last published a post!

My aunt came to visit on Tuesday and stayed with us for two nights and we had the best visit, but I was just too busy to blog.  I'm sorry for disappearing on you, though!

And now the Olympics are starting so clearly, the blogging may be erratic!  I hate TV, truly could live without it altogether, except I do enjoy some Olympics every 2 years!  Anyone else confused about there being Olympics on tonight, a night before the opening ceremonies?  Is it kinda like stores beginning their Black Friday sales on Thursday? 

I'm sure I can also find some way to blame the cold weather for my lack of blogging, seeing as how I'm blaming it for everything else.

For example, mid-day today (about the same time I put my aunt on a plane back home), I suddenly realized it was February!  And not just February, but FEBRUARY 6TH!  And I did not yet pay Little Girl's preschool tuition that is due on the first school day of the month, the school day that was 3 days ago!!  It's the cold weather, you see, it doesn't FEEL like February when it's still so stinking cold.  We are typically wearing short sleeves by February, not fighting 30 something degree days!  And I know, I know, some of you had temps around 8 degrees today or worse, but honestly I am just not made for the cold, and you are, of course!  That logic holds up about as well as "I didn't pay my bill because it didn't FEEL like February, it still felt like January!"

Does it surprise you that I still have Christmas cards up in my house?  Not the Christmas tree (not that there is anything wrong with one having a Christmas tree up in February, if you do I am not judging) that is gone, but the cards that friends and family sent us.  I just love having all the cute kids displayed in my house and walking by and marveling at how big they've all gotten and smiling at the friends we knew as newlyweds who are now juggling 4 kids in their family picture - we are not the only crazy ones!  So the cards are still up.


Speaking of Little Girl's preschool (you know, the one I, apparently, don't pay for), they go through the alphabet for their show and tell and this week it was letter "Q".  They were supposed to bring something in their little show and tell bag that began with letter "Q" and they write 3 clues about what it is and the class tries to guess it.  Well, because Little Girl is who she is and SO competitive, she is now on a mission to make her show and tells so hard that her friends will not be able to guess it.  So, she was not at all happy with the idea of bringing a queen or a quarter for show and tell, other kids already brought those things and everyone would guess it!

So, what did she take for show and tell? 

She took quiet.  

Or rather a picture of her "being quiet".  

The Little Girl who is nearly never quiet took quiet for show and tell!  But, she got her wish, nobody guessed it!

Her clues were funny, "You need to be this at the library."  "You need to be this at church" and "You need to be this at the zoo."  

I was totally with her on those first 2 clues, but not so sure about the 3rd one, but when it is your 4th child doing this type of show and tell, you go with it!  Kinda like when they want to take "quiet" for show and tell.  Sure, awesome!


My aunt did attempt to teach Little Girl the "Quiet Game" while she was here.  And my 8 year old daughter who shares a room with Little Girl immediately piped up, "Let's play that game on Saturday morning!" because she really wants to sleep in on Saturdays but Little Girl always wakes her up!


Aside, from the total denial that it's even February, Valentine's Day is stressing me out.  There have been notices in various forms, some in flyers from school, some in emails, about the 4 different Valentine exchanges/celebrations at school for my 4 children, but who can keep it all straight?  First each of my 4 children need a different number of Valentines to hand out depending on the number of kids in their class.  Then one class I'm sending napkins, one class I'm helping coordinate the celebration as part of my room mom duties, one class I'm to send a "snack to share", and one class I am just to send the Valentines and NO treats whatsoever (That is preschool and it is my favorite, very anti-parties for the kids.  Glory!)

And my 5th grade son?  Are there even any age-appropriate Valentines?  I'm sure if I perused Pinterest  I would find tons of ideas, but remember Valentines is already stressing me out and clearly Pinterest only ups the stress level, so I haven't gone there.


It all makes me feel like I need a week off.  Oh wait, I already had one!  
Happy Friday, Friends!  Find more Friday Fragments here.