2009

as I look back on 2008, wow what a year!  I moved back to SoCal, a place I NEVER thought I'd come back to.  I lived with roommates (all boys), that was strange.  Elliott came into our lives.  we became completely broke, like the rest of the country.  we now live in Colorado, also a place I NEVER  thought I would be.  I'm sure there is more, those are my highlights.
my point is, only God knows what lies ahead.  anytime I try to imagine my future, I'm way off.  He continues to change me into a person I never thought was possible, putting me in circumstances I thought was never available, and hopefully along the way, I open my eyes and ears to His kingdom that IS always there, and learn a thing or two from Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.      Proverbs 3:5-6

everyone, be safe tonight, there are too many idiots that like to drink and drive! blessings for 2009!

Santa's gift

Santa was nice enough to leave Sam and Elliott a note Christmas morning. you can kind of see it in the photo.
Santa explained that his job delivering gifts was in honor of Jesus' birthday and that Jesus is the one we say thanks to, not to him. we tried to connect Santa and Jesus the best we could. I also made cupcakes so we could sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. corny I know, but hopefully the connection was made. I think he got it.

we left Santa cookies Christmas Eve, and we woke up to find he left one behind for Sam. as Sam was about to take a bite, I noticed something else already had nibbled at it. we were pretty sure Santa left us more mice! darn Santa!

it took a few days, but we caught 2 more mice. I hope that is it. I'm sick of finding mouse poop everywhere. seriously, I've found it in such strange places. at least they never ventured upstairs to our bedrooms!

and here are the boys with some of their gifts.
Sam scored a few games, a magic set, and his favorites, these skates and this grabber thingy from his grandparents.

Elliott didn't care about what he got, he just wanted to eat the wrapping paper and play with the bows.

Christmas was nice this year. we were home with each other for once, with no obligations.
of course we did miss the family; next year we plan on taking a big trip up, down, and around CA to see everyone. or you guys could all come to us ... let's flip a coin!


I hope your Christmas was wonderful! let's be sure to celebrate our freedom in Christ everyday, not just December 25th.

goo-goo ga-ga

I don't claim to be an expert at anything. but as I am going through the experience of babyhood the second time around, I've allowed the truth to really set in about a few things. here are some of my latest revelations and so, some mommy advice from me to you.

*if your baby doesn't want a binky, don't force it. if you're on your first baby, you can't imagine what the fight will be like when he/she is 3 and still won't want to give it up. yes, they may be loud now, but better now than later. much better. toddlers have bigger lungs along with a vocabulary to whine and cry about it, a lot longer than any baby would.

*as soon as your baby begins eating solids, don't buy the cheap diapers anymore! I thought I made this great discovery buying Target brand diapers; they're literally 1/2 the price. as soon as Elliott starting eating real food, poop took on a whole new ... everything! it was coming out of ALL sides, which means using more wipes and doing more laundry. it's worth the price, just buy Huggies!

*swaddle your baby as long as possible. Elliott was a summer baby, so I got muslin swaddling blankets, actually my hubby surprised me with them one day. of course he had the best of intentions, but he got this ridiculously humongous size. when Elliott was born, I had to fold them in a strange way to make it work the right way. but since babies grow so fast, that strange folding didn't last very long. now that he's 6 months old, and I have these huge blankets, I can still swaddle him. he calms down instantly when I wrap him. "they say" you ought to train your baby to not be swaddled anymore. personally I don't see the big deal, my baby loves it.

*for whatever reason, I was able to see myself third person the other day. and I now know that I am one of those moms that uses the "airplane" at feeding time, with sound effects and everything. I speak in baby-talk regularly, and I practically scream YAY! when he eats a big bite. today after each bite he lifted up his arms with a big smile, so I of course joined him. that might be our new thing. now that I'm thinking about it, that might get old, raising my arms up and down after EVERY bite. anyway, my point is have fun no matter what you're doing. no he won't remember the specifics of babyhood, you might though, and it's a happy, positive foundation he can build upon.


alright super-moms, I want your advice too.

off the grid

Colorado has many things California doesn't, but the one thing that is the same is the sea of houses you see from any hilltop. out here there is a HUGE air force base, so there are thousands of military families in addition to the thousands of families that are already here.

I think a couple different things when I see that kind of view. one of my reactions is wow, look at all these people! all these people that God created, with a plan for each one. and one house doesn't equal one person, it probably equals more like 3 to 5 per household. but usually I think wow, look at all these people, what a rat-race! are we living on a compound of some kind?! all these houses look the same; it's one humongous maze of people.

and I suppose this is how it is in most of our country now. I guess what else can you expect with billions of people; where else would they go? you have to put houses that close together now, with a grocery store and a playground in every neighborhood.
have you seen Edward Scissorhands? remember the scene when all the husbands are off to work, having the same car, backing out of the driveway at the same time, all the wives waving goodbye from the house, which are all the same except painted a different color? I also love the intro to the show Weeds. both are exactly what I'm talking about.

that's what I tend to see, it sort of disgusts me. why? we all got here the same way (meaning God made us all without us asking for it) so I'm just like them, right? I'm not doubting God at all or questioning his plan, I'm having issues with how the world has changed His intention. I think I just really want to be in a place where I feel close to God, and suburbia just doesn't cut it for me.
the world has really imposed negativity on our lives - you need this, this, and that to be successful. and that list of things you need always seems to get longer, and it always takes money, and it's become so ingrained as an obligation instead of for passion or for a calling.

there is so much to vent about.

what hubby and I have come to the conclusion on is that life needs to be simpler. it's become so complicated; for many reasons I suppose. when we sit and think about what is really important, we always come back to how our lives will impact our children. what will we pass on? that you must conform?

you may have guessed, we're back on the home-schooling route.

hubby likes to call it "getting off the grid." that doesn't [necessarily] mean we're going to be farmers. he still needs a job to make money; that part we can't get around. but as we live a simpler life, we won't need to spend as much.
we are here for now, in suburbia. but as we learn the area (because we plan on staying here) we'll be looking around for a house with land.

our current house has a good sized backyard, so we plan to start practicing. we want to grow our own herbs and veggies, which means we'll be starting a compost, we'd like a greenhouse, and I want some chickens. cluck cluck! basically, we want to liver greener, and I don't mean just buy organically (sorry, but that to me seems so trendy) but to really use natural resources.

it will be journey, but it's one we both totally agree on ... and for those of you who know us, we don't agree on much. this is the first time in a loooooong time that hubby and I are loving being together, fighting the same fight. it's exciting!

#100

this is my 100th post. I feel like I've accomplished something. what, I'm not entirely sure, but something! it feels good to get something out on paper, ...sort of, and vent to someone? something? that listens, ...sort of. if that even makes sense.
anyway - babe is almost 7 months old now, and we finally have a sitter-upper! he can sit up, I'd say for at least a couple of minutes, and then it's TIMBER, thud! he's working on crawling too. when he's on his tummy, for one he doesn't really complain anymore, but now he can move around in a circle. his tummy stays in one spot, and he uses his arms and hands to sort of spin around - if you can envision that. he's also rolling much more, so he's actually getting around the room. I need to get baby gates ASAP!
he's saying da-da a lot in his babbling. I don't think he knows what he's saying exactly, but cute none-the-less. mama's do so much work, and then they say da-da first. it's just not right!
it's cold out here in Colorado. here is me and my babe staying warm, all bundled up. I love snuggle time with my kids, it's the best. stay warm this winter!

a Grimm death

the mouse is dead ...

after I had gone to bed last night, hubby hears some squeaking. he goes to investigate and finds the mouse on the trap. this gooey, sticky stuff sucks the limbs in more as the animal fights to get away. when he was found, there was no getting out.
hubby has a soft side and really tried to get him loose, but his fate was inevietable. so hubby either had to let it freeze to death stuck in this thing outside or put it out of it's misery.
what do you think he did?
well for those of you who actually know him, this will probably come to no surprise ...
he took the mouse into the garage and got out his pellet gun. the mouse didn't see it coming, and obviously didn't feel a thing.

thought you might like to know - we're rodent free!!

goodbye mickey mouse


squish squash

my new favorite this fall is squash. it seems my taste buds have changed since turning 30 last year. I'm now loving all kinds of veggies. (aren't you proud mom? finally, right?!)

2 yummy recipes I'd like to share -

now this first one isn't like eating vegetables at all, but there is squash in it ... sort of.
pumpkin spice bread
whisk together:
1 3/4 C flour - you can also use 1 C white flour and 3/4 C wheat flour
1 1/2 C sugar - you can also use 1 C regular sugar and 1/2 C splenda
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
set aside
combine the following then add to dry mixture
1/2 C melted butter (1 stick)
1 C canned pumpkin
1 beaten egg
1/3 C water
grease and flour 9x5 loaf pan. bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

a perfect side to any dinner. this is along the lines of mashed potatoes, but squash instead.
butternut squash
1 squash
1/4 C butter
1/2 C sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
halve and seed squash. bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour in a bit of water. scoop out of skin, add all other ingredients and mix with electric mixer until smooth. serve warm. enjoy!

today's adventure

what could be cute and gross at the same time? a mouse running around my house!

the other morning was as normal as ever, I was feeding the boys breakfast and Papa was headed out the door for work. it had snowed the night before, so he was outside scraping the windshield and warming up his truck before leaving.
I headed for the pantry to put something away and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something. all I saw was a dark blur running away. OMG!
I didn't freak out too much since the boys were there. and knowing Sam, he'd want to search for "it" so he could have a new friend.
so I call Papa back inside and tell him "now I'm not crazy, but I swear I saw something scurry that way!" of course he doesn't believe me and does think I'm crazy, but to calm my imagination he lifts up the sofa and does a quick search before leaving for work. of course, we found nothing.
later that day as I'm making lunch, I see nibbles in the bread bag and a chunk missing from a piece of bread. when Papa gets home I show him this - "see? I'm not crazy!"
we got a few traps, but the mouse managed to maneuver around them and so he was free for another night.
so this morning as we're coming downstairs, I remind Papa about the trap. it's the kind that is super sticky, so if/when the mouse steps on it, it can't move. eeewww! I did not want to find the catch; if the mouse was squirming, it could have ripped off its own skin to try and get away. eeewww!

the mouse wasn't on the trap this morning. we did see him on another shelf in the pantry, so Matt grabbed some tupperware (the closest thing) to catch him. he made a break for it and tried to go under the fridge. he was small, but luckily his belly was too big and couldn't get underneath it fast enough. too many carbs from our bread I guess! so Matt pulled him out by his tail and we got him.



so he's a cutie after all. I told Matt I was envisioning the rat from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (can't remember his name now) even though he was a good guy in the movie, he was so gross! he was big and hairy, with huge unbrushed teeth ... not that a rat would brush his teeth, but you know what I mean. big and yellow with bad, no rank, breath. eeewww!

so we talked about what to do with him. if we put him outside in the cold, he'd die for sure. he's not going to be our pet, so what do we do? before kids I wouldn't care so much, but since Sam has been old enough, I try to do catch and release with him like with spiders and whatever else. if I expect him to value life, I can't be killing those creepy spiders, right? they are all God's creation, right?!
so I told Matt to put him in the field near the high school (we're like a block away). I figured he'd have the best chance there. as he's getting the mouse ready for the move, he's feeling sorry for it and decided to put some of the bread he's been persistently hunting each night in there, you know for comfort. ha! what do you think happened next?
yep, the mouse jumps out and into the sink. Matt was so afraid he'd go down the garbage disposal. as he's trying to re-catch the mouse, the mouse is obviously freaking out and trying to jump out of the sink. he can't jump quite high enough, so Matt says "wow he's got some ups for a little mouse!" and then of course as soon as that is said, he got just enough to get out of the sink. so now, he's running up and down the counter. eeewww! we just can't get him, he jumps on the floor again, but this time cornered. as Matt gets the tupperware ready, Matt hits his head on the corner of the countertop, falls to his knees in pain, and that pesky mouse got away. he went in the crack to get behind the dishwasher ... and as of now, that's where he stays.
since Matt hit his head, that made him mad and so he put the trap at his only exit. we'll see if he can get around it again.
if he does get out unscathed, I guess we'll find him in the pantry again tomorrow.

dear Santa


Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years. Here are my Christmas wishes: I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, 'Yes, Mommy' to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting 'Don't eat in the living room' and 'Take your hands off your brother,' because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.


Yours Always,
MOM

P.S. One more thing...you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

'tis the season

we went to the downtown lights parade this weekend. sorry, no pictures of the floats. they were all kind of corny anyway. but as a parent, you do the majority of things for your kids - this night included. but let me tell you, it was fun being in the cold, sitting on frozen sidewalks, and fighting the crowds to save our awesome seats! we did get a free balloon, cocoa, and cookies from those hosting the event that night. that makes it all worth it, right?!
here is Papa and Elliott. I should've gotten another angle; when you look at Elliott, think Christmas Story. he had on one of those one-piece snowsuit things. it was too big for him, but it still looked like the kid in the movie who just couldn't move for anything. he was so warm and cozy in there; he ended up falling asleep during the parade.


Papa did Christmas lights this year. bad picture, I know. I couldn't find the night-time setting. anyway -
lights are so fun. if you squint, you can see our 10' snowman in our front yard. those blow-up things aren't too popular around here, so we get a lot of people slowing down for a look.
we just got our tree, so I'll have to add a picture of that another time.

I love poinsettia's. bright and bold red, yellow, and green. so Christmas-y. do yours ever live after the holidays? I water it and love it like my other plants, but it seems to have some internal clock and dies no later than the New Year. maybe I give it too much love. I have been known to kill plants doing that!

we're suppose to get lots of snow tonight and tomorrow. "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go ..."

I hope the spirit of Christmas finds you all!

sleep tight

... don't let the bed bugs bite!

my hubby insists that making your bed will allow the bed bugs to have nicer living quarters. he says they like it "cozy" and all covered up. so his answer to not getting bed bugs is ... any guesses? ... to not make the bed of course.

now keep in mind, I do change our bed sheets. my mom has ingrained in me that sheets ought to be changed once weekly, but I'm more like once every two weeks ... or so. sorry mom.
and I absolutely LOVE the feeling of new sheets on a bed - fresh, clean, smells good, feels good, and I always sleep so good too.


I don't think we've ever had bed bugs. seems like something you'd remember if you had, right? Sam has gotten some itchy bites from an unknown source before. bed bugs? not sure.

having a California king bed is nice. we're not snugglers, so we both get our own space to spread out on the bed. and too, there is room for Sam get in there in the wee-wee hours of the morning ... nothing to do with pee-pee!

here's my excuse now - having this huge bed, is definitely a chore to make. if there were two people doing it, it would be a piece of cake and done in 10 seconds. but with one person you have to pull one side of the sheet, walk around to the other side and pull that up. and you can't just do the reach-over; it's too big! I've tried it!
then you have to get the blanket, one side then the other. then the comforter, one side then the other. then the pillows, one side then the other. then the decorative pillows, one side then the other.
whew! I'm tired just thinking about it ...


and I know we've all heard the stories about spiders crawling in and out of our mouths, noses, and ears throughout the night. SO GROSS!

so I'm now trying to find something, anything for my hubby's argument on bedbugs. yes they do like cozy places, but I can't find any proof that not making your bed eliminates your chances of getting them. if you find something on this, please let me know.

now go change your sheets!

good intentions

this is the most snow I've seen in 5 years! we used to live in the sticks of NorCal, Portola to be exact, and we got plenty of snow there.
living in Chico and then in Corona, snow is more like make believe so it was easy to forget about it.
this year in Colorado we've gotten some snow, but it always melted the next day. yesterday was not one of those days.
I took this photo at 815am, shortly after I woke up. I should've taken more later in the day, because there was more to shovel. there was probably a good foot of snow.

this is from my bedroom window looking out onto the neighbors yards. pretty neat to wake up to this. I really do hope we have a white Christmas this year.
probably won't be able to see a thing in the spring; those trees will be covered with new green leaves.
not that I spy on my neighbors or anything!

so Sam and I go out to play and shovel the driveway. I thought I was being a great multi-tasker; I started a load of laundry, I fed Elliott and put him down for his morning nap, and I was entertaining/working with Sam outside.
we were outside for 1/2 hour or so and I thought to check on Elliott. I hear nothing so I continue shoveling. here's what I find coming in another 1/2 hour later -

poor baby! I don't normally put him down for a nap on his bouncy seat, but I wanted to keep him downstairs while we were outside. his swing is out of batteries and if he's in that while it's not moving, he'd wake up within 10 minutes. very furstrating for me. D batteries are expensive!
anyway, I thought I would be able to hear his shrieks, if there were any. apparently, I did not.

I run the risk of looking like a bad mother, I know. I sure felt like it when I found him this way ... although I thought it was funny too, which is why I got the camera!
originally he was swaddled with 1/2 the seatbelt on - only 1/2 because I couldn't get the thingy between his legs. with all his squirming and wiggling, and probably screaming too, he managed to get out of his swaddle and scoot down.

he's been concentrating on freedom these last couple of weeks. I also found him on his tummy this morning in his crib.
he'll be crawling soon it seems, which will be weird because his brother never crawled ... I take that back, Sam crawled for only 2 days, then started walking.

lesson learned. sorry Elliott.

thrity

I have a new love ... thrift stores!!
I haven't been in awhile, mostly because I have kids. you need patience and time to dig. having one child with me is very doable, and seeing how Elliott and I are still attached at the hip (actually the breast!) we go together, and then Sam gets to hang out with Papa for big boy stuff.

I'm somewhat of a cheapskate, but not stingy.
think about this - getting a something you want &/or need on sale, it always makes you feel good. and when you get something you love on clearance, it makes you feel even better, right? so for me, going to a thrift store and finding steal after steal is just AWESOME!

many times it's better than your average garage sale. when people are trying to sell their own stuff, it's suddenly worth a bit more than it should. at Goodwill or Salvation Army someone has already "thrown it away," so instead of it piling up our landfills even more, it's sold for dirt cheap.

today at Goodwill I got -
2 4t shirts .99 each
"newer" Evenflo high chair $15 ... not a steal, but definitely a good deal because it's still in great condition
3 Xmas tins .79 each
2 new & in the box scented drawer liners .79 each
2 hand towels for my bathroom .79 each
10 new aluminum pie pans for .89
2 games for Sam - Green Eggs and Ham (I had no idea that was a board game!) and Boggle for preschoolers 2.99 each

keep in mind that there are still items new in their original box there. more than you think. early Christmas shopping maybe? go check out your local thrift store, because you never know what you'll find!

want pictures? maybe next time I'll show you my treasures, as I will be heading back again soon!

switcheroo

so I've been thinking ...

I think Thanksgiving and Christmas should switch. not the dates, not the meanings, but the American tradition.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be thankful. so let's see ... I thank God for a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in the fridge, and most importantly my family and friends. to show thanks, a gift seems appropriate to say "I'm thankful you are here and in my life."
Christmas is (or should I say ought to be) centered around Christ. It's his birthday ... so let's have a birthday party! a BIG dinner and a cake with some candles. of course gifts are normal for a party, but he hasn't returned yet ... when he does, we can shower him with gifts.

makes sense, right?

and yes Morgan, food and gifts would be fun for BOTH!!

Elliott


Elliott's first swing ride. he did pretty good. can't quite stay sitting up though; the seat is too big still.
we live about 5 or so blocks from a park. we go whenever the sun shines, otherwise, it's just too cold!








Elliott sat in this jumper off and on for a couple of months; only now is he starting to have fun with it. Sam never had one of these. even while pregnant with Elliott, times are so different 3 1/2 years later.








Elliott found his toes last week, and now that's all he does. Sam found his closer to 4 months, so this is the first difference among them ... although it's not a big deal or anything, just one of those mom-things I guess.
cute slippers, right?! I love those bear feet.





and last but not least is Elliott and Auntie Elizabeth. she is 3 and within 10 seconds of us walking into her house, she wants to hold the baby. she does pretty good, considering. this time, Elliott wasn't too happy about it. she just loves him to pieces!

mmmoooo

from babycenter.com -
A baby needs loads of energy to fuel his growing body. If he were your size, he'd require twice as many calories per day as you do.

so this explains why I'm so darn tired!
when we moved I wasn't able to take the milk I had pumped and frozen. I had like 6 bags of that liquid gold ... all to get thrown away.
so since we've been here, I'm trying to get stocked again. but now that Elliott is eating cereal, I have to mix it with milk, which means I can't freeze everything I pump. but I can't really pump anything this last week because he is eating it ALL! he eats and eats and eats and eats!


wow, I'm tired.

family fun


he's not a fan of flying

the Grimm's
since we're in CO, hubby was going for the mountain man look. ha!


Saturday morning cartoons
where am I going to sit?


brothers
Eli grabbed Sam's hair seconds after this - ouch!


tough Mr. Incredible
and
the cutest bumble bee
I couldn't get a very good picture. maybe I'll dress them up again so I can - I still have the costumes!


and last but not least - Sam's birthday.
he woke up and we stuck a party hat on him with a 'birthday boy' button. he was so excited to be 4!

I bought Sam new pants the other day. if I were to see just the pants, I'd say there is no way he'd fit into them. he is all legs.
since Elliott is 6 months, I had to update his wardrobe too. goodbye to those really really really cute newborn clothes.
*sigh*
my boys are growing ... and it's blowing my mind!

on the road again

now that our computers are set up and the camera cords are found, I can get on with this! ok, a little catching up to do ...
this is a shot I took out the sunroof while I was driving. I love clouds. do you know there is a national (or is it international?) cloud association? they have some very cool pictures!
the majority of the driving was through mountains. so cool. I've never been to the grand canyon, but the next few pictures is what I'd imagine it to be like.

this was HUGE!


I was driving behind this the whole way.



because I was driving behind the truck, I was only going 55 mph the whole way. after many hours of this, I got bored. so I got out my camera and this happened. I'll spare you the others I took ... I'm a dork.


here is the best shot I could get of our moving load. we filled a 26' truck, towed the pick-up with that filled too! like I said before, you're stuff begins to own you.


these shots remind me of some of the scenes from Forest Gump, when he was running.
"I just felt like running!"
I love that movie!

captain adorable


Elliott is coming up on 6 months old already. how fast did that fly by?! too fast.
although I have to say that I'm VERY happy those sleepness nights are over ... mostly. that is the hands-down worst part of babies. if somebody ever wants to torture me for information, sleep deprivation would totally work - I'll tell you anything!
today is the day he becomes an infant - at least this is what I call the turning point into infancy. Elliot enjoyed his very first bowl of rice cereal today. he's been eye-balling our food pretty hard these last couple of weeks, and of course papa gives him a few lickin's of whatever he's eating. from the pictures, you can tell he was happy about it.

as you can see we used his bumbo seat, we don't have a high chair yet. and yes I know, you're really not suppose to put the bumbo on a table ... but he IS still alive, so don't worry!

our CO beginning

sorry blogger friends. this should've been posted 2+weeks ago. I promise to get better at this!

so here is a picture from our drive to Colorado. I have others ... somewhere. this is on the side of the road in Utah someplace. don't the mountains look surreal?! being a Wisconsin girl, all mountains look like a movie backdrop or something. actually I'm from Illinois, so I'm used to seeing miles and miles of cornfields, not mountains. this was the ENTIRE trip - huge mountains, huge clouds, and just incredible views. it was a full 2-day drive (because we had to go just 55 mph) but it was worth it. sometimes it's hard for me to believe that there are beautiful places left in a world that can be so ugly. this other picture is of the same spot. we tried to set the timer on the camera, but hubby couldn't run into the shot fast enough. it was pretty funny to try though!


here is me and the kiddies; we're missing one, but I think she's the one taking the picture. but this is how the Grimm kids are - always happy, always hanging on you, um, I mean loving on you, and SO MUCH ENERGY! they're a fun group, no doubt. we stayed at my in-laws for a couple of weeks until our new place was ready. there were 5 kids total - can you imagine the frenetic energy?! it got CRAZY! I love all those kids ... but I'm happy to have my own space again. we are now less than a mile away from them, so we still see them often.
more of our new CO life to come!

bbbrrrrrr!

so we're officially moved in ... now comes the unpacking part.  as much as I hate moving, it is good to get organized, or reorganized rather.  I'm not a messy person.  I very much like order, so I'm not much of a pack-rat.
if you know me, or have taken a second to read my little bio, you'll know I've married a man that is my exact opposite.  that said, we have plenty of things to move and unpack!  we even had a huge yard sale before we left, but we still managed to fill a 26' truck.  ridiculous.  I can't help but think of the movie Fight Club - your stuff ends up owning you!  if you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

tonight is our first night in the new house.  it's cold tonight and I can't seem to figure out the thermostat, it's some crazy digital set-up, and I don't know how to light the pilot for the fireplace.  this is the first and last night I don't know that!!

as soon as I find my camera and computer cords, I'll post pictures.  stay tuned.

sweet prayer

I've been praying with Sam before bed for a couple of years now.  he never wants to pray, but always wants me to pray for him - kind of like storytime, he just has to have it before bed.   lately I've been pushing him to do it, not forcing him, more like insisting.  I tell him 'God wants to hear whatever it is you have to say.'

so tonight I ask him to pray, and without resistance or my help, he says -
Dear God,
thank you for this world
thank you for all the kids
and I pray for our new house
Amen

for me, it just pulls on my heartstrings to hear such sincerity from my little man.  sometimes you just wonder what your children are thinking, and as the good book says, out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.  aaawwwww, I love it!  yep, it's mushy mommy stuff.   I was kind of surprised he didn't thank God for all the candy he got tonight trick-or-treating!

S is for ...

I meant to do this awhile ago. it's one of those let-me-tell-you-about-myself games. so 10 S's about me ...

1. Sam - he is my first born son. he changed my world completely. I do my best not to "live through" my kids, but he is definitely my world while he still lets me. he just turned 4 years old, so how much longer will I get kisses, hugs, and hand holding? I hope forever.

2. Sunrise/Sunset - this is my favorite time of day. I'm rarely up for the sunrise; I was more in the first few months of having babies, but whenever possible, I sleep! a sunset is great to watch, especially over the ocean - gorgeous.

3. Silly - being silly means you're having fun and enjoying life. getting silly used to mean get high or have a few drinks - shame on me! - but now it's playing with the kids, not paying attention to what time it is, and just living in the moment. we all need more of this!

4. super-mom - I stay at home with my kids and I do love it. I'm incredibly blessed to be able to, and I never want to take that for granted. I will always take pointers from other super-moms; we need each other! if I could, I would do homeschool with Sam, do crafts and science experiments, bake [healthy] treats, read books with Elliott, do this blog, run my errands, have dinner ready at 6pm, while maintaining our nursing schedule, keeping the house clean and finishing my degree with night classes, every single day. I know I'm forgetting a couple things on that list. I'm good at multi-tasking, but I'm not quite super-mom ... that's ok.

5. scents - I LOVE the smell when you walk into a bakery; that very first sniff ... YUM! I also love fresh cut grass, fresh mountain air, my 2 perfumes - Beautiful by Estee Lauder and Baby Grace by Philosophy, I love the way babies smell, home-cooked meals, THANKSGIVING, cookies in the oven, most candle scents - although there are some very disgusting ones! and dryer sheets in the dryer.

6. Savior - my savior Jesus. what more is there to say about that?!

7. sales - I love finding deals, and I really love getting steals. when I have the time to dig - meaning when I can get out without my kids - I like thrift stores and garage sales, but the clearance racks at Target will do too!

8. sandals - easy to slip on and off; the perfect summer shoe is a flip-flop.

9. soda - something about Diet Pepsi is so yummy. I like Coke but not Diet Coke, I dislike Pepsi, but not Diet Pepsi. strange, huh?

10. sweets - last but certainly not least; my sweet tooth will make me do things I wouldn't normally do! I LOVE milk chocolate, anything ooey-gooey chocolatey is ok with me. there is a limit - those death by chocolate desserts are usually too much for me ... after a few bites that is!

let me know if you'd like a letter to do this too; I'll give you a good one.

homeschooling II

so with our new location, homeschool might not be as necessary as I thought.  CA does not have good schools; poor ratings, low budget, children with too much attitude ... ok, that last one is mine ... but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, right?
in CO, the public schools are in the top 5 (I think), top 10 for sure.  so being in a place that has qualified schools, is there a need to homeschool anymore?

one of my main concerns is including God in every area of life, including my kids' education, which is something I can easily do at home.  I think God should be taught at home, and not necessarily at school.  there is too much left to interpretation, which is where people usually disagree.  we would stick to what the bible says, and honestly, I wouldn't trust any school 100% to do just that.
also to homeschool Sam, it would keep him and I close(r).  I miss him already and he's not even in preschool.  he's growing up so fast - cliche I know.  but while I'm with Elliott, usually nursing, I think of the bond we are creating.  it's still there with Sam, but only when he comes for it, so it's not constant anymore.  yes, it's selfish.  he's only 4, and it's just SO hard to let go already.
I think Sam would benefit from both methods.  homeschool would offer him lessons at his own pace, in his own style, on our terms.  public school would help in socially, which is something he needs.  he's always been a loner.  he loves people, but it seems he doesn't have a great first impression on kids.  it seems he thinks the way him and daddy play is the way you play with everyone - their silly made-up games, wrestling, or with our inside jokes.  he needs a bit more exposure.

ugh ... what's a mom to do?! 

all in the family

so I sort of feel like a child again as we are temporarily living at my hubby's parents house.  even though I have my own children with me here, I still ask for permission about things.  funny and strange.
along with us (4 adults) are 5 children, and their ages are 9, 6, 4, 3, 5 mos.  someone always needs something, often one of them is crying, and if one has something, the rest must have it too.  it's a madhouse at times.
Elliott is too young to have a clue, but Sam has been surrounded by 3 girls and I'm beginning to see the effects of this.  now I don't know if it's these girls specifically, or if it's girls in general, but they whine constantly.  they seemed to have learned whining gets them what they want ... sugar and spice my ass!  Sam has picked up on that and if it's one thing I can't stand, it's whining!  so now, the girls whine and get what they want, Sam whines and he [eventually] gets in trouble.
of course he doesn't get it, even if you try to explain it to him ... which is another thing; with girls you can talk it out.  boys don't respond too well to that, unless is short, sweet, and to the point.  I'm always trying to think of good one or two liners for Sam to understand.  it's much harder than it sounds.
it's strange for me that my in-laws have 3 little girls; my hubby's sisters (1/2 sisters if you're wondering how it happened that way).  the Grimm's are definitely not your standard or normal family tree.  
so do I treat my in-laws more like peers - as in we're both parenting little children - or do I treat them as my parents - as in honor your mother and father (treat your in-laws as your own)?  I guess I'm having a hard time doing both.  even if they were my peers, I wouldn't know how to start that conversation - I don't agree with how your handle your kids.  to me, it seems the same as punishing other people's kids; it's just not allowed.
of course I love these girls.  Sam has a great time with them and of course they LOVE  the baby.  it'll be good for my boys to have these girls around.  they will be good friends, or rather, more like siblings than aunties.  it will be great that they get to grow up together.  one big happy family!

reminders of home

I don't know how many of you read this regularly ... but here's an update.

my family and I have moved to Colorado.  our time in California has ended, for many reasons, so we're here for a fresh start.  hubby's family is here in Colorado Springs, and we've invaded their home for a couple of weeks until our new house is available on November 1st.  we'll be renting in the same neighborhood, that way, we'll have babysitters!

the drive here was beautiful.  it took us a full 2 days, but we had to go 55-60 the whole way with our big u-haul.  Utah looks like you're driving through the Grand Canyon ... I've never actually been there (I want to go) but it looks just like the pictures I've seen.  I took some pictures during the drive, but I cannot post those until I get unpacked and find the battery charger for my camera.

we've been here just a few days and it feels good.  I grew up in Illinois and Wisconsin, so it feels good to be in the mid-west again.  there are little, subtle differences, but for me, it's meaningful in some way.
* coming in the fall, the leaves are changing colors.  I've forgotten how bright the colors can be, even different from northern California.  bright yellow, ruby reds, shades of orange; a few trees are naked already.  in fact, there was snow the night before last ... and it was still there this morning!  I'm glad to be in a place that will have 4 distinctive seasons again.
*  I've forgotten all about basements.  we've been looking at tons of houses lately, some have finished basements.  finished or not, they're so cool to have.  if for nothing else, extra storage, something California homes do not have!
* I was so sick of stucco houses.  that is all southern California has, and they all look the same.  at least here, people can choose COLOR siding if they want.  very few houses here are stucco.
* mid-west people love to decorate, not always done well, but it's overall more festive out here.  christmas should be cool.
* I know greed is a worldwide sin, but people are just so darn nice here.  there are places where greed is much more common ... like southern California.  there is just so many people there, so competition is constantly in the air.  it feels good to get away from that being the norm.

I'm sure there is more ... this is what I can think of for now.
when I get unpacked, I'll post pictures of our new surroundings.  stay tuned.

4 years ago ...

oh my, has it really been 4 years?!  my first born turns 4 today and I couldn't be more proud of him. sooooooo much has happened since he has come into my life ... for him and for me.  truly, where has the time gone?!

a few things haven't changed -
his laugh!  he's got a chuckle that comes from his gut.  I love to hear that gut-busting kind of laugh from people, but when kids do that, and better yet when mine does it, it's so contagious.  I love it!  he is definitely a funny-man; just loves to be silly. 
he was born part-monkey!  he climbed out of his crib at 15 months and hasn't stopped since.  at about 18 months he got 11 stitches from a climbing adventure, but of course, it didn't phase him one bit.  no fear.
he's always been very independent.  so curious about everything; loves to experiment. he's going to be some kind of engineer one day.

it's amazing the many transformations children make - from newborn to toddler, and now toddler to kid.  Sam is now speaking clearly and in full sentences, becoming very opinionated and expressing himself, learning to read and write, becoming his own person.  God is at work!

since we weren't having a party this year, we were going to go to Disneyland.  the Santa Ana winds kicked in today, and if you don't know, it's soooooo windy you can't walk down the street!  so instead we went bowling and had birthday cake at home.  our gift to him was a big boy bike with training wheels and helmet.  he's in love!

he's a great kid and a true blessing to me.

a growing nose

yesterday was like any other.  Sam wants to play, eat, watch videos, do a craft, just have fun.  we do this everyday, and it IS fun.  sometimes he gets a bit obsessed with his videos, he just wants to be a couch potato sometimes, and honestly, sometimes I let him.  yesterday he kept asking and asking and asking to watch a second one... of course when that happens the answer is always no, he doesn't seem to understand that his nagging is not the way to get what he wants.

also Sam is starting to lie to me ....ME!  it's usually when he goes potty, because now he can go totally by himself.  I let him do his thing and he comes out to tell me about it.  but I always catch him - did you wipe?  did you flush?  did you wash your hands?  he always says yes, like a good boy,  but I'm skeptical about the wipe, I didn't hear a flush or the sink turn on for washing hands.  the boy is fibbing!

so I talk to him about it and try to reinforce in his brain how God commands us not to lie no matter what.   I tell him "God doesn't like liars, God says to always tell the truth" and his response was "ok mom.  God also says that I should watch a video today"

nice try kid!

home-schooling

so I've finally decided to home-school Sam.  I don't want to put him in school somewhere just to pull him out, again and again.  only God knows when and where we'll settle down for good ... if ever ... so at least this will be something consistent that Sam can rely on.   plus, this can only bring us closer together as a family, which is of course is something every mother wants.  God may move us wherever, but as long as we know we have each other along the way, than by all means!

I could go on and on about the cons of public school, but I won't.  I found this while researching different curriculums, and I thought it sums it all up perfectly.

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of "A New World".  So they organized a school.
They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming, and flying.  To make it easier to administer the curriculum all the animals took all the subjects.
The duck was excellent in swimming, in fact better than his instructor; but he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running.  Sine he was slow in in running, he had to stay after school, and then he had to drop swimming in order to practice running.  This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he became only average in swimming.  But average was acceptable in school so no one worried except the duck.
The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming.
The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class, where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down.  He also developed a "charley horse" from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and a D in running.
The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely.  In the climbing class he beat all the others to the treetop but insisted on using his own way to get there.
At the end of the year, an abnormal, retarded gopher that could swim exceedingly well and also run, climb, and fly a little had the highest average, beat the system, and was valedictorian.

if you are home-schooling your child(ren), what curriculum do you plan on using?  

older and wiser?

so I'm realizing how old I really am.
- I get called ma'am a lot
- I have a pretty good streak of gray hair going ... right in the front
- my 4 year old is just as good as I am on the computer
- I hate learning new technology ... and sometimes (ok most of the time) I make my hubby do it for me
- I'm in bed by 1030pm, almost every night. yes I have a new baby, but still ...
- I hate today's music
- I hate today's fashion

yep, I'm old.

as I was feeding Elliott, I was looking at pictures hanging up on our wall; most of them are Sam's younger years. Sam has always been a great kid, even during those terrible 2's. it's sad that those days are gone forever. of course it's also exciting for what's to come ... all the pictures I'll get of these boys together.

everyone that comes to oooh and aaaah over Elliott always tell me to enjoy this time since it goes by sooooo quickly. and it does! the way to remember these special times is to take a lot of pictures (right?) and how can you live in the moment, and really enjoy it, if you always have a camera in front of your face?! I want to remember it all because it truly is priceless.

what do you do to really enjoy their childhood?

Mexico part II

for those wondering ... Mexico is officially out.  it's hard to say no to a house on the beach - literally, steps in your backyard will take you to the sand!
there is just too much that is unpredictable.  if it was just hubby and I, I'd be much more ready for the adventure, but I'm a protective mother of two little ones and just don't want to take chances with them.  plus Sam is about to begin school, we're still in the adjustment phase of a new baby, and if I think I have no friends now, I really don't want to add a language barrier to that.
we're still going to visit soon, get more contacts, and maybe God will bring us there later.  but for now, the timing is off.

we're looking around Escondido.  anyone know anything about that area?  we've taken a trip down there already to look at a few places, but nothing yet.
I'm so anxious to have our own place (no offense to my roommies!) and finally be settled.  we will be down-sizing, so we're having a big garage sale soon.
what do you need?  we may have it for you!

colorado

we went to Colorado this last week to visit hubby's family.  his parents and 3 sisters moved to Colorado Springs a few months ago, but we haven't seen them all together since over a year ago.  it was a great family reunion!

here are all the kiddos together.
Rachel (9) is holding Elliott (3 mos), left is Victoria (almost 6), upper right is Elizabeth (3) and lower right is Sam (almost 4)

they had so much fun playing together.  it was like hubby and I went with just Elliott; Sam was so into whatever the girls were doing, it was like he wasn't even there.  I missed him this week.  it made me realize that I already have to let go a bit to let him live.  sad for me, but so exciting for him!

here is one of us.  bored and silly.

here is hubby with his youngest sister, Elizabeth.
aren't they cute?!  it's funny, they're siblings.  I'm still not used to that.  it makes these girls my sisters-in-law and Sam & Elliott's aunts.  funny.

here is grandma reading to Sam.
as you can see he's really into it, as he's digging for gold!

we found an arcade to play and collect tickets for those $1 store prizes.  sort of like a chuck e cheese, but much much better.  here is Sam, just like his daddy, in love with going fast!

here is Rachel, the oldest, with Elliott, youngest.

and last but not least, here is Rachel and Sam waiting for lunch.  we went to the zoo, and of course, my camera died.  so no more pictures.  :(