the equation of a family, or...adding up the ordinary into something extraordinary, or...what you get when you add a guy, a girl, 4 kids, a dog and a cat, a little chaos, hours of music, lotsa faith, a dash of crazy, and oodles of love.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
We were in the Dells last weekend ( the 23rd-25th), and it was such a wonderful relaxing and fun time with our kids and some good friends. We spent a whole day at a HUGE waterpark, kids had a blast and it was so fun being able to let them go off and do their own thing and not have to worry. The second day was spent sno-tubing at the resort where we were staying, hanging out, napping, relaxing. That evening we hit a family fun center for some bowling and arcade fun. Good times. As much as I love our Dells trips (we go at least every other year if not yearly) it's so hard for me to be away from home. I LOVE being home. Let me say that again. I.LOVE.BEING.HOME. I have determined that I am an extroverted homebody. Whatever that means. Anyway. SO we get home. The house is instantly chaos with all the 1/2 unpacked bags, cluttered counters, loads of dirty laundry etc. Not the way I want to start out the week.
Monday - kids are up and out the door and I am supposed to be welcoming an appraiser at 10am to do an appraisal on our house for a re-finance. I call the Hubs at work and tell him I am in no way prepared to have someone come thru the house under such scrutiny and can he puh-leaze call her to re-schedule for later in the week. Done. Next stress was trying to arrange for an all evening babysitter for Tuesday night. We had tickets to see Jewel in concert-out of town - about 90 minutes away. We had a sitter arranged - our regular - but had an email from her upon our return from the Dells saying a surgery that she had scheduled for early Feb was being moved up to Tuesday. Can't fault her at all, but I hate the stress of finding a last minute sitter
Tuesday was a busy day of an ortho app for Coleo (getting the braces put on his top teeth) a meeting at church, followed by another meeting at church, a quick grovery run and getting girls to piano lessons. Home for about 1 hour before The Hubs and I were off to the concert. I was able to arrange to have a friend come over about 8pm, which meant Coleo was "on" and in charge for about 2 1/2 hours. He's good, the kids all behave themselves when he's in charge and he had them all in bed by the time she arrived - I just knew he'd have a hard time falling asleep without a grownup in the house. So she came and stayed until we got home about midnight. The concert was AMAZING! Jewel is a true artist - she played a 2 1/2 hour show - in 5 inch heels no less, just her and her guitar. Spectacular. So glad we didn't' end up getting rid of the tickets (out of fear of not finding a sitter). Loved the short road trip alone with the Ths Hubs.
Wednesday was a regular gone-from-the-house-all-day kind of day. Women's small groups in the morning, Jaxon to school, volunteer in Jules class, p/u kids, dinner, homework and thankfully a night at home for all. The bonus was that LOST was on....man is it a good season so far!
Thursday was the day my laptop crashed, I nearly went crazy without it. I kept up with facebook using the kids PC but only know a handful of blog addys by memory. No email... nuthin. Long day. Band practice that evening, Coleo babysitting again.
Friday night we had an Arts/Tech appreciation dinner at church. All the sound/light techies, musicians, vocalists, and many others gathered for an evening of food and fun. The hubs and I have been a part of the teams that make our weekly services happen since the very beginnings of our church in 1997.
Saturday Jaxon had a birthday party and the girls were invited to a friends house for the day -the Hubs had a recording session scheduled in the studio and a relaxing night at home. This was also the day my resident IT guy ( The Hubs) spent most of the morning backing up, scratching, and re-installing everything to my laptop. Thanks dearie, I know how much you hate that role. I love ya for it.
So there...that's life in the 4th week of January for 1and1makes6.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Monday, I put on my "fun mom" hat and surprised them with a matinee and took them to see "Hotel for Dogs". It was very cute - the kids all love animals. I think the general story-line was a little over Jaxon's head, but he still liked ALL the dogs' antics. Then off to drum lessons for Coleo, and dance for Wren and Jules.
Tuesday was back to school day (finally!) and a long over-due stay at home day for me and Jaxon. (Playing catch up day after having everyone home for 5 days.) I watched lots of the Inauguration and that was interesting. A meeting at church in the evening rounded out the day. Oh, and Wren and Jules started piano this week -they are very excited about that!
Wednesday was an "away from home all day" for me - women's small groups at church in the morning (I lead a short time of worship for the large group portion), Jaxon to school after a quick lunch, and then a planned trip to Wal-mart for groceries and other errands. With a dead van battery thrown in for good measure, just to keep me on my toes. Here's what happened.
I had dropped Jaxon off, then gone out to the van and turned just the radio on while I sat there to makes sense of all my grocery notes and create my list. 7 minutes later, I turned the key and nuthin. 3rd time in 2 months. Obviously there's just not a lot of life left in the battery if it can't handle 7 minutes of running the radio. I got a jump start from one of the maintenance guys at the church where Jaxon goes to pre-school and the realized I shouldn't probably only drive it 5 minutes to walmart and then turn it off again and risk getting stranded there. Luckily , the shop that has been servicing all our vehicles for the past 16 yrs was only a couple miles away. I took my chances that they could squeeze me in and headed down there. Now, the Hubs has logged the most face time with our mechanic, but we bought a car from him a couple years ago, I was just hoping Steve was around and he'd remember who I was. I walked in, he came thru the door from the shop, I said a little hesitantly "Do you know who I am?" and he said "Sure! you're Greg's wife! Yay!! I didn't have to feel stupid. I explained what happened and asked if there was any way he could take a look at it within the half hour or so (that was how much "flex" time I had.) They were having a slow day and he got the van right in, checked the "life" of the battery, and had a new one in place in under 15 minutes. Can I hear an "amen" people? Such a nice guy. I was able to still get my Wal-mart run done without too much rushing, and then back to pick up all the kids from their school(s) all on time.
3rd Wednesday of the month is my MOMs (mothers of multiples) meeting night in these parts. I've been a member of this great group of fellow MOMs for almost 8 years. Which means I was for only 2 hours between 8:15am and 10:15. Not my favorite kind of day, (I really hate not being home for a whole day) but it was a good day. Even the dead battery part was ok, because a resolution came so easily.
Today -Thursday I am running around still in crazy mode tryign to pack 1and1makes6 for a long weekend to WI Dells. YAY! The kids are psyched. We go about every other year, book a big 3 bedroom condo at our timeshare there and take another family with us for a few days of fun. We'll hit an indoor waterpark one day adn then relax and do snow-fun the other. Always a fun time with our family and friends. So, now I must go. This is already a much longer post than I intended, and there is still packing to do! Yikes!
Enjoy your weekends...we plan to!!
Friday, January 16, 2009
8 short years ago
But we are, and I do.
Eight years ago, on January 16th, 2001, life as we knew it as an fairly ordinary, pretty cute, flexible, spontaneous family of 3 came to an end. Our family grew by 4 feet, in exactly one minute, as we welcomed Julia Eve at 9:39am weighing 6lbs 150z, and 19 inches long, and Renna Grace at 9:40am, weighing 4lbs 13oz and 16 inches long. They arrived via planned c-section, with no complications. Within hours of their birth though, we learned there was "something" up with sweet Renna's heart, but that side of the story will get it's own post later. After 4 days in the hospital, we made our way home as a new family of 5. (Renna had two extra days in the NICU so it really was 6 days before we were ALL home together).
A regimen of feeding schedules, med schedules, diaper tracking - how often and what "kind" they were- kept us sane. We wrote EVERYTHING down so anyone walking thru our door could easily take over and know who ate when, who was last changed when etc.
We were SO blessed by oodles of love and care and support from our dear family and extra special friends. Even so, those first couple of years were pretty crazy and chaotic and thinking back, it couldn't/wouldn't have been any other way. It's all a little blurry unfortunately.
To be honest, I would have to look back in pictures, and read through months and months of archived email updates to recall most of the first few months (years?) of your precious lives. I regret not having more (any?) video of the first couple years of your life and for that I am sorry. I struggle to remember your cries and coos and that makes my heart ache. I also know I can't live in regret and I need to try to savor the here and now. I am so blessed by my sweet girls.
RennaRoo - you are our sweet little princess girl. Smart, tenderhearted, always helpful, caring, smiley and flirty, with a mean stubborn streak. You love animals, music, dancing, drawing, expressing yourself in so many ways.
JuliaLoo - you are the strong, "big" sister. You are creative, confident but sensitive all at once, a helper, charming, smart, independent and also have a stubborn streak. We love that you want to be a rockstar when you grow up.
You are best friends, sharing a room (and a bed!) without so much as a blink. I love to watch you play together, sleep all snuggled up together, share secrets and dreams and always being able to create your own kind of fun together.
I am nervous about raising two beautiful girls in today's world. I do know that every day I am your mom is more of a blessing than the last. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you. Even though you are twins, formed from identical DNA, I know that you are each your own amazing individual, and unique (but oh so much the same). My prayers will be always be the same for you both, that you will make good and Godly choices, striving for excellence in all you do, always have a heart filled with compassion, and always know that know matter what, Dad and I are so very proud of you and we love you.
Happy Birthday, my Sweet Girls.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
ok ...we get it. It's cold out.
Kids and I had a pretty good day stuck inside. I stayed in bed until 9:30 watching the Today Show. awesome. I threw one load of laundry in the wash, folded one basket of laundry, read three days worth of newspapers, it was nice. Kids were all pretty nice to me and each other. Let's just say that there was lots of screen time. ahem. We watched a little Hannah/Miley, did a little Wii-ing. Overall a pretty good day.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
This spoke to me...
Laws of the Lighthouse
by Max Lucado
The first of the year is known for three things: black-eyed peas, bowl games, and lists. Some don’t eat black-eyed peas. Others hate football. But everybody likes lists.
The Bible certainly has its share of lists. Moses brought one down from the mountain.
There are lists of the gifts of the Spirit. Lists of good fruit and bad. Lists of salutations and greetings. Even the disciples’ boat got into the action as it listed in the stormy Sea of Galilee. (If you smiled at that, then I’ve got a list of puns you’d enjoy.)
But the greatest day of lists is still New Year’s Day. And the number one list is the list I call the Laws of the Lighthouse.
The Laws of the Lighthouse contain more than good ideas, personal preferences, and honest opinions. They are God-given, time-tested truths that define the way you should navigate your life. Observe them and enjoy secure passage. Ignore them and crash against the ragged rocks of reality.
Smart move. The wise captain shifts the direction of his craft according to the signal of the lighthouse. A wise person does the same.
Herewith, then, are the lights I look for and the signals I heed:
– Love God more than you fear hell.
– Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
– Make major decisions in a cemetery.
– When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
– Succeed at home first.
– Don’t spend tomorrow’s money today.
– Pray twice as much as you fret.
– Listen twice as much as you speak.
– Only harbor a grudge when God does.
– Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
– Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
– ‘Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
– God has forgiven you; you’d be wise to do the same.
– When you can’t trace God’s hand, trust his heart.
– Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.
– Don’t feel guilty for God’s goodness.
– The book of life is lived in chapters, so know your page number.
– Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
– Live your liturgy.
To sum it all up:
Approach life like a voyage on a schooner. Enjoy the view. Explore the vessel. Make friends with the captain. Fish a little. And then get off when you get home.
In the Eye of the Storm
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006) Max Lucado
Monday, January 12, 2009
12 years ago...
We brought him home and obviously life hasn't been the same since! He had us all to himself for 4 years and 4 days (until the little sisters arrived -watch for that birthday post on the 16th!) He's always been a great sleeper (sleeping overnight at 6 weeks!), a great eater and a real charmer! He was always a really good boy, not doing most of the mischievous things his siblings have done. He was easy going, friendly and always had an amazing "go-with-the-flow" way about him. We were in the throes of the early years of a new church, still doing lots of theatre and we just dragged him along to everything, or left him in capable hands of some wonderful caregivers and he was always good to go.
Cole, you are thoughtful, and sweet and sensitive. You have a wonderful sense of humor and I love your smile. You crave fairness and justice. I love how you can charm your way into getting something you want. I especially love how much you love your dad. I know you love me too, but you and your dad have a got a really special bond and I truly wouldn't want it any other way. You are a thoughtful and kind big brother and watching the 4 of you have fun together is one of my favorite things. You are in the unfortunate position of being our first born, therefore paving the way for us through this whole parenting adventure - whatever you do, we are doing for the first time too.(and for that I am terrified!) I am so afraid of messing the whole thing up and making a mess of you. I can only continue to pray that you will always seek God first, make good choices, strive for excellence, be filled with compassion for others, and always, always know we love you. I am so blessed to be your mom. Happy 12th Birthday Cole!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
getting to know me..just a little bit.
1. Started your own blog (if I hadn't - you wouldn't be here!)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Been rollerskating
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Been to Alaska
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29 Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33 Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (hmmmm...)
38. Never been issued a speeding ticket
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41 Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45 Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Been on TV
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia (does Kazahkstan count?)
60 Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64 Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66 Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67 Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited Mt. Rushmore
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (does from an airplane count?)
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (ew!)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (lol)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Been part of a TV talk show studio audience
Thursday, January 8, 2009
2. My cute, thoughtful, passionate boy Jaxon.
3. My sweet girls, Wren and Jules.
4. My smart boy Coleo.
6. Reminders of God's love.
7. Leftover chili for lunch. yum-o.
8. A nice phone chat with a friend.
What are you thankful for today?
Friday, January 2, 2009
So here we are...
Christmas #1 was on Christmas Eve Eve with the Hubs family(parents up from FL, brother, sil, and 2 nieces). I made 2 lasagnas...from SCRATCH. And they were good. thankyouverymuch. We all really enjoyed our time together. Everyone spent the night and the brother et al had to head back home early the next morning.
Christmas #2 was Christmas Eve. The Hubs and I were involved in the 2 services at church. I got to sing with two other gals from the other worship bands (we've never sung all together before) and it was very special. My dad's favorite song is O Holy Night and we soared through it in 3 part harmony and it touched him deeply. The kids all sang a song during the services and that was particularily sweet moment too. My parents and the in-laws attended the first service and then headed back to our house for their own "Christmas Happy Hour" while they waited for us to get home after the second service. We shared a meal of cheesy potato soup and other tasty things then our kids exhanged the small "dollar store" gifts they bought for each other. It's a tradition we started a couple years ago, taking the kids to pick out small gifts for each other, we like to think it's really helped them realize it's not all about the "gettin". It's alwasy fun to see what they pick out for each other. I sure within a few years they will tire of the token-ness of it, but it's fun for now.
#3- Christmas Day was spent quietly with just ourselves, the in-laws had left early AM to visit other family. Kids were up early and made their way thru their stockings...Santa always brings them fun trinkets and snacks. We made our traditional Christmas day breakfast of gooey crescent roll marshmallow treats, eggs and sausage. After breakfast, we opened the bigger gifts we had bought for the kids. Some clothes, this momma always buys everyone new socks, and then one thing from each of their "lists". The BIG one for this year was a fmaily gift, a Wii. We wrapped each component indiviually and then those were all packaged in a giant gift bag. It was marked from me to the Hubs. On the top was a pack of green marshmallow Christmas Tree Peeps. A fun little tradition he has with the kids. (we buy them for all the holidays!) The kids thought I had played a joke on him by wrapping the small package of Peeps in the huge gift bag. He then said, "wait there's more in here...lots more!" He starts to pull each package out and says each of them can help him open them. Isuggest they wait and all open them at the same time. We counted down and on 3 they tore into each of their bags - there was about 10 seconds of confusion until the Hubs pulled out the actual console and they all screamed! Coleo was the funniest and loudest in his excitment...they were psyched! It has been a really fun "addition" to the family and has already made for lots of family fun. That evening, we headed down to my parents house for leftovers and games.
The next day, we packed ourselves up and headed to the cabin, the hubs' brother's lake home in Northern WI for 3 days. It's become a fun tradition ever since the in-laws moved to FL full-time. It gives us all a few extra days together before they head back to warmer climates. 3 solid days of hikes across the frozen lake, playing games, puzzles, coloring, napping and other lazy day kinds of activities. Much fun is always had by all. On our way home from the cabin, we have made it a habit of stopping by my bestest friend, Natalie's home in rural WI. She and I have known each other since we were 3. (That's a long time btw) They live on 40 acres in the middle of rural WI and we have a great time with them. We only get to see each other a couple times a year - but her oldest is the same age as Coleo and they are a lot a like so they have a good time together. We made our way home late that night.
Tuesday, New Year's Eve Eve, was a lazy, stay in our cozy clothes all day kinda day. My favorite kinda day. For New Year's Eve, we hosted our annual gathering, about 20+ adults and 14 kids joined us to ring in the New Year. We had some new faces from our usual motley crew and had a great night of food, Wii-ing, a good conversation. And a very late night for our kids. Natalie, her hubby and boys came too..two visits in one week!! That made my day to learn they were coming to our house and it was great to have extra time with her family.
And yesterday, New Year's Day, actually was Christmas #4 for us, celebrating, eating and exchanging gifts with MY parents, brother, sil and my niece and nephew and two dogs to boot! It was the first day in 3 weeks that both my brother and sil had the same day of the week off from work. Ya do whatcha gotta do! More (and more food) was consumed (STOP THE MADNESS!) and more gifts were opened and there was more Wii playing and more fun family time. Another night of sleepover guests, and a big brunch concluded our time together today.
So now, I can finally say that our "holiday season" has officially ended. We will take down all the decor, kids go back to school Monday, and normal(?) life begins again.
I feel like I should write about all the things I learned, loved and regretted in 2008, but I'm still in serious post-holiday mode so there's no way I can think THAT deeply, watch for those in another post.
I suppose I should write about all I hope, wish and pray for our 2009, but I'm not so sure about those quite yet either. That will be another post.
And, I promise to give y'all a little insight as to where the title of my blog comes from soon too.
So there...a guarantee of at least 3 more posts from me.. ;-)
Until then, Happy New Year! May God bless us, everyone.