Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Great Pumpkin Patch

After driving by the pumpkin patch on the way to the drugstore and hearing the boys get all excited about the rides, Don and I were looking forward to bring the boys to the patch.

The first thing that caught their eyes were not the hundreds a of pumpkins everywhere, but the big swing ride. Lucas did not seem like he would be a big fan of it, so we skipped it to go on some other rides hoping Lucas would just get in a fun mode and want to give the swings a try. First they went on the jump house where Lucas was happy to try it, but then at the top he felt the jump house swaying in the breeze and would climb back down instead of sliding down.

We went over to the petting zoo area and scored when the nice man working there gave us some free goat food to feed the animals. Maybe not so free since it basically cost us $6 for the three of them to go pet the animals, but it was still nice of him, nonetheless. After much goat feeding, chicken chasing and animal petting we decided to give the big swings a try.

It was a complete success! All three boys loved the swings, they couldn't smile big enough as they were twirled around in the air. Every second and a half another one would fly by waving or yelling hello to us. After a bit more of fun and games, Don and I rounded the kids up and heading over to Nana's house. With out the promise of going to Nana's, I am not sure if we would have been able to get them to leave without tears, but luckily there were no problems that day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our Halloween Party

After over a month of preparation, we had our Halloween party this past weekend.

Friday night was full of making caramel apples, brownies, creepy eye eggs, witches fingers and so many other yummy things. Saturday morning my mom and Kelsey took the kids out of the house and gave Don and I time to finish cleaning the house and getting all the last minute things all together.

For such a tiny house and yard, we sure can pack a lot of people in! We had dinosaurs, pirates, Minnie Mouse, Transformers, Flappers, The Yo Gabba Gabba crew and so many more show up at our door, ready to have a good time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Family Losses II

After saying goodbye to my family in Illinois, it was time to make the 6.5 hour drive to see Don's family in Indiana. Although it was late when we arrived, the boys were wide awake. Having no concept of the reason we were in Indiana, the boys were just so excited to know they would soon see Matthew, Natalie and baby Elise.

And see them, they did! The next morning the kids couldn't wait to see one another. After breakfast we took them to a nearby playground and let run and play.

The kids laughed and played, the boys just love having their cousins to play with. Lucas generally follows the big boys around, so he was stuck on Matthew, laughing so hard at everything Matthew said and did. Wyatt was drawn to baby Elise, always wanting to check on her and touch her. Jaxon was just happy to be free of the van and got all his little wiggles out of his system, usually not far behind Natalie.

The next few days were busy with Don's grandmother's viewing and funeral, and although with the stress of his Grandmothers passing away and everything that entails, it was so nice to be around so much family. He saw cousins he hadn't seen in over 15 years, and got to catch up with people he generally doesn't get to talk to more than a couple times a year. Not to mention the boys got to meet new cousins as well as play with the ones they already know and love.

It was a long and stressful week for the both of us. It is always sad to lose someone you love. Fortunately both our Grandmothers had lived long full lives and we are sure they had many loved ones waiting to welcome them at the gates of heaven.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Family Losses

Late September both Don and I had Grandmas who passed away. In the strangest twist, their funerals were both days within each other, and even though they lived in Nevada and Texas, they were to be buried in Illinois and Indiana. With the help of both our parents, Don and I took the kids on a 70+ hour car trip to say good bye to our Grandmothers.

First we went to Illinois for my Grandmothers funeral. Although the reason that lead us there was so sad, it was nice being gathered with so much family we haven't seen in years. All the Aunt and Uncles, cousins, and even my own brothers and sisters all in one place made the loss so much easier to bear.

After making the 30 hour drive to Illinois, we arrived late at night and ready to fall into bed. Here you can tell Jaxon was so thrilled to learn that even though we went all the way from Nevada to Illinois, Nana and Pops were in the room right next to us! And in the rooms past them were Leigha, Carl, Donny and more of our family.

Cousins were everywhere. The boys generation of cousins are 8 boys and one girl. The kids all had a good time playing together in the hotel pool (that had an echo like no other!) and running around between the hotel rooms. It is simply amazing to think that all of us came from the love that my Grandmother and Grandfather shared so many years ago.

After the service, we had a last meal with the entire family and most of us split ways the next day. All of my immediate family stayed intact, except Donny who had other family in the area he wanted to visit. Luckily we snapped a picture while we were all together. Next stop was the Pizza Palace.

I don't remember very much about my childhood, but I do remember that the Pizza Palace was a place my dad loved to go to about once a year. It was quite a drive from where we lived, and I never cared for the pizza much, but it was a family tradition to moan and groan about going. I guess with age comes appreciation for different foods, because this time I really enjoyed eating there!

After the Pizza Palace we walked around the college campus. I bet my dad never thought that one day he would return and walk the streets of campus with a few of his grandchildren! After spending enough time at the campus to make me fall in love with the seasons of the Midwest, it was time to get back on the road. We needed to be in Indiana to say good bye to Don's Grandmother as well.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hitting the Town

For our anniversary, we got a great gift from my Mom and Dad. It is called House Seats Las Vegas and with the membership they gave us, we get all sorts of free stuff. Haircuts, nails, massages, show tickets and more. FREE. The only catch is some of the haircuts or nails are only once a years at each establishment, and sometimes a show is limited to once a month for the same show. But that is more than fine with us!

We have seen Blue Man Group (whoo hoo!) and Frank Caliendo (he's got to be one of the best shows we have ever seen!)so far (as well as I have gotten a manicure-FREE! and Don got a haircut and shave-FREE!). One night Don and our neighbor went out to see Andrew Dice Clay. The shows have been fun and with Nana and Pops offering babysitting along with the present of House Seats, we are in heaven!

Somehow the pictures we take with the show people turn out like crap, but we figure maybe we will start a collection of crappy show people pictures. Say that five times fast :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our Anniversary Trip

While spending the weekend with the kids in California a couple months back, Don and I really enjoyed the time we spent boogie boarding. To get more boogie boarding time together, Don and I decided to take a trip to the beach by ourselves! It was the first time the boys spent the night outside of our house, and amazingly, the world did not come crashing down around us.

A few hours of boogie boarding and making friends with the people that set up next to us on the beach (a triplet family from Las Vegas in California celebrating their trios birthday!) was enough water time for the day and we took a stroll around Huntington Beach. It was a great lazy weekend, and a great way to spend our anniversary.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Zen Lucas

Sometimes I tell them the Wii games won't come on until they do the yoga poses. Can you blame me? I think it is so stinking cute to watch their little bodies do it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Decorating

We have been busy the past few weeks. Cutting wood or black paper, and hot gluing moss onto other things has been the theme of most nights around here while we are getting ready for Halloween. Take a look at some of our work...

It is going to be a bean bag toss game when it is done.

Does the door make you scared to enter?

Some silhouettes Don cut out. The template was from Martha Stewart.

A little mouse hotel pumpkin.

And some much needed candy in a pumpkin full of treats.

Our bat cave living room, also inspired by Martha. See the little bats in our lampshades? Just little bats taped to the inside of the shades. In our kitchen, we put black tulle on our long curtains to spook them up a bit, and cut out a Gothic looking shade for our living room window.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Those Kids

The boys have never had a problem in school. They have been labeled as "exuberant" from their teacher last year and I took that as a compliment -but no troublesome issues. At least until today.

Today when I went to pick the boys up from preschool, Mrs Leslie had come over to quietly speak with me before releasing the boys from class. Apparently the child sitting next to Jaxon was doing his cutting exercises (cutting on a zig zag line) and had not stayed on the line. So Jaxon told him he was going to "beat him up".

Wyatt had to go to time out three times today. Twice for taking a toy from someone with out asking ("we need to work on our please and thank yous" Miss Leslie kindly put it), and once for knocking down a building of blocks other boys had built.

I know we are having issues with Wyatt doing these things at home as well, and have been trying to deal with it, but apparently, we need to work harder. When I talked to him in the car about it and let him know it was not nice, he cried and cried. He has a guilty conscious, that one. As far as Jaxon saying he was going to beat up this kid, he knows it was not nice and unacceptable. We do a lot of wrestling and trash talking in this house and I am sure that is where it came from. Beyond than telling him not to say that to a friend, I am not sure what else to do about it.

Other than "beat HIM up". I'm kidding of course :)

Part of me feels embarrassed that my kids are "those kids". But the bigger part of me wants to stand up and accept an award -because two out of three ain't bad.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Fortune

** It is late and my post is all over the place. But it is me right now, and I am keeping it real :)

Everyday when I glance at my bulletin board next to my monitor, the fortune is there -below a picture of the kids with some of their cousins, and on top of a congrats card from my gram when we had the boys. Different things have come and go on the bulletin board (mainly due to the boys taking things off or moving them around), but this fortune had stayed with us all these years.

The fortune was from way back in the day, after we were married but while we were struggling to start a family. The fortune says, "Your dearest wish will come true". What is most people's dearest wish? Well, happiness. Back then, happiness for us meant to have kids. And if something held a shred of hope for me to have those kids, whether it be church and hours of prayer a day, different combinations of vitamins and herbal supplements, my witch craft boss at the time (it was so hard to restrain from asking her for a "spell"), rubbing on a kokopelli key chain, or the little fortune out of a panda express cookie, I held on to that hope tight fisted with all my life. So the fortune made it's way out of Panda Express and into our home.

We wished to be parents and went what ever route we had to go to get to be parents. We tried all the things I mentioned above, but there was no positive sign on way too many pregnancy tests bought and prayed over. If this wasn't meant to be done through us, then we would try to parent through Foster Parenting classes. After months of classes, background tests, health tests and letters from our family and friends -almost a full year after we began the process- we were almost approved to foster children. We knew exactly what we wanted, too. We wanted a sibling group- we knew we could handle it since our house was empty and our hearts were ready. Our dearest wish was about to come true.

Two days after our home was approved for fostering children -our very last obstacle in being approved- we found out our second round of IVF was successful (3 times more successful than anticipated!). Our dearest wish was coming true. One way or another, we were being able to become parents.

Over the years our wish has changed. It has continues to be happiness, but happiness drawn from health, keeping our children safe, and for God to grant us wisdom and keep us out of harms way, day in and day out. It is more of a daily prayer than a wish. I know that no matter what the future may bring, that my dearest wish will come true as long as I look for it in the right place. As of today, that place is in our tiny house, on a tiny lot in an over populated city. It is with our wallets tighter than ever and all of us squeezed in our tiny car to go buy groceries at Walmart so we can save the most money possible by price matching ads. It is in the arms of my husband who day in and day out, I make a real noticeable effort to show him my appreciation of his hard work and happy attitude.

In this house we make our happiness. We don't take each other for granted, or expect others to make us happy. We don't use our past as an excuse to be unhappy, but appreciate our lives now more for the wisdom gained from our past. We struggle all the time with money and the kids, -and in the past year- our marriage as well. Our lives are not faultless or easy. I have a hard time believing anyone's life is easy. But I do believe that happiness in a home does make it look easy. And from that happiness, life does feel easier.

So tonight as I looked at the fortune on my bulletin board, I realized that anyone's dearest wish can come true. They just have to find their happiness in what they have instead of looking for it in everything they don't.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

In surround sound

When Don and I bought our house about 5 years ago, one of the things we knew we wanted was the built in surround sound. Nicer cabinets, granite counter tops and other upgrades were bypassed to be sure that we had our surround sound. Dreams were about nice evenings with the two of us and a loud action packed movie like Terminator where it would surely feel like we were in the middle of the scene.

Then we became pregnant with the boys and they were born not even a year after we moved in. I don't think we watched more than one movie with our dream surround system in place before they made an entrance, and because of their bedroom being directly above our built in to the ceiling surround sound, we never took a chance of playing a movie with them on. There is no chance we wanted to wake the three of them up after a hard day of parenting them!

In the past two weeks, the weather in Vegas has been beautiful. Like open the windows and let the breeze blow beautiful. We have turned the radio on, turned the television off, and let the weather blow some peacefulness and happiness into our souls. This is what I assume it feels for the rest of the United States when Spring comes along. Open windows, clean air, kids playing and so much laughing outside.

The boys have begun to really enjoy our music. Jaxon belts out different parts of "Halo", and all three are huge fans of "I got a feeling". When those songs come on, we turn the radio up and everyone just forgets about what they were doing and jams a bit.

This weekend has been the kind of weekend I knew it would be like with children. Forget all the weekends we changed diapers, did laundry, handled a colicky Jaxon or gave breathing treatment after breathing treatment to Lucas and Wyatt. This weekend was full of all of us playing together, reading the kids books, lying on our bed together (or wrestling with the kids in the bed), cooking good food and getting the house ready for Halloween. And the surround sound blasting music from the radio.

The kids have had disgustingly dirty knees every night -so bad they need a shower before they got a bath and another shower to finish them off. We have been exhausted and everyone falls asleep way earlier than intended. Our bellies are full when we go to sleep, either from home made manicotti or fruit salad. The backyard has echos of all the laughter and giggles made in it all day and evening long.

Right now there are three nay-nay boys fresh out of the bath running around. Their new favorite phrase seems to be "totally cool". Their hair is a bit askew from the haircuts I gave them earlier. Better than last time, but still so far from perfect. Before they start to wrestle and the overtired tears start to flow, I better go and help Don get them ready for bed.

So the surround sound never got to be used for what we intended it for. Before today, the circular speakers in the ceiling seemed to mock us a bit. Show us a bit of what life used to be and what used to be "cool" to us. This weekend was so much better than all those dreams of action packed movies or the THX opening of a movie. I can't wait for more weekends like this one.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Cake in the Face

Last night we celebrated my Moms birthday. As with most all other family birthdays, we celebrated it with an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. Yummy! We were seated around the table, eating our cake and my Dad put a bit of frosting on Wyatt's nose. While Lucas thought it was hilarious and put some on his own nose, Wyatt burst into tears (he was a bit over tired and had no idea what to think).

My dad felt bad for the little guy and put some on his own nose to make Wyatt feel better. Before I even knew what was happening, my dad somehow helped Wyatt into pushing my dad's own face into the cake! Well, Pops had his face covered with ice cream and we all just burst out laughing. Wyatt still had a tear going down the side of his face, but was clearly over being sad, laughing with his head thrown back.

After the cake was eaten and everyone was cleaned off, Don, my Dad, and I, were sitting at the table talking. Lucas comes back in the kitchen and hopped up to the table. He starts digging into the cake and eating the frosting. Again, I have no idea how it all began, but I do remember Lucas saying, "No, I do. I do. I want to try it myself!" And then he stuck his own face into the ice cream cake! He was laughing, we were laughing and he just kept doing it again and again.

Aunt Leigha happened to walk in at about that time and Jax, Wyatt and my mom came back in to see what the ruckus was about. Eventually, in one way or another, the boys (including my dad) had willingly put their face in the cake. My dad is it in the name of fun, letting the boys think they were putting his face in the cake, but we all were laughing so hard over the absurdness of it all. To see the kids (and my dad) just PUT. THEIR. FACE. IN. A. CAKE. REPEATEDLY. I think I could have safely said that day would never arrive, yet here it was screaming hello and waving it's hands in my face.

Hopefully, we have not opened pandora's box of horrible table ideas. My head hurt from laughing so hard. I have not laughed that hard in a long time.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Train central

This is what the boys love. Anything Thomas the Train related. It is an addiction that started our with two 25 cent movies from a garage sale and has over taken our living room, their bedroom, and even their bubble bath brand.