Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The other night Leora ate dinner early, so she was wondering around the table when Gregory sat down to eat. As always, I announced that we needed to bless the food.
Without missing a beat, Leora stopped and dropped to her knees, her little hands folded on her lap. It was adorable!!
We had steady rain yesterday. Instead of absorbing or evaporating, it steadily formed a 1/2 inch layer of ice by the evening. I didn't discover this until I sent Gregory to put the recycables out by the trashcan outside. I always challenge him to run as fast as he can, so he won't get too cold. Well, he took one leaping step out the front door and ended up slipping and skidding several feet, all sprawled out- wipe out! He was first in shock and then cried... poor lil' guy.
I had an appointment at 9:00 this morning at the church. I was TERRIFIED to drive there. I called ahead and was assured that the roads were well salted, but they warned that the church parking lot was a solid sheet of ice. Well, they were right about both. Driving there was fine, but navigating the parking lot was a trip. Even more entertaining was watching people walking on it- me included. I never wiped out, but by the time I was done, my nerves were shot!
I wanted to lock myself up in my house for the rest of the day, but I had promised to go to a cookie exchange up the street. Driving 5 houses up seemed silly, so I bundled my girls and buckled them securely in the stroller. We somehow made it there, and later back, without falling, but I slipped often, even on the grass.
I still don't mind the cold, but I can live without the ice. When it melts I'll be making a visit to Walmart to get ice for my driveway.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Pretzel sticks are a popular snack in our home. A couple days ago I asked Charla what she'd like for a snack.
"Prince-els," she replied.
I asked, "PRETZELS?"
She arrogantly stuck her nose up, closed her eyes and corrected me, "No. PRINCE-ELS." How silly of me to offer a princess anything else.
Leora was helping me with the laundry today. She did well throwing dirty clothes in the hamper and was excited about moving loads from the washer to the dryer to the basket. I was almost finished transferring a load when I noticed her face.
It looked disgusted. I fished my finger through her mouth and pulled out a wad of lint. She must have scooped out a little handful and popped it in her mouth. I never realized how much lint looks like cotton candy. Apparently the taste doesn't compare.
I had just finished dressing the girls after bathtime, so we were all in their bedroom, almost ready for bed. Then Charla announced, "I'm cleaning my room!"
I was pleased that she had decided to pick up the stuffed animals and few scattered clothes, but then laughed when I realized she meant it literally. She had grabbed a wet wipe and was very vigorously "cleaning" the walls, Leora's crib, the dresser.... I must say, she was thorough.
But it's still cluttered.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Yes, I found the pictures, tucked neatly away in the file I created for my Ward calling, which was, by the way, nowhere NEAR the "My Pictures" file, so I'm still blaming the PC for the mistake.
I still don't trust the computer, but at least I have the pictures back- I've not been so lucky in the past.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I went to sift through the pictures and, low and behold, not a single one had transferred. And now they were GONE. I checked every single folder on the dumb pc. Finally, I walked away from the computer (so that I wouldn't throw it through the window) and had a good cry. Of course, every picture anyone takes is a one-of-a-kind, but these were so precious to me...
All the pictures of us celebrating German Christmas traditions. In Germany the kids put their shoes out on December 5th and (if they've been good) they find surprises in their shoes the next morning. I had the greatest shots of Gregory's excitement when he found his stuffed shoe and unwrapped the surprise. Then later of him putting the puzzle together that he had unwrapped and proudly showing it off. Now the puzzle is put away and isn't the fun new thing anymore.
Every Sunday in December, leading up to Christmas Eve, Germans everywhere have a decorated wreath with 4 taper candles. On the first Sunday of the month you light one candle and talk about the Christmas story. The next Sunday you light 2 candles and tell the story again, repeating the motions the next Sunday with 3 candles and so on. The kids had been unnaturally cooperative for this first lighting. They helped set up a nativity scene and enthusiastically read the story of Christ's birth with me from the large picture book. Again, so many perfect pictures, now GONE.
I had pictures of Gregory romping around in the snow and the cat stalking him in the back yard.
Pictures of the girls dancing with delight when I set up their 4-foot pre-lit PINK Christmas tree (I had a moment of weakness a couple months ago and gave in to the $20 tree). Leora and Charla were so thrilled about the tree, that neither got annoyed with the other over decorating (or in Leora's case, un-decorating) it. A rare moment of love and cooperation (and a ridiculously tacky tree) caught on camera, now LOST.
Cute shots of the kids in various poses they'd fallen asleep in.
The cat being accused of snatching an egg. Gregory claims that Cinders stole an egg from the open carton up on the kitchen counter. When I arrived at the scene, she was happily licking up the raw egg, now broken on the floor. I snapped the greatest shot of her looking guiltily at the camera while lapping up the runny yoke (yuck). I was going to ask whether others thought she looked like she had committed the crime. Now we'll never know.
Charla's preschool class went on a field trip to Krispy Kreme. The staff let them play with the dough and everyone got a free donut (from different dough, of course). The kids were so flippin' cute in their Krispy Kreme hats, and excited, watching the conveyer belt of donuts in various stages of preparation. Leora got to enjoy one, too. Now just a memory.
I had this great shot of Leora examining the fireplace burning on the TV screen. I bet I could try to re-take it, but the novelty of it is gone.
That's just what I can remember. There were so many more, each so sweet and precious to me. SO, everyone learn from MY miserable experience: NEVER trust your PC with your memory stick. ALWAYS double check. ugh.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Little snowflakes have been softly falling since last night, so by now everything is under a blanket of feathery snow. Seriously, the snow is virtually like dust.
Gregory had bugged me all day to go outside. I finally gave in and went out with him while the girls napped. It was so cute watching him stomp around in the shallow snow. We had fun dumping the ice out of toys and finding little "treasures" frozen inside the icy blocks.
Our neighbors have this great swing set they let my kids use. While our yard is practically perfect, theirs extends just a few feet from the house before plunging down several yards. I'd HATE to have to mow that lawn. Well, that neat swing set is set up so when you go down the slide, you end up sliding all the way down the hill.
So how could Gregory resist?
Friday, December 5, 2008
I picked up the new pair this evening on my way to a friend's Christmas party. When I put them on, everything was suddenly bizarrely sharp and in focus... it made me a little dizzy! Then, being the obsessive dork I am, I related it to that part in the final Twilight book when Bella has been morphed into a vampire and how acutely strong her vision is when she opens her eyes for the first time. I laughed out loud at myself.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I'd consigned myself to my first Thanksgiving away from not only family, but my hubby, too. I was sad about it, but this is what we signed up for, and at least he's not deployed and we get him for Christmas.
Last week he told me about a gift he was mailing me. He explained that I would get a series of e-mails, but not to open any of them until he said it was "time." For a fleeting moment I thought he might be coming to visit me and that all the fuss about timing would be around his flight schedule. When he explained on Monday that I'd have to wait until the kids were in bed to start the e-mails, I knew I'd been foolish hoping for a visit.
I made sure the kids were in bed by 8:30 last night and anxiously waited. The mailman had delivered a fairly small package that day, but I was under strict orders from Fred not to open them until he gave the "go." He had insisted it was something I've always wanted. Looking at the small, insignificant package, I had NO idea what could possibly be in it that I've "always wanted."
Finally he sent me an instant message online giving me permission to open the first e-mail, which was telling me to be sure the kids were asleep and reminding me NOT to open the gift yet. Done.
So Fred said I could open the 2nd e-mail. It gave me instructions:
1. Get changed into something very comfortable, such as warm pajamas
2. Grab a warm blanket
3. Make some hot chocolate
4. Turn the lights low in the living room
5. Open the package and proceed to ‘E-mail #3’
6. DO NOT read the letters, yet (the package had 2 letters in it)
He instant messaged me to take as long as I needed to feel totally relaxed. I felt a little funny, but I did as told to get comfy. I finally opened the package and found a DVD and a CD. The CD was Josh Groban's Christmas CD, "Noel". Yes, I really have wanted that one.
The DVD was so unexpected. I've always expressed how badly I want a house with a fireplace. Yes, I know all the hazards and mess they can be, but some of my fondest childhood memories are of sitting near my parents' glowing fireplace, chucking our Christmas wrapping paper into it, cooking chestnuts, warming up by the fire after Christmas caroling, and just the ambiance only a crackling fire can create. So, you pop in this DVD and can select whether to watch a crackling fire full screen, morphing your television into a mantle, or you can view a full fire place, tastefully adorned in holly. You can also opt to watch it with the natural crackling and popping, or with a lovely arrangment of soft instrumental Christmas music.
SO, my instructions were to turn on the fire without the music and turn on the Josh Groban CD, while sipping my hot chocolate and snuggling the cat (I swear the cat was in on it). I was to listen to the first 2 tracks and then open the #1 letter from the package during the 3rd song.
The 3rd song is Josh Groban's adaptation of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" with parts of the song consisting of expressions of love from deployed servicemen to their families. Of course I burst into tears, not for myself, but thinking about all the families and servicemen spending the Holidays apart.
The letter was so sweet. He wistfully told me how much he misses and loves me, often feeling lonely and wishing I was with him. He even made a few adorable comparisons to Twilight's Edward and Bella's feelings for each other. It made me laugh through the tears.
I was then to call him. He didn't answer the first time, which mildly annoyed me, so I tried again a couple minutes later. This time he answered and asked what I thought. I started crying again and he certainly sounded pleased with himself. I told him he's the most wonderful man in the world and that he was right: he had given me something I've always wanted (the "fireplace").
He said I could open the final letter. I struggled to get the tape off #2 and finally opened it to read:
"Please rescue your poor freezing hubbycicle out back! L-l-l-l-l-l-ove!"
I was too stunned for a moment to do anything. I started saying, "NOOOO, no way... no way." I finally got up and turned on the back porch light, opening the blinds. AND there he was, grinning at me! I was SO SHOCKED! I managed to open the door and fell into his arms sobbing. I just couldn't take it all in!
When he kissed me, I teased him that even though he'd been waiting in the cold, his lips weren't icy like Edward's. He laughed and explained he'd only been back there about 1 minute.
Here's how his scheme had worked:
He arranged with our friend Kaylon to pretend to be Fred, instant messaging me with Fred's IM name. He was on the phone with Kaylon, telling him exactly was to type to me, so I NEVER suspected anything on that end.
When Kaylon had told me to "take my time" it was because our friend, who picked up Fred from the airport, missed a turn on the way home. Unlike most logical places in the US, in Ohio when you miss a turn, it may be miles before you can backtrack, so they suddenly didn't know how long it would take to get home.
When I called Fred the time he didn't pick up, it was because he wasn't close enough yet. Our friend drove like crazy and managed to drop Fred off just a couple minutes before I opened that final letter. So Fred never got the chance to get truly icy.
SO, I cuddled with him on the couch in disbelief until we dragged ourselves to bed. I was still not convinced the whole thing wasn't a dream. I had talked myself out of hoping for this!!
This morning was so sweet. When Gregory came in to wake me, he was (obviously) surprised and delighted to find his papa, and crawled right in bed with us, hugging Fred excitedly. The girls were excited, too, although Leora's still warming up to him. They made waffles all together. It's been such a WONDERFUL morning!
SO, as I began, sorry ladies, but the greatest guy in the world is taken... and he's mine.
This is from Good Morning America. It's not the complete song as it is on the CD, but it's definitely worth watching, as they recognize several families and the artist expresses his love for the troops.
Monday, November 24, 2008
When Gregory goes in time-out, he calms down fast, wanting to get over with it so he can go play again. Not Charla.
She screamed for a solid 45 minutes this evening. I went to find Leora to settle her in for dinner. This is where I found her. She was pleasantly sitting next to Charla, who was screaming on the top of her lungs. She looked like a tiny little support group. I think it may have been aggravating Charla more than anything. Me taking pictures certainly didn't help her mood either.
I just noticed in the picture that someone colored that door to the garage. Where's the Magic Eraser..?
The books are, well, amazing. I hope somebody does some kind of research on why it appeals so much, not just to the swooning 14-year old's, but to pretty much every young mom who picks it up.
And despite the small demographic it specifically caters to (females ages 12-30ish), I saw a handful of women in line for the movie who had long left the "young mom" stage, just as eagerly anticipating the film as the 15-year olds behind us. There were also a nice number of guys, probably trying to prove just how deep their devotion is to their obsessive girl friends/wives.
I went with my visiting teachers to the 10:20pm showing (I think we'll count it as their visit this month, since we chatted in line for 1 1/2 hours). I'm really good friends with them. We were about 30 people from the front of the line. It was entertaining (and pathetic) watching the neurotic 13-year olds trying to cut in line and then lingering around us hoping to squeeze in. We formed a solid wall of bodies to block them. It was so funny :P
ANYWAYS, about the movie itself...
Personally, I enjoyed it. I didn't realize that until after I got home and thought it over. OF COURSE, as with any book-to-movie there were disappointements, some worse than others. Thankfully the audience wasn't screaming and swooning the whole time. I think I'd like to see it again, and take it in more as a movie than as a visual representation of the beloved book. There were some additions to the movie I LOVED, which was unexpected :)
Regardless of the movie, I still LOVE the books. I'm happy for the author that it's been such a tremendous success (she even made a cameo appearance in the movie!). I just hope she still makes her 3 boys earn their mission money on their own.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
NEVER get a black car
NEVER have leather seats
NEVER buy a convertable and leave the roof down
ALWAYS park in the shade, no matter how far from destination
When the Car overheats, do the Arizona 4/60... 4 windows down, 60 mph
Driving with oven mitts is genius
Now that it snows, I certainly wouldn't leave my convertible's top down... actually, I'd never even consider GETTING a convertible- it would never fit 4 car seats :P
Tonight I went with a couple friends to see the 10:20 showing of "Twilight", so I drove my sitter home at 1:00am. Luckily I found a great coat at Good Will for $4.00, but my hands were ACHING with the cold- it was about 22 degrees. I laughed out loud when the remedy I thought of first was, "Oooh, I should grab oven mitts!"
Never mind gloves.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Since then, every day Gregory walks home from school, he grabs a handful of pretty, red leaves for me. It's just so darn cute! I didn't want to throw them away, so we're garnishing a candle with them. It's just so sweet how every day he proudly marches into the house with the new addition of leaves. I'll be sad when the Pikes finally rake them up and toss them.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The kids were watching the rain at the front door when Gregory exclaimed, "IT'S SNOWING!!"
For some reason I was skeptical, but sure enough, when I peeked outside, big, white flurries were softly falling. I was SURE it would just last a for a couple minutes before the rain would take over, so I threw some boots and jackets on the kids, over their PJ's, and let them go nuts outside.They had a BLAST. It had been near 60 yesterday, so the ground was too warm for the snow to stick. Charla was scooping up handfuls of water from a puddle, trying to throw it like snow. She cracks me up.
The kids spent a long time sitting on the windowsill, watching in awe. There was eventually a thin blanket of snow on everything, but now the wind has picked up, the rain took over, and the snow is gone.
It sure was a fun morning! We'll see how long the snow is magical to the kids. I hope for a long time, although the pleading to go back out into the falling snow did get a little wearing.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
SO, 5 1/2 more weeks to go!
This is the kind of thing I would dream about SOMEDAY doing, back when I was stuck in Zero Hour in high school, or starting my shift at Walmart. Considering my kids' foul moods lately and lack of husband, I plan on enjoying today :)
Monday, November 10, 2008
Ohio is weird. I watched the evening news here for the first time tonight... mostly because it doesn't come on until 11:00 AT NIGHT. I was mainly interested in the weather forecast. I believed them when they predicted it will be 25 degrees when Gregory goes to the bus stop, and that there's a 60% chance of snow this weekend.
For the first time in my life I'm looking for a heavy, wool coat. Someone should start a business renting out maternity coats, since if I buy one now, I HOPEFULLY will never need it again (meaning, if we don't have more kids, I BETTER not be able to fill out a coat meant for a huge, pregnant belly!).
Old Navy has a wool blend coat for $70 online. I don't even know if that's a good price for a coat. I welcome insight on this topic!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I feel like I've been pregnant for years already, and I AM less than 2 weeks from my 2nd trimester, but seeing the number "11 1/2" makes it seem like I just got pregnant! It's frustrating.
Anyways, I went to a party at Fred's Commander's house this evening and got a little dressed up. I haven't taken an official "pregnancy pic" yet, so this will do. Most "normal" people don't show during their first trimester, but you can count on plenty of people congratulating me on my "twins" by the time I hit my 3rd trimester... NO, we only saw 1 baby in there.
I'm at that awkward point where I can't wear my regular pants anymore, but I'm not showing enough for a stranger to have the courage to ask if I'm pregnant. I'll be wishing I was still like this in a couple months!
On a side note, I want to give a shout-out to my sis-in-law who just found out she's having a girl! YAY!!!!!! She's 7 weeks ahead of me with her first. That will make 5 Olsen girls and 1 Olsen boy, my Gregory. We'll find out in May whether he maintains that title.
Monday, November 3, 2008
We've sung it before, but this was a first solo for him! He sang it probably 1/2 a dozen times before everyone was done eating and I managed to get him on video. He wasn't quite as animated when he knew I was recording, but it still melts my heart anyways.
Yesterday he told me he built an Air Force base in his bedroom out of Lego's. My little Air Force brat!
I've included a Youtube video of the song being performed, in case you can't really follow all the lyrics from Gregory's performance. It's a nice arrangement. All the videos with cool graphics were actually set to the original Air Force fight song back when it was the Army Air Corp (a LOOONG time ago). The lyrics have been slightly modified since the Air Force was created as a separate branch of the military.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
The 2 pictures they gave me don't do it justice (do they ever?), but for the ultrasound illiterate I tried to label baby parts. It still takes some imagination.
We have some exciting news that will surely drive our parents insane:
We're not finding out the baby's gender! Well, until birth at least. We figure we've got everything for a boy or a girl, and since this is probably our Omega, it's our last chance for that kind of surprise.
My only hesitation was in light of Gregory's enthusiasm over this baby. We've had to prod him with his sisters, but this time he's so excited. He kisses my tummy good bye at the bus stop and kisses it again when he gets off the bus AND "good night"... without ANY encouragement! I think it has a lot to do with several of his friends recently welcoming babies into their families.
I considered that he would like to know whether he's expecting a brother or a sister, since he actually seems to care this time. I also was a little leery of calling the baby an "it" for 8 months. Well, Gregory solved all that.
It occurred to me to ask him what we should name the baby while he or she is in my tummy. He concentrated for a while. Then his face lit up (a bit mischievously, I might add) and he sad, "Cindy-Lou!" (we've been watching "The Grinch"). I wasn't sold at first, but then I realized "Lou" by itself can go either way!
SO, for the pregnancy, we're referring to #4 as "Baby Lou."
The best (aside from my lost closet organizer and some clothespins) was this birthday card Fred received WAAAAY back in 1996. I'm sure there are virtually identical ones fitting this election year, but I still got a good laugh out of this one. I was in Junior High for that election!
Friday, October 31, 2008
I know this will sound bizarre, but Halloween has already come and gone for Ohio! Actually, they call it "Beggar's Night" here. Instead of everyone Trick-or-Treating on the night of October 31st, the area is divided and each is assigned a different night to "beg" for candy on the week of Halloween.
Us non-native Ohians are seriously puzzled by this. As we were going door to door in our neighborhood yesterday, I finally heard some theories. Supposedly, a LOOONG time ago, there was a big problem with hoodlums causing trouble on Halloween. In an attempt to deal with the problem and make the occasion safer for the young Trick-or-Treaters, it was decided to have various nights before Halloween designated for the treat gathering.
The second reason is that Ohians are SO passionate about football, they will do anything to make sure nothing will keep them from attending a game, even Halloween. I wouldn't be surprised if that reason is true.
Tuesday was our ward's Trunk-or-Treat, which I was in charge of. Unfortunately, I came down with the stomach flu, so I couldn't go, but freinds took Gregory and Charla for me, but I was SO disappointed not to go!
SO, we were assigned October 30th to go "begging". I bundled my kids up, sending Charla into a screaming fit when I forced a turtleneck under her Belle dress. It took a while, but she eventually let it go (about 1/2 hour later). I actually had Teletubby costumes for all three, but (who's really surprised?) at the last minute Charla maintained her "Princess" status and refused to be La-La.
Leora was sedated by her juice cup for pretty much the whole thing. I didn't even bring her bucket along. Boy, I remember taking 1 1/2 month old Gregory Trick-or-Treating and definitely bringing his bucket!
By the end, the kids were losing steam fast.
They trudged up a few last driveways before calling it a night.