Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In an effort to get up to date...

...I will be posting cute pictures of life from the past few weeks. I will do my best to add witty captions and minimize the snarky comments, but no promises. I am feeling hopeful of more sleep soon to come, babe has been going about one 4-5 hour stretch a day. Since Annabelle is the newest member of the family, she will be featured in this first set of pictures.



Here is sweet baby Belle chatting with her papa. She has started to smile and coo, its so much fun when they finally do something other than sleep, eat and poop.
Here is Annabelle sporting her new kick's and headband from Jenny. So cute. I love that my friends feed the shoe addiction I have. I try to teach my girls from a young age what really matters: cute shoes.

Here is the first bath. She now takes a bath with her sisters every night. Matt won't put all 3 girls in the bath unless I ask him to. Just because Annabelle has pooped 2 out of the 4 times he has bathed them all together...I think its just a bad attitude. She hasn't ever pooped in the bath for me. Just sayin'...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sorry

I know, I haven't updated in much too long. I would like to say that it is because my life is so exciting that I haven't really had time. That would not be the case. In truth, my life isn't that thrilling and in my severely sleep deprived state I was unable to think of anything creative or inspiring to write about. Lest you think that I have been inspired and that is why I am writing, let me assure you that I am no more creative or inspired now than I was yesterday. Or last week. This is it, the best I can come up with, so you will just have to deal.

Matt: Out of town this week to sunny and warm CA. I am bitter because it is freakin' freezing here. He is back to work after 2 delightful weeks off. The girls miss having him to play with. I miss all the help. I have decided he shouldn't work and some one should offer to sponsor our life. let me know if your interested.

Gretchen: Sleep deprived. My filter, which is loose weave anyway, is full of holes. What to know what I think? I will tell you un-edited truth about now because I don't have the energy to think of a polite response. This makes me fun to live with, I'm sure.

Eliana: Doesn't stop talking. Ever. I have her running monologue to narrate my life. Often it is funny, sometimes annoying, but truly unceasing. I have no idea how to answer most of her questions in an educated manor. Elie got a CD player for her birthday and I have been going around singing veggie tails and rhinoceros tap. Not nearly as annoying as the CD of children singing old hymns and bible verses.

Addilyn: Not yet 2 but that doesn't stop her from acting like it. She isn't really naughty, just into EVERYTHING. She has figured out how to get on the top of the bunk bed and I am pretty sure this will lead to our first emergency room visit for stitches.

Annabelle: Is a baby. She eats about every 2.5 hours and is loved immensely by her family. She was being a pain at night but we may have solved this; it involves me not having dairy. Because my diet isn't restrictive enough. Sigh. What a girl will do for a little sleep. She is a pretty good baby overall, by Crocker standards. She has a cry that could shatter glass, really, there is no question when she is pissed.

To the many of you waiting on thank you notes: I have them half written and sitting on my counter. I am sorry, i know Emily Post would be appalled.

Consider yourself caught up on the lives of the Crocker family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

3 Girls



Here are pictures of all 3 girls at about the same age. Can you tell who is who?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Annabelle Faith Crocker







Our newest daughter joined our family November 15, 2009. She came into this world at 11:55 am. weighing 7lbs and 11 ozs and is 19.75 inches long. She has a smattering of dark hair and a great set of lungs. For those of you who are not freaked out by the whole birth thing, this is the story:






I had my 39/40 week prenatal appointment on Tuesday. The baby looked great, healthy and good heart rate, about 7 and a half pounds. Wednesday morning my doctor called me and said he would not deliver her any way other than c-section and dropped me from care. I scrambled, got a whole bunch of names of doctors and was blessed to find a Dr. Hall who would talk me on.






Thursday I got the chance to meet Dr. Hall. I was impressed. He was ok with me doing a normal birth. He told me I could try some Castor oil to get my body ready and maybe even put me in labor, so I picked some up on the way home. I took it that night, it certainly cleaned me out for a few hours but nothing really happened.






Friday, early morning (3 ish) I woke up with contractions. They came consistently so I let Matt know but after several hours they went away. I went on with my Friday like normal, having some contractions all day. Friday night they picked up to the point I couldn't sleep through them.






We called the doctor for advice on Saturday morning. I didn't really think the contractions were doing much, but did want to spend another night awake with them. We went into the hospital and I was right, contractions that were not really doing much. I went home with a couple of ambian and hope for a good nights sleep. By the time we got home the contractions were coming every couple of minutes and would last about 1 min each. We called for advice again and the Dr. Hall wanted us to go back to the hospital.






I still felt like the contractions were not doing much, but I was sick of having them and just wanted to sleep! They decided to keep me overnight and give me morphine to stop the contractions and see where we were in the morning. I sent Matt home and was excited to lay down for what I thought would be 6-8 hours of sleep. It wasn't to be. I woke up within 2 hours in full blown labor and had to call Matt back to the hospital. Did I mention it was snowing? We ended up getting over a foot and poor Matt had to drive in the storm repeatedly.






I labored all Saturday night, opting for the epidural around 4 a.m so that if I did need an emergency c-section that I would be able to be awake for it. We got some sleep, but was awake by 10 am. I started feeling the pressure of the baby and was told my doctor had gone home to take a shower and I would have to wait for his return. When Dr. Hall returned, it was time for Annabelle to arrive. My epidural had worn off by this point so I could tell when to push. It took about 45 minutes, but soon, baby was here. It was intense and so different to be an active participant instead of just a passive patient.






When Annabelle was born she was given to me right away and it was wonderful. Matt and I got to hold her and check her out before they weighed her and measured how big she was. Dr. Hall was amazing, encouraging and patient and it was a total God thing that he ended up being my doctor for this birth.






We are home today, we could have stayed longer in the hospital, but I knew Elie was soooo excited to meet her new sister and i just wanted to be home with my family. I am in need of sleep and a massage but feel incomparable better than I did after my c-sections. I would do this again any day over a surgical birth. Annabelle is doing well, I am so blessed that I get to be her mommy and can't wait to get to know the little person God made her to be.






Thursday, November 12, 2009

Four

I can't believe my little girl is 4. I couldn't be more proud of the child she is becoming. She is kind and compassionate, sweet and funny and is such a blessing to have in our family.

For her birthday this year, she had the flu. What a bummer, but she was a trooper and enjoyed her chosen meal of waffles and eggs with a few close friends and family. On Wednesday we had a birthday party with her friends. Elie has been looking forward to this for so long. She requested a pajama party and even picked out the kind of cup cakes we should make. She had a blast. Here are some of the highlights.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

40 weeks

The belly is large. The baby is about 7.5 lbs according to ultrasound. I don't feel like she is any closer to coming out than she was a month ago. Fluid levels look good, she is crazy active and perfectly content to stay where she is. I have another appointment next week, lets hope I don't make it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Waiting Game

One of my least favorite parts of life is waiting. I have a very strong dislike for knowing my world is going to change but having to just wait for it to happen. Like before you move, or start a new job, or when expecting a baby, transition is hard for me. I dislike waiting for things or people who don't seem to feel my sense of urgency.



My Father in heaven gets a kick out of this, I believe. At least He seems very willing to give me chances to further develop this character trait. Really, it all comes down to the "p" word...patients.



For instance, I have been blessed with a 4 year old who has 1 speed. This is not a fast speed. She has no ability to "hurry up". Her 1 year old sister is significantly faster than she is at most things and will stand at the bottom of the stairs yelling "lets go!". Most of this is age and personality, not a bad behavior thing, she is obedient and has a good attitude about doing what I ask. Eliana will be sent up stairs to get dressed for the day, 45 minutes later I come up and she is naked and reading a book. She isn't being bad, she just forgot what it was she was supposed to be doing half way through the task. I send her up to get shoes on and 5 minutes later she is standing there, bare foot, telling me about a dream she had. Her head is in the clouds, she likes to take her time, she is a dreamer and pretender. I am so glad I don't have to fight to get her out of the house several days a week for school. Yet.



Baby 3 is apparently in no hurry, either. I have everything ready, the car seat is in the car, people are on call to watch the big kids. Baby hasn't budged. I am working on my attitude about this. This is my last pregnancy, most likely. I will never again get to lay in bed and feel the little hick-ups, the big lumps that may be a foot or knee. I will never again have the excuse that the baby is the one who wants the milkshake/extra fries/Mexican food. I want this kid to be fully cooked and ready for her appearance earth-side.



When it comes right down to it, patients is really about "dieing to self" and choosing to put others first. I want Eliana to have the right to live her life at her pace, even if I find that pace highly annoying. I want this baby to have the right to stay where she feels warm and safe, knowing God has planned her birthday long before he planned the pillars of the earth. Really, it is just further proof that life isn't really about me and what makes me comfortable.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Babies Room




This is probably the first time we have ever gotten the nursery finished before the arrival of the baby. I even have clothes and diapers in the drawers. Now,when this kid finaly shows up, we are set! Except for the whole name thing...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!


Halloween was well celebrated this year. We had 2 party's and 2 chances to trick or treat. we got our money's worth from our costumes! We also have an appalling amount of candy. The girls had so much fun, Elie really gets excited about holidays and Addilyn get excited about candy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

38 Weeks

Yes, I know the counter to the left tells you all I will have this baby any day now. This isn't the case, unless the little counter knows something I don't. I am only 38 weeks, 37 if you go by my doctors dates. Baby can't come this week, we have too much going on.

Monday: Meet friends at Barnes and Noble to play, lunch date with my friend Sarah, babysit Amanda's kids.

Tuesday: Halloween party #1

Wednesday: Play group Halloween party, doctors appointment

Thursday: Visit Grandma Betty and Grandpa Jon at there new place

Friday: Golden "Boo Street" with Grandma

We don't really have plans for the weekend, but next week is Elie's birthday party. So, really, I don't need this kid to come any early.

On that note, I tested group B strep positive meaning I have to get to the hospital at least 4 hours before this kid shows up so I can get IV antibiotics. If I don't get them, the baby has to stay in the hospital at least 48 hours after she is born. Not a big deal, except I have to be there too and the Hospital is closed for visitors under 18, so the girls wouldn't be able to meet their new sister.

As far as what this kids name is: Annabelle, Josephine, Genvieve, Juliette, Joella, or maybe something else we come up with between now and then. Yet another reason she needs to stay put.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Urgent Care

We went on a nice family walk last night, stopped at the park and played in the leaves on the way home. When we got home, Matt and I were making dinner in the kitchen when I picked up Addilyn. I noticed she had something in her eye...and it was big. It was a chunk of leaf! It didn't seem to bother her at all, so we decided to wait until after dinner to see if it would just wash out by itself. It didn't. Our next plan was to rinse her eye out with saline solution. That didn't work either. I was afraid to let her go to sleep with it in her eye, so off to urgent care we went.

Our Urgent care is very close to our house, they already had a file on AJ so the whole process was quick. The doc basically did what we did and used a q-tip to get it out. We left leafless and with a prescription for antibiotic drops for her eye.

I am thankful for good insurance and close medical care.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kids




Although I am sure you are rivited by all my intellectual prowess, I figured it might be time to show off my beautiful children along with some quick updates:

Eliana: Soon to be 4, she is pretty sure she knows just about everything. Loves books, creating things, she can write her name and loves going to MOPS and bible study. Over all, a very sweet natured girl. Elie hasn't showed a lot of interest in competition or athletics stuff, but she loves to play outside. Plays very well with her sister and is a natural care taker ( and bossy as anything) She loves animal, her bed is full of them. We play pretend all day long. She is really getting into her doll house too.

Addilyn: Going on 2, is much fiestier than her big sis. Quick to lose her temper and just as quick to recover, loves to cuddle and wrestle. Would follow her sister to the ends of the earth. A natural vegetarian, still overall a lousy eater. She is a ham, loves to make people laugh (especially herself) Much more daring than big sis, is pretty sure she can conquer anything that comes her way and loves to climb. She is talking a bunch, which makes life so much easier for everyone.

Baby #3: Should be here in the next 1-5 weeks. Growing well, they think she is pushing about 6 lbs already. Head down and very active, still doesn't have a name.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Super Mom

Some days, I put in my time as a mother and end the day feeling like I sucked and accomplished nothing. Today was not one of those days. It may help that I am "nesting". Much to Matt's dismay, since there is only so much I can do, he gets to help me nest.

First of all, the bunk bed is up and the big girls are offically sharing a room. So far so good. We having been working on the organization of 2 children's worth of stuff in one small space. Lots of progress was made and a little more needs to be done.

Second, the crib is up and baby #3's room is starting to come together. I need to pull out newborn clothes and diapers still, but at least we finally got started.

Third, I am a cooking fiend. I made 2 loaves of banana bread and a batch of pumpkin fudge. I had left over evaporated milk and pumpkin from the fudge, which is a pet peeve of mine. What the heck am I supposed to do with half a can of each?! I also had meal left overs that included butternut squash and brown/wild rice. Tonights dinner solved it all: chicken and rice soup and pumpkin/squash pie cooked in my crocker pot while we were at church and ready to eat when we came home. Might I add that I love my 2 sided crock pot.

I have also folded and put away more loads of laundry than I care to admit. And might I also add that Matt was sick all day today and in bed most of it.

To those of you who live a very different life than I, this may not really seem that impressive or blog worthy. I have become a simple person, easily excited by productivity, because it so very rarely happens. So as I sit here eating my warm pie with cream, I choose to ignore the fact my sink is full of dishes and my floor needs to be moped and instead focus on what a productive weekend I had.

Monday, October 5, 2009

10 Years of "wisdom"

Matt and I celebrated our 10th anniversary this weekend. In some ways it seems like more, like he has just always been a part of my life. In a way, he has, my adult life anyway. I guess that is what happens when you get married so young.

We were discussing how we have changed and grown over the last 10 years, and the changes in both of us are massive. We also discussed what we used to think marriage was and what we now believe it to be. Here is one thing we have decided everyone who is to get married needs to know:

The Stupid Clause: At some point in your marriage, one of you will do something vastly stupid. The price will be high and it will be paid by everyone who is in your family at that point. It won't be fair, it won't be your fault and everyone will suffer the stupidity of one person.

That is what marriage is about. Yes, sometimes it is sunshine and roses and happy feelings. Often it is just hard work. Sometimes your spouse is a glorified room mate that you would kick to the curb if you were not married to them. You don't always like the person your married to and there will be no one else on earth (except maybe your children) who will be able to get under your skin like they can. You will get an up close and personal view of someone elses character flaws and if your willing, a great view of your own. It won't be about you. You will have to compromise when your right and they are not. Your dreams will sometimes take a back seat to theres. It is NEVER a 50/50 division of labor, someone is always pulling more than there own weight.

I know this is a terrible sales job for marriage. I hate to think I sound bitter, because I am not. I don't regret for one single second choosing Matt as my spouse. I love my life and the great things about marriage. I love that I have someone to talk to about my day, who actually cares. I love the excessive amount of laughter that comes with being married. I love that it isn't all about me. I love the family we are creating together, watching Matt love on our girls and come into his own as a man and a father. I love that I sleep next to my best friend (at least I do when he is home!) I love that when I am beat down, I have an advocate and someone else who is willing to put the kids to bed.

Everything in life cost you something and marriage is no different. I think we often do young couples a great disservice by not letting them know what they are in for. Sometimes the price is high, but the reward is great.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Party Animal

The other day I went to my favorite store, Goodwill. They had out all there costumes for Halloween so I picked up a bunch for Elie and Addie including a monkey, puppy, penguin, bee and monster. I threw in a few dresses for when friends come over. Eliana was thrilled, her sister was completely unimpressed.

Later that day it was time to go over to a friends house for a bbq. I told Elie to go upstairs and get ready to go. She came down wearing a monkey costume with a dress over the top and her pink cowboy boots. Not exactly what I had in mind.

This was a pride check. Every mother wants her children to be well received. My child looked...ridiculous. We left for the bbq, Eliana in the outfit she had chosen. I could have made her change, but I wouldn't have been doing it for any reason that benefited my child. It would have been to avoid being "that" mother, the one who lets her kid wear her shoes on the wrong feet and cowboy boots with her Easter dress.

Eliana and Addilyn are there own people. It is my job to help them learn the rules of the world without squelching what God has created them to be. Lord, help me to let my children blossom into the unique individuals you created them to be. Help me swallow my pride and respect the choice they make while leading them to love you above all else. And God, help me keep my sense of humor. Amen.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Neked

I am getting to the point in my pregnancy where I am questioning the wisdom of my gym membership. I am too uncoordinated for the elliptical (which is actually the case when I am NOT pregnant too, but that is a whole 'nother post) I look a little silly doing Zoomba. In an effort to not waste the money, to escape my children and to not hit beached whale size, i am exploring other options, the most recent being water aerobics.

I have a friend who refers to that class as the "water Buffalo's" and lets just say I don't feel to bad in a swimming suit next to most of the people in the class. I also drop the age mean by at least 30 years. Over all the class is great, I like the water and can work up a "sweat". The people are nice and I learned you can get a pretty decent work out. It has also been enlightening in other ways. Mainly in regards to old women and nudity.

I am not really all that modest. I don't get uncomfortable nursing in front of people, changing at the doctors office or in the locker room. Next to these old biddy's I look like a nun. They shower with the stall open so they can talk, they walk around without towels, the put in there rollers without any clothes on. Yesterday I had the joy of hearing and seeing 3 ladies serenade a fourth with "Happy Birthday". While I enjoy a festive spirit as much as the next girl, I think the song takes on whole new meaning when you sing it in your birthday suit.

Please don't think I am judging or making fun of these sweet women. There really is something refreshing about women totally excepting the way there bodies look and there friends for what ever they are. These days my body image isn't that great, and it is so good for me to be reminded that this is really only a shell that will get wrinkly and baggy in time. Who I am is so much more than a body. I will strive to surround myself with girlfriends who love me for what I am so when that day comes, we too can be the naked broads strutting our stuff unashamedly around the locker room.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In Memory


Last Thursday night I got a call that my cousin Shelley had passed away. She was 36. We don't know many details yet and may never really understand what happened.


Tonight our family got together to celebrate her life. We laughed a lot, which might seem strange to those who didn't know Shelley or the members of my family. As the kids all played at the park, the family sat around a table of food, remembering.


I grew up with Shelley and there was never a dull moment. She had a unique spark, a love of the written word and opinion's about everything. In fact, my last conversation with her was about baby names. Her view of the world was one of a kind, and so was she. She was smart and fearless to a fault, but broken too.


Shelley's story didn't end how I think it should have. She has been struggling for the last several years with illness and I never had the pleasure of watching her become everything I think she could have been. Sometimes it feels a little unfair that God took her before she had a chance to really get her life together.


Tonight I reflect on the shortness of life, the fact it doesn't end "happily ever after" here on Earth. I place my hope in the One who wrote our stories before we were here, who loves and knows every hair on our heads. I think of Shelley, walking with Jesus, and know her story ended just how He knew it would.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

NYC




I am sure I will get around to posting a more comprehensive list of what we have done and seen while enjoying New York City, but until then...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Belly Pic


I have been awful about posting pictures as of late. I blame my camera because that sounds better than my real reason: the fact I am a camera snob and hated the camera we bought in May. Matt got sick of me whining and asked the digital imaging guy for another one for me. i am glad to say I love it so you can expect more pictures. Here is me 29 weeks preggers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

School Dayz

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32404017/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/

School crazyness is starting and I am so glad to be spared from the maddness. I have been struggling a lot lately with what I believe to be true about childhood. Here are some of the very loose conclusions I have come to:

- I am a big believer in protecting innocents. Maybe this is the same a "sheltering", I don't know. All I know is I believe my girls have the right to be innocent for as long as I can let them.

- Early childhood should be about play, not stress. Elie doesn't compare herself to other kids yet and I love that. Kids should be playing in dirt, running around, living in a pretend world of there own making.

-I don't care when my kids learn academics. Elie will learn to read and add, I don't care if she is 8 before it happens because no one will care once she is 25.

-Life, education, parenting...none of this is "one size fits all". Don't tell me what is best for my kid and I will trust you to raise yours.

-Boredom is a good thing, it make Elie come up with all kinds of games and activities that she wouldn't do if I had her life scheduled all the time. Today we stayed at home and she sailed my Tupperware all over the world.

I don't see us going "traditional" when it comes to schooling these kids. Who knows where we will end up, but I am glad I have a few more years to get to know my kids before i have to decide.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I am ENTP

Matt is up in Breckenridge doing a training, part of which is a Myers Briggs type test for personality. Not one to be left out, I did one too. This is what it said, and it seems to sum me up well (I added the bold when I thought it was REALLY me):

Extroverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving"
Clever describes ENTPs best. They deal imaginatively with social relationships as well as physical and mechanical relationships. They are alert to what is apt to occur next, and sensitive to possibilities. ENTPs are the engineers of human relationships and human systems.Verbally as well as cerebrally quick, ENTPs enjoy arguing: for its own sake, and to show off their impressive verbal skills. They often have a perverse sense of humour, and play devil's advocate regardless of consequence. They sometimes confuse, even hurt, those who cannot understand the concept of argument as a sport.

Innovative and ingenious at problem-solving, they sometimes manage to outsmart themselves. ENTPs have been known to cut corners without regard to the rules if it's expedient - or it might be the collapse of an over-ambitious juggling act.ENTPs are optimists. They tend to regard problems as personal challenges, and have little patience with those they consider wrong or unintelligent. However, they are often extremely genial and quite charming, when not being harassed by life in general.

Good at analysis, especially functional analysis, ENTPs have a tolerance for, and enjoyment of the complex. Enthusiastic, ENTPs are apt to express interest in everything, and thus unwittingly inspire others who find themselves caught up in an ENTP idea. The ENTP is the most reluctant of all types to do things in a traditional manner.Non-conformists, ENTPs enjoy outwitting the system and use rules and regulations within the system to win the game - whatever it may be.

ENTPs are good at innovative projects and can administer them well if dull routine is not involved. For ENTPs to be manipulated by another is humiliating.During youth, the ENTP may be diagnosed with a variety of ailments and conditions which often emerge as a lack of intellectual engagement. Boredom is the bane of the junior ENTP. Generally immature until their late 30s or early 40s, the young ENTP is a socially awkward animal since they rarely fit in with the herd, and require 40 years to comprehend why this is and what to do about it.Great friends or silent adversary; Court jester or Builder of bridges, the ENTP is difficult to overlook."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Because I have nothing better to do...

My house is never clean. It's not that I don't LIKE it clean, on the rare occasions I find it that way I really do enjoy it. I can't even claim that I don't have time to clean it, my kids play nicely together and I make time for other things in my life that I find important. I think my problem has several layers, the first being that cleaning just isn't fun. I like to play with my kids, cook, chat with friends and do all kinds of other things that take up the "cleaning time". I am also a terrible finisher and don't really mind a bit of a mess, but those are different blog posts.

Back to things I think are "fun". I like crafty things, projects that, when finished, stay done. Unlike my laundry or dishes, which have never in my memory ever been totally "done" for any amount of time.

While figuring out how to make my soon-to-be 3 daughters dresses for my soon-to-be-married brother in laws wedding, I came across this site: http://www.oneprettything.com/ This is going to be the death of all cleaning at my house. I now have a list as long as my arm of things I would rather create (dresses, bags, purses, etc...) than clean. Everyone doesn't really need to wear clean undies every day, do they?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stay-cation


Matt and I have always prided ourselves on being at the very cutting edge of popular culture. We spend countless hours and dollars to achieve this higher goal. These last two sentences would benefit from the use of a "sarcasm font" if such a thing existed. Matt and I are both more than happy if we just have clean clothes to wear in the morning. I am thrilled if I stay presentable until noon. The closest thing we get to pop culture is our free subscription to "Entertainment" magazine. We had to relinquish our "cool kid" cards with the keys to our Jetta in exchange for a couple of kids and a mini van.


Occasionally we participate in a trend and get be "with it" for the duration. After all, if you give enough monkeys laptops they will eventually reproduce Shakespeare's works, so stranger things have happened.


Last weekend, we were cool. We participated in the trend of "Stay-cation". Instead of jet setting to some posh location like we usually do, we chose to budget our time and money wisely, in light of the economic down turn, and stay close to home. We invited Craig and Denise to join us (Matt's folks) and headed down to Colorado Springs.


We arrived late afternoon at our Embassy Suites (we are high rollers, after all) and enjoyed the pool before dining at the local Outback Steakhouse. We came back to the rooms, entirely to stuffed to even consider dessert, put the children to bed and enjoyed some adult conversation.


The next morning we enjoyed a hot, made-to-order breakfast in the atrium before heading out to the local living history farm. The morning was spent in the early 1800's before heading back to real life in Littleton.


Our "Stay-cation" was a success; easy to get to, easy to pack for, and enjoyable. Bonus for feeling oh-so-trendy while doing it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Yum!

I am at the very fun stage of pregnancy where I want to eat everything not nailed down. And if it is nailed down, I might just gnaw on it for a while. Food tastes great, I can think of a million different things I want to eat for every meal. Taking all that into account, I can see why this may not be a really exciting blog post for those of you who are not eating for two. It should also be noted that I am very fond of all things kitchen gadget. This is unfortunate due to the microscopic size of my kitchen. I mean, there are those living in New York City with kitchen bigger than mine, which can lead to some storage issues. It may also be important to note that I hate to clean and usually choose to cook to avoid cleaning and my floors are in a sad state right now. Don't even get me started on my bathroom. But I digress...

I have tonight's dinner cooking already. Some may want to believe that it is because I am so very on the ball, and if you are one of those, please re-read the above. Tonight's dinner will be: scalloped potatoes with ham, green beans from the garden and mixed berry crisp. I can hardly wait. I am so antsy to eat this meal that I thought I might as well blog about it. Besides the fact I am knocked up and ravoness, here are the other reasons tonight's dinner is so exciting to me:

1- I am using my 2 sided crock pot to cook the crisp and the scalloped potatoes at the same time. I also had a great excuse to use my mandolin slicer on the potatoes and onions. That is 2 cool kitchen gadgets I just justified owning.

2-Ham. We don't eat it often but Elie really likes it. I only like it in things, you will never (even while pregnant) find me craving a ham sandwich but I do like it in a few dishes. Ham was on sale, and I love a deal as much as a kitchen appliance (and if the deal is ON the kitchen appliance..) I got this ham for $.88 a pound and that is some cheap protein.

3- I love "fix and forget" meals. This one takes about 4 hours on high or 8 on low. No stress dinner time.

4- I am using 2 new recipes. One that I read in the long check out line at King Soopers (while buying ham) and the other from a fantastic book sent to me by Jenny called "Quick and Easy Gluten Free". I love that girl, she always has my back.

For those of you who wish to enjoy a meal of scalloped potatoes of you own, let me share how I made them. Of note: I am a terrible instruction follower, so this isn't really how the recipe goes. After all, I only read it in the check out line so I was working from memory and a pregnant ladies memory is like a sieve on a good day.

"Easy Scalloped Potatoes"
Potatoes sliced thin (maybe 6ish)
Onion sliced thin
Ham in chunks (about 1/2 lb)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (a cup should do)
Jar of Alfredo sauce
Make layers the ingredients listed above until they are gone.

There you have it. Quick and painless, especially if you have a cool mandolin slicer for the potatoes and a 2 sectioned crock pot you can toss dessert into.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm not great about keeping up on world events. Two children have MASSIVELY shrunk my sphere, but none the less, I do attempt. This is something I read this morning: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32222438/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/ This got my goat enough for me to blog about it.

For those of you without the time, let me sum up the article: the UN spent a couple BILLION dollars on an initiative to improve the health of children in poor countries only to find out it really didn't make a bit of difference. Noble, yes, but completely misguided.

Now I know I am not comparing apples and oranges here, but this is what worries me about Obama's big health plan. The massive amount of tax payer money, my money (ok, well, Matt's) being used to finance a program that is chock full of holes. The UN can at least claim ignorance about not knowing it wasn't going to work. Obama can ask Hawaii how the whole government run health care thing turns out (they had to close down there program because it was a money sucking hole)

What would happen if instead of government run programs, they used my money to help the programs that are already established and working in neighborhoods? What if the UN gave the money to the organizations already helping people in the countries? I am all for great health care and preventing death in children, my heart breaks for the billions of dollars that have done nothing to save this kids. The government has a LONG, well established history of jacking up programs, (ask anyone who has to use a VA)can we please give someone else a chance to manage the money for a bit?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Balance

The common theme I have found through all stages of motherhood thus far is balance. When you bring home a tiny bundle that is totally dependent on you, it doesn't seem like it should be too hard to figure out what to do, but it is. How do you balance the need to nurture a child to sleep and teaching them to figure it out on there own? As they get mobile you have to figure out the balance between rescuing them when they crash and letting them pick themselves up. Here are my balance issues right now:



Entertainment: I don't believe my primary job as a mother is to prevent boredom in my children. I want to find a healthy balance between exposing the girls to a bunch of "stimulating" activities and memory making events and letting them explore by themselves. I don't sign up kids for a bunch of classes but I do let her do art, dance and music at home. I don't want my children to expect to be entertained, to not have to think of creative ideas to occupy their time.



Responsibility: It is important to me that my girls understand what it takes to run a home and that they know that as a family we work together to get things done. I don't want them to be 25, living at home and expecting me to do the shopping and the laundry. Then there is the balance of ability and having a chance to just be a kid. It is not my job to remember where your shoes/bunny/picture are but I need to respect that 3 is still pretty little.



Education: I believe God has entrusted me to be the primary educator of my children. I also believe that children a wired to learn and most of the time all I need to be is the one to provide the tools. But everyone else is sending their kids to preschool. How to I balance a belief that children do best with parents in a culture that tells me I am not qualified to teach my own child?



Ability: Elie is great at a lot of things. She loves to read, color, paint, build with block and do puzzles. She doesn't like to get hot outside and her large motor skills leave a little to be desired. How do I respect the child God made her to be while pushing her to live a bit outside of what feels easy and comfortable?



Pride: This is really a Gretchen issue, not a kid issue. Today when Elie got herself dressed she put her dress on backwards and did the whole row of tiny buttons. She was so proud to do the buttons all by herself and I haven't made her turn her dress around right. How do I balance the desire to teach her the "right" way while still honoring her hard work? It's not even just clothing, but books on a shelf, silverware in the drawer and folding laundry. My way isn't the only way and it isn't always best, but my pride gets in the way.



I know from talking to friend that I am not the only one who struggles to find the best balance for the family, at least I am in good company!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Addilyn 18 months


How did my baby girl get to be a year and half old? If time goes this quickly with baby #2 I had really better pay attention to #3 or I think I will miss it all together.


Addilyn seems more "baby" to me than Eliana did at this age. I don't know if it is because she doesn't talk quite as much or if it is that I have a big kid to compare her to. She is a ham and will do what she can to make anyone laugh, she cracks herself up all the time. She loves to put on clothes, the other day she was wearing her outfit, a pair of Elies short and t-shirt, and 3 pair of my underwear. She can also undress herself, which is trouble. Shoes are always a hit and so are baby dolls. The child eats no meat of any type but would live on diary, fruit and carbs. She sleeps at least 12 hrs at night and takes a nap for almost 2. She has a fair amount of words and signs. If told "no" or has an object taken away she will lay on the floor, cover her face and throw a fit. She is spontaneously affectionate, coming up to give hugs and kisses for no reason. Addilyn doesn't like to be wet or dirty and will tell you, I am wondering if she may potty train early like her big sis. She is terrified of loud noises and thunder.


I have enjoyed my littlest blessing so far, she is different from her sister and so much her own little person. I am so grateful that God chose Matt and I to be her parents.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Garden


I have always fancied myself a gardener. I'm not really, but I like to think of myself as one. Gardening holds a couple of major hurdles for me; for one you have to remember to water it. This poses a problem due to my somewhat spacey nature that is very spacey when preggers which I have been for a couple of years now. Another hurdle, or two in this case, is the dogs, who love to dig in and run through my garden. Alas, after many years of half-assed attempts at something productive, I have success.


I am proud to say my garden ROCKS this year. We have already enjoyed a nice harvest of spinach and radishes. We eat a salad fresh from the garden several times a week. The herbs are used in almost every meal. My tomato plant is going to need its own zip code soon. The snap peas never even make it inside, I just pick them and eat them. In the next week I expect to have a few peppers to enjoy and the cucumbers are not too far off.


Look at me and my green thumb! See, all you need is a fence for the dogs and a drip hose for the...memory.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Randomness

-For some reason the baby on the left of the screen is growing faster than mine. I am not 23 weeks yet, subtract about 10 days and it is a little more accurate. Strange.

-I have had a 1, 2, and 3 year old at my house for the last several weeks. My house looks like I have had 3 small children in it and I am still deciding if I care.

- I feel good, sleep a lot and want to eat everything that doesn't move. I feel baby all the time. She gets hiccups just like the first 2 did. Matt can feel her too.

-I have all 3 kids asleep. I should get some kind of award for that.

-My garden rocks this year. We are enjoying fresh herbs and salad fixins' right now. My tomato is going to need its own zip code soon.

-I want to hire a cleaning lady. I would have to clean before she came which seems to defeat the point a little.

-We really should start working on a name for this little girl.

- I got fried yesterday. I went for a walk with my friend around the lake. I never wear sunsreen on this walk and am usually fine. Not so much this time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Who are you?!

"15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever."

How do you introduce yourself? Sure, there is the obvious name part, but then what next? Do you say where your from? What you do? Where you went to school? What about your spouse and kids, do they come up?

At church on Sunday (yes, I went) the guy speaking talked about the above passage from 1 John. It is a very easy part of the bible to create a bunch of "rules" about, but if you do, you manage to miss the point entirely. Basically, it comes down to this: Who you are comes from your heart, "the wellspring of life" and your heart has focusing issues.

As someone raised in western culture, I have been taught by most everything I see and hear that I am a culmination of three things: my pleasures, my purchases and my put-out. We learn from an early age to be productive and efficient, to operate as an assets in this world. Even our play identifies us; you want to be know as a serious skier? Own top of the line equipment. We even introduce ourselves according to these things.

So what of the distractable heart, does it buy in too? If we are to live from the heart and we spend our life chasing pleasures, purchases and put-out who are we saying our heart is really living for? At the end of the day, does your heart feel sucker punched? Did you spend your day living up to the world? Has your heart given up even trying to get your attention? Did you really live?

"26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”[
a]
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'm Sorry

I have issues, both general and specific, one of them being with the phrase "I'm sorry". I am sure I don't like apologizing any less or more than the next person and the issue isn't with me uttering the phrase so maybe this doesn't count as a "me" issue at all.

I don't make my kids apologize, usually, even when they do something wrong. This may make me very unpopular, which I am ok with. I have no problem with other parents making there kids say sorry, its just that I find it a little...hollow. If this is the definition:
Sorry: regretful: feeling or expressing regret or sorrow or a sense of loss over something done or undone
I am pretty sure my 2 year old doesn't feel it when she decked your kid for taking a toy she wanted, and forcing her to say it seems pointless. I guess I feel like empathy is a more important lesson than apology.

And then there is the whole power struggle aspect. I am bigger than my kid and can physically remove them from a situation where they are causing trouble. I cannot, however, open her mouth and force words to come out. I can make her sit somewhere until the word "sorry" comes out of her mouth but I am pretty sure what she will be feeling at the time will in no way echo the statements expressed above. I believe the point of apology is 3 fold; to make the other person feel better, to own up to a wrong doing, and to imply a change of action in the future.

We have a friend who plays a bit...rough. She has an intense personality. When she wrongs others, which is fairly often, her mom puts her in time out and then makes her say "I'm sorry" and give a hug. I tell you for a fact what this kid is feeling is not remorse for her actions at the time of the apology, she is a repeat offender and generally after she has smacked Elie, Elie doesn't really feel like giving her a hug. I am not in any way dissing this mom's parenting skills, she does what is best for her family.

I am not saying I let Eliana, or even Addilyn, off the hook when they wrong others.If Eliana takes your kids toys this is what you will most likely, on a good day, see me do:
First I ask Elie to look at her friend and tell me what they are feeling, we talk about how she made them feel that way and made the problem and she needs to fix it. She must give back the toy and think about how she is going to make the problem better, if she can't come up with any ideas, I will help (you could tell them your "sorry", you could tell then you won't take toys anymore, give a hug, get there lovey) If Elie is unwilling to try and make things better, she isn't being kind and isn't allowed to play any with us anymore and either she or I will remove her from the situation.

I don't know that what I am doing is right, but it at least feels a little more authentic. When my kids apologize, I want it to feel like more than words to just "get me out of trouble so I can go play again". One day, I hope my children come to a sincere understanding of what the cost of sin is and feel a hearts desire to apologize for there shortcomings to the One who can forgive us all.

If I have offended anyone, I'm sorry. :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Life's a beach








Can't think of a better way to spend my 29th birthday.


Monday, June 8, 2009

California Part 1
















We left CO on Wends. morning. We were expecting Addilyn to be a pain in the tush on the airplane, she doesn't love being made to sit on our laps. We got to the airport only to find out our flight had been delayed. We grabbed some lunch and a little snack from the candy store while we waited. Once we were on the plane, Elie had no problem keeping herself busy and Addilyn fell fast asleep. Such an easy flight.



We picked up a rockin' mini van and drove up to Aunt Darlenes. We went to visit Grandpa John, who is 86 and waiting in the hospital for a valve replacement surgery. Matt had to work on Thursday and the girls and I played with Matt's cousins and there kids. Elie never wanted to leave Darlenes with all the toys, the pool and friends she made.



Friday was Disney and we had a blast. So much more fun this year than last. The day was cool and we had almost no lines for any ride. We rode Small World, Dumbo, Tea Cups, Mr. toad and a few others. We visited Micky and Minnie in there houses and ate hot dogs in toon town. We made it from about 9:30 to 4:00 before the girls were tuckered out. Eliana has been singing the "tiki Room" song since.



The weekend was spent with family. Luke, Matt's bro, is back from a tour of duty in Iraq and came down for the weekend. I don't think Elie gave him a moment to himself, poor guy. We had a big family meal, ate some GF birthday cupcakes that Matt's aunt made for me, and really enjoyed our time.



Sunday afternoon we took Luke to the bus station and drove a few hours down to San Diego and checked into our hotel. We are now watching cartoons and waiting for Grandpa Skip and Grandma Karen to join us for a few days. Matt is off to work. I will keep you posted on the rest of the trip!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oz

Friday afternoon Matt and I were sitting on the couch discussing what we should do for dinner and commenting that it looked like it was going to rain. I heard a noise in the back yard, assumed the dumb dog had gotten into something and went to investigate. This is what I saw:



Unbeknownst to me, we now live in Oz, where large houses (sheds) fall from the sky and land on things, in this case, my garden.

No, it wasn't really windy. We called the Honeycutts and asked if they would be willing to send there strongest man (Matt) over to help us. The shed is now sitting up-right in our yard, killing grass.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pictures
















Nothin' much to say, just thought it was about time to add some pictures to my blog. Some of these are a few weeks old others are from this weekend when we celebrated Grandpa Thurber's 80th birthday.