Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas

it's true. i did not send out a christmas card this year.

i realize how disappointed you must all be by this. sorry, i was just too busy and exhausted. birthing a human is a lot of work.

but totally worth it. i mean look at this little guy:
he's so sweet!

he's super chill and sleeps all the time. SUCH an easy baby...

(DNA tests this week to see if he was actually switched at the hospital. pretty sure my real child is out there crying his little head off all night long.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

the joy of breastfeeding

good luck with that, mason

Sunday, December 11, 2011

welcome to the world...

Griffin Daniel

"every child born into this world is a new thought of God, an ever-fresh and radiant possibility." -kate douglas wiggin

(thankful we were able to nail down that middle name on the drive to the hospital the morning i was induced. because if we left it to me decide post delivery, his middle name would have been epidural. or pacifier. possibly vicodin or maybe even cranberry-juice-cocktail.)

a few million more pictures to come...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

i am thankful

  • for children's ibuprofen. and humidifiers. because i was actually wondering if bennett might stop breathing last night. and if his fever could possibly get any higher. but it was really sweet when this precious little sickling asked me if i was cold and tried to cover me up with his quilt as we laid on his floor at 1 am.
  • creamer. because coffee wouldn't be the same without it. and yes, i drink coffee. sometimes its even decaf.
  • that mason no longer wants me in the bathroom with him. he still wants pee-pee treats but he trusts me to take his word for it. this is very liberating and the real reason you wait until your child is 3+ before potty training. potty training: successful!
  • for wonderful family. and even though we aren't with any of you today because, lets face it, as much as i love you all, i love my proximity to the hospital, emergency medical procedures and epidurals a little more right now. but each of you are missed.
  • that maternity pants and the day o' gluttony coincide this year.
  • that i don't actually have to have green bean casserole on my menu this year. maybe its the name, maybe its the consistency of it, but its not my favorite. it is of course a favorite to my loved ones. even if they do drop it all on the floor. (yep, chad, this will haunt you forever. i'll make sure of it.)
  • a driven, motivated first born child who is insistent upon doing school work on thanksgiving. if only she could teach her brother to read, we'll be all set around here.
and of course a multitude of many, many obvious things, like my 3 perfect children and one on the way who will sleep through the night when we come home from the hospital and one day find the cure for cancer, my husband who pretty much rocks my world, my awesome savior Jesus Christ, this great country and our military, and a million other things i could list but i'd just sound like a copycat.

so, happy thanksgiving! and you know what the day after thanksgiving is? decorating for my favorite holiday... christmas! cozy christmas lights, candles, music, and the yummy baking calories that don't count for the entire month. love it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

pee-pee treats

every weekend or prolonged period of time anthony is home, mason ends up with chonies on. which of course is extremely helpful to me and if he could, anthony would take over all undesirable duties i face like potty-training, childbirth, and teaching art. he loves me like that.

but come monday, mason is typically back in a diaper. i just haven't had it in me to focus on potty training while i'm busy homeschooling my other 2 children and trying to do everything i can to not get up and run to the bathroom every 25 seconds.

but let's face it. the clock is ticking. there is a newborn coming and mason will one day get a drivers license and go off to college and i can't avoid potty training forever.

so on my way home from my doctor appointment last week (the one where i was officially given the green light to not be on bedrest (unless of course there is laundry or cooking to be done) and the hopeful possibility of not facing the dreaded c-section (yay!)) i stopped to pick up gummy worms.

when i got home i pulled them out of my purse and announced with great enthusiasm "pee-pee treats!" to which everyone danced around and squealed in excitement. (really, you can trick your kids into being excited about almost anything at this age. it's a correlation between level of expressed exhilaration and amount of sugar at hand)

and here is the real trick in making sure the pee-pee treats work.

enter my brilliance: "ella and bennett, you can get one too, each time mason goes in the toilet!"

potty training on my part? done.

therapy for my older children who will one day look back and say, wow, my mom actually had me potty train my little brother... only just beginning.
(i have no idea what mason is doing here...)

so now mason will be happily playing with his cars on the floor when he'll suddenly stand up and yell, "me pee-pee!" and ella and bennett will jump up from the table, pencils and math worksheets flying and grab him by the hand and race down the hallway and he'll squeal in delight as they open the potty chair lid for him and he'll say, "yay, me pee-pee party!" because, after all, who doesn't want a party in their honor every time they have to empty their bladder?

then he'll sit for a little while and everyone will expectantly watch as pure exuberance breaks across his face and he proclaims, "ME! PEE! PEE! YAAAYYYY! YAH-HOO!" and then he'll glance up at me and ask with an adorable, expectant, proud smile, "me worm treat?" and ella and bennett will jump up and down and tell him how proud they are of him and then they all race to line up in front of the pantry door to receive their reward.

this, people, is the secret to potty training.

it has gone amazingly smooth. my sister asked me if i make them wipe him. i laughed and said of course not. then i got to thinking... maybe for 2 worm treats?

kidding, kidding...

we ran out of worm treats yesterday. i figured, hey, we have the hang of it now, should it really matter anymore? so i told mason when he was getting the last one and that now he can have stickers.

this made logical sense to me. but i, of course, don't have the mind of a 3 year old.

so an hour later he jumps up, screams "me pee-pee!" and runs to the bathroom and i'm helping him get ready but before he'll go he looks at me very serious and says, "worm treat?" and i remind him there aren't any left but he can pick out whatever sticker he wants.

he just stares at me, pulls back up his chonies and says, "me no pee-pee." and just like that he went on a pee-pee strike for the next couple of hours.

i then caved and started giving him chocolate chips. and right behind him are ella and bennett with their hands out. the family all sticks together over here. i'm just encouraging sibling unity when i keep handing out sugar.

you know, this is why we homeschool after all. while other kids are at recess or music class or conjugating spanish verbs at the public school, my kids get to watch their brother pee in a plastic chair for sugar.

but for sure, i'm gonna pick up some more this week and when i get home i'm going to announce with gusto, "laundry/mopping/cooking/sweeping treats!"

and then i'm going to show them the cleaning supplies.

hey, i'm onto something here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the bedrest sentence

bedrest has been official for the past month and will last for the rest of my life. or the rest of my pregnancy. both seem equally as long.

but i'm sure i'll survive.

with minimal complaining.

or not.

its that darn placenta causing problems and the goal is to keep this baby in for as long as possible. but i'm now 33 weeks so that's the good news.

bedrest is an interesting predicament when it is also an impossibility. i mean, i still have 3 kids who surround me every waking moment of the day.

so... a few observations/updates on bedrest:

1. how providential that my parents long-planned relaxing beach vacation could coincide so conveniently with my bedrest. so now, instead of lounging around on the beach reading and drinking tequila shots, they get to come dust my house, do my grocery shopping and shuttle my kids to swim lessons. lucky them.

2. i am still working on how to graciously say thank you. for instance, when my sweet friends plan meals for me and send out emails to my other dear friends so my family can be blessed and provided for, they may not understand that, "what!?! i'm gonna kill you!" actually means "thank you so much for your thoughtfulness." seriously, i have pretty amazing friends.

3. sometimes, my kids understand the meaning of bedrest. ella and bennett pretty much always get it, even if they are really sad that i won't take them to get a pumpkin. mason gets this sometimes. for instance, when he asks to be picked up and i say that i can't and he responds with a curious stare and a "oh, hurt you baby?" he seems to grasp the concept. however, when the bathroom is out of handsoap and he insists upon washing his hands RIGHT NOW in only this bathroom, no amount of yelling "i'm not getting up" down the hallway will prevent "need more heese (please). need more heese. need more heese." repeat 1 million times. that kid is tenacious and determined. if only he could focus his efforts at potty training himself.

4. potty training + bedrest = notgonnahappen

5. homeschooling 2 kids prevents me from having free time and actually enjoying bedrest by watching mindless tv, eating chocolate and sitting around with my feet up. instead i sit at the kitchen table and attempt to figure out history timelines and science experiments. oh, and art projects. (cringe)

6. medication to prevent contractions is not without its side effects. for instance: "insomnia" and "frequent urination." gee, thanks. like i needed any help with that.

7. conveniences of bedrest: what... laundry?... vacuuming?... cooking?... exercising?... grocery shopping?... being nice to my kids?... sorry, i'm on bedrest.

i must say, while i hate asking for help and accepting help while i sit around and do nothing, i am forever grateful to my amazing husband who continues to come home every day for lunch and never stops washing dishes and children and cleaning up the house. i was afraid he might be tempted to save himself and run for it, but he loves me and puts up with me. i'm so lucky.

also forever grateful to the lovely friends who brought us meals. i promise i'll still get your dishes back to you. oh, and also all those same friends who check in with me daily/weekly to make sure i haven't gone insane or tied up my children in the closet and also drop off treats on my doorstep like books and magazines and chocolate and donuts and freshly cut lavender. i'm so spoiled.

and of course my parents who sacrificed many days of a lovely vacation to come here and listen to me yell at my kids from the couch and intervened in order to still provide them with a peaceful childhood.
(movie night at grammy and poppa's condo... where the sugar flows and the fun never ends)

note: my parents do not drink tequila shots. at least... not that i know of?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


i read this early this morning (thank you, insomnia) and thought it was definitely worth passing along... to present and future parents:

her dad sure sounds completely awesome. almost as great as the man who raised me and the man i married.


Monday, October 10, 2011

note to that open house realtor and other random strangers:

hi, allow me to introduce myself.

yes, i'm a homeschooling mom.

i love my kids and love the experience of homeschooling them.

i do not sit at home and weave together matching denim jumpers.

or sit around polishing up my gun collection.

so when you run into my innocent little 5 year old and ask the question, "so, where do you go to school?" please know i'm working on teaching him how to apply a filter to his mouth.

because while its true that i don't particularly want to enroll my kids in public school, the actual reason we homeschool is NOT because that "school down the street tells us that we come from monkeys and lots of other lies."

and then when you smile politely and say things like, "oh, i'm not sure that they teach -" and he emphatically interrupts you and says, "oh yes they do! my mommy says so!" well... its just that i'm not
that extreme about it.

because one day this summer, during one of our many, many trips to the doctor for ella's mono adventure, bennett found a national geographic to peruse. and one very interesting, very detailed picture showed the evolution of monkey to man. this naturally fascinated him and he asked me about it so i took a few seconds to say that some people believe that there is not a God who created us and rather think that we came from monkeys.

he giggled because yes, even a 5 year old sees how ludicrous this is.

then a few days later i was explaining all the reasons i'm excited for homeschooling this year and how much fun it will be as a family and how great it will be to learn about God and the world he created.

and then i maybe mentioned how important it is for us to learn things according to the bible and that at public schools you don't really have that option. and the magazine article came up for about 2 seconds and i thought that was the end of it.

obviously it's not.

and while i try to coach bennett on how to better present us as a happy, loving family and not a bunch of bitter, angry, conservative freaks... well, he's 5 and it may take a little time for him to learn.

so, for all of you out there that we have offended because of his quick honesty, i'm truly sorry.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

bedtime prayer

last night, after reading a cute little story about a bear whose mommy tucked him in all cozy in his bed and gave him warm milk and kisses, i told my kids that there are many children around the world tonight who do not have mommys and daddys to kiss them goodnight. so maybe we can be praying for them, that God would watch over them and provide mommys and daddys for them.

ella and mason i'm pretty sure are paying absolutely no attention to me whatsoever.

my sensitive middle child is staring at me with huge, intent eyes. he very seriously asks me, “is there still slaves in the world?” to which i replied that yes, there are. there are many people kept in horrible situations with no one to comfort them tonight. we can always be praying against injustice and for God to protect them.

then i asked Bennett to pray first.

“dear God, we think of all the people who are slaves.” (he’s praying very slow and deliberate and very, very serious) “and we think of the man who is making them be slaves. and Lord, we pray that you would send someone to shoot him.” (it took everything in me not to laugh out loud. mostly because he was near tears in his sincerity.) then he continued, “and Lord, we think of the orphans.” (long pause) “and we pray the same thing. amen.”

so, be warned, oppressors of the world. the prayer of a righteous man (and of a sincere 5 year old) availeth much.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

LOVE this girl

been reading her blog for quite some time. you should too. go here.

now she has a book and i can't wait to get it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

an update

(and way more information that most will care about... unless you are my mom or incredibly bored today. in which case, read on...)

so saturday morning started as a typical morning for me. rising way before the sun and cursing insomnia yet enjoying the quiet time of reading my Bible and following my wise sister's idea of making a thankful list in my journal every saturday.

helps tremendously with that whole perspective thing in life.

later in the early morning, it became evident that i needed to get myself on up to the hospital for some monitoring and baby checking. i'll spare you the graphic details, but lets just say i sorta started freaking out until i realized that if i freak out, my 3 little giggling children will start freaking out and we'll all spiral downhill.

so i put it in God's hands and got myself ready to head to the hospital. one big step in the morning was telling ella i wasn't going to make her soccer game. she was devastated. (she hates it when i miss her practice and daddy takes her. i ask her why she wants me there so bad. she says i'm more fun. i tell her this is impossible.) (truly)

so she cried and fortunately is still so blissfully self-absorbed it didn't occur to her to worry about the baby. total blessing.

said goodbye to the boys who may or may not have noticed i was eventually gone all day.

i drove myself to the hospital. i realize how crazy this sounds and anthony kept saying it just wasn't right and he should be taking me. but there was no way he was getting out of soccer dad duties for 2 games. after all, it was bennett's day for snacks.


(i will insert here i was fine emotionally and in no pain. and we did have nana and papa here and i have plenty of friends i could have called who would have in a moment dropped their soccer mom duties to take me to the hospital so really, it was no big deal.)

so i was admitted and monitored and given meds and shots and had blood work and ultrasounds, all indicating this was just a result of my placenta previa and i wasn't in labor and the baby was fine. so then i had warm blankets tucked around me and drank cranberry juice cocktail and was served lunch i didn't have to cook and lemon meringue pie that reminded me of thanksgiving (my favorite day of gluttony) all while watching mindless tv (btw, who actually watches this "keeping up with the kardashians," why-won't-they-go-away train wreck? seriously.) (and also, why only 2 episodes on marathon saturday? i mean, what better way to check out and pass the hours) (ahem) i also got a nap and got to read my book... it was almost like a spa day.

although, shockingly, i was really, really sad about missing my kids soccer games and was literally fighting back tears when they each called me and told me all about the goal they almost scored. maybe there is a real true soccer mom hidden down deep in me somewhere...

i'm beyond relieved that everything was ok. and while i'm on precautionary bed-rest, i'm praying there are no complications or pre-term labor issues to deal with again.

(also... bed-rest???? i almost laughed at my doctor. right... 3 kids, homeschooling, soccer, awana, swim lessons...)

anyhow, i'm thankful that i have a peace i can't explain. it would be easy, and quite frankly natural to get really overwhelmed and anxious and fearful in the midst of this and yet by choosing to trust God early that morning, he filled me with his peace i can't explain. my life and my baby are completely out of my own control and fortunately rest entirely in the hands of God. it wasn't the tests and medicine and fantastic hospital staff that made everything ok, (although i'm thankful those cozy heated blankets were a tool in the process) but rather all of this is dictated by an awesome God who had every day of my life written before even one of them came to be.

there is a lot of peace found in sitting back, trusting him, and just enjoying the cranberry juice cocktail.

Monday, September 12, 2011

all about me

an excerpt from bennett's all about me book: there are 2 reasons i love this.

number one: in the midst of the complete simplicity, he took the time to have daddy's arm extend down to him. absolutely precious.

number 2: i've never been this skinny, especially not now with the 3rd trimester looming in my very near future.

thanks, bennett.

so proud of you for knowing just how to suck up to your teacher.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


i don't particularly like that my children know the significance of september 11th.

not because i prefer them to be ignorant, but rather that such a horrible day would never have been seared into history.

this year, we ventured on over to pepperdine university
(the school i would have never attended class... have you actually seen this place? on a gorgeous green cliff overlooking the pacific ocean? how does a college student focus here?) for an amazing september 11th memorial.2,977 flags on display.

each representing a life lost. completely moving. completely heartbreaking.
should you actually be looking for an excuse to head to malibu, these flags will be on display until september 21.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


so we officially started our school year this week and so far its gone quite well. i mean, what school year isn't going to start off great when the teacher is greeted with flowers and donuts and these adorable faces when arriving home from her early morning walk on the first day of school. ("early morning" because insomnia is still wrecking my life.)

the kids are excited about the year and about their new notebooks and jobs and workboxes and centers.

hoping this excitement will continue for another 100+ days...

the other day i asked ella, "so, what are some of the things you are excited about with homeschooling this year?" without hesitation she responds, "well. i'm excited that you won't be getting pregnant this time and there will be a tad bit more learning going on than last year."

well alrighty then.

leave it to your kids to be honest.

a few days ago i was talking to them about how excited i am for the opportunity to be their teacher this year and then i asked them if they remembered why it is we decided to homeschool.

"yes, because at that school down there," bennett points out the window. "they tell all kinds of lies that we came from monkeys and other stuff that isn't true. and so we are going to draw pictures of what's true and show people when they come to our house so they can believe in God."

well, ummm... i don't think that is exactly why we homeschool... but ok...

so... let the learning begin!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


there is something about being followed around by a whining boy and his bag of diapers that just makes me say... i give up.

diapers really are easier anyway. (don't judge)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

yay for soccer

its not that i completely despise soccer season.

i do love my kids and it
is really fun to watch them play and enjoy themselves.

its just that soccer mom duties really interfere with my selfishness. and that's just plain annoying to me.

take for instance this weekend. thanks to this life sucking insomnia that is oppressing me, i had been up since 4 am on a saturday. all i desperately wanted was a nap.

but instead we found ourselves at the fields for not one but two afternoon games.

because now bennett has joined his sister in the soccer fun.

and what are the chances of getting the same color
and same number as your sibling? i think its pretty cool.

ella... maybe not so much. who wants to match their little brother?

and how does bennett feel about it? well, he probably hasn't even noticed yet.

sometimes i wish i could be more like bennett. so carefree and happy and oblivious...

ella has really found her aggressive streak on the field (not that we didn't know it existed. it just hadn't manifested itself outside her dealings with me.)
she did awesome and scored the first goal of the season! here's the picture: oh yeah, that's right. i was with my five year old's little bladder in the bathrooms and totally missed it.

and while i'm SO glad we don't still live in phoenix because the extent of my children's extra curricular activities would be indoor juggling... it was a little on the warm side. bennett also had his first game and loved it. good times for our little family.

only 9 more saturdays, 21 more practices, 4 snack duties, 2 picture times and an excessive amount of money spent on silly banners, hair ties, and end of the season parties to go!

yay for soccer!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


he's gonna be 3 in 2 weeks.
will someone get over here and potty train him?


highly specialized training required. preferably navy seals, army ranger, counter terrorism or any other experience in cracking the strongest of all resistance.

be advised: this job is not for sissies.

Monday, August 22, 2011

the great outdoors

so the last time we went camping was 6 years ago.this little precious angel was up all night and even though we put our tent far away from my sisters family, the woods are not sound proof and i'm sure we kept the whole forest up.

then, on day 2, it started raining.

and never stopped.

so we did what any logical person would do and packed up all our stuff and headed for our parents house. i'm sure they were thrilled to see our filthy faces.
after all, we brought a package of donuts with us.

and then after ella, there was bennett. then there was mason. and there was very little sleep mixed in there. so while camping occasionally came up as a thrilling adventure for our family, we always opted instead for our own beds and stay-at-home sanity.

but now that insanity has become the new norm we decided it was TIME!

time to head out and enjoy God's beautiful creation. (especially before this next little one comes and i never leave the house again.)

so we ventured to the mountains and had a fantastic time.

we saw the giant sequoias that have been firmly rooted for thousands of years. and yes, i'm certain these were far more fascinating to anthony and i than our children. they got excited about the ones you could walk inside and would say, "wow, cool..." but were way more interested in having a snack and hopefully seeing a moose. (which of course we did not.) but i must just say about these trees... God is pretty fantastic. the details of his creation are simply amazing.
back at camp the kids kept busy making a "wood store" and for the life of me i can't figure out why they were surprised i wouldn't give them actual dollar bills for their wood. surely they know how cheap i am by now. we played tarzancaused serious anxiety in dear old mommy
and enjoyed all kinds of big and little creations.
there was some creek playing, nature walks, bear fear and most of all... the joy of dirt. the clothes have come clean but the memories will last forever.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

we went camping

and didn't even get eaten by bears.more to come after some serious baths and a few hundred loads of laundry.