Thursday, April 30, 2009

Organized garage accomplished

Caroline and I organized the garage today...I can't tell you how much that re-energized me. I had been feeling tired and slightly overwhelmed this morning. But I've found that when I feel that way, if I tackle something that I have been putting off, I feel much better. And our garage looks and functions much better. Its all good.

So, rather than bore you with another picture of our garage, I thought I'd share one of my favorite pictures. Henry had just turned 6, Seth was about 3 1/2 and Caroline was about 1 1/2. Weren't they sweet?!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our "almost Kindergartener"

This picture was taken on Caroline's first day of preschool last year. We've blinked, and she is about done with her second year of preschool, ready to move up to the big time...Kindergarten.

We just had a conference with her teacher, who declared her "soooo ready" to start Kindergarten, and gave her such a nice report card. Caroline is obviously very proud of it, because she made me read it to her several times on the way home in the car. She loved the part where her teacher called her "a lovely young lady!" (We think she is too!)

The teacher said that the only thing she needed to work on was remembering the difference between the letters "b" and "d". Guess what she was practicing the whole way home?

I'm so happy that she's had such a good first experience with school!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Seeds fascinate me.

The life within them starts out so small. All you have to do is pop them into the ground, water them, and soon a little tree or plant starts its life.

We planted a Kentucky Coffee Tree seed a couple of weeks ago. Seth just discovered a couple of days ago that our little tree just popped out of the soil. (It kind of looks like a little red worm.)

Its neat to have a picture of the kids with their little parents took pictures of me with trees they planted in their yard. The romantic part of me wonders if we could actually keep this tree growing, planting it outside when it is big enough, imagining that our children will be grown when this tree is, wondering what their lives will be like.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Henry's Do is a Don't and Our Baby Trees

Today was crazy hair day in Henry's class. He said he got many compliments on this look at school today, and asked if he could wear it this way again tomorrow. Thank God it all washed out of his hair tonight. That's all Mom has to say about that.
On Arbor Day, Henry's teacher gave him a fir tree. He has been taking very good care of it.
This is Caroline's Kentucky Coffee tree (aka Theresa), compliments of Grandma and Grandpa Orton. She is a good caretaker as well, even bringing her worms to make better soil. ;)
She is our dandelion girl. She picked a bunch of them for our centerpiece on our table tonight!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It all started when...

...I just wanted to plant some flowers in front of our house. While planting, I came across a fair number of worms. Knowing my daughter's affection for them (she takes after her Grandma Orton, love you mom!), I called her over. She began collecting them.

Well, you know, what one does, the others have to do too. The kids began to look for the muddiest spots in our yard to do some worm hunting. (What kind of a mom lets her kids do this?!) They were very successful, both in collecting many worms, and in coating nearly every inch of themselves in mud. I've got a little laundry to do tonight.

Right after we took this picture, we threw the kids in the bath, got dressed, and headed over to my sister and brother-in-law's for dinner (YUM, Jim's lasagna!!).

The boys playing video games with their cousin, Braeden. (He's in the picture, but you can't see much of him!) Evan thought he was such a big kid to play with the big boys!

Robbie and Evan ignoring all of the toys to play in the kitchen cabinets.
Thanks for a fun night, Karen and Jim!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Practice makes perfect!

Seth has been faithfully practicing his part for first grade's fairy tale theater. He's playing the part of the husband in Rapunzel, interestingly enough the same part that Henry had when he was in first grade!

Caroline has been faithfully practicing her basketball shot, and was bursting with excitement when she made her first two baskets all by herself!! Unfortunately, I did not catch them on camera, but I did catch some close ones. :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Caped Kitty Cats and a Couple of Kids Creatively Camping

Don't know why this cute pair of kitty cats are wearing pink capes. But they sure looked sweet doing it.

Unfortunately, the big Cub Scout camp out is going to be rained out tomorrow night. So to help the kids get past their disappointment, we suggested that Seth and Caroline "camp out" in Seth's room. (Henry is at a sleepover.) They came up with their own ideas and set it up all on their own. Please note:
--the big brown blanket playing the role of dirt
--the small blue blocks as a stream
--the red and yellow blocks as the campfire
--Baby Bear (the one Caroline is sleeping with) as a "very scary bear"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Back in the saddle again

When Evan woke up this morning and the first words out of his mouth were, "I want Chicken Nuggets," I knew that his appetite had returned. I took him downstairs and he proceeded to eat two bowls of yogurt, a bowl of dry cereal and a bowl of jello. At lunch, he ate cheese sticks like they were going out of style, and he's never touched them before! It was such a relief to see him eating well again, and his normal good-nature returning. He even stayed dry all day today. Yeah, Evan! (I love his ear-to-ear smile when he is successful and watching him skip bare-bottomed (because he can't be bothered to put his pants back on :) ) over to the candy jar.

Henry's flu had really knocked him out too. He fainted once and was dizzy for a lot of yesterday, as well as this morning and had such a terrible headache. By the afternoon, we had gotten him rehydrated, and he felt much better. He was relieved because he wants to go to school tomorrow and he doesn't want to miss the big boy scout camping trip this Saturday. We'll see.

I'm hoping that we might be starting to come out of the woods, that the rest of the family does not catch this nasty bug. Its been a very rough week. Mom is ready for things to go back to normal! I am looking forward to getting more sleep, being in less of a fog, and catching up.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

These little moments

Someday, when the kids are all grown, I want to remember the sweet, little moments that made me's a few from today...

Caroline's teacher dismissing her from class today, pretending she was a cat. Caroline was beaming!

Sometimes, when Evan smiles, or when he is thinking about something, he bites on his lower lip. I think its very cute. :)

Evan loves to snuggle. Poor Henry just got the stomach flu last night, and Evan was very doting today. Henry said to me, "Now I know how Evan is feeling when he is sick. I feel bad for him."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wearing Orange for Stellan

When I started blogging, I looked around at some other family's blogs for ideas and know-how. I happened upon a website called My Charming Kids. The woman who writes this blog has four children (just like me!) and writes posts about her everyday family life. She is also a photographer who takes wonderful pictures of her children, and shares her photography tips. She has inspired me, and I read her blog every day. She has quite a following.

Her youngest child, Stellan, is about 6 months old. He has been a miracle, surviving some major heart trouble that he had in utero. His heart condition has returned, and after a month's stay in a hospital, had a major surgery today to try to correct his problem. Throughout his whole life, his mom has journaled his ups and downs. People have responded in wonderful ways to support this family, mainly through prayer.

Just to show this family the sheer number of people who are praying for Stellan, some of their blog readers suggested that people wear orange today (the mom's favorite color), take a picture, and send it to the blog. Caroline happily obliged, especially since she got to wear a favorite outfit her cousins gave her. She even drew him a sweet picture.

The response has been amazing. If you'd like to see this family's blog, see all the pictures I'm talking about, and check on Stellan too, just click on this link... My Charming Kids .

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tomorrow will be a better day

Evan has continued his general crankiness after his bout of the stomach flu, so this moment of peace watching a show was very much welcomed. (As much as these three siblings have their rivalry at times, they do love each other.) His sleep schedule and eating habits were so messed up that its no wonder he is not at the top of his game. I'm hoping that tomorrow he'll feel more like himself.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Henry, Artist Extraordinaire and Evan's Evil Laugh

A few weeks ago, Henry came home bursting to tell me that a piece of his artwork was going to be displayed in our school district's art fair. He showed me the note with all the details, and made me enter it right away on our calendar.

Well, today was his day! We went to our local high school, and were amazed by all of the talent this fair exhibited. Henry was so proud to show us his piece, and was already scheming to get another piece chosen for next year's fair.

And, just because I thought you needed a good Sunday night laugh...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jean!

We celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday today, and aside from Evan's general crankiness, we all had a great time. I am falling asleep at the computer again, so I'll write more tomorrow....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Dave let me sleep in this morning, so I am feeling MUCH better. We really had such a good time yesterday having everyone together to celebrate Jean's birthday and Dave's parents' anniversary. Dave's brother, Mike, and his wife, Vika, recently moved from Italy to the United States, and we were so happy to see them both on Easter and yesterday. Dave's other brother, Mark, and his wife, Nacibe, were also able to come with their children Anabel and Nadia. (My kids were experiencing serious cousin withdrawal, so they were so thrilled to be reunited.)

Everyone came early enough to watch Henry and Seth blast off their model rocket at a Cub Scouts' event. Henry and Seth were proud to have such a big fan club watching them. Jean snapped the sweet picture of Caroline and Nadia holding hands while watching the rockets being launched.

We love our family!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Evan is feeling better...

...well enough, in fact, to do a little artwork...

I was cleaning in the living room while Caroline and Evan were watching a movie in the family room. I walked in to check on them, and our eyes met, Evan's and mine. He jumped a little, and said "I don't color on the couch, NO NO. Ohhhhhhh...." And with that he had a very concerned little look on his face, quite obviously regretting that he had forgotten that Mommy only lets him color on paper. Yup, black vertical lines down the length of the couch. I had to put him on a little time out, not only to reinforce my rule, but honestly also to walk myself into the laundry room so he wouldn't see me laugh. I regained my composure, and went about trying to remove the marks on the couch. Unlike the time Caroline scribbled red crayon on the same couch, black dry-erase marker does not budge. Oh well, I've been meaning to get those couches steam-cleaned. Hopefully we'll be able to get the marks out or we might be seeing less humor in this particular situation. :)

Evan's word choices do tickle me...whenever he is doing something he shouldn't be doing, its always, "I don't color on the couch, " or "I don't want the candy." Apparently, he is repeating the rules to himself. Perhaps he thinks that way he'll remember them next time. I am not too confident in that, but its a good thought, and I am going to try to keep thinking it.

Another Evan translation..."I get some Skittles" equals "I need to go to the potty." Apparently, Skittles are such a good motivator for him that he will go, get some candy, and then, two minutes later, try to go again.

Funny, funny boy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our poor baby...

Just before dinner tonight, Evan came down with some kind of stomach bug. He is not a happy boy. Ugh. He just fell asleep and its 10:30. :(

The following clip was taken earlier today, during happier moments...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Baking Assistant

He helps me dump ingredients, mix, and as you can see, clean up. I do not have to wash that rubber spatula as much when he takes care of removing chocolate from it. Although, on the other hand, I do have to wash him (and his clothes) more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You should have heard the cheers...

...when the doorbell rang and it was Uncle Bill. There is never any doubt that our children are big fans of his. Its amazing...he's like a kids are stuck to him the whole time he is over!

...and now I'm off to bed. Its only 8:30, but I'm falling asleep as I type this. :) Holidays wear me out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Price of Children

One of my friends emailed this to me, and I thought I'd post says it all very well.

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family. Talk about price shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition..

By 20 $160,140.00 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into:

* $8,896.66 a year,
* $741..38 a month,

* $171.08 a week.
* A mere $24.24 a day!
* Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is; don't have children if you want to be 'rich.'Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140.00?

* Naming rights . First, middle, and last!
* Glimpses of God every day.
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
* A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
* A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites.
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up. You get to:

* finger-paint,
* carve pumpkins,
* play hide-and-seek,
* catch lightning bugs,
* never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to:

* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
* watch Saturday morning cartoons,
* go to Disney movies, and
* wish on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodlewreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for:

* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
* taking the training wheels off a bike,
* removing a splinter,
* filling a wading pool,
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and

* coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat in history to witness the:

* First step,
* First word,
* First bra,
* First date,
* First time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing,criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match..

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God.You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!

Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren & great-grandchildren!!!!!!! It's the best investment you'll ever make!!!!!!!!!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Our Easter Eve

What a day! Between playdates, coloring eggs, egg hunts, and an impromptu family gathering, I do believe we managed to do it all.

Henry and a friend went to an Easter Egg Hunt...for eggs that were dropped out of a HELICOPTER!!!! How cool is that?!
Caroline reminded her Grandma Orton that we "always" have an Easter Egg Hunt at her house. So even though we are spending Easter with Dave's side of the family this year, my parents had us over for that egg hunt their granddaughter requested.

Evan has a bit of a sweet tooth. After he had his fair share of candy from the egg hunt, he decided to take all of the candy out of his eggs, under my watchful eye. He would bring each piece of candy to me and ask me, "I eat the candy?" I would answer, "No, Evan. We are all done with the candy." With that, he would throw his candy in his bucket and respond, "I don't want it." Ohhhhhh, I get it. You didn't want it anyway, huh, Evan?!

Friday, April 10, 2009

A new bike for Miss Caroline!

Caroline's last bike was getting very small for her. Since she is really wanting to start riding without training wheels like her big brothers, we felt she needed the right size equipment.

Just thought that the following was a sweet picture of the three boys together...watching Tom and Jerry, sweet Seth with his arm around Evan.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Girly Pancakes

See what you have to put up when you have a little sister in this house?!

Caroline woke up first this morning, and requested that we make "Easter Bunny Pancakes." I wasn't sure how I was going to do that, but this is what I came up with. Not too bad, I thought. Caroline loved it, and suggested that we make some up for the boys. The picture shows Henry's reaction. I guess he would have preferred more manly colors. ;)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Flashback

Time is flying...These pictures were taken last year at this time. Enjoy!