Saturday, April 30, 2011

Biltmore House Trip!!

We wanted to do something fun together on Friday since Arnold was off. he suggested we go to the Biltmore House. Most of you know that my brother works there, on the grounds and works with landscaping, flowers, mowing, etc. He was able to get us free tickets!!! I was so thankful for that, because its a great experience to go, and even better if you can get in for free ;) Brooke was going to be in school, and we decided to leave Rachel with my sister-in-law, since we knew she wouldnt do well with the long day, walking, heat, and all that. I was a little worried at first because she doesnt ever stay at Jenn's house, but she did great! Shes really becoming my little social butterfly ;) Oh and of course, that left Caleb and we decided to take him, we figured he might enjoy it.

We headed up the mountain around 9:30 am. caleb asked us questions the whole way there.. he is at that age where he is soo very curious. We kept telling him we were going to the mountains and he kept saying WHERE are the mountains?! We tried to show him in the distance, but they are quite literal at that age, and I think he thought we were actually going to be on a big hill or something ;) Arnold hadnt been there in a long time, so he took the wrong exit and we got lost for awhile. We stopped at the Asheville visitor center and all used the bathroom and picked up some brochures. When we showed Caleb he started saying "oh boy, we are going to visit the castle!!!!" So cute :) So right after that we found the place. We got parked, unloaded the stroller (Caleb hasnt ridden in one in a LONG time but we figured he might get tired) And headed for the shuttle. when we got to the front of the house we were all amazed... its just so beautiful!! We walked around for awhile taking pictures, taking in the view, and strolling around looking at all the flowers. The Festival of Flowers was going on while we were there!!

Alex happened to be working that day, so we called him and he said we could meet up with him at one of the greenhouses.. so we went to find him. We all got into his truck and were able to ride around the grounds on the special little roads for workers. Caleb was escatic to be sitting between his daddy and uncle in the truck.. he really was enjoying himself :) We drove up to where the shops and restaurants were, and ate lunch at a place called Cedrics, named after the Biltmore's dog. They had some really good food.. we all ate till we were stuffed. Thank the lord that we had gotten in free, because we easily racked up at lunch.. not hard to do there! But then Alex whipped out his employee card and we got 20% off lunch which was a nice surprise ;)

After lunch Alex had to go back to work, so he dropped us off back at the front of the house. We all got out and headed into the grass to take more pics.. then I realized I had left my camera in Alex's truck!! he was already driving off and I just knew it was gone. until my husband.. bless him.. started RUNNING after him! hahahaa.. I knew people were staring.. i just went to sit down with Caleb on the curb and wait for him. He DID get Alex to stop, after he started waving his arms.. and he rescued the camera for me.. my hero!!! ;) He kept blaming being so tired the rest of the day on that though.. said "almost 30-yr olds shouldnt be running like that anymore!" Haha.. gotta love him.

Then we went inside and toured the house. I love historical stuff... I am just so into seeing how things used to be back in the day. It wasnt TOO crowded, so we were able to get through pretty quickly. Caleb did pretty well but he was slinging around this wand of candy we had gotten him in the candy shop, and one time he accidentally slapped a lady in the leg!! I just quickly apologized and we took the candy away from him. Nothing like being embarassed by your 3-yr old! Everywhere we went though, everyone was so sweet to him and took the time to talk to him, I really liked that. He seemed to like it, but did get a little restless and bored after while. He tried to climb under the big roped off areas a few times and we had to grab hold of him. We got to ride on the old-timey elevator since we had the stroller with us.. which was neat but I was feeling VERY clauserphobic in there! Especially when we went up and for the moment that the wall was against the outside part and it felt like we were trapped in a small cage.. ahhh.. dont want to think about that again ;)

All in all it was an awesome trip!! We got a lot of walking/exercise in, Caleb got a great learning experience, got to visit w/ Alex, and we even remembered the sunscreen, so none of us got burned up ;) We stopped by the Asheville mall before we went home. We went into Oldnavy and Caleb found him a Batman shirt that he just had to have... here he comes up to me with Arnold and Arnold told me he was getting that, plus another shirt. That kid does NOT need more clothes. But he was so excited about them.. I swear, I am such a sucker. After that he wanted an ICEE which we gave him, and even the "small" size was huge! We figured SURELY he couldnt finish it all.. well we were wrong! And he was bouncing around from that point on. we should have known better.. we definately arent rookies, thats for sure!! When we finally got home and picked up Brooke and Rachel.. they seemed happy to see us. I was worried Brooke would be jealous that she hadnt gotten to go see the "Castle" too.. but Brooke was just thrilled that her Paw had gone to pick her up that afternoon from school, and taken her to get icecream and to the park. Do we have spoiled kids or what?!?!

Cant see that well, but thats me and Caleb!!

Alex took time out of work to have lunch with us!!

This is where we had lunch-- At Cedrics Tavern

This is what Caleb picked out in the candy shop.. that he then used to hit random women with :x


So.. Arnold totally surprised me earlier in the week and told me it was an "easy" workweek, and he still had a lot of vacation hours saved up, so he was going to take Thursday and Friday off!!! I was so happy.. he hardly ever gets to take off weekdays, so that was nice. He also got his bonus last week so we were able to pay off a lot of bills and start shopping for some things we needed, which was a huge blessing!!!

Thursday morning I went to the mall with the kids and let them play in the playarea.. i met a friend and her daughter there, too. Arnold stayed at home and worked on his "Honey-do" list ;) He installed us a new toilet seat (Im telling you... its a glamourous life around here! ;) worked on our bathroom door that had broken (long long story), mowed the yard, and other miscellaneous things. He also went to Lowes to buy some pine needles.. and bought what he thought was pine NEEDLES.. but came home with pine STRAW on accident! I came outside to him vaccuuming the van out, and I thought he was just being extra sweet and vaccuuming for me, but no.. he was trying to get up loose pine straw that was EVERYWHERE. Now we have several stacks just sitting in our carport.. he says he will find a use for it.. we will see. Meanwhile Brooke finds it and I see her throwing it in the air, weeeee and getting it stuck all in her hair.. not fun to clean out!!

Anyway, after that crazy morning we went to school to have lunch with Brooke. Arnold never gets to go so Brooke was thrilled! She didnt know Me, Caleb and Rach were coming too (last min decision) so she was beside herself when she saw us come in.. she shakes a little when she is excited.. she must get that from me, because we all know I get WAY too excited over most things ;) I also had little kids yelling out HEY! to me when we came in.. found out it was the older brother of one of Brooke's friends. I feel really old now.. because these kids like to call me MRS DEAL!!! Ahhh, when did the times change so?? Anyway, they had hotdogs for lunch, and greenbeans and peaches. Sometimes school lunch can be pretty good! Rachel could have cared less about the hotdogs but she was really cramming those peaches in.. at least my kids eat their fruits! Its also a tradition that when you eat at school w/ your kids you buy them an icecream, so all the kids got them a strawberry icecream bar. Then it was time for Brooke to go back to class, so she lined up with her class..and we watched her leave. Arnold waved to her from the window, then she turned around and walked away.. seeing her leave into school still breaks my heart!!! Will i ever get used to it?!

The rest of the day was pretty low-key.. we played outside, took a long walk with the kids around the block, and other various things. It was SO nice to have Arnold at home with us.. for the company... and yeah, I guess for the help, too ;)

Playing at the Mall

Lunch at Brookes School

I went to Gymbo after we got the bonus check, and they were having an awesome sale, and somehow these 2 adorable shirts for Rachel rang up 2.99 each!!! I was like score!! And I had a coupon too.. cant beat that!

I also found this purse for Brooke.. she doesnt really need anything but I couldnt resist it, it was too cute.. she will LOVE it!!!

She wanted some little braids in her hair.. wanted to be like her Friend, Daisy. Mommy is not the best with hair, but she tried!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter 2011!!!

Easter 2011 was pretty great if I do say so myself! We all got up and the kids saw what the Easter bunny had brought them. They seemed pretty pleased w/ their stuff, so I was happy. Brooke got some jewelry that she put on right away, and Caleb had an Iron man toy that of course he became obsessed with. He finds one thing and fixates on that! Rachel was most interested in her yogurt melts.. she tried to eat the whole bag and I had to stop her. ;) Poor baby.. you can tell she doesnt get those often! She also got a cute little chirpy chick but threw it across the room.. so.. Im guessing she was just still tired and cranky.. because later she liked it ;) No candy this year b/c they got ENOUGH of that in all the egg hunts they participated in. Ok.. one piece.. and one fruit snack pack. Which they ate as part of their breakfast.. hey, they are only kids once! ;)

Then we all got dressed up. The girls' matching dresses I had bought them several months ago had been hanging in the closet just waiting to be worn!! I absolutely loved them, and thought they were adorable on! I even dressed up, and I dont like wearing skirts, so thats a biggie for me ;) Then knowing me, of course we had to go outside and take lots and lots of pictures before church. I got a few I was happy with.. but mostly the kids just wanted to run around and play and risked getting their outfits dirty, so we left then for church. Lauryn went w/ me to the service and I was so excited to have her along!!! Grayson seemed to do great in the nursery... they have an awesome kids' program though! It was a great service as usual.. I just love Jesse.. he is an awesome pastor!

After church we went to Mom and Dad's for Easter lunch. When we get there there is a police car in the driveway. I stop for a minute.. first I think someone did something.. then I start crying and shaking, and my hand even goes NUMB because I think maybe they are there because something happened to my parents. Arnold just calmly goes into the house. Well.. there is a local police man standing there, just helping himself to some food on the counter!!! I was like ?????!!!! Mom loves to tell me everything but forgot to mention she was having guests for Easter?! Anyway.. turns out that a lady that works w/ my mom was there, and he was her husband! He got a call and had to go shortly after that, but Mom's friend stayed and she was really nice.. I liked chatting with her. and MAN can she make some mean deviled eggs.. I ate 3 of them :)

After lunch the kids had an egghunt outside.. which their Pop Pop and Uncle Alex set up for them. Then had a little TOO Much fun playing with the cat.. they were petting that poor thing to death. We went home shortly after that, laid the kids down for a nap and Arnold and I slept too!!! We slept 3 hours or something crazy like that. We all NEEDED that sleep.. that weekend was crazy busy!

The kids loot from the Bunny

Such a great friend!!! love her!!!

Actually a decent Family pic! :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fun with Family

Saturday night we had Arnold's sister and my neice, Bekah come over. The kid always love getting to play with their cousin and I am thankful they live just down the road, we are able to see them pretty often!

We all had dinner together when they first got there. Arnold cooked us hamburgers, and we also had fries, mac & cheese, and salad. Oh and cookies for dessert! Very kid-friendly meal! Then we went outside to let the kids play for awhile. We decided to all go on a walk, and take Oreo and Pepper. I took Oreo and Arnold got Pepper. Well Oreo was feeling frisky and was dragging me down the road.. I could not keep up and I was running! I guess I got a good workout in, even if it was against my will ;) Arnold helped me out by putting Pepper back and taking Oreo for me ;)

When we got back to the house, Brooke's friend that lived across the street and her brother came over and played with them for a little bit. Their cousin was ALSO visiting, so he came too. Then we went inside and dyed Easter Eggs. we were a little late on getting around to doing that, but at least we did it! I found a cute kit for girls awhile back and had been holding on to it, and I kept meaning to find a "boyish" kit for Caleb, but never did, so.. Caleb ended up making princess eggs too ;) But he didnt mind.. as long as he dyed his eggs BLUE.. his very favorite color! That was actually the first time we have dyed eggs at home.. usually the kids do it with their grandparents at their house. Needless to say, we made a big mess. and there is a little staining on the kitchen counter :-/ Just another excuse to get new ones.. I have been wanting them forever!!! But anyway, the kids had a lot of fun, and they got into bed later than usual that night but it was ok.. they were exhausted and slept well!!

How sweet is this?!

Bekah trying to help Arnold walk Oreo ;)
Dying Easter Eggs!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Brunch & Egg Hunt

So I talked before about Mom and Dad taking the kids to an Easter thing this morning. It was a brunch w/ the Easter Bunny, and an egg hunt! I had taken over some cute outfits for the kids to wear because Mom said they would be taking pics there, plus, I just wanted them to look cute ;) I was hoping it would be really warm and sunny, but of course it was cloudy and chilly this morning.. They still wore their outfits but Mom put them in tennis shoes instead of sandals! But its all good ;) They said the kids had a great time, and were well-behaved. Im so relieved, because they have been really testing me lately. But isnt it true that kids act better for anyone but their parents?! I think so! Mom said the kids ate TWO plates of food.. haha.. so it must have been yummy. Then they had the egg hunt.. they all found a lot of eggs. I looked through their candy earlier and was hunting out anything I might want. Have to do it in secret though, because Caleb is very possessive of his stuff! ;) Brooke found the Silver Egg, which had $5 in it!!! (Ok, with the help of her Uncle Alex.. they said it was up a little too high for her ;) With that and her tooth money she really is racking up these days! Im sure she will want to go spend it soon. They also had facepainting, and Brooke got her face all decked out, looking like a bunny. Caleb got a little white bunny painted on his hand. They also got balloon animals/shapes made for them. I could tell they had the best time.. they couldnt stop talking about it. We were able to visit a little while when we picked them up, and my brother, Alex, is in town for the weekend since its Easter, so we got to see him too!

My little bunny! Complete w/ her missing tooth :)

Wearing her pretty dress for the egg hunt :)

Rachel was not going to smile, but had to get one of her too!

This is soo precious.. Rachel finally warmed up to her Uncle Alex! she doesnt get to see him too often.. so she usually runs away from him! But today she gave him a big hug!!! :)

Date Night!!!

Since mom and dad took the kids overnight last night, Arnold and I went on a date night!!! It was soo nice to get out, and so relaxing. I am thankful that my parents are so involved in their grandkids' lives.. and doesnt hurt that occasionally Arnold and I get time to ourselves ;)

We were going to go to this Chinese restaurant that we really like, but it had closed doww! I was a little bummed out.. I was really hungry by then so we just went simple and went to Subway. I had another one of those bacon, egg & cheese subs, they are my new favorite thing. Then we went to a few stores and did a little shopping. I found a few discounted books for myself.. all to add to that HUGE stack under my nightstand. I seriously look at the pile of books I have now and am overwhelmed. I get a little too excited over books, but.. at least I have plenty of reading material for a long time! We ran into my friend Shera, and her husand while we were out.. they were on a date night too! Think its funny that we were both doing the same thing-- buying stuff for our kids ;)

After we were done shopping we went to get a birthday cake milkshake from Zaxbys. Have you tried them?? They are so yummy! Then we stopped by the video place and rented a movie to take home to watch. We got the movie "How do you Know?" With Reese, Owen, Paul Rudd... those guys in it. It was pretty good.. not your typical chick flick though.

So THEN.. it was around 11 pm and we were still wide awake and we felt so free and crazy because with no kids we could have literally done anything! And what did we choose to do? Go on a midnight run to walmart! haha :) Was still pretty packed for it being that late, but you have to remember that Friday nights are when the highschool kids "cruise" up and down the highway.. ah, to be young again! We walked around and looked at everything.. picked up a few things we needed like kids' toothpaste and deodarant.. ah, the glamourous life! ;) I also found a shirt that I thought was funny.. it said "Moms do the Hardwork, Dads do the Yardwork!" I just had to get it.. I dont do any yardwork around here.. thats all Arnold.. so it fit us! But im just joking around.. Arnold is actually pretty good with the kids.. he is a helpful Daddy! So.. then it was midnight.. and Arnold said that you cant do a midnight Walmart run without a midnight Taco Bell run.. so off we went. We got chicken queisidillas (I WILL NEVER SPELL THAT RIGHT-- thats the one that gets me.. and Im not looking it up right now!) I know it was bad to eat that late, and totally destroyed my "diet" for the day, but who cares?!

We had an awesome time... and I wish it was more often. But I was so happy to see the kids again this morning.. I had missed them!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

End of Week Thoughts

First off, this is my 250th blog!! Woohoo, go me ;) No but seriously, Ive really come to like this blog, and thanks to all of you who read it and occasionally comment. Didnt know anyone would have any interest what-so-ever in our lives! haha :)

1. Today is Good Friday. Please take a moment and remember the truth-- that Jesus died on the cross for YOU.. for EVERYONE. We did not deserve to be saved, but we were, purely and wonderfully, and I dont know about anyone else but I am so greatful! And I will spend my life trying my best to follow Him, and trying to lead my children to Him.

2. Today is also Earth Day! Hope everyone does something today to show the love.. and tries to do more everyday to help the environment, whether it be planting trees and other plants, using less waste, cloth bags at the store, recycling.. there is so much you can do! I need to get better at this myself. We need to protect the environment for our kids, and their kids! and their kids! :)

3. Last night we went to the Maundy Thursday service at church. It wasnt a HUGE crowd, but still a pretty good turnout. I am glad I decided to go, becuase I wasnt feeling well before and almost didnt. It was a beautiful, moving service. The music selections were great,and of course the message by Jesse was good as usual. They had a foot washing at the end of the service, too.

4. Last night we stopped by the inlaws' house so the kids could get their Easter baskets from them. I am telling you, these kids are SPOILED! They will get more baskets from my parents on Sunday. They got a bunch of candy of course, and Brooke got some costume jewelry and sillybands, and Caleb got a bunch of cars and an airplane, they all got big bounce balls with glittery water, and recorders. That was just cruel.. of course the kids have carried those things around blowing as hard as they can, and nearly deafening me!!!! They may become an outside toy! But anyway-- I was able to fill up an entire bowl (and its overflowing) with all the candy they have gotten, just this WEEK, from egghunts and family members.

5. My gallbladder is bothering me a lot lately.. I had a pretty bad attack the other night and was really sick. Arnold is pressuring me again to call a surgeon at Baptist and get the surgery scheduled. I know i need to.. I keep putting it off because I am terrified! I dont need to tell you all why.. Im sure you know all the reasons.. risks, medicine side effects, pain, having to have people watch my kids for a few days, etc. But I am beyond blessed that my Mom already said that she will help in anyway she can when I get the surgery, so I feel a little better.

6. I nearly cried watching "The Office" last night!! Where they all sang to Michael?! Oh.. my.. goodness! I cant believe next week is his last episode. It is not going to be the same without him.. he was one of (if not THE) favorite of my characters.. he is so funny. I will probably continue to watch the show.. I hope it doesnt fall apart! Anxious to see who takes over as boss.

7. I am counting down until Spring Break is over. Is that awful? I dont care!!! This has been an utterly exhausting and stressful week! These 3 kids get together and bring the worst out in each other.. seriously! Its always something.. a fight over a toy, not being greatful for something, whining, tantrums.. you name it. I hate to be so negative, I really do!! I just am having a hard time handling it.

8. But on the PLUS SIDE.. Arnold and I are going on a date tonight!!! Yes, all 3 kids will be with my parents, and they actually ASKED for them. My mom wants to take the kids to an Easter thing in the morning. So of course I said YES!!! Not sure what Arnold and I will get into tonight, but Im sure we will have fun! And I will finally be able to relax after this week!!

**Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL Easter Weekend!!!**

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tina Fey's Prayer for Daughters

I saw this on someone elses blog and had to share. Sometimes I laughed, sometimes I nodded my head, at one part I CRIED. Anyway, this is written by Tina Fey, and she has a new book out called "Bossypants." I cant wait to read it!

First, Lord:

No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be beautiful but not damaged, for it’s the damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the beauty.

When the crystal meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from acting but not all the way to finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it.

May she play the drums to the fiery rhythm of her own heart with the sinewy strength of her own arms, so she need not lie with drummers.

Grant her a rough patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, for childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming magenta for one day. And adulthood is long and dry - humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers and the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a bitch in front of Hollister, give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, for I will not have that shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Wonderful News!!

So alot of you have already heard this on FB, but I had to share. We heard back from Brooke's drs office and her BRAIN MRI RESULTS WERE NORMAL!!!!

Oh, I cant even begin to tell you how relieved Arnold and I were!! I started crying. I had had all these pent up feelings inside me for so long, just waiting.. and now it felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders! Brooke still has epilepsy of course, but we arent looking at something more serious, like the dr had previously worried about. Im not quite sure what the next step is.. but I guess we'll wait and see if she has any more seizures, and then decide if she needs medicine or not. I hope this is something she will outgrow as time goes on, we will wait and see. God is so good!! Thank you to everyone for your support, thoughts, and prayers through all this.. we really appreciate it. And thanks again to Lauryn who went with us to the hospital for support when Brooke had the MRI done. I have some great friends!! :)

Spring Break Day #2

Spring Break Day #2 was NOT as good as Day #1. I guess I jinxed myself, because I was talking about how great Monday went.. and thought the week might actually go halfway decent.. but.. anyway.

A mom's group Im in had their Easter Party and egg hunt at a park, right up the road from our house, so thats convenient! We went out there and sat our stuff down and I let the kids run off to the playground to play. They were not on their best behavior that day and I was pretty much embarassed. They fought over who would get the swings, and Caleb kept dropping his food on the ground and asking for replacements, and Brooke hardly ate anything, then dumped all her food in the trashcan (what a waste!! I could have eaten that!!) And during all this Rachel runs off, either to the bathrooms or down the hill towards the creek. I reminded myself that THIS is why I dont go out with all 3 of them by myself!! I know Im not the first woman to have kids, or even 3 kids, or EVEN 3 under 5, bit It is HARD. And its just way too stressful for me to take them all somewhere myself. As a result I feel like when they are all at home, I become a hermit and protect myself within the walls of my house. I wish I was out doing more and letting them have more experiences, but somedays its just not worth it.

ANYWAY, we all ate some snacks and goodies that everyone had brought. The wind was FIERCE that day, and kept blowing stuff off the tables.. and once blew our food right off our plates! That was interesting. After eating the kids played a little more, then it was time for the egghunt. They seperated the big kids and little kids into seperate areas, which I really liked, because usually the big kids scoop all the eggs up really quickly and the little kids dont have a chance! So there was Rachel, and I thinl 3 other toddlers in that area, and so she didnt have much competition like usual ;) She went on her little merry way and picked up eggs and filled her monkey basket right up! She was quite proud of herself! I also liked that the toddler eggs were bigger and had other kinds of treats in them that were safe for them, like chocolates, fruit snacks, and bubbles.

We were there for over 2 hours and it was WONDERFUL weather, but it was hot!!! I am so glad i remembered the sunscreen or we all would have been burned. Well, I remembered it for the kids.. not me.. but at least they were protected! When we got home the kids went straight to bed and took long naps.. they had really run off all their energy that day.. and that part I was greatful for!!!

Waiting on the Egg Hunt to Begin

Finding some eggs!

Monday, April 18, 2011

22 Months!!

Just wanted to point out that Rachel is 22 months old today!!!! She will be 2 years old in just 2 months. Seriously?! That seems insane!! The past few months Ive already been thinking about and starting to plan her birthday party, but now I really better get in gear. She is having an owl-themed party this year, probably at the park, and I am having fun planning it, but Im not sure what Im going to do about the cake!! Any ideas??

Anyway, Rachel is doing great. She is now 29 lbs and ??? not sure how tall right now. She is talking more and more every day. She says a lot of words.. some of them may be hard to understand but at least I understand them! She has picked up a horrible habit, of saying "SHUT UP" when she gets mad or frustrated. Which is soo embarassing! I am trying to break her of it, but we are having a hard time. It just doesnt sound right coming from such a sweet-looking girl! She is in size 2t or 3t clothes, depending on what it is. She has such a cute spring/summer wardrobe this year, and I am having fun dressing her up every day, now that is is warmer weather. Still waiting on the hair to grow.. she has had a few little trims so far, and its not AS bad, but she still has the mullet!! I dont even bother trying to stick bows in there most days.. she just pulls them out. But on the plus side, she hasnt gotten called a boy lately! She is just an absolutely sweet, precious little girl, and I am enjoying watching her grow!! :)

**Thank you Jamie for the Pic!!**

Brooke's Spring Break Day #1

Today is the first day of Brooke's Spring Break! I guess the day has gone pretty good. I knew it was supposed to be good weather, so we went outside to play first thing this morning around 9am. It was still a little chilly so we had to go get jackets, but the kids didnt mind. They rode around on their toys all over the yard and driveway. Poor Rachel fell and scraped her knee up.. I think that was her first scraped knee. So pitiful! But I guess there is a first time for everything. We then went to the backyard to play, and while the kids were playing in the sandbox I read some, and FINALLY finished the book Ive been reading for weeks! For some reason it just took me forever to finish this one. I am ready to read the sequel now. Then I was pushing Rachel on the swing for awhile. I was watching the road, and this car goes slowly down the road. I didnt think much of it, but then a few minutes later it went down the road AGAIN. It was like the person was looking around, for what, I dont know! And im sure they saw us out there. I got that sick feeling in my stomach. Sometimes I hate being at home during the day alone.. you never know what could happen! After that I made us all go inside and play, and locked the doors. Thankfully we didnt see the car again, but if we do I will be pretty upset!! We sat at the kitchen table and did some easter crafts I had bought the other day.. just these easter foam shapes, and colored and decorated them with stickers and their names. Kids seemed to enjoy it and it kept them busy for awhile! We then had lunch, a few treats out of their easter baskets from yesterday, and read a bunch of books. They are now all 3 napping, and thats one of the perks of having Brooke home.. is that they can all nap HERE, at ONCE!! Horray for a little free time!!! ;)

Our easter crafts

Easter Party!

Sunday afternoon I had an easter egg hunt and small party for some of Brooke and Caleb's friends. We had wanted to do it Saturday, but the weather was crazy, so we changed it. We had around 50 eggs filled, and then a lot of people brought over eggs, too. Arnold hid them all over the yard.. there werent many spaces to hide them.. so some were obviously in plain-view, but Im sure the kids didnt mind! The egg hunt was over like THAT. Doesnt take kids long to scatter and find all the eggs. I was so thankful it was SUCH nice weather.. everyone was able to stay over for awhile and we played outside and enjoyed the sunshine. We laid some blankets out in the yard and us girls sat around and talked, while the kids ran around the yard getting some of their energy out. We had the cupcakes I made the night before as a snack.. most people ate them so I guess they werent THAT bad! ;) We took a bunch of pictures, including a real cute one of the girls ;) Caleb had been in a really bad mood earlier in the day and didnt feel like being sociable at all when everyone came over.. but it seems by the end of the party he was doing great.. so I guess it put him in a good mood :) I guess Arnold has figured out by now that I am not planning on stopping the holiday and special-occasion parties and get-togethers anytime soon ;) I just love having fun things like that, the kids always seem to enjoy it.. and more excuses for me to get to see my friends! So Sorry babe! ;) But I must thank him for all his help.. he was sweet enough to mow the yard, go out and buy juice boxes for the kids, and help me clean up around the house before everyone came over.. Couldnt ask for a sweeter Hubby! :) Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate Easter with us!!!!
Yummy Cupcakes

Some really awesome friends! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Saturday we woke up to the it POURING rain.. I mean it was ridiculous how bad it looked out. Perfect weather for sleeping or reading all day, but of course 3 kids wont let you do that! ;) At noon we took the kids to Chuck E Cheese for Connor's birthday party. He turned 1 year old today, Happy Birthday Connor!! The kids had a blast, like usual.. they love that place (Mommy and Daddy, not so much!) They got a lot of tokens, and played a bunch of games.. to help them along, Arnold and I played a lot of the games where you could win tickets really quickly! With all the tickets combined, the kids had just a few shy of 400.. pretty impressive! They got to go pick out their prizes, and Caleb of course wanted the rubbery animals and insects.. a snake and spider. Since then he has loved rubbing them all over me and giggling, trying to creep me out! :) Brooke wanted a bracelet and some NERDS candy (she is just like her Daddy, that is his all-time favorite candy!) It was taking too long to figure out what else to get, so I just got them 14 packs of Smarties candies with the rest.. haha.. figured I could hand them out later for little treats!!

Then the kids went to the party table and had pizza w/ their little friends. Then they had cupcakes.. which Rachel tore into one and got it ALL Over her.. but it was cute. Caleb only licks the icing off and leaves his cake part, so I ate that ;) Thank you kids for the leftovers!! But my waist is definately NOT thanking you! The theme was Toy Story, and the kids got cute alien party hats to wear, and little Toy Story blowouts. Rachel didnt care for the kids blowing them out in her face though. Poor kid.. she will be tough one day for all the stuff she goes through ;) Then they had the Birthday celebration where CHUCK E himself came out, and Rachel wasnt scared.. (although I find him a little creepy myself!) She was waving at him yelling HEY HEY HEY!! And then she danced in the aisle for awhile.. she was having herself a good ol time! So.. after a few more games, it was time to go. We got home a little after 2:00 and put the kids down for their naps. They got a lot of their energy out from the party and took good naps!!

That night Arnold's parents watched the big kids, while Arnold and I went out for awhile. We took Rachel with us. We went to Subway to get something to eat, and I tried their Bacon, Egg, and Cheese sub on wheat.. it was yummmy! I love breakfast food! Rachel liked it too, she shared with me :) Then we went to Target and picked up some things for our easter party.. the stuff to make cupcakes, some eggs, and candy to fill them with. I also found some cute crafts for the kids to do this week.. Brooke is off on Spring Break so anything to pass the time, right?!

After we picked up the kids and came home and put them to bed, I made cupcakes!!! Yes, I dont cook alot, and I dont bake alot, but I thought it would be nice to make some for the Easter Party today. Arnold helped me a little bit.. he is such a sweet hubby :) I am loving my new oven.. let me tell you! I think I might cook even more than usual.. which wouldnt that make my mother happy ;) Anyway, I think they turned out pretty cute.. we did the confetti cake, with vanilla icing, and got these bunny and chick cupcake toppers, and I added some jellybeans too! :)

At Chuck E Cheese. Grinnin and showing off that missing tooth!

Showing off his new creepy-crawlies!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Brooke's Hospital Trip and MRI

Where to begin!!! Friday we went to Levine's Children's hospital for Brooke's brain MRI. Most of you already know why she went-- but in case you arent up to speed-- She started having seizures at school back in DEC. of last year. And they referred us to get an EEG, which showed unusual brian wave spikes. And then they told us she had epilepsy and might have to start medication, but we would wait and see. They wanted her to get an MRI done to see if anything was going on, or wrong, in her brain. That would determine what we did next. SO that leads me to my story.

My mom and dad were kind enough to watch Caleb and Rachel the whole day so Arnold and I could both go (thanks guys!) Brooke wasnt allowed to eat anything after 6am, so Arnold got up at 530, drove to Mcdonalds to get her some breakfast, and came back and woke her up. He basically had to drag her out of bed, haha. But once she remembered that the TOOTH FAIRY had come that night and she found her money, she was excited. We hung out for the morning and got everyone ready. I told Brooke to pack up stuff to take with her.. that kid wants to take EVERYTHING.. like she is packing for a vacation. So i put a few things back when she wasnt looking ;) What does a kid need with a pack of bubbles and a few hairbows anyway?! I also went down the road to pick up a few snacks for us, and Im sure the lady looked at me crazy, because I was just throwing random crap into a cart.. not really thinking. I ended up with combos, chex mix, cheese crackers, reeses cups, peanut M&Ms... yeah... not the healthiest of choices!

Around 10 am we went and dropped the little kids off with Mom. Then we headed down to Lauryn's house. Lauryn used to work at the hospital where we were going, and said she would drive us down. She is awesome! Arnold has a temper, and gets really angry quick if we ever get lost or late, so I was SO happy to have someone else driving us ;) She was also going along for emotional support. I was a WRECK. I had that sick feeling in my stomach all night before, and almost didnt sleep. I needed the distraction, so Im so thankful she came along, she is a great friend!! Brooke enjoyed having her along too.. I think she liked all the special attention ;) Lauryn even got her a treat for being such a big girl.. a puzzle, some animal crackers, and gummy snacks.

The drive down there went pretty well.. and we arrived just a FEW minutes late, but it was all good. When we went to check in, Brooke had to go the bathroom, so I took her while Arnold and Lauryn checked in. They looked like the parents, trying to check in their "noexistant" kid.. so it was pretty funny :P Then a lady came over and was our "escort" and took us on the elevator up to the floor where we were supposed to be. I must say, I really liked that hospital! It was VERY kid-friendly. Bright, pretty pictures and embellishments everywhere. And the staff was very kind and welcoming, I felt a lot more at ease. When we got to the right floor, I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork. Ok, actually Lauryn did it for me.. once again.. thank you!! Someone came out and took us to a "prep" room, where they took Brookes vitals and asked us a bunch of questions. By then I could tell Brooke was getting nervous, because her cheeks were red, and she was talking in her soft voice. But she was so brave! The nurse talked to us, then the anesthesiologist came in and went over what would happen. Then we waited a few more mins, but they let Brooke pick a movie to watch-- like i said, very kid friendly!!

Finally they came back and took me and Brooke to the MRI room. They only let one parent go back, and of course it had to be me because I had to make sure she would be ok! They had her sit on the bed, and put the mask over her face to give her some laughing gas. I sat there with her. At first she just acted a little silly, then she started leaning over onto the nurse.. then they laid her back. For a split second I could see some fear in her eyes, then her eyes rolled back into her head, and she was out. Didnt take long at all.. about 20 seconds. They then hooked her up to heart monitors and an IV. There were about 5 people in there with her, so I felt a lot better. Then the guy took me by the arm and was going to lead me out, and I turned right around fast and smacked right into their trashcan and knocked it over! I said OH SORRY! I am so nervous! LOL. Im sure Im not the first though. So I went back out to the waiting room w/ Arnold and Lauryn. They had a lot of kids tv shows on.. including Max and Ruby. Im telling you, i just cant escape that stuff!!!

Eventually we went to the RECOVERY waiting room. There was another family in their talking very loudly about their son, so that was pretty entertaining. Although I did feel so sad for the situation, their son had gotten into a car wreck that morning and was getting surgery on his leg. Finally someone came back and got me and Arnold, and we were able to go see Brooke. She had woken up and was in hospital bed. She was sitting up and looking pretty good.. never was I so happy to see my daughter was ok! She looked a little out of it, but of course that was normal. This is the one part of the day I forgot to take my camera with me.. so no pics! :( They said she did GREAT and I was so happy to see she wasnt crying or screaming like they had warned me could happen. They gave her some goldfish and sprite to sip. They said if she could hold that down and not get sick, she would probably be ok. And she did great! She really woofed those things down.. cant blame her after no food all day! After they monitored her for about 30 mins, they gave us discharge papers, then brought a wheelchair up, and a nurse wheeled her out with me, while Lauryn and Arnold brought the van up to the front. She was a little dizzy and off balance for the afternoon, and later became goofy and hyper. But i was just so glad she did so well!

We stopped off at TGI Fridays for Lunch (Supper?) On the way out of Charlotte. I usually feel SO weird about eating at strange times of the day.. like 3:30pm, but I was so hungry, I didnt care! We had a great lunch, then headed home. We dropped Lauryn off at home, then headed back to pick up the kids. Mom was sweet enough to make us a dinner to take home.. which we didnt really eat but we saved it for later this weekend!

They said we should expect results in about a week or less. I am hoping its SOONER than later, because waiting is the hardest part!!! Please keep praying that Brooke will be ok and we receive good results! I dont think I could handle any more of this stress!!!

Right outside the Hospital

Brooke and her buddy Lauryn!

She was such a great support!!! Love ya!

At lunch afterwards

Our New Oven

The new oven has been installed!!! A guy called me the day before telling me that we were "last call" on his list of installations for Thursdays and he would be out sometime between 4:30 and 5:30. (Surprise, Surprise-- always seem to get "last call" for service.. the cable guy was out here last month past 8pm!!)

Anyway, he came around 5pm, so not too bad. Thank goodness Arnold was home and able to help me keep the kids under control. They like to bother.. AHEM.. talk to everyone who comes into our house.. so of course they started in with the questions. What are you doing? Are you fixing our oven? Are you leaving yet? Haha. He didnt seem to mind it though, he humored them. We started the small talk with him, and it so happens he used to date our next door neighor (who hasnt?!) And she so happened to be outside and they saw each other.. so across the yard they go, hugging, chatting... While i am inside just shaking my head wondering if this is going to affect our service for the good or the bad, HAHA!

He was finished pretty quick actually.. didnt take long at all. When he pulled the old oven out of the wall, he found a REALLY old coupon back there.. just to give you an idea of how old it was, it said Expires in DEC, 1986! And it was 15cents off a bag of M&Ms, or something crazy like that. It was old and crinkly..pretty gross, but I thought that was hilarious. Just shows how old the house is! But like the old oven didnt already do that!

We decided to christen the oven that very night and made some cookies. Pull-apart cookies, mind you.. you know its me! ;) And later Arnold made some hot wings in there. He couldnt find anything to cook, so we actually went to the store to get something to cook in the oven. He was a little too excited, I think.. we are sad. But we are finally living in the modern world! :)