Friday, February 27, 2015

Five on Friday

Books, books, books! I am so excited. I placed my first Scholastic order with Rachel's teacher this past week. I have no clue why I haven't done that before now. I got several awesome books for a good price, and it helps their classroom to earn books, too. I may get into trouble in the future with these flyers they send home, haha. Also, the book fair is next week! My favorite week of school! The kids and I have already been looking at the flyer and deciding which ones we want to get. Meanwhile, Arnold asks me where I am going to store them all???? Also-- I just finished a book myself, called "In This House We Will Giggle." It is a really good parenting book about enjoying your kids and values to instill into them when they are young. It really made me think more deeply about how important being a Mom is!

Mom surprised us with a Sam's Club membership this past weekend! Can you believe I've gone this long with being a Mom and never had one? I have been in there several times with Mom when I was growing up, and with friends to pick up cakes or party supplies. I am really looking forward to being able to stock up on stuff we need anyway, and try some new things. And like a friend pointed out, even their books are cheaper ;) The kids love to go in there and try all the samples. Honestly, they act like they are in a wonderland anytime we are in there! Haha. I love the girls' outfits they put out for different holidays! I hope to get Rachel one for Easter/springtime. 

The kids and I have been out of school several times over the past two weeks, due to winter weather. It actually snowed the other night and left a good amount on the ground. Arnold was a sweetheart and went out with the kids to build a snowman, because I am the type that hates snow (sorry if that is weird!) It is pretty when it is falling, but it is just a mess after that. And I hate being stuck at home all week! In the meantime I have been having to teach myself chapters in my med. book since we have been missing our lectures at college. Which didn't turn out too well for my last exam, but oh well. I am ready to be back to school next week and get back to normal. Oh and I'm a terrible Mom because I didn't take any pictures of the kids in the snow-- but I did get a picture of me studying the other night, haha. Oh and the snow is quickly starting to melt outside (thank goodness!) and our snowman has fallen over into the yard!!!!

I know it is crazy early to be thinking of Easter, but I am. I have spring on the mind! I have already picked out the kids' outfits. AND the other day their baskets came in the mail! Well actually, I guess you could call them "buckets" instead of baskets. I saw this deal pop up online one day for these personalized buckets you could use for Easter. They were cute, and on sale! I couldn't' resist and got one for each of the kids. They showed up here really quickly, and are cute, and bigger than I expected! I was meaning to get them personalized baskets when they were babies, but never got around to it. So I can't wait for them to use them this year, and in the coming years, too.

We celebrated some friends' birthdays this past weekend, and the kids had a lot of fun. They got to go swimming (indoors!) for the first time this year. My kids are like fish, and so they were thrilled to get to do that. I was running around to different stores at the last minute though, trying to find Rachel a bathing suit for this year. I didn't know i'd be having to find one in February! We also celebrated Logan's 10th birthday, and I just cannot get over that-- TEN! I have watched these kids grow up along side mine, and they are all growing and changing right before our eyes. It is sad how fast time flies! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Good Mom/Bad Mom

There are lots of things I do or don't do as a mom that make me feel guilty. But then again, there are lots of things I do that make me feel proud of myself as a Mom. So here are some lists, and I know my fellow Moms can relate to some of these! Share your own!

Things I'm GOOD at as a Mom

1. My kids have always been pretty good sleepers, and they always stay in their beds at night unless one of them has a nightmare, then we let them come into our bed and cuddle :) We also have set bedtimes that even Brooke has whined about occasionally because some of her friends get later, but I like routine.

2. We have always limited their caffeine. They actually didn't have any until Grandparents gave them some! Today, it is just on special occasions they get some. I am a caffeine addict and don't want them to be!

3. I always make sure they have cute outfits for all holidays and special occasions. Ok, ok, so that is not all that important, but I like to look back on the pictures and know I picked out their clothes and they were cute because of me ;)

4. I make sure they spend time with their Grandparents. I want them to be involved in their lives. We have let them go to lunches, plays, sleepovers, etc with them when they ask. And even a weekend trip once. They love their Grandparents and I am happy they are nearby so we can see them often.

5. I read the kids devotionals every night. We have a daily devotional family book that has a new one every night. A message/story, some supporting scripture, and a verse to memorize. I love doing this, and every night the kids tell me what they "got out of it." They seem to be grasping things pretty well. It is important to me they learn about what the Bible says, and morals to help them grow.

6. I plan them super fun birthday parties. My good friends know how I am about parties. Once again, you don't have to throw a big party to show  your kids you love them. It just makes me feel happy to spend that time focusing on doing something to make them happy. I love everything about it, the planning, buying, setting up, and of course watching their faces when they see the party and all their friends. It's worth the time and (occasional stress!) to me to have them memorable birthdays!

7. We take them to church every sunday (for the most part-- unless sickness, weather, etc.) My kids have grown up in church, like I did. Every sunday they get fellowship with their teachers and friends their age. They learn about the Bible and Jesus. They get excited about things they learn. This is very important for their Spiritual development.

8. Reading lots of books to them. Arnold would say we have WAY too many books in the house. But can you EVER have too many books?! Didn't think so :) We have been reading to them since they were in the womb! Everyone saying reading is important, and it is. Thankfully I love to read anyway, so it is something fun for me to do, not a chore! I try to read books to them most nights before bed, and whenever they ask.

9. I teach them manners. They have gotten pretty good about the basic things, like saying thank you to people who give them something or do something for them. They say excuse me usually when they burp. They do pretty well at dinner and in restaurants. There is always room for improvement and I have to remind them, but I am proud of their progress.

10. I make holidays fun. This is another thing I love to do, just like parties. My mom did things for me growing up, and I always wanted to do similar things for my kids. We do special treats/meals, little gifts, surprises (like the day I covered their room doors with hearts with reasons I loved them), we bring out Bob the Elf at Christmas time, we have thrown themed holiday parties for our friends... just a few ways we enoy the holidays!

Things I am BAD at as a Mom

1. I do not handle throw up or blood. Nope. I think Arnold has cleaned up every bit of throwup in this house, from the kids', to his, to even the dog's. Thank GOODNESS for him, or I don't know what I would do!

2. I'm a bad cook. Yeah, yeah, everyone knows it and picks on me. My kids don't starve. I do know how to cook some things. But don't be expecting a fancy 4-course meal from scratch anytime soon. Thankfully my husband is a good cook and doesn't mind cooking some nights either!

3. Remembering to send in papers/forms, etc to school. Do you know how many times the kids have said "Mom! you forgot my money for this. Or my permission slip for this. Or to turn in my library book today. Or put me in gym shoes." Yep. That is me. I am the disorganized school mom. I apologize now to all my kids' teachers. (and I actually have before in person!)

4. Getting Rachel to eat decent food. That kid is PICKY! There are a few things she likes and the rest she will sit there and stare at, even if I threaten her, and she will not eat it. She would rather go hungry. Brooke was always a good eater. Caleb will whine but will eat it. Rachel will not back down. She is stubborn as all get out. Any advice? Haha. She is the reason the kids take vitamins.

5. Limiting computer and tv time. I try to do my best, and I have gotten better. But they do watch tv every day, and play computer games. They are addicted to a game called Animal Jam right now. I have to literally drag them away from the computer when their time is up. Sometimes on hard days I just give in. I  know it's bad. Oh and tv didn't wait until 2 years old either. I think Brooke was saying ELMO! before she was even a year old ;)

6. Staying patient during homework time. I am already naturally not a very patient person. Wish I was. But homework time drives me insane. Trying to explain every little detail and question in math to Brooke. Keeping Rachel focused on her worksheet until she is finished and making sure her handwriting is legible. Telling Caleb to read for 20 minutes. It's just a nightmare in the afternoons. Yep.

7. Swimming. Yeah.. Abby doesn't swim. I don't like it. Call me weird all you want. Arnold has taken over that duty. He swims in the pool with them. He swam at the beach with them this past year. I sit on the sidelines. You may call me a bad parent for not getting in there in the water with my kids.. but I say, look at all the other things I DO! Not a big deal. At least for me. They still get plenty of water time!

8. Keeping up with their baby books. Yeah, we don't even want to go there. They are all on the shelf, gathering dust. I did start out writing their stats and stuff, and even kept it up with Brooke's for awhile. But I never added pictures. Or updated. Or anything. Thank goodness I have my blog now, to remember things we did in their early years! Hey, a blog can be a digital baby book, right?? :)

9. Getting regular professional family pictures done. I always mean to get updated pictures done, but It always slips my mind or something comes up. 2 springs ago we had some done by my friend that were amazing! I want to get some more done soon! I do get the kids' school pictures done and into frames. I didn't even get their hospital photos. Yeah.......... at least I take a lot of "candid" shots of my own. Those are even better sometimes, right??? ;)

10. Remembering to clip their nails. By the time I am sitting near them and notice it, their nails are long and crooked like a witch's. Haha, just kidding. But for real, why is it so hard to remember the simple things sometimes? I need a big board in my kitchen telling me step by step what to do every day so I don't forget!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015!

The kids had an awesome day at school the day before Valentine's Day. They had class parties, exchanged valentines with their friends, and had a dance after school. So I didn't even pick them up til 4:30 that afternoon! I had a long, relaxing day at home, since I don't have school on Fridays :)

That evening after I picked them up we met Arnold at Applebee's for dinner. The girls looked cute in their matching heart dresses. Caleb had gotten a mustache tattoo and put it on and wore it at dinner, haha. We had a yummy dinner and then headed over to Walmart to pick up some dog treats, snacks, and other random things we needed. We also went to look at a few more stores, but the kids were getting really restless, so Arnold took them home (we were in seperate cars) and I stayed out for a big longer. It was nice to go walk around the mall alone. I went to Yankee Candle and picked up a bunch of tarts because they were having their $1 tart sale! I got a lot of spring/summer scents like watermelon and beach, and they smell so good and make me ready for Spring! I also went by Crazy 8 and they have some crazy low clearance stuff so I loaded up on some stuff for my niece, Brielle! I can't wait to give it to her. Before I went home I went by Coldstone and picked up a chocolate icecream cake to take home for me and Arnold. They sent me an email earlier in the week advertising their cakes for special occasions and I thought about those cakes all week! They knew what they were doing, ha. The cake was DELICIOUS!!! We are some every night for 3 nights. Yum.

Saturday morning I set out some little gifts I had gotten the kids for V-day, and tied heart balloons to their kitchen chairs. They played around with their stuff in the morning and got ready. We met my parents at Mellow Mushroom at lunchtime. My parents said they wanted to take them out to lunch and a play for a V-day treat. Arnold and I LOVED that because that meant we got to go have some time to ourselves. We went to Olive Garden for lunch (our fave!) and I had some yummy salad and five cheese ziti (like always! ;) Then we went over to the mall to walk around (not a lot of options around here!) I did score bigtime at a sale at Dillard's, and got some new pj pants and other things. 

Mom called when we were leaving the mall and told us that the play was over (they went to see "The Stinky Cheese." And so we met to pick up the kids. Then we took the kids to the movies to see Spongebob. I Sooooo didn't want to go! I do not like Spongebob at all, and even tried to keep him out of our house. But some family members let the kids watch the show and they love it, and begged us to go see the movie when they saw the previews. So I said I would take them, for Valentine's Day. The movie was pretty awful... It was kind-of like being on a trip.. hard to explain, haha. AND they said a bad word. I was shocked! I knew it was Spongebob, but I didn't expect that! There were lots of little kids in there! But somehow.. the kids still ended up liking the movie. How?? I don't know. I feel like my IQ went down several points!!!!

Sunday morning I got up early and went to church to work. I had one of my best friends working with me during early service, so that was fun. Erika was at home because she had been sick :( We had a pretty good amount of kids, and they were all pretty well behaved. Then second service I had 2 helpers and me in there, so everything went really smoothly. I got to cuddle baby Easton for awhile, and get my baby time in! :) After church I was getting ready to leave, backing up, and heard a huge crunch. I was like ohhhh no. I had no idea what I had hit. Turns out I hit someone's vehicle.. it had kindof been in my blind spot, directly behind me, and I didn't see it at all. I actually bounced off their car and went forward. What was worse was the girl was walking to her car and saw it all.. I was so embarrassed :( I knew her, and she was nice about it, but I felt so bad. Some of the paint on Arnold's car came off on her bumper. I felt so bad I cried all the way to lunch!

After that incident I met Shana for lunch at Captain's Galley. I got some yummy cajun shrimp for lunch and got to talk to Shana, so I started to feel better after awhile :) Then she needed to go to the mall to look for Shaylee some clothes, so I went to the mall for a THIRD time that weekend. Ha! I didn't mind though.. I love getting to spend time with my friends! We went to Crazy 8 and Gymboree and I got even more clearance stuff.. I couldn't resist it, haha. I also got Caleb a St. Patty's day shirt. I wish it would hurry up and get warm so the kids can wear all their new clothes for this year!! Before we left the mall we stopped by the coffee shop where our friend Amanda works, and picked up some cheerwine in glass bottles. Drinks always taste better in glass bottles! :) I even took one home for Arnold since he had been so sweet to watch the kids and stuff while I was gone :)

So that was our weekend. I had a pretty good time, and I think the kids did too! I am glad I got a little alone with with Arnold, that is always nice! Hope everyone else had a great V-day, also! :)

Brooke's class had a project to make creative boxes to hold their valentines in. They had to make it, and write a paper about the steps they took to make it. I helped Brooke make a castle out of a cereal box and paper towel rolls. I think it turned out pretty cute :) They had a contest in her class and one of the winners of course was the kid who made a TOILET as her valentine holder! Goodness...

This was the DELICIOUS cake I got from Coldstone! I called it our Valentine's Day cake so I could have a good excuse to get it ;) It was so yummy and we ended up not even sharing it with the kids! We ate it after they went to bed! ha! You don't want to know how expensive it was either.. shhhhh :)

The kids' V-day treats we sat out for them that morning. Each one got a new Beanie Boo, a book, and a little push pop candy.

Took a few pics outside with their balloons, before we met Mom and Dad.

Enjoying a yummy lunch ALONE with my sweet hubby :)

My v-day gifts from Arnold (i basically led him in the right direction! ha!) Owl pj pants, pretty scarves with elephants, and two new charms for my bracelet-- a heart, and a turtle (special meaning to our family! :)

The kids and I outside the theater after we went to see Spongebob. I don't know why Arnold didn't zoom in more! We were so COLD too!!!

How I ended up my weekend.. reading in bed. Isn't that the best? And isn't my new bookmark cute?!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I found Rachel's easter dress! I wasn't really meaning to look for it yet, but the other day I was out shopping and saw it at Jitterbugs, a local consignment store. I just had to have it. It was in her size.. actually she is growing out of that size but I think it will work for this year ;) I LOVE smocked dressed! And the little bunnies with the fuzzy tails??!!!! I die! Anyway, I have been looking and also found Brooke a blue dress that may become her easter dress, and Caleb a blue shirt and yellow/blue vest. Rachel will have a big blue bow. I am having them somewhat matching this year but not TOO matchy. I am ahead of the game this year!!

 My boys! They are twins! Looking more alike every day! Here they were watching Ninja Turtles on tv. Looking at their profiles and even how they are sitting the same with their leg up just blows my mind! And yes people actually stop us frequently to tell us that Caleb is a mini Arnold! We know ;)

Friday night we celebrated my BFF's son's 4th birthday! He had a John Deere tractor theme party at their house. I got to spend time with several of my closest friends, all at once! Even though it was crowded and chaotic in there I had a great time!!

I worked over the weekend doing childcare for the church.. they were doing a workshop thing. I got to work with Erika-- my BFF, so that made the day even more fun, and go by faster! I got to watch Claire and Easton who are two of my regulars on Sunday mornings. Claire followed me around the whole morning and we had a great time playing. I got to snuggle Easton and get my baby fix! We even got to go outside for a little while because it was a sunny, gorgeous day!!

After church on Sunday Arnold, the kids and I decided to go to lunch with Erika, Shana, and their girls! We went to East Coast Wings.. I actually had never been there before. I love their fries-- yum!! The girls had a BLAST sitting together, talking, and playing.. they are so sweet :) Later that afternoon we also met back up and had sweet frog together. Love time spent with friends!

I have finally gotten the courage to go get a tattoo on my wrist, like I have been saying for years now! I want to accomplish the goal before I turn 30, this summer. I am making a day of it, going with friends to get it done, and then going to try sushi that night (no I have NEVER eaten it!) I have a few ideas of what I want.. I like something like this.. an owl and somehow incorporate the kids into it, their initials or something. I am getting really excited about the 28th! I already have several friends wanting to go along!

Love my sweet kiddos! At least the two that will still kiss me! haha! Brooke is going through a stage where she says all that stuff is yucky. Breaks my heart! 

Last night they had a fun Valentine's night for kids, at Texas Roadhouse. It was kids eat free, they had little valentines set out for the kids at the table, and they gave out balloons. They even had a lady there to do face painting. We had a very yummy meal, and it was a great price! I tried the BBQ sandwich. I usually eat the same things every where I go, but I decided to branch out ;) Even our waiter was SUPER nice.. I love evenings like that! ;)

I just finished reading this book.. and it was great! I'd highly recommend it! It's pretty much straight-forward-it's about living a great life but spending less money, and focusing on the things that really matter.

Yesterday in Med class my teacher actually made us watch a short SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK video on the nervous system! We just started learning about it and I guess she thought it would help us remember stuff better?! Haha! I really do like her though, she is always coming up with great examples and fun stuff to help us learn our terminology. It doesn't even feel like college sometimes ;)

~Speaking of school, I made a 91 on my Computer exam I took last night! I made a 92 on the last exam I took in that class too, so I am doing pretty well so far!

~Rachel has started taking spelling tests! I can't believe she has gotten so big! She had her first one this past week, and only missed two. That was pretty good since she has never done it before. We studied before the test and she is doing better than I would have imagined!

~SO excited that 19 Kids & Counting comes back next week! I have missed having stuff to watch on Tuesday nights! I am also so happy Grey's is back! I am really liking the storylines right now.

~Everyone here is so excited about Valentine's Day. We all have a lot planned. The kids have class parties this Friday and a school dance after school. We need to fill out their valentines for their friends tonight! Arnold and I are going to a couple's night at church with dinner and a speaker.. it should be fun! And my mom is taking the kids out for a treat on Saturday, to lunch and a movie! They will love that! Mom already asked Caleb where he wants to go, and he said Mellow Mushroom. He loves pizza just like his Daddy ;)

Friday, February 6, 2015

30 Before 30 List! Updated with Accomplished Items

So... I turn 30 this Summer! Wow, that really snuck up on me. I wanted to look back through my "30 before 30" list and see what all I have accomplished, and what I still have to do. All the things in italics and green are the things I have already accomplished. I tried to add pics to the ones I could, for fun :) I have finished over half the list but surprised at how many things I still have left to do! I really want to finish the list, if at all possible!

If anyone has any ways to help me, support me, or any suggestions on ways to finish up my list, I'm all ears!! And wish me luck!! ;)

1. Pay off our van--  Completed February, 2013

2. Get a dachshund--  Completed August, 2013

3. Drive somewhere far away by myself-- Completed Feb, 2012

4. Find a place to volunteer-- Completed July, 2011 (PCC)

5. Survive all 3 of my kids starting Kindergarten!- Completed by August, 2014

6. Go back to college to get my degree-- Completed August, 2014

7. Take a family vacation-- Completed August, 2014

8. Buy a nice DSLR camera-- Completed 

9. Join a gym-- Completed February, 2014

10. Dye my hair a different shade-- Completed

11. Go to a movie all by myself-- Completed September, 2014

12. Donate a nice chunk of money to a cause I support-- Completed

13. Pay for someone's meal behind me in line-- Completed December, 2013

14. Have over 150 followers on my blog-- Completed in 2014

15. Do something amazing and selfless for someone who could never pay you back-- Completed November, 2004

16. Have a natural birth, no meds what-so-ever-- Completed August, 2006 (Brooke)

17. Get baptized-- Completed November, 2011

18. Meet one of my fave. authors-- Completed Sept, 2012 (Nicholas Sparks!)

19. Try sushi

20. Take the girls to an American Girl doll store

21. Say "yes" for an entire week

22. Buy a really nice, expensive pair of shoes or purse

23. Get a massage

24. Try yoga

25. Go a whole week without the internet (NO social media!)

26. Read through the entire Bible

27. Sing karaoke in public

28. Get a small tattoo on the inside of my wrist

29. Forgive someone who has wronged me and thank someone who has helped me

30. Find my biological parents

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Things I have Learned Since Becoming a College Student as an Adult/Parent

So wow. I am back in college officially. I have been for awhile now, since this past August. But it is all starting to sink in. I actually really do love it so far. I have enjoyed my classes, teachers, and even meeting a few new people now and then. I like feeling studious and smart again. I pretty much was made for reading, writing, and the like. I am pretty book smart, but not so much with the "common sense" a lot of the time-- just ask my poor husband!! ;)

Anyway, I put together this list of things I have learned since becoming a college student as an adult/parent.

1. I feel old driving around the school in my minivan. It screams "mom," especially with my "family" sticker on the back window :) And you really feel old when the youngins in your class are talking about the latest iPhone or the party you went to last night, and all you can think of is what you are making for dinner that night, and trying to diagnose why your 5 year old's stomach hurts (has she pooped lately?!)

2. They don't seem to be very serious about checking for parking tags in your mirror.. or at least not lately. I have gotten away with not having one for 6 months now (shhhh.)

3. It is fun to shop for school supplies again! I hit up the stores when the kids did, and picked out notebooks, pencils, and stuff like that. I even started decorating the front of my notebook one day, and then remembered I wasn't an 8 year old girl anymore!

4. College books are EXPENSIVE! If you can rent, buy used or buy from a friend, do it.

5. Online classes are nice. They are convenient. You can do the work whenever you want to. You can do the work in your pajamas or naked for all they care. Just get your work in on time. And you have to be motivated. Don't wait until 11pm in the evening to do an exam when it's due at 11:55PM and you aren't sure how hard it will be!!

6. So far I've experienced only nice teachers so far. They actually care about you and want to see you succeed. Especially the ones that are moms and hear you are going back to school with 3 kids under the age of 9. They eat that stuff up. I got a lot of praise from my English teacher about that, and that made me feel special, and even more motivated to work hard!

7. I still dread taking math classes. I have one required to take for my degree, and so far I have already put it off for the first two semesters. Have they caught on yet? I don't know.. but I guess I will have to deal with it eventually! Thank goodness for a Father who is an accountant-- a true math whiz! (and why didn't I inherit any of his math skills?!)

8. My handwriting hasn't gotten any better over the years. Still looks like a 5 year old wrote the paper. Found that out when Arnold couldn't even read my notes to help me study for a test! ;) I am so, so glad they let you type most things in college!

9. Speaking of typing-- social media like facebook and blogging really pay off when it comes to typing speed. I was told I was one of the fastest typers in my typing class. And Arnold said Facebook was a waste of time! Pssssshhh!

10. It is really fun to study for tests with your dog and hubby. While laying in bed. Hubby can quiz me on the stuff. Dog is just there really, to look cute.

11. I still get excited over grades like I did when I was a kid. When I walk out of class with a paper with an "A" on it, I still get happy feelings in my tummy :) It's even better when the teacher writes a little note on the top like GOOD JOB! Now that really is elementary stuff, but it never gets old ;) Hanging the papers on the fridge next to your 5-year old's drawings of rainbows is perfectly acceptable too ;)

12. The kids care, and want me to do well. They were excited when they heard I was going back to school, like they were. They asked me all sorts of questions. Brooke wanted to know where I would eat and if I would make any friends.. she was VERY serious about my well-being :) They want to hear how I do on my exams and only stand for the best ;) To be fair, their Pop Pop told them to stay on me about grades ;)

13. Analyzing litereature didn't  get any easier. I love, love, love to read. But putting into words why the author chose to write specifically about what they did and what the deeper meaning is and why the box was purple polka dotted?? Yeaaaaah. Not so much fun.

14. I still care very much about my parents' opinions. I want them to be proud of me. I know they are. But I like to be sure to keep them updated with  my progress and send them an email every time I make a good grade ;) Dad asked me If I needed him to quiz me on my medical terms like he did back in the day with my multiplication tables. Ohhhh, those were the days.

15. College is tough to do as an adult/parent, because there are so many other things to juggle your time with. But it is so worth it. I can already tell. I wish I had finished my college up before starting my life with kids, but things don't always work out the way you expect. In a way it's even cooler now, because I have little cheerleaders to help me along the way :) I still have time to study, I just have to do it when the kids are gone or asleep ;) I have so much at stake and I think about our future and how great it will be when I get into  a career I love, that I worked so hard for. It will be amazing to see the end results!!