Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Danielle!

Up at 8:00 a.m. today, although I'd been waking up and going back to sleep all morning - it's got to be the liquid Vicodin I've been taking for my back.  Gives me weird dreams and not quite consistent sleep.  Harry came to the side of the bed telling me, "Daddy go to wok."  I got up to find both Harry and Olivia up - Olivia outside with the cats, her usual place in the morning.  Reminded her to feed them.  Started breakfast, listening for Eve.  No sound from her room, so I went about making toast and oatmeal for the kids.  Joe called during his morning break/walk and we talked awhile.  Still no Evie.  At almost 10:00 a.m. I hear Eve stirring.  Her room is really dark since Joe hung up the blackout curtains.  They may be bright pink, but they definitely keep the light out.  It's also overcast today - starting to cool down finally and rain is predicted this week.  Thank goodness - this 90+ degree heat at the end of September was atrocious.  Eve is up but whimpering and very hot.  Take her temp to find it is about 102.  Harry was feverish yesterday but seems fine today.  Carissa said there was scarlet fever going around and to check for a rash.  I don't see anything - but Eve is definitely not feeling well.  She cries a bit when I pick her up, which means she must be achy and sore.  Got Olivia ready and to school at 11:30.  Back home and getting invitations addressed for Eve's party on the 30th.  Decided not to invite everyone we know - we want to keep it relatively small and intimate, which is nearly impossible given the size of our families.

Eve down for nap again at 1:00 and still sleeping when I started dinner at 4:45.  She is obviously not feeling well...poor baby.  I hate for my kids to be sick.  Harry engrossed in his Nick Jr. computer games - he is spending way too much time on the computer.  He needs preschool badly!  Olivia working on her usual daily artwork.  Today she painted, cut, stamped and glued hearts.  She has made quite a gallery over the desk in their bedroom.  Seriously thinking about buying her an art center to keep all her supplies and also have a place to work.  Today she chose to work outside at the little table.  She really is an amazing artist and the fact that she spends several hours a day painting, coloring, drawing, markering...it's obviously something she got from her dad.  She loves art and she has a gift.  I need to find a way to save her work - i need to buy some big binders and sheet protecters to put her favorites.  Right now she is working on flowers, people, houses, suns with eyebrows, and lots of color! 

We are planning a trip to Sacramento this weekend to see Danielle and Danny for their birthdays.  Think we're going to squeeze Mom and Steve's birthdays in there as well...should be fun.  Haven't gone up there since Danielle's wedding in March.  It's a bit of a trek to get all the kids up there.  I always stress about where we'll all sleep and eat and dress and all of that.  But this time Julie and Jeff are getting a hotel room so we can stay with Danny and Stacy.

Dinner of tacos - made these with leftover steak - yummy.  Showers and storytime - Harry won't let me leave the room without reading at least two, usually three, books.  Everyone in bed by 8:15 except Eve.  Dad went out to get her chewable Tylenol and that did the trick!  She thinks it's yummy and won't spit it out - woo hoo!  Finally got her down around 9:00 p.m.  Watched a little TV and worked on paperwork.  Getting late now...to bed.  Looking forward to tomorrow's predicted rain!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Review of Diapers.com Premium Baby Diapers

Originally submitted at Diapers.com

NEW! Introducing Diapers.com Premium Baby Diapers!

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Very absorbent!

By englishsnob from CA on 8/31/2010


4out of 5

Pros: Highly Absorbent, Good Value, Adjustable Fit, Snug Fit

Best Uses: Infants

Describe Yourself: Parent of Two or More Children

These diapers are very absorbent and work just as well as Pampers, Huggies, or the like. Great value too - we've been using them for a month now and really like them. Maybe not as fancy or super soft as some premium diapers, but that's not nearly as important as the leakage protection. We've had zero leaks! Would highly recommend.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

August: Back to School and Birthday Boys!


 On Thursday, August 19, 2010, Olivia started kindergarten at Conyer Elementary School.  It was a big day.  She had a new outfit she had chosen herself at Target, and a new purply-blue backpack featuring Tiana from Princess and the Frog.  She was excited - couldn't wait to go - and kept asking when we were leaving.  She is in afternoon preschool, so she doesn't actually start until 11:30.  Joe took an early lunch and we all went to see her off - Harry and Eve too.  We met her teacher, Mrs. Franz, who seemed very bright and animated like most kindergarten teachers I've met.  Olivia found her name tag, put it on, and rushed out to the playground to say hello.  No fear, no worry - just ready to be there.  She is an old pro though - with almost 3 years of preschool under her belt, this was really not a different world for her.  I saw other kids looking a little worried at the idea of staying there without mom and dad, but Olivia just waved us off.  It's always surreal for me there at Conyer, and Olivia is in the very same room where Lily went to kindergarten and where I did some work-experience student teaching back at COS.  We managed to get a few pictures before we left.  All in all, I'd have to say it was satisfying but fairly anti-climactic.

Our Kindergarten STAR!

 Olivia at 5

Olivia is just an amazing kid - very smart, very independent.  I love that she is artistic - just like her dad - and can't seem to get enough painting, coloring, and drawing.  She paints or draws a new picture everyday, sometimes several.  There have been nights when she begged to stay up just long enough to paint one more picture.  And she's good!  Of course I am a bit biased, but her artwork is the sweetest, most colorful, well thought out stuff I've seen a five year old do.  She took art classes through Arts Visalia over the summer and really enjoyed it.  They had an art show early in August featuring the kids' work.  That was a fun night.  After the art show, we all went out to eat - my mom and Steve, Julie and Jeff, Joe and I and all our kids.  It was crazy and noisy, but nice too.  We just don't get to do that much anymore....  But back to the artwork - there is just so much of it, I don't know what to do with it all! I can't seem to bear throwing any of it out.  I have started a folder and it just keeps piling up in there, but that is not a permanent solution.  Gotta think of something else...

Yet another art project...

Funny Girl

 Olivia is funny too.  Her sense of humor is way beyond her physical age.  She laughs at things other kids don't and loves to make jokes.  She cracks herself up and laughs hysterically at her own little jokes or at other people's crude humor.  Bodily humor jokes, which usually appeal to boys, send her through the roof.  She understands a lot of adult humor too - or appears too.  Joe and I often get to laughing out loud at her antics.  I read her some jokes the other day - Laffy Taffy style - and she was literally slapping her knee.  She is just our silly girl (which is what we like to call her) and she makes us laugh all the time.  She is also a bit sneaky.  She likes to "sneak" things into her room - the cat, forbidden food, my jewelry, Lily's makeup - she just can't seem to keep her hands off things.  It gets her into trouble because she's not quite as good as it as she thinks.  We catch her a lot with her hands behind her back.  Not sure why she feels the need to snag and stash other people's stuff, but I hope it's just a phase!

I think kindergarten will agree with Olivia; if anything, she might be bored.  She came home this week telling me how they were talking about colors (she's known colors for years now) and the letter A (seriously?).  I realize some kids have had no preschool or parent-teaching, but Olivia is ready to read.  She can already read simple words, so it's just a matter of putting things together and she'll be reading sentences and then paragraphs - probably by Christmas.  I've heard VUSD has charter schools that offer a more challenging, fun and enriching curriculum - but I would have to be sure that it isn't part-time home schooling.  Not that I couldn't do that, but it would be hard with Harry and Eve at home, not to mention my online teaching job that starts in October.  Besides, Olivia needs and wants to be with other kids and in a new environment.  It's her chance to get away for awhile and see new faces - it's a good thing.

Lily is a PIONEER!

On the same day, Lily began her high school journey at Mt. Whitney - my (and Joe's) Alma Mater.  Joe took her in on the first day but didn't stay long.  She got her schedule and a map and was on her way.  I couldn't wait for her to get home to find out what classes she had.  Of course, she didn't seem as excited as I was - already had complaints about some of her teachers.  She isn't in Women's Glee, which was a bummer, but she is taking French.  She has two math classes - they now have math "intervention" for students who struggle.  She tried out for the volleyball team late - apparently they have tryouts over the summer, which we didn't know about.  She didn't make the team and came home quite dejected.  The coach (also her Health teacher - isn't that always the case?) told her she wasn't ready.  I told her to audition for Bye, Bye Birdie - the first musical Mt. Whitney has EVER done.  It took some convincing.  I know how much she loves musicals and would love to be in it, but she has developed this "fear bug" suddenly.  Lily was never afraid of anything as a child, but as a teenager, she is worried she will look stupid or uncool and people will make fun of her.  Typical teenage stuff.  But after coming home very late from the Boys and Girls Club twice last week, we had a long sit-down chat with her on Back to School night about getting involved in school and making good choices.  I think (pray) we are on the right track.  Parenting a teenager is a new, crazy, stressful, and sometimes horrendous world for both Joe and me. But once Lily found out there is a Poetry Club on campus and a possibility of taking pictures for the newspaper, she perked up.  Musical auditions are next week and I'm hoping she will be in it and love every minute of it.  Can musical theater change your life?  I believe it can.  Last night was the Icebreaker Dance and I couldn't help remembering my first Icebreaker all those years ago - I met a boy named Ron and kissed him in a dark corner of the gym - and for more than just a minute.  I didn't tell Lily that of course, but it didn't matter.  She went with her girlfriends and they danced so long and so hard that she crashed out less than a hour after coming home.  Deep breath...sigh of relief.  I'm praying we have a smooth freshman year.

My freshman and my kindergartener

Harry and Levi's Birthday 

We celebrated Harry's 4th and Levi's 1st birthdays on Saturday, August 28.  Had a big party in the backyard with a bounce house.  It was supposed to be a waterslide, but when we found out the weather was going to be so cool (only 72 degrees at noon) we opted for a dry slide/bounce house combo.  The kids loved it.  They bounced most of the day away.  A few injuries occurred - bumps, bruises, pokes - but none of the kids really minded.  Overall, a great day.  We had a HUGE turnout - lots of friends and family and a TON of kids!  We have never had that many little kids in our backyard before - I think we counted 20 of the little boogers.  Carissa and I just barely had enough food for everyone - Colleen had to run out for more hot dog buns at one point. But everyone seemed to have a great time and the weather was beautiful.  After most of the guests had gone, Carissa, Mike, Joe, and I sat down to open the boys' gifts.  Lots of boy toys - trucks, hot wheels, Lego's, dinosaurs, books, and some cool new shoes and jackets for the fall.  The remaining kids - mostly ours - bounced out their last hour before the truck came to haul the massive thing away.  Harry was distraught and cried when they started packing it up.  It was sad.  I distracted him by taking a bunch of photos with his balloons - Harry loves having his picture taken.  He had been a bit under the weather earlier in the week, but as usual, pulled out of it without much trouble.  He gets fevers but never really gets sick.  Unfortunately, Eve picked up the bug and she woke up in the afternoon feeling hot to the touch. Slept a lot and then, of course, puked twice in the evening.  Once on me and once on Dad (and the recliner), so we both got to experience it!  Thank God we bought that carpet cleaner with the upholstery attachment!  Eve finally settled down to sleep for the night around 7:00 p.m. still feeling feverish.  It's awful to see my sweet little girl feeling so bad and shivering with fever.  Nothing worse than stomach sick either.  The other kids passed out early - they were completely worn out from the busy day and all that bouncing.  It was fun and, despite the chaos, the planning, and the worry, I loved having everyone here.  I really think I stress too much about these parties and really, they always turn out fine.  I'm getting better at letting little things go - the house doesn't have to be perfect - and just enjoying the day.  Honestly, I am loving spending time with the kids more and more.  I hope my new online teaching job will allow me luxury of even more time with them.  Can you say a day trip to the zoo??

The GIANT Bounce House/Slide Combo
Big Boy