Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Washing Machine Treasure Machine

I usually find some sort of random treasure when I do laundry. Shoes and other mysterious items in the laundry basket, acorns, rocks, coins, plastic jewelry in pockets.

This is a first: A whole pack of M&M's went through the washing machine. What a waste. :)

Luckily I discovered this BEFORE the laundry went into the dryer so I didn't have a hot, melty chocolate mess!

Theme for the day:
"M&M's, melt in your mouth AND in the dryer!"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Global Developmental Delays

In the fall, Ashlyn was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delays, which is a long term that means she is behind in many of her developmental milestones. The specialist confirmed that she was at least six months behind (she wasn't rolling over or walking, etc). Thankfully, all of her blood work and genetics testing came back normal, but that leaves a big fat question mark as to the cause for her delays.

The doctor wanted Ashlyn to begin physical therapy, speech therapy, and see a feeding team. With much thought and conversation with other therapists, we decided to start with JUST physical therapy so Ashlyn didn't get overwhelmed.

Ashlyn currently goes to physical therapy once a week at the children's hospital and HATES it!! She cries and doesn't let go of me, which makes it difficult for the therapists to do their job. I feel bad for Ashlyn AND the therapists so we are brainstorming what would be best for Ashlyn at this point. They want to strengthen her right leg and loosen up her hips so we are doing exercises at home to help with this.

Since the appointment with the specialist, we have seen some progress with Ashlyn. She is almost 18 months old now and has rolled over three times and has taken a few steps! We celebrated! We were hoping that after watching Ashlyn take a few steps that she would be walking by Christmas, but we don't know if this will become a reality.

The doctors also recommended that we teach Ashlyn some basic sign language and she has made some progress with this as well.

So, what's next?
Ashlyn goes back to the specialist in January so he can monitor and make note of any progress. Until then, we will still continue some sort of physical therapy and look into speech therapy within a few months.

Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers for little Ashlyn!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our Second Grader

Mariah, our oldest daughter, asked if she can get a phone when she is in fourth grade.
I laughed.
Way to plan ahead, Mariah!

When I was in second grade, I wasn't thinking two years ahead and I surely wasn't thinking about getting a phone. I was probably more concerned with things like candy and which tree to climb next.


Friday, December 9, 2011

UPS Man Vs. Santa Claus

We were unable to successfully intercept a package from the UPS man before the girls saw a big brown box. They began to put two and two together:

Christmas -> presents -> UPS truck

We had some explaining to do, most of which included changing the subject.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In the News

Well, Friday is the big opening day at my new job, The Tree House! I am looking forward to watching kids play and meeting new parents.

Today, The Tree House was in the local newspaper (click to read the article) and tomorrow will start the circuit of radio commercials.

I am excited to be a part of the staff at The Tree House and I am LOVING my job. It is a perfect fit for me.

(PS: The Tree House has a blog too: Check it out!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's Behind the Crib?

Every time I go to change the crib sheet, I pull the crib away from the wall and to my surprise, there are a bunch of little treasures! I play a game called "What's Behind the Crib?"

This week I found:

15 tiny rubber bands from Ashlyn's pigtails
1 red ball
1 green ball
1 sock
a small teddy bear
a toy banana
5 plastic bugs
3 plastic animals
2 wooden blocks

I'm just thankful that the banana and the bugs were only toys.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Having a child take a nap in the car brings about two main theories...

ONE: You WANT your child to sleep in the car so that they will be well rested when you get to your final destination.

TWO: You DON'T want your child to sleep in the car because then they will not get a long enough nap, which turns into extra crabby kid, and pull-your-hair-out mom. And, transferring a sleeping child from car seat to crib pretty much never works.

In order to reach the goal of THEORY #2 (no nap), I will do whatever it takes to keep my child awake.
In random order:
*turn up the music
*sing loudly
*sing with a British accent just to mix things up
*sing with a deep voice just to be annoying
*tickle toes
*ask my child where their nose is, toes are, etc.
*sing "if you are happy and you know it, clap your hands" to get child involvement
*lie and say we are almost home, when in fact we aren't even close
*open the windows
*start clapping
*give them a toy to play with
*ask my child to recite animal noises

Half of the time, this works. The other half of the time, I have a sleeping kid in the car seat and I just made a fool of myself in the meantime. :)

(Are you laughing because you do this too??! Hopefully I am not alone).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Shout Stain Remover

I have had great results with Shout Stain Remover. It has gotten out grass stains, red pop (yes I said pop, I am from the Midwest), chocolate, blood, grape juice, baby formula, and any other mysterious stains that show up on the girls' clothes.

The other day, I was excited because the red pop stain came out of Mariah's white shirt, but then my excitement turned into frustration when I saw a stain on Ashlyn's shirt---oops, I forgot the Shout! Darn!

Shout works great if you remember to use it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Christmas Tree

This seems to be the scene at our house lately:
Luckily, all our Christmas ornaments are shatterproof (aka: plastic) this year as at least 15 a day make their way onto the wood floor and/or in Ashlyn's mouth. Ashlyn has a constant ring of gold glitter around her mouth and on her sweaty palms.

Hopefully the novelty of the Christmas tree will wear off soon and then we can stop chasing rolling ball ornaments across the floor.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Mom Disease

My husband thinks I have some sort of disease or condition that makes me fall asleep every night at 8:30pm when we are watching television or a movie (even if it is my favorite show or a chick flick).

I agree. It is called The Mom Disease. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any sort of cure or prevention for this, but if I come up with any new invention, I will let you know.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I am SO tired of the girls behaving perfectly for other people but then as soon as I arrive, they turn into little monsters.

Don't be fooled, this is a short post because I don't have any clever ideas on how to fix this problem. I wish I did.

I just try my best to keep calm, but really, steam billows out of my ears!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Dropped the Ball...again

Somewhere along the line, I missed some sort of memo about Christmas pictures being taken at school. I am usually pretty good at keeping up with school events and school notes, but must have overlooked this one. Mariah's outfit isn't really all that Christmas-y. Oh well, looks like we won't be ordering these.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Best Bib EVER

My girls have all used a bib called the "dura bib" and I really feel that everyone with little kids needs one, or two, or three of these awesome bibs! I have received many compliments on the bibs and many parents are envious of the product.

Why is this bib so cool?
The pocket has snaps so when the child is done eating, you can just unsnap and wipe clean. It is also machine washable, double bonus!
I keep one of these bibs at home and I also keep one in the diaper bag for on-the-go eating. BUT the bib is multi-functional.
*I will put snacks in the bib for my "crawler" that won't sit still and then they can still crawl around. Mobile snack!
*I will use the bib in the car for a toy holder/catcher which makes driving a little easier for both parent and child.
*And not the most pleasant of uses, but the bib helps with a child that gets car sick and/or when a young child has the flu. I have put the bib on all of our daughters when they are sick but too young to tell me when they are about to throw up. It has saved A LOT of messes both at home and in the car.

Unfortunately, these bibs are difficult to find in the stores. I have seen them on various occasions at Meijer and K-mart, but not consistently and I cannot find them on their websites. You can also search "dura bib" and a few websites come up where you can order them online for about $7 each.

Two thumbs up for the dura bib!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We Survived

We all survived my first week of work, just like I knew we would. I felt a little more energy in the morning as I was excited for my new opportunity of working part time.

Waving good bye to my smiling girls on the first morning that I worked was actually more difficult than I had thought it would be. Ambria and Ashlyn waved uncontrollably and Ambria shouted, "Have a good day at work, mom!" It was so sweet. And then I drove away with a half smile, half frown on my face. Bitter sweet.

Hopefully this departure will get a little easier for me, but I do know that when I return to the girls at the end of the day, their hugs and kisses are priceless!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Dismissal

My husband and I take turns tucking the girls in bed at night and reading them a story. Lately, the girls have been requesting to hear stories about when we were children. It is fun to think about my own childhood and relive it through storytelling to my daughters. I have told them everything from making cool tree forts, begging my parents for a miniature horse, my brother squeezing my hand too tightly during church prayer, my sister running into a huge tree while learning to ride a bike, me putting my teeth through my lip and needing stitches, filling up the pool in the summertime and being the first to jump in the icy water... and on and on.

Sounds great, BUT...

The girls don't enjoy my stories. They want DAD to tell them stories. I have been dismissed from telling bedtime stories.

I contemplated this and came up with a few reasons why I got the "boot:"
*My husband is a WAY better communicator than me (that is what he does for his job)
*My stories are too short. Short, sweet, and to the point. Go to bed. Good night. Mom is "off duty."

The girls have caught on to my quick stories, DAD's stories are L O N G E R and funnier.

I've been dismissed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Maternity Leave

My 7 year maternity leave is coming to an end. I am very excited to start a part time job at The Tree House where I will be helping to create developmental curriculum for children ages birth-5 and also teaching some of the classes. Besides offering classes for parents and children, The Tree House has an amazing indoor play area and a cafe where parents can watch their kids play nearby. In other words: parent and kid Heaven!

I can't believe that I GET to work here! I am grateful for this opportunity. It is humbling that someone wants to use me and my gifts. This is difficult for me to process: ME? MORE than a mommy?

Starting a new job, after being a stay at home mom for 7 years, brings about a mixed bag of emotions. I am excited to venture out into the working world, exercise my gifts, and meet new people. The challenges that a new schedule will bring to our family makes me a little anxious, but I know we will all survive and learn to be a little more flexible. Since I will be working part time, I can still be at home for the girls, the best of both worlds!

So, my maternity leave is over. Starting a new chapter in my life, but not forgetting the old.

I am up for the challenge and I am excited to start this new venture.

(If you live in the Asheville area and have young kiddos, come visit me!! We hope to open in December!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Glass is Half Full

This was AFTER I had already given her a bath...back into the tub she goes!

Look on the bright side: Ashlyn successfully got all the yogurt out of the container! AND she got REALLY clean from two baths in less than two hours.

I TRY to focus on something positive rather than the negative when the girls complete an activity incorrectly. For example: if Ambria puts her shoes on the wrong feet, the positive is that SHE put on her shoes.

This can be difficult for me to do sometimes, especially if it involves a mess or if we are in a hurry, but at least the girls will get more of a positive message.

The glass CAN be half full in the midst of chaos.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Magic Eraser

I would like to thank the inventor of this ingenious idea! There really could not be a better name for this product, is magic! I love it!

Ashlyn met an orange crayon today. The orange crayon met the white wall. The white wall met the Magic Eraser.

My guess is that this product has helped to prevent thousands, if not millions, of heart attacks from parents and caregivers.

Thank you Magic Eraser!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nap Weening

Ambria LOVES to take naps. No, for real. All three of our girls were/are big nappers (Praise the Lord!) but Ambria is starting to not be able to fall asleep at night if she has a nap during the day.

For example:
TWO MINUTES after we put the girls down for bed, Ambria came out into the living room with a little smirk on her adorable face. She says, "I just had a bad dream." She proceeded to tell an amazing made up story about a ghost in our yard (It was a pretty good narration, I'll give her that).

On different night, Ambria yelled for me twenty minutes after we put her to bed and said she had TWO bad dreams. She, again, said this with a smile on her face. She proceeded to tell me the "dreams" and began by saying..."once upon a time..."

I think it is time for Ambria to be weened from the daily nap.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dinner Table Conversation

I posted a while back about a tradition that our family has called Happy, Sad, or Mad. While eating together at the dinner table, we each go around and say what made us happy, sad, and mad that day. It has proved to be a great routine that the girls look forward to.

We have since started adding a new aspect to the dinner conversation. We are beginning to ask the girls to go around the table and say something nice about each member of the family.

Let me tell you, we get some comical answers and some loooong drawn out pauses. I am wondering what this will look like when the girls are teenagers. :)

Family bonding time. I love it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Who's the Boss?

It is frustrating when the girls listen to their dad more than me. There will be times when the girls try to boss ME around, talk harshly to me, and demand me to do things for them, until... dad walks in the room, then they stop! Argh!

The other day I had to raise my voice and let them know who is boss. I don't enjoy those moments.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Swear Words

With little ears around the house, I had to make up my own creative swear words.

This list is as follows:
*Sugar jets
*Buster Brown

Any of the above mentioned can be used by themselves or combined with any other word on the list at any given time...and usually followed by an exclamation mark.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kid Toys (Another Confession)

With Christmas not too far away, I am starting to gather toy ideas for the girls. "Fun" for me is walking up and down the toy aisles--just looking.

Fun? Yes!
Is this a symptom of motherhood? Yup.

Not only do I look for toys that I think each child will enjoy, I also look for toys that I will enjoy playing alongside with the girls. I am not a huge fan of playing Barbies and My Little Ponies with the girls, but there are actually a few toys in the past that we have bought for the girls specifically because I enjoy playing them too. (another confession)

Two toys that we have gotten, probably more for ME than the girls:
1. Wooden train with lots of track
2. Marble run

I will never pass up an opportunity to create an intricate train track or make an awesome marble run for the girls.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sleep Envy

It is never a good sign when I yawn during the opening credits of a movie. (There is some good foreshadowing for ya).

This is how most of my evenings go:
I finally get to relax on the couch with my sweet hubby after the three girls go to bed. I sit down, I make an audible sigh, and get cozy under a warm blanket as we start to watch some of our favorite tv shows and/or a movie.

Yawn. Yawn.

It isn't rare to see a person crawl into bed to go to sleep during a tv show or movie, and what do I do?!
I get ENVIOUS of that character "sleeping!"
"Ooo, that looks so warm and comfortable. Ooo, sleep."

**Oh, crud, it is only 8:00pm. Try to stay awake. Try to stay awake. Keep those eye lids open, oh no, they are getting heavy! Deny that I am tired. Turn my head slowly away so my husband doesn't think I am falling asleep already. Boom. Asleep.**

It seems that I repeat this process almost every night. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Long Road (An Update on Ashlyn)

We are a little emotionally drained at our house.
We are grateful that Ashlyn was able to get an appointment with the specialist this week, considering the waiting list is 5 months long!

To make a long story short, after a long day of of appointments and blood tests, the specialist confirmed that Ashlyn is developmentally 6 months behind. At this point, the doctor is unsure of the reason for this delay so he is trying to get some answers through blood tests.

Ashlyn will start 4 sessions of therapy, two at the children's hospital, and two at our home.

We might have a long road ahead of us and probably many ups and downs along the way. Obviously, our hope is that the therapy will help close the gap in her delays.

We are still feeling a little uneasy and overwhelmed, but we are just trying to take things one day at a time for now.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Refrigerator Artwork Policy

I have a small confession. I am not very sentimental when it comes to the girls' artwork and school papers. I like to SEE the front of my refrigerator! I also don't want to keep unlimited boxes of old school papers and spelling lists.

This dream of a plain white refrigerator never happens because it gets plastered with papers of all shapes, sizes, and colors on a daily basis. (AND Ashlyn can reach almost all the art on the fridge, she pulls it down, rips it, eats it, and attempts to sneak the magnets into her mouth).

Beautiful art? Yes.
Unique? Yes
Cluttered? Yes.

So, my "Refrigerator Artwork Policy:" I keep artwork on the fridge for one week then dispose of it. Yes, I actually throw it out. Pretty much everything. Trash.

Ok, ok, before you think I am REALLY unsentimental: I DO keep the drawings and artwork that I think records the girls at the stage they are in; like when the girls write their name for the first time, draw a face and a house for the first time, etc. I also keep school report cards.

I also have a clothes line in another room for the girls' artwork and they can choose to pin up the art of their choosing. This helps with some clutter and the girls enjoy choosing what they want to display and it personalizes the playroom.

Confession is over.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heavy Heart

My heart is a little heavy today. Ashlyn went to the doctor for her 15-month well child check-up and the doctor feels that she is about 6 months behind developmentally. 6 months! Ashlyn has now been referred to a team of specialists to evaluate her delays.
I cannot help but wonder if I did something wrong. What did I NOT do, or what did I do? I guess this is just how a mother thinks sometimes.

My heart is aching.

Please join me in praying for Ashlyn as she is in the Hands of the Great Physician.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Mom Song

What is "The Mom Song?"

Oh, you know, those random made up songs that you sing throughout the day that have no meaning, no rhythm, and are usually off key.

There is no specific tune to "The Mom Song," just whatever comes to mind at the moment...

**"I am washing the dishes, I hate doing the dishes, la la la..."
**"Oh you girls are so beautiful, and funny, and I love you..."
**"Please stop yelling, please stop crying, please stop stop stop..."

OR "The Mom Song" is a song where you make up words to an already well-known tune.

Sing to the tune of Old McDonald:
Little Ashlyn is crabby today, e i e i o.
And in this house, she won't stop crying, e i e i o.
With a wa wa here,
and a wa wa there,
here a wa,
there a wa,
everywhere a wa wa.

I am usually guilty of singing "The Mom Song" on a daily basis in the privacy of my own home. Have you sung "The Mom Song?"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Short and Sweet

My blog posts aren't too long and drawn out.
I usually don't have much time to blog due to three girls that remain nameless.
My guess is that you, my reader, don't have too much time to read long blog posts either... if you are anything like me.

Thanks for stopping by in the midst of your busy day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Still Loving My ERGO

I am still in love with my ERGO carrier...but of course I love the cargo even more! :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Love My Family

Today was one of those picture perfect Fall days and we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful sunshine so we decided to take a hike up the mountain behind our house.

We stood in awe of the mountains in the distance as we felt like we could reach the blue sky. We observed nature, smelled the flowers, and looked for bear. We took a rest in the grass and watched the neighbor's horses gallop below. We breathed the fresh Fall air and savored the moment.
We savored the moment.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cool Mom

I strive to be a Cool Mom, but I have a few strikes against me...

1. I drive a mini van.
2. I drive a mini van with the windows rolled down blasting a Barney CD.
3. I drive a mini van with the windows rolled down blasting a Barney CD and I am singing along.
4. All of the above can be a little embarrassing as I drive through the college campus in our town.

(Added note: When I realized the volume of the my voice and the genre of music while driving through the college campus with the students walking about, I turned down the tunes and stopped pumping my fists).

(Another added note: At least the kids were in the van, and I wasn't doing these activities solo, you can at least give me credit for that).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Do Not Eat

We have all seen them, you know, those little packets of mysterious substance that say "Do Not Eat" that are inside of random things like shoe boxes, medicine bottles, and bags of beef jerky.

I usually laugh when I see these little packets and think something sarcastic like, "Ok, I won't eat you," or "I'm not THAT hungry," or "I knew there would be something good to eat inside this old shoe box."

Yes, I can read and I will NOT eat the silica gel.

BUT my 15 month old CANNOT read! I guess this is where I intercede and tell her what the little white packet says. Nice try Ashlyn.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lessons in Losing

Mariah had her first cheer leading competition this past weekend, and unfortunately, her team did not place in the top 4.

Going into the competition, Mariah truly thought that her team could win the event. I love and admire her confidence! (By all means, they DID practice very hard, and the team put hours and hours into learning cheers). I told Mariah that it would be great if her team could win but I also gently warned Mariah that it is "ok" if her team doesn't get first place.

After the team realized they did not place, the emotions were running very high. Big tears streamed down Mariah's glittery face. She wasn't satisfied with a shiny trophy, a big medal, and a red rose...she wanted the glory!

Here comes mom to the rescue with a shoulder to cry on and I pull out of my pocket "the lessons in losing." This is one of the parts of parenting that isn't so glorious as you want your child to succeed in everything they do. And then yada, yada, yada, the old cliche of "having fun is the important thing," and "you did great," and other "lessons" that don't seem to have instant gratification and go in one ear and out the other. I heard all these cliches when I was a kid, and now I have the "honor" of passing them on.

Mariah's emotions subsided after a while and then she was very proud of her was I.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Whine whine whine

Some days when I am in the shower and the girls are whining for no particular reason, I just stand in the warm water and take a deep breath. *Sometimes,* the louder and the more they whine, the longer it takes me to get out of the shower.

(Of course this is only if the girls aren't injured, choking, or having another emergency that cannot wait).

Whine more= I take more time.

I know I might not win the best parent award.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Little Turtle

I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried, but Ashlyn is 15 months old now and she cannot roll from her back to her belly. I find this kind of strange. We have been working with her quite a bit, we will lay her on her back and guide her arms and legs, but to no avail. We will try rolling her to her left side and also to her right side, but it makes no difference. If Ashlyn is on her back, she will stay on her back until someone comes to her aid. She is our little turtle.

(Ambria took this picture of me and Ashlyn)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bad Word

Mariah: Mom, sometimes I say a bad word.
Me: Yikes, ok.
Mariah: Can I say it now?
Me: No (Ambria was within hearing distance)
Mariah: It is the S word. Sh, sh, sh
Me: (heart beating a little faster)
Mariah: s-h-u-t u-p
Me: Oh. Ok. You are right, let's not say that word.

My heart rate returned to normal and I was relieved. I know it won't be too much longer before Mariah hears swear words, but for now, I am glad she thinks shut up is a bad word.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

THAT Kind of Sick

The other day, Ashlyn woke up with a fever and was VERY fussy but she had no other symptoms. You know, the kind of sick where nothing will comfort the child: Tylenol doesn't work, all they want to do is be held, but you can't sit down, they aren't hungry, they won't sleep, they just plain don't-want-anything.

The kind of sick where:
*you want to cuddle and hold the child ALL day, but you have to get SOMETHING done
*you try everything to calm them, even walk outside and point at ants and leaves to distract them
*you HOPE they will take a good nap, BUT you aren't sure how long they will sleep so you hurry/scurry around the house as fast as you can in hopes of getting something accomplished
*you cringe a little when you hear the first whimper after a nap because you know the crying is about to start again
*you keep looking for other signs to figure out what is bothering the child: teeth popping through, snotty nose, drool, but the child gives you no other symptoms so you have no idea what is wrong
*you are prepared at any minute for puke-age...just in case :)
*you aren't sure if you should call the doctor, one minute the child seems ok the next they are screaming their head off

It was that kind of day around here.

Oh, and PS, I didn't call the doctor and Ashlyn was fine after a few days. It was a long few days, but thank goodness she is feeling better.

Tip/Advice/Reminder for the Day

Sometimes "good enough" is just perfect!

Parents Magazine

Yours truly has made it into the October 2011 issue of Parents magazine.

I am famous!!

No, not really.

I submitted a short story for the column entitled "It Happened to Me" which is about safety tips for other parents. After I submitted the story, an editor contacted me and we had some dialog over the phone and email because the editors felt my story could be helpful to other parents. The magazine also wanted a picture of Mariah (because the incident happened to her when she was little).

So, wa-la! My 15 minutes (more like 15 seconds) of fame is for a parenting mistake that I made. I am hoping that other parents learn from my mistake so "it doesn't happen to them" and their kiddos. It is just a short paragraph, but still kind of fun. Mariah loved seeing herself in the magazine and took it to school to show all her friends.

(Am I going to tell you what the story is about? Nope. Go read the article. Page 38. And then you can tell me how horrible of a parent I am.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Milestone

Well, the second child has started preschool. I feel old. I have a second grader AND a preschooler!

As I said good-bye to Ambria on the first day of preschool, it made me wonder if I spent enough time with her before she started her school years. It made me wonder if I taught her anything that she will carry through life with her. I wonder if I was a good mom to Ambria for her first 4 1/2 years.

I will always wonder about these questions, but as I let go of her hand and walked out of her classroom, I saw her big smile and that reassured me that she will be ok.

What I do know is that SHE has taught me many lessons that I will never forget along the way.

We love you, Ambria! We are proud of you!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Ashlyn has been pretty busy, always on the go, and always into something that she shouldn't be into.

I feel like I have been using the word "No" a lot lately.

"NO, Ashlyn, you can't..."
*put Q-tips in your mouth
*eat magnets
*turn the tv on and off
*crawl all the way down the driveway into the road
*drink liquid soap
*drink salad dressing
*suck on the cooking spray
*play with the China tea set
*eat toilet paper
*drink toilet water
*suck on shoes
*eat cotton balls

We try to use the "art of distraction," rather than say "no" all the time but Ashlyn is figuring out our "art of distraction" and doesn't fall for it much anymore. Darn.

We have been busy chasing the little stinker lately.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


This is a rare moment, but I will take a sleepy head on my shoulder any day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

School Shmool

Mariah started second grade last week. She wasn't very thrilled. (And to tell you the truth, I was bummed that summer was over too). Mariah does well in school, excels academically and socially, but nonetheless, she expresses her dislike for it. Getting up in the morning, getting dressed for school, and doing homework are like pulling teeth each day. A battle. Ugh.

I have already heard Mariah say things like this:
*I don't like teachers because they make you do stuff
*I'm not going to school
*I'm not excited (this was on Day 2)
*School is boring
*Can I be an early dismissal? (this was on Day 3)

IT IS ONLY DAY 5!! 175 more days to go...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Here is a picture of Mariah on the first day of school. It was a forced smile. (She actually was pretty excited for the first day, but she wasn't thrilled about taking pictures).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Routine

As a stay at home mom, it is easy for me to get 'stuck in a rut' of the daily routine, the day in day out of life. You know: get up, breakfast, get ready for the day, play, lunch, nap, play, dinner, bath, tv, bed. That is our day. (And for the 'play' portion of the day, insert any various activities like going to the pool, playing outside, going for a hike, crafts, etc.)

Fun, yes. Routine-ish, yes.

Sometimes as a mother, I just get caught up in the schedule and/or routine. I feel like I just 'go through the motions,' and I get through the day.

I like a schedule and the kids do best when they know the schedule for the day as well, but I just, well, I don't know...

I am feeling a little uninspired.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being able to be a stay at home mom. It is a HUGE blessing and I am very grateful, but as with any 'job' I just feel, well, I don't know...

Anyone else know what I mean??

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Few Steps Behind

Ashlyn had her one year doctor's appointment a few weeks ago and it didn't go as well as I had hoped. Although I was not surprised what the doctor had to say about Ashlyn's growth and development, it isn't always what you want to hear.

Mariah and Ambria were ahead on most of their milestones when they were younger. Ashlyn, well, not so much. She is taking her sweet time.

The doctor thinks that Ashlyn is 3-4 months behind on many of her milestones for a one year old. Socially, Ashlyn is doing well, but she is behind physically. Of course, she is tiny, she has never been on the growth chart. She formed her "own" curve on the chart but now has slipped off her curve a little. This is no surprise, both sides of the family are petite, but we will try to increase her daily calorie intake. She is having a few feeding issues and difficulty with food textures so we are working on this as well.

Ashlyn also has poor muscle tone in her legs. I am hoping she is just being lazy, and that she just thinks standing and/or pulling up is overrated. The doctor will reevaluate her leg muscle tone in a few months and in the meantime, we will work on strengthening those little legs.

Until then, we will just keep on keeping on with our Little Miss Ashlyn, who brings us more and more joy each day!

Loving the pool


Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Peaceful Moment

A few hours after I put Ashlyn to bed tonight, she woke up crying so I took her outside.

We peered through the darkness and saw fireflies light up the yard.
We heard thunder rolling in the distance.
We saw flashes of lightning over the mountains.
We felt the wind in our hair.
We heard tree frogs and crickets.
We felt each other's heartbeat as we cuddled under the night sky.

She stopped crying.

Friday, July 29, 2011

ERGObaby Carrier

I have been drooling over the ERGObaby carrier. So, I finally decided to splurge and buy one. I am in love! This carrier is so awesome and easy to use. It is pretty much like having the child ride piggy back and it goes up to 45 pounds. I figured out how to put Ashlyn in it by myself on my back and she really enjoys riding in it. It is also a front and hip carrier, but I think I will probably use it on my back for the most part. I have seen people wear the ERGO everywhere, stores, library, downtown, hiking, and just going for a stroll.

I can't stop thinking about my new purchase and I am so excited. I laughed and asked my husband if it would look funny if I just wore the ERGO with no kid in it. He said probably. :)

Love, love, love my ERGO!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Gray Toothed Little Girl

A few weeks ago, Ambria took a nose dive onto our hard wood floor and hit her mouth and teeth pretty badly. There was blood, a lot of screaming, fat lips, and toothaches. Her top two teeth were knocked loose so we were hoping the teeth would tighten up and we would go on our merry way.

Well, that was two weeks ago. Now her teeth are still loose and are turning gray. Yikes!!

A trip to a new dentist 35 minutes away, revealed no cracked baby teeth and no cracked adult teeth. Hooray! The dentist is hoping the gray color will fade as the mouth trauma and nerves heal. I am hoping for this too!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Crusty Old Green Beans

What dried, crusty green beans (or any other miscellaneous food or snot) on my shirt can mean:

*I take care of young kids
*It is a bragging tactic that says: Everyone take note, I feed my kids healthy food like green beans and NEVER junk food :)
*My shirt is a makeshift washcloth
*I need to do laundry
*I have had better days
*Crusty green beans on my shirt is a totally acceptable fashion accessory
*I have worn this shirt two days in a row because I knew I would get some sort of food or snot splattered on me again so why dirty a clean shirt
*I love my kids so much that I have no shame in wearing dried, crusty green beans
*Shoot, I totally didn't know this was on my shirt and I wore it out in public!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Security Blanket Washing Day

Security Blanket Washing Day can prove to be an interesting day.

It is the day where I sneak the blankie away without the child seeing and I quickly whisk it away into the soap filled washing machine.

It is the day when the "blankie substitute" comes out but is quickly identified as a fraud, and there are tears when the "true" blankie is discovered "missing."

It is the day when I have to secretly disappear into the laundry room to switch the blankie from the washing machine into the warm dryer (because we all know it can be a travesty if the child sees the WET blankie!)

This is the day when you wish the dryer would HURRY UP!

It is the day when cheers from mother and child can be heard from the laundry room when the blankie comes out of the warm dryer smelling fresh again and is returned safely to its rightful owner.

How do I know all this?? How am I a Security Blanket Washing Day expert?
I have been on both sides of this Washing Day dilemma.
I remember my childhood blankie, my green and white blankie with lace on the edges. I remember the slow discinegration as holes appeared in my overly used blankie. I remember the smell of the "fraud" and I remember the feel of the "substitute"

Two of our three daughters have a beloved blanket and I feel their pain on Washing Day.

My name is Jamie, and I am a security blanket expert.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Strabismus-Eye Drops

Ashlyn went back to the eye specialist last week. We have seen some improvements with Ashlyn's eyes and people have recently commented on how her eyes were looking better.

I have still noticed her eyes crossing at various times during the day, especially when she eats and when she is tired.

As noted before, I was having trouble keeping the eye patches on Ashlyn, as she would rip them off as soon as I covered her eye. This was beyond frustrating (probably for her as well). Because of this obstacle, we have not done the patches for the past three weeks. (I know, shame, shame).

So, at the check up, the doctor said that Ashlyn was still favoring one eye. Rather than continue the patches, (aka: rip off these stupid things as soon as my mom puts them on my face) the doctor prescribed some eye drops.

The eye drops are similar to the medicine used to dilate your eyes at the eye doctor. I am supposed to just put one drop in Ashlyn's good eye, which will dilate her pupils and make her vision blurry in her good eye. This will force Ashlyn to keep using her weak eye to see. We have not started the drops yet, so hopefully it will go smoothly and Ashlyn won't get too frustrated while her one eye is blurry. The doctor wants to see Ashlyn again in two months to check her progress.

We are continuing to pray for healing for Ashlyn's eyes and that she continues to show improvement.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mysterious Sounds

Have you ever been in another room and a toy starts playing random music from a totally different room?

This morning I was feeding Ashlyn and the girls were eating breakfast and all of a sudden, the Leap Frog Learning Table burst out into full song and lights from in the living room. WEIRD!! The table didn't just go through one song or part of a song, it kept playing and playing and playing until we had to turn it off.

Just sayin'. Kinda crazy.

(Added note: I know sometimes toys do this when the batteries are low but I just changed the batteries a few weeks ago. I guess the table just has a mind of its own. Now, if more toys start to do this random music playing.....)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our Daily Hike

Every day, the girls and I have been taking a walk half way up the mountain behind our home. (We only go half way because we wouldn't be able to make it down the mountain and back to the house without tired legs and whiny girls). The girls are absolutely LOVING this time and they beg me to go for our daily hike as soon as I step out of bed in the morning.

On our walk, we look at the plant life, smell the flowers, observe insects, collect rocks, search for wildlife, listen to the birds, pick up litter, talk about the weather, and our favorite part: taste raspberries and blackberries!

Little do the girls know, we are a walking science lesson. Ha. I guess that is the teacher in me. And another thing, I actually look forward to this time as well. I am enjoying the hike as much as the girls...especially when they want to hold my hand.

I will walk with my girls forever.

Memorable moments with my girls.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Grade Dictionary

A few weeks ago, Mariah brought home her 1st Grade Dictionary that she used throughout her first grade school year. Each letter of the alphabet had a separate page and there were some words already typed in the dictionary. For example:

Aa: after, about, again, another, around

Bb: beautiful, because, before

Cc: children, called, city

On each page, there were also blank lines for the students to write in their own words.

As I flipped through Mariah's First Grade Dictionary, I saw that she only wrote in a few words....

Bb: butt

Jj: Justin Bebr (Bieber)

Pp: Poop, pee

We got a good laugh. I will be saving this dictionary in her keepsake box! Hahaha!
Ambria: "Is this for Ashlyn's butt?"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Will Always Remember This Week

A year ago, unknowingly, my blood pressure was on the rise. The levels would land me in the hospital for a few days before the emergency induction of our premature baby girl.

Ashlyn's first birthday is next Sunday, June 19. I will forever remember the days leading up to her delivery. I spent a few days looking out at the mountains from the hospital window wondering when I would be discharged and put on bed rest, little did I know, this would not be the case.

I was put through countless tests, needle pokes, and ultrasounds to monitor myself and the baby. I remember my husband and the girls coming to visit me, the girls anxious and curious as to why I was in the hospital and not at home. I remember the nurses and doctors coming into my room at 2:00am saying that the tests did not come back good and they are taking me to labor and delivery to start the induction. From my new room, IV's were started and continuous meds were given, making me feel horrible, groggy, and nauseous.

Ashlyn was delivered, healthy and hungry. The moments following her birth as I hemorrhaged and lost consciousness. I remember in a blurred, cloudy vision, my husband pacing, crying, and praying, nurses running and doctors scurrying. After a while, I remember the doctor staring in my face, asking me questions that I was unable to answer. I was unable to hold my newborn baby girl because I was so weak.

Three days after we were released from the hospital, I was yet again back in the hospital for blood pressure that had spiked to higher levels than when I was pregnant. My eyes filled with tears as all I wanted to do was go home and be a family of five.

That was a year ago. We are grateful that my blood pressure is finally stabilized and that Ashlyn continues to grow and develop by leaps and bounds. This is a memorable week for me. We are blessed. We are blessed. We are blessed!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ode to the Gerber Puff

**Gerber Puffs should be added to all restaurant appetizer menus.

**Gerber Puffs tag line should be: "Throw this tasteless miracle food at your kid and they will be happy and satisfied for at least five minutes...and then repeat process to satisfy your child again...because for some reason kids LOVE Puffs!"

**I carry a small container of Puffs in my purse, and in my car, and in the diaper bag, and if they would fit, I would put some in my husbands wallet too.

**The Gerber Puff can also be called "staller food." Aka: Stop crying because your food is not ready yet.

**I bet if these tasteless puffs were dipped in chocolate, adults would love them too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Can You Hear Me?

It is not uncommon for me to hear Mariah and/or Ambria speaking loudly "AT" the television. They answer the questions that cartoon characters ask. They even respond to cartoon characters' commands without the characters saying "please."

Dora: (unnecessarily yelling) "SAY BACKPACK!"
My girls: BACKPACK! Backpack, backpack!

Go, Diego, Go has his own commands and list of questions, as does Little Einsteins, and on and on.


Um, yeah, pretty frustrating when I am trying to get the girls to do something, like clean up their toys or clear the table, I EVEN SAY PLEASE, and they 'can't hear me' or they just plain don't want to listen to me.

At times, I feel like Dora has more leverage than me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Case of the Missing Tooth Fairy

This is not the normal "Hey, look, my kid lost their first tooth!" post.

Mariah lost her first tooth back in April. This was a memorable experience for the whole family as we waited patiently for Mariah to get "brave" and pull out her then 'hanging by a thread' tooth. She did it. We cheered.

As a mother, it was emotional for me as my oldest daughter reached yet another milestone.

That night, instead of placing the tooth under her purple pillow, Mariah placed the shiny tooth on her dresser. She did not want the Tooth Fairy to take this precious piece of her life. She didn't want the Tooth Fairy to fly off with her prized possession.

The Tooth Fairy did not show up. The Tooth Fairy did not steal the tooth out from under her. The Tooth Fairy did not have Mariah's permission to visit.

Mariah took her tooth to school for Show and Tell the following week and her teacher gave her a cool 'tooth necklace' to place her tooth in. Mariah came home from school skipping, smiling, and even more proud of her tooth, now inside the plastic necklace.

Mariah proudly shows me the necklace after school and opens it up to reveal her first tooth. She exclaims, "look, mom, there is A LOT more space in here for the rest of my teeth!"

What does this mean? Mariah wants to keep her teeth.

I asked Mariah if she ever plans to place her teeth under her pillow (not to catch the Tooth Fairy off guard) and she thought MAYBE she would after 5 or 10 teeth have fallen out and then she would put them ALL under her pillow and see what the Tooth Fairy would leave for her.

Interesting. Not the 'normal' Tooth Fairy story.

Unique and inventive...just like my Mariah.

As seen in this picture, Mariah has since lost ANOTHER tooth! Tooth #1 and Tooth #2 reside inside the plastic necklace to this day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Strabismus Eye Patches

Ok, so we are going on almost two months of eye patch therapy (read on for details about how the patches have become a tasty treat). Some days we see an improvement in Ashlyn's eyes and some days seem like she has taken a few steps back. Before starting the patch therapy, we were noticing her eye crossing about 50% of the time, and now it seems like her eye is crossing 75% of the time (like I said, a few steps back). We will continue the patching until the middle of July and then go back to the specialist.

Here is a pretty cool new eye patch (but of course it is more expensive). It has glitter and sparkles on it!! Mariah and Ambria were jealous of this stylish piece of **bling**.
The first month or so of patching went well and Ashlyn tolerated them REALLY well....but....that wore off and now she HATES them!!! She attempts to rip them off within a few seconds of me putting on the patch, and most times she is successful.
Rip off first patch.
Take two.
Rip it off.
I get upset.
Money down the drain.
Try again.
Try to hold Ashlyn's hand, push her hand away, say 'no', distract her with snacks, distract her with toys, go outside.
No luck.

One day, Ashlyn was playing in the living room while wearing her eye patch. I walked in to check on her and she looked like she was up to no good. Upon closer inspection, she was eating something. I pry open her mouth to find...HER EYE PATCH! Ashlyn now rips off her eye patch ASAP and tries to EAT them. So, not only do I now have to try to keep the patch on her eye, I also have to make sure that if she does successfully tears it off and eats it, that she doesn't choke on it. Nice.

Eye patch therapy just got a little more difficult.
Our new idea and pretty much last resort: we put socks on her hands. I am sure it is only a matter of time before she learns to get the socks off too. Lovely.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Learning Numbers

Well, not exactly sure if this is considered great parenting or not, but Ambria has learned her numbers...thanks to the remote control.

Ambria: "Mom, what channel is Dora?"
Me: "2...9...5"
Ambria: "ok"

Ambria: "Mom, dad left the sports channel on."
Me: "Push 3...0...1"
Ambria: "ok"

Boom. She knows her numbers. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I just ate Goldfish crackers off of Ashlyn's highchair tray.

And, I didn't say please or thank you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy, Sad, or Mad

A few years ago, we started doing something at the dinner table. Every night (or whenever we all sit down to eat dinner together, usually 3-4 times a week) we ask these three questions:

1. What made you happy today?
2. What made you sad today?
3. What made you angry today?

Each person in the family, even me and my husband, gets a chance to speak and everyone else has to be polite and listen.

Of course, this can prove to be interesting on some occasions. When we started this tradition, Ambria was just learning to talk. We would ask her what made her happy, and her response was, "happy." On other days, we get looonngg drawn out stories from Mariah about good and/or bad things that happened at school and who her best friend of the day is, or what new club has been started and what friend was left out.

We learn new things are each member of the family.

The girls learn that mom and dad have emotions too.
We learn more about each of the girls' personalities, likes, and dislikes.
We learn about events at school.
We learn to respect each family member and validate their feelings.

I really enjoy this tradition. I can only imagine that stories will get more interesting as the girls get older, well, I guess if they don't refuse to talk and have an attitude...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Going Solo to the Grocery Store

I liken a trip alone to the grocery store to a short vacation.

Funny, but really, pretty much true when you have young kiddos.

This is what grocery shopping by myself looks like:

*not taking forever to get kids unloaded from the van and into the shopping cart
*not having to look for and disinfect a shopping cart with one of those cool drivable pretend cars attached to the front of it.
*not having to push a gigantic shopping cart with one of those cool cars attached to the front of it
*not having to attempt to shove a Puff into the baby's mouth every 30 seconds while trying not to interrupt our forward momentum and slow our pace
*not continuously telling a child to stay in the cart at all times and keep hand and feet inside the vehicle
*having no kids means I can take my time, I can look at food options, I can look at my coupons, I can notice new products, and did I mention, take my time
*I don't have to worry about getting home before nap time, lunch time, crabby time, bed time, etc.

The downside to shopping alone:
*no cute kiddos to smile, coo, and talk to
*I can't blame talking to myself on the kids and just act like I was pretending to talk to them when in all actuality, I was audibly talking to myself about which kind of cereal I should buy or if that produce looks and feels ripe enough. (Oh, and don't worry, I felt pretty stupid when I noticed a man staring at me while I was chatting to myself. Feelin' pretty sweet).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Eye Patches

We are still experimenting with different brands of eye patches for Ashlyn. What is there to experiment? If she has any allergic reaction to the adhesive, if her eyebrow gets torn off, if the area around her eye becomes red from irritation, etc.

So far so good. I have been using Aquaphor Lip Repair (aka chapstick) on her eyebrow before I apply the patch just in case the patch takes off her eyebrow. That seems to be working well. We have received some cute samples of eye patches so we are having fun with different patterns and styles on the patches and we have some more coming in the mail. (I usually let the big sisters pick out which patch they want Ashlyn to wear). I want to try different brands before I place an order.

Ashlyn is doing ok wearing the patch. She gets a little frustrated when she tries to rub her eye and she only cries a little when it is time to pull it off. I wince.

It is early into the patch therapy but we haven't noticed a difference in her eyes yet. We are still praying.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photograph Worth More than Words

For some reason, I love this picture. Earlier this week, we were all outside enjoying the spring sunshine. We had a picnic in the yard, the girls had wind blown hair, dirty feet, and sticky hands from drippy popsicles (and I was trying to stay calm about the dirt crusted feet and red popsicle drool down their chins realizing that the girls WILL get clean in the bath later andI was trying to tell myself just to enjoy the moment and let the girls have fun).

So, this picture says so much more than the actual events:

This is how the shot went:
(I place Ashlyn between her big sisters)
"Now, girls, look at the camera. Ashlyn! Ashlyn! Ashlyn! Ambria, put the umbrella down. Ok, Ambria then just peek at me from behind the umbrella. Mariah, turn around. Mariah, please turn around."

no response and/or opposite response for what I was looking for and/or wanted for this cute little picture of the three girls having a picnic.


Although I didn't get the girls sitting all cute on the blanket, what the photograph encompases is so much more. The picture expresses all three of the girls' personalities.

In one word:

Ambria: shy
Ashlyn: spoiled
Mariah: stubborn

I will look back on this priceless photograph for many years to come and I will be able to remember the stages each of the girls were in during the time of this shot.

I love it and I love them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fashion Consultant

This is how I chose what clothes to wear today:

I stood in front of my closet and posed the question, "now, which shirt can get snot all over it?"

Boom, decision made.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Time Away

Sometimes I just need some time away from the girls (a normal feeling but feelings of guilt can also intrude). My husband is very sweet, considerate, and sensitive of me needing time alone, and it also gives him some quality time with the three girls so he can get more than enough of his fill of estrogen.

Last night was one of those nights...

As I drove out of the driveway, I audibly cheered.
I didn't turn on any music.
I just drove and relaxed in the quiet.
I smiled.
(and I think I even cheered again).

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baby Blue Eyes

What are the chances....of having THREE girls?
What are the chances...of having THREE girls with all different eye colors??!

Mariah has hazel eyes.
Ambria has brown eyes.
Ashlyn has blue eyes.


Just like each of them.