Saturday, December 29, 2012

Home!

We're home from our trip to Kansas. We had a really good trip. It was so wonderful to spend Christmas with my family. It was easy, no one got sick, we didn't get stuck in weather, etc.

I'm a bit homesick now but am battling that by looking up flights and making plans for the next visit (flights are SO expensive right now, though).

Busy unpacking and enjoying Christmas gifts. Enjoy our own beds again! I managed to sleep from 9:15 pm until 8 am this morning, only getting up once with Noah. We've got to work on that (seeing that he's 19 months old!!).

All for now!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Trip

We are leaving tomorrow for our Kansas trip. If you don't hear from me on here, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Card 2012


Merry Christmas from the Schechters!

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas time?

Is it really almost Christmas time? It doesn't feel like it to me, at all! Besides the reminder of the big tree in my living room and if I happen to leave my house, Christmas lights, I haven't hardly done anything to remind myself that it is the season of Christ's birth!

Mostly this last week is to blame. It's been a rough one with everyone being so sick. Noah and Andrew were especially bad. I finally got it as the weekend approached and felt terrible on Saturday (I thought my headache might kill me!) but I am feeling much better tonight. I think I'll feel almost normal tomorrow. I haven't been to a Christmas concert or even been shopping for that matter. That's right, this year I did all our shopping online. Much easier than having to go out after the kids were in bed or drag all three with me. Would NOT have been good!

I'll be looking for ways to put myself into a Christmas spirit this week. We're approaching our bi-annual (that's right isn't it? every other year?) trip to Kansas. Preparations are needed to ensure a smooth trip (or at least as much as possible - hasn't been the greatest in recent years).

Not much point to this blog, I guess. Just remembering what happened this year in preparation for Christmas. I did buy the kids a little Advent calendar with booklets for each day but that went out the window with the sickness from last week. Maybe we can catch up and be on track this week.

Merry Christmas if I don't write again before then!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December

I'm still here. Sometimes I think about my poor neglected blog!!

We haven't really been doing that much. I've been making yummy cupcakes for people so that has been filling up my time.

Abigail and I are still working through preschool/kindergarten curriculum. She's doing outstanding with everything. We just got a new "reading" program and handwriting. We haven't really started it yet since we've all come down with some nasty crud this last week.

Abigail had a terrible cold start on Friday with runny nose and an upset stomach. It has stayed fairly mild, thankfully. Then on Monday both my little ones woke up with fevers and coughing.

By Tuesday it was a very nasty bug. Noah ran fevers of 103 to 102 all the time without drugs to bring them down and help him be more comfortable. Elsie is equally as miserable, although her fevers haven't been as bad. I did take them to the doc but the diagnosis was "just a virus" so we're riding this one out.

They seem to be perking up a little tonight. Andrew is also coughing is head off. We're a lively crew!!

That's all for now. I'll be preparing for a big trip to Kansas at the end of next week to spend some time with my family for Christmas. Need to start making lists!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vegetable Wrap Recipe: Variation 1

After maintaining a 20 pound weight-loss for over a year, I decided recently to go back on weight watchers to help take off the rest of the 30 pounds I need to lose. I don't know if this is even possible. This first week has been tough! I could go into this further but that's not what this post is about. Let's just say that I like to cook and eat. Anyway, I made this delicious vegetable wrap the other day and wanted to share!





1 Mission Wrap Sun-Dried Tomato Basil
1/4 of a zucchini, cut into strips
1/4 of a bell pepper, cut into strips
1/8 of a yellow onion, cut into strips
5 mini carrots, cut into strips
1/4 to 1/2 cup arugula
1 wedge of the Laughing Cow Light cheese spread, I used the Queso Fresco and Chipotle flavor for this
Olive Oil

I sauteed my zucchini and yellow onion in a little bit of olive oil in a small saute pan for about 10 minutes. Then to assemble the wrap, spread the cheese spread on the wrap. Add arugula, zucchini, pepper, onion, and carrots. I also ate mine with some dill pickles for added flavor but it really didn't need it.

Additional notes: This was 7 ww pointsplus after all was said and done. 5 of those points came from the wrap!! I usually choose to buy these wraps because they are made with little to no trans fat (they claim none but we know they can get away with putting a little in their wraps and can still make that claim). No store bought wrap that I have found is really void of all the ingredients that you want to avoid but these seem to be on the better side. This is a compromise for me, people. Anyway, I am interested in finding a lighter wrap, one with less calories perhaps, but I don't want to sacrifice my "natural food" tendencies and go with one that is loaded with hydrogenated oils and corn by-products. We'll see what I can find.

I am planning on making these a regular staple. It was absolutely delicious! I have discovered lately that the only reason that I have a difficult time eating vegetables (and fruit for that matter) is my extremely sensitive teeth to anything cold. I think that's why I "don't like" ice cream. In reality, I like it, I just would prefer to eat a dessert that is warm! :) This was a great fix for the cold vegetable thing. Some of the veggies were still cold and raw but the wrap was warm so it wasn't as extreme. I am thinking of several variations of this recipe, perhaps with tomatoes and feta or even some sort of grain added like quinoa. I will try to post my variations as they happen.

It's been so long since I posted a recipe and it certainly isn't for lack of cooking. I'm still shelling out almost 3 homemade meals a day unless we have leftovers of something. On the menu for tomorrow is a Sausage 15-bean soup that I can't wait for!! Mmmmm!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Sweet Elsie

Elsie just turned 3!! Her birthday was last Thursday (mama's running a little behind). She was so excited all day and did just a great job blowing out her candles at her little birthday party we had for her. 


video


Elsie, you are such a sweet and silly girl. I love hearing you sing songs and be silly with your brother and sister. Just lately you've been very into snuggling and attached to me. This is wonderful (most of the time!). Just this morning I couldn't hold you since I was holding Noah and I said, "You can either sit right by me or go snuggle with your sister." You chose to sit with Abigail and it was so sweet! You're growing more and more everyday and we're learning to understand you too! Happy birthday, sweet darling!!


Elsie also had her birthday lunch at Grandma's on the Sunday before her birthday. She was so sweet and blew out all her candles there too. She loved having people sing to her and she joined in as well.


Friday, November 02, 2012

October Visit

Wow, it has been a while since I blogged. I fear it is going to be like this for a while. Life with three active preschool/toddlers is busy in many ways (and not so busy in others) and is kind of kicking me when I'm down! We've all struggled with various illnesses for a few weeks but I'm not going to focus on that. We had a lovely visit from my parents and brother last week and at the end of the week my sister and her two boys came to visit as well.

It was so great to see everyone. We had fun just doing our regular activities. My parents got to see Abigail in dance class, swimming class, and take an ice skating lesson. We were busy but I hope they enjoyed it!

Aunt Jenny with all the kids except Elsie, who was napping. This is Noah's new "smiley" face. Ha!


Elsie loved babysitting baby Aaron. She really turned into a little mother while he was here.


Another ADORABLE picture of my nephew Aaron. Could he be any cuter?! I think not!!

Playing the fishing game on the first night they were here.

Abigail loved babysitting too. She was very responsible and stepped up to help out and rock Aaron and put his paci in even when we didn't ask her!! :)


One morning we went to the park. It was so warm that no jackets were needed. I can't imagine that now! Anyway, here's Elsie with her cheesy grin. Doesn't it just make you smile?!


Back to real life this week. I've been a little under the weather as well as Elsie. So we've been laying low. Abigail just told me before lunch that her throat hurt. Is it spring/summer yet?! I can't wait!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Noah Blake: 17 months



My baby (waaaa!) is almost 17 months old so I thought he deserved a little update. This boy surprises me every day with new things he does and says. Yes, says! I almost never believed parents when they said their one-year-old was talking. All babies babble to some extent and I have always been very critical of believing it is actually words until I'm sure. This time I am VERY sure my baby is talking. Here is a list of the words that I know he says and uses them in correct ways:

Light (points to it, says the word when it turns on)
On (flips a switch and then says "on")
Off (ditto)
Juice (if I give him water he cries for juice - ah!!)
Cheese
Mama
Dada
Papa
Nana
Roro (says this when talking on the phone!)
Dewey (says this very clearly when he sees the dog)
Shoes
Touch
Ball
Up
Down
Book
All Done
Amen

And there is probably some others that I can't think of right now. He loves to run and the boy has no boundaries! When I took the girls outside at this age they would just calmly stay on the sidewalk or driveway but this boy will run wherever the whim takes him!! He is definitely a boy, very interested in hitting his sisters (and sometimes mommy!) which we are working on with him! He is also my most snuggly baby at this age. He will lay his head on your shoulder to rest for a few minutes (which the girls NEVER did), especially if he is being held by his daddy! He definitely gravitates to the male crowd and loves to hang out and do things with his daddy!!

He is still nursing before naps and bed (and during the night). I don't know how long we'll go on but I don't mind it and he still enjoys it and that's what matters. I was always pregnant by this point with the other two kids so I am enjoying the freedom to breastfeed as long as we want without having a pregnancy interfere with that.

He is a joy and a delight . . . a precious and precocious baby boy . . . who is really turning more into a boy than a baby these days!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Last week = more sick days

Yep, that's where I've been. Taking care of more sick kids. Except this time the good news is that along with the cold all the kids (and I) got, Abigail did not get an ear infection. Hooray!! I was thrilled. :)

On top of that I participated in a garage sale at my church on Saturday. It took every waking moment to price and prepare for that. I made a little money so I suppose it was worth it. Pictures to come.

Everyone is on the mend and we're back to a regular schedule today . . . swimming lessons, school, and a dinner fundraiser.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Preschool at home



That's right. You heard it here. We're "preschooling" at home. Feels like a big deal to me since it seems like everyone I know sends their child to preschool (in this part of the country anyway, not as much where I'm from). Anyway, I wanted to write a little post as to the "why" of this endeavor.

Here are some answers to frequently (or not) asked questions.

1. I'm at home.

My number one reason of wanting to keep Abigail home for preschool this year is that I'm at home. Very simple. I feel like our children's lives with us are so limited in the grand scheme of things, especially these toddler and preschool years. I'm home and I desire to be pouring myself into my children during this time so why would I send her away 1/2 day for 3 days a week?

2. I am interested (gasp!) in homeschooling.

I was public schooled and Andrew was homeschooled. We still don't know what we're doing next year. We have a while to decide. It really depends on which parent you ask and when you ask us. In all honesty, I'm probably 60-40% in favor of homeschooling for Kindergarten and Andrew is probably 60-40% in favor of public school for Kindergarten. Neither of us feels incredibly strongly and I think we'd both eagerly support whatever decision is made.When we know, we'll let you know! We both see both sides of the issue and all the benefits and downfalls of both and we're weighing the best option of our family.

3. Preschool's expensive!!

Not that we wouldn't try to afford it if we really felt it was necessary but it would severely limit our budget. We're able to put both Elsie and Abigail into gymnastics and ballet and we couldn't do this if we were paying for a preschool education.

4. Learning what she already knows.

I've been around a few preschools in my day and so I have a pretty good idea of what she's going to learn. This girl knew her alphabet before she was 2 and knows both Capitol and Lowercase letters. She can count to about 60, recognizes numbers up to 20, can do simple math, and is starting to READ! I'm not saying this all to brag (ok, only a little bit) but to say that since I'm at home with her, and know her well, I can continue to guide her into learning new things and not things she already knows that is mandated by a curriculum structure.

That's all for now. I get asked CONSTANTLY from random strangers about where she goes to school and what grade she's in (yes, I know she looks like she's 6 or 7 but she's 4!!!!). So it always takes a while to explain that she's not in school . . . then the mommy guilt starts on me. Yes I feel like I'm doing the best thing for her and our whole family but going against the grain is never easy for me to do, at least publicly. Those of you who know us well know that we've chosen an "against the grain" path for our kids starting from their very first moments of air-breathing life, which meant no drugs for me during labor. It's continued from there! I feel that this fits right in. :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Gift of helpfulness: Abigail




This girl is blessed with the gift of helpfulness. She'll even run up to me in the kitchen and say, "Mama is there anything I can do to help you with dinner?" Boy, I sure hope that lasts through the teenage years! :)

She can be a little TOO helpful at times but I still try to always applaud her spirit.


Monday, September 03, 2012

Last week = sick days

Abigail has really been struggling. Each cold she has gotten since July 1 (which would be 3) has turned into a nasty ear infection. It seems like each one keeps getting worse.

On Tuesday the two little kids started getting colds but it wasn't bad. Then on Wednesday Abigail started with a runny nose. In the middle of the night she vomited 3 times (as well as having cold symptoms) so by mid-morning on Thursday, I decided to take her in to the doctor.

(So blessed and thankful that my mother-in-law could come and babysit the little two and feed them lunch. I couldn't imagine having to bring them as well.)

Our doctor didn't have any open appointments (boo!) so I took her to the Urgent Care.

She felt so miserable!!

See?!




This time, not only did she have an ear infection, she had an infection in both ears and one ear drum was almost ready to burst! Wow! I have had that happen to me and the pain is extreme. I remember!

We got her on another antibiotic (her 3rd since July 1) and headed home to rest. She didn't bounce back from this one immediately either. It has taken several more days but she's finally on the mend now.

It's been crazy! Crazy pain for her and crazy sleepless nights for her dad and me. We are going to try an alternative allergy treatment at our doctors to help her with this chronic problem (we are thinking it is food allergy related). If that doesn't work, I would imagine we'll consider tubes for her ears.

So . . . that's what we've been doing. I'm hoping for a few weeks of health here before/if the next round hits us.

I'm trying not to let this get me uptight and picky about her getting sick but it is bound to happen. For my other kids, a cold is no big deal. They can catch one and have a runny nose for a few days and then feel better. But for Abigail these are turning into nasty infections that really knock her out so we'll be sanitizing for a while at least, to just give her body a break!!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Three wolf moon




My husband is not one to pick out his own clothes. He usually tells me or another family member that he needs something and then it will appear for him! haha! Anyway, I was surprised when he told me that he'd ordered a shirt for himself from Amazon. This is what he bought. Good thing I appreciate his sense of humor!!

(On a side note, my husband has lost almost 20 pounds. Doesn't he look skinny here? And look at my darling baby boy!! He's in his favorite spot . . . his daddy's arms!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Era: Grocery Shopping


For the longest time, it was the two girls riding up here when we were at the grocery store. Now Abigail is too big and Noah loves to drive his little car. I think it's so cute I had to share!! The greatest thing about our grocery store (not the organic food selection) is the wide selection of kid carts!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Poo story

I tried repeatedly to get a good photo of Noah this morning for this blog post. The boy NEVER stops moving except when he's asleep so this is the best I got. Haha!

I've had requests for the poop story from last week so here it goes:

DISCLAIMER: this is pretty graphic and nasty so if you don't want to read a detailed description about kids and poop you may want to stop reading now.




Thursday morning began quite normally. Elsie was fussing up at storm for no reason that I could quite figure out so before I even made breakfast I was sitting in the living room holding her and saying my usually line, "Why is Elsie crying?" Never did figure it out.

Anyway.

While doing this Noah come walking out of the downstairs bathroom and is drenched and chewing on something. The only conclusion was that he played in the toilet water and was chewing on (fresh, I think) toilet paper.

Great way to start the day. (I always try to leave the lid down and the door closed, not sure why it was open).

So then we had breakfast.

After breakfast I thought, I'm going to put Elsie in panties today and see how it goes. I took her into the bathroom several times in the coarse of an hour and put her on the potty and showed her how to pull down her own panties. No luck.

Abigail and I got things underway with our school work while the little two played in Elsie's room. I hear a scream from Elsie and ran in there to discover a pretty giant size poop on the floor by her bed (big enough to clog the toilet later!). I immediately set Noah in Elsie crib to keep him away from any poop action, cleaned Elsie up and cleaned up the poop. I figured out that Elsie had taken her own underwear off during the coarse of play.

Did not resume the underwear wearing for Elsie. I thought she'd just pooped a lot and wouldn't need to go anymore. Abigail and I got back to school work and Elsie and Noah wandered upstairs to Noah's room to play.

A few minutes later Mr. Noah comes wandering back downstairs and comes over to me while I'm sitting at the table. I think I smell a poopy diaper so I get up to change him in Elsie's room. While in the midst of the changing, I discover that he does NOT have a poopy diaper but yet I still smell something . . . foul!!! So I sniff around only to discover the smell is

COMING FROM MY SON'S MOUTH!!!!!!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

He also had some on his hand. GAG. ME.  I called my ever helpful daughter, Abigail, to me and had her check upstairs for more poop (which, she found) and to try to contain Elsie while I gave Noah a bath. That boy got scrubbed and got his mouth rinsed out!

I got my baby boy upstairs, wet from his bath, only to discover that Elsie . . . after pooping foul smelling poop on the floor of her brother's room . . . which he proceeded to EAT, decided to scoot down the stairs on her bottom, instead of walking, and therefore left poop streaks down about 5 or 6 carpeted steps before getting herself fully carpet-wiped.

She had also went potty in a HUGE puddle right at the top of the stairs.

All the kids got placed into Noah's crib while my massive cleanup effort began. Lots of resolve carpet cleaner and screaming ensued!

My biggest fear was that she had pooped somewhere that I had not yet discovered. I had found two spots but was worried about more but after a big search effort on my part, I did not find more.

I was pretty distraught by this time . . .thinking my son was going to die a terrible death by disease from EATING HIS SISTER'S POOP so I did what any half-crazed American mother does and called the doctor.

That was an interesting conversation:

"Oh, hello nice Dr.'s office receptionist. Yes, my 2 year old daughter pooped on my floor. My 1 year old son picked up the said poop AND ATE IT (and yes I was crying by this point, out of fear and humiliation). Is he going to die?"

They were very nice and assured me that pooping on the floor during potty training and the poop eating was very normal for kids that age. They said he'd be fine.

And you know what. . .

He was. Not a sign that it even phased him.

I called my husband to tell him of the events while he was on his way to a company golf outing (and no I'm not bitter about that AT ALL) and he had a good laugh, especially at my crying.

I slapped a diaper on Elsie and called the potty training quits for a while!

And that's the story, folks!

I suppose it goes without saying that Elsie and Noah will always have a special bond!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Preschool

We've been busy here! We're doing preschool at home this year for Abigail. I was already busy without trying to work in a hour or so of attention captivating school work every day (or so). I guess the blog is what has suffered. We're getting to be on a pretty good schedule, and as long as I don't fall behind on other stuff then I should be able to write an update now and then. I have more thoughts and more pictures on this preschool at home business that I will try to share sometime!

Off to work on reading with a certain little girl!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Family Trip

You know I just can't bring myself to say the word "vacation" when it comes to traveling with little kids. I don't think I'm alone in this! :) I love them and spending quality time with them is definitely what enjoyment is to me on these trips but boy, they can be a handful!

Anyway, we've been in Gatlinburg for a few days exploring the area and I am blogging this in the car on the way home. We had a wonderful time despite all the kids coming home with runny noses!

We did some hiking, lots of eating, some people when tubing and ziplining, and we managed to make it to the aquarium one morning. It was very well done.

Fun trip but I'm ready for my own bed and some sleeeeeeep!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

What I've been up to

After being home for only four days, I packed my bag (and Noah's) and headed to Chicago to see my new nephew and his family.

I did a lot of staring into this precious face and playing "cawrs" with the big boys and visiting with my dear sis.

Then we came home.

The end.


Monday, July 09, 2012

We're Back!

No, I haven't forgotten about my blog. I was just super busy trying to keep up with everyone and everything while we were traveling!! :)

We had a wonderful wonderful wonderful trip! I feel sad if I dwell too much on the fact that my kids won't get to see their beloved RoRo, Papa, Uncle Brett, and Grandma Fern for months on end. I don't feel so bad when I plan out the next fun trip out there. Won't be too long and I'll be able to do it by myself, I'm thinking.

I am headed to Chicago this weekend (where I'll bump into my parents again) to visit my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and new baby nephew Aaron!! I'm excited even though it will be a short trip.

While we were in Kansas, my wonderful Aunt Ronda drove to Downs and picked up my wonderful Great Aunt Flo (weird to think she's my kids Great great Aunt - anyway). They drove down for a visit and it was so wonderful to see them. The kids all had a lot of fun playing with them. Elsie even got confident enough to say "Aunt Flo" and "Ronda" but she had a hard time putting the "Aunt" in front of "Aunt Ronda's" name. Still cute to hear!

Here are the Aunts and Noah! His shirt says "I love my aunt" which I felt was appropriate attire for that day.


Noah and Papa Kurt! They shared quite a bond this trip. Noah would follow Papa around wanting to play. He guess they had a male bond thing going on! :)


While Elsie was napping we got this photo of Abigail, myself, Noah, and Aunt Flo.



Abigail was playing "doctor" here with Aunt Flo. She spent a good part of her life as a missionary nurse in Nigeria so she enjoyed playing this game. (I think). :)


Abigail loved playing dress-up and Grandma Fern loved seeing her outfits. :)

Grandma Fern's hip and knees were feeling better during our visit so she enjoyed wrangling some babies with me. This is an especially cute picture of Elsie! Yes, the girls are still in their jammies. Oh well.


We had a great time! I could use several weeks of solid sleep to catch up but then I'd be ready to do it again!

Everyone slept through the night last night. I had forgotten what it felt like to fall asleep and wake up when it was morning but I got to do that last night. This morning we have been busy as well, doing laundry, grocery shopping, discovering old toys, picking up toys, vacuuming, etc. I tried my hand at making homemade almond butter. It didn't turn out as good as I hoped but I think it is because I have a very cheap (like $20) food processor and it just wasn't up to the task. I may have to borrow one for next time. I processed the almonds for about an hour and then called it good. The recipe I was using said it would take 15 minutes but mine never did get as "buttery" as hers.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kansas Trip

We're here and we're busy!! Of course! :)

I've tried posting a few times with pictures from my phone but it won't upload for some reason. I also had an issue with my SD card and lost some pictures. Bummer! Oh well.

The kids and I are really having a blast despite the Kansas heat. It's been over 100 degrees everyday so we're busy staying cool inside although a swimming trip is planned soon. We're slowly discovering all the lovely ways for Noah to get into things in this house and making it a little more babyproofed. I didn't forsee this being so much of an issue.

We miss Daddy so much. Noah has especially had some bad nights here and with Abigail having a lingering cough it has made for some long nights. I am looking forward to Daddy getting here so he can at least deal with Abigail's issues at night! :) He might not know this. Haha!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Schechter's Visit

This last week has been fun and busy! Andrew has had lots of family visiting from out-of-town. His Uncle and Aunt and their families were here for the last week. Lots of get togethers and eating of course, etc. We also got several good games of tennis in as well! I love a good tennis game.

Anyway, they left today. Sad to see them go but thankful for a wonderful visit!

Now I'm very busy preparing to travel to Kansas on Monday to visit my parents, Grandma and brother. The kids and I will be there almost 3 weeks so I'm taking the packing very seriously! I don't want to bring too much but I definitely don't want to forget anything essential. I made some headway on it today and so that made me feel better.

Andrew's mom is going to help me drive the kids out there (bless her!) and Andrew is going to fly out for the last week and then drive us back. I don't think I'm quite ready to drive three kids 4 and under for 850 miles! I can picture myself being able to do it someday but . . . not yet!

I'll try to blog during the trip but no guarantees. Hopefully I will remember to take pictures, etc, although I'm bad at that too!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Personality Part 2: Energized!

This is probably one of the more well know parts of personality: Extroversion vs. Introversion. I think people can misunderstand it, though. Being an extrovert doesn't necessarily mean you're the life of the party or you talk loud or are boisterous. I was raised in a self-controlled and conservative family so I'm not usually loud in a crowd or wild and crazy! I just get my energy from being around other people. Introversion, on the other hand, doesn't mean you're a weird recluse (I have to remind myself of this! haha!) but it just means you gather energy by being alone and quiet. Like . . . batteries.

When my husband and I first took these personality tests I was 90% extrovert and he was 90% introvert. Ha! This is one of those categories that has softened a little over the years. I'm now about 61% Extrovert and I don't remember his but I don't think it's quite where it was. I've learned that I can enjoy the peace and quiet (have kids taught me this!) but it is a conscious plan on my part. I still do not like being alone for too long. Having children has helped this, especially as they've grown and can converse now. I remember times when my husband traveled before we had kids and the horrible feeling of having to spend an evening alone!!

We've found a balance through the years of Andrew going to bed shortly after the kids are in bed to recharge himself and I do things for myself too to enjoy my "people" time. I have been going to exercise class, mom's groups, getting together with friends, having people over and even saying to Andrew "can we talk?". And by that I don't mean it is something serious, I just mean, I haven't talked to another adult all day! Help! :)

I feel that this is one of the personalities differences that we really understand in each other, recognize the need, and try to fill it. It's a good balance now, although I can always use more people time so if you're in my area, stop by!!! :)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Personality Part 1: Approaching Life

I have been doing A LOT of reading about differing personalities lately because the subject is absolutely fascinating to me. I have been using the Myers/Briggs test to "label" my personality and my husband has taken the test as well. We knew we had opposite personalities when we got married and even after 9 wonderful years of marriage, we're still learning about each other, as everyone is. I have found the study of personalities to be so helpful to this cause!!

I do believe personalities can change a bit over time. I will address this more in another post.

Here's the link if you want to take the test yourself:

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

I'm going to start out with my strongest personality trait: Judging/Planning. I am around a 90% Judging/Planning personality type. Thankfully my husband is right on the border at 50% (he understands both sides of this issue) but is slightly on the side of the Perceiver/Journeyer (more of a free spirit . . . life is an adventure type of person).

The Judging/Planning personality traits that I identify with:

  • I am extremely conscious of time and schedules.
    • This is extreme in me . . . so much so that if I'm at the store and I have plans to be somewhere (even if it's not important) after I finish my shopping and I find myself running out of time, I will leave without getting everything on my list! Weird, I know but my inner calendar likes a schedule! I'm not one to try and "fit things in" if I have somewhere to be . . . or even if I don't!!
  • My entire day is mapped out from the time I wake up until bedtime.
    • I don't usually map this out on paper (takes too much time so it is in my head) but I actually remember making a schedule for my summer days when I was in the 5th grade . . .yes, this has been "me" for quite some time.
  • One of my biggest life annoyances is if something messes with my schedule (which is everyday all day long).
  • Sometimes I have to plan to be spontaneous . . . helps me cope with my plans being disrupted! My "plans" don't always include something tangible such as a trip or place to be but in my mind that doesn't make them any less important!
  • I think of money has something that provides security. I measure success and progress by growing savings account numbers!
    • Journeyers tend to view money as only worth the pleasure it provides and this is very difficult for me to grasp!
  • I like to work hard first (get everything done!) and then play."
    • I have to be careful of this because I often run out of "play" time.
  • I am destination focused on trips/vacation!!
    • This means I want to get there without ANY delays, dillydallying, stops, or side excursions. These things feel like extreme wastes of time to me!
Recognizing traits relating to this personality type that I can work on:

  • I know that I need to not be irritated by changing of "plans".
  • I need to develop my sense of comfort when "going with the flow". 
  • I need to work on enjoying "surprises". 
  • I need to focus on the here and know and not worry about the distant future. I need to focus on "enjoying" and sitting back instead of always accomplishing, succeeding, planning, doing.
Recognizing traits relating to this personality type can help when relating in marriage:
  • Thankfully my husband and I aren't complete opposites on this point (cause we've got other ones to work on understanding each other through) but we have struggled some with changing and making plans together. He tends to bring something up by being very excited about it "let's do this" which irritates me since my plans are being changed. He's learned to say "Consider this for a moment . . . ". It doesn't take me long to be able to think through some plan changes and agree to a better or different plan and having the space to think about that is so helpful. That's why I love that phrase!

These traits aren't bad! I actually enjoy them in myself (ha ha)! They've made me more self-disciplined, self-aware, prompt, hard-working, etc! I just need to be sure that I'm not stuck in the "my way or the highway" approach to life, as I can so often be.

If you've made it this far in reading . . . bless you! I'd really love to hear from anyone who knows what their personality trait is (from the test or you just know) and any self discoveries you may have!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Swimming Lessons

A few weeks ago Abigail finished her first session of swimming lessons. She did great! She had no problems going under the water and completing what the teacher asked of her. Will she do it now with just us in a pool? Well she hasn't yet!!



I tried to sign her up for the next session but they were full and we were put on a waiting list. Haven't heard anything so I'm not hopeful that we'll get in. Hopefully we can find more soon because I don't want her to lose what she has learned!

So proud of my little girl for passing her first swimming lesson class!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baby Boy Growing Up

Noah turned one at the beginning of this month. Andrew took Noah's official one-year pictures a few weeks later in our back yard. They turned out so good. I will just share a few with you!





In other Noah news, he had his doctor's check up earlier this month and is a very healthy baby boy. He is around 50% for all his measurements so that's great. He seems big to me but I suppose it is all relative. He is starting to be a little more consistent with sleeping through the night. He will sleep through the night several times a week (by that I mean not wake me up and since his bedtime is at 7 pm he will sleep from 7pm until around 7 am sometimes later). Otherwise he just gets me up once a night to nurse and that's fine with me!

I did notice today that he's starting to get his canine teeth. This boy is the earliest teether I've ever had. The girls didn't get those until 18 months old or older so I was surprised to find one on my 12 month boy.

He is such a joy. He is very physical and into climbing anything he can, walking everywhere, playing with balls and cars. He does love his sisters, sweet boy that he is. We were just playing in his room today when he heard their voices and he "talked" to them and headed towards the door to go find them.

My heart is so full with all these sweet babies. I'm making sure to savor every fleeting precious moment!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Noah's Birthday Cupcakes

For my babies' first birthdays I attempt to not include much, if any, sugar in their cakes. I've gotten a little more relaxed about this over the years so this frosting does have a little sugar in it but the cupcakes do not. I have used honey sweetened cream cheese frosting before and I'd probably do that again if I were to make these again. I chose not to do it this time because I didn't know how well I could decorate with the honey sweetened cream cheese frosting but I will experiment sometime!! These were yummy and easy to make!



Enjoy!!

Original link:
http://www.thekitchn.com/maple-cupcakes-from-baked-expl-128758

Maple Cupcakes

Ingredients
for the maple cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, slightly softened,cut into chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
2 cups pure maple syrup (I use grade B to bake with but any grade will suffice)
3 egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
for the cream cheese maple frosting
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
assembly
Whole toasted walnuts (optional)
Baked Note: Do not, I repeat, do not use imitation maple syrup in this recipe. Actually, avoid imitation maple syrup at all times. It is usually composed of corn syrup and food coloring and, sadly, contains very little, if any, real maple syrup. In short, it’s hard to think of a more disingenuous grocery store product.
make the maple cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening until ribbonlike. Turn the mixer to low and stream in the maple syrup. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is nearly uniform in color, about 3 minutes.
Add the egg yolks and egg, one at a time, and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Stream in the milk. Stop the mixer, add the rest of the flour, then turn the mixer on until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold in the walnuts.
Fill the prepared cupcake pan about three-quarters full. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Note: These cupcakes take longer to bake than traditional cupcakes due to the maple syrup.
Allow the cupcakes to cool for 15 minutes in the cupcake pan, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.
make the cream cheese maple frosting
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter until it is completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
Add the sugar and the maple syrup and beat until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat the frosting or it will lose structure. (At this point, if you want to, you can tightly cover the frosting and refrigerate it for a day. Let it soften at room temperature before using.)
assemble the cupcakes
There are many ways to frost a cupcake. If you have a pastry bag, simply fit with the largest tip, fill the bag with frosting, and pipe enough to cover the cupcake in a big mound. If you do not have a pastry bag, use an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to scoop the frosting and dispense it onto the top of the cupcake. You can also use an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes. Top with whole toasted walnuts.
Refrigerate any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Bring cupcakes to room temperature before serving.

Friday, May 25, 2012

9 years . . .

**Updated**

Happy Anniversary to Andrew. 9 years ago was our wonderful music filled day!

Thanks for choosing to love me each and every day, darling!!

To celebrate our plans include trying a place we've wanted to visit for quite some time, Terry's Turf Club (not fancy but should be yummy!), known for their burgers. Since the 9th anniversary is traditionally pottery, we are going to go to a pottery place after dinner and pick out some pieces of pottery to paint. Sounds like fun to me!!

Sadly, I can't find a lot of our digital pictures from that day. Andrew is going to look around and some of our backed up files tonight. I did find the wedding video today and I will make Andrew watch it even though he doesn't like to see himself cry. Abigail watched it with me today and said, "Deedo (her nickname for daddy) is crying because he doesn't want to marry you." Hahahahahahaha!!!









Picture of Jennie Schechter removed upon request. :(


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

This is what I wanted for Mother's Day. . . photos with my precious children!






I love them more than I can say!!

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Noah is 1

My baby boy is 1 year old (yesterday, actually). I simply cannot believe it!! Part of me never thought I would survive this year with 3 kids 3 and under but I did. It is getting easier, in a way, except Noah is so very physical. He is into everything, climbing things you think can't be climbed, and always pushing the limits! I'm so thankful for his precious life. I'm thankful that I took the advice of good friends and family and really took a lot of time to slow down this past year and just spend time enjoying my kids. I really feel like I did that and I am so glad . . . I'm just bummed that it didn't really seem to slow the year down any. Just flew by!

Dear Noah, I'm writing this to you on your first birthday. You are such a sweet precious little boy. Your daddy, sisters and I love you so much. You are one loved on little guy. You are so friendly and content most of the time. A true joy to be around. You have an adventurous spirit that will help you in life, especially with two older sisters! I can't wait to see what fun adventures you will bring to this next year of life!!

I love you!

Mama!








Saturday, May 05, 2012

Birthday and week recap!

We had a pretty uneventful week. Just the usual kids activities, cleaning cooking, except . . . I turned 30! Andrew had a lovely night planned on Tuesday. He invited a bunch of my friends to a pottery place close by and we all painted a piece of pottery and chatted. It was so much fun. Andrew had bought and set up snacks there and paid some of the fees associated with doing the pottery. He also asked his sister to make cupcakes (ha!), which were very yummy! It was a very fun time and so sweet of him to plan that for me.

On Thursday, my actual birthday, he took me out to the Melting Pot for some delicious fondue. I love eating here because it isn't just a plate of food delivered to your table but a whole long process of eating slowly and having time to talk and connect, not something we do often. It took us two hours but it was worth ever single minute. A wonderful birthday memory for me.

Then today Andrew and I headed down to the Playhouse in the Park for Thunder Knocking on the Door, a rock-musical of sorts. It was a very good show and we had fun getting out again.

This week will be spent preparing for Noah's party on Friday. Can't believe he's almost a year. More on that later, I'm sure!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Elsie's Song Mashup

Sorry you have to listen to my singing but I think it is funny how Elsie prefers her music, all mashed up! Enjoy!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Family's Home and Property Damaged

Well, last night my family had a little excitement and not the good kind of excitement. They live in central Kansas (so far away from me!). Here is the story from my point of view and perhaps others or more will come later.

I had heard reports that there could be severe tornado outbreaks on Saturday of this past weekend, April 14. I had emailed my parents (mostly jokingly) a few days ago and said they should just take a roadtrip (with Grandma of course) and come see us and just avoid the area completely. They declined. :)

So I was watching the weather in Kansas (online . . . usually Weather Channel). Noah woke up around 10:30 pm and I checked the radar then. I noticed a very strong line headed right towards my hometown but I was praying it would veer off and not hit my parents. I saw the tornado warning online so around 10:50 pm I texted my dad and asked him if they'd been missed by the latest storm.

His response was "Got us". Well, I at least knew he was alive but beyond that I had no idea. Thankfully my mom called a few minutes later.

Her report was not good. They were all safe, thankfully, but all the farm buildings, except their house had been destroyed and my grandma's house (a 1/2 mile away) had been severely damaged as well. I couldn't believe it.

I turned to Facebook for the rest of my news and a family friend that lives up the road kept me updated most of the rest of the night as to what else was happening with my family.

That is still all I know for now. I was able to talk to my Grandma today. She told me a few more details of her experience and didn't really seem shaken by the fact she no longer had a house. Perhaps that will come. I also talked to my mom and she just said they had a lot of volunteers and progress had been made at cleaning up.

I'm still in shock. I really wish I was there to help but that is not really possible. So I'm praying and waiting to hear of anything I can do to help!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter 2012

My baby seems to be feeling slightly better today so I'm going to get some Easter pictures posted. He didn't have a fever when he woke and all morning. He is still biting (ouch!) but hopefully the pain won't bring him down as much as it has been.

Anyway, we had a wonderful Easter!! I, once again, had our whole family match on Easter Sunday. I figure that as long as my husband is willing to participate, I should do it while I can because I know my kids are going to grow out of it. The theme this year was white and navy. My outfit was the trickiest and I think I looked a little weird with my tunic top (which Andrew said looked like a nightgown) my capri tights, my white shoes that were missing a sparkly butterfly on one shoe, and my "old lady" belt (also an Andrew quote). Oh well, I matched and it wasn't too bad I don't think.

Here are some pictures we took on Andrew's Grandma's front porch. The first few were good, the kids weren't tired yet, but unfortunately we had a sunburst in the camera lens. We take these via remote on Andrew's camera so there wasn't anyone behind the camera, actually! Pretty good, right?!

I love this first one! Elsie makes me smile and Abigail shivering is cute!!

Distracted Elsie.

Abigail wasn't listening at this point and I stopped to correct her which led to some pouting. She eventually warmed up again.



With Andrew's parents and sister. Abigail was hiding!!





The very crowded kitchen lunch buffet! It was all delicious!



Easter Egg Hunt!



Abigail really got into it this year, which was fun!

She loved opening up the eggs to find candy and money. She got to keep the money! Ha! :)


More Easter Egg Hunting.


We didn't last much beyond the hunt. Our little ones were ready for a nap quite a while before this so we headed home for everyone to rest. Fun and simple day! I didn't get any picture of the Easter baskets this year but we did give the girls a few things including coloring books, little purses, and some other small toys. They loved it!