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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jorja learns a lesson


And the lesson is:

Not my poop, not my mess, not my job.

On a good note, she can now clean a bathroom.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Did I forget this was here, you ask?

Well, it really wouldn't surprise me if I did. I'm forgetting everything lately. Including, but not limited to: ordering checks, daily meals, laundry (no surprise there), calling the exterminator, and appointments.
The reason? Hormones.
Kickin', ragin', surplus hormones.
The same hormones that cause me to *hurp* all day. The same hormones that made me cry that life was too tough becuase I stubbed my toe. The same hormones that make babies grow.
June seems like it's so close, yet so far. Before I'm probably really ready, I'll be caring for a newborn and 3 deliriously crazy children.
And before you ask silly questions, remember, we "planned" this baby as much as any one couple can, and are thrilled to be having a baby. This is not a quest for a boy, as if having all of one sex somehow could leave anyone feeling like they lost out on life. It is simply our pleasure to play host to one more of God's precious gifts.
That being said...bring on the tums!! Really, this is an easy pregnancy in comparison to others I've had and I still just want to lie on the couch most afternoons. I am only days away from the blessed second trimester and I am itching for that promise of energy and food consumption. Yes!
Oh, and on those delicate subjects of laundry and school...well, they are getting done, just not with the flair I would like. Which is fine with me, I can't be good at everything, right?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Find the two year old...

Josie has gotten into the habit of playing in her room and falling asleep in random places on the floor during nap time. There have been many days that when I peeked in on her I could not immediately find her. Friday was one of those days.

Yep, that's her under the rug.

She also decided sometime before she fell asleep that a pull-up was not necessary. She was wrong...

lessons, lessons, lessons...

This week is lesson week. In the mornings, Josie and Jorja have swim lessons, and in the evening, Jorja and Jonah have dance. I'm not sure what possessed me to stack them like this, other than the desire to further complicate my days and cause me to fall completely into a haze of early dementia.

I am making daily lists of the days activities (because just entering everything into Outlook is not sufficient) and still managing to make constant idiotic mistakes.

In spite of all of this, my girls are having busy, fun-filled days and doing very well in their classes.

This is Josie's first year of swimming...we do ISR (Infant swimming Resource) and while it's a little expensive and quite time-consuming (every day for 6 weeks) it has proven to be very valuable to our children.

Here is a picture of Josie going for the wall during yesterday's lesson:

Summer dance is also this week. Jonah is trying out hip-hop and Jorja is taking a combo class of ballet and tap. She let me know this morning that she's good at it. No sense in being humble about these things...if you don't toot your horn, who will, right?

As expected...Jorja was a doll in her dance outfit:

She even pointed out that she had a bun in her hair to everyone she saw.

And here's a flashback for ya...Jonah before her first day of dance 4 years ago:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

On the bright side...the puppies smell better.

I had just finished cleaning up from breakfast while Jason was on a sabbatical in the bathroom. I needed to get clothes out for the girls, finish putting away a load of laundry and then we would make one quick stop on our way to the pool to enjoy some 4th of July revelries. Jason has been planning to wash the puppies this afternoon before moving them to their new home - a giant Briggs and Stratton generator box in my dining room. I've looked for years for just the right accent piece to really add a wow factor to that room. This box really accomplishes that, in exactly the wrong way. We might as well park a semi truck in there.

Going back into my bedroom, I realized that Josie decided to help us out today and wash the puppies herself. I happened to walk in to her with half a bottle of baby oil tipped over on the floor, and using a pedicure block as a sponge. The bottle had been full when she got to it. The smell was overwhelming. It almost covered the smell of puppy breath and pee mixed with dirt.

Three puppies were assaulted in the process. Red, Uno, and Lucky. I think Lucky got the worst of it. They all looked up unsure of what was happening, but happy to have the attention. And their coats have never been this shinny.

Cleanup was not bad, just 4 towels this time. But be careful in my bathroom, it's as slippery as an ice rink in there. One wrong move and you'll be sitting hard on your butt. Just ask poor Josie.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The importance of enunciation.

This morning when I went in to get Josie out of bed, she looked up at me and said "mama, aye haf boo-boo om my 'and." So I picked her up and carried her into the living room to see what caused the boo-boo and give it a kiss. Only after we sat down and I was pulling her hand to my face, did I realize that my arm was slightly wet and she smelled funny.

No, not boo-boo on her hand...poo-poo on her hand. Yuck. I was going to kiss that. *hurp*

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let's play a game of "Guess that white substance..."

If you guessed powdered sugar, you win!

I went into the living room just long enough for Josie to grab a "snack" for herself.

Me: "Josie, what are you doing?"

Josie: "Eating cake!"

Friday, May 22, 2009


Wow, I'm a much cooler mom when there's no where to go in the morning.

Today I gave each of the girls a bowl of plain yogurt, a handful of berries, kid-friendly knives and and let them make their own breakfast.

Take a look:

Laundry Soap

Becuase I think this is such a huge money saver I wanted to post about making your own laundry soap. With 5 people (3 of them little girls!), 6 dogs and constant potty training we go through a lot of detergent. I have to give credit to the Duggar family for this recipe. I got it off their site.

Below you will find step by step instructions with pictures to help you see how easy it is to make your own laundry soap and save money. My commentary is in italics.

To begin you will need:
  • 4 Cups hot tap water
  • 1 bar of Ivory
  • 1 Cup Washing Soda
  • ½ Cup Borax
The washing soda and Borax can be found on the laundry aisle of your grocery store. You might never have noticed them before...but they are there!

Grate bar of soap. I used the smaller grating side.

Add soap to saucepan with water. I actually got mine pretty hot before I added the soap and turned the burner back down once it was added. I would recommend adding it may grab a child or husband to help you do this. It is much easier if the soap doesn't clump back up.

Stir continually over medium heat until soap dissolves and is melted. It gets a little foamy, but that's fine. Cook it until the water is clear...that means all the soap has melted.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. I didn't take a picture of this...I think you can imagine what it looks like!

Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax.

Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. You should notice that the liquid is thick at this point. It will be about the consistency of, well, laundry detergent.

Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken. Again, no pictures...if you like watching soap thicken you must also like watching paint dry and this blog is not for you (I hope!)

The next morning bright and early you can begin using your soap. Take an old detergent bottle from one of those overpriced brands you used to use before you became soap savvy and fill it half way with your soap. I use a Pyrex measuring cup and just put in 50 ounces if the dispenser holds 100 ounces, etc. Then I fill it up with plain water. You will have to give it a little shake each time you use it as it will gel up a little.

If you want to get fancy, you can also add smell to your soap. The Duggar recipe recommends: 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

Here's how much to use per load.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

This recipie makes 10 gallons of soap for about $2. Now go to the grocery store and total what it would cost you to buy 10 gallons and treat yourself to a nice dinner out!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Today was my first time as part of a local produce co-op and I love it!

Here is a picture of everything I got for $20 plus...

Here's the list of what's on the table that falls under the $20 plan
  • 2 mangos (1 was extra this week)
  • 6 ears of corn
  • a big bag of grapes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • quart of strawberries
  • large head of romaine lettuce
  • bag of spinach
  • 8 bananas
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 gala apples
  • 1 red tomato
  • 2 green tomatoes (1 was extra this week)
  • 2 pears
  • 10 potatos
  • 8 onions
I say plus because the pineapple and watermelon were a whopping $2 and $4 extra. And they were quite large. I was very impressed. I put a pear in the picture for reference.

I've already put my $20 in for next week. AND my order for local honey...a pint for only $8.50. Go-o-o-o-o biscuits and honey!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Daddy's Girl

We have a fun game around here of "who's girl are you?" It is very lighthearted and the girls take turns saying who's girl they are (mommy or daddy's) and Jason and I give hugs, kisses and big smiles when one of them picks us. They usually waver back and forth many times before the game finally ends.

Well, today was a rough day. I was on the phone - a lot - booking flights to California, the girls were bored, dinner was late, and I had the audacity to expect the girls to clean the playroom. Actually, not even the whole playroom. I had only asked that Jonah put away the blocks and Barbies and that Jorja put the dress-up clothes back in the bins. Well, after more than an hour of reminding and redirecting, I had had enough. A box of toys that I had separated out earlier this year left the room amid cries of "is it going in the trash?" Then I came back with a trash bag and began to stuff the dress-up clothes in. It was madness. I explained calmly...OK, I was pretty worked up, so calm was not even remotely possible...but I told them that the dress-up would come back when they were able to clean up what was already in there. Jonah sat bawling her eyes out that everything was going to end up in the dumpster. Not sure where that came from becuase we don't have a dumpster, but apparently, that's where dress-up clothes go until kids grow up and go get them for their daughters. Or so it was explained to me.

I was quick to point out that I had many more trash bags outside, and they better save the rest of the toys from the same fate by picking them up and putting them in their place before I had a chance to go get another. This got more response than anything else, and the playroom was mostly clean when I finally got so tired of waiting for Jason's meeting to end that I declared it was a MacDonald's night and to get in the van. Thankfully, Jason called while I was herding them to the garage and he pulled up just in time to hop into the van and drive.

The girls were in the back while we went through the drive through barking their orders at us. Like that has ever worked before. Finally, I made some unloving comments about being quiet and liking what they were given, and got a look from Jason that read "these are your kids you're talking to!" and I calmed down. One finger shake too late, though. From the back came the words "Daddy, I'm you're girl." Jason looked back at Jonah to ask why and was met with the most serious answer a grouchy seven year old could muster. "Because all I get to do all day is sit around the house cleaning up and getting yelled at by HER!"

I was dumbstruck, and couldn't help but snicker silently to myself while Jason handled the situation.

Sadly, Jonah is no longer my girl, I am no longer mommy. I have been reduced to her. At least until tomorrow morning.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was nice this year.

My husband and daughters are so sweet. They planted some flowers for me, made cards and blueberry muffins from scratch, and tried to pamper me in little ways all day. Oh, and the living room is primed for it's new coat of paint! Can't forget that one.

I did finally get the girl's Easter/Mother's day dresses finished and they wore them to church. I completely forgot to get good pictures of them before church, but here is one from after church taken with Jason's cell phone. It's no professional photo, but you get the gist.

Perhaps one day we can get a picture where they are all smiling sweetly, clothes neat, hair freshly combed, but until then, we get to have pictures like these to remind us that we have some of the quirkiest but most fun to live with kids I know.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Since it's been a while since I took the time to write out one of our adventures here (and there has been no shortage) I thought I would rest my aching muscles for a minute and start one.

Today I decided that I would check off one of the many painting projects we have going around the house. Painting the table and chairs from the playroom. We've had this furniture since Jonah was 1, and it originally only came with one table and two chairs. Obviously, 3 girls do not fit at that table amicably anymore. So my dad made two more chairs. Let me tell you, he made the new ones look exactly like the original two. He's pretty awesome at woodworking. You can't tell the new from the old except that the old ones are colored all over, and well, painted.

Which brings me to today. I have had paint for some time, but we've always been too busy to actually do it. For the time being, they will just be white. That's easy to do, and if I decide later down the road to decorate, I can do so then. The plan was to get everything set up, unleash the kids on the back yard, and paint until lunch. I figured I should at least get everything base coated (two coats), and if I need another coat, I can do that during nap time and this evening, when everything would be dry I can assemble.

I had everything ready, and even had an awesome little 3 year old helper who was really good at taking the screws out of the chairs so we could paint them piece by piece. Of course, being 3, Jorja soon lost interest in taking the screws out and began jamming everything she could find into the screw holes and hopefully not completely stripping out all the threads. So she got the boot.

After I finished that, got everything laid out and started spraying primer, they flocked like flies. I had to keep yelling to them to get behind me and not in front of the spray, but they migrated downwind again and again. They were like little huffers. Standing there inhaling and commenting on the smell and how they were getting painted. After some more threatening, yelling, and waving them away, they went back to the swingset and embarked on some dangerous behavior that only went uncorrected becuase they were leaving me alone. I did have to yell a few "be careful's" and "don't wash your sister's hair with dirt" type comments just for appearances. Then there were a million "don't touches" especially to Josie who somehow discovered that dirt and boogers create such a strong substance they could be used to erect a pyramid. We don't need any of that wiped on the pretty white table and chairs.

So everything was primed and ready for the top coat of satin that I found in the garage and decided to use. But one look at the kids and the clock told me I better hold off and do bath and lunch first. They were a mess. I think dirtier than I've ever seen them. Mud, boogers, bug guts, oak tags...oh, and poop on the little one. I couldn't tell if they were three little girls or if someone had delivered children raised by wolves to my home.

I ushered them all into my bathroom for immediate cleansing. Jorja brought me bubble bath and I thought "what the heck". What the heck was right. I should have known it was going to get bad when Jorja held up a handful of bubbles and in her sweetest voice asked "bubble fight, mommy?" I told her no, we had to get some lunch, and then the antics began. Josie stood up with her bum covered in bubbles and Jonah laughed "Josie is wearing bubble panties!" So they all took turns mooning me and showing me their bubble undies over and over. It was one antic after another until Jorja got bubbles in her face and with body fully covered in bubbles, stared waving her arms around screaming. Bubbles were flying everywhere and each time her arms went down, they reloaded and a fresh batch of bubbles was launched. I finally had to jerk her out of the tub, wrap a towel around her and plop her butt on the floor. The others were given the same treatment just for being in the vicinity.

I made and cleaned up lunch, put the little one's in bed and have managed to get one side of all the pieces finished off with the satin top coat. For now, I've lost all will to paint. Hopefully it won't rain because I'm taking a nap and maybe Jason can finish the other side when he gets home from fishing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Frog

Today the girls had a friend over and after some painting:

We all went into the back yard to play.

I was doing a little straightening on the porch when I spotted a tree frog. I waved the girls over to see it, but before they got to me the little sucker jumped onto my leg. It was wet and nasty and I screamed like a little girl and started hopping and flailing my arms and legs to get the little beast off before I got warts. The girls thought it was very entertaining and funny. But it started a trend.

They decided to catch the frog and that's when the theatrics began. Waving the net around, yelping, jumping back and yelling "you get it". All the wonderful girlie tactics to get attention.

Finally, Jorja pinned it by the sliding glass door. It really was not all that nasty looking.

Grace took over and after almost killing the frog, I got it into the net. Then the girls decided to keep the frog, and with some additional screaming, got it into a plastic cup.

Of course, after Grace left, I decided to spare the frog's life and let him go. And the screaming began again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why do I let them paint in my house?


It always turns into an ulcer-inducing event for me.

I am so anal, that I only let them use one color paint at a time. NO MIXING! That is why I bought 20 different colors in the first place. If you don't see a color you want, pick another color.

And then there is the washing of the brushes. Half-assed washing and then dipping into the paint without dabbing on the paper towel is not allowed. Ick, then your paint gets gross and all looks like mud.

Oh, and somehow Josie managed to drop her paintbrush on the floor and it rolled end over end like a NASCAR crash until it landed bristles down on my carpet. Now I have another clean area with an orange dot in the middle. Right after that, she dumped the jar of blue paint on the floor and it splattered all up the window and my leg leaving me with blue paint on my jeans. At least they are my junky jeans. Thank goodness for small favors.

Ah, well, they had fun in spite of my high-strung parenting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Our Snowboard Vacation - Part 2

It's been so long since part 1, I'm not sure where to start. So we'll go back to how cold it was. Fortunately, Saturday was not nearly as frigid as Friday. It was, dare I type this...bearable. Of course, I was not really interested in getting back out on a snowboard. Ever. I was frustrated, sore, and felt like I was slowing Shaun, Jason down. So I sent he and Jonah out and had some down time with the little kids. Jonah did well, but still had some issues with stopping. And maybe a few with standing. It seems that she spent more time eating snow and making snow angels than skiing.

Jason did enjoy throwing a snowball or two himself.

Being the wonderful husband he is, Jason talked me into getting back out there, so I did. Ouch! I was feelin' my age. Actually, I was feelin' my grandmother's age. But I persevered. OK, I quit after one trip down the mountain. I managed to get myself onto the lift and more importantly, back off the lift and drag my mangled self to the room. After a nice warm lunch and some rest, I was ready to take up space on the warm couch and watch movies with the kids.

Jason and his brother Jordan went out that night and did some night skiing (no thank you!) and I got to spend time with my cutie pies guessed it...more movies.

Sunday was by far the most awesome day. Saturday night we got 4 inches of snow and the snow continued on throughout the day. I have finally seen "powder" East Coast style. Looking down from our window, the snow was so white!! It really hurt your eyes at first.

The snow was soft and had much more cushion than the previous two days. I was finally starting to get the hang of snowboarding again, and some of the soreness from day 1 was wearing off.

And then...cockiness. Yeah. A byproduct of getting the hang of it is pain. Pain brought about by humiliating falls trying to perform the simplest of moves: turning quickly.

People are very nice when you are laying flat on your back with your head facing downhill. They try very hard not to ski over you and you even get the occasional "are you okay?" I found that a thumbs up was sufficient to get them back on their way, though. Now I understand why so many snowboarders were wearing headgear. I'll remember that for next time. Snicker. Next time...

Now, the amount of snow we got Saturday night was great. But the amount they were calling for Sunday night was just plain scary. Another 8 inches. The van was covered enough for my liking Sunday.

So we made the decision to escape Sunday afternoon and try to get off the mountain before we were snowed in. Good choice, because Snowshoe got another 9 inches Sunday night. We left after lunch and the roads were just wild!

Here is my view from the side mirror (notice the snow on the side of the van)

And at one point, Jonny and Barbara's vehicle completely disappeared when the wind blew snow across the road. Yes, there is a car in front of us in this picture. Being silver, it completely disappeared.

We drove on through the night and arrived home at about 3 am Monday morning completely exhausted, but so happy to have such a great trip together.

"Hey, kids! Who had fun?!"

Ah, well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad.

God, can you hear me up there?

That's what I keep hearing Jorja say (and Josie repeat) across the baby monitor right now. Wow, have I been in her shoes. Guess I need to go let her know that He does...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Psalm 33

Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
he puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Our Snowboard Vacation - Part 1

This one is going to be long. There is just so much to say about our trip, the mountains, the snow, and family. I think I will start with the first couple days here and finish with a second post later.

Our adventure began Thursday morning at 5 am. Yes, I was awake at 5 am and it was not because I was pulling an all nighter. We loaded sleeping kids in the car with the intent of stopping at about 7 (when they woke up) for breakfast. HA! Once again, we underestimated our kids. They were all wide awake as we pulled out of the driveway and #1 and 3 cat-napped briefly on the way. Jorja would not nap. At all. It was not great. We're talking a minimum of 12 hours in a car with a kid high on Gatorade. Every time the cup was emptied, it got chucked at the driver's seat. Thank goodness the kid throws like a girl or we could have been in serious trouble.

The drive was great, we only stopped twice on the first third or so of the trip for breakfast (and potty break) and lunch (also with potty break). I drove into VA and then just over the state line to WV. We were hoping to see snow early in the trip, but finally after driving through Big Walker Mountain Tunnel, we saw our first flurries. It was truly awesome. We had gotten the girls attention just to see the tunnel. Jason called it, though. He said that he had been through there before when it was not snowing going in, but on the other side of the mountain there was snow. The girls were screaming from excitement. Oh, who am I kidding, they scream for any reason, or none at all. This time it was warranted, though.

We found a Starbucks shortly after and froze our little Floridian butts off getting from the van inside to yet again, pee. I savored a white chocolate mocha as Jason drove us up to the worst roads in the continental US. This was NOT my favorite part of the trip. I tried to capture the horror of these tiny little roads I have not-so-affectionately named "Kiss Your Own Arse Trail".

The GPS just showed a squiggly line going up the mountain:

Foggy, wet and curvy:

Non-stop turns:

I was never able to get a good picture of the guard-rails because we were plowing through the roads like bats out of hell, but I might have been a little less concerned about our safety had they not been quite so mangled. It looked like about every 3 turns in the road someone got a little crazy and used a guardrail to keep their pickup on the road. One would think that the state of WV would keep them nice and straight to encourage more people to visit, but I guess when you're all full of moonshine and squirrel, you don't really care how comfy the visitors are. Yes, I went there.

By the time we made it to the resort, it was about 5:30 pm and we were in the throes of a full on blizzard. OK, I exaggerate, but for this Sunshine State girl, 10 degrees, dark and windy is not a lot of fun. Poor kids were all in track suits with ski jackets. It would have taken 3 minutes for full frostbite on their legs, but we had a 50 foot run from the unloading area to the door of our building. Speaking of, this place was nice. Real nice. Think cousin Edie when you read that. We were right behind the bunny slope, and had an awesome view of the slopes. This picture was taken from the back door of the building.

Alright, confession time. And I may never admit this in real life, but I love West Virginia. I actually love snow. Once you are dressed appropriately (read that as "not trying to look cute, but keeping warm") it's really not all that cold and it's so crisp and clean. This trip and Jamaica are probably my top two favorite trips ever. I didn't even wear makeup the whole weekend! Sure, I scared the wildlife, but it was nice not to take that extra 3 minutes out of every day.

I also realized that thirty-something is not the time to re-learn to snowboard. One can easlity suffer minor concussions and whiplash from the inevitable falls that take place when you strap both feet to a board and plummet uncontrollably down a mountain. And this was a big stinkin' mountain! I did, however, try to look as stylish as possible doing it!

And so did Jason (Va-va-va-voom!)

And then there were the girls...Jonah and Jorja took to the snow like little yankees at heart.

Josie was not so sure about it. She was not interested in touching the snow, and within minutes of being out there, had huge crocodile tears streaming down her icy cheeks.

She spent most of her time clinging to Gigi:

Now, to make Snowshoe even cooler, they haul in a huge load of snow to the middle of the village for the kids to play in. There are areas the kids can climb, slide down, and even tunnels.

And when we got done with it, there was one more tunnel/slide.

Jonah went to ski school the first day and of course, the camera battery died after just one picture, but you can see that while they said she was very good at skiing, she was not very good at stopping. She gets it from her mother. Poor kid.