December 31, 2008

Time to Refocus

I fell off the Healthy Eating wagon this week. Damn! I was doing really well, too. But being around all the holiday goodies, combined with being stuck inside during all this snowy weather, has taken it's toll. The damage will be revealed tomorrow morning at my Jenny Craig weigh in. One good thing about going back to work will be more structure and less time to nibble. Here's a pic of me with three of my good friends from college at our 10 year reunion in October 2005. THIS is how I want to look again--no double chin in this photo!

December 29, 2008

Just Chilling

It's after midnight. I should be in bed, but instead I've been on the computer for over two hours--reading the Sunday paper, blogs, facebook, checking out movie times, scheduling Hope's one-year photos, and oh yes--watching video clips from Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew2 on Kris is out of town until tomorrow afternoon, and it's been a busy weekend with the kids. This is my time. It's the only time of day where I have the luxury of focusing on only one thing for longer than about 90 seconds. I also painted my nails fire engine red, enjoyed some wine, and ate a little more sinful holiday food. Back to Jenny Craig tomorrow.

So to all of you, take some chill time for yourselves.

December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

We had a wonderful Christmas with everyone in our extended families from Great Grandma Alice all the way down to baby Brady Stafford. Some highlights:

My firstborn turning seven years old! Where did the years go? He is a handsome, bright, creative, artistic, athletic, kind, thoughtful boy.

Hope's first Christmas--she looked so pretty in her holiday outfits. See for yourself!

Ross opening one gift on Christmas Eve and then stacking the rest of his gifts in the hallway--unopened. We all tried to get him to open his gifts but he just wasn't interested. So odd! He finally opened them...the next afternoon.

Ross and Grandpa Ward horsing around--wide smiles and lots of giggling.

Kris and me making french toast and deer sausage for our brood on Christmas morning. Yum!

A relaxing Christmas morning opening Santa gifts, eating breakfast, playing, and just lounging.

Me turning 36. Yes, Grant and I share a Christmas birthday. :)

December 24, 2008

Christmas blessings...

to all my blog friends. The boys are playing, Hope is napping, Kris and I are lounging around the house. All is right in our little corner of the world. May you have a joyous Christmas Eve and a wondrous Christmas Day!

December 20, 2008

A Typical Saturday Morning...

This morning, after feeding the kids breakfast, cleaning up the kitchen, getting Ross settled into a movie, helping Grant navigate to play some computer games, and getting Hope dressed, I decided to seize the opportunity to take a quick shower while Hope played quietly with toys in the's how it went:

Turn on water. Climb in. exhale a sigh of relief at the hot water and peace and quiet.

Oops. Exhaled too soon.

Ross, tromping up the stairs and into the bathroom: "Mommy! I have to go potty."

Me: "Try to unzip your jammies so you can sit on the toilet."

Ross, crying in frustration: "I need help!!" I peek out behind the shower curtain to see him flail-kicking his feet in a futile effort to whip the footie pajamas off his feet.

Me: "All right! I can help you, but you have to scoot closer because I can't reach you." I grab the toes of the jammies and yank them off, dripping a little water on them.

Ross: "Mom! It's wet!" Um, yeah, it is. I'm in the shower for pete's sake!

Me: "Okay. Rip off your pull up and sit on the potty."

It's quiet again. I lather up my hair and wash my face.

Ross, excitedly: "MOM! I went poop!" Super. How am I supposed to wipe his butt while I'm in the shower? Oh hell, he can walk around for a minute until I finish.

Me: "Try to wipe you bottom. I'll finish it when I get out." At this point, I hear the footsteps of my eldest barrelling down the hallway.

Grant: "AAHHHHRRGHH! I HATE it when this happens, mom! I accidentally hit something on the computer and lost my game and I was on level three! Now I'm gonna have to start over! UHHAHH!" (I'm not quite sure how to capture angry whining in print)

Ross: "Mom, I got poop on my finger!"

Me, losing it: "All right! Ross, come over here! I'll wash off your finger. Grant, all I wanted to do was have 20 minutes to shower and get ready without the two of you bugging me! GO GET DRESSED!"

I can hear little thumps on the bathroom floor. I peek out again and see that it's Hope. Sweet little Hope, scooting around on her bottom.

Finish showering. Turn off water. Climb out and dry off. Wipe a poop marble out of Ross's butt while both of us are stark naked. Lovely.

What is it about being a mom that turns you into a female version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin? When I go to the bathroom, they find me and walk in without even pausing. "Mom, guess what? Ross threw a lego at me and it almost hit the side of my head." When I'm getting dressed, they come in. "You have boobies, mommy." When I take Hope upstairs for her nap, two boys who were completely oblivious to my presence mere moments ago suddenly realize I am not on the same floor of the house as they are, and they race up and into Hope's room to be with me.

May I just say that in our house, the boys NEVER walk in on Daddy in the bathroom or follow him all over the place. I guess I'm just special. ;)

December 12, 2008

Parenting Drama

My friend AJ's recent post on her blog inspired me to tell a few of my day to day stories of....MOM ON THE RANT.

I love my boys to pieces, but more often than not these days, they hear me say any one (or more) of the following:

You guys are driving me nuts!
Mom's going crazy!
Lord, have mercy.
What the...? ROSS!!!!

Ross. He's my pistol. Red headed, strong willed, and two and a half. You do the math.

This morning, Kris left for work early so I was responsible for finishing breakfast and getting all four of us out the door. I was aiming for an 8am departure and doing pretty well: Grant had brushed his teeth, blown his nose, put on his shoes, and was zipping his coat. I had Hope buckled into her carseat, hood up, blanket tucked from her feet to her chin, and nuk in mouth. My bags were packed, I started the car, and had my own coat on. Ross had been playing "hide and peek" by opening and closing the bathroom door about a million times, but whatever. I opened the door with his coat in hand and what do I smell? The little stinker crapped in his pull up! Damn!

So--I quickly walked Grant across the street to walk to school so he wouldn't be late, then raced back into the house to change Ross. Coat off, leave baby in carseat on table, and get Ross upstairs to a bathroom with wipes. He was crying because he wanted to walk Grant to the neighbors, too. when I tried to explain that we needed to change his pants, he became ticked and screamed...and screamed....and screamed. This is what he does when he's mad and tantruming. I practically had to wrestle the 36 pound bruiser to the floor to get the poopy pull up off and clean him up. "Ross, stop screaming. It hurts mommy's ears." SCREAM "Ross! Stop it! Be quiet!" SCREAM "Put your feet in the pull up!" And on and on. We finally made it downstairs and after more resisting--the kid is obstinate--I got his coat on, buckled him into the van, put Hope in the van (poor Hope...she waited a long time this morning), and got us out the driveway--at 8:20.

OH MY GOSH. And that was just the morning. Pick up at the end of the day involved an even bigger tantrum because he wanted to change his wet pull up and I took his shoe off for him to start the process. "NO! I was doing that, Mommy!" SCREAM, SCREAM, SCREAM! Right there in the middle of Lommen Hall, Ross fell to the grimy hallway floor for an all-out tantrum.

I have to give credit to Grant--he remained calm the entire time, which helped me hang on to a few threads of sanity.

November 22, 2008

What a Doll!

Here are new pictures of Hope that Grant and I snapped today. She's stylish in her brown and aqua jumper set, Baby Legs legwarmers, and her super chic headband with coordinating clippie! Baby Legs, headband, and clippie courtesy of Pout Baby Boutique. Isn't she a doll?

November 3, 2008

Halloween Cuties

Here are some pictures of Grant, Ross, and Hope carving pumpkins. It's hard to believe little Miss Hope is 10 months old today!

October 1, 2008

Introducing Brady Joseph

As promised, here are some pictures of my precious new nephew, Brady Joseph Stafford. He weighs 8 lbs 2oz and is 20 inches long. As you can see, he's super adorable, and his brother and sisters sure are proud!


Bonnie and Thad just had their baby this morning, and I'm so excited I just had to post the news! When she called me from the hospital they hadn't even weighed him yet, so I don't have any specific details about weight, length, or even exact time of birth (I know it was right around 11:00am). I'll pop up some pics soon...hopefully tonight!

May I just say that with all the busy-ness we experience every single day, there is nothing like the birth of a child to remind me to stop and marvel in awe and wonder at the gift of life. Thank you, God!

September 14, 2008

Excuse me while I whine

"New Post"...those words have intimidated me for two weeks. I haven't known what to write, so I haven't even surfed over to my own blog in over ten days. How weird is that? It looks like I have it together more or less, but stupid little insecurities nag at me constantly. Things like:
  • Am I giving my boys enough GOOD mommy time, or am I letting them watch too much TV/DVDs so I can tend to Hope or get some housework done? Yes, I tend to my children's needs, but they deserve more than just the meal, bath, and bedtime book.
  • I don't put Hope on her tummy often enough. Am I remembering to smile and talk to her, or am I too preoccupied as I change her diaper and direct the boy-traffic going on all around me?
  • I don't take enough pictures. I NEVER remember to take any video. We don't even have a photo of all five of us together yet.
  • We can't seem to get to church two consecutive weekends in a row, at least not all of us. How do all those other families do it? How do they get THEIR kids to behave?
  • Don't even get me started on the physical insecurities (double chin and thick waist, anyone?).

My logical self knows how blessed we are with a happy, healthy family, great marriage, wonderful extended family, and successful careers. So why are there so many insecurities running through my head? Is it a female thing? Is it just me? Am I just phasing back into PMS again after a 18 months of pregancy and breastfeeding? I don't know.

September 3, 2008

Our First Days

We had our first days of school last week. Ross and I began the year at MSUM on Monday, Aug 25. He's in the 2-3 year old room this year and loves it. I really treasure our walk to campus every morning. It allows me to slow down from the hectic pace of the morning and enjoy Ross's company...his dimpled little hand in mine, his fascination with his surroundings, and the way he notices the little things, like squirrels, sticks, bugs, and airplanes.

Grant and Kris started school in Fargo last Thursday. My oldest babe is in first grade! It's very odd to know that he is now the age of the children I used to teach. He seems to like his teacher, his class, and his new school--Lincoln Elementary. He walks to school each morning with the neighbor kids across the street.

They're keeping Kris booked solid at middle school--between teaching, leading his teaching team this year, staff meetings, PLC (Professional Learning Community) meetings, and volleyball coaching, he barely gets time to breathe from 7:45 to 5pm. I must confess, I am thankful that although I am busy at work, I have pockets of time throughout the day to gather my thoughts alone in my office.

August 16, 2008

Catching up

I just downloaded, labeled, and filed the digital pics on our camera. In one month we took 172 pictures. This process took me almost two hours, and then I uploaded a bunch of them to WalMart photocenter to order. I like having them organized on my computer: I have file folders for Hope, Grant, Ross, and Dory. I rename all the pictures too, so that I have some idea what they are when I glance at the list. When Bonnie reads this she'll probably roll her eyes and laugh. I am so linear in my approach to projects. Actually, I think the time I invest in filing and labeling digital pictures is one of the reasons I don't blog as often as I'd like. Going through all the photos makes me want to write and post pictures.

I took Grant shopping for new tennis shoes on Friday afternoon. Who knew it would be so hard to find a shoe he liked in his size? We went to Kohl's, Penney's, and Herbergers and each time Grant found a shoe he liked they didn't have any left in his size. It was insanely busy everywhere we went, too. I guess we should have done this earlier in August, but I really didn't think things would be so picked over already. Finally, we went to Stride Rite and Grant found a shoe that 1. he liked, 2. they had in his size, and 3. fit well. I plopped down a bit more than I had intended on spending, but Grant is worth it. Besides, where else would we have gone? Scheels? That'd probably cost even more than Stride Rite. And Grant wears his tennis shoes literally EVERY DAY. He prefers tennies to flip flops or sandals. I know we'll get our money's worth.

Here are some pictures of our summer fun...

August 7, 2008

Poor Dory

I got home this afternoon and opened the back door to let Dory in the house. She was sleeping on the deck, but she didn't come when I called. When I approached her she was so still. When I touched her and felt how stiff she was, I knew she had died. Her collar tag had gotten caught between the deck slats and in an effort to free herself she choked. Poor Dory--she must have struggled so much because the collar itself was twisted twice around at the buckle and the metal D-ring to which her tags were attached was bent. We are sad tonight. She irritated us sometimes, but she had just passed beginner's dog obedience with flying colors and had finally become housetrained. She was a sweet and loving dog. We will really miss her.

A grateful heart

I started going back into the office on Monday, even if just for half a day, which means the kids went back to daycare. The boys are at Jo's until school starts, where they have always been, but because of new infants starting at Jo's I needed to find a new daycare for Hope. It took most of May to find something, but we were very blessed to find Joyce. I'm relieved to share with you that the transition has been quite seamless--Hope seems to like being there and Joyce tells me that she smiles, chatters, and giggles often. She is eating and napping well, too. It's incredibly hard to find quality infant childcare, and to have it be affordable is even more of a challenge. We have been doubly blessed as parents to have found both Jo and Joyce. Thank you, God.

I am required to be back at work on August 18, and classes begin on Aug 25. Alas, the summer appears to be over. It will be nice to see colleagues and students again, but I am not looking forward to the morning and evening rush of meals, dressing, Ross-wrangling, baths, and the like. I will really miss my time with the kids here at home during the day, but at the same time I am well aware that many moms do not have the benefit of summers off with their children. So although I am a bit wistful, I write this with a grateful heart.

July 23, 2008

Enjoying some mommy time

Today Hope and I had lunch with my good friend J and her 10 week old daughter, E. Nothing fancy--we met at the West Acres food court--but it was wonderful to catch up on each other's summers, share baby details, talk about finding childcare, and just enjoy being moms with strollers who were out and about in the middle of the day. E is J's first child and this was their first trip to the mall. I brought the boys to daycare so I could really relax and enjoy our time together. The babies cooed and babbled, blew bubbles, ate, and charmed everyone who saw them.

Hope is 6 1/2 months old now. I know I say this all the time, but it's astonishing how quickly the weeks and months of her first year are flying by. I had these pictures taken a few weeks ago. Hope always looks so happy and content. She's the little haven of peacefulness in our busy, high energy days!

July 16, 2008

Quick post

Wow, I can't believe summer is this far gone already. I've spent the day in "computer mode" working on a power point presentation for my in-laws, reading graduate student thesis proposals, grading independent study assignments, and catching up on emails. It's taken the better part of a day to do this. Thank goodness mom was willing to have Hope for the day and I was able to take the boys to Jo's. I just can't work on this kind of thing at home if they are here, even when Emily is with them. It's too hard for me to not play with them or work on housecleaning.

Now there's a neglected floors are awful and my bathrooms don't look much better. I have closets that need reorganizing and piles that are screaming for another session of sort-and-toss. I will feel better once I've also tackled some of this stuff.

July 11, 2008

Exploring a Caterpillar

Here are picture of Grant and Ross that our babysitter, Emily, took last month. She did a beautiful job...I think the pictures tell the story.