Numbers in my Life Right Now....
14 days 'til we are in the van driving with Vermont in our rear view. ( Have I mentioned this yet today?)

1 moment of sanity... Instead of driving 32 hours in a van with 3 small children I decided to buy 3 plane tickets for 100 dollars each. Such a small price to pay for sanity.

1 loving mother who is going to fly with us to New Mexico.

7 hours of driving that brought us home at 11:37 pm last night. 2 very tired parents.

1 almost 5 year old. 1 cranky 2 year old. 1 smiley 3 month old.

0 jugs of filtered water. 1 woman drinking tap water. Gross.

18 pounds of ground beef, 7 pounds of stew meat, 2 whole chickens, 1 pot roast, 2 packages of chicken thighs, 1 package of drum sticks, and 1 pound ground turkey needed to be eaten in the next 14 days. Anyone want to come over for dinner? Lunch? Breakfast? Anything...?

1 1/2 freezers full of food I can't take to New Mexico.

1 van. 2 people who need it. 1 very happy little brother who now has my beloved silver Altima, which was our second car.

430 pictures needed to download off my camera, from our trip home.

1 baby who still doesn't have a birth certificate. What in the world....!!

4 years of living in a cute house coming to an end. Sniff.

1 silly, sentimental woman who needs to remember that these houses are just houses. It's the memories in my heart that really matter.

9 more pages left to read in my really good book. I was actually able to read while back home. Miracles never cease.

8 inches of my hair that I had cut off. I feel like a new woman!

And one last thing...

Enough laundry to choke a horse....
Time is ticking away... tick, tick, ticking away.
14 days.

I feel like as soon as I walked over the threshold of my home this big clock started ticking in my head. It taunts me with it's ever moving hands. Counting down the minutes. Reminding me that I can't afford to relax for even one of those minutes.

There are just two things that have to be done in these measly little fourteen days we have left in Vermont:

1) Move

2) Throw Eve a birthday party she'll never forget. A girl only turns five once, you know.

Simple enough, right.


How am I going to survive?
I was talking on the phone to my friend Tarrah.... the one I am going to desperately miss when we move.

In just over two weeks.

She was elated because it was in the forties in Vermont. But then I informed her that it was going to snow this weekend. There was deep disappointment.

It has been beautiful here. Yes, a bit rainy and still chilly, but doable. And then it snowed last night. Like snowed. Like SNOWED!!!!! It's March 28th. Some of you have flowers up, bird's chirping, sweet smelling breezes. We have snow. And a whole lot of it. I comfort myself with the weather in New Mexico: 70's all week long. There's absolutely no snow in their forecast. I can't wait to be able to walk every day with no coats, and mittens, and hats, and blankets, and chattering teeth. It's going to be excellent. But I won't have my dear friend Tarrah. It's hard to find a friend who knows all the weird little things about you... and still likes you. Rats. I hate good-byes. Unless it's good-bye to the snow. In that case.... bring it on.
And the Winner is....
Anna from "One Day at a Time..."

I loved her idea about the shoe boxes for the kids. I am definitely going to do this - it completely satisfies my sentimental side. It was creative, thoughtful, and very practical.


There really were an amazing amount of incredible ideas. You all made such a difference in my outlook, now I feel like I have many more ideas that will help to make this as smooth and easy as possible. I can't thank each of you enough for your particiaption. You blew me away!!

Soooo... That being said, there are a few runners up:

Sarah from "smack dab in the middle of life" for her awesome tip on a "first night" box. Amazing advice!

Megan at "Life Every Day" for her great "boo-hoo gift" idea. Loved that.

And Heather from "Running From the Little People" for her idea to pack a bag of the toys that my kids hold most dear. Such great, thoughtful advice.

These three people will have their choice of either a half pound of coffee or a container of Vermont maple syrup. (I'd choose the syrup, personally.)

All my winners, please e-mail me with your addresses as well as letting me know your choice of prize. I actually can't get into my e-mail right now but will be able to after the weekend.

Again, thank you all SO much!
I have a bit of beef to pick with some adults. Not every adult, mind you but most. It irritates me to my very core as a mother. Here's the deal:

I have three children, right. I have a beautiful four-year-old girl, a handsome and very studly two-year-old boy, and a gorgeous three-month-old baby.

Why is it that most adults only see the nearly five year old and the baby? Why is it my son, the vivacious handsome and incredibly sweet two year old is practically invisible to them. He loves to talk and enjoys being included in conversations. Why do they pass over him with barely any acknowledgment?

They chat up Eve with "How old are you?" and " Are you a good big sister?" or "Look at that hair!"

They ooh and awww over Eliza, kissing her head, rubbing her arms, generally making a fuss. But when it comes to Judah it's like he isn't even there.

Can you tell I'm peeved?

There are some people in my life who are completely wonderful with him. But they are in the minority, and I just don't understand. He is so sweet. If they would only stop and get down to his level they could see that.

Sigh.... I wish I could make them see him the way I see him. He's a sweet, sweet boy.
Daniel and I were driving home from an outing today. It was one of "those" outings... You know, the kind where if we don't get the kids out of the house now, someone is going to lose it. Or more like everyone is going to lose it. So, off we went, to nowhere in particular. I was wishing if wasn't so stinkin' cold and we could head to the playground. But, it really is too cold for such fun things as that.

Anyways, on the way home from nowhere in particular, Daniel and I were talking about the future. Sometimes this kind of talk makes my stomach hurt. Today was no exception. It's because I hate not having a plan, I hate not knowing all that life is going to throw my way. How's a girl suppose to prepare for a future full of "hmmmm's" and "I don't know's," "maybe's" and "best case scenarios?" But, that is what it is.

Our issue today was my longing to just move back home. I asked Daniel if he would ever want to do that. His answer was yes, if that is what I wanted to. And I do. But, I don't. I'm really very wishy-washy on the whole subject. My heart says "YES!!!" but my mind says, "Woman, are you CRAZY?!" There is a whole wide world out there waiting to be explored; there are places to live where snow isn't an issue, where the cost of living isn't astronomical. But, my heart longs to see my kids go to the school I went to, to live next door to their best friends for all their growing up years. I miss my friends, our church, and the familiarity of the country roads I have driven over a million times. I wonder what it would be like to live here as an adult, raising my family, rather than living here as a kid and being raised.

The problem comes when I think about the absurdity of throwing away a great career in the Air Force for my heart's longings. It's silly, really. And when I stop to think about it I mentally slap myself on the forehead and say "duh!" It's a no-brainer. Daniel needs to finish this journey he started at seventeen. We need the pension it will afford us. We really love the lifestyle. Not to mention, that for Daniel, he feels it is his patriotic duty to serve. It's just that knowing, and believing all those great things, doesn't erase the desire I have to just be home, for good. No more visits, no more long drives, or plane tickets. No more good-byes.

No one ever said life's decisions would be easy. I wasn't expecting them to be. It's just that I never really planned to miss home, because I never really planned on leaving. But, then again I never really planned on falling in love with Daniel. And look how great that has turned out.

Here's to the future..... With the years spent at home or far away
Diet and Nutrition: Whole Grains - A great place to start
Whole grains are a really great place to start if you are wanting to incorporate more nutrition into your diet. They are incredibly accesible to us all. And while organic may be best, just incorporating any form of whole grains into your regular diet will be great. The benefits of eating more whole grains include increased intake of vitamins, minerals, as well as an increase in fiber. I personally think whole grains help food have more taste, more interest, and will definitely make you feel full for longer. They are also purported to help reduce heart disease, strokes, Type II diabetes and some forms of cancer.

I have read in a few different places that we should be consuming at least six servings of grains daily, with three of them being whole grains. Americans typically consume only one serving daily. Six may sound overwhelming, especially when you remember that you are to be eating five serving of fruits and vegetables, drinking eight glasses of water, exercising three to five times a week etc... But, truly, whole grains can be very easy to incorporate into your diet. Let me offer up some easy and very yummy ideas, and products to help you on your way:

Lets begin with breakfast....

Whole Wheat English Muffins I find Matthew's at my regular grocery store. I am sure these, and other whole wheat muffins, can be found at the health food store also. We regurly eat the whole wheat ones, but I recently bought the multi-grain and found they are totally delicious! A helping of scrambled eggs, an english muffin, and a piece of bacon or sausage is regular breakfast fare for us.

We are big fans of bagels at our house. The brand I like to buy is Alvarado, though Ezekiel Bread is very similar. I like that they are made with sprouted wheat, they are hefty, and they taste delicious. These bagels will be a big change if you are used to Bruegger's or the typical big, fluffy bagel. But, you'll quickly get use to the change in texture. You won't find yourself hungry an hour after you eat one of these!

Another option for breakfast is making pancakes with half white flour and half whole wheat; a simple trick is adding in a quarter cup of wheat or oat bran to your pancakes or waffles - this is a great way to achieve fiber and whole grains. This keeps the pancakes fluffy and light yet you have your whole grain easily incorporated. I also make waffles with all whole wheat flour, and french toast with whole wheat bread. Eve loves oatmeal with cut up apples - rolled oats will give you the most benefit, rather than quick oats.

My kids will occasionally eat cereal with milk; Barbara's is one of our favorites.

The kids love Puffins, and Shredded Oats. Barbara's has a fruit sweetened "cheerio" type cereal that they enjoy as well. I cut up fresh fruit, or a few frozen blueberries, put them on top and they are happy as can be. There is another company called Mother's who has some really delicious cereals out. A few of my personal favorites are the Peanut Butter Bumpers, Graham Bumpers, and Honey Bumpers. I usually buy this cereal for snacks for those in my family that have a sweet tooth (ME!).

On to lunch:

Annie's. My kids love Annie's! I buy them when they are at the grocery on sale ten for ten dollars. I buy the Appelgate Farm's hotdogs and add them in. I also add in some organic veggies for good measure. This is one of my kid's favorite lunch meals.

I also like to make mini pizzas for them - that brings us back to English muffins. I cut one in half, spread some pasta sauce on it, sprinkle a bit of cheese ( any kind will do) and broil them for about 2-3 minutes. It's fast, my kids love them, and they are filling. I make these when I am in a time crunch!

A simple tuna fish sandwich, with a thin slice of cheese on whole wheat, or rye bread is great as well. For fun I sometimes use a cookie cutter to make the sandwich extra special. The other day I was bored with our regular lunch fare so I whipped up some sweet potato biscuits. My biscuits are made with 100 percent whole wheat flour which meant that they would be nice and filling. I gave the kids a couple of those, warm from the oven, with a slice of cheese - they were thrilled.

Lunch can be as creative as you want - and who says you have to be conventional - certainly not me! Just look for interesting ways to incorporate whole grains - a pasta salad made with whole wheat pasta, a cold quinoa salad topped with salmon and asparagus, drizzle on a bit of oil and vinegar dressing. Whole wheat tortillas with black beans, leaf lettuce, cut up tomatoes, and a dab of sour cream or plain yogurt. I often enjoy a simple salad made with cooked brown rice, cut up grilled chicken, slices of black olives, sometimes cold steamed broccoli. I pour a bit of homemade italian dressing over top, and it's delicious. Simple, simple!

Okay, now for dinner:

Brown rice is awesome, and if you pair it with a legume (beans) you are completely golden. But don't forget to broaden your horizons! You've got whole wheat cous cous, whole wheat pasta (organic brands such as Bionaturae are very inexpensive and delicious), quinoa, wild rice (expensive, but if you just add in a handful to your regular brown rice it adds a nice texture), and bulgar to name a few. Also a whole grain roll on the side is a tasty addition to a meal.
It's easy to incorporate whole grains, and they really aren't expensive when bought from the bulk section of the health food store. It's not as if you have to buy a ton of the food item either. You can buy as much or as little as you like!

I have some great snack ideas as well, but those will have to wait for another day.

In no way is this post comprehensive, my goal is simply to help you understand how easy and delicious it can be to take a step towards a more healthful lifestyle. I know a lot of you are way beyond the point of just adding more whole grains, but some of you may have needed a little insight. I hope this helps! Now, go enjoy some delicious whole grains today!

Home.... it's so good to be home.

It's like a warm hug from a dear friend. Familiar, safe, and sweet.

Oh, how I have missed home.

***Don't miss out on the contest below!!
Memories.... Old and New
**Updated: We froze our butts off. Completely. The kids were shaking, Judah started crying as soon as the hunt was over, and Eve determined that winter has dragged on for far too long.

I didn't even laugh when daniel grumbled about the cold. I was too cold to muster up the energy needed to laugh.

It was crazy.

But they won prizes.... Um, yay?!

Tonight finds us spending the night at my grandparent's house. It is so peaceful here. And with the beautiful full moon smiling down on us, it feels like a different world. Quiet, peaceful, tucked away. We are incredibly loved upon when we are here. We treasure the time spent with the ones that love us so very much.

The five of us are here for the big Easter egg hunt. The hunt is being held tomorrow morning on The Green in the tiny New York town of my childhood. This is tradition, after all. I used to hunt for Easter eggs there as a little girl. I even made it in the paper one year! My small moment of fame.

Because tradition is so important to me, we traveled five hours in order for our children to attend the festivities. Last year found us participating as well, but our kids were just a bit too young. I am in high anticipation of this year's time on The Green. I can't wait to see my little Judah-man go after the eggs. Although, realistically, I think he'll probably just stick his thumb in his mouth and watch all the kids run after the eggs. Eve - she's become a bit more aggressive (I still use the term loosely though, she's a little lover ) and I think she'll be able to hold her own. I love that they actually hide the eggs at this hunt. It seems to be the trend now to just dump all the eggs in a big pile and let the kids duke it out. The "hunt" is over in about fifteen seconds flat. Ugg!

This egg hunt is truly a hunt, and with great prizes too! They even gave away a bicycle last year. But we come for the memories; I'll have my camera, held in mittened hands, capturing the same special moments that bring me back to my own childhood.

I think it's kind of funny that this year the kids will be hunting for eggs amidst the snow drifts. Okay, I actually don't think it's funny at all. I think it's pathetic and just plain cruel. But I do think the snow will make it super easy to spy the eggs.
If you listen carefully at about 10:01 a.m., I bet you'll be able to hear Daniel growling about how dang cold it is. And if you listen extra carefully you'll hear me laughing at his misery. I can get away with that because we've been married for nearly seven years now.

Wow, time sure does fly when you're having fun....
Silly Eve

Why yes, that is a pillowcase Eve is sleeping in.
There is Coffee to be Won!!
As many of you know our little family is about to make a huge move. Moving from Vermont to New Mexico. In three weeks. My knees are shaking, my hands are clamming, my heart is having strange palpitations. I am so nervous! I shouldn't be, I moved from New York to Alaska after all, but this is my first big move with kids.

Here's the deal: I need some ingenious moving tips. And this is where you come in. You ingenious people, you!

I am going to open up this contest from today through Tuesday, March 25th. Wednesday morning I will pick the winner.

You give me your best moving, traveling with children, or settling in tip.

And I give you this:

A pound of locally roasted Vermont Maple Creme flavored Columbia coffee. You should smell this coffee.... absolute HEAVEN! It's ready and waiting to be mailed to the one whose tip I pick as the most ingenious. I will mail it to anywhere in the world.

Bring on those tips!
Mothering. Is it overwhelming or what?
I was reading in my Sally Clarkson book this afternoon and her words were such a balm to my tired mother's heart. She was talking about the struggles associated with motherhood, saying that she, at times, felt inadequate in knowing how to discipline and train her children. One of the questions she voiced was "Does my child need more attention or discipline?"
A couple months ago I was feeling very downtrodden and at my wit's end. I felt totally lost in my parenting and I remember asking Daniel "Does Eve need more love or more discipline?"
It felt so good today to read that this amazing woman has had the same questions and feelings I have. That she has walked where I am walking right now. And that the feelings I feel are universal among mothers. Feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, loneliness.
Mothers, we need to encourage each other. We need to be vulnerable and real. We need to come along side each other and help carry the burden. And we really need to not judge, because we are all working towards the same goal: raising children to be adults with character and integrity. And it isn't easy. Ever.
Thank God for those good days, the wonderful memories that simply "happen", the hilarious things our kids say or do. They are our saving graces because this mothering job is tough. It requires an enormous amount of sacrifice, but we so gladly give it. Isn't it amazing how God made our hearts incredibly tender, and always ready and willing to lay down our lives for our children.

So mothers, be encouraged! Your life will never be dull or worthless. Your clothes will never be stain free. Your house will never be as clean as you want it. You will constantly be humbled. You will always be more concerned for your child than yourself.
But your heart, your heart will always be full. And you will always be loved.

As you visit blogs today, take a moment to encourage those who are mothers. We need those few words of love and affirmation from each other. Our tired hearts suck it up like rain drops on a desert floor. And it is so much easier to be encouraging when you feel encouraged yourself.
Go be someone's ray of sunshine today!
Good Morning, Sunshine....
Do you have any memories from being woken up in the morning? Did your mom or dad have a special way of helping you greet the day? Oh, I do. And it's very special and quite memorable. Scarring as well.

I remember my mom standing at the bottom of my stairs and calling to me with these sweet words:

"Rise and shine, An- diahrea "

Why oh why she had to pick a intestinal disorder to change my name into, and then wake me up with it in the morning, I'll never know. But she did. I really think she may have scarred me. For life.

But I digress...

This morning I woke up to this in my fridge

And these on my piano

I had been completely out of butter! And I get a little panicky when I run out of something as crucial as butter. I mean what was I going to put on the kid's bagels, or grease the egg pan with, or, or, OR! But Daniel saved the day. Like always. And he even gave me some bright colorful flowers to make me smile. I am ALL about color, but you already know that, don't you.

I must say this was a much more pleasant way to wake up rather than hearing "An-diahrea!!!" That's just not pleasant, not pleasant at all.
Happiness is....
You know what I love? I love making dinner in the morning. I find such happiness while creating a meal in the bright sun beams that stream through my kitchen window. The kids are (usually) happy and playing well, some kind of music is playing and I'm feeling good. I wish I had the freedom to bake and cook to my heart's content but all too soon someone's booty needs to be cleaned, or the baby must be fed, laundry needs to be switched from washer to dryer, and suddenly I find that the tyranny of the urgent has taken over. But for now, I will enjoy the fragrance the pot roast emits as it cooks itself into a delightful state of being in my oven. And I'll enjoy the thoughtless afternoon I can have - not having to think about dinner because it requires so little from me today. All I need to do is make a quick spinach salad with grated carrots, cauliflower, and cranberries to go along with homemade balsamic vinegar dressing. And a side of garlic mashed potatoes. Perhaps I'll even make some steamed cabbage if I am feeling especially sassy. Or Irish.

Since all three are sleeping I am off to read a chapter in my new book "The Mom Walk" by Sally Clarkson. Should be good...

P.S. Just so you don't get the impression that my life is charmed.... Eve had a major meltdown/tantrum/crying episode this morning that lasted a good hour. It was ugly. And while I stayed quite calm on the outside, on the inside I felt like crying. Sometimes it's so hard to stick to my guns.

I love these shoes, but I can't justify spending two-hundred and twenty eight dollars on a pair. Wish I could, but I can't. Not when Daniel and I have three little, but very loud when hungry, mouths to feed. But it just happened, while visiting Maine this weekend, I came across some shoes that have the same look and sassy feel to them. No, they're not crafted in Italy using Italian calfskin. And no they aren't trimmed in Italian leather, but they are still awesome. And I love them. LOVE them. While I won't wear animal print - ever - and I won't carry an animal print purse, I will don a pair of animal print shoes with a big smile on my face. Part of that smile comes from paying fifteen dollars for each pair of shoes. Oh yeah. No guilt involved in this purchase. Sometimes it's nice to buy something just for me.

Holiday Inn Express Review
The Holiday Inn Express was our landing place this weekend. Daniel and I had decided to wing it with our vacation - this meant no hotel reservations or any big plans. After a long day of driving and hanging out with old friends, we drove into Manchester, New Hampshire at about ten o'clock on Friday night. First we headed toward the Fairfield Inn, we have stayed there before were satisfied. Unfortunately the outward appearance of the Fairfield Inn was less than desirable - somewhat old and run down looking- we decided to not even go inside. Right next to the Fairfield was a Holiday Inn Express. This hotel had a nice updated outward appearance. Daniel went in to check on rates, he found they were 95 dollars a night for a king sized bed in a non-smoking room. Daniel also asked about a military discount and was told that it was a pathetic two dollars. That was pretty sad and frustrating for him.

After checking in we headed to our room. I must say we were rather pleased with the initial walk-in. First off, the room didn't smell musty or dirty. I can't say as it had a pleasant smell, just that it didn't have a smell. I was really happy about that. The second thing I noticed about the room was the bed. It was sharply made. A simple white comforter, with a blue blanket folded at the bottom, over really beautiful, high quality white sheets. The pillows were lined up and labeled soft or firm. The room itself was of an average size, not too small , but not large either. It was comfortable for two people. If we had brought Eve and Judah along the room would have been quite crowded, but with just the baby it was fine.
Next I noticed the heater - silly I know, but I have a pet peeve about heaters. I hate that they blow all the warm air up into the curtains! This one had a shield that directed the air out into the room. Again, I was very happy. It's the small things, you know.

Next up was the bathroom; I always have to check out the bathroom. I loved this room's bathroom! It was bright, clean, and well kept. The decorating in the whole room, but especially the bathroom, was contemporary. Beautiful white towels, fantastic bath curtain, clean shower, nice toiletries and a big marble sink. When I took a shower later in our visit, I found that the shower head was awesome! I hate a wimpy shower.

Sleeping on the bed was comfortable. It wasn't fantastic but I had a good night's sleep. I really enjoyed that it all felt clean, that the sheets smelled pleasant, and the bedding was simple and easy to deal with.

The next morning Daniel headed to the fitness room. To say he was disappointed would be an understatement. He was downright disgruntled. The fitness room was the size of a closet, and with very little equipment. It also had huge windows that opened to the hallway - I wouldn't have wanted to work out while on display to the entire hotel. The pool, located right next to the fitness room, was also very tiny. It was passable but very crowded.

The continental style breakfast provided was a give and take. Fake, foamy eggs and fake cheese. Very small to-go coffee cups, as in 4 ozs. But the room to eat in was beautiful - big and bright with nice furnishings.
Daniel got his food to take in the car, but had we eaten breakfast in the dining room, we would have been quite comfortable.

Lastly, the hotel staff was very professional. The front desk checked us in and out quickly and efficiently; the ladies there smiled and were generally nice to deal with.
Our room maid was also excellent. She made our bed - standard - but she also made up Eliza's pack and play. She lined up all the toiletries I had put by the sink onto a folded towel for me. I admit, her touching my toothbrush bothered me immensely, but otherwise it was a nice gesture. I felt like we came back into a very clean room at the end of the day.

Overall, I would definitely stay in a Holiday Inn Express again. I enjoyed the cleanliness, the contemporary feel, and the free wireless. We were generally very happy with our visit. The next time we need a hotel I am sure we will head right for a Holiday Inn Express. And with us driving from Vermont to New Mexico, this will be quite soon!
Girls, Pearls, and Good-Byes
Eve and Ginger

Every girl must have a pair of pearl earrings. This according to our special friend Ginger. Eve didn't have a pair yet, but Ginger took care of that on Friday. I think they suit her just perfectly.

After spending time with Ginger on Friday I realized how difficult it was going to be to say good-bye to her. And it's not just her, it's this group of people I have built my life around for four years.
I am very much a people person - I don't care so much for "stuff" - but people, I love people. I enjoy building relationships with everyone from my neighbors to the librarian to the people who check me out at the health food store. I work very hard at building good, strong relations with all I come into contact with whether it be on a regular basis or not. Take for instance the guy we buy raspberries from every summer, he remembers me and I only see him once a year. That type of thing is so important to me. But it sure makes the leaving difficult.
I am going to miss this great network of people I have in my life. I know I will have the opportunity to start over again in New Mexico, but it's the in between that's hard. I like that people know me, that they remember me. But mostly I like that I remember them. Though no one will know me when I get to New Mexico, hopefully it won't take long. I do have the red hair working in my favor. Nobody forgets the red hair... It sure makes it hard to get away with anything!
Filed under: Nitty Gritty Life
I miss blogging. Like I use to be able to blog. I miss you all being in on my daily life.... but it's daily life that is the problem. I get so stinkin' busy that I can't blog about the stuff that I really want to blog about. Like how Judah moved to a big boy bed this week! Yay! And he has done amazingly well. His favorite thing to say is : "That's my bed!" But, I didn't have the time to tell you about that. Stinks. I didn't have time to tell you that we were going on vacation... That Daniel was on leave this week and that it's been wonderful. Or that Eliza is doing much better, but she had a rough couple of days and it was still pretty scary. About the great deals I found on Craigs List ( having SO much fun!). Or about how some people came to our house to do a walk through, seeing if they want to rent it when we move out. Or how I had to leave because it was breaking my heart to think about someone else living in our home.

Really, I could go on and on. I have so much I want to tell you.

And I really miss visiting all of you AND commenting. I have 273 unread blogs in my bloglines and they just keep on coming. The only time I have to read blogs, for the most part, is when I am nursing Eliza. Commenting is really hard to do one-handed. I do it some, but it gets old fast. I am so sorry. I miss the commenting relationship.
I am going to try and do better. Now that I know more what you guys like to read about, thanks to the poll in the sidebar, I will have more focus.

So, just know that I wish I could blog like I use to and that I miss commenting. This week will be better.

By the way, New Hampshire is GREAT! It's nice to have a little break from real life. And children. As much as I love them... Daniel must come first. I am remembering that this weekend.
Pull those pants up!
My kids have no hips. None. I roll their pants and they still fall down...


Last night as I was laying in bed, whispering in the dark with Daniel, I realized how perfect of a moment it was. There I was laying in the arms of the man I love deeply, my three babies were peacefully sleeping, the house still and warm. I whispered to Daniel that there was no place I would rather be at that moment. I was in the midst of perfection.

Another sweet memory to tuck away in my heart.
If She Doesn't Melt Your Heart....

I live for this beautiful smile.

And at this point the photo shoot obviously became very boring

Practicing for "West Texas"
Y'all, I am tired! Really, really tired.

My eyelids have felt like they are made of lead all day today. Well, actually for the last 4 days.
I think I got about three, maybe four hours of sleep during the forty-four hours spent at the hospital. Then last night I was still pretty worried about Eliza so I didn't sleep very well or much. As of right now, I am certain I could sleep for at least a day and a night without waking up.

But, have I ever mentioned that I have two other children? So yeah, that sleeping for twenty-fours hours thing isn't going to fly. Bummer.

After I had Judah, I kindly informed Daniel that I was going to be sleeping for at least two years when all the kids move out of the house. But now, since having my third baby, I'm thinking I need to bump that number up. Way up.

My tiredness really began to show tonight at Bed Bath and Beyond. Daniel and I had a chance to get out for a couple blessed hours without the kids. We went to look for a new bed spread and ended up having a blast laughing at all their "gadgets."

Tonight it was the chef's knife that proclaimed "Try me out!" And the banana scented candle that I nearly passed out after smelling. I made Daniel smell it 'cause misery loves company, you know.
Then there was the grater you could use to remove the dead skin on your feet.


I gagged. Then I laughed. A lot.

It even had a catch-all compartment attached - the company thoughtfully showed a picture of a person throwing the dead skin away. It looked like parmesan cheese. Gross!
We laughed at the razor for shaving your head that looked like a car. Of course I had to insert the appropriate car sounds while Daniel did the shaving motions.
Lastly, there was the stick on your ceiling stars with packaging boasting the world began 15 billion years ago. Silly people! It was actually only 14 billion years.

We are both really tired. Can you tell yet?

Well, here's to hoping that I can get some good sleep tonight. Otherwise, we are in danger of my never-ending laughing thing. And that's just awful. I get started laughing and I can't stop. For like a half an hour. Daniel just shakes his head and smiles. What else can you do when faced with a hysterically laughing woman who just won't stop?
Hey Honey....
We're hoooome!

What a torture session that was.

My poor baby girl. Oh, she was so miserable. Scared me absolutely to death on Friday night. That night brought me to the sudden and undeniable realization of how fragile my daughter's life is. Thank God for hospitals, ambulances, doctors, and medicine.

Eliza responded so well to all the treatments she received; she was a really brave girl. But it broke my heart to see her look at me, begging with her eyes for me to save her from the pain they were inflicting on her tiny body, and have to choose to not scoop her up in my arms and run away from the torture.

Our sweet Eliza won over the hearts of all the doctors and nurses who cared for her. Not surprising at all! Who wouldn't melt under the power of her dimple, her chubby cheeks, and beautiful megawatt smile. I know I haven't stood a chance since the day she was born.

Forty-eight hours later sees Eliza doing pretty good. She still has a wicked cough, and her little voice is raspy BUT she is alive and recovering! And we are home. How good it felt to walk out of the pediatric wing and into the fresh air of the outdoors. It was amazing to bring Eliza home; when we sat down in our favorite chair to nurse she just looked into my eyes and smiled. I could see the comfort she took in from being at home. And it is good for me too, to be back where I belong, in my home taking care of my family. I made chicken stir fry tonight for dinner, and the satisfaction I found in making a simple meal for my husband and kids was enormous.

Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts for our little girl. I could feel the love. Seriously. It was such an encouragement to know that people all over were praying for us. And I promise you, we needed every single prayer. Thank you, thank you , thank you!
Pray. Think of us.
Hi Blogland, it's Daniel.

We had to take Eliza to the ER Friday night because her cough got worse. She was really struggling. Turns out she had RSV (some kind of respiratory virus) so they did some suctioning to clear her out and deemed that they she should stay the night. Andie stayed with her last night and all today. They're keeping her another night, hopefully I can pick them up in the morning. She's doing great, obviously feeling much better and looking better too. They just aren't comfortable letting her go yet because it can cycle good and bad. I just talked to Andie tonight and they finally got her and Lize into their own room, so she's a little more comfortable now. I'll update as I can, but hopefully you'll hear from Mrs. Hub herself tomorrow. . .

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts.
Lakeshore Learning
A couple of years ago I found this great website called Lakeshore Learning. I was looking for high quality craft resources for Eve and to use together. I was pretty much over Walmart's selection of Crayola. Believe me - I love Crayola but was needing something more. I ended up buying a bunch of great craft items!



Wiggly eyes - because no crafting is complete without wiggly eyes!!

Really awesome paint:

This fun painting set:


I also bought huge white cardboard cutouts of the alphabet along with a bunch more collage type items. And paper. Loved their paper! For the paint I bought inexpensive trays, these were a wonderful thing to have considering Eve was two at the time. The trays helped keep everything nice and neat. They were so easy to clean also.

Last year I bought this fantastic playdough toy set:

My kids have had hours and hours of fun using these toys.

Now I have my eye on two new items.

This bookshelf:

And this water and sand activity table.

But I can guarantee you I won't be putting sand in the containers! Oh, how I HATE sand in my house.

I felt remiss in not sharing this great resource with you. The quality is awesome and this company has so many fun things for kids! The target audience is teachers and schools, but mothers can enjoy all that this company has to offer also.
The stool is hard at work...

Lunch is lookin' good, Mama!
My first meme....evah.
Straight Shooter tagged me awhile ago to write up five facts about myself. She must have caught me at a weak moment because I agreed to do it. For some silly reason I have been highly adverse to these memes. I love reading them on other's blogs but didn't want to do one here.

Alright, here goes nothing...

1.) I can not eat an egg if I haven't taken the "white stuff" off of it. You know that nasty squiggly stuff attached to the yolk? I hate it and won't eat it. Ever.

2.) I adore loud music. Anytime I can I crank it up! Which translates into not very often. I don't like to turn up the volume too loud when I have the kids with me. Which is pretty much always.

3.) I hate checking my voicemail. I don't know why but it bugs me and I rarely do it. I've actually been a bit better lately. But those who really know me, know to not bother leaving a message, because I probably won't get it for a loooong time.

4.) Most everybody calls me Andie. I'm Andrea to very few people.

5.) I love to laugh. LOVE it. If you can make me laugh, we'll be friends forever. That's one of the reasons I married Daniel. He's really funny! And he knows just how to get me to laugh.

Okay, so I survived my first meme. Did you?

Sharing secrets already.
A Two Year Old
I am having a challenging day with my little man, so I decided I would write this to help me remember all that I cherish about him.

How should I describe life with a two year old?

Challenging. Hilarious. Loud. Messy. Sweet. Frustrating. Surprising.

I sometimes expect Judah to act like Eve or *gasp* even an adult. And I forget that he's two. That the world towers over him.
I bought Judah his own stool this past weekend; he carries that green and blue stool everywhere! I trip over it at nearly every turn. It's amazing what a difference six inches can make in the life of a two year old. It's the difference between knowing Mama's doing the dishes and watching mama doing the dishes. Between having to ask for the yellow chalk to being able to reach any color chalk he may want to draw with.

It's the little things, you know.

One of the characteristics I love the most about two year old Judah, is his ability to be real. I always know what he is feeling. Two year olds don't hide emotions real well, now do they? He hasn't learned how to pretend to be happy when he's actually sad or how to temper his joy. He is honest in all respects. And I love that.

And boy, is his joy contagious! When Judah is happy, everybody is happy. It's so fun to watch him smile and it tickles my ears to hear him laugh. It is always the simplest things that bring him happiness. I enjoy that immensely.

When it comes to anger, we are trying to teach Judah to express it in more controlled ways. This translates into a lot of "room-time" for Judah. We strictly enforce that he has to nicely hold our hand and nicely walk with us to his room. In his room he can let it all hang out, though angry screaming is not permitted. That's a little too much honesty! The part I like best about this, is that Daniel and I allow him decide when he is ready to come back out with the family. Sometimes it takes him forever, but Judah comes back out to us with a contrite, cooperative spirit. My sweet, sweet boy.

Another characteristic about Judah that I love is his willingness to help. He surprises me with his initiative. It amazes me that he thinks ahead to how he can help me. I often find myself seriously underestimating him. A two year old is truly capable of so much, if only we allow them. And he feels so much pride in completing a job. I love seeing how Judah's face lights up with a sense of accomplishment.

One of my most favorite things about this two year old stage is communication. I love listening to Judah talk! It's really fun to hear how his words come out; his sentence structure is priceless. The phrase I love the best right now is how he says "Stop it." He says: "Fhwop it."

One day I started to take away the lunch Judah wasn't finishing and I heard:

"Hey! Fhwop it Mama! I am eating it!"

Sent me into gales of laughter!

I just find so much delight in simply listening to him talk. Daniel or I will squat in front of Judah and he will talk and talk. There will be one or two words we can understand along with lots of excited sounds, deep breaths and hand motions, then he'll burst out with what he really wants to say at the very end. All that really matters is mama or daddy is looking at him eye to eye and listening.

Life with Judah is always interesting; there is never a boring moment when he is around. He is the sweet, good little boy that makes my life complete. He can frustrate me to the point of tears, but no one else can make my heart feel loved like Judah can.

And with that I am off to have a wonderful afternoon with my little blond haired boy.
Our Little Overcomer

Eve has done it again. She conquered another fear.... the fear of painted faces. She has been, her whole life, absolutely terrified of anyone with paint on their face. In preschool a couple of weeks ago the kids had their faces painted with whiskers and noses like animals; Eve had a complete meltdown. She hid in one of the tunnels ( they were studying "hibernating" that day) they had built and cried. Thankfully her teacher is incredibly wonderful and sensitive, but it was traumatic.

Yesterday we took the kids to our town's winter carnival where one of the fun activities they had was face painting. Daniel and I talked to Eve about it and decided that she was at the point of needing to face her fear. She was not pleased with this decision, to say the least. Regardless, off we went to the gymnasium to stand in line with our little girl.

"Only a small, little butterfly, right?" she kept asking us.

Twenty-five minutes later Eve was in the chair having her face painted. She was incredibly brave the whole time. When she was all done she hopped out of the chair and looked in the mirror, so proud of herself. She continually talked about her face painting throughout the rest of the time we were at the carnival, simply needing the reassurance that she did a great job. We kept telling her we couldn't be more proud of her.
How I love to see my girl overcome her fears. How I long for her to grow into a strong woman, unafraid and confident. To face the world head-on.

Next up.... the Easter bunny. She's been talking about him for weeks now, knowing we are going to have her say hi to him and shake his hand. Hopefully by the time it happens, she will be ready to conquer fear again.
Southern... or not so much
I was talking with Lou-Ann from a school down in Clovis New Mexico the other day. During our conversation she off-handedly informed me that although Clovis is in New Mexico, that area is actually considered west Texas. This little nugget of information was fine by me seeing how Daniel and I are planning on settling in Texas someday. Just a bit of a head start for us.

I told Daniel of this and we agreed that since we will soon be living in "west Texas" (anyone else think that Texas wants to take over the world?) it would be good to teach Eve a little "southern." We tried to start out easy, figuring we could introduce more involved words and phrases as we got on.

"Ya'll" was our first step. We told Eve the word and what it meant, then asked her to try to say it. She did great. And it sure was cute to hear "ya'll" in her little voice. The problem came when we tried to teach her to use it in a sentence.

This is what happened: "C'mon ya'll of you!"

Daniel and I laughed and laughed! Then said.... Baby girl, you are such a "yankee!"

Poor thing. She was, after all, born in North Dakota which is about as far from a southern accent as a girl can get.

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