School’s out for the summer!

Another school year is over! I see what people mean now when they say the years really do start to fly as your kids get older. I wanted to compare the kids’ first and last day pics.  Here’s the best we got!

2nd grader, Gabriel:

He especially looks and acts a lot older. He’s already up to my shoulders and has a very inquisitive mind. He raises a lot of questions about faith and eternity. Deep. He’s seriously already missing his teacher, he thinks she’s the best thing ever.

1st grader, Lucy:

She continues to be our social butterfly and excels in school. She’s reading waaay above her level and picks up things very quickly. She loved 1st grade and told me this summer she would like to tour the KLOVE studio and go swimming. Goals!

Preschooler, Amelia:

Amelia has probably grown up the most of all. She’s independent, can speak for herself, LOVES preschool and cannot sleep with bumps in her comforter. She’s probably going to be our most challenging child thus far with giving us a run for our money. She informed me the other day that she kissed so-and-so and they’re in love. Ahem. We had to have a talk.

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Photo credit to Jeremiah Costello, what a great job he did!

Honestly, all the kids were sad to be done with the school year! They have such AMAZING teachers and their school really is a family. I know everyone talks about how great their kid’s school and teachers are and blah blah blah, but this is legit. The school we have here is a gem and seriously one of a kind. I cannot imagine a better school to educate and prepare our kids for the world, not only in content, but real life and interpersonal skills. We are so incredibly blessed to have this school!!!!

Our plans for the summer? Well I’m going to continue growing a human. Other than that, we’ve talked with G and L about some reading goals, hopefully 1 book per week. If they do that I am going to be thrilled! J has some goals for all of us learning a second language and honing some musical skills. We plan to make several trips and will resume lessons in Costello’s Summer School of Life. G has gotten several opportunities lately, including helping to drive a mini excavator, pulling a calf, burying some deceased pets, castrating cows, lighting controlled fires and defeating chickens for their eggs. Good stuff. We have family visiting several times and are planning to go to Kentucky to visit the Arc as well as San Diego for training/mini vaca. There’s a lot of local places we want to take the kids so hopefully my energy levels can suffice.

Happy summertime!!!

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Day in the Life: 5/9/18

Haven’t done one of these in awhile! Here goes:

3:30am Amelia is up to use the bathroom. I walk her back to her bed and I cannot. fall. asleep. Why?! It’s raining and nice and cool in our room so there’s really no reason because Lord knows I’m tired. So I lay there for an hour…

6:45am My alarm goes off and I barely notice. I don’t actually get out of bed until 7:05 because I. am. tired. This is BAD. I have food to deliver to the school before 7:30am for Teacher Appreciation Week for the teacher breakfast and NONE OF THE KIDS ARE AWAKE. They normally get up at 6:50am. I hustle to get dressed and run off to the school. When I return J says he roused them all and they’re up. When I get upstairs the only person out of bed is Amelia, and she’s crying on the stairs. What’s new? Amelia cries 6 out of 7 mornings when she wakes up. Always a pleasant way to start the day.

7:25am The kids are eating breakfast, Gabriel has decided that everyone needs to eat applesauce out of syrofoam bowls. Fine. I don’t care, just eat something! They have that and a few homemade breakfast cookies. I fix hair and keep reminding them to eat more and talk less. Gabriel and Lucy start wrestling in the living room, which I promptly stop. Amelia throws a fit about wearing the sandals I think she should wear, so she wears the fancy ones instead. She shows me how she’ll shake the wood chips from the playground out of her shoes when it inevitably gets in there. Perfect.

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It’s all a whirl

7:50am We leave for school. Today we take the van but have been walking lately with the nice weather. They get to school just as the first bell rings. Whew. Made it.

8am I make our last preschool payment at school (they only have a few days left of school!!) and then head home. I let Ruth sit in a booster seat for the whopping 3 blocks that we drive. It’s just easier. Don’t tell anyone… Ruth insists on feeding the bunnies, so I let her even though G and L just fed them.

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8:10am Ruth and I head out for our 30 minute walk. She points out every single squirrel and dog and sits happily in the jogger with her cup ‘o milk. We stop by the post office and get the mail. There is a LOT. We get a new book from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Upon arriving home Ruth is insistent that we read it. It’s actually really cute! I’m happy to sit for awhile and rest because my pelvis is yelling at me.

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9-11am I use this 2 hrs to get stuff done around the house. Well, as much as you can when you’re almost 28 weeks pregnant. I have to sit down often because I start to feel like junk whenever I’m trying to be productive or on my feet too long, but we fill that time with reading books that Ruth happily brings me. We do some laundry, empty and load the dishwasher, pick up a bit around the house, vacuum the dirty back crevice of the window seat in the kitchen, sort mail and then venture outside.

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The laundry room overfloweth–bins for socks, etc

It’s a beautiful day! Some friends stop over and we play until Amelia gets off the bus at 11. Ruth finds/makes/eats/plays/sits in some dirt and mud. She gets SO dirty. I scrub her off with a washcloth and call it good.

11:30am Lunch time! We eat on the porch, tuna sandwhiches, cut up mango and cheese. Amelia’s little friend across the street is yelling for her to come play, but she says ‘My family is eating lunch! I’ll have to play later!’. We clean up lunch and Amelia reminds me that I said she could paint my toe nails. Of course. She chooses purpley glitter.

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A dirty child is a sign of a good day 😉

12:30pm NAP TIME! I change Ruth. We read a few books and I put Amelia and Ruth down in their beds. Amelia doesn’t nap every day but I can tell today that she needs one. She’s quite sassy. They both are asleep really quickly. Some days I lay down but today I know I have stuff that needs done in the quiet time and I actually feel ok. I start another load of laundry and for a short time all 4 hampers in our house are EMPTY. Happy day!

12:45-1:45pm I spend this time today doing something I don’t enjoy: making phone calls. Ugh. Insurance companies, internet providers, several calls to each. I think I’ve got everything straightened out. I really try to sit down in the afternoons for at least 1-2 hrs if I can on days I’m home (if I don’t nap) otherwise I have a hard time getting through the rest of the day. Sad but true. I put a dozen eggs in instant pot to hard boil. I use the 5-5-5 method and it works like a charm. I put off sorting kid’s shoes to go into storage and folding laundry.

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2-2:30 pm I still have 30 mins before the big kids get home from school and the 2 little girls are magically still sleeping. I power up the computer, eat a Cadbury Egg (the last from Easter!), read some emails and look for some new sandals for Ruth. This is much more enjoyable than phone calls!

2:35pm Amelia is up. So is Ruth. They chatter a bit upstairs before I rescue Ruth from her crib. She climbs everything….except out of her crib. And I’m ok with that!

2:36pm Gabriel and Lucy arrive home from school. It’s Wednesday so it’s early out day. Lucy brings home allll of her artwork from the year so we have to go through and admire it. Wednesday folders come home today with usually a TON of stuff to go through, sign, sort, etc. I start that task while the kids run around like banshees. I always have a good sized pile of papers to go through. Lucy has a notice for an overdue book that must be back before next week. She searches all over the house but still can’t find it and is distraught that she may have to pay the $4.99 replacement fee out of her bank. Life lessons, girl.

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Ruth has apparently been woken up from her nap too soon, as I find her like this:

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The kids finish a new floor puzzle Nana brought. It’s 4 feet tall and they’re pumped. They all have to lay down next to it and see if they’re 4 feet tall as well.

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We go outside for awhile and I find a sunny chair to sit in because, well, I’m tired and it’s really nice out. The kids run around and play and then it’s on to dinner prep. I seem to ALWAYS be in the kitchen. And lately, I’m in the kitchen, pregnant, and barefoot. How’s that for a cliche for you?

5:00pm We eat. It’s early but I don’t care. We avoid the concession stand so it’s just easier to eat before ball games if possible. I made a GF pepperoni and pineapple pizza. The kids  I pretty much eat almost all of it except for the pieces I save for J to eat. It’s so good. (The Bob’s Red Mill GF pizza crust mix is very tasty, our favorite). G runs around getting dressed in between bites of pizza because he didn’t listen the first 2 times I told him to get ready to go.

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5:15pm We’re off to baseball. Gabriel puts on his socks and shoes in the car while we drive because he’s taking too long to get dressed. The kids fight because one wants country on the radio and another wants KLOVE. We get to the field in time for warmups.

6pm Baseball game! Gabriel does well, hits and fields. He’s improving and fun to watch! J meets us there. Ruth repeatedly attempts to wander into the parking lot and loves climbing on the bleachers. Amelia and Lucy run around with the other kids and play. We sit comfortably in our new chairs 🙂 I forget to snap any pictures until later.

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7:45pm Get back home. It’s so beautiful out! The kids bounce for awhile and J tries to convince me that this summer he should build on our garage. And if we do that our garage will be bigger than our house. I suppose that’s every man’s dream. He’s apparently planted a money tree out back that I have not discovered yet. Ruth runs around with 1 shoe on and no bottoms because….4th child. She’s a free spirit I guess. We pick up all the toys and head inside.

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8pm It’s actually the kids’ bedtime but they desperately need to bathe. G heads upstairs while J gives the little girls a bath downstairs and I lay out outfits for tomorrow and switch more laundry. Lucy hops in the shower after G. I notice G still has black paint under his eyes from baseball, but he swears that he washed his face. I’m a bit skeptical. I mop up a bunch of water on the floor since Lucy has a hard time keeping the water in the shower for some reason. We brush hair, supervise teeth brushing, read stories, pray and tuck into bed.

8:40pm All the kids are finally in bed. Whew. Always a relief. I debate on whether to shower or wait till morning, but procrastination wins. I catch up on emails and blogs I like to read and put my feet up for a bit. Load the dishwasher and pick up a bit. I do wish we weren’t out of ice cream 😦

10:30pm Sleep. I stayed up too late once again, as I have to be up at 5:40am the next day for work. That’ll be a butt-kicker. Some day I’ll learn!

 

Friday Five: 5/4/18

  1. I never got around to writing a post on Gabriel’s 1st Communion, so I’ll just lump that right in here. Being Catholic, 1st Communion is a big deal. Gabriel has been looking forward to this for a long time, and I am so happy and proud that he understands the importance of communion and appreciates/believes in what he is partaking. This day was so special for our family! We had an amazing turnout of family to support Gabriel at Mass and a great party afterwards. Gabriel got a ton of very generous and neat gifts. We got him this Action Bible (This is a really cool book, highly recommend for anyone who likes comic books especially!!!) and another really cool gift was this Lego Mass set. Can hardly believe my little boy is so grown up!!

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2. Lucy turned 7! Yet another thing I can hardly believe! Lucy had school on her birthday, and I surprised her and showed up to eat lunch with her. You should have seen the look on her face! PS-Our kids’ school lunch is actually really good…. So for the kids’ birthdays we usually let them pick whether they would like to have a friend party or have J and I take them out for a one-on-one day/evening date. Lucy chose the later and I couldn’t have been happier. I much prefer to do the date than throw a party! So Lucy requested that we go out for sushi (no, not kidding, and she loved it!). After that we decided to go ice skating (I sat out and watched, of course, no ice skating for this preggo) and also got ice cream. Lucy was tickled to hold hands with both of us all night and she so enjoyed the one on one time. It was the perfect evening until our sitter text us that G cut his head open….never a dull moment!

Lucy also got some new spectacles for her birthday and she looks so great in them!  (Thanks Aunt Mel!!)

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3. We have entered into baseball/softball season. I really enjoy watching my kids in their activities!! I do have to admit that I really like watching baseball/softball over other things (ahem, wrestling) probably because it’s nicer outside than in a gym(?). G and L are both playing, so we have games to attend 3-4 nights/week for the next 8 weeks. I’m all good with that except that one can only eat sandwiches for dinner so many times and our chairs stink! We are in the market for some new seating this year, because we are using some we’ve had since we got married that have seen better days, and this 5-times-pregnant body needs a decent place to sit. I’m coveting these chairs because they’re amazing, that’s all.

4. Not to keep bragging up on my kids, but Gabriel WROTE A SONG for the piano! Talk about being a proud mama! He’s going to play it for a recital that the kids have coming up. He’s starting to learn to play chords and practices all. the. time for about 2 mins at a time. Hey, I won’t complain. The kid who I thought wouldn’t like piano has really taken a liking to it. I keep planting the seed in their heads that Gabriel, Lucy, and J could totally be a family act and do cantoring/accompanying with piano at church by the time they’re in high school. They’re considering it 😉

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5. Almost 27 weeks with this pregnancy! It really is flying by, but I know that the last trimester is literally 15 months long, soooo we’ll see how that goes. We have yet to agree on a boy’s name, but have oodles of girls names that we both like. Each pregnancy gets a little harder to name babies, because, well, I’m married to a teacher. That’s another whole post in itself. I’m starting to wake at night with the dreaded leg cramps. I woke up at midnight last night with my great toe stuck straight up in the air and a muscle in the front of my lower leg on fire! OUCH!!!!! Why does that have to happen?! People are repeatedly asking me when I’m due because the belly is mega-size already. I have been able to walk for exercise at least some this time around, which wasn’t doable with my last pregnancy, so that’s a plus. I’m getting slower, can’t eat as much, moving is more difficult, and my pelvis almost breaks in two when I roll over in bed. It’s actually kind of frightening when it audibly clunks where it shouldn’t. With each pregnancy I have the same problem spots in my pelvis. Anyhoo, I’m feeling a lot more baby movements, which is enjoyable! I snagged a baptismal gown the other day because the price was right and it’s uber pretty, although it is very girly so it has a 50/50 chance of getting worn this go-around. Other than that we have bought nothing baby gear/clothing related, and I don’t think we should have to, which is nice. I may start stockpiling diapers when the nesting bug hits, which I expect to be soon 😉

The Transit Van Tour

So we’ve had Black Betty for about a month now. We sure have gotten a lot of questions about our new ride and I thought doing a van tour would be fun for me, maybe others(?). Before we got the van I looked at a lot of youtube videos and blogs about large family use/organization of Ford Transits to see how they were used on a day to day basis. I’m kind of a geek like that (surprise, surprise), but they all proved to be very helpful, and maybe someone in who’s looking to purchase a Transit will find this post helpful. Here to serve 🙂

The van originally had 15 seats, but we have removed 4 so now are down to 11. When new baby arrives in July/Aug, we will have 7 of those 11 seats full. The van has some neat features that we have found very useful, yet is still kind of industrial, and we like that too! Black Betty is very functional for us and so far we have found it fits well for our family!

*Disclaimer: I am no good at taking pictures in a vehicle and Ruth was climbing around in the van the entire time. There are random floor mats all over because we are in the process of getting some more permanent ones for each row. There is snow all over the floor and some dirt because we live in Iowa and apparently it snows and rains relentlessly in April. Whatevs. I did my best.

For her formal introduction, here is Black Betty, the 2017 T-350 Transit van:

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The dash and front seats. My dear husband will not like this picture as I left the steering wheel upside down after I parked. Whoops. The things I especially like are the backup camera, the abundance of cupholders, and the 3 (or 4?) 12V converters. Honestly the steering wheel feels a bit small for the size of vehicle it is, but otherwise the front is comfortable. It honestly drives like a minivan and I think has pretty good get-up-and-go. J could list off the host of other features and specs, but I’m just highlighting what I find convenient and helpful!

 

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Here is getting in on the passenger side. We are in the process of getting running boards, but the steps in each door are helpful to get in, especially if you are incubating a human in your abdomen and you’re not great at climbing. The sun visors are ginormous but have a tiny mirror in the middle when you flip them down. Oh well, can’t have it all.

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Check out all this storage! The front doors have HUGE compartments in the middle and bottom of the doors. On each sides of the dash there are cupholders and another lower holder that we’ve found useful for big water bottles, 1/2 gallons of chocolate milk (ha-you think I’m only kidding), or rolled up papers, etc. Lots of storage!

We have noticed that we have to be careful opening the passenger door and the back ‘barn doors’ because they will hit each other if you let the back one swing too far open.

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There are 2 back doors to open to access the back passenger’s seats. In Transits with our roof height you can get barn doors or a sliding door. The sliding door has mediocre reviews with a lot of problems and people say it’s too heavy for kids to open. So we lucked out finding one with the barn doors. Here’s what it looks like with both doors open. The kids have no trouble opening or closing these, which is awesome!

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Here is a view looking back. I opened all the doors (obviously) for enough light. The seat configuration we currently have is 2 (driver/passenger), 3, 2, 3, 1. The very back one we don’t really use, but the jack for changing a tire is under it and J thought it’d be kind of pointless to take out that seat and then if we ever need to haul that 11th person we can. 😉

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Ruth’s row is the one directly behind the front driver/passenger. She’s still rearfacing and this is the only row that a rear facing carseat will fit (from my experience). I keep a few books and toys in the car of course, because sanity is important for all of us. There’s a small trash can right behind the drivers seat that makes it easy for the kids or us to toss trash into so it doesn’t just roll around on the floor. I actually haven’t had any trouble with the trash can sliding around so that’s good. I also have a box of kleenex and an atlas because once upon a time J was a truck driver and he says we will ALWAYS have an atlas, not just GPS. The new baby will go in this row as well, I think. However, I’m not sure 2 rear facing car seats can fit and still allow a walkway through. As it is now, we can walk from the front seats all the way to the back, and I’d like to keep it that way because it’s super convenient. If it’s windy or cold (all the time lately) I can get in with the kids, buckle Ruth, and walk up to the front to get in the driver’s seat without getting out of the car again. WINNING.

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Ruth has an additional kickmat on her seat so she doesn’t get it all muddy, and then all of the kids have their own back of the seat organizer/kickmat. I got these off amazon and so far work great and weren’t too expensive. In Ruth’s organizer I have diapers, wipes, sunscreen, bugspray, a brush with hairbands, some empty plastic bags for the unknowns and a sun hat. This has almost eliminated our need for a diaper bag! I’m sure when new baby arrives we will need to resume that, but for now it works really well!

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Also under this seat I have a small tote with a change of clothes for EACH kid, plus a few pairs of underwear. When I’m nursing I usually keep a extra shirt for myself too because stuff happens…. This is something I started years ago and has proved to be very important because you just never know when someone is going to have an accident, spill, or get sick on themselves or you!

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Amelia’s row is next. She likes to sit right by the window so she has a cupholder she says 😉 (Ruth was enjoying playing in her seat this day. )We moved Amelia into a high back booster because a) she can buckle herself,  b) one less person we have to buckle in, and c) she’s 4.5 years old and heavy/tall enough. In her organizer she has her sunglasses, gum, a water bottle and some toys (I think). She also keeps a book to read.

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G and L share the next row. They each sit by a window on opposite sides of the car (no fighting–yes!). We removed the freestanding seat directly in front of Gabriel so there’s plenty of room to get in and out and he’s got a lot of leg room. They each have sunglasses, water, and a few things to keep them entertained. Lucy has been having less problems getting carsick. I think the 4 rows of vents for heat on the floor and 4 rows of A/C vents on the ceiling are helpful with air circulation for this, as well as the HUGE windows. There are also speakers all the way back that are nice so the kids aren’t constantly asking to turn the volume louder and LOUDER.

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And finally, the back of the van! It has double doors so you can open one or both. They swing open as wide as the van and have a latch that automatically catches so the wind can’t whip them around. I like this feature. Loading groceries is a game changer and no more shoving groceries into carseats and any and every nook and cranny.

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You can also unlatch the automatic latches with a switch on the door which allows the doors to open ALL the way around to the side of the van. There are magnets that keep the doors in place there. Good for loading/unloading bigger stuff.

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In the back we keep a large quilt, an umbrella stroller, case of water, large ice scraper with brush, Ergo baby carrier, rachet straps, jumper cables, etc. We will be adding a few bag chairs and an umbrella for baseball season and a bag full of activities for the younger girls for the practices/games we’ll be spending a lot of time at early this summer. The kids can easily stand up back here to change clothes if needed. Amelia has already tested out that idea.

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And that’s the end of the tour! Hope you’ve enjoyed.

 

The kids are all right

Returning from my blogging hiatus for an update on my children. Because 1) I haven’t done this kind of post in awhile 2) they are doing some seriously awesome things that I want to be able to look back on in years to come 3) I have an unprecedented case of ‘pregnancy brain’ this go around and my memory is similar to a goldfish… So here goes:

Gabriel, 8 years and 9 months

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Gabriel is growing up so quickly. He solved the Rubics cube several times in the past few weeks and competed in a school wide Rubics cube competition this week and did well! We are awaiting to see if he made it on the school’s team, which will then go to the state competition. G is doing awesome in school. His mind never ever stops turning. Google helps answer the questions that J and I have no clue about, lately he’s been asking about how teeth are formed, what is the Bermuda Triangle, if Noah’s Ark has been found, why gluten is fed to cows, where the remains of the cross were discovered, etc etc. He never stops! He’s pulling scores 4 grades above his current grade in math and science, and is right on track with reading. He has woken at 5:45am the past 2 mornings. (why?!?!) This kid loves the trampoline and wrestling/roughhousing with the neighbor boys. He hates when I make him change him clothes because he couldn’t care less if his shoes were mismatched or if his shirt was on backwards for an entire day. He never stops EATING. He still enjoys building stuff, from Legos to bridges/towers vs fans at school. He was psyched to get the 2-year award at the wrestling banquet this year and is looking forward to baseball starting shortly! He’s also taken up piano and after only a few weeks is playing recognizable tunes. When he grows up he currently aspires to be an engineer/priest 😉

Lucy, 6 years and 11 months

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Lucy is a very interesting person. This kid LOVES art like it’s her air. She finished a session of 2 art lessons with a local artist and was inspired even more, if that’s possible. Lucy is an amazing student. She’s had perfect report cards this whole year. She’s reading way above her grade level and truly enjoys reading, which makes her bookworm mama happy. Her current favorites are Owl Diaries series that she finishes in about an hour each. She’s also playing piano and doing well. She’s already started borrowing her friend’s clothes (what the what??) and wants to go out for sushi for her *ahem* 7th birthday next month. She’s a very sensitive girl and internalizes almost everything. She’s become attached to our rabbits and says prayers for them almost every night. She’s excited to play real softball this spring. She makes homemade cards for the garbage man, our priest, various family members, her friends, teachers, and her parents. She is slow as MOLASSES in the mornings. When she’s all grown up, Lucy would like to be an artist. If that doesn’t work out, a K-LOVE singer. And if all else fails, a veterinarian. 😉

Amelia, 4 years and 4 months

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Kitchen helper extraordinaire, this one. We MUST bake every Wednesday and Friday as soon as she gets off the preschool bus, and she’s now allowed to cut vegetables with a butter knife.  Amelia is a very persistent child and talks nonstop. Her speech is getting so much better with speech therapy, it’s amazing. Amelia loves books, bouncing, running, anything in the kitchen, playing with friends, her toy birds named Angie and Rainbow, the trampoline, lacing cards and glitter markers. Amelia is like a sponge at this age, I love it. You can almost see her just soaking everything up and she’s blunt and honest. She’s very sweet and also very emotional. Some days I do believe that she cries more than she doesn’t. She has 2 volumes: home=LOUD and school=appropriate tones. We’re working on that. She races to be the first one dressed in the morning and occasionally wins, but otherwise cries. She loves to wear ‘high heels’ on Sundays to church and always fights to sit next to me at dinner. She ends all questions with ‘yes?!’ hoping that I will answer in her favor. She’s decided that when she grows up she would like to own a bakery possibly specializing in cupcakes and also be a horse-riding-girl. 😉

Ruth, 1 year and 6 months

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And next up is the resident climber of the House. I sure do hope that this stage has an end, because my house is only so tall and I only have so many places to put things up. It goes like this: Ruth dumps the crayon bucket that contains approximately 50,000 crayons. I put the bucket in a locking tote. She figures out how to open it, dumps them again. I move the bucket to the middle of the dining room table. She moves a chair, climbs, dumps. I put them on top of the piano. She find a step stool, scales the piano and dumps. The step stools are banished to the stairway, locked behind a baby gate. She somehow fanagles that gate and gets a step stool, with her next stop being the kitchen island. Here she eats whole oranges out of the bowl and pushes anything and everything onto the floor until her mother becomes a raging lunatic that the climbing MUST STOP. Ruth is a really fun age, albeit being difficult to take to libraries, stores, anywhere with shelves. Her favorite thing to do secondary to climbing is to play and explore outside. She would be out there all day, as long as the snow isn’t too deep that she can walk. She loves seeing animals and is especially fond of dogs. She’s excellent at cleaning out mixing bowls. She enjoys walking the kids into school and despises the vacuum cleaner. She’s very good at ripping/coloring on/hiding library books but squeals when they have flaps or sliders. She no longer will sit in her high chair (another climbing apparatus) but prefers the table chair. I often catch Ruth in the bathroom attempting to eat toothpaste or clean the toilet. And today I saw her dip her toothbrush into the bathwater. When she grows up she wants to be a rock climber 😉

Baby Five, 21 weeks gestation

I have yet to meet this child face to face, but I do know that he/she is hungry! This baby enjoys laying still and quiet for the majority of the day, but then comes alive at 5am. This baby does not tolerate much of his/her mama’s activity, as I’ve learned to deal with in the past pregnancies. A short time of doing things around the house and I feel terrible. Baby prefers my new copper-infused compression stockings (thanks Prime!) and has contributed to the audible clunk in my pelvis with every step I take. This baby prefers I take a nap a few times a week. This baby has yet to have a name that either of us can agree on, and this is starting to give me stress. This baby has taken the usual shape of a basketball in my abdomen. 😉

Have a Blessed Tridiium!

Whoa! Black Betty, the Transit Van

Well we finally did it. We bought a van! And let me tell you bout this van, because of course it has a story…..

We have been looking for a new vehicle for OVER A YEAR. It’s been a long, tedious and at times very frustrating task. I don’t think it is this hard for everyone to buy a new car. But then again I don’t think everyone is looking for enough space for 7 people, 5 of which are in carseats, and all their stuff, plus room for extras if needed. We looked at all the SUVs, including but not limited to Expeditions, Excursions, Suburbans, as well as minivans and found all of them to be similar to the situation that we are currently in: cramped. One can’t even fit 3 carseats across the back row of a minivan and barely across the back row of a big SUV.

I digress.

We looked for Transits for the past year as well, but never thought we would actually find what we were looking for. I DID NOT want white and that’s often what you always see.  They are really not the coolest looking car on the road, but it’s ok. I’m not really driving to look cool anymore! We have test driven several of these over the past year.

We found this van online from Enterprise car sales. Fun fact: 80% of used cars on the road today were once a rental vehicle. Enterprise keeps their ‘nicer’ cars to sell themselves and sells the rest to dealers. We talked about the van for about a week, then called and told them we’d take it. It was located in Michigan, so would be put on a car hauler to bring to Des Moines, the closest Enterprise car sales.

10 days later we got this pic from our dealer rep, Josue. Black Betty had arrived!

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Then the real fun began. Apparently not all insurance companies cover Transits due to their potentially high passenger capacity. Due to this, we had to find a new company, and to make a long story short, a new insurance representative. That was not easy. There was also a hassle with the company realizing that this was for personal, not commercial use, which is another common problem we’ve heard of people having.

There was also a problem with how we were going to pickup this van. Enterprise had offered to give us a rental car to drive and pick it up to bring home. But they didn’t have anything available to loan on this day that would fit all of us. So we found a babysitter and they gave us this:

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Not bad, but we were expecting a Focus. Ha! By the way, carseats do NOT fit well into the back of this thing either. *sigh* Overall though, Enterprise was wonderful to work with and we’d definitely go back again.

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So we drove to DSM in the Chevy truck and I drove back in the Transit. Alone. On Interstate 80. For 2.5 hrs. Another story why J stayed in DSM but I’ll spare the blogosphere that one. A bit nerve racking? Yes, but I survived and so did she. Let’s just say I’m learning to use my mirrors!

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Yes, the van is big. It’s no minivan, it’s a ‘maxivan’ as J puts it. It’s very industrial in some ways, which is good for us with the amount of people it’s going to be hauling. There are also some really handy features. Honestly though, it handles like a minivan, or about the same as my Expedition does, as that’s no joke. I really don’t find it hard to drive, just switching lanes is a bit more tricky. There is a backup camera which is super nice. We’re taking out several of the seats for more space and it’s going to work really well. I’ll plan a blog tour of the van once we get situated in there. Would you believe the kids were actually fighting over seats?! Incredible. It’s not like they don’t have options, sheesh.

And I’ll leave you with Black Betty lyrics in your head for the remainder of the day. You’re welcome 😉

Friday Five: 2/23/18

1. On account of my pregnancy induced lack of energy or motivation of anything other than food or good books, winter in Iowa, and J trying to finish his grad school work up this spring, we haven’t been doing a ton of stuff lately. All that being said, a few weekends ago we did venture out to a local snowshoe and ice fishing day, and the big kids got to go ice fishing on another separate day where they caught 12 fish! The kids love fishing, and of course it’s a ton more fun when you actually catch something.

Snow shoeing, however, was not their bag and we didn’t last too long on that particular day. Ruth voiced her opinion loud and clear that she was not a fan of ANYTHING involving snow. Note taken….

We are going to try our hand at maple syrup making at a local environmental center tomorrow from start to finish, so we’ll see how sticky everyone can get in a few short hours. I’ll let ya know.

2.Books, books…where do I start? I’m on book 5 of my 30 goal (YES!) and I left the library with 4 more today…I’m such a sucker. And I apparently don’t want to get anything else done this weekend. O well.

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox Not what I was expecting and honestly, this was a struggle to finish, but I was so far in I figured I might as well bite the bullet. Talks a lot about his career in acting as well as his political stance on stem cell research and work with the Michael J Fox Foundation. There is a small section about his faith and family and living with Parkinson’s, which I found the most enticing out of the entire book.

Left to Tell by Immaculée IlibagizaOOOOO where do I start, this one was good. Jeremiah actually told me he thought I would enjoy this book and boy was he was right! The Rwandan holocaust happened in 1994 which was mind blowing to me to begin with, as it was not long ago. I would have been 9 years old when this was happening. This story takes place from then till now, following Immaculee’s journey into hiding in a 3×7 foot bathroom with 7 other women in complete silence for (brace yourself) 3 MONTHS without being found or killed by the Interahamwe killers, all the while she taught herself English and prayed nonstop, until present day where she works for the UN. What a story she has to tell! Fascinating, terrifying and I could not put it down.

Instant Mom by Nia VardalosThe cover of this drew me in for a closer look, honestly. The star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding tells her story of 13 failed IVF treatments, to repeated failed adoptions, to finally adopting a 2 year old daughter out of foster care. This one pulled at my mom heartstrings and was funny and real. I plowed through this one in 3 days and found it to be an uplifting read.

3.Ah, Amazon Prime, how do I love thee? Along with Prime and Walmart grocery pickup, I haven’t had to physically go in a store more than 1 or 2 times per month. This is awesome for me, as I have spent much less money and really only order what we need. (novel idea, I know!) Also less impulse buys, time and gas money saved, and my sanity kept a little closer in check. Amelia has figured out the regular routes of the UPS and FedEx drivers, arriving in the morning or afternoon, respectively, and she will spot them in our neighborhood and expect them to stop and drop off a package. She often meets them at the door, and it’s quite comical. My latest orders have included anything from a new maternity dress (awesome find, by the way) to ceiling fan light bulbs to vitamins to ‘ginormous’ packs of diapers. Here Ruth is with today’s delivery, she’s thrilled: 20180223_115058.jpg

4. I am incredibly ready for winter to be over. I long to sit on my front porch and listen to the birds, go on a walk without the deathly fear that I will slip and add my fall count to 3 for this winter, plant our garden and go camping. But what I especially look forward to? The putting away of all of the winter gear. Oh my heavens it is everywhere. We’ve tried many ways to corral the coats, hats, snow pants, gloves, mittens, headbands, boots….. you get the point. I drug in a big black 4×6 foot rug and put it in the corner of the kitchen for all the wet things. I like having a spot for everything, but when everything is constantly soaking wet or muddy, there ain’t no place for that. Hence the rug. And now the rug is just covered with it all and you can’t walk through that way. Ayayay. There’s also the barrage 5 days/week of making sure everyone has everything for outdoor play as well as appropriate inside clothes and shoes that match. Lucy has started wearing mismatched gloves and I couldn’t care less. Spring can’t come soon enough.

5.Pregnancy 5….I have been neglecting any kind of pregnancy update, so I’ll just tack that on right here. My belly is big. At my 16 week visit this week, my favorite baby catcher declared that I’m an ‘easy case’, the baby’s heart rate was 158ish and scheduled my anatomy scan {already!? Time is flying!}.  People always ask me heart rates, but my kids have all been all over the board, so I have no inclination as to what that means. I do however have the feeling this is a boy. I did also have the same feeling in 2013 when I gave birth to a girl, sooooo we’ll see how this pans out. We’re good either way, and no we have not agreed on anything more than 1 girl name that Gabriel declares he does not like. I am feeling a lot better nausea wise, have fully switched to stretchy pants and shirred shirts, sleep alot and wake up still tired, eat all the time, find my work days to be a bit too long, and find it important that I research new diapers bags. You know, having 2 in diapers again after a 5 year hiatus of just 1 at a time totally accounts for a new bag, right!? Speaking of, I’m considering starting to stockpile #5’s diapers as I am not going to even attempt cloth diapers this time around. That ship has sailed, sadly. G was full time cloth, L was 99% cloth, Amelia was 50% cloth (when she didn’t have a rash, which was all the time), and R got 3 days of cloth I believe. *ahem* I just don’t have the time anymore to add another 2 or 3 loads of diapers a week to the already constant stream of laundry we have. I sold all our cloth diapers about a year ago, except for 2 that I kept, for some odd reason. Like I’m really going to use just 2 cloth diapers….. Time to pass the torch to a mommy who has less than 10 loads of laundry per week. Any takers?? 😉

Have a great weekend!