This Kid.

To me, it seems as if sometimes overnight my kids become a new person.  An older, more mature version of themselves, and it’s pretty neat to be a part of! I know it’s going to happen, but it still catches me off guard.

Gabriel doesn’t get a lot of press time in this blog. He’s a busy kid. He’s a big kindergartener, you know.  His mind never quits and he’s too quick for my camera most days. He’s livin’ the dream.

This kid.

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Rocket pen, courtesy of Papa Dave’s desk

We went to the BIG Costello Christmas a few weeks ago. By BIG I mean G has close to 50 cousins of choice to play with.  We got there and he immediately spotted the older high school boys playing football. “Can I go play football with the big boys, Mom? Can I!?!?” I said yes and didn’t see him till the meal 2 hours later. In the past he’s always been shy at the BIG family gatherings, sticking to the cousins that he was familiar seeing each week in church. This was a big difference! He then proceeded to get his own plate at dinner, sit with the ‘big boys’, and assist one of his uncles with handing out gifts and delivering them to each person. I found him a few hours later sprawled out amongst the jr high/ high schoolers on the basement sectional couch watching a movie. Wow, has he changed!

Gabriel all of a sudden seems to have an opinion on his looks. This kid has never cared a day in his life what is on his body, as long as he was comfortable and I approved it. End of story. All of a sudden he prefers only jeans, no button up shirts, wants to ‘grow his hair’ (he’s only ever had a buzz-cut!), wants to dress up like Daddy on ‘Fancy Fridays’ (ie a suit), and I caught him with a comb and spray bottle in front of the mirror the other day before school. Wowza. What a change!

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Cuddling with one of his biggest idols, Uncle Cam.  Yes the blanket is a giant picture of the Virgin Mary :)

Gabriel is forever inventing things in his head. He somehow talked both of his grandpas into giving him things this week. He now sports a collection of 48 keys on a ring and an old snowmobile helmet. Tonight he was telling me his plan for the helmet: it will have an antenna and walkie talkies in the ears so he won’t ever have to take it off. He can talk to his friends down the street at all times. He’s still trying to figure out where he can snag an antenna from.  He also asks daily to build a car, because “it only is some wires, wrap some metal around it, and put on some wheels, Mom, and it’s a car!”

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“Nature boy” leads the way

Lucy has always been the one with opinions, many of them.  All of a sudden, Gabriel has a political opinion as well {ahem, Aunt Mel}.  Tonight he saw a commercial, then reported,”Mom, let’s not vote for Donald Trump. He says a lot of bad words and wants to blow stuff up. Let’s vote for that lady that was on Ellen Degeneres…..Carly Fiorina”.  If only he could vote!  He also told me immediately tonight when I walked in the door that President Obama was going to be on TV. Future politician or just informed citizen? We’re good either way.

He’s started saying the entire Rosary and can accurately follow along. He doesn’t have to be told to pick up his dinner plate. He aspires to be the next great ‘science guy’. He knows exactly what to do when he wakes up in the morning and almost always makes himself his own breakfast. He did awesome on his first ‘sight word’ test today. He sleeps in the top bunk. He requests to go to work with me and help out.  He can fly a remote control helicopter. He gave Amelia a piggy back ride all the way up the stairs tonight. He knows all the phases of the moon and parts of a plant.  He went off the diving board without hesitation at his first swimming lesson last week!

Slow down, time.  I am seeing a young man emerge out of my little G-man.  I like it, but I like my little boy too :)

-The {growing up} Costellos

Christmas Break Rocks

We still have 1 more day of Christmas break.  Everyone in my house has been on Christmas break forever since December 22………..except me, that is. But I can’t complain. I only worked 2 1/2 days each week ;) So here’s my favorite parts of winter break, starting with today:

Jeremiah declared today ‘Winter adventure day’. So we went to an awesome local park and did a lot of sledding. It was just the best thing. We sledded until the girls could hardly walk and G wanted to stay forever……and then went to the indoor pool. HA! We proceeded to swim for another couple of hours. Amelia was soaked from me holding her in my suit, but she slept quite awhile on the pool deck! We had plans to go on at another park to hike the snowy trails and possibly ice skate, but we’ll leave that for another adventure.  Ended the night with pizza and fed our whole crew for just over $10. What a deal!  It’s safe to say the kids are wore out! But Lucy did tell me, “Mom, this is the best day ever!”

Gabriel got a ninja turtle chia pet for Christmas. We started growing it after the boys decorated the turtle with Sharpies. Since I’m just a big kid and always wanted one of these as a kid, I check it every day to see if it’s growing yet!

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J got these as a stocking stuffer. Great ideas in the shower? Everybody’s got them! Write ’em down!!

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Jeremiah and G and Uncle K went on a quest to the land of Wisconsin to pick up new tires from some tire-dealer-guy, and saved us a lot of money! I find it kind of odd that my husband and his brother have all these different ‘dealers’ for all sorts of different things, but I guess it works, as long as I don’t have to go along. ;) I think the real reason they wanted to drive all the way up there was to do a bit of snowshoeing in the beautiful Wisconsin countryside…..

Jeremiah and G  and my Dad also went and saw Star Wars. I had no interest to see it, but they said it was decent. I also know that Gabriel is no longer allowed to drink an entire cherry slushie while at the movie as his stomach does not appreciate it. Let’s just leave it at that.

We got the pleasure of attending my Dad’s retirement party. He has worked hard his whole life and has taught his children the irreplaceable value of hard work and how it pays off. Now he gets to have some time off and do what he wants! He’s already got several projects/ideas/deals going so I’m positive he won’t be idle….at all! Happy (semi) retirement, Dad! You deserve it!

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The kids moved up in the world and now have a bunk room. J actually made this bunk several years ago, but I’m not sure he ever envisioned his kids someday fighting over it.  G gets the top, of course, but now Amelia is in a regular bed! No more crib! They love it, along with their own new sheet sets from Christmas (think ninjas, Elsa, and Minnie).  G just has to be careful climbing up and down if the ceiling fan is running…good thing he’s a quick learner ;)

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And right before the beginning of break, G got to bring half-birthday treats to school. He was pretty psyched!

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That’s about all for now. And my low back hurts from sledding, but we’ll still go again!

-The {adventuring} Costellos

How We Do [Christmas]

I love Christmas. Who doesn’t?! But sometimes Christmas is too much. The spending of too much money. Too many wants.  Too much pressure. Too many social standards. Too many pinterest ideas. Too many people who really don’t have enough.  Too much focus on the guy in red instead of the babe in the manger.

Christmas is about *CHRIST*, right?

It’s hard. Finding a balance between it all. Keeping Christ in Christmas but letting your family enjoy all the beauty and the magic of the season. It’s hard.

This year, we had a fabulous Christmas, and I know that if anyone asks my kids what is special about Christmas, they will say it’s Jesus’ birthday!  I hope that as they grow they ALWAYS remember this very important thing.

We started off with the Christmas pageant at our church on Christmas Eve. The kids were sheep, and have been for several years. Baaa!  Apparently you don’t move up in the nativity until 2nd grade. ;)

After, we ventured to Nana and Papa’s house for food, and yes, some presents. Kids were stoked. Until one of the light sabers broke. Then Lucy cried. All. the. way. home. Whoops.

We made it home and the kids happily ventured off to bed. I realized that I dropped the ball on a few things this Christmas, including separate wrapping paper for Santa.  Again, that’s not what it’s about, but I do want to try my best. And so when you drop the ball, sometimes you have to improvise…..:

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This morning we had some more presents and watched the Minions movie. We got our kids each 3 things this year, plus a few stocking stuffers. No, I’m not a grinch.  I know that seems absurd to many people, but they really don’t need anything, and we attend SIX Christmases where they all get gifts. We are trying to teach them that life is about gratitude and not about ‘gimme gimme’ every time they see something they want.  They each got something to read, something to wear, and something they wanted (a toy). And the Minions movie ;)

Just as Lucy and I were putting together the beginning of her new Lego grocery store set, my phone rang and it was MITCH!!! We finally got to talk after 3 other missed calls over the past few days. It absolutely made. my. day.  I haven’t seen my brother since mid-October and have not gotten to talk to him much either since he’s been, ya know, on the other side of the world in the middle of the ocean and all.  The USO gifted some of the sailors with a 300 minute phone calling card today, and I can say that the best gift I got this Christmas was to talk to him! He is doing well and it sounds like the morale on the ship is pretty high.  I think all the Muscle Car magazines I sent helped :)

Next, Nana and Papa arrived and Aunt Mel, along with Percy the dog, and Mel’s alias ‘Auntie Claus’.  More presents. But Aunt Mel does what she does and is an amazing auntie, and the kids loved everything.  We ate some Christmas lasagna (amazing, btw).

Amelia took a 3 hour nap, while everyone else watched ‘A Christmas Story’, ate cookies, and did Christmas Jamberrys.  It was a good day!

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Tomorrow we have yet another Christmas, our 5th one this year.  It is the biggest, loudest, wildest, and funnest one yet.  Should be a good time :)

Merry Christmas everyone!

-The {FALALALALA-ing} Costellos

 

Is this over yet?

I’m a caretaker by calling, at home and at my work, but I’m about on E. Empty.  I’m not sure how much longer this can go on.  It has been a LONG 5 days of sickness in the House of Costellos.  And I believe the only thing that has saved me is the 10 Hail Mary’s I’ve been saying at night before I go to sleep!

I had big plans last Friday. I was going to take the big kids to school, and Amelia and I were going to check some more Christmas shopping off the list along with buying a new Christmas dress for Lucy and running some errands. We were going to be back to get Lucy from preschool and then do things around the house, pick up G from school, and do whatnot until we had our weekly family movie and pizza night.  Things didn’t go as planned. And I still haven’t finished my shopping!

Friday at 3:30am Amelia gets sick. I end up on the couch so J can sleep, since he has to work and I don’t. Amelia proceeds to be sick all day, unless asleep. And I mean something like every 30 minutes she is sick.  We didn’t go anywhere, needless to say.  Jeremiah comes home from work after a crazy busy (awesome) Day of Code (read about him in action HERE) and states he doesn’t feel good.

She slept like this for 3 hours!!!

She slept like this for 3 hours!!!

Saturday. Amelia continues to be sick, J returns from hunting ( he got a 10 point buck!) and succombs to the couch for the rest of the day, in and out of consciousness. Lucy joins the ranks around 10am. She is SO sick.  I’m drowning. I’ve been puked on more times than I can count. There are mounds of dirty blankets, clothes, sheets. And I need a shower. I’m up every 30 mins with Lucy alllllll night. I saw every hour on that clock.

Sunday. We stay home from church and miss a visit from Santa.  Amelia is STILL sick. J and L are barely conscious most of the day. I decide to take Amelia to urgent care because 36+ hours of vomiting seems like a lot for a 2 year old. Dx virus but they give me a med to help her with the vomiting and nausea. It works! Except she decides to throw up one more time allllll over the backseat of the car on the way home. Thanks, Pedialyte. Gabriel is about going crazy from being in the house for 2+ days with nothing to do but help me. Poor guy.

MONDAY.  J stays home with Lucy who is still sick and sleeping 20 hours a day.  Amelia seems better.  G goes to school, I go to work. I rush home to find the house a mess, make a haphazard dinner, get G dressed for his Christmas concert at school, and rush back out the door. I don’t even take off my coat.  After the concert Lucy seems a bit better, but still extremely lethargic and cannot carry on a conversation. She gets sick again. O.M.G.

'Bear-y Merry Christmas' concert!

‘Bear-y Merry Christmas’ concert!

Sleeping. All. Day.

Sleeping. All. Day.

TUESDAY. I decide to take the day off so J can go to work and I take Lucy to the doctor. We’re getting a bit concerned as she has not held anything down since Saturday morning and is increasingly confused and can barely walk. Doc checks her all out thoroughly, and yep, not much she can do. Hopefully she’s on the upswing. Doc tells me this ‘bug’ is going around hard, and it’s all she’s seen in her office since Thanksgiving. AWESOME.  I do scads of dirty laundry and sweep up the massive amount of saltine crumbs that have found their way into the couch and crevices of the living room floor. Amelia is staying with Nana for the day, so I take a nap. It’s glorious. I wake up to Gabriel coming in the door from school. Just prior to dinner he tells me his ‘tummy doesn’t feel good’ and heads for the couch. But 30 mins later he’s bouncing around asking for a cookie. Stay strong, G.

I’m hoping it’s over. I tentatively clean, just waiting for something else to happen.

Lucy returns to drawing and making 'cards', I think it's a good sign

Lucy returns to drawing and making ‘cards’, I think it’s a good sign

Sayonara, mother-of-all-stomach-bugs. I hope to never see you again. And I hope you see your way out of our house, real soon. Because this Mama has had enough of you. Lata.

-The {recovering} Costellos

 

A week of firsts

Oh yes, it’s been an interesting one. Here goes:

  1. FIRST time we have had a toddler escape artist.  Friday I laid both girls down for a nap, like I always do.  I roamed around the house and did some work for awhile, then decided I better venture out to my bathroom cabinet finishing zone (AKA the garage) and get some more work done on them. When I returned a mere 25 mins later, I heard a toddler-girl-sound coming from somewhere in the house. Nope, not her bed. Not the living room, or bathroom, or kitchen…..nowhere else but THE BASEMENT. Amelia had apparently climbed out of her crib ( a first), opened the bedroom door, closed it behind herself, ventured down to to the first floor, and upon not finding me, found her way to the basement.  I’m guessing she thought I was down there doing laundry (go figure).

Saturday, during the wee morning hours of 12:45am, I woke to Amelia wandering around in our room, in the dark. Yep, she had hopped out of the crib again. Saturday morning, same thing. Saturday nap: 4 times in a row. NICE.  G nor L ever did this, so this is uncharted territory. :-/

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2. First time I’m glad we bought the optical protection plan.  Friday at lunch, Lucy, in her regular get-up of princess skirts, princess shoes, gloves and a handbag, fell down the stairs.  She landed just right so the hinge of the glasses busted in 2. Awesome. Never had that happen before, but I consider us lucky since this is the first break in 2 years!

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3. First time my husband has been referred to as ‘Super Mario’.  The ‘No-shavember’ turned into an incentive program at Jeremiah’s school.  The students got to choose how each teacher shaved their month’s facial hair growth. Jeremiah got the mustache and ‘chin puff’. Gah.  But now he continues to sport the ‘holiday mustachio’.  He has been referred to as Super Mario look-alike.  There is only one thing to know: I am NOT a fan, he is. We have a problem.

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4. First time I’ve sent a care package to the USS Harry Truman.  We sent Mitch a package full of snacks, games to play during downtimes and muscle car magazines.  I’ve never paid so much for package or had to fill out so much paperwork!  I guess it takes awhile to make it to the Mediterranean Sea, but hopefully he gets it before Christmas.  {Side note: we received word that Mitch has made it his first port, and is on land, if only for a short while}

5. First time a mobile deer blind has been built in my driveway. Yes, the Costello brothers are at it again. This time, not a treehouse, but a mobile deer blind. They first refurbished a hayrack, then added the ‘hunting hut’.  It’s been quite the ordeal, and I’m happy to shop online indoors while they build. ;) They are using a lot of things we still have in our garage (ie doors, siding board, tin) so it hasn’t been too pricey.  Now let’s just hope they make it worth their while and bring home some deer meat in a few weeks!!!

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6. First time an older change a younger’s diaper.  Parenting for the win!

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7. First time I’ve made these scrumdidlyumptious nameless Christmas treats. We do a baking day each year and have never made these, until this year. We had to go back to the store for more Rolos, but they are going on the list for next year as well. Dangerous and yummy!

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And tomorrow’s Monday again so we’ll see what next week brings…

-The {starting a new week} Costellos

What a difference 2 years makes

That’s right. We’ve come a long way in 2 fast years.  Our Amelia turned 2 last week!

2 years ago, I honestly didn’t know how I was ever going to make it to Amelia’s first birthday, let alone her second. She was a very wakeful, fussy, hungry baby that seemed almost colicky for the first year of her life. I got VERY little sleep for her first year, was in a mess of hormones for her first month, and had 2 other little people needing me constantly in the depth of Iowa winter. Oi.

But here we are, 2 years later.  I am happy to say that Amelia’s colicky nature finally gave way at about 15 months. She is now happy and fun, good-natured and playful, however opinionated, little girl.  She is starting to resemble more of a little girl, and not so much a baby. It kind of makes me giggle when I ask “Are you my big girl?” and she answers with “No! I baby!”.  She also insists on wearing Lucy’s undies over her diaper.

We had a little party for Amelia, just family.  Chili is one of her favorites (go figure), so we had that and taco soup for dinner. She had picked out a funfetti cake, and of course I made chocolate frosting for it!  She got some new clothes, babies, and doggies (toy, not real). She was thrilled!

Happy 2nd birthday Amelia! I hope you are never too old to lick the beater ;)

-The {partying like 2 year olds} Costellos

 

My least favorite holiday.

There. I said it. I don’t like Halloween! It is, by far, my least favorite holiday.

I have many reasons to validate my statement; huge influx of candy/sugar, focus on death/gruesomeness/creepy things, having to explain why perfectly nice people have fake blood running down their face on this certain night of the year……I digress. The whole premise of trick or treating is quite odd, if you think about it.

About a week ago I remembered that the kids would want to dress up for Halloween and, of course, trick or treat.  I told them that we had more than enough costumes in and amongst our dress up clothes, so they could ‘go shopping’ in the toy room.  It worked magically.  We don’t really encourage the creepy costumes, and they don’t really seem to want them.

Pre-candy rush

Pre-candy rush

G knew from the get-go he wanted to be a ninja. Fantastic. He found black pants and a black shirt, we had a running mask for the ‘ninja mask’ and I tied red strips of fabric around him to resemble a ninja. He found a sword and practiced his sweet ninja moves and it was done. Lucy picked an Elsa dress and Amelia somehow perfectly fit into one of Lucy’s old dance costumes to be an adorable Minnie Mouse.

Minnie wasn't too fond of her ears

Minnie wasn’t too fond of her ears

Yes, I despise Halloween. But my cute kids sure do make the night better!

-The {trick or treating} Costellos