Saturday, January 31, 2009

February Eve...

That's right. Tomorrow is the first of February. Never have I looked forward to February as much as I am this year. January has been long and ridiculously cold. And hey, only 2 more months of winter now! Actually, January is going out with a bang- it was 38 degrees here today! Sunny and melting. Not much of a January thaw, but I'll take it.
We had a busy day today. The girls had dance class this morning, then they participated in a cheerleading clinic at the high school until 3 pm. Devon and Renie went to a birthday party from 2-3. I spent all day in the kitchen making this:

Then this evening we celebrated Jesse's 2nd birthday. Can you believe my baby is 2? Where does the time go? He continues to be a happy, smiley little boy. He currently repeats everything that the people around him say, especially his brother and sisters. He loves to eat Life cereal for breakfast and bagels with cream cheese for lunch with a side of yogurt. He is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine (hence the Thomas themed birthday). He loves to play with Thomas in any form- book, movie, train set-and takes a Thomas book to bed with him every night. He loves to be silly and run around in circles. He has discovered a new world of mischief by pushing a bar stool to the counter and climbing onto the countertops. He can reach anything and everything and can't be left alone for a minute or else that's where he goes. He is becoming increasingly independent but still takes Mama snuggles. I am so in love with this sweet boy and his cuteness and am so grateful he joined our family!

We enjoyed a birthday dinner of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. MMMmmm...

Bring on the cake and ice cream!

Not too sure about the whole candle-blowing thing.

Every gift he received was train related. It just didn't make sense to get him anything else, since that is his current passion. He got a Thomas DVD, a Thomas book (bonus: it plays music when you push the buttons! He *LOVED* it!), Harold the Helicopter and his hangar to add to the train set, and a train shirt.

His actual birthday is tomorrow and I'm hoping to post a few more pictures then. Happy February Eve everyone!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fantasy, Reality

What I envision homeschooling to be like:

I'd love to turn my back on the system, the homework, the unsavory influences. To have the world be our classroom as I help my children explore and learn.

Unfortunately this is how I feel when I help them with homework:

Curse that long division. I have no patience to help them learn a new concept. I just want them to get it already! So I guess I'll keep sending them to the folks who are trained and experienced in the field. But I feel like I'm letting them down.

Not to rub it in...

Once again this morning I was struck by how very grateful I am that Renie is doing so well staying dry at night. Devon still will have an occasional accident. Kennedy did that for a long time too. So far, Renie seems to be like Julia- once she got it she just got it and that was it. I hope I'm not jinxing myself!

Saturday Fun...

*Don't click on the links in here. I didn't put them in- I don't know where they've come from or where they've been!
** Now they seem to be gone. But if they show up again see above

Lincoln has worked long hours since New Years. With lots of changes taking place in his department things have been incredibly busy. So other than Thursday when he got out right at 5pm so I could go take a snowboarding lesson, he's been arriving home after 7, and usually after 7:30 for a few weeks now. Because of this, on Saturday he was ready to take off, get out of Dodgeville, and have some fun. Let me stop here to say that despite our love of Dodgeville, winter can get a bit cabin-feverish around here. There are a multitude of outdoor recreational activities to participate in here when it is warm. And, admittedly, there are quite a few winter activities as well. However, this winter has been remarkably cold. A lot of sub-zero and single digit type stuff. This is not ideal for family sledding or skating outings. And since we live in Dodgeville, there are not a lot of indoor activities to participate in either. So if the weather is too nasty for driving to Madison, you're stuck in the house quite often on a Saturday. So add that frustration to the long hours at work and you'll begin to understand how desperate Lincoln was feeling to get out of here.
Saturday morning I took the big girls to dance class and I ran on the treadmill to get in some of my hit or miss exercise. We went home, I showered, we cashed a check, and headed to Madison. We took the kids to Ella's Deli for lunch. This is such a fun place. We've gone here before and it is just such a fun event. It's like going to Chuck E Cheese only less cheesy and better food. And you don't pay for the entertainment. The kids just look around constantly, spotting new things to look at. It's hard to describe, so I'll just show you a bunch of pictures!

Behind the glass in that castle is an old west scene with a covered wagon racing around and around the town. There is a joystick on the outside which does not control it, but my kids think it does.

All of the tables are shadow boxes. Each has a different theme. One table has little airplanes that "fly" around in it.

If you click on this you can see it better. It says This Little Piggy. The feet move back and forth.

The ice cream counter and a giant banana.

Most of the things hanging from the ceiling are animated in some way. Most of them are on wire cables and they just glide back and forth along their cables- superman, spiderman, Bart Simpson, airplanes, a bumblebee, it goes on and on.

Devon enjoying a fried pickle.

There is also a carousel outside that runs in the summer. This is another place we love to take people when they come to visit. So add it to your budget when you come.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Another Fantastic GiveAway...

over at Seriously So Blessed. You can't enter at this point, but you can cast your vote for the finalist you think most deserving of the grand prize- a makeover, new clothes, a photo get the idea. There are six finalists, all deserving of this special prize. PLEASE, go vote for the one you think deserves it MOST.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jesse and Thomas Sittin' In A Tree...

Seriously, this boy is in love with Thomas the Tank Engine. He is never far from some sort of Thomas item. It might be the train table with tracks, his ride on Thomas toy, a Thomas book, or just the a few of the engines, dragged along with him to lunch.

I like how he gets right down to look at them from the side while he's playing. Too cute for me!

Cake Pops...

My first attempt at making cake pops. Go visit Bakerella and you can learn how to make them. I happened to have a whole bunch of cake scraps in my freezer leftover from one of the kids' birthdays. They needed to be used up and this seemed like a great way to use them. My family has very much enjoyed these. I guess I need to practice and get a little more creative with them. They can be so very cute! One tip I would suggest if you're going to make these- mix the cake and frosting, then refrigerate it for a while. It makes the mix much easier to work with when shaping the balls. Also, once you have the sticks in the balls, freeze them. It makes dipping them a whole lot easier.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some Inauguration Day Thoughts...

Not my own. I like what Trent Hamm has to say over at The Simple Dollar.

Family Night...

Last night for Family Home Evening we took the kids to swim at Lands End. Renie has been asking during Family Council every week for over a month to go. It's hard to get excited about swimming when it's 20 below. Unless you're a child and have under-developed survival instincts. But we finally broke down and took the crew last night since it has warmed up to a balmy 20 above. As it turns out, it was pretty fun. I can say that because I only got wet up to my waist. For like 10 minutes. The rest of the time I was dry on the deck in the warm pool air taking pictures. But at least I didn't abandon them and hightail it for the hot tub, though the temptation was ALMOST too much for me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In Answer To Your Questions...

Yes, I'm hooked on the house. My husband is not. So keep the enthusiastic comments coming, I think it's helping. In fact, feel free to address them directly to him. He'll like that.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

321 Mineral Street

A couple different views of the downstairs.

Lots of usable space in the kitchen.

A funky bathtub in the downstairs bath.

The beautiful entryway- though it is a bit tight.

A bedroom.

Two shots of another large bedroom- one the boys could share.

This is like two little bedrooms connected by an archway. A great option for our big girls who like to share a room but need their own spaces.

At the end of this hallway, to the left, is the main staircase that goes down to the front entry.

Behind me, in this picture is the back staircase. To my right is the hallway that is pictured above. At the end of this hallway is the master bedroom, on the left.

Two shots of the upstairs bathroom. In the first picture, that door by the sink leads out to the unfinished area over the garage.

So we went, we looked, we loved. It is obviously 130+ years old. The house has settled and the floors are uneven. The back staircase is slanted and closet space is limited. But wow, it is gorgeous. The kitchen needs to be redone, but it is a large space and a lot can be done with it. There is a large, unfinished area over the garage that could be made into a game room- but access to it is through the upstairs bathroom. (This could be remedied by putting in yet another staircase in the back of the house). The yard is a great size, bordered by mature trees (something we don't have in our new construction neighborhood). There are hollyhocks planted around the deck and a clothesline already in place. And best of all, there are lilac bushes in the backyard. So, lots to think about.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Job Requirements

I have determined that if I am ever struck by anosmia I will have to resign from my job of mother. It is absolutely critical that you have the ability to smell in this business. In fact, I have also come to the conclusion that as a mother I am required to perform Smell Tests much much too often. You know what I'm talking about.
Example 1
You're at playgroup. There is the scent of foul diaper in the air. All mothers with a child in diapers are required to cram their noses against their li'l darlin's bum and determine whether or not they are the guilty party.
Example 2
You are at home and you have 2 (or more)children still in diapers. The scent of fouled diaper is heavy in the air. You are required to smell all your li'l darlin's bums until the source is found.
Example 3
Your children have brought their laundry to the laundry room and as you are sorting it, you come across items you know for a fact they did not wear. They have been mixed in with dirty laundry now, though, so you must sniff them to determine if they now have to be washed.
Example 4
You put in that last load of laundry late in the evening last night, then forgot to switch it to the dryer before going to bed. Now you must perform a smell test to determine if the laundry has soured and needs to be washed again.
Example 5
You open the fridge to get out lunch items and are nearly knocked off your feet by the odor of some rotten, forgotten item lurking in the depths thereof. Now you must follow your nose to the source.
Example 6
A sick child wakes in the night. You go to their room and open the door a crack. Without disturbing them with a light you need to discover whether or not they have thrown up. You must stick your nose in the crack and sniff deeply.
Example 7
You walk in the front door to your home and a peculiar scent greets you. It is decidedly unpleasant, but you don't know where it is coming from. You must follow your nose, probably to a dirty diaper in the depths of the couch.
Example 8
You get into your car. Proceed with #7 until you discover an unidentifiable rotten item in a sandwich bag in the depths of the seat pocket.
Need I go on? I would be rendered completely incapable of fulfilling my duties as a mother without my highly developed sense of smell.

And while I was looking for a nose image online I came across this. Click it.