Wednesday, February 29, 2012


At least sometimes.

This is Called...

...learning by mistake.

We love strawberries.  But sometimes we just don't get them cut up right away.  I forgot about them when the kids got sick.  It's this so sad?  We had to throw so many away.


This morning I got a wild hair (pun intended).
I cut the kids' hair.
Except Olivia - she was at school.

Maddox was really overdue.  I didn't get a "before" for him, but here's one from Sunday.  It doesn't show the rats nest he'd have every morning on the back of his head, but he's quite shaggy.

A few minutes into his haircut, I remembered to use the TV to keep him still.  Thank goodness for Shaun the Sheep! He'd have ended up a lot worse.

And now for Connor:
The before... (the TV was still on, can't you tell?)

...and the after.

Kelsey felt a little left out, so she asked for a haircut, too.
I'm glad, because she has been growing out her hair and it was acquiring a "mullet" look.

And the finished product:

You can see Maddox in "jail" in the background of this one.  It was necessary to keep him out of all the hair clippings.

Extreme Home Makeover

I am kicking myself because I didn't really get a good "before" picture.  But remember this carpet?

Not only was it coming up in the hallway, but it smelled like old people.
And it really need to be replaced.
So did the kitchen laminate.

I convinced Ben I could do it with his help.
He's such a good husband.

D-Day was Friday, Feb. 17th.  We got the walls mostly painted beforehand late at night, but that day is when the younger kids went to Aunt Gwen's for a few days.  She's a gem, isn't she?

Once Ben and the kids got on the road, I took out the laminate in the kitchen.  Then I started pulling up the carpet.  Guess what I found underneath in the dining room and kitchen area?
3 more layers of flooring.
That makes 4 layers to come out, total.

The linoleum across the top of the picture was the top layer, then the speckled stuff at the bottom of the picture was the next.  Then on the bottom we had the wonderful asbestos tile from the early 60's.  The black stuff along the right is the adhesive they used to stick it down - the tile itself is stuck on the green paper underside of the linoleum above it.  Lovely.

Ben had a little trouble finding his way home, so by Friday night, I had only gotten the flooring up in the kitchen/dining area and the hallway.

Note the tack strips along the walls for the carpet.  I hate them.  They are a pain in the neck to get up and leave craters in your floor when the nails come out.

And here is my rearranged kitchen/dining area.  All the appliances got moved around for this one.  At least we were able to keep the fridge plugged in!

And this picture shows where Olivia spent Friday evening: watching movies on the pushed-together couches.  You can see the cement floor on the bottom left side, and the carpet we hadn't got out yet adjacent.

In fact, Olivia was so comfortable that she asked to sleep there overnight.  We let her do it.  And Trixie.  Special occasions call for special privileges, right?

Saturday morning found us at Panera for breakfast, then back to the house to finish prepping and cleaning the floor.

Just for the record: carpet is disgusting.  And so is everything under it.

Finally, around lunchtime, I started laying the floor.  Since it's a floating floor where the pieces adhere together, I didn't even have to line it up with the walls right away.

And it kept growing...

And growing...

And growing.

By 11:52 p.m. on Saturday night, we had gotten the kitchen, diningroom, and most of the livingroom done.

That just left us the foyer, hallway, and laundry room.  Of course, I hadn't pulled the floor out of the laundry room yet...

We finished up all but the laundry room on Monday, and Ben and I picked out an area rug. Well, Ben picked it out.  I'm officially deficient in the decorating area.  I think Trixie was the most excited.  She made herself comfortable and wouldn't move.

Look at that tail go!

By the time the kids came back on Wednesday night, we had the floor down, most of the baseboards in, half of them caulked, and a bunch of the trim painted.  We still have more to do, but I needed to take a week off to give my hands a chance to recover.  (I forget I have carpal tunnel until I overdo it.)

We have been enjoying the makeover, though.  What do you think?

This one was taken at night.  Hence the overpowering lamp.

Can't forget the hallway, but someone did forget to turn the hall light on when he took the picture...

And after a week of being lived in, it sure shows the signs!

Down to every last hand print.

Next year I'm going to tackle the kitchen...

One Fine Day

A day or two after our last (and this winter's only) snowfall, it was so nice and sunny outside we just couldn't resist getting out there to soak it in.

Kelsey spent the time performing "surgery" on her giant snow/dirt ball.

She used a stick for the operation.

Her friend Eva was riding her scooter.

Connor hung around messing with sticks, mostly.

And Maddox?

He climbed into the stroller.

He loves playing with the handle.

It's so amazing to me how focused he gets on things - very intense.

I went to snap some pictures of Kelsey, and realized Connor had disappeared.  It didn't take long to find his hiding place.

Though he really wasn't too keen on having his picture taken.

And that's when Maddox discovered that getting in the stroller is a whole lot easier than getting out.

Since Maddox was getting restless, I took him back inside to find our missing family member.  She was huddled inside with her new addiction: the Eragon series.  And she was NOT happy that I insisted on taking her picture.

You see, I had taken her picture as soon as she walked in the door after school.  I realized I haven't gotten a lot of pictures of her lately because she's in school, and I wanted to include her.  She didn't want to be included.

Even so, it was a lovely afternoon.

You Know It's Time To Catch Up On Blogging When... upload 176 pictures from your camera.

...some of those pictures have snow in them, and it's going to be 80 degrees on Thursday.'ve done home renovations that no one has seen.

...3 of your kids have new haircuts.

More to come, folks!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Adventures With Aunt Gwen (guest post)

I’m Anita’s sister, Gwen, but I also happen to be the world’s greatest aunt. I’d like you to join me for the journey I had with the children this past week. 

My husband and I live just outside of Dallas, a mere 3 hours from my sister. We don’t have any children, so we enjoy the rare occasion that we get to have someone else’s kids in our home – better yet, ALL TO OURSELVES! (It’s great to be able to make all our mistakes on other people’s children before we have our own.)

The weekend started Friday, with the three youngest children being dropped off around lunchtime. They were already fed and napped, so we got right down to having FUN. 


We got the ball rolling with some bubble fun. Maddox ran as fast as he could after each one, which, sadly, was not very fast at all. By the time he got there, he was met only with the space that was once a bubble. But he didn’t mind, since there were always more bubbles to chase…and miss. 

Somewhere in the mix of things, Connor thought it’d be a good idea to TASTE the sudsy mixture.

                             “Mmmm – dis good!”

He spent the rest of his time not trying to pop the bubbles, but to EAT the bubbles, with the occasional sample of the solution.

Then, it was off to feed the horses. They live a park that is just around the corner from here. We loaded up some carrots, and were off. We were quickly met with disappointment when we discovered that the horses weren’t out. But, we weren’t about to waste the playground nearby…or the carrots! 

The boys enjoyed the snack – a little too much. I ended up throwing away a pair of undies, and Connor woke the next morning with orange poo. See what I mean about being able to make all my mistakes…?

This is my favorite picture of the day (maybe even of the weekend). In the foreground, we see our sweet Kelsey Girl...


...and in the background, we see our little escape artist.

The rest of the weekend was wet and rainy, so we were cooped up for most of it, bottling up our energy for Monday. And Monday was a BIG day. 

We started off by going to a friend’s house to pet and hold some baby goats. I must mention here that the entire time before this was spent asking, “When do we get to see the goats? TODAY?!” And every day after was spent asking, “Can we go see the goats again? When can we?!”

I think it’s safe to say that this was the highlight of the trip.

We held the baby goats for a good long while, and enjoyed playing with the donkey, too. Maddox was outnumbered and outsized by every animal there, but that didn’t stop him from having a great time.

On our way out of the barn, the kids discovered the awesome wonderland of my friend’s backyard.

She had tire swings, a trampoline with a slide, a zip line, a pond, a merry-go-round, and a seesaw! No wonder our “quick visit” extended into most of the morning. We were all having a great time. 

Then it was off to the skating rink. Uncle Richard was a real hero, and stayed home with the sleeping baby so I could go with the older two. They really caught on to the whole thing pretty quick. They both started off with these guards, to help them balance, but it wasn’t long before they were both flying solo.**

Connor spent most of his time “playing” video games. Apparently you don’t actually need money for these things; just a really great imagination. If he needed to get somewhere, he’d roll along, or crawl – whichever suited him best. 

Kelsey quickly went from skating in the practice ring, to making her rounds around with the Big Dogs. She was awesome! I was so impressed. She had her share of topples, but she got back on her feet every time.**

We came home, exhausted. But we didn’t have too long to rest, since it was time to get ready for the much-anticipated party! 

The first day they got here, Kelsey announced that it’d be a great idea to have a party, since this was a special trip. I was a little skeptical, so I told her to make a list of the things she thought we’d need for a party, and I’d let her know what was reasonable. 

Here’s her party list:


Don’t you love her artwork? I especially love her wiggly arms and legs (I think that’s her dancing). Even more, I love Uncle Richard’s impression of this drawing. But he won’t be making any showings here; sorry folks. 

We decided to have the party for Family Home Evening. Once we got home from skating, we prepped the cake. Kelsey had something akin to a spiritual experience while licking out the batter bowl – see her eyes?


She decorated the blue frosting.

We very much wanted to put some candles on the cake (Kelsey decided this was a giant birthday party for all of us), but I couldn’t find those things anywhere, so we had to forego that bit of genius. 

We started the evening with dancing. Things got fun and crazy fast. It wasn’t long before people were on the coffee table! And of course I let them; after all, it’s just not a party until someone’s dancing on the furniture.Here’s a sample of the fun.

When it was time for cake, we all donned the party hats. Kelsey had the idea for us each to wear two, since there were enough. (And you’ll see that this was not her most creative idea when it came to the hats...)

Then, it was bedtime for Connor, and movie/Stay Up Late time for Kelsey. We watched Elf, with Will Ferrell. Halfway through the movie, she looked at me, wide-eyed, and asked, “Is this real? Or is it just made up?” Later, she longingly confessed, “I wish I could meet Santa.” 

She soaked her feet in a bowl of warm salt water while she watched. All that dancing and skating made for some pretty sore paws!

The next morning, the party hats were the toy of the hour. Kelsey put one over the front of her face, and was a mosquito. Then, she changed gears and became a bee. So did Connor. 

I got "stung" quite a few times.

Then it was off to the park again, in search of horses to feed. Jackpot! The horses were out, and Kelsey had a great time feeding, rubbing, and naming them.

At the playground, I got a couple cute pics.

The countdown began on Wednesday. That was our last day together, and I was exhausted. The kids spent most of the day trying not to make eye contact with me, or make any sudden movements. I was a little grumpy. 

Before we headed back up to Oklahoma, Uncle Richard had to stop by his office for a bit, and I had the “great” idea to pack everyone up and go with him. We waited out his few work hours at a nearby park, that also happened to be lined with a pond.

 The kids bored quickly of the playground, and wanted to go see the ugly ducks. Seriously. They were disgusting. I don’t know what kind of ducks they were, but they looked like their face has been chewed up, then regurgitated. But one of them really made our day by leaving an egg for us all to “Ooo” and “Ahhh” over. 

Then we went to McDonald’s for an early dinner and an ENCLOSED play area that did not have so many opportunities for a toddler’s sudden death. 

Connor ate EIGHT chicken nuggets! I barely blinked and they were gone – I never intended that he would, or even imagined he could, eat so many! And as I watched him stuff his mouth full of French fries, drink a bunch of water, play until his face was red, come back for more fries and water, then go play – over and over again – I thought to myself, “He’s going to throw up.”

And he did. In our car. On the way home to Oklahoma. 

But when it was all over, and the kids had changed hands back to their rightful owners, I have to admit I shed I secret, silent tear. We had a wonderful weekend with the children, and look forward to having the boys come down for a whole week in March. 

So for now, this story is To Be Continued...