Saturday, January 26, 2013

How did I get here?

There are moments when I look around at my life and wonder “how did I/we get here?”. I don’t mean here as in here in this house in this town in this state. I know how I/we got here physically (imagine the hottest/muggiest August day in the midwest and a moving van….).
I mean here as in a grown up. A real grown up with real responsibilities…children to raise. 3 little people to dress, feed, bathe, love, guide, and nurture. 3 little people to play with and discipline. 3 lives to mold and shape. Here as a mom - the mom of this family…my family!
It seriously boggles my mind! Because I still feel like my husband and I are HERE:
17 years old and falling in love!

Young 20's and newly married:)

But no, alas we are HERE in our late 20′s raising our family. Its like a dream. A dream come true! Overwhelming at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Next year

It makes me worry.  I can actually lose sleep over worrying about it.  I am living in fear of next year.  Because next year, next school year, is my husband’s 3rd year of medical school.  The year he starts clinical rotations.  The year this school stuff gets tough.  For us.  Not him. It has been challenging for him all along (as medical school should be).  But for us a family it has been fine…easy actually.  To be honest it doesn’t seem that different than having a working husband.  He gets up in the morning and leaves to study and attend class (albeit at a ridiculously early hour…4:30am).  He comes home in time for dinner if not earlier (almost every day).  We spend time together as a family.  We do the kid’s bedtime routine together as a family.  Then he studies some more:)  Sure I don’t get much one-on-one time with him, unless I am helping him study in the evenings (which I actually enjoy).  But our family time hasn’t suffered.  Yet.
I fear that this is all going to change next year.  His schedule is going to be demanding and erratic. I know it will be NOTHING compared to a residency schedule. Peanuts really.  But for right now this is big enough for us.  Too big? I am worried about parenting alone.  Can I do it?  But even more so I am worried and sad for my children.  They will get less time with their dad.  And they adore him!  He brings joy and laughter and fun into their lives.  He brings hugs, kisses, snuggles and wrestling matches.  Oh and he brings gum too:) Everything is better with gum.
This is all ridiculous.  We have until July.  There is no point in worrying about it now…or ever quite frankly.  And still I worry.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  -Matthew 6:34

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are then birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you can not do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  – Luke 12:24-26

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The day we took his toys away

It was about a month ago. I don’t remember the exact date.  What I do remember is that overwhelming feeling of failing. Just recalling that time brings tears to my eyes. I felt and believed that I was failure as a mother.  I sent him to bed in a fit of anger (mine not his).  He was being disobedient.  And my parenting was ineffective. I went to bed myself.  And I cried.  No I wept.  I wept for what I felt was the loss of our mother-son relationship.  I felt like I was losing my son before we even had a chance to really develop a healthy, loving relationship.  I knew I was yelling too much.  Getting too angry too quickly.  And yet (or maybe because of it) his disobedience continued.  He rarely did what I asked of him the first time (or even the 10th time).  I would send him to time-out and he wasn’t bothered in the least.  In fact I think he liked getting away from me and playing in his room quietly (he wasn’t supposed to playing).  I even felt that he was looking forward to school every day in order to get a break from me. That was a hard truth to own up to.   Clearly something needed to change.  But what?
He needed more effective consequences for his disobedience.  I needed to parent him with love and patience.  We needed to spend more time together…enjoying each other’s company.
But how?
I wish I could say what happened next was a well thought out plan but it wasn’t. It was done in haste because I was at my breaking point.  We needed something drastic.  We needed change. So I took his toys away.  Every toy, stuffed animal, and book was removed from his room.  He cried. I cried.  It was painful.  He loves his legos, hero factory and transformers as though they are dear friends.  And they were all gone.
But guess what?
It got better.  He has “worked” at earning back his toys.  A day with more good behavior than bad behavior meant a toy would be waiting for him in the morning.  He listens and obeys much quicker.  And I am more patient.  I am slower to anger. I have been firm, but kinder with my discipline.  It hasn’t been easy, but worth every second of it.  And I bet given the choice between all his toys and a more loving, kind mom he would choose the latter any day!  We have gotten better.  Not perfect.  But oh so much better.  We play and laugh together.  And at bedtime I love to snuggle with him just to “chat” about life.  We are on the road to a better relationship.  One that is filled with love and healthy interactions instead of frustration and anger.
And guess what else?
Fewer toys resulted in better play!  In fact he still hasn’t earned all his toys back because he has quit asking for them.  He is content with what he has (which is about 40% of his toys).  I almost don’t want to bring them all back…

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monsters in the basement...

This fall when the weather cooled off and the days got shorter we (Joe & I) realized that our family of 5 was going to have some serious cabin fever in our small ranch style home this winter! Our solution = make part of the basement a play area. Somewhere for the kids to run around and wear off energy! We even brought in the large outdoor toys. Slides. See Saw. Tricylces. Perfect!

Or so we thought. One small problem. Isaiah is afraid of the basement. More accurately he is afraid of being alone in the basement. And well we like to send him there to run off (excess) energy and to be as loud as he desires. Therefore we don’t necessarily want to be down there with him:) Charlotte on the other hand has no fear of the basement. Problem solved. Charlotte accompanies Isaiah to the basement and “helps him be brave”.

One day Charlotte was reluctant to chaperone Isaiah in the basement. She was having fun playing dollhouse. Totally understandable. Big brother was not so understanding. So he tells her there are monsters in the house and the only safe place is the basement. And just like that he has a very cooperative chaperone!

Fast forward a few days. Isaiah again wants to go to the basement but needs Charlotte. She obliges. Once in the basement she gets bored. She yells “monsters in the basement” and flees. Leaving Isaiah stranded. He was not pleased. Since then it has been difficult for him to convince Charlotte there are no monsters in the basement.

His plan totally backfired. Oops.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Too busy.

Sorry too busy to write today. My new vacuum arrived. And I am IN LOVE! See that old vacuum…it was/is AWFUL. Heavy, difficult to maneuver, extremely loud and it left the carpet almost as dirty as when I started. Pretty much worthless. And do you want to know the worst part? Joe bought it for us (8 years ago) and it has been a point of contention in our marriage ever since. So glad to bid it farewell...

Hello new beautiful vacuum! So light and efficient. So quiet. It swivels:) And the best part…it actually VACUUMS! Oh and it is purple. My favorite color.

My husband is going to be so pleasantly surprised to come home to vacuumed floors AND a happy wife! There is a first time for everything:)

Now what to do with the old vacuum? It pains me to throw away something that still “works” but at the same time it would be cruel to pass that torture machine on to someone else!

Now back to vacuuming I go…I am sure there are at least 100 Cheerios on the playroom floor that I can get:)

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Yes I am one of those moms!
This picture was taken by my husband at our “Count Down to Noon” party that we had for the kids on New Year’s Eve. At the time I thought “Wow. How sweet… he likes the party and is taking pictures of the kids!” Only to realize later he was taking a picture of us taking pictures of the kids in order so show us just how ridiculous we look. Yep ridiculous. Thanks husband.
But truly I love the pictures I have of my kids. All 10,000+ of them:) What am I going to do with all those pictures? I have no clue. But as long as they keep being cute I am going to keep on snapping pictures. Ridiculousness and all.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Model patients

Earlier this week the kids and I went to Daddy’s school. The kids were the “model patients” for the Pediatric Interest Group physical exam demonstration. Basically they were examined by a pediatrician in front of a lecture hall full of medical students.
Patients waiting to be examined.
First patient: Hannah. The crowd loved her!

The pediatrician wanted a challenging patient. Charlotte delivered!
Isaiah found his first part-time job. It pays in toys!

They did very well considering they had approximately 100 people watching them “go to the doctor’s office”. The prizes at the end definitely made it all worth it:)

Friday, January 11, 2013


The things this girl says just crack me up. Yes sometimes she can drive me to the brink of insanity, but mostly she is hilarious. Unintentionally of course.

How embarrassing! (This is a phrase she uses often and completely out of context She picked it up after over hearing me ask Joe if he thought it would be embarrassing for Isaiah to wear footy jammies to school for PJ day.)

That’s cool……right mom? That’s cool? (This one she is able to use in the right context about 50% of the time. I love it because she checks with me to see if it is cool. Because clearly I am the definition of cool or at least in her 2 year old eyes:)

I don’t know. (This is almost always immediately followed by the correct answer. It is her pat answer to nearly every question. Its like she doesn’t stop to think before she speaks and then she realizes she does know!)

I’m hung-ger-reeee. Then I offer her something to eat…  

Something else. (Ok this one I don’t find too cute or funny. It is extremely frustrating. She is always hungry yet she doesn’t want anything I offer her. I am on this never ending quest for “something else”.)

I want someone to sit on me. (Meaning she wants to sit on Mommy or Daddy’s lap. Mostly when we are eating dinner therefore making actual eating difficult.)

That’s my favorite. That’s not my favorite. (Basically this means “I like it” or “I don’t like it”. It is used many many times each day.)

Or maybe I should have called these “Sarwit-isms” as that is how she pronounces her own name these days.

And now a little vignette from our morning:

The big kids and I were downstairs. Most of us were dressed and fed. They were playing nicely and I was throwing in a load of laundry. Charlotte asked me about Hannah’s whereabouts. I told her that her sister was napping and continued to do the laundry. Until I heard little feet above me! I ran upstairs to find Charlotte talking oh so sweetly to her no longer napping sister. “Hannah’s awake!” she proudly exclaims. Thank you big sister. Charlotte then promptly returns to the basement to play. I foolishly decide to stay upstairs to get dressed and make my bed. That is until I hear Isaiah yell, “MOM. Charlotte dumped the entire bag of chips on the floor and is stomping on them!!!”. Run back down the stairs (baby in hand) to find Charlotte doing just that. With a glint in her eye. She knows what she is doing and she is so proud of herself. Baby is placed on the rug. Charlotte is put in time out. I clean up the chips. And even eat a few off the floor in the process (not my proudest moment). But those chips were supposed to be my breakfast! I know breakfast of champions. Its only 8:30 AM! I am thinking it is going to be “one of those days”. I go to retrieve Charlotte from her room. I ask for an apology. And she apologizes sincerely and manages to melt my heart in the process. “I am sorry momma. I forgive you.” Not quite right, but her heart was in the right place. Okay so maybe it will be a good day after all.

We all eat chips. I drink a Pepsi and we play transformers together on the rug. And the baby is happy despite her interrupted nap. Yep a good day.

Christmas Scones

Our small group Bible study leader made the BEST scones! Typically I don’t like scones. They are too dry and crumbly. But not these scones. They are delicious and not dry at all. So un-sconelike:) I am kind of obsessed with them.

Typically my parenting style is more “fly by the seat of my pants” than “well planned/researched/intentional”. For example when Isaiah was a mere 6 weeks old my parents invited me to go with them to Montana for a fly fishing trip. Drive 600+ miles to stay in a cabin in the mountains without running water with my newborn? Sure why not! Admittedly I was not so fond of the slight mice infestation at this cabin. But the mountains and rivers were BEAUTIFUL. And the hiking and family time completely made it worth it.

What does this have to do with scones? Hang in there. I will get back to those. I promise.

Before Christmas this year I was trying to think of ways to create lasting memories….Christmas traditions with our children. Something that is special for just our family. Something that they will look back upon and say “I love that mom always did ________ every year for Christmas” or “It just isn’t Christmas without _______”. The challenge is that we travel for Christmas and we aren’t always at the same place or doing the same thing year to year. See not a great set-up for making traditions?! Enter the scones. I love them. They are easy to make. I don’t typically bake therefore automatically “special” for my kids:) And I can make them wherever we end up for Christmas. Perfect! So I made them…the day after Christmas. Close enough. That is as good as it is going to get for me being intentional.

So without further ado here is the recipe:

Cinnamon Chip Scones
(This is their real name. And the real recipe comes from Taste of Home)

3 1/4 c flour
1/3 c sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c cold butter cubed
1 c
1 package (10 ounces) cinnamon baking chips

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk until moistened. Fold in chips.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently 10-12 times (or until dough is no longer sticky). Divide in half. Gently pat or roll each portion into a 7 inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges (I think 8 would be better size wise).

Separate wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 10-13 minutes (or until lightly browned).

I drizzled a powdered sugar glaze on them and then I ate waaaaay too many:) You don’t believe me? I have the proof. I actually gained weight over Christmas while still exclusively nursing the baby! That takes quite a bit of effort and caloric intake. That is a first for me. Oops. Good thing I won’t be making them again until next year.

And now I leave you with a cute semi-blurry picture of my kids in front of our Christmas tree. Can you tell who decorated it?

I want these babies to want to come home to me for Christmas when they are not so little anymore…

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Street Vendor

“Mommy when I grow up I want to be a an artist in the city that sells my art on the street.” -Isaiah

And how much will your art cost?

“$1. But you can move into the city and live real close to my art so you can see it for free when ever you want.” – Isaiah

I like your plan buddy. But there is one teeny tiny problem. I don’t want you to grow up Isaiah.

However he is quite good at this artist thing if I say so myself. If you like dragons that is:) But I might be a tad bit biased.

Why oh why can’t babies just stay babies forever? I know they have to grow up, but sometimes it breaks my heart a little bit.


Not just for baby’s bum! Let me explain. I have never really enjoyed cleaning. I LOVE having a clean and orderly house. But the actual cleaning process not so much:(. And it seems with every child I have I do worse at keeping up with the cleaning. And I was only marginally good at it to begin with. Sorry husband. Thus began my obsession with baby wipes! They are always there. So handy. And guess what? They CLEAN things. Amazing I know. It has gotten to the point that if I can’t wipe it up with a baby wipe….well then it will remain there until my husband takes initiative and really cleans. With real cleaning supplies:). Yep we own those too. And yes I could use them but they are in the cupboard aaalllllllll the way down the hall. And the wipes? Right here by me and the baby. How convenient. Unless I forget to make more wipes….that has only happened a time or two hundred:)
And now for a more interesting baby wipe story. Maybe. The other day I uttered these words to a certain 2 1/2 year old I know (who shall remain nameless:), “NO! Don’t use that wipe on your mouth after you wiped your bum with it!”. But it was too late. My point? Sometimes I can hardly believe the things I say as a mom to young children! Never in a million years could I imagine those words being necessary but they were. Oh boy oh boy. Never a dull moment around here.
And now to illustrate my point about the real cleaning supplies being unreachable. A picture of my hallway (from last spring when my husband was painting it). See what I mean? SO FAR AWAY?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

12 for 2012

Jumping on the “2012 Year-in-Review” bandwagon with 12 pictures! Enjoy.
We moved. To this little abode pictured below. Admittedly this picture is NOT from January, but it works:) At the time I was far too busy unpacking and trying not to throw up from morning sickness to even think of taking a picture of our new rental home. Please ignore my husband and his crazy soccer moves. I have no idea.
Thanks to my parents’ willingness to drive 7 hours to our place and watch our kids, Joe and I were able to go on our first trip since BEFORE kids!!! Yep it had been 5 years. Far too long. We chose Vegas because it was cheap and warm:) Though we do not gamble we enjoyed our child-less (ok not counting the in-utero babe) time greatly. Thanks mom and dad!
20 weeks. As always those weeks managed to draaaaag and fly by all at the same time. Yes, I torture my children by making them take a picture with me and the belly every month during my pregnancy. They love it…ok honestly they love the chocolate they receive for participating:) But I do love these progress pictures. Totally worth the bribery. Fun fact: Joe found out the baby’s gender. I did not.
Easter in South Dakota with both my siblings and their families and my parents. The best! We all love spending time on the ranch and just being together. Pictured are the cousins on the church steps or at least the BIG cousins that were trustworthy enough to NOT fall down the stairs. I love how Charlotte is looking at her cousins…I think she was surprised to be included in the big kids’ picture.
This little lady asked to use the potty and DID! So I took on one of my least favorite parenting duties and worked on potty training her while just the two of us were home for a few days. Our boys were on their annual kayaking and camping trip. This time for 4 days and 80ish miles down the Wisconsin River. These events took place just days after Joe finished his first year of medical school (yay!!!!) and over our 9th wedding anniversary. How romantic.

My parents took us to Pompano Beach, Florida for a week!!! Have I mentioned how awesome my parents are? They ROCK! We swam, ate, slept and played all week. It was perfect if not a little hectic with 6 adults and 6 kids (ages 7 and under) all traveling and vacationing together. June is also our busy birthday month. I turned 29 (and that officially suspended my birthday for the next decade:). Charlotte turned 2 and Isaiah turned 5!

We spent a lot of time HERE. Well not actually on the path, but IN Lake Michigan trying to stay cool. It was a HOT summer. Too hot for the likings of this pregnant mom:) We spent so much time in the water that Isaiah went from being very timid to a completely independent swimmer. I was amazed. We also did other fun stuff. I volunteered at camp for 2 weeks (family tagged along for the fun). I survived camping alone with 2 kids at 8 months pregnant while my husband was in Costa Rica (for a medical class/experience). Oh wait that wasn’t so much fun for me. I continued to work part-time. Lastly the boys went on one more kayaking and camping trip for 3 days with Joe’s parents. Fun fact: We live one block from Lake Michigan!

We welcomed our third child into our family. Hannah Rose. And I was completely SHOCKED that she was a girl! Joe kept the secret well. I was also shocked that my labor lasted 24 hours. That wasn’t quite the fun surprise I was hoping for. 6 days later Joe started his 2nd year of medical school. 2 weeks later the kids and I went crazy and drove 500+ miles to celebrate my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary with my entire extended family. Thanks mom for being my travel companion and sanity keeper:) We also picked, stewed and froze 40 quarts of tomatoes. Because taking care of a newborn and two “big” kids just isn’t enough work for me…

My baby started school. Real school. Kindergarten! How did that happen? There were many tears shed. Mine. Not his:) I am sure other things happened this month too, but I can’t recall them now. It was all just too big and monumental for me. *Full disclosure: Isaiah’s school year actually began at the end of August. But Hannah’s birth needed it’s moment to shine. So we will just call it good enough.*

We made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch/apple orchard with friends. Always a good time. We wouldn’t miss it. Even though it meant I got to drive nearly 300 miles just me and the kids. Did I mention our portable DVD player died in August? Well it did. See I am crazy:) Not pictured were the kids’ cute costumes. Isaiah was a vampire and Charlotte was a fairy/princess. Hannah? She was just a lump in the moby wrap:) We will try harder next year. Other notable moments from the month: Hannah started sleeping through the night!!! Isaiah designed and directed (with written instructions) our pumpkin carving. Very cute.

So much to be thankful for. We made our first “thankful tree”. Each day we would add a new leaf with what we were thankful for. “Dollhouse” was Charlotte’s answer 99% of the time. I know I personally am very thankful for my parents. They are the best grandparents. They invest A LOT of time in their grandchildren. And they are always willing to help us in any way they can. My mom actually potty trained Isaiah for me while I was in school! See I told you they are the best:)
We were all in our church’s Christmas program. It was such an amazing experience. It really made me reflect upon the TRUE meaning of Christmas. “Baby Jesus” only fussed a little bit during the first performance and slept through the second! I am a bit biased, but I think those might be the cutest little lamb and wise man ever:) We had many, many Christmas celebrations with family. Hannah vomited for 2 days straight and Joe had a fever/sore throat, but that didn’t stop us! We ate too much, played games, exchanged gifts and just enjoyed being with extended family on both sides. Oh and of course we visited Santa. Charlotte was afraid of him (again). And Isaiah only asked for 1 thing (a Ninjago rattlecopter lego set). Let’s just say Santa had to work pretty hard to find one of those…but he delivered!

2012 was a good year! A little bit crazy, but good. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us in 2013…

*Yes I realize I have 13 pictures. Such a rebel. And just because I can’t control myself…
Here we are ringing in the New Year with our best friends and root beer floats:) Because we are cool like that! We had all 5 kids sleeping and we were able to get in a game of “hand and foot”. The girls won. First time ever! Definitely a party worthy evening.

And now I am going to attempt to link-up with Dwija at House Unseen and join her virtual end of the year party. Or is it a beginning of the year party?!?   If that didn’t work, sorry. Please be patient with me. I am still pretty new at this whole blogging thing:)