Thursday, May 29, 2014

my little graduate

Today Hannah graduated from speech therapy! Okay technically it was an "exit interview & evaluation" but it felt like a graduation to me because she no longer qualifies for speech therapy. BECAUSE...wait for it...her speech abilities are in the normal range for her age!! Low end of normal. But we will take it and run. 

It is incredible to me how far she has come in such a short time. Her screaming is fading away as her words emerge. It's almost just a memory now. Almost. Five months ago when she started speech she had a ONE WORD vocabulary. Today she uses 60+ words AND has started to put two words together in rudimentary sentences. Her current favorites are "Mommy happy!" and "Yaya eyeball". (Recently there was an incident of Isaiah squirting shampoo in Hannah's eye. I don't think she has forgiven him yet.) 

This graduation from speech therapy is an answer to prayer. A very timely one at that! While I am very excited to hit the away-rotation-road with Joe and the kids this summer I was worried about taking Hannah from the therapy she needs. But she doesn't need it anymore. We are cleared to go (so to speak). Although I do worry that her incredible progress will cease or slow without therapy. It's back to just me teaching her and that didn't go so well the first yea, I'm a little nervous. But I am going to give it my best shot. 

Speaking of hitting the road, we finally know where we are going!!! End of June the kids and I will join Joe in Iowa for a four week emergency medicine rotation. Then at the end of July we will pack up and make the trek over to Michigan for another 4 week emergency medicine rotation. After that Joe is hoping to go to Las Vegas for a rotation and the kids and I will head back to Minnesota. While I am ALL for us sticking together as a family, Nevada at the end of August sounds miserable to me. Thanks but no thanks. 

It's going to be a fun summer! If I can get us packed and moved that is. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

the best pet & a bloody nose

Shockingly I don't have much to share. I am still packing. Still crabby. Still hanging out in no-man's-land. But even I don't want to hear about that anymore so I will spare you all the gory details! Except this tiny little detail: we have decided to NOT pack our dishes and glasses. We are going to donate them. And then get new ones when we unpack in a year. Exciting stuff! Seriously though our dishes and cups are in such sad's time we part ways. 

So Charlotte drew this picture of me while at the library the other day. 

Initially I thought that was steam above my head. Because while Charlotte was drawing me I was trying desperately to print a few forms while Hannah was sqwauking loudly at my feet (garnering many a dirty look from fellow library patrons) AND turning off the computer. Thus doubling the time required of this simple task AND the number of stink eyes we received. 

But no. Charlotte informed me that was a rainbow above mommy. "Pretty. Just like mommy." Bless her. And her rose colored glasses. Because I was most definitely steaming mad at that evidenced by my crazy eyes included in the drawing!

I overhead this little conversation that Isaiah and Charlotte's hero factory guys were having during bath time last night...

Rawjaw (Isaiah): Sorry won't cut it! Not one little bit!  Grrrr. 
Breeze (Charlotte): Sorry but I love you. You know I love you. 

Isaiah: Villains don't like each other! Charlotte!

I had to laugh. So typical. That boy loves battles and action. And much to his dismay his little sister is more concerned about relationships. Even though they were playing with the same toy the method of play was completely different!

Here are some gems that have found their way into our home and my heart (via Isaiah's backpack): 

Makes perfect sense. A sleepy dog. FYI - our backyard is completely fenced in. And Joe is allergic to cats (and some dogs). Isaiah is allergic to cats. He may be a little fuzzy on the details of our lives...

But not on this next one. This is a completely accurate depiction of an injury that happened to him (which was the writing prompt. Weird, right?!? I think so.) I especially love that he did not feel limited by the three provided spaces for the details of the story. Because that last one is classic Joe. And though I was not present at the time of this particular injury I can hear my husband saying those words as I read them. And it makes me laugh:)

I guess I had a few non-moving related things to say after all. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Just call me Mrs. Crabby Pants

Remember last week? I do. Last week I went out with my girls (and by "girls" I mean a group of 30-something-year-old moms sans children! Totally fits the definition of girls, right? Right:)). One friend asked me how I was doing - in regards to packing and preparing to move. And before I could even answer she told me how impressed she is that I am handling it all so well. Ha! After I controlled my snorting/cackling, I informed her that I am CRABBY. Pretty much all time. 

Moving does that to me. Especially in the final weeks leading up to the move. I have this sense of not belonging. Wishing the move was DONE. And at the same time not wanting to leave. Trying to enjoy every "last" here AND getting our plans for there solidified. Feeling stuck somewhere in the middle. 

But LOOK! I had a fun, not crabby night with my girls. And I painted a picture of a tree!!! And it looks (mostly) like a tree. I was shocked. Because while I am a little bit crafty, I am not in the least bit artistic. 

(Apparently these paint-a-canvas places are all the rage these days. Who knew I was so trendy? Not I.)

So I thought crabby was bad. Then today happened. As in the moment when I went into full blown PANIC mode. As in I was looking around my house and realizing that it still looks very much like we live in this house and NOT like a house that is boxed up and ready to move in a mere 18 DAYS!!!! As I looked around I was overwhelmed with the realization that every thing we own needs to be dealt with. Either packed or tossed or distributed elsewhere. 

It's daunting. Everything! Every tube of Chapstick. Every mismatched (and matched) sock. Every Lego. Ever Polly Pocket. Every paper, pen and pencil. Every book. All the kids' artwork and "treasures". Big things like picnic tables and kayaks. Medium things like dollhouses and scooters. Small things like shoes and hats. Everything we own. 

And it's not just as easy as throwing it in a box mindlessly. First I must evaluate the item. Do we need this? Do we want it anymore? If not, then what? Sell it. Donate it. Or pass it along to someone else who can enjoy it. All of which needs to be done somewhat covertly otherwise my children tend to UN-do all my sorting and packing. Let's just say our definition of what we need varies greatly. 

(We are equal opportunity diaper buyers and users. Apparently. Oh and duck tape across the box = not storage!)

One would think that since this will be our TENTH move, that I would be good at this sort of thing. One would think wrong. I loathe moving! Sure I now realize that packing paper is pretty much unnecessary - that's what towels and sheets are for! And a packing tape dispenser-thingy-majig? Yep I own one of those PLUS six spare rolls of tape. Who doesn't?! And I keep my boxes (broken down in a storage room) between moves - saves a lot of work. But I still really dislike the whole process. This move seems to be especially challenging as I am trying to sort stuff into three categories as I pack it. 1. Storage. 2. Need at my parents house (at some point throughout the next year). And finally, 3. bring on the road with us this summer.  It's complicated. 

And I am probably predicting our needs all wrong. Something we NEED will inevitably be buried somewhere deep in the storage abyss while something we could totally live without will be taking up precious real estate in our Town & Country. It's gonna happen that way. I just know it. But what I really hope happens is a year when we move for residency and finally open the majority of these boxes that I realize I did a good job of purging the junk and we are pleasantly surprised to find items we love and need and will use in these boxes. I really hope it goes down like that. Because I am working really hard at being selective of what makes the cut. I am tired of packing, moving and storing junk over and over again! This is finally the move in which I say NO MOVING JUNK! (Which is hard since I have hoarding tendencies. I am just too sentimental and attached to stuff!)

All this to say, moving is hard. And it's making me crazy! But I know we are going to make it. History has proven that fact 9 times over. The getting there is just no fun. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

best laid plans

Eleven years ago today I married my best friend. I was 19 and he was 20. (Just a couple of kids!) Our wedding day was beautiful and nearly perfect - except I forgot to bring his wedding ring to the church and realized my mistake as the pastor was asking for the rings during the ceremony. Oops!

Oh the plans we had for our life together back then....

We were going to get married and take two years off from college in order to serve on the mission field in the Dominican Republic. 

We did that. 

Then we were going to finish college. 

We did that too. 

Then it was PA school for me and Joe was going to start his career in finance. Then AFTER graduate school we would move back to Minnesota to be near family. I would get established in my career - family practice or pediatrics - and Joe would work with his dad - as a financial advisor. And then after a few years we would start having babies. 

And THIS is where our plans derailed!

The thing is I was 8 months pregnant with Isaiah when we graduated college. (Not in the plans!) And I took an (unplanned) year off before starting PA school. And then during PA school Joe had his quarter-life crisis and decided to go back to school for medicine. Which meant starting at the very beginning as he had not taken ANY of the science pre-requisites. And so on and so forth...

So here we are 11 years later. With our 3 kids - born in 3 different states (none in Minnesota!) thanks to our seemingly never ending higher education. I am well established in my career as MOM. And Joe is on his way to becoming a doctor. None of this was in THE PLANS. 

But here is the truth of it all. Though I NEVER would have pictured our life turning out this way, I am so glad it did. Because I love my husband. And I love the crazy, ever-changing life we have created together. He's still my best friend. And I am so lucky to have spent the last 11 years with him. 

Admittedly I have no clue what the next 11 will look like. I won't even try to guess (or plan them!) Because trusting God and my husband has proven to be a much better plan. So I am going to stick with that plan.

I love you Joe! Thank you for loving me. You are still my best friend. Even if you laugh at me when things like this happen...

(All of the pictures today are completely random - taken off Facebook. Sorry. It's the best I could do because all of our pictures are packed and ready to 19 days! Plus it was 4 o'clock in the morning and I was wondering where my husband was - so it may not be my most cohesive writing:) Turns out he was studying. He had gotten up early so he could get four hours of study time in AND still spend the day with me. That's love.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Guess who is wearing undies now? Never mind don't guess. We all are. So that's an awkward question:) That's right folks. Family of five here ALL IN UNDIES! No diapers for us. Okay a few diapers. But mostly undies.

Today was the ninth day of underwear wearing for Hannah and she didn't have a single accident! Prior to today she was having about 1 accident/day. She is doing great. Way better than I expected actually. (Of course now that I have typed this all up she will probably regress keep you humble.)

See the thing is that I swore up and down that I was NOT going to potty train Hannah until sometime after the move. I even packed up and sent my little potty chair back to my parents' house already. I was NOT going to do this.

Until I did. 

About two weeks ago I was just FED UP with changing toddler diapers. At first I thought it was that I was burnt out on cloth diapers so I gave myself a break and used only disposables for a week. No difference in my attitude. I was sick and tired of ALL diapers. So I traded in changing and washing dirty diapers for lots of time spent in the bathroom as a cheerleader and cleaning messes and dirty undies.

And while initially it felt like a bad trade and more work then it was worth, now I am loving it. No more diapers! (Well except the bedtime and nap diaper of course.)

Her siblings are loving potty training too. Every time Hannah has a success they ALL get a candy. This was my custom when potty training Charlotte because Isaiah was a very active participant in that process as I was often stuck in my rocking chair with a nursing baby. He totally earned his candy back then. These days he's just a candy vulture with hardly even an encouraging word for his newest toilet using little sister. I am seriously considering recanting the candy for all kids rule.

The other day I thought I had a pretty epic potty training story to share with Joe. Earlier in the day, I had to tell Hannah to NOT wipe her tongue with the toilet paper she had just wiped her bottom with...but Joe had an equally epic story about one of our other children. Apparently he had to stop one of our children from blowing their nose with the toilet paper they had just used on their poopy bottom! That child shall remain nameless...

We like to keep it nice and sanitary around here. Or not. Not in the least. But I suppose that comes with the territory. Speaking of territory. Ours is ever expanding. We are no longer on potty training house arrest! Today we spent two hours at the park AND went grocery shopping without a single mishap. Its was a toddler bladder sized miracle.

Counting my blessings one pair of dry undies at a time:)

*All pictures that include me are compliments of big sister.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ramblings and an AUCTION!

I just found Hannah in the hallway "reading" a stack of books...with a trail of turds behind her. She was none to pleased to be removed from her books in order to be cleaned up. Which got me thinking. Life is happening so I better keep writing. Otherwise how will I remember all these things? (I won't. I have the worst memory.)

Want to know one perk of moving in the near-ish future? People want to get together "one last time". My social calendar is filling up. And I am feeling very loved. Oh and people want to help me. For example, a very sweet friend is watching the girls in the morning just so I can have time to get stuff done. Yes please! And thank you. I could get used to this. 

I can't remember if I mentioned it before or not, but awhile back I went to Charlotte's dance picture prepared to say NO! I was not going to waste money on the professional pictures when I am capable of taking a cute picture of my ballerina myself. But that check I brought just in case came in real handy....

How could I resist so much cuteness? I couldn't. And today when those pictures arrived in the mail it totally made my day. Because despite feeling loved (and popular!) I am also feeling very blah and unmotivated. Sometimes moving just sucks the life right out of you. Even when that move is a good move bringing us closer to finishing this marathon-like chapter of our life. Moving is hard. Physically and emotionally. (The fact that this is our tenth move doesn't make it any easier. I mean sure I know how to pack really, really well. But it is still a lot of work.)

Besides moving season, it is nearly birthday season around here. Next month I will be 31. (Lets not talk about it. Thanks.) Charlotte will be 4. And Isaiah will be 7! I am having a hard time accepting Charlotte turning four. Three has been such a fun age for her and I just wish I could bottle her up and keep her this way forever...or at least a little longer! Admittedly I am not feeling as nostalgic about Isaiah's impending age change. Six has been a tough year for him and us as his parents. I am excited (and hopeful!) for seven. 

So I went to this wedding this past weekend. It was going to be a date night. And then it wasn't. And then I went alone (despite my better judgement telling me I shouldn't as I had off & on belly pain all weekend). The wedding was for a former PA classmate (and her now husband). And it was GORGEOUS! And so fun. I got to reconnect with (some of) my PA people. These are the people that survived and supported me through some of the most challenging years of my life. I guess what I am saying is it was really good to see them. 
(Photo shamelessly stolen from my friend-not-the-bride's Facebook page. Laura does your day feel complete now that you know one of my children pooped on the floor today? I really hope so!)

Until they informed me that I need to take my PA re-certification exam NEXT YEAR. (I thought I still had two years before it was test time.) Then I felt like I was going to puke. I literally felt lightheaded and sick at the mention of this. Because next year I am planning on being a vagabond and living carefree. Studying and preparing for a test that my medical license depends upon was not part of the plan! But I didn't throw up immediately. No it was all fun and games until the ride home....when I did vomit (while driving) all over myself and Joe's car. Unfortunately that really happened. And while I have recovered, I am not sure Joe's car ever will. 

Unrelated and random question I keep asking much TV is too much to allow my kids to watch every day? I mean really? I know the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend no screen time for those under 2 and less than 2 hours for all other kids...but it's just PBS. It is educational and all that jazz. And it's keeping me sane. So yeah, rules shmules. Sorry pediatricians. And sorry to my children and your rotting brains and ever decreasing attention spans. I love you. I really do. But I am just trying to survive. 

And in an attempt to not sound like a broken record of moving doom and gloom...besides birthdays we have a few other exciting events coming up. This week I have a mid-week Moms Night Ou t event. That never happens. (And I am ridiculously excited. I am going to try really hard not to throw up this time. No guarantees. My track record is terrible!) Saturday will be our 11th wedding anniversary. Making a grand total of 15 years as a couple (dating & married). No big plans. But we will be together. So that will be nice. And a little further away but still much anticipated, is the going away/farewell party our friends are throwing us. It seems like just yesterday that our Wisconsin friends were throwing us a going away party before we moved here...

When in reality that was nearly 3 years ago (and minus one family member)! Crazy how time actually flies when it feels like it is moving at a snail's pace. Crazy indeed. 

Last (and most important!) go check out the amazing auction of goodness that my cousin and his wife are putting on right NOW! The auction will be up and running until Saturday May 24th. All proceeds go directly towards offsetting the costs of bringing home their son (Little C) from the Philippines SOON. Click on over and take a gander. Lots of fun homemade stuff (including a few things made by yours truly) along with a few other things. And don't be, bid, bid! It's all for a great cause. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

PSA #2

This is my second public service announcement. Hopefully it will be more helpful than my first one. (Probably not.) I am assuming most intelligent adults already know how to properly attach a camera strap to their camera. However just in case I can help someone I will continue with this PSA...

My Mother's Day gifts this year weren't a complete flop. BECAUSE I had the foresight (the dumb luck?) to order myself a little something. A little one-size-fits-all something. A new camera strap. To go along with my fun new camera and camera bag!

Isn't it a beauty? I think so too.

However it's beauty (while undeniable) isn't my main point today. Take a closer look at the strap. Specifically near the attachment points to the camera. 

See how the one on the left is all neat and tidy and tucked in? While the one on the right is a floppy, dangling mess. The mess is how I used to attach my camera strap to my camera. While ugly it was functional so I never thought to try anything different. That was until my new strap arrived WITH installation instructions. Instructions I nearly threw away because surely I knew how to "install" a camera strap! But that last illustration (#4) piqued my interest and I had to give it a try.

And I am so glad I did because it works! And it has revolutionized my world. Okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I am really happy with how neat and tidy my strap looks now. Plus it doesn't poke me in the face while trying to take pictures. So that's a bonus:)
So there you have it. The neat and tidy method for attaching a camera strap to a camera. You are welcome.
clearly this picture was taken BEFORE I discovered the correct installation method

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


And now a little less about me, me, me and little more about the people that keep my life entertaining...and a tad frustrating:)

Friday afternoon...
Me: Daddy is coming home soon!!
Charlotte: So he will sleep at our house and then go back to the hospital?
Me: No. He is going to be home all weekend with us!
Charlotte: So he will sleep at our house and then go study?
Me: No he will be home all weekend with us!
Charlotte: But he will go to the hospital, right?
Me: No. 

Turns out she was right. He did go study. Why three years in am I still so naive to believe that we would have an entire weekend together??? I don't know. A girl can dream, can't she?


Friday night while tucking Isaiah into bed...

Joe: I really miss you buddy when I am gone.
Isaiah: I miss you a lot too daddy.
Joe: I am glad I am home with you now.
Isaiah: Yeah. I don't miss mommy.
Joe: Well she is home all the time. Its hard to miss someone you are with.
Isaiah: Yeah, but even when she is gone I don't miss her.
Joe: You probably miss her a little....
Isaiah: No.

Saturday evening (while at Joe's distant relatives' home, whom we rarely get together with), Charlotte comes charging into the crowded but (oddly) quiet dining room...
Charlotte: Mom, my undies are dry!!!
Me: That's great...

Sunday evening...

Me: Joe I am sending Hannah your way. She needs a new diaper.
Joe: I am in the kitchen. Making dinner. I can't do it right now.
Me: She isn't poopy. She just needs a new diaper.
Joe: I can't do it. I am preparing dinner. I can't put a diaper on while making dinner.
Me: Yes you can trust. Trust me! What do you think I do every day?!?
Joe: I am preparing food I probably shouldn't change her diaper.
Me: Just do it!

All the time (and everywhere)...

Hannah: Mooo! 

Let me just translate that one. Moo! As in "Noo! I will not hold your hand while walking across the parking lot." And "Noo! I will not sit on this chair. I will STAND." And "No! I will not come to you for a diaper change even though my diaper smells worse than a rotten egg." And lastly, "Noooo! I will not take a picture with you even if it is Mother's Day!"

not that any of my children look especially excited to take a picture with me...


Monday, May 12, 2014

About Me

Subtitle: Mother's Day, version 2014

All in all yesterday was a pretty good day. I won't bore you all with ALL the details. But some highlights include going to church early BY MYSELF. Because every good mom just wants some time alone on Mother's Day, amiright?!? Then during the church service our pastor instructed everyone to wish all the mothers a "Happy Mother's Day" during the greeting time. The three young (adult) girls in front of Joe and I turned to greet us and were very obviously confused as to whether or not I was a mother and decided to error on the side of caution and did NOT wish me a happy mother's day. I did not correct them and instead enjoyed their confusion. Joe says its because I look so young and hip. HA! It was nice of him to say, but I know the hip part is a lie. Young. Sure I will accept that one.

Going out of sequential order, I did enjoy breakfast in bed yesterday morning made by my darling husband...after I requested it and waited in bed for it. It was still wonderful. The wait time allowed me to get all caught up on facebook and blogs and snuggle Charlotte and Hannah. Not so wonderful was the the gift Joe bought me....undergarments. (I won't go into great detail as to not make people uncomfortable. Think granny panties. Nothing scandalous.) In theory this is a great gift because all of mine are old and threadbare. But the problem with the gift was that they were all the wrong size! Which actually made me laugh at the irony of the whole situation. Becoming a mom has completely changed my body. So much so that my husband doesn't even know the correct size undergarments to buy me anymore. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to me.

What else? I had a lovely tuna melt for lunch....that Isaiah refused to help make because he couldn't be interrupted from playing hero factory. We need to work on his willingness to pitch in and listening. But not yesterday. It was Mother's Day. A day in which I was taking it easy. Eating cake and playing cards with my kids. Not disciplining and working.

(Okay I did do a little laundry too:)

But since I said this post was going to be about ME. Here it is. Me according to my kids in 2014.

Charlotte's drawing of ME:

purple is my favorite color.

And Isaiah's book about ME:

Admittedly I was a little insulted by the book, but Joe says it could be a lot worse. How? I am not I sure. He also threatened to pyschoanalyze me if I continued to feel bad about myself based on my six year old's book about me. Gotta love having a husband on a pysch rotation. Not. So I shut up and sulked quietly. That and I reminded Isaiah of ALL the fun things we do together besides eating! Like crafting and playing cards and going for walks and camping. Just to name a few.

And now the grand finale, in honor of my sixth year as a mom, SIX (random) facts about me (not necessarily related to being a mom). Just for fun:

  1. When I chew gum I prefer half a stick. A whole stick just seems like too much gum at one time.
  2. I am completely tone deaf. I can not carry a tune to save me life. Sometimes just singing the ABCs with my children is a challenge!
  3. I often skip breakfast (unintentionally) and eat tortilla chips and cheese for a midmorning snack instead.
  4. As a child (and even as a newlywed) I NEVER made my bed. (Sorry mom!) But now I can not leave the house without making my bed. My day just seems off otherwise.
  5. I don't eat chocolate. I LOVE chocolate, but it triggers my migraines. I gave it up at age 12 and I have missed it ever since.
  6. In high school I was in synchronized swimming and diving.
Bonus #7 (because I count this as my seventh Mother's Day - contrary to what Joe believes the year I was hugely pregnant with Isaiah totally counts!): I don't drink coffee. Never. Ever. That stuff tastes disgusting.

P.S. I wrote up this post yesterday when my kids were sleeping, but I didn't get the pictures up. So this morning I decided to break my "no blogging while my children are awake" rule to quick add the pictures. The entire I have been working on this Hannah has been feeding me her chewed up and soggy peanuts! Gross. Gross. Gross. This is why I don't try to ignore my children to blog. Lesson learned.

Friday, May 9, 2014

It doesn't count.


Before lunch Charlotte and I took Hannah to go potty. (Charlotte all on her own accordance has decided it is her job to potty train Hannah. Since this is a parenting task I more than gladly pass on to any willing person, operation-Charlotte-potty-trains-Hannah is now underway in our house....about one time per day:) Despite sitting with her in the bathroom for a ridiculously long time and Hannah's repeated "potty" wolf cries, nothing productive happened. After informing Hannah she was "done" and that I was going to get a new diaper for her (clearly we are using the term "potty training" loosely around here...NO super thick undies in sight...still diapers 100% of the time for us!), Hannah made it clear SHE would retrieve the new diaper. So I sat in the living room and waited for my bare-bummed charge to return. Unfortunately before that happened, Charlotte informed me that Hannah had pooped on the carpet (in the playroom while getting the new diaper). Erg. When will I ever learn?!? Never. Apparently.

Before I could even assess the situation Charlotte was eagerly asking me, "Does it count?" As in does pooping on the floor count as "going potty" because clearly it was NOT in her diaper...and if it counts, do I get candy?!?! It didn't count. No candy was dispersed.  Poop on the other hand was scooped and placed in the proper receptacle. And fortunately for me Hannah managed to poop only on the small rug in front of the changing table/door to the garage. And even more lucky for me tomorrow is (free) large garbage pick up day so I just rolled that rug right up and hauled it out to the curb! I have cleaned poop from more than my fair share of surfaces, this rug was not worthy of such attention. Soon our tv + tv stand, non-working lawn mower, dilapidated dresser, spare mattress, and a few other miscellaneous old and broken household items will be joining our poopy rug in its dump-bound fate. It feels good to be getting rid of all that crap. Pun totally intended.