Thursday, September 29, 2016


Today I tried something COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone. 

Baby-wearing ZUMBA. 

It was so hard. But so fun. Even though I looked completely ridiculous, I had a blast! When I wasn't on the brink of death I was having a blast. The best was when Levi wasn't trying to climb out of the ergo and he would smile up at me. I think he liked it too! It's a mommy and me class so my big girls could join is as they wanted. We ended the class with planking and I seriously thought I was going to die. I lived:) But I may not be able to walk tomorrow though. 

This is as a good of point as any to say that before Joe started residency I had this dream/vision of what residency would look like for me. And at the tip top of that dream there was a YMCA membership with 2 hours of childcare/day included. Jokingly I told Joe he could only apply to residency locations that had YMCAs. I may have been joking but I really wanted that gym membership. Not because I like to work out. Mostly because I like my sanity. And a million years ago I met my friend Andrea. Ok. Not a million years. More like 7. It just feels like a lifetime ago. Back when medical school and residency was just a dream for Joe. And Andrea had two little boys and a husband in residency and she was (and still is) incredibly sane. She also had a YMCA membership with childcare that she utilized regularly. I attributed her sanity to that YMCA:) She was (and still is) incredibly fit. So way back then I decided that if/when Joe started residency I would be just like Andrea. Sane and fit. 

Imagine my disappointment last summer when we moved for residency and I discovered while our town has a YMCA it does NOT have childcare. (Yes I realize I could have found a different gym with childcare. But I didn't.) So as it turns out I was barely sane and I was most definitely the opposite of fit the entire first year of Joe's residency. Because apparently doing zero exercise and eating tortillas and tortilla chips daily does not make a person healthy - mentally or physically. But this year I'm changing that. I'm finding new ways to be sane and fit. And Mommy & Me Zumba is one of those ways. And maybe (just maybe) a few less tortillas. 

Me and my incredibly sane friend Andrea, five years ago. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Happenings and such

Yesterday Joe worked a 16 hour shift and Levi had a nose like a faucet so that meant no church for me and the kids. Meaning we had A LOT of hours to fill. We ran a few errands, played at a park, and had play date with friends. I washed a load of laundry and hung it out to dry (just to have it rained on). There were of course a million dishes to be washed and mouths to be fed. But I decided I needed something fun for myself so I picked up new mascara and eye shadow at the grocery store. And while the kids were playing nicely I snuck away and tried on my new make up. 

At dinner the kids all agreed it looked nice (after I asked them if they noticed anything different about mommy). But Charlotte was quick to ask me to not wear "scary eyes" to school because she likes regular mommy more. 

A few weeks ago I overheard this conversation from the back of my van after dropping Isaiah off at school. And it gave me a good laugh...

Levi: Iya? Iya?
Charlotte: Isaiah is at school. 
Levi: Daddy? Daddy? Daddy?
Charlotte: Daddy is at the hospital. You don't need Daddy. You need Mommy. 
Levi: NO. Daddy. Daddy?
Charlotte: Daddy is at the hospital. 
Hannah: He's helping the kids with owies.
Charlotte: The sick kids need daddy. You need mommy. 
Levi (unconvinced): No! Daddy. 
Charlotte: The kids with owies need daddy. You need mommy. 
Levi (pointing to a teeny tiny scratch on his leg): OWIE!!!

It's tough being the second rank parent...but someone's got to do it. Seriously though this guy loves his daddy something fierce these days. Even after he broke his beloved Oggy!

Charlotte has been wanting us to have a garage sale of our very own ever since we moved to Texas. She asks frequently. And I finally said yes (only because I knew some other residency wives would join me and I wouldn't be sitting out in the blazing heat with my junk all alone). 

And thank goodness for these ladies because I NEVER would have been able to do it without them. I looked at Joe's schedule wrong and planned the garage sale for a day he worked. Oops! These ladies basically ran MY garage sale while I juggled the kids and their needs and pretended to work the sale. Not pictured is the one residency wife that showed up with her kids - not to sell anything - just to hang out! Which basically means she watched my kids for me for a couple hours in exchange for a few snacks for her kids. I definitely won there! Though after the sale when I texted her asking what percentage of my sales I owed her, she said none. She also said my kids are "a hoot". I'm going to assume that is code for crazy, barely controlled maniacs.  

I made $175 in one morning. We may no longer have a dining room table but it was worth it! Because I've got a fun new coffee table and new blinds for the playroom. 

(Our playroom table is substituting nicely for a dining room table until my parents bring us the real replacement at Thanksgiving.)

I know I had more random things to report on. Like the time I found a complete (wrapped) caramel while sweeping and felt like the biggest winner! Exciting stuff is happening around here I tell ya:) But since this has taken me over a week to type up I'm just going to stop here. Good enough. Life is happening. And it's mostly good. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Broken Oggy.

The baby of the family really does get away with basically anything! I've kinda always known this. (I'm the baby of my family.) But now as the mom I see how it happens. Perfect example with my kids: pacifiers. Isaiah (baby #1) had his pacifier taken away by 15 months. And even then I felt bad about letting him have it (for sleep only!) after his first birthday. Charlotte (baby #2) never really took a pacifier. She preferred her thumb. Her right thumb. Hannah (baby #3) had a pacifier until 11 months. Maybe until her first birthday. But that was it! Now Levi (baby last baby) had his pacifier up until yesterday. He is 20 almost 21 months. 

And the only reason it was taken away yesterday was because it broke. I could see it was cracked (from Levi chewing on it) so I showed Joe and he promptly tore the tip right off...right in front of Levi. It nearly broke the kid's heart. Look at those sad eyes. That boy LOVES his "Oggy". And now Oggy is no more. 

But he's surviving without his pacifier! I wanted to give him a substitute pacifier at nap yesterday but Joe said no. So we didn't. And he cried for a few minutes (less than 5...I timed it on my phone because it broke my heart) and then he took a solid two hour nap. And last night he slept all night without a pacifier. Today nap started without ANY crying. BUT he does tend to wake up sad and asking for Oggy. Lest I make it sound like complete smooth sailing over her. 

But we are surviving. 

No more pacifiers. It's like the end of an era around here. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

5 Years Ago...

This picture was taken five years ago today. 

Five years and a lifetime ago. 

It was the fall of Joe's first year of medical school. We had just moved to the suburbs of Chicago and knew practically no one. I was still working part-time (in Minnesota. On the weekends!)  Isaiah was four and Charlotte was one. We were done having kids. (Ha. Hahahahaha!) Or maybe we would have another one or two during residency. But definitely no more during medical school because I was going to continue working all four years. (Haha!) Joe's parents stopped by for a quick visit on their way into Chicago and I insisted we stop by his school for an informal tour and some pictures. We had missed his white coat ceremony in order to attend his cousin's funeral. But I still wanted to commemorate the beginning of his training years somehow. 

Gosh. I look at this picture and I hardly recognize us. I remember life then. But it's gotten a little fuzzy with time. Medical school with just two kids seems like a lifetime ago. It's hard to believe that now we are in residency with four kids! Joe is well into his second year of residency. Inching closer and closer to that wonderful halfway mark. I never could have imagined this life back then. Just like I can't even begin to imagine what our life will look like five years from now. 

I don't really know where I'm going with all this. I guess it's just nice to look back and say "we made it and look at how far we've come." Maybe I'll take a picture of us today. For comparison. Maybe. If we are all in the same room at the same time that is. Joe is on late call in the PICU today. And Hannah has gymnastics tonight. Plus we might grab pizza and hang out with friends afterwards. So no guarantees. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Homeschool Update

Homeschooling. How's it going? Good question. Ok. I think. Some days are super easy and fun. And some days are ridiculously hard and I daydream about driving over to our neighborhood public school and dropping all my kids off! That's normal, right?!? I've definitely discovered which subjects are my childrens' favorites and which are not. Actually Hannah likes them all. She's just excited to learn! She's soaking it up like a sponge. Big sister on the other hand has BIG opinions on school. And I've learned to start with the least favorite subject and work our way towards her favorites. Keeps her motivated. Most days:) But overall I know that in a year or two when I'm not homeschooling anymore (because likely this is a temporary solution for our family) I will look back at this year fondly. The year I got to spend extra time with my girls (and tag along little brother of course)! A little bonus year before things got crazy with all my kids in school. 

(Side note: I bought a new-to-me coffee table. And I LOVE it!!! It was for the children of course...they needed more work space. ;-) )

The one thing I'm struggling with homeschooling is finding the time to do my regular life stuff in the middle of teaching school. Cleaning the house (even just the bare minimum cleaning!), doing laundry and grocery shopping all seem impossible (but necessary) to keep up with. I envisioned all this time to do housework while my girls worked independently. Ha! Preschool and first grade requires A LOT of hands-on instruction and sometimes near constant redirection.  The laundry I've managed to squeeze in here and there. But the cleaning has been largely left to Joe. Lucky guy. He gets to work all day and then come home and clean up after me and the kids:). Today I did just a little cleaning before our school day started. I swept the floors because I was tired of having crumb covered floors and feet. And as a bonus I found a wrapped and delicious caramel! Cleaning never tasted so good before. Maybe I should do more of the cleaning. Maybe...

Lastly I've changed how I grocery shop. Because Walmart has FREE grocery pickup. And its AMAZING! Life changing. Or at least life improving. Seriously. I love it. Admittedly I was a bit reluctant but also incredibly desperate when I first tried it. But I'm here to say it's great. And I have no complaints...three orders later. Here's how it works. You place your order online (I use my phone). The website is easy and very user friendly. When you place your order you choose your pick up time (it gives you a one hour window). Then at your chosen pick up time you drive to the store and park in the designated stalls. And here's the BEST part: you stay in your vehicle and a Walmart employee brings your order to you and loads it into your vehicle! For FREE. 

I personally recommend enjoying your favorite beverage while picking up your groceries. And if you want to impress your children let them come along just as they are - no shoes, unbrushed hair, pjs on - and watch the magic grocery shopping happen. Seriously my kids thought it was magical. The BEST ERRAND EVER according to them. And I have to agree. It's significantly decreased my stress level by taking one thing off my plate. Oh and it's not just groceries you can order. I've gotten diapers, windshield wipers, toothpaste, a bike tire and other random stuff along with my groceries. Walmart is NOT paying me to write any of this. I promise. I'm just a very happy customer. (And prior to free grocery pick up Walmart was NOT my preferred grocery store but I'm hooked now). 

So if you want to try it out and you want $10 off your first order (of $30+) follow this link:

Or don't. I just had to share. Because I absolutely love it. Now it's time to get back to school for me and the girls. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Waiting for the tooth fairy

Charlotte lost her first tooth today! 

She was so brave letting me twist it "just one more time. And a little more..."  She cried after it popped out into my hand and not because of the pain. She cried because she was so excited! 

Brother and sister are pretty excited too! They are planning and scheming together to have a sleepover in the girls' room and stay up ALL night. They want to see the tooth fairy. Though admittedly Hannah is a little afraid of the tooth fairy and Charlotte is doubting her existence already. And I'm pretty sure Isaiah has the system figured out. But it's cute to watch them so excited. I might just let them try to stay up...just this once! If nothing else they will be up late enough to tell daddy the exciting news. (Joe is working late tonight and Charlotte won't let me text him the news and it's kinda killing me because I'm not good with keeping secrets!) 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This kid.

The other day I was sharing my "recipe" for baby wipes with a few moms via Facebook and I wrote the words "In my experience of making these for the past almost 10 years...".  Hold up. Woah! Almost 10 years. I've been making baby wipes for almost a DECADE. And babies too for that matter. I actually did the math a few months ago after I weaned Levi (because I was feeling guilty/selfish) and in the last 10 years I have been either pregnant or nursing for 7.4 of those years! Suddenly I didn't feel quite so selfish. 

And then last night I said to Isaiah "Trust me. I've been doing this for you for ten years..." He was quick to remind me that I have only been his mom for nine years. Not ten! And then because I'm so smart I corrected him. Because technically I've been his mother for ten years. It was ten years ago this month I found out I was pregnant with him. So I win;-)

This of course got me thinking. And mostly reminiscing. Because...well...that's just what I do! Ten years ago Joe and I were both seniors in college and set to graduate that year.  We had been married for three years. I had been accepted to multiple PA graduate programs. Together we had accepted an offer from a program in Arizona. We were getting ready and very excited to go on a cross country adventure for a couple years while I furthered my education. The plan was after I graduated from PA school we would move back to Minnesota - near our families. I'd get a nice part time clinic job. He would work in finance. We'd buy a house. And get settled. Then a few years after that we would have a couple kids. 

Two little blue lines on a pregnancy test one early September morning changed everything. And those plans went flying out the proverbial window!  I almost laugh thinking back on the life we had planned for ourselves back then. And clearly God did too. Because today our life looks nothing like I dreamed it would a decade ago! 

Ok. Maybe not nothing like I dreamed. Just very different. But one thing I know for sure is my life is far better than I ever dreamed thanks to those two blue lines. A test result that I initially thought was the end of my life was really just the beginning. And I love that nine year old boy more than life itself. 

Even if he is part monkey:)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Pretty Little Braids

Levi is at the most perfect adorable age. His vocabulary is limited but growing. (Almost) everything he says makes me smile. Even his defiant "nope" is cute. He tries so hard to narrate and describe his little world. And I love it. Actually we all do.  His siblings are constantly encouraging him to try new words (with some success). 

By far his more endearing statement is "pretty". He uses it often to describe me and/or my clothing. When I braid my hair I'm guaranteed an approving smile, pat (on the braid) and declaration of "pretty" from my youngest admirer. Makes me want to braid my hair every day!

Then this afternoon while we were playing in the sandbox Levi handed me a dead leaf and happily described it as "PRETTY". So much for making a mama feel good about herself. 

Speaking of braids I've been teaching myself how to French braid the girls' hair. It's far from perfect. But I'd say it's presentable.