Monday, September 30, 2013

Calvin and Hobbes

Tony loves Calvin and Hobbes so much that his sister bought him the complete collection years ago for Christmas.  Yesterday, Tony introduced Max to Calvin's world and Max became an instant fan.  He was even reading some of the comics out loud to himself and laughing out loud.  Pure awesomeness!

Being a Parent is so Tiring

You can fall asleep in the craziest of ways.  Who would've thought a rubber ball would be a comfortable pillow?  When you're tired, it just is.  Here is Tony playing with the kids in the playroom, hee hee.

Evelyn at 5 Weeks!

A Day

I love my kids!  Our days are full of lots to do from school to play dates, dad's work, mom's work, house work, adventures, you name it.  Here are some pics from our past week.  The kids are doing their work--being a kid.  Ryan and his friend are masterfully designing a city complete with pipe systems to the sewer.  You should hear them tell you all about it, it's quite intriguing.  They are future engineers for sure.

 Jason is busy doing his best at being the cutest 15 month old around (and destroying his brother's city).
Evelyn is doing what she does best--snuggle close to mommy.  She was having a tough time sleeping this day so the Moby wrap came to my rescue and she was attached to me while I did my work.

Sorting laundry for 6 people.  It's a bit overwhelming. ; )

Friday, September 20, 2013

Jason is Walking!

He still gets down for a crawl from time to time (especially when he's looking at crossing the whole house, but our boy is walking!  He's so much more confidant.  He's been taking a few steps for a couple of weeks.  Here is a video from earlier this week when he was doing a series of steps. Now, he's even more sure of himself.  So fun!

Evelyn at 4 Weeks!

The Parrot Lady

Ryan's preschool had a visit from the Parrot Lady.


Grandma Snuggles!

We Made Our Goal!!!

We went 100 miles!  Let me tell you that this was harder than I had envisioned at the beginning of the summer.  Once the first heat wave hit, and I got more pregnant, my energy was harder to find.  Top that off with Tony's ankle bothering him a LOT.  He had a hard time taking them on the 5 mile bike rides that I had thought might happen.  Luckily, Tony has a new, customized orthotic and we have a beautiful baby girl! ; )  But, since we weren't able to get the 100 miles in as quickly as I had thought, we decided it would be truly a summer goal--so it had to be accomplished by September 21st!  Luckily, thanks to shorter trips, Grandma coming to town and counting trips to the bus stop ; ), we were able to get our 100 miles in!  Wahoo! 

Looking at a caterpillar on one of our trips (Soos Creek Trail).

Ryan found a "house".

The "Green River" trail.
The other thing I realized I had to be lenient on was the fact that we went on trips while Max was in school.  Originally, the two older boys were both going to have to be on the trip for it to count.  I decided it was okay because 100 miles for two young cutie pies was a pretty lofty goal, so if there were a few trips that were individual, it was A-OK.  :)
The boys did go to the Fall Fair!  In fact, they went with Grandma!  It was a very fun day for them.  I'll get pics from Grandma later. 
Here are the boys celebrating the accomplishment of their goal.

Video of Evelyn

Here's a video from Evelyn at 2 1/2 weeks.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Prepared and Blessed

New moms know that there are a lot of tasks that are harder to do with a new baby.  Leaving the house to go grocery shopping, cooking, doing laundry, etc. are all extra hard when a new baby and her big brother take a lot of time.  I'm not complaining, it's just the reality and so I have felt so blessed to have so much help with Evelyn and Jase.  Grandma Kate has helped so much.  The major help has been playing with the boys and holding Evelyn and just loving on the kids so they weren't needing my attention or resenting the baby.  They have had so much love and fun.  Another huge help has been the help with household duties, especially shopping and cooking.  She has been making recipes from this cookbook. 

There are so many great recipes and the kids have had fun helping to make them and freeze them.

She's also helped by getting some on-the-go breakfasts and lunches ready to grab or put into lunchboxes.  I had seen this blog on pinterest about making lunches ahead of time.  My favorite tip is having meat and cheese sandwiches made ahead of time and frozen so they are easy to grab.  You just have to put any condiments in between the meat and cheese so the bread doesn't get soggy.  What a time-saver this is in the morning.  We made 11 sandwiches on Saturday.  They're individually wrapped and then put in the loaf bag and ready to go.  Love this.

P-8A Familiy Day at Boeing

We had the opportunity to see where Tony works at Boeing for the first time.  There's so much security that we have never been able to stop by and see him in action.  However, Boeing had a family day and we got to go.  No photography was allowed, so we don't have any pictures, just memories.  Everyone was excited to see the P8A, a military airplane.  We got to have Tony point out the modifications that he and his crew work on during the first stage of the modification process.  We got to see 3 P8s all together and even go aboard one.  There were parts of the plane covered up (secret stuff).  We also got to see the "targets" that Tony makes and puts on the airplane with a separate crew he works with to measure the different parts of the airplane with lasers.  We saw the sonobuoy launchers which launch sonobuoys to find submarines.  We saw the communication hub where they track the sonobuoys and submarines on the screen.  It was really cool.  We got to see Tony's workstation from across the way since we weren't able to go into all parts of the hanger. 

Outside the hanger, we got to have snacks and see a K-9 unit demonstration.  They have security who use dogs to search for explosives in planes and delivery trucks at Boeing.  There were 30 bags laid out and they asked for volunteers. Max was one of the volunteers.  the police man gave the volunteers 30 seconds to go through the bags to see if they found anything unusual.  Nothing was found.  Then the police officer had his dog search the same bags.  When he got to the 7th bag (in no time flat), he sniffed, sniffed harder and then sat down to indicate he had found something.  It was cool.

A really fun part was the dunk tank.  My boys hadn't seen one yet.  Max was the only one who wanted to throw softballs at the target so he did.  He laughed so hard when he saw the man get dunked.  His laugh was contagious to everyone around.  The man being dunked was the head of the P8 program, Tony's boss of all bosses.  He had a squirt gun that he squirted at people trying to dunk him.  Max wanted to go again so he waited and dunked him again. 

When we were driving home, I asked everyone what their favorite parts of the P8 were.  Max and Ryan said the cockpit.  Their favorite part of the day was seeing the P8.  Ryan's favorite thing to do outside was getting popcorn.  Max's favorite thing outside was the dunk tank.  Grandma's favorite thing was seeing where Tony worked (mine too).  Tony's favorite thing was to get to show the family around. 

It was such a fun day and it was great to meet more people that Tony works with and to hear them compliment him.  :)

Let's be Gentle With Each Other!

I read this story the other day and wanted to have it someplace I could always refer to it.
Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s read each other’s signs.
After a dear friend telling me about a hurtful experience she’d had this week. I began thinking again about a story I have told a few times…. a story that my children will tell to their children, and maybe even beyond that… because it was such a learning experience in our family, maybe even a turning point.
It’s a story that I think about often because we were the main characters in it 3 or 4 years ago, and even though it was something that lasted less than 15 minutes it changed all of us and now I see others differently, especially when it seems that they might be main characters in the same story…or one a lot like it. I used to be too embarrassed to tell this story… but I am not anymore. This is a human story that everyone needs to hear, I truly believe this. I hope you will stay with it, it’s kinda long.
As we move along… I want you to think about some of the big signs with big messages that I bet you wish you could wear around your neck sometimes so that people would be more gentle, or even that you could put around the neck of someone you love — so that you didn’t have to go into a big long story to defend yourself or someone else– so that people would just stop judging and and just be kind.
2 three signs Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s read each other’s signs.
I need to start this story by giving you a little bit of background. You see, my husband had an accident in 2004 that injured the frontal lobe of his brain. It has taken 6 years to get him back, but in the middle there, between 2004 and now, lots and lots of stuff happened. He was essentially out of it, but not just that, he changed to someone else, we lost him.
His personality changed completely, he could not work, he was angry and depressed and could not cope with human beings.  He did not feel love or affection, really he only felt anger, rage, and he was suicidal most of the time. He did not remember a lot of things. He could not take care of our family or even himself, really (and I want to mention again that through lots of miracles, he is 100% recovered now…we are so thankful….he is even BETTER than he was before his accident).
But during that time he would have these confusing and amazing glitches of time when he would be totally normal. It was bittersweet. They would last for an hour sometimes, and sometimes for days or even weeks then he would sink back down into that horrible place. When he was sick, I protected him fiercely. I didn’t want anyone to see him like that. I had faith that someday he would recover but man oh man it was lonely. I wished every single day that I could just walk around with a sign like this…
1 signs husband Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s read each other’s signs.
because on the outside I looked like I had EVERYTHING GOING FOR ME I looked like I might just have a perfect life but I was hiding a very painful secret…
Well, a lot of other things happened too. You can imagine what might happen over the years while we have a 7 acre farm, a pretty big international business that we own with lots of employees, a life that  HE managed before his accident, while he just let me do the fun and creative stuff. Now we had lots of medical bills, lots of sorrow and lots of distractions, we also had LOTS of kids — and no one competent managing the business.
Well, after a few years, I couldn’t hold it all together. Our business was suffering for all of the reasons listed above and a few more reasons on top of that and we discovered that we were really SINKING. Well, one day when he was partly lucid…he was THERE…he was coherent — I told him the condition of our life.
He kind of panicked and he went straight to work figuring out what he could do. It was insanely heartbreaking when he would “wake up” after weeks or months and I had to tell him how much things were deteriorating financially, etc. It was very hard. But when he could, he did what he could before his mental illness sucked him back into the prison it kept him in most of the time.
He called a sign place and had a huge sign brought out to our house…the kind that you can put letters on, and it was electric and lit up. He put it by the road in one of our horse fields. Then he drove our Suburban, both of our trucks, my classic Thunderbird that he got me for my birthday a few years earlier, our tractor, all of our tractor implements, the boat that I worked 10 years to get for him (and that caused his brain injury, incidentally), and he lined everything up along the fence and he put a price tag on every single thing. Then, he put the letters on that big huge sign and plugged it in.
You have to understand that we had worked for MANY years for those things. We started a business in our twenties and we sacrificed everything we had for all of those years to make it work. We owned almost all of it outright, but, when I told him that the business was struggling, this is what he did.
Sooooo…there it was. All in a row. All of our stuff –out in our field.
All of the neighbors driving by, our friends, the community, people who knew us most of our lives and people who knew nothing about us…we were just the young family who lived in that beautiful little farm house on Beacon Light road with the perfect lawn….or what USED to be.
You see, in addition, for months, our once beautifully manicured yard started to be filled with weeds that were now several feet high. I just couldn’t keep it up. The lawn was a nightmare. Everything was just falling apart all around me and my heart was broken over my husband, too. It was humiliating and exhausting and horrible, really.
2 please be gentle Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s read each other’s signs.
Well, the sign was not up in the field for more than a few hours, when my husband’s phone rang. It was someone who saw all the stuff and my husband’s phone number on the big huge sign. We were sitting out in the yard while he was still coherent and he was feeling devastated about the condition of our lawn. I was apologizing that I just couldn’t do all of it. He was so heartbroken at his limitations and that he had left me to try to handle our life alone. We were trying to make a plan.
He answered his phone. I saw that he was just listening. I could hear that the person’s voice was getting louder and louder and louder. My husband just listened. He turned his back to me a little so I wouldn’t hear. But I could hear it. It seemed to go on and on and on.
These were the things I could hear on the other end of the phonecall:
“You are bringing down the value of my property with that ugly sign!”
“What are you doing?”
“That is the most obnoxious sign, do you have a permit to have that out there?”
“Are you starting a used car lot?”
“You have got to get all of that moved and out of here or I am calling the authorities”
I sat there, mortified, embarrassed, humiliated, mad, sad, devastated. I was certain that this would snap my husband back into his dark hellish place.
But, when the man was done ranting, my husband waited a second and then very calmly said something that I will never, ever forget.
“Sir,” he said, “There was a time in this country, in this community…when if you drove past your neighbor’s house and saw every single thing they own was for sale in front of their house…and that their lawn had not been mowed for weeks….that you would stop and say….WHAT IS GOING ON, SOMETHING MUST BE TERRIBLY WRONG, WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU?”
The man was silent, and then my husband went on to tell him a few details about what was going on with our family.
The man waited a moment and then his tone changed. He apologized. I mean, really apologized and then said:
“I am going to call all of my friends and see if any of them need any of this stuff….”
I wish with everything in me that we could have put a sign up on that big stupid lit up billboard in our field that said OUR LIFE IS FALLING APART, but all that we really could put up is a sign with the price of everything that we owned that was worth any money.
WHAT IF we could all wear a sign that said what WE REALLY MEANT? What if we could go straight past the small talk or the masks, and we could actually go straight to the heart of the matter. What if our friends and family wore signs like this?
1 four signs Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s read each other’s signs.
…we would treat each other differently.
I think we should just try to imagine it. That when a friend is quiet…or not showing up to stuff she usually shows up to, or acting a little “off”, or a family member is wearing pajamas to the grocery store for weeks on end, or not answering the phone, or the lawn is not mowed…
2 signs in a row Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s read each other’s signs.
whatever it is…
IT IS A SIGN. It is not a sign that can be read in words and letters, but it is a sign that someone needs to be treated gently. That they need help. Most of all, that they need love, understanding, and that they DEFINITELY DO NOT need to be judged.
Every time I think of this story I want to be better. I want to do better, I don’t want any silent signs to go unread before my eyes or my heart. I don’t want to make up my own answers to what must be going on. I don’t want to assume…
2 together Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s read each other’s signs.
Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s read each other’s signs

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ryan Loves Preschool!

Ryan started preschool (M, T, W) this week and a new year of joy school (Thursdays).  He is happy to be in school.   There are 3 friends from church in his preschool class.  He has the same teacher that Max had (per our request) and so he was already familiar with the classroom and was super excited to go. 

I couldn't get him to stop being silly and hold his sign up, but it says that he wants to be a garbage man when he grows up.  When you ask him about it, he'll tell you all about how cool the "big robot arm on the garbage truck" is.

Montana Grizzly Fans!

Tony has a co-worker/friend originally from Helena, Montana.  When they came back from visiting, they had brought our kids Montana Grizzly clothes.  Max wants to wear this jersey everyday.  Evie has some cute onesies and some baby cowgirl boots (so cute) but they're too big right now, so she'll have to model them later.

And Jason is a wheel-man.  He is always spinning wheels.

Ninja Training

The other night Grandma Kate was the Ninja Master and Max was the Ninja-in-Training.

Ryan was pretending to be a roly-poly and Jase was playing with his ball.  Soon they too will meet with the Ninja Master and receive training.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Do You...

ever have those moments where you realize you've taken somebody for granted, that you've taken life for granted?  I have been so frustrated with a certain handsome someone who shall remain nameless for a few different reasons, reasons that have been fueled by post-partum hormones.  I've been so frustrated and I've forgotten all of the right ways to communicate and the right ways to show love.  I'm sure this has never happened to anyone else ; ) 

So, I've had a really good, peaceful and productive day today.  I'm really grateful to have Kate here to help with the kids.  I got to do some office work tonight and then I was just on facebook when I happened upon a friend of a friend's page about their fight with cancer.  A comment had shown up on my newsfeed and I clicked on it and saw this page about this young father who had two kids, had battled cancer and had unfortunately lost his fight.  The family had a slogan, "No regrets".  What a wake up call.  I hate it when I get so caught up in things that I think should be a certain way.  I have expectations and sometimes it's hard for me to change my expectations and I get frustrated when a certain loved one doesn't have the same expectations.  Then I get that tender mercy shown by a friend's comment on their friend's facebook page (random, yes, but as the tears spill down my face, I feel like I was meant to click on this page).

Life is so short, we just have to love those around us and be grateful for the second chance we have to be with them.  Hopefully, I won't always need these wake up calls because I have had others; you'd think I'd learn.  Hopefully someday, I won't need to be compelled to be humble.  If you had asked me 4 1/2 years ago if I would be so frustrated with a certain handsome someone, I would have said no way.  I was just grateful to have him with me, alive.  So yes, hopefully, I will always remember how fortunate I am.  Not only because I have a husband still but because he is wonderful and helps with the kids and is a great dad.  No, he doesn't read my mind and no he doesn't have sky-high expectations of how everything in our life should be, but thankfully, he brings me back down to earth, loves our kids and treats us all well and works hard for us. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

2 1/2 Weeks!

Evelyn and I had a little girl time yesterday when everyone else was at the aquarium.  I gave her a bath and played dress up with her.  I hate to take a few pictures because her tiny arms and legs are always moving.  I was going to change her into one more outfit but decided she was more in the mood to sleep! ; )

Little Miss Evelyn is just over 5 lbs. and 13.5 oz.  She was weighed on Friday to make sure her weight is going up and it is.  We were hoping that my milk supply was enough this time without supplementing and unfortunately, it wasn't.  But as long as she's growing.  It's amazing the difference between my worries when I had Max and my lack of worries with Evelyn.  I know that I can trust my instincts and consult with my doctor and she's going to be just fine.