Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Doesn't Brownie look like she's in the holiday spirit?


Tori has been an animal lover her entire life. She has big plans when she moves out. She wants to own a poodle, golden retriever, chihuahua, and dachsund. And a horse. And maybe a rabbit. And a couple cats. The poor thing has to settle for one chocolate lab right now. If we could, I'd have a couple goats. And maybe another dog - but not one of those silly little dogs. I'd get a newfoundland. We're a bit different, my daughter and I.


This year, top on her Christmas list, is a chihuahua complete with clothes. We watched a little video clip about them by a vet and he said you have to be very careful where you walk because they get underfoot very easily and also like to hide under recliners. Josh made an innocent comment about most likely crushing a little dog like that because of not watching where he was going. Tori now will tell people that she "wants a chihuahua but my dad said he'd crush it." A bit out of context.


Needless to say, she's not getting her wish this year. But hey, a chocolate lab can be dressed up, right? I have never seen a more pleading look in this dog's eyes. She looks so humiliated. But Tori was in heaven. So Brownie gets the Santa hat put on every day. At least the white beard that came with it was too small so she doesn't have to suffer through that disgrace.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Are you sure they're only cousins?

There have been times that I've seen a picture of my nephew, Barrett, and thought he looked like Brendan did when he was younger. But I never realized how similar they looked until I saw this picture!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Tell him 'Hi' for me, okay?"

This was a conversation I heard tonight as I took the kids to the Awana church program. We passed by some decorated houses and Owen exclaimed, "Santa!" Rachel then informed him that it wasn't the real Santa, it was a pretend one. Apparently, she's not a Santa fan:

Rachel: Owen, do you like Santa?
Owen: Yes.
Rachel: Oh, okay, then you tell him "Hi" and give him a hug, okay?
Owen: Okay.
Rachel: 'Cause I don't like him so I don't want to.

At least she's got someone to stand in for her!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Elk, swimming, bat factory - but not at the same time

The promised, much-anticipated vacation pictures

Can you imagine seeing this out your back window?

The elk just took over this driveway.

Waiting for the paint to dry


Sanding the bat

The trick or treaters ready to go!

Rachel is a "toes in first" kind of girl.

Owen is a "watch out world, here I come!" kind of boy.




Sunday, November 7, 2010

A break from the every day

After two intense months of school, football, irish dance, gymnastics, and awana, we took a week off. It was awesome.

We left Saturday after Brendan's last football game and drove about 6 hours to Pennsylvania to stay in a condo. My parents, sister and her little boy also went with us. We each had a two bedroom, two bath condo with a kitchen and living area. There was an indoor pool a short walk away that we had to ourselves every day. Owen only had a near-drowning once. We slept in, played games, went swimming and enjoyed the luxury of two bathrooms. :) Seriously, it's a luxury.

We toured a baseball bat factory and watched them make a wooden bat in 2 1/2 minutes. We got to see elk very close up - crazy close up. I have pictures but they won't be put on tonight. I don't think I'd like to have elk walking through my backyard and laying in the middle of my driveway but it was neat to see them.

Now we're home and I haven't started laundry yet or cooked a meal. I think tomorrow will be a big adjustment. It was good to come home but I haven't quite gotten out of the vacation mindset yet.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Creative use of space

If I haven't mentioned this before, our house is on the small side. It's about 1200 sq. ft., plus the basement. The upstairs is about 220 sq. ft, about a third of which is hallway and attic space. That's not a lot of space left for 4 small people, especially when one of those is getting closer to adult size.

Last year, I started trying to figure out how we would rearrange the rooms to fit Rachel and Tori in one and Brendan and Owen in the other. There was a bunk bed in Brendan's room that fit okay. Because of the sloped ceiling, it was pushed against the closet, which meant only half the closet was really accessible but it worked. I hoped we could fit a twin bed with a trundle in the other room but when we measured, we realized there would be no space for toys or a dresser if we did that. It would literally take up the whole room.

We talked about making an L-shaped bunk bed specifically for that space and then I came across this in an Ikea catalog:

It's a loft bed that is just the right height for the ceilings in our rooms. We put them together in August and we now have a room for the girls and a room for the boys. I was going to buy new bedding for them but was debating about getting matching bedding. My mom made a comment when she was helping me put sheets on the beds (not an easy feat) and jokingly said that maybe I should just let them use a sleeping bag every night.

I started thinking about it and realized that there was no room on top or bottom bunk for a comforter to hang down. It would be a lot nicer if there was a blanket that was the same size as the bed. A sleeping bag wasn't a bad idea but hard to find really cute ones. I decided to make the no-sew fleece blankets for each of them. They're heavy enough that they tend to stay in place fairly well and easy to straighten out in the morning and keep the beds looking neat. It was also easy to find fleece that they would each love.

I bought matching fabric for Tori and Rachel. Besides the fact that they like matching, I was worried that they would like whatever the other had better.


This is Tori's bed. We bought these cute cubbies to give her more space for some things of her own. I actually bought a set for Rachel and Owen, too, but then decided maybe putting some of their favorite things right next to them in bed would encourage playtime and not sleeping. So those will be taken back. Or used in another spot.


And Rachel's cute little bed. I did not realize the outlet was right there until I took this picture. There will be outlet covers on that tomorrow.


Brendan's bed - he went with the U of M fleece. And again, he has the nifty cubbies to hold books and cd's and his mp3 player. Everybody needs a space to call their own.


And Owen's bed. He was supposed to get John Deere fleece but they were out of that so I went with another favorite - Cars. And again, I didn't realize until now that there is an outlet right there. That will be covered tomorrow as well.



The new roommate situation has worked out really well. The boys now go off and play up in their room (or listen to music and look at football cards) and the girls will go up and play in their room together. I love seeing them interact like that. It makes me think that maybe this house is still perfect for us. At least for now.



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Cutest Little Cubbies!


I know, it's hard to believe they're the same kids, isn't it?

And all 4 of them, ready to go for the first night of Awana. They're a good-looking bunch. I'd say cute but I don't think a 10-year old boy appreciates that term.







Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reminiscing about the cutest Thing 1 and Thing 2 ever


In case you couldn't tell, Rachel is Thing 1 and Owen is Thing 2.
They were about 7 months old in this picture.


Dr. Seuss booties! (not the sock kind)


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Yup, that's it exactly

Have you ever read a book where the author just expressed exactly how you feel? I started reading a book called Joy School, by Elizabeth Berg. At one point, the main character, a 13-year-old girl, says "And anyway, even when I like a person there is a weariness that comes. I can be with someone and everything is fine and then all of a sudden it can wash over me like a sickness, that I need the quiet of my own self. I need to unload my head and look at what I've got in there so far. See it. Think what it means. I always need to come back to being alone for awhile."

I read that and recognized it, recognized myself. That is it, exactly. I love the phrase "the quiet of my own self". And this is why I read books. To put into words those feelings and bits of myself that I can't express.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finding the balance - with finances

Last year, I wrote a lot about our finances and budgeting and groceries. I was reading a lot of blogs about those subjects. It was somewhat consuming. I've decided to stop obsessing. We still do a cash budget for some things because it helps me stay accountable. There are times, however, that I do go over budget. And it's no big deal. We live within our means, we save up for purchases, we limit miscellaneous spending. We don't budget each month to the dollar. We don't keep track of how we spend every dollar. We do keep our checking account balanced and we do allow for extra expenses. We have made mistakes but we've learned from those and we're trying to not repeat them.

And you know what? It's been quite freeing. I've given myself permission to do what works for us and to stop trying to do what works for everyone else. Some lessons just take awhile to learn.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finding the balance

Although I love that we homeschool, there are things I miss.

I have lamented the fact that I don't get a parent-teacher conference with my kids. I am both the parent and the teacher so I don't get a pat on the back or hear what my child needs to work on; I only have my opinion to go by and frankly, I'm biased. Although I think sometimes I'm even more critical than a teacher would be.

I've also lamented the fact that my kids don't get to tell me about their day. I'm there with them. They don't get to bring home papers or art projects to show me.

But this year - we joined our local homeschool co-op and now, every Wednesday morning, from 8:30 until 11:45, my kids are with other teachers. They do art every week. I am so excited to have all these cool art projects to collect now!! They have a fun science class with a teacher who is excited about science. They have a challenging writing class and have assignments that I can help with and not have to worry about grading. And I get to see them in a classroom setting and see how polite and respectful they are and watch them raise their hands and answer questions correctly. And honestly, I get a little teary-eyed. I am so proud and so relieved that they're turning out okay. Somehow, in spite of all my inadequacies and fears and laziness and mistakes, they're doing really well.

It gives me confidence for the future. It helps me enjoy our time together at home. Just that one morning one day a week seems to fill the void perfectly and brings balance to our homeschool schedule.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Now THIS is why I homeschool

* starting our school year when I was ready to start, which happened to be a week before our public schools started.
* taking off after a half day of school today to go swimming
*making up the half day after we got back from swimming
* watching my daughter begin to DEVOUR books - and knowing it's because of me that she can read. (and now I'm wondering where on earth we will put more books)
* telling my son that if he wanted to go camping with his grandpa and grandma, he'd have to do extra school work before he left and then I got to watch in amazement as he finished a whole weeks worth of work in 3 days!!

I know it's not for everyone. But in just 3 days, I've been reminded of why we have chosen this at this stage in our life. And I have no regrets.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Small town 4th of July

Owen and Rachel waving the red, white and blue
Owen, please don't put it up your nose


Brendan also showing his patriotism


Who is that riding in the parade?

. Grandpa Lee! Our Citizen of the Year!
And yes, he may have thrown an extra handful of candy
at some special parade spectators.



I love everything about a small town 4th of July.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My little tractor boy

I'm not sure how this happened but I have a wanna-be farmer. Not that we're city folk or anything like that. Josh and I both grew up around farms. My grandpa and uncles were farmers for years. But my little Owen didn't know that and wasn't around that. Last summer, he became a bit obsessed with my Uncle C.R.'s John Deere tractor when we were up at his resort.

The obsession has continued. And we have fueled it. But to be honest, I'm not sure we could have contained it. I wonder how long it will last?

Both our parents live in a small town in rural mid-Michigan surrounded by farms. After we get off the highway, we drive for about 20 minutes on country roads surrounded by farmland. Owen's favorite game to play during this drive is "find the John Deere tractor". It's a fun game to play and gets more challenging as the corn gets taller. Oh, and to see an actual tractor working in an actual field is a dream come true.

So, this year on vacation, Owen was Uncle C.R.'s little buddy. He saved him a seat at every meal. He searched for him and followed him around, talking about tractors. And then, at the end of the week, this was his reward.

Oh, yes, he's even steering it. And a little video of his tractor-driving action (because I knew he'd want to re-live this moment again and again) : This boy was in tractor heaven!


video

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Redemption

After hitting a low point a couple of weeks ago, I had to send Brendan away to camp again. This time it was to a church camp about 50 minutes away. It was so different from the last camp. At this one, we had all the correct information. We knew where to go and what he needed to take. There were several boys and girls there from our church so he was surrounded by people he knew. We left him with a light heart.

We picked him on Saturday morning (on time and in the right place - again) and he was full of smiles and stories. Non-stop stories. My goodness, that boy can talk.

The highlight was that we had surprised him and sent him a card while he was there. They have mail call every day and he never expected to get one. He said he didn't know I knew I could write to him. :) It was a last minute decision but I'm so glad I did it. I wish I had thought of it when Tori was there. I didn't say much but he knew we were thinking of him and missing him and that we loved him. I think it helped make up for letting him down before.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Water on a hot day

A sparkling water fountain on a hot sunny day . . . just how wet will they get?

Barrett is thinking that water looks pretty good . . .

and laughs with glee as he feels the spray.


Rachel just wants to touch - but not get too close.

And then there's Owen - who tried to get as wet as he could.


And was not too happy when we said it was time to go!





Tuesday, June 29, 2010

40 years


My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this past weekend. They often celebrate their anniversary by going to The Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth. This year, they wanted all of us to celebrate with them and we happily obliged!




A program from the restaurant showing the reservations for the day



There we are - in the Geneva room


I didn't take any pictures of the meal but we were well fed and enjoyed a family-style fried chicken dinner. It was wonderful having a private room and not having to worry about the little ones so much.


Happy Anniversary, mom and dad!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A low moment

I hit a low as a mom the other day. I let Brendan down in a big way. And the pain of that hit me so hard, it took me a couple of days to recover.

I know I'm not perfect. I was never under that illusion. And I know my kids know I'm not perfect. I get angry, I make mistakes. But I think this may have been the first time that one of them was really counting on me and I blew it.

Brendan went to the overnight basketball camp at Spring Arbor University last week. Josh took him over there on Sunday afternoon for check in. It was hard letting him go. He didn't know anyone else there and he would be staying overnight until Thursday. He had a key to his room and had to keep track of that. There was a lot more freedom and responsibilty than he's had before.

Check-in did not go entirely smoothly. I feel the need to explain some things, while at the same time not excusing what happened. I sent the registration in for the camp, along with the deposit money, at the beginning of May. We never received any confirmation that he was signed up so I called last week and was told yes, they had his name down. We looked on-line to see where they needed to go to check-in and the only thing we could find was a map on the brochure on-line that had the fieldhouse circled so Josh took him there. He called me at 3:20 (check-in was from 3-5) and said there were tables set up but no one was there. I looked on-line again and could find no other information. He decided to drive around and saw people going in one of the dorms. Sure enough, that was where they needed to be.

Monday night, we went over to see one of the games. It had said on-line that parents could visit the camp at any time and that there would also be an awards ceremony at the end of camp. The only thing on the brochure said that check-out was at 1:00 pm on Thursday. I asked Brendan that night if they had said anything about the awards ceremony and he said no. I went over to a table that had schedules posted on it and it said camp ended at 12:00 on Thursday. I wondered if the awards ceremony would be then but also thought that was lunch time so I figured they'd eat lunch and then come back for the awards and check-out. Since it wasn't explicitly stated that way, I thought I should ask someone. But I didn't. When we were leaving, Josh told Brendan he'd come back Wednesday to watch him play so I thought I'd have Josh ask someone then. But I didn't.

Thursday morning came and I was really looking forward to getting Brendan and bringing him home. I wondered if I should go over early to see what was going on, just in case the awards program was early, but I also had the other kids with me and convinced myself that it would be at 1:00 because that was the only information that had been sent home.

I don't think I'd make a good mystery writer because I'm pretty sure you can see where this is going.

I loaded up the kids around 12:40 on Thursday and drove to Spring Arbor. I went to the fieldhouse first and no one was there. Then I realized that I didn't know what dorm he was in. I called Josh and figured out where it was after driving for a few minutes. I walked in the dorm with just my keys and the kids and realized I didn't know what room he was in. We walked through some halls and finally I found someone to ask and they pointed us to the third floor. I saw someone coming out of a room and asked if he knew where Brendan Hall was and he said, "Oh, Brendan, here she is." Brendan came out with his eyes a little red and just said, "Where were you? You missed the awards." He was one of the last ones to get picked up and had been waiting for about an hour. The awards had been at noon and then the campers were free to leave - there was no lunch that day.

Can you say "ouch"? My heart still hurts a little thinking about it.

I apologized and explained to him how I had been trying to find him and how I had thought the awards were at 1:00. He got over it pretty quick - I think he was just relieved that someone was finally there to pick him up and take him home. It's taken me a couple days to process it and be able to think about without tears. I think what really hurts is knowing that is just the first of many times that I will disappoint him. That even with all my good intentions, there are times I will just screw up and hurt him.

He seems to have recovered with no major scars. He had a great time at camp and talks about it all the time and just casually mentions that I was late picking him up. I cringe but I'm working on it. I realized two days later that as I was walking the dorm looking for him, there were two young boys sitting there waiting for their ride. So I wasn't the only one who didn't get there for the awards. That helped a little.

I want to tell my kids that they can always count on me but there are times when that isn't true. I don't want it to be like that and I will do my best to be there (next time I will ask questions) but I am human and I make mistakes. Now I get to teach them about grace and forgiveness and also about One who they can always count on. I guess that lesson is worth the pain.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

To sell or not to sell?

Actually, that should be "To list or not to list?" because the real question isn't about selling our home - we can't control that. The real question is if we want to keep it listed and have the option of selling it.

I know this will come as no surprise, but I go back and forth about this. Since we've had our house on the market for over a year now, we decided to stop putting off doing some things. Like getting a new swingset. Putting in a new adjustable basketball hoop. Just things that we didn't do last year because we didn't want to invest more into this house if we were just going to be leaving. Now we're realizing that this might be our home for longer than we originally thought and we're trying to make the best of it. Utilizing our outdoor space is definitely one way to do that! We're also planning on putting in new windows and re-doing the kids rooms upstairs later this summer or early fall.

At one time, we thought we'd take it off the market for 2-3 years and make these changes and save up money. Then we thought maybe we'd leave it on while making these changes. Yes, showings can be a pain but there haven't been many of those. Then we talked about taking it off the market for a couple months and possibly putting it back on.

The verdict? Still don't know. {grin} We'll see what the situation is in August and I'm sure I'll be bringing up the pros and cons to Josh many times until then! I can say this with certainty - I am learning to be more flexible and to not get attached to how I think things should be. And what is the point of living life if you're never learning anything new?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

comments

I am so sorry but I accidentally deleted some comments left on here. And they were very nice ones, too! I meant to publish them but can't find them so I think I clicked on the wrong button. :( Just so you know, it was an accident and not intentional at all.


The problem has been solved. Apparently it was a blogger error and not a user error.

My Family

Last Saturday, we had a photo shoot by my friend, lidija Fremeau, of LAF Lines Photography. lidija is a very talented and creative photographer. I love seeing what she catches on film! Here are a few favorites from our morning.






Ahh, books

I truly do love books. When I saw this new blog design, I just knew it was for me. It gave me that same feeling that I get when I step into a book store - I just want to sit and soak it in. I want to have a big pile of books next to me and no clock. You can ask those who have gone with me to a book store - I tend to forget that there is such a thing as time. Or that some people don't like to spend hours in a bookstore.

We recently had a garage sale here and I set out about 3 or 4 boxes of books. I know we don't have space to keep all the books that I bring home but boy, I wish it was less painful to let them go. My dream is to someday have a room that has about 3 times as many bookshelves as I do right now. And I bet even then, I'll have to go through and get rid of some. Or maybe open up a used bookstore of my own. :)

The Natural

Brendan pitched for the first time this last Sunday. He's been talking to the coach (his dad) about it for a few weeks and practicing in his spare time and the coach decided to give him an inning to see how he did. He did great! He was able to get three outs with the first three batters and only pitched two balls.











Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Decisions, decisions

I wish decisions came easier to me. I wish I could just look at the facts and make a choice and not look back. I realize that sometimes I will make the wrong decision. I know that's inevitable. I just wish I wasn't plagued by self-doubt immediately after making a decision.

We finished our school year about 2 weeks ago. I had made some decisions for our curriculum for next fall. (I think I love this time of year, by the way. I love being close to finishing up one year of school and getting a break and playing outside and having lots of time to read and finding new things to use for the next year that will make it even better than this year.) There were still one thing I wasn't sure about - what math to use for Tori next year. She'll be entering third grade. She's made a lot of progress this year in many areas. She aced almost all her spelling tests. She's picking up books, regular chapter books, and reading them on her own. And laughing out loud to herself, which makes me smile every single time. But math is still not her strong suit.

So I researched some curriculums and looked up samples on-line and looked at their diagnostic tests to see where she'd place. According to these tests, she needs to do 2nd grade math. This took awhile for me to accept. If I'm homeschooling my children and my daughter is a grade behind in math, doesn't that mean I'm failing? Some of you might see it that way. I think I would be failing if I moved her to 3rd grade math when she still hadn't grasped some 2nd grade concepts. It is more important to me that she understands the basics of math before moving on.

Once I accepted the idea that she would be working on 2nd grade math, then I had to decide what math curriculum to get. We had been using Math-U-See. It was good for 1st grade for her but last year I noticed that Tori was becoming dependent on using the blocks. It also wasn't enough review. She was forgetting addition after working on subtraction. I was looking at Saxon Math, A Beka, Horizons, Christian Light, . . . there are so many choices out there! I looked at some sample lessons and was drawn to Christian Light. It's a workbook format - no writing out the problems. (Hmm, I should look into this for Brendan - that might take care of a lot of grumbling!) It uses a step-by-step spiral approach, which means a new lesson is introduced, with some practice problems and then review problems. There isn't much teacher preparation required - very important to me. It's moderately priced.

As I was looking at it, I realized that it might be the kind of thing where Tori could work on it this summer. Maybe she could start their 2nd grade math now and work through the summer. We might be able to skip some lessons or combine a couple even. I talk to Tori about it and she likes the idea of having a little workbook to work on this summer. It sounds like a plan!

I go to order it . . . and become paralyzed. I don't know, maybe I should pick a different math program. Maybe I should just get the workbook from Sam's Club for this summer and work with her myself and then just move on to 3rd grade. Maybe I should just give her the summer off and work on flash cards and do 2nd grade math this fall. On a whim, I google "Best math curriculum for homeschoolers" and find a website article called "Choosing a homeschool math curriculum". This article was written with me in mind, there is just no other explanation for it.

One of the first sentences I read said that as long as the curriculum was of decent quality, the teacher was more important than the book. Hmph. So, it's up to me. Not to make sure I choose the right one, but to use whatever I choose in a way that works for us and that makes sense to Tori. Well, I can do that. And that is one of the reasons I love homeschooling. I love the freedom to try new things, to create our own schedule, to find what works for us. The books are ordered and we'll be starting our math summer school session as soon as they arrive.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Trying to catch up

I know, it's been forever. I'm still here, though! Here are some pictures of a few things that have been going on. And this was only one weekend!

My nephew, Barrett, was dedicated.


Grandma Judy sewed up the hole in Owen's blankie. It was getting kind of scary letting him sleep with something that could easily get wrapped around his neck!


Brendan had his 10th birthday. I can't quite believe my oldest is 10. I refuse to think about how many years he has left at home. Not even going there.



And my brother became a college graduate! I'm on the left and my sister is on the right.

Lots to write about house stuff, homeschool stuff, and some good books I've read but that will have to wait for another post.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Product Recall

For those of you who may not have heard, there is a product recall on several children's medicines. There is a form on this website that you can fill out if you have any of these in your home. It's very easy to do and they will send you either a refund for the product or a high value coupon. I chose the refund because I'm not exactly sure how high of a value the coupon would be and when it would expire. The brands include Children's and Infant's Tylenol, Children's and Infant's Motrin, Children's Zyrtec and Children's Benadryl.

The Dr Dilemma part 2

Late last night, around 11:45, Rachel woke up crying and said her mouth hurt. Oh, good. Then this morning, Owen woke up with a fever.

But since we had just been to see the dr yesterday, I didn't panic because I realized that they both have a virus and their bodies are trying to fight it off. So they were given a lot of liquids and plenty of rest.

I am thankful for their doctor. He never pushes medication, he never seems alarmed about anything and he always seems to recognize whatever is going on with my kids. I have thought about switching different times because he's 25 minutes away and my doctor (who is a family dr and would see the kids) is literally 5 blocks away. Maybe when they're older we'll switch. For now, even though I do get frustrated with the 2-3 hour chunk of time that a dr's visit consumes, it's worth it for the peace of mind.

Rachel does not seem to have it as bad as Owen did. Here's hoping they're both on the mend!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Dr Dilemma

I used to be one of those moms who called the dr at the first sign of a fever. After 4 kids, I've learned a few things and now try to wait as long as possible before calling. Friday night, we were eating dinner and Owen started crying, saying his tongue hurt. We told him to stick it out and could see a little bump at the end of it. Oh, the poor thing had a canker sore. I tried to get him to drink milk and eat rice - anything bland that wouldn't irritate it. Of course, the pineapple was what looked good to him but certainly did not feel good.

Saturday was more of the same, except lots more crying. We were starting to lose our patience. Yes, we understood it hurt but what can we do? Saturday night, I had him stick out his tongue again and saw several canker sores on the underside. Yikes, that looks bad. Maybe this is more serious than I thought. I looked it up on-line and found out that gargling with hydrogen peroxide and water is a good cure but since toddlers don't necessarily have the correct gargling skills, you can also dab it on with a q-tip, followed by some milk of magnesia. We did that on Sunday and it seemed to be working.

Then this morning, I looked again and saw a bunch more on the sides of his tongue towards the back. This was kind of freaking me out so I called the dr's office. Apparently, sores on the tongue could mean lots of different things so I took him in. They ran a strep test, which came back negative. They took his fever and he did have a low fever. The dr explained that he had a viral infection similar to hand, foot and mouth disease but instead of a rash, he had sores on his tongue - which had some fancy name that I didn't quite catch. He told me it would probably last for a few days, it might get worse, and I could give him benadryl mixed with maalox for the mouth pain if necessary.

Tonight, I looked at his tongue before he went to bed. It looks like it's completely cleared up. I am not joking. I just have this feeling that if I wouldn't have gone to the dr's today, it'd be worse tonight. I know that's completely illogical but isn't that the way it seems to go? And I know it's good we got it checked out and it was reassuring to hear that it's just a virus but I keep thinking, "If I would have waited one more day, there would have been no reason to call." Maybe by the time they're all grown, I'll know when to wait and when to call.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Getting ready for summer fun

In May 2001, we bought a small metal swingset for Brendan. He was 1 and not able to do much on it but we knew he'd grow into it. We loved the looks of the wooden swingsets but the prices were a bit steep. This small one would work for now and we thought we would get something nicer in a few years or build one ourselves.


Fast-forward 8 years: it's now May 2009 and we have 4 kids. The old, metal swing set is falling apart and is now getting to be dangerous. We tear it down but aren't sure about buying a new one because we're trying to sell our house. We know we don't want another metal one and we'd hate to sell right after putting up a nice, wooden one. We make good use of a school playground close by and ride there often on our bikes.


The next year: May 2010 and our house hasn't sold. We decide it's time to make this house a better fit for us and get more use out of our backyard. Rachel and Owen are 3 and handle themselves quite well on swingsets. They can do the rock climbing wall and go down the slide and love to be pushed on the swings. Not even baby swings anymore, just regular swings. We see a swing set on sale at Toys R Us that is a good price and has the features we want.



It took a couple of Saturdays (and parts of some other days) but boy, was it worth it. Just look at these faces!





And there isn't a picture but my face is smiling, too. :) I love being able to send them out to play in our enclosed backyard and watching them from our kitchen window.