Monday, August 30, 2010

iheartfaces: Photojournalism

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This week's iheartfaces challenge is photojournalism-- telling a story via a photograph (or, for this challenge, a collage of photographs). That being said, I am going to resist the temptation to be verbose and just let the collage tell the story!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Outsmarted by an 8 year old

All of my kiddos have bithdays within a three week window. Because of this, we have made it clear that not all of them get a big party every year. Enter the following conversation...

Eli: Mom, David gets the big birthday party next year, right?

Me: Yes, since it will be his first birthday.

E: Can we go to Chuck E Cheese for his birthday?

M: No. David won't care about Chuck E Cheese by then.

E: Mom, he won't care about ANY kind of party by then!

Yep, I was once again outsmarted by the logic of an 8 year old!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

iheartfaces: Beach Fun

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This week's iheartfaces challenge is entitled "Beach Fun". My mom and step-dad have a boat and camp site on Lake Lemon and have given us the opportunity several times this summer to tag along with them. This photo was taken of my little sister on one such weekend. (I needed to take a break from Ruby ALWAYS being my subject!) I love her smile and the reflection in her sunglasses of the sky. Head on over to iheartfaces and check out the other entries for yourself!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Want to Ride my Bi-cy-cle

I remember the day after Eli was born. The hospital arranged for us a consultation with a local surgeon. After evaluating Eli, he came in to tell us that Eli's cleft was too severe for him; Eli would need to go to Riley for repair. In that consultation he said, "It's just tissue. Eli will run, play baseball, and ride a bike just like other kids.". It had taken me 8 years, but I can finally say that he had no idea what he was talking about!
Do not get me wrong, we know without a doubt that we are blessed beyond measure, but we have learned that the clefts in Eli's lip and palate have caused more damage than can simply be solved with a few stitches or skin graphs. Eli's eyes, teeth, ears, speech, learning, and balance have also been affected. We believe that it is because of some of his eye and balance issues (and good old stubbornness) that he has been unable to learn to ride a bike. Posted by Picasa

Jason's parents-- Grammie and Granddaddy as they are known-- have recently retired. Since then, they have done so many fun things with Eli and Ruby. About a month ago, Granddaddy decided that he wanted to help Eli learn to ride his bike without training wheels. Much to our surprise, Eli was very excited about it (I guess because Granddaddy isn't mom or dad?). In two days, about an hour to an hour and a half each day, Eli was riding! After the first day he had me come outside and watch (and, being who I am, take pictures). I was nearly in tears watching Eli ride his bike with pride. He did it!
In the big scheme of things, a cleft is a fairly minor "special need" in children. I marvel at the women who mother children with diagnoses such as autism with grace and perseverance. I will say, though, even with Eli's needs, I have learned to find great joy in seemingly small successes-- things other children can do with much less effort. Last month, that moment was watching Eli ride a bike!Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cassie's wedding

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Last Friday our adventure began. Okay, most days of trying to get 5 of us out the door is an adventure, but this one was more ambisious than usual! My cousin Cassie was getting married-- in Colorado Springs-- and we were ALL going!

We woke up at 3am, dressed, ate a very quick breakfast, and were on the road by 4:15. We were so blessed to have my aunt Sharon and cousins Haley and Kelsey traveling with us. Their extra hands were priceless! The airport and plane ride were relatively uneventful (thank goodness!) and we were landing in Denver by 7:40 local time. We were then picked up by Scott, a close family friend, and continued to my aunt and uncle's home in Colorado Springs. We had lunch and visited until our rooms were ready at a local inn called The Hideaway. After some rest time, play time, (a trip to a local ice cream shop for Eli and Ruby) and settling in, we attended the rehearsal dinner. It turned into a very late night as the day ened in altitude sickness for me, bloody noses for both kids, throwing up by Eli, and plenty of grumpyness all around.

Saturday involved helping with some last minute wedding set up, playing on the on-grounds play set, a short hike, and a fishing trip for Eli, Ruby, and Jason with the groom's uncle. After some quick, post-fishing clean up, we emerged from our room. The photo above shows the Main crew in front of The Hideaway.

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The outdoor ceremony began just after 4:00 and lasted about 15 mins-- the highlight of which was watching the bride and groom's son walk down the aisle with his plastic dinosaur! After the ceremony we were free to walk the grounds and enjoy some appitizers. Ruby chose to play on the playground with a boy named Mccail while Eli chose to fall asleep on some chairs (between the time change and his ear infection, he was very tired!). Babysitting was provided during the reception, so we left all 3 kiddos in capable hands while we enjoyed our dinner. The kids had a blast playing with other kids and having lots of movie time!

Posted by PicasaRuby telling Cassie how beautiful she is!
After we picked the kids up from the sitter, we all went back to the room to get ready for bed. Soon there was a knock on the door by Cassie. She hadn't felt that she had gotten to talk to us much and wanted to see us again before we left for the airport in the morning. It was incredible to see the look on Ruby's face when the bride came to the door. It was the same look she had the first time she saw Cinderella at Disney World. I told Jason that that was the day Ruby was going to begin planning her own wedding. Of course, she's now decided she wants to have a red wedding dress-- just like Cassie:)
The next day it was time to leave already. It was a quick trip, but we were so blessed to be able to share Cassie's wedding day with her (in more ways than one!). Cassie and Mark were married on Aug 14, 2010. Jason and I were married on Aug 14, 1999. Our Grandma Alice and Grandpa Bob were married on Aug 14, 1948.

Monday, August 16, 2010

iheartfaces: Sunglasses

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This week's iheartfaces photo challenge is "sunglasses". I have so many cute photos of Ruby with sunglasses on, I had a hard time deciding on just one! This is right after her 4th birthday, in her Fancy Nancy dress up ensemble (that's fancy for outfit).
Head on over to iheartfaces to see all of the incredible entries!

Monday, August 9, 2010

iheartfaces: Surprise!

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By far, the best present I ever bought for my husband came last year for his birthday. Here he is opening up the envelope that informs him he will be doing the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the track in Orlando. I will never be able to top this suprise!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Let's Go Cheer Bear!

My daughter has been begging to take ballet for about a year now. After we went to a brunch with the cast of a local Snow White ballet, the begging got even worse! I wanted to try ballet out in the summer, without the pressures of the school year, but it seems that ballet studios want a summer vacation too (is that allowed?) and some don't have classes for children less than 5. I still wanted Ruby to have some fun this summer-- especially with a new brother making his appearance at the beginning of break-- so I decided upon a class at the gymnastics center called Cheer Bear. Yep, you guessed it, it is a cheerleading class for 3 & 4 year olds.

Ruby is totally loving this class, even if it isn't ballet. They begin each class with some running and stretching. Next they move to the huge trampoline where they do various jumps. They then move to the floor for some actual cheers. Of course, the cheer is "LETS- GO- CHEER BEAR!".

For the last five minutes, the girls get free play where Ruby is likely to be found on the play set or the huge trampoline. I can say with a decent amount of confidence that after watching Ruby at Cheer Bear, there is very little chance she will become a gymnast or a cheerleader (sorry sweetie!), but I'm elated with how much fun she's had!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Granola Mom

Four years ago, Jason came home one day to find me attempting to make baby food. His comment was, "You are the most non-granola, granola mom I've ever met!". Yes, I have nursed both Ruby and David. Yes, I use clothe diapers. But come on, granola mom? So I digress... That attempt at making baby food for Ruby was a bust, but I was determined to put forth a better effort for David. This time I have a new ally in my corner-- the Kitchen Aid food processor! LOOOVE IT!

Anyway, the kids and I started out with a trip to a local farmer's market. We picked out peaches, corn, honey, molasses, squash, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, and a watermelon. Then the nice lady helped me get all the produce and 3 children to the car! (Ah, if only I could get that kind of service at Walmart.) When I was preparing the food the next day, Eli graciously offered to help. Here he is, learning what green beans really look like (We always eat canned; he had no idea you had to cut the ends off green beans.).

After trimming and washing them, the plan was to put them in the crock pot until they were soft enough to puree. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that I couldn't have 2 crock pots on the same outlet on the island. (In other words, I blew up this crock pot!) So we cooked them up on the stove. After they were cooked, they went into the food processor and into individual containers for the freezer. Five seconds later-- healthy, cheap, baby food with no modified food starch, citric acid, or any other "junk". Ok, maybe I'm just a little granola...