Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Locks of Love

Caitlyn asked us a while back if she could get her hair cut short, and, while we wanted to respect her wishes, Darren and I were really sad to think of losing her long, beautiful hair! Then I remembered hearing about a wonderful non-profit organization called Locks of Love, which "provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis." What an awesome way to turn our "loss" into a beautiful gain for another child! I looked up the website with Caitlyn and told her all about it, and she was so excited to donate her hair to this worthy cause! We learned that the minimum length they need is ten inches, and I warned Caitlyn that this would leave her hair very short, but she wanted to go ahead and do it! We are so proud of her! Here are some pictures from before, during, and after the hair cut we gave her yesterday afternoon. I thinks she looks absolutely darling with her new hair style, and I love that her generous gift will be used to help someone else!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

St. Anthony to the rescue, again!

Last night, as is his custom, Darren situated himself on the living room sofa with Kristen to get her to sleep while I read to the girl's for a little while in their room. Reaching for the television remote control, he was perturbed for a bit to find that it wasn't in it's usual spot. Looking further, we were all perplexed to find it missing, as it never strays far from it's home!

I tried to remember where it might have been during the day, and thought about the brief disagreement Dylan and I had at breakfast over which program they were allowed to watch. Thinking I might have taken it into the kitchen with me at that time, I searched high and low but to no avail. We looked under sofa cushions, behind tables, under beds, in toy boxes, in closets, anywhere we could think that a remote control might be hiding!

This morning I was truly stumped as we still just couldn't find it anywhere! Really, it was just a small inconvenience in the big scheme of things because of course we could always just use the buttons on the actual T.V., but still. It was bugging me! From the recliner, I urged Dylan to recall the events of yesterday morning, as I believe that was really the last time we had seen the remote (shortly after our disagreement, the set had been unplugged for the duration of the day.) He still couldn't remember, and neither could I, so I offered up a quick prayer instead, calling on the beloved saint who never lets us down!

St. Anthony, St. Anthony
Please look around
Something is lost
And can't be found!

Our morning routine continued in it's usual fashion, with the one exception of Kristen splashing happily in the toilet of the children's bathroom! She was soaked, so I quickly stripped her down and stuck her in the bath for a good scrubbing. Scooping her out of the water, I bundled her up in a towel and took her to her bedroom, where I sat with her on the floor and proceeded to dry and dress her. As we finished, I gathered her soggy towel and as I stood up, I was shocked to find the remote control peeking out from under the girls' bed! I laughed and called to the children to come see what St. Anthony had been up to. We can always depend on him!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm sick.

Darren is thinking of coming home early from work today since he had to work on two of his days off last week. And if he does, I just might see if I can get an appointment with our family doctor. I feel awful! Last night, though, was the worst. My throat hurt so bad I could barely swallow, my neck, shoulders, and back hurt so much that I didn't even want to move, and I was so chilled that I just spent most of the evening huddled under a blanket on the couch. Pathetic! Man, if this is what the kids have had for the past two weeks then I don't see how they remained so cheerful. They never acted as sick as I feel, but I know they must have been because they complained of the exact same symptoms (except instead of backache they had headache.) I feel somewhat better today, but my whole body just aches and my nose and ears are painfully stuffy and my throat is still sore, but at least I can swallow without crying!

Wow, so on that cheerful note I'm going to go ahead and attach these two videos of Kristen because they just make me laugh! My kids can always cheer me up! (Oh: and please just excuse the lack of clothing in the first video. She had just woken up and we were in the process of getting dressed, but dancing always comes first!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thinking out loud tonight

Wow. It's not even 7:30 yet and all of my girls are sleeping! Darren's out in the garage sorting through his mineral collection and Dylan's in bed reading. It's such a lovely evening! The wind is picking up a bit and thick, gray clouds are building; I'm hoping a storm will hit us soon! I'm spending some time tonight sifting through pages and pages of notes I've made on curriculum materials for the fall. I'm (mostly) decided now on what we'll use but there is still so much I want to do. I just want to do it all!

Tomorrow morning I'll be seeing one of my three midwives for the first time during this pregnancy. I'm excited and anxious to see how that will go, and eager to get a better idea of how my plan of care might be affected by my two previous preterm births. I am praying so hard for a safe, full term delivery! I plan to ask about the possibility of progesterone injections, which has been shown in some studies to significantly reduce the incidence of preterm delivery in women with a history of preterm birth, and I also plan to discuss the benefits of not working past 20 weeks of pregnancy. With each of my last three, I worked right up until the time of delivery, and I remember being so miserable some nights that I could barely stand upright! I was, in fact, working the whole night before being admitted to my own unit in preterm labor with Kristen! What an exhausting ordeal that was. I thank God every day that He brought her safely through it all!

Dylan just walked in and informed me that he'd like to be nocturnal tonight and sleep the entire day tomorrow. ;) Looks like I better go tuck that guy back into bed, and I, too, might lay down for a bit before Darren comes back in. I just heard a few raindrops and am hoping it's just the beginning of a beautiful downpour! Goodnight!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I have Charlotte to thank...

...for inspiring this scrumptious mid-day indulgence:

DONUTS!!! Homemade (for the very first time!) by yours truly because I was desperate, LOL! Powdered sugar for the donuts and cinnamon sugar for the holes...yum! Thanks for sharing the fun, Charlotte! :)

Our wild gardens, revisited

So, it's been a while since I posted garden pictures and Darren's been wondering when I'm going to post some more! We thought it was wild a month should see it now! I love it! The veggie garden has become dominated by a forest of towering sunflowers. They are outrageous! We're thinking next year the vegetables might get their own separate garden and our existing one can become a play fortress for the children—a jungle of sunflowers! Believe it or not, though, the veggies really are doing quite well. We've got big, tasty zucchini and lots and lots of beautiful, juicy tomatoes. (Last night, while I was preparing dinner, we set out a platter of sliced fresh tomatoes for snacking and they, alone, could have been the entire meal! We love fresh tomatoes!) Darren accidentally picked the first two of our green chiles last night and I'm just dying to roast them on the grill. I have been so strongly craving green chile! Mmmm...okay, so I'm also including here, as usual, a few random pictures of our eclectic flower garden. It, too, is a thing of pure beauty right now. Completely crazy and unpredictable! I love it!!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Family fun on the Fourth!

Well, now that I've finally uploaded all these photos, let's see if I can adequately describe the incredibly fun weekend we spent with my brother's family! (I think the pictures do a much better job!) :)

We left early Friday morning, hoping to take full advantage of the day we had planned at the amusement park. Numerous stops along the way (including one to switch out our useless windshield wipers) put us there much later than we originally planned, but things still worked out just fine! Beautifully, really! We had a quick lunch, then headed to Cliff's, and, although it was already nearly two o'clock, a thick cloud cover made for very pleasant weather; we never once felt uncomfortably warm! It had been a couple of years since our last visit, during which Caitlyn had not been at all interested in the rides and Meghan was still much too young, but this time, they had such a blast! Our Meghan is just fearless! We started in Kiddie Land where all the children (except Kristen) rode every ride (some more than once!) and then stopped for a snack break before hitting the big rides.

Kristen pretty much spent a large portion of our time there sleeping. That girl can sleep through anything! She had missed her morning nap and was quite tired by late afternoon. The big kids, in the meantime, had such a great time riding the big rides with Darren. Poor Meghan was so upset that she couldn't ride EVERYTHING! I was so surprised at how many scary rides Dylan wanted to try. He totally gets that from his Daddy! He actually rode a big roller coaster that I don't think I ever tried until I was like twelve...and even then I remember being scared silly! Darren and my sister-in-law couldn't wait to go on the most thrilling rides there; my brother and I just stood by and watched as our insane spouses had a great time riding upside down in (or hurtling rapidly down from) the sky!

One ride that has always been a huge hit is the Rocky Mountain Rapids. I followed my little family's "log" around the route trying to get shots from every vantage point! They loved it! After that we headed over to the Water Monkeys' Adventure to let them play in the pool and water games, but it was still so cloudy and the water was so cold that they didn't stay in very long. Meghan, in fact, kept going in and coming back out; I tried to tell her she'd be better off to either stay in or out! She finally got out and wrapped up with me in a towel...she was freezing! We were all happy to finally head home after a long, fun day to a delicious home cooked meal at my brother and sister-in-laws!

Saturday we rose bright and early and drove over to the home of my sister-in-law's sister, who lives in a neighborhood that holds an amazing annual Fourth of July parade and party! Neighbors set up games and prizes, snacks, and drinks in their driveways, and the festivities kick off with a fun parade around the neighborhood with kids on bikes, scooters, ride-ons, strollers, or on foot! The parade is led by a fire engine—so exciting!—which stays and provides, in small groups, rides to the children as part of the fun! Luckily, it was another cool, cloudy morning, and by the time the sun finally came out, we were ready to head to lunch, anyway!

Later that afternoon, my sister-in-law set up the kiddie pool in the backyard and all the kids had fun swimming and splashing for a while before dinner. Some fun rounds of horseshoes, swinging, and playing in the sandbox also helped pass the time before dark! We also lit a number of smoke bombs while it was still light out, and then went in for a bit when it started to rain! Luckily, it was short lived and we were able to situate ourselves comfortably on the front lawn to watch the display of fireworks set off by Darren and my brother. I wish I had photos of those, but by then I was so tired that I didn't even think of getting out my camera! I was having a hard enough time just staying awake in my chair! I never understood how anyone could actually sleep through fireworks—I think I found out this year!

It was a wonderful, tiring, fun filled weekend and I'm so glad we had the opportunity to spend it with family! My children already miss their cousins so much, but we'll be able to see them again next month when they'll be down here for a baptism! And, as a cute aside, I just have to add that I think one of the highlights for Caitlyn and Meghan was the opportunity to try on the beautiful ballet costume my niece wore recently in a recital. My girls had fallen in love with it when they saw her lovely portrait sent by my sister-in-law, and they couldn't believe they could actually wear it, too! It's all about the little things, really. :)