Monday, January 31, 2011

the big one's coming! (White Death 2011)

Have you seen the weather report? I guess the midwest is going to get hammered with a snow/ice storm of awesome proportion. As I write this, the sun, the has melted much of the current snow on the ground, has now gone behind the clouds. It's gray and dreary looking, like it will snow soon. I guess we'll get some ice first (yippee!) and I'm hoping our power stays on. We have lots of blankets, I got some more candles (good-smelling Christmas discount ones), our flashlights are ready to go and I'm turning on our gas fireplace so it's ready in case we need it. And, our grill has propane, so we can eat something besides sandwiches. I'm sure Andy thinks I'm overreacting. And, I could be. I might be getting swept up in the news frenzy (and being tired from working the night before probably isn't helping). Thank goodness I went grocery shopping on Saturday. I hear the stores are just nuts today. Our fridge and freezer are stocked. We even still have 3 gallons of milk. I did see a guy at Menards rush in (at 8am-sunny, clear) to buy a generator and then hurry to load it in his car and be on his way. So, I hope everyone reading this stays warm and their houses stay lit. :-) I'm glad I don't have to work again until Saturday night. We'll see what tonight and the next morning holds.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

and our adventure with the orthodontist begins...

At their last dentist visit, the doctor wanted Marcus to see an orthodontist for a crossbite. His upper teeth line up slightly behind his lower teeth. I finally made the appointment and took him last week. The result: a retainer for Marcus. I didn't think he would need one, but was not surprised after seeing the xray of his upper teeth and being explained that Marcus had a small mouth. This retainer will create more space for all his "big" teeth to come in and hopefully (per the orthodontist) he will only need braces (probably) once all his adult teeth come in.

Marcus is so funny about new situations. When the orthodontist said that he would be getting a retainer, he said, "I don't think I want one." We told him it would be okay and the orthodontist said, "I bet there are other kids in your class with retainers." I said, "He's in the second grade." I'm pretty sure he's the first kid in his class with a retainer. Anyway, Marcus was anxious about the retainer so I helped him decide on what flavor that the molding would taste like (fruit punch) and what color his retainer would be (green, glow-in-the-dark). He liked both the decisions. We got the molding done and shelled out a fair amount for this thing and then had to wait a week while the retainer was being made. And, actually, Marcus was excited about going back to get the retainer.

Well, on Wednesday, we went back to get the retainer and thank goodness I remembered that appointment because I had forgotten to write the appointment down on the calender. I looked at Marcus at 4:50 and remembered that the appointment was at 5:40. I still needed to feed the boys and put on "daytime" clothes (since I was still in jams-I had worked the night before). We made it there 10 mins late, fed and dressed :-). Marcus got his retainer and let me take his picture.

A nice close-up. He gets to wear this for 6 months with periodic check-ups to adjust if needed (and, I already wrote the next appt on the calender). He gets to take it out for meals, recess and basketball. He's done great with it and I'm curious to see the outcome.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's a girl!

Let's get right to it-our family is going to get a little bigger! We're havng a baby! And, it's a girl! I couldn't believe it when the ultrasound tech told me. I thought it might be a girl after the first ultrasound when the heartrate was in the 170's (all the boys had HRs in the 140s), but at the second ultrasound when the tech captured the HR @ 143 I said, "Oh, it's a boy." "You can't go by the heartrate," is what the tech said right back. (I know, you really can't judge by that.) "I know," I said, "but the boys all had HRs in the 140's." I bet she was pleased to show me that I was wrong and that it was a girl. Our girl is due around June 15th, although my one doctor said they will probably induce a week early. I guess she doesn't want to deliver another almost 10 pound baby.

Yup, clearly a girl. Even I could tell that from this photo. We do have a name picked out that I think we are going with: Kella Elizabeth. It fits all my crazy name requirements: does not start or end with a letter that any of the other kids' names start or end with, does not rhyme with any of the other names (although it does have that hard "c" sound like Cale's) and the name is Irish for warrior. I'm feeling pretty good about this name and have gotten some positive feedback, so I think it's a keeper. The boys were leaning toward Princess Peach or Baby Boo (thank you Mario Kart), so I'm not sure how they will take the actual name. And really, the boys are aware that a baby is coming, except maybe Liam, but I don't think they really care. I mean, at this point, the baby isn't really interfering with their lives.
So, we have to wait for a little bit to meet her. But, we can't wait!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cale's basketball team photo

Cale's basketball coach took this photo of the team at Jr Husky basketball night and was kind enough to send it to the parents. There's Cale, front and center, right where he likes to be. Looks like they were having fun, doesn't it? :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Marcus and basketball

I got to take Marcus to his basketball game this morning. Usually, Andy takes Marcus and then we meet up at Cale's game or there's time to drop Marcus off at home and pick up Cale for his game. Anyway, Marcus's team had 5 kids there today, so everyone played the entire time. The coach is a serious person who also coaches the 2nd grade travelling team (can you believe that the 2nd grade had a travelling team?) and whose son plays on the in-house and travelling team (and is a good little point guard, but also very reluctant to pass the ball to other players). Marcus appears to play a kind of post position and does well getting rebounds (he is one of the tallest players on the floor). He doesn't shoot very much, but will pass the ball back out to the perimeter. Marcus's team won the game which was accompanied by the most "jump ball" calls I have ever seen. The possession arrow changed at least 15 times that game. Marcus did a good job guarding his player and I think his ball handling skills have improved since starting the season.

Marcus is #7 in black in the photo. I had another one added, but just erased it on accident. No worries, it was still of his back. I only took a couple photos. It's hard to get good shots of kids that keep running around :-).

Jr Husky basketball night

On Friday, I got to take the boys to the Heights basketball game because it was Junior Husky basketball night. All the teams in the league were going to be introduced in between the JV and varsity games. In all, I think around 200 kids got to come out onto the floor. I hadn't taken the boys to a basketball game since Liam was an infant. They all had a good time, mostly because we got to have snacks at the game (re: candy). I think Liam ate a whole box of popcorn by himself, too. Marcus and Cale got to go down to the floor and give high-fives to the varsity players coming out onto the floor-they thought that was fun. We stayed for 3 quarters of the varsity game and only had to change seats once to a less crowded section. We probably could have stayed for the whole game, but it was getting a smidge late, Heights was clearly going to win and Liam needed a diaper change that I would have rather done at home. I tucked some very tired, happy boys in that night.

A shot of teams lined up around the gym.

Liam was happy after eating a whole box of popcorn. :-)

Marcus and Cale were happy to see that I had snacks waiting for them when they got back to their seats.

Ewan did enjoy himself-I promise. He did break down once when I asked him to stay in his seat while I went to find Marcus and Cale ("You don't love me." he cried. How sad. Thankfully, Cale came back to his seat on his own so Ewan had company while I hunted down Marcus.) All was better once he got a drink and was able to eat some cotton candy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

basketball and Cale

Cale and Marcus have are in the middle of their basketball season at their school. I tried to get some pictures of Cale's game today. Only one on my camera looked good and the last two I took with my phone (I do not understand why I can't get a flash setting to work for the gym, but anyway). Cale loves to play and likes to be the one to pass the ball inbounds. His dribbling has improved tons since he started and he has made a fair amount of baskets. He plays on a K/1st grade team. Their name is Georgetown. All the K/1st teams are named for college teams in that conference (whatever it is). It's kind of fun to watch them play because half the time the kids don't really have any idea what is going on. And, they just go all out. The poor ref tries to call fouls to help teach the kids the right way to play. It's a great learning experience for Cale and I think he's having a lot of fun.

Here is the "starting five", lined up and getting a reminder of which basket they need to go to. You can't see him, but Cale is in this picture.

(from my phone) Cale is in the gray shirt in the middle of this photo.

Can you see Cale? He is by himself, his shorts have a bit of orange trim on them. I think he's looking to see which way the ball is going to go.
I hope to have some photos from one of Marcus's games soon. I may have Andy take them with his phone...

just some photos

Here are a couple photos I took recently...

I found a great deal on a little kitchen for the boys when I was grocery shopping. Aldis had one 1/2 off for 15.99. We figured it would be something new to entertain them. Andy put the kitchen together. It said "some assembly required", but what they really meant was "you have to build the entire thing". All the pieces had to be punched out and snapped/screwed together. Ewan and Liam were very happy with the results.

Liam was exited to see the new "cookware". And, the box was a very cool plaything, too.

And, lastly, who likes grapefruit? Liam does! He ate the grapefruit plain (w/o any sugar) and loved it. In fact, that was what he had for lunch that day-he decided the spaghetti was not as good as the grapefruit.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

20 month old Liam

Liam was 20 months old on Christmas Eve. Last week, we went to our favorite doctor for a check-up. Liam is looking great. We are not worried about his gross or fine motor skills at all. He climbs on everything, tries to jump and attempts to use utensils when he eats. He still isn't saying a lot. I guess he doesn't have to with 3 brothers and a mother who can interpret his grunts and relay what he wants. Here's a list of words I know he has said...

please (which sounds like he's saying "cheese", just more drawn out)
(for the word "yes" he makes a laughing sound)
(for the word "no" he kind of grunts and shakes his head)

So it's not quite the 10-15 words that our doctor would like him to say. But she did remember that Marcus didn't say a whole lot either. And, he really didn't start talking more until he went to preschool. I don't even know if Liam is interested is saying more words. I try to get him to say some, but he just ignores me-and I know he can hear everything I'm saying since he can follow commands that I give him. He hasn't even said "mama" yet. So we are not going to be to concerned, but will try our best to help him learn some more words.

Liam's height and weight are great. He is 33 3/4 inches tall and weighs 30.8 pounds. They had him stand on the "big kid" scale and he stood still long enough to capture the weight. As far as keeping up with the rest of the boys in growth, he is right there in the middle-ish of the pack. At this age, Marcus was 34 1/4 inches and 30 pounds 12 oz, Cale was 35 1/2 inches and 31 pounds 2 oz and Ewan was 33.5 inches and 28 pounds 3 oz.

Monday, January 3, 2011

last photos of 2010

To continue the tradition I started last year, I took some final photos of everyone on December 31st before I went to work. I like having just one more photo of each person to document the year. Sroll down, and you should see everyone...

...and then I went to work and Andy had a huge nerf gun battle with the boys. I guess Andy won by using Cale's gun that can fire automatically. Last year's pictures can be found here.
I only made one resolution for the coming year: to finish projects. I am a horrible procrastinator and have lots of projects that are "mostly" done. First up, to finish Liam's room. Sure, he's been in the room for over a year, but the only thing on his walls right now is his name. There's really only a few things left to do: Andy did the touch-up painting last week, I moved the other boys' old bookcase in to replace the slightly less sturdy bookcase that Andy used in college, I ordered some hot-air ballon wall clings and hot-air balloon fan pulls. We will still need to paint the closet (currently pink) with just a white paint. I am looking for a dresser on craigslist for him. I would like to get some hot-air balloon pictures, too. I looked at Hobby Lobby today and didn't see any, but I know I can order them online. And, then, we need to get a door for the closet. Andy had to break the other door down a while ago because one of our cats got into the closet and knocked over part of a bed frame and totally blocked the door so we couldn't open it. Since the door opened to the inside of the closet, he couldn't take the door off its hinges and had to literally chop the door down. Good times.
After that, there are plenty of other projects to pick from. I would like to finish painting the rest of the downstairs and the garage needs some drywall on one of its walls. I guess we will be keeping busy this year!

brownie bites

Grammy helped the boys make a dessert while she was here. They are calle brownie bites, I think and they are so easy to make. There are only three ingredients, plus the decorations. Of course, right now I can only remember 2 of the 3 ingredients: dark chocolate brownie mix (the kind that comes with the Hershey's syrup) and light corn syrup. Is the other ingredient butter or powder sugar? I can't remember. My boys like to help "cook", and some were very excited to be making a dessert (can we say, Cale?). Even Liam figured out something cool was going on and wanted in on the fun. I think he was just in it to snack on the sprinkles.

Pretty to look at and good to eat! You roll the mix into balls and then roll the balls in decorations. Put them in the frigde to set, and then they are ready to eat. We still have several left. I've been portioning them out to the boys as a treat after dinner.

Yes, Liam had fun with this project. And was very happy from his sugar high afterwards. I thought we would just be able to wipe him down, when he took his little hands and ran them through his hair....

...he got a bath after this. :-)

Christmas, part 3 (or, Grammy Pammy brought their favorite present)

Christmas seemed to be never-ending at our house this year. Last Tuesday, Grammy Pammy came to visit and bring some more presents for us from my side of the family. Everyone had lots of fun opening some more gifts, and the boys finally got one of the things they had wanted (although, I was surprised they did not ask Santa for these)-Bey Blades. If you don't know what they are, I guess you are lucky. Pretty much, they are spinning tops with a metal mid-section. You "battle" your opponent in a "stadium" to see which top spins the longest. There is even a cartoon about these toys. (Are you surprised? There seems to be a cartoon about every toys out there). The boys were super excited and even Andy got a Bey Blade. :-) Thanks Grammy!

Oh yes, Grammy got us the stadium, too. The boys have had a lot of battles since then. They like to carry their blades in their pockets-I guess in case they meet someone they have to battle right then and there. I have to tell this little story related to the Bey Blades....Marcus came up to me the morning before Grammy came over and said, "Where is Dad? I need to talk to him." I told him, "Dad's at work. Can I help you with something?" Marcus replied, "Why didn't Santa bring us any Bey Blades for Christmas? We really like them." I said, "Oh, Santa knows what other people get you for presents, too. He knows that someone has gotten you Bey Blades. And, don't forget, you haven't gotten all your presents yet. Grammy Pammy is bringing some this afternoon." Marcus smiled and said, "Oh, okay."

Here's a present I got-a cool looking mug. It says "mama" on it, which is Polish for mother. Andy got one, too. His has the Polish word for father on his- "tata".

Andy got this shirt. We like the caption on it. Both the mugs and the shirt were from my Aunt Claud. Thank you!
We are done with presents! Thank goodness. We are running out of space to put our new things. I guess it's time to do that beginning of the year cleaning then. :-)