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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...

 I didn't have anything ready for today, so I wasn't going to link up. But then my sister called. We talked for exactly 6 minutes and 34 seconds. I let #4 have her fun so I could have a halfway peaceful conversation....this was the destruction...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kate turns 1!

My last baby...who is no longer considered a "baby" but will always be my baby, turned one yesterday. How could it be that a year has already  passed? I still remember the day I found out I was expecting. My husband says he "knew right away". I must've been in denial. I've always wanted 4 kids, but convincing my husband of giving me "just one more" was harder than I thought it would be. I had just run 10 miles two days prior and was still feeling completely normal(I always knew before I peed on a stick when I was pregnant). Like I said, I must've been in denial(or had completely given up on the fact that I would ever carry another baby again). Actually, I HAD given up as I had gotten rid of ALL of our baby gear/clothes/etc. It's not that I COULDN'T have another baby, but my youngest was 3 at this point, and my first 3 kids were only 18 and 16 months apart. So after waiting 3 whole years without getting pregnant, well, I had just thought it wasn't going to happen.

When we told our other kids the news, the first words out of my oldest son's mouth was, "Another one?". Dear hubby cracked up laughing. Almost immediately I started feeling nauseous(not because I was going to be a mom to-HOLY CRAP-FOUR kids), but morning all-day sickness set in with a vengeance. I had to constantly eat or I would throw up(hence, the 50-pound weight gain).

I savored every moment of what would be my last pregnancy. Every kick, every ultrasound, yes even the nausea.  I have to admit, I am a little sad that I will never again feel a baby in my belly again, or nurse a hungry little newborn, but the amazingness that is my family is complete, and now we can get on with the rest of our lives.

Katelyn is a firecracker of a girl, laughing with her mouth wide open showing us her "David Letterman" teeth. She HAS to be in the middle of all of the chaos or she isn't happy. All Star Wrestling could be happening two inches in front of her, and she is COMPLETELY happy with that. Her latest trick(as of 11 days ago) is sleeping through the night-HALLELUJAH!!! This mama feels like a NEW WOMAN!!

I can't imagine my life without this pistol of a girl(nor any of my other kids for that matter). So Happy Birthday sweet baby Kate!!!

P.S. On my run this morning, 2 deer came out of nowhere and passed 10 feet in front of me--they are HUGE that close-up. I haven't seen a deer that close since we hit one with our car when I was in the 5th grade. I was sitting in the front seat and I saw the deer's EYEBALL-it was HUGE! I can still see it in my nightmares. I started crying because I felt bad that we hit it and my dad(who doesn't have a mean bone in his body), said "Who cares about the stupid deer? It just hit our CAR!"  
HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!!!!!!! Now go recycle something.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How to Host a Spectacular Birthday Extravaganza


Who the heck am I kidding? I am just one tantrum/forgotten drink/popped balloon/can't-find-the-match-to-light-the-candle, etc. away from a totally IMPERFECT party.

You would think after almost 8 years of hosting birthday parties for the little ones, I'd be a pro by now. And while I have come a long, long, LONG way from that 1st birthday party ever, I still have a LOT to learn.

For instance, I am always scrambling(up until the last second when that first guest rings the doorbell) to clean up(the house, the kids, the dishes, myself). Seriously, TIME MANAGEMENT, Jen...learn it.

I ALWAYS forget something from the store---the candles(or matches FOR the candles), the balloons, the plastic spoons(I have never forgotten plastic forks-YAY ME), the ice cream, the cupcake liners. Granted I don't forget EVERYTHING on this list all the time, but usually one of the above(which has dear hubby heading to the store for me).

I have stolen learned some tricks over the years(with the help of my grandma-the ULTIMATE hostess, and my future sister-in-law, Sarah).

One good tip is to make "ice cream balls" ahead of time. This consists of taking cupcake liners, putting scoops of ice cream in them and putting them in the freezer. Take out at cake time for guests to help themselves. (My grandma does this all the time, but I JUST remembered this handy trick on Sunday-Kate's 1st birthday party).
These WERE beautifully shaped balls fashioned from an ice cream scoop. This is the melted version I just snapped a photo of for blogging purposes.

Another time saver (and to add a fancy flair), is to wrap your plastic forks/knives/spoons in the party napkins(that match your cups/plates/birthday banner) and tie a ribbon around it. The guests just grab one and you're done! (This tip I learned from my future sister-in-law. She throws a mean baby shower, and by mean I mean perfect/gorgeous/delicious food/fresh flowers/perfect decorations/lovely smelling bathroom-you get the picture).

ALWAYS let the kids pick what kind of cake to bake. It is THEIR birthday after all. Stay up late, get up early, search high and low for that hard-to-find cartoon character that they HAVE to have(it really is worth it in the end, when you see their face light up because for this ONE day, everything was JUST FOR THEM).
I have done almost every character imaginable, from Spongebob to Scooby Doo, Hello Kitty, and Blues Clues, I have made a tractor, and a baseball field, something to do with Star Wars, princesses, Barbies, ladybugs, and more. You can find almost everything on the internet with how-to instructions for it all.

Last, but not least, take A LOT of pictures!!

    This post was done for wordful/wordless Wednesday.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What is it with Mondays?

Woke up late today...slept through my Y alarm...that I'm sure beeped incessantly at 4:40 a.m. I instead woke with a start at 5:40 a.m. Too late to go to the Y, but not too late to lace up the running shoes and run's really dark outside though...and the wind is howling...and I check the temperature, and it's only 40 chilly degrees. But if I don't just suck it up, I won't be able to run today. 
I put the sweatshirt (that I had planned to wear for the day-a.k.a. my GOOD sweatshirt) on, with my fleece pants, threw my hair in half-a-pony, brushed my teeth, popped my earbuds in and ran out the door. I think I looked a bit like a running hobo.
HOLY CRAP!!!!!! It's frigid, and freezing, and the wind is howling!   

I'm sure I'll warm up soon.

It's so dark out, where to run so I feel safe(and won't trip on a crack or uneven pavement)?

I take off at a very fast clip; partly because I'm freezing and I can't wait to start sweating, and partly because I'm really afraid of the dark.

I start to feel a little better after I pass a pair of running buddies...and then another pair a few minutes later...nothing to be afraid of.

With every passing minute, it's getting a little lighter, and I start to warm up a bit...and then I start to sweat.

And after a while, I see the most glorious thing (I've seen it many times before, I've just forgotten about it, and the loveliness of it)...I saw the sunrise. The ACTUAL sun! After so many days of gray, dreary bleakness, I forgot how lovely it is to see the sun again. It's gradual, the sunrise is. It's light, and then bright, and then the sky turns this glorious shade of blue...are you smiling? I was. I was a big, smiling, running-hobo of a dork, smiling at the sun, and the day to come...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cobwebs and Clutter...

You know those little piles of "stuff"? Stuff like junk mail, and coupons, school papers, magazines, drawings the kids have made, bills, birthday invites, more bills...the list is endless. Well, when the little piles turn into big piles and take up the kitchen counter space, the top of the microwave, the top of the refrigerator, the computer desk, the three junk drawers(yes, I have 3 junk drawers-it's on my to-do list), I start to get a little panicky. OK, a LOT panicky. Yesterday afternoon, everywhere I looked, there was a heart started to race a bit, my jaw became clenched, and I just COULDN'T BREATHE! I had to clean the clutter, and it couldn't wait. I can't stand to look around and see NO OPEN SPACES! I'm totally ok with a few things here and there, but it's like my kitchen floor, if there's crap on it, it must be swept. 

I usually spend Saturday afternoons hangin' with the kids, doing something fun, or just watching a movie.  Oh how I wanted to just sit and watch a movie, but I wanted to BREATHE even more.  I put Kate down for a nap, and started clearing the clutter with a vengeance. I started with the kitchen counters, (oh, and did I mention the kitchen table was even littered with crap?); with every piece of paper I threw away, my jaw became more relaxed. When my entire kitchen counter (and top of the microwave and refrigerator) were clear, my breathing became more even. I was a woman on a mission, and I was not stopping until the clutter was cleared. Sure I may have shoved a few things in a closet(but if I can't see it, it's not cluttered). I sorted the coupons, and threw away the expired ones. I sorted school papers, and kept the important ones. I sorted magazines, and found I have too many subscriptions. I put all the shoes in the closet, and all the coats on hangers. I dusted(something I distinctly remember doing in January-please don't judge). I even took my new broom and cleared some cobwebs from the ceilings. 

Two hours later...I was BREATHING...without heart palpitations, without a clenched jaw, and with a renewed calmness knowing I had wide open spaces again.

And then I did something supremely selfish...I went for a run. OUTSIDE!! My first run outdoors(minus the Frigid 5-K I ran in March). It was WARM. It was GORGEOUS. The only thing missing from the equation was the sun(and I soooo need the sun right now). My body craves the sun like it craves coffee in the morning. The skies have been gray and dreary for quite a few days, but no matter, I was finally from the hamster wheel of the treadmill; free from the electronic timer of the distance run, and the time logged, and the exact pace, and the goofy people 5 inches from me on another treadmill. My "treadmill legs" soon turned to "street legs" and took off...on a pace unknown, on a distance(somewhat known), and all by my loner self, which is exactly how I like my runs to be.

And suddenly, the cobwebs were cleared from my mind.

I came home a rejuvenated soul...with a smile on my face...and dirt on my shoes...just the way I like them.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday...

My 2nd grader made this for me in school, I hope he knows HE'S the special one.