Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Friday, April 29, 2011

V is for......



Volcano!!!!


Twice a week, my friend Abbey and I do a preschool exchange- taking turns with each other's children for a couple of hours, doing preschool activities. It has been very nice for our children to be able to do fun activities and play with friends while either me or Abbey goes and does- well, whatever we need to do! This week was my turn and we have been focusing on the letter V. So, we made a volcano! What a blast! First, I made a homemade salt-clay and colored it green (closest I had to an earth color!) Then the kids each took chunks of it and formed it around a small water bottle (which was set down in a deep Tupperware dish) to look like a mountain. Then they went outside to find grass, sticks and leaves to add to their volcano to make it look more real. I thought the finished product was perfect!
This is Annie, Meghan, Ross and Ellie

Then, using a funnel we added a few tablespoons of baking soda, a few drops of dish soap and 1/2 cup of water. I then added a few drops of yellow food coloring to 1/2 cup of vinegar (wanted to do red to make the Lava look more real, but was out of it, so I thought yellow would still look fire-ish!). Then I quickly added the vinegar to the bottle and removed the funnel quickly and WOW!!! I couldn't even remove the funnel before it just EXPLODED! The kids loved it! It was hilarious!! Here is after the explosion while it was still erupting:
As you can see from the soaking wet papers around it, it was a huge explosion originally! I was glad I put the paint shirts on the kids! It kept erupting for a while. Definitely a fun preschool project!



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Child's Heartbreak

For anyone following my Facebook posts, you know I have a sister-in-law (Aaron's sister, Sarah) who is very sick. She has been in the hospital now for 1 1/2 weeks with a Staph infection that has spread through her entire body. The doctors believe it started in a hole in her heart (that has been there since birth- they thought it would heal on its own but never did and until now, never caused a problem) and so her heart has been pumping the infection throughout her body- all through her blood stream, her liver, lungs and beyond. She is on major doses of anti-biotics- which she seems to be responding to and is gradually improving. However, she is still very weak and needs several days in the hospital to get her strength back and will continue to need IV antibiotics once home for a while. Down the road, she is looking at surgery to repair the hole in her heart (to prevent a re-occurance) and to have her gall bladder removed.

Sarah is only 36 and has two small children- Kurtis (almost 8) and Joey (4). I have been helping care for the boys some. Yesterday evening I took care of them at their home while their dad, Jeff was in class. While I had no doubt that this trial has been very tough on the boys, they have been troopers. Last night, however, was an incident that broke my heart.

Joey went to play outside and I encourage Kurtis to do the same- but he was too busy playing his DSi game. After a while, the game started to aggravate him and he started crying. I know this has been an issue before and that his parents take away the game at that point. Since he had already been playing a long time, I told him to turn it off and go play outside. He turned it off and was crying louder, stomping around the house getting his shoes, and just crying and mad. Right before he went outside, I had him sit next to me and I said, "Kurtis, are you still mad about the game or is something else bothering you?" He said "Something else." I asked him what was wrong. He cried louder and said, "I want my mom!" Needless to say, my eyes were no longer dry either..... I did my best to reassure him that his mom was getting better and would be home in a few days. It was heart-wrenching. Their mom is their world. This has to be so hard on them.

He went outside to play but his heart wasn't in it- he sat on the porch playing with the leaves on their bush. So, I asked him if there was something he really wanted to do. He said that his mom was going to watch Star Wars with him but then she got sick. I asked if he wanted me to watch it with him and he said yes and asked for popcorn. I said absolutely! So we settled on the couch with Star Wars and popcorn. That is love right there- I hate Star Wars! Unfortunately, he had school today and the movie was running late so he had to go to bed before it was over, but I will be watching them again tonight, so I think a re-viewing is in order!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Well......at least someone cares!!!

Believe it or not, a couple of weeks ago I was "rear-ended" for the 3rd time in 3 years!! Though, this time it was in Aaron's car- his "baby." Thankfully, the damage was super minor. I had pulled up to a stop light at a freeway exit near my home and was waiting to turn right on red. I noticed this lady had pulled up sooooo close behind me. I inched forward to check traffic, but she thought I had actually gone and went to go too and hit me. So, we pulled over and there seemed to be no damage to her car, and only several deep scratches on mine. Knowing Aaron would likely want it fixed, I agreed to exchange information and leave it at that- the damage was so minor, it seemed pointless to call the police.

So, I wrote down her name, address, phone number and license plate number and insurance. She seemed so nice- a lady in her 40's or so- and told me to call her later. Aaron called the insurance and based on what we had, could find no info without the VIN number, which I didn't have. So, we tried to call her- the number was disconnected. We soon found out the address was invalid too. This "nice" woman totally lied and gave us all false information. Un-freaking-believable. The only thing I know is accurate is the license plate number.

We called the police, whose response was telling us to fill out an accident report, but didn't seem very encouraging otherwise. We filled it out and turned it in. We still haven't heard anything from the police, but we know it is in the system because:

I have gotten several calls and letters from different chiropractors and lawyers!

So, this "woman" does not care what she did and the police don't seem to either.... but, hey- at least the chiropractors and lawyers do, right?!?!

Sigh.....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Birthday Fun and Camp "Fun"

Somehow I continue to be surprised every year when my kids turn another year older. I always think "Where has the time gone" or "How did they grow up so fast?!" You think I would grow used to it but I still haven't! Jacob turned 8 yesterday!!! I still just can't believe it. How can it seem like I just held this little baby boy in my arms yesterday and today he is 8?! I looked back on the pictures I have on the computer and the oldest picture I could find of him was from Christmas of 2006 when he was 3 1/2 years old. (It was about then I started filing them on the computer-and I don't have a scanner) It is surprising how much he has grown! Here he is at 3 1/2:
Isn't he just the cutest and sweetest little thing?? Here he is now:
So grown up and such a little man now!

He had a very typical but good birthday! He took cupcakes to school to share- always a highlight for kids. For dinner, he requested waffles- which sounded good to me! Then, I heard that IHOP was having a special for the whole month of April- buy one adult entree, get one free! So, we had an extra special dinner at IHOP!
Dinner was followed by cupcakes (of course... see pic above!) and presents!
More Lego sets!!!

And, his own Nintendo DSi (that I scored used on craigslist with a starwars Lego game included! We have that same game on Wii and it is his favorite!) Ellie's expression cracks me up in this picture! He also got a Phineas and Ferb game! He was verrrry happy and of course had to try out the DSi first! Apparently, so did everyone else:

Jacob is a pretty amazing kid and we are so lucky to have him in our family! He is exceptionally brilliant, loves to joke around, talented at the piano and perfectly behaved at school. He enjoys playing with his little sisters- usually pretending to be their teacher. He also loves to play with his older brother- either video games, running outside or building Legos together. Even at the age of 8, he is still my cuddle bug and is very affectionate. He has a gentle heart and is very sensitive- sometimes to the extreme, but we manage. We Love you Jacob!!!!

IN OTHER NEWS!!

Jacob also had his school camp last week, March 30-31. I went along as a chaperone. Let's just say..... IT....WAS.....COLD!!!!!! Oh my, it was unpleasant! It was near freezing temps when we got there and starting snowing almost right away. By the time they got settled, had lunch and started their first activity, it looked like this:
(Jacob is to the left, in the red and black coat with black hat trying to catch snowflakes) This was the "wilderness survival class" where they learned to build a shelter using limbs and pine needles and such. After this, the snow continued to accumulate more, so the other activities (Adventure Team and Outdoor cooking) were moved indoors. The night hike was also canceled because there was 3 inches of snow on the ground by then and an alternate activity was done instead.

The cabins were heated with bathrooms and showers, but there was still so much outside time. Our cabin was at least 1/4 mile away from the dining hall, with half of that being straight uphill! (made interesting going up and down with the snow...) They also had to wait for everyone to gather outside between activities. So, there was still just a lot of outside time and it was so bitter cold! Last year, he went about this same time and it got to 70 degrees!

The other miserable part was the other parent in the cabin with me was incredibly annoying- I won't go on about it, but basically (despite the fact she is a 5th grade teacher) had poor people skills. In a nut shell, she was not an enjoyable person to have a conversation with and she decided to get up at 5:30 am to take a shower but was unable to do it quietly, hence waking the entire cabin- no joke...Ugh....

But, despite all this Jacob had a great time! My heart just wasn't in it this time around, but I put a smile on for his benefit and got through it. It was nice to spend a couple of days with him without his siblings interrupting and getting in the way. For next year though, I am wishing for two things:
1) Better weather!
2) Aaron goes next time!