Sunday, December 20, 2009

and the quote of the week goes to...

Mr. 4 yo Ben, who came into the kitchen when dinner was cooking (BBQ spare ribs, nonetheless... ) and said, "mom, what smells in here?? Did baby have a poopy diaper??!"

... runner up came shortly thereafter by Seth, who when at the dinner table was informed that we were having ribs for dinner, said (in horror), "ribs from a HUMAN??!"

... which brought about the third place winner from dad who replied (without skipping a beat) "yep, this one's caleb's, this ones tommy's, this one's Cejay's..."

... needless to say, it wasn't one of our most cherished dinners...

(note to self: strike ribs from the (already too short and repetitious) menu for a Loooonnnnggg time...)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Deep Thoughts...

by overly emotional-sleep-deprived-not-quite-handling-all-the-chaos-mommy...

My latest book (probably not quite the best choice to read in my current state of mind...) is Viktor Frankls "Man's Search for Meaning." I have used his lessons in some of my presentations and have decided I need to actually read the book to get a better understanding when I bring him up in the presentations. I was not prepared for the emotional journey of this book...

First of all, just a tiny back story: He is a very renowned psychiatrist, who also happened to be a Jew in Austria in WWII (can you see where this is going?). He was taken, along with his entire family, to the concentration camps where he was the sole survivor of all of his loved ones.

I have always been fascinated by WWII, and by the Holocaust, reading many books on the topic (if you want some good 'historical fiction recommendations of this time period, I have some great ones for you!), but for some reason, this book has struck a cord that has made it difficult for me to plow through - I have to actually put it down at times to come to terms with the fact that these events actually occurred to him, personally.

For some reason, he was able to pull himself out of the subjective part of the whole ordeal and analyze different aspects of the experiences from a psychologically objective point of view, and then discusses these in context with any and all types of suffering which we go through in life.

Today one line really struck me - it was a time when he discovered the art of 'day-dreaming' about his wife. He could picture her and have conversations with her during his countless hours of brutal labor in horrific conditions. He made the statement when he first started picturing her... (I'll just quote the statement, I can't do it justice on my own...)
"A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth - that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human through and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved."

... maybe it's the fact that we are coming up on 10 years of marriage, and I have been doing a lot of thinking about the past decade. We truly have been through a bunch (I can't say "it all," though it does feel like it... I know there are many people out there who would laugh as they tell me we have only just begun to 'go through it all'!!) - we have seen good, bad, and even some very ugly times together - yet somehow we seem to come through, still intact and still together after all of the ins and outs of this crazy ride called marriage.

...When it comes right down to it, all that really matters - all that truly endures, is love. Love for my husband and for my children is what truly inspires me each and every day. The thought of being separated from them in such horrible conditions as endured by Viktor Frankl actually makes me sick to my stomach to contemplate, and I have been more thankful then ever at this time that I have been so abundantly blessed with so many incredible souls with whom I get to share my life, and from whom I receive daily inspiration.

Who would have guessed that 10 years ago, as I was madly making last minute wedding plans, all that we would go through and experience during the following decade? Man, it has definitely been a wild ride... and there truly is no person that I would rather have by my side on this journey of life than my life love, Jerry. Thanks honey, for everything. I love you! You truly are my moment of bliss in the chaos and craziness! Happy (almost) 10 years!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Have you ever wondered...

What mickey mouse tastes like?? yea, me neither...

... but apparently my 2 year old has...

This morning when I turned on the oven and noticed an 'off' smell, I opened the door to find:

You would think I would have learned to 'check first, heat second' after our last incident of burned plastic smell (which, by the way, takes a looong time to go away, especially when you can't actually find the source of incinerated object, so you just have to wait until it melts away all together... ask me how I know this...).

Luckily I was standing right by the oven, so was able to rescue Mickey before he became too terribly toasted... (and started a fire!)... his singed tail was the only casualty of the morning.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What are the chances????...

... that your two year old will be just fine all day, then choke on a piece of candy and throw up just as you are dressing him to go to tithing settlement...

... then be just fine playing in the gym for the 45 minutes that you are waiting to get into the Bishop's office...

... and then, during the five minute interval that you are actually in the Bishops office for tithing settlement, will come and snuggle with you, only to throw up ALL OVER - getting himself, you, Benjamin, chair, and floor drenched in not-so-sweet smelling vomit - only missing baby Elizabeth thanks to mom's spidey-senses in lifting baby away from projectile stream (and sacrificing her jacket, shirt, and skirt to said stream...).
... and you leave the Bishops office (after apologizing profusely and trying to clean it up as best you can, knowing full well the smell is going to linger on through the entire rest of the night!), through a whole hallway full of people who are waiting from 2 different wards, with your half naked children (with the Bishop giving the rest of the people a warning, "see - they were a little short on tithing, so they had to give the shirt off their backs..").

... Seriously, what are the chances???
--- well, about the same as getting twins from clomid on your first go-around with pregnancy... :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I stand all amazed...

... at my mothers ability to get ANYTHING other than laundry done... with 9 people to do laundry for...

And she got A LOT more than laundry done.

Wow. Mom, you are amazing.

Okay, I'm off to dive into yet more piles of laundry... hopefully my kids will find something to eat in the meantime... :0

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When is a trip to the doctor not just a trip to the doctor??

... when you are 4 weeks post partum, sleep deprived, and emotionally wacked; taking your 4 and 2 year olds, along with new born to an eye appointment for 2 year old (yep, the same one who has now been to THREE dr. appointments in 3 weeks...)

Caution, Rant coming on - feel free to exit the blog at any time...

I woke up this morning (can you 'wake up' from a nursing-all-night-not-really-sleeping-session??) with a horrible head ache, only to have to load up the kiddos for a fun-filled eye appointment for Joshy (he was born with Dwayne's syndrome - where the nerves of his left eye didn't attach to the outer eye muscle, so his left eye doesn't go past midline. Not a big deal, doesn't affect his eyesight, and nothing will correct it, they just check it each year to keep tabs on it...).

-- appt at 9:00. Ben gymnastics at 10:00. I gave myself a 1 hour window - plenty of time, right? WRONG...
-- we got in to first room at 9:20 - get set up with the nurse. She takes us to different waiting room, where I discover that Elizabeth has had MAJOR poopy blowout, herself, her clothes, blanket, and carseat. (oh, and when I picked her up, on me as well...). Her new diaper, wipes, and extra clothes are up the stairs, out the door, and in the car. Great.
-- Right when I was holding her (with the other people in the room looking around with their "what is that smell??" looks) wondering what to do, we get called in again.

"Great!" I think - we should be outta hear pretty quick, then I can change her, get Ben to gymnastics, everything will work out, right? WRONG...

After another check, we get sent back to the waiting room. I make the mad dash (can you really call taking three kids along with you a mad dash??!) to get Elizabeth all cleaned up and changed, then back to the waiting room.
... Where we wait
and wait
and wait.
Then finally get called in to the Main doctor. Who happens to be one of the 'great experts' on Dwaynes Syndrome - which is a good thing because he has ZERO bedside manner. He spends all of 3 minutes with us (literally!!), then mumbles some things to himself about glasses and surgery, and says, "let's send you back to get dilated then come in again" So we go BACK to room #2 where they put drops in joshy's eyes (why the didn't do it the first time we were there, I have no idea!)... and the lady didn't understand why my 2 year old got so freaked out about getting drops in his eyes as she kept saying, "these don't hurt! it's just like bath water"

Then we get sent back to waiting room... and get put to the BACK of the patient pack.
So we wait
and wait
and wait
and Ben misses gymnastics (and I make the mistake of telling him this), so he starts wailing. And Joshy gets antsy, so he starts climbing on every piece of furniture in the room... and I let him... (hey, if they don't want him disturbing everything, then GET HIM CHECKED so we can leave!), and Elizabeth decides she has waited long enough to eat, so she starts wailing, and I remember that I have forgotten to bring the binki...
... so we finally get called in to expert-with-zero-people-skills Dr. where he does another super-speedy exam, telling his nurse (as opposed to telling the MOTHER of the patient!) that we will set him up with glasses, and schedule a surgery...
To which I have finally had enough and blurt out, "what are you talking about? Is his vision bad? Does he have to have surgery? What is going on??"
... and AS HE IS WALING OUT THE DOOR (he literally stood in the doorway as he explained things to me...) says, "we'll get him set up with glasses to see if we can correct the developing problem (never really says exactly what that problem is...), but most likely will have to schedule surgery in 6 weeks..." he did explain a bit more about the 'simple' surgery (is there such a thing as simple surgery with a toddler??!), but it all became mush to me and I didn't say anymore, simply because I could feel my throat close in and knew that if I opened my mouth again, the tears would start flowing. (add 2 year old in surgery to already hormonal body - what did you expect??!)

... so we go to yet ANOTHER room to start the glass fitting procedure, which is really a joke - seriously?? Any of you that know Joshy know what a joke it's going to be to try to get him to actually keep the glasses on for more than 3 seconds. Even 'fitting' him was a joke - the lady would put them on, he would tear them off.
Ben, on the other hand, decided that he did want glasses, so he started wailing again because HE wanted to try them on. Meanwhile I have not yet fed Elizabeth, so her cries are reaching a new height of despair. All of this among a room full of now-quite-annoyed people.

... We finally got the glasses ordered - (great - so now I just had to pay a crazy amount for glasses that my son is not going to wear, and which the the doctor said are most likely not going to work, so we are going to have to come back in 6 weeks and most likely schedule a surgery anyway??! Where is the logic in this again??).

... I finally got the whole zoo out to the car, and into our home, (almost 3 HOURS after we had left said house!!) where I sat in a chair and zoned.

... May we not set foot in another doctors office for a LOOOONG time!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Let the Game Begin!!!

What game, you may ask?

Well, maybe these pictures will help jog your memory...


Sunday, November 22, 2009


is my new word of survival. Let me explain...
** Caution... emotional, sleep-deprived babble soon to follow... so either grab a snack and get comfy, or just exit the site now. There. Consider yourself warned...

Lately we have been going back and forth with the question: do we get into a new house now, or do we stay put for a while in our 'charming-yet-oh-so-small-and-old' house...

So far, we have opted to stay put. And for now, I'm actually happy about that, because, well, it helps me to not feel so bad when my kiddos demolish anything and everything in one way or another. In a way, this house, to me, has become 'disposable'... at least that's what I tell myself to keep my sanity when they are dragging chairs across our newly re-finished floor, or climbing all over the furniture with sucker-stickied hands that I can't get to at the moment to wipe off.

Especially now that my days (and nights) are mostly consumed with sitting in one, immovable position while feeding Elizabeth, I have come to realize that things are just that... things. Nothing is worth my getting all worked up and giving myself ten ulcers to try to keep everything just picture perfect all the time. This hit me when, in the middle of one nursing session, Joshy climbed on the piano and started picking apart one of my favorite fall decorations. After coaxing, threatening, and then yelling at him to stop, I had to pull myself back and ask if saving this decoration was worth the increased blood pressure and screeching and threats I was yelling at my son. He wasn't doing it to be malicious... he was merely curious as to what made up that decoration, and wanted to feel every part of it for himself. So I sat back, mentally disconnected myself from this material posession, and let myself get caught up in the wonder of a 2 year olds world. It was really interesting to look at things from his point of view... to a 2 year old, there is no law of consequences-- if you like something, you touch it, squish it, taste it, in short, explore it completely. And then you move on to the next thing of interest (while the haggard mommy tries to restore the damage that has just been inflicted on the previous object of interest...)

Now, I'm not saying that I have let everything go to the dogs... (well, okay, in a way I kind of am - justification in it's finest form, right?!)

I have just gotten a lot more calm about the chaos that seems to constantly be going on around me.

Something that my mom said to me a few years ago really stuck with me, and has helped me to prioritize what things are 'really' important... We were home for Christmas, and I had gotten Jerry a CD for Christmas, and we had gotten the CD signed by the artist, so I thought it was pretty important.

Somewhere in the midst of holiday/family craziness, the cd got lost.

I freaked.

My mom calmly helped me search high and low for it (she even went through the garbage... now THAT is one incredible mother!!).

But then she said something that has stayed with me since then...

As I was getting more and more worked up, she calmly stated, "Oh well, if we can't find it, that's okay, you can't take it to Heaven with you anyway." For some reason, that statement stuck, and has since talked me down from many would-be-melt-down moments with the kiddos.

Like when they were playing catch (with daddy...) and hit my monet picture, causing it to fall down, shatter the glass, and scratch up the print. When I first walked into the room and saw the damage, my first reaction was quickly put in check when I looked around at all of their sheepish faces (hubby's included), and I actually repeated what my wise mother has once told me, "oh, well, I can't take it to Heaven with me anyway." And just like that, the moment was de-fizzled. The mess was cleaned, the ball put away, the (glass-less) picture re-hung.

Or when Joshy hosed down the kitchen with the new spray nozzle in the sink during one of my nursing sessions... (hey, kitchens can always use a good shower every now and then, right?!).

... or even when I found a few days ago, a perfect "V" type of cut in *THE chair* (oh, yes... the one that I praised in the previous post...), from 'someone' (so far no one will fess up to the actual crime...) who was apparently experimenting with a pair of scissors...
... it's... only.... a .... thing.... ... right??! I...can' right??! (insert deep breaths here!!).

... Because, really, at the end of the day (or year, or life...) things are just that: things. They are, in fact disposable, and will stay right here on earth when we leave it. What I will get to take with me, and what really DOES matter, is the relationship that I build with my most cherished and NON-Disposable items: my children. The explorations, the craziness, and the psychotic zoo phase will pass, but the memories and relationship that we build together will last a lifetime. As I am learning more and more with each new soul that comes into my life, they are so small for such a short time, and when they grow, those sweet moments of childhood wonder are gone forever. When they are grown and gone, I'm sure I will look back at the 'v' cut and wish for just one day more of being surrounded by these amazing, incredible (if at times over-zealous) souls that I am blessed to call "My Children"... and who are, in fact, my most priced possessions, for now, and for always.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ode to "THE Chair"

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have been known to be cheap... er I mean 'frugalistic'...
Seriously - I am a bargain hunter to the core... finding furnishings for either cheep or free (have you ever tried The best free-exchange website ever!! We have found kids beds, bikes, baby swings, shelves, coffee tables, our dishwasher, microwave, and yes, even our piano... all for FREE!! You have to give it a try for your community! But I digress...) is quite a passion of mine. In fact, most of our furnishings have either been given to us, or bought at deep discounts....

So, when hubby brought up the idea of purchasing a brand new recliner for baby #5, I hesitated just a bit, and looked around at the local thrift stores. I also wondered if it really was "all that" to have a recliner for a baby - if it really did make a big difference during the long nights of nursing. After all, I had made it through 4 babies without one... should we really splurge and go for it? (And from a 'real' furniture store to boot??!)

True to his nature, Jerry set off one Saturday and sat in what I'm sure was every single recliner in the store before I arrived to try out the two he had narrowed it down to...

And after sitting in them, I was hooked. We looked around a bit more, and then I held my breath as we decided to just go for it and get it... (oh, and it did help that it was not only on a big sale itself... but it was also on a big promotion that was a 'buy one get one free' promotion.... yes, in a flash we became the owners of not one but TWO of these little baby's).

... And OH HOW I LOVE THEE, my dear, sweet, all night nursing companion!!!

In the few short weeks that Elizabeth has been with us, I have seldom left your cozy, cushy softness. Through a weekend of utter sickness, you cushioned me through fevers, sweats, chills, and pain. Through our all night parties, you surround Elizabeth, myself, as well as an occasional visit from snuggling siblings, with the warmth of a velvety hug.

Oh, my new favorite chair in the house, how I sing this ode to you, and to my dear, sweet hubby who sat in, tested, purchased, and transported you to my sweet little home :).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just in case you haven't gotten enough baby pics :)

Just having some fun with little Elizabeth...

It always amazed me how small their hands and feet are...

sweet sleeping baby

... hey, it's never too early to start the 'ever-so-gentle' BYU coaching... ;)
... notice the smile?? She likes it! She likes it!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My sweet Cinderella :)

... I have to give props to my sweet Sarah ...

I have been battling a wicked case of mastitis all weekend, and pretty much have not been able to do much more than lay in the recliner and feed the baby. I had put a load of laundry in the wash before getting slammed with it, and knew the clothes would start to sprout their own source of penicillin if I left them in any longer, so I told Sarah I had a special job for her - to go move the clothes from the washer to the dryer, and then explained how to turn the dryer on.

Her response?

- in a VERY excited tone, "I can do that, and then when they get dry, can I fold them and put them all away??"

And that's exactly what she did.

Then this morning, she went around to the rooms, gathered up all the dirty clothes, and then came to me and asked if she could do the laundry all by herself. So she hauled the whole basket downstairs, separated out the darks/lights, and is now becoming quite the laundress :).

Thank you, Sweet Sarah, for making my day!! Love you!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How Quickly they learn...

Joshy, with all of his crazy ways, has realized in just a few short days that I have a 'perimeter of reach' while nursing.

... so yesterday morning while nursing, I heard a chair scooting in the kitchen, then some shuffling of dishes... and then joshy came walking around the corner, wielding two big glass bowls... and... a steak knife.... and his 'wicked' grin on his mouth...

... and he stopped just short of my perimeter of reach to show me all the tricks he could do with his glass/knife ensemble...

... mind you, I'm still in the middle of the nursing "hurting so badly that you can't move a muscle or even more electric shock pain shoots through your entire body" mode... so trying to reach out to get him was more complicated then it seemed. I finally coaxed him to bring the knife to me, and then he kind of hurled the bowls on my lap - then crawled up beside me to 'help' me in my nursing efforts. So I then had the baby, Joshy, two glass bowls, and a steak knife to finish out the Elizabeth feeding session....

... this must have been in the fine print of all of the 'new mom' material they sent home with us from the hospital...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Welcome home!!

Elizabeth Jane Brewer
Born 11/2/09
9 lb. 6 oz.
20 3/4 inches

Here she is, all dolled up and ready to hit the real world!!

Daddy with Elizabeth in the car seat, which suddenly made her look very tiny!

The official 'home entrance' scene

Bailey sniffing out the newest member of the pack...

Elizabeth was welcomed home by a forest of flowers.
Thank you so much Gramma& Grampa Mission and Gramma Sue and Grampa Steve!

... just a random shot of Elizabeth with her eyes open...

Life is good... and crazy all at the same time. She has already wrapped us all around here tiny little finger. Her brothers are completely enamored by her, and Sarah has her next years wardrobe already planned out. Needless to say, she is well loved!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Jessica/Elizabeth/Rachel/Princess Leia...
Okay, so we are not so great on the decision making, like where to go out to dinner on a date, or on what to name our new baby girl...

But we sure to love her, and are so happy to have her here!!
(Jerry even got to do the full delivery - fun times!!)

More comments later - gotta feed the little one...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

Trick-or-Treating, Minnesota style... you have to learn how to either layer under the costume, or accept the fact that you will be wearing a coat over the costume...

... Yes, Joshy was dressed up - just under all of the layers. It didn't take him long to figure out that he got CANDY from EVERY house we approached -
he was soon sprinting right along after the other kiddos :).

Seth as the Ninja... posing on our neighbors HUGE pumpkin yard (he grows them every year, and then puts them out every October - Our own neighborhood pumpkin patch - love it!!)

Sarah practicing her 'wizarding' spells

Ben also did the wizard theme this year,
though his wand was quickly given up to make room for the trick-or-treat bag.

At one of the houses - with four family units, we were quite the 'trick-or-treating' force!

Some of the gang in front of the big pumpkins
The kids always have a blast trick-or-treating with their good friends,
the Jacksons, Reeds, and Childs

Two out of the three preggo-amigos.
Since this is the first (and most likely ONLY) Halloween that the three of us would be pregnant on the big day, we did some last minute preggo-costume making... and then not even 24 hours after the big idea, Jolene went and foiled the plan by actually DELIVERING her baby (right ON Halloween!... 2 weeks early for her... all the while our little one is still nice and cozy... but I'm NOT bitter in the LEAST!! Really, I'm HAPPY for you Jolene... not...the...least...bit...JEALOUS!! - okay, maybe a wee bit jealous...)
(and yes, cute Marissa really IS, pregnant, she just never shows at all- just stays as cute as ever! Again... not... jealous... in...the...least!!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Easiest Halloween treats EVER!!

Thanks to yet another friend's creative talents (that's YOU, Val!!), I learned yet another fun and SUPER easy craft that is perfect for any age... so if your kids have an attention span like mine (anywhere from .5-3.0 seconds...), this treat is for you :)

This one was making spiders out of oreos, and ghosts out of nutter butters...
fun, easy, fast. My kind of craft!

To do the ghosties.... melt white chocolate chips, and dip nutter butter cookies in it, then put on some cinnamon dots for eyes. Seriously, that's IT!!

For spider-o's: open the oreo cookie, break apart some pull apart twizzlers (I couldn't find any brown or black twizzlers, so our legs are a little 'bloody'), place in the middle. Replace top of oreo. Again, that's IT. Done in 2 minutes flat!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Let it Snow, Let is Snow, Let is Snow...


Yes, just as we were going in for a pampering preggo pedicure, the rain every-so-slightly turned a wee bit white...

by the time we came out an hour later... it was blizzard city!!

... it took an 1 1/2 hours to get home from what would normally have been a 20 minute drive... seriously, it's not like Rochester is any stranger to the white stuff... except for when it comes out-of-season, even for these seasoned veterans... there were so many cars off the road between the mall and home, and one happen to hit a power-line right by our block, which meant no power for us for about 3 hours.

The kids, however, didn't mind a bit (after being shocked time after time, as they realized that NONE of the light switches worked - and yes, they did try ALL of them, as well as the TV, video games, computer, etc)... they quickly dawned their snow apparel and headed outside to frolic in the most perfect snow-ball making snow fall we have ever had here in tundraland...

They started to make snowballs for snowmen, but then altered the plans a little and ended up making 'snow-seats' for themselves... which I have to admit, was pretty darn creative :).

... Did I mention it's not even HALLOWEEN yet??!!
No wonder this little one is staying put... she knows what is awaiting her once she breaks free from the perfect-temperature-controlled environment :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spiders, and pumpkins, and patches... OH MY!!!

We did our annual trip to the pumpkin patch - on one of the only sunny days we have had this fall. The kids loved the corn-bale maze, and loved picking their pumpkins out :)

Once Joshy got into the maze, he found his nervona, and spent the whole time
with this huge smile on his face.

The typical pumpkin poses :)

After the pumpkin patch, it was on to 'spider building'
(idea was blatantly stolen from creative guru, Jolene!!)

I finally captured Joshy's 'surprise' face as he was observing the spider making activity. He was excited and mesmerized by them, but stopped just short of actually touching them... :)

One of Sarah's varieties

Ben's four eyed spidy friend

Seth got a bit creative, and decided to make all of his legs different lengths
(and once again, mom took deep breaths and reminded myself that this was THEIR project, and didn't have to be completely anatomically perfect :) ).

Let the Fall Festivities roll...
and let the new little one roll on in to take part in some of it!!