Happy Birthday to me...

Today I turned 32. Wait a second. It's 12:05am over here so I should say yesterday. Let's just say that on June 1st, I turned 32. (By the way, so did Jamie. :))

Lindsay, her girls, Anna and I went up to see Jamie on Thursday morning and came back Saturday afternoon. My parents also came up. We had a great time, shared a lot of laughs and our girls got to bond more.

I think this weekend was made up of moments that we will treasure and look back upon throughout the next 18 months as Lindsay and Craig move their family to Pittsburgh. We are thankful that it is a temporary move. In the grand scheme of things, 18 months is just a blip on the radar. Right now, it looms so big before us. We're comforted knowing that they will definitely be out to visit and are already planning their first visit for September/October. It will be very strange that I won't have my little sister and one of my best friends just a mile away anymore. The countdown starts in just a couple of weeks. I really am excited for them and the opportunities it brings for Craig. It's an adventure for them that I know will only bring their little family closer. Please pray for them - for safe travels, for an easy transition, and for peace of mind for all of us.

I think that is all I will say for now. I hope you all have a wonderful Lord's day. I should go to bed. My great-grandmother used to say: "Saturday night live means Sunday morning dead." :)
  • mjintexas
    My heart would break into a million pieces if my Lindsay moved across the country from me, so I completely understand your feeling that it's a LONG TIME even knowing that it's temporary.
    Happy belated birthday!
    by mjintexas at 06/03/13 9:47AM
  • crazy_mama
    Happy Birthday to you (and Jamie!)
    by crazy_mama at 06/04/13 11:23PM

It's been months...again.

I promised myself I'd get better about writing but we all can see how much good that did. So I, again, write after a months-long absence and there is way too much to say. Doing this categorically seems the best solution, as usual, so I will do it that way.

We put Caleb back into public school at the end of November last year. There were a lot of reasons behind that. #1 is that the state online charter school we were using required entirely too much time, attention, and monitoring. I think it would be great if I only had one child to sit with all day, but I definitely don't. He was very excited to go back to public school and jumped right in, loving more time with his friends. Academically, he's still doing great. Right now he's still learning to be a leader, not a follower and to not be tempted to want to look cool to all the other kids. I'm not sure I've really ever gotten over that so I know it's a slow, gradual process. It's been difficult for me to step back and let him make his own decisions and mistakes while trying to talk calmly to him about what's going on. He tells me a lot, and I want him to keep that up. If I worry too much or give him the 3rd degree about everything, it might backfire. The delicate balance I'm having to keep up between listener and mother is slightly exhausting. But I am trying to get used to it. I need to, considering I will be putting that into practice for many, many years to come. Homeschooling him again is always there as well. I wouldn't use the same curriculum but if it becomes appealing to me again, I know I can do it and I will if I feel like I need to. Caleb made a new friend in the neighborhood. His name is Logan. He rides Caleb's bus and he's a nice kid. He lives about two blocks away. My parents gave Caleb some great walkie talkies for his birthday in January and those have been excellent at keeping in touch with him while he's out in the neighborhood. I remember being able to roam free in our neighborhood while growing up, riding our bikes everywhere. Now I make sure he's got some form of communication with me even though he's only going a couple of blocks. I trust him, though. We make sure to have the stranger danger talk every couple of months to make sure he knows the drill. He turned 9 in January. Is that crazy or what?? I think I've been on Pleo since he was 2, Ben's age, so most of you have seen him grow up. I pray that he is growing into a love for God and doing right. He really is a good kid. I have to remind myself that he's also a 9 year old boy. He doesn't have it all down yet. Even though he looks like such a big guy next to his brother and sister. Right now he's into Minecraft and he loves to talk to his Dad about that. He's still stuttering. It's getting better but if he tries to talk too fast or gets upset, he has a hard time getting out what he wants to say without stuttering. I think he'll outgrow it.

Anna will be 4 on the 22nd of this month. Again...Crazy! She's very excited about her birthday party and having some of her friends over. But mostly her cousins. She really, truly loves her cousins Kate and Millie. Lindsay and I took Kate, Anna, and Caleb with us somewhere the other day. The whole way there and back, they were just chattering and laughing away about one thing or another. We never heard a "Moooom..." or "Are we there yet?" And Anna is always asking me "Is Millie going to be there?" if I say we are going anywhere with Kate. She really misses Millie. I guess identical twins' children have the DNA of siblings. After seeing how Anna and Millie are together, I believe it with all my heart. They are so connected. They don't get to see each other very much, but when they do, it's like no time has passed. And these girls RARELY fight! I'm sure that will probably change, but for now, the camaraderie between them is amazing! Anna loves them so much and I'm happy she has her own set of sisters like I did. Anna is now reading! Well, she's sounding out and reading some 3-letter words. Simple words like cat, dog, God, etc. But it amazes me. Caleb wanted nothing to do with learning. Anna is the opposite. I actually need to get her another pre-K-K workbook because she takes hers out and works in it for fun so now it's all filled up. She still loves puzzles and princesses. And she's still very picky about her clothes. Any shirt with a ruffly sleeve or bodice or applique she says it hurts. Obviously she learns to get over it once I check it and tell her she's fine. There are tears, but I'm happy to report that after nearly a year of Sunday morning meltdowns, she will now wear tights with no fuss at all. I admit I catered to her for a while by letting her wear leggings or socks instead, but finally I decided to suck it up and go with tights. Glad that's over....for now. :)

Benjamin is 2 1/2 now and what a little fireball. He's hilarious, sweet, and frustrating. He's also my baby so I'm trying extra hard to snuggle him when I can. Poor guy has to put up with my constant kisses under his fat little neck. There's just so much softness there! The kid is still OBSESSED with all things motorized. Lawn mower (aka the love of his life), weed wacker, and vacuum cleaner. When Chris mows the lawn, Ben gets his toy lawn mower and helps him out. When I vacuum, Ben grabs his little vacuum and gets in my way...I mean helps me out. ;) Everyday, on a loop, this is my conversation with Ben:
Ben: Do you have a lawnmower?
Me: Yes, Ben, you know we have a lawnmower.
Ben: Why?
Me: Ben, why do we have a lawnmower? (Because we've told him 4,345 times why we have a lawnmower.)
Ben: To cut the grass. Why do we cut the grass?
Me: Ben, why do we cut the grass? (Because we've told him 4, 345 times why we cut the grass.)
Ben: Because it's long. Why is it long?
(I think you see where this is going...)
Here's another one...
Ben: Can I see the lawnmower?
Me: Not right now, Ben. Mommy is (_______________). Fill in the blank with any inconvenient time you'd like. Because that's usually when I'm asked to go see the lawnmower.
Ben (now very upset and whining): But I waaaaant to seeeee the laaaawnmoweeeeeerrrr....
Me: If you keep whining, you will not be seeing the lawnmower.
Ben (wiping his face and suddenly chipper): Okay, I not whining. Can I see the lawnmower?
Me: I told you, honey, I'm right in the middle of (_____________). I bet Daddy will take you out when he gets home.
Ben: (So much crying and whining that he is sent to his bed to get a grip.)

Substitute lawn mower for vacuum and I hear that as well, although less frequently. I really hope this all lasts well into his teen years so we get some good use out of his willingness to vacuum and mow the lawn. I'm not counting on it, but I can hope. He still has and loves his doggie. And, in case you were wondering, he will still wake up and cries at night (multiple times) if he does not have doggie in bed with him. This was unintentionally found out a couple of days ago when we couldn't find doggie. I'm seriously considering getting a tracking device for that thing. It's worth its weight in gold.

I should get going, seeing as how it's almost 2am. I guess I was feeling chatty. I will attempt to write more soon(ish). Love to you all. I will try to get around to reading everyone's most recent posts but...let's be honest, most of you won't notice if I do or not. ;)

Goodnight.
  • sarasponda
    Thanks for updating. I love hearing about your kids! Glad you are doing so well. You forgot to update about yourself and Chris though. How is his school going? It's so nice to be able to keep up with you and your sister's when 10 years ago I would have moved away and never heard anything about you guys again. : )
    by sarasponda at 04/15/13 1:01PM
  • robynbobm
    I had heard that about the children of identical twins and thought of your kids. I thought it was cool.
    by robynbobm at 04/15/13 3:07PM
  • carolattheriver
    What a sweet family you have!

    I have figured out 2 responses to my kids questions that they already know the answer to. 1 is "what does your brain tell you." And next response is you already know all there is to know about that. I love these responses and they have saved me from a lot of frustration and ridiculous questions... Not that you needed my advice, I just learned it from my sisters therapist for her kids and it really has helped all our kids.

    I really need to make a post too. Hmmm
    by carolattheriver at 04/18/13 10:49PM
  • simon_says
    I get the why loop also. As well as the dramatic fits. It gets wearying after a while.
    by simon_says at 04/19/13 12:19PM
  • trekkiemom
    Love you both and your sweet kids... You do need another post though about you and Chris :-)
    by trekkiemom at 04/19/13 8:00PM
  • whiteboy
    whoa... people still use this thing?
    by whiteboy at 05/01/13 10:04PM

Quick Update

About Chris. He heard back from the doctor. Nothing conclusive. The doctor isn't overly concerned with his iron levels...yet. But he will test him again in a year just to keep tabs on him. So thankful for modern medicine and the relief it sometimes can bring. Seeing as both of Chris's grandfathers died of heart disease and excessive iron in the blood can be a cause of that, it's good to be aware. Women, get your men's blood tested! It was only recently discovered that high iron levels can contribute to many cancers and heart and liver disease.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

I don't know. That song just popped into my head. You're welcome for it now being stuck in your head. Maybe I was thinking that we're still just rowing along. Busy as usual. At least it's only been 3 1/2 months since I posted last instead of 9. Still, this might be a touch long.

First things first - The baby of the family. He's not a baby anymore! My youngest child is 2 years old! How did that happen? Well, he's still my baby and an adorable one at that. His vocabulary has sky rocketed. He's on to full sentences and he knows how to use them. He still loves his doggie. We ended up buying him a look-alike but instead of replacing his old doggie, he just walked around with both of them like the proud father of twins. Even so, the old doggie is still #1 in his book. We had one night where we couldn't find doggie (he ended up being in the garage because Ben laid him down after coming in for a walk) and Ben woke up crying in the middle of the night. I can't tell you how relieved I was when we found the doggie. Anyway, Ben is a singer, a major singer. Just like his brother and sister. He "sings" during church. I say that in quotes because most of the time he has no clue what the words are, he just loves the sound of himself singing/yelling, "Ahhh uhhhh ahhh...!!!" We're in the midst of potty training and I have to say that it's going very well (where's some wood to knock on?). Today he had no accidents and sometimes tells us when he has to go and we've only started training him a couple of days ago. My last child to potty train is almost potty trained - I'm almost FREE!!!! :)

Anna is still my girly-girl. And a Mama's girl. She hates to see me go to work and today she even wanted to accompany me to the doctor's office. I let her. Sometimes it's really fun to have a little buddy to go places with me. She so good and no trouble at all. I was talking to the doctor and we laughed about something so there's Anna in the corner belly-laughing like she was in on the joke. She didn't have a clue what we were talking about but we were laughing so it must have been good. :) Lately, her thing has been to quote movies. Movies she's only seen a handful of times. Chris and I heard her in the playroom talking to Ben saying whole dialogues between two characters from a movie. Like she was telling him a story. It was amazing. She really pays attention and has a great memory. Well...when she wants to, of course. :) She's always putting puzzles together. She loves them.

Caleb is liking homeschool so far. I think he loves the being-done-by-noon part. The rest he can probably take or leave. :) He keeps saying how he wants to go back to school next year. He really misses his friends. I'm sure he does. He's such a social guy. I thought neighborhood friends and church friends would be enough but the good weather is going away and I know he craves that interaction with his peers. Even though his homeschooling stuff was pretty stressful at first, it's really evened out and Caleb can mostly do his own thing as far as all of that goes so it's not as big of a deal anymore. Still, there are some days that I'm ready to throw in the towel. I feel like one kid or the other is getting neglected in some way. Having to divide my attention between a kid who needs me to look at his work, another who wants to do a puzzle with me, another who is potty-training and my house needing cleaned can be heavy. Throw a monkey wrench in any or all of that and you have a formula for chaos. #1 on my prayer list: Patience. :) Otherwise, Caleb is doing really well. He tested extremely well at the beginning of the year so we'll hope he keeps that up with me as his "learning coach". :) He starts his "Lego Club" and "Young Astronomers Club" tomorrow so he's very excited for that. I love that they have clubs like that for the kids. It adds yet another thing to our daily schedule but it will be worth it to see him so happy with something he's interested in.

Chris is doing well. We both had Wellness Screenings at the beginning of October and just recently got back our results. No surprise that I'm slightly anemic. I knew when my craving for ice came back that I probably was. Chris's bilirubin levels were very elevated. Scary elevated. His iron levels were high too. So, he went to the doctor. They aren't concerned about the bilirubin levels, but they are curious and a little concerned about his iron levels. The word "hemochromotosis" was tossed around. They are doing research and will get back to him if they need to run more tests. He just went to the doctor yesterday so we're still in the waiting mode. Prayers for a positive outcome would be great.

I guess that's it for now. It's almost midnight so I guess I should go to bed anyway. :)
  • mjintexas
    Thanks for the great update! I love hearing about your family. :)
    by mjintexas at 11/02/12 10:06AM
  • robynbobm
    Hope Chris gets some good news from the doctor.

    The clubs will hopefully help Caleb with the social part he is missing. :)
    by robynbobm at 11/02/12 1:21PM
  • crazy_mama
    I got super excited to see your name in bright white!! What a great update!!
    by crazy_mama at 11/03/12 3:42AM
  • trekkiemom
    Will do! Love your kiddos.

    by trekkiemom at 11/03/12 11:37AM
  • comade
    Not sure how I missed this update. I hear you about being pulled in every direction, it can be so overwhelming. I definitely have days where I want to throw in the homeschool towel, lol.
    by comade at 11/06/12 8:25AM
  • carolattheriver
    Sounds like we have very similar lives. I've never thought much about that in the past, till now. Weird. A Christian family with 3 kids, hairstylist, homeschooler, hubby with health problems, though it looks like his are under control thankfully. We really should talk more! :)
    by carolattheriver at 11/06/12 3:46PM
  • crazy_mama
    This is good to know. I never heard of high iron causing any of those things. With women, I'm so used to low iron being an issue that I never really thought about having high iron.
    by crazy_mama at 11/06/12 8:32PM
  • simon_says
    Glad things are going so well and that Chris just needs to be watched.
    by simon_says at 11/07/12 7:10PM
  • carolattheriver
    No problem about the art class. I wasn't depending on it at all. Maybe one day Caleb and Claire can just visit on a school day. Skype friends instead of pen pals. Electronics have changed things haven't they?!
    by carolattheriver at 11/20/12 12:17PM
  • crazy_mama
    Well I feel special! Thanks!!!!
    by crazy_mama at 03/02/13 9:49AM

Time Marches On

So...It's been a while. I've missed you all. I know I see most of you on Facebook (which is where you can find pictures - I am not going to post them here anymore since I'm not gold), but it doesn't feel the same. I only have brief glimpses of your lives, where on Pleo I can read details. I wish it were as active as it used to be. It has been so long since I've been on that my computer didn't even remember the website. I actually had to type in the whole www.pleonast.com.

I'm out of practice in writing down what I think will interest other people or remembering what it was that I wanted to say in the first place. Maybe categories would help. Here we go...

House: We are slowly (and I mean SLOWLY) getting things done on our house. I'm extremely content here. Despite the various and numerous repairs or remodeling that needs done, I am happy. I think it stresses Chris out to think of all the things we still need to do to make this house really nice but I've been trying to convince him of one thing: When I was younger and imagined raising a family in a house of my own, I didn't think I would be in a fancy, big or expensive place. This 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch house with a big backyard is exactly what I pictured raising my babies in. I'm honestly thrilled!

Caleb:
If you didn't already know, Chris and I decided to homeschool Caleb next year using the Oregon Charter School program. It's purely a trial year. We will see how things go. Caleb is a rollercoaster of emotions about it all. He went from excited to sad and back to excited again. Anna and Ben will at least attend K-1st in public school. I am a strong believer in doing what works for us. Each of my kids might be completely different in how they want to be educated. Obviously, it's ultimately up to Chris and me to decide what we'll do, but I only want what's best for each of my kids and that could mean different things. So, like I said, this will be a trial of sorts but one we're looking forward to.
Caleb will be going off for his first year at FC Camp in a little over a week. He's very excited and I know he'll do great and have a lot of fun. So weird to still remember my time at camp and then now have a child who will go!

Anna:
My girl turned 3 in April. She looooves to sing and get her hair cut and her fingernails painted. She's a total drama queen. Every Sunday morning she cries about having to wear a dress but as soon as we get to church, she runs up to my mom and says "Do you like my pretty dress?" And lately, I've had to remind her a lot to use her words. When she gets frustrated with Caleb or Ben, she screams or cries out. That high-pitched cry has become like nails on a chalkboard to me. Poor girl. She's just going to have to get used to being annoyed by her brothers.
She's a little sponge. She can write any letter, she can write her name, and she can tell you what sound each letter makes. I've been seeing if she can sound words out but she's not quite there yet.

Ben:
Amazingly, my baby will be 2 in 10 days. Seems like yesterday I was pulling my hair out because of lack of sleep and two cranky babies. :) He loves to sing. He loves his doggie too (a stuffed Ty dog that was Caleb's and he has inherited). Caleb and Anna never had an attachment to anything - paci, blanket, thumb, stuffed animal. But Ben is majorly attached to doggie. For his birthday I think we're going to get him a look-alike, but he might be too old to be fooled. At least he doesn't suck and bite on the nose of it like he used to. We had to wash doggie at least once a week for a long time because it would start to actually smell like wet dog and bad breath. Now, he just carries it everywhere and sleeps with it. There have been many pre-bedtime searches for doggie. Good times. I might have written about this before, but Ben is also obsessed with the lawnmower and vacuum cleaner. All day he talks about "Daddy mow lawn" or "See awemower". And when I vacuum, he vacuums. He gets out his little toy vacuum cleaner and "helps" me. He moves the dining room chairs, flips rugs for me to vacuum under and tries really hard to move back the couches. :)

Chris:
He is still working at the same job he's had for 6 years. He will be going back to school in the fall to finish getting his Network Administration degree. We'll be busy for a while, but it will be worth it! He started running/working out again. He loves to go running and sometimes Caleb will go with him, riding his bike next to his Dad. Chris signed up for something called "The Warrior Dash" next month. It's a 5k and it's a very muddy obstacle course. His company pays for most of the fee so he couldn't pass it up. He's really excited about it.

Me:
Staying busy doing hair. This year has been better than last year, which I am very grateful for. I stay consistent in appointments and that makes a girl feel good about herself. I love my clients too, which makes my job easy and enjoyable. I actually kind of picked up a "second job" that I also enjoy. I'm a Thirty-One Consultant now. It's such a great, faith-based company and I'm enjoying all of their products. The whole home party thing is new for me but I have liked them all. It's weird to have expectations of certain parties and usually I'm proved wrong each time - for good and bad. I'm really hoping I can be successful selling Thirty-One. It has, so far, been a lot of fun and has helped us out financially as well. I never wanted to be one of "those" annoying salespeople but hopefully people will just see my enthusiasm for a great product and know that I just want to share it with them. Not trying to pressure or annoy anyone. :)
I signed up for a Color Run in September. It's a 5k. My first. I'm excited about it. I think it will be fun. I'm getting back into taking better care of myself. Exercising and eating better.

That might have covered it. Sorry this is so long. Hope next time I post won't be in another 10 months. :)
**By the way, I'm getting around to reading all of the new (to me) posts, but it will take some time. :)
  • comade
    I'm still here...I will be here until noone else it, lol. I love reading more details than facebook for sure. I post less now because I was getting so little comments that it felt pointless but I should continue doing it just for my own benefit. Anna is the exact same age as my niece Lizzy so I definitely know the age! Maybe someday our kids will meet at FC or something!
    by comade at 07/19/12 11:50AM
  • linz_foster
    I like your house, too! It's perfect!
    Warrior Dash sounds fun - is he doing it with someone at work, or just by himself?
    by linz_foster at 07/19/12 5:15PM
  • carolattheriver
    I plan on running a 5K in December called "Run for your lives". It's where you run from zombies and try to make it to the end with out them catching you. Nothing like a little motivation! :)
    Claire will go to Texas Camp next year and I am so apprehensive about it that I am considering becoming a counselor. She is such a little sissy girly girl and I can't imagine her going. Kyle is a total pro at it though and I am happy he will be there with her.
    by carolattheriver at 07/20/12 5:25PM
  • crazy_mama
    Hey! I'm not on here too much anymore either but it was fun to stop into my account and see your name bright white. Sounds like things are going well for you guys and that your babies are growing up way too fast just like mine are. My children are 8 (almost 9), 5, 2 (almost 3) and 10 months. Time sure does fly by.
    by crazy_mama at 07/20/12 9:22PM
  • sarasponda
    Thanks for sharing your life with us. I miss Pleo too. Even when I post it seems like no one is around anymore to read it. Glad some of us are still here. : )
    by sarasponda at 07/21/12 9:56AM
  • beavermom
    I'm still here, and not going anywhere! Glad all is well with your little family!
    by beavermom at 07/24/12 3:34AM
  • spike427
    whadya know, i just happened to log on tonight and saw you had commented on miriam's post. every so often i think maybe i will blog again. but it's so hard to get time at a real keyboard, away from tiny fingers!! i am glad you love your house. i have some friends doing the color run in houston, but it's on a sunday morning, so i can't quite swing that. but it sounds like a blast! maybe i will get ready for the blue bell run next april - all you can eat ice cream at the end! :) i did it before i got pregnant with grant and haven't really run since, ha! :)
    by spike427 at 07/25/12 9:34PM
  • trekkiemom
    Glad you are loving life and enjoying every aspect! Love...love...love your family. Your kids are so so sweet. Go Chris go! I love seeing everyone so active and it is great that Chris & Caleb get some time together. Going back to school with a family is tough, but doable and so worth the prize at the end! Hang in there and make sure you have some date nights when school is on break!
    by trekkiemom at 07/26/12 5:14PM
  • sarahmarcelle
    I love your kid updates, everything sounds like it's going great! And yay for your 31 news and good luck on your 5K! That's awesome!
    by sarahmarcelle at 07/27/12 2:00PM
  • trekkiemom
    Haha! No kidding! I would have been 100% unconvinced that my life could achieve boring so rapidly - except that it is anything BUT boring! :-)
    by trekkiemom at 07/27/12 5:11PM
  • robynbobm
    Sounds like good times!
    by robynbobm at 07/31/12 3:55PM
  • acurtis
    I LOVED reading all this! I haven't logged into pleo in about a year maybe!!! Adam and I are doing the Warrior Dash in four weeks, and I'm doing the Color Run in October! Ive NEVER done anything like this. I've always liked to exercise, but never paid to run for any reason at all. Should be interesting. I wish we lived closer, it feels like we could be good friends =)
    by acurtis at 08/21/12 8:18AM