My New Hair

3:05 PM Posted by Natalie

Well, I have to say I LOVE my new hair. All I could tell her was that I wanted probably 2 or 3 inches off the length, but wasn't sure where to go from there. She showed me the hair of a client she'd just finished and it was super cute, so I said go for it. Oh, and I got my eyebrows done, too! I knew they needed to be done, but I kept telling myself I'd pluck them....some day. (I think I've been telling myself that for probably 2 years, LOL!) As I was getting ready to pay, she asked if I wanted her to do them. (Hint, hint!) I said, "Yeah, I know they need to be done." Then she told me it was FREE! Uh...YEAH! This is only the second time I've been to this hairdresser and was unaware that you can get an eyebrow wax free with a cut. Bonus!

Against my better judgment, I am posting a picture. I hate having my picture taken and hate taking one of myself even more, but I did it just for you. It took me about 13 shots, which included the "Whoops, I'm not in position" shot and the essential "I look drunk" shot, but I managed to get a couple that wouldn't embarrass me too much ;) Anyway, here you go. Keep any rude comments to yourself, please ;)


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Sorry, no "before" shot. Hey, you're lucky you got the "after" shot, LOL! Just trust me, it's WAY better.

Getting new hair!

9:54 AM Posted by Natalie

WOOHOO! I've got a hair appointment this morning! I haven't had my hair cut since sometime in March, I think. Before that, you don't even wanna know how long it was. Somewhere between the 2nd and 4th child, my feminine upkeep took the back seat. While we were in Florida, I realized I HAD to get to the salon one way or another. When I would swim (which was every day) my hair got SO heavy. Then it would wrap around my neck and try to strangle me. It's the longest it's been in quite some time and it's driving me bonkers. The style I had gotten from the last cut has pretty much grown out and the only thing I can really do with it is put it in a ponytail. Easy, but doesn't exactly make me feel like a super model ;)

Wish me luck! I don't even know what to tell her to do with it this time except to get some of this length off. I'm not sure if I will post a picture, because I hate to be in pictures, but we'll see ;)

Google Diagnosis

3:48 PM Posted by Natalie

Okay, so I know it's not always wise to Google as a means of medical self-diagnosis. Indeed, only medical professionals should do the diagnosing, although even they can get it wrong. And our untrained minds can concoct all sorts of scary things based on some common symptoms. But when you have a nagging question, it can be hard to wait for a doctor to figure out what's going on, especially when it concerns one of your children. And so began my Google search a few years ago for the key to Alec's bizarre problem....

Looking back, it all began somewhere around 18 months - 2 years. It's hard to pinpoint exactly because I didn't know at the time that it meant anything, but I know the first time it happened was before he was 2. What happened? Well, I thought it was a stomach bug. But it was a wierd one, for sure. He woke up feeling sick and miserable and threw up. I don't recall if it was once or more than once that first time, but it was over by lunchtime and he was fine the rest of the day. I'd never known a stomach bug like that, but whatever. But, then it happened again. And then again. It was always the same, not a typical stomach virus, and no one else had been sick. Eventually I got the hint that something was going on here, but I had no idea what.

It was so wierd. I had never known of any such thing. There were times when it was happening almost on a monthly basis. Shaun and I kept wracking our brains trying to figure out what might connect each of the episodes. What preceded them? What might have been the same? But we weren't connecting the dots. So yeah, I started Googling. I wanted anything, any idea that I might be able to bring to our pediatrician to try to figure this out. The only thing I could find that fit was a condition called Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, or CVS. I printed out the information and took it to our pediatrician at Alec's check up. He agreed that it was a possibility, but CVS is a diagnosis of exclusion and requires many tests. He didn't seem very concerned and everything else was going fine, so we left without any real answers or plan. This was a few years ago.

Alec's episodes became less frequent and as I continued to research, I became skeptical that what he had was actually CVS. Some things just didn't apply to him and what he went through when he had an episode. But one thing that helped me investigate this was that episodes of CVS often had some kind of trigger, something that always preceded them. As we tried to identify what Alec's trigger might be, at some point, Shaun and I finally realized that there was something that seemed to connect after all. Episodes of recent memory all came after Alec refusing to eat his dinner, usually because it was something he didn't want to eat. Well, you know that a discipline tactic (one that I normally agree with, by the way) is that if kids don't eat what you fix, then they don't eat. They won't starve, they will eventually eat, as Dr. Phil teaches us. Unfortunately for us, hunger seemed to be the most likely connection between these episodes and so we determined that we would not let him go to bed without eating a good dinner, and probably a snack, too, and frankly I didn't care what it was. Alec has rarely had episodes since then.

But I wasn't satisfied yet. So, I kept searching. And a little while back, I do believe I found what Alec most likely has, something called Ketotic Hypoglycemia. It is a form of childhood hypoglycemia that becomes evident at 18 months - 5 years. Check. Episodes nearly always occur in the morning after an overnight fast, usually longer than normal, such as when they skip dinner. Check. Symptoms include lethargy, malaise, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and sometimes progresses to vomiting. Check, check check, check, and check! The first episode is usually attributed to illness, with further episodes occuring over the next few years and becoming immediately recognizable by the parents. Check. In mild episodes, carbohydrates and a few hours of sleep will be enough to end the symptoms. Check. It often occurs in children of a slender build. Check.

Once Alec has landed in the ER and had to stay overnight, but that was right after he had a bout of the stomach flu. Stomach flu will usually trigger an episode and make it difficult to get under control because so little stays in their system. This past December, we went to Urgent Care when once again he had a stomach bug and we couldn't get things under control, which was very illuminating because they tested his blood sugar while we were there. It was only 41, and 40 is considered hypoglycemic. We narrowly escaped another trip to the ER. Luckily Gatorade brought his blood sugar up enough that the doctor was satisfied and let us go home. He was fine after that.

What brought all this to mind? Well, while we were in Florida, Alec had an episode. It was that Friday morning after we got there and when I got up, he was curled up on the chair complaining that his stomach hurt. I knew. I tried getting some breakfast in him thinking maybe we'd beat it before he got sick. I left with my mother-in-law, Joey, and Lauren to go to a garage sale and when we got back, Alec was in the pool. He said he'd thrown up and now he was fine. He had eaten fine the night before, but he had been in the pool ALL day, so I figured that he had probably just spent more energy than he had taken in with food. After that, he was fine, and we were more careful about making sure he snacked throughout the day when he was swimming.

I might mention it again at his check-up next month, but really, I'm not sure if it makes a difference if we have him tested for hypoglycemia or not. With the particular kind I think he has, the treatment is basically just to make sure they have regular meals and snacks high in carbohydrates, particularly in the evening, which is what we do. It is usually outgrown by the time the child is 8 - 10 years old. But it would be kinda cool to know if my Google Diagnosis is correct ;)

WHEW!!!

5:18 PM Posted by Natalie

Before we left on vacation, I FINALLY made those dental appointments I'd been meaning to make. I was thinking yesterday that I needed to check the dates because I knew Kyle and I would be going before Joey and Alec get back from Florida. Well, before I could even get out of bed this morning, I got a call from the dentist's office reminding me it was TODAY! Yikes! Now, as someone who has had more than their fair share of dental work done, I do NOT like going to the dentist. Nope, not at all. And since there was a discrepancy between the last two dentists I had about the number of cavities they found with both me and Joey, I was pretty nervous about what yet another dentist might say. But, off we went.

This was Kyle's first dental visit and he did super good. No fear, no issues at all. Best of all, no cavities! YAY! The dentist was super nice and personable. I had to bring Lauren along because Shaun got tied up at work and while I was in the chair he asked me if they were always this good. I giggled and said, "No, but if they're like this in public, that's good enough for me!" LOL!

Kyle's check-up didn't take long and I was next. The doc asked me if I was ready and I said, "NO." Ha. I really wasn't. But, it had to be done. As it turns out, I got some great news. NO CAVITIES!!! WOOHOOO!!!! Just one older composite filling I will need to have replaced, probably by my next check-up, and that's it. He said everything else looks good, all my other fillings, my crown, all in good shape. All I can say is HALLELUJAH! Between Joey's braces, school tuition, etc., I was nervous about either of us needing dental work. Of course, Joey and Alec go next month, but I don't anticipate anything major for either of them. They are a little overdue for check-ups, but I hope not much could have happened in that amount of time.

What I found interesting about this particular office was that he did everything himself. There was no hygienist doing the cleaning or X-rays, he did it all. That's fine with me, of course, just not something I have experienced before. At first impression, I really like the dentist and hopefully we can stay put at one office for awhile.

Potty Training Breakthrough?

9:37 AM Posted by Natalie

I think I have posted here several times about the battles we've had getting Lauren to poop on the potty. For 3 out of our 4 kids, this has been a challenge, to say the least. Lauren has been peeing on the potty since last August or September. Since girls are supposed to be "easier," I had hoped that the poop would soon follow. It didn't. I have always said she is most like her oldest brother, Joey, and even on this point I am right. He outdid everybody and it took a trip to Florida where he spent a lot of time naked to get him to finally quit dropping deuces in his pants.

After almost 4 years without a visit to Florida, it was rather uncanny that we were going when we were, and I hoped that maybe this was the key to finally being diaper-free for the first time in over 6 years. The day before we left, Lauren did a poop on the potty, at her own initiation and of her free will. Hmmm. But, she has done this a handful of times before and it didn't go anywhere, so we were reserved about it, but made a big fuss for her. It was so funny because she was so proud of herself that she had to go tell our next-door neighbor, MaryAnn, that she had pooped on the potty. LOL! MaryAnn told Lauren that if she got a good report when we came back from our trip, she would get her a princess dishes set. Our neighbors are great ;)

A couple of days went by and Lauren didn't poop in her pants, although she didn't go on the potty, either. She tends to do this, often holding it for a couple of days at a time. I'm not sure why. Finally, knowing she needed to poop, one morning we told her she couldn't go in the pool until she pooped on the potty. She was not happy about this, of course, but we left her alone and finally one of the times I checked on her, she was going! WOOHOO!!! Then a setback and she pooped in her diaper a couple of mornings. I am not putting her in a diaper for naptime anymore, regardless of whether she's pooped that day or not. We believe part of the key here is that she almost never poops in her underwear. She almost always goes when she has a diaper on, either first thing in the morning or after a nap. One of these days, we're just going to have to bite the bullet and try no diaper at night. Since she sometimes still wakes up quite wet, I'm not looking forward to that part.

Since we've been home, she hasn't pooped her pants, but she's only gone on the potty once, I think. It's been a couple of days and I actually have her on the pot as I type this, LOL! She told me she had to go, but then after I put her on the pot, she said she couldn't do it. Needless to say, I'm making her sit there. I know she needs to go. I hope she'll get over this holding it business. But at this point, I'll take what I can get. I REALLY hope this is it!

UPDATE: Houston, we have a poop!

Hello from Sunny Florida!

8:14 AM Posted by Natalie

Well, as I post this, our vacation is already on the downslope. We arrived here in Florida last Wednesday afternoon and we will be heading home this Thursday. Joey and Alec will stay behind to spend another week with Grandma and Grandpa. It has been almost four years since we've gotten down here to visit Shaun's mom and stepdad and it's been a lovely stay so far. The weather has been perfect for swimming in their awesome pool and even Kyle and Lauren are loving it. I remember coming down when Joey was about Lauren's age and we had to bribe him with bowls of M&M's just to get him to sit on the steps! Lauren is already jumping off the side while holding my hands. Kyle is swimming all over the pool with the aid of water wings and loves to go down the slide. It's about 9:30 a.m. here and Kyle just asked when we are going in the pool ;)

We celebrated Lauren's 3rd birthday here on Friday the 17th. We started the day by hitting a garage sale where Lauren got a Barbie princess book and a tricycle to ride here at Grandma's, then spent the day swimming and went to an area festival that evening. We didn't get a cake, but we did treat Lauren and the boys to some yummy ice cream. I'd still like to do a party for her after we get home, but I think she had a really fun day. We spent Saturday at the beach and the kids had a blast. Kyle and Alec absolutely loved playing in the sand.

I'm not sure what we will do the last couple of days here, but for us, playing in the pool and relaxing are as much of a vacation as anything else. I rather like not having to run here and there with 4 children everyday, but we may work something else in before we leave. It's crazy how fast vacations go. I'll have some great pictures to share when I get home!

From Bedroom Closets to Kitchen Floors

10:14 AM Posted by Natalie

You may recall my post a little while ago about finding Kyle in the bottom of their closet asleep. Lately we've been having some issues with Lauren sleeping. Actually, it's been off and on since we moved. Since she roomed with Kyle until then, I think maybe she just wants someone in there with her. When we had Rex, sometimes we had to make him go in her room and "babysit". I'd put Lauren in bed, she'd say,"I want Rex!" and I'd send him in. (He was very good about this at first but eventually got tired of it and started breaking himself out of her room, LOL!) There have been a few times when I couldn't get her to go to sleep and she would just cry and scream. If I laid down with her, she'd be out in 5 minutes.

More recently I have to admit some of it has gotten comical. Well, except for the night she got up at 12:48 a.m. and I couldn't get her to stay in her bed and go back to sleep for almost 2 hours. It was ridiculous. But other times, I have to admit it's been kind of funny. I have woken up several mornings to snoring. When I was coherent enough, I realized it was Lauren's snoring. But why had it woken me up? Why was it so close? I looked over the side of the bed to find her laying on our hardwood floor, half on one of our giant throw pillows, sound asleep. That is, until I scoop her up and put her back in her bed. Every time has been around 5:00 a.m. Then I have to send Shaun in to get her to be quiet and stay in her bed. He has no memory of these episodes, LOL!

But last night took the cake. She had gone to bed easily and stayed asleep (YAY!). Shaun is on the afternoon shift, so he gets home around 10:30. He got home last night, went back to our room to change, came back to the kitchen and made himself a drink. Then he sat down with me to watch some tube. It was a typical night. Then we heard this noise. I thought it sounded like one of the kids was up. He thought it was the noise his cell phone makes when he gets a message or something. So he went and checked his phone (which was right by the kitchen) and sat back down. We heard it a few more times, but I dismissed it because, after all, he'd gotten up and didn't see anyone out of bed. A little bit later, Shaun started to walk through the kitchen to go to the bathroom when he said to me, "Uh, your daughter is asleep on the kitchen floor." Huh? I thought he was putting me on. So I went to look for myself and sure enough, curled up on the kitchen floor sound asleep was Lauren! Why didn't I grab my camera this time?

Lauren's New Bike & The 4th of July

12:32 AM Posted by Natalie

Time for a picture share! Lauren's birthday isn't until the 17th, but she has been BEGGING for a bike and helmet. Every day she wants to ride a bike, but we didn't have one for her. So on a recent trip to Wal-Mart, I decided to just get her present early. Here she is with her new bike and helmet:

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(Yes, we need a new driveway!)


On the 4th, several families right around us get together for a party every year. We've made friends quickly and were invited this year. The day started out rainy and we were only supposed to get a break for a few hours. Thank goodness meteorologists are wrong more often than they're right! We were able to get in all of our festivities and fireworks. The kids had a BLAST! We had fun, too ;) We really do have some great neighbors.

Here is the Princess Peanut all decked-out for the 4th. All the neighbors call her Cindy Lou Who:


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Lauren and Addison:

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Isn't Addison adorable? Her daddy is a little worried about all these boys living right down the street from his two beautiful girls, LOL!

Lauren:

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The whole gang:

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Kyle absolutely LOVED the sparklers:

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This one cracks me up! That's my Kyle:

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Lauren watching while Daddy lights her sparkler:

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She is in awe:

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They were all exhausted by the end of the night. Kyle was just totally wasted. He doesn't handle being tired very well and had a complete meltdown. But they all had a marvelous time and it is just SO wonderful to have this kind of atmosphere for them to grow up in...FINALLY. I want them to have great memories of their childhood. Shaun and I are already looking forward to the next party! LOL!

Goodbye, Rex

1:53 PM Posted by Natalie

As you may recall, we sent Rex to live with another cop Shaun knows. Because of a biting incident with one of the neighbor girls, we felt it was best for him to go live in a place that would be safer for a dog like him. Although he had never done anything to one of us, nor do we think he would, we were very concerned about the children in the neighborhood, because you just can't control what they do. This friend of Shaun's has a farm with a lot of acres, horses, cats, and other dogs. We hoped it would be a place where Rex would be happy. By all accounts, he was doing well there. He had been "put in his place" by a feisty horse and was beat up by the cats. We were very amused by the stories. We hoped to eventually get out to visit him in his new digs.

Sadly, that day will not come. Last night, Shaun received the awful news that Rex has died. One of the hardest things for me is that we do not know why. They just went out and found him lying peacefully, apparently with his paws crossed, as he often did when he was laying down. I used to say he was being proper ;) There are a number of possibilities as to why this happened. Shaun thinks it's possible he was stung by something. He liked to try to catch bugs in the air. His real age was unknown and larger dogs do not live as long. I guess it's possible he had cancer and we just didn't know it. That happened to my brother's golden retriever. I don't recall how old he was, but not old, and they had gone on vacation, leaving him with my sister. All of a sudden, he became sick, and though she rushed him to the vet, there was nothing they could do. He had cancer, and they had no idea. Even though Rex went to the vet right before he went to his new home, it's not something they would have looked for if it wasn't suspected. Maybe it explains why he was constantly marking all over the house and why he snapped at the neighbor girl. Maybe not, we will never know.

I know Shaun is deeply saddened by the loss of his dog. Even though we sent him to a new home, he was still considered Shaun's dog. Our dog, too. I hope he knows I loved Rex, too. I know I got mad at him for peeing and marking in the house, but I still loved him. And he hasn't seen my tears, but I've cried them in private because I didn't think it would help him to see it. I feel bad because if this was something that was going to happen anyway and we had known, we could have just kept him so that Shaun could say goodbye. That has to be one of the hardest things for him, that he didn't get to tell his partner goodbye. To that extent, I feel guilty about letting him go, even though there is no way I could have known, and even though I know that we probably wouldn't have been able to be there when it inevitably happened down the road. At the same time, I guess it is a bit of relief that the kids didn't have to see it.

I hope Rex was happy in his last weeks on the farm, and I hope he went peacefully and wasn't in pain. I hope he knew his master loved him, that we all did. I want to share my very favorite picture of Rex:


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Rest in peace, Rex. Thank you for protecting my husband and being part of our family.

Blogging Vacation

1:17 PM Posted by Natalie

Perhaps a few have noticed that I haven't been blogging nearly as much lately. It is a different summer for us this year here in our new home. There are projects to be done, a beautiful atmosphere outside, and wow, even neighbors to visit with! Of course, we had neighbors at the old house, but in 8 years of living there, we didn't really know that many of them, and most kept to themselves. The closest friends we had there moved away a few years back. The kids couldn't play out front because our street was much too busy, and after our friends moved, they didn't really have anyone to play with. On a nice afternoon here, you will see the street abuzz with a bunch of kids riding their bikes and playing in the yards. The boys have lots of new friends. We are very blessed to have been able to make this move.

The past couple of weeks have been particularly busy. The week before last, Joey and Alec spent most of the week out at my dad's. My nieces are in town and he was keeping them that week and wanted to have the boys, too. Meanwhile, we spent a lot of time outside with Lauren and Kyle and our neighbors. Last week, all 3 boys went to Branson with my mom, stepdad, and the girls. It was oppressively hot here, so the street was much quieter between the boys being gone and the heat. I decided it was a good week to do the painting in the hallway and living room that I had been wanting to do for awhile. When we moved in, everything was white, and I need COLOR! It was quiet, and with only Lauren, it was much easier to do than with the house full. I was nearly finished by the time the boys came back on Thursday.

The heat and humidity has let up here a bit and is supposed to last throughout the week, so I'm hoping it will be more comfortable to be outside again. Shaun is (amazingly) off on the 4th of July and there is supposed to be a party with some of the neighbors. We are really looking forward to that! (We should be able to see a fireworks display from our very own deck, too.) I can't really remember the last time we really celebrated on the 4th. Shaun has often had to work, which left me with the kids, and we may or may not have gone to see fireworks. And on times when he was off, there was nothing interesting going on in our neighborhood, so we'd go see fireworks and that was pretty much it.

When I was growing up, we lived on a street where everyone knew everyone. I can even still remember the names of almost every family. We had block parties, progressive dinners, went to baseball games together, did float trips...I have tons of great memories from my childhood there. It is so wonderful to have found a little of that here for my own kids. I've been wanting that for a long time. And, we've only been here for 6 months, so hopefully that will continue to grow over time.

We'll be leaving for Florida on July 15th. We're going to stay with Shaun's mom for the first time in almost 4 years. It's been too long and I look forward to relaxing in the pool and watching Lauren and Kyle at the beach for the first time. We'll all be flying down together, but Joey and Alec will be staying behind for an extra week after Shaun and I leave with Lauren and Kyle. I'm tellin' ya, those boys are having quite a summer for themselves this year!

And so my posts here will be fewer, though I will still try to post the occasional update and some pictures. Not that big of a deal, really, since I'm not all that popular anyway ;) But I guess there may be a few lingering friends and family out there who check in from time to time. I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!

The Case of the Missing Kyle

11:29 AM Posted by Natalie

This has got to be one of the funniest things I've witnessed as a mom...

Last night, I stayed up late watching a movie. Before we go to bed, one of us always checks on the kids and tucks them in. Since Shaun was working last night, it was me. Earlier in the evening, Kyle had woken up crying. He got a sunburn on his back the other day (I know, bad mommy) and he said it was hurting. Poor kid. So I put some aloe vera gel on him and put him back to bed. Well, when I went to check on him and Alec, I saw that their door was slightly open. I knew I had closed it. Oh well, maybe someone had gotten up to go potty.

But when I went in their room, Kyle was not in his bed. Uh...where did he go?!?! I looked around the room. No Kyle. I looked up in Alec's bunk. No Kyle. Huh? I looked in the bathroom and our bedroom. No Kyle. Where could this kid be??? I hadn't heard anything, I had no idea he had even gotten out of bed. My heart rate started to go up. Crazy as it seemed, I looked under his bed. Not there. Then, for whatever reason, I turned around and glanced in the closet (there are no closet doors on it yet). There, curled up in a ball with his arms and legs tucked under him and his head on a mattress pad, was Kyle! He was sound asleep in the bottom of the closet. I just laughed and then carefully scooped him up and put him back in his bed.

Too bad the camera battery is dead right now or I probably would've grabbed it and taken a picture. Now that would have been a great Wordless Wednesday!

I spoke too soon...

3:25 PM Posted by Natalie

Lauren woke up from her nap with a fever. Great. Maybe she was coming down with it yesterday after all. Who knows. So I guess we'll be dealing with this awhile longer.

*SIGH*

Blogging Slump

11:00 AM Posted by Natalie

So I guess it's been a little while since I've posted here. It's kind of funny...I haven't felt like I've had much to blog about, but now I realize I have more to say than I thought.

The sickies finally left. I think it was the day after my last post that the fever finally broke for both boys. I mean, as sicknesses go, it wasn't too bad (at least there was no puke, which I HATE). It was the being stuck in the house that was the hardest.

Tuesday I FINALLY finished painting the boys' room. I had done the bottom part under the chair rail it seems like forever ago and finally got the inspiration to just get it done on Shaun's last days off. It looks REALLY nice. Now I just need to find some wall hangings to go in there. All I have right now is the crucifix they got for Easter, which is going to look BEAUTIFUL with the walls. Under the chair rail is a very dark blue that we had mixed to match the dark blue in their quilts and above it is a lighter blue. It looks great with the mouldings in the room and really shows them off, which was my goal. Maybe I'll snap some pictures and put them up.

I think I have also picked out the colors for the hallway and front living room, but it will probably have to wait until next payday. But I am really motivated (at least right now) to get that done, too. It's been 6 months and I don't have a single picture on the walls here because I was waiting to paint. It's time! It's time to make this place feel like home. The family room will probably take the longest, though, because it has that paneling on the walls that we plan to drywall over. Unfortunately, that's also the room we spend the most time in. Oh well.

Hunger strikes again. Yesterday, I thought Lauren was getting sick. She woke up at like 4:45 a.m. screaming. I trudged out of bed half asleep and I could tell it wasn't going to be an easy fix, so I got Shaun since he was up anyway because he was going back on the midnight shift that night. She was quiet for a little while then started screaming again. He eventually brought her into our bed, then took her out to the living room, then ultimately ended up laying down with her in her bed. I don't remember what time it was when I got up with her, but she was laying on the rug in the hallway, saying she was cold. I thought surely she was getting the virus the boys had, although I couldn't figure out why she would have it so long after they did. But she did not have a fever. I put her in her bed and she asked for something to eat. So I got her a bowl of dry cereal. Then she asked for milk. So I made her go into the kitchen and she proceeded to eat 2 1/2 bowls of cereal!

She was still acting sick, but still no fever. I thought maybe it was exhaustion. She fell asleep for a little while until her loud brothers woke her up. She was then asking for lunch. Then I realized that the night before I heard Shaun tell her that she couldn't have a snack since she didn't eat her dinner. Aha! I had been painting and only came out to eat, so I didn't see how much she had. For those that don't know, 3 of my kids can't seem to handle getting too hungry. A good dinner is a MUST. Alec will physically get sick and throw up the next morning, I suspect at least one occasion where Kyle and Lauren have, too, and they both have now woken us up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning because of hunger. Shaun confirmed that she didn't eat very much, so that is the only thing I can think of that caused what happened with her. After lunch, she was fine. He doesn't take it as seriously as I do, but sorry, I don't want to deal with a puking child or getting woken up in the middle of the night or at the crack of dawn. And I don't want them to be miserable, either. Eat what we make or go hungry isn't really a viable tactic for us. We just gotta do what we gotta do.

So, it's not that anything too exciting has been going on here, but there you have it. I may never have the cool, exciting blog that everyone wants to read. I realize more and more all the time that there just aren't enough hours in the day for everything I want to do. I'm managing my time poorly lately, I'm behind on laundry, and there are appointments that need to be made. Sometimes I wonder if I'm really qualified for this job!

GO AWAY, SICKIES!!!!

5:51 PM Posted by Natalie

How long is this fever going to last? Both boys were running temps over 102 again this afternoon. This SUCKS! We've been in this house all week. And I just know if I take them to Urgent Care or something (which would be our 4th visit in 6 months!), the next day it will break. Been there done that before. So I guess we just wait...some more. *SIGH*

Spring Fevers

11:14 PM Posted by Natalie

Geez, you think this time of year there is supposed to be LESS sickness! Alec and Kyle have both come down with a fever. It was just at the end of April that Lauren and Kyle had some miscellaneous virus like that. I kinda thought something might be up with the two of them today, but I kept dismissing it as something else. I really should know better than to do that by now! Alec was even outside playing all afternoon and didn't really complain of anything except something about his ear hurting. (I do not believe he has an ear infection.) It wasn't until after Kyle started acting funny (not his usual wildman self) and I found that he was warm and he went to bed early that I gave it a second thought. After Alec had his shower, he was just in his undies. When he was done with his snack, he complained of being "freezing". That's when I checked him and noticed he was really hot. Sure enough, his temp was over 102.

I think we've had more sickness than usual these past 6 months. It started with the heinous stomach flu that blew through the house right after we moved in, then we got awful colds which led to me having a fever and developing a sinus infection, then Kyle and Lauren, and now Alec and Kyle (again). Poor guys, I hope they get over it soon! And it's a bummer because my sister and I were planning to take them all out to do something on Friday. Now we may not be able to. Poo!

The Show Must Go On

10:09 PM Posted by Natalie

I'm pretty sure that many of the moms out here in the blogosphere have at least heard of, if not seen, the reality TV show "Jon and Kate Plus 8" which airs on TLC. The show chronicles the lives of Jon and Kate Gosselin and their 8 children, one set of twins and a set of sextuplets. I haven't watched regularly by any stretch, but I've caught more than a few episodes in the past. Although I didn't find Kate particularly endearing, I did like the fact that, as a parent, I could identify with much of what they were going through, even though I don't have multiples myself. The show seemed to be a hit.

I'm also pretty sure that, if you've watched or heard of the show, you've probably also heard the stories coming out recently about Jon's alleged infidelities and rumors of Kate having some kind of relationship with her bodyguard. Not only has Jon supposedly been having an affair with a younger woman, it has also been alleged that he's been inappropriate with some college girls. And in the middle of all this controversy are 8 small children.

When I did watch the show, I always marveled at all of the things this large family was able to do...going to an organic farm and buying their own side of beef, a ski vacation, and although I didn't actually see the episode, I saw the previews for a vow renewal in Hawaii. They apparently have a million-dollar home. Even in the episode where they got new carpet, it seems the carpet was also a perk. Wow, this reality show stuff pays really well, I guess. We haven't been able to afford to take our 4 children on a vacation, much less 8 of them. But how valuable are those perks when the cost is destroying your family? How much are those 8 little lives worth?

Apparently, it's all worth it in the end to Kate. I watched a video story online today about the most recent developments since their new season just premiered, featuring the couple discussing these troubling new issues. According to the reporter, whatever happens, Kate says the show must go on, even if it's just "Kate Plus 8".

8 little miracles that beat the odds can be yours for just the price of a few vacations, a nice house, some new carpet, and a side of beef. What a tragedy.

Wordless Wednesday: Grandpa's Girl & Mommy's Little Soldiers

9:00 AM Posted by Natalie

Decked out for Memorial Day:

Grandpa's Girl

Little Soldiers

Maybe it was nothing?

11:23 PM Posted by Natalie

It no longer hurts when I floss. Hmmm. I know that gums can get irritated from various things, but it sure reminded me of the same kind of pain I had where I had that root canal. I had had an infection in the tooth causing the pain. I imagine if I had an infection now, it wouldn't just go away. Either way, I've been meaning to get in and I know I'm overdue, so I'm certainly going to call anyway. (Yeah, it should've been today, but I was busy picking and booking the hotel for our anniversary this weekend! WAHOO!!! Lots more fun than booking the dentist, I gotta say. Ha!)

I sure hope it's nothing. One of the reasons I tend to put off going to the dentist is because I always have problems, and then I have problems because I put off going to the dentist...Ahhh! I just really don't want to hear anymore bad news, not even a cavity. The dentist we had before our last one had told me I had all these cavities. Okay, 10 to be exact. Yes, TEN. No, wait, ELEVEN! He filled 3, which became 4 while he was in there drilling. "Ooh, there's another one! Must've missed it." Swell. So that meant I had what, 6 or 7 left? The account lady was doing acrobats to try to work the schedule so we could split them all up and get as much insurance coverage as possible. Lucky it was almost the end of the year! Well right after I had gotten started with the fillings, Shaun's insurance switched again and we could no longer go to that dentist. At first I was perturbed because we did like that dentist and I would have to start all over again in the middle of my dental work. That actually turned out to be a GOOD thing.

First the news with Joey. According to the old dentist, Joey had 2 small cavities (his first). But the new dentist checked twice and said NO cavities. Interesting. Then came me. No, there were not 6 or 7 that still needed to be filled, there were 3. Wow, that's quite a difference! So I told Shaun, "Well, either that other dentist was a quack that was giving us treatment we didn't need or this one's a quack and our teeth are going to start falling out." It's crazy I tell ya! So, I just can't even imagine what my next check-up will bring with yet another dentist. I'm really afraid to find out!

Of course, Shaun doesn't even floss, doesn't go to the dentist regularly, and he NEVER has cavities. Now tell me how that's fair?

Great...

9:00 PM Posted by Natalie

I've had some really bad luck with my teeth over the years. It all started with being in braces for 3 years as a child and it's been pretty much downhill from there. Don't get me wrong, my teeth are nice and straight, but I'm not sure how much that's gonna count if I end up with false ones some day. Oy. I've got fillings everywhere, and when I was pregnant with Kyle, I had to have a root canal. Those are fun, let me tell ya. I'll admit that some of it has been my fault, but I think some of it is also some unfortunate genetics. And I've heard that having babies and nursing is hard on your teeth, too. So I got that little dental bonus, too. Times four.

So I'm really only a couple of months overdue for a check-up. I've been meaning to call the new dentist for weeks and today was going to be the day because, well, I have a problem. Great. No teeth have been bothering me, everything has seemed fine. Then a few days ago I noticed that when I flossed between two of my teeth that it hurt. Really hurt. It doesn't hurt otherwise, not even when I chew, but when I floss there, OUCH! And guess what? It's in the same spot as the other side of my mouth where I had to have the root canal done.

Of course, I got busy doing things today and totally forgot to make the call. Now I have to wait until Tuesday and stew over what lovely procedure may be awaiting me. If, heaven forbid, it would mean another root canal (which they'll have to tie me up and gag me for), Shaun will probably have me out on the street with a tin can. Please, PLEASE, don't let it be anything major. Stupid teeth.

I'm so happy!

11:52 PM Posted by Natalie

My FAVORITE reality show is back! I LOVE "So You Think You Can Dance" and have been waiting and waiting for the season to start. I've always loved dance. I took a little growing up, and I don't know if I had stuck with it if I would have been any good, but I love to watch it. So be prepared, I may have to do a weekly dish ;)

I could really use some advice....

8:40 AM Posted by Natalie

I know I don't have a lot of readers and even less followers, but if you're stopping by, I'd sure like to know what you think. You may have seen this post a few weeks ago about the bows I made for the silent auction at church. I started making bows a little over 2 years ago. I loved it pretty much immediately and started buying up ribbon and supplies. I sold a few on Ebay, but mostly I've made them for Lauren, sold them to family or friends, or given them as gifts. I had been on hiatus for awhile after we put our old house on the market, through the holidays, and with the move and everything. Making all those bows for the auction has sort of lit a spark again.

So I've been thinking about opening an Etsy shop. Back when I first slowed down with my bow making, other ladies were saying Ebay was slow. Then Ebay made a bunch of changes and raised fees which made even long-time sellers there consider leaving Ebay all together. Etsy has much lower fees and the listing lasts for up to 4 months, so it would give me time to build up an inventory rather than have a bunch of items to list at one time. The layout is simpler, which would probably take less time, and it's not an auction-style site, so I can hopefully avoid selling my items for much less than they're worth.

My dilemma is that I am wondering if it will be worth it. There are MANY sellers of handmade hair accessories out there, some who offer things that are even better than mine. I don't have any patented designs or unique hair accessory inventions. I am wondering how I would fit into that big market and set myself apart from anyone else so that my items would sell. And listing on a site like Etsy takes more than just making the items. You also have to take good pictures of the items, edit them, and post the listings. You also want to make sure you have nice packaging materials to send them in. At the same time, it still feels like something I would really like to do. Whenever I'm in Michael's or Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart or something, I cannot seem to keep myself from buying ribbon. It's like an addiction. Seriously. But would it be worth my time?

What the....is there a full moon or something???

1:06 AM Posted by Natalie

Geez Louise. I'd really like to go to bed sometime tonight....

Earlier this evening, Kyle fell out of his bed. Then, sometime around midnight, I heard Lauren crying. I went in and she was all sweaty. So I got her a drink, took her pajama pants off, and laid down with her. Then I smelled something. "Do you have a poop?" I asked. (No, she is STILL not doing it on the potty.) I checked and saw a little bit. She hadn't gone today and I think she's constipated. So, I had to have her sit on the pot. At midnight.

While I had her in the bathroom, I heard crashing and banging coming from the boys' room. Went in to find Alec awake and asking for a drink of water. AHHH! So I got him his drink and told him to go back to sleep. Got Lauren all squared away and laid down with her hoping she'd fall asleep quickly and I'd sneak out. I only do this occasionally if she wakes up in the night like that. So I laid there and laid there, she'd fall asleep, and the slightest move would wake her up. She tossed and thrashed and I finally couldn't take it anymore. It was almost 1:00 a.m. when I left her room. She cried, I threatened, all's quiet.

THEN, I hear somebody's door opening. By now I'm like a madwoman. This time it's Kyle up for a drink of water. GO TO BED!!! I want to go to bed! So, I'm sitting here waiting to make sure everyone is down and out, because if they get me out of bed....

What Do You Think?

8:36 AM Posted by Natalie

I'm just curious what other people may think about something that has bothered me about the dress code at my boys' school. Of course, no matter how many of my cyber friends may agree with me, it's not going to change anything, but I sometimes like to know if my feelings are reasonable or not. My boys attend a VERY small, traditional Catholic school. So, of course there is a uniform, which is perfectly fine. But there are some things about their particular dress code that bother me.

The boys uniform consists of navy pants, white oxford shirt, black belt, navy or black socks, a tie (yes, a tie!), and black dress shoes. Now, I actually have two issues with this particular uniform. One is the tie. I HATE the tie. I mean, I don't really think it's necessary, but the real issue I have with it is that it's more work for the parents. We've had lost ties, broken ties, untied ties (they're the kind that come already tied), and it never fails that I will do laundry just to wash ties and then they will come home covered in who-knows-what the very next day. Yes, I just love to run an entire load of laundry just for a tie.

My other issue is the shoes. They have to wear black dress shoes to school, but they have to have tennis shoes for recess and PE. Now, that means we have to send a separate pair of shoes to school. So, both the boys end up having to have a number of pairs of shoes; their school shoes, their play shoes for school, nice shoes for home, and play shoes for home because their other play shoes are at school. And on days when they have PE, they also have to dress out, so they come home with those tennis shoes on. So then guess what happens? They sometimes forget to bring them back to school and they have to stand by the wall for recess if they don't have their tennis shoes. Today was one of those days, as Alec realized halfway to school that he had forgotten his tennis shoes. He's 6. Now the poor kid can't play at recess. (And somehow only one of Joey's dress shoes made it home yesterday. He better find the other one because I am NOT buying another pair!) Yes, I realize I am the mom and am supposed to help remember this stuff. But, you know, I have quite a lot going on, too. In my opinion, it would be just as acceptable for these kids to wear some nice black tennis shoes to school, eliminating the need for extra shoes, and the extra expense.

I brought the shoe issue up at the school meeting before the beginning of this year but was quickly shut down and put in my place about the shoes. Something about looking nice. Yes, I understand that, but who really looks at your feet? (Besides, you should see how these shoes end up looking after a little while.) I was actually a little surprised that I was the only one who said something as there are quite a few families with more children at the school than I have (including a few families with 10 children, so they might have 5 or 6 at school). I don't know how they keep track of all of those shoes! So, do I have a point here, or am I just a whiny mom that needs to get her act together?

Good Day, Bad Day

10:24 AM Posted by Natalie

You know what they say about the best laid plans....

(Who are "they" anyway?)

I'm gonna have to back up a bit here. My sister, my closest and dearest friend, has really been having a rough time of it lately. Well, more than just lately, more like for months now. Without going into too many details, she has lost a lot this past year, including her black lab, Lily. Lily did not pass away, but her soon-to-be-ex, who shall remain nameless and caused quite enough grief on his own, took her when he left. My sister is the one who took care of that dog, trained her, walked her, all the things that matter. Mr. Shall Remain Nameless only bothered when he wanted to show her off, and then he would act like he was the one that taught her how to do it all. Well, it was sham just like he was. But, he's got her and my sister hasn't seen her in at least 6 months. It has broken her heart. He doesn't deserve her. (Of course, I don't happen to think he deserves much beyond air and the occasional meal, but I suppose that's not a very Christian thing to say.)

And so, it went back to being my sister and Marge, her kitty. My sister got Marge when she was just a kitten back when she was stationed in Alaska in the Air Force. Marge is 16, and been through thick and thin with my sister. She has been a beloved furry friend, the one constant in her life no matter what else happened. She's the Alaskan Kitty, A.K.A. Dude. I don't think my sister can even remember when she wasn't around. But her heart has continued to ache for Lily, too, because when my sister gets an animal, it's a long-term commitment. She loves them as much as she can love them.

So, around last Thursday, a stray yellow lab turned up in our neighborhood. One of our neighbors held onto her while he posted signs and tried to find her home. She had a collar, but no tags. Days went by and no one came forward to claim her. So a lightbulb went off in my head and I pointed her out to my sister when she was here on Saturday for Alec's birthday party. We talked to the neighbor and he was more than happy to hand her over to my sister if no one claimed her by Monday, as he was planning to take her to the pound anyway. I thought maybe it was something that was meant to be, a new friend for my sister to love to ease her heartache a little. She wouldn't be a replacement for Lily, of course, but perhaps a dog that needed my sister as much as my sister needed her....a good match. I prayed and prayed no one would come along to claim her, I wanted my sister to have her. And no one did. Monday evening my sister took her home and named her Daisy.

She had gotten a vet appointment for both animals on Tuesday and we made a plan for me to go along with her to help with Marge and Daisy. Then we were going to go out to dad's house to have dinner and watch The Biggest Loser finale (while eating fattening dessert, LOL). It was a good plan and we were excited. Things kinda went downhill from there....

Marge was checked first and she had lost more weight for the third visit in a row. Not a good sign. She had had a bunch of tests done some months ago to see if they could figure out what was going on, but they had been unable to pinpoint the cause. She had not been showing any significant signs of sickness....no vomiting, diahrrea, or anything like that. Keri has been giving her ice cream every morning, as well as cheese, chicken, and even tater tots to try to fatten her back up. Then the doctor spent a long time checking her little belly and I knew something was up. He wanted to X-ray her because he felt a tumor.

Then came Daisy. She looked good, no fleas or ticks, good teeth, etc. She's young, probably a year or maybe even a little less. She's not spayed, but my sister anticipated that. But then came the test results. Not good. Daisy not only had roundworms and whipworms, but heartworms. The intestinal worms aren't that big of a deal, but the heartworms take serious treament that cost a LOT of money (like over $800). We had anticipated the possibility of intestinal worms, but we hadn't even thought about heartworms. My sister was devastated. And then the news on Marge. It was a tumor, it was bad, and it's time for my sister to let her go. Seriously? If it wasn't all so awful, I would've thought we were being Punk'd.

So, to sum up, my poor sister lost her Lily, has been out of work for 6 months, her truck tires are shot, her air conditioner shot craps, the dog she wanted to take in and give a good home is riddled with worms that cost a small fortune to get rid of, and her cat has to be put to sleep. How much is one person supposed to take? I felt awful, just awful. After all, I was the one that steered her towards the dog in the first place. My sister sobbed. I cried. After we got the animals home, we decided to go to dad's anyway and try to relax a little. My sister decided she would not be able to keep Daisy, the cost just couldn't be justified. I told Shaun to contact our neighbor who had the name of another guy who had been interested in her. We weren't going to turn her over unless he was someone we knew would take care of her and get her healthy. Now for the good news....

Apparently, this guy rescues dogs all the time. Shaun called him and he offered that, if my sister would agree to keep Daisy and take care of her, he would pay to get her treated for the heartworms. He works with several vet clinics that give discounted services to people who bring in rescue dogs. Isn't that amazing? You see, there are still good people in this world. It will still be a lot for my sister to handle with the treatment, but with the cost part of it taken care of, I think it will probably be good for her to have Daisy to focus on. On the way home from dad's we both sobbed together. I just feel so bad that things keep happening to her that I cannot make better.

My sister brought Marge home yesterday so she could have just a little more time with her. She will be taking her in today to have her put to sleep. Dad is going with her, so that's good. Poor thing, she's so heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for her. And it's going to make today a little more difficult for me, too. Shaun is taking Rex to the vet and he won't be coming back. He's going to live with a guy Shaun works with. He has a bunch of land with a couple fenced acres where Rex can run. After the incident we had with a neighbor girl, we are concerned about the risk of him biting a child seriously, or even one of our own, and quite honestly, as a busy family I don't know if we are giving him what he needs. I know I've complained about him, but he's a good dog and I'm still sad. I think I've had enough sadness with the animals for awhile.

This is one of Keri's favorite pictures of Dude. She had just woken her up.


R.I.P. Marge, you were very loved.

HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY, ALEC!!!

10:01 AM Posted by Natalie

Today my little Alec turns SIX! It's so hard to believe. Well, it always is. He was such a little peanut when he was born and I used to call him "Little Face" because he looked so small. Now he's my bright-eyed, smart 6-year-old who ranks in the 98th percentile among kindergarteners nationally, and I couldn't be more proud.



He definitely has his own distinct personality that ranges from frustrating to absolutely endearing all at the same time. When Shaun's mom was in town and asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he told her he wanted a goldfish. With our approval, she decided to get it for him. So after school last Friday, Mom and Jim took him to the pet store to pick out a fish. They directed him towards the Bettas, though, because they are easy to care for and don't require a pump. I had a couple of those growing up and they are very pretty fish. But Alec had it in his head that he wanted a GOLD fish. And so it was. Despite efforts to get him to pick one of the more colorful and pretty Bettas, Alec came home with a rather plain, gold one. But he knew what he wanted and by golly, that's what he got ;) It doesn't surprise me in the least and Dave (that's his name) is the perfect fish for our Alec.

Unfortunately, this morning Alec got a most UN-happy birthday present. My skin is still crawling at the thought of it. After breakfast, he went to the bathroom to potty and brush just like every morning before school. A minute or two later, I heard him in there crying. I had NO idea what could be wrong, he had seemed fine. So I went into the bathroom to find out what the trouble was and he said, "There's a spider crawling on me and it won't come off!" I had a feeling what it was. Ewww. You see, now we're living in an area that's a little bit country in the city. We have wooded areas, you can hear tree frogs chirp and turkeys gobble, and you might see the occasional deer. Oh, and a dead baby copperhead in the road. (Yikes!) The other night, I saw a mouse scurry through the garage. Our neighbor mentioned a little while back about doing tick checks. And so, as I looked at where Alec was pointing, I knew right then what it was....a TICK.

Oh, this is SO not my thing, but Shaun was at work. I like the country, but I'm just a city girl, which makes this area perfect for me. Well, except for things like ticks and snakes and mice. I had a tick once when I was growing up, after I had come home from a stay in the country at my aunt and uncle's house. I had no idea what it was and was trying to pull it off. When I got it off, I had set it on the sink to see what it was, thinking it was some kind of scab or something, and it started CRAWLING! NOT cool for an 11 or 12 year old girl, I gotta tell ya. FREAKED me out! And so, there I was thinking back to that little piece of horror as I tried to get the blood-sucking tick off of poor Alec's belly. I made the mistake of mentioning the blood-sucking part to Alec and he wailed and said, "Oh no, I'm gonna die!" Oops. I said, "No you're not, I'm going to get it off you." I had to call Shaun to ask him the best way to pry the disgusting thing off. So I prayed while I used a hot pin to get it to come out a little bit and pulled, and thankfully, I got it off. Yep, still giving me the heebie-jeebies to write about it. It's just not right. Apparently, Alec had gone into the woods without asking, and against Joey's advice. I'm thinking he might think twice about that next time!

So, happy birthday to my sweet Alec! Sorry about the tick ;)

My blog is getting a makeover!

9:03 PM Posted by Natalie

It seems like as soon as I get things the way I want them, I'm ready to change them again! My friend Angie over at 5 Vinez Monkeys inspired me with her new blog design and I've decided to change mine to a similar layout. It's set up like a Word Press blog and I love it! While I still liked the old layout, I think it was starting to feel a little clostrophobic in here and the new one seems more open. (Plus, it eliminated my frustration over not being able to get my sidebars to go all the way down the page, LOL!) If you'd like to check them out for yourself, you can find the layouts here. Thank you, Angie, for sharing!

And, if you'd like to change your own blog, start a new blog, or are wanting to set up a website but need some help, Angie is the BOMB! She is the one who created my template, which I LOVE, and is also the design for the new layout (with a few of my own added touches). Check out her design website and see everything she has to offer. She does fabulous work and always makes sure you get just what you want and are happy with the result. Plus, you can help support a stay-at-home mom!

So, let me know what you think of my new "pad", and please excuse any goofiness you may encounter as I get everything organized. This is the first time I've done this, so I may have some kinks to work out along the way!

Wordless Wednesday: Sleeping Like a Baby

10:08 PM Posted by Natalie

Both Kyle and Lauren came down with some kind of virus yesterday and have been running fevers. While I was doing something on the computer, I was unaware that Kyle had climbed into the recliner and fallen asleep. It so reminded me of when he was a baby that I just had to snap some pictures.




Disappointed

9:44 AM Posted by Natalie

Well, I did sell both the bow bouquet and bow basket I posted below at the auction on Sunday. That's the good news. The bad news is I didn't get nearly as much as I had hoped for them. The basket sold for the most at $25. The bow bouquet, however, only got one bid and sold at $10. Rats. It was worth so much more than that and I would have liked to earn more money for school. I had felt like our family had not done as much as we should have for the fundraiser this year and I wanted to do the auction as a last effort to do more. I'm thinking I may not do that again next year. I mean, shoot, it's a traditional Catholic parish...there are children everywhere! I put so many hours of work into it and I thought it would do better than that. Oh well. That's just the way it goes sometimes, I guess.

BOWS!

3:05 PM Posted by Natalie

Well, after some marathon bow making, I managed to finish both the bow bouquet and bow basket for the silent auction. (I really should learn not to procrastinate!) I took them up to church today and I am really hoping that they will get some good bids. Of course I want to be able to make some money for school, but I also worked really hard on everything and hope people are able to appreciate the time these actually take.

Here are some pictures of my creations. Both include 6 bows and 6 hair clips.


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Yep, that's why I hate change....

9:05 AM Posted by Natalie

I know I've been quiet lately (I'm sure there are throngs of people out there who care), but in all honesty, it's just been kinda quiet here. Well, as quiet as it can be with 4 young children around ;) I've been sitting here trying to figure out how to get the pictures off my camera that I've been wanting to share and so far haven't had any luck. I put the disk in and the computer supposedly installed the software, but I can't find it. Before my computer pooped out on me, all I had to do was plug in the camera and the camera wizard automatically came up for me to download my pictures. Not happening. Grrr. This is one of those times when I hate change.

Other than computer frustrations, not much else significant to report. Last week, I started painting the boys' room. There's some great chair rail and mouldings in there, so I chose a very dark blue that I had Lowe's custom match to their bedding for underneath the chair rail. It looks awesome! It sets off the white moulding in there so nicely and looks sharp against the light wood floors. I still have to paint the top, which I am planning to do in a light blue.

The kids are all doing well. I'm tired. I've been trying to work on a bow bouquet and basket to put up for the silent auction to benefit the school fundraiser. I've procrastinated too long for a change, so I have a lot to do before Sunday. I just hope I can get it done or I'll feel like a jerk. I don't know if anyone will even want them, but it was all I could think of to do. If I manage to complete them, and if I ever get this camera thing figured out, I will post some pictures.

Shaun's mom and stepdad are coming to town tonight and will be staying with us until May 2nd, I think. Martha, if you read this, I have plans for you ;) This weekend is supposed to be awesome, so I am planning to start my gardening. Last year when we put the house on the market, we decided to do some landscaping in the front because it looked so awful. I LOVED it! I have an almost blank canvas here, so I can't wait to get into the dirt and start planting some pretty flowers. I'm hoping my dear mother-in-law will help ;)

So that's about it from my neck of the woods. Besides, I wouldn't want to overdo it on the excitement and cause anyone heart palpatations or anything like that. I'll keep trying to get this picture thing figured out so I can share some!

I'M BACK!!!

11:05 PM Posted by Natalie

I see you didn't even get the chance to miss me ;) What can I say, my husband is awesome. If he reads this, he probably won't get back upstairs because his head won't fit through the door. But I gotta hand it to the man, he rebuilt my computer and fixed my sister's truck all in one day. I should rent him out for extra money.

And, although I usually hate change, I think my computer biting the dust was actually a good thing. This new set-up is really fast! So, I'm back. Try to control yourselves now ;)

R.I.P.

9:42 PM Posted by Natalie

My computer is dead. No warning, not even a cough, it just up and died on me this afternoon. *Sniff, Sniff* Shaun thought the power supply was just fried, so he went out and got a new one and replaced it. But, that was apparently not all. Luckily he has most of the parts he needs to build me a new one, but still has to buy me a new motherboard. If we just get one from the store, I can be up and running again sometime tomorrow, but it's 75 bucks. If he orders an open-box one from Newegg, we can get for more like $40, but then I'll probably be down for about 5 days. UGH! Not that I can't use Shaun's when I need to, but I'm so used to having my own.

So, if I'm scarce for a few days, that's why. Please don't forget about me! ;)

Potty Training S.O.S.

10:51 AM Posted by Natalie

Yeah, I posted about this not too long ago here. I'm still looking for anyone who might be able to help me out because I'm seriously frustrated. No, after 4 kids I do not have it all figured out. Bugs the crap out of me! LOL! So this morning we had another lovely poop incident with Lauren. Nothing catastrophically disgusting, but gross enough. I'd given her her undies to change into as I usually do. It wasn't until she'd pulled her diaper off saying, "Ewww!" that I realized she must have pooped in it and didn't tell me. Needless to say, I had to put her in the bathtub.

This girl is going to be 3 in about three months. She has been going pee on the potty since August or September of last year. What is the deal with the poop?!?! Joey was the SAME way. We had issues with Kyle, too, but I think he was still a little easier than both Joey and Lauren. Alec was the only one who did both at about the same time. Would putting her in underwear exclusively help? Because that is the only thing left I can think of to do. But if she is like her oldest brother, he couldn't have cared less. He pooped in his underwear and happily went about his business with it in his pants. So I don't know if that will do anything other than make it worse to clean up. Joey finally started pooping in the potty during a trip to Florida when he ran around naked most of the time. Our Florida visit is still 3 months away. Any other ideas?

Between the dog peeing all over everything (more incidents yesterday, including the discovery that he had peed in the infant carseat in the basement) and her pooping herself all the time, I'm about done! Kids and pets are gross.

Budget Hair Cuts

8:45 PM Posted by Natalie

So I posted the pictures of Lauren's new hair cut the other day. I had taken her to Fantastic Sams. I'm not totally sure why since the last couple of times I had her hair cut at one of their salons and I wasn't totally happy with what they did. But, figuring we'd moved and this would be a different one, maybe we'd get a better stylist. Cute as it is, I won't be taking her back there again.

I kinda thought there might be a problem while we were there because I noticed that the gal had the cape kind of bunched up behind her neck while she was cutting her hair. I had taken off Lauren's hooded sweater because I knew the hood would make it difficult for her hair to lay flat so she could cut it straight. Why she had the cape that way I do not know. When she was finishing up she asked how it looked and I checked the back and saw an area where it was uneven. She checked and checked and checked and then finally said, "Oh, it sure is." Shouldn't these people at least be able to see if the hair is straight? I mean, I'm no trained stylist and I could see that pretty easily.

So since the cut I've noticed two things. I told her I part it on the side to help fill in the side Lauren cut a few months ago. So she cut it that way, which is fine, but I guess she did that with the bangs, too, and now Lauren has pieces that hang down longer than the rest. I've always parted my hair on the side, but they always (when I had bangs) combed them all forward to cut them. Then after her bath tonight, I looked closely at the back as I combed it out. It's totally NOT even. I mean, it's not disastrous, but it ticks me off. $11.95 plus a tip for a simple cut and they can't even get it straight? I know it can be difficult to give little kids haircuts, but Lauren is REALLY good when she gets her hair cut. She gets completely serious and quiet. The other stylist in the salon even made a comment about her being like she was in a trance or something.

I may need to take her somewhere to try to get it even, but where? I just read a story on another gal's blog about a botched hair cut her son got from Great Clips. She had a picture, too, and it was pretty bad. I'd probably do just as well to have Shaun trim it. Seriously. He gives all the boys their hair cuts.

Abortion: Last Chance to Fight for Conscience Rights for Healthcare Workers

4:20 PM Posted by Natalie

I am posting this from a blog I follow called "And Sometimes Tea" with the author's permission:

If you haven't already done so, please go to this USCCB web page and follow the instructions to email HHS in regard to conscience protections for pro-life doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. President Obama plans to overturn the conscience protections put in by the Bush administration, which will have the effect of forcing all healthcare workers to participate in or refer for abortions if asked to do so.

The comment period ends today, April 9. If you're like me and it takes you a few reminders before you remember to go out and click links and compose an email, this reminder is for you!Please join us in helping Catholic and other pro-life healthcare workers retain the right to refuse to participate in the terrible moral evil of the murder of the unborn.

Anyone who wishes to copy this post in its entirety (so long as you include the above link) in order to post it yourself, email it, or otherwise distribute it before the end of the day tomorrow should feel free to do so.

Part II: Lauren's New Hair

10:22 PM Posted by Natalie

I finally took Lauren for a hair cut yesterday. She's been needing one for a little while now, I just wasn't sure what to do with it since she decided to give herself a half mullet back in December. It's growing out, but slowly. So I told the gal I wanted to give her a chin-length bob to try to even things up. When she started cutting the back, I was like, "Oooo, I didn't realize it was going to be that short." Eek! But, I really love the way it turned out. Finally having a little girl to play with, I was all about doing the long hair thing, but she has very fine, straight hair, just like her mommy, and hers was looking a little scraggly and unruly. The short cut makes it look a lot thicker. I ran my flat iron through her hair to turn it under and parted it to the side with a cute little clip, which helps cover for the part that's still short. (I think I'm going to be making a lot of those now!) Here she is:





Lauren's New Room

1:25 PM Posted by Natalie

Well, it's done! After the near catastrophes with the dog peeing on the new bedding and extensive searching for just the right accessories, Lauren's new room is finished. Well, except we still need to paint the headboard and put it on and a couple of other little things I may want to add. I'd also like to get her a new chest. Hers is just a $29 cheapy I kept in her closet at the old house since she was bunking with Kyle and their room was too small. We also plan to eventually replace her baseboards, closet doors and bedroom door. I LOVE it! It's now my favorite room in the house and I asked her if I can move in, LOL! She said yes ;)

Unfortunately, I didn't take any before pictures. It wasn't a horrible room, just very BLAH. There was dingy old beige carpet and dingy white walls and that was pretty much it. We removed the carpet to expose the beautiful wood floors underneath, just like the rest of the house. The rest was just paint and accessorizing. So without further ado, here is her new and improved shabby chic bedroom:














(You can click on the pictures to see them larger if you want.)

My tips from this decorating project:

* I got Lauren's ADORABLE shabby chic quilt at Homegoods for $40. Even if I had gone with something from Target's shabby chic collection, the twin quilt alone would have been about $80 or $90. A seller on Ebay was selling this EXACT quilt with a sham for $114.95. Homegoods, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Burlington Coat Factory are all good places to shop for discounted bedding and accessories. You just may have to go back frequently as they sell and get new items all the time.

* I got the bedskirt on Ebay. I couldn't find the white eyelet I wanted in the stores I'd been to and was tired of looking. This one is the kind that has the elastic instead of going underneath the mattress and it's SO much easier. It was about $20 with shipping. Plus, I went through Ebates and got a little cash back ;)

* Home Goods did not have the matching sham and the Ebay seller wanted as much for just the sham as I paid for the whole quilt! I figured I'd make do without it. I got a darling pink chenille sham from Amazon.com for $19.99 with free shipping. A similar chenille sham on Ebay was about $45. The gingham pillow I got at Home Goods, too, and is a good match to the gingham in the quilt. It was on sale for $7.00. The white pillow with roses is actually a chair cushion! Matches the rose pattern in the quilt almost perfectly. Got that at Marshalls. I asked them to discount it because it was missing a couple of buttons and one of the ties (which I didn't need anyway).

* Save things! I mean, don't be a pack rat, but save the good stuff. I saved the headboard from my twin bed when I lived at home. It's a beautiful, good quality headboard and all I have to do is paint it to match Lauren's room. I was thinking that I needed to find more wall hangings when my sister reminded me of the ballerina painting I'd saved from when I was at home, too. I LOVED that painting and never thought I'd have a place to hang it again, but I saved it all this time, and I hadn't even thought of it! I think it looks awesome in there. I also saved the things from Lauren's old room and reused a few of them.

* Some curtain panels don't come with tie backs. The ones I got for Lauren's room didn't and I wanted to tie them back. I just took some ribbon (which I have plenty of from my bow making) and a thumb tack. I tacked the ribbon to the window frame, tied it, and voila! Tie backs.

* If you can't buy it, make it! I wanted a shabby chic lamp shade, but even on Ebay I was looking at $15 - $25 (or more) plus shipping. For a LAMP SHADE. So my wheels started turning and I took a plain white lamp shade we already had from Lauren's old room and embellished it. I got some pink satin ruffle trim at Hobby Lobby for about $2 and some pink satin roses from Michaels. I hot glued them on and voila! A cute shabby chic lamp shade. And if you have something you like, but it's the wrong color, paint it (if you can). I have an old wall shelf that's yellow, but if I wanted to use it in her room, I could just paint it white.

So....what do you think?

Giveaway at Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls: Amievoltaire

10:17 AM Posted by Natalie

I cannot tell a lie....I love shopping for my little girl. I'll wait while you pick yourselves up off the floor after fainting from the shock ;) Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is having a great giveaway for YOUR CHOICE of an adorable custom outfit from Amievoltaire, so of course I had to enter! I'd love this birthday one:




But trust me when I say that there are a LOT more adorable choices, like this one, this one, and this one. And even if I don't win, check out her prices! They are very reasonable for adorable custom-made clothing. So head on over to this great giveaway at Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls and enter for your own chance to win! Check out her other giveaways, too. She has TONS of them!

Kid Funnies

11:52 PM Posted by Natalie

You know, kids really do say the darndest things. With 4 of them, I've heard quite a lot of kid funnies, and I always think, "I really should write these things down." And then I don't. My friend Angie has a blog devoted just to the funny things her kids say. So, I'm going to start posting some of them here for posterity, and hopefully a giggle or two ;) One of today's funnies:

Last Wednesday, my mom took Kyle with her on a short trip to Colorado to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and their girls (all FOUR of them!). I'm guessing my brother got a much-needed little testosterone boost, especially since Kyle is definitely our most rough-and-tumble boy of the three. (After all, his first word was, "Hi-Yah!" I kid you not.) Anyway, they got back this evening and I had to take the other kids to meet my mom and pick him up. They were watching a movie in the van and as we got close to home, Kyle said, "I want to watch the rest of it!" I told him they could watch it tomorrow. Alec said, "Me and Joey can watch it on our way to school tomorrow." Kyle replied, "When I'm 5, I can watch it on the way to school, too." Very matter-of-factly, Alec replied, "Well, it'll be over by the time you're 5." HA! Indeed.

The Ultimate Blog Party 2009 Wrap-Up

11:19 AM Posted by Natalie

Well, the week flew by and the Ultimate Blog Party 2009 with 5 Minutes for Mom has come to an end. But blog-hopping and meeting new friends doesn't have to stop! If you happen by and didn't see my party post, you can read it here and find out a little bit about me. My final thoughts....

This was my first UBP and I really did have fun. My party post received 15 comments, and while I had hoped for more, it's at least 6 or 7 times the number I usually get! Of course, I was also fashionably late to the party ;) And, at least that is a pretty manageable number, so I am hoping to continue to drop in on those ladies that were kind enough to stop by and take the time to leave me a comment. Those with Entrecard will see me in their drops inbox ;)

I enjoyed visiting new blogs and "getting to know" some new people. Although, it's so big and I visited so many blogs that I'm not sure I remember who all I visited. I'm going to have to start adding some to my blog list so that I remember to check in with some of of the lovely ladies I met, and in turn they might remember me and stop by once in awhile. The main reason I joined the party was because I'd love to make some new friends and boost my readership.

If you've read my profile, you probably noticed that there are 4 blogs listed there. I don't have 4 blogs. One of the things I have been tossing around in my head is the idea of starting a separate blog for mom reviews and giveaways. I deleted 2 of them after deciding against their titles and thought they'd be gone forever. But it appears that Blogger did some updating that now lists the deleted blogs, too. The other I'm hanging onto "just in case". But I don't know how some of these ladies do it. One day, I was browsing the buttons on my friend Angie's blog, as I often do when I'm visiting, and checked some of them out. She belongs to so many things that I don't know how she keeps track or has time to manage them all. AND she has 5 children, homeschools, and runs a design business! Some of the blogs I subscribe to have one to several new giveaways posted each day. It looks like a LOT of work!

So, for now, I am going to keep my personal little corner of the blogosphere here. I need to boost my readership before I could launch something like that anyway, even if I could figure out the time management part of it. I also don't really know much about how to get started or get connected with the right people. Maybe in time.

Oh, and the BEST part of this week....I WON A GIVEAWAY!!! WOOHOO!!! I totally didn't expect it. I won a beautiful necklace from Amy Manning with Lia Sophia over at the Jensen Family blog. I LOVE necklaces. I don't wear much jewelry besides my wedding rings, but I always like to have a necklace on. Thanks, Anne, for such a great giveaway!

So does anyone want a German Shepherd???

10:14 PM Posted by Natalie

ARGGGHHH!!!! The pee saga continues....

Today, the bedskirt I bought on Ebay for Lauren's new room arrived. YIPPEE!!! It was perfect, just what I had been looking for. Plus, it's the kind with the elastic band, not one that you have to put under the mattress. That is THE best invention in bedding ever! So, of course I couldn't wait to try it on the bed. It worked great, easy as pie to put on, and it looked adorable. I just left it on the bed.

We went about our day and I went out this afternoon to do yet some more running around. Shaun took the kids with him to a couple of stores, but he put Rex in his kennel this time and put him out as soon as they got home. I came home, gave Lauren and Alec a bath. I took Lauren into her room and laid her on the bed to get her pj's on just like I always do when my foot slipped on something wet. At first I just thought I had some water on my shoe from the bathroom. But I kept slipping around and I stepped back to see a puddle on the floor right by Lauren's bed. I was like, "What the....where did that come from?" Right about that time, Shaun came in to see what was going on and said, "He peed on the bed." I looked and saw that Rex had peed on the NEW BEDSKIRT! AHHH!!!! Seriously?!?!

I don't know what we're going to do with this dog. Shaun said he was going to pee in Rex's kennel. HA!

Crisis averted...

8:34 PM Posted by Natalie

...and a life spared. I love animals, I really do. We always had some kind of pet when I was growing up, usually a dog. But if you read this post, you will recall that we've had some issues with K-9 Rex since he retired and we moved to our new house. Actually, he's been doing much better lately. He hasn't peed by the sliding glass door in awhile. However, today he's lucky he's not pushing up daisies.

I've been working on Lauren's room, trying to get something accomplished in this house to make it more of a home. A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon this DARLING shabby chic quilt at Home Goods for $40. (An Ebay seller was selling the EXACT SAME quilt with a sham for $114.95! I think I'm in the wrong business.) Last week, I picked up a cute shabby chic rug at Target for $35. But, I have been waiting to put these things in her room until I get all the pieces I want and can put everything together. In the meantime, I've had the quilt and rug sitting on the floor in our bedroom. I bet you can see where I'm going with this...

Rex has never really peed anywhere but by that door, other than the Christmas tree and a couple of trash bags of stuff I had sitting in another room once right after we moved in. He's been sleeping in our room at night. Since he hasn't peed in there and he sleeps in there, we sometimes close him in there if we leave for a little while or something. So, when I went to pick the boys up from school today, that's what I did. Except, we didn't come right home. No, I really wanted to go to a couple of places to try to find some things I've been looking for. We didn't get home until about 6:00.

I had Joey go get Rex and put him out right away. As I was bringing some stuff I bought into our room, I saw it. He had PEED RIGHT ON THE QUILT AND RUG!!! AHHHHH!!!! Up until just the other day, I still had the quilt in the plastic bag it came in, but I had taken it out to put in on Lauren's bed just to see how it looked with the new paint. Dummy me didn't put it back in. Granted, it had been awhile since he had last been out, but I'm doubting that's what it was. I mean, dogs stay home all day while their owners work and don't pee in the house, ya know? Even so, WHY did it have to be on $75 worth of BRAND NEW stuff? I could have cried. Actually, I did a little as I scrubbed the rug out in the bathtub.

Lucky for Rex, I stain treated everything and washed it right away, and it appears the dark yellow pee all came out. I've never been particularly fond of him sleeping in our room, but now I am definitely insisting that he just sleep in his kennel, and that we put them in there whenever we leave, too. I'm just not going to have him ruining our stuff.

Whew!

Review: Suzi Homemaker

12:22 AM Posted by Natalie


A little while ago, I won a $25 gift certificate for Suzi Homemaker from a giveaway on Buy by Mom. Suzi has a variety of unique items, and everything in her store can be personalized, a great touch for gift-giving or just to make that item for yourself more personal and unique. I especially love personalized items for baby gifts and my own children.

It just so happened that when I won this gift certificate, Joey was in desperate need of a new lunch bag for school. His old one had definitely seen better days. Even though there were probably at least a dozen things I wanted on her site, when I saw that Suzi had lunch bags available, I knew that's what I wanted to get with it. She even had a camo print, which is PERFECT for Joey. He is all about anything having to do with the military.

So I contacted Suzi to tell her what I wanted. Let me tell you, she is one of the most wonderful people to work with. She was always prompt to respond to my emails, and just as pleasant as can be. In fact, believe it or not, I kinda forgot about having won the gift certificate and SHE emailed ME to make sure I got my order in! The lunch bag was actually several dollars less than the amount of the gift certificate, and I told Suzi that that was okay, she could just forgive that amount. But Suzi responded and offered to include one of her cosmo bags to match as well. I just thought that was so kind. I'm sure there are many business people out there who would be happy to get off a little cheaper, but not Suzi. She wanted to make sure I was happy with my prize. But rather than get that for Joey, too, I decided to get it for myself. It will make a great make-up bag, especially for someone who is always digging around in her purse for her lip gloss! And not only did she include the cosmo bag, but she embroidered it for me, too!

Lunch bag:



Cosmo bag:

The cosmo bag would actually be great for any number of things. It could also be used as a pencil case, a snack pouch, or as an accessory for your diaper bag to hold wipes, keys, etc.

Suzi's prices are very reasonable, and the quality of the items and the embroidery is excellent. Joey LOVES his new camo lunch bag (though perhaps I should have had her embroider G.I. Joe on it instead!), and the monogram she embroidered on my cosmo bag is very classy. I really need to clean out my purse so I can put all those things I am always searching for in my cute new cosmo bag and never have to dig around endlessly again.

I highly recommend checking out all of the great items at Suzi Homemaker, whether you're looking for something for yourself or a unique gift for someone else. You can get to her site through any of the links in this post or her button in my right side bar. Good luck choosing! ;)