Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Best Christmas Present ... Ever!

 Mary Katherine Schwind - we didn't expect you to arrive the way you did, but you seem to want to everything differently than your siblings!  I will always think - Mary, Mary, quite contrary! 

While I didn't get to see you for awhile (they brought you to my room that evening, around ?7ish?  - my mind was a little hazy since they give you morphine after the delivery), at least everyone else got a chance to see you and see how you were doing.  Even though you were in the NICU (really just for monitoring), Mike got to take everyone in one at a time.  The older kids and Mimi had arrived just after MK was born (11:14am) since Mike had the presence of mind to call them in the few minutes he had once we found out I was having a c-section.  Gracie wanted to rush right to the hospital, but Mimi told her they should wait just a little while. They were at the hospital by the time I was back in my room, so it worked out just fine.  They weren't so excited to see me (and I was very out of it!), but they couldn't wait to meet their new sister!  

 Gracie got to visit MK in the NICU, too, but the picture got lost somehow :-(
Thank goodness Mom was in town and able to help with the older kids.  She had spent the night at our house since I went to the hospital on Monday evening, so Mike was able to come up early in the morning to be with me.  She stayed overnight again and helped Mike to get the kids to school the next morning. 

Here's Gracie on 11/20 (the day after MK was born) and the first time she gets to hold her youngest sister!  You can see she is already got the protective big sis/2nd mama look.

Check out all that hair - everyone (including us!) has been amazed at the amount of hair she was born with - definitely different than her siblings.  And at one month, she still has all of that hair.  When she has a bath, her hair gets curly (again, different than her sibs).  The girls love to brush that hair once she has a bath.  I thought it was fun to let them do it, but not necessary.  Then I gave her a bath one day when the kids were at school and neglected to brush it.  All her hair was standing on end once it dried- quite the look!
 The dogs (Coco made the photo - Shelly was across the room) have been very good with MK so far.  No licking - just smelling and watching.  This is actually the closest I have seen Coco get to her. 

 And her siblings aren't fair weather friends - they are willing to hold her no matter what her mood.  Look at that smile as she screams away!  And the girls are the same - they all try to settle her (and usually succeed), but don't mind holding her if she's crying or fussy.  
 And on Thanksgiving, we had another willing pair of arms!  Mimi & Mary Kate.
 And just to show that I do sometimes hold the baby, too, here are a few of me with the baby.  The first picture is right after Thanksgiving - it was nice outside and relatively warm. 
And this picture is right after the big ice storm, just days later.  We were iced in for about 3 days!  Didn't matter to us, though.  We had our early Christmas present and got to enjoy her. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Funny & Sweet

So of course, many, many things have happened since I last posted, but here are a few of our latest funnies, along with some recent pictures!

Clara - she had an Easter egg hunt at one of her classmate's grandparents' house & they have a lake, lots of property, etc.  I was asking her about it & she was telling me about all of the land, the "lake" and then of course, the "gardener" snake!  (I couldn't help picturing a little snake with his hat & gloves on!).

JM - I have to preface this by saying I don't know what the deal is, but none of our kids seem to know what bugs are what.  Clara will scream - there's a mosquito and I will come out and see a fly!  Then next time it will be "there's a fly" when it's a gnat, etc., etc.  Well - this was a new one over the weekend.  JM had just gotten up and apparently there was a "mosp" on our refrigerator!  Yikes!  Watch out for those "mosps"  (and he kept repeating it!!

Gracie - just 'cause I can't leave her out!  She's really beyond most of these types of mistakes, but now I guess she has moved into the arena of the wrong definition for words.  We were talking about the story of the Emperor's New Clothes (Mike had "dressed" JM in an invisible sleeper to tease me -- it was hot & I was in the other room saying things like - don't put him in that, it's too warm for that).  Anyway, I didn't think I had ever read that story to the kids.  The only way I had ever heard it was from a Golden Book that we had on record when I was little.  So I asked Gracie about it and she said she "vividly" remembered it.  I didn't think much about it when she first said that, but then I questioned her on it.  Apparently, she thought vividly=vaguely!  Too funny.

And finally, JM always has funny things to say since he is the youngest.  So here is the sweet & funny that I got to hear one night.  We were reading a book about the Earth & Sky.  It is a neat book, but there is a lot of it that is too complicated for him to understand, so I was reading a little here and there and we were looking at the pictures.  It has those clear pages with different drawings on them that you overlay on the other pages, so that is one reason I think he likes it so much.  Anyhow, we were looking at the page showing the layers of the earth and then the next page shows the molten core coming out as lava from a volcano.  That prompted JM to say "if you are near a volcano and lava starts to come out, you need to run away fast or you will be toast!"  He was awfully serious when he said it, so I asked him if he knew what being toast meant?  He definitely thought it was something to do with bread in the toaster!!!  It was hard not too laugh!

Then a few pages later, it was showing the phases of the moon.  I pointed out the full moon, the crescent moon and no moon and was just wondering if I should read more detail, when JM explained how it all worked to me.  "Every night, a little bit of the moon disappears and when it is all gone, God makes a new one!"  Pretty sweet - I didn't bother correcting him on that one!

 Cubes for JM's new train table that Mike built him!

Adding to the sandbox in the backyard.  Mike put them to work this time, shoveling their own sand! 
And finally, just this past weekend, working on those Easter Eggs:
More on a great Easter weekend tomorrow! (or maybe I'll go back and do Christmas & Easter at the same time!!)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Valentine's Party

No - I'm not writing a post about a year ago ... although with the (ir)regularity of my posts, it could be possible.

Today, Gracie had an early Valentine's party for a few of her friends.  She had originally considered inviting some boys, but in the end decided that the boys she wanted to invite might not have had too much fun and to just invite girls.  It was a little sad to think that she is getting old enough that a boy/girl friend is different, but I think it is just starting to be true.  This has been the year of girl parties and boy parties for most of the kids she is at school with.

But I digress.  We kept it small (a Mommy requirement so I don't lose more of my sanity!!), and ended up with four friends over, plus Gracie, plus Clara (who really did a great job of being part of the party but not taking it over or upsetting Gracie - major success).  And John Michael was at home, too.  He didn't really participate in the party - he kind of hung around the fringes of what was going on or did his own thing.  Like wearing his UPS outfit for the whole party (complete with the hat that is really too small for him now) and zooming like a mad man through the house on his plasma car for the first few minutes.  Thankfully, all of the girls took it in stride and he was just a part of the party craziness.  

We were lucky to have great sunny, warm weather, so after having a lunch of make your own pizza, everyone headed outside.  The disc swing was a big hit, as was the discovery that they were big enough to climb one of our trees (the only one with any big branches that can be reached!).  Clara reminded me later tonight that we had told them they weren't allowed to climb that tree.  I had forgotten about that rule!  But that was made about 2-3 years ago.  Clara had somehow managed to get a ways up the tree (but she wasn't on the mostly-horizontal lower limb) and was about 5-6 feet up.  She started shouting for me, but I wasn't quick enough to respond.  At least quick enough to do anything other than watch  her fall from that height.  Even though it scared her pretty badly, she didn't get hurt, but that's when the no climbing the tree rule got laid down.  Anyhow, when she reminded me of that tonight, I told her I thought she was probably old enough now to climb it.  But we'll have to see how that goes.  Then John Michael will be tempted, too!  And while the girls that climbed it today all did fine, there was a pair of leggings that suffered a tragedy - big hole ripped in the back of the leggings.  That bark is just not made for sliding!

Other than tree climbing, the girls played a few games (pictures to come), but mostly enjoyed being outside and just playing.  After we gave them some white and pink balloons to play with, the Moms were attacked by a troupe of girls with static laden balloons.  We were covered in balloons - they were sticking to hair, shirts, arms, anything.  It was pretty funny.

We finished up with the pinata (or pee-ata as my kiddos use to call it).  This was a "recycled" pinata from Gracie's 3rd/4th?  birthday.  It had originally been a Care Bears pinata, but the only Care Bears on it were from the mylar balloon that fit onto the front of the pinata.  I had kept the pinata (at Gracie's request.  I also still have a pink My Little Pony pinata from C-bear) and had thought we might do something with it in the future.  About 3 weeks ago, Gracie started working on it and recovering/redecorating it.  Then Gracie and Clara stuffed it with candy last night and taped it shut.  It had originally been a ribbon pinata for younger kids (there are ribbons hanging down that the kids pull and when the "right" one is pulled, the flap opens and the candy falls out), but Gracie wanted to be able to hit the pinata.  So she and Clara scotch-taped the flap shut after the candy was in place.  Mike had expressed doubts about the pinata actually being breakable by hitting, but I told him if nothing else, the tape would give way.  Well, he definitely called it about the durability of the pinata - it was the tape that gave way and caused the candy to spill.  Then the girls spent a good 5-10 minutes more until they actually got the pinata to "bust" open.  It was pretty funny to watch.  They were determined!  And then once it had broken off the hook, they each took a turn whacking it.  I think they should have resolved any anger issues for the day with that exercise!

And that about wrapped up the party.  Mike wasn't around for most of the party since it was his weekend to work, so he was home just for the last half hour or so.  I knew that when we picked the weekend and decided I could brave this one on my own.  But he sweetly (and wisely!) called me this morning to check in and see if I needed him to finish up early.  I was doing fine though - the kids and I had gone to Home Depot this morning to do the Kid's workshop and the kids all got to make "valentine" mail holders.  I have a feeling JM may be planning to use his for train purposes - big surprise, right?  Clara, of course, had to paint hers exactly as the picture showed it. 

So I made it through Home Depot and the party, which I definitely wouldn't have, even a year ago.  But after the party, I think the cold I have been fighting caught up with me and I fell asleep this afternoon, ducking out of all the cleanup (thank you, Mikey!).  Maybe next time (Clara is planning an Easter party in a month or so) I will be able to make it all the way through the cleanup phase!!

This has been a weekend of really seeing how much the kids have grown-up.  We haven't had the party at the house for more than just family in over a year - and what a difference a year can make!  I didn't have to worry about John Michael during the party (where is he? what is he doing? is he in the way?), and Gracie did a huge part of the planning and preparation for the party herself.  She loves this part almost as much as the party!  She's been working on plans for a month, and had a clipboard with a paper with all of the activities and events for the party written out.  She helped clean over the last few days and even let Clara help her get some of the things ready for the party without a fight. 

But while I can see how much they have all grown-up and matured, poor JM gets worn out, trying to keep up and take everything in.  He had quite the fit tonight at bathtime.  It started with not being able to find his UPS cap, then progressed to being mad at Daddy about having to take his UPS outfit off for his bath and I guess ended with him wearing it over his jammies to sleep in.  (that was a Daddy-boy negotiation - I don't think the UPS outfit is very clean after being worn outside for half the day, but I'm sure we can just wash sheets and the UPS outfit tomorrow, right???). 

Anyhow, I have to finish this post with the "funny" of the day.  Tonight after the bath/UPS outfit drama, the kids were getting to play a game of musical "heart" (musical chairs, but with hearts just taped to the coffee table that the kids sit on).  We had forgotten to do it during the party, so they were really excited to play it.  Well, of course it had to be fixed so that JM could win because he was in no state to be a graceful loser.  So after one round and JM as the "winner," Clara wanted to play again.  We told her no and she kept going on and on about playing again, so I spelled out the problem for her (since the problem was JM was too tired!) - "No, we can't JM is too "U-P-S----E-T"  To which JM in his little brown outfit proudly replied, "That's me!"