Sunday, December 21, 2008

What we need...

Tonight was "sugar cookie night" at our house.  The dough was ready and the kids were chomping at the bit to get going.  The first order of business was to choose the cutters.  We have a set that is used every year and some years we throw in a few extras.  This year McKenna insisted that we use the cat.  "We (she says with a sadly sincere face) need a Christmas cat."  Huh.  If only she knew how hard I'm working to keep the secret of the Christmas cat that is waiting to come home to us this week!  We've been getting daily updates on how our little no-name feline is doing at our cousin's house across town.  At any rate, doubling the recipe sounded like a great idea...until midway through the icing.  We'll be finishing that tomorrow.  

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wha'da ya know...

Someone other than my family reads this!

Thanks, Erin!  I hope our paths cross sometime soon!  (That's nothing like neuro pathways, by the way...)  :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


McKenna turned four yesterday.  In the spirit of celebration we allowed her to choose the birthday dinner of her choice.  After attempting to influence her decision, we were left to eat chicken nuggets, mac and cheese (from a box), and carrots.  Real carrots.  She's my girl, for sure.  We like "real carrots" much better than the bagged baby carrots. 

Samuel has been a handful lately.  His latest antics include telling the workers at church that he's "not allowed" to go to the bathroom at church.  This may stem from the fact that a couple weeks ago while in the bathroom at church he unscrewed the soap from underneath the counters.  I heard it was a real mess.  

Anna is loving finding new words to read wherever we go.  She was trying to read the hymnal today but got confused by the hyphens.  She struggled with McKenna's birthday yesterday.  It was hard for her to not be the center of attention.  It's the first time we've ever had to deal with that as parents.  

We got about half our our Christmas decorations up tonight.  Samuel calls them invitations.  We put up lots of invitations.  Oh, and his birthday is in the sanctuary.  Read, January.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Date with Anna

Today was a special day for Anna and I.  We went with her preschool class to a matinee of Snow White at a local dinner theater.  They did a great job of catering to the preschool crowd--juice boxes and rice krispie treats during the show.  It was such a joy to watch Anna's expressions as Snow White sang, the dwarfs paraded right by her table, and then Snow White asked her if she was going the right way ("Am I headed east?").  She was just happy to be there.  And I was just as happy.  We got chinese for lunch.  Anna, of course, out cultured me and used chop sticks.  I also had to run down to school to drop some things off since I missed class this morning.  It was great to run into some people I knew and introduce them to my shy one.   Shy until they pulled out the extra Halloween candy, that is...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Anna's take on it all

Anna asked this morning what a democrat was.  We had a very general discussion about different views of government, that republicans and democrats can be friends and no one is a bad person just because they are democrat or republican.  No policy discussion, no personal opinions.  She asked if I was a democrat.  Just a brief, "No".  She sits a moment and says, "So, democrats want to play and republicans want to work, huh?" 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Measure of a day

"Sam, did you have a good time at Puggles?"

"Yeah.  I didn't even bite anybody!"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Watch out, Mia...

Anna has played soccer for a grand total of 9 weeks and has made marked improvements over the course of the season.  We started the season as parents watching our daughter sit in the corner of the field, unsure this whole "soccer thing".  Since week two it's been more Anna-esque.  She flits and flutters around the field.  She gets the concepts of the game, but she's not aggressive.  Until the last ten seconds of the last quarter of the last game of the season.  At that point, she gets control of the ball, takes it down the field without letting anyone take the ball from her, and scores a goal.  I guess she wanted to make a dramatic statement at the end of the game!

Samuel was a show-stopper, too.  Literally.  During one of the breaks in Anna's game Saumel took off dribbling the ball.  All the way down Anna's field, through the dead space, and into the next field where the U17 coeds were playing.  They had to stop the game because a two year old was dribbling his ball through their field.  I think they laughed.  I couldn't tell because I was laughing too hard as Chris brought him back.  Ahhh, memories!

McKenna is just McKenna.  I love that.  She named her new jaguar stuffed animal "Woofie" after the cat on Princess and the Pauper.  (Anna's is "Seraphina".)  The names they chose suit them well.  

Life is good.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

From a different perspective

The way I see life is the way I see it.  Having children makes me see some things from a different view...and I like it.  My current favorite ways to see things differently are through Anna's reading. As a child, I loved to be read to.  I remember story time at the library--the old one in town.  I remember mom reading chapter books to us just as soon as I could sit still (and even when I couldn't).  It's even better, though, to be read to by Anna.  She finished Go, Dog, Go tonight after plowing through for the last two nights.  She was so proud of herself.  She was such a good thinker!  I love to see things differently in regard to being tucked into bed.  I remember loving bedtime as a kid.  Dad carried us up the stairs and tucked us in.  We heard stories about Ragde Namannik and about crazy young boys who carried lit candles through hay tunnels in the barn.  Now I see--I'm the lucky one as a parent.  Samuel still loves to be rocked.  He loves his bed and his bedtime.  He has no idea the joy that his bedtime is for me.  Puzzles and games are another thing that I thought I saw correctly for the last 30 years.  I didn't.  I didn't know the joy of doing them with my daughter.  McKenna is a puzzle girl.  Sometimes because I can't figure her out.  Usually it's because she just loves to put puzzles together.  

I wonder what I'll learn next...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Word of the Day

hannitize /han-eh-tize/ v 1: clean extremities using alcohol based cleanser, contraction of hand and sanitizer 2: the process by which Sean Hannity will potentially "fix" his offspring if child says, "dad, I'm a liberal"

Who knew that this word that my kids made up would be heard on national television?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sam's Day

If Samuel had a "Top Ten Favorite Things" list, it would resemble...

1. Fire trucks
2. His white tiger
3. Mowing the grass
4. Pancakes
5. A bath by himself
6. Putting people in the dungeon (followed by a deep "ha, ha, ha")
7. Climbing and jumping and running and falling and wrestling
8. Snuggling after his nap
9. Playing with trains
10. Snacks

I did what I could to pull off a spectacular Saturday for our little man.  He got to eat breakfast--PANCAKES--at the firestation.  He got to CLIMB onto and JUMP off of a FIRE TRUCK.  We went to a cross country meet where he got to RUN a lot...maybe more than he really wanted to.  (That's the price you pay when you're born into a cross country family.  Sorry, dude.)  We went to Anna's soccer game where he got to have a SNACK and get dirty enough to have a BATH BY HIMSELF in the evening.  WHITE TIGER accompanied us on our outings, napped with Sam, and got to play outside.  While tiger watched, Samuel MOWED THE GRASS.  We PLAYED WITH TRAINS and SNUGGLED.  We played outside where I, the poor pitiful princess got PUT INTO THE DUNGEON by that handsome little king.  What more could a boy want?  An Alabama win?  Oh yeah...that happened too!  

Samuel climbed onto the couch tonight when I told him it was time for bed.  He picked up a pencil and paper, looked crossly at them, and said to me out of the corner of his mouth, "I can't.  I have to concentrate."  (Then I had to draw him a picture of a fruit bar.  Mine wasn't identifiable.  Pops drew a much better one.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bad impression

Oops.  I totally stood up one of my professors today.  I was supposed to meet her after class but my mind was on other things.  Namely, fining a new (to me) yarn store where I could do some sisterly birthday shopping.  Sorry, Bek, you won't be benefiting from my blunder.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What a night

I've been able to be much more focused when I'm home lately.  I have to be.  My schedule insists that I remember that time at home is special time.  It always has been, but sometimes I forgot.  I was able to have a very special night with Anna tonight after "the little ones" (as she calls them) went to sleep.  We got to watch Alabama run all over Georgia (well...I assume that'll be the end result.  The game's still going as I write...), drink hot cider, and make scotch-a-roos.  We snuggled on the couch, folded clothes, and talked about our day.  We licked the spatulas (but "only because they don't have fresh eggs on them") and giggled at Daddy's silly laugh when Alabama is playing well.  I am so thankful for each of my children.  Tonight I am thankful for a wonderful evening with Anna, my little eagle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trouble, lurking in the dryer

Anna's tennis shoes were very muddy.  They are currently in the washing machine.  Lights are off in the laundry room.  I just realized there may be a potential problem.  Should the lights on her shoes quit working she'll be pretty upset.  Especially if she knew about the light show she missed as the shoes tumbled in the dryer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Paradigm shift

Ah, the ol' paradigm shift.  Very social work-y.  Fifteen years ago I remember laughing (multiple times) at my cross country coach who told us that if he were stranded on a deserted island and could only do one stretch, it would be leans.  (We always wondered, "if the island is deserted who he would be worried about catching him doing a second stretch...").  

Insert paradigm shift here.  

Today, one of our professors said that if she could only take one drug (she didn't mention being stranded...perhaps she was concerned about refills) it would be a statin.  A lot has happened that I certainly don't want to neglect, but that's a decent representation of where I was, and where I am.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Unrealistic

Some very unrealistic requests have been made in our family lately.  

Anna and McKenna are wanting Daddy to be president.  He's not old enough...yet.  And then I'd have to say, still not realistic.  Samuel wants "uncle Jack's pool" to be president.  That's a 2 1/2 year old for you!

Anna's fifth birthday is coming up next month.  Today she told Chris that she wants those things that you put in your hair and it looks really long.  "Extensions?!"  "Yeah, that's it!"  Where did she hear about hair extensions?  

McKenna is anxiously awaiting birthday number four later this fall.  She'd like a saddle.  

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today's focus

At the risk of sounding like Lee Greenwood, today is just one of those days that I'm proud to be an American.  I love the people who stand over 96th Street on the bridge with their flags and arms waving all day every September 11th.  I love the freedoms that we have (and I pray that they remain protected).  I love that men and women who are currently fighting for the lives of people that they will never know and who are thankful for the opportunity to do so.  I doesn't feel like it's a choice this time around because it is such an easy decision for me, but I'm thankful that in the government of our country, I have a choice.  

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Not keeping score

Anna had her first soccer game today.  She was great!  She bounced all over the field--definitely the most smiley kid on the field!  She played the whole time (compared to sitting in the corner of the field with her back to her teammates like she did during practice #1), volunteered to kick the ball into play, and even scored a goal!  She reported that she was so happy to have scored a goal that she just needed to do somersaults.  And somersault she did.  All the way down the field.  Her teammates must have thought it was pretty great, too.  Pretty soon there were three little Eagles somersaulting down the field!  Good times for this new soccer mom.  (I think we only scored three goals for the Foxes.  What a day!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Conversations with Jesus

Samuel had a late night last night.  Tonight he was awake longer than I thought he would be.  I stole an opportunity to rock him in his room after the girls were asleep.  (I just can't get enough of my babies and a rocking chair!)  Sam is particularly good at letting us know when he's tired.  During a late dinner recently he said, "I so tired.  I sweepy.  I need to go to sweep now."  And pretty much, he did.  Anyway, back to the rocker.  I'm rocking him and telling him how much I love him.  He says, "And Daddy loves me.  And Jesus loves me.  (pause)  Jesus told me to go to bed now."  That was the end of the rocking.  He made a beeline for the bed.  

McKenna and Chris had a tough day.  McKenna was more whiny than usual.  During the parenting relay that Chris and I are working on lately, Chris advised that McKenna may have a tough night.  At bedtime while she was praying she said (completely unprompted), "Dear Jesus, please forgive me for arguing with Daddy today."  I'm content to leave it at that.  At this point, it's out of my hands!

This is so out of order.  Before anyone went to bed (or got back out) we went to another cross country meet.  It rained.  A lot.  Then it rained more.  There were lots of delays, but after attending cross country meets for about the last 25 years I saw something new.  They stopped a race that was underway due to inclement weather.  Well, not just inclement.  It was a storm.  We had umbrellas.  There wasn't much taller than us.  The girls enjoyed the adventure, mostly.  McKenna had a couple of moments when she, being a princess and all, didn't want to be soaking wet.  Anna was a real trooper, enduring the weather.  She kind of thrived.  Runners (and some with pink shoes, even), rain, friends there with a baby, holding the umbrella, running on the real course, what's not to love!  

Saturday, August 30, 2008

One thing I'm not

So I'm working with a group of nursing students last week and before getting busy we were making small talk.  What was your previous job, where do you live, and so on.  I mention that we live a few miles from Verizon near Noblesville.  This peaks one guy's attention.  He says that he used to go up  there for a few days at a time...loved it...had a good time.  When people say they come to Verizon for a few days at a time they're generally talking about Dave Matthews, Phish, or the Grateful Dead.  Another guy mentions that he can't believe it's been six years since Jerry Garcia died.  Without missing a beat, it just spills out of my mouth that it was actually August 1995.  I impressed even myself.  The first guy looks a little confused, but I proceed to explain.  "Yeah, I was camping with a girl who was absolutely heartbroken."  Now he looks even more confused.  He says, "I would have never pegged you for a deadhead."  It sounded...well, something...when I told him that I wasn't a deadhead.  It was cross country camp.

Monday, August 25, 2008


So while I'm supposed to be reading, I'm doing a better job of watching Jon & Kate Plus 8.  They say there's a marathon on Labor Day weekend.  That should be fun for our girls because they'll see all the little Gosselins wearing "big rose dresses".  The last marathon preview has those girls wearing the same dresses that are hanging in our girls' closet upstairs.  I sense this will be a big deal.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Call Pat and Vanna

Samuel has a new favorite dessert.  He just loves the "corn on the cobbler" that we had tonight!  With much chuckling, we finally got him to at least identify it as "peach on the cobbler".  I think it would make a good Before & After puzzle on Wheel of Fortune.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lost in Translation

Tonight Anna was working on her Bible verse for her soccer team.  Perhaps you've not yet heard this version.

"John 14:6.  Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth and the Life.  No one gets close to my father except for me."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Simple addition

Adding up the pages of reading for the upcoming semester (minus four textbooks that i don't yet have), I have 10,709 pages to conquer.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What a croc!

After a nice visit with my sisters this week in northern Indiana, the kids and I ventured home today.  We made an impromptu stop at "The Pickin Patch" so that the kids could have their first experience picking blueberries.  Success!  Samuel sang the whole time about the exciting party we were having.  Anna monitored all the buckets (even as she picked into her own) to make sure that we were not picking any berries that were blue.  McKenna ate.  She ate a lot.  The first time I checked her bucket she only had three blueberries.  We didn't stay long, but it was fun.  

The trip home continued until we stopped for gas (maybe 35 miles later?) at which point McKenna asks me to get her crocs for her.  Sure, but I can only find one.  "Oh.  That's because the other one fell off my foot at the blueberry place.  It was under the van when we left.  I forgot to tell you.  Sorry."  Seriously?  You forgot to tell me?  Only McKenna could forget something in the present.  She's a lucky girl.  My parents were headed up to Michigan for a wedding and were able to stop and get the missing croc.  I wasn't about to turn around, so seriously, she's just a lucky girl.  

While in South Bend we found a great chinese place for dinner.  On the way there, we looked back and somehow Samuel is happily working on a tootsie pop.  Shocked, I asked him where he got it.  He didn't quite answer the question, but his answer was classic...  "I needed it.  I was thirsty and I needed food."  My little guy is quite the schemer when it comes to suckers.  He's probably got a stash hidden somewhere...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Piling Up

Things that I need to jot down are piling up around here.  I didn't realize this until talking with my sisters tonight.  So, since my sisters constitute half my readers, this is mostly for my sake so that I can remember some funny things our kids have said lately.

*McKenna recently learned Tai Chi (as only our McKenna could do it), only she calls it Chai Tea.

*McKenna thinks that the Disney Store is Disneyworld.  This could  be quite a savings for our checkbook if we can keep this idea going...

*I drove the girls to church the other night in my mom's car.  I'm still evidently not proficient at driving a manual because I squealed the tires more often than  not and the ride wasn't exactly smooth.  The girls thought that I was doing that because I loved them.  They were having a grand time.  When relaying the story to Chris, they said it was fun because we went bumpity bumpity bump!  And, according to Anna, it's much more fun for me to drive than Pops because he doesn't make the loud noise (squeal) and make it bump.  

*McAllister's is better known as Miss Allister's.  She makes a mean grilled cheese.

*What's cool and what's awesome?  Say one or the other and Samuel will either agree or correct you.  "Yeah, dat's awesome" or "No dat awesome, dat cooooool."

Oh, gotta go.  Olympics are back on!

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's growing on me



Pardon the unconventional order of things.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Buyer's Remorse

I guess that's what you'd call it.  Is there a different term for not being happy with a haircut?  Not mine.  Sam's.  We took little Samuel today for his first hair cut.  We'd put it off long enough, or so I thought.  We should have put it off longer or asked for a trim.  Although it was a compromise cut (Chris voted "buzz it"), it's so severe!  Pictures might be coming later.  I've got to come to terms with the fact that all that's left of Samuel's curls are in a small ziplock bag on my dresser.  I could kick myself...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Once was lost, now is found

The case of the missing tapes has been solved!  After two years of combing the house for all the family movies that led up to Anna's second birthday, the search is over!  All along they were in a box in the closet.  Silly me.  Too bad I missed them in that box the first six times I looked there! 

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The bad, the good, and the cute

I had the opportunity this weekend to attend a women's conference with a couple of good friends.  The time with friends was incredibly sweet.  The conference, however, was an extreme let down.  Too much fluff and humanistic babble (merely) laced with Christian truth.  I wanted the meat.  The truth.  Something solid to stand on.  I think it's sad that so many opinions get preached as truth.  Not just sad, but scary both now and in eternity.

What did I miss at home?  Evidently McKenna learned to read while I was gone.  I know she's been looking in when Anna has been working on her reading, but tonight she read me the third book in the little BOB books series, rattling off "The dog has on a rag hat".  She's never read this book!  With Samuel taking care of the potty training by himself essentially and now this, it's tempting to think parenting is easy and that the kids can figure out things by themselves.  It's just not that easy, even on the best of days.  But boy is it fun to parent these kids!

Samuel's new cute-ism about it getting dark:  "It's darking!  It's darking!"  Oh, and today we ditched the pacifier.  He's not happy, but he's asleep.

Friday, August 1, 2008


1.  Toilet paper should be strong enough to not tear when coming off of a huge, industrial size roll.  I'm just saying.

2.  Anna came running to me the other day in the yard--middle of the day--saying that she saw a bat fly across the yard and land on the porch.  The heat must have gotten to her, right?  I checked it out and yes, a bat was hanging above the dining room window on the porch.  Anna's response was, "How unusual!"  She also spent a good bit of the day reminding everyone that bats are good because they eat mosquitoes (2-4k, we've heard) and wondering if we'd "learned our lesson about bats".  

3.  I can't remember the other things that I was going to mention.  My multitude just became a couple.  Rats.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Severe disappointment

It's hard to see your child be disappointed, especially when there's nothing you can do about it.  This is a hard part of parenting...usually.  Today it was just plain funny.  I've learned recently that I'm terrible at hiding a smile in the hopes that my child will not think I'm laughing.

Anna is playing quietly and looks up to ask me, "Is Peyton Manning already married?"

"Yes, babe, he is."

"Well, is Eli Manning married?"

Again, "Yes, he is."

The wind?  Out of her sails.  Completely.  

"Oh.  (She's so sad that she can no longer sit up.  She flops down on her back and drops the My Little Pony she'd been playing with.)  That makes my heart so sad.  I wanted to marry Peyton Manning."

Chris had a cow.  Then he had a phone conversation with her informing her that at the age of 4 she need not be concerned about who she would marry.  Not for a long, long time.

Friday, July 18, 2008

How's that?

How do you say the capital city of Indiana?  It seems that somewhere along the way all of our kids created a new pronunciation.  Indaleeapolis.  I love it!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

No Wheels

Today was monumental for our family.  Chris and I took the kids to the Children's Museum after church.  We did not take a stroller.  We did not take a diaper bag.  I didn't even take a camera.  We just took the kids.  It was somewhat odd to walk in without anything "baby" in tow.  Remarkable?  Yes.  The fact that Samuel told us when we needed a potty break (three times!) and stayed dry while we enjoyed an afternoon out was even more remarkable!  I guess this is the first line in a new chapter of our lives...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

3rd candidate

If  the votes for the next presidential election were cast today, there would be one very confused four year old (eek--five year old by then!).  Anna is quite sure that if she could vote, she'd vote for "Jon and Kate (plus 8)".  Evidently when we've watched O'Reilly and talked at home, she's thought that John McCain was really "Jon and Kate".  Dad got it right, though.  That would be an interesting presidency.

For the record, Samuel was DRY ALL DAY!  SIX, count 'em 6, successive successful trips to the potty.  As of yesterday, it was like trying to drag a mule.  What happened last night?  Whatever it was, I'm loving it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Out of order


4th of July, Terre Haute, IN

The kids had a great time, and Chris and I were very entertained by the band, the kids, and the locals.  Perhaps my favorite memory of this great day together was seeing Samuel get knocked over by the fireworks multiple times.  We were at a safe distance and he didn't get hurt.  It was the sound that knocked him off his feet.  I didn't even take my camera (gasp!) so these images will just have to be burned in my memory!  Stay away, alzheimers!  (I used to think that it was "old timer's".)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hip, Hip, Hooray!

I can hardly contain my excitement for my friends H & W who are, as I write, getting introduced to their new son! We just returned from their daughter's 3rd birthday party where we chatted briefly about how long it might be before they got the call they've been wanting in regard to their expanding family. Evidently I left just a few minutes too early or I would have been there when they got the call! Well, I say too early. If they'd seen me for the last few minutes they would be quite glad that I wasn't there. I tend to make a scene when I get overly excited. My poor kids must think I'm a complete nut. W asked if the party would make the blog. I had said "yes", but as great as the party was (and we truly celebrate R's life!), the party just got trumped! Still, you made the blog. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

3, 2, 1...

Latest adventure:

I took the kids yesterday-by myself-to the movies. It was the first time any of them had been to a movie theater, so they were somewhat awestruck. The theater here in Noblesville does free movies for kids in the summer, so we saw (VeggieTales) The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. Samuel was just too cute...Bob and Larry! Bob and Larry! BIG Bob and Larry! It seems like I shouldn't have to still be so proud to take the kids to something like that by myself, but the I stop and realize that they're still little and new places are more scary for me than them. They don't know what (or who) could hurt them, and I am like a crazy protective mom in situations like that. So, for them or for me, who had the biggest adventure? I don't know, but we ALL had fun.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Loose interpretation, serious application

A watched pot never boils.  Similarly, a watched zucchini doesn't grow.  I am so anxious to eat from the garden and it seems that the more I weed and tend and watch expectantly, the slower the growth rate.  

But alas, after my frustration in the garden tonight I spotted the much anticipated black raspberries that were ready for picking!  Off to get the long sleeves and shoes other than flip flops (I forgot I still had said shoes)...  While picking the raspberries tonight I was so blessed.  It was quiet.  Quiet.  I haven't experienced quiet in over 4 1/2 years.  Seriously.  I watched a bumble bee on a flower.  I had time to do this and to just marvel in the beauty of what God created and has allowed me to experience.  As I reached and strained for the all the berries around the old compost pile, I thought of a pathetic similarity between the way I think about fruit and how God thinks about us.  As much as I didn't want even one (berry) to perish, it was a stark realization of how much more our Creator doesn't want us to perish--not even one of us.  I am secure in my position in Christ.  What a gift.

This security is guaranteed.  Guaranteed.  This is so amazing.  

Perhaps someone should talk to the swimming commentator alongside Bob Costas (I'm drawing a blank, clearly) about what it means to be guaranteed.  He guarantees that Michael Phelps will make the Olympic team in all 5 events he's swimming, unless he gets third in any of the races.  Which he won't, according to Rowdy Gains.  That's his name.  What a digression...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Let the (pre)Games begin...

Ahhh, it's almost time for the Olympics. I'm a self-described Olympic freak. I love it. One of my great childhood memories was when we subscribed to the "Red, White, and Blue Olympic Channels" the year we got cable TV. You couldn't pull me away. My mentality hasn't changed much has changed since Debbie Thomas took the ice in Calgary that year. The summer games blow the winter games out of the water, so this is going to be a fun summer.

I've done a good job at getting the kids hyped about it this year, too. Samuel saw the first dive of the trials today and say, "Whoa, dat's COOL!" Yes, sir, it is! And you should see him "do gymnastic", especially when he and McKenna do it simultaneously. Hey, maybe synchronized gymnastics could be a new event...

McKenna thought that Nastia Luikin (2nd place at gymnastics trials) looked a lot like Aunt Rebekah and that Rebekah could do all the same tricks.

Anna was impressed when they didn't fall, didn't step out of bounds, and did cartwheels and backflips.

I've always thought it would be fun to know someone who competed at the Olympics. (I told you I was a freak.) Since Emily Ayers didn't make it (elementary friend who was a tremendous swimmer) and Aaron Moody doesn't seem to be ready this year, my next best shot is through my dad who is currently doing work for some Olympic hopefuls. Track, even! I'm like a kid in a candy store...I just love the Olympics!

A couple of non-Olympic notes... Samuel gave me a good laugh at lunch today. He let out a rip-roaring belch and went about eating. I looked at him and said, "Samuel, what do you say?" Expecting a quick "excuse me", as he's been taught, I was caught off guard when he tried to reinact his belch. Apparently he thought I asked, "what did you say".

He's growing up all together too fast. He's had his monthly success on the toilet (he like to squirt the cheerios--there may be some truth to that potty-training theory) and this afternoon he dressed himself for the first time. He also slept on the bunk bed instead of his crib for the first time. It was his choice. Now I just have to suck it up and get his hair cut and ditch the pacifier. This is MUCH harder with the last than it was with the first.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


We spent the day getting furniture ready for generation #3. The bedroom set that my mom used as a teenager and I used as a child has a fresh coat of paint on the top surfaces and the trim detail. Pink. I love that my girls love pink. It's so cute and little girlish. I sound like McKenna. She makes new words every day, often by adding "-ish" to a real word.

In fact, McKenna asked today if she could be "bare toe-ed" in the grass. (Who could say no to that?) After getting Samuel down from his adventure in tree climbing (a first), a request like not wearing shoes in the yard seemd reasonable.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Home again

Time at OBX is good for a person.

Coming back to a "congratulations" letter from the IU school of nursing made it even better. Now, let the planning begin. My crazy 18 months start in mid-August.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Why do people drive motorcycles to Sam's Club? What, other than oregano, can you buy at Sam's and transport home via motorcycle?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Samuel today

Last night was the first time we'd found Samuel sleeping on the floor in his room. He's been content in his crib for his entire life...all 2 years, 4 months, 17 days. We put him back in before we went to bed (after, of course, taking a "couple" of pictures to document the occasion). He was again on the floor this morning. And after his nap. But it's not just that he's on the floor. He's under his bed. He did offer an explaination. His pacifiers were under the bed. Of course.

I took Samuel to the doctor this morning and he acted like Spiderman during his exam. He got a Spiderman sticker and wore it proudly. It was Spiderman all day. I finally asked him what and how he knew about Spiderman as he's had minimal exposure (none?) to it other than seeing the consumer options at Target or a friend's house. His answer was frank. "TV." Oh. Silly me. I asked how he saw it on TV. "Daddy see Spiderman on TV!" Chris, however, denies watching Spiderman with Samuel.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Easier to breathe today

On a more positive note than last post...

We are in the middle of an "opposite of archery" weekend. In archery you pack an hour of fun into four hours (sorry, Carrie). We've packed in too much fun stuff yesterday and today to last us a month and we've still got our "lunch party" tomorrow. (I love the terminology of preschoolers.) The details of our activities aren't probably so exciting for anyone else, but all the kids got some one on one time with one parent or grandparent this weekend. Now that's fun.

Perhaps one of the most successful moments was checking the receipt at Kroger. Seriously. We saved over $170.00 on this trip alone. And only spent $340. The only thing better would have been to top $200. There's always next month!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Never a hug so sweet

The first time I thought the kids were actually hugging me was great. Every one since then is great. But the best one was today. We were at a birthday party and although we were paying close attention to the kids, neither Chris or I nor any other adult saw McKenna get into the pool when the rest of the kids were lining up for sno-cones. She was bouncing around in the water, no life jacket, having a good ol' time. The enormity of this danger is still growing in my mind. Right reaction or not, once we got her out of the pool, there was not really any time for discipline. Just hugs. Wet, messy, filled-with-life hugs. Praise the Lord for protecting her!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The "big-girl purple blankie" or "new purple blankie" is now just "PURPLE BLANKIE"!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A first time for everything

We've had a lot of firsts at our house in the last few years. One that I never thought would happen...well, it actually happened. I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and didn't eat even one morsel of dough. Not a bite. This is amazing.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Me cavewoman.

A long story just got shorter because Anna needs to snuggle.  How many Mother's Days will I have that she asks that...

Samuel decided to throw away his pacifiers this morning.  He threw them all in the trash can and I said passionately all day that I would not dig them out, would not buy new ones, would not give him another pacifier.

Nap didn't happen.  Cried for almost an hour and a half.  I thought that for sure bed time would be easy--he'd be SO tired.

Bed time.  Fast forward two hours.  Sam's still up, bouncing in his spring-footed bed, having a grand time with his books and his imagination.  

Sometime during the day I was informed that said pacifiers never actually made it to the big trash can in the garage.  They were ready to be cleaned and distributed.  

Call me Betty.  Call me Wilma.  I'm a cavewoman.  I totally caved.

And he's sleeping so well now...

Friday, May 9, 2008


The trouble watching "Jon & Kate plus 8" is that there are expectations that somehow seep into the viewer's mind.  Every good mom cleans the floor (on her hands and knees) after each meal.  Every child gets teeth brushed twice daily.  Every day.  Baths happen quickly and efficiently.  These aren't bad things, but realistically, they don't happen in our home.

More expectations come when I let the girls watch it with me.  Anna and McKenna think it's fascinating.  About a month ago they saw the episode that included Mother's Day.  Kate got breakfast in bed.  Our girls have mentioned it a couple of times in the past few weeks but I haven't said much in response.  Anna got very excited today about Mother's Day because that's the day she gets to cook breakfast for me to eat when I'm still in my bed.  She's all giddy and covering her mouth to keep from telling me anything else about the coming celebration.  McKenna bops along with her usual enthusiasm, telling me that she's going to make chicken for me.  Anna shushes her so as not to ruin the surprise.

I just spoke with Chris.  He had no idea this was in the works.  Since it's mother's day am I allowed to make a request for one small change?  Could we save the chicken for lunch or dinner?  

Friday, May 2, 2008

Theory tested

For the record, time does not heal all wounds.  At least not in a week.  

My stomach still hurts from all the laughter last weekend that began when our train departed Hobbs station in Noblesville.  Noblesville's train station is not a bustling place.  It is not crowded.  It's quaint, even.  This did not stop mom and dad and the kids and I from boarding the WRONG TRAIN.  We were trying to ride the (obviously red, very classic looking) caboose South about a mile into Noblesville.  Once we started moving, mom and dad and I all made eye contact as we simultaneously thought, "we're headed north".  Moments later we hear a woman on the train tell some of the other passengers that we were headed to Atlanta.  Atlanta?  Yes, we went a good thirty minutes north to tiny Atlanta, Indiana.  It's quainter than quaint should be and we were unprepaired for a trip longer than 20 minutes round trip.  It was nap time when we started.  We had  no pacifier, no snacks, nothing.  The kids were great, though, so really there aren't any complaints, just a lot of laughing.  We had about an hour to kill in Atlanta so we hit up the "ice cream shop".  It was really a "professional" photographer (you should have seen the studi0--it looks a little like my scrapbook from second grade.  I made my second grade scrap book by myself immediately after second grade) selling Schwann's ice cream on the sidewalk.  No was a beautiful day and we were already getting sore from laughing at our mistake.  How in the world could we have boarded the wrong train?  

I had hoped to visit my sisters in South Bend and take the kids to Chicago on the train.  I may have to reconsider.  Who knows where we'd end up! 

Friday, April 25, 2008

I've come so far

It was August 2000.  I'll never forget the sound when the light flashed.  What is that orange thing?  I was driving in front of Wal-Mart on Tunnel Road in Asheville having just left Applebee's.  
"Chris!  What do I do?!  We need to get to a mechanic!"

"Leslie, that's the gas light.  You need to go to the gas station."

I'd driven for seven years without having any idea what the gas light was.  I lived by the "half tank is an empty tank" rule until I got married.

Fast forward to Wednesday of this week.  I'm taking the babysitter home when I hear a familiar ding.  That's not the gas light, that's the transmission light.  Panic.  We just rebuilt the transmission (we is used quite loosely) two years ago...not again...

We make an appointment for this morning at AAMCO.  I head down, all three kids with me, to sit for an hour while I wait for the bad news.  (Samuel has a meltdown because as he says, "That man take your van, Mommy!"  Simultaneously, the girls found the water cooler.  This just says disaster all around.)  The man finally comes in and says our transmission is fine.  Relief.  THEN he tells me that there's no such thing as a transmission light.  That was my check engine light. Oh dear...panic again.  

They ran the diagnostic and he was pleased to tell me it was caused by my not screwing the gas cap on tight enough.  I'll bet he was pleased.  I'm guessing they'll be talking about me for a while, the lady with the transmission light (laugh) whose kids were adorable but not pleased with the waiting room for an hour (snicker) and who just didn't screw on the gas cap (hearty belly laugh).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just think

It occurred to me today that Samuel is older now than Anna was when Samuel was born. Looking back, it's nothing short of a miracle that we've survived the last few years. I can't imagine Samuel being the oldest of three at his current age. Perhaps that's why he was last.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Close, but not quite

The kids all helped me make chocolate chip cookies this evening. They did a remarkably good job. Acutally, they always do and it always amazes me. Anna turned the mixer on and didn't get it stopped at the level she'd intended (stir). It went a little wild and she said, "Oops, I didn't mean to turn it onto high definition!"

We read about astronauts tonight before bed. When I tried to explain that things floated inside the shuttle Anna said, "That's remarkable!" No, child, you are remarkable!

Gross me out!

McKenna runs into the house this morning on a mission--straight to the bathroom. With the help of her Pops, she thankfully makes it to the toilet on time and even manages to keep her pants dry. (We've regressed this week, ugh.) Pops goes about his business but shortly sees McKenna walk out of the bathroom. Hmmm, no noise.

"McKenna, did you flush?"

Sheepish look.

"McKenna, did you wash your hands?"

Another sheepish look...then a look of enlightenment.

"No, buy my hands are clean! I lick-ed them!"


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Move over, Miss Manners

Samuel is on his way to a syndicated column in your local newspaper.  When I prayed with him tonight, I said, "Thank you, Jesus for today."  As I breathe...Samuel interjected, "No Jesus say you welcome!"  He was genuinely upset that he didn't audibly hear Jesus say "you're welcome."  All I could do was laugh and snuggle with him a little more!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Secrets revealed

While eating an ice dream cone from Chick-fil-A recently Anna admits that the treat is exceptionally good.  She whispers across the table, "It must have some special ingredient.  I think it's cinnamon.  Or maybe sweet tea!"  

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The things we do for love

I ate at Golden Corral tonight. Other than Jimmy's Seafood Buffet (OBX, baby!) I just despise buffets. But tonight, because it's Chris' birthday, we ate at the new Golden Corral. Like any good (??) buffet, it did have popcorn shrimp and softserve ice cream. I guess since I'm still alive to write about it, it must not have been as bad as I imagined it to be.

The things we do for love...

What do you do?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Grrr, Jayhwaks

It's pretty bad when in the family NCAA bracket competiton we can go ahead and figure out who won. Mind you, the final game hasn't yet taken place. It's just that only two of us (Chris and Laura) even have one of the final two teams. And neither of them have chosen the overall winner. It looks like my nap on the beach won't happen (that would have been my prize, had I won).

Next year's my year...I can feel it...I'm going to get the entire bracket right...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Anna had a fun week with April Fool's Day. We may have to rename it April Fool's Week, or even Year. She's starting to understand some simple jokes and today showed appreciation for the Amelia Bedelia book series. I'm glad I was paying attention when she picked out books at the library today. Amelia Bedelia, OK. Duckling Days, OK. Seek and Find, OK. Marijauna: Fact or Fiction, NOT OK. Right there in the science picture books. That's just not a conversation I wanted to have today.

McKenna was her observant self while fingerpainting today. The yellow looks like "yellow ketsup". "You mean mustard?" "No. Yellow ketsup."

Samuel is going to bloom into quite the director this summer. He absolutely loves to encourage anyone within earshot (a long distance, I promise) to do the motions that Diego suggests as he rescues the animals. When you do it right you (OK, I) get lots of praise. "Good job, Mommy! Good job!" If I drag my heels at all..."No, Mommy. Try it. Try it. Try it. Try it..."

Life is good...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No contest

Today's study break included taking in a few pages of the current People magazine. I'm a sucker for anything baby, and Jennifer Lopez was on the cover with her new babies. OK. We all know that she's a beautiful woman. But have you seen those pictures? WHO IN THE WORLD SERIOUSLY has a nursery like that? And WHO IN THE WORLD lounges, four weeks after delivering twins, in a ball gown in a living room that is pristine? And no one I know wears such pretty heels IN THE HOUSE with newborn twins. You can tell she's a first-time mom of babies because she's giving one of the babies a bottle while wearing that gown. Formula stains. Looking at those beautiful pictures, I had to just bask in something. I wasn't the least bit jealous (except maybe it would be nice to look so trim so quickly after birthing babies). I am so content with my family, the kids' rooms, the whole bit. We're real. I love my family. I am so blessed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

She gets it!

McKenna prayed tonight, "Dear Jesus, Thank you that you died on the cross. Thank you that you went in the tomb. Thank you that you didn't stay there. Thank you that the angel told the people that you were not there."

AMEN, Sister!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Good for a laugh (or two)

Do you have an extra 7 minutes today?  This is just a good laugh!  I love it!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Christmas in March

Anna is singing "Joy to the World" just loudly enough last night that I could tell she was singing and not humming.  I scooted over a little closer, and this is what I heard, "Let eh-every Cla-a-ark, prepare Him-m roo-oo-ommm..."  Good idea, little one!

Anna's also making some connections that I don't think I made at 4.  She told me that she knew who her Father in Heaven was.  We chatted about this for a minute and then she said, "You know what's weird?  He's Mary's Father, too.  That's weird because she's His mom.  Huh... "  


We spent more than five hours this morning and afternoon running all over the children's museum with some friends from church.  The kids had a great time, the girls even took in their first legitimate theatrical performance.  Samuel at sand only once (I'm still not sure if this is good or bad).  I must have walked up that stinking ramp enough times to at least burn off one of the many scotcharoos I ate this week.  

Thursday, March 13, 2008

thus it REALLY begins

Tonight McKenna noticed a commercial for Disneyworld for the first time.  Believe it or not, even Anna hasn't picked up on this mystical place.  (That's about the only thing she's oblivious to.)  McKenna sees the commercial with all it's hype about staying in the castle.  When it ends she turns to me and says slowly and sweetly, hands clasped, and head tilted, "It's a dream come true..."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Things to look forward to, for Tricia

There are so many moments that no one can prepare you for.  You can't remember them all.  You try, but they come so rapid fire that you just can't.  

You can look forward to wiping whole handprints of icing off the refrigerator door...

Sitting in a dark room hearing your baby breathe and watching the beautiful rise and fall of her chest, wondering how anyone could believe it was an accident...

Hearing your little girl sing praise songs to Jesus as she walks through Target, just in front of you, exploring a little bit on her own...

Riding in the car, just the three of you, setting out on an adventure...

Slobber on birthday cake from blowing out candles...

The first "I wuv ooh" and every one thereafter...

Looking back at pictures of when they were "little"...

Telling your little girl how great it was to meet her daddy, fall in love, get married, and pray for her throughout your pregnancy...

Helping her learn to write her name, and seeing her just take off with learning altogether...

Watching, and enjoying, The Wonder Pets and other kids shows...

Laying beside her, smelling her hair and wondering, "Can this be real?"  (the love, not the good smelling hair!)...

Going from a regular car seat to a big girl booster seat...

Seeing her imagination come out in stories and play...

There are just so many...

Not the point

When I watch The Biggest Loser, I just want to eat a snickers bar.  Every time.  Seriously.  What's wrong with me?

Monday, March 10, 2008


I love my sisters.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Anna:  The snow is so bright today!

Leslie:  It is bright outside, but it's the sun that's bright.  The light is reflecting off the snow.  That makes the snow look bright.  You could ask Carrie and Laura and they could tell you more about it.  

Anna:  How did they get to know so much?

Leslie:  Well, they work hard, study, and read a lot.  They're good at remembering.

Anna:  (Pause) Mom?  Why didn't you do that?

Leslie:  Well, I did.  I am.  (stutter...)

Anna:  (Longer pause)  Yeah.  You're good at piggy back rides.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I'm not in this alone

So after reading a story to the girls tonight (actually, bedtime was much more EVENING than NIGHT--last night was entirely too late) about Snow White the girls were looking at the pictures and recapping the story for me.  McKenna's take on the story was that "the dwarfs went to work every day and then went back to college".  College, cottage...whatever!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This side up

Samuel brought home a picture that he'd created at church tonight.  He was so proud of it and he was super excited to show it off to Pops.  Pops guessed, guessed again, and guessed again.  Samuel looked a little miffed that he didn't guess the content of the picture (a lion) but looked completely bewildered by the fact that dad was holding the picture "landscape" and not "portrait", as it was intended to be viewed.

Something cute?  Anna signing "Jesus Loves Me" as I sang to her at bed time.  And she did it with her thumb in her mouth the whole time.  Just so cute...  I love that girl!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My buddies at Mile Post 13

For the last month I've been keeping up with Nate, Tricia, and their little Gwyneth.  You can read their story.  (It'll take hours, but some of the most honest and encouraging ones you'll spend if you have any free time).  Nate is a gifted writer who loves his wife and daughter and the God who made them.  Does it hurt that they're from Nags Head? Of course not.  

There she is...

Brent Musberger on (IU interm basketball coach) Dan Dakich's wife...

"She's been waiting for this for a long time.  There she is in the stands.  She's the one in the red sweater." 

Thanks, Brent.  

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I hadn't even made the bed

Anna raced me up the stairs this afternoon to see what the ol' weather radio was alarming about.  Another Winter Storm Warning, another choppy male voice reading a script about the impending inclement weather.  McKenna piped up (yeah, I didn't know she was laying on my bed either), "Is that Daddy?" (She must think he's famous and on all forms of mass media now that he made the 5:30 news.)  Anna responds, "No, I think it's George Bush."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A star in the family

The star of the day is...Chris!  While we were eating dinner tonight we had the news on in the background.  Lo and behold, there's my husband on the evening news!  Thankfully, it was "good news".  Out of the roughly 21 electronics superstores in Indianapolis (that's about 800 electronics sales guys)...CHRIS got to be the one to clear up the "Digital Dilemma".  I'm having trouble with the link, but maybe you can get it....  Look under the video section and try "digital dilemma".  

Monday, February 18, 2008

Making Howie proud

Here's one reason why I avoid wal-mart under nearly all circumstances.  It'll be a long time before my next trip to the other side of SR 37...

Valentine's merchandise is currently 75% off.  I picked up a few things for Mother's Day Out next year but didn't realize until after the transaction was complete that one of the "big ticket" items actually rang up 50% off.  I ventured over to customer service where the "service" is clearly a misnomer.  After waiting for about 5 minutes for the woman who was "covering" the desk to return from her conversation with a fellow employee in the magazine aisle, I was given the opportunity to explain why I was there.  I simply explained the situation.  Simply.  It wasn't hard to figure out.  I either wanted to pay the "75% off price" or return the product and get the "50% price back."  Not hard.  The original price was $14.96.  After thinking hard, the woman leaned over the counter, I suppose to keep the growing line behind me in the dark about our conversation and whispered, "I'll give it to you for FIVE DOLLARS!"  I think she may have winked at me.  Trying not to sound like a smarty pants, I quickly responded, "That's only 66% off.  I'd rather have 75% off or return the product."  The poor gal was shocked and slightly confused.  She looked at me like I'd arrived from Kashyyyk and was speaking Shyriiwook.  After searching the counter for a handy calculator, she arrived at her final offer.  She was 3 cents off and didn't include sales tax, but at that point it wasn't worth the extra conversation.  

To her first offer...NO DEAL!  

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Typhoid Fever

I don't know much about typhoid fever, but I know it's not good.  I also know that when a test tube of it gets knocked onto someone (say, me), it can induce a genuine feeling of panic.  This was perhaps my most memorable moment yet in "college, part 2".  Praise the Lord it was "killed typhoid fever".  I don't think Chris would have been to happy if the bacteria had been live.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

share the love

So my tea drinking sisters teamed up for my birthday for an awesome gift. It's a brugo mug. Heard of it? It's awesome. Love it. Can't get enough of it. The only drawback is that I can't drink out of it on my way to school if I'm hitting all the green lights. That silly gear shift just gets in the way of the cup holder and I'm not quite coordinated enough to tilt, swirl, sip, and shift without feeling like I'm a danger on the road. Here's to red lights!

No. No. No. No. Yes.

Strep? No.
Flu? No.
UTI? No.
Pneumonia? No.
Sinus infection? YES!
We finally know what has caused Anna's six day fever! As a pat on the back for a good job at the doctor I told her that we could watch Little House on the Prairie when we got home. (She's so easy to please!) We're 2/3 through the first season and the next episode was "The Plague." I had some serious lack of judgement. They wouldn't have known the difference if I'd skipped it. No, I kept plowing along and had to answer a hundred questions about why the people were sick (with a fever) and why they were dying. Such a rookie mistake...

Friday, February 1, 2008


I sometimes wonder what goes on in the minds of my kids ESPECIALLY when they're not saying anything. Last night McKenna clued us in. She was giving Nana and Pops hugs before bed. The family room was dimly lit and we were watching a ball game. McKenna pulled her head back and in a combination of wonder and shock said, "Nana, you've got TVs on your glasses!" She was doubly awed when she gave Pops a hug and he had TVs on his glasses too. Ahhh, reflections of a 3-year-old!

We've been hit by more germs than snow lately. Mom was sick, Chris had it pretty rough, and now Anna's got it. I'm thinking that this is one "it" that no one would want to win from ebay.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Princess manners

McKenna's done it again. One of these days my side really will split open from laughter! I hope that the humor of these stories doesn't get lost in the media format. This is one of those that's really better with hand motions and voice impersonations. Anyway, she was walking into church last week when the father of a young boy (neither of whom we knew) held the door open for her. She waltzed in under the man's arm, stopped, folded her hands under her chin and said with a sweet (somehow southern) voice, "Thank you, handsome."


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can't spell the noise a puma makes

Anna just loves to make very loud and probably a very realistic puma noise in my ear. It just makes me crazy. Last night as I was putting her in bed she asked to whisper something in my ear. About half the time she tells me she loves me. The other half the time it's the puma noise. As I was wanting her to be calm, I told her she could whisper in my ear if she didn't do the puma noise. In true Anna fashion, she leaned over and gave me a good, "BOK BOK BOK" chicken noise. It made me laugh, but even better was hearing her laugh and laugh and laugh...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

We're back

Well, it's been a couple weeks since I've posted but that doesn't mean I've been hibernating.  We did, though, spent a lot of time just hanging out at home during my breaks from MDO and classes at IUPUI.   We're back into the swing of things now.  Sam's birthday yesterday was fun, but I can't believe he's 2.  Two.  I've just really enjoyed being a mom lately...I think I was taking it for granted.  It's no small task.  Thankless at times, but I think I've got the greatest kids in the world.  They are compassionate, loving, and gentle.  They think of each other first more often than I would think that most preschoolers do.  Being a mom is just great.