Sunday, December 28, 2008

Randy's Birthday!

I can not believe I have a 24 year old son! It only feels like a few years ago I gave birth to him, Lord knows I am still carrying around the baby fat! Not really though, I worked hard to lose weight after I had him. This is all new and I can not blame him for it...but you know I have to tease him all of the time.

But back to Randy. He was my first baby. The most gorgeous baby in the whole world! I always called him a "button baby". He had this big round head, so big in fact that I had to have an emergency C-Section after 9 hours in labor. It turned out that he was facing forward and his head just wouldn't fit through the birth canal. After he was born I found a littl bruise on the back of his head where it had been trying to push against my pelvic bone. Poor thing. But oh my, what a round head and then such a beautiful face!

I had imagined all through my prenancy that he would be black haired with brown eyes and a dark mediterranean skin color. His father, Randy Sr., had some Native American in his background and I just thought my little boy would look like him. But he didn't...he looked like me, with blue eyes, blonde hair and a golden complexion. Oh he was sooo cute!!

And smart...let me tell you, of course he had only child syndrome something fierce! Though he liked to share his toys and he was always very polite. He was very mature for his age. But I always wanted him to have a brother or a sister. And he wanted that too. He told me when he was 17 years old that he wished he would have had a sibling, that it was his one regret! (And he was only 17...regrets...hah! Let me tell you about regrets!! No, no, just kidding!)

I have been so lucky, he and I have been a great pair. When we moved to Kansas he was so good and so positive. Not a lot of teenagers would go along with moving 1700 miles away from their friends right before High School! But he was great about it. He understood the opportunity, and kept a really positive attitude, and he made new friends right away.

As a man, well I couldn't be prouder. Of course I would love for him to finish college, find a nice girl to settle down with, all of that. But I know he will find his way in his own time. He is gentle with the girls, loves to laugh with them and teach them things. He is mature and helps around the house quite a bit. I love to go to movies with him and then go get coffee and discuss the movie. Now...I don't know if he loves to do this also, but he does it...because he is a good son and he likes to make his Mother happy and he is definitely not selfish! He is kind of shy...I know you wouldn't think so, but in that way he is a lot like my daughter Madyson, who is also shy. But since they both live with me, they kind of can not be shy, because I am not shy and I make all of the people around me feel like they should not be shy...does that make sense? Someone told me that once, and I think it makes sense. So he kind of acts like he is not shy, but sometimes I see that he really is.

I still see him as the little blonde haired boy with the page-boy haircut, sitting in the back of my car singing at the top if his lungs some little song he just made up. Laughing at the wind in his hair and smiling a big smile! I love you Randy, Happy Birthday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Day at Our House

Madyson loved her Madame Alexander doll "Sara". Though she changed her name immediately to Addy Claire. I got this beautiful doll a few years ago, when Madyson was only 2, she looked just like her right down to the cute little pony tail poms!
Mackenzie announced in November that the only thing she really wanted was this Play Doh Ice Cream Set. Funny thing was I had already bought it on sale at WalMart in October. I wasn't sure who I was going to give it to, then I knew!! She was so excited, and went right down to the basement to play with it...all by herself. She was down there for half an hour and we had to call her up to eat breakfast.

These pictures posted out of order, this was actually supposed to be the first one. I took this just before going to bed on Christmas Eve.

And here are the girls just getting ready to tear into their first gifts. I always let them open their stocking gifts first. They can do that all at the same time. But we still like to have everyone take turns on the bigger stuff. I don't I add more chilfren I will probably have to just let them open at the same time or we will be there until New Years!

Randy has an Ava Present on his lap! She just loves her big brother so much!
What a fun morning it was! After opening all our gifts, the girls started playing with their toys and reading their books. Randy looked after Ava Marie so I could start breakfast. I read on another blog that the Mom had each of her kids sign up for dishes they would make or help make for Christmas Day breakfast and dinner...all I can say is "WOW"! I can not wait until my girls can cook with me in the kitchen. Not that they can't help now...but let's get much would be helping and how much would just be making a bigger mess! I am not real particular about a terrifically clean house...but I can't stand to cook in a dirty or messy kitchen. I like to spread out and kind of clean as I go.
But I figure it is probably a lot like teaching a child to feed themselves, you have to go through the really messy, food on the floor, bananas in their hair, spaghetti sauce dripping from every oriface kind of thing before they can actually get the food in their mouths and you can be sure they got a nutritious meal. And I will most likely have to let the girls get in the kitchen, "help" me pour things and serve things, and stir things and just look the other way when it becomes a big mess.
I can not say that Christmas Day at our house was relaxing...but it was fun, noisy, happy and just plain filled with love! Hope yours was too!

Christmas Eve Dinner

As was the tradition at my Italian Grandmother's home (Nani), we always have Italian Sausages with onions and green peppers on Christmas Eve. We make sandwiches out of them, served on Hoagie style buns. Yum-yum! I like to make extra and then use the leftover sausages, veggies and even the drippings in my eggs the next morning...which is exactly what we did!

I put about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan, then saute the onions and pepper for about 5 minutes, then add the sausages and turn them once. This dinner, which we have a couple of times per month takes about 30 minutes to make from start to plate!

After dinner we have a birthday cake for Jesus, and sing Happy Birthday. We also usually attend the candlelight service at our church. They have a special Children's Service at 3pm and 5pm, then about 7 other services at various times. We did not attend any of the services this year since the baby wasn't feeling well. I really miss it, at the end of the service our Pastor, Adam Hamilton darkens the whole sanctuary (which seats 3,000) and then they light the Purple Advent candle, and then several people light a candle from that one candle, and then they go out to us and we light our candles row by row, and soon the whole sanctuary is lit up with light...all the while we are singing Silent Night. It is so moving...I always cry and have a hard time holding my candle and drying my eyes at the same time! I must be there next year, I am really sad I missed it!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Let It Snow...

I am cheating here. These pictures are not the idyllic snapshots of a snowy Christmas Day! No, they were taken a few weeks ago. And, alas, there is almost no snow on our lawn today. There was a bit yesterday, but then we had a day in the mid 30's and last night just wasn't cold enough to keep it! Darn!

So I am posting these pictures, and humming "Let it Snow, let it snow..." and hoping that the snow will return soon. "Why?", you ask. Because my Mother and my Aunt Marianne will be here on Saturday for a week and I have promised them beautiful snow!! And now I have to deliver!

This is the view from my office, the kids still love to play on the swingset, even in the snow!

They were outside building a snowman, who is now deceased...may he rest in peace. You see, if it would only snow again, then we could resurrect him, and I could teach my girls a wonderful lesson on the resurrection, which is really an Easter story, but, whatever! And we could have hot chocolate, and make snow angels...please snow, please snow, please snow. I'll let you know if it does.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Ava Marie!

Today is Ava Marie's 1st Birthday! I am so happy to be celebrating this day with my cute little babies big day. Ava Marie was 4 days old when she came to live with our family.

I'll never forget the phone call at 6pm on a Friday night. The girls had just sat down to dinner and we were planning on watching a Christmas movie later that evening. The agency called and said, "We have a 4 day old baby girl...are you interested?" Boy, was I!! I told the girls to eat quickly and then loaded them in the van and we drove to Lawrence (which was halfway to Topeka, where Ava was born.) and met the social worker in a parking lot. Not exactly a romantic story, but I could have been anywhere...when she placed Ava Marie into my arms I was so excited I was trembling! She was asleep, so we gently put her into the van and I told the girls they needed to be really quiet on the way home. Yeah, right! They were way too excited and kept squealing every time she moved! But she slept all the way back to our house.

I carried her car seat into the house and placed it next to the Christmas Tree. Then I got the girls to bed as it was almost midnight by then! After they were settled I went back downstairs and lifted her out of the carrier, I remember standing next to the tree, looking at her little face in the glow of the little white lights. She was the best Christmas present I had ever received. Thank you Lord!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hangin' with my Sisters

Just another lazy Sunday in our jammies! All of the girls are in the childrens area drawing and reading.
Katy and Mackenzie are obsessed with writing letters to people. They write at least one letter a day to me and to each other! It's cute, but I have little bits of paper everywhere!

Katy is now passing this down to Ava, who is awed by the power of the crayon!

I think Katy is trying to persuade her to use the crayon to write with, rather than to eat! I get it!!

Home Sweet Home

I like this photograph of our house, I was actually trying to get the clouds above it...they were pretty ominous that day. I love the sage green color, just wish I had more mature trees. I am going to plant more this spring. Or should I say, I am going to hire someone to plant more trees for me!


This was the first day that Ava Marie wore shoes! She seemed to like them. The real reason I put them on was because it was very cold and I was trying to prevent her from taking off her socks!!

Love those cool pants too!

She's just too darn cute!

Katy's Ballet Pictures

Katy also loves Ballet classes at The Culture House! She is so tall and lean, her body is perfect for ballet. She is in Ballet 1 with her dear friend Megan.
She was so cute when she posed for these pictures.

I told her that her arms were perfectly rounded!

A view from my office...

This is basically the view from my office. I have 2 big picture windows that look out to the backyard. I can watch the girls play, the snow fall, the wind get the picture...well, the mental picture.

For so many years I worked for someone else, stuck in cubicles or windowless offices. It was so important to me when I found this home that it had a great office with lots of light and windows. My favorite thing is that it looks out to the back yard and not the front yard. Because during tax season I am in my office at all hours...oh who are we kidding here...I am in my office to all hours all year long! But anyways, I like to have the blinds open so I can see the first hint of dawn in the wee hours of the morning, and it would be weird if my neighbors could see into my office when I was working...since I often wear my PJ's!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ballet Class

Mackenzie has her Ballet class on Wednesdays after school. She was originally in a Creative Movement class for 4-6 year olds. But most of the children in the class were only 4 and not always cooperative. Mackenzie really takes this seriously, she loves to dance! So I asked the school's director if she could move up to the Beginning Ballet class, it is for 7-10 year olds and she was almost 6. She said it would be too old for her, that she might not be able to keep up with them and might lose focus and disrupt the class! "" I said, "You don't know how determined my daughter is. Just let her have a chance in the class, one time. See if she can dance like the rest of them."

So they let her dance with the older class for one night. And both the Director and the Teacher, Miss Laura said she is totally ready for this class!! They were really impressed with her focus and her attitude! That's my Mackenzie!

She also loves learning all of the words in French. She said she wants to be "en point", I told her she will have to wait a few years for that!

Mackenzie practices a lot! She wants me to put a mirror and a ballet barre in the basement so she can practice at home too! Maybe I will...
Oh yeah...these pictures were taken with my brand spanking new digital camera!!! I got a Canon PowerShot A590 IS yesterday! It is awesome! I love being able to take pictures and upload them right away. It is a lot easier than running the film up to WalMart every week or so, and cheaper too! But it takes so long for the picture to take, I will still have to use my Nikon 35mm for my best pictures of the baby, the digital keeps missing her smile!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Missing October

Okay, have you ever looked up from your busy life and noticed that you are missing something? Well, apparently I am missing the whole month of October! Where did it go...I have no idea!

So here is my October Top 10!

1. Rehearsals for The Wizard for Oz are going great! Both Katy and Mackenzie are having a fun time and have pretty much mastered all the dance steps, already having the music memorized before they even auditioned for the show!

2. Ava Marie is still working on the walking skill! She cruises around all of our furniture, grabbing onto any legs or knees she can find. She can stand upright without holding onto anything, but I don't think she realizes that yet.

3. We took the picture for the Baptism Announcement. Aunt Leslie took the photograph as she is our resident professional! It is awesome, and I will post some of the proofs later.

4. I made Katy's Halloween costume this year. I was working on the costumes for Wizard of Oz, and I got to make a jacket for an Ozian. I loved the pattern, so I got it and some fabric and decided to make Katy's "Pretty Witch" costume. It went really well, and now I will be completing all of these jackets because I have this pattern memorized! Katy looked so beautiful! And Mackenzie or Madyson will probably wear this costume in the next year or two.

5. Mackenzie was Dorothy, Madyson was a Pink Princess and Ava Marie was a Daisy Flower for halloween.

6. We still have NOT been called with a new baby!! I am really getting anxious about this. But I just try to be patient and pray about it a lot!! God has a plan and He knows when the timing will be right! I just wish it was right now!!

7. I have been to the Children's dentist 7 times in the month of October!! I should have my own chair in their lobby, with a Starbucks coffee waiting for me!

8. I am the Co-Head Room Parent in Mackenzie's Kindergarten class. So I was in charge of organizing the Fall (Halloween) Party for her class. It was so much fun! The kids got dressed in their costumes at the end of the day. Then the principal, who dressed as Cruella Duville, lead the whole school starting with the Kindergartners in a parade throughout the halls and into the Gymnasium and back out into the halls! It was so much fun to watch. Then the kids came back to have their party, we made Spider Trick-or-Treating bags, played Musical Chairs, ate lots of goodies and took a class picture! Lots of fun!

9. Our family attended a lot of Halloween parties this year. Many of our friends had some great parties, especially our friends Wendy and Louis Orlando, who had a family party at their nightclub Orlando's. WOW!! My girls loved dancing on their dancefloor, with all of the lights and the great music! Wendy had all of the kids out on the floor and played a lot of games with them, including Musical Chairs that Katy almost won!! And the food was terrific! We are so lucky to have such great friends and to be able to enjoy ourselves!

10. Mackenzie turned 6 at the end of October! She had a fun family party on her actual birthday. Mackenzie chose Hamburger Macaroni & Cheese as her birthday supper! I made her a Butter Yellow and Chocolate Marble cake with Pink Strawberry Icing and lots of pink and purple sprinkles on it! Then we had her Big Party on Saturday! We had 30 children in attendance including her sisters! WOW! What a fun day! Mackenzie really enjoyed her birthday and loved sharing all of the fun with her family and friends! Love you my little red froggy!

Well that was October in a nutshell! I promise I will be better at posting this month. There is lots to talk about!

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're just a bunch of Munchkins!

Well, The Culture House posted the Cast List for the Wizard of Oz yesterday afternoon. We'd been having a lazy day, had to catch up on our playing and resting after our whirlwind Friday and Saturday.

Both Katy and Mackenzie have been cast as Munchkins! We are thrilled because the girls will have the same songs and dances to learn together and will be on stage together. Katy was happy to be called back to be an Oznian, but it really required more Tap Dancing than she was comfortable doing, so I am glad they decided to cast her as a Munchkin instead.

Madyson did not get a part, which I kind of figured. The Director spoke to me about it, I think she may have thought I would be mad if she didn't cast all of my girls. But I have no problem with her choices at all. Madyson really isn't ready yet, but she is only 4, and we will try again in the Spring when they do Peter Pan. The girls were talking about how they will have rehearsal now every Friday Night. And Madyson asked me where will she be, I told her she will be with Ava and I, and she said "Oh Goody!" So she isn't dissappointed either! She is such a good girl!

Katy's good friend Megan also was cast as a Featured Munchkin in the Lullabye League. I think this will be the best show ever! We are such Wizard of Oz fans!

Now I must turn my sights to next Monday, that is Mackenzie's official adoption day! My Mother and Aunt are flying out here for the big day! We go to court in the morning and then she is officially a Werner! Of course, I believe she has been my daughter since the day she arrived which was July 20, 2005. She was just 2 1/2 years old, freckle faced and talking a mile a minute! We were told that she would only be with us for 1 or 2 months, but I felt differently, I just knew in my heart that she was meant to be in our family. And while I followed all the rules and tried to be helpful to her birth family, it never felt right. Mackenzie says she knew I was her Mommy from the first time I kissed her...isn't that just so sweet?

One of my favorite things about adoption are those moments...when you feel like you are living in a Hallmark Card...and you just can't fathom how God knew you would be the perfect fit for this child even when no one else seemed to think it would work out! Thank you Lord for these moments! I am so awed by His power in my life! Thank you for these beautiful girls! My little Munchkins!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Life Imitates Art!

Last night was a wild night! The girls had their auditions at the Culture House for The Wizard of Oz. I picked them up from school early so everyone could have a little quiet time and rehearse their songs before we went over to the auditions.

Auditions started at 4pm and we were in line by 3:30pm. Katy got number 34, Mackenzie #35 and Madyson #36. Everyone was in a great mood and I kept thinking that Madyson seemed excited about trying out. This is her first time and anyone who knows her knows that she is actually very shy. Because she is in this particular family, surrounded by extroverts, we kind of draw her out and really don't give her a chance to be shy! So auditioning in front of a room of strangers is really out of her element, but...she actually did it!

But wait, I am skipping the most exciting part! After registering and getting our numbers and getting the kids re-measured for costuming (I just don't get that one!) We went into the red studio to watch the auditions and wait for our turn. I was just sitting there watching a cute little girl, #9 sing and thinking how fun this is and how much my girls get from being a part of all of this. It was raining outside and it had started to rain pretty hard, we'd had storms all day. And then the Tornado Sirens went off!

How appropriate! A Tornado in the middle of The Wizard of Oz! As we all like to say out here...It can only happen in Kansas! They stopped the auditions and then herded all 200 of us into assorted interior rooms. We all ended up in the ladies restroom with about 35 others. It got real hot in there, real fast! We stayed in there for about an hour and a half and the line of storms kept on moving up hitting us with one warning after another. I called Randy who had heard the sirens also from our home, he rushed over to the daycare to pick up the baby, he said it poured and he could barely see out the car window, but they arrived safely home and I felt better knowing Ava was with him and that they could stay in our basement and be safe.

Finally the staff at the Culture House started up the auditions again. We were still under a Tornado Watch, so you aren't supposed to leave your safe place, so they took 10 kids at a time, let them sing and then took the next 10. While we were in the audition studio it began to rain again really hard. The directors had to have the kids stand directly in front of them, within about 1 foot in order to hear them over the rain. It was so wild!

We finished around 7:30pm and picked up some hamburgers and headed home to see Randy and Ava. We were all safely tucked into our cozy home by 8pm and though it is still raining, the threat of Tornados has subsided by now. But it made for an exciting evening!

The girls went to bed at 9pm, they have to get some sleep as callbacks are tomorrow (today Saturday.) and the names of those with a callback will be posted around 7am. I was up at 5am and wandered down to see if they were posted yet...but no, they were posted at exactly 6:54am.
Katy has a callback for an Oznian which she is thrilled about. Mackenzie has a callback for a Munchkin! Madyson did not get a callback, which does not mean she is not in the show, but I kind of doubt it. While she was very brave and did get up and walk in front of the directors, she barely made a sound when she sang "Happy Birthday" and there were so many cute little ones that really got up and sang their hearts out. I am very proud of Madyson whether she actually gets a part or not! She stretched out fo her little comfort zone and she will have plenty of opportunities to try out for other shows!

Well, time to get the troops out of bed and get some pancakes into them. We have ballet classes at 10am, callbacks at 11am and of course, there is always laundry to do!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Growing by leaps and bounds!

I woke up yesterday morning to the incredible- fast growing baby! Yes, Ava Marie went to bed on Monday night wearing a size 9 month and woke up needing a size 12 month! How does that happen?! Oh I hear you, ha feed them...everyday...more than once a day! Yeah, I know that, but really...a whole size in one night?! I don't think any of my other children ever did that!

So...I had to go shopping on Tuesday for clothes for her. ( OK, so I love to shop, but not at the last minute! I like to PLAN it out, that is the best part of shopping for me! Did I mention I am an accountant...planning is my life!!) I had a couple of things, but not enough to finish out the week even. I went over to the Carters Outlet in the Great Mall of the Great Plains and dropped a couple of bucks for some really cute outfits. Now we can get through this week with a couple extra to spare. I also bought a couple of 18 month outfits well, 5 of them. I figure I have at least a week before I will need those!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wicked weekend!

I am up in my office writing this post and the girls are all directly below me in the basement. They are working on their audition songs for The Culture House. It is putting on The Wizard of Oz this fall and Katy, Mackenzie and Madyson all want to be in it.

Katy and Mackenzie are going to use "I'm Not That Girl" from the musical Wicked for their audition piece and Madyson is going to sing "Happy Birthday" for hers. (Mackenzie sang this same thing for her first audition and it works great because everyone knows the words to Happy Birthday...even if you are nervous!) The girls and I ran through it a couple of times and then they told me they wanted to sing the whole show of Wicked, so they are down there finishing it up right now! They are so cute! Mackenzie is Galinda, Katy is Elphaba, and Madyson has been told to do "All of the others!"

The baby is napping and so I folded laundry, started dinner, paid some bills online, and now wrote this...I'd say my weekend is now complete!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Illness be gone!

Yuck!! Double Yuck!!! I am finally emerging from the fog of seven days of sickness in this household. It started out last Thursday evening when Mackenzie said her back hurt and she didn't feel well. She stayed home sick on Friday. Madyson and Katy went to school but the phone rang at 10am and off I went to pick up Madyson who had a temperature of 101. Both girls took really long naps on Friday afternoon which allowed me to continue working and as we started our weekend I thought (actually, I ASSUMED, which is a really bad idea!) that everyone would be fine for the weekend of fun activites I had planned.

Saturday morning we got up, ate our wonderful, fluffier-than-ever pancakes and drove off to Ballet class for Mackenzie and Madyson. Madyson only lasted about 15 minutes and then I watched her lay down on the floor and just stay there. Mackenzie really was fine. But we spent the rest of the day at home while Madyson mostly slept.

Sunday we all felt great and had a good day out at Church which met in downtown Kansas City for a special Comm-UNITY Service with another Methodist church in town. And then went to Crown Center for lunch and walked around the Irish Fest. On the way home Katy said her head hurt and by the time we arrived back home she had a temp of 101+.

Monday, the holiday we were just going to stay around home, swim in the pool one last time, and have Ice Cream for Dinner! Katy felt awful and really never came down from her room. By early evening she was feeling better and was up in her room reading to the other children before bed. I went to bed right after the kids as I had a bit of a sore throat and my back was hurting me.

Tuesday I got up still tired but excited to be getting back to our regular schedule. I got all of the kids up and we were sitting at the table for breakfast. Katy said she wasn't sure she really felt better...then she asked if she could go to the bathroom. She made it to the bathroom just in time! I took the others to school and came home feeling like I really needed a nap. I layed down for just a few minutes and realized I was really sick. My neck hurt like crazy and I could barely swallow. So I drove Katy and I to the doctors which is actually only a block away. Yep, we both had strep! Knew it!

I picked up the other kids and took them back too, just to be sure. Madyson had it too, but not Mackenzie or the baby, thank you Lord! We have been on our penicillin for 3 days now and I am finally feeling normal. Last night I actually slept for more than 1/2 hour! Wednesday night I didn' get more than 1 hours sleep the whole night...and that wasn't 1 full hour!

Oh I am so glad to be well again! I hope this is it for our family for this year!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Daily Routine

Another school year has started and I already feel like I am running in a marathon race. Which is wild because if you ever saw me you would surely know that I have never "run" anything a day in my life!

We have just finished the second week and it isn't the schoolwork that has us all tired out, it is all the extra-curricular activities that for some reason have to start the same time as the school year. We start school the 2nd week of August here. It still seems strange to me, as I am from California originally and we didn't start school out there until after Labor day. It has something to do with having extra time to add snow days, or something Midwestern like that.

The good thing about that is that the girls get to start school in their summer clothes, and I can wait for the fall clothes to go on sale! I do a lot of clothes shopping in my basement. I have it all divided and all of the girls clothes go into plastic tubs that are labeled first with the size and season of the clothes (ie; 2T - Summer) and then under that I have a label with the child's name and year it was last worn, repeating this every time one of my girls wears the clothes in this particular tub. (ie; Madyson - 2006) I also let my friend Lorraine "shop" with us as her daughter Olivia is wearing the same clothes as Madyson wore and seems to be following the same seasonal "track" that Madyson did. This works out great for both of us as she returns the clothes in beautiful condition, often adding some new things that were gifts to Olivia. My little Ava Marie is next in line for these. And then Lorraine is expecting another baby girl so she will be next after Ava. As will our new baby Olivia Grace.

I spend the bulk of my clothing budget on shoes and jackets in the winter time. It is pretty cold here for about 8 months, off and on, and Katy is always cold, even in the summer. So I tend to buy new jackets, and I like to get each girl a nice big winter jacket, 2 - 3 lighter weight polar fleece and zip up jackets, and for Katy a quilted vest. Shoes are really hard to hand down. Katy's feet are long and narrow, she is already wearing a size 4 womans. Mackenzie is only wearing a 12 childrens and Madyson is wearing an 11 1/2 childrens. I think Madyson will pass Mackenzie in the next year.

So, back to our schedule and all of the extra-curricular activities. Here is a pretty typical day in the life of ....

5am - I am up pretty early so I can get in a quick shower and get dressed. Then I go downstairs, flip on my computer and make a cup of coffee while I am waiting for the computer to pop on. I sit down to open my emails and try to answer as many as I can. I usually have about an hour of this which also includes pouring the girls orange juice, setting out some fresh fruit and making the baby a bottle. Sometime between and 6 and 6:30 the baby will wake up and I will have to head back upstairs to get her.

6:30am - I get the baby up, bring her into my room to change her and give her the first bottle. This is our snuggle time. Sometimes I let her lay on my bed with pillows behind her and her legs draped over mine while I fold laundry. Most of the time I hold her and snuggle her neck. She always smells so good. Then we put on her clothes for the day, let the cats out of their room (they sleep in the laundry room that is next to my room. Oh yes, I have the best designed house in the world! My laundry room has a door to the hallway right next to the door to my bedroom. You can enter from the hallway, or you can go into my room, make a left into my master bathroom, keep on walking into my master closet, then turn left again and walk from the closet into my laundry room! It makes a perfect circle! Oh yeah! I love this house!!) move clothes from washer to dryer, put another load of laundry in to wash.

7am - We wake up the other girls, get them dressed in clothes that we pick the night before. I have little baskets on their dressers that have their clothes in them. In the morning there is no arguing about clothes, it is already decided the night before! And then their pajamas go into the baskets for the day. I have all their hair stuff in the linen closet, so I get that done upstairs before they go down to breakfast.

7:20am - Downstairs for breakfast, I make weekly menus that I put on the refrigerator, so again it is already decided what we are having and the girls don't whine about it (too much). I like them to have something different every day, so we always have OJ and a fresh fruit, then toast, cold cereal, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, pancakes or waffles. I have a couple of other items I add sometimes, but usually we stick to these. Since I always make pancakes on Saturdays, I double or triple the recipe and freeze leftovers for during the week, same with the waffles.

7:40am - Brush teeth, pack the babies things in her diaper bag, another bottle for the road, and into the van by 8am.

8am - I drive over to the school to drop off Katy and Mackenzie. Then we stop at the bank to do a deposit, Madyson loves to go through the drive-thru here and watch as the little yellow cylinder with my deposit whooshes up in the clear pipe to the lady inside the bank. Then we drive to Madyson's school to drop her off. She attends Kids-R-Kids and really loves this place. In fact, Ava will be starting there this Tuesday, up until now I have been driving her to another care center that is run by a friend of mine, but it adds another 20 minutes to my drop-off and pick-up routine, so I decided to move her.

8:30am - Drop Ava Marie off at Kids Town Academy and drive to post office.

9am - Return home. Make second cup of coffee, take dry clothes out of dryer, move clothes from washer to dryer and put in yet another load of clothes into the washer.

9:15am - Sit down to work in my office. I won't go into my work day, except to say that I work in my office, surrounded by pictures of my children, steps away from my wonderful kitchen if I should need a snack, with a wall of windows that looks west over my backyard. Our swingset is right out my window, because during Tax Season, when I have to work all of the time, weekends included, I like to be able to watch the children outside playing and having fun. While I would like to be out there with them, it also serves to remind me of why I work so hard and even during Tax Season it lifts my spirits to see them swinging away in full joy! My children are my inspiration. I also love having this big wall of windows because I worked for more than 10 years in offices without any windows at all, which I think is actually a very cruel thing to do to a person. We are living organisms, just like trees and flowers, and we need to breathe fresh air and feel the sun and have lots of light!

3:30pm - Drive to pick up Katy and Mackenzie. They get out at 3:40pm, most of the parents line up in front of the school around 3:15, but I get a little repreive here. I purchased one of our schools 2 front row parking spaces at our little fundraiser auction last year. I have my own parking space...right in the front...with my name on it! It is quite the luxury! It affords me at least 15 minutes of extra work time each day, which works out to 1 hour and 15 minutes every week, which equals 45 hours each school year. Not to mention the wild perk of not having to fight the crowds at open house, kindergarten round up, Sneak-A Peek back to school night, Kindergarten Musical, 3rd Grade Musical, etc, etc. Of course this does not always work out, sometimes...just a few, people who are not me have parked in my space!! This makes me very angry and since I have waited until the last minute to arrive, causes us to be late and stressed from trying to find another parking space. BUT...I have rectified this recently. If I arrive and someone has parked in MY space, I simply park right behind them, right up behind the back of their car, so there is no way for them to get out until I come back to my car, which is often way after the event has ended!! Sometimes, like on the first day of school, I just park my own self on a bench in the front of the school and watch the person as they try to figure out where I am and how they are going to get out of there. They are usually mortified that they have been caught, but you know...I paid good money, quite a bit of good money for that spot...and they should be ashamed of themselves. Oh well, it doesn't happen too often.

4pm - Home to have a snack and get ready for the next activity. If we have time, the girls start homework right away. If not, then we change, jump back into the car and off to soccer practice, Ballet class, or whatever. Katy has Soccer on Mondays, Ballet on Tuesdays & Thursdays. We don't have anything on Wednesdays right now, but soon will have Brownies and Daisies every other week and Fridays we often have something to attend like a concert or movie or dinner with friends. Typically, during the week we are done by 5:30pm.

5:30pm - Pick up Ava Marie.

6pm - Pick up Madyson.

6:30pm - Home to cook supper or serve it if I was smart and made something in the crock pot. We are slow eaters, I talk a lot and so do my girls. I like to relax at dinner, talk about our day, ask them questions about their friends and what was the best thing that happened to them. My daughters are also very good eaters, though you wouldn't know it to look at their skinny selves! So there is a lot of eating going on between talking.

7:30pm - I take Madyson and Mackenzie up to take their baths in my big bath. The baby likes to play on the floor with their pajamas and towels. I wash Mackenzie's hair most every night. Madyson's only needs to be done every 2 - 3 weeks. Katy reads at the table for 30 minutes.

8pm - Katy comes up to take her bath and I do a bath for the baby in her little pink baby bathtub.

8:15pm - Settle down on Mom's bed for reading. I like to read to the girls, we are reading Little House on the Prairie right now, we just finished Little House in the Big Woods. The girls listen and relax. Madyson sometimes walks around a little, maybe going through a book of her own, she isn't really ready to sit quietly and listen that long. Ava is actually a great listener, she will stare at the book, even if there are no pictures. I think she will become a wonderful reader some day.

8:45pm - Tuck the kids in bed and lights out. Katy and Mackenzie share a room, they have a bunk bed. Madyson has a bed in the room next door along with Ava's crib. But Madyson doesn't ever like to sleep there. She sleeps most every night on the floor in her sister's room. I have ordered a trundle to go under the bottom bunk for her, I hate that she always sleeps on the floor, but she absolutely won't sleep in her own room! Oh well, I am going to take her bed out of there and put in another crib for Olivia Grace.

9pm - I am back to work in my office until around 12 midnight - 1am. Depending how much I have to get done and whether or not Top Chef or Jon & Kate Plus Eight is on!

It's not the actual activites we do each day that makes me so tired, because Lord knows I am not kicking any of those soccer balls! I think it is all of the driving around I do. I spend at least 3 hours a day in the car! And the weekends aren't much better as that is when the little girls have their ballet and Katy has her actual soccer games, and then on Sunday we have church and then Childrens Choir. Oh well, years ago I tried to cut back on all of the extra-curricular stuff, but I just started to fill the days back up again with new activities. I think we are just one of those go-go families!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dreaming of relaxing!

Ohh to have a relaxing weekend! I am dreaming of it, but then if I really wanted to relax on the weekends or at night for that matter, I wouldn't have all of these children. I don't really like peace and quiet's very overrated!

Yesterday we ran errands. We started out at Church, I had to attend the Baptism class because all of the girls are going to be baptized in November. I know it seems like I've waited a long time, but after Katy and Madyson's adoption, when I originally planned to baptize them, we were still in the middle of Mackenzie's adoption and she would have felt so left out if we went ahead without her. And since Ava Marie's adoption is right around the corner now, I just wanted to have them all done on the same day.

After that we stopped by WalMart to drop off the girls new fall jackets. Every year I pick them up these wonderful polar fleece jackets at Dick's Sporting Goods. They come in a variety of colors and so I pick a new color each year for all of them to wear. Last year it was a light blue aqua, this year it is a dark pink. And since Macvkenzie and Madyson wear the same size I have their names embroidered on them so we know which is which. And Katy's too just because it looks so pretty. I think when people see them, they think the kids are on some kind of team. Of course they are...they are part of Team Werner!

Then we went to Costco to pick up diapers and wipes and have hot dogs for lunch. We love Costco hot dogs! And I picked up 4 new winter sleepers for Ava. They are adorable, one has little pink monkeys all over it with pink bows in the hair, so sweet!

After that we went home and the girls all played, Ava napped and I cooked as we were having my dear friend Lorraine and her daughter Olivia over for dinner. Lorraine and I worked together when I still worked in an office. (The old days...when I commuted 40 minutes each way to work. Now my commute lasts 1-2 minutes...depending if the cats are laying in the way or not! Oh, I am so lucky!!)

I made Bar-B-Que Chicken with roasted potatoes and veggies. I was going to pick up a pie, but I we didn't eat dessert. But we talked and the kids played and played and we watched the Olympics! Go Dara Torres!! If they call her old one more time....she's only old compared to those Chinese Gymnasts!

It was a fun night! And today we are planning on going to a big party at a park in Leawood. They'll have lots of things for the kids to do, then tonight they have a Jazz Concert in their amphitheater. I am bringing deli sandwiches, potatoe salad, sliced watermelon, lemon bar cookies and grapes. I am planning on running these children into the ground tonight! I want them good and tired! This is our last weekend without Childrens Choir which practices at our church on Sunday evenings from next Sunday through Christmas weekend. So it is the last weekend I can truly just do whatever I want to!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kindergarten News

Mackenzie started Kindergarten yesterday! She has been soooooo excited all summer long. Telling anyone who will listen that she is going into Kindergarten and will be attending the same "big girl" school as her older sister!

Then, yesterday morning, she was scared and acting not at all like herself. She told me at breakfast that she might want to wait another week to start Kindergarten. "But you have to start with all of the other kids, honey." I told her. "Oh..." she gulped and then the tears started. She is afraid of the teacher, she might get lost, no one will like her...and some more that I couldn't understand because by now she is sobbing into my shoulder.

All of the sisters plus Mommy gave her a group hug. We have this special way we all stand and hold each others hands while linking arms, this is how we pray at night and sing a song. So we did this and prayed for a good day for Mackenzie and then all hugged again and then it was time to wash off the tears and take that First Day of School picture on the front porch with our new backpacks. And then off to drop off the little ones first so I could walk Mackenzie into her room and take pictures at her desk. (Pictures will follow. I still have a regular 35mm, no digital...I know, I am really old fashioned, but it takes phenomenal pictures and I don't trust those digital ones!)

She sat down next to a cute little girl named Dayna, and they posed for me and then for Dayna's Mother. Katy stood next to me and asked me if I would walk her to her class also. So we kind of stood around with the other parents and then waved to Mackenzie and walked out. Mackenzie was fine by then and waved us off as if she didn't know why we were all standing around staring at her. (That is the Mackenzie I know and love!!)

Out in the hallway were lots of parents trying to get one last glimpse of their new little Kindergartner. In fact there were quite a lot of crying mothers. I kind of snickered to Katy about it. Oh, I know it is hard to see your children grow up and away from you...but give me a break. You won't see me crying at the school while other Mothers watch! (These words will come back to haunt me...keep reading!) I even joked with one of my neighbors who was crying a lot! "Oh, you'll get used to it. Go shopping, do stuff you can't do when the kids are not around...soon you'll be glad to have them all in school!" As am I...right?!

So at 3:30pm I drove back up to the school and walked up to the front area where the kids come out. I knew Katy would know where to meet me, but I wasn't sure how the Kindergartners came out, or where, or even when. Then I saw the line of Kindergarten teachers with their students following behind them. They come out from the side of the building and walk around to the front, following in single file. The teachers are all smiles and happy to be leading their little charges out to their waiting parents.

But the kids...well, most of them looked like they were suffering from shell shock. I couldn't see Mackenzie at first, but when I finally found her, she looked so small and so young standing there with all of the others. She kept looking for me and didn't recognize me at first, then when she saw me her face lit up and at the same time dropped! I gulped, oh are not going to cry...Don't Cry!...I commanded myself. Then Mackenzie started to cry and then I started to cry. I blinked my eyes a hundred times to stop the tears, a small amount of water got out...but no one seemed to notice, Thank God! I picked Mackenzie up and Katy grabbed her hand and kept asking, "Did you have a great day? I saw you at recess, did you see me wave? Is your teacher nice?"

We walked over to the car, waving at friends and past teachers but did not stop to talk to anyone, I was on a get into my car before the tears really started to spill. It didn't help that Mackenzie was still holding onto me for dear life! Maybe she thought I might tell her to go back into the school again, today. Maybe she was just tired and overwhelmed, I'm still not sure what she was crying about. But I knew I was having a hard time keeping it together.

As we drove home Katy seemed to notice I was sniffling, she asked me if I was crying, I said it's just my allergies...and she bought that, yes! After we arrived home, the girls got their folders out of their backpacks to give to me. I sat down to read them and Mackenzie pulled out a poem from her teacher, it was all about how she would take care of our children while they were with her, love them as her own, send them back to us safe and sound, etc. And then Mackenzie handed me a drawing of herself that she had done at school, "So you can look at me if you miss me while I am at school." She said brightly! And the tears poured from my eyes....I grabbed her up and hugged her and let myself cry in her hair. The girls looked a little worried at first, so I told them they were happy tears and they both hugged me.

Sorry I laughed at you Amy. I guess I am just as much of a crying Mommie as you were. I bet we all just takes different things to turn the waterworks on!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back on the list!!

Ok, I should start this post by saying that I celebrated my birthday on Tuesday. I had a great time. Took most of the day off of work. Katy and Mackenzie were still out of school so they were home with me and Randy didn't start back to school until this morning, so the four of us went out to lunch at one our favorite lunch spots, Mi Ranchita! Oh how I love their Espinaca dip and their fresh chips!

I also did my big grocery shopping trip to Walmart. I have put together my weekly menus through the end of August, so I bought everything I'll need for the next 3 weeks. Of course we'll still need to go back to the store each week for milk, bread and bananas, etc. But the gist of it is purchased and put away! I love to grocery shop, I just don't love to put it away!

I picked up Madyson and Ava at 5pm and then we went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It is my favorite all time restaurant and their service is great. And it was my birthday! The girls all gave me some beautiful hand made cards and a necklace and bracelet that they made out of their beads. So cute! Randy gave me a book called "Screenwriting for Dummies" because I am always coming up with ideas for movies and plays. He really wants me to write them down and get one completed so I will know that I have done something I talk about all the time! I told him I would start this week! But I haven't started yet...I will....I just have to squeeze out another hour in my day!

So...that brings me to the list. As a Foster/Adoptive mother, I get to call KVC, the agency where my kiddos all come from when I want to be considered for another child. I had been thinking about calling them when Ava turned 1 or so. But that would mean I wouldn't get another child until the middle of tax season, so......I have been thinking of calling sooner. And then one of my best friends who also has an adoptive daughter from the same agency, called to tell me she had just called to be on the list! I thought about it for another day....and then another....and then yesterday I called and went back on the list! So I should get a call in the next few months!! It's kind of like being pregnant! Except I don't really gain weight, no morning sickness and I know it will be a girl!!

I am hoping they will call me soon, I am praying about it and I know God will let it happen when He is ready. It is so exciting when you are waiting for another child. I called last year right around this time, and it took until December to get Ava Marie, but she was totally worth the wait!! The girls are really excited too, Randy is happy for us, he said he knew there would be more sisters for him. It's kind of funny, because he acts really cool when people ask him how he likes having 4 sisters, says it's fine as long as they are Mom's responsibility and not his. But he spends a LOT of time with us! He really dotes on Madyson, and Ava responds to him so well! He has taught her to wave and clap her hands. I think deep down he loves them a lot and is really happy to have siblings after all of these years. It is my one and only regret that Randy did not get the chance to have a sibling while he was growing up. He would have loved a brother and at the time I had no idea about fostering and adoption. I am so glad God opened my eyes to this now though!! It's never too late to design your own life!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

And still more summer pictures!

These were those beautiful Lilly Pulitzer dresses. The girls wore them to Starlight for High School Musical.
Madysons hair has now been combed, AGAIN, and braided. If we didn't swim twice a day everyday, this would last for about 2-3 weeks!

All the girls here for Katy's birthday sleepover.

Our family celebration on her actual birthdate. Her cake is chocolate and butter yellow marble with milk-chocolate frosting and we served it with fresh strawberry ice cream. My children also get to ask for their favorite dinner, Katy asked for spaghetti with meat sauce, green beans and garlic bread!

Madyson's Hair Au Natural

This was the day I paid $60 to have her hair combed out. It really looks cute, but will not stay this bouncy and pretty. After she sleeps on it, it will become all matted and stuck to her head. It is the curliest, kinkiest hair. But she loved "wearing it long like mommy's".

You can tell she is so pleased with herself! I told her, "You are a really beautiful girl." And she said, "Oh, I know that Mommy!"

More pictures from summer!

Madyson and Ava Marie sharing a book.

Ava and Phoebe sharing a blanket!

Grandma gets to feed the pretty baby! "No really grandma, you eat it first!"

Random pictures from the summer!

Madyson will do anything for sweets!

This is from our Annual Arbor Creek 4th of July Parade. The baby is asleep in her carrier in the wagon. The beautiful woman with the visor is my Mother, Olivia.

After the parade all of the kids got popsicles.

Ava Marie showing her patriotic spirit!

Mackenzie painting herself red with the popsicle.

Katy's sweet smile!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


So we've been spending as much time in the pool as possible! Katy swims like a fish, and Mackenzie and Madyson are right behind her. Mackenzie has to get out for sunscreen every half an hour or she will burn. She is so very fair! I keep SPF 50 on her, and I use SPF 35 on Katy and Madyson. I only have to reapply on them every hour. Did you know that black skin burns? I didn't before I got the girls, in fact I didn't even use sunscreen on Katy the first year she lived with me. Then one night she was getting in the bath and I saw her tan lines from her bathing suit. I was shocked! I felt like an idiot! So now I am really careful with all of my children and I always warn new parents with bi-racial or AA children, in case they don't know.

I ordered the girls school backpacks from Pottery Barn this year. They came today and they are really cute. Katy's is light blue with light green trim and her name across the front. And Mackenzie's is pink with lavendar trim and her name on the front. I did not order one for Madyson who promptly threw a fit and started crying because her backpack didn't come with the others. So I told her that hers was on "special order" and that gives me time to order one for her too. I hadn't really thought it would be that big of a deal to her, but apparently it is!

It's hard to believe that school will start next week. Katy starts on Thursday with a half day, she will be in 3rd grade. She is excited because on Friday we can go online and see who her teacher is. Then on Monday the 11th our school hosts Sneak-A-Peek, which is the annual first look and introduction for the kids to their teachers. We will bring our school supplies in that evening, and a gift for the teacher, a plant or something for her/his room. Mackenzie starts Kindergarten on Friday at the same school. (Madyson is actually going back to her pre-school on Monday so she technically starts first.)

Mackenzie is extra excited because the Kindergartners at our school are having an Ice Cream Social on Sunday so the kids will have a chance to see each other one last time before school starts. She gets to go with me while her sisters stay home, which is a real thrill for her! And she keeps trying on clothes because she wants to be sure to look really cute at the party!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

If it's Tuesday, it must be...

I had planned on keeping up with my blogging every day. But then the days start to carry me away and the next thing I know a couple of days have passed and I am behind. Oh well, no guilt here. I will just give you the quick version, or at least my idea of the quick version of what has been going on in our household in the last few days.

Friday we had a sleepover for Katy's 9th birthday, it wasn't actually her birthday yet, but we have more things going on this coming weekend, and her actual birthday is on Wednesday (Yes, that is tomorrow!) so that wouldn't work well. Anyhow, we only invited a couple of her friends so it would be more low-key. See, with this many children, you have to be really careful about the whole birthday thing, or you can get over your head! Katy's first birthday with me was her 6th, but since she had never actually had a birthday party before that, I really went all out! We had a Hawaiian Luau in our backyard. For her 7th birthday, we had her entire class plus all of my frineds children to Pump It Up for a big party there. And last year, for her 8th birthday, I hired a Limosine to pick up Katy and 14 of her little friends (including her sisters) and go to Shear Madness for a Makeover/Modeling party! Add to that Madyson's and Mackenzie's parties and you have a woman spending too much money!

So I made a new rule. You get an actual birthday party, when you turn an EVEN number, like 4, 6, 8, etc. And in the ODD years, you get a family party with one or two friends, and your favorite dinner of course! So this was an ODD year for Katy, hence the small intimate sleepover. Of course you add a couple of friends to the crowd I already have in my home and we always seem to be having a party!!

It was a fun night, and wouldn't have been much trouble at all except that I had gotten this big idea about putting this new Texture Softener from Just For Me in Madyson's hair that day. And I needed to take her to a salon and have them wash her hair and comb it out before I could put the stuff in her hair. Her hair is so curly and tight, and she has so much of it. You can spend an hour combing through one small section and then let it go and immediately try to comb through it again and it will have intertwined before you can do it! So we arrived at 2pm and for 3 hours they had 3 women combing out her hair! They never even got to the wash! And then I had to go because Katy's friends were coming over at 6pm. So Madyson wore her hair out...just out there! She looked like Macey Gray with this sort of Afro sticking out all over. Actually it was kind of cute in that natural-hippie-style kind of look!

So Saturday morning I got up early because one of the little girls had to go early and I wanted to get the pancakes done so she could eat before they left. And then I drove one of the other girls home and then went over to KVC to give a little pep talk at one of their MAPP classes. This is the class you have to take in order to be a foster or adoptive parent. I love to meet the newbies! They always have such fun questions, long did it take you to get your first child, did you know you were going to get to adopt her, what if you don't get along with the birthparents, you know, those light-hearted questions that don't require you to think too much! But really, they were a wonderful group of people and I am proud they are all stepping into the role of foster parents, we need more people to do that!!

Then I stopped in at the mall to pick up a birthday present for the girl who's party we were attending that day, I found a really cute top at The Limited Too and could not resist buying another one for Katy! That girl has way too many clothes, but I can't help it, she is sooooo beautiful! And then I headed home to give the kids a quick lunch before heading over to Monique's 11th birthday at Skate World! No, I did not have time to do Madyson's hair before we left, so it was still in her little Afro-girl style! And she looked so cute out there on her skates. She and Mackenzie wore matching outfits...what else is new!? After skating we followed Lisa (Monique's Mom) over to her place for a swim. And even though I asked Madyson not to get her hair wet, she jumped in and soaked it! $60 down the drain!!( That is what I paid for the combing out!)

So Sunday morning bright and early I got Madyson up to finish, or should I say re-start her hair! You know, AA hair is really easy most of the time. You only wash it every 2 -3 weeks and if it is in braids you only need to keep it moisturized. But the actual act of taking the braids out, washing it, combing it and re-braiding takes 3 - 4 hours! And I have 2 girls with this kind of hair! Madyson really enjoyed the pampering. The bigger girls helped me, and even though I have never used this product before...I think it turned out really well. It is NOT a straightener! It just helped loosen her curls a little, so I could divide her hair and really comb it well. Then I put it back up into 6 braids. It really looks great. I will post pictures in a few days.

We relaxed the rest of the day. (Read relax as :I only did 4 loads of laundry, woo-hoo!) Then Lisa cam over with Monique and Trey for dinner, I made 2-foot long deli sandwiches, which the kids loved. And then we went to Starlight to see High School Musical. I had already seen it on Thursday night, I have season tickets. It was so hot during the first half...I was really considering trying to talk everyone into leaving! For intermission I got the girls Frozen Lemonades and I got a diet coke, wow! That really hit the spot. And the night just seemed to cool down automatically during the 2nd half. I'm so glad we stayed. The girls all looked adorable. They were wearing their matching Lilly Pulitzer dresses that we found at Costco! My Mother originally bought them for the girls to wear to Mackenzie's adoption party, but since this has not happened yet, I didn't want them to grow out of them before they got a chance to wear them! Really cute!!

Monday brought us back to the old grindstone. I have a lot on my plate as far as work goes, and I am trying to get as caught up as I can as I have taken on a new client that is pretty big and will probably take up at least one day a week. I am anticipating this, so I want to be prepared and not let it make me farther behind. But I am also spending a lot of time on blogs and websites that pertain to frugal living. I like to learn new ways to do things, in a more frugal manner. I clip coupons, bake bread, re-use plastic bags, just like everyone else. But I want to do more, so I can figure ways to save money, so I can afford all of those expensive dance lessons for the girls!!

And that brings us to Tuesday! Which was another awesome day! Not too hot today, so the girls got to be outside a lot. And my housekeeper came today,she usually comes on Mondays. And I know what you are can I be thinking of being frugal and saving 50 cents on a bag of bread and then I have a housekeeper!

Well I will tell you...I need to have a housekeeper. First of all, I am single and the sole earner for this family. I get paid to do accounting, not cleaning. So if I am cleaning my own home, I am not getting paid during that time. My company motto is "So you can do what you do best!" And I "account" best! Also, since I hired Fatima, my housekeeper, my children are never sick! That tells you how great a housekeeper I wasn't! And I just love the way my house smells when she is done!

Well I am yawning and I still have one more set of payroll returns to finish tonight. Sweet dreams!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

She's not heavy, she's my sister!

We all got up early this morning to take the two youngest girls to WIC to get them weighed and measured this morning. Ava Marie, who just turned 7 months is 18 lbs, 13 oz and 26 3/8 inches tall! That is a big, short baby!! Since her heritage is AA and some South American (Not sure which country.) she is apt to be a little on the short side. Of course I do not mind that at all as I am only 5'2" myself. And especially because I seem to be raising so many Amazon Women...Madyson Claire, who just turned 4 years old is 38 lbs and 42 3/8 inches tall! She is in the 92 % range for her height and only 1 inch shorter than Mackenzie who is 5 1/2. We are not surprised by that either since Katy, my almost 9 year old was in the 96% range in height when we went for her last physical.

The doctor told me to make sure you have her(Katy's) respect now...because she is going to pass you up before she is 10. Yes, you heard it, Katy is only 4 inches shorter than I...but I'm louder! So it looks like I will have 2 short ones and 2 tall ones so far...we'll just have to see how Olivia Grace turns out.

We had our breakfast in the car, good old cereal in a bag and juice in our Starbucks cups. I am so glad I learned that cereal in a bag trick from "Jon and Kate plus Eight" that is a life saver when we have to be out really early. And then we were supposed to stop by a friends for a visit but she has two down with no way we could stop there! We went to Costco instead to get diapers and wipes and of course, we had to do the tasting round! My girls get so excited when I tell them we are going to Costco...just for the food!! They always start yelling "Do we get to taste stuff??!" Although they didn't really have a lot out today, mostly things we had already tried before, nothing you wanted to figure out how to get seconds for. Oh you know you've done that...walked around the store for another 30 minutes and then headed back to try it one more time, hoping that the lady giving out the samples doesn't point at you and say, "Hey! You already had this sample, Lady! " I always blame it on the kids, I say, "Oh kids, we've already had this one...oh OK, you can try it one more time since you loved it so much and yes, maybe we will buy it." And then you shrug your shoulders at the people around you and act like you just can't say no to your children. Well, this works fine, except when your always-point-out-the-obvious 9 year old has to go and blurt out, "Mom, we didn't want to try it again, you did!" At the top of her lungs so even the people in the parking lot can hear her!!

Now we are back home, the baby is napping, the girls are off to the pool with Randy and I am ready to get back to work...well after I finish this post, and put in another load of laundry, and get a glass of water...ok, back to work now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Recession or Depression?!

Is anyone else out there getting a little worried that we are NOT in a recession...rather we are going into a depression? I like to keep my posts on the upbeat side, but I listened to NPR yesterday all about the Indymac bank closing and everyone lined up outside to try to get their money out, and then on the news last night and even on Nightline. And I have to say it worried me.

I do fairly well, as I am in the numbers business, and as my father said to me when I was trying to decide what to study in school "Whether people have a lot of money or a little, they don't want the government to have it, so they are always looking for a good accountant!" So I don't really worry about not having enough clients or not having work do to. But if my clients businesses aren't doing well...and if they could not get their money out of a do the math!

I have been saying that I think we were going into a depression since January, right about the time our government was trying to figure out whether we might be going into a recession. So I have been working on living more frugally. This was way before gas prices started going out of control. I have been working on little things that can save our family money, like recycling boxes and food containers so my girls can use them for art projects rather than buying all new things to paint and tape and create with. My older daughter just loves Petshop animals, she has quite a few (from last year when I was still spending freely...) and so she is creating a "Petshop World" for them using cereal boxes, formula cans, egg cartons, etc. It is really fun for her and the littler girls are doing the same thing. It keeps them busy for hours and the only thing new is the scotch tape and staples and the paint if they use that. I get a lot of catalogs, so they cut up the catalogs for "wall paper" for the little apartments and houses for the animals.

That is just one thing. I also try to save on my grocery bills by shopping at Aldi's, sticking to my list, cooking basic food, and not using pre-prepared stuff as much as possible. You know I used to buy Walmart brand pancakes. They are only $1.50 for 12 pancakes, that is just 12 cents per pancake. My girls eat 2 each on Saturday mornings, so that means it costs us only .75 cents for their breakfast. BUT...I found that by making my own pancakes from scratch (I have a great easy recipe from Martha Stewart Living) I can save even more! I double her recipe and get 24 pancakes for only .50 cents, which means each pancake only costs me .02 cents!! Now thats the way to save money!

Of course you may be saying to yourself, "I'd rather spend the 10 cents for convenience." But then I have to say, look at the bigger picture...if you had pancakes every Saturday morning for the whole year, then you would save $32.76 [(.75 X 52 = 39.00) -(.12 X 52 = 6.24)] Well, I warned you I am an accountant. I think of things like that. And since my daughters are very active in sports and theater and dance, and that costs a LOT! I can use the savings to put toward their classes.

Just a little something to think about.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The trouble with noses

The baby has a cold. Her poor little nose is running all day and night and she is pretty miserable, well for her she is. Luckily Ava is the most happy baby in the world and rarely fusses or cries, so a little fussing and crying isn't really too bad.

She is also teething which also makes for a little fussing...and drooling...and a runny nose. Poor Ava, she's not having a good week. But she still looks so cute! She will be 7 months exactly tomorrow. She is sitting up when you set her that way but is not able to get to the sitting position on her own yet. She is doing the army crawl and can get herself pretty much anywhere she pleases. She sometimes follows my voice into the kitchen, but I don't like her to crawl on the wood floor, I don't want her to hurt those cute little knees or elbows! So I am constantly picking her up and placing her back on her blanket. She thinks this is a game now...and giggles when I come get her and scold her for leaving the designated area. She obviously is not taking me seriously...just like all of my other children.

I thought I would have a pretty relaxing day yesterday...did a couple loads of laundry (I have to do 2 loads a day to just keep up with this crowd!) Started cutting out some dresses for the girls, this will be the first set to include a dress for Ava. Yes it's a matchy-matchy and while a lot of people don't like that kind of thing, I do! I don't have a lot of matching clothes for them, mostly because Katy's clothes come from the junior dept., Mackenzie and Madyson still wear some toddler stuff, and then Ava's in the infant section. So I usually have to make something and, you know I have all-the-time-in-the-world for that kind of stuff! But I really enjoy sewing, so I try to make time for it every couple of months or so.

Anyhow, I didn't have to make dinner because we were going to a neighbors sweet sixteen party and when I called to RSVP I was asked how many of us would be attending "so I can tell the caterer"...this of course was music to my ears! WOW! I won't have to cook on Saturday night...Yea for me! Or so I thought...turns out people now have ice cream and cake CATERED! Yes, really! So by the time we left the party we were all famished and the girls were hopped up on sugar, so I called my son Randy who was not at the party (Can you imagine that my 23 year old son didn't want to attend a Sweet Sixteen party for our neighbors daughter?) and told him what had happened and we picked him up and went to the Cheesecake Factory! Well...we were all dressed up!

It was very nice, the girls were relatively well behaved considering they were now coming down from their sugar high, the baby was happy because there was lots to look at and Randy and I had a nice conversation without too many interruptions. We always order cheesecake and bring it home to eat later. We like to enjoy the dinner without having to worry about "saving room" for dessert. Of course we don't usually order dessert anywhere else except the Cheesecake Factory, which is my favorite restaurant. Can you believe we have 2 of them in Kansas City? And you probably thought there was nothing here in the Midwest except cows and tractors! Well we have a lot of those too, but we also like to eat out a lot. The restaurants here are always very crowded. I remember back when I lived in California, we usually had to wait 15-20 minutes to get seated on a Friday or Saturday night. But here it is not unusual to wait 2-2 1/2 hours for a table...on a Tuesday! Maybe we just need more restaurants!

Friday, July 11, 2008

More pictures of the Tea Party

Madyson loved the apple juice "tea"

That last candle was a doozy!