At any rate, I was wondering if resolve means to decide to do something differently, or if it just means to decide to do something, period. I want to resolve to do the things I've been doing - to continue them. Turns out, I can! So, without further ado, :
I resolve to care for my four children. I resolve to love them unconditionally, and to "bring them up in the way they should go".
I resolve to cook, to clean, to do laundry. Not always well, and not always every day, but I'll try.
I resolve to shower at least once a week. That's a resolution I know I can keep.
I resolve to love God and my husband with all my heart.
And with that, I'll stop while I'm ahead. I'd say I'd get dressed every day, but then I'd get the flu and being sick on the couch with blue jeans and a bra on sounds like not so much fun.
Without further complaining...
Christmas morning... actually Christmas Eve morning, because we opened gifts early to accommodate a few plans for Christmas morning, all of which didn't happen in the end. Oh well!
Grandma and Ruby became somewhat friends before they left. That's a lot coming from snobby Ruru!
Eden was more than content to snuggle with sleepy Grandpa after they drove all night to get here before the snowstorm hit SD and stranded them at home.
Cowboys in fleece. Is that wrong? Does the jean jacket make up for it?
This photo is funny on so many levels. Dad looks positively evil and Sterling's floppy ears... yep, just funny.
Merely the fact that he let me take this photo makes me love him all the more. That he didn't forbid me to post it on my blog is even more amazing.
And this, dear friends, is what my parents came home to. I'm not certain if all the shoveling was done before they got home or if that's what they had to do to get into the house though. I'm thinking Naomi - and if Naomi reads this, thank you thank you thank you for doing chores so Mom and Dad could come - did it with the Bobcat. I'm hoping.
I've only gotten one "Return to Sender" Christmas letter back - the one addressed to the people who live the closest. Sorry, Alicia. Seriously, I even know their address. Helps to read the labels I put on the envelopes, apparently.
Blaine leaves in eight days. He's headed to Santa Barbara CA for about three weeks. That'll be great - or not. I'm determined not to head north to my parents or west to my sister's during that time - mostly because I don't trust my van these days - but we'll see how long that resolve lasts. Three weeks with limited adult conversation is likely to drive me just a bit batty.
We got snow for Christmas! Just a bit, and most of it is already gone. Blaine got a few photos of Grandpa with the kids in the backyard...
Do me a favor. Click on the one above and take a good look at Sterling's face in the full-size photo. Just for laughs.
Today Ruby fussed over her breakfast bread until I got to the bottom of why - she wanted butter. Ugh. The allowable laziness in the name of keeping her clean was fun while it lasted.
Turkey doesn't like my oven. Or my oven doesn't like turkey. Maybe the oven just doesn't like to function properly period, I'm not quite sure. Thanksgiving dinner was several house late because it wouldn't get done, and now Christmas dinner was sans turkey after it cooked for 6 hours and was still not to the required 185*. Now it's in the crockpot, hopefully to finish cooking and becoming supper. Between the mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, dressing, and pie, it was not missed a bit on Christmas though. Maybe I'd make a good vegetarian after all. Likely not though.
Liberty's worn a white shirt for about a year now (not continuously!) and it recently was handed down - in perfect shape - to Eden when I bought a bigger one for Liberty. Eden wore it once. I've soaked the darn thing in bleach twice, washed it twice, and it's in bleach once again, all today. I'm not sure it's ever going to be the same. I'm rethinking my "Buy white, it can be bleached" mentality, at least for Eden. Bleach can't handle Eden.
If you want to get technical, this is a year late. I didn’t get a letter sent out last year at all. But if you’re getting this before Christmas 2009, I’m going to consider it on time anyhow. Some things can’t be caught up on. J
This year was… busy. Then again, so was last year. Ruby
We moved to
I keep a blog at http://balesf5.blogspot.com/ - you’ll get a bit fresher news there than from my sporadic Christmas letters, if news is what you are after. I hope this finds each of you well… and perhaps a bit more caught up than I am!
Then, in case you thought I was finished, I threw the meat-juice soaked floor mat into the tub. This morning, when Blaine stepped into the shower, he slid on the oily mess, stopping my heart for a minute while I watched him flail through sleep-filled eyes. He caught himself, cleaned my tub for me, and all is well. At least until it gets hot enough in the car to rot the remnants of our lunch that wasn't.
My pile of gifts are all wrapped! Ok, less one I forgot I'd stashed elsewhere, and one that's still coming in the mail, but still. This has to be a new record for me. Usually it's Christmas Eve and I'm frantically trying to get everything done. Christmas letters sent... I'll post one here in case you aren't on my Christmas list and wanted to see how not funny I can be.
And, I'm off. Getting up early is only beneficial if you actually get dressed and get moving, after all!
When I asked Liberty why she took the approach (strange as it was) that she did to her schoolwork today, she replied, "Well, I think I was just bored and didn't want to do that." Remind me to up the ante on the schoolwork. Bored is a dirty word.
I ordered prints today to put into the kids photo albums. Some people scrapbook - I don't. I'm lucky to get prints slid into the little slots, preferably in the right order. The last time I ordered prints? October 31, 2008. Number of prints (I think! Once I get these Blaine will appear with images from his camera that I don't have. I think I may just stick to my camera so I'll be done with this yet this year...) anyway, number of prints: 321. Ouch. I also ordered photo calendars for my parents and my grandma. Price of my procrastination: -18.99. They were buy one get one free. Sweet! First time I think procrastination has paid off.
Eden has High School Musical tennis shoes. I know, I know. I don't advertise on my kids. I don't even know, really, what High School Musical is. But when she needed new shoes, the cheapest ones I'd found were $9 and guaranteed to wear out in a month, and these were clearanced to $5 - and the strings light up, which Eden thinks is the coolest thing ever. Turns out even I have a price. But when Eden asked to wear her new shoes to bed last night... ah, the joys of getting a #2 child something new and cooler than her older sister has. I know the feeling. :)
And now... curtains! I'm not convinced that I love them - but open is certainly better than closed. I looked for grommets to use for curtain-rod holes, but I can't find ones big enough for the life of me. These work - and as long as they're open, I think I like them, but since I made them with the idea in mind of closing them at night... now what???
Then, there's this - my attempts to keep the drafts from the back door in the laundry room. I kinda like it. I didn't sit and plot this one at all - made it on a whim at 11pm Friday night. And yes, clown collar and all. I wanted it covered above the suspension rod and didn't know how else to do it.Brr. Hot tea awaits. It's not that cold outside - like 25-30 or so, but I must not be typing fast enough to keep my hands warm!
This was what Sterling emerged wearing this morning. Eden's tights, Liberty's bathing suit, and shoes - Sterling is never without shoes - and they were backwards - also something pretty common for Sterling. This was after he'd come out with the bathing suit over his boxers - apparently that was a little cold.
I got my Christmas letter written - 2nd draft, in case anyone cares to know. Nope, not finished. Turns out these little blogs are a whole lot easier to write than a summary of our year in one page. I got photos ordered too - now, for my goal: get the letter printed and in envelopes, complete with address labels, before the photos arrive via mail. I'll let you know on that one. Or we can leave that one alone and all just pretend I get these things accomplished on time and under budget somewhere outside of my dreams...
Speaking of under budget, when did everything get so stinking expensive?! I head out with my limited budget, trying to buy gifts for the kids - wow, that was a frustrating venture. I did get quite a few things, not nearly what is on my list, but enough the kids will be thrilled in spite of my barely-dented list. I found a toddler bed-sized quilt/sheet set full of trucks for Sterling today at the consignment store. He'll love it. Very cool, and that definitely helped with the budget! I get to chalk up original prices when I decide if monies spent were divided evenly, right?
I also got curtain fabric for the living room windows today. I'll post photos of the finished product - if I'm happy with it. :)
Sterling woke in the night in hysterics. He'd peed in his diaper and eczema has his behind rather raw. I was trying to get to the bottom of it all when he came out with "My...butt...really, really... hurts! Really...really...bad!" He never says that many words, that clearly. I felt so bad for him - but it was nice to know he really can talk clearly when he wants to.
Ruby's sleeping through the night! Even through Sterling's fit in the night, she slept. Ah, progress. I actually had two nights - in a row - last week that no one woke up between 8pm and 6 am. So nice. Now if I can rehydrate Sterling's raw backside - or get him to wake up to pee in the night - we'll be all set.
I'm off to figure what kind of curtains to make. I have visions of stripes, but limited ideas for the tops. No ruffles. They remind me of clown collars - and we have enough funny business around here without putting clown collars on the windows!
And, in case you were wondering, you can find a free pattern to make a clown collar of your very own, looking like the one pictured above, at:
On that note, maybe I know what costume to add next to my girls' dress up tote. Hmmm.
The girls and I watched "The Baby Story" today. They are fascinated with that show. There was a little girl on there today who was named Eden. She was 3 and, well, Eden. Eden means "delightful" and it was so funny to see another little girl with the same name - and so very much the same in personality as well. The mother was due with "Penelope" and she said that they expected her to be just like her older sister Eden - and if she wasn't, Eden would teach her! Ah, yes, that sounds just about right.
We walked around the block today. Our block, while exceptionally big, would be traveled far faster if we didn't have to stop and steal a small amount of gravel from every gravel driveway along the way. Don't worry though, we give theirs to their neighbors, theirs to their neighbors, etc. It's Sterling's mission. I don't ask why - it's hard to know when the answer lacks a few consonants. He "urt" his "inger" (hurt his finger) and wanted a "ar-el" (marble) in his "uck" (truck) tonight before bed. Perfect sense! You should hear him say "convertible". It cannot even be typed. Don't even ask why he knows what a convertible is. He's a boy.
Blaine gets to shoot a book signing with Sarah Palin tomorrow. Pretty cool! I'd go, but then there's the four small children part that throws a wrench in things.
Eden woke me up in the night complaining her pj's were wet. When I asked if she'd wet her bed (something she hasn't done for at least 6 months) she said she didn't know.
"Well, are you panties wet?"
"Then you probably peed your bed. Are your sheets wet?"
"So why are we having this conversation?"
"Because I don't know what got on me!"
"Uh, honey, pretty sure we know what is on you. Unfortunately."
Number of times I get told I have my hands full when we go grocery shopping (on average, no lie): 6.
Number of kisses I get in a day (from children under 6): 30
Number of kisses I get from Blaine in a day: usually less than 30. :)
Number of laundry loads I do in a week: 6-8.
Number of times I sweep the kitchen in a week: 10.
Number of times I wipe pee off the wall/floor/potty chair/sink and other random places Sterling manages to hit in a day: 6.
Strangest place Sterling managed to hit in the last week: It's a toss up between the back of Dad and Mom's bathroom door and their bathroom vanity. And yes, the door was open when he hit it, and yes, it did make the door close. I'm almost impressed. Almost. Pretty sure Mom wasn't even close to being impressed.
Yes, Sterling is potty trained. All of the places he hits (or almost always. We'll allow for the rare accident.) are from the potty chair or the toilet. Any minute now he'll develop a sense of aim - but I'm not holding my breath.
Number of times I yell "Ruby Alexandra!" in an hour: 5-10. Unless she's sleeping - then I get a blessed reprieve. Ruby needs to learn to take longer naps before I go hoarse.
Number of times I've been told my hands were full by a stranger when I didn't have all of my children with me: I lost count. 25+. I don't even tell them what they are missing anymore.
Our house is roughly 900 square feet. That's 150 per person, if it were divided evenly. Yet, I rarely get more than 2 square feet around me - and if I try to cross out of those 2, I trip over someone. Why is that? Sadder still, why did I have to hunt down a calculator to figure out 900/6?
The look on the lady's face at Walmart yesterday when she asked Liberty if they were all brother and sisters, Liberty said yes, then Liberty told me that we need more boys for Sterling and I said maybe someday? Absolutely priceless. Shocked, slightly disgusted, and absolutely hilarious. Apparently she thought I hadn't had them all on purpose. Really now.
We hit one fairly impressive snow storm in the top of MO, saw a lot of vehicles in the ditch, and thankfully drove (35 mph) out of it just before hitting Iowa. I'm not certain if no snow while in South Dakota is a disappointment or not. Sterling freaked out when we stopped during the snow storm on the way there - the snow was apparently attacking him. I rather hoped he'd get to play in it a bit once in SD, but it was beautiful. I guess I can't complain about that!
We went to visit my grandmother there. Grandma was a nurse (still is, I imagine!) and had a photo of herself in her uniform, taken some 60 years ago. She asked Eden if she still looked like that, and Eden told her "No, because you're old now.". Oh, dear. I'm not certain if Grandma was offended or not. But really, why is our age offensive? I'm still pondering that one.
I brought home a bike for Liberty from my parents. I strapped it to the roof rack - something Blaine's used for bikes many times. It took 4 hours and 4 stops to get the straps to stop making so much noise. I was starting to debate the "leave the bike somewhere along the way for some needy soul who finds road noise at deafening decibels tolerable" option before I finally managed to quiet things down up there a bit. I found myself holding my breath as we pulled away from the rest area, waiting for the wind to hit it. The pitch it screeched changed with each stop and attempted silencing, but finally it quit. It did keep trying off and on all the way home though. Seriously. Arriving in Springfield and turning my van off brought blessed silence - until I realized my ears were still screeching along to perfect rhythm. Somebody shoot me.
Blaine's sister and her family are coming for Thanksgiving - arriving sometime tomorrow, I think. She said my messy house didn't matter, but I'm thinking they'd appreciate not having to wade through the animal crackers and rice crispies on the kitchen floor - or the luggage in the living room - or the laundry in the laundry room. Tomorrow's gonna be fun. Oh, and food in the house might be good too. Yep, gonna be a blast. I'm starting to think Liberty and Eden need to start Thanksgiving's school break a day early.
The weather here, I must say, is beautiful. 70+ degree days makes for happy kids outside - which makes for one happy momma. It's hard to remember it's November.
This week is a crazy one. Appointments all week, Sunday dinner for the church at our house, then Monday morning the kids and I are headed north to visit my parents for the week. I can't sleep, I've confused days a few times, panicked when I thought I overlapped appointments, and then found one day trying to decide what to do. Company coming, but not for a few more days - cleaning is a pointless venture. The menu's planned, too soon to buy groceries... so I gave Sterling a haircut. I went a little crazy I think, he's looking considerably balder than before I started, but he declared himself "pretty" so it's all good!
Today I had a doctor appointment. Without sharing too many details, let me just say - sometimes, they just don't get it. "Wouldn't that just mask the symptoms?" "Well, yes, but that would be ok, right?" Uh, no, I don't want a bandaid, I want a cause - or just say you don't know, that would work too! Really now. That was a mostly pointless two hour wait.
Ruby. Dear, dear Ruby. Stay tuned for an auction for the highest bidder... "Get out of the cabinet. Don't eat that! Don't rip that! Get down from there! That wasn't supposed to go in the garbage. That hair's attached - and I'd rather keep it attached! STOP IT!" She, of course, looks at me like I've grown a third eye and keeps on keeping on until I physically stop her - then she gets mad. Very, very mad. Look out, she's trouble and giving me a run for my money. Sterling has a foam fish the Bass Pro store guy gave him when we returned Blaine's old man pants - stay tuned for that story too. The foam fish though - he's had his tail glued back on 5 times. Ruby likes to eat fish tails.
And, the old man pants. Bass Pro has an outlet store. They put the catalog props/clothes in there, among other things. Nice stuff, some quite cheap. I found a pair of jeans for Blaine in there for $10. His size is apparently slightly unusual, thus hard to find. Thrilled to find his size, I confirmed the return policy and got them for him. Blaine tried them on that night, emerging from the bedroom with a "Uh, these are old man pants." Old man pants. Old man pants?! Do they really make old man pants? Old lady pants, sure. They are polyester and sit neatly just below the boobs. But in jeans - for men? These were my thoughts as Blaine rounded the corner. I just about cried, I laughed so hard. They had a built in "spare tire below the belt" pouch - for a 30 inch waist. With no tire to spare, Blaine looked like, well, an old man. Less the gut. But hey, we got a free foam fish out of the deal.
I've never "taught" any of my children to dress themselves. The just did it. Until now. Sterling, at the ripe old age of nearly two and a half, needs to learn this. Clothes, in his opinion, are meant to be worn until they wear off. He loves whatever he has on, most certainly does not want to change, and will protest if you make him. He's recently figured out how to put his shoes on, so I figured we'd take this a step further. The girls were changing their clothes multiple times a day at two, just for the fun of a cute new outfit. Sterling, not so much.
We started with pants, and he's worn jeans backwards often these days, but darn it, he did it himself. Socks were today's new item. He put one on quite successfully, put the second on rather crooked, and asked for help. I started straightening it when I realized he'd put the second sock over the first. Really?! Ah, we haven't progressed in this whole learning process quite as far as I thought. His underwear are beautifully backwards though - and his shoes happened to land on the right feet today.
I decided three nights ago that it was about time for little Miss Ruby to sleep through the night. I've allowed midnight nursings (and 2:00, and 4:00...) to last far too long. I moved Sterling's bed into Liberty and Eden's, woke Ruby up before I went to bed for a last feeding, and put her to bed feeling like I might just cry along with her at 2:00 am. She didn't wake until 4:20, I had to put her back in bed 4 times, but each time she only cried for a few seconds. It was strangely disappointing - Ruby has far more persistence than that! But all was good, and I was the only one laying wide awake, feeling the evidence of missing 4 nursings during the night!
The second night was even better - I had to put her back twice - I think. My brain doesn't remember that far back. It is pitiful when she comes wandering into my room at some random wee hour, little fists signing "milk" for all they are worth, and I deny her - but she takes it better than I dreamed possible.
Last night, I told her once to go back to sleep. Awesome. I actually slept most of the night without waking up. It's been, oh, a year and a half since that last happened. Sterling went back into his own bedroom, and nights have been reclaimed for sleep in our house. Beautiful.
Blaine's working at Bass Pro Shops in the "Creative Services" department. He helps set up products to be photographed. He's not actually touching a camera these days, painful for him, but at least it's in the right field - and a paycheck to boot. Yesterday he came home with a big blister on his hand - he'd steamed clothes for hours and apparently decided his finger was also a bit wrinkled. Ouch. He said he'd told his co-workers not to tell me that he can iron. He hasn't ironed in seven years. I told him neither had I! Not quite, but close. Wrinkles add character, right?
Ah, yes. One hotdog still-in-the-package sandwich. Mmmmm.
"Um, not exactly Eden. They can shop here. They just can't smoke inside while they are shopping."
"Oh. Do they know how to stop smoking for a few minutes while they get the things they need?"
"Oh, baby, I sure hope so!"
And thus, an update is required.
This is Ruby's new look:
It's been building for a few weeks - these days, she doesn't crawl, she walks. Or at least, she doesn't crawl unless I'm trying to get photos. It took 10 minutes, a belly crawl on the floor (my belly-crawl, mind you - now that's something for photos!), Blaine and Liberty's coaxing, and 12 deleted photos before she finally showed off. Seriously, this one is just out to make my life harder. Oh, and the one side pony? She pulled the other out and tried to eat the band. Mmmm.
This is Sterling's favorite look. He's just out to relax and take life as easy as he can. Like the strategically placed bowl? Me too. Unintentional, and when he's 16 he'll wish he'd grabbed a bigger bowl, just for show. This is Sterling's new ball. It's about, oh, 6 hours old. An hour in, Ruby had three bites eaten and Sterling asked for bandaids for his new ball's owies. Fair enough. I told you Ruby's trouble.
She looks all but evil. Cute, but evil. She stole Liberty's hat quite cleverly, and wore it and giggled while Liberty searched for it. Liberty thought I'd hidden it and ran past Ruby a half a dozen times before she realized Ruby was wearing it. Ruby was in stitches she thought it was so funny.
This was yesterday, pumpkin picking with friends. The kids had a blast! It was definitely easier than last year's escapade. That one included a hayride, two babies not walking, an hour long corn maze, and me trying to carry three pumpkins, deciding that despite paying for four pumpkins, we were NOT getting four, because that meant me carrying two babies, four pumpkins and a camera that failed to capture photos of the dreaded pumpkin patch because, well, I lacked a free hand for that. This one was definitely less stressful.
Ruby, though, might have disagreed before it was all over with.
That's about it for news. Blaine's job search continues, school is going great but taking up more of our day than I would like, the house contains nine unpacked boxes, each containing Blaine's camera/work stuff, so I'm calling us unpacked. The garage doesn't count, does it?
We found a new pediatrician that I love thus far, I get lost less and less around town, and south continues to be argued as east in my mind. I don't know why, but I'm spun 90 degrees. I thought I'd solve my directional challenge, bought a compass and found out that it doesn't always work. Don't contemplate that one too hard. Sometimes working, as far as a compass is concerned, is just as bad as not working ever. Who decides when it's working? If it stuck still, it'd be right 25% if the time, right? Yeah, I don't think so either.
My new favorite: Acorn Squash. Cut it in half lengthwise, put 1T maple syrup and 1T whipping cream or butter in each hollow (ditch the seeds/pulp) and bake at 350 for an hour. Mmm.
Went for a drive tonight. We found a house for sale, with the info out front. Before I went to the info envelope, we both guessed on the home's selling price. I said $129,000. Blaine said $70,000 tops. Not so much. $169,900. Seriously, that house apparently had a whole lot more going on inside than it did outside. But, just for the record, I am by no means competitive and didn't make sure that Blaine knew I was closer in my estimation. Definitely not.We've had some fun weekends lately. We went to the zoo last weekend for a whopping $4 admission for all of us. Gotta love dollar days. Poor Ruby though... she's loved. Blaine shot the photo, and it just made me laugh. Poor Ruby.
Monday we went to Branson, and stopped at this dam along the way. Ruby thought she was hot stuff, holding hands and walking all the way up the path back to the car. She'll take about 6 steps, fall down, get back up and try again over and over again these days. All I can say is that it's a good thing that she wears diapers. She needs the padding.
Mmm, cake. Decorated by Ruby, even. She blew her two cents in.
Yep, must be good.
Ruby got a baby doll for her birthday. I'm not sure which she liked better, the doll or the doll's bottle.Hmmm, what, the bottle's not for me? Now that's just mean.
Without further ado... our house. I have a few more blogs coming asap, now that the camera's dumped. Ruby's birthday being one of them. That was only...2 1/2 weeks ago. That's not late either, by this standard!
Goodbye, Pennsylvania.My view for a thousand miles.Just in case you were wondering. We were very, very full.
Very.Hello, Missouri.My big kitchen. Love it!Dining room/other half of kitchen. The open door is through the living room to the front of the house, the closed door is to the non-garage. The laundry/back door is just to the right of the white wall you see on the right of the photo.Living room/front door, complete with the moving truck parked on the street.Laundry. Back door is to the right.
The girls' room. The door shown there is to the babies' room. You have to go through the girls' room to get to the babies' room.
The babies' room. Slightly bigger than it looks. Slightly. It works well for the two little beds though.
The bathroom. Eden looks like she was about to use it. Sorry folks, it was a long drive!
And, for the non-grand finale, the non-garage. Blessed room that it is, it makes for great storage. One day we'll get it organized. It's not looking like this these days, but it's getting there.
And that's the house - pre-move in. One of these days I'll get photos of it now. I figure I've got, say, another month.