Friday, April 24, 2009


Last weekend, my brother Michael came over and in exchange for some computer part, checked out some electrical stuff in the house. He fixed a dimmer switch that was going a little wacky, and best of all, he put a light in my pantry! My pantry is the space under the stairs, which means its weirdly shaped and dark. Dark as night. A pit. He put in a fluorescent light and its like daytime in there. I LOVE it. It feels 100% more usable. Michael, thank you. We love you, and not just because you are handy with the wiring but because you are just a really great person!

This week has really flown by. The kids finished up their swimming class, Gwen got to bring cupcakes to school on Thursday to celebrate her birthday (which is on Saturday). I let her choose her own outfit for the day and this is what she picked

She's such a little doll :)

Elsa hasn't been well the past few days. Yesterday she woke up in a puddle of throw up and then had a bad diaper and has been off her game ever since. She threw up a few more times yesterday, but none today, so that is good. She just lies there, not moving, moaning every now and then. She wants to be held and to pinch me (a comfort reflex that I normally don't mind too much, but after hours of it, OUCH!). As long as she stays hydrated I'm going to keep her at home. If she throws up more or has more diarrhea, I'll bring her in. She's so little it wouldn't take much to get into a dangerous zone with her.

Ethan has been doing great on his reading lessons, though we've not been able to do any lessons this week. He's always putting letters together and asking me what word it makes. He also likes to sound out words he sees. I'm finding that with him a problem is that he likes to speed through things, and that with a little knowledge, he thinks he's an expert. Like his father perhaps? I kid, I kid.

So I'm typing this blog on my super duper new computer. My old laptop, she was used when we got her and she fought valiantly for me for nearly 3 years. She survived at least two near catastrophic latte spills and numerous keyboard replacements when Ethan and Gwen went through that period where they liked to pry keys off. My new computer is quite a bit larger... larger than even J and I expected, though its smaller than a regular computer. I got all sorts of fun things like a DVD burner and a big monitor and a big keyboard and Jason tells me that my video card (and other things I don't quite understand) are awesome. I love how fast it is... I don't have to wait minutes to load up various things! Unfortunately, not all my stuff is on this computer yet so I can't post the pictures I have from the past few days. Coming soon!

So today, with the sick baby (and my tummy not feeling so great right now either...), I don't know how I'm going to get everything done for Gwen's party tomorrow. She is going to flip when she sees all the little surprises we have for her. Her cake is going to be awesome, then we also got her a pinata, which she really wanted. Didja know that most pinatas these days aren't the hitting kind? They just have ribbons on the bottom that you pull which is rather dull in my opinion. J and I are going to examine it and see if we could still have the kids hit it with a stick because really that is the most fun.

That reminds me of my Mom making us pinatas as kids. It seems like she did it quite often! I have a funny memory of one time but I won't post it here because it might embarrass my Mom, but it involves using something quite unusual for the balloon that holds the pinata shape while you put the newspaper over it. Heh. My siblings probably know exactly what I'm talking about.

Ok, baby is finally asleep so I should work while I can :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dear Grandpa

Dear Grandpa,

Today is the second anniversary of you leaving this world. Last year, I just kinda ignored the dates because it was too sad. This year, the exact dates mean more to me. Maybe its because we'll be going to Chelan and visiting your memorial on your birthday this year. I can't wait to sit on your rock, reminisce with the kids and tell Elsa all about her Poppa.

You would be really proud of the kids and all they've done these past two years. They are different kids from when you last saw them. More grown up, starting to read and write. You never met Elsa, but I think you would get a kick out of her fiery spirit and developing sense of humor. The kids talk about you a lot. I need to get your pictures up on the wall so they can see you more often. I want Elsa to know all about you too, because you had such an important impact on her siblings and parents and grandparents.

Jason and I are doing fine. I think we've really grown up over the last two years too! I know you'd be happy with how we've changed our lives and are being smart about finances. When Jason negotiated brilliantly for our Suburban, we both were sad that you weren't there to celebrate it... You were the one who inspired Jason to be so tough. I plan on picking up piano again this year and starting to teach the kids. I know that you would really enjoy that Grandpa. I never saw you more touched and excited than when us grandkids would put on a concert with all our instruments.

When I last saw you, I told you how thankful I was for the legacy you left us. Thank you again for that. Thank you for teaching us all through your example how important and vital family is. How always making an effort to do the right thing, help others, and stay connected is part of living a good life. Thank you for loving us so much.

I hope you can hear the messages that Gwen sends you through her prayers. I told her that if she asked, God would pass it on to you.

We miss you so much.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Help me choose!

Its become a tradition to take a black and white photo of each child in the bath, have it professionally framed and then hang it up in the bathroom. The kids comment on their pictures all the time and love seeing themselves in the bath as babies.

Its time for Elsa's to be taken and I can't decide between three pictures. All are good for different reasons.

For reference, here are the ones we have of Ethan and Gwen

Here are the ones for Elsa...



Which one do you like the best? Or do you like none and think we should shoot a few more next bathtime?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ethan and Gwen singing

Sleep... its a good thing

Elsa is sleeping. She is sleeping quite well actually. Two nights ago, she actually slept 11 hours in a stretch. 11! That's never ever been done in Elsa's short history. Most nights she's still waking up once, but that is a huge improvement. She's also napping pretty well, as long as we put her down to sleep in the swing. Bad habit, but hey, if it works it works.

The sewing fairy has been visiting me lately, in the form of Gwen's pre-school teacher. She used to sew, but doesn't any more and has been passing on stuff to me! Last week she gave me some lengths of corduroy and flannel, and today she had a big bag of patterns and more fabric. Wow! What a blessing. I just wish I had more hours in the day to actually use all this. Luckily, I got a huge (ugly) wardrobe from my Mom to store all my sewing stuff in. I'm going to need to get on that ASAP so I can make order out of my fabric and patterns. Right now its just a jumble that is spilling out of the coat closet and the office/sewing room!

We are coming up on the 2nd anniversary of my Grandpa's death. I miss him so much. I still feel like maybe he's just on a trip and I'll see him soon. Well, I guess that is true in a way, but then the realization that no, I will not ever see him again on this earth strikes and its like a little cut on my heart again. Easter always brings back memories because it was the last time I saw him outside of a hospital bed. A few weeks after that he passed away. I remember that Easter very very well. He was wearing a yellow gingham shirt, his black leather jacket and a baseball cap. He was not well... not well at all. But he was there. Ethan was very sick that Easter with pneumonia (though he hadn't been diagnosed yet) and slept through the entire thing. Grandpa was too weak to come outside for the egg hunt, so him and Grammy stayed inside. I came in often to check on Ethan and I remember passing by Grandpa many times and thinking, "Wow, he just doesn't look like himself at all". He was so weak. Its a sad remembrance, but I'm glad its there. I'm glad to remember him, and those events, even if they are not particularly joyful.

I have some cute video of the kids singing that I'll try to put up later today. The camera is still in my purse which is in the car and I don't want to run out right now and get it :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day before Easter

Hello! Its been a long time. We've been busy and each day has seemed so full that blogging gets pushed off till later.

Last weekend Jason and I built our garden box out of wood scavenged from Mom and Dad's wood pile. Thanks again! I was really proud of us, even though construction was very simple. After our dishwasher drama, we really needed a home improvement project to go smoothly and this did :) We also put up the supports for my trellis. During the week I picked up the dirt and filled the box, and then laid out my grid. We planted beets, radishes and carrots, and in a week or so, we'll get our other plants out as well. When all is said and done, we'll have 4 tomatoes, 2 sugar snap peas, carrots, radishes, beets, parsley, sage, thyme, basil, and lettuce.

This morning we went to my Grammy's church for a huge Easter extravaganza. It was awesome!

Kids (excitedly) walking with Grammy

Elly was more reserved

They had egg hunts every 20 minutes.

Grammy and Gwen

After the hunt (good thing we were there for the first hunt of the day. It turned into a madhouse later!), they had some bouncy houses that the kids spent a good amount of time in. Then we went to this batting cage thing. The kids did really well with it actually!

When Gwen got up to bat, and then smacked the ball hard and right into the "home run" area, all the kids in line were "Wow!". She looks so tiny that everyone is amazed when she performs so well. However, note in this picture that the ball (which was kept aloft by air), was still floating, even though her swing was complete :)

After all that, we went over to the horse rides.

Ethan was so nervous, but he did it. We were proud :)

Elsa was fascinated by the horses

We came inside and neither of the older kids wanted their faces painted. We got Elly done though.

There was a cookie decorating area and both the kids did that

(no, Ethan doesn't have a black eye... just a sty)

Later, Ethan listened to the Easter story told with JellyBellys.

Elsa enjoyed the bleachers

Grammy entertaining Elsa

At the very end, both the kids wanted to get their faces painted. Gwen got a butterfly, Ethan a rainbow

Grammy, thanks so much for inviting us! We had a lot of fun :)

In about an hour we're leaving for my Mom's house, where we'll be having a traditional Jewish Seder. My Mom is hoping to start this as a tradition. I'm making a brisket and some popovers. Everyone else is bringing stuff too so we should have quite the spread.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Back in the land of the living

*deep breath*

March is finally over. March was a challenging month for me, between the three weeks of pain after wisdom teeth removal (much better now by the way!) and my firstborn turning 5, and then, just to round out the end of the month, a VERY nasty cold virus hit Elly, Gwen and I. I, because life is funny, suffering the worst of the three. Luckily March of 2009 will never have to be re-visited. Good riddance I say!

This is the first day that I don't feel really sick. Its been a full week since we were exposed by April and her boys. I'm not blaming her....! She warned me and I blew it off thinking it would just be a little cold, some sniffles, yada yada. The baby is still recovering, and Gwen bounced up after only two days.

Unfortunately, something very nasty spoiled my first "feel good" day in over a week... I got out of bed and smelled plastic melting. Now I can't smell very good yet, still a lot of congestion, so I kinda blew it off thinking I wasn't smelling right. But it lingered and was very strange. Finally, I notice that the dishwasher is flashing an error. I open it up and an extremely hot wave of air comes out. Sigh. This %#!!$%& peice of crap dishwasher (which, by the way we've had not even 3 weeks and had problems from the start) had erred out during a heat cycle and never turned off. All night (I started it at around 8pm) it was heating. There was melted plastic from various things that couldn't stand the prolonged heat. Oh man. NOT HAPPY. It just so happens that today we are finally going to have the repairman come from our intial troubleshooting call the day after we bought the dishwasher (yes, 3 weeks later...) and I swear that if he gives me or J any crap I'm so going to let loose. I have a long list of grievances I want to air about this peice of poo dishwasher that Lowes won't take back now because its been more than 7 days.

*another deep breath with calming thoughts*

So, the kids started swimming lessons last week and have really been enjoying them. Ethan is still a little uptight in the water, but is improving every lesson. Its great exercise for the kids... we get home and they eat dinner and are pretty much immediately ready for bed!

I'm briefly laying aside my quilting project for Michelle and Peter to make myself an Easter dress. I found a darling pattern, which I think I will be able to use many times, and have been saving some very special fabric to use when the right pattern came along. This style is perfect for the fabric. I'm making the shorter one with sleeves. Yes, its very plain, but that is perfect for the fabric I'm using! I really like the look of the halters too, and will be trying those out as well. Its always so nerve-wracking to use my special fabrics which cost me a lot of money. I don't want to waste them on something that won't work out! But this is a very simple pattern so I think it'll be ok.

Simplicity 2642