"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Friday, March 18, 2011

The performing arts.

I can't believe I forgot to post this after I wrote it last Sunday!  Well, actually I can believe it, because I forget stuff all the time.  Darnit :)

We don't see many live shows outside our home.  The kids put on all sorts of concerts, performances, magic and talent productions, etc. in our basement.  We have a curtain and everything, thanks to my mom and brother's genius a few years ago at Christmas.  We practice being polite audience members, and I knew there would come a day when that practice would pay off.  It came yesterday last weekend when we attended our cousin Micah's 5th birthday party and he produced and directed a version of The Wizard of Oz.

The guests were invited to come dressed as their favorite character.  Reise had two different princess costumes on (think Glenda, the good witch!), then right before we walked out the door decided on the red witch.  That poke hat did crazy things to her hair :)

Sorry for the weird face you are making here, Lexi!  Reise isn't looking much better!  Reise LOVES Lexi!

Rugger had no desire to dress up, which was fine.  Ryleigh purposely wore all black, just in case Micah needed a last-minute stage hand.  For real.  She kills me.  Her services weren't needed, but that was OK with her :)  She wanted to be prepared juuuust. iiiiiiiiin. caaaaaaase.  

The audience snacked on popcorn, and I actually have Maryn's leftover popcorn in my purse still (*not anymore, threw that out on Tuesday!).  Sweetest girl ever. 

She asked me why I cut all those holes in my jeans.  I told her it was because I wanted to continue to look cool and young.  She said "oh, yeah, ok" as if that was the most logical thing she'd ever heard.  Lock up your scissors, Robyn!  (*Hopefully in the week that it took me to realize I never posted this, Maryn hasn't done anything crazy with scissors!)

The birthday boy!  I happened to be working the night he held the first rehearsal for this play.  My office is attached to this stage area in our church, and I could hear him doing his thing.  He had me dying in my rolly-chair, I was laughing so hard.  He had the lines memorized, would recite them to the actor, then say "ok, wait until I say ACTION".  It was too much.

Special effects.  There was a lighting crew, too :)

Lynne, you pulled off that Munchin role perfectly!  6ft tall is the new 3ft 4in. :)

Best apple-throwing trees I have ever seen right there...


It was a fun party, for a really fun kid.  That's a lucky little boy, don't you think?  He has an awesome group of people who love him and wanted his birthday to be special.  Way to go, Micah, you're going to rock at being 5!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


We went to the park for lunch today and stayed way. too. long. with some of our BFFs.  I really wanted to stay home and clean my kitchen while the kids ate on the deck and played in the fort.  We went out yesterday kind of last-minute, so I felt like I needed the time today to get stuff done.  But.  I've been the one on the other line saying something like, "if I don't get out of this house and talk to another sane adult in the next 30 minutes, I might..."  Been there, done that, and so happy to be on this end of it today so I could repay the "favor".  Turns out, I had no idea I needed out today!  I feel awesome after a few hours of playing outside. 

Yep, this is how I knew we had stayed too long :)  Sweet little thing!  What an easy baby.  I never had a baby of my own that would fall asleep in a swing at the park, transfer to the stroller, transfer to the carseat, then transfer to the crib and never wake up.  Hilarious, awesome, rocks my world.

In other news, my girl's blog makes me laugh.  After the park, I helped do some of the typing on her latest post.  I normally would have just told her to save the draft, and finish it later, but she was kind of stressed about giving her readers an update on the hand washing contest.  She has other school work to finish, and the typing just takes soooo loooong :)  So, I typed her last paragraph, and laughed through the whole thing.  Then I told her she had to go do some typing practice :)

I am so thankful for homeschool, BFFs to raise babies with, long naps for filthy sun-warmed kids, and my handsome husband who will come home from work and know the kitchen mess doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things and not say a word ;)


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


We sneaked out of worship early.  Like, maybe 5 minutes early.  Maybe 7.  

Mitch loves going to movies.  I don't really care about seeing a movie first, or even seeing it in the theater.  I love doing anything with my whole family, and he loves the movies, and the kids looooove the movies, so there you go!  So much fun, totally worth having to slink out of church during the last song, and the $8 admission.  What was that?  $8, total?  Yes, sir!  I love that almost more than anything :)  Thanks to Frosty Flicks, and a random lady giving me a BOGO coupon at the ticket counter.  Sweet deal!

Just so happened that some of our very best friends did the same thing!  Bonus fun getting to sit by them.  Extra bonus that I had a little boy in my lap the entire time.  I just love tiny little kids who fit in my lap, at the movies, on a Sunday.  Dear Boys, please stay two yrs. old forever. Love, Mommy.

Rugger and I did some Lego-ing during naps after the movie.  Actually, it was me, Rugger, and the giant cat that lives in our house.  Holy huge.  

I moved on to reading, and the kids painted.  It was the quietest hour, ever. 

This is what they finished up with, in addition to the stack of about a dozen pieces of art, each.  I love it!  It's an Easter decoration.  The hanging bunny was all Reise's idea.

Then, the little boys and the daddy woke up.

The boys know how I roll when it comes to paint.  If I really care about their clothes, I'll take them off.  I have a super efficient laundry machine, and I also know how to soak and pretreat "stains".  (This here is washable paint, so there really are no "stains".)  Do you catch my drift, here? 

The daddy just doesn't get us, I guess.  He was a frazzled mess about the clothes, the table, and for the love of all things holy, the red paint getting into the white paint!  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  "Please, stop", I said, to my handsome husband.  Poor DJ Steele, he doesn't get much sleep on the weekends, you know?  We rarely don't see eye-to-eye when it comes to parenting.  I mean, very rarely.  He's so very laid back, and I just have no idea where the sudden clean freak came from!  Ha!  Anyway, he left that situation alone and peace was restored to the house once again.

I do have to give him credit for knowing his kid, tho.  Maeson is the messiest kid we know.  (And, we know a lot of kids.) 

He's not messy just for the fun of it, and he isn't being destructive.  If he had been splattering paint all over the walls on purpose, or writing on the cabinets, we'd have shared some "words".

But, instead we just had a bath and pulled out the Oxyclean.  Daddy must have relaxed because from the basement I heard him say "wow, that is quite the work of art there Maeson, I looooooove it".  See?  That's why I love him. 

I love that we grocery shopped on Saturday, and had the whole day on Sunday to do fun things and relax.  Minus the minor craziness over the paint mess, it was a totally chilled out day with my favorites!  Praise the Lord, he knew exactly what I needed.

Choosing to love,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's. Almost. Here.

I can feel it, it's coming,  Spring!  I do love dreary winter days, mostly because I don't usually have to go anywhere and can go days upon days without leaving my cozy house.  I light candles, keep my washer and dryer going, and warm up the house by baking nonstop.  I do love it.  I'll be ready when old man winter comes a callin' again.  For now though, I'm looking forward to a change.  Color, warmth, outdoor fun, baseball games, picnics, sprayground play dates, and all the rest.  I can feel it coming, and I'm pretty excited.

We finally signed up one of our kids for an organized sport.  It was hard to send that registration form out in the mail, but I did it.  Here we go!  We've held off as long as we could for the sake of our fragile sanity.  Games, practices, schedules, multiplied by FIVE...surely you can understand why we waited this long.  That said, we loooove baseball over here, and I am really looking forward to Rugger's games.  He's been batting balls since he could walk it seems like, and I can't wait to see what he does on a team, with other players, and a coach :)

Just to shake things up a bit, we did our grocery shopping on Saturday this weekend instead of Sunday.  Riveting, I know!  It felt so good to get it out of the way...plus, we ran into a bratwurst and drink special in the deli.  Score.  We spent $7 and had lunch at the baseball field after groceries, and the kids had a blast.

That's right, get used to shielding your eyes from that bright sun.  We haven't had to do that in forever :)  Time to round up the shades to keep in the van.  

Have I mentioned how ready I am to see some color?  Drab!  Common, Spring!

Reise is going to be a very good mommy some day, I have a feeling.  She saw Mitch help everyone get their stance just right, and took it upon herself to help Rowen.  He didn't even mind, which was surprising.  Most days he can do without her bossing help.

Rugger could hit for hours and hours.  Rowen and Maeson could use my legs as an obstacle course for hours and hours :)

Reise took a ball to the cheek at one point, just hard enough to make her want to quit playing.  Such a good big brother, Rugger made sure she was OK.  I love that my kids have each other.  Yeah, they boss and fight, but when it comes down to it, they love each other.  Being incredibly close in age makes them really good buddies most of the time.  So fun.

Here's to Spring, coming slowly but surely.  Here's to many more baseball field picnics and hours of batting practice.  Here's to good ol' sibling love that makes a mama's heart happy!

Choosing to love,

Friday, March 11, 2011


I actually typed "TGIF" in a text today, and immediately thought, I am a NERD.  I don't even care!!  I have been exhausted this week, for no good reason.  Today, I actually feel pretty great, and actually typed "good thing I am operating on Level: AWESOME today..." in yet a different text.  Different text, same recipient (she probably just loves that I interrupt her work day with this stuff!).  HA!  I am soooo ready for a weekend with my favorites.  I am going to clean my house, get some groceries, organize just enough of something to make myself feel productive, and then do nothing more than play with my handsome husband and my sweet baby chickens. We've got a major birthday party to attend, I hope I get some good pictures!

**These pictures are random and have nothing to do with my weekend :)

Ryleigh needs to brush up on her checkers skills, so she can beat Grandpa Rod the next time we visit.  He smoked her last time!

Isn't that playhouse fun?  Rowen hauled himself out via the window while I cringed.  Oh, mercy.  I stopped him after that one time, I promise!  I thanked the staff for allowing us to crash their Saturday.

I love my brother, and that's all I really have to say about these pics :)

Maeson is begging for some yogurt, Rowen just got himself out of the tub, I need to research baseball bats for Rugger's first year of coach-pitch, and the girls want pedicures!  Later all, happy weekend!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011


My kids sleep.  They are good sleepers.  Therefore, I am a member of the Parents of Kids Who Sleep Well Club (POKWSW Club, for short).  My oldest kids are obsessed with clubs.  They create clubs for everything, and the members are constantly changing.  It's pretty entertaining, but it's reeeeally annoying when there's a break up and drama over these made up clubs!! 

 Remember this?  Are we the only people with posters hanging on every single door of the house!??

I now make clubs for everything, so there you go.

So, our kids are great sleepers now, but that hasn't always been the case.  There was a day not that long ago when we were the new parents with the desperate, irrational fear that we'd never sleep again.  We've been through phases when nap time didn't exist, and we were up and down every hour throughout the night. 

Ryleigh was a terrible sleeper as a baby, she didn't nap consistently, and by the time Rugger was born I couldn't imagine how I'd handle a newborn and a toddler on zero sleep.  Rugger slept pretty well at first, but then at about 6 months started waking up in the night every single hour.  By his first birthday I'd read every sleep book on the market, and thought I had a pretty good handle on Ryleigh's situation, but couldn't fix Rugger!  On a whim we had him adjusted by our chiropractor friend, and he slept through the night that night and every night since.  Hello...modern day miracle!!! 

Turns out, looking back now, I'm so glad I went through that phase when I did.  The 2.5 straight years of no sleeping, reading, researching online, talking to anyone who I thought might have a clue.  It sure helped me be proactive about the sleep schedules of the next three babies I didn't even know we'd have!  Lord knows I wouldn't be able to handle my day now if I was sleep-deprived and couldn't look forward to a slight break in the afternoon.  I thought I was busy back then with two kids.  Two kids!??  Well, I was busy, it's just all relative ya know?

If given the option, Ryleigh would organize her day like this:  Wake up at 9am, eat breakfast, read from 9:30-Noon, eat lunch, read from 12:30-5, eat dinner, read from 5:30-8pm, go to bed.  Have I mentioned how much I love her?  She hasn't napped for a few years and has a very good sense about how much sleep she requires.  If she's extra tired she'll put herself to bed early, or lay herself down for a nap during the day.  She is Miss Responsible.

If given the option, Rugger's daily routine would look like this:  Wake up at 6am, chat with dad before he goes to work, play Legos, wake Rowen up when he's bored by 7am, run like a wild beast throughout the house and wake anyone up who's within a 2 block radius, eat breakfast by 8am, go outside and ride his bike until his second breakfast at 10am, go back outside, lunch at Noon, go back outside until his second lunch at 3, go back outside until dinner at 5, back outside until he's so filthy he can't bend his arms or legs due to mud-caking issues, in at 8 for a bath and his second supper, asleep by 9. 

How does a kid have that much energy and sleep so little?  Oh, it's probably from the huge quantities of FOOD he consumes throughout the day.  Lord, come quickly or send us to live on a farm, please. 

Thankfully Rugger has a mother who requires him to relax for two seconds in the afternoon, and a lot of times I look up and he's snoozing behind his book!  Adorable. 

Reise loooooves to sleep.  She takes a great 2-3 hour nap still, daily, and sleeps 12-13 hours at night.  She loves her fuzzy froggy blanket and gets herself snuggled up, pops in her thumb, and looks like she's half way to heaven.  Sweetest thing ever.  The snaggle-tooth she's bound to have there in front won't be super sweet, but what can I do?  The dentist said not to worry about it, she'll probably need braces anyway because her mouth is tiny and her teeth are crowded.  Awesome news doc, thank you!  Ha!!  Seriously, I love our dentist. 

Maeson is the easiest kid on the planet when it comes to sleep, which makes the least amount of sense to me.  While his schedule at our house is always consistent, I'd just assume he'd have some trouble adjusting to going back and forth.  Nope.  He hops right in, messes with his silky blanket for a minute or two, and he's out like a light.  Once in a while he'll start chatting with Rowen and they'll get wound up and take a few minutes to calm down.  Most of the time though, he's easy as pie. 
On the other hand, Rowen complains every time he's sent to bed for nap or at night.  For real?  Come on, now.  He's been in the same routine for almost three years, and he seriously thinks if he whines I'll just say "oh, sure buddy, lets skip your nap today!"  He might be spoiled but there's no WAY I'm letting him give up his nap for a little fussing.  Heck, no.  Nighty-night, my sweet boy, you and I will love each other even more when I see you in three hours.  After the initial resistance though, he's all about getting tucked in with his piggy and his new favorite kitty. 

Mr. Spoiled also goes through phases where he's up at 6am thinking he's going to start the day.  Once in a great while I'll let him sleep with me in my bed (because he's spoiled and he's my very last baby, and I love snuggling with him!), but usually I send him back to bed.  Everyone's happier when I get up, shower, and get some things going for the day before everyone else gets up.  And by everyone's happier, I mean I am happier, which is basically the same thing.  I've found that a few days of sending him back to bed to finish out the "night" actually eventually results in him sleeping later in the morning on his own. 

In fact, the same goes for naps.  If I had a nickle for every time a new-mommy friend asked me how to get her kid to take better naps, I'd be able to pre-pay for Reise's braces.  Send them back to bed!  Do it over and over and over for days upon days, until they finally just stay asleep.  I promise, it will work if you're consistent.  It will not work if you aren't.  Those crazy kids will keep on trying if they think you might give in.  For goodness sake, Rowen still tries it and I've never given in. 

I love this phase of life.  I am so sad that it's going by so quickly, and I'm determined to enjoy every single day.  My level of enjoyment during the day is positively correlated to how much sleep I've had.  Soooo happy to be a member of the POKWSW Club, life rocks over here!  :)

Choosing to love,