Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Big 3

JonZReaTom Turns Three!!!!

I know, it was almost 2 weeks ago. I'VE BEEN BUSY! (And I've had trouble moving pictures around in this post and this post alone is taking multiples days to finish!) We had already decided to go to Jasper (where Jim's family lives) for their party this year, so we didn't have a party at home this time. This kind of threw me off for their birthday. Apparently as far as my brain was concerned, no party meant I didn't have to plan ANYTHING AT ALL. So the day of their birthday arrived and I had nothing special planned. I had ideas floating about in my head, but had not actually PLANNED anything. Can you believe that?!? I don't know what's wrong with me sometimes. In my defense, I did have a VBS center to run during the days prior to their birthday and was also distracted by Father's Day being the day after their birthday. It was just a lot going on all at once, and i dropped the birthday ball.

Kids, I truly apologize. I felt awful. I still feel awful. I'm really sorry. Lucky for me, you didn't care. Next year, I promise something amazing for your birthday!

Not that the day wasn't fun. It was! Jim made special pancakes...

Look, it's a three!

The kids got to play Guitar Hero, Zachary's favorite thing in the world these days. (Dad, can we play the buh-tar game?)

You rock!

We blew out the candles on last-minute store-bought cupcakes (really, I've never been so ashamed...at least not until the next day, but that's another post)

And we played in the kids' new pool! This was our birthday present to the kids (and ourselves!). We all love this pool! It's big enough for the whole family to get in and enjoy, but small enough that the kids can still touch the bottom easily. In fact, they can sit on their knees and still have their heads above the water.

And finally, the one birthday ball I didn't drop...taking their pictures at 4:30, their actual birth moments! I've done this every year so far, and hopefully I'll never forget! Here they are during the very minutes they turned three! In birth order of course!




This past weekend we went to Jasper for the birthday party at Gammy and Granny Kat's house! It was great, but unfortunately, because this birthday is cursed for me or something, we left home without the camera! I'M NOT KIDDING! Gammy took some pictures, which i hope to have copies of someday, but we had no way of bringing them home with us, so I have nothing to show you.
But you know what? The kids didn't no the difference! There was cake and candles and presents and singing and lots of love and that is all they needed to have a great birthday!
Next year they may need a little more! I solemnly swear to do better when they turn 4.
I have resigned my status as supermom and removed myself from the running for parent of the year. I will reapply at a later date.

A Final Beach Memory

Okay, I know, the beach trip was a month ago, but I happened to think of this and wanted to share...

Personally, I had had no intention of telling the kids we were going to the beach until maybe the day before, maybe not even then! I didn't want to have to spend the weeks leading up to the trip saying, "No, we aren't going to the beach today. We don't leave until (add length of time here)" and then listening to the resulting whining and crying.

Alas, I forgot to share this decision with other important people, namely their Daddy and their KayKay, and the kids were informed way early that we were going to the beach. However, the adorable side effect of this news was that the kids LOVED to tell everyone we saw that we were going to the beach...and then invite them to come with us!

Reagan to nice lady being entertained by us getting haircuts at Great Clips: We're goin' to da BEACH!

Nice lady: You are? That sounds like fun!

Reagan: You wanna come?

Seriously, they invited everyone we spoke to for weeks leading up to the trip! It was very cute, and luckily no one accepted the invitations!

One More VBS Story

Okay, here's what I learned from VBS...breakfast does not have to be eaten at the kitchen table!

I know, I'm a little slow sometimes, and once I'm in the habit of always feeding the kids their meals at the table, it's hard for me to get out of the rut. Pity me.

Anyway, first I discovered that waffles are great for eating in the car. Hardin Valley is way across town and VBS started at 9. That meant we had to leave the house by 8:30 at the LATEST, and preferably before that. That is really early for me to have kids up and ready to walk out the door. A couple of those days we had to take Jim to work first, which meant leaving even earlier, but at least I had his help getting ready!

In addition to feeding the kids in the car, I also discovered I could feed them in their room. I would walk through the door with breakfast, lay it out on the train table, and they would eat while I got diapers and clothes ready. They could alternate getting ready and eating, and by the time everyone was ready to go, they had all finished their breakfasts! Genius!

Good Grief!

VBS, 3rd birthday, Father's Day, potty training.

All of these things have happened in the last 2 weeks and I have blogged about NONE OF THEM! Why? Well, duh, look at all the things that have been going on the last two weeks! I didn't have TIME to blog about anything! Thank goodness for twitter so I could quickly send out little spurts of information rather than completely disappear from the computer world. Oh, and I made a slideshow for the kids' birthday. That took up a lot of my time too. I'm a glutton for punishment.

BUT NOW, all of these activities are over, and thankfully nothing big looms in the future for at least three weeks! So I look forward to lots of posts coming soon. I have a list! A very random list.

In my few spare minutes left of naptime, I'll try to relate a couple of stories from our VBS experience.

This is the first year that the kids were old enough to go to VBS. They loved it! We went to two, first at Hardin Valley Church of Christ and then at West End Church of Christ. The first day, after i picked them up (I'm not even going to begin to tell you about the horrendous trouble i had trying to find the property, mostly because it was really EASY to find if you weren't as stubborn as me and just asked someone how to get there instead of trying to find it yourself when you have nothing to guide you except incorrect Google directions) Anyway, after I picked the kids up, and we're headed home, I asked the kids what songs they sang, and they all started shouting, "The cracky song! The cracky song!" I wracked my brains trying to remember any children's church songs that sounded remotely like "cracky" to no avail. The next day when i dropped them off, the song leader starts singing an Australian-themed version of "I'm in the Lord's Army" all about jumping with kangaroos and swimming with crocodiles and at the end, instead of yelling "Yes sir!" they yelled "Crikey!" The little lightbulb went off over my head immediately. This was what the kids were talking about. "Crikey" not "cracky" and that day on the way home, Jonathan taught me almost the entire song. Seriously! I sang a snippet of what i remembered from the song, and he said, "No, momma, that's not how it goes!" and then he corrected me. Almost the entire song! I was amazed he remembered it!

I was amazed often by the things they remembered from VBS. Each night when Jim got home, I would ask them to tell Daddy what they learned about God today, and they would shout out something that they had learned that day. Always impressive!

Well, I know this is probably so much less than you wanted to hear after the long blog silence. I promise there is more to come and at least some of it will be really good!

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Potty Time Once Again!

I don't have much time, but wanted to post this real quick...

I have my stickers. I have my candy. I have my potty pages, my potties, and stacks of little boy briefs.

It's time to potty train the boys.


I'll keep you posted! Check out my Twitter posts in the sidebar for more frequent updates!

I hope everyone had a great Father's Day! And JonZReaTom turned THREE on Saturday! So much to post, so little time!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hooray for the Children's Museum

Last week, my friend Kim and I took the kids to the Children's Museum in Oak Ridge. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!! We had never been and, to be honest, I didn't even know it existed! No one had ever mentioned it to me until Kim did, and that is such a shame because it was great fun! I wish so much that I had known about it months and months ago! So I'm doing my best to make sure all you Knoxville folks know about this little gem!

I admit, part of what made it so fun was the fact that the kids got in free, a treat we only get to enjoy until this Saturday when THE KIDS TURN THREE!!! (I can't believe they're about to be three!) But even after the upcoming birthday, the price for kids is only $5 each which I think is very reasonable for all the fun they had.

There are lots of exhibits at the museum that were way above JonZReaTom's heads, but there were also plenty of exhibits that allowed small children the freedom to climb and play and dress up and splash pretty much to their hearts content.

Here are a few examples: a castle to climb up and slide down, a spaceship with switches that turn lights on and off, a two-story child-size house to play all over, an old-fashioned type writer to bang on, I could really go on and on!

Jonathan, Reagan, Zachary, and Thomas outside the play house--they pulled absolutely everything out of the fridge and cabinets in the little kitchen, but they also put it all back before we left!

Keyboards you're allowed to bang on and drawers you're allowed to open--as far as they were concerned, it was the coolest room ever!

Playing dress-up in "Granny's attic"

We went on a weekday morning and even though there were summer camps going on there at the same time, we practically had the whole place to ourselves. We easily managed to always be where the other kids weren't. Kim brought a picnic lunch, and when we were done playing, we went out to the picnic tables to eat and play on the playground.
I highly recommend the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge to all of you! We'll definitely be going again! Kim, thank you so much for telling me about it and going with us!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beach Trip Part 3

Okay, maybe I can finally finish this trip! This is going to be a long post with LOTS of pictures!

The next day was Memorial Day. More fun times on the beach and in the pool. The kids loved the pool! They loved being able to sit on the steps and still be in the water. Zachary liked that the water wasn't chasing him. He rarely ventured off the topmost step, but the others did. Jonathan even came down to the lowest step all on his own. Mr. Adventure!

Kinley had just finished swim lessons and showed her cousins the swimming skills they could look forward to in the future. Kallen showed off kicking about in an innertube.

Look how proud she is of herself! Great swimming, Kallen! It took us the rest of the week to coax any of our kiddos off the steps and into an innertube, but eventually all but Zachary were joyfully floating about in open water and loving every minute of it!

Aunt Jojo with Thomas and Kallen

Reagan and her Momma! With no floats at all! Such a big girl!

It was a little nervous-making having so many small children in the pool at one time, but we tag-teamed and kept our eyes open. Occasionally, someone would slip off a step into the water, but we were always close by to scoop them right out!

Jim prepared a sumptuous shrimp and crab leg feast for dinner on Memorial Day. Unfortunately, Thomas started throwing up right about then, so neither he nor I got to really enjoy it. I did have some, and it was very good!

Like his brothers before him, Thomas threw up off and on for the rest of the evening, finishing up around 10:15, and falling asleep in the floor. We moved him to a pallet on the floor beside our bed where he slept peacefully the rest of the night and woke up feeling fine the next day. back to the beach and the pool we went! With lots of fluids!

That night Bud and KayKay took the whole family out to dinner at Bahama Bob's. It was first big restaurant-eating experience our kids have had, so Jim and I were a little nervous about how they would act. Happily, they did great! It helped that we brought some snacks to appease them before the food arrived, and the food came really quickly! They ate well, and no one pitched a fit! Success!

Then we headed to the beach for some more formal family pictures.

Kinley and Kallen

Jeff, Kinley, Jodie, Kallen

My sister's beautiful family!

My own beautiful family!

Zachary, Me, Jonathan, Thomas, Jim, Reagan

(l to r adults) Allison, Jim, KayKay, Bud, Jodie, Jeff
(l to r kids) Reagan, Jonathan, Zachary, Thomas, Kinley, Kallen

It was such a fun evening! The next day was not so fun.
Kinley started throwing up in the middle of the night and felt bad all the next day, running a fever that was pretty high at times, something my kids never did during their recent vomit sessions. Kallen threw up a few times in the morning too, but never seemed to feel too bad. Thomas woke up, came down the hallway to our room with his siblings, crawled in our bed and went back to sleep while the rest of the kids watched TV. Then he woke up, went upstairs with us for breakfast, but instead of eating he crawled into a chair and went back to sleep. He would wake up only to go back to sleep. He didn't have a fever or any other symptoms, so we decided maybe he was really dehydrated and started pushing water and Gatorade. As the morning wore on, he would stay awake for longer periods of time, eating and drinking and acting more normal. By the evening, he seemed pretty much himself again. In fact, we even took the kids out to run around on the beach a little. You'll notice that Thomas is still in his pajamas!



Thomas and his momma!



Why is Zachary lying down in the sand?
Because there wasn't nearly enough sand in his hair!

The next day Jeff was sick, and on Friday Jodie didn't feel so great either. Also on Friday we got a call that KayKay cat hadn't been eating...at all! The whole week! So Bud and KayKay went ahead and left Friday night rather than Sat morning with the rest of us.
It was a busy, beachy week, and even though 7 of the 12 of us got sick at some point during the trip, I think we would all agree that it was a great trip and we had a blast! Thanks Bud and KayKay for making it all happen! We love you!

Hey, Reagan, wanna do this again sometime?
Absolutely!! How about next month?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Beach Trip Part 2

Zachary and Kinley get the party started!

Sunday we took the kids to the beach and the pool. There was a really nice pool just outside the house that we shared with the houses on either side of us. Several times we had the whole pool to ourselves, although it got a little crowded even when it was only us. Of course, that had a lot to do with the fact that we were all in the same space, keeping our eyes on the kids while they crawled about on the steps!

That night we had a little birthday celebration for all the cousins since their birthdays are all so close together: Kinley (June 6), JonZReaTom (June 20), Kallen (July 2).

Jonathan, Reagan, Kinley, Thomas, Kallen, Zachary

I love that ocean view in the background!



I'm so proud of my children's table manners!
Thomas, our tidiest child, ha!
Don't forget to sneak bites off your brother's cupcake when he isn't looking!
After cupcakes all the cousins got their presents...bubble guns!

And then Reagan got her first pedicure!
Aunt Jojo is working towards her coolest aunt ever award!

Thank you Bud and KayKay for a super fun birthday party!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Beach Trip Part 1

Well, this is a start...

We left the Sat before Memorial Day at what seemed like the crack of dawn! I wasn't feeling really great, but insisted on hitting the road anyway. I'm not sure if that was the wisest decision since I threw up in the car twice during the trip and was nauseous for good portions of the rest of it. However, by the time we actually reached Ft. Morgan, AL (our beach destination) late that afternoon, I was feeling better and never threw up again or felt bad the rest of the trip! Yea!

The rest of my family was already there. After dinner we took the kids to see the beach for the first time! They were thrilled! I wish so bad that we had brought the camera with us to capture those first beach moments! But alas, we didn't! They weren't afraid of the ocean at all really, at least not until they got knocked down by a wave!

I guess, technically, they weren't really knocked down so much as they just had their feet pulled out from under them. One fall was all it took for Zachary. He wanted no part of the ocean for the rest of the trip and was content to play in the sand far away from the water. If the waves got within 10 feet of him, he would run off, yelling that the water was going to get him!

The other three kids weren't as deterred by their falls and happily ran around the edges of the shore, delighted by the waves that rushed up to their feet.

The looks on their faces were those of such complete joy! Nothing had ever been so fun as far as they were concerned! If the rest of the trip had been completely awful, it still would have been worth it, just for the beautiful happy faces on my children that first night at the beach!

But thank goodness the rest of the trip was great too! Well, most of it!
Hey, Mom! We're on vacation! How many donuts can I have?
Our house is the one in the middle. My family had the bottom floor with two bedrooms and a common room. There were two twin beds in one room, so we put two kids in there, and two on the sleeper sofa in the common room. It was the first time they've ever slept separately! I was surprised by how well they did being apart! Of course, the fact that they were exhausted most of the time probably worked in our favor!
Here is our little set up on the beach. As you can see, the beach was not crowded at all. That was so nice! We never had to try to keep up with our kids in a sea of people! There were other people on the beach to either side of us, but no one else! It was great!
Well, that's it for this first installment. More to come very soon!