Friday, May 29, 2015

Birthday Cupcakes!

The day of Zeke's actual birthday I was watching my friend Kim's kids so she could get her hair cut. We planned on them all staying for lunch and us celebrating Zeke's birthday. I had planned to bake a cake the night before, but life is crazy so I ended up making it that morning. 

Zeke loves to help in the kitchen! 

He did a really good job holding the mixer. He of course got to lick the beaters...twice! Once for the cake and once for the frosting! He also got a spatula with frosting on it. He was one lucky little dude!  

At first I was going to make him a cake and then I thought I should probably find out what he wants! So cupcakes it was...which actually worked out better since we were celebrating with friends and lunch and then with family at dinner! 

So proud of all that chocolate cake. Speaking of cake if you want to make the most awesome chocolate cake and frosting ever from's not hard I promise!!! Just follow the directions on the back of the Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa container. IT IS AMAZING!!! The batter is super chocolate soup runny, but it cooks up so nice and moist. And the frosting is that kind that hardens fairly quickly so if the kids drop their cupcake on the dining room table it's not covered with frosting! 

Happy 3rd Birthday! 

It took him a few times to blow out 2 of the candles and then I had to blow out the third just so his cupcake wouldn't be covered in wax! 

Chowing down on his cake! I love how Josiah is giving me a chocolate cheesy face on the side! It was a fun celebrating Zeke Man with friends! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ella's Second Haircut!

Back in April when I made my haircut appointment for later in May Ella told me she wanted to get her haircut. I had actually been thinking it would be fun to get it cut, but I wanted her to be the one to tell me. She was sure she wanted it to be as short as mine! At first I was all for it.....I'm daring with grows! But after thinking about her curly locks I was thinking that she might want that now, but in a few days she might change her mind. 

This is only the second time Ms. Bridgett has cut her hair. Click here to see her first haircut. The only reason she got her hair cut the first time was to even it out after her surgery since we were having family pictures. 

I have trimmed her hair a bunch of times since then just to even it out, but nothing major and nothing done by a professional! Her hair really did need some of that dead, dry hair cut off the bottom though. 

Ms. Bridgett showed me that she really only needed around 2 inches cut off to get the yucky stuff, but I went and ahead and had her cut off 3. 

Ella did great with getting her hair washed and cut. She sat so still! 

All cut and ready to be styled! 

Ms. Bridgett gave her a pretty french braid! 

While I got my haircut she got to go lay on the couch and watch an episode of Angelina Ballerina and an episode of The Berenstain Bears! 

When I was finished her hair was all dried and looked so healthy and curly! 

She's got such wonderful hair! 

 And I stuck with the normal haircut I get every time. I love it, love it, love it! I love my hair short, but one thing I love about this cut is it grows out so nicely. I hate getting my hair cut every 6 weeks or so and this cut make it so I only have to get my hair cut about 4 times a year! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Playing With Bees!

Owen had a rough week last week! On Sunday he was playing...yes playing with bees and got stung....yeah ya think! SMH! 

That night right when it happened he told us, but that was it. He went to bed fine and really I figured it was okay and maybe he didn't get stung since he didn't make a big deal about it at all. 

The next morning it was slightly swollen right around where he was stung, but that was it. Kind of surprised me that it took over 12 hours for it to swell up. Later that morning I got a call from the school saying that his had was really swollen and it was itching him so badly he couldn't focus on his work. So after my appointment at the chiropractor I drove over and picked him up from the nurses room. I tried a bunch of things....lavender oil, hydrocordizone, ice and of course Benadryl, but none of them really worked. 

The nest morning I knew I couldn't send him to school if I hadn't taken him to the Dr's. Thankfully she had an appointment for 9:30. She said that he was having a local reaction and she prescribed him Hydroxyine which is stronger than Benadryl for the itching. She did say not to give it to him until after school since it would make him really sleepy. For the discomfort she told me he could take one normal Advil. 

Back to the house we went so I could pack him a lunch and get him his pill. I love that my 8 year old can swallow pills!!! Then it was off to school. Of course he didn't want to go, but I told him he wasn't going to get to stay home because he chose to play with bees! Of course the day before he kept asking to play on the Kindle after I picked him up from school early and my answer was the same that time as well. Seriously! 

I did get another call an hour or so later from the school nurse saying that she had Owen in the office he was complaining about it being itchy. I had to explain what the doctor told me and how he couldn't take the RX until he got home. She decided to keep him in the nurses room with an ice pack...they can't take those back to the classroom because you know 2nd graders are so prone to chewing through those blue packs it's just not safe! SMH!!!! I told her I wasn't going to come pick him up though and reward him for PLAYING WITH BEES!!! He did have to do some of his school work while in the nurses room so that was good. 

Thankfully after he was able to take the RX when he got home that night it did start getting better and by the end of the week he wasn't even complaining about it at all. I don't even know how many people have asked him this last week, but he answers before they finish...."No...I won't be playing with bees anymore!" At least he learned something!!!! 

Side Note.....I LOVE LOVE LOVE my kids school! I think the teachers and other staff are fabulous! I just think that some of the rules that they have now are so ridiculous. Their hands are seriously tied. I guess I'm a bit more hardcore....maybe even borderline mean, but he's my child and I'm all for natural consequences so I would have been fine if they had told him to cowboy up and get back to class! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Love & Logic - Bedtime!

I just recently read Parenting with Love & Logic. This is actually the first book...I read the second book first which is concerning kids ages Birth - 6. This one was more for older kids although you could apply the tips to younger kids. One of the differences I noticed had to do with bedtimes for older kids. Once kids get to a certain age....and I think this age is not a number, but more of a developmental age they can understand and figure out what their body is trying to tell them. So we sat the older boys down and asked them how they know when they are hungry and how to do they know when they have to go to the bathroom. Of course they told us how their tummies growl and in Jack's words..."My penis gets big" that kid! They know their body gives them clues. 

Then we told them that Daddy and I require 7 hours of sleep every night. Then I asked how much sleep they think they should get and Owen said he wanted 10 hours. Perfect....then you need to fall asleep by 9pm. We also told them that require around 2 and a half hours of alone time at night. Not because we don't love them, but because we are tired and we need some downtime at night. So we told them that between 8 - 8:30 we would say goodnight and they could play upstairs in the playroom as long as we didn't see them. They also got to decide when they wanted to go to sleep. They need to listen to their bodies. Now of course I'm thinking this is going to end badly...they are going to end up staying awake until 11:30 or something, but you know day of being exhausted would sure teach them how they should listen to their bodies. Because the next morning was a school day so they weren't going to sleep in. 

I was super surprised when they chose to go to bed around 9:30! The next day they did great! Ever since that first night they have had to go to their room before they are ready for various reasons....coming downstairs and calling my name from the top of the stairs. They get sent to their room, but they still don't have to go to sleep. Mostly they do great...they play and then they put themselves to night it was at 8:45! 

Now for the younger too this isn't an option. They are just a little to young for this. So we changed something about their sleep habits as well. They are no longer taking naps. This was a huge sacrifice for me. I love those couple of hours to myself during the day, but it was necessary. First Ella is starting school in the fall and I really need to break her of naps. Second Zeke was the one that was mainly causing issues at bedtime because he wasn't tired. Now when we put Ella and Zeke to bed between 8 - 8:30 they are tired!!! By the time Owen and Jack do come to bed Zeke is out so they are able to actually go to sleep rather than be bugged by their younger brother. Ella and Zeke could still use a nap and some days they get a little one. If Ella is having a hard time controlling her emotions I'll tell her to go to her room and come out when she's ready to behave and she usually falls asleep and I'll go get her in 30 minutes. Zeke Man usually won't fall asleep until he gets sent to his room or we are in the van...he's great at crashing in the car! 

Just another success from Love & Logic! It hasn't even been 1 month since we started implementing these changes and I'm so enjoying the changes we've experienced. Plus I love that I have not once raised my voice with my kids! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

School Playground!

A couple weekends ago Michael had a chance to go to a Mariner's game. The kids and I watched Big Hero 6 before it was due back at The Red Box and then I thought it would be nice for us to get out of the house for a bit. I don't know why, but during the day I'm fine with Michael being gone, but then come the evening when he's supposed to be home I always have the hardest time with the kids. I don't know if it's psychological or if it's just the fact that I'm so tired from taking care of them all day long I'm just done by the evening hours. Anyways out of the house we went.  

I just drove them up to their school so they could play on the playground there. I never went to public school so I actually assumed they wouldn't let you play on the playground except during school hours. Don't know why I thought that, but I did! It was fun for the kids to get the whole thing all to themselves since recess is usually a crazy least that's what I've been told! 

Zeke even went down a slide willingly! This curly side is so slow so there was no reason for him to be nervous. 

The section with the curly slide was only accessible by using these ring monkey bars or by climbing up this fun ladder. I wasn't sure Zeke would want to try it, but he went right for it. 

He concentrated so hard and was very careful about where he put his little hands and feet.

I didn't have to help him once! 

You know that last part is always the hardest. 

Cute little boy that can just fold in half! 


Let me just say my 8 year old is disgusting! He found 13 Sweet Tarts on the ground in the playarea and ate them. Then later as we were walking to the van he found a Gobstopper and ate that too! Ewe! 

Jack was having fun just hanging around on lots of stuff. 

He loved showing me all the things he can do! 

I'm so proud of him....doing the monkey bars is something that's really hard with his dexterity issues and the lack of strength in his hands. It's also something that I've been wanting him to work on because it takes a lot of core strength and that's something he's lacking! 

Look at Zeke....such a little shrimp! On top of playing on the playground we also went over to the field and played with the soccer ball for a little while. It was definitely a fun way to kill some time. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Zeke's 3 Year Pictures!

Cute little Zeke Man did such a good job this year with his pictures. The last two times we've done pictures at JCPenny's I was sure we weren't going to get 3 good shots! This time he was such a ham! 

So hard to believe!!!! 

Cute ham!!! 

He's such a little shrimpo! I love it! Also I love love love these shoes that Ga-Ga bought Zeke. Such little gentleman shoes! 

Click here and here to see Zeke's previous birthday pictures! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dare Devil!

This cute boy was so in love with his bucket swing the idea of sitting in a big boy swing was just not going to fly! 

I finally convinced him to sit on the big boy swing and he is hooked now. 

And it took him no time at all to start saying higher! He loves to get pushed higher and higher. 

When I'm busy working in the yard he's fine swinging himself. He'll either twist up and go round and round. 

Or he'll run out as far as the swing will let him and then lift up his legs and swing back. 

Ella is also getting really close to being able to pump herself. She was working on it and was keeping herself going for a little while. She still loves underdogs though! 

It's crazy how we are only down to a couple baby items....Zeke's Lightning McQueen booster chair...he doesn't use it at the table anymore, but I'm going to keep it so we have it to use when friends come over. My mom gave me the Pack & Play that was at her house. I was thinking about selling it, but I might actually keep it for friends to use as well. It is time to say bye-bye to the bucket swing though! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Zeke Russell is 3 Years Old!!!

Holy Moly my baby is 3!!!! 

Zeke Man I still have a terribly hard time thinking you are 3! For starters you are just a cute little guy. So many people have asked us over the last year if you were 12 or 18 months old. There are tons of kids under 2 years old that are your same height. I think you are going to take after the Grant side of the family in regards to your stature. 

You have definitely transitioned to a big boy this last year. You no longer sit in a high don't sleep in a toddler can sit on a big boy swing. And the best part of all....NO MORE DIAPERS!!!! Let me tell you Mama is happy about that ship sailing! You still have some room to grow in regards to being more independent. You still don't initiate taking down your pants, but you are very good about telling us when you have to go. 

Your vocabulary is amazing! I try very hard to not compare, but I would say you and Jack are very similar with how many words you can say at such a young age. You crack me up with some of the things you say....for were at my friend Laci's house a while back and her dog surprised you. Ella said that you were crying like, "Waaa Waaa Waaa", to which you responded I was not...I was saying, "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm", (like a whimper). Then you said, "that dog no want to eat me.......then I be all gone!" 

You love to have choices....what shirt to wear, what cup to use, what shoes to put on, what plate for lunch. Choices are your friend! As far as food goes you are at a plateau I would say. You are pretty much set with what you learned at therapy, but you haven't really ventured out into new territory in a while. That's fine with me. We have a good thing going and you are eating so I'd rather not rock the boat. 

You like to love to play on "ABP Mouse" and you like to be involved with Ella's preschool at home. You love to call me teacher while we are doing school. I would say your favorite thing about learning is singing songs. You love to sing....whenever we are going to have nachos I'll start singing "Nacho Nacho Man...I'm gonna be a nacho man" you love that song!!! 

You have not really been interested in any ride on toy or the power wheels until recently. I'm thinking it had to do with your height. Now you do enjoy riding on Jack's Y Glider......seriously the best scooter ever. You also have just recently started driving Owen's Lightning McQueen Power Wheels around in the garage. 

You still love to be snuggled and you still suck your thumb at bed time. I'm hoping that will be an easy to break habit for you like it was for Ella. We'll see come your 5th birthday I guess! 

It's hard for me to imagine, but come September it will just be you and me while the big kids are in school. Crazy! I haven't had just one kid at home since June 2008! Shopping will be different, going to MOPS will be different...everything will be different! I'm hoping that you won't be too lonely without Sissy as you two have become quite attached to each other lately. I have a feeling that you will be just like me and want to go to "Cool" early. 

Zeke Russell....I have mixed emotions about you growing up. I love seeing you discover and figure out new things. I love that you are growing and developing new skills that will eventually mean you can do it all by yourself, but at the same time you are my last! Not only will I never raise a baby again in the same way as I raised you guys, but I won't really hold and feel for another baby the way I felt about you guys until I'm a grandma....that's hopefully a long ways out which will be a good thing, but it makes me sad. This is another chapter in my life that is closing. Chapter 34....No more babies - On to big kids! time really and truly flies by! 

You are my precious baby boy. I could not even imagine our family without you. I remember laying on the operating table waiting for what seemed like forever for them to finally take you out and thinking...I hope it's a girl.....I hope it's a boy....I hope it's a girl...and then at the last second I really truly though.....I really hope it's a boy! The whole pregnancy I was wanting a girl, but at the same time trying not to get my hopes up, but then at the same time making sure I wouldn't be disappointed either was quite weird. God knew that we needed you! I thought Ella needed a sister, but she really needed you! I needed you! I knew almost the moment we had Ella that we would have a fourth child. Then after we lost Kyan I thought this can not be how I finish my childbearing days. I knew there was another baby and you were that baby. You are so treasured buddy. I know that God is going to lead you and guide you and when you fall He'll pick you up. When you struggle He will be there to comfort you....just like we will. I love you more than words can say Zeke Man! 

Happy Birthday! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's Graduation Day!!!

May 12th was Ella's graduation day from MOPS. It's so hard for me to believe that 3 of my 4 kiddos have graduated out of MOPS. 

The kiddos that were graduating got to come down from their class to where all the moms were. 

They did a couple songs and a couple scripture verses. It's always so cute to see the different personalities of the different kids. I was sure Ella wasn't going to say anything since she did when the kids did a little performance for us at Christmas, but she actually did participate! 

Then it was time for the ceremony! 

They look so cute in their caps! 

Oh my word....she's gonna be a kindergartner!!!! 

Then Miss Terri who is in charge of all the MOPPET workers....the people who volunteer to watch the kids....called each child forward to receive their Bibles. 

Waiting to here their name called! 

Ella was so excited to get her Bible! 

She was actually excited the whole day she has never hugged so many people! She just kept loving on all the workers....I think she really understands this was it....this chapter of her life is over. Next stop school! 

The most precious thing Ella said was on the ride home from MOPS she was looking through her Bible and she came across a map and was so excited...."Mom....the Bible has a we won't ever get lost!" Such precious words....yes baby girl...if we follow the Bible we will never get lost!!!! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Burning The Midnight Oil!

We have been really busy and have not been making Ella and Zeke take naps. On this particular day it had been maybe 3 days since Zeke had taken a nap. Michael sat down on the couch to read a book to Zeke and he crashed! 

Our kids never fall asleep on the couch unless they are sick and even then sometimes they don't. He was just plain tuckered out though! 

Michael just kept reading the book and he just kept on sucking his thumb! 

I've been telling him recently that if he wants to suck his thumb he has to be in his bed....I made an exception for this though! 

You know when the thumb comes out he is really gone! In fact Michael had to get up and go help the older boys and he still stayed asleep even though he was laying in the weirdest position. I was reading to Ella so I didn't get a picture of that. Ella was yawning up a storm and I kept asking her if she was tired and she kept saying no. Then she got a really bad headache and I talked about how that happens to me sometimes when I'm really tired. Zeke woke up a couple minutes after that and I took him potty and then put him and Ella to was 6:30pm! They both ended up sleeping over 12 hours! When you are are tired!