Thursday, December 31, 2015

Kids Say The Darndest Things! 2015

Years and years ago my Mentor Mom Sheri at MOPS gave me a book for Christmas. She said that this book was for me to right down all the silly or monumental things that happened in my kids lives. That way on those hard days I could look back and read them and get a good laugh. We all know that we think we'll remember the funny things they say and we never do. I'm so glad I write them down, but I know I need to be better at doing it more. I might actually go back and make posts from all the past years just so they are documented on here. Here we go...

January 2015 - 

- I was helping Zeke get his pants back on after he went potty and my scarf that I was wearing fell into his face. He said matter of factly..."I can't see your house, you wear your carpet!" 

February 2015 - 

- On February 23rd Grandma Giest died. 

March 2015 - 

- Zeke fell down and I told him to shake it off to which he replied, "It's not coming off!" 

- For snack I gave the kids banana bread and veggie crisps. I didn't think Zeke would want the veggie crisps so I didn't give him any. Then in a whiney voice he said, "I want veggie tales!" 

- At Ella 5th Birthday party she was full of energy so Ga-Ga asked her, "Who put a quarter in you?" Ella looked at her all funny and said, "Give me my money back!" 

- While we were at Ga-Ga's house she was helping Ella count her money from her piggy bank. Ga-Ga mentioned, "It's always good to save money for a rainy day!" Ella looked outside and said, "It's not raining anymore!" 

- Zeke was trying to say, "I've got my eye on you!", but instead he said, "I've got your eye in me!" 

- I was talking to Jack about chewing his food so he doesn't choke. I said, "You need to be able to breath!" Then Zeke said, "I'm breathing...God told me to!" 

- Ella and Zeke were at my friend Laci's house so I could go to an appointment. On our way home they told me how her dog had surprised them. Zeke said, "That doggie don't want to eat me....I'd be all gone!" 

- Zeke called his belly button his bumblebee button! 

- Ella sang a song..."I love you mommy, I love you mommy, please don't die! 

April 2015 - 

- We were looking at the LEGO move characters on the computer and Owen recited Abe Lincoln's line, "You're a butt!" He kept saying it over and over calling Jack a butt. Then I had to pipe in and say, "Just because Abe Lincoln says it doesn't mean you can!" 
Side note: We just watched The LEGO movie again and it's not actually Abe Lincoln that says that's Gandolf.

- Zeke was looking in the game cabinet and he said he wanted to play the cereal game. I couldn't figure out which one that was until he pointed to Life!

October 2015 -

- Zeke was watching me do my morning routine and I was putting on lotion. He wanted to put on lotion too and I said that his skin was already baby soft. He thought about that and said that my skin was "mommy soft and his was big boy soft!" 

- I was getting ready to brush Zeke's teeth and he told me he hated "toothpasting!" 

November 2015 - 

- Instead of saying, "impossible" Zeke says, "impospital!" 

- One day I made Zeke a peanut butter and "ootella" sandwich for lunch. I called him into the kitchen and said, "here's a peanut butter and nutella's got your name on it!" He looked confused and looked at the sandwich and even turned it over. Then he said, "my name isn't on it!" So I used a knife and made a 'Z' on the bread! 

December 2015 - 

- On Christmas Eve morning Jack asked if it was time to go to Papa Martin's house. I told him that we had to make cookies and decorate them. Then I paused and he said...."and eat them!" 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Random Christmas Stuff!

Owen drew a picture of our house. He is outside with Jack and Zeke building a snowman. Michael and Ella are at the window. He said I was in the kitchen and they were going to surprise me with the snowman. I LOVE LOVE how he even put a 'JOY' sign on our front door. We actually have exact sign on our door! 

I don't wrap presents until it's 10 days before Christmas so on the 15th I got out everything and got most of the kids wrapping done in one night. Of course I couldn't wrap Zeke's robe until I made it a few nights later! 

Michael was sure this was the year to buy the kids a BB Gun.

We watched the Christmas Story for the first time a few nights later. The hilarious thing was in the movie when Ralphie finds the gun all wrapped up. The kids gun was wrapped up just to the right of the TV and it was the same size box. Michael and I were sure they were going to figure it out, but they didn't say a thing! 

The kids teacher Mr. Heintz since he's the boys LEGO Club teacher. I got the cups for free from MOPS. They are filled with mini loaves of homemade banana nut bread, a $5 gift card and one of our family Christmas cards. 

Owen is so sweet when it comes to reading to the younger kids! 

One morning I came in to wake up the boys and found Jack sleeping with Buzz, Woody and Jessie! 

On Friday the 18th Zeke and I got to go to the kids school assembly. All the kindergarteners were going to sing. Ella said that Mr. Watter's the music teacher said to wear red. So she willingly decided to wear her Mrs. Claus dress! 

They lined all the kindergarteners up from one side of the gym to the other. That's a lot of 5 year olds! 

Of course Ella was the second from the last kid so she was all the way over on the left!

Mr Watter's led all of us in some fun Holiday songs. Of course there were no actual Christmas songs and in one song the word Christmas was changed to 'Holiday'....this seriously pisses me off. But I tried not to let it ruin my happy mood! 

After the sing along the kids who had sold over 15 items for the fundraiser got to come up and spray the principal down with silly string. It was so fun, but a bit crazy so I couldn't get a good picture of the after. The worst part was the smell! 

Time for Ella to go back to her class! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Zeke's Bathrobe!

This year the boys 'wear' Christmas present are bathrobes. I found Jack's at a garage sale for $1! It was in great condition. Owen's I bought on Black Friday for $ was normally $40! As for Zeke's I really wanted to make his. I had pinned this tutorial on how to make one a while ago and I also had bought this cute doggie fleece in hopes of making a blanket, but I never got around to it. I figured it would be the cutest fabric for a bathrobe. 

The kids spent the night at Ga-Ga & Pa's on December 20th so I was able to finish it. He's my little shadow all day long and usually at night I'm so exhausted I have no desire or energy to sew! I had actually done all the cutting out the previous week after the kids went to bed so I just did all the sewing on the 20th. This is probably the latest I've ever waited to finish a Christmas present! 

In order to cut out the fabric to the correct size I needed one of Zeke's sweaters. I just cut around it leaving at least 2 inches all the way around. Of course I cut it straight down the sides and not across the bottom of the sweater. 

Then I folded that back piece in half and trimmed it so the arm holes would be the same. 

Then you use that folded in half back piece to cut out the two front panels. I had to cut out both a left and right one. You trim the front middle piece because that's where the robe will come together in the front. 

I used the sleeves of the sweater to cut out two sleeves for the robe. I made sure to fold over the fleece so the fabric is only open on one side. 

Instead of just using the doggie fabric I thought it would be fun to use an accent fabric for the trim and the rope to tie the robe shut. These pieces are the loops that will get sewed to the robe so the rope can go through them. 

First thing in regards to the sewing was to pin the front and back pieces together with the loops pinned in there as well. I did have to make sure not to keep going and sew all the way up and sew the arm holes shut! 

In order to figure out where the loops should go I got an outfit of his and put them wear the top of his pants were. I also trimmed off some of the bottom of the robe since it was too long. 

After sewing up the robe I had to sew the open side of the sleeves shut and then shove them into the holes on the robe and sew those on. That was tricky since the sleeves are pretty small. 

After that I was able to flip the robe right side out and pin on the trim. By this time I was seriously amazed at how awesome it looked. Fleece really truly is so forgiving! 

I stitched the trim on and then sewed the rope and threaded it through the loops. From start to finish it took 3 hours....1 hour of cutting and 2 hours of sewing. It wasn't really that hard at all. My hands were pretty tired just because fleece is ornery and wants to keep moving all over the place so I really want to wrangle it into place and keep a tight hold on it so it wouldn't get out of place. I'm so pleased with how it turned out and I hope he likes it. I like it so much I think I might make one for myself! 

If you're interested in checking out the tutorial I used click here

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Brownies!

Last year we had the Storer kids over to decorate sugar cookies so this year we thought we'd do something similar, but different at the same time. 

Christmas brownies! Yummy!

The kids had all sorts of stuff to choose from...

Chocolate Frosting...

Mini Marshmallows...

Chocolate and White Chocolate Chips...

Chopped Peanuts...

And of course Sprinkles! 

As you can see sitting still was hard when you had a yummy brownie waiting to be devoured!

This picture makes me so happy! Merry Christmas!!! 

Friday, December 25, 2015


For my MOPS Leadership Christmas party this year we decided that we should dress up and wear something sparkly! I own nothing that is sparkly or really fancy for that matter. I think the only thing I had that would fit that category would be my brides...well I guess grooms-maids dress....I stood up on my brother's side at his wedding. It felt like it might be a little too fancy. Two days before the party a few of us MOPS moms met for brunch and then Laci informed us that Value Village was having 50% off clothing, shoes and accessories if you had a Value Village card. So off to Value Villa we went! I have been wanting to go shopping with Alicia for a long time because I think her style is so cute. So got to be my Stacy London (She's from the show What Not To Wear) for the day. We picked out all sorts of dresses and then it was time for me to model them. 

I will not confirm nor deny that I tried on a dress that I honestly thought would not come off. I did not stand there in my underwear with a dress pulled up to my chest thinking great I'm going to have to have Alicia help me pull this thing off. I did not honestly contemplate nor try with all my might to actual tear said dress to no avail. I did not finally decide to pull the dress down rather than up and almost hyperventilate in the process. I have no considered bringing scissors with me on any of my future trips to Value Village. 

Before trying on dresses I had stopped at the shoe section and found some really cute wedges. I hate high heels with a passion so for me to even consider wearing them is a miracle. I did end up stopping at The Dollar Tree and got those cushion things for the bottom and I used my Mole Skin that I bought for our trip to Disneyland to pad the sides of my big toes.  

Here is the dress we chose! It's actually has spaghetti straps, but that is just too much skin for me to be showing. I was reaching outside of my comfort zone already and I did want to actually feel comfortable. The dress was a little big so I did end up using my sewing skills to take it in a bit. It's hard to tell, but the sweater had sequins on it making it sparkle. So for the dress, sweater and shoes I paid all of $11.50! 

Melinda (front left black dress)....was the one to open her home for the party. We started out there and had appetizers. Then we drove over to her parents house that's less than a mile from hers. Her parents go all out in regards to decorations. This huge tree has thousands of lights on it and they fit it through a normal sized front door. It is crazy huge! 

Also this is the outside of her parents house! Seriously Clark W. Griswold would totally approve! Her Dad has even been interviewed by KOMO 4 news. It was so fun to walk around and check out all his hard work. Best part is it wasn't raining. 

After that it was back to Melinda's for dinner, white elephant gifts and dessert. Laci ended up being the one to get the MOPS Owl. Just in case you forgot what that cute little guy looked like here ya go....

You're welcome!!

Thank you Laci for telling us about the sale. Thank you Alicia and Melinda for going shopping with me and being my little cheerleaders! You sure know how to make a girl blush! Also thank you Melinda for opening up your home and sharing your parents house with us as well. I seriously would not no what to do without my MOPS friends. Love you guys! 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Taking Advantage!

It has been SO rainy here...

that when the sun came out...

and the sky was clear...

we went outside all bundled up...

and took advantage of it!!! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tally Marks Are Worth More that Money!

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday I had had enough of the kids bad attitudes. I decided that December would be a Kindle Free month. At our house we have electronic days...Sunday, Tuesday and Friday are all electronic days. The kids pretty much have free reign in regards to using the TV, computer and Kindle on those days. The other days of the week are 90% of the time electronic free days unless we want to watch a football game or the kids are sick and we just need to veg out. It's really worked well in our house having those boundaries. Now instead of, "Mom can I go on the computer?" being asked 20 times a's "Mom what day is it?" If I say Monday they know it's not an electronic day and that's the end of it. 

Back to the no Kindles for December....I decided after a day or so that I would let them go on the Kindles in December, but only if they earned them. So I implemented Tally Marks! If you're kids are in public school and they are using Engage NY math curriculum then you'll know that a tally mark represents 10. 

I gave the kids three criteria. 

1. They listen and obey the first time we ask them to do something without whining or complaining. 
2. They do not interrupt us while we are talking...or anyone for that matter. 
3. They do not intentionally start conflict. 

If I ask them to do something and they do it right away and don't complain they get a tally mark. If they put their hand on my arm and wait for a break in the conversation they get a tally mark. If they don't get upset, but talk nicely to a sibling that has taken a toy and try to resolve the situation they get a tally mark. 

I am telling you the Tally Marks have been pure genius! We have tried other things for our kids like paying them actually money for doing .5 for every time I go into the bathroom and the toilet is flushed. Money doesn't really motivate my kids. They get paid for doing jobs around the house and they know it helps them be able to buy stuff, but if ask them if they'd like to make some money over 50% of the time they'll say no. Tally Marks are like gold to them. And the best part...they don't cost us anything. They are a pencil mark on a piece of paper! 

The rules for using Tally Marks are they can only be used on an actual electronic day. Other than that you can use all of them at once, or just use 10 minutes. That is another rule you have to use increments of 10 minutes. One of the kids will come to me and say I want to use 20 minutes on the Kindle so I'll set the timer and erase 2 Tally Marks. If they come back after 10 minutes saying they don't want to use the rest of their time I'll add a Tally Mark back on. 

I have the Tally Mark sheet just taped to the side of the kitchen cabinets right above the pencil holder so it's easy to add and remove them. I try to immediately award Tally Marks when I hear or see the kids doing something correctly. It's been such a gear changer in our house focusing on the positive rather than the negative. I think we can all get in a rut where we focus on the issues and not the successes. One thing that has taken some getting used to is Ella being such a cute suck up. She is so intentional to say, "Yes Mama!" when I ask her to do something it can sound kind of fake. At first it was bugging me because I know the only reason she's doing it is to get a Tally Mark, but then I realized WHO CARES! She is obeying me and she is going out of her way to help me. Yes she is being a bit over the top and she's always doing something and then asking if she gets a Tally Mark for it, but she's behaving well! Eventually the over-the-topness will ease up and she'll just settle into a more normal way of doing things. Plus like I said before....Tally Marks literally cost me nothing! 

As for when the kids do still make bad choices and don't obey the first time or cause conflict with each other we just simple say, "Oh man if you had obeyed mommy without complaining you would have gotten a Tally Mark". We just simply remind them that they missed out on something good. No lecturing them....just matter of fact. We do not really take away Tally Marks either. They have earned them so they are theirs. We have had a few occasions where the kids have been acting up and we have told them if they continue they will all lose a Tally Mark. That usually gets them to think twice about their actions. 

I know that the Tally Marks won't work forever, but they are working just fine right now so we are going to continue using them past December and for as long as they are effective! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Zeke's Latest ER Visit!

On December 8th Zeke and I got to make another lovely trip to Mary Bridge in Tacoma. It all started out like a normal day. Wake up get the kids off to school, work out with my neighbor, come home do dishes, start laundry, go upstairs to collect more laundry and hear a clunk and then crying! Really that actually is a pretty normal day. This kid is such a klutz...he would never be hurt if he didn't hurt himself! 

At first the cry didn't sound that bad so I finished putting Ella's shoes back in her basket and then came downstairs. The reason the cry wasn't that bad was because he had done the initial cry and then was sucking in all the air in order to do the secondary cry. I scooped him up and carried him to the love seat and then kissed his face. That's when I felt wetness on my face. I wiped my chin with my hand and looked down to see it covered in blood. Up we went into the kitchen. I laid him out on the kitchen counter and started checking him out. It didn't take me very long to come to the conclusion that we were headed to the ER. His poor chin right at the jaw line had been split open and that fatty tissue was sticking out. 

I got a band-aid on it to stop the bleeding and then we got in the van. Mind you no where in the above description of my day had I listed shower as one of the things I had done....and I had worked out with my neighbor! I'm sure they've seen nastier stuff at the ER than a mother of 4 who's worked out and not showered! So off we went. First I decided since it was a pretty cut and dry thing...probably no more than 2 stitches...that I would just stop at the new Seattle Children's Clinic in Federal Way to see if they could stitch him up. It would be nice to not have to go all the way to Tacoma. We stopped there and I carried him in....we waited since the two ladies at the front desk were on the phone. Then one lady got off and waited until she called us over. I asked if they could stitch him up and she informed me that their Urgent Care doesn't open until 5pm! What is the point of that? I was a bit irritated and it just 100% confirmed that no matter what if something happens with my kids I am ALWAYS going to take them to Mary Bridge!  

One we got to MB I used the lovely free valet parking and went inside to check in. The lady at the desk greeted me right away. Since Zeke is already in their system there was no need to pull out insurance cards or anything. There was a guy waiting right there to take us back to triage. He took some information and checked out Zeke's chin then it was straight back to a room. Seriously THE BEST HOSPITAL! 

I got Zeke into a gown and the nurse checked out his chin. He wasn't too thrilled about that. He let me take off his old band-aid and then the nurse got him a new blue crayon band-aid. 

Right on the side of the TV is a sign posted with all of the kids cartoon channels so no surfing around trying to find something for him to watch. He was super happy because he got to watch Paw Patrol and Blaze. 

Cute little TV watcher! 

He thought it was funny that he could see the TV from one side, but the sound was coming from his remote control. He'd lean over and listen and then look back at the TV. 

While waiting a lady came in to ask how the hospital was doing and I looked right at her and said, "I love you guys!" I told her the whole story and how I'm just not going to go anywhere else. She asked me if they could improve somehow and I told her they could move closer to my house or invent teleportation! She said she'd look into that for me! :) 

The Dr came in and looked at Zeke's chin. She decided it would be more traumatic for him to have the shot and stitches so they decided to use glue. Our only experience with surgical glue in the past was with Owen a little bit after he turned 1 years old and he fell into the coffee table and put his tooth through his lip. They tried to glue the inside of his lip close. That lasted all of 20 seconds before he used his teeth to rip it off. $500 later and we decided we didn't really like the whole gluing idea! Since this wasn't in Zeke's mouth and we could put a band-aid on it to keep him from touching it I thought it would be okay to give it a whirl! 

They laid him on the bed so he could look back and still watch cartoons. After that I couldn't take pictures. I was in charge of holding down his hands and his legs. One nurse was in charge of holding his head still and the other was cleaning out the wound, poking the fatty tissue back in and gluing the skin together. Seriously I do not think this was any less traumatic than a shot. He wasn't numb at all so the cleaning out part wasn't fun and since he was moving around it took her a few tries to get all the tissue back in place. He was crying pretty hard and it was pretty traumatic for me. Still the glue worked and it looked great! 

He was just fine once he could sit back up and watch his show and to top it off he got a Popsicle! He was released shortly after he finished his treat. In all I think it was a less than 3 hour ordeal. 

He was pooped after all that mess. So he fell asleep in the van on the way home. I pulled into the garage and rolled down his window. I always leave the music on while he's sleeping....I've ran my battery dead doing that before! He normally wakes up just fine. He'll cough and I'll hear him and come and get him out. I always make sure to stay in the dining room so I can hear him. This time he woke up crying! He was so scared for some reason. I felt so bad, but he most definitely needed the sleep! He wasn't the only one pooped...later than night I felt like I was going to crash. It's always such an emotional ordeal dealing with this stuff even if it ends up only needing a little bit of glue. Going to the hospital is stressful! 

A couple days later his chin was already looking better. He was happy as a clam as usual! The bump on his forehead happened at the same time as his chin. I still have no idea how you split the bottom of your chin open and get a goose egg on the top of your head at the same time. I seriously need to set up cameras around my house! 

The glue fell off after 3 days and now the scab is almost gone. I'd actually be surprised if there is a scar. If there is it will just be a tiny line! So the glue was probably better than stitches after all!