Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Christmas was all it was supposed to be fun, family and food! We enjoyed one gathering after another and saw all of our immediate family except Robert, who's out of the country (but we did talk on the phone). It was really fun but I have to admit I was ready to have a couple days with just my husband and kids and simple chicken soup seemed so wonderful after all the fancy party foods we'd been eating.

Every year we have the kids wait to come out to the family room to see the gifts with the whole family. It must be exciting for the kids to see all the gifts when there's been nothing under the tree all month. This year all of my family stayed at my parents house for Christmas. (That's not too difficult when half of us live there!) Chris and I are the only ones with kids so far but everyone wanted to watch them open gifts. Nana, Papas and aunts and uncles were already out on the sofas before the kids came in. When we let the kids loose, Oliver went right for the presents, Evelyn seemed a little confused, and Spencer squealed not at the gifts but at seeing everyone gathered there. Children just make Christmas!

I was quite surprised, as I am every year, by the number of toys that we end up with. This happens because of the garage sales. I love garage sales but its hard to remember what I've already purchased when I get gifts and stash them away. Next year rather than a price limit per child we might need to do a toy count limit. It was fun though! The kids are so easy to please it makes Christmas fun.

One of the favorite toys was the trampoline given by Nana and Papas. It has a net that keeps the children from flying off. This seems like it would be so fun outside on a sunny day. I have to admit I was really disappointed when I found out it had a 100 lb weight limit. I really wanted to join the fun! (Oh and they're sporting the pajamas from Grandpa and Grandma Black)

The trampoline zips up and we've discovered that if it is zipped to far the zipper gets stuck. I've had two children get trapped inside. Hmm...naughty mother.... That locking zipper might come in handy, kind of like a child's personal padded room unfortunately its not sound proof.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Backtracking a bit

Oliver had his 5th birthday! Poor kid had his party canceled twice due to sick people in our family. Instead of a party Oliver went out with his dad and Grandma and Grandpa Black. He got to visit them all without any other kids which made it really special. They went to the store and he got to pick out a toy.

I've been sick since Thanksgiving day and we kept thinking the kids and I would be better soon. Its two and a half weeks later and we finally are! We ran Spencer into the emergency room in the middle of the night last week but thankfully didn't need to be admitted to the hospital. It turns out he had croup. They gave him some steroids so he could breath better and told us how to handle things. They told us you take children with croup outside, even if its freezing, and the cold air helps reduce the swelling in their throats. Who would have guessed? Anyway, he's just fine. We all seem to be much better.

Like I've said before we're sure using our insurance! A few months ago we were on major medical for about three months and only had one doctor visit the entire time. Now we have exceptional coverage and have seen more doctors in the last six weeks than we've seen in a very long time. I'd say we've definitely been watched over!

One day last week I put a video on for the kids to watch so I could take a shower while they were entertained by the one eyed babysitter. I told them I'd make breakfast right after I got out. I have to admit I took way too long. Occasionally I just don't want to leave that nice, warm shower. When I was dressed and returned to the family room I found my children hadn't been able to wait to eat but took care of things themselves. They were working on a 5lb bag of carrots! Evelyn had at least four carrots in her arms. She didn't let them go for an hour even though we ate breakfast. Spencer was nibbling but found his carrot made a much nicer bat or club. Oliver being the big brother had helped peel some. I found a trail of peelings from the kitchen sink to the garbage can. Throughout the day I kept finding carrots! :) I guess I could have gotten mad, but rather, I was pleased that the kids let me be and managed to take care of things. I'll just have to remember to keep a good stock of carrots! I wonder what other vegetables they'll eat if I take more long showers?

More great news! Chris will be working as a supervisor at UPS starting tonight. He's been training for the position for a couple of weeks but was told he wouldn't be a supervisor until the Christmas rush was over. I guess they feel he's able to handle it. This position will make things better financially (even though its still part time) and still allow Chris to pursue graphic design. I guess there are a lot more part time graphic design positions out there than full time. It makes sense actually. So he'll pick up design work where he can but still have steady, stable income and health insurance from UPS. It seems we are being blessed over and over again!

Where are your cool toys?

My children receive toys on their birthdays and at Christmas. Occasionally there will be a surprise toy from a relative during some other point of the year too. Otherwise we intentionally keep the amount of toys to a minimum.

I'm not anti-toys by any means. In fact I feel we have plenty! When we have too many toys the kids get overwhelmed and don't help up around the house. (I'm kind of the same way myself. ) We've found the kids return to the same toys over and over. So those are the ones we keep. Beyond that they use their imaginations. It's made watching the kids playing and drawing really fun too.

We have neighbor children that seem to get toys much more regularly. They've even come to our house and asked where the cool toys are and then when they find we don't buy toys every week ask for the tv instead. I've had to bite my tongue and not say, "Cool toys? Your brain is the coolest toy you've got. Use it!"

Here's an example of what I love. What's this to you? A couple blocks and a ball point pen most likely. Oliver saw these items and saw a tank!

Spencer had a different idea. He found a mop, propped it up on a shelf and a chair and made his own bar to hang on. We might have a gymnast here. Or maybe just a dare devil!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saline and Blue Suction Bulbs

Everyone in our family has gone through a cold in the last month. We still have one child young enough to be in the "No Cold Medicine" age group. I've heard soon to be moms (or moms again!) ask what are we to do to help our little ones since they can't have any cold medicine! I want to share what I learned when Spencer was in the hospital last year.

Spencer had RSV which is a respiratory virus that can be pretty hard on very young children. He was only six months old when he got it. Like I've said before he's a tough little boy! He only spent two days in the hospital instead of the typical 6-10 days. He was hospitalized because he had so much mucus he had difficulty breathing thus had problems keeping his oxygen levels up. If you hear wheezing see a doctor! Your little one might not be getting enough oxygen. Once at the hospital Spencer received oxygen for about 12 hours and heavy suctioning of his nose. The only medication he was given the entire time was Tylenol to ease the aches and pains of having a cold. To begin with the suctioning was done with tubes going through his nose as far down as his throat. After the RSV had progressed and the mucus wasn't as severe, they suctioned with the plain old blue hospital suction bulb. Before I could leave the hospital they wanted me to learn how to suction his nose well so he didn't have to come back.

For moms, such as myself, you may not have had much success with the old suction bulb and saline but it really does work, that is if you know how to do it correctly. Here's how the nurses in the hospital taught me to do it. You'll need a few things: suction bulb, saline, lots of tissues, and a blanket (to wrap your child in if there isn't a second person to help restrain your child)

1. Restrain the child laying down.
2. Drop a couple drops of saline in one of you child's nostrils.
3. Squeeze the suction bulb and then insert it in the opposite nostril far enough in to block the nostril opening. Its ok to put it way back in the nose. (I always hated doing this but after watching the nurses suction my son's nose, I learned putting a suction bulb way up his nose really was ok.)
4. Block off the other open nostril by pressing on it with one of your fingers.
5. Release pressure on the bulb and let the suction do its job.

6. Dispose of bulb contents into tissues and repeat on the other nostril.
7. Repeat in each nostril (taking turns one nostril to the other) until you feel your child is breathing clearly again.

Sometimes the nurse would put a single drop of saline in the nostrols after suctioning to sooth the nostril.

Children hate this! I mean hate and will scream at the top of their lungs when you do this. That doesn't mean you aren't doing it right. (After all, how would you feel with someone doing this to you? If you're like me, you'd be mad, angry, annoyed, scared and a probably a little panicked too.) Hard as it is to do, its worth it. After suctioning my child's nose, he would relax and sleep because he could breath through his nose.

It even helps adults with colds, though you can blow your nose one nostril at a time rather than suctioning.

This has helped us with many colds since last winter. I hope this helps another mom out there too! I wish I'd known how to do this correctly before child #3. Live and learn right!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The little tyke's fine

Spencer has a soft tissue sprain. It must have been a mild sprain too because he's back to being all over the place. He's had the brace off for a couple of days now. He'll limp a little towards the end of the day but is otherwise doing just fine.

He never even had any swelling or discoloration! In fact I think the wrap around the brace gave him more visible injury than the main injury. He would walk on the brace (which the doctor didn't think he'd be able to manage) causing the outer wrapping to bunch and then cause sores. It seemed like he was fighting the brace more than the brace was helping so we took it off him. I only know he's having a hard time when he starts limping because he doesn't fuss about it. I think he knows if he fusses I'll put the brace back on! He's a tough little one!

So thank goodness nothing long term. I'm sorry for any mom that has a child in a cast!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wobble Wobble Not Gobble Gobble

This is a Black family first. In our five years of child rearing we have had numerous falls and crashes but no injuries which the doctor felt the need to brace until now!

Yesterday as the kids and I were sitting down to read another chapter in Stewart Little, I looked up and saw Spencer playing across the room. For half a second I thought about moving him. I let the thought pass because I couldn't see any danger. Oops, should have acted on that one! He managed to tip the sewing machine onto himself. It was put away in its usual spot around counter height. Apparently the location wasn't as child safe as I thought. I'll be finding a new location for the sewing machine.

I only half saw what happened. It was right in front of me but I must have looked up at the sound and so I'm not sure of everything. As the machine fell it scraped Spencer's head. Spencer fell one way and the machine went the other. I was worried about his foot when I went to get him because that was the general area it appeared the machine might have hit. Once he stopped crying and could respond to my questions, I asked him where it hurt. He told me his head. He had a scrape but nothing that appeared to be major. So I was relieved until he stood up to wander off. Every time he'd try to put weight on his right leg he'd cry and stop. He wouldn't walk. So we headed to the doctor. I'm not sure if he turned his ankle or if the machine hit his foot. Either way, very traumatic for an 18m old.

The odd thing was there was no swelling, no discoloration, and no pain except when he'd attempt walking, so the doctor asked for x-rays. (I wish I could say this was our first time in the x-ray room!) There was nothing obvious as far as a break but the after hours care center wants to wait for a radiologist to examine the images. Spencer has to stay in a brace until we hear back from the radiologist. I don't think there's much worry about a break after seeing the x-rays myself but better safe than sorry. The brace inhibits his walking even more than his pain did so he's gone back to crawling. The hardest part seems to be that he can't keep up with his siblings!

To date our three children have had three emergency room visits, one CT scan, and (at least) four x-ray sessions (some illness related others injury). Hmm...Come to think of it, this is just between the two boys! We haven't had any emergencies visits with Evelyn yet. Thankfully our children have recovered fully from each situation. I don't think we will ever attempt making it without health insurance!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I can't tell you...

On Saturday I took the kids to the grocery store with me to catch a couple exceptional deals. It was a special three hours only sale. It was insane! If grocery stores had day after Thanksgiving sales, that's what it looked like. We were there fifteen minutes after the sale started and could hardly walk through the store let alone find any of the specials left. We couldn't even get a cart or basket. So I carried Spencer and had the other two trail behind me single file. We were trying our best to avoid being hit by grocery carts! Crazy. We left after five minutes, empty handed, but happy to be in one piece.

When we got home Oliver got to work drawing. I came over to see what he'd drawn. Its a picture of Mommy, Oliver and Evelyn. He explained to me that Mommy was sad because we couldn't get cocoa for LaDena and Oliver and Evelyn were angry. (Can't blame them! I don't like dodging grocery carts either.) Oliver made word bubbles for each person. I asked what they were saying. Oliver told me he couldn't tell me because they were saying bad things!

Later that day Oliver helped me do some cooking. He wanted to help me squeeze some limes. I handed it over to him and he said, "I'll squeeze the jelly from your eyes!" For those that don't know that's from the movie Shrek but his timing had me rolling on the floor. I'm surprised by how much he remembers. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

What is it?

I went to empty the freshly washed dishes from the dishwasher and found this on the bottom rack:

It looked really weird when it was sopping wet and sticking to the dishes a little more. I didn't even want to touch it at first. Have any ideas what it is?

Scroll down to see.

I guess I wasn't the only one to load the dishwasher. Spencer is my helper. He likes putting things in and taking things out. So he helps with the laundry and the dish washing. Today he surprised me by loading the duster in the dishwasher with out my seeing. It did fluff up fine after if dried out. I just never though of cleaning that way!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gumballs and Shots

Today we went to the pediatrician for Spencer's 18m check up. He's doing well but still short. Sorry kid, that's my fault. That's what you get for having a mom who's only 4'11". (I'd hoped his father's 6'2" genes would have been stronger!) We'll have to watch though, he dropped from the 10th percentile to the 3rd. Growing up, most of the kids in my family weren't even on the chart but we kept growing on a normal growth curve so we were considered healthy. As long as that's what Spencer continues to do, all is fine. His milk problems? Well, I think this was the first time the doctor really listened. He was surprised that just a small handful of chocolate chips gave him bad diapers. I've already been using rice milk for cooking and kept him on formula so now the doctor also wants me to switch him to lactose free formula. We'll try that out and see how he does this week.

I went ahead and had all of the children get flu shots. I tried to explain to them how it would feel so they wouldn't be shocked. That didn't help much. Evelyn was so startled at the needle poking her she jerked her arm away and began crying. She would be a drama queen if we'd allow it! I was shocked the nurse actually got the medicine in! Thankfully she didn't have to do it again. Evelyn's reaction freaked Oliver out. He's never had problems with the shots before . This time it was a struggle just to get him sitting down and I had to hold both his legs and arms down. The nurse suggested we put it in his leg rather than arm, as its a little easier to keep them still that way. Once it happened he looked at me a little surprised, kind of like "That was it?" The only problem with doing it in his leg was he dropped his pants in the waiting room to show everyone how brave he was. Spencer, well he had three shots and didn't even fuss until the tetanus shot, which really does hurt. He was the bravest or them all (or most unaware of what was going on).

All of the kids were really well behaved. The doctor just kept laughing at Spencer because he was really involved with the other children, climbing, talking, writing on himself, and getting into stuff. The doctor came back into the room to hand me the formula samples and said to Spencer, "Just look at yourself!" In the few minutes he been gone, Spencer had covered his bare legs and belly with purple ballpoint pen ink. So Spencer bent over and really checked out his drawings. The doctors had a good chuckle at how well he had not only understood but responded. Through the whole appointment our doctor kept saying what a character Spencer was. It was unusually fun for being at the doctor's office with three young children.

Our doctor gives each child a penny to get a piece of bubble gum out of the candy machine after each appointment. The kids always want to go to the doctor's because of that gum ball machine. They had their gum right after their shots. On our drive home Oliver announced to me that he and Evelyn had traded gum balls. I thought hmmm...that announcement seems a little late. Sure enough they hadn't traded gumballs but already chewed gum! Oh well it could be worse and I'm glad they're willing to share, kind of.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rain Drops on Roses

"...brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things..." The Sound of Music

Some of My Favorite Things

the leaves changing color in the fall

my children laughing in their sleep

color (I'm draw to red but I can't imagine a world with out the full range of every color. There aren't any that don't have a place in my life.)


the internet

talking with my husband

Swing Life Away by Rise Against

I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie

piano solos


the smell of cold night air

waking up before anyone else in the house


fresh baked bread spread with honey and real butter

using my hands

my children's odd responses

open space

fields of flowers

the mountains

What are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Update on the Flooding

Everything is dry now! It took quite some time since there ended up being more than one leak! We didn't have running water for two days once we figured out where the problem was coming from. I was so glad I'd been storing water in soda bottles! I never would have expected we'd already be using them! We kept the toilets flushing, hands washed, and water bottles full. In the evening we'd turn the water to the house on for about 1 1/2 hours to get some necessary showers and dishes washed. Thankfully, its all fixed now.
The kids have been asking for an "up and down bed" or bunk bed for quite some time. When their Nana heard that she started watching for a good used bunk bed. She found one and instead of waiting until Christmas we went ahead and put it up while everything was already out of there room. We surprised the kids last night and it was a hit. It sure beats what they had! Ollie had a twin bed and the other two had baby crib mattresses on the floor. Everyone was excited and best of all they slept through the night again! Hooray!!!

Lego Star Wars

Oliver has a fascination with Star Wars. He's never seen one of the movies but has a computer game called Lego Star Wars. He loves it. (He even gets Star Wars books at the library now!)He's allowed to play once a week, if he behaves at church. Church used to be quite the battle but now all we have to do is remind him he won't get to play. Yes I know he's not being reverent if he's not doing it for the right reasons but we're baby stepping here. First we needed to get him to sit still. After about a year now, he's starting to understand the other concept too.
Lego Star Wars comes alive!

This was another Oliver project. He decided to make a mask and light saber. Then Evelyn needed one so he made one for her too. This is the kind of fighting I'll allow, paper light saber sword fighting.

Days like these...

I wanted to post this because so many people have said "How do you do it?" As you can see I don't do it all! This is what happened while I was helping take care of the sacrament primary program over the weekend, and, yes, I'm embarrassed it got this bad. This mostly accumulated over two days! I don't like to let things go this badly but sometimes other things have higher priority. When it gets that bad I look at it and think how did that happen? Usually my mind is preoccupied and once it starts its hard to stop. Clutter really does attract clutter! First thing Monday morning I attended to this very neglected counter.

Oh and the sacrament program went really well! It didn't even go over time! Yeah!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Disgustingly Early, I Know

Yes it is disgustingly early to have up a Christmas tree but we did it anyway. Its in honor of the heavy snow we got on Wednesday. It snowed all day long and it just seemed like a tree would make our place more cozy.

Last year most of our ornaments broke. We had a lot of glass balls and it was expected. For my birthday, which is right around Christmas, I received some money to do with as I pleased. I bought Christmas decorations when they were being clearenced in January. I got more than I should have but now we'll have fun spreading out the fun.
Right now our tree is covered in just snow decorations, snowflakes and snowmen. It will probably have some turkeys in a week or two and then we'll transition into Christmas decor. Every few days we'll put something new up (mom might have to rotate some out), and many have to be made too! Last night we made tongue dispenser snowmen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My first batch of Handmade Soap!

I attempted my first batch of soap. I was quite pleased with how the whole process went. Everything seemed to go as described in all I'd read. My soap came to trace faster than I expected but was still manageable long enough to get it into the mold.

Its a recipe for cucumber aloe soap. Everything seemed a little too good to be true for my first attempt. Sure enough it was! The soap set up wonderfully but oh the stink! Think of stinky feet, plant smell, and mildew rolled into one. Strange and definitely not something you'd want to rub on yourself! The awful scent was coming from the cucumber peel I'd used to color the soap. I guess you can't believe everything you read on the internet! Duh! It was actually a recommendation from another soaper! I now know from a reputable source that the same thing happened to her soap when she used cucumber peel.
I tried to rebatch the soap in hopes of savaging it. I used a warm spicy scented fragrance oil. The combination of scents now smells like zucchini bread! Unexpected but yum! I have a suspicious feeling it is not going to set. Maybe I bit off a little too much for my first try. That wouldn't be a first! :)

I'll make another batch of soap this week and see what happens this time, maybe a bit more basic recipe.

Slumber Party!

This was our other Halloween surprise event. We weren't planning to have a family room slumber party! When I was putting the kids down for the night, I pulled Oliver's blanket up off the floor and it was soaking wet. I'll admit I chewed the poor kid out. I thought he had poured out his water bottle on it. The kids had all been playing in there that afternoon. Usually the kids aren't allowed to play in their room because of their father's day time sleep schedule (he works nights). That afternoon he was awake so I allowed it. Sometimes things happen when they're all in the other room. The next thing I realized was that everything I was picking up off of the floor in one general area was wet. Then I realized we were flooding...again?

This is the third time this year that this corner of the house, and I mean down to the same corner of the room, has flooded! It seems impossible and the crazy thing is each time has been a different fix! I think the spot of the house is jinxed! Apparently the fix this time is a bit more than we thought. My dad found a pipe outside that was squirting water underground and fixed it on Saturday but its Tuesday and we're still getting lots of water. The water meter shows that even when there is no water flowing in the house, its still going. So tomorrow we'll have a backhoe come dig out the bad pipe. Ollie's going to love it! The owner of the backhoe is our neighbor so hopefully he'll let the kids sit on it for a picture. Lets get something good out of this! Oh and the kids are loving sleeping in the family room.


We had a rather uneventful night on Halloween. Three of us were sick. We ordered pizza and carved pumpkins. I debated trick or treating but when Evelyn was out cold at 6:30 we just didn't go. Thank goodness we went to the church Fall Festival the week earlier and trick or treated there! I don't think Oliver would have easily forgiven me! Evelyn was a fairy. It was the same costume as last year. She was not too happy about it until I sewed on some bells at her Nana's suggestion. Spencer was a little chicken once again. Oliver was a soldier. He even worn his dad's old army cap.

Friday, October 31, 2008


I've sewn for many years. I'm quite thankful for a mother that allowed me to play on her machine as young as 8 years old. I jammed her machine and broke so many needles that now that I'm 28, I sit down and relax with a sewing machine. I've made about five and a half quilts over the last few years. Only in the last year have I really taken to piecing quilts and then actually quilting them.

My first official quilting project is a star quilt in red white and black. My favorite color is red which is why I chose the colors. It was intended for myself but as I began working I realized I needed to give it to someone else. It was pure luck that the lady I gave it to also loved red! This was also my first experience quilting on my machine. This quilt is lap size, perfect for watching television or reading a book.

My next quilt was a baby quilt. The colors are a little wild but that suits me! This pinwheel pattern is based off of two quilts given to me and my last two babies. Those two quilts were part of what inspired me to give quilting a try. Thanks Sonja! This was my first project for hand quilting. I enjoyed it and have started another baby quilt for hand quilting. Most likely, I'll never hand quilt a full size blanket! Especially with the carpal tunnel acting up!

This is my current quilting adventure. Its been the most challenging yet. I've dealt with a lot more fabric warping because so much is biased cut. I still like it though. I'm OK with the mistakes so far. This star will be on a white background and I haven't figured out what I want for my border yet. Lots still to do!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

So why Brush Strokes to Cake Crumbs you might ask? I consider myself an artist but have never fully settled on a medium partly due to life's changing circumstances. I really enjoyed painting in college but since having children, it just hasn't been a medium that worked well for me. I've tried other mediums in hopes of finding something easier to do around them. I first tried building and painting children's rocking chairs but that was quite short-term. Next came cake decorating. It filled the need to build and allowed a type of painting. I liked that all the supplies were safe for the children to be around, unlike turpentine and power tools. Though that was fun, it always led to sticky messes! Then I caught the quilting bug. I love pattern. Before going to college I even contemplated doing textile design. Why it took me so long to try quilting out I'm not sure. For the last year it has been the medium that has stuck. Its much easier to pull out and clean up and I can work with the kids around, usually. I've got to watch the iron and straight pins though! So I'll be showing some of the things I've worked on but don't be surprised if I can't seem to stick to a medium! I like to use just about anything that allows for creativity!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Kids - Pumpkin Demons

Rarely does Oliver need any coaxing to do a project. In fact he usually is asking me to get out the scissors and glue for him. That was the case this week. He found the only construction paper we had left and made what I'll call pumpkin demons. This was totally his idea. He designed them so they can be attached to a stick and posted into the ground around the backyard. If he did not have a curious little brother he would have been successful too! I took pictures of the kids with Ollie's pumpkin demons and as soon as they stood up and walked away little hands yanked them out of the ground. Because it would be a losing battle to keep Spencer away from them, Oliver allowed me to display them on the fence instead.

Did you notice Evelyn's hair? Its not so wild! Mommy got brave with the scissors. Its not a perfect cut but hey its the first time I've cut girl's hair other than my own! Yeah, haven't we all done that at some point? Another reason to have cut Evelyn's hair was that I kept finding locks of blond around after she'd had scissors. I haven't seen that since her new cut. Maybe that's because she can actually see now!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Introduction to the Kids

First, an introduction to the kids.
So far we have three, usually lovely children, Oliver, Evelyn and Spencer.

Oliver will be 5 in December and is now in preschool. He loves being with other children. He spends much of his time building with Legos and running around in the backyard. He loves robots and superheros. When walking into the grocery store the other day, Oliver blurted out, "Mom does he have super powers?" It took me a moment to realize what Oliver was talking about. Then I saw that the child nearby us had on a tee shirt with the logo from the Disney movie The Incredibles. Oliver was sure this child could save us all from impending danger. It was cute and also lets me know he's still not deciphering fact from fiction. Great imagination this one!

Evelyn is two years younger than Oliver but getting ready for preschool too. She'll start in January. She's my cuddler. If there is a child in our home that loves a hug or wants to sit on a lap, its Evelyn. I'm glad to have one child like that! Evelyn likes things that are pretty. As soon as she was old enough to walk she was guiding me to anything that had flowers or ribbons on it in stores. She doesn't get dressed up much though because she loves playing in the dirt. This image of Evelyn is one of the rare moments where she let me do her hair. Usually it's just tangle of blondness. Maybe its time to get the scissors!

Spencer is the youngest of the bunch at one and half years. He's in a stage where if there is anything above ground level he will master climbing it. We have a kitchen counter with a raised bar and I caught him successfully climbing on top from the high end! I think I'll have to tie the chairs to the table soon for his protection and my sanity. Spencer is one of my close buddies. He had a rough start in life, not too rough, but enough that he needed to be held most of the time. So now we're kind of attached at the hip. We're both gaining needed independence as he's getting older.