Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's a...

BABY!

We had the "big" ultrasound today, and even though we did NOT find out what we're having, it was still the "big" ultrasound to us.

You read that right... we did NOT find out what we're having.

Actually, I take that back. We found out that we're having a healthy baby who is measuring just right and looking about as perfect as can be. Doesn't that still qualify this as the "big" ultrasound? We think so.


See, after finding out four times what we were having, and being thrilled with the surprise of knowing on the day of the ultrasound, we thought we'd choose a different route this time. We're prepared either way with boy or girl clothes, and either way "it" will be Brody's roommate.

We just agree that since this is most likely our last chance to wait until the very end to find out at delivery if we've been blessed with another boy or another girl, we'd give it a shot. The ultrasound technician was very understanding since he didn't find out with his either, and never even looked "down there" to see what we're having. So NO ONE knows.


(Although THAT would've been a dead giveaway, don't you think?)

Actually, I do know what I'm having. Clearly, since I don't like to eat the heels of a loaf of bread, I'm having a girl. OH WAIT - because I pick up a coffee mug by the handle instead of the body, I'm having a boy. It's all clear now. (Those gender prediction quizzes are cra-zy.)

Our due date was adjusted from August 6th to August 10th (with Brody's birthday being smack dab in the middle on August 8th). Until then, I welcome your suggestions of boy AND girl names!

I can't believe we didn't find out today! (And I'm sooo glad!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Homecoming

When I married Gary I was relieved I'd married a guy who didn't have a job that forced him to travel.

Ha! I. Was. Wrong.

Granted, he travels far less than a lot of dads and husbands I know, but far more than I thought I'd signed up for. Throughout the year he has retreats and conferences and training opportunities, and summers bring camps and youth group trips and mission trips. It was fun before we had kids and I could travel with him, but toting all these kids along isn't a possibility anymore, at least, not at this stage.

He was away on the annual Spring Break trip with his high school students last week, so I played the role of single mom during his absence. I have SUCH an appreciation for actual single moms or moms whose husbands are deployed for great lengths. It's exhausting work.

I've heard of some moms who go out of their way to make the time alone with their kids just hopping and really special. While I think that's awesome, I just can't do that. First of all, I don't have the energy. In my mind, I'm "that" mom who can play entertainment director and plan a fun-filled week of never ending excitement, but the truth is... I'm not. Secondly, I don't want to have so much fun while he's gone that the kids look forward to him being gone. That said, I do try to do a few simple things that are out of the ordinary, for my own sanity as well as theirs.


This week, I planned two simple things that would last throughout the week in order to keep my kids engaged and keep me sane.

First, we started reading a novel each night before bed. We read at least one chapter a night, and are still reading it. The girls LOVE IT. I plan to blog more about that, so I won't get into that now.


The second thing I did was make a big "Welcome Home" poster for Gary. When he was gone earlier this month, the girls made a dozen "Welcome Home" signs and cards for him which they taped all over the walls. Knowing they'd probably do it again, I beat them to the punch. The banner also served as a countdown to when Daddy would be home.


They were each allowed to paint one or two letters per day until the day he'd be back home and it was finished! They absolutely loved it and looked forward to painting time every day. And it was SO EASY!




Friday, March 19, 2010

Books we love

Allison at O My Family is highlighting some of their very most favorite kids books this week, and I thought I'd join in the fun with a post about a few of our favorites!

I think this first one, I Know a Rhino, was given to us as a gift when Emma was a baby, although I can't fully remember. I just know I loved it immediately. It's so whimsical and imaginative, and I'm a sucker for cute illustrations. We've read this book a thousand times to our kids and they all eat it up. Emma was convinced when she was little that the little girl in the story was actually her.
This book has been well loved by our teething babies.
I loved it so much that I sought out other books by this author, Charles Fuge, and found My Dad. (Oh whoops! My hair snuck into this picture and I didn't notice until now... sorry 'bout that.)
I was not disappointed! The kids love this one too, especially the big build up to the end.
I found a couple more books illustrated by Charles Fuge, although not written by him - I Love It When You Smile and Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball. But I couldn't resist. The illustrations are adorable as always, but the stories are just as cute! And Fuge does something really fun, maybe as his trademark, that makes for a special treat in the books he illustrates. But you'll have to read one of his books to find out for yourself!
What are some of your favorites? Allison has posted a McLinky to other fun book posts where you can link up and share yours. Go there now to read about other good reads!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Family Heirarchy

Disclaimer: It's okay if you laugh at this. I did!

A few weeks ago, our typical lunchtime banter turned from the morning's school-doings and wondering why spiders don't get stung when they eat bees caught in their webs (no seriously, we talked about that), to the order of things.

Specifically, the order of power in our family.

According to Emma.

"God is in charge of Daddy,
Daddy is in charge of Mommy,
Mommy is in charge of me,
I'm in charge of Addie,
Addie is in charge of Joshua,
Joshua is in charge of Brody,
and Brody is in charge of the new baby."

Addie's jaw dropped with her sandwich as she yelled, "WHAT?! That's not fair!"

(Oh, Addie. Let me tell you about "not fair.")

Emma just shrugged and said, "Well, that's how it goes."

Addie said, "But I'm in charge of Joshua? But he DIED!"

I sat there quietly amused by the conversation, eating my peanut butter and jelly and minding my own business. Did it ever occur to them that poor Brody apparently has no living person to take care of him, according to Emma's heriarchy? Or that, hello!, Daddy isn't really IN CHARGE of Mommy?

Or maybe that God is in charge of ALL of us?

Clearly we have some things to clear up about family heirarchy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Number two was TRUE

Remember when I gave you ten facts about me, but three were false? I suppose I have some unfinished business since I never explained myself after giving the answers.

For example, number two... was TRUE.

Yes, it's true that innocent little ol' me was in a bar fight when I was pregnant with Emma.

Wanna hear the story? Because not only did it happen seven years ago this week, but tonight I'm going back for more.

Now, before I go further, I want you to know that this is MY side of the story. My sisters, who were by my side that night, remember the story just a little differently. I imagine they'll read this post with critical, rolling eyes. But I'm hoping that maybe one will follow this up with a guest post, explaining what THEY remember from that night.

Ready? Here we go!

It was a dark and stormy night...

Okay, I don't remember if it was or not. I think it was actually pretty nice out.

But anyway, it was GIRLS NIGHT and my sisters and I were going to make the most of it. We planned to go to the Grizzly Rose (a country bar in Denver) to watch Blackhawk in concert. We got as countrified as three city girls could get and made our way to the smoky bar.

But I was a nervous, giddy wreck. Just that morning, Gary and I had tested and saw two faint little lines on a pregnancy test. We were pregnant with our first baby!!! And here I was, in a smoky bar, surrounded by alcohol and wild cowboys. What effect could this possibly have on my baby? Would she be born with three arms because of the second-hand smoke? Would she have a hankering for chewing tobacco because of this meager start? I didn't tell my sisters my life-changing news, so all night it was just me and my little secret against the loud, smoke-filled room. I prayed that the ill-effects of such a rough environment would have no bearing on the perfect child in my womb.

Dramatic much? Just wait.

My sisters and were excited to see Blackhawk in concert, even if no one else under the age of 45 had heard of them before. As they took the stage, we jockeyed for position, snagging a pretty good spot on the dance floor.

We giggled and danced to the music, but before too long we realized we were being encroached by woman who was clearly not happy that we were so close to her. As Abby elbowed her and aggressively stood our ground, and Amy shied away pretending it wasn't happening, I took it upon myself to be the peace keeper and make sure trouble wasn't brewing. (Oh, Abby... stop rolling your eyes, you know this is how it happened.)
Things started heating up between drunk girl and the three of us, and hoping to protect Abby from being on the receiving end of a good ol' fashioned punch in the face, I stepped between Abby and drunk girl and nobly said, "Alright, everyone just calm down..."

And that's when it happened.

Drunk girl, who happened to be holding two red drinks in her hands, threw them in my face.

(Would this affect my unborn baby? The horror!!!!!!!!!!)

And in what my sisters claim was the most dramatic move in the history of Olson girls Girls' Nights, I brought my hands to my eyes in shock and very purposefully wiped the stinging alcohol from my burning eye sockets. (This description just doesn't do it justice. Ask me for a reenactment sometime.)

In the chaotic moments that followed, I was escorted by a bouncer to the bathroom (a detour, I thought at the time, since I was sure I was being kicked out). I may have claimed to be blind at that point, so maybe the bouncer took pity on me. But seriously, my contacts were burning with alcohol.

And my white shirt had splashes of red on it. Had I intended to accessorize with red, I would've worn a bolo, people.

By the time I returned the dance floor, nearby people had stepped up to defend the innocent three girls who had clearly been bullied. We were separated from drunk girl, and taken via bouncer to the VIP area to watch the rest of the concert in peace.
From our view next to the band, we could see drunk girl who scowled at us for the remainder of the concert. While Abby waved and gloated about our new and awesome position, Amy shied away and pretended it wasn't happening, and I, of course, played peacemaker and tried to downplay the place of privilege we now held. I know, good thing I was there.

Oh, and I caught a guitar pick. Yes, I did. Drunk girl did not.

And as for my unborn child? She suffered no problems thanks to that night, and is perfectly normal and heathy today. Although she does start twitching when she hears "Goodbye Says It All."

Tonight, Blackhawk is back at the Grizzly Rose... I'm pregnant again... and who knows what will happen.

So that's my story... and I'm sticking to it. No matter what Amy and Abby say.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dust Shmust

I'm finished with morning sickness. I'm finished with my cold that dragged on and on.

So now that I'm feeling human again, it's high time to pick up some of the chores that have been neglected in the past few weeks (um, months).

Like dusting.

Just keepin' it real, folks.

My mom is probably flipping out right now if she's reading this. Yes, Mom. I'm showing the entire world wide web my dust! Aren't you proud? (I kind of wish I was there while she's reading this, probably more to revive her than to catch her reaction.)

To my credit, this particular collection of dust is up high where no one can see it.
I'm really NOT that bad about cleaning my house.

In fact, right now, you could practically eat off of my kitchen table!!!

(Wait... that should be the norm, huh?)

Tune in next time when I show you picture of the top of my fridge.

And if you're inspired to show off YOUR dust, leave a comment and let me know! :)

I mean, who wasn't inspired after reading this post?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

10 on the 10th



Ten Random Pictures from the Last Month

1. Valentines the girls made for their classmates:

2. My niece Kenzie at her 3rd birthday party:

3. Valentines Day flowers from Grandpa:

4. Flirting with Grandma:

5. Fake sleeping with Daddy:

6. Delivering Girl Scout cookies with my Daisy:

7. Fun with the headlamp:

8. Snuggling with big sis:

9. I need to redo my highlights. And get a haircut. BADLY.

10. Addie's learning how to ride a two-wheeler!

Visit Mer's blog to see her 10 on the 10th post and links to other fun 10 on the 10th posts. And then join in the fun with your own post!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

From donuts to donations or dough

I need helping making a decision. It's not a hard decision at all, it's just that I'm pregnant and when I'm pregnant, I'm indecisive. For example, I just stood in the kitchen for four minutes, trying decide if I'd like to eat a chocolate donut or a handful of Thin Mints for a quick snack. And really? That was easy. I had both. but it took awhile to get to that decision.

And just so you know, I don't usually have donuts on hand, but I was at the grocery store earlier, and decided on a whim that I just HAD to have a chocolate donut. I backtracked across the store and got the very last one. Did you read that? The LAST one. It was meant to be. And it was delicious.

But here's the horrible, selfish mom part: I only got one. While Brody happily munched on his cookie from the bakery, I quickly and quietly dropped my treasured chocolate donut in a bag (did I mention it was the last one?) and we went on our merry way. So as badly as I wanted to devour the whole thing when we got home, I couldn't. Brody's eagle eye would've spotted it, because that boy can sniff out a donut with the best of them. Just ask anyone after church on a Sunday morning, who sees him sitting on his perch next to the windows, scarfing down his donut. I snuck nibbles of the chocolate donut here and there this morning, but once he was down for a nap, I downed it. And then I ate the Thin Mints. And then I wished I'd saved just a bite of the chocolate donut to wash down the Thin Mints.

But anyway, back to the decision I'm trying to make.

For a year or so, I've been decluttering the house and boxing up the things we don't want anymore. I probably have 20 boxes and stuff in a growing pile in the basement, waiting for a summer garage sale. There are three more up in my room, waiting to be taken to the basement. My dilemma is that I'm not sure anymore if I want to have a garage sale, or just donate all the stuff.


On one hand, I LOVE garage sales. I love HOSTING them, but I don't really love going to them. I think organizing and pricing all of the treasures (hey, they'll be treasures to SOMEONE!) is so fun. And then people watching and guessing who will walk away with what is so very entertaining to me. My mom and sisters and I joke that we should go into the garage sale business, organizing and running them for people. (I even made a business card for my mom once.) But then, isn't that the same as working at a thrift store? That doesn't appeal to me at all.

The little bit of money we'd make from the garage sale would come in handy, but I'm not sure it will be worth all the work it will take putting it together this summer when I'll be really pregnant. But they are fun...

But then there's a part of me that thinks I should just haul it all up from the basement and donate it. Then it's just GONE and benefitting others. It's not in our way, it's just stashed in a corner of the basement. So it's not a matter of needing the space.

I do plan to donate whatever I don't sell if I go the garage sale route, but then I feel guilty for getting rid of the "leftovers."

And then there's always the Craigslist and consignment shop option for some of the nicer things.

OH, THE STRESS!

I know, this really isn't a hard decision.

So what do YOU do? Garage sale? Donate? A little of both?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I can't breathe through by dose but I can read blogs

Today I stayed home from church because the cold that's been brewing has finally hit me hard. My head is POUNDING and I blow my nose about every 5 minutes. (How is there anything left to blow? TMI... sorry.)

I've had a couple of opportunities today to take short naps, but instead I cannot stop reading blogs from the Compassion bloggers team in Kenya. (Yes, I blogged about this the other day.)

Maybe it's pregnancy hormones, maybe it's because I'm sick, but the stories and pictures in the blogs keep making me cry.

Or maybe it's because they're really touching. Lives are being changed through Compassion. But also, the bloggers' lives are being changed by those sweet Kenyan children.

If you have a few minutes, I really encourage you to cruise around the blogs. Especially if you have a Compassion child, because you'll see what a difference you're making. And ESPECIALLY if you don't... because God might just prompt your heart to sponsor one today.

Compassion bloggers in Kenya:

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Saturday fun

Happy Saturday!

Today's been a nice, slow day so far... such a rarity around here! This morning we delivered cookies to the fire station with Emma's Daisy Girl Scout troop, and this afternoon we spent time outside - WITHOUT COATS! - since the weather was so nice. We've kind of forgotten what it feels like to be outdoors in the last few months. Addie took advantage of the nice day and tried to learn how to ride her bike without training wheels, but it looks like we'll be trying again another day.

In a couple of hours we'll be heading out to our church for a Volunteer Appreciation Banquet, so I thought I'd squeeze in a quick blog post before we go.

Brace yourself, because this is going to be riveting.

No really, I hope you're sitting down...

Useless information:

1. What is your name spelled backwards? Eigna... actually, when I was younger my name (with my maiden name) spelled backwards was Eigna Noslo, and I'd pretend I was a Norwegian exchange student when I was out and about with my mom running errands. I think my obnoxious fake (and horrible) accent embarrassed her immensely. I, of course, thought it was hilarious.

2. What did you do last night? Went on a date with Gary! We went to dinner at Red Robin and then saw Alice in Wonderland. I fell asleep during the movie, although I blame ME, not the movie.


3. What was the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? Pictures from my camera.

4. Have you ever licked a 9 volt battery? No! I'm too afraid.


5. When is the last time you swam in a pool?
In September when we went to Kauai. I may or may not have performed a synchronized swimming routine with a friend for our husbands. I also may or may not have attempted to dive into the pool, which may or may not have resulted in a painful (yet amusing for onlookers) belly-flop.

6. What are you wearing right now? Jeans, a pink sweater, and a funky necklace


7. How many cars have you owned?
Well, since I didn't technically own my first cars (my parents did), then my answer is four since Gary and I have been married.

8. What is the type of music you detest most?
Rap

9. Are you registered to vote? Of course!


10. Do you have cable?
Yes, but I could live without it.

11. What kind of computer do you use? My MacBook! LOVE it.


12. Have you ever made a prank phone call?
Yeppers.

13. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? No and no.


14. What is the farthest you've ever traveled?
Kauai.

15. What is your favorite comic strip?
Hmmm... I don't really have one, but if I had to choose I'd pick Calvin and Hobbes.

16. Do you know all the words to the National Anthem?
To the first verse, yes! The rest of it... no clue! (Did you know there are FOUR verses?)

17. What is your favorite pizza topping?
Green peppers and sausage... or maybe plain ol' pepperoni.

18. Chips or Popcorn?
Popcorn!

19. Who is your cell phone provider? T-Mobile

20. Do you shower in the morning or night?
Morning

21. Have you ever smoked peanut shells?
WHAT?! Who does that?

22. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? Nope.

23. Orange Juice or Apple Juice?
Orange juice.

24. Who were the last people you ate lunch with?
Gary, Emma, Addie and Brody!

25. Favorite Chocolate Bar?
Kit-Kat

26. Who is your oldest friend and how long have you known each other? Other than family? Probably Kathleen, who I've known for 24 years or so. Facebook makes this a tricky answer since I've reconnected with people from before that. But, Kathleen and I haven't had to rely on Facebook to rekindle our friendship!


27. When was the last time you ate a homegrown tomato? Sad,
I don't even know...!

28. Have you ever won a trophy?
Ummm... well, yeah... just one. For a stinkin' spelling bee. Don't mock me.

29. Favorite arcade game? PacMan!


30. Ever ordered from an infomercial? Oh dear... yes...


31. Sprite or 7UP? Sprite, but I had them so often when I was sick growing up that now they make me feel sick.


32. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work/school?
No

33. The last thing you bought at
Walgreens? Ice cream

34. Ever thrown up in public?
Yep. Wanna hear about it?

35. Would you prefer being a millionaire or finding true love?
Love!

36. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Hmmmm... not really. But from the first time I saw Gary, I "knew."

37.
Spongebob or Jimmy Neutron? Neither. Phineas and Ferb? Yes!

38. Did you have long hair as a kid? Yes! Always had long, blonde hair. Too long at times.


39. What message is on your Voicemail machine? "Hi! You've reached Gary, Angie, Emma {saying her own name}, Addie {saying her own name}, and Brody. Leave a message!"


40. Where would you like to go right now? Kauai.


41. What's the name of your pet?
We don't have one. We used to have a dog named Obadiah (Obie for short).

42. What kind of backpack do you have and what's in it? I think it's an old Eddie Bauer backpack, and I think right now it has a few spare wallets in it.


43. What kind of tennis shoes do you have? Nikes... I hear they're for something called "exercise." Huh.


44. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
Gary

45. Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny? Mickey Mouse

I know that info will have you pondering things for days. Many thanks to Mer and Ginger for this amazing blog post idea.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kumquat: It's not just fun to say

Evidence that I wasn't feeling up to par, here are some pictures I took EIGHT weeks ago today and wanted to post on my blog. Better late than never? Definitely. There are expressions in the following pictures that make me laugh every time I look at them.

On babycenter.com, pregnant women can track the growth of their unborn babies in comparison to fruits and vegetables. It's pretty clever since it gives such a tangible example of what's growing inside. I mean, not that there are fruits and vegetables growing inside me... in case you were confused.

Today, I'm 18 weeks along. According to the website, our baby is the size of a green bell pepper.

But 10 weeks ago, it was as big as a kumquat.

A kumquat?

I didn't even know what one was. But it just so happened that we were at the grocery store later that afternoon and walked right by a basket of kumquats on sale! I couldn't resist, so I got one for each of us to try at lunch the next day.

But before we could eat them, we had to Google HOW to eat them. Do you know how to eat a kumquat? Allow my kids to demonstrate for you...

Presenting... the kumquat:

First you roll it...

And then you plop the whole thing in at once...

And chew.

That way, the sweet taste of the peel mixes with the bitter taste of the inside, creating the most delectable fruit known to man. Right, Emma?

Oh wait... PSYCHE! She chickened out.

Let's see what Addie thinks:

Okay, so she wasn't convinced. Maybe this kumquat thing wasn't a good idea. Wait... what's that, Emma? You wanna try again? Go for it!



Alright, I guess you should've taken Addie's word for it. Oh, what's that, Addie? You've changed your mind? Now you LOVE kumquats?

Well, I'm not totally convinced, but we'll go with it. I wasn't sure about her motives the next day when she insisted on bringing one to school for a friend to try. How generous of her.

And here's a bonus picture of the Brodster, who decided to stick with peanut butter and jelly this day. Good choice, buddy.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The least of these...

Today I haven't been able to stop thinking about a group of bloggers who are halfway across the world in Kenya, traveling with Compassion International. The stories and pictures coming from their trip are AWESOME.

I've been following the blogs of two of the women for a couple of years now, so it's fun to feel like I "know" someone on the trip. But actually, I DO! One of our really great friends is on the trip as well. LV is an old friend of Gary's from college (LV accuses me of "kicking him out" since he was Gary's roommate before I was), and now he's like family. He IS family. Our girls adore him - and that's putting it lightly.



As an aside, you should know that LV has brainwashed Emma and Addie to believe that they actually have a silent "LV" in the middle of their names, leading Emma to sometimes spell her name "EMLVMA." Thanks, LV. Like phonics isn't hard enough.

LV was recruited to be part of the trip and has been posting his updates along with the other bloggers. Today's post was so touching - he got to meet "his" Compassion child - go check it out! And there's a picture of LV's big white hand intertwined with Michael's that is just beautiful.

Don't just stop at LV's blog. Be sure to visit the blogs of all the Compassion bloggers and leaders. Their blogs can be found here. Each are full of stories and pictures of the trip, all evidencing how Compassion is changing millions of precious lives around the world. "A picture" from MckMama/Jennifer is beautiful - tons of touching pictures.

Gary and I started sponsoring a chid in Haiti through Compassion shortly after we got married. Pierre Jonathan was 11 when we started his sponsorship, and we watched him grow and thrive until he graduated from the Compassion program last year when he turned 20.

Receiving letters from him over the years, hearing how Compassion had touched his life, touched ours. His letters were a constant reminder of how much we have and how blessed we are... and how it's our responsibility to be a blessing to others.

After Pierre Jonathan graduated, we started sponsoring a sweet five year old girl named Rasmita from India. Just recently, her family moved out of Compassion's project area. So sadly, we are no longer sponsoring her. I was looking forward to watching her growth, and watching a smile spread across her pictures as years went by. I still pray for her when I pass her picture on our fridge.

Now we have a new little girl from India, named Ankuri. She will be 12 this year.

Do you sponsor a child through Compassion? It only costs $38 a month to sponsor a child and meet their needs. Maybe that's just a few less coffees each month, or fewer iTunes downloads, or one less dinner out. There are thousands of children waiting for a sponsor. Be a blessing to a child today! Someone out there needs YOU.

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