Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dash Point Park!

We've been having unseasonably good weather here in Washington so much so the trees are budding and the bulbs are coming up. A week ago after church we decided to take the kids to the beach. They have been wanting to go play in the sand for a while now. There is a beach about 20 minutes from our house that has a pier, sand and play toys. Normally there isn't that much sand since we always go when the tide is in, but on this day we were there right at low tide. The beach was so much bigger than it normally is! 


The kids always start out helping Daddy with the sandcastle, but he usually ends up being the one to finish it and then all Owen wants to do is wreck it. 


While Michael was working on the castle I was over at the play area with whichever kids wanted to be over there at that particular time. 



Ella, Zeke and I walked out on the pier all the way to the end. It was a bit freaky since I had flashes of having to jump in the water to save one of them. We didn't stay out there long! 


Michael finished his castle and then it was time to go. We didn't let Owen wreck the castle since there were other kids there and we thought they might enjoy playing with it when we left. By the time we go to the van some kids were already playing with it so I'm glad we left it. After that we went to the hardware store and bought a new weed eater and then we came home and Michael mowed the lawn for the first time this year....in February! Oh my....I think this means we are either going to have a crappy summer or a scorching hot one and I hope it the later one! 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

It's A Beautiful Butterfly!

At the Bible Bucks store last Sunday Ella got to use her Bible Bucks and she got this cute bead kit. I loved making these when I was little. She had a hard time getting the beads in without knocking out the ones that she had already placed. She helped me with the outline and then I did the inside. 


Then she got to watch while I ironed it together. It was so fun! 


Here's right after it was finished...it was still too hot for her to hold. Later that night Ga-Ga & Pa came over and she gave it to Ga-Ga to have. Such a sweetie pie! She's already told me she's excited that when she goes to Ga-Ga's house she'll get to play with it! 

Side note: Bible Bucks are something that the kids earn in their classes at church. They get 10 Bible Bucks just for coming and then they get more each Sunday for bringing their Bible, participating, good behavior, memorizing scripture or in Ella's case being able to say what the big idea of the day is. The last Sunday of each month the store is opened up so the kids can get all sorts of treasures to take home. Of course the most popular in our house is candy! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Owen & Ella's Check-Ups!

Last week was Owen and Ella's yearly check up. Of course it was at a time where I had to take all 4 of the kids with me. The biggest bummer was the hospital where I take them doesn't have valet parking anymore. This was a huge blessing to have and I'm so sad it's gone now! 


Because I'm used to there being valet we got there just a few minutes before the appointment and then I realized I had to go to the parking garage and find a spot. Thankfully we found one on the first floor and then went up to the skybridge to get inside the building. We literally waited in the waiting room for all of 1 minute before it was time to go back. 


All of the kids wanted to be weighed, but Zeke. Owen is 8 years old and a whopping 47lbs! Jack is 6 1/2 and 44lbs and Ella is 5 and 42lbs. 


Owen has come up in the percentile charts, but he's still only in the 10% for his weight. He's perfect though....he's just like his daddy! 


Ella Grace is very proportionate she is in the 50% for her height and her weight. The best part for this trip was NO SHOTS! Yahoo!  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Valentine's Celebration!

We celebrated Valentine's Day on Friday instead of Saturday. My parents were going away for the weekend so my girlfriends and I were having our girls weekend while they were gone. I picked up the kids from school and we came home and started getting everything ready. 


We used our fine china and our nice gold flatware and fancy glasses. The kids love it when we spruce up the table. I ironed the tablecloth and we had nice napkins. Owen's favorite part is the candles. I didn't have any long candles so we just used votive candles instead.


I was planning on making Salmon, but on the way home Michael stopped at B & E Meats and got us Kalbi Bone-In Beef Ribs....oh they are so yummy! 


We also had steamed broccoli and baked potatoes with all the fixing. The kiddos had chicken nuggets of course!!! 


Recently we've changed the way we do things at the table and it's really been wonderful. Now we all sit down and before getting any food on our plates we go around and say one thing that we are thankful for that day. The kids have really been saying some very thoughtful things...so sweet. 


The other thing we've changed is that the kids all have to stay at the table until everyone is finished eating. It is definitely easier to just let them run off once they are finished...Michael and I can have a quiet moment to talk, but it doesn't encourage family time. Plus Zeke eats slowly so when the older kids are done he just wants to get down...not because he's finished he just want to go play. This way he's forced to stay longer as are the other kids so he doesn't feel like he's missing out and he usually does eat more. Also it's training the kids for when we go to restaurants. Normally they finish eating and are all ready to go when the adults are still wanting to eat and chat. It's made a world of difference! 


And for fun here's the Valentine's I made for the boys to take to school. The girls say....You're a Gem! and they got candy bracelets and the boys say....You're so Charming! and they got Charm suckers. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Show Me Those Pearly Whites!

About a week and a half ago it was time to take the bigger boys in for their dentist appointments. I was supposed to take them in back in December during Christmas break, but then we all got the flu so that didn't work out. The boys were totally bummed and couldn't wait to go. They love getting new toothbrushes and a token for the toy machine in the lobby!


Jackson is getting so big. He wasn't nervous at all this time around. I even left him and spent a bit of time with Owen in the other room and he was fine. 


Owen got to get xrays of his whole mouth...you know the machine that goes all the way around your head. It was so cool so see all this adult teeth just hanging out up in his skull just waiting to come down when it's time. 


Ella and Zeke were very good waiting for their siblings to get finished. They did go back and forth between Owen and Jack's room, but the hygienist didn't mind. They even gave got new toothbrushes and tokens as well! 


Zeke loves the big wall decals! 


Ella said don't forget me mom! 


Jackson getting worked on. See how high he has to sit up in the chair. When the hygienist pulled him up higher his pants ended up coming down. It was so funny! Later when the dentist came to check out his teeth he had to be pulled up again and I had to remind him to hold onto his drawers!!! The only thing that we do have some concern about is Jack's front permanent teeth that are coming in. He has such a small mouth so those teeth are coming in almost completely sideways. They look like little doors that are almost open. She wants to keep an eye on it so in 6 months we'll reevaluate if we need to pull the two teeth beside them to give them more room and once he gets his first 2 permanent molars she might be able to anchor braces to those permanent teeth to then straighten out his front two teeth. The dentist has always been pretty straightforward in saying that Jack would need braces so this isn't a surprise!  


Owen is totally a pro at this...no worries at all. The best thing is he's doing so much better at brushing his gums so they didn't bleed nearly as bad as the last time! 


Picture proof he is a total and complete stinker...look at that face!! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ella's 5 Year Pictures!

Boy what a difference a year can make! Last year Michael took Ella to get her 4 year pictures done since I was recovering from my final gum surgery and she was a pill. The guy literally got 3 good shots of her and that was it. This year was totally opposite! She even said to me, "I'm going to smile this year Mommy"! 



As we got closer to the day of her pictures I realized that Ella didn't really have anything nice that didn't have any stains on it....she is still such a messy girl. She did have a few things, but they were all outfits she'd worn in previous pictures and I wanted something new and special. We were out running errands the day before and we had to stop at Target anyway so we looked at the clothes there, but I have to tell you I really don't like Targets clothes. I don't know who is picking out the styles, but they are so ugly. Absolutely not my taste. Plus their clearance section is nothing to write home about. So after picking up the few things we needed at Target we walked over to Kohl's to check out the clearance section there. Ella walked right up to this outfit and loved it. It ended up being her size the only thing was it was marked at $60 and I only had $20 in my clothing envelope. It was in the clearance section, but that doesn't mean anything...someone could have just hung it up there. So we walked to the front of the store and the lady scanned it and it was only $18!!! 


My cute 5 year old girl! 


The best part about the outfit was it came with a matching one for her dollie! The night before I had to fix her dollie's hair and it wasn't going well. The only thing I ended up being able to do was braid her hair. The next morning I convinced Ella to have her hair like her dollie's. I think it's just the cutest thing ever!!! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Life Is Short!


Edna Marlene Giest 

09/22/1934 - 02/23/2015

This morning at 6am Montana time my Grandma passed away. A week and a half ago she fell and spiral fractured her leg. The same leg that she had broken a couple years prior. Normally that wouldn't be life threatening, but Grandma had a bunch of other health issues....hepatitis (from a blood transfusion years ago), congestive heart failure, diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver. That last one was the biggest issue. Because of her injury her liver wasn't functioning and her body got backed up with ammonia. So much so it went into her brain. We didn't know if she'd come out of the coma she was in, but she did. Things looked hopeful for a day or so and then her body started retaining fluid. Last Friday they drained 2 gallons of fluid from her abdomen. Then on Saturday morning the doctors let us know that her liver was completely shutdown and it would never recover. Grandma has had so many setbacks these last couple of years and she just kept coming back each time. Weaker and more frail though. This time she was so frail and her body was just giving up. 

My Mom and Dad were with my Aunts and Uncles all last week. My mom got to have a nice time with her mother where she recognized her and was able to kiss her face. After that Grandma just slipped into a coma and they were keeping her comfortable with morphine. Mom and Dad drove back home so they could take care of work things and get more clothes and medication. They are leaving today for Gillette Wyoming. My Grandma is being transported by ambulance to the funeral home in Gillette. 

Last September was the last time I got to see my Grandma alive. My mom and I took a trip out just the two of us. Grandma's health hadn't been the best and I just felt like God was telling me to go. Click here for that blog post. I'm so glad that we got to take that trip. I'm so glad that I got to sit in their apartment and just talk and talk with them. Of course I did most of the talking! :) Grandpa even mentioned how on earth I even got enough air! 

The hardest part about Grandma passing away is the not knowing if she's with the Lord. When Peepaw died it was sad, but it was also such a joyous time. His body was healed and we know without a doubt where he is and we will see him again. That promise is the best thing ever! I believe my Grandma was raised Lutheran, but her and Grandpa never really went to church...not that you have to go to church to be saved, but there wasn't a lot of evidence that she was walking with the Lord. I can't say that she didn't have a real true God moment when she was younger so there is hope. Still it's not the same and truly knowing! That's the part that hurts the most! 

Michael gets bereavement so he can stay home with the kids and I can go to her funeral. Life kind of feels like it's on hold right now. Ella's birthday party had to be postponed since Ga-Ga & Pa weren't going to make it and now it looks like it might have to be canceled again. I'm thinking that we will just have a quiet family dinner to celebrate her. Life is so short and precious.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ella Grace Is 5!!!!

 My baby girl is 5 years old! So crazy! What's even crazier is to think that 5 years ago Michael didn't have a job! Just goes to show you a lot can change in short amount of time! Having Michael home for the first year of this little girls life was the best! What little girl gets time with her Daddy like that!!!


This year has been a trying one for Ella and I. There was major head-butting going on with us. She was still dealing with figuring out how to control her emotions and so was I! Ella is an emotional mess sometimes. One little thing can send the whole day into a downward spiral. I think the biggest challenge for her was her speech and not being able to fully communicate or just not think she could fully communicate with us. Trust me this girl loves and needs to be heard and when he doesn't think she can get the words out or if she feels we aren't listening then there are big problems!! Speech therapy has helped a ton. She is speaking so much clearer now. There is still room to improve, but as of right now she is doing great for her age. We will be checking back in right before school starts to see if she needs a little refresher course. Michael and I have also tried very hard to not make her feel rushed when she needs to say something. We've been known to help her finish her sentence and even if we say the exact same thing she was going to say it really makes her mad that she didn't get to say. I feel bad that we've done that, but with 4 kiddos trying to get your attention sometimes you just want to hurry things along. Now I've been making sure I stop and make the other kids wait while I really listen to Ella tell me whatever it is she needs to. 


Another struggle for her this last year was definitely sharing me with Logan. This time last year was hard for us. She had had me without Logan for most of December so coming into the New Year for 2014 was difficult. Since she still was struggling with her speech she couldn't really explain what she was feeling, but I knew it must have something to do with Logan because she would be excellent on the weekends and first thing Monday morning when Logan would get to our house she would turn into a completely different child. I don't think it necessarily had to do with Logan...I believe it was more a mother/daughter thing and Logan was what sparked it. She was jealous of Logan and so she took it out on me! Fun right? I also worried about how she would be once Logan wasn't coming to our house anymore, but she has been fantastic. It's been so nice just getting to be a mommy to my kids. Another amazing side effect has been the relationship bond between Ella and Zeke. Ella and Logan would always run off and play together and then Zeke would just play by himself. He didn't seem to mind, but now Ella and Zeke are playing together all the time. It's so wonderful to see them bond! 
 

Ella does miss Logan very much and she asks when we are going to see her at least once a week. We have gotten together a couple times so they can play together and they just pick up right where they left off! She also loves her other friends....Kendra, Lilyann, Anna & Addison. They are her buddies and of course she wishes she could see them more often. She does get to hang out with other girls her age at MOPS and church so that helps. I'm excited to see the relationships she makes once school starts in September! 
 

Ella is definitely a girly girl, but can also be a rough and tough girl. She will run around on the mountain with the boys and play in the mud and sand. She loves her brother very much and she loves the neighbor boys too! She's always wanting to play with Donald and Dominic. She tells me sometimes that she talks to them and they don't answer her. They are 11 and 9 so I'm sure she's playing the part of my friends annoying little sister! They don't ignore her all the time as I do see them playing with her as well. 
 

Even though Ella and I had our struggles last year we also made some big leaps! Our relationship has definitely improved and I'm so happy about that! You hear sometimes that those mother/daughter relationships can be really bad and I don't want that. I want Ella to enjoy being with me and I want to have fun with her. Lately she has become my little shopping buddy. Before I would ask her if she wanted to go with me and she would say yes, but then this whole battle would ensue in regards to her shoes or her coat and sometimes I would just end up leaving her home because I would be so frustrated. We had a talk about how I really want to have fun with her, but I needed her to control her emotions. I've also stopped fighting with her about her coat and shoes as much. People probably think I'm the worst parent, but if she doesn't want I coat I very rarely make her wear one. If it's freezing out of course I do, but if it's just a little chilly and she doesn't want to I don't push. First of all it's not worth the stress for both of us. Second we aren't outside that much it's from the house to the van and from the van to the church and so on. Lastly...I believe in natural consequences...if she wants to find out how cold she's going to be then let her. Next time she just might decided to put that coat on after all. Since I haven't been stressing about that she's been so much better. I really enjoy taking her places with me. It's fun mother/daughter bonding time! 
 

This year Ella has really taken more of an interest in toys. She used to no play with any toys really. Now she loves her Barbie Mega Blok house and her normal size Barbies too. She will also play with Legos, Fur Real Doggie, My Little Ponies and Play Doh. She loves to play games and color. She's gotten really good at writing her name as well. 


Dress up is probably her favorite thing though. She is constantly putting on her Elsa dress or her ballet skirts or her leotard and running around in the house. I usually have to remind her that we are going out later that day so she'll have to change her clothes. So far her Elsa dress has held up pretty well. I've had to stitch a little where the cape was starting to come off due to someone stepping on her train. Also her crown and her shoes that Owen got her for Christmas have broken already! :(


Ella loves her brothers so much! She wants to be with them all the time and she misses them while they are at school. She is so excited to go to school with them. We'll see how she feels once she realizes she's not going to be in the same class with them. Most recently Ella and Jack have been inseparable! They are always off doing something together. I have a post coming up about our little beach trip on her birthday. They were so cute together collecting rocks, shells and sticks. My cute little hoarders! 
 

For the most part my Ella Grace is a happy girl. She finds joy in simple things like getting to take a shower or a bath, helping me in the kitchen with cooking or unloading the dishwasher. She still gets a bit grumpy when she has to do the recycle, but at least now it's not every single time. 
 

She is getting so big and growing so well! At her doctors appointment we found out that she is very proportionate....her height and weight are both in the 50%. She is also 42lbs already. Owen was only 30lbs at 5 years old. Just goes to show you that she is a good eater. I love that she enjoys food and is not afraid to try new foods. She is a lot like me when it comes to foods. She loves broccoli, carrots, peas and peppers....more vegetables than any other kids in the family eats! 
 

She does enjoy learning, but it does have to be on her terms. I need to be better about making it more fun for her and not so studious. I like to sit down and just learn from a book, but that's not Ella. I did recently sign her back up for ABCmouse.com and she does like that. Of course she'd much rather watch Sophia on Disney Jr so it's still a bit of a chore getting her to actually sit down and play. I think I need to make more of an effort to sit with her. She loves to hear praise! My main goal before Kindergarten is getting her to learn her letters. She says her ABC's, but she can only recognize...A, E, L and X. She also doesn't really know what the sounds for the letters are. Lots of things to learn! I do know that once she starts school she is going to be a little sponge so I'm trying not to stress about it. I do want her to go into school knowing as much as she can so she doesn't get behind. 
 

My sweet precious Ella girl 5 years has FLOWN by. Seriously I have no idea where it went! I'm so excited for you to start school, but I know I'm going to miss you so much! This time in your life where you are at home with mommy all the time is coming to end and that makes me sad. I know that there will be some tears shed when I take you to school for the first day. I know you will have fun and make friends, but I know that there will probably be some challenges for you. You are tough though and you will do great! 

You are an amazing little girl with a huge heart. You love passionately! You are not one to back down and you will stand up for yourself and what's right. You know that Jesus is in your heart and that God is everywhere. I pray that you always trust Him and listen to His calling on your life! He will never let you down Ella Grace! 

I love you so much Sweet P! You bring such joy to my heart! I want you to know that I'm so so so happy that God blessed me with you! To think that when I was pregnant I wanted just boys, but God knew I needed you! You are a BLESSING....not just to me, but to everyone you come in contact with! You are Daddy's Girl, Pa's Princess, Ga-Ga's Sugar Bear, Owen, Jack and Zeke's Sissy and like that song on the radio says....You are a child of the One True King!  


Happy birthday beautiful girl! Mommy loves you more than words could ever say!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Date Night!!!

Last Saturday Michael and I got to go on a date....it had been about 3 months since our last date. With choir, sicknesses and him being on-call it just hasn't worked out. So when there was a chance we took it. First stop was my parents to drop the kids off for their one sleepover and off to the movies we went. 

We saw American Sniper and it was amazing. They are Marines so of course there are quite a few swear words, but nothing super vulgar. I had not read up on the movie at all and I actually didn't even know it was a true story until right before the movie. I had heard from a couple people that it was very moving. I didn't actually cry, but at the end I was seriously holding back some tears. Walking out of the theater was the hardest part. You could tell everyone in the theater was just absorbing what they had seen so it was silent! I would strongly recommend seeing it! Most of the time the movies they pick for the Oscars are just a bunch of junk, but this movie deserves every single one it's nominated for. Bradley Cooper was awesome! 



After that we headed over to Tacoma and enjoyed Happy Hour at The Melting Pot. We got cheese fondue, shared a salad, Michael got an Ale and then we had chocolate fondue all for $40!! Most of the time you can't get out of there without spending at least $100 so Happy Hours is totally worth it!


Since we had such an early dinner we decided to stop and get a movie at the Red Box. Michael and I both LOVE movies so this is pretty typical for our dates. We got another war movie...this time WWII. It's Brad Pitt's movie Fury. It was not a true story, but it was actually good. There was some vulgar language from one of the actors...he played Shane in The Walking Dead. I could have done without that, but other than that it was decent. Since we saw two war movies I kept getting them intertwined when I would think back to what happened at a certain part...oh well! 

We actually got to bed earlier than normal which was awesome. I was teaching preschool at church the next morning so unfortunately we didn't really get to sleep in. It was just awesome having over 24 hours of no parental responsibilities! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

He's My Helper!

Part of this boys issues is control...wonder where he got that from! He likes to feel in control so we let him with certain things that in the grand scheme of things don't matter. Most nights he gets to pick our plates out. He's very serious about it too. He will pick out just the right plate for each kid. It's really sweet how thoughtful he is. Making sure that Ella has a girly plate and Jack gets Toy Story. 


He also gets out two bigger plates for me and Daddy. He's always very careful and has never dropped a plate. 


I never wants me to help so I just let him do his thing. 


He is very particular about how things are. When you are done getting what you need out of the cabinets the doors have to be shut. No matter how many times I tell him I'll get them HE has to be the one to take care of it. 


He's so careful to back up while closing it so he doesn't fall off. 

  
When it comes to the other side though he doesn't think of backing up. 


He goes under! 


Then he stands up too close to the cabinet behind him and hits his back. Owww....is all he says! 


Back to the task at hand! 


Getting closer! 


Victory! 


All in a days work for this little guy!