the week of sick.

Last night I got to go out with a small (and perfectly random) group of girl friends to see I AM at the Tivoli. It was just the perfect night. Simple. Eye opening. I loved getting to chat with my friends, kid-free and watch a completely amazing and inspiring documentary. A nice departure from going out to see just a chick flick!

And it was a great break from my week of sick kids. Which apparently isn’t over as Parker spiked a fever last night, threw up at 1am and has yet to break the fever this morning. It’s hanging out at 102 and I’m watching her like a hawk because Parker and fevers freak me out a little.

The kids seem to have the world’s worst virus. Fever, vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose and cough. And so far it’s lasted for EIGHT days in all of them. Almost every single night we’ve been up with someone puking or needing breathing treatments. Which makes for one very tired mommy. And three really crabby and needy kids.

I feel bad, but part of me is happy I have a photo shoot this morning and our Fresh Class this afternoon. Chris will have to take his turn answering their every wish!

Anyway, just popping in to see if anyone else has this virus? Is it going around? Because my kiddos are pretty miserable and although I wouldn’t wish sick kids on anyone else, it would be nice to know it’s not just in this house!

Have a great Saturday!

sick day.

I exceeded my bandwidth again yesterday and had to buy more hosting. It is a good problem to have because I guess people are stopping by this blog (I don’t check stats so I have no idea if five or five hundred read this!) BUT it kind of makes me mad to have to PAY for more space on the internet. I guess I just don’t get it! So for $6 extra a month I should be ok!

It’s Wednesday. Gray and raining. I feel tired but not sure if it’s because of lack of sleep (I always have a lack of sleep) or just a mood from being stuck at home with sick kids all week. Does that ever happen to you? You get tired and kind of gloomy when you’ve been stuck inside for days on end? Especially when it’s gray and rainy? Before I was married or had kids I would go through periods like this naturally and call them my hermit days. When I would curl up and read a book all day or lay on the couch watching movies avoiding emails and phone calls completely. Sometimes I turn inward and like just being with me. And that’s kind of how I’m feeling but I think it’s more a result of being MOM and doing anything the kids need the second they need it for too many days.

Does any of that make sense?

Anyway, yesterday when the sun was actually out a bit I managed to capture little pieces of our day. And I’m so glad I did because allowing myself to take super grainy not perfect photos sometimes is a huge relief. I feel like this blog only contains my crappy photography actually. But I’m ok with that. Because it shows that I have my mom hat on with a camera in my hand as opposed to having my photographer hat on while trying to be a mom. Mom first on this blog! I can live with craptastic photos as long as they tell our story.

Our day was a mix of energy and then crashing. We played games and watched movies. We cleaned up poop and took baths. Well, I cleaned up poop and they took baths. Today has been much of the same!

looking forward to a long day.

I went to bed at 11:30pm. Bailey was coughing so badly (ear infection) she needed a breathing treatment at 1am. Parker woke up dry heaving at 2am (after throwing up twice yesterday). Grayson woke up throwing up at 3:30am (he made it to the toilet). Then I finally slept from about 4am to 6am when Chris woke me up because Gray had pooped, he’d laid him on the floor to change him without realizing there was poop up his back and in his hair. Chris took Gray to the tub while I got out the carpet cleaner to clean the shit off the floor. Literally.

Now they are all drinking Gatorade and eating dry cereal. I’m praying it stays down.

I’m also praying Bailey doesn’t get it. Or me. Or C. Or my mom and dad. I’d be very happy if it stayed with just the littlest two.

I HATE nights like last night. And I hate sitting here at 7am looking down the line of 12+ hours before I can tuck these kids back in bed and call it a day. You never want to start the day wishing it was over.

And although Chris was awesome last night at getting both Parker and Grayson to the toilet in time (he’s WAY better than me at that b/c I kind of freeze and catch the puke in whatever blankets are nearby) I couldn’t help but resent the fact that he got to LEAVE a little while ago. Because although he’s as tired as me, I’d rather be doing ANYTHING besides, well, this.

You know, answering every demand as quickly as possible to keep sick kids happy, waiting for the puke or poop or coughing to start again, hoping I can find a movie that keeps all three entertained, etc. It’s one of those days I MIGHT get a shower and I will be living off Mnt Dew.

Ugh. It’s going to be a long day.

Here’s hoping and praying no one else gets sick!

these make me smile

Gray and my mom. From a day a while back before all this crazy rain started!

This is how I found them. All cuddled up and so sweet.

But then I took a photo and Gray was over it.

He turned away. Even when Grandma tried to tickle him!

Then he really tried to hide!

Such a stinker! But he’s MY stinker that’s for sure!

This is the exact reason you should keep your camera close by! I love capturing these small daily moments… these are the things I’ll miss the most when we finally are able to move into our own home!

He is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!


1. My friend Adriane texted me this morning, “He is risen” and it gave me the biggest smile! I love having a friend so excited for Christ!

2. I got over my hatred of holidays in general yesterday when I finally remembered how much I really love Easter. It’s one of my favorite church services… SO joyful! I love hearing my mom say, “The Lord is risen indeed!” louder than anyone else! (It used to embarrass me but now I love it)

3. Bailey sang louder than any other kid in choir today and I loved seeing my mom and Terri giggle together with the most proud smiles on their faces as they watched her! She was brave and loud and clear even though she wasn’t feeling all that great. Parker did great too, we just couldn’t hear or see her!

4. I loved having both sets of parents at church today. When the Allen’s come to church with us it always makes my heart so happy because our kids are literally surrounded by love at Emmanuel but having them there somehow makes it all feel totally complete.

5. I was able to apologize to a friend after church and I’m glad she understood.

6. Chris let me stop for a soda (yes, back ON but trying to take it easy) without any kind of judgmental comments.

7. Great lunch at the Allen’s after church and laughed so hard when cousin Andrea actually got IN Gray’s power wheels golf cart and rode around with him!

8. Hanging out with my girls for an hour while the boys napped before family came over to my parent’s house (and our temp house). All I did was sit in a chair while they colored and watched a movie but I love just listening to them love each other.

9. Hiding the eggs outside all by myself. Kind of fun to have people smile and wave as they drove by knowing what I was doing!

10. Watching the kids hunt for eggs with their cousins (they are my second cousin’s kids so I’m not sure what that makes them, but on my mom’s side it just means FAMILY and I love that!), seeing Bailey and Arden in the same dress, watching Parker, Bailey and Arden bond for the first time, laughing with MY cousins at our crazy kids and having Bailey give up some of her eggs to the girls that didn’t make as big of a haul.

11. Chatting with my cousin Ryan’s wife, Erin, for so long. I adore her and am making it a mission to hang out with her and her kids more often.

12. Staying up until after midnight last night making rice krispie treats, hiding eggs in the house for early this morning with Chris, putting the kid’s baskets together, creating cute little hand-cut tags for each basket (oh yes I got CRAFTY!) and being the last one to bed… I love turning lights out and pulling covers back on and giving that one last kiss goodnight.

13. Knowing the kids still believe in the Easter bunny (the stupidest of holiday traditions in my book but still kind of fun) but understand that Christ died for our sins and rose again. Which is obviously way more important!

14. Watching my friend Beth lead an amazing Children’s Chapel at church with a great demonstration of the rock being rolled away from Christ’s tomb.

15. Getting all the laundry put away tonight so I have a semi-clean slate for starting the week. AND having our awesome sitter lined up for tomorrow so tonight I can stay up late editing and have help tomorrow!

It was a GREAT day.

The only bad parts? I forgot my camera until late this afternoon so I missed the kid’s first egg hunt from the Easter Bunny (aka, mom and dad), I missed the traditional family photo of all of us looking cute, I missed everything from the Allen’s and then only snapped a few later on because I felt like I had to. And lastly, Bailey’s sick… I think it’s a cold but for some reason it’s really setting off her asthma. Coughing constantly in her sleep tonight tells me she’ll most likely stay home tomorrow and hoping we won’t have to do middle of the night neb treatments.

And ok, to make a long post LONGER… the BEST part of today? That we are officially ONE full year from the scariest day of my life. Today is the one year anniversary from when Parker started having seizures and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. The day one year ago that started a 9 day stay in the hospital with a very sick little girl. I am SO glad today fell on Easter this year so that I was distracted because any time I think back on that day, one year ago, I start tearing up. Which is funny since I made it through that entire time with so little tears. But now, when I let myself think back on all the details of those days I get this pit in my stomach and the tears sting my eyes. SO. I’m glad we’re a year past it with no residual effects, that she’s healthier than ever before and that I’m hopeful I’ll never have to go through anything like that ever again.

It also reminds me of how blessed we are. It’s funny, my memories from that time are so scattered and random. Like Parker painting with pudding at 4:30am, her gifts of dolls lining the bottom of her bed, the pictures she colored all over the walls, the rocks left in our garden signed by Emmanuel after they cleaned up our yard, the Mnt Dews that were brought or sent every day, the times she couldn’t talk, laying in bed with her while she cried, etc. It’s like I don’t remember whole days, just snippets and moments. But the overall feeling I remember was bring wrapped in love and support and prayer. Thanks, one last time, to everyone that helped us through that intense time, you have no idea what it meant and what it still means to us today.

So today was just lots of kinds of awesome.

Happy Easter!

(gotta post the few snap shots I got today for the memory books!)

Parker running to find eggs!

Bailey in the middle of the hunt!

This photo totally cracks me up even though it’s TERRIBLE! Parker, Arden and Bailey are saying “Happy Easter” and so is Gray WAY back there in the back where he wanted to stand. And the big girls think the whole thing is SO last year! HA!

So I just reread ALL my blog posts from Parker last year and WOW I forgot most of it. Seriously, as I was reading I kept thinking how GLAD I am that I blogged each day (multiple times a day sometimes) because I don’t remember so much of it! Blogs can be such a blessing!

52 Smiles #7

Did you sing that song with your kids today that I posted earlier? I am in love with it and we’ve been singing it all day! The girls called my sister the other day to sing it to her because we knew she’d love it! Love that someone wrote a song that makes kids realize it all starts with them!

So in an effort to actually get some snap shots (which they TOTALLY are because my pro-tog hat stays at home when I venture out with my own kids!) blogged on the same day I took them, HERE is how we spent our Earth Day doing 52 Smiles number SEVEN!

We started by dropping sweet Bailey off at school who said, “Mommy, I’ll be learning about Earth Day today and school and you guys will be DOING something for Earth Day!” Man I love that kid. Then we headed off to the Muehls to grab them and hit Emmenegger Park for trash duty. Because we decided a fitting Earth Day version of our 52 Smiles project would be to pick up trash at one of our favorite parks!

Adriane and I thought it was funny that no collecting was allowed and yet here we were, eight of us, all with bags ready to collect lots of things!

I guess they won’t mind too much the things we were collecting! HA!

Gray was a total two year old, which is my excuse right now for him being a total turd, and refused to pick up anything. But Parker was awesome and at one point as I was hurrying her along she said, “Mommy, I’m looking for trash! I have to go slow!”

She also said to Lydia, “Your Daddy has HAIR!” HA! Like WOW how did that happen? SO funny! Oh and she rode with Tim and Adriane to the park and told them her Daddy drives over the speed limit! That kid cracks me up!

The creek is swollen because of all the rain we’ve had and the trash in there made us all so sad. I encouraged Tim to go ahead and jump in for the sake of our project but he declined. HA!

The Muehls minus Ahren (who was sad he had to miss our morning together)… Tim teaches but was off today for Good Friday. Oh the joys of NOT teaching at a public school!

One of the neatest parts of the morning was meeting a mushroom hunter who was obviously ignoring the collecting rule as well. He let the kids hold his treasures and then as we were walking away he found one still in the ground to show them…

Isn’t that beautiful? The ground was so wet I just held my camera down and got lucky with the focus! It was hard to not look for mushrooms and start looking for trash again because well, these are just prettier!

I love these unedited shots of PJ veering off the trail to grab that discarded McD’s cup! We will certainly keep grocery bags in the car for each trip to the park in the future! We love hiking at this park and now to add trash collecting to the trips just makes it even more fun! I can’t wait to see if the kids (Parker especially) start noticing trash in other places and want to pick it up! And we can’t wait to take Daddy and Bailey on a trash collecting trip soon!

The kids and their haul!

I want to admit something. On Earth Day. I never recycled until about a year ago.

I used to think recycling was hard. I was so overwhelmed with my three young kids and life in general I thought I just couldn’t add in one more thing. But then one day I just started. And it was easy. Just like the day I started reading food ingredients. It was so daunting I cried at the grocery store the first time. Now it feels like second nature. Anything new seems hard at first I guess so you just have to start. Reading about Katherine’s 52 Smiles project back in January seemed impossible, like how in the world could I make time each week to do something to teach my kids to be other-centered? To give back? To show empathy and understanding? But it didn’t leave my heart and in fact tugged at me for weeks. Until I mentioned it to my friend Adriane. Someone I didn’t know all that well but saw every single day at school drop off and was starting to like so much. Almost eight weeks in to our project and she has become one of my closest friends as we travel this path together. Now our project is pure joy. The bright spot in my week!

All this to say, it’s not too late to start yourself. The little snippets of goodness my kids are getting out of this will change their lives, I just feel it. And you know what, it’s changing mine as well. Maybe it’s changing me the most. Like so many of your comments reminded me today, it’s not about the big things it’s about all the small things because over time, they add up. I’m not a perfect mom. In fact, I’m FAR from perfect. I’m even worse at being a good friend, daughter, sister and especially wife. But I try. I actually try really hard most days. And whether I succeed or fall flat is not the point. The point is, I’m trying.

Did picking up a few pieces of trash save the earth today? Nope. But did it teach our kids to just start? I hope so. Did it remind me that it’s the small things that matter most? Yup.

Today was such a good day.

Although maybe I’m feeling good because I gave up and had soda.

Either way, it was a good day and I’m so thankful for this project and all it’s teaching me!

happy earth day

sing to “itsy bitsy spider”…

Reduce, reuse, recycle are words that we all know.

We have to save our planet so we can live and grow.

We might be only children but we will try you’ll see.

And we can save our planet, it starts with you and me!

Be back later to share our Earth Day 52 Smiles project!

ps… thanks for all the comments on last night’s rant. It really made me feel better! LOVE the blog world!

I’m starting to hate holidays.

We’ve made some major changes in the way we live our lives around here. We’re reading ingredients on EVERY SINGLE THING we put in our mouths (or at least the kid’s mouths) so that nothing unnatural goes into them (they do still get the occasional junk just because I never want them to feel so deprived they crave the junk… a piece of candy here and there or whatever). They are eating more fruits and veggies than ever and are on daily supplements prescribed by our doc (the Homeopathic one as we’re still seeing our pediatrician for the basics). I cleaned out the bathroom of toxins and have gone to all natural shampoo, wash, toothpaste, etc. And finally I bought all new non-toxic/organic/all-natural/whatever cleaners. My mom is even on board with all of this bless her soul. SO. Because of all these changes I decided today that instead of using toxic food coloring to dye our eggs we’d go the natural way.

I used red cabbage for blue, beets+cranberry juice for red, chili powder for orange, etc.

I spent HOURS shopping and cutting and cooking and straining and preparing for a SUPER FUN night of egg dyeing!

Then because the kitchen was a DISASTER with pots of simmering food everywhere I ordered Imo’s. And of course they brought me a soda. But I didn’t drink it. I’m on day SEVEN so why would I cave now?

The kids ate quick and we were SO ready to start the SUPER FUN night of egg dyeing!

Let’s just cut to the end of this sad sad story. IT DIDN’T WORK. AT ALL.

All we had were some crap-ass colors so pale it was awful. And most of them looked like mud. So I sent them up to get undressed and said we just needed to let them soak while they bathed. As they ran upstairs I quickly got out the toxic food coloring and emptied all the bottles into the bowls praying something would turn out.

Three clean little people scampered down the stairs SO excited to see… darker and scarier and uglier eggs. They are BAD you guys. FUGLY.

Bailey looked at me and said, “I thought dyeing eggs would be fun!”

Sing it sister.

The kids are in bed, I have a MOUNTAIN of dishes to wash and a half-drank Mountain Dew sitting here next to me.

Freaking holidays.

They are not fun to me anymore. It’s almost Easter and I used to like Easter. Now I’m worried about what the kids can and can’t eat, I’ve been so mean to the Grandma’s and asked them not to put ANY candy in the hidden eggs, I’ve had to buy new clothes for everyone, I look online and see so many awesome kid crafts for Easter and have NO freaking time to do any of them, I feel guilty we didn’t make anything for any of the teachers this year and the list goes on. Holiday’s are like one big huge day to show me how much I SUCK at being a mom sometimes. Like how tonight I would love to sit and do a craft I started days ago for the Grandma’s (for Easter but mainly to let them know how much I appreciate them) but I have like, oh, HUNDREDS of photos that need editing for Fresh Art and this pile of dishes that won’t wash themselves.

My friend calls blogs mom-porn and she’s totally right. I read so many blogs with so many women who spent the week teaching their kids about Christ and Easter and the cross through crafts and stories and making cookies. And the whole time I’m reading I’m pinning things or book marking them or even printing them out so I can BE JUST LIKE THEM and be the BEST MOM EVER! And then I remember that I work two jobs and struggle to keep up with ANYTHING in my life on a daily basis much less adding in something like, I don’t know, naturally dyeing Easter eggs that takes HOURS and turns out like crap.


Oh and Grey’s is a repeat AGAIN.

And I just finished my Mnt. Dew.

Day seven of no soda can kiss my ass.

And so can being the perfectly together mom I wish I could be.

Because I’m just not. I’m scattered and frantic and chubby and bad at cooking and bad at time management and bad at keeping up with the laundry and tired and grumpy and over-extended and stressed most of the time.

And on most days that’s fine with me. I can handle being mostly sucktastic.

But then a freaking holiday rolls around and I want to be AWESOME. And together. And organized. And crafty.

Whatever. Holidays can suck it.

52 Smiles | #5 & #6

I’ve been taking SO many photos of our everyday and just running out of steam at night to post them. SO when I have the energy I’m hoping to catch up!

Tonight, before I head to bed, I wanted to share our last two 52 Smiles projects.

#5 was pretty simple and pretty awesome. The kids helped me one night to make rice krispie treats. We added a ton of chocolate chips and doubled the recipe so they would be crazy chocolaty and extra thick. We stuck them in the fridge over night and in the morning I cut them into big squares, wrapped them in wax paper and tied a cute ribbon with a note that said something like, “we truly appreciate all you do”. And then we gave our gifts to the janitor at Bailey’s and Ahren’s school and the janitor at our church/Parker’s preschool. Mr. Bobby and James.

Of course Adriane’s gifts were dressed cuter but I would argue that the CHOCOLATE of ours was better! HA! Just kidding, she’s a way better cook than I am!

See? Adriane’s were way cuter than mine!

Mr. Bobby was surprised and tickled I think! Bailey was SO nervous so Ahren was our brave boy!

#6 was awesome. We went to visit our Grandma Berta.

Grandma Berta was my Grandma’s best friend (my mom’s mom) and growing up she came to every holiday or family function so she was always just as important to us as our own Grandma. My Grandma died when I was 17 so Berta has filled that huge void in my life and I love that my kids love her so much. Just look at Parker looking at her! I love the look on her face!

So Adriane made cute little bags of treats with a sweet note (about having “Joy in the Lord”) that we were going to let the kids hand out to some of the residents. I was supposed to make 20 bags also and just never got them done, but A’s 20 were plenty so it worked out fine.

The funniest part of this was that Berta made us read her the name of the person from their door and would only let us give them to some people! I guess some didn’t deserve our treat! HA! It really was hysterical the way she’d say, “No, not HIM!” HA!

I love this shot of Parker and Lydia talking together!

The kids also got to hang out with Berta in the lounge area and sing her songs which she loved! They were SO great.

And one of the best parts of this project was that Kelsey came along! She is like my little sister and was home from college for her 21st birthday so she came with us! Berta is her adoptive Grandma too!

Oh how we love these two girls!

We are still LOVING our 52 Smiles project! Friday we are doing park clean-up in honor of Earth Day. Of course I’ll take photos and of course I will post them at some point! :) Fresh Art is SO busy right now I’m just drowning in edits so bear with me as this blog gets neglected!