Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Starkey Spray Park

Oh how I wish I knew of a good spray park near us where we could take the children on hot summer days. Instead, our children spray each other where we park the cars.

The boys were helping me water our new plants one hot afternoon last week and got a little carried away with the hose. It started with an innocent dump truck washing and ended with Wesley soaked from head to toe and Jack in his crocs and underwear. By the way, he is only wearing his underwear at my insistence; if it was up to him, he would just be wearing the crocs on account of not liking to get his clothes wet. Luckily this particular day, both of them enjoyed being sprayed by the other. On any given day, this activity can insight yelling, crying, fighting and tattling which requires a lot of referring on our part.

Elise couldn't miss out on the fun. Although she stayed much drier (again at my insistence). She would much rather suck on anything that comes within 6 inches of her mouth anyway.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hold on to Your Wallets

In the name of global warming (a theory that is as unsupported by science as it is supported) our government is today voting on a bill that will increase our taxes by $2 trillion and eliminate millions of US jobs.

According to The Heritage Foundation, Cap and Trade:
1. Is a Massive Energy Tax
2. Will Not Make A Substantive Impact on the Environment
3. Will Kill Jobs
4. Will Cause Electricity Bills and Gas Prices to Sharply Increase
5. Will Outsource Manufacturing Jobs and Hurt Free Trade
6. Will Make You Choose Between Energy, Groceries, Clothing or Haircuts.
7. Will Be Highly Susceptible to Fraud and Corruption
8. Will Hurt Senior Citizens, the Poor, and the Unemployed the Worst
9. Will Cost American Families Over $3,000 a Year
10. President Obama Admitted “Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket” under a cap-and-trade program. (January 2008)

Members of our House of Representatives will be asked to vote on this bill today just hours after receiving the final 1,000+ page document. A responsible representative would read through a document he or she was asked to vote on. It's not possible when only given a few hours to do it. The attitude in Washington seems to be "hurry up and push it though before anyone knows what's in it."

According to Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann on the Chris Baker show this morning, 85% of the taxes generated by this bill will go to special interest groups. She says you can also expect to pay 75% more at the gas pump, twice as much for electricity and 55% more for natural gas (as of yet I have not been able to validate these statements). To see how this bill will impact people in your district, read this article and look at the attached table.

Any Guesses?

What is going on in this picture?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Daddy's Day

Knowing that Father's Day was going to be busy for us, I wanted Saturday to be a day for Sean. I tried to let him sleep in, but apparently the noise created by "managing" three children is just too much to sleep through.

Despite the warm weather, we opted to head to the zoo for a picnic and to check out the new Africa exhibit. The lunch left us hungry (probably because I forgot half of it) and the Africa exhibit left us a little underwhelmed. However, we did get to spend the day together and the kids had a great time (hopefully Sean did too).

The obligatory pictures of children on the tiger.

Wes, Jack and Daddy admire Africa.

Elise spent the last half of the trip like this.

I know that if crying wasn't the only way they knew how to express themselves (Jack included), the children would say they are lucky to have such a great dad that loves them deeply, plays with them as if he was a child himself and provides a great example of what it means to love Jesus.

Somewhere...Over the Rainbow?

After a rain storm the other day, we saw a beautiful rainbow behind our house. Sean went out to get a couple pictures.

When he came back in, Jack wanted to take some pictures of the rainbow as well (remember our budding photographer?). This is Jack's version:

Thursday, June 18, 2009


We've all been playing in the dirt lately. In an effort to get some landscaping done before our sod is laid, we've spent nearly every evening over the last two weeks working outside. Sean scoured the neighborhood for boulders to use for a retaining wall. This project proved to use more brute force as well as creativity than he bargained for, I think. The final result looks fantastic, though. We followed up the wall with prepping the soil and finally getting about 20 plants into the ground. The kids helped us a little last Saturday when we were planting. By helped I mean dug holes in the garden, filled pots with dirt and followed up with plenty of water to make "fixins" for mud cake as Jack likes to call it. Jack is a little more cautious when it comes to getting dirty than Wesley is. Wes just dug right in.

After the mud cake, we let them play with the hose...

on the driveway...

in their underwear...

kind of like a very cold outdoor shower...


Monday, June 8, 2009

Wanna Hear a Story?

...says Jack on our way home from Grandma and Grandpa's house last night. Usually we're the ones telling Jack the stories so this was a welcome change. "Sure," we replied and the following tale ensued:

Once upon a time there was a boy named Jack. One day Jack and Grandpa went to the cabin and went swimming. They were swimming along when all of a sudden - SNAP! (complete with hand motions) - an alligator came and ate them. The end.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Dos, New Attitude, New Skills and a New House

The boys got haircuts this week. I was committed to keeping Wesley's hair long (to preserve the soft blond curls), but with summer looming I decided to go short in an effort to keep him cooler. We tried a new "barber" (as Jack calls it) and the cuts turned out great. Plus we saved $6 over going to Kids Hair.

Wesley is sharing a teddy graham with you

About a month after Jack turned 3 I thought, "Who are you and what have you done with Jack?" This is because may angelic, compliant, sweet 3-year-old turned into a crabby monster. And this has been status quo until last night when, once again I thought, "Who are you and what have you done with Jack?" He was polite during dinner (not having a tantrum because we interrupted his play time), he was ready and willing to take a bath that didn't involve constant reminders not to splash water outside the tub and a tantrum when it was time to get out, he put on his pajamas without whining about how it was too hard and he went to bed without telling me over and over that he was afraid or thirsty or that it was too dark or... He'll be 3 1/2 on Saturday - maybe we're on the downhill slide into an easier year being 4.

Elise turned 5 months old yesterday. The newborn stage is not my favorite and I'm always relieved when my children pass the 3 month mark, but this time going from 3 months to 5 months went way too fast. Elise has had some new developments in the last few weeks. Since baby girl loves to eat (check out the rolls on her arms and legs), she had me up twice a night for a couple weeks and, at four months old, I was not on board with that plan. So we started cereal. She started younger than both Jack and Wesley, but she's bigger than they were at this age so we dove in early. She's doing great with the cereal and we've added bananas and prunes to her menu too. She loves it all. She has also learned how to sit on her own which makes her a much happier baby when it comes time to play. Jack especially likes this stage of Elise's development because, being a new sitter and all, she occasionally tips over, which always elicits rolling laughter from her bigger brother.

Oh, and we moved three weeks ago. The million dollar question has changed from "Are they all yours?" followed by the obligatory "You must be busy" to "Are you settled yet?" The answer is a resounding "NO." I had a goal to have all the boxes on the main floor unpacked by the end of the first week. We still have boxes on the main floor. I don't really have unpacking goals anymore. Real life crept in and now we're lucky to get one box unpacked each week. (See below for a funny tangent that just doesn't fit here). The "to do" list has extended beyond reality so we just ignore the list and do whatever we feel like doing at the moment.

Last weekend we focused on landscape. Now we have a half-built retaining wall and a bunch of boulders sitting in our front yard.

The week before that we were focused on window treatments. The windows are still bare (except for Jack's because it was vital that we stopped the sun from coming in his room at 5:00 each morning prompting him to come in to our room with a rousing "It's morning, Mommy, it's morning, Daddy" no matter what day of the week it was). The good news is, the week that we focused on window treatments, we placed an order for blinds that are supposed to ship tomorrow so by the end of next week we should be able to stop flashing the neighbors every morning when we get in the shower.

This week I've been focused on toys and getting them put away. Of course the organizer in me sees all the toys that need to be sorted and grouped according to age, color, size, set, owner and manufacturer (I'm only being a little dramatic here) and it prompts me to want to spend hundreds of dollars at Pottery Barn Kids on multiple fashionable yet functional storage units (check out the Cameron Wall collection). Instead, I'm making due with what we have and dreaming big about the day when we win the lottery (except we don't gamble) and I can buy all the toy storage I could ever want and need...I guess I'll always just dream.

Next week? Finally getting my clothes put away. (I'll let you know how that goes).

The city of Shakopee has a welcome wagon type of program and one of the representatives visited last night to drop off a folder of materials. She saw the toys in the family room and said "Oh, you have a little one." "Three little ones," I replied. "Oh, how old?" she asked. "Three and a half, one and a half and 5 months," I said. Then with an astonished gasp she replied, "Oh, bless you. You're a super mom." I began to wonder why she thought I was a "super mom" because I had so many children. Why didn't she just think "Wow! She's fertile."? And this is how the story ties in above: Real life with three young children doesn't allow me to be a super mom. Many days, we just get by.