Saturday, February 28, 2009

I have gotten quite accustomed to having babies around my house. I feel like I have always had one around and I don't know any different. But life is slowly starting to remind me that my little ones are growing up. I won't always have a baby around. What a concept! As my little Keira is growing up, it starts to hit home more and more that she's not going to stop growing. Every week there will probably be one more outfit that she's outgrown. I have already had to dig into the 3-6 month bin of clothes!!! AAAAHHHH Make it stop!!!! I just feel like having a baby is what I should be doing. It's what I'm used to.

It's so obvious with Keira...but also with Quaid. As he nears 5 years's very apparent in his actions that he is not a little toddler anymore, that he has progressed into a strange age. It's not toddler, it's not "big kid"...but what is it?? He's so mature in some areas, but others not at all....and even those areas where he has impressed me, there is still 100% chance for a slip back into toddler mode. He does not miss a single thing that I say, or a single thing I do, or a single thing that goes on in this house. He has become my little helper who is so desperately trying to pull away from his other siblings and define himself as above them. The other day I told him that I had to do laundry, "Yeah! I love laundry!" He grabbed the basket and started to drag it upstairs, put away all his clothes. After that it was time to clean up the kitchen, "I can sweep mom, I can do that!" So there he goes, gets out the broom, sweeps all around the table, moved the chairs like I do...made one pile of dirt like I do, put the chairs back like I do. "See Ava, I can sweep because I'm a big kid." Yes my little man, you indeed can do all those things! He has learned from watching me do it every day for his whole life. I always knew that kids are always watching....but as Quaid is getting older and Ava for that matter they are more than watching the action. They are grasping the mood, attitude, and feelings behind anything we say or do. That makes my day to day life all the more in the spotlight.

It's so amazing what happens in two short years. I look at Jentzen who is 2 years younger and Quaid. There's no comparison! They go from mostly dependent to independent. What a bizarre thing. I always thought I would be jumping for joy to have all my kids beyond the baby toddler stage...but now I'm not so sure. It's not that they don't need me anymore because they always will, but it's just needing in a different way. A part of parenting that I am just starting to come into. Ready or not, it's here. I don't know if one's harder than the other...just different. I am determined to make the most of every age and stage of life.

When Quaid started to fully grasp the notion of a baby that was smaller than him...he used to say, "When I get smaller like Jentzen I will be able to do that." He didn't quite realize that he never again would be smaller, he would never go back to baby. And sadly enough that was true...he will never go back. But there are still moments that Quaid steps back a few years being silly. I think he knows that mom and dad need it! After of Ava's little purses makes a great hat, doesn't it???

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nathan had the kids one night a few weeks ago when I was out. Can't remember what I was doing...most likely playing cards :) He is always great about letting me go and do what I need to do and better yet what I want to do. Sometimes it's not always a wholly sincere, "Yeah sure, go ahead" but still no complaints...Honey I love you and so appreciate it!! But on to the story...

So I come home and Nathan was working in his shop. He says, "Guess what Quaid did?"

He continued with the story...Quaid came down, awhile after bedtime all dressed in his jammies, peeked through the door, "Dad could you stop all that noise, I'm trying to sleep!"

Nathan's shop and the boys' bedroom share a when the power tools are operating it's pretty noisy in their bedroom. Nathan promptly told him no, deal with it, and get back in bed. A few minutes later...

"Dad?" now from little Ava, "Quaid is trying to sleep and it's too noisy for him!"

How sweet Ava to back up your brother, but now you've learned that Daddy's tools are a must and poor Quaid will just have to get past it!

A few nights later, once again Daddy was at it again as I was putting the kids to bed. We had just finished our bedtime routine and as I was giving Quaid his kiss and cuddle, "Mom, could you tell daddy..."

"No, Quaid...go to sleep!" I knew exactly what he was getting at.

Like I said right now it may be an annoyance but in a few years he won't complain a bit when he's right by daddy's side wrenching away!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hungry Anyone?

My friends Deb and Megan and I have been getting together every few months for awhile now and cooking up a storm! We make main dishes and side dishes for each other and freeze them. It's so awesome to have a freezer full of ready to go meals that need very minimal preparation.

Thanks to Deb, we have now made it official. We have our own blog. We post all our recipes and comment on them as we make them. I know we're all always in need of some new recipes to spice things up in the kitchen. So take a browse and see what you think!

Deb has done a great job keeping it all organized so you can easily find anything you're looking for. Also if anyone has recipes to pass on to us we'd love it too!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This story isn't really about my kids. I guess you could relate it to them in a way. I plan to home school my kids. Instances like this make my husband and sometimes myself think..."Are you sure you are capable of teaching your kids??? Should we really be letting our kids education rest in your hands??"

Deb and I purchased an item from Uppercase Living. It's one of those home parties that comes with a huge catalog where you're guilted into buying something because if you don't, what kind of friend are you? Truth be told, I have absolutely NO PROBLEM whatsoever going to a home party at one of my friends, eating lots of yummy food, and walking out with exactly the same amount in my pockets that I came with and not one bit of guilt.

But this was different, I actually wanted what was being sold. It's the coolest stuff ever! Vinyl stick-ons of everything and anything for you your home. Deb and I got identical pictures and we've had them since early last summer. Finally Deb said, we're going to the store and doing them. Now the two of us are not known for being crafty. I do not like anything creative. I make quilts and that's about it. For sure not crapbooking....(no, I didn't forget the s...I left it out on purpose :) So this was a jump for us...

We went to Michael's got the canvas, went to Lowes, got the paint and we dove right in. Painting the canvas now there was something we could do...then it came for the 2nd part sticking the botanicals (the manly name for fu-fu flowers D and I created) on the canvas....a big long pause....

Me: "Well how are we going to get them straight?"

D: "I don't know."

Me: (feeling quite proud of my genius idea) "Let's get a tape measure!!"

D: "Yeah good idea."

Me: "Okay now what?"

D: "You can do the measuring part."

Me: (knowing there's probably an easier way but not knowing it) "Well if we measure the canvas, and then measure the botanicals and subtract the two and then divide that number by two that will give us how much needs to be on each side? "

D: "Yeah sure, you're doing the measuring,whatever you think."

Me: "Well the canvas is 16" wide and the botanical is 11 and 7 little lines. How much is that?"

D: "I don't know."

Me: "Well hhmmm....okay half of 16 is 8. That can be where the middle of the botanical should go...I'll draw a line there. Now what's the middle of the botanical."

D: "Like I said, you're doing the measuring part!"

Me: "Okay what's half of 11?

D: "I can do that....5 1/2"

Me: "Okay so we need 5 1/2" and then 3 and 1/2 more make the 11 and 7 lines."

D: " that!"

Me: "There's 5 1/2" and then one, two, three...and a little bit...there!"

Me: "Now on the other side 5 1/2" one, two three and a little bit!"

D: "Looks good to me."

Me: "Okay now we need to get it evenly placed from top to bottom...the canvas is 20" and the botanical is 2 lines under the 18."

Me: "So that leaves 2 inches and 2 lines from the if we measure 1 inch and 1 line from each end that will be perfect!!!"

Somewhere in that process...I can't remember we brought out the calculator and tried dividing something only to give us a decimal...something .875...who the heck knows how many little lines that is on a tape measure...that was useless!!!

Hey, it may have not been a pretty way to measure...but the end result sure is!!!

Needless to say..."Reading a Tape Measure" will be taught by daddy in his shop!

PS...if anything looks a little was the canvas that was crooked...not our measuring techniques!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's fun to see the kids grow up and get ideas of their own. They have no choice but to use their limited vocabulary to get at eachother the best way they can.

Ava's normal response to Quaid or Jentzen when she's upset with them..."You're not my best friend!"

And Jentzen has started crossing his little arms as tight as he can squishing up his face, "I'm angry at you!"

This morning I was listening to the kids as they were eating breakfast:

A: "Quaid, you make me sad!"

Q: "Why?"

A: "Cause you're beating me!" (pertaining to eating their breakfast)

Q: "Well Ava, we're horses and they are're a turtle and turtles are slow"

Q: "Let's slow down for Ava, Jentzen."

J: "No I go fast"

Q: "Jentzen, you're not the father!"

A: (huffing and puffing) "Quaid you can't love mom and dad!"

Q: (in a most whiny and sad voice) "Mooooommmmmm, Ava won't let me love you!"

Q: "I do love mom and dad Ava!"

A: "Well how about you love dad cause you're boys and I love mom because I'm a girl!"

Q: "I love mom AND dad!"

Me: "You can all love both of us!"

It's so funny to me how they think what the other says really matters. But like Quaid has's what the mother and father says that is the end all...and don't you forget it kids!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

So here it is...a great story from Deb:

I have 40+ nieces and nephews, along with 5+ GREAT nieces and nephews (well, actually they are all great, but you get the picture). Oddly enough, the little peeps we see most often aren’t actually related to us – they belong to our great friends Karen & Nathan. It helps that they live close by, whereas our related crew are spread out all over the world.

Anyway, Quaid, Ava, Jentzen & Keira are frequent beneficiaries of our “Rent-a-Kid” program. For the uninformed, the Rent-a-Kid program is like a club for those who don’t have their own kids ~ borrow someone else’s and then send them home. Actually, we made that up.

One particular day about 1 ½ years ago, RW and I instituted the Rent-a-Kid program for the afternoon, and took Quaid (then 3), Ava (then 2), and Jentzen (then not quite 1) to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We figured that the kids LOVE to “stroller”, and we’d been wanting to go there and walk around for quite some time.

All went well. The kids DID love to “stroller”, although they did get a little irritated that RW ate most of their cheese sticks and Cheerios (note to self: Feed RW BEFORE GOING OUT). I think that RW was convinced that they were too young to notice. Guess what? They were decidedly OLD ENOUGH TO NOTICE. Even little Jentzen.

Now, do you happen to remember when your kids were 3, 2, & 1? Quaid was pretty on top of things, but Ava was still solidly in the midst of potty-training. We did make several stops at the bathrooms along the paths to take the 2 older ones potty. All seemed to be fine. Fine, that is, until we got back to the parking lot. I started smelling something…not quite right.

ME: “Ava, did you go poopies?”

AVA: [stares up at me real innocently]

ME: “I think you DID! Let me find the diaper bag and we can change your Pull-Up.”

I started digging around in the car looking for Ava’s Pull-Ups and wipes. Meanwhile, RW was trying his best to look extremely busy with the 2 boys (yeah. I wasn’t convinced.) All of the sudden I hear RW in quite the panic:


I yanked my head out of the car (banging it in the process) and turned around. Ava, trying to be helpful, was in the process of taking off her Pull-Up. The Pull-Up that had experienced a huge blow-out. The Pull-Up was seriously… USED. And heavy. And odiferous (is that a word?). And then it happened. RW & I both lunged for her, but we were too slow. She started using her FEET to get the Pull-Up off. Now her butt, legs AND feet had poop all over them.

By this time, RW was yelling at me to DO SOMETHING. I was doffing around trying to find the wipes. They weren’t there. They weren’t anywhere. I grabbed the phone and called Karen:

Karen: “Yeeeessss? Are you…”

ME: [cutter her off] “WHERE ARE THE WIPES?”

Karen: [slightly curious] “In the diaper bag.”


Karen: [decidedly more curious - I don’t ever call her in a panic] “Deb [giggling], calm down. They are in the black diaper bag in the short pocket on the side. The one with the zipper.” [I think at this point she was trying hard not to really laugh]


By this time, precious moments have gone by. Moments in which a 2 year old cannot stand still, no matter what the issue was. I yanked my head out of the car again, and see RW striding away from the car holding ½ naked Ava out in front of him.

ME: “What are you DOING?” [trying to ignore the flabbergasted stares from the little old ladies getting into their car…]

RW: “I’m going to WASH HER OFF”

I look in the direction that RW was headed, and realized what he was about to do. He was heading for the automatic sprinkler system. Not kidding. He was going to hold that little Ava butt over those lawn sprinklers and clean ‘er up. Just think about that for a moment.

ME: [yelling] “But I FOUND the wipes!” [by this time the old ladies were about to have a stroke]

RW (thankfully) turned around and came back to the car. By this time poor Ava needed a full body cleaning. She had scratched her rear-end, so now we had poop on her butt, her legs, her feet AND hands.

We cleaned her up and stopped to catch our breath. The Rent-a-Kid program had taken a turn for the worse. We got everyone strapped into the car and pulled out of the parking spot.

Ava: “Deb, I went poop, didn’t I? And I saw a squirrel!”

ME: “Yes, Ava. Yes you did. And you can thank me for saving you from the automatic, industrial-sized lawn sprinkler.

Deb Hardison

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Random bit...

So I've been getting a few complaints that my blog is too many pictures and not enough stories...before it was the opposite...Geeezzz I just can't win!!! But like I was reminded by least I do it almost every day!!!

Truth is as much as I thought for sure there was bound to be some crazy story with 4 kids at least every day...there really isn't...some days are just smooth and uneventful...uneventful by my standards that is...someone else might disagree!!

My BFF Deb has a GREAT story about a day when she decided to take Quaid and Ava to the Arboretum a while she's going to write that up and I'll post just wouldn't be the same second hand.

As for the random bit...we were riding in the car. Quaid pipes up out of the blue, "How do penguins pee?"

He had watched a show on penguins on animal planet a few weeks ago. What brought this to his mind at that particular moment...who knows?? Who ever knows what makes a kid's mind think the crazy things they do at totally random moments?!?!?

So what did I answer you ask? After a long pause...."Out their bottoms, Quaid."

PS...I know there has been some issues with not being able to comment...I think it's fixed and should work now.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I found these great things in the store. Bath Crayons! I thought, how fun for the kids to be able to write all over the tub! Well they found them one day and decided there was another "canvas" suitable....And if you notice...there is a bit of shaving cream added in there... I'm sure the kids thought a little texture would complete the picture!

Don't washes right off. But after this, the crayons mysteriously disappeared and were never found again! And where was mom while all this was happening you ask??? I have no idea but Obviously not where I should have been!!!

Bubble Wrap Brand was invented over 45 years ago...and for those of you who need a reason to celebrate...It was Bubble Wrap appreciation day on January 26th. We missed this day but decided to have a belated celebration a little bit ago.

As I was listening to the kids have a blast pop pop popping over and over...I conveniently had to get something in the laundry room which happens to be straight through the bubble wrap lane in the kitchen. I walked past with two heavy steps right in the middle. Nathan looked at me from the other side of the kitchen, "You couldn't resist, could you?" If you all must know...I NEEDED something.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dress up Days

A Gangsta with a pink bag?

Keira: "Seriously Ava? We're in the house??"

Superhero or Construction Man? Better yet....BOTH!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

So what exactly happens to a snowbank in 45 degree weather?? The pictures say it all!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I was sitting at my computer with Jentzen playing behind me. I see him take the stroller and run it over and put in on the bookshelf...and the conversation with himself as follows...

"There you go stroller."

He then ran over to the other side of the room in the down on his knees, wrapped his arms around his face, bent down towards the floor, curled up in a little ball, and hid his face in front of this knees...

"One, Two, Three, Seven, Nine, Ten! Ready here I come!!"

He ran over to the stroller...

"I found you stroller!!!"

"Look mom, I found stroller!!!"

Who knew you needed more than one person to play Hide and Go Seek?!?!? Good thing the stroller is not a very good hider!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What is the age that boys don't want to kiss their mom anymore?

I thought for sure till at least 10 years. Quaid who is 4 1/2 has been thinking he's a bit too cool for mom's kisses lately. He looks at me with a half disgusted half cheeky grin face and promptly wipes off any kisses I give him, much my dislike.

So today Quaid and Ava were playing around....

Me: "Guess what?"

Quaid: "What?"

Me: "I love you!"

Quaid: "I love you too mom."

(a breif pause while playing)

Quaid: "Want to give me a kiss mom?"

Me: "I ALWAYS want to give you a kiss!!"

Quaid: "Well, you can."

Me: "I can?"

Quaid: "Yeah, you can kiss me now."

Me: (running over so I don't miss this one) "I love you Quaid."

Quaid: (casually, as if there would be reason for anyone to think differently) "I know, mom."

FYI Quaid...I will be giving you kisses for the rest of your life whether you permit them or not!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This little story between my oldest daughter and myself took place about 6 months ago. We were living in our temporary apartment in Bloomington. It was a 2 bedroom plus Den. One bedroom was ours and one bedroom for the kids. We made every attempt to bring with us the smallest amount of things we could get by on for 6 months. Moving is a lot of work and being that we moved once, then six months later would have to move again...we decided there were a lot of things we could do being the kids beds. We took with us just their mattresses and decided that mattresses on the floor would be plenty good for 6 months. Every night seemed like one big slumber party. This posed a few problems....we got them under control until one night......

I put the kids to bed and dug into my night time snack...Monster Cookie dough....packed neatly into bite size balls in the freezer in an easy to reach, easy to use ziploc bag......ooohhh yuuummmy!!

Shortly after that I heard them jumping on their mattress, laughing and messing around. I went in there...very serious. The phrase, "give them an inch they'll take a mile" TOTALLY TRUE!!! I promptly went in there got right in Ava's face, after all it was dark and I wanted her to see my "mom look".

Me: (two inches from her face, in my most stern look and voice...aka..."you don't want to see what happens if you don't obey" voice) "Ava, it is bed time. I do not want to hear another word." (I've also found taking out contractions from my speech also adds to the seriousness of the command.)

Ava: (while rubbing my cheeks between both of her hands, one on each side) "Oooohhh Mom! What does your mouth smell like?!?!?"

Me: "Ava did you hear what I said?"

Ava: "Yeah mom, but what were you eating!?!?!"

Me: (Getting a little frustrated and trying not to let my smile show) "Ava, never mind what I was eating, this is serious time...Did you hear what I said?"

Ava: (without even a pause, all in one sentence as fast as she could talk) "Not another word were you eating a cookie mom?"

Me: (Really trying not to laugh) "Ava, Not another word!!"

Ava: "Okay mom, you're mouth smells so chocolate treat!!!"

Note to Self: Monster Cookie Dough leaves a lingering sweet smelling aroma of peanut butter and chocolate...Always brush before punishing!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Everyone always asks what kids look here be the judge. All my kids are between 6 weeks and 2 months. If I had pics of Nathan and I, I would put them on as well but I don't :( Maybe I'll try to look them up and add them later.
PS...they go from youngest to oldest in case you need help with that part :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sisterly Love!!

Before I had Keira, everyone would ask me what I wanted. Honestly I couldn't have cared less. There are special things that I love about both boys and girls...but I have to say...I am so glad that Ava will get to grow up with a sister! I have so many fond memories of growing up with my three sisters. They are all different and I always had special things that we each shared together growing up. Ava loves her sister already and I can't wait to watch their relationship grow. She is constantly checking up on Keira just to see what she's doing and is always kissing and hugging her. They are already so precious together!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Every day we have quiet/rest time from 1 until 3. At 1 they find something to quietly play together and then at 2, the kids have to pick a few toys and find a spot and no talking, no loud toys, no making any noise all by themselves.
Yesterday rest time turned into nap time. They must have been making up from the lack of sleep on the weekend. Jentzen slept from 12:30 until I woke him up at 4. Quaid and Ava both slept from 2:30-4....they always rest but usually never sleep!! Needless to say, mom had a great afternoon....quiet peaceful time to myself...I love it! I love it more because I knew they were tired and they obviously needed it. I thought I may pay for it came bedtime but straight to bed they went!
Quaid was so precious all cuddled up...he is getting rather big lately...a little dose of what used to be!! And poor Ava must have slumped over mid-play...What a crackup she is!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The poor little girl wiggled herself right out of her socks!

Monday, February 2, 2009

As Quaid was running up stairs to get his jammies on he caught a commercial on TV. It was of Glad garbage bags. It had a little boy rolling a full garbage across the kitchen floor, down the stairs clunking it all the way down and they hoist it into a plastic garbage can. Not a single hole or leak or mess.

Q: "Wow!! Look at that mom. I should do that for you!!!!"

Me: "Yes, Quaid you should help me like that!!"

Q: (holding up and flexing his little string bean arms) "Yeah because I'm way stronger than that boy! I can do that!"

Me: "Yes you could Quaid."

He ran up the stairs and that was the end of that. Today I thought, Oh no!! What if he really does that!?!? I often leave my full garbage bags tied up by the door and Nathan brings them out when he gets home from work. No need for both of us to be out in the freezing cold!

I can just see it...he flips the bag over and all the rotten food leaks out the top of the bag and as he rolls it across the floor and down the steps it rips holes which also leaks out all the rotten foulness that's in the bag! I'm always looking for more things to clean...I can't wait for that day!!!

PS ...Honey, we'll be leaving the full bags of garbage in the bin from now case you're looking for them :) Until I buy those particular bags that would never rip a hole in them...after all it says so in the commercial!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

We have returned from a little weekend away. I do enjoy escaping for a short time from the duties of being mom. As much as I look forward to it, while I'm away I constantly think what my little ones are doing...are they laughing, are they sleeping, what are they eating, are they missing me, are they being good kids?

They came back with rave reports and I'm pretty sure the didn't miss me at all. They had tons of fun with all their cousins. Word has it that Quaid stayed up till 11pm watching a movie with the big kids. What a party animal. After the sleepover they went to Auntie Sue's. They went to Rainforest Cafe for dinner. Sue found out that giving 3 small children apple juice (when the extent of sugary drinks they are used to getting is one sip of pop) produces many trips to the bathroom and when you're alone it means everyone going everytime. The ended the stay with a big bubble bath in Sue's huge bathtub.

Nathan and I went to a great marriage seminar with Michael and Amy Smalley....Google them if your interested...they have some good stuff. So what did we do with a day without the kids? We ran some errands for my mom and ended the day grocery shopping...I know, very romantic. I am into a once a month shopping trip. I made my whole menu for the month and grocery list to match. So two carts and 1 hour and 40 minutes later we were done! (Note to self, don't pick a Saturday afternoon...everyone and their dog shops on Saturday afternoon) Pretty sure Nathan is not too excited about this new system since it involved him being dragged along with me. Two carts way overloaded would have been a bit tough on my own.

We picked Keira up from Aunt Debbie's house. What a great friend I have to watch my two month old for a whole night and day right after she got her shots at the doctor. She was a bit fussier than normal, a little crabby with eating and didn't sleep real great...but I'm pretty sure she is still loved at the Hardison home.

So this morning waking up to a house with no kids was so weird. I woke up at 6am...Keira made a little fuss...and as I was dozing back to sleep I swear I heard the pitter patter of Jentzen's little feet running through the hall. I was about to get up to see what he was doing...and then it hit me...they are not home. So for the next two hours I woke up on and off convinced I was hearing them. No, No I wasn't...I guess I always have "mom radar" on!!