Saturday, February 27, 2010

Just another day in MY paradise...Brian's hell!

So last night we didn't have time to do all the dishes from dinner because we headed over to our neighbor's house for a beer. We figured we'd clean up when we got home. 3 hours later, we were tired and drunk and no dishes were getting done.

When Bri left for work this morning, I told him I'd get everything cleaned up...and I did- but not right away. Instead, while the kids were still eating breakfast, I started making lasagnas. One for a dinner with friends tomorrow and the other for a family from church. If you know me, I don't cook, Bri does. If you know me well, you know that I appear to be clean and organized but it's all a front, I'm pretty messy. And if know me really well, you know that I do not know how to clean as I go. Instead, i create these incredible messes to ignore for hours and maybe clean up later. Oh, by the way-Brian hates a messy kitchen!!!

Anyway, I made the lasagnas and instead of cleaning up, I decided to give the kids a bath. They needed one since we have a date night tonight and since we had nothing to do today, I wanted to make it extra fun. They were so excited. We left everything exactly where it was and went running to the bathroom!
We decided to take a GREEN bath today! Yup, in honor of Alaric's favorite color, as soon as they had their hair washed, we put lots of food coloring in the water to let them enjoy! They loved it so much! They were great today and after baths, they played for almost an hour while I got the whole kitchen cleaned up.
Then of course, we decided to start another project that ended up being way messier than last night's dinner AND lasagna put together. I wanted to make Scotteroos ( peanut butter rice crispies with chocolate heaven on top) for my pastor, our dinner with friends tomorrow and for the family at church we are making a meal for so I knew this would be big.
I love having the kids help me in the kitchen. I try to do it as often as I can. My kids learn so much while we work. Well, after they were all excited and already on their stepstools, i read the recipe and realized most of it is done stovetop and they wouldn't be able to participate.
So, I had them help with the measuring of the rice crispies. It started off great. Then, when I turned my back to start at the stove, the stirring and the pouring from one bowl to the next began and a few bits of cereal got on the floor.
"No Biggie!" I thought as I grabbed my camera, "Look how much fun they are having!"
Well, then things got crazy. I started to get focused on the stovetop and before I knew it, there was more cereal on the floor than in the bowl. Amara had already moved her chair out of the way and was hoping to be a super big girl with the stepstool from the bathroom and I just decided it was easier to move them to the floor to play while I worked.
Out of hand is an understatement. Mara got overwhelmed and kept slipping in the rice crispies and she just wanted to be held. Alaric on the other hand turned the area into a construction zone. Can you picture it? Me at the stovetop with Amara on my hip trying to melt butter, sugar, and p-butter and then pour into a bowl of crispies ( no floor cereal was used in the desserts, I promise) while Alaric uses his hands to push the cereal all over the kitchen. He even asked me to move because I was in his way!
I had to put Mara down and she took matters into her own hands....she grabbed a handwashed pot from earlier this morning that was drying, then took the new box of butter and proceeded to unwrap butters and put them into her own pan. And guess what? I let her do it. Look how stinkin happy she was! Everyone was. Alaric was in heaven on the floor- Amara was overjoyed to be able to unwrap butter, and I was happy as a clam right in the middle of it, baking and watching my angels play! If Bri had been home, he would have had to leave the house-he would not have been able to take it.
And in pure Katie fashion, I fed the kids lunch in the messiest kitchen ever-they never even noticed. Now, hours after I started, the kitchen is spotless again, the dishes put away from the counters, the floor mopped. heck, I even vacuumed the whole house and cleaned it too! See, I may not be able to clean as I go but I can get the job done and have two pans of ooey gooey lasagna and three pans of scotteroos, and two happy kids to show for it all!
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Video of the action! I realized as I watched it that Alaric kept calling the cereal his "corn" so I too refer to it as such instead of rice crispies! PS...Flavorite brand rice crispies are on sale at County Market this week for 99 cents. The best $1 I've spent in a long time if anyone else also wants to try this!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Girls Night Out/Surprise 3rd Baby Shower!

Weeks and weeks ago, our group of moms who have the same age kids decided we wanted to something for our friend, Kristi, who was having her third son is March. We enlisted the help of her husband secretly by e-mail and the planning began.

We knew Kristi didn't need much having two other boys but what she really wanted and needed was A GIRLS NIGHT OUT! So, after learning her favorite food was Mexican, we decided to have a GNO at the local Mexican restaurant. But that wasn't all. We didn't want to tell her anything about it. We wanted to kidnap her and just sweep her away for the night and then surprise her with the shower. It was so much fun.

Her sweet husband told her she had to go to a dinner interview with her at the Beef House in Covington, IN that night and she was not happy about it- about the interview, about being included in it, and about the traveling- just 10 days before her scheduled C-section.

The babysitter was supposed to arrive at 5:30 and instead of the babysitter, it was us! All 6 of us, who loaded into a mini-van to get there and then yelled surprise when we walked in the door.

She didn't know what the hell was going on ( look at Nathan in the background)


Still confused, we handed her the cutest little invitation to her shower ( made by our super talented Graphic Designer and friend, Kathy). The invitation was a momento for baby Logan's baby book and it told her we were taking her away for the night and heading over to the Mexican restaurant! After a few more questions, she got it and was so excited.
Thanks Nathan for lying to your wife to make for a super fun surprise!
The girls before we left! from left...Cara, Liz, Kristy, Kristi, Katie, Lisa, and Kathy.
We ordered drinks and poor Kristi salivated over our margaritas! Only 10 more days, girl!!!!
You can't have a shower without gifts. Instead of individual gifts, we all donated items to put together in a basket. There were so many fun things....picture frames, a "Who Loves Baby?" book with all of our family pictures in it, cute outfits, lotions for her and baby, and more.
She loved it!

The highlight of the basket was a coupon book again made by Kathy ( seriously- she's amazing. If you need print work done like invitations, she's for hire. Let me know). Each of us came up with some "promises" that she could redeem later like meals, playdates, childcare, meals out, grocery shopping,etc.
Here's one from Lisa...
THREE HOURS later, we finally left the restaurant, just before closing. We hated to go. It was a blast! We laughed, we talked constantly, we ate, we drank, and most importantly- we showered Kristi with love and attention to celebrate the soon arrival of Baby Logan!
CONGRATULATIONS KRISTI! We can't wait to meet your precious baby!









Monday, February 22, 2010

Update on Alaric

Some of you have asked how Alaric is doing and I am so pleased to tell you HE IS WONDERFUL!!!!! He is really doing great and we are so impressed with his progress.

We are really making huge strides with pooping on the potty, and not in his pull-up during naps and overnights. A few weeks ago he tried and he went and we went 13 days straight with poops on the potty!!! Then we went to Spain and we was way less consistant at other people's homes but since we've been back he's gone right back to his poops and we are overjoyed! He still is on a full dose of Miralax everyday and because of that, he still doesn't have complete control of his bowels that way we would or another almost 4-year-old. His stools aren't ever firm so he doesn't feel pressure to push therefore encouraging him to try is harder and the realization that once he falls asleep and his body takes over, he often times fully relaxes and poops. Once we are pooping on the potty full time, we'll will ask about the Miralax, but for now- we are pleased with his progress.

Alaric's iron counts have come in!!!!! Again, SO happy! 3 months ago he had an iron count done and found that his was at a 13. The normal range is 24-240 and anemic is 10. The doctor was very concerned about his deficiency and we were too. For 3 months he has been taking an iron supplement 3 times a day and it has worked. His iron count is up to a 42!!!!!! First of all, he didn't even cry when he got his blood drawn. Secondly, the nurse was very impressed but how fast the numbers increased and said that was not common. I had asked Dr. Hatch what our goal was for iron and his first response was "lets just get him into the normal range first". So, at our next visit will talk about it furthur. For now, we are continuing the same dose of iron. Thank goodness the terrible tasting and smelling and sticky stuff doesn't seem to bother Al the way it does me!

In January, under the advicement of Dr. Hatch, we removed Al from Prevacid after a two month trial that made incredible changes overnight. We were nervous. Since his stomach cramps and fits of his bottom hurting stopped overnight with the new medicine, we assumed the symptoms would come back as soon as we took him off the meds. if they did, we would have a clear diagnosis of acid reflux, be able to return the medicine, and move on. Interestingly, no symptoms have returns WHAT-SO-EVER! Weird but we are counting our blessings daily! No stomach cramps, no constipation, no compaints of his bottom or tummy hurting, no crying and lying in the fetal postion, nothing. We don't know yet what this means. If perhaps the core problem was with his iron deficiency or if it was a terrible 8 month case of constipation or if his body and bowels just needed to mature or what. We are adding it to our list of conversations with Dr. Hatch but again, we are so overjoyed that he isn't on another medicine and he's doing great.

His color is better, his distended tummy seems better, and his overall happiness and demeanor has improved. We have our little Alaric back after some pretty significant struggles for over a year.

Now, if they just had a treatment plan and a pill for stubborness, defiance, and whining......

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine's Day Fun!

We weren't with the kids for Valentine's Day this year so we had to do our family fun stuff early and late. Here are the bookmarks we made this year for our family and Godparents gifts. The kids loved making them.
For the teachers this year, we gave little baggies with teddy grahams and gummy bears with special "beary" notes.
Now that Alaric can write his name, he had to fill out his own Valentines for his friends at school. He got bored fast so we did it in 3 or 4 sessions but he was so proud to be able to do it on his own ( look at sweet Mar)
Alaric's first Valentine's gift. I new teddy bear from Nana and Grandpa!
Just today we took all the Valentine's the kids got last week and taped them to the cabinet. They love looking at each one as they past. It was so fun to see how engaged Amara was.
We send love from the Fulton Family!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

SPAIN-DAY 8- Our trip home!

We left Spain early today and after a 1. 5 hour flight to Madrid, a 1.5 hour layover, a 9 hour flight to Chicago, a walk from the L to where our car was and then a 3.5 hour drive home in Chicago traffic, we were exhausted, emotional,and overwhelmed. There was NO better feeling that walking in the door at my parents house and having both of our angels scream and yell and smile and run towards us. We were overcome with emotion. Our kids grew up in 8 days- they look bigger. Amara is talking SO much more and Alaric seems even wiser. We are so glad to have them in our arms and be home again.
We came home to valentines on the table
and streamers and balloons everywhere! grammy and Papa sure know how to make us all feel welcome to come home!
We unloaded everything and opened all the suitcases just so we had enough to put on PJ's and get comfy. Within an hour, all 4 of us were asleep- Brian and I had been up for almost 20 hours.
The kids loved their SPainish gifts- a stuffed bull that plays music and castanets. SO fun!

it will take us days to get through the laundry and fully recover but what an amazing trip. Thanks Boyds for being the most incredible hosts ever. We love you tons. Thanks to Bob and Chris, Dan and Jen, and Ann and Dave for caring for our kids for 8 days while we took a European vacation and for making our kids feel so loved and cared for!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Outtakes from our late night movie making attempts

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SPAIN-DAY 7

Today was a perfect last day of a vacation- we were SO LAZY all day and we loved it. Brian and I stayed in our comfies all day and laid around. Our big mission was to ship home some food and pottery and gifts we bought here along with some clothes so we would have extra room in our carry-ons for wine and cheese ( priorities). We ended up shipping three boxes home that we home to see in 10 days.
Then we just played- watched TV, Jeapordy, snacked, etc. It was great. After lunch, Brian and I took a long walk all over base. It was amazing. We needed some "us" time to talk and reflect on our vacation and talk about the kids,etc. We even stopped off at a playground and swang on the swings and spun on the merry-go- round- LOVED IT!!!

After Justin got home from work, we played with Olivia- its so easy to make a toddler smile! Justin knows best!
Us and sweet Olivia!

Tonight we went out for a fancy dinner to celebrate our last night in Spain. The Boyd's housekeeper and babysitter for the night helped us read the menu on-line before we arrived so we would know what the restaurant had to offer.
Friends Forever! We love you Heather and Justin!The meal was delicious- we all loved every part. We were the only diners for the first hour and we didn't even get there until almost 9PM.
The desserts were incredible too and we were all really uncomfortable when we were done but so worth it!
Thanks Bar Jamon for a wonderful last night in Spain!!!

We are still missing you tons, Kiddos!!!

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Some video from Tuesday night, after lots of wine and food!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SPAIN-DAY 6

Today was a laid back day and we loved it. We also kinda needed some down time! We went into Rota this morning while Olivia was at preschool. The picture above is us on the boardwalk. Below is a picture of some residential coastline.
We went into town to see the puplic daily market.
Of course, Brian LOVED it. Once again, he loved seeing all the meat and seafood.
Heather went to her favorite vendor. That's how you do it here, even though most shops sell the same sort of thing, you find people you like and respect and give them your business. Here be bought fresh olives and fresh almonds!
What this picture doesn't show is that the seafood is MOVING!!!! YUCK! ( Brian says yum!)
Then we went to a Spanish grocery store in town to buy some wine, cheese, meat, and olive oil to bring home. Can you see the prices on this wine? 1 Euro 59. 1 Euro 53, even 1 Euro. That's less than $2 a bottle for amazing wine! We stocked up!
I made Heather and Brian stop so I could take a picture of their basket. We loved it. HEather only had meat, cheese, and wine. Brian's had wine, olive oil, vinegar, meat, and crusty bread. What a fun trip to the market!
Then we went to pick O up from preschool
Justin got home from work early and before he changed, I had to get a picture with him in his camo.
Then we got in the car and drove to Cadiz. Cadiz is only 40 minutes away and this week is Carnival- a 10 day celebration, similar to Mardi Gras. Cadiz has the 3rd largest Carnival in the world. Our goal was to get in and get out before craziness started.
Just like most towns around here, there were magnificent churches. We did not go inside because it was under construction.
THe streets were amazing- full of people and tons of little shops!

THis is the flower market. Most shops were closed for siesta but it was so cool to think they had a market completely dedicated to flowers!
Then we went into an archeological museum where you could see an active dig where they had discovered remains from the ROmans and the Carthagian era. This is a piece of art that was found.
WHo knows what this is but it was cool.
Here is the train station as visitors for the evening arrived in full costume. Most people dress up here, no matter the age. We saw infants in full costume and 80 year old men.
Every single street is lined with beautiful lights. It was great
Then we headed over to a museum to catch up real fast on some Roman Ruins and other stuff before we headed out of town before it got dark.
Another meal of cheese, meat, crusty bread, and lots and lots of wine finished our night. What a joy! We stayed up till after midnight and talked with our best friends- we loved it!