Saturday, October 31, 2009

Two Butterflies enjoying Halloween

Even though I'm quite behind on several blogs - and October has been an all time low for the number of blogs that I have written - and I'm considering doing another 7 blogs in 7 days to make sure I can catch up. I have really love being caught up on the blog. It gives me such a sense of satisfaction on my record keeping and sharing!

Anyway, I decided to start with today and be current!

Lawrence has been noticing that nights haven't been as restful for me. I've been waking up a lot having to pee, and I guess he's just noticed. So this morning he wanted to get me some rest. So sweet! We both got up with the girls at 6:30 but then at 10:30 or so he went to Jer's house to watch the Buckeye blowout and let the girls all play. I checked FaceBook, read blogs, read my book, then took a TWO hour nap...waking up BECAUSE I FELT LIKE IT!!! and not because "time was up". Then I went over to Jer's and organized photos on the laptop while Addie napped and Lily played with Lucy, and we all watched football.

This was another one of those really sweet moments when Lily is such a super big sis. Addie was trying to scoot her way in to the small little Princess couch, but kept falling off the edge. Lily told her that there wasn't really room for her, but Addie kept trying. So Lily asked Lucy if they could scooch over and let Addie come in the middle so she wouldn't fall off. Once she get in the middle she was SO happy. This was just a really cute one of three of the 4 girls.

It's finally time to Trick or Treat and they could not wait to get out there. They practiced all day!
Sabine's first Halloween. The girls thought she was a lady bug and we thought that was just perfect. She was headed out later to go dancing (hopefully) with her friends but didn't pass up the chance to fnd out what all the Trick or Treating was all about and walk around the block with us. She loved all the houses that were so decked out in our neighborhood. There were some REALLY crazy ones.

I had to take this picture because I have this same picture last year, right after Addie learned to walk and she was a ladybug!
Every house we went to, Addie had to stop after they threw the candy in, fish out the peice she just got and show mommy, daddy, AND bean-bean. It took forever, but it was so sweet. She kept picking peanut M&M's even though she is allergic to peanuts (and milk) but she liked that they were "LELLOW". Daddy was cool with that because peanut M&Ms and peanut butter anything are his favorite. Instead we decided to have Sabine send some of it to Germany to her little bro.
Our neighbor's house and the first house of T&Ting
Accross the street, had to get a family photo op. Can you even tell I'm pregnant or do I just look like a large lady in sweatpants. Whatever the case, I'm always happy when we think to get one of all four of us.

Last house, they couldn't WAIT to get home and hand out candy!
I ran ahead so they could trick or treat me. Which they loved.
They each got to eat two pieces, and savoured every bite.

Lily waiting for the doorbell to ring. How cute is this?
Lily instructing Addie how to do it. Oh how they loved giving out the candy and they took their responsibility VERY seriously! Lily would shut the door after handing the candy out piece by piece to big kids and be like, 'wow, that was a busy one'. 'only one kids said trick or treat, but they were saying it for the whole group, they like, filled up the whole porch'. She always gave only one piece per kid. Then Addie gave two handfuls to one girl and Lily thought that was just hilarious.

Lily wanted more kids to come and we let them stay up about 1.5 hrs past bedtime. She was worried that a lot of kids came to our house while we weren't here and she wished we'd left some candy outside for them. She felt bad that they weren't getting the candy we had for them. She helped me leave a note outside on the white board with an arrow to the bowl asking them to take one and not ring the door bell because "kids were sleeping". I won't tell her but the bowl was empty when I looked 5 minutes later with a bunch spilled on the ground. Oh well, candy is gone, and kids got it. Mission accomplished.

It really was an incredible, relaxing, and fun day. And we can't believe what great, sweet, kind, and generous kids we have. I don't think they got too much candy either. And that's a first. They got more than this at the parade for 4th of July! Time for bed.

Day 1 - I hope to keep it up for a few days until we are caught back up...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Alone but not at all lonely

I have a few posts started...Lily's birthday, Lily's birthday party, pumpkin patch visits, seeing the salmon spawning on the Columbia, some other random October happenings. And I know I have to get on it...but tonight I don't really feel like it.

This morning I drove to Salem in the am to see a good friend and their 4 kids. It's been since April, and for us, that is actually pretty good. Shame on us both, no cameras, no pictures. I'm always amazed how Salem (their house) is only one hour door to door. It was great catching up and letting the kids play. Lily impressed me in playing with the kids, always including Addie, even though "no babies allowed" was in full force with the other kids and their siblings. I totally appreciate that bigger kids need their space and their time, and I don't fault them a bit for wanting to play "Ponies" with no little guys to mess it up. But that's also why I think it is So.Damn.Sweet.that Lily would rather have her little sis there. Most of the time!

We drove back and the Addie took a nap and I got to work. There was a LOT of it. I gave Sabine the morning off since her mom has been away at the doctor for 6 weeks and this morning was her first morning to Skype with her back in Germany. She worked more on the babies room, and organizing clothing. She also did (my personal favorite and possibly the #1 Au Pair "light child-related housework") organizing in the playroom. This includes emptying bins and putting things back where they go, cleaning up Lily's craft corner, and her work space, cleaning up finished "projects", etc. I love sitting in the play room on Friday nights because she always does in on Friday afternoons while Lily is at school and Addie is napping. Of course one friend over on a Saturday or a quiet time of projecting will destroy all the hard work, and everything is out of place again. But on Friday nights, I love it. I love it because I didn't have to do it, and because someone else knows how without being told. Awesome.

Today Lily didn't have school so Sabine and her went to Babies R Us to pick out a gift for Baby Bryson and my baby shower tomorrow.

Lawrence had to work tonight. The job has been going okay, but not as many hours as he thought in this first week. He'll be working 8 tonight and 12 tomorrow, getting about 33 for the week total. Although it isn't ideal, we are so happy he has a place to get any hours at all! Tonight, as a coincidence, he is moving a company in MY building downtown.

Sabine is off at Hanna's house, tomorrow we go in search of a laptop for her. Me and the kids. She will also be coming to the shower, and although she isn't scheduled to work, we've pretty much signed up for the whole day together. Lawrence has a race on Sunday morning - 5K. And Lily is signed up for the 1/2 mile. I'm trying to think about how Addie and I could miss it altogether, but are bucking up to the fact that we probably can't. And it will be cool, and cold, and wet, and we have to BE there at 7am.

Tonight Lily went to Disney on Ice with Lucy Ornelas as her birthday present from them. Due to my swine flu paranoia I sent her with a purse containing fruit snacks, hand sanitizer, and some lip balm. The lip balm was her idea. I told her to use as much hand sanitizer as she wanted and to share with Lucy. She was excited about this because she is ALWAYS wanting to do the hand sanitizer on her own. Since we use the safe Melaleuca stuff, I also don't have to worry about all those horror stories of kids getting drunk and poisoned from hand sanitizers so SAVE the warnings you were about to give!

Addie and I still did movie night, we watched Elmo Loves You. Addie was definitely sad as one by one each person left, first daddy, then Lily, then "Bean-Bean". But she was happy to have Elmo, milk free chocolate chips for dessert and mommy.

She also POOPED ON THE POTTY. This is big time for us. I don't want to get into the whole potty training struggles right now, because this blog tonight is about rambling, rambling, and only rambling. BUT she has been keeping a pull up dry all day, every day, but cannot seem to poop on the potty (or sitting down). She sometimes goes up to THREE times at night, and it is such a struggle getting her to stay in her room after bedtime now that she knows she has a "get out of bedroom free card" by simply pooping. And poor Lily is yelling, "Mom, Addie is stinking and she wants to get in my bed", etc.

I bought gummy bears (my first time food / potty ploy) to tantalize her into going. Well she has not gotten one all week. Then tonight, she said she had to go, we went in, I gave her a book, and SHE DID IT. Yay Addie! She was so pleased with herself and I gave her two gummy bears. I thought she would have a hard time going to sleep with no Lily but after doing her usual, run out and show me that she got up, followed by going back to bed and shutting the door...twice. She is quiet in there. I did shut a sock in the door which makes it not rattle and makes it juuuuust tight enough that she can't open it.

Total quiet. Except the tapping of my keys. I don't even know what to do with myself. Sabine asked if I would be okay alone. Yes! I mean I would have been happy if she wanted to stay home too, her company is very enjoyable, but perfect silence, knowing that Lily's show just started 30 minutes ago? Ahhhhhhhh, nice.

Now if the dishes were done and the laundry was put away and the bed was made.

Oh well. At least all the laundry is clean, and after one load the kitchen WILL be clean. I'll miss my husband all weekend, but I'm so glad he is working and I know that it will make our time together on Sunday that much better.

I'm signing off - not even spell checking or proof reading - to run around and chase my tail because I'm so excited to have a few minutes to do so...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A job!

For all of you out there who have been hoping and praying for us, we have good news. Prayers have been answered, Lawrence was offered a job yesterday! It was two months to the day since he was laid off from his old job, and almost a month since unemployment was cut it couldn't have come a moment too soon.

We are refreshed by what this means for us.

While the position isn't his dream position, right now having a job is a dream position. And it looks like this might be the company he will be with long term, and one he WANTS to be with long term. It is with a company that he temped for 6 years ago (see never burn your bridges and always do your best, because you just NEVER EVER know), and he saw them at a job fair 3 weeks ago. They remembered him and have talked with him a lot since then, they were thrilled that he was available, because they could really use him for the company's future plans...plans that could come to fruition in six months or so! For now they have offered him a labor position and he plans to take full advantage of the learning opportunity. The idea of not sitting behind a computer for a few months is also appealing to him, and he is a very hard worker, so manual labor is just fine with him.

Lawrence's persistence and attitude in all this has really shown me something about his character and his dedication to our family. Not that I didn't know it before, I DID! But he is a man of real character and I know this was an extreme trial for him. My prayers (and many of yours) were answered that we both had the strength to get through this with a positive attitude and as a happy family. Yes, I had the meltdowns about the no milk and sure he had a few off days too, but I'm so proud of him (and us) for how we handled it all. Our last two months were certainly not ruined by this.

Work is not usually fun, and times are hard, and we all wish we had more hours in the day and more money in the paycheck, but this has taught us that we will be grateful for our jobs, what they afford for our family, and what is really at stake when we look at not having them.

I work for a great company who has been so awesome over the past 7.5 years - allowing me now to be a mother and a manager. I think this shift, this stress, this turmoil, was just what we needed to allow change for Lawrence, to work for a company where he will find integrity and opportunity, and and all-around enjoyable atmosphere where he feels valued.

For that, I am grateful. He starts on Monday! Hooray!
Thanks again for all the love and support!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Celebrating Five Years

Dear Lily,
Today you are five years old. FIVE. YEARS. OLD. How can that be baby girl? When I look back at who I was when you were born I feel like I am looking at a different person. I don't know her. At the same time it feels like just yesterday and the years have gone too fast. Every cliche that every mother says about time is so true.

Sweet girl, you made me a kind of mom I never thought I'd be. In almost every way. I'm better at this than I ever thought I could be, but it is SO MUCH HARDER than I could have dreamed too. You are beautiful and smart and stronger than any little girl I've ever known. I thought I knew it all before you came into the world only to learn that your little 6lb 8oz self would turn my world upside down faster than anything I'd ever known. You put me in my place and showed me that life DOES change when a baby comes into it, and you also taught me not to judge other mamas because babies don't just fit in to our lives the way they think they will. We have to change, and become their parents.

You also changed the way I love your daddy. I will never forget the first time I heard him whisper to you, "I love you". When he didn't know I was listening. I cried and cried and cried at how tender his heart was and how you'd made it that way. Even though some times I want every one to do things my way, he proves to me over and over that his way with you is right. You two have a special bond. A bond I wish I had had with my daddy. When you look at him you admire him the way every girl should with her daddy. You are a lucky little girl who has the best daddy, and you know it.

Now you are such a good big sister. I know that I am often too hard on you to be a good example to your sister, but YOU DO IT. Most of the time you do it without me asking you to. You show little Addie so much love and kindness and help. You often sound like a parrot of me and daddy, telling her the rules and regulations of our Herman house. You are protective of her and with the exception of when she is "messing up" something you have created, you never ever tell her you'd rather not play with her. Especially with your friends. You are always so happy to include her in on the fun and seem proud to do that. Lily, that makes me so proud of you. When I see other big sisters turn their little guys away so they can be with their friends, you look for your little guy not wanting her to miss a thing. She is SO lucky to have you and she will be a better big sister to little Bryson because you have showed her how to do it right.

You are so creative and crafty and smart. Your vocabulary is so large. You use big words and you use them correctly. You love crafts and scrapbooking and doing things with me and daddy. I think you like scrapbooking because it usually means time together with me and you like Legos because it means time together with daddy. You are very good at both.

Daddy and I don't love it when little girls think they are princesses. We have tried hard to let you love those things that girls love without your life being centered around them. You are a really balanced girl. You build things with dad and like to play outside in the dirt, but you also love to get your hair curled and play dress up. In some ways we've sheltered you from things that other girls your age know about and do, but in our opinion, we are only sheltering you from things that aren't age appropriate and we like how you are. You are still a very little girl. A very smart little mature girl, but one who is still very innocent and sweet.

Lily - a letter can never do justice to what you are like. I could write a book on you, all your quirks, the things I worry about for you, and the things I love about you. I think you will always be a handful, and I'm glad. I hope that you will always be close to me and daddy and I hope we do a better job over the years of helping you to stay really open with us.

Happy Birthday Lily! I love you! You are a joy and a blessing to our family.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mom's shouldn't be allowed to get sick

Or maybe I should title this...Don't Cry Over No Milk.

I felt it coming on for a few days, the sore throat and runny nose. But I ignored it, took my vitamins vigilantly and attempted to get enough rest. Both girls were sick all last week with a cough and a cold - so sleeping through the night was nonexistent. Thursday morning there was no denying it was here, and by Thursday afternoon I could barely make it to the evening. Friday I felt terrible. I HATE being sick.

So while working from home Friday, when I went downstairs during lunch time to find out what all the hub bub was about between Lily and Sabine, I found out that we were out of milk. And butter. And bread. Sabine didn't realize this before she made Lily her wish of Mac n Chz. So Addie was sitting there happily with her milk-free mac noodles and ketchup (gross I know but she LOVES it), and Lily was crying on the stairs being mean to Sabine that there was no milk. FINALLY after I reasoned with her (and figured out that the milk problem was about actual lunch and not just her wantign a glass of it to drink), she decided she would accept a PB&J instead...oh but there was no bread either. Crap. Crap. Crap Crap.

This should not have been a big deal. Lawrence was running to the store that afternoon to get some staples and dinner supplies for the week. My brother left that morning after staying for a night passing through to see the girls, so Lily was particularly sensitive, and really, to her, it was the end of the world that there was no milk. And every time she pulled it together, she would look at my with her big brown eyes welling with tears. "But Mama, why don't we have any milk? I really need some milk" voice cracking and falling apart.

If I were a rational person, I probably would have just run out (in my pjs with no bra and unbrushed teeth or hair nose dripping-hugely pregnant state) and got the milk, so life could have gone on. But instead, I sympathized with Lily, comforted her, and finally sent her to her room until she could pull it together because she could not stop whining about the milk situation - and I couldn't help her. As I dug in the fridge, I coulnd't find anything else for her to have for lunch either, and she needed to leave for school in a half hour. Sabine finally remembered that we had some of Addie's milk free bread, which at $4/loaf is normally off limits to the rest of the family, we made Lily a PB&J using that, and then I gave her my water bottle with Lemon Sustain powder in it as her special drink. All was okay.

I apologized to Sabine that there was no food in the house and went back upstairs to work.

But instead of working...I. Fell. Apart.

I cried and cried at what a failure of a mom I was that we didn't have enough food. I cried because the State of Oregon Unemployment department are assholes. I cried because hormones are raging through my body and even though it wasn't rational, I couldn't stop crying for hours. Was there enough money in the account for milk and bread and butter? Of course there was. Did that matter? Not to me. For some reason, not having enough food equaled complete failure and demise of the family. So not rational, but unless you have been broke and pregnant at the same time - you may not judge. Even after Lawrence got back from the store and the fridge was full again, I would start to cry again each time I thought of our state of milklessness that morning. I felt sorry for Sabine for getting such a terrible family to live with. One that would allow all the milk to be drank. I cried again. And again. Every time I thought about it. More tears.

My friend Carrie suggested maybe I skip Women of Faith, which I had a free ticket to that night. She thought I needed rest, and I didn't consider it because I knew I needed the "me" time to be uplifted and encouraged and drug out of my deep dark hole of not having milk in the house.

For the rest of the weekend my voice and head was so stuffed up, mostly because of the cold but the 4 straight hours of crying couldn't have helped. I went to WOF that night, but looked like I had been beaten up from all the tears and nose blowing. I went in a brown velour jogging suit/hoodie outfit, so I really dressed up for the occasion. It said to wear comfortable clothes on the website, and I was so numb from all the crying, I couldn't bare to put on a piece of clothing that restricted me in any way. Unfortunately there was a bomb threat and the Rose Garden was evacuated and shut down - before I even got in the door. I didn't really even mind, just a little disappointed and I was happy to get home early and up bright and early and go again on Saturday morning. The day was amazing. I was uplifted and encouraged. My mom was at our house with Lawrence, he and the girls had a WONDERFUL day everyone with great behavior. And while I drove home Saturday evening and I thought about "that time that I had fallen apart over milk" it seemed like a million years ago, not yesterday. I even smiled about it - back when I was so crazy and hormonal that I even cried about not having bread and butter! HA! That girl...(insert head shake and eye roll).

I have to be thankful for two of my friends who "got" me, Jeanine and Carrie. I know they both felt helpless and a little worried but they got me. And to my husband and my mother in law, who did not really get me, I'm thankful that they both helped me too. They were there for me, and they comforted me as best as they could, Lawrence - not sure why it even bothered me because he was going to the store in a minute? and my MIL not sure if we were really THAT broke - and could she send me money to buy milk? or what? How could I be helped?

Sometimes when the damn breaks and the flood gate of emotions just have to go with it. You have to allow yourself to feel that something is the end of the world, even though it isn't. You have to look deep within yourself and understand why a silly little thing equals failure to you. And then you have to look back and smile and love yourself that you care so much about a silly little thing. And if you are really really lucky, you will smile and look back only a few days later. If the perfect storm is brewing in your emotional life, a good cry is the only thing that helps.

This weekend God reminded me that he doesn't love me because I'm perfect, he loves me because I'm me. He wants me to let go of these problems to show that He is bigger than anything I could ever worry about. He has plans for me that I can't begin to imagine, and He will not allow me to starve! In being reminded (again!) of His love, I looked at my life around me and saw how many other people love me with the same kind of love that God has for us. People who love me not in spite of my weaknesses - but because of them. Those are the people who model God's love for us here on earth. The people that are your safe place, who will not judge for your failings, no matter how silly or large they may be.

To the people who love me because I cry over no milk, I am thankful.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Family Photos - Oct 2009

We got family picture taken this weekend by a friend of a friend. She was fabulous to work with and practically free. What a great job, Kim. We love these, and I didn't even post all the best ones-otherwise what would I use for gifts and cards in the future! If you are on the Christmas card list, here is your preview! :) I was hoping to get chilly fall pictures with a gray sky and orange leaves. But Oct 4 didn't cooperate and I certainly can't complain about the gorgeous sunny day we had instead. Lush and green and Portland Fall weather at it's best...

Being Silly With Daddy
Sabine said in this photo she is just waiting for the baby to hold!
The girls with Sabine
They have so much fun together
The girls happy to point to their baby brother
They also thought the holes knitted in my sweater were facinating
Taking some time to throw rocks in and the photo op that goes with watching kids be kids
My happy girls
And I wonder if she really has him wrapped around her finger! :) That face!
Dancing the jig with their "pokies" out!
So much love!
Addie and Me
Dragging Sabine around...she can always keep up!
Sabine, Addie, Me, Lawrence, & Lily
Looking at the ducks

Mama's girl
Daddy's girl.
Herman family
I love us!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Whooshie Cushie

You might remember from THIS post the funniest part of our trip to NJ.

But I won't make you re-read to the end where this story was:

With a bunch off tickets of the NJ boardwalk I picked a prize of a whoopie cushion for Lily. Because, why not, they are funny and I wanted to see what my kids would do with it. First off, Lily called it a whooshie cushie. Secondly, after Lawrence blew it up for her and told her to squeeze it, she did and then said "It makes an elephant noise". Then things like "What do you think the elephants at the zoo would do if I brought my whooshie cushie to the zoo?" She laughed her head off each time and then thought it was still an elephant noise. We laughed so hard. On the plane ride home, I had it in my purse folded up. I mouthed across the aisle and 2 strangers to Lawrence, "We have only been on this plane for 4 hrs, and that means 2.5hrs left, do you want the whooshie cushie for Lily?" For some reason both of us thought that was so funny that we laughed and laughed and laughed until tears rolled down our faces.

Now here we are present day:

Lily went on, imagining that this was an elephant noise maker for the last few weeks...until the other day. Lily sat on the blown up whoosie cushie and Addie yells "TOOT!!" and we all laugh. It was funny. And then she did it again and Addie again, yells " TOOT TOOT". Lily laughed so hard I thought might hurt herself, and I laughed too at the next few outputs of the whooshie cushie. Vulgar at it is, it is funny. A 2 year old knows it and a 4 year old knows it, and I know it. (do I have to say that my husband knows it, doesn't that go without saying for a male) And what hadn't occured to Lily was suddenly SO obviously to Addie! That sound is a TOOT! of course it sounds like a TOOT!

I wonder how much more pleasure this prize will give us. I guarantee you that mug L wanted to get me NEVER would have provided this much entertainment. Video coming soon.