Monday, December 7, 2015

Birthday Boy!

Oh my goodness I cannot believe that Jackson is already 1!!  Where did the whole year go?!?!?!

Just look at this sweet boy (in no particular order).

The girls are showing Jackson how to open presents, thank goodness for older sisters huh?








What a fun cake to build for Mr. Jackson!


I love him riding on his lion, what a cute.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Finishing out the month...

November 25 - Half days.  Today our bosses let us go after lunch to start our Thanksgiving break early.  I love getting off even just a bit early, it really breaks up the day.

November 26 - Thanksgiving - My all time favorite holiday and surprisingly enough I am pregnant AGAIN this Thanksgiving.  It's crazy to feel like the holidays are just a continuation of last year with a just about one year old running around in addition to my pregnant belly.

November 27 - Cold, snowy and the day off.  Very rarely do we take a day off in this family, but Joe closed the shop on Black Friday and I didn't have to work so we stayed home and hung out all day...what a treat that is.

November 28 - Shop Small Saturday and our Christmas tree - We headed back down to Manitou this year again and ate at The Keg and shopped for Christmas ornaments.  It's been fun to keep this tradition going with more and more kiddos to drag along.  I also put up the Christmas tree before heading out, that big beast beats me up pretty good every year but I LOVE it when it's up.

November 29 - The Denver Broncos....I only asked that the game was exciting and not a complete blow out, not only was it exciting but the Broncos managed to knock off the undefeated Patriots.  What an awesome Sunday game to watch.

November 30 - Today I am thankful that I get to see the world ever so slightly through the eyes of Tyler.  On the way to school she was explaining all about why she loved the snow and how it hung from the trees like paint.  To stop and look at your surroundings through the perspective of a four year old is definitely a magical thing to be thankful for.


These three...they just couldn't help themselves but get in the box as soon as it was on the ground.

We threw out our pumpkins into the yard and the deer have been enjoying eating them.  Luckily so far I don't think the dogs and the deer have even run up on each other.

Jackson was trying to squirm away from Papa, so this picture of Thanksgiving wasn't one that made the Facebook reel...but it's one of my favorites.  Not only does it have little Miss Summer in it but I love that George is laughing, the kids definitely keep you young at heart.

Here is our nightly re-decorating of the Christmas tree...in other words Jackson's taste test activity.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ooops...falling behind.

November 19 - Today I am thankful for the Grandparents that my children are lucky enough to have in their lives.  It was Grandparents lunch day at the girls school so my folks drove down to eat a ham dinner with us. I am not sure how it happened but my grandparents lived an hour away and we only saw them once a year.  Between the ones that live an hour away and our Indiana Grandparents our kids sure are fortunate.

November 20 - Caffeine - I have become a caffeine addict apparently.  Joe tried to kill me this morning by accidentally making a pot of decaf coffee (I always keep one bag of decaf coffee in the freezer just in case someone drinks it).  By noon I was struggling to even stand much less do any kind of work...I went into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and noticed the green lettering on the bag "DECAF".  Yikes...was almost a goner for sure!

November 21 - Baby Summer (finally has an official name and is on her way home) - She came in a blizzard which is all the more fitting that her name is Summer, perhaps it was wishful thinking for a warmer time.  Just look at Miss Summer Lee Wells...beautiful and perfect!  (on a side note that is probably the most tired I have ever seen my brother, when asked how was labor and delivery - he said "life changing-ly terrifying" - Welcome to parenthood Tadd! ).


November 22 - Sunday, Sunday - Funday.  That's what we always say when the girls ask if Joe has to go to work, nope because it is Sunday, Sunday, Funday.  We love Sundays in our house and this particular one we didn't leave for anything...smoked 9 pounds of ribs and made all the trimmings with them...and then sent a care package with Nate to drop off to Tadd and Carri on his way back into town.  It was a wonderful day and the girls just kept saying how much they loved having Dad home.  Me too. :-)

November 23 - Mondays - And while they are the polar opposite of Sundays in this home I am thankful that they come around...complete with the chaos and laughter that all weeks start off as.  Jackson is at this truly mobile (nearly walking) terrific age where everything is a toy...my refrigerator has never had more hand prints on it but I smile so big whenever I see them.  When he finds something new and exciting he always says "Whoa!" which makes me laugh...so on Mondays when the rest of the family is running around like we are lit on fire...Jackson is following closely behind saying Whoa! to let us know how exciting the world still is.

November 24 - To-Do Lists.  I keep a rather lengthy To Do List at work (well and at home too but that one is never even close to caught up), so before vacations and holidays I attempt to get everything all put together and finished so I come back to an empty slate.  Well apparently everyone else on my team does the same so while I was hoping for a slow, short week I have been busting my butt to get my To Do List and everyone else's done too.  But boy oh boy do I love checking things off...wow is that satisfying to me!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 18

November 18 - Today I am thankful for an agreement on social and political issues in our home.  Sometimes we will run into something that one of us disagrees on but even then we can still have a conversation about it without it getting heated.  I have heard that there are marriages and relationships out there where they are polar opposites and are still happy, though I think it must be difficult.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Novemeber 17

November 17 - Baby Wells (or should I say baby Stinchfield for the time being) - Today I am thankful for Tadd and Carri having their new baby girl.  I am still waiting on the official name and will be heading down to the hospital to meet her in person here in a few but here's a picture of the newest Stinchfield/Wells!


Monday, November 16, 2015

The weekend....

November 14 - Women.  Today I am thankful for the women that we are seeing in the spotlight in the media.  Some good some bad, but they are there.  We are starting to move up to the front seat of coverage and while we will always have the Kardashians that are known for...well I won't fill you in if you don't know where they started.  But we also have people like Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm.  These two women were and are the best at the sport they have chosen, in this case it is mixed marital arts and I must admit I have never wanted to watch an MMA fight before, not only did I watch this one I also paid $60 to do so.  They danced around the octagon, they caught punches and threw them...they bled and bruised just as the men did.  Not only did they accomplish this, they also sold out the largest venue ever and head lined the most talked about fight in MMA history.  Not in spite of them being women, or because they are women...but rather because they have earned the title of the best, and our society loves an underdog story.  We love watching an 800 point underdog like Holly Holm KO a reigning champ in the second round, I have to think because some small part of the millions that watched now know that it is possible to train hard and win...even when no one thinks you can.

November 15 - Carri.  Today is Carri's due date and even though she didn't have that little girl today I can still give thanks to the person that she has allowed my brother to become.  It was always going to take a special person to work well with either Tadd or myself, we have a fair amount of baggage but if you don't mind dealing with that our hearts are made of gold.

November 16 - Snowmagendon - That's what they are calling the snow forecast for this evening.  With a total of up to 25" at our house.  It sure would be fun to be all snowed in, however when I post tomorrow about wind and a dusting of snow you will know that my thanks will not be to the weatherman who is promising to shut down the state.

Friday, November 13, 2015

What my Mom always used to say...

I grew up with the age old saying if you have nothing nice to say.  So I have again been silent on this poor blog of mine, but enough is enough because it is officially my favorite time of year. :-)  November is the month of thanks and since I already have a couple of weeks to make up, here we go.

November 1 - I am thankful for Joe's friends.  He has developed quite a group of transplanted Indiana friends out here in Colorado and we are fortunate enough to meet up with them often.

November 2 - I am thankful for the opportunity to call Pepper our kitty for 9 years.  On this afternoon I was outside with the dogs and kids and found her after apparently being hit by a car, hopefully she didn't suffer much and didn't need us in the end.  She managed to teach the whole family (dogs and kids included) so much respect for animals.  While she may have been the smallest resident in our house, weighing in at only 8 pounds she was definitely our fiercest.

November 3 - As always election day is a big deal to me, as I dive deeper into politics I realize how much my vote does count and I am truly thankful that I am able to cast it.

November 4 - Today made me thankful for modern medicine.  I will always stand by my statement that having a baby is terrifying...nothing about being pregnant with baby number four is different from the sheer terror that you can experience while pregnant.  I would have thought I would have been better at this whole gig, but alas I am not.  They found a hematoma (fancy word for bruise) today while doing the 20 week ultrasound.  While most of the time these are no big deal, they only raise concerns when you are in the second trimester and/or over 35...not sure if you could see my hand raised for both of those questions.  So now we wait and see, will it shrink as it should and disappear...or will it cause a miscarriage?  Only time will tell.  The doctor smiled when I brought up the concern and when I made it home and looked up potential treatments I understood the smile.  Bed rest.  Which is completely out of the question for the next 4 to 5 months.  At least with the ability to view our little baby girl we know for the time being that she seems happy and healthy.

November 5 - Random trips to see Joe at the shop.  With Joe's recent employee changes he has been working a lot more so on occasion the kids and I drive in after I pick them up at school and bring a coffee or something to say Hi.  The kids love seeing him and I am sure it helps his day go by quicker if it is broken up by little kid stories.

November 6 - Today I am thankful for Pay Day.  I might still be the only full grown adult with an actual career that has a reminder on my calendar about pay day.  I love the ding that my phone gives me, like hey I know you have been working "hard" these two weeks - here's your payment.  And while my money is set to pay bills and transfer around to all different kinds of accounts automatically, it still feels good to get paid.

November 7 - Trips to Grandma's house.  We had a dog show this weekend so rather than drag the kids by myself on Saturday while Joe worked I sent them off to spend the day at Grandma's house.  The girls used to go there all the time while we went snowboarding but since I was pregnant last season and I am pregnant this season poor little Jackson has never been there for the day.

November 8 - Finishing Kuma.  Kuma is officially a champion...he's title name is now CH Moonlight's Fudo.  And still just as sweet as the day we picked him up.  Just look what two years and hundreds of dollars in dog food can do.

We had just brought home Hiro at two months old and here's Kuma at 5 months old.



November 9 - Today I am thankful for my patience.  We have homework every night to get done, and while I am sure the girls are tired of sitting still and paying attention they have another 60-90 minutes of it when they get home.  It takes everything in me to not be angry at the situation and then the kids in the process.  Sometimes I sit back in the playroom (our room of choice so Jackson can crawl about unharmed) and watch the three little people and their personalities and get the biggest smile.  Of course the smile is wiped off my face when I repeatedly have to say "please sit down and pay attention, this is your homework not mine".

November 10 - Today I am thankful for Chipotle.  While it seems like an odd thing to be thankful for, we are back into the winter swing of things which means that we don't have the sporting events so I am responsible for cooking 7 nights a week.  During the summer I can always just throw meat on the grill and prepare a salad or some veggies but in the winter I have to really come up with meals and sometimes it is just exhausting.  On this particular day, Chipotle teamed up with the girls school to run a fundraiser so Joe picked it up on his way home...check mark, dinner is done. :-)

November 11 - Snow.  We had our first snow, and while it was only an inch or so...it was still magical for the kiddos.  I can't wait for the big dumps now that the girls are so much bigger and love playing in it.  Something about this year is proving to be even harder to be pregnant during the winter, perhaps it's because I won't be due until the end of the season which means that I have a zero percent chance of snowboarding this year whereas last year at least I got in one trip.  But at least seeing how excited the kids are to play in the snow warms my heart.

November 12 - Non-alcoholic beer.  Again it may seem like an odd thing to be thankful for, but last night when Joe got home and mixed up a drink and we sat down to talk about the stresses of the day, it sure feels nice to crack open a "beer" (even if it's a fake one).

November 13 - Lunch dates.  I have been dragging the kids to lunch dates with my friends and family since they were first born, today since my boss is off on Fridays which makes my work day a lot quieter I will be meeting Kelley for lunch.  I consider it a learning event, look at the server when ordering, answering completely while enunciating and sit still until the meal is done.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Our weekend

Our friends host a Halloween party every year, and while it was/is an adult party they start it now at 7PM so we can drag the kiddos and leave when the real party starts.  Every year I try and dress the kiddos up as something at least together and most years I match them too, however this year I decided that we should all dress up together as a family...and while Joe grumbled he ended up pulling off the Scarecrow very well. :-)

Earlier in the day, Jackson was helping me make the cupcakes for the party.  Boy do I love that face!


Poor Jackson's head piece kept falling down (which I actually think made him cuter, but also angry).  We won second place in the costume contest too...thanks to pulling off The Wizard of Oz!

Sunday mornings we try and make it to Overtime to watch the Bears, here's Jackson hanging out with Adam watching the game.

Tadd and Carri got a new rocker for the baby's room so we got the furniture box, which Joe turned into fort.



Friday, October 30, 2015

And our Rapunzel.

And here's our Rapunzel after school, in the playroom before homework starts.


Halloween time!

We carved those big beasts the other night...Joe even took off early from work, which is actually more of a treat than the activity itself.



The finished products all lit up.  See how mine looks like an old man's face or perhaps a scary skull (which is about as far from what I was going for possible).


Here's my owl in the daylight see how the wings are only scratched out, apparently I didn't go deep enough to be able to see it at night.

The girls school does Book Character Parties at school rather than Halloween parties.  Here's our Elsa before her party yesterday.  I completely forgot to get a picture of Austin this morning so I will have to take one this afternoon when we pick her up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall Time

Our weeks are crazy busy right now, I am sure Joe feels even more like that.  With some recent changes at the business he is working a lot more and with two kids in school we are running a lot more...both of which make it feel as though we never really get any time off.  But just as this change swept in and disrupted everything so will the change that makes it all different.


I drove past a pumpkin display the other day and told Joe about it so he could go back and pick some up.  I love how the vines weren't cut off all the way so they have so much character.  If you'd like a size comparison...take a look at the toaster oven that looks small.  These pumpkins are huge!

We went up to Denver to cheer on our friend Anna who ran in the marathon up there.  This crazy statue was outside of one of the state buildings.

Look at that troop...even Jackson and I were in our jerseys.

Matisyahu performed at the finish line, this was the kiddos first concert so it was fun to watch them feel the music.

The girls and Nate made signs for the race, the girls were in charge of glitter.  Which as you would imagine is a very important job.

There she is crossing the finish line...what a great accomplishment.  And a great experience for the girls who both want to run marathons some day now.

Afterwards we went to Hoss and Leslie's house for a fall party complete with a hay ride.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Holy Smokes!

Holy Smokes.

Ok so first for the big news!  As most of you should know by now, we are expecting our fourth child and third daughter on March 24th (or in my case two weeks later) .

Between watching the heartbroken faces of three of my friends miscarry in the last 6 months during the first trimester AND the big wedding in Iowa AND Tadd and Carri's baby shower, I had to wait slightly longer than I normally do to tell anyone.  Especially Joe who just gets too excited not to mention it.

Here's the little wiggly girl all snug in the belly pudge that her brother Jackson left her. :-)


We hosted our 9th annual Chili Cookoff last weekend and I managed to WIN!  With a green chili that took my four days to make, smoked the pork shoulder and roasted my own peppers.  Yahoo!

Just look at that beast!  I made a cumin and salt crust and smoked it all day, turned out amazing.


Of course adding a major life event like birth and another child does come with it's own stress like the fact that my last day with Verizon is supposed to be the end of March, which will also be the last day of my insurance.  Although for the first time ever there are a ton of options to just go out and buy insurance through a CO-OP like our bank(s) or even COSTCO offers it.  So while it may be a little more expensive than Verizon's offering at least we won't go bankrupt.  The silver lining (other than welcoming an amazing little person to the world) is that Verizon can no longer ship me off to Pittsburgh due to the pregnancy. :-)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Catching up...

8 short days after we got back from Indiana we loaded up the kiddos and headed to Iowa for Doug and Brittany's wedding.  The kids did wonderful, even little Jackson which shocked us all.

I only got these couple of pictures (which I actually stole from Joe since I didn't get any pictures).  I turns out just getting three kids to any place dressed up and looking cute is a full time job and I didn't have pockets most of the time to carry my phone.


Doug's family owns a very large farm in Iowa so the girls got to see the hog barns.

And the grain silos, complete with a corn mountain to slide down.

I do wish that I would have gotten a picture of the kid's outfits for the wedding.  You can kind of see Tyler's dress here and Austin matched hers and then just look at Jackson and his sweater vest?!?!?  He also had a suit for the wedding part that he managed to destroy before the reception.

Someone's got a first word!  Of course he uses Dada for everything but it's much more pleasant than the scream that it replaced.
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And I think we are all in trouble when this little guy gets down walking...looks like we are just about there.
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Not sure what he is doing here, but I think it's how he calls for the kitty or his sisters...but you can see the magnificent black board in the background that Joe built.  I will take better pictures when the whole playroom is done.
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Things I've noticed...

Having one kid is hard, like really hard.  While Goose is in preschool now, she only goes four days a week so on Fridays I still have her peering little eyes staring at me while I work.  The honest truth is that every time she leaves my office and it's quiet for a while I catch her doing something that she knows she isn't suppose to (ie. drawing with bathroom soap on the counters)...but part of me was/is just thankful for the small moments of peace.

Which brings me to...we go through a lot of bathroom soap.  Holy smokes, the girls must think the secret to life is in the bottom of those empty bottles.

I have to run the dishwasher after every meal.  We are a family of five and while it's still hard for me to wrap my head around that and for the most part I don't feel like a "big" family, perhaps it's because Jackson is still so small but we definitely get "the look" when we are out and about.  The other day at the grocery store an older women passed me on the way to the check out and smiled and said "Good luck."  I almost asked, luck for what...that my debit card goes through or that I didn't forget anything because I didn't make a list?  But I knew she saw the three children and just judged the living $hit out of me. **Shrugged Shoulders** - whatever!  I think the part that throws people off the most is the nose ring I wear, they automatically assume that I am too "punk" to be religious (which they may be right about) but then that confuses them as to why I would subject myself to the impoverished life style of three children.  One that must be complete chaos and unfulfilled to say the least.

Along with the dishwasher, I must do one load of laundry per day period.  Most days I even have to pull off two.  The amount of laundry in this household is intense.

Begging for work stinks.  I am out applying for jobs, some that I am overqualified for and some that I woefully under-qualified for.  All of which are so hard to convey on paper or email why you are so magnificent that they NEED to pick up the phone and give you a call.  Oh yeah and offer you the job and pay you a ton of money...blah.

Along with not sleeping for the last seven years, I have also not been sick for the last seven years.  Now keep in mind I have the same illnesses that everyone else in our home gets (like the current "Yay, we're back in school now head cold") but I am not allowed to be sick.  My plate is always so full that the thought of being one step behind makes me chuckle...and on that note I also can't take cold medicine since if I were cloudy things wouldn't get done either.  I just double down on vitamin C and hot sauce, in hopes that one or the other will chase the demons outta me.

Hair cuts!

It should come as no surprise that I am busy...because of this and my inability to put my hair anywhere on the priority list, I only get my hair done once a year.  So now when I go to get mine done I bring the girls with me to get theirs done too.  Turns out when you wait a year for something, it make it a REALLY big deal.  Here are my big girls that picked out their very own hair cuts last night.




Monday, August 24, 2015

Little Goose!

Little Goose is officially a preschooler!  Wow does time fly...and even though I promised myself I wouldn't cry I still did, luckily I didn't let her see.



Isn't that monster backpack just about the cutest thing in the world!


Mrs. Pettigrew...who appears as though she is the perfect preschool teacher - just right out of a book with her voice and expressions name and all.

And her Dad...watching her draw robots for her first day.