Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Friday, January 30, 2009

Best Friends

Maddie has become very touchy lately. She has to have her arm around you or your arm around her shoulders when we read books together every time. Today she and Ben we watching Tom and Jerry cartoons again when I noticed she had put her arm around Ben. It was so cute. I went to get the camera and when I returned, he had put his arm around her. They sat like that for a while, enjoying their show. I'm glad they are such good friends. I hope it stays that way forever.

Are We Ready to Ditch the Naps?

Maddie has been hard to put down for naps and for bedtime for weeks. She screams and cries and fights. It's exhausting. I've been wondering if it is a test of wills or if it is time for her to give up her nap. Today she was acting totally fine, happier than usual so I decided to skip naps and see how it went. She ought to be really tired and go to be really easily. This is what Brian found in our room when he came home from work around 4 pm.
Later when I went to wake her up, it looked like she had tried to get up, but just couldn't quite make it. I guess we're not quite ready to skip naps. Hallelujah!!

What Happened to Jacob?

Jacob was whiny last night and upset and squirmy for a few hours. Finally I fed him and put him happily in his bed at about 1:00 am. I woke up at 6:17 am and wondered where Jacob was. I hadn't heard him at all through the night, but sometimes that happens. Brian never sleeps well so if he's already up, he'll grab Jacob and give him a bottle so I can sleep. I know, he's a keeper. But, he didn't do the bottle thing last night. Jacob actually slept over 5 hours! What a good night!

Remote Control

Another Brian present. He installed a motion sensor in our main floor bathroom. It's fantastic. Maddie is now willing to wash her hands alone because the light goes on automatically for her. Between the automatic light and the new sink faucet life is good for my little girl. Knowing that I requested a motion sensor - remote control type of gadget be installed in my house makes me laugh today. Remote control stuff has a history in our house. When we were first married, we did the whole wedding and honeymoon thing like everyone else. We returned home and I moved into the apartment we had rented together. The first morning I spent there came with some surprises. I was jolted from a peaceful sleep by a floodlight switching on directly in my face. Okay, it was just the bedroom light, but it had been dark and now it was bright as noonday. "What the heck?" I wondered. I laid there for a bit, waiting for Brian to wake up. He did not. I waited and waited. It was WAY earlier than I needed to get up. I laid there, trying to sleep for about an hour. Then his alarm started going off. He got up. Finally! He was getting up. Nope. He pushed snooze (like the rest of us) for another thirty minutes. After laying in bed for an hour we finally got up, got ready for work and headed out the door. Being a love sick newlywed, I didn't mention the terrible morning events. Unfortunately for me, it happened again the next day. And the next and the next. I don't know how many days until I had to say something. I was loosing a solid hour and a half of quality sleep time every single day. I know I didn't make it a week though before I broke. The newlywed bliss was ended. We had to talk. In his defense, he had a logical argument for the insanity. It is easier to adjust and wake up to a lighted room. It is more natural for your body. True. And if I wasn't jolted from a sound sleep each morning only to lay in bed for an hour each morning trying to sleep with a pillow over my head, it would have been fine. Turns out that in high school Brian had worked at RadioShack. While he was gainfully employed there, he had purchased a snazy alarm clock that works with your wall outlets and light switches. You replace the standard outlet or wall switch with the RadioShack remote one and then your remote can be set to turn on or off any light or gadget. He had installed the remote light switch in our bedroom and a wall outlet to control the air conditioner. Once when Kristie came over she was confused by all the remotes and still to this day asks Brian when he's going to put the toilet on remote too. Through the years we have had tons of things on remote...the porch light, christmas tree lights and lights in the yard, air conditioner, fans, ceiling lights, etc. My favorite has been the Christmas lights on our tree. He has every kid we've ever known convinced that if they blow on the tree it turns on and if you clap your hands it turns off or vice versa. In Houston, the Boseman's daughter Rhiannon went home and told her mom that Brian was cooler than her daddy because he had a magic tree and she didn't like their tree anymore. Anyway, remotes have always been a part of our life and I assume they always will.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

50% Better

Some of you may remember reading about "Scream-fest 2008" in July of last year. Both kids screamed at the top of their lungs through the entire dentist visit. Their next 6 month cleaning was this morning and I guess you could say we did 50% better than last time. Only Maddie screamed the whole time. This time I resorted to a straight up bribe with a high value prize for Ben. I didn't even bother with Maddie because I couldn't afford the risk of her failing. Then I wouldn't be able to take Ben for his reward if he was tough enough to earn it. As a point of reference, no fast food joint in Northern Virginia seems to have a playland. Isn't that almost morally wrong? All McDonald's and Burger Kings should be obligated to have one. Anyway, there is one in the area and I totally used it in my favor today. It's about a 20 minute drive from the house, but...it's across the street from the pediatric dentist office. I promised Ben if he would not scream and would open his mouth when they asked him too, we would go straight to the playland and get breakfast at McDonald's and he could play for a long time. Ben did NOT enjoy the dentist today, but he followed all my bribe instructions and earned the playland. He did awesome! They even asked him to do x-rays, which were COMPLETELY out of the question last time. Brian and I looked at each other and I felt my stomach drop to the floor. He had done so well, this could put him over the edge and he would loose the playland reward! Before I could protest for him, Ben jumped off the chair and followed the lady down the hall. All right!! Once he couldn't see me anymore, I followed and stood outside the door in case he freaked out when they put the things in his mouth. He gagged a bit, but doesn't everybody? He never cried and when he was done, I snuck back to the room and he came running down the hall to us with a super huge smile. It made me proud that he had done a hard thing alone. After we checked out of the office, Brian helped us load into the car. He headed to work and I took the three kids to McDonalds for breakfast. We dined on pancakes, sausage, biscut, scrambled egg and super big french fires (hash browns). I let them play for an hour and a half. I was bored out of my mind, but hey, it's not all about me and Ben earned it. Now the bad news. Since they had x-rays, they found four cavities between his molars. We better start flossing. In any case, we can either sedate him to fix them or have him strapped in a straight jacket with laughing gas. Both are extremely expensive and it seems like a waste since the teeth will fall out in a few years anyway. I've recently had two friends go through the same thing. I'll have to find out what they recommend, but if anyone else has advise I'm all ears.

Sledding Take Two

Brian took the kids sledding in the snow Tuesday. Tuesday night we got sleet and freezing rain. Wednesday everything was covered in ice. Brian worked from home again and I took Ben and Maddie out to sled again. It was less than successful. They could barely walk. Maddie kept falling and crying. Ben did okay and was excited. We climbed the hill together a few times and sledded down. Maddie got mad if Ben went without her. Then she would sit on the sled and not let us go down. She just wanted to sit and be pulled around. Finally she said she wanted to go inside with her Daddy. I pushed her down the hill on the sled while she screamed she didn't want to go down the hill. Then I walked her to the house. Ben was excited to be outside and sled alone with me until we got to the house. As soon as he saw her go in, he decided he was done. End of the day. So we didn't have much fun today. Next time I'll take the snow day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Husband Hails From Florida

Brian got up to shower and get ready for work this morning. I went down to the kitchen to get breakfast for Maddie. When Brian came downstairs I was surprised to see he was not in his regular work attire of a collared shirt and tie. He was sporting a classy neon orange t-shirt and blue jeans. I questioned, "So I see you're not planning to go to work today. May I ask why?" His reply, "It's a snow day of course." I looked out the window and laughed. "What? Are you from Florida? That's nothing. I thought you were from Utah." He assured me that he was from Utah but most people that live here aren't.
There was a liberal leave policy in place for the day because of the snow and he was choosing to take it. The day turned out to produce 2" of snow by dinner time. The kids did better today than ever before at letting Dad work except for one time in the morning. I got them all dressed in their snow gear to go in the backyard to play in the snow. I told them quite specifically that Daddy had to work right now and that he could maybe take some playtime at lunch. They were both finally all bundled up and the headed down the stairs...straight to Brian and asked, "Ready to go play outside Dad?" He was more than happy to oblige. He took them sledding in front of the house. Then Ben helped shovel the walks. They both had lots of fun and came back inside happy and hungry.
Then it was back to work and I made lunch and tried to entertain the rest of the day inside. Ben did some puzzles with me and Maddie found the dress up box and enjoyed some time playing doctor. I think we need Aunt Kristie to teach her how to use the stethoscope properly. Then she found the pool toys and just had to wear the swim gear for a while.

Homemade Bread Take Two

The results are in. I think Brian's comment at dinner last night is the best indicator of how my second attempt at homemade bread went. He said, "Have you called Megan to see how to make it yet?" You could rightfully say it wasn't a complete success. Just because I wasn't totally confident about the results, I took the first loaf out of the oven after 30 minutes when the recipe said and left the other in three more minutes. Just looking at the bottom of the two loaves it was obvious the 30 minute loaf was undercooked and the 33 minute loaf looked much better. Now that we have tasted the second loaf, it was yummy. It could likely use another minute or two of cooking, but it was a reasonable success. I'll keep trying buy attempt #2, loaf #2 gives me hope!


How is your bruxism? I saw a report on the news today about teeth grinding. Apparently it's called bruxism. A year ago last fall I felt a chunk of something break off my tooth. I thought, dang, a filling or something fell out. I had an appointment with the dentist two weeks already scheduled, so when I went in I mentioned it. They couldn't find anything missing, but I did have three edges chipped off three different teeth. The dentist asked if I grind my teeth. If I did, it would easily explain what was going on. I didn't think I did. That night and for the next three days, I realized that I grind my teeth all day and all night. Ugh. So I got the darn night guard and in a week had weared it down severely. I guess I do grind my teeth! Who knew.


Brian and I discussed last night Ben's addiction to watching Tom and Jerry cartoons on the internet last night. It seemed a shame to make him stop at first, he was just so happy. We finally decided that the newness wasn't wearing off and he had watched for three or four hours each day for four days in a row. He was addicted. We needed to set some limits since he didn't seem to be loosing interest like kids usually do in new toys. Ben watched for over an hour this morning then I called him to lunch. I explained that after lunch we would turn off the computer and play with our toys and use our imaginations. He almost went into instant meltdown. "But I just paused the show to eat my lunch. What if I can't find it again tomorrow?!?!" I agreed that he could finish his episode before he turned it off. He was pretty obedient and I believe he turned it off when he should without sneaking another one, though he did sort of jump and look guilty when I walked into the room. We did fine for an hour or so, then the whining started. He wanted to watch more Tom and Jerry and nothing else was fun enough. Eventually he got to watch a DVD because Maddie screamed for over an hour and I needed him occupied while I dealt with her. When Maddie finally settled down after an hour and a half I took Ben down to play some card games. Then we worked on memorizing "sight words" to help him with his reading. He earned chocolate chips by doing flash cards. When he got bored with all that, he begged to use the computer again. I agreed on the condition that he play an educational game. Of course I didn't say "educational" to him, he doesn't know they are teaching him something. He just thinks they are fun. He wasn't in the mood for any of our games, so he started tantruming and stamping his feet about not being able to do what he wanted. I told him he could yell and be mean, but I'd send him to his room. It took him almost thirty minutes to pick a game to play. In the mean time, I took the chance to try to teach Maddie how to use the mouse on the computer. It cracked me up to see her try. Everytime I would tell her to move the mouse up to get the arrow to go up on the monitor, she would lift the mouse up in the air. I felt dumb. Of course that makes sense to her. Since when does "up" mean move your mouse across the table away from you? How do you explain this? I guess we'll just keep practicing. She got a lot better just in our 30 minute lesson today. Eventually Ben settled into a math game and practiced his addition with me and Brian when he came home. He's doing well for a four year old. Hope he can deal with the Tom and Jerry limits tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Little snow flurries are gently floating down outside my window right now. I don't think we'll get enough to cover the ground or make a snowball, but I'm dreaming of it anyway. Ben is almost desperate for snow. Keep your fingers crossed...

Pure, Innocent Laughter

Ben has filled our home with pure and innocent laughter the last four or five days. I showed him Tom and Jerry on YouTube and he is totally addicted. He wants to watch hour after hour after hour of the episodes. He laughs endlessly and loudly. I can't help but smile as I listen to him and as the corners my mouth turn upward I think how wonderful it is that he can enjoy the same fun cartoons Brian and I watched as children.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Outfit Gone

Jacob has officially outgrown his first outfit. I put it away today and it made me sad to realize he is getting bigger. Just from looking at him there is no denying it though. He is our first baby that has any degree of "chub" to him. We're totally enjoying it too.

Why I Need a Nanny

I just don't have enough hands and eyes to keep track of everyone around here. This is what happened when I set the table for dinner and a starving Maddie tried to get the bread by herself while I got the rest of the family to come sit down.
I finally, after two months, broke out the Bosch and used it the first time since it arrived. I've just been to tired since it came to do any baking at all. So, I made bread. I tried my friend Megan Fife's bread recipe. It was simply delicious when Megan made it. Not quite as great when I tried. In my defense, I started making it, got the hot water to activate the yeast when Jacob had to nurse and Maddie had to use the potty. So it wasn't exactly in prime "warm" condition when I returned to finish the job. Oh well. I can always try again if we can finish eating the two dense loaves on the counter. Here's to next time, eh?

Thanks, Mom!

We had an absolutely delicious dinner tonight. Thanks for cooking and freezing some meals when you were here for Jacob's birth. Tonight we dined on manicotti, YUMMY! It was a real blessing to not have to organize a meal tonight. You're service is still blessing our lives a month and a half later. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love you.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Homemade French Fries

I have wanted to make homemade french fries for years, but didn't have a deep fryer or a fry slicer. My Bosch mixer was on a special sale when I bought it so we got a blender and food shredder with french fry cutting blade. Now I just needed the deep fryer and I finally borrowed one from Mali last week. Of course, then I kept running out of time every night to make them. One night Brian offered to do it for me while I made grilled ham sandwiches. Ben was really excited and got totally involved in helping. As usual, Maddie was near by and in the way, trying to touch everything - including the 375 degree oil. Heating the oil was pretty boring, but they wouldn't leave their chairs for fear of missing something. Now we've made fries three times and they are absolutely delicious.
True to form, Brian always does things just a little bit better than your average Joe. He made spicy fries. Here is the recipe:
Homemade Crispy Seasoned French Fries
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1 teaspoon onion salt 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 cup water, or as needed 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
DIRECTIONS Slice potatoes into French fries, and place into cold water so they won't turn brown while you prepare the oil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, sift the flour, garlic salt, onion salt, (regular) salt, and paprika into a large bowl. Gradually stir in enough water so that the mixture can be drizzled from a spoon.
Dip potato slices into the batter one at a time, and place in the hot oil so they are not touching at first. The fries must be placed into the skillet one at a time, or they will clump together. Fry until golden brown and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Nothing Lasts

After my sweet, sweet middle of the night with Jacob wishing he could stay in that moment forever, he woke again at 6 am, just an hour after I laid him in his bed. He cried for almost an hour and couldn't be settled. I kept thinking to myself, remember the sweetness, remember the sweetness, remember the sweetness. I guess we have those special moments to pull us through the hard ones.


4 am Jacob wakes. I drag myself out of bed to nurse him. We get situated in the rocking chair. I grab a blanket to keep warm in the chill of the night. He eats for a bit then starts to doze off. Time to burp him, so we adjust positions. I put his tiny little body up on my chest and rest his head on my shoulder and begin to mechanically pat his back. It's different tonight. I notice his sweet baby scent. His body is warm against mine, his cheek pressed against my cheek. In that moment my heart melts. I can hear his tiny breath going in and out as my hand feels his chest rise and fall. He is comfortable and happy in his safe place. No one to interrupt my happiness. No one asking for my attention or pulling me in other directions. They are all resting safe and peaceful, leaving me to enjoy my quiet, precious baby. In this moment we are frozen in time together. It's the middle of the night and I'm as wide awake as I could ever be, connecting with my perfect baby boy. I wish I could capture this moment and hold it forever in my mind and heart.

Using the Same Mold

Lauren was over today and commented how Jacob looks EXACTLY like Maddie did when she was born. I had the laptop within reach, so we pulled up some pictures of all three kids between 6 and 8 weeks. What do you think? In person I think Maddie and Jacob are the same, in the pictures, the resemblance between Jacob and Ben seems pretty strong.
Ben Maddie

I Ran Today

January shouldn't be this warm, but I'm not going to complain that it was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day today! The high was near 50 degrees. We watched some neighbor kids in the morning for two different families, then when they left, I took the kids outside for a while. Ben made me take pictures of him jumping and he practiced his photography skills by taking some pictures of me. Jacob quickly fell asleep in the baby carrier I was wearing so I soon took it off and grabbed a little chair for him. He slept outside in his chair all bundled up to stay warm.
Once I was baby-free, it wasn't long before I was chasing the kids around, up and down the field and around the sink hole. Ben and I were chased each other all over until we were both panting and tired as we kicked a few balls around and played steal the ball. Maddie chased us until she was to frustrated by never being able to catch us. I was laughing so hard with Ben and loving the moment completely when I realized, I'M RUNNING!! It has been so long since I actually ran. Pregnancy slows me down so much, I hate it. Running again! It felt good, even exhilarating. I hope I can keep it up. My sister-in-law Juli has almost inspired me to take up running. It would be so good for me, even if it isn't miles and miles of running, just running with the kids is good for my soul if nothing else. I love spending time with them and hearing them laugh happily because they are having fun with me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bye Bye Binkie

On Saturday night I was chaperoning a youth dance at the church. Brian decided to try putting Maddie down to bed without her binkie. He said it was totally fine. She didn't whine or ask for it. After a while though, she started crying and hollering from her room. Eventually he gave in and gave her the binkie. Only after he offered the binkie did her learn that she had simply wanted a drink of water. Oops. Sunday morning, not knowing anything of the night before, I decided she didn't need to take the binkie to church anymore. She only gets it to sleep and with the switch to the morning services, she wasn't going to sleep and no longer needed it at church. She ended up throwing a huge tantrum and Brian left soon after the service started, not to return until the last five minutes. They had a knock down - drag out fight in one of the empty classrooms and even spent fifteen minutes sitting in the front seat of the truck with Maddie on his lap to get her under control. The binkie would have ended the whole show if we had just it. Oh well. We have to ditch it sometime. After we were all in bed on Sunday night, Brian told me how close to getting rid of the binkie he had been on Saturday night until his little mistake. He planned to do it again on Monday night. Monday came and we went to a "dessert party" at a friends house. Upon our arrival home, both kids were in a disasterous state. Ben was hitting and kicking and spitting on both of us because he was overtired. Maddie wasn't much better. Not the night to start the no-binkie routine we decided. Last night I was away for an hour again, just about bedtime. Upon my return, Maddie ran downstairs to greet me when she heard me come in the door. I took her back up to her bed and noticed Ben crying. I snuggled him and reassured him he didn't have to be scared of bad dreams and we said a special prayer that God would protect him in his sleep to be safe from bad guys and to have good dreams. After watching me spend so much time with Ben, Maddie got bored and came over to me and started weeping and asking for her binkie. I asked Maddie where the binkie was, to which she told me, "Daddy said it got lost, but I weally need it to go in my mouth wight here (pointing to mouth) so I could sleep wight now." I validated her concern and asked another totally random question. She perked right up and chatted with me about the other topic for several minutes until all thoughts of binkies were long gone from her little head. Then I gave her a huge hug, laid her down in her bed and didn't hear another word from her the rest of the night. She did wake once in the middle of the night. Brian went to help her. She wanted nothing to do with him and never asked for the binkie. After a few minutes she settled herself and went back to sleep. Today she kept insisting that I had her binkies in my pocket. I turned them inside out to prove there wasn't anything in there. She seemed satisfied and hasn't asked for them since, even at naptime. If it was going to be this easy, we should have gotten rid of the binkie months ago. I'm not sure it would have been easy earlier, but you never know. Now we just hope the finger sucking doesn't become an issue, because that is totally disgusting to have slimy, slobbery fingers all over your house. Brian and I aren't really as tough as I make it sound though. If we were truely strong parents, we would have thrown the binkies away. We still have all five of them tucked in Brian's sock drawer...just in case.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Offended by Obama

I was excited about the inauguration today. It is a moment in history to be sure. We have elected a black man to the highest office in the country. No one would have believed it possible 50 years ago. With such a historic moment, why then, did Obama choose to make inauguration speech more of a campaign speech? He seemed to take unnecessary swipes at the Bush administration. Things like we will no longer use tactics of fear in the world and we will keep the broken promises to New Orleans. That was totally offensive to me. We weren't in a campaign anymore. It was not an appropriate place to attack Bush. The worst thing though, was that closing prayer. HELLO!!! That was undeniably bad by almost anyone's account. Some sorry old man ranting on about racism...in a prayer no less. What was he thinking? Saying brown doesn't have to give back anymore - so they can be lazy? Let yellow be mellow? Huh? Red get ahead? Can they not now? Lastly, and worst by far, let white do what is right. Idiot. How come everyone blames everything on the white man. Is there no personal accountability anymore? Idiots. All of them. Idiots.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Toasty Warm

This one goes out to all my friends who actually were lucky enough to get tickets the the inauguration today. That is amazing and cool that you get to witness history just a few miles from our houses this morning. Since I have little people who would not fully appreciate the significance of the event (and would wine and cry all day so as to make it a miserable experience) we didn't even attempt to get tickets.
In order to make myself feel better right now, I just wanted to say that it is windy and 19 degrees F. After wind chill is factored in it feels like 10 degrees F. I am sitting inside watching the news coverage and the newscasters worshiping Obama. I have a t-shirt and jeans with no socks. I'm toasty warm. How about you guys?
**Side note** I just went to Microsoft's website to search for a clipart for this post. I put in "united states" and the first TWO clipart pictures that came up were pictures of Obama's face. Hello. He doesn't define the country. Ugh. The country is so enamored with him.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


We're starting to get frequent smiles from Jacob. It is fun to see him respond to me. I can't seem to get a picture though. If the camera is in his face, he is too distracted by it to focus on my face and smile. I suppose there will be many happy smiles to come in the years ahead.

Happy Birthday Brian

Happy 32! I love you!
I hope you know how amazing you are. Remember how "We are 'posed to be together."? There is no one else that could be my perfect compliment. Here is a mix of my favorite Brian memories, things you do that I appreciate and my favorite things about you...
  1. You are my glow boy and have been since Day #1. That's what I remember about you from the very first moment I saw you. You were opening the door on your parent's Bronco for your girlfriend at their house and I noticed right off your huge smile and your countenance literally glowed from the inside out.
  2. They say you should find a guy that treats you like a queen. I had been out with lots of nice guys and thought I knew what that meant. Turns out I had no idea what it meant until I started dating you. No one was so sweet or kind as you are.
  3. You have strong hands and are always willing to help massage my neck to get rid of my headaches and tight muscles.
  4. No matter how many times they do it, you are always willing to happily pretend you can't find the kids after they run to hide as you open the front door after work. When you find them, you always act scared when they say "Boo!" or roar like a lion...day after day after day after day.
  5. You are a finisher. When I loose interest in a project and let other things distract me so I can't return to something, you quietly finish up the detail work like paining the baseboards or changing out the light switch covers or other little things.
  6. I randomly find broken things around the house fixed. Toys, stairs, lights, switches, faucets, towel racks, door latches, CD player in the truck (over and over and over) the list goes on and on and on.
  7. You tease me in a sweet way. I just wish I could remember if I made the bed or if you did it this morning so you couldn't give me such a hard time. Just in case it was you today, thanks.
  8. Computers are your thing and you love to help others out. The pile of CPUs and monitors in the basement may make me nuts sometimes, but it's nothing compared to the junk I hoard. Plus, you're keeping them to fix up and give away to other people. Not so with my piles of junk. Your heart is so selfless.
  9. Organization is your middle name. If I didn't live here, our house would be the most organized place in the country. You always have a place for everything and always manage to put everything away. How do you do that? I find that completely amazing and admire you for it.
  10. As Maddie would say, "Magic. Magic. Magic." We love your dinner shows. It is fun to know that almost everyone that we invite to dinner will get a show with their meal.
  11. You always help me cook when you see me in the kitchen trying to get a meal ready and juggle kids at the same time. When we have company, you always come up with a way to upgrade a meal by making an additional fancy dish that goes above and beyond what I had planned.
  12. Smoothie King. Need I say more? You are Ben's best friend when you yell out from the kitchen, "Who wants a smoothie?" I immediately hear the pitter patter of little feet as two excited kids run full speed into the kitchen to help you make a delicious treat.
  13. You could keep a secret forever if you had to, especially what you are getting me for my birthday or Christmas. I love the sly, sneaky smile you get when you tease me. It is the cutest smile.
  14. A fresh haircut makes you look so sharp.
  15. You keep both the car and truck in good repair and up to date on all they need for regular maintenance so they are safe for us.
  16. You faithfully fulfill your callings for the church with a good attitude and never a word of complaint.
  17. I loved swimming with you in the crystal clear water on Magnetic Island in Australia. It is so fun to share travel adventures with you.
  18. Moving for all our internships in college was amazing. I loved that you let me plan week long road trips so we could see the country together. Only four more states to go before we have been to all fifty together. I've loved all forty six with you so far.
  19. Staying up until 4:30 in the morning just talking when we were dating was so much fun. Remember when I asked you to do it again with me? I know you thought it was totally stupid, but you tried for me anyway. Then we realized that neither of us could make it and we went to sleep around 2:00. These days if we're up until 2:00 in the morning, we've got crying, vomiting kids. Times have sure changed!
  20. You are so full of fun ideas with the kids. I loved the night you suggested having races around the house for Family Home Evening. Ben still remembers doing wheelbarrow races.
  21. Daddy dates with the kids. They love knowing they have you all to themselves. You just know how to make individuals feel special and important.
  22. Wise advice is always readily available from you. You are so even tempered and level headed.
  23. Middle of the night feeding shifts with all our newborns. It makes a world of difference to me. I am so grateful that you can sleep anywhere, especially sitting up in a rocking chair.
  24. You never get sick or need anything. You are so strong!
  25. Mr. Fix-it could be your middle name. There doesn't seem to be anything beyond your ability to figure out, repair or build from scratch.
  26. Teaching comes easy to you and you have helped so many people with your ability to tutor all the really difficult subjects. I remember when I went with you to the Nielsons in Houston to help Bryce with calculus. It had been five or more years since you had even touched a calculus book. You opened the textbook and not only knew how to do the problems, you remembered the names of the theorems!
  27. Safety First has always been the way things have been run at our home since our intern days. You wear the right gear for every job.
  28. Remember when we spent all day working on the brakes together in my parents garage, went to AutoZone eight times, broke the lug nuts, replaced calipers on both sides and as you tightened the last lug nut on the last tire and the wrench slipped? You got whacked in the face really, really hard but said you were okay. We went inside to clean up a little bit of blood and you passed out in the bathroom and started convulsing. I yelled for my dad to come help because I couldn't support your dead weight and keep your head from slamming into the sharp corner of the cabinet. We got you laid out on the floor and recovered. I finished cleaning up the garage with my dad and we ended up staying the night there. I think it's cute that the scar that you have on your right eye looks like an eyeliner tattoo. I smile every time I see it.
  29. You're that cool kind of dad that will take his kids with him anywhere. You always have faith in them that they can and will behave properly and never seem to be overwhelmed by the thought of dragging them out with you to do errands and shopping.
  30. Knowing that Christmas is my favorite time of year, you always indulge my love. When you were away on business for most of December in 2005 you bought an advent countdown book for me before you left. Then you called me every other night from Europe to read the story with me since we couldn't be together for the start of holiday season.
  31. I love midnight meals with you when I'm pregnant and starving about 11:45 pm as we are both ready to roll over in bed and fall asleep. You always come to the kitchen with me and talk while we cook something incredibly healthy, usually hot dogs.
  32. You look amazing in a suit coat. I love when the weather turns cooler and your wardrobe shifts to long sleeve shirts and ties. Everyday when you come home from work I notice how good you look.

Fancy Maddie

Maddie loves her high heel shoes, a purse loaded with important trinkets and her baby stroller.

She loves pink and getting fancy.

Can anyone guess where Potsy was found after being M.I.A. for two days...Maddie sure loves to fill her bag.

Advents Done for the Year

I'm sad. There is nothing left to countdown. Eleven more months of regular life before we gear up for Christmas again. I felt like I missed Christmas this year. Christmas is more than a day, it's a season. I didn't realize what that really meant. I figured if I had a baby really close to Christmas I wouldn't like it much. Who wants to be recovering from surgery on Christmas Day? I wanted to be up and around for the big day. Maybe I miscalculated. By having the baby early on the 5th, I missed every single holiday party. I felt like I missed the season completely while my family went out to event after event. I can't wait for next season. I don't plan to be absent from Christmas next year. No more December babies.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Newborn Nicknames

Ben was Squishy because he would roll up into a ball like a potato bug and sit perched almost on top of my shoulder all day. Maddie would squeek loudly with every breath she took when she nursed. There was no incognito nursing with her, we always attracted attention. That earned her the name of Squeeky. Jacob hasn't really defined himself yet, but Maddie has begun calling him Jakey. We'll see if it sticks.

My Day Old Child

This little poem hangs in the nursery in our home and expresses my sentiments perfectly as we have welcomed all three children into our home. Today little Jacob is on my mind. What an awesome responsibility to teach them of God and His love.
My Day Old Child My day old child in my arms with my lips against his ear I whispered strongly "How I wish, I wish that you could hear, "I've a hundred wonderful things to say (A tiny cough and nod) Hurry, hurry, hurry and grow so I can tell you about God." My day old baby's mouth was still and my words only tickled his ear, but a kind of light passed through his eyes, and I saw this thought appear, "How I wish I had a voice and words, I've a hundred things to say, Before I forget, I'd tell you of God, I left Him yesterday."
Author: Carol Lynn Pearson

Babysitter Fun

Ben and Maddie had a babysitter last night while Brian and I went out for his birthday dinner. They LOVE our neighbor Katie so we asked her to come over. Before I left I gave her a new diaper for Maddie and pajamas. When we got home they were both all ready for bed and reading stories. She is the best. This morning we were getting breakfast when Maddie screams out, "OH NO! My diaper is falling off." I unzipped her pajamas and saw she was wearing a Jacob sized diaper. It was snug to say the least. I laughed and asked if Katie had to change a stinky diaper last night. She confirmed. Poor Katie probably couldn't find the right size and did the best she could. It was cute. I'll have Katie back anyday! The kids just love her.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Here is a song telling about my life with Brian. He is amazing and has helped me fulfill all the dreams I've ever had. I love being with him anywhere, anytime. I tell him regularly that I can't live without him, so when it comes time, I get to pass away first. I cannot imagine my life without him.
If I Could Save Time in a Bottle
If I could save time in a bottle The first thing that I'd like to do Is to save every day Till eternity passes away Just to spend them with you If I could make days last forever If words could make wishes come true I'd save every day like a treasure and then, Again, I would spend them with you But there never seems to be enough time To do the things you want to do Once you find them I've looked around enough to know That you're the one I want to go Through time with If I had a box just for wishes And dreams that had never come true The box would be empty Except for the memory Of how they were answered by you But there never seems to be enough time To do the things you want to do Once you find them I've looked around enough to know That you're the one I want to go Through time with By Jim Croce
Time In A Bottle - Jim Croce

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Painting Projects

Ben spent some of his Christmas money on a model kit and today wanted to build and paint it so he could play with it. I had some Christmas decorations I bought last year that I never got painted and put up for this Christmas season, so I got us all set up and ready to go. The table was covered in plastic, everyone had a painting smock on. Maddie was anxious to get going and I grabbed an old wooden Santa I didn't want anymore for her to paint. I gave her the Santa and a paint brush while I grabbed a paper plate and the paint. When I returned she informed me that she was doing just fine and didn't want any paint. She proceeded to brush the Santa without paint for about five minutes then she told me it was finished and went to play. I wish every painting project could always be that clean.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Why can I not get into any Batman movie? I've watched them all and haven't enjoyed a single one. We just finished The Dark Night. Same. Couldn't care less about the plot. Didn't enjoy the movie. Ended up checking email for the entire two hours while I sort of watched with very little attention. I guess it just isn't my style. But I'll keep "watching" with Brian. I do enjoy the time together.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Airline Safety

When we board an airplane, Ben sits in his seat and immediately pulls out the safety card. He reviews all the instructions and pictures. Then he reviews all the points with us so that we are aware of how to exit the plane in case of a water landing. He asks where is lifejacket is in that particular plane and about where the exits are. Safety first has always been our motto at our house. Brian rarely does any repair work at the house without safety glasses. It is so cute to see Ben internalizing it.


No. We're not pregnant. Jacob is 5 weeks old. We're not crazy.
We announced to the kids today that we were going to Disneyland in May when Tio Jota gets married. Ben is really excited to see Mickey Mouse. Brian decided that we should have a backwards night. We got the kids in pajamas and had breakfast for dinner. Ben was totally on board for the fun night and in keeping with our celebrations, I made Mickey Mouse pancakes.

Modesty Issues

What do you do when your two year old sees a dress that she hasn't worn in a while and demands "The pink dress, mommy!" You let her wear it, of course. What do you do when after you put it on, you realize it is so short it doesn't even cover her diaper anymore? I would NEVER have let her out of the house if she was 12 years old, but at 2 I guess I just wasn't going to fight her over the PINK dress. She was dead set on it. It will not make it back into the closet again.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Obama Goes to Lunch

You know when something is happening in your area that totally consumes the news coverage? Well, we live in metro Washington DC and Obama is about to take office. You wouldn't believe the saturation of media coverage on the news about Obama and everything that he does. The inauguration is totally consuming the news every single evening. On Saturday night we were watching the news. We got bored with a very lengthy report on Obama's arrival in DC. They were giving ridiculous amounts of detail on what Obama had for lunch and where he ate. We switched channels. Same report on the next station and the next and the next. Not kidding all four networks were giving extensive detail and lengthy reports on his lunch schedule for the day. I'm really tired of the inauguration and can't wait for it to be over. One more week to go and I'm on countdown.
Just in case you are curious, Obama ordered a chili dog and cheese fries from Ben's Chili Bowl.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mind Games

We've lived in our house for almost three years now. We have a few lights with multiple switches that you can turn on or off from different locations. Whoever installed them put some sets so to have the light off, one switch is up and one switch is down. It has always bothered me but I don't touch wires or electricity. It scares me. Thus I have never attempted to change them. At the end of the day Friday Brian asked something about if I noticed the light switches. The entire day I had been switching one light switch at a time, trying to get them all "properly aligned" in my own particular way as I walked up and down the stairs. I couldn't seem to get everything in place, but figured the kids were moving them around between my trips up and down the stairs. It was really starting to bother me that I couldn't get them all right. Turns out the night before Brian had changed them all so down means "off" on every floor of the house. It could have made me loose my mind if it had gone on long enough, but now that I know, I LOVE it. I think I sleep better at night now.

Friday, January 9, 2009

He's Awake

We are at just about five weeks now and little Jacob seems to have just woken up. It is so nice to see his eyes once in a while. I'm enjoying just that simple little change. It was like he woke up overnight and it is a delightful surprise for a mother's heart. Now it doesn't seem so silly to talk to him and I'm sure his personality will begin to emerge in the next few weeks. I wonder what kind of person he'll be...

Too Relaxed?

I just got snuggled into bed. Then I realized I was still in my clothes. I'm sort of a blue jeans and t-shirt sort of gal. Since I've been sticking around home more than usual and the weather has been colder I've been in more comfortable clothes lately. Lots of sweatpants and sweatshirts. I'm just wondering if I might be getting too comfortable if I can't tell the difference between my clothes and my pajamas.

Sock Advent

For anyone out there who remembers the Fosse's from Fairfax and knows about my addiction to advent calendars...here's one for you: http://barnaclebutt.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/advent-socks-and-voodoo-bears/ I'm thinking of adding advent socks to my collection! The best part is that he did it without telling anyone. Too funny.


I have never been good at picking out features on babies that look like their parents. I sort of roll my eyes when a baby no better than 12 hours old has been picked apart, attributing their eyes to mom, ear lobes to dad, left pinkie to great grandma so-and-so, etc. I admit as kids grow they often begin to resemble their parents but from day one? I'm not sold yet. There are a few things with my kids I have finally resigned myself to over the almost five years I have been a mother now. 1. Last week I decided that all three kids have my nose after seeing a picture of myself. 2. I used to think the circles under my eyes were from lack of sleep. My dad has them too. Neither of us ever went to bed early and both of us get up too early. Once I noticed my Maddie had them and just a few months old, I finally gave up. While the circles may get darker when I sleep less, they will most certainly NEVER go away. Bummer. Sorry Miss Maddie. When you're old enough to care, you'll hate them too. Ben and Jacob have the circles too, just not quite as deep. 3. My kids have my finger nails and toe nails. I didn't realize that there was so much variation, but there is, and they're all mine. Since it took me almost five years to believe that much, I'm sure there is more I just haven't noticed yet. I never claimed to be very observant. I guess there must be something to this DNA thing after all.

Bump Him Up a Level

We can't believe how big Jacob is. Ben was so small and grew so slowly that he was drowned in his clothes for what seemed like forever. When Maddie came I figured I should have an outfit or two that was tiny to fit her, so we picked up three or four preemie outfits. I remember one lady in the store seeing me pregnant and looking at preemie clothes telling me to skip them, they grow too fast to bother with preemie clothes. Maddie wore them for a long time. Anticipating Jacob I hunted down a few warm preemie outfits so we would have something for him to wear and bought two jumbo boxes of newborn diapers (Maddie had gone through three).
Go figure. He was born almost two pounds bigger than Maddie. When I came home from the hospital it was immediately apparent that he didn't fit the preemie clothes, so my mom sorted through all the clothes and we bagged them up right away. Now at about five weeks he's outgrown his newborn diapers. At least he leaks between almost every diaper change. We're just about that dumb to wait until that happens for a few days before we clue in that we might need to change something. He just seems so big to me compared to our first two. He even has a little baby fat on his cute little body. His cute chubby cheeks make me smile.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Deicing in the Living Room

On our flight home from the funeral we had a connection in Chicago. It was snowy and cold there so they had to deice the plane. We watched a bit from the windows of the airport and Ben thought it was really neat. Then our plane got hosed down and he could hear it and had lots of "how" and "why" questions.
Today we are getting back into our regular routine around the house and Ben has been playing with his airport again. He has been doing LOTS of deicing today and loving it!

She Must Be Asleep

My friends came over to visit teach me this morning. We had a pleasant chat about all sorts of things and solved some of the major world problems I'm sure. Maddie Mae was playing in the living room with us for a long time before she ventured upstairs. Usually when she quietly heads up the stairs alone she is tired and puts herself down for a nap as long as there are two or more binkies waiting in her bed. I naturally assumed that is what she had done since she had been snuggling me just before.
When my friends left, I tip toed upstairs to check on her and tuck her in. She wasn't in her bed. She wasn't in Ben's bed or in the cave. I know...she's fallen asleep under her bed again while she was playing...nope. I checked the nursery, no. Only my room left. She must be nestled on my bed, sleeping like an angel in mommy's bed. No again.
I immediately saw my nightstand drawer was open and a little head was resting on the top. How cute, she's more or less fallen asleep standing up. No. She just knew she was in trouble. She had my five highlighters out of the drawer. She had taken a paper with random notes, put it on the bed and was coloring all over it. I'm counting my blessings. The paper she chose was right next to my social security card, passport and birth certificate. She hadn't colored on any of them. Time to put them away I guess. The sheets were a deep, dark red so the highlighter hadn't ruined my sheets. I'm not sure how the white mattress pad beneath fared, but oh well.
Grateful for what I got away with today. Of course, we then gently reviewed that we can only color downstairs on the table. Her face and hands were pretty and bright fluorescent pink most the day today.
By the way, when did her eyes change to greenish? We're not sure where those eyes came from. I though our whole family was brown and blue.

Ben's Train Story

Once upon a time there was a big shed that was for some trains to park in. Inside the shed was some trains named Thomas and all those persons. Once there was a station where trains go by. It used to be a old house but it fell apart so they builded a train station with it. And then there were some trains going by the station. Once there was a bigger station and that one they liked better because they liked to stay lots of days. That’s why they were smiling. The End.