This last Friday we were invited to go to our local fire station with a pre-school group. The kids had a lot of fun touring the station, talking to the firemen, and climbing on the fire engine. The friendly fireman put on all his gear, and then let the kids give him a hug so they knew he wasn't scary, just silly looking! I told Tralee that the one exception to going somewhere with a stranger is if they look like this fireman (or a policeman/woman), and they're in our house trying to help her get out. It's okay if she goes with a stranger then. She said, "Okay." Knock on wood that it never happens, but now she knows fireman are friendly. Hooray for heroes!
Tralee had to take along one of her favorite stuffies. See the little raccoon by her feet? That used to be mine when I was little, Tralee loves it too. Together they're going to save the day with that hose in Tralee's hands. Sillies!
Overall, the fire station tour was a success! I'm glad we got to go.
Before we did the whole "let's see what the Easter bunny left" thing with the kid-os we sat them down and talked about the true meaning of Easter. I've been explaining the true meaning of Easter with Tralee a lot lately. I've showed her pictures, read stories, and watched movies about what Easter is really about. For some reason it's not clicking. Whenever I ask, "What's Easter REALLY about?" Tralee's answer has been, "It's about when the Easter bunny comes and leaves eggs and we find them." Usually I say something like, "Well, the Easter bunny does come, but he comes to help us celebrate something. What are we celebrating?" Tralee almost ALWAYS answers, "I don't know" (even if I JUST told her) and we go on to explain (again) about Jesus' atoning sacrifice and the miracle of His resurrection. Yesterday as I was explaining I took a new approach and said something like, "You know, like at Christmas we celebrate Jesus' birthday. Well on Easter we celebrate Christ being resurrected or His re-birth." Tralee's ears perked up when I mentioned Christmas and I thought maybe the whole Easter concept finally clicked. After waiting a few seconds to let it sink in I asked Tralee one more time, "So, what's Easter about?" Without hesitation Tralee exclaimed, "SANTA!" Looks like we still have some work to do.
After writing this I sat Tralee down with me and we watched some youtube videos about the true meaning of Easter. As we watched, I explained (AGAIN) what Easter is about and once more asked, "Why do we celebrate Easter?" I'm pleased to announce that she finally answered, "Jesus." We're making some progress people! Wahoo!
Hi. Not a whole lot of fun and interesting things have been happening in our lives lately, thus the lack of posts. We're just going through the usual everyday drill.
As usual, I've been avoiding the pile of dishes that keeps growing in my kitchen sink. I can officially say we're out of clean forks and spoons. You'd think with the modern convenience of a dish washer I'd stay on top of things in the dish department. I don't. Instead I spent this fine afternoon outside on the trampoline with the kids. We jumped and then made up a game where I pretended to sleep only to be woken up by one of the kids shocking me--literally. There was A LOT of static electricity in the air today. I did my best to explain what it was (I pretty much made it up as I went along, but hoped some of my grade-school science lessons floated up from my subconscious so that I wasn't feeding my kids a complete load of you-know-what). My two birds flew around the trampoline charging their little bodies with static electricity while I pretend to nap. After they felt sufficiently charged, they'd sneak up, shock me, I'd squeal and sit up saying something like, "Ow!! What just happened!" My babies would giggle and admit, "IT WAS ME!!" After the giggles subsided Tralee would say, "No go back to sleep!" So I would and we'd do this over and over and over again.
Another past time that keeps me from dish-duty is Hunter's new obsession with the fridge. He really enjoys discovering various snacks in our cool container. Hunter's figured out how to open it on his own (don't worry there's NO way he could close himself in, there's just not enough room the way our fantastic 1980's fridge was built), and he pretty much takes out just about anything he can reach. I wake up most mornings with Hunter by the side of my bed holding something like strawberries or yogurt asking me to "open dis." That's usually when I crawl out of bed, throw on my robe, and discover a trail of food from the fridge leading up to my bedroom. This morning I picked up a package of bacon, swiss cheese, tofu, and lunch meat on my way to the kitchen. Hunter obviously busied himself in the meat compartment before I finished my zzz's. On other occasions I don't realize Hunter's been working in the fridge until I step on a blueberry only to look up and see the entire container has been opened and spilled onto the kitchen floor. Hunter's usually in the middle of the spill, stuffing berries in his mouth, looking quite pleased with his latest pillage. I guess investing in a fridge lock wouldn't he the worst thing, although that would take away one of my excuses for why the dishes never get done.
Other things we've been busying ourselves with include (but are not limited to): Weeding the front flowerbed, running errands, playdates, trips to the library, going on walks around the neighborhood while Tralee rides her bike or scooter, and a trip to the dentist. So, you see with all that's going on it's understandable that my kitchen sink looks like the Seven Drawfs' pre-Snow White.
So that's about all for now. Nothing too spectacular. No major projects. No big changes. No fantastic vacations. No new furniture I want to show off. No additions to the family. No life-long goal crossed off my list. No amazing new accomplishments of the kids to brag about. No tastilicious recipe I JUST made that you MUST try. No super-fantastic professional photo shoots of my kids to show off. No countdowns to something exciting. No new business to spread the word about. No amazing deals I want to share. Nada. Just me and the kids hangin' like we do waiting for Daddy to get home from work.
When I was pregnant with Tralee I had a 30 minute commute to and from work. Besides keeping my eyes on the road and the old fivers at their ten and two positions, I occupied my time learning songs for my growing belly, or rather the baby inside my ever-growing stomach. And I wasn't just learning any old jingle, I had a few lullabies I wanted to master before my little bird hatched. The two lullabies I kept on repeat in the car, so I could get them just right before I birthed my first bambino were "Stay Awake" (the song Mary Poppins used to lull Michael and Jane to sleep), and "Baby Mine" (the song Dumbo's mom comforted him with). I mastered these lullabies on my commute, and before long I rocked my bundle of pink loveliness to sleep while singing to her, just as I had imagined I would.
Flash forward four years
I just helped Tralee brush the sugar bugs out, we read all about Kipper making his basket comfy, Tralee said a sweet little prayer, and we were down to the part of our bedtime routine where I sing Tralee a lullaby. Since Tralee is an opinionated four-year-old she usually requests what songs we sing before I tuck her in and kiss her goodnight. Tonight she began her requests with, "Sing the Mary Poppins one." So I started, and got a kick over what happened next. I think for the first time in the four years I've sung this lullaby to Tralee, she finally decided to listen to the lyrics instead of let the melody lull her into dreamland. Here's how it went down:
Me: (Singing) Stay awake don't rest your head . . .
Tralee: (Interrupting the song) But I'm tired. I really want to go to sleep.
Me: (Continuing as if nothing happened) Don't lie down upon your bed.
Tralee: (Interrupting once more) But I want to lie down. I'm really tired.
Me: (At this point trying really hard to keep a straight face) Though the moon drifts in the skies, stay awake don't close your eyes.
Tralee: But I want to close my eyes. I want to go to sleep.
Me: Though the world is fast asleep. Though your pillow's soft and deep. You're not sleepy as you seem. . .
Tralee: Yes I am!
Me: Stay awake, don't nod a dream. Stay awake don't nod and dream.
Tralee: I don't want to stay awake! I want to go to sleep. I'm really tired.
After having a nice chuckle I explained to Tralee that this song is kinda tricky by telling you not to do something you're really supposed to do. Not sure that she understood, but by the time we moved along to "Baby Mine" Stinks eyelids started to blink in the heavy way they do right before she drifts into dreamland.
We had some visitors last week. Jim's dad, sister Cammi, and our new niece Zayah (or as Jim calls her Zana) came for a quick visit. Jim made Zayah a changing table, so Ross and Cammi came down to pick it up. It was a quick visit, so we really had to lay the kisses on Z's chubby lil' cheeks to make sure she got enough before she had to leave. Although short, I think we squeezed as much fun into the few days we had. Here are some pics of some of our adventures. For more pics check out Cammi's blog here.
One of the fun things we did was drive to Jump Creek Canyon and go on a little hike. My nephew Brady is doing a Flat Stanley project for school, so we brought Flat Stanley along for the hike as well. Below Tralee and I are showing Flat Stanley all the sights and sounds of Jump Creek Falls.
Jim and Ross trying to fish.
Cammi and Me modeling in front of the falls.
Zayah snoozing in her cocoon. This was her first hike, and I think she did remarkably well considering she's the ripe old age of eight weeks.
Hunter was content to just throw rocks in the water the whole time.
At one point Jim sat down to do something with his fishing pole, upon seeing this, Hunter decided that he should sit down and look busy just like his daddy.
Tralee and Jim went exploring.
On the hike back Tralee and Grandpa Ross had a nice little conversation.
We loved having visitors! It gave me a great excuse to do a little spring cleaning, get the house in order, and see how my kids would do with having a baby around (NO I'm NOT pregnant, I just wanted to see how the littles would handle having a baby around in case I were ever to become pregnant again. And NO we're not trying either!). Tralee and Hunter actually did pretty well with Zayah. I was more worried about Hunter than anything since (being a boy) he can get a little aggressive at times. Besides continuously stealing Z's binky, Hunter was very careful with his newest cousin. We had a lot of fun with our guests, and can't wait to host visitors again. Anyone fancy a trip to Boise? No. Ah well, I figured. I bet if we lived in Hawaii every single one of you would be booking your vacation to the Jacobs Retreat right. this. second. Well, when Boise becomes as cool to visit as Hawaii you're all (family and friends . . .not some stranger who happened upon this blog by mistake) welcome to stay with us. :)
I have a feeling this blog post might be the equivalent of someone saying, "Do you want to sit down and see the slide show of our trip to the Grand Canyon." You say yes to be nice, but get bored after picture five of 200, and keep wondering when the boring stories that are exciting to no one except the person telling them will be over. So, feel free to skip this post if you have no interest in the pictures or stories. I won't be offended. Actually, I won't even know you skipped them, that's the magic of blogs.
As many people are aware, I've done the Disney World thing several times in my 29 years of life. One of my traditions of traveling to the land where dreams come true is to buy at least one souvenir ride photo during each trip. This tradition started in 1994 and will continue until my last trip to Disney (hopefully as an old grandma). So here they are (just click on pictures to enlarge):
On my third trip to Disney World my family went with my best friends from Tennessee's family. I was born in TN, and after my family moved back to Wisconsin Elizabeth and I were pen pals for most of our lives. Her little sister Juliet and I became pen pals as well. I still have most of the letters they sent me, and I think think they have some of the letters I sent them. When I grew older I would spend a few weeks each summer at Elizabeth and Juliet's house. Our families also went on a few vacations together. One year our families decided to venture to WDW. We shared a nice big villa, and Elizabeth, Juliet, and I got to share the master suite featuring a large jacuzzi tub. We had a great time. This was the first time I rode Splash Mountain, and I love how in the picture below Elizabeth and I are holding hands. Their mom is in the middle (before the ride she said, "Let's all try to look like we're terrified for the picture!" She did a great job!). My mom and Juliet are in the back, and I don't think Juliet is pretending to be terrified, I think she really was that scarred.
Tower of Terror
This was my family's and Elizabeth's family's first time on the Tower of Terror as well. I think the ride had just opened. Our families take up the first two rows on the left hand side of the picture. I don't think my big brother, Jimmy, a teen at the time, loved this trip with three giggly pre-teen girls and two sets of parents. My arm is linked with my dad's. His eyes are closed. My mom (in front of me) and I have the same screaming face.
In 1995 my friend Kristy and her father invited me to go to Disney World with them. I was more than happy to oblige. Kristy and I are in the front row, her dad is in the back. This was one of the first times I remember being aloud to go out on my own without parents. Kristy's dad let us go to Magic Kingdom one night all by ourselves. I felt SUPER cool!
I was lucky enough to go to DW two times in 1996. Here I am on Splash Mountain with my little cousin Venessa (whom I adored) and my friend Katie behind us.
Tower of Terror
My mom, my friend Katie, my cousin Venessa, and my Aunt Peg all decided to take my special needs brother, Todd, to Disney World. This was a trip filled with ups and downs, much like the Tower of Terror. On our last day we took my brother Todd on TOT. Poor guy didn't know what was going on, and was actually shaking at the end. Katie, Mom, Todd, and me are in the second row on the left.
This trip was really fun. I went with a group of friends from school, my mom, and one of their mom's. I'm in the second to the last row with my friend Katie. The moms are in the middle, and my other two friends are in the front. This was my freshman year of high school, and right before school started I cut my hair REALLY short. I liked it at first, but eventually grew it back out.
Tower of Terror
Our group is in the front two rows on the right-hand-side.
This trip my mom and I went with my cousin Venessa, my cousin Jesse, Uncle Dave, and my Grandma Stoehr. We all had a great time. I'm glad we got my Grandma on Splash Mountain. :)
Tower of Terror
My mom, Jesse, Venessa, and myself are in the second row from the front on the left.
This was a trip we took with some of my church friends. We had so much fun! We're in the middle of the ride with my mom.
Tower of Terror
Our group is in the back left-hand-side. We came up with the plan that my friend Mim would be choking me, and Lauren would be pretend stabbing me for the picture. I was supposed to look dead -ha! Lauren's Mom, Patsy, is next to her screaming, and my mom is in the yellow shirt with her hands up.
Tower of Terror
This was the trip we took right after my brother proposed to his wife, Amy. It was my senior year of high school and we took my little cousin Ariana with us. My brother and his fiance are in the front left-hand-side. My mom, Ariana, and myself are in the second row on the right-hand-side.
Tower of Terror
This was on Jim and my honeymoon. BEST. HONEYMOON. EVER. We're the cute little couple in the front row at the bottom left.
Splash Mountain 2007
This was the first trip my mom got to take her grandkids on -- her dream since having grandbabies. Tralee was only nine-months-old at the time. Jim was probably watching her, thus lack of his face in this picture. The guy in the very front is a stranger, my niece, nephew, brother, mom, sister-in-law, and myself take up the rest of the photo.
Tower of Terror 2007
My mom, Jim, and myself took my little niece Haylee (who was around five at the time) on TOT. She heard people screaming on the ride and said, "Oh boy! Do you hear them screaming? They must be having A LOT of fun!" We didn't tell her otherwise and took her on. A few seconds into the ride she said, "Uh-oh. I don't think this is what I was thinking of." My mom kept telling her, "If you get scarred, just close your eyes and hold on tight." You can see from Haylee's face that she took Grandma's advice to heart. We're in the second row on the left. The cute little girl with eyes squished so tight it looks like her face with implode is Haylee.
Rock 'N' Roller Coaster 2007
Mom, Amy, Jim, and myself. This is Jim's favorite ride (besides the Dino one), even though he gets motion sickness.
AND LASTLY. . .
Splash Mountain 2010
This is the first picture that Tralee makes her debut!! Jim was sitting out with Hunter for this ride. My mom and Haylee are in the front, Tralee and I are in the middle (look at Tralee's cute little scarred face), and Amy and Brady are in the back. This was a GREAT trip to Disney, especially because Tralee got it. She's still talking about it, and most nights before bed she says, "I'm going to dream about going to Disney World with Haylee and Brady." Hopefully we can make her dream come true in another year or so.
I was teaching Tralee some new vocab words the other day. We were working on frequently and seldom. Later on, as we were skyping with Jim, who's away on business, I asked Tralee, "Why don't you tell Daddy about seldom and frequently." Tralee looked at me as said, "I don't remember." So, I explained, "frequently is when you do something a lot. Like, do you smile a lot?" She nodded, so I continued, "Okay, so you smile frequently. Seldom is when you don't do something very often. Like, do you ever pick your nose?" Tralee shook her head no. I explained that since she doesn't pick her nose very often she does it seldomly. I know it wasn't the greatest explanation, but it was all I could come up with at the moment. Anyways, I then said, "Okay, why don't you tell Daddy what those words mean now." I was pretty sure she got it, but what Tralee said next threw us for a loop and made me realize I shouldn't have gone with the nose-picking explanation.
"Daddy," Tralee began. "When you pick your boogers then you can SELL them. That's what sell 'dem (I can only assume that's how she heard it) means."
Needless to say, Jim and I were in stitches while Tralee looked confused and kept asking, "Why are you laughing at me?" I guess we still have some work to do on our vocab lessons or maybe I just need to enunciate better.
My friend Necha posted the following story on her blog. It was so moving, I needed to share it as well. There is a family trying to adopt a little boy with Down Syndrome from Russia. The judge denied their request due to the fact that the boy is "socially unadaptable due to his medical condition." Apparently in Russia it's very common for special needs children to be institutionalized and deemed "unadaptable." This couple is now appealing and taking their case to the supreme court in Russia. They need prayers and positive thoughts sent their way. If their case has the positive outcome they're hoping for it may open up the doors for more adoptions of these precious little spirits who, as you can see from the video below, are in need and completely capable of adapting to a loving forever home.
Here's a video of the mom and the son she wants to adopt. The last bit of the video where they embrace is so touching:
Here's the family's blog with more info on the story: