Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sneak Peak

I am making a birthday quilt for Bee and I am so excited to see it finished. I finished piecing it and just recently finished quilting it. Now I only need to bind it and then to add the embellishments that will go on the top. My friend from church is letting me use her quilting machine. I love it! I used it two years ago to make a quilt for Benjamin. This time I chose to make a heart pattern and it turned out very well.



Disclaimer: Making a quilt is much more expensive than it would be to buy a comforter set in a store. Much more expensive! I hope I will appreciate it once I am finished and that I will fondly remember the time, effort, and money that I spent creating something special for my little girl.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Memory Lane

Recently I have been showing Abigail pictures from her first years of life albums and it has made me a little nostalgic. I looked through all of my pictures and tried to choose a few that represented our family and some of the things that we have done since it was formed. I uploaded the pictures to Picasa and created a fun online album.

Here is the link: Ben and Katie 2005-2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dallas


During our few healthy days before I had to leave, we tried to run to as many stores as possible. Dallas is a great place for shopping. There were stores everywhere and then more and more and more stores everywhere. We only hit a few. We scored at the local consignment stored and managed to arrive on the everything is 50% off day. I bought eight pairs of pants for around eight dollars. I also found rain boots for Abigail and a bike for $1.50.  I loved that the boys were old enough to watch the children so that we could get out kid-free. That definitely made things easier. We had lots of fun and I enjoyed spending so much time with my older sister. One of the most memorable experiences was when we went to Sam's club first to buy laundry detergent and Kimberly was tempted by the peanut butter m&m's. She ended up buying five large bags of the candies. It wasn't until we got out to the car that we remembered that it was 110 degrees outside and that we had several more stores to visit. She had to carry in the bags to every store to keep them from melting into big blobs of chocolate. At least we did not have the kids too.
The boys spent a lot of their free summer time playing video games. Carter even learned to maneuver the joystick and played pretty well. Abigail liked to watch but was not nearly as interested in playing.

Kimberly was always willing to help the kids.

Carter saw his older brother reading and climbed up next to him to 'read' as well. Is the hobbit too dark for a two-year-old? He seems to be enjoying it. Jeffrey did not know what to do with the toy car that Carter brought up, so he balanced it on his forehead.

Kimberly relished in the girly opportunities (four boys, remember) like doing hair and painting fingernails.


I tried to recreate the hairstyle that Rachel had taught me. It was not nearly as good, but I am learning.

Abigail and I skyped with her father as often as we could while we were there. Here is a photo that we sent to him too. He was missed.


Here is my little traveler.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fun Activities

We went bowling. Kimberly has taken advantage of their local bowling alley's kids bowl free program. They bought shoes for everyone in their family and went often. I agreed to go with them, even though I am a horrible bowler.


He is the cutest. He loved the bowling balls and would carry them around. He probably picked out over twenty balls during the evening and carried them by himself to our seats. It was so cute to see his little frame bearing the weight of a bowling ball. He also was quick to steal your turn if you were not paying attention.

Bowling was old hat to these boys by this time. They had to be reminded when it was their turn to bowl. They were happily entertained with drawing and books and popcorn.

Abigail loved to dance before, during, and after bowling.




Another night we went to a city "movie in the park" night. We first went into the gym and Abigail enjoyed all of the small game activities that were prefect for her age.


She was especially patient as she waited in the long line to get her face painted.


Then she waited in the line again, for ten minutes at least, to get a second painting on her arm.





I love this picture. Silly goose.

 We brought blankets, snacks, and glow bracelets and settled on to the lawn to see Air Bud on the big screen. However, I haven't mentioned yet that Dallas is hot this time of year, a literal OVEN. We barely left the house while I was there. The temperatures were often in the 110F range. Hot. Of course it was cooler in the evenings than at midday, but the projector still was unable to handle the heat and kept overheating. We patiently waited multiple times for the projector to reboot, but finally gave up mid-movie and headed to a local restaurant for some yummy chicken sandwiches.

The kids spent a lot of time running around and dancing on the sides. Abby was much more interested in the glow bracelets than in the movie.

As if the stroller wasn't overloaded enough, Abigail had to run up and jump on adding over thirty more pounds for Kimberly to maneuver. Kimberly, a mother of four, just took it in stride and kept walking except to move over slightly so that I could get a better shot.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sick

Soon after I arrived in Texas, my throat started hurting. I ignored it mostly and assumed that it was a cold brought on by traveling. It continued to worsen, yet I refused to make the efforts to go to the doctor while I was out of my network. My throat hurt so bad that I was not eating or drinking and I finally decided to go to a quick care on Friday morning. The diagnosis was a bad case of strep throat. I bought some soup was sent home with some amoxycillin and also some lidocaine. Kimberly was the perfect nurse. She sent Rob for some Ensure and made me sip at it. She was constantly monitoring my food (or lack thereof) intake. I would alternate every four hours between taking ibuprofen and tylenol. One night she woke me every four hours and gave me my medicines and some Ensure to wash it down. It was so kind of her to take care of me. This was supposed a fun family vacation and here she was stuck pushing Ensure popsicles on me. I really appreciate her taking care of me and taking care of Abigail when I was unable to do so. My only consolation is that I am the only one that was infected, no one in Missouri or in Texas came down with strep except me.
 
Kimberly took all of the children to the library one day.

 The boys found a baby bird on the ground and gave it lots of attention until Kimberly personally drove it to a wildlife rehabilitation home where it could have its best chance of surviving.


  Abigail loves to harness her "powers" and control the movements of the automatic doors.


These two played together all week. Thank you so much Nathan for playing and playing with Abigail.
I spent a lot of this time in bed or resting on the couch. I wish that we could have done more while I was there. I am so sorry that I got sick. I was impressed with Kimberly and Rob and their ability to go with the flow and to add another child to the mix. Rob even voluntarily took all five children, plus a neighbor, to the park by himself. I loved seeing them. When I started feeling better, we rushed around for my last few days doing as much as we could.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sister Sister

The drive on Sunday was mostly uneventful except for the first few minutes. We got in the car and were on our way until Abigail reminded me that I had forgotten to fasten her seatbelt. Aah! At least we weren't on a freeway yet. The Blue's Clues episodes that I was finally able to download to my iPod were lifesavers. I did miss my exit once because I was on the phone with Benjamin and the GPS took me through lots of small towns and bumpy roads, but I finally arrived at my destination an hour earlier than they expected me. I love visiting with my sister. She showed so much true love during this trip and she took great care of us. Her family is doing well and it is great to see the boys as they are growing and maturing. She has wonderful children. I loved seeing her and wish that we could be next-door neighbors.


She has the tradition of always getting a picture of me barefoot, in the kitchen with an apron on. I tried to help out with the cooking while I was there, but the truth was that we all missed Ben.

There were so many precious moments like this. Here they are gathered around the iPOD watching Blue's Clues. Life saver, I tell you, life saver.
 We were able to attend their scouting end of summer pool party and had fun there. Bee loves to be in the water, but was a little overwhelmed by all of the big scouts splashing in the pool.




She does really well getting around with the noodles under her armpits.

Apparently the air mattress was just too tempting.

Kimberly was taking care of a friends kitties for the weekend and all of us enjoyed playing with them during the day. They were pretty rambunctious during the night, though.


Kimberly is a social being and we had lots of fun talking and interacting as we did all the things that needed to be done. Abigail learned a lot by interacting and playing with her older cousins. Jeffrey and Bryce were a big help and took care of Abigail several afternoons while Kimberly and I shopped.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Traveling Again


 The MOPS convention this year was scheduled to be in Dallas in early August. I and my MOPS group  had planned to attend. I was extremely excited, because I have a sister in Dallas and I wanted any excuse to get to visit her. I was crushed when I found out that my group had decided that it was too expensive to go. I decided to go the Dallas anyway. I would have gone during the middle of July but I had one of my days of Jury Duty on July 19th. After my twenty minutes of jury duty, I wasn't called to a panel, I packed up the car and started driving. Benjamin was not able to come with me, him being the responsible one and all. I took Abigail with me and we started driving. I called a good friend from Iowa, who now lives in Missouri and we made plans to stop and visit her for a day before heading on to Texas. The drive went great until I tried to drive through St. Louis. It was pretty stressful to navigate traffic and road work. I was using the GPS on my phone which died at a crucial point when my car almost ran out of gasoline. I could not see anything from the freeway and was trying to resuscitate my phone and then pull out the actual GPS all while driving. Not safe. I was stressed to the point of tears and Abby just wanted me to play make-believe with her. Ahh!

Another problem was that I had counted on using all of my music and videos on my phone to entertain ourselves on the drive. My phone had horrible service and I was unable to access the Google Cloud during most of the drive. I wish I had brought the portable DVD player with me and some CDs. Luckily I was able to purchase some episodes of Blues Clues on my iPOD while I was at Rachel's. The rest of the drive went much smoother and I avoided St. Louis completely on my return trip.

We finally made it to Rachel's and I was SO glad. It was so great to see her. I miss her so much. I wish we could be next door neighbors, it was so good to see her and her family. They took great care of us and we had a lot of fun watching the children play.

 
We went to the farmers market and got our faces painted, a free coloring book, and  made a butterfly craft.


 
Abigail isn't fond of anyone who interferes with what she is doing, especially babies. She got so annoyed with B. trying to get to her coloring book that she found a better, safer place to color. E. followed her and started coloring there as well. Looks comfortable, doesn't it?

 
They also tried their hands at bowling. This was not the most effective way to bowl, but they enjoyed themselves immensely.





 
Rachel enjoyed doing mine and Abigail's hair. She is so talented. I need her to do my hair every day. 
She did my hair for this picture. It was so fun to stay up talking with her and to spend time at their house

We arrived on Friday and left on Sunday morning. I wish we could have stayed a week. Thanks Rachel for letting us come visit.