Thursday, April 30, 2009

This Week

This week has been a very long week for Noel and I. We are remodeling our guest bathroom to be functional for our "safari." We have taken out the standard bathtub and put in the HEAVY garden bathtub that we took out of our bathroom when we made our AWESOME shower. The tile on the walls has been taken down and we are retitling and putting in built-in shelves for the "safari." The vanity cabinet has been taken out, sanded and stained. The toilet has been taken out and we got the "safari" a toilet that is just for them (only 10 inches tall). The walls have been painted and the fixtures have been painted or replaced. We have a new faucet, shower head and in the process of picking out a mirror. Tonight we are grouting the tile on the shower wall and the tile that we had to replace on the floor. Friday we are sealing the tile and putting everything in the bathroom. We are excited and tired all at the same time. I know why people pay other people to do projects for them, but I have to say that even though I am tired I am excited as well. Noel and I did all the work ourselves and we did it together. Yes my husband let me use the tile saw, lay tile, paint walls, use the orbital sander, stain the vanity cabinet and has had a great attitude about it. Last night Elijah decided that he wanted to watch us. So he opened his door and stayed in the doorway until he could no longer keep his eyes open. I am not going to show any pictures until we are done. I am just as excited as you are to see the final picture.

The weather outside has been changing all week. We have had several days of overcast weather and rain. Do not get me wrong I thank God when it rains, but when it does rain that means the grass grows. So because we have been busy with the bathroom we have not mowed the backyard. I cannot let the kids play in the backyard because Elijah has allergies to grass when he interacts with it too much, so I brought outside in.

Also we have been writing on the walls. If you do not know we painted the bottom half or our walls in the playroom with chalkboard paint.(1 cup of latex paint mixed with 2 tbsp of UNSANDED grout) The "safari" loves the fact that they are allowed to draw on the walls.

So hopefully on Saturday I will post what our bathroom looks like. Also Noel and I have date night on Friday that we are looking forward to. It is nice that our parents live close so that we can get out every once in a while. Does anyone know what it costs for a babysitter for 5 children under 3? I do NOT want to know.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Duck out of Retirement

Noel and I decided that it was time to do a remodel of the upstairs bathroom. We decided that we were going to invest in a "kiddie" toilet(it sits 10" off the ground), and to put the garden bath tub from the master bathroom into the upstairs bathroom.

On Friday the "safari" and I went to my parent's house because Noel was going to do the all the plumbing work and was going to have the water off. Today we returned and the water was back on, but the bath room is going to take about 2 more days before it is complete and the bath tub will not be in until Sunday. So tonight we called our duck out of retirement to help with bath time. The "safari" do not like the shower and so we did bath the old time way. Thank you duck for sticking around and helping us out one more time. Thank you God for having children that can sleep through anything.

Photos of the before, during and finished look will be up this week. I know I am excited.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hannah's 9 month Appointment

Hannah had her 9 month check-up today. Our pediatrician is Dr. Nishi Rane, and we love her to death. She sees all of our children and is outstanding with them. She jokes that I need to write a book about how to take care of children that are close in age. Rane likes to hold Hannah and ask if she wants to come home with her. Thank you for taking such good care of our children.

Hannah's stats:

height: 28" (50-75%)
Head: 17" (25-50%)
weight: 19 lbs. 7.5 oz. (50-75%)

Rane says that she is doing outstanding and that she will be driving a car soon. Hannah can stand up in the middle of the room with no help. She is taking steps, spider crawling, clapping her hands, saying Mama and Dada. She likes to imitate your sounds, eating table food, drinking from a sippy cup and has come to the conclusion that she is too big for formula.

Monday, April 20, 2009

And then there were five!

Hannah decided that she did not want to be separated from the others when she is eating. So now all of the "safari" is at the table. Our little one is growing up so fast. She is standing in the room without holding onto anything and she is taking steps. Pretty soon she is going to be running with the rest of them.

We are excited about this weekend. Noel and I are going to do the kid's bathroom renovation. We are putting in the garden bath tub from the master bathroom, replacing the toilet with a child's toilet (it only sit 10 inches from the ground) and moving the vanity down. Also we are cutting the huge mirror, painting, tiling, changing fixtures. We are excited and we are looking forward to posting the before and after pictures. I am so glad that I married a man that loves doing projects and that we do them together.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Day with Pops!

We decided that since Pop's birthday was Friday that we would go and spend Saturday in San Antonio with Pops. So we all got in the van after breakfast and headed to San Antonio. We spent the day with Pops running around, eating, playing the dogs (who were outside and the "safari" was inside), learning that Pops has a cool game room, and seeing Tony (Pop's dad).

The "safari" had a blast, they did not get a nap and were totally exhausted by the end of the day. Pops had a really good time and the "safari" loves spending time with him. Pops we hope that you had a great day with everyone and we love you very much.

Noel and I have been truly blessed with wonderful parents. In our marriage we have not had the struggles that some couples have with "in-laws." We are very thankful that we have the relationships that we have with our parents.

I was thinking on the way home how the relationship that my parents and Noel's parents have with our children is so much different then the relationship that I had with my grandparents. My dad's parents lived in Wisconsin and I only saw them a handful of times. There was really no relationship just an occasional phone call or card in the mail. My mother's parents I saw more and I loved them but we did not live close enough to go and spend the day with them and for a couple of years we were in Europe. I am thankful to God everyday that all our parents live close and they are starting relationships that are very special to both sides. I love the look of love and excitement when my "safari" sees their Nana, Papa or Pops and the look in their eyes when they run to them with arms extended out. My heart is filled and over flowing. Thank you for making the time for that relationship.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Pops!

The "safari" has been practicing all week to be able to tell POPS "Happy Birthday." Now the word birthday is a little long so we split the word. So enjoy the video and maybe next year we can sing. We love you and hope that you have a wonderful birthday and we are looking forward to coming and seeing you tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


On a normal week I make sure that house, kids and Noel are taken care of. The kids are pretty easy and Noel is easy too. Now the house can eat me alive sometimes. I have a routine and I try to stick to that routine every week. Now every now and then I have an off week or I have to shift my cleaning schedule around. My schedule goes like this: Monday: Laundry, Tuesday: Vacuum/dust, Wednesday: bathrooms, Thursday: Linen & laundry, Friday: special projects, Saturday and Sunday is just if there is laundry. Every day it is pick up and ensure that the kitchen is clean every night.

This week was one of those off weeks. Hannah has a virus and all she wants to do is be held and cuddle. I love that but that means that I do not get to do the things that I need to do on my cleaning list. Yesterday I finally got all the laundry clean and put on the table. Now mind you I have never done all the laundry for the week in one day and so when I saw it I had to take a picture. Lets just say it gave me perspective. I had to stop and thank God that I have a washing machine and a dryer and that I do not have to hand wash clothes. I thanked Him for allowing us to have a front-load washing machine that washes more clothes in a cycle and does not use 41 gallons every load but a max of 12 gallons.

I am definitely a Martha personality and this week has taught me that I may not get all of my chores done on the days that I want them to get done, but that sometimes I just need to sit down and enjoy the moment and day that I am in. That is a hard lesson and one that will take me my lifetime to achieve because I always have lists and things that need to get done or that I need to remember in my head at all times. Noel laughs at me but that is okay he enjoys my Martha attitude most days.

So of course I took a picture of what the laundry looked like on my table. This is the laundry from Saturday through Wednesday. Laundry is never done, just managed. The second picture is what my week has been like. Enjoy

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hair Cut Night!

When Noel took Elijah to get his hair cut for the first time he was charged over $10. Noel decided that he was going to invest in some good trimmers . He knew that they would pay for themselves since that meant that Noel would be cutting the boys hair. For the last two to three months he has been cutting Elijah's hair because no one else needed their hair cut. Also Noel has been cutting his own hair and then letting me mess up the trimming in the back.

Tonight was "hair cut night." So Noel decided to make it a treat to get your hair cut. He put the chair on the back slab and then opened the blinds so that the "safari" could see. Elijah went first and everyone else had to stay inside. When Elijah was done then it was Jacob's turn. I thought that Jacob was going to lose it but he did not cry but sat there like a pro. Now Jacob did not have a lot of hair but the hair that he did have was all over the place. After Jacob it was Joshua's turn. Joshua does not have a lot of hair either but you cannot leave him out. Each one got to climb into the chair and then climb out of the chair. The looks on their faces when they realized they were the only ones outside was priceless. Esther decided that she was NOT going to be left out so she climbed into the chair and then suddenly realized that she did not want to be there. Noel trimmed her bangs and the top of her hair, but she was not happy the entire time.

I have a feeling that this is going to be a treat that the boys are going to enjoy. I am glad that Noel made it special for them. I took some pictures so that you could see the excitement and the looks of anticipation to be next.

Save Me!

Every night the routine is the same. We eat dinner then we play inside or outside. The play room is cleaned up and the helpers are rewarded. Depending on the activities of the day determines if we have a bath. Get dressed for bed, prayers and then it is night time. Now Elijah gets special treatment. He has his own room and we allow him to have toys in his room and he gets his light on so that he can have "alone" time. Then when Noel and I go to bed then we turn the light off and if we have to pick him up from the floor and put him in his bed.

Every once in a while he will still be up when we go to bed. If that happens we go in his room make him get into bed and then we turn the light off. Now that is a traumatic event in his life because he does not like the dark and being alone. Well last night was one of those nights. I went into his room and made him get in his bed and then I prayed with him (5 times) and then turned the light off. You would have thought that I had taken everything from his room and that he was standing in his room with nothing. About five minutes later I did not hear anymore sounds and so I went to check on him. Poking out from the bottom of the door was his little fingers. I had to laugh because it looked like he was trying to figure a way out of his room. Don't worry Elijah one day soon you will have some sleeping companions and then you will wish that you could sleep in the dark all by yourself.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A New Milestone for Mommy!

Today was a milestone for me. I have never taken my five children and Colton out in public before. So today was a great day and I decided that the "safari" deserved to play at the park. So I loaded Colton and Hannah into the double stroller and the rest of the "safari" grabbed an animal and we walked to the park which is about a quarter of a mile and then we played at the park and then walked home. The "safari" did great and I think they had a really good time. Ever since Noel and I have made that animal rope the "safari" has been really well behaved anytime we use it. They know that they have to hold onto an animal and that they cannot let go until they have been told.

I am getting the "safari" ready to go to the Fort Worth Zoo and the Dallas Aquarium at the end of May so we have been taking walks and the walks keep getting longer and longer. I feel like I am training for a marathon and each day we go a little further until I feel that the "safari" is ready to enjoy the zoo and not have to carried around. Oh do not worry we are taking grandparents with us so that we have some support.

Every day I am amazed at how fast my "safari" is growing and learning. Each day they say or do something that just amazes me and I have to stop and thank God for allowing me to have such wonderful children. Then in the same breath I am asking for patience because someone is stretching my patience to the very edge. Every day is a new day with new prayers and new challenges but I can tell you that there are no two days alike.

Some of you have given me a hard time because I do NOT dress my daughters in dresses or dress my "safari" alike. I do not dress them alike because they get looked and stared at enough that I do not need them looking alike. Now I am not saying that dressing your kids alike is bad; it is just not something I do. Also I do not dress my daughters in dresses because they are as rough as their brothers. BUT on Sunday I did dress them in dresses. I took some pictures but of course how hard is it to get five children and a daddy to all cooperate to take ONE picture. So I took several and I will give you the slide show so that you can each of them at least once. Here is the proof that my daughters wore dresses on Sunday.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Split Day

Today, Elijah, Hannah and I went to Nana and Paps's house. Elijah got to hang out with Aiden and Papa while I went shopping with Nana. Papa let them ride on the riding lawn mower. They got to sit on a Harley Davidson that my aunt and uncle were test driving. Also they got to eat snack together, plus they had a "man's" lunch; which included grilled cheese, hot dogs, apples, raisins, and trail mix. I think that they wore each other out. Elijah slept on the way home and then crashes soon after being put to bed.

The good thing about having cousins so close in age is that they are great for playing with. My parents now have 9 grandchildren under the age of 3. We have our own playgroup.

Meanwhile, Noel had the other part of the "safari." They played with diaper boxes all day. When I got home I had to take pictures. Noel stated that they more fun then what he expected. I love to see what my "safari" can think up when they are given random things.

We had a great day. The triplets got to hang out with daddy and Elijah got to hang our with his cousin, Aiden. We hope that everyone has a great Easter and that you remember what Easter is all about. Not the bunny but the resurrection.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Little Helpers

With toddlers you have to start with helping out early. I make sure that it is a game with a prize at the end for the ones that help. Usually the play room is cleaned up at night by the "safari." Of course it would take Noel and I half the time to pick up the toys then the "safari" but then they would not learn the lesson of cleaning up after themselves.

The first picture is what the shoes are suppose to look like. The second is what they look like with "help." I am glad that they got all the shoes in the shoe organizer but it looks like we are going to play Jenga. The "safari" was so proud that they got all the shoes put up and that the play room was clean.

At night whomever helps pick up toys instead of taking the toys out of the bucket or trying to climb in the bucket gets a cookie. Hannah gets a cookie if she helps push the bucket with mommy. If you do not help then you get to watch the others eat their cookie. I think that we will start to get them involved in other activities in the house. Pretty soon I will have some wonderful cleaning "maids." The positive thing for the "safari" is that no matter what the outcome is the help is what is rewarded not the look of the outcome.

***UPDATE on Autumn: It looks like she is going to be able to come on Friday. They took her off the oxygen, there are no more florescent lights, and the feeding tube is gone. I want to thank everyone that prayed for Autumn. Please continue to pray that there will be no medical problems from this incident.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Miss Independent

I think that from birth Hannah was independent. She was not the snuggle baby that I was hoping for. Instead we have the "I do not need help, leave me alone" baby. Having four toddlers in the house I knew that Hannah was going to learn quickly. She learned how to use the hands-free bottle quickly and then did not want to be held when she ate, but wanted to be able to jump in the jumper and eat. Yes at the same time.

Then we went to baby food and she said "NO" very quickly to that idea. She has been eating table food for about three to four months. She does not have any teeth but manages to eat everything that we are eating, hamburgers, pasta, cereal, potatoes, fruit, etc. When she eats she lets you know that you cannot just feed her but she has to be able to feed herself. As long as there is food on her tray then she will let you feed her the food that is not "finger" foods. When the food on the tray is gone then the feeding stops as well. She turns her head and refuses to take another bite until you give her some more food on her tray.

In the last two weeks she has decided that she no longer wants formula. If you try to give her formula she just throws her bottle and crawls away. So now if we give her 8oz of milk and some formula at bedtime then she will drink it but we cannot give her formula during the day. So now we are feeding her milk and vitamins. Tomorrow she will want to know why she cannot have a cell phone.

Next week she will be 9 months old. I cannot believe that she is almost a year old. Time flies when you are having fun or if you have five children under the age of 3. Noel and I are glad and grateful that God gave us Hannah she is such a joy and she is so happy. Plus we love her attitude towards her siblings and the way she growls.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Egg Hunt

On Sunday, our class got together to have our annual Easter Egg Hunt. Our class consists of children from 5 years old and younger, so it was a blast. Marti filled the Easter eggs with Cheerios, Kix and Gerber Puffs. Before everyone got there Noel and I put the bounce house up and put the eggs in the yard. We really did not hide them but made sure they were easy to see.

Everyone that came brought some goodies to share so that we would not have to feed our children after leaving. After the kids found the eggs we emptied them and then filled them again. So we let the kids keep finding eggs. Some of the kids were more interested in playing then finding eggs but everyone had a really good time.

I love our class we seem to be able to have fun and our children play well together. Also we make sure that we try to take care of the needs that come up in our class. I know that Noel and I have been totally blessed by this community of believers.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Autumn Kay Miner

At 6:30 this morning I received a phone call that my sister, Pamela was on her way to the hospital because she was in labor. You see I volunteered to video tape the delivery because her husband is in Iraq serving our country. So I rolled over and told Noel that I was leaving and that I hoped that he had a good day with the kids.

I drove to my parent's house and helped my dad get her two boys up and ready to go with him. Then we got into the truck and made our way onto Fort Hood. For those of you that do not know before 9-11 you could drive on and off base like you were driving through any other town. NOW you have to have a sticker on your car and if you do not then your entire vehicle is searched which can take between 30-1.5 hours depending on how many people need to be searched. So I rode with my dad and all I had to have was a picture ID. The base is in lock-down mode all the time now. Wow how are lives have been changed by hatred.

So I got to the hospital and Pamela was having some contractions and she was at 6 centimeters. My sister is a trooper and did not take any drugs for any of her children and did not take any for this labor. So the Labor and Delivery area was packed and so we were in a "holding" area until there was a room open. Now there are 14 rooms for delivery so there were a lot of women having babies. If you have been around the military at all you know that when soldiers come home from being on missions for longer than 1 year the birth rate goes up when they return.

Pamela walked and rocked and did what she had to do to make the pain manageable. So she finally thought that she was at a good point and her room was ready so she sat down. The midwife came in and checked her and she had moved to 8 centimeters. Pamela decided to have her water broke so that maybe the last two centimeters would come faster. They did after her water was broken she was ready to push. Now she only pushed THREE times and the baby came out.

So at 11:02 am Autumn Kay Miner was born. She weighed 6 lbs 6oz and was 20 inches long. After she was clean and the nurse was looking at her they noticed that her color was not right. They did some assessments and found that her oxygen level was not good. Autumn was at 72% and she needed to be at least at 90%. So the pediatric doctor came in and told us that they were taking Autumn to the NICU and that they were going to run some tests and they would let us know in about an hour of what was going on. At that moment I could see the panic that was in my sister's face. Her husband is in Iraq and now her newborn daughter is going to the NICU.

God knew that I needed to be at that delivery because I have been through that. When I had the triplets the boys were in the room with me but Esther was the in the NICU because of her weight, 4 lbs 3 oz. I knew what Pamela was feeling. So we got her walking as soon as possible got some food into her and then got to the "Baby and me" room. Then we walked to the NICU, scrubbed the germs off and went and saw Autumn.

After 4 hours if the pediatric doctor has not resolved the issue then the Neonatal doctor takes over. So now the Neonatal doctor has Autumn on an oxygen machine that is like a humidifier, they have fluids giving her some nutrition, Pamela is pumping, and they have a tube in Autumn's stomach to make sure not too much air is getting into her stomach. What they think is going on is that she got some amniotic fluid in her stomach when she was traveling the birth canal and that Autumn has to get that out of her system. Also Autumn came at 37 weeks. She is also on antibiotics so she has to stay in the NICU at least 48 hours.

I am asking that when you think of Pamela or Autumn today that you say a prayer for protection, peace and comfort for my sister and Autumn. The doctor says that Autumn is not at a state that Mike needs to come home, but that if it does come to that he will be on the next plane home. I am grateful for the prayers. She is beautiful. You cannot see it in the pictures but she has a FULL head of hair, it looks like she has highlights in her brown hair.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Play Room Remodel

Noel and I have been wanting to change the way the play room looks for a while, but could not figure out what to do to make it look nice and still be functional for the "safari." The "safari" will be in that room for a while.

I was reading an article on the Internet about making rooms functional for kids but still appealing to the eye of an adult. After reading the article I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted it to look. Noel thought it was a good idea as well and so we picked a day to go shopping. My parents came down and played with the kids and we went to Lowe's. We got paint and materials and left with the excitement of knowing that we were not going to have white walls any longer in that room. Growing up in the military I could never paint our walls because of all the work we would have to do to put the original color back on before we could move, so I never got to paint my walls. Now was my opportunity to get that out of my system.

So Tuesday during the day I taped the entire room so that we could jump right in when Noel got home and after the kids went to bed. As you can see by the pictures we went with two different colors with molding in the middle. Now the top color is Autumn Fog and the bottom color we chose Midnight Racing. The great thing is that the bottom color is actually a chalkboard. You see if you mix 2 parts paint, to 1 part glazing medium and for every 1 cup of paint you add 2 tablespoons of unsanded grout then the wall becomes a chalkboard. We did not have to buy chalkboard paint, which comes to about $60 - $80 a gallon. Also we are adding a chalkboard calender to the wall so that we can have a family calender. The wall that has the calender on it was primed with magnetic primer as well. So that we can put magnets on that wall as well. In the pictures you see that the primer was BLACK. We had to paint a coat of white primer after it so that the colors would match the rest of the room. I will put a picture of the calender up when I am done. There will be pictures of the kids on the walls and there will be curtains on the windows as well.

Noel and I are very pleased with how the room turned out and we did it in less than 3 days, working only after the "safari" went to bed. The next project that we have is redoing the "safari's" bathroom. We are putting our garden tub in that bathroom and moving the toilet and vanity down. Also we are getting a kids toilet since we will have so many little bottoms in the house. Owning a house is great. Noel and I look forward to each new project and how that will make our house more of a home for our "safari."