Sunday, August 31, 2008

August in review

Hard to believe that August is over and we are onto September. This is our last year without a child in school, so we have to live it up now! Alivia kept busy this month on play dates with her friends and playing with Addison (& Asher too). Alivia started napping every other day this month, but I find she misses Addison during her awake days. Alivia continues to be a big helper with the “little ones” She played with Piper a lot through August, taking the cat on many dolly stroller rides. She also donated her long locks to Locks of Love. Addison celebrated her 2-year anniversary of getting baptized. She is showing signs of being 2 by showing more of her independence in a 2-year-old style. She has taken up whining, which we are trying to curb. She is becoming more of a clearer communicator, though. Asher just turned 9 months old. He now has 5 teeth (adding one more just today!), crawls all over the place, pulls to a stand and is cruising. Yikes! He is 18+ pounds so carrying him is a workout for Chris and I. Chris and I had a busy month, too. We got some new wheels, a Honda Odyssey. I am getting used to the new space we have on the road, but still prefer the Camry believe it or not. We have tossed around moving in the fall, so are preparing our house for sale just in case by some major reorganizing (which it needed anyway).  We have also been trying to make repairs after June’s storm, staining the fence (again), replacing our outdoor patio set, etc. We finished the month with our 9-year anniversary. We actually went on a date! That makes 2 dates in 2 months! After an 11-month break from dates, we are now on a roll! Chris won a national poster contest at work, & is now deciding how to spend his winnings (oh, which computer thing a ma bob will he buy now?). He also just finished up a new logo for work and is working on a logo for a friend. He keeps rather busy.

Happy September!

The Austin Family

Austin In Review

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Asher at 9 months old


Today Asher Wade is 9 months old. He had is check-up this morning is a healthy 18 lb 6.5 oz (maintaining 17%), 27.5 inches long (25%) and still has that tiny head at 43 cm (3.73%). Since Asher is developing okay, the doctor was not concerned about his head (and it looks proportional to his body). Asher is so much bigger than the girls were at this age that carrying him is my little workout!

Asher is quite the go-getter. He is a speedy little crawler (&has a little bruise under his chin from falling) and has started to find his way around our home. It is fun to see what he likes to play with. He likes legos, blocks that he can stack and chew on, and Addison’s little piano. I find Asher laughing the hardest at peek a boo with Addison’s taggies, swinging, "swimming," and watching his sisters play. He has perfected pulling up to a stand and has started to cruise. I find him crawling towards the kitchen window and pulling up to look out and likes to stand at the rock wall outside. He loves to hold onto my hands and walk everywhere, too. But, I have to be careful because he tends to let go! He is very much a Mommy’s boy, but has gotten to the point where I can be out of sight and he will not cry if he is occupied with his toys. I still have to be careful because both Alivia and Addison have taken up being rough with him (sometimes because he has crawled into their space but many times they are rough for no reason at all!). Just the last couple of days he has started to wave bye-bye.

Sleep: We have gotten into a habit, a bad habit. He sleeps from 7:30 until 6am, nurses, and then goes back to sleep until Addison usually wakes him up around 8. The girls never did this, so I don’t know how to break it. When he wakes up at 6 am, he is standing in his crib with big tears within moments of waking. At 8 when he wakes up, he talks, walks around his crib, plays with his crib toys, etc.

Eating: Asher is a picky eater. He is just becoming more interested in table foods. He does not like any vegetables (which is interesting considering his nursing mommy is a vegetarian!). He loves crackers and cheerios best, but is just getting into fresh watermelon, banana, and dairy! Yes, I started him on some dairy items and he tolerated them fine! Yeah! It actually started when Alivia and Addison had an ice-cream cone. Asher wanted some. So, I let him try it. He had it all over his face, and loved every minute of it. So far so good. As for my diet, I am slowly eating more dairy and he seems to be doing fine. He now only nurses at morning, noon, and just before bedtime. He has weaned himself as Addison did. He likes the cup more and more (but takes the cup without a lid at this point). 

Asher had his 9 month pictures taken today (pictured if you are signed in). He now has 4 teeth (the front 2 on top and on bottom), but capturing them on film was not easy. We love to see his smile light up his face.

A lot will change in the next few months until Asher turns the big 1! Our house will go through transition, too, when we have 3 kids running! And we think we are tired now! But, with that said, we are savoring every moment because they are a baby only once.


Asher in the poolFavorite outdoor spotPeek - I see Asher!Swinging AsherLooking out the kitchen window





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Thursday, August 28, 2008

9 Years of Marital Bliss

Today marks 9 years of Marital Bliss for Topher & I. We are actually going out to dinner tonight to celebrate 9 years, many memories & our 3 beautiful children. We are going to Old Chicago, which is where we had our first date nearly 12 years ago! Then we plan on trying out the local Red Box and finishing a movie, Vantage Point, that we started on the random pay per view that appears on our tv in the basement. Oh, how romantic!


Happy Anniversary, Topher! May I be lucky enough to a lifetime of bliss with you!

Our love is my whole world! 

One of our first picturesIn California in 2002/Wedding in 99Wedding DayHappyanniversary

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chris can do that!

My Mom says this a lot, "Oh, Chris can do that!" It is usually true that he CAN do that, but he usually does not have time. Usually my Mom is saying this about some sculture she sees, some neat piece of art, faux painting in a street of dreams home, etc. Chris is an artist trapped in a software engineer occupation (I guess the money is better, huh Chris? :) ).

 After receiving second prize in the Ethics poster contest last year and just winning 1st prize this year, Chris has been discovered at work. So, they had him develop a logo for them. I would go into detail as to what this logo is, but I am sure it is classified or maybe Chris' explanation was just so above my head that I missed it. Anyway, here is his Logo. Now, may your art continue on, Topher!


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I want a dull moment!


Grandma Kathy & Asher
Alivia going down a big slide
Addison watches on

It was rainy this morning, so after the insurance company cancelled (don't even ask about that!), I decided to take the kids to Boingz. The girls seemed so excited to to when I told them, and maybe more excited that Grandma Kathy would be there. Once we got there, Alivia was all over the place, jumpy in and out of the jumpy jumps, as we call them. Addison...watched. She looked in them, but never ventured inside. Asher and I climbed inside and jumped a bit, too (but I am much too old for that kind of fun anymore!).

Just when we thought we had a perfect morning, we had to come home. I attempted to drive into our cramped garage, but hit the zooper stroller so had to stop short. I then pushed the button to open the side doors and Asher's side beeped and shut again. Seriously, now what?! Well, I opened the door blindly, not knowing that there were three 5 gallon cans of stain sitting right next to the van ready to be used on our fence. So, the stain cans scratched the van as I opened it and then shut it. Oh great. So, hurried through lunch so I could take the car in for an estimate. $300 or the nice many recommended I try touch up paint from Honda. I think I will go that route first. Now, onto fixing the rock chip in the windshield.

Can I PLEASE have a peaceful morning full of quiet fun and dull moments just once? We had fun at least, right?


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Sugar 'N Spice Snacks

3 TBSP Margarine

1/2 cup Sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground all spice

3 cups cheerios

Melt margarine in the microwave for 45 seconds or until melted. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and all spice. Mix well. Add cereal. Stir until coated. Microwave on high 1 1/2  to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread on wax paper to cool.

Great little after school snack (or after "quiet time" treat).

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Open House at the GBH

Today was Alivia's open house at the Gingerbread House Preschool. I had "helped" her teacher last year, so was excited her teacher was someone I was familiar with. Alivia, on the other hand, was quite timid. She was slow to start last year, too. I wonder where she gets that? Anyone that knows my history knows why Alivia and I are both timid when it comes to school. Let's just say, that I chased after my dad in his pick-up after dropping me off at school. So, Alivia and I are 2 peas in a pod.

She starts M-W-F afternoons next Wednesday. Wish her luck!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

And the Winner is...


Chris entered a national ethics poster contest at work again this year and took the prize! Congratulations Chris! He will again appear in the company calendar (in 2009) as well as get a nice cash prize. Now, we all have to watch out for his high ethical standards!



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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Farm Kids for a Day


Addi & AliviaAddison with a crabappleAlivia with Tipper

While Daddy went flying to practice for an upcoming flight exam, the kids and I stayed back to play at Grandma and Grandpa's house on the farm. It's funny, I recall having "nothing to do" as a kid on the farm. Our kids, on the other hand, think the farm is full of fun things to do! They played on the playset, inside with Grandma's many toys (although Addison does not like the clock), went in and our of the sunroom, played with Tipper the cat, & ate a lot of treats. We even got to wave at Daddy and Grandpa when they did a flyover. Asher loved the farm, too, taking a nice nap in Grandma's crib.

Until next time...

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Alivia's Locks of Love

Alivia beforeAddison beforeMore of Alivia beforeMaking the donation cutThe donation cutAlivia AfterAlivia afterAlivia AfterAddison After

This morning I took the girls in to get their hair cut. Alivia’s was so long. She said she was ready to make her Locks of Love donation after reviewing the website with me.  I, on the other hand, was not so sure I was ready.

Well, we did it. Her hair that was once down to her little bottom is now short. She had about 12-13 inches cut off! Alivia loves it! She looks like such a big girl, too!

Addison, on the other hand, was not so sure about getting her hair cut this time. She sat on my lap and got a little trim.

Now we are all set for fall!

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To move or not to move...

...that is the question.


Yesterday: We are not moving.

Today: We are moving!

Okay, we are having problems making up our minds here. Somedays we think we could live in our house. Other days I can not wait to put the for sale sign in our yard myself! Let's start with reasons for moving.

We have been in our home 8 years August 11! Wow, that time has flown by. We liked our home, for the most part, until just over 2 years ago when our neighborhood changed. Without getting into too many details, Chris and I thought people were mostly good people until we met our neighbors. Let's just say, we now struggle with 'Love your neighbor as yourself," rephrased from the 10 commandments. If our old neighbors lived next door, Chris and I may not be so deeply considering a move. When Chris decided we needed a hidden camera to keep tabs on the mysterious things occuring around our home, I decided perhaps it is time to move. Let's just say we live on a version of Wisteria Lane without the pretty people to look at. :)

Other reasons to move: we have outgrown our house! Have you seen our garage? (see picture below). 3 kids with all their toys, 2 cars, a workbench, 3-4 strollers, 3 trash cans for yard waste and trash, a lawn mower, snowblower and a motorcycle, etc, etc  all in a 2 car garage. We have problems just getting in and out of our cars. Other reasons include: move closer to Chris' work (he drives 30 miles approximately 2 times a day to work. That is insane!). 

Reasons to stay: There are few homes that are 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms with finished basements and big back yards. We would want at least what we have to move. We also would not want to change our house payment, so would move up with our equity. We have a nice finished basement, all rooms painted. We would add on a deck and possibly upgrade our kitchen in the next year or 2 if we stayed, then move onto upgrading the bathrooms upstairs. Our yard landscaping is extensive and would hate to have to do all that in another home. We would NEVER get the true value out of our home if we moved in this market. We also just installed a new air conditioner/furnace, new carpeting, new fence...for what? The new people to have when they move it? Also, to move our family of 5 sounds like a total nightmare to me. I have been dragging my feet until recently. Staying home and having to deal with the neighborhood issues more has helped Chris in his mission to move, and move closer to his work. I also would like Alivia to know where she would be starting school next year. And, for those of you that know where we live, we are close to everything...Walmart, Target, HyVee, an elementary school, a walking trail, a sprinkle park and a park all within walking distance practically! That will be very difficult to find in another home anywhere else.

A month or so ago we did go and look at a few homes. Seriously, listen to our requirements: 5 bedrooms or 4 bedrooms with a bonus room for an office, 4 bathrooms, finished walk-out basement, 1-2 years old at most, white woodwork, silver or dark hardware throughout, clean!! (I was amazed how people in high price points do not clean their homes that are on the market for sale!), sprinkler system, at least 3 car garage, a flat backyard, and the list goes on. Oh, and we do not want to spend more than we have in equity in our home. Meaning, we do not want our house payments to change. Our real estate agent wanted us to put our house up on the market, and I immediately said NO WAY! If our house sold we would be living in our cars for a long time because I am not sure the house we want exists.

So, what will tomorrow bring? To move or not to move? We have until spring to decide. Until then, the question remains, but we are leaning towards packing up and changing the scenery a bit.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Turning into Fish?

Alivia & Addison playingHappy Asher at the sprinkle park

Yesterday I took the kids up to the neighborhood sprinkle park (one reason to stay in our house). Addison still did not like it. Alivia had a good time & Asher could not stop laughing. He was seriously pulling me through the park (he walks/runs while holding my hands. He tends to get excited and let go, though). It was fun to get up there when the bigger school aged kids were away.

Chris' cousin Heather invited us to join them at Lifetime Fitness this morning. It is so nice! The pool has these big water slides and a small one too. Alivia did not want to go down the little one today (maybe next time she said). Addison did get in and out, but really does her own thing. Asher is seriously like a fish. He loves the water. He stands and splashes and walks me all over. I think he is getting taller because my back is not hurting me as much from walking him. Cousin Cora is Alivia's age and cousin Gwen is just 3 months younger than Addison, so they have a lot of fun together. Humm, I think we want a family membership for Christmas (yes, I know Heidi, Christmas is too far away to think about. :) ). We would live there in the summer, I think.

Here's to turning into fish! 


Our little fishPool of a lifetime!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (Seriously!)

This recipe comes from our church cookbook  titled "Gather Around the Table, A second Helping." (& parishioners Brad & Andrea Schmidt). It is the first recipe we have tried for my new book I bought on Sunday. ("The Austin Family" or "The Chris Austin Family" contributed 5 recipes!).

1 c. Crisco

1 c. Brown sugar

3/4 c. sugar

2 eggs (or equivalent egg beaters)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

2 to 2 1/2 c. flour

1 c. mini chocolate chips (I used regular because it is what I had on hand).

Blend crisco, sugars. Add eggs, salt, b. soda, and vanilla. Slowly add flour. Add chocolate ships. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Chris thought these were not quite as good as my mom's cookies but really liked them, & Addison thought they were so good that she secretly got seconds from the cooling rack!



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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Cookout


Replacement patio setKids at playAsher & HenryWanna play?The kiddos' table

Chris loves to host family and friends. We do not do it enough, however. Tonight we hosted his family to a cookout with Chris' specialties: chicken breasts, HUGE hotdogs, and his spicy grilled corn on the cob (yummy!). It was fun to see everyone between birthday parties and Holidays, just for no reason but to eat. Chris, of course, added his bit of humor saying that we had an "announcement to make." I wondered what he had up his sleeve. Well, he had nothing...he just wanted to see what his family's reaction would be. He says their faces were priceless (assuming that the announcement was that we were adding to our family)!

Oh, and we had to try out our replacement patio set, too! A perfect night to begin the end of summer.

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eBay Update

Well, it has been a couple weeks since I began selling some of my things on Ebay. Although there is a learning curve (or perhaps I am just a slow learner), I am having some success finally. I have started just selling my suits and what is left of my maternity clothes (having sold most of them on Craigs list). My mom just gave me a scale to use. Prior to that, I was guessing on shipping costs comparing to similar items being sold. I unfortunately learned NOT to do that because I was losing so much money for being off on shipping costs. Whoops. Chris will be happy when everyone pays and the items are shipped. I still have many more clothes to sell, and that is before I get to the kids's stuff! It is a very time consuming project and requires me to miss some sleep at night. I have people asking me measurements on my suits that I did not even know existed (I have to google some questions to see what these people are actually asking me to measure!). I will keep you posted. In the meantime, let the auction begin.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

2 Year Anniversary

Yesterday marked 2 years since Addison Rose was baptised. We try to mark the occasion with a cake, usually. However, being short on ingredients, I made the best of it (and the kids did not mind!). We missed Alivia's 4 year anniversary in June, so we celebrated hers too. We ate our treat and then watched the videos of their baptisms. Oh, how they have both grown!

Here's to more years growing in God's Love!

Addison: 2 years baptisedAlivia: 4 years baptisedAddison watching her Baptism

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Life with Piper

Remember not too long ago we gave away our cat, only to have to get her back? This picture pretty much explains why we had to get her back. Oh, how Alivia loves Piper!


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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend over already?


Alivia, Addison & Grandma watch the paradeShrinersCandy!Alivia in the jumpy jumpAlivia slidesEnough candy?

The weekend is over and we did not even do anything (really fun that is). On Saturday, the girls did have fun! Grandma Bet & Grandpa Bill took them to their first parade. They had a great time and came home with a ton of candy! While they were away, Chris worked on laying new sod on some patches of our yard while I tried to keep Asher happy (he is getting another tooth and has a pretty bad cold). I was not sure if he was fussy because it was so quiet and he missed his sisters, because he was so sick, or both. Chris and I agreed that it was good for the girls to do things without us occasionally (this was Addison's first time away from us with the exception of when we were in the hospital with Asher), but we missed them!

Today, after mass, we just tried to stay close to home, trying to keep Asher happy. We found out a little Motrin goes a long ways! Without it, he did a lot of crying. With it, he crawled everywhere and worked really hard at standing up in the middle of the room or with help of the sofa. Asher is so much braver than the girls!

Now, onto next week.

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