Friday, February 26, 2010

Febrrrruary Visit to the Zoo

Finally, we had a nice enough day to break away and go to the zoo. Many people actually had the same idea, which surprised me. Typically, the kids and I are one of a handful of people at the zoo in the winter.

Anyway, our journey began today in the desert dome. It was nice and hot in there, and most of the animals were on display. Addison, who did not want to walk, was not too happy. I put the kids back into the stroller as we entered kingdom of the Knight. I never know how they will react to the dark. Asher did not like the bats (the smell took our breaths away!) but did okay with the rest of the exhibits. I am not a fan of the swamp because I can not see where I am walking. I think they need to at least light up the trail in there so somebody does not become dinner for a croc. I think next time I will bring a hand held flash light.

We went down to the orangutans and gorillas, then onto the aquarium and the jungle. It was lunchtime by the time we left. I had packed a few things to keep them happy on they way home. Addison just wanted her juice box, which is a zoo treat.

Overall, although it was a little cold, it was a fun morning. Addison's favorite thing was the monkeys, where Asher liked the fish and the birds in the jungle. I just like it when I see how much they learn about animals with our monthly visits. Until next month...

Still Penguin WatchingStill there Mom?Asher resting in the desertFe"brrrr"uary Visit to the Zoo

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Visit to Grandma & Grandpas

Asher cookingAddison playing houseAsher playing houseCaillou TimePounding the KeysBrrr!Cuddle TimeLooking at Pictures
As I was trying to schedule the events for this week when I realized that we had not been to my parents to visit since moving into our new home late November! Where did the time go? I guess we were so busy settling in, getting snowed in, and driving all over the place that we just did not make the trip. That is...until today.

I did not tell Addison and Asher what we were doing today until after we dropped off Alivia. I wanted to avoid disappointing Alivia since she was going to school. Addison and Asher were so excited that there was hardly a quiet moment between our house and my parents home. That was one long hour.

Upon arriving in Alaska, I mean at the farm in Iowa (one can be confused by the vast amount of snow everywhere), Addison and Asher quickly made their way to the stash of toys in the basement, played a little piano, and watch a little DVR'd Caillou. After a meaty lunch, we settled in to watch a home DVD. It was the last 3 months on DVD, and was very entertaining (and Chris shared a bit too much of himself! :) ).

We had a fun day! We are already planning on things to do this summer on or near the farm. Oh summer...we can hardly wait!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Asher's Time at the OCM

Asher MeasuringBuildingDriving

On Tuesdays, the Omaha Children's Museum (OCM) has members only hour from 9-10. We love to go during this time because it is so less busy than the other times of the day. However, with Addison in preschool on Tuesday mornings, we have not visited the OCM on a Tuesday in a while.

Today Asher and I decided to make a morning at the Children's Museum. We arrived at 9:20 or so and were invited to preschool pals. It is just a little class they have for preschool aged kiddos. I have never taken any of our kids to this, so Asher and I decided to give it a shot today. Asher was very timid and shy and participated very little. I probably should be doing a little more of these types of things so Asher gets used to group settings more. We left just before the craft and went upstairs to play in the construction zone. Asher had fun playing in the rocks, building Asher creations with the building blocks, playing with the tape measure (he loves measuring things!) and playing on the playset they have upstairs. We went downstairs, however briefly, to play in the big room for a while before leaving to go and pick up Addison.

It is fun to take Asher places alone. He is able to decide where he wants to play more instead of just following Alivia and/or Addison around. He had fun this morning, and so did I.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Monday, February 22, 2010

Changing 4 corners

Northeast (taken before the big dig this AM)Southeast cornerSouthwest cornerView to the Northwest

When you live at our house, you gotta love change. Yesterdays view is history. And after tomorrow, tomorrow's view will be history, too. Oh, and one has to love feeling like they are in the middle of a construction site - no, seriously - right in the middle surrounded by CATS (not the purring type either), hammers, jackhammers, concrete trucks, roofers, painters, loud beeping noises at all hours from trucks backing up, etc. Today they began digging the hole for the house to be built to our Northwest. Our backyard is not the typical straight backyard, it is more of a pie shape. So the home being built appears to be RIGHT there when compared to our old neighbors behind us at our previous address. It will be difficult to adjust to. We really liked our view, but that is about to change to a view of a home. Grrr. What happened to buying a house with a view? I think that was just another thing not checked off on our check list, along with many other things that I will not even get into.

Above is our view of our 4 corners taken this morning, and it is already different, as seen below. Good thing I like change (sarcasm). Good thing we have window treatments on order (seriously). Now, I am going to try to take a ever so brief nap since I worked 11p-7:30am last night. Perhaps I can use the shaking I keep feeling in the bed and the house each time the hole is dug deeper and the CAT loader is banged against the ground (and I am thinking this house shaking thing can not be a good thing), the endless beeping noises, and the hammering to lull me to sleep. It seemed to work for Asher who just fell asleep beside me! I am now wishing I could sleep like a toddler.

Southeast ViewNortheast viewNorthwest View - nice, eh? (From Addisons bedroom)Northwest View AgainNorthwest View (from the Family room window)Southwest View

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

February at the Forest

Brrr! After much begging, I finally caved and took Addison and Asher to the Fontenelle Forest, our first visit of this year actually (after going every month last year!). We played downstairs for a long time. Addison liked putting together all of the animal puzzles while Asher liked building with the blocks. We also saw a few wild turkeys that were just standing outside of the window trying to keep warm. We looked at all the exhibits downstairs before making our way outside to see the bird. Addison then decided she no longer wanted to be at the Forest and wanted to go home. That was that! It turned out to be a brief, hour and a half visit, but it was a good way to have fun on a cold winter morning.

Wild Turkeys!Builder AsherAddi with fish magnets

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our Home: 3 months later

We have now been in our home in Shadow Lake nearly 3 months. We are slowly growing accustomed to Papillion and the services around us as well as our home. We now have a new favorite pizza place that is nearby (so important for us!), Addison got into preschool at the Catholic Church and will be attending there in the fall so finally less car time for us, and we are getting used to the neighborhood with runs and walks with Asher.

It is no secret, the move has been rough on all of us. Selling our home was a lot of work and just a change of schedule for all of us. The move was even more of a challenge. Now, the new school, new church, new surroundings. Addison and Asher adjusted the best (With that said, however, Asher would only sleep if he slept with us for 6 weeks and Addison just recently stopped bedwetting - something she only started after the move). Alivia is still getting used to her school and is trying to make friends. Chris and I have been making changes, or putting on our own touches, in the house to help us make it our own. The fan replacement really helped, so we look forward to getting them all switched out. We are still waiting on the closet/drop zone - and I think that will help us. Cramming coats into a couple shelves is not very user friendly. The shutters are on order (cha ching!) and other window treatments for the garage and basement are being shipped, too. It will be nice to have some privacy again with the area growing and changing around us every day. I did go and introduce myself to the new neighbors across the street and was happily surprised! They are nice!

Chris and I did ponder moving again back to northwest Omaha, but just for a second. After rates started going up, we nixed the idea. Addditionally, we really do not know where Chris will end up working. Right now, he is still working right down the street, the job sounds secure, and he loves what he is now doing at work. So, who knows, maybe he will be there for a while. making this house and location a good fit. Besides, this house may just be growing on us as we update it.

I think if we would have stayed at our old address, we would have stayed for a number of reasons. For one, Chris may or may not be employed in this area next year. Alivia would have been in school for a year and we loved Standing Bear. Her friends from Standing Bear lived right down the street from our old address. We also have learned that one should live on less. We really did not need all of this space - we just wanted it. That is silly really. Additionally, interest rates are creeping up. We were able to get more house for our money because of getting a rate well below 5%. And, hindsight is always 20/20. If we know now what we did not know then, we would have made it work. Now that we are here - we are making this home our home. The kids love our home now. And really, we think we will have minimal work to do after a year of getting it the way we want it. Really, all we have left is paint, hang artwork, landscape, install the swingset (which will be a major challenge) and put in a fence. That's it (note the sarcasm. :) ). We have future plans for the kids to stay with Grandma and Grandpa on the farm while we paint the girls' bedrooms. They are so excited about that. Chris and I are starting to enjoy making the changes to make our home really ours. Give us a few more months, the old homeowner (who lives right down the street) will not recognize it if he came to visit. Until then...we have work to do.

Maybe, we are inching closer to that rainbow at the end of the storm. Now, we are off to make memories in our new crib.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Prayer Before Getting Out Of Bed

This was the prayer that was presented during Mass last night. Father also added his own personal touches by changing the prayer the second time he receited it by saying something about now he is about to enter the parking lot. Anyone who has tried to leave a church service that some of the niceness is left at the door and then there is the parking lot. I thought it was quite funny and so appropriate.

Here is the prayer:

Dear Lord,

So far today I've done all right.
I haven't gossiped, cursed, or lost my temper.
I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over indulgent.
I am really glad about these things.

But, in a few minutes Lord,
I am going to get out of bed,
and from then on,
I'm probably going to need a lot more help.

Thank You,
In Jesus' Name

Author Unknown.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Friday, February 19, 2010

Room for one more?

We have 3 kids. Are 3 kids enough? Most people, I am guessing, "fix" the issue after they think they are done having children. As part of our Catholic Faith, Chris and I have selected not to "fix" the issue. So, we can never really say 3 is enough. Why even consider having 4 kids? Well, as Chris said it, "I guess our table seats 6." or maybe our house just is not loud enough yet or we are not poor enough yet (although Chris is happy to maintain our family at 5). Do we even have room for one more?

I love being a Mom and am a full time mommy. I eat, drink and sleep (sometimes with our babies) being a mom. Every waking moment (and sometimes sleeping moment) are with our kids. I love taking my kids places, seeing them grow before my eyes everyday, and being a Mommy. Since Chris & I did wait to have kids (and I initially only wanted 1!), we are at the end of the parenting age phase of life. We also had our kiddos pretty close together. So, it seemed that one day Alivia was a baby, and the next day Alivia was in school and Asher was entering toddlerhood. What happened to our babies? I know, I know...the next thing people are going to say is that I just don't want to return to work. HELLO?! I do work now!! Need I remind you that I work and skip 2 nights of sleep thank you! It takes me nearly 2 weeks to return to whatever normal I have left, and then I am back to work and no sleep (I am not complaining, just reminding that I am working). I may not work full time, but I do work. And, I will be at home with Asher until he goes to Kindergarten 3 1/2 years from now, and then I do plan to return to some sort of full time employment. So, I do not want another baby so I can just sit around and not work, thank you. I have a feeling that having 4 kids would be a lot of work anyway.

Perhaps everyone goes through this. So far, my friends are either all done with kids and "fixed", pregnant, or still in the unsure phase. Saying good bye to having babies is a difficult decision, even for me in my nearly "advanced maternal age" and all. Yes, I know, we have 3 healthy, vibrant children. So, move on! Perhaps I should...and hopefully this aching feeling will just go away like a year long case of the stomach flu or something.

Until then...I am going to enjoy our "babies" grow before my eyes. Perhaps we should get a dog instead. :)

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Before & After: The Kitchen Windows

We have finally started selecting and installing window treatments! They really change the look of the room, too. In the kitchen, Chris and I were not sure we wanted the look of shutters. We thought the space would feel more closed in and less like an eat in sun room. So, I found these pleated shades at JC, selected them, ordered them, and they arrived at our door 3 days later! Amazing! And, they were only $30 each! Seriously, it would cost more than $2200 to cover the 5 windows in our kitchen with wood shutters! At our last address, we had vinyl shutters. We loved the clean look. Now, they have composite shutters. They look like wood (I really could not tell the difference at all) but cost less than wood (more than vinyl though). It will give our home a polished look in the rooms we are doing in shutters, which include the dining room, living room, all the upstairs bedrooms, our closet and the master bathroom. The front of the home will be in shutters. The size of the family room windows are the same as the windows in the kitchen. Because of their size, they can not be covered neatly with composite making wood the next alternative. Luckily, the naked eye can not tell the difference, just the check book can. Since we like the look of the window treatments in the kitchen, we decided we could invest $90 to get them in the family room versus the over $2300 (plus tax and install) it would take to put wood shutters in the family room. For now, it gives an even look from the inside and outside of the main level of the home on back side of the house (although the upstairs will all have shutters). Eventually, with any luck, we will move towards the shutters, maybe.

Here is the new look to the kitchen. Although it does make the room look smaller, we like the new look, the privacy and the savings!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

1 Down 4 More to Go

Finally, our family room looks so much better. It is amazing what a fan can do for a room (good, bad and the "ugly."). One down, only 4 more to go (and one more to take down and cap outside!). Anyone need a tropical fan or 2?

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Ash Wednesday

We have kicked off the Lent Season with Ash Wednesday. When I explained to the kids about Ash Wednesday this morning (after our morning prayers where Alivia and Addison thanked God for school and Asher thanked God for food, go figure), Alivia thought Ash Wednesday was Asher Wednesday! Perhaps it will become clearer after she attends Mass with Chris tonight. Addison, Asher and I attented St. Columbkille's 8:15 Mass. I have decided, after today, that toys, books and snacks are not needed during Mass and just cause conflict. Overall, Addison and Asher did fine. When it came time to receive the ashes, all of us received a cross on our foreheads. Then, Asher started crying (almost immediately), asking for a kleenex to wipe the ashes off of his forehead. Addison was fine with the cross of ashes until a lady in front of us said to a little girl near by after Mass, "Your forehead is all dirty, did you know that?" Dirty? No it's not! It is a cross of ashes, lady! This Mass was a cleansing Mass and her little comment did not help what I was trying to teach Addi and Asher. Anyway, Addison then wanted me to clean her forehead, too. Maybe we will have more success next year.

Anyway, through my confusion of Mass at a new church, I did find the Homily to be an educational one. Father explained that we give up something that we love a lot, perhaps too much, to show that our love for God is stronger than that thing we are giving up. If Jesus died on the cross for us, giving something up during Lent is the least we can do. Father, a spicy food lover, gave up tabasco sauce and how difficult that was for him. So, this year, he joked, he was giving up exercise! :)

Again, this year the items we are giving up are:
Alivia: Morning TV (no TV before school) and she will journal during that time.
Addison: Her Taggie
Asher: Morning snack
Me: Facebook, computer time decreased (Just decrease my time on the computer to nap and evenings where possible). I think this year I may not return to Facebook. I have my own weird opinions on the social networking site. Perhaps someday I will elaborate.
Chris: I think he is giving up his family, although he has not said that specifically. He is going to be putting in more hours at work leading up to if not beyond the Lent Season. Too bad they do not pay him overtime. But, we have to be thankful he has a job, he keeps telling me.

Let Spring in Church begin, and let's hope that seasonal spring is quick to follow (as it was 14 degrees after Mass!).

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The 4 Holidays in a row this week: Fat Tuesday

It is weird that we have 4 Holidays in a row this week. First came Valentine's Day (love), then came President's Day (Hope?), and then today...Fat Tuesday. I will wait to call tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, the day of Faith. Fat Tuesday is the day we are to eat richer foods in preparation for the fasting of Lenten Season. When I tried to explain this to the kids, Alivia's response was, "But I don't want to get fat tomorrow." Clearly I need to work on a better explanation.

There is always the big question, "What will we do this Lent to come closer to God?" Perhaps, what do we love so much, but we still love God more and can prove it by giving it up? In Mass this weekend, Father referred to Lent as Spring of the Church, a renewal of faith if you will. Spring? Oh, I can't wait for that in any shape or form. is our list starting with the kiddos:

Alivia: Less TV, more reading. Add a morning prayer to our day.
Addison: Add a morning prayer to our day, say good-bye to the Taggie. At over 3 1/2 years of age, Addison needs to find a new coping skill before her dentist tells her it is too late.
Asher: Add a morning prayer to his day. Asher is going to give up his morning snack. I have been trying this for weeks. He will start having a healthy breakfast of pancakes or waffles (since his dry cereal without milk is not cutting it) and hopefully that will do the trick. This morning, he cried for over an hour for ANOTHER snack, after snacking on an additional cup of cereal after going to the grocery store. Let me tell you, that was a long ride home from Walmart in Millard!
Chris: He has not said yet. 
Krista: Make sure to attend all Holy Day Masses/weekend masses, pray with the kids before school, less computer use (just a waste of time) and read more. Reading is relaxing where stuff found on the computer can be far from relaxing. I also want to look into doing a volunteer activity with the kids during Alivia's spring break.

I look forward to kicking off Ash Wednesday with Addison and Asher tomorrow morning. We will miss Alivia coming along with us. I wonder if they will let her out of school to go to Mass (yes, I know - NO WAY!). She will have to go along with Daddy at night.

For now - I best get back to my Fat Tuesday activities as tomorrow only brings one big meal. Let the fasting begin - tomorrow!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Monday, February 15, 2010

President's Day Fun

Today, being President's Day, is a day off of school for Alivia. We had plans that were not set in stone plans for the morning, but not all things work out. The shutter measurement for the entire house took longer than I thought, and then there was that nice snow plow again. By the time I dug us out, I was exhausted. The kids had fun in the snow, though. Asher looked like a stuffed animal in his snow pants and coat (both that are entirely too big for him! Guess he will get at least another year out of the coat and at least 2 more years out of those snow pants). Gotta love days off of school! Now, back to helping Alivia journal, count money and learn to tell time. Gees! I need a day off! Hee hee.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

Happy Valentine's Day! This morning we were surprised bright and early (like 5 am!) with the kids being up and ready for the day. We all got dressed and ready, then it was time to see the Valentine's Day surprises. The kids were surprised by their little surprises of new art supplies (Asher got a Spiderman coloring book! Yeah, no more coloring princesses for him!), playing cards and army man. Daddy got, what else, but a Game stop gift card and his favorite M&Ms. The kids each made Daddy a Valentine and then a special Valentine surprise for him to take to work. I even got surprised with Almond M&Ms and some fresh flowers (I am not a big fan of flowers. I would rather have something that does not die). Daddy is also buying the shutters for the windows this week...whenever we get all of the bids in. We have expanded which windows to have covered with some new construction coming in right northwest of us (and I mean they are RIGHT THERE! It will totally change our view from having one to having one of a side of a house. Grrrr). We also think we are not going to do shutters in the eat in kitchen since it is a sunroom like space. I think it would close in the space too much to have shutters. We are not sure what we are doing there yet...but we need something urgently there, too. We will see. The decisions should be made this week. I can hardly wait for that belated Valentine (or early birthday, early Mother's Day, and early Anniversary presents) to arrive!

After opening our Valentines, we decided to venture off to northwest Omaha to SVDP for Mass. We got to see some friends, which was nice for homesick Chris and I. However, the kiddos were not good. We need some major behavior modification during mass (or any public outing for that matter). I think we learned today NOT to bring anything to church, especially crayons.

Chris also finished up the painting in Asher's room. One room down - I will not even mention how many more to go. We had problems finding a shade of gray we liked. The first coat (one coat primer, one coat paint) looked blue. The color on the wall now should work....<sigh> After applying 4 coats of paint, Chris is beginning to think I am trying to kill him. When I asked him, " Will you be my Valentine?" He laughed and said, "Maybe next year." Maybe next year when he does not have to paint, perhaps. Last year I pointed out the differences in our Valentine's Day cards. Let's just say the differences continued this year, but Chris' card is too inappropriate to post on this blog.

After enjoying a heart shaped lunch, we hope to enjoy a heart shaped dinner before calling an end to Valentine's Day 2010. Happy Valentine's Day with Love for the Austin 5.

Loving sistersOpening ValentinesNew Valentine PJs from G & GLike Father Like son

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trip to Mexico

For Chris and my 10th wedding anniversary, we hoped to go some place warm, tropical even. I was all geared up with travel agent appointments lined up until...the 5 weeks in the apartment happened. That just threw our schedule off. We were so stressed out with that, then the move, then the Holidays, that we never got around to planning our big trip.

Now, here we are in our home, and I still have not even thought about the trip. I received an email from one of Alivia's friend's parents tonight regarding a play date and she mentioned they could not do it on one date because they would be in Mexico. Oh, I totally forgot. We were going to go on a trip. But, what are we going to do instead?

Well, I think we are going to be buying shutters and window treatments for our home. Maybe, if we get lucky, we will finally have a closet and drop zone in the laundry room.

No, that does not sound warm, or tropical even. I think I would give anything to not have moved and be in our old house heading on a trip to Mexico. In the meantime, I think I will ask for a passport for my birthday. That will be a start (and then I will get one for Chris for his!).

Until then, I will just have to think warm and tropical while looking forward to our new window treatments. <Yawn.>

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Princess Ashley

Asher has this habit of putting a headband in his hair. He has it in wrong with the part that is to go on top of the head in the back...but he still has a headband on. He also is playing dress up with the girls. He dresses up as Snow white and then tells me he is a horse. Sorry my sweet little boy - you are a princess, not a horse. :)

Well, last night he was sitting in Alivia's room for story time wearing a headband and Daddy said to Asher, "Looking good, Princess Ashley." Well, Asher clearly knew Chris was making fun of him because he responded with what sounded like, "Shut up, you are mean!" He even repeated it. It sounded more like ketchup, you are mean, but we knew exactly what he said. Boy, he told Daddy! Although funny, not sure that is how we want him talking!

Sign in to see a picture of one of Princess Ashley's, I mean Asher's dress up outfits!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

To the Dr With Kids

I'm a mom. I take the kids to the Dr all the time, so why should it be any different when I, Mommy, needs to go to the Dr. Well, Mommy needed to go to the Dr. I wanted to throw my yearly check-up in with this appointment just to knock them both out of the way. However, my insurance will only cover one exam every year. My last yearly exam was on February 19, 2009. So, by going in today for my exam, they would not have covered it because I was 9 days early. Seriously...that is not cool.

Anyway, I loaded up on the snacks and set off with the kids. The nurse looked at me like I was crazy. I wanted to say to her, "Well, it could be worse, I could have brought all three of my kids." But, I just smiled and ignored her looks. She asked me a few questions, then asked for my method of birth control. I answered, "praying" with a smile. She questioned me, "That's all? Clearly it has not been too effective for you," looking at Addison and Asher. Okay, we planned out the girls. Asher, even though he was not planned, he was no accident, either. The nurse then responded with a deep sigh, "Okay, I will put down prayer in the birth control box." I just smiled.

I wonder if people who have had abortions get the same treatment that I did for not using birth control?

Anyway, the exam went okay and I guess I am not dying after all (although I am still questioning that). And, our kiddos have seen more of me that I ever thought was possible. I hope they are not tramatized.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Saturday, February 06, 2010

February Visit to the OCM

Today the kiddos and I visited the Omaha Children's Museum. Alivia had not gone with us in a while, and she was so excited. We began running around the main room. They shopped for groceries for over a half hour. I was exhausted from putting everything away, but the kids loved it! The crawled through the tunnels, played in the house, and Asher played on the fire truck. Then we made our way upstairs to check out the construction display. The kids enjoyed putting on hard hats and playing with the tools, loading up wheel barrows, making forts, and hammering. They had this area filled with rocks and Asher liked that best. They all played with the dump trucks for quite a while. After a quick trip downstairs to the ball room, we made Valentine's in the art center. It was finally time to rest and eat a picnic lunch. We played just a bit longer before heading back home to attempt a nap. That always sounds better than it really is.

In the meantime, Chris has started the Austin painting project in Asher's room. We can hardly wait for the finished result.

It was a fun, but exhausting morning of learning! Just another day at the Omaha Children's Museum!

Planting VegesFirefighter AsherFarm kids?Addison the cashierAsher ShoppingAlivia shoppingPlayin' in rocksAddi the builderAustin BuildersAddi and Asher at workUpside down AddiAsher hauling his loadBuild n learnLunch time

Read and post comments | Send to a friend