Saturday, December 27, 2008

Breathe.

*edit* thanks, I meant breathe not breath!

There's a lot I've been thinking about. Things that I'm sure have contributed to my funky mood lately. But I just don't really have the words yet. So much running through my head, it's hard to wrap my brain around what I'm trying to say...

So for now, I'm just going to breathe.

And focus on the amazing week we've had at our house.

Two holidays in one week, that's a lot to cram in! Lot's of wrapping, unwrapping, and opening those darn toy boxes! That gets harder every year! This year we actually needed a screwdriver to get one toy out of the box! That's insane!

We tried something new for Hanukah this year, each night the kids got one group present...a board game, or something that we can all play with together. The kids actually really liked this idea, they've been playing so well together all week!

We tried to tone down Christmas a bit this year too. It was still fun, and the kids got things from their lists, but we tried to focus on the giving rather than the getting. And for little kids, they've come up with some pretty amazing ways to give to others.

The loot!

The boys are totally into star wars this year, so most of their gifts were somehow related to it.

Caroline got a hamster! Which she was completely over the moon in love with, until it bit her! Now she's working up the courage to hold it again!

Emma's pretty easy to please, a new leapster and a few little puppy things and she's set!

Emma and her new leapster!



Sam playing with all of his "guys"!




Caroline and Lulu!





Emma and Jud




Sam and Jack playing wii, sporting their new AHOPE shirts from Aunt Katie (how much do I love her!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

No Bubbie I won't forget about the blog!

Bubbie called this morning a little worried that with my new found love of facebook, I will forget about the blog!

Not to worry! I havn't forgotten, I'm just a little short on time these days! Cramming two holidays into one week is a little exhausting for mommy!

But to hold you over until the craziness of the holidays have passed, here's a few pictures of what Caroline and I did this week, while I've been avoiding doing all of the things I should be getting done!

Yes, instead of cleaning my house to get ready for company tomorrow, we had fun playing dress up in my closet instead!

Caroline's favorite was my wedding dress! I had to smile because I remember trying on my mom's wedding dress when I was a little girl! I remember feeling so beautiful like I looked like my mom...I would stare at her wedding portrait that hung in her bedroom, and think, someday I'd look just like her.

And looking at Caroline in my dress, well she was gorgeous! And I could see that same dreamy look in her eyes. It was a really sweet feeling. However, I'm glad we have a few years before she's ready for her own wedding dress! In fact when I showed Jud the pictures, he had trouble even looking at them, I don't think he'll ever be ready to let her grow up...



Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!

Nothing like a snow day to pick you up out of funk...










Until the fun 20 minutes in the snow is over and I am left with this!





Even with all this sogginess to clean up it's still hard to stay in a funk with all of this cuteness!




Thursday, December 18, 2008

In a funk.

I'm not quite sure what my problem is, but I'm totally in a funk this week!

My normal go go go energy, seems to be on vacation!

Things that usually drive me insane, like dirty dishes, piles of laundry gathering on the floor and sticky gross floors...this week, well I just don't have the energy to care!

This waiting stuff (on the adoption front) is really getting to me.

In my efforts to avoid the adoption forum (that I normally check daily) and with the advice from my wise 16 year old sister in law, I have joined Facebook...yet another addiction to tend to! (Thanks Mim!) I have since been slacking so much around the house that I fear Jud may take away my computer!!!

Maybe that's why I feel blue????



Even though I've been in a funky mood, It's been a busy and fun week for the kids! Emma and I had a play date with Sarah and her gorgeous kids this week! Emma and Thad were so cute together, and I seriously thought about stealing Hannah!

Sarah and I met years ago, when the forum was just beginning...we were both waiting for referrals. And we've emailed for the past three years but never met...It was so great to finally meet Sarah and have another mom who knows just what I'm feeling and to be able to talk about all of the crazy emotions that go along with this whole process...

Another bright spot, (for those of you who just hang out for pictures) Emma had her Holiday concert today.

She was so darn cute!





But even amidst the cuteness of Emma performing in her concert, I felt the mommy guilt! As she was up on stage singing, O little town of Bethlehem, Away in a manger, and Go tell it on the mountain...I felt so guilty, this preschool was not supposed to be affiliated with any religion..something I talked to the director about...but here Emma is rocking her arms with baby Jesus...(I know, if my Dad read this blog he'd be thrilled!) But-Hello, we're Jewish!!

So yes here's where the guilt pours in! I feel awful that we haven't been more involved with out Temple...I feel like we should be doing more to encourage their pride in their Jewish Heritage...

So being the sneaky people that we are, Jud is going to school with Caroline and Jack (assuming we have don't have a snow day) to play dreidle, and bribe all of the kids with Hanukkah gelt and M&M's to convince them that eight days of presents is so much more fun than one day of Santa's gifts!

Matzah vs Easter eggs is a little harder sell!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hanukah started a little early this year

This weekend we had Jud's family in town, to celebrate Hanukah. (yes, a little early!) The kids were all so excited to see their little cousin Spencer again, and of course Spencer's parents, Uncle Dave and Aunt Kristy who brought the Lovely Auntie Miriam with them, and of course you can't have Hanukah without Bubbie and Zaide!


We pretended it was the fourth night of Hanukah, so that each of the kids could take turns lighting the candles!








Candles, presents, latkes, oh my!!

Caroline loved the latkes!




No visit with Bubbie is complete without a good book.


>



Emma and Spencer really hit it off! They had so much fun playing and being silly together! He's such a cutie!






We all enjoyed playing Caroline's High School Musical game from Grandma and Grandpa! Jud won the game with these dance moves!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Overheard

As mom of this crazy house, I overhear many funny conversations between the kids, mostly from Jack and Sam. You have to understand, in Sam's eyes, Jack is the wisest human on earth! (Sam refers to all people as humans!)

I'm not sure how this one started, but what I did catch sure made me smile!



Sam, "but how could he make the sun, it's burning hot, wouldn't he burn himself?"

Jack, "Sam, when humans get burned they stop drop and roll! That's you do, stop drop and roll Sam, until the fire is gone.!!! But God is not human Sam. HE is like, like Magic!"

Sam, "the fire doesn't even burn him?"

Jack, "No Sam, he's magic!"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh yes, we are the picture perfect family!







Seriously, this was one of about twenty thousand "photo shoots" really, I give up! Four kids and two dogs, just too much for one photo! I'm thinking we'll go for a collage card this year!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Snow day!

Well not really, but the kids only had a half day of school today, so we pretended it was a snow day!

They were all dying to get out and play in the snow. Although, Emma was more than a little ticked off when Caroline told her the snow wasn't "packy" enough to make a snowman!





Sam lasted all of five minutes outside! He kept losing mittens and boots in the snow and then the snot started to drip! He had enough!



Jack kept diving face first into the snow, so it wasn't long before he was bright red and ready to come inside!





The girls stayed out for almost an hour! They probably each ate about a gallon of snow while they were out there!






Even Sketcher enjoyed running around in the snow for a little bit!



Not Sophie though, I guess tromping through the snow with three paws is not her idea of a good time! What? didn't you know we had a three legged dog?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Today is World AIDS Day




What you should know about HIV


- HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact.

HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way.

It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles).

- HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives.

- People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do.

If anyone wants more info on transmission, there is great info on the Center for Disease Control website


Please visit Erin's blog for incredible insight about raising a family while dealing with HIV/AIDS and Lisa's blog to hear more about what these incredible women are doing to help the AIDS orphans, and to promote awareness about this disease.

And of course, if you haven't yet, please visit the AHOPE Store


I have to say, last week, I received the greatest gift I have ever been given in my whole life!

I got an email from AHOPE saying that a donation had been made in My name! It was donated by my wonderful sister-in-law Katie, who really gets it! And gets me! Thanks Katie, I love you! Honestly, BEST gift ever!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Maybe a little too much fun this weekend!

Most of the weekend we just hung out and played around the house!

Lot's of alphabet games!!! Sam is doing much better...he knows about half of the letters now!

This morning, we brought the kids out for brunch. They were so darn cute! We're still working on the manners while in a restaurant stuff, but they sure looked the part of perfect kids!




Last night we brought all of the kids to the Buck's game! It was hilarious! Jack and Caroline loved all the action and Sam and Emma loved the popcorn, and cookies! Not to mention the Sprite! We don't usually allow soda, so they all filled their bellies while they had the chance!


On Friday Jud brought all of the kids to the theater....by himself.... to see a movie!!! (He's so brave!) While I headed to Green Bay for a night out!


It was a little surprise get together for my sister Jean, because she didn't want a party... but she is turning 40!!! We couldn't let that go by without a celebration!

Jean had to teach a spinning class the next morning, so she wasn't quite in the party hardy mood that I was, but hey, no kids and no Jud, that doesn't happen often, I had to take full advantage!






My mom, aunt, cousins, sisters, sisters-in-law, some of Jean's friends and one studly brother;) (Pete only a real man can hang out with a bunch of drunk old ladies!!!)

We had dinner, and for a few of us, maybe a little too much fun!



Sisters!



My sister Karin and I, and a few adventurous friends of Jean's, really made a night of it!!! We actually closed the bar! I can't even remember the last time I did that! And I sure felt the consequences the next morning!!!

But we were just having so much fun! It was awesome so have some fun, girl time with Karin! We haven't done anything together in quite awhile, so we really let loose!

Sadly this was only the beginning of the night!




Why does she look so annoyed with me already???


Believe me, by the end of the night, she was dancing too! Those pictures however, will remain in a file for future blackmail!!!


And here's a picture of two of my favorite people!

Kristin and Mel



They had our puppies at their house for the last week! I think Sophie is already a little depressed to be home. She is back to the life of a dog, sleeping in her crate, rather than the life of a queen, sleeping on Kristin's pillow!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Normally we celebrate Thanksgiving with some of our enormous extended family!

...some years we travel to them, some years they travel to us.

But this year, we decided to take a break! And celebrate with just our own little family.

With Jud working so hard lately, our family time has suffered a bit...so we were all in need of a little togetherness!

So instead of a turkey dinner, we opted for a few days at a water park in the dells!

it was wonderful!

No computers, no cameras, no phones, and very limited blackberry time (You can only ask so much of a senior VP I guess) I didn't check e-mail or the forum once! That's major!

This was a first for me, I actually put the camera down...I took absolutely no pictures this weekend. Even though there were a ton of awesome photo opportunities! Instead , I went down the howling tornado with the brave Caroline, I surfed the wave pool with Jack, rode the lazy river ride with Sam, and swam in any pool that wasn't too "noisy" with Emma!

It was so nice to just be us.

Just us.

our family.

the kids, and us.



But now, even though we've only been home for a few hours, I already feel we're being sucked back to reality!


I can't stop thinking about the kid's conferences earlier this week...


On Monday, I met with all of the "bigs" teachers.

First was Caroline,

I heard about how she was reading far above her grade level and how she was testing in the 99% for math. I heard about how responsible and honest she is...

Then Jack,

I heard about how much his teacher loves having him in class. What a helper he is. How nice he is to all of his classmates. And of course, how well he tested in reading and math...and what an overall awesome kid he is!

No big shock, they're great kids, I already knew that. But then came Sam.

This picture was from his first day of school!





During his conference, I heard about what a good listener he is, how well he follows directions, how nice he is to his friends...

and then the shock!

his teacher told me that he wasn't able to recognize most of the letters...immediately, my head started spinning.

he doesn't know his letters!!!


What?!!!


We've got him working on addition and subtraction...did we really forget the basic alphabet?

It can't be. There must be some mistake.

When I got home and told Jud what the teacher said, he didn't believe me. So we started pointing out letters to Sam, asking him what they were. Sure enough pretty much the only ones he knew were S A M .


I know I worked on letters. I know I did flash cards with the ABC's, I know we talked about what letter everything started with... turns out, even though I did these these things...it wasn't with Sam!

Holy #%*%!!!

We forgot one!

Some how this one got by us!

How can that be? Jud and I are very involved parents. We talk to the kids everyday about everything that's going on...we know what they're doing and when they're doing it!

But somehow we missed this!!!

Totally embarrassed, I assured his teacher that we would work on his letters and he would know them in no time!!!

Caroline helped out...we made flashcards, and made up games. Tonight we played alphabet go fish, and Sam did, well...let's just say we've got a lot of work to do!

On the bright side,
Emma knows all of her letters already!

yup, worst mom,
right here!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I love vacation days!

Caroline and I worked very hard on this, for really, far too long!!!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Big weekend for Jack!

First, he lost his second tooth! Very exciting! Then, for the even bigger news, Jack has now joined the late bedtime club! This was a major development! He's been talking about it for weeks!


For sometime now, at bedtime, after we read stories, while we tuck in Jack, Sam and Emma, Caroline gets to sneek douwnstairs for late bedtime. She usually gets to have a little snack and then we either play a board game or we watch animal planet together. Just a little special time together!

Well, now Jack has joined the club! Caroline was very gracious in welcoming him to the late bedtime club, "because it will be more fun to play board games with 4 people!" That's just good thinking!

I just can't believe how much Jack is growing up lately! He sure is one awesome kid!


Here he was at bedtime tonight!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rhona, AKA Bubbie!

I remember when Jud and I were dating...over ten years ago! (gosh do I feel old even typing that!) When things started getting serious, we drove to MN so I could meet his mom, Rhona. I was so nervous!

I heard how Jud talked about her, how strong she was, how caring she was, how incredibly supportive she was...I knew that she was an extremely important person in Jud's life (obviously)! but, what if she didn't like me???

Once we met, it took me all of two minutes to get over my nervousness, and realize that this incredible woman was not one who was going to judge me, that's just not her.

Honestly, in the ten years I've known her, I've never heard her say a negative thing about anyone!

Rhona's life has not been an easy one... if there where ever a person who deserved to hold a grudge, or the right to be a little spiteful, she would be that person. But she doesn't. She always sees the best in people. And with her sweet, nurturing, nature she accepts everyone as they are, doesn't try to change them, just tries to understand them.

Rhona and I pretty much hit it off from the start, we're very similar in some ways, and very different in others, but there is such a mutual respect for each other, even from those first days together, that our relationship has just grown over the years.

But really, I don't think there's any doubt that our relationship, kind of, stepped to another level, while I was pregnant with Caroline.

While I was pregnant, I was on bed rest...for a long time...I seriously thought I was close to losing my mind! But that's when Rhona started calling...and calling...and then I started calling her...and calling her...soon, we were talking everyday, usually several times!!! If I had a doctors appointment, I'd get in my car and call Rhona to give her the update. If I read something troubling,or I was freaked out about something, I'd call Rhona... She was my go to gal... my friend!


When it FINALLY came time to deliver, Rhona was supposed to be teaching a class, but instead she was on a last minute flight to Milwaukee because she just couldn't bear to miss the birth of her first grandchild! A memory we'll share forever!


Rhons and Caroline










Once Rhona became a Bubbie...I think I began to love her even more. And the kids, oh my gosh! Bubbie is the bomb!!! Caroline was two years old, and she already knew Bubbie's phone number! Caroline would call and leave messages, always ending with "luv you bye!" (which Bubbie taped and recently gave me a tape of!)

The kids all love and adore Bubbie! As do Jud and I!!! She is such a huge positive influence in all of our lives. Caroline and Bubbie, definitely have a very strong bond! Which I just love! And I hope that over the years just gets stronger...(as long as you don't encourage her to dye her hair green!)

What a better role model for Caroline to have? A strong, independent, loving, and secure woman...oh I hope Bubbie rubs off on her!


The girls again!





Really, knowing Rhona, has changed me as a person, I have learned to think about things I never really thought about before, care about things I never really cared about before, and love much deeper than I ever have before.


In the last, probably two years, I have gone through a sort of moral makeover...just trying to think more about others and less of myself...give more, take less...and in the midst of this "transformation" one day, Jud told me that I reminded him of his mom! I smiled, I was so proud of myself! I felt like I had made it! To be compared to you....well, it's the best compliment anyone could ever give!


Rhona, I love and respect you, I admire your strength and courage, I am honored to be your daughter ( even if it's only by law!)

I Love you! For who you are...For who you are to me! To the kids! And to stubborn old Jud! You are one incredible BUBBIE! And one amazing Mom!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!


I Love you !

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How Cute are They?!!!!

Caroline and Jack are practicing for their big duet on Tuesday!







And Emma playing with her leapster! I know I'm biased, but isn't she just the most gorgeous little three year old ever!!!






Sorry no pictures of Sam tonight...he was feeling a bit under the weather...