Monday, April 28, 2008

On The Road Again

We stopped for the night on the west side of Denver, found a nice hotel, with nice, friendly staff (we'd stopped at quite a few trying to find one that had everything we needed at a decent price, and found some VERY rude hotel people!).

We then went to eat at Furr's - an all you can eat buffet. We got there just before they were about to put the food away, so we made sure to get plenty, since we wouldn't be able to go back for more. I think we got our money's worth!

And not all of the food is even visible in that picture - Rick had 2 full plates in front of him - the kids each had a little jell-o, a cup of peaches, and mac & cheese in front of them! It was pretty yummy - we all left quite full!

Then Sunday morning after a breakfast of cereal and waffles at the hotel we were on the road again. The kids had been up too late the night before so were still pretty tired (they have yet to learn the art of sleeping in!) Lots of movies and snacks made the drive go pretty smoothly!

Doesn't Gabriella just look exhausted?! Exhausted and totally zoned in on whatever movie was on at the moment!

William FINALLY zonked about an hour and a half before we got home! I love his messy chocolate pudding face!

Tabitha threw up - a lot - about 45 minutes after we left the hotel - not fun! That took about 1/2 an hour to stop and get everything cleaned up and carseats situated. But after that she was fine and happy as could be. Rick and I got a kick out of hearing her talking to herself and playing with her little dolls so happily.

And what is this, you might be asking. Some Midevil torture device? Nope - Rick was tired. VERY tired. And leaning the seat back made the kids complain that they couldn't see their movie hooked to the back of the seat. And a pillow in the window just didn't cut it. So, the genius handyman that he is, he used what he had available and got creative. (If you can't really tell by the picture, that is his belt strapped about his head and the headrest of the seat, holding his head in place) I had a good laugh - a very good laugh! And yes, he really was asleep - he slept that way about 45 minutes or so, until I had to make a stop for a potty break!

A stop at the Zoo

We made a fun, unscheduled, "spontaneous" (as Rick called it) stop on our way home to go the the Rolling Hills Zoo in Salina, Kansas. We had only been on the road a short amount of time - just over an hour - before we saw signs for a zoo & museum. Our plan was, we were going to drive about 10 hours on Saturday, stop overnight somewhere, then the other 4 - 5 Sunday morning, and be home in time for our 2 pm church meetings. So fun stops were not part of the plan. But we stopped anyway and had a great, fun morning at the zoo. The weather was perfect! It wasn't too hot, so the animals were mostly out and playing. Again, I didn't take a lot of pictures, but here are a couple fun ones!

This one was taken outside of the big red barn where we saw chickens, bunnies, sheep, llamas, goats, and lots more! (and I learned that my camera has a timer!)

These two loved the giant turtles! Behind them is the Reptile House - there was an albino Burmese Python and a brown one, curled up all nice and cuddly looking - they just gave me the shivers and I couldn't wait to get out of there!
Like I said, it was the perfect day for going to the zoo! We stayed longer than we should have and ended up only driving about 7 hours that day, so we had a longer drive the next day and got home about the time that our church was ending instead of starting - oh well, we were all glad we stopped!

The day we were there, the zoo was having some extra special activities to celebrate Earth Day. The kids got free cupcakes, played some games, we got a big reusable shopping bag, a free tomato plant and a package of seeds to plant!
The kids loved the cupcakes, the games were dumb and corny, I've used my shopping bag a couple of times, the tomato plant was planted in the garden and I think it is now dead (guess it got too cold at nite!) and we will be planting the corn seeds this week!

Men At Work

Rick had a day and a half to spend in Kansas before we headed home.
This is how he CHOSE to spend it - Yes, Chose - it was all his idea!

Joy's house did not have a bathroom downstairs - but there was some of the plumbing set up for a toilet and such in the big laundry room. And putting in a bathroom down there has been on "the list" for quite some time! So when I asked Rick what he wanted to do Friday morning, he said he wanted to help put in the bathroom! No fun family outing for us!! My handyman wanted to get busy! I am so thankful that he is such a great handyman - being able to do just about anything around the house has really helped us out SO much! And I'm sure Joy is very appreciative, too!

I think Rick & Derrick made 3 different trips to The Home Depot to get everything, and Derrick ended up going back after we'd left for something else! They got all the plumbing for the sink and toilet hooked up.

Here is Derrick, showing off his fancy, schmancy toilet seat - you just give it one little push and it closes completely, and soundlessly, all by itself! Pretty spiffy!! He was laughing when I took this picture - either because he was just so excited about it or thot I was crazy for wanting to take a picture of it, I'm not sure which!

Great Job, Boys!

I'm SO Glad When Daddy Comes Home!

Our travel plans to/from Kansas were maybe a bit crazy - we all drove on a Friday & Saturday to Kansas, then Sunday Rick flew home. He worked for a week and a half and then on Thursday he flew back to Kansas so that we could all drive home together Saturday & Sunday.

I took Gabriella & William with me to the airport to pick him up and they were SO excited to see him. But there was someone else who was even more excited to see Daddy -

Tabitha had been napping when we went to the airport -
these pictures are what happened as soon as she got up!

She was one HAPPY little girl!

And her big owie on her nose? She fell down the stairs.

Fun Times in Kansas

Just a few fun pictures:

Tabitha, Kali, and Gabriella posing in the matching outfits Joy got on Clearance
Braxton & William being silly - in matching pajamas -
and NO, we did not plan the matching jammies, they just both had the same pair!
5 silly kids playing outside
We really didn't take very many pictures, and for some reason, I didn't get any pictures of Tristan (my 8 year old nephew), probably cuz he was at school all the time! But the kids all had lots of fun playing together!

Welcome Baby Colton!

Colton Zane Johnson was born Wednesday, April 9
and he is CUTE CUTE CUTE!!

Tabitha LOVED the "little tiny tiny baby"
Willaim loved holding him!

So did Gabriella!

It was great to be able to be there to "help out" a bit and be the first ones to
get to see this sweet little baby nephew/cousin of ours!

Catching Up!

Ok, so my bloggings have been pretty sparse lately! We had a great trip to Kansas, made it home safely, and now my oldest sister Laura has been visiting. Needless to say, blogging is only one of the MANY things I am behind on!! My next few posts are dedicated to catching up!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Ok, so I think officially, tomorrow is Earth Day - but really, the last few years it has been more like Earth Week. In the past I haven't ever done anything to celebrate, but in the last few months I have really been thinking more about our world and the environment. There are certain things that I always do, that I always have done, but it is mostly because I am frugal, but a lot of them are great ways to do little things to help out our planet:

- We recycle our newspapers (Wed & Sun are all we get) and old phone books
- Kids (and myself) do not bathe every day - I truly do not believe we are that dirty!
- Bath towels are washed maybe every 2 weeks - seriously, you are clean when you use it!!
(Anybody think we are dirty and gross yet?!) :)
- Laundry is ALL washed in cold water
- Lights and water are always turned off if not actively being used
- I reuse my Zip Lock bags (Rick hates this!)
- Plastic grocery bags are my only form of garbage bags (Target's rock!)

Ok, so those are just a few things! But on the other hand, there are things that I have been doing more recently that aren't all that Earth Friendly (and maybe not as economical)

- I LOVE disposable Lysol wipes!
- I also love Scotch Brite disposable toilet bowl scrubbers!
- Paper towels (or paper "tow wow wow wows" as Tabitha calls them!)
are used way too much here! We need to work on that!

Now, the ONLY reason I started using the Lysol wipes and toilet scrubbers are because I either had coupons or rebates for them that made them FREE!! So I stocked up and I am hooked! If you'd like to try out the disposable toilet scrubbers yourself, go here for a FREE Coupon!

I have a couple of things that I am going to start implementing VERY soon to be a bit more Earth Friendly.

- My hubby is going to put in a clothesline outside! I am SO excited! I have been practically begging for one since last spring and it never happened last year so last summer he was given the deadline of Mother's Day 2008 - Better get busy Honey Buns!
- We are slowly changing out our light bulbs with energy efficient ones
- We will be planting our garden in a couple weeks - And it will be about twice the size or bigger than last year! We may even do some fruit trees this year.
- I am going to start using reusable shopping bags for my smaller trips to the store. We got one at a zoo we stopped at on our way home from Kansas, and I just filled out a little quiz for another one!
Go here to fill out the quiz and get one of your own!

And one I am now debating - Cloth Napkins. That would really cut down on our paper towel issue. I could get remnant fabrics for cheap at WalMart and make our own fun ones and save my nice white ones for nice times. Hmmm . . . . Any thoughts on that?

What are your plans for celebrating Earth Day?

P.S. The answers for the quiz above are 1-B, 2-C, 3-A, 4-C, 5-D, 6-B, 7-B, 8-D, 9-B, 10-A

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ear Infections

Let me start by saying I HATE EAR INFECTIONS!!!
Saturday morning when the kids got up, Gabriella said that her ear was hurting. I thot maybe she had just slept funny and that her earring was bothering her. That evening, she again said that her ear hurt a little bit. Hmmm. . .
Ok, if it still hurts in the morning we will see if Dr. Derrick will look at it.
Sunday morning came, Sunday afternoon came, and then Sunday bedtime came. And she again said that her ear hurt a little bit.
Ok, if it still hurts in the morning we will see if Dr. Derrick will look at it. (It was bedtime, I needed some quiet time!)
Less than 2 hours later she woke up screaming. My first thot was that she had a bad dream. And she said Yes, she had a bad dream. So we cuddled for a while and she was drifting off to sleep so I put her back in bed. I had barely gotten settled back in the recliner when she started screaming AGAIN! I raced back to the bedroom and she told me that her ear hurt AGAIN.
Ok, definitely time to do something about it. Derrick (my brother-in-law) checked her ears and sure enuf, she has an ear infection. We gave her some pain reliever, a promise to get some medicine in the morning, and she fell asleep sitting in the recliner, where she stayed all nite.

This morning I wake up to Tabitha tugging on the corner of my pillow. It was 6 AM - way too early! (Remember, we are at my sister's house still and all of us are sharing a bedroom) Tabitha did not want to lay back down in her bed, so I got her to lay between me and Gabriella. That only lasted a minute or so and then she started and crying and saying her ear hurt. Not another one!
Again we called on the good Dr. Derrick. He checked out her ears and confirmed my suspicions. A double ear infection! Another trip to the pharmacy for another bottle of amoxicillan.

Did I mention that I HATE EAR INFECTIONS?! Hate them Hate them Hate them!!
My kids have all had more than their share of ear infections. And I can't figure out why! I did everything I was supposed to do to help lower their risks: I breastfed all of them until at least 8 months old (one of them until 14 months!), I never smoked around them or had them around anyone who did smoke, and as infants I never put them on their back to drink a bottle. And still, after everything I could do, they have all had many ear infections. Gabriella had at least 3 before she was a year old. William had too many to count!! When he was about a year old, he got an ear infection every month, almost to the date! We had just gotten a referral for an ENT Specialist, and then they suddenly stopped for a couple months and then he got one again the day before I was supposed to be induced with Tabitha! The hospital called, telling me to come on in and have my baby and I said, Nope, Sorry, I have a sick baby that needs me. I figured, Tabitha was happy as could be inside of me, so she could hang out there a couple more days while I took care of one who did need me! And Tabitha has had probably 1/2 a dozen or more. WHY?!?!
Why isn't there some wonderful vaccine for ear infections? Seriously, I think ear infections are a lot worse than something like chicken pox!! And there is a vaccine for that!! Why?! (I have never understood that one!)
But on a brighter, more positive side, there is a doctor in the house!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Where Are We?

I know I have been really getting behind, but for good reason! We left home about a week & 1/2 ago for a fun little road trip - ok, not really so much fun, or little for that matter, but definitely a road trip! And then once we got here, I could not for the life of me find my camera!! Until 2 days ago - it took 3 times of searching the van, searching all my bags twice or more, calling the hotel we'd stayed at one nite to see if they'd found it (when I knew I had not even taken it into the hotel!), before I FINALLY found it just 2 days ago, buried deep in the pocket behind my seat in the van!A funny little story behind this picture. I did a lot of reading while we were driving - or at least, I ATTEMPTED a lot of reading - but with 3 kids, even with watching movies, they don't keep quiet for too long. And for some reason, it is always "Mom!! Mom! MOM!!!" that they yell - not "Dad!! Dad! DAD!!!" Anyways, so during one of these attempts at reading, after being hollered at for about the millioneth and one time, my mind started wandering. I knew we were getting close to Kansas and I thot it would be fun to get a picture of us at a "Welcome To Kansas" sign. I decided that after I read a few pages, I would tell Rick that we needed to stop when we saw a sign. So of course I got distracted some more, my reading didn't happen and I forgot to tell Rick to stop when we saw the sign. And next thing I know, we passed it! And I hollered at Rick to STOP! I need a picture! So there on the highway, he slams on the brakes and brings us to a bumpy little stop on the side of the road, quite aways past the sign. I figured we'd just get out and walk to it and was about to hop out when he starts backing up!! WHAT?! You can't back up on the highway! Luckily it wasn't busy. The people at the weight station right next to the sign probably thot we were insane, but hey, we got our picture!

A few little tidbits we learned about Kansas:
Kansas has oil! We saw quite a few Oil Derricks pumping for oil!
Kansas is very windy!! We used to always complain about the wind in Idaho, but oh my heck!
Kansas has lots and lots of miles and miles of fields. Far as the eye can see. Not very exciting!

It took us 15 hours of driving, and about a dozen stops (including one on the side of the road, in that horrid wind, and snow, when William insisted he had to go potty - and not just #1, but #2! It was SO funny watching Rick hold him up, waiting and hoping for him to do his thing - it never happened! and then only 1 mile away was a gas station with a real bathroom - and guess who went?!), 1 night at a hotel, way too much $$ in gas, and only minimal whining from the kids before we got to our destination: the Cousins' home in Wichita! And what have we been up to? Not a whole lot: Swimming at the YMCA, Watching lots of movies, Staying up way too late, Playing with the cousins, Tae-Bo (me & the kids), Dance Dance Revolution (I gotta get me a Wii!), and the main reason we came: Baby Colton!!

A Surprise Visit

About a week & 1/2 ago, we had 3 surprise visitors - my Cousin Kristina and her 2 kids, Trey and Tylee. Even though we only live about an hour away, I still had not been able to make a visit to see Baby Tylee - and she is now 2 months old!! I know I know, BAD!! So luckily they came to us! It was a fun little visit, but too short! Here's a couple pictures of the kids with Baby Tylee:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mommy Brain-Fart

Last nite we had a special ward FHE and got home a bit late. It was 8:30 when the kids got to bed, but William asked if he could "stay up a little bit" - he gets to "stay up a little bit" on the days when he takes a nap, and since he had indeed taken a nap yesterday (the first in a couple of weeks!) I told him he could read books in his room for 5 minutes. He was happy. And I ran downstairs to begin my nightly computer ritual.
I put in an Avon order, checked my email, caught up on the latest on Vicky's, and then checked out a couple of friends' blogs. And then at 9:50 I headed upstairs to get myself ready for bed.
As I headed down the hall, I noticed William's bedroom light was on! What is he doing? I thought to myself and then a light bulb clicked on! OH MY HECK!! I had totally forgotten about William and his "5 minutes"! I opened his door and there he was sitting on the floor surrounded by books, and looking tired - very tired!
"William - I forgot to put you in bed! Are you so tired?" I asked him.
"Yes, and I just told myself 'I am not gonna read anymore books!'"
As I tucked him in, I gave him permission to sleep in. He agreed. And I was hopeful.
But no luck - he was up just after 7 - like always.
So I figured he would take a nice long nap today. It's 3 pm and he won't go to sleep!
Chalk another up for the Mommy Brain.