Thursday, December 30, 2010

Coming Soon in 2011...

I'm ashamed when I realize how long it's been since I've blogged. So many funny and exciting things have happened, and I've failed to document them. SHAME!! In my defense, it has been the holiday season and things have been C-R-A-Z-Y. I anticipate things starting to settle down quite a bit once Christmas vacation is over.

All that said, I've made some New Year's Resolutions. I'm counting on you all to remind me when I fall off the wagon and fail to do what I need to do. This year's resolutions:
1. Trading time visiting My Online Friends (sorry girls!) for time to blog. Since I don't keep a personal journal, this will be the documentation of my kids' childhood experiences. The goal is to blog 2-3 times a week per blog. Think I can do it? I do!!!

2. Reading three pages of scriptures on my own daily. In Sunday School, the teacher pointed out that reading three pages daily will result in time to read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the New Testament. It's a REALLY big goal, but it's a challenge that I think will be really fun. I'm excited to at least give it a shot.

3. No more soda. It's time to say good bye to the bubbly caffeinated goodness that is soda. More specifically, I'm bidding farewell to McDonald's coke. This will be a hard, lonely choice to make, but it's for the best. And, really if a person feels lonely without their McDonald's coke, it really is best to say good-bye isn't it?

So, that's what's coming in 2011. I'm looking forward to it. What are your New Year's resolutions?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Liam Has a Word!!

I am at a loss for words (which is me) tonight. We have spent endless hours working on keeping Liam's hearing aids in. A friend of mine, Kadee, managed to make him a cap that officially works at keeping the aids where they belong. In keeping the aids in, we have succeeded at giving him auditory input. Finally, it's all paying off. I was recording a video of him demonstrating his cap and after I finished, he managed to say the one word he's allegedly been saying at school for a couple weeks now. This was our first time hearing him say it correctly at home. He's so proud of himself that he walked around for quite a while after the video with his toys in the air saying "uh uh uh".

Here he is saying his first word!! Go Liam!!!
Here he is demonstrating his awesome cap. This video also shows another big step for him as it demonstrates him finally copying what we do. This is a great step toward sign and spoken language acquistion. It really is a great day for him.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We Went to the Pumpkin Patch

It was parent/teacher conference week this past week and our school district felt that it would be wise to have the students all have four day weekends so teachers could have enough time to meet with all the parents. Really?!?! Is there no other time to do this, like 2am or something?? Does it really seem like a great idea to ask parents to raise their own children?

At any rate, I got to have all five children home Thursday and Friday and I have to say they were remarkably well behaved. Liam's girlfriend (her job is to come twice a week and help him keep his hearing aids in), Kassidi, also happened to be off on Friday so I called to see if she'd like to come help me survive taking all the kids to the pumpkin patch. Being the amazingly sweet girl she is, she accepted the offer.

We started by taking the kids to Pizza Street for lunch. It's a pizza buffet, so the kids were delighted that they could choose whatever flavor they wanted. I was stunned to see Liam pack away plate after plate of fetuccini alfredo. Go Liam!! Things were going really well until the ice cream machine ran out of chocolate. At that point, I felt the need to curl up in the fetal position and cry. Considering the fact that we were in public, I opted to hold back and instead quietly worked on a vanilla cone. Let the record show that I was crying inside, though.

The pumpkin patch was great!! It's in the same town where Byron works, but I would never have found it without my GPS. We arrived, unloaded and headed to the entrance to pay to get in. I was pretty impressed with the fact that none of my five children were hit by oncoming traffic as we attempted to get inside the gate. Honestly, trying to take them anywhere is like herding cats except that herding cats is much less painful.

The kids headed straight for the hay bail maze. It was a cute little town thing where kids could go in and get lost. I encouraged them to get lost frequently, but they kept finding their way out. Figures. At any rate, they had a good time.

From there, we came to the petting zoo. CJ was just sure he witnessed the rooster laying an egg. I didn't have the heart to tell him that wasn't a rooster because he was so delighted to discover that "eggs come from rooster butts". Aiden spent his time trying to distract a bully horse so that a hungry donkey could dine on some most delicious corn. Rachel was working on a plot to adopt a kitten while Drezden meowed at said kitten and Liam attempted to eat anything he could find on the ground.

From there, we moved on to the play area which consisted of several John Deer tractors in kids' sizes and giant sand boxes full of corn. I think this was the area we spent the majority of our time in. Liam really liked filling bins with corn and listening to it shake. Kassidi said she liked how the corn felt between her toes. Really? I felt like it just sort of got stuck between my toes and felt downright weird. Anyway, I digress. The kids really enjoyed spending time burying each other, jumping in, and just generally playing with the corn. If I'd known corn would be so exciting, I would have saved a whole lot of money on toys over the years. I'll consider that a lesson learned.

Outside of the play area were these big crank machines could be used to pull the corn off the cobs. The kids LOVED doing this. Even Liam figured out how to do it. There were buckets and buckets full of corn everywhere. I'm guessing that's where they got the corn for those giant sandboxes. I couldn't believe how hard the kids worked at these silly machines. They had to find the ears of corn on the stalks, put them into the machine, and then crank it. There was a lot of effort involved. I've got to somehow figure out how to get them to put that much effort into things like putting dishes in the sink and flushing the toilets.

After the corn machine, we spent some time on the giant tire swings made from old tractor tires, then on slides made from irrigation tubing, and finally on the train ride. Before leaving, we chose our pumpkin. It's a lovely pumpkin, too. We're supposed to carve it with Kassidi's family and some other families from the ward tomorrow, but it's just such a pretty pumpkin that I can't bring myself to carve it. I think I'll go try to find an ugly one in the morning.

All in all, it was a great day. I'm grateful to Kassidi for helping me out. Just having another human being taller than my kneecaps there to help me made the day much more enjoyable. Maybe I'll be willing to venture out and try other fun things again in the future. I'm not saying the near future, but probably sometime before they all graduate college.

Memo To Aiden

Dear Aiden:
While I understand that you know everything there is to know about life since you are a whopping ten years of age, allow me to share with you a few important tips for life. Consider it a little tool to help you survive until your 11th birthday.
First, let's talk about the "cool guy" grin you feel the need to put on your face every single time I take a picture of you. You're a handsome kid. Really. You are. Why do you need to do that weird grin that makes you look like half of your face is paralyzed? You know that saying that suggests that your face could potentially freeze when you're making a less than attractive look? Let's just assume that is the truth and not do that anymore.
Now let's move on to your hygeine habits. You are not allergic to water. Showers really are your friend. They make you feel all...well...clean. Clean is good. Really. It is. Dirty results in things like body odor, fleas, ticks, and the bubonic plague. I understand that you live a very busy life, but I'm going to need you to make room in your daily (or weekly at the very least) schedule for a shower. If not, I'll be forced to do what I did tonight and "help" you shower. I don't particularly care that you still have your clothes on. A little extra shampoo goes right through your clothes and causes you to get moderately clean. Also, showering with your clothes on leaves me with a warm fuzzy feeling because I know you're finally changing your underwear. (That's another thing we need to talk about later.)
Okay, I think those two big tips are probably a good start for now. I look forward to more attractive photos of a less stinky you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm Practicing Patience

I usually like to write about the funny things that happen in our lives (and trust me when I tell you there are many). Tonight I want to take the time to remember the feelings I have as I'm humbled to realize I need more patience, especially with my precious children.

Sometimes we get caught in the rut of day to day living and schedules so much so that we forget to just enjoy the beautiful young spirits we're blessed with. I think that's what has been happening with me. Byron is busy and often traveling with work leaving me to take care of the kids on my own for a week or so at a time. The kids have school, doctors, specialists, etc. that I need to keep track of. To maintain a sense of control, I have a set schedule.

Tonight I was reminded that the schedule is meaningless unless I make room in it to just love my children. So, I'm practicing patience. This is my new goal. This is my purpose. I will take time every single day to spend quality time with each individual child listening to them share what's on their minds, play a game that interests them, giggle with them, hug them a little longer, and just remember what an amazing treasure each of them is. All this will happen without worry about some self-imposed schedule.

Patience. Forgetting one's schedule in exchange for time to enjoy the amazing blessings in life. That's what I want. It's what I'm going to work on.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What I Gained From Ladies' Night at Church

This Wednesday night was Relief Society night. For those of you who aren't Mormon, that basically means that the women of the congregation come together for a monthly night out. The night is usually filled with lessons and ideas on self-improvement, spiritual growth, chocolate, fun craft ideas, etc. This month, it was mostly about spiritual growth and stress management. I was really glad I went.

One of the instructors was Liam's Sunday nursery leader. I really like her because she's so down to earth and calm with him. Nothing he does seems to ever set her off. She also seems to enjoy being with him in a genuine way. It's not like he's a job to her, but something she looks forward to doing.

The other instructor was Tracey G. She lives down the street from us and her daughters are two of our babysitters. One of them works with Liam twice a week on keeping his hearing aids in. She spoke on stress management and offered four remedies. They were scriptures, service, excercise, and laughter.

Yesterday, I decided to take the challenge and see what came of it. I feel like I manage stress well, but am always willing to try to come up with even more. It started with trading Facebook for scriptures. I am a multi-tasker so I decided to turn on the computer and listen to scriptures while I made the beds. I had Liam play in his crib while I was doing what I needed to do. In my mind, this was accomplishing the scripture part. As I was working, I got so into listening that I didn't check on Liam right away. Before long, I started to smell a very familiar odor. POOP.

I walked into Liam's room and there he was proudly playing with his poop. What the heck is it with my kids and poop? Seriously. We have crayons, play-dough, coloring books, water colors, and markers. What makes these little people think they need to do their art with freaking POOP!?!?!? Further, how are they all such little Houdinis?? Liam was wearing a onesie and an outfit over that when he managed to completely remove his diaper. Seriously?!!? I'm considering taking out stock in duct tape. Rumor has it I can now buy duct tape in fabulous colors and patterns.

The next thing I did was accomplish the service recommendation. I lovingly pulled him from his poop-filled crib and put him into the tub. I didn't even think bad words about the situation. That's service with a smile right there. I scrubbed him down really good, emptied the tub, cleaned it out, refilled it, put some toys in, and let him play in the tub with Rachel and Drezden while I scrubbed out his bed, changed the sheets, and deodorized the whole upstairs. Who knew such a little person could make poop that could be spread so far???

From there, I accomplished the excercise recommendation. I went up and down those stairs more times than I care to count. And I was lifting "weights". Okay, so it was just laundry baskets full of poopy bedding and clothes, but it weighed a lot.

Lastly, the laughter. Really, look at the situation. I've had five kids. This is the third one to find a creative means in his poop. It's hilarious really. Some parents proudly display their children's works of art. Instead, I get to scrub my kids' art...and then disinfect the house. That's funny, right? I guess I'm just glad they're not into the culinary arts. Just imagine the poopsicles we could be dining on. Yikes!

I did make sure I called Tracey to let her know the many effects I gained from her workshop. If nothing else, she got a little laughter from it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, CJ

Our little CJ had another birthday this month. I can't believe he's already seven years old. He really has grown up. I still remember when he was just a tiny baby and was first diagnosed with hearing loss. I remember being told he'd likely never speak, would read at a very low level, and would depend on an interpretor for everything. Ha! Boy did he beat the odds. We feel very blessed to have him in our family.
We didn't really know a lot of people in the area and his birthday fell on a Sunday so a party was going to be challenging. I made sure I signed up to feed the missionaries so that he'd at least have them here. I also got him a little Dollar Tree gift for them to give him when they came in. He was delighted!!
We got him a variety of little things, but his BIG gift was a Buzz Lightyear toy. It talks, flies (or makes flying sounds), lights up, and a bunch of other stuff that I don't even remember. The only thing it doesn't do is pee, poop, or babysit. He was pretty excited.
He wanted a Toy Story cake, but I'm cheap. (It's okay. I can admit it. Why spend $24 for a WalMart cake that probably won't even taste that great??) I went to Dollar Tree and found a Buzz and Woody action figure and a package of army guys. Perfect! He wanted all the other junk you see on the cake. I'm not sure what the chocolate chips are supposed to represent. Maybe little alien cowpies?? Beats me.
At any rate, he had a good birthday. I hope it's the start of an amazing year for an amazing kid. We love you, CJ!!!

I Got Crafty

I've been really enjoying keeping our amazing new house all clean and presentable. Everything has a place and a purpose, and I love that. It makes tidying SO MUCH easier. Anyway, apparently I've been pricked by the Little Suzie Home Maker bug because I've also been feeling crafty.
I found this wreath idea here and decided to give it a try. I had no idea it could be SO MUCH FUN!! I ended up staying up until 1am working on it. I must say, for a first try, I'm really pleased with how it looks.
If you decide to try it, there are a few tips I'd share with you.
1. Find a place to buy your ribbon in bulk. It can get pricy.
2. Use the green wreath shaper instead of the white styrofoam. It's more sturdy and only about $1 more.
3. Only cut your ribbon pieces to about 4 inches long or else they get floppy when you pin them in.
4. Wait to purchase decorations for the wreath until it's done. I'd purchased some items to stick onto it, and it was a waste. I decided that it really looked much nicer on its own.
So, there you go. I'm officially crafty now.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What's in a Name

CJ's birthday is this weekend, and I had to do the shopping for it on my own since Byron has been so busy with his new job and wasn't available to me. We had to overcompensate a little bit this year because we haven't been here long enough to have friends and have a big party.

CJ's latest fascination is with Disney's Toy Story. It just made sense to get him a bunch of Toy Story stuff for his birthday, particularly Buzz Lightyear. As I was walking through WalMart talking to Byron on the phone about what I'd choose for him, it suddenly became clear that Disney didn't really think through their decisions when they named their characters. At some point throughout the conversation, I found myself saying the following things:
"Let's get him a Buzz now and he can get a Woody for Christmas".
"Wow! If you look at that bottom of his Woody, you can see that it officially came from Andy's room".
"I can't decide if I'd rather be the one to give him his first Buzz or his first Woody".

Are we seeing where I'm going with this? Really, Disney?!?! Really?? There were NO other names you could have chosen for these two characters?? When you hear their names, it makes you wonder if they were the characters cut from deleted scenes of "Brokeback Mountain". I've named five children, and I'm here to tell you that there were so many names to choose from that it was really difficult to decide. Did the Disney writers not have access to baby naming books or websites with name generators?

Maybe it was just a really funny joke that a couple of writers at Disney thought would be caught before filming started. Since it wasn't caught, they left it. Those pranksters have got to be laughing a ton right now just imagining all the innocent conversations that quickly go straight to the gutter.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Quit Pimping Out My Kid!

I have a pet peeve. Okay, the truth is I have a lot of pet peeves. Today we're discussing one of my biggies, though. (Yes, they're all big, but just humor me okay?) Today's rant of the week? School fund raisers. Yep. We're talking about the dreaded cheap toy prizes, the way overpriced wrapping paper, the useless kitchen "decor", the ugly jewelry (that wouldn't be so bad if it were even moderately priced), the door to door money begging, the not so yummy but horribly price gauged chocolate, and the pain in my butt that comes through the door every single freaking school year.
Let's really think this thing through, shall we? To start with, the school get a VERY small percentage of what is earned. If kids are going to go all over creation begging people we hope will still be our friends when all is said and done for sales on items that no one wants, at least the school should have something to show for it.
Then there's the fact that no one wants the stuff being sold. Yes, we all need gift wrap, but not at eight bucks for enough to wrap a matchbox car. For that price, it should at least be made of pure gold or something. Wouldn't it make more sense to at least offer something people want??
My next rant about school fund raisers is the "prizes" the kids get to earn. Do we really have to have a huge assembly where we psyche them all up to win rubber duckies and $2 pieces of plastic molded into rocket ships guaranteed to self-destruct before the kid makes it off the bus with it? Do we really have to tell them that if their mommies and daddies don't allow them to do the fund raisers they'll never have a chance to win these fine pieces of junk? Nothing says love more than learning that you're "the meanest mom in the whole world" because you've crushed all their hopes and dreams of winning a rubber ducky and entering their name in a contest to win a prize that ten million other children also have their names on?
This year they've stooped to a new low. They're sending home "samples" of the products. Really?!!? You gave my first grader a $30 Entertainment book (which is actually a moderately good product, but NOT in the hands of a first grader!!!!!) and told him to just return it when he's done or bring back the money to own it. By the time the book got off the book, he'd already removed all the "free" gift cards and bonded to the book to the extent that he was completely sure it was his own. Nice.
There are so many other much more affective ways to earn money for a kid's school. How about a silent auction with donations collected by the kids from local businesses or their parents' work places? How about a carnival where students buy little tickets for the fun little activities? What about a dinner night where everyone pays to get in? The possibilities are endless, and they don't include pimping out my kids by sending them door to door try to pawn off a bunch of junk.
Please, this is a request from a tired mother of FIVE who doesn't want to spend the rest of her life dreading the start of the school year just because of the horrors of fall fundraisers. Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, quit pimping out my kid!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just a Mom?

Enrolling the kids in a new school and finding new doctors and whatever other new stuff there could be has meant filling out tons of paperwork. I don't mind the paper work, but I have one beef. The forms always ask what each parent does. They list off all these things like they're so amazing:
*rocket scientist
*evil scheming mad man
*personal chef to the stars
*dog trainer

The list goes on and on of all the possibitlities. Then, down at the very bottom, it mentions (almost as a second thought) housewife or unemployed. Those are usually my only two choices, and neither one sounds very glamorous. It's like it's saying, "You're just a mom who stays home in your robe and fuzzy slippers and watches Oprah while eating bon bons all day. Your job isn't all that important so we just stuck it down here at the bottom of the list to make you happy. Really, though, we don't have any good use for you if that's all you do".

Allow me to clarify a few things that I do on an almost daily basis that only other people who are also "just moms" can understand. First, I clean poop. I mean a LOT of poop. Most of the time I find it nicely contained in a diaper attached to my child's rear ends. There are the occasional times, though, that I instead find it under a child's nails, in his hair, on his walls, or even between his teeth. I'll give you a moment to digest that thought (pun intended) and regain your stomach before I go on. Ready? Okay, I'll keep going now.

Then there's the laundry. Picture Mount Everest. Now picture it a few feet taller than you know it to be. That's how much laundry I do in one day. I wash, dry, fold, hang, and put it all away. I'm pretty sure my children clone themselves throughout the day so that they can wear ten times as many outfits to be sure I have plenty to do.

Playing. There is an art to playing in such a way that your kids actually learn something without knowing they're learning. Sometimes it's just putting on crazy clothes and running around like a bunch of freaks and other times it's stacking wooden blocks to make a creation that rivals the Eiffel Tower. Occasionally, it's plotting with them to take over the world. Who knew poop could also be used to conquor the world? According to my kids, it can.

There's just so many things. You think you cool dudes who have job titles with a really awesome name attached do something more important than me because I'm "just a mom"? Well, let's compare job descriptions a little. You tell me what you need to be able to do daily, and I'll tell you what I do. Ready? Okay, here's my list:
*Housekeeper (and since they're going to be famous someday, I claim to be a Celebrity housekeeper)
*Personal chef
*Doctor and nurse
*Judge and jury
*Personal assistant
*Spiritual guide
*Dance partner
*Worst enemy
*Best friend
*Pooper Scooper
*Vomit cleaner
*Owie kisser
*Memory keeper

It makes me a little sad when I sit and talk with others who are "just moms" and they feel like failures because the world says their job is worthless. Ha! Those people are going to eat their words when your kid grows up to be the political leaders who decide their fates. They'll eat their words when, at the end of the day, they have tons of money but no purpose in life. I'll take my poop-filled, sticky kiss infested days over the "glamorous" life anyday. If there was a list miles long of occupations I could choose, I'd still go to the bottom of the list and proudly circle "just a mom".

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Aiden's Project Runway

Aiden decided to help Rachel put together an eye-catching ensemble. What you see here is what he came up with. Really, I have no words. I'm just hoping he has a back-up plan because I'm not sure he's going to win Project Runway anytime soon.

School Has Started!

CJ ready and rearing to go on his first day of First Grade. I can't believe he's so old already.
Aiden trying to look "all cool and stuff" on his first day of Fifth Grade. He's such a little man.
All the kids at our bus stop. Well, almost. Rachel and Drezden don't ride the bus...though sometimes I'd like to send them.

School has started. Aiden and CJ are in a really amazing school, and seem to be loving it. Granted, they've only had three days of school so far, but neither of them has been arrested, so that's a very good sign.
CJ has Mrs. Lackey. She's young and pretty and enthusiastic and eager to learn how to teach him. I'm not sure I'd have chosen her to begin with because I have it in my head that only a really experienced teacher can handle him. I think I'm wrong about that. This teacher is more than likely a perfect match for him. She's patient and so open minded. It also helps that our new school district is really prepared for Deaf children. I loved the way our old school loved CJ. He was genuinely adored and cared for. While he still needs all that, right now he needs someone to take the bull by the horn and really help him. I think that's just what he'll get. I blogged more details about it here.
Aiden has Mr. Schultz. What an amazing teacher for Aiden!!! This guy is cut from the same cloth and hails from the same planet as Aiden. He's so outside the box and Aiden simply can't wait to learn from him. He's silly, has a goofy class website, and shows the children that he loves what he's doing. When a teacher loves what he's doing, children love learning from him.
I think this promises to be a good year. I'm excited to see what's in store for us. And, let's be honest, I'm also excited that they're in school giving me a break now and then.

So, We Took All Five Monkeys to the Zoo

At the entrance to the primate world, there was this huge gorilla. We couldn't miss a photo opportunity, so we took the time for everyone to say cheese.
Aiden with a mouthful of very expensive zoo food. Oddly, it didn't taste expensive.
Really cool flower on the swamp path.
A stained glass window you could look through to see the swamp. How amazing would it be to wake up to that every single day?
Toucan! I love his colors.
The Children's Zoo had a goat farm where kids could brush the goats. My kids loved it! Their favorite part? Watching the goats' rear ends open to poop. Classy.
Drezden and Rachel really are best of friends.
Liam had so much fun in the sand box. He even tried to digest a little bit of it.
More goat farm fun!
Drezden also enjoyed dining on overpriced food.
This monkey really enjoyed interacting with the kids through the glass. I think they speak the same language. I know for sure they have some of the same habits.
This bird was on the swamp walk. If you got too close to him, he'd turn and honk at you like "Hey! You're on my bridge. Move it!". He was totally the boss of that place.
CJ was so proud to bring me some flowers he'd found. With a sweet smile like that, I hated telling him picking flowers was against the rules.
At the entrance to the bug house. It was quite possibly the most fascinating part of the whole trip. For the record, hissing cockroaches are GROSS.
Drezden with his monkey friend.

We took the kids to the zoo yesterday. Our realtor got us season passes, and we intend to make full use of them. The kids were so excited when they realized where we were taking them. The weather was mighty fine, the kids were well behaved, the animals were frisky, and the memories were there for the making.
I have to say that Rachel probably won the prize for the quote of the day. She was looking very intently into an alligator display when I came up behind her. I asked her if she like the alligator, and she replied by pouting, scrunching up her nose, and saying "I can't see the alligator. That giant lizard is in the way." After that she stormed off. Yep. I'm pretty sure we have a loooooooong way to go with her.

Drezden's New Glasses

Drezden is a funny kind of guy. He likes things to be a certain way when it comes to his glasses. In general, he prefers them to be under the couch or in the van or in the dishwasher or...well, just about anywhere but on his face.
I prefer the way he looked in his adorable wire glasses, but he has a funny habit with wire glasses. He pulls the nosepads off and then complains that they're cutting into his nose. Apparently he hasn't caught on to the cause and affect idea yet. Anyway, I decided to try something new. I wanted to find him some glasses without nose pads, which meant I'd have to get him some plastic frames.
I must say he does look incredibly handsome in his fancy new specs, don't you agree? I thought about going to some place fancy, but then discovered that WalMart has glasses for $9 that come with a 12 month warranty for damage. So, I spent a total of $58 dollars (had to account for the cost of the lenses) and got him these fancy frames. He has scratch resistant, low glare lenses in them so that I can take pictures of his beautiful brown eyes rather than a reflection of myself. Yay for that!
I also got him a pair of wire frames for the same price. I must say I was rather proud of my purchase. And the best part? For some crazy reason, he LIKES them! They haven't been tossed in the toilet or under seats in the car or buried in the dog food bowl or shoved in the toy box. They've been on his face right where they belong. Well, mostly. There was that one time this week that I find them in the book bin.

The New House

I've mentioned a bit here and there about the amazing new house we bought. I finally have some pictures to put up for you to enjoy it as much as we do. There are a few things about it that I love most. Here's my top ten list: (Yes, I have a top ten list for everything. Just be glad it isn't a top 100 list or something).

10. We are in a really safe, beautiful neighborhood.
9. When I walk on the floor in the entry, it creaks just like the hard wood in the house I grew up in.
8. The cabinets and closets are AMAZING. I have more storage than I have stuff. That hasn't happened ever before.
7. Stairs. I love having stairs.
6. We have tons of picture windows on teh main floor. I love looking out and seeing so many trees and green. It's going to be amazing in the fall.
5. A fully finished basement. Aiden has a bedroom down there, Byron has a "man cave" storage room, and there is a huge play area, too.
4. Built in bookshelves surrounding the fire place. They look so pretty, though they're a little naked right now. I haven't a thing to put on them.
3. 3 1/2 bathrooms. No more competing to use the restroom or having all the kids take baths in my bathroom!!
2. Four seasons. I know the house doesn't control the seasons, but it's in a place where we'll experience four full seasons.
1. All this space for the kids to run!!! It's so amazing to be able to send them somewhere else to play. Yay!
I took about 40 pictures total, and I realize this is just five of them. I couldn't decide what to post, and let's be honest. Ya'll don't really care to see every detail of my house. Well, maybe you do because you're some crazy person who is casing the joint hoping I'll go out for a while so you can rob me blind. Let me save you a little trouble by sharing two important facts. 1. We just got a security system and it works. 2. We haven't got one single thing in this house worth stealing. You'd be wasting your time.