Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All I Want for Christmas

6 people in the family.

That means a minimum of 6 coats in the entry way.

12 shoes in the entry way.

12 boots in the entry way.

6 scarves, 12 mittens, 6 hats.

6 pairs of snowpants.



And that is the minimum.

It is overwelming, to say the least.

So do you know what I want for Christmas?

A mud room

The room of my dreams.

A room with doors.

Closed doors.

A room with hooks for coats.

Lots of hooks.

A room with with bins for shoes.

And boots.

A room with drawers for mittens, scarves and hats.

And one for spares.

A room with a sink.

To rinse off boots.

A room with cupboards

For swimming stuff, and backpacks.

The room of my dreams.

Really, it is all I want for Christmas.

And it is clearly laid out in my addition plans.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Snow In November (and other stories)

Since Noah was going to be off over the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided it would be a good chance for me to do some hard core shifting in the old ICU.
And it was busy. At one point, while we were helping with a task, one of my coworkers looked up at me, blew the bangs out of her eyes and said "this is the kind of thing you don't tell people that you do at work."
I said, "I know".
So I won't.
Instead I will show you what the rest of the family did while I was sleeping.

Yep, that is right. A little snowboard practice in the ditch by our house.
Here is Deacon. I am hoping his pants don't start saggin' anymore.

Yes, this is what we wake up to in the morning. She can peer at us over the side of her crib!
Now that I am home, I am trying to get caught up.
There are a few important things on my list:
1.Must buy new jeans that fit
2. Must give old jeans to my mom as payment for childcare
3. Must go buy new running shoes
4. must run
5. Must put the new tabs on van (only one day of November left)
6. Must pay utilities (due tomorrow)
I suppose I should start thinking about Christmas soon, and Deacon's birthday. I suppose I should get my hair cut and go grocery shopping. I suppose I should go back to work tonight, since they sound desperate. But it is raining, and it supposed to turn to snow.
I think I will just stay home and fold laundry.
That needs to be done too, right?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Taking 4 Kids 6 and Under to the Water Park Capital of the World

Last week we suddenly decided that it would be really fun to take the kids to Wisconsin Dells overnight. So we did.

We did a little research and on the recommendation of a neighbor, we booked a room at the Wilderness- home of multiple waterparks, both inside and outside. Of course the outdoor ones were closed.

Taking 4 young children anywhere (even the grocery store) requires at least a loosely thought out plan. Either that or a random aunt or grandma that can come along as an assistant. Alas, our aunts all had work or school and hmmm...I guess we never invited the grandmas.

They are our children afterall, so we decided to attempt this waterpark hopping feat by ourselves.

And do you know what? It went fine.

Turns out, waterparks are our kids things.

We had no "Roman fits"

We had no "Lincoln freakouts"

We did have one "Deacon panic attack" but that was only after we decided to add 96.5 miles to the trip to buy Noah new pants- a panic attack under those circumstances is to be expected, I think.

Here are some things we learned. Hope they will help you!

1. after a couple of hours of waterparking, ordering pizza to your room is a good thing. No one wants a bunch of wet, cold, tired kids at a restaurant (least of all me). Having pizza delivered to our room while the kids watched the Disney Channel was a good thing.

2. bringing life jackets with hoods and handles is important. Yes, they provide life jackets at the park, but we brought our own- ones with handles. This saved Roman's life more than once in the wave pool.

3. spelling out the life jacket rules prior to entering the water is helpful. We told Roman and Lincoln that they had to keep their jackets on unless they were in the 6 inch deep kiddie area. Deacon only had to wear his in the Wave Pool. They knew these rules beforehand and they didn't fight with us about them.

4. having a totally laid back baby who is content to be dragged around the waterpark wrapped in towels is handy. If you have a baby, I recommend only attempting this endeavor if your baby is super low maintenance.

5. if you are a nursing mama, wear a two piece. Nursing a baby in a one piece in the middle of a waterpark requires more skills than most have. It is definitely a 4th or 5th baby kind of manuver.

6. if your 3 year old loves the waterslide, be prepared to walk up all 88 steps, holding his hand, over and over and over and over again. Bonus: this will wear him out.

7. Come up with signs to use between you and your husband. You can use these when one of you is at the top of a waterslide with 2 children and you can see him on a bridge with one child. Obviously that makes one kid awol, and this must be communicated promptly. I suggest coming up with sign language for " child # blank is missing", " Child # blank is coming down slide, may need a rescue at the bottom" and "this is the last time I am taking this child down this slide. I am exhausted. It is your turn." Of course, it is more fun if you also have signs for "you look awesome in your swim wear".

8. Be on the lookout for sudden maniacal looks in your children's eyes. This may indicate that they are about to jump off their tube in the wave pool. This may mean that they have developed a sudden grand delusion of being a famous body surfer who is much taller than 40 inches.

9. I am not usually real organized and I don't plan ahead for any disaster (I don't even carry a diaper bag). I thought about the areas that were most important to me and planned for them. The 3 things I made sure I had were these 1. life jackets 2. bandaids 3. 2 swim suits for me so I wouldn't have to put on a wet one. Ewww.

10. Watch for maniacal looks in your children's eyes before they go down a waterslide. This may communicate that they are planning a dramatic somersault at the end of the slide and will indeed be chastised by the lifeguard.

11. Don't let your 6 year old stay up late watching Hannah Montana- even if he is running in tight circles around the room. Sit on him or pat his head until he falls asleep instead.

12. Let each other have fun! It doesn't all have to be about the kids. If you have a chance, gather the children around to watch one of you go down a more adult slide. Of course it is rather disappointing when the slide you want to go down requires at least 2 people over 48 inches tall...

13. Figure out before hand how tall your children are and ask the park what slides etc they will be allowed on. Then you can warn your kids beforehand and they won't end up as disappointed.

14. You will have your hands full with 4 kids. If your camera is more expensive than the birth of your children, leave it home. You don't need to be focusing on picture taking and having to make decisions like "do I jump in to save my child and destroy my camera or do I set my camera down and risk it being stolen before I jump in?" I am a little sad that we have no pictures of our trip, but I think it was less stressful and we do have our memories :)

I am not the only one up anymore, so those are all the tips I have time for today! We will certainly go back- it was an active vacation, and that is what my boys do best!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Controversial Monday: Blinking Eyes in the NFL

I may have mentioned this on here before, but the "living" head shots on the televised broadcasts of NFL games creep me out.

Do you know which ones I mean?

They want to talk about Peyton Manning, so they throw a picture of him up on the screen. And for a second, you think it is just a nice head shot. And then you see his shoulder twitch. And he blinks.


Or maybe they put Tom Brady up there on the screen. And once again, you think it just a mug shot. But then you notice his hair blowing slightly in the wind.


Every time I see one of those "living" mug shots I can only think of one thing:


You know, where Harry Potter goes to school.

And the portraits.

You know, the ones that are living.

The people at Hogwarts don't have to stay still in their portraits, just like the NFL guys.

And it disturbs me.

How about you? Have you noticed the correlation?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Star Wars Talk to Your Kids PSA

Our friend Jason sent me this link on facebook. Funny stuff!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunny Day!

I have some great posts mulling around in my brain. The imagined posts have some great titles too, things like "The One In Which Noah and Julie Take 4 kids 6 and Under to the Water Park Capital of the World", "What happens When you Take a 97 mile Detour to Buy Pants in Wisconsin" and my personal favorite, "How to Manage a 6 Year Old Having a Panic Attack in the Back of the Van". They sound thrilling, don't they?

But the post of today takes us back 8 days to a beautiful, sunny November afternoon. I drove the kids down to Noah's work, picked him up and we went to the park for a couple of hours. It was exceptionally wonderful because it is November and we were wearing short sleeves. 5 short days later we were shoveling the driveway, but we won't dwell on that anymore.

There are not too many pictures of me on my blog. Well, there you go!

Deacon loves shiny "sports shorts" and they really helped him on the slide! He kept flying off the end and landing on his rear. He tried to be cool about it, but I think it kinda hurt :)

Even Berean got in on the slide action. And yes, that gray stuff on her outfit is dirt. Don't judge.

Lincoln took over the camera for awhile. We were waving at him, not looking dorky at all...
Oops...there goes Berean, trying to escape into the play structure!

Lincoln getting artistic.

Yes, I know, he is as cute as they come.

Yup, this rule follower immediately instructed Deacon to get off the ledge- as soon as I read the sign.

The cargo nets were a hit!

And what was Berean doing during all the fun? Well, she was doing a little exploring, a little climbing and a little soul searching.

She is such a trooper.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Wow, it has been a long week. We spent last weekend with the stomach flu, moved on to juggling our work, kid activities and intensive broomball schedules and now end the week with a visit to urgent care and an ear infection diagnosis.

As of tonight I have slept a total of 8 hours since I got up Wednesday am.

But, I can't help thinking of things I am thankful for through it all. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Unseasonably warm November Weather
2. In laws who took the baby from our stomach flu infested household and cared for her all day so we wouldn't have to.
3. In laws who are hosting a grandson sleepover this weekend
4. Urgent cares, antibiodics and ibuprofen
5. Being able to see a small glimmer of humor in a 6 year old's drama when sickness takes over
6. Having a son who is totally dramatic when he is sick, but bounces back quickly and loves to help in a crisis.
7. Having another son who prefers to vomit alone and suffers in silence
8. Having parents who took care of the other boys while we visited urgent care.
9. A mother and sister who spent all evening helping me clean my house
10. A job for Noah and a job for me
11. Garbage collection!
12. A proud baby girl who can stand up
13. Homeschooling
14. Deacon loving Awana and finishing his book this week
15. Seeing the joy on Roman's face during "preschool"
16. Hearing Lincoln count and sing his alphabet
17. A Grandma who brought over 2 Christmas dresses for Berean Joyce
18. Coworkers who make me laugh and who support each other
19. That all my jeans are falling off! (dropped that last 5 pounds!)
20. A new furnace for the coming winter weather
21. NOT hitting the deer that ran in front of my van
22. Getting ready to celebrate Noah's birthday
23. CD player in the van- I love listening to books, adventures in Odyssey etc with my boys!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

School- Julie Style

I have been meaning to write a homeschool post for awhile, but well, it just has been sitting in amongst all of my other well-intentioned drafts. And it has gotten stale.

The above is what I use for Deacon's school work. I like the system because it is easy, quick and
I can prepare it, revise it and manage it with only the help of a pen. Oh, and I have to be able to find this particular notebook, which can be challenging.

My original thought was that he would like to cross things off his list. This is not the case. He could care less- I am the one who is frantically coloring in rectangles as the day progresses. And yes, I could care less what color marker, pencil or broken crayon I happen to pick up when it is time to fill in a square. When I was 16 I cared. Now, I am just happy if I can find something that is not color wonder or dried up.

I don't intend for each item to get finished every day. I add notes to the bottom if we did something special, such as : "cooking with Grandma" or "field trip to the Doctor's office" or "vomiting all day long". At the beginning of the week I jot a basic plan in the squares of subjects which require a plan. I adjust those as needed as the week progresses.

Get Dressed and Brush Teeth- Deke handles these himself

Math- we are using Math Expressions which is what our school district uses and provided for us. I like it. I also supplement with flashcards.

Geography- Deacon loves geography. We talk a lot about the world and he knows his continents, oceans and facts about different countries etc. Currently he has a United States workbook and our goal is for him to know all 50 states by Christmas. By the end of the year I expect him to know all 50 states and their capitals, be able to label them on a map and to be able to list major countries on each continent.

Writing- writing is a challenge for Deacon and he doesn't really like it. On Tuesdays he has a writing class at our co-op and he does like that. He actually enjoys making up stories but actually writing things out is difficult for him. I try to do a variety of handwriting activities to keep him from being bored. Sometimes he writes a story, sometimes he copies his awana verses, sometimes he copies something I write out for him. Sometimes I make him write 3 rows of certain letters. I want his writing to be legible, but I am not super concerned about beautiful penmanship at this point.

Reading- Self- this is another subject that is harder for Deacon. I am not sure why. He does read some, but phonics are very difficult for him. I still am wondering if there is a bit of a dyslexia situation going on with him. Yesterday I got a new phonics book, and I am going to give that a try.

Reading-Mom-My favorite thing to do is to read to the boys. We read library books, Aesop's fables, short stories, chapter books and we listen to books on CD in the van. We just finished Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator and The Hundred Dresses. We read a lot of Magic Tree House as well and have started to read some American Girl Books (to go with our history time periods). This year I am also reading to them all of the literature sections from the K,1st and 2nd grade Core Knowledge Series.

History- We are using the Sonlight Kindergarten history as well as the Core Knowledge series. History is important to me and so we supplement with a lot of library books and biography stuff. I am still working out my exact plan for this. He is familiar with a lot of history, I just need to make sure he understands the timeline a little better.

Science- once again we are using Sonlight and the core knowledge series for science. Deacon also is learning a lot about the body in his co-op science class.
Bible- reading through a Bible Story Book.
AWANA-Deacon is going to finish his 1st grade Sparks Awana book this week and will start on review. He is highly motivated.
ART- Deacon has art class at co-0p. My mom also does a lot of art work with him. In addition I give him assignments from the core knowledge art sections.
Music- I check books out of the library for him about music and he is in choir at church. Once again we also read the music sections of the Core Knowledge Series.
PE- Deacon and Roman go to Gym and Swim at our Y once a week. Deacon played football this fall and they both did swimming. Deacon will start basketball in January. They will both do more swimming lessons. In addition I try to get them outside and running around a lot- and as it gets colder I am planning to start taking them to the Y to do running and swimming more frequently. I also hope to take them to open rock climbing at the Y as it gets colder out.
Family Activity- it is not on this list, but I am trying to get our family to do a short activity together every evening after supper. Sometimes we play a game, sometimes we do a puzzle, sometimes we have a family talent show or play outside. The boys love it and it gives us a chance to pay attention to them together.
There you have it! Our homeschool in a nutshell!
*oh, in case you were wondering- I do not spend time doing cutsy crafts etc with the kids. WIth my children I don't think that it actually helps their knowledge of a subject, and it takes more time and energy than I have. They would rather play. And I would rather have them play.*
(I am having formatting issues...I am going to publish this anyway)

Monday, November 8, 2010


I really shouldn't blog when I feel this grouchy.

Next I was going to type that I don't really know why I feel so crabby. But I do know why. There are a bunch of reasons.

It doesn't help matters that lovely daylights savings time has landed us in the dark. And it is going to get cold. And I am going to have to keep track of 10 mittens. 5 hats. 5 jackets and a variety of snowpants, scarves and boots.

This isn't really very fun, is it?



Friday morning my 2 oldest boys got the stomach flu.

Wow. Although that story is somewhat funny in retrospect, I don't have time to do it justice now.

Oh, and my next best story is one that I don't think I will be telling anyone for oh, 42 weeks or so, at which point it may move from mortifying to funny. My neighbor says it is already funny, but I am not at that point yet.

Nor do I have time to tell you all about why I am an insomniac for the week.

So instead I am going to leave you with this- a quote from my friend Kim (who runs for the joy of running and has a lot of dogs. And a husband. And 2 daughters. And she always comments on my facebook status's which I really appreciate):

"The curse of being the Mom is that the ratio of mom tasks to the number of moms in the house is freakily disproportionate." - Kim-Who-Runs-For-Joy

So true, Kim, so true.

And it is why my household has been asleep for the last 3 hours while I have been scrubbing baseboards.

hmmm...scrubbing baseboards...that sounds like a good job for my favorite 5 & 6 year olds...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

3 mile walk, anyone?

Noah and I both laughed as we read Baby Blues in the comics today. That is pretty much what happens at our house...only difference is that I go along :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


She is mobile! Very, very mobile and she has a fascination for stairs.
She stands by the stairs and tries to get a knee up. But she is just too short.
But she continues to try, and I am sure that one day she will succeed.

Sometimes she gets her arm out of her sleeve.
I heard Deacon say, "No, don't stop her. Let her fall down the stairs! I am the only one in the family who missed her falling last time and I want to see it!"
We had a little conversation.
He said, "well, I don't think she cried last time, so I don't think it will hurt her."
Roman chimed in, "she cried".
Deacon, upon realizing that she could get hurt, recinded his earlier wish to see her fall.

And no, she isn't always falling down the stairs. Now that she is more mobile we keep an extra close eye on her, the stairs, the legos, the playmobil pieces, the crumbs,
and the list goes on...

it is a full time job.

An Update on This Guy

previously on the Antics of the Three 22nds...

we learned that Lincoln, the 3 1/2 year old has a severe speech delay. It may be apraxia, it may be phonological in nature. It is unclear.

We also discussed how our insurance had said they would cover therapy, and then 2 months into it said that they would not.

When we last visited this topic we were in the middle of the appeals process and we were private paying his weekly therapy session.

After I spent a significant time on the phone regarding insurance stuff- being as persistent and assertive as possible without being overly aggressive, we finally got the insurance company to agree to covering his services from the summer (what they said they would do).

We are very grateful for that.

Since September we have still been bringing him to private therapy, but we have been doing a private pay option. This option is pricey, but doable.

Lincoln also goes to phonological preschool once a week and the school district has just added an extra session for him during a drop-in ECFE class.

So between all of those things he has therapy 3 days a week. We are seeing improvements in his speech, although he is still severely delayed.

His receptive language is fine, and his preschool teachers consistently say that he is very intelligent and that his receptive skills are higher than average for a child of his age. They also say that his behavior is very good :)

As he has been talking more we have been seeing more frustration when we don't understand him. But apparently he behaves well at school, which I am grateful for.

We are still trying to figure out insurance stuff for next year, and hopefully will get some sort of resolution soon.

Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Monday night we played Jr. Monopoly with the boys.

Monday night Roman won (again).

Monday night we talked about how

Roman always wins

And he panics if he thinks he is going to lose

And about how Deacon is a good sport.

Monday night we talked about how Roman likes big bills.

And he doesn't like to spend them.

And he likes to tell other people what bills they need to pay him.

After the boys went to bed on Monday night Noah and I talked about

locker rooms.

And Monopoly.

And how we are tired of nagging them and constantly saying "now it's his turn," "Pay this now", "wash your hair", "ok now put your other sock on".

I said that sometimes I wonder if we are too busy. We are always instructing and instructing because we have to get here or there or pick up so and so or put someone to bed.

And I said that I had been thinking about what it would be like if there wasn't a deadline for getting out of the locker room. And what would it look like if there was nothing following Monopoly so there was no reason to hurry.

And we thought for a minute.

And Noah laughed. We both did. We both had tried it in the locker room.

What happens?
They surf on the benches.
They climb in the lockers.
They have a water fight with the shower nozzle.
They experiment with the hair dryers.

They would stay in the locker room for a very long time.
They have no agenda.
They have no watches.
They are so in the moment, my boys.

And Monopoly? What if we didn't coach them along?
They would take breaks.
No one would remember who's turn it is.
Someone would bump the board while cutting a swath with a light saber.

That was Monday night.
It is now Wednesday and I am still pondering how to keep order while minimizing instruction.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Star Wars Family!

Roman was an Ewok
(costume compliments of Grandma Pam and Mrs. Dahlberg and Spear compliments of Daddy)

I was Ahsoka Tano, Jedi Warrior
(and yes, my head dress is a size 5T shirt with sleeves stuffed with diapers)

Noah with Little Yoda
(You know those pilots that went to destroy the Death Star? Yeah, that is what Noah is dressed up as. He had a very well-thought out and well-executed costume. Yoda is wearing one of Mommy's bathrobes and a hat by Gma Joyce and Gma Pam. We need some thicker wire for the ears.)

A sleepy Yoda with Aunt Karla.
Not sure what was on the lense. Probably my hair.

Star Wars!

Plo Koon, Jedi
Costumes compliment of Amazon and 2 day prime shipping

Our own Princess Leia.
Hair was made by Grandma Joyce and Grandma Pam!

Oh, and here is another one- just because she is so cute :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Song

I have to confess, when I am alone in the car I usually listen to country.

But sometimes, lately, I listen to the Christian radio station. And I have been hearing this song, "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real. I would only hear parts of it at first. And I have to admit it rankled a little.

The line about the wife who needs him to lead her is the one I would always hear, and as an Independent woman who came of age in the 90s, I did think, "oh seriously."

But last night I listened to the song in whole. And I read the lyrics.

"Lead me with strong hands, stand up when I can't"

"I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine. They're independent..."

"Chasing things that I could give up"

Talk about convicting.

Talk about relating.

I think this may be my new favorite song.

If you haven't heard it, here are the lyrics and the youtube link is on the bottom:

Sanctus Real - “Lead Me”

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone"

Here it is on You tube: Lead Me