This is from Easter in February, which you can read here.

Finally found a video of Collin playing Peek-a-Boo, sort of. Check it out down below. He looks a little scary in the stand still…crazy blue eye baby.¬†You can see his other short video here.

When the girls start feeling better I will get a video of them.

More to come soon. Thanks for watching ūüôā

Sunday Smokeout

I crunched through the outer skirts of the cornfield, trying to avoid the dried up corn cobs that¬†were a sprained ankle waiting to happen, and came to¬†the clearing where I always met my friend. She pulled out a pack of Doral¬†Full Flavor 100’s, “I stole these from my brother. Let’s try them, you go first,” she said, flicking a lighter and failing to arouse a flame. I remember I really didn’t want to smoke, it didn’t go with my outfit. I had on my new peach and navy v-neck cardigan, which was very in for the early 90’s, might I add.¬†“C’mon. Let’s just do it. I really want to,” she said, “but I don’t want to go first.”

Peer pressure. I remember not even knowing what to do with the cigarette and not even the slightest idea on how to light it. But I did it to get her to shut up and leave me alone. “You have to suck in,” she said, holding the lighter at the end of the cigarette. I hacked and coughed. I felt dizzy and wanted to puke.¬†I didn’t think I would do it again. But¬†I did.

That one decision affected me for the next fifteen years (I must have been 13 or 14, maybe 15, when I started smoking). I have tried to quit smoking so many times. I think the problem was that I never really wanted to quit. I enjoyed smoking. It was relaxing and I liked the taste of it. But I knew I needed to quit.

My last cigarette was on September 13, 2010. That was the day I flew to Peoria. I would like to say it was my only helicopter ride, but it was not my last. It was a rough pregnancy. I was on strict bedrest in Peoria for six weeks and I was so drugged up I didn’t even miss a cigarette. That is how I quit smoking. I would probably still be smoking if not for these events.

Today is my six month anniversary for not smoking. I would like to say I did something¬†elaborate to celebrate this accomplishment,¬†but I didn’t. I did do something special though, my mom duties.¬†I have been cuddling three sick babies, wiping runny noses, and listening to them hack and cough. This alone makes me very thankful that I am still not smoking…and it has been very difficult at times.¬†But I look at all of these adorable children and I know that I want to be around as long as possible for them.

Below are reasons #1, 2, 3, and 4 to quit smoking.

Collin, Bradley, Elsie, and Mallie

Sleepy Head Bradley




Pretty darn good reasons to quit smoking, if you ask me. I am a very thankful and lucky momma. ūüôā


Worm Farm

What a great digger!

It all started with Sesame Street. The letter of the day was “D” and dirt starts with “D” and worms live in dirt…and¬†on and on… which got Bradley’s brain a turnin’ and he had a million questions about worms and he really wanted a pet worm.

So we decided to start a worm farm.

We got shovels and a container to put them in and we headed out to the garden.

Ane we got lucky! As soon as we broke ground we found a worm!

I think it was love at first sight for Bradley.

Oh, all the things he wants to know!

And I want him to learn by exploring and with lots of hands on activities. That is just the teacher in me. I will be digging out my Science binder from my methods class. I’m pretty sure¬†the awesome professor I had, Dr. Serianz, gave us all types of activities and information on worms. I will probably add some of these to the agenda.

Check out Bradley in this cute video. My camera battery died and cut it off.

We also made a “Worm Journal” and we started a KWLC¬†Chart¬†(what we know, what we want to learn, what we learned, and what views changed). Below are pics of our journal.¬†I also let him put a worm on a plastic lid so he could look at it closer. We saw it crawl through a big dirt clod and¬†stretch out in the water in the crack of the plastic lid.

(SHHHH!!! Don’t tell Papa Bear we had worms at the table. hee hee. If he only knew the crazy things we do all day!)

Bradley studying his worm (on plastic lid) and drawing the cover for his journal.

Some of the things we have listed for our KWLC chart for what we know (or what we think we know, sometimes things change as we explore and learn more, that is the reason for the C in the chart/what ideas we changed):

1. They live in dirt.

2. They like water and they like to swim.¬† (haha…fish like to eat them under water, but I didn’t tell him this. And he thought that because the worm he was watching went to the water, so good conclusion for a five-year old).

3.¬†Ducks eat special worms and that’s their supper.

4. Worms like to burin the dirt deep.

5. They like to play sometimes. Sometimes they play with their daddy.

6. You can pet them.

7. They have no legs.

8.  They are slow like snails.

Some of the things Bradley wants to learn:

1. What do worms eat?

2. Do they eat dirt? Or do they eat what I eat?

3. Do they sleep?

4. Do they like to be pets?

5. Do they have bones?

6. How do they breath?

7. And I want to know how they are classified.

And after you have been outside in the cold digging, you need a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up. And it always tastes better in the special mug Bradley and I made together.

Bradley’s side of the mug¬†doesn’t show as well because he didn’t color very dark. But it is super cute.

Stay tuned for the rest of our experiments and see what is happening down on the worm farm.


p.s. Collin was learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion. With all that room to run in the backyard he was off…until he fell…again and again. His body just can’t keep up with his feet.

STOP…while I kiss these kids.

 The walls in this house are making the rooms much smaller and the kids are getting to be excellent climbers. We really need to get out a little more.

¬†It used to be so easy to throw a couple kids into the car and go. Now, with four children-and three of these under two- it is a major production to get out of the house (even though I wouldn’t change it for anything). And¬†we especially haven’t gone anywhere this winter with super tiny preemies unless we had to.

But…The weather is getting nicer, the girls are getting bigger, and we are getting spring fever. And sometimes…a girl just needs to get out and have a little fun, even if she does have four kids in tow, and even if it is just to the¬†library (which is pretty exciting to me).

So the other day as I’m guzzling the last of my hot tea, the best part with all the sugar at the bottom,¬†I tell Bradley we are going to have to get a move on so we can go to the store. I’ve been dying to buy a new camera, need one badly, and have been saving my pennies, LOTS of them. I figure, might as well go to Best Buy and get one. Getting this gang ready and out the door is a lot of work, but I’m up for the challenge.

But of course, as soon as I decide this all hell breaks loose…or just lil’ Elsie’s lungs screaming at full blast, and she has a scream like a siren. So I take care of my poor colicky baby and try to get the rest of them ready, and it’s amazing what you can do with baby in arm. By the time I run around and go back and forth, all the kids are clean, hair and teeth brushed, they are all looking cute…and I am a sweaty mess¬†and not even close to being ready. Thank goodness for ponytails and messy buns, otherwise we would never make it out the door.

Two trips to the car…yep, you heard it right, it only takes me two trips and I’m quite proud of this. I carry¬†Collin first, then¬†a car seat on each arm for my last load. It’s getting harder because they are getting bigger, but my arms rock!¬†

Look out store, here we come!

¬†But wait and STOP…this is where I kiss my kids… and brag about how well behaved they are at the store.

Bradley holds one of Collin’s hands and I hold the other…and my other arm is carrying two car seats, one¬†resting on my¬†arm and the other in my hand. We are quite a sight as we walk¬†through the parking lot. And really, this is where it¬†could get a little hairy…Collin could take off,¬† Bradley could¬†refuse to help…but no, they are both angels. In the store, around all these expensive electronics, Bradley leads Collin by the hand and lil’ Collin just trails behind. They are so cute and I manage to make it through the store without the babies waking up and I didn’t loose any kids. Wow.

I am just so proud of my boys. And for that performance I let Bradley pick where we went for lunch, McDonald’s of course.

Our little outing was perfect, except the camera wasn’t in. Now I’m just waiting for it in the mail. I spent the extra six bucks to have it shipped, who knows when we will get out of the house next, so it was worth it.


p.s. I have a double stroller but it doesn’t fit in my SUV. So we wing it. And you should see me load all the kids in the tiny vehicle, it’s comical. That could be a post all of its own.

Meet Collin: My Super Cute Baby Boy

I picked Collin up out of his highchair¬†and Kix¬†cereal¬†pelted the floor like hail. Obviously he had more in his lap than his tray. And¬†as¬†soon as his feet¬†touched the floor¬†him and Murphy raced to see¬†who could eat the most cereal¬†off the floor. I might as well be talking to the wall when I say, “Collin, don’t eat off the floor!” Normally he is playing in the river of milk on his tray. He is such a joy to clean up. Right now we just finished breakfast and I am watching him run around with a leftover¬†something¬†stuck above his ear. Must have missed that one.


Mommy & Collin

Collin is the “middle” child (sort of…I should say he is one of the middle children and the youngest boy), with Bradley on one side and the twins on the other, and two older brothers, the oldest 16! But he is my “go with the flow” kid. He¬†toddles along behind one of us.¬†He is also the one who is a big helper and is ALWAYS into something. I can’t turn my back for a second or he might blow up the house, seriously. We were down in the basement and I turned to put the laundry soap in the washer…and that MUST HAVE been when he decided to play with the dials on the water heater. Took me forever to figure out why there was no hot water. Needless to say, I don’t take him down there with me anymore.

He is a pretty easy going toddler. He loves to follow his brother around and play with Murphy, our dog. Collin is 19 months old now and he doesn’t say much, although he has a wide range of yells and grunts. Why would he have to say anything when he has his brother to do it. Bradley will say, “Collin wants a snack,” or “Collin wants to watch cartoons.” So having a little brother has its advantages for Bradley too.

Mommy's helper.

 Likes: Doing dishes, dancing, pushing buttons, pointing and grunting, eating from the garbage (which we put a lock on that door!), playing ball, climbing the stairs and anything that stands somewhat still, pulling off his diaper, he is obsessed with brushing his teeth, crackers (he can be bribed to do anything with a cracker), playing peek-a-boo, rubbing mashed potatoes in his hair, and eating Legos, just to name a few. Oh, and he loves kissing feet, especially the babies. And trying to give the babies their pacifiers. He likes to help with EVERYTHING.  

Lego boy

¬†Dislikes: Long naps, wearing socks and shoes (can’t keep these on him for nothing!), tape on his fingers, and sharing.

He is quite a character. I can just sit and watch him run and it makes me crack up laughing. He is such a goofball. I can’t wait until he starts talking…I wonder what he will say.
Check out Collin’s short video. I was trying to get him to play peek-a-boo but he just wouldn’t. Still a cute video, I’m kinda partial though to my children. ūüôā
Thanks for reading and watching! Feel free to leave a comment. They make my day!
p.s. And he loves eating his toes. I will have to definitely get a picture, it’s hilarious.

Meet the Twins: My November Babies

The girls are 4 months old now. Wow, I just can’t believe it. They have grown so much already. I look back at the pictures of when they were first born and can’t believe how tiny they were. Of course, I couldn’t believe it then either.

Elsie weighed 3 lbs 14oz and Mallie weighed 4 lbs 1 oz. Then, like most preemies, they lost weight and slowly started gaining it back. 

Here are a few pics from the hospital.




When they were first born¬†they had to have special breathing treatments. Their heads were under these plastic domes that looked like a cake cover, kinda like you would see at an old fashioned diner. They had all kinds of tubes, wires, wrappings, and machines that monitored everything and were always beeping about something.Little tiny tubes pumped¬†milk¬†into their¬†little tummies.¬†They weren’t even eating an ounce yet.

All of these machines almost made me scared to touch them. And it was forever (about a week) before I got to hold them and even longer before they were able to be put together in an isolette, which I wanted very badly. It was a rough start but they are little fighters and were doing really good considering they were born at 35 weeks (5 weeks early).


Elsie (pink hat) & Mallie (yellow hat)


I plan on writing their birth story¬†and all that we went through in getting these babies here as safely as possible, but I’m not quite ready yet. It is a long story as well as very emotional for me; long hospital stay, 911 calls, helicopter rides. One day real soon I will put it all down. But for now I will just focus on bits and pieces here and there.

It was the day before Thanksgiving that I got to bring them home. I had to set my alarm and wake them up every two hours to eat.

Elsie & Mallie

And somehow we managed. I’m not sure how I did it at the beginning with little to no sleep every night and taking care of two other children. I wished Brad was able to stay home but he had to work. My mom had to work also, but would come over on her lunch breaks. We have grown together¬†andhave gotten into a pretty good routine. It is so much easier now that they are older…and I don’t have to wake them up every couple hours to eat.

There were times when I would be so stressed, waking up at 6 am, having only 4 hours of sleep, and trying to feed two crying babies who always seemed to wake up at the same time, along with Collin who still needed his diaper changed. Bradley, my 5-year-old, would try to be extra helpful and would climb on the counters to get the cereal down and try to make breakfast, which ended in more of a mess. Especially when he poured the orange juice. But at least he was trying, what a sweetie.

The boys love their baby sisters. Bradley is super helpful and Collin is always trying to kiss them.

What a good big brother. Mallie (left) & Elsie (right) and their first dolls from Grandma Lorraine

Bradley kissing Mallie


Collin & Elsie

Mallie (front) & Elsie (back)

Now Elsie weighs 10 lbs 2 oz and Mallie 11 lbs 8 oz.
They have changed and grown so much in only four short months, but some things stay the same.
Elsie still likes to sleep with one eye open to see what is going on everywhere.
Mallie is laid back and just smiles and coos all the time.
They still love to snuggle together. At night I put them at opposite sides of the crib and when I wake up they are next to each other. They must have scooted and squirmed to get close. They always say how twins have a special bond, it will be interesting to watch and see how their relationship develops.
p.s. They are fraternal twins. I am also so amazed at how they look nothing alike. Elsie is petite and blonde. Mallie is chubby and round with dark hair. Sometimes people say that one looks like me and the other Brad.

G’night! See You in the Morning.

Bradley's new bed

The boys woke us up at 6am this morning. I heard¬†them thundering up and down the slide, giggling and screaming with delight. Then footsteps running back and forth in the hallway, Collin right on Bradley’s heels babbling away. Back and forth they went, up the hallway and then down the slide.

What were we thinking?! Getting a bed with a slide – crazy parents…

They were giggling nonstop.¬†I¬†wasn’t ready to get up yet! NO! I¬†just fell asleep from Mallie’s¬†early morning feeding.¬†So I faked it. I rolled over¬†and pretended I was sleeping.¬†I noticed Brad’s breathing had changed and¬†knew¬†he was awake and just pretending to be sleeping also. We were both silently¬†protesting and debating with¬†each breath¬†on who was going to get up.¬†And as I lay there¬†trying to block out the¬†raucous I couldn’t help but smile to myself in pure happiness. I love to hear them playing and having such a good time together.¬†We are not crazy parents, just fun parents. It was also bound to happen, Bradley’s bed was brand new.

The¬†“sleep” didn’t last long and the screaming¬†riot burst into our room, out of breath and¬†with smiles brighter than the sunshine. It was Brad who rolled over first, “Go in your room and play. AND BE QUIET!”¬† Ha! I knew he would holler first, I thought to myself as I drifted back to a peaceful sleep. Five minutes later he was up tending to the boys. It’s okay,¬†Elsie would wake me up with her high-pitched¬†scream soon enough, poor colicky baby.

I am so glad Bradley loves his new bed. He has been waiting so patiently for it. We ordered it 2 weeks ago and had to wait for it to come in.¬† About a week ago he told me, “Mom, I can’t wait for my new bed to get here. Then Collin can’t get me and I can sleep for a long time.” Soon enough being woken up by a brother bouncing on your head will be a good memory. I remember my sister always ran her feet on bunkbeds we were in, and it felt like it was all over my back, since I had the top bunk. She was up all night jabbering away and I wanted to sleep. Oh, the memories…

We just got the call last night and Brad stayed up all night (with the help of Grandpa Don) putting the bed together. What a good daddy (and grandpa).

Brad also made the underneath of the bed cool as can be. There is a toy box¬†and tv, pillows and a little chair. The DVD is actually attached to the bottom of the bunk bed so Collin can’t get it. It is such a cool hangout with green curtains and all.

It’s night-time¬†now and the boys are each snuggled into their beds.

G’night! Sleep tight…and see ya in the morning. ūüôā


p.s. Collin never sits and watches television, especially that close. It’s a new novelty and Brad got lucky and snapped the pic before he got up. This picture cracks me up though, his bare back and diaper hanging out.

You Stink, Dog!

Poor thing! Every time the dog would sit at my feet I would gripe about how much he smelled and he would slink off with his ears down (poor thing really has no tail to put between his legs, just a little nub). The odor was just horribly pungent and assaulted my nose. I think he was under the babies one to many times when I was burping them and got puked on. FINALLY, I smartened up (sometimes takes awhile) and just ran the poor dog some bath water.

I think he knew how bad he smelled because he did not resist. He just stood there in the humongous bathtub shaking on his tiny toothpick legs, looking like a little rat.

See, even in the picture it looks like he is smiling. I think he was very grateful he didn’t have to smell himself anymore. Probably made him feel better too. Plus, Murphy smiles alot in pictures ūüôā¬† Good dog.

And of course, the boys helped me. Every time he would shake and spray water everywhere they would just laugh and cackle. The only thing I could think of is that I was glad we were in our jammies still because everyone would be smelling like wet dog.

Murphy especially likes being dried off. It seems he rather prefers to do it himself…or get in a good game of tug-of-war. Check out the short video (below).

***Note*** As usual, I like to keep it “real”¬† and the background is not the greatest. That darn door that covers up the toilet paper rolls just broke the other day. I keep meaning to throw it out but haven’t gotten around to it. It’s okay, Collin thinks it is great fun to stack and unstack it, which keeps him busy and not fishing in the toilet.

A Good Nights Sleep and a Busy Work Day

The girls slept all night last night! I am so excited because this has only happened once before.¬†We went to bed around 8:30 or 9 pm and didn’t wake until 6am. It was nice. I made the kids scrambled eggs for breakfast and had the kitchen cleaned and kids dressed by 8:30am. But now, this afternoon, everyone is napping and I wish I was too.¬†I am so tired. My body probably doesn’t know what to do with all this sleep. I hope they sleep again all night again tonight, but I’m not gonna count on it. It was probably just luck.

Today is a “work” day. It is a day of phone calls, organizing paperwork, and¬†paying bills. I hate these kind of days, but they must be done. I keep the boys busy with table activities – drawing, coloring, writing, games, play-doh, painting, etc.

The boys are also¬†able to play¬†on the front porch since it is nicer out (which basically means above freezing). I glance out the window and am thankful they are playing so nicely together…for now. That means I can make phone calls without Collin grunting in the background or Bradley asking questions.

Overall, it has been a productive day. Now I am ready to get back to the fun stuff, like making a few messes or brewing up a science experiment.

Winter Desert

The sunshine glaring through the windows creates a mosaic pattern on my hardwood floors,

light, dark, medium, tan,

 bronze, beige, and brown woodgrain,

play in patterns on my dining room floor.

The icicles drip like leaky faucets from the awnings until they completely disappear. The crispy ice that is frosting the trees crackles and crumbles onto frozen sidewalks.

I look out my dining room window where last years garden looks like a dusty desert with crispy left over plants from last season. It is a brown oasis in the middle of a snow bank. I never got to pull it out last year because I was in the hospital (which I will write about at a later date).

Looking at it makes me sad. Sad that I missed the last harvest. You can see an over-ripened tomato frozen and opaque, sagging from the brittle vine. A bright red jalapeno clings to a brittle branch.

I’m missing the days that Bradley and I would walk around barefoot picking peppers and watering the garden. I would also¬†send him through a jungle of tomatoes, holding up a couple of branches, “Get the RED ones.” I was too pregnant to squeeze in there anyway.

I’m ready for spring. I’m ready for green grass between my toes and hot cement burning my bare feet. I’m ready for sun burns and fireflies. Mosquito bites and birds chirping. Lemonade and iced tea. Air conditioning¬†and water slides. Flower gardens and steaks on the grill. Ok…forget spring. I’m ready for summer.

I was really debating on whether or not I was going to plant a garden this year, considering I am so busy with all these children. But I have talked myself into it. I managed to do it last year when  I was big and pregnant, so I can do it this year with babies in tow. 

I am ready to dig in the dirt, pull weeds, and eat veggies. I think the kids would also miss running through it to get the baseball and hearing me yell, “Get out of the garden unless you’re going to pull weeds!”

C’mon snow! MELT!!!