Friday, December 31, 2010

Michigan Snow












Ironic, but for the second year in a row, we were in Michigan while North Carolina got a record snow storm. Last year, we missed a storm that caused our house to be without power for five days, and this year, we got over 9 inches of snow at our house. I guess we are just lucky that we missed out. We'll have to see what next year brings.
I got a new DSLR camera for Christmas so I had fun playing around with it.

Christmas 2010

We celebrated Christmas a few times, once at our house in North Carolina, once in Holland, Michigan with my family, once in Muskegon, Michigan with Jerry's family, and also Christmas morning with just our girls. We had such a great time and it was wonderful to see all our family and friends back in Michigan too. Here are just a few of the many pictures from the past month (I had a difficult time choosing which pics to post).


Decorating our tree

Sisters working hard


The Perez cousins
(we got to meet our new nephew, Ian. He was born
in February, but we hadn't been able to see him yet).

Ashlyn's First Christmas


Marcie, my sister-in-law, meeting Ashlyn for the first time
The Perez Family
Up to Muskegon to visit the DePoy's

Christmas morning

Mariah loved to sweep by the fireplaces. She was up at
4:45am on Christmas morning and decided
that besides checking under the Christmas tree,
she thought she should sweep too.

Ashlyn found a baby doll in her stocking
ALL the DePoy cousins
(now this was a difficult picture to take)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baby Rant #2

Here is the second chapter of my baby rant and a follow-up to Baby Rant #1 from back in August.

For the most part, the comments from strangers thinking that Ashlyn is a boy (despite the color PINK everywhere on and around her) have faded. I still hear an "it" every now and then, but I just politely smile and move on or answer the bystander's question with "SHE is five months old."

UNTIL yesterday.

We had a fantastic family day out and about and the girls were all dressed up in Christmas dresses. I went into the restroom to change Ashlyn's diaper and a lady was swooning over us while I changed Ashlyn. The lady says, "Oh, how handsome! What a precious baby boy!"
BOY?! Are you kidding me?! Ashlyn has EARRINGS and has on a DRESS and has a BOW in her hair and since you are looking, lady, her diaper is OFF and I only see girl parts here.
I just smiled and didn't comment.

To this stranger's defense, maybe the black and white and red dress threw her off and maybe she was TRYING to give Ashlyn some privacy and not look while I changed her diaper and maybe she didn't see the earrings and/or the bow. BUT STILL...UGH!

Oh well, life goes on.

My three girls in their pretty dresses

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making Christmas Cookies

I decided to try making Christmas cookie cut-outs with the girls this year. This is the first year that I have made Christmas cookies without my mom, so it was a bit of an experiment. Well, they turned out great and we had a lot of fun making them. The girls really enjoyed using the cookie cutters and they had fun frosting and decorating them too.

Not only was this a baking experiment, but it was also a challenge for me not to freak out over a messy kitchen. I am a bit OCD. I really just tried to enjoy making memories with the girls and kept reminding myself that I can clean the kitchen later. I did ok with this task.

Getting started

The MESS

A MESSY little baker


Ta-da! The finished product

The First Snow

We got a light dusting of snow yesterday but then the snow picked up a little in the evening. Yup, you guessed it, our first snow day! We have about 4 inches on the ground and the girls are more than excited.

These pictures were taken when the ground was barely covered, but the girls didn't care.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Successful Thanksgiving Dinner

I touched a RAW turkey!!

This was a big Thanksgiving for me...I cooked everything myself! For the past 30 years, my mom made the turkey and all the trimmings, but this year was different.

We just stayed at our humble abode in the mountains and enjoyed Thanksgiving Day with just the five of us.

All the food turned out great, nothing was raw or undercooked or rotten or moldy. Thanks to my mother, a great teacher, whom I watched from a distance for many years. (My older brother and I would always fight about who got to baste the turkey--ha, this year, I GOT TO DO ALL OF IT!)

The hardest part of the whole day...touching the RAW turkey. Gross. No one told me I would have to do that. I NEVER touch raw meat (yes, I am weird). I truthfully thought to myself, "maybe I will put plastic bags over my hands" as I just stood and stared at this raw, slimy thing. So, I just did it.

I am trying to erase those images out of my head. Just gross.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I TRIED Collard Greens!

...and I didn't like them. We have some new friends that have quickly become really good friends and we hang out with them at least once or twice a week. Well, he is a vegetarian and she is a vegan, which means I am trying and/or being exposed to many new vegetables. So far, I have tried squash, different kinds of beans, zucchini, collard greens, mushrooms, and probably more stuff that my friend hasn't told me about because she just chops it up really small and mixes it in.

You see, this is all new to me because I only eat "normal" vegetables like carrots, corn, potatoes, and lettuce.

The verdict? I am still alive, so this means all these new vegetables ARE really edible!

I Got Sucked In

If you read my post below regarding spending money on MYSELF and get something just for ME that didn't involve kids or babies or toys or spit-up, well, that didn't last long. I saw another magazine deal for 3 years of Parents magazine for $5.99 and I couldn't pass it up. So, there you have it, now I have one magazine for recipes and other womanly whatnot and such and one magazine about boogers and diapers and how I can be a better parent. I guess it is the best of both worlds...maybe.

Now I have to FIND the time to read TWO magazines each month. Not sure if that will ever happen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Have a New Blog

Don't get your panties in a bunch, I am still keeping Sticks and Stones, and I will update it often. However, my new blog focuses more on parenting, or lack there of. It is a more in depth glimpse of our lives as we journey through the ups and downs of raising three girls.

It is called Raising Three Girls
http://raisingthegirls.blogspot.com

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ashlyn's Voice

Here is a conversation I had with Little Miss Ashlyn.

I love her to pieces! (even if she didn't keep her promise...)

Disclaimer: If you don't want to hear a baby coo/babble for over 2 minutes, then don't push the play button.

video

Milk.

A blog post about milk? Why, yes it is. I am not sure if this is blog-worthy, but milk can bring up all sorts of interesting topics.

1. The expiration date! This is one unwritten rule that 99% of people will abide by.

2. The smell. Even if the milk is a week from the expiration date, most people will still smell the milk before they use it. And for sure, everyone smells the milk the day before, the day of, and the day after (whoa the day after is pretty risky) the expiration date.

3. The milk percent. Most people have their favorite and some people are die-hards about not drinking any other percent than their favorite preference. I usually buy two gallons of milk, 1% for me and 2% for Jerry. If the 1% is gone, I will sometimes use the 2% but Jerry will never use the 1%.

4. Our local grocery chain packages milk in YELLOW gallons. This took me some getting used to and most of our visitors that come from other states, think that these gallons are orange juice.

5. As you can see from the picture (yes, as stated before, we have two different kinds of milk in the house at all times), the 2% milk has a picture of a girl on it and the 1% has a picture of a man. My girls will only drink the milk from the gallon with the picture of the girl on it. They call it 'the girl milk.' (Living with girls is a whole separate blog post or novel really).

Milk discussion is over.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Officially Feel OLD

I saw a deal today on a website: a 2 year magazine subscription, 34 issues, for $4.99, and I just couldn't pass it up. I had to think twice, because my MOM reads this magazine and if I read it, then that must make me old, or not stylish, or not hip, (insert your own word to describe a stereotypical mom/grandma). I am not saying that my mom is not hip, but you get the idea.

What was the magazine you ask?.....







Yup, like I said, I feel old. It isn't a subscription to In Style or Vogue, but WOMAN'S DAY!

This means a few things:

(1). I actually spent $4.99 on MYSELF. This is rare since I love/am addicted to buying/looking at toys and/or clothes for the three girls. I tend to find myself in the bright pink toy aisle or children's clothes section of each store. Jerry wants me to spend money on myself, but instead, I just choose to wear the old, faded, out of style clothes I had since I was a freshman in college and spend the money on the girls instead. (maybe he is trying to give me a hint...)
(2). This is the first magazine I have gotten that is NOT about babies, kids, toddlers, toys, educational parenting, how to avoid fevers, the best baby products of the year, the fears of labor and delivery, the horror stories in the delivery room, and how to get spit up stains out of my clothes.

You see, this is a monumental purchase is so many ways.

This $4.99 is a big step in my life. This $4.99 may change me forever...

Monday, October 25, 2010

An Honest Prayer...(a comical, but embarassingly true exerpt)

Dear Lord
Thank you for this beautiful fall day that you created, thank you for my wonderful family
('did I get out Mariah's school clothes, I think I did. She is almost out of clean pants. I need to do laundry tomorrow')
Thank you for our health and that everyone is feeling better. I pray for ___ who is having health problems and ____ who has some important doctor visits this week.
('Jerry needs to call the doctor. We all need to get our flu shots. Last week's doctor appointment with Ashlyn was horrible. I am glad Ashlyn's legs are feeling better from her shots. That appointment was on Thursday. Survivor was on television the night before. Oh yeah, I forget, who got voted off? Oh yeah, and it was nice to relax on the couch tonight and watch Amazing Race. I have to do laundry tomorrow')
Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's Been a Year



Yup, that is right, we have lived in North Carolina for a year now. What this means is that we have not lived in Michigan for a year, we have traded in the Big Lake for the mountains, our little brick house on the side of a mountain has become our home, we have added one family member, we are all a year older, and the leaves are changing colors again. We stepped out on faith and we continue to step out on faith...


Faith is what has gotten us this far.


I am more than ready for this valley, this season of our lives, to be over with, I am ready for the future. (I think I have been saying this for a long time now).


Asheville has been good to us. We like it here. It is home (for now until God calls us elsewhere). We miss our family and friends back in Michigan (but we have made some new friends that have become like family), and we miss our old neighborhood with sidewalks and parks on every corner.


This has been the new beginning that we have needed.


This has been the new beginning that we have needed.

A Few Smiles and Coos

Whenever the camera comes out, Ashlyn stops smiling and cooing. I finally captured a few but when she sees the camera, she just starts staring at the foreign object. This will do for now...

You might not think this is excited, but I think it is pretty cute. Her smiles make me smile.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Little Premature

As Ashlyn turns three months old, I am trying to remember her first hours and first days in this world. My Labor and Delivery story and five day stay in the hospital can be read below, but this post is about Ashlyn's surprise entrance, almost five weeks early.

Due to severe preeclampsia, the doctors decided to induce me but before this could be done, an ultrasound had to be performed to check on the baby's lungs. Praise the Lord, everything looked great with the baby; however, there are always some unforeseen events that could occur with the baby after delivery, so a NICU team was present, just in case. Again, another praise, that Ashlyn looked and sounded great after she was born, her lungs were developed, her breathing was great, and she didn't have any trouble eating. Ashlyn weighed 4lbs 15 ounces but was holding her own. She didn't have to go to the NICU, another praise.

Ashlyn is considered to be what is called a "late-term preemie," but one thing to watch for with preemies is their body temperature. The babies have to regulate and maintain their body temperature without any help from the warmers, so the nurses wrapped the Ashlyn in at least four blankets, they put three hats on her head, a shirt on her as well as a shirt upside down to be used as pants. Ashlyn needed to have a temperature of 98 degrees for 4 hours straight before she could have a bath. She had a little trouble doing this, so it took a while before she could have her first bath.


Wrapped up like a burrito

Upside down shirt as pants (you can kind of see it in this pic)




Ashlyn was doing great so she was able to come home with us! She was almost 4 1/2 pounds so in order for her to leave, the nurses had to perform a car seat test. Ashlyn had to sit in her car seat for 40 minutes with different monitors hooked to her to check her breathing and oxygen levels. She passed!



Here is a pic of Ashlyn during the car seat test.


Now, three months later, Ashlyn continues to do well. She is gaining weight and eats well. She weighs 8 pounds 3 ounces now (some newborns are this size, hehe). I know there will be some developmental delays, she might possibly lag behind on some benchmarks by about a month. She is JUST starting to smile a little, which is WAY different than the other girls who started smiling at six weeks old. She is a little fighter though. Other than a few delays, it doesn't look like there will be any long term affects due to Ashlyn's early arrival. Yet, another praise!

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Heart...

is overflowing with love! Some days I have little "bursts of happiness" as I like to call them, when I think of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family.

(not pictured: my amazing husband!)








Friday, September 10, 2010

Chuck E. Cheese Experience

We decided that tonight would be a great night for a family fun night at Chuck E. Cheese. Wahoo, everyone was excited and the girls couldn't wait to get there.
"Are we there yet?" the girls chimed every two minutes.

The night was filled with games, rides, pizza, you name it. When all of our tokens (Ambria called them "coupons") were used, what else is left, but to go to the Ticket Muncher and see how many tickets we had....

Drumroll please.....800!!

Are you kidding me? 800!!
Do you know what this means?!
This means we can get a cool prize and not some stupid little prize that breaks on the way home.
This means we can get more than a Tootsie Roll!
This means we can get more than a necklace!
I think I was more excited than the girls were.


I have never had 800 tickets before so I was like a kid in a candy shop, my eyes wide with excitement.


Ok, time for the girls to choose a prize. They could get an awesome toy, like a ball with spikey things all over it, a slinky, a purse, some sort of crazy lizard thing...the options were almost endless when you have 800 tickets (ok, so we weren't THAT cool, and didn't have 1000 or 3000 tickets like some other chumps).


I was trying SOOO hard not to persuade them into something they didn't want, but I really didn't want them to choose a crap toy that got lost the next day or broke in an hour. We really don't need any more little crap toys around the house.


This is what Mariah chose: Cotton Candy, a crap necklace, and crap lip gloss.

This is what Ambria chose: Cotton Candy, a crap bracelet, and a crap pack of crayons.


Oh! Ugh! No! Really?! Is that what you REALLY want?!
Yup.


Cotton Candy was a good choice, but everything else I had to cringe.
I had to let the girls be independent.
I had to allow them to choose.
I had to let go.
I had to be ok with them getting crap toys.

The Chuck E. Cheese experience is just the beginning of the girls' independence, like it or not, ready or not, I have to allow them to be individuals.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In a World of Oblivion

Oblivious
–adjective
1. unmindful; unconscious; unaware
2. forgetful; without remembrance or memory

Sometimes I would like to be as oblivious to the world as a young child...you know, where your biggest concern is what's for lunch or what is for dessert or what show is on television or what color should I paint the butterfly.

I have seen a few pictures of myself lately and I can "see" what I am thinking in each photo. It is usually something like, where are the girls, I have to get dinner started, where did I put the keys, the laundry is getting wrinkled. I am always thinking one step ahead and not living in the present.

I wonder how many wonderful, priceless moments I have missed in the last few years, because I am focusing on the past or thinking about how we are going to get to the future.

What about the present?

One of my favorite times of day is when I go check on each of the girls before I go to bed myself. I silently pray blessings over each one, re-tuck them in, and give them a kiss. They are oblivious.

Sometimes I wish I were oblivious as a young child.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Baby Rant #1

Ok, I realize that sometimes it is difficult to identify the gender of an infant. Ashlyn has been called a boy more times than I can count on two hands, and sometimes a person will call her a boy even AFTER I have politely corrected them. I find this a little ironic considering Ashlyn's car seat and stroller are PINK and 95% of the time, I have her dressed in pink or purple. Ok, I will politely dismiss this mistake, just figuring and assuming that the person is color blind (I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they cannot see the PINK).

Here is the thing, calling her a boy is one thing, but people have called her an IT. Really?! An IT? Come on. Unacceptable. Uncalled for. I wonder what my facial expression looks like when someone calls her an IT. This has happened multiple times.

And, the latest of the baby gender comments...someone called her a LITTLE HUMAN. I am not sure how I feel about this comment yet, but maybe baby, or baby girl, or infant would be a better fit.

Here is a picture of Ashlyn in her PINK car seat, not to be confused with blue. I know it is difficult to see her cute little, flower sun suit, but then, let's use process of elimination...not a blue car seat, it is PINK so my guess is that the baby is a GIRL. Ding, ding, ding, you are right!


Rant #1 is over.
I am not sure if there will be subsequent rants about other infant things, but I labeled it Rant #1 just in case there are more to come...