Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet Isabel

I just had to share this photo becaue Miss Isabel couldn't be any sweeter. She had her pictures taken for her 2nd birthday in May and Beth gave us one of the little "business" cards she got from the photographer when they were here last weekend.

Pure girly sweetness! Love you little miss! I can't wait for Karlena to get a little older so you guys can play together!!

Typical or not??

"Typical" as defined: combining or exhibiting the essential characteristics of a group or conforming to a type.

For all of my life I have wanted to at least feel "typical". As though I belonged to the larger group of people that seemed to have it all together.  I was always a little shy (ok a lot) and a little awkward (ok a lot) and felt a little out of place (ok a lot).

When I was 7 yrs old and in 1st grade I was walking into school during a particularly windy and snowy day and the wind blew so hard that I fell into the bike rack and hit my eye.
Massive shiner. But after it happened I didn't want anyone to know (um yeah right!) and went into school and sat down and tried to hide my crying. But this girl next to me- Missy White - raised her hand and in front of the whole class told the teacher that I was crying. Awesome.

The good part of that was that I ended up having to stay at home for a few days until the swelling in my eye went down and I got to use my Easy Bake Oven and make some tasty treats. The bad part was that even at that young age I knew that I was "different". I mean how many people do you know that have gotten a black eye from being blown over into a bike rack??

As I got older it didn't get much better....I so desperately wanted to be the pretty girl with the long beautiful straight hair.
Instead I had short and curly hair. I wasn't overly athletic and I couldn't do the V-sit and reach in P.E. I have tight arms just couldn't stretch like that without feeling like my legs were tearing...but I digress.

And at one time I apparently rocked a mullet big time.
There just really aren't words adequate here....

In 6th grade - the same girl who "told" on me in 1st grade was having a big party and all of my friends were invited. But I wasn't...they wanted me to come and wanted to help me "impress" her at a football game that we were going to by wearing a really cool outfit.

This was my favorite outfit then...and it wasn't really football weather appropriate. But I wore it anyways and froze all night that particular Friday. And when it was all said and done, it just wasn't good enough. I never got the invite I wanted. :(

In 7th grade I was the first person to have braces AND glasses at the same time. (Although later this worked to my advantage when we started high school I was the 1st to have them off!) But you get the point. I just always thought others had "it" figured out and somehow I had missed the life training course.

Some of those things still linger with me today. I am not comfortable in big group situations. If it is work related I can handle it because I have something to talk about...but when it is a "social" situation I always feel out of place.

It is something that I had always hoped would be different for my kids because it was such a struggle for me....

When we found out that Gabriel was on the "spectrum" I worried about what growing up would be like for him. You can read about how I felt about the results here. Kids can be mean and I knew that Gabriel would probably never be "typical".

And at times he does struggle. He doesn't lose well at games and doesn't understand at times just how to enjoy the "typical" kid stuff - like choosing out a prize from a prize bag. He is very black and white and likes to follow the rules....and when others don't he points it out. Not exactly top on the "How to win friends" list.

But he has a passion for life that I often don't see in kids his age. Last year at school his teachers would comment that he is such a great kid to have in class because of his joy for school. He loved it. Always happy to be there and always grateful. When he would get a certificate for getting a 100% on his spelling test he would thank his teacher!

And he has an incredible heart for God and an interest in all things spiritual. Gabriel and I have many conversations about God and Heaven. He doesn't want anyone to go to "the bad place" - saying the real word is a naughty word according to Gabriel! :) And he prays for people that at times I didn't want to pray for because I didn't feel they deserved it. But Gabriel doesn't see it that way. Everyone should be able to go to Heaven according to him!

I love that about him. And so while I worry and obsess at times thinking about how I can make him more "typical" so that he can avoid the hurts of this world....I am reminded that I too have been and continue to be where he is.

And that is ok.

I think that is what I love most about blogging. I am able to say here what is on my heart without fear of judgement because I can't "see" your reaction as you read this. I don't feel quite as awkward hiding behind my computer as I do when I feel I have to try and impress you in person.

And so although I may not ever be "typical" I think that is ok.

Because through the bad hair and the clumsiness, the crooked and then straight teeth, the braces and glasses and just about every color of contact in between one thing has been constant in my life.

God has always been there.

I really felt His presence the first time that my mom took me to a Christian Women's Club meeting and I heard a woman share her story about feeling not "typical" and how God used her anyways...I wanted to be used by God in the same way.
And as I reflect on all of the things that I have experienced I know that each one has been an opportunity to grow. If I am willing to do so.

Maybe, just maybe being not "typical" is a blessing because I get to see the world through a different pair of glasses.
And I have to say that the view from here is pretty sweet!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Time Out Anyone??

I think most parents with toddlers in the home can agree that a time out is necessary every once and awhile....or in our case - a lot!

Time out is a word I find myself using...well pretty much every day. :( Ah how I long for the days when he will say "Ok Mommy - I will listen and behave and not hit..."

Anyways....we got home from daycare today and Elijah was starting to act like he does and I told him that he needed to behave or he would have to go in time out.

He put his head down and walked away into the other room where I found him here...
Apparently he put himself into time out!! But he didn't go to the normal time out chair....

He picked this antique chair that my grandparents gave me years ago. It just isn't time out chair appropriate!

This is Elijah when I told him that he couldn't have my camera....see why he might be spending time in time out?! :)
But then he does what he does best....melts me with his smiles. What will I do with this boy of mine?!

In other "Elijah" news his newest thing is saying that someone hit him. Except it sounds like this....

"Mom, Gabriel it me"....

"Mom, Isaac it me"....

"Mom the man it me"..... (Still to this day we don't know who "the man" is!!)

But here is the best part. Typically no one has "it" him and he is totally lying!! One day he even had the nerve to tell me that I "it" him. When I asked him if I hit him in the earlobe he said yes. When I asked him if I hit him in his ankle he said yes. SO apparently I find ways to "it" my kids in the strangest of places! Shame on me!! :)

Maybe I need a time out?! Ask Elijah and he would probably say "Yes"!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Aebleskiver Days and Piles of Rocks

Today my parents came up to Marshall along with my sister Beth and her husband Jeff and sweet Isabel.
The goal was to celebrate my dad's birthday and attend the local Aebleskiever Days in Tyler MN.
Elijah dug right Aebleskiver is like a round ball pancake. The one Elijah had was a little over done but it didn't stop him from digging right in.
Elijah and Grandpa - happy after the yummy food!!
Miss Isabel...a little sleepy after her nap on the way up but with a cute new haircut! She is such a girl's girl - noticing every one's nail boys have never noticed nail polish! :) It will be interesting to see how that changes with Karlena in the house!

Speaking of Karlena....
She was excited about Aebleskiver Days too! So excited that when Dominic handed her over to Jeff so that he could participate in the local activities, she threw up all over him. Sorry about that Jeff!
And what Danish festival isn't complete without some dancing?! And yes...Dominic is dancing with some other blonde....married 15 years and still hasn't danced with least I am not holding a resentment about it! :) :)
Grandpa, Gabriel and Elijah watching daddy dance in the street!
There was also this guy there that had display photos of these rocks that he balanced on top of each other and had several rocks for people to try it for themselves. Isaac and Christian were all about this and the guy even commented that he had never seen someone pick it up as quickly as they did.
So of course now they are hooked....and this is what I have found on and around my front porch since we have been home....piles and piles of stacked rocks.

The neighbors are going to start to wonder about us.... :)

How did you spend your Saturday?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A day for Gabriel

Late yesterday evening I decided to see about taking the day off from work and spending some special time with Gabriel.

Isaac has been gone since last Friday with his friend Christian and Gabriel has been a little lonely and bored - especially when I am busy working.

It is Crazy Days today in Marshall and there were a few fun things planned so I thought it would be the perfect way to help Gabriel have as he would put it "his best day ever"!

After we dropped the little ones off at daycare we headed to Walmart where Gabriel got a few snacks and this...
He has been asking for this for his birthday in October but today he got to have it because today for Gabriel "anything goes"!!

Just being silly....

I told him that we could have anything he wanted for lunch and this is what he chose - funny boy!

After going to Walmart we went to a thrift store and to the dollar store and he chose these balloons. He loves balloons and the one pictured says it Gabriel it was all about you!!

After walking downtown for crazy days and the kiddie parade - where Gabriel got a hot dog, chips and his favorite soda Sprite, we went over to the pool where they were having a bunch of games and giving away prizes.

Here he is diving for pennies...

And a flower throwing game...

Just watching everything going on.

Here he is holding his $1.50 find at the thrift store. Elijah is going to go nuts when he comes home and sees it!!

At the pool they were giving away a Nintendo DS. Gabriel REALLY wanted to win. I tried and tried to prepare him for the reality that it was a slim chance. I even said a little big prayer that he would win....

Alas it wasn't his lucky day I guess. Poor kids was crushed. It was NOT his best day ever anymore! :) But we talked about all of the fun we had together and that if I had not taken the day off of work he wouldn't have been able to enter in the first place....

It is still hard isn't it? Gosh I wish I could protect him from disappointment like that!!

But he asked if he could watch Marley and right now he is chillin and feeling pretty happy about his day. So am I. What a blessing to have such a great son and a beautiful day to spend with him!!

Thanks for hanging with mom buddy - I love you! And it was my best day ever even without the Nintendo DS!! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7 months - well almost!!

Oh my where does the time go??
How is it that you are already 7 months old? Well almost, your actual birthday is tomorrow but I know I have time for this post tonight so I am doing it a day early!
You are such a sweet natured girl. The only time you get really fussy is when you are hungry, tired or poopy....and let's face it - who of us doesn't act the same way when it happens to us?! :)
You are curious about everything and love to watch your brothers being crazy.
Everything and I mean EVERYTHING goes into your mouth.

You still don't have any teeth but I am sure they are coming soon with the way you chew and drool.
It is a joy to watch you grow and change and I have yet to be tired of putting dresses on you!! I am afraid at least for now you are stuck with them. I love you my sweet pea.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ants and Breezy Acres

So let me just be real here....I can't stand ants. I realize that they too are God's creation and all but seriously why can't they just be God's creation outdoors? Why do they have to invade MY space? :)

So last night I was sitting in the living room with Karlena and I looked over at the edge of the rug and there were several ants crawling around.

GROSS. Did I say I can't stand ants?

Because where there are 1 or 2 ants there are 3 million ants following close behind. I think I have been scarred since I was a teenager. I remember seeing a single little ant on my desk in my room. I told my mom and she got me some Terro on a little note card. I left it and when I came back the white note card was covered in ants.

Yes eventually they all died and the problem was solved but I have never been the same since.  So when I saw the ants last night of course I had to go on a massive cleaning spree vacuuming and sweeping and vacuuming some more. Then I went outside and sprayed Raid around the door frames. I am trying to make it clear to the little guys that even though it is hot out there they need to find another cool place to reside and my house isn't it!!

So at the local Walmart the  cashier asks me, upon seeing my ant traps, if I have ant in my kitchen sink. (Insert the moment when I throw up in my mouth just a little bit....) I say no, but apparently that is where she has them. Never had them before and now has them in her sink. I feel a tiny bit grateful that for now they are just on my rug...

Now on to something completely unrelated....

On our drive to the church we have been attending we pass this house and they have a sign out front that says Breezy Acres...I think it is a bed and breakfast.

For some reason, maybe it is the location, it made us chuckle just a bit and then Dominic said that we could turn our house into a bed and breakfast...

And I said yeah but we couldn't call it Breezy Acres...that just sounds a little too peaceful for our house.  So we started coming up with an advertisement for our potential B&B....

Come to the Smith Resort
Where the projects never end and they never go as's hardly ever quiet, and someone is always crying! If you want an escape from your "normal, calm and peaceful" life then give us a call and our door will be open!! :)

Happy Monday friends!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DIY - Magnetic Chalkboard

When we first looked at the house we are in now I fell in love with this huge chalkboard they had hanging in their kitchen. But the owners took it with them and so we were left with this....

A big empty space in the wall and a longing to have a chalkboard there again.

So we went to Menards determined to make our own. Here are some of the supplies we bought...

The supplies total cost was around $50 and we thought it would only make 1 board....but we have enough left over that we are going to do another one for Isaac's room!!

We bought a sheet of Melamine to use for the board. It is lightweight and affordable.
While I got busy painting the 3 coats of magnetic primer, Dominic worked on building the frame...

Once the magnetic primer had set for at least 4 hrs after the final coat I was able to do the 3 coats of the chalkboard paint. I would suggest if you are going to try this that you follow the directions on the paint packaging.

It is hard to see but this is how it looked after all the painting had dried.

Once Dominic glued on the frame and it had dried we had to "condition" the chalkboard.

Basically it is just using a piece of chalk and rubbing it across the entire board. Don't do this step indoors...or with blue sidewalk chalk - you will have a mess all over your floor. And if you don't listen to my warning and have to clean up the mess as I did...don't use your Swiffer Vac to do it - you will have another mess to deal with after that!! :)

And once it is conditioned and erased it was ready to hang...

I am so excited because it is perfect for the space and was much cheaper than buying one pre-made.

I am not sure if you can tell in the photo - but at the top right it says "Thank you Jody". Yesterday Gabriel got a couple of pieces of mail and he was so excited he ran out and yelled at the mail woman "Thanks mailman" I told him that we should find out her name and it is Jody. So he went inside and wrote "Thank you Jody" on the chalkboard because he was so happy she brought him mail! :)

What was the last DIY project that you tackled?!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good deals and even better kids!

This seems to be the summer of good deals for me.
That or Marshall just has some really great garage sales.
In addition to the good deals I found, I had to post some more photos of the 3 younger kids. Isaac is spending the week in Beresford with his best friend so the kids are missing him here at home!

Karlena is my pineapple sweetie in this dress I found a few weeks ago at a garage sale down the street!

This Columbia hat was only 50 cents and it matches the free coat and snow pants I got from our old daycare a few weeks before we moved!! He is set for winter for sure!

His attempt at putting it on himself :)

I really wanted a nice picture of all of the kids but they just couldn't all cooperate at the same time! Karlena is mesmerized by that hat!!

Elijah's "new" piggy bank. It plays music and teaches counting and had all the coins to go with it.

And the steal of the day I am most excited about...this is a mens Columbia winter coat. Has the zip out lining and everything. I washed it up tonight and it looks brand new and was only $5!! It is a men's XL and will be a little big for Isaac but I am sure he will be able to use it at some point!

I just finished baking banana bread and am looking forward to a weekend indoors, it is going to be HOT here. How do you plan to spend your weekend??

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