Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Here's the Thing

Kim here.

Its time to fire back up the digital journal that is full of cobwebs and nobody reads. But what better place to lay out a few thoughts. For posterity. Also because I suck at scrapbooks and printing photos and cleaning house and well...most things domesticated.

Plenty of things have happened of course. Max started Kindergarten this year and has taken school so seriously its almost scary.. We've attended countless wrestling tournaments. Gage recently placed 4th place at state in his weight group in the 9-10 year old division. A week later he turned 9. We increased a dose of Synthroid for Gage's bum thyroid and Max has managed to stay out of the hospital.

Jack and I purchased Main Street property a block south and almost three times the space of our previous building. We then spent 11 months renovating from top to bottom and front to back. The store moved over Labor Day weekend 2015 and its been an excellent move.

Dana had a baby boy. Welcome to the crew Tyce!

This is the latest and greatest thing happening:

That's my belly. Last week. Sixteen weeks pregnant. Its news we've guarded for a while, as my mama heart isn't ready to spread the news to everyone quite yet. The first trimester was rough. I was sick with the boys, but nothing like this. I probably puked 2-3 times a piece with them, though nausea lasted through week 16 or 17 (I puked once at 20 weeks with both of them.) This round? I started puking during week 5 and puked 3-6 times a day everyday but a few until week 11 finally brought some relief. I should most definitely have gone to the doctor for relief sooner. By the time I went, the worst of it was over. Now I'm left with some discomfort from things shifting around (you know, vital organs and such) and a moderate case of insomnia. Fun stuff!
I survived the first trimester at wrestling tournaments every weekend. The day after tournaments ended up being some of my roughest days with the lack of sleep (and fluids) catching up with a fury. I've had several headaches this go around, which is very unlike the last two.
Since we gave away and sold all of our baby clothes, gear and maternity clothes, we are starting from scratch again. Certainly not the first in this situation, or the last, but I've been completely avoiding even considering what we'll need.
A major remodel has started in the basement to finish off every square in of space. The 950 square feet on the main level right now includes two small bedrooms and one bathroom (the living room, dining room and kitchen have great space). We're adding a bathroom and two bedrooms downstairs. You know, so there's enough physical space to set the crib back up.

The boys are very excited. I was terrified to tell them, positive that Max especially would lose his mind over the deal. Homeboy does not like change and he really loves his mama. He completely surprised me with his acceptance and excitement. Its like God knew anything else would put me over the edge. Its been fun involving them in the growth updates and planning. They haven't picked out names yet. Max is even willing share his birthday, if necessary. Good thing, its a real possibility. The due date is October 6th (his birthday is the 2nd if you're keeping track).

Next appointment is actually the ultrasound!

That's the gist of it for now. There's plenty of other stuff going on, but most of it doesn't matter as much. No promises on frequency of blog updates. Just a few things I wanted to get off my chest quick.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Egypt for Eight - Gage's Birthday

In the weeks leading up to Gage's birthday he was quite often posed with the normal slinging of questions, "Are you excited to turn eight?" "What do you want for your birthday?" "Have you lost anymore teeth yet?"
"Yes, I am excited." "No I haven't lost anymore teeth." And "for my birthday I just want Mom to turn the house into Egypt."
Compromise time. Normally I find hosting a houseful of kids too overwhelming. We have a cozy space, and grade school boys need room to roam. However, as we prepare our new office building, I found we were at the perfect place in the construction process to have a party. Four walls, fresh sheetrock, no paint, no floor coverings. Bring on the mess. Bring on Egypt.
So on Easter, we decorated and turned my soon-to-be photo studio into the inside of a pyramid. I bought a giant roll of kraft paper, and we covered the walls. Here's a look at the finished result during the party.
I free handed this sarcophagus. Guys, I'm a terrible artist. This was most definitely divine intervention. Gage's eyes lit up when he saw the drawing and he spent an hour coloring it with his brother.  We happened to deliver a reception sofa the week before, and put the human sized box behind this drawing in the doorway so it was like stepping into a tomb.
See the goofy shadows? Before we could put up new walls, we had to take down old light fixtures. The entire building is being lit with a couple of shop lamps. I think it added to the dramatic effect of our day. Also? Sheetrock dust everywhere. It was really like being in the desert.

Grandma Koreen wins with another extravagant cake, custom made to the birthday boy's specifications. The toys are TOOB toys that I ordered online. Gage's big thing is to have themed cake inside too. He chose lemon cake with some chocolate swirled around to make it look like sand. It turned out really neat - and delicious!

With a room full of kraft paper walls, I drew in some brick lines and turned the kids loose with markers to add their own messages. I had printed off hieroglyph codes to help with authenticity.

Why, but of course we wrapped them up in toilet paper to make them into mummies.

Even though Gage and his friends are so gracious to play with the little brother, Max invited a buddy over for the afternoon too. (I did their wrappings...it would have been a tall order for the two of them together.)

Party goers took turns wrapping each other up. This toilet paper tore fairly easily so it was an exercise in patience and standing still.

Gage and his spelling bee cohort - they competed just a couple of days later in the regional spelling bee. She spelled penny wrong and Gage slipped up on minister. They had a great time though!

Some of Gage's oldest friends - its been so much fun watching these kiddos grow up together.

Max helped push things right along.

After all of the kids had a chance to get wrapped up mummy style, I had them all pitch in to wrap up the birthday boy.

We had so much fun - I could tell by the pitch and volume of the shrieks and laughter.

Eight. I could not be prouder of this kiddo. He amazes me every single day in a new way. Watching his compassion and concern for others grow, watching his love of learning flourish, watching him socialize and maintain his quirky personality? A gift.

Embrace the grain...it was really dark in this room!

Hitting up the crafts table to make some hieroglyph messages to take home. Gage had gotten a hieroglyph stamp set as a gift so they used that to stamp on paper bags.

Food! Balloons! Fresh sheetrock! Stud walls! The renovation process has been a labor of love. Jack labors, while I love what he's done with the place. With the generous help of his (retired contractor) dad, we're getting closer.

I love Max looking over Gage's shoulder in this series of shots.

Happy Birthday Gage! He was so very thankful for the party. I am so very thankful he launched me into motherhood.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

On being a brother

Here's the thing: with two little boys and no little girls in our house the learning curve is at an all time high when it comes the dynamic of brothers. Neither Jack nor I grew up experiencing brothers having brothers. So watching this relationship between Gage and Max develop, grow and change is new territory for both of us. Its thrilling and exhausting and terrifying. But mostly, its wonderful. 

A few things happening in the world of brothers here.

Loving a little brother means hauling the sled up the hill for him. Time and time again. Without being asked.

Loving a big brother is trusting that he will line you up at the top of the hill and push you safely to the bottom. Then, when you collide head on with a tree, loving a big brother is turning to look for him first for consoling words and hugs. And chewing him out later.

Loving a little brother is coming inside twenty minutes later to put on a shirt and socks because little brother was so anxious to get outside you thew a coat and boots on over bare skin. Loving a big brother, is coming inside while he finishes getting dressed, all the while reliving the glory of those rides down the hill and then heading  back out for more, chatting the whole way.

 Loving a big brother? Its sitting through hours of practices and competitions without complaint. While playing with hand me down toys and wearing hand me down clothes.

Loving a little brother is answering to "Brother" in front of your big kid friends. Max has always called Gage "Brother" and hardly anything else.

Loving a brother, big or little, is physical. Football, bullriding, wrestling, and fight are the ultimate activities. You hardly play anything else. 

Loving a brother is racing. Racing down a hill in a sled. Racing back to your seat after the children's sermon. Racing to get dressed the quickest. Being a brother is then rubbing it in just enough to feel good but not so much to make the loser cry.

Being a big brother is picking up all the toys, even though you had no part in the making the mess. And only complaining a little.

Being a brother, big or little, is adoration in your counterpart. Its an evolution of two souls, a bond of brotherhood we may never understand through observation. I am blessed to get a front row seat to the feature event.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

All the Fingers on Your Hand

It is astonishing yet, at the same time, totally believable that I am the mother of a FIVE year old.  Wowza!  And let me tell you, this kid has been rocking my socks off lately.  He is just so full of life.  He is such a delight to be around and leaves no stone left unturned.


Here’s the yearly birthday interview to highlight a few of his favs:


It’s always fun to see how he’s going to answer the questions.  The “three words that describe” me answer made me giggle.  Clearly he didn’t quite understand what I was asking…which is why his answer “crime” doesn’t concern me too much.  Ha!

Anyway, some of MY favorite things about five-year-old Easton:

·         He’s been totally into telling jokes for the last few months.  But just recently he’s figured out how to make up his own.  Some of my favs…

Where does a car like to play? The park!
What do Smurfs like to do at the beach? Ride their Smurf boards.

What does the mail learn about at school? Letters.

What’s a toilet’s favorite day? Potty day.  (Clearly he had his birthday in mind here…potty day/party day.)

·         He never lets me leave without a hug and a kiss.  If I head out the door at preschool or day care he’ll stop me in my tracks and say, “Wait Mom!  I need a hug and a kiss!”  I’m sure these days are numbered, so I’m soaking it all in.

·         His passion for trucks, tractors, and big machines continues to grow.  He’s really gotten into Legos the past few months and is constantly creating and inventing new vehicles that are capable of performing any number of tasks.  So cool to see his imagination at work.

·         He is the best snuggler EVER.  He loves it when I wear “comfy clothes” and will ask me multiple times throughout the week (sometimes multiple times in one day!) if I will snuggle with him.  I realize this, too, is probably something that won’t last forever so I rarely turn down a snuggle invite!

·         When he woke up the morning of his birthday I told him something was different about him.  After deliberating for a few minutes I told him the difference must be that he was now five instead of four.  He looked at me with the biggest, brightest smile and said, “Yeah, that must be it!  And I think my voice sounds a little different.  And look at my hands!”  Just LOVE that kid.


The past five years of being Easton’s mommy has been an absolute joy.  His smile comes easy and often, and his beaming personality is warming and contagious to everyone.  People ask, “Is he always in a good mood?” “You can just tell he loves life!” “He’s such a fun kid!”  And he really, truly, is.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Conversations Between Friends

A quick bit from earlier this week. We don't exactly converse in a straight line, so hopefully you can follow.
Kim: Yesterday Max told me in the sweetest little voice, "I love you so much I'm going to fart.
What a riot.
Kim: I had to ask him to say it again and it came out the same way. No space, no forgotten comma.
Dana: Probably at the same time that Ember was saying "poop on Mommy's head" and giggling ecstatically like only middle-school aged boys should about something like that.

Kim: Ha! We talk lots about poop + head + butt + stink. But its funnier coming from a girl.
Dana: How does she even know that's inappropriate, which makes her giggle?

Kim: You deserve her because you love me so much. You know that right? I'd have a girly girl because I wouldn't know what to do with one, and you have one just like me.

Dana: Yes, it's like living my life with you all over again. Only now I'm in charge and supposed to be responsible. Thanks for that.
Kim: Ha! Daycare? Its not an Easton thing at all. If she lived with Gage I could understand it.

Dana: At least I can rest assured I'll like her as a teenager and grown-adult.

Kim: Hahaha! Let's hope so.
Dana: No, definitely not day care. I'm praying she doesn't say it at day care. 

Kim: I love it!! My kids pick up lots of things at daycare. Its been a great gateway drug for elementary school.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Work. Run. Heat.

Hold onto your seats, here's a summer update thanks to my phone camera.

Summer has found us with more than a couple irons in the fire. We really ramp up work this time of year with rodeo entries, so why not tear down some walls in the house?? Its always an adventure to unearth what is hidden behind the sheetrock.

Not the biggest hardware we've found holding the house together, but it is definitely more than necessary. With solid wood walls on both sides of the studs throughout the house, the home was built to last. We've left most of the original walls intact.

Hot days + stressed out mama = chasing children with garden hose. Believe it or not, this was their idea and they had a blast running away from the cold water.

15 minutes later. Soaking went and loving it!

A few thoughts on my summer stress relief. A couple of months ago I took up running. Yeah, I know. Anybody who knew me as a Chester Flyer can attest that my 7th through 10th grade years I participated in cross country as the slowest person on the team. One year, I didn't finish last in all of the races. I was in horrible shape, had bad knees, and zero athletic ability or coordination. I went out for cross country because my older brother did and I either had to participate with him, or ride the school bus to and from school every day. (The horrible plight of the American Teenager.) So for me to tell you that I enjoy running now is kind of a big deal. I'm in better shape now than I ever was when cross country started in the fall and my times are better than they've ever been. I'll probably never win a race, but I'm doing it.

I find that running makes me less "short" with people, including the children. My patience is better, and I have more energy through the day. I figure I can run, so I probably should. I am fortunate to be alive, and healthy enough to run, and taking off down the highway is my way of saying thanks.

Also, I've had crazy nightmares about running for most of my adulthood. Running away from danger, running toward loved ones, running around lost. Always running. My time in cross country, while enjoyable in the social aspect, was a little haunting. I joke that when cheering someone on you'll usually hear, "Way to go! Keep going - you're doing great!" However, I remember on more than one occasion hearing complete strangers throughout the course cheer for me, "You're almost there. Its ok, just a little farther!" I must have been a pitiful sight, and I knew it.

So just like 15 years ago, I'm running because I can. For my cross country coach who always ran back to finish practice with me, and now walks with a pronounced limp from a massive stroke. For the students I used to teach who have passed away far too soon. And for the times in my life when I may not be able to run. Today I run.

My running partner, some days. I can tell you this: if you think you're in great shape and want to brag about being in great shape, start running behind a stroller. Max doesn't come all the time. In the perfect world, he's still asleep when I get up to run because he needs the rest. But many days he'll tag along, bringing a few toys, a bowl full of breakfast cereal and my phone full of music. Sure, we go a little slower and sometimes we walk more than run but this time together where he'll fit in the stroller and come willingly is fleeting.

Get this - I ran so much for a while that I got horrible shin splints. Apparently you can get them when you push a little too hard and increase distances too fast. I joke that if there's a way to run incorrectly, then I'd find a way. You'll be happy to know that after backing way off for a few weeks and new shoes, the shin splints are gone. And no vegetables were harmed in the process either.

Look - I ran a 5K! I crawled out of bed, secured my hair in a headband and sweated it out with almost 150 other people for the 10th Annual Boss Cowman 5K. Here's Kayla, one of my former students and I after we finished. She's a new runner too and we're probably going to be awesome together for the next 60 years at the BC5K.

Alright, enough about running. I really have been meaning to pop in a post about running because it has really changed my perspective on a few things.

One more picture I got a kick out of. In taking the laid back approach to summer, I spend most days (and every evening) in a headband. I have to get the hair out of my face the minute I leave work so I usually just throw it back. I was taking a picture to show you (all of my faithful drought readers) when Max snuck in and photo bombed. I totally deserve it. :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Not You, Me

Welcome back! I hope you haven't missed any daily updates we've sent. Kidding aside, we have been living, growing, helping and parenting. I thought I'd jump back in feet first with a post on our evening outing to the park and thoughts on where we've been lately.

At three and a half, Max still enjoys riding in the baby swing. The big kid swings mean staying a little closer to the ground for now and this boy is full of adventure.

You may notice the casted arm. We've been given the go ahead to take off the cast (as of today) so throughout the weekend we'll transition out of it. Six weeks ago Max was riding on his brother, the bull while Jack and I were out of the room. The bull landed on the rider and the next day (I let him whimper through the night before I figured out it was legit) we got xrays and a cast. It actually broke both bones and they found three separate fractures. Its healing great and he's been surprisingly patient with it. It hasn't slowed him down enough as he looks for new and exciting ways to scare his mother every day. If Gage can handle it, then Max thinks it'll be a piece of cake for him too.

Gage finished up Kindergarten a few weeks ago and even though I've been trying hard to change up daytime schedule and keep things fresh, he's bored enough to find all sorts of trouble. I don't want to get into the specifics to protect the guilty parties, but he brought me to tears a couple of times this week. In an effort to understand what's going on I've come up with two thoughts to try and calm myself. First, I remember living at my parent's house the summers after my freshman and sophomore years of college. After the freedom of the dorms and the schedule of college, going back home to their rules and expectations was really challenging. One of those summers I was planning our wedding and preparing for that milestone which didn't help. Perhaps Gage feels the same after a year at school away from a nagging and controlling mom? Second, the kid is amazing. He catches on fast, he loves to learn, his memory is scary accurate and he knows things he shouldn't know (an encyclopedia of random animal facts). He has always been a spirited child. Endless energy, unlimited questions and a thirst of adventure has kept us on our toes for 6+ years. The highs with Gage around are incredibly high. However, it has to balance out somewhere and I truly believe that it makes his lows that much lower. We're working on it. He really is awesome 98% of the time.

I haven't posted anything about his first wrestling season yet either. This past week he spent two days at wrestling camp in a neighboring town learning technique and skills for future seasons. I really do want to put up some more info and links to video from wrestling season. He lost the very first match he wrestled and then went on to a very successful year, coming home from a lot of hardware. Fortunate to take both the district and regional championships he headed into the the state tournament with a single loss on his record. He lost one match in overtime at state, came through wrestlebacks and ended up in third place in his weight and age group. His season record for his first year in the sport was 20-2. We are so proud of his dedication and excitement during the season. He really excels in the land of the unknown. The bigger the challenge, the better.

Thanks for coming back to read. I really have been needing to jot down some ideas and get back into the blog. So much to say and I have a list of new posts needing to happen. A quick rundown of a few things:
  • Summer rodeo season is underway, beginning the same day as the start of a new daycare.
  • After a visit from my former cross country coach, I've laced up the running shoes again.
  • We were able to take a quick weekend trip to the Black Hills, including Mt Rushmore.
  • Our niece and nephews bring all kinds of joy to our lives and we treasure our time together.
  • Gage turned 6, got a Mohawk, finished Kindergarten and played tball!
  • Max broke an arm, almost lost a finger, nurtures an interest in singing and dancing and makes new friends at new daycare.
  • He also finds an "antler" at the park.

Thanks for seeing this!