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Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to normal

Anthony is home from Canada! yay! He woke me up around 6:30 Friday morning by trying to break into our house since his keys were inside with me. After being freaked out for about 2 seconds, then realizing it was him, I am happy to know that my crazy obsession with walking around the house and locking every single door before bed would actually keep someone out.

We are so happy to have him home, and it's been nice the last few days to talk to another grown up again about the silly things our kids do, or just about life in general. In the few days he has been home though, I have noticed a few things.

1. We eat SO much less food without him around. I think I only cooked dinner twice last week and we still had leftovers after eating the leftovers.

2. There is a lot less laundry with one less person here. I was so proud of myself for keeping up with laundry (and actually putting it away the same day too!) all last week, and now it's suddenly as though in 3 days our laundry room exploded again. Guess what I'm doing today?

3. My internet works faster when Anthony is gone. His constant loading of his favorite songs on youtube slows down the internet...a lot.

But most importantly 4. We all seem to have more patience when we are together. We can divide and conquer when a problem arises instead of scrambling to do it all myself. Bed times goes more quickly and smoothly. Clean up at the end of the day takes half the time. I'm not stressed out and tired at the end of the day, but ready to sit down, relax and enjoy spending time together.

We're so happy to have him home again! I probably took too much time enjoying the company and the extra help back this weekend, so now I need to play catch up, but it was definitely worth it after a week alone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Long days make for great bedtimes

Today was one of those days that just seemed to go on forever. Not in a bad way, we had a lot of fun. Instead of rushing through the day and feeling like there just wasn't enough time, I was able to slow down, take my time and enjoy all of the fun things and somehow still had time to get the not so fun stuff done too.

In my week long quest to get out of the house and find some fun, I decided that today was going to be Rainforest day. Whenever we go to the zoo we always leave the rainforest for last, I don't know why, that's just always how it works. And by the end of the trip we are either so tired we are rushing through dragging crying children through the rainstorm simulation, or we just walk right on past the building and straight to the car. Since I was alone with all 3 I though we would just do the Rainforest today, and no zoo.

The boys had fun, for the first time they took their time and searched for the animals in each exhibit, and some rainforest animals really like to hide!

By the end of the 45 minutes we spent in the rainforest, the boys were still in a great mood, the baby was nearly asleep on my chest and it just seemed like a shame to drive back home when we were having so much fun.

So I got a crazy idea. Let's go to the zoo!

No matter how many times I try to just make a quick trip to the zoo it's impossible. I always just want to see *one* more thing, and the next thing you know we are at the Cats and Aquatics building or the Northern Trek (which is a HUGE trek back to the car) and someone (or two, or three) is too tired to walk back. Today was no different.

We started off taking a good look at the elephant crossing exhibit, the last time we were at the zoo it was 91 degrees and we were all in some sort of heat induced zombie like state and didn't get a great look at it. I LOVE elephants. A lot. When I was a kid I had an imaginary friend named Coco the elephant, my mom still teases me talking in Coco's deep voice that I used when he was speaking. I don't care, elephants are freaking awesome.

Things were going great, the boys were still pretty chipper. Then Nathan saw the tram, which in his mind was a train, which meant we HAD to ride it. Alright fine, we'll ride the tram up to the Cats and Aquatic building, walk around for 10 minutes, catch the next tram back down and be on our way home in less than 30 minutes.

So we rode up, walked into the building, and not 2 minutes had gone by before both boys announced they were tired and wanted to go home.


There was no way I was convincing them to wait 15 minutes for the next tram, and they were NOT going to walk around that building. Noah was practically in tears looking at the one exhibit we stopped at. So I made sort of a crazy decision. We were going to walk all the way back down.

Now if you have been to the Cleveland zoo before, you know what a crazy idea this is. There are 2 ways back to the main entrance from here.

Way #1: walk down the road we came up on with the tram in the sun, no sidewalk.

Way #2: walk down a huge ramp/platform/stair thing.

Neither one is a great option with tired kids. There is just no easy way to get back (except the tram).

The platform was in the shade, and I hate the sun, so the platform/ramp won.

Before we even got to the ramp Noah was crying that he wanted me to hold him (he was actually crying "hold you" which would be awesome if that were an option, because I was getting kind of tired myself, but he really just wanted me to hold him). So I did what any desperate mom would do in this sort of situation. I distracted them by bribing them.

When we got to the bottom, I was going to buy them something from McDonald's.

We don't eat out much, but man do they love McDonald's when it happens. Nathan had fries for the first time when we were on vacation when he was about 10 months old, he couldn't talk yet, but months later he would cry and ask for fries every time we drove past a McDonalds...which was nearly every day since it was practically across the street.

Anyway, it worked wonderfully. We talked about what sorts of things we liked to eat the entire way down and we all had some fries as a reward for surviving at the bottom.

But this was only half of our day! I am telling you it just went on forever.

I finally got around to (mostly) cleaning and organizing the playroom with the boys. Elise wasn't having nearly as much fun as we were, so we have to finish up tomorrow.

The kids all got baths, the boys got haircuts and it was still only 7pm! On a normal day I feel rushed just making sure we all eat and take naps, I honestly didn't even know what to do at this point because we had pajamas on and had read books and everyone just sort of seemed ready for bed. So I put them to bed.

And wouldn't you know it, my kids who stall and come out for drinks and to be covered up, and to tell me something, and get their nighty-night (Nathan's bear) or to get another book haven't made a sound since then.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Picnic, Playground and Earthquake

Continuing with my attempt to keep Anthony in the loop of what we did while we were gone, here's an overview of day 2 on our own.

I wanted a fun activity for each day to get us out of the house and moving around. Today's plan was a picnic! I was feeling a little on the lazy side, and contemplated just throwing a blanket in the backyard with some PB&J and calling it a day, but wouldn't you know, my awesome brother-in-law showed up to mow our lawn for us right around lunch time giving me the kick in the butt I needed to actually leave the house.

I packed some lunches and we were off! My original plan was to find a park with a picnic table and no playground in view. I really like the *idea* of playgrounds, I know I loved them as a kid, but when you have 2 dare devil boys under 4 who think they are invincible they are sort of a nightmare.

Just as we were pulling onto the main road Nathan said "mom, can we please have a picnic at the playground?" I told him I wasn't sure because it would be hard to keep an eye on them while holding the baby, especially if they were not listening to me when it was time to leave. "I will listen mom! I will!" I told him I'm glad he wanted to listen, but that didn't mean his brother would. He promised me he would watch Noah and that if Noah tried to run away he would yell "Noah!" and that would make him come back. "PLEEEEASE MOM" I couldn't argue with a deal like that, so to the playground we went.

Wouldn't you know it, NOAH was the one who listened and grabbed my hand cooperatively when it was time to leave and my sweet little Nathan cried the whole way back to the car that he really really did want to stay.

And then there was an earthquake. I didn't feel it, but I want to remember to tell Anthony that it happened while he was gone since he is cut off from the outside world for a week and I am SURE he did not feel it or hear about it up there.

Oh and I made some amazing black bean and corn quesadillas for dinner. They were amazing. I would take a picture of them if I had a camera, but I don't. Even Nathan who told me he didn't like those things and they would be gross later apologized and told me that I was right, they were delicious.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Realistic Expectations

I don't have them.

I had great plans for this week and what I was going to accomplish with the kids. I don't know who I was kidding. What made me think I could do MORE with less help with the kids? Crazy.

What I planned to do today:
Wash, fold and put away all of our laundry from the weekend
Deep clean the kitchen
Grocery shopping
Trip to the outlet mall for some fall clothes for Elise and a train ride
Make dinner
Work out
Watch a movie
Start making a dent in the playroom
Work in the garden

What I actually did today:
Grocery shopping
Trip to the outlet mall
Dinner from Subway
Washed, but didn't get to fold or put away laundry
Put the boys back in bed 5 billion times (still in progress)
Held the little baby who seems to think napping was optional today
Picked up a bag of coffee beans spilled all over the living room
Put all of the books that had been thrown off the bookshelf back on the shelf
Did the dishes
Looked out the window at the garden and thought "hmmm, I really should go out there and pick those tomatoes"

The baby is asleep in my lap (and I'm sure this will chance the second I move), the boys are still coming out of their room every 30 seconds. It's only a matter of time before they realize I can't really get up and put them back in bed without waking up the baby. Maybe I'll get to that list tomorrow...

Just me and the kids

At the last minute Anthony was able to go up to Quebec for a fishing trip with his dad and his uncle. It's something he's wanted to do again for years, but just hasn't had the chance. That means that for one week I am home alone with all 3 kids!

It's not *really* something I've never done before. I'm home with them everyday, I've put them to bed alone, I've gone shopping and ran errands with them alone, it's more of a week straight without breaks that is a little daunting. And this time is a little different from other times Anthony has been away from home (for much shorter times) in that there is no way to contact him while he is there. The weirdest part so far has just been not having him around to share the thoughts of my day.

So this week my blog is dedicated to Anthony, filling him in on what he's missing (or really glad he's not around for) while he's gone. And hopefully he'll have some fun fishing stories to share with us when he gets back.

Thanks to my parents we had a fun weekend in West Virgina with lots of help with the kids. I'll post more about that another time.

Today is our first day on our own. So far we planned our meals for the week and went grocery shopping. Now just some quiet playtime while the baby naps, maybe we'll head out to the outlet mall to ride the train later.

For the rest of the week I'm thinking the zoo, a picnic, and library day. Friday we'll probably just clean up like crazy and get ready for Anthony to be home!

Oh and he took my camera, so no pictures for a whole week. It's already sort of driving me crazy.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I tell Anthony all of the time that Nathan was born to be a big brother. And being only 13 months older than Noah (only 5 months old when I was pregnant with Noah) it's sort of true. He doesn't remember a time he didn't have a little brother, in his world it's all he's known.

When Noah was a baby, and Nathan was just over a year old he used to sit next to his bouncer and gently bounce him so he didn't cry while I made dinner or did the dishes.

He reminds him to go to the bathroom throughout the day and "stay dry all day so he can go for a ride on the train!" while he is potty training.

Now with Elise he will sit and sing to her if she is upset, and hold her hand while riding next to her in the car.

He's a big brother, and he does the best he can at his "job".

Today I overheard this conversation between Nathan and Noah. To set the stage, Noah had just thrown a huge fit over wanting ice in his water (daddy used the last of the ice to ice his thumb last night, and the ice cube trays have not yet been refilled). After trying to explain (and failing) several times that there was no ice, Noah threw himself onto the ground and cried...that he wanted ice. After a few minutes he got up and walked into the living room.

Nathan: Noah, you have to listen to mommy...and daddy. You just have to listen to them.

Noah stares blankly at Nathan still upset over the lack of ice in his cup

Nathan: When mommy tells you something you have to do it right away and listen to her, do you understand?

Noah: I understand.

Nathan: Now go and tell mommy that you are sorry and give her a kiss.

Noah runs into the kitchen: I'm sorry (and then kisses me)

And they are both back to playing again.

I'm glad he has a big brother who is looking out for him and wants to help him make the right decisions. I know that this bond they have as siblings is going to be a blessing to them for the rest of their lives.

I just wish Nathan would take his own advice sometimes :)
My stubborn little guy

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

19. Sew

I saw this tutorial on Make and Love it and knew that I had to make some of these.

They were so easy and fun! I foresee matching flowers for all of Elise's outfits soon.

Unfortunately my model has been going through some serious separation anxiety the last couple of days, and even laying her down to take a picture was too much to handle.
The closest thing we are going to get to a smile today
I think she's had enough

Monday, August 8, 2011

15. Run a 5k

So If you've been reading, you know I've been running for a while now. And Saturday I finally accomplished my goal of running a 5k! Boy did I pick a race to run. Huge hill, hot sun, grass and roots. It was HARD, definitely the hardest run I have had so far. But I did it!

The first mile wasn't bad at all, I passed some people (including Anthony's best friend Sean who was hoping to beat me), I was feeling great, it didn't feel too hot yet, I even ran the first mile in the same time I usually run my miles on a trail even though this was mostly grass.

Then came mile number 2. ugh. That is all I have to say about that. Almost entirely in the sun, mostly uphill, including a HUGE hill that just about killed me, but I kept going (mostly because I knew people were watching me and I couldn't stand stopping with people watching!)

By the time I got halfway through mile 3 I was about done. I had to take a short break to walk because I was getting dizzy, and strangely enough had to go to the bathroom even though I seemed to have already sweat my body weight. I checked to make sure Sean wasn't too nearby (he wasn't) and walked for a couple of minutes. I took another short walking break right before the final stretch and then finished with a time of 35:50, about a minute off what I jogged the course a few days before when it wasn't so darn hot.

So not my best time for sure, but considering the heat, and that I took a couple of walking breaks near the end, not too bad either. And I won 1st place for my age group!

Someone has a picture of Anthony and I with our first place medals, did I mention he decided to run literally 5 minutes before the race started and quickly registered, found some shorts and then still got 1st place for his age division? But yeah, I forget I have a camera 99.9% of the time, so I don't have a copy of that picture yet.

All of the Mion's who ran the race this year (with Noah and Elise)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

31. Go to the fair

We were lucky enough to be able to make 2 trips to the fair this week despite our lack of vehicle (though cross your fingers, we may have a car back by the end of the week!)

The boys had a blast checking out all of the animals (and a less than good time looking at all of the still exhibits).

And the food. You can't forget the food. It may or may not be my main reason for going to the fair. Sure I like the animals and exhibits, but where else are you going to get a porktato?

I ate that. The whole thing. And I'm running 3 miles tonight. I'll let you know how that goes.

We may have even convinced Anthony that we can get a pet rabbit next year. :)

As usual, I forgot to take too many pictures, it's hard to remember things like that when you have one child strapped to you and are constantly looking around to make sure the other two haven't wandered off.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why do your kids wear knit pants?

I've had this question asked a lot in the last 2 years we've been using wool. And I have to admit, the first time I saw pictures of kids wearing "longies" I thought they were just plain weird. So I can only imagine the thoughts people have about my kids and their "knit pants".
The boys wearing their pants

As I've mentioned in other posts, we use cloth diapers. Some diapers have waterproof covers built right in, others are made of absorbent fabric and need a separate cover.

Wool makes a great diaper cover because it is:
1. Absorbent, wool can hold up to 35% of it's own weight which makes it great for no leaks during naps and night time
2. Antimicrobial, it stays much cleaner than other fibers or synthetic materials, and doesn't need to be washed as often. This also keeps the fabric from smelling like other materials would.
3. Temperature regulating, wool keeps you warm when it's cold, and cool when it's hot. Wool and cotton diapers breathe better than a disposable diaper keeping a baby comfortable even in the hottest weather.
Elise in a wool skirt, not just for winter!

4. Water resistant, wool (especially when washed with lanolin) repels water, making it perfect for wearing over a diaper. You are not going to feel wetness on the outside unless it get very wet. Helping keep you and your baby dry.
5. Wool has a bad reputation for being itchy, but it's really not. In fact one of the softest things I have ever felt was some single plied 100% wool. Perfect for babies and sensitive skin.
6. It's cute. Yes, I thought it was a little weird at first, but now I've been able to create some pretty cute outfits for my kids that double as a diaper cover! No extra step of a cover and then pants.
Noah showing off his favorite pants knit by a friend

So that's why my kids wear knit pants, and because the love them. Noah is working on potty training right now, but still asks to wear his favorite pairs every once in a while. Nathan even asked me to knit him a pair since it's been a while. Maybe he will get some comfy pajama pants this winter.