Monday, June 30, 2008


We decided to park our camper at a seasonal site this year, because we get bad enough gas mileage in the Suburban (the one vehicle we can all fit in) without towing a camper besides. When we went on vacation last year and towed the camper with Chris' pretty red truck we got a whopping 6 miles per gallon!

When we chose the camp site this year, we based it on 2 very important factors. One was of course the price. The other reason was...

It has a baby pool!

That means they can actually touch and we don't have to carry Amata & Caleb around the pool the whole time they're swimming. So Baylee and I can just sit on the side and watch them swim.

It is also close enough to the big pool that they can chat with the boys while they're swimming.

Caleb also found a friend at the pool.

Because anybody who will play catch with Caleb is his friend. I'd feel bad for the kid, as Caleb still needs to work on his aim a little, but, then again, we did bring the ball & fish the kid was playing with, so it's all fair.

Oh, the boys enjoyed the big pool, too, so that was a plus.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I have been noticing that a lot of my posts are about & have pictures of my 3 youngest children.

I always try to be pretty fair with my kids...sometimes I try too hard. Like when I was shopping yesterday and found some great clearance sales on clothes for next year for the 3 babies. Even though Tyler & Cameron don't need any clothes, and I have tried to stop picking out their clothes (apparently, 10 & 12 year old boys have slightly different tastes in clothing than their 30 something mom) I still bought a t-shirt for each of them so they didn't feel left out.

For me,this is the hardest balance especially since I have some biological & some adopted children. I am always afraid one will think I like the other ones more, which is not the case at all. I think I may try to be too fair, though, because now Tyler seems to be of the opinion that everything between Cameron and him should be the same, even though they are over 2 years apart. Last night, he even thought he should get to stay up as late as he wanted because Cameron was at a sleep over so he would probably be up past mid-night - that would still be a no.

But as far as the blog goes, there are several reasons why there aren't as many posts & pictures of Tyler & Cameron. First, just from the age standpoint, children under 3 tend to do more cute/funny things than pre-teens do. But I think even a bigger reason is they don't like to have their picture taken as often. Cameron's not so bad...
...but getting decent pictures of Tyler is a challenge. Just look, it takes both Cameron & Amata to make Tyler look up to have his picture taken.


Do you ever remember playing the card game "Snap"? It's a fun, easy game to play with kids. Amata has "Princess Snap" which is the same game, but instead of regular cards, these cards have princesses on them. She loves that game...because, hello, it has the word princess in it! And Amata is a princess...if you didn't know, just ask her, she'll tell you.

(Chris accidentally called Baylee princess once. Amata informed him that Baylee was not a princess, Amata was. So, to avoid conflict, we've been calling Baylee Precious, instead.)

The only problem with the snap game is that although Amata loves to look at all of the princess pictures, she doesn't really understand the concept of the game. When 2 of the same card are played back to back, the first person to yell "Snap" gets the pile of cards. We played it correctly the first couple of rounds, and then we tried to get her to do it. Tyler was helping her, but whenever it was time to yell it, Tyler would say, "Amata, yell snap" and she would say, "you did". After some more coxing, she did whisper "snap" a couple of times, but she obviously needs a little more practice.
In the end, even if she didn't quite get the concept of the game, good fun was had by all!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's a Home Run

After starting their season with 2 very close losses, Tyler's baseball team seems to have found their groove, and have won the last 3. Tyler, himself, also seems to have improved his hitting quite a bit. Last year he was okay, but he struck out quite a bit This year I think he has only struck out twice. He's had several walks and a few hits.

In his last game he actually got a home-run! Okay, so maybe if they were actually "scoring" it like they do in the big leagues, they may not have actually recorded it as a home run, it may have been more of a double with a couple of defensive errors and a pretty impressive slide at home plate...but when you are 12 and you make it around to home plate on your's a home run!

Unfortunately, I have not pictures to share of this momentous event since I forgot to bring the camera!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I wasn't kidding about that arm

We we waiting for a table at Famous Dave's on Father's Day, so we sat on the grass to let the kids play for a while.

Caleb took this opportunity to show off his throwing abilities.

Not to worry, we have since gotten him a smaller glove. I don't know what we were thinking, obviously he has to have a glove to play baseball!

And of course after a hard day of baseball, a little back rub always helps a tired boy relax!

Monday, June 23, 2008

First Word

I mentioned before, Caleb does not speak yet. So the school has started working with him, and there has been some improvement. We have started to hear some letter sounds. Last night we think we heard his first word.

While the first word for many children I think is usually bye, or dada, or mama, something along that line. Not Caleb. His first word is "ball". This is not actually that unusual considering Caleb. He loves balls. Seriously, I think he might end up being a baseball pitcher when he grows up. We have to get some of it on video, because at 1 1/2, this boy even has a wind-up already.

Although he is usually very shy, if you are willing to play ball with him for twenty minutes or so, he just might warm up to you. That is usually what the teacher's from the school have to do to get him to work with them.

And to be honest, I really don't care what the first word is, I'm just glad we finally have one! Baylee had actually already passed him since she does say dada...although she is not actually referencing Chris when she says it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

She will be missed

When Chris & I were first dating, he had pick-up truck. Nothing special, just a little Chevy S10, but he loved having a pick-up. During the last year we were living in Arizona, his parked truck was hit by an uninsured motorist. We did have full coverage, and since that uninsured motorist happened to work for Chris, he did pay our deductible, but since there had been a loan on it, we didn't exactly have a windfall to just go out & buy a new truck. Plus, by then, we had a newborn & we knew we were going to be moving back to Minnesota soon, so it just didn't make sense to buy a new one at that time.

Luckily, shortly after we returned to Minnesota, we found a new truck for him, a little Ford Ranger. He had that for several years, and still had it when we moved down here to Southern Minnesota. But several months after we moved down here, that truck was also totalled out, this time with me in it.

Now a little side note, although, yes, technically I was driving the truck at the time it was totalled, and technically, according to law enforcement, it may have been a little more my fault than the semi-truck drivers, but really it wasn't my fault. It was Chris' truck, a little bitty white Ranger with rear-wheel drive - not a very good vehicle to be driving in a snowstorm. The only reason I was even driving the truck to work that day was because Chris had wanted to use my car to take the boys somewhere that day (the truck just had the little flip down seats in the back, so if we didn't have to take both boys in it, we didn't). If I had been driving my nice, comfortable, front-wheel drive Ford Taurus, that accident may never have happened. So, really, it's Chris' fault, right?
Or may it was the semi-drivers fault. I may have been going a little too fast for the weather conditions, but that was only because I wanted to get away from that semi...and for good reason, obviously. I ended up with a fractured sternum & vertebrae, he wasn't injured at all. I knew being near a semi in a snow storm was bad news.

But back to the story. We didn't replace the Ranger right away since at the time, we had an old van that was fine for running around town. When the that van died, we had several foster kids, so another truck didn't make sense, so we got a newer mini van. A few years later when it was time to replace my car, I was feeling a little bad about the whole truck situation (even though it really wasn't my fault), so instead of me getting a different vehicle, I took over the mini van & we looked for a truck for Chris.
We tried to be proactive this time, too. By this time we know that we would most likely be getting Caleb placed with us (assuming his bio mom didn't disappear before he was born) so we made sure that the truck we got could seat 6 people comfortably and that it would be able to pull our camper. And we found one. A big, red truck.

Chris loved it! I liked it, too, but it was a little big so I was not comfortable driving it.

Fast forward about 2 years... not only did we get Caleb, but his baby sister, too. Plus, a foster child for a while, which brought our family size up to 8 - too many for us all to fit in a van. So we had to up grade that to a Suburban, since we needed something we could all fit in that would also be able to pull the camper. Then came the $4.00 + per gallon gas. Chris' pretty red truck became somewhat unused. Who can afford 2 gas guzzler's?!

So, it was rough, but he finally conceded that maybe we should look into something other than a truck that gets 14-17 mpg for us to drive when not everybody was with. We ended up with a Pontiac G6, which gets 34 mpg. It is a nice looking car, but it is not a pretty, big red pick-up. Ours is actually Ivory, but this gives you an idea.

It was tough, but Chris is doing well with the decision. The fact that it came with 3 months worth of XM radio may have helped. I didn't have the heart to tell him I didn't plan on signing up for XM once the 3 month trial is over.


Thanks for listening to my venting. I'm better for now. We kind of had it out when I got back from lunch yesterday, so things should be better... for a few weeks at least. LOL

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Even More Nerve

I couple of months ago, I wrote about my co-worker who had kept some snickers that were intended for the whole office.

The other day, with some supplies I ordered, the company sent a free gift of some Jelly Belly's and I took them home.

She noticed them listed on the invoice (even though it was a free gift, the still list it on the invoice) and is now throwing a fit because I took them home. Seriously, how hypocritical is that!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Those People

Have you ever met one of "those people" who just have to have conflict in their life? I happen to work with one of those people. And since the city administrator position has not been filled, yet, our small office is even smaller. In the physical office, there are now only 2 of us (although there is a third person who works downstairs), so guess who she is turning her attention to? It's not that she didn't do it to me before, but at least then I had an ally in the office to vent to.

The latest was yesterday when she decided she wanted to be the "Leave Request Police" & tried to make an issue out of the fact that I didn't have a signed leave request for time off from the last pay period. One was a doctors appointment when Caleb had an ear infection, and the other was a court date that had been changed. I would like to point out that I did use sick & comp time for those absences (and it is documented on my timecard), so it is not like I paid myself for it. Second of all, she is just supposed to be checking payroll for errors until the new administrator is hired. (which does not bother me at all, since I am the one who does payroll, I like there to be an extra set of eyes so everybody knows I'm not paying myself any extra).

Nowhere in the assignment of duties does it say she is supposed to check for leave requests, and unless I am taking a whole day off, a lot of times I don't write one up...there are only 2 of us, as long as it is on the calendar so we know when the other will be gone, who cares? I guarantee that the mayor (who does not have an office here, since we are such a small town, he has a full time job elsewhere) does not want us to be bugging him for every half hour that we are gone! Especially if it is already over, like the doctors appointment. Besides that, the council has made it very clear that NOBODY has been made a supervisor in the interim, no matter how much she wants to be the office manager.

Okay, I'm better now that I've vented. I really do try to not let her affect me, but it is really hard sometimes! It has gotten to the point that I am really not enjoying my job very much. Which then makes me wonder why should I stay somewhere where I'm not happy. I am actually planning to submit a proposal to the council requesting to change my position to a flexible/telecommuting position and then they can hire a part timer for the misc. office stuff I do that is not at all related to the accounting for the city. That idea is sounding more & more appealing every day!

PS Meg, yes I can vent about work here. First of all, she does not even know about this blog, and to be honest, I don't care if she does read it. Maybe it would help her see what it is like to work with her.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The amazing vacuum

Somehow, I don't think Caleb & Amata will be as enthralled with the vacuum cleaner when the actually get old enough to use it. But for now, they for some reason find it extremely fun!

It's kind of humorous, actually, because when the vacuum is actually turned on, Caleb runs away from it because he doesn't like the noise.
Baylee does not see the excitement of it quite yet.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I am now "Mom"

I went home for lunch today & when I walked in the door, Tyler said, "Hi Mom."

That might sound normal to most people, but until now, he has always referred to me as "mommy". I realize he is probably getting a little old for that, but with the babies around we have still just always been referred to as mommy & daddy.

So, I said, "Hi, son."

And he said, "No, that's what I'm going to call you from now on."

I knew this day was coming, really I did. To be honest, I thought it would have come before now, although I did hear one of his friends refer to his mom as "mommy" within the last year, too, so I wasn't going to push it. But now that it's hear, it makes him seem so much older. (Which some might say means I would seem older, too, and I'm not ready for that yet.)

I'm sure, now, that Cameron will start calling me "mom", too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Big Time Brownie Points

I was in Rochester today at a seminar, which meant I was also in a larger town that had a mall, a Saver's, a Toy R Us, and, I was told, another upscale consignment store and I didn't have any kids with me!

Normally, this would mean I would get to do some shopping while I was there. Shopping ALL BY MYSELF! I rarely get to go shopping by myself, unless you mean grocery shopping at WalMart, and even then I usually have at least one with me.

However, it was Thursday, which meant Tyler had a baseball game at 6. Plus, the interstate was closed (some silly reason like the road being under water - really, that's what the sign said.), so I had to take a detour, which meant a longer drive.

It was a tough decision, but in the end I only went to one store (Saver's...the store that started my obsession with thrift & consignment stores almost 14 years ago) and only shopped for 45 minutes - I could easily spend an hour & a half or more at Saver's. With the detour, I made it to the baseball field with 5 whole minutes to spare. Maybe someday Tyler will appreciate the sacrifices I make for him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


The baseball season has begun. I really like the program they offer in our community. The community rec program goes from age 4 through 6th grade. There are no try-outs, everybody plays. In the pee-wee t-ball program, everybody bats, everybody runs the bases & everybody gets to play in the field every inning.
Beginning in 3rd grade, they move up to a pitching machine, and there are 3 outs & 7 run rule, but everybody is in the line-up & although some kids may have to sit on the bench when there are more than 10 kids, every inning they switch positions so everybody still has equal playing time.

In 5th & 6th grade, they advance to the kids actually pitching, but everything else is the same. These games can get a little long, because there end up being a lot of walks, but it is still a fun experience for the kids.
I think my favorite part about this program is that everyone has a very positive attitude. In the 8 years Tyler has been involved, I have only heard one negative comment. It was a kid who said something to the effect that somebody always strikes out. The coach heard him and informed the child that if he ever made a comment like that again he would be sitting on the bench because that attitude is not being a team player.
The only thing I don't like about it is that the games are played on Tuesday & Thursday nights, which means we miss Hell's Kitchen, and possibly Survivor depending on the year.

Cameron has not played baseball since he got hit with a ball a few years ago, but Tyler goes out every year. He's not bad, if I do say so myself. Last night he had a walk, a run & a strike out. (Of course by this age the boys "have" to have the baseball pants, because everybody else does.)

He was put in the outfield for this game, though, which he finds pretty boring. The last couple of years he played at 2nd base, which he does well at. Hopefully the coach will switch it up next time.

Caleb did not appear to be enjoying it very much at first. Which was odd, because he usually loves to watch baseball.

But once he & Cameron moved a little closer to the action he warmed up.

Amata & Baylee had a good time, although they were not real interested in the actual game. Not when there is grass to eat & pictures of themselves to look at on the camera. (A girls got to have priorities)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Sometimes I just have to feel a little sorry for Cameron. In some ways, he & Tyler are a lot alike. But when it comes to genetics, Cameron seems to have gotten the short end of the stick.

Cameron went to the pool yesterday with a friend of his and forgot to put on sunscreen. When he got home his back & shoulders were pretty burnt. He got that fair skin from me. I can be in the sun for 5 minutes & turn pink. Tyler on the other hand, got Chris skin tone, I honestly don't remember a time when that boy had a sunburn, and I really don't think he uses sunscreen very often.

Tyler also got strait teeth & normal sized feet. Poor Cameron got my fat feet & Chris' teeth. At least the teeth can be straightened later on.

Tyler is the natural athlete and does very well in school with not much effort. Cameron is creative and although he does well in school, he has to work a lot harder at it.

Sometimes life is just not fair!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Poor little guy

When my kids are not feeling well, I tend to be a little more lenient on what they eat or if they want their ni-night blankies or bears with them all day long. I figure, if they feel like crap, they should be able to eat what sounds good to them & lay down watching TV all day if that's what they want. (Luckily, none of them have asked for candy all day when their sick, because I think I might have to veto that one).

Since Caleb had a reaction to amoxicillin last time, the doctor put him on a different antibiotic this time, which did not seem to work quite as fast. Usually as soon as they've had a days worth of amoxicillin, they are already feeling better. The stuff she gave him this time was some white medicine that smells like grape, but I really have no clue what it's called. I never bothered to look, because I'm a good mom like that & pay absolutely no attention to what I'm putting in their bodies (At least I paid enough attention to know it smelled like grape, right?).

This stuff took a little longer to kick in, so we had 2 1/2 really bad days when Caleb would hardly eat anything. He didn't even drink much milk, unless we put it in a baby bottle, which I totally did because he just looked to pathetic I just couldn't make him drink it from his cup. We still tried to give him dinner, but he just didn't have much interest...except for the Natural Cheetos. He ate those almost exclusively for 2 days. I don't feel too bad, though, because they were NATURAL Cheetos - no artificial colors or flavors, and I think they are even baked, so they are totally healthy.

It was nice to see, though, that although he was still not feeling up to par, he did still have occasional bursts of energy which he typically used to tease his sister. These are her shorts that I wouldn't let her wear because she was supposed to be getting her PJs on.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Party Girl

Amata was very excited about going to the wedding & reception. She wanted to see the Princess and she wanted to go to the party & dance. This little girl LOVES to dance!

She was a little disappointed at the wedding because the princess was so far away. But, at the reception, she got to see her up close. When the bride walked to the other side of the entry, Amata was frantically trying to see where she went so she could continue to stare at the Princess. However, I did not have the camera just then, so I don't even have a decent picture of the bride (Sorry Chelsea!)

She had her "dancing dress" on through dinner, but after she went swimming, she put on her shorts instead. But I think she's pretty cute no matter what she's wearing.

Amata really enjoyed the Hokey Pokey & the chicken dance, she wasn't half bad at them either, considering she had never seen those dances before.

For some reason, she was a little shy with the Bride Princess, because she didn't try to dance with her at all. But she did manage to dance with the Princesses in the blue dresses. (Thank you, Joan & Darcie!)
She also got to dance with the Prince (aka the groom) so she was in 7th heaven!
The first time she danced with the groom everyone was just on the dance floor in a circle around the groom.
The second time was during the dollar dance. However, Chris was back in the room & I didn't have any cash with me. So my sisters & I told her to go ask grandpa for a dollar. I can't tell you how upset I was that I didn't have the camera ready at this time. Amata walked over to grandpa, held out her hand & said, "Grandpa, I need a dollar." How could anyone refuse those big brown eyes?

If you look close, you can see the back of the bride in that picture. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the front of her!

After the dollar dance, she still had plenty of energy! She was dancing with one of the Princesses and wore her out (this particular princess runs marathons!), so that princess recruited a handsome little blond boy to dance with.
Amata managed to wear him out, too, so Auntie Meggie danced with her for a little while.
It is possible that she had a little extra energy from the 4 boxes of candy she stole from other tables. If you look close, the 4 empty boxed are sitting on the chair in between her legs.
She did sit down and talk to grandpa for a while, however, with the music, her 3 year old vocabulary and her soft voice I'm pretty sure he didn't catch the majority of what she was saying. Luckily, that didn't concern her at all.(Ironically, her voice is only that soft when she is talking to somebody, otherwise, she tends to have a very loud voice when she is singing or playing)
Baylee had fun too, she especially enjoyed the YMCA dance. She also enjoyed hanging out with Auntie Marnee.
Caleb had fun playing ball during dinner. He wasn't so impressed with Auntie Meggie's catching ability, though (Love ya, Meg) but luckily Tyler & Cameron went over to help her out.
Maybe "helping" isn't quite the right word.
However, shortly after dinner, he wasn't enjoying it so much, and went to the room shortly after this picture.
Once the girls got back to the room, Amata crashed within about 30 seconds of laying her head down. All that partying really wears a girl out!