Monday, March 28, 2011

A Brand Spankin' New Decade . . .

I've been wanting to write a little "reflection post" since my birthday in January.  I wanted to record what I loved about my 20's and what I'm excited for in my 30's.  (Again, mainly for journaling purposes.  I picture my kids reading this stuff and being interested in it someday...but I could be wrong. Very wrong.  hehe.  I guess another way to say it would be, "I don't expect you to be interested in this.  It's for me."  :)  So, it took me a few months to get around to it, but here we go. . . 

Highlights From My 20's:  *LOVED my college years at BYU-Idaho, good memories, new friends, interesting classes, fun/funny atmosphere, good experience.  *LOVED living in Indiana and working at Purdue University for a summer when I was 20, it helped me remember why I loved growing up there, and it was so good spending so much time with old friends.  *LOVED serving an 18 month mission for my church to Los Angeles, one of the best decisions I've ever made and one of the best experiences of my life, and it probably deserves it's own post later. :)  *LOVED getting back in touch with one of my closest friends after my mission, Ethan, and quickly realizing this was the person I was going to marry!  It was so fun, exciting, quick, lovey, perfect!  So many good memories from that time:  hours talking on the phone, sweet e-mails, planning super fun weekends together, going to the temple often, the BYU/BYU-Idaho scene, the wedding, the reception, etc. But that's all been written about in detail before, HERE and HERE.  :) *LOVED finding THE house, and moving in and making it our home.  So many good memories there.  It was perfect for us.  So sad when it was time to sell it four years later.  (And loved that we lived close to family again...especially since we were starting a family of our own.)  *LOVED being young, married and students at Northern Michigan University.  That was definitely not the "norm", but it made it more fun, I think.  Loved studying together, telling each other about our classes, and living the student lifestyle...and getting back in touch with old Marquette friends, and making new ones too.  *LOVED graduating from NMU with a Bachelor's in the Elementary Education program, with an English Major.  It felt so good to accomplish that.  And I was so proud of Ethan when he graduated the semester later with a Bachelor's in Sport's Science. *LOVED welcoming all three of my babies into the world, and just felt so blessed each time.  I love them more than words can tell.  Anna and "The Boys"...our family is complete. I also love that my baby growing days are over, and I can leave that behind in my 20's.  Have I already mentioned that I did not like being pregnant, and I'm so excited to never do that again?  The answer would be YES! :)  *LOVED that Ethan got accepted into a Doctor of Physical Therapy program...even though that meant we'd move away from our family (which we were a bit nervous about, but ended up being great), and do the apartment living thing for the first time.  It was fun, at first...then apartment living became not so exciting.  But, so many good memories from our time downstate.  It was awesome that everything fell into place with graduate school for Eth, and that he will be in a career that he loves!  *LOVED being home with my babies.  Although I love school, and learning, and would occasionally be jealous of Ethan doing a graduate program :), I was also so happy to be done, and loved staying home with my young kiddies, and being a stay-at-home-mommy.  Anna, Benjamin and Caleb fill my life with joy, laughter, and some craziness. *So, a fantastic decade. I know I just mentioned the "biggies," but there were so many other beautiful moments along the way.  I loved my 20's!   

Dreams For My 30's:  *Find a second house that is "The One" and that we hopefully love as much as our first.  Make it our home.  Continue to create beautiful memories with my sweet, little family there.  (I really, really miss being home owners.)  *Become a one car family...and not be a "minivan mom" anymore.  I tried it out, it wasn't as bad as I thought, but I think I'd prefer something a KIA Sorento.  :)  Economically, environmentally, simplicity... being a one car family really appeals to us.  So, a KIA Sorento, which seats seven, and a few vintage scooters on the side.  hehe.  *I would LOVE to get a nice camera, and take a little photography class.  I love taking pictures, in case you couldn't tell, and would love to become better at it as a hobby type soon as we have the money for it.  :) *This coming fall, I want to start substitute teaching occasionally to "get my feet wet" again.   There are a lot of things I'm considering as far as a future job/career goes, including - but not limited to - being a reading specialist at an elementary school, a school librarian (my DREAM job), teaching piano lessons again, or starting my own business as an Organizing/Staging expert, or continuing on as a stay-at-home-mommy.  There are just so many factors to consider.  *Completing a Master's program - eventually - to make me more qualified in one of these areas would be awesome too.  I love being a student, and would love to complete a graduate program.  But, my babies are still young, so we'll see when this happens.  *After we get our piano out of "storage," I would love to begin to practice/play regularly.  Taking a few lessons would be awesome too.  I have missed having a piano in our home.  *I recently wrote about this, HERE, but I want to become more active.  I want to run a 5k this summer, for starters, and hopefully that will just be the beginning.  It's something Ethan and I want to focus on for our whole family too...take it to the next step, as we already try to find lots of fun, active things to do together.  (We're hoping to have Anna do a race for kids this summer too.)  *I want to pay off all of our student loans... even if that is unrealistic, I'd still love for that to happen this decade.  :)  And I realize it would take a lot of sacrifice on our part to make this happen. . . putting off some "fun" things we would like to do, but I think it'd be so worth it to us.  *Okay, these are just a few main things I've been thinking about lately.  I'd love for them all to happen, but we will see what time and money and situation allows.  And we'll see what else I think of to add to my list of hopes and dreams for this decade.  (Any suggestions? :)  Mainly, I want my family to continue to be my main priority, and continue to create happy, beautiful memories together.  I'm really looking forward to what unfolds in my 30's!              

 Since my last post didn't have any pictures, I had to include a few.  The top one is self explanatory - pure chubb and adorableness.  The next two are of the St. Patrick's Day feast we had the day after St. Patty's Day.  I took a picture of the corned beef and cabbage I made, mainly because me cooking right now just doesn't happen too often.  (We eat meals together, I just plan things that don't take much prep. or cooking. :)  It's just not a priority at the moment with my three little ones taking up so much of my time and energy, but this meal was thought out, prepared, and was delish.  The kids were especially excited about the cupcakes with green sprinkles they helped me make.  (I was trying to redeem myself from when we didn't make our traditional Valentine cupcakes. :)  Oooo, we also had some leprechauns visit the night before and caused some mischief...turned our milk green, hid our shoes, and dumped out toys in the kids room.  Hopefully next year the leprechauns will remember to leave some gold candies.  And hopefully next year they won't turn the milk green...'cause it really grossed everyone out.  hehe.  Anna and Ben-Ben couldn't stop talking about it.  So funny.  Good memories.
Have a beautiful week!       

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Can You Believe It?! . . .

A journal entry with NO pictures.  That is just unheard of for me.  But, Ethan has started his second 10 week clinical placement, and will only be home on the weekends now.  Have I already mentioned we only have 10 weeks left until Ethan is with us FOREVER?!?!?!  Seriously, I don't know how military wives (or other situations) do's just not for me.  If there is one thing this time has taught me, it's that I want to spend time with my best friend everyday, and I want the daddy of my babies to be a daily, active influence in their lives...yeah, this has been a long 7 months!  (And yeah, I already knew I felt that way... :)  But, only 10 more weeks!!!  Did I say that already?  hehe.  I have a feeling that not seeing Ethan on Thursdays during this clinical placement is going to make a big difference.  And not for the better.  Oh well.  I think some of us may go down and stay with him for a week here or there during this placement.  Yay!  Anyway, the point is, Ethan will usually need our laptop, which has all of our pictures on it.  So, "picture posts" will take some planning.

Fair warning:  this post is going to be pretty boring, and pretty long too . . . and I don't even have any pictures to spice it up.  Like always, since I also consider this my family journal, I am mainly recording this stuff for my own personal records.  As in, "Remember the first time Caleb got sick?"  Yeah, I want to remember the good and the bad.  :)

Okay, now on to an update de mis enfermitos.  (Translation - Of my little sick ones. :)  Well, actually, they aren't sick anymore!  I guess when I wrote last Anna was already over it...quick and easy with her.  Benjamin was pretty much over it by that post too... pretty quick and easy as well;  he just happened to develop an ear infection with his - his first one ever, boo - that needed 7 days of antibiotics.  Which really meant 7 days of crazy diarrhea!  Too much information!?  Sorry.  :)  I mean, I've never seen a "possible" side effect of medication be so ridiculously true!  Anyway, so two for three, done.

Then we have baby Caleb.  Well, he is better now too!  It was relatively quick with him as well.  There was just a lot of concern of the unknown:  "if/when he gets sick...?" because of his preexisting lung condition.  We just didn't know what to expect.  Caleb's occasional cough that started Thursday afternoon-ish, became a little more frequent Friday, and then Saturday.  Saturday afternoon/Sunday is when the other cold like symptoms started (runny nose, sneezing, more coughing), along with some wheezing.  We were concerned with his oxygen levels since his lungs were not at 100% before this even started, so Ethan took him to the walk in clinic on Sunday afternoon.  They checked his O2 levels - which looked good, swabbed him for RSV - which was positive, took an x-ray of his lungs - which showed some pneumonia (which can happen easier with him), gave him an antibiotic for the pneumonia, and sent him on his way.  Like I mentioned in the other post, he also had some increase in his breathing treatments - albuterol, and had a five day steroid course to help his lungs - prednisone.  Monday was about as bad as Sunday, but by Tuesday we were seeing improvements.  And a few days later, he was back to normal.  The whole things lasted a week...and he didn't need to be hospitalized!  Yay!  Caleb also slept well, ate well, and was pretty content the whole time, even on his two worst days.  Good job, little buddy.  (And his "diarrhea side effect" wasn't even as bad as it was for Ben-Ben.)  *Because of his lung condition, Caleb is considered a "high risk" baby for the first two-ish years of his life, so he gets a monthly shot, synagis, during RSV season.  The doctors were pleased to see that it did it's job well.*

So, I feel like a little explanation is necessary, because honestly, I'd never even heard of RSV - Respiratory Syncytial Virus - before I had Caleb.  (And when I've mentioned it to other people since having Caleb, the typical response from everyone is, "What's that?")  With most healthy kids, you couldn't tell RSV from normal cold symptoms.  And since almost all kids have it before they're two, I'm sure this must have been the case for Anna and Benjamin, hence me never hearing of it before.  I would have never known they had RSV this time either, because it just seemed like a normal cold with them.  However, it was important for the doctors to know exactly what it was when Caleb got sick because of his lung stuff. I won't go into too much more detail, but if you feel the need, you can read about additional RSV facts on the website for the Centers for Disease Control, HERE.  I'm sure you're all super interested.  hehe. 

I'm just sayin', I'd never even heard of it before last November, and then it became a big part of my life...mainly in the form of:  "We must keep Caleb from catching that!"  :)  And now we can all see that I failed.  (If only I could have been as diligent as my friend, Ann Cherry.  Are you reading this Ann?  Seriously, I thought that when Caleb got sick.  :)  The funny thing is, whenever any of the NICU doctors, other doctors, nurses, etc. brought it up before, it was always in the way of:  "You must keep your baby from getting this!!!!"  AND THEN, when Caleb actually caught it, I of course felt super guilty, and wondered if there was anything I could have tried/done better.  BUT THEN his doctors - including the Pulmonary Pediatric Specialists in Ann Arbor, said, "Well, of course he would most likely catch this, but you did an excellent job of trying to prevent it.  And it looks like he is handling it well."  Of course he was going to catch this?!?!  SERIOUSLY?!?!  Did they not know how much anxiety I'd been feeling since bringing him home from the NICU about this very thing?  It seems like they should have mentioned that before, like, "You should do all what you can to prevent this, but he's probably going to catch it anyway, so don't beat yourself up over it."  I'm still strictly following all of Caleb's care instructions; I just feel like it would have saved me a lot of worry before, and now I feel like a weight has been lifted...the weight of the unknown. 

I had considered taking Anna out of kindergarten because having school age children increases the likelihood of anyone catching RSV.  Maybe I should have, because she was the first to get it.  We never take Caleb anywhere, besides a few relatives homes, per doctor's orders.  No stores, no church, no restaurants, no play groups, etc.  We are religious about hand washing and hand sanitizing.  We try to change our clothes and the kids clothes, if we feel like we have been somewhere especially germy.  When I saw that Anna and Ben-Ben were getting colds, I kept Caleb secluded in my bedroom.  When I was taking care of Benjamin, I would wash/sanitize thoroughly and change my shirt before taking care of Caleb.  Yeah, it got a little hectic, as Ben-Ben was pretty needy for a day or two.  But, it just wasn't enough.  My mom, who was right in all of this with me, even offered to take Caleb with her while she babysat for Hudson (my brother's baby), in hopes of keeping him secluded even more.  And as we all know, even our best attempts failed.  My mom or I must have carried some of those sicky germs into the bedroom, or over to Hudson's house, or onto a blanket we touched, or whatever, and Caleb caught the virus we'd been so focused on preventing.  Hudson also got sick, and had a pretty bad case of RSV.  It was so sad, and we just felt awful for him too.  All of our hard work to separate the babies and prevent "cross contamination"...wasted.  :(  Maybe next time someone in the house is sick, Caleb and I will just go stay elsewhere until it passes.  Seriously.  :) 

I keep feeling like maybe I jinxed myself a few posts ago when I talked about how we haven't been sick in forever.  Seriously, it seems like right before Anna got sick, I was thinking, "Man, there's been so much crap going around this season...everyone's been SO SICK.  We've been so lucky that Anna and Ben-Ben only had a cold or two last fall, and that's it.  We've been healthy for months!"  Yeah, totally jinxed myself.  :)  I think we typically have pretty healthy kiddos, but I've just been focused on it more so this year with Caleb's lung issues.  I'm not typically a "germ-aphobe," and realize that kids getting sick is a natural part of childhood.  I've also been thinking a lot about the whole "Caleb Experience" since he caught his first cold last week.  Obviously all of his complications are not something I ever expected to happen.  From the beginning, yes it was surprising, but for whatever reason (which I chalk up to a Priesthood blessing, and answers to prayer, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit), I've felt "at peace" with all of it.  I almost felt like the six week NICU experience should have been more of an emotional/hard thing for me than it was.  And the hardest part for me was when Caleb came home, but I still felt an overall peaceful feeling about everything.  When Caleb came home, there was not only the typical stress of getting used to a new babies schedule, but the anxiety of trying to keep him healthy and germ free.  Him getting sick last week was an answer to all of my, "What if he does get sick?" worrying.  And it was sad, and another "hit" to his lungs... something we still want to try hard to prevent.  (The other "hits" were his premature lungs, developing aspiration pneumonia from inhaling fluids during the c-section, being on the vent for two weeks.)  But at the same time, it wasn't so bad.  Not to minimize anything, but I was expecting so much worse. 

I think it all just comes down to perspective.  I feel like I've been blessed through all of this to keep a positive perspective about Caleb.  (Ethan is really, really great at reminding me to do this. :)  There are so many worse things to experience, or see our children experience (and I'm not just talking about illnesses here).  And there are so many more serious diseases out there.  Caleb has chronic lung disease, which sounds awful, and makes the first few years of his life a little more challenging, but at the same time, it's something he will most likely grow out of.  It could be so worse!  I mean, I'll take extra doctor appointments, breathing treatments, and even a NICU stay for something Caleb will probably grow out of in a couple years over so many other things.  (Not to imply that I think we're in the clear as far as challenges go...who knows what we still have to face in our lives.  I'm just trying to keep a positive perspective about this one particular thing.  :)  I don't really feel like I'm conveying my true thoughts, but I guess the main point is, I'm at peace with everything.  Things have been hard.  There have been ups and downs.  There has been stress and worry.  But there has also been peace and comfort.  When I look at Caleb, I rarely think of all the lung drama, and I mostly think things like, "I'm so lucky to have such a smiley, beautiful baby."  Or, "I love that Caleb is such a little plumper like his brother and sister were."  hehe.  Or, "I'm so glad that some day, relatively soon, all of this will be a distant memory."  Because I already think it's starting to feel like that.  And I'm grateful. 

*Oh, and a little summary of Caleb's trip to the Pediatric Pulmonary Specialists (paraphrasing):  "Best case scenario (which is very likely), he "grows out" of all of this within his first few years, and a possible worst case scenario is his lung issues will develop into asthma."  So say the authorities on babies with lung issues.  Sounds good to me!   It's exactly what we've heard all along, but it felt comforting hearing it from the specialists.  They also want him to have a swallow study done, because he has eating issues.  They want to see Caleb at least a few more times mainly to monitor the physical symptoms of his chronic lung disease - retraction breathing, wheezing, grunting, etc., and to take current x-rays compared to older ones to monitor progress.  So yeah, nothing really ground breaking, but still a good appointment for peace of mind, and getting a few more tips for our babers.  And speaking of perspective, the doctors helped put Caleb's individual illness, Chronic Lung Disease, in perspective by mentioning that they often see kids who spent months on a vent, that need oxygen assistance for years including every time they get sick, kids that just have it so much worse.  It was good to hear, and helped ease our worries, and again reminded us that it's all about perspective. It didn't come across as uncaring, or unconcerned with Caleb's individual issues, but as a way to say, "Really, he's going to be okay."  So now our next appointment is at the end of June, and they'll probably want to see him a few more times after that.  Oh, and did I mention that Cabers was a perfect little traveler?  He slept tons, and was pretty content when he was awake.  He did seem to get overwhelmed a few times, but it only lasted a couple minutes.  We think it's because he hardly ever goes anywhere, it was like a sensory overload for him.  Oh, and thanks to my Aunt Cindy for letting us stay at her house on the way down.  It was fun introducing the baby to her and Uncle Joe, since Caleb is still kept pretty under wraps.  (If only our hotel in Ann Arbor was as nice, and beautiful, and clean as the room they had for us...but that's a whole other story. :)

Okay, for real now.  I'm done.  If you read all that, I commend you.  Seriously.  Impressive.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Longest. Week. Ever. . .

 This week has been filled with the needs of three sick babies.  And, man, I am exhausted.  Too bad this next week might be more of the same.  Bleh.  (At least Ethan will be here to help out on his week off!)  Anna got a cold/bug last weekend, but then got over it pretty quickly, within a couple days.  Benjamin then got the same thing, which turned into bronchitis and a pretty bad ear infection (his first one), and lasted a bit longer.  Then baby Caleb caught it, despite our best efforts to keep him separated, which ended up being a bad case of RSV AND pneumonia, which is NOT good for his compromised lungs.  So. Incredibly. Sad. 
It's everything the doctors said would happen if Caleb got sick...and this is even a tamer version because of a monthly shot he gets.  Although, it's been pretty bad.       
So, this week has been a blur of doctor appointments, needy/sad kids, medication, breathing treatments (every three hours now), diarrhea/throw up (from the bug, and side effects of antibiotics), 'roid rage (Caleb is back on steroids for a week...helps his lungs), lots of Kleenex, lots of laundry, and...well, you get the idea.  
I know it's what you sign up for when you decide to become a mother, but sometimes it's still just hard.  (And it's been hard even WITH the help of my sweetest mamacita!)  So yeah, I think Caleb was meant to be a first born because when he gets sick, he is SO TIME CONSUMING.
  BUT, nothing lasts forever, so let's just keep things in perspective.  Anna and Ben-Ben just have lingering coughs now, and Benjamin needs to finish his antibiotics.  Then we have Caleb to focus on...who will require a lot more:  steroids, antiobiotics, breathing treatments, nasal drops, comforting, etc. 
SO, looking at the positive, here are a few pictures of each of my three babers, having fun and looking adorable.  (Taken before anyone got sick.)  Enjoy!       

Anna, Rorie, Meghan and I had a fun girls date a couple weeks ago.  The main purpose was to find matching Easter dresses for the cousins.  (Meg and fam are moving to San Diego this June, so it's one of the last times we can do matchy-matchy for these two cuties.)  The first picture shows Anna all ready and excited for her date (and of course she wanted to look we compromised with a skirt.)  The middle pic on the bottom is hilarious - showing the dresses the girls wanted to get for Easter.  Um. Nope.  The other is the dress we convinced them to get.  They will look beautiful.  (Added bonus, it was a great deal/sale!)  And not to completely spoil the surprise of the Easter attire, but I have something pretty handsome planned for the boys too...and it involves pink.  hehe.  After we found THE dress, we did a little more shopping, and the girls had a blast.  Seriously, they were so funny chatting away in the back of Meg's car, like two little best friends.  And the evening was topped off with a stop at Apple Bee's, with the best waitress ever...Auntie Ashley!  (See last picture.)  *There was only one mishap the whole evening, when Rorie was almost lost forever at Kohl's during an innocent game of hide-and-seek, but luckily she was found.*     

When Benjamin heard us planning our girls date, he was pretty hurt.  He decided he needed a date of his own, and with boys only.  (Since Caleb couldn't participate, it was just Ben-Ben and Daddy.)  Ethan tried to convince him to call it a Daddy/Son OUTING, but Benjamin was pretty stuck on the word "date."  Unfortunately, they didn't have a camera with them, but they did have fun, and these are a few pics of them snuggling before and deciding what to do with their Man Time.  Jilbert's Dairy was involved (Ben-Ben had just filled up another chart, and that is the ONLY reward he wants to choose).  He has recently been informed exactly how that chocolate milk and ice cream came to be, and it just fascinates him.  AND he likes to compare it to me, and the "pumping" I did for Caleb.  Yeah, it's a little awkward being compared to a cow pumping milk, but it helps Ben-Ben understand it all a little better.  Anyway, I think Eth and Benj walked around the mall for a bit and then got some McDonald's.  One-on-one time, no matter what you actually do, is always so fun and special for the kids.  And Ethan and I love it too.  So glad my boys had fun!     

Caleb loves to be snuggled and held.  But sometimes he also likes to be put down like a big boy, and take in the world on his own.  The first picture is him, alone, in our king size bed just enjoying the comfyness.  The next two show him hanging out at Gra Melissa and Grampa Chuck's house, propped up in a chair, luring Aunties over to him with his irresistible cheeks and plumpness.  The pic of Cabes with his tongue sticking out is just a classic look for him.  Hopefully it will go away when he's older, but for now, adorable.  :)  The last picture is Daddy/Baby shower time!  It's one of Ethan's favorite things to do with his babies, and he's done it with all three.  I am always too nervous to try it...something about slippery, soapy babies...but they love it.  (Caleb likes it when I give him baths in his baby tub too, but it's nice he gets to experience both.)  Oh, and don't you just LOVE that smiley little face in the first picture?!  Caleb J. smiles so easily...sweetness.

A Couple Other Pieces of Happiness...Or Randomness:

1)  All my hair is falling out.  I know, not so happy.  It's happened a few months after I had each of my babies.  But, my hair's pretty thick, so it doesn't make much difference.  Anyway, I am happy because this is the last time it will happen.  Yay!  Yeah, I'm still excited to never again be pregnant, and do all the body changing things.  Is that wrong?  :)  *Yes, I love my three babies...I just do NOT like the pregnancy part.* 

2)  Caleb, Ethan, and I are going downstate tomorrow because Cabers has an appointment with the Pediatric Pulmonary Specialists at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.  It's exciting to get away for a few days (I haven't left Marquette since we moved here last August!).  And, even though it's almost like a little get-away for Ethan and I, we will have a needy little baby with us.  Still, it will be so good to get more information, and hopefully answers to Caleb's lung issues. I'll let you know what we find out!   

3)  Okay one last thing.  A funny exchange between Me (30 :), Anna (5), & Benjamin (2) a few weeks ago:
Anna:  Mom, I need to go to the Eye Doctor because my eyes are seeing two.
Me:  I think your eyes are okay sweetie (they were), but maybe that's a good idea.
Ben:  Um, Mama, Mama?!  I need to go to the eye doctor becausthe I have eyesth.
Anna:  Ben, you don't go to the eye doctor because you have eyes.  Everyone has eyes!
Ben:  Yeah I do!
Anna:  No, Ben!  The eye doctor is just for people who have hurt eyes.
Ben:  (Poking himself in the eye) Mama!!  I need to go to the eye doctor becausthe I hurt my eye!
Anna:  Ben-Ben!  You can't hurt your own eyes!  That's not fair!  Mama!  Ben can't go to the eye doctor!
Ben: Yeah I can!  I have eyesth too!  
Anna:  NO!  Everyone has eyes! (She was getting pretty frustrated with her little brother...they just don't understand sometimes.)  
Me:  (Finally deciding their heated - but funny - discussion needed to end)  You can both have your eyes checked at the eye doctor, even if your eyes don't hurt. (Someday. :)     

Monday, March 7, 2011

What Is Wrong With Me . . .

For the life of me, I can not figure out this new posting/picture stuff on the blogger website.  Oh well.  I just don't have time for it now.  So, enjoy these picture, in completely random order...and all centered, for whatever reason.
I don't have the patience to fix it. 
Also, for your added enjoyment, I will be doing a little blip on all five of us. 
So, scroll on down, baby. . .

Anna Banana - Some of the pictures above show the spa party we did as Anna's chosen reward for her Good Behavior Chart.  I loved doing this with her, and was amazed at her attention to detail.  She was mainly trying to replicate a spa set up from one of her Fancy Nancy books, and she did a fantastic job.
  Notice, she even thought to have refreshments and fancy glasses of water for our enjoyment.  Sweet!  
Oh, and just ignore the super unflattering picture of me with a mud mask...light blue on my face just doesn't do anything for me.  hehe. 
Anna liked trying out a mud mask, but I think her favorite part was getting her nails done...and doing my nails too.  (I went with clear...and only two nail stickers.  Anna said, "Even though that's pretty plain, your wish is my command."  I'm pretty sure she got that from her book. :) 
I love my beautiful, fancy-pants Anna. 

Benjamin Bear - We went with the MOMs Club to tour the local Pizza Hut.  As you can imagine, it was a big hit for Ben-Ben.  He was a little nervous around the humongous ovens, especially when warned how hot they were, but over-all, very fun experience. 
I love the picture above that shows Benjamin's profile.  A woman from church, who occasionally subs in the nursery, was admiring Ben's cheeks just yesterday.  She said he looks like a Hummel figurine.  Too true!  She also said he was the "cutest little boy ever," and I just had to agree.  Really though, shouldn't all moms feel that way about their own children?  :)  
I love alone time with my Little Man, and it was an added bonus that yummy food was involved.  hehe.

Cabsey Pie (pronounced with a long A sound) -  Ah, my littlest babers.  The pictures don't really require any explanation...except to show how adorable and chubby Caleb J. is.  The squishy lips, the plump cheeks, the bright blue eyes...I'm in love. 
Caleb leads a simple life, even for a baby.  I mean, he would come along with us on our adventures, if it weren't for Doctor's orders.  But he seems to enjoy the life of a homebody...for now. 
So, Caleb isn't the easiest baby I've had (I know, I  know...I only have two others to compare him to :) but he's getting easier, and a bit more scheduled.  It helps.  I feel like I now know exactly what he wants, sometimes before he even knows.  *It's a mommy thing.*  Cabers is now taking 4 naps during the day, usually not more than an hour.  Unless, of course, I'm able to be there with him to "help" him sleep longer.  But that can't happen too often.  I look forward to when those four naps merge into two longer naps, but I'll stay patient.  
Here is the part that makes the busy, full days doable:  Caleb goes to sleep for the night around 6:30 pm, and doesn't get up until about 8:30 am.  He eats two more times during that 14 hours, but it's simply to eat, get changed, and go back to sleep.  Typically no chatting, crying, or fussiness.  
(The other two go down for the night at 7:30pm and are out until about 7-7:30 really, I can't complain.) Caleb's been on this schedule for a while, and I've meant to write it down.  
So good job, little Mister!  

Ethan - This is Ethan's final week of his first 10 week clinical placement.  It seemed to go so quickly, for which I am grateful.  I hope this next one goes just as quickly.  And then he will be in Marquette with us for his final placement.  We can't wait for the end of May!!! 
I do need to clarify that it hasn't been too bad with him gone.  I thought it would be worse.  (I can never make statements like that without thanking my sweet momma for all the help she is giving us in Ethan's absence.)  We prefer Ethan to be here, because we love him, and he is the best husband and daddy ever!  But it's been okay.  He comes home every Thursday afternoon, because he has a short day, and he's been here on the weekends, and sometimes an occasional Tuesday evening.  Like I said, doable.  Plus, I have friends whose husbands need to be gone so much more than this, and not like the temporary situation it is for us, so I try not to complain.  :)   
He is doing a fantastic job at this first clinical, learning a lot, and getting plenty of positive feedback.  For over half this placement, Ethan has been doing most of the patient care on his own.  So, he's like a full fledged Physical Therapist...without the salary.  :)  Nice work, babe!  

Angela - So, I included two pictures of myself above.  One because I liked it, and it showed off a new hair accessory that I love.  The other is supposed to show a bruise on my neck, for which I feel an explanation is necessary.  It looks just like a hickey, and took forever to go away.  So embarrassing!  (The picture really doesn't give it justice.)  It was actually a bruise from a biopsy of my thyroid nodules, which turned out non-cancerous, in case you were wondering. 
Since I couldn't see the bruise, I would often forget about it.  I had good intentions of wearing scarves, or casually mentioning it when out and about, or having friends over for play dates.  I mean, I don't have anything against hickeys, per se...just if they show.  hehe.  Showing off something like that, it's just not how I roll, and I wanted to clarify that to people. But, I'd always forget.  
So, let my blog record show, it was NOT a hickey.  Just a biopsy bruise.  :)   
I'd love to include something more interesting about myself, but I think this is enough entry for one day.  The non hickey explanation will just have to do.

Until next time, adios!