Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Colin as Darth Vadar, Gabe as Obi-Wan, and Ollie as a turtle. My mom sewed Gabe's Jedi robe and it just MADE the costume. He was so in love with it - he didn't even care that much all night about the candy, he just wanted people to see his costume.

We all know how this ends, don't we?

A view of the turtle shell. I made this costume for Gabe a few years ago. I just realized that last year Ollie wore a recyled costume too. Poor third child. He sat in the stroller for most of the night anyway, so most people didn't even see his costume.

We started the evening by going to Granny and Grandpa's house. They dressed up just for their grandkids!!! That is dedication.

Right after we got to Granny and Grandpa's it started to rain so we hung out inside a little. I tried to get a picture of Oliver and Liam like last year, but this is the best I got.

After it cleared up a little, we went trick or treating down their street, and then went back to our neighorhood. We didn't take the umbrellas because the rain had stopped and got rained on because of it. Which is why this is the only picture I have of the actual trick or treating....

We took the babies back to the house when it started to rain and the older kids out for awhile more. After the cousins left we watched a Treehouse of Horror and sent the rascals to bed. Now to get rid of all this candy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Far From Mundane

Many months ago, I was driving in my car with the kids (not talking on the phone this time, funny enough), and we were listening to a CD with primary music. I can still see the rotunda I was rounding in the van, the sky sunny and blue, and the crepe myrtles in the middle with tiny leafs on them. Gabe dropped something on the floor of the van, and being buckled in too tightly to reach it, started screaming at me about it. Really screaming. I wanted to scream right back at him. Dare to Do Right was playing on the CD, and out of the blue, a phrase pierced this weary mother straight through her heart:

Dare to do right! Dare to be true! You have a work that no other can do.

I had a thought course through my mind, more of a realization than a sentence - "Only you can show him patience. Only you can show him calmness, teach him the way to handle a stressful situation. Be strong. Be what you need to be."

That moment, that would normally have me wishing for a pillow to push my face into, suddenly became a sacred moment instead. It wasn't just another moment to endure but one to live.

This was my son and my Heavenly Father had sent to him to me to teach. There was a reason for that. I had talents that were given to me and experiences that had prepared me and shaped me for this work. It was my work, and my work alone, and if I didn't do it, no one else would.

In that moment of personal inspiration, I grasped onto that phrase as a motto of my motherhood. On days when I have left my heart open to the inspiration of my Heavenly Father, days that I have tried hard to focus on my work as a mother, and days that have begun with prayer, that phrase pops into my head just when I need it.

You have a work that no other can do.


Holding the needy baby

Answering with kindness

Teaching compassion


Setting the tone of the house

Enforcing the rules

Sending the kids to bed

Feeding the kids

Dressing the kids

Praying for the kids

Receiving inspiration for the kids

Breaking up fights

Bringing humor in when it is needed

Soothing hurt feelings

Knowing when to go to the doctor

.......the list goes on and on

It is hard and often frustrating work, but it is my work, and it is noble work.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Keepin' It Real Wednesday

I was driving to pick Colin up today, and I gave Chad a ring to chat and catch up on our day, since it is still legal to do that here and all. Just as I pulled onto the freeway, I caught a glimpse of some beautiful autumnal colors. My camera happened to be sitting on the passenger seat, so I grabbed it, switched it on, and shot a picture. Just as I finished, I gasped at just what I was doing:

Taking a picture,

While talking on the phone,

While driving a car onto a freeway,

With two little ones in the back seat.

And that's when I realized,

I've got problems.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nana Visits

My dad's mother, whom we have always referred to as Nana, came to visit all of us here in Charlotte with my Aunt Sharon. Nana lives in Colorado, so we don't get to see her very often and it was so wonderful to have all the kids get to know her a little. We had most of the family over on Saturday night. It was loud, and messy, but very fun. We attempted to get some decent pictures with everyone. The kids were not cooperative. The fact that I volunteered to get in a picture when I hadn't had time to do my hair or make-up tells you that I really cared about gettting these pictures (I used to wake-up early on Christmas morning to do my hair and make-up before presents).

Me, my brothers Levi and Bobby, my Aunt Sharon, my mom, my Dad, and Nana. I like how there is some accidental color coordination going on.

Nana with 12 of her 29 great-grandkids

Somehow Chad didn't end up in my family shots :o( I think he actually took these pictures.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Party with the Colemans

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

This Morning at 9

Arriving to a soccer game that hasn't yet been canceled to find this....

Waiting in the car while Chad and Colin run onto the fields to see if it is still on......

Ten minutes snuggling a baby with rain pouring down outside

Here come the two handsome boys, and they are drenched.

Yep, it is definitely off.

Still a very good morning.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Keepin' It Real Wednesday

I decided to skip the YMCA today and jog to the playground instead. It was a brilliant decision and a brilliant morning.....

.....until it was time to get back in the stroller and head home. Oliver threw a hilarious baby fit and I decided to capture it for my Keepin' It Real Wednesday.

Good stuff, huh? Much to my chagrin, but you can barely notice at the end of the video, a police officer pulls up to ask me a question (Have I seen two men driving around in a blue SUV? - which made me wonder if I should be jogging alone) and catches me video taping my baby throwing a fit on the sidewalk. He was super friendly and thought I was just taking a picture, but I was all jittery and embarrassed. He probably saw my eyebrow twitching and thought I was secretly in cahoots with the SUV guys. Nope officer, just over-enthusiastic about getting good blog material.

(and that loud smack sound in the beginning of the video was NOT me spanking my baby. I'm not trying that hard to get good material)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Living in the ruins

I got home from So You Think You Can Dance last night at about 1 am. Oliver, who had gone to sleep at a good time but then woke up at 9:30 to find me absent, decided to wait up for me. I think I drifted off to sleep sometime before 2.

In middle of having a horrible dream where Chad was cheating on me and didn't think there was anything wrong with it, I startled awake and realized it was 7:40 am, the exact time when I am supposed to have Colin ready for Bobby to pick him up. Running downstairs, I found him watching cartoons in his pajamas (even though he can tell time, he is still horribly oblivious to it). Chad was already gone for work and I needed to make Colin's lunch and get him fed and dressed. Exactly two minutes into it, Bobby rang that doorbell and I told him to go on without us.

By the time I got all the kids piled into the car, with the two youngest in their pajamas, we were 17 minutes away from Colin being tardy, and the drive there takes 15 minutes with NO traffic. I decided to make the drive over even more fun by going off on an angry tirade to my sweet husband who not only stayed up 'til 1 am for me, but cleaned the entire house while I was gone. He got the brunt of my nightmare and lack-of-sleep-induced grumpiness. Then of course there was an accident on the freeway, so when we got there 15 minutes after school started, I had to take Colin into the office to sign him in. Let's not forget that the other two were in their pajamas. A one year old in a sleeper is acceptable. A four year old in a sleeper? Not so much. I parked right in front of the office and had Gabe stay in the locked van while I ran in.

By this time I knew we couldn't make it to Gabe's 9 am speech session, so I called his speech teacher to let her know, only to find that the number I had for her was wrong.

Long story, and not very eloquently put, but here it is 11 am, I have gotten nothing done today and I just finished off my cheesecake and leftovers from last night. I put Oliver down for a nap at 10 am while Gabe finished off the remaining contents of the yogurt and box of granola. He is still in his sleeper, which he just informed me he had an accident in, and though I want to take a nap with Ollie, I hear him waking up.

But it was all worth it.

(more pictures on facebook)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Good Saturday Morning

Before the busy day begun,
it was just a drizzly morning
with brothers, cartoons, swords and bagel sandwiches.

This picture reminds me very much of these ones from January.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Colin's First Grade Project

All the first graders at Smith Academy of International Languages make a family tree using the language they are learning. Colin did a great job putting his together, going back to his great-grandparents. Obviously I helped a lot - getting the pictures and helping him get all the information straight, but he did all the writing (obviously - since I definitely can't write Chinese characters). Each of the characters you see on leaves are a label like "Me," "Brother," "Mom", "Great-grandma"..etc, and he also wrote everyone's name. It was a wonderful way to really help him visualize how everyone fits in our family. It was fun to look at it and see the facial features blend together and carry on through the generations. I hope Colin looks at it and sees all the support and love he has surrounding him.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dear T.G.I.Friday's,

You messed with the wrong couple.

When you made your free burger/chicken sandwich coupons good for only three days, all of which were week days, and made those free coupons somewhat difficult to obtain, I betcha thought that most of your major cheapos would stay home and watch Dancing With the Stars instead.

Who takes the time to sign-up as a friend on facebook, register their email account, hope they get the coupon, print the coupon, and arrange for a babysitter, all to get a free meal on a Tuesday night?

We do, my friend.

When our waiter realized we both had coupons, he actually said, "Well now, bless your hearts."

Thank you for the free chicken sandwich. The onion straws were an excellent touch. How could they not be, huh?

Chad really liked his burger, especially the Jack Daniel's sauce, which he also smothered his fries (and shirt) in. Should I ask how much Jack Daniel's was in it?

Thanks again T.G.I. Friday's.

We will back back soon.....if you give us another coupon.

With love,
The Colemans

PS. A huge thank you to my mom and dad, who agreed to babysit about two hours beforehand!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gabe's Birthday

Gabe is our low-key kid, so when he shows a lot of excitement about something, you know it is a big deal.

I knew that Gabe's birthday was going to fall on a preschool day, so a couple of weeks ago I asked the mom who was going to be in charge if he could bring cupcakes to share. When Gabe heard the plan, he couldn't stop talking about it, to everyone. We came up with an appropriate boy design together, and I spent the evening before making them.
At about 9:30 on Tuesday night, I had just finished putting the final touches on the cupcakes when I sat down to check my email and found out that preschool the next day had been cancelled. My heart dropped into my stomach, and I quickly sent off an email asking if all the preschool kids wanted to come over to our house for a playdate instead, hoping that since my house wasn't far from where they were going to be for preschool, everyone would be able to come.

Well, it was super short notice obviously, so only one friend ended up coming (thank you thank you thank you Jayden!). I wanted to cry for Gabe. After he asked three of four times where everyone was, he came to the conclusion that they were probably all sick. I felt so bad for the guy. It was no one's fault that he had been disappointed in such a way, but you just want to shield your kids from let-downs like that, especially on their birthdays.

Chad had the day off and after his friend went home we took him to McDonald's. Later he went with Chad to pick the boys up from school and he took them all cupcakes (still leaving way too many cupcakes for me to eat over the last two days).

Then we took to him to Red Robin (of course!) for dinner. We had a great time and he was spunky and happy for the rest of the evening. A corn-dog, melon slices, a sundae, a balloon and presents, surrounded by people who adore him. He seemed to get over the cupcake let-down.

Guess it was a great day afterall!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Keepin' It Real Wednesday

Let's face it -
Some things just aren't the same with all boys.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Girls in the Garden

In the spring, I was greeted by hundreds of Cosmos sprouting up. They had re-seeded themselves from my neglected garden last year (which was even more neglected this year). Cosmo blooms are beautiful and delicate and lovely, but they are not my favorite flower in the world because they grow tall and leggy all summer long, taking over your flower bed, to finally bloom in the fall for a month or so.
So I was plucking these babies up all year long (as much as it pains me to pluck any flower babies up). Hundreds and hundreds of them.

I let a couple dozen of them stay, and though the feminine flowers are currently blossoming delightfully, the tall plants that they blossom on are falling forward with rotting foliage at the bottom.

Blossoms, lovely. Plants, ugly.
In a fit of rage, I pulled some of the mature Cosmos out last week, blooms and all. Only a few - I just couldn't bring myself to pull all of them.

Last Saturday I was so happy that I let those last plants stay. During Gabe's party, my niece Lettie asked, as she always does, if she could pick some of my flowers. She knows that Aunt Katie has a soft spot for little girls and flowers, and I told her, as I always do, to pick to her heart's content. She and her sisters plucked just about every one of those flowers, and I was happy to let them do it.
Lettie the wood nymph



My sister-in-law Sabina, who was gifted several flowers by her nieces.

Can you believe these girls? Just about every skin, hair, and eye color, and each of them so beautiful in their own way.

This was Ruby's bouquet. Doesn't it look like it could belong to a bridesmaid?

Even after all their plucking three days ago, I went out there this morning and there were dozens of new blooms awaiting. After a summer of hating those Cosmos, I am still going to have a hard time talking myself into pulling all their seedlings up next year.