The musings of ME:
SAH mother of 3 kids, spouse of a doctor-in-residency, caretaker and teacher of random children.

Monday, December 29, 2008

18 weeks on Wednesday - big news!

Over Christmas break we got to go up to the hospital and get a sneak-peek at the baby. Ben's mom is a labor and delivery nurse at St. Francis in Tulsa, so she did an ultrasound for us. The baby is looking healthy and strong and the biggest news is...IT'S A BOY! Yeah! I'm so excited. That is really what we were both hoping for.

Now I have 2 major tasks facing me. First, I have to come up with a whole new boy name. This will not be an easy feat since Ben and I could hardly agree on anything but Jackson. We had discussed Boston James but Ben was always lukewarm on that one, and several family members vetoed it while we were visiting in Tulsa. Now Ben is adamant that we cannot name our child Boston, so back to the drawing board. Right now we are leaning toward Samson Jay (Ben's best friend growing up and a truly awesome person and Jay is Ben's middle name) or Carson Jay. I like both, but can't imagine my child with that name. We really like -on endings in names, so if you can think of any, send them my way. It deosn't have to be spelled -on, we just like the sound with our last name.

The next major feat is getting another nursery ready. The new nursery will be in our guest room and Ben's office will become the office/guest room combo. Jackson's room is done in fire truck/dalmation and I have decided I want to do a pirate/sea theme in the new nursery. All Jackson's shabby-chic black baby furniture can go in there and Jack will get our guest room furniture and a new bunk bed in his room when he turns 2 in August. (I'm due in June and the baby will spend the first few months in our room anyway, so Jack can keep the crib for a few months.) Anyway, I have already moved the changing table dresser in the old guest room and started cleaning out Jack's closet and moving boxed up clothes and baby gear over to the new nursery. Yes, I have the nesting bug right now, but also, practically, this is the best time to get started. Once school starts back up in my house next week, I will have no time except weekends, and I won't get a break until Spring Break. I'll need to spend Spring Break painting, so...gotta get going on this!

With Jackson's nursery, my mom, aunt and grandmother came to help and we sewed all the bedding and matching window treatments, but I don't have that kind of time or the inclination, frankly, so I'm buying bedding and accessories this time. Here are some of the nurseries I am looking at for ideas. Tell me what you like!

P.S. I don't think I will buy any of these, but they give me ideas on what I can do with the room. Whatever I choose has to go with the black furniture because I am not re-painting it all over again. That took forever!! Plus, I am not crazy about the idea of skull and crossbones in the nursery, so I don't know yet how this will all work out. I am also not a pastels kind of person. Whatever I do has to be a little bolder.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Tale of Despereaux

This is my absolute favorite children's book of all time. One year it was on the Battle of the Books list at Rann ES where I used to teach and I read it to my third graders. I fell in love with it. It is SO cute and I love how all the characters' stories come together in the end. After that first year, I would read it every year to my third graders, even though there were new books on the BOB list every year. I can't tell you how excited I was when I heard a plug for it on the radio last weekend. I almost had to pull over I was squealing so loud in my car. Poor Jackson didn't know what was going on! I haven't seen the movie yet, but I will see it and I hope you will all go see it too! But first read the book!! The author is Kate DiCamillo - same chick who wrote Because of Winn-Dixie if you are familiar with that great children's book...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Husband Tagged

1. Where did you meet your husband?
I met Ben the first time when he was teaching the Gospel Principles Sunday School class at church in the Tulsa Singles Branch. I never saw him after that until a month later when Tony Dittmer called me and asked me to come to the Singles Branch Christmas Party at Rusty McLea's house. I came, late, and was talking to Ben and another guy at the party. I was actually first interested in the other guy. At one point in the party I got suddenly inexplicably hot and wanted to go outside to cool off. I invited both of the guys outside with me to continue the conversation, but Jake bowed out and Ben came with me. We walked over and over in the cul-de-sac, and I remember thinking that he kept getting very close to me as we were walking and it freaked me out.

2. How long did you date?
We met in December of 2002, I knew he was the man I'd marry by February 2002, and we got engaged in June 2002 (apparently he wasn't as sure I was) and got married in March 2003. I think that is a total of a year and three months.

3. How long have you been married?
Five years in March.

4. What does he do that surprises you?
He continually surprises me with being a great dad and husband. He really does a lot of things that I always expected would be solely my job. I'm not saying it should be that way, but it is how it was when I was growing up. He bathes Jackson about half the nights of the week. He makes dinner sometimes when I am too tired. He vaccuums occassionally and has even subbed for me with 8 kids under the age of 5 when I was sick. Last night he helped me tear paper for a craft we did in school this morning. I am also surprised with how much his priesthood blesses our lives. I grew up without that, too, and so I sometimes forget to ask for a blessing when I need one or when Jack needs one.

5. What is your favorite feature of his?
I love his blue eyes. I am such a sucker for blue eyes. I also love his goatee and I think he looks goofy without it. I will never let him shave it. Sometimes he gets this mischievous little boy look and he is irresistable to me.

6. What is his best quality?
He is so responsible and hard working. I know that no matter what he will not ever let anything happen to us in any way. I trust him completely, which says a lot after things I have been through in my life. He is a person of high moral character. He is SO smart. I always thought of myself as an intelligent person, but it amazes me how much knowledge he can cram in his brain.

7. Does he have a nick name for you? No, not really. Babe or Baby sometimes, but that's not really a nickname.

8. What is his favorite food? That is hard to say because Ben eats about 5 meals a day, anything and everything. He is a lover of food. I'd say right now, his favorite place to eat is Shogun. I made him take me there when we were dating. He had never been there, and now he loves it.

9. What is his favorite sport?
To play? volleyball probably. To watch? Football. Ben loves all sports, but prefers to play them over watch them. He is very active, and picks up any sport very quickly. It can be annoying how good he is at everything. When we were newly married, we joined an indoor soccer league. I have played soccer all my life and played in college on a full-ride scholarhsip to a Division I school. Ben played a little rec ball when he was 5 or 6. I was eager to finally be better than him at something. Ben was our goalie. The man tends goal like a monkey. Just when you think it is out of his reach, he somehow gets it. Other teams were recruiting him within weeks. I was like, uh, hello? I'm supposed to be the star here. I had to get over myself and just be grateful to play again. hahaha

10.When and where was your first kiss?
Leaning up against my parents' car outside my parents' home. Ben had told me previously that he hadn't kissed a girl since before his mission, and didn't plan on it until he knew she was the one he was going to marry. I took that as a personal challenge. I had a bet with my family that I would get him to kiss me before our fifth date. Our first kiss was on our third date. I went inside bragging to my family that I had gotten him to kiss me. (Did I have a big head or what?) Little did I know, he came in a few seconds behind me because my dad had asked him to take a movie back for us on his way home and he had forgotten the movie. I felt like such a jerk.

11. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? We love to do active or outdoor things, like the soccer league or camping. We love to go to the lake and water ski. Ben loves to snow ski, but I'm not very good yet. We also love just sitting at home watching movies. We can be reclusive sometimes.

12. Do you have children?
One 15 month old, and one on the way. I'm 16 weeks along.

13. Does he have hidden talents?
He is a great carpenter. He built all my preschool furniture, and a cabin in east Texas where he and my uncle hunt.

14. How old is he?
28 next month

15. Who said I love you first?
I don't really remember. I asked Ben, and he said, "Probably you, and then you probably recanted about 5 times." I was going through some stuff when we first started dating, but I worked through it. I think there wasn't really one moment when it came to me that I loved him. He grew on me. I think I fell in love with him because I respected him so much. I like that kind of love best.

16. His favorite music? classic rock

17. What do you admire most about him?
He is so goal-oriented. He has these little goals that lead into his big goals. He never gives up and he always accomplishes his goals. He is so determined, and he never makes excuses. He expects that from me, too, which makes me a better person. I need a good kick in the pants sometimes.

18. What is his favorite color?
Yeesh, I dunno. I don't think he is too discriminate when it comes to colors. Maybe blue?

19. Will he read this? No, but he'll get annoyed with me that I'll make him listen as I read it to him. But he'll smile and we'll talk about it anyway.

20. Who do you tag? Holly, Kathy, and Katy

Friday, December 12, 2008

15 weeks...not much to tell

I had a doctor's visit on Tuesday, but it was an uneventful appointment, of course. At this point it always is. Good news is the baby seems fine, and heart beat is good. I have only gained 3 lbs (well, since my last visit, anyway.) Dr. V asked me if I had felt any movement yet, and strangely, I was fairly sure I had felt movement on Monday night. I don't think I felt Jackson this early in the pregnancy, but now I know what it feels like and I think I am much more in tune to it (when I am paying attention, which isn't very often).

I have been having a lot more abdominal cramping this time around, I think. Not the bad, scary kind, but the kind that means you are growing. It is mild, but long-lasting, and always seems to hit when I am trying to relax and be comfortable. And you know, I never have had morning sickness really bad. I did throw up once or twice with Jackson, but it went away after the first trimester, and I mostly felt fine, just tired. This pregnancy is even better. Yes, I was tired in the first trimester, but hardly any morning sickness or nausea to speak of at all, except when I needed to eat something. However, my gag reflex is really bad. I don't constantly feel like I am going to throw up, but certain things trigger me to gag. For instance, it is a morning routine now for me to gag when I brush my teeth. I gagged the other day when I was cleaning a spot on the carpet, and today I caught a funny smell of something in the air, and I was gagging. None of these have been productive gags, mind you, but how embarrassing it is to make a sudden, uncontrollable gagging sound!

I am still sort of hanging on to that awkward, is she fat or pregnant stage. I think it depends on what I am wearing. The shirt I was wearing yesterday made me look like I was 5 months pregnant, but today I looked fat or barely showing. I am still in a few pairs of my own jeans. I stopped fitting into my favorite pairs, and got frustrated for a while and tried to wear maternity jeans. Then I got even more frustrated that those kept sliding off me because my belly wasn't big enough yet. So now I am just in my fat jeans, but I anticipate that after Christmas, I'll be back to maternity pants.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I LOVE Christmas season!

Is there anything better on a cold day than being snuggled under a blanket with a warm cup of hot chocolate in your new flannel Christmas pajamas, being lazy and watching TV?

T minus 7 working days until I am off for 2 weeks!!! The first weekend of our vacation we are going to Taos, NM to SKI. Well, some of us will be doing more skiing than others. Others of us will be doing the lazy routine as described above in a resort instead of on her own couch, plus a little spa pampering! The best part about that is that we are going with my parents and brother in their van. Yeah! I love road trips, but road trips with your family are even better! I haven't taken a family vacation (with my own family) since I was 17!!

Then we will be in Tulsa with Ben's family, telling the same old stories, laughing and gorging ourselves on his mom's great cooking. The kids will be running around, playing with each other, (sigh) I LOVE Christmas!!

I love this time of year in the schools, too. I am doing my best to recapture the excitement of the season in my home with my own small group, but it is so neat to walk the halls in a real school and see all the seasonal things the kids have been working on. You can see how excited the kids are for the class Christmas parties and their long break. I miss being in a public school during this time of year.

But we have fun things in store next week (see my last blog), and we have been doing fun things this week, too. We have been learning about Hanukkah (and Kwanzaa starting tomorrow). Today we read a fun book and then made latkes, which are potato pancakes. At first the kids were all determined that they wouldn't like them, but I told them they had to try at least one bite, and then if they didn't like it, they could throw the rest away. I think all but 2 ate every bit. We even tried it with the traditional applesauce and sour cream, and they ate that, too! hahaha, it just further proves what I tell them all the time: We don't eat yucky food at Mrs. Colleen's house! Everything is good if you'll just give it a chance. ;) They have started telling each other that when one of them is complaining about not liking something I am serving for snack. Kids are so fun!

Update: A. has been in the hospital since before Thanksgiving with a low white blood cell count and then an infection in her central line where her food goes into her stomach. She'll be back tomorrow and Friday, then she'll have to go through another week of chemo. Her mom thought the last one was the end, but then found out she had one more round. After her chemo, they'll test everything again, and hopefully, starting the new year, she'll have a clean bill of health!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Need help... you interested?

The week of December 15-19 my preschool group will be doing a Christmas Around the World unit. On Monday, each child will get a passport, board the Polar Express and visit a new country every day, learn about that country and how its inhabitants celebrate Christmas. On Friday the 19th, we're having our pajama Christmas party and gift exchange, we'll watch the movie Polar Express, and have hot chocolate. Here's where I need help...

I thought it would be more fun if new people came in each day to help me with the different countries. Interested parties would come dressed as the Christmas character or just as a person from that country, and give a few minutes explanation of how that country celebrates Christmas and assist me with a craft or activity that represents the country's holiday custom. I only need 2 more helpers, as I already have 2 volunteers.

Here are the countries I would like to present: Germany - Kriss Kringle, Holland - Sinter Klaas, France - Pere Noel, England - Father Christmas. We could also do Mexico - Las Posadas or Sweden - St. Lucia (I think) or I'm open to suggestions if you have a good idea. I can provide resources and for some countries, a craft or activity if you need help. I just think it would make it seem more like the kids were really traveling if it were someone new each day instead of just me.

You are welcome to bring your child (age 2.5 to 5) each day to experience each country and on the day you present. (If you come on Friday, though, you'll need to bring an age-appropriate wrapped book which costs less than $5 for the gift exchange. We won't be learning about a country on Friday as we'll be having our Christmas Party instead.)

I need to know ASAP if you have any questions or you're interested so I can get my plans finalized, and also if you'll be coming/bringing children to the Christmas PJ party on Friday so I can plan gift bags & snacks accordingly. Group time is from 9:00-9:30 every day, but you are also welcome to stay through snack time and outside play time which would be until 10:30.

I think this will be so much fun! Hope to hear back soon!

Friday, December 5, 2008


There is a special bond between sisters. It is funny how much you can loathe each other growing up, and how much you miss each other when you're grown and don't see each other all the time anymore. I know I tortured my sister when we were growing up and I am so sorry for that. I wish I had been nicer to her when we were little. She was always so tender-hearted and thoughtful to me. When she was 4 or so, and went to an ear specialist (she had major ear issues when she was little), she asked for a second sucker for me at the end of the visit. That is just how she was. And then there was me. I was such a devil-child. My poor mom. Most of the time, all I did was take advantage of Meg. I hope my children do not follow in my footsteps.

I remember one time I literally beat her up for a spot on the couch to watch ALF and when my dad came in the room, I said, "I dunno. She fell." Or the time I asked her to get me a drink of water so I could watch her get soaked by the sprayer that I had rigged with a rubber band. Or, seeing that she was engaged in play, sneaking out of the room and running down the stairs, knowing that she was petrified of being upstairs alone. When she'd hear me run down the stairs, she'd follow me, and then plop down at the top of the stairs, sobbing.

I also remember both of us being sent to our rooms for bickering. Our punishment was to clean our rooms while we were in there. As we did so, we'd find articles of clothing or toys that belonged to the other, so we'd throw them into the open room across the hall. It started as a way to annoy the other, but ended in us wearing Little Mermaid panties on our heads in an all-out balled-up sock war, laughing hysterically.

I also remember being the cool older sister who made tents for Meg and her friends to sleep under when they spent the night. Or choreographing and videotaping Meg and her friends doing a dance to a popular song. I even once dressed up like Papa Bear at age 14 so they'd have the complete Goldilocks and the 3 Bears group for Halloween. Or she'd let me practice my french braiding skills on her long hair for hours. ( she is the hairstylist and I go to her!)

I began reminiscing when I was looking through some pictures we took together on various holidays and vacations throughout the past few years. My sister is one of my best friends. I love to laugh with her, and she is one of the easiest people I know to laugh with! As an adult, I miss her dearly, and lament time I don't get to spend with her when one of us can't stay long enough. Here are a few pics of us in our adulthood.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

7:15 Word of Wisdom Conversation with a 4-yr-old

Z: (sees a can of Ginger Ale in our living room. Brings it to me accusingly.) What's this?
C: It's Ginger Ale. It's kind of like Sprite.
Z: It looks like beer.
C: Nope, it's Ginger Ale. Mr. Ben and I don't drink alcohol.
Z: My mom's grandpa is in jail cause he was drinking. (Didn't get he details, not my business anyway.)
C: I guess you learned what can happen if you drink, huh? Maybe you won't do that when you get older.
Z: Yeah, that wasn't a good choice. (This is my time-out vocabulary ;) I don't want to go to jail.
C: Drinking alcohol is not good for your body either.
Z: (thinks intently) Ironman doesn't drink. Superheroes don't drink, do they, Mrs. Colleen? (Z. is obsessed with superheroes.)
C: No, I don't think they do. They have to take good care of their bodies so they can be strong and fight the bad guys.
Z: Yeah, I'm not gonna do that when I grow up.
C: I think that is good choice.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jackson at 15 months

This week we discovered to our surprise and delight that Jackson can now make the animal sounds we have been practicing with him. He can makes sounds for a duck, a cat, a dog, a cow, a rooster, and a bird. The other animal sounds don't come out very well. He can also count to 3, but he won't say 1, he'll only show it with his finger.

Now he will also show you where the following body parts are if you ask him: belly button, nose, eyes, hair, toes and mouth. He won't do his cheeks, for some reason he'll only play peek-a-boo when you ask him that one. I don't get the connection, but hey we are working on it! I am amazed at how quickly he has been learning. It seems like he learns something new every week!

How fast kids grow! I am glad to be having a new baby because I miss that phase! It went by way too quickly!! When I look at Jackson, my testimony is renewed that Heavenly Father is truly our father and our creator because I see His light in Jackson every day. Plus, I know Ben and I didn't make this incredible child on our own! He brings so much joy into our life on a regular basis. I'm so glad he chose to come to our family!