Life. Love. Family. My Perfect Imperfection.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Speaking for him

As anyone who's read this blog or knows my family is aware, our oldest son Ethan has Autism. Asperger's Syndrome, more specifically. They've read about or heard about or seen different things, whether it's a triumph or a tribulation or struggle. I would never wish change on him, but do hope to help him when he's having a hard time. To teach him life skills and coping mechanisms when times get tough, and to learn from him when it comes to so many things, like how he sees the world or what's important or cool to him.

Controversy is a tough thing for me to deal with. I have avoided discussing Autism Speaks for a while, because there has been a lot of controversy surrounding them. I don't have all the facts, but what I do know, well it doesn't make me happy. I was once in the boat of "how to fix", rather than "how to help and how to adapt my own views", when it came to ASD. In that, let me be honest. I don't mean that I wanted to make him not have Autism, but I wanted to "fix" all the difficult things that came with it. Now I see them not as something to fix, or a hurdle to overcome, but something to embrace and use to his advantage. Anxiety can be alleviated to help him see problems for what they truly are. His obsessions can grow into a great outlet, maybe a career someday! (Video games, anyone? or even math and maps could help be an engineer or teacher!) His point of view on the world can be a refreshing change, if you look at it as not wrong because it's not yours, but different, because isn't different what makes the world go 'round?!

When I read that John Elder Robison stepped down from his position at Autism Speaks, I was somewhat surprised. I had read (most) of his book, and hadn't really even known he worked with/for them. I had heard other things over the years. After reading several blog posts about them "not speaking" for the blogger's family, etc. it made me think some.

What I want to say is this: Regardless of whether you agree with that organization, they do NOT speak for my son. Truly, no organization does.

I speak for Ethan. 
Jason speaks for Ethan.
His brothers speak for him.
Grandma Marsha and Grandpa Joe speak for him.
Grandma Linda and Grandpa Gale speak for him.
Aunt Jorie and Uncle Matt. Uncle Jeff. Aunt Madison. Aunt Heather and Uncle Matt. Aunt Linda and Uncle Desi. They all speak for him.
His cousins speak for him.
Great-aunts and great-uncles and great-grandparents speak for him.
Classmates, friends, and teachers speak for him.
Every time they speak up for him, listen to him, advocate for him, talk TO him, befriend him, teach him, learn from him, they speak for him. It's in their actions, just as it is in how they interact with everyone else. They don't treat him differently, "special", they treat him with the same love and care as everyone else. And you know why? Because it's not more difficult nor should anything different be expected!

But most importantly, Ethan speaks for himself! In his actions, his words, his triumphs and his struggles. He is learning to stand up for himself and to BE WHO HE IS MEANT TO BE! The caring, sweet, funny, map-loving mathematician who excels at video games, and is an avid reader.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Busy weeks ahead

The next 3 weeks are busy ones for our household.

First up is Jason's 34th birthday!! Its this Friday and I have a small surprise cooked up for him and a special dinner in the plans, too. He doesn't want anything but who am I to resist a little fun? ;)

Then, of course, next Wednesday is Christmas Day. The boys decided they would like to sing at the children's Mass on Christmas Eve so we are going to 4pm Mass and they will sing some songs with the "children's choir" - its really just a group of kids from the k-6 catechism classes that are going to rehearse for a half hour before and then give their all, not truly a children's choir. Since we are going to an earlier Mass, we can get a good night's rest and spend Christmas morning opening our gifts here at home.

On Saturday, we will be spending the day at my parents with one of my sisters and brothers-in-law, 4 of my nephews, 2 of my nieces and my soon-to-be niece-in-law (is that even a word? Lol).y mom has to work all week so it worked out well for everybody.

Either Friday or Sunday will be spent at Jason's parents for our Christmas celebration with his brother and niece, his sister and her boyfriend. His other sister and brother-in-law won't be able to make it as they are traveling to his parents this year. I think its great that they are able to share their holidays, trading off each year. We all get an opportunity to see them each year, just at different times.

Saturday is also a big day foe our little family. Its mine and Jason's 13th wedding anniversary! My mom has requested to keep the boys for an hour or two while we go to dinner or something.

After that its the New Year and everybody is celebrating. My newest favorite day for January isn't until the 3rd though. Our little baby J will officially be TWO! he's grown so much over the last two years and he's so sweet. I can't believe how big he is and how smart he's becoming. He's a little too much like his brothers ;) I swear they scare me sometimes.

I'm looking forward to everything settling down after the beginning of the year before it gets super crazy around here with Jason's 3 classes 4 days a week starting up on the 13th or 14th! This means I will be in charge of getting Alex to cub scouts while dragging the other two with us on 3 Tuesdays a month and 1 Wednesday a month. I think we will be doing either a lot of crackpot meals or super simple meals for the next few months.

Monday, December 16, 2013

What I want for Christmas this year




Sure, my Christmas present wish list could be a long one if I wanted it to be. There are plenty of new books I'd like to read, kitchen gadgets I would love, a fun new video game to play or movie to watch, a photography class to learn some cool new techniques, a "learn to crochet" book. Sure, it could be very long. Couldn't we all make a nice long list of things we want or "need" this year? Every year?

Of course,  there are lots of things that we want or even get, that sit in a cabinet or drawer or collect dust in some corner, unseen and unused for months or years. Just like our children's belongings. We spend money on toys and stuff, and then complain or get irritated when they don't play with them or break them quickly.

Don't get me wrong! I'm not self-less by ANY means, I'd still love some of those things. But what I really want for Christmas this year?

To reach my $200 fundraising goal for The "Dressember for IJM" campaign. It's not a big goal, it might not seem like it would make a big difference, but it's just a small piece of the bigger campaign goal for $100K! In all honesty, I set it low, hoping it would be surpassed and my faith in humanity would grow.

I know that it doesn't seem like a big deal. So what? She's wearing a dress every day in December. Who cares? Yeah, maybe she looks nice, kind of cute, all dressed up (wishful thinking, LOL), but why does she care and how will that help??

Solidarity. With the other 681 participants of Dressember. Standing with and standing up for those who cannot do it for themselves.

Celebration. What?! Sure, just as the creator of this campaign says "Dressember participants wear dresses every day during the month of December to celebrate the freedom of beauty and femininity that they're allowed..." I am free, along with, as far as I know, all of you, my readers and friends and family, to where what I want, eat what I want, live HOW I want and not be abused, hurt, used, etc on a daily basis.

Raise awareness. By wearing a dress everyday, especially as someone who rarely does, it has garnered notice. Even Saturday, the day I didn't post a picture (I actually forgot to snap one), but I did wear a dress. Ask a friend who saw me at the boys' Catechism class who greeted me with a smile and who would give anyone anything they needed, down to the shirt off her back. Ask the mom from school that stopped me to say hello at the store last night and mentioned that she saw me at school earlier in the week all dressed up, and who I shared with the why behind the dresses. Or ask the cashier who asked to see my ID because I was buying a movie that required me to be over 17 (I had to laugh at this, and as I chuckled and she looked at me strangely, I said, I'll be 33 in April. She responded with "well you look young, take it as a compliment." Um, yeah, I can't see me being confused for under 17, lol.) but who did seem to notice I was wearing a dress in the snow and 20 degree weather. Ask the teacher at school last week who told me I looked nice and asked what I had going on and with whom I was able to share a little bit of info, as well as another mom who happened to be at her child's locker next to the classroom who knew a little about human trafficking that has been going on in our state and nearby states.

A reminder to myself. As I've mentioned before, living in Michigan, the winter months are pretty cold. Yesterday we got our first real snow of the season and quite a bit at that. The daily reminder of being a little colder than normal (for me) makes me think of those who suffering.

Why do I care? Why shouldn't I care? I may not seem like someone who does a lot or can do a lot to help others or change things, but deep down I do care.

You see, as you grow from a child to an adult, your perceptions of the world change and so do you. An example or two: Since the time that I was little, my dreams for the future changed many times. From wanting to be a veterinarian to a lawyer to an archaeologist to a teacher, and ending up as none of those thing, but having different jobs as a cashier, working in pizza places and as a manager, and then finally becoming a stay-at-home mom to three amazing boys. Sure I wanted a family, a husband and children, but never really knew if I wanted a career outside the home or if I wanted to stay home. I just kind of let it play out as it would. But my perception has changed. I love being home (most days) and eventually I hope to find my passion outside the home but it's not absolutely necessary. As a teen and young adult, I felt in my heart that abortion was wrong (go with me here without offense, please. I'm sure there are differing opinions on this) but didn't really know much about it. After going through RCIA and joining the Catholic Church, I learned why the Church is pro-life and also about why they condemn birth control. I understood and also basically expanded my own belief. I was able to go out and do my own research on it. My perception, while my opinion has remained the same, has changed because it encompasses more information. I may not always have the courage and faith to speak up and speak out but I'm trying to change that. Basically, what I'm trying to say is, that even though I don't always do something (how many of you are the same way? Not trying to sound snarky, just an honest, thought-provoking question.) or don't know where to start helping, deep down, in my heart, in my soul, I WANT TO DO SOMETHING!

I feel by changing how I approach life and by trying to help others, maybe someone else can benefit. In different ways. Maybe someone else can benefit by just learning something new, or getting out a bad situation, or preventing their child from being tricked into a bad situation, or seeing things in a new light, or by starting something new that helps others. Who knows? It's a waterfall, just like everything in life. How you react to a situation or event determines how it will play out. Your reaction begets reaction, which begets reaction and so forth. If we are kind, maybe the person we are kind to will share that kindness, or have a better day for it. The whole thought process behind "pay it forward", I suppose.

In recent years, human trafficking has gotten more news coverage than ever. My hometown in Ohio is actually one of the top cities in the country for arrests. Read more here, here and here.

IJM doesn't handle cases in the US or other developed countries, because they are dedicated to helping the poor in developing countries whose justice systems aren't as well-functioning. That being said, by helping raise funds and awareness for IJM and international human trafficking, it can also raise awareness about domestic human trafficking, by making people do research!

Some facts listed on International Justice Mission's website:
  • Each year, nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. (UNICEF)
  • 27 million men, women and children are held as slaves. (Kevin Bales, Disposable People)
  • 1 in 5 women is a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. (U. N. Development Fund for Women)

My point is, if we don't care, who will?

So, truthfully, all I want for Christmas this year is to help free someone. A child or a woman or a man from injustice. To give them the freedom that we all deserve, and that you and I take for granted each day.

$200 isn't too much, in the grand scheme of things, but it's a start. I know it's the holiday season, Christmas time and many families are struggling to buy gifts or even put food on their own tables. I respect that. I don't ask that you take from the mouths of your family, but if you can spare even a few dollars, someone out there would be eternally grateful. I have over 232 friends on my personal facebook profile, though I'm sure not all of them read or even see my blog from my posts, as well as over 40 "likes" on the blog's facebook page. If every single person was able to give even just $1 - ONE DOLLAR!! - we would meet and exceed my goal! How grand would that be?

I'd love to share with my boys the love that people have for each other, the good in humanity. We don't always see the good in the people around us. More often than not, we see the idiot driver, or the rude worker or shopper, the annoying child in the restaurant - usually mine ;) - or the overwhelmed parent yelling at their child, or just generally not nice people. If you are my friend, I want you to know, that no matter what, I see the good in you. If you are my "friend" on facebook, there is a reason. Only people I know or care to know are on there. I am pretty choosy about who I add, as I share my family and our life more intensely even on my personal profile, in the way of pictures or complaints, and that's because I believe in each and every one of you, in some small way. That you, YES, YOU!!, are a good person and do care about others. So even though this post took a small diversion, it's all relative. Thank you for being you. Be kind to others. Love the way you want to be loved. And if you are able, consider donating to IJM, through my donation page. I get absolutely nothing out of it, other than the satisfaction of knowing my belief in humanity and kindness is well-founded. And if you aren't able, PLEASE know that I truly understand. I wish everyone the best Christmas if you celebrate it, the most fun winter either way, and a Happy New Year for all. I want nothing but the best for all of you!

Just some food for thought...

Monday, December 9, 2013

What I wore: Dressember #RealMomStyle

Since I'm doing Dressember this month, I've chosen to wear a dress Every.Single.Day. 

No big deal, right? 

Well most people who know me (and as I've shared here) I'm typically a jeans and T-shirt girl. Its the rare occasion that I dress up, especially the last few years as I've been struggling with my weight. The nice thing about doing the month-long commitment is that I'm doing something good and its getting me to take care of myself better. I have actually been caring more about my appearance and am having fun with this. I'm rotating between 7 different dresses and trying to change up how I wear (most) of them, whether it's a different pair of shoes or tights, some jewelry, a skirt over the dress, etc. 

Anyway, today was a pretty good day and we (the 3 boys and I) made it to 10am Mass at our parish. Its been far too long and we are trying to make an effort to change that. All three boys were very well-behaved. Alex got to go to the children's liturgy for ages 3-9 during the readings, Gospel and homily. E stayed with me and followed along nicely in the book. Jack sat on my lap and didn't mind being held. No crying and minimal talking and that was just me ;) In all seriousness though, Jack was quiet and when he did talk it was not horribly disruptive and got a few chuckles, even from Father Chris. He even used Jackson (by name) as an example of how to be, seeing everything in the world with wonder. 

On to what I wore today:

Linking up over at Thrifty and Chic Mom :)

Remember that I'm wearing dresses everyday for #dressember this month to help support a great cause, to raise awareness to end human trafficking and to raise money to support International Justice Mission in it's efforts to rescue victims of slavery and trafficking. Please consider donating, even just $1 can help! Go here to donate to my fundraiser: http://www.ijmfreedommaker.org/account/6874/Crystal-Hamernik#

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving weekend

It's taken me almost a week to get around to writing this. Last weekend, over the holiday, was a pretty great weekend.

Dad H playing with A and J
Thursday morning we drove down and spent most the day with Jason's parents, visiting with Dad H, Mom H, his sisters, brother, brother-in-law and sister's boyfriend. The food was pretty amazing. Our new brother-in-law sure can cook! Sis-in-law is a lucky lady ;)
Jorie and Matt gave the boys their Christmas gifts early since they won't be able to make it to Ohio this year. E got a cool Minecraft shirt, Alex got a whittling kit/book, and Jack got a Thomas the Train toy (Tidmouth Shed). He hasn't stopped playing with it all week and can name every vehicle and person that came with it. I swear if I hear "Harold the helicopter" "Thomas" "Topham Hatt" one more time, I may lose it... actually it's really cute how he says it! E can't wait to wear his new shirt to school for casual day - he might have worn it today, I can't remember! And Alex is just waiting till we get some foam or balsa wood for him to practice whittling. He wants to earn the whittling chip for cub scouts.

I thought I took more pictures at the inlaws house, but I can't find them :(

Boys reading a flyer from the hotel lobby
The boys were tired so after we got back to the hotel, we all just went straight to bed. Breakfast was, of course, mediocre, but free. After a morning hanging out together, we went to lunch and then back to his parents. Jackson and I decided to go to the mall to do some shopping and I got some good deals. Each of the boys are getting some new jeans and a matching sweater (for family pictures, most likely), Jason got a new Ohio State t-shirt and a surprise birthday gift he's not getting until his birthday in 14 days. I hope he likes it, but it's a silly gift, too. Jackson got to make a build-a-bear like his older brothers both have - they actually each have two. He decided on the cute little monkey! After stuffing and naming him, I looked at the time and realized it was after 5:30 and Jack would most likely fall asleep on the car ride home, so we ate a quick dinner and walked over to Old Navy really quickly. They had a fantastic 50% off everything sale, so I snagged 3 dresses, 4 pairs of tights and 2 pairs of flats for right around $100!

Sure enough on the way back to Jason's parents, he fell asleep. After a little more visiting, we went back to the hotel, where Jason worked on his homework and I took the boys to the pool for over an hour. They had such a blast just playing and splashing, we had the whole pool to ourselves. Jackson was giggling the whole time.

Saturday was spent watching OSU vs MI and eating wings and pizza at his parents house. After the game, around 6, we decided to go to the Toledo Zoo to see The Lights Before Christmas with Jason's dad, brother and niece. It was very pretty, cold, but pretty. All of the kids but Jack rode the carousel. I'm mad because I left the darn camera in the hotel room!

Heather
My sister, Heather, text-ed me to say they were coming up that night and staying at the same hotel! Jake went to spend the night with his dad, but Heather, Matt and his girls were all there. We went swimming for about 15-20 mins before the pool closed. We went back and hung out in there room across the hall for an hour or two (Ethan and Jason left early, because E was tired) and had pizza - again, LOL - for a very, late dinner/snack.


Dad O (w/ Versan the Monkey), Mom O, and Jack (guy in bg is Matt)


After waking up on Sunday, to find out that my sister was up and eating breakfast before me (!!), we
checked out and went to spend the day with my folks. Again, with lots of good food and visiting. My mom, dad, Heather, my BIL Matt, their 3 kids (Jake, M and A), plus my nephews Chris and Tony were there! It's been a year since we got to see them so that was nice. Of course, another nice surprise happened. My nephew Jeremy showed up! Heather's oldest son! It's been 5 years since we've been able to see him, with schedules and whatnot, so that was very neat! He had to work but got there around 3:30 or so after we had eaten, but he played football with all of his cousins and then had some of the leftover dinner.

Nephew Tony with Jackson

Jason and Jake
E and J
We all stayed and visited until around 6 or so when it was time for us to get on the road. As always, 6:30 Monday morning comes very early, and the boys had school. We missed having my other sis, Linda, her hubby, and their 3 kiddies (K, K and N) there, but Florida is a little too far to drive for a short weekend visit. It stinks they live so far away now, but I know they are doing good. Christmas will be nice, with almost everybody there again.


Jeremy is planning to be off of work and come too, with his FIANCE! I can't wait to meet her, I hear she's very sweet.


This might be my favorite shot of the weekend. I caught Jeremy giving his mom a hug at just the right time :) Love it. --->

I hope everybody had a fantastic holiday weekend, and that this week has been kind to you. I think I'm taking the weekend off from blogging and coming up with some topics for next week. I'm off my game a bit, and I'd like to spend the weekend with just my little family. So if you don't see anything from me, that's why. Of course, I'm sure I'll be posting on Facebook some, either on my personal page or here. Jason's last class for the semester is tonight, and then he's got about a month off, till the middle January when classes start up again. He's signed up for 3 classes, going 4 days a week M-Thurs, so I'm going to soak up some hubby time over the next few weeks. Once he's back in class, I'll either be on here more because of boredom or just to spare my sanity ;) January through May will definitely be interesting... I think I may be looking for a GNO one of these days.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Little Miss Suzie Homemaker and Dressember

 A few months ago, I heard about International Justice Mission and I started following them on Facebook. There's been many stories of human trafficking in recent years, even from around here, and my hometown is said to be one of the biggest areas for it!

When I saw IJM post last week about a campaign called Dressember, I read a little more about it, and thought to myself "Hey, I could do that!"

I have the freedom to wear what I want and do as I please (for the most part). It's cold here in Michigan this month, but that just means layers and tights. Besides, being cold just reminds me a bit more of the WHY behind wearing the dresses. Others have noticed what I'm wearing, and after the compliments, they ask why I'm dressed up. This has opened up conversations with a few people and they were surprised!

I think the biggest reason they want to know why I'm dressed up is because I've always been a jeans and t-shirt girl.

It's funny how that works though. There's been an unexpected side effect of this, even only 3 days in. Having always felt most comfortable in jeans, I'm finding that I feel differently about myself.

The perspective you get when wearing a skirt or a dress can be eye-opening. I feel more comfortable, even in heels, though I prefer my flats. I feel pretty, self-confident, feminine. Others pick up on that. They notice not just what you're wearing, but the attitude.

I'm having a lot of fun deciding on my outfit and accessories each morning. Taking seven dresses and changing the looks up to make a month's worth of clothes is challenging, in a good way! It's taking creativity already!
Hi-low dress (Walmart), sweater (Torrid), silver tights and leopard-print flats (for inside) (Old Navy), boots for outside

Also finding how easy it is to do anything in a dress is entertaining. Baby J and I went grocery shopping yesterday, something I've never done in heels and a dress (not weekly grocery shopping anyway, for over an hour!) and it was interesting, the looks from people. Not bad, just hmm...

Jason laughed at me yesterday when I took out the trash all dressed up, and then today I threw on an apron while I did dishes and laundry to keep my dress clean. If it had been jeans and a t-shirt, I wouldn't have bothered. I wouldn't have cared. I actually feel more pride in my appearance, not in a stuck-up way, but a "hey I deserve to take care of myself and look nice" kind of way, I guess.
Apron from dollar spot at Target! (around Valentine's Day a few years ago)

So not only do I feel like I'm doing something good for somebody else, it's making me feel better about myself, too! :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What I'm looking forward to...

With Thanksgiving just two days away, we have been making plans on how to spend the days
surrounding the holiday as the boys have a 5 day weekend. We originally planned to spend Thursday with Jason's family, Friday and Saturday at home and then Sunday at my parents. It's a bit of a drive (almost 2 hours each way) with both families living in the same city and truthfully, I wasn't looking forward to 4 long car rides with 3 most likely cranky boys in a matter of just a couple of days. After a suggestion, we decided to rent a hotel room for Thursday through Sunday.

I'm truly looking forward to this weekend and holiday. Here's just some of the reasons why: 

6. The pool. I'm only half joking. When we are done with all the festivities, or in between, we can head to the hotel and let the boys swim for a bit. It will get their energy out, let them unwind and have fun, as well as make it feel like a mini-vacation! Holidays can be stressful, even with all the fun of visiting, and swimming is a great way to relax :)

5. The food. Turkey, ham, kielbasa - REAL Polish kielbasa, not "polish sausage" - mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, more turkey, pumpkin pie, did I mention turkey? We rarely have turkey or pie or sweet potatoes. Comfort food, in moderation, can be so, well, comforting!

4. Smiling kids. Spending time with their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins always seems to make them happy. They get to play outside riding the 4-wheeler or mini-bike or inside playing a board game or with blocks or Mr. Potato Head (more the toddler, though his brothers play with him). They get to share what's new and important to them with the people they don't see often enough.

3. Shopping. Not that I will be doing a lot of this, but I'm considering going on Friday morning for a bit with my mom. We've gone a couple times together, and it's nice to just spend some time one-on-one with her, talking and giggling at 5am.

2. Not driving. Well, not as much. Since we are spending a few days visiting, we won't be doing as much driving as we thought. Also many of the times we've been down recently, we've been there either just for a day trip or barely overnight. It's always exhausting and makes it less fun. Being able to truly enjoy a few days visiting, while also having our own space and giving our families their space "back" without being far away, will be very nice.

1. Family. As corny as that sounds, it's true. Jason's sister and new brother-in-law are going to be in town also, and it's been far too long since we've spent time with them. His parents, his other sister, his brother and niece will all be there. On Sunday, at my parents, one of my sisters will be in town with my newest brother-in-law and their kids. Funny stories will be told, many hugs and kisses given, and new memories made. This is one of my favorite times of year. Going home and spending the holidays with the people we love is wonderful.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Change of plans

After thinking long and hard, and talking with Julie, I've made a decision. Yesterday, I had a post that should've went "live" but we had an unexpected outing. Because of that, I didn't finish or share it. I'm putting a hold on the Winter Fun List until it's officially winter.That being said I hope anyone who is interested in doing a winter fun list, whether they decide to link up or not will still start planning it!

December 21st is less than a month away, and the "share your list" linky will be up then. I'm planning to make a separate page with the explanation, and any other info as well as our list. Our list is going up now, and will be tweaked up until the 21st.  I'm hoping Julie over at Learning Life with 3 Sons will co-host the link-up, but we'll see ;) If she does, you will only have to link up in ONE place and it will be shared on both blogs, bringing you more visitors! It may also get more participants too!

Anyway, yesterday started out somewhat rough. My moodiness got the best of me, and everybody was in a bad mood in the morning because of it. After Jason and I scrubbed the kitchen from top to bottom (floor, cabinets, dishes, counters, stovetop, other appliances), he took Alex to deliver the popcorn in our neighborhood. It was so bitter cold out, they were only gone a short while. Thankfully they only had 5 houses to go to. They did have to run back out though because they forgot to get money from the one person we didn't collect from at the time they ordered. We all ate a quick lunch before heading out for some last minute fun.

Bass Pro Shops had Santa visiting, a craft, and some other stuff, so we drove out to Great Lakes Crossing. Jason needs some new work boots, and he figured he could at least look while we were there. The older boys made a felt penguin ornament while Jason and Jackson walked around looking at animals. Then they all rode the carousel and soon it was picture time with Santa. Even Ethan got up there and joined in, even after he told me he knows Santa isn't real. He promised not to spoil the fun for his brothers. I was wondering when that time was coming, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Alex also did the target practice.

We spent the next hour or so walking around the mall, and even though Jason didn't find work boots, we did get Alex a new pair of shoes for everyday/play wear. He's definitely growing into his own sense of style! 

Rain Forest Cafe was our next destination, where we enjoyed the atmosphere a bit more than the food. All three of the boys loved the animation of the animals, the thunderstorms and shooting stars above our heads. If you've never been, I recommend it just for the fun of that. The food was ok. E and Alex both got shrimpkens which was popcorn shrimp and dino-shaped chicken nuggets with applesauce for Alex and fries for Ethan. Jackson got chicken nuggets and a banana. Jason got some kind of triple play with shrimp, ribs and steak with fries. I got salmon with hazelnut and frangelico butter, caribbean rice and roasted veggies. Mine was not bad at all, the boys said theirs was good - looked like frozen nuggets to us though - and Jason was disappointed in most of his meal. The food was not worth the bill at the end of the meal, for sure :( Oh well. Even more disappointing was the service. Our server walked past 5 times - Jason counted! - without stopping to ask if we needed anything, when 4 of us were CLEARLY out of drinks! While we should have just flagged her down, she was close enough to notice. Jackson really liked the frog character that was walking around, and took bites of his nuggets to "show the butterfly, tigers and elephants how to eat". Hey, sometimes it takes creativity to get a toddler to actually eat!

Since we got home just in time for showers and bed for the boys, they ran off to do that while Jason stole my laptop and did his psychology homework. Jackson woke up from his cat-nap in the car in a not-so-good mood, so we just cuddled on the couch until he crashed back out. By about 9:30, this mama was ready for a good night's sleep.




Saturday, November 23, 2013

This weekend's plans

Nothing special going on today. It's just a day of errands and cleaning.

First thing this morning, I wrote up a cleaning list for myself and the boys. We got a few things done, mainly the boys cleaned their desks, dresser, room and took their bedding to the basement to be washed. I cleaned up the kitchen a bit and started some laundry. We ran to the bank and the grocery store this morning while Jason was at the airport working on the police helicopter. I was planning to finally open the boys' savings accounts but they were pretty busy with only one person available to open new accounts. I did get a money order for all the popcorn money (holy crap, when did money orders start costing $2?!). At Meijer, we grabbed E's prescription refill and a few things we needed.

Jason called while we were at the store and said he was on his way home. So we came home and had lunch together. Costco, Michael's and popcorn pickup is all next on the list :) Then we can enjoy a nice evening at home, eating beef carnitas tacos and maybe a game or movie together.

There's only 2 days of school this week and then the boys have 3 days off for a five-day weekend! Spending Thanksgiving Day at the in-laws, and we are excited, as Jason's sister Jorie and her new hubby Matt will be there too!! We are planning to drive home that night and spend Friday and Saturday at home, and driving back down Sunday to have a second Thanksgiving dinner/celebration at my parents. Only one of my sisters and her family will be able to make it since my eldest sister and her hubby and kids are living in Florida now :( Sure won't be the same but it will still be a nice visit. I'm thinking of taking the laptop and using skype to call them - don't think we've ever done that before, but I think the kids would all love it!

Hope you all have a great weekend and Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Family field trip

Today, I kept the boys out of school and we took a field trip.

Target sponsored a Family Day at The Henry Ford Museum, meaning admission and parking was free! Since the reason behind the family day was honor and remembrance of the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, we were going to try and see the car from Dallas.

Our morning started a little slow with the boys all sleeping to 7:30 or even 8! I snuck out of our bedroom, which Jack currently shares with us, and took a quick shower while he slept a bit longer. When I got out, he had just woken up, E was up reading, and Alex was still in bed, but waking up.
After making a quick breakfast for the boys, I went through our weekly budget and started some laundry.

Before we left, I printed off a little packet of activities about JFK including a coloring sheet, vocab list, crossword, word search, and a multiple choice quiz for the boys to do in the car.

We made it down there just before 11am and got to see many really neat things. There are tons of old farm equipment, cars, carriages, furniture, appliances and housewares, trains, airplanes, an Abraham Lincoln exhibit, the Oscar Meyer wiener mobile, a bus diner and many other things. I think our favorite might have been a really neat LEGO city with skyscrapers taller than me! There was so much detail, from the cornfield to the helicopters, a concert stage to the Willys building! The boys were enthralled by it.

I realized something about Alex today. He is definitely our budding photographer. He got an inexpensive digital camera last Christmas, but it got misplaced sometime during the year. Alex really wanted to take pictures, so since I had our nice camera with us to take some pictures, he was put in charge of it ;) He did a pretty good job and asked how to use the zoom and other buttons. I have to upload the pictures still but I can't wait to go through all of them.

We did have a couple of things that could have gone smoother. First, lunch. We didn't pack because I'd forgotten the expense of eating there... That and the "restaurants" weren't easy to navigate with 2 boys and a toddler in a stroller by myself. The first one only had hot dogs, which E won't eat - it's a sensory thing. The 2nd one had no place to sit and 4 daily specials, none of which any of us wanted. The third is a cafeteria style set-up. Think hospital cafeteria, where there are 3 different main "kitchen" areas: a grill, an "oven" and a salad bar, and then a refrigerated section with yogurt, desserts, and bottled drinks, and a fountain drink, plus the cashier. Now add about 30 people beside your family. It was really difficult to navigate the stroller while carrying a tray overloaded with food. We managed to find a seat after a minute and hurriedly ate our food, as the people who sat beside us were less than polite to the employee and made me uncomfortable.

Jackson needed cleaned up, and when we made it to the bathroom, the older boys sat outside while I went in to change him. There was no changing table :( so I had to use what I can only assume is a designated changing area on the counter top. As I lifted him out of the stroller, I discovered he had wet through his onesie and pants, and had a dirty, not just wet diaper! I'm so glad I remembered to grab a clean outfit before we left. While practically wrestling with him to change his clothes, I heard a mom and her kids coming in, and one of them asked her where the boys in the hallway's mom was. She said something along the lines of "I don't know where their mom is" with a somewhat exasperated, if not judgmental tone. As she was walking in the door, I said "the boys in the chairs? Yeah, they're mine. I thought they were too old to be in the women's restroom". She said sorry if she sounded judgmental, that she was tired, etc. I'm sure she didn't mean anything, but I wanted her to know they were being left unsupervised to roam the museum. :)

We walked around some more, and then Jack needed changed again, and since he had another dirty diaper, I used the last few wipes in my purse. The boys were all pretty exhausted so we decided to call it a day at around 3pm. We didn't get to see the Presidential car because there was a super long line due to the day.

It was a good time, and I think they learned something, plus saw some really cool stuff. The museum has changed since the last time we were there a few years ago, with some new exhibits.

If I wasn't struggling to keep my eyes open right now, I'd upload all our pictures, but they will have to wait till tomorrow. I'm so glad that we decided to play hooky and take a family fun day instead. 

I definitely learned a lesson though from today: Pack lunches or leave and eat elsewhere. Bring a backpack with plenty of diapers, wipes and maybe even 2 outfits for Jack. Know that I can trust my older boys to wait outside the restroom for me while I change Jack and/or use the restroom myself. Although, we did come out to them NOT sitting where I told them to, but standing over by the ATM "checking out all the signs". Silly boys.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Hamer edition


In case your wondering why I use Hamer in some titles, it's a part of our last name, but it's also Jason's nickname. For as long as I can remember, his friends and co-workers have called him this.

In this instance, the title is ABOUT Jason.

We only have a few pictures of Jason as a baby but the ones we have are so cute. ;)

Jason with his mother, Fredna and a cousin (I think)
Jason and his mother :)



Jason and his dad, Joe


First car


Here he was graduating Basic Training or AIT, not sure which. He was so young, and fit! Almost too thin! Crazy!



Jason, Busia (Grandma) H, his brother Jeff - this was after Basic
 I love this next series of pictures because it shows the goofball that he's ALWAYS been!

Even playing pool, you can see the tongue, LOL






Top picture show his ever-elusive smile (when it comes to pictures)
Love this man!



Jason is such a good daddy, love how these pics show his personality!

Jason (the goofy daddy) with Ethan, 3 or 4 mo, and 1yr or so
From top: Jason and E, May 2005; Jason and Alex




Jason at "work", LOL

On the US Ronald Reagan - again being goofy!

On the flight home in 2006? Love the flight helmet ;) selfie, btw. LOL
Love this next picture as it's one of very few with the Kings!
Grandpa and Grandma King, Jason, brother Jeff at their mother Fredna's grave
I always forget how silly Jason can be. I don't know why, because he is that way most of the time. In fact, his goofy, silly take on life, his sense of humor, is one of the biggest reasons I fell in love with him.

Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my honey's life! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

On Tuesday...

I actually used to do this on my old blog (that's no longer updated and not currently public - although there are a ton of really cute posts about the older boys when they were little that I'm considering bringing over here!) and thought I did on here a couple of times. I'd forgotten about it to be honest, until I saw Homeschool Camper share her family's menu plan yesterday!

It's hosted over on I'm an Organizing Junkie. Here's where you can find this week's linkup!





MONDAY: Leftovers was the plan, but 95% of them were either something that wasn't well-received the first time OR had turned into a science experiment after being forgotten at the back of the fridge for well over a week - some close to 3 weeks! EEK! - and they didn't want Sunday's dinner leftovers already. So Jas had ShakeOlogy before class, and we baked the last pizza in the freezer and it was just enough for E and A to each have 2 slices, J to have 2 smaller slices and me to have the last larger slice. The pizza came out of the box oval shaped so when I cut it, it wasn't really evenly sliced, LOL.

TUESDAY: Asian beef lettuce wraps, instant brown rice
 
WEDNESDAY: Homemade chicken nuggets (adapted from 100 Days of Real Food - I use panko bread crumbs and coconut oil, everything else I follow exactly. Seriously the best nuggets EVER!), baked french fries, applesauce
 
THURSDAY: Sesame seared beef (ribeyes for mom, dad, E and A, ground beef patty for J), sides to be determined but probably carrots as one :)
 
FRIDAY: Beef carnitas (cooking in crockpot) - using as a taco filling with organic refried beans, cheese, sour cream and lettuce on fresh-cooked tortillas
 
SATURDAY: Grilled cheddar smoked sausages, steamed golden and sweet potatoes, squash (yellow squash and zucchini) au gratin
 
SUNDAY: Sweet and tangy pork sandwiches, instant brown rice, sugar snap peas

Monday, November 18, 2013

How is Ethan doing?

I've had a few people inquire about Ethan and how he's doing. I haven't really updated in a while now is a good a time as any.

It's been almost two months since we decided to have him start taking the Prozac. Within a few days, we saw changes in him. He started opening up more at home, and dealing with frustration better. It seems as though at school, he's been doing great too. Even when he does get upset, he calms himself easier, and I don't think I have heard of even one instance of him needing to leave the classroom!

Now I know some of this is due to him starting to mature, but I feel like the medication is helping him cope too. E has told me he's able to calm himself and keep the frustration "in his head" more, rather than having verbal outbursts. Not always, but much more often. Things that would have disappointed him previously immensely? Yeah, they don't seem to bother him as much. If he misses a day - yesterday for example - we see a drastic change in his coping skills. He's very whiny and overly emotional about certain things, especially video games.

E has even done wonderful in gym. First trimester is over now, and so is gym, but my child who hates anything athletic/active (for the most part) made it through no problem, even getting an A-, with an A on the last two tests. One was 25 correctly done sit-ups, and the other was 25 correctly done push-ups!

He starts study skills today, and I really believe he will get so much more out of it this year than last. He reminded me yesterday that he will probably need a binder and looseleaf paper. This is not something he would have thought of before, and when asked this morning what he needed to do if he got a syllabus from his teacher today, he responded with "bring it to you, mom!" (with a little sarcasm, like duh, mom! LOL)

We were discussing on the way to school what he thought he might have next trimester, Spanish or Art.

E: I hope I have art!

Mom: Really? I thought art is stressful to you?

E: It is, but I'm not going to let that hold me back from doing art!


That right there made me so proud of him!!! I said something like I'm proud of you buddy, and I know how much you like to draw so I'm glad. :)

I also told him that he is such a good example not only to his younger brothers but me to not give up even when something is hard or stressful for us!

6 months ago, I don't think he would have said that, or been able to express a lot of what goes on in his head sometimes. Especially when it has to do with stress, anxiety and frustration. That's not to say he wasn't or couldn't communicate well. He just couldn't explain how he felt and then when a situation became frustrating or upsetting, he had an even harder time not only dealing with the situation, but explaining his feelings and thoughts. It's like a cloud has lifted for him, and I'm so grateful. I never thought we'd put him on medication, and even though it has been one of the hardest decisions we've made as parents, it has definitely, so far, been one of the best ones.

My boys all amaze me everyday, and show me that anything is possible.

Another quick story about E. He was in the MTSS classroom for reading remediation (his scantron scores dropped due to him rushing through the tests, and it's procedure for him to go there, regardless of his ACTUAL ability...) and they were reading about carnivores. The teacher asked if we are carnivores and E said "well, actually, we are omnivores!" The teacher had him define omnivore and explain to the class why as humans, traditionally at least, we are omnivores! She said he seemed to enjoy "teaching" the class, LOL. Also she told me that even though he's in there, it's hard, because the other students are working at 3rd-7th grade reading comprehension, and he's got it all and should be working on TENTH GRADE reading comprehension!!! But he's an absolute joy to have in her classroom, her words, not mine. :)

We have conferences for E and Alex next Tuesday right after school. I already know their grades though.

Ethan:
  • Math - A
  • Reading - A
  • Science - A
  • Social Studies - A
  • Gym - A-
  • English - B+
Alex:
  • Spelling - A
  • Social Studies - A
  • Science - A
  • Handwriting - A
  • Gym - A
  • Spanish - A
  • Math - A-
  • Reading - B+
  • English - B

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Reader participation needed!!

With winter fast approaching, and in Michigan, that means lots of snow and lots of cold temperatures, we will spending more time doing "nothing".

In an effort to combat that, I'm going to take an activity we participated in over the summer (although I don't think I posted about everything, we did about half of our summer bucket list. I think I was a tad bit overzealous when I made that list, though ;) ) and do something similar. 

Julie over at Learning Life with 3 Sons - my friend and former co-blogger here - has been doing a Fall Bucket list. I had intended to do one "with" her but never did. I suppose there's still a little time, but I don't want to try and rush through something.

Now, with the snow just around the corner and the days getting shorter, I won't really feel like doing things with the boys that involve going outside or to other places. To motivate myself and to keep it fun (and somewhat educational ;) ) for all FOUR boys - yes I'm including Jason in there, lol - I want to make a Winter Fun list. I will also share what our personal Winter Fun list is in a few days. I'm working on it now and want input from the boys :)
 
Now for the participation mentioned in the title: I want to give ideas to and get ideas from YOU! 

I'd like input from my readers. What are your favorite (indoor or outdoor) wintertime activities? Since we may all live in different locales, obviously location-based activities aren't always going to work for others, but feel free to share anyway. You never know of there's another reader nearby or perhaps visiting the area. Free and inexpensive things are best, because we all know with a family, it can add up quickly. However if there's something that does cost, but is really unique or is a favorite for your family, feel free to share!

Submit via comments, Facebook, or email if you like. Deadline for ideas is December 1st. After I receive and sort the ideas, I will compile a list for you all. You may find something new to do, or remember an old favorite! Either way, it could be fun! 

So that's 2 lists I plan to share in the coming days. The first will be our personal Winter Fun list, hopefully posted within the next week. The second, a list of ideas and activities from all of you to inspire you and myself alike!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Productive Saturday

Last night it took us about 2 1/2 hours to set-up all our stuff! We made it home just a few minutes before Jason got home from his Friday business class, around 9. I made a mental note that we needed to be up no later than 7 so we'd have time to stop by the bank and get change because I'd forgotten.

 We woke up a little late this morning and it threw the day off some. Since I didn't want to rush Jackson eating his breakfast and make us even later and Jason had nothing going on today, they had a daddy/son morning. On the way to the school to meet Julie, I remembered the boys needed rice and instant mashed potatoes for the Thanksgiving food drive the church is holding. We stopped at Meijer and grabbed those 2 items as well as some cash for the sale - I remembered our bank doesn't open till 9am on Saturdays. By the time we got to the school, we had missed Julie :( I felt really bad that she had gone up there to look for/wait for us! I considered just keeping the boys with me, but decided to drive them over the their catechism class. I made it back over to the school just a few minutes late, and was able to get $10 worth of ones from the ladies collecting admission fees.

When I had gotten there, the family next to me gave me some money they were holding from my first sale of the day! In the 3 hours of the sale I made about $100! I did spend $14 though, buying Jackson 10 outfits and a toy, and 5 shirts and 2 pants for our niece. After we were all done, I gave the last 3 maternity items to one of the pregnant teachers and almost all of the 8/10 and some of the 6/7 clothes to a friend who I knew would be able to get some use out of them. Still had a truckload to bring home, but it's all good :)

Julie brought the boys back over to me, and between her and her boys, and my boys and I, we got the truck loaded up. On the way home, we stopped and grabbed some lunch to take home.

I had to run back out to grab some diapers, milk, bread, and a couple of other things. I don't think in 11 years of being a parent, and 3 boys (one currently in diapers almost 2 years, one for about 4 and the other for 3), that we've ever RUN OUT of diapers! I would of sworn that we had another box in the closet. While I was at the store, E and Alex got some video game time, and Jackson fell asleep.

I guess the week and morning caught up with me, because I went in to read in our bedroom where it was quiet, and I ended up crashing for about 4 hours! Jackson and I both woke up around 8. He's up playing with train tracks and his new car toy. I have a feeling it's going to be a late night for him...

He was loving climbing in and out of this box. It's the perfect size!

Jack loves it so far.

Look at the great job he did building the track by himself!!

Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy and warmer, and I'm pretty sure we are going to just have a lazy Sunday around the house.

Now to go finally get myself a (very) late dinner. Hope you all have a great rest of your weekend!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mom 2 Mom sale


Tomorrow, the boys' school is hosting a Mom 2 Mom sale.

I've been storing a bunch of things since our garage sale over the summer in our guest/spare bedroom, trying to decide what to do with all of it. So when the flyer came home a few weeks ago, I thought I'd rent some tables and at least attempt to sell some of it.

Over the last few days, I've sorted through boxes of clothes, books and toys that the boys have outgrown and priced everything The clothes are sorted by size and season, and I was surprised by how much we have. I considered saving it for Jackson, but there's really no reason to and we don't have a good place to keep it out of the way for years. There's 3 small boxes of 0-18 month clothes along with a couple of maternity items I have leftover from my last pregnancy, and a box each of 4/5, 6/7 and 8/10.

It's all loaded in the van right now, there's no room left! The boys will have to climb over a couple of boxes to get to their seats! We are leaving in a little while to go set-up our items for tomorrow from 6-7:30.

I'm so grateful for my friend, Julie. The older boys have catechism class tomorrow during the time of the sale, and she lives across from the boys' school. Since her younger two are also in regular catechism classes at our church now, they all go at the same time, and so I asked her if she wouldn't mind stopping by the school and grabbing the older boys and dropping them off and picking them up with hers. It's such a time-saver! After their classes, they will get to hang out at Julie's with their friends for an hour or so, too. Which they are SO looking forward to. Ever since school started, they have missed seeing her boys so much!

Jack is going to hang out with me :)





This is all the stuff we are (hopefully!!) getting rid of tomorrow! If you're nearby and need boys clothes or books... also there's some boardgames, hamster cages, a diaper genie, an exersaucer, a v-tech v-smile with 2 controllers and 6 games, a co-sleeper/bassinet, and some kids' computer (learning) games. I'm sure I'm forgetting something ;)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When ouch could have been much worse

So, I fell today.

I'd love to tell ya that that's a metaphor for something. Anything. But, alas, that is not the case.

I had just wrestled a sweatshirt on a sleeping toddler. With my right arm only. Because he was asleep on my left shoulder. He'd fallen asleep on the living room floor for about 45 mins when he woke suddenly and was cranky. I cuddled him and he fell back asleep and I didn't dare disturb him, for fear he would wake again and be very cranky until bedtime.

I grabbed his coat (to put on after the car ride, it's way too bulky for safety in the carseat), his hat that I'd slip on as soon as I'd sit him in his carseat, my sweatshirt and my purse. I slid my feet into my shoes as quickly as I could which meant they were only half-way on really. Knowing full well this was not a good idea, I still proceeded out the door, as we had to go get the boys and were leaving at the last possible moment.

Stepping down the last step, somehow, without even really realizing it, I tripped, or missed the step. I'm still not sure.

In that moment time slowed, my mind, after a momentary panic, went completely calm and I could see us falling and "see" what was about to happen. My left knee made contact with the cement of the garage floor, and ever so slowly, as if time was actually standing still, I dropped our things from my right hand and placed it around the back of Jack's head and twisted my body at the hip, falling so I was on my side and he was in my arms, safe and sound. He lifted his head and giggled as he opened his eyes. I sat him on the step to collect myself and stand up and he just sat there looking at me as if nothing had happened.

In that split second that it took to turn him from the cement and keep him safe, all I could see was what would have happened. He came so close (but not really) to banging the back of his head!

Not only am I grateful for that "moment" of time - mere seconds in reality - that my mind reacted and allowed me to react, I am so grateful he is ok.

I did bang up my knee badly though. In fact, it hurts a little to walk and bend it, and it's got a nasty bruise. It's not swollen too bad, and I'll take a bruised knee over anything worse any day!

By the way, if anybody is wondering, yes, I am a klutz ;) and I will take this as a reminder to slow down a bit in life and also to give myself ample time when it's time to pick the boys up from school.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Warmer climate is calling my name...

I've been sitting here for about 45 minutes trying to churn out a post, and I just keep typing and erasing (or making drafts to come back, reread and possibly rewrite later, LOL). I've either got nothing coming to mind, or what does isn't coming out the way I want it to.

This morning, I realized how much I don't like winter. Seriously. Not one bit. Well, at least not when it comes to our mini-van. Who's bright idea was it to put the rubber seal on the OUTSIDE of the sliding doors?! (Anyone? The answer is Dodge, by the way, in my case. If you got it right, you get a cookie. But not really. Cause I don't have any. And also because you answering that in no way made my life any easier. ;) )

Yeah. The weather has taken a turn for worse, and in Michigan, that means snow - albeit, a very light dusting - as well as much, much colder temps. This morning, my door was stuck a little, but I got it opened and started the van, with the heat full blast. Even gave it 20 minutes to warm up and thaw out a little. Still couldn't open the sliding doors, until I pried the rubber from the metal. Yeah. So not happening again. Jason said he'll put something on it, but it won't last long. This on top of an annoying ticking noise that we haven't pinpointed yet. If we didn't have a loan on it, we'd probably trade it in today. But that's the problem, we most likely owe more than it's currently worth. I say likely but we could get lucky. I'm thinking something older, less expensive, but big enough and safe enough for all of us, and not a gas-hog. It would be really cool to not have to have a huge payment on something too...

If only we could come to an agreement on other stuff, it might make this easier, too! ;) I live with a very indecisive - he calls himself picky or finicky - man. I'm someone who likes to do all the research, make lists of anything that we could need to do or know and find the answers, and also make pros/cons lists. I've done all that - mind you, this is not about the van - and presented it all to him. The ball is in his court, as they say, and while I would love to say I'm patiently waiting, I'm not being very patient. I want a yes or a no. Like yesterday. But it is a big decision. Should we sell our house and move to a different house? Should he look for or take a different job and we move somewhere else? There are a lot of factors at play here. Truly, I understand why he is questioning all of it and taking his sweet time, but it is driving me nuts!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I'm thinking an older station wagon would be kind of cool! Something that would still be big enough for all of us, and have cargo room, but not big like an SUV, and maybe better on gas. Not sure where we'd even find one at...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A good weekend


Decided to do scouting for food yesterday morning. Gathered quite a haul! Jackson bounced between riding in the stroller, walking, my arms and (sitting on the canned goods) riding in the wagon. E helped pull the wagon and push the stroller. Alex did the heavy lifting and the hardest part of the job: knocking on doors and asking for donations! I'm very proud of all of them!









After we were done, we decided that since Jason was still in Detroit doing some maintenance, we would go to lunch. The boys have asked before about going to Strawberry Fields but we never have. Since it was right near the VFW hall where we were for scouts, we popped in for lunch. E and Alex were amused by this sign, and we thought a picture would be fun.I didn't catch the purposeful irony until we were inside. Beatles memorabilia everywhere and song references throughout the menu. A quick google search on my phone led us to the reason behind the restaurant's name. 

We had an enjoyable lunch before heading home to do nothing much for the rest of the day.


This morning, after Jason cooked the boys breakfast and they were all building with blocks in the living room, I "snuck" out alone to the grocery store. Jackson wasn't thrilled when he saw I was putting my shoes on and grabbing my purse, but it needed done and I thought the 3 boys needed time with daddy. By the time I got home, Jason and the younger 2 were outside playing while E was reading in his room. Between the 5 of us, we made quick time putting all the food and toiletries away. After a late lunch and some dawdling on my part, we headed to Jungle Java, a nearby indoor play place. The kids had a blast running around for over an hour and a half. Time to head home for dinner and showers. We ended up ordering out from a local Mexican restaurant and Jack fell asleep while Jason was gone picking it up :( He's been up and down the last few hours, and didn't want dinner when he did wake up. Thankfully he's still nursing so i know hes gotten dome nutrition this evening as that's all he wanted when he woke up. He's sleeping soundly now and so are the other 2. They have school tomorrow (charter school) but Jason doesn't have work or class. I'm going to take my boys' cue now, though, and get some shut-eye. 6am comes quite early ;)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Exploring history

While I was planning to write yesterday, I got very distracted on Ancestry.com looking at family history and trying to find not only my mom and dad's lineage, but my husband's as well. It's proving somewhat difficult on my side, as there is conflicting info or people with similar names, etc. I have gotten pretty solid info going back at least 4 or 5 generations on most of my grandparents sides.

Jason's family is more difficult. I've yet to find anything on his mother's side, and his dad's side only goes back to Jason's great grandparents on both sides. They all came over from Poland according to census records, but then the trail goes cold. It's frustrating! I really wanted to know.

I love learning about history, and finding out my great-great-grandfather was born in England and moved here when he was 2, married a girl from Missouri who's father was Canadian, is very interesting. I'm sure it goes even farther back, and I THOUGHT (not sure because again, conflicting info) we had Swedish and German and Dutch roots between my mom and dad's ancestors, as well as the definitive English and Canadian on my maternal grandfather's side.

Jason's definitely got Polish roots on both paternal grandparents sides, as they were both 1st generation Americans! I'm really hoping to find more to share with him.

We are shaped so much by not only our choices, personalities, those around us, likes, dislikes, but also the past: our lineage and ancestors. If it wasn't for each particular person meeting, marrying/having children together, for each of those generations, we would not be the exact person we are. We could be somebody totally different, inside and out! It's neat when you think about it in terms of you are who you are because of a unique set of circumstances, and choices made by every single ancestor you have!

I'm hoping to share some more info here if I find anything interesting :)