Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch 2008

I brought the three little kids to the pumpkin patch yesterday. It was a field trip for Brookelyn's class so I thought I would bring them all. It sounded like a good idea at the time. It was fun, but definitely harder than I thought since all three wanted to run around (in opposite directions) so they could see everything. We had their faces painted, rode ponies and chose pumpkins and overall it was fun. Sasha saw the ponies before the other two did and was determined to ride one. She has ridden a pony one other time and really liked it. At first when I put her on she started to get upset. I gave her a hug so she would feel more secure being up there. After she hugged me back for a long hug, she turned and took hold of the saddle and was ready to go. She held on to my hand as we walked around, but she wasn't scared and waved back when people waved at her. It amazes me that she is so brave. Brookelyn rode another pony at the same time but she never seems to be afraid of anything so I just talked to them both as we walked around. It was a great place. The people were really nice to the kids and the pony rides lasted a long time. A friend of mine who was there with her daughter took the pictures for us. Brookelyn and Brayden rode ponies before we left. Sasha wanted to go again, but then was happy to wave at them as they went by her.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Selling our house

So, we decided to try to sell our house. We have actually been talking about it for a couple of years. I like this house, but I don't really love it. I think the main reason I don't love it is that we did a ton of work remodeling it. It had four bedrooms when we bought it and was pretty plain. We added two bedrooms (it had cathedral ceilings), moved the kitchen into what was a dining room so we have a really big, open kitchen, added walls, put in all new windows, carpeted and put crown molding into the garage so it is another room, redid the bathrooms, did a ton of hardscaping in the front and back yards...the list goes on and on. It was a lot of work and we did it when Brayden was a baby, so I was tired anyway. We had tried to buy a house with six bedrooms originally, but there wasn't much on the market when we were looking. We live in a nice area and the house is really nice, but it isn't our dream house. If it was, we would just stay through the ups and downs of the market. But we think that if we want to move in the next several years, now may be the time, before the value of our house drops too much more. If the house sells, we will rent for a year or so and then try to buy a one story house. I bought a one story house before Ray and I got married and loved it. It was a four bedroom house with a pretty big yard. I loved it.
I doubt that we will sell this house though. I think we missed the time to sell for a good price. Since we have no need to sell, our plan is to try for two or three months. If we get offered a good price, great. If not, we will stay. I have to admit, that even though I have talked about selling this house for a long time, I have been second guessing the idea a lot the last couple of weeks. It is a nice house and I have a lot of friends in this area. And the thought of selling this house while having three little kids and a teenager to move is a little unsettling.
I don't think there are a lot of houses in this area that are for sale, which is good. We still have to check around though and research our asking price. Our plan is to put it up Nov 1st. I know, that is in a few days. Which is why I have spent the last two days going from one room to the next getting rid of stuff. We have way too much stuff. The first day I went through my closet and dresser and got rid of a ton of clothes. I am sure I could get rid of more, but I did a pretty good job. I also went through Sasha's things and packed up her 6-12 month clothes and put 12-18 month clothes in her dresser. Today I went through my bedside table (which had an amazing amount of important things like adoption paperwork in it), Brayden's room and the hall closet. I donated a bunch of toys and books to his school and also dropped off several bags and boxes to a local charity. Tomorrow I am going to do Brookelyn's room, the three bathrooms and start on our office. I say start because it is mass chaos in there. A ton of paperwork to go through and other things that we have dumped there. The next day I will have the garage and downstairs hall closet. I have to break it up like that for myself or I will just be wandering around straightening every room. I am really enjoying getting this done. I have wanted to do it for a long time. I like things are organized, but have let things go so I can spend time with the kids. I have to say that the more things I get rid off, the happier I am. It helps that I know people will be opening up closets and cabinet doors. If I didn't have that as incentive, I would be working as hard on this. So, even though I have a strong feeling we won't sell the house, it will be a lot cleaner and I will feel great about it. The thought of getting more things (Christmas gifts) is a little overwhelming to me now since I am anti-stuff right now. I do have several boxes of things to post on Ebay too, so I will be busy for the nex several weeks with this moving project. At first my husband was all gung ho about how we would fix up the little things around the house that we have been putting off and cleaning it together. He came up with a plan of how "we" would go through and clean and finish one room a day this week. We did have landscapers out this weekend to redo most of our landscaping. They did all of the landscaping and hardscaping for us when we moved in. But we didn't do a very good job of picking plants out last time and it didn't look very good after a couple of years. This time we let them put in whatever they wanted. Seriously. It was great not having to chose. And it looks really good. They worked on Ray's old house and my old house, so we trusted them. I think they still have to cut out and resod some grass in the back and side of our house, put in a few more plants and some groundcover. It is much better. Other than calling them and talking to them, Ray hasn't started in the "Get The House Ready To Sell" project.
I took a bunch of pictures of the house today after the cleaning people left. I still have to take pictures of the front of the house, the back and Brayden's room. I need them for the brochure about the house and for myself. Our house looks great for about five full minutes after the cleaning people leave. Really good. The problem with having an open floorplan with three little kids is that if there is a mess anywhere in the downstairs, it makes the whole place look like a mess. I told Ray that I only want to have people look at it by appointment only. I sold a condo years ago when I was single and it was a nightmare keeping it clean with two young children. I remember real estate agents calling and saying they were "in the area" and wanted to drop by in fifteen minutes or so. And then knocking on the door within two minutes...
I'll add pictures tomorrow. I didn't take many of my old house after I remodeled it and am very sorry now.
I should also add that my husband is a loan officer. Actually, he is a lender and has his own office with a few loan officers that work with him. His work has slowed down a lot lately, but hasn't stopped. He knows what people seem to be paying for houses in this area and can list it on his own. Which means we won't have a realtor pushing us to do things like let people drop by without appointments. We'll see what happens...

I turned 44

I turned 44 the other day. It was actually a really good birthday. I ran around doing errands during the morning and then brought the kids to a Halloween party in the afternoon. Brookelyn dressed up as a fairy princess ballerina girl. Mostly she wore a lot of pink, a tiara, fairy wings, and a tutu. She LOVED it. Sasha wore a dark pink leotard with a pink tutu and looked adorable. Brayden dressed as Superman. He has never watched the show, but it was what he chose when we went out looking for costumes. A lot of our friends were at the party, which was held outside at a local park. The kids could do crafts, eat, play in the playground, or play whatever game the mom's were doing. It was very fun. It helped that Ray went and so did my son, Colton. So that meant I could actually talk to other people instead of racing around after all three which is what happens a lot. Sasha spent a lot of the time eating, Brookelyn did the crafts and Brayden stayed on the playground. We were all pretty tired when we came home, which was nice too. The kids were all fine about going to bed.
The next day I got to sleep in until 8:20! Usually, I am up between 6:30 and 7:00, so I was pretty happy. We all went to the park to watch Brayden's soccer game. We love Saturday mornings because the park his games are at is huge. I can let the girls run around without worrying at all about them being too close to the road or any danger. One Saturday we most of the time rolling down a hill. The only thing was that we went to a 9:30 game and it was really hot. Really, really hot. We are ready for cooler weather! Brayden is a great athlete and really gets what he is supposed to be doing so it is fun to watch him play. Since he is playing with kids who are four and five, a lot of them don't really get it. Some aren't sure which goal to kick the ball into, some keep running over and picking up the ball, some are mostly there to look for bugs on the field and some won't even get on the field. Most of the time he is doing the right thing and trying to make goals or playing goalie. Other times he becomes karate guy or some other silly thing and the other boys quickly follow his lead and then there are a field full of boys kicking at the air instead of the ball. It is fun to watch, whatever is happening. What I am really looking for is for him to be running around getting exercise. I love watching my kids run around outside or swim the pool. We play in our back yard a lot, but being at a park is much more fun.
That afternoon, Brayden and I met one of my sister's and her three girls and we saw High School Musical 3. It was all fun. Planning the day, hanging out talking and waiting in line for 45 minutes before the show, the movie itself...very fun. When the movie was over my mom and older son each met us at a nearby restaurant for dinner. It was loud and really fun. Then we went back to have cake at our house. Ray, Brayden, Brookelyn and Sasha made me the cake. Very sweet. And it tasted good. Ray was planning on bringing Brookelyn and Sasha to meet us for dinner, but it had been a long day and they were a mess. As much as I wanted them to be there with me for my birthday dinner, I knew it would be too much for them since it was later than we had thought by the time we got there. Overall, it was a great day. Plus, I got a lot of phone calls and cards from friends and a really sweet card from my other sister and her family. Colton gave me a nice card and something so I can play my ipod in my car. Of course he knows he is the one who is going to have to download new songs to my ipod. I love having teenagers! My older daughter will be coming home from college next weekend to celebrate Halloween with us, so I didn't have to be sad missing her. Ray and I have been married long enough for him to know that it is better for me to be with him when "he" picks out my gift. I want a really nice watch, but haven't had time to check them out yet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bad haircut and then after fix-it haircut

I had Sasha's hair cut at a place in the mall. Not a cheap place and one where they advertise for kids. The lady quickly cut Sasha's bangs straight across. They are soooo short. Luckily I had only wanted her bangs cut or who knows how bad it would be. When I brought her home it looked crazy. I took her back to the place we usually go the next day. It's expensive, but it is ONLY for kids and we have liked the way they cut the girls hair EVERY TIME they do it. Why do I keep having to relearn that lesson? The first three pictures are the evening she got the bangs cut badly, the second two are after we had her hair cut again.

Brayden, Brookelyn and Sasha pictures

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eighteen months old!

Sasha turned 18 months old Thursday. She has been changing so much every day. She Still wants me to be the one holding her most of the time, but usually she is off doing something with Brayden and Brookelyn. Last Friday she and I were about to leave the house to go get the other two from school when she looked at me and said, "Out." I repeated it to her and she said it again. I thought she must mean outside so I stood up. She had never said it before and I wanted to see if she knew what, "out," meant. As soon as I stood up she ran over to the back door, pointed to the door handle and said,"out," again. I was really surprised since I didn't know she knew that word. We played outside for a few minutes and then when we came inside she ran into the kitchen and said, "jui." I thought she must mean juice, but since I rarely give her juice, I asked her if she wanted some water. She shook her head and said, "jui," again. I opened the refrigerator door and she pointed to the container of juice and said it again. By this time I am pretty shocked that my baby is suddenly talking after only having said a few words before. I gave her some juice and she drank it and said, "more." She had created her own sign for more that she usually uses and sometimes she will say, "moe," when she signs it. But when she said it then, she didn't attempt to sign and clearly said, "more." I, of course, was praising her for each word she used and letting her know I understood her. Then we went to get into the car. She ran up to the side of the car where her car seat is and touched the door and said, "hot" and then quickly said, "ouch" right afterwards. I couldn't believe it! She hardly talks and then suddenly says so many words in one afternoon! The funny thing is then she spent the entire trip to get the kids yelling "juice" or "more." Just a couple of days ago she looked at me and pointed upstairs and said, "Colco?" I said, "Colton?" and she nodded, so we went looking for her brother. When we found him, I asked her to say his name and she said, "Colco" and smiled. It was very sweet since he is so loving and sweet to her all of the time.
She now says-more, juice, momma, dadda, more, out, map (Dora), backpack (Dora), sticker, hot, ouch, and Dinder (for one of her teachers, Jinger) she will repeat words we say now and thinks it's funny
She has just grown out of her 6-12 month clothes and 12 month clothes. She will fit into 12-18 month shirts, but the pants that size are way too big for her. I am hoping she will fit into them by the time it gets cold. I am hoping it gets somewhat cold here this winter since I bought a lot of cute cold weather outfits. It is still hot here, too hot to wear long pants yet. I like living in Southern California, but you really need to watch to see what the weather is like. There are many days in the winter months that start out chilly and warm up to the high 80s within a couple of hours. I have gone to the park with my kids dressed in pants, long sleeved shirts and jackets and we have had to go home and change into shorts. Sounds great and is great, unless you are not prepared for it. And I like buying a new fall wardrobe. It's something we did as kids growing up in the midwest. Anyway...
Sasha's favorite toys are a little pink stuffed dog and a big pink and white dog. The larger one is somewhere between a blanket and a stuffed animal. She sleeps with both and rushes to grab them when I get her out of bed in the morning so she can carry them around with her. I usually let her keep them for a little while in the morning and then take them when she isn't looking and put them back in her crib. When we lay on the couch for a little while in the morning she likes to hold them against her face. Very sweet. Otherwise she would bring them everywhere and drag them behind her. She doesn't go looking for them, she seems to forget about them if she doesn't see them. Also, the little dog is actually Brookelyn's so if she sees Sasha with it she gets upset. Sasha also likes playing with balls. She likes us to sit on the floor and roll a ball back and forth between us. She is really good at throwing or rolling it in the right direction already. She likes to play with little cars too and will push them around making little engine sounds or wants us to roll the car back and forth between us. She also likes to play on Brayden's drum set when we are in the garage. She plays whatever the bigger kids are playing and loves climbing at the playground. We have to really watch her when we are at any playground, because she has absolutely no fear and will climb anything.
She eats whatever we eat, just cut up into small pieces. She is very opinionated when it comes to food. If she doesn't want it she will shake her head and then knock the plate off of the table. Not cute. She will ask for cheese if Brookelyn has some, but will never eat it. Within minutes of giving it to her she will be smashing it under her foot on the floor or on her chair. If we don't give it to her she will cry and have a mini tantrum. So I usually give it to her and then take it off the table a minute later. With all three so little, I am more about getting them all fed with us all being as calm as we can. All she knows is that she wants whatever Brookelyn and Brayden have.

Brookelyn is doing really well. She will be turning three at the end of November. She healed very quickly after her surgery. She LOVED getting a band aid put on three times a day. We had bought a lot of Dora and Hello Kitty band aids and she got to choose a new one each time. After a few days, Sasha started wanting a band aid over her eyebrow too and Brookelyn was very generous letting her have hers. We put antibacterial ointment on it several times a day for the first two weeks and now we just have to put a new one on every day. She is supposed to keep a band aid on for a month and then we will just make sure we put sunscreen on it for a long time. She is a funny little girl. She loves school and happily goes and does whatever. She eats most things and is not fussy about it. She likes to pretend she is Dora. She will carry her backpack around and put things in, take them out and reorganize them. She loves carrying her little purses around, wearing her tutu and playing with her dolls and stuffed animals. She LOVES PINK. Sometimes I can get her to wear something that is not pink if it has purple in it, but otherwise it really has to be PINK. She can only drink things if they are in a pink cup. It would drive me crazy if I didn't understand that she really needs things to be pink while she is in this pink phase. Since there are plenty of pink clothes and pink things for kids, I can handle a pink phase.
Brookelyn was in speech for several months because I noticed she wasn't talking at the appropriate time. She loved going to speech class, where it was her and her teacher for an hour a week. We stopped a few months after Sasha came home. The new teacher she was assigned kept having scheduling issues and at the same time I noticed Brookelyn's speech had improved enough that I didn't think she needed to see anyone any more. She now has a great vocabulary and is very expressive. She is pretty calm as long as she is wearing pink, given a pink cup, and no one takes her things. If she is given a drink out of a cup that isn't pink, or someone else uses her pink cup---wow! That girl can scream. Not a mean scream, but a devastated scream. She will fall to the floor in a heap. There are a few other things that make her upset. Brayden likes to torture her and he knows what bothers her. He will say things like, "I'm bigger than you, Brookelyn, you are a baby, I'm faster, I did it faster than you..." and again she is a screaming heap on the floor. She also prefers me to anyone else for most things. Getting her out of bed in the morning, going with her to the bathroom (she likes the company since then it is her, me, and Sasha), getting her out of her car seat after school, reading her books and putting her to bed at night and getting her water or talking to her when she wakes up at night. Ray and other people are fine for some things, but mostly it is me.
She really likes when she and Sasha wear matching outfits. She is very sweet with Sasha and they have a lot of fun together. If it is just the two of them playing, eating or taking a bath, there is a lot of giggling and fun. She is always very sweet. If Brayden is around, things are much wilder. He is always running, bouncing, splashing, squawking...whatever is loud and chaotic. And both girls follow his example. Sasha will do silly things like slash in the tub or fall down in the tub if it will make him laugh. It gets wilder and wilder. We have started seperating the kids a little to calm things down sometimes in the evening. I will give the girls a bath and put them to bed and Ray will be in charge of Brayden.

Brayden has started to sound out words lately. It started about a month ago. I think Ray asked him to sound out a word from a book he was reading to Brayden. He was shocked that Brayden was able to do it. Since Ray and I made a big deal about it Brayden started being really interested in it at school. He is a bright little guy and is doing a great job. He is a loud, active, smart, active, cute, active, funny...boy. He is a mass of energy and is very fun to be around if that energy is channeled. He loves all sports and is naturally a good athlete. He is actually good at everything, as long as he is interested in doing it. There are a lot of times throughout the day where is is mainly interested in teasing Brookelyn, making irritating noises, getting the girls to do something wrong....and he is hard to redirect. Once he gets something in his head, it is hard to change his mind. Sounds a little like ADHD, but he actually focuses really well if he is in the right environment with firm rules. He does great at school. But at home, he knows we are busy and takes advantage of it. He is fine if he has one on one attention or we are all playing or doing something together. The hardest time is when I am making dinner. The kids are tired and want my attention and I need to cook so we can all eat. The juggle between keeping them calm and getting anything done is exhausting on many days. For me and every mother out there. But Brayden is so fun to be with in many ways. He is very smart and remembers everything. He has an amazing memory and notices the smallest details. There is no down time with him because he is always asking questions like, "Can you fall off of the moon?" or "Are those clouds part of the solar system?" Not questions you want to answer when you are tired. He will be five in February, so he is too old to distract when he wants something. Sasha got a hair cut on Monday to fix a bad haircut she got a couple days before that. Brayden decided he wanted a haircut too and talked about it constantly. Ray usually cuts his hair (buzzes it) at home but Brayden wanted to go get it cut by someone else. I asked if it was so he could get a sucker, but it was about the hair cut. I had Colton sit in the car while the girls napped in their car seats and I brought Brayden in for a hair cut. It actually took a long time for a boy's hair cut and he loved it. He happily sat still for the fifteen minutes it took. When we got home he went and took a shower and got into new clothes and hasn't brought up the subject again. He loves when he has one on one time with either of us, but he has really wanted to be with Ray lately. Golfing, playing some sport in the back yard, or riding bikes. He wants me when he is tired or upset or to be quiet with. He can be very sweet and calm when I read to him or we have movie night together. Every Saturday night he and I sit down and watch a movie together after the girls go to bed. We have been doing it a long time and it is really fun for both of us.
The other day something happened that is a perfect example of Brayden. Ray was painting the upstairs bathroom. We had had some remodling done month ago and were finally getting around to finishing it. Brayden and Brookelyn both wanted to "help" so I stripped them down thier underwear. I was folding laundry in our bedroom when I heard Brayden say to Brookelyn, "We can say potty words if we want because we are in the bathroom. Mommy says we can say them if we are in the bathroom." I have definitely told him he can only say potty words if he is in the bathroom. I could totally imagine him smiing with a little glint in his eye when he realized the game they could play. So they sat in there saying all of the potty words he could thing of. He owuld say them and Brookelyn would repeat whatever he said. Ray tried to stop them, but I said we had to let them since they were technically following the rules. I think they said potty words in as many ways as Brayden could think of until his mouth was tired. It is so Brayden to find a loophole and run with it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More surgery pictures

Brookeln's surgery

Brookelyn has had a bump over her right eyebrow since she was just a couple of months old. We have been worried about it this entire time. The doctor's told us it "might be" a cyst and it "probably was fine." I cannot handle answers like that. So, we finally decided to have it removed just in case it wasn't fine. We went in early Friday morning (I woke her up at 5:30 am)to our local hospital. We waited for about an hour and then they gave her medicine to relax her. It was perfect, since Ray had to drop off Sasha and Brayden at school before meeting us. Brokelyn had a fun time. I had brought pink sweats for her to wear with a sparkly heart on them, she got to drink pink medicine, and I had brought Dora and Hello Kitty stickers to play with while we waited. You can see how loopy she got as soon as she took the medicine. She got a lot of attention from the nurses since she is a cute, happy little girl, which made her even happier. She willingly went with the nurse to get the surgery. It took an hour, which was really stressful, but everything was fine. She and I went home and slept for a few hours afterwards, which was nice. She has to wear a band aid for a few months, but it looks great already. Sasha keeps getting into our band aid box and trying to put them over her right eye. She is very happy when we put one on over her eyebrow so she looks like Brookelyn.

Monday, October 6, 2008


This is the motion Sasha uses to mean, "more." She has been making this motion since we first got her. She used to do it whenever she got upset, and later it turned into, "more." Now she says, "more," when she signs it. Last week she started trying to say a lot more words. No she says, "more," "Momma," "Dadda," "map,"(while watching Dora), "backpack," (Dora), "sticker," "cookie," and a couple of others that I can't remember right now. She repeats us a lot now, which is great. Before a couple of weeks ago she wasn't showing any interest in talking.

Various Cute Pictures of Sasha

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I brought Brayden and Brookelyn to Legoland a couple of weeks ago with my two sisters and their kids. They have seven children between them and they range from seven to eleven, so they were a big help taking care of my little ones. Ray was going to come too and we of course would have Sasha, but she wasn't feeling well, so he stayed at home with her. We went on a Sunday, so I am sure there was a lot of football being watched on our tv that day. I had never gone to Legoland before. It is only 40 minutes or so from our house, maybe a little less. We loved it! I plan on getting us annual passes for the new year. The kids went on so many rides and it wasn't at all crowded, even though it was a weekend day when we were there.

Brookelyn's First Day of Preschool

Brookelyn has been in a two year old room for a long time and just moved up to preschool a couple of weeks ago. She moved up with her best friend, who was born on the same day as her and in the same hospital. Her mother and I were talking one day and after we started talking we discovered the same doctor had delivered them both and she and I had met at the lactation clinic while in the hospital! The girls love eachother and had a special language for a while that only the two of them knew. I only want Brookelyn to go to school a few days a week, but I have a hard time keeping her at home because she says that if she doesn't go to school her friend will miss her and be sad all day. I actually have to almost bribe or trick her into staying home. Once we are there to drop off Brayden, she usually is adamant about going to her class. Anyway, she moved up to a preschool class and loves it. The first couple of weeks were a little hard because she was exhausted when I picked her up. Taking in all of the new things and meeting new people tired her out. She seems to be back to normal now though.


Brayden loves all sports. He golfs, skiis, plays soccer, baseball, basketball...he seems to just have been born with a gift for athletics. Ray has taken him golfing a few times lately and Brayden loves it. Here he is with Ray and Colton at the golfing range one afternoon.