I’ll be honest.  When I think Memorial Day celebration, I typically think cook outs and swimming pools.  This year being 9 mths preggo, we didn’t really make any big plans for Memorial Day weekend.   Scott grilled for us several times and even got out this smoker and cooked a chicken for Monday’s dinner.  We went to the park, did a few things around the house and basically took it easy all weekend.  It was perfect. 

So, my plans for Monday included sleeping in, eating sticky buns, perhaps a trip to Target in there somewhere and smoked chicken for dinner.

Then, I talked with my 6 yr old son.

Me:  Guess what?  Daddy doesn’t have to go to work on Monday.

Son: Why?

Me:  Because it is Memorial Day

Son:  What’s Memorial Day?

Me:  It is a day we remember the soldiers who gave their lives fighting for our country’s freedom

Son:  So, what are we going to do for Memorial Day?  Are we going to go down to the War Memorial?

Me: completely caught off guard…. ummmm…. I guess I didn’t really make plans for Monday

Son:  But what are we going to do to remember the soldiers?  Shouldn’t we go to the memorial?

Scott and I:  Sure, we can do that

Son:  And I think we should dress like soldiers, since it is their day, and we should bring our MRE and eat it b/c that is what soldiers eat

Scott and I:  ok… sure…. sounds like a plan

So, we did just that.






This weekend my family enjoyed a peaceful weekend at home.  We went to nearby parks and enjoyed the swings, kicked the soccer ball in the field and played catch.  Many families might of done the same thing this weekend, only without their entire family with them to enjoy the event.  Many families sacrificed their husbands, wives, sons, or daughters so that my family and yours could enjoy such freedom.   As we played at the park, I never feared for our safety.  I didn’t have to look over my shoulder.  This is thanks to the soldiers that fought for our safety.   On Sunday we went to church.  The church of our choosing to worship in the manner we chose.   We were able to do this thanks to the freedoms our soldiers fought so bravely to defend.    


  I am so thankful for the country I live in and the freedoms we enjoy.  And I am so thankful my son reminded us to take the time to pause and think of the soldiers who gave those gifts to us.  It was a great way to celebrate Memorial Day.

In honor of Memorial Day, I thought I’d repost this post from Jan of 09 in which my son first learned of the ultimate sacrifice many of our soldiers make for our country.  As we were discussing what Memorial Day was this week, my son asked what we were going to do to celebrate.  “So, are we going to the memorial in Annapolis then?”  I realized that sadly, Memorial Day typically comes and goes without much thought at all to why we have the day off.  It seems to mark the beginning of summer and swim season and white shoes, but all to often we forget to pause and reflect on the reason for the holiday.   May you take time today to give thanks for the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf and for those who are fighting today willing to pay that sacrifice should it be required.

A Deeper Understanding

JANUARY 24, 2009[edit]

in Weekend Thoughts

Last week in church the pastor gave an illustration in which he mentioned the number of American lives lost during various wars in our history.  My son looked over at me and asked why he was talking about American soldiers getting killed.

This led to a discussion later in the week in which it was brought to my attention that my son was under the impression that good guys don’t die in war.   It was a sobering discussion I had with my four year old that afternoon that went something like this…

Son:  Mom, why did the good guys die?  I thought they killed the bad guys.

Me:  Well, sometimes they do, but sometimes the bad guys kill them first.  The bad guys are trying to get them just like they are trying to get the bad guys.

Son:  But Mom, they have camouflage so the bad guys can’t see them

Me:  True, and that helps a lot, but sometimes the good guys still get hurt.  That’s why they are heroes…not just because they hurt the bad guys, but because by doing so they are risking their own lives.  That is part of war…good guys and bad guys die.

Son:  But Uncle Jim didn’t die.

Me:  Yes, and we are so thankful for that, but that is why we were praying for Uncle Jim when he was at war, because we wanted God to protect him.

Son:  But Uncle Jim isn’t at war right now…he’s training right now to be a captain.

Much later that night when we were saying our bedtime prayers my son prayed, “please keep Uncle Jim safe.”

I found this whole incident to be quite sobering.  We have stressed over and over through the years that soldiers, and policemen, and firemen are true heroes and deserve honor and our gratitude.  I guess though we never stressed why they are heroes.  And in the sweet innocence of childhood, my son assumed that only bad guys get hurt.  Yet we live in a world where that is not the case.

And as this truth sunk in to my little boy, his response was to pray for the Lord to protect his dear Uncle Jim who serves as a soldier in our U.S. Army.

uncle jim

This served as a good reminder to me to continue to life up our soldiers in prayer.  While Uncle Jim is home in Texas right now, we are praying for our cousin Joel who is at war fighting for our freedom.  We are proud to have both soldiers as part of our family, modeling heroism for our children.

Since the original posting of this blog post, Uncle Jim has since gone back for a second tour of duty in Iraq and cousin Joel has safely returned from Afghanistan.  

Sometimes in the chaos of finding baseball gloves and missing cleats, in the midst of grocery shopping and read alouds, sometimes if your not careful, it is all too easy to miss the point.    In the midst of doing so many good and important things, you can neglect to focus on the main purpose of it all. 

IOMA Cover recently had a the opportunity to read and review the book One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda.  The book is based on the vision of a man named Dr. M.A. Thomas (Papa) whose vision for ministry is based on Psalm 127:4-5, “Children born to a young man, are like sharp arrows in a warrior’s hands.  How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them.”   Papa’s vision is that of “one million arrows for God—one million children gathered, sharpened, and launched to make an eternal difference in their communities, cultures, countries, and even the world at large.”

Julie encourages and challenges her readers to embrace the mission as parents.  She encourages us to raise our children to become arrows for Christ.  She challenges us to keep that vision at the forefront of our mind and as parents to be active and intentional in our parenting.  She says that the responsibility for raising our children to be spiritual champions, lies solely at the feet of the parents.  She also encourages parents to have a goal oriented approach to parenting rather than a survival based approach. 

She speaks with several parents who have successfully raised “arrows for Christ” and shares strategies and tips that worked well for them.

While the first half of the book focuses on raising our own arrows for Christ, the second half of the book talks about how we can support others raising arrows around the world, particularly orphans in other countries.  She encourages us to invest our time, money, and prayers in supporting ministries which focus on raising arrows for Christ in their own countries. 

One point she made that challenged me was when she spoke of the stark contrast between the extreme poverty in other nations and the extreme wealth and abundance in our own nation.  She found herself asking God, “How could he let this happen?”  She then realized that God could ask her the very same question, “How can we let it happen?”  God has blessed us with an abundance and what are we doing with that abundance to help those around the world in need?  I found this to be a challenging and sobering thought. 

If your interested in learning more about the book, you can check here or purchase it from Amazon here

I’ve already confessed quite a few of my fashion fashion fo paws for you here on the good ol blog.  Why not add another to the list?  (I’m really just secretly hoping that Stacy and Clinton will come whisk me away and give me a brand new ward robe to enjoy with my post baby body… ah, wouldn’t that be nice)…

But, back to reality…

I am afraid that perhaps I know where my daughter got her bold fashion sense from.

Tonight after baseball practice my husband lovingly said to me, “Honey, I really don’t like those pants.”  “I know,”  I replied, “But, I don’t have a lot of options these days…”  “but honey, you wore them in public.”  “Yea.”  “But they are really, um… loud.”  (here is where visions of 80 year old Crystal walking around with purple hair and a bright orange hat pop into my head)  I laughed it off and told him not to worry, with only a week left in my pregnancy I doubt I’ll wear them again.

I then said, “Hey, you should take a picture so I can put it on my blog…we can see if people think they are as bad as you say.” 

To which he said, “No… please don’t put a picture on your blog… really you don’t want people seeing them… they remind me of those jams from the 80s.”

And with that I knew… I had no choice but to post it on the blog. IMG_8445

So, tell me, honestly… what do you think?   I can take it, so don’t feel like you have to be polite.  I know they are bright, but I think they are fun.  I will concede they are a bit tight these days and probably looked better about 4 weeks ago.

You can totally side with my hubby and you won’t hurt my feelings a bit… like I said, I am fairly certain I won’t be wearing them again.   IMG_8446

By the way, these pants were handed down to me from someone, somewhere over the years and I can’t remember who.  If it was you, please know that I personally am not criticizing the pants… after all, I have worn them of my own choosing, more than once, despite my husband’s objections. 

Each year the Blue Angels perform a show at the Naval Academy in celebration of commissioning week.  Taking the kids to watch the show has become one of my favorite Annapolis traditions.

IMG_8322 - Copy  They fly so close you see the pilot!

IMG_8324  Scott says I have to point the crazy small distance between the wings of the first plane and the cockpit of the next – They do corkscrew loops in that formation!

IMG_8326 - Copy 

This one is my sons favorite.  They head for each other so fast you are sure they are going to hit.

IMG_8392  IMG_8393 IMG_8394

These three capture the gist of Scotts favorite trick.  In the one below each plane goes on to do a full 360 loop and they all end up right back where they started.


The whole show is incredible (and free).  We all love the tricks and Scott is always sure to mention what an engineering feet the jets are.  While I have to agree the jets play an integral part, my favorite site isn’t in the sky.

IMG_8343 IMG_8363   IMG_8398IMG_8374IMG_8372  IMG_8364IMG_8354

I love pictures.   I’ll often find myself just staring at the screen saver on our laptop as the pictures scroll by.   These two blasts from the pasts crack me up every time they pop onto the screen.  They were taken on two totally different occasions, thought it appears my son was approximately the same age in both.  It also appears that his red striped shirt was his bully apparel.  Does he not look like the kid who would steal your lunch on the playground? 

2005 scrapbook191

He was one scary 18 month old, huh?You Suck

Visit here or here for more picture fun.

Sometimes I watch my husband as he fathers my kids and he just takes my breath away.  a walk with Daddy

I love the way he can explain to my son in terms he can understand how just about anything under the sun works.  I love the way he pulls the kids aside and talks to them about respecting their momma.  I love when he takes one of them with him to church when he has deacon duty so they can have  some special one on one time while he unlocks the church classrooms.  I love watching him out on the soccer field or the baseball field as he assists their coaches and helps guide the team.  I love the way he carefully and gently combs the knots out of my girls hair.  I love the way he makes up goofy love songs for the kids and I and belts them at the top of his lungs around the house.  I love the way he tells them their Bible stories with such excitement and enthusiasm that it seems the characters jump right out of the pages.  I love that he makes spending time with us a priority.  He does everything he can to be there for all of the practices, school events, games, special outings and special moments.  Sometimes it means going in to work early or staying late or working a Sat. 

I also loves the way he loves me. 

I love that after 9 yrs and 4 kids, he still looks at me like I am the most beautiful person he’s ever seen.   I love that he will call me in the middle of the day just to see how I’m doing.   I love the way he opens the car door for me on date nights.   I love that he knows me, really knows me… the good, the bad, the ugly, the pretty… and yet still he makes me feel adored and cherished.  I love the way he fully supports me and my passions and interests.  I love that he’s a dreamer.  I love making plans and dreams and goals with him for our future.    I love traveling with him and trying new things.  He accepts me for what I am, but pushes me to do things I never would do on my own.

image_251343882003726123333But I love him for more than just the way he fathers my kids and the way he treats me as his wife.  I love him.  I love the way he analyzes things and thinks them through thoroughly before making a decision.  I love that he is open minded and he always thinks the best of people.  I love how he gives every one the benefit of the doubt and a second chance.  I love his heart of compassion, especially for the poor.  I love his desire to serve and to help.   I love his patience and his ability to break down big concepts into easy to understand steps.  I love the way he gets wrapped up in something be it the Steelers during football season, or the Volvo Ocean Race, or the Lost finale and he has to read and research and find out everything he can on that subject.

This week my husband turned 31.  And as the kids and I did our best to shower him with his favorite things, I couldn’t help but marvel at the man he is and how richly, richly blessed we are to love him and be loved by him.

Happy Birthday my love! 

After kissing my kids goodnight, singing them their lullaby, and closing the door, one of my favorite parts of the day is listening to my kids talk and giggle as they drift off into dreamland.

Having them so close together truly has been a blessing in so many ways. 

However, I have felt really guilty during the summers when I seemed to always have an infant in my arms and thus, my poor boy did not learn to swim. 

2 years ago Scott took my son to a parent and me swim class.  My son was 4 and was by far the oldest in attendance.  While other kids, much younger were jumping off the sides of the pool, practicing going under water and learning to blow bubbles and kick their feet, Scott spent the entire class on the side, convincing my son to put his feet into the water. 

He made huge strides by the end of the session,  but it was glaringly obvious to Scott and I that we had let him down and we had a lot of work to do in getting him used to the water and learning to swim.

The thing is, it isn’t easy to take three kids swimming all by yourself.  I tried it a few times at some MOPS swim parties.  The end result was most often me standing in the pool with 3 kids hanging on to me thinking, “This is not working!”

Last summer, I declared it the summer of swimming.  (at great cost to my personal pride as you may recall).  I enrolled the oldest 2 in lessons at the Y for about 3 sessions last spring and early summer and did my best to get all 3 kids in the water as much as possible throughout the rest of the summer.   

The girls took to swimming quite instantly.  I believe part of that is due to their fearless natures and part is due to the fact that they got so much time  in the water at a much younger age. 

This spring I again enrolled my oldest two in swim lessons and my youngest went to a “Parent and Me” session with her Daddy.  (note she is 2 yrs younger than my son was when he first went to a swim class).   I do believe though that the third time is a charm.  After 2 sessions of swim lessons and several family night swims, my oldest two can float independently and even swim underwater!!  IMG_8292

I wouldn’t yet declare them totally independent in the water.  But, we are at the point where I can be with all 3 kids in 3 or 4 feet of water and they aren’t all hanging on me.    Folks, this is a HUGE milestone for the circus momma!IMG_8287

In fact, the oldest two will dive for rings at the bottom and happily swim around.  And my “baby” can stick her head in, blow bubbles, and swim with her noodles.  IMG_8274

I can’t tell you how proud I am of my son and the strides he has made over the past few years.  He has wanted to quit so many times and frustratingly declared that he would never learn to swim.  But, we knew he could do it.  And despite his hesitation and frustrations, he kept at it and now LOVES it!   Look at him swimming underwater!


The look on his face as when it all clicked for him, is one I will treasure forever. 

This is great timing as we will yet again have an infant in my arms during the summer months.  We don’t have a pool, or a pool membership, but I plan to make a very conscious effort to take advantage of the bay and get them in the water quite a bit this summer.    One nice thing about swimming in the bay is they can easily stand up and I can sit close by on the sand with the baby.  Perhaps by next year, some of them will be ready to attempt swim team?!  I see a whole new world opening for us at the circus.   It’s been a long journey, but I feel like we’ve finally made some progress!

Last week at church they gave an advertisement for our upcoming Vacation Bible School.   I was a few minutes late so I missed the announcement.  When I sat down my son said, “I do not want to go to VBS this year!” 

I couldn’t figure out why.  My son said, “It’s not going to be anything like last year… it’s an adventure camp.” 

Figuring he must have been intimidated by the adjectives they used to describe it, I told him it is going to be really fun.

“No Mom,” he said, “you don’t know, they said this is not your Mom’s VBS.”

At this point I had to chuckle.  Having not heard the announcement, I could only surmise what they said and just had to laugh at how their clever wording and advertising completely turned off my very literal 6 yr old.

I am now working very hard to overcome the pulpit announcement and convince my son that it will be a lot like last year and even though it’s not your Mom’s VBS, and therefore I seem to have no expertise with which to draw on to make this claim, it really will be fun. 

We’ve got 6 weeks till Vacation Bible School…wish me luck!

I had a dream last night that I accidentally opened the envelope and found out we were having a girl.

If your wondering how one can accidentally open the envelope, it’s actually not to hard to do b/c yesterday I was cleaning out some papers to be filed and saw a sealed blank envelope and thought, “What is that?”  Thankfully, before opening it, I saw the name of the sonogram office in the corner and realized what it was.

Back to the dream….I felt so sick to my stomach as I had to tell Scott we made it till 2 weeks are left and now I knew.  It was awful.

I was so glad to wake up and realize I am still clueless!!  I can’t imagine making it this long without knowing and then having found out like that.

Now for the game…here are some preggo shots of me in each pregnancy.  See if I carried similarly or differently.    Place your bets as to what the newest circus member will be.  You can even place bets on the size if your feeling so inclined.  We’ll find out who is correct whenever this little circus member decides to make his or her debut!

baby 1Baby 1: Boy:  9 lbs 5 oz 21 inches long  born 2 days after his due date

baby 2 Baby 2: Girl:  7lbz 5 oz 19 inches long  induced 5 days before her due date

baby 3 

Baby 3: Girl: 8lbs 7 oz  20 inches long  born 2 days after her due date (photo taken at 3am)


Baby 4: ??   ????    ?????? 

Leave your predictions in the comments below. 


For the past 3 years the kids and I have gone to a local strawberry farm to pick our own berries.  It is a tradition I cherish. 


We are suburbanites.  We don’t even really garden.  But, I love for my children to get some real life farm experiences.  I love for them to walk down the rows upon rows of plants.


This year my son really went to town.   He’d scamper ahead down the row and come back with a basket overflowing with red berries.   He didn’t want to stop, “Please mom just one more basket!”


I love the joy and satisfaction they get from “working the land” themselves.

IMG_8054  In addition to watching my children take in the farm life, one of my favorite parts is just eating berry after fresh berry on our way home.  You can’t buy berries like this in the store.  They are truly delicious! 

I love taking the kids to pick our own produce because we always come home with so much more than just delicious, fresh, produce, but with life lessons and timeless memories as well. 

This post will be linked up here and here on Wednesday as we share our fun with pictures!

In an attempt to make oral reading more fun, I gave my son the option of picking any location in our house to do his reading time. 


He chose my closet.

Would not have been my first choice, but no worries, to the closet we went… I brought a pillow for me to sit on as the floor isn’t so comfy for this 9 mth pregnant momma.  My son looked at me and said, “Hey, how come you aren’t sharing that pillow with me?”  I informed him his toosh could handle the floor and we then stuck a few pillows in front of us to make it more fort like.   He was a bit put out by the fact that he didn’t have a pillow to sit on but accepted it none the less.   IMG_8169

I am reaching the end of my pregnancy and my body seems to be reminding me of that fact more and more each day.  Bending over, sitting, standing, sleeping, all of it comes with increased discomfort.  I often feel like a ginormous whale as I attempt to heave my belly out of bed or off of the couch.  And I’ll admit it, I am not exactly quick or light on my feet these days. 

A few days ago, I got out of the shower and heard my cell phone ringing.  I raced (or waddled) to the other side of the house in an attempt to catch whoever was calling.  Of course, they had hung up.  I saw it was my husband so I quickly called him back.  But, he wasn’t at his desk.  I left him a message and told him I was at home, he could call me there. 

A short while later my son and I were in the closet again for reading.  I made sure to bring the phone with me to the closet so that I didn’t have to race for the phone should it ring.

Wouldn’t you know my cell phone rang again?  (and of course I didn’t bring my cell phone to the closet with us).  So, I heaved myself up and hauled it across the house to try and catch my hubby on the phone. 

But, this pregnant momma is not fast enough.  

Not 10 seconds later, I then hear the land line ringing in the closet on the other side of the house and off to the races this pregnant momma goes.

Finally, out of breath, I connect with my husband and with a sigh of frustration ask what in the world he is trying to do to his poor pregnant wife?  I explain the scenario and we both get a good laugh out of it. 

Truth be told, if it has been anyone else on the phone, I would have just ignored it, but I hate missing out on the opportunity to connect with my hubby, even if for a few quick minutes.   Ah, the things we do for love…

By the third time around, one would think that a gal would have the whole labor thing down pat.

One would think….

About a week or so before my due date, I started having contractions…nothing super painful, but enough to make we wonder, “What if this ends up being it?”  This time around the van was vacuumed well in advance, so no early morning trips to the gas station for Scott to clean the car before heading to the doctors.  BUT, we didn’t get a good shot of my belly towards the end of the pregnancy.  (Seems I’ve discovered there is always SOMETHING to stress about right before having a baby).   So, at 3am I woke Scott to tell him I was in labor ask him to take my picture.  

Yes, I was freaking out that the contractions would turn into real contractions and by that point I wouldn’t feel like posing for a cute preggo belly shot and then this poor child would be the only one without a picture in Momma’s belly.

So, I brushed my hair, changed clothes, and freshened up my make up at 3 am so we could take the all important profile belly shot. 

Here it is:  (This picture is saved on our hard drive in a folder my husband entitled Neurotic Crystal).

baby 3 

Turns out the contractions went away and we could have waited till morning to take this shot.  But, really, what kind of story would that make?

Several days later the contractions returned.  I was fairly certain this was it so we called my in laws to come and watch the kids and off to the hospital we went.

Only as we drove to the hospital, we noticed that my contractions were slowing down. 


By the time we made the long 10 min trek to the hospital both of us had a sinking suspicion, this wasn’t it.   So we walked around the hospital.  We walked the halls for awhile, then decided to walk around the perimeter of the building.  We must have looked ridiculous to anyone who saw us, as this 9 mth pregnant women was walking around the parking lots and parking garages.   Eventually we went to the Dr office b/c I knew there was no reason to go to triage. 

But, we switched OB’s yet again after delivering my daughter, and this practice oddly wouldn’t admit me if I wasn’t in real labor.  In fact, they wouldn’t even see me. 

So, home we went… I of course cried the whole way home because I felt stupid and because I wanted this to be it and it wasn’t and did I mention, I felt stupid?   Scott took me out for bagels then we went home.  Scott stuck around awhile to play with the kids while I took a nap.  He really is the world’s best husband.

2 days later I had some friends over… the kids were all out on the back deck and the moms were talking…I noticed the contractions coming back again, but wasn’t going to get my hopes up too much.  My friends stuck around awhile and I confided to one that I thought, this might be it.  It was in fact 2 days after my due date and all.   We fed the kids, cleaned up lunch, everyone left and I put my 2 down for naps.  I called Scott b/c at this point they were pretty regular and consistent.    Scott came home a little while later and we knew this was it.  

We called for back up to watch the kiddos as we got ready to go to the hospital, but none of the people we had lined up were answering their phones.  We got a hold of Scott’s dad at work, an hour away, and he promised to head straight to our house.  We kept calling to see if we could find anyone closer to help.  Eventually, we got a hold of Scott’s grandparents. They kindly offered to come to our house and wait with the kids while Scott’s dad drove to the house.  We assured them it shouldn’t be too hard as we just put the kids down for naps.

Of course when they got to our house, I was bowled over with contractions and my daughter wasn’t napping but instead was crying.   We apologetically handed her off to Scott’s grandpa and to the hospital we went.

At the hospital they confirmed I was 3 cm dilated and having contractions.  Though my contractions were not consistent.  I was sent to walk the halls.  I was admitted and they broke my water.  I then got the epidural. 

Life was good. 

(We discovered through watching my contractions on the monitor that my contractions never really get consistent, even at the very end).  About 4 and half hours after going to triage, I was ready to push.  The nurse called the doc and he promptly came in the room.  As he was putting on his gloves, the nurse told me to take a practice push.  The doc looked over from across the room and said, “No more practicing… I see the head!”  3 pushes later and we had our baby girl!!  IMG_2822

It was love at first sight for all of us.  Big Happy Family

Sisters meet

sisters meet

Protective big brother I Love Little Sisters

Everybody Loves her

Her big brother and sister loved her instantly and she has brought such joy and laughter into all of our lives. 

Now we prepare to welcome the newest circus cast member to our family in just a few short weeks.  Can't wait to share that story with you all!! 

More flashback fun can be found here.

We had really good intentions, I swear.

We got the envelope in the mail and when it came, I remember Scott perusing it and saying, “We must mail this in soon.  We can’t forget to do this.” 

And so I did what I do with all of our important papers and I put it on the counter so I wouldn’t lose it and so I’d know right where they were.

Yea… so that plan was slightly flawed… surprised, huh?

Come April when I couldn’t find those papers anywhere, I called the Census Bureau, like a some what responsible American, to give them our info over the phone and to make sure we weren’t adding to the crazy cost of the census by making someone come to our home. 

I answered every single question over the phone and I am sure it took twice as long to answer them over the phone as it would to fill them in the day the papers arrived in the mail. 

But, I was doing my part to make sure we were counted.

3 weeks later the kids and I are upstairs… my son is reading to me from his reader, the girls are running around chasing each other and at some point the dog lifts her ears and barks once.  Just another day at the circus….

I think nothing of it until I get off of the couch about 10 minutes later and notice a strange car in my driveway.  I watch for a few minutes, but no one appears to be getting out.  After the kids and I stare out the window for at least 5 minutes,  I decide to go downstairs to investigate further.  

Of course, I coerce the dog to go out on the back deck first so she doesn’t race out the front door when I open it.  Then I instruct my youngest to please put her pants on.  (Seems she must have gone potty somewhere during reading time and never completed the last step).  I had no idea who was in our driveway, but didn’t want them to see it all when I came to the door.

I then locked the gate at the top of the stairs (hoping it would keep the kids upstairs) and went to the front door while the kids peered out the window.

When I opened the front door I found a slip of paper from the Census Bureau telling me that someone had stopped by, but we weren’t home, so please call back or they would come back in a few days. 

Seriously, did the person knock at all?  All someone has to do is shut their car door and my dog will typically sound the alarm.  She barely made a noise.  I seriously wonder if the lady just pretended to knock. 

I assumed the car in the driveway was this stealth census worker so I walked out to the driveway barefoot and pregnant, holding my phone (incase it wasn’t the census worker and I needed to call for help). 

The lady was so excited that I came out and she didn’t have to come back.  She asked if she could just step inside the door to ask me the questions on the form.  I told her that I did in fact call the census bureau in April and answered all the questions.  She said she would mark that down.  We entered the house.  I picked a random banana peel off of the floor as we walked in.  (Niiiiice).  I did not invite her upstairs, (b/c who knows what we’d find up there) but stood in the door way, hoping the kids would just stay upstairs while I answered the questions, again.

Suddenly I hear quite a bit of noise from upstairs.  Seems the kids took to arming the house… every single toy gun we own seemed to make an appearance.  I can hear the loud stun gun and see the nerf bullets fly down the stairs.  I pretend I don’t hear them as I tell her the names, birthdates, sex, and skin color of everyone in our family and assure her that this is our only house and no one else was living with us on April 1st. 

All of this chaos in addition to my ginormous belly prompted the lady to be very understanding about the fact that we didn’t mail our form in.   She could “certainly see that we were quite busy and had our hands full.” 

Throughout this interview, the kids did creep downstairs once, but I shewed them back upstairs.  The noise of pretend gun fire rained down on us the entire time.  Seriously, I have no idea what they were doing, unless it was “defending their abode.”    I told the lady we had a well fortified house.  She said, “Well, your girls will certainly know how to handle themselves.”

Yes, that is true.  My girls can def defend themselves, thanks to the example and tutelage of their big brother. 

And I am pretty sure this census lady thinks we have our own militia here at the circus home.

fun shadow shot


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My daughter sleeps with so many animals, pillows, dolls, and blankets in her bed, that sometimes when I go in to kiss her before I go to bed, I can’t find her. 

One night I thought I saw her and then realized I almost kissed her cabbage patch doll. 

Can you find her in the pile?  It reminds me of the old Where’s Waldo books.IMG_7962

Here’s a closer look… there she is!


Guess not much has changed from this picture taken a year and a half ago!