Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Elf...

is back. Tex showed up the Monday before Thanksgiving. While I didn't snap a pic that day, he brought with him the kids Christmas pajamas and Christmas books. This year he is much more mischievous this year. Last year he hung out on shelves, on top of the kitchen counters, a picture frame or two. This year, he is getting into everything and the kids LOVE it. As soon as they wake up they are off to find the elf.
Does it really help remind them to act nice and not naughty? Eh...depends on the kid and the day. But overall it helps make it feel like Christmas, which considering we aren't pulling out all our decorations, is nice. They enjoy the story and loved the 30 minute movie that aired last night. I like that it really brings out the imagination...wondering when Tex flies, where he'll be tomorrow, if he'll bring a much fun!
Updated:12-10-11 adding more photos...
Edited to add even more pics:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want

So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really 
really really wanna zigazig ha"

Ahem. Now that I have that out of my system (and stuck in your head, ha!) I have been thinking that this year I have seen more stuff out there that I would want for Christmas than ever before {well since become an adult/mom}. Ironic since I will be spending this Christmas is Italy! It's like ''geez lady, isn't that enough?" and it is. I am ecstatic actually. But my point is, it seems like every year there isn't that one thing that I just have to have. I mean, sure I come up with something when prompted or asked but usually it's a last minute ''oooh that'd be nice!" like a Starbucks gift card or something practical like a new knife block, a bedding set, etc. But this year, I have an entire list of stuff that is just for Shannon, not mom-ish or house-wifey but just stuff I would want. Now granted, I know beyond a doubt I won't get most if any of it and that's perfectly fine. It's just funny the way life works out. 

This is the first year since B and I got married that we have made a ''no gifts for each other'' rule. With moving it's just too much. Too much logistics, takes too much time and planning and too much to fit in our luggage. Our gift to each other is this move. It is taking advantage of getting to live in Europe. It's taking day trips to Venice and weekend mini-vacays to Switzerland or Germany. And that is more than enough, more than I could have ever imagined. I mean, I've never even been to LA or NYC and they are in the continental United States. 

But besides all of that, in no particular order, here is my list for Santa. If all else, use as a gift giving guide :)

1. Jo Totes camera bag:
Seriously how cute yet functional is this camera bag? So much better than the gray and black Wal-Mart one that you know, looks like a camera bag, that I bought four years ago for maybe $15. This is adorable. And while trekking all over Italy, adorable and functional are necessities. Well, to me they are. Or should be.

And speaking of cute yet functional....number 2 on my fantasy list:
Grey UGG Classic Cardy Boots- I know, I're thinking really Shannon? Uggs?? But if you haven't seen these in person, you should. They are gorgeous. So soft and warm, perfect for pulling up over some skinny jeans and while not AT ALL practical in South Texas (despite the gobs of people wearing them) they are completely practical for Italy. It's gets cold there. In fact, we'll be just south of the Dolomites (thats a mountain range folks). You can see them from the hotel on post. If that isn't boot weather/location, I don't know what is! *and they are much cheaper than that several places online...which is even better*.

On to number three...I don't know that I ever blogged about my Keurig but I love it. I'm using the word love. I've drank espresso Starbucks drinks for awhile. But I didn't start drinking coffee at home until after Peanut was born and then it was only when desperate. B likes his strong, dark, extra bold. I like mine not so tar-like, with cream and sugar. Maybe a bit of vanilla syrup. I drink it to wake up, sure but I like to enjoy it as well. So  we got a Keurig back in the spring and it's perfect. He gets his cup of tar, I get my French Vanilla fix. Seriously amazing. But the thing I lack is a way to store all those k-cups. We have several different boxes open so it'd be nice to have a way of storing and showing those off that is better than this system:
Yeah, that's an old utensil organizer propped up on the boxes of kcups, sorted by flavor, inside my cabinet. So...hence why I got down right giddy when I found this:
It's PERFECT right!? It holds 18 k-cups, is adorable and practical (are we noticing a theme here) and only $25. That's cheaper than the Keurig stuff you can buy in the stores. I want it. 

And last but not least, if you are any sort of crafter or blog follower of any craft blog, I know a Silhouette is secretly on your Christmas list. These things are ah-mazing. Cute and practical? Not so much. But fun and could make cute and practical things? Yes. 
The Silhouette is a digital cutting machine that connects to your computer and cuts designs and fonts with a small blade. There are tons of possibilities creating with the Silhouette - home decorating, decor, DIY projects, paper crafts, iron-on's and more. No more using an Exacto knife for freeze paper stencils...this bad boy will cut it right out. You can even make tattoos and vinyl decals for your walls or car. Totally amazing!

So that's my list. Nothing to extravagant. Everything is somewhat practical even if not truly necessary. Any the y are gifts that I can't share or use or spend on the kids...that's an improvement for me!

Happy 3rd Birthday Peanut!

Yesterday Peanut turned three years old. I cannot even believe that my ''baby boy'' is three. Time really does fly by. He wanted a Batman cake and when asked what he wanted for presents he simply said ''TOYS!" He is such an easy kid to please. I spent the morning frosting his cake while Peanut and his siblings played with the 20+ balloons I had blown up the night before and placed all over the floor of his room.
We took him out to Red Robin for lunch, which he requested...his eyes were on the ice cream sundae.
 After Red Robin we came home, took a two hour long family nap, then woke up and played outside. By this time it hit me that I never made or even thought about dinner. Whoops! So we asked the birthday boy where he wanted to eat dinner and he said ''Taco Cabanie" so off to Taco Cabana it was. After we stuffed ourselves there, it was back home for presents and cake. Of course we called Nanaw and Papa so they could be with us via Skype:

After cake it was on to playing with his new toys. We went pretty light on the gifts this year, not just with Peanut but with all the kids. While their birthdays are a big deal and a very special day, we like to treat them special all day not just with presents. We don't want the main focus of any day to be just about gifts but rather spending time with people who love you and celebrate that you are here. He chose what was for meals, he got to be first (big deal with all these siblings, lol) and he had a lot of fun. We love you Peanut!!
(and in case I forget, you truly are a little peanut! At your 3 year check up you weighed in at 28lbs 4oz and you were 36.25 inches tall. That's the 17th percentile and 34th percentile, respectively. She said you looked great but needed to start using the potty all the time, not just when you feel like it!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's a small, small world...

So, we're getting even closer to our big move to Italy. By the 16th of next month (in just 30 days) this house will be packed up, our belonging on their way to Italy. We will do our final walk through on the 16th. Bubba will finish his last day of school on the 16th. Hard to believe that in 30 days we'll be done with the stuff I am currently stressing out about.

We get to Italy just a few days before Christmas. In fact, I am just hoping that the jet-lag wears off by then. I know it kinda stinks that the kids won't get a ''normal'' Christmas.We'll be in a new country, in a hotel, tired and everything will still feel a bit off. But I'm doing all the preparations that I can to assure that Santa will be visiting us at the hotel. (Hey, blame the airlines they are allowing us a crazy amount of baggage since we are on military orders). I've decided to take one suitcase and use it to safely transport our gifts to Italy. I really can't trust to mail them ahead of time, mail isn't always reliable. I can't send them with our household goods because it will take, quite possibly months for those to get there. So, in baggage it is. And if the airline loses the bag, heaven help them because I will lose it.

So Christmas, obviously it's more than just gifts. For us, it's all about family. I mean hello, last year we opened presents via Skype so my parents could be there too.
So for me, that was the hardest part about having Christmas is Italy. Will it be gorgeous? I'm sure. They have an amazing Christmas festival and market. But I know me and I know I'll get homesick. So imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago I discover that I have a 2nd (3rd??) cousin on my dad's side that....are you ready for this? Lives in Italy. Not just Italy, but the same town we're moving to! Her husband is stationed at the same base that B will be working out. And lucky for us, she is not some 60 year old cousin but she's also in her twenties. With a daughter who is just two months older than Sissy. How freaking cool is that??

How did I find out? My dad was at our family reunion at the end of September when he was talking to family about us moving to Italy when come to find out, my dad's cousins daughter lives there too. He explained everything to me, even mentioned that he knew we had met as kids (though I don't remember...there were always a ton of kids at the reunions). So naturally I did what anybody does nowadays, I messaged her on Facebook. Nothing like a ''I know this sounds odd but I guess we're related'' email, right? Well come to find out the news spreads fast because she knew exactly what I was talking about. So we've ''friended'' each other and talked a bit here and there. This weekend we were talking and she invited us over for Christmas dinner. How truly amazing is that?? It really is a very small world in the grand scheme of things! And in the midst of all this chaos of moving, it's nice to know that I do know someone over there already!

I really really have to give Facebook credit; while we may bitch about the constant changes and joke about being addicted, it truly is a blessing. I've been able to connect with a cousin I didn't even know I had, I joined a private Facebook group for spouses on post who are just amazing. They answer any question, offer to help in any way possible. They give you the ''inside'' story on how long it'll take your stuff to arrive, good areas to live, the bus schedule, the activities going on around post. Which doctors are good, which ones to avoid. What hours the PX and commissary are's just truly amazing the support that they give each other. I think that is one of the things I am looking the most forward too; because there aren't a ton of Americans over there, the ones that are really go above and beyond to help each other out. Everyone has been there. Every knows what in-processing is like, how hard it is to wait months for your car and belongings to arrive. What it's like to live in a hotel for weeks. To be overwhelmed with culture shock. And how lonely it can feel. I love the fact that even though I'm still stateside, I'm already making friends. It makes all the stress and anxiety over moving, worth it in the end.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meet Gotti:

Yesterday, B went out front to grab the newspaper and this little guy came right up to him. He had been in our yard, walked straight up to B and wanted petted. He was very clean, no collar but just the friendliest dog. I had B put him in the backyard so he wouldn't get ran over. In the meantime we gave him food and water and he was very thristy/hungry. (He drank two bowls of water immediately!) While he was eating, I printed up two posters saying ''found dog'' with our phone number and placed them at the entrance of our subdivision. We live in a gated community with only 2 ways the odds were pretty good he was from the neighborhood. I drove around asking people who were out walking, if they were looking for a dog. No one was.

I came home and the dogs were getting along. Rascal was immediately protective any time the new dog got near him, I or the kids (who were watching from the window). Didn't attack the new dog or anything, just growled. The new dog, would back up and just look at Rascal like ''Okay, I get it." Ron and I looked the dog over. We're pretty sure he's a Boston Terrier, he was neutered, clean. Short nails, no sign of fleas or matting. We introduced the kids to him and he did great. So after a while outside, we let him in. He stayed off the furniture, he knew commands like ''sit'' and when I said "I'm gonna take a picture, say cheese'' he actually smiled!
 By afternoon we still hadn't heard anything. I called the animal shelter but they weren't open. During nap-time, Rascal is put in his crate so he won't bark and wake the kids. I dug out an old crate from the garage and placed the new dog in it. He laid right down and didn't bark or make a peep. The dogs were kenneled for about two hours and both were good.

By this time, I made a listing on craigslist. I put our subdivision, that we had found a dog who weighed approximately 20-30lbs and to respond to the ad to identify. Three emails later and still no one was missing him. (though I feel horrible for the 3 people who may have gotten their hopes up). I took him on a walk and while many people stopped to admire, no one recognized him. I let him lead, saying ''lets go home'' but he never did. We came home and he settled right in, sleeping on the pile of dirty laundry.

So we decided to just keep him overnight and Monday morning I would take him to see if he was microchipped. Fast forward to his morning and I was there right at 8am. They scanned him and he has a chip! They logged into the chip company and reported him as found. His name is Gotti, he is a 24lb boston terrier. He had not been reported as missing. So I left my number, they called the owner and left a message saying the pet was found, with my contact info.
I opted not to leave him at the shelter. Firstoff, it's a kill shelter so if he isn't claimed or adopted within x amount of days, it's lights out. Secondly, he was happy and adjusted with us, so it seemed less stressful to just let him stay...for now. 
However, based on where tag registration says he lives the animal shelter thinks that either the people moved and now live in my subdivision (which if they did, why didn't they call me?) or  he may have been dropped off and abandoned in our neighborhood. His address is about five miles away, with two interstates and many big roads in between. Since he was clean and uninjured, it's unlikely that he ran away and made it that far. Since I walked around, drove around and then walked around yesterday and NO ONE recognized him and he didn't walk home, that seems a bit unlikely as well. Legally, if the owner doesn't contact me within five days, we can keep him.

So, now we're we want to keep him? I mean we never planned on getting another dog after parting with Tito. But he is trained..he's not a puppy but not that old either. He has super short hair and doesn't seem to shed much. Animal control guessed around 3-5yrs old. Would we be crazy to keep him? Fours kids, two dogs and Italy?? Yeah...that seems kinda nuts. For now, we're keeping him because the alternative is the shelter. But I talked to Papa Barry and he might be interested in adopting him. He's been looking for a dog and since this one is already trained, doesn't barely bark, stays off the furniture and needs a seems like a good fit. I have a crate for him, he walks on a leash well, he hasn't been digging in the yard or anything. The only issue is obviously Papa lives 12 hours from us. So we're gonna see if the owners claim him or not. If they don't Papa might come down for Thanksgiving and take him back to Kansas. We'll have to see how it all pans out. If Papa decides that he doesn't want him, we might just keep him.

Yeah, we'll have to pay the vet for shots and yeah, we'll have to pay for the plane ticket to Italy. It's not the greatest plan but the kids are smitten with him, as of now Rascal is ''tolerating'' him. I mean, they are curled up napping together but they aren't killing each other either. Gotti is good with the kids and the noise and the running and it seems kinda odd that a perfectly trained dog shows up on our doorstep who is good with kids and named Gotti...I mean, that's pretty Italian! Maybe it's a sign!? We'll see...but between you and me, I hope Papa can take him :). (B is totally wanting to keep strange is that!?)

We were able to return Gotti to his family. Apparently the side gate was left open and they didn't know it. He was very excited when his owner picked him up so as much as we liked him, I'm glad he is home.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Oh Pinterest, how I love thee!

So a few months ago, I discovered Pinterest. It's a virtual pin see something you like on another blog or website you ''Pin It" {like bookmarking} and it shows up on your pin boards. I have a button on the right hand column that says ''Follow me on Pinterest''. If you click that, you can see what I mean.

But, I digress.

I freaking love pinterest. Yes, it can be a major time suck but used wisely, it's also so informative! I started out using it as a means of bookmarking things for Sissy' birthday party. I used a bunch of those ideas {circle garland, pennant birthday sign, rainbow themed} at her party so it was win-win. As I was pinning things for her party, I started seeing recipes and craft projects....gradually I pinned those too. Hence, our ''monster pillows'' inspired by the ''Pajama Monsters" I found pinned by a friend...
I used Pinterest to get ideas as to what to wear for our family photos; what colors coordinated and pose ideas for all of us. I don't think I used any of what I pinned {it's hard to remember and apply in the situation!} but it made me realize that as long as we were all happy, the camera would catch that...and that was most important.
Like I said, if you aren't on Pinterest, you should be. It's amazing. I try to pin things that i will actually use/do/try so while I've been on for months, I haven't really pinned that much considering. I've tried a few of the recipes (chicken bacon ranch mac & cheese, cheeseburger soup, frozen pureed banana), learned a few photo and organizational tips. It's amazing. Did I say that already??

So on to today. I'm sick...or getting sick. Woke up with a sore back, headache, sore throat and that general blah feeling. My ears feel like there is fluid in them and sufficed to say, I didn't want to even leave the house today. So this afternoon, I was checking my usual ''YAY it's nap-time!" things {email, facebook, blog list and pinterest} I was reminded of a project that I had pinned weeks ago. I didn't forget it because it wasn't that important, it was just that life got in the way and I didn't have time to get my sewing machine out. And it was something I needed to make. So it's naptime, it's quiet and I figured better now than never.

What did I make? Why a Bapron (baby apron) or two,
And Sissy using one of hers....

It's a tutorial that I pinned from Craftiness is not optional, and I love it! Sissy has been yanking bibs off for months now. She'll yank til the velcro comes undone, then throw it to the dog. So this is perfect. There are arm holes to slip it on, then you knot it in the back. It's nice and big, when she sits it comes down past her waistline, keeping her pants clean too!
Please excuse the horrible lighting, it's dark by dinnertime now...Flash=crappy pics
The best part is how quick they are to whip up! I made two in about an hour...and I had to make the brown bias tape. Everything I needed, I had on hand. This one was made from leftover nursery bedding fabric, the other is a cupcake fabric with leftover store bought, double fold white bias tape. Both are backed in flannel for absorbency. Though I would love to make one in oil cloth or laminated easy to wipe down. They really are perfect and Sissy doesn't even realize it is a bib. She didn't fight me putting it on or try to take it off while eating. I think because I slip it on her arms, she thinks she's getting dressed and just leaves it alone. Total bonus! The barpon...who knew right!? Thanks Pinterest!

So I ask ''How many kids do you want when you grow up?"

Bubba responds: "10. I want ten kids."

Peanut says "I want a LOT." Well, how many is a lot? "Like TWO!"

As I turn to Pooks he says ''I want zero kids mom. Zero. None. Not any."
"Pookie, you don't want any kids? What if your wife wants kids?" I ask.
"I don't want any kids. I don't want a wife. I want just me.''
"Well won't you be lonely? Living all by yourself with no wife, no kids?"
"I not be by myself. I'm gonna live in our house with you and dad."
" you'll have a room in the basement?"
"No, I'm gonna live in my room, with my big kid bed and all my animals."
"Well if you're all grown up, you won't fit in your bed. You'll need a grown up bed. Pooks how come you don't want any kids? Don't you like having brothers and sisters?"
"I will too fit in my bed when I growed up. Daddy fits in my bed. And I want no wife in my bed. And no kids because I do not want to have to share my toys. I not sharing my toys with my kids. I not sharing my food with my kids. I want no kids. I just want Rascal and dat's it."
By now I am laughing out loud.
"Pooks when you're all grown up you won't have so many toys. And when you do have toys you don't have to share them with your kids. Daddy plays poker but you boys are not allowed to play with that stuff. Mom likes to sew and make things but you kids can't play with that. Besides you'll get to take your kids to the park and the zoo and play with their toys. I play with your toys all the time."
"No. I want no kids. I want my animals. I want my big kid bed. I want ALL my toys and I not share. I not getting married. I'm not having kids. I'm gonna live here forever!"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In 40 days...

We will be in Italy.

In an attempt to prepare myself mentally, I've been reading blogs of military wives (usually) who are stationed in Italy and Europe in general. Some are single, some have kids but they are all fascinating. I love to look through their blog archives and see how their feelings were when they first arrived in Italy, how they changed while there, what obstacles they've overcome, what they like, dislike, what they miss. I've even read a couple where they were in Italy and they're time was up and now they are back in the states missing Italy. It's funny when they come home for a visit and they have to go to Target, Chick-fil-a, Starbucks...oh how I know I will miss those! I've read several articles on flying with children, tips for the airport and airlines. I called Delta to confirm that Rascal was on our flight and to have them make a note that we were traveling with minors. The agent was SO nice. She regrouped our seats and now we are all sitting together (you would have thought they would have done this when we booked them, but no). On both flights we will be 3 across in 2 rows; perfect so B and I will each sit in one row with two kids. Previously we were 2 seats in 3 I'm letting two of my kids sit all alone with strangers?! I think not.

As for what else we still need to do? Not much. We have our official date of travel, we booked the movers for the week before, reserved our hotel for that week while they are packing. {We'll have two sets of packers; one for our overseas stuff and one for the things that will stay here [fridge, washer, dryer, childhood keepsakes, a ton of our outside toys]}. Next week I am paying the tags and taxes on the van so that it can be shipped (it has to have valid tags and registration but ours expire at the end of Nov). B has reserved a rental minivan from Enterprise for us to use after we turn in the van and until we leave. We have our passports, visas, Rascals paper work is finished. We need to gather up our items for unaccompanied baggage as they come in 12 days to pick that up. It'll be some bedding, towels, pots and pans, some kids toys, extra clothes, pack n play,etc....ideally it is suppose to arrive shortly after us so that we have some stuff while we wait for all of our belongings to arrive. B's sponsor requested the school registration packet so that I can begin to get bubba enrolled in school. While it isn't ideal to move so close to Christmas, it will be nice that he'll start right after winter break with the other kids.

I still need to sort some of our stuff. I know I'm not taking our baby things since we're done having babies. Gotta get rid of the bouncer, the big highchair, all 4 years worth of maternity's not a huge deal if I never get it done; they'll pack it and I'll sell it or donate it once in Italy. There is a thrift store on post so I will get rid of it eventually....I would just like to be more on top of things!

We also had a big talk with the boys about going through their toys. We talked about how Christmas is coming and how not all kids will get new toys for Christmas, so it would be really nice of them to go through and pick some of their nice toys that they don't play with anymore, to donate. Also we have A LOT of toys and that's why Mommy is always having to tell them to clean up...they want to play with a certain toy but have to move 15 others to get to it. I explained that if we got rid of those, I wouldn't be bugging them near as much to clean up all the time. Pooks starts picking up happy meal toys and saying they can have those. Which is a great start but we have a playroom full of toys, 2 toy boxes in the big boys room full of toys, some in Peanut/Sissy's room and some in the garage. It's just too much. So I will give them a few more days to go through things, then I'll do a final sweep. I know what they like and what they play with once in a blue'll be freeing to get rid of some clutter.

And it's not just the kids. Besides clothes, I really want to sort through my kitchen stuff. I have so many pans, food storage containers, a bread machine, an extra microwave and a toaster that we don't use....many of which wont even work overseas without a converter. I've been told that a lot of those are easy to find so if I do want one again, I'll be able to get it there.

So naturally instead of actually starting on sorting, I've been instead compiling a list of things I want to do while overseas....this is just the beginning!

  1. I want to see all the touristy Italian icons: leaning tower of Pisa, the Colosseum in Rome, Venice, the vineyards, Tuscany, Cinque de Terre, I want to see the works of Van Gogh and Di Vinci.
  2. Travel to Spain, Germany, France, London, Ireland, Croatia and Greece. For starters.
  3. Learn how to make authentic Italian foods. Top of the list is lasagna, homemade sauce and real know, not from a Classico jar.
  4. Become mostly fluent in Italian {after 5 years of Spanish in High School, I'm hoping I'll ''get'' it}
  5. Learn about, sample and drink the wine!
  6. Take the boys to a real soccer futbol game
  7. Become friends with as many locals/neighbors as possible; help give Americans a good name :)
  8. Ride on a Vespa! Preferably on a cobblestone road
  9. Become more open-minded about my food, try new things and encourage the kids to as well.
  10. Remember that we will get homesick. I will wonder if we did the right thing. And remember that this opportunity won't last forever, make the most of it and leave with little regrets. 
If you can't live in the place you love, then love the place you live.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

13 months...

Sissy I cannot believe that you are over a year old! You're walking, heck you're RUNNING. You truly are a toddler. I love the age you are at now. So full of spunk and curiosity but still wanting mom (or Dad) close as well. You're hair is getting longer (and curlier) and you're personality is shining through as well. It amazes me that at such a young age you are already showing ''girlie'' tendencies. You love picking up your stuffed animals and dolls and giving hugs and kisses. You love Abby Caddaby and shoes. If i say "go give bubba/pooks/peanut a kiss" you grin so big and hurry over to them. At 13 months you...
  • are walking, running, dancing stopping and going without falling
  • are bending over to pick things up
  • are falling asleep without nursing immediately before...aka, having to fall asleep ''on the boob'' (yes, I am to blame for that one as I let you do it because it's easiest and I like to cuddle)
  • are a huge imitator. if your brothers start laughing, you do to. if they clap, you clap. if they stick out their tongue you better bet that your tongue is out just as fast.
  • love to dance. you have a ''so yummy'' dance that you do in your highchair if you like something we are eating
  • now say ''mama, dada, papa, ball, Lo-Lo, bite, want-that".
  • you point to things you want, shake your head yes or no, sign more, milk and all done.
  • can put your finger to your lips and mimic me saying ''shhh''
  • when asked where your head, belly, toes or teeth are you can point to them correctly
  • weigh in at 18lbs 5oz and are 29.25 inches in length (6th percentile & 38th percentile)
We had your 12 month check up a day before you turned thirteen months and the doctor was just floored by what you could do and how happy you are, even when sick. You didn't get any of your vaccines because (while mommy thought you had a cold) you had ear infections in both ears, a viral infection and needed an inhaler for wheezing. Geesh, I barely knew you were sick!  You are so tough.

Overall you are in great health. The doctor was amazed at how much you are still nursing (at least 4 times during the day for 5-10min and twice at night). She thinks it's great and said we should continue on for as long as we feel comfortable/want too. Honestly I don't you'd let me stop even if I tried and I don't mind. I like the cuddle breaks :) There is a little bit of concern regarding your weight. You are a petite little thing and while there is nothing wrong with that, she wants to keep an eye on you because at 10 months you weighed in two months rather than gaining you lost a little weight. She said it could be do to how active you are now, the fact that you are sick or you may just be a skinny little kid but regardless since you lost weight but keep growing taller, we need to try to 'fatten' you up a bit.

While I am to continue breastfeeding, she does think if I could get you to drink whole milk at meal times, it would help tremendously. I have tried before. You take a sip, take another sip, let it all run out your mouth and then throw the cup. She suggested that I sweeten it a bit with Ovaltine or syrup...the benefits of the milk outweigh the sugar. So we did that and guess what? You'll drink a little! Now granted, I fill your 8oz sippy cup with Organic Whole Milk & a bit of hersheys (no, I'm not a whole food wouldn't drink regular milk at all, even with syrup!) at breakfast and give it too you just at meals {refrigerating it between, obviously} and by dinner time you've drank almost the entire 8oz. It's not much, but it's a start.

Honestly, I almost didn't continue these monthly pics and check in's but for now, I think I'll keep doing it. I'm amazed at how much longer your hair is getting in each one :)

Today was the kind of day where...

I wanted to drop my kids off at a drop in day care and pick them up, week. Maybe??

The rational side of me says ''Shannon, you've been traveling a lot. Things are changing, they're young, each going through new challenges and're going to have bad days''.

And the other side says: "Geez woman, your kids are nuts''.

I mean seriously. Today they were the whiniest, greediest, over the top complainers and we did FUN stuff today. You would have thought that I had locked them in their rooms, gave them only the crusts off of bread and then left them in the dark. (Don't worry, that may be on the agenda for tomorrow). Ahem.

But no, we went to SEA WORLD today. Granted it's not the "funnest place on earth" but it's Sea World. They got up, played, ate breakfast, got dressed, played and then hurriedly cleaned up. We loaded up the van, stopped and grabbed lunch. They complained about lunch and that we didn't let them play in the play place. I felt like screaming ''WE ARE GOING TO SEA WORLD. DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH COOLER THAT IS THAN CHICK-FIL-A???" Then I made them drink Gatorade instead of Root Beer. How the humanity? How could I possibly force them to drink something that wasn't full of carbonation and sugar!?

We finally get to Sea World, get through the gate and pick up the double stroller I had rented ahead of time. Pooks immediately starts saying he's too tired to walk. "Really, cause we can go back to the van?" and suddenly he's fine.
 We walk TEN feet and the ''I'm starving. I'm so hungry my tummy hurts. Can we get popcorn?" starts. Seriously!? I tell them that at the Sea Lion show I will get them popcorn if they stop asking for it. So I ride the Shamu express with Bubba while Ron takes the 3 littles on the carousel.

 By now we gotta hurry toward the Sea Lion show. Oh look the Count and no line? Totally need a picture...
would have been perfect if she hadn't blinked!
All of us wanted to see the sea lion show because it's the only show we had never caught...well, we saw the Christmas version and they loved that, so we were hoping they'd like the regular Clyde and Seymour show too. Which they did, once they finally had popcorn.
Sissy however, loved it without the popcorn. I think she stood on mine or B's lap the entire show.
After the Sea Lions we headed toward Shamu's show. While we have seen Shamu twice, I really wanted to see the new show ''One Ocean''. Yeah, that didn't happen. The boys didn't want Shamu, they wanted cotton candy. And Elmo. They wanted Churros and the playground.

Dude, I can buy you a freaking churro at Costco and we have a playground less than a block from our house. Sea World = Shamu.

Nevertheless on my way back from the bathrooms, I get them their damn cotton candy. And less than five minutes into One Ocean....''I don't like Shamu. I want Elmo.""Can we go play now?""I'm too tired.""I need Pepsi". "Can we just leave?"

So glad you asked because yes, yes we are. Sorry I'm the mom and we never get to actually do anything that I *want* to do. But I will not sit here and let you ruin the show for the people around us by your whining. So I grudgingly remind myself that they are just little kids. The newness has worn off and that I won't be seeing Shamu. I look at the map and the Elmo show starts in 10 minutes, so we head over there.

Sissy is immediately in LOVE with this. She's out of the stroller. She can walk around. She can dance!? Actually, Bubba, Peanut and Sissy were all in love with the Sesame Street show. Pooks however? Not so much. "Dey just fweak me out and I don't want to see Elmo!" Well, too bad kid. Too bad. I wanted to see Shamu but that didn't happen. Now you have to see Elmo (which keep in mind he was ASKING for 5 minutes earlier).

"But they just freak me out". 
And yes. My four and a half year old sat in that stroller for the entire 15 minutes show. Peanut was mesmerized but didn't want to get too close. Sissy and Bubba? Couldn't get enough.
Bubba, after he high-fived Elmo"

After the show the characters come out for pictures, high fives, hugs...that sort of thing. Sissy was over the moon excited for Abby Caddaby. When we went up near the stage during the song, she was grinning and trying to get her hair. When we went to her to get pictures she just had this permanent little smirk and couldn't stop staring at her. She just loved it and it was by far, the best part of the day.
After that, it all went down hill again. Pooks started saying he was hungry. Again. Conveniently just as we passed a dippin' dot stand. So not happening today. He was still riding in the stroller at this point. Bubba would not hold my hand so he kept getting 10 feet behind us (and we were sloooooow, peanut was walking!) then would come running up with tears in his eyes saying we were leaving him behind. At this point it looked like it was going to ran, B and I's patience were beyond thin and we called the whole thing done. Got to sea world a little after 12:30, gone by 4:00. I am so glad we have season passes and didn't forfeit the cost of a ticket for that little 3 hour jaunt!