Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Busy, Busy

We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We are so blessed. We have had a crazy last couple weeks and it has made us super conscious of being thankful for what we have. It would take me days to list everything I'm thankful for, but my short list is the following: My marriage and husband, our beautiful kids and their health, our family, our dogs, our house and jobs, and our happiness.

Thanksgiving was spent at my parents' house with lots of family, including my brother-in-law and sister-in-law (who we have never spent a Thanksgiving with). We had such a great weekend, even though Mr. Howard had to work a lot (he worked Black Friday).

Auntie Rebecca, who adores kids, offered to keep a baby each night for two nights. Aiden spent the night the first night and then Izzy the second night. It was so nice to only have two kids and I'm sure it was nice for them to get a little one-on-one time. One of the mornings, we went out to Mimi's with Mr. Howard's brother and sister-in-law and we had one less baby. It was insane how easy it made it with only two! Who knew what a difference one kid makes? =) It was our first time being away from Aiden and Isabelle. Connor has had a couple overnight's with my mom and sister, but the twins hadn't yet.

These pictures are a compilation of the entire weekend.

Colin and Rebecca, My dad and Mr. Howard looking at Black Friday ads, and My Mom in the Background
 
It's always a crazy day for my mom, who does all the delicious cooking! We are so thankful she hosts us each year.
 
My parents' beautiful dining room table all set for Thanksgiving Dinner:
Mr. Howard and Me on Thanksgiving
Connor and Me outside:
Connor riding his mini cooper:

Mr. Howard's Brother and Isabella:
 Rebecca, Aiden, Colin, and Isabella:
Dad (sleeping), Izzy, Nova, and Colin:
Good Food with Family:
(Denny, Katie, Connor, Rebecca, Colin, Timmy, and Amee)
 Hubby and Me after our Christmas Pictures:
 The Kiddos:
I love the bottom three. Aiden and I were chillaxing. Grandpa and Izzy were petting Nova. And Connor wanted to snuggle me (when does that ever happen anymore?!?).
 When it was Aiden 's turn to spend the night with Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Colin, he put on someones shoes and they sent me this picture in the morning! So cute!
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our First Baby

Our little Harley Pup has had quite the week. See THIS post for what happened the day before Thanksgiving. We definitely thought we were losing him after having the kids saying their final goodbyes to him.

We had a vet follow-up this morning with Harley Monster and they performed a mite exam (to see if he had mites which were causing him to itch) and a glucose test to see if he was back to normal. The mite exam came back negative and the glucose test came back perfectly normal.

They attributed several possibilities/scenarios to what had happened: (1) possible reaction to his Addison's medication (HIGHLY unlikely given he's had doses from the same batch). (2) not having his steroid for a day (we had completely forgotten to give it to him the day before). This is also highly unlikely given that his glucose was so low. (3) He has a cancer/disease that we haven't discovered yet. (4) He had a reaction to the flea collar.
I've already told you what I suspect it is. Please, please, pet owners do your research about flea collars before you put them on your pet. I wish I had done more research.

I don't know how the kids knew, but they sort of had an intuition about him. They gave him lots of cuddles and were super gentle with him (very unlike them). Isabella, especially, kept finding him and petting him (see picture above). So sweet.

At the vet today, our vet said he had called 15 other vets to try to figure out if any of them have ever seen that reaction? None of them had. NONE of them had ever seen a dog recover from that sort of paralysis. He reiterated that when they see dogs arching their backs in a paralyzed sort of state, it means they are on their death bed and he said he takes pride in having had a dog he could bring back from that state. We are very grateful!! Very! Even after a $1,000 vet bill. Eeek.

We also switched his flea medicine from the topical stuff to the ingestible kind. We're hoping that it's going to help with his itching (we have absolutely no carpet in our house or anywhere fleas could hide...but our vet thinks maybe we have them in our lawn outside, so we're going to attempt to treat the lawn as well). I should also note that we have another dog and he has NEVER had fleas. So Harley is just SUPER sensitive to anything that even lands on him. Either way, it should work once his ingestible flea medicine starts to work. Poor baby. We have another check-up in two weeks to check his skin again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

We're almost there...

Can I ask you to pretty, pretty please vote for the blog again? You can vote once a day. We moved from 15th place to 19th and now down to 21st. Eek. There are only 4 more days left in the contest. Thanks so much!!

You don't have to sign up for anything. You literally just click the link, find my blog, and then click "vote."

If you missed my post about the house. HERE it is. We fell out of escrow and we are SUPER bummed.

Up...down...UP...DOWN...

Whoa! What a wild ride.

I wrote THIS post about our house going into escrow.

In that post, I alluded to the fact that we were seriously considering putting a deposit on a particular lot to start building a house. So, on Friday, we did just that. We went down there and picked out our floor plan, front elevation, paint colors, and put a deposit down.
 
First Floor Floorplan
 
Second Floor Floorplan
Front Elevation:
Tuscan H
 
We also picked out our lot:
 Here we are standing on our lot:
We were so, so excited.
 
So today a few minutes ago, we heard from our realtor unexpectedly and he told us that the buyers of our house backed out. Of course we knew it was a possibility that the buyer could choose not to buy the house, but we figured that possibility would happen after the inspection (maybe he'd see something he didn't like...or maybe he'd want us to fix something that we wouldn't agree to...or maybe he'd want a credit back on the house that we weren't comfortable with). I honestly never thought he'd send in a deposit, enjoy Thanksgiving, and then just change his mind (without ever doing an inspection or even coming back for a second visit). So strange. So, now we're super bummed.
 
We still have options to counter the first offer or try to get a new buyer altogether and of course our deposit on the lot that we were going to build on, is fully refundable. But I'm still super bummed.
 
Wish us luck in round two! And pray that the builder we love still has lots available when the time comes!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Oh What a Day

We have been on cloud 9 with our house escrow and looking at houses and such. We've felt so blessed, so wonderfully lucky, and I kinda thought to myself that writing the "What I'm Thankful for" post this year will be so easy.

And then we had a pretty traumatic morning. 

We were on our way out the door and my husband noticed that one of the pups, A.K.A child #1, wasn't around. He went looking for him and found him sitting underneath our side table by the bed. When he went down to touch him, his leg twitched. As soon as Mr. Howard picked him up, he knew something was very wrong - he was frozen with his back arched, almost as if he was completely paralyzed. He wouldn't move at all, not even his head. We put him in the car immediately and rushed him over to the vet hospital, where he gets his Addison's Disease injections. They took one look at my husband and rushed him back. They were very, very worried. He didn't respond when they touched his feet; he wouldn't stand. He was just paralyzed arching his back.

We adore our vet, just positively adore him. And all the staff, really, are just so wonderful. I wasn't there at the beginning (I was with the three kids in the car), but they rushed in and looked at him, performed some initial tests to see if they could figure it out and gave us some of our options. By the time I got there, they were ready to put him on an IV and I stood there and just bawled; the vet assistant was so kind and gentle with me. I kept apologizing and telling him that Harley's been around longer than our kids and I was just so sorry I was losing it. They very gently suggested we have the kids kiss and hug him goodbye, which is never a good sign. It was at that point that I just completely lost it. Holy Moly, right? I was so not expecting that this morning.

Long story short, his blood sugar was completely non-existent, which leads us to believe he wasn't eating (we open feed both of our dogs - so we don't know exactly how much one dog has eaten v. the other one). Can I tell you what my gut says was wrong? The flea collar. We put it on him a couple days ago and that is when all his symptoms started. I wish, wish, wish I had done more research about flea collars - because now that I read about them, they can be pretty darn horrible. And certainly horrible for our toddlers, if not our dogs. What Harley had sounds pretty consistent with an allergic reaction to the pesticides in the collar. I want to be clear. I am not a vet and the vet could not tell us for sure that it was caused by the flea collar, but he did tell us to throw that thing away and never ever use a flea collar again. Pet owners, am I the only one who hadn't ever heard of this?!?

Harley is laying in bed with me right now and he is doing okay. My brother-in-law was able to put some food on his gums, which led to him licking food off his fingers, which led him to eating some food from a bowl and eventually standing to drink some water and then walking to go pee. Huge steps compared to where we were 12 hours ago. But he's not out of the woods yet and it's going to be a long road to recovery (he's on 5 different medications right now and a prescription food), but I'm so glad he's home with us in my bed. My gut says it's his flea collar, but with his Addison's Disease...it could be that. It could be that he is insulin dependent... It could be sepsis...It could be cancer...It could be so many things. I'm praying it was his collar and that he's going to recover just fine. I just love him so much!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fingers crossed...eyes shut tight...lots of prayers

After nine days of our house being on the market and 15 showings, we accepted an offer last night. Part of the offer is that we close in 20 days, but rent back our house for three months while we potentially build a house (I don't think I ever mentioned that the house I fell in love with was a model home...so now we need to see if we can purchase the perfect lot for us and start building!). Of course, it's not a done deal yet. There are still rental agreements to write, inspections to be had, and lots more paperwork to be done. But it's a great start. And then, of course, we'll still need to sit down with the home builders and mortgage brokers of our potential new house and see if it's realistic given our budget, but I'm excited about the possibility. We'll be praying for all to go well. Mr. Howard and I went out to breakfast to celebrate this morning.
 
Has anyone ever looked at a model and built one? The builder and location we've found is a KB home. I have some questions I'd love to ask someone who has been there, even if you haven't worked with KB before.
 

I have been fighting off this major bug. Yesterday by the evening, I had the shakes and what appeared to be a fever (our thermometer broke) again. This morning I've felt out of breath and a little dizzy at times. My left leg is so stinkin' sore, which is why I think I've got some version of the flu with body aches. Mr. Howard's brother and sister-in-law arrive tomorrow, so I've got to get this under control (hopefully I can take a nap in a little bit!). The good news is that it's not dehabilitating. I can still go out and do the things I need to do: grocery shop, cook dinner, sign offer agreements on the house, go to see Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2, you know, the important things. I'm just exhausted by the end of the day.

I'll be happy not to have to keep finding places to go with all these house showings, though. We've been to Target so much, I secretly wonder if they've seen on us on their security cameras and thought, "THEY'RE BACK???"
It's especially hard when we've got the two dogs with us. That completely limits where we can go.
One of the days we had two showings that were half an hour apart (so total of two hours) and it was raining out. We couldn't take the kids to the park and couldn't leave the dogs outside, so we went to sonic burger and sat in the car for an hour. Then drove around with three kids, two adults, two dogs, and pouring rain. Did I mention it was naptime? Ha! At least we indulged in a naughty treat - butterfinger blast. Mmmm.
We are infinitely blessed to have had our house go so quickly. Of course, it all could change tomorrow, but I'm breathing a sigh of relief that I can take a little break from house showings for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend Roundup

How on earth is Thanksgiving this Thursday? Whoa. I know I always say time is flying, but holy moly it's been going by so fast. Tomorrow is picture day at the kids' school too and I picked out the cutest bowties for them to wear.

This weekend we spent a lot of time in our jammies. Well, to be perfectly honest, Mr. Howard and I are not really jammie people. We usually shower and get dressed before the kids wake up - just in case we go somewhere (which, with us, you can almost bet we'll at least make a trip or two to target in a weekend).
 
Daddy was tickling Isabella and I sprinted (literally sprinted across the house) to get the camera. I mean, could you die? Look at her smile!
And then I had to get a sweet one of them looking.  
 We have to hide our iPad because our little three-year-old has figured out how to turn it on, unlock it, and put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on. It cracks me up that my 7th graders say they "can't" study and take notes for quizzes, but someone 1/4 their age has the ability to figure all that out. Talk about the difference between learning through motivation. Now, if only I could figure out how to (a) buy iPads for all my 7th graders and (b) teach world history through it...I'd be in business. Why don't they have a wii game for 7th grade world history?!? 
 This little climber (note: he wanted to touch my hair while I was sitting on the couch, so he moved this car over to me and climbed on it) has learned how to shake his head "no." His sister learned how to shake her head "yes." I think that pretty much sums up their personalities to a T!
 In addition to spending some time in our jammies, we've been spending A LOT of time at my parents. We've had multiple showings (I think we're up to 14 now) and when they're spread out over 2 hours or we have one in the morning and one in the afternoon, we usually head over to my mom's house.
 The kids were being so wild! I thought it was hilarious that I caught this picture of all three of them laying down in a row. They were trying to do somersaults.
 I haven't been feeling great for about a week and I haven't been able to figure it out. Mr. Howard thought it was maybe the stress of selling the house or the stress of parent conferences. I haven't felt stressed, but I thought maybe it was just my subconscious. Of course I want the house to sell and for it to go easy, but I love the house we're in. I love the neighborhood. I love our daycare. I don't feel this immense pressure to sell - because I know we'll be fine if we have to stay for a little bit. (Although, I will say that the 1am chat sessions Aiden and Isabella are having are getting a little old. What do you mamas do with little ones who share a room?). Just recently we have fallen in love with a house and so I have a sneaking suspicion my oh-so-calm and relaxed it's-fine-if-our-house-doesn't-sell zen-like state I'm in is going to fade fast. I'm praying for patience.
 
Last night, at my mom's, I felt especially and increasingly sick - so I took my temperature. 100.4! At least there was a reason for my headache this past week. Today I feel great. I'm just praying that I haven't been contagious for a week and giving all my kids my cooties. Eeek.
 
Ooh - on a completely unrelated note: I don't know if you have a good Sweet Potato Casserole, but if you've ever tried the one from Ruth's Chris - here's the copycat recipe I make every year. I also usually make a batch for the hubby to take to work the day before Thanksgiving and I ALWAYS get requests for the recipe. It doesn't use marshmellows - it's more of a butter and brown sugar one.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

House Update, Wild Banshees, & First Steps

Our house has only been up for sale for about 7 days and we've had someone come and look at it every single day. Sometimes there are 2 people. I think we're up to about 10 showings. We did already get one offer on it - but we are waiting to see what/if anything else comes in. We've been blessed in how many people have been interested in it.

I'll tell you, though - it is RIDICULOUSLY hard to keep a house clean with three children three and under. Whew! Thank goodness they go to daycare three days a week - because those are the easiest days to keep it clean. Anytime I find out it's someone with a family coming to look at the house, I just think they're going to snatch it up immediately. I really do think our house is the PERFECT house for a family (with one or two kids).

One of the hardest things about having it up for sale is when we have a showing - because we take the baby gates down. Mr. Howard got sick of chasing kids, so he tried to put the barstools in the walkway. Yep. It didn't work. That's Aiden he was putting back on the other side. Isabella and Connor were about to make a run for it.

 It's hard to see, but then Mr. Howard got the idea to try pillows to block them. Connor figured it out pretty quickly.
I have refallen in love with my house, now that we have to keep it sparkling clean every day. We borrowed these barstools from my mom and dad for the house photoshoot and now I'm so bummed we haven't had some all along. Connor eats his breakfast on them and I blog a lot with my coffee in the mornings at the bar. We are definitely going to need barstools at our next house!
In addition to trying to keep the house sparkling clean, the kids have been wild. The time change has been just awful over here. Eeek. It's been so hard. Please tell me I'm not the only one. Our littlest littles have been wild banshees.
 But, Miss Thang took a couple breaks from being the wild banshee that she is and finally decided that she would try taking her first steps. She's done it a couple times now, but she is just petrified to try on her own. The therapist isn't worried at all, because she is perfectly capable and walks all the time holding onto stuff, but I wish she'd just get brave and go for it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I wouldn't change it, but it's still hard.

My wonderful friend Diana asked me a little while ago if she could come over and have a play date with the kiddos. She said she'd bring something for the kids to do AND snacks. Isn't that such a good friend?!? What she doesn't realize is HOW wonderful it is on the days that Mr. Howard is working and I'm home with the three kiddos by myself. It's survival mode when we don't have anywhere to go - because there's only so many hours we can all walk around my 20 x 60 family room and kitchen. "Mama, Aiden's looking at me!"..."Mama, Isabella's touching my stuff!"...."Up! Up!" "Waaaaa (crying because the dog ate Izzy's snack)"..."Dog!!!" (Aiden screams as one of the dogs knocks him over).
 
I know I always talk about how blessed I am and boy AM I! But can I be honest? It's hard. So very hard with three kids three and under. Sometimes when Mr. Howard calls to tell me he's going to be even five minutes late, I think I might scream. I may or may not even say some choice words to that darling husband of mine that may or may not start with, "Do you have any idea how hard my day has been?!?" I adore my kids; I do. But I only have two arms and sometimes it is near impossible to make them all happy. I joke all the time with my friends that there is always someone in my house throwing a temper tantrum, someone screaming about a dog, and someone else, perhaps a certain three-year-old who doesn't seem to have an off button - asking me five thousand questions and trying to see if he can break the Guinness Book of World Records for how many times in a single hour he can say, "Mama, watch this!"
 
If I'm being perfectly honest, I wouldn't change it for ONE SINGLE teeny tiny second.
 
But, when a friend says she's coming over with snacks and activities and a four-year-old who will entertain my three-year-old, I jump up and down and do my happy dance. And after she brought chocolate frosting to put on vanilla wafers for the kids' snack, Connor also did a little happy dance.

 





Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Club

The first Sunday of the month, you can find me with fabulous women talking about good books, while drinking wine and eating yummy food. We switch off at different gals' houses and we always have such a fun time (about 1/2 of the time we're talking, we're on task - the rest of the time we're chatting about all sorts of things).

Pinned Image
 
This month we read The 19th Wife which intertwines a story of the plural marriage of Ann Eliza (the 19th wife of Bringham Young) in the late 1800's and a current story set in Hildale/Colorado City, the infamous polygamous city, set in present time. The story of Ann Eliza is fascinating and details the split in the Mormon church. Ann Eliza is singlehandedly responsible for the ending of legalized polygamy in the United States. I should clarify that this is not about the plural marriages that exist in shows like Sister Wives. This is the sect where the men have 50-100 child brides...the sect that kicks out boys at a certain age (because they would be competing with their dads for wives)...the sect that does not allow anyone to watch TV or read newspapers or dress in current fashions. It was such a fascinating book!
 
Next month is my turn to host and I've chosen The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I'm so excited about it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Did you unfriend anyone last week?

I have a feeling with everyone sharing their politics today that the "unfriend" button is getting the most use of the year tonight.
 
My friend posted that status update (above) on election night and I chuckled. Holy Moly. People get crazy, right? Don't worry, I don't plan on sharing my political beliefs with you. As a history teacher, I'm pretty good about showing both sides to an argument and as long as you have informed and educated reasons to back up your candidate, I applaud your convictions. It's when people get crazy...or spout lies...or get racist or bigoted, I have a problem. I had to unfriend two different people on election night (and, lest you think I only unfriend people who disagree with me - I actually unfriended one republican and one democrat). My favorite boss ever once said, "You can't reason with an unreasonable person" and that has carried me through some ridiculous observations. So, when reason doesn't work and all else fails - I just click that little "unfriend" button. Too bad there isn't a feature on facebook where you can actually fill in a little feedback survey... "I unfriended you because you advocated assassination." (I can't make this stuff up, people.")
 
So, while I won't tell you who or what I voted for on my very secret ballot (my students are STILL asking me, by the way), there is something I will tell you about. Something I feel oh-so-passionate about. And that is voting. Have I ever mentioned how misty-eyed I get while standing in that box with a pen in my hand? I know I was never alive to see the day when my female ancestors didn't get that right - but it might as well have been. Because I never feel more empowered and more proud to be a woman than when I'm standing with that pen in my hand. I almost started crying in the parking lot when Mr. Howard asked if we should bring Aiden in or take turns with him in the car. Mr. Howard probably wanted to ask me if I had taken my crazy pills (or maybe unfriend me on facebook!) when I got choked up saying that it wasn't too long ago that women didn't have the right to even vote. I told him that it was an honor and a privilege for Aiden to see his parents vote and then I turned to Aiden and told him how in some countries still today (have I mentioned I teach world history?) lots of men don't even get this right to stand in a ballot box with a pen in their hand. {I'm sure all Aiden cared about was that he got a cool sticker - but whatever! It has to start somewhere!}
 
Did you hear that 20 out of the 100 senate seats went to women?!? What a privelege it is to raise a daughter in a world where I can truly say that she can grow up to be whatever she wants (we just need a woman president...).
 Our handsome boy:
 There's Mr. Howard in the corner in khaki and red. He took FOREVER to vote. Geesh.
 My handsome boy:
Someone asked on facebook why we only took one kid. We've already taken Connor to vote once and so it was Aiden's turn (we go in birth order). It'll obviously be Isabella's turn next.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I'm a Mom...that blogs about Family...Right?

 
Can you do me a HUGE favor? Can you please, please vote for me on the Circle of Moms Top 25 Family Blogs (click picture for link). It may also still be under the tab "pending approval." My readers are always so amazing!! Thank you!

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