Sunday, June 28, 2009

Color Me Crazy

School's been out for a week and we're ready for our first road trip of the summer: PA won't know what hit 'em!

With 5 kids ages 6 and under, our first order of business was to make sure Grammy and Granddad were available (June 26 - 27)!

So where does a family of 7+2 go for a "trial run" for a family vacation? How about a day trip to the Crayola Factory...a single night in a hotel...and the grand finale? A family reunion!

Since Crayola is so hands-on, we opted for harnesses, rather than a stroller. The babies LOVED the freedom to roam around and see everything close up. No one was saying "no" and that brought pure joy to their smiles.

As an added bonus: there were crayons! These kids are so deprived by their mother (she's mean, I tell ya'!). She never lets them color at home. She mumbles something about it being too much work...too messy...too many fights over crayons...too much laundry to do...blah blah blah. They sat for hours (okay maybe it just seemed like hours) at the coloring tables and just scribbled their hearts out. At one point, Eli found a marker (meant for tracing a boat on a underlit table) and was laying on his belly on the floor coloring (mostly off) a piece of paper. Too precious.

(Not only ALLOWED to write on the walls with the window markers, but ENCOURAGED to. Zoe was in her creative glory!)
(Who doesn't love sidewalk chalk? Except moms, of course, who can't stand the mess all over the hands and clothes. There goes that mean mom again...)

At some point, we stopped for lunch. McDonald's in the house!!! But here's the issue: No highchairs and no boosters. We were living on the edge! Wild and crazy, that's us! The actual restaurant was packed, so we opted for a picnic table outside.

The big kids' favorite stops were the model magic room, the meltaway corner (painting with melted crayons), and the midnight explosion hall. They also loved the Canal Museum upstairs. They loved the water table that they were able to make their own canals with.

When we'd finished both the Crayola Factory and the Canal Museum, we were off to the hotel for a late afternoon swim. The pool was a big hit.

After we were sufficiently water-logged, I realized I hadn't actually thought about dinner. Shane suggested Applebee's. Seriously? The triplets have NEVER been to a restaurant...ever! Okay, 4 adults and 5 kids...what could go wrong? Let's give it a shot. Know what? Shane's brave idea went off without a hitch (don't mind the lack of pictures, completely forgot to bring my camera).

2/3 of the babies fell asleep on the way back to the hotel. This was ONE of the many times I was thankful to have Mom and Dad with us. I carried Ava up, then went back down for Eli. Shane had to take Cole for another loop...he was WAY too tired to fall asleep in a pack and play. And did I mention that Zoe and Ty were staying in my parent's room?

The next morning, we drove to the reunion...the distance for the babies to nap. They had a great time playing with "cousins" and exploring in the backyard. Just when the babies were starting to show their not-so-pretty side, it was time to pack up and head home.

All-in-all, this was a pretty successful and eye-opening trip. Top 3 lessons learned:
  1. There's NO WAY we're ready for a family vacation without extra hands.
  2. We need one of those hamburger case thingies for the top of our minivan.
  3. "Vacations" with 5 children are NOT vacations (at least not for moms, anyway!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Stadium...New View

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back on 6/17, Shane and I got a chance to go visit the NEW Yankee Stadium. I had to admit, I was excited. I'd heard it was beautiful and had some great things to see...

Like the Great Hall with the 24 foot x 36 foot HD Video Screen...

...and the Wall of Champions (or something like that). It has "oldies" on one side...

...and "recent" players on the other...

There's also the NY Yankee Museum with it's crazy wall of autographed balls...

...and of course Thurman Munson's original locker...

As excited as I was to see the new stadium, it was doubled...because we were going kid-less.

And then...gasp...we were sitting in the corporate seats - Shane's boss asked us to join him and his wife. I had no idea what to expect, really. But I can tell you what I DIDN'T expect: Our View!


It was almost DISTRACTING being that close. I was speachless for the first 5 minutes we stood there. Yes, me, speachless! Shocking, I know. There were times when the player in the on-deck circle was actually in our way. We couldn't see the batter.

You know when you're watching sports on TV and the camera spans across a celebrity? That's where I was sitting! Nooooooooooooooow do you understand why I was speachless? The game we were at, the NY Giants were also at. And they were sitting all around us. I've never felt so small. Did I mention that Eli Manning brought his big brother to the game?

Seriously, I was too busy looking around to watch the game. Who was playing again? Just kidding...

The Yankees lost. They gave us a hope in the 9th, only to leave us disappointed in the end.

As fun as this game was, I can't wait to experience the stadium like an average Joe again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bucket Heads

Summertime brings lots of fun things: like buckets!

Here in Higbyland, buckets have lots of uses besides the obvious. They hold matchbox cars, they carry Webkins, they even sit at the bottom of the stairs acting as "lost and found" for Zoe and Ty (that's my personal favorite).

But the babies were starting to feel left out of the bucket fun...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Popsicles (a.k.a. "Memorial Day Delayed")

It's been so long since the sun has come out, that I forgot I had these pictures to post. For those of you unaware of the weather in the's been rainy. VERY RAINY. I heard somewhere that it hasn't rained in Seattle for 28 days. Know why? Cuz the rain's moved HERE. Seriously, it's a little ridiculous. If it's not currently raining, it'll rain in the next 3-4 hours. Not that I'm bitter, but last time I checked, it's June...not April...and I have 5 kids home all day, every day, now that school's out. I NEED THE SUN!

Okay, enough of my ranting...back to the pictures. These were taken back on Memorial Day weekend. (I think that may have been the last time the weather was nice.) We were at Nana & PopPop Higby's for a laid-back BBQ. And Nana had popsicles on hand. They were the triplet's first. And man-o-man were they enjoyed!

(Don't let Ava's "first impression" fool you...she LOVED them!)

Crazy as we are, we attempted a cousins picture. Yeah. That didn't quite turn out.

Aunt Shannon & Uncle Corey always think of something fun to do. This year, they brought water balloons.

Uncle Corey even convinced the kids that he'd give them $5 for every balloon they caught when he threw them from the garage roof! SUCKERS!

(Yes, that's Shane pushing through all the little kids...trying to "make a buck"!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Graduate

For some reason (obviously because I was in highschool during the original 90210 run) everytime I hear that someone graduates, I start chanting, "Donna Martin Graduates. Donna Martin Graduates." It's going to be repeating in my head the whole time I type this post. Sorry. Hopefully, you didn't ever watch the episode where Donna got suspended and her whole class staged a walkout if she wasn't allowed to graduate (hence the chant.)

What was the point of this post? Oh, "little" Ty is no longer all that little.

He's an official Preschool Graduate! Tuesday night (6/16), Aunt Shannon came over to watch the triplets (thanks Aunt Shannon) and the rest of us headed over to watch the pomp and circumstance.

The program was wonderful. The kids sang a bunch of songs with plenty of hand motions. Ty did a fabulous job of participating and didn't do anything embarrassing (always a plus).

Ironically, there are a number of kids in Ty's class that have sisters in Zoe's grade. When we got to the graduation, she asked if she could, "sit with her friends." Are you kidding? It's starting already? Nooooooooooooooo, you can't sit with your friends, you can sit with your FAMILY! After I broke the bad news to her that she was stuck with us, she matter-of-factly told be that "after the graduation, me and my friends will be in the game room!" Oh boy!

It was a great year, for Ty. He loved his class and his teacher (Mrs. Bushman). He'll really miss the preschool but is looking forward to Kindergarten, something fierce!

(This is Ty's "Best Bud", Myles)

(Ty with Mrs. Bushman)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Zoe 101

Little Miss Zoe finishes 1st grade on Wednesday. I can't believe it. Wasn't it just YESTERDAY that she started? Craaaaaaaaaazy how fast that went... honor her...I thought I'd let you know what she's been up to (aside from gluing her hands together!):

She's still madly in love with her Bible...and reading, in general. She has a "Young Readers" Bible that is a bit more challenging than a typical Children's Bible and yet not quite as difficult to read as the regular Bible. Zoe found out that both of her Grandfathers have read through their Bibles at least once. She decided she'd like to do the same..with the Young Reader's Bible (400+ pages). And Shane told her he'd reward her with something. Her "prize" of choice? A cover for her "real" Bible (that's what she calls it). Sure enough, Zoe finished back in May and Daddy came through and took her to The Bible House to pick out her reward. She immediately went straight to the cover she wanted (apparently, best friend Maeve has the exact same one) and of course, she needed a highlighter. Then she saw a devotional. And how do you say "no" when your 6-year old asks for a devotional? So...Shane didn't. When they got home, Zoe went to bed and brought her new prized possession...

While we're on the topic of "new possessions", Zoe also graduated to a bigger bike. She is growing so fast...(sniff sniff). Granddad Christgau was here (our resident Bicycle Guru) when Shane found a perfect bike for Zoe on Craigslist. So the two of them (Granddad & Zoe) went off to pick it up. Quite a bonding moment for them.

Also new for Zoe is a neighborhood playmate. We've lived here for almost 7 years and we've been on the hunt for a girl for Zoe to play with since she started having playdates. We're surrounded by boys. EVERYWHERE. Even though she's older, Kenzie is fun for Zoe, but she's temporarily in another town while they rebuild her house. Then I found her when I was on a run: Olivia! She was playing frisbee with her Dad. Olivia lives right around the corner and the girls have gotten together NUMERous times. From all early reports, they are 2 peas in a pod. Olivia is a year ahead of Zoe in school, but that doesn't seem to matter to them...

Zoe's taken over my roll-top desk, too. Honestly, I can't exactly remember when I got the desk. I know it was at latest...4th grade. I can remember watching MY grandmother stain it in our garage in Anaheim. It's so special passing something down to my oldest child. Zoe loves having it in her room. She sits there and makes lists gallore! She even does her homework there.

And finally...Zoe's taken on a new "task" that she likes to help me with: Changing diapers! She panics only slightly if there's poop. She does an AMAZING job and it's quite helpful to me. Zoe likes to get the babies dressed and the other day, while Shane was getting the babies ready for bed, Zoe offered to change some diapers. I can't say I would've have let her, but Shane's just crazy enough to give her a shot. She did great! The video is pretty funny, but I promised not to post it, so you'll have to settle for a picture.

I'm really blessed to have Zoe as a daughter. She's so much fun and has so much energy. She's very helpful and LOVES to help. She has a heart for Jesus even at this young age. I can't wait to see how she grows into a young lady (I'm sure it'll happen very quickly!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Too Far Behind to Catch Up?

It's been so long since I've blogged, I can't even remember all that needs to be posted! I guess I'll just make a list (I love lists!) the last we "spoke", Ty had learned to ride without training wheels. What's happened since then? Think, Amy, think! Ouch. My brain hurts. I can barely remember what I cooked for dinner, now I'm trying to recount the last 7 whole days? I better go get my calendar.

Monday - 6/1 - First Official "Cool Pool Day". For the last few summers, we've spent at least one day a week at my friend Shannon's ("Cool Shannon") pool. Her pool saved my life when I was pregnant with the triplets. I would just float in the pool while the kids swam. Last summer, the babies loved swimming and with the help of Lindsay, a day at the pool was VERY relaxing and fun. This year, though, the triplets are mobile. How well could it work? For one, every baby had a life vest on as soon as we were in the gate. I borrowed Shannon's, so Cole was stuck wearing a pink Barbie vest.

(Next to Ava is Ashleigh. Believe it or not, Ash is 2 months older than Ava!)

All-in-all, it went well. Eli wasn't interested in the pool, at all. Ava...just a little. Cole LOVED it.

Tuesday - 6/2 - Ava's First ER Trip. I'm not 100% sure what exactly happened, since I wasn't there, but from what was reported, it sounds like Ava was just walking around in the trampoline (netted in, of course). Ty was in there with her. Lindsay was right there watching them. APPARENTLY, Ty bounced a little too close to Ava and she fell forward onto her hands and knees. As to be expected, there were tears. Lindsay gathered Ava up into her arms and tried to comfort her. But since it was close to naptime, she chalked up the added tears to tiredness. After naptime, Lindsay took the babies back outside. But Ava wouldn't let Lindsay put her down. So she brought Ava back inside...where I had to hold her because she STILL wouldn't stand up. Almost 5 hours after her "fall", Ava wasn't putting any weight on her left leg. So off to the ER we went for x-rays. (Sidenote: Lindsay's mom is a high-risk pregnancy nurse at a local hospital. She has an "in" with the pediatricians. They met us at the ER to "speed things along".) A few x-rays and a dose of Motrin later, we were leaving the ER with a "Sprained Leg" diagnosis. Phew. I wasn't sure how I'd handle a 2-year old diva in a leg cast. Ava was the perfect patient...until she got into the x-ray room. She screamed bloody murder when she saw the technician. Still, Ava didn't put weight on that leg till mid-day Wednesday...limped around no more than a few steps Thursday morning and was perfectly fine by Friday.

Tuesday's "Added Bonus": As we're on our way to the hospital, Lindsay texts me to let me know that Zoe got a note sent home in her folder. She ended the day on yellow (green - yellow - blue - red behavior chart). This isn't uncommon. But when you don't stay on green, Mrs. Slootmaker writes a little note to explain why. Zoe's note on Tuesday: "Zoe glued her hands together." Sorry. I got nothing more to say...I'm still laughing!

(Sorry for the blurry picture, Zoe wouldn't let me steal it long enough to scan it!)

Wednesday - 6/3 - Last Royal Rangers/Missionettes Meeting of the Year. Two words: HYPER CHILDREN! I guess it didn't help that Zoe had 2 ice cream parties that day (one at school, one at club).

The rest of the week I spent trying to get Zoe to calm down, Ty to move faster, Ava to stand on her leg, Eli to eat his food (other than the carbs), and Cole to talk.

Friday - 6/5 - Lindsay goes back to South Africa for 6 weeks. It was great to see her a few days and to catch up. The kids fell RIGHT BACK in love with her.

Then Sunday morning, I got news that rocked my world: my college roommate's husband passed away in his sleep on Friday night. Please pray for Bethany, her two children (4 1/2 and 2) and their families. She seems to be handling things well (all things considered) but the next few days, weeks and months are going to be very tough, I'm sure. Please, don't take the time with your loved ones for granted. Hug them tightly and tell them how much you love them.