Way too close for comfort

On Saturday, December 27, four boys from Zac's school and one graduate from his school were in a tragic accident. They were heading to the movies when they encountered terribly dense fog, and crashed head on into a pickup truck. One of the boys was killed, the other four were in critical condition; today two of the boys were upgraded to good condition. They are good kids, all in boy scouts together, working toward their eagle scout badges, good students. It's terribly sad.

Four of the boys are juniors at Zac's school (Zac is a freshman), he knew them to see them, but not close. The driver graduated from school last year, is attending college, and is the older brother of one of Zac's baseball teammates. We are friendly with his parents, and eerily enough, we have ran into them while out and about twice in the last week, including the day before the accident.

This is every parents' worst nightmare. Zac will be turning 15 in a month, his best bud will be turning 16 this summer and some of his friends are already driving. The days are approaching when he will be heading off with a friend, I don't think he'll be content staying home playing Wii with his mom and dad on Fri/Sat nights forever.

You'd think the 3rd kid would be a piece of cake

Well, I have kinda figured since Jax's birth day that he was going to be our "oddball" after he spent his first night in the NICU. He is definitely a fussier baby than Zac or Cassidy were, but not so much so that he ever fit the definition of "colic", but there definitely was a slight resemblance to colic.

Jaxon never liked a pacifier, Zac & Cassidy both loved the pacifier for about 4 months, then they were done with it. Jaxon is a thumb sucker (finger and whole hand, also).

The biggest difference between Jax and his older siblings is the one I have the most trouble with. Zac and Cassidy would fall asleep while eating or in the bouncy seat or the blessed swing. They then became little rag dolls that could easily be transferred to the crib for naptime/bedtime.

Jaxon does not fall asleep with the bottle (which experts say is a good thing, pffffft), endures the bouncy seat and never took to the swing. But to fall asleep, Jax wants to be rocked . . . and rocked . . . and rocked. And then you have to gingerly take him back to his room, transfer him to his crib, all the while holding your breath and praying that the dogs don't bark or Cassidy doesn't follow you down the hall, yelling loudly (a favorite past time). I can't tell you how many times one of us has taken him back to bed and come back to the living room 5 second later holding a wide-eyed, giggling little boy that woke up on the way into the crib, mumbling under our breath.

I have always enjoyed having my babies fall asleep in my arms and holding and nuzzling their head, cheeks, and neck. But this little booger is driving me nuts. Not only is he difficult to get to sleep, he cat naps.

So today, I rocked him for a decent amount of time, he still wasn't asleep. I knew he was ready for a nap so I put him to bed awake (GASP! I never attempted this with the older two til they were close to a year). He fussed for a bit, then was quiet. Then he started crying. As he seemed to be getting louder I thought, oh well, I tried. Upon entering his room, he was crying, but his eyes were closed. So I went to the crib and patted his bum for about a minute. He calmed down, never lifted his head, just layed peacefully, his eyes heavy. I backed away from the crib, watching closely, I could tell he was going to doze off. Just then, my little shadow came barrelling into the room yelling MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY. I quickly darted to block her entry and closed the door. Jax never even budged. I didn't hear another peep for about 40 mins, he didn't settle, I got him, he ate a bottle, fell right back to sleep and has slept for a couple hours.

The one plus to having another needy child when you have an infant is that I can't always go running when he starts to fuss and I've realized that if I give him some time, many times he falls back to sleep. I don't know when I'll try and put him down awake again, but I certainly won't be waiting til he's a year old like I did with Cassidy.

God Help her, Cassidy has my sense of style

Cassidy is always very quick to help me fold laundry, or more accurately WEAR laundry. For whatever reason she gravitates toward underwear, namely mine or Chuck's.

Today her ensemble consists of a lovely blue crocheted toilet paper cover (made by my Grandma and I just can't part with it, even tho it's cheesy) her "skirt" is a pair of Chuck's boxer briefs as is her chic scarf.

I imagine Jax is thinking "I'm never going to let my sister dress me!"

And here is just a picture of how we spend time in the morning. Jax loves his taggies, and here he is playing with his taggie ball and Cassidy is munching on her cereal and raisins.

So how do you decorate your tree?? (if you have one)

So here is our tree, it's decorated a little more than halfway, the ornaments along the bottom are stuffed or wooden Disney characters that we find scattered around the house. When we find them we put them back on the tree for little hands to remove later.

My tree has changed over the years, currently most of the ornaments fit into one of four categories.

The first category: Baby's 1st Christmas, I think there are 10 ornaments of this type.

The second category: Hockey ornaments, Zac has been playing hockey for almost 10 years and we have accumulated quite a few ornaments over the years.

The third category: Eeyore. I've been an Eeyore freak forever and Chuck and my mom have given me quite a few ornaments over the years.

The fourth category: Ornaments with specific meaning to someone in the house, whether it be an special ornament for a love oned passed on (including the four-legged variety), favorite cartoon characters, favorite sports teams.

Over the years I have collected enough ornaments to fill three trees, and every year I get pickier and pickier about what I put on the tree. I have saved the ornaments Zac has made over the years, ones that haven't fallen apart. And I will give them to him one day, and I will do this with the little ones too.

Our tree is an artificial one, the critters in the house used to bring the live ones crashing to the floor, so we bagged that. It is prelit and fiber optic, so no need for garland and tinsel.

And if you noticed, I don't have the typical star or angel at the top of the tree, I have a teddy bear, he's holding a red and green balloon and a couple presents. My mom gave me this tree topper 19 years ago, for my first Christmas after Chuck & I bought our first house. I have been looking for a new tree topper, but I still want something unique, like a penguin.


Chuck and the peanuts.

Our Holiday Family Photo Shoot

And here we go!! Instead of traversing the mobs of shoppers on Black Friday, I decided to dress my kids in their Christmas outfits and attempt to get a couple good shots to use on our Christmas cards. I waited til Jaxon was fresh from his nap, dressed him and THEN wrestle with the toddler. As a typical toddler, you just never know what mood she will be in when you want to get her dressed. Some days she's sweet as pie and I get her dressed in a minute, other days she's a little Tasmanian Devil and it's a wrestling match.

Below are some of my favorite shots.

After getting Jax plopped in his box, Zac sat down next to him and then we just let Cassidy roam about a bit. I didn't want to rush it because she is not at all interested in "posing".

Here are my boys!!

Cassidy and her big brother, she absolutely worships him and loves when he takes the time to play (rough house) with her. She loves to listen to music, so Zac has been getting her to listen to his favorite music. Whenever she hears "Let it Rock" by Kevin Rudolf and Lil' Wayne she yells for Zac to come and dance with her.

Here are our little peanuts in the box together.

And here are the pictures I picked for our card.

Snow Fun

Here's our little snowbunny. She was so excited to get out in the snow. We had been outside the previous evening when it was snowing. She was looking up at the lights in the parking lot and giggling as it was hitting her face. Notice in the above picture she had her mittens on.

This little girl is truly after her Daddy's heart. Shoveling already. Heck, we have to promise the moon for Zac to lift up a shovel (ok, not really, but it seems like it at times). Notice in the above pictures, the mittens have been TOSSED.

Of course, being my stubborn child, she was not interested in her "baby" sled (seen in the background) she wanted to ride on the big sled, with her big brother. Now we only had about half an inch of snow, so the only sledding was down the driveway.

Weeeeeee! So we were only outside about 15 minutes. It was too cold and windy, the windchill was in the single digits and since she refused to keep her mittens on, Cassidy and I went back inside while Daddy & Zac shoveled. Jax was snoozing in his nice, toasty warm crib the whole time.

Santa Plus my Three

Thank Goodness for big brothers!!!
We've been chatting about Santa for a couple weeks with Cassidy, and she was all smiles and excited at the "thought" of Santa, but as many parents have found out over the years, the idea of Santa and Santa in books and on TV are all wonderfully joyful moments in a toddlers mind.

Then there is actually meeting Santa, touching Santa, and heaven forbid, sitting on Santa's lap.

As we stood in line, all smiles and talked about seeing Santa, sitting on his lap, Cassidy jibbered jabbered away, she saw him walking through the mall to his "living room", smiled and waved. She watched the family in front of us go visit Santa. The little girl (probably about 4) was giving Santa her pacifiers, she had a baggie full of them, in exchange for her Xmas presents. However, when it came time for that little boy and girl to sit on Santa's lap, they just about strangled their poor mom. Cassidy didn't seem to notice the terror in their eyes, luckily, they didn't scream or cry, just clung to their mom.

Then it was our turn, I had Jaxon, Zac had Cassidy. She was all smiles and waved to him, but at the first movement of Zac attempting to hand her off to the Jolly Old Guy, her hands wrapped around Zac's neck in a vice-like grip. We had planned for this problem and Zac happily sat next to Saint Nick and I handed Santa Jaxon. Jaxon was happy and content as he had a full belly and just woke from a short snooze.

I don't know how many teenage boys wouldn't think twice of sitting with Santa with his little sister and brother. But Zac never balked at the idea. I'm sure many teenagers would be mortified at the thought.

My two little peanuts

For whatever reason, the expression on Cassidy's face just makes me giggle every time I look at this picture.

Here's out little guy, he likes to sit and watch everything that's going on. Of course, he lights up whenever Cassidy takes the time to pay attention to him.

Here are my two little peanuts with Cassidy's penguin, we are trying to get her to accept Penguin as her lovey because her other lovey is a crocheted blanket that is falling apart and is just gross cause she's chewed on the ends. It has started to unravel a couple times and I've knotted it, but I don't think it will last as long as a lovey should. So we've been lugging Penguin everywhere we go and take it out of the crib and leave the blankey in the crib. It's working a bit, so we'll have to wait and see if we have success. The reason we picked the Penguin is that it's from Build a Bear and I can go get another one (or two) made so we have backups.

A bit about Zac (ok, more than a bit)

Other than his sports I don't post much about Zac, it may be because he's been rolling over, walking, talking and potty trained for years! So here's what he's been up to.

Zachary started high school this year. Last year he (and we) had to decide what he wanted to "major" in. Yes, already at 13 years old, he is supposed to start thinking about what he wants to do with his life. Since he's always done well in math & science, his counselors have always pushed in in the direction of engineering.

So, after looking at course offerings at the high school and our local technical institute, he started to lean to the tech school. Now, when I went to school back in the olden days, vo-tech was not the place where anyone who was interested in going to college went. It was mainly trade oriented (carpentry, masonry, plumbing, etc.). I'm not putting these jobs down, and it's a great start for many kids, BUT vo-tech also had the stigma that this is where kids who had no interest in school, the burnouts, went and unfortunately, the vo-tech's reputation was not stellar.

So when Zac wanted to do the pre-engineering course at the tech school, I was a bit apprehensive. We have a friend who teaches electrical there, so we went to him for some advice. He assured us that the course Zac was looking to take was only of the brightest and smartest and that he would be surrounded by kids who want to learn. Also, there were prerequisites in Algebra and it is mandatory for him to maintain good grades in his science and math. We toured LCTI (they no longer call it vo-tech) the other night, it has really become a state-of-the-art facility and has received awards from the state and is touted as the #1 technical institute in the state. The equipment and computer technology available is insane. Many of the instructors have been in the work force and then after a considerable about of years in their field, took up teaching as a 2nd career. (Zac's teacher was an engineer for AT&T for 30 years).

Zac is doing great in his engineering class, we had parent night last week and he showed up the robotic arm he programmed to do some tasks, he showed a suspension bridge he had to design using a computer aided drafting program, and helped build a robotic car. His teacher assures us that Zac has a lot of potential and is doing very well in his engineering class. Plus, Zac is enthusiastic about the course, which is huge! The other bonus is that there are only TEN kids in his class. That's an awesome teacher:student ratio especially since he's in that class 2 1/2 hours. He gets individualized attention. There are two other 9th grades in the class, the others are 10th & 11th grade students.

Zac goes to his homeschool first thing in the morning for attendance, then gets on a bus to go to LCTI, he is in class there for 2 1/2 hours, has lunch and then comes back to his homeschool for his core classes. He is doing exceptionally well in math and science which is to be expected, but then there are Language Arts (English for us old-timers) and Social Studies. He makes no extra effort in these classes and had a B- and C in those classes this marking period. Which are not bad grades, but when we go online and see all the ZEROS he gets on homework, we just want to smack him upside the head. He's smart enough to do well in class and on tests, so he slacks off on homework, it's infuriating at times. This has been our battle with him since 5th grade. He's become "immune" to groundings and such, uggggh.

And just one last brag on Zac, we got his state tests back from last year. Advanced for reading and comprehension is 1473, he scored 1650. Advanced for math is 1446, he scored 1722. I've been trying to find out the max score possible, someone said 1800, but I'm not sure. Then there is writing ... Advanced is 1748, he only scored 1426 which is proficient, definitely not his strong suit, but still higher than average.

Jaxon's first Thanksgiving

Here he is, our big guy, who spends most of his waking moments trying to eat his hand(s) and slobbering all over his clothes. I got this cute little Thanksgiving outfit for $3 at a consignment sale, I'm too cheap to pay full price for an outfit for one day! It's still in perfect shape so I plan to resell it.

We spent most of Thanksgiving day at home, only visiting Grandma & Grandpa for our yummy meal of turkey and the trimmings around noon. But because not long after that we were hitting on Cassidy's nap time we headed back home (the whole 1 minute trip!). I think we all dozed, Cassidy and Chuck napped in bed, while I dozed on and off with Jaxon on the couch. Zac snoozed in the family room.

We did venture to the bank and grocery shopping on Black Friday, that was enough traffic. I did do some shopping online, some stores had the same deals online as in-store, so it worked out well. I also dressed the kids in their Christmas outfits and took my Christmas photos for our cards. We placed Jaxon in a box that I had nested with some bedding and then topped it off with some tissue paper, I figured the tissue paper would keep Cassidy interested enough to hang around for me to take pictures. The pictures turned out well and I will post them at a later date, but I don't want to ruin the surprise of my Xmas cards should you be on my list.

WOOHOO Eight Hours a Night

Our little guy is sleeping about 8 hours a night!! WAHHOO.
Friday into Saturday he slept over 9 hours.
Hopefully, I won't jinx it by posting here.

Here's our silly, giggle box!

As you can tell by my blog and my music (did ya even know Bon Jovi had a couple Christmas songs!) I am getting ready for Xmas.
I have most presents for the kids bought/ordered. I would say I'm about
75 percent done. Chuck's always last on my list, I have one thing and need to figure what else to buy him.

I must say, I hate our Walmart, let's just say the location attracts an unsavory crowd that leaves the store in a mess. BUT! I have found a way to take advantage of their low prices without having to shop the cluttered aisles --- SHIP TO STORE!

I will be picking up Cassidy's kitchen ($20 less than anywhere else I could find it) and a couple little things for Jax, one of which was not available anywhere else. I just received an email that they are all in and ready for pickup! Very convenient and no shipping costs. Of course, now we just have to assemble the kitchen!


This Thursday :) . . . . and a Box of Diapers

Well MaryBeth, Chuck and I had the same discussion. You and I are on the same page, and Dave and Chuck are on the same page. Zac agrees with Chuck, but I think it's because he just likes to argue with me.

This Thursday is November 20th, next Thursday is Thanksgiving. That's my story and I'm sticking too it!

Thanks for your responses!!

I think I found my Christmas Present box . . . . Can you tell Jaxon is fascinated by his big sister?

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I have a question for all my friends who read my blog.

Today is Monday, November 17th . . . how do you refer to Thursday, November 20th?

As "THIS" Thursday or as "NEXT" Thursday.

Now this is not anything earth-shattering or critical, but it's just a little dig that I have on an occasional basis with Chuck. So I am curious for your answers.

I'll let you know who says which phrase in a few days. Thanks!

Halloween . . . . a bit late

Well now that I changed the background of my blog to Winter it's time to post Halloween pics. Now I wasn't even going to dress up Jax, but sometime during Halloween Day I decided to crawl up to the attic to see if I could find the pumpkin sleeper that Cassidy wore last year. I found it easily so I did dress him for a bit to take to a few of our closest neighbors.

Then there was Cassidy, she was excited and readily dressed in her cow costume, HOWEVER, she didn't want to have her picture taken. In fact, she made up a new game, HIDE from the camera while giggling.

So a few days ago put her cow coat on and gave her the mini pumpkins she's been bugging to play with and let her sit on the floor and snapped some pics. She doesn't have her matching cow pants on, but I didn't want to push it!

My Three at 3 Months

Zac at 3 Months

Jax at 3 months

Cassidy at 3 months

So many people have told us since we had Jaxon that he looks like Cassidy, Chuck and I have always wondered exactly what they were looking at? I actually hugged a friend when she said "He looks nothing like Cassidy."

Now many of these people either didn't see Zac as a baby or couldn't remember what Zac looked like as a baby. BUT Chuck and I knew he resembled Zac much more than Cassidy.

Jaxon's Baptism

Jaxon is now officially a member of our church. He made it through the ceremony much better than we anticipated, considering he can be a major fusspot. Jaxon was baptized alongside Maddi. Maddi is his cousin, Nikki's, baby. She is one month older than him.

Jax was starting to fuss right before we were about to go up to the font, the priest warned us that the water was very cold and that Jax would most likely not be happy, well, since this little guy has to be different, as soon as the water hit his head, he quieted down and was content. Cassidy was kept busy by her cousin, Shelby, until she got a little too bored and then Grandpa took her downstairs and kept her happy. Pictures are courtesy of our photographer for the event --- Zac. :)

And here we are, no family of five picture today, Cassidy wouldn't stay still long enough and I'd rather have no picture than a picture with a screaming kid squirming to get free. What do you think of the new glasses???

Under Construction

I'm working on personalizing this blog a little more, so bear with the changes.

Well DUH, FINALLY!! I figured out how to put a personalized header on my blog, I was WAY overthinking it, dreading html and xml codes. I swear I was so aggravated last night trying to figure it out I dreamt about blogs, but alas, somewhere in the middle of the night it dawned on me how to do it.

And yes, I know the background is Halloween, but I didn't like any Thanksgiving ones and I know I'll be adding a Christmas background soon.

Thx. dani

Jaxon -- 3 months old

Tomorrow Jaxon will be three months old, WOW, did that go fast. He is quite different from Cassidy and Zac. He has been dubbed our "fusspot" or "fussfart". Luckily, now that we are reaching the 3 month mark, there is a marked change in his fussiness and he is much easier to settle. His favorite thing is to lay under his mobile or play gym for 15-20 minutes. He prefers this to the swing and the bouncy seat, in fact, we have already packed the swing away and just use a travel swing occasionally.
This is SOOOOOOO different from Cassidy and Zac who would nap for hours in the swing.

Jax is starting to reach for things and hold on to them. He adores Cassidy and loves to watch her play and putter around. She likes to talk to him and says his name alot, but for Cassidy, big brother, Zachary! is the BOMB.

Jaxon has also found his thumb, I can't ever remember Zac sucking on his thumb even once. Cassidy found her thumb at about 3 months, but I only ever saw her suck on it twice. Jaxon is all about slobbering on his fist and thumb. I do cherish the quiet times when he's nuzzled in my neck, because I know this is it . . . well until grandkids! right :0)

I will be posting Halloween pictures shortly . . . . unfortunately, I was a BAD BAD MOMMY and for messed up and accidentally deleted the Halloween pictures. Luckily, Miss Cassidy was in her boycotting picture mood and there weren't any really great pictures and also luckily I can just pop their costumes on again and snap a few more pics.

Oh Lord, I have a new addiction

Cassidy loves playing in Jaxon's crib and loves his mobile. She's really starting to actually be interested in JAXON. He is certainly interested in her, his eyes follow her and he smiles at her constantly. She gives him kisses and likes to "pet" him.

My new addiction is Ebay. I know I'm a little late to the game, but I've been a bit leary of it over the years and decided to give it a go. My main reason for checking it out is that I'd like to sell a few things myself, and I figure what better way to see how this works than to BUY some goodies.

Who knew when I typed in "penguins" in the Infant/Toddler clothes I'd get so many choices. Or that when I looked for blanket sleepers for Jax, I'd get inundated with selections. My first couple purchases included Robeez-type crib shoes for Jax with Winnie the Pooh for $7 (incl. shipping), a lot of 7 blanket sleepers for $15 (incl. shipping).

After these purchases I realized I should look for some Xmas presents for Zac, he wanted a wireless mouse, well I got a wireless mouse and keyboard, Mario Party 8 for Wii, a new hockey bag at awesome prices even with paying for shipping.

So now I have to get some shipping supplies and start selling some clothes the little ones have outgrown. I have to be able to support my new little habit.