Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little update

Midterms are over, and I'm still carrying As in all of my classes, which is a huge relief! I've got my courses planned for the next semester. I have to take a placement test this afternoon to see if I can get in to one of the classes, so fingers crossed for that!

All the kids are doing great. Torah and Doodle just finished 8 weeks of gymnastics classes and had a blast. Doodle doesn't want to continue with gymnastics, but Torah does. Dahdoo can do a somersault all by herself and is almost able to do a bridge by herself, so come January we'll sign Torah and Dahdoo up for gymnastics again and Doodle will start karate two nights a week. She's been wanting to do karate for about 2 1/2 years now, so it's about time! She's been so patient about it. I can't wait to see how much she learns!

Jax is about a week behind Dahdoo in learning new skills. With the exception of potty-training (why did that one have to be the exception?!) he learns things about a week after she does. He too can do a somersault all by himself, so maybe he'll be starting gymnastics next winter? Right now he would only be able to attend a mommy-and-me class, but since mommy is in school during the day next semester (night classes are kicking our collective butts) that's not gonna be feasible.

Dahdoo and Jax will be entering preschool in January. I'm a little sad about it, because I've had so much fun getting to be home with them for the last 2 1/2 years, but honestly I'm really excited for them. They're both like sponges and learn so much just by being exposed to new things that I think they'll really have a great time at school. Plus, it gives me uninterrupted study time which is going to be crucial as my courses get more complex. This semester was "easy" in comparison to what's down the road for me!

B's new job is going really well. He seems to really enjoy it, and thankfully the recession hasn't seemed to hit his job market, a fact for which we are eternally grateful.

And we're moving! It's official this time. We've put in the deposit, have the counter-signed lease, and are moving in to our new home on 11/30. It can't come soon enough, as I sit here in a frigid living room that I can't weatherize because we'd have to take it all down in 4 weeks. This house, the older it's gotten (we've been here two years) has turned in to somewhat of a lemon. The windows don't close all the way unless you slam them, there are drafts from EVERY door and window in the house, the paint dissolves when you try and clean the's just a mess. Our new house is only 9 years old, and has hardwood floors, a huge back deck, 5BR, 3BA, a full basement (which we'll finish after we buy the house) a single garage, almost 3/4 acre yard with swingset and fence, and an outbuilding that is wired for cable, phone and electricity and will be B's home office. There have been many days where he could have come home to work but didn't have a quiet place to go so he ended up sitting at Panera Bread for several hours. Now he can come home! The best part is that we'll only be about 4 miles from B's x, so we'll be able to see Torah and Doodle more (now it'll be 50/50!) and be there should anything happen and his x needs help with the girls.

In a sad turn of events, please keep our church family in your thoughts for a while. We lost a teenager this weekend, who didn't think he had anyone to care for him. His mother is absolutely devastated and it has rocked our church community to the core. His funeral is tomorrow. Jacob, you will be sorely missed and were deeply loved. RIP, sweet boy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Still here, still busy.

I'm back in school in the pre-nursing program, and have classes three nights a week, plus one class online. It's a lot, but it's going really well. I'm taking 4 classes this semester, and will be taking at least 4 pretty much from here on out. The immediate goal is to get my RN, then transfer to a four year university for my BSN. After that, who knows?

B got a new job in June which has taken some adjusting on all of our parts, as it's farther away and longer hours, but he really likes it so it's all worth it.

Tora and Doodle are in gymnastics classes for this 8 week session (running through October)and seem to enjoy it. Doodle really likes it, but I think Tora is just in it for something to do. Which is fine, of course, but I think we'll try and focus her energies elsewhere. Neither of them have really found their niche as of yet. No big deal.

Dahdoo is a ball of energy and a ton of fun. She's got a really fun personality and loves to make jokes, talk in funny voices, make goofy faces, pretty much anything to get a smile or giggle out of one of us. She's also potty training which is very exciting! She just decided last week all of a sudden to go for it, and we've only been through about 2 pullups and one diaper (nighttime) a day, so not too shabby. We're not adamant about it, just letting her take the lead, but she did make a point to let me know while we were out shopping the other day that she needed to go, so that's a very good sign.

Jax is awesome. He's running and climbing and talking and laughing and playing baseball (swing!) and generally just a joy to be around. We're in a good spot with all the kids at the moment which is cool.

Haven't signed the lease yet, but pretty sure we've got a new house. More details later, but as of right now we're moving the weekend before Thanksgiving. Yikes!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Time to Wean

For a multitude of reasons, Jax is weaning.

It's a bittersweet time for me. On one hand, I'm sad to see the last vestiges of his baby days disappear. He's my last baby, and I've cherished the special relationship that we've been able to have. Any time he's hurt, or sad, or overwhelmed, nursing has been his go-to method to re-center himself, and I've been happy to provide that for him. Nursing has enabled us to bond so securely and enabled him to be very independent. I'm eternally grateful for that. I'll miss having that special time with him, and I'll miss having a very easy way to calm him down no matter what.

On the other hand, he hasn't nursed more than twice a day in months. He's slowed down considerably, is eating a wide variety of foods, and I know that nutritionally, he'd be fine. If he was still nursing a dozen times a day, I wouldn't even consider letting this natural weaning happen, but as it is, he's no longer using nursing as a nutritional supply but instead is just using it for comfort. He hasn't night nursed in almost four months, and during the day he'll only nurse once or twice if I don't offer.

Daddy is able to put him to bed, and I know he enjoys getting to have that special time with our little man.

So this is it. My baby boy is growing up, and I have to let that happen. I'm really sad, because let's face it, I'm never going to get to be pregnant again, so this is it. I'm also excited though to watch him grow up in to even more of a little boy. It just goes by way too quickly.

It's been a wonderful 14 months. Here's to the next chapter in our relationship!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Or not...

The family that was going to take our house decided to hold out for something in their kids' school district (which is only a mile away, but I digress) and the house we were going to move in to has been taken by another family.

So we're in flux. Our house is being mentioned, but so far no one else has come to look at it. Stuck in a holding pattern now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Our New Home

Pretty, huh?

We got it! We move in two weeks. YIKES!!

We're gonna start a slow move process next week. We should get the keys Monday and I can start hauling van loads of boxes down there so that when we do the big move on 4/5 we'll just have to get the furniture out.

It's a 4BR, 2 1/2BA Colonial with a 2 car garage. The house sits on 2+ acres and has a finished attic over the garage which is accessible through what will be Tora and Doodle's room, so they've got a playroom all their own. That'll also be the guest room when friends and family come to visit, and we'll put the trundle bed in there. The space is big enough to hold all the kids' toys, their easel and play kitchen set, a TV area with their chairs, and a reading nook with their bookcases. It's amazing. The master bedroom has its own bathroom and his and hers closets. We've got an eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, formal living room, and family room with a huge fireplace and beautiful mantel. The fireplace has heating vents built in to the sides and top which means that when we have a fire going we can close the doors and the heat will still get in to the room, but none of the ash! The fireplace can be cleaned through a grate in the back, which is in the garage. We've also got a partial basement (extends below the main portion of the house...the brick part in the picture) which is finished and also has a root cellar under the garage, and exterior access. There are flower beds around the exterior of the house which need some TLC, but already have a few bushes which should readily come back to life. We've got real tile in the kitchen (not laminate) and gorgeous black marble countertops, and brand new appliances. The laundry room is upstairs with all the bedrooms which will make it much easier for all the kids to keep their rooms clean. It's tough for a 5yo to remember to bring her dirty clothes all the way downstairs every day.

The best part of this whole scenario is that the house is lease-to-own, which means that we'll really never have to move. It's only 15 minutes from our church and the stores we regularly shop at, is one block from the river, has tennis courts and a pool a half block away in the neighborhood, and will cut our commute to and from Tora and Doodle's school in half.

We are feeling so incredibly blessed throughout this whole experience.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I must remember

I must remember that soon, my children will not want me to tuck them in, and to treasure every snuggle and snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug blanket job.

I must remember that they will only be small for a short while.

I must remember that soon, my baby will not want to nurse.

I must remember that soon my baby will stop falling asleep on my chest, and I will miss having the ability to smell his sweet head and listen to his baby snore.

I must remember that soon my children will stop looking to me for guidance when they try new activities.

I must remember that very soon, my baby boy will be running away from me instead of clinging desperately to me.

I must remember that hugs and kisses from my toddler girl are hard won, and every one is like a precious gift from above.

I must remember that the long, sleepless nights spent consoling my teething babies will enable them to be strong, independent, and confident in our love.

I must remember that before we know it, our children will be grown and gone, and we will have all the free time we need to do all the things we want.

I must remember that they will only be small for a short time.

I must remember how deeply blessed I am to have such a wonderful, kind, gentle, loving family.

I must remember to never take one single moment for granted.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Boring boring

Well, not really. :)

We've been busy busy busy. Trying to get the house ready to show so that we can theoretically move. Our lease isn't up until December, but if we can find someone to rent our house, then we can transfer our lease to another property run by the same management company we're with now. They have several houses that would suit our family much better. This house has been fine, but it's technically a three bedroom, so Tora and Doodle are sharing a room, Dahdoo is in the mini spare room over the garage, and Jax is in the office which means that B has no decompression time in the evenings. Jax goes to bed between 7 and 8 now, which means B can't get in "his" room after that.

So, we're looking for a 4BR with a basement so that we can put the playroom and all of the girls art supplies and games downstairs. In a perfect world, we'd like a 5BR, but we're not holding our breath. There's one house that the rental agency has right now that fits the 5BR bill, so I'm working as furiously as possible to get the house ready to show ASAP. Wish us luck!

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Last Sunday we went to Uncle K and Aunt B's house to have a joint b-day party for Uncle K and Jax. We had so much fun!

***And let me just take a moment and say that I am SOOOOOOO excited that I'm going to be an Aunt (again) in just a few months! B looks amazing, and gorgeous (as usual) and I am so incredibly thrilled for her and K. They're going to be phenomenal parents, and their little bean is already so loved by his/her Aunt S and Uncle B, and all the cousins!***

So parents and brother drove down for the party, and mom brought absolutely delish chocolate cupcakes made with Guinness. Really yummy.

Not much else has been going on here. Oh, except that we're moving. Guess that's something, eh? I'm trying to get the house ready to show in the next few weeks so that we can find a house that's better suited to our family's needs. This house has been fine, but there's a LOT of wasted space (the bedrooms are unnecessarily huge for one) and no storage or play space to speak of. B doesn't mind it, but I'd rather not keep all the toys in the living room, you know? It'd be nice for the kids to have a basement (or an attic like in our last house) to go play in during inclement weather where they're not going to wake up any sleeping siblings. The management company we're renting from now has a few single family home - we'd prefer to get away from a townhouse - that sounds like they'd fit us better. The sooner I get the house ready to show, the better, because as soon as it's done we can hopefully find a new renter so that we can transfer our lease and move. Wish us luck!

And here are pictures from last week of the whole crew (minus B...he hid from the camera for some reason).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, baby boy.

My dear sweet Jax,

I can't believe you're already a year old! This year has absolutely flown by. You amaze me on a daily basis with just how quickly you learn new things. Your personality is so different from that of your sisters. Your daddy and I marvel on a regular basis that even with four kids, you're all completely different and unique. It's awe inspiring, truly.

You love to give hugs and kisses, and know all of your sisters by name. When you see their pictures, you stop to stare at them and point excitedly at each one in turn. Wednesday is your favorite day of the week, and you and Dahdoo both seem to know when it's time to leave to go pick Tora and Doodle up from school. You rush to grab your shoes and put your coat on so that we can "go! go! go!" As soon as you see them come down the hallway, you squeal with excitement and rush to get out of my arms to go be with them.

You are very much still my little man, but are so excited when your daddy walks through the door every night. It puts a smile on his face every time when you race over to him and yell "Up!" until he swings you in to the air. Then you bury your face in to his neck saying, "hug."

Your hugs and big sloppy baby kisses warm my heart. You know just when to lay one on me to make all the worries of the day disappear. You are kind, and gentle, and precocious, and so very inquisitive.

I never knew I could love so much, but you have helped me reach a whole new dimension, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I am so very glad you chose me to be your mama. Thank you, sweet baby. I love you with all of my being.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Jax's first haircut!

A baby mohawk! He's so cute. Not that I'm biased or anything.

Oh, and it's long enough that the top can still lay flat for a more "normal" look. It's really more "marine" than mohawk, or at least B thinks so.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pay It Forward Indeed

You know that old saying that what you give out comes back to you tenfold? We got major proof of that today.

When I got the mail this afternoon, there was a typed envelope addressed to B and I, and inside was a typed letter that say, "To B and S with love." Folded in the letter was $100 cash.

After the tears stopped, I called B to let him know.

I can not tell you how deeply this touched us. This simple act of generosity, which may be minor to some, was huge to us. It means two full tanks of gas. It also means that we have an "extra" $100 this week to put in the "get S's car fixed" fund, or the "pay off our medical bills" fund, or or or....

So, thank you, whoever you are. You touched us more than you know.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

She CAN do it!

Doodle has always been hesitant to try new things, for one reason or another. If it's a physical activity, she's usually too scared to do it for fear of getting hurt. More intellectual activities (painting, writing her name, reading, tying her shoes) seem to have an age limit on them in her mind.

For instance, she used to say, "I'll learn to tie my shoes when I'm 5, like Tora did." Ok, fine. But if we take the time to show her that she is capable of doing something, she's always surprised, and her preconceived notions of age-appropriate activities vanish.

On Monday, Dahdoo was asking her sisters to read to her, and Doodle said, "Ask Tora...I can't read yet. I'll read when I'm 6." Monday afternoon, I sat down on the couch with her, handed her Dr. Seuss's "Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now?" and asked her to just try and read. She read the whole book, cover to cover, and squealed with excitement at her newfound skill.

Last night, she read Green Eggs and Ham (all 62 pages!) all by herself. I only had to help her with three or so words, but she read the rest of the book in its entirety, completely solo. She was thrilled, and asked if we could read a book together every night. I promised her that we would.

It's amazing to me sometimes how incredibly smart she really is. Tora stumbled a LOT when learning to read, and gave up more times than I can count, professing that it was just too hard, and she'd do it when she was older. She wasn't really reading whole books until the beginning of last year. Doodle seems to be a step ahead, because once she sees that she can do something, there's no stopping her.

I wish I'd figured out how to help Tora read more easily. Doodle and I figured out that instead of sounding out each letter and then saying the sounds faster and faster to get the word right, she can sound out each letter, then run them together and get the words about 4x faster. For instance, the word "tree" became "" then "ttttttttttttrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" "oh, tree!"

She's amazing, and I'm so proud of her. She wants to read everything in sight now, which is so very cool. And she remembers everything too, which is awesome. I asked her after we'd read the book last night how many places Sam-I-Am wanted the "yellow fuzzy monster guy" to eat green eggs and ham. "Let's a boat, and in a car, and a train, and a tree, and a house, and with a mouse, and with a goat, and in the dark...I think that's it."

This is so cool. :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tora!

Today you turned 8. 8?! How did that happen? It seems like just yesterday I was meeting you for the first time, and listening to you babble away in your adorable mostly-nonsensical toddler speak.

You have changed so much in the last 4 years, which is inevitable, I know, but still comes as somewhat of a shock. You are becoming such a grownup version of your old self. I love getting to watch you learn new things, and grow, and discover hidden talents.

When we sat down on Monday to paint, I was astounded at your creativity and skill. Truly, I was. I think part of me still expects to see that awkward, bumbling little kid I once knew, and instead I'm greeted by a poised, eloquent, beautiful young girl. You're definitely not a baby anymore, but will always be my baby, no matter how old you get.

I can't wait to see where your life will lead you, and which paths you'll choose to take. You are more beautiful and amazing every day, and every time I'm with you, I'm left feeling intense, heart-wrenching emotions. When you're not here, I feel like there's a hole in my heart.

Your baby brother and sister worship the ground you walk on. Dahdoo spends most of her days wandering around the house calling for you, and then is reduced to wails when she's told that you're not here. As soon as I say "let's go get your sissies from school!" she races to get her shoes and coat on, and is out the door before I can say, "time to go!"

You are kind, generous, caring, sweet, smart, and amazingly beautiful. Watching you curl up with your baby sister and read to her warms my soul, because you have such love for her, and care so deeply for her. You are intensely sympathetic towards others, and really seem to feel their pain. You feel so deeply, and we spend a lot of time with you, just helping you put your emotions in to words. I think that has really helped you, as you seem to be on a more even keel when we've finished a long conversation.

I am so honored and blessed that God saw fit to make me a part of your life, and I thank Him every day for bringing you to me, and me to you. You are part of what I was missing in my life, and I am so hugely grateful that I get to watch you grow up. You're going to be an amazing woman some day, and will do so many great things.

I love you, baby.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Bear Family in the News!

On Sunday in church, our pastor gave away $6000. We were each handed an envelope with contents ranging from $5-$1000 and told to do something to personally impact someone else's life.

I got $20, and while grocery shopping came across someone who needed it.

Our local NBC affiliate picked up the story, and then it got out "on the wire" as they say and was picked up by the Associated Press, so our local Fox affiliate ran the story tonight. I got a call at 11 this morning, asking if I could be at church (a local movie theater) at noon to be interviewed. Sure! Off I went, with babies in tow. B met me there, as he was killing time between meetings, and entertained the babes while I talked to the reporter.

They got a nice closeup of Dahdoo, dontcha think? Those eyes, man...
Here's the story.

2 is Rough

Dahdoo is almost 2. She went through a tantrum phase about a year ago, but as soon as she started signing regularly and speaking more, they died down tremendously. Now we've started with the whining. Oh, the whining. Everything that comes out of her mouth is in a whiny voice. I told B last night, after we'd been listening to her whine/yell at us while we ate our dinner, "If you've ever wondered why I'm mildly frazzled when you get home at night, there's your answer!" 10 minutes with that and he was starting to twitch.

I know we have it easy compared to many families, and it honestly wouldn't be as bad if it didn't effect the other three kids so much. If she was my only child I could manage just fine, but when she gets in to whine mode all the other kids feed off of it. It's really amazing to see. Jax starts crying and frantically crawls up in to my arms, Doodle and Tora start whining's just a mess.

We've been working with her to say words without whining, but how do you explain to a not even 2 year old that Mommy can not stand that tone of voice? You can't.

I'll be glad when this phase passes.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Raging Hormones

My kids', not mine.

Dahdoo adores her daddy and her sisters. Since her sisters were here for two weeks straight, she got very used to seeing them all the time. The first day that they were back in school was hell. She pouted around the house all day, vehemently refused to be held, and was generally miserable. Didn't help that she was cutting four teeth simultaneously.

Monday, she kept asking for B, and upon hearing that he was at work, threw major hissy fits. She'd wail and scream, then go up to her room and slam the door (as much slamming as a 20 month old is capable of, mind you) and refuse to let me in. I assume she slept a little bit (on her sister's bed, not hers) and then she'd come down for a while, eat a little bit, ask for Daddy, and start the process all over again.

In other news, tax season is ramping up very slowly. As of right now I'm scheduled to work one day this week and one day next week. I assumed when I took this job that I would be working during the times I said I was available. This is not apparently the case. Instead, I'll be filled in where needed, and not necessarily always at the same location. Kinda obnoxious when you get right down to it, but it's a job, and money, and we don't have to pay for childcare, so we can't complain. I'm also in talks to take on a second job, working from midnight to 5am at the gym we just joined across the street. It will pay well, and again, we won't need to secure childcare, so I'll just have to figure out when to sleep. As long as B can get home at a decent time (around 5) I should be able to get 5 or 6 hours of sleep before I have to go to work, and then another hour or two after I get home but before the kids wake up. We'll see. We just need to make sure we stay out of debt so that our credit can improve if we ever want to even think about buying a house, which we do.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Year, New Goals!

B and I joined a gym today. Yay!

It's across the street from our house, is open 24 hours a day, and is affordable...all good things! We canceled my cell phone, since B got one through work and my contract was almost up, so I'm carrying his old one. Gym memberships for both of us will be a few dollars cheaper than my cell phone was. Shweet!

We're very excited to get back in shape together. My body has changed so much since having babies, especially back-to-back that I need some serious work to get where I want to be. I'm well on my way, having lost 60 pounds since Jax was born last Valentine's Day, but I've mostly got tonight work that I want to do now. I'm not so much worried about losing weight as I am reorganizing the weight I've got, so to speak.

B wants to lose 20-30 pounds. He gave up fast food last year for New Year's and lost 35 pounds in just a few months. Crazy.

We haven't set resolutions, as they almost never get kept (but hey, I made it through the end of '07 without getting pregnant! Go me!) but instead are trying to make conscious efforts to change our lives.

We want to be around to bug our kids for a VERY long time.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Sorry, the holidays got away from us!

Happy New Year, and I hope your Christmas was a wonderful one (if you celebrate!).

We're not making resolutions for 2008, but instead are just focusing on living better, more peaceful, fuller lives with our children and for ourselves. B will continue to stay away from fast food (a resolution he made for 2007 that granted him a 35 pound weight loss) and I will continue to try my hardest to not get pregnant (another 2007 resolution, after spending all or part of 05, 06 and 07 pregnant).

One of the focuses of my energy will be to declutter this house! We don't have a lot of stuff, but with 4 kids the quantity of possessions increases rapidly and exponentially. It can get out of hand if I don't stay on top of it.

I'd like to get to a point at which I don't look around and see things that haven't even been looked at in a year. There's just no reason to keep them. There may be someone else out there who could use them, or quite frankly, they might be worth something! :)

So I'll be mixing my decluttering attempts in here with the kid updates if you don't mind.

And now, pictures!