Friday, December 17, 2010

Crazy Community

Another post in the "we have a crazy community group" file, Ugly Christmas Sweater and White Elephant Party!

My good friend Ande posted some awesome pictures and you can find them here.

 We love these crazy people!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Months 9 & 10

October and November slipped by so quickly I forgot to post about Wesley's last few months! Please forgive me little baby. I've been to busy running interference since Wesley's moving all over the place. In the last month he's figured out how to crawl (not just creep/army crawl, and he's fast!), pull to standing, cruise along furniture, and climb stairs. Yes, my baby is now a stair-climber. This means our house is again in the putting-gates-up-and-closing-doors-behind-you stage. It's so crazy to think that soon Wesley will be walking. Bill thinks it'll be before Christmas. I'm holding out until Wes is closer to his birthday. We'll see. I'm sure the next month will keep me on my toes with having a mobile baby and a Christmas tree with gifts underneath. Wesley loves to grab things and especially loves to rip and eat paper. So that should be fun. He also puts anything and everything in his mouth. A few weeks ago I found a googly-eye in his poopy diaper. Thankfully there was only one and it was a small one that passed through easily.
Also this kid loves to eat, eat, eat, and he's getting more picky about wanting to feed himself. He likes to feed himself Cheerios, raisins, crackers, beans, and other little things he can pick up. He also will eat whatever we put in front of him. Last week he had some chili, including some meat! He is also a fan of mama's homemade turkey soup. Yummy!

Wesley loves his big sisters and loves watching them jump around, dance, and be silly. He grooves to music (lately we've been listening to Veggie Tales Boyz in the Sink and "Pirate's Music" Emphatical Piratical), claps his hands and bobs his head to the beat. He's also quite a chatterbox and says, "mamama," "dadada," and other various noises. He seems to understand "no" but doesn't always mind mother's direction. When I say "no" (usually responding to his diving for plastic, knives in the dishwasher, or the stairs) he looks at me and shakes his head. And oh, the dishwasher. What is with my kids and the dishwasher?! At least it teaches me to work quickly and not dawdle whilst emptying or filling the dishwasher.

Wesley is sleeping a bit better. About a month ago I stopped swaddling him, which I was really worried would make his sleep suffer. For the first few days he did take a while to fall asleep, but he then figured out how to soothe himself better and do it on his own. I started putting a lovey in his crib, his special monkey, and that seemed to help. He still wakes up to nurse once or twice, but it's manageable. This morning I was feeding him and could feel his little heart beating. It occurred to me (and it may seem silly to you but I hadn't considered it), that this little heart is the same one I saw on ultrasound when I was 10 weeks into my pregnancy with Wesley. He was just a tiny little bean, and now he's this huge kid laying in my arms. I feel so blessed to have these children in my life and I'm grateful to be their mother. (Of course God is continually working with me on that and sometimes in my selfishness I don't feel grateful, but then the crazy fog lifts and I can actually see my little blessings, instead of my selfish ambition.)

Soon we will be celebrating Wesley's birthday! Seriously where does the time go?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Hotyssey

After nearly a year of searching, two failed attempts at buying a Toyota Sienna (that is another blog post in itself), we are the proud owners of a 2004 Honda Odyssey, affectionately named "The Hotyssey." This beauty is  silver on the outside, grey on the inside, seats seven, and has a DVD player! I feel like a queen driving this thing. The sliding doors open automatically with the push of a button, it honks when it locks so I know all is clear. Loading groceries into the back is divine.
The best part is, we are safer and this car will serve us for a long time.

Update: LOST tooth!

Caley lost her tooth several weeks ago! (I am very behind on the blog schedule.) It happened on Tuesday afternoon after women's group. Caley was eating bread and it just popped out! She was surprised and didn't even fuss. She put it in a baggie in a white and pink tote bag and then under her pillow. Magically it was replaced with $2 in dimes and quarters and four pieces of candy! The permanent tooth is come in fast and now the one next to it is getting very loose. I can't believe my little girl is growing up so quickly!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Loose Tooth!

A few weeks ago I asked my dad (and dentist) to look at Caley's bottom front teeth because I was concerned they were crowding. He said they weren't crowding but looked so because they are loose! I nearly started crying! I can't believe my little girl is old enough to start losing her teeth.
10 years ago this month I met Bill at swing dancing class. I'm so thankful he said "yes" when I asked him to dance. We "celebrated" by putting the kids to bed early last night, having a yummy dinner, and watching The Karate Kid. 
Wesley crashed movie night but seemed pretty entertained by rolling around on the floor. Somehow Kermit got on his back! Not sure how that happened!

I love you Billy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Did you know...

that there's a dinosaur that lives on our street? She likes to ride in the car with us (thankfully she fits in the Suburban and we have extra seatbelts) and plays at the Merry Go Round park. Sometimes when her mommy says it's okay, she comes home with us and eats mac 'n' cheese. Caley says, "She likes us and likes going in the car with us." Amelia says, "We hold it (the dinosaur's hands)."
We're so glad to have a friend down the street.


Has anyone seen a little girl about yay high, blond hair, brown-green eyes and answers to the name "Caley"? I thought I knew where she went but it seems she's been replaced by this huge girl in my house now. This new girl always finishes what's on her plate, can read fairly confidently, can clothe herself, draw people with bodies (not just head, arms and legs) brush her own teeth and hair, and even has a loose tooth! This new girl also answers to the name "Caley," so I can't figure out what happened to the other little girl. Also there seems to be another new addition to my home, who curiously looks a lot like the little Caley who is missing and even wears some of her clothes. However this other girl has brown hair, a round face, can read a few letters, and keeps her underwear dry all day. She answers to the name Amelia.
On that note, there seems to be some more shenanigans going on, my little baby is no longer a girl but a boy. The last I remembered I had two kids, Caley and Amelia, who were 2.5 and a baby, but it now seems that baby is a boy and doesn't answer to the name Amelia. Who is playing a trick on me?

Can someone please explain this strange phenomenon to me? What happened to my kids?


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Coupon Deals!

I've been couponing for about 6 months and am starting to feel a lot more confident. I primarily shop at Cost Cutter for food and Rite Aid for everything else, like toilet paper, diapers, cosmetic products and medicines. I used to only get diapers at Costco, but by combining sales and coupons at Rite Aid I've been able to build up my stockpile of diapers (we go through them slowly because we also use cloth) for much cheaper or even free. Cost Cutter has a lot of good food deals but I occasionally hit other stores if the deals are irresistible. Still I have some guilt when I do this, but my pocketbook seems to like it so maybe I should just get over it. :)

 In this first picture I shopped at Albertsons and bought 10 packages of cheeses, 5 Cool Whips and 10 ears of corn. Guess how much I paid for all of it?
$5! Buy 5 cheeses, with coupon, get $5 back on your next order (ONYO). Bought 5 more cheeses with coupon, get $5 back. Bought 5 Cool Whips with the ONYO catalinas and 10 corns with another catalina from another previous transaction. BOOYAH!

For this next picture I shopped at Rite Aid. 3 Jumbo packs of diapers, 1 360ct wipes, 2 packages of Dial soap, 2 John Frieda hair products, 2 Ibuprofen, 2 toothbrushes, 1 Listerine. How much did I pay for it?
I think about $6! How? I got the diapers for FREE!! (Actually after rebate I made $2). With the credits I got from the diapers, I bought the other things at a huge discount. Yeah boi!

This last picture is also from Rite Aid. How much did I pay for all this candy? (20 full-size bags of Halloween Candy)
Nothing! Actually I MADE $6. Late last week there was a crazy unadvertised deal at Rite Aid which basically gave out free candy. Buy 10 bags, pay $20 cash, get back in Rite Aid catalinas (+UP rewards) $25! So right there I made $5. Go back again and get 10 bags of candy, pay with the +UP rewards (some left over), get another $25 in +UP rewards. Now I have a grand total of $29 in +UP rewards which can be spent on anything non-prescription at Rite Aid. So basically Rite Aid paid me $6 to take some candy home. I'm usually the Halloween Grinch because candy is expensive and 15 year-olds just walk around the neighborhood in a pillowcase asking for free stuff. But I can be less Grinch-like this year because I got the candy for free too (but I wasn't wearing a pillowcase). And now I can get what my family may really need with the extra +UP rewards at Rite Aid.
Edited to add: Today I went back to Rite Aid for this week's deals and spent the $29 +UP rewards, mostly on items which are free after Rite Aid's Single Check Rebate program. So I got more free stuff AND will be refunded the amount I originally paid for purchase the candy. Holy crap HOW DOES RITE AID DO IT?!!


Month 8

I should probably post something already, since the month is half over. Wesley is 8 months! I can hardly believe it, but I say that every month. Wesley is moving! He is crawling (pretty much) and gets where he wants to go pretty fast. Watch out! Also anything that can be put in his mouth he tries to get in there. Any food, paper, toys, my face...he regularly grabs my hair and pulls my nose or chin into his mouth. It's pretty funny! He loves playing with Caley and Amelia too, and they love playing with him. Usually they play peek-a-boo and it makes him laugh.
My super accurate bathroom scale says Wesley is 18 lbs. I think that's about right. He's huge! (for a Gerlach baby) Both the girls were about 18 lbs at 12 months. He's getting too long for many of his pants and the cloth diaper covers are a bit snug. It makes sense he's a big one because he loves to eat. He eats a lot of things we eat, like crackers, rice and bread, but I still feed him "baby" food like oatmeal, sweet potatoes and plums.
He's not sleeping "through the night" as much as I'd like but he does go to sleep easily and I don't mind getting up one or twice during the night.
Also, he LOVES water! The kids take a bath together and Wesley just splashes the whole time. He also loved going in the pool in Astoria. I love how babies can't contain their excitement and their whole body shakes and kicks. He also loves my phone. It's getting difficult to make a call while holding him because the whole time he just wants to take the phone. So usually I have to put him down to get anything done, which also makes him mad. There's nothing wrong with him, he's just kind of a mama's boy right now. That's okay. One thing's for sure, he's going to be a patient man when he grows up.

We love you Wesley!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Day 17: an art piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc)

I love this painting by Renoir, 1892, mostly because it reminds me of me and my best friend Jennie, a brunette.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Day 16: A song that makes you cry (or nearly)

I've been contemplating this question for a few days and have decided: classical music. None in particular but sometimes we listen to classical music (especially lately since we've been studying music and hearing) and the melodies and power of the instruments hit me like a train.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 15: Your Dream House

It feels weird to write this, but the house we live in is pretty much my dream house, with a few changes. I remember first looking at this house on when we were looking for houses to buy with my parents. This one was so unique in design in this area it immediately caught my eye. It's a colonial style. It was built in 1993 by a guy who lived down the street in a house just like it. He then lived in this one for a few years before selling it to the people we bought it from in 2006.

Our current house is my dream house if certain cosmetic features were changed, such as touch-ups on the walls and if it were a little better decorated. There are still several walls we would like to paint, curtains to hang and our master bedroom and the kid's bedrooms need some decorations too. We would also like to someday replace/repair the hardwood floors and front walkway and driveway which is currently an unsightly blue. When we moved in we quickly replaced the blue carpet and tackled the blue rooms, which were several. In the first 6 months living here, we tore out a wall and made another living room. My husband has worked very hard to make this home a more enjoyable place to live. We also had the siding replaced and repainted, and most recently completely changed the backyard.

I love this house. It has already housed so many memories for me. If these walls could talk, they would have a lot to say. This house has seen me in my best days and worst days. This house has been a place for church groups to meet, family dinners to be had, and important family meetings. This house has seen/will see all three of my kids learn to walk. Caley was a late walker, which bummed me out back in 2006. But within a month of us moving to this house, she figured it out and quickly started running around this house. This house has been the place where people can have conversations about Jesus through our hosting various community groups. I love this house, it's my dream house because I know for a fact Jesus has given it to us and we strive to use it to glorify him.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 14: A non-fictional book

It's funny that the next blog day on my list of "30 days" is "a non-fictional book" because I've been reading just such a book and wanted to do a review of it anyway.

The book I chose is "America + the Pill" by Elaine Tyler May. It was very interesting. I liked the picture on the front cover, which is why I picked it up at the library without even really knowing what it would be about. (Really, who has time to browse books in meaningful amounts of time when chasing after 3 kids at the library?) In "honor" of the 50th anniversary of the FDA approval of the oral contraceptive, May set out to write this book about the history, development and evolution of "the pill." She covered how it was developed and pushed through largely by Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. Sanger believed women would only be equal with men if they had full control of their fertility and pushed for a woman-controlled contraceptive such as the pill. She also described the motivation for developing a pill in the 1950s-1960s--population control. Many people believed people on the world were multiplying at a fantastic rate (because of the baby boom) and largely because of the book "The Population Bomb" by Paul Ehrlich. People were worried that space in which to live, food health and safety and other resources would soon run out. In the 1950s, people believed "the Pill" would end world hunger and create world peace by controlling reproduction. (Many people still believe we are overpopulated, but I don't, here's a video which explains why). The Pill was also advertised as making every child a "wanted" child, since the possibility of a surprise pregnancy would be lower.

After the Pill had been developed, tested and was in widespread use, people realized it wasn't going to single-handedly end hunger and create world peace. But it did have many effects. May discusses how it affected men, since they were not part of the contraceptive plan, their wives/partners could take the pill without their knowledge, and some men suffered depression because they were unable to get a woman pregnant. The Pill also had a big role in the Sexual Revolution and contributed to lowering the cultural stigma against unmarried sex. May discusses the trends of who was taking the pill. She also has an entire chapter about a pill for men, and the various difficulties with creating such a medication, and that no man would really take a pill every day so the funding is different than when the woman's contraceptive was developed.

Her final chapter is about the Pill today, and how it is different than the original contraceptive approved in 1960. She quotes many women who responded to a survey for the book ranging from loving the pill to absolutely despising it. May concludes, "Although the pill was not responsible for the emancipation of women,  it did provide an important tool for millions of women to effective control their fertility, freeing them from fears of pregnancy and constant childbearing and enabling them to take advantage of expanding opportunities for education, employment, and participation in public life" (p.168).

My take: I am not against contraception, or the pill in general. To each his own and, for Christians, whatever God would have for you, provided it's not taking a life. But I took issue with this book mainly because of the author's tone. It seemed a stretch to refer to women before the pill was developed as afraid of pregnancy and "constant childbearing." I'm sure there were women who felt this way, but the way she said it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. She also flippantly threw in abortion as a means of birth control that was "widely accepted."

I was on the birth control pill for several years but since Amelia was born we have chosen to not go back onto a daily med to prevent pregnancy. There are many other ways, and in my experience the pill did not help me understand my body more, rather it made it more confusing and difficult to understand. May's claims that the Pill gave women their freedom and equality with men, while true in the business and women having the same roles and responsibilities as men sense of the phrase, I don't agree that women and men should have to be "the same" to be equal. Women and men have different, but equal roles. I thought the book was interesting to read and ponder as a reflection of what the pill did to American society. Originally Margaret Sanger pushed for a woman-only contraception, but now women complain about having to control contraception. This isn't May's fault in writing, because it's true, but it's interesting how things change over time. 60 years ago women said, "why can't we control our fertility? Men get to do it all" and now they're saying, "why can't men control their fertility? We have to do it all."

As a side note, unrelated to this book, I have to link to this article by Mommy Life's Barbara Curtis about which was a better technological advance: the birth control pill or the washing machine. She is, in this post, responding to the Vatican's statement that the washing machine has done more for women than the birth control pill. I'm inclined to agree!
Read it here.

So there's my long-winded and somewhat rambling entry for "non-fictional book." Hope you enjoyed it! :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 13: A Fictional Book

I generally prefer to read non-fiction books rather than fiction stories. So most of the fiction books I read are children's books, and a favorite is "The Little House" by Virginia Lee Burton. It's such a sweet story about a little house personified and aging, but cared for by a loving family. I love the illustrations and how it shoes the passage of time. I especially remember watching the Disney video as a kid, and when I realized it was also a book, loving it even more.

Here's the Wikipedia article, and here is the Disney video:

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Of the aforementioned "crazy stories" involving my husband.

White Trash Community Group:

To see some more hilarity, check out Ande's blog:

A story

When Bill and I met I was a new 18-year old, and we were married when I was 20. So my "crazy, single life" was anything but. And I'm totally thankful for that. The only downside is I don't have a lot of crazy stories of random people. Most of my crazy stories involve Bill, and for that I am also thankful. He's pretty crazy. So the only time a guy, other than my husband, really showed interest in me was on a Caribbean cruise. I don't remember the specifics but I was on the cruise with my parents and brother David. We were hanging out in some lounge area and this guy who didn't seem "all there" approached me and we started chatting, I was just trying to be friendly. He starts asking me where I'm going on vacation, so I start naming off the ports the cruise will be visiting over the next week. Surprised he says, "Oh those are the same places I'm going!" OMG look how much we have in common!!


Friday, September 03, 2010

Yay for Amelia!!

I wanted to document that little Amelia is pretty much potty trained! This was a goal I wanted her to achieve in the next few months, and it was accomplished in no small part because of the help of my parents! My mom did a great job of keeping Amelia in underwear during the girls' last trip to Astoria, including reinforcing her with stickers when she had potty success. Thanks Mom! One less thing on my list for the fall!

Day 12: something I am OCD about

Something I am OCD about...had to think about this for a while. But I decided the thing I am most OCD about is my schedule. Not down to the nitty gritty, but the general schedule of my week.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and "home days" and Tuesdays and Thursdays are outing days. Tuesdays are bible study day, which has been the case for almost 6 years, and Thursdays are grocery and errand day. For a long time Wednesdays were grocery day, but in the last 6 months it changed to Thursdays so I can take advantage of the produce sale at Cost Cutter. Finally switching my schedule so I can get better deals at the grocery store was a huge decision for me. When the schedule is thrown off, I just feel off and short-tempered.
In deciding Caley's school schedule, I figured our home days would become our school days. Now it's just a matter of keeping M, W, F sacred, not for the sake of my sanity, but for the sake of my children's education! Say no when something comes up if it's going to make the rest of the week stressful. Sit and plan, and make time to plan. Reminders to myself.

Day 11: A photo of me recently

This is me being bored while waiting for Bill to come home and the kids were still napping. Doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I don't know what to do with myself except take pictures. Most of the other pictures are of me making a silly face.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Day 10: a photo taken over 10 years ago

This picture is from my high school grad night, June 2000. The other lovely lady is my best friend Jennie. We still live within 30 minutes of each other and I'm so thankful for her friendship over the past 14 years!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 8 - a photo that makes me angry/sad

This entry was difficult for me.

I feel a little explanation should accompany this photo, because we look happy. I find this photo sad because it was taken during a very difficult time for Bill and me, last May 2009. Not in our marriage, per se, but in our individual lives, having to do with anxiety. This picture was taken after a Sounders game on Mother's Day, and our girls were with Grama and Papa. We weren't yet pregnant with Wesley.
This picture reminds me of a time in my life in which I strongly felt God's carrying me through each day.

Day 7: A photo that makes me happy

Day 6: 20 favorite things

In no particular order...

1. My morning cup of coffee
2. Oddly, getting up before the sun and having a few moments of quiet before the day starts (aka kid waking up, "MOMMY I'm all done sleeping!")
3. Rainy late summer days, before it's witch-titty cold outside
4. Going to church.
5. Sunny days so I can work on my tan and not be Pasty White Addie.
6. Pretty fingernails.
7. Snuggles with my girls.
8. Wesley falling asleep in my arms, and knowing my days of my son wanting to snuggle are numbered.
9. This amazing blessing of my house.
10. Starting school with the girls and getting to see them learn.
11. Old friends with whom I can talk to as not a day has passed.
12. New friends who are quickly becoming like old, familiar friends.
13. Mondays that feel fresh and new.
14. Fridays because we can stay up late and watch movies.
15. My uber handsome husband.
16. Cleaning. (yes I know this is crazy)
17. The rare occasions in which I don't care about cleaning and can just relax.
18. Red wine.
19. Listening to Podrunner and running, especially along the coast looking out to Whidbey Island.
20. Jesus, because he died for my sins and through whom I have these blessings I just listed!

Month 7

Holy almost September! Wesley is 7 months!
We had a very full August with a trip to Astoria for my high school reunion, another week without the girls in which Bill, Wesley and I did all sorts of adventures, and lots of playing outside!

We spent a week in Astoria, just me and the kids, at the beginning of August. Caley and Amelia had a blast going to the pool with Grama and I was able to get a ton of work done for the reunion. Wesley chilled with me, and we spent a lot of time walking and contemplating. We even saw whales at the South Jetty! Well, Wesley was distracted by nursing, but I saw the whales and it was so neat! On that trip, and since, Wesley has shown he doesn't care to drink milk unless it's the real thing. But thankfully he eats many solids now and won't starve if I need to be gone for more than 4-5 hours. While in Astoria we went to the county fair and saw lots of animals and ate some ice cream. Yummy!
Amelia's birthday was Friday of the week in Astoria. By then Bill had joined us (Dad's friend flew him) so we did a family morning in Seaside, and had a birthday party in the evening with Grama and Papa.
The following week we went to Jetty Island, a small man-made island off the coast of Everett. We had to take a little ferry, but it was well worth it to get to play in warm-ish water and nice sand. Our friends Ande, Mina, Max and Magnus, and Lauren, Evie and Beck came too. Magnus has the same birthday as Wes and Beck is about 10 days older.
Later that week we had a kid birthday party for Amelia, who by the way is about 95% potty trained (during the day!!!), complete with playdough, snacks and cupcakes. Wonderful, crazy, kid fun!
Wesley is eating a lot of solids, as I mentioned. He's a big fan of graham crackers, cheerios, peas, and soon we will try peaches, plums, and other fruits.
We are on the home stretch to Wesley's first birthday. I can't even believe it's already been 7 months. I love this little man so much, he's such a sweetie.
We love you Wesley!