Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Waking up from Blogger Hibernation

So I have blogged all year. Opps. I guess I got bored since no one really reads it anyway but I have to tell myself that this blog isn't for readers its for Gretchen. I also think I don't write because I can't add pictures since Gretchen lost my camera. Literally lost it in 5 seconds. Great new, its tax season and Uncle Sam owes me a huge check and I will be buying a new camera soon.

The last time I blogged was before Christmas. A few things have happened since them. The biggest thing is that Brian and I have 50/50 custody of his kids now. Now we have them Thursday evening til Sunday morning. If you live in my world them this is a great thing but with many challenges. The great thing is that Brian and his ex communicate more about the kids. No more of Brian's mom being the messenger or Brian and I not know anything that is going on. The challenging parts have been that the whole family has had to get used to this. The most important people are the kids in the matter. Sometimes Hayley gets homesick for her mom still but now its mostly when she gets in trouble. Gretchen loves having her big bro and sis her but on Thursdays she is being over stimulated with them being in the house that she now stays up later on Thursday nights. On Fridays we get up early to get them ready for school and I pick them up in the afternoon. Even though Gretchen could stay in bed on Fridays she wants to get up with them. Then she cries that she can't go to school with them.

Gretchen is now 18 1/2 months old. She can say short sentences but usually only a few people knows what she is saying. I can say that she is definately going through some terrible twos already. She is a sweet baby but she wants to be so independent at times and only wants what she wants. Other then that she is terrific. She loves to dance, sing (humm), and share. At the grocery store she talks to everyone and tries to give away our groceries to other customers. She also loves to clean. This child loves to help with laundry. She will help put the clothes in the dryer and then "help" fold. She is such a Ham.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ready for my Christmas Spirit to Kick In!

Its December 5th and my Christmas spirit hasn't yet kicked in. No, I'm not a Scrooge by no means. Just 5 days into the month and I've already been to one Christmas gathering and one Christmas parade, Hayley's school program Thursday, and who knows what else. I've almost always done my Christmas shopping early so that job is pretty much done. However, I keep wanting to delay all the other things. Decorate for Christmas, hmmmmm not yet. Had my Christmas cards made and ready to mail, hmmm negative. Started baking yummy goodies, hmmm not exactly. Brian and my brother-in-law think I am just horrible for not decorating yet and keep saying, "You're supposed to put up the tree right after Thanksgiving."

This week at school I have a presentation and 7 assignments due. The week after are exams but I'm not too worried about them. My focus is this week. If I can just get through this week then I can breathe. I have to set my priorities. Decorations or school. I just feel that if I stop to decorate then that is time away from working on all these projects. I probably shouldn't be typing this blog. I should be doing homework.

By next Saturday I will be illuminating with Christmas spirit. Brian and I will go get a live tree, haul out the decorations, perhaps buy some new decor, and make my home a coozy Christmas retreat. And of course I need to take Gretchen to see Santa. We are also taking Gretchen to Hollywild Zoo to see the lights and the animals. She is going to love it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Very Late Thanksgiving Blog

Thanksgiving has came and gone. What a wonderful Thanksgiving it was? My family gathered for breakfast and then later we joined Brian's family and went out to eat. I can honestly say that my family's was so much better. It was almost picture perfect. My mom, oldest sister Kasey, and me all in the kitchen cooking. Making biscuits, and waffles, cooking bacon, eggs, and sausage, the works. Twenty-one people at the house, kids running around laughing and playing, and great conversation. A true holiday gathering. Afterwards we went home; Gretchen took a nap while the kids watched movies. Then around 4 pm Brian's family all traveled to Shelby to go out to eat. Not very festive, not picture perfect, no conversation what so ever. You see, the restaurant was crowded and wasn't able to put the tables together for us. Therefore the kids ate that the table with Brian and I, his parents at another table, and his sister and her husband at a separate table. Why don't they just stay at home and cook? I have absolutely no clue. Its almost fun just to go with the flow to see how things end up so that in the end I get to complain or gossip later with Brian. However, despite my Thanksgiving not being perfect I was very grateful. I'm grateful to be with a wonderful man who has given me a wonderful daughter and has allowed me to be a part of this other children's lives making us a family. I'm grateful for all my other family; for all the love and support through the years. And mostly I'm grateful to God who has blessed me so much.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh You Got to Stand For Something (or at least try)

Brian's family is a little slack when it comes to Holiday planning. This is something that I am not used too. I mean, my family figures out holiday plans months in advance. We usually plan Thanksgiving around September. Its just easier since there are so many of us now. Each sister has both our own family obligations as well as family obligations with the other sides of our families. This year we are getting together for a brunch on Thanksgiving. As I was saying Brian's family are total slackers waiting til the last minute to make plans. Last year instead of making dinner they decided to all go out to eat. This was all but fine with me. I love breaking traditions a little. However, Brian's mom didn't want to bother getting Brian's kids from his ex-wife. "No, its just too much trouble to get them." You have to understand that his mom is the messenger and peace keeper between him and his ex. I was confused, hurt, felt bad for Hayley and Jacob. My parents wouldn't do this to their grand kids and my grandparents never did this to me. A few months ago I stated to Brian that if they weren't invited this year then Gretchen and I wouldn't be going either. Yes, here I am Kari Crawford standing up for what I think is right and just. So, Brian's mom share with me the plans for Thanksgiving the other day. We will be going out to eat again. "Are we getting Hayley and Jacob?" I ask. "No,blah blah blah something.I got upset. When I got to speak with Brian privately I told him that Gretchen and I wouldn't be going and go into my rant about how wrong it is to not include them. Another idea that came to mind was to go behind her back and call his ex myself and arrange to pick them up and bring them myself. Oh, how great this was going to be for me to stand up for something and make a statement. However, by the next day Brian had already talked to his mom about this and got the matter all straightened out. Now they will be joining us for Thanksgiving. I was shocked how easy this was to fix, though I am a little bit disappointed that I didn't get to boycott the dinner to make a statement.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Potty Training Fun

So we have started to potty training Gretchen. For me this is getting in the habit of putting her on the potty often. So far everything is going good. She pees in the potty almost everytime I sit her on it. I'm not really in any hurry to potty train but Brian insisted that we start. I really want to start in the spring when she can wear little summer dresses so it will be easier. The funniest part is that I had to get the potty seat to go over the big toilet. The little potty that sat on the floor was being used by Gretchen as a hiding place for toys. Now if I can get here to go #2.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall is here Finally!

Isn't fall a great season? Time for hot chocolate, sweater wearing, candle burning, baking, and pumpkin searching.

Taking Gretchen to a pumpkin patch is something I had been looking forward to for a while. Last Halloween she was only 2 1/2 months old so the only thing she was interested in was eating and sleeping. My sister Kasey, Brian, and I took the kids to the Pumpkin Center which is about a mile from my grandparents house in Green Hill where my dad grew up. My dad actually worked there growing up. When Gretchen got out of the van we just let her go wild. She walked everywhere looking and climbing on the pumpkins. She loved it. We got so tickled when she would try to pick some of this huge pumpkins up. I really try to enjoy these moments because I know that sooner then later she won't care anymore about going pumpkin picking.

We gave Gretchen her first haircut the other day. Actually a bang cut. They were getting so bad and always in her face. The only other option was to put a bow in her hair all the time. I know my mom is going to have a hiss fit when she finds out we cut it. Just the other day she said "You will not cute her hair. You will take her to a professional." OK mom, but I'm not going to waste my time, gas, and money to take her to a professional just to do a 5 second bang cut. Brian and I did just fine with me holding her and Brian cutting.

School is going good so far. For a while there I was feeling overwhelmed and over loaded. I talked to my online teachers about the deadlines and they said as long as I have an assignment completed by the end of the semester I would be good. That reassured me a lot. I don't worry so much if I don't get everything done by Friday night anymore. But one thing I have found its that FACEBOOK is my biggest enemy. I am evidently a nosey person and would constantly be on there. So to fit my addiction I deleted a bunch of people. This wasn't out of meanness or anything. I just needed to get the distraction away from me. I still have a facebook but now it only has my immediate family, a few long distance friends, and friends that I talk to on a weekly basis. I'm on there a lot less and am getting stuff done again.

Exciting news! I am hosting a GERBER GENERATION CELEBRATION. Have you ever heard of HouseParty? Its a company that you register with and then you have the opportunity to host parties for difference companies. I had registered for other parties but wasn't selected so you can imagine how shocked and excited I was to get picked for this party. So, I invite friends that are expecting babies, or have babies up to preschool age. Gerber sends some party decor and free products for me to give the guest. I am so excited about this. To me it will be more like a huge play date for the kids.

The week of Halloween was full of events and parties. Halloween party at my house with The Munchkin Society (playgroup), Trunk or Treat at my moms church, Trick or Treat on Main Street Friday, a fall carnival at Brian's moms church and Gretchen went to a Halloween party with her Auntie Vivian. By Sunday she was exhausted. It was so much fun though dressing her up all week. She was a witch a few times and a little rock star the other times.

Everyday Gretchen get more verbal, more independent, more stubborn, and more of a daredevil. I am reading a book by Dr. Harvey Karp called The Happiest Toddler on the Block. His description of a toddler is so right on its crazy. He describes toddlers as cavemen or Neanderthals, primitive and uncivilized. I love that she is curious, I encourage it. I mostly just wish that she had a fear of heights. I let her climb but the biggest problem is the high chair and shopping carts. She can wiggle out of the buckle and will stand up. She doesn't realize that there is a thing called gravity and if she falls she won't float around in the air. She just knows that if she falls mommy will always catch her.

Thanksgiving and Christmas is coming soon so its time to plan, shop, and bake. I can't wait to see Gretchen on Christmas this year. A Christmas tree will be going up but I have a feeling that the ornaments will all be at the top of the tree out of reach of little curious hands.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What a Great Week

This has really been a great week for my family and I. In a lot of ways it was a typical week but at the same time fun and interesting. One great thing is that Gretchen has went all week without her paci at home! That's My Girl! She is still using the paci at Nana's (my mom's) when she is there a couple times a week. But hey, its progress. You have to start somewhere, right?

Then there was the typical stuff like doing homework and going to class and to work. Went for my weekly library run and found some great books on saving money and check out Disney's Earth and a PBS special called "Is Wal-Mart Good For America." Both were really good and education. I loved the penguins. I think that people should walk like them and be able to slide on our bellies. And we got our Netflick movies Eurika Season 2 and Invictus. Brian didn't like the idea first of watching Eurika but now he looks forward to getting another in the mail. I am my father's child. Sci-Fi runs in these veins.

Brian and I took the jet ski out. Brian worked on it and got it running. I was sort of scared to take it out. Brian said that we might be in the middle of the lake and the thing just die on us. Are you serious? I'm not getting strained in the middle of the lake and have to push the jet ski back to the van. We were actually able to do a little good for the environment when we stopped to walk around a little island in the middle of the lake. There was a bag of trash that some people had left that some animals had gotten into. Trash was everywhere. Of course we couldn't pick it all up but we could pick up the cans and crush them and put them in the little compartment on the jet ski. 49 cans we picked up and recycled from this one bag of trash.

On the domestic side of me I am in the middle of making an apron. On Tuesdays between my classes I go to my moms and we have a domestic lesson. First it was going to just be a sewing lesson but she is going to help me bake, sew, can , and what ever else I want her to teach me. Also I made apple cupcakes. In the family fun magazine I saw cupcakes made to look like apples. I figured I would try it out. The problem was is that I didn't realize that it took so much red food coloring to make icing red. I had used all the red and the icing was pink. I thought if I added a little Burgundy that it would darken it a little. Instead we have a purplish pink icing. Oh well, lesson learned. To make the stem you take a Tootsie roll mini and roll it a bit to make it a little longer and then take a green airhead and make a leaf. Viola! A purple apple.

One of the coolest things that happened was when Brian and his mom went to Goodwill Friday night he found a Dyson vacuum cleaner for only $6. He brought that bad boy home and got it running and now I have a super cleaner vacuum. This thing picks up so much more then my old cleaner did. I was kind of embarrassed when he vacuumed for the first time and I saw all that it had gotten up.

Saturday was crazy. I went into work early, then hopped over for a quick haircut, then hoped over to the Firefighters Challenge to Volunteer with my Education Class at the bouncy house and then get ready for party, party, home, Gretchen took a nap while cleaned house, Brian took his kids to play putt putt, they came home, we watched The Diary of a wimpy kid, and I feel asleep on the coach.

The only bad thing that happened was Gretchen getting a hold of my camera. Just when I actually had important pictures I wanted to share with everyone. Before I could chase her down to get it it was gone. I have looked everywhere. Under everything, in every bag, box, crack, and black hole. I'm not so much devastated on losing the camera but about losing the pictures on the camera. So for the next few months til Christmas I will be resorting on a disposable.

Here are some really neat websites to check out...