Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oh, Buttersticks

Isaac: "Mom, you know what buttersticks are? They are in the shape of a circle. But they are all twisted, in the shape of a circle. They are round. And they are sharp like thorns, but not on one end they are not sharp. You can even touch them and they are not sharp on one end. Do you know where you can find them? Probably in a field. " {pause}

"Did you know when I was two I used to be kinda big. But not very big, I don't think I was too big. I used to climb a tree. Want to know where it was? It was right.....there {pointing out the window as we drive by someone's random yard.}"

This is a typical conversation with my 3 year-old. Full of buttersticks....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Judgement by Bisquick

I like to think I have a pretty tough skin. It really takes quite a bit to rile me up usually...unless you're Isaac, in which case my fuse is relatively short--but that's a different story. But last night, I let someone get under my skin, and it's not a position I like. Because I find that instead of getting angry, I was hurt and a little humiliated. Why is it that other moms find the need to judge instead of support? I was judged, the gavel was slammed...all at what was supposed to be a supportive and open environment...a La Leche League meeting of all places.

Now, before I start, let me say that I LOVE La Leche League. It is an amazing support group with lots of great breastfeeding advice. It is a great place to go to get solid, reliable breastfeeding information and to make a few great friends, too. I have had nothing but really positive experiences there...until last night.

The meeting's topic was innocent enough: nutrition and weaning. Since none of the moms in attendance last night were in the weaning stage, we focused on nutrition and foods/ideas for feeding toddlers and families in general. We split into groups to brainstorm ideas. Our group was thinking of easy snacks for toddlers and then a list of snacks that "take some work." I start by offering the suggestion of goldfish. My kids eat them by the gallon, and I know a lot of moms whose diaper bag isn't complete without a baggie full of the cheesy little dudes. I was met with a horrified stare from one of the other moms in my group. (Let me mention there were only three of us, and our other member was one of the LLL leaders.) My next suggestion...diced fruit. I throw in there that if you want to buy the fruit cups you can usually get them in fruit juice instead of syrup...another disgusted stare. I'm kind of confused at this point. I didn't know it was criminal to feed your kids fruit that wasn't organic and freshly chopped. Okay. We're going kinda crunchy at this meeting. I can do crunchy. Better not suggest Quaker granola bars...think, Rachel, think. Then I remember raisins and fruit leather...two things my kids really like sometimes. Um, didn't you know those are terrible for little teeth? Wow. My face is starting to get hot, and I'm beginning to feel like a bad mom. Like I'm somehow harming my kids by what I feed them. Better not mention their weekly dose of chicken nuggets and french instead, I chuckle sheepishly and jokingly say, "We really don't eat all that well at our house. Ha ha ha {nervous giggle}."

At this point, I pretty much stopped contributing to the conversation and listened to this mom talk about homemade teething biscuits sweetened with applesauce, homemade granola, and a whole host of Auntie Anne's organic whatevers. I also did catch her say she couldn't get her two year old to eat much...hmmm, wonder why...

Anyway, near the end of our brainstorming session, our leader mentions something about make-ahed quiche and I remember this great quiche recipe I have that's super easy and my kids love! So I pipe up with this idea, "it's really easy to make, you just use ground beef, a little cheese, eggs and bisquick! My kids love it!" This woman about fell off her chair. I look at her and say, "what, is bisquick bad?" She responds with an indignant little chortle, "yeah, it's bad. I GUESS YOU GUYS DO EAT REALLY BADLY, HUH?" As if I am putting rat poison in their cereal (artificially sweetened, of course). I turned my chair the opposite direction and tried to hide the embarrassment on my face.

I have to say, this was the first time I have ever felt like I was being judged for my parenting style. I know that there are a million points to disagree with on every parenting front...but at the end of the day, my kids are happy, healthy, smart and very loved. But, by God, I will feed them bisquick and they will like it. And, if anyone is interested in my quickie quiche recipe, I'll be happy to post it. But realize you are taking your own and your children's lives into your own hands. I wash my hands of it. May God bless us Bisquick users, every one.

Monday, December 8, 2008

All-around update

Well, we finally got an appointment for Rowan to see the orthopedist. We're going on December 17, early in the morning. I'm relieved that they are going to see us so quickly and anxious to get some answers. I also had an evaluation with the physical therapist this past Saturday, and she wants to start therapy with us after Rowan's consultation. She wants to find out what the orthopedist thinks and try to tailor the therapy to coordinate with whatever correction we begin. She seemed to think that the PT will help increase the core strength, which can help keep Rowan's back straight once we get it there...hopefully we'll be able to do just that! I'm definitely ready to head to Dallas and get started on whatever we need to do to help her.

David has really been making progress on the house! Here are some pics of the new improvements!

This is the countertop in the laundry room...complete with tile and stain on the cabinets!

Here's a shot of the kitchen cabinets, all stained and so pretty!

This is the travertine we are going to use on the backsplash in the kitchen...I think it's going to be really beautiful!

And finally, here's the kids' upstairs bathroom shower, complete with tile! Now all we need are the fixtures! I'm starting to get so excited, things are really beginning to look good!

We put up our Christmas tree last night, and it looks really nice, but I gotta say...I'm a total grinch. I don't really love Christmas all that much. Don't get me wrong, it's nice and all, but it's all overblown in my humble opinion. I need Christmas for about a week...but "Christmas" has already been going on since after Halloween! Geez. Call me Scrooge if you want, but why can't we enjoy December in any other colors but red and green? I'm trying not to let my grinchiness rub off on my kiddos...they are still excited by the season and I hope it stays that way. Maybe it's just the pricetag on the season that has me saying bah humbug.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thankful for Blueberries

Before I begin waxing poetic, I wanted to give an update on Rowan: we are being referred to the Scottish Rite Children's Hospital in Dallas. I don't have our referral date yet, but as soon as I know when our appointment is going to be, I'll be sure to write about it. Thanks to everyone who sent us prayers and well-wishes. It's going to be a long road ahead of us. Anyway, back to the blog at hand:

Thanksgiving. It's a wonderful day. A day full of turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, rolls, and, of course, pie. Applie Pie. Pumpkin Pie. Pecan Pie. You name it, if it comes in a flaky and golden pie crust, I'd probably eat it.

But there's so much more than food to be thankful for. Friends and family...yadda yadda yadda. Of course I'm thankful for my friends and family. What schmuck wouldn't be thankful for their loved ones? So upon pondering the thankfulness of the season, I wondered what I'm really thankful for..beyond the obvious. And suddenly, as I sit here enjoying a tasty blueberry milkshake that I just whipped together, it dawned on me. I am thankful for blueberries.

That's right. I said blueberries. Behold their wonder. They are tiny. They are deliciously sweet. They are the most wonderful shade of purpley-blue. They can be made into pie (meeting a required criteria). They can be made into any number of tasty pastries, such as muffins or tarts. They are a superfood, and are one of the ten best things you can eat to boost your brain...lord knows I need that. Really, the only drawback I can think of is that they turn baby poop funny colors and they stain if you dribble while eating them. This primarily affects Adam in our family...but it's a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.

I wouldn't necessarily consider blueberries my favorite food, or even my favorite fruit for that matter. So it stands to reason that if I'm so thankful for blueberries, then just think of all the other things, things big and small, that I have to be thankful for. Which brings me back to pie....

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Crooked Angel

I now have an appreciation for the very cliche description of bad news as a "bomb dropping." It really does feel like a bomb went off in my chest tonight. It's sort of a numb and tingly almost throbbing sort of ache.

I took Rowan to the doctor today just to check out a nasty cough she's had for about a week. I didn't really think it was anything serious, but I just wanted to be sure before we head into the long Thanksgiving weekend. I was right, and her cough is just a lingering cold. No problem. A few more days and she'll be right as rain.

But just before we left, I mentioned to the doc. that I was still concerned about how she still seems so crooked. She leans very prominently to the right at all times and resists being straightened out. I wasn't too concerned when I noticed it at first when she was just a few weeks old, but now that she's just over 3 months, and as she's getting stronger and able to hold herself up much better, she is still not straightening out. "Let's get an x-ray of her back, just to see." I love that my pediatrician is overly cautious and it really doesn't take much to get an x-ray out of her.

20 minutes later, and there is the wicked film in front of me. Rowan's spine is shaped like an "s." There's a word for this: scoliosis. I blinked a few times, hoping that I wasn't seeing what I thought I was seeing. My perfect, sweet baby with a crooked back. Dr. Dewbre was almost speechless for a minute, and when she did speak, she didn't really know what to say. "This is really rare in infants, Rachel. The youngest case I've ever seen was in a 2 year old."

Okay, so what does this mean? Like any parent, I had a million questions. What do we do? Is she going to be deformed? Is she going to be permanently disabled? Can we fix her? Is she going to be in pain?

No answers. The only thing I know right now is that we will be referred to a pediatric orthopedic specialist and will start physical therapy right away. I have no idea what type of prognosis to expect...if this is something serious that we will be dealing with her whole life, or if this is something that can be resolved relatively quickly. I just don't know. That's the worst part...not knowing, and having to wait a few weeks to get any answers at all.

I just don't know why this is happening...not to her. She's so innocent, sweet and perfect, the baby girl I have been dreaming of for so long. Why would something terrible like this happen to her? Now I am imagining her in a back brace throughout her entire childhood, or worse yet, in a body cast, unable to play like all the other children. Or what if we have to resort to surgery to correct her back? How can I do that to my precious baby?

There's nothing to do now but wait. That awful word...wait. But until I know any differently, I'm just going to hold her, and all my babies, a little tighter. I am thankful that her diagnosis isn't life threatening, and will probably have a good outcome. I think of all the other parents out there who have heard much worse things from their doctors, things like "cancer" and "transplant" and other nightmarish words. I know how devastated I feel right now, I can't imagine how much worse it can be.

Right now my little angel is sleeping peacefully in her cradle, warm and comfortable. But her momma's heart is breaking.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


So Kalena found my glasses. They were under the couch, along with my sunglasses. I guess that's where the spectacle gnome lives.

And I was so sure David looked there...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


How many things can I lose in two weeks? Seriously. It's getting beyond ridiculous. First, I lost my glasses. I laid down on the couch for a rest, fell asleep, and the glasses-gnomes carried them off to spectacle land. Now I've been nearly blind for two weeks, just barely managing to navigate the roadways using my prescription sunglasses. This was interesting a few days ago when it was overcast, cloudy and quite gloomy. I'm sure I looked like a lunatic driving around in my very dark glasses. That was all fine and good--I'm used to looking like a nut--until, like my glasses before them, my sunglasses disappeared into the great unknown. So now I am even endangering my children's very lives every time I get behind the wheel. I figure since I drive a veritable tank, if we do wreck, it probably won't be fatal. Oy.

A few days after my glasses turned up missing, I managed to lose the keys to said tank. I was scrambling around frantically trying to find them so that I could pick Kalena up from school, until I remembered the spare that is hanging from a very rusty wire under the chassis of the Suburban. So I made it in the nick of time...but still didn't have keys. Until Isaac comes prancing into the kitchen last night, jingling my keys in his hand. Where were they, you ask? He took it upon himself to go and bury them in the cushions of the recliner in the play room. Great. Are my glasses there, too? No dice.

So then, this morning, while I'm desperately trying to complete our morning routine twenty minutes earlier than usual so I can take Wolfie to the clinic to get the 'ol sniparoo, I realize that my credit card is missing. Oh, holy crap. I give up. Really. I'm just going to sit on the floor and bang my head against the wall until they come to pick me up and take me away to the looney bin. But one more search of my wallet, and there's my credit card..not lost at all, just shoved into a weird place where I couldn't see it. So now my blind eyes are playing tricks on me. Great. Just what I need.

What can I loose next? My sanity is long gone, so I'm not counting on keeping that... So far, I haven't managed to lose any of my children, which is probably the best news of the week, although Rowan is sick and sounds like a sad, pitiful little mouse when she tries to cry. Poor baby. I hate cold always brings the sniffles, coughs and runny noses that are really bad when you have a kid and almost unbearably overwhelming when you have four.

But, ever the optimist, I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, if for no other reason than the fact that I am madly in love with turkey and dressing. I imagine myself walking barefoot on a beach, cradling a heaping, steaming plate of thanksgiving bounty and a smile creeps across my haggard face. Aaahh, 'tis the season!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stupid is as Stupid Does

So today I ran up to HEB because I was making chicken n' dumplins...yummy...and I needed a bigger pot. So I get my pot and a couple of other things, since I'm making a poppyseed cake, know I can't just make one thing...if I do something, I have to go completely overboard. Anyway, I'm coming out of HEB with my little mini-cart (it's so cool using one of those...I didn't have any kids with me!) and I am in a big hurry 'cause I need to get home and get that chicken cooking. I notice a gathering of bright orange vests around a very fancy, very shiny, very new Toyota something-or-other SUV and a very fancy, very shiny lady with red lipstick and lots of hairspray gesturing wildly at them and shouting something about how it's not her fault. She had them all looking very afraid that she might burst into a ball of fire if her temperature got high enough to ignite all that hairspray. "Interesting," I think to myself. I'm a little too nosy for my own good.

As I'm walking by, I slow down a bit and glance at her pristine truck and realize that it has a massive, ugly scar streaking from ass-end to the front on the drivers side. So that's why she's upset...and then I can see why that nasty scrape is up the whole side of her car. It seems a big, pimped-out cherry red 1970-something Caddy has pulled in all wonky and it's rear view mirror is still gouged into the side at the front bumper.

Now I'm thinking, "no wonder this lady is upset!" I'd be pissed, too. And THEN, upon further inspection, it is clear as day why the Caddy scraped up the side of the SUV...this lady, in all her shiny and fancy glory, has parked RIGHT on the line. In fact, I think her front tires had actually crossed into the Caddy's parking space a little. Okay, I can imagine the scenario...she's in such a hurry, no time to worry if she's parked considerately so that someone else can park next to her. Probably has to get to her mani/pedi appointment or something. Seems Miss Shiny helmet-hair herself had it comin', and some dude in a tricked-out, rims shinin', wide-ass Caddy decided to show her that she ain't the only driver on the road, big brand-new silver SUV or not.

I was half-tempted to wait around and see the throw-down when the owner of the Caddy came out. But, no, I had a chicken to cook, by god. I can only imagine and laugh hysterically when I think about some big dude with gold teeth tellin' that lady right where she could put her car, probably not in terms nearly that polite. You know it was either gonna be big gold teeth or a buxom black lady with head a-bobbin, long nails a-clickin' just giving her the what-for. Oh yeah. I can see it now. Hairspray didn't stand a chance...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Didn't get it

So that about sums it up. I didn't get the job because I can't work Saturdays, and apparently that is a deal breaker. So the job hunt continues....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mary had a little Squig

Tonight in the bathtub, I asked Isaac and Adam if they wanted to sing a song with me. I was feeling jolly for some unknown reason (probably because I got a call for a second interview at Dillards for tomorrow!) and thought it might be fun to sing with them. So I suggest Row your Boat or Wheels on the Bus. Isaac had another idea...

"Mom, why don't we sing Mary had a little Squig. You know that one, right. It's really good."

"No, baby, I don't know that one, why don't you sing it for me?"

"Maaaary had a little Squig it swims and swims. Maaaary had a little Squig. [mumble mumble mumble] if you see the Squig and its in the waaaater [mumble mumble mumble]"

"Wow, Isaac, that sure was a nice song."

"Yeah, it was pretty good."

Just to clarify, the squig is a little yellow swimming pool dive-toy that looks something like a squid with a lot of little tentacles. He waved it all around while he sang his little ditty. Even though he drives me to the brink of insanity most days, he sure can be the cutest, sweetest little boy when he tries.

Adam enjoyed the song, too, but he just sort of shouted along a lot of "bumm" (boat) and "aaah be dumm" (his standard phrase which means everything). He is so funny. He has to say goodbye to everything, so when we got out of the bathtub, I picked him up and wrapped him in his towel, and he stuck out his chubby little hand and waved at the bathtub and said, "Bye bye dums." Oh, and he tries to say Cooper, but it comes out "Pooker." That one just kills me! He's too adorable. I know I'm biased, but he is pretty stinkin' cute.

I should find out about my job tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be working part-time evenings and Sundays at Dillards by the end of the week!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Workin' Girl?

Yep, the title says it all. I am on the job hunt. Not for any 'ol job, ya see. Nope, no regular hours for me. This SAHM is looking to work nights. Barf. Oh, sorry, did I just barf? Uh, yeah, I did. The finances are dictating that we need more income in this house, so that leaves me to find employment somewhere. In just a few, I'm headed out to some local hotels to see if anybody will hire sweet lil' ol' me for their overnight desk position. After that, I might hit up HEB to see if they need an overnight cashier. But Rachel, when will you sleep? That's a dern good question. Oh well, who needs sleep anyway? I prefer to be a walking zombie...then at least I have a good excuse for going out of the house looking like a vagabond.

But on to more cheerful, there are no more cheerful things. The weather is suckity today and I am feeling pretty much downtrodden. But Rowan is still adorable, Isaac and Adam have been getting along really well and Kalena is really starting to read! So I guess there's my silver lining!

Wish me luck. I'm sure going to need it....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lazy Sunday

One of the best SNL skits of all time. I'm surprised that many peeps I talk to have never seen's so funny it makes me pee my pants!

And while I'm on the subject of things that rock, check out the song in my playlist by Tally Hall. Do they sound familiar? They should, because they're the voices and music behind Playhouse Disney's "Happy Monster Band." They're so cool!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A fairy, a ninja, a rooster and a kitty cat walk into a bar....

Well, maybe not into a bar...what kind of mom would I be if I took my kids to a bar on Halloween? Here's my little fairy:

Isaac, super ninja:

Adam, the cutest little rooster:

Sweet Kitty Rowan:

The kids, of course, had a blast trick or treating. Until they got tired, and then they were the whiniest group of children I've ever heard. Our Halloween started off rather interestingly...just as I was leaving to pick Gavin up from school, there in the street was a pitiful, half-dead kitten. You know me, the big sucker that I am couldn't leave it in the road to get squashed. So what do I do? Rachel to the rescue, of course, and that scraggly blind kitten ended up in my bathroom in a box. We had to take the little guy to the humane society before we could get on with our Halloween festivities. So sad.

Adam hated the little leg covers I made to complete his rooster outfit, and so he didn't wear them. Isaac lost the mask about 2 minutes into trick or treating...but most of the stuff I made they actually wore, which was exciting to me! Kalena has already decided that she wants to be a cowgirl next year which rocks because that means I don't have to make a thing! At least not for her...

Here are all the kiddos after a score!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat???

This evening, things got strangely quiet at the Engeling house. A little too quiet, in fact. A spooky, eerie, something-wicked-this-way-comes kind of quiet. And when David and I, full of trepidation, went to investigate, this is what we found:

I think this picture speaks for itself. Happy Halloween, from Adam.

And because I am soooo behind on posting pictures, here ya go. Rowan is smiling so much, and she talks and coos and it just melts me into a puddle on the floor. David finally caught her with the camera! Doesn't her hair look kind of like Conan O'Brien in this picture? Either that or K. D. Lang....

Also, for those who don't know, David is such a sucker. He brought us home yet another pooch to call our own. This one was (kinda still is) pretty scraggly. Poor guy was dumped out near a rural house David was working on and Dave just couldn't leave him out there to starve. He is so sweet, it's ridiculous. He gets along great with Cooper, and he's awesome with the kids. Unfortunately, something is wrong with one of his front paws. So what did we name him? Well, I'm a dork and was kidding around about giving him a good German name since he looks like he might be part German Shepherd. What about Fritz? Franz? No, I've got it...what about Wolfgang? Then we can call him Wolfie! Ha ha! Yeah, except Kalena and Isaac took me seriously, so now we have Wolfie in the family. It does kinda fit him. If he were a person, he'd probably be a professor of Romanian literature or something. Isn't he cute?

Amazingly, we actually got around to carving pumpkins this year. They never did make it out to our front porch. (David is supposed to put them out there tonight). Every year, I get all ambitious thinking about how fun it will be to carve pumpkins, and then they just rot on the back porch because we never get to it. Last year, we did manage to sprout a giant pumpkin patch though. I think if we'd actually watered it, we might've even gotten some pumpkins. Oh well. The kids did have fun, though! Isn't Kalena's heaband cool? No? Well, don't tell her that. I think she thought she was Joan Jett or something. And Isaac was being "super Isaac" in his cape. If only he were a real superhero, he could magically fly to a potty every time he needs to pee instead of screaming in the car at the exact moment that we are boxed in line to pick up Kalena from school. That would be a super power worth having.....

I also owed some pictures of our Sea World trip, so here ya go. This is me and little bit at the San Antonio Zoo. If I look tired, I am.

Here's David riding some weird little ferris wheel type ride witht the boys. Kalena couldn't ride with them, so she got to ride with a stranger. I guess that's the hazard of too many kids. You have to share them with strangers when you go on vacation.

And here's everybody getting ready to watch one of the shows. Aren't they cute in their little hats? They better be, because those suckers cost me 50 friggin' bucks. All because I forgot to pack their hats on what was arguably the sunniest day of the entire year. Yeah, gift shops are ripofffs. Humbug.
So there you have it. Tomorrow is Halloween, and I'm really excited. I've spent the last two days trying to teach Adam how to say "trick or treat." He does this awesome little shimmy dance and says "ticka ticka ticka ticka." If he can pull that out at the moment of candy exchange tomorrow night, we ought to make a killing. The kid is cute enough that I want to give him candy every time he does that. Perfect strangers don't stand a chance. If he adds his version of "please," they might just hand him their entire candy bowls. He's got the most enchanting way of putting his little hands under his chin with his fingers out and grinnning his toothy grin and saying "ah-bee-dum." I assume this means "please" since he does it every time I ask him to say "please" for something. And he likes to say "bye bye dums." I don't know who "dums" are, but the suckers tomorrow night might be when they fall for his cuteness and give over all their Halloween loot. Muah ha ha ha.

So now I just need to figure out how to get pictures from Kodak gallery over here and I can post Kalena's birthday pics. And when I get some pictures of our newly stained cabinets, I'll put them up too. Just for you Marie. :)

Oooh, oooh, it's Midnight!

Yes, it's midnight dear friends, and industrious lady that I am, I just finished all three of the kids' Halloween costumes. I gotta say, they are totally rockin' awesome. Kalena is going to be a fairy, Isaac is a ninja and Adam is a rooster. I copped out and bought Rowan a little footie sleeper that's like a little black cat with a pink bow at the neck. I got it at Wal-Mart for 8 bucks. I know, I suck because I didn't make her costume too. Whatever. Next year, I guess I'll be up for 4 costumes. I am so tired of sewing. Mainly because every time I would put some part together, I'd realize I'd done it wrong and have to re-do the whole friggin' thing. And you guys know I'm not a re-doer. I'm a "eh, it's not too'll be fiiiine" kinda gal. I hate doing things twice. But, for the sake of my kids looking very cool on Halloween (and me getting to say smugly to anyone who asks, "why yes, I made these myself!") I sucked it up and tried (mostly) to get things right. They do look pretty cool! Pictures, you ask? Well, you'll have to wait until it's not midnight! Ashley is so right, I am totally a glutton for punishment! Gee, Rachel, not enough on your plate? Why not heap on some more? But at least I'm done now!

Also, I am feeling tons better. I'm still a bit sore and I can't quite bend over all the way, but it's close. I'm back to doing all my normal stuff. Like running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Ewww, that is such a gross expression, I don't know why I just included it. Maybe because it's midnight and I should totally be in bed.

Rowan goes in for her 2 mo. checkup tomorrow, even though she's already almost 3 mos. old. Sigh. Where has the time gone? She's already 1/4 of the way through her first year! :0 (Aren't those little emoticons so handy? Kinda weird that you can make a face out of punctuation, but they are certainly useful..)

And I double-promise (you can't triple stamp a double stamp!) to get the pics I owe up far, I need: Kalena's b-day, our Sea World trip, and Halloween....and a recent pic of Rowan. Anything else? Didn't think I'm off to bed! Nighty night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Real quick-like

Had the surgery. It sucked. It hurts. I'm tired. Thank God for David. Thank God for Ashley. Thank God for Julie. Thank God for Jonya. Thank God for all my awesome friends who checked in on me and Courtney for sending me cookies. I guess I have a lot to thank God for, huh?

I need to post pics of K's birthday, and of our awesome Sea World San Antonio trip. This, however, will have to wait until I can sit upright for more than 10 minutes.

I'm going back to bed. I'll be there for the rest of the day if anyone needs me. Hopefully they won't, because I doubt I'm going to be much help. If I say anything strange, it's just the Vicodan talking.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Pooptastic Pooperama

Wednesday morning started like any other....too early for me. But I was in a good mood, determined that I was going to be patient, fun and just really positive for the day. Until I opened the door to Adam and Isaac's bedroom and was hit with a stench that was, well, repulsive. It was the overwhelming stink of poo. My stomach sank into my toes and I inched closer to Adam's crib, knowing what I would find, but still silently praying it was all a bad dream.

Sure enough, there in the shadows I could see the brown smudges. Everywhere. Poo poo everywhere. It seems that sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Adam decided to remove his diaper and THEN poop. I don't think he meant to play in it or make a mess. He was sort of standing crunched up in the corner of his crib, as if he were trying to stay out of the grossness. Well, he didn't do a very good job, because he was covered in doodie, his blankie was just gagworthy, there were smears everywhere in his crib.

What a way to start the morning. All I can say is thank the good lord I wasn't still pregnant or I would've upchucked for sure. I think this one takes the cake for my mommy-gross-out moments. Sure, I've dealt with poop before, just not to this magnitude. I've even handled simultaneous poop/puke moments (those are ALWAYS fun). But I guess the scale of the poop in this particular situation was just a higher order.

I guess I probably should've put a warning on this post since it's rather graphic. If you just sat down to read this blog with a bowl of chocolate ice cream or a Snickers candy bar, I apologize profusely.

But, while we're on the topic of poop, let me just mention something that is really bizarre....every time me and the kiddos go to visit Ashley, someone HAS to poop at her house. It's usually Adam. But today it was Adam and Rowan. It doesn't matter what time of day, if they've all already pooped that day or even how short the duration of our visit. We can literally be there for all of 5 minutes, and someone will figure out a way to squeeze out a poop while we're there. I don't know...maybe Ashley's house is built on a black poop hole or something...(gee, that didn't come out right...)

Enough poop talk for one night already. Have sweet dreams and may all your lives be as poop-free as is healthy and humanly possible.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Catching up

Bad blogger. Bad, bad blogger. I make you all wait in suspense for weeks. Where can I start? Life is so busy. Some days I wish I could just push pause and take a minute and really enjoy what is going on with each of my kids. They are growing and changing so fast. I am beginning to understand why little old ladies always come up to me in the store with sad eyes, pat my arm and tell me to enjoy my kids because "they grow up so fast." I dread the day when I'm that little old lady, watching the mommies in the grocery store fed up to the gills with their little heathens and wishing that I could have just one more day of the chaos with my babies. Life really does move too fast.

Rowan is such a beauty, and already changing so much from the little squished-up, old man, gnomish newborn. Now she's a lovely little chub and smiling all the time. I did my best to catch a pic one day when she was happy, but this was the best I could do:

Here she is in her little bouncer...a little slumpy, but still pretty!

Here are all four of my kiddos. Not the best shot, but at least they're all in one place! Kalena loves to hold Rowan. In fact, she and Isaac fight about it all the time. If one has her, the other one wants her. Even Adam tries to get in on the action. Although he usually sort of flops her over when he holds her, so we try to avoid that one. I really love seeing how much they love her. I want nothing more than for the kids to have a close relationship with one another. Sure, they fight, but at the end of the day, they give each other hugs and kisses good night, and all is forgiven.

Here's our newest family member, little Cooper. He's a great little puppy. He's doing pretty good on the house training, but he is a chewing machine. Although it does help give the kids incentive to keep their junk up off the floor....he's already chewed through the wires to the surround sound and our phone. I guess it's kind of nice not getting all of the solicitor calls, so maybe little Coop has been a blessing in disguise.

We also had a great visit from my Nana and Aunt Susie from Kansas. They got to see the kids, and we had a wonderful visit. I miss them a lot, and it's always fun when we get a visit with them. The kids, even though they don't get to see them often, sure love them a lot. Rowan is actually named after my Aunt Susie (Rowan Suzanne). She doesn't have children of her own, but she would make a great mom. In fact, she's sort of like a second mom to me, and I love her to death. Here we are visiting at my mom's house in Belton:

And of course, there's the Rodeo. Isaac has been asking about it for a year now, ever since we went last time. And every time we drive by the HOT fair complex, he says, "are we going to the rodeo again?" Well, on Saturday we went. The kids had a blast, and of course they looked friggin' adorable in their cowboy gear. Check out Kalena's cool belt buckle! I love it!

As promised, here's a pic of our new kitchen cabinets. I had a couple more pics to show, but somehow Blogger deleted them. Arrrrgh. So you just get the one. But let me tell you, it is amazing. I can't wait to cook a meal or bake a cake in here! I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it....and you know why if you've ever been in the kitchen at our house now. Sheesh.

Oh yeah, and just for fun, here's Adam. Looking mischevous. He's bad. Really bad. But is he cute, or what?

Monday, September 29, 2008

All the latest buzz

Well here we are again, busy as a bumblebee, and too many blogs to write and not enough time. Oh, the woes of the industrious mother. I am happy to report that all the kiddos are fine and dandy, everyone is well (except for the terrible teething Adam is doing). We had a nasty tummy bug run its course, but the poops seem to be back to normal. Thank goodness.

So here are the latest events, in no particular order: Kalena is a rhyming fool thanks to kindergarten; Rowan is becoming quite the little cooer; Isaac is, well, Isaac; David got the window and door trim up at the house and it looks fantastic; we had an amazing visit from one of my favorite aunts and my Nana; I went to the Austin quilt show with David's mom and sister and met his brother and wife there (it was too much fun!); and did I mention we got a puppy??? Yup, just a little black bundle of joy we named Cooper. Of course I have a zillion pictures I need to post, but it's 10:30, I just finished sewing some slings that I am selling tomorrow, and I need to grab some shuteye while the babe is asleep. But I do promise to update the pictures very soon!

Oh, as a sidenote: If you noticed that I added some cool music to my page, good for you. Unfortunately, they are not any of the songs I picked, and I have no idea how they got there. But, since there's Guns'n'Roses on the list, I guess it'll do. I suck with computers. Really, I do.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A last first at the end of the beginning

Last night Rowan smiled a real smile for the first time. David was holding her, just talking to her in his daddy-talk, and she cooed and smiled twice. It was beautiful and devastating. Of course, he got her first smile. The kids always love daddy best. But I realized this is the last first smile. Everything she does from here on in is our last first. It was the last first baby will be the last first time for everything. And while it's time for this stage in our lives to come to an end and time for us to move gradually away from baby-hood into the next phase, it hurts to know that this is the last baby I will ever have. Yesterday was Rowan's 5-week birthday. And with our hectic schedule and busy weeks, I know one morning I will wake up and Rowan will be turning 1, and her infancy will be over...just like that, in a flash, I won't be the mother of a little baby ever again.

Yesterday I went in for my postpartum checkup and scheduled the surgery that will make all of this set in stone. And I sat there in that little office while the lady was on the phone with the surgery center setting up my appointment, and I heard her say all of my name, address, birthdate, social security number, and I felt like I was in a dream. It didn't seem right that she was talking about the death of my fertility like I was just another patient. It was cold and sterile, and I sat there with tears welling up in my eyes. I just wanted someone to pat my hand and say something kind, like "it's been wonderful, Rachel, and your children are perfect. You've done good and now go raise those precious babies into fine adults." But no. All she said was, "yes, she's having a bilateral tubal ligation for permanent sterilization." Like I needed to be shut down or something.

I know it sounds like I'm not ready to take this step, but that isn't true. I really feel blessed and content with my family. I just want to mourn the passing of this stage in my life. It's the end of the beginning in a way. David and I spent the first few years of our marriage having our children, and now we are leaving that stage behind and looking ahead to all the wonderful experiences we'll have with our family of 6. I am excited to see where we'll be headed in the next few years. So why do I still feel like crying?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Little Hammy

Sweet Rowan. She's such a good baby--at least so far...although I probably just jinxed myself. She's happy and content just to be wrapped up in her little blanket. She naps through all the chaos, and just looks around with those big beautiful eyes when she wakes up. I can't believe how much I already love her. I remember when Adam was born, it felt like he was somebody else's baby for a while, and then one day I realized that he just fit right in with us. Well, Rowan seems like she's been a part of our family from the beginning. It feels like we've been waiting for her ever since Kalena was born, and now all of us are here we've all finally found each other. Complete.

I took her for an ultrasound of her spine yesterday. It was nerve-wracking to say the least, but she did great. Our pediatrician scheduled it when she noticed that she had what they call a sacral dimple. It's like a little hole right at her tailbone, and the dr. was concerned when she couldn't see the bottom of it. Luckily, the ultrasound showed her to be perfect. For some reason, I really wasn't nervous about this at all..I knew she was just fine. Call it mother's intuition, but I'm glad I got the reassurance that I was right and she's okay.

Today while we were in the car after we picked Kalena up from school, Rowan was fussing and Isaac patted her little leg and said, "it's okay little hammy." Little Hammy. It fits her perfectly. Speaking of, Hammy is starting to squirm, so I guess that's my cue to wrap it up.

As a sidenote, in house news, WE GOT OUR CABINETS!!!!! Yeah! I'm so stinkin' excited. We're going to the ranch tomorrow to see them, so I'll post some pics next chance I get!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Did you just say Haneycooter?

So we have a new friend here at the Engeling casa. Isaac has dubbed a random little action figure Haneycooter. (It's Roddy from Flushed Away, actually....I think he came in a Wendy's kid's meal.) This is reminiscent of our visit from Handy Carver, but something about Haneycooter is just a little more risque. I can barely keep a straight face when he comes up asking me, "mom, have you seen my Haneycooter?" Right now, he is calling me "mushy" instead of mommy. I admit, my secondborn is a weird little kid. Very weird. There are days I worry that he'll grow up to be that know, the kid in high school that everybody thinks might secretly be building bombs in his basement because he is so weird. But that kid is usually really gangly and strange-looking, and Isaac isn't particularly oddly shaped, other than his gigantic feet. I guess he could get weird looking later on. Puberty may not be nice to him. Only time will tell.

Also, Kalena has a new imaginary horse. Her name is Scarlett, and Kalena rides her everywhere. EVERYWHERE. All day, when I ask her to do something, before moving, she pulls back her imaginary reins, gives a little whinny and says "Hya Scarlett." Literally every time she enters or leaves a room, she is galloping. It is driving me positively nuts. Last night, I'd had enough and I caught myself saying, "why don't you put Scarlett in her stable now?" And Isaac decided that he needed his own horse to ride around, so he's calling his Artex. Even Adam has started trying to gallop through the house, although he looks more like he's limping on one leg. It's pretty funny.

I sure hope my kids aren't the only ones who come up with random ridiculous words and ride around on imaginary animals. Poor Rowan...she doesn't stand a chance at normalcy with all these looney tunes running around here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quick Pics

Here are a couple of shots from our last-second road trip to Ft. Worth on Labor Day. We went to the Imax and the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History. It was a lot of fun, although Rowan did pee on me during a diaper change, which was interesting....and I had a miserable migraine on the way home, but otherwise we had a great time! So enjoy!

This is a rare pic of all three looking, sort-of smiling and at least sitting in the same location!

My little Cowboy, Isaac.

And Kalena, never to be outdone, in full cowgirl gear!

Just for giggles, here's a pic of Adam and his indestructible blankie:

And here's a recent picture of Rowan, happy as a little clam in her pack'n'play. She's such a sweet baby!
Thanks for indulging me in the picture overload. Not much content, other than just showing off my four beauties!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Miracle on Herring Ave

Yes, you read it right here my friends...there has been a miraculous event at my house today. It's as if the virgin Mary herself appeared before us all. What, you ask, could be such a holy and austere occurrence? What could rival the great feats performed by the biblical legends?

Well let me tell you. ALL FOUR of my children are sleeping right now. It is 3:45pm, and there is not a sound to be heard in my house except the click-clack of the keyboard as I type. It is a great day here at the Engeling I fear may never happen again. So let's all take a minute and bask the in the glory that is silence.

Okay, my moment is gone. Adam is talking in his crib now and Rowan is grunting her wake-up symphony. Time to go back to chaos. But it was certainly glorious while it lasted! I got a full hour's nap on the couch in perfect quiet. Aaah, thank you baby Jesus.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Great Gummi War

Leave it to a dad to devise the most incredibly random, off-the-wall activities for children. I leave the kids in David's hands for half an hour to take a bath, and when I emerge from my restful, relaxing cocoon of steam and bubbles, I step right into the middle of a raging battle. The thundering feet of Isaac nearly trample me as he races by, arm cocked to fire. His ammunition? A bag of gummis. Apparently David thought it would be a great idea to let the kids chase each other around the house throwing bags of gummis at each other. Even Adam, his little legs going a mile a minute, ran by with his beloved gummis in hand ready to attack. This melee went on for an HOUR. Apparently gummis are as good for throwing as they are for eating. Granted the kids had a great time, but really, David? [rolling eyes]. No wonder the kids all like daddy better...he lets them run amok any 'ol time.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Mother of all Blogs!

I'm Baaack! That's right, I'm rarin' to go. I've got so much to write, it's scary. Bear with me as I attempt to catch you all up on the last month or so of our life. Of course, by now, most of you know that Rowan Suzanne has joined our family, and I'll give a full account of all the details. But first, let's revisit Isaac's birthday! It was really great...although I had a minor meltdown when we got to the lake and I realized that it was PACKED and there was no way we were getting a table close to the beach. We settled for near the playground instead, and it turned out to be a good thing. The kids were able to play there while we cooked, then we all went down to the beach together. Isaac really had a great time with his friends. To top it all off, my dear friend Julie Bell made the most amazing turtle-licious cake imaginable. Check this puppy out:

I told rocks. The woman is a genius. Not only was it the coolest cake I have ever seen, but it tasted amazing, too. I should know, because I managed to eat the entire East block by myself one lonely afternoon. I really can't believe Isaac is already 3 years old. Wow, it's hard to watch your kids grow up before your eyes. Nobody told me I'd be a little sad each year on their birthdays! Here's my handsome boy:

About a week after Isaac's birthday party, I had to say goodbye to one of the best friends I have ever had. Marie and Adam and their kids packed up and headed to Amarillo. I miss them so much, saying goodbye was so much worse than I thought it would be. In fact, some days it seems surreal that Marie isn't just a few blocks away anymore. Kalena cried her little eyes out the day we said goodbye. She lost a best friend, too. Uggh..I can't start crying now...I still have blog to write!!!

Well, after WEEKS of waiting in misery, complete with non-stop nausea, contractions, serious back pain and general angst, Rowan Suzanne FINALLY made her appearance on August 15. David picked the date. Damn him. I think he cursed me. I asked him when he thought we'd have the baby sometime in the first week of August, and when he said the 15, I thought he was crazy. I thought there was no way I'd make it that long. So what do I know, anyway? The little stinker wasn't going to make things easy on me, that's for sure! But on David's selected day, which happens to be my niece's birthday also, sure enough the "real" contractions started. It just so happened that my husband was over at my friend Julie Brewer's house fixing her toilet. And of course when I told her that I thought this might be the real deal, she went into a total panic...that's why I love Julie. Thank God Ashley was able to come and time contractions for me and distract my kids while I folded and put away a zillion loads of laundry. Somehow, the busy work kept me distracted from the fact that my contractions were getting pretty intense. By the time David got home, it was time to GO. Ashley took the kids to McDonald's to meet up with David's parents, and we were off.

On the way, I told David to hurry up. And then I told him again. And then I was adamant that he get a move on and quit stopping at red lights. I was in no mood to have the baby in the he finally ran a red light and we got to the hospital. When the midwife checked me, I was already at 9cm. Great...another quick labor. Sure enough, 45 minutes after we arrived at the hospital, Rowan was born. My midwife was awesome. Why didn't I have her the first three times? I'm feeling great, just tired, and Rowan is amazing. She just fits right in with our not-so-little family. Isaac and Kalena both love her to much so, they fight over who's going to hold her.
Geez, those kids will fight about anything! Even Adam likes to give her hugs, kisses and slaps on the head. I'm assuming those slaps are love-pats....he keeps telling her "hi." It's pretty much adorable. Here's our sweet girl:

She looks so much like Kalena when she was a baby. It's so hysterical to me that both my daughters look alike and both of my sons look alike. And yet the girls look nothing like the boys. Genetics are crazy, man. I also have to say, I have the MOST amazing friends. We've had people bringing us food left and right. I don't think David will have to actually cook anything for weeks. We've got casseroles coming out our ears...and everything has been so delicious! Although I think Jonya takes the cake with her amazing asian food....mmmm, catering leftovers rock!!

Finally, in all the chaos, Kalena started Kindergarten this past Thursday. Talk about watching your kids grow up. She looked like such a big girl in her uniform on her first day. She's such a great kid. Her teacher has already sent praise home for her, saying that she is a good listener and sets a good example for the rest of her class. I am so proud of her. I know she is going to do awesome in school this year. I am excited to watch her learn! My smart girl! Here she is on her first day. So pretty!

And, just to finish up the novel that I've just written, I had to throw in this picture of Adam. Yes, the love affair with his toothbrush continues. The sheer joy on his face in this picture reflects the passion he has for cleaning his little snaggly teeth. Nothing makes that child happier than running water and a dab of toothpaste. If only life were that easy.....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Too fat to blog...

I know so many of you have been wondering "where are the witty and insightful blogs from Rachel? I just can't go one more day without her shining brilliance..." Well, you'll just have to bide your time, my friends. Much as I am biding mine. Yes, that's right, I still haven't had the baby. I'm hot, crampy, and most of all seriously crabby. Don't believe me? Just ask Ashley. So, until I can either come to terms with the possibility of being pregnant for an indefinite amount of time OR I pop out this little peanut, you'll all just have to wait. Yes, I've got blogs that I need to write (i.e. Isaac's rockin' birthday's that for a teaser?). But I just don't have the mental energy right now. Sorry Charlies.

But I will throw you all this one little tidbit....we're that much closer on a baby far, we've received the suggestions of Bluebird and Cokey Coley (thanks Isaac) in addition to the old favorites of Cupcake and Sweetheart. And Annika is out. Kalena named one of her stuffed horses Annika since it's her favorite name. I don't have the heart to tell her that her obsession has officially ruined the name for me...all I can hear is her little whinny when I hear that name now...she has been going on and on about Annika and Raina (her two little horses) for weeks. But our short list now includes Rowan (the old favorite), Lyra and Wren. I guess only time will tell.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm not Nesting...really

So a couple of my friends have asked lately, "are you nesting yet?" And I keep replying, "nah, just feel like I should start thinking about where all the baby stuff is going to go." But today, I realized that I am nesting. Might as well be gathering twigs at this point and getting ready to lay an egg, because I compulsively cleaned the house today. And not just the usual pick-up the toys, load the diswasher kind of cleaning. No, no. It was a full-on scrub the floors, organize the bathrooms kind of cleaning spree. I was frazzled by lunchtime. Not only that, but I decided that I absolutely MUST find a changing table. It had become an obsession, really, since I decided two days ago that I couldn't possibly bring another baby into this household without having a place to centralize all diapering of all children. It seemed like a brilliant organizational move on my part. But finding said changing table has turned into a scavenger hunt of epic proportions.

The hunt started on cragislist, an obvious choice. Where better to find a barely used, incredibly cheap yet sturdy piece of baby furniture? No luck. Then on to Baby Depot at Burlington Coat Factory. Strike two. More strikes at Wal-Mart, Target, even SmartyPants. In desperation, I remembered the small and disorganized section of Big Lots that has baby stuff. What the heck, it was already way past Adam's naptime, and scorching hot to boot. Why not lug in all three kids on the off-chance my prize would be there. Lo and Behold, there it sat, under a tattered carseat box....a single, simple wooden changing table. The price is right....can it be? The only's the wrong color. I am desperate to find one that does NOT have a natural wood finish..I need a darker color to coordinate with all of my other baby furniture. Oh well. I'm too disheartened to look any more. This changing table is MINE.

You would think the insanity would stop there. But when I go overboard, I go all the way over. As in, there is no life-saving device out there big enough to reel me back in. I lug my treasure into the house this afternoon and decide there's no need to wait for David to put it together. I'm a modern woman. I can friggin' do it myself. So an hour and half, a broken fingernail and a migraine later, the changing table sits-fully assembled mind you-ready to accept stinky butts in all its glory. But the shelves below it look embarrassingly bare. Of course. This means I need coordinating baskets to store all the necessary items: diapers, wipes, butt paste, and the straight jacket they'll need to put me in when this is all said and done.

By now it is 6 o'clock, I've fed the kids a hasty dinner (which Adam promptly hurled to the ground) and have, in my dementia, loaded everyone up and headed to Target. It's perfect...I'll find my baskets, some baby detergent, and a coming home outfit for our new little princess. Nevermind Adam is probably teething and is so uncontrollably grumpy that I hardly recognize him or that Isaac has decided the phrase "don't touch" means to grab everything within reaching distance and give a mighty tug.

But we're home now, I got my baskets, detergent AND outfit, by God, and I am about to commence washing and sorting the baby clothes, socks and receiving blankets. I am a woman on a mission. A madwoman, perhaps, but that's a whole other story. Why do they call it nesting, anyway? It seems the phrase "compulsively organizing to the point of self-destruction" would be more accurate. In my case, anyway.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Oreos never tasted so good. It is now 3:49 am, and I have been awake for going on two hours now, and I have just eaten an entire row of the little black cream-filled devils. A good 500 calories. Oh joy. Damn these pregnancy symptoms. I hate not sleeping. I feel like I'm losing precious minutes in the sleep bank that I'm going to regret once the little one is here. It'll be 3am one night, I'll be up nursing the baby and thinking to myself, "remember the night you ate the whole bag of Oreos when you shoulda been sleeping? Dontcha wish you'd gotten those extra couple hours of sleep now?" And then I'll bang my head against the wall since we probably won't have any Oreos then, and I'll be wanting some for sure.

So why am I up tonight with no sign of sleep in sight? I just can't stop worrying about money, of all things. Everyone is on tight budgets right now, and I know we're not the only ones struggling, but geez. It just sucks that it costs as much to fill up the tank in my gargantuan vehicle as it does to buy a week's worth of groceries. But I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir...anyone reading my blog right now knows that the cost of living is just through the roof. Not sure how we're going to pay the medical bills stacked up right now, or how we're going to get through the added expense of paying for Kalena's school, or even how we're going to buy milk at the grocery store tomorrow...

Oh well. At least all three of my kids are sleeping through the night. That's an event I never dreamed would happen. At least it's quiet and peaceful at my house at nearly 4 am. Even if I can't sleep.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Tale of Handy Carver

The tale is simple enough: my kids have started calling each other (and everyone else, for that matter) Handy Carver. Where this came from, I have no idea. It all started when Kalena shouted out that Isaac was Handy Carver. And while the Carver part may apply to the situations where he is on a rampage with one of his ninja swords, I'm not exactly sure how it all comes together. I asked Kalena where it came from, and she said she just made it up. Of course. I was a little bit worried that this was some sort of 5-year-old secret lingo that us old folks just didn't understand. Turns out my daughter just has an overactive imagination. Like when she had an imaginary friend.....her name escapes me right now (the whole point of my blog!!!). One day she came up to me and said, "Mom, don't sit there, you'll sit on ______." Obviously.

Interestingly enough, Isaac has jumped on the Handy Carver bandwagon. He now refers to anything and everything as Handy Carver. For instance, "gimme that Handy Carver" and "you silly 'ol Handy Carver" are all phrases I've heard him utter today. So if you run into me and my kids out and about and you get called Handy Carver, don't worry....they're not insulting you. At least I hope not.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dreaming of Home...

So, David is furiously working every weekend to make ready our dream: 3200 square feet of historic beauty, with a kitchen to die for. Gorgeous bay windows, hardwood floors (eventually), and enough space that the kids will be able to run amok, and I'll be able to escape to my enormous bathtub for a much-needed respite. Could this really be OUR house? So here, for those who've never gotten to see all the work that David and his dad and brother have put in, is a pictorial journey of the last year of work:

This is the house as it sat when we first saw it, minus the balconies that have since rotted off. You can see the place between the first and second stories where the porches are supposed to go. One day, they'll be back...

Last summer, we tried for months to get the hulking building moved to its new location, back toward the woods on the property. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans, and it rained all summer. We finally caught a break in the weather, got the house movers all set up to go, and this is what happened:

Finally, progress....although, the house was so heavy, David and his dad had to help the movers by pulling it with the bulldozer. But what a sight, to see our house inching slowly across the pasture!

Inside, the house wasn't too beautiful. This will eventually be our kitchen. Yep, right where the gigantic hole in the floor and the two huge holes in the walls are, I will someday be able to make a gourmet meal. Okay, maybe not gourmet, but mac'n'cheese is guaranteed.

Here's where we are location, new roof, new windows, all the scaffolding in place and the siding going up! It's starting to look like home.

We've got sheetrock! No more bare walls. Walking inside, it looks like we're getting close to the finish line. This is Kalena cheesing in her new room.

We are so excited to finally get to put down roots somewhere. We are so fortunate that our dreams of having a home of our own are coming true. I can't wait until we're all stading there in the doorway, welcoming our friends and family to our house! We're getting closer every day!

Now, if only I can decide on what color to paint everything.....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Good Company

Friends are hard to come by. I mean, it's easy to meet people to visit with or say hello to occasionally, but good friends are just hard to find. I realized this last night, sitting around Marie and Adam's dinner table in their kitchen. Our dinner was disguised as a business meeting as David and Adam hashed out the details of David becoming the official handyman to the Parker estate....but it was really just an opportunity for us to get to spend some time together. The noise of the kids playing in the next room was a familiar and almost soothing backdrop to our casual conversation. Marie and Adam sitting close to one another, almost like high school sweethearts; Ashley on one side of the table, performing crowd control when the kids wandered into the kitchen; David and I on opposite ends of the table, stealing little glances and grins back and forth. It was a comfortable and pleasant evening. But just sitting and laughing with our friends was so bittersweet....knowing that we have finally found a place where we belong, where we feel welcome, and now some of our first real "friends" are leaving. It's a reality that we've all been facing this summer, but it is all just now hitting home. You don't find people that become a part of your life every day, and the relationships that we've formed are much more than casual acquaintances. We are true friends.

But our evening wasn't just melancholy and tinged with the overshadowing sadness of saying goodbye. No, Ashley's niece Alis made sure there was plenty of comic relief. In my entire life, I have never seen a kid more klutzy. She probably could be the spokesperson for the phrase, "two left feet." And it's not just that she's's almost cartoonish the way she'll just fall over. It's like someone has come and stolen her brain temporarily, and her little body just crumples to the floor. She can fall off of a chair, a couch, or just fall over while standing in place. And walking? You might as well ask the girl to walk a tightrope without falling just by asking her to walk across a room. You can bet she's gonna hit the dirt at some point. Lord knows I'm going straight to hell, but I just can't stop laughing at her. It would be different if she was bothered by her apparent inability to remain upright, but she's unphased. She pops up from the floor, unflappable. It's more than I can take. Laughing at a bumbling three-year-old? Not my most shining moment.

And how sweet it was when Kalena, Tanner and Matthew all conspired on a plot for Kalena to spend the night at the Parker house. And when they were finally all given the okay, they did a happy little dance in the playroom. It sent me back to my own childhood, and I remember that feeling of tingly anticipation, hoping my mom would give her consent. It makes me smile to think that I could give that experience to my own daughter.

I'm glad my own children have found friends that they care about, just as David and I have. I hope that they'll learn the value of true friendship, and how it can make an ordinary life sparkle. I hope that, although so many of our friends are moving in new directions and taking different paths, that sparkle will turn to a rich glow that will last our lifetimes. How cheesy am I, anyway? Maybe I should write Hallmark cards. Hmm, maybe then I could capitalize on my irrational need to say sappy and emotionally unnecessary things in a grammatically correct way. It's perfect, dontcha think?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Baby Talk

Today I went for another (thankfully) uneventful OB appointment. Going every two weeks is a bit of a pain, but at least each visit is short and sweet. There's something so surreal about hearing that freight-train of a reminds me that in a few short weeks, I'll be the mother of four. FOUR. Four little people depending on me day in and day out for their basic survival. When you put it that way, it kinda makes you feel like you're on an episode of Wild Kingdom. Which, for anyone who's ever visited our house knows, is probably a fairly accurate description.

I'll never forget the day we were driving in the car and Kalena said, "mom, I know how they can tell if it's a boy or a girl." This should be good. She proceeds to tell me that they just need to look at the baby's hair. If it has a curl, then it's clearly a girl. Good thing the ultrasound tech saw a curl...I don't think Kalena would've survived a third brother.

This pregnancy has been so unlike my previous's almost been too easy. I'm expecting the labor and delivery to go awry...or even worse, instead of finally getting an "easy" baby, I'll get a colicky, screaming banshee. But for now, I just dream about holding my sweet baby exciting to get to say those words after two precious boys. I am reminded with every kick how blessed I am to have such healthy, beautiful, vibrant children. Dare I ask that our fourth and final child be as perfect as the first three? I'm holding my breath and hoping that my luck holds out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

T-Ball and the Fireants

Last night was Kalena's very first T-Ball game. You would've thought we were on our way to the World Series when we finished up dinner last night and jumped in the Suburban....all we needed were some giant foam fingers and a big paper tray full of nachos. Our little athlete was all pumped up after a few laps sprinting the length of the house to warm up. "I'm practicing my running," she had said as she clomped by in her cleats, followed by Isaac clomping by with his gigantic flipper-feet, and Adam toddling unsteadily-but just as determined-right behind.

The game was what you'd basically expect from a group of 12 5-year olds. It looked like the Bad News Bears gone horribly sitting in the outfield, forgetting which base to run to, deciding to join the defense and grab the ball in the middle of running the know, your basic kindergarten T-ball game. Except they weren't the Bad News Bears, they were the Fireants. How's that for a team mascot?

But Kalena was determined to play her best. Here she is in her "ready position:"

I swear, she stayed in this very position through the whole game. When other kids were kicking the dirt and picking up leaves, Kalena was in the "ready position." The irony is that in her position in left field, she had no action. Most kids hit little dribblers right to the pitcher position, or the occasional ball that made it to outfield managed to bobble right up the middle. But there she stayed, a picture of determination in her "ready position." When she finally was able to outrun some of the other kiddos and grab a ball that went to deep center, you wouldn't believe the gun on that girl. She hurled it all the way from the outfield right to the first-baseman. Even some of the other dads looked our way and said, "what an arm..." and "she sure gunned it in there, didn't she?" with just a hint of jealousy in their voices. Heh...

Then it was time to bat. Of course, this is what Kalena had been looking forward to her whole life, to hear her talk. Her first two rounds at bat were pretty good, she had hits that went past the pitching mound. But her final at-bat, well, it was awesome. Here she is getting ready to hit:

And now the moment of truth:

And this is her rounding second, heading to third after she just smashed one all the way to deep center. If it had been a "real" game, it definitely would've been a home run...they just stopped her at third since she wasn't the last batter of the inning.

As she trucked into third, her coach said, "great hit, Kalena!" And in classic Kalena style, she merely grinned a smug little grin and replied, "I know." Now that's my girl.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Treading Water

There are days I wonder if all of my motherly efforts are totally in vain. I put a ridiculous amount of effort into making sure my kids have what they need on any given day. The list is endless: sippy cups, snack cups, sunscreen, extra clothes, don't forget the wipes. We're all packed up and ready to go, but have I forgotten to do something? Oh yeah, Kalena needs to finish her antibiotic...and let's dose up Isaac for that runny nose. Okay, now we're good.

And now it's 8 o'clock, approaching bedtime, that golden hour of evening when the house settles down and you can hear yourself think. I sigh in relief. But Kalena's crying...her ear hurts. And I can suddenly hear the voice of my mother-in-law echoing in my head: "You really should make sure to put swimmer's ear drops in her ears considering how often she's in the pool..." Oh, yeah. Meant to do that...and now my forgetfulness has resulted in excruciating pain for my sweet girl. So I rustle out the giant medicine basket, rifle through a bag of assorted smallish bottles and find the eardrops for pain...or are these the antibiotic drops? Crap, I can't remember. Well, let's just give her both and hope her ear doesn't fall off....

Rewind to Saturday afternoon....we're packing up from a quick trip to the mall, unloading kids and stroller and bags and a big paper cup of Sprite. Isaac has fallen asleep (always at the most inopportune times), and I've oh-so-carefully strapped him in and given him a gentle kiss as I close the door. By the time I make it around the Suburban behemoth with Adam, I open the door to a wail and a face that reads betrayal. "What's wrong?" I ask Kalena accusingly, suspecting she's done something to make him scream. She looks at me evenly and drops the bomb, "you shut his foot in the door, mom." I teleport back to Isaac's side, fling the door open and manage to unstrap him in milliseconds. Poor thing, he looked kind of like an injured puppy, his lip quivering and his blue eyes full of tears. Luckily, it wasn't serious, and he quickly calmed down with the aforementioned Sprite, but I felt like a monster. Always in a hurry, not taking time to check. Another check in the mommy screw-up column.

Some days it feels like I'm just barely keeping my head above water around here...endlessly treading water trying to stay on top of my children's needs. I just hope to God one day I don't actually drown....

But then I remember what makes it, as cliche as it sounds, all worth while....Isaac jumped off the side of the pool yesterday, all by himself...and his proud little beaming grin made my heart jump.....then I asked the kids to help me pick up around the house, and ten minutes later I walk into the playroom to see Kalena busy at work. She looks up and smiles at me and says, "brother wouldn't help, but that's okay...I'll help you, mom." That heart of mine just jumped a little higher. And of course when I ask the kids who's ready to have a snack, and I hear a chorus of "me", and look over to see Adam with that snaggly-tooth smile, his chubby little hand stuck up int he air saying "me" with everyone else. Now my heart has practically jumped out of my chest, and I don't feel like such a failure. In fact, I feel like I have it pretty good around here...even amidst the chaos.

Now if only I can make it through the day without any more mom-inflicted tears....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Oh Holy Cow...Rachel's Blogging?

Well, here we are....after being thoroughly inspired by two of my nearest and dearest (thanks Marie and Ashley!), I've decided to join the ranks of countless bloggers and throw in my two cents. Or maybe 25 cents. Whatever. In any case, here I am....ta da!

Okay, fanfare over.

I'm hoping to accomplish one thing with this blog: attempt to not forget my kids. I've realized that I just can't remember all the amazing stuff that they do day in and day out, and it's scary to me that one day I'll wake up and not recall how Isaac is obsessed with the Ninja Turtles movie (yes, he's watched it 9 times in the last 4 days), or how Kalena is blossoming into an Olympic swimmer or even how stinkin' adorable Adam is when he attempts to say "thank you" in his sweet baby way.

So, without further adieu, let's meet the cast of characters, shall we?

Enter MOM (that's me): Rachel, 27, pregnant yet again...this time a baby girl. The ringleader in this perpetual circus that we call the Engeling household. Loves her family completely, but suffers from a disheartening lack of patience. Hates to cook, but toys with the idea of enjoying it. Tries to be a good mom, friend and wife, but sometimes wonders if she's just too bossy to be any of these things. Is VERY bossy. Dreams of being a business owner someday. Dreams of being a world traveler some day. Dreams of never changing another diaper again. Also dreams that her children will grow into strong, independent, happy, productive people who enjoy her company. Wonders if her dreams are just fantasies...

DAD: David, 29. The kindest, sweetest, hardest working man on the planet. Is totally committed to providing his family with everything they need. The absolute best father imaginable, except sometimes he has the irritating habit of tuning people out, particularly the kids when they need something. Giggler. The handiest of the handy men. Very quiet...sometimes too quiet. Definitely not the disciplinarian, but shows the kids how much he loves them more than any other dad I know. Affectionate. Would rather poke his eyeballs out than have to spend more than a full day inside the house....needs to be outside like he needs oxygen. Needs his family. They need him.


Kalena: The oldest, 5. Outgoing and gregarious, but sweet and loving just the same. Is a little too much like her mother. Bossy. Likes to run the show. Is so smart, she doesn't even know that she's brilliant. Loves to color and do "projects." Loves to antagonize her brother(s), but will gladly give up her treat to them just to help make them happy. Is giving and kind like her daddy. Has the sweetest smile. Is an amazing helper...some days her mama wonders how she would get through the day without her.

Isaac: almost 3. Boy, he's a tornado. Rambunctious and a bit on the destructive side. But has a heart of gold. A little on the shy side, but loves to play with good friends. Gets overwhelmed in new situations at times. Just wants to be heard. Is so sweet to his baby brother, but likes to drive his big sister insane. Is articulate. Gives the biggest dinosaur hugs imaginable.

Adam: the current baby, 15 mos. Is that age. You know, where they're so cute it's almost unbelievable, but are into enough stuff to make you want to lose your mind. Has a smile that will make a perfect stranger gush. Can throw a tantrum with the best of 'em. Loves his toothbrush. Gives the best slobbery kisses. Is about to be evicted from the baby spot....and probably won't like it too much.

So, there you have it. That's us in a nutshell. The main players in our saga....with a smattering of friends and family thrown in for good measure, it should make for an interesting tale. If nothing else, it will be....authentic.