and kids

and kids

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I think I'm going to throw up....

Confessions by Gretchen:

About a year and a half ago Jason got a new cell phone. About a week later, I found it in the bottom of the washer as I was putting the load in the dryer. UGH! We had to buy another one ASAP, that is his business phone. A few months later, again, at the bottom of the washer. Another one to buy (and cell phones aren't cheap). Jason and I have been equally good about emptying his pockets, but have you ever tried to empty pockets of carpenter jeans - there are a lot of pockets!!! Tonight I went to shift a load to the dryer, cell phone at the bottom of the washer - dead! I couldn't believe it. I really thought I was going to throw up. The last thing we need right now is the expense of buying a phone, but apparently God thought that is what we needed. ??? I even checked the pockets this time. I pulled out his keys from one, his wallet from one and some receipts from another. I thought I checked them all, apparently not.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Allergy Panel #2

This title could either refer to the fact that this is Daegan's second allergy panel or this is my second one with one of the kids. I'm not sure? :) When Daegan was younger (maybe 3 or so) they did a mini-panel to test some food allergies. Today he had to have a full panel done. Of course, in Daegan style, he had the ultimate test done. It was 72 pricks and 24 shots. He had to have the regular panel, plus foods (again!), so they had to do it on his back - not enough room on his arms.

He wanted picture proof since Mollee had the same. And since I blogged about Mollee's, I must blog about Daegan's. He was a champ! Didn't move a muscle or complain - it was actually very amazing to me. He is allergic to life outdoors, which was no surprise - many grasses, trees, molds, etc. Thankfully, there were no food allergies and no dust allergy.

Of course, we went out for ice cream afterwards!!!

A year ago today!

It was a year ago today that Mollee was home recuperating from a tonsillectomy.
no big deal, right?
It was a year ago today that I could not wake her up from her nap.
did her lips look purple?
It was a year ago today that Mollee had a seizure right in front of me.
how long did it really last?
It was a year ago today that I truly panicked for the first time.
thankfully, the boys were all downstairs.
It was a year ago today that I called 911 for the first time ever.
they came in less than five minutes.
It was a year ago today that I rode in an ambulance for the first time ever
oxygen level: 78.
It was a year ago today that I became extremely grateful for our Children's Hospital.
everyone was so kind.
It was a year ago today that Jason's windshield was hit by a blown tire as he was racing to the hospital.
as if God was saying, 'slow down'.
It was a year ago today that the doctors just couldn't give us any answers.
possibly it was her asthma that we have just recently found out about?
It was a year ago today that we waited five days for Mollee to breathe on her own
thank you Lord for being our peace.

It was a year ago today that I had to accept the fact that I am not in control!

It is today that I am forever grateful that I tried to wake up Mollee from her nap.
low oxygen for too long could have been devastating.
It is today that I am relieved I saw her have a seizure.
even if I still dream about it.
It is today that I am glad I panicked and called 911.
sometimes, I forget to panic.
It is today that I have a hard time expressing my relief that Jason wasn't hurt as the windshield shattered in front of him.
what would I have done?
It is today and everyday that I am thankful we have a church family that holds us up in prayer.
what do people do without prayer?

and, most importantly,

It is today that I am eternally grateful that I am not in control!

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." I Peter 5:6-7

Thank you Lord for lifting us up when we need it and for taking upon yourself all our worries - big or small!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And Summer Begins!

To start off the summer, Heather (my sister) and I took the kids to McDonald's Playplace. We got there around 10:30 so they could play and then we got lunch afterwards. Heather needed to go shopping for new carpet and had planned to take all her boys, so I offered to just take them home with me after lunch (my van can hold 10 kiddos) until she got done. I'm sure it was quite a sight to see me herding nine kids (ages 8 and under) through the parking lot, but the kids always have a blast together. Plus, Heather is keeping my kiddos tomorrow while I take Daegan for an allergy test.

On a side note/complaint. I'm a little anal about a clean house. Jason was just telling me last night that I needed to loosen up just a little or else it was going to be a long, stressful summer. (Hmpf!) He knows me so well! But why is it they have to empty every toy box and leave it all over the floor to play? And why doesn't the mess bother them? This is only day one!

Maybe we have too many toys?

OK, I can do this - maybe I'll just avoid the downstairs for the summer!

Except that is where the computer is. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last Day of School

This morning Tavis and Mollee left the house for the last time as a First Grader and a Second Grader.It has been a good year. Mollee has matured greatly in her responsibilty. She had a rough beginning of forgetting to turn in homework, but second semester she had no troubles. The only major ordeal we had was her forgetting her Bug Project last Friday (that we have worked on all school year saving bugs and storing them in the freezer for this project). Thankfully, her Uncle Jon lives a few doors down and usually runs a few minutes later than the Browns so he was able to pick it up and take it when he dropped off his boys.

Tavis was a different story. The first semester of the year, we never saw his Tuesday folder (the one full of the previous weeks paperwork) on Tuesday. He'd leave it somewhere. I'm still waiting to hear from the librarian what the damage is for library books that he misplaced. He has two lunch boxes (one from kindergarten and one from 1st grade) that he alternated between, along with brown bags, because he'd forget to bring one of them home. Of course, I'd ask him to visit the Lost and Found to find them and he'd forget, but Mollee would always bring it home the next day because she went and found it for him (that sounds like something her mommy did for her brothers). Yesterday they cleaned out their desks and were told to put everything in their bookbag. Let me give you a sample of what Tavis' desk looks like (old notes that I had found out later that I missed and there were two old lunches in there - sound familiar Uncle Philip??).

I'm hoping to stay on top of math facts review and making the kids read (unfortunately, they don't just do it because they like it) for 30 minutes a day this summer. OK, that is my goal, we'll see if it happens. Summer Break, here we come!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Tonight the kids went to a birthday party for Tavis' best friend, Chase. Chase has spent the night with us and been our guest many times. He is an only child, but he jumps right in to our chaos without hesitation. His mom said that when they were sending the invitations he asked if Tavis' whole family could be invited. We were honored and the other kids were so excited to be part of the invite.

The party took place at an indoor playground that was full of many different 'inflatable worlds'. Everyone had a blast! When they got in the shower last night they each had a complaint about some 'rug burn' hurting in the water, but that is the price you pay for two hours of fun.

Mac was slightly hesitant at first, but once we convinced him to try this one slide (even though it was a tough climb and a steep slide down), he just stayed with it the entire night.

Fun was had by all! Happy Birthday, Chase!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I'm a patriotic girl, but when it comes to Memorial Day, I can't remember what we usually do. I'm assuming we go to Mom and Dad's for a cookout, but, honestly, I can't say for sure. When work is good, Jason doesn't take too many holidays off, so I can assume he is usually working on Memorial Day.

This year was full of relaxation and fun. Not that it will surprise any of you, but I have a hard time relaxing. There is always something I can be doing, right? Today I promised Jason I would relax. I got the kids their breakfast and then I went back to bed with a cup of coffee and a good book. At about 10:30 I decided to get moving. I had an awesome treadmill run (too bad this was my last day of steroids - prescribed for a swollen sinus cavity). We all got lunch and then Mac went to bed and the bigger kids went outside to play. I headed back to read my book while I waited for the NASCAR race to begin (it was supposed to Sunday, but got rained out and today it took forever to get started because of rain).

At 4:00, we headed over to the home of Mike and Tammy's for a Memorial Day cookout. At fullest capacity, there were 14 adults and 17 kids. Here are the kids finding different places to eat outside:
But what does it say that my two older boys were in different sections away from the crowds?:
Tavis observing from afar -

And Daegan, inside where it was cooler -The kids had a blast and were very sad to leave. Jason got his exercise for the day in a humid badminton match, which he repeatedly told me that he had won. Unfortunately, one of the boys there sliced his knee open and had to go to the ER for stitches. We took his mother and sisters home afterwards so they wouldn't have to wait until the ER trip was over. Hope you are feeling better, Drew!

Ironically, the book I am reading is about a girl and her fiance, who has been shipped over for his second tour in Iraq. I don't want to forget what this holiday is truely about. I do want to thank all those that have served to make our country a safe place to live. I am proud to be an American!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tavis' Blank

How much can one blanket take? Tavis is 7 1/2 and has loved on a quilt that my Aunt Carol made for him every night since he got it (as an infant).
Here is Tavis holding it (and acting goofy) while he opens his 2nd birthday gifts, notice the nice tan backing-
Here it is in March 2007 as the backing is slowly being rubbed away-

Here it is today with almost no tan background left -

I'm almost afraid to wash it - like one time I'm going to put it in the wash and it will disintegrate. It has been well-loved! Of course, it isn't going anywhere, but we are trying to convince him to leave it on his bed rather than carry it around. Thanks, Aunt Carol!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Taters and Tubesteaks

Last night was our church's annual Taters and Tubesteaks. It is hot dogs at the Park and then on to the baseball game. We look forward to it each year. Unfortunately, Jason came home from work early with some stomach issues so he wasn't able to join us. Thankfully, my parents were planning to ride with us, so I had extra help. I don't think I would have attempted taking all five by myself.
Here are some pics from the night:

The boys practicing baseball before we go watch some baseball.

At the ballpark:

One of the mascots at the game has a big red baseball for its head. Mac was so excited that he got to see Elmo. :)

Me and my good buddy, Heidie!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Determination or Insanity?

We have a bunny rabbit that likes to eat my flowers and hang out in the backyard.
Daegan is determined to catch this lovely little bunny. I've tried to convince him that it just won't happen, but he is determined. The kids were playing outside this morning and when everyone (I thought everyone) came in, I realized Daegan wasn't in. When I went out to check on him he was sitting at the corner of the garage with a carrot he had gotten from the refrigerator waiting for the bunny. He sat here for about 30 minutes bunny! I smile at him because when he sets his mind to do something, he tries to make it happen, even if it seems insane to others.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The foot results are in!

I did get my wish as far as my foot/ankle pain goes. The x-rays (thankfully) showed that there is not a fracture, but I do have bursitis on the top of my foot. Bursitis is a painful swelling of a small sac of fluid called a bursa. It is causing all the pains in my foot and up my leg and gets irritated when I exercise. I had written that in my ideal world it will be something minor that I can still exercise through. Dr. says I can keep exercising (no excuses now!) and next week he is going to drain the sack and fill it full of cortisone. Doesn't that sound like fun!?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Something quick to make you smile!

We were just at Wal-Mart and Daegan asked me,

"Why does Mollee not have boobie straps?"

I was desperately trying to clear my head and take in what he was asking. Then I realized that we were passing the juniors section that had a rack of training bras.

"Oh, you mean a bra?" I asked with a chuckle. "She will, she will!"

He is always coming up with some question that catches me off guard and usually makes me smile.

.......boobie straps......I kinda like that.......

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Biggest Loser

I love the show Biggest Loser. I am always intrigued by those people that carry around all that weight for years, sometimes all of their life. Then, in 4-6 months they loose 100+ lbs. It is amazing! I wasn't too excited about how this season turned out. The whole season I was saying, "Anyone but Helen! Send Helen home!" Oh, Well!
In a past post I commented on my weight and the need to getting moving. Since then, I'm proud to say, I've exercised like crazy. BL Yoga, BL Power Sculpting, BL Cardio Max and the treadmill. I've enjoyed it. My endurance on the treadmill has gotten better (longer running periods). I've really pushed myself. Unfortunately, I've lost no weight. That is frustrating, but I do feel good (but I'm sure I'd feel better if that number on the scale changed). Of course, in typical 'Gretchen form' I've had a setback. I've done something to my foot or ankle or something. All I know is it just hurts. I've tried to ignore it, but the last week I haven't been able to ignore it. I see the doctor today. Ugh! In my ideal world it will be something minor that I can still exercise through......

Friday, May 15, 2009


More on this picture in just a minute.....Jason's grandmother, aka Mima, is 97 years old. She lives by herself, cooks for her dog (steaks, cornbread, etc.), is extremely feisty, and, well, can't hear a thing. Last week she fell and broke her hip. The day after the surgery she was up and they had her walking (of course with help) - she is a fighter. About five years ago she broke the other hip and we worried it could end her. A broken hip for the elderly doesn't have a good track record.

We took the kids to see her last night. Jason had been by before to see her, but she was sleeping. We decided to wait to go back until she might have less pain medicine and would be more aware that we were there. The kids made her cards and they were excited to go. When we walked in the room and screamed "How's it going?", she said, very matter-of-factly, "I wish I could die!" Thankfully, the kids thought she was being silly.

Can you imagine living to be 97? At age 32, my body is a little stiff in the morning, I can't imagine another 65 years to go. My great-grandmother lived to be 102, so I might have 65+ years to go.

Anyway, Mima didn't look great and doesn't like to have her picture taken when her teeth aren't in (oh, to be old!) so I let her keep her dignity and didn't take a picture of the kids with her. The picture above is the kids outside the hospital, doesn't every hospital have an old cannon sitting out front?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Big Brother"

I have recently had a "Big Brother" experience and it had nothing to do with siblings. I received a speeding notice/ticket in the mail. UGH! Fifty dollars of grocery money wasted! So frustrating!

They had pictures and everything. There was no denying a big burgundy (yes they were colored pictures) van with a Mary Kay sticker on the back. As I was looking (AND driving the speed limit) I tried to see where the cameras were that took my picture. I couldn't see them, but the next day I drove by, there was a white van that said "Mobile Traffic Unit". It is just a van that they park in random places, take pictures of speeding cars, send tickets via snail mail and make a lot of money. Again, I say UGH!

I was going 47 mph and the speed limit is 35 mph. Since I received this disturbing piece of mail I have gone the speed limit. At least in that spot I have. Only eight days of school left. Probably won't last through next year.....just to be honest.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Louisa Jackson

This morning I went to see my brother and sister-in-law in the hospital since they added a new member to their family last night. Louisa Jackson Caines was born last night, weighing in at 7 lbs. 6 oz (that is exactly what my Daegan weighed). My parents now have 21 grandkids: 6 girls, 15 boys.

Jason told me not to go see her if it made me want another one. He said it is jest, but it is always true. Every time I go see a new mom in the hospital (and I never miss a chance to do so) it makes the desire to have another one that much more intense. Then something reminds me how terrible my last two pregnancies were and......

Daegan and Capps loved holding the baby, but Mac wasn't fond of me holding the baby.

She is beautiful. What a blessing! Congrats David and Mary, I am truly happy and excited for you - I hope Miles, Eleanor and Townes love her to pieces!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chapel by the 2nd Grade

OK, I could kick myself. Mollee's 2nd grade class did chapel today and I made it, but forgot my camera. I blame it on feeling a little 'under the weather' the last few days. I did have my video camera left in the diaper bag from Field Day and took a picture with it, but have no idea how to get it off the camera and I'm sure the quality would be terrible. Their chapel was on Amy Carmichael, truely an incredible missionary story that I hope to learn more about. Sorry there are no pics, but I thought I should mention it since I mentioned Tavis' chapel. We were able to stay for lunch and enjoy recess afterwards.

On a side note, the Field Day winners were announced and out of four teams, Tavis' blue team got 3rd place and Mollee's white team got 4th place.

Free Swimsuit

Check out Chic Critique and the Free Lands End Swimsuit contest they are having:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day 2009 was a good one! It is very hit or miss around here whether holidays are made a big deal when Daddy is in charge (Mother's Day, Mommy's birthday, etc.). Jason got up before me (which never happens) and brought me a dozen white roses while I was getting up. One by one the kids brought me a card they had made and the two school kids brought me things they had done in school. Mollee brought me a stained-glass candle and Tavis brought me a marigold plant. Daegan and Capps brought me each a 5 lb. weight. This may seem strange, but I've wanted some to add to my aerobics and I was very glad to get them.
I actually had nursery duty during church, but I'm looking forward to getting Dad's sermon on CD to listen to. Heather and I usually cook Sunday dinner for Mom on Mother's Day since she cooks for us ever other Sunday. My two brothers, Philip and David both called to see if their families could join also. Instead of trying to cook for that many people we ordered pulled pork barbecue, which just happens to be one of Mom's favorite meals.
Jason thinks I have too many photo traditions, but for Mother's Day it is always a picture of me with my kids:

For memory-sake, here is two years ago:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mommy to Mom to Mother

Someone sent this to me and I liked it as my Mother's Day entry:

Mommy to Mom to Mother

Real Mothers don't eat quiche;
They don't have time to make it.
Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils
are probably in the sandbox.
Real Mothers often have sticky floors,
filthy ovens and happy kids.
Real Mothers know that dried play dough
doesn't come out of carpets.
Real Mothers don't want to know
what the vacuum just sucked up.
Real Mothers sometimes ask
'Why me?' and get their answer when
a little voice says, 'Because I love you best.'
Real Mothers know that a child's growth
is not measured by height or years or grade...
It is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Tea Party

Every year, the Saturday before Mother's Day, our church hosts a Tea Party. In previous years it has been known as a Mother/Daughter Tea, but it is now known as the Ladies Tea. Mollee and I have been going to it together since she was 7 months old. It is a tradition for us and she looks forward to it each year. Here we are today:

I didn't have time to scan any old pictures, but here are two previous years that we attended the tea:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Field Day

Today was Field Day, but it actually turned into Gym Day. It was raining so they moved it to the gym. All 300+ students, grade 1-5 in the gym with the parents trying to find a place to watch on the sideline. Each class was divided into four teams: white, blue, green and yellow!They didn't get to do all the activities (such as the big races) because of the lack of space, but they did have fun:

Here are my athletes waiting on the sidelines for their turn:

Go Blue!!!
Go White!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Washing Machine Excitement

Should you really get that excited over a new washing machine?

When Jason and I got married, we inherited my Grandmother's washer and dryer that she had for 15+ years. It worked fine for us, but when we sold our previous house, it was part of the contract to leave it. When we moved into our new home I was excited to purchase a new washer and dryer, but Jason sent me on that task by myself and, being a bit stingy, I just got something cheap. It has been fine, but no bells and whistles. Since October (only 4 years old), it has leaked during the draining process. Thankfully, our laundry area is in the garage so it just drains out under the truck. Jason has taken it apart a few times to try to fix the problem, but couldn't figure out what was wrong. Again, I'm fine with it draining into the garage because I didn't want to spend money on something new.

A friend of my younger sister is getting married and she and her fiance both had a washer/dryer set. She had already given the dryer to someone else in need, but was looking for someone to take the extra washer. My sweet sister thought of us. I wasn't sure what to expect. Coming from a single person, would it be too small? At least it wouldn't leak, right? Well, Jason picked it up last night and I was so excited. The protective covering hasn't even been taken off yet and it has so many options!!!!



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Brown Dictionary

OK, so I was thinking the other day, if something were to happen to Jason and I, how would anyone know what my kids are asking for? Strange question, I know. Over the years, different items have adopted different names for various reasons in our household. Let me give you an example: The first time I bought Life cereal, Curious George was on the box. Now, it is known as Monkey Cereal. To be honest with you, I'm not sure the kids even know the real name. Here is our dictionary: (just in case)

Papa's Cereal = Cheerios
White on Top = Frosted Mini Wheats
Daddy's Sauce = Ranch Dressing
Daddy's Cheese = Parmesan Cheese
Go Bar = Granola Bar
Snacks = Fruit Gummy Snacks
Bears = Teddy Grahams
Pops Candy = Smarties
Circle Crackers = Ritz
Crackers in the Yellow Box = Wheat Thins
Spicy Chips = Salt and Vinegar Lays
Triangle Chips = Doritos
Moon Chips = Pringles

For Fast Food:

Papa's Chicken = KFC Mall Chicken = Chick - fil - A Pizza with the funny guy = Little Caesars or Pizza that comes to the house = Pizza Hut or fake Pizza = Frozen Pizzas The Breakfast Place = Hardees Breakfast Chicken = hashbrown rounds (if it is fried and you dip it into ketchup it must be chicken, right?)

I like to treat the kids with chicken and fries when we have run a lot of errands and they have been sooooo good. Well, now (maybe we've gone too much) everytime we go through any drive thru (even if it is the bank), Mac yells "Fries, Please" as soon as we drive off.

Others, not in the Food Department:

Muddy Puddy = Silly Putty
Moo Moo = Mollee (that nickname started on her first day)

And my favorite:

Punch Bug = Volkswagen Beetle
The kids love to play this game in the car, although they don't punch as I remember we did when I was a kid. The kids are always yelling PUNCH BUG YELLOW (or whatever color it is). Now Mac randomly yells "Pun Buck Elmo" randomly on car rides - it brings a smile to my face everytime!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Mollee lost all her teeth throughout Kindergarten and First Grade. Now the boys are very excited to start losing teeth. Tavis (age 7 and about to finish up First Grade) has lost only two teeth. Yesterday morning Daegan (age 6) lost his second tooth. It was a big discussion at the dinner table last night that they were tied, etc.
The kids go to bed at 8:00 (or a little earlier). Tavis is usually the first one asleep, while the other two younger ones are goofing off and getting into trouble. At 8:30 last night, Tavis came up to our room with a tooth in his hand. He said it was wiggling a little and he just got it to come out, but now he was ahead of Daegan. UGH! I wasn't even aware that it was loose????

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Morning Blog

It seems that the blogs I follow (see sidebar) always have a new blog entry on Monday morning. Maybe that is because the weekend is too busy to blog and then you have a lot to tell? So.....
My weekend was good. We had some new friends over Friday night, that I somehow didn't get a picture of - Sorry Pearce family! Saturday I went to Wal-Mart and did a massive grocery shopping (Jason had work this week=$$) in the pouring rain - that was fun :/ Saturday afternoon I went and got a new purse for me and Mollee at a friends monogramming Open House. Sometimes it is fun to have at least one girl! I came home and watched the NASCAR race which was a really great race. My favorite driver won (Kyle Busch), but it was mixed emotions because the guy I really want to beat in the fantasy league had picked him and I didn't want him to get the points for Busch's win. UGH! Busch did win (yeah!), but I had a terrible week in the Fantasy League (boo!). Sunday we celebrated my sister, Ruth's, birthday at Mom and Dad's.
This morning, as the kids were getting ready for school, we were looking at the May calendar and it is hard to believe the kids only have 18 days left of school. With a lot of 'exciting' things coming up I know it will fly by - Field Day, Zoo Day, 2nd Grade Chorus Concert, Insect Project (Mollee has to catch 10 insects and display them, sounds fun - doesn't it?), etc. Can you believe summer is almost here??? Daegan is looking forward to summer because it is one step closer to kindergarten. I think he has a strange idea that the first day of summer we will go school supply shopping - he can't wait to get to pick out a new lunchbox. I remember my kindergarten lunchbox, it was Strawberry Shortcake. What is the earliest lunchbox you remember?

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