Monday, March 28, 2016

Pascha 2016

By death He conquered death and to those in the tombs He granted life... 

We kicked off Easter/Pascha morning leaving Grammy's at 5:15 which meant breakfast in the van and a speeding getting dressed. 

I ironed the dresses/outfit the night before but I don't know why I bothered because everything was a wrinkly mess about an hour into matins and liturgy. I was sure I was going to wear the dress I wore last year - oh last Easter was so great! - but then I realized that wasn't feeding-A-friendly. Behavior was pretty decent given the early rise time and the 3.5 hours in church. M took off her shoes far too many times to count. R was super cute during the procession - she was carrying her banner like a fishing rod; way cute. 

Because taking a family pic is getting increasingly difficult

This is my favorite

Papa - deacon vestments
Me - Talbots top and skirt
Girls - Dresses found on eBay
A - (non-bubble/non-boy-dress) 6 month smocked Jon-Jon (less than 12 month is not easy to find) 

Then we ate lot of insanely great food and Lee left ALL THE PASCHA cheese he made at church and I'm still really : ( about it and I don't think he understands how : ( I am about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Searching for baskets round 1

Uncle Kev set up 'Easter lights' and hid the baskets in the basement. It was a huge hit. They found baskets with books and dresses after some fun searching. 

Then I hid everyone's baskets during rest time except A's.

Since the kids don't need any-more-candy, we give them the sugary cereal they like. A got his first cereal and sip cup. He's a fan of cereal. 

Oh and in addition to the cereal, the girls got 2 Tiny Saints keychains. Decorations for backpacks? Yes please. 

For dinner we were treated to awesome lamb chops courtesy of Grammy and Lee. Then we had to leave and the drive home is always a bummer after such a good time! I think I could use an extra day to recover but alas I wasn't afforded that. 

Happy Easter y'all!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

7 Quick Takes - Lots of Smoothies, Sickies, and Krispies

Crazies plus a little stomach bug...

--- 1 ---

Last week ended looking like this...

Thursday afternoon before we were packing up for Presanctified Liturgy M got sick. M, A and I stayed home. M pretty much was glued in that chair for 36 hours. She was watching PBS at 1 am right after she got sick for the 15th time because she wanted the Tee-Bee on and when your sick 2 yr old wants the TV on, you turn it on so she won't wander the house. She rarely watches TV so she vegged in front of the tube. It was way easier to clean up beach towels than crib sheets. She was so pitiful. 

We thought we were out of the woods because she was fine after Friday night. Which was great because we had E's school's big fundraiser Saturday. 

But I was wrong. A text you never want to receive from a babysitter is that your kiddo has gotten sick. R managed to get sick 4 times before I got home : ( 

She was planted on the sick couch Saturday night and Sunday morning. 

Lee had to go to church on Sunday (fundraiser pierogi and sausage drop) and I held down the fort not feeling great. I think they watched Caillou from 8 am to 5 pm. Taking care of a need-to-be-held bebe while trying not to get too close to him is tough. After I finally succumb to the bug - I felt a million times better and after a 1 hr power nap, I ate dinner. (It could have been way worse

THEN, a full three days later E got sick after soccer practice. Super short just like me but she was way bummed about not getting to go to school on PE day - on St. Patrick's Day (a post of its own maybe?). Fortunately we seem to be all over it now and Papa and A managed to not get whatever the heck it was. 


I successfully made Rice Krispies... 

Lots of butter

Told you

Successfully burned marshmallow fluff on the hot stove top after pouring the melted mallows in the bowl

Next time I'm using a deeper thinner pan. I prefer thicker, smaller Rice Krispies to thinner big ones. But they were for Pizza lunch at school so I didn't suffer too much. 


Double digits of miles ran for the first time in too long...

Half marathon is less than one month away! Yikes!!!

E got her crafting revenge from last week

And got to decorate an egg EXCEPT she did it on the Sunday afternoon I was under the weather... Glob like glitter eggs on top - sure. Tried to convince her to make a rainbow of pom-poms in the middle - I don't think so mom. Stamps and stickers at the bottom #forthewin


The weather has been so nice and warm

Everyone needs a hat to go mowing

Bringing Papa his hat : )

Intense round of ring around the rosie

My mind on my milk and my milk on my mind...

Hold my hand, mami. Sure thing M. Sure thing.


Tuesday we voted. Right after preschool (at lunchtime) which ended terribly. 

The face you make when your guy didn't win the election later that night. Thankfully I can claim ZERO responsibility for the election winner. 


Everyone loaded up for soccer...

M's way excited but she kind of can't do too much. R had several meltdowns. Makes me think I should not coach her next season because I cannot believe she was get as fitful with someone else. I suppose time will tell. She just gets so upset when the ball is taken from her, SO UPSET. 

Post soccer practice smoothies for all. 2 liters of smoothie anyone? 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

7QTs - Kite Homework, Panthers and Carting Kids

Same old normal spanning 2 weeks...

--- 1 ---

Little boy clothes...

This is what A wore to church last Sunday. Unless the little shirts have snaps in the bottom then the shirts are pretty much impossible to keep tucked in - which is a super annoying to me. I'm not a huge fan - and Papa even more so - of bubbles for little boys so jon-jons it will have to be for the summer. Now if I can just find a few and not go broke. 


E is so ready to rock out the Rocket Mile this year...

She randomly decided she 'had' to practice for it and decided run up and down the street a few times to get ready. May cannot come soon enough. 


Hello preschool homework... 

Being done the night before with a pouty Kindergartener who is annoyed because she cannot get in on the craft action

Stamps are this mama's crafty homework friend

Homework happiness

Yes that would be dinner dishes and craft supplies right beside each other

Clean up once the kids are in bed

So proud!

Thank goodness for stamps and the hot glue gun. I think the feathers are my favorite part. For a trip down memory lane R made a kite when E was doing it too

The weather has taken a turn for the warm

A is thrilled to be in the swing with lots of people who want to push him

Sometimes I think R could swing for hours but still enjoys a good headstart - aka a push - to get her going into t'he clouds' : )


Somehow this is very backwards to me...

But both of them thought it was hilarious, so whatever.

Can you spot all 4 passengers?

It didn't last long because as you can imagine being wedged in the bottom of a shopping cart is not terribly comfortable. 


A Lego + MagnaTile + Princess masterpiece



We wrapped up swim class...

I'd still love to get more lessons in before swim team starts but I think I'm being a bit ambitious.

On the last day of swim lessons, A had a Dr. appt at 1:30. Got his shots (super : ( for him), I raced to pick up R from Jibbe's, ran to get E from school (and not be late like last week), doubled back to the Y and got everyone dressed for the pool only to realize I left A's bag in the van SO... pool towel nursing cover for you. 

And it's a good thing swim classes wrapped up because soccer is back and the Panthers are ready.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Diono vs Britax - A Carseat Review

In case you missed it, we got in to a bit of a car wreck as few weeks ago. It was not bad and thankfully no one was injured (I've since seen a few wrecks and realize ours could have been a lot worse).

The insurance adjuster said to get new carseats - yep 4 new cars - and they had to be comparable in price to the ones we were replacing. We had a Britax Frontier, Britax Marathon, Diono Radian RXT, and a Baby Trend infant carrier/bucket. The Diono was M's Christmas present. I wanted to try it last year because the major selling feature aside from the safety is that you can fit 3 across a bench of seats - aka the third row of a van. I don't remember having any issues with it. I liked the fabric and the harness so I was ready to replace our Britax carseats with Dionos.


Ha! Well I've been asked by more than one person how we are going to fit 5 kids in carseats in the van. I look around and ask myself, where's the 5th kid? I suppose in the future, at some point, we will have to cross that bridge so why not cross it now since someone else is paying.

Having the option to get 3 Dionos across the back row (when we needed the extra room) would be nice. Dionos have good safety ratings. Thinner carseats are way cheaper than a 15 passenger van. You know. So I ordered 2 Diono Radian RXTs as these are the ones that you can for sure get 3 across and 1 Diono Rainer - it is still slim and I was thinking I could still get 3 across with the two Radians.

Could I get them 3 across the third row?

Honestly, I have no idea.

I unpacked the Rainer - which is super heavy (just like a Britax) and got E fitted for the straps/harness/buckle. Fine.

Lug the seat out to the van finagle it into the third row which is a challenge with the 2 middle row captains chairs. First I try installing the seat using the seat belt and threading it through the clearly marked belt path. I put my knee in the seat and get the seatbelt as tight as possible in the locked position. But the seat wiggled when I pushed it. And way more than the inch or so that is 'acceptable'. So I try and get the seatbelt tighter. The carseat still moves way more than it should (both on the top and bottom).

So then I forget the seatbelt and free up the LATCH connectors and try installing the carseat using LATCH. I again put all my weight into the carseat and pull the LATCH anchor belts (which are not independent of each other like the newer Britax LATCH anchors are). The carseat is sliding all over the seat and I cannot get the seat any tighter. Oh and did I mention that Lee wasn't home and I HAD to go to the store? Oh and my patience level is just about gone because I just spent $850 on carseats that won't get tight?!?!?

Maybe it is the factory made seat covers (thanks Uncle Kev) that are causing the slippage. I pull out all the stops and start over. I pull back the seat cover. I even get out the tether anchor to try and lock the seat in from the back. I thread the seatbelt through the belt path. Get it as tight as possible. The carseat is still sliding. My hope is the anchor tether so I get in the trunk and literally hang on the anchor tether to get it tight. Go back to test the seat and the flipping thing still is not tight. The back is tight but there is no way to get the base (the part that actually sits on the seat) to not slide. It is maddening and frustrating and 30 minutes later I still don't have a carseat installed!

Thank goodness for Amazon's return policy because these babies

are going straight back to where they came from. Plus the other one that need to get taped back up that's in the garage. A friend of mine has been on the phone several times with Diono with similar issue and she's returning hers too. 

And even if I happened to get all three in and secured I'd have to eventually take them out to rethread the straps as the kids grew. Britax you can adjust the harness height while they are installed (you cannot move the bottom buckle when installed just for the record)

Here's the icing on the cake. 

So I have to go shopping so I install the old carseats (in the newly cleaned van, hello crumbs!) and would you believe it took me less than 30 second to get the Britax Frontier Click-Tight install and NOT MOVING AN INCH. Seriously ZERO frustrations. And the Marathon (which does not have click-tight) with the 2 independent LATCH connectors, that took no more than 1 minute to install with no wiggle room. 

Long live Britax... At least in this house. 

A pyramid of Britax carseats : ) 

Oh and there's a cherry to top the whole situation off.

So we hit up Target to replace the BabyTrend infant bucket. I rolled in the BabyTrend stroller (that means I've got three walkers and the baby in the stroller) just to see if in the off chance the Chicco KeyFit would work in the BabyTrend stroller. That would be a heck-to-the-no answer. So BabyTrend. 

The individual carseats were about $125 for only the base and carseat. The combo stroller/carseats were $70 more. So I got one with the stroller and insurance and I would work out the difference. 

I finally unpacked the box the other day (because I've got loads of time on my hands to mess around with this stuff) and put the stroller together and noticed the carseat handle wasn't the usual triangle - which is what I really liked about BabyTrend. I was going to roll with it and just move on. But I kept looking at the carseat from the top and it looked weird. Like slanted or something. Something wasn't right. Lee looked at it and agreed something was off but maybe it was molded that way? 

No way. They wouldn't mold a carseat to be asymmetrical. 

I got a ruler out and didn't the patience to take a bunch of measurements. I was going to keep the carseat until I realized I could visually test it.

Bam! The left side was not sitting flat on the counter and the right side was resting quite nicely on it. Just call me the carseat sleuth!

I like how there is a note that says to NOT return it to a retail store because they won't be able to help BUT too bad. It is going back. I'm leaning toward the Chicco KeyFit because they have raving reviews on Amazon but the jury is still out. I'll keep you posted. 

In the meantime I've got a Diono to box up and tape up and three Britax boxes to recycle at le dump. 

I'm so tired of looking at carseats and boxes. Though I will say, I am so grateful no one was hurt because I have seen and heard about some pretty nasty car wrecks these past few weeks. Makes me seriously consider putting my phone in the passenger floorboard just so I am not tempted to touch it AT ALL while driving. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Theme Thursday - Black and White

Yay TT in B&W...

I didn't love black and white pics until I knew how to edit them. 

Desaturate. Set a white point. Set a black point and bam. Done.  

I'm getting to get A to sleep through the night and if he wakes up to eat a bit and then head back to sleep without a full feed. 

Also, I went out and bought a sippy cup today. Battle lines are drawn kid, you need to be able to eat without me in a month.