Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rocking, rolling and scooting

Some little fuzzy headed baby is on the go. You leave him in one spot and within seconds to minutes he's in a completely different spot. He's a rolling and a scooting. While on vacation he started getting on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth. This is very exciting, especially for Lily and Harrison to see. But...I also know what comes with a crawling baby and it's a bit scary!!

Back to school

Very important day!! First day of kindergarten for Lily!! She was very excited so I'm hoping her report at the end of the day is a great one!

Harrison is a little excited to start back at Montessori but I think he's more excited about his new shirt.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Home sweet home?

We're home. Blah.

Actually, I'm a little bit happy to be home. Thanks to Texas. We left GCI on Tuesday evening and had an overnight layover in Houston. Since we were traveling with kids it was nice having a 2.5 hour flight one day and another 2.5 hour flight the next. But traveling for 2 days (lugging around lots of luggage, including a huge car seat bag) made me excited to get home. Who knew?

Our last day on the island we spent 3 hours between the beach and the pool. Lily and I made a sand robot for Harrison, although he wasn't impressed. A nice lady from Texas, Kaye, watched Henry while he slept in his stroller on the beach (while we played in the ocean). The kids improved their swimming skills. Lily and I snorkeled and saw lots of small fish. It was a nice way to say good bye to the beautiful beach and ocean.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Our last night on the island

I don't want to leave. I don't want to leave. I don't want to leave.

I wish I was homesick but I'm not. Probably since we are trying to sell our house. I wish I missed our dogs but not taking care of them has been nice. I wish I was excited to get back to our routine life but I'm not. I like THIS life. This island life. The life that we have lived the past 8 days. The life of being together. All day and all night. Together.

I have everything I need with me right now.

I feel like throwing a tantrum.

I don't want to leave. I don't want to leave. I don't want to leave.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Our Caymanian digs

We opted for a condo at The London House on seven mile beach. Its hard picking a place off the internet but we started with vrbo and used reviews from trip advisor. The London House has been wonderful! We rented a car to get from the airport to our condo (almost same price as taxi) and Randy made a grocery store run. We moved in and have been living in our 2 bed/2bath condo like its ours. We have cooked all meals (except anniversary dinner and lunch today). Our poolside, ocean view condo is on the first floor in a small complex, maybe 14 units total. Besides the pool, it has shuffleboard, an amazing hammock house plus other random hammocks around the beach, sand volleyball and we have a beautiful beach practically to ourselves! There are other people here but the most I've seen on the beach at one time is ~ 5 people. Everyone is very nice (Bart is from Texas and stays for a month with his wife every summer and they offered to babysit Henry. Lan is another regular from Indiana and has been super helpful with restaurant recommendations, picking up stuff from the grocery store for us and even offered us to use their rental car, Avis works here but is from Jamaica and her oldest is graduating from college this week, etc.) Our condo location is on the north side of seven mile beach, away from the party scene. We only rented a car for the first day so we have used the buses when we ventured out. I talked about the buses in a previous post but it's very convenient since they seem to stop anywhere along seven mile road and the longest we have waited for one is 3 minutes.

To sum it up, The London House has been excellent! I hope to be a regular like Bart or Lan someday. :)

More from Grand Cayman Island

Today we....
~~Woke up ridiculously early (courtesy of the "H" boys)
~~Played in the pool (I showed off by doing some spectacular jumps into the pool, yes, I think Randy would agree they were spectacular). Lily also jumped into the pool! Even though she was wearing floaties she has never had the guts until today. Of course she loved it. Harrison started doing it too with his spiderman floatie ring thingy.
~~Built a sandcastle. I'm not talking the usual bucket castle where the top never comes out right. I'm talking big mound carved down with a knife. Yep, just call Lily and I professionals.
~~Spent a few hours at Caymana Bay. We bused down there, ate lunch at Michael's and let kids loose in the water fountains. After, Randy gave kids option of ice cream or cupcakes. After checking both out they chose ice cream. I don't blame them since it was a hot day but the cupcake store was the cutest store! I bought one for them to share later on. :)
~~Napped. Not all of us but the ones that woke everyone ridiculously early did. I stayed at condo and read my book while Randy and Lily went snorkeling. Lily had progressed to submerging her entire head (only using mask, not breathing apparatus yet) tried floating a bit and even had a fish touch her. Randy and I can't wait to do some real snorkeling with our kids someday!
~~Walked on the beach. Watched a crab dig his hole and throw sand at Harrison, Henry and myself.
~~Had a relaxing and fun family night that included playing phone games with Harrison (more like he taught me how to play), Lily was busy coloring when not playing with Henry or helping Harrison and I, and Henry and Randy had lots of laughs while playing on the floor.
~~Attempted a dusk walk on the beach but the mosquitos foiled our plan. It rained tonight so that maybe why they were out so bad. They are around other nights but tonight they were HUNGRY!

As I was thinking of everything we did today I got mad that I didn't have any hammock time but then I remembered I really did. Just a few minutes when Lily and I got rained on while building our sandcastle. :) I think I know what to ask for my upcoming birthday. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Grand Cayman, Part 3, Stingray city

Today started off with an early morning walk on the beach with Lily and Harrison. My intention was Randy and Henry would sleep in a bit since he's been getting up with the older kids and hitting the beach first thing. Unfortunately Henry didn't get the message so they joined us pretty quick. While walking the beach the kids love to find crabs and let the waves chase them as they walk along the sand. After breakfast I took the older kids to the pool while Randy planned our day and what a day it was! We ended up going on a 3 hr guided tour to Stingray City and 2 snorkeling spots, barrier reef and Coral Gardens. Pictures to come (forgot to mention I can't post pics from the iPad so that will have to wait until we come home). Stingray city was AWESOME! The kids got in the water and touched stingrays!! And loved it!! Lily even tried to snorkel to see them under water but her life jacket prevented that. Randy and I took turns taking Lily and Harrison out of the boat. Neither Lily or Harrison held a stingray or kissed one (I kissed one) but they both petted them and Lily got to feed one. She was instructed to hold the squid like a ice cream cone and put it under the stingray. It was hilarious when the stingray grabbed it from her. I could tell she was scared but excited and she just giggled a ton. Harrison also wanted to feed one but the food was gone by the time he got up the nerve. The next 2 stops were for snorkeling so I hung out on the boat with the kids while Randy snorkeled. Randy saw some spotted ray, grouper and lots of random other fish. The boat was awesome and had a nice flat bed like area that we had to ourselves. Henry happily slept on it during Stingray city and Harrison fell asleep on the return back.

A little extra reading on Stingray city....
Many years ago local fishermen stopped in the shallow sand bars to clean their daily catch. The fishermen discarded the unwanted fish parts into the water which attracted hordes of Southern Stingrays to the area. As the fishermen would arrive the Stingrays would gather awaiting their free meal. The Stingrays began to associate the sound of a boat engine with their free meal. Eventually local divers realized the rays could be fed by hand and were docile.

The southern stingrays are located in the shallow waters of the northwest corner of Grand Cayman's North Sound. It is just inside a natural channel that passes through the barrier reef and consists of a string of sand bars that crosses the North Sound from Morgan Harbor to Rum Point. The area is a popular attraction where the rays are found in abundance and visitors can feed, pet, and interact with the animals.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Grand Cayman, part 2

Yesterday, we started with the pool (Randy entertained Henry while I swam with Lil and Harrison). Then Randy took the older kids while I swung in the hammock reading a book (my book club book, Secret Life of Bees!!) while Henry slept on me. We had rest time and then Randy took Lily snorkeling while I kept the boys in the condo to rest more. Later, I took Harrison for some alone time on the beach. I tried to get him to put on snorkel mask (he's done this plenty) but he refused. So I ended up laying in the ocean while he poured sand on my back. He was happy and well, how could I not be? We de-sanded, got pretty and caught a "bus" to go down seven mile beach road to have a celebratory anniversary dinner. "Bus" means a van that acts like a taxi. Besides lack of car seat options it was convenient (it didn't go fast and we didn't travel far). A day before, Lily and I (Henry was strapped in bjorn) walked down the beach to explore and found a smoothie place. it was a hot day and I visioned walking back with Henry in the front carrier with Lily on my back so we tried out the "bus." Best $2 I ever spent. Anyhow, we ate at Yoshi (yummy sushi) and when we got back to our condo the kids had an early bedtime which gave us peaceful time to hang out together. It was just right.

Today, we started in pool (Randy swam with Lil and Harrison and I followed later with Henry) followed by the ocean and my usual book reading in the hammock/Henry nap. Our days are pretty routine but it's working very well. The kids love to swim in the pool so they can actually swim and the ocean is more playing in the waves and sand.

Randy and I have been taking time almost everyday to have "mommy time" and "daddy time.". It's fabulous. We do whatever we want by ourselves. It would be fun to have time with Randy (see previous post about how much I like to guy) but this time alone works for this family trip. We take about an hour and I tend to enjoy a beach chair (with and without reading my book) and today I also snorkeled. Randy tends to snorkel each time and right now he's out for a jog on the beach. Happy mommy and happy daddy!!

11 years. Seriously.

Happy Anniversary to us. :). Yesterday, was our 11 year wedding anniversary (3 days before that was our 17 yr dating anniversary). I'm very thankful to be married to an amazing man. I'm very thankful for our vacation since it gives us 8 days and nights of being together without distractions of real life. I'm thankful that we have different interests (Randy likes ultimate frisbee, I like scrapbooking, etc.) but our differences have brought us closer (strategic board games, comedy shows). I'm thankful his presence calms me when I'm upset. I'm thankful he's a gentleman. I'm thankful our children will have the best male role model. I'm thankful our children are surrounded by a mom and dad that love each other. They smile when they see us kiss and always join in our hug.

After I met him 17 years ago I said he's too good to be true. I love everything about him and I've learned to appreciate that he is too good to be true and just accept it.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Grand Cayman Island, part 1

We have been in the Grand Caymans for almost 2 full days. We left early (7am flight) and had a 3 hour layover in Houston. Both flights the baby fell asleep when breastfeeding on takeoff and stayed sleeping for over half of each flight. Lily and Harrison played phone and iPad games and Harrison slept a little on the flight from Houston to Grand Cayman. Overall, it was great. Randy stayed busy entertaining the older kids and getting their snacks so he might say the travels went "well."

I need to mention that Harrison had been swimming up a storm before we left. He was doing so great watching others and just going for it. Until he developed double middle and outer ear infections 4 days before we left. The poor kid was MISERABLE. He traveled well but his mood has been on and off (understandably). Today is his first full "happy" day and for that we're all thankful. He wears ear plugs and a neoprene strap covers his ear plugs. But really it's just for extra caution since he won't be submersing his face. Although he would love to. :(

Yesterday we started off by swimming in the ocean. Followed by snack, swimming in pool, rest, dinner, more swimming in ocean and of course,a beautiful beach sunset. After kids went to bed Randy and I had a little Caymanian Rum and played a board game on the patio.

Today was almost the same but so much happier. With Harrison feeling better it was so much easier. Randy said it was his best day with the kids. He was the one that swam with them today while I took care of Henry. And by "care" I mean swinging in the hammock reading my book while a sweet baby slept on my chest. For 2 naps. Pure joy.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Henry, 5 months old

Mr. Henry is now 5 months old. He starting rolling at 4 months and at 5 months he started eating rice cereal. He is scooting backwards. A lot. A lot more than we are prepared for. He loves anyone and everyone talking to him. He is a very good and happy baby. Many people are surprised to hear him cry since he is such a happy baby. But trust me...he can cry.

As I was writing this he scooted under my chair. Stinker. Thanks to Katie (and her mom!) for his adorable hat.

His initial bites made for funny pictures but he really does like this new food adventure. I have to point out the picture of Randy AND Lily with their mouths open, subconsciously mimicking Henry. Too funny. See this post for when Randy had his mouth closed while feeding Harrison. :)

Locks for Love...again and again and again!!

The kids posed with my long hair (and me!) prior to getting my hair cut. This is my 3rd locks for love donation!! I've started the process of growing long enough to donate and cutting short (seems to coordinate after having a baby, definitely has something to do with the house being covered in long Jenni hairs). I hope to donate many more times!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This summer...

Lily is busy losing teeth (see previous post, she's now lost 2!),taking swim lessons (we all can't wait to say adios to the arm floaties), watching over Harrison who is in her class this summer, practicing riding her bike in an effort to take training wheels off in the fall, princess ballet dance summer camp, being a very good helper with Henry (she won't wipe a butt yet but will do the rest of the diaper change) and learning to read (Randy bought her "Bob" books and she is flying through them (and very proud).

Harrison is busy being spiderman, iron man and green lantern (his new underwear help bring out the characters). As mentioned above he is in Lily's class for summer school but will return to his normal class come fall. He loves to wrestle his dad and tickle his baby brother. He loves to swim too but doesn't use arm floaties. He is a bit more adventurous and will mimic what other swimmers are doing. He will go down the kid water slides over and over. He is almost over afternoon naps but will fall asleep during bedtime stories. He remains a cuddle bug and takes full advantage when he sneaks into our bed at night. At the end of the spring semester he was drawing "H's" but isn't too interested in the other 7 letters yet. Sorry for the long name, buddy!

Our summer has been filled with a road trip to Colorado (kids did rather well for 2 days of 5-6 hrs each way), trip to Adventureland to celebrate my mom's birthday and 5 years cancer FREE!!, first camping experience (see previous post), weekend in Okoboji for my cousin's wedding (family surprised bride and groom with a Thriller performance), Randy 4-day work trip to Boston (besides 2 other 1 day or 1 overnight work trips this was my first extended time with all 3 kids alone) and a week in South Dakota/Sioux City for Randy's bro's 40th birthday, the 4th of July and the Days of 59 (lots of fun stuff including the annual run/walk in honor of my aunt, Susie that my bro organizes and I try to help with).

We've been so busy we're in need of a vacation. Good thing we're traveling to Grand Cayman Island in 6 days. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011


Harrison is a very focused kid when he wants to be. Like when it comes to music. He will request a song over and over to memorize the words. He is very determined and as parents, we get pretty cool concerts on a regular basis. I could watch this video daily for the rest of my life...I love it...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Camping Trip

We survived the first family camping trip. I should rephrase that to say we didn't melt on our first family camping trip. It was a HOT one. Randy gave a talk on rockets and even launched a few model rockets for the campground. His talk was great, as always. This was Randy's first talk the kids have been to. I've pictured them tagging along when he does community outreach talks. But that will have to wait. They did pretty good, probably as good as can be expected from being 3 and 5 yo and being quiet for 30ish minutes in 90+ heat. From their mom's perspective they moved their lawn chairs way too much and way too close to the stage (while flashing me a naughty smile) and fought over a water bottle. Henry even decided to baby talk and he's not so quiet anymore. But again it was at a campground so no one seemed to notice (or care).

Our family friends hung out at our campsite and the kids all enjoyed s'mores and catching lightning bugs. We went to bed at a reasonable hour (for a family with young kids) but not reasonable in campground terms (drunk people without kids who were LOUD). I don't think the drunkos woke Randy or I up anymore than we would have woken from the HEAT. I feel the need to capitalize any word with heat or hot because the HEAT was HOT. Around 3AM I checked the temp and it was 75. I'm pretty sure that was as cool as it got. The nice part of waking every 15 min was seeing our family sprawled in a tent together under the stars. Both Randy and I agreed on that the next morning. And yes, we paid back our drunko neighbors by waking up at the crack of dawn. Before the HOT HEAT set back in we enjoyed breakfast, swimming at the beach and Henry and I got in a little nap in the tent while the kids and Randy continued their beach/swimming fun.

Overall a successful camping trip. I foresee many, many, many more!

First tooth fairy visit!

Our tooth fairy is tall, dark and handsome. Normally, I'm the one to sneak around after the kiddies are fast asleep and play the role of the gift giving bunny or present leaving Santa. I couldn't fulfill the tooth fairy's duties since I was sleep deprived with a newborn so Randy stepped up to the fairy plate. He even left a "fairy dust" trail from the window to Lily's bed thanks to a friend's recommendation (Thanks Lacey!). The fairy dust was the big excitement, more than the 8 quarters she banked. But I did wrap those 8 quarters in cute pink netting with a bow (points for presentation!). Anyhow, Randy did a great job since he completed the mission without waking a kid up. Makes up for him losing her tooth the second time he was the tooth fairy. Someday we'll find it. :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Henry is 4 months already!

To tide you over until I can post again...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

What we've been up to...

If you look real hard you'll see a missing tooth on Lillers. Another post on that grand event very soon.
Having too much fun dying eggs
The Easter Bunny brought yummy stuff...
Lily wanted to read to Harrison. She demanded he sit on her lap.

Friday, April 01, 2011

New pictures!!

5 weeks old. My kids don't listen to me...they keep on growing even though I constantly ask them to stop.

A daddy to 3 one gigantic stuffed bear that has taken over favorite stuffed animal status for now.

First giggles

Henry has been smiling (real smiles!) since he was 4 weeks old. He starting cooing a few days later. He's a genius I tell ya. :)

It's hard to capture the smiles because they seem to immediately disappear once the camera is on. But I did capture what I consider a giggle. At 5 weeks old. Baby genius, I swear.

Bean song

Ever since I was pregnant we've told the kids that babies like to be sung to. We meant lullabies and not the bean song.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Family pictures

Me and my boys...

First official momma photo shoot...

My beautiful babies...

Happy Belated Saint Patrick's Day

All of my kids have now worn Great Grandma's St. Patrick's Day bib.

No green beer in this house BUT green milk, OF COURSE!!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Baby Henry

Can't type much, I'm using one hand right now. Breastfeeding multi tasker I am. Baby Henry is doing great. He's such a good baby. He's extremely cuddly and it's hard to take your eyes off him because he's a gorgeous little baby. When he's awake his eyes are so beautiful. His siblings continue to dote over him. He fits into our lives perfectly.

This one was taken today...Happy 2 weeks old!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's a...


Henry Gale was born today, February 22, 2011. He entered the world at 12:05PM, weighing 7 lbs. 12 oz. and was 20 inches long. He made the entire pregnancy a good one for me and also made the delivery a wonderful experience as well.

My mom brought Lily and Harrison to the hospital after school. Once they came in the hospital room and we told them the baby was a boy Harrison proudly exclaimed that he always wanted a boy. He kept repeating that over and over with a big grin on his face. Lily fell in love the minute she set eyes on him. She also had a huge smile on her face and after checking him out she started taking lots of photographs of Henry.