Friday, April 24, 2009

Where is your...

Rhylah isn't big on animal sounds the way Ash was at this age. So I don't have cute videos to post with her making every noise she can think of. (Maybe boys are more into doing noises and sounds??) But she does, however, love to show off her talent of finding her body parts. We play the game ... "Oh Rhylah, where is your ... (fill in the blank)

Here, I'll just let her show you...

Rhylah where is your ....



Belly button?






Tushy? (I love how she turns around here like ... "hello, mom! It's right here!!")

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just making a point...

An oyster. So would you eat this? Just making a point .... ick.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The World's most Quiet Dining Room, An Encounter with an Oyster and an Obnoxiously Big Hat

"He was a bold man, that first ate an oyster." *Jonathan Swift

I surprised Nate with dinner out last night, to celebrate his 33 years of life. My hubby does such a good job of taking care of all of us, and hardly ever gets spoiled, so it was fun to surprise him. I arranged to drop off the kids at my Aunt and Uncle's house and was home, ready to go, shortly after 5 p.m., which was when I expected Nate to be home from work.

At 5:30 p.m. I called him, wondering where he was. Still working. I made awkward noises into the phone, hoping he'd catch on. Finally I admitted, "Baby, I made reservations." So the surprise was up, but he was delighted anyway.

We went to dinner at a place called "Skips" in Union Pier, about 20 minutes away. When we first got there, they seated us in the most awkward dining room I've ever been in, in my entire life. There were only a handful of other people, but the room was strikingly silent. You could hear your own breathing, it was THAT quiet. No background music, no eating noises, no conversations at all. I felt like I was in a mausoleum. Of course, this got us giggling and laughing like kids, and eventually, we reseated ourselves in the main dining room, nearer to the buffet, which was much warmer and friendlier.

Let me TELL you about the buffet: $25 for all you can eat crab legs, prime rib and assorted other sea food delights, including salmon, tilapia, oysters etc. AND dessert. It was a steal. I really think, after four or five trips each, that they lost money on us last night.

Which brings me to a moment, late in the meal, when I ... courageous as always when it comes to new food, had a moment of stunning failure.

Nathan was eating oysters in the half-shell. That is, raw. I'd never tried them. But I pride myself on being able to try new things, and I LOVE seafood, so I eagerly reached for one, and asked him how to do it. After prying the funny, quivering mass lose, I proceeded to slurp it from the shell, as is the custom.

(Let me insert here, that somewhere in college I remember reading a story about a man on a train eating raw oysters and going on and on for pages about how delicious they were ... maybe written by Anton Chekhov?? ... and ever since then, I've been very eager to try them!)

Once the oyster was inserted into my mouth, there followed a three-way conversation between my tongue, my throat and my stomach. I imagine it went something like this ....

TONGUE: Oh God, this feels funny. This feels REALLY funny. The texture is all wrong, can I send it down please. NOW?
THROAT: Lemme check with the stomach.
STOMACH (heaving): Not on your life...I'll send it right back up, I don't care how many forks are on the table of this restaurant!
THROAT: Okay Tongue, that would be a 'no go.'
TONGUE: Well what the heck do I do with it now! It's jiggling! Ack! Get it out! GET IT OUT NOW!!

My face must have been hilarious. I never have trouble trying new foods, and the panic in my eyes must have been comical as I sat there considering my options.
There weren't many.
Nate was trying desperately not to laugh.
"Just spit it back in the shell!" he whispered. (Later he told me he suggested this because he figured that it would have looked the same going out as going in...not a very appetizing thought...)
I looked at him in horror, imagining myself spitting out a huge oyster in the middle of a nice restaurant as my fellow dinners (of which there were many, by this point) looked on in shock and disgust.
But what to DO with it?
I jumped to my feet and walked VERY QUICKLY, smiling in tight-lipped panic at the hostess (who I PRAYED would not try to talk to me) to the ladies room where Mr. oyster met Mr. Trash can and I could gag and spit all I needed to in relative privacy.
I felt like such a failure as a foodie!! What a disaster! I eat raw food all the time ... sushi, carpaccio, but the sheer texture and consistency of that oyster was something that I could NOT choke down, even in good grace.
I believe when I reseated myself, I muttered something to the effect of. "Damn you Anton Chekhov for making me think oysters tasted like candy. That DID NOT taste like candy."
So I have officially met my match in the world of food. Raw oysters. (I like them cooked, just fine!) Even today, the mere thought of that slimy, sea creature has my stomach turning. Ewwww.

Finally, we finished the meal in laughter, when the hostess brought out an obnoxiously huge birthday hat for Nathan to wear, while she snapped a photo for us. (See photo below, which is actually a photo of a photo, hence the bad quality) You should have seen his face when he saw it ... while I clapped my hands in glee, having been forewarned this was coming. He gave me a look that must have been something like what Caesar shot Brutus moments before the end ... and then put on the hat, and smiled.
Happy birthday baby!

The obnoxiously tall candles on top of the hat got chopped off in this photo, but the hostess swears it's one of the best she's taken. Ha! I think I still look pale from my oyster encounter...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I walked into the living room the other day to see my little girl doing this on the coffee table.

She was concentrating so hard ... gripping the crayon exactly like she's seen her brothers do it. She had even hijacked their dinosaur coloring book. It was just so darn cute that I had to snap a few photos. Here they are, in no particular order....

Monday, April 13, 2009

All Grown Up!



Asher loves his new haircut! We got it done this morning, and even though I choked up a little bit at the sight of all his fluffy locks spiraling to the floor, I think he looks like quite the little man with his new hair! He's so proud to have hair like "daddy's and Gabe's!" His long hair just wasn't looking quite right these days, so it was time to do something different with it. He'll probably end up growing it back out again this summer, but for now, this was a fun change of pace!

A Few More...

Here are a few more Easter shots from Nathan's camera...

Here is the Easter girl, all dressed up.

Rhy and daddy

Me and the kiddos.

Nathan and the kiddos

The kids search for eggs and baskets at Aunt Kathy and Uncle Jon's house.

My boys!

This is the face she makes when our darling girl spots her new, favorite animal accompanied with her new, favorite word "BIRD!" She loves birds and would follow them anywhere.

Rhylah and her Uncle Carl! She went right up to him, wanting "UP" for hugs, several times on Easter, which is a big deal for her!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Day

Happy Easter!
Here are a few shots from our day ... Nate has most of the "money" shots on his fancy camera, so these are just a few from mine. You'll have to forgive the fact that most of them are of Rhy ... I've never had a baby girl to dress up and fuss over on Easter (she was too small to really fuss over much last year), you can see, I had fun. The boys looked great too, they got new shirts (thanks Grandma and Grandpa Staude!) and looked so handsome! We went to early church and had lunch with family. So the kids got to hunt for Easter baskets TWICE, which is always a treat! It was a great day!

Gabriel looks through his basket.

Asher finds his Easter basket. Nate has all the "portraits" of the boys on his camera, so I will be posting more boy shots later!

On the stairs, Rhy gives a coy look over her shoulder...what a charmer! For those who are curious, we did indeed do rag curls last night. She slept in them all night and had quite the bunch of curls on the back of her head in the morning. I had fun "Sproinging" them all day!! (You pull the curl and and say "SPROING!" as it bounces back...hehehe!)

Kisses for the prince in her life.

I just love this shot...

Check out her little sweater and red painted toe nails! So sassy!

A shot from the back ... doesn't she look like she's waiting for her party guests to arrive?? Too funny!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why we love PAAS...

Tonight we did our annual coloring of the Easter eggs.
The boys had a blast, and Rhylah had fun watching.
Usually, by the time I buy egg dye, only the cheap store brand junk is left. This year, I did all my Easter shopping over a week in advance, and bought the pricey PAAS brand egg dye. (Pricey being $1.99 instead of the generic 99 cents.) But I was reminded why I love using PAAS ... the eggs took about one minute to dye, and they were SOO bright and colorful! Usually, we have to let them soak for like an hour to get color this bright! So, anyway, props to the PAAS people who made my day a little easier. (And for the record ... no, they aren't sending me a check for writing this blog post. I wish!)

Asher and Gabriel get ready to color some Easter eggs.

Gabe gets to work on his eggs.

Asher takes his turn at dunking an egg.

Rhy watches the boys work. She's still a bit young to be in on the action, but she loved watching all the pretty colors!

A yellow egg comes out of the drink!

My boys hold up some eggs.

Everybody kiss your Easter egg! Not sure why ... it just seemed like a fun thing to do! :)

The finished product!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jungle Joe's

Jungle Joe's in Kalamazoo is filled with wall-to-wall giant inflatables. It is kid paradise.

To celebrate Gabe's last day of Spring Break, (well, his last WEEKDAY of spring break) I took the kids to Jungle Joe's in Kalamazoo today. It was about a 40-minute drive, so it wasn't too bad, and I didn't tell the kids where we were going.
When we walked into the building and the boys saw what was waiting for them, they just about peed their pants, they were so excited! And I'm not joking! (especially when they saw the shark...)
For $20, all four of us were able to bounce and play for 90 minutes, which was MORE than enough time to wear them out. Gabe and Asher stuck together while I followed Rhy all around.
And let me tell ya ... this place was a great confidence builder for Asher AND Rhylah! When we first started, some of the really steep climbs were too hard for Ash, who couldn't get a handhold and would fall down, only to get frustrated. But within minutes, he was back up and trying again, simply because he wanted to keep up with Gabriel THAT badly. And he managed it!
By the time we left, he was brave enough to try climbing up the TALLEST slide and when he got to the bottom, he was SOOOOO proud of himself!
Rhylah was fearless. That girl would bounce off a two-story slide into thin air if I let her. I got plenty tired out chasing her around. We even went down one of the big slides together, with her on my lap. She loooooooved it!
Afterward, we got happy meals and headed home. I put the youngest two down for naps, and they fell asleep as soon as their little heads hit the pillows. I think they might sleep straight thru till church tonight!
What a blast!!

Asher is thrilled to be bouncing all on his own. Check out that mega-watt smile!

Rhy climbs through a tunnel.

Hey Rhylah, watch out for that shark!!

I snapped this overview from the top of one of the inflatables. There were about 10 of them altogether ... they even had a little play area for younger kids... although Rhy quickly decided that it was beneath her dignity to hang with the babies. She wanted to play with the big kids! In the very back, you can see the ginormous big blue slide that Asher conquered at the end of our time there ... it was his Everest!

The three kiddos try to climb.

Asher and Gabe had SUCH a blast!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Rag Curl Girl

So I got Rhy the CUUUUTEST Easter dress, and I've been thinking that her fluffy hair is long enough to curl in the back, if we really felt like getting fussy with it for Easter.

On a whim, last night, I decided to try and rag curl it, and see if anything happened. As you can see, I picked her feistiest time of night to try and do this .... she was running everywhere ... shrieking and having such fun spraying herself in the face with the water bottle.

Eventually I got them all in. (We just tore strips of cotton from an old T-shirt of Nathan's) I didn't want her to try and sleep in them however, so I took them out after about 15 minutes. She actually had QUITE a bit of fluff and body to her hair ... but not so much actual CURL as you can see. I think she needs a bit more hair to do that.

But gosh we had fun! She looked so cute running around the house in her little rag curls. She reminded me of Amy March. (That's from Little Women, for all you literary geeks out there..I believe she was always obsessed about her curls in that book....)

One of Rhy's favorite spots in the house is standing on the end of the radiator, where she is here. I just LOVE the rag curls!

Look how soaked she got! Her little shirt is just dripping! She had way too much fun with the water spritzer.

As you can see, we got a little curl and a LOT of fluff!

Kinda cute for a 15-minute curl!