Monday, May 31, 2010


Olivia turned 13! It's hard to believe she is "officially" a teenager now. There has been some of the usual angst and difficulty already, and the passing of May 25th only marked the date not really the "turning" but it's for real now... we are among the many who are parenting teens!
Her celebrations got spread through the week- with diner on her actual birthday with Auntie, then out to lunch and shopping with Grandma on Friday then sleeping over with Auntie that night. Hanging out with Kateri on Saturday- we went out for Lobster at her request. I'm opposed to eating crustaceans... but the two of them really enjoyed dissecting and consuming them. Wes and I just watched!
Sunday she had her family party here at the house then back with Kateri for a sleepover there... fheww. By Monday at the parade you would have thought she was pooped, but nope. At 13 they have all the energy in the world I guess! Happy day (or week in this case) honey!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Long Time Coming

I have been waiting for this particular piece of mail for a long time.... a bit over 5 years to be exact!
When I moved in with Bill I was smothering under nearly $20,000 worth of credit card debit. Certainly something I wasn't proud of, and was mighty embarrassed to admit. In order to stay at home with the kids, we had to work something out... I signed up with a debit consolidation agency and made a payment plan I could deal with on pretty much no income... I've been slowly, but surely paying down every month... Bill has great financial sense (well, much better than mine) and has been a big help! Finally, this month- this is what my statement looks like! Thank goodness- what a huge relief! Now, I'm going to start to put my pennies away for a Disney trip!

What else have we been up to?!

So, we have been pretty busy 'round here! Olivia turned 13 this week- her party will be this weekend but she did go out to dinner with Auntie on her actual b-day as we had the end of the year awards ceremony with Savanna's troop. I've been with some of these girls for 4 years, it's hard to believe another scout season has come and gone! They all got presented with their awards, and we had a potluck dessert party. Certainly wasn't on my diet plan, but things there are going so slowly I didn't feel too badly sampling some of the goodies. I've got to be better- I really won't loose this way!
My clematis out the back slider are blooming. I didn't get any shots of my tulips or daffodils, but they have come and gone! I love these blue flowers; they came from the clearance section at Walmart of all places a handful of seasons back. They are actually two different varieties and don't match, plus I just stuck them in the ground next to the foundation with no prep of the soil or anything. I didn't expect much from the scraggly plants, but they have done so well despite the harsh conditions here by the door! My hope is that we can train them to go up and over... we are getting closer to the top this year. They are really beautiful in bloom right now.
The horses are back on pasture and loving it! They escaped twice in the first few days so had to be locked back down here. After checking fence lines and gates I think we have the problem solved... nothing like seeing them stroll by the windows at 11pm! Beau and I have gone on a few nice rides lately- this past week it was so hot- but my pal Linda only works 1/2 days on Wednesdays so despite the heat we went out to explore a new trail. Over on Hansen's Ridge Rd. there is a cool town hiking trail- we were out for an hour or so and have a ton more to explore! The boys were great, it was hot but tolerable and the bugs were actually not too bad! My goal is to try to ride a minimum of 3 times a week... I've been on twice this week, so doing well on that front!
Wes managed ok in the heat- it was pretty unusual for us. We hit 90 two days in a row and were stuck in the humid 80s on either end of the week! May in Maine shouldn't be like this! I had him in a Tupperware tub on the deck one afternoon. The container is just bigger then a shoebox and filled with about 2 inches of cool water it was heaven for that little boy! He had a lot of naked time to beat the heat, we tried to stay cool in the shade on the deck in the evenings~ a nice cool breeze was refreshing! We had to find new ways to entertain him... including some card games with sissy!
Hum, what else? Billy got a home haircut, I buzzed the clippers over his head one evening- it doesn't look too bad... All three kids (and Bill too) had dental cleanings in the past 2 weeks... Olivia did her final evening volunteering at the soup kitchen... Bill and Billy went up to the cabin to help my Dad try to get his well figured out... Well, lets just say things here have been busy! We are closing in on summer vacation... just a few more weeks to go! Hum, I wonder... will we get more or less busy when school lets out...?

First Food

Last week at his 4month check-up, Dr. Brennan suggested we start Wes on rice cereal. Now, Savanna has been waiting for this day ever since the baby shower where we got a cute box of baby spoons and food and such. She seriously has been asking every week or so when he is going to have his first food. Even though we got the go ahead, I wanted to wait until after Camporee. Then we had to time it so Grandma Beth could be here... wouldn't want her to miss out on the fun. Poor Savanna, I bought the cereal on Tuesday- it's been sitting on the island for days...she was about to bust with excitement! Thanks goodness, yesterday was finally the day!

Wes wasn't too sure about it, I'm sure two cameras snapping and everyone hanging over didn't help... but he was a trooper and maybe ate 2 or 3 spoonfuls total. He was pretty funny with his tongue trying to figure it out! We ended up taking him out of the bumbo and I held him and "chased" the cereal with a bottle and he was much happier... in fact it wore him right out! Silly boy, welcome to the world of solid foods. Or, as Kelly said "semi-solid" food!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Camporee 2010

This weekend was Girl Scout Camporee~ I've been thinking about Wes and the camping trip... I was quite torn about what to do. As a troop leader, I felt pretty obligated to attend! Plus, as much as I whine and complain... it really is fun (sort of) to watch the girls explore and enjoy the weekend. But, then again, it's a big responsibility to take other people's kids for 3 days... then add a 4 month old on top of that... I really couldn't decide what to do. After thinking on it a while, my final decision had been to plan on going and bringing Wes with me (unless the weather was supposed to be miserable) We got a Mom to go with us, so we would have extra hands. If we were going to get rain I would stay home and drive up for the day Saturday. In my head I had the back up plan to go and sleep in my car if Wes didn't like the tent, or worse case to drive home or to Cindi's or Conway if it got dicey in the night... Well, it turned out to be a beautiful weekend! We went up to camp Pondicherry on Friday afternoon, made camp and got supper together just as it was getting dark. Wes and the girls were great! Some of these girls had gone to other camporees, some were going for the first time... we really couldn't have asked for 12 better girls! They were awesome all weekend. As 4th graders, they have grown up so much- helpful and kind... really able to do so much on their own.
They are all so into Wes. It was, at times, a bit overwhelming. I had a dozen mother's helpers... "Can I hold him?" "Can I push the stroller?" By Sunday I was pretty tired of having 3 or 4 girls hovering over me at all times. But, seriously. If that was all I had to complain about, I guess I shouldn't complain!
The committee had done a good job of planning activities. The girls got the rotations they wanted. They played some field games, canoed and fun-yaked, swam, did crafts and learned about archery. We cooked on the campfire, had a sing-along and really enjoyed the nature! It was a beautiful weekend, not too buggy (which I was worried about) but a little chilly at night. Wes and I had our own tent... just in case he was fussy- I slept in a sleeping bag with another blanket on top. I had him triple layered in blankets, in fleece pjs and a sleep sac. I worried about him sleeping in a hat, so took it off the first night. He did well, never really fussing at all. I never even entertained the thought of leaving or sleeping in the car. People kept telling me what a good baby he was- I am so proud of him! Certainly a trip for the baby book...

Now that our troop is at the Junior level- there are so many more opportunities for them at Camporee- it was cool to see them get out on the water in the boats and to shoot bows and arrows... We went all over the camp zig zagging to our activities- Saturday was very busy. We were off and running before 9 (after cooking pancakes and bacon on the camp stove) and not back to our site until 5:30 for hamburgers and hot dogs. I was pooped, it's a lot to carry and remember keeping 12 kids on track with all their belongings not to mention all that Wes needs. Thank goodness for my stroller. I carried a backpack and loaded up the jeep and we just went off for the day!

I guess I should have known that Wes was going to be fine. The outdoors, and people. Two of his favorite things combined! He was such a champ, getting passed around and poked and pulled on. He just ate it all up! He didn't want to nap. You could tell he knew if he slept he might miss something... he kept dozing off, then after 1/2 hour or so he would wake up and want to be back in the middle... he wasn't going to miss a second if he could help it!

I think this was one of the best Girl Scout events I've been to. The other leaders, and Mom who were there were great. Everyone was so helpful pulling together when I needed to focus on Wes and offering arms for the baby when the girls needed my attention. I am so lucky to run the troop with them! We did the math, and Wes was actually "at" camporee last year... it's just that none of us knew it yet! This was the 4th Camporee for Savanna and Olivia (there with her troop- in a different camp site) and I think they both enjoy it more and more each year! A weekend in the woods with your friends, what could be better?! Maybe having a cute baby brother there to show off?!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Billy had me in stitches the other morning as he carted Wes around in his walker.

According to him, it was quite a workout. Does he have a future as a rickshaw driver?! I think not!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A word (or two) from Wes

"Everyone loves a man in uniform!" or... "ignore the red spots on my forehead"
"Anchors away!" I said

I wonder... "Is it still called a walker if my feet don't reach the floor?!"

"Roll over?! Sure I can..." I just don't want photographic evidence!

"Thanks for the snack Jay"- way to help a cousin out!

"Gucci Gucci Goo"

"My brother is the funniest..."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5-16-10: Wes- 4 months, or 1/3 of a year

May 16th makes Wes 4 months old! I can't believe he is 1/3 of a year... time is flying! The red face is not from spaghetti sauce or cherry popsicle... its slobber; he is giving himself a nice little rash with all the sucking and slobbering he is doing!
Waited until later in the day to do his shoot, got some afternoon sun in the shot... he has on his cool stripes thirsties wrap. I wanted him to wear a goodmama, but didn't get diaper laundry done in time!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


or alternately titled: "I've got you babe"
We are so blessed to have each other. What a gift a loving supportive family is!

Westley at Work

Wes went shoeing yesterday... we like to start occupational training early 'round here! Actually, Beau had thrown a shoe (and then developed an abscess in a different hoof... but that's another story!) and needed some attention- with a full work week we had to take the opportunity when it arose. Which meant, Wes went to work!
We tucked him into his farm chair and kept him in out of the way places in case Beau were to get rowdy (highly unlikely!) He like being by the anvil with Daddy, the hammering was fun to watch and although pretty loud, it didn't bother him too much. Then, he moved under the slide out, and that was great until Daddy started grinding... the sparks were not going near him, but they were flying in his direction- the sound and sparks were a little too much. He fussed a bit, but otherwise was great! We were able to get 4 shoes done with him just hanging in his seat. He had toys but didn't play with them- happy to just watch and listen to all the goings on.
But, it was hard work and we caught him sleeping on the job for a minute or two!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


This was a week of milestones! On Monday Wes really laughed. He has been chuckling and giggling for a few weeks now- but Monday as I was getting him dressed I was pretending to bite his belly. I was sort of taking little nips at him with my lips and twice the really laughed out loud! He did it twice, and has not done it since but I'm calling that his official first!
And then today, while having our morning tummy time he rolled over! He went front to back over his right arm to get closer to me. I had positioned myself off to one side and was talking to him. I clapped and cheered and gave him big kisses then put him right back where he was. He went right on and did it again! He got more cheers and hugs and then when Daddy came out of the bathroom and we had the camera ready he just laid there and started to cry like he does when he is done with his tummy time. So, boo. I didn't get it on film, but I'll try again later and see if we have more luck. So, where it was twice, with clear intent I'm calling this a first as well!
2 major milestones in one week... my little guy is growing up!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

R.I.P. Lizzy Lizard

It's a sad day in the Houston household as we mourn the passing of Olivia's rainbow gecko Lizzy. According to his spots/tail rings he was approaching 30 years- the top end of their lifespan. ...and as we recognized, except for the unfortunate incident whereby he lost his tail... (don't worry. it grew back. mostly.) he had a good life. Rest in Peace little bugger~

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Bill really fumbled his way thru this one this morning... "well, you've been Mothering for a long time... but happy first "official" Mother's Day!"

Bill isn't always good about making a big deal of holidays. He's more of a "you want something, so buy it" type guy... gifts aren't really his thing. I let him know a few weeks ago that if he chose to "ignore" the day I might get my feelings hurt. I just thought I'd let him know it was important to me! Well, I got a great set of Adirondack chairs (built together with a small table in between) and a new picnic table for the deck. He really didn't have to go that far- but I'm so glad he did! Our table has been slowly rotting away for a few summers now, and was so bad I refused to sit at it. I'm not sure if the idea was his, or if he got help... but either way I am thrilled to have a new one as we really did use the other one until it got so bad. It was a great gift, and I will be so glad to sit out there once the weather turns back around!

We went up to the farm house for a brunch with Bill's Mom this morning. Olivia and I made yogurt parfaits and I made lemon muffins. A Houston specialty for holiday morning is egg puff- so of course we had that too! Everything was yummy and I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted in celebration (I'm down 4 pounds this week!) I had my coffee nice and creamy and enjoyed every bite of my breakfast.
We then took the time to get started on our communal garden. We planted peas and broccoli, cauliflower and onions. It was quite cold and very blustery so we didn't last too long! Bill and his Dad worked on a few yard chores while Billy and Savanna chose to stay indoors. It was a very nice day, and I'm happy to have some time to play on the computer this afternoon... Happy Mother's day to my Mom, my Sister and all the other Mother's out there too!

Survivor's Day

Savanna and I attended an all day Scout event yesterday- it was an outdoors/camping themed day with various rotations of activities and such. It was held at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds (a bit over an hour drive) and I left Wes home for the day as I was forcasted to be cold and rainy. It was a pretty miserable day weather wise, but we had a great time, did a lot of neat stuff and learned a few new things.
In our outdoor cooking class, we learned that you can bake muffins in hollowed out orange peels. I was trying to stick to my diet, so only had one bite (mostly because it was warm and smelled so good as I stood there shivering!) but Savanna made a big dramatic show when I *made* her try it! She fussed and made it much worse for herself and after finally swallowing it, deemed it disgusting! I did think it was a very cool campfire cooking technique.

Among other things we did a yoga workshop, which was one of Savanna's top choices for the day. She had fun, the instructor was way into it and it was a pretty rough workout! She certainly didn't "dumb it down" for the girls. We went full force for an hour and a half... we did all sorts of poses, and she didn't stop at all. The other leader and I were laughing about how much our abs were killing after the workout!

In addition to yoga and cooking we also made a fishing kit (they had to sew the pouch and them made lines and a rough pole to use) and did relay races and a sing along session where we learned campfire songs. We also did a knot tying workshop. Savanna and I are certainly NOT good at knots! We were cracking ourselves up as we messed up every one and just managed to tangle ourselves up in our ropes! She ended up knotting our wrists together for a bit of the day... it was pretty funny- I was yanking and jerking her all around!

Here is one we finally got... actually we got them all but kept having to ask for help, and I'll never remember how to tie them again... all in all a fun day- but I missed Wes a lot- we were gone over 12 hours and that was too long for me! But, we survived and had fun too~ I think it's a day we will go to again next year... especially if we can get into the self defense class- Savanna was really bummed we didn't make it into that rotation.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Diet, Day 4

Having done this once before (I lost 50 pounds 7 years ago...) I know that motivation can be borrowed! So, following my Mom's ( ) challenge; minus cards and pages... I started to "diet" on Monday. Mostly watching my calorie intake for each day, trying to stay between 1200 and 1300 as well as attempting to increase my activity level, I've started the process. I am on day 4, and cheated by getting on the scale. When "dieting" I try not to weigh myself more then once a week- it's such a drag to watch the numbers go up and down and we all know how much we can fluctuate over the course of a day or two... I stick to once a week same time same circumstances (like Sunday am, right when I get up) but needed a boost to keep going today... I wanted that gratification of "on the right track." And, granted it's only been 4 days- so it could all be water weight, or just normal ups/downs... but according to my new bathroom scale, I'm down 2.5lbs already! Yipee. Only 57.5 more to go.... Wes on the other hand is gaining overnight! He is up to 14lbs 11ozs today- "Chub" we call him.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Our Song

This past weekend was the girl scout talent show. Our troop did a group performance...but of course Savanna HAD to do another act! Our little miss opted to sing a Taylor Swift song: "Our Song" with her friend Mackenzie. They worked hard practicing at recess, doing impromptu performances when ever possible, getting together for play dates to work on choreography and practicing the lyrics. They both knew the song inside and out and the other Mom (thanks Kristen!) got them matching outfits- they were totally set for the stage! They did great, and I could tell being up there holding the microphone was a dream come true for them both! Savy is bound to wind up back on the stage... I just know it- she loves to sing and just soaks up the attention! Center stage, here we come!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wes, meet Sam

Saturday was a most memorable day... not only did I meet my dear friend Kelley's son Sam, but I got to introduce him to Wes as well! This day was a long time coming; I have been waiting to meet this little man for over almost 2 years now! You see, Kel and I were pregnant at the same time, we walked much the same road to motherhood. I was so honored to finally meet her beautiful baby. I'm crying a bit as I write this- he is such an amazing guy, and knowing that Kelley (and Geoff) love Samuel as much as I love Wes makes me well up... having gone through trying and pregnancy and birth along with Kelley has deepened my respect for her- and having one of my own makes knowing how she feels about her son overwhelming! This having kids thing is so deep- who knew there were all these other "levels" to life?! I am so glad for them as a family and so awed by their baby boy... Sam is one special little munchkin
Kelley and I have tried and talked about getting the boys together for a while now, carving out time has been difficult... but I wanted so badly to meet Sam! Having Kelley to lean on and talk to during my pregnancy was great. We were both wishing and hoping and suffering in our attempts to get pregnant and then when we both found out we were expecting she was just a few weeks ahead of me. Always just one step ahead it was almost a little odd how our paths mirrored each other. I was so glad to have a sounding board, an ear to pick and another new Mom's heart to share. I was lucky to have someone else going through so many of the same things, being able to share experiences and just to talk things through with was such a big help and comfort.

Our little bundles are both here- happy and healthy and we are about as lucky as two new Moms could be. The boys were adorable together and I can't wait to watch them grow, and knowing that Wes and Sam will always have each other is amazing. Like it or not, these guys were bonded before birth; they will always be a part of each other's lives. This was just the beginning of their relationship... sorry Sam- you are stuck with me!

We had a nice long visit, meeting at the Crowley's home in Saugus. We had time to sit and catch up, to play with each other's baby and get acquainted. We had a lovely lunch, and were able to enjoy the beautiful day with a walk along some great nature trails that Kel is familiar with. Lauren and Geoff and Kelley and I pushed and carried the boys along and I couldn't hep but smile... there were some times I thought I'd never get here... some times I cried for Kel and Geoff and wondered where their road was going... but this day made it all worth while~ these two little boys don't know how lucky they are... these two Moms wanted these two boys so very much.
And Sam, I'm so glad to have met you! I loved you when you were in your Mommy's belly, and I love you now. Knowing you makes my love for Wes that much deeper~ what am amazing blessing you are to your Mom and Dad. I can't wait to watch you grow, to see who you become! I promise I won't let so much time pass before we visit again little man.