Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sister Love

Piper and Rosemary seem to get closer and closer each day.  They love each other so much, and it shows in everything they do.  Now when I look at them, I wonder how we ever thought that they may not be identical.  I’m so glad that we did the DNA test so that now we know that they really are identical.  Everything seems to make so much more sense knowing that.  This weekend at the Botanical Gardens I was able to get a few photos of the two of them together. . . .

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I love these photos so much, especially because they show the relationship that these two have.  I can’t imagine how it will grow over time. . . .

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Botanical Gardens

We had a really busy weekend – we had a visit from the kids’ developmental specialist and speech therapist from when they were in Early Intervention.  I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph an awesome 7-year-old’s winter wonderland birthday party, and we had a trip to the Botanical Gardens.  It was not the best weather, but it was pleasant and there was almost no one there.  The kids were most impressed with the fish (which I actually found to be a little creepy).  


Monday, January 23, 2012


Henry hasn’t been much for the camera lately, perhaps because I’ve been trying extra hard to get some photos of him.  I finally gave up getting some candid shots and asked him to look at me and smile for the camera.

0418-B&W Perfect.  That’s exactly what I meant. . . .

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Feet off the Table, Please!

She can’t seem to help herself.  She always puts her feet up on the table during mealtime.

0405-B&WBut, then again, she’s so stinking cute that I may just let her get away with it.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Surprisingly Warm Trip to Aldridge Gardens

If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know that we really love Aldridge Gardens.  Since the weather was somewhat tolerable this weekend, we headed out there for a picnic lunch.  The kids were so excited and we all had a great time.  As you can tell, Rosemary was all about the camera on this trip. . . .

DSC_0342 DSC_0345 DSC_0363 DSC_0366 The kids are really into holding hands, and I love it!  It’s so sweet.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Who is that Bearded Man?!!


It’s GARY!  He didn’t shave over the long Christmas weekend . . . and hasn’t really shaved since.  I really like the beard.  The kids seem to like it, too.

Gary keeps joking with me that he’s going to buy some stuff to dye his beard black.  Well, he says that he’s just joking. . . .  I sure hope he is!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Zoo . . . in January

When we woke up this past Saturday morning, the temperature was in the 20s.  After checking my favorite weather blog (yes, I’m that much of a nerd), we learned that the high for the day was in the mid 50’s, which sounded to us like a perfect day to get outside!  It’s no surprise that the kids wanted to go to the zoo to see the “aminals” there. . . .

DSC_0201Everyone was so, so happy to be there.  There were so many animals out!  And there was almost no one there. . . .  I guess the zoo isn’t what people think about when they wake up to freezing temperatures.

DSC_0224 DSC_0238DSC_0244Without a doubt, the kids absolute most favorite part of the whole trip to the zoo is the train ride.  I used the opportunity to take a few photos of the kids while they were being somewhat still. . . .

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I posted way more photos of Piper than the other kids for this outing.  At almost every outing, I have one kid who is my model and gives me a lot of great photos.  At the zoo on Saturday, Piper was definitely showing the camera some love.

It really turned out to be a great day at the zoo, especially for January!  I think we all needed a little fresh air this weekend after all of the recent indoor activities.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Energy Doctor

Since Rosemary has been treated by our new allergy/asthma doctor, her asthma has been extremely under control.  In fact, we now realize that she has been somewhat out of control for a while and we just didn’t know.  Although I really hate that we had that whole incident where we ended up at the ER, I’m extremely grateful for the treatment we are receiving now.

Another thing I’ve realized from seeing Rosemary’s improvement is that Gary, who we’ve known has allergy issues that have been only sporadically treated, has asthma himself.  After a little bit of nudging from me, I convinced Gary to make an appointment with Rosemary’s doctor (who treats both pediatric and adult patients).  His appointment was last week.  He had full allergy testing.  He does has asthma as well, and is now being treated for it.  I think that he is going to see a lot of improvement in the coming weeks.

The kids think it’s crazy that Gary went to the allergy doctor like Rosemary did.  It’s been a huge topic of conversation.  Knowing that, I was actually able to interpret the text that Auntie Ann sent me on Friday when she was hanging out with the kids:

I just told Piper I didn't have the energy to tie her shoe and Rosemary started saying, "I have energys.  I go to energy doctor.  Daddy have energys too.  He go to energy doctor too."

Allergy doctor.  Energy doctor.  Eh, close enough.  Regardless, we’ve all gotten a huge kick out of that one!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

This Makes Me Happy


It is a dining set that can sit all 6 of us.  After a lot of looking and shopping and thinking, we ordered it back in December.  It came in recently, but we haven’t had time to go pick it up.  Gary had a big surprise for me yesterday when he came home with the table, chairs, and bench!  He left work early to pick it up and surprise me.  I haven’t been that excited over a surprise in a really long time.  Gary and I can finally comfortably sit down and eat with the kids, and we had our first meal together this morning for breakfast.  It makes me happier than I ever thought it would.  Mealtime just became a LOT more fun. 

And it’s pretty nice to be rid of that glass-top table that required glass cleaner 4-5 times a day. . . .

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Penelope’s First Ponytail

If anyone is going to tell Penelope that she is not 3.5 years old, it will not be me.  She literally has NO idea that she is not as old as her brother and sisters.  Like last week when she insisted on having her toes done, this past weekend she wanted Rosemary’s pigtails.  Unfortunately, Penelope doesn’t have a lot of hair to work with, so I did the best I could do. . . .


Luckily, she loved it and thought she looked beautiful (which of course she did)!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pearly Whites

This morning Miss Sally and I took the kids to the pediatric dentist.  The last visit we had 6 months ago was, well, pretty bad.  I was prepared for the same sort of visit today, but everyone was great!!  The kids talk a lot about being brave (which to them means not crying), and Henry is typically the most brave.  For instance, when he got his flu shot, he barely winced.  Piper, on the other hand, will be the first to tell you that she was not brave because she cried (and in fact, I had to chase her down).

The big kids even got x-rays of their teeth, and everything looks good.  Rosemary has the best spacing, followed by Piper.  The two of them may avoid braces.  Henry’s teeth are very crowded and is probably on the way to braces.  Penelope doesn’t have an appointment until the next visit, but she definitely has crowded teeth like Henry.  If we could get away with 2 out of 4 on braces, I’d consider that a huge win, especially considering that Gary and I, as well as all of our siblings, had braces.

And speaking of pearly whites, I’m sure you’re all interested to know that Rosemary still has her signature smile:

DSC_0058But she’s now also developed a look that shows a bit of her attitude. . . .


That last shot is pure Rosemary. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rainy Day

This past weekend Gary was out of town.  We played outside a lot on Saturday, but yesterday was an especially dreary, rainy day.  The kids were a little bored, but at the same time very interested in the rain.

DSC_0120 Penelope was up almost all night the night before.  She’d lay down for about an hour, then wake up screaming.  We’d rock for a while, then she’d want to be back in her bed, then she’d start screaming again.  When she got up the next morning, though, she seemed to be fine and I just chalked it up to some unknown pain or ailment.  Not long after the photo above was taken, I happened to look in her ear.  She had a ton of really gross, junky stuff in her left ear.  I had learned not to clean out the stuff (my pediatrician likes to culture whatever is in there when ear tubes are involved), so I just grabbed the phone to call for an appointment.

The receptionist said that I needed to get there in 20 minutes to be seen.

Me and four kids under four, to the pediatrician, in 20 minutes?!! 

I heard myself saying sure.

I immediately told the big kids that we had an emergency.  I said that Penelope had to go to the doctor and that we had to get there REALLY FAST.  They looked at me with interest.  I explained that they had to do everything that I said exactly when I said it, and they agreed.  I threw their tennis shoes at them and told them to put on their shoes, then put on Penelope’s shoes, while I changed clothes then I’d be back to tie all the shoelaces.  I threw on some clothes, brushed my teeth, and came back to 8 shoes on 8 feet, and quickly tied the shoelaces.

Then we walked out the front door, to the rain, and I carried Penelope and told the big kids to RUN to the car.  They did and jumped in.  I buckled up Penelope while the big kids started buckling themselves in.  I finished the buckling and we were off!  Rosemary kept yelling at me to “Go faster, Mama!  Go really, really fast!!”  (For the record, I did not, but I’m concerned Rosemary is going to be a bit of a speed demon when she starts driving.)  On the way, I explained the gameplan for the pediatrician’s parking lot.  I explained that I would unbuckle them all from Henry’s side, then close the door and go to Penelope’s side of the car.  While I got Penelope out, the kids were to get out by crawling under Penelope’s seat, then we would all hold hands and run into the pediatrician’s office.  To my great shock, they paid attention to me and executed beautifully.

All five of us were in the pediatrician’s office in under 20 minutes.  I seriously think I deserve a medal for that.  Sure, we looked pretty rough, but we did it!  While we were there, a woman and her teenage daughter sat across from us and asked about the kids’ ages.  I told her 3.5 and 16 months, then we chatted a bit about kids.  I told her about us making it there in 20 minutes, and she seemed appropriately impressed.  Turns out she has 8 kids and really understood what a feat I’d accomplished that morning!  I really wish that I knew who she was – she just seemed like someone I’d really like to talk to (if she ever had time).

Anyway, Penelope does in fact have an ear infection, so she is on antibiotics and is getting ear drops.  She did a ton better last night, and slept all the way through the night, so hopefully getting those meds really helped. 

What’s ironic about the whole thing is that I’d e-mailed a friend on Saturday telling her that for the first time in forever I had no kids on any prescription meds other than normal preventative meds.  Henry had finished up his steroids for croup on Friday, and I thought we would have more than a day. . . .  Not so.  Next time I’ll have to try to keep from jinxing myself.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Train Obsession

Henry has recently developed a love for trains (and we’re so lucky that Santa brought him some trains and tracks).  Until now, there wasn’t really anything that Henry was really “into” but now I think that trains are his thing!   The biggest problem we have is keeping the girls from destroying his handiwork.

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We heard from the neurosurgeon yesterday.  He has reviewed Henry’s CT scans, and believes that the hole in Henry’s skull is nothing to be worried about and is probably just a natural thing that will not affect Henry adversely.  He does, however, want to see Henry.  We have an appointment with him on February 6 (I keep telling myself that it can’t be that bad or he would have set up the appointment for an earlier date). 

When I tried to set up Henry’s appointment with the Concussion Clinic, I learned that the Concussion Clinic doesn’t see children as young as Henry.  I’ll admit that I wasn't very happy to learn that the ER sent us home with completely inaccurate discharge instructions (on top of them not being as attentive as I think they should have been and telling us that we had probably “forgotten” about Henry having some sort of brain surgery).  Ugh.  I have, however, been laughing about how when we were at the ER with Henry that Gary told the nurse practitioner not to rule out the possibility of an alien abduction because, you know, that’s about as likely as our “forgetting” about our son having brain surgery. 

Regardless, Henry is doing great and is acting like his normal self these days.  He woke up Sunday night with croup (for the third time since this summer), but we were able to get it under control and took him to the pediatrician in Monday to get some meds to take care of it.  The bruise on his head is still pretty bad, but it is getting better.  I’m still watching him closely and can’t help but worry more than a little, but fortunately I’m not finding a lot to worry about. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Annual Shameless Request for Votes

Our fabulous photographer, Heather Swanner, has been taking photos of the big kids since we brought them home from the hospital, and has done the same with Penelope.  She took some amazing family photos of us all late last year.  Like last year, Heather is having a contest.  If we win, we can get a free photo session (which this mama would LOVE)!  I would love for you all to vote for us!   

How to vote for us:

Go HERE and leave a comment on that blog post that you are voting for #46 ~ Life As They Know It.  If you like Heather Swanner on Facebook, we will get two votes if you include a note that you are a Facebook fan in the comment you make on that blog post (there is NO voting on Facebook so please do not try to vote on Facebook).

And . . . that’s it!!  This year you can only vote once (not once a day), and you can only vote on the blog, so it’s easy!!  Plus, Heather is checking IP addresses and confirming Facebook likers to make sure that everyone follows the rules.  The contest ends at midnight on January 9, 2012.  We’d very much appreciate your vote! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Little Toes . . . Growing Up

Yesterday was mani-pedi day in the Lee household.  Gary is the official nail clipper, and I’m the official toe painter.  The big girls love it when I “take paint off put new on” their toes.  Penelope had never seemed to really notice the whole nail-painting thing going on.  But yesterday, as she was sitting in Gary’s lap getting her nails clipped and I was taking the polish off the big girls’ toes, Penelope started screaming.  I had no idea what she was screaming about until Gary said, “will you PLEASE put a cotton ball on her toes?”  As soon as I put the cotton ball on her toes, she was happy.

Gary finished clipping Penelope’s nails about the same time I was painting the big girls’ toes.  Penelope walked right over, sat down, and shoved her feet into my face.  She would not take no for an answer – she was going to get her toes painted!

DSC_9991Penelope was so proud of her painted toes.  She walked around all day shoving her feet into our faces and saying, “Toes!!”  As soon as Penelope came downstairs this morning, she waved her feet and yelled, “Toes!” to Miss Sally until Miss Sally complimented her toes. 

She’s growing up!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gearing Up for a Project 52

I have some friends who have done a 365 project, where they take a photo every day for a year.  That flat out takes dedication.  I remember when I made up my own 31 project earlier this year and just making a blog post daily almost killed me – and that didn’t include taking and editing a photo to post with it!  I know that I just don’t have the time to do a 365 project.  I’ve heard of people who did a project 52, meaning they take and edit a photo every week, but I was scared to commit to that sort of thing, too.

Then I saw this blog post by Sarah Cornish of My Four Hens Photography (a/k/a {m4h}).  I thought that her concept of a Project 52 based on weekly themes sounded pretty cool, but I had already declared that I did not do such projects and I quickly forgot about it.  Then I read this blog post on Clickin Moms about how Amii Wroblewski was going to use a 52 project to really “push her photography to a new level creatively.”  That really interested me.  Before that point, I had thought the purpose of these “projects” were to capture daily/weekly life – which is a great goal.  I had not thought of it before as a way to improve photography skills in some manner.  After I read that Clickin Moms blog post, I started seeing more and more comments by photographers about how much their photography improved after taking on a 365 or 52 project. 

I’m in a Facebook group with some of my classmates from the Shooting 201 class I took back in October.  Some of those women started talking about how they were going to do a 365 or 52 project and how great the {m4h} Project 52 looked. . . .  First, I told them that I didn’t do those sorts of projects.  Then I watched as the messages kept coming about so many of those women who were going to participate in the {m4h} Project 52 on Flickr.  Before I really knew what I was doing, I’d signed up for the group. 

The theme for our first week is Resolutions.  Especially after seeing that theme, I knew that there is a good chance that many of my Project 52 photos aren’t going to fit into this blog about our family life.  Because of that, I decided to start a new blog just for the Project 52.  You can find my new blog by clicking here (and I also have a link to my Project 52 blog on the right sidebar of this blog).  I will of course continue to update this blog on a regular basis and will probably post a lot of my Project 52 photos on this blog, but I just felt like a needed a separate place for my newest photography endeavor. 

I’m pretty excited about the Project 52, but I am a little nervous about the time commitment.  Ah . . . may as well just jump right in!