Saturday, November 30, 2013

In Words and Pictures

There has been a lot of activity at our place over the last ten days or so. I'll have to write in more detail later. For now, here's a list of words and pictures to explain it all:

1. We got a puppy! Meet Roxie Galloway, the Wonder Boxer. She is 7 weeks old, sweet, loves to snuggle and play. And pee and poo. It's what puppies do. Our kids are over the moon bonkers about her!

2. I got a sinus infection. Sick for a week and then started antibiotics. Feeling better now thankfully!
3. Mike's parents and 91 year old grandmother came from New Jersey to visit and have Thanksgiving with us.

4. Our 14 year old dryer bit the dust. Our matching washer had been overflowing and starting to rust, so hallelujah we got a new set! Our old dryer was taking nearly two hours to dry an average sized load. And anyone with kids knows that the amount of laundry they produce is astounding. It was getting old fast.  I think I heard angels singing when I finished my first load with these bad boys.

5. Leah got an award at school for showing a giving spirit to her classmates. Love that girl. She really is a little sunshine. 

6. We had an awesome Thanksgiving at our house. Lots of food, beautiful weather and family. It was really wonderful. 

With all this going on I have been away from the computer. Once things settle back into a normal routine next week, I'll be back. Hope you all have been doing well! :)

Oh and here's a few more Roxie pics for your viewing pleasure. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Family Fun Night

Last night I took Hannah and Lucas up to the church where Lucas attends school for their Family Fun Night. It was a combination of games and bounce houses along with a silent auction to raise money for new playground equipment. Leah couldn't attend because she has gymnastics on Thursday evenings, so Mike went with her and took her out on a dinner date afterwards. 

Lucas was super stoked to go up to his school and show Hannah and I his classroom, introduce us to his friends and show us around his "hood". 

First we hit up the auction tables. I actually bid on three things, but got out bid on all of them. I sort of felt my competitive nature rising up, but I let it go. Mike would have killed me if I become involved in a bidding war and ended up spending $500 on a basket of kitchen gadgets. 
One of the items I bid on: a Family Game Night basket. I am still a little bitter about not getting it. 

After that we ate dinner, played a few games, then got in line for some face painting and balloon animals. The guy making the balloons was a lot of fun to watch. He had obviously been practicing his craft for awhile. We ended up with a dinosaur, a poodle, a horse and two bow & arrow sets. All but one of those things have since popped, but they were fun while they lasted! Next up was the face painting. It was a big decision, but here's what we ended up with. 
Lucas the Dinosaur (note: green make up does not wash off easily. After several scrubbings, he still looked a little like he was jaundiced.)
And my beautiful Hannah the Butterfly. She loved it and did NOT want to wash it off later. 

We ended the night with a long stretch at the bounce house flowed by a thirty minute volunteer slot at one of the games. We got home in time to hang out with Mike and Leah before getting everyone in bed. 

Just another busy, but fun night here in the Galloway House!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gray Hair

In our family, I am not the only one with gray hair. Even though I cover mine up every eight weeks or so, I am not alone. And it's not Mike either. He still has a head full of black hair. 
Instead, it is none other than my four year old! 
Say what?
Back in March of this year, when he was still 3, we were at an outdoor birthday party for a friend of ours. I looked down and thought the sunlight was just reflecting off his head. Or that he had white icing stuck in his hair. But upon further examination, I noticed a small area of scattered gray hairs. 
I pointed this out to Mike and a few other people at the party and no one had a clue what to make of it. Over the next several months, the gray hairs increased in number. I performed numerous scalp checks to see if there was anything on his head that could possibly be causing it-- a mole? birthmark? scar? 
Nope. There was nothing that I could see that could possibly be causing it.
So in July, after he turned 4, I asked our pediatrician about it at his well check appointment. 
She too did a thorough scalp exam. She even got out her lap top and googled "large smattering of gray hair" on some fancy private doctor google site. She said she has seen patches of gray hair before, but they have always been linked to something else like a skin disease or even deafness. Lucas' gray hairs are more scattered, not so much a "patch". However, they are contained to only the front part of his head at this time. In the end, our doctor suggested that if we wanted to have him examined by a pediatric dermatologist, he or she might provide some further information. In the mean time, she would continue to research it and as long as he is healthy (he passed his hearing test, fyi) to just keep an eye on it and go from there.  I know it's not life threatening or anything, but is just more of a bizarre occurrence. I hope in the future no one makes fun of him for it- -especially if the gray hairs continue to increase in number. I suppose when he's older, he could always dye his hair if it bothered him that much. Really, I just think it makes him even more unique, and I hope he learns to embrace that about himself.
Because I like him just the way he is. :)
 Can you see the gray? 
You wouldn't believe how many people ask me if he has something in his hair. 
He's learned to say, "It's just my gray hair!"
Yep. He's a keeper. Gray hair and all,

PS-- In my own googling of the issue, I've come across two articles that suggest a vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to early graying in children. I've started giving him a daily vitamin with 100% B12, so we'll see if this reverses the graying process. It can't hurt I don't think. I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I Needed To Hear Her Voice

I have approximately 2,574 emails sitting in my inbox. I am terrible about getting rid of them. I have this fear that as soon as I hit "delete" I will need that particular email again. Sometimes I have to scroll through pages and pages of emails to find one that I am looking for. There's probably a better system, but sorting and going through all those emails is pretty low on my priority list right now. Anyway,  a few weeks ago I had to go all the way back to 2010 looking for a certain email.

And there it was.

Sitting there like a little hidden treasure.

Not the email I was looking for, but an email from my mom.

My mom went into the hospital for open heart surgery on November 2, 2010. She stayed there until May 2, 2011 when she was discharged to go home. We knew the end was near, but we had no idea how near. She died suddenly at home the next day, May 3, 2011. During her long hospital stay, she had a tracheotomy for much of the time, which prevented her from talking. She kept a notebook and pencil on her bed at all times so that she could communicate by writing. But when we couldn't be with her at the hospital, there was no way to talk to her directly. As a solution to the problem, my dad and I ended up buying her an iPad so she could email us whenever we weren't there. It ended up being a perfect communication tool for us, and I remember the short period of time where she and I were emailing daily. It made us feel "normal" for a little while, even though we knew she had a long road to recovery.

So back to the email.

It startled me to see my mom's name in my inbox list. It was as if she were sending me a message. My throat instantly started closing up and my eyes stung with tears. I can't tell you how much I have wanted to talk to her or hear her voice again. How many days I have wished the phone would ring and she would be on the other end. It is a deep, painful longing that I thought would never be satisfied this side of heaven.

I opened it up, and here's what it said:

My dear Emily,
      Iread your email and wish so much that we could go to lunch.  I promise we will.  I can really begin to see some light. I am going to work as hard as I can to get well as soon as I can. I found your blog today and am overwhelmed with your love and maturity.  You have no idea how proud of you I am. And I have 3beautiful grandchildren who need me.   I hope you get medicine and get well soon. Sleep well tonight. Know that you are loved.
       I think God is teaching me to rely on Him and not myself. I am learning how weak I am in myself,but He is the creator and sustainer. It is in his strength only that I can face the future.

Much love,
PS  Decide where you want to have lunch.

I sat at my computer and just cried. It had been awhile since I had a good, cleansing sob fest, and I needed it. Here I was thinking I would never hear from her again. But I did. Not in the way I wanted, but in a way I needed. I needed to be reminded that she loved me, that she was proud of me.  One day, I'll hear her voice again. Until then, I think I'll print this off and tuck it away somewhere so that every now and then, I can be reminded of her unconditional love for me. It's not a loud booming voice, but more of a whisper.  

And I'll take it.

My mom and me

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Family, by Lucas

This drawing is Dad, Mom (I'm upside down), Hannah, Leah, Lucas (also upside down), Papa (my dad) and Sally (my stepmom). Done by Lucas, May 2013.

Lucas has finally started drawing. His sisters have always loved drawing, coloring, painting, etc. From the earliest I can remember (maybe age 2?) they have been able to occupy themselves with any creative endeavor. But my boy? He has always just been too busy and active to sit still enough to color a picture. Until recently. Out of the blue, he has been asking for markers and paper. He will draw several pictures in one sitting, concentrating hard on each one. It really all started at the beginning of the summer, but has picked up speed throughout the fall. During this time, I've noticed two things: 1. We for sure have another lefty (Hannah is also left handed) and 2. His favorite subject is our family. Sometimes he draws just the five of us and other times he includes Gram and Doo Dad or Papa and Sally. And even still, our cats, Ellie and Tundra. Sometimes he draws me in blue because I'm the only one in our family with blue eyes. Sometimes he draws daddy super big because he says, "Daddy is the tallest like the Iron Giant." He always draws himself the smallest of the bunch because he says he's the baby of the family. Although if you were to ask him if he is a baby, his answer would be an emphatic no. He is most certainly a big boy with many super powers to boot.

These first drawing are so precious to me. Not just because they all start off looking the same (circle body, dots for eyes, maybe a smile, and arms and legs sticking straight out). But because they show that he is figuring out his place in this family of five. His own, special, loved place. I hope he always knows how much his family loves him too.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Reading to my kids before bed has been a night time ritual since....well....since I had kids almost nine years ago! On those nights when we're out late and the kids have to go straight to bed, they collapse in tears because there's no time to read (and because they are usually over-tired too). As my girls got older and are now independent readers, most nights I put them in bed about 30 minutes before their "lights out" time so they can lose themselves in a good book, settling their bodies and minds for the evening. I think this is such an important habit to form. Lucas, however, still needs me to read to him, which I love to do. He gets two books before nap time and one before bedtime. And of course, when the girls ask for a book, I usually read to them too. 

Then, the other night, I was busy picking up wet towels off the bathroom floor and brushing Hannah's tender head of wet hair and wiping clumps of toothpaste out of the sink when I peered into Lucas' room and saw this.

Be. Still. My. Heart.
Lucas had picked out "The Goblin Story" from one of his Little Bear books and Leah was happily reading to him. Why had I not thought of this before? Mixing it up a little could be good for everyone involved and could go a long way for developing a strong brother/sister bond. Not only do I want these kids of mine to be lifelong readers, but lifelong friends as well. 

That's right. I'm looking at you, kid.
I let Leah read a few more chapters before putting everyone in their own beds for the night.

I am so thankful to be their mom.

P.S Here's a list of some of our current favorite books.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The BFG also by Roald Dahl
All the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney
Strega Nona  by Tomie de Paola
All the Frances books by Russell Hoban (especially Bedtime for Frances)
Harry and Horsie by Katie Van Camp (cool illustrations, fyi)
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween and a School Musical

This week has been B-U-S to the Y! On top of our normal weekly routines, the girls had their 3rd grade school musical and of course we had Halloween too. Our evenings seemed to be completely full. But they were full of sweet singing kids, celebrating with grandparents, dressing up in costumes and lots and lots of candy, so who can complain really? 
(Leah is the last pirate on the right. Just above and to the left of the gray headed guy in my picture)
The girls' musical was called "Pirates!" It was very cute. They got to use big words like "avast!" and "swashbuckling" and "buccaneer." Leah had a starring role as "Brownbeard" and had several lines to perform. She was also in the "chorus of no-beards" which performed two songs/dances together. Hannah didn't have any lines, but she did an awesome job singing her little heart out and performing all the motions. I loved it! 

Me and my two pirate girls after the show. 
What is a female pirate? A piratess? 

Two days later it was Halloween. So what does this frugal mom do? She says, "You will be wearing your pirate costumes again because I just bought them for your school play!" Hence, the pirate costumes made a reprise. Lucas, however, after 364 days of deliberation decided to be The Flash for Halloween. This kid LOVES superheroes, just like his Daddy did. He really likes The Flash because he can run super fast and Lucas prides himself in his fast running skills. And I thought this costume was just so gosh darn cute on him!

Ready to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood! I can't even tell you how hard it was to get Lucas to stand still for this picture. The kid was super pumped.

Here they are heading up to my good friend and across-the-street neighbor's house. Kristine always puts out fun decorations and the kids love it. And then they promptly complain that we don't have any and that this is a great tragedy in their lives. I promise I'll put out a pumpkin or two next year guys!
After this house, I headed home to take on my duty as candy-passer-outer seriously. Mike and my dad walked the neighborhood with the kids and they came back with quite a haul. This weekend we'll be going through the bags when the kids aren't looking and eating  throwing most of it away.
I just want the Kit Kats. And Twixes. And Mr. Goodbars. And maybe a few Snickers. Or Milk Duds.
If I weigh 400 pounds next week you'll know why.

Hope you had a safe and happy Halloween!