Tuesday, April 12, 2016

found on my phone

I don't take photos with my phone much. If it's handy, sure. But if the photo is even somewhat important, I try to get out the good camera. 
So that means that lots of the photos on my phone are slightly blurry or downloaded from a Snap I took and sent to family.

And what usually happens is that I forgot I ever took them, and I am surprised to randomly find them months later.

Like this one last month before Boo's first concert.

Easter morning, anxiously awaiting the egg hunting

Have I mentioned this guy is obsessed with stealing my coffee?
Some days I will take one or two drinks, leave to do something for a few minutes and come back to find the entire mug empty.
And then I find him, and he is smiling really, really big.

This lady taking a nap on me in the doctor's office (Hour #2).
It seems there are seasons in parenting: all-night feeding season, diapers, constant activities, the teen years... 
But is there supposed to be a UTI season?
We're still trying to get to the bottom of all the issues, and we're trying whatever we can think of.
Currently: chiropractic. 

Photography by Avery Jo.
She really captured his essence, don't you think?


Monday, April 4, 2016

spring cleaning

This is the post where I dump random pictures on you in an attempt to add to some content to this slightly neglected blog.
Listed in no particular order:


Graham's first farm sale.
Carhartt cuteness overload!
Graham has been potty-trained for about 3ish months now - shortly after he turned three. We bought him underwear last year, but he was never very reliable when it came to using the toilet. (Remember how he pooped on Batman?) 
So I didn't push it. 

But one day I did tell him that once he was out of diapers he could start going to sales with Papa. Papa doesn't change diapers. (Once while I went out for a morning of garage sales with my mom and Jared, my dad volunteered to watch the kids. It all went well except for the dirty washcloths in my bathroom sink. My dad panicked at the thought of a dirty diaper change and didn't think to use the wet wipes next to the stack of clean diapers in Graham's room. So instead Avery gave him about 4 washcloths from the linen closet to use. Please keep in mind that this man has four daughters... )


Anyway, long story long, Graham started actually giving a crap (pun intended) once future farm sales were on the line. He got to go with Papa Jeff to his first one this past month. And unfortunately for all involved, my dad still hasn't improved with the whole Graham going #2 situation, but that's a story for another day.


The Father Daughter Dance
The girls attended their first father daughter dance recently. My dad came along as as extra set of hands for Jared, although since the girls ended up only wanting to dance with their friends, neither man felt overly needed that night.


This candid photo
They're both making get-outta-here/geez-Mom/seriously?! faces to some comment. And it cracks me up that it was caught on camera.


Be still my heart.
I love these people so much. ♥
Jared is back to honey-doing lately. I've wanted a bench for a boring spot in our front landscape since we moved in (ie: 2012), so he built me this bad boy. He also built another planter bed for our backyard along with getting back into a busier Etsy schedule after two months off.



Bailey's first "informance"
(ie: an informal performance/concert)
Don't worry, I rolled my eyes just as hard as you probably just did.
She did a good job. It was slightly odd to us. The teacher sang more than the kids did. It was a lot of them going around in circles or jumping and random stuff like that. But Bailey seemed to be enjoying it, so that is what matters.
She did sing a little solo part, which was sweet to watch. 
And the two songs the kids did sing (really, they sang 2 songs in 35 minutes) were good. 


Do not kum in heer. X
Yeah, sta awt!
The kids (aka - Bailey wielding a dry erase marker) have been leaving us notes all around warning us to stay out of their areas, mainly their bedrooms or the toy room. They haven't tried to enforce their warnings so we haven't been annoyed by it yet. I still love finding little notes around the house with Bailey's writing. I particularly love the challenge of phonetically sounding out the messages and trying to figure it out. 
Kindergarten decoding 101.


The Grandpa Version of Dress-up
My dad is getting a lot of blog play here today, folks!
If you're going to just sit around at our house, there is a chance you could get decorated like a Christmas tree. Or look like the dress-up cart threw up on you.


And in case you're wondering,
we're still loving hats around here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter 2016

I love Easter. Not only because of the obvious reason as a Christian, but also because it's pretty fun and low-key as far as holidays go. There is family and food aplenty. There is no gift-buying pressure. There are fun traditions like dyeing and hunting for eggs. And don't forget the excuse to wear a fancy hat. (Stay tuned for that portion.)

Prepared for dyeing duty





Bring on the ridiculous photos







And then there's that Easter hat.
If any of our kids is going to be the one to make a fashion statement, it's Avery. And she wore that baby with pride. Apparently people like seeing a throwback to traditions of yesteryear (btw: Google informs me that is indeed a word) because she received plenty of compliments on it.
Thanks to Grandma Cathy as always for the lovely Easter regalia.  :)


Easter had a different feel for me this year too. It felt more real, if that even makes sense. It's no secret that I've grown a lot in my faith over the past year, so it felt more personal. 

Bailey is older this year, and she had questions, many that tended to involve details about the death of Jesus.
Why would people hate him that much?
Why did he have to die?
How could he save us if he died?
If God is his dad, why would he let him get hurt?

Deep stuff. 
It's challenging for adults to understand, let alone a 6 year-old. I don't have all the answers, but I tried my best. I don't know how much made sense in their little minds. 

But on Easter evening as my mom was rocking a sleepy Graham, he told her he loved her and she responded back that she loved him too. Then he matter of factly told her, "But Jesus loves me more than even you or Mommy or Daddy."

I think that is a fine way to sum up Easter. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bailey turns 6

I can't believe it. How has it already been 6 years?
I'm going to blink and she's going to be in college!

It's true how time seems to go by more quickly with each passing year.


The birthday girl chose a pink and purple heart themed party. 
Which was amazing for me since her birthday is 5 days after Valentine's Day and stores were covered in pink and hearts alike.

As usual we baked and decorated her cake.

I also baked dozens and dozens of heart-shaped cookies for both her school birthday treats and for her birthday party at home. We also threw in some number 6 and letter B cookies for variety's sake.

My sisters never stop reminding me that Bailey is a mini version of me.
And I can't deny it when looking at this picture.
There is a home movie where I am making this exact excited/overjoyed-at-a-gift face when I got a particularly ravishing multi-colored blouse (complete with over-sized collar) at the age of 8 or so. If I could put a snippet of that VHS tape on this blog as Exhibit A, I definitely would.


This birthday girl is always happy when there is dessert to eat - especially cake that she got to choose herself.


Happy Birthday Bailey Boo!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

sanity saving

We're on our second consecutive snow day today. It was a little overkill since the roads were clear yesterday and it barely snowed last night, but it was nice to sleep in. (You know you're a parent when 7 am is "sleeping in.") 

I'm working hard to keep my sanity. I don't know what it was, but yesterday was rough. Eventually I threw all three kids out in the backyard to burn off some energy. I also didn't have to hear fighting for a whole 20 minutes: Win!

And to illustrate my point, here is a recycled picture of the Solko siblings in snowpants.

Speaking of sanity helpers, I have recently become a huge fan of menu planning. I am not sure why I resisted it in the past when Jared had suggested it, but I'm loving it now. 

It's far from fancy. 
I found this template on Google images and it fits our needs perfectly. The kids and I usually eat leftovers or sandwiches for lunches, so we only need supper ideas. I post it on the side of the fridge (with some Frozen magnets near a random photo) and we're good to go. 

I think roughly half the arguments in our house used to be over what was for dinner.
Sad but true. 
I don't mind cooking, in fact I usually like it, but I hate HATE! thinking of dinner ideas every night. Every day 5 pm would roll around and Jared and I would go through the same tired conversation.
This one sheet of paper has made life after 5 PM much more enjoyable. We are bickering about supper duty less, and we are using up foods we already have on hand that need to be eaten.

And it's been surprisingly easy to think of meal ideas ahead of time. Turns out it is hard to brainstorm when your kids are pulling on your pant legs begging for food. 

In other wow-my-life-is-boring news, I'm pumped about the new cookbook I purchased. It isn't actually a cookbook at all, but an empty recipe binder that I am in love with.


We're big on food in this family, in case you haven't noticed.
We regularly find new recipes to try out and many times decide they are keepers. Most of these recipes come from favorite food websites, so they are computer print-outs. For years we had been 3-hole punching them and putting them in a regular 3-ring binder. The problem was that the sheets were too big for the binder and you couldn't see any of the tabs. And eventually none of them actually made it into the binder. Plus, while I was sorting through these printed-out recipes, I found 6 copies of the same chocolate chip cookie recipe. (They're super easy and delicious by the way. We love Mel's Kitchen!)

Now all that might sound like no big deal to other people, but I happen to love organization and orderliness. It was unacceptable. (Forget the fact that I accepted it for like 7 or 8 years.) I finally found this recipe binder on Amazon and it was was worth the money. The best part is that there are different page styles to store the recipes: full sheet or recipe cards. So you can mix-and-match to your specific needs. I think that is an awesome way to keep all your favorites in one place whether it is Aunt Ethel's handwritten cinnamon roll recipe or The Pioneer Woman's scalloped potatoes and ham. (We're having that for supper tonight if you couldn't tell!)

Friday, January 29, 2016

real, real quick

I'm sneaking in a few minutes to write a little something.

Christmas was great. 
I have non-phone, camera-quality pictures to prove it that are for now sitting on our "my book" file thingy attached to the computer (my computer knowledge is clearly vast and limitless) but have not been edited since I'm dependent on Jared to download the program I know how to use. When it comes to technology, I really hate learning new things. If my old way still works and isn't obsolete, let me keep using it! The death of our computer really threw off my photo organization mojo. 

We're currently all sick. We survived the month of December and most of January sickness free - not counting way too many lab tests and trips to Omaha - but we finally all caught something. We've all been battling sore throats for a week and I finally broke down on Wednesday and got all three kids on antibiotics. Turns out they had ear infections too. 

Jared and I are soldiering on. Mostly because I can't force myself to drag all the kids with me to the doctor's office again. My aching head can't handle that mess.

Life is continuing normally. 

We have swimming lessons every Saturday for 6 weeks. Bailey is in Level 2 without her siblings and loves it. Graham also enjoys them, in fact he is the first one out of almost 20 kids to jump in the pool. Avery... I'm so shocked (*not at all*) that she doesn't want a new person to have anything to do with her. We're halfway through and she just last week let someone assist her without screaming. I have high hopes (which will most likely die a quick death) that tomorrow will be drama-free.

School is school. I never hear any complaints, and we only hear minimal information. Already we have to pry one word answers out of them as to what they did or how their day was. 

I love seeing the progression of a kindergartner's writing. 
It is really like a brain teaser to figure out the phonetic spelling that makes up a 5 year-old's writing. 
I personally love that her snowman is having hot "koko" because I grew up in a cocoa-lovin' family. 
Cocoa and peanut butter sandwiches for the win!

Jared and I also get a huge kick out of the drawings her and her friends exchange and send home.
Bailey and Darius were friends in preschool last year, and he is in her section this year as well. We receive weekly drawings from Darius, and apparently the feelings are mutual because Darius's dad reports he gets the same things we do. Ahh, young love.  ;)

Avery loves school too, and I find it amusing how she tries to keep up with her big sis. She gets upset that she isn't learning about the solar system like Bailey, and she wants to be able to read words like yesterday. So we've been working on sounding out simple 3 letters words, and the easel my parent's bought them for Christmas is pretty handy when it comes to practicing those skills. And for drawing rainbows over and over. Obviously.

Graham seems to be stable right now. His itching comes and goes along with the rash. But as of his last labs 7 days ago, his liver enzymes have almost returned to normal. We have an appointment with an allergist to cover some more bases, and we're using some new skin products to try and cut down on what might be some eczema related itching. He doesn't have a return appointment to his GI specialist until March, so hopefully all stays well until then.

This month I've started back on the C25k program now that we have a treadmill. We bought a nice used one from a friend of my sister Felicia and I have used it in some capacity nearly every day. (If I am going to be watching a TV show alone after the kids are in bed, I might as well walk and burn some calories while doing it. Right now it's The Good Wife season 3.) I found myself way out of running shape since I hadn't run at all since early October, but it is steadily coming back to me. 

The upcoming month promises to be busy: swimming lessons continue, our Broncos play in Super Bowl 50, Jared's mom comes for a week-long visit, Bailey turns 6 (eek! How did that happen!), a yearly Omaha cleft team visit, a pedicure date with a friend, Bible study resumes... All good things. 

But my sneaky few minutes are up. Kids are demanding lunch and my own stomach is growling. Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

capturing our holiday spirit

Our new computer might be up in running in a newly updated office space (ie: no more green carpet, window, or trim) but that doesn't mean Photoshop is working. Or even downloaded.
So I am presenting to you our Christmas season photos with zero editing or cropping. 
(And really, I would have loved to edit some make-up onto my face in that family photo. Yikes.)

Back in November, when we actually had snow

The kids love their yearly Christmas jammies.

If you know Avery, you will recognize that this is a perfect capture of her "Oh my gosh, seriously, you guys, wait, this story is so amazing" face.

family "Polar Express" movie & popcorn night

The annual coordinating outfits for the church program...

And like a thousand outtakes






They rediscovered our tiny apron collection and now they can't cook a pretend meal in their play kitchen without one on.

Sugar cookie dough = pure enjoyment

All three kids near Santa and no one cried?!

Penning a careful and thoughtful letter to Santa

And then there is my favorite photo.
This year I was so excited to put up the trees in their rooms.  The lights wrapped around their bunk bed and the tree lit across the room just scream holiday spirit to 4 and 5 year-olds. So the tree skirt was meant for a tree about one-fourth of that size and the kids don't actually leave any ornaments on it, it doesn't matter.
This time of year is so special and magical to them that they couldn't handle sleeping in their beds 8 feet from the tree, they had to camp out right in front of it. 

Merry Christmas, everyone! Only 3 days left!