Friday, September 23, 2016

Montana Part 1

Me and Sis at Glacier National Park

My sister, who I've always referred to in this blog as Sis, and I grew up together.  She is 5 years younger than me, but we've often been asked if we are twins.  In fact, we STILL get asked that.  We've always known we had another sister out there.  I thought about her often over the years, wondering whatever happened to her.  The first and only time I'd ever met her was when she was just a baby, not even a year old.  I was 11 at the time.

There are a few cousins on my dad's side of the family that I know and have been Facebook friends with.  Overall, I don't know that side of the family very well at all though.  I'd often see people on Facebook with my maiden name (that those cousins are friends with) and wonder if they could be my Baby Sis.  Then, on January 26, 2010, I received a Facebook message from her:

"Hello my name is insert name.  I think you are my half sister.  Is your father insert name  from Kalispell, Mt?  If not sorry."

With my Baby Sis!

Sis had gotten the same message from her.  From there we all continued to message and get to know each other.  We eventually exchanged phone numbers and started texting every once in awhile.  

About a year and a half ago, Sis and her hubby (BIL) started making plans to take a trip to Montana to meet Baby Sis and her family, and asked if we'd want to go too.  I have always wanted to go to Montana, to see where that side of my family is from.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go, but in the end, it worked out for me and the kids to make the trip with them.

On August 20, 2016, after 30 years, us three sisters were reunited!  It pretty much was like our first time ever meeting, since Sis and I were just kids the first time around, and Baby Sis was only 7 or 8 months old.  It was an instant bond.  We all hugged and held onto each other tight when we first saw each other.  It was maybe awkward for about 3 seconds, but that's it. We quickly settled into her house, and spent the rest of the week getting to know each other.

And then there were three.
We stayed busy doing touristy things almost every day, but at night after we all put the kids to bed, the three of us stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking.  We had to take advantage of every single minute we were together, getting to know how we each grew up, sharing what little information we knew about our dad, and looking through Baby Sis's old pictures.

At one point, I was looking at a picture that had a little girl that looked sooooo familiar.  I could have sworn it was Sis.  I started to ask who the girl in the picture was, and then Sis said, "wait.  That's me!"  Turns out that Baby Sis had a picture of Sis all these years and didn't even know it!  She didn't know who the girl was.  The picture was from our one meeting 30 years prior, when her mom and our dad took us all camping (with her other sisters, her mom's kids).  Whoever took the picture wasn't a very good photographer unfortunately.  Baby Sis and two of her other sisters were also in the picture, but another sister and I were cut out of the picture.  We were standing there, and I believe I was actually holding Baby Sis in the picture, but our heads were chopped off.

I am so amazed by all that Baby Sis has been through in her life.  She by far did not have an easy childhood.  She is so strong and so brave, and I am completely in awe of what she has done with her life considering everything she has been through.  She has an amazing family with her husband and little girl, and I am so happy that she has them in her life.  I am so happy that I have her in MY life now!

Baby Sis is soft spoken and so genuinely sweet.  She has such a loving personality and cares deeply, but also can be ferocious in defending what she believes in.  She also has such an easy way with children.  All of the kids fell in love with her pretty much immediately.  She played with them, cuddled them, and showed them so much love.  My heart melted watching her play with Ayden and Rylee.

My nephew Nathanial and Rylee cuddled up with their Auntie.

What made the week beyond special, was that we all stayed together under one roof at her house.  We were able to spend absolutely every waking moment together.  We were able to stay up late every single night.  We had every meal together.  All the kids got to play together for the entire week.  Even when we are home, Sis's kids and mine don't get to spend that much quality time together.  Everyone has busy lives, and we live an hour apart from each other.  Obviously that's a lot closer than we live to Baby Sis, but the point is that the week was so special because we were all together.  The only person missing was Tony, which he regretted not going, but he hadn't wanted to take that much time off work.

Baby Sis gifted Sis and I with necklaces a few days after we arrived.  She had one made for each of us, with the infinity sign included, so that we would always have something connecting us even when we aren't together.

The best part of our trip to Montana was the three of us sisters being together.  The worst part was saying goodbye.  A week simply wasn't long enough.  We still have so much more to learn about each other.  We left with plans of making sure we see each other at least once a year.  Next year, Baby Sis and her family will come to Oregon.  The year after that, we will travel to Montana again, and so on, alternating years.  Of course, the ultimate plan would be for Baby Sis and her little family to move to Oregon.  She doesn't have huge ties keeping her in Montana, but her and her husband just recently started a business that they are trying to get established.  We'll see what happens....

It's time to say goodbye.
Till next time.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Consignment Sale

I've pretty much become addicted to the local consignment sale here.  There's a fall sale and a spring sale every year, and I've participated in it now for the past 4 sales.  I love every aspect of it: selling stuff as a consignor, finding all sorts of good buys, and volunteering to work a few shifts for the sale.

This time around, I wasn't able to get as much stuff ready to sell because of our trip to Montana (which I promise to write more about!).  Also, because well, I'm a procrastinator.  I had quite a bit more I could have included, but I just ran out of time.  With that said, I still managed to make $298.20!!  My goal was $300, so I feel pretty good about what I made.

I also feel pretty good about what I found to buy!  As a consignor, I got to shop the sale the day before it opens to the public.  As a volunteer, I got to go to the pre-sale even earlier. Ayden and Rylee (mostly Ayden) have really gotten into dinosaurs lately, so that was my major focus to try to find.  I managed to snag 12 dinosaurs for just $4.  I also found a couple puzzles and the Madagascar movie.

They each got 2 dinosaurs now (which were a HUGE hit!) and the rest got put up for Christmas.  We also are saving the movie and the Mickey Mouse puzzle for Christmas.

My big spend at the sale was on snow gear.  I found two REI snowsuits, a pair of gloves, and a pair of snow boots.  I'm really hoping that we can take the kids to play in the snow and go sledding this winter.

The snowsuits

Here's what else I found at the pre-sale for Rylee:

  • 2 hairbows (I'm giving one to my niece for her birthday, though)
  • a pair of black boots
  • an orange sparkly ruffle skirt that she will LOVE
  • 2 Halloween shirts
  • a Christmas dress
  • 1 long sleeve layering shirt
  • 2 tunics
  • 2 other dresses
  • Frozen pj's
  • and a "night dress" (her word for a nightgown) 
Rylee's stash

Here's what I found for Ayden:
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 4 sets of pj's
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • and the cutest dress shirt and vest
Ayden's stash also includes the snow gloves and boots

The last day of the sale is half price day.  I went early in the morning to browse through everything and see if I could find any more great deals that I just couldn't pass up.  I usually manage to find a few things....
  • 2 zip up sweatshirts for Rylee
  • a pair of pants
  • and another night dress
  • an OSU Beaver sweatshirt for Ayden
  • and an OSU shirt

my finds from the half price sale

Every single night of the sale, I checked a million times to see if the sales reports had been posted yet, so I could see what I had sold and how much I'd made so far.  As I said, I have become addicted.  It's exciting to see what people buy and it's fun to actually make a little money.  It also justifies my spending money at the sale!  lol  Even with shopping the sale, I still profited more than I spent.  Gotta like that!

I'm such a nerd, that I went back and read my consignment sale post from last year.  It was kind of fun to compare what I made then vs. now, and to remember where some of the clothes hanging in Ayden and Rylee's closets came from.  

Now that the sale is over, I'm hoping to go through all the stuff I didn't have time to get in the sale and get it all organized and sorted now, instead of waiting till the last minute and doing it before the spring sale.  Maybe I'll even step it up and sell some of it on the local bst Facebook pages before then.  That would be nice, clearing out some of that stuff instead of storing it till spring.  We'll see!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Microblog Monday: Potty Training Continues...

Rylee's potty training regression has continued and actually gotten worse.  In the last two weeks, it has gotten to a point that she just completely stopped going potty on the toilet at all unless we made her go.  She had been going independently, so it's been pretty frustrating to see her completely not care if she wets her pants every single time.  I'm not talking about an accident or three a day.  I'm talking about how the other day she spread her legs (while standing, wearing shorts) and just peed all over the floor.  Then 45 minutes later she took a squat in front of the couch and peed.  Not little piddles in the panties, but complete puddles on the floor.  I've spent a lot of time cleaning up pee in the last two weeks, but that day was my breaking point and she is now back in pull-ups.

This morning, Rylee took her pull-up off and then proceeded to pee on her (carpeted) bedroom floor.  I finally decided that I needed to call her pediatrician to rule out if there is a physical reason why this is happening, rather than a behavioral thing.  They wanted to see her today!

She does not have a UTI, which I didn't think she did, but it's good to at least know for sure.  At this point, her doctor thinks it most likely is related to her constipation.  Constipation has always been an issue for her.  It was a constant throughout our whole potty training so far, so I didn't think it was that since it's nothing new and hasn't changed at all.

We've been treating her constipation with a dried prune almost every day, along with probiotics, and occasional prune juice.  Starting tomorrow we will be adding in Miralax, with a follow up doctor appointment in a month.  Let's hope this works

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Happy Anniversary

Today, Tony and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary.  We've been married 19 years. That number boggles my mind and makes me proud.  We've been together for 24 years total!  We met during orientation week my freshman year of college (his second year).  We've had many, MANY ups and downs over the years, but somehow we have persevered.  Sometimes, I even think I'm grateful that we weren't able to have babies for so long (although it didn't need to take quite SO long).  I wonder if we are better parents because we are older.  I wonder if we would have made it through all the rough times if we had kids during those rocky times.  Parenting is HARD.  Would we have been mature enough to have made it this far?  Today, I choose to be grateful for our years of infertility and bringing us to where we are in our live's right now.  Today has been a day to reflect back on all the happy times prior to having kids, and a day to celebrate where we are at now, with kids.

We were just babies!

Want to hear something funny?  I thought today was Monday.  I even wrote this post as a #MicroblogMonday post.  That's why it's short and sweet.  I just now realized it's actually Tuesday!  I had to go back and change the title....  Oops!

Also, I apologize for the picture quality, or lack thereof.  These are all pictures of pictures, so not the best!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Bullet Points

I wish I had more time to sit down and write a full post or ten, but I have way too much stuff to do, so I'll do a quick bullet point post to at least touch bases with you all.  I'll even include a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.  :)

  • We had a wonderful trip to Montana.  It was an emotional week with a lot of ups and a few downs.  I have a few blog posts that I plan to write, but for now, I'll just say that the best part about it was meeting our sister.  Getting to spend an entire week together so the three of us sisters could bond and get to know each other was more special than words could describe.
Lil Sis, Middle Sis, and Big Sis (me)
  • This week is crazy because the consignment sale I have been involved with in the past year starts this weekend.  Well, the sale actually starts next week, but I have to drop off the stuff I'm selling this Sunday and then I am volunteering for a shift at the sale.  I did NOTHING for the sale before leaving on our trip, so I have a ton of stuff to do to get ready.  Procrastination at it's finest.
  • Rylee has been a bear this past week.  Seriously, she's been a little shit.  We still love her of course.  Don't worry.  In addition to screaming about everything under the sun, she is also RARELY going potty all on her own.  It's to the point that I just want to put a damn diaper back on her because it's so ridiculous.  We are FIVE months into this potty training business and she WAS doing fantastic.  She has no problem pooping on the toilet.  Thank God!  However, she could care less if she pees in her panties.  She just takes them off and goes about her business.
  • We had a great and much needed family day with just the four of us on Sunday with a trip to the coast.  Ayden and Rylee absolutely love playing on the beach.  They learned how to fly a kite, climbed up sand dunes and ran back down, played in the sand, and ran from the waves.  It was a perfect day.
Our little family

  • College football season has started.  Fantasy football has also officially entered our house once again.  I love college football.  I'm not so much a fan of my husband's fantasy football season, but whatever.  lol.  I am, however, a fan of these cute little beaver believers though.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Road Trippin

Tomorrow, dark and early (we leave our house at 3:30am), the kids and I are embarking on a little adventure.  We will be meeting up with my sister and her family for a road trip to Montana.  All in one van, 3 adults and 6 kids, 3 of which are under 3 years old.  It should be interesting to say the least.  It's a 12 hour drive without stops, so factor in potty breaks for 9 people....

I've been feeling emotional and anxious about this trip all week.  I'm worried about how Ayden and Rylee will do in the car for that long.  I'm worried about how my bil will handle the stress if they cry a lot, or if Rylee has one of her moments of taking FOR.EV.ER, saying she has to poop while we are pulled over on the side of the road.  I'm not sure why I'm so worried about that, because I have no doubt their kids will have their own meltdowns along the way.  I just don't want US to be the ones with meltdowns.

The reason behind this road trip is that we are going to meet our half sister.  Sis and I met her one time when we were just kids and she was a baby.  It was a camping trip with our dad, his new wife and her kids, along with our baby half sister.  There's only two things I remember about the camping trip:

  1. I was terrified of going.  I was afraid they were going to kidnap us and take us back to Montana with them and we'd never see our mom again.
  2. That Baby Sis cried the whole time.
They didn't kidnap us, so that was good!  I think I only saw my dad one other time after that.  When I was in middle school age, he randomly showed up at our house and he gave me money.  That was the last time I heard from him, other than a drunken phone call late one night when I was in high school, and he cried about how much he still loved my mother.

He's a raging alcoholic.  My parents split when I was 5, right after Sis was born.  There were less than a handful of visits after that.  His absence truly has never been something that has been missing from my life.  I had my grandpa and uncles that filled that void.

However, I have always wanted to visit Montana and see where that side of my family is from.  I want to see where he grew up and still lives now.  I grew up with a few cousins from that side of the family, but mostly, we never knew our paternal family.

Sis and I connected with Baby Sis (real creative with made up names, huh?) through Facebook a few years back.  We have talked through Facebook and texting, but now we are about to take the leap into actually really connecting and getting to know each other!  We will be staying with Baby Sis and her family, which includes her husband and 3 year old daughter, for a full week!  I am so excited for the three of us girls to connect.  I am looking forward to making memories beyond our infamous camping trip so many years past.  I'm excited for all of our kids to play together.

The three of us will be making a trip to see our dad.  He has no idea we are coming.  We are just going to show up on his doorstep and see how he responds.  Baby Sis has seen him a few times over the years, but her mom split with him when she was 5 and their contact has been minimal.  My understanding is that he is a recluse that is drunk by noon daily, so there shouldn't be a problem with catching him at home.  It's just a matter if he'll be sober enough to actually have a meaningful conversation.

I tried to connect a few times over the years with him.  I sent him a high school graduation announcement and a wedding invitation, not because I wanted or expected him to come, but just to let him know what was going on in my life.  I never heard a single word from him.  After that, I just wrote him off and honestly, it really wasn't that hard for me.  As I said, I never really felt his absence.  However, now that I am about to see him again, I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  I am nervous, and hope that I can still feel impartial after our visit.

I am extremely excited about this trip and finally meeting Baby Sis, and having the three of us girls together.  I love road trips, although that may change after traveling with 6 kids all in one vehicle!  I'm looking forward to being able to spend quality time with my nieces and nephews.  I'm looking forward to seeing where that side of my family tree is from.  I'm excited, but I'm very nervous at the same time.

Wish us luck that we all come back home in one piece and that we will still like each other!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Microblog Monday: How Things Change

This past weekend I went white water rafting, something I have always loved doing but haven't done since having babies.  I was actually afraid of going this time and didn't really want to do it.  I've done this same trip in the past and knew exactly what to expect, which included an 18 foot cliff jump into the river and the climax of the trip being a trip over Husum Falls at the end.  I was fearful of ending up hurt.  Or worse....

Now that the rafting trip is over, I can happily say that we all survived and I'm glad I did it. It was a lot of fun.  I find it interesting and funny how things change when you have kids.  I never gave stuff like this a second thought prior to kids.

We didn't purchase the pictures this time around, since we'd done this before and had pictures from that time.  I thought I'd share those pics so that you could see why I was nervous. I mean, when the boat goes almost entirely underwater....

I'm in the front, with the white helmet.  Tony's in the back with the yellow life jacket.

We all managed to stay in the boat, then and now!

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