Thursday, March 31, 2011

brothers and sisters

When I was pregnant with DJ, even though I really wanted another baby, I was extremely worried that I was ruining Paige's life by giving her a sibling. How were either of us going to be able to handle my attention being not solely on her? What if she was jealous? What would I do?
I don't care what all the books tell you, not every child is upset by a new baby. Paige was never upset -- not once. DJ was born and he was ours! He was smiling and laughing out loud for her when he was a week old ~
He followed her everywhere and did everything she said, played every game the way she wanted him to and he was super happy to do it!
(DJ has always been super happy)
Paige was 8 and DJ just turned 6 when Kelly was born. This time, I was concerned that they were so much older they wouldn't get along.
I don't know why I worry about these things. They adored her!

They read to her and sang to her and gladly gave up their "choking hazard" toys.

As Paige grew a little older, she no longer wanted to play with DJ as much, and fortunately by that time, Kelly was old enough to do things with him.

DJ was bossed around his whole life by one sister -- the other one just took over!

I can't tell you how many times DJ has come to us upset because "Kelly said" he couldn't do x, y or z. Our answer is always, "You know, you don't always have to listen to the 2 year old" (or the 3 year old, or the 4 year old) "tell her you won't play with her if she isn't nice".

(hrumph... when Kelly was 3, her pediatrician suggested we find another Alpha Female for her to play with....)

Lately, either DJ has finally found his voice with her, or Kelly has learned to back off, (yeah -- right) but those two are inseparable! You could see it happening, but I have really noticed it more over this school break.

She tells him all the time, "DJ, you are my favorite boy!" and they are singing goofy made up songs and building castles out of blocks and DJ is helping her read.

I for one, am enjoying it all --
Maybe they will all start arguing when they are teenagers. Paige at 13 is pretty mean to the rest of them. Not so much Mikey, she likes him (he LOVES her!) but you can tell that even he is starting to get on her nerves.
And just where will Mikey fit in with all of them? Paige will be off to college when he starts Kindergarten (yikes!) and I don't see him putting up with Kelly's bossy ways!

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Break

We made no plans for Spring Break. Well, no fun plans. My plan was to do a bit of spring cleaning, but that hasn't happened yet and it is already Tuesday.

I wish we could still go up to the Lake.

I am a huge believer on kids getting the right amount of sleep. I think so many kids are sleep deprived and their parents don't even realize it. Here is a chart from Babycenter: sleep chart Kids need a crazy amount of sleep, right? Yes, I know my kids are older, but I can't find that chart...
DJ has always been an early riser (in a house full of 'let's sleep in' people) and even now needs 10 hours of sleep. He was the one who taught me to have a set bedtime. When he was a baby, if I didn't get him in his crib between 8:00 and 8:10 he would scream for two solid hours straight! If I had him in bed by 8:00, he'd roll over and fall fast asleep!
(yes, it took me a while to figure it out)
Oh, and no matter what time he went to bed, he woke at the same time every morning -- he still does that and so does Kelly.
As he grew into a toddler, when I went to bed I would leave one of those split cleaning buckets on his crib rail filled with books and toys, so he would wake up and play instead wanting to get out of bed at 6AM!
The point I am trying to make, is that it is not a normal thing for me to let my kids stay up past their bedtime.
Until this week.
These kids have been staying up and hanging out with us until at least 10:30 every night. They are dancing in the living room, playing video games and having ice cream!

I also have a rule about homework, even when there is a break at school. They are not allowed to go anywhere or watch TV or play games until all their homework is finished. Always.
Until this week.
I haven't made them do any of it yet... AND we went to the park yesterday.

It has become a mad house!

I love having all my kids home together.

Friday, March 25, 2011

DNA ancestry

I so want to do one of those new DNA test that can find your ancestral origins. I think they are so amazing! They are crazy expensive though. There are some that are less expensive, but really only give you general outline. My father in law did the one through and even though it wasn't as informative as we expected it to be, it is still pretty freakin' cool!
Vic's family is Spanish Basque on his dad's side and German/Swiss from his mom. His haplogroup came back and is R1b which they refer to as The Artisans.
Here is a paragraph from his results that explains who they are:

You belong to haplogroup R1b, The Artisans, who first arrived in Europe from west Asia about 35,000- 40,000 years ago at the dawning of the Aurignacian culture. This cultural was remarkable for its subtle yet significant technological progress, like the shift from random flint collection to the use of a single stone core to shape flint tools as needed. Aurignacian decorative beads and jewelry could also be the first sign we have of the uniquely human quality of self-awareness and adornment. Additionally, some anthropologists believe that the Aurignacian culture was the first to paint. Either way, the people of this time period left behind fascinating cave paintings in France, Spain and Portugal.

The best part is at the end and it talks about his sub-group:

R1b1c4 and R1b1c6 are very specific Artisan subsections found primarily in Basque populations, but also in Catalan, Spanish, French, British and German populations.
A unique modern day population, the Basque people self-identify as a discrete ethnic group in north-central Spain and southwestern France. Early Basque culture was basically democratic and their pre-Christian religion was formed around a superior female goddess, Mari. A rich mythology of Basque creatures and characters includes imps, giants, dragons, soothsayers and other nature-based deities.

Love it!
I mean, how great is it to get a confirmation of where your people originated --

What I really want to do next, is to have Mike's maternal line tested. We have no idea where is mom's family is from because she was adopted.
At some point Robyn had tried to find her biological family. Her adoption was done though the church and the story is, that the Sister's destroyed all the records from her adoption. She had a really close relationship to her mother, so I don't know that she had a lot of motivation to search any further. She also told me that when she was born they didn't give her to her parents right away. The Sister's kept her for the first few weeks -- so her mother wouldn't "be disturbed" by a newborn! This was something her mother was not pleased with, but had to follow the rules to be able to get her baby.

Since we have Vic's haplogroup, if we test Mike, it would be easy to tell what Robyn's was. Right? I am not sure if it would work that way -- being as there are paternal tests and maternal tests, and one is more detailed that the other.
I just think it would be fun to do!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

blue eyed ancestry

Lately, I have been working on our tree adding the old photos from Aunt Betty. I have also been filling in information I found on the back of them and doing new searches on that set of Hopper's and Lively's.

I think my favorite thing to view on the website are the original WWI and WWII draft cards. They are usually in the individuals own handwriting, which I find really cool, and they sometimes have more information than just the name and date of birth. It might have *name of individual that will always know your whereabouts* which is helpful in making sure it's your Thomas, John or David. It usually doesn't say their height or weight, but instead asks -- tall, medium or short, and thin, medium or stout. It does ask for hair color and eye color.

My mom and her mom had blue eyes, but her dad had brown. My dad and his parents had brown eyes.
I have hazel eyes -- and most of my girl cousins on my dad's side do also.
My brother has brown.
Paige has hazel eyes, like mine.
DJ's are blue. And like I said, my mom has blue -- and DJ's bio dad has blue, so it was not a surprise that he got blue. It's funny, DJ looks like my brother, but with blue eyes.
Kelly has brown like Mike's, but lighter.
Mikey has blue!
We have been laughing about it for 17 months! Who figured we'd have a blue eyed baby? Oh, and they are blue. We even thought he could be a red head, since Mike and I each had grandmothers with red hair. We will see. That is, if he ever gets hair!

Now... I have been digging around all these draft cards and realized that there have been many blue eyed men in our family -- on both my sides.
My grandfather from my mom's side had brown eyes, but his father and all those male relations were blue. So my mom and her brother got their blue eyes from both of their parents.
My dad has brown eyes, but his grandfather on his dad's side had blue eyes and so did all those male relations that I have been able to track down.

Next I will be tracking down the blue eyed Aissa's!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I have not blogged in a bit. Everyone has had a cold and nothing else has been happening. Well, Paige had her first soccer game of the season in the pouring rain. I tried to take pictures, but who knows how they even came out. I was running back and forth to the car, trying to warm up and bringing the other kids back and forth so they could warm up. Mike didn't even get out of the car -- haha. Paige's team lost too.

A few years ago, I started our family tree on I started it with Kelly since she was the youngest, and then that way I figured I could get both branches. I do like the website and it has upgraded a lot of the features over the years, but there is only so much you can do with their free account. So, I was showing the tree I had made at that point to my father in law, when he tells me that he started one too, but never used it, oh -- and he bought the membership (!) so did I want to use it?
Yes I did!
Like I said, there is only so much you can do with their free account, but there is a ton of records you can search when you have a membership. I worked on our tree all the time!
I have always had an interest in genealogy. When I was little, I loved looking at The Tree in my baby book and I knew all the names of my great grandparents. I also used to count up all my cousins. Like, name my aunt or uncle and then their kids. In my head. And count them. I know, weird right? Thinking about it now, I guess it made me feel more connected but it might not be a genealogy thing (or that's the excuse I'll use to feel less like a dork)
Working on our tree takes up a lot of time, so I tend to work in spurts. It is harder to find information one generation back than 100 years ago, and even harder if you don't have a mother's maiden name, but still I search. The website is always being updated, so I can find even more things now than when I started.
I have also shared it with other family members, but no one really seems all that interested in checking it out or has answered my request to help me fill in blanks. I'm not sure why. I think that the website itself makes it hard to share with people and is one thing I would change.
In January I received a call letting me know that my great aunt had died the month before at age 93. She was my grandfather's sister on my mother's side and had never had children. We always called her Aunt Betty, but she was called Nettie Belle as a girl. The name on her birth record is Jeanette Belle Hopper. I didn't really know her very well. None of my grandfather's siblings had kids, which is one of the reasons (I am sure) why I got the awesome box of her old pictures. After ooo-ing over the ones I had sent her of my kids -- and me as a baby, I started scanning some to post on our tree.
Some of the pictures have writing on them, letting you know who the people are and/or where they were and when. Some are blank. Some have a name, but I still can't figure out who it is... Some of them belonged to her sister, Sarah Katherine -- Aunt Kay. She died when I was about 12. The oldest one I have come across is of my great grandparents.

I grew up only having seen pictures of him when he was old, and never one of her. His name was Thomas Abert Hopper and she was Georgia Beatrice Lively. They were married when he was 19 and she was 13! (crazy, right!?!) They do not look happy in this picture, that is for sure. See how her fist is all balled up? He just looks mean. Another interesting thing about them is that his brother John, married her sister Lillie and so their children were "double cousins" to each other. All I know, is that it makes it confusing when you are searching for people!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I love Mom t-shirt

I just ordered another *I love Mom* shirt from Pear of Lemons on etsy. Mikey wore the onsie all the time -- so they made him a Big Boy t-shirt just like it.

He is now a model for the onsie on their site I love Mom heart and rose onsie The first order I made, they made a matching bib and leggings for him. I have to say, it is still my favorite bib! (so soft) The leggings are super cute -- but I don't have crawlers, I have walkers! So, while I love the idea, we didn't really use them. Make sure to check out their site. (love etsy!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Let me start by saying, yes, I know I am spoiled.
One of the reasons being, that my husband makes dinner every night.

Mike is a great cook. The man can make anything. He is the guy that everyone says should open his own place -- mainly so they can eat his food whenever they like, I'm sure. Seriously, we invite people over for a kids birthday party and the first thing they ask is "What is Mike making?"
That alone could make the argument for me not to make dinner.

Me, I like to bake. I like following instructions and measuring ingredients and having it all come out great.
I do not like having to guess when a hamburger or chicken or steak is cooked through. I can do it, but it's mostly just comical because it really stresses me out. It's even funnier watching me attempt to flip an egg, but I don't even try that any more.

Mike makes things like ribs (with his own BBQ sauce) and garlic bread. Tacos and Mexican casserole. Prime rib and roasted potatoes. He makes turkey in a citrus brine that is the best ever. He makes burritos. He makes shrimp salad with his own Louie dressing. Oh, and he makes his own mustard.

I can't compete with that.

I make pasta.

I do have to give myself a little credit and say that when I do make the things I know how to make, they come out pretty good, but the list is short and it does contain mostly pasta dishes.

None of this is why he does all the cooking.

This is why:
Me, chopping basil or something.
Mike, leaning on the counter watching me. You can tell he wants to say something, but being a thoughtful man, he doesn't say a word -- for a full 30 seconds.
Mike, "Do you want me to do that for you?"
Me, "Am I doing it wrong?"
Mike, "No, not at all. I just want to make it easier for you."

Imagine years of this. I'm not doing it the wrong way, but I don't believe he thinks I am doing it the right way either.

So yeah, the kids never ask me what's for dinner. They do ask, "What is Dad making for dinner?" the minute they get home from school and even though it's not always ribs, all of them are usually happy about whatever he makes.
Well, except Paige, but that is another story.
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