Monday, November 08, 2010

First family of six photos!

Our dear friend Katelin Carter of Full Pockets Photography has been taking photos of our family for years now. Our first session ever with her is so fun to look back at now.

Last night we had her take our first photos as a family of six up at Mrs. Blonde's Aunt & Uncle's new gorgeous home in the burbs. Below are just a couple from her original sneak peek blog post.

All smiles! From left to right - LA, Mr. Blonde, Quatro, Mrs. Blonde, Trey and Boatboy

Can't believe how tall LA and Boatboy are getting.

To the smilers go the spoils. GIANT marshmallows!

Thanks, Katelin. We love you!

Friday, October 15, 2010

H2 Oh No!

This post is inspired by 2010 Blog Action Day. This year's topic is water.

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.

If you're a veteran visitor to the Blondes, Poop & Mascara blog, you know how big of a deal this has been to us in the past. In particular the Well Water Project comes to mind. A campaign our local church body ran from Easter to Christmas to raise enough monies to give to Horizon International to build two clean water wells in Zimbabwe, Africa. We succeeded too! It was actually this fund raising project that inspired the beginnings of what has become Fashionthropic. A non-profit T-shirt company that gives away 100% of it's proceeds. Zero capital means you can give it all away! The Quench Thirst. Give Life. shirt continues to be one of the best sellers in the store.

In the last decade, there have come to be SO many wonderful organizations dedicated to helping provide the world's lesser of these clean safe drinking water. There are several larger wonderful organizations like World Vision, Oxfam and we've already mentioned Horizon International that help, but here is our short round up of orgs that specifically exist to combat this issue...

Blood: Water Mission

Wine to Water

Charity Water

If you didn't know, now you do. Use your voice. Post. Blog. Tweet. Raise awareness. Support one of the organizations listed above. Don't take for granted the clean water you have. Educate your children. Don't do nothing. We leave you with this short video from Blog Action Day...

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Monday, October 11, 2010

school is now in session

As if we don't have enough milestones & transitions in these Blondes, Poop & Mascara parts these days, we hit another joyous one 3 weeks ago. LA's first day of pre-school. Ask him and he'll tell you it's "school not pre-school!"

We've all been excited about this for such a long time. He'd been wearing his backpack every day for the better part of two weeks in preparation.

Though our little 4-year-old has spent some of his life with other people and in other groups (Sunday Church gatherings, house church, sports teams, etc) he'd never spent hours on end under the care of someone we weren't related to or know really well. So, there lies the struggle for me the Momma. He will be under the influence of two wonderful teachers from 9am-2pm, two days a week. This is a lot for this hormonal Momma. I know it is SO good for LA and he already LOVES it. There is still a little piece of me that just wants to keep him a bubble at home. I know with the arrival of the twins it is a much needed break for me and him twice a week!

What would back to school time be without some new kicks?! We received another pair of adorable and very practical shoes from Pediped in trade for an honest review of their product. LA loves his new Jake shoes from the flex line! What could be better than a pair of super cool casual brown shoes that function as a gym shoe. The soles are so comfy for gym class and sturdy enough for the playground. And, they wash up quite well! Trust me, we know. His favorite part of his playground at school is the sand area. Well, there or anywhere his little girlfriend Clair goes. Though according to him, "She follows me anywhere I go."

This is our second pair of shoes from the Flex line. We love them just as much as the first pair. The Flex line comes with insoles that can be removed as your child's feet grow. So, you get a long wear from these shoes.

As I have mentioned in all my other Pediped reviews, I love that Pediped says their shoes are "the next best thing to bare feet."

Check out Pediped collections and especially their new Grip n Go collection. I am excited to try a pair in the future!

If you are a fan of Pediped like me be sure to check out Kinderbliss. A new catalog and online shopping destination with beautiful and unique items for children from the founder of Pediped,

fragility and magnificence

It's been so impactful. So tiring. So wonderful. So exhausting we're just getting around to talking about it in this cyber place.

September 2010 marks the most dramatic month in existence for us. We already knew it was going to be incredibly awesome and life-changing anticipating the birth of the twins. Little did we know, the birth of Trey and Quatro were but the tip of a glorious and painful iceberg that plummeted well below the surface of the status quo.

Somewhere around a week and a half prior to doubling the amount of sons in our family, something quite unexpected happened to me (Mr. Blonde) in my company. After a turbulent last year and a half where leaning out and cuts were taken to mortally anorexic extremes, I found myself honored as the recipient of a promotion. I often see things coming my way. Surprises aren't incredibly common in my life. This surprised me. Bigtime. I enjoy what I do, how I do it and who I do it with. I'm incredibly blessed in that way. And, if you're not an IZOD IndyCar Series fan, you should be. Check out a 2010 highlights reel I recently put together. How can that not be entertaining to you? Even Cubs fans could like it (Go White Sox!).

THEN, came our welcoming Trey & Quatro into the family. If you're just catching up. Their birth announcement is here. Their birth story is here. We continue to be amazed by them. I'm certain they feel the same way about their big brothers and their parents as well.

Less than one week after they were born, we got a call from Nana (Mrs. Blonde's Mom) at 6 in the morning. Anytime a phone is ringing that early in our house, it's typically going to be followed by bad news. This was no exception. Hearts raced with panic as we learned while working on an extension ladder at his job in downtown Indy, Papa (Mrs. Blonde's Dad) had fallen 10 feet to the ground. He lay there in a pool of blood caused by the gash on his face. Unable to move in almost any direction due to a busted hip and shoulder, he laid there fully conscious wondering how bad it really was. We're SO thankful for the lady prepping for a women's prayer meeting that saw the accident, for quickly responding medics and the staff at St Vincent Hospital for their immediate response to his situation. Two surgeries, a long stay in the hospital and extended stay in rehab later, he's progressing extremely well. In fact, he just got permission to leave his wheelchair last Friday. Keep at it, Papa! You'll be tossing around grandsons again before you know it!

A couple years removed from a toxic marriage, Mrs. Blonde's best friend Nicole and her new-ish boyfriend Steve stopped by unannounced one afternoon while Mr. Blonde was still on his paternal vacation. It was abundantly clear through their gitty squeals what was affirmed when she showed us the gorgeous gem on her left ring finger. Her: a divorcee with two toddlers. Him: a widow with four children of his own. Their story is 100% unconventional and even more beautiful. They wed on New Year's Day with Mrs. Blonde as the maid of honor. We are oh so excited for them and their families to be unified!

The month ended on the lowest note of all. Another early morning phone call. This time it was a call from Grandma (Mr. Blonde's Mom). Again, heart racing, it was so hard to understand her through the desperate sobbing. Uncle Greg had died suddenly at the age of 50. He and Aunt Donna (Grandma's sister) were less than a month into being empty nesters as they'd just seen their youngest daughter off to college. He'd just taken a fantastic job after struggling through the economic decline as an I.T. guy. And, while in Scotland on business, having been Skyping with his family (even his Mom) the night before, died in his sleep as a result of his Type I diabetes.

A few truly magnificent things to take away from Greg's life here:

* He lived his life 100% in the ways of Jesus. Not just because he looked forward to Heaven, but because it's a better way to live here and now.

* The man had influence. Consistent, powerful influence. Never arrogant, often comedic, but always sure of who he was, who his family was, who his friends were and who his God was.

* Despite his health problems the man did not complain. Seemingly ever. This was a familiar theme throughout all of his services and celebrations.

* His wife adored him! His children wouldn't hesitate to claim him as their hero. In short, he's everything I (Mr. Blonde) could dream to be.

At his funeral Greg's youngest brother Keith shared the best short story about his oldest brother. Keith had run into Greg and a friend over their lunch hour. Keith walked up and said hello to his brother. Greg said hello in return, introduced the gentlemen sitting with him to his younger brother, then turned back to the man he was dining with and asked, "And, your name is?"

In addition to all of that, as you already know, LA recently started pre-school and Mrs. Blonde's business, Beauty by Crystal, won on the A-list again.

See. It's. A. Lot!

It's cliche. And, it's true. This life isn't predictable. Live it now. Things happen in a flash and you canNOT control most of them. Couples find out they're having twins and have no idea how that's going to work. Men fall off ladders and survive when statistics indicate otherwise. Teenage daughters play moving 10-minute piano medleys at their Dad's funerals. Marriages go bad when husbands break promises leaving ex-wives and children in the painful wake of their selfishness...only to find the perfect man with his own story of loss.

Dwell on yesterday...fixate on tomorrow...and you'll miss out on living today.

To SO many amazing friends and family...Thank you! Thank you for meals. Thank you for doing dishes. Thank you for phone calls and texts and emails and stopping by. And, babysitting. Going to see Mrs. Blonde's Dad while he was in the hospital. For understanding why we couldn't make the gatherings we typically do. Without all of your support, we wouldn't be experiencing God like we are in lives. We're richer because of you!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Beauty by Crystal: 2010 A-list Winner

For the second year in a row my company, Beauty by Crystal, was nominated for the category of Best Wedding Make-Up Artist in Indianapolis on WRTV's A-List. And, for the second year in a row, I won 3rd place! Placing this well against some very talented fellow artists in the area is such an honor. And, a big congratulations to my friend Kathy Moberly of Faces by KLM who finished in 1st place this year!

Thank you so much to my clients and any of you Blondes, Poop & Mascara readers that may have voted for me. I adore what I do! And, I love hearing how much you like what I do too!! :)

Keep up with my work as a make-up artist on my website and via my twitter account @BeautybyCrystal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Twins: the birth story

Wow! Two weeks ago today, I doubled the amount of sons I have!

Thursday, September 9th I began having contractions every 15 minutes starting around 9am. They were quite sporadic. I thought it was strange. "Could today be the day?" I went in for my normal weekly check-up at 2p that day. I was dilated to 2cm. My doc said things looked good. He even said maybe we will have babies tonight. We were pretty excited!

Let me remind you (& myself) this was the hardest pregnancy I've ever had. I was in severe pain all day. Everyday. I hit 37 weeks and wanted these babies OUT! So when I started contracting I was so ready.

Jump ahead to Friday, September 1oth at 1am I was woken up by contractions. Amos was up, dressed, finished packing the bags. I took a long shower. Then, I got tired and went back to bed. After Amos realized I was asleep he laid back down (fully dressed and ready to go!). We snoozed until a little after 6am when the big boys woke up.

So I called my doc in the morning as I was having contractions again. He wanted to see me...soon. We got in at 10am. I was so determined that today was the day. My Mom and Dad had the big kids already so we were ready to pop these babies out. Once to the doc's office they hooked me up and saw that I was having contractions but they were very spread out. So they checked my cervix to see that I was now at a 3cm. But, again, progression was slow. I was so tired and discouraged that I was only at a 3. The doc told me that he thinks "your uterus is so stretched from carrying twins and already having had two babies that sometimes it does not work as effectively as a normal uterus." My thoughts: "Oh, great!"

Then he said, "I am going to call the hospital and you should head over there to be monitored. So Amos and I grabbed some lunch, a pumpkin latte, parked in a nice sunny location, chilled for a bit and talked, then headed to the hospital. Before we went in we walked around the parking lot five times and I did squats. No joke! Once we got to triage and got hooked up she said the same thing. "You are having them just not close together. If we don't see your body progressing we will have to send you home." I felt like crying. While waiting for the doc on call to come in and check on me, Amos and I went for a walk. I did squats again in the bathroom. :) I wanted these babies out!

Doc showed up and checked me. 4cm! Progress! We got admitted to a laboring room and hooked me up to a slow pitocin drip. You know what this meant! BABIES! Soon! I was so thrilled and so SCARED!

Would I have a c-section?

Would the boys be ok?

We prayed. A lot! This was going to happen through God's strength in accordance with His plans. Not ours. We also got so many amazing messages via text, Facebook and Twitter! Thank you, all!

From 3pm to 11pm I slowly progressed and then it was go time. I started the pushing in my room. Six seconds into the 1st push, it was apparent Trey was ready to move and move quickly. The nurse said, "Woah! Alright...we're good. Let's get over to the O.R." Yep! Definitely go time!

Off to the OH SO COLD and frightening O.R. There were about 16 people in there including Amos and me. A NICU team for each child. A few nurses. A med student in rotations (which I personally approved - SO glad the doc asked me prior to) PUSH! PUSH again! Out came Trey. He looked great! Amazing!! Then seven minutes later our sweet little Elliot came out with just three pushes! I was so excited to hear them both scream and cry. It was the best sound ever. Healthy baby lungs!

And then there was two. We were taking care of two babies. I was/am nursing two little babies. (Mr. Blonde note: After Quatro was born, I actually said out loud to the entire troop in the room, "Wow! There really are TWO of them!" /laughter/) We were holding two little miracles.

Beyond their delivery, things have been perfect. We stayed two more days at the hospital with our new little men. The staff were all so amazing as they have been for the birth of all our boys. It's only been two weeks, but they've continued to hit all their benchmarks. They cry like they're supposed to. Toot like they're supposed to. Pee like they're supposed to (Trey shot Mr. Blonde once already - won't be the last time I'm sure). It's all so crazy, so tiring and so wonderful! I still am in complete awe that these two beautiful boys were formed in me by the One who formed me! I love getting to know each of them!

We have so much more to share. These last two weeks have included brought about much more than just our two new guys. Like my Dad sustaining major injuries. LA's first full day of pre-school. My best friend's engagement. I also have some great reviews coming up on Pediped shoes, Eleven shoes and Label Daddy!

-Mrs. Blonde

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh Brothers Where Art Thou?

<-- Trey & Quatro being monitored while hanging out in utero together.

Prior to the birth of the twins, Trey & Quatro, brother was a term already used quite often between LA and Boatboy.

"Hey brother, come here!"

"You're handsome brother!"

"Brother hit me!"

"I love my brother all the way up to the stars and moon."

With the entry of the twins, the term is being used in, it seems, every other breath. I suppose growing up a member of the Four Brothers Blonde it will continue...forever.

Our last family photo of four, LA and Boatboy came to visit short after admission to the labor room.

...and provided some pre-birth dance entertainment for all those in the room.

Trey (in foreground) & Quatro under the "incubator" (as Papa called it) less than an hour after coming into our lives.

L-O-V-E this photo. Some of you likely already saw it via our Twitter account. One of my (Mr.) favorite ever, actually. A proud (& GORGEOUS) Mrs. Blonde with her two new guys.

Oldest brother LA came to the hospital to meet his two new little brothers. Including learning their names which he insisted for 9 months were Baga & Momen. 'Cause he's funny like that. He even convinced Boatboy that's what they were to be called. We thought he would take to them, but he was so much sweeter and into them than we had originally imagined. Some very very cool moments. -- So sad, but Boatboy didn't get to meet his new little brothers until they came home as he'd had a cold.

Sleep deprived and proud Mr. Blonde showing off half of his fleet of sons.

The twins in their take-home outfits.

LA & Boatboy playing with animals together while their new brothers were getting aclimated into their new home. This photo was taken right when Boatboy grabbed LA's nose and said "HONK!"

Boatboy making sure Papa is giving him as much attention as is being given to Trey.

LA stealing some cuddle time with Quatro while Nana is holding the wee one.

Boatboy says "I wanna see!" "I want to help!"

It's the coolest thing to grow up with a brother. Mrs. Blonde did it. So did Mr. Blonde. But, neither of us had more than one. All our boys get to each have three brothers! That's so cool! Stay tuned for a photo of them all some point.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

introducing our new sonS

click on the below image to see a magnified view -- caution: the boys are much cuter than they may appear

Less than 24 hours ago, we doubled the amount of sons we have by welcoming Trey and Quatro into the Blondes, Poop & Mascara family. We have SO much to say about the labor journey. But, for now, we'll just thank ALL of the wonderful love and prayer support we've had to culminate in this celebration of life! Friends. Tweeters. Family. Facebookees. Texters. Church. You've overwhelmed us and these little guys. Now, if you'll excuse us, it's time for a quick nap while they're in the nursery before the next feeding.

These two songs have been anthems throughout the last 48 hours for us. We encourage you to play them as you read through the post and enjoy the announcement design above.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Am I ready?

I am in waiting mode. They're coming. Any day now we're going to double the amount of sons we have.

I finished up a few make-up artistry jobs last week that I really wanted to do. One being them Dream Makeover reveal party.

I have been pretty much on my own "couch rest." I can't really do a whole lot. The only time I am comfortable is when I am lying down. The boys (LA: 4 / Boatboy: 2) have been great most days. And a struggle other times.

I have struggled with feeling like a real sucky Mom lately. I don't chase
them around the yard, kick a soccer ball, take them to the park, play tag, push them on swings, carry them like babies or turn the music up so loud we can't even hear ourselves singing and dance our little hearts out. Those are the things I so miss right now. We read. A lot! Thank goodness they like me reading to them!

I had a break down 4 nights ago...

When LA was born I nursed him day and night and just stare at him. I never ever put him down. I was so madly in love with this child and loved every minute of it.

When Boatboy was born I nursed him day and night and was in awe of him every moment. I often wondered before he was born if I would have enough time to get to know him as well because LA was taking up all my time. But it worked! So perfectly! God gave me plenty of time, energy and love for both boys!

So, I am now questioning the same thing. How will I really be able to know each twin fully while two toddlers are running around? I know the answer to my own question and my amazing loving husband reminds me that I am not doing this alone. (I truly have the most precious husband.)

I often wonder about the twins....who will i look at when I am nursing? who will I pick up first? What if one is more fussy than the other? Will I favor one over the other? I had 2 very easy boys...will the twins be that easy?

I know God has prepared me to a Mom of multiples as my 3rd and 4th child(ren) And, all of these questions will work themselves out. But I still ask myself them all the time.

I started having uncomfortable contractions last week. I am SO tired. I am HUGE (35 1/2 weeks). But those sweet boys are still growing in me and I praise God everyday for that.

God has blessed us with so much!

FAMILY who selflessly love us and help with anything we need. For example - my mom and dad take the kids ALL the time to provide much needed breaks and the boys come home so happy!

My sweet Momma does laundry like a super woman and even took home an entire basket of unmatched socks to match for us.

My Aunt and Uncle take the boys once a week for an entire day to give me rest. AMAZING!!

My Mother-in-Law came over and hand washed an entire sink of dishes, brought us dinner and fresh favorite.

FRIENDS who have us over for dinner and bring us meals. Wow! Food that I don't have to prepare and know my family is eating well is such a blessing. People offering to watch the boys for a couple hours. And all the people who continue to encourage me, send me texts, diapers, gifts and pray for me daily. I am so BLESSED!

As I write all of this, I know I am being prepared for the arrival of the twins. My body feels very different as of last week. My heart feels more ready. And I am getting silly, excited and nervous. The delivery of two just scares me a bit. However, I am ready when they are.

I am two days from being 36 weeks pregnant. So bring on the babies and your prayers! If the timing is right for the babies to come this weekend I would be thrilled. My doctor is on call!!!!

A big thanks to Emily, the designHer Momma, for lending me her cute black preggers dress effectively hiding 51 extra pounds! No shame here - I have TWO in there!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Indianapolis Woman Dream Makeover 2010

As you likely know, I started my own make-up artistry business 4 years ago. Through Beauty by Crystal I have had some of the most wonderful experiences. My favorite work is bridal. I know how much of a princess I felt like when Mr. Blonde and I got married and I SO enjoy playing a role in helping other brides feel the same.

In addition to the bridal work I do, I've had the opportunity to work with some outstanding companies and projects. Like the NCAA, NCAA Wives' Club, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League (where I've had the chance to work with my favorite IndyCar driver ever, Helio Castroneves, several times), IZOD, FFA, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Splash Salon, several wonderfully talented local photographers, a fair share of inspirational other mua's and dozens of beautiful make-up lines.

Via a relationship I have with the regional representative of Jane Iredale and Meridian Plastic Surgeons, I was honored by being asked to be Lesly Davis's make-up artist at her final Indianapolis Woman Magazine photography session for their annual Dream Makeover.

Lesly will be the cover story in Indy Woman's September issue. Mr. Blonde and I will be attending the Dream Makeover reveal party this Thursday night where I'll be doing Lesly's make-up again and we'll be enjoying our last formal evening together before we have two more beautiful boys.

Stayed tuned to this blog, our Twitter account and my Beauty by Crystal Twitter account for more updates and pictures!

-Mrs. Blonde

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What people say when they see 10+ lbs of baby in a belly

I'm 34 weeks pregnant with twin boys. I happen to be measuring 35 weeks. The last couple weeks, I've hit the point where passersby are just saying whatever they want. Mostly, I think it's comical. Here are a few in blue. My responses are included in green.

"I like your shirt. I am sure you'll be glad to hang that one up anyday." - fellow shopper

"Thanks. It's not a maternity shirt. And, I have 5 weeks to go."

"Woah! You're about to explode!" - gas station attendant

"$20 on Pump 1. Thanks."

"Oh, let me back up. You aren't going to be able to make that corner." - fellow shopper

"Yeah, there is no sucking in these days."

"Oh my gosh! You're huge!" - my business client TONIGHT

I just smiled. I love her. Doesn't matter.

Friday, August 20, 2010


It's the end of the week!

Bring it on, weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dog-gone-her: Part III - It is finished

This is easily the most we've ever talked about our dog on this blog. First post here. Second post here. Especially in one week's time. And, this is likely the last post about her. Ever. We're so happy to report Chloe has officially found her new home! Here is the email we got this morning from her new owner...

Hi Crystal,

...The girls are getting along fantastic now. It’s funny how quickly Andi has adapted to another dog in her home. They’re really cute together now. They were even napping side by side last night. We’ve had no problems at all with Chloe. She’s been an absolute joy. We love her...

Quite surprisingly (and very thankfully) the boys have only asked about her twice since the weekend when we dropped her off. We've told them that she's gone to stay with her new dog friend. And, shockingly, LA hasn't grilled us and asked 37 more questions. He did say yesterday, "Where is Chloe?" But, quickly moved on to something else. We originally planned to take them over to see her new home, but as of today, we decided not to do that. It might just complicate things. We don't need that.

So, after we drop off her documentation this weekend, the transition is complete. It's right.

To honor our fantastic pup, here's a super cute video of her with Boatboy when he was a wee one...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dog-gone-her: Part II - Chloe update

As you know, we're seeking a new home for our westie Chloe. Below is a lovely note we got this morning from Chloe's likely new owner. She's staying with him, his partner and their Jack Russell, Andi, (who's Chloe's same age) for a few nights as a trial. If all things progress well, we'll move her in later this week.

Hi Crystal,

Wanted to drop you a short note to let you know that Chloe’s first night went really well. She’s such a good girl. She went right to her crate at bedtime. Andi and I spent the night in the basement (where her crate is) with her so she wouldn’t be lonely on her first night. The girls are getting along pretty well now that the dust is settling. Chloe and Andi were very good to each other when I let Chloe out of her crate this morning...all wags and sniffs. Breakfast time went well and morning potty went well. It’s all good. She’s a really sweet girl and we’re really enjoying her. I see the potential for some serious spoiling on our part.

Just wanted to give you an update.

So excited our little girl has likely found her new loving home!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


While this is a dog post I assure you it's not all puppies and rainbows. Turn back now if you can't handle life and death discussions regarding pets. It's also signficantly longer than the average post here at Blondes, Poop & Mascara. I'm feeling inspired. You'll see why.

Just before our 1st wedding anniversary, she showed up as a gift to Mrs. Blonde in the spring of 2005. A perfect white little cotton ball ready to love and be loved. And, she did. And, she is. Tremendously so really! Six years ago our little white westie, Chloe, was born into our family. Our first baby if you will.

I'm a dog person. (Which isn't to say I'm not a cat person. I don't dislike cats. But, I don't like them either. Where was I...yes. Dogs.) I've had a dog in my dwelling place my entire life except a few years in college. I've always loved it that way. They are after all man's best friend. But, their stories don't always end well.

Frosty (Westie): My first. Great little dog! I must have been 6 years old when I came home from the 1st grade to be told that he had to "be put to sleep" due to horrific skin conditions. Truth is, the dude was absolutely miserable most of the time. Scraping open sores to ease his pain. Sad scenario. Dead.

Cookie (Jack Russell Terrier): She had this crazy mixture of hair types. Long straight around her neck and slick throughout. Equals = a lion mane. Good stuff. She was high energy. A jack russel; high energy? I know. She'd had a litter of puppies; was let outside for a potty break and never came back. Dogs don't leave their young. Stolen. Gone.

Dundee (Jack Russel Terrier): One of Cookie's pups. Of course I named him after the hottest cinematic sensation of the day. Three weeks after moving him (and our entire family) from the city where I spent the first seven years of my life to the countryside where I spent the next 13, he got hit by a car. On Friday, the 13th. SOB never even slowed down before Dundee was plowed down. Not even a brake mark in the road. My Dad buried him in our pasture. Dead.

Yeller (Mountain Feist): Naming a dog after Old Yeller takes two things. Integrity (because that movie is full of it). And, ignorance...because the dog gets rabies and then a bullet to the head. Yeller had a calm temperment. He was incredibly strong for his size. We used to pick him up by whatever toy he was clinging to and dangle him in mid-air while he tugged and flipped about. He was a sturdy sidekick. He stayed inside most of the time. But, when he was in the back yard, he played with his big friend...

(1/4 Huskey, 3/4 Timber Wolf, yeah you read that right): Bad ass dog! Huge! He never came inside. Well, when my brother and I were home alone he did. But, a 120lb wolf dog isn't the most elegant creature traipsing through the house. We could practically ride this beast like a horse. In the snow, he pulled us around on our sleds. People feared him. We adored him. One spring, it's theorized that he and Yeller got into a yard treatment chemical that was to have been killer on weeds yet safe for animals. Turns out, it wasn't safe. Seizures started up. Then, more regularly. Bear's seizures soon became accompanied by anger. Before long, he wasn't safe. My Dad couldn't trust him around us boys. He was euthanized farm-style (.22). Dead. Yeller - the same fate. The brain damage was too much. Dead.

Muffin (Jack Russel Terrier): She's the mainstay. Sweet. Kind. Not spastic-Jack-Russel in the slightest. When we would sing, she would howl with us. She ate food from my Dad's mouth. That's too much. I know. But, it was always funny. She had several litters of puppies. We loved it! Even watching her birth them was awesome. By the time the tumors became too much for her body to handle, she'd lost an eye in the battle, had her sinuses rearranged and been with us for over a decade. Not that there wasn't with the others, but a special deep set of tears came to pass when she did. Dead.

Butch (Jack Russel Terrier): One of Muffin's pups. A classic Jack. Good looking dog. Fine manners. Just a few weeks after I met Crystal in the late Spring of 2003, I got a call from my crying mother. He'd gotten into a loose bag of chips in the bathroom trashcan. While foraging for crumbs the bag got stuck on his head. He couldn't get out. Trapped; he suffocated. My heart still breaks for this guy. A disturbing end to his story in every way. Dead.

Then there's DOZENS upon dozens of coon dogs. Mostly Walkers. Some Curs. Skunk, Jim, Susie, Horny (my Dad named him), JB, Chopper, Pac, John, Slammer and there were more.

Mrs. Blonde's had one dog. Ever. Just one. Noel (Maltese) lived to be 37...alright...14. But, that's it. Just one dog. Recounting my dog days when Crystal and I first met, she thought my stories (and possibly me) to be completely insane! And, you probably do too. That's fine. So do I. They're not the norm. But, they're mine. Most are tragic. All involve loss. Yet I gained so much from them!

I'm a dog person and Crystal is for certain dogs. Noel and Chloe being a couple of them.

And, we have Chloe. Right now anyway. As you can read in the blog header, we jokingly began referring to her as our "White Afterthought" after LA was born. We're man enough to admit that at this point, she's become the thought after the after thought. And, that's just not right! She's perfect. Seriously. Adorable. Great with the boys. Leash trained, but you don't even have to use one. She just stays alongside you outside. Stays off the furniture (if you want her to). Goes for runs with us. Loves to ride in the car (and boat). Enjoys cuddling. Knows several commands by hand and/or voice. She's happy. All. The. Time. She's everything we ever wanted. Which is why it's so hard to consider seeing her go. And, why it's so right seeing her go. She doesn't deserve to not get the right amount of attention. We've neglected her.

Flipping through all our photos of her tonight, I approached the "2010" folder. Guess how many photos in almost 900 featured Chloe? ONE! And, that's only because she photobombed a photo I was taking of Boatboy.

To add to it, we started to notice a few months ago that whenever Boatboy is near her for very long he starts sneezing like crazy! We haven't diagnosed him as alergic to dogs. But, we know he can't be around her. [NOTE: Please don't mention this to LA or Boatboy if you personally know them. The last thing we need is for his alergies (or him) to be blamed for anything.]

As of yesterday, Mrs. Blonde found Chloe, what is likely to be her future home: A dog-loving single guy who has a Jack Russell and wants some more company for the two of them. We're all meeting each other tomorrow to feel out the fit.

As I type this, ol' girl is sleeping on the floor next to me and I'm feeling all "It's not you it's me." But, I'm 100% satisfied that her story hasn't ended like the others before her. Still pacing steadily ahead, she's just ready for another chapter.

-Mr. Blonde

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#1 turns 4

While we never really want to admit it, us Gen X parents, some cliches about family life aren't cliches at all. They're shared wisdom. "Time flies" is one worth authenticating.

Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine when
this guy was born that he would some day be the oldest brother of four! He's gone from our first little baby boy to our first pre-K bound little man in what seems like a flash.

Happy Birthday, LA!






We just love you and love watching you grow up!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

32 weeks!

It's always SO nice to get to see these boys and get good reports. It never gets old!

At 32 weeks they're each measuring at 33 weeks. And, are each 4 1/2 pounds. That's NINE pounds of baby, folks!

Click on the ultrasound image to the left to get a magnified view of their tiny boy cuteness!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I’m Disappointed In Me

I have a distinct memory of having been gifted a 3D puzzle of sorts when I was around 10 years old. It was complicated. It had brightly colored crazy looking geometric shapes all over it. It folded in obtuse ways. The goal was to get certain shapes and colors to align. It was fun. Think Rubik’s Cube meets Jacob’s Ladder.

The difficulty of the puzzle trumped fun when I got stumped by the trivia of it all and pressed so hardly on a piece of the game that it broke the entire puzzle. After my initial relief (“Ha, I showed you stupid puzzle!”), I remember an overwhelming sense of guilt form over my pre-pubescent heart. At a tender age, I felt the burden of my disrespect for the gift I’d received. I’d taken something I never earned in the first place…and trashed it.

I remember taking the broken pieces to my Mom (she’s known mostly as Grandma these days) and apologizing through the tears rolling down my face. I remember her abruptly ending the phone conversation she’d been on and her saying “It’s ok. You didn’t mean to.” While her grace felt nice and permitted me to relax a bit the fact remained that I DID mean to do it. I was frustrated and responded by destroying my toy. It was NOT an accident. And, I felt horrible over what I’d done.

This brings up two questions:

1) How are you at extending grace in the lives of your children? Are you quick to forgive like my Mom was grasping the moment following an indecent action as a time to teach? Or, perhaps you’re too quick to forgive (“Oh, it’s fine. We’ll buy another one.”) brushing aside the opportunity to talk through the importance of permitting people to make mistakes in life and grow through them?

2) How are you at modeling for your children how to receive that same mercy when YOU need it? Re-read that same question to make sure you understand what I’m asking here. I’m still learning how important it is to receive grace in my life so that I can teach our boys the same life lesson. If you’re a Christian, like Mrs. Blonde and me, then this is essential to the Gospel message because the more you get hung up on yourself and your own issues the less you’re giving Life to others. As Mrs. Blonde puts it so clearly, “Get over yourself!”

If you can’t answer those two questions in the comment section on this entry, how about writing your own post (including stories gets bonus points) and linking back to it in the comment section here? If you’re the Twittering kind, tweet your response(s) including @mrsblonde1 and a link to this post too.

-Mr. Blonde

Friday, July 09, 2010

Smile! New baby pics!

After yesterday's pregnant-with-twins drama, today's overly positive reports were great to hear from the OB office.

The twins are growing extremely well! They're actually measuring one week ahead of singletons! Ugh! :) Their hearts were fluttering nicely. And, they're all snuggled up next to each other in my belly. "You're baking some good babies in there!" the doc told us.

Enjoy the pics!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

the time has come

I have been reading about this day a lot lately. In my multiples books. On blogs. Thinking it would not happen to me this early. Nope. I have two toddlers at home. I can't slow down. I am going to be running around town until the end. Just like I did with my first two pregnancies. Carrying twins can't be that much harder?!?

Today started out great. A morning to myself. Mother-in law had the boys so I thought perfect time to catch up on laundry, dusting and prepping the house for our house church that meets in our home on Thursday nights. I was feeling great and had no distractions.

The kids came home and I took Boatboy for his 2-year-old well appointment. He got a great report too! 95% in height. 45% in weight. And, "speaks better than most 3-year-olds I (pediatrician) see." A proud mother am I.

Got home. Made lunch for the boys. Then, put both boys down for their nap. Made lunch for myself and mother-in-law. After she left for her hair appointment it was time to rest.

I have had some sore days. And, many sick days in the beginning through this 28-week journey for sure. BUT, today was the day where I realized I had done way too much. Once I started feeling what I thought was some contractions I laid on my side, chugged water and had some more protein. The pulsating, striking pain straight to the downward "area" started to really concern me. After about 2 hours of breath taking pain I decided to call the doctor's office. After hearing my symptoms they wanted me in triage at the hospital immediately. That was not the response I was looking for. Nor was I prepared to have these sweet boys tonight.

I started praying that God would take away the contractions and keep these babies in longer. After calling Mr. Blonde and packing up the big boys (in the pouring rain) I was simply just trying to stay calm...
This cannot be happening. I am only 28 weeks pregnant. We don't have the nursery done. I don't have all the baby stuff out and ready The house is not ready. This is not happening!

Trying so hard to hold it together and prevent the tears welled up in the corners of my eyes as I drive to the hospital to meet Mr. Blonde, I cranked up Justin Bieber so the boys would dance, sing and laugh! That little Disney popster helped too!

Two other times I've walked through those doors so excited! This time, I was in all but complete panic. They were waiting for me. My doctor's office had already called ahead. I was escorted to triage immediately. I laid in the bed hooked up to monitors and waited for news.

I kept asking, "Am I having contractions?" "Am I dilated?" Self talk. Fear. Rebuking it all. Calling on God every second for sustained faith and safety for the twins. And, me.

After a half hour (which seemed to be 2 hours) the first report was good. No contractions. Then, the second report. Just 25% effaced. And, the boys are doing great.

So, what gives?! Why all the pain?! Turns out Baby A is very low and hitting a nerve or sitting on a ligament that is lighting up every pain receptor down south. The ultrasound actually showed him moving his little head in unison with me wiggling around on the bed in discomfort.

Furthermore, the doc believes the cramping is happening from a day of way too much. He also warned me that bedrest is, in fact, the next step in all of this. Three hours later I'm on the couch and the little guy is still causing me complete discomfort.

But, you know what?! I'm HOME!

I am completely unable to do anything since this pain started. So the dreaded time has come. I have to slow down. I'm having two babies. Not one. I'm not superwoman after all.

Thank goodness for an amazing husband who is doing the dishes and laundry right now. It's really hard to sit here and watch him do all of this after working all day and caring for / putting the boys to bed. Oh, and, fetch me ice water! :) I know it is only for a short time, but it is still very hard.

Please keep me in your prayers as I get bigger and bigger and bigger and look and feel like a beached whale. Also that these twin boys stay in me for much longer.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Happy Birthday to my sweet love!

My amazing husband turns 32 today. As I was planning this "celebration day"...I have had so many emotions run through my mind. So here are a few....

Amos-You are such a blessing to me and all of our kiddos. I am so thankful God hand picked you for me. Thank you for being on this life journey with me. Everyday is something new and I love sharing each moment with you. I celebrate the gift you are to me and our 4 boys. You truly bring out the best in all of us. You love us so well! I love you so much!! Happy Birthday!

I love celebrating birthdays. This morning I made a yummy breakfast served with a candle and LA played his guitar to a Happy Birthday song to Dada. We are very excited for what the rest evening holds.....the boys are having fun preparing for their Dada's arrival!!

Friday, July 02, 2010

last "Family of Four" photo highlights [Part 2]

You saw Part 1 of our last Family of Four photo session earlier this week. This is Part 2 of our fav shots captured recently by Katelin Carter of Full Pockets Photography.

This is our favorite picture of the two boys from the entire session. They were playing peek-a-boo with "Dadda" and jumping up and down on an old park bench and caught being their playful selves so well in this shot. We're lucky the bench didn't break!

Family of Four (well, six if you count the bumps in Mrs. Blonde's belly visible here to the left of Boatboy).

For what we can recall this is the first hands-on-pregnant-belly shot we have on file. We didn't know Katelin took it until we got the final disc of images. Fitting that such a photo was taken of the last pregnancy we'll ever have (at least we're saying that now...nothing's done until it's done).

The boys

All teeth!

The family portrait classic. Everyone walking away from the camera. Why do we like this so much. Can't see any faces. Can see everyone's cans. Yet, we still like it.