Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

It is such a cliche, but man does time fly as you get older. It also flies when you get literally no sleep.

Those of you who read this blog know we were blessed with Coen Lewis Schwark this last summer and that has been pretty much the focus of our year. All the getting ready for him, and my poor family just trying to survive "pregnant me". Then the baby arrives and we have spent the rest of the year enjoying him and getting used to being a family of five + ellie. Poor neglected in most ways (belly rubs, cuddling, treats), over attended too in others (tail pulling, eye poking etc) ellie.

God has blessed us profoundly in 2009, just as in the years before.

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Aiden Turns Four and Nolen Gets a Fat Lip

We have been spending the last couple of weeks in great anticipation of Aiden's impending fourth birthday party, he as much as I.

We made decorations (large painted snakes) and mailed out invitations (he practiced his writing) bought cupcake mix and sat and waited for the day to arrive.

The party was great. We have a bouncy house that fits perfectly in our great room area and this was the only needed entertainment. There were presents and candy and chocolate milk. Aiden did spend a good deal of time crying on the couch after a head bump with the only little girl at our party, who incidently did not cry.... Other than that it was sucessful.

Later putting away the blow up house dad said "no one jump on this bag, I just put the motor in it" and of course no sooner had he left the room than Nolen sprinted across the room and flung himself head first onto the bag. There was loud wailing and lots and lots of blood. So much blood I became a little worried. Once it stopped we were able to see a large cut and bite marks on the inside of his ever swelling lip.

All is status quo here at the schwarks....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bragging About My Mom

Besides being a wonderful mom she is also a very talented artist. This is just one of many in a long line of beautiful accomplishments she has done. Check out her new stamp collection here.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
-Scott Adams,

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Halloween turned out to be really fun. Aiden wanted to be a cat, I tried to make him a lion, but they really ended up looking like some crazy lady randomly put face paint on and sprayed their hair. Which is pretty accurate, I had way too much candy to be decorating little faces!

They wrestled (lots of face paint smudges on my floor now) and ran around meowing while we awaited the trickortreaters, we had a dance party in the mean time too. They kept checking out the front window and sprinted to the door whenever the door bell rang.

Lots of cute costumes, little brett favres, army men, and the cutest little red riding hood who would not leave so Aiden just kept putting more and more candy in her bag. Nolen was the door slammer and let people know when their turn was up.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Festival Fun

Steves mom and her husband were here this past weekend and we all had a blast. Saturday we spent a good portion of the day at the Stocker Farms pumpkin festival. The boys got to dig with trucks in the giant corn boxes, hammer nails, bang as loud as their little hearts desired on pots and pans, jump in the bouncy house, Aiden caught his first fish, they got their faces painted and of course we found some pumpkins to bring home.

The only bad part, the "hay ride". Yuck. Pulled by a smoke belching tractor for 20 minutes out to the pumpkin cannon (guys were impressed, I was not).

Sunday went shopping for signature stamps and log books for our letterboxing hobby. Then we went to Firestation 71 for their open house and the kids got to climb around the fire truck and ambulance.

Fun fun fun. Come back again soon Grandma and David!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Home School Anyone?

Okay, so I am just throwing this out there even though I have a sneaking suspicion that only my relatives read my blog. But hey, maybe you know someone who knows someone who may be interested.

I am looking for a family who wants to home school with me. I want someone who is willing to buy the same curriculum (sonlight looks good to me, but I am open to suggestions). I think it would be great to do four days a week at our respective homes and gather once a week for review/play/field trips etc..

Anyhow, just a shot in the dark that there maybe be some Mill Creek area mom with kids about the same age looking for someone to home school with.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Letterboxing ROCKS!

We went on our first letterboxing adventure today. The tree of life it was called. It was awesome. It is a perfect hobby for one with little kids. It combines the outdoors with learning and clues, and then the reward of finding your treasure.

The hike started out tenuous as everything seems to for Aiden. After we entered the "forest" he became apprehensive and worried. He held my hand almost the entire way. I made the mistake of mentioning to watch out for poison oak -not that I really know what it looks like, and I will be researching it so I can give him accurate information. But then he didn't want to get poison oak, and he was afraid of being left and getting lost.

As you can imagine Nolen was the exact opposite. Running off at first chance, which happened to be the parking lot. Not cool. He is so difficult to hang onto. His feet seem to be controlled by a force outside of his body. They just keep going even when he falls, and rolls down a hill, they seem to supernaturally pull him up and force him onward. Through the bushes, the stickers, the mud, tripping and falling and rolling along. Nolen could care less to have us in sight. He ventures on recklessly without a worry in his little blonde head.

And of course any hike with Steve turns into an unplanned adventure with some sort of obstacle to overcome. After we succeeded in finding our letterbox we planned to take Ellie to the off-leash dog park nearby. Steve likes to rely on his "spidey senses" so instead of going back the way we came and going to the dog park by way of a known path, we followed our leader deeper into the woods. We did find the dog park, but it lay beyond to fences. I am proud to say I can climb fences with the baby in the front pack. Steve tossed the other two and the dog over and we eventually made it, much to Ellie's delight.

So, it was a PERFECT way to spend a gorgeous blue sky, sunny, fall day with the family.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I made a monumental mistake this morning. Steve sent me a coupon for 10 underwear for 25$ at Victoria Secret (you know your underwear is looking pretty bad when your husband starts sending you coupons for new ones). These deals that he sends me are always gone really fast so I hurried up and got the four of us ready to head to the mall. In my rush I didn't return the stroller to the back of the van.

Twenty minutes later and ready to unload the pack in the parking lot I discovered my error. Not wanting to miss out on this great sale I decided to brave the mall with the three boys sans stroller. Coen in the front pack, Nolen with his monkey backpack/leash and Aiden, oh good dear sweet Aiden, who listens so well, stays close and will hold my hand.

I discovered that Victoria Secrets is a nightmare with Nolen on the loose for most part. I uncharactristically made a very quick decision as to what I would purchase and set about collecting 10 of the same size/color. Meanwhile Nolen is straining on his leash opening every drawer, tossing panties about wildly and when I have finally gathered my wares, I look at him to see that he has one pair of frilly undies stretched over his face and is chewing on them. I ripped them out of his hands and tossed the slobbery pair back on the pile.

The only register they had open was the one next to the table with the long billowy satin table cloth, atop which sat bottles of lotions and perfume (glass bottles). Nolen strained the entire time I was paying (could we have your phone #, what about your email.. no... no... cant you see I am trying to wrangle three kids in desperation to buy new underwear after THREE years???, just ring me up ALREADY!) My bicep actually hurts from keeping him restrained.

BUT, I have new can all breathe a sign of relief now.

Note to self....don't forget the stroller.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Grandpa and the Boys

My parents came from Mt this last weekend to celebrate my brother's and my birthday. The boys had so much fun with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma Sande made really cute stick horses for Aiden and Nolen (pictures to come). Coen really took to my dad, I think it was the "Coen is the king of the wild frontier" song that won him over.

Thank you so much for coming to visit us. We love you!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nolen Holds A Grudge

Something new I have discovered about Nolen, my sweet, easy going, perfect baby, Nolen - he holds grudges. Big time. He was rather nasty four days ago. Being mean to baby brother Coen while I was trying to take a picture of the three of them - alas still no pics of them all together. So I spanked him, and put him down for his nap. Two and a half hours later when he woke up he was so mad at me he wouldn't let me get him out of his crib.

He has continued this cold shoulder treatment since then. And only towards me. I guess he is trying to teach me a lesson.

But today I made headway with thawing his grudge against me. I made a chocolate chip waffle picnic in our back yard. When he seemed very happy I said, "Can mommy have a kiss Noly?" He gave me a big smackero, then quickly remembered he was made at me and looked a little dismayed to have been tricked so easily.

He will come around.....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lots Happening

Our biggest project, remodeling our master bath, has completely taken over our "spare" time. It will be a post in itself later on, when it is finished, if it is EVER finished. Bless steve for not giving up and working on it hour after hour.

The weather has been nice and we have put our jogger strollers to good use going running almost everyday for the last couple of weeks. I use the term "run" loosly when discribing what I do, it is closer to the slow hobble of a wounded animal, but exercise none the less.

My cousin Megan is here for a week. Her presence makes me long for a live in nanny. She is so great with the boys and I will miss her so much when she leaves. We have made dozens of trips to the paint store (bathroom remodel), visited the zoo, gotten hair cuts (chased by killer roosters at the Country Village), and tomorrow we will particiapte in every 18 year old girls favorite hobby, shopping.

Check out the photos - Aiden has been practicing his jumping. Nolen has been practicing his illuding of the camera (not many shots of him).

Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today 1 Kristen 0

This is what I would have to qualify as a bad day. Actually it has been several bad days accumulating into one really bad day. Granted I know this is all relative. I dont need anyone telling me, well it could be worse. And I am grateful for my health, my house, my family, etc. etc.

Yesterday I went to Costco in hopes of purchasing an air-conditioner, one that should have been purchased last week when there were plenty to be had, and no mob of crazy hot people trying desperately to get one. I was told they were out, in fact 300 people showed up early that morning to buy them. I was there at 10am, they open at 10am. Those people were smarter than I. Sad. I heard someone say they would be getting more tomorrow morning.

We didn't have to debate long as to whether we should try again, it was 90 degrees in our house last night (as I write this it is 95 degrees, downstairs).

So Steve took off work at my bequest, waited in line for 30 minutes, all to no avail. Sad. He heard someone say they were getting a shipment at noon. Off we went for the other Costco. No air-conditioners. Sad. Steve went back to work. I called Bartells, the air-conditioners had just arrived! Hurry she said. Hurry I did. I got the last one!!

Steve came home to hook it up. It doesn't fit in our windows. So so sad. Back it went to bartells.

Then I sat outside ignoring my kids while they filled up the dirt hole with water from the hose. No big deal until Ellie jumped in and started digging. In seconds she had completely covered herself in mud. Then she proceeded to run laps around the yard in the bark dust. Sad. I hosed her off - yes she shook several times covering me in mud, and dog slobber. Meanwhile Aiden is shouting at me from in the bathroom, I'M DONE, I'M DONE ( I am the official bum wiper).

Now my 95 degree house has a lovely wet dog smell.

Seriously, not a good day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Schwark Family Photos

A couple of weeks ago we were fortunate enough to have our pictures taken professionally. The lady who did them is just starting out, but you would never know it by her work. The pictures are wonderful. She was super creative and so good with all our kids and dog and chaos. Click on the photo slide show to the left to see my favorites.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

June 8 Boys

The only part of this last pregnancy, aside from the baby, that was good was being pregnant with my friend Kristen. She was due about 2 weeks after Coen was schedule to be delivered. To my pleasant surprise I received a text from her, while I was recovering from the c-section, that said, Congrats, I am downstairs in labor! So Dylan was delivered about 6 hours after Coen. How cool is that?? So here are some pictures of our June 8 babies.

The Fourth

We were blessed with awesome weather again for this fourth of July. We had fun with bbq and friends and the pool. Mostly just sitting around chatting. Of course there were a few tiny fireworks, if you can call pop its and smoke bombs fireworks. Of course the little boys were very excited. Okay, probably the big boys too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Photo Op Not

I am trying to get as many pictures of number 3 as 1 & 2. But 2 is NOT cooperative, at ALL. He is actually the definition of UNcooperative, as can be witnessed by our most recent pictures.

I have been dreaming about all the cute pictures I would get with the three boys over the last 9 months, but alas it will have to wait until Nolen can be wrangled successfully. Aiden on the other hand does beautifully. He sits still, he smiles on que, and loves to hold his baby brother. Even Ellie does well compared to Nolen.

Oh well, check out our latest round of photos anyway.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Introducing Coen

So, here he is! Prepare for the onslaught of baby photos and updates.

All went really well on Monday. Many of you have heard me complain of the impending c-section. The whole ordeal was much less stressful than I had made out in my head. We went in around 8am and Coen was pronounced "here" at 8:45am. 7 lbs 5 oz, 19.5 inches.

Recovery was mostly pain free and quick. We came home Wednesday morning, to a few excited family members and one not so happy one, Nolen. He is decidedly not happy about Coen joining the family and stealing his lime light. He scowls at whomever happens to be holding the baby, and lets you know he wouldn't be upset if we sent it back.

My mom and Aunt Carrie came on Saturday to hold down the fort at home. They have been entertaining and teaching non stop, which is awesome, except I know after they leave the kids are going to be sorely disappointed with me and how boring I am by comparison. Oh well, good thing is they are both too young (hopefully) to remember any of this trauma.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

As for me, I didn't just take my 3 1/2 year old to the doctor because of mosquito bites...I do not have the tendency to over react...nope...not me!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Fun

Today was lovely. Almost enough sunshine to make me forget the past 9 months of rain, almost. Anyway, lots of outdoor fun. Pool, bubbles, new squirt guns, and running around.

And now we are off to eat some hotdogs and watermelon. Hope your day was as wonderful as ours.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Lost My Car....and my brain

This whole "mommy brain" thing has just gone too far. I have never been good at remembering peoples names or where I park my car, and being able to blame these lapses of memory on an overtired, hormonally charged brain has been nice.

But today I went to the mall for lunch and movies with girlfriends and after 4 hours of being away I pretty much completely forgot where my car was. One friend drove us around from the theater side to the restaurant side where two of us were parked. I got out at the first persons car and believing (correctly) that my car was close by started to wander the parking lot at Alderwood mall. I was pretty sure which direction I parked the car in. But I started to doubt myself (wisely). I pressed the lock button activating the "honk" on my car over and over again, but I didn't hear anything. I walked up and down and across, with no real plan of attack, which did not help as I covered several areas mutiple times and obviously others not at all.

My dear friend called my cell to ask if I had found my car. I had to admit I had not and was not feeling hopeful. Surely it couldnt be me, maybe it was stolen. After circling around to pick me up, just by pure chance where she stopped and the angle I got in the car at I saw my little black honda wink its lights at me. She drove approximately a foot before I said "oh, there it is!"

I am such a dork. And I guess three pregnancies in 3 1/2 years may have fried my already small brain. I guess I better look into that ginko or something.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Very Cool Testimony

I found this link through the Shepherd Press Blog.

This kid has an amazing testimony.

It made me think about how I fall into bed every night exhausted. But what am I exhausted from? Mostly taking care of my little world. I want to fall into bed at night exhausted from glorifying God and making his kingdom known, from helping people who need help. Not just from maintaining my little chunk of this world that will end.

Anyway, I found it very inspirational.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Summer Chores

Seeing this puts a smile on my face. There is nothing Aiden loves more than to hang out with his dad and help him with projects. He takes if very seriously, and doesn't finish mowing until dad is finished mowing.

Nolen can hardly wait to get in on the action.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The New Pool Rocks

So, here in Western Washington if it hits 70 degrees and the sun is out we break out the pool. This year we went all out and got a "big" one from Costco. It was an absolute success. Aiden said over and over "I love my new pool". Nolen drank at least half of the water we put in and nearly drowns with every move he makes, all while smiling and laughing. Needless to say, whoever is supervising has to be ready to get wet in case some saving is needed. Sorry to all the grandparents out there that I just worried.

Come swim with us soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

White Tigers

Today was Aidens first Taekwondo class. I was very skeptical how it would go because of past experience with trying to give him the opportunity to learn something new and have fun. Lets just say soccer didn't go well.

Then we picked up the uniform last week and he was very eager to try it on. I washed it and did my best to shrink it up because it is very very big for him. We got it all on and he proceeded to lay on the floor and cry. I am not shocked by this. It has become typical behavior for him if he suspects I may be on the verge of pride and happiness due to something he has done. Give the guy credit, he doesn't want to set me up for sadness if he doesn't come through. So he is quick to dash my hopes right from the get go.

I tried not to make a big deal out of the whole hating the uniform thing. And I kept my pride in check while getting him ready this morning. We got the outfit on, with minimal whining. Then after a few minutes he turned on the irrational three year old complaining full tilt. He didn't like the "costume" it was too big, it felt funny, etc.. whine whine whine. Then he asked to see some taekwondo on the Internet. I guess to see if this was really what they wore or if it was some scheme by me to make him look silly.

We arrived at said class and things were not looking up. He was his ultra clingy, insecure self, asking to be held, hiding behind my legs, refusing to talk to the instructors. He even started crying at one point.

Ah, at last things turned around with the entrance of his BFF Trey. Thank goodness for Trey. Aiden followed his lead and immediately the class was fun, the teachers were not out to get him and all was well. He punched, and jumped, and yelled, and I feel overall did a wonderful job, and actually had fun.

Go Po Go (this is a reference to the movie Kung Fu Panda, sadly the only Martial Arts I am familiar with)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How Do you Solve a Problem Like Ellie?

Last week I was seriously considering finding a new home for Ellie. I haven't really dared let myself go there before. I always secretly wondered what kind of person could give their dog up, and now I know. One that is on the brink of insanity and is searching for some sort of peace and quiet and clean.

This weekend Ellie's fate was determined by the sentimental movie Marley and Me. I think me reading the book last year got her through my last temptation to be rid of her and all the trouble she brings. So we will see how long this saves her as one of Team Schwark. Anyhow, teary eyed and hopes bolstered I renewed my vow to keep her.

I mean really, how much less color would our lives have with out her? I forgot to mention in my last post while she thwarted the babysitter and was out on the lamb she decide it would be a good idea to also roll in dog poop. So not only did she have to be caught, once home she had to be bathed. This poor woman who is trying to watch my kids now has to deal with scrubbing poop off my dog. This was definitely not in the notes I left.

Then to top off the weekend Ellie decided to get stuck under the house today. Steve and I are painting the boys room upstairs. I have the window open so I can hear Ellie and Aiden playing in the backyard. After a little while of silence I decide to go down and check on them. I peered around the corner of the house to find Aiden standing next to Ellie, saying sweet calming things, "It is okay Ellie, you can get out Ellie, come on Ellie you can do it." Ellie replied with pitiful whimpering and whining, insisting she was indeed stuck. It looked like Lassie reversed. Ellie has never had a clear vision of herself being the hero.

Anyway, I hollered up to Steve who came and assessed the situation, went to get a shovel, and I a camera. He dug her out. At least she is moping around the house looking like she feels stupid.

Seriously, what a dull house without Ellie to constantly wreak havoc, destroy toys, spread dirt, mud, and poop. Don't forget how much I love her when she barks at...nothing, and wakes up sleeping kids.

How do you solve a problem like Ellie? You don't, you just try to survive her.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Going Away

Our view during breakfast

I am beyond excited that the hubby and I get to go away for one night this weekend. I seem to wait until my breaking point from exhaustion and over exposure until I change something. So, this is the first time in 3 1/2 years that Steve and I will be spending the night away from the kids.

Just so you know a little bit more about how neurotic I am, I decided while writing this that I would not post it until we came back in case some stranger (I am sure I have quite an extensive blog reader list, not) decided to take advantage of our parental absence and steal our children or harass our babysitter.

Anyway, back to my point. We are going away, dinner, spas, massages, no one asking to go potty in the middle of the night, no replacing pacifiers in hopes of 30 more minutes of sleep. I may never come back....

Okay, with a little coaxing, and a look at the bill for one night, I decided to return home. It was so AWESOME!

I had absolutely no anxiety leaving the kids. Which I believe is due mostly to the fact I was leaving them in such capable hands. Nolen was napping, and Aiden gave me kiss and told me he would miss me. Off we went, just the hubby and me.

Our arrival was prompt, and valet was a perk. I always feel very fancy when someone else takes my car and parks it. Check in was lovely, we were offered savory candy, and given directions to room 205. The room was lovely. The resort is lovely. Filled with all sorts of beautiful rock and wood work and touches of nature. It is very peaceful.

We hung out in the room for a few minutes, then off we went to take advantage of the tea and cookies in the library. It was very quiet, and the fire was going. I sipped orange tea and ate lemon cookies and Steve and I played tic tac toe. I really started to think I may have slipped into a Jane Austen novel.

Back to the room to change into our spa attire. The first trip up and down the hallway, in the elevator, past several people, up to the spa, seemed a little awkward in a terry cloth robe and flip flops, but that is what the staff encouraged. And of course, when in Rome...

The spa was so relaxing. The sound of cascading water drowned out any conversation. The large hot tubs made of rock, and the lemon water for sipping all helped to ease any tension we had arrived with. Of course, I can not participate in grown up activity with out embarrassing myself at least slightly. Being 35 weeks pregnant I could not soak for long in the hot water and I tried to gracefully sit on the ledge next to the pool, so I could dangle my legs in the water, but not over heat. Well, I am not graceful even when I am not largely pregnant, so when I ever so delicately sat down, some entirely mortifying noise was created by the suction between my butt and the wet stone. Yes, it sounded like the biggest wettest fart you could imagine. Not even the cascading noise of the water fall drowned it out from the couple at the other end of the tub hearing. I couldn't just pretend it didn't happen, so I said, with the color in my face rising, "It wasn't me, it was the stone". By the looks on their faces I am pretty sure I wasn't convincing. But hey, what is a relaxing soak in the spa without a giant fart noise to liven things up.

Anyhow, we left shortly after, nothing to do with wanting never to see those people again, which we did at dinner a mere two hours later.
Dinner was good. Very good. The service was fabulous. I have never had someone switch out napkins so the napkin would match my pants, but they think of everything at this place. Crumbs were promptly scrapped away, drinks were refilled timely. The atmosphere was that of sophistication and elegance. And we were able, hang on to your hats folks, TALK! We had two whole hours of conversation! And we actually talked about things other than poop, and teething, and preschool choices.

Back to the room for an uninterrupted viewing of Marley and Me. How fun is it to watch a whole movie without taking someone to the potty?

A night of quiet, uninterrupted sleep, except of course the many trips to the bathroom one has to make while pregnant.

The next morning the breakfast was, if possible, even better than dinner. A breathtaking view of the falls and mountains, gorgeous blue sky, which no one from western Washington ever takes for granted, and a rainbow to tie it all together. I cant say enough about the food, sure I may be biased due to the fact I would eat a horse if I could fit it in my stomach, but seriously the food, good. And the service, man everyone was so nice, and helpful, and not snooty at all.

Oh, I forgot to mention the magical part of the place. It was the tiny little silverware which made me feel like a giant, and the giant spa chairs that made me feel like a tiny kid. Not too many places make you think you may have dropped into some sort of Alice and Wonderland. Can you tell I don't frequent sophisticated venues all that often? I think I may have given myself away as some sort of hill billy.

Okay, last but not least, the couples fireside massage. Cool, but would have been just as good if I were by myself, no offence husband. It was everything you could want in a massage. Plus, they even had a table with a big belly cut out so I could lay on my stomach. This of course did little to ease my breathing panic issues, but I was able to mostly relax after the first 20 minutes of debating whether or not to jump up and run out.

So, night away without the kids, priceless.

And a big shout out to Deb who watched the kids, and the dog, who incidentally ran away (the dog, not the kids), and had to be chased down by car, and lured home with treats. Ellie, it is a good thing we picked Marley and Me, you have a little extra grace because of a sentimental movie. Dont push your luck though.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Aiden builds and builds and builds

Aiden has been building barricades for a long time now. I am so annoyed by it, I cant remember when he started.

He blocks off all entrance and exits, he makes it impossible to get to the bathroom without climbing, moving, or stubbing your toe on something. He does it quietly, and swiftly and then proudly announces "look mom".

I have spanked, sent him to his room, yelled, and almost cried for him to stop. All this to no avail.

I have worried that I am stifling some sort of career. Fortress maker?

I don't know what to do about it, but I really really hate being barricaded to different parts of my house.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Are you sure your not having twins?

Is there really ever a time that is appropriate to tell someone, "gosh you are really big"? No, no there is not. And some people think that when one is pregnant it is free reign to comment on appearance. I am pretty sure no one ever wants to be told they look really big. And if a person is big, or bigger than they normally are, they know it. Trust me, you informing them of their additional size is not enlightening them to something totally new.

I think the most dangerous time to comment on someones size is when they are pregnant. There are many more hormones racing around a very tired, overwhelmed, and exhausted body. Especially, when one has gone to much trouble to shower, and appear presentable all whilst wrangling two other small children who are hell bent on making sure their mother never looks like she has seen a hair brush or makeup.

Let me give you some advise, only say things like: You look wonderful. You are so tiny! You look amazing. OR novel idea, say nothing at all - haven't you people ever heard "if you don't have something nice to say, then don't say anything at all". PLEASE. Yes, I am oversensitive, I am pregnant with my THIRD child. I do on some level understand that these comments are not intended to hurt my feelings, and the person offering them is only trying to make a keen observation. But lets talk about the weather instead.

Okay, I am done with my rant. For now.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It Was Just Odd

This happened awhile ago, but I still think about it almost every time I take exit 20 off 405 south. The same homeless man is almost always standing on the corner of the off ramp at the light. He usually has a sign that says "Homeless and Hungry".

I generally am very skeptical of these people. I think, go get a job, do something besides take advantage of people. I am also confronted with my own fears of ending up like him. I don't think that much actually separates our lives. I am plagued with guilt for not sharing what I have.

My mom gives these people stuff all the time. Never money though. She will hand a half eaten granola bar out the window and they are so appreciative.

I on the other hand deliberated about what I could share for weeks before our next meeting. I finally settled on a big box of Costco crackers. I was nervous as I rolled down my window. He walked up hopefully and I hoisted up my treasure. Surely he had never seen such generosity! His smile quickly turned to a frown. "I cant take that, it is too big" "I could never eat all that."
WHAT? the sign says HUNGRY!! I say, "Oh, well just take one of the little packages then." "No, no, no thanks" he says as he turns away disappointed that I wasn't giving him money I guess.

My gift rejected by a homeless man.

I felt really silly, and also a little vindicated. I don't think this was a good thing to happen to me. Now I have to work twice as hard on my compassion.

Just weird that I couldnt give a hungry man a cracker. Weird.

Friday, April 17, 2009

For Better Or Worse

Some kind person sent this to me anonymously - Uncle Ken :)
I actually tell Aiden something very close to this when I am getting ready. So far, he hasnt been whitty enough to come up with the same response, but I am sure it is in the works.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Nolen had three bad days where the pavement clearly won the fight. He fell and knocked his forehead, then he fell and bruised his cheek, which turned into a pretty green/black eye eventually, and then he fell again and hit the same spot from two days earlier.

I dont know whether it is good or bad that he keeps going right back to the seen of the crime. Is it persistence or stupidity?

Either way, I felt like I had to tell everyone we saw I wasn't beating him.

Poor guy.

Easter 2009

It is all fun and games until someone gets a plastic easter egg stuck in their mouth. Nolen perfected the art of trying to choke on half a plastic egg. Needless to say we only had one day of egg hunting, now they are back in the garage in storage.

To Sleep or NOT to Sleep

As we approach the looming date of adding another baby to the family one thing dominates many of my thoughts. Sleep. More specifically, how do I maximize the amount of sleep I can get?

We put the boys back in the same room. Nolen's room gets really hot in the summer, and he wakes up when the garage door opens/closes, and when the garbage trucks come. So back in with Aiden. We also relocated Ellie to their room. She drives me crazy being in our room. She wakes me up at least two times a night. Aiden gets up to pee once a night, and Nolen usually looses his pacifier once every night. These are just the "normal" things that wake us up every night.

So, no more pacifier for Nolen. Hopefully he will learn to sleep better without it.
No more Ellie in our room (the boys seem to be sleeping through her rituals) waking up to shake, turn 3 times, lick herself, etc...
Aiden is starting to sleep through the night better, when he doesn't fall out of bed or need to pee.

Last night we had one of the "abnormal" things wake us at 1am. A fire alarm battery needing to be changed. The biggest annoyance aside from being woke up, is that you have to determine which alarm needs the battery. So me upstairs in the hallway, Steve downstairs rummaging for batteries, we wait for the next chirp.

Why do they always need to be changed at night? Or is it just ours sabotaging our sleep?

Anyway, we have 8 more weeks to work on maximizing our sleep situation before Schwark baby #3 arrives and wakes us up every two hours.....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Babies to Little Kids

Little Kids
Babies (Aiden is in Red, Claudia is next to him in the overalls, and Morgan is directly across from Claudia)

I guess I can call them little kids now. I dont feel like they are toddlers anymore, but kids seems too old. Here are Aiden and his long time friends Morgan and Claudia.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Shout Out to My Hubby



Steve revamped our laundry room! And it looks so nice. And it is much more user friendly. Here is what he did:
Added pedestals to the washer/dryer
Moved washer/dryer
Moved wire shelving
Added cabinet
Installed new lighting
Added a short persons coat hanger

Thank you husband! It looks so wonderful!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jesus Is Risen!

I am always looking for new ideas to incorporate into our family traditions. What does your family do to celebrate Easter and the resurrection?

Schwark Family Resurrection Week Celebration

Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter)

This is the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey colt. The people lined the way, waving palm branches and crying, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!

Waving palm branches was a Roman custom that was used to welcome a ruler or king. The significance of the Palm branch lies in the fact that the people were welcoming Jesus as they would a new political leader. Jesus' message to them was symbolized in the animal that he rode. A ruler would have been riding on a horse. Jesus chose to come in a humble way. His attitude is summed up in Philippians 2: 5-8 (NIV):

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in the appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross."

Decorate the table for lunch or dinner using real or artificial palm branches. Children might enjoy making the palm branches out of green construction paper.

Instead of placing the food on the table, leave it in the kitchen. After prayer, take turns serving each other the food. Even small children enjoy having mom or dad help them serve another member of the family. Talk about what it means to serve others. When we do we are serving Jesus.

After dinner you might talk more about a servants role and how humbling it was to have the job of washing the people's feet. Take turns washing each other's feet. (Mom be prepared, this could get a little messy! Have lots of towels ready!)

Supplies Check list:

Green construction Paper


Jesus went to the temple to worship God. There he saw something that upset Him very much. He saw men using God's house as a place to sell animals for the sacrifices. They were exchanging money from foreign places into money that could be used to buy the sacrifices. These men knew that the people coming there needed animals for their sacrifices. They were taking advantage of this situation by having the animals right there in the temple courtyard for people to buy. They were making money off of the sacrifices.

Jesus became very angry and said, It is written, 'My house will be called a house of prayer.' but you have made it a den of thieves. Jesus made a whip and drove out the vendors and their animals. He overturned their stalls and buckets of money.

Talk about how Jesus wanted God's house to be a house of prayer, not a house of chaos. Talk about what is the proper behavior and attitude that pleases God when we worship Him. What is prayer? Is church the only place where we can pray?

Discuss the verses in

I Cor 3:16: Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?,

I Cor 6:18: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

2 Cor 6:16: What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."[

Our bodies are a temple, too, because Christ dwells within us. What are some ways that we might treat our bodies that are not pleasing to the Lord? What are some ways that we use our bodies to glorify God?

Activitiy: Buy New Outfits for Passover Dinner and Easter Sunday Service

Every day Jesus came to teach at the temple.

One of the teachers of the law asked Jesus, Of all the commandments which one is the most important?

Jesus replied, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.


Share your love for God with a neighbor by taking an Easter Lily to them. The Easter Lily is a symbol of purity and light. Jesus came as our pure sacrifice and as a light in the darkness.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Easter Basket

Jelly Beans (black, red, white, yellow and green)

Easter Lily

At the Home of Mary and Martha: John 12:1-3
Family Devotions: Martha and Mary were friends of Jesus. Their brother Lazarus was the man that Jesus raised from the dead. They wanted to give Jesus a special dinner to celebrate and give thanks. The dinner was held at the home of Simon, a leper that Jesus had healed. This was a night for celebration. Lazarus was alive! Simon was healed! What the guests did not realize was that in just a few short days Jesus would die.

The story tells about one woman who gave of the best that she had.

John 12:1-3

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Light a fragrance candle or incense. Talk about our lives being a sweet fragrance and sacrifice for God. Pray asking God to help your family to always give your best to Him.

Dye hard boiled eggs (use as table decorations for Passover)

black : Stands for the darkness of our lives before Jesus when we were still in sin

red: Stands for Jesus shed blood

white: Stands for our sins that are washed away

yellow: Stands for streets of gold in heaven

green: Stands for growing in Jesus

Easter Egg Origins
Eggs are often identified with Easter. Long a symbol of fertility and immortality, the egg reminds Christians of the rock tomb from which Christ arose.

In medieval times, eggs were traditionally given to all servants at Easter. It is said that King Edward I of England (1307) distributed 450 boiled Easter eggs, dyed or covered with gold leaf, to members of the royal household.

Today, in most countries the eggs are stained with plain vegetable-dye colors. The Syrian and Greek faithful present each other with crimson eggs in honor of the blood of Christ. Ukrainians create intricate designs with checkerboard and rhombi patterns, dots, wavy lines, and intersecting ribbons. Blessed by the priest at Easter, the artistically-rendered eggs become symbolic heirlooms.

In Austria, artists design striking patterns by fastening ferns and tiny plants around the eggs, leaving a white pattern after the eggs are boiled. Common symbols in the designs include the sun (good fortune), rooster or hen (fulfillment of wishes), stag or deer (good health), and flowers (love and charity).

Egg-specking is a sport all over Europe. Eggs are rolled against each other on the lawn or down a hill. The egg that remains uncracked is the winner. In Washington, D.C., there is an annual celebration of egg rolling on the White House lawn on Easter Monday.

Shop for Passover Meal and Resurrection Cookie Ingredients:
Matzah Bread

Crown Roast Lamb

Green Salad



The Last Supper was held at Passover.

Serve Unleavened bread: This symbolizes the Bread the the Israelites took with them from Egypt. In their haste, they did not have time to let it rise. The bread that Jesus broke at the Last Supper was without yeast or unleavened. Yeast stands for sin. Jesus said the bread represents his body. He was without sin. His body was broken for us.

Serve Lamb: The Lamb was killed so that the blood could mark the doorposts of the houses of the Israelites. When the angel of death saw the blood on the doorpost he would pass over that house and not kill the first born child. Jesus is our Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Serve Sweet peaches and honey: as a symbol of hope. Jesus is the hope of the world. He is sweeter than the honey in the honeycomb.

Serve Grape Juice and red wine. Jesus said this cup was a sign of his shed blood for us on the cross. Whenever we drink it, we should drink it in remembrance of Him.

Green Salad: as a symbol of new life. The green reminds us of the new life we have in him.

Read the story of Jesus betrayal and crucifixion. Discuss why Jesus was willing to die for our sins. Talk about accepting Jesus as your Savior from sin. If your child is old enough to understand, give him an opportunity to receive Jesus as Savior.

Hold a Festival Of Light service in the evening.

Materials Needed:

Large Candle
Small individual candles for each person

Play the Old Rugged Cross, then recite the following reading

The Large Candle should be lit and the lights in the room lowered.

Parents should read part 1. Children who are able should read Part 2.

1: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light

2: On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.*

1: Long before Jesus was born, God spoke to His people through the prophet Isaiah. He said,

2: "Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

1: See the darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and His glory appears over you.

2: Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

1: Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm, Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy.

2: All will come proclaiming the praise of the LORD!

1: Then you will know that I the LORD am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

2: No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.

1: The sun will no more be your light by day, nor the brightness of the moon shine on you.

2: For the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

1: Before Jesus died, he told his disciples, I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

2: Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

1: Jesus died to overcome the darkness of sin and arose that we might have His light within us. (Light your candle from the bigger candle)

2: We are to share His light with others. (Each person lights their candle, first from the leader then lighting the candle of the person beside him. Passing the light along.)

1: You are the light of the world

2: Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

1: Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

2: Help me Lord to share your light with others.

1: For a city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.

2: Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.

1: We ought to share His light with others. (Close by singing "This Little Light of Mine", or "Shine Jesus Shine" and then have prayer for those you know who need to have His light shine into their hearts.)

(Scripture references used: Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:16, Isaiah 60, Matthew5:14, 5:16, John 8:12, 12:46, Matthew 5:14, John 8:12.NIV)

Saturday: Resurrection Cookies: teach your Children the REAL story of Easter. That the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior is not dead but has Risen. We serve a Risen Savior.

You will need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
1 cup sugar
a zipper baggy
1 wooden spoon
scotch tape

These are to be made the evening before Easter. Preheat oven to 300F.
*** (this is very important --- don't wait until you are half done with the recipe).
Place pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon
to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested. He
was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar
to drink. Read: John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life
to give us life. Read: John 10:10&11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest
into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers,
and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the
sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to
know and belong to Him. Read: Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins
have been cleansed by Jesus. Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read: Matthew 27:57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.
Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read: John 16:20&22

Greet everyone with “He Is Risen!”

Open up Resurrection Cookies: Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.

Read: Matthew 28:1-9

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Attend Church

Easter egg hunt

Friday, March 27, 2009

What is in a name?

For our first child I set about choosing a name as soon as we had our first ultrasound picture (like 6weeks pregnant). I bought my 50,001 baby names book and started with A, I read all the way through to Z, probably within hours of purchasing the book. The plan (my plan) was for Steve and I to both go through the book, write down our favorites, and then compare. Steve had made it to C after 3 weeks. I could wait no longer and we compared lists. We both picked Aiden for a boy. Whoopie. We had a name. Second baby, broke out the book, did not bother asking Steve to research. Gave him my list and we picked Nolen. Now we are onto the third baby and approaching 30 weeks and I do not have a name picked out.

The only critera is:
needs to end in "en" (Steven, Kristen, Aiden, Nolen etc...)
I dont want it to rhyme with any of our names

We need both boy and girl names as we dont know the gender

Here is what I have so far:
Boys - Teagen, Graysen
Girls- Kellen, Brecken

So, if you are inclined to share, let me know your ideas for baby names. I make no promises to use them, and I dont really want your opinion of names that I like ;)


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Liberty Lake in the Spring

We ventured over the pass to visit Grandma and Grandpa Schneider and Uncle Chris for a long weekend. The boys were great as they are well trained tv zombies and the dvd kept them pacified pretty much the whole car trip.

Grandma and Grandpa took us to Chucky Cheese Friday when we arrived. Aiden had fun with all the games and Nolen enjoyed watching the giant mouse sing and dance. Aiden did climb up a maze/slide thing and get scared and stuck. Steve was able to rescue him before too long, and I am sure a few visits to the therapist will fix him right up. We also celebrated Uncle Chris's 17th birthday. Aiden was jealous of all his gifts since they both share a love for Sponge Bob.

I got to shop with my mom without anyone asking for a snack or crying to get out of the stroller. I actually had enough time to decide on a pair of new shoes for myself. And I talked my mom into a gorgeous pair of boots that I couldnt fit my fat little calves into.

Steve got to do some virtual golfing with Grandpa and then he spent the rest of the weekend watching the boys so I could run around with my mom. What a guy. He had to entertain them indoors as Spokane didnt have any less rain than Seattle.

The trip back was slow as the pass was traction tires advised. Lots of sleet and yucky rain. But thanks to Steves capable driving we made it back safely.

Thanks for all the fun Grandma and Grandpa! Oops, I didnt even take one picture!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday with Five

Aiden and Nolen and I were blessed to have an additional three boys come over yesterday. I went from being a person who NEVER wanted kids, to entertaining 5 of them all at once. I do have to point out that my friend Kristen was there for the bulk of it, but I did spend a good two hours alone and at the mercy of 5 high energy, very creative, but very well behaved, awesome little men.

Nolen was thrilled to play steal the pacifier with Ben all afternoon. Ben had fun getting close to Ellie. And the three older boys played chase and shoot with their new McDonald's toys.

No one got hurt, everyone ate some food, and they had fun. Quite successful if I do say so myself.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Isnt It Beautiful

I am considering re-arranging my laundry room. Right now it is small, in the way, dark, and my washer dryer are front loading without pedestals. This creates a problem for my pregnant self as it is difficult loading and unloading. I know, poor me.

Of course this dream laundry room is the size of my kitchen. Humm, maybe I could get rid of my kitchen and move the laundry room. After all I don't cook, but I am a laundry queen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Can You Understand Your Children?

I have been so enjoying Aidens blosseming imagination. I think I reveal in it because I myself have no imagination. I dont recall ever having any imaginary friends. In sixth grade I tried to conjure up a fairy to be friends with, but it didnt last long.

I was afraid Aiden would lack creativity like myself since all his stuffed animal friends names have always been, horse is horse, dog is dog, etc.

But to my pleasant surprise we had a breakthrough in the creative naming department. He has been desperately wanting a kitten (dont anyone dare send us a kitten). I asked him what color kitten he wanted and he said orange, and I asked what he would name a kitten if he could have one and he said "bunny". I love it.

Last week Aiden started having imginary puppy friends. He carries them all over and takes them with us where ever we go. I love these puppies because I dont ever have to carry them. He also has little baby frogs to take care of. And two days ago he introduced me to his friend "gwary". She is a girl wearing a blue shirt. They have been playing together in his "real" friends absense. Today, I discoverd her name is not "gwary", but "gary". As in Sponge Bobs pet snail gary. But gary is still a girl wearing a blue shirt. Aiden was getting rather anoyed at me for not pronouncing his new friends name correctly and spent this afternoon correcting me. Thank goodness we got that figured out!