Monday, December 29, 2008

Scenes of Christmas

Photo Shoot:


Christmas Morning:

And Christmas Day:

Fun times!


A simply wonderful day.

Sometimes simple things become so un-simple with the addition of children. Take for instance, today. My day today is probably one that, for many people, is very normal. I got up, showered, dressed, straightened the house, and headed out the door to run errands.

By myself.

After running errands, I met this friend for lunch. A beautifully peaceful lunch.

By ourselves.

And now here I sit in Panera, enjoying free WIFI for the first time ever.

By myself.

My laptop has actually seen life outside the walls of my house. I cannot tell you how cool I am feeling right now! Sad? Maybe. But I'm okay with that!

Because like I said, there are just some things, some simple things, that aren't so simple with children in tow.

Right now I'm really wishing I could bottle this feeling of relaxation and contentment, so that it will last through the next two weeks.

Because this time next week I'll be at Disney World with the fam.

And as magical a place I'm sure it will be...I'm pretty sure it won't be as magical as this moment right now. :)

This magical moment was made possible by Grammie. Thank you Grammie! This is the best Christmas present you could ever give me!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day gifts

Several years ago my grandma started a tradition for her grandkids. In the week leading up to Christmas she gave us all a small gift each day. Just a fun tradition that we looked forward to every year! My mom has carried on the tradition with my kids, and they love it!


Sunday, December 21, 2008


I love a good tradition. Some of my favorites are Christmas traditions, of which my family has many. They may not be the same as many families, but that's okay, that's the great thing about a family tradition, it's personal. For instance, one of my very favorite traditions comes the day after Christmas.

We go Shopping! It started with my Mom, Aunt, and Grandma, and sometimes my Uncle. I'm not sure exactly when I started to join them, but at some point I did. Then came my cousins, Lauren and Lane, whom I adore! :) When Jason and I got married, he joined in the fun too. He surprised me by wanting to go. For a few years that's how it stayed. A Suburban full of people, shopping bags, and a couple of boxes of treats to keep us going. We stock up on wrapping paper and decorations, and even buy each other birthday gifts for the coming year. Good good times! Now with three kids underfoot, it gets a little tricky. However, I still go, at least for a little while. I just have to!

Another thing I love is making New traditions. Traditions that start with me and my little family. One we've begun is Christmas morning at home. That is one that many people take for granted, but not me. Growing up we had many places to be on Christmas day. We would often travel to 2 or 3 different houses, for different "Christmases." That was fun in itself. I mean, what kid doesn't love getting gifts all day long! But I was an only child, and after we had Annie, I realized that hauling my family around isn't so easy! I craved time at home with my babies. Time to watch them tear into gifts with their jammies still on. And so, a new tradition was born! Now we spend the morning at home, and then go do a "big" Christmas with the rest of our families. Perfect.

And just today, I do believe we started another new tradition in our home...Donut Making!

Mmmm...can you smell them? They smell divine!

My wonderful husband, turned chef lately, got himself a fancy new deep fryer a couple of weeks ago, and he's been dying to try his hand at donuts. So this afternoon, after Austin went down for a nap (Because Austin + Hot oil = Imminent Disaster! :) Daddy and the girls made some Donuts!

Folks, I do believe this is a tradition that will stick! They are YUMMY! Thanks my love, for being such a great chef! And for your patience with your "helpers."

Next we're having the nieces over for a donut making night! They've been asking when they can come make donuts with Uncle JJ. And after tasting those delightful things, I'd say they can come make some very Very soon! Because I don't think this batch will last long!

Friday, December 19, 2008

She cracks me up.

We only had a dusting of snow today, but Ellie was determined to make a snowman anyway! :-)


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas at the Studio!

Ellie danced in the Christmas dance show that her dance studio put on this year. She did a great job!

Here's the girls listening to instructions from Miss Jill. Olivia and Elaina danced too!

Here's Ellie dancing!

Ellie's clogging class! She loves it and having her cousins in it with her makes it extra special!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Parade!

We love the Adoration parade that our sweet town puts on every year!

This year it was pretty cold, but we braved it with layers of clothes and blankets!

The parade route this year started right in front of Nana and Papa's house, so we gathered early for dinner and then settled onto the front yard! Perfect!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What was I thinking?

Sometimes I lack good judgement. Like yesterday, for instance. When I KNEW were trying to cram too much into one day, and yet, I tried it anyway.

It was just one of THOSE days. The day when everything that CAN go wrong, did go wrong. Including...a disappointing "Breakfast with Santa", car troubles, fighting children, potty accidents, a grumpy mommy, an unexpected 2 1/2 hour wait to see Santa, and a trip to a local theme park on what I'm sure was their highest attendance day of the entire year.


The night ended with me and Jason fighting it out over "whose fault it was". Seriously.

With sleep comes perspective. I woke up, tired from the crazy of yesterday, but with a realization that some days, it just doesn't work. It doesn't necessarily mean it was someones fault. It just didn't work yesterday.

Austin woke up raring to go this morning, at his normal 7:30am time, despite his 11pm bedtime. For the sake of the girls, I snatched him out of bed before he could wake them up, and took him to Wal-Mart. He and I finished my Christmas shopping while daddy and the girls slept in.

See, I'm nice.

And then this afternoon, Jason took the girls to a movie, so Austin and I could sleep.

He's nice too.

Perspective. And a nap.

It's working today.

And I apologize to Janelle, and Michelle, for my bad attitude last night. I'm sorry I was in a bad mood, and I hope I didn't ruin your evenings. Next time we plan something like that, I'll schedule a "light" day for myself. So that I can have a good time too!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Serious work

I sure do love these intense ginger bread house makers.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My little helpers

They are so helpful...

and silly! :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just like Daddy

They see the 4-Wheelers at Bass Pro, and within seconds...

Just like daddy. :-)


It's a good thing she's only four years old...

My sweet Annie Grace has a way about her. A way of making me want to buy her the moon, and even a few stars just for kicks. She's just so sweet. Like when she holds my face in her hands to tell me something. Or like this morning when she woke up a little cranky, but cuddled into me when I picked her warm little body up, and said...Mommy, you're just the best mommy in the world. Mercy she gets to me!

We have had one little challenge lately though. Even though she was potty trained pretty well, oh I don't know, like A YEAR AGO, for the last few months she's regressed. Why? I have no idea. We haven't had any more babies or anything! Anyway, so we've struggled a lot with this, rarely making it through a day with no accidents. We've tried sticker charts, candy, money, name it, to get her motivated. Nothing has stuck. So imagine my excitement when she asked a few weeks ago if she could earn the Barbie Princess Alexa (that would be from Barbie's latest hit movie "Barbie and the Diamond Castle" for all of you who don't have preschool girls) for keeping her panties dry. Never mind the fact that she was already getting Alexa, and her friend Liana, from Santa for Christmas, of course she could earn her!!! Anything that works! I'll find something else Santa can bring.

For two weeks she tried, but didn't make it more than 2 days without an accident. I honestly wasn't holding out much hope that she'd make it by Christmas. However, 5 days ago, something changed. For 5 days she's kept her panties dry!!! I'm praying we have a breakthrough, but also trying not to be too hopeful. SO, this morning I went to Wal*Mart to find something that Santa could bring, since it's looking more and more like she might actually EARN those princesses after all! Oh, and yes, she's now earning BOTH princesses. One the first week, and one the second. I couldn't help myself when she looked at me with her big brown eyes and asked me soooo sweetly if she could pleeeaaase earn both. Well yes, of course, because your mommy's a sucker.

At Wal*Mart I found what I was looking for. The Barbie Diamond Princess Horse and Magical Carriage. And Yes, it is as wonderful as it sounds. :) I knew she'd love it the moment I pushed the button and it played the beautiful theme music I've come to know so well. I bought it, put it in the back of the suburban, and went to pick her up at preschool.

After preschool we ran a couple of errands, picked up Austin from daddy, and headed home. After we pulled into the garage, I took a moment to shuffle through the mail before unloading everyone. Annie unbuckled, and talked to me for a minute, before climbing into the back to play. I, of course, had completely forgotten by then that Santa's big gift to her was back there. That is until I heard...Mommy! What did you buy me!!!

Oh crap.

My mind raced. What do I say? What do I do? I stuttered for a second, saying something like, Oh honey, you weren't supposed to see that...Then it came to me! And I said, You know how we sometimes buy toys for other kids who don't have much? Well, see, Mommy was thinking this would be nice for a kid like that. And all of that is true. We do buy gifts for other kids, and it would be a nice gift for any child. Right? Okay, so I feel slightly guilty since I don't actually plan on giving it away, but what's a mommy to do? And it worked. She said, Oh, okay. But mommy, can you get ME one? One JUST LIKE THIS. PLEEEAASE!!! I said I'd think about it. :) And then I said, Maybe you can ask Santa for it! And she said, YES! That is what I'll do!


And it works out well, because she honestly couldn't think of anything to ask Santa for when she gets to see him this weekend. And now I'll be returning to Wal*Mart and buying a couple of barbies for kids who don't have much so I don't feel so guilty. And her utter belief in Santa is still in tact. I'm just grateful that she's only four, and she still believes every word I say. Otherwise I'd have had to give her that, AND find something else from Santa! Which, in four year old girl world, is like getting the Moon, the Stars, AND the Sun.

Even I draw the line at the sun.

At least until the next time she tells me how wonderful I am.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Who doesn't want a shiny pair of staples for Christmas?

We all know it was just a matter of time.

And today was the day.

Austin is sporting a new "look". Two shiny staples in the back of his head. I'd take a picture, but it would be blurry. He won't hold still for more than half a second.

This morning he woke up, ready to take on the world as usual. His sisters were still sleeping soundly, and I tried to keep him occupied with quiet activities.

Yeah, right.

Eventually he broke away from me, and ran into the living room. He quickly began making as much racket as possible by throwing toys at the wall. He knew. I know he knew what he was doing. The sly grin, the glances towards his sisters room. He wanted them up. I grabbed for him as he went to throw a toy. I caught his arm in mid-throw. I was unprepared though, for the recoil effect. He flew backwards, and slammed his head on the coffee table.

I held him as I always do. He cried, he screamed. This is a scene that repeats itself daily. He gets hurt, I cuddle him, he's fine. Only today, not so much. Today there was blood. As I examined his head, the realization sunk in...We're going to the hospital.

It isn't too bad, but did require two shiny staples. The worst part for him was the board thingy, a papoose they called it, that they strapped him down with. I, however, considered for just a moment asking where I could get one. :) It was over quickly, and for that I am very grateful. He's just now waking up from a 4 hour nap. I hear him talking and playing. He's just fine.

A new experience. One that I knew was coming. With his adventurous spirit, it was just a matter of time. I just wonder...what's next?!

Monday, December 1, 2008


So much to be thankful for...

This year we celebrated at Dean and Denise's home. Good food, fun times! A couple of favorite memories are teaching the girls how to read the sale ads, and seeing them have fun making wish lists!

And this picture makes me crack up! My sweet husband couldn't keep his eyes open for a picture, so this is him trying not to close his eyes...

Too funny. Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

I am Thankful for...

As we wrap up this Thanksgiving weekend, and head into the wonderful world of Christmas, I thought I'd share some of the smaller things I am thankful for right now. Of course I'm thankful for the bigger things...My family, my friends, my health, my wonderful God...I am SO thankful for all of that. But there are small things too, simple things, that are making me happy right now...

My new coffee pot! The not-so-old one bit the dust a couple of weeks ago. I found one I wanted, but thought it was too pricey, and decided to wait. One week later my sweet husband surprised me with it!

My Christmas Decorations! I am loving our single large Christmas tree this year. I went with just one big tree (we usually have 2 or 3) because I didn't want to spend the entire month of December picking up broken ornaments my son flung across the room. Jason, Ellie and I made paper garlands for the big tree this year. They turned out SO cute! Seriously, that tree looks adorable. The girls have smaller trees in their rooms as usual, but Austin...yeah, not so much. Since I'm 99% sure he'd destroy a tree in his room, we skipped that this year. Instead I hung a garland above his window, and hung his ornaments from that. So far he hasn't reached it. :)

Speaking of decorations...they're done! I am so thankful for that! I had pulled everything out three weeks ago thinking...I'll get it up fast, and get this mess put away...or not. Instead the mess took over several rooms while we battled colds and injuries. When I finished a week ago, I wanted to shout AMEN!

I am thankful for yesterday morning. Yesterday morning my girls played nicely together for 3 hours. I don't think that has ever happened. They fight, a lot, and it's hard for me to understand. I'm an only child. Anyway, yesterday morning they really enjoyed each other, and that just made me so happy. Little victories.

Snow! I woke up this morning to snow flurries! There's just something about a little snow to make you REALLY ready for Christmas!

And last but not least...Being caught up! My mom kept the girls last night, and between that little break, and a couple of mornings at home, I have caught up on things. Things like laundry, dishes, and Sleep!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Blessings from my home to yours!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The NEXT day...

So my last post...

Why do I do that? Write about something great? I mean, can anyone say TEMPT FATE? Not that I really believe in fate, but still.

Let's pick up where I left off...

Had a fantastic shopping trip with Annie and Austin, feeling really good.


I told my sweet crippled husband (somethings wrong with his knee, going to get an MRI tomorrow) that I would take Austin and run errands while Annie was at preschool. K-mart and the DMV were my errands. He said..."Are you sure you want to take Austin to the DMV?" And I said..."Oh it'll be FINE. Really!"


We did K-Mart first. I'm not usually a K-Mart shopper, but it's next to the DMV, and seemed like a logical choice. It took awhile to get through my short list. Austin was, well, let's just say NOT as cooperative as he had been the day before. Still, we made it, finally, and went on to the DMV.

I was thrilled to see only ONE lady in line. As I waited for 10 minutes behind her, a few people lined up behind me. While I waited, I held my 30 pound boy, and tried to entertain him.

Why didn't I use the stroller?

He's mastered the art of climbing out of it in 3 seconds flat. That's why.

We played high fives, Where's mommies nose, Ouch you're hurting mommies nose, Re-do mommies hair, and Squirm like crazy.

Finally it was my turn at the counter. People, I was SO ready. I had all my papers organized, checkbook ready, we are talking organization at it's finest! Really, I thought she might even compliment me on my incredible organizational skills. But no, the DMV girl was distracted by her Supervisor, who interrupted her and told her that THIS lady (that would be me) would have to wait, because SHE needed the DMV girl to stamp and sign THESE papers for another person who was waiting. The Supervisor then proceeded to place a stack of papers 3" THICK in front of the DMV girl. I don't blame DMV girl, she obviously had no choice, but the Supervisor? She just STOOD there, and watched DMV girl, as I waited. For 10 more minutes.

In those 10 minutes Austin played some more games. Like...Pull things out of mommies purse and throw them across the room, Watch mommy run and grab things and get back in line, REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT. Seriously, it was awful. I glared at the supervisor lady, as much as I could between dashes across the room. I looked around the room. No one else had a child. No one.

Now, I don't think I am any more important that anyone else. HOWEVER. Why? Why did this lady choose to make ME wait? I mean, the ONLY person with a child. And not just any child, but a child who was obviously in a bit of a STATE! Needless to say, I was a bit frustrated, and still am.

After those 10 minutes it took DMV girl another 10 minutes to get through my stuff. Even with my great organization. During that 10 minutes I put Austin on my shoulders to contain him, sorta. He pulled my hair out of my ponytail, so that by the time I left, I looked like some poor crazed lady. Actually, that's how I felt!

I made it back to my car, ready to sit down and bang my head on something. As I tried to balance Austin, my purse, and the paperwork and license plates (note to self, that's where the stroller would have come in handy) I couldn't find my keys. I knew they were in the depths of my purse, but try as I might, I couldn't find them. Just as I was about to go insane, I heard a sweet voice say..."Ma'am, Can I help you?" I turned to see a friend, who hadn't realized it was me. OH! We both said, and laughed. She took Austin, just as I dropped all the stuff on the ground. I told her the story, and explained why I looked like I was going to Crazy Hair Day. She smiled and laughed and lamented with me. Then she told me she almost hadn't said somthing. You know, you want to help, but what will someone think? However, her Bible Study had been on random acts of kindness that week. So she did. And what a blessing she was!

So there it is...the NEXT day! I said I knew it wasn't a turning point...who knew how right I was?! I had to share though, because that is my life. The good and the bad! With one VERY active boy!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Soccer girl!

Annie had a great time playing soccer this fall!

Tiny but mighty! :)

With friends William and Houston.

Thanks Coach Skip for a great season!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Little victories.

I'm just about back to normal. Which, of course, is a relative term.

I can hold a thought in my head for more than 10 seconds. I can make it through a day without a medicine cabinet full of drugs. My energy is almost all back. I'm feeling pretty good, which feels Great!

I felt good enough this morning to venture out to a shoe store with my two younger kids. Austin (we think) tossed one of his shoes out the window of our truck one day last week. We've looked around, and so far, no shoe. Since he only has 2 pair of shoes that fit, and at least one of those is usually dirty or wet (from dunking it in the dog's water bowl), I decided to find a replacement for his pair that's now missing a shoe.

The last time we ventured into this shoe store, I thought I was going to lose my mind. Austin was wild and crazy and quite loud, and I thought the sales lady was going to burn right through me with her angry stares. That was a couple of months ago, and while he's still far from an easy child, he has calmed down...a bit. So this morning I was hopeful that things might go a smidge better.

We were in the store for all of 3 minutes when he climbed out of his stroller. Oh no, I thought, here we go. He ran to the play table that Annie was at, and started to play with her. Well, maybe that will keep him occupied for a minute, but I doubt it. I quickly scanned the boxes for size 7 1/2 wide shoes. After a couple of minutes, they were still playing nicely. Um...okay, that's new. Since they were doing okay, and Austin wasn't running down the isles pulling boxes down yet, I took another few minutes to look more thoroughly. Soon I had a few pairs for him to try on. Here we go, now he's going to throw a fit because he doesn't want to stop playing. I sat on the floor, and pulled him into my lap. "SHOE!" He said, and grabbed the box from my hands. He played with the boxes while we tried on two pairs of shoes. When the second one was perfect, I let him up to walk around. He stomped his feet a couple of times, and then went right back to the play table. Wow! Really? It was that easy? He played nicely as I put the other shoes back, and we checked out and left the store as clean as it was when we arrived. The sales lady was super sweet as we walked out and wished me and my "two little helpers" a very nice day.

I am still amazed. We had a successful, easy, and happy shopping trip, with Austin!!! Miracles! Have we turned a corner, doubtful. Did we have a good day? Yes! My hope is that the hard trips will become fewer and the good trips will increase. Today gave me hope. He is getting easier, little by little. And while I'm still scared to put the Christmas decorations up (what will he do with all of that?!) I am thrilled with the little victory that was today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fun times in First Grade!

Ellie has a fun class this year!


Best friends!

And field trips!

And we love Miss McGhee!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I think I got a faulty contract...

As a mom, you are not supposed to get sick.

At least that's what I think.

The last few days my allergies have taken a turn for the worse, and turned into a full on nasty cold. Now I realize it's just a cold, but still, I feel awful. To make matters worse, Austin has it too, and Ellie came down with it last night. Nights are no fun around here, what with all the coughing and tossing and turning, and yells for ...MOMMY! Yesterday evening, as I was doling out medicine like I was a pharmacist, I just put my head on the kitchen counter and said to Jason...This just sucks. He said, "Yeah. I thought moms weren't supposed to get sick. Isn't that in your contract?"

I wish!

The the thing that frustrates me the most though, is that this morning I wasn't able to go and visit my sweet friend and her two brand new baby boys. OH that makes me mad! I want to hold those sweet tiny babies that we've all been waiting on pins and needles to meet. But I'll wait, because I certainly don't want to get anyone else sick.

I'll just sit here on my couch, and wonder why my contract seems to be invalid.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's that time of year...

Time for pumpkin carving...

Dressing up...

Trick-or-Treating and hanging out with our friends!

Happy Halloween!