Sunday, December 27, 2009

Catching My Breath!!!!

Whew!  So, it's been about 700 days since I posted anything...or at least it feels like it's been that long.  As of my last post, there were many things to be done and the minutes were slipping from my fingers...much like an ornament in Baby Trey's hands.  (We lost about 7 balls from the tree and a "Cookies For Santa" plate so far this Christmas season.  I've become quite adroit at handling a whisk broom, dust pan and paper bag) 

While this season has been filled with a good kind of business, we've had a few tough moments...two people dear to us went to be with Lord, Trey is on his third round of antibiotics this month for a nasty ear infection and someone broke into Jay's car and stole the Wii games he had bought for the kids.  But, we shall not say "Bah Humbug!"...instead, I will share some pictures of the fun we have had!  *And, our fun isn't over yet!  We still have a family luncheon, New Years and a trip to Ohio!*

This picture is from an Ugly Holiday Sweater Party!  How fun is that?

This is the Christmas card picture that I found in the eleventh hour and sent off to Walgreen's!

This is the craft that I finally settled on for Joe's non-Christmas Winter Party at school!
We totally missed the whole blog world "Sharing Christmas" thing, which I really wanted to do, but couldn't squeeze in a post and was not super satisfied with our modified decorating this year due to a mobile baby!  But, here are a few of my favorite things...

Notice the lack of ornaments at the bottom of the tree???

This Santa is about 35 years old and I just think he's super cool.

 Christmas morning!

Where else besides the kitchen do you ride you cool new bike from Uncle Doug and Aunt Jackie?

And, even though he's been sick, sick, sick...Baby Trey has made time to practice carrying things under his chin like his brother's dirty socks.

I hope you all had a merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

By The Numbers...

50 - Christmas cards
25 - Gifts
22 - First graders needing a "winter" craft
10 - dozens of Snickerdoodles
5 - teacher gifts
3- loads of laundry
0 - things on this list that are done.

Ready! Set! Go!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I Think I'm My Daughter's Mother

Since the day all of our children were born, people have asked "Who does he/she look like?  'Cause they sure don't look like you!"  Ouch!  I know I've lost that baby button nose, gotten a little taller and developed a finely crafted hard looking edge, but jeez!  My favorite question is always "Where did they get the blue eyes?"  As they're looking into MY blue eyes...oh well.  Anywho, the earliest picture I have of myself is my preschool picture.  Lo and behold, Bella got her preschool pictures back this week....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A President's Interuption and Some Snoop Dogg

I'm here, Sisters!!!!!!  I'm going to do a combo post of performance and, try to keep up.  I will need some help, though, because the President's speech cut into the performance show and my DVR cut off the last half hour!!! 

Cat Deeley shows off her hidden McGyver talent by showcasing a dress made solely out of crepe paper...of course she rocked it!  And then we get right into the dances without any introduction.  I'm left to figure out the story behind each dance...I'm worried I'll be lost.

Noelle and Ryan are up first with a hip hop routine by Tabby Naps.  I did not need any help figuring this one out.  Super sexy office ditty...and I loved it!  Noelle!!  Who knew???  Though, Ryan's tight pants kept him from "feeling the funk" that Nigel was looking for.  Nigel thought they did have good chemistry.  Mary thought they had it "goin' on" and Adam said they were "smokin'".  Apparently praise comes in slang around this joint.

Ashliegh and Legacy were up next with a Gary Stewart contemporary piece.  It was about angry people in a kicking duel (I'm guessing)  I thought it was soooo intricate and physical.  Awesome!  Nigel thought it was absolutely fantastic.  Mary thought it was "WOW!" , then she started talking about "latching on" and I got lost in memories of nursing babies....Adam thought it was extraordinary and they showed no fear.  Can we talk about Legacy's head stand for a minute????  Holy cow!

Next was Moooolllleeee's solo.  If she was in HSM 1,2 & 3 does she really need this show?  I guess so.  Her solo was good, though I hated her stretch pants painted to look like jeans.  Anyone?

Russell's solo was next.  It was sweet to see how proud his parents are of him. His solo was a krumping strip tease that I thought was going to end with some broken bones.  Pretty cool!

Kathryn and Nathan did a Spencer Lyth Broadway number and I LOVED IT!  Such a cute couple!  And they got the 50's look down perfectly!  Nigel thought they were tremendous but needed more chemistry.  Mary thought they had "NO TROUBLE!" and Adam said they did a great job and Nathan had matured a lot...since last week??

Noelle's solo was was fine, nothing memorable.

Ellenore and Jakob performed a quick step choreographed by Tony and Melanie.  It was quick and steppy, so I guess it was good.  Nigel thought they were very good together.  Mary said "YOU DESERVE THAT TROPHY!" Adam then went into a very complicated partnership diagram to say that they were fantastic.

Ryan's solo!  Really?  Ballroom to a Scorpion song?   Really?  I'd be worried...

Kathryn was up next.  Kathryn's mom apparently comforts herself with plastic surgery when she misses Kathryn.  She misses her a lot.  Kathryn's solo was cute, fine.

Moooolllleee and Russell perform a Mandy Moore lyrical jazz piece.  While their dance was SO GREAT, I couldn't help but get lost in the backseat of a limo with Richard Gere driving away from the hotel in Pretty Woman.  Anybody else?  Just me?  Sweet.  Nigel thought that Mollee had also matured in few short days.  Mary "LOVED THIS PARTNERSHIP!" and Adam thought this was Mollee's coming out party...and he should know.

Nathan's solo...Oh no!  He's crying!  Yikes!  His solo was very spinny and bendy and then he was crying again.  Sympathy votes start now...or do they?

Noelle and Ryan do a smooth waltz by JT & Thomas.  So pretty and smooth (ironic?), it reminded me of water.  Nigel thought they were a prince and princess.  Mary said they were breathtaking and Adam said he knew it was good because he was breathing with them.  And he got a little high in the middle of it.  A little?  Come on.

Ellenore's solo.  So, her parents move all the way from California to New York for her to pursue dance?  That's amazing support!  She's very quirky and cute!

Ashliegh and Legacy's second dance is a Dave Scott hip hop routine...and it was awful.  I was so distracted by the cape!  The cape!  And certainly not enough Legacy worthy tricks.  Nigel didn't feel it.  Mary said it didn't work and Adam thought it wasn't challenging enough.

This is the point where my DVR cut off!!!  So, I missed Legacy, Ashliegh & Jakob's solo dances.  And Nathan & Kathryn's rumba (the judges thought they did well-ish), Ellenore & Jakob's contemporary (goosebumps and standing O) and Mollee and Russell's jive (judges were feelin' it!)

Onto the results!  Cat looks like a bed headed vixen! Meeee-yowww!  The dancers open the show with a Tyce Deorio dirty dancing street gang routine.  Awesome!

Noelle and Kathryn are the bottom 2 girls...and Ryan and Nathan are the bottom 2 guys.  I'm a little indifferent to the girls, but I can't decide on the guys!  Nathan is such a cutie, but Ashliegh might in fact die if Ryan goes home!

That was super cool routine by The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers!  Loved it!

I fast forwarded through the solos...sorry!

Snoop Dogg cracks me up.  I can't decide if I love him or hate him.  If you can say "Go 'head" and "So You Think You Can Dance", you've memorized 75% of his song(?)...but at the same time, it's catchy and had fun dancers.  Remember Hok and that other guy?  And, man!  Those girls can drop it like it's hot!

Anywho...Noelle was sent home.   I think I heard Mollee's heart break.  And Nathan!  Wow!  I was a bit surprised, but he's about 12 years old, so I think he'll be fine.

That's it kids!  Courtney is up next week, but take that with a grain of salt.....

Monday, November 30, 2009

No Mo' NaBloPoMo

Well kids, November has come to a chilly close.  As we get out all the Christmas decorations and have sugar plum dreams, we must say goodbye to National Blog Posting Month.  Courtney has a fine farewell to the challenge over HERE.  I certainly did NOT post something every day....shall we list some other things that I did NOT do every day?  Cook?  Check.  Shower?  Check.  Keep all kids happy all day? Check, check and check.  But, I did blog more than usual, so I'll give myself a small pat on the back.

This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity in our neck of the woods including: Hosting Thanksgiving for 16, hosting a post Thanksgiving dinner,  Jay's 20 year high school reunion (can you believe it?!?), and hanging out with visiting family!  I need a nap just typing all that...The kids have stayed up waaaay past their bedtime for the past week, as have I.  Jay and I are typically night owls, but I'll tell ya...I could use a 10 p.m. bedtime instead of 1 a.m. or later.

Enjoy some pictures of the weekend activities....

We had to flip flop the living room and dining room to have everyone sit together...Baby Trey was none too pleased about the switch and let us know his displeasure ALL DAY.

drink table...

Our wall of thanks....

Oh yeah....a birthday celebration for our soldier fresh out of boot camp!

As everyone left and the kids were barely hanging on by a thread....Bella emerges from the basement like this.  A girl is never too tired to dress for an occasion.

Yeah for a fun date night!!

The semi annual cousin picture...though we're missing 2 cousins because of school and hunting.

See you guys in December!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Out With The Old....

I knew I needed new "gym" shoes when I started working out regularly...that was a year ago.  Plus, I cannot remember when I bought these shoes.  I think I may have moved into our house with them (gasp!) 11 years ago.  I don't know if it was spending the money that deterred me, or maybe it was because I LOVE my old beat up kicks (that's what the kids call them, right?)  They fit like feet gloves, even the shoelaces have a fabric version of muscle memory and tie the same way every time.  But alas, when Gorilla Tape is needed to hold the old deformed rubber together, and water seeps in through the soles (and not because of some newfangled design structure) it's time to retire them.  A different pair tried to replace these a few years ago, but after filling them with my blood (from blisters, not some weird shoe ritual), I decided they were not for me and went back to Old Faithful.

                                                            Goodbye Old...Hello New!!!
Does this mean I have to throw the old ones away? Say no, say no!!!  I could use them for something, right?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!!!

It's pretty well known that I have more than a few pet peeves in life, some more than others.  Right at the top of the list is the use of false time promisesFTP is characterized by statements like "I'm running to the store and I'll be back in 5 minutes."  Really?  Will you?  5 minutes?  I'll time you and bet it takes you longer, pal.  "This will only take a minute."  What in life actually takes one minute?  Not even Minute Rice!!!  And the promise is IN THE NAME!  Ahhhh, but I digress....

This particular rant is brought to you by "Starting statements with a big fat lie".  I can think of three off the top of my head...feel free to add more.  Let's break it down, shall we?

1. "I love her to death..."  When I hear these words uttered, I cringe inwardly and admittedly sometimes outwardly.  The whole statement is first of all, a lie...What does that actually mean?  Does it mean that you love that person sooooo much that they could literally die from being crushed by your out pouring of love?  You loved them to death?  Or does it mean that you love them soooo much that you would die for them?  Either way, I pull the hyperbole card!  Secondly, when starting a sentence with that phrase inevitably means that your going to say something not so nice.  "I love her to death, but she needs to work on her writing skills!"  "I love him to death, but...."  If you really loved someone enough to kill them with affection or throw yourself in front of a train for them, should the natural follow up be an insult?  Hmmmm....

2.  "I'm not trying to be mean..."  If you have to preempt your next statement with an apology, you should probably think twice about what you're going to say.  I would love it if people were honest enough to say something like "I would like to say something nice right now, but I can't because of this glaring fault of yours that I need to point out.  Oh, don't mind the plank in my eye, just focus up here on my forehead.  Hopefully, we're in front of a large group of people who will back up my negative statement with phrases like 'Well, it is kinda true.' and 'It needed to be said.' to help me validate my need to come across as nice and not, in fact, mean.  Why are you crying?"

3. "I'm not trying to be racist or anything..."  Ugh!  This is the worst offender to me.  Really?  You're trying not to be racist?  Well, then let me stop you there and help you not reveal how racist you are.  Stop talking and say nothing negative about another race or culture. Do not incorporate some out dated stereotype in a comedic way to try to prove that "you're not the only one".  Do not mention any minority group that you might be a member of in order to garner the right to insult a different minority group.  Here is an actual conversation Jay had the pleasure of encountering the other day....
Two 8th grade girls that Jay knows were chatting as he walked by and heard: Sue's pretty thick for a Chinese girl.
Jay: Wait, what did you just say?
Girl: Oh, I'm not trying to be racist or anything.  But you know how all Chinese girls are skinny 'cause all they eat is rice.
Jay: Do you even know if Sue is Chinese?
Girl: Yeah.  She told me her grandparents are from Vietnam.
Jay: That's not Chinese.
Girl: Well, whatever...all those "ese's" are the same anyway.
Jay: Look, you're pretty smart right?
Girl: Well, yeah!
Jay: Annnnnd humble?
Girl: What's that mean?
Jay had to walk away lest his brain explode all over the girls or he laugh directly in the girls face.  You don't get gifts handed to you like that every day, people! 

I get it, I get it...with all of these statements, we're merely trying to soften the blow of what is coming next.  But, I think that might be my whole point.  Should we be saying things either directly to the person or behind their back that need to be softened?  So, maybe it's not the statements themselves, but the concept of speaking badly about someone...

If you and I are ever having a conversation and you use one the above "Starting statements with a big fat lie", I promise, I won't get mad or freak out.  It's more of an internal pet peeve thing, if you will.  Unless I know you well enough, then I'm just going to bury you into the ground.  And, if you ever hear me use one of the "SSWABFL", feel free to point it out blatantly.  Publicly even.

Can you think of any other "SSWABFL"?

It should also be noted that other pet peeves I have include: open cabinet doors, mouth breathing, and opening the bathroom door when I'm in the shower....

Better late than never....

For a SYTYCD recap...walk on tall cotton right on over to Crafty P's blog-o-fun!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shhhhh....don't tell!

So this our couch baby.  Isn't he cute?  Actually, he's not a baby anymore...he's 11 years old. (In couch years, that's like 77)  And, if we're being technical, he's not a couch either.  He's a chair and a half.  When Jay and I started to build our furniture family, we didn't know what to expect.  Sure, we would have been happy with an average love seat and sofa set.  But, deep down, I think we were both hoping for something that we could label "special".  Conventional methods just didn't seem to be working in our favor, so we turned to an alternative source.  This End Up turned out to be that successful source, it was rich with pieces just waiting for a good home.  While Jay and I discussed the idea of bringing an over-sized couch and an unheard of chair and a half into our home, we felt encouraged by the sale price, the further discount for choosing a discontinued fabric and if we opened a store credit card....well, who knows when we would've stopped adding to our nest?

The new furniture fit right in!  They became very popular, very quickly.  Good ol' chair and a half has held years worth of friends, family, dogs, crumbs, spills, jumps, tackles and naps.  Sometimes he wouldn't even let pregnant women or elderly folk stand up.

Awww!  See how happy he is cradling Hannah, Liz and Ashley?  If only they knew the truth....

Under his tough exterior, this is what hides beneath....

Look, he's all torn up inside....
This would be a pile of staples that we can only assume are used to hold him together at the seams that fell out as we shook the old chair. 

This showcases his broken support much weight can he continue to bear?

The truth is, probably not too much more.  But, unless we win the lottery or the couch stork pays us a visit, we'll continue to cover him up.  Don't tell....

p.s. In a few months, Liz (in the pic above) will be one of those women that can't get out of the chair!  She's having a baby in June!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sesame Street!

Yes, today the classic show celebrates it's 40th year!  It's hard to think that when I was but a wee one, the show was only in it's first decade!  Yikes!  Thank goodness we've both come a long way!

For a sweet stroll down memory lane, check out Courtney's tribute to the show.  Share a favorite memory!  You know you have one.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How To Ruin Roasted Pumpkin Seeds....Twice

Here is the perfect recipe for ruining 4 pumpkins worth of seeds.  Pay attention to the details...I mean if you mess this up, you may end up with edible roasted seeds.  And who wants that?

Step One: Give the seeds to me.  You're more than a third of the way to the end results.

Step Two: Enlist the help of much younger and inexperienced chefs.  Ones who require a step stool to reach the bowl to stir, will squeal and run away at the sight of slimy seeds, and try to lick the salt off the cookie sheet are preferred.

Step Three:  Use arbitrary amounts of ingredients.  Some melted butter...a splash of Worcester Sauce...plenty of salt. 

Step Four:  Place in a pre-heated to a random degree oven for an undisclosed amount of time, like, "'till they're done". 

Step Five:  At a point no where near the middle of the cooking time, try to flip over the seeds and shake 'em up.  Ignore the ones that fall off the tray into the bottom of the oven.  Those ones will burn away eventually and people will assume you use the oven way more than you do.

Step Six:  Temporarily forget about the seeds in the oven.

Step Seven:  Take out the charred remains and in the hopes that they taste better than they look, try one.  If they taste like burning, you did it perfectly.

In my case...Step Eight:  Throw away the first batch and do the exact same thing to another batch 2 weeks later.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

These Booties Were Made For Walking

Oh, what a journey. At Baby Trey's 3 month "well" visit, his pediatrician thought he was showing signs of low muscle tone. When lifting Trey up, he (Trey, not the doctor) should have been trying to resist by pushing down with his arms. Trey was more like a rag doll being lifted....rag doll may be a little strong, more like a cute Cabbage Patch Doll...Anywho, the doctor did a few more tests with Trey and thought he might be showing signs of having fluid on his brain! Yikes! He recommended that we set an appointment with the Neurology department at Children's Hospital.

Now, normally, we feel like doctors are pretty quick to recommend random referrals (allergists for a few sneezes, ophthalmologists for not being able to read the chart because both eyes were covered, etc.) and thus, we readily ignore such advice. While we weren't overly concerned, it wouldn't be prudent to ignore a neurology referral. Trey could hardly be faking a large head circumference. So we set up the appointment, and as we were expecting...we waited in the aptly named waiting room for hours. Finally, a doctor checked out Trey and the head of the department came in and checked him out and lo and behold...Trey was perfectly fine.

At his 9 month "well" visit, Trey's regular pediatrician (freshly back from her maternity leave) mentioned the low muscle tone, too. That, coupled with the fact that Trey could only roll over and sit up if put in a sitting position prompted her to suggest that we contact The Alliance for Infants. A whole team of therapists came to our home and played with and observed Trey and determined that while he scored very high in most categories, his gross motor skills were below average and he could benefit from weekly physical therapy sessions. Enter Miss Jenny....

I admit I had my doubts...I'd never worked with a physical therapist before and had no clue how one could make a baby do anything, let alone meet a whole list of goals. But, Miss Jenny shows up faithfully every week and does her magic. By magic, I mean exercises and stretching and games. And wouldn't ya know it, Trey immediately showed signs of improvement. Soon he was able to get into a sitting position by himself...then back down...then pulling himself to standing...then pick up a toy without plopping onto his bum...then crawling...then cruising. Now here comes the BIG one, walking. Trey likes for Mommy to carry him everywhere and Mommy kinda likes that Trey likes for Mommy to carry him everywhere...Mommy doesn't really like the actual carrying part, but he's so dang cute. He just learned to say "Hold you!" while extending his arms to me. How can I resist? Ah, but I must.

Check out our big walker now...

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven." - Ecc. 3:1

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Time to Tango!

Tango on over to Megan's blogeroni for a recap of the top 18 on SYTYCD! Join the Sisterhood...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Glad that's over!

A few posts ago, I mentioned being stuck between a rock and a hard place. I was involuntarily volunteered to be homeroom mom for Joe's first grade class. My first task at hand...the Harvest Party! Now, even though fall starts in September and the class party is held the Friday before Halloween, please do not confuse it with a Halloween celebration. That mistake is frowned upon. Halloween is strictly taboo now-a-days in most public schools.

At Open House, I overheard 2 moms chatting about the said Harvest Party and wouldn't it be great to do the same craft again this year? Ya know, the canvas Trick-or-Treat bags that the kids can decorate themselves to take out on Halloween? Huh. I distinctly remember this craft from the year before...because at the playground after school a mom was outraged at the Halloween-ness of the craft! I mean, yelling and grabbing it away from her kid outraged. Great. Also, during Open House, another mom shared with me that they do not celebrate Halloween. We don't celebrate it at our house, either, but I'm not willing to shed blood over a craft...

Visions of confrontation danced through my head! My anxiety was mounting as the days ticked by. How do I tell these two friends that we can't do their craft? What if they get mad at me? What if they shun me? Okay, I don't really care about the shunning fact, I kinda welcome it...but that's a different story. The easy answer is that it goes against school policy and a letter was sent home clearly stating the anti-Halloween guidelines. But still. Awkward. They don't know me...they've been friends for at least a year now. Who do I think I am, telling them they can't do their craft? They did it last year. What's the big deal? See how I built this up in my head?

One of the "bag" moms cut me off at the pass by sending out an email before I could even call her! My pulse went up as I read her suggestion of the bags and didn't I think it was a good idea? And she would be happy to get all the supplies for it. So there it was. The gauntlet was thrown. I had to respond. Time to man up. I replied that the president of the PTO suggested a sweet craft. A photo frame with a leaf shaped opening, and foam leaves to glue all over. She even went into the classroom and took a picture of each kid and had them developed.

Then I waited for the bomb to drop. I was expecting angry hate mail, dirty looks in the hallway....her reply was....."Sound great! Thanks for taking care of it!" Huh? It's going to be that easy? No resentment? No indignation? No writing nasty thing about me in a "slam book"?

Yeah, that was it. Turns out, they're really nice moms that just wanted a nice party for their kids. Me too, moms, me too.

The kids had fun decorating their craft, enjoying (peanut free!) snacks, and playing a game involving 2 pounds of candy corn to win (non-Halloween related) prizes and taking home monstrous bags of treats. Glad that's over!

Now, can we talk about why Joe's classroom has to be kept at 99 degrees at all times?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Welcome to the party, November!

After reading Courtney's most recent blog post (and no, it had nothing to do with SYTYCD) I was SHOCKED, STUNNED, BESIDE MYSELF....oh alright, I was slightly more informed than I had been before reading it, that November is Na-Blo-Po-Mo month. Weird, right? What? You don't know what these strange letters mean when put together like this? Allow me to translate. It means National Blog Posting Month. Bloggers are challenged to post something new everyday. Everyday???? I have a hard time remembering how many kids I have everyday. So. maybe post more often? I'll try.

Today, the most exciting thing I have to share with the inter-web world is that I read in a magazine that your laundry detergent may be making you fat. That's right, kids. Laundry detergent. Stop eating it, for crying out loud! Aha! Tricked ya! No one eats their laundry detergent! That would be silly. There are ingredients in the perfumes and dyes that could be triggering some hormones to be released in your brain that slow down your metabolism, or cause you to want to eat more.

When I get on The Biggest Loser, I'm so using that as my excuse. "I'm sorry, Jillian! I can't help it! I just!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meet the top 20!!

Head over to Courtney's blog-o-rama for a "get to know your dancers" recap.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Carving Out Some Family Time

This Friday night was a rarity in our humble abode. We were all home and had no plans to go anywhere and nary a babysitter in sight. So, we thought this would be a good evening to do some real live family style pumpkin carving. This would be a first for our house! What???? I know, weird, right?

We are not big on Halloween over here. I do love to decorate for fall, though. So, that includes pumpkins and hay bales, and 475 driveway squash. Apparently, Bella's pre-school teacher only has pumpkin themed books for September through November, so she's had Jack-o-Lanterns on the brain.

It did not go as smoothly as we thought.....of course I took pictures of the event.

So far so good...then...

Oh pumpkin guts. It was too much for the younger crowd. They retreated to the safety of the living room until the carnage was out of sight.

Baby Trey didn't mind...

Cute end results, though...

Bella's is the one on the left. When I asked for her carving request, she yelled from the other room "Give him a sad face!" "Are you sure, Bella?" "Oh, alright! Make him a happy face." Trey's is in the middle...and Joe clearly demonstrated for me exactly what face he wanted on his pumpkin. Trust me, it's an exact replica of his request.

And, I burned the pumpkin seeds. Oh well...All's well that ends well, right?