Friday, December 31, 2010

Trail of Lights

Ohmygoodness. Tomorrow is the first day of 2011 and I haven't finished documenting 2010. Let the blog posts begin!

A few days before Christmas we met up with our friends, the Kelley's, and took the kids to see the trail of lights here in our small town. It was really good. Jake and Aiden were super excited to ride a school bus over to the trail. The kids even got to see Santa himself and sit on his lap! Emma Mae is in love with Santa Claus. Every time she sees a toy Santa or a picture of Santa she goes crazy pointing her finger and saying her best attempt at "Santa!" So she was in heaven. Jake was just happy to have someone new to talk to. He sat up there on Santa's lap and had quite the conversation. We were happy that he asked Santa for a bicycle since we knew that was what he was getting for Christmas. He asked for a green one, but Santa new better and brought him a red one.

The kids were nice and hopped up on candy canes and lollipops by the time we got home. Tune in tomorrow for a Christmas in Amarillo re-cap. I know! Exciting!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What do you bake at Christmas?

I've been getting my bake on. Last week I made a batch of Pioneer Woman's cinammon rolls. I've made them several times before and they have always been really good. I'm not sure what happened this time but they just weren't as tasty. I think it may have been the new icing I tried. They were okay. They just weren't the best thing you've ever eaten. I was a little embarrassed because I gave a pan of them to each one of Jake and Emma's teachers for Christmas. Before I realized they weren't that great this time. Oh well. I'll have to make up for it with something really good at the end of the school year.

Yesterday, Jake helped me make some sugar cookies. Then today Amy brought her kids over to help us decorate them. They came out pretty cute!

So now Jake wants to make some gingerbread man cookies. And I'm dying to try my hand at some homemade marshmallows. The mom of one of my kids at school brought me some for Christmas and they were so good! What about you? What will you baking this Christmas?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crazy about Trains!

Okay, I have one last thing to say about Jake's birthday and then I will be done. Our "big" gift to him this year was a train table. I got the idea because every time we took him to our local bouncy house to play he always ended up at the train tables playing with Thomas the train instead of bouncing in the bouncy houses. When we gave up our membership at the bouncy house I knew Jake would miss the trains more than anything else.

So, I found an old train table at a garage sale over the summer and bought it for twenty dollars. I figured I could repaint it and make it look nice. We talked Mike's dad into buying the actual train set to go on the table for Jake's birthday. Thank you so much Marty! He loves it. My sweet hubby took over most of the painting duties and got the table looking nice enough to be a birthday gift.

My favorite part of the table is those six storage bins it came with underneath. At the end of the day we can throw all of the kids toys in there and voila! the room is picked up. However, if you don't think each bin has specific toys that go in them then you don't know me very well. It's not a free for all. If I had a label maker each bin would have its own label for those members of my family who can't remember what goes where.

Anyway. We've also been re-doing our playroom. We painted it a nice cheerful yellow color. I wanted everything to be ocean and surf themed. I know! Go figure. I gave Mike some vague descriptions of how I wanted everything to look, ordered some surf board WALLE's and told Mike to go for it. He did such a great job! I love, love, love it. Look at the art wall! I found this idea online and told Mike we needed a board or something to go across the whole wall with clothes pins screwed into it to hang the kids artwork on. He made it happen! So cute and very inexpensive to do.

Now, I would just like two more surfboards hung up above the art wall with Jake and Emma's names painted on them. And new flooring in time. The carpet in there is NASTY and I dream of a hardwood type surface with a big fuzzy rug in the middle of the floor someday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Froot Loop Mania

My friend Katha has the BEST Christmas tree this year. The decorations are all very kid friendly and she and her boys even made red and green construction paper chains to hang on the tree. It was so cute that I was inspired to make the tree in the kids' playroom a little more "kidlike." So, last week I bought some Froot Loops in an effort to be "crafty" with the kids. I envisioned us sitting on the playroom floor calmly stringing Froot Loops on yarn to drape on the Christmas tree while listening to my Rick Springfield Christmas cd. (Truly, the BEST Christmas cd EVER. Even my hubby thinks so!)

Well. Jake lasted for about ten minutes. But he really did enjoy those ten minutes. Emma didn't even last until we got a string cut for her. She did enjoy sitting at her craft table eating from a pile of hoarded Froot Loops though.

I will say that Mike and I had fun making our Froot Loop strands. We actually got to sit in a room by ourselves and talk for a few minutes by ourselves. I'm not sure where the kids went at that time but eventually they came back and no one was bleeding or crying so it's all good.

Jake's strand actually turned out to be just a cute hanging ornament.

Here's the finished product. Didn't Mike and I do a good job?!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sea World Again!

The last week has been such a blur. We had Jake's birthday party. My parents came for a short visit for the party. My sister and her crew came over for the day. It seems like we've been celebrating for a month now. Friday night our friends, the Kelley's (FRIEND AIDEN!), came over for dinner. They're vegetarians. So I never know what to cook for them. Luckily, my friend Ivy sent me the new Tricia Yearwood cookbook for Christmas and it happened to have a recipe for black bean lasagna. I was all "Score! Now, we can have the Kelley's over." It turned out pretty good. We all piled into their car after dinner and drove around our neighborhood looking at lights. I felt like it was the first time we got to slow down and enjoy Christmas this year.

Then on Saturday we finished off Jake's birthday lalapalooza with a final trip to Sea World for the year. Our passes expire in January so we wanted to use them one more time. It was just the perfect day. The weather was gorgeous. The crowds were minimal. The Shamu's were breathtaking. I seriously don't know what's wrong with me and the Shamu show. I cry every single time. Jake took his stuffed Shamu with us so he could see his "brothers" performing. I think stuffed Shamu had a good time.

The kids really enjoyed feeding these ducks and flamingos. After taking three not so good pictures I handed the camera over to Mike. Actually Mike demanded I hand the camera over to him. He then informed me that the batteries were dead. So, this is all the documentation I have of our last Sea World trip of 2011. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Look who's 4!

Today is Jake's official fourth birthday. It feels like we've been celebrating for a week. I planned on writing a mushy blog post today talking about all of the things he had accomplished this year, but I'm too exhausted to do it. That will come another day. I was also hoping that he would magically awaken today and be out of the terrible three's and into the focused four's. It did not happen.

We started off pretty good. I made him some chocolate chip pancakes for a special birthday breakfast. Note to self. Never make him chocolate chip pancakes. Ever again. Period. I don't know if it was the pancakes or the birthday cake over the weekend or the donut holes they had at school yesterday to celebrate his birthday, but my boy has been a bear today. I think his blood sugar is all out of whack. Because it surely can't be his personality or my awesome parenting skills that are to blame for the meltdown we I mean he had at HEB this morning.

I usually let the kids get a donut at the grocery store when I have to take them with me because they can eat it while I shop and it keeps them busy and happy. Well. Due to the fact that they had both filled up on chocolate chip pancakes a couple hours beforehand I decided they wouldn't get a donut today. Good times ensued.

Jake started crying and throwing a fit immediately. It lasted for the next 30 minutes or so. All the way through HEB with people judging me left and right, through the car ride home and into the house where he was immediately put in his room to await a spanking. Yep. I spanked him on his birthday. Go ahead. Leave me a nasty comment.

He has calmed down now after eating a turkey and cheese sandwich and is resting quietly in the playroom.

Some of you are wondering about the birthday party. I think it was a success. I'll post more about it later but needless to say after he saw his Spiderman cake and his Spiderman balloon Jake channeled his inner Spiderman and took one for the team. It was almost as if Shamu had become dead to him. But at the end of his fabulous Spiderman party he did come to me and tell me that he can not WAIT until next year when he can have a Shamu birthday party. I may get my day in the sun yet.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dawn of the Birthday Party

Today is the big day. In about nine hours our house will be flooded with small children and their adults. The house is clean. At least it was clean last night when I went to bed. The ginormous Spiderman cake has been ordered and awaits pick up this afternoon. The decorations and party favors have been bought. There is even a pin the Spiderman on the web game. We are ready.

I think. Last night when I asked Jake if he was excited about his birthday party today he said "YES! I CAN'T WAIT TO HAVE MY SHAMU BIRTHDAY PARTY!!" Long pause. Deep breaths. In and out. Then I said, "Um, Jake. You're not having a Shamu party. You are having a Spiderman party. Remember? That's what you said you wanted." Pause for a moment. Then, "BUT I DON'T WANT SPIDERMAN! I WANT SHAMU!" Then some crying, pouting and gnashing of four year old little teeth.

Oh, ya'll. I should have gone with the Shamu dream. I hope he doesn't flip out when he sees the cake he picked out later on today. Depending on his mood, I may put up some pictures of the party this afternoon. Peace out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas cheer!

We put up all of our Christmas decorations the day before Thanksgiving. The house looks so pretty! I love, love, love this time of year! Really, some white twinkly lights can make just about any place look beautiful. The kids were so excited to help. Of course I had to redo just about everything they did since all of the ornaments they put on were on the bottom branches. Whatever. We had fun. Emma is still having fun taking decorations off of the tree every morning. It's a special little game we play.

This is the entry way to our house. My mama painted the cute little reindeer and sleigh years ago. I love having stuff my parents made in our house.

Our kitchen table. My daddy made the cute hershey kisses Christmas tree. Mike loves, loves, loves putting toothpicks in the kisses every year to decorate it!

The kids have our old Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the playroom to marvel at this year.

Our living room. Most of our decor in the living room is red so the Christmas decorations fit in so nicely! I don't have a picture of him but our elf on the shelf, Elfis, is back up this year. Believe me, he is working hard this year. He has many things to report to Santa.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shamu Vs. Spiderman

Here's the deal. Jake is turning four on Dec. 14th. We're having a party for him on Dec. 11th. Ever since I pulled off the great dolphin party of '09 last year, he has been talking about wanting to have a Shamu party this year. Actually, he started off wanting a shark party but then changed to Shamu during the summer sometime. And actually, the dolphin party wasn't that great but I did manage to draw a pretty respectable dolphin on his cake.

Anyhoo. There are no stores out there selling Shamu party favors, games or cakes. So last week I started thinking about this Shamu party. I consulted many online sources. I went to the local Party City. I decided I would just do an "ocean theme" party with a spectacular Shamu cake. I came up with ocean related games. I found a picture of the cake I want to make. It is very involved. Basically, I need to mold a Shamu from warm rice crispy treat goo and then cover it with black and white fondant. Fondant is expensive so I found a recipe to make my own. Basically, I had everything planned out but had not brought any of my ideas to real life. I like to wait until the day before something is due to get started on it. Just ask any of my friends who were in high school English with me. But the thing is just because I haven't started it doesn't mean I don't have it all planned out. IN MY HEAD.

Good thing. Because two days ago we were at HEB and Mike took Jake over to the cake decorating part and started flipping through the cake book. Jake saw a picture of a Spiderman cake and now wants to have a Spiderman birthday. Friends, I don't do Spiderman. I have not spent a week mulling over Spiderman. I have not spent a week creating in my mind the perfect Spiderman birthday party. I do not have any ideas for Spiderman games. Pin the web on Spiderman?? I'm just not sure that I can switch gears on this one.

The thing is that Jake seems pretty adamant about it. It's like he thinks his birthday is all about him or something. Doesn't he know the pain I suffered through over 24 hours of labor with him? Ending in a c-section that has left me scarred for life? With weird residual ghost pains? With my blood pressure all out of whack for weeks afterward? Doesn't he know how many diapers I changed? How many times I cleaned up projectile body fluids from his person and mine? Doesn't he know how as a direct result of being his mama I now say things I never thought I would hear myself saying? Things like "yes, boogers are sticky. don't pick your nose." Or "seriously, get your hands out of your pants." Or "we don't jump on furniture." Or the ever famous "can you walk a straight line right now?" after my child ingested rubbing alcohol??? It's like he doesn't even know me.

Here I sit trying to convince myself that I can give up the Shamu dream and create a Spiderman dream instead. It isn't working. Give me Shamu or give me death! (by chocolate). What do ya'll think? Should I continue on with the Shamu thing and blow Jake's socks off with my creativity? Or should I just go buy the Spiderman cake at HEB and let the kids play with silly string out in the backyard?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Letter to Santa

This is Jake's letter to Santa.

Dear Santa,

I am a good boy. Please bring me a Tinkerbell, a dinosaur, a Special Agent Oso Whirlybird, a Spiderman, some brussel sprouts and a new bicycle and a bumblebee pillow pet.

Love, Jake

He came up with most of it by himself. I did prod him a little bit on the brussel sprouts and bicycle. But only because I knew that Santa has already gotten him one. A bike I mean. Not brussel sprouts. Yuck.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Musings and Ramblings

I sit here typing this while wearing my fat pants instead of my skinny jeans. Thanksgiving was good. We went to my sister's house this year. She had our entire family plus Alan's parents over for dinner. It was delicious and great because I only had to cook a side dish!

I began what I'm going to call my holiday baking marathon the day before Thanksgiving. Right now I'm really into pumpkin. I made some chocolate chip pumpkin muffins because I saw that everyone else was doing it and I'm a follower. Let me tell you this. Everyone else knows what they're doing. They were delicious! Although I think Big D was a little sad I didn't stick with our traditional blueberry muffins. Especially since the last time I made those for him I had to put some whole wheat flour in the batter and totally ruined the experince for him.

Anyway, then I made a pumpkin dump cake that I was going to take to Cheryl's house for Thanksgiving. Only it was kind of ugly. It tasted pretty good but was not pleasing to the eye. So then I made some layered pumpkin cheesecake brownies that were not only beautiful but also yummy. I took those to Cheryl's house. Although she didn't really need them because she made a chocolate pecan pie that was delicious! Are you beginning to see why I'm wearing fat pants?

My plan is to eat the rest of the brownies tonight and make Mike eat the rest of the cake so that tomorrow I can make a pumpkin cheesecake pie. Then we will be done with the pumpkin. Until next year.

Today at church one of the helpers in Jake's sunday school class asked him what his name was and he replied "Spiderman."

A few days ago I recorded a Tinkerbell movie because it just happened to be on the TV and I noticed that Emma was really paying attention to it. It's a Christmas miracle! She has never really been interested in television. And I know this is bad parenting but sometimes you just need to sit them in front of the TV so you can breathe for a minute. Well, Jake also loves Tinkerbell now. And he really wants a Tinkerbell for Christmas. Mike is going crazy. I think Jake has about as much of a chance of getting a Tinkerbell for Christmas as I have of getting into my skinny jeans before Christmas.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh no he didn't.

Really? Blue crayon on the table and both chairs. At least I know how to get crayon off of furniture. And now, so does Jake. He was introduced to the Magic Eraser this morning.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh no she didn't.

Does anyone know how to get ink out of leather?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wild Thing

THIS IS JAKE!! If I had to describe our son in terms of punctuation he would most certainly be an exclamation point. Two exclamation points to be exact which are defined as a writing tool used to indicate intensity of emotion, loudness, etc. He is capital letters all the time. And bold. Let's not forget the bold. He is a bold, capital letter with two exclamation points at the end about 95% of his waking life. And sometimes for good measure he is also underlined.

All I'm saying is that Jake is very excited about life. He has not really discovered his inside voice. He has not really discovered that walking can be better than running in some life situations. And he has not yet discovered that not every little thing that happens to him is worthy of a theatrical debut that merits an Oscar nomination.

A lot of people might not see this side of Jake. Sometimes he seems quite shy. I cannot get him to look people in the eye and say hello when they speak to him. So how can I claim he's the fireball I describe him to be so often? All I say is give him five minutes alone in a room with you. His true colors will come out.

We were at Cabela's the other day looking at dead stuffed things because that's how we roll around here. Jake was in front of the rest of us having an animated conversation with himself. Or whoever it is he is ALWAYS talking to. A nice, older gentleman walked by us who just happened to be wearing a shirt that looked like the American flag (it was Veteran's Day.) Jake stopped his conversation just long enough to look at the man, point at him, started laughing hysterically and turned back to us to say "LOOK AT HIM! HE'S SO FUNNY!!"

His excitement for life has landed him in trouble at school a few times this year. It seems there are a couple other boys who are also exclamation points in his class. They have trouble keeping their hands and feet to themselves. I think tackling each other is also a problem. Anyway, he has two of the sweetest teachers who put up with his antics every week. For Thanksgiving, they sent home the cutest list of all of the kids in class and what qualities they possess that the teachers are thankful for.

It went something like this. We are thankful for "Jane" for being such a good friend. We are thankful for "John" for his ability to answer questions. For so an so for her quiet, gentle nature. And then, we are thankful for Jake and his excitement about everything everyday!! I just cracked up. His other cohorts were described with words like enthusiasm and high spiritedness. God bless their teachers. Let me tell you if you have more than one high spirited, enthusiastic kid in your class you have your hands full.

Anyway, parenting this excited about everything everyday child has gotten to a most challenging stage. We don't want to quench the excitedness. We just want to harness it and use it for good instead of evil. If we could figure out a way to power cars with it that would be good too.

Our search has led us to this book which I'm hoping will give me some insight into the mind of the boy. Wild Things-the art of nurturing boys. Maybe it will help me figure out Mike as well!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Emma Mae (guest blogger)

It is so hard being a girl around here. The boys are always tickling, poking, prodding, hugging and touching me. They make rude noises and don't say "excuse me." Plus, their feet stink. The big one is nice but he talks really loud. Sometimes it startles me.

The little guy likes to push me off of pumpkins and stuff.

He's kind of cute when he smiles though. And he makes laugh every single day

He also makes me cry every single day.

The other girl here (I think her name is Mama) tries to help me out as much as she can. But sometimes she disappears for awhile and I find her in a closet eating chocolate while whispering things I don't understand to herself. Sometimes I just have to hide. Go incognito. Just for a little while. Just me and my lanpshade.

And don't even get me started on the dog. Fur everywhere. Every time he walks by me he shoves me down. And the stench! Plus, the other day I caught him chewing on my stuffed lion. It's more than a girl than take.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010