Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Does 41 seem old to you?

Well, another year has come and gone. I am now 41. Also, I speak in rhymes.

I usually practice the celebration of the birthday week. I feel that the older you get the longer your birthday specialness should last. Due to the fact that Mike has started college full time now and is still working full time, I think my birthday is being scaled back to two days this year. It's almost like someone out there is telling me to just get over myself.

Oh well. I had a good birthday day. I worked at Mother's Day Out and none of our kids peed, pooped or wiped snot on me all day long. When I got home from work/school I walked into my house to see these beauties sitting on the table.

They're from my daddy. Do you know how long it has been since I received flowers? Me neither. They made me so happy! Then, Mike came home from work and brought me these beauties.

How sweet! And it was a total coincidence. Mike did not call my dad and say "hey, are you getting her flowers?" And my dad didn't call Mike and say "hey, let's both get her flowers." I don't think men even have those types of conversations, do they? It's more like "hey, do you remember when her birthday is?" Also, Mike arranged for a babysitter for Saturday night so we can go to dinner and a movie. Woo Hoo!

So, anyway I got flowers from the two most important men in my life. That's a good day. Also, the fact that my parents came down for my birthday is pretty significant. I got to thinking about it and realized that I had not spent my actual birthday with my parents in 23 years! I was always away at college, or in a different city with no way to get back for a visit so soon after Christmas.

We went out to eat at Cheddars for dinner and it was pretty darn good. Steak and shrimp. Yum. So now not only am I a year older, I am also a few pounds heavier. Hmm. Old and fat. There's a good combination.

After dinner we came back to our house and Mike made these wonderful little chocolate lava cakes for dessert. Usually I request a chocolate cake with white buttercream frosting from the grocery store for my birthday. It's my fave. You would be surprised how many people have gotten this request wrong over the years. But not Mike. He never lets me down on my birthday. I think I like it so much because we always get a pretty big cake and then I can eat it throughout the entirety of my birthday week.

This year I wanted these little chocolate lovelies though. Maybe I had a premonition that my birthday week would be cut short when I requested them. Because there were no left overs my friends. One night of cake only this year.

Don't I look a little bewildered or something in this picture? Confused, maybe? I'm telling you I think I'm just about three steps away from a mental assylum or a senior living facility. And really as long as no one pees or poops on me and they serve chocolate cake I think I'll be fine with that.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's a New Year

The weather around here has been cold and rainy for about a week. Mike and I couched our workout program all last week so I have some catching up to do this week. I feel a little disappointed in myself for already messing up on one of my New Year's goals but I think I'll go ahead and give myself a break.

On the other hand, I've been really good about a different goal. I decided I wanted to cook/bake something new every week this year. Let's see how long that lasts. Last week I made Pioneer Woman's three cheese stuffed shells. Very good. We loved the sauce. I also made an artichoke/feta cheese dip from my Tricia Yearwood cookbook that was fabulous. I really love that cookbook. I've made several of her recipes and they have all been good. Not low fat, but good. Last night I made a new brownie recipe I saw on Cookie Madness. Also delicious. I left out the pecans because "ewww, why mess up a brownie with chunky nuts?"

I dream of someday having a big girl camera that takes awesome food photos. Until then, let me tell you these brownies taste better than this picture looks.

I'm curious. Around here, I can make a pan of brownies and Mike will have one. The kids will get their little bites and then I will eat the rest. I can make a batch of cookies and I will have one or six while they're hot from the oven and then I will leave them alone. Mike will finish them off for me. Is it a gender thing? Do all men like cookies more than brownies? Do all women like brownies more than cookies? I feel like I should take a poll or something. Then I'll write a book with a title like "Men are from Mars where they eat cookies, and women are from Venus where they eat brownies." Has a certain ring to it.

Totally off the subject. Have you read/heard that you are not supposed to put two spaces after a period when you're typing? I am flabbergasted. Mike sent me an article last night that said the proper amount of space after a period is actually just one little old space. I can't fathom it. And I can't stop double spacing. It is ingrained. That is all.

Except that I am addicted to watching The Bachelor when Brad Womack is the bachelor. I can't stand to watch when it is anybody else. Thoughts?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Christmas Leaves

These are some pictures my brother in law took of Jake while we were in Amarillo for Christmas. Aren't they fun? He took them with their new Canon Rebel which I've decided is the camera I want next. The color is so good! Really, it's the camera our little Canon PowerShot wants to be when it grows up.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gingerbread fun!

One of the things we didn't get around to doing over Christmas was building a gingerbread house. Acutally, we have never built one and I thought it was about time the kids got the opportunity.

I saw a kit for one at WalMart a few days ago on sale for $2. What a steal. I used to work at the Hyatt Regency in Austin back when I was a single gal. At Christmas time every year they made this huge gingerbread house in the lobby in front of our restaurant that was like two stories high. It cost something like $20,000 to build. I always wondered how they could afford to spend that much money on a gingerbread house but they could only afford to give us reservationists a $25 Christmas bonus. Perhaps they should have bought a kit from WalMart after Christmas and saved it to build the next year. I'm just sayin'. Anyhow, we put the thing together last night. Jake was beside himself with joy to get started on it. He could not wait! I made him wait until Mike got home though so that Big D could participate.

Of course, now the big question is "when can we eat it?" I don't know. Are they even any good to eat? I've never had one! I think we'll be finding out pretty soon. I've already noticed some strange empty spots where candy used to be.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Oh, let's catch up. I finally found the computer again. It was buried under all of the dirty laundry. Our dryer STILL has not been fixed. I'm afraid of what might be lurking in all the piles of dirty clothes around here.

Okay. In an effort to nurture Emma's inner artist I bought some art supplies last week. We have been having more fun finger painting around here. If you consider me hovering over them with a wet washcloth so they don't get paint everywhere fun that is. I try to let go of my OC tendencies but it rarely works. I bet my obsessive compulsive disorder could beat up your obsessive compulsive order anyday of the week!

I also bought her some fat crayons because she loves to color. Jake is not the least bit interested. I hoped that shiny new crayons might make a difference for him but so far he could care less about coloring. He was, however, very interested in the kid proof scissors I bought. All he wants to do is cut things now. Luckily, the scissors barely work so I don't think I have to worry about him cutting Emma's hair off.

Here they are water coloring. It lasted all of four minutes. But hey, four minutes is four minutes. This time instead of hovering over the children I unloaded the dishwasher.

All in all we love the new art stuff and can't wait until I can go back and buy some dot paints!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Our little Wallflower

Emma Mae has been cracking me up lately. She is finally starting to talk. A lot. It's still mostly mumbo-jumbo but I can usually figure out what she is saying.

This morning I went in to get her out of her crib and she kept pointing to the mattress while saying "Oh, oh, oh, ooh, ooh, ooh." I was all "huh?" And she was all "OH PEEEE! and pointed to her diaper." So then she grabbed her blanket and started furiously wiping at the mattress. That's when I realized that her diaper was so wet it had soaked through to her blankets and sheets. I said "OH! Your bed is wet!" And she just started laughing and nodding her head yes. She gets so tickled when I finally get a clue and figure out what she's trying to communicate.

Lately, she has totally gotten into this idea of monsters being everywhere. I wonder where she gets that from? Jake? Anyway, I'll find her hiding under a table or behind a piece of furniture and ask her what she's doing. She'll say "MONSTER!" "HIDING!" Adorable.

For awhile I was worried that she might be Jake's little shadow her entire life. He just has such a big personality that I was afraid she might get left behind somewhat. I don't think that so much anymore. I think she's going to be just as large as he is. What do you think?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bread Maker

While we were at my parents house over Christmas I scored their old bread maker that they never use anymore. Ask and you shall receive. Mike and I have been wanting one for awhile so we could make our own homemade bread deliciousness. I also want to make my own yogurt. More on that later.

We couldn't wait to get home to try out the machine. The first loaf we made was good old fashioned white bread. It was soooo good. This bread made the absolute best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Plus, our house smelled really good while it was baking.

Mike made a loaf of sourdough two days ago. Yesterday morning he made breakfast sandwiches with it using bacon, egg, tomato and cheese. Fantastic!

Then, last night I made these fabulous homemade breadsticks to go with our pizza.

It's a good thing we've started this couch potato to 5K training program to offset all of the carbs we're taking in right now. Next on my list is a loaf of buttermilk whole wheat bread for lunches this week and some cinammon raisin bread for breakfast. Thanks mom and dad!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Got Quarters?

Our dryer died a couple days before Christmas. I called to schedule a technician to come out and look at it but of course no one could come until after Christmas. So we loaded up our dirty clothes and took them to my parents house in Amarillo for the holidays.

Six days after we got back from our trip the dryer guy showed up. He poked around and decided that the motor was bad. It was going to cost about $250 to fix it. While he was trying to figure out the problem I decided to start looking for our owner's manual to see if I had kept the receipt for the dryer. I wanted to see how much it was worth and if we should just buy a new one. When I found the receipt I also found the extended warranty we bought for the dryer! We never buy extended warranties so I was surprised we had one. I showed it to the techinician who verified it and then informed that he works for Whirlpool and not Lowe's where we bought the dryer so he couldn't fix it under warranty. Then he charged us $75 for coming out. He was a very nice guy so I wasn't mad at him. I was a little mad at myself for not checking on the warranty beforehand.

Anyway. We called Lowe's and got someone scheduled to come out Tuesday. They never showed up. We called Lowe's again and got someone to come out today. He said the motor's fine but it needs a new timer. That he has to order. That will take 7 to 10days to get here.

I'm not one to air our dirty laundry in public but this is ridiculous. I'm already about ten loads of laundry behind. Look at our bedroom. It is buried under a mountain of dirty clothes. We are down to mismatched socks and questionable underwear around here. I think I may have to break down, empty my change jar and look for a laundromat tonight. Yuck.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goodbye 2010

Well, we said goodbye to 2010 around 11pm Friday night. We went to a neighbors New Years Eve party for a little while and then came home and watched TV until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore. We know how to do things up in style around here.

Unfortunately, the neighbors decided to come outside and start up the fireworks around 10pm and our dog doesn't do fireworks. He panted. He paced. He was all up in my face for the rest of the night. When midnight hit and everyone in our town started doing fireworks I thought the dog was going to have a stroke. So we did see 2011 come in after all.

2010 was a pretty good year I'm sure. I don't remember half of it. I know we got Jake potty trained. Yeah! I know Emma learned to walk, climb, dance and generally run me ragged. Yeah! I know Mike and I got to go on our first overnight trip together since we had kids. Yeah!

I also know that in the month of December alone our Jeep broke down. Mike's teeth broke down. And our dryer broke down. So, big NO YEAH! for all of that. I hope 2011 brings financial fortune to us.

I don't really do resolutions because I lack a certain follow through necessary to be successful at them. I do more of a list of guidelines I would like to follow throughout the year if I have the time or inclination.

So, here are my guidelines for 2011.

1.) Thanks to my mama's pie I need to lose a few pounds I put on over Christmas. Thanks to Amy I am going to start the couch to 5K program tomorrow.

2.) I hope to be a more intentional mama.

3.) I hope to be a more loving wife.

4.) I hope to put Jesus first because I think that would take care of numbers 2 and 3.

5.) I hope to be a successful vegetarian for two weeks. My dad and I are going to start our annual veggie diet in the next month or so.

6.) I hope to finish one of the many children's stories I have started.

7.) I hope to listen to more music.

8.) And dance.

9.) I hope to be a better friend.

10.) I want to do something different with this blog. I'm thinking of trying to mention Rick Springfield somehow in every post I write for the next year. I'm still working on the details of that one. Wouldn't that be fun? Do you think he would notice me then?

Tell me your 2011 hopes. I would love to know what other people are doing!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas in Amarillo

We left the day before Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve Eve??) to drive up to my parents house in Amarillo. It took us about ten hours to get there since we had to make 42 pit stops along the way.

I love Christmas Eve at my parent's house. We do the same thing every year. Just the way I like it. Mama cooks some awesome clam chowder with corn bread, we go to the church I grew up in for a candlelight service and then we come home to listen to my daddy read the Christmas story from Luke and then, FINALLY, we open up gifts. These are gifts from the family because everybody knows that Santa comes later to leave the kids their stash from him.

Emma really got into unwrapping presents this year. It took her about thirty minutes to unwrap one because she tore off the teeniest little pieces of paper at a time. She even unwrapped some stuff that didn't belong to her just because it made her happy.

Jake and his beloved bumblebee pillow pet. He loves to bring it up to anyone who will give him the time of day and ask them to change it from a pillow back into a cuddly animal. Priceless.

Emma and some of her stash.

Jake and his super cool Lightning McQueen bicycle. Every time he gets on it he looks up and says "I AM SPEED." My dad and Jake went out to his woodshop to build an "invention" that helped Jake figure out how to pedal. Basically, they made two blocks of wood with indentions for the training wheels in them so Jake could practice pedaling inside without the bike moving anywhere. Got to love Grandpa's!

Emma Mae had the cutest little Mrs. Claus dress to wear this year. It fully transformed her into one of Dr. Seuss's "hoo" characters from Whoville. I cannot tell you how many people tell me that's what she looks like when they see her. So, we've started calling her Emma Mae Hoo so she can get used to her new stage name. And I sit by the phone waiting for Hollywood to call. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Meet me back here tomorrow to discuss our New Year's resolutions or lack of them.