Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving, Christmas Tree Decorating!

We had a nice Thanksgiving, complete with guests, and we ate turkey with all the trimmings. The kids didn't eat much except the marshmallows off their sweet potatoes, some cranberry sauce, and olives. They didn't even want pie, because I served a "Southern Pecan" pie. Not sure how truly southern it was, since it was just a SaraLee:) But it was good! Of course I didn't have any until this morning for breakfast (healthy, huh?) because I stuffed myself so completely last night that I couldn't even eat pie before bed... you know, midnight snack?

Today was more low-key... Seth went to work, and for the first time in a few years, neither one of us went shopping at all today! We just didn't see any deals that we couldn't live without, I guess. Oh, wait, that's not entirely true... I did order a couple of gifts online tonight before we trimmed the tree. :)
Ethan was antsy all day to get the tree up. He has really been looking forward to it this year! He had been upset when I had told him last week that we were going to wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the Christmas decorations.
So while we waited for Seth to get home, I brought up a few things to put up... a small, white pre-lit tree that I got on Target clearance last year, a pointsettia wreath, and a little snowman. I found the big box of decorations for the "big" tree but wanted to wait till Seth got home to put up the tree. I didn't know where to put it this year... With Ruby being 13 months... well, let's just say I knew THIS would happen! :)

Everyone helped out, and even Seth seemed to have fun. Must be because there were no mishaps with the lights for a change! :) Here are some more shots of the tree trimming process! I love how every year it seems the lower part of the tree receives the bulk of the bulbs!

Good helpers!

Ethan helped for a while, and then let the girls keep on "perfecting" the tree (and by perfecting I mean Ruby taking the bulbs off, shrieking with happiness, and Kibby screaming and frantically grabbing them to put them back on.)
Ethan decided to ignore the girls and build a couple of towers instead. Smart boy. ;)

As for the tree, the end result looks pretty good (thanks to some sneaky re-dispersing by Seth!)
Here is just a peek:
Tomorrow I hope to post a few more pictures. I only took 184 tonight! :) One in particular I found really sweet and want to share, but I have reached the maximum for this post... So I guess you'll all have to wait. And considering it is nearly 1AM and some of you no doubt were up at the crack of dawn or earlier to shop... you are most likely sleeping and won't even read this until the other post is up anyway!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shoes, Mishaps, and Kiddos

Some of you already know about "Soles for Souls", especially if you are a follower of Angie Smith's blog, Bring the Rain. I have added their button to my blog - you can find it along the right side. Their goal is to raise 50,000 shoes in 50 days for those in need! $5 buys 2 pairs of shoes! To get all the details, just click on the button, or read Angie's blog post. :)
Alright. That said, on to other stuff.
I fell down the stairs last week. I'm thankful it was the carpeted ones and not the laminate ones! I slipped on the 2nd step from the top and landed (on my bottom, mostly?) on the 2nd to the last step. Ouch. Took me a minute or two to figure out if I was still in one piece. I'm so glad I wasn't holding one of the kids when it happened!! Aside from a sore foot and tailbone, I'm fine! Although I did seem to re-injure my tailbone yesterday - somehow - by simply getting up (quickly, I'll admit) off the couch. Don't ask me how I manage these things! Guess I should have just spent the day on the couch! Ok, maybe not.
To top off my week, I got home from work this morning and realized I am getting not one, not two, but three cold sores! UGHHHHHH! I hate cold sores. I've gotten them my whole life (thanks Mom and Dad!) I don't think I've EVER had 3 at once though. I just had one, too, and it had just healed. It used to be I'd only get one or two in a whole year. Maybe I have more stress in my life, now?? At least I can use Abreva now, since Ruby is weaned!
(Does it matter that the Abreva expired in May of '06?)
Ok, on to cheerier things...
I think it's amazing how long you can entertain a 13-month-old with just a little cup half-filled with Cheerios. Wow. Ruby has been sitting at the play table for about 20 minutes now! Of course, most of the Cheerios are all over my floor now, but I'm okay with that. I'm actually considering refilling the cups. Anything for a few minutes of quiet (and happy play for the girls!)

Just a bit of mess...
Also - speaking of playing nice...
Aw, sisterly love!
And just so you don't think we've gotten rid of Ethan:
Here he is! With his sisters, of course. This picture took a lot of patience to get, as well as a not-so-great version of "Twinkle Twinkle" that I croaked out to get their attention. Yeah - be glad there is no audio! ;)
Ethan loves his sisters!
Until next time...
And it won't be long. I intend to post pics of Thanksgiving Day! Turkey is thawing! yum...

Not Me Monday!

Woo hoo, it's Monday again! Time to post and read lots of other "Not Me Monday" posts. Hop over to MckMama's blog to read more, and enjoy the free therapy! :)
Ok, this past week I did NOT try various recipes in my Crock Pot, and upon preparing NOT to cook a whole chicken, did NOT freak out because while NOT skinning it (gross, glad I decided NOT to do this) I did NOT have a sick, nauseated moment where I did NOT think the little chicken body looked like a tiny, headless human. I almost could NOT put the thing in the pot and turn in on to cook.
So glad I did NOT do that, because who thinks that stuff, anyway? There would have to be something wrong with me if I actually DID think that and DID do that!!!
The chicken was NOT delicious.
And the whole incident did NOT remind me of this post! Ha ha...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Heyyyyyyy yoooooooou guyyyyyyyys!

Yeah, so I don't really know how to spell that the way it sounds...

Just wanted to grab your attention a little to tell you about a great blog I have been following for a couple of months now. Hm, since August, I think?

Her blogger name is MckMama, and she has 4 children, ages 3 and under. As if that isn't amazing enough, she has an amazing blog with an amazing, miraculous story about her youngest MckBaby, Stellan! Click here to read about her / Stellan's story, and be blessed! :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

I love my Crock Pot

Ok, so I started following this wonderful blog that I'm sure some of you have heard about - A Year of Crockpotting. Some of you probably even follow it too! :) It's great! I love to use my Crock Pot because you can usually just throw in the ingredients and forget it until dinnertime. Then, even if your husband comes home late (which mine of course never does) dinner is hot and ready whenever!

So, I have been using my Crock Pot a little more than usual lately. I do tend to use it more in the colder months anyway, but I am finding some cool recipes for the warmer months, too. You know, for those hot & humid days when you really don't want to use your oven! Before, I thought of it as mainly a stew / soup / roast cooker. But not anymore!

Last week I made some wild rice and lentil soup, my own concoction. It wasn't bad, but got very thick by the next day for leftovers, so I needed to add water. And the rice split, puffed and curled to the point where it looked like miniature snails. Not the most appealing... I also made a chicken stew. Today I am cooking a whole chicken. However, I am looking forward to trying some of her breakfast recipes and her recipe for granola. Yum.

My son is begging me to stop writing so I can make him some hot chocolate. Because he "is starving". Right. I'd better go make it. Would hate for his body to waste away from hot chocolate deprivation! ;)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Present from Auntie...

We went to Wisconsin this past weekend and my sister was nice enough to give the kids a little table, bench and two chairs. I believe my kids are the third set of children to have them, but they are in great shape yet and my kids love them! It has been nice for me, too, that they sit there and color or play with stickers, or just sit there, staring at the TV...
Um, yeah, I know... one of the reasons I wanted a little table and chairs set was to have a spot to keep the girls occupied during the day so I wouldn't end up turning on the TV to entertain them. But... well, the first thing out of Kibby's mouth in the morning is always, "Can I wanna wanna wanna wanna watch ______?" (Sometimes she says a certain movie, sometimes not.) I don't always give in, but a lot of times I do, especially if Ruby is still sleeping and I want Kibby quiet for a while.

So... I will have to keep working on it. Maybe I can slowly wean her off the movies. :) One a day, maybe? I need to find some more activities that the 2 girls can do simultaneously, if not together. Coloring is fine for Kibby, but not for Ruby yet (she likes to eat the crayons.) Playdough, same thing. Well, most things are that way. Now that winter is coming, I need to get on the ball. Maybe even wipe down their little slide and bring it in, down to the family room. Then they can spend a couple of hours down there (no TV hooked up down there!) running around. Hm...
Anyway, here are a few pics I took today of the kiddos enjoying the "new" table. :)

A Bit of Construction! :)

I'm considering a blog "makeover"... bear with me if my blog might look different for a bit! Thanks! :)
Oh, and feel free to follow me on Twitter! You'll notice updates on the right!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not Me Monday

It's NOT ME MONDAY! :) Head over to MckMama's to read more!

1. This week, prior to our trip to my parent's house (in the next state over) I did NOT put off packing for myself, husband and three children until 2 hours before we were supposed to leave.

2. We did NOT forget to pack the baby's bottle, so I did NOT have to go to the grocery store and buy one at an outrageous price, because that was the only store open at that time of night in their little town.

3. My children were NOT fighting, NOT crabby and whiney, not at all! After all, it is ONLY a 3 and a half hour drive, and they are old enough and mature enough (at 6, 2, and 1 years of age) to keep themselves entertained with NO toys, books or movies for the entire trip (see #1), and since it was dark, NO pretty views out the windows.

4. My 2-year-old daughter did NOT wake up the entire household Saturday night for one whole hour by crying and crying to go home. This was in NO WAY connected to what I wrote about in last week's Not Me Monday post. Nope, not a bit.

5. My same daughter did NOT smear #2 all over herself and her new princess potty seat that I bought specially to use at Nana's house, so she did NOT require a bath, and I did NOT have to spend an hour cleaning Nana's bathroom.

6. I was NOT at all happy to arrive home last night.

7. And I certainly did NOT question my sanity about 742 times over the weekend.
Because, I AM one of those mom's that always has it all together.

Or... NOT?


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lots of stuff...

Bear with me if this post seems to be all over the place. (I'm sure it will!) I have many things on my mind today.

First, I had MOPS this morning. I like MOPS a lot, however, today's talk was on etiquette. Well, anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a pretty low-maintenance kinda gal. (I even had to look up how to spell the word - it's just not part of my normal vocab, ya know?)

I don't think there is anything at all wrong with practicing proper etiquette, but as a mom of 3... well... I'm sorry, but I am not going to bring out the fine china (oh wait, I don't even own fine china - unless Corelle counts?:) and make my children dress up for Sunday dinner. I think I'm doing swell if I can get my kids to say thank you! (Which they tell us a lot, just not to strangers very well, which makes it look like my kids aren't grateful for anything... but that's another issue for another time.)

So, do I really care if my children know to place their napkin on their lap? No, I'm just glad they use napkins. Or how to cut their meat? No, I'm happy if they eat it! Or if they know how to properly introduce someone? Not really. I'm happy if they include others and show kindness to each other. I think I value manners and respect more than etiquette. They probably go hand in hand, I know... Just not in our house. Does that make me a bad mom? Or just a typical Northerner? :)

Incidentally, throughout the whole presentation on etiquette, my 2-year-old was sitting on my lap, kicking her Tinkerbell shoes into the nice lady next to me (so sorry Amy), grabbing grapes off my paper plate and spilling my water. I had no lap left to put my paper napkin. I'm sure the speaker was cringing inside. She could have used me as a "what not to do" example. :)

However, I was convicted on one thing.

Thank you cards.

Yikes. I am horrible about this! HORRIBLE! For all of you out there that have sent me a wedding gift, or graduation gift, or baby gift, and you never once received a thank you card... I'm truly sorry. Please know I was grateful, however I am so terrible about mailing things. It's really no excuse, I know. Every year I buy a birthday card for my grandma, whose birthday is in July, and every year she ends up getting it in November, when we go to her house to celebrate another holiday or birthday. Like I said, I'm horrible. I did find out that I am not alone in this, though. I was surprised to find out that it is more common in my generation than I thought. Not really something to be proud of...
(Did I mention I'm horrible?)

Secondly... Kibby.

She was the one on my lap this morning. She seems to have developed an aversion to her classroom at church. Or to men and boys. I'm not sure which one it is. Maybe it's both. She cries and screams and will not stay in the room. So, today she sat with me. For the second time. I tried to get her to go in the room. Her little hands gripped the door frame as she screamed, "Noooooo!!!" But I still made her go. Well, I tried. I told the girl, "Just give her a few minutes, she'll probably calm down and start playing." Then I walked down the hall (feeling like a horrible Mom) to Kibby screaming, "MOMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!" over and over.
Seriously, I hope this is just a phase. A short phase.
Fifteen minutes later the girl brought her to me, apologizing... Kibby just was not calming down. So I took her, shuddery breaths and all, and wiped her tears and let her sit on my lap and eat grapes off my plate. Sigh. What else could I do?

I have been thinking more again about getting her evaluated. Maybe screened for an autism-spectrum disorder. At times her behavior reminds me so much of an autistic little girl I used to know. This girl must be a teenager now, perhaps 18, but I knew her when she was 8. And she showed the same emotional response to movies that Kibby does. She would role-play the "damsel in distress", screaming role of characters in movies she saw... she would act the scenes out. She did not initiate conversation or answer questions. Much like my Kibby. However, Kibby is 2, nearly 3. And Kibby is more verbal than this other girl, and makes better eye contact. Well, when she wants to. But not as much as other children. The problem is that I do not know what exactly is "normal" for her age. I do know that people do not always fit neatly into a certain diagnosis, but since I am not qualified to diagnose her, I don't feel I should. I just want to understand my daughter. I want to know why she is the way she is, and if there is anything I can do to help her.
Here is an example, a conversation I had with her this afternoon:

Kibby wanted to watch a movie.

She came up to me and said (in a sad, traumatized voice)
"Can I wanna watch? Can I wanna watch? Can I wanna watch? Can I wanna watch?"

I said, "What do you want to watch? A movie?"

She repeated, "Can I wanna watch?" (getting more emotional)

I said, "Which movie do you want to watch?"

Kibby said, "Can I wanna watch? Can I wanna watch?"

I said, "Which movie?"

Kibby said, "CAN I WANNA WATCH? CAN I WANNA WATCH?" (now in tears.)

I said, "Kibby, do you want to watch Tinkerbell? Or Snow White? Or Tomato" (she calls Veggie Tales "Tomato".)

Kibby said, "CAN I WANNA WATCH?! CAN I WANNA WATCH?!" At this point her face is inches from mine, and her tears are dripping on my lap...

I get up, and she crumples on the floor, screaming. Heartbroken and frustrated.

I ask her to come to me, over by the DVD player and the movies. I show her Tinkerbell. I show her Snow White... I ask which one. She repeats, "Wanna watch which one!"


I ask, "Do you want to watch Tinkerbell?"

She repeats, "Wanna watch Tinkerbell."

So I put in Tinkerbell, and she is satisfied. For now.

Do you see how this may get tiring? I keep thinking, I want her to TELL me, I don't want to just pick for her, or just guess. This happens SO much.

Other times, she appears to be doing fine. She will come up to me and say, "I'm thirsty, Mommy. Where's my drink?"

And she has been saying, "Thank you" to everything lately.

Well - least she is learning her manners.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not Me Monday!

Ok, this is my very first Not Me Monday post! I've been following MckMama's blog for a while now, but never thought I had anything to add until today. I thought, why NOT give it a try! Here goes!

Today I did NOT paint the nasty thumb-sucking-preventer polish on my 2-year-old's thumb and remain silent when she said, "Ooh, pretty pink nails!" (thinking it was just nail polish.)

Then I absolutely did NOT laugh (discretely) when she exclaimed a few minutes later, "OWWWWWIEEEEEEE!!" while looking completely shocked, staring at her thumb.

I then did NOT feel bad at all as I told her, "Oh yeah, I should tell you NOT to put your thumb in your mouth, Kibby."

Then I certainly did NOT take her picture for my blog!

Because, as my sister does NOT tell me:


Friday, November 7, 2008


It's late, and I'm tired. However, it's my night off and the house is quiet, so I decided now might be a good time to write a post uninterrupted for a change. Perhaps I can get some things written down and off my mind so I will sleep better.

I've had trouble falling asleep for about as long as I can remember. It isn't always bad; the severity seems to come and go. But I've never been one to hit the pillow and conk out. When I was little, it was because I was afraid that the house would start on fire and I wouldn't be able to escape. Now that I'm older, I'm afraid of things like our house starting on fire and my kids not being able to escape. Seriously. At times it is nearly a paralyzing fear... either I fight to stay awake and listen to every sound, or I am afraid enough to lie there wide awake, staring at the door.

These fears (among others, but I won't go into them all, lest y'all think I'm entirely looney) are a big part of what prompted me to begin this blog in the first place. And so far, I've been pretty hush about it. Even my family - okay, even my husband - isn't that aware of it. Because I mostly keep it to myself.

A couple of weeks ago, I read a great post on Angie Smith's blog (Bring the Rain). Those of you who read her blog know that she has a rare gift for writing from her heart and truly reaching out to her readers. (Those of you not already reading her blog - I strongly recommend it! You will be blessed!)

I have spent a lot of time thinking about that post. And about fear. And how fear binds us. It keeps us from living a fulfilling life, a life of purpose. It becomes a big ugly excuse to not do things we feel prompted to do. We often justify not doing them because we are afraid. Or is it just me?

I doubt it. True, I may be a fearful person. I may even have some irrational fears (such as those little superstitious nagging thoughts about the decorative, colored prints on my daughters' diapers that my sister laughs at me about!:) However, I know I am not alone in this. (Well, I very well may be alone in the diaper-color fear!)

Another area of my life where I have been fearful is my faith. I tend to mainly keep it to myself. I have friends who would be surprised to hear that I love Jesus. (Especially if I were the one saying it, perhaps?) I know this comes partly from a fear of conflict, and a fear of others treating me differently because they think I will judge them or think I am better than them. It is truly sad that Christians have this reputation. And it is because of people like me... people who are afraid to be themselves. Afraid to speak. Afraid to act. Afraid to reach out in love. Afraid to be criticized. Afraid to appear "intolerant". Afraid to ruffle feathers. Afraid to be who they were meant to be. Afraid to be like Christ. (After all, look how He was treated.)

In the recent hype with the elections, I have read many Facebook status updates, many blog posts and emails of people not afraid to speak their mind on whichever candidate they find (or don't find) most capable. People not afraid to stand up for their beliefs, no matter if they are conservative or liberal.

And me? Aside from a couple of discussions with my immediate family members, I kept fairly quiet. It's not that I don't have strong opinions (a few of you who know me well will say, hey wait a minute... she knows how to speak her mind!) but I do hate conflict. (This is not to say I never get into conflict! I do! Just ask my husband!:)

Lately I have been pondering my purpose in life. And with that, my roles as a wife, mother, co-worker, etc... What career path should I take once my children are all in school? Should I wait until they are all in school? What other activities should I get my kids involved in? How should I balance my time between my family, myself, and God?

What does the future have in store? What does God have in store for me? For my family?

Most days I'm afraid to think about it.

But I'm working on it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Birthday Party!

Yesterday we celebrated Ruby's birthday with her first birthday party. Nana and Bumpa, Auntie Bobbie and cousin Isaiah came from Wisconsin, and Auntie Christina and Uncle Prany and cousins Jordan and Autumn were here as well. We ate yummy Bilotti's Pizza, and I made MckMama's Corn and Bean Salad, and of course spinach artichoke dip! I think Ruby liked the cake the best, though!

She also had fun opening some presents:

Happy Birthday, Ruby sweetie!

Costumes and Candy

Friday night was probably the warmest Halloween that my kids have ever experienced. Wow. They didn't need 2 sets of sweatpants, leggings, snowpants, sweaters, jeans, scarves... well you get the picture. They were able to go in their costumes with just regular clothes on underneath!

Seth took the kids around the neighborhood and they were back in about 45 minutes, with baskets full. Ethan really wanted to be Indiana Jones, but he settled for Darth Vader. Kibby was thrilled to be a fairy princess, and wanted to sleep with her wings on. We are still finding little pink feathers here and there from the dress.

And Ethan's little jack-o-lantern kept various members of my family company as they sat out in front of the garage and handed out candy to the trick-or-treaters.