Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm channeling Seinfeld here...

What's the deal with spicy fast food? Cant we just enjoy our fried food without having to have it all changed up? Everyone has a spicy chicken sandwich--why? Chris always jokes (as he pours on the chalua) that it "tastes like burning". Chickfila is debuting a new spicy chicken biscuit and is giving away free samples. Now y'all know I'm cheap, errr, savvy, but I don't even want it for free. Give me a normal unadulterated chicken biscuit, this southern girl has no need for it!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It just wouldn't be mid-December without one of these...

...the ol' gingerbread house.

If you'll remember from years gone by, I have let go of my need for symmetry and just take the pictures now.

Intent on decorating. (Sidenote, I got a tip from a friend about hot gluing the house together the night before decorating. I had ever intention of doing this and opened the box to discover that Wilton's house is already assembled. Be still my heart.)

Love that she hears me adjusting my camera and automatically smiles for me {my husband, on the other hand, is a total goofball!}

"cheese, canthispleasecountsoIcangobacktoplayingwithcandy?"

Focused and determined to squeeze as many pieces of candy into as small of a section as humanly possible {shudder}.

Working on a pattern. She got highly frustrated when she ran out of a color and it messed up her pattern. :)

This picture is a small miracle for me--Ryan is both smiling and looking at the camera.

Longer out than in

So, I'll catch up with Christmas soon, but wanted to say 'happy 9 months' to my little Jack-Jack!

*He is walking behind toys (notably, the cozy coupe) to get around the house quicker.
*He is constantly "talking" yet nothing determinable yet.
*Not yet signing alone, but isn't fighting me when I move his hands in a sign (progess! Yippee!).
*If he sees a bottle (even an empty one) he hauls it across the room and begins sucking on it.
*Still taking 2 naps a day and a champ at night (8-8:30 am).
*Exclusively eating whatever we eat at all meals and drinking formula from a sippie cup at lunch and dinner (bottle only in the morning and evening).
*Climbing stairs (sigh).
*Only has (halves of) the bottom two teeth.
*Continues to be the happiest, giggliest, cuddliest baby!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm a lucky girl!

Look at these cuties! We are shopping at Costco. They are so precious, and I am so very thankful to be their Mama!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis the season

The kids' school Christmas parties were last week and they had so much fun!

Ryan with me

...and Ms. Courtney

...and Ms. Tanya

Anna-Kate's with Ms. Mandy

With her sweet little girlfriends in her class.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The tradition lives on...

...only by my fierce determination.

Today we visited Santa. I don't know what I was thinking, waiting until the week of Christmas, it was a zoo. Chris and I "divided and conqured" (though, I believe by the end of it, we were conquered, but whatever). I took the kids to wait for Santa while he waited in the line for the pink pig. I was very happy with the smiles (I will do a year by year comparison of Santa pictures soon...should be fun.) I asked Anna-Kate what she was going to ask Santa for (gotta make sure we're all on the same page, afterall) and she said, "mom, I am asking for a Rapunzel dress, I've told you like twenty times!". Ryan couldn't decide between Cranky the crane and Henry the train. The big kids giggled when Santa asked Jack what he wanted--it was cute. (Bonus, no tears!)

My girl smiled the whole time (I may or may not have told her she couldn't ride the pink pig if she didn't smile...)

I love how intently she is telling him about the princess dress she wants.

Hugs for Santa!

We then headed up stairs to join Chris in the insane chaos line. All told, we were in line three hours (with Chris being there for almost all of it except when he left to bring Chick-fil-a back to the line!!) to ride that blasted pig! Part of me wanted to leave (so very much of me, in fact) but I knew we wouldn't make it over there again (it's so far!) and I knew I'd be mad at myself if we didn't have this tradition continued. So, I present our memory for Christmas 2010. Priscilla, the pink pig.

Anna-Kate was crying because I told her she could choose any of the seats that were left for us (she wanted the front, naturally). We got the last seats, in the middle.

I about lost it when they weren't going to let Jack ride because we hadn't bought him a ticket and only two people are allowed to a seat. I calmly and rationally told the man exactly what I thought about that. Thankfully, the kind people in front of us offered to move up a row so we could all fit and the guy let Chris ride with Jack, (next to him, not on his lap) Ryan in the middle by himself, and Anna-Kate and I last. Ugh.

See how little he is? No nap, sitting on his own, and still smiling! Love that boy!

Friday, December 17, 2010


What's a boy to do with a pocket yahtzee and no pockets?

{Ryan's solution to being pocketless.}

I wept

Alternate title: Time, I thought I told you to stop!

Anna-Kate couldn't contain herself with excitement yesterday and gave us our Christmas present, she had made at school, last night. It was a calendar made up of her hand prints into various seasonal things--precious. The front cover did me in though.

{"Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls
But everyday I'm growing big
And soon I"ll be so tall
Then all those tiny hand prints
Will be hard to recall
So here's a special hand print
Just so that you can say
This is how my fingers looked
When I placed them here today"}

A couple of my favorites:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ripped from the headlines

OK, first off, I would like to raise a glass {of really cold diet coke} and offer up a toast to my long loved beverage of choice. It was announced this morning on the ticker of GMA's headlines that saccharin is no longer considered to be a "potential hazard to human health". Yippee! May all the nay-sayers hush!

With that bit of good news I now need to ask a very serious question. "SERIOUSLY? Mom in California, are you really sueing McDonalds (or here)for enticing your child to eat unhealthy food by placing toys in Happy Meals?" You have got to be kidding me. I saw the clip of the little girl (maybe 6) and she said she liked the toys because they were "so exciting and thrilling". I don't know anybody, six or otherwise, who would use those adjectives to describe the cheap crap toys in a happy meal. Now, where to begin...

1) Let's recap on how parenting works. The parent is in charge. If your child wants something unhealthy and you don't want them to have it, say "no". Shall I spell that two letter word out for you?

2) There are healthy options at fast food places, teach your child to choose the best option [bonus, this is a learning opportunity (say it with me, "learning opportunity".). You aren't always going to be with them, they need to learn for themselves]. In addition, children need to learn that healthy food doesn't always mean "yucky" food.

3) Marketing is the new way of life. Your child needs to learn that they don't always get what they want, food or otherwise, period (Please, do us all a favor and teach this lesson to your kid).

When we take our kids to McDonalds, we get them each a cheeseburger and we all split an order of fries. I bring applesauce from home. Not only is it cheap, it's really not that bad (and, my kids don't even ask for the toy anymore. We never get it, so it's become a non-issue).

In conclusion I would like to add: Man-up, parents, and start parenting. Learn to just say no...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

V is for victory!

Aaaaaaand, we have a winner! We've been really struggling to get Jack interested in taking a sippie cup. {Chris rolls his eyes at the amount of cups we have bought in an attempt to find something, anything, that he would drink from, besides a bottle}. He will drink from the Nuby, but that requires me to hold him and the cup as if it were a bottle which is not helping the situation.

So, I present to you, our winner. A cup with a straw = love. (now, if I were to when I forget his cup, he can drink from anything when we're out in public.)

As I took Jack's picture, Ryan asked for his picture to be taken too. He either smiles and looks away or looks at the camera with no smile. Sigh.

Anna-Kate did her big sister role by saying, "I can follow directions Mommy, look Ryan, I'm smiling and looking, see?". Such a firstborn. They were eating homemade applesauce ("apple pie applesauce". It smells like apple pie and Anna-Kate started calling it that. Who am I to change the name when they scarf it down as if it were dessert?). She said, "oooh, I just love this and it is so sweet, I can see the brown sugar!" (There is none, it was cinnamon and apples that simmered all afternoon, that's it.) She then said, "it tastes just like cherries, right?" Umm, no.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Slacky McSlackerton

...that's me! :)

Saturday Anna-Kate attended her first "drop-off" birthday party. It was so weird to leave, but she had a wonderful time and Chris and I had a nice relaxing morning with the boys at home. That afternoon I went to our church craft fair. We have purchased a new building and were trying to "make our presence known" with a craft fair, live nativity, carol sing-a-long, coffee and cookie type thing. Chris brought the kids out after naps and we had a great time. We hit our favorite deli for dinner, drove through our neighborhood to see all of the tackiness lights (the kids love it. We have some neighbors whose electric bill is $800 in the month of December, if that gives you any indication of what their yard looks like!).

Sunday we went to church and came out to snow. (alert, this might have cinched mother of the year for me as Ryan didn't have his coat. It was in the car but he didn't want it that morning and it wasn't that certainly was upon leaving!). That night was our annual home group Christmas potluck and we had so much fun catching up with friends. We have certainly been blessed with amazing friends in our church and community!

Today is cold. I mean, really cold (It's 5 with the wind chill. Unacceptable.). It's been flurry-ing for 2 days now and they are starting to stick, but there isn't enough moisture to give any snow. The kids are quite disappointed, but I'm thinking it's best. It's too cold to play outside, even if there was snow! Anna-Kate did ask if we could have snow dessert (snow icecream). I told her we didn't have near enough snow for that and she said, "well, is there enough snow in our garden? We can check there." Funny.

I'm looking forward to the school day tomorrow. It will be the second school day that both kids are in school (not sick) that I haven't had a school tour since mid-November. Good thing, it's my last one before Christmas! We still haven't made a decision on school. We have found a wonderful school but are praying about timing and finances etc.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Life around our house

So, Jack is now doing stairs. Yippee. {I learned this when Anna-Kate came into the kitchen holding Jack and saying, "I got him off the second stair, here you go Mommy".)

Oh, and he got teeth (finally). Or maybe I should say, "a tooth", singular. His right bottom middle tooth is fully broken through, the rest of his mouth is still swollen and white. I really think he's gonna pop 8 at once. Still not slowing him down on the eating front as he is exclusively on table food (except for milk, obviously. Said milk is exclusively formula now. Bonus, I'm guilt free about it.).


Ryan's new thing is to run and jump in my lap, give me a huge hug and say, "mommy, you my best fend" (friend). Ahh.

His other, less cute, thing is to get all snuggled into bed at night have kisses and hugs done etc and then look up with a total smirk and say, "potty mommy". I ask him if he really needs to go, he closes his eyes and smiles a big guilty smile and says, yes Mem!" then trots off (and goes).


We were driving to school the other day and Anna-Kate was telling me (again, God love her!) that she is always gonna live with me, even when she grows up. {Chris then tells her she has to move out after college} She said, "well, even when Daddy makes me not live at our house I'll always live in ___ (city we live in) near you so we can see each other every day because you are my favorite, favorite, favorite Mommy and I love you!". I told her how special that was to me and then looked at Ryan and said, "buddy are you always gonna live here near me too?" He responded, "Nope. I gonna live at Disneyworld." Little booger, and so their little personalities coming out!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It started off with a bang...

Ryan came in my room this morning at 6:50, drenched and needing to go to the bathroom. He somehow made it to bed without a pull-up on (that would be victory, Ryan. His new thing is "going commando" under his jammies, we have to watch him closely. Ugh. I do, however, consider it a small victory for me. I needed to change his sheets yesterday, but opted not to because of the "clean sheet curse"--you know, you change the sheets and the kid either has an accident or throws up within 24 hours. Never fails, so I feel like I beat the system.). I took him potty and then put underwear on him and put him back in bed (he still looked sleepy, so I crossed my fingers and left). At 7:30 Anna-Kate knocked on my door holding Ryan's underwear that he had given her (and she said, "I just don't know why Ryan brought me his dirty underpants. This is kinda yuck, huh?" Um, ya.) There was a ball of poop in them. I was highly annoyed, but when I went to dump it, found that he had finished in the potty, so I couldn't be too upset. He doesn't get wiping yet though, so they had some skids. Thus, pair of undewear #2 of the day were put into the dirty clothes basket at 7:30 am.

I rounded out the morning with a 3rd unsuccessful school visit/interview. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not quite the perfect princess

Alternate title: Ryan is one day going to hate me for putting this on the blog.

A picture really is worth a thousand words.

{Yes, he dressed himself, I did not do this. Yes, he's picking his nose. And yes, he's wearing Cinderella's dress and Snow White's headband. He's clearly confident in his masculinity.}

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Decisions, decisions.

We are in the midst of deciding on schooling for next year. It's hard to imagine that Anna-Kate will be in kindergarten in the fall! What is also mind-boggling is the amount of time and stress involved in picking a school. Home school? Stay where we are currently for a 1/2 day kindergarten? Go to one of the 3 close local Christian schools? Sigh. Although I am fully aware that we are not deciding on 13 years of education for all of our kids right now, I, obviously, want to make the best choice and feel like that best choice could potentially be a long term decision for us.

Leigh-Ann and I went on a tour last week, sat in a class today and have tours set up on Thursday and Friday. My head is spinning--and I am no where near a decision! I never knew how stressful it all was.

I struggle with determining what are fair expectations to have of a school. I'm not even sure what I'm looking for. I've asked the questions about curriculum, ideologies on phonics and reading...but, I mean, it's kindergarten, I'm sure anything is fine. Right? (this is me officially welcoming thoughts and comments on the matter. How and what did you choose? Teachers, any insights?).

Home school--pros, she's home and I have complete control over what she learns/hears/does. On the flip side, the cons are the exact same. :) I'm simply scared that with a toddler and a Ryan, that homeschooling might be a bigger bite than I can chew next year.

Current (1/2 day) school--it's the easy decision. It's a lot cheaper than another Christian school option, it's where Ryan will be going so carpool would be a breeze. As well, we are familiar with the program/teachers etc. Con would be that it is definitely a more casual atmosphere (Moreover, I am absolutely hung up on/distraught by the teacher not requiring the children to say yes/no ma'am to her (as I witnessed during the class I sat in on).

The traditional Christian school--it's expensive here. On top of that, I don't think I'm ready for Anna-Kate to be gone full day (nor do I think it's necessary at age 5, just me, I don't judge others who send their kid all day.). The only kink here is that there are some financial aid perks that are available to kids entering kindergarten that aren't available to you if you enter at a later grade.

I'm kinda over thinking about it (and I'm certainly over spending the very few school hours I have with just Jack touring schools and classrooms!). We are definitely praying for an answer and peace in our hearts with the decision we make and we welcome your prayers and thoughts on the matter.

Let the commenting begin {and go!}.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Working on numbers

I've been trying to teach Anna-Kate tricks for counting in her head. She is very much a concrete thinker, so today I brought out fruit loops (that I bought with a super coupon for the occasion). The kids did a two part project 1) writing (Anna-Kate) or tracing (Ryan) numbers and then 2) putting the correct number of fruit loops by the number and glueing them on the paper. They thought they were hot stuff!

Just some eye candy of my precious little one for you:

I think they'd do anything when given a promise of fruit loops. Quite the special treat here.

Ryan, with his completed paper

Finishing up her glueing.

My heart is full and overflowing

We've had a lovely jammie Monday so far. My kids and I have been dancing (arms interlinked "cowboy ho-down style") to Christmas music, the kids are doing a craft and have been playing well all morning. I snuck away to check my email and found this from Chris:

"We are a team, and I love having you on my team. In Sunday school we read
about Abigail, Nabal's wife, and I just thought about how she interceded for
her husband and how many times you have done that for me. A wife that helps
and cares for her husband as much as you do for me is truly one of the most
precious gifts God has given me.
I love you dearly and hope you and the kids have a wonderful jammy day."

What a precious way to start the week! Thank you, Jesus, for my family!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

On being a grown up

Every year, on the first Friday night of December, the kids' preschool offers free babysitting. They provide pizza, cookie decorating, crafts and Christmas shows for the kids from 6-9. You can bet that I emailed the director from my car the day I received that piece of paper in Ryan's backpack (only 12 kids per age group--and, they took Jack too!). Chris and I went to a nice steak place we'd been wanting to go to. I found a deal on (if you've never used them, check it out--I got one for "spend $100, get $50 off the ticket". We had a glass of wine, salads, bread, filet mignon (me), lamb (Chris), mashed potatoes, green beans (me), asparagus (Chris) had great conversation, ran into some friends and just had an overall lovely evening. We had plans to go to Macy's to get Jack's first Christmas ornament, but we lingered too long over dinner (and our cappuccino's that the waitress brought us on the house! Yum). As we talked (and couldn't remember the last time we'd been out!) and then waited to get our van from the valet, I felt old. The valet couldn't have been older than 25 and I asked him if it was the thrill of his life to drive my van (I was laughing, feeling kinda funny). He just said, "uh no, but it's fine." Ya, I felt like I was a million years old (but, that goes along with my theory that every kid you have adds 10 years to your age. Think about it.).

Anna-Kate and I ran errands Saturday morning and I was struck by what a little lady she is! We had a special lunch and went into a million stores (she has been doing chores to earn extra money to buy her brothers and Chris special Christmas presents) and she was so sweet and great company! She got in and out of the car alone, knew what she wanted to get for "her boys"...she's growing up, and I'm feeling old.

Last night we went to an adults only dinner party. I remember my parents going to those when I was a kid. Now, I'm the adult. Anna-Kate sat on my vanity chair watching me get ready and told Ryan that mommy and daddy were going to dinner with mommy and daddy friends and they were staying home with aunt Ann. When did I become old enough to do adult dinners and have kids who are OK with me leaving?

When did I become a grown up? {I'm not sure how I feel about this.}

Friday, December 3, 2010

(iphone) Photo dump

(thus making it allowable for me to have a random group of pictures in one post.)

So, the wittiness never occurred yesterday. It was between the blog and bed last night and bed won. {shrugs} Sorry to dissappoint.

I know it's grainy, but it's the first time he waved. He crawled from his room to the rail, looked down at me, I waved and then he waved back. Precious.

Boy in a box:

Anna-Kate (obligingly) wears turtlenecks and tights when she goes to school. First thing she does when she gets home? Dresses for summer (with some extra accessories, socks and shoes). It was about 40 degrees outside when this picture was taken (and 65 in our house as Chris decided that was a warm enough day time temperature. Eviently, feeling in fingers and toes is optional here).

He's pretending to be Mary (you know, mother of Jesus. Clearly, he copies and wants to be like Anna-Kate!).

Helping me shop. He kept loudly saying (while holding up the bra and granny panties) "look mama, these are big like you, I love these, let's get them!"

Child labor. Sweet girl giving her brother a bottle (she begged to do it!).

Blesses my heart. She loves her brothers so much!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December good-ness

Just be celebration of the Christmas season, and to highlight my bloggy facelift, daily blogs are coming your way! As we look forward to Christmas, and everything this special month holds, you can now look forward to hearing from me once a day (and bonus, if you check back later, I might even have something witty and or humorous for you). Merry Christmas! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

180 days

**If you aren't a "Disney person" you might not want to read this. You will simply roll your eyes and not get why this is such a big deal to me.**

In 180 days we will be at Disneyworld. You want to know why I know that? Because Disney opens their reservation for food 180 days in advance, and as such, I've had November 30 circled on my calendar for a couple of months now. Every year I take great pleasure in planning our week (and meals!) for our trip--it makes the anticipation for our trip even greater! This year I was ready early, had my spreadsheet of where we were going and eating up and just looked at it daily, dreaming of the fun to come. I tried to sneak in early and called a day ahead--no dice. Then I called on Tuesday, at 6:55 am (yes, I've read about those "crazy" people who start calling at 7 am to get reservations. What can I say? If you don't do it too, all the good reservations will be gone!). I got through my entire itinerary and she went to process the reservations (a couple of which required a credit card to hold the spot) and nothing happened. She tried again, and a third time. I, meanwhile, was watching the minutes tick by and imagining all of the precious tables slipping away from me (most specifically, breakfast with Cinderella and the princesses--evidently the hottest ticket around.). She said, "well, the good news is that if I can't book it for you no one else can book it either. Our system [the entire Disney reservation system] is being turned off and revamped from 5pm-1 pm [Wednesday] so call back in the morning, but it might not be up until 1 tomorrow."

You know how it is when you have a huge final, or a plane to catch and you wake up every hour in a panic thinking you overslept? That was me. For two nights, because, of course, I called yesterday afternoon, {no luck} then again this morning, at 6:55 {no luck}. I started calling around 11:45 today to see if the phone system was up {it wasn't}. Finally, at 12:57 I got through. I was ecstatic thinking I had really accomplished it beating yesterday and today's reservation people in (no wait time on the phone). We completed all of my reservation numbers--then nothing. Yep, system still messed up. She {in typical Disney fashion, very kindly} suggested that I call back tomorrow morning. I said I was doing no such thing because what if the system came up in 1 hour, or 2 hours (etc) then everything would be booked by tomorrow morning.

{Should side bar here and say it's been a really rough week discipline wise--Ryan decided it would be fun to repeat this past summer and try not obeying again...I'm pretty tired and so am not running at full capacity. Anyway.}

She and I went back and forth for a while as I insisted upon speaking to someone else. She finally gave in, though forewarning me no one would be able to do more than her {challenge accepted, thank you}. I spoke with a "guest services manager" (is that who the difficult people get?) I explained my situation (and the fact that, at that point, I had already spent over 3 hours on the phone this week) and said that I knew that concierge level were able to put in their reservations early and, while I get that they are paying extra for that service, it was frustrating to me since people coming later than me were getting to book before me. She put me on a hold for a while. When she finally came back she said that she had good news and bad news. The good news was that somehow my breakfast with Cinderella (hardest reservation to get because you get into the park an hour early!) had somehow booked (she had no explanation why. I say God did that for me!). The bad news was that the system was still locked down and she couldn't force it to take the other 2 reservations needing a credit card hold. But, as she had looked through my records and saw how many times I had tried to book and appreciated the way I had kindly approached her (I guess she gets yelled at a lot?) she decided to do me a special favor and took my cell phone number and promised to call me as soon as the system went live again to confirm all of my reservations. This is huge! I feel so relieved.

Now, if Ryan would star obeying...

180 days