Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Want to be a Real Girl

The other day Sweet Pea opened up her new makeup kit that my cousin Courtney gave her for Christmas.  She asked if she could put makeup on her face. 

I told her, "Sure! Go ahead!" We weren't going anywhere, no need to worry about 8-year-olds wearing makeup in public.

She came out from wherever she had been doing her makeup looking like this...

I'm a puppet!!

I was actually impressed, she made herself look like a wooden marionette style puppet! 

Then to her little sister, "Do you want me to make you look like a puppet too?"

Babydoll, "yeah!" 

Perhaps we have a makeup artist on our hands? Along with fashion designer, dolphin trainer, florist, artist, and all-around awesome person!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wishful Wednesday

I wish my house was totally picked up. Christmas should come with a magic wand that puts everything where it needs to be.

I wish I could lie down with a good movie on and just be still.

I wish all those yummy Christmas treats were zero calories, because I'm going through withdrawls now.

I hope when my daycare parent brings me a plate of cookies tomorrow that I can share them with my family, and save the rest for Saturday.

I hope our current cold-free status can hold on.

I wish every day could be pajama day.  Tomorrow (Thursday) is Movie and Pajama Day at daycare, I'll be straightening up the piles in my kitchen and dining room.

What are you wishing for today?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas weekend part 2

Please excuse the awful blurry pictures, if you have to cover them with your hand so you don't get a headache, I will understand.

I remember being a kid and waking up way too early on Christmas morning.  I would sit in my bed wide awake and anxiously watch for the clock to reach the appointed wake-up time.  Then my sister and I would race into our parents room to get them up so we could go upstairs and open presents!

We told the girls that they could get up no sooner than 7:00, and come and wake us up.  Had I been smart I would have set their alarm clock back a few extra minutes, but instead their clock is set 2 minutes fast... so at 6:58 we heard them clamber out of their beds, jump across the hall, and crawl into our bed chanting "It's Christmas It's Christmas!" 

Little Man was still sound asleep so we invited the girls into bed with us to snuggle for a while.  I don't know how people do the whole family-bed thing, the 4 of us were squished pretty tight and Spence and Sweet Pea were trying not to fall off the sides.  It was a sleepy, joyful, squishy family moment.

After about 15 minutes of snuggling and wiggling and talking about Christmas, Little Man woke up and we all headed downstairs.

Once in the family room the kids discovered that Santa had left unwrapped toys in separate couches and table for each kid.

They quickly went about discovering their loot and digging in their stockings!

Santa had even left the whole family a gift, Rockband 3 and the keyboard!

After Santa presents we opened our gifts from each other.  One of my gifts were these slippers...
They have not left my feet since then except to put on real shoes or boots to go outside, to take a shower, and to go to bed.  And when I go to bed they sit right next to the bed so I can slip them on immediately.  They are warm, soft, comfy, and have a hard sole which gives them a sturdy feel.  The best part? They only cost $5 when I picked them up on black friday.

Yes that's right, I picked them up.  But Spence wrapped them so he still gets some credit!

After we finished opening our gifts we got dressed and ready for the rest of day 2.  Once everyone was dressed and ready there was a little more time to play with toys. 

This is Little Man playing with his remote control construction equipment and matchbox cars.

Babydoll and her new doll.  She thinks it's an American Girl doll, but none of us are about to correct her.  One of her aunts and grandparents each gave her an Our Generation doll, which are a lot like the American Girl dolls, but a whole lot more reasonable priced!

At 11:00 we went to my parents' house to celebrate with them, my sister, and her boyfriend.  We had a Delicious meal of lasagna, spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, and pies for dessert.  I've never made homemade lasagna and have become pretty accustomed to the frozen variety, so getting the homemade stuff was amazing!

We had a wonderful time visiting, opening presents, playing "Would You Rather?", laughing, and I even squeezed in a short nap! 

One thing I asked for for Christmas was a pair of haircutting scissors.  I'm trying to learn how to cut at least Little Man's hair to save time and money.  I might even give Babydoll's hair a whirl.  My sister gave me these and I can't wait to give it a go!

Later that afternoon we left my parents house, stopped back home to drop off and pick up presents, and let the dog out for a potty break.  Then we headed down the road to Spencer's parents to celebrate with his aunt, uncles, and cousins. 

There were over 10 kids there, so they had a blast playing hide and seek, the dice game, and running around together.  One amazing thing about kids, they can see each other once or twice a year (or in some cases here once every two years) and still play together like they are best friends! 

We had a huge meal of several appetizers, ham and turkey, and various salads.  When you get a couple dozen adults together for a party, there's always a surplus of delicious food! 

We played the dice game, ate, opened presents, ate, got caught up with each other, ate, and generally had a great time! 

We finally returned home at about 10:30, got the kids into bed just before 11:00, organized the gifts for the next day, realized we were missing the game gifts for the next day (ended up using them for a different game), and collapsed into another puddle of fatigue.

Stay tuned for the rest of Christmas weekend!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas weekend part 1

Christmas this year was wonderful!  For a year now I've been talking about how much I liked last year's Christmas because we got snowed in and were forced to stay in town.  We missed everyone we didn't get a chance to see, but since 2002 our Christmases and Christmas Eves have been full of driving around, dropping off and picking up presents, driving around, spending a few hours at each place and then racing off to the next place.  So last year when we were snowed in we spent Christmas with our parents who all live very close by, and at home sledding and enjoying our new toys. 

This year was even better!  Although Minnesota had record breaking snow fall this month, we were not snowed in.  But since my dad's side of the family agreed to have their celebration the day after Christmas, we were able to see everyone and take our time everywhere we went!  Now when you're kid-less and traveling to multiple families' houses, like my sister this year, it is fun and exciting and though I'm sure you're worn out by the end of it, it's nothing like lugging 3 kids and all their stuff around with you (and trying to figure out how to get a decent nap in for your toddler).  Traveling to multiple parties with kids is no easy feat, but spreading things out and minimizing how many parties each day (2 works perfectly if they are timed right) really simplifies things.

We started the night before Christmas eve with baths and showers for the kids, I braided the girls hair per their request so their hair would be wavy, we gathered up our outfits and made sure we got things washed that needed to be, and sent the kids to bed.  Spence and I then spent quite a while wrapping the presents that had been purchased more recently and organizing the game gifts and white elephant gifts.

Christmas eve morning was spent getting dressed up, making monkey bread, gathering up presents, swooning over Little Man in his tiny little tie (I died when I saw him all dressed up, then I revived myself so I could gush over him some more), and making an enormous mess.

Then it was off to my aunt and uncles house for a big brunch, a couple games, and lots of good times.  My mom took pictures with her new camera and emailed them to me since my camera has been crap, and it will be taking blurry pictures until I get it fixed.  Thanks mom for the pics!  The highlight for Babydoll was when Santa made a surprise visit! 

Babydoll loved that Santa stopped by, and was plenty excited to get an early gift from him!  He brought the girls each a puzzle, and Little Man got candy and a car (I think). 

Though Sweet Pea says she still believes in Santa, she has gotten to the age that sitting with him and the Easter bunny are for little kids.  It just doesn't thrill her anymore.

see what I mean?

After several relaxed and fun hours with my mom's side of the family, we drove home to let the dog outside and swap presents for the next party.

Every year for Christmas eve Spencer's mom prepares a lobster and shrimp dinner and we eat by candle light (though the last couple years we've added the lights turned up just a bit with the dimmer).  We started with some presents for the kids, then enjoyed a big dinner of lobster, shrimp, butter, popcorn shrimp, potatoes, butter,  salad, corn, buns, butter, milk, wine, and sparkling grape juice.  Then we opened more presents, enjoyed eachothers' company, and checked the norad tracker for where Santa was. 

Around 8:30 Santa was in South America and moving his way up to the states.  My sister-in-law Allie pointed this out to Babydoll who immediately jumped up and exclaimed that we have to get home now! so as not to miss Santa.  Once home we put out the cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer, got the kids in jammies, and put them to bed.  When Spence went in for his goodnight hugs for the girls Babydoll looked at him dead serious and told him, "you better be in bed before Santa gets here, or else!"

The kids in bed, our work was not yet over.  We got the family room downstairs cleaned up for the upcoming morning, laid out the kids Santa toys, and got organized for the next day's events. 

Then collapsed into a pool of fatigue.

Christmas weekend part 2 tomorrow!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

For now...

I can't wait to read and hear about everyone's Christmas, and I'll tell you about ours and post more pictures, but tonight I'm trying to get things straightened up after 3 days of mess-making! So for now I'll post this picture of my kiddos, and tell you all that I hope you're Christmas was fantastic! And if you don't celebrate it, I hope your weekend was fantastic!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Final Design

Boy am I tired!  I invited the daycare kids over for an after-hours Christmas party as a gift to them and the parents.  The kids got a party, the parents got a free evening of childcare!  And me? I had fun, but after 12 1/2 hours of child care, I'm wiped!

Last month I blogged about the Shutterfly givaway and showed you the card I intended to order.  When I got my ordering info, I found out I had to get a different size card.  This worked fine for me since it would allow me to order cards that would otherwise not have been in my price range. 

Also I've talked about how much trouble I've had getting pictures of my kids together and how much of a pain it is to find a good one for a Christmas card.  So now that we've gotten out a majority of our Christmas cards, I feel ready to share my final choice with the online world. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wishful Wednesday

I wish for fantastic driving weather this weekend.

I wish for a joyous celebration of Jesus' birthday.

I wish for smooth transitions between gatherings for all of our family.

I hope I don't leave any presents at home by mistake.

I wish I could say I've never left a present home by mistake.

I wish it wasn't snowing right now... I mean really... we've had enough.

I hope I get some snowpants this Christmas. I really need snowpants.

I wish I was soaking in a hot tub right now. 

What are you wishing for this week?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chains, Toilet Paper, and Fake Sudafed

Here's a little of what's been going on around here lately....

The kids have been making decorations for Christmas, our theme this week is Jolly Holidays.

Because there are boogers on many of the little noses I see all day, I'm washing my hands constantly, which dries them out pretty bad.  Curel (only an ok lotion) is applied as often as possible.  Toilet paper is what wipes little noses, because we run out of Kleenex a lot, and when that happens... bring out the TP.

Remember the other day when I nearly killed my dog for eating my (family's) sugar cookies and I "had" to make chocolate chip cookies?  Well, I've eaten a few of them.  It's a problem.  I think about them, visualize them, then suddenly this happens...

And then this happens...

Also there are nightly applications of Vicks.  The regular stuff for the girls and the baby rub for Little Man.

Also? Antibiotics and generic sudafed.
Little Man is on Amoxicillin for an ear infection, Sweet Pea is allergic to Amoxicillin so she was put on cefdinir for impetigo, possible strep throat, and an ear infection (it was a big morning), and I've been depending on Target brand's sudafed to get me through this cold.

I wish I could give sudafed to Little Man and Babydoll, because they could really use it.  Unfortunately there's not a whole lot you can do for young kids when it comes to coughs and colds.  We've just been helping them blow their noses, giving them as much sleep as possible, and plenty of water.  Vicks at bed times on their chest and back have helped them breath and relieved the cough a little bit.

See ya Tuesday night for Wishful Wednesday... or maybe I'll get really logical and post it on Wednesday!

But probably not, I can't always be the logical one.

I apologize profusely for the major blurriness of all my pictures... haven't taken my camera in to get fixed yet.

Boogers, Revisited

I'm reposting this amazing poem I wrote and posted back in May, because it applies today as well.  Enjoy, but don't steal it!


Boogers on their noses
Runny runny noses.
Boogers on their lips
Afraid to kiss those lips.
I hug the booger kids
Boogers on my arm
Boogers walk around the house
Boogers boogers everywhere.

There was also a picture, but I can't find it, so if you want to see the picture that relates to this poem... be my guest and click here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Our Dog is Grounded!!!

I made a batch of sugar cookies this afternoon.  I ate a bunch of them, the kids and Spence had some, and we still had a bunch left.

That is, until Lucy our dog got a hold of them!

15 minutes ago she ate all but one of the cookies that were left, and the one she didn't eat couldn't be saved.  I mean, who wants a cookie that a dog has mouthed and was just about to eat?  I'm a self-proclaimed cookie addict, but no thanks!


The only silver lining here is that now I'll be forced to make chocolate chip cookies, which I'll have to eat some of tonight because if I don't then things will be very difficult for me for the rest of the week. 

While I don't mind making and eating chocolate chip cookies, I'm not going to thank her for eating all my (family's) sugar cookies!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Spike Diet - Weighing In

In October I told you about a diet Spencer and I had started, back then I had lost 5 lb in the first 2 weeks.  The diet is called The Spike Diet, and you can read about it on their website.

I'm thrilled to update that I've lost, as of my last weigh-in last Saturday, 18 pounds!  There's no way I'll tell you my actual weight, but the second digit in my weight dropped to a number I haven't seen in years!  I've lost more than 2 inches off my waistline! I bought a smaller belt and am now buckling it at the 3rd hole, and I'm wearing jeans I nearly threw out before because I haven't fit them in a long time and couldn't foresee squeezing into them again... now they fit comfortably!

I'm not the only one who's been losing weight, Spencer lost 25 pounds and is in the best shape he's been in in years!

I'm not going to lie and say it's been a total breeze, but for someone who's never really committed to a diet before... any serious attempt at a diet would not be a total breeze.  But it hasn't been hard at all either!  Once a week I get to stuff my face with whatever the heck I want, and it's a key part of the diet! I've heard from a couple people that they would be worried about getting back in diet-mode after a day of indulgence, but for me it actually makes it so much easier because I know that on Saturday I can eat as many Christmas cookies as I want. 

A few things that have helped me along the way...

I keep track of ALL the food I eat and calories on a spread sheet and enter them as soon as possible.

I snack on protein because it burns more calories in the digestions process. 

Keeping a bottle of water handy helps stretch me to the next meal, and keeps the water weight off... somehow.

We buy Special K Protein Meal Bars for when I don't want to make something... the chocolate chip ones are the best and the convenience of them keeps me from reaching into my kids' halloween candy, or popping a hotdog into the microwave.

I'm trying with all my might to not bake any cookies until Saturday, because I know that before they are even cooled off I will eat like 7 of them... which is ok on Saturdays because that's my spike day!

When I make dinner I add up all the calories in the ingredients and divide it up to get my total calories eaten.

The calculation of how many calories you are supposed to eat can be a bit confusing, so be careful when you figure it out.

   The whole metabolism boosting thing must be working because I feel like I'm losing weight more easily as I go along, although I'm not expecting much weight loss in the next couple weeks with Christmas coming up.  I'm not really worried about it though because a couple times during my diet I've fallen off the bandwagon and gained a couple pounds back, but the next week those pounds were gone.  One of those times was when I had the flu (or whatever it was) and I was eating whatever I could grab or was given to me, like really yummy and bad for you creamy chicken and wild rice soup.  Once I was well enough to prepare stuff I was back on track.

Oh and, a small Christmas miracle occurred on Sunday.  I took the girls to go see the childrens' play How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and there were cookies for sale, and I didn't get one!  Most people wouldn't consider that a small miracle, but if you know me then you know I'm obsessed.  Coffee and cookies get me every time, but not THAT time!

I'll check back at some point again, hopefully it will be because I reached my goal of 25 lbs lost!

Oh, and because tips are always good, what diet tips do you have?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One of my Favorite Kitchen Tools

Recognize this?  This, my friends, is one of my favorite kitchen tools.

You may think this is a pizza cutter, right?  It is, but it is also so much more than a pizza cutter!

I use it to slice quesadillas.  I cook the quesadilla in a pan sprayed with pam, throw it on the cutting board and slice it up quickly and easily with my pizza cutter!

I use it to cut pancakes as well!  instead of cutting up pancakes for 6 kids with a knife and fork, I make quick work of it with a pizza cutter on a cutting board, slide the cut-up pancake onto a plate, and drizzle a little syrup on it!

It works for other foods as well, like turning french toast into french toast sticks!

What's your favorite kitchen tool?  What handy little tricks do you have to share?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wishful Wednesday

I wish for my bachache to go away, carrying Little Man around too much lately and he's not so little anymore!

I wish for safe commutes for my friends and family throughout this winter season.

Steven King has a twisted mind... random I know.

I wish I had a glass of water.  sorry, another random.

I hope to help Babydoll remember who this season is about.

My girls are getting colds, I wish a speedy recovery for both of them.

What are you wishing for?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The "Other" Target Store

Little Man has been a little on the cranky side lately.  He whines more, is more forceful with his demand for your attention, spazzes out when he doesn't get his way, and has had a little bit of trouble sleeping.  He is a rockstar at bedtime.  You give him a kiss and a hug, lay him down, hand him his teddy in his right arm, he pops his left thumb in his mouth, cover him up, say goodnight and I love you, and walk out the door.  We don't hear from him again for 12 or 13 hours.  In the last week he's woken up a few times crying... nothing major, but enough to make us go "hmmm, wonder what that's about?"  He also has been messing with his ears lately.  All of this led me to take him in to the clinic at the Target store a couple towns away.  I live a few blocks away from a Target store, but we don't have a clinic at ours so I had to go to the other Target.  We take the kids to the Target Clinic for simple things like strep tests, ear checks, and that sort of thing because for us the copay difference is $40 less.  Basically a no-brainer.

I walked in with him, started filling out all the paper work while simultaneously trying to keep him in the clinic area because he thought it would be a whole lot more fun to just go explore the store!  Turned out his ears were fine (one was a tiny bit red, but not infected red), but he had a temp of 99 so the dr gave me a Rx for an antibiotic in case his temp shot up and he started really complaining about his ears.  I thanked the Dr and we headed out to get a cart so I could get the things on my short grocery list.

I have to say, and I'm feeling slightly disloyal for saying it, I like the neighboring Target better than mine!

Little Man and I only explored half the store, but I like the layout, I like the spaciousness and visibility, and I love the shopping carts.  The shopping carts don't squeak or pull to the side, they roll more smoothly, the sides are like handles and I could pull it from the sides or front of the cart if I wanted to easily.  They're just nice :o) 

So please, dear Target in my town, could you consider closing down for a few days and totally renovating yourself to be like the other store?  I mean, you already moved the grocery section all around and screwed up my awesome shopping template, you might as well move it all around, expand, and buy new carts.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wait... What? I'm NOT in Control??

Sort of a stream of consciousness post here, as I'm still working through this realization and what it all means.

I may be just a little bit of a control freak.  While I don't always know the best way to do things, I tend to think that, in the moment, my way is correct.  I don't know what it is that makes some of us feel the need to control most aspects of our lives, but I feel really anxious when I feel out of control of a situation.  Luckily for the people around me, I usually remain pretty calm while I try to take control, but I know this part of my personality has been frustrating for Spencer, among others. 

I tended to take the lead in group projects in school... which made me dislike group projects because I wanted things done a certain way and would become a little anxious about how someone else would do things.  I was passive about it, not sticking my neck out too far, not putting up a fight, but internally I'd be grumbling.

I am the type of person who needs to know what is coming, what is in the near and not so near future.  I need to have a plan in order to feel secure.  I couldn't just go to college and get a business degree and figure out what I would do later, I went to college for very specific career paths (which resulted in a few track changes and a few credits wasted) because even in high school the thought of not having a plan made me uncomfortable.

Here's the thing though... very little of my life has gone according to my plan.  I always knew I wanted to get married and have children young, but my husband and I were blessed with an amazing baby girl long before we planned to get married.  I originally thought I'd be a paralegal, and when law class bored the heck out of me I changed my plan to being a sign language interpreter.  I really enjoyed that career track, but my plans have a way of changing on me.  We had our daughter, I gave daycare a shot at a daycare center because I had always thought it might be a good fit for me, and I suddenly realized that the whole sign language thing was not the right job for me but could be a wonderful background for this new job that I love!

I planned on having our second child a couple years after Sweet Pea was born, but that wouldn't be the case.

I could go on and on about how my plans change and how every time they do I feel really nervous about it until I realize that the new road was exactly where I needed to be.  I plan and plan and try to control things around me, but it usually doesn't work out how I want it to.

So I'm beginning to realize that, get this, I'm not in control of my life... or anyone else's for that matter.  I can do my best and plan and try and work but I'm still not the one in control.  I can trust that God will take care of us and trust His plan for me, but until I truly accept the fact that I have NO control over the big picture of my life, then how much can I really be trusting Him?  I feel like I've been saying and believing that I trust Him to handle things, but then I struggle against His will and try to take control.  It sounds absolutely ridiculous to say that I've been trying to control things despite His plan. 

God has shown me again and again and again how very different our plans are and how much better his plan is than mine, yet it's taken me all this time to really truly come to this understanding.  I'm struggling with it, and trying to reflect and be still and understand this.

The idea that I'm not actually in control of my life is both freeing and terrifying.  If I can't control things, then anything could happen at any moment, including bad things.  But if I were in control of my life, I could lead myself and my family down the wrong road.  But I know that God is in control and will lead me where I need to go if I just let Him.  That's not to say that I think I can just sit back and float along.  I think I need to pray, and listen to what He's putting in my heart, and follow that the best I can.... and truly trust His plan for me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wishful Wednesday


First of all, I am SOOOO thankful that I only ended up serving one day of jury duty!

I wish I had known all day yesterday that it would be my only day, I was more than a little worried about what I was going to do with our kids and and telling my daycare parents that I would indeed have to be closed... again... after being sick for so long.

I wish I could afford to buy my kids more toys this year for Christmas.

Along that line of wishing, I wish my bills would pay themselves.

I wish I could think less of my own trouble and remember that there are families with no home this Christmas.

I wish for those families to be able to find a solution to their troubles.

I wish for wisdom and patience.

I wish for a safe and  happy holiday season for everyone!

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's Snowing!

As I begin typing this, it's naptime on Friday, and the snow is falling.  Watching it fall from my living room couch, it looks beautiful.  I'm sure the people who will be driving home in it in a couple hours will think otherwise.  I'm also sure Spencer, who will have to shovel it (alone, because I can't breath well right now) will think otherwise.  But the kids? They love it!

Snow means sledding,

Eating freshly fallen snow,

snow angels,

snow balls, snow forts, snow men, and stomping through the fresh powder in big snow boots and snow pants!

Little Man has had mixed feelings so far this year.  The first time it snowed this year he was soooo excited!  He saw his sisters getting ready to go out and started bringing Spencer every article of clothing he could find until he got his snow suit and boots on.

He got out there and was kind of in shock for a little while.  he walked through it for a few minutes and then got frustrated by his inability to move and started crying. 

That first time it really snowed this year the whole family was outside.  we were shoveling and playing and moving stuff in the garage around so I could park my car in it.  Because we were all outside, Little Man was kind of stuck out there with us.  It wasn't very cold that day so we made him just "suffer" through it while we got the stuff done that we needed to do.  After a while of whining and crying and falling down a lot, he started getting into it more and ventured off to play in the snow! 

Now when the kids get ready to go out he starts asking, "dide? dide? dide?" and runs to get his boots and snowsuit!  He falls down a lot, and can't get up by himself - which really ticks him off - but he's enjoying the winter! 

Now if I can just get the temps to stay high enough to let him go out there every day!
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