Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Before going to Florida for Christmas, we went to a friend's house for dinner & cookie baking. We all had a great time. Next year I'll have to remember to use MaryKay's idea of paintbrushes for decorating cookies. The kids had quite the dance party after dinner which helped everyone go to sleep quick that night. Friday we enjoyed the good weather with Fun Fridays at the park and then had lunch at a friend's house. It was wonderful to get to know a friend better while enjoying fresh coffee, grilled cheese sandwiches, & lunch with an adult. Saturday morning we headed down to Florida- I didn't pick books on CD as well at the library but we made it okay and even had time to play outside & go to Bibb park.

Sunday morning, we paid our taxes (canned goods) to the tax collectors and saw a Roman centurion on a horse. The boys loved the music in church then played in a Sunday School room while another centurion gave the sermon. During our short time in Madison, we did have time for the locking monster strike to again- it's a good thing C is pretty cute especially since it's really to find replacement keys for the ones that are supposed to be on top of the doors.

We headed down to Tampa after church. My parents rented a house in Tampa- the neighborhood was beautiful with a park right down the street & a nice lodge, pool, & hot tub, and lake a couple miles away. We spent lots of time at the parks & pool. (The cranes didn't follow the crane crossing signs so these birds nearly became Christmas dinner.)
Monday afternoon we went to see Ty & Anna at the VA hospital. I am so thankful that Ty is improving. When I got to his room, Anna was helping another family- so touching to see her helping others while they're going through hard times. Then we went to Curt & Michelle's house. The kids sure have grown over the two years since we'd last seen them. After dinner, we headed to the aquarirum which the kids (and adults) all loved. We even got a picture of the 5 kids with Santa.

Tuesday we went to the beach on MacDill AFB- I do think MacDill might edge out Fort Bragg for prettiest post :) The kids had a blast running around the beach, digging sand, flying kites, scaring away fishermen. A great afternoon.
Wednesday we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner at Curt & Michelle's and then went to their church for the Christmas Eve service. The boys got to be part of their first Christmas Eve program- K & Cousin W were wisemen, Cousin K was a sheep, & C was the littlest angel. Very cute! That night Santa made an appearance at Curt & Michelle's house- I wish I could have taken a picture of the look on K's face as Santa came in the door.The boys woke up so excited Christmas morning. We spent the morning opening stockings, baking Christmas cookies, decorating a gingerbread house, opening presents, & falling/ jumping into the pool in the backyard. (C falling/ me jumping- thankfully my phone was the only thing hurt.) The Hubbards came over and we enjoyed yummy Christmas brunch, opened more presents, then spent the afternoon at the park & pool- a beautiful 80 degree Christmas day.K said he was tired & went to bed before dinner- we saw him the next morning in time to go to Sea World. I did get a little teary during the Salute to the military before the Shamu show- really made me wish James was there with us. The boys all loved Shamu. They've been doing whale shows ever since & say they are going to grow up to be whale trainers (except K wants T to be a builder so he can build houses for all of them.) We had a great day at Sea World- neat shows, great animals, yummy BBQ, right price. We said goodbye to the Hubbards and ended the neat with ice cream for dinner & kids falling asleep on the way home!

We spent our last afternoon in Tampa at the park/ pool with Curt, Glenn, and kids. T loves the water, K had a blast jumping in and kicking around the pool, and C loved the splash pad. The end of a good trip. The next morning Nana took the boys to the park while Dad & I packed. T became quite the slide- he's trying hard to keep up with big brothers. We headed back to Madison, had lunch out, & back to my parents' house. That night we had a first celebration of C's upcoming birthday- he was very excited about singing, his cupcake, & his present. Now he sometimes says he's 3 (since he blew out candles) and sometimes says he's 2 (when he doesn't like what 3 year olds do.)

Lessons Learned

We had a wonderful Christmas trip which I'll write about tomorrow but I did want to share some of our lessons learned from the trip before I forget-
1) One pacifier is not enough for an 8 hour drive/ several day trip especially if you can't find the Pooh pacifier keeper- I think that was my most often asked question in FL: where's T's pacifier?
(K found his other one today)
2) Put a nametag on your stroller when you have to use stroller parking in case you have to chase your stolen stroller across the park.
3) It sure is nice to have some days where the adult:kid ratio is even.
4) I sure do miss afternoon naps when we're away but missing them makes bedtime easier (that's the glass half full side- the half empty is sometimes grumpy kids!)
5) Before you pack to drive 12 hours south, you should really check the weather (so you don't pack turtleneck sweaters, jackets, and one shirt & pair of shorts for 80 degree weather)
6) The warm weather is really nice- pretty fun to go swimming outside Christmas Day.
7) Cell phones don't work well if you jump in the pool with them. (The good news is you can cancel Sprint with deployment orders.)
8) Packing some toys & books in the boys' backpacks works just as well as a Happy Meal to keep boys busy on the road (and we save money instead of buying greasy food!)
9) We sure miss have James with us for Christmas.
10) We definitely miss him as we're trying to assemble toys (K said today "Mommy, boys are better at putting things together than girls."
11) It is nice to come home to a clean(ish) house even if it only lasts until we start unpacking.
12) it was possible to leave the refrigerator even emptier than Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Beach video

Merry Christmas everyone!
I'm going to write more later but I wanted to try to post this video of T loving the beach. He started out fully dressed but as he got sandier & wetter we took more of his clothes off. He couldn't get enough of the sand & the water. All the boys loved it but it was just extra special to watch T find this new fun.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Bathroom House

The locking monster strikes again. Thankfully, this time no pregnant women had to climb out of windows, but we may be down to one bathroom until James returns. :) Where do you get those keys that are supposed to go on top of doors?

Other than that, we've had a pretty (what's the word- quiet & slow don't seem to fit) week where we haven't done much away from home bc the boys had runny noses & coughs. Sunday we went to most of church. Monday we went to K's speech therapy (I've started maximizing that 30 minutes- last week 2 boys & I went to the post office, this week we went to the grocery store while K worked on talking like a turtle.) Tuesday we tried to sign K & C up for gymnastics, but K's class was full already so maybe karate? We didn't go to the PWOC Christmas program, which was supposed to be K's acting debut (he was going to hold up one of the letters that spells Christmas). If you'd seen their morning show, their coughing doesn't seem to be slowing them down any- I just haven't wanted to spread germs (as K now reminds his brother). I tried to upload it but I think the unicycle riding/ ball juggling/ banana eating all at the same time was a little too much for facebook.

We have done lots of "preschool" at home- some baking (although I burned the biscotti a little & have been forced to eat it myself instead of sharing), some decorating (although I'm not sure which got decorated more the table or the ornaments), we finished raking the yard (no more racing stripes- funny the things you sometimes do to make work fun)

I thought I'd share one of our frequently used recipes- it was quite a hit tonight! make sure you follow it exactly :)

Open refrigerator, find any leftovers (meat, beans, rice, veggies, ...), mix the leftovers with salsa (or any other condiment that seems like it goes with it), wrap into tortillas, place in baking dish, cover with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 until hot. (I've been thinking about sending this one into allrecipes.com but thought they might want amounts listed)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Fire Deparment did not come to our house today

I guess I should be thankful for that everyday that we don't have a fire, but I don't usually think about it. I think it was the blaring alarms all over the house or it could have been the fire in the oven that made me thankful for today. Unlike Saturday, today started very calmly/ routinely. The boys woke up, had oatmeal, played, T took his nap, we read & played more, the boys "helped" me make things in the kitchen, we went to K's speech therapy, had lunch, ... Then I decided to finish making the granola they were helping me with before speech therapy. I tried a new recipe (well, if you've seen me cook- this was my version of "trying a new recipe"- I borrowed pieces of different ones, adapted those, then tried it out.) I'm not sure which piece of this "new recipe" I don't recommend- maybe the combo of a little olive oil/ butter with the broiler of a gas stove- I definitely don't recommend the big flames which came out of the oven.
Amazingly, the alarms didn't wake T up from his nap, K didn't get up (although later he said it's very hard to go to sleep with alarms going off), and C did go to sleep a while after the alarms ended. It's good to know the alarm works- I did tell the alarm company that we didn't need the fire department to come- even though the boys would have been very excited to see fire trucks with wreaths on front come to our house! I am pretty sure that this is not what the granola was supposed to look like:

After that excitement, things went back to normal- although I don't know if the oven just got used to burning but the baked goodies we made for a friend are a little darker than they probably should be.

I started to write a post yesterday about how therapeutic raking leaves is, but as I continued to rake, I realized it's only therapeutic for the first 10 minutes or so- after that it turns into work! I have enjoyed the first minutes of raking for the last few days. The boys helped some and played lots and it was great to be outside. T started kicking the soccer ball across the yard- he's always trying to keep up with big brothers!

Sunday the "big" boys went with me to my "class" at church to hear the Christmas program- they loved the music. We did leave a little early (when the preacher started preaching)- I thought I'd used up all the sitting still time during the music. We got home and had time to do some more raking- I'm aiming to be finished my first raking of the whole yard before Kayleigh arrives (of course by then, it will be covered again:)
Tonight we went on a walk- K wanted to show me the house that he's going to buy when he's grown up & turns 20. He did say that kids don't always live where they grew up but then he picked out houses for the 3 boys. I guess we still have time to pick one out for baby sister.
I forgot to write about the different types of trees. As we through Pinetta, FL, K said that sounds a lot like Pine Valley. We started talking about pine trees and he said "there's four kinds of trees. Pine trees, other trees, apple trees, and Christmas trees." pretty cute!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good Day

So we went to bed early last night to be ready for a fun day with family today, but I didn't expect quite the adventure that we started with. I'd just been thinking we were having a nice morning- 3 boys woke up happy and not too early, then waited pretty patiently as I made pancakes. Just as I thought that, K ran into the kitchen and said "Mommy, T's in my bed". I walked into the boys' room and saw our 15 month old had climbed K's ladder and was happy as he could be playing on the top bunk. K watched as I took him down and then I heard C run in, yell "I locked it", and slam the door. So there the four of us were locked inside the boys' room. I calmed down a little since I knew that Grandma and Uncle Brian were coming today so we could get out. I was very glad we got a one story house as I climbed out the window today.
From our slightly crazy start, we had a wonderful day! Grandma and Brian got here before 10. The boys were super excited to see them. I left to run a few errands- it's amazing how much I appreciate a little time away from the boys and how much easier errands are with only my own carseat to buckle. Then, I came home to folded laundry, changed sheets on the boys' beds, and a wonderful lunch that Grandma brought. T made his rounds around the table seeing who would give him some ham. Then, we opened the wonderful presents from Grandma, Uncle Brian, and Leon. The boys were so excited- I was too! We read some of the boys' new books, had a costume party with the Brian bears' new clothes, used their telescope, T learned to open presents, C was excited about everything. I got a a calendar with quotes about peace for moms (I needed that this morning :), a beautiful antique cow plate, and a gift certificate to go to the spa (along with the promise of Grandma to babysit when I want to go- how sweet!!) We were so blessed today with all the wonderful gifts and the day together. I wish James could have been here too!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's amazing how quick boys go to bed after playing lots with lots of friends. We had a fun day- I can't say that our bread turned out the best tonight but it was fun to get together with friends. we had two other moms & 7 kids over for dinner. K got his wish for another costume party as we had Superman, Flash, Eeyore, Pooh, Karate Man, Home Depot girl & few more running around. The moms even got lots of time to talk while the kids played & played. Our fun with friends began early today as we got to watch a friend's little girl while she had her baby boy today. If you'd told me a few years ago that I would voluntarily take four children 4 & under in to Walmart by myself, I would have said you were crazy. But there we were this morning and it was really ok. A little practice for this spring when Kayleigh arrives! We made gingerbread cookies again- they turned out better today than yesterday although you can see the boys enjoyed them yesterday too when they got to play with friends, drink hot apple cider, & decorate & eat a gingerbread man.When our friends got ready to leave, poor K looked so sad as he heard his friends were headed home to watch movies & he knew he was headed to a nap. I know that it's ok for our kids to have some disappointment but this time I tried to change the subject to something happy & said we could put some Christmas lights up after naps. It worked but of course, after naps, he didn't forget about the lights so I headed back into the attic where I'd looked lots of times for our Fisher Price Nativity; today it was right there. So for our Family Time we did the Nativity story several times- I read and the boys acted it out with our Nativity figures. Then we recorded K telling the story. After I recorded it, I opened James' Christmas card and read where James asked us to record the boys acting it out- pretty neat!

The boys were also super excited to get the Christmas ornament from Daddy. When we get to Skype, James and the boys lots of times do "I'm a Moose" just like the ornament & Daddy's picture-it was perfect!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Talking T

Last night T saw a picture of a bear and said "Pooh". K told him "no it's corduroy." but I thought Pooh was good! Then this morning he said "door" and at dinner quickly learned "pop" for poppers. He's also saying "Ba" for banana. I think I started this post almost a week ago but we've had a whirlwind week- lots of time with friends, too tired at night for much time on the computer. (although I made up for that tonight in my LONG attempt to be able to schedule appointments online- sometimes computers don't make things easier- I'm only trying one more time!)

We got home Monday night and didn't stop- we had dinner with friends one night, Pine Valley Playgroup, Fun Fridays at the church playground, Cadence House for dinner, visit with Santa, Home Fires dinner Sat night, Singing Christmas tree Sun night- what a week! We also decorated & set up our Christmas tree and began our nightly tradition of reading a Christmas story & adding an ornament to our tree. We made and painted salt dough ornaments and colored lots of Christmas coloring sheets. The boys "helped" me rake the pine straw- although they were very confused about why we "don't like pinestraw" any more. The boys made these awesome Santa handprints at the Home Fires dinner. K loved the "Singing Christmas Tree"- he got to sit in the row in front of me with his friends. Tonight we went out to our Veteran's Day dinner at Golden Corral with Leon- the boys were very excited especially with the dessert!

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving. We drove down to Florida on Tuesday and missed all the holiday traffic- we made the 480 mile trip with one 25 minute stop- not bad! Wednesday morning Papa took K out for a big boy breakfast- K was a little nervous before he left but was quite excited when he came back. He even brought back some of his pancake face to share with C who got his own special trip to Papa. He went to mail something to Daddy and to the fire station. They came home with fire hats for everyone- what a good morning! My parents dug out some of my old books and Fisher Price toys which the boys had a blast playing with while we were there.On Thursday, we played in Bibb Park for a while and then went to Enid & Kevin's house for dinner. I babysat her three girls when we were growing up- lots of cooking, driving, & cleaning lessons- it was fun to get together & lots of yummy food! The boys were wonderfully quiet at first until Enid helped them feel so comfortable that they started growling loudly. Nancie's sweet baby girl turns 1 in January on C's 3rd birthday. Here's several turkeys- Dad's carving one and the boys coloring them.
Friday we went to the science museum and lunch in Tallahassee. We all enjoyed the museum- the pulleys were more fun once we figured out to put K on the one that did most of the work! We continued both Friday night pizza night & day after Thanksgiving tradition with Friday night dinner of turkey sandwiches & turkey pizza. We did do some after Thanksgiving shopping on Saturday- my kind of shopping- about 10 minutes in 1 store! After a trip to the library, we went to Becky & David's for lunch. K & C weren't sure what to think about Shep (their dog) but T liked him a lot and Shep put up with him. The boys loved the apple dumpling, ice cream, and big journey to see George the Turtle's holes. That night we went to Wild Adventures' Festival of Lights which was great (except for the rain!) K said his favorite was the Living Nativity- complete with camels, sheep, donkey, wisemen, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, & Baby Jesus. The lights & music were very pretty too!
Sunday morning the boys wore their new Christmas sweaters to church. They weren't sure about sitting still during the talking but they loved the music. It was great to see everyone there. We had a rainy afternoon but it cleared up long enough to walk Nana up to a "meeting"- an open house for the Madison pregnancy center where Mom talked to the Executive Director about vasa previa. I was glad that the Director wanted to learn about this condition and took some IVPF brochures to help spread the word because "it only takes a moment to diagnose life..."
We missed the holiday traffic again by driving back Monday- an all around good visit!

Not Me Monday

I am not writing my first Not Me Monday on Tuesday after spending 8 hours driving home from FL yesterday. While in Florida, I did not take my boys (and my parents) to an amusement park in the rain and feed them part of a giant pretzel and crackers for dinner Saturday night. I also did not almost lose a finger which was not clamped down on a peppermint for T to lick so he would stay quiet during the Living Nativity. I definitely did not almost lose the same finger the same way the next morning in church while I was not checking the bulletin to see how long until the children would go to children's church.
I did not eat so much brownies/ cake at PWOC that I didn't want anything for lunch. I also did not have someone in line say something about how much I got. I did not consider waiting another week to go to the grocery store until I did not see that only two of the five non-condiment items left in the refrigerator were before their expiration dates. I did not finally decide to go grocery shopping when I saw that the powdered milk was almost gone.
I did not think about joining the people writing Not Me Mondays (See more Not Me's on http://www.mycharmingkids.net) after reading about my friend not finding a mouse under her desk. I did not decide for sure to post not me Monday after an unnamed son's pants fell down to his ankles on our walk and he was not walking down the road in 40 degree weather like that. Then I did not have to remove a popper (edamame) from the nose of another son during dinner. Not Me!