Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

It's been a long day here and I doubt I will be ringing in the new year, except in my dreams. Just wanted to let everyone know that Soph is home and resting well after her surgery today. Thanks for all your prayers and please keep her in them as she still has quite a bit of recovering to do. I'll write more details later, but just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Look at what Santa brought in the girl's stockings!

Okay, I just love little girls and bows and ribbons and such. Well, actually I've learned to really love these things after God gifted me with three girls. I, myself, didn't do "frilly" that much when I was younger, took too much time. But, anyway I digress. Santa brought these cute barrettes for my little ones and they are just too cute. I found them at Oopsie Dazie and I am so glad I did. They are priced right and well just look...These little clips have Velcro on the inside to help them stay!
This one is a barrette.
Too cute!
Anyway, they are just perfect for my girls and Santa had a great time browsing the ribbon selection. Just wanted to pass along a good find:)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's Snowing Again and Tonsils

Well, another cold front blew through and it is snowing again. Em is off to sleep over at a friends and Soph, Little One, Hubby and I are trying to keep warm. Soph had her pre-op appt. today for her tonsillectomy on Monday.
I nodded and smiled as the nurse told me the do's and do not's before and after surgery. I watched as my hubby left the room to go to the bathroom as the nurse began to speak. I listened to how I'm supposed to keep my five year old quiet and calm for two weeks. I shoved the fussing baby in my hubby's arms when he returned and motioned for them to leave the room. The nurse began to go over the risks of bleeding and what to do if she started to bleed. Gurgle with very cold water for ten minutes. Check if bleeding has stopped, if not go to ER. I said I understood the difference between a lot of blood and a little. Vomiting blood would be a significant amount I was told. Um, hmm. Yes, she'll be given something for pain. Expect her to hit a wall on the third to fifth day with the pain. That will be the worst time for her, just keep giving meds. Around the clock, give meds. Um, hmm,....okay. Drink lots of fluids, don't let her sleep too much. Okay. Her tonsils on a scale of 1 to 4, 4 being the largest, are a 3+. Yes, quite large for such a little lady. Oh, don't worry she'll get a "cocktail" before going into surgery. Rest assured she will wave goodbye as she is wheeled off without any anxiety. And on and on we went. Any questions? Umm, can I get one of those "cocktails"?

And just so you know as my sweet Sophie got poked to have her blood drawn she was very brave in a 'you better hold me down before I scratch the nice nurse's eyes out' sort of way. She cried and screamed when it was all over. Why? Because she was mad at me for letting them stick a needle all the way into her skin. I let them poke a hole in her arm. And I was forbidden to talk to her for a good 30 minutes.

But, we will get through this and you know why I know this? Because for one, God is watching over us and hearing our prayers. And two, because my Momma will be here :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

Twas the night before Christmas...

and off to Christmas Eve mass we went. Beautiful voices lifted to heaven above as Em sang in the Children's Choir.

Back home we dashed outside and the girls and their Dad were up to something good. Looking out my upstairs window what should appear but glowing lights and a landing strip for Santa and his reindeer!
Inside we opened our Christmas jammies.

Then we left out cookies and milk a'plenty.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Not only is my blog looking more holiday like, but so is the weather outside. Yes, we went from 60+ degrees outside yesterday to blowing snow and temps hovering around the 20 degree mark with windchill in the single digits today. What a way to bring in the first day of winter and to help get you in the holiday spirit!

Last night I listened to the wind howling outside my window. I watched as our live Christmas tree swayed and bent as the gusts topped 40 mph. Sometime in the middle of the night the ice and snow began to fall. Since our house faces North and the wind was coming from that direction our front windows frosted up pretty quickly. This morning the winds are blowing at about 20 to 30 mph (that's sustained wind speed) and with gusts up to 50 to 60. That is a cold wind!!

Here's a picture out my office window this morning:

And here is a picture of our quail and some finches gobbling up the corn left out for all our wildlife:
Today we are staying inside and making bread. I love the smell of baking bread on a nice cold winter's day!
This is our upstairs temperature reading for outside. It's showing it is 67 outside. Obviously, this thermometer is basking on the beach in Florida somewhere. (Look at that dust, my, it's a good thing today is cleaning day!)

Now here is our reading downstairs. 23 degrees without windchill, that is more like it. This thermometer is obviously sticking around and braving the cold!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday...Holiday Edition

So this Wednesday Shannon has asked for it to be a holiday edition. Sharing any little tips or last minute holiday ideas. So here it goes...

I store all of my stocking stuffers (the one's I help Santa with that is) in a box in my closet. This keeps me from forgetting where I put those little odds and ends when the time comes to use them.

I also try to store all my gifts in one place, again so I don't forget where they are. Every Christmas there is that one present that after everyone has opened their gifts I realize I forgot to put under the tree!

Traditions: Okay, this one is starting this year. Every year we get Christmas pjs for the kids. Hey, it looks nice in the Christmas morning pics if we are actually wearing jammies and not sitting around in our underwear! So, because the kids are already begging to open one present on Christmas Eve I am going to wrap the new pj's I got them and let them open it on Christmas Eve. See, that way everyone is happy! This will be a new tradition:)

Along the tradition line, Em has asked that there be one gift we have to go on a treasure hunt to find. So we are going to do this. There is one surprise gift that Santa will be bringing for the family and we are going to ask Santa to leave clues around the house for us to find it. Yes, he is a busy man this time of year but hubby has offered to help if needed.

So there it is my holiday edition. Have a blessed holiday season! And for more tips head over to Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday...

My moment or moments happened today. Em stayed home with an earache and Little One continued to have a runny nose. Soph actually made it to school since she was already on antibiotics! I hurried around wrapping up the last of my packages. I listened as they announced today as the busiest day for the Post Office on the news. I ignored it and hoped our post office would be void of last minute mailers. I was shipping off not only Christmas but baby gifts and "just because" gifts that I should have done a month ago but didn't. I ended up with 3 large padded envelopes, 1 small shoebox, and 1 large box.

I rushed to pick up Soph from school a little early so I could get the other two into town to the doctor. We had time to stop at the Post Office. The parking lot didn't seem too bad, so I unloaded the car gave packages to Em and Soph, grabbed the baby and in we went. The line was to the door and the do it yourself postage machine had several people waiting. Well, I choose the do it yourself line. Immediately my nose picked up a distinct, but familiar smell. *For those of you whose lives do not revolve around dirty diapers and are offended by such talk you should stop reading now* I quickly checked Little One's britches and yes she had a dirty diaper. I had been waiting for this poopy, I knew it was coming, but she has an amazing knack to do this at the very worst time. I wasn't getting out of line and hoped no one noticed the stink or worse thought it was me!

Finally, it was our turn. A very nicely dressed Postal worker stood at the machine and offered to help. Well, yes, I would love an extra hand or two or seven. So between him, my two little elves and myself we got our packages mailed lickity split. I even bought stamps! I'm not sure how much it all cost, but we won't think about that. So we thanked the nice man and headed out.
"Uh, Mom look at her pants."
Yep, sure enough, Little One's diaper had leaked all over her pants. Carefully, I carried her out to the car. Sitting in the passenger seat I spread a blanket out on my lap. The parking lot was too crowded for me to stand with the door open, plus I realized I didn't have any wet ones. Yes, I had remembered a change of clothes, but I had failed to check and see if I had wipies. So with screaming baby on lap I barked orders to Em and Soph to find tissue, napkins, paper towels, anything to clean up their little sister. Finally, armed with Kleenexes, I was able to wipe Little One up enough to put on a new diaper and pants. I figured I could get her good and clean at the doc's office. Then I had to sit there and nurse her, the ordeal had taken it's toll on the two of us.

And as I nursed I remembered a time about 8 months ago when we cheered and did the poopy dance when Little One would finally have a dirty diaper. She wasn't gaining weight, she actually lost some, and seemed unable to have a poopy. She would go for a week and then finally it would come. I would be so happy I could cry and the girls would dance with joy. I would even call my parents to share the good news. Yes, it was that dire of a situation. So it's no wonder that when she has one now she smiles with delight and she must surely wonder why the dancing and the smiling and the praise has stopped. So as she nursed I whispered, "You did it. Good job!" After all, I don't want her developing some sort of complex:)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Look at This!

A couple of weeks ago I found Angie's site and her adorable crochet sets. Yes, it makes me wish I could crochet, knit, basketweave or something. I did do macrame in the 70's with my mom's help, does that count? Anyway, I promptly ordered a set, I just couldn't resist. And when I got it I went ga ga over it. So, of course, here are some pics of Little One wearing her very stylish outfit.

"It's so yummy I'm drooling!"

"Yes Mom, I feel beautiful and warm."

Thank you Angie for crocheting me one of these (she had it done within a week!). We love it! Check out her collection if you need to buy a gift for a little one of your own:)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday_Recycled Packaging and Giving Change

Okay I have two tips for this week. One is a repeat from a couple of weeks ago where I left the wrong link and a new one.
The new one is about giving to the Salvation Army. Every store and mall has a bell ringer outside this time of year and I just feel bad not putting something in the bucket. But it can add up if you do this every time you go in and out of the store so this is what I do. I wait until I'm leaving to drop something in the bucket. I keep all my coin change from my purchases in my pocket or the stroller drink holder so when I leave I can easily grab my change in put it in the bucket. I just have too! I watch as they ring their bell, smile, wish you a Merry Christmas and hold the door open for a mom struggling with a squeaky stroller and packages (that would be me) and I feel like they are helping me remember the true spirit of Christmas.
Okay, here is my tip from a couple of weeks ago:
Hubby is a paper shredding fiend. In fact we are on our third paper shredder because we finally decided to invest in a decent one after realizing how much paper we actually dispose of. Normally we dump the shredded paper in our compost pile, we're trying to be green around here!

But during the holidays we get tons of catalogs, we must be on some sort of list that says send these people every one ever made.

This is from two days of mail!

So off to the paper shredder it goes and since most of these have a glossy coating it is not biodegradable. So hubby and I almost simultaneously came up with this idea (not only do you complete each others sentences, but you complete each others thoughts after so many years of marriage). This would make great filler for all those holiday packages we are going to send!

And the holiday catalogs give your shreds all sorts of pretty colors as a bonus!

So there is our WFMW tip- it's will help save our planet (work with me here), it will save you money in packing, and it will free up the counter space these pesky catalogs take up!

For more tips head over to Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Don't Make Your House An Idol

A new friend of mine recently said something to me that I have latched onto. She said, referring to her newly built home, I will not make my house my idol.

That is good advice. Don't you know people who do this? The state of their home rules every living moment. To the point they can't relax or let their kids play. I remember next door neighbors of ours when we lived in Virginia who literally lived in their basement because the mother didn't want the kids to mess up her house. I got to walk through part of it once. All I can remember is white shag carpets (yes I am dating myself), huge gold colored vases, more white this time the furniture and I think several pictures of Elvis on the wall. This was definitely more of a shrine than a home. Kind of like the houses you went to where all the furniture was covered in plastic (really not a bad idea when you have sticky fingered toddlers running around, ahem)!

At this point if my hubby is reading this he's going to think this is just another excuse to not do housework... But really no. Everyone likes a tidy, clean house. I think the point is that things will spill, get broken, fall apart, etc. and you need to just take it with a grain of salt. A home full of love and happiness beats a dust and smudge free house any day.

So don't make your home an idol. That's all I have to say:)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

I am so late with today's post but determined to get it done. I still haven't posted any pics, but well, that would take much more energy than I have at the moment!

My moment came early this morning as I tried to hurry the girls along as they got ready for school. Clyde was caught last night and was shaking his trap loudly, one reason for the lack of sleep, in the hall. The girls wanted to see him, to which I responded, "If you hurry I'll let you let him go."
Let me just tell you that they were ready in record breaking time. Em very carefully carried the trap down the stairs and out to the car. She bravely held it on her lap as we drove to the park. I think I mentioned once or twice that she needed to hold on tight so the lid didn't come off and let the mouse go in the car. Can you imagine?
Both girls got out and set Clyde free. He made a quick get-away and we were off. The neat thing was the pride Em and Soph took on letting this little creature go. They chatted about Ralph and Clyde all the way to school.
Anyway, it was memorable and I'm glad they found joy in it. Alright, off to bed with my tired self!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Brrrrr, It's cold!

The cold front came through early. We are sitting amongst icicles here on Cotton-Top Hills. Yesterday's fog never lifted leaving the temperatures hovering around freezing for most of the day. We're supposed to get more ice/snow in the next couple of days, yippee... In with the cold another relative of Ralph's came visiting.
From the blurry eyed glance I got of it, in the late night hours, as it scampered across my hall it looked more like a member of a larger rodent family. Hubby says no, no it just a mouse. He of course did not see the varmint as it danced circles in my hall. Those performances are reserved just for me apparently. As the ice pelted the nursery window I told myself it was very charitable of me to share my house with this creature who would surely freeze outside. And I welcomed Soph as she curled up with me as I nursed Little One because I knew her loud snoring would keep Clyde (hubby named this one) at bay. And, yes, today we are vacuuming and straightening like crazy around here hoping to stir Clyde out of hiding. Hubby put fresh peanut butter in the trap and we'll see if Clyde reappears.
Okay, I realize that some of you may be tired of my rodent updates, but hey, it is our excitement around here!
I'll try to post some weather pics later for those of you basking in the sun down south, some of you are even at the beach!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Santa Claus, Indiana

"I've been to the North Pole and seen Santa, his elves, and even the reindeer!"

This is a boast I made to anyone who would listen during my early childhood years. I had memories of candy cane lined streets, workshops filled with elves, hot chocolate, and even a visit with the big man himself. I even have proof, because I've found pictures of me sitting on Santa's lap and one of myself standing by a giant striped candy cane. Was I a lucky kid or what? My parents obviously thought so highly of me that they booked a trip straight to the North Pole when I asked them where Santa lived and if I could go visit.
I believed myself to be a world traveler. I remember feeling very proud of myself when my friends eyes would grow large as they asked me just what the North Pole really looked like. They always wanted to know how much snow there was and how cold it was and if the reindeer did a little flying demonstration for me. I'd always answer, straight from my young memory, that I didn't remember the snow. Actually, I thought it was kind of warm the day I visited, but there was plenty of white powdery stuff sprinkled on the rooftops of the village. The reindeer, were just munching on same hay, and really just looked like deer with big antlers. I assured them the magic must happen on Christmas Eve, but of course you can't visit then because Santa is way to busy!
It wasn't until I was older, much older, that I realized I hadn't been to the North Pole at all. I'm thinking the conversation went a little like this:
"So how old was I when we went to the North Pole?" I asked my parents.
"North Pole?" Mom asked looking at me strangely.
"You know. When we went to see Santa, the elves, the reindeer..."I prodded.
"Oh, the North Pole!" Dad exclaimed, nodding his head in remembrance.
"Yeah, so when was that exactly?" I watched as my parents looked at one another.
"That was back when I was helping Santa with some HR problems he was having with his elves.." responded my Dad about to launch into one of his stories.
"Spencer", my Mom looked at my Dad with the look that told us that he was full of bull. He got that look often.
"Honey, that was Santa Claus, Indiana, not the North Pole." Gently she patted my shoulder and smiled.

Oh, horrors upon horrors. My whole childhood was a lie. Okay, just this one itsy, bitsy, tiny part. But, geez, the disillusionment. I could have been scarred for life. Lucky for me I was a resilient child.

Have I told you the story about overhearing my parents plans to take us to Paris?
Paris, Texas that is...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday- Quick Supper

This week Shannon has asked we share with you some quick dinner ideas. You know the dinner you whip together while your head is pounding, the dogs are barking, the baby is crying and your two older children are screaming, I mean singing, the latest hit from Hannah Montana at the top of their lungs. Oh, and your husband just called to say he's almost home and he's starving.

Here are a few staples I try to always have on hand so a quick meal is possible:
ground beef
Bisquick mix
shredded cheese
flour tortillas
canned soup
peanut butter

Now for quick fixes:
Quisedellas: You can put whatever you want in these. If you have some leftover chicken, pot roast whatever throw it on top of a flour tortilla, add some cheese and whatever else might go well with your combo. Top it with another tortilla, put it in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray and brown on both sides. My kids love refried black beans and cheese, how simple is that! Quick and easy and everyone is happy!

Cheeseburger Pie:
Bisquick is a gal's best friend in the kitchen. This recipe is right on the box and is so simple and so yummy.
1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Heat oven to 400. Spray 9 in pie plate . Brown beef and onion, drain. Stir in salt. Spread in pie plate. Stir remaining ingredients with fork in bowl until blended. Pour into pie plate.
Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clear.

And one of my favorites as a kid:

Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches with a Milkshake. This combination is right up there with chocolate chip cookies and milk. We make a huge milkshake in the blender and everyone makes their sandwiches and we sit down at the table and no one talks for 10 minutes because we are too busy slurping our shake or chewing the gooey peanut butter....yum, yum.

For more quick fixes check out Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Michael W. Smith Christmas CD

A few weeks ago Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer posted about a chance to get a new Christmas CD. Since I am all about free, I hurried over to the Michael W. Smith website and signed up. I got my CD just in time, as I was sitting in the middle of my den where Christmas had upchucked (must read comments) all over my floor. Looking at such chaos can be daunting, but I popped in my Christmas CD and quickly got in the spirit. Before I knew it I had my six boxes of decorations condensed to three and I felt ready to spread my Christmas cheer.

If your looking for a good Christian Christmas CD click on his button on the side of my blog for a sample playing. You'll love it, I promise!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Memorable Moment Monday

Sunday evening December 2nd, my birthday, we are at the hotel frantically getting ready after a quick trip to Old Navy to find the girls some scarves and mittens (along with 3 pair of jeans, 2 long sleeved shirts, a top for me, and a vest jacket). Hubby looks great in his black suit as he will be going to a fancy dinner thingy on campus with his Spirit Scholar.

Finally, we all pile into car with hubby's parents following us. Plan is to take Christmas card picture on campus with lighted campus behind us. By the time we get to our destination two kids are almost asleep and the temperature is rapidly dropping while the wind speed is increasing. And guess what the lights aren't on!! We quickly decide to take pics by lit University seal. Click, click. Hurry run to car to drive to stairs by giant wreath thats lights are still not on. Run, run. Soph get hair out of your eyes, Em take your hands out of babies face, smile. Click, click.

Little One begins to cry. Too cold. Run back to car. Baby in car seat, doors closed, heat on..sigh... Flicker, Flicker on come the lights. Hubby and I begin to laugh, girls look out window in awe. Hubby looks at me, I look at him. Turn off car, get fussing baby, hurry girls up the stairs. Mother-in-law snaps one pic. Battery dead.

Fiddlesticks, fiddlesticks!!

Do you have a moment like this?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Quite A Day

Okay, it was such a day that the title of this post was up, but nothing else! I was going to say I spent the day doing some shopping with Little One and my mother-in-law and we found our live Christmas tree. It was a busy, but fun day. We celebrated my birthday a day early and hubby got a delicious chocolate cake with chocolate covered strawberries. Very yummy:) Off to Lubbock tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ahhh, those were the days!

My Dad sent me this e-mail and it reminded me of the good ole days. For those of you old enough to appreciate it I think you'll smile. For you young'uns I think it will give you something to gnaw on. I feel like I'm back in the day already!

Those Born 1930-1979
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because, WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computer! s, no Internet or chat rooms....... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
My Dad adds some of his own:
Riding down a flooded creek on homemade rafts w/o life preservers--no drownings (but several cases of trench mouth)Putting a very large and very drunk friend on the hood of a car and driving 3 or 4 miles down a semi-busy road and dumping him on his front porch. His dad didn't sue us; he beat the crap out of his son for being drunk. Standing with encyclopedias over your head with your pants rolled up to your knees and a crazed nun beating the crap out of your calves with a ruler and our parents sided with the crazed nun because we WERE in the wrong.

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!
If YOU are one of them.CONGRATULATIONS!
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.
While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house, doesn't it?!
The quote of the month is by Jay Leno: "With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

This is Blue Jean, Blue for short. She is a blue heeler that we adopted when she was a year old. For those of you not familiar with Blue Heelers they are bred to help herd cattle. They are very smart, very stubborn, and just about the toughest dog I know. She is all these things and more! Even though she is almost twelve years old now she has only slowed down a bit. Since we don't have any cows she loves to play Frisbee and in her younger years she could fly. It was amazing to watch. She knows no fear either. She took on a Rottweiler at Petsmart, even though she was less than half the dogs size she had him shaking in his paws. The burly owner was not very happy with his dogs response to my Blue girl until I told him his dog must remind her of a big ole bull. I swear his chest puffed up a little, the owners not the dogs!

Anyway, I could go on and on with stories about Blue, but I'll save those for later. What I wanted to tell you is this weekend it turned cold and snowed so Blue being spoiled was determined to get inside. Hubby had built a very nice shelter by the back door with hay bales so she and our other dog, Thunder could climb in. (They also have a nice big Igloo doghouse, but they usually ignore it.) So as we're eating dinner and the temp is rapidly dropping Blue hops on top of the bales of hay so that she is eye level with hubbs, who is sitting just on the other side of the glass. She lays down and stares woefully at her master, hoping he will take pity on her and let her in (she's already tried barking and that wasn't successful). Hubby turns around to look at her and tells her she's fine. The next time he turns around to look at her she starts shivering, but stops when he looks away. This happens at least ten times, shiver when hubby turns to look at her, stops the minute he looks away. The girls and I are cracking up with her antics. And of course hubby finally rewards her by letting them in, after all, this was the dog that used to sleep at the end of his bed every night until our family began to grow!

That's my memorable moment for this week. Do you have one to share?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm Not Looking

Right now as I type my husband is right outside my window, my second story window. He's hanging Christmas lights. He's been at it for awhile now. The temp is hovering around freezing, the ladder is very, very tall, and his knee could still be a bit unsteady. I'm praying to God and trying not to look at the same time. Why is he doing this? Your guess is as good as mine. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the taunts I threw his way about making sure his light display didn't resemble Christmas cheer throwing up in our front yard. Geez, I was just joking...
And for the record I asked him to get down, several times, but I swear the man is almost as stubborn as I am.

So I'm going to go busy myself and pray he doesn't fall!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I am deeply disturbed...

So have I ever told you about my seven year old's amazing ability to catch flies? Yes, it's true, since she was about 2 she has been able to pluck flies out of air. Well, maybe not out of air, but she could catch them like this as they tried to fly off a window etc. Many times she would come to me holding a fly. I thought she was picking up dead flies, but then she'd say "No, mommy look" as she would let it go and the fly would zoom off. That's pretty darn talented if you ask me.

So today she comes into the nursery as Little One and I sit playing and says "Look what I have." She slowly opens up her hand and there is a live fly crawling all over her hand and arm. But not flying away. Hmmm, is she now the fly whisperer? Taming wild flies to do her bidding? And, yes, I am cringing because former science teacher or not I would not like a fly crawling all over me. But this I do not say because I don't want her to think that I think she is a little weird.

"So why isn't it flying away?" I ask leaning closer to stare at the little insect.
Flashing me her gap toothed smile, "Because after I caught it I plucked off it's wings so it wouldn't fly away."
Happily she skipped away with her new pet leaving me to stare open mouthed after her.

And all I can say is I am deeply disturbed!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Start of Christmas Season

Okay, so today I was able to put up those fall decorations without guilt. Hubby tried to avoid getting down the Christmas decor from the attic, but finally after running out of excuses he got them down this evening:) Yesterday we stuffed ourselves with yummy turkey and all the trimmings so we were all a little slow out of the gate today!

Here's my two cuties: hubby with Little One as the snow began to fall today.

One last picture with Mr. Gobbles!

Then we all hurried back inside to sit by this roaring fire hubby made.

What a nice day it has been and best of all we are all together, and nobody has been called in to work!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Blessings

Well, with Thanksgiving a cold front blew through. They are predicting snowfall by tomorrow and today it is very chilly. The dogs large water tub was frozen this morning, first time this season. The quail and deer have been visiting our piles of corn and I even caught George wandering about yesterday. I felt sorry for the fellow because I bet the lizards are hard to find when the weather turns frigid.

Hubby is about to make his famous pecan pie, yum, yum. Last night the poor man came home with chills, body aches etc. He's had his flu shot, but I'm thinking his working 26 straight hours this weekend may have had something to do with how he was feeling. He went straight to bed and seems much better this AM. The girls and I made pie dough last night and I'm about to make Amy's Taco Party mix to take to our friends this afternoon. Some new friends of ours invited us over, taking pity on our orphan selves! We're having fried turkey!! Tonight we may go to another friends whose husband is going to have to work to prepare the plant for cold weather (the refinery where my hubby works). I'm praying my husband actually gets the next 4 days off and doesn't get called in on an emergency!

And so today I count my blessings...
  • I'm thankful for my family, whether they are gathering in Austin or Houston or somewhere on the east coast this day.
  • I'm thankful that I'm healthy and that my family is in good health (for the most part) today.
  • I'm thankful that hubby and I are about to celebrate 11 years of marriage and that even on the worst days, through our faith and commitment to each other we remain a constant.
  • I'm blessed by amazing friends.
  • That I've been blessed by three beautiful children.
  • That God continues to guide me even when I veer off course.
  • I'm thankful I started this blog and have met so many wonderful friends through their own blogs.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Have a blessed day! And hugs and kisses to our loved ones who are celebrating far away. We wish we were there:)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday

So as a teacher I used to get asked during the school breaks, especially the summer, "So what did you do all day?" Now as a stay-at-home mom, especially with the first child, I would get the same question. I've talked to others and they sayit happened to them too and it drove them batty. Like we were all sitting at home watching soaps and eating bon bons. And I have to say the question was not always from hubby, but from other working moms etc.

So here it is the solution I came up with years ago. A list! List all the things you do in one day and leave it out on the counter where wandering eyes will see or carry it in your purse to pull out when the question comes up over lunch with your working out of the home friends.

Sample list:
Woke up myself and three children.
Made breakfast while nursing youngest.
Got kids dressed.
Found missing shoe.
Found matching pair of socks.
Helped brush hair.
Found and signed papers for school that were due today.
Got everyone loaded into car within 45 minutes of waking.
Nursed baby again once home.
Changed dirty diaper.
Cleaned breakfast dishes.
Swept floor.
Changed another diaper.
Called phone company for better rate, put on hold for 20 minutes.
Got dinner started in crock pot.
Ran to grocery.
Nursed crying baby in car at grocery parking lot.
Had lunch at school with kids.
Did a load of laundry.
Changed dirty diaper.
Took my only bathroom break of the day.
Picked up kids.
Got afternoon snack.
Did homework.
Put finishing touches on dinner.

Okay, okay you get the point. Put a check mark by each item for good measure. Not only is this list helpful for others it sure is nice for you. Because sometimes at the end of the day I look around my cluttered house and even I wonder "What did I get done today?" Then I look at my list and I can't help but feel accomplishment:)

For more great tips head over to Rocks In My Dryer!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Baaa Humbug

So here I am and it's not even Thanksgiving and I feel overwhelmed by Christmas being around the corner. My Halloween decorations aren't even in their boxes yet and I'm worrying about who's going to string the Christmas lights. In fact I had to force myself to leave my Thanksgiving decorations out as I was picking up earlier because, come on we haven't even celebrated it yet!!

Now if I had been consulted when the calendars were made I would have suggested Thanksgiving be moved up a few weeks to allow for plenty of time between it and Christmas. As it is now the Christmas decor goes out with the fall decor in September and I really just, well I just think it's wrong. I would like to savor fall before I get thrown into tidings of joy and good cheer. Speaking of good cheer do you know who really becomes not cheerful around this frenzy of tinsel and mistle toe. My husband!

Now don't get me wrong he is all about Christmas, celebrating our faith, being with family, advent wreaths etc. But he has difficulty with the undo stress it puts on our pocketbook, the busy malls (not that he enjoys them at any time), holiday traffic, fattening food (now that he has lost over 30 lbs.), well and lets face it, the constant harassment that tends to go on at this time of year.

So after several years of marriage I finally caught on that this is not his favorite time . But in order to make it joyful for the rest of us I've learned a few things... Sit down as far ahead of time as you dare and make your Christmas budget. Whether all the money comes out of one paycheck or several spread out over time, but have your cash stash before you go shopping. Never use the credit card, because those pretty diamond earrings or top of the line camera do-hickey that made you weak in the knees on Christmas morning will make you sick at your stomach when the bill comes in. Focus on the reason for the season instead of stressing over whether or not your gifts are big enough or if the receivers will like it. In fact, with the kids they get one gift from Santa and one big gift from Mom and Dad (I'm thinking my friend Connie from Smockity Frocks gave me this idea). And you know what, it works great and it seems to actually help them to decide what it is they really want. Plus, hubb's family sends out e-mail Christmas lists which takes the stress out of which brother-in-law really wants socks for Christmas and which one would rather choke on them if he gets one more pair.

So around here we are focusing on family, remembering the birth story of Jesus, lighting our advent candles, and having fun making goodies and homeade gifties. And we are waiting until after Thanksgiving to put up our decorations so we can savour our turkey in autumn bliss, thank you very much!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Memorable Moment Monday

This moment happened while visiting my parents last week. I heard some squealing and some giggling and when I went to investigate this is what I found.

Apparently Gramp was giving shaving lessons!

Please join in with your MMM, just leave a comment with link to your blog.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

High Intensity Pay

My husband's company gives high intensity pay to salary employees if they have to work 14 days straight. For every 14 days straight they work they get a good bit of extra change added to their paycheck. My mother, as a nurse, can get paid more if she works nights or she can receive double time for working holidays. Hmmmm...

So I was thinking I've worked (doing the math here, give me a sec)...
  • 192.8 high intensity periods
  • 2700 nights
  • 43 holidays

since being a mother.

Because as we know we are on call 24/7, work straight through the holidays, and never take a day off.

Hmmm... I wonder if I could write my senator and see about getting us stay at home moms some sort of paycheck. The government seems to fund all sorts of programs and gives out pay for just about anything and after all, we are raising the future generation, which will be responsible for keeping this planet going.

On second thought, never mind, they can't afford us!

Friday, November 16, 2007

We're Back!

Sorry I haven't written in a week. We just took a marathon trip to Houston to see my parents and for me to go have a check-up with the world's best ENT (I've been to a lot and he really is the best). 11+ hours in the car with our three kiddos can sometimes test even the patience of a saint. We no longer have a DVD player in the car and I'm thinking we might look into getting another of those. But for the most part the kids were really good, I think the parents had a more difficult time then the kids this time:)

But we had a great visit with Gram and Gramp and hubby even got to hit some golf balls! I, myself, took a trip with Gram to go shopping at Rice Village. I have not shopped like that in a long time ( you'll notice my absence from the normal frugal Friday post, maybe it's guilt). Actually, I didn't spend a dime, it was my birthday shopping spree, gift of Mom and Dad. It was selfish, probably even a little bit gluttonous, but I've got to say I enjoyed every bit of it. If only my sister had been along it would have been the perfect shopping day!!

Soph is going to have to have her tonsils out the day after Christmas. I truly cringe at the thought, but I know how much better she will feel once they are out. And we are really ready to be feeling better around here, enough sleepless nights and colds and coughs, thank you!

Well, I still need to unpack, do more laundry, etc. Better see what's for dinner too!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Medical Update from Cotton-Top Hills

Okay, just to add to my list this am we went to the doctor. All three of my girls this time. Last night I got a call telling me Little One had two types of bacteria growing in her nose culture (nice, huh?) so she needed a shot plus ten days of antibiotics. I just want to stop here and put in a small plug for breastfeeding. The fact that I am nursing gave my Little One the extra boost she needed to keep from coming down with pneumonia, which was one of the bacteria strains growing in her nose! And the fact that she had these two nasty bugs in her body and she only ran a low grade fever one day and had a runny nose. She possibly would have been able to fight this off on her own, but since we are going out of town didn't want to take the chance. I just had to mention that because sometimes when children who are nursed get sick it's like a banner for those who don't nurse to say, but see your kids get sick too so why should I breastfeed. *

Em's cough was turning a little croupy and Soph's nose was beginning to show signs of infection. Once again allergies turned bad! So more meds since we were leaving town for a few days. This time we were in and out of the doctor's within 30 minutes, yee haw!!

*Disclaimer: I am in no way insinuating that if you choose not to nurse or can not nurse that I am better than you.

Added later: Didn't mean to sound trite. Just want to give all those nursing moms encouragement!

Frugal Friday

Okay, I don't know about you all but I wake up every morning to a list of toys being recalled and I just wonder are any toys safe. So in the spirit of not only wanting lead free gifts for my kiddos this year, I also have some frugal homemade ideas for baby!
Ever seen all those Baby Einstein videos?!! Did you know it was started by a woman in her basement with just a video camera, music and some toys! She sold it to Disney for millions (why couldn't I thought of that), but I digress. The point is if you or a friend have a video camera you too can make your own videos. Just play some classical music, have some puppets or toys dance around, maybe some close-up shots of pictures of landscape or animals you have or cut out from magazines and you've got a video for baby. My little ones loved to watch these from the time they were old enough to sit up to toddler hood. Older siblings would love to help with the production!
At the fabric store they have seasonal cloth books you can sew together to make books for the little ones. And you don't have to be an expert seamstress! You could just get pieces of felt and make your own. Plus, there are all sorts of things you can do with transferring pictures to fabric etc. where you can make your own picture books.
More toy ideas here and for those a little older here.
For more frugal tips head over to Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

All in a week...

I've spent exactly four hours and twenty minutes in the doctor's office this week (I have another trip tomorrow so that number will be higher).

Made 12 trips into town, 18 trips to school, and used half a tank of gold, I mean gas to do it.

I've talked to two different doctor offices at least five times for appointments, test results, etc.

Driven through the pharmacy drive-through twice.

Discovered I left my wallet at home after driving all the way into town for dry-cleaning.

Been rear-ended by a big ole pick-up truck while I was attempting to obey the law and actually stop at a stop sign, he obviously didn't feel that was necessary.

Been disillusioned by the lack of voters and the outcome of our failed school bond.

I've had very unkind thoughts ( and maybe words) for my fellow mankind. (see above two comments)

Had to cancel a must needed hair appointment.

Neglected my blog.

But...the weeks almost over and I'm sure next week will be a breeze:)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

I have learned from my 5 year old that I need to send canned goods to school for the pilgrims. Upon further questioning I learned that these pilgrims don't have very much food and that they might live in tee pees like the Indians. And they might not have stoves so they will have to build a fire to cook their food.

Interpretation that came from my 7 year old was that they were having a canned food drive. It wasn't for the pilgrims, but rather in the spirit of Thanksgiving. Like when the Indians shared their food with the pilgrims, we need to share with those that need help.

I just love these conversations I have with my kids!

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Today I mourn for a little one I was able to know only through his story. His parents have been through an amazing journey and little Ian has taught us many valuable lessons. Please pray for his family.

Godspeed little Ian, Godspeed.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Frugal Friday

Most of you are familiar with Dave Ramsey and his ways to living a debt free life. One of his tips is to always use cash, to put your cash into separate envelopes labeled groceries, gas money, entertainment, clothes, etc. We try to do this every payday, after we sit down and make a budget spending every penny that comes home. That includes money that goes into savings. Anyway, I used to use just plain white envelopes and by the time the next paycheck came my envelopes were a mess, plus they were bulky and took up a lot of room in my purse. Soooo, hubby found these:

on Dave's website. The wallet has envelopes that allow you to write where each penny was spent, plus room for your checkbook, drivers license and other cards (not credit cards!!). The great thing is if I do use my debit card I can just keep track of what I purchased and how much on the corresponding envelope. The other little wallet is for coupons. It has divided tab pouches for all your coupons, which really beats the crumpled coupons I stuff in my pocket or wallet that I can never find when it's time to check out.

Anyway, I think it's a good investment if you are a Dave follower and want to get better organized.

For more tips head over to Biblical Womanhood!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Noah and the Ark

I felt like Noah today. No, I haven't been building an ark or collecting animals in pairs. And we aren't experiencing any rain or flooding in the weather around here. I felt like Noah because I had to take my daughters ( yes plural, both Em and Soph) to the doctor today.

I knew it was coming, I had seen the signs. The sniffles, coughs, bloody nose, sleepless nights...yes, God gave me intuition and I used it to prepare myself for the inevitable. I gave extra vitamins, I enforced early bedtime, I pushed the liquids, but to no avail. The flood, I mean sickness was here and it was time to set sail, ahh umm, go to the doctor's office.

I won't bore you with the details of getting my three girls into the car, but lets just say Noah probably had an easier job of herding the animals onto the ark. Anxiety and tension built the closer we got to our destination. Why you ask? I guess it's the fear of the unknown and the knowledge that doctors could give shots or swab your throat!

How did Noah keep peace on that ark filled with lions, tigers, bears, sheep etc. while the storm raged outside. I have no clue, because if I did I would be able to use it on my children in the waiting room. Instead I was clawed and climbed on and just plain worn out by the time we got in to see the doc. And yes, horrors among horrors, a throat had to be swabbed. I looked to the heavens for a piece of blue sky, but I realized the storm was still raging as my daughters screams vibrated off the little room's walls, and later the halls, and later still in the car. I listened to screams so deafening that it would no doubt have drowned out that raging storm outside the ark.

And then just like that it stopped. I swear I might have seen a rainbow overhead, because suddenly the flood of tears was gone, the thundering cries were silenced and just like the sun overhead, my daughter's smile lit up my world once again.

Yep, just like Noah.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Handy Tool For Pumpkin Carving

Okay, hubby came up with this great idea for getting the innards out of the pumpkin for carving. He uses a dog brush, the metal kind you scrap over your dogs coat after bathing. Get out most of the seeds by hand and then use the brush to scrap out the rest. I should have taken a picture of the inside of the pumpkin because it is clean as a whistle and no risk of catching those little silky fibers on fire when you put the candle inside.

I thought this was a nifty idea...yes gals, he's sexy and smart!

Head on over to Rocks In My Dryer for more great tips:)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I know you all are just dying to know if Ralph was found. I am happy to report he was caught last night. Hubby just happened to see him sneak into the utility room before bed and moved a live trap by that door. Sure enough little Ralph was in the box this morning. After taking the kids to school I loaded the trap inside a bigger box (the thought of a possible escapee in my car nearly did me in) and drove down to the park. With heart pounding I opened the lid and let him go. He ran promptly into the high grass, thank goodness in the opposite direction of where I was standing. I ignored the fact that he seemed to be heading back in the direction of my house.

I called hubby to let him know I handled the Ralph situation (it's all about facing those fears). He asked if I disposed of him, as in Ralph no more, and I told him no I let him go. Did he really think I could whack a cute little mouse:)

Anyway, I am sure Ralph is running down by the creek right now enjoying the breeze that is ruffling his little brown coat. And I am happy to have my house critter free (well, at least I think so)!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

Last night as I was putting Little One to bed I for some reason got to thinking about all the critters that like to call our house their home. I'm not talking about the wildlife outside, but inside. The creatures that keep passing through our defense systems. I was thinking that mice aren't as bad as snakes or bigger rodents, yes that was what I was thinking early in the evening. But in the middle of the night when Little One woke up crying I ran into the nursery to console her just as a little mouse went running out, I wasn't so sure about my earlier musing. Perched on the recliner with the baby I stared at the doorway just waiting. And a few minutes later the invader darted back into the room. At my alarmed gasp it came to a screeching halt and quickly left again. Great, now it's probably in Em or Soph's room or my own bedroom.

Urghh, our live traps that had given me a false sense of security since our mouse invasion last spring must not be working. Or it is possible that this mouse just hadn't found them yet. Our dear pest man said that they wouldn't stay upstairs for long because there is no food for them. I tried comforting myself with this knowledge as I stood slowly and made a mad dart to my bedroom, Little One clinging to me as she was still nursing. Running on tiptoes I prayed I would not encounter our visitor and let out a screech that would wake the household. As I made a leap into bed that even the most accomplished long jumper would admire I happened to glance at my husband. Laying perfectly still, head turned, eyes wide as saucers he stared at me unmoving as I landed in bed beside him.
"Mouse" I quickly whispered.
"Where?" was his groggy response.
"In the nursery" I tried to ignore the cold sweat enveloping my body.
"Oh" he mumbled as he fell back to sleep.

I stared a hole into our hallway as I waited for the mouse to appear. I knew it would. It was almost as if it was stalking me. A few minutes later the whiskered prowler made an entrance into my bedroom. I couldn't help but gasp, which sent it scurrying out of my room. Groaning my husband sat up.
"It was just here." Nonchalantly, I leaned back against the bed and shrugged, "It's just a little one." Nervous chuckle.
My hubby is not fooled. Reluctantly he gets up and goes downstairs to retrieve a live trap and brings it up to our room. Placing it against one wall he then climbs into bed and is quickly asleep.

Needless to say the mouse makes another appearance, bypassing the trap by joyfully leaping down the other side of the hallway. Again I scare it with my indrawn breath and this time my husband wakes with a few choice words.
"The other side of the wall." Pause. "I think the trap would be better outside of our door in the main hallway."

Hubby gets out of bed mumbling something about just trying to sleep and how we need to put this into prospective because it is just a little mouse. I notice he turns on all the lights and tentatively looks behind our door as he goes to move the trap. I've learned lights don't scare the mice away it just makes them easier to see. But I didn't share this tidbit with him.

I make myself close my eyes so if the trespasser returns I won't see him. I tell myself that he is more afraid of me than I am of him. I also remember how cute little mice are when I see them outside or at the pet store. I remind myself how ridiculous it is to be frightened of such a tiny creature. I sleep, I dream of mice...

This morning no sign of Ralph (my trick, always name your fear and who could be scared of a Ralph!). The dogs were invited in to sniff around for awhile (I'm ignoring the fact that the mouse probably gained entry into the house by parading past my two senile dogs).

I've got to run and call the pest man and see about some more live traps, but if you have a memorable moment please share it!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's Feeding Time at Cotton-Top Hills!

Just a few of the critters that need feeding around here...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday

Flies, flies everywhere around here. When the weather starts to get cooler the flies go into a frenzy mode gathering wherever it is warm, especially my kitchen!! We have been known to kill some fifty flies in mere minutes ( okay, maybe not that quickly but close!). My hubby has a terrific way to catch these pesky insects inside. He gets out the shop vac and sucks them up with the hose. It works great and no fly guts to clean off the walls and counters! The method is simple, just slowly sneak up on fly with hose and the closer you get the vacuum causes the little rascals to hold on for dear life making it easy to suck them up. Just take vacuum far away from house to dump just in case any have survived:) Also, for outside around doors these little traps work wonders. I got ours at our local feed store.

For more WFMW go to Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

Our First Annual Great Pumpkin Patch Party!

We had a fantastic time this Saturday at our first pumpkin patch party! It was truly a joy to see 30+ kiddos running around having fun. They did an awesome job decorating their pumpkins, what creativity. Hubby had a blast with the hay ride, that tractor is earning its keep every day:) Thanks to some great friends we had a huge pinata the kids enjoyed whacking. And look who we found in the great pumpkin! Little One enjoyed chomping on this big veggie.
We feel very blessed to be able to host such an event and to be surrounded by family and friends. It really fills my heart with happiness! And thank you to all who came, some traveling over an hour with vans full of kids! Can't wait until next year!!!
Feel free to join in with your memorable moment, just add a comment and link to your post:)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

This memorable moment happened this weekend at our church's fall carnival. Em just recently lost two more teeth! That's a grand total of four baby teeth gone now:)

And of course Soph is a beautiful butterfly as well!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

One for the Team

I am happy to report that my Alma Mater won a very important football game yesterday against a certain maroon team. Little One is posing with the pumpkin I won at the silent auction at our church's fall carnival.

Now, I don't want to give anyone the impression that my team is better than yours and I certainly won't be unsportsmanlike and throw words by a certain running back in your face. Nor, will I discuss the play that took our quarterback to the ground and got my team fired up. Because this is football and it is what it is. But......

I have to mention the two hilarious men that had to carry my silent auction items out to the car this morning. Neither one of them wanted to touch the pumpkin, yes you guessed it they are Aggies. I really thought it was funny and laughingly told them they better watch out because I had a camera in the car and I might just snap a picture of them with it. I swear I saw a tear in the poor man's eye that got stuck carrying it. Then I noticed he was carrying it upside down! Really, now. Then he covered up the logo and put the backside of the pumpkin out first. The other man commented "yeah, put the good side out". Okay, if my children hadn't have been with me and I wasn't at my church, and I was a few years younger I guarantee I would have had some choice words for these men. But, I am happy to report I just smiled and when we got to my car and I reached for my camera I had a very, hearty laugh as I watched the two men run away from my car as if they were about to be bitten.

Really, it's just a game right? :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


At my house chore time can be extremely painful, but every once in awhile things click and it actually goes smoothly, sometimes it is even fun! Recently we bought a dry erase board and put Em and Soph's name at the top. They are now collecting tally marks for chores done in a joyful and I mean joyful manner. They understand there are certain responsibilities that come with living here and they aren't necessarily going to get a tally mark for every thing they do. But when they go about their tasks with a smile on their face and what I am sure is joy in their heart, they get to put a tally mark by their name. My five year old loves to now say "Yes, ma'am" enthusiastically when asked to do something. They also have a choice, because of courseI believe in choices around here, to get a tally mark for doing an extra chore or two. These are chores that are going above and beyond the call of normal duty. They don't want to do it fine, but no tally mark.

This weekend we went to a museum they were wanting to go see and get the latest Barbie DVD. This was for a weekend marathon of cleaning and tally marks. Now when they get to ten they'll get to pick a coupon from the coupon drawer. Coupons say things like, spend an hour with Mommy or Daddy alone, or play a board game with family, etc. For twenty tallies we'll go somewhere like the museum. I've found that gently reminding them of what they are working towards keeps them on track.

Also, you can get tallies for things like getting dressed for school quickly and happily (this has been a great motivation for Soph, and it cuts down on the time spent in front of the mirror for my seven year old!)

So for now this is our system. It will hopefully give me a few months before I have to think up an even newer and more exciting system!

For more great ideas head over to Rocks in my Dryer!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Soaring Overhead

Twice this week I have looked toward the sky to find quite a magnificent surprise. Yesterday while driving in our neighborhood I looked out over the canyon to see two giant birds soaring and dipping down close to the road. One of them looked as if he had found something for dinner so I, instead of taking the turn to head towards our house, took the road down into the canyon to get a better look. With giant wings flapping he took off and rapidly gained altitude. I told the girls I thought it must have been a golden eagle. We watched them flying way overhead as we made our way towards the house. As I was getting Little One out of the car I heard Em yelling "Quick Mom, over here!" several times. Hurrying as fast as I could, with baby attached to hip, I ran around the side of the house to find the bird agilely landing on top of a mesquite tree just on the other side of our property. I was wrong it wasn't a golden eagle at all, it was a bald eagle! I was so excited I ran for my camera, but by the time I juggled it open and a now squirming Little One it took flight. I sat outside for awhile hoping it would reappear but it never did. But how exciting it was to be so close to such a spectacular bird!

Tonight as I listened to Em read I glanced out the window to find this gliding past.

We ran outside waving and this time I was able to juggle both baby and camera and get some pictures. As I was frantically taking tons of pictures of this balloon I kept hearing "Helllllloooo" bouncing off the canyon walls and I could hear my girls on the other side of the house calling back. Then I heard a loud "whooosssshhh" and I looked straight up to see this!

The two men on board had been the ones waving and saying hello, silly me. They were probably watching me taking all sorts of pictures of the first balloon and thinking why doesn't she just turn around and see us hovering right over her shoulder!!

Anyway, we were thrilled to see such a wonderful sight two afternoons in a row.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

Here is my second edition of Memorable Moment Monday(I changed the name from meaningful to memorable, but I think it's one in the same!). Anyone feel free to join in!

We are preparing for our first annual Great Pumpkin Patch Party. So last week we went out and bought ourselves a huge 20.00 pumpkin. This pumpkin easily weighs more than myself and with my husband on crutches it was up to me to get it out of the car. I used a wheelbarrow and hauled it over by our front walk. Carefully, I tipped it and was able to roll the pumpkin out. Sounds easy right? Well, we decided we should take it to the pumpkin patch to take a picture of it with the girls for our party invite. So I had to get the pumpkin from where I took this picture to way over there on the other side of that mesquite tree where the ray of sunlight is hitting.
There was no way I could pick the pumpkin up to put back in the wheelbarrow, so Em and I decided to roll it. After a couple rolls we realized the pumpkin was picking up prickly burrs from the yard. These are nasty little things that we discovered are all over out here and they stick to anything. From here our pumpkin move pretty much went down hill, literally. On the next roll Em got a burr stuck in her hand and let go. It was teetering on the slope of our lawn. The slope that drops down about 30 yards to the street. I'm not sure if any of you have seen a 200 + pound pumpkin roll down a hill, but I'm here to tell you it picks up momentum. I knew at that moment the only way to save the day (or pumpkin) was to sacrifice myself. With an audible groan I threw myself in front of the racing orange vegetable. As it struck my shins I fell forward with both hands and grimaced as I felt a thousand (maybe just a couple dozen) stingy needles pierce my palms. The runaway pumpkin ground to a halt as I glanced up the hill at the faces of my daughters. Their horror turned to cheers until they caught a glimpse of my hands and legs. "Owwwww", they both whispered. I was covered in burrs. They gingerly tried to help me remove the stinging thorns as I laughed through my tears.

And finally, this time with gloves, we got the great pumpkin to the patch. Here's the picture:

You will notice Little One is absent from photo. This is because she got stuck sitting inside with Dad, who could not move, until we came and rescued them! She was not in the mood for a picture.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Holiday Recipes

I found my way to Overwhelmed's neat blog. She is hosting a holdiay recipe exchange and I figure it is never to early to start testing and planning some new holiday recipes! So today I'm going to post my husband's very yummy mashed potato recipe. Around here calories don't count on the holidays! For more recipes head over to Overwelmed's site:)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1 head of garlic (~10 cloves)1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds potatoes (Yukon gold works well; red potatoes also work good)
1 stick butter, cubed
1 package cream cheese, cubed
Salt and pepper

Cut potatoes into cubes about 1” on a side. I like to leave the skin on but it may be removed if preferred. Place in pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until fork tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Chop garlic fine and saute’ in olive oil. Remove the pot with the potatoes from the heat and drain. Place the potatoes back in the pot and return to the heat. Stir the potatoes, constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes to dehydrate the potatoes. Remove the potatoes from the heat. Add the garlic and butter. Using a hand-held masher, mash the butter and garlic into the potatoes. Mash in cream cheese . The potatoes should still be sort of lumpy. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday

This works for me Wednesday is a little different this week. We get to ask a question and have others help us find a solution for fun!

Okay, here it is....How can I get my five year old daughter to brush her hair thoroughly? Her hair is shoulder length and she is growing out her bangs to be like her older sister. The problem is she doesn't want me to brush it and she has a hard time getting the underneath part of her hair brushed good, causing lots of little tangles. I'm trying to teach her some independence in getting ready in the morning, but this seems to be our one problem area:) Any suggestions would be great!

For more head over to Rocks in my Dryer.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Meaningful Moments Monday

I am starting a new section on my blog- Meaningful Moments Monday. If anybody would like to join in please leave a posting with a link to your site, or just leave a posting with your meaningful story or picture. If it takes off I'll try to get fancy and figure out how to make a button and have the URL listing you see at all those other very sophisticated sites. And if it doesn't sound like fun to anyone else that is a okay with me:)

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take...

But the moments that take your breath away.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Can't Keep a Good Man Down

My husband must be the most stubborn man alive. I say that with love and affection, but a little irritation as well. He had his surgery Thursday, yesterday we removed all the bandages and today I found him mowing the lawn when we returned from the mall. Granted, it is a riding lawn mower, but our terrain is bumpy and hilly.

This is how our conversation went before we left this morning.

Hubby "I'm going to mow the grass today."

Me: "I don't think that's a good idea. Your Mom or I can do it."

Hubby: "I can do it. All I have to do is sit."

Me: (knowing how stubborn he is) "Okay, fine. But wait until I get back so I can help."

Hubby: "Alright, I'll wait."

Now about this time I figure all I have to do is come up with some project that will keep him busy, but in a sitting position when I get home and the mowing will be forgotten. Good, problem solved. So we call on the way home from the mall to see about bringing him lunch and guess what, he doesn't answer his cell or home phone. His mom tries, I try a little later. At this point I have images of my husband laying helpless somewhere knee gaping open and bleeding to death.

We race home. Baby screaming in backseat because I didn't stop to nurse her before heading home. I was too afraid I might find my husband in the front yard with the lawn mower laying on top of him, with no one around to hear his screams of help.

And as I speed down the hill and our house comes into sight there he is on his mower tooling around the side of the house, all in one piece, no blood.

I decide to ignore him until he comes into the house, head hanging, waiting for an earful from me.

"All I can say is that you took another 5 years off my life as I envisioned every terrible thing that could have happened to you. At this rate you will be left to explain the facts of life to our girls on your own and help them with all their wedding plans because I won't be around!"

I watched as all the color drained from his face as that thought sank in. Humph, that scared him more than the threat of a total knee replacement. I couldn't help but feel a tinge of satisfaction.

Now maybe he'll slow down...yeah right!!!