Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eight Years....

Eight years ago today Jeff and I got hitched. I can't believe its been eight years! And here we are, old married farts with two kids and another on the way. We went to be at 8:30 last night, but don't tell anyone. It might be embarrassing. Seriously, its been an eventful eight years and I am glad to say we are still in one piece and enjoying our life together. I'll stop myself from rambling on and on, and tell you all about swimming in sub-zero temperatures during our honeymoon. We went to Ouray, Colorado on our honeymoon. I do believe it is my favorite place on earth. Should I ever become rich and famous, I will be buying a vacation home there, and maybe a helicopter or something while I am at it. We went in January, and the only people in town were us, a few locals and some Swedish ice climbers. Trying to find food in a town closed down for the winter was a bit tricky. The Subw@y was open from 11-1, that's it. There was a breakfast place open from 7-10. Don't miss it or you won't be eating. Funny thing was, there is a restaurant there called Buen Tiempo and that place was packed! I think it was the local's only way to go out for a meal. While in Ouray, we went ice skating, hiked around a bit, watched the crazy Swedish ice climbers try to impale themselves with falling icicles the size of Volkesw@gons, and took a white-knuckle drive over Red Mountain only to find that, surprise! Silverton was even more 'shut-down' than Ouray. They didn't even plow the roads. The only people we spotted were a lady at the visitors center, and two or three wizzened old codgers sitting in front of a boarded up store smoking pipes. Needless to say, we turned around and headed back. Due to the lack of entertainment in Silverton, Jeff decided that he wanted to see an avalanche. Much to my dismay, he would stop the car periodically and honk the horn, trying to see if he could start some sort of avalanche. Now, I don't know if honking the horn is really enough to start an avalanche, but I wasn't interested in finding out. Fortunately, we lived to tell the tale...no avalanches were started. And here I am talking about avalanches, and I told you I was going to tell you about swimming. Oi. I am losing my mind. Ouray is known for its hot springs. There are a few places where hot water (110-120 degrees-ish) bubbles out of the ground, year round. The water is rich in minerals and is said to be good for the health. There is a pool in the middle of town which is wonderful to soak in. The place we stayed also happened to be built over the only privately owned hot springs in the area. They had a vapor cave under the building, which we found out was clothing optional...eeeew. There was also a pool with a deck situated outside the spa. We went to sit in the pool one night and it was rather cold. When you are actually in the water, the cold doesn't phase you. However, to give you an idea of how cold it was, when we got out, I immediately ran across the deck inside. Jeff followed right after me, and proceeded to slip on my frozen footprints. It was an experience we won't forget, that's for sure. I'll leave you with a few pictures from our wedding. And Happy Anniversary, Jeff!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A few Christmas pictures...

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Rach and Phil, I noticed you may have checked the blog from Austin a time or two. :) Here are some pictures for y'all. Its not the same without you guys here!

Here are a few pictures from our Christmas festivities. I'll put up a slide show and some videos soon.


L to R: Dad reading the Christmas story; Katie showing off her new dress and adorable giraffe boots; James opening his Bob the Build*r tool set



L to R: Katie modeling James' new animals; Mom modeling her new apron; Me hiding behind my pile o' presents (we were laughing because we realized that 90% of my presents were from yard sales and flea markets!)



L to R: Katie opening one of her presents; James the fashion plate; Jeff


More pictures to come. And check out the bottom of the blog to see how big the baby is! Already 2 inches long from crown to rump, as they say. Wow!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and....

Merry Christmas, everyone! Here are a few funny Jame-isms and a SURPRISE at the end.

James was having a conversation with himself this morning. It went like this: 'I shoot buzzards. Its a fun game.' Then, replying to himself, he said 'WhatEVER, James!'

And this morning while going to the, uh, bathroom, I hear him say 'Dis is re-latzin, mama!' (relaxing) Never really looked at it that way.

And last but not least...the surprise. At least for some of you....we are expecting baby numero three in July!!!!!!!!! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Celebration Numero Uno

Saturday we had our first Christmas celebration. Rach and Phil are off to Texas, and Nate is not going to be around on Christmas so we had Christmas with them. We enjoyed most all of our normal Christmas traditions like the reading of the Christmas story, taking turns opening presents, wrapping paper wars, etc. Although I would prefer having all of us together on Christmas, I like the idea of a few smaller celebrations for the kids. That way, at least for James, he can enjoy the gifts he gets and not feel overwhelmed. Rach and Phil got him an awesome camping set, complete with backpack, glow-in-the-dark sleeping bag, flashlight and waterbottle. Can you guess what he has been playing with ever since?!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gingerbread Train Wreck! What fun!


James and I made a gingerbread train during Katie's nap. It turned out just lovely. James enjoyed putting lots of M and M's on the train and in his mouth. He insisted on holding the M and M's the whole time...since that was 'his job, so they don't dit spilled.' He also dipped into the frosting quite frequently. It was a huge mess, but a fun project!
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Some things just aren't right. Prime Example: Jello Molds



Are those olives with pimentos?!



Every thing plus the kitchen sink, and half the contents of the junk drawer went into this!



I wonder how John McC@in would feel if he saw this?



Eeew. Eeew. Eeew. Why would you do this?!

This morning I was browsing on of my old 'vintage' cookbooks. I love looking at old recipes. Except for jello. But I look anyway, because it is just disgusting to read what people used to suspend in Jello. For example, the 'Frosty Cheese Mold,' which includes blue cheese, cottage cheese, milk, whipped cream, nuts, green food coloring and a carton of limeade, all suspending in a gelatinous pile 'o nastiness. It was a toss-up between that and the 'Summer Tuna Mold.' This one involved tomato soup, celery, green peppers, and tuna fish....all held together by, you guessed it! Gelatin! I don't think I'll be making them any time soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ugh.

Yesterday was one of those days that just goes from bad to worse. I'll spare you the details, but the day culminated in my discovery that somehow Katie chipped off about a third of her front tooth! Its not a little chip....its really about a third of her tooth. Gone. Missing. And...it can't be fixed. I had kind of figured that's what they would tell me, but I was hoping against hope. I have no idea how she did it. I know it must have happened shortly before I noticed, because, well, it is very noticable, especially when she flashes one of her trademark toothy grins. She's only had that tooth for two or three months and its already broken. Is there a warranty? Seriously, I am pretty upset. I was a kid once, and I know how kids make fun of other kids for stuff like this. I am glad Katie is a feisty little thing and I think she'll hold her own. Maybe we can concoct a story about how she chipped it back in her championship boxing days or in a freak skiing accident. Now if only I can just accept it, since I can't exactly change it. Sorry, Phil, but I don't think sticking a Chiclet up there is going to work. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

News Flash!!!

I filled up my gas-guzzling Explorer for 28 bucks today! Seriously! When is the last time that happened. I can't remember. Oh, and a funny James quote:

James: Where is that jat-hammer going?

Me: Well, he is breaking up the road.

James: No! He is going to his jat-hammer mommy!

Pictures, Video and a Soapbox! Betcha can't wait!








And now for my soapbox. All this craze about 'going green' is really making me scratch my head. Don't get me wrong. I think we are incredibly wasteful people and just buy, buy, buy and then throw it away when it loses its luster. I think we could all stand to go green to an extent, but the question is how? A lot of trendy magazines are peddling 'green gifts' or 'green options' for things we use every day. But! These 'green' products can cost two, three, even four times as much as the original. For example, a box of 30 organic carmels for $45?! I know that each product has an impact on the environment, but here is my theory: doesn't money have a 'carbon footprint' too? I mean, you have to earn the money somehow. Theoretically, if something cost me an extra 30 bucks, and I make ten bucks an hour, I'd have to work an extra 3 hours. That means three extra hours of sitting at a desk, with the lights on and the computer buzzing, or whatever your job consists of. Doesn't that have a carbon footprint? Here's another thing I think is funny: green gadgets. Should I go with the plasma or the HDTV, or whatever that thing is? An Mp3 player or a new stereo? The same trendy magazines are also educating us on which gadget to buy. Why not use what you've got? Go to the thrift store? Or, gasp, go without? Maybe, if you really want to be green, you can keep using the same stereo you've had since third grade to keep it from going to the landfill. Another suggestion I read last night was to avoid packing peanuts and use 'green fillers' instead. The examples provided were peanuts in the shell, popped corn, old t-shirts, or...and this is the one that just doesn't seem all that 'green,' peppermint candies. If they are all wrapped in plastic, and come in a plastic bag, does that really make them green? OK. I guess I've rambled on senselessly for long enough. Now that y'all can see how crazy I am, I think I'll sign off. I've got to go find some peppermint candies to pad Jeff's Calculus book with. He didn't waste any time selling that bad boy. No more Calculus for him!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Funny Kid

Yesterday the weather was beautiful. I think it got up to 67! Today, on the other hand, we are having snow, sleet and ice. Fun times. Anyway, yesterday was nice and the kiddies and I headed over to the house 'o magic, otherwise known as Grammy and Chappy's house. I swear James thinks anything is better at Grammy and Chappy's. We played in their backyard for quite a while. The only glitch in the weather was the wind. It was quite gusty at times and James took notice. At first, he was blowing back at the wind. Later, an especially tenacious gust blew off his 'firefighter-man's' hat, which caused James to turn indignantly and shout at the wind to 'STOOOOOOOOP ITTTTTTT!' We got quite a laugh out of that one for sure!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm all festivity'd out.

This weekend was crammed full of festive festivities and merry merriment. Now, I have a festive hangover. Not from drinking, mind you. No, from too much fun and food and not enough sleep. We started the weekend off with a bang on Friday night. Jeff had a work seminar on Friday night and I took leave of my senses to take both kids to a live Nativity presentation by myself. Turns out, it was much more! I was so glad we went, and the kids loved it all and were good, despite the fact that it was past their bedtimes. In addition to the Nativity, they had hired a man and his two beautiful Belgian horses and wagon to give hay rides. James was so excited I thought he might burst. We waited for twenty minutes in the cold, and he didn't complain one bit. He would've waited an hour I think. They also had kid's crafts, family pictures, various musical groups, a kids' tent, cookies galore, cider, coffee, etc, and much more. And, it was all free. We had a fabulous time and I look forward to going next year. Next time, we'll bring Jeff!



On Saturday, we had Jeff's annual fancy-schmancy Christmas party. While we both agreed that it wasn't the best one ever, it was nice and I ate my fare share and then some! I made sure to sample multiple desserts! Mmmmm.


Sunday, James was to have his first performance singing with his three year old cohorts in church. Here is the place where I wish I could show you a cute video of my kid picking his nose or waving while everyone is singing, but James freaked out and wouldn't go up. Oh, well. He's like me. Not much for public performance. Then last night we had our second annual goofy gift exchange with our small group. The gifts included a toothpick dispenser, shoe polisher, a mysterious jar of pickles and....a lovely picture of 15 cats made just for me. And we all know how much I adore cats. The story behind this is that we have two crazy friends who have no less than fifteen felines living under their care. Eight of them live inside. And, their house is the size of my living room and kitchen, no joke. They know I think they are crazy, and they always threaten to give James a cat. I tell them that I am in need of some nice slippers and a cat would make a nice pair. Really, I would not make slippers from a cat, but I do not like cats! Anyway, they made a lovely montage of their brood of cats, which I think was the funniest idea of the night! After all that fun, we are all worn out! Here's to a nice quiet week before we do it all over again!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Tale from the Franch

One of the primary pastimes we had during our dating relationship, aside from Bondo-ing Jeff’s old truck, was shooting prairie dogs. Now before you get all wound up, let me explain. To a farmer, these rodents are disaster. Its like having mice in your kitchen, but much worse. They dig up your fields, damaging your crops and creating holes that can break the legs of livestock who may slip in. So, Jeff and I took it upon ourselves to keep down the prairie dog population at the farm. Since they multiply with the speed of rabbits, its nigh onto impossible, but we had nothing better to do. We would hop on the four-wheeler or climb in Jeff’s old pick-up and make laps around the center pivot field, or head on down to the lower fields. Prairie dogs take an awful long time to figure out that they are being hunted, so we usually made several laps before they got the hint and hunkered down. In order not to disrupt the delicate sensibilities of my East coast readers, I will not go into any details about how easy a target they make and, well, never mind. It feels like we spent hundreds of hours on this pastime. One of the most memorable moments was in the spring. The wheat was just sprouting, coating the field in a soft blanket of fresh green. We shot a prairie dog and it fell right on its respective mound of dirt. For whatever reason, we sat there a moment and low and behold, an eagle swept down and landed on the mound. It is at this point, Jeff and I would have a ‘discussion’ about whether it was a golden eagle or a bald eagle. We had both in the area. I’m telling you, it was a golden eagle. If you have never seen one up close and personal, let me tell you: they are BIG! This bird must’ve stood a good three feet tall. We were not more than twenty feet away. There was this beautiful eagle sitting there against the sprouting wheat, and it looked at us for what seemed like forever. If he could’ve talked, he would’ve said ‘Thanks for dinner. This saved me the effort.’ After gazing at us he picked that fat prairie down up with his talons and took off. It was an amazing sight to see. It was no small prairie dog, but the eagle had no problem carrying it away. Now that’s not something you see everyday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pictures and a Video! Its a Miracle.



Setting up the Christmas tree: I had a lot of 'help'



James' drawing of me, including a scarf on my head. My ears are floating on the page. How cool is this?! His first recognizable drawing.



I let James paint for the very first time. It was a mess! Now he wants to paint all the time.




Here's a video of the kids...not the most exciting one ever, but you can see them dancing, especially at the end.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

James Theology

This Christmas is turning out to be ripe with funny James soundbites. He has already told me that Jesus wants a tractor birthday cake. Today, I was telling him how the wisemen brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus. I told him that was sort of like perfume or cologne. He sat there and thought about it for a second, then had a perplexed look on his face. 'They did not bring him myrrh! No! They brought him goldfish!' The question remains, did the wisemen win their goldfish at a carnival or did they bring them in cracker form?

Yippee! (I think...)

So after nearly four hours of dismantling the furnace at the rental, starting a fire, and getting incredibly dirty, Jeff got the furnace running again. He spent a whopping $7.42 in parts, which were more like the 'while I'm in there I might as well' parts, rather than the cause of the problem. We were very relieved to get it running without having to call the oil company to come out and charge us $150 to tell us that its going to cost another $600 to fix some weird part. However....this morning we got an email from our tenant again saying it was not working again. Jeff thinks, maybe hopes, that it is air in the lines. We are praying that that is the case, and that its not anything major.

And as for the dog....well. As I said there was a dog sitting in the bay window of the house. Turns out, it was a chihuahua. When our tenants called Jeff, he told them he was at the house. They immediately said 'uh, we'll call you right back.' They called back and said that they had a 'little visitor.' Uh, yeah. Really? He told Jeff that the dog is a gift for his wife's mom and that they were only keeping it for a week and a half. So, that's the story. Which I wouldn't believe, except for the fact that Jeff went over and talked to the neighbors and they have never seen the dog before. So, we'll just be checking in after Christmas to make sure the little ankle biter is gone.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Scatter-brained!

Here are a few of the things I have been meaning to mention here, in no particular order:
  • Calculus 2 is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jeff got an A! And did I mention its OVER!? It feels like a weight lifted off both of us. I saw Jeff reading a non-math book for the first time in ages last night, and it was so weird.
  • Katie is so close to walking. She walks around holding on to our hand, but chickens out when it comes to doing it on her own. Soon.
  • James drew his first really recognizable picture today! He drew me, complete with un-attached ears, and a scarf on my head. I'll post a picture of it later. I was so excited!
  • Saturday is Jeff's fancy schmancy Christmas party at the Mansion. I am looking forward to getting all gussied up and eating lots of fancy food. Its taken a while, but I am no longer intimidated by the fanciness of it all. I remember the first one, we felt like little ol' Colorado yokels who'd never seen a salad fork before.
  • James has been asking me to sing 'manger songs' lately. (Christmas songs) Also, he frequently asks me to sing his favorite song, Trust and Obey, and always reminds me 'don't for-dit to sing the fel-wo-ship part'. That verse is his favorite.
  • Jeff had to take a half day today because the furnace at the rental is not working. Oi. And, he just called to inform me (the renters are out Christmas shopping), that there is none other than a DOG sitting in the front window of our house. Yep. The lease says no pets. I can't wait to hear what they say. I'm not too happy at all. I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Very Useful Information

I just came to check the email and Jeff had this page open: How to Cook Food in a Hotel Room. Now I am not really sure what possessed him to look this up. He doesn't ever cook at home. Why would he decide to cook in a hotel room? Whatever the reason, it is well worth perusing just for the funny factor. Ironing bacon? Cooking chicken and steaming veggies in a coffee maker? I am sure hotels would love that. At least at the end they do remind you that the iron can be a fire hazard, and to never let children cook alone. Yes, we must always supervise our children when allowing them to iron bacon.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Gather 'round the campfire, folks...its time for another Franch Tale

File this one under the stuff-I-wouldn't-do-again category. Back in the day, our college days, we had access to a few four-wheelers and a three-wheeler. (or a 'quad' for those of you Pennsylvanians...what on earth do you call a three-wheeler?) Anyway, we had access to these vehicles of dangerous speed and a gas tank on the farm to boot. Basically, there were no limits to the trouble we could get into. I should add at this point that the 'we' I am refering to is me, Jeff, Meg and Nate F. The farm backed up to BLM land, owned by the public and available to the public for almost anything. For example, instead of teenagers going to the mall on a Friday night to hang out, they went to the desert and partied hard. Anyway, the farm backed up to BLM land, the canal and a state park. The canal ran in between most of the farm and the BLM land. We loved to go riding out in the desert, find hills to jump and chase coyotes. However, we had to pass along the canal to get there the easy way. The problem was, or should have been, that it is illegal to ride along the canal. They even have a ditch rider hired to patrol for hooligans like us, as well as inspect the canal and such. Being young and reckless, or stupid really, we liked the thrill of being dangerous. We would race along the canal road, and if we saw the ditch rider we would evade him by heading off the road into the little gullies and hills that were everywhere. One time, however, we were racing away from the ditch rider and Jeff went around a corner a little too fast. OK. A lot too fast. The problem was that we were not actually on our four-wheelers when we saw the ditch rider coming. We all hopped on to whichever one was closest. That left me and my friend Meg hanging on to the rack behind Jeff. That doesn't leave much in the way of stability. So around the corner and off I went, flying off the four-wheeler and down a hill. Fortunately, the dirt was soft and I only sustained a few scratches. Luckily, I didn't meet up with an unfortunatly placed patch of prickly pear. I have never seen Jeff move so fast in his life. He stopped on a dime, jumped off and came running over to peer over the hill and see if I was OK. Needless to say he was very relieved when I was. We never managed to get caught by the ditch rider, or killed by our own stupidity. I guess that point is obvious as I am now writing this post.

Earlier, I said that the 'easy' way was past the canal. There was also a way to get out to BLM by cutting through a long narrow filled with longhorns. Let me tell you, there is not much else that can get your heart tickin' more than that. Edging your way through a long narrow corridor filled with crochetty old cows with spear-like horns sticking off in either direction. We only went that way a few times. Just the thought of possibly getting skewered in some freak accident with a cow was enough to keep us away. Another time we went out, we rode for what seemed like hours. We wanted to see how close we could get to the Bookcliffs. When we can back, we were getting a bit low on gas. We could see the house, but somehow, we found ourselves stuck behind a barbed wire fence. It stretched for as far as the eye could see in either direction. None of us could figure out how we'd gotten on the other side of a fence we didn't see, or where we might find a gate. We ended up pushing the fence over and laying down some brush and driving over it. I still, to this day, feel guilty about that one. I hope that no one's cows got through there or anything. All I can say is that we were young and stupid, emphasis on STUPID. And I can say that word, because James doesn't read the blog. There you have it, another Franch tale. I hope I didn't bore anyone to tears.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

This one made me chortle....


OK. So maybe the word 'chortle' makes me chortle, but this book does too! Just the title of it is a giant OXYMORON! I am a PK (pastor's kid), and I have heard more than my fair share of church jokes. They are all lame and most are not even deserving of a courtesy laugh. Here are a few that I remember:
  • Where in the Bible does it say that the husband should brew his wife coffee? Hebrews. Huh. Get it? He-brews. Yep. I told you these jokes were bad.
  • Where was a car mentioned in the Bible? 'And they were all in one Accord.'
  • Where is baseball mentioned in the Bible? 'In the beginning.' Get it? Big-inning. Yep, from bad to worse.
I had many better things to do with my time as a PK than to share cheesy jokes. My siblings and I were too busy rolling our offering money down the wheelchair ramp and exploring every knook and cranny of our nearly-hundred-year-old church building. As we got older, and more devious, we spent our CA years perfecting the art of breaking into the church via the nursery window and racing down the hall to disarm the alarm before it went off. I also may or may not have hung a picture of dreadlock Jesus in my Dad's office before prayer meeting one morning. I do remember one joke, however, that I don't think they put in clean church joke books. It came, strangely enough, from my Dad. He told us one day 'What do you get if you cross an elephant and a rhino? Hell-if-I-know.' We couldn't believe that Dad would tell such a joke, although we were pretty impressed. He did swear us to secrecy though. Don't tell anyone, but Pastors have a sense of humor too.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Is that a good word?

Lately James has been using new words, or making up his own, and then saying either 'Is dat a dood word?' or 'Is it O-tay to say dat?' I think he gets this because he has come up with a few less than stellar vocabulary words that we have told him are not allowed in our house. We will be sitting there and he will say 'Is it O-tay to say strutch?' Or some other totally made-up word. Or some random phrase like 'paper route.' Really, I have no idea what goes on in his head. Yesterday, he told us all about his friend, who had a name I can't remember now. He talked about him, and we started to wonder if this was James' first imaginary friend. We asked if he was big or little. He said big. We asked him where he knew him from. He said he works at PBU. He went further to say that he works at PBU like Chappy, but not with Chappy. We have absolutely no clue who he may have been talking about, but figure there must be some basis for his thoughts. Anyway, I have just lost my entire train of thought and I have to get dinner finished up anyway, so I'll be back later.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Prince Charles: The Spoiled Canine

The neighbors behind us have a poodle of some sort named Charlie. Charlie is a nice dog. I have no qualms with him. However, as friendly a dog as he is, I think his owners go to ridiculous extremes to make him comfortable. A few months ago, I noticed that Charlie was wearing a rain coat when it was drizzling outside. I joked to the neighbor about it, and he said 'oh, just wait!' He informed me that when it is really raining, his wife or one of his twins will follow him around holding an umbrella over him so he can do his business. Are you kidding?! Well, the other night we were, uh, lucky enough to witness this in action. Sure enough, they followed him around the yard so he could sniff out a place to mark his territory. Also, lest I forget to mention, he was sporting a puffy marshmallow jacket complete with hood. Our neighbor also told us that when it snows, they will shovel a path for him in the backyard so he won't have to walk in the snow to do his thing. Seriously!? My friend Jenni has heard this rant many a time when we used to work together: what did dogs do before we decided to take them inside? Did they freeze to death and starve for lack of specialty dog food? God made dogs to live outside. They have fur coats, and are suited to withstand weather and such. I do realize that some dogs have been bred in such a way that they may not be able to survive outside. But most dogs? They'll do just fine outside. This is one reason I am hesitant to get a dog. I don't really do inside pets, but people around here will call in on you if you leave a pet outside in bad weather. The other and main reason I do not want to get a dog is that they poop. I already have enough buns to wipe without having a dog to follow around. Until they come up with a dog that doesn't poop, I think I will remain happily pet free.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Is it bedtime yet?

File this one under the 'someday it'll be funny' category. Maybe. James has been, shall we say, a handful these last several days. Something to do with the turkey, pie, relatives, short naps, etc. I just put the kids down for an early nap. This morning, James said 'Mommy, come see I made you a surprise!!!!!' I came in to find he had drawn me a surprise on the cedar chest, with the screw-end of the paper towel holder which he had dismantled for the occasion. Now I have a few lines scratched into the surface of our coffee table permanently, or at least until I refinish the thing when my kids turn 18. At least it already has the distressed look from years of us Cheyney kids beating it up. Argh! And then...oh, it only gets better, or worse if you are me. He went to the bathroom and called out that 'I realized something.' Um. Whatever that means, it can't be good. I went in to find that he had peed in the sink, on the wall and in the toilet. I was livid! He told me 'but Mommy, I peed in the toilet too.' Like that's gonna make me OK with it! Anyway, now I have pee on my wall. The problem is that it is flat paint and that stuff doesn't scrub well at all. Why! Oh, why! Is it bed time yet????

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Its been a Quasi-vacation, and now I am back...

We have been enjoying the long Thanksgiving weekend here at our house. I haven't been on the computer much, haven't really done much but eat and eat and eat. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. Each of us girls cooked several dishes so it was not all on one person. We enjoyed four varieties of pie for dessert! Mmmmm. Dad invested the best $13 ever to make five marshmallow guns to keep the guys busy. It was hilarious! They really got into it. Here are a few pictures of the madness:




As tradition goes around here, we have busted out the Christmas decorations and started getting festive. James has been just a weeeeee bit excited! Squeeling and giggling and jumping around. He got to put the star on top of our tree yesterday and it was quite exciting. I have rigged a fence around the tree involving baby gates, zip ties, and bows to cover up the zip ties. I'll have to get a picture of that for you. Its quite the contraption, but better than picking up ornaments for the next six weeks, and repairing whatever gets broken. I'm sure there's more I am missing, but Katie is trying to escape, so I have to git!




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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Off the Wall Tales from the last few days...

In no particular order, here is what has been going on around here lately:

  • Somehow an opened bag o' dried beans ended up in my dryer. I heard them rattling around, picked out the ones I saw, removed the bag, which still housed most of the beans, and figured I'd pick the rest out as I folded the clothes. Think again! Apparently, the beans were small enough to get sucked into the lint trap, and when I pulled it out they all fell down into the back of the dryer. I dreaded telling Jeff. I mean, seriously, I don't think that dismantling the dryer to extract dry beans ranks on his list of fun tasks. In the end, the dryer shot a few beans back out the lint trap and Jeff took it apart to remove the rest. What a trooper.
  • Rachel stayed with us from Friday to Sunday. We had such a blast. We went to Rice's flea market and Ike@, sewed ourselves purses, and Rachel led a (an?) hilarious story time involving passages from the LLL Breastfeeding Guide. We had such a great time and the kids loved having Auntie Rach around.
  • Its official! Katie now has to wear her brace only while sleeping! I keep thinking I should put it on her, have her wear it anyway, but I remind myself its OK. The doctor knows what he is doing. Its so nice to hold her sans contraptions!!! I think she is going to take off mobility-wise now. She is already walking holding on to our hands. She can climb on the couch and into the window, up the stairs, and pretty much whatever else she sets her mind to. I'll have my hands full!!!
  • Someone delivered a paper to our house. I asked James if he wanted to go out and get it. He went out, picked up the paper, put it in his mouth, got down on all fours and walked back to the house that way. I kept questioning him as to what he was doing, where he saw that. He told me that Maxwell gets Mike's paper for him. Maxwell is our friend's dog, who he met this past summer. That kid has a good memory on him!
  • And speaking of James...this one is funny. I was quizzing him on body parts the other day. I asked him where his clavicles were, and he pointed to his, uh, you know, and said 'they're in my pants!' Clavicles, testicles, you know. They are almost the same thing!
  • Jeff is nearing the home stretch, time wise anyway, of his Calculus 2 class. He has a ton of work to do. Will this ever end?!
  • I might sound like a ginormous dork here, but James and Katie rode in the cart together for the very first time and they were so stinkin' cute. Katie has never been able to ride in a germy cart before. Also, the other day we went to a store that had the car carts, and James asked if Katie could go in it with him. I took her brace off and strapped them both in. That was too stinkin' cute too! I know, it doesn't take much to make me happy.
  • I think I've done about as much damage as I can do here for one day, so I think I'll end here. To quote my friend Rachel, "Peace out, cub scouts."

Friday, November 21, 2008

A good recipe...

I just made this recipe for the first time this week, and it is so good! Thought I'd pass it along. It comes from my friend Erin's Mom:

Anita
's Cranberry Coffee Cake

8 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2 1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. cranberries
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Beat together the
cream cheese, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients just until mixed (it will be tough if you over-mix the batter). Spoon into a greased bundt pan and bake @ 350 degrees for about 1 hour (until it tests done with a knife).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Major Food Groups

In our household, there are a few foods we cannot live without. First and foremost, the bean burrito. Its like the Mexican version of PB&J, and I say that in the most respectful way. Its quick, its easy and oh, so delish! Just take a tortilla, some refried beans (preferable homemade), maybe a little cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a healthy dose of Mrs. Renfro's Green Salsa on top and you're good to go. By adding an avocado, another food that deserves its own food group, you can elevate a bean burrito to a work of art. If you are Jeff, adding tortilla chips to the mix would be pure heaven. That boy lives off of tortilla chips. He eats them with everything. He's even threatened to pour milk over them and eat them for breakfast. If you were to poll James for his food favorites, the list would include pancakes, bananas, scrambled eggs and raisins. Katie is a fan of strawberries, and anything she can find on the floor. And me, I am an all-around fan of the bean: refried beans, black beans and who can forget the cocoa bean? Beans are good for you, so since chocolate is a bean, it must be healthy too. I have oft thought that if I had to be stranded on a desert island with nothing but a few staples, I would choose bean burritos and chocolate. Recently, though, another deserving food has added itself to my list of foods that deserve their own groups: Dad's hummus. Dad has started making hummus, and not just your ordinary hummus. No. He makes hummus with roasted peppers, or sesame dressing, or with a smoky flavor. Everytime I am there, I have to take a gander in the fridge and be the 'cupbearer' if you will. Hey, someone's gotta do it! It takes a lot of restraint not to stick my head in the bowl and eat the whole batch! Its really that good. In conclusion to this long and rambling post about trivial matters, if I ever get stranded, please send a burrito, some good dark chocolate and a batch of hummus and I will be one happy camper. Thank you, and good night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A lot of randomness....

In no particular order, here are the highlights of the last few days:



Jeff was attempting to fix our ancient (circa 1996) 'boom box' the other night. The kids pitched right in to help where they could. As you can see, they wanted to be right there where the action was. I sat and watched and laughed myself silly seeing Katie squeezing in there between the two of them. She got the important job of holding the flashlight while Jeff and James fixed the boom box with, you guessed it, a piece of Scotch tape. And only because we couldn't find the duct tape. We are high class around here, I tell ya!



I took the same picture of Jeff with James in that same sweatshirt, and if I had the inclination I would dig it out. They look so much alike! And this is James' new look. He calls it 'that thing with my eyes.' Then he spins in circles while doing that.


In my frenzy to sew my way through the Christmas season, I have been cranking out projects like a mad woman. I can't show them all to you, since it would spoil some surprises, and we all know how good I am at keeping surprises. I did whip up a tree skirt yesterday, which is in dire need of ironing. I scored a tablecloth on clearance at T@rget for $4.99 and used it to make our first official tree skirt! It even had a nice embroidered border that I got to incorporate.


Here is another project I can put up, since last time I checked James doesn't read the blog. He loves to be wrapped up in a blanket, so I figured he would enjoy having a snappy little flannel lined fleece bathrobe. I can't wait to give it to him!

Monday, November 17, 2008

More James-isms



'Pineapple takes your mouth off your chin.'

'Daddy, I'm obsessed with shovels.'

'Fantastic!'

'A yittle bit and yittle bit.'

'Almost!' (In response to many questions, such as 'are you coming? are you done?')

'Is paper route a dood (good) word to say?' After I confirmed that it was OK to say, he spent the day saying it randomly. Who knows where he came up with that one!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shampoo and Politicians

Am I the only one who reads every single word on the shampoo bottle whilst in the shower? Anyone? Bueller....Bueller........Bueller? I have decided that they hire politicians to write the claims for their products. "Will make your hair 5x's stronger, 5x's shinier" or "Strengthens each hair and repairs damage" or "Get lucious curls, without the crunch" Really? Does the shampoo have glue in it or something? How can it repair damage? And how does it make your hair five times stonger? And how do you measure the shiny-ness quotient? And might I add that claiming curls without crunch equals curls that fly away and turn to frizz. But that wouldn't make a very catchy claim. It all sounds like politician's claims: a lot of talk, but can they really deliver? Now I know where down-and-out politicians find employement: as shampoo marketing professionals.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Yee-fiz Turned Yellow



Toward late summer, I started telling James that it would be fall soon. I explained to him that the leaves will turn yellow and orange and red, and they will fall from the trees. Now, whenever he sees leaves in someone's yard, he says 'Look! The yee-fiz turned yellow in their yard! Its fall time in their yard!' We have been raking leaves a lot, and while James will rake and load the leaves up in his wheelbarrow, he will not sit in the leaves or jump in them. And if you mess up his pile...whoa! 'Hey, you just took the roof off my castle! Do not take the roof off my castle!' Where a grown-up sees a pile of leaves, a little boy sees a castle. I love the creativity!

And a brief Katie update: We went to CHOP Tuesday. The ortho wants to see her in the brace for two more weeks, then we'll go to naps/nighttime only. Her socket is still shallow, which is normal for dysplasia. Its a wait and see game as far as how much growth her hip and femur do on their own. He did mention surgery for the first time, but it was more of a 'just in case' type thing. It is a possibility, but not a probability is my understanding. Her femur is looking better than I remember it even with the last xray, so that was nice to see. She has stood for several seconds on her own lately. Her balance is improving and she is walking with one of those little push-cart things they make for babies. She can climb the stairs, and climb on the couch and into the window sill. She can also climb through the tunnel, up and down steps to get to the top of the tall slide at the park! She isn't letting the brace slow her down at all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Off Topic

Huh? Seriously, I just wanted to say that. Because really? There is no topic here at N&B. I crack myself up. Anyway, the ol' brain is doing funny things since...since...I got an entire night sleep!!!! I haven't done that since 1976, or at least since before I had kids. It may not be that bad, but I don't think I've slept that good since before I was pregnant with Katie. First, I had nightmares from the hormones. Then there was the issue of the shrinking bladder. Then a baby who wanted to eat. Go figure. Then, a cast and a brace. She has slept worse in the brace than the cast. So, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and realized I hadn't been up with her. The following things ran through my mind:

1. Did I forget that I got up with her?
2. Is she still breathing?!
3. Did I sleep through her crying?
4. Did I forget that I got up?
5. Is she OK???

I got up and checked on her and she was contentedly sawing logs. Jeff woke up and asked where she was. I told him she slept through the night. He said 'Are you sure she's still breathing?' Yeah, that's what happens ladies and gents, when your kid sleeps through the night for the first time in who knows how long.

And on to a completely different subject, I was brainstorming Franch ideas and I remembered that I have not yet told you about Speedo man! Its not really a Franch story, per se, but a Colorado story. In Grand Junction, there was a character everyone knew of as Speedo Man. Shockingly enough, his nickname came about due to fact that he never appeared in anything other than a Speedo. I guess that's not all together true. In the winter, he wore a leotard under his speedo. A purple or aqua leotard. Sometimes he would accesorize with a matching sweatband. He was spotted all over town, usually riding his bike, although sometimes he would be strutting around with a strange gait, no doubt due to the ill effects of 24/7 Speedo wearing. Toward the end of our time in Colorado, Speedo Man's appearances became fewer and fewer. Rumors were rampant. I knew a guy who said he partied with Speedo Man in a storage unit. Word has it that Speedo Man partied hard. There were also rumors that Speedo Man left for California. I heard he was a lawyer. I heard he was dead. I really don't know if anything has ever been confirmed in regard to Speedo Man. Maybe my CO reader could shed some light on it. I don't know. But good ol' Speedo Man. It always was entertaining to spot him riding along with traffic. It was like finding Waldo, except without the clothes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Super Freak




This is what happens when Calculus 2 gets the best of you. You crack under the pressure and take bizarre pictures of yourself. Looks like he needs a little vacation to the funny farm! :)