Thursday, December 31, 2009

Anniversaries, Refrigerators and Dents, Oh my!

Yesterday was our 9th anniversary! Time flies and when I look back, I can't believe how much stuff has filled the last nine years. We started off with a bang, moving 2000 miles across the country to arrive the week before September 11th, 2001. Did I mention neither of us had jobs? Everything worked out, obviously. The Lord has always provided for us, even when we didn't see a way. One or both of us have been in school for all but about a year of our 11 years together. We've lived in two different apartments, bought two houses, rented one (never again!), sold one, had three kids, and the list goes on...oh, and just for kicks, how many cars have we owned? Come on, guess! There was Jeff's early 70's Chevy truck, my 1989 gold Mercury Linx station wagon*, my Buick SkyHAWK (not Lark....never seen another like it), Jeff's '91 Chevy Cavalier (we were livin' it up, paid around $1000 for that one!), the white Pontiac (sweet moonroof!), the Plymouth Laser, AKA the Laser Beam or the rolling death trap, the Chrysler Sebring, the Ford Truck, the green Grand Prix, our Impala, and the Explorer. Did I get 'em all? Anyway, in some ways it feels like a fast nine years, but in other ways it seems like its been 19. I am grateful we are on this end of the 9 years and we can look forward to new (not involving rental properties or Plymouth Lasers) things!!! So, I did mention a fridge. We got a new fridge to replace the Harvest Gold one that came with the house. Our new fridge is mostly gorgeous, except for a small dent in the side, and nice and spacious. I found that if you call and nicely explain that the fridge you just paid muchos dineros for has a small dent in the side of it, they will bend over backward and offer to replace your fridge or send you a $100 gift card for your troubles. Now I am wishing I had taken the new fridge, since it has begun making a bad noise. I guess I will be calling again today. Lovely. Anyway, the new fridge is nice, I think, and I am looking forward to having all the kinks worked out. Somehow this post has turned into a rambling trail of stories cobbled together with no rhyme or reason. Don't know where I am going, or when I will be back....weeeeeeee!!! Since it's all downhill from here, I present to you the story of my first car, the *Linx*. Picture a lovely little gold station wagon, except without the lovely part. It was my first car, and my dad was pitching in to help me buy it. If I remember correctly, I was paying for most of it. But, since Dad was pitching in, he decided that he would be the one to pick. Now there were other, more respectable cars in my price range that I could have had, but no! No! Dad's reasoning? This one wouldn't get stolen. Well, I can vouch for that. I used to leave the keys in plain sight with the doors unlocked and no one ever took me up on it. I stopped short of taping a $50 bill to the steering wheel, but only because I was a poor college student. This car was lovingly dubbed 'baby poo' and the 'poop wagon.' But don't think that the fun stopped there! The car had, shall we say, uh, character (read: issues). This car had some sort of wiring problem which caused little annoyances, like say...honking the horn while shifting gears. You know, things that any college girl would just shrug off as 'nothing.' I'll tell you what, nothing makes you want to crawl under your dashboard more than when you have to downshift at a light next to a police officer and all your car does is Hoooooooonk, Hoooooooooonk, Hoooooooonk! Yeah. It was great. There was also a few instances, one in particular, where my friend shouted 'hey, look at those cute guys!' (We were in the mall parking lot.) Of course, I had to shift and what do you know? My car honked. The problem with this problem is that you never knew when it was going to happen. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't. Another quaint little 'tick' this car had was that it also honked randomly when using the blinker. So, imagine shifting gears with your turn signals on. Good times. And if that wasn't enough, we determined through the use of a guinea pig (AKA Cousin Steven) that there was some sort of short (surprise!) where if you honked the horn (the traditional way) while hanging on to the window, you'd get zapped! The only plus to this car was that it could endure some off-roading, mostly at the wild and crazy hand of my friend Meg F.. Needless to say, I was glad when this car went to the big junkyard in the sky. Rest In Peace, Poop Wagon, Rest In Peace.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Surprise!

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A few weeks ago, Jeff's coworker gave us a really awesome train set for the kids. (Thanks!!!) We decided to set it up on Christmas Eve while they were sleeping. In the morning, we turned it on (complete with fake smoke!) and let them go out to find the train chugging around the tree. It was a huge hit!!! They were so fascinated with the train that they weren't even thinking about opening presents. We had so much fun, and look forward to continuing on with this tradition every year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Overload

All the Christmas festivities were wonderful. Watching the kids was just so much fun! Since I am still fighting my way out of the haze caused by an overload of fun and cookies, I'll leave you with pictures of what was my favorite Christmas project this year, a tea party play mat for Katie. The plates, tray and tea pot are all removable. The teacups are open at the top so she can put the tea bags into the cups. The cookies have bugle bead sprinkles. All the doilies but two are from a sweet lady who sent them all the way from Australia when I won a giveaway on her blog!! How fun is that?! And lest you think I came up with this all on my own, I got the idea here. I do have in mind a 'picnic' version, complete with red checked tablecloth and ants. More Christmas pictures will be coming tomorrow.




All the Christmas festivities were wonderful. Watching the kids was just so much fun! We

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow!

We had a record-breaking snow storm over the weekend. There was over 23 inches at the Philadelphia airport according to the weather people. We had a lot of fun being snowed in, baking cookies and playing in the snow. Last Thursday, before the snow came, we made a Birthday cake for Jesus. We have decided not to do Santa (I know, we're depriving our kids :) but we don't want Santa to distract from the real reason we celebrate Christmas, Jesus' birth. So, in lieu of that James said (via direct revelation of course ;) that Jesus wanted a 'Worms and Dirt' cake. The kids took turns shoveling the dirt in the bowl, and occasionally in their mouths. I am coming to realize that anything the kids help with will include the use of questionable food safety techniques. When we woke up Saturday, the snow had started to fall and the kids began running around the house like lab rats trying to find peanut butter. James put his snow boots on and was ready to go. Our morning involved pulling out various bins of clothing looking for suitable snow pants, hats and gloves, and the tedious application of such items. I took the kids out, and we walked down the green belt where there is a big hill (the same one they go down in the wagon) and they got to go sledding. We came in, drank hot chocolate and made Christmas cookies. Jeff later took them out again and built them a huge tall pile of snowman, since the snow wasn't exactly good snowball snow. The kids have been having so much fun playing outside, and its fun to watch them enjoy themselves so much. James stayed outside with Jeff yesterday for a few hours, shoveling the sidewalks and driveway. Now Jeff is bent in the shape of a C and can't put on his own socks, and James, of course, is asking to go out AGAIN!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Several Orders of Biz-ness

1. I have a new BFF. Jeff installed a brand-spankin'-new garbage disposal for me this weekend!!! We haven't had one since we lived in the apartment 7 or 8 years ago and I am so ridiculously excited!!!! It just so happened that our sink decided to fall apart, literally, last weekend and I batted my eyes at him and casually mentioned that 'while he was at it' I would love to have a garbage disposal. Yay Jeffrey!!

2. James told me this morning, 'For Christmas I want a big alive horse for Christmas.........just joking!) I don't know where on earth he gets that sense of humor.

3. This morning, I stepped out of the room, and came back approximately 95 seconds later to find the kids changing Tyler's diaper. 'Something stinks,' they said. So, as any normal 2 and 4 year old would do, they had the wipes, a diaper, and had taken off his pants, unsnapped his onsie, and had his diaper half way off. Helpful little dears. If only they had focused their attention on Katie's diaper; they would have discovered the true source of the offensive odor.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our Small Groupies

We've been having a 'small group' (Bible Study type thing) at our house for a looooooong time. Our group has had a lot of fun together and we always enjoy getting together....especially at our Christmas party which involves food and the exchange of ridiculous gifts. The gifts included a potty seat (which was opened by someone who has no kids), a pair of hospital socks, a handheld steam cleaner and....the gift of the night....a possessed singing, dancing frog, which I got. (Thankfully, there was one person in the room that thought it was awesome and so he stole it. Yes! James later told me he really liked the frog and wished we had kept it. I would have killed that thing in no time flat.) Here it is, in all its freakish glory:

Somehow this year it also involved everyone putting on the same beanie and glasses for a picture.
Apparently it doesn't take too much to entertain us!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where To Begin...(With a mish-mash of pictures that may or may not be relevant)


The last 24 hours have been so much fun. Friday was Jeff's company dinner, which is at a high fa-looting fancy schmancy place. We had a nice dinner and enjoyed our time. While we were at the dinner, Rachel and Phil took the older two to a local church for its Christmas event. They braved the cold, cold night to take the kids on a wagon ride, complete with Belgian horses, and fed the kids their share of cookies and marshmallows and FUN! Mom kept Tyler, which let me actually enjoy myself knowing he was in good hands. :) Yesterday we had a little party for my brother and his new wife. It was fun to be all together. The night ended with James giving Aunt 'Ikea' a goodbye kiss....on her boot. Kids these days. They're goofy.




Friday, December 11, 2009

Same Rules Apply (...and a few pictures)

When your kids are too quiet, you know they must be getting into trouble, right? Well, I found out that the same rules apply to husbands:


Because naturally, you would expect him to be trimming and coloring the (air quotes) not-red goatee he has been growing lately. (I use air quotes because it had an awful lot of red in it, but Jeff holds that there was only a 'dash' of red) And what, you ask, did he use to color his lovely new soul patch? Why, my mascara of course! And no shenanigan would be complete without taking some menacing pictures of yourself to commemorate the occasion.


The kids, 'snuddling' together :)


Tyler enjoying the tree

And just look at how happy he is!!! Just delicious!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

...an hour and fortyseven minutes later.....

This morning, Katie discovered how to climb out of her crib. This may or may not be, in the long term, a good thing. See, I need the crib for Tyler to sleep in. He's growing out of his bassinet. Problem is, Katie is still sleeping in the crib. She doesn't want to budge. She has NO interest in a 'big girl' bed. But back to the climbing out thing...she climbed out and I had her show me where she got out. She pointed to the nightstand. Easy enough. She hoisted herself over and landed on the nightstand, then climbed off that. Fast forward to nap time. Rachel and I were 'Skyping.' (Is that a word?) We heard a giggle on the stairway and it was a Katie giggle. I tried not to giggle too as I carried her back to her crib. She was NOT HAPPY. At all. Repeat this process several times. (Oh, by the way, I had moved the nightstand, so apparently she doesn't need that to climb down after all.) I told her she would be in trouble if she got out again. After a while, she was crying and crying, so I went down to tell her it was OK, and I found her standing with her little dress-up suitcase pushed up to the side of the crib with her hands on the side, looking forlorn and distressed. I think she had been trying to get back in, knowing that she wasn't supposed to have climbed back out, but couldn't get back in. I put her in AGAIN, and sang to her, and now she is finally quieting down. I don't think she is asleep yet, but I think she is close. I hope! This ought to be a fun next few days or weeks...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Katie's Hip Update (Good News!!!!)

Katie had her hip check-up this morning. Last time, she had made no improvements, and although she hadn't gone backward, it was discouraging. Well, not today! Things have improved. Her hip angle is now 26, which places her firmly in the 'mild' dysplasia category. Dr. Speigel said that if the angle is above 30, that's when you usually consider surgery. So, the bottom line is that her hip has improved, is now in the 'mild' range, and surgery is looking like less of a possibility. (From my understanding, the angle could possibly get worse as she grows, or not change, but it looks good right now and things seem to be on the up and up.) Her next check-up is in 6-9 months. What an answer to prayer!!!!!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Sweet Moments

I love tucking my kids into bed. There are nights when everyone is crying and wants me all at once and those aren't so fun, but mostly I love tucking them in. I love the little rituals that they each have, and how they remind me if we've skipped a step. Lately, our nighttime rituals have included reading passages from the Bible for our new 'Jesse Tree' tradition, and checking out the advent calendar. For Katie, bedtime isn't complete without saying goodnight to Daddy at least three times, and giving her brothers various forms of air kisses. She has to pick out a book and get her 'bup.' (cup) I rock her for a couple minutes, and she doesn't like to face me. She always wants to sit out, and look at her book in the dark. And I must sing 'Winkle Star.' Sometimes she sings with me. I love the brief snugly moments I have with her. When I put her in her crib, she puts her book on her chest, her cup next to her and then gets tucked in. The book has to be tucked in with her. (We later extract it from her hands) She usually chatters to herself for a while and makes hilarious noises before she falls asleep. James is more established in his bedtime habits, and it goes as follows: 'From when you were a little girl' (image that all said so fast it becomes one word), pray and sing. Each night he wants a story from when I was a little girl. No other story will do. And sometimes, when I am feeling particularly stumped, and tell him some lame story like 'My mom used to put hot dogs in macaroni and cheese,' he will kindly tell me 'That one wasn't a good one, Mama. I want another one.' After the story is told, we pray and then I sing a song. Sometimes James gets to talking about 'really good ideas' for 'contraptions' or asks me deep spiritual questions. Other times, he tells me that he really had a terrible day, or a good day. Sometimes he tells me 'I love you really much, Mama.' And that just melts my heart. Sometimes the best moments come at bedtime. (Oh, and the quiet that comes after it isn't so bad either :) Now if only Tyler would go back to a better sleeping routine.....

Friday, December 04, 2009

Martha is BAD

I have a problem. I have started watching Martha Stew@rt again. Martha is bad for me. Here's why: I watch it while I am working at on my crafty/sewing endeavors. Every time I watch it, I see more things I just need to make, and then my mental list o' projects grows even longer. I would post a picture of my craft area right now, but that would be a disgrace. Christmas is coming and the craftiness is piled very, very high. If I keep watching Martha, you will find me lost under an avalanche of fabric, paper, glitter and buttons. Hey, I could think of worse things.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Photo-fest! (and a random James story)

Nothing like a baby in a coonskin hat:


Hilarious!!


I must admit, I took approximately 15 pictures of him in this hat. It was cracking me up.


Back with it's rightful owner


What makes this picture so funny is that I had the LCD screen flipped around so they could see themselves, so they were all looking at the screen like 'hey, that's us!'


Playing around


Funny face...look at those puffy cheeks!

And finally, I finished the great Christmas Project of '09......9 pairs of flannel jammies! Here are two pairs I made, complete with vintage Bakelite buttons, because what good are cool vintage buttons if you never use them, right?? (These two pairs are for Tyler)



And now for the random James story. Hope you all find this as hilarious as I did. Yesterday James found himself a googly eye somewhere. He proceeded to give the googly eye a tour of our house, because, after all, it is an eye. He would hold it up so it could 'see' out the window, 'see' the Christmas tree, and so forth. I had to try very hard not to totally crack up and burst his creative little bubble.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Rest In Peace, Trusty Laptop

Back in the day, when we but poor college students starting out in the big world, Jeff made a big purchase. He worked many hours at the farm, and a few other places, to earn enough money to buy a laptop computer. He figured it would help him get a step ahead by being able to work and practice drawing (CAD) on his own computer. This was in 1999, when laptops were still expensive, really, really expensive. I remember the day he got out about $2400 in cash and we drove to GJ to buy the laptop. That was a lot of money, I tell you! Anyway, the laptop has been with us for a long time. It has been used and abused and very well loved. For the last few years it has served as a back-up and for an occasional homework assignment. This past week, it dutifully came to our rescue one last time when Jeff had to reformat our regular computer. After the reformat, the laptop decided it was done. Gone. Kaput. Rest in peace, laptop, rest in peace. Do you think it is too big to make a Christmas ornament out of, Mom? Ha, ha, ha!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Whole Lotta Nothin'

A lot has happened over the last few days, including, well, Thanksgiving and naturally, our brakes going out all together (fortunately with Jeff driving and in my parents' driveway, Thank God!). The other unfortunate thing about the last few days is that Tyler has decided that sleeping is for the birds and is for some reason getting up less than every two hours. Ugh. Can't rub two sticks together. (Other than that we really did have a nice weekend) So, until my brain cells get back in working order, I'll leave you with this embarrassing story. At about 11am this morning, there was a knock on the door. I was expecting a UPS package so I figured that's who it was. Good thing, since I hadn't yet combed my hair or washed off the previous day's mascara. I opened the door expecting a box and it was my neighbor. It was raining, so of course I had to let him in. There I was in all my scruffy glory with enough laundry to cloth an entire small nation all piled on my couch ready to be folded. As if that weren't bad enough, he was offering us an almost-new table and told me he'd watch the kids for a minute so I could run over and see it. So, I got to show off my unkempt self to the neighbor lady, too. Lovely. And I am sure all the while my neighbor was looking around my living room thinking 'Geez. Someone needs to have an intervention here.' Oh, well. That's the way it goes some days. The table was too small, but someone will be happy to get it since its very nice. Now off to take a shower and do something with myself. Or sleep. Hmmm....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

I realize its a bit early to do the year-end retrospective, but hey, its been one heck of a year and there is a lot to be thankful for. At the beginning of the year, I was hoping for a nice quiet year. Last year was filled with a lot, including Katie's diagnosis of hip dysplasia and her subsequent closed reduction/spica cast ordeal. This year, it was supposed to be a nice uneventful year. Not! The year started off with a bang when our tenants gave their notice. We soon discovered that to say they had trashed the house would be an extreme understatement. We spent from March to the end of June/early July putting in hundreds of hours scrubbing, scouring, fixing and repairing, and scrubbing some more. It was a nightmare. Then, there was paying two mortgages for six months. And did I mention I was also gestating a sweet little human being through the whole ordeal?? He arrived at the tail end of all the major projects. All this to say, it has been a CRAZY year, full of opportunities for stress around every corner. BUT! God has provided for us through it all, and we made it through relatively sane. ;) I am so grateful its all over, and we have a new year ahead of us! Hopefully this one won't be so eventful. Ha, ha!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Little Sibling Love


I captured this photo somewhere in between the fights over random bits of Lincoln Logs and Dr. Seuss books. I love moments like this.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving


This weekend we celebrated 'Pre-Thanksgiving'; Rach and Phil are headed for Texas so we had the big shin-dig early. And what does any self-respecting family do for Thanksgiving? Why, play with Marshmallow weaponry of course! In addition to last year's PVC model, Nate's father-in-law spent the entire year running through various models of Marshmallow Guns in order to perfect the idea. He decided in the end that simple was best: a straight copper pipe. (The picture above is the modified marshmallow gun, made for shooting around corners and behind you) After the men complained about the lackadaisical standards for marshmallows, the war began. Jeff and Phil holed up in the shed, which was a bit like cheating if you ask me, but they later got locked out of the shed and away from their ammo. Katie ran around dodging marshmallows and eating more than her fair share of ammo.




Uncle Nate and Tyler


Jeff and Tyler


Uncle Phil and Tyler


The kids got to make their own kid-sized pies with Grammy. What fun!

It was so much fun, as usual, to have everyone together. The food was fabulous, though I feel like I cheated since I made my stuff ahead. For more Thanksgiving fun, click here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Simple Joys

We just so happened to become the proud owners of two pieces of bubble wrap, so this morning, I gave one to each kid and let them have at it. They loved it! Katie's new thing is to say 'Wah-me, Mama!' Which means watch me. She even tells me 'sit down, couch!' or 'sit down right here!' so that she has my full attention. So it was 'wah-me, Mama' while she jumped up and down on the bubbles. James saved one of his bubbles for Tyler to pop.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random Randomness






The kids stayed entertained for quite a while by sorting out buttons by size and color. Katie picked red and pulled out every last red button she could find. James found all the black and white ones for me, since I needed them for the jammies I have in progress. Can you tell I have a thing for buttons? ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Somewhere there are angels singing

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! I took a shower today, the first since Sunday. It seems that with three children it is much more difficult to squeeze in a shower. Somehow, I must make sure that all children are happily occupied. As in, quietly reading instead of trying to kill each other or swing from the chandelier. And, I have to keep the baby near me so that the older two don't decide to get a little overzealous with the babysitting! Almost always, my shower is brought to an end with someone screaming or hollering or otherwise just whining. Its about as pleasant a way to end a shower as when my dad used to turn the hot water off when he thought I'd been in the shower too long, but at least I am clean at the end of it. Someday, I suppose, I will be able to take a shower each and every day if I want, and to drink an entire cup of tea before it gets cold. I have big dreams, as you can see :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shoe Box Excitement


Every year at church, we collect shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. This year we were able to collect 245 shoe boxes!!!! I am still in shock, as this is 109 more than last year. Very exciting! James wanted to put money in our shoe boxes so that the kids could buy houses to live in. I wish it was that easy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Some Things Just Ain't Right

This morning I discovered Katie...........................


......................playing with Jeff's Neti Pot.


Eeeew.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Fun Old Pictures


Grandma Cheyney, Great-Grandma C.(I think...), and Aunt Lynn


Aunt Lynn, Dad, Uncle Ron


Aunt Sally and Uncle Ron (?)



Dad


Dad...he, he, he! This picture makes me giggle.


Grandma and Grandpa


Dad (I love this picture!!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jeff + Webcam



Really I can't explain such things. There are no words.

(We got a web camera this weekend so we can 'skype' with Rach & Phil, and Jeff's sister and her family.)

Dress-Up! (And a few bonus pictures of a beautiful baby!)

When James went for a 'sweep overs' at Grammy and Chappy's house this weekend, I pulled out the dress-up clothes I had stashed away for Katie. It was the perfect time! She loved getting dressed up and clomped right around in her sparkly little shoes. I can see the beginning of a lot of fun dressing up! I loved dressing up when I was little and have fond memories of Mom donating some of her old dresses to the cause too.


This is the 'I can't believe Grammy took James and left me and I think I might be a little miffed' look.


Does the cuteness know no bounds?!?!


And speaking of absolute cuteness, deliciousness, scrumptiousness and all that is beautiful in this world, check out my baby! (How's that for bragging, Candi! :)

I love taking pictures of Jeff holding our babies. His hands always seem so big in comparison to the baby.



And this one is the boys snuggling on the couch!