Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Moseying Along

Whenever we take a walk without the stroller, Katie likes to stop and look at everything. And I mean everything. Bugs, the crack in the sidewalk, a pebble, a dandelion, a 'pokey ball,' a pine cone, you name it. She stops to look at it. And if its not glued down, she picks it up. Yesterday she kept handing me sticky pine cones and 'pokey balls' and I kept dropping them on the sly as we walked along. She filled her tiny little pockets with seed pods and sticks, and her hands were full too. James also collects bits and pieces, but not to the extent Katie does. She also has a silly habit of insisting on walking with one foot on the sidewalk and one foot on the grass. Its definitely not fast pace when you take along a toddler, but its fun to watch, even if you do come back with 987 pine cones which 'have to stay outside the door,' thank you very much.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wierd Weather

Yesterday morning brought us gorgeous weather! It was just right for an impromptu mud pit extravaganza for the kids (and warm enough to spray them off with the hose). By afternoon, the sky was a dark as could be and we had rain. During dinner, James got very excited about a double rainbow outside the window. At first we were skeptical because we didn't see a thing. Then we realized that being a part of vertically challenged set has its advantages. From his viewpoint he could see the whole thing, whereas we couldn't see it at all!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fun Day!

Proud Moment

James is officially a trash picker. And I am proud of it. I am pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but trash picking in the state of PA is a favorite pastime of many. There are even 'professional' trash pickers who make their living picking up things, like anything that can be used to sell for scrap. Anyway, lots of things can be had from the trash. Like kids' outdoor toys, records and clothes, and my kids' dream kitchen. We've found the aforementioned things, and more: a brand new solid pine door (not even stained or finished), a nice wooden two seater sled, a whole box of matchbox cars (now my nemesis), and lots more. So now, James has realized that one man's trash is another man's treasure. Last night he spotted what appeared to be a disassembled old cradle or something. He instantly identified the rail as a 'wadder,' and happily exclaimed that 'I've been wanting a wadder for a wong time!!!!' Now, he has a ladder, which he uses to climb up and down his bed, which of course, now, is a bunk bed. (since he has a ladder :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hallelujah and Yeeeeeeehaw!!!!

The house is sold, done, gone, not our problem anymore!!!!!!!!!! After pretty much renovating it twice in five years or so (once when we moved in and once when our tenants moved out), we are no longer responsible for it or its mortgage!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Take Two

Posted by Picasa

Today was terrible, Mama

Yesterday was one heck of a day. And not in a good way. It all started out innocently enough with a quick trip to the store. The kids were crabby, but unless I was going to resort to taping napkins to my daughter's hind end I needed to go out and get some diapers. And milk, eggs and a few things. We made it through the trip withonly moderate fighting over space in the annoying kiddie car shopping cart. (Are they really made for two children? I think not.) I loaded up the groceries, the kids, and low and behold, the truck wouldn't start. Nice. I got all my kids back out, went to the customer service desk and called Mom. She only had the truck, so had to drive to exchange the truck for the car, and come and get me. After loading all three car seats into the car, barely, we went home. Two hours later, we walked into the door. Phew! You'd think it would end there, right? Wrong. When Jeff got home, the whole idea was to eat dinner, go see if we could jump start the truck (Jeff thought it was the battery at first), and go the old house to get the dishwasher and the last few things, and go home. Well....not so. The truck started, then died, then started again. Jeff hauled off toward home thinking he could make it back (only a mile or two). I got stuck at a light, and didn't see that he had to pull over on a road he doesn't usually take, because the truck died. Thus I ended up driving back and forth and all around looking for him in the dark, with my tired screaming kids in the backseat. I finally had to go home, call him and see where he was. It was a fiasco. Dad ended up going to help with his truck which was so nice. Thanks, Dad! As I was tucking the kids into bed, James told me in a very sad and serious voice, 'Today was terrible, Mama.' When I asked him why, he said 'Because we couldn't find Daddy.' I remembered the time when my Dad went mountain biking and got caught out in a really bad storm. Mom threw us three kids in the van and we went out looking for him in the dark storm. I remember being very scared that my Dad was out there somewhere and we weren't quite sure where. I told James all this and I think he felt a little better. We both decided we were very happy when we found them!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Cutie pie!

The handsome men of the family

Can you tell James is a proud brother??

Hamming it up for the camera. They had just finished making a very messy craft: crazy colored feathers + glue = mess
The scarecrow we made. James has been wanting to make one for a long time.

Playing around with the new camera and back-lighting.

This one's for you, Grandma and Grandpa C.!

Here's the baby wrap we got from you! Its the best!

And here's Katie in the vest you sent. She loves it and its perfect for this fall weather.
I thought I had a picture of James in his new shirt, but alas, I can't find it. He sure looks handsome in it. We miss you!!!

Special Visitors and a Baby Shower Heist

I feel compelled to say here and now that we had a visitor last night: Frankie the Farter. He also came accompanied by his human friends who just happened to be our friends too. I just think his name is hilarious and it makes me laugh a little every time I say it. Juvenile, I know. Fortunately, he mostly behaved himself in regard to living up to his moniker. He had us going for a while, but after going around doing the 'sniff test' on all the kids, we determined it could be none other than Frankie, guessed it....farter. We also had a lot of fun with our friends, and the kids loved having their friend Joann to play with. I can't say they felt the same way about Frankie. My kids are not used to dogs, and they pretty much freaked out whenever he got within a few feet of them. Katie calls him 'Feeky' since she can't quite get the R in there. Franky, by the way, is some sort of bulldog. When James saw Franky get out of the car, he turned around to us and said 'Franky's face is really silly! Its all wrinkly!'

In other news, I have exceeded my tackiness quota for the year by going to a baby shower, and....drumroll, please....bringing my baby home wearing one of the gifts. Yes, its true. On Saturday, I went to the above-mentioned friends' baby shower with Tyler in tow. Somewhere during the gift opening, there was quite the rumble in the general vicinity of Tyler's hindquarters. Soon after, I realized that he had exceeded his diaper capacity and had a poop-splosion! And do you think I brought extra outfit? Oh, no! He rarely ever has these, so I don't usually carry an outfit with me. (Now I do :) So, I had taken him to the lobby area and was cleaning him up the best I could when an aunt came down. She insisted on getting me something from Baby Armando's stash, even though I protested. She went and got an outfit for Tyler to wear. Nothing like showing up to your friends' baby shower only to rip the tags off their stuff and put it on your own kid. That's high-class stuff people. I can just imagine someone seeing Tyler in his stolen outfit and thinking, 'hey, that's just like the outfit I got for Armando!' Uhhhhhh........maybe it is.

Friday, September 18, 2009

We almost got stuck with an extra kid...

Last night we had a strange thing happen. I think we may have narrowly avoided becoming indefinite babysitters for a poor little latchkey kid. Across the street there is a very old farmhouse right in the middle of our subdivision. The guy who lives there has a girlfriend, who has a little girl about Katie's age. The guy also has a daughter, maybe 10 or 11 years old. We were sitting down to dinner, and I was just telling Jeff that I felt sorry for the older girl because I think she is in charge of the little girl while her dad goes out with the girl's mom. Mid-sentence, there was knock at the door. Who was it, but the two girls. The older one mumbled something about the little girl wanting to come over and play. Mind you, it was 7:00pm. We usually eat way before then but it was one of those days. Anyway, I explained to the girl that the kids were eating dinner, and afterward they were going to bed. The older girl kind of seemed disappointed, and I asked her if she had to watch the little girl. She said yeah, and that she wanted to go hang out with her friends. When they left, I saw her take the little girl back across the street, then shoo her down the driveway and leave on her scooter. I do hope that someone was home to take care of the little girl, but I find it kind of strange. Given the circumstances, I think she would have just left the little girl there to play and taken off. Then what would I have done? I've only met the little girl's mother once, but apparently she isn't picky where her daughter goes or with whom. Is it just me, or is that a little weird? I don't think this is the last time she'll come over wanting to 'play,' and while I don't mind her playing for a bit, I am not going to be a babysitter. Such a strange situation.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are those all yours?

Judging by the comments I receive these days when going out with my brood, I have officially crossed over onto the 'big family' side. Now, I don't really think that three kids is a 'big' family, but I guess we have deviated from the average American household, which is 3.14 according to the census bureau. Whenever I go out, I get sympathetic looks from people, who say things like 'wow, you must have your hands full.' This one annoys me; I am not sure why. I do have my hands full, but there are a lot of blessings to having three kids and no one ever mentions that. I also get the 'are they twins?' comment about James and Katie more often than you'd think. I get people who can't believe they are so close in age. And then today, I got one of the more funny and curious ones....'are they all yours???' Well, yes, yes they are. Or at least I think so. Of course they are mine! Are three kids too many for one mother? I think not. Fortunately I didn't let this inner dialog out. I just smiled and said yes. This lady felt so sorry for me she offered me her shopping cart, insisting that I take it. I kindly refused it on the grounds that it was a lot easier for me to hold James and Katie's hands (Tyler was in the carrier) than to hoist them into a cart, try to keep them sitting down and occupied, etc. I think she just couldn't fathom someone having three whole kids. It was strange. And yesterday, I got my favorite comment of all time, and it wasn't even obnoxious either! I was crossing a parking lot with the older two in the stroller and Tyler in the carrier. A gentleman waved me across and as I turned to thank him, he rolled down his truck window and asked me 'What do you do in your spare time?' with a grin on his face. 'Ha, ha. That's a good one,' I said. 'Very funny!' He gets extra points for being humorous without being obnoxious. I am just waiting for someone to ask me if I am Catholic. Our pastor has six kids and someone asked him that. When he said no, the guy told him that the only kinds of people who have six kids are either Catholics or perverts. I tell you what, if someone had said that to me my inner dialog would not be able to behave itself!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


A while back Jeff requested that I purchase the most bizarre as-seen-on-TV-esque contraption for him. He found it on the internet and felt that it was on his list of must-haves. This is saying something, considering he always says things like 'I don't really need that,' and 'I don't need anything.' He is the one who has been limping along for the last two years with a worn out cordless drill battery that has to be charged after a only a few minutes of use. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link he sent me. A tiny car-like device, complete with wheels, that you slide across your noggin to shave your head. Behold, the Headblade:

Strange, huh? Well, Jeff swears by it now and uses it all the time. Who knew something so weird could work so well?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Coat

Here are a few pictures of the coat I made for Katie. (Click on it to make it bigger) I am very happy with the way it turned out, especially since I have never made a coat before. It also has hidden pockets which were a first for me. The coat fabric I found at a yard sale for 50 cents and washed it several times to get the musty smell out of it. The lining fabric I also found at a different yard sale and knew I'd find a good use for it. The buttons were from Grandma Kate Heppner's button box, and were perfect for the coat! She would be proud, I'm sure, except I didn't include any sparkly lace or sequins which she loved to sew onto anything and everything. :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009


We finally got a camera! Here a few birthday pictures.

Birthday Jammies

Katie's Birthday Apron (made from fabric from Grandma Kate)

And I won't mention any names, but someone really enjoyed the cake.....

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I kicked Martha Stewart's butt today...(James' Birthday)

My baby boy is turning four today! I keep saying he's 'turning four,' but really he is four. This morning we went to the mall for a special birthday outing. James loves to go to Sears and see the tractors (lawn mowers), so we did that. Then we went to the food court to get a treat. I thought about ice cream, but didn't want the mess. James thought a pretzel sounded good so we went and ordered them. That place was a rip-off!!! Good pretzels, but a rip-off. Five bucks for two stinkin' pretzels. But I digress. I got them a cinnamon sugar one to share. Who was worried about the mess? Well, don't ever give your kids a cinnamon sugar pretzel to share. In about 3 minutes they will have little five o'clock shadows made out of cinnamon and sugar. But they thoroughly enjoyed it! During their naps, I did the following:
  • Made two loaves of multi-grain bread from a new recipe
  • Made a huge batch of cinnamon rolls
  • Roasted a chicken
  • Located the jammies I hid from James (and myself!) and sewed the button holes and buttons
  • Picked said chicken
  • Cut the tops off of four of our Jack-Be-Little pumpkins, hollowed them out, filled them and got them ready to bake
  • Made chicken poppy seed casserole
  • Baked bread
  • Put pumpkins and poppy seed casserole in oven
  • Started a big pot of stock with the chicken carcass
  • Sat down to write a blog entry instead of wrap James' presents which I really should be doing right now but I am too tired too
So, I think its safe to say I may have outdone Martha today, especially since I grew my own pumpkins, but unlike Martha, I do not have 'people' to do my dishes. Darn.

Tomorrow I hope to post some pictures of James and Katie, but for now, I've got a few more things to it bedtime yet??????

Happy Birthday, James!!! We love you very much!!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Two Weeks From Today.....

We are closing on our house!!!!! Yee-haw!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

For One Time Use Only

Shortly before Tyler was born, our neighbors gave us a kids' ice cream maker. They had it for their kids but didn't use it. Well let me tell you, there's a reason for that. We decided to bust it out yesterday to entertain the kids for a while. Jeff was a good sport and was the 'adult supervision.' It involved mixing packets of high fructose corn syrup solids with half and half, pouring it into a poorly designed contraption and churning for 3-5 minutes. By the end, the kids were covered in some type of ice cream-like substance, and so was the table, the floor, and a cookbook that had been sitting on the table. Katie had a chocolate beard, and Jeff had run out of good will toward the ice cream maker. We called it quits and attempted to clean up the mess. This process was quite involved and I have no doubt there are still traces of said ice cream-like substance smeared throughout my kitchen. Lets just say that this device is for one time use only. The kids would have a heart attack if they knew that their ice cream maker is currently waiting to meet its maker, sitting in the bottom of my trash can. That bad boy is going to the landfill, stat!

And in other news, since my children turn 4 and 2 this week ( did this happen?), they moved up in their classes at church. Katie moved from the nursery to the 2-3's class, and James moved from there to the preschool class. Katie cried for about 12 seconds, then went in to play. James walked right in and didn't look back. (This was a big change from his long adjustment period in the nursery.) He loved his class and hasn't stopped talking about it since. He wants to go to church every day. Katie seemed to have fun, and even got to make a craft. Gotta love an imaginative Sunday school teacher...dolls out of panty hose and toilet paper. Now that's using what you have! I think once Katie realizes that 2-3's is not just one big giant Cheerio-stealing fest she'll have a lot of fun! And I am sure her little palate will soon grow to appreciate the subtleties of a good animal cracker too.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Last week we went to the orchard with our friend Con-Rachel. She loves to take pictures and brought along her camera. Good thing, since we are still deliberating about what camera to get. We had a lot of fun picking peaches, blackberries, and apples.

Yesterday we took a fun, spur of the moment trip up to Piscataway, New Jersey. Piscataway, I just love to say that word. It makes me giggle. Anyway, we went up for a cook-out at Rachel and Phil's apartment. We had a blast! And Happy Birthday, Rachel! I refuse to believe you are 25 years old already. That means I'll be turning 30 soon. Yikes!

Friday, September 04, 2009

My Sewing Machine + Nap Time

If you have kids, you know that nap time is very valuable. Not only do your kids get (hopefully) the rest they need to keep from turning into little savages by 5 o'clock, but you get the break you need to maintain some sort of sanity. It is during this time that you can pick up the 9 zillion Matchbox cars, cast-off bandaids, blocks, sticks, rocks, raisins and other flotsam and jetsam, all from the floors of your house. (only to have a new batch of junk on the floor by dinner time) Nap time also provides the opportunity to eat lunch, do laundry, dishes, and whatever other tasks you need to do. Somewhere in there, it is nice to have a little time for purely enjoyable pursuits. For me right now, sewing is the top on my list. Even if I can work on something for ten or fifteen minutes, it helps me feel happy and accomplished. (laundry does NOT give me a sense of accomplishment because it is NEVER done) Lately, I have been working on birthday projects, so I am 'forced' to use my nap to work on them. Such a shame. And next up, Christmas! That'll keep me in business for a while. James has developed a very high esteem for my sewing skills and thinks I can make him just about anything. Today, he asked if I could make him a James-sized baby sling 'during my nap time.' Clever boy. Fortunately, that was easy. One for him, and one for Katie...done. The only time I have failed him with my lack of mad skillz is when he asked me to make him an umbrella with sticks and fabric. That was/is/will be beyond the scope of my abilities. All that to say, in a very rambling way, that:

Nap times = good.

Laundry = bad.

Sewing = good.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Enough to make a preacher swear!

Right now is nap time, in theory at least. James, who usually naps quite nicely, is just not going to sleep. One problem may be that I told him earlier we were going to the park after nap. He keeps coming out saying things like 'I woke up! I took my nap and I woke up!' and 'You gotta give me a kiss on the head since I hit it on your bedroom.' Hello!? Doesn't he realize that I have to do?! :) I am trying to finish birthday projects for both kids this week. Today's goal is to finish this coat for Katie. So, I am trying to make button holes before the 'nap' time is over. Then why the heck am I blogging, you ask? Well, I just put in the fourth button hole, and due to the material and my stinkin' sewing machine, I messed it up. Now I am picking a button hole out of this highly textured double-knit type material without stabbing myself in the finger. I had to take a break before my head exploded. Alright, I am going back in. Wish me luck! Hopefully I'll be posting a finished picture soon. As soon as we get a new camera anyway. Did I mention our camera passed away this week. May it rest in peace. OK, back to seam ripping now.......

Update: I did it! I picked out the offending button hole without sustaining any major injuries. I remade it, sewed on the buttons and as Mom would say...Sha-ZAM! Its done! Yeeeeehaw! I think this might be one of the favorite-est things I have ever made!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Franch Rewind: The Tragic Frozen Steer Incident

Here's a tale from the archives, mainly because I have nothing to write about and this seemed to be everyone's favorite Franch story.

One winter a steer wandered out on the frozen surface of the pond. As it reached the middle of the pond, the ice gave way under the steer’s weight. The poor thing thrashed around trying to get its footing but to no avail. Its owner managed to find the steer in time to try and rescue it. He threw a rope around its neck and tried to haul it out with his truck. It was futile. The steer died in the water and was wedged in such a way as to make it impossible to get out. The ice closed in around it and suspended the carcass in the surface of the ice. A hump remained jutting through the ice to remind us of what was there. That winter, we ice skated around the steer. Why waste a good opportunity to skate even if there is a dead carcass frozen in the middle of the ‘rink’? It stayed planted there till spring began to thaw the ice. We walked out to look at it and saw that the catfish had hollowed out the rib cage entirely. There was even one darting in and out as we watched: the food chain at work. When the ice was soft enough, they got the steer out and we went back to swimming in the pond with the carnivorous catfish. Can you tell there was a lack of cultured entertainment during our dating years? Nothing encourages romance like skating hand in hand around a dead steer. You should try it sometime.