Saturday, December 31, 2011


In honor of our 11th Anniversary, I shall re-post an entry regarding one of our more, uh, special (?) dating experiences:

The Tragic Frozen Steer Incident

A Tale from the Franch
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.

Friday, December 30, 2011

And The Winner Is....

For the last few Christmases, we've taken the kids to the dollar store to pick out gifts for the family. They each choose a gift for their aunts and uncles, Grammy and Chappy, Grandma and Aunt Sally. They really pick some hilarious gifts. Last year's highlight was a magnetic mirror, which whistles at the reflection upon opening the little plastic door. Katie picked that out for Chappy. This year, James took the win for creative gift giving. He picked out three gifts that may tie for first place as far as odd gifts go. First, he bought Dad a roll of trick toilet paper. You can never unroll it. As soon as he saw it hanging there in the store, he proclaimed 'I'm getting this for Chappy!!' and put it in the cart. He couldn't stop there, though, and also picked out a pair of slinky-like eyeball glasses also for Chappy. When he saw a package of three pairs of redneck teeth, he picked them up for Grandma. I thought it was funny at the time but I had no idea there was logic behind the purchase. When Grandma opened them, he told her he got them for her because she had lost a tooth. That kid has got our sense of humor for sure! I can only imagine what Tyler will pick out next year when he is old enough. No doubt it will be awesome!

PS. James was so proud of himself for picking out a pen for Jeff at the school store. He got it so Jeff could use it at work. When Jeff opened it, we realized it was inscribed with 'Mom.' :)

And A Good Time Was Had By All...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


The Christmas festivities are winding down and we are left with a pile of wrapping paper and a lot of good memories. The older I get (ha, ha! cracks me up to say that...) the more I think I appreciate Christmas. I love celebrating the birth of Christ, spending time with family, and watching the kids experience the special times. This year I think the kids are understanding more about the meaning of the season, and of course they get excited about all the festivities that go along with it. We have had a lot of fun this month, and I am happy to say that we have checked all but two things off our Christmas fun list. Tomorrow we are going to make a birthday cake for Jesus, which will leave only one item left on the list. More pictures to come!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Things are busy around here. Grandma is here. (yay!!!!!!!!) I asked her if she move in with us but she declined. Boo! I guess Florida has its perks. Not to mention its probably a whole lot quieter. In other news, I hosted a kids' cookie decorating party on Saturday. It was a lot of fun, even if only only two kids could actually come. Amazingly, my kitchen fared pretty well, although I can't say as much for the 8 bottles of sprinkles I had for the occasion. Let's just say that they hit the sprinkles pretty hard. They also made an ornament while they were here. On Sunday, I filled in to teach the 4 year old class at church. It was my first time teaching at Bible Fellowship, and it was baptism by fire! They were anticipating low turnout, and the 3 year old teacher couldn't make it, so they combined classes. I ended up having 21 or 22 kids. There is also an autistic boy in there who normally has a 'shadow' and they didn't have one for him that day. I kept him from escaping so I feel pretty good about that. Fortunately they sent me two very helpful teenagers to assist. My favorite part of the day was when a kid in class held up his play dough creation and declared that he had made the 'devil' which was really just an amorphous blob of play dough. There was a woman who happened to have popped into the class for a bit, and I think she was totally appalled with the kid. She told him he should be making Jesus instead. I thought it was kind of funny, and certainly creative.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Par-tay

Oh, look! I have my eyes closed again! (My trademark, apparently...)

Jeff's party went pretty well, all things considered. I ended up meeting a cute little lady and her husband who are from China and moved to the US. They were new to the company so we sat with them, which means I didn't have to sit next to someone creepy or weird. She was really sweet and it was very interesting to talk to her about cultural things. Having her sitting next to me kept the awkward at bay, for the most part. I did have to roll my eyes when I met one of Jeff's coworkers and he had forewarned his girlfriend about Jeff. Awesome. His reputation proceeds him. I met another one of Jeff's coworkers and after a few minutes of superficial conversation, she told me that she was surprised I seemed normal because I had chickens. She said she was expecting someone 'more...uh...farmy.' That was funny. Who actually says that kind of thing out loud?
Here's my dress...finished with not much time to spare

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Party

Tonight is Jeff's Christmas party. It is quite a fancy event, and fortunately I finished my dress in time. Unfortunately, I have a lovely and glaringly large bruise on my arm that wraps around to my elbow. I got it from a routine blood draw for my Thyroid check. It is quite super, since my dress is sleeveless. Jeff has suggested make-up, which I am afraid will rub off on the dress. I think I will either go with a shawl (wrap?) or a cardigan...hopefully! Tonight also marks the one time every year where I wear pantyhose. Seriously, who invented those? You pay like five or six bucks for a pair and they snag the first time you wear them. Anywho, tonight we will get all shined up and go eat fancy and delicious food with a bunch of tipsy engineers who may or may not talk about playing Dungeons and Dragons in their basement, or the best way to build a nuclear storage cask. Wish me luck! :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hey There, Puddin'

Occasionally someone stops me and tells me how they always wish they had curly hair. I think this is part of the 'grass is always greener' syndrome. In high school, I used to want straight hair so bad. Then I gave up and decided that people actually pay to have curly hair, and mine came for free so I might as well like it. The problem with curly hair is that every single morning I look like Tina Turner after a fight with a Flowbee. If I don't put copious amounts of mousse in it each day, my hair turns from the aforementioned disaster into something of Lion King-like proportions. Recently it dawned on me that...duh!!! I should try out the products in the 'ethnic' section. When I was at Walmart, I perused the ethnic section and found that the clientele apparently like their hair products to sound like food. After perusing such products as Hair Mayo, I settled upon a tub o' Hair Pudding. No joke. And the thing is, it works! I am a new fan of the Puddin'. It even comes with an awesome disclaimer that says 'Hair is flammable. Hair is even more flammable with product in it. Avoid flames.' Thank you, hair pudding, for that timeless advice. From here on out, I promise not to tuck a lit cigarette behind my ear, or try to curl my hair with a red-hot poker.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

My bird ornament collection: I had to get creative and hang them from a branch on the ceiling this year to keep them away from the Tylerist.

 I know a lot of people have a tradition of buying an ornament of significance every year. We do too, although my Mom may have taken it to a whole new level. We usually end up with several new ornaments each year, each with a memory attached. It is so fun to take each ornament out and remember the story. Some of the more unusual ornaments we have were ones my Mom made for us. I believe my brother has a small wagon with a few of his teeth glued in it. My sister has one with a piece of the body cast she was in as a baby. (She also has hip dysplasia, like Katie.) I have one that was made from the horrendous contraption I had to have in my mouth because I couldn't stop sucking my thumb. I like the way she made it look so cutesie. Don't be fooled! That thing was awful.

But now, it makes for an awesome and very unique ornament!  (It is missing a piece on the side now)

I seem to have carried on the tradition, because I have already made my kids some strange ornaments. I stuffed fake pine boughs and pine cones into James' baby shoe, and glued a bow on it to signify the year he learned to walk. I had the doctor cut a small piece of Katie's second cast to be made into an ornament. He was kind enough to let me pick where I wanted to cut, and I chose the ankle, where she had worn through the cast dragging herself around. Can't forget that!

I made an ornament from James' NICU bottle, and inside are the cables they had him hooked up to to monitor his breathing. This one always makes me so grateful that he is here and healthy!!

This cupcake ornament has the best story of all our ornaments. I got the idea to post it from my friend Linda, who posted her favorite Christmas decoration today.  When my Dad and his siblings were young, Aunt Sally have them this ornament. Never mind that there were three of them. Somehow this ornament became kind of a fun joke, and it was decided that whoever married first would get the ornament. For my parents wedding, my great grandma wrote and read a poem about the soldier. When Jeff and I got married, someone added verses to the poem and my Aunt Lynn read the poem at our reception, where we were presented with the cupcake. Now it sits high on our tree so the kids can't reach it.

And my favorite Christmas decorations of all, the stockings my Grandma cross-stitched for us!! They are not pre-printed. Every single thing is made up of teeny-tiny stitches. They are so beautiful.

And now I'm off to finish this dress! I don't think I want to wear it with the pins, but Jeff's Christmas party is coming up and I had the brilliant idea of making my own dress. Well, it would have been brilliant if I did it like a month ago. Now I have way too many projects to finish before Christmas. Oi!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Fun Lists

I am pretty good at coming up with ideas, but they don't always get done. We are forever saying 'oh, we should do that sometime,' then never actually doing it. To alleviate that, last summer the kids and I came up with a list of all the things we wanted to do over the summer. It worked out well, and so we are bringing the list back for Christmas! Here are a few things on our Christmas to-do list:
  • Bake cookies
  • Drink hot chocolate
  • Make snowflakes
  • Read Christmas books
  • Decorate the front window
  • Make clothespin and candy cane reindeer (Check!)
  • See the lights (preferably more than once)
  • Make gingerbread houses
  • Have a family (Christmas) dance party
Having kids gives me plenty of excuses to do all this fun stuff!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I'm Not Going Tell You What It Is....

Yesterday James had his school 'Holiday Shoppe.' I fondly remember mine from childhood, being able to choose from loads of cheesy trinkets. At the time, of course, the stuff they sold seemed wonderful, and each choice was made with the utmost care even if I did choose a pet rock. Now James has the chance to make his own momentous purchases. Having no idea what things at the store cost, I sent him several bucks for each of us. He came back with plenty of change, and a spring in his step. He ran out of school, saying "I'm not going to tell you what I got you, but you're going to love it!!!" As we walked home, he would turn around and say things like 'they are clothes, but I'm not going to tell you' or 'they are warm and fuzzy and you're going to love them.' It didn't take me long to figure out that he had gotten me socks. Then he turned and said 'It starts with an 'S' Mom!' Bingo! I was right. When we got home, he wanted me to look in the bag and see my socks, because to quote James 'you'll forget by Christmas anyway.' I opened the bag to socks. Instead, the most obvious choice for a mom gift was a compact covered with faux bling. I held it up and he looked at it, confused. 'Oh, I thought I got you socks,' he said. I think he must have changed his mind at the last minute, then forgot. I just found it amusing that he spent the whole way home telling me (without telling me) what he got me, only to have it completely wrong.

P.S. Jeff did his final presentation last week for his Senior Design project and he did great! The professors said he did a very nice job  and was very professional. No surprise! One more class down, only TWO to go!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

It's That Time Of Year......

...for Jeff to bust out his giraffe-sized footie pajamas. Despite the fact that they make him look like a smurf on juice, he wears them quite often! I recently found out that my lovely sister in law thought the footies were just a joke. No, they are not! So here you go, proof that they exist! :)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Rock-a-bye Me

For the last few months, Tyler has had an endearing habit of saying 'rock-a-bye me, Mama.' Its pretty much the cutest thing ever. How can I resist but to rock the little guy until he crawls out of my lap to run and play? He rarely slows down so I take it when I can get it. Then, several weeks ago, he took it to another level by standing up in his crib, wrapping his arms around me and rocking me back and forth gently, while saying 'rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye.' I pretty much melted right there on the spot. Now, everyone lines up at his crib at night, wanting Tyler to 'rock-a-bye' them. I have to say he will usually do it for me, but often sends the kids packing. It hurts their feelings, but I have to say it makes me day! He loves his mama. :)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Thanksgiving Pictures (Mercifully Pooptastrophe-Free)

The Guests (One of our traditions is to invite random people who don't have other plans. Its fun!)

Another tradition: Marshmallow gun fights! We started out with homemade guns, then every year someone shows up with something a little different. Straight copper tube=faster marshmallows according to some. My sister-in-law's dad conducted tests on the velocity of various marshmallows and determined that colored are best. This year, we added some store bought guns which were easier for the kids (no wind power needed). My brother in law shows no mercy to anyone, including the kids. And let me tell you, getting hit in the back of the neck at close range really hurts!

Big T and Aunt Sally

My super awesome sister and sister-in-law!

My bro (he's pretty awesome too, but don't tell him I said that! ha! :) He was the one who took out the fence while I was chasing him. I think it was a proud moment for our parents!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Kid-Made Christmas Gifts

The kids are making gifts for each other this year. I will be posting the ideas on the craft blog in case you are interested. My two requirements are that the crafts are easy and cheap! :)