Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Past

We are done celebrating the birth of Jesus, but it still seems like Christmas to me. I know that in a couple of days the season will have "worn off", but for now I am still reveling in the Christmas Spirit. Griffin loves his Thomas the Train -- the trains and the huge track that covers a large portion of floor when it's all laid out, the blanket, the movies, and everything he got related to Thomas Himself. Sammy is having fun playing with everyone's new toys... his own, Griffin's and even Mommy and Daddy's when he can get his chubby little hands on them! I guess it's just anything anyone else is interested in... because we are all so cool, and he wants to be in the club!

Mike gave me the movie "The Devil Wears Prada", and I have watched it three times since I unwrapped it. It has got to be one of my new favorite movies. Right up there with Sabrina and Anne of Green Gables. Well, not nearly on par with Anne, but it's up there somewhere. Mike also gave me cash, which might not seem romantic, but was actually a huge blessing because I really didn't know what I wanted and this makes it fun for me! I got a pair of shoes to wear at the gym, and I'm going to find a fun little towel that I can take there and maybe a couple of shirts to work out in. I'd love to have a little MP3 player, and Mike says he thinks he has one somewhere, so I'm pretty excited about that too! Mike got a big bag of dried fruits and nuts, a Far Side daily calendar for his office, a big box of candy bars (not the healthiest, I know, but he loves them and can restrain himself, unlike me), also for the office, and some gift cards to FuddRucker's, some of which we used tonight to enjoy a meal out with the boys. My little boys (yes, they are mine when they are behaving!) were SO good, and we had such a pleasant experience. It was really a fun night! Then we came home and the boys got to play "Bathketball". They actually ended up getting two of these sets from different people, which works out perfectly for us because now there's no (well, not much) fighting over whose basket is whose, and there are plenty of balls, too. Griffin wanted to go take a bath for a long time once he realized that he actually got to play basketball WHILE taking a bath, two of his favorite things to do.

Cleo is still healing from her declawing, and is limping around a bit and falling off of the couch because she forgets that her claws aren't there any more. Miles quickly learned, though, that she isn't quite the threat to his safety that she used to be, and he is taking full advantage of that fact.

I guess that's all for now. I actually have a lot more to say, but I really don't have the brain power to do it right now, and I have library books I need to finish reading before they are due. Have I mentioned that I LOVE the library? I like to use the online catalog, and put the books I want to read (or movies to watch) on hold, then just waltz in and give them my card and waltz out with what I asked for. Sure, sometimes you have to wait a couple of weeks for the good stuff, but it's so totally worth it!

Oh, you all should really watch "The Devil Wears Prada".

That's all.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Plans

We are "celebrating" four times this year. Tonight we will be going to Mama G's house to open presents with Mike's family. His sister and her children will be in town, but they have to leave before Christmas day, so we're opening presents tonight. Then after the boys go to bed Mike and I will set up Griffin's Christmas present: a huge Thomas the Train set we picked up for a bargain the day after Thanksgiving. We can't wait to see the look on his face when he comes out of his room tomorrow morning! The train will be set up right outside of his room in the loft on a table (so that Sammy can't bother Griffin while he's playing... yet).

Tomorrow morning, after Griffin has played with Thomas for a little while, we'll open our presents to each other, just the four of us, and then have some breakfast. Bonnie and Caleb will come over some time too, which will be fun! The boys love to see them, and Mike and I really like spending time with them. It's great to have good friends. :)

Sunday morning we'll go to church. The Kid's Life director has planned a special morning for the kids. They'll rotate between three rooms, one where a lady will be reading the Christmas story, another will have VeggieTales "The Star of Christmas" playing, and another one where they will be able to make a craft. Mike and I will watch any of the babies who aren't old enough to be interested in the goings-on. I just love working in the nursery!

Around two o'clock on Sunday, we'll head over to my parents' house, where we'll open presents with my family and extended family. Grandma got to come over yesterday and spend a couple of hours hanging out with us at lunchtime. Then Christy stole her to take her to see Charlotte's Web with the girls while I watched Miguel (8 months old)... er, uh... took a nap with him. My babies don't really cuddle too much anymore, but Miguel is still quite the little cuddle-bug, and he was quite willing to hunker down and sleep so that I could get a nap in too while I held him. It was nice to spend time with Grandma and with Miguel!

Monday we'll go back to Mike's parents' house to spend Christmas Day with them. I'm sure there will be yummy food involved! I'll have to watch that I don't over-indulge and negate all of the exercise I've been doing lately. Which is where I need to go right now, I'm meeting a friend at the gym. Her son is Griffn's age, and they enjoy playing together. Or at least Griffin enjoys playing with him. He is kind of the "wild child" of the bunch whenever we're in a group of kids, so I'm never sure whether the other kids like him or are afraid of him.

Off to the gym!

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Trip to Goodwill

I love Goodwill! I always find a treasure when I go there, and usually it's something I've been looking for for a long time that the retail stores just don't have quite the right one of. Today I found:

A picture to go above our bed. Isn't it just adorable? And the boy has brown hair and the girl has red hair... couldn't be more appropriate! I think they even look a little like Mike and I did when we were growing up. -- $12.97

A big pile of red ribbons. Mike has been patiently listening to me talk about my favorite Christmas decorations, and I must have mentioned that I love Christmas-type greenery with red bows on it, oh... maybe 20 times. Now I can use them instead of just talking about it! -- $2.98

A Christmas present for a friend. She's gonna love it! -- $.99... that's cents, not dollars!!

Two little backpacks for the boys, because Griffin mentioned tonight at dinner that he wanted to carry a purse, and we thought we'd better steer him in a different direction. -- $8.48

A whole bunch of books for the boys. I found some fun ones! -- .49 or .99 each

A "Kitchen Prayer" to inspire me when I get bogged down in the day-to-day. -- I have no idea, it wasn't marked.

A blue jumper dress with little aqua flowers stitched around the waist -- $4.95

A pretty new floral print nightgown (I think it is supposed to be a dress, but it is stretch cotton and looks like a nightgown to me!) -- $4.95

Total cost of everything -- $47.00

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Today I took Cleo to the vet to get her stitches removed. She was spayed and declawed last week. Poor, poor kitty. But Miles couldn't be happier! He was tired of being chased all over the house. Now they just sit on the couch and lick each other, and only have occasional "cat attack" moments.

I also did my Christmas shopping for Mike. He's going to be a happy camper! I got him... oh, yeah, you thought I was actually going to say it, didn't you, Mike. HA! And then I was just reading some other women's blogs about buying secondhand Christmas presents and living frugally (I'll have to figure out how to put links to other peoples' blogs on here, they were awesome!). I felt so guilty! I could have just gone to the Salvation Army, or made him something... but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I'll study up on the art of frugal living this year (that is one of my goals for the new year, that and living a healthy lifestyle, we'll see if those two lifestyles can coexist!) and maybe next Christmas I'll have it all down pat and will be able to put more thought into what I get him. But isn't that what everyone says every year? I can't be the only one who does this! Every year I wait a little too long to decorate for Christmas, or buy Christmas presents, or send out thank you cards for birthday presents, or call people back when they've left a message on my answering machine... maybe I should work on procrastination next year!

Some of the websites I found inspiring were found on www.hillbillyhousewives.com. She has a blog (at the top of the web page is the word "blog", just click on it), and has other blogs or sites listed on the right-hand side of the page. I didn't look at all of them, because Mike called me an internet "junkie", so I thought it appropriate that I spend at least a little while away from the computer. So I threw a load of laundry into the washer (which I now need to throw into the dryer, as it is done washing) and sat down with my day-planner on the couch with him -- he was reading an R.A. Salvatore book I picked up for him from the library; he loves his Sci-Fi.

I wrote down everything I could think of that is coming up in the next two weeks, and then about 20 minutes later when he went downstairs (to play a sci-fi game on the computer, most likely) I got back online to post my blog. *grin* Maybe I am a junkie, but I like to think that I am "bettering myself" by learning how to be a better wife and mother when I read blogs by people who have been doing the whole "stay-at-home-mom" thing a lot longer than I have. As long as I don't spend time on the computer that I should be spending with my family, I don't mind checking my e-mail during the day and surfing the web to find good, fast, up-to-date information that can make my job easier. Who wouldn't want that?

And now I am going to attempt to make a meal plan for the next two weeks. Yikes! It might be a little too much for me to handle, I might end up with a one-week meal plan, but it'll be better than nothing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

He's a Walker!

Sammy is now officially walking! He took his first tentative steps a few days ago, and has been gaining momentum ever since. It's not quite as fast as crawling, so most of the time he'll only walk somewhere when he's not paying attention. As soon as he realizes what's going on, he drops to the floor and crawls to where he needs to go. It is very amusing to watch him toddle across the floor while he's holding a toy. His full attention is focused on what is in his hands, and when he ends up on the other side of the room he looks around like "How did I get here?!"

He does get frustrated with us when we ask him to walk too much, though (see bottom picture). we'll set him down standing up and ask him to walk to us, and if he just wants to be held, he won't "perform" for us at all, he just flops to the ground and cries. It looks so heartbreaking, doesn't it? Yeah, I used to fall for it all the time. I hold him a lot, but this little one could be held all day and he still wouldn't be as close to me as he wants to be. I think he'd like it better if he were still attached!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cookie Cutter Christmas

Yes, those are cookie cutters on our Christmas tree. I had planned on not having any decorations, just lights, but was struck by a brilliant idea and decided to pull out the box of 100 Cookie Cutters that has been on a high shelf in the laundry room for a few years now. I had purchased it even before I had children in a fit of nostalgic something-or-other thinking it would be wonderful to bake cookies with such fun shapes, and there are shapes that can be used year-round (see the yellow flower on the front of the tree in the top picture? yes, that's a "W" beside it. And the faint orange ghost off to the right of Sammy in the bottom picture?). The tree turned out so cute, and even though the cookie cutters only stayed in their original places for about an hour or so -- there aren't really any ornaments from about 4 feet on down any more, they were all mysteriously knocked off -- it was worth it to see Griffin's face light up and watch him get so excited about helping decorate this Christmas tree he's been hearing about for weeks now!

I really wanted to put up the Christmas tree this year, since last year seemed kind of depressing and not very Christmas-like without one. I had reasoned that it would just be easier (Gordon's tail shattering glass balls, Griffin running around pulling off ornaments and chewing on tree branches) not having to deal with it and told myself that no one would see it but us, but without one it just didn't seem quite like Christmas. So this year I was very excited when it came time to decorate the tree and the house, even though I knew that some of my decorations had been destroyed in a flood we had over the summer (storage room, water coming from the ceiling, not a good thing!). I had my Rice Krispies treats (store-bought; Mom always made them from scratch), but I didn't make hot chocolate, so the tradition wasn't quite complete, but I did have Johnny Mathis playing on the sound system (it's not quite the same as the record player, but it'll do!) so I got to hear my "It's a Marshmallow World" and dance around like a little girl. I was one happy woman! It's such a nostalgic time of the year, and it's nice to be able to recreate a piece of your childhood after you've left home. I'm glad that Mom and Dad started such a simple tradition, because it is easy to carry it on now that I have my own home. And one year without it was more than I could bear, so I know it's something I'll be doing at least until the boys are gone.

The little tree is one I decorated with my ornaments from when I was growing up. The orange gingerbread man has always been my favorite. I can't explain why, but there's this huge feeling of nostalgia surrounding that little guy, and whenever I see him I feel good.

A Warm Bath in a Cold December

Sammy decided that he is too big for the baby bath. It was just too restrictive for him. He wanted to be wild and free, like Griffin! I love giving the boys their bedtime bath. All except for the part where I end up all wet because Griffin has splashed too big of a splash and I just happened to be sitting right next to the tub washing Sammy when it happened. It happens almost every time I give the boys a bath, and yet I still have this romaniticized picture of the whole bathtime/bedtime routine. I think we have a good punishment worked out for the splashing, though. If he splashes and the water lands on the carpet or the person giving the bath, he gets out. Griffin loves his baths more than I love giving them, so that's a pretty steep punishment for him.

That's actually what happened in this series of pictures. Griffin was being a little deviant, and splashed me really big (my pants were more wet than dry) and then proceeded to get Mike's back wet too, so he was outta there REALLY fast, and Mike was taking him kicking and screaming down the hall to his room. Sammy, of course, wanted to know what was going on with Griffin, since Griffin is one of his favorite people in the world, and leaned as far over the edge of the tub as he could without touching it with his belly, as it was rather cold on his warm little body.

Miles decided to come investigate the bath process, I suppose because the threat of his getting wet was highly diminished due to Griffin's recent departure. He loves to watch the crazy humans do things that he would never dream of, in the exalted state of existence that he lives in.

And that is the story of one warm bath on a cold, snowy evening in December.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Foods that Inspire... or Make Us Sleep

Sammy always gets tired when he eats his bottle in the highchair! He sometimes falls asleep while holding his bottle. The other day I was cooking in the kitchen and when I went into the dining room to check on him, I found that Griffin had taken the tray off of the high chair, and Sammy had his foot up and looked like he was truly lounging. Or maybe he would have been if he could have gotten the other foot up there before he fell asleep. He just looks uncomfortable to me!

Sammy loves to climb up all of the stairs and hold on to the bars at the top while jumping (bouncing, he doesn't really leave the ground) up and down and yelling like a baby caveman. In fact, that is one of his favorite daytime activities, because he knows Mommy will come running every time and "rescue" him. It is quite a long drop to the wood floor below, and although I think his chubby body couldn't fit through the bars, I don't want that to even be a remote possibility, so I'll go rescue him even though he thinks it's a game.

Griffin just loves to climb, and he is actually not allowed to do what he is doing in this picture, but he loves to be in pictures, so he ran and jumped onto the bars right as I was taking a picture of Sammy. *sigh* The little daredevil. He makes people nervous with all of his running and jumping and antics, but I suppose I'm just used to it, because it takes a lot for me to react and get nervous.

The last picture is the fruit that Bonnie got for me from Whole Foods when she took me shopping. It all looked so pretty that I just had to take a picture before we ate it all! It was so yummy, the kiwi was sweet and tart at the same time, the avocados were perfectly ripe and we at them up quickly, and the oranges inspired us so much that we have had oranges in the house ever since! They are our new favorite fruit. Not really new, but it's like we rediscovered them or something. The pears were so delicious and juicy, they were wonderful. And we always love bananas. My favorite way to eat them is with peanut butter for breakfast. So thank you, Bonnie, for the inspiration and the yummy food!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I Take It Back

Okay, I take back what I said about Griffin saying his alphabet. We went to church today and he got "schooled", and when he came home he sang them all perfectly as we sat eating our delicious, juicy barbecued chicken breast and peas. They have a video in the nursery that he absolutely loves, and pulls up a chair as soon as we get there (even if no one else is in the room, since we're usually the first to arrive). He loves the Alphabet Song, and The Wheels on the Bus (he flips out when we see a bus now, and starts singing the song). I feel bad for the nursery workers when the video is over, he probably goes nuts and doesn't know what to do with himself.

He's not into playing with the other kids too much yet, he's still pretty independent and sees the others as rivals competing for the toys, especially Thomas the Train. He believes that he is the only child who should have access to anything Thomas-related. We'll be working hard on the whole sharing thing before Christmas comes.

Mike and I were talking during lunch about how we can actually carry on a real conversation with Griffin now, and we have both noticed that he gets frustrated with us if we don't finish our sentences fast enough and will finish them for us if he knows what we're going to say.

Tonight is dinner at Union Station, a free dinner for the volunteers at church. In past years it has been $50 per couple, but this year they decided to just pay for all of the volunteers to go. It's so nice to be appreciated! I can't wait to get all dressed up and go out with Mike.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


So I sat down to do my SuDoku puzzle this evening... yes, it has become a nightly event (there's a great website, www.dailysudoku.com, that has a new one every day), and Mike sat down with me, still munching on his head of cabbage. "My idea is shrinking!" he said.

Griffin was also at the table sticking alphabet stickers onto a piece of paper onto which I had drawn a blank graph of a SuDoku puzzle. Getting him started early! :) He was saying his alphabet while he stuck the letters on. He kind of goes "aeee bee cee deee yef gee kay eliminohpee esss tee vee exssswhyzeee know my aybeecees next won't sing me". I love it!

I said "My name is Carody!" and he said "No, MY name is Bippin... GrrrrrBippin!" It gets me every time! I laughed so hard. When Mike came into the room I asked Griffin what his name was again so that Mike could get a good laugh too. I hear laughing burns calories, so I'm all over that. I love to laugh.

I got to go out today with Bonnie. She got her hair done, and it looks so great! She couldn't get exactly what she wanted to done, because she's trying to go from dark brown to light blonde, and apparently (I learned a lot about dying hair today) it has to be done in stages if you don't want to look like Ronald McDonald. But she's being patient and doing what the hair stylist told her to do, which is admirable. Many people would have run out and bought a box of Bodacious Blonde Bombshell hair color and retreated to their bathroom. Not that I'm poo-pooing dying your own hair at all, but it's all about patience, right?

Maybe that's what my New Year's Resolution should be, something about patience. That would encompass eating (WAIT for your dinner, Carody, wait for it!!), weight loss (don't get discouraged if you don't lose 20 pounds a week), money (You don't really HAVE to have that right now, do you?)... yeah, maybe this year should be all about patience. I'm sure the boys would appreciate that. I get frustrated so quickly with their little boy antics, and most of the time they just want to be played with, which means me on the floor (yes, losing weight would be good) building, rolling around, tickling, laughing -- hey, maybe it's a workout in itself!

Yeah, I'll have to work on narrowing down the resolution thing. In the meantime, I'll just keep laughing. That's what my name means, anyway. I finally found a baby name book with MY name in it! It is American in origin and means "humorous". Well, I try. :)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Very Late Thanksgiving Blog

I haven't said anything about our Thanksgiving celebration, and I do want to remember it, so I'd better record it here before I forget the little details that make everything so meaningful.

We went to Lawrence to my aunt and uncle's house for Thanksgiving this year. This is the first year it hasn't been at Grandma's house in Salina, so there wasn't all of the nostalgia surrounding the day, but the family was there and the food was just as good as it has ever been, and we had Grandma's Green Jello, so the celebration was still wonderful.

I'm going to write about past Thanksgivings so that I have a record of them, and then I'll go into the day at Aunt Susan and Uncle John's.

Usually we would drive the three-and-a-half hours to Grandma's house and arrive on Wednesday evening, usually getting there pretty late because we didn't leave until Dad got home from work. We would sit up and talk with whoever was already there, usually Great Grandma (She died this year not too long after she turned 100 years old, and we miss her being there SO much!), Aunt Susan, Uncle John, cousin Alison who is a couple years younger than me, Aunt Lynda, Uncle Marty, cousins Kurt and Kelly who are two years older and one year younger than me respectively, and our family: Mom and Dad, Christy (one-and-a-half years older than me) and Wesley (nine years younger than me). Christy and I usually slept either in "the piano room", which had a hide-a-bed couch that folded out to quite a nice size, or when all of the cousins were there (Kurt and Kelly moved to Colorado and didn't get to come every year), we'd all bring our sleeping bags and pile onto the floor in the living room. Thanksgiving morning we would all wake up to the smells of Grandma's cooking. She usually had little loaves of pumkin bread and banana bread, along with cereal, juice, milk, coffee, scrambled eggs, and other yummy things. We would eat while the adults took their showers, and when they were finished we got to use the bathrooms. Grandma's house had two water heaters, so people could take showers in both bathrooms at the same time! It always amazed me.

After shower time, the kids would play at various things. Grandma usually had one of those big puzzles (the ones with tons of tiny little pieces) set up on a card table for everyone to work on, and we'd sit and work on it for what seemed like a very long time before giving up and letting the adults finish it. Grandma would sometimes be able to wrangle us into actually helping her set the table before we ate, but mostly we just stayed out of the kitchen. That is, until we got older and actually wanted to help!

The meal was always delicious. Turkey, gravy, homemade stuffing, gravy, tons of mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, cranberry salad, Grandma's Green Jello, Mom's homemade rolls with butter, and then some more of everything on that list. When we were done, there was pumpkin pie, apple pie, and usually a couple of different kinds of cakes too. We were always stuffed when we were done, and would usually just lay around saying how full we were while the older people did the dishes and burned some calories while they were at it.

A couple of hours after we ate, we would all bundle up and head outside for the annual "hedgeapple retrieval". Grandma has some hedgeapple trees on her land, and we would pull the little red wagon all over the place and pick them up, and then drag it over to her neighbor's fence and throw them as far as we could (we threw them farther every year!). Sometimes it took several trips, but we were always red-cheeked and ready to go back inside when we were done.

For me, this was the longest part of the day. Waiting until everyone else was ready to eat again! I was a big eater (still am, hence my need to "scale" back on how much I consume), and the food was just as good the second time around.

We would stay up and watch the Thanksgiving specials -- "It's a Wonderful Life", "Charlie Brown Christmas", "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Garfield Christmas", and all of those other Thanksgiving shows designed to get everyone in the Christmas spirit so they would go out and buy lots of stuff the next day.

The day after Thanksgiving we would wake up and eat a quick breakfast, and the brave ones of us would go out and brave the crowds at the mall and find some good deals. When I went I knew I should be looking for things to give as Christmas presents, but if I bought anything it was usually something for myself. I'll admit it. I'm a shopaholic. I love the feeling of bringing something new home. When I lived with my parents I would clean my room whenever I bought something new, so that it wouldn't be spoiled by my messy room. Betcha didn't know that, Mom!!

Anyway, Thanksgiving is a very special memory for me because it was a tradition for our family. Now that I am married, we spend every other Thanksgiving with my family, and every other one with Mike's. We do the same thing for Christmas. I miss the tradition and always going to the same place, but I know we need to spend equal time with each family.

I just love traditions! My absolute favorite day of every year growing up was the day we would put up the Christmas tree and decorate the house. Mom always made homemade hot chocolate and Rice Krispies Treats, and we'd pull out all of the ornaments we had made at school and ones we had collected over the years and put them all on the tree while we listened to Johnny Mathis sing "It's a Marshmallow World" on the record player. Ah, memories...

So this year was a fun Thanksgiving. There were some very yummy appetizers, including Grandma's pumpkin bread (!) and some extremely delicious mini-quiches that cousin Alison and her boyfriend Robert brought. They are very talented cooks, and I ate too many of the little things, but they were so tasty! One kind had goat cheese and spinach, and the other kind had pancetta and gruillere (sp) cheese. SO good. And the dinner was wonderful, with most of the same foods we had always had at Grandma's, but I chose to bring a spiced fruit dish and one I made up with squash, carrots, onion, and cheese. It was really colorful, and it tasted good too!

Sammy had a helping of cranberry sauce, and let's just say it was quite the mess to clean up! I think there's a picture on someone's camera of him when he was done, I'll have to find it. It's a good thing it was such a nice day, somewhere in the upper 60's, so we took him outside while still in his high chair and "hosed him off" with some very wet paper towels. He played in his playpen outside while the older kids (Christy's girls and Griffin) ran around. The men decided to go outside and play basketball, and when they were finished I challenged Christy to a game of pig while Mike took the kids (all four of the older ones, he was brave) on a walk around the entire block. I won. Then we played horse. I won that one too. Then the guys started to come back and play, and I lost a couple of games and decided my streak was over, so I went back inside. We all sat and talked for quite a while before we decided it was time to head home. It was a good day! I can't wait for Christmas, it's going to be fun too.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I am the proud new owner of a gym membership! Bally Total Fitness called yesterday and offered me a membership for $49 down, $19 a month. It was the best offer I had ever heard of from any of the gyms in the area, so I called them today to find out more details. The price includes up to two hours of childcare per day, and if I want to renew it when the contract is up, it will still be the same price. I talked to a lady from church whose husband just happens to be the general manager of the Bally near our house, and she said he was amazed at the price and that she was even renewing her membership now. When I called Bally this morning, they told me that the promotion only went until 10pm tonight, so I was totally glad I had called in time! I can't wait to go work out. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow. I need to set up a schedule so that I know exactly when I'm going to go and plan for it, but I want to talk to some of the other ladies from church first because quite a few of them have memberships there, and we could possibly go together to give each other some accountability.

Today was my day off, so I got to get out and go to some fun places. First I went to Bally to get my ID card made, then I talked to Bonnie on my cell phone for a while while I sat in a parking lot. On my way home, I saw this little white Sheltie (sp?) running around in the street in a subdivision. I parked in someone's driveway and he started running up to me as soon as I got out of the truck. I petted him and talked to him while I checked his tags. He was dirty and his fur was matted, so I assumed he'd been running around outside for a long time. The tags had the name of a vet in our town on them, with a phone number. I figured I would check with a few houses first just to see if he lived in the subdivision before I called the vet. I walked up to the house whose driveway I was parked in, and little Doggy ran up to the front door with me. When the lady answered the door, he ran inside the house! Turns out he lived there. I was glad he hadn't gone far. She was so thankful and said that her dogs (there was a Basset hound staring mournfully at me from the front door) dug under the fence earlier today and she had called and called but he didn't come. She said thank you several times before I left.

It reminded me a tiny bit of Oprah's show yesterday. She had given $1,000 debit cards to 314 people and lent them all video cameras. Then she told them that the money had to be spent helping someone else, and the video cameras were to document what they did. It was an amazing show that I will remember for a long time. Many of the people had announced to businesses and their communities what they were doing and people had rallied around them and donated even more to whatever cause they had chosen to give to. There were several cases where people ended up with more than $50,000 to give to their charity. In one case, two sisters had paired up and were donating their $2,000 to an abused women's shelter. After all of the donations poured in (they had done some radio shows announcing what they were doing), they had over $200,000 to donate. It was just amazing! Then there was the family who called a bunch of delivery places and gave the pizza delivery guys $200 and $300 tips. It was so cool to watch their reactions! Just amazing. And everyone who participated was just amazed at how good it felt to pay it forward. What a good season for that message! It felt good to know that I had made someone a little happier today.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tackles and Crashes

Our church had a football game with another church this afternoon. It was perfect weather for it, around 65 degrees, with just enough of a breeze to make it feel like November. Mike had so much fun, and he got one great tackle and an awesome, game-saving interception. He loves to play, but I know he loves to win, too.

I waited for the boys to wake up from their naps and then took them out to watch the game. Sammy played in the Pack 'N Play while Griffin ran around with some of the other little boys his age. Then they discovered that there was a big sand pile, and it was all over. Literally. All over the place, all over them, and stuck in some places that Griffin didn't even know existed. The game was held on the high school's football field, which has the track running (ha!) around it, and the sand "pit" was for the people to run and jump into. I know it's a valid sport, I just can't think of the name of it. Long jump?

I know I'll look back at this later and laugh (maybe after we pay the bill), but I ran into my second parked car in about 3 months tonight. The first time was when a guy not quite directly across the street (Cliff), parked his brand-spanking-new black car right across from our driveway. Well, I looked behind me and to both sides like I always do when I back up, and totally didn't see it, wasn't expecting it to be there, and it was dark outside (about 9 PM), so black didn't really stand out all that well. I backed up all the way, looked behind me and realized that his car was awfully close to the back of the truck, and went on my merry way to Hy-Vee. When I came home, however, I just happened to look over at the back of his car as I drove past it, and there was a big dent, probably four or five inches across, on his back bumper. I just KNEW I had backed into it, even though I hadn't felt anything, and I went inside shaking and crying to tell Mike. I believe my exact words were "He's going to KILL me!!!" Mike was sweet enough to go talk to Cliff for me, and Cliff came over while I sat sobbing on the couch and told me it was fine, he was glad no one got hurt, and that is what insurance is for. I was relieved, but I still felt really bad.

Tonight I just felt plain stupid. Everyone knows that the guy that lives directly across the street from us loves his cars to death. He washes them at least once a week, more often if it's warm outside, and takes very good care of them. One of them is a candy-apple-red sports car (Camaro? I can't remember). He always parks it in his driveway. Well, guess what? Tonight he didn't, he parked it in the exact spot that Cliff had parked his car when I hit it before. I got in the truck, looked behind me and to both sides (apparently there is a blind spot in that exact place), and started backing up. Well, I knew it when I hit the car this time. Ugh!!! I don't know how bad it is because it was dark outside, but I know that glass broke and that there is a considerable dent/tear in his car's rear right side. Mike doesn't want to report it to insurance because he says our rates will most likely go up, so we're going to wait and see how expensive it is, and then most likely we'll just pay for it. Oh, great, another bill!

Mike is such a supportive husband, he is truly a blessing to me. He knows just what to say to make me feel better when I have done something stupid. I know he must be at least a little upset about the impending bill that will come from this, but he made sure I knew that he isn't mad at all, and that he's glad I am okay and that no one got hurt (am I having deja vu?)

I really really really want some chocolate right now. I know that would make me feel good. But I'm going to keep drinking my water and tell myself I'll feel better in the morning if I don't.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Scares and prayers

We were driving home tonight from Mama G's house where we had had a fun family get-together, and came upon the scene of an accident. We saw the flashing lights of a fire engine blocking the road, and we were the first car in a long line of cars that had to stop. They set up cones to block off both lanes of the highway so that no one could get through. Griffin was getting very excited about all of the lights and sirens, and Mike and I tried to be upbeat because we didn't want to scare him, but it's hard to be calm and collected when you know that someone is probably seriously hurt. Then we heard the helicopter coming closer and closer. Mike thought it was a News Chopper and thought they had a lot of nerve getting that close to the scene of the accident, but we soon realized that it was Life Flight coming to take someone away. We both got really quiet and Mike bowed his head and prayed silently. I was praying, but with my eyes wide open, so when the fire fighter started walking up to us, I nudged Mike to let him know. The fire fighter was very nice and politely apologized for the hold-up. He really didn't need to apologize, but it was a nice thing to do anyway. I mean, what were we going to do, get mad that someone's life needed to be saved? Yeah right!

We were there for about 20 minutes waiting, and then a police officer came and told us they would let us drive past in a little bit. We asked him what he knew about the accident, and he wouldn't say much, but said he thought the guy was stable when they took him. Driving past, there appeared to be only one car, a small dark grey SUV that looked like it wasn't very old at all, and it was smashed to smithereens. The airbags in front and on the sides had all been deployed, and there was almost no front end left to speak of. It had obviously rolled quite a bit. The top of the car was peeled back and mangled, and the windows were all gone. It looked like it had been in a very bad fire, although I don't think there was a fire.

I hope he is all right, and I will try to find out from Mama G if she sees anything in the newspaper about it. It happened close to where she lives, and it was right at 10 PM that we stopped, so I thought there might be something on the news about it, but there wasn't.

You feel like you are somehow connected to the incident, even though you had nothing to do with it, when you are that close to it watching everything happen. I'm just glad we didn't drive through that area however many minutes earlier.

So this Thanksgiving, I thank God that my family is safe. It is something I take for granted way too often, until I see something like this happen and it shatters the little bubble I live in. I hugged Griffin a little tighter and gave him an extra kiss or two when I put him to bed tonight.

Oh, and on a lighter note... we were almost home, and I assumed Griffin and Sammy were sound asleep as I hadn't heard a sound from the back seat for quite a while, and I happened to burp quite loudly. I felt no need to hold it in, as there was no one to hear it, right? Then this little voice from the back says "Excuse you, Mommy!" and I laughed so hard I thought my sides would burst. Griffin is learning how to be polite, and he will gladly correct people if he knows they have messed up in the "polite" department. Last week he sneezed and said "Bless me!" when no one said a blessing for him. Then yesterday while we ate lunch he handed me something, waited a little while, and exclaimed "You're welcome!"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Healthy talk

Okay, this is me talking about healthy stuff. I have a lot of head knowledge, but not a lot of experience. I'm working on the experience part!

My weight loss group (which I say I am leading, but I'm actually the only one without a gym membership in the group) just finished Dr. Phil's book The Ultimate Weight Solution, which I would totally recommend to everyone who is interested in losing weight. He really delves deeply into the reasons you have gained the weight, the relationship you have to food, the things in your life that cause you to make unhealthy choices and what you can do to change that, and the people in your life who sabotage (knowingly or unknowingly... Mike says there's no such thing as unintentional sabotage, but I disagree) or encourage your weight loss. I have learned a lot, and have lost 15 pounds and 6 inches off my waist while doing this study.

I'm looking forward to studying another good book, we're going to be reading Breaking The Food Seduction next. It sounds awesome, and I am hoping I can understand why certain foods make me feel good and how I can break the dependence on them. I love cheese, for instance, and the book has a whole section on cheese addiction. Yay! I love learning new things, I'm a total self-help junkie.

Bonnie took me to Whole Foods a couple of days ago and gave me the royal treatment. I got to pick out fresh fruits and veggies so that I would have snacks that appeal to me that won't "sabotage" my plan. It came at a great time, because since this week is Thanksgiving I can eat a lot more healthfully during the week and still indulge in a piece of pumpkin pie without guilt!

I read the whole chapter called "Your Circle of Support" to Mike so that he would understand and be able to encourage me to stay on track. He has been SO supportive of everything I have ever done (Mary Kay, Stampin' Up!, weight loss, staying at home with the boys, decorating the house....well, maybe not decorating the house... but that's a whole other topic of conversation!), and I love him so much!! He really is the most wonderful man I could have married. His mother did a wonderful job raising him (thanks, Mama G!). We both have our faults, but we have a great relationship and can tell each other anything. Anyway, he's been my biggest source of encouragement throughout this process. I got a high-five today after I told him I'd lost 15 pounds, and it felt so good! It makes me want to go work out... but right now I need to go to bed!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Bright Idea

So Mike was scrounging around the kitchen trying to find something yummy to munch on while we were watching Spider-Man tonight. All of a sudden he got really excited and I heard "All RIGHT!! We have cabbage!" He then proceeded to sit on the couch and tear off leaves from the head of cabbage and crunch away on them.

This is not unusual! I've told many people that he loves to just sit and eat lettuce, carrots, and yes, cabbage, while watching TV. I was a little weirded out by this behavior at first, but I've since gotten used to it. So now that I have this blog, I figured I'd get proof of his strange (healthy!) habit once and for all. But then he tried to kiss me... well, that didn't work out as well as he had planned! Or maybe he was just tormenting me...

I also had to get this picture because while we were sitting there he held the half-eaten head of cabbage above his head and said "Hey, I have an idea!" So I made him do it again so that I could take a picture. Reminds me of another picture that Mama G (his mom) gave me from when he was a boy. He wanted to grow taller, so he grabbed the Miracle-Gro and held the bottle over his head like he was pouring it on himself. Mama G thought that was hilarious, and made him do it again so she could get a picture. Well, needless to say, he was less than thrilled at having to pose like that, so he's standing there with this disgusted look on his face. It's rather cute!

Anyway, the "bright idea" thing was actually rather appropriate, because while I was re-reading my post from a few days ago about Griffin lining up his shoes and how orderly he is, I realized (call it an AHA moment) that wow!! I've been totally missing all of the signs... the poor kid just wants some structure in his life! We really don't have a plan for our days, and although they generally eat and sleep at the same times every day, the boys really don't have anything to look forward to every day. When Griffin was small, I think I actually wrote down a little schedule that we followed for a while. Not a very long while, though. I'll admit it. My follow-through is lacking. I love to start things, but for me to actually start something AND carry it all the way through to completion is a big accomplishment for me. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? Maybe it'll work for me. Hi, my name is Carody, and I can't get anything done! Well, I feel better.

So now I just need to figure out what my daily schedule should look like. Maybe I'll have different activities on each day like they do in school. Mondays will be Play-Doh, Tuesdays will be Crayons, Wednesdays will be... okay, I'm out of ideas. Just kidding! I'm actually out of time. I decided that I would go to bed around 9 and get up around 5 so that I will have some alone time before anyone else gets up, and it's already 9:45. I guess I didn't start this plan very well, let's see if I can keep it going! I already get up around 7:30 or 8, which was early for me (I hear you all laughing, so just stop it!), but I don't go to bed until after midnight on most nights. This worked for a while, but now the boys get up before that so I'm going to have to get up even earlier to stay ahead of them. Soon I just won't be able to go to bed at all!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Terrible Twos

I actually got to take a nap today! The boys have colds or something, so they both slept for about two and a half hours. I was pretty tired when I put them to bed, so I decided to go enjoy a little shut-eye myself. I set the alarm for an hour and woke up very refreshed and ready to get on with my day!

Actually, before I took my nap, I hauled all of the toys that have been strewn all over "Middle Earth" up to the toy room. I think I have been keeping some of them on the main living level because I wanted the boys to have something to do wherever they are, but they (the toys) are just too hard to keep track of, and with Christmas coming I know there are more on their way. We need to go through the toy room now and get rid of the ones we don't use. The church nursery could use some new toys.

Griffin has been a little fiend these last two days! I think the cold is affecting him in a negative way. I'm not even giving him medicine, but he still acts like something has invaded his body and is making him act out in any way imaginable. Yesterday I asked him if his diaper was dirty, and he said "NO!" as usual, but then when I went to check it to make sure (I pretty much already knew that it was dirty, you can smell Griffin from a mile away... or at least a couple of rooms.), he HIT me!! Smacked me really hard on the chest, and knocked my glasses down my nose in the process. Mike just happened to be home for lunch when it happened, so he administered the spanking. I don't know if spankings are the answer for Griffin, because he seems to not respond to them very much, but we have tried time-out and he just runs to the chair (whichever chair it is), climbs up and just sits there grinning at us as if he's pulled one over on us and boy, are we stupid. It is so aggravating!! I think he's old enough that I could restrict him from playing basketball or something, so maybe I'll try that tomorrow and see if it works. He is definitely two years old, that's for sure!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Row, Row, Row.... Your Shoes

Griffin loves to line things up! He is such a typical firstborn. He used to go into his toy room and get depressed because nothing had a place, and even though there were plenty of buckets to put things in, he had no idea where to begin putting things away. So I attacked the room with the label-maker and now everyting has its place. He knows just where everything goes. I can hand him any toy in the room and he runs right to where the bucket is, even though he can't read. Even I still can't remember where half of the buckets are, but he has them memorized. Yes, he'll be our little organizer, I have a feeling! Today he pulled all of the shoes out of the hall closet (which reminds me that I need to put a child safety handle on that door since he also LOVES to take out my Swiffer and spray cleaner on the floor). He took them into the family room and lined them all up along the edge of the coffee table. I'm pretty sure that some of them went under the couch, so I'm sure we'll be digging them out soon, but it was so cute that I had to let him have his fun.

I decided that today I was going to let Sammy have all the holding time he wanted. Whenever he started following me around, I picked him up and snuggled with him until he was ready to get down and chase Griffin again. I made simple meals that didn't require much prep work (tuna casserole for lunch, and Kashi's Sweet and Sour Chicken (my favorite frozen dinner) for supper since Mike worked late today (I didn't make baked potatoes like I told Bonnie I was going to, I changed my mind -- imagine that!), and just let him have his fill of Mama time. I found that I actually got more done today than usual, too, since I had to make better use of the time I had. For some reason if I see a whole day stretched out in front of me with no interruptions, I tend to wait until the last minute and then try to get everything done... and the interruptions inevitably happen anyway. But if I plan on being interrupted and begin my day realizing how little time I actually have to get my household work done, I do much better at accomplishing what needs to be done. For instance, today, even though I spent so much time with Sammy, and the boys only took one hour-long nap, I got eight loads of laundry done and two dishwasher loads, picked up the downstairs and swept the wood floor. I am impressed with myself. I think another reason I got so much done is because Sammy wasn't hanging on my legs all day wanting to be held. If I satisfy him when I know he wants me, he leaves me alone for 10-15 minute periods here and there, which is when I squeezed all of my chores in. I also didn't hear all of the whining and crying that usually goes on when he wants my attention. I was prepared for every feeding, diaper changing, playtime, and his nap, all because I sensed it before it became a huge issue that I had to deal with after he exploded because he needed it RIGHT NOW!!!

Oprah had a lady on her show today who has a photographic memory for sound and when she had a baby, learned to recognize the sounds her baby made and realized that other babies all made the same sounds. She has made a DVD which isn't available until late November (dang it!) that has these 5 sounds on it. Babies actually DO talk to us, we just don't realize it. Of course, these sounds usually only go on until the baby is 3 months old or so, so they wouldn't work for Sammy, but wouldn't that be a cool "new-mommy" present? Here you go, now you can understand your baby! How sweet is that?

There was a creepy-looking guy who rang the doorbell at about 5:30 tonight. He took one look at Gordon, who was desperately trying to get out the door to lick this guy and wag his tail and prove just how much of a guard dog he ISN'T, and backed down the front steps. He said he was from Econo Lube 'N Tune or something down the street, and asked me where we get our cars' oil changed. I told him my husband does it, and he says "Oh yeah?" and looked really surprised. Then he says, get this, "And is your husband home right now?" and all of my years of babysitting training flew right out of my head and I told him no, that he wasn't home, and then had a brief instant of sheer panic when I realized what I had just told him, and quickly followed that with "But he's going to be home any minute now!" He says "Okay, well, I'll just come back by in a little while".

I am totally freaked out at this point, so I called Mike and told him what had happened. It always calms me down to talk to him! Anyway, I went around and closed all of the blinds and turned off the outside light (sorry if it was turned off when you came home tonight, Babe!). He must have gotten the point, because he didn't come back. Or maybe Gordon scared him off. Either way, I was very relieved. I wasn't going to open the door for him a second time!

Oh! I almost forgot. Griffin knows most of his ABC's, and he can count to 10 (even though his 10 sounds more like a 2). He sang almost the whole ABC song on Sunday without help! I was blown away. I have a smart son! :)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Boys and Leaves

Mike raked all of the leaves into a big pile and we had so much fun playing in them! Well, the boys had fun playing in them. Mike and I mostly watched, and pulled Sammy out when he got in too deep. Mike made a huge "fort", as he called it, and Griffin made it his temporary home. He didn't want to wait to go outside until Mike had raked the leaves up, but it was pretty cold this morning, so we waited until the leaves were in a pile and then didn't stay out for very long. Sammy already has a cold, poor fellow, he doesn't need it to get worse! He doesn't act sick, he just has a clogged up nose which he tries to wipe on me every time I pick him up. He's getting very good at dodging the Kleenex, too. He starts turning his head away when he sees me reaching for the box!

I went grocery shopping today and spent $160 for about two weeks' worth of food (I may have to go back for more produce sometime in that two week period). Two weeks ago I went shopping and spent $280 and got the same amount of food as I did this time. The difference was that I searched for bargains and I didn't buy organic. Mike and I discussed it and decided that for some things it is worth the extra price to buy organic, but while we still have small children and lots of medical bills we will buy the less expensive food. It is still healthy food, I'm staying away from a lot of the processed stuff, it's just not organic. I read all of the labels and stayed away from hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, which really limited the foods I could buy since most of the packaged foods have these two ingredients.

I feel good about the food I came home with today! I was so excited that I kept interrupting Mike during the KU game -- yes, KU basketball has begun once again, and I will not be able to get Mike's attention unless KU is winning big time and there is no chance for the other team to win. I wanted to show him all of the great bargains I found... chicken thighs for 88 cents a pound and ground beef for $1 a pound were my best buys of the day. I got Mike a T-Bone steak and some A-1 sauce for it only to find that while I had been out and about today (Mike's going to play in two free poker tournaments tomorrow, so today was MY day off), Mike had gone to the same grocery store I went to this evening and bought himself some A-1 and Heinz 57 sauce. He likes to mix them together and dip his steak into them. We had a couple of Filet Mignon steaks in the freezer, and he had had a hankering for meat (duh! When does he NOT...) and since I hadn't done my wifely duty and purchased it the last time I went to the store, even though he had made the effort of writing a list for me, which will probably never happen again since he went to all that trouble and I didn't even get what was on the list... I forgot the chocolate syrup too... he just went and got it himself! So now we have lots of A-1. Steak, anyone?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Clean Sweep

We cleaned the basement today!! I am so excited. Finally, I don't have to worry about Oprah popping in on me and doing one of those "How Clean is Your House?" shows featuring me and my dirty basement. We originally started out just making room for some exercise equipment I'm getting from a friend (Hallelujah, I'm so ready to get off of this weight loss plateau I'm on!). It turned into a major cleaning episode, with Mike putting some of his many computers into the storage room (thank you, Sweetie Pie!), and me cleaning up the mess the cats had made on the carpet. It was yucky, and that's all I will say about it.

If you have ever been to my house and I forbade you from going into the basement, well, never again! I can't wait to make it pretty now that it is finally clean. I'll have to find some inspiring artwork for the walls. It is going to be our play/exercise/office area. There are 3 rooms down there, so we should be able to accomplish all of that. The main room holds Mike's hugenormous (that IS a word, just don't look it up!) arcade game that he is fixing, a dart board, a kitchenette area, a TV,an antique (or at least it's really old, but pretty) desk and that is all right now until I get my Ab-Do-er, Gazelle, and one other piece of equipment that I can't remember right now. There is a sliding door that opens into the back yard also, but we really need more light down there.

Then there is Mike's office, which is actually set up just like a big cubicle with the "cubicle furniture" and everything. I don't know how he can stand to come home from a computer job in his "cell" as I call it -- he even has a "cell-mate!" -- and still want to go down to his office at night. I'll have to have him explain that to me!

My "office" is my inspiration room. I go there to try out new card designs, work on my scrapbooking (I'll never be caught up, but that's the fun of it!), print/copy/scan/fax with the awesome machine Mike's boss gave us, read my scrapbooking magazines, play with my stamps, and keep up-to-date with the latest Stampin' Up! happenings. I love my room, I just wish it weren't so darn cold!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mr. Fix-It

Griffin had so much fun "helping" Mike fix the crib. We needed to lower it, since Sammy is jumping now, and it scares me to think what might happen if he were to fall overboard! I'm used to Griffin always being on the brink of disaster, but it still breaks my heart to see Sammy get hurt and cry. Maybe it's because he puts on such a show when he cries. He lays on his tummy on the floor and sets his head on the ground very gently and just cries like his heart is broken. Yeah, that one sure has his Mama wrapped around his little finger. He knows how to make my heart melt! I guess it's just easier to say "Buck up!" to a rambunctious, defiant two-year-old who jumps off the arm of the couch all day long and then comes crying to me when he bumps his knee. Anyway, he sure was proud to sit on his Daddy's lap and help him (yes, he actually did help at one point!). He loved playing with the wrench (which is real) and his screwdriver (a toy). And Mike was so proud of his little boy, who is growing up so fast and is learning SO much every day! He can name a lot of the tools, and it's so much fun to ask him questions and listen to him trying so hard to say the words just right. He still says Poonwich instead of sandwich, though. That's got to be our favorite word of his. He used to say Poonchich, but he has moved on from that and is getting closer to the right word. It's sad, it's almost like a loss of some of their innocence when they try hard to be like the adults they admire so much. It is fun to watch them grow up, but yes, it is sad too. I'll miss my baby Griffin, but I'm sure he'll grow into a fine young man some day.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Picture Catch-Up

Sammy is quite the little poser! Actually, as anyone who has ever taken pictures of children can attest to, we have a lot more "bad" pictures than good ones. But sometimes you just hit the jackpot, and Sammy seemed to be in a very mellow mood today (not his speedy little self), so we were able to catch up to him. His new favorite thing... carrying a squeaky toy around in his mouth. No, they weren't originally intended for Gordon, but Gordon thought they were his (the package did say they were dog toys, but I thought they'd be perfect for little boys!), and he gets a little nervous whenever he sees one of the boys with "his" toys. He usually just sticks pretty close by and keeps an eye on the toy to make sure they don't hurt it. He's so sensitive!

The first leaf pile of the year! It was so fun. Griffin loves to play in the leaves, and we got so many good pictures last year that I made a little scrapbook of just one leaf-playing session. This year (at least this time) was a completely different story, since Griffin has decided that he just can't possibly sit still for longer than 2 seconds, and he doesn't like to pose for the camera except to say "cheese" as he runs past it. But when he got buried in the leaf pile, he finally sat still for me. (People say "Your boys have so much energy!" or "They're so active!" but what they are REALLY saying is "I'm so glad that you're the one who has to take them home!!")

I had an impromptu "photo shoot" with Sammy yesterday. I draped this blanket over the couch and stuck him on the floor in front of it. The only problem was that I had to give him a prop to get him to sit still, and the only thing handy was my shoe. So now everyone knows that yes, I have large feet. Wait, I'll just tell them that Sammy is really small! :)

I realized that I hadn't posted any pictures of Gordon yet, so when I was taking pictures of Griffin in his Halloween costume and Gordon kept trying to sniff him because he thought he might actually BE a tiger and he was a bit worried about that, I thought it would be a good opportunity to give him some camera time too. And yes, he really is taller than Griffin, just like it appears in the picture. Griffin really has to watch out for his tail, it's the meanest part of the whole dog. Especially when Gordon gets happy. It's like a steel rod whipping back and forth with incredible force! Okay, maybe not that bad, but it definitely hurts when it hits you. Gordon is just about the sweetest dog I have ever known. He is very sensitive, and it doesn't take much to get him to obey (unless he's hungry, thirsty, or needs to go outside, and then nothing will stop him from getting his point across!). He's a Great Dane/Golden Retriever mix, so he's very gentle and just is overall a really GOOD dog. The only drawback to having a dog this big is the amount of hair he sheds (and the stuff we have to clean up from the yard). He sheds all year long, and if I go a few days without vacuuming, there appears to be a thin film of black dog hair covering the carpet. Yuck!

Griffin loved his Halloween costume this year. I think we might even have Sammy wear it next year since he won't remember Griffin having worn it, and it'll be fun to compare the pictures. Mike took Griffin down the street Trick-or-Treating (his first time!), and he had so much fun! He was so excited when he got home. He even brought his costume to me a couple of days ago, held it up in front of him and said "Have some candy, Mama?" I almost fell to the floor, I was laughing so hard. It's like his ticket to candy now, and every time he sees it (I really need to put it away, come to think of it!) he asks me for candy. Not that he gets candy every time, or even every day, but they are very persistent at that age!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I thought the red devilish eyes were quite appropriate for this costume! Sammy makes a good Jack-Jack, er, um, Sam-Sam. He really liked being in his costume, and loved all of the attention he got while he was in it too! He got to hand out candy with me while Mike took Grrrrrriffin the tiger out to a few houses to have some trick-or-treat fun. It was Griffin's first time at trick-or-treating, and he looked like he had had a lot of fun when he got home. He has also been asking for candy all day long. I will hide it so that it's not so much of a temptation (for him OR for me)!!

There were quite a few trick-or-treaters, but not nearly as many as last year. The last two years we've handed out those pre-wrapped Rice Krispies Treats. We got SO many enthusiastic responses from those, and I know I'm going to do that again next year. The candy (I cleaned out my cabinets of anything sugar-laden and put it in a big bowl -- there was a lot!) just didn't have quite the same effect... I guess it's just something different.

Well, my secret sister gave me a Real Simple magazine... I'm going to go read while I have a moment of peace and quiet. It has taken me about 2 hours to write this blog, as I have been interrupted numerous times by a 2-year-old who wasn't quite tired enough to stay in his room and sleep.

Oh, I must mention my sister Christy's children. They were at Dad's office yesterday too, and their costumes were Lydia (7) - a princess, Kayla (6) - a gypsy, Brianna (4) - a Care Bear, and Miguel (6 months) - a chicken. Yes, a chicken. He was absolutely adorable! All of them were, really. Poor Miguel wasn't a very happy chicken though, as he has been fighting a cold for a few days.

Okay, now for some reading!

Monday (Halloween Eve)

I didn't have any camera batteries, so unfortunately I can't post a picture yet, but on Monday we had SO much fun at my Dad's office. They had put together this big "Trick-or-Treat" event, and everyone had a big bowl of candy at their desk. All of the kids (about 30 of them!) followed the arrows on the floor and went Trick-or-Treating from cubicle to cubicle. It was so cute!! Sammy was dressed as Jack-Jack from The Incredibles, and Griffin was a tiger (again... his costume from last year still fit him, plus I didn't take any pictures last year and Griffin can't remember last year anyway!). I should have gotten an Incredibles costume for Griffin too, so he could have been Dash. Wouldn't that have been cute? Oh well. Next year!

Griffin got so much candy, and some of them even handed out litle toys and stuffed animals. He was so excited! Sammy loved all of the excitement too. Griffin's favorite part of the whole thing was a bubble wrap trail that was taped to the floor. He wanted to walk back and forth on it, and kept going back to it to get his bubble popping fix.

When we were done at Dad's office, I took the boys to visit Mike at his office. Griffin is getting used to being at "Daddy's Work", and he is beginning to be acquainted with Mike's coworkers, many of whom are quite interesting characters, but they love children and like to see Griffin and Sammy and play with them while we're there. Mike thanked me for bringing them; he had fun seeing them both in their costumes and sharing them with his coworkers.


Sunday was a fun day. Mike and the boys played outside while I got some time off and went to Archiver's, a local scrapbook store. I got a bunch of new paper to play with (It's amazing how much a simple thing like paper can make a girl so happy!!), and then had to leave because they closed at 6. When I got home the boys were still having fun on the swingset, so I went out to enjoy the nice weather with them. It was a lot more fun than the last time we all played outside! Last time (about a week ago - and yes, we've been outside since then, just not all 4 of us) Griffin was climbing up onto the flower box he has been using as a step to reach the hanging handles that swing (I can't think of the technical name for them), and the box tipped sideways. Down he came, headfirst into the corner of a 2-by-4. I knew as soon as his head hit that wood that it would be a "Big Owie". We brought him inside, because it started swelling almost immediately, and put ice on it -- you know it really hurts when they let you hold the ice bag on their head! Sammy wanted to be a part of the action, too, so I let him sit with Mike and Griffin, but it didn't work out too well. Sammy is just like his big brother... he loves ice! I'll have the pictures from this episode on another blog, because they are not wanting to upload for some reaason.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Poker Night

Last night my parents came over and the four of us played Marbles, a game his dad made that is similar to Aggravation, where each player moves 4 marbles around the board with the desired result being that your team (girls against guys) gets all of your marbles into "home" first. It's fun, and it gets pretty intense toward the end! The guys won, but Mom and I only had ONE measly marble left to make it into home. No fair!

Then we taught Mom how to play poker. That was fun, and she did really well, too! She was actually winning, but then Mike ran out of chips (a thing that almost never happens, as he is a very good poker player) and it was getting late (time really does fly when you're having fun!), so we stopped playing.

Mike loves to go play free poker at the local places. He's really good and usually ends up in the top few out of around 30 players. Of course, I think it is because I always support him with a "Go, Fight, Win!!" as he walks out the door, but who knows.

I'm debating whether to stay up an hour later tonight or get an extra hour of sleep. With as many good books as I'm reading and studying right now, I will probably use this opportunity to stay up later. We'll see!

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Week to Remember

Our week of fun and scary times is almost over! It has been a week filled with cozy moments, wild boys, a husband who I am learning more about every day, and a couple of pretty tense hours throughout the surgery of our precious little baby.

Mike took this week off of work knowing that Sammy would be having his surgery on Thursday. I am so very glad he did, because I needed the extra week of support he was able to give me leading up to the surgery time. And this was a very minor surgery! I can't imagine my children being in severe pain or having to go through major surgery. It makes me cry just to think about it, and to think about all of the parents I know whose children have gone through major health issues and some extremely scary times. I am so glad we have a God who loves us and is near to us even when hard times come and things happen that we don't think we can get through. I feel so blessed when I watch Oprah and see all of the suffering and heartache around the world and know that most of that I will never have to go through (unless I become a foreign missionary at some point in my life, but right now I know we're right where God wants us to be).

Sammy's surgery went very smoothly and we could not have asked for a better surgeon or nurses. The only time he was really in pain and mad was when he was in recovery, and they came to get me to see if I could calm him down. The only problem was that the bottle they were trying to feed him wasn't warm enough for him. Easily solved, and he was soon a happy little baby sucking down the first food he'd had in 8 hours. Mike was called back to the recovery room soon after, and good thing, because he was more anxious than I was to see our little boy get safely out of that hospital. Mike isn't comfortable in doctor's offices and hospitals, and he really just wanted to go home! Sammy was fine after a nice long nap at home, and he didn't even need any more of his pain medicine today. He was jumping and giggling in his crib this morning, and is acting like nothing ever happened to him. He's back to his normal little self!

Mike and I have baked 3 apple pies and an apple crisp this week. There is an apple tree close to our home that no one is picking apples from, so we've been taking advantage of its abundance of red, sweet, crunchy apples -- after getting permission from the owner, of course. We even gave him one of our pies. He mentioned that the apples would make great pies, so we felt it was only right! I got a good tip from my grandma, who said that her mother (who recently passed away shorty after her 100th birthday; she was born in 1905) would put the pie filling into a pie pan, then freeze it and store it until she was ready to make the crust, and then she could thaw out just the right amount. I'm not sure if Great-Grandma had apple trees, but I know she grew strawberries and lots of other yummy veggies, because she made the BEST strawberry jam I've ever tasted, and would make the world's yummiest chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes when we went to visit. And her green beans... yum! We always ate too much.

I had a day off on Wednesday, and went to some fun stores, including Old Time Pottery with a friend. We had so much fun, and they are beginning to put out their Christmas merchandise, so it was fun to talk and plan and dream. It's an absolutely enormous store, so it's easy to get overwhelmed, but the prices are awesome, and it's totally worth the drive.

Mike goes back to work next week, and then he gets the week after that off. I love vacation time!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Yesterday was so great! I had a Fall Get-It-Together (kind of a get-organized-before-Christmas-comes thing) at my house. It was a lot of fun, and we got so much done!! I made some cards for some new "card customers" of mine (the ones in the picture), a friend got 3 scrapbook pages done (she only has 997 more to go! yay!), another friend made her Halloween cards (SO cute, I need pictures of them!!), and my aunt and cousin worked on some pretty Christmas bookmarks (I think they even finished them!) and will come back to make some cards later. It was a blast, and we all felt like we had accomplished a lot at the end of the day. It's fun to share supplies and ideas and creativity with other people, and there was a lot of that going on!

Griffin asked one of my friends if he could have one of her booglie eyes, and she found a good spot for it. We all got a good laugh out of that one! He kept asking her for more because that one had almost lost its "sticky", and he finally (after much begging, "pleeeeease???"ing, and maybe one episode of puppy dog eyes) wrangled another one out of her. The resulting picture was worth it.

Mike was a darling and watched the boys while we girls had our fun, and kept them out of our hair for the most part. It's impossible to tell little boys to completely stay away from their Mommy while she is still in the house, so I still got my snuggles in here and there.

I can't wait to do that again. I used to have monthly scrapbooking get-togethers, but those stopped when Sammy was born. It was hard for me to carry all of my supplies up room the basement after having my 2nd C-Section in 2 years. I can't wait until we have the basement fixed up so that we can have people just come down there! There really isn't much to it, but it's going to cost a little bit to get it done. More chairs (I'm not hauling my heavy dining room chairs down there, I'll get a hernia), more lights (it's a basement, it needs light), less kitty stink (Cleo couldn't figure out where the litter box was, it must have been too small), and less clutter (all of my scrapbooking and card-making supplies are spilling over from my office to the floor outside the room). Really, it shouldn't be that hard, it just takes time.

Mike and I were in the nursery this morning. We had to combine the Under 1's class with the 1 year old class, but once we got the music going and the criers stopped crying, it went great! We are finding out just how much work it takes to keep a church nursery going (especially a church that meets in a school). Every week, we have to have people to move the desks in 3 classrooms, set up all of the nursery supplies for each room, watch the children during church, and take down the rooms and set the desks back up after church. It sounds exhausting, and it would be without as many people helping as we have. We don't have quite enough volunteers just yet, but we're working on it! Everyone is very busy, so it's tough to mesh everyone's schedules together and come up with a volunteer schedule that works for everyone, but it's getting done, and everyone has been very cooperative and generous with their time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cleo and Miles

Miles and Cleo have a love-hate relationship. Most of the time, they chase each other around the house biting, scratching and generally just fighting with each other and stalking one another. Then there are rare occasions when I will catch them like this, all curled up on the couch together, with Miles giving Cleo a little tongue bath.