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.