Monday, December 31, 2007

S'mores Ornaments

FINALLY! After nearly 2 months without scrapping, I finally broke down and did a layout. Of course, this required me to deliberately ignore all of the other things that are much more urgent, and therefore should be higher priority. But I've been doing the 'responsible' thing non-stop for weeks without allowing myself much of a break (unless you count Christmas shopping, which wasn't really all that leisurely). So, I decided to be a bit selfish with my time today...since it is a holiday and all.

Back in November, while we were at Grandma & Grandpa H's house, the kids did some Christmas projects (of course, since Grandma H. is the project queen). They did a gingerbread house and some penguin ornaments. Then, Sebastian got the idea to make s'mores snowman ornaments out of marshmallows. He decided they could make their own ornaments like the ones hanging on Grandma's tree. Cute idea, really. So, they dug out whatever supplies they had on hand and set to work. They all 4 made one - Grandma included. So, here's the layout to capture their ornaments.

Journaling: On Thanksgiving break, Sebastian had a great thought. Let's make s'mores snowmen! We'll like them a lot! So they got the marshmallows, chocolate and white, and as they created, their hearts filled with delight. They put on the scarves, the noses and eyes. Then they showed them to Mommy. What a great surprise!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Do you believe in miracles?

I have a story for you. You can decide for yourself if you believe there was any divine intervention. I know what I think...

For his birthday, Isaac got a Notre Dame jersey and a Pirates of the Caribbean movie/computer game combo pack, among other gifts. We loaded everything up from the party, stuck it in the van, and headed to Lucas' parents' for Christmas. The next day, after opening gifts, we packed up the van once more and headed back to my parents' house for another Christmas celebration. Isaac was wearing his new jersey.

We spent the day at my parents. The kids played; we all opened our gifts, sat around and had lunch, and just hung out. We ended up having to stay the night due to the weather (which I already shared in a previous post). So, the next morning, once more, we loaded the van, which was packed to the brim at this point, and headed home.

When we got home, we unloaded everything. Lucas went through all the gift bags and took each new toy, game, movie, and article of clothing out and put it away. When he was done, he asked me what I had done with Isaac's Pirate movie. I told him that I had put it in the red and blue gift bag with some other gifts. He told me that he had seen the other gifts, but not the movie. We looked through everything once more. We looked in the boys' room, in Meagan's room, and even under the tree more than once. No movie. We called our parents and asked them to search. Lucas even went out and dug through the boxes and bags in the garbage to make sure it hadn't been thrown away. Still no movie.

The next day, I was putting the rest of the laundry away. I noticed that Meagan and Sebastian's blue ND jerseys were there, but not Isaac's green jersey. So, yet another search began. I looked in everything - under everything - pretty much everywhere I could think. No jersey. Again, I called my mom and Lucas' mom, and asked them to look. We even went back to pictures we had taken to see if we could see the last place Isaac was wearing his jersey. I had a picture of him wearing it just before we left Guy & Jane's, but we couldn't find any pictures of it on him afterward. Not very helpful.

At this point, I was getting mad. It was almost like things were disappearing right out from under our noses. I know I tend to be a bit scatterbrained, but this was beyond that - it was just plain ridiculous. So I prayed and asked God to return them to us or show us where to look. It seemed like a funny thing to pray about, but I prayed it just the same.

Well, the last time we had seen either of the two gifts was on the 15th (the movie, as we packed up to leave Isaac's party) and 16th (when Isaac was wearing his jersey). Nine days later we find ourselves at our house on Christmas morning opening gifts. I had just given a gift to Lucas. I turned back toward the tree just in time to see Meagan reach into the middle of the present pile and pull out the unwrapped Pirates movie and computer game. Just like it had been there the whole time. I think my jaw might have hit the floor. I know I had looked under the tree two or three times. I know Lucas looked. And each of us looked again as we were putting our gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve. That movie was not there earlier. I will never be convinced that it had been there the whole time and we just continually overlooked was NOT there. Yet, somehow, on Christmas morning, it appeared under the tree, right under our noses as if it had never been gone. At that moment, I thanked God, and I asked again, 'now, can we just have the jersey back.'

About 20 minutes later, the phone rang. My mom had found the jersey. It had somehow gotten shoved into the tiniest opening underneath a big set of drawers in one of her guest rooms. Why it was there, I have no idea. She had looked in that room a few times already, but she felt prompted to look again. She looked through the closet with no results. So she laid down on her back on the floor, and turned her head in thought. As she did, something caught her other way besides getting down to where she was would she ever have been able to find that silly shirt. Yet, she found it. Very cool.

Now, maybe it was just a long string of coincidences. Maybe we had misplaced the movie under the tree and repeatedly overlooked it. Maybe Meagan had stashed it away, just waiting for the perfect moment to reveal her hidden treasure. Maybe. But I don't think so. And maybe my mom would have eventually come across the jersey tucked away in the most obscure spot imaginable. Maybe she would have looked there, but it's unlikely - really, it would be much easier to believe that there was no way the jersey could have gotten under that particular piece of furniture to begin with. For my part, I choose to believe that God returned to us what had been lost, and helped us to find what we may never have otherwise found. I believe it because He's just cool like that! And what better day to show up with a miracle than on Christmas?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

wii wish you a Merry Christmas!

What an absolutely beautiful Christmas we had! This year we continued our 'tradition' that we started last year - camping by the tree. So, on the 23rd (because they can't be in the living room in tents when Santa comes to bring the presents, you know), we set up their tents in the living room. We all watched the 3rd Pirates movie together (finally...long story...I'll share in another later), then the kids went to sleep in their tents with Christmas music and Christmas tree lights on. (Don't you love Meagan's static?)

Christmas Eve, we kept up our tradition of eating at The Gavel, a little hometown restaurant here. Our first Christmas here, right after we moved in, for some reason or other (which I can't seem to remember right now...maybe we didn't have our kitchen appliances yet?) we decided to go out to eat for dinner. Every year since, we've had Christmas Eve dinner at the Gavel. Anyway...after dinner, we came home and let the kids open their one gift for Christmas Eve (yet another little tradition we have around here). This year, Meagan got a Dora Play-Dough set, adn the boys got Moon Sand (which might possibly be the messiest gift ever! We've postponed further moon sand playing until spring when they can go OUTSIDE). Then we headed to church for the candlelight service (which started at, that's an hour past our kids' bedtime, which meant it was 2+ hours past bedtime when they actually went to bed...but it was worth it). I didn't get a chance to take pictures before we left, so I attempted it when we got home...they look pretty whooped, don't they?!

Well, around 6:30 Christmas morning, Meagan came in and got in bed with us, but, thankfully, she was willing to lay still and go back to sleep! Sebastian got up about an hour later, and the rest of us got up about a half-hour after that. Meagan sort of jumped the gun on opening presents...before we got out of bed, I heard her in the living room shouting "Wow, my very own dragon!" after which I got up quickly (LOL). Other than that, Christmas morning went off without a hitch. The boys liked all of their gifts - they've got quite a transformer collection now - and Meagan loved her dollhouse (she calls it her princess castle). I was super excited to get an ipod!!!!! and I spent at least an hour in the evening downloading songs with all of my itunes cards I got for Christmas! And Lucas' favorite gift, I would have to say is the wii. Thanks to our favorite Canadians, we had a wii under the tree this year! We wii boxed and bowled and played tennis, and boxed some more. And my arms turned to jello-y mush, and my shoulders stopped moving the way they're supposed to move, and I'm just all-together sore right now. But it is WAY more fun the I was expecting.

I think tonight was our last bit of Christmas celebration. We went to dinner with the church staff and spouses to celebrate Christmas together. We had a great night and I got to eat turtle cheesecake and drink Mt. Dew, which is always a good thing. Now, we're off to bed to watch The Order of the Phoenix until we fall asleep (for the 3rd night in a row...we aren't getting very far...we're only at Christmas break...maybe tonight we'll stay awake for more than 20 minutes). Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! (Oh, and sorry I didn't get my Christmas cards out - I lost my address book and didn't get around to recollecting addresses in time. Which means I could use your addresses sent to me again in some form or fashion if you get a second...thanks!) Goodnight!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A reminder to me

This evening I went out to pick up dinner...we had a busy cleaning day, and it was 6:00 when I stopped, and by then I was out of time to prepare and cook anything that we have...anyway, not the point of my story, so I'll move on. On the way home, as I turned down our road, I was taken back to December 2004 - the night we bought our house. We turned down that same road - the road we now travel without a second thought - in the dark cold. The road was lit, just like tonight, with Christmas lights on many of the houses. I remember Lucas commenting how well the kids would like our road because of all the lights. I remember how excited I felt as we passed all the lit houses - excited to be moving to a small town in a new state - excited to be moving into such a nice, new house with new windows and a working furnace - and a little nervous about the next few days and all they would bring. But I mostly remember being overwhelmed with gratefulness at all that God had given us and brought us through. I was so thankful. And tonight I was ashamed of myself, because I realized how quickly I have begun to take it all for granted. Instead of excitement about the lights, I have thoughts about how tacky some of the yard ornaments are. Instead of anticipating the drive down the little side street that we live on, I grumble in my head because it's not plowed properly. And I open the garage and pull in and park without giving a second thought to all that we have been blessed with. Shame on me. Instantly my heart flooded with a renewed sense of thankfulness - a realization of how very blessed we really are and how much we have to be grateful for. I hope I don't forget so easily again all I have been reminded of this evening.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The last few days...

Ta Dah!! Done with Christmas (other than buying 1 pack of undies for Sebastian's stocking)! Everything is bought, wrapped, tagged and accounted for! Now I'm TIRED!

This morning the kids and I left the house around 10:00 and headed to Target and the mall. Then, later this afternoon, I finished up at Wal-Mart. While the day was full of momentary frustrations, I am happy to say that I (for the most part) kept my cool, wasn't rude - which took lots of effort at times - and I got quite a bit done in the end.

I even put a basket of small things together to take to a family here in town This family has 6 kids, and the youngest is on hospice care for a brain tumor. The mom has had to quit her job to be with him, so they've found themselves in a really tough spot. What I put together for them really isn't much, but I hope it's enough to let them know that people care - that God cares. I'm excited to give it to them...maybe tomorrow. If not, probably Monday.

Well, this past Tuesday we celebrated Isaac's actual birthday. My second baby is FIVE! Yikes! That evening was not only Isaac's birthday, but also Sebastian's school Christmas music program. So, for dinner we stayed in town and headed to Pizza Hut. Sebastian had earned a free pizza for book-it (funny, I remember those from when I was in elementary), and Isaac wanted pizza, so it just kind of worked out. We had dinner, then headed back to the house for presents and cookies. (He picked ice cream cone cookies instead of cake. I must admit, they looked a lot better than they tasted...oh well, he liked them).

Sebastian's musical started at 7:45 at night...WHAT! HE'S IN 1ST GRADE...SHOULDN'T HE BE GOING TO BED AROUND THEN? Oh well. They said 7:45, so that's what we did. It was pretty cute. During one song I was having difficulties videoing because I was laughing so hard. It was a rap - yes, a Christmas rap done by 1st and 2nd graders. 'You're puny. You're small. You're not even tall.' And then, while they were rapping, they were bending and clapping and dong, can you say NO RHYTHM! It was the funniest thing I've seen for quite some time. I tried to control myself, but try as I might, the camera was still shaking, and I am quite sure that we'll hear me laughing on the video when we replay it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oh the things she will say

Here are a few funny things Meagan has said, or has been saying regularly lately. Just want to record it now so I don't forget it later...

1) The other day, she stopped playing and came running over to me hysterical. 'Mommy! Fix it!' 'What's the matter Meg?' 'My eye is dancing! Will you kiss it?' (she had a twitch).

2) Every time she pees on the potty she peeks in and says, "Is it yellow? Like an egg? Yep, it's yellow."

3) YETTI YETTI YETTI!!! (This is her call to Daddy whenever she wants his attention. All my fellow parents of toddlers out there will probably recognize this from the Backyardigans. Gotta love the yetti stomp!)

4) A friend of mine was telling me a discipline technique she has used on her kids for years. It's called 1-2-3- Magic. Well, I started putting it into practice on Meagan, since we're having such attitude and obedience issues with her. The idea is give 3 warnings and then put her directly into timeout. That's not all of it, but that's the gist for this story. Anyway, true to form, she has found a way to get in the last word. The other day I gave her her first warning - 'Meagan this is 1.' Her reply: 'And 2 and 3.' So, since she had gotten to 3, I put her in timeout (it was the only thing I could think of to take back the last word, so to speak.)

Happy Birthday! Merry Christmas?

Wow, the last few weeks have been a blur. Life has definitely gotten in the way of blogging (LOL)! I've been going going going between work and kids and church and Christmas shopping and traveling and housework. And on top of it all, my husband wants me to scout out wii's (LOL)! He must think I have nothing else to do!

Friday we headed down south to visit family, have Isaac's birthday party, and celebrate Christmas (since we're all together). Saturday was Isaac's party. We reserved the rec hall at the refinery, so there would be room to run and play...winter parties are tricky when it comes to finding room for everyone to hang out. We ordered pizza, had cake, and just kicked back...well sort of. It still required a lot of energy setting up and tearing down and all that jazz. He had a good party, though. Transformers. Gotta love Optimus Prime.

Speaking of birthdays, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM AND KELLI!

Last night we headed down to Lucas's parents' house to spend the evening. I had some last minute running to do (finishing Christmas shopping for today, to be exact). It was midnight before I tucked into bed, and nearly 2:00 before Tina got home from work and the guys called it a night. Then we got up at 6:30 this morning...well, I did. When I got up Sebastian and Jane were already in the kitchen eating warm cinnamon rolls. Meagan was just heading up the stairs ahead of me. Guy went and picked up Great-Grandma and brought her over to the house to have Christmas with us. It was awesome to get to see her and spend some form of holiday with her. We usually don't get to do that. Anyway, it took nearly 2 hours to open all the presents, just in time to load up the abominable snow van and head back to my parents' house for another Christmas.

Well, let's just say the usually-40-minute drive took us an hour and ten minutes, and more than once we skated our way across ice on major highways. There was a horrible crosswind and cars and trucks and semis stuck in ditches and snow banks all over the place. So we counted ourselves lucky to make it on our short trip safely, and we decided not to travel home tonight. Lucas called his bosses and told them...they laughed at him. I will just have to do payroll remotely from home and have someone put the checks in the printer for me. And Sebastian will have to take a snow day off of school. Oh well. Hopefully tomorrow will bring better road conditions.

So, for the evening, we're just chillin' here. I may try to get a little work done....maybe we'll watch a movie or two. Just take it easy and recoup from a busy busy couple of weeks.

Friday, December 7, 2007

For the First Time Ever

I finally bought something on ebay! I have been trying and trying to find an Optimus Prime for Sebastian, but they've been sold out for weeks (if not longer). I thought I had another plan when I found a smaller version at Toys R Us online, but that ended up selling out before I got around to ordering it. Eeeek. This is like the one main thing he wants for Christmas, and I haven't been able to find it! So this afternoon, I got up the determination to check on ebay. There were several of them. The one I got was the most reasonably priced, although shipping was a couple bucks higher than some of the others. All in all, though, I ended up spending only about $10 more than I would have to buy it online and pay shipping. So not too bad. Hopefully it gets here in time! But I was pretty proud of myself for finally breaking through my ebay barrier that I've been living with for years!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

I started to post this the other day, but got distracted. Better late than never.

This may not be funny to anyone else - especially if you haven't seen the movie Little Miss Sunshine. Well, our van is really starting to act up on us, but in weird ways. Like, the heater fan only works on setting 3 or higher; The driver's window gets stuck about half way down and you have to give it a push to get it down the rest of the way; the Traction Control System is moody and works only some of the time; and - my personal favorite - the tail lights are totally wonky... hazard lights come on when you back up, the right turn signal doesn't work right if the lights are on, and the reverse lights come on when you hit the breaks.

The other night when we were leaving JC Penny after getting our pictures done, something started acting up in the van (I think the TCS warning light came on or something), and Lucas, with his hilarious and somewhat dry sense of humor, says how much he loves our van - 'Just call me Little Miss Sunshine' he says. It struck me as soooo funny - maybe because all you can do is laugh when there's nothing else to be done - and I just cracked up. I laughed until my cheeks hurt. I could just picture us driving down the road, warning lights on, driver's window half-way down, hazard lights blinking and reverse lights on....thank God that (at least for the time being) we don't have to push start the van on a decline, and we can drive down the road without the horn honking involuntarily! I think at that point it would be time for a new van. :)

Round Two?

Remember the PB&J incident a few weeks ago? at lunch, I saw a glimpse of proof that Meagan remembers it too! She was having a fit about having to sit down in her chair. So to make her point, she decided she was going to boycott eating. She took her turkey off of her sandwich and hauled back to toss it. But as her arm swung forward, instead of letting it fly, she hesitated and held on tight. Then she stuck it in her mouth right away and look at me and said, 'mmmmm.' I just smiled to myself. What looked like the beginnings of round two turned out to be a hint of success. Still, though, we have a long road ahead of us with this girl!

Monday, December 3, 2007

I survived my worst nightmare!

Wow, what a day! I think I packed maybe one too many things into the last 24 hours, beginning with last night, when I decided to stay up to watch Lady in the Water until midnight when I should have gone to bed around the time we started watching it. Oh well.

Anyway, today was full - I worked this morning. I left around 1:30 and got home in time to eat lunch (and watch 10 minutes of the E True Hollywood Story of NSYNC while I ate my microwave burritos - a ten minutes that just made my day complete, as I'm sure you can imagine). After that fulfilling 10 minutes of daytime television viewing, I started getting ready for our family pictures later this evening. First I threw a load of laundry in - the clothes we were going to wear for our pictures...white shirts and jeans I might add...all in one load...I later discovered this wasn't the best decision I've ever made. Anyway, after starting the laundry, I cut Isaac's hair...with a broken set of I nearly buzzed the side of his head down to nothing when the 1/4 inch shield fell off as I was getting ready to cut...that would have made a great family picture hair style! Then, while he was getting a bath after his haircut, I decided to dye my own hair...what phenomenal timing I have. So, I put the gunk on my head, and then washed him off, got him out and got him dressed while it sat. Then, I jumped in the shower to rinse the color the process, I managed to somehow stain my bathroom door with hair dye??? I also managed to get dye splattered all over the inside of my looked like someone had been severely injured in my shower. But, I got all the color rinsed out and got my hair dried just in time to rush off to pick Sebastian up from school. Then off to the bank. Then back to the house to get dressed.

When I pulled the clothes out of the dryer, I noticed a blue spot on my shirt. Then I noticed one on Meagan's. AAAAAHHH! Did I really just turn our new white shirts blue? Yes, I think I did. Oh well, it's either wear blue/white shirts or go naked at this point. So I opted for the shirts. I don't think the discoloration actually showed up the in the pictures, so no harm done. White shirts are really for wearing underneath clothes anyway, right? (LOL - at least that's what I'm telling myself to make myself feel better. Maybe I'll try bleaching them tomorrow.)

Anyway...we got to pictures on time, and thank God we didn't have to wait very long before we went in. We started out with pictures of all 5 of us. Then pictures of just the 3 kids. The family pictures went fairly smoothly. The first picture of the 3 kids went okay. But we had been there for about a half hour by now, and Meagan was quickly approaching her limit. She was actually doing well. But the photographer would get her in position and then would say something to one of the boys - 'Isaac sit up straight,' or 'Sebastian put your hand on your knee.' Whatever instruction she gave to the boys, Meagan would follow also....totally undoing any position we had accomplished with Meagan just moments earlier. Aaaah! We tried. But the more we tried to get all 3 of them situated, the more Meagan lost interest. Then Isaac quickly followed. Then Sebastian's eyes started drooping. It was definitely time to wrap it up! So we called it quits on the kids' pictures. I gave them each a baggie of cereal to snack on while Lucas and I took a few quick pictures together. Then we were done....or so we thought.

I didn't get to actually see our pictures, let alone place the order, for another 20 minutes or so. So needless to say, it was a long night, and everyone was hungry and ready to go. As soon as we could, we headed down the street to Red Robin. Mmmmm, I love Red Robin burgers...usually.

We were so hungry, we didn't even look at our menus. When our waitress came to take our drink orders, we just went ahead and mistake. The food came. I started eating. I checked for mayo, as always, and saw nothing but a BIG pile of lettuce...but it didn't register (at least not until later) that half of the lettuce stuck to the bun when I picked it up, while the other half stayed on the burger...hmmm, I wonder what's making that lettuce stick...nope, that didn't register at all. I started eating. Because I'm weird, I ate around the outside part of the sandwich first...just something I do...the middle part of the sandwich usually has all the good stuff, so I save the best for last. But tonight, the closer I got to the middle of the sandwich, the more I thought, 'Hmm, this tastes weird... Ew, that tastes kind of funky... Is the tomato bad?... Okay, I think I'm done eating.'

At that point, I sat the sandwich back down on the table. When I did, a piece of tomato rolled off of the sandwich, COVERED IN WHITE STUFF! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! I started cringing and shivering as the realization of what I had just done began to sink in. I was hit with this uncontrollable gag reflex like I could not begin to explain. Lucas about lost it laughing at me while I sat across the table from him trying not to be ill (I have such a compassionate husband). His suggestion was, 'Just think of chocolate.' What, chocolate mayonnaise?! EW! That's even worse! I downed half of the coke at the table. That didn't work. I ate another french fry. That really didn't work. Finally, I took a trip to the rest room and hacked and spit to try to get the gross residue out of my mouth. (Ew, I'm seriously starting to have issues again just retelling this story! I am such a basket case!) I think I spit a few more times as we walked through the parking lot. And as soon as I could, I rinsed with Listerine when we got home. Needless to say, I didn't get a box to bring home my left-overs. Lucas didn't even want it. He said it's hard to look at food the same once your wife has gagged on it so extensively. I guess I see his point. Anyway, I've survived my worst nightmare. I had family pictures taken at dinnertime in the middle of holiday picture season, and then followed it up by unknowingly eating mayonnaise, and I survived..... barely.