Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another new form of torture...

Torture by health food. Uggh. It's killing our kids! Having to eat roast. And carrots. And potatoes. Where are the pre-wrapped fast food sandwiches? The french fries? The kids' meals?

Yes, Lucas and I have had a few discussions and have decided to really make the commitment to cut out the vast majority of eating out that we do. It has become a habit - a bad habit - based on our schedules and convenience. No excuse. We need to stop throwing away our money on food that is killing us!

So, the last several meals have been at home - home cooked. And our kids are at a loss. Some of the stuff they have actually rather liked. For example, much to my surprise, Meagan actually LIKED the roast tonight, and asked for seconds. However, the carrots did not go over so well, and all three of them stared at their veggies for quite some time. Isaac's trick for eating the meat was to drown it in ketchup. Really. Covered. In ketchup. So when he was finished with the meat, Lucas made him eat the big heaping pile of ketchup as well. Don't think he'll be so liberal with the ketchup next time.

We realize it will be a process. It will take time, and we will have our share of battles while we're making these changes. But it's a battle I would rather fight when our kids are 4, 7, and 8 instead of 12, 15, and 16. I like our chances much better at present. So, we'll bite the bullet, so to speak, and do what we need to do to change what we need to change. And I am willing to bet, at the end of it all, everyone will be alive and well, despite what the children may currently believe.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas...

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas... we definitely did! I will try to get back tomorrow to post some pictures and stories and all that good stuff. I have had a pretty lazy day today - I actually slept in until 11:00 this morning! And believe it or not, when I finally woke up, Isaac and Meagan were still asleep! Isaac didn't wake up until 11:30, and Meagan not 'til 12:00. Nice... I love lazy days - they are few & far between around here for sure.

So other than a trip to Wal-Mart, and a general clean-up of the house (that was disastrous after small group and 2 Christmas celebrations), we have all done very little today. We're getting ready to plop on the couch and watch a movie. I will try to be more productive tomorrow... at least where blogging is concerned if nothing else. See you then!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Baskets

This morning was our church's Christmas Basket outreach. So, the kids and I rolled out of bed early this morning, got ready, and headed over to the church to help assemble baskets to be handed out around our community. At first, they were sort of grumbling about it... 'I don't want to do this; it's boring; blah blah blah' But soon, they got into the whole thing. Sebastian took the list of what needed to go in each basket, and Isaac and Meagan helped fill the orders. It was a great opportunity to remind my children that God has blessed us so very much, and we should take every chance we get to be a blessing to others.

At one point I explained it to Isaac like this: Today we are practicing giving to others. What we practice becomes habit, so let's practice doing good.

Journaling: The kids and I went to the church to help fill Christmas baskets this year. The boys worked together to pack the baskets full. Meagan did her part, too. Here, she and her buddy Pastor Mark are working together.

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Birthday Boy - 7 Years Old!

Our baby boy turned 7 yesterday! Wow! Look how grown up he looks... it's crazy to me to even think about it!
For his birthday, he chose dinner at Applebee's. Well, originally he had picked Chuck-E-Cheese. But we were JUST there about 2 months ago (and Lucas & I can only take so many trips to Chuck's per year... we've had 3 this year.... which is about 2 too many...LOL). So I had told Isaac, if Chuck-E's was what he really wanted, that was fine, but his other option was a different restaurant and a movie date.... so he opted for Applebee's & a movie.

HOWEVER... when we went to pick a movie to see, our choices were basically the Princess and the Frog or Planet 51. Initially I had no objections to either, but as I started reading the parent reviews on both of them, I quickly decided that, at least until Lucas and I have had a chance to preview them both, that neither one was an acceptable option for us to take our kids to see. The Princess and the Frog, apparently, has a bunch of Voodoo and blood sacrifices and consulting spirits from the dead... um, not quite what I would expect from a G-rated Disney movie. And Planet 51 was rated PG for mild Sexual content... like references to "probing of certain body parts that shall remain nameless" and "references to other unmentionable boy parts" - what! What the heck?! All I can say is 'GRRRRR!' How frustrating that I can't just take my kids to see a 'kids' movie and trust that it will have kid-friendly content! Aaaaaah!

So, I felt AWFUL because first I talked him out of Chuck-E-Cheese in exchange for a movie. Then I had to tell him no movie. Uggh! But we found a good compromise so that the whole night wasn't a total bust. We had a Blockbuster card good for 2 rentals, 2 20-oz Coke's and a big tub of popcorn for $12. So we went to Blockbuster after dinner, and he got to pick out two movies. So we came home and watched G-Force as a family, and the kids chowed on the big tub of popcorn. We also told him that when Alvin & the Chipmunks comes out, we'll try to go see that, since we had to miss his movie date. HOPEFULLY that one's content is safe enough and I won't have to break another deal!

At any rate, he seemed to enjoy himself. He's pretty laid-back when it comes to that stuff, so he just sort of rolled with the punches and had fun at whatever we were doing. I think he just enjoyed having the time together as a family... and getting presents never hurts! :)

Getting Scrappy

Yesterday was the last day of school until 2010! It was also Isaac's birthday (which means school birthday treats, provided by Mom), and Sebastian's class Christmas party, so the boys each had a special treat of sorts for their last day (plus, Isaac got to do show & tell, where he shared the light-up snowman that was on his birthday cake, so he was thrilled!).

When the boys got off the bus, they were buzzing with the excitement of a few weeks off of school. Like always, Lucas and I asked them how their days were. To our surprise, Sebastian informed us that he got in a fight on the playground. The story went something like this:

He & his friend Harley (and maybe a few other kids) were playing some game that involved having snowballs. They had made a bunch of snowballs that they were collecting into a pile. Well, apparently, some other kid was playing a different game that involved snowballs as well. That other kid came over and accused Sebastian of stealing his snow (pause to laugh at this's Michigan...there's PLENTY more where that came from!)... anyway... so the kid proceeded to kick and punch Sebastian. To which Sebastian replied with punches of his own. In comes Harley, who just started going at the kid (in Sebastian's defense, of course), leaving him with a bloody nose (at least according to Sebastian's retelling of the story). Eventually, the teacher split them up and sent the other kid to go scoop snow in another corner of the playground... problem solved.

After further discussion, we learned that this was not, in fact, his first fist fight at school. Nope, it was his second. He didn't really go into details about the first. Whatever. I didn't ask. He's a boy. It's bred in them. Life goes on.

Isaac's birthday party

Last weekend was Isaac's birthday party for family and friends. Grandma's & Grandpa's (and Aunt Suzie) came, and so did a few of our friends. He had a great time (I always worry because his birthday is so close to Christmas - it's hard for people to find time for a birthday party in mid-December). This year he wanted to have a snowman birthday party. So, snowmen we did! Grandma made the most adorable snowmen cupcakes using marshmallows, gumdrops, candy sprinkles and peppermints. Adorable! He had lots of friends over, and they played all afternoon! He was as happy as could be. He had a great birthday!

I did this layout of a C.U.T.E. picture I got of the cupcakes. Are these not the cutest things you've ever seen?! Love them! I was so super excited that this picture turned out so well!

Journaling: Snowman cupcakes for Isaac's 7th birthday party. Made with love by: Grandma H.

click here to view full credits.

Song Tree

Over Thanksgiving, Grandma & Grandpa H. gave the kids each a singing Christmas character as an early gift. Meagan got a pink snowman lady who sings 'Santa Baby.' Sebastian got a sledding reindeer (moose?) who sings some sleigh ride song, and Isaac got a Christmas tree who sings, 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.'

They all LOVED them, but Isaac was enthralled! He carried his tree around everywhere. He even got all 3 of them together and played 'singing band' by making them all sing at the same time (that sounded ever-so-interesting, let me tell you!). It is always amazing to me the things that kids latch onto. He just absolutely loved his tree!

Journaling: Isaac's early gift from Grandma & Grandpa H. was a singing Christmas tree. "Rockin' around the Christmas Tree" is the song of choice. Isaac couldn't have been happier - he carried it around all night & played 'singing band' with his tree, Meg's snow-girl, and Bas's sledding moose.

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Gallery Update

As life so often does, it has once again stolen away my free time, keeping me from being able to update my blog like I would like. To say the least, it has been a rough two weeks. Thankfully, things are turning around, and getting back on the right track.

In my blogging absence, I have missed sharing several layouts with here I go, trying to get caught up...

This layout I did way back at the end of November. Just never got around to sharing. These pictures are of Isaac, and were taken last October (2008).

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Christmas Eve 2008
I took so many pictures last Christmas. These were some of my favorites. Don't you just love Sebastian's expression?! Priceless!

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Merry & Bright
As with every Christmas, we (make that I) took a ton of pictures of our Christmas with Grandma & Grandpa H. last year. Many of them didn't turn out very well, but I tried to choose a few that turned out okay.

Journaling: Christmas with Grandma & Grandpa H. came a little late this year because of work schedules. We actually celebrated on New Year's Eve. Still, we were blessed to have them with us, no matter what the date. Time with family is so very precious. You always have a blast, and they LOVE seeing you open your gifts. '08

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Snow Joy

These pictures of Meagan were taken just a few weeks ago, during our first snow of any consequence. She went out in her new hat & gloves from Grandma and had a blast eating big hand-fulls of fresh snow. I just can't believe how old she looks in these pictures! She doesn't even look like my baby girl any more!

Journaling: The snow on the ground was too much to resist. You just had to get out in it and take your first big bite!

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Friday, December 11, 2009

His own Sense of Style

Just an FYI...

Isaac opted to wear baseball pants to school today. A detail that completely escaped my attention. He must have had his snow pants on over them before I saw him dressed. Nice. So he had on pants that came down to his knees. In Michigan. In 14 degree weather. His teacher must think we are crazy!

The Muppets Crash & Burn

Recently, we activated a 2-week trial of Netflix through our PlayStation 3. It lets you do the whole Netflix thing (you know, get movies through the mail & send them back when you're done), and it also lets you download certain movies instantly & watch them on the PlayStation. Well, yesterday evening, we didn't have anything going on, so Lucas loaded up a Pokemon movie for the kids to watch. They were ecstatic, and sat through the whole thing. Loved it!

This morning, Lucas decided to give Meagan a dose of the shows WE grew up on, so he played (or started to play) The Muppets Take Manhattan. She sat for a minute, trying to figure out what the heck was happening. Then she said, "I only like the frog guy. The rest of them are dumb. Can I watch Pokemon now?" Lucas tried a few more times to capture her interest with the Muppets, but she just wasn't having it. "No Daddy, I'm done now. I wanna watch Pokemon."

Nice. The 80's version of kids' movies totally crashed & burned... I wonder if she would like the Muppet Babies??? I may have to look into that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

So Proud of our Gymnast

Yesterday at the gym, I was talking to the receptionist to schedule something for Sebastian. I gave her his first name and some other info. As she was finishing up, she said, 'What's the last name?' I told her, and she said, "OH! He's all over the newsletter this month!" So she gave me a copy of the latest Twistars Newsletter, and sure enough, Sebastian was in there a couple of times - once because he was the new points champion for his team with 89 points, and once because he learned a new bonus skill on floor. So cool! He was excited to see his name in the news, and we were so proud of his hard work and progress!

You Stress Me Out!

Every Thursday, in order to get to Meagan's gymnastics practice on time (or close to it), I pick the kids up from school. First Meagan, then the boys (so that they miss as little of school as possible... ends up being only the last 15 minutes of the day).

Anyway, yesterday, I picked Meagan up a little behind schedule. To make up time, I thought I would avoid the stop lights of downtown, so I took some side roads instead. As I turned down the third side road, Meagan says to me, "Mommy, you know, you stress me out!"

(Laughing to myself) "Why is that, honey?"

"Because you always take the wrong roads! It just stresses me out!"

"I'm not on the wrong road, honey. We're just going a different way."

"Well, I think you still stress me out!"

We continued driving... As we turned onto the road the school is on, and the school came into view, she shouts, "Mom!! Look!! You FOUND the right road! Good job!"

As if I just accidentally stumbled upon the right road. She is hilarious!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Unexpected Elements of Christmas

Tonight at dinner, Meagan decided to entertain us all with a song she has been learning at pre-school. The lyrics are 'The Virgin Mary had a baby boy...' Something like that.

So she sang it for us. Only she sang, 'the berginary had a baby boy.'

"What's a berginary?" Isaac asked (and for good reason... what IS a berginary?)

So I explained that the actual words are, 'The Virgin Mary.'


"Then what's a virgin?" Sebastian asked.

Yeah. Sorta saw that coming, but was hoping it would go unnoticed... I should have known better.

How to explain without offering too much detail??? "It's a girl who is not married who has never been with a boy in a way that could make a baby." (Praying for no follow-up questions... but I'm thinking non-fiction, informational, Discovery Channel-ish stuff... maybe? Please please please don't ask any more questions, LOL)

Whew! He went a different direction. "Then Meagan is a virgin!"

"Yes she is."

"But I'm not, because I'm not a girl."

"Oh. Um. Well, it is for boys and girls... I just said girl because Mary was a girl."

"Do you remember Hank?" (Hank is Grandpa's friend... where on EARTH did that come from?!)

"Yes, I remember Hank. What about him?"

(This is still Sebastian, by the way) "Well, when I was little, he wasn't married, so I think he is a virgin too. Unless he got married since then."

Hmmm... does this kid's mind EVER stop?!

"Well, honey, Hank has kids, so.... "

"Oh, then I guess he's not one."

Finally, end of that topic. It switched from there to "I think Mary was married to God" (Isaac), to which Sebastian explained that she was married to Joseph and that God isn't married... etc etc. Goodness, these are the elements of the Christmas story that you just don't think about, ya know?!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gorgeous Freebie Kit

Hey all, just wanted to pass this along for those who are into digi scrapping...
Through the remainder of the day, The DigiChick is giving a free kit when you spend $15 in the shop. Normally, I don't get too excited about these kinds of things... often the freebies that stores offer are not all that great, in my humble opinion. BUT... this one is WORTH it! It's gorgeous, and crammed full of a TON of stuff! Here's a preview of the kit, and a link to the shop if you're interested. Happy shopping! Love The DigiChick!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I am a FLAMING idiot! (LOL!)

Wow! What a morning it has been! Everything started off just fine... I slept until about 9:30 while the kids played Pokemon cards and watched TV. Meagan finally succeeded in bugging me enough to get me out of bed to make breakfast, so I got up and headed upstairs to make a special breakfast of cinnamon rolls.

Oh, it was special alright!

I got the rolls out of the refrigerator, got the baking sheets ready, and preheated the oven. While I was waiting for the oven to get up to temp, I went about my normal morning routine - you know, bathroom, face wash, all that good stuff. When I came back into the kitchen, the oven beeped, indicating it was up to temp. As I walked over to it to put the cinnamon rolls in, though, I noticed smoke rolling off the stove top. Well, there were a bunch of things sitting on the stove - a bag of potatoes, a container of dinner rolls, salt & pepper shakers, etc. I thought somehow one of them had overheated... the potatoes seemed to be the most likely candidate, so I grabbed the bag and moved it straight over to the sink... but it wasn't the potatoes. So I grabbed the container of dinner rolls... not that either. My process of elimination was not working, and the smoke continued to roll.

Thankfully, by this time, Guy had taken an interest in what I was doing, and he came over to help. But he went straight for the oven. He opened the door, and there we found a plastic storage container that had once been filled with tortilla chips... Now, however, the bottom of the container had melted out and oozed all over the oven racks and the bottom of the oven, and the tortilla chips were in a charred pile at the bottom of the oven.

Oh. Um. Ooops. I never even thought to look INSIDE the oven before preheating it. I had COMPLETELY forgotten that Jane used to (and apparently still does) store stuff inside her oven. I had successfully managed to start a house fire. Immediately, the smoke alarms started going off like dominoes all throughout the house. Guy took over with the plastic blob, while I tried to find hot pads or something that he could use to keep from burning himself. So, I ran down in the basement to see what I could find. While I was there, I made a stop at the bedroom to wake Lucas up. My poor husband was awakened today with, "Hey Luc, do you think you could help us? There's a fire in the kitchen." He SHOT UP out of bed (much faster than when I thought there was a dead cat in the bed, I might add), and came upstairs to help. We opened doors & windows & set up a gigantor fan in the kitchen to try to get the smoke to move out of the kitchen.

I then tried to just stay out of the way. I got the kids dressed in case we ended up having to move outside. Then I steered clear. They proceeded to get everything outside to the garage on the concrete floor... the molten plastic blob over oven rack, the pile of char-broiled chips - all of it. There was smoke rolling everywhere, but THANKFULLY everything stayed contained and was put out without incident. Uggh!

All I can say is I felt like a complete moron of epic proportions! Oh well... what's done is done. Thank God we saw it and the men were able to handle it well.
The house is now closed up, we're regaining the heat that we lost with all the cold winter air blasting in from every open door, and the kitchen is relatively smoke free. I even made the cinnamon rolls for breakfast (which I burned, by the way... no joke!).

Moving on...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, Thanksgiving was a success! We were able to travel to Ohio Wednesday evening to visit family, despite a potential set-back at Lucas' work earlier Wednesday morning. Yea - thankful we were still able to go!

As soon as we got to Grandma & Grandpa's, the kids were flooded with all kinds of exciting things to do. There were singing Christmas trees, snowmen and moose waiting for them, plus Grandpa's train much to do!

Thursday morning, my mom and I worked together to get Thanksgiving dinner put together, and then Mom, Guy, Jane, Shane, Tina, Lucas, the kids, and I all had dinner together in Guy & Jane's garage (the only place big enough to set up enough table space for everyone).

After dinner - and after a couple hours of clean up - we got the kids wound down in front of a movie (UP again), and the adults sat down for a hilarious game of Catch Phrase! We laughed so hard at some of the clues we were giving to each other. So funny!

All in all, it was a wonderful day! So much to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Tree Skirt

These pictures are from our Christmas clean-up this past January. Once we took the tree skirt out from under the tree, Meagan realized that it fit her perfectly as a real skirt. She wore it around the house for 2 days, claiming it was her princess ball dress.

Journaling: Meagan found a new use for the tree skirt this year. As soon as it was fastened around her waist, it transformed into a long, flowing ball gown, and she, a beautiful Christmas princess.'

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Write Me

A quick layout I put together the other day to tell the story of my 6th grade pen pal.

Journaling: My 6th grade teacher decided it would benefit us to do a pen pal project. We were to write one letter and see if we received a response. I was given a pen pal from Australia. Her name was Kylie Sedgers. Not only did she respond, but we ended up writing several letters to each other. She sent pictures of her family & of herself. I remember thinking it was so funny that it was sunny & warm at Christmas time! I always looked forward to her letters. I kept everything she ever sent & put it in an album. I was sad when the day came that I realized she wasn't going to respond this time. I never expected a pen pal project to mean so much to me!

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hot Date Tonight!

Tonight we have a hot date... a family movie date to watch UP! The kids have been looking forward to it ALL WEEK, so we decided to make a big big deal of it. We are going to have a special dinner (hot dogs - since there are DOGS in the movie... plus they all just happen to LOVE hot dogs). We're going to set up their sleeping bags and pillows in the living room floor, turn on surround sound, and kick back! Plus, we'll do popcorn and balloon cookies for special snacks. Here's a peek at the cookies I made for our special event.

Just a bag mix of Betty Crocker sugar cookies, a can of white fluffy frosting, split 4 ways, some neon food coloring drops, and Twizzler strings. Simple, but it doesn't take much to make it a special thing for the kids! I only wish I would have had a balloon-shaped cookie cutter... would have sped things up a bit, and maybe made them look a little less lumpy! LOL! Oh well, they'll still taste yummy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A few more layouts to share with you. The first:


Favorite Thing About Daddy:

For the most recent digi dare: to ask the same question to a boy & a girl and record their answers. Of course, I couldn't just ask one of the boys, so I asked them both. I did think it was funny, though, how girly Meagan's answer was compared to the boys' answers.
Meagan: He likes to hug me & be crazy about me.
Isaac: He plays tackle with us.
Sebastian: He lets us play his PS3.
They gave these answers on Sunday, November 15.
Visit my DST gallery to view complete credits.


We're all feeling much better. Life is busy. More of the same.... skating on Monday. Gymnastics & small group on Tuesday. Church on Wednesday. Gymnastics on Thursday. Free day (of cleaning and catching up) on Friday & Saturday. Church on Sunday. Start over.

That being said, there have been a few notable moments amid all the monotony of everyday life. Last Thursday we had parent-teacher conferences for the boys. We learned that Isaac is "probably the brightest kid in the class" and is reading a few levels above where they want them to be by the end of 1st grade, so he and one other little girl are actually being sent to another class for reading so that they can be challenged. I had no idea, so that was a pleasant surprise. (Truthfully, by the way Isaac made it sound, I kind of thought maybe they had put him in a remedial reading class, so I was not at all expecting to hear the total opposite, LOL ). However, he is having some troubles. He has been having trouble with little outbursts for the past few weeks. In a matter of 2 days of school, he managed to intentionally break several of the class crayons, and smash another little kids 3-D shapes project just because he felt like it. Hmmm... So, we had a long talk with Isaac, and he seems to be responding fairly well to it. I also wonder if a bit of his issues weren't because of the antibiotic he was on... just a little fishy to me that the trouble spiked up during the time he was on the medicine and has improved since he's been off of it. ??? Still, we're working on it with him.

Sebastian's teachers also said he is doing really well. They both said he is super smart, catches on easily, and so on. He talks too much in class (wonder who he might have gotten that from?), and that sometimes he has trouble staying on task. Yup, that's Sebastian. But he's doing really well, so yay!

One other highlight to mention... all of a sudden this week Isaac just took off in skating. He finally seems to have his feet about him, and he is picking up speed. This week was the first week since the very first week that I could visibly see that he was enjoying himself. Hopefully he keeps on improving. I just want him to enjoy what he's doing... so much better than being a grump!

Other than that, not too much out of the ordinary is happening right now. Tomorrow we are planning a family movie date to watch UP. Looking forward to that! So are the kids... not sure Lucas is so excited, but he'll manage.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Under the weather

It's been a rough couple of weeks, but we're slowly turning the corner. I told you the kids and I were in urgent care a few weeks ago. Well, Meagan recovered nicely from her junkity junk, and Isaac, although he still has a bit of a cough hanging out, seems to be doing much better. Sebastian, still hanging out like a champ! Go Buddy! Now Lucas and I have a bit of a stomach bug that we've decided to share with each other. Nothing major - just annoying enough to disrupt the day a bit here & there. But I am hoping & praying it will be short-lived and life will go on as usual!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Girl & Her Shoes

This morning, as we were getting ready to head out the door, Meagan decided to be very selective in choosing which pair of shoes to wear for the day. She decided on a pair of brown leather clog-ish shoes that have an open back. Very cute. Not very easy to walk in.

As she was climbing into the van, one of her shoes fell off of her feet. She sort of grunted in frustration, got down, and retrieved her shoe. As she climbed in the van for the second time, her other shoe slid to the ground. A little louder with the protest.

"Are you having troubles?" I asked her.
She said yes.
"Shoe troubles?"
Her response, "Yes, these shoes are DUMB!"
"Well, did you want to go get different shoes on before we leave?"
"No. I want these. They make me look beautiful."

Aaah, the power of a cute pair of shoes! No matter how dumb they are! She is definitely MY daughter.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Layouts to Share

Today is Digital Scrapbook Day, and I've been plopped in front of the TV with my laptop on my lap for the past few hours (watching an UGLY Notre Dame football game). I've gotten 2 layouts done today, plus I have 2 from a day or so ago to share.

First, here are 2 Halloween costume pages... one of Meagan and one of the boys...

Fairy Wings
Journaling: The magic of a costume can only truly be appreciated through the wonder of a child. The moment the wings were put into place, your imagination took flight, and you were instantly transformed into a flying fairy.
(Click here to view full credits)

Who's Boba? Who's Jango?

Journaling: I can't keep it straight. I keep asking, and you keep giving me an answer, but I just can't remember.

(Click here to view full credits)

Breathe Deep
I did this layout is for a challenge at the LilyPad. It was really very cool - in the process I learned about a new tool that I'm sure I'll be using again - a color palette generator. Just upload any photo, and it will pull together a color palette from the photo. Here's the link to it if you want to give it a try. I uploaded the picture of Isaac (that's in the top left corner of this layout). Here's the color palette I was given, if you're interested in checking it out.
Journaling: I love to see you taking in your surroundings - enjoying the total beauty of nature. I hope you live your whole lives with this same awe & wonder.
(click here to view full credits)
Perfect Apple
Another LilyPad challenge layout - this time for a template challenge. I downloaded a free template that they're giving away right now and used it to make this layout. These are pics of Meg picking apples on her field trip this year.

Journaling: Apple picking at the apple orchard for your preschool field trip. This year Grandma H. was able to go with us, so it was an extra special day. You picked the smallest apple on the tree, but didn't seem to be bothered by it at all. You said it was the 'cutest little apple' you've ever seen because it was so round & shiny & itty bitty. To you, it was the perfect apple. I'm glad you were happy! That's all that really matters. Although you adored your little apple, you didn't hesitate to eat it!!
(click here to view full credits)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Costume Pictures

I told you I would do my best! I picked a few of the better photos. I didn't take nearly as many pics this year as last, but that's okay. We still got plenty to remember our evening!

I Promise...

... to TRY to come back in a little while to post pics from THIS YEAR's Halloween... I'll TRY. I do still have to get some work done today. And go to the pharmacy for scrips. And go to a lunch meeting. But I've got nothing else planned for the evening, so I should be able to... I think. I'll TRY. xoxoxo

3 1/2 hours later...

Uggh! We have been so blessed to have avoided the yucky junkies that have been hitting everyone lately, but this week, we finally got a taste of it. Tuesday Isaac staid home from school because he was coughing really badly, and he was asking if he could go to bed and just sleep. By Tuesday evening, he had done nothing but rest all day, and he seemed to be feeling much better Wednesday morning. So he went back to school on Wednesday.

However.... yesterday at about 2:30, I got a call at work from Meg's preschool saying she was running a fever of 102. So, I packed up and went to pick her up. With her fever being what it was, our doctor's office recommended we head straight to Urgent Care. I knew that, if I was getting to urgent care at 3:00, there was very little chance I would be home by 4:00 to get the boys off the bus. So I went to the school & picked them up, and took all three of them to UC. My intention initially was just to have Meagan seen, but it was pretty clear after having Isaac in the van with me for all of about 30 seconds that his cough was still going strong. So I decided to have him seen too.

So now here's the picture: Three kids - 2 sick and 1 perfectly fine - sitting in urgent care with NOTHING to do... not the ideal circumstances, to say the least.

We waited... and waited... and waited. For almost an hour & 45 minutes before we were ever called back to be seen. Then a nurse practitioner student came in and checked them all over, after which a regular nurse practitioner would come in and redo all the same stuff all over again. Lovely. But whatever.

So she (the student) looked them over. She was really concerned about Isaac - thinking he might need to be on an inhaler or nebulizer. Then with Meagan, she was worried there might be a UTI or something, so she wanted to collect a pee sample... GREAT, seeing as Meagan had JUST gone to the bathroom about 5 minutes before that... which meant we had to wait until she had to go again! So we totally got held hostage by a 4-year-old's pee patterns. AAAAHHHH!!

Long story short, we were there from 3:10 until 7:50...more than 3 1/2 hours! No UTI or anything else pee-related, so that was all for nothing (but I guess at least we know what it's NOT, lol). Isaac has bronchitis and an ear infection. Meagan has a fever, so they called it the flu because there was nothing else to call it I guess.

So we're all hanging out at home today. Lovely. Meagan broke her fever in her sleep last night, so right now I'm having a hard time keeping her down and still. Isaac is still more than willing to lay on the couch and be a bum. Thankfully, there is no school tomorrow, so we have another day to just chill and recover.

Lesson learned... make a pit stop at home to gather several forms of entertainment before going to Urgent Care with 3 kids. Must remember that. Really.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

These pictures are of the boys way back in 2003. Eeyore & Tigger... aren't they cute? Scrapping older pictures always makes me wonder where time goes.

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Just Because

Journaling: I looked out the window to check on you, and this is what I saw - you playing contently in the sandbox. You looked so beautiful sitting on the edge of the box, with the sun shining on you and the wind blowing your hair. I know it's just an ordinary moment in an ordinary day, but I had to take the pictures just because I wanted to capture the pure joy of this moment.

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Frosty Friend

Jouranling: The first snowman of the winter season. Sebastian & Meagan worked so hard to create this little guy... meanwhile, Isaac was busy forming huge snowballs so he could eat them. Nov 2008

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You Love Me

Journaling: In all that I am, and with all of my strengths and imperfections, I know that You love me.

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Last-minute Maneuver

Earlier in the month, Meagan had decided she wanted to be a mermaid for Halloween. I was at Meijer getting groceries one evening, and came across an XS mermaid costume, so I grabbed it for her. However, when she tried it on, it was about a foot & a half too long for her. I thought, "I can just pin it up, and it will be fine." So we went with it...

Until yesterday morning, when we got her all ready for her school party. We put the pin-up theory to the test, and it failed miserably! She spent the whole party stepping all over her 'tail' and pulling up the lower half so she could run & play. It was pretty clear that this particular costume just wasn't going to cut it for a night of costume play.

So, we pulled a last-minute costume maneuver... we went to Target and scoured what was left of their costumes to see if we could find something that would work for her. There were lots of yucky ones - if I would have wanted her to be a vampire devil, we would have been all set! Finally, though, I came across a Tinkerbell costume. It was technically too big for her (as it is a size 7-8, and she's 4), but we tried it on over her clothes (yes, right there in the middle of the aisle in Target), and it was just fine. At least she won't be walking all over it all night! Plus, she has WINGS, and what little girl doesn't dream of having fairy wings?! So we have averted a disaster, and we should be all set for this evening's costume endeavour!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm still here!

No, I did not disappear, although you would never know it from my blog! Sorry for the 18 day delay! Sheesh, what happened to me?! (FYI, the answer is "LIFE happened".)

We've had lots going on. Isaac started ice skating lessons, with the goal of HOCKEY in mind. His first day was Saturday, and then again this Monday. He will practice on Monday's for the next 7 weeks. So far, he really likes it, although the hockey skates have proven to be a bit tricky for learning. I think next Monday we're going to give figure skates a try until he can get the hang of balance and mechanics of skating. I guess figure skates are balanced a lot differently than hockey skates, and are much easier to skate in. Here's hoping for less time sprawled out on the ice! We'll see what Monday brings!

Other than that, Sebastian has been working on finishing his first science project. He was given a diagram of a plant, and he had to make a model of it using things he found around the house. It turned out really well... I'll try to remember to snap a picture of it before we ship it off to school tomorrow.

Friday we have 3 school parties and a costume parade. Then Saturday is Halloween - we are going to try something new this year, and we'll be going to a Light the Night party that our church is doing. We may slip out for a few minutes to take them trick or treating to a few homes around the party site...we'll see what the night brings! Should be fun though!

Enjoy Life, Every day

Journaling: Life is imperfect. Life is messy. Life is unpredictable. Life requires sacrifice. It requires compromise. Life is a blend of style & color & form. Life leads us where we never thought we'd go, and it goes where our thoughts & actions take it. Life is full of bends and turns, twists and surprises. Life is sometimes complicated, sometimes simple, but always a treasure that we should never take for granted. Of everything that life is, life is beautiful and it is meant to be enjoyed.

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Rock Star

Journaling: Love your style, your spunk, and yes, even your attitude.

Remember these pics??? My sweet girl just makes me smile sometimes. I love her quirky, original style. She has such a great outlook on life and definitely knows how to enjoy herself!

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What I See

Journaling: What he sees is a man who is slowing down, whose steps are slower and whose body is tired. But what I see is a man full of rich history and wisdom marked by a life of experience. I see a life of meaning, passion, love. I see a man who has dedicated years to his family, to others, to God. I see a living treasure who has so much still to offer. A husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend.
This photo is of Grandpa H. It was taken next to the lake in Cadillac.
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Journaling: What started as an easy way for little fingers to create a funny pumpkin face has turned into a sort of halloween tradition. This year we added a few little pumpkins to our patch."

This photo is of our 2008 pumpkin patch!

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Float Your Boat

Photos are from our trip to Meijer Garden this summer.

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Fall Colors Tour

These are some of the photos I took from the window of the train. (I realized after I finished this that I spelled Cadillac wrong...I'll fix it before I print!)
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Save Your Money

A quick layout to document the boys' process of saving up their money for the DS.

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Just the Two of Us

This picture is from our train outing. It has been a LONG time since Lucas and I have had a good, intentional photo taken together. I thought that was worthy of having its own layout.

Credits: Platinum Dreams by Krystal Hartley

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Isaac's Reward

Two weekends ago, we had quite the experience here in our house. For a few months now, we've been stressing to the kids the idea of cleaning up when you're done with something, putting your things away before you get anything else out, and so on. Well, needless to say, it's not a popular concept with the youngling's, and their room was A MESS! So, Saturday morning, I asked them to go up and clean their rooms. I had some chores to do, so I did my stuff while they did theirs. Occasionally, someone would come downstairs with a few toys and take them down to the basement, so it seemed they were making some progress. I asked them a few times, and was greeted with "we're doing good" style answers.

Well, nearly three hours had passed by the time I was finally done with all the stuff I had to do. So, I figured they must be almost finished, and I would go up to encourage them on the last few things. HOWEVER, when I got to the boys' room, it looked virtually the same as it had before they started. I was MAD! I had already told them several times before, "If I have to clean up your toys, they're going into a trash bag." So, I stayed true to my promise, and went straight back downstairs to get the Hefty's. I started cramming toys, books, cards, and whatever else that was not where it belonged into the trash bags. I had filled two kitchen size bags before the boys' floor was clear. Nice.

In the meantime, Isaac had realized that there was no saving his own toys, but that Meagan was also going to lose her toys if they were all over by the time I got into her room. So he took it upon himself to go into his sister's room and start cleaning it. He put away as much as he was able to before I got in there. He had even tried to focus on her favorite things first, so that she wouldn't lose those. What a sweetheart. Even so, I filled one and a half bags of toys (mostly big stuffed animals) out of Meg's room as well.

When I had hauled them all downstairs, I asked Isaac to come down. I thought, since he had gone out of his way to help his sister, then before I took the toys away, I would let him choose three of his own out of the bags to put back where they belonged. When I told him, he got a big smile of relief on his face, and he started looking through the bags. "There's my Star Wars computer." And "I really like my Pokemon cards." And "I don't want to lose my books." He looked and he looked. Then he got quiet and stopped. When I asked what was the matter, he looked at me and said, "Mommy, can I give three things to Sebastian and Meagan instead? I know Sebastian won't want to lose his stuff, and Meagan will be sad to lose all this." I thought for a moment, and then told him that if he wanted, he could choose 3 of Sebastian's things and 3 of Meagan's, but that would mean he was choosing not to take any of his own things back. He didn't even flinch. He immediately chose three things of his brother's and three of Meg's and ran up the stairs, excited to give them their toys back. I was so touched, and at the same time, it broke my heart.

Later, after we had had several talks about respect and obedience, I decided to try once more to reward Isaac for his thoughtful and unselfish behavior. I once more called him into the living room, and told him how proud I was of him for being so nice to his brother and sister. I told him that I wanted him to be able to choose 3 of his own things as well. Any 3 things he wanted out of the bag. He started digging and searching through the bags once more. Then he looked up and asked, "Any 3 things? It doesn't matter whose they are?"

I was almost in disbelief. Really? But I said, "You can choose only 3 things out. So they can be 3 of your own, 3 of your brother's, 3 of your sister's, whatever. But only 3 this time." I even tried to encourage him to choose 3 of his own, but in the end, he chose one of Sebastian's toys, one of Meagan's and only one of his own. So they had each gotten 4 things back, and he had gotten only one as a reward for his selfless acts. But that was the end of it. There was no more choosing toys out of the bags. He had made his decision, and that was that.

We stored the toys for about 4 or 5 days, and each day, we talked to them about respect - respect for Mommy by obeying the first time they are asked to do something, respect for each other by using kind words and actions, respect for their things by taking care of them and putting them away, and on and on. By the fifth day, they had definitely got the point. So, we then had a discussion about forgiveness and mercy - how they had done nothing to earn their toys back; how they had broken the rules, and the consequence should have been to loose all their toys; but that Mommy & Daddy had talked, and we had chosen to forgive them and be merciful on them by letting them have a chance to put all of their lost toys back where they belonged. So that night after dinner, they put all their toys away - and it only took them about 20 minutes instead of 3 hours. Hmmm....

Anyway, we still wanted to really honor Isaac for what he had done, so we decided to let him choose a special dinner date. He got to pick any restaurant for us to go enjoy dinner as a family. His choice.... CHUCK E. CHEESE. So tonight, we headed to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner. And they had a blast! And he understands how proud we are of him for his actions, for loving his brother and sister so much that he chose their happiness over even his most favorite toys. For a six-year-old that is a pretty big deal!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Train Ride

Saturday morning we did something we've never done before... we headed out of town on an all-day train ride fall color tour. Our morning started at about 3:30 (at least mine did...others were up before I was, but 3:30 was pushing it for me, LOL). We got up and headed out by 5:00, to make sure we were at the boarding location in plenty of time to see the train come in. We got there by about 6:30. At about 6:50 we could hear the whistle in the distance, and the train came into view just before 7:00 am.

It was dark - pitch dark - and it was raining a very steady, cold rain. The train was obscured by a bend in the track and surrounding trees and buildings, so all we could see was the steam in the rain and moonlight. Then, the big bright headlight started to come into view, first reflecting off of the trees and buildings, then in full view. Even still, the train was hard to see, with only the silhouette really visible in the darkness. When the train let off its loud low whistle, I got chills. It was so eerie, especially in the darkness and the rain. It felt like we had been picked up and dropped back in time. Awesome is really the only word I can think of. Really. Awe inspiring. Awesome.

Anyway, we didn't actually board the train until about 8:30, and we departed at 9:00. We had a 4 hour ride to our destination, where we had a bit of a break, then a 4 hour trip back. Lucas' dad and grandpa went with us, and it was just nice to be able to sit together, with no distractions, and talk and enjoy each other. It was fun to get to have that experience with people who were genuinely enjoying themselves. It was a great day - even if there were a few hiccups in the timing and the schedule (and the rainy cold weather)!

I, OF COURSE, took a TON of pictures, and a few videos. Here are a few of them... it may take a while to preview them - I put about 25 pics up.

Just as a cool little side note, I found out after our train ride was over, that when my dad worked on the railroad, he actually used to be a part of the 765 crew for special excursions. That, for me, just made it that much more of an amazing experience. Definitely glad we did this!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Dead Cat Story

Three nights ago....

At about 1:30 in the morning, I woke up as I tried to roll over in my sleep. I woke up because the blankets were tight around my legs, and I couldn't move them very well. I glanced down and saw a dark, round blob laying at my knees. Well, this is where Lilly usually sleeps when she chooses to hop in bed with us, so I assumed it was her. I pushed against her, which is typically sufficient to send her the message to move. She did not move. I pushed a little harder, bending my knees slightly and shoving her toward the size of the bed. No response. I reached my hand down and patted her to get her to move. Something was wrong. She not only did not move, but she was hard and stiff and not breathing. Crap. The cat was dead.

So, I poked at Lucas, who was sound asleep, because I was tangled up in the blankets with a dead cat. He grumbled and rolled over, but showed no signs of really responding, soI persisted. "Lucas, you have to wake up. There's a dead cat in the bed beside me."


Again, "Lucas, there's a dead cat in the bed beside me."

Pause.... buffering.... buffering.... "What bed beside you? We have a bed beside you?"

"NO!! THE CAT IS DEAD BESIDE ME IN THE BED!" Surely this would prompt a coherent response. Right? This is what I got....

"Then go get a bag and throw it away."

"WHAT! No, get up. You have to get up."

So, he reluctantly and slowly got up out of bed, making a pit stop in the bathroom before taking further action. While he was in the bathroom, however, something interesting happened. The 'dead cat' MOVED! It popped straight up in the air, and went flying across my legs and moved up toward the pillows. It was MEAGAN! The 'dead cat' was her head. Oops.... I had been kneeing her in the head, and smacking at her trying to get her to move.

"Never mind, Luc. It moved."

Now, keep in mind that, by this time, Meagan was now laying on the pillows in the middle. So when Lucas came back to bed, there was a new lump on his side of the bed that had not been there before. So, not knowing it was his daughter, he starts shoving the lump, and smacking at it and poking at it trying to get it to move.

"Why is my blanket lumpy?"

"It's Meagan. She was the cat." We cracked up laughing for a few minutes, then went back to bed. Poor Meagan slept through the whole thing and never knew she had been so poked and prodded. As for the cat, she is doing just fine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sale - Shanmomto4 Designs at ahhh scraps!


Digital Artist Magazine

I was notified today that a layout of mine has been published in the September '09 issue of Digital Artist Magazine! I am in disbelief actually! This magazine is always crammed full of GORGEOUS layouts, and it seems surreal to have my layout be in the mix this month. If you're interested, it might be worth the purchase... the $6 includes not only the magazine with lots of amazing inspiration, but also 2 kits, a template and a brag book that you can download as part of your purchase.
Here's the layout I did that has been included in this month's issue... it's a few pictures from our trip to Meijer Garden. In the Story Telling Garden, they had this BEAUTIFUL display of a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

Journaling: 'Down the path in the story-telling garden, we came upon a beautiful table, set with ornate detail, beautiful dishes, and fantastic attendants straight out of Wonderland. It was magical, and I was captivated.'

Sunday, September 20, 2009

After School Checklist

Yup. I'm tired of finding 2-day-old leftovers in the book bags when I got to get their bags ready on Sunday night. I'm tired of hounding them about homework. I'm tired of telling them to put their stuff away. This is my reminder to them, so maybe I can help them develop good habits.


Today was Sebastian's first hunting trip with Daddy. He got all decked out in his camo shirt and orange everything we could find to put on him! LOL! They went out to sit in the tree stand and see what they could see. When they got back, I asked him if he had fun. "About 50%," he said. He was being bugged by bees, it was hot, and he couldn't see any animals. But I think he liked being with his Daddy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making Bugs

Lucas asked me if I ever do layouts of the boys any more. Yes!!! I do! I love my boys! It's just that lately the kits that have been coming out have tended to be a bit more on the girly side. Here's a layout I just finished yesterday that has all 3 of the kids in it. That's better than nothing, right? It's just a bunch of pics from this past March (ooops... will have to update the date to '09 before printing...LOL) of the kids playing with their bug maker. The kit is a brand new one called Play by Sahlin Studio.

I got my hair cut...

Monday I got my hair cut. I told Cassie she could basically do whatever she felt like doing... this was the result. It was shockingly short, but it's one of those hair cuts I have always admired on others but have never been brave enough to try. She just helped me get past being a scaredy cat I guess!

I tried to get a picture of the back, but it is incredibly difficult to photograph the back of your head, apparently. LOL!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Album Additions

It's been a while since I've posted any layouts... I sort of took a break from scrapping for a bit so I could try to keep up with life in general! But I have been accumulating layouts here and there, and have six new ones to share!

Apple Orchard - From our October 2008 trip to the orchard for Meagan's preschool field trip. Still today, these are some of my favorite pictures. Maybe because it was such a fun memory! Maybe because I got 2 good shots her she and I together. Maybe it's just her cute black & white coat against the crisp fall colors. Who knows... I was just happy to finally get them scrapped to my satisfaction. I used a new kit by Sahlin Studios called Explore.Learn.Grow.

Today is Friday - I posted the guts of this layout last week. I took my Friday experiment and stuck it on a layout to document it visually. I used a cute kit by Roben-Marie at The DigiChick and some Sahlin Studio templates that she did based on a few of my own layouts... that was definitely something new for me! I swear the templates look better than my layouts did! LOL!

You - I LOVE these photos of Meagan. I snapped them the first day I had my new camera at one of Sebastian's baseball games. I swear I did NOT touch up her eyes to make them look like that. They really, truly photographed that blue! I did this layout, oddly enough, using a kit called BROWN-Eyed Girl, LOL! I have been holding these for a while to find something that I really liked to show them off.

All Dressed Up - A few pics of Meagan all dolled up for her very fancy tea party she had at Grandma H.'s house during the 2008 summer vacation. She might not always ACT very girly, but that girl sure does love herself some fancy dresses! She is such a contradiction sometimes! Again, oddly enough, the name of the kit I used was 'Contradiction'.... which is how I ended up with these pictures, because the name of the kit immediately made me think of my daughter!

Sunshine - This picture is of Isaac when he was only about 3 days old. He had jaundice after he was born, and the CRAZY doctor at the hospital went nutso on me and was NOT going to let me bring Isaac home because she said I would just sit him in a corner and let him get brain damage... someone should have jerked her license right out from under her... anyhow, she finally agreed to let me take my child home with me if I PROMISED to keep him in direct sunlight as much as possible - a tricky thing to do in the middle of December/January, some of the gloomiest months of the year. So this is our little corncob baby basking in what little sunlight we could find.
I used Dreaming of You by Shanmomto4 Designs

New Crayons - I swear one of the best 'little things' about childhood was a fresh box of crayons and a new coloring book! That was always such a treat! I remember opening the box and just admiring all of the fresh, sharp, colorful points, imagining all of the beautiful things I could create with them. Something about fresh art supplies.... anyway, Meagan apparently has the same fascination. We went to Wal-Mart one day for a few things & came home with a new box of crayons & coloring book. She was in 7th heaven all afternoon! Eventually every crayon was dumped out on the floor so she could see the colors better. LOL
For this layout I used Colors of Life by Cardamome and Everyday Play Alpha by Krystal Hartley