Monday, December 31, 2007

Gratitude Campaign

My brother-in-law, David, leaves for his third tour in Iraq in a few days and he will be leaving behind my sister and their children. I have such conflicting feelings for what they are all going through; on one hand I am so proud of him because he is one of those tough Marines who was ready to go right back the minute he returned from his last tour, and he can't wait to resume his work. On the other hand, I worry so much for his safety. I worry for my sister who will be parenting alone and working to keep her family life as normal as possible with such an integral piece missing. I also worry for their children who will have to go on, day after day, unsure of what the future holds for their own family and not truly understanding his absence.

My sister recently sent me a link to a wonderful site that encourages yet another way for those of us fortunate enough to be at home, a way to thank those courageous troops whose loyalty to country, and complete selflessness, allows us to be safe and comfortable here.

Please go to this site and watch the short film and then please say a prayer for David, Gina and their family. They are all sacrificing a great deal for all of us and we shouldn't take it for granted.

Stay safe, David, and God's speed.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Things I know now that I am 8 months old

Christmas was very stressful…all of those new faces, smells, people trying to hold me…it was just too much and I‘m so glad it‘s over.

I can now wave 'bye-bye' and play 'pat-a-cake.' I like to demonstrate these new moves when no one expects it, and then not do them when my parents want me to show someone.

My sisters fight over me and I think it’s totally awesome.

My mom can sit me down and I will play with my toys, only she is not allowed to leave my sight…ever.

I see absolutely no reason for you to have to clean my ears or my nose; a little ear wax and snot never hurt anyone.

Speaking of snot, have you seen my latest snot bubbles?! They are true works of art, just ask my brothers.

If my mother ever hopes to sleep again, she needs to quit fighting it and just hold me all night. When/if I decide to sleep alone, I’ll be sure to let her know.

I’ve concluded that ice cream is one of the greatest inventions ever; it ranks right up there with mocha frappuccino whip, grits with sugar, and my Daddy’s pancakes.

Nope, not crawling and not planning on it. Why bother? You guys already get me everything I need.

My mommy gets all teary-eyed every time she writes a new “Things I know” post. Yeah, she’s wimpy, but goshdarnit, she loves me!

Oh, and could you please do something about that four-year-old you call my brother?! UGH!

Friday, December 28, 2007

More mommy marks

Isn't it sacrifice enough that my stomach, hips and breasts are crawling with stretch marks thanks to my couldn't-live-without-them children? I guess not because as I sit here, my chest and boobs are COVERED in little blue bruises. Want to know why?


Her.

And don't go falling for the sad, pouty look she's sporting because this little pincher bug thinks nursing is the perfect time to work on her pincer grasp.

Argh! The agony.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas morning

They stumbled groggily down the stairs to see that...

















Santa came!

















They received books
















and a baby doll

















a Nano













and a DS.













But Santa couldn't fit these down the chimney, so he sat them on the roof!
























Santa's cool.

Christmas Candids

Decorating gingerbread boys for Santa Claus.














Christmas is better with grandparents.














"Thank you, Santa!"

















A gaggle of cousins












Sisters (biggest and littlest)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Massive amounts of love (and laundry)

















I am honored to call Cindy one of my dearest friends. I am in constant awe of her ability to parent, and parent well, 39 children; 38 of whom would have had much different lives had Cindy not chosen to be their mother. Above is a Christmas picture of her family, and believe it or not, 16 people are missing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ho, Ho, Holy Panic

Kids are home from school.

Still need to buy a few gifts.

House isn't ready.

Haven't gone to the grocery store.

Gotta wrap, wrap, and wrap some more.

Not through decorating.

Should be cooking.

Family begins arriving in 36 hours.

Yet, still squeezed in a visit with Santa and a picture tonight.

















Priorities, right?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

You know you love your child when...


...you rescue the weeping little soul from the death clutches of her ExerSaucer, nuzzle her lovingly and allow her to nurse a few moments to reconnect, gaze at her adoringly as she falls asleep in your lap...

...and then you realize she is packing a diaper so dirty and nasty that it makes your eyes water and interrupts your breathing...

...but yet you let her continue to sleep because as you watch her slumber, you see that your baby is so beautiful, and so sweet, and so incredibly stinky that you concede breathing is completely overrated.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Change of heart

"I don't think so!"














"Well..."

















"Okay."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm a REAL cookie killer

I've been cooking since I was a girl and I'm pretty good at it. As the eldest of four children with working parents, I was making family meals earlier than most kids my age. I have always read cook books like they were novels (like Granna) and love trying out new recipes every chance I get (like my father). My repertoire of meals is mostly committed to memory as I am confident in the kitchen and rarely shy away from new culinary challenges.

I guess one could say I'm a mixture of Paula Deen (minus the accent), Rachel Ray (minus the perkiness), and Giada De Laurentiis (minus the perfect smile and that killer body). So basically I guess I'm no more than a really mediocre Julia Child... oh well. But I can cook most anything with varying levels of success, except the one dish which has proven to be a menace to me my entire cooking life, my absolute favorite treat of all...

Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies.

Yes, I admit it, I couldn't make chocolate chip cookies if my life depended on it. I have attempted hundreds, probably thousands of times over my years in the kitchen and every time, every last time, I ruin them somehow. I finally accepted defeat and hung my head in shame as I regularly bought those big tubs of chocolate chip cookie dough from a warehouse club. I thought they tasted okay, but my family loved them (because they didn't know any better), so all was right in my little fake cookie world. Until a few nights ago when one of my children excitedly asked if we could have REAL chocolate chip cookies, "you know Mom, like the kind with flour and eggs in them."

Oddly, the request tugged at my heart. Now admittedly, I am bad at plenty of things, but this chick can cook and I'm not going to be afraid anymore of a silly little cookie recipe that every cook in America (and most children who can read or be read to) can make without a problem.

So I carefully measured each ingredient, mixed according to the directions, and even doubled the recipe so my children would have enough to take to school the next day and say, "Look what my mom made! REAL chocolate chip cookies!" And their friends would ooh and aaah and tell my children how lucky they were to have such a cool mom who took the time to make her family REAL chocolate chip cookies, leaving my children feeling stuffed and confident of their mother's love for them.

Filled with the knowledge that I would do my family proud, I preheated the oven and placed 16 perfectly formed cookie balls on the cookie sheet and prepared my children to experience the beauty that is Nestle Toll House cookies.

This is what emerged from my oven ten minutes later:

















Oh good grief! The children tried to stifle their disappointment as I curtly scraped off two "cookies" for each child and sat back to answer the inevitable barrage of questions: "Where are the cookies Mommy? Are these them? Why do they look so funny? Where is that tub with the cookie dough, I like those much better. Why do these look so gross? When are you going to make the REAL cookies, Mom? " And on, and on, and on...

Yes, I failed yet again. I can not make Toll House cookies and I accept defeat. My poor children must someday be shoved into the cruel world as adults having missed out on that important bit of childhood culinary delight. Well, that and Rice Krispy Treats 'cause I can't seem to make those either what with all the stale-like Krispies I somehow create by the time I'm done. What is wrong with me? I think my kids may have been seriously short-changed.

Well, I won't stand for it. I am off to the store to get me some Rice Krispies cereal because it's one thing to screw up a recipe with 9-10 ingredients, but there is no excuse to screw up a recipe with three measly ingredients that any imbecile (well, almost any imbecile) should be able to make for her children...and these Rice Krispie Treats will be REAL. Do you hear that kids? REAL!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Reagan-isms

#1) As she looked over my shoulder at today's temperature...

Reagan (12): "So what's the wind shield today?"

Mom: "Rea, don't you mean wind chill?"

Reagan: "Oh...(giggling)...Yeah."


#2) After helping Keaton remove some dance performance makeup...

Reagan (in her best Chrissy Snow voice): "Mom, I told her to use plain water because one thing I do know is those Off Misquito Wipes do not work; they just make your eyes water."

Sometimes she really worries me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Amazon just keeps getting better



Click here for the link to 71%-90% off deals. Also, if your interested in other items, click here and pick your percent off. So cool!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What we must remember



Rachel over at Testosterhome reminds us all where our hearts should be this season. Read here and be humbled.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The box said Harry and David


















But to my delight, the contents were surprisingly more than nuts and fruit.






What a holiday treat!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cindy's not perfect, just like me

Lisa over at Workout Mommy posted this great picture recently and was kind enough to let me steal it.

Cindy Crawford is a drop-dead, beautiful woman who is also a mom of two. It does my heart good to see that gorgeous celebrity mommies can struggle with the same issues as the rest of us. As frustrating as it is, our stomachs, stretched beyond comprehension during pregnancy, don't just snap back like rubber bands once our little miracles emerge. Our previously toned tummies sag and droop and unsightly muffin tops can emerge. I, personally, have also learned to forget about ever having breasts again; after six babies and eight plus years of nursing, I have developed the chest of a twelve year old boy.

But I try not to complain too loudly because I wouldn't trade any of my children for a chance to have the perfect physique. How boring my life would be with me all skinny and lonely. I'd rather keep the kids and smile through gritted teeth as I learn to love my imperfect body.

So I will continue to work on my abs and I'll probably buy a super-duper-deluxe-padded-push-up bra to cover up where my boobs used to be because this, this changing, less than ideal body I am sporting, is what happens to most of us. And even though critics might be tough on celebrities like Cindy, I applaud her. She's a model, an entrepreneur, a glamorous woman, and a mom...with a beautiful body to prove it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I love you Amazon


If you still need some Santa gifts (like me), click on this link and go see the 51%-75% off deals Amazon is having. Since my mini meltdown a few days ago, I have been stalking this site and finally got quite a few gifts for those on my "Nice" list. All of mine qualified for free shipping too! Ho Ho Ho!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You know how some pictures of your children just seem to take your breath away?





This is one that does it to me.

And if I click on that picture and make it huge...I almost forget to breathe.

Monday, December 10, 2007

An open letter to Santa Claus


Dear Santa,

I'm really freaking out here. I still need gifts for my six children, all of their grandparents, nieces, nephews, teachers, my husband, my children's friends (and more that I'm forgetting), and I have absolutely nothing. NOTHING!

I'm rethinking the Devin of Thanksgiving that volunteered to host Christmas for both our families. Where on earth was my head? I've got carpet covered in stains, chipped paint on my walls, my tree is now only half decorated thanks to these two boys, no presents to wrap, the garland is not up, our Christmas cards were printed wrong and the picture is fuzzy.

I ran three unsuccessful errands this morning, the baby has explosive diarrhea, hubby is on a trip to god-knows-where, my computer has been on the fritz, I've run children hither and yon, and my four-year-old has decided his new favorite word is "damn" (that he pronounces like the redneck, "da-yum") which he heard on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

(Okay, I admit I think that word but I don't say it, thankyouverymuch, so it's not my fault.)

You see, Santa, I do all the work, yet you get all the glory:
My child's friend: "Say! Where'd you get that cool gadget?"
My child: "Isn't it great?! Santa gave it to me!"

No credit goes to mom who schlepped through the cold and rain to purchase said gadget, or spent time, when she should be sleeping, searching online for the right style, brand, and color. And then there's mom having to justify to dad why she spent all that money, when all he can see are dollar signs and all she's hoping to see are their little faces light up when her suck-me-dry-yet-I-still-love-you-dearly children open those expensive (to me, 'cause I'm cheap) gifts.

Christmas is officially kicking my butt this year, Santa, and I felt you needed to know. It's hard work to do your job for you and it's quite the thankless gig.

But I'll do it this year like I've done before and will do again, because while you are really starting to get on my last nerve, I still kinda like you and it'll all be worth it when everything comes together.

Besides, looking back at my ramblings from the beginning of this letter, I've created myself a little "To-Do" list from which to work. Things are already looking up.

Sincerely,
Your grumpy, yet improving, elf

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Closet kook

This will mean absolutely nothing to anyone else in the whole entire universe, but I just cleaned my closet. I've needed to to do it for months; I mean it really needed to be straightened, but I just couldn't make find the time until tonight.

So I cleaned it and now I can rest. Now I can quit obsessing every time I leave my house that I'm going to die while I'm away and people will come into my home and see my closet and then talk about what a miserable, horrible, total slob I was and how my children are probably better off now that I'm gone.

I know, I'm weird.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A joyful noise

Hayden's piano recital was this morning. His rendition of "Joy to the World" was excellent, proving what a little hard work (and frequent parental reminders to practice) can produce.

Baby sister, on the other hand, enjoys "helping" Daddy play. Her biggest contribution though is pulling down the piano lid in the middle of a song. Dad just keeps playing until she pushes it back up...and then pulls it down...and then back up...and then...well, you get the picture.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Boys/Girls

My girls:
"I can't today, I'm volunteering at the homeless shelter again."

"I got my Bible verse all memorized."

"Mom, I already changed Peyton's diaper for you."

My boys:
"Wouldn't it be so cool if I could toot all the way down the stairs?!"

"MOM! I just popped Peyton's snot bubble! It was so AWESOME!"

"While we were practicing our Christmas program, Josh tooted and it smelled just like air freshener!"

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Why is it...

...that a baby's 15 minute snooze coming home in the car can totally ruin her usual two hour nap once we get here?

...that I can wrestle said non-sleeping baby all night long, only to have her finally doze off at 4:58am, two minutes before I have to get up?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

He's a yellow fellow

Hayden passed yet another belt test (ahead of schedule) and was awarded his yellow belt yesterday. As usual the highlight is "breaking wood," this time with a kick. Congratulations to our little Ninja Warrior.