Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas menu

Here's the menu I have planned for tomorrow:

Brunch: Quiche Lorraine (w/ mushrooms, green onions and bacon instead of ham) and - fruit salad w/ my Mom's fruit salad dressing (a creamy delight!!)

- roast beef au jus
- yorkshire pudding (really just soft rolls w/ a little gravy)
- a variation of Campbell's green bean casserole (w/ some water chestnuts added)
- mashed potatoes
- cranberry salad
- fruit sabayon (fruit w/ wine cream sauce)
- pecan pie

I decided not to shirk on dinner just because it was only the four of us and I thought having a normal meal would make it feel more special somehow too. It will be special because this is our first Christmas home together w/o traveling. We'll miss our family, but this will be special since the boys are old enough to enjoy Christmas and we actually got to slow down, decorate, enjoy the season, sing in the concerts and services, visit people, start traditions and actually have presents under our own tree. :)

One fun tradition I think will stick for awhile is watching "Frosty the Snowman" on Christmas Eve and making Frosty face sugar cookies (the Pillsbury kinds with his face on them). The kids discovered Frosty after hearing the song on Pandora radio. They love it now!

We forgot to put together our gingerbread house, but maybe we can do it after Christmas anyway. Charley has also already put our reindeer food (oatmeal and glitter from pre-school) and a healthy snack (strawberries and water) for Santa.

We've also talked a lot about why we celebrate Christmas and so far, all Charley understands is "Jesus is a baby" and "Jesus saved us" which is good enough for me for now. A tradition I think we'll continue from when I was little is reading the Christmas story from Luke by candlelight on Christmas Eve. That was always special. Although we read from the KJV and I don't think we have one of those around. :)

Well, I hope you all have a very blessed and Merry Christmas together with your friends and families and may you have safe travels and good health as well.

Rejoice!! Jesus is here! Jesus is here! Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Rejoice!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Last year in the 20's

I turned 29 today. I say that part wistfully and part joyfully, but most of all: very blessed-fully and fully blessed.

The wistful part is that I have only one more year before a very fun and eventful and young decade of my life will be over. After this decade, my body chemistry will probably dramatically and permanently change (from what I've heard), I'll add more white & grey to my hair and more stretch lines to my face, my agility will lessen, and my once extensive memories of my young childhood will dwindle even more. I will also lose the occasion (if I haven't already) to blame any mistakes on being "silly and young" :)

However, the joyful part is that the body chemistry shift won't be that major and at least I'm healthy now. I watched "Shadowlands" as I was in pain with the virus yesterday, and today I was actually thanking God that I had the health to stand on my own and do the dishes, and change diapers, and clean and do laundry. On another note, age will help me develop vocally since the vocal chords don't fully mature until your mid-30's, and since it is my joy and honor to spread the message of Christ with my voice, I'm thrilled at this potential. Another very joyful part is that hopefully, I will grow to be a more mature, wise, loving, sensitive (which is what I usually need to work on most), and thoughtful person in the next decade. (and so many other qualities I don't have room for) :) Hopefully, my memory loss will encourage me to hurry and write young memories down that I don't want to forget such as hours of fun playing outside with my younger brother, mud wrestling with a friend, hours spent pretending to give birth and be a Mom someday, special times with each of my parents, and time spent with relatives and friends in Texas who I miss right now ...

Ok, some of you may be rolling with laughter right now because I'm only turning 29 and I'm talking like I'm turning 50, but any of you who really know me, know that I'm a very introspective (not introverted), melancholy (not pessimistic) person and I take a lot (probably too much) seriously and analyze a lot in hopes of growth and learning. Plus, this is my blog and this is what I have to say today ... and this is what I'll have to laugh at with you when I'm 50. :)

Most of all, (and especially after being reminded of how precious life is after watching "Shadowlands") despite my expectations, disappointments, ignorance, frustration, tiredness and all the other things that can get in the way, I know that I am a very blessed woman. I am blessed that I got to spend today as a pretty healthy (still trying to get over that virus), loved person playing with my boys and making them laugh and reading to them and holding them and hugging and kissing them. I am thankful for my family, my friends (wherever you are all over the country), our home, the snow (that I got to play in and snowboard on today for the first time), my husband, my life and my Savior. What a Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

icky day

With snow on the ground and freezing temps all day, we really haven't ventured out anywhere for probably the last 3 days. This turns out to probably be a good thing since 75% of our family has now come down with a stomach virus.

Will battled his last Sunday, and Charley and I came down with it today. Fortunately, Ben has been spared for the time being, but he did get a nasty burn yesterday after deciding to push the stool too close to the stove after Daddy pulled it away. It's amazing how looking away for that split second makes all the difference. Well, he's not in too much pain now, but does have some blisters that I might try to treat while he's asleep tonight. Poor kid might wake up with neosporin and band-aids on 3 of his fingers in the morning and wonder what happened.

Anyway, Will had to miss most of his classes today and he had a big presentation to help with and give, which he had to mostly miss. I spent the day hunched over b/c my stomach hurt all day. I was afraid to take much of anything for fear of throwing it up. Fortunately, I got to rest a lot and Charley, after throwing up only twice this morning, was doing great by mid morning and keeping apples and peanut butter (of all things) down. That's definitely not my idea of comfort food, but he liked it and kept it down so, it worked.

Now Will is back at his school studying for a huge test tomorrow and is already very tired from such a long day. Fortunately, tomorrow is his last day too. I just want to feel better so he doesn't worry about us while he's trying to concentrate, and because tomorrow is my 29th birthday and I would really like to feel like eating cake for that. :) especially since I love cake! :) Will was only super sick for a day and has been slowing but steadily recovering ever since so, I have hope. I'm just glad Charley wasn't sick for too long, even though we kept him home from pre-school, and I hope Ben doesn't get it. It's so hard to watch your kids suffer.

I am thankful though that they haven't had many colds this season. Ben has a constant runny nose, but no other real "cold" symptoms. I keep getting a cold every 2 weeks and when I finally went to the doctor last week, the nurse practitioner who treated me told me I had an allergy problem and wanted to put me on a third allergy med!!! I really don't like taking medication if I don't really have to, especially year round, but to be on 3! It seems like excess to me, but I'll try it and if I stop getting sick, she said I should only use it during the winter season.

Sorry for the icky post . . . just goings on in our lives right now. Oh yeah, a couple of things we're enjoying right now . . . sugar coated popcorn (Will's homemade version of kettle corn), and our Value Tale books. I love these books. I read them and started dreaming about my life when I was in kindgarten. They deal with a famous person who demonstrated a different value to do whatever great thing they did. Most of the people these books cover, are people who helped mankind in some great way, so they're already great examples. They're fairly long books, but because the illustrations are like cartoons, They're able to keep the attention of Charley throughout the whole book. We've read several and we have 30. He loves learning and listening and as he gets older and we read them over and over again, I hope he'll start dreaming about what he wants to do with his life too.

Friday, December 14, 2007

older Ben

I thought Ben looked so much older in this pic Will took of him yesterday. I don't know if it's his face or his longer hair, or that he has more hair or what, my baby is growing up! Time for another? :) ha ha, not quite yet, but Lord willing, soon!

a few snow pictures

Well, yesterday, the snow came a lot sooner and faster than predicted. It was already sleeting by the afternoon when we tried to go sledding. That resulted in some unhappy kids b/c it was so cold and the sleet was blowing into our faces AND somehow, we lost their gloves. :) It all added up to a very dramatic tantrum. We
recovered and made caramel popcorn together and watched a little "Cars". Then the boys went down early while Mommy crashed from being sick (again) and Daddy went snow boarding on the golf course hill and had a blast! :)

This morning we woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland, with streets plowed and safe for driving (which I am not confident or very good at in the snow) and the sun shining. It was beautiful.

I thought these pics were fun. Apparently, dump trucks are for dirt AND snow! Charley had fun trying to shovel the walkway and Ben enjoyed watching. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's snowing!!

It's coming down pretty hard right now and I have to leave in a few minute to pick up Charley from pre-school. I'm hoping they release Will early from work so he doesn't have to drive home during the worst of it this afternoon. It is accumulating already and looking very white and very beautiful. I guess it's easier to appreciate since we don't get a lot of snow up here, but just enough to enjoy. If I had to live in this all the time, maybe I would feel differently, maybe not. I love snow!

waiting for the flakes

It's about to snow ... a LOT! I'm so excited, we're supposed to get anywhere from 5-10 inches! This will be our first big snow and will probably stick since the ground is frozen. We've had previous sprinkles, but nothing you could sled on ... which is what Will and Charley have been dying to go do on the golf course nearby. Anyway, we'll see what happens when it starts in a few hours and goes through the night. Hopefully I'll have some fun "snowtime" pics to post tomorrow! Yay!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

marathon weekend

My marathon weekend was a race, of sorts, that didn't involve running on a path, maybe symbolically, but not physically (although I was very exhausted at the end).

Ok here goes ...

Friday - clean all the hardwood floors with a wet towel on my hands and knees
- wipe down all of our walls 3 times (first with Clorox on a towel, second with the Magic Eraser, third with water to get the first two off for safety)
- make three batches of cookies (with the kids helping which turned out not to be the best idea) I made sugar cookies and dyed the dough different Christmas colors, then cinnamon/glue/water dough for non-edible ornaments, then oatmeal/white chocolate/cranberry cookies
- picked up babysitters for rehearsal at the church and on the way smoke started coming into the car from the heater (that wasn't working so while I fiddled with it, it must have shorted out or broken b/c it smelled like rubber was burning) I had to pull over, air out the car (containing the three sisters all coming to babysit and my two little ones!!) Then I turned everything off and we kept going b/c the smoke stopped. I was impressed that the girls didn't even freak out, especially the one that had smoke streaming out at her feet.
- attended a successful rehearsal of my duet and solo for Sunday night's concert
- then we had to wait for the girls' mom to pick them up after work b/c I was too nervous to drive home with them, then Will came to drive with us
- at which time he let me know that the Navy gym on base was having a kids night and they had several moonwalk slides and jumpers etc. set up and activities, so we grabbed some fast food (as it had just started to snow and rain pretty heavily) and headed to the gym until 7 PM.

That had to be one of the longest days in a busy, good way! (well except for the car trouble, but fortunately it wasn't too serious).

Saturday - we had 7 families over from Will's class on base to meet them and their kids. I think we had about 10 or more kids running around. We were busy cleaning and preparing all morning and this is when I brought out the cinnamon ornaments for the kids to paint. Will made homemade kettle corn (which he is quickly becoming an expert at), and we tried dying it, but it didn't work too well. It was yummy though! We also had shrimp dip and chips and apple cider, that never quite heated up. :)
- after everyone left, I got ready to go to a cookie exchange at a friends house where I used the batch of oatmeal/white chocolate/cranberry cookies. It was a lot of fun and I brought home some yummy cookies for the family. :) We took it easy that night (I think)

Sunday - we had church in the morning (choir practice before and after the service)
- I got ready for the concert that night when we got home by cleaning, doing dishes, and icing all the sugar cookies.
- Then we had the choir concert, which of course I was nervous about, but the duet ("What Child is This?") and solo ("Silent Night" in German and English) went great and I got feedback that I pronounced all the German correctly by some native speakers who were there. Yay! I also hit all the high notes fine, but on the very last note of the song, I could quite come down low enough because I had been singing so high, so that note was a little sharp, but ok, I hope. :) I'll have to watch the recording b/c Will was there recording. We also brought to this, everyone loved the cookies (even though they got green dye all over them) and the babysitter watched the kids in the nursery the whole time. The kids did great even though they were up way past their bedtime. Will and I were exhausted and I don't think I've slept so soundly in awhile!

This was the busiest weekend we've had in awhile and I wasn't used to trying to keep everything straight and prepare for it, but I did fine and I think it's something that is only going to happen more often as the kids get older and we're able to get more involved in things. I was just glad I made the extra batches of cookies, even though I wasn't really preparing them on purpose at the time; the sugar cookies just sounded like a good idea, and the cinnamon ornaments are something we made and painted as kids that I happened to decide would be a good activity to slow the kids down at our party.

I think it was providence more than anything else, so Thank you Lord for helping me this weekend and helping me prepare for things before I even knew I needed to. He Blessed me at the concert to honor him with my singing, and best of all, He gave me a supportive husband to help me prepare and plan and get everything together so it would all happen, including many hours of watching the kids so I could rehearse after church or clean, or prepare. After all this, Will still made it to his Monday morning work out at 5:30!!! ugh Fortunately for me, the kids slept late so I got a full 8 hours of sleep! Now that's something to be thankful for!

Now I just have to catch up on laundry and dishes and errands, but I think we'll just try to have a slow day today, especially since it's oh so cold and wet outside.

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

lotion lover

Another quirk of my second son is that he loves to do so many things that my first rebelled against. I'm sure it's a good thing, it's just that I'm not used to it b/c of having to fight Charley when he was Ben's age. Things like brushing teeth, changing diapers, putting socks and shoes on to go outside, and yes, putting on lotion. He loves lotion and while I'm changing his diaper, he'll rub it on his legs and arms and tummy. It's really cute and GREAT since it's so dry now, but it's also very hilarious to me to see my 19 mo. old putting on lotion like he's such a big boy. Also, if Ben had his way, he'd have a toothbrush in his mouth 24/7. He LOVES to brush his teeth and runs for it every time we accidentally leave the bathroom door open.

We're still waiting for snow around here. Will got so excited when we had some flurries a few days ago. He can't wait to take the boys sledding at the golf course around the corner from our house. He also can't wait to go skiing. He's going to see the new Warren Miller snow movie in Providence tonight and by going, he'll get free ski passes to some places around here. He can't wait! Seriously, this is going to be something we have to work out in our future: Will wants to live somewhere cold and I love warm weather with short winters. I DO love snow and skiing, but I just don't like cold for 6 months! Plus, with the dry skin issues I've mentioned in previous posts ... I just don't want to be itchy, cracky and dry every winter just so we can ski nearby. I'd rather travel somewhere to ski and wear my shorts and t-shirts most of the year. Anyway, I know we'll compromise on the perfect place someday (once the Navy is done with us, or vice versa and one plus is that with all the moving around we have to do, we'll get to visit different parts of the country to see what they're like before we have to choose.

Oh yeah, another success on the potty front, Charley is finally going #2 in the potty! yay! I know it may sound late to most, but with the issues he's had and meds etc. I'm just thrilled and he's proud too. He's been going consistently for 3 days now. I'm not holding my breath, but I think he may have conquered the constipation thing. He doesn't even want his medicine anymore and doesn't seem to be having problems without it now. It started getting easier for him a while back and when he had to go, he'd go and grab a pull-up and go. When we realized he wasn't struggling anymore, we started disciplining him if he didn't go in the potty. I think this helped us get where we are now, but for the longest time, he really was struggling and having a really hard time pushing it out, and we didn't feel that we should punish him for not using the potty b/c of that. Well, it seems to be over now, so we'll see how the next week goes and hopefully it will become a habit and easier for him. Yay!! It's funny, I'm actually excited that I get to wipe his bottom b/c it means he's gone on the potty! Of course, he wants to that by himself and he doesn't do a bad job at that, so double YAY!!