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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

Before

During

During

After

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Tree

 We put our tree up in December, despite the pleas from my daughters to do it earlier.  We have a fake tree, and I'm not sorry.  I LOVE the smell of the real ones, but the needles.  OH.  The needles.  And the watering.  Really?  I don't need another thing to worry about around here.  I'm sure I have a fire hazard in my house I know nothing about.  And I like it that way.





This is the first year that the girls have really been able to help.  In other years, they sat in their bouncy seat and watched.  Or they were taking a nap.  Or they were fighting about ornaments.  This year was perfect.  They helped.  They sang Christmas songs.  They were excited.  They are officially the perfect age for Christmas.  Magical.






 I let them decorate the tree with any ornaments we have.  Some include ornaments my mom gave me when I left for college.  Ornaments made in the 70's that were crocheted.  Or that had suckers in them.  There are sequined Santa boots and Alpine skis.  There are gold sprayed pine cones and dried oranges from my Martha Stewart wanna-be Christmas.  Cross-stitched reindeer and resin sailboats share a branch.  And then there are my wire ornaments.  Cute, rustic ornaments made from wire that has been twisted into beautiful ornaments.  After the Christmas tree was decorated, the girls continued to play with them.

The above was a reindeer.  Now I call it my reindaschund.  We learned about taking care of other people's things that day.

In the end, we were all happy with the tree we had each contributed to.  Some ornaments the girls have made were hung delicately by me.  The lights and tinsel were hung by my husband.  And the star on top was my favorite.  Made by my husband the first year we had a Christmas tree, almost 20 years ago. A foil wrapped star made of cardboard.  It has since been replaced by an toilet-paper roll angel my daughter made in preschool.  But I will always treasure the star.

In the busyness of this stage in our lives.  One with the bustle of two energetic daughters, I am reminded of our beginning.  Our first tree.  Our hopes of our future marriage and family.  It is nothing like what we dreamed.  But it is what God has ordained for us.  And it is perfect.

(And yes.  That is my vacuum cleaner.  Sorry.)

To see other trees, take a look at MckMama's website.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Name That 80's Star

I'd go with Rainbow Brite
What do you think?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Not Me Monday 12/19/11





Mckmama- Not Me Monday


Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

As for me, well.

I did NOT, for the second time in a row, fail to bring an extra camera battery for my kiddos' Christmas program.  So I did NOT miss both of my girls reciting scripture for the camera.  And I will CERTAINLY NOT beg the person who videotaped the whole thing for a copy.  Because I am a GREAT mom who thinks of everything before we leave.

I did NOT allow my Indian Princess to wear a tiara to the program.  That would be pretentious and I would NEVER allow her to draw attention to herself based on something that gaudy and shiny.  

I also did NOT stand at the back of the sanctuary, and quietly tried to direct my Littlest Girl to pay attention to her teacher.  And to not worry when she didn't get her letter when she thought she was supposed to.  And I did NOT almost run up there when she cut a little boy off to get to her place on the stage.  I would never be that kind of mom.

After the program, which was at 10:00 am, I did NOT let my girls take anything they wanted off the food tables.  My girls did NOT eat five kinds of cookies before lunch.  And I did NOT let them drink egg nog and cider until they were buzzing around the school room like hummingbirds.

And lastly, I did NOT give the preschool teacher a jar of homemade Hot Buttered Rum mix and a single serve bottle of Bacardi.  Because she totally did NOT need that after an amazing Christmas program.

I was NOT proud of the whole group of kids and teachers.  They did NOT do a great job on songs and bells and scripture verses in front of a packed house.  I do NOT love my girls' school and all the people that make it perfect for us.

Friday, December 16, 2011

There's a Fancy Name for That


When the moon and the sun are out at the same time.
I don't remember the name, but the occurrence is daily around here.
It's magical.
As is the frozen fog on the trees.
Not a drop of frozen mist on the street.
The trees were coated with fuzzy fog that lasted for two days.
When they started to melt, the frozen flakes dropped off the trees and onto the ground.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Storybook Island--The Christmas Edition


We like to tell the girls we are going on a surprise, and then, um, surprise them.
This year, our Indian Princess was pretty quick to catch on where we were going when we told them to dress warmly. Because we've done this every year for four years now. It makes my heart big to think of the family traditions we get to create with our girls.

The trip there.
My Indian Princess had a cold, and was wiped out from a long week at school.
She took a little nap.
My Littlest Girl tried her hardest not to be naughty.
How do you think she did?
The girls and I in front of a tricked out gazebo.
Dad in his cool hat. I mean, ultra warm hat.
Did you know if you put the ear flaps down you can't hear?
I'm thinking I may borrow this when the girls are watching the Magic Flute Dora episode for the 15th time.
A train ride.
In the dark.
With 20 degree temps.
Seems logical.
This was the first year she wanted to sit on Santa's lap.
My Littlest Girl wasn't so sure.
We had a fantastic night.
I can't wait to do it again next year.



Monday, December 12, 2011

Not Me Monday 12/12/11

Mckmama- Not Me Monday


Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.


But while you're here, check out what I happened to NOT do this week:

I did NOT lead a workout group at church at 9:00 am in the morning, then play three hours of volleyball that night, only to NOT(really) be able to walk the next day. I am always in shape and because I have a bad back I am always diligent to do strength training.

I did NOT giggle at my Indian Princess when she said her class was playing "Caramel Faithful" at the school Christmas program this week.

I did NOT finally clean my desk off, after three months. Putting everything in piles so I could file it easily. Only to be called away to something, and coming back to my daughter watching TV on my computer. At my desk. With the piles scattered like the leaves in the fall.

I did NOT fall off the wagon within 24 hours when I told myself I would only use the computer when the girls are sleeping. At night. (sigh)

And with that reminder, I am signing off!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas House


I thought it was made from a chocolate cookie.
I was wrong.
Straight up chocolate baking chips.
Melted down into one giant house.

Before:

Before:

Before:

After:
For the first time in their lives, I gave them all access to the candy with no restrictions.
They did really well.
I think they even fell asleep at bedtime.
I don't hear anyone bouncing off the walls...



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Separated at Birth

Does anybody else see the resemblance?



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Relevance

I am using a recipe website to make a hot buttered rum mix.
The ads on the sidebar are:
4 signs of a heart attack
and
Medifast diet plan.
On the other side is an advertisement for Morton's salt.
Huh?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

5 months?

Do you ever have a week where you can't get enough to eat?
Like your stomach is a bottomless pit and no matter how much you eat you feel like you will never be full?
Like you ate it but then it disappeared?
You try drinking more water or milk or eggnog and hope the food will somehow expand in your stomach, but it doesn't.

And then you look down one day and don't recall being 5 months pregnant.
You try to remember the two pink lines and the morning sickness.
But the whole memory just escapes you.

The high school girls call it a food baby.
I call it my hibernation diet.
(I call it some other things, too, but I don't think you need to hear those.)
Because although I don't believe in evolution, I tend to do this when the weather gets cold.
Unfortunately, based on my prior's years experience,
I will not fall asleep for the next 4 months.
Bummer.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today's Activities So Far...

Include my Littlest Girl telling me a story that has elements of Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, and Noah all wrapped into one neat package. No small feat.

We have moved on to playing baseball using a big rubber ball and an Ariel Barbie as a bat.

Stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

SOTW

My Indian Princess was Student of the Week at her school awhile ago. It was a very fun experience. On the last day she got to take a mama and baby bear home for the weekend. Complete with journal and instructions to write about all the fun they had for those two days. This was a task we took very seriously.


When they first came home, she set about making them warm and comfortable.
Because bears are naturally cold blooded and need extra warmth in a house that is heated to 68 degrees.


Then she built them a kennel.
Or cell.
Or whatever those enclosures at the zoo are called.
I think she called it a kennel.


But the project that took the most time:
A tree house for the bears.
With a slide.
Hanging from her bedroom wall.
So she could sleep with them.
She was very proud of her tree house.
And I was proud of her.
She did a good job taking care of her bears.
And I apparently take documenting to another level.
Our journal entry for the weekend was a full page, front and back.
Other, normal parents, kept it to a few paragraphs.
Really.
You can never over explain about a weekend with bears.
I promise.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

News Flash.....

GIANT PILLOW FIGHT AT OUR HOUSE!
RIGHT NOW!
Daddy and two girls are fighting a mighty war as the pillows are flying everywhere!
As well as the kitchen timer and the pepper shaker. Whoops.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not Me Monday 11/28/11

I started writing things down in anticipation of MckMama's Not Me Monday a while ago. She didn't have it last week, but that didn't stop me from documenting some, um, interesting things I should or should not admit to. Since she decided to run it again this week, I figured my pride could be crushed, just a little.


This week I did not:

1) Vacuum the dryer lint off my dryer because it had gotten so thick it would have taken me forever to wipe it off. (Who's idea was it to make the lint basket on top of the dryer, upside down?)

2) Wake up to have my 5 year old take a look at me and say, "Whoa." Apparently she has realized I don't look my best, first thing in the morning.

3) Eat a half a gallon of Thanksgiving Jello fruit salad my mother in law made. Yum.

4) Make almond cocoa bites for the preschool with enough flaxseed in it to potentially cause plumbing issues in many a home. So far, no complaints. :)

5) Let my husband feed our children baked oatmeal and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. That's a lot of carbs first thing in the morning. And I would never sleep so long that he HAD to find something for them to eat for breakfast.

6) Eat the same baked oatmeal and cinnamon rolls after he had warmed them up. Nope. Not me.

7) Stay home on Black Friday, but fidgeted all day long wondering if I missed anything good.

8) Use Rubbermaid containers for bowls, because all my bowls were dirty.

9) Use my Jello brain mold to put leftovers in, because all my Rubbermaid containers were dirty.

10) Skip cleaning the potty but was concerned enough that I put toilet paper down. On my own toilet.

Yeah. That's about all I'm ready to cop to for now. Check out her other links today. There are some good ones. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gotcha Beat

Because it did this on 11.19.11...
...the girls felt the need to decorate for Christmas. I emphatically told them NO, I would not put a tree, lights or any other decorations up until at least AFTER THANKSGIVING. Preferably not until the calendar said December.

"But, Mom!" they said. "It's snowing outside!
It MUST be getting close to Christmas time!"
I told them it was still a long, long way off.

"But, Mom!" they said. "It's snowing outside!
It MUST be getting close to Christmas time!"
And I helped them count the days until Christmas.
They agreed it was a long, long way off.

"Can we decorate anyway?" they said.
And I said, "No."



For 24 hours.

And then I gave in and let them decorate a table top tree.
Hoping for some peace and quiet.


Until my Indian Princess said,
"Mom! I bet if we put out some cookies, Santa will leave us presents!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Hobby

The girls discovered another phase in their childhood development the other day:
Making Barbie Clothes
A few washrags, a container of ponytail holders, and a lot of creativity were the ingredients for an afternoon of designer fashion.
In all honesty, I had to find other things to do.
Or I might have joined them for awhile.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Just Found....


The World's Ugliest Shoes!!
For the bargain basement price of $48.97 you could own these glittery boat shoes.
And impress everyone on the shuffleboard team.
Woo Hoo!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hee

I say, "I feel like I want to go to Sam's."
My Indian Princess says, "I feel like I want to go to Alyssa's."
My Littlest Girl says, "I feel like I'm a horse."

11:11, 11.11.11

I was on a bus at 11:11am on 11.11.11. We were headed to Aberdeen for a volleyball game.
I was on a bus at 11:11pm on 11.11.11. We were home from the game, but still in the high school parking lot.

Where were you yesterday at those times?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Control

Most anger comes from hurt.

I think it starts young. Time after time, people let us down. Or they are mean on purpose. It tears our hearts apart. The most common defense we have is anger. We retaliate so the hurt will stop. Or we can exact revenge. Soon, we go from hurt to anger so fast we don't even register the hurt anymore.

I think that's unwise. To remind ourselves why we are angry can help diffuse the situation very quickly:

No, I am not angry. I am hurt. You hurt my feelings. You have chipped away a little bit of the trust that I had in you. And I am sad. And nervous that you will hurt me again. Don't do this again!

I think this conversation goes on in our heads/hearts without us realizing it. Especially after many years of difficult relationships or as we are disappointed by the people around us. As kids. As adults. It doesn't stop. And the anger becomes automatic. The anger becomes the first response, not the second.

But I think we need to acknowledge the hurt before the anger. I think we need to be honest with ourselves. And the person we are interacting with. Many people are okay with angering someone. They are taken aback when they have hurt someone. Anger implies strength. Hurt implies weakness. In all honesty, I think it takes a stronger person to admit hurt.

It is a hard habit to start. We have spent so many years ignoring the hurt and jumping right to anger. If we can slow down, analyze our feelings, realize we have been hurt, and confess that to the person that hurt us, it will slow down the escalation of many fights/discussions/debates...whatever we choose to call it.

I have read many bad romance novels and quotes about how true love doesn't hurt. It even says that in the Bible:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

But the kind of love the Bible is talking about is perfect Love. And we, as broken sinners, cannot give that kind of love. Not yet. We can continually strive towards sanctification, to be more like Jesus, so that we can offer a better love. But we won't reach this level of purity until we attain our perfect bodies in heaven.

So we have responsibilities on both ends of a confrontation. One person is to love as well as he can, striving to honor and protect the other. The offended person needs to analyze why he is offended, and keep himself from retaliating in unrighteous anger. The naming of our hurt will cause quicker reconciliation than the defense of our anger.

The question becomes this: Do I want to be right? Or do I want to win?

It is an issue I struggle with every time.




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Deep Ramblings

Sorry I've been so sporadic in writing. I started this blog simply as a way to enter a photography contest, never imagining I would write stuff in it on a semi-regular basis. I like to write, but it doesn't drive me. I like to document. I like to come back to it later and read what I was doing or thinking at that time. And I suck at keeping a journal. A blog makes me feel more accountable somehow.

Anyway, the reason why I haven't written much is mainly this: I'm at the tail end of the high school volleyball season. One of the busiest I've ever had. And because I am so undisciplined, when I get home, I would rather read than write. Or watch TV or something. I really don't have time to process in writing the stuff I feel right now.

But that will change soon. Volleyball will end. My daughter will not be Student of the Week. My house will clean itself. The TV will break. The internet will crash.

And then the holidays will present themselves. At that point, I will probably just stop by and ask for Thanksgiving recipes and Christmas present ideas. Maybe post a picture or two.

It seems things are changing. I don't know if it's for the season. Or if it's for life. As much as I would like to someday be recognized for some kind of stellar literary piece, this blog exists for me. Not I for it.

Many of the blog writers I follow have stopped writing as much, too. I would love to know why. But my guess is since they are mostly moms, the school year is taking their breath away. And they have a life that transcends blog entries. And as much as I miss them, I understand all too well.

I do want to continue this, as a way to boast about God and what He has done for me. To ask for advice, to show you pictures of my girlies. But I am not driven to do it daily right now.

I hope you understand.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Comparisons

When I dress her:
When she dresses herself:

When I dress her:
When she dresses herself:

When I dress them:
When they dress themselves:


I'm not judging.
Just documenting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm a Sheep

Because everyone else is doing it.
And because I don't have time to write a real post.
And because it's been a long time since I've posted anything.
Here are some Halloween pics:

After the artist rendered their ideas, the Master Cutter fleshed out their vision.

My Littlest Girl was considering turning her pumpkin into a condo for Belle.

My Indian Princess is happy with the Master Cutter's progress.

The Littlest Girl trying on a Halloween accessory.

A quick shot before they ran out the door.

This is the first year they haven't had coordinated costumes. I really wanted them to go as Dora and Boots, or a monkey and a giant banana. But Dad bought some beautiful princess dresses on a trip. My Indian Princess wouldn't be swayed.

God was gracious this Halloween. (As He is all the time.) It was almost 70 degrees when we left. About 55 when we got home. Today it snowed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rules to Live By


I'll start off with the ten commandments. Really. Who can top those?

The rest are my own additional rules based on observations and experience. They are completely objective and totally relate to true life. Or not:

1) Advil before caffeine. Always.
2) A four year old has to go potty at least once every four hours. No matter what she says.
3) Forget the will. Always let your kids know where you keep the extra toilet paper.
4) Walking a half mile everyday in your dress shoes to work will negatively impact your ability to wear cute shoes in the future.
5) Sunscreen. Always.
6) You're always a better parent before you have kids.
7) There are just some things you don't need to know. Period.
8) Give your kids the grace you usually save for other people's kids.
9) The best smell in the world is my husband's shirt. (OK. Not a rule. But still true.)
10) Don't buy anything off the internet after 10:00 pm. Trust me.
11) Try everything at least once. Except #10.
12) It's YOU'RE, people! YOU+ARE=YOU'RE
13) Take your camera everywhere.
14) Choose fun over vanity. Every time.
15) If you won't say it to their face, don't say it behind their back.
16) Everyone looks good in leggings. If their shirt is long enough.
17) Young people have a hard time empathizing. Old people have a hard time sympathizing.
18) Oatmeal cookies are breakfast food.
19) So is fruit pizza.
20) You don't have to do it again, but finish what you've already started.
21) Balance your own checkbook.

And there is all the wisdom I can muster up at this hour. After this week. I'm sure there are more rules. Maybe you have some I missed? Let me know.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Card Shark


Just a helpful hint for the day:
When going to Safeway, or any other store that you must use a loyalty card for, always make sure they scan your card.

The difference yesterday for me was $52.00.




Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Cold...er

Is it sad that I wish I hadn't thrown away my diaper wipe warmer? Because I want to use it for my makeup removing wipes? Now that it is in the 40s at night?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

How Imelda Got Started.


My Littlest Girl and I went to Target yesterday. She needed a new pair of shoes. Well, if you know me at all, "need" is a subjective word. But she is finicky about her shoes, and her favorite pair had fallen apart, and every day we have struggled as she looks in her closet with 10 pairs of shoes and declared she doesn't have any. So, for "Mommy Time," we went to find shoes. I let her pick them out. She chose disco ball mary janes. It was all good.

While we were there, I met a Grandma and her Grandbaby. Grandbaby was about three. Grandma was pushing Grandbaby in the cart. As they were walking down the aisle, Grandma asked, "Do you like these shoes? Do you like those shoes? Which ones do you like?" I smiled and made some comment about our little ones choosing their own shoes. She replied, "Well, I bought her those Skecher Twinkle Toes after she swore she'd wear them. She wore them once, and won't put them on again!" (At that point I offered to buy them from her, but she declined. "Grandbaby might still wear them sometime.")

Side note: My Littlest Girl is picky, too. (see above.) She is picky because she gets blisters very easily, which is why I refrain from buying her $40 shoes. Although she does have a tendency to like the hand me down Stride Rites and Pedipeds she receives.

So I turned my attention towards My Littlest Girl, and watched the two out of the corner of my eye. Presently, the Mom appeared. She had in her hand some fairy dolls. She proceeded to say to Grandma and Grandbaby, "I think we should only get one treat this time. Honey, would you like the dolls or some shoes?" Grandbaby picked dolls. So Mom put them in her cart, and disappeared again.

The minute she left, I overheard Grandma say, "So, Honey, would you like these shoes? Do you like white? Pink? Oh, these are cute!"

And as My Littlest Girl and I rounded the corner to leave, I heard Imelda Marcos laughing in the distance.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Timing is Everything

There's something different about mornings. They are quiet and magical and productive. Even if it's dark, they are different than night time. I feel alert and peaceful when I get up and shuffle around in the quiet of the house.

I used to be a morning person. Well, I probably still am. If I go to bed on time I have no problem getting up with a clear head and a ready spirit to take on the day. I rarely go to bed at a decent time anymore. It's my own fault. But I didn't start the habit until I lived in the Eastern Time Zone. The news didn't come on until 11:00pm, and work didn't start until 9:00am. When we moved to Mountain Time, I tried to adjust to a 10:00 bedtime, but it didn't happen. Then the children came. Dun...dun...dunnnn...

My children are amazing, fantastic creatures. They both started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks. They both still go to bed around 8:00pm, and aren't allowed out of their bedroom until 7:00am.

But once my children go to bed, I have some downtime. And I use it wisely, watching TV shows or playing Chuzzle. Something valuable and worthwhile. And all of a sudden, it's 11:00. And I feel like I have lost the challenge, again, for doing something that will benefit myself and my family. Because really, who loves to be around me when I don't get enough sleep?

So, as the days get shorter, I will be focusing on going to bed earlier. Turning the computer off at 9:00, spending time with my husband, finishing my Bible study. I know the benefits of this will far outweigh the ones I get from hitting high score on Chuzzle.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Two Feet

My Indian Princess has decided to blow through her size 1 shoes in a couple of months. I'm officially moving her to a size 2. Good thing I buy ahead. Did I mention she's FIVE?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Life on the Plains


I don't claim to be a farmer or a rancher, but I have talked about my respect for the strong men and women that choose to do it for a living. And I love getting a glimpse into their world. Especially the fun stuff. We were invited to a hayride last weekend. The girls were in heaven. Dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, hay, pumpkins, dirt, and other kids. What more could they want.
Here's a very brief look:


Pumpkin football. Complete with a dog and giant hay bales.

The start of the pig chasing. The girls weren't sure about this one. But once she decided the squeals were okay, my Indian Princess jumped right in.

This is a random picture. A cabbage my husband grew. As big as her head.


I don't love the winter here on the plains. But I do adore autumn.