Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

For the second year in a row, I was sick on my birthday! I have been to the doctor, but I am still not all the way recovered. Sunday was my actual birthday, but the boys were sick, too, so we decided to postpone the celebration to yesterday. I needed to return some stuff and hit some good sales yesterday, so Steve sent me shopping with a girlfriend as a birthday treat. How sweet of him! I felt bad about not being with my family, but I did need to get the shopping done and the boys and Steve would not have enjoyed it. My girlfriend and I enjoyed it a lot!

Today Steve is going to grill for me and I am going to make myself a sweet potato pie. He made me chocolate chip muffins yesterday for breakfast and I am enjoying them again today. Even though I am not 100 percent, Steve is making this a nice birthday celebration for me. Thanks, Steve! I love you!
Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Star Wars Kind of Christmas

Evan asked Santa for a Lego Star Wars Wii game and Joel asked Santa for a blue lightsaber. Steve and I could read the writing on the wall. Santa amazingly found a blue and red lightsaber packaged together, so now all three of the "boys" can lightsaber together. What joy!

Our Christmas started with a beautiful Christmas Eve service at our church. I couldn't sing very well, but I enjoyed trying. After we got home we ate a quick supper and the boys got to open a present. It was their Christmas Eve jammies. Then they set out the goodies for Santa and headed to bed. Evan was very ready for bed (and for us to go to bed) since he finally understood that Santa doesn't come until everyone in the house is asleep.
The next morning the boys got up at a reasonable time and the present frenzy began. We tried to cut back on the number of presents the boys received, and we did, but there was still a lot! At least we didn't have to take a break while opening like we did last year. Evan was ready from the get-go. He came in telling us about the "kitty" in his stocking, but to his credit, he did not get into the stocking until we told him he could.
The "kitty" is a Wildcat that Santa found for Evan since that is his school's new mascot.

Joel sat back while Evan opened his present from Santa and almost all of his stocking. After just a few minutes, Joel was into it as well. Notice that he is eating a sucker (a favorite present from Grandpa and Grandma) while opening another present.

The boys spent the morning playing with their toys, while their sick mom (me) took a nap. (I got sick on our trip to Chattanooga and am still recuperating.) Steve was gracious enough to grill burgers for dinner for me. Then we had a dessert of red velvet birthday cake for Jesus. I had wanted the boys to help make the cake, but Joel was sleeping and Evan didn't want to. After all of the presents this morning, I enjoyed making the cake and bringing the focus back around to the real reason that we were celebrating. (I can't write with those little writing tubes, but the boys got the point.)The day after Christmas was a day for more playing for the boys. For me, it was a time for going to the doctor and then shopping. I got some medicine, so I am hopeful that I will be much better tomorrow, especially since I am ushering at church. Today was more rest and more play. All in all, it has been a nice Christmas, even though we have missed all of our family. We pray that you are all having a nice season and reflecting in the peace and love that is God's gift to us, and the reason for this celebration.
Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We have been having an exciting day here, but now we are winding down for rest time. During this time I thought I would share a few pictures of our trip to Chattanooga. While there we got to spend time with both of my brothers and their families. The boys had a lot of fun playing with their older cousins.

wrestle-time with Adam

They also had fun being the older cousins with their younger second cousins (my niece's children). In fact, Olivia declared on Sunday that she would rather play with "Jo-Joel" (which she used for both of the boys) than go to church.

tickle-time with Olivia and "Eban"

We mostly just hung out, but we did spend one night walking through the Enchanted Lights at Rock City. If you have ever driven through the southeastern US you have probably seen signs declaring your need to "See Rock City". We had been there before, but the boys hadn't, so they can now cross that off of their to-do list.

The boys got to see Santa at Rock City! They had gotten to see him earlier at Evan's school, but I didn't have any pictures of that. Since Evan had already seen Santa and asked for his Star Wars Wii game, he decided to ask for a toy gun this time. (He didn't get a toy gun.) You can tell that it is almost Christmas because Santa looks kind of sleepy.

You can see this star from below the city. As you drive up to Rock City you can also see a waterfall running behind the star. If you click on the picture you can see some of the lights from the city below and get an idea of where Rock City is on the mountain.

There are some tight spots in Rock City, and this was walking down into Fairy Tale Caverns.

Here we are walking across one of the stone bridges. I believe that this was the point in our tour where 7-year-old Luke declared that he had been walking so long "he felt like he was walking to Jesus." He had previously decided that a lighted stair step looked like a Stairway to Heaven. Later we were walking through a section dubbed "Candyland", and Luke exclaimed. "I'm in heaven!" Evan and Joel picked that phrase up as well.

We had a good trip, but we are glad to be home now. I will post more later on our Christmas Day back at home later. We hope and pray that you are all enjoying Christmas and are celebrating God's love for us through the gift of Jesus!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Marriage requirements

Last night Evan told us that he wanted to marry a princess. I asked him which one and he answered, "One that's not already married." We tried to find out a little more about what he was wanting in his princess and this is what we found out.
1. Needs to be a girl
2. Needs to have been born on May 30, 2003
3. Needs to be five now (which would work out with the birthdate)
If you can help with this search, please let me know!

On a semi-related note, today Steve and I celebrate 8 years of wedded bliss! As I heard once in a movie, "It could have been worse!" But really, we have had an adventure during these 8 years, and today will be one more episode in the installment - as we drive the 12 hours home from Chattanooga, TN. After Christmas I will post some pictures of our fun family frolickings from Chattanooga, so stay tuned!
Friday, December 12, 2008

Lots of happenings!

Last night was Evan's school Christmas program. He got to dress up and sing with the other kids in his class. He was so cute, I mean handsome, even if I am a little biased. He did a good job singing and doing all of the motions. He was quite "amped up" before the program, so I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. I was pleased with his ability to calm down and focus when it was time to perform. He seemed to enjoy it, too.

This morning I took the boys to the dentist for their check-ups. Evan was wonderful and got a great report on his teeth. He has been brushing them more himself, and he has been doing a good job. His teeth were nice and clean. We pulled his second tooth a couple of days ago, and the dentist said the top ones might be loose in the next 6 months.

Speaking of that pulled tooth ... He was complaining about it hurting and asking me to pull it, so I looked up a video online of a dad pulling his son's tooth with the string to the door routine. I let Evan watch the video and asked if he wanted me to do that. He assured me that he did. I tried thread first, but it wouldn't stay on the tooth and also broke when I pulled it with my hand. I then tried string, but again had problems getting it to stay on the tooth. All that messing with it got it looser, though, and I was able to pull it out with my fingers. Steve was just watching us and shaking his head.

Back to the dentist - Joel did great, too! The last time he went (a year ago) he barely let the dentist look at his teeth. Today he sat in the chair and went through the complete cleaning and exam! He never complained, whimpered, or looked scared once! He is making major progress! He also went to a new class at church last week. He looked a little scared at first, but he just walked right in and did his thing! I just looked over the paragraph and saw how many exclamation points there were, but he has been so "clingy" or "anxious", that this progress is very exciting.

After the dentist, we went to get haircuts. I know that it would have made more sense to get those before the program, but ... it worked out better this way for us.

So, the boys have fresh heads and teeth now, and it was a productive day. They were mostly behaved throughout it all, too!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cookies Galore

One of my friends wanted to have a cookie party, but it wasn't working with her schedule. I volunteered my house and kind of "took over", but she was okay with that and helped host it at my house. A couple of other friends were able to come, and we had a great time talking and sampling cookies while the kids played in the yard. Here are some pictures from the first cookie party at my house. I hope that you enjoy, but I know that eating the cookies is better. ;)

A 3-year-old speller!

Yes, my precious 3-year-old informed me the other day that he could spell! He said, "Hey, Mommy! I can spell 'mama'. See ... ma (pause) ma." (I know this loses something in written form, but basically he just says each syllable slowly with a big pause between syllables.)

He then proceeds to spell "Dada", "Evan", and "Joel". What a smart boy!

(BTW, the shirt says "Mommy's Favorite Present")
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes

So Joel and I were off to the gym this morning, finally. We got off to a rough start with many complaints about his clothing options. I thought that he would like the Batman outfit, but he thought he was getting to wear the Batman cape and hood (with the pointy things, as he put it). It appears that we were both wrong. He finally got dressed and was content with the Batman outfit. We were talking about him being Batman as we got in the van, and he asked who I was. I was wearing a red fleece pullover with white snowflakes, so I said, "I'm Snowflake Lady!" I then decided to make it more fun by saying, "I'm the Abominable Snowflake Lady!" He sweetly replied, "No, you're not abominable [but not with all of the syllables] ... you're just a flake!" I laughed and then he said I was just a snowflake, but some things just can't be taken back. ;)
Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Competition

First off - Happy Thanksgiving! I know that it's a few days past the holiday, but I hope to make this entire season more thankful and less "I want". (I could go for making the rest of my life like that, but let's start small.)

I haven't posted recently because we were out of town for Thanksgiving week. We took a trip to see Steve's parents in Arizona and were excited that his brother was able to make it as well. We got there early so the boys had a lit of uninterrupted Grandpa and Grandma time. One of the things they did was make a lot of crafts. And I do mean a lot! They had a great time being let loose with the paper, scissors, markers and glue. (Joel wasn't as "loose" as Evan in case you are concerned about his safety.) A lot of the crafts focused on Thanksgiving. One of the first was everyone drawing what they are thankful for, as Evan directed. Grandma and Dad were both drawing the boys, so to avoid giving them a big head I decided to draw the Bible. Evan thought about that for a little while and then drew another picture of what he was thankful for. This one was entitled "that I get to die and go to heaven". I was so proud of him ... until he said, "That's better than the Bible, huh, Mom!" Yes, only my child can turn what you are thankful for into a competition. He must have really thought that was the "best" answer because when we went around the table at our Thanksgiving to share he used that one again. Just so you know, I am very thankful for God's amazing, powerful, merciful, lavish saving grace!

We had our meal on Wednesday night instead of Thursday. We were going to attend a parade Thursday morning, but that didn't work out. Instead I went for a lovely 3-mile walk with my mother-in-law, and then came home and showered. After getting dressed my husband decided it would be fun to go for a hike up a mountain. He assured me that it would be quick and easy, at only 1.2 miles long. He was wrong! In his defense, everyone in the family who looked at the website had the same impression as he did. It's just that the website didn't give that much information. I know I made it past .25 miles, but I don't think it was much past that. I left everyone else on the mountain while I went back down to find a bathroom. Grandma stayed where I had turned around. Steve, the boys, and Uncle Matt (Steve's brother) made it halfway up. Grandpa was the only one who made it all the way up. Way to go, Grandpa! The boys wanted to do it all, especially Joel, but it was just too much for them. Had I not just walked 3 miles and had I been dressed appropriately (workout gear and not jeans) I would like to think that I could have made it. Maybe next trip. Here are some pictures from our Thanksgiving Day hike. The last one is of Joel after the car ride home.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What have I created?

Apparently our oldest son takes after his parents and has become a "right-fighter". That may sound like a good thing, but it's not! He believes that he is always right and will argue any point to try to retain his status as "right". This has caused some introspection for me, as I evaluate how he got this way. It could be genetic, but it is probably one of those things he"caught" by observing.

Going along with that, he is also pretty competitive. We have caught him cheating at board games, and we have had many discussions about being a good sport. Apparently the discussions have helped, because the cheating has diminished and he does not throw tantrums when he loses (at least - unless he's really tired).

He is also being a good sport at school, which I was glad to hear. He came home the other day telling me that he played Around the World (with math flash cards). He first told me that one of his friends beat him, but then he told me that he went around the world twice (before he got beat). His teacher brought this up the next day, because apparently he was getting pretty worked up about the game. While he was waiting for the card he was doing breathing exercises that the teachers had taught them. He was "smelling the flowers" (breathing in through the nose) and "blowing out the bubbles" (out through the mouth). The teachers got a kick out of this and shared it with me. I wanted to make sure he was a good sport when he lost and I was assured that he was. I remember playing Around the World in 3rd grade, and the adrenaline rush that I would get from it. So, he takes after me in this respect, too. He did go around the world twice, and his friend that beat him did, too, so they basically tied. He must get that from me, too. ;)
Monday, November 17, 2008

Preschool funnies

Just a couple of stories from the boys that I thought I would share.

The other night I was driving the boys to church. I decided to get into the right lane and the car in front of me pulled into that lane just after me, but going slower than me. I said, "Dude!" and Evan responded, "Cut him off, Mom." I swear that he did not get that from me!

Joel is very "sensitive" about his food. For one, he doesn't like for his toast to be crumbly. He asked for a small piece of toast the other day. Since it was small it got kind of bent in the toaster. He was complaining about me messing it up. I finally got him calmed down enough to explain that it wasn't broken, just a little bent because he wanted it small. He accepted that explanation and said, "It's okay, Mom. I forgive you." I smiled and thanked him for forgiving me. He then told me that I needed to forgive him, too. I did and he ate his toast. All's well that ends well, I suppose. ;)
Monday, November 10, 2008

Joel's Frosty Birthday

This weekend we celebrated Joel's 3rd birthday with some friends and family. Both sets of grandparents got to come for the weekend and Aunt Jenn and some friends from church got to come to the party. Joel felt very loved, but is also very tired today. ;)

We had the birthday party at the park, and it was actually cool outside. It was downright cold in the shade, which we were not expecting, but made the Frosty theme and the Christmas music that was playing that much more fun. (Just for perspective, last year he and Evan played in the sprinklers at the party.) We had flavored snow and snow buddies to snack on, and we played a couple of snowball tossing games. We also made (styrofoam) snowmen and decorated them with things we found in the park. We had snowman and snowball cupcakes, but I don't think I got any pictures of them. The kids also enjoyed playing on the playground equipment at the park. Here are some pictures from the festivities. The last couple are from opening presents at the house.

I want to thank Aunt Jenn for taking a lot of these pictures!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Day

Well, election day is over and most of the results are in. I still can't find out if our local city propositions passed or failed. Any advice?

The presidential election did not turn out as I had hoped and prayed, but I know that God holds all leaders in His hands. So, I am trusting Him in this.

"Daniel blessed the God of heaven, saying, 'Blessed be the name of God, forever and ever. He knows all, does all: He changes the seasons and guides history, He raises up kings and also brings them down, he provides both intelligence and discernment' "
Daniel 2:19-21 (roughly - from The Message)

On a lighter note, Evan's school also had an election this week. (You might remember from an earlier post that this is where I have been using my Political Science degree lately.) Monday and Tuesday were the big voting days to decide between a wolf and a wildcat as the school mascot. We had the polling place all decked out, and the system was much like it as grown-up elections. The kids had voter registration cards which they presented when they checked in. Their names were marked off of a list, and they were given a ballot. They then went to a "booth" (aka table divided by painter's tape) where they marked their ballots. After that they turned in their ballots and received a star stamp to show they voted. Can I just say how cute these kids were! Of course, the little ones (3 years old) needed a little more "guidance" through the whole process, but they all did great. (By guidance I mean direction to the appropriate areas, bot guidance in how to vote.) Just in case you are wondering, Evan voted for the wildcats and that's who won. It was a very close race. We judges were biting our nails, hoping that we wouldn't have a tie.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Be still

Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46:10

I learned a couple of days ago about the passing of one of my A&M friends. She was in a car accident with her husband and 2-month-old son. They are both fine, but she did not survive her injuries. The friend who told me about it also directed me to this blog for more information. It was sad and awesome to read through the posts and comments relating to Jill (Jarvis) Atteberry's life. As I read I kept thinking, "Oh, how I wish we had kept in touch! Oh, how I wish half of these things could be said about me." She was an amazing person with an amazing love for her family and friends, but at the center of her life was an awesome love for God. I think that the word "awesome" is over-used today, but I have very deliberately used it here. I know that Jill is praising our awesome God in heaven right now. At the same time, down here there are so many people mourning her loss. Please keep this family, especially her husband and son, in your prayers.
Sunday, November 2, 2008

The family that sows together, grows together

We finally got around to redoing some of our front landscaping this weekend. The boys were quite helpful, as I am sure you can imagine. We only had one shovel that really worked, plus the ground was really hard which made Steve think I would hurt myself. That adds to up to me not being much help. But I did watch the boys. And take pictures.

The top pictures are the before and the bottom pictures are the after. Can you tell the difference? The plants need to grow some, and the lighting isn't the best, but hopefully you can see some improvement. I think that we are going to some smaller plants to fill in the area as well. We wanted to see how the big ones worked out first so that we would know for sure how many we need.

Here are some pictures of the work in progress.

removing a plant

putting one in

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat ...

if you don't I'll pull down your underwear!

Imagine my joy when Evan started reciting that little diddy this past week. He even taught it to Joel. Thank you, kindergarten! (BTW, I know that there is a line missing, but this is the way Evan, and Joel, have been saying it.) I have tried to quash this one, but I have only been partially successful.

We did a little neighborhood trick-or-treating last night, and the boys were mostly well-mannered. They knocked on the door - Evan first and then Joel - and stuck with a plain old "Trick or treat!" when the door was answered. Evan liked to take stock of his goodies at each house and tell them whether he had gotten that treat already. It was not mean-spirited, and he was actually letting them know that he was happy he was getting that treat again, but it didn't always sound that way. More often than not I had to remind him to say "Thank you", but things could have been worse. ;)
Getting ready to head out. Joel is looking at the "scary house" 2 houses away from us.

Evan led the way through the "cave", as Joel calls it at the scary house. Joel wouldn't follow, though, so a nice man came out to give Joel some treats.

A small portion of what was in the yard of another scary house

Joel needed a mid-trick-or-treating snack to get himself through it all.

We only went down two streets and there were several scary houses. Joel refused to go to some of them, which was fine with us. Evan was very brave this year and didn't get upset even if he got a little scared. He did it for the candy. If Joel didn't want to go to a certain house, Evan would say, "But you'll get more candy if you go" or "I guess he doesn't want more candy." Joel got tired pretty quickly, so that's why we only went down two streets. Apparently he did want more candy though, because the first thing he said to me this morning was, "Can we go trick-or-treat again?" (This once-a-year thing is very hard for them to understand this year. It came up with the fall festival and carnival, too.)

After we got home we got to hand out some candy to a few trick-or-treaters. We didn't have as many as I thought we would, but Evan and I enjoyed it. He really got into giving candy to our "customers", as he called them.

All in all, this was a treat for our family. I hope the ensuing sugar rush doesn't turn it all into a horrible trick!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year ...

with cool nights and brisk mornings; it's time for Christmas music and footed jammies. I know it's not past Halloween yet, but I don't really like Halloween that much anyway. The candy is good, but that's about it. ;) Anyway, I digress. The point is that we don't ever know if it will actually be cool when it is "time" for Christmas music, so I have decided to play it whenever I feel like it. I have a good friend who taught me that I could actually do that, so now I do. However, I do wait for cool weather to share this music with the boys in the van.

As for the jammies, Evan has been asking when it would be time for the "pajamas where you can't see your feet". His wonderful dad was getting them ready for bed last night and asked me what the weather was supposed to be. I wondered why he was asking about the weather at this particular point in time, but I just went with it. I gave him the overnight low, and he decided it was time. The cries from the boys were just too precious! They were very excited. Apparently Evan has grown too much though, because his were a little too tight. We went in after he was asleep and found that he had actually taken them off. Guess it's time to go shopping, too! (By the way, I was not in on the pj selection, so don't blame the Christmas pj's on me.)
Monday, October 27, 2008

Young love

And at the ages of 5 and 6, I do mean young. I heard that one of Evan's classmates told her grandmother that Evan was her boyfriend. After school today I had to ask Evan about it. He kind of grinned and said, "She said that at school today." I asked what he did when she said it and this was his answer.

(Okay, so the picture is not quite as dramatic as his expression was. I will try to get a better pic.)

I asked if she was his girlfriend and he said yes.

Tonight we were telling Dad and he said that she was not his best girlfriend. Apparently there's a difference between best girlfriend and girlfriend. He doesn't talk about the other girls in his class much, though, so I think she might really be, and he was getting a little embarrassed by the discussion. I also don't think that he has a clue what these words mean other than she is a friend who is a girl. I hope he keeps this innocence a while longer! (And I do mean a long while!)
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kids Karnival

Tonight was our church's annual carnival, and it was our first time to attend. It was really neat and we had a lot of fun. It took a lot of work to pull this event off and we are grateful for the people who did it!

The boys got to wear their Halloween costumes tonight, but Steve and I just went as ourselves. The boys are boxers which is quite appropriate given their behavior to each other lately. They weren't quite sure about wearing their costumes before Halloween, but they decided to go with it to get candy. They know how to make good decisions! ;)
Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkin Day!

Today was "Pumpkin Day" for Evan's class at school. This was a first for us, so I didn't know what to expect. There were 5 stations set up in different rooms, and the kids rotated through them in groups of 3. I was in the Senses Station. The kids looked at, touched and smelled a pumpkin (inside and out) and then described it. Some of the kids didn't really want to touch the insides of the pumpkin. Evan was one of those. This didn't really surprise me since he hasn't wanted to help his dad with that in previous years. After that we played candy corn bingo (where candy corn was the marker). Some of the other stations involved reading the pumpkin parable, estimating and counting pumpkin seeds, painting and decorating mini-pumpkins, and eating pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie. (There might have been more, but that is all Evan remembers.) The kids were fun, and it was good to get to know them a little better. Joel wanted to join in, so we did let him play bingo with the first group. After that he mostly ate candy corn. He did play bingo with the last group, too.
I got to bring the pumpkin home and cook it up. This was my first attempt at cooking my own pumpkin, and I can see why canned is just fine. It was fun, but it took most of the afternoon and my fingertips are kind of burned now. This picture is the final result. But we have lots of pumpkin to use (and freeze) now! I think tomorrow will be a pumpkin-bread-baking-day.
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