Monday, December 31, 2007

Shopping Spree

Today me and all my boys went on a shopping spree. Austin had gift cards galore and he wanted to go to toys r us to spend them on legos. He got most of the mission to mars collection as dino attack is no longer being made.

We then went to Hobby Lobby where I got yarn to start a new sweater, and stickers, paper, and a paper punch (all 50% off today!). I splurged and got a photo organizer that was on sale for $2 there too. Then I went to Walgreens and picked up my 81 pictures order for 10 cents a print! No shipping either! Check it out it's only for this week only.

I dropped Liam off at home for a nap and went back out to Hancock FAbrics for elastic (half off), black buttons (ditto), fabric for Taylor's leotard (ditto), needles, bobbins, and bobbin case (all half off). I got green velvet to make a long sleeved baby doll top and used my 40% off coupon. I'm so excited. Now...if only I can get my serger to work that would be great.

If you have a serger, let me know what it is and if you like it. I think I'm ready to stop fighting my old one. I'll have to teach some sewing classes to pay for it, but it's worth it to me.

Anyway, that was my day. I came home to a yummy roast in the crock pot, steamed some rice and made a spinach casserole and in between played backgammon with Dylan, fed, changed and played with a baby, styled Taylor's hair, and ran 1.5 miles! Whew! I'm tired.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


I don't know what it is about whoopie cushions that just facinate all boys but they do. Austin and Dylan both got one for Christmas so they decided to share with Liam. As you can tell, he's being indoctrinated into atomized fecal matter sounds early!

Straighten up and play right!

For those of you who don't know I've been wanting a hair straightener for several years now. My hair is kinky curly and gets tangled easily, especially in humid weather (which we have 360 days a year here!). Anyway the treatments I've used in the past haven't worked but Bill got me a conair straightener that's just awesome. In 15 minutes I got these results! I have a lot of hair so it's just amazing to get it that fast. I was so excited.

The funny thing was that that day we curled Taylor's hair and straightened mine. Bill rolled his eyes at the whole episode. He gave the straightener with one condition that I don't do it all the time. Okay...but just feel my's so soft. I may never go back to my brillo pad self!

Christmas pictures

We had a great but busy Christmas this year. Here are some pictures of the kids opening presents. Liam for the most part was happy playing with ribbon and watching everyone. Austin and I went roller blading that day with his new roller blades. I just love watching everyone open presents and get excited over something I got them. I can understand why Mom was such a Christmas nut when we were little.
I know that the real reason for the season is to celebrate Jesus' birth so we did rent the Nativity Story to get us in the spirit of why we were exchanging gifts. If you haven't seen the movie you should, it's very well done.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Liam's smile

Here's a recent picture of Liam as he watches Austin play basketball. He just lights up when any or all of his siblings are in the room. He just can't figure out why Austin's not watching him and chasing a big orange ball. I can't get over how the Lord has blessed us with four amazing children. I wish I would have cherished the moments sooner than now but I'm glad He woke me to the amazing works of His hands.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cookie mishaps.

Every year me and the kids make cookies and deliver them to the neighborohood. Since I've been so busy this year with various things I didn't pay attention to which ingredients I needed. No problem, I improvise right? Austin picked a cookie that needed 2.25 cups of chopped pecans. We had 1.5 cups so we chopped peanuts instead. But then it called for 3 tbsps of vanilla....oops. We don't have that much either so I subsituted orange extract. I also think there was creative measuring on Austin's part...I'm not sure. It turned into some kind of nut soup. I thought maybe it would bake into something that would rise even though it didn't call for a leavening agent...hmmm.

Dylan's called for 16 sqares of bakers chocolate squares. We didn't have any so I found a substitution on the internet that called for 3 tbsp of cocoa and 1 tbsp of butter per square. When we stirred the mixture it had the consistency of very dense bread. I added applesauce for more liquid. Bill said I should add more sugar but I didn't. Dylan put in 1 cup rather than .5 cups of flour.

Taylor spilled lots of vanilla into her hershey kiss cookies. She was reading the recipe and tilted the bottle.

Meanwhile I was holding a baby that was done sitting.

Austin's cookies turned into a very flat, nutty pancake that completely stuck to the pan and had to be chisled out of the baking sheet. Dylans turned into semi-sweet puffy cookies that had too much cocoa powder and not enough sweetness. Taylors melted around the baking racks and the kisses dissolved on top.

We repaired it by dipping the cocoa puffs into frosting and sprinkling green sugar crystals on it. Austin's nutty surprise turned into a family only cookie. It tasted good but Martha Stewart would have been mortified. Taylor's were good too but some didn't look very nice.

All in all we had a great time, made a huge mess and hopefully some good memories too. Liam got to sample too which was his favorite part.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dylan's violin

We watched Music of the Heart one day and Dylan announced he wanted to learn the violin. For years he'd been fooling around on the piano but I'd tried to teach him formally but he was bored. When I investigated I found out that the violin is very expensive. Fortunately I found a young violin student who was willing to teach Dylan beginning violin. He's been taking for almost a year and still loves it. He wanted me to videotape him playing Jingle Bells. Here's to music education!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Bucket List

Dana and I have been thinking of things to do before we die and here's my list:
1. Learn 7 languages ( Spanish, Farsi, Japanese,Italian, Russian, Gaelic, and French)
2. Have 7 children (I don't know why I have that number in my head...we'll see.)
3. Visit the following countries: Mexico, Scotland, Switzerland, Russia, Kenya, Afghanistan, China, India, Italy, and Costa Rica.
4. See the Grand CAnyon and Mount Rushmore.
5. Go to a B and B in Vermont for a romantic getaway with Bill.
6. Learn to Rock CLimb.
7. Get through War and Peace.
8. Finish my book.
9. Write a children's book about a disabled cow and not have it depress little children.
10. Go on a Thelma and Louise adventure with Dana, only without the suicide and bankrobbing parts
11. Fit into a size 8 again.
12. Join a crew team.
13. Own a quilting shop.
14. Take a knitting class so I actually know what I'm doing.
15. Talk to Oprah about book in #8.
16. Have Julia Roberts play me in the movie adaptation of book in #8.
17. Babysit all my grandkids and take them to DisneyLand.
18. Get cross country skis and use them frequently.
19. Go on a cruise to someplace warm and not get food poisoning while on said ship.
20. See all of my muslim friend know Jesus!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Liam's Christmas outfit saga.

Taylor and Dylan INSISTED that Liam needed a Christmas outfit. It was 20 bucks so I denied that idea. We compromised and I bought a hat for 6 bucks. They wanted to pose with him in it. I think Liam still had remnants of breakfast on his face but that's nothing new.

I was laughing that Mom's are the only ones who would still kiss sticky faces and love on something that can smell as bad as a baby can. It's a good thing that they start out so darn cute. ALthough I think my kids are still cute even when they aren't babies anymore...I'm just glad they don't wear diapers anymore.

Pictures of brotherly bonding

Here's a picture of the two of them bonding. Dylan has this huge CLifford doll and so he decided to have Liam ride it. As you can tell he loves it. Sometimes Liam starts giggling when Dylan enters the room. I think it's because he knows the party is about to begin.

Brotherly bonding.

Here's a video of Dylan entertaining Liam. As you can see they are both having fun. I love moments like these. I'm publishing this for when they are pummeling each other in a few years.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Lego creation

Here's a picture of Austin's latest creation. He's put aside knitting to create with legos for a while. The downstairs is usually noisy with him clanging through all the tiny plastic pieces to find just the right one. Why this is so fun I have no idea. It's a guy thing apparently because my husband, brother, and all my nephews loved doing it at this age too. He's proud of his accomplishment. Taylor and I lament the times we step on them with bare feet but then again they step on my sewing pins occasionally too. I guess it all works out in the end.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Brotherly love.

Dylan loves his brother and Liam loves him too. They enjoy torturing each other. Liam is wearing Dylan's advent wreath that he made in Kids Club, a ministry to refugees. They are both fun-loving which explains why Liam laughs at just about everything Dylan does. One day he even laughed at Dylan dropping a plastic lid...doesn't take much to amuse him! I've enjoyed watching Dylan grow and mature now that he's not the baby of the family. He takes more responsibility for things and offers to help more...especially with Liam. I can't say no to that! I hope that they will continue their friendship even when he starts getting into his stuff. The verdict's still out on that one.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Getting the family to eat vegetables!

I was raised to love a variety of foods. I love plain spinach with a little butter, seafood, cauliflower, salad, and pumpkin. Unfortunately my children all inherited Bill's distaste for anything healthy so I've had to resort to creative measures to get my children to eat healthy. Most of them haven't gone over well. The invariable groan anytime the crockpot is on or the salad is being chopped and my kids know they will be tortured that evening.

Great news and kids have liked the last two veggie dishes I made. The first one was for breakfast. My friend, Shannon, told me about it. She adds pumpkin to french toast. Th way I did it was to take 1/2 can of pumpkin and 1/2 a can of evaporated milk and whisked them with three eggs. I dipped 7 pieces of wheat bread in the mixture and fried them in a skillet with vegetable oil spray. My kids loved it!

The second is a broccoli- cauliflower cassarole. You blend flour and butter with milk (or 1/2 and 1/2 as the recipe calls for) and pour that over the veggies and top with cheese and bake it. There aren't any leftovers and the kids even ask for seconds! Cool! I'm shocked.

If you want the exact measurements for either recipe you can email me. Let me know how your family liked them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bathtime fun

It's hard to believe this was once a failure to thrive baby! He's now pushing over 22 lbs. I've had to move him to a different carseat as the infant one no longer fits him or is safe. He wants so desperately to move around but hasn't figured out how to move his body to go. It's so cute to watch him rake at a toy and he just can't figure out why it won't cooperate.

He's such a good baby too. We went to a refugee house after dinner and he just smiled and charmed the Afghans we were visiting. He went all around today to physical education class for his siblings and the grocery store. He's used to go, go, go.

This is his favorite time when we're in the bathtub. He loves to feel the warm water and splash around. Sometimes he bends to get a good toe sucking in! Now he is trying to roll out of his infant tub into the big tub I have. Uh, oh! Now I have to be really careful! Head bonkings are just around the corner. Why do they have to grow up and get boo boos?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fourth Grade Basketball

Basketball is an awesome sport. I used to coach it when I was a teacher. Before that I had never seen a game. When Austin decided to play I was thrilled. He plays for the Salvation Army and really likes it. Since it's a homeschool team, most of the players haven't ever played before. They tend to be too nice too. Many of them watch the ball go down the court as it's being stolen by the other team.

It's been fun to watch them grow as a team. John is their coach and is very encouraging to all the boys and plays them all evenly, regardless of ability. Austin was all over them today defensively and he took the initiative to get the ball a few times. His teammates Jordan and Noah are getting very aggressive and would not give up the ball today. Caleb, a new player, actually scored a three point shot. The final score was 7-20 but the good news is that the other team had to fight for every point. They are really starting to gel as a team and running plays. It's my hope that some day they'll take these lessons with them for their lives: teamwork, perseverence, focus, and hard work.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas spirit

Everyone's getting excited about Christmas here. They are busy making lists both for what they want and what they want to get other people. They are also crafting so that they have some homemade gift too. Liam's in the spirit with Christmas pajamas.
ALthough we do enjoy all the lights, baking, and gift giving the one thing we are sure to emphasize is that this is a holiday to celebrate God's gift to us...Jesus. What an extraordinary wonder that is. We're planning to have a family movie night to watch the NAtivity Story again. If you haven't seen it, rent it soon.

Gingerbread house day

What was Liam doing? Hiding under a table!
This is, of course, why they want to make one. They can't wait to eat it.

At one point Bill had a large exhale. I think it was when all of the kids were talking at once, Liam was fussing and I pulled out the camera and said, "I need more pictures for my blog!"

Applying the candy is hard work.

The icing can be tricky to apply. Taylor's doing her best to be careful.

Every year we have a tradition at Christmas time to make a gingerbread house together. Mom buys us the kit and then Bill purchases extra icing and candy to sweeten the deal. As you can see they are very serious about their gingerbread house. Bill has to explain the rules, "Go slow, take your time."

This was Liam's favorite part of the day...bouncing with a metal spoon! YEah! Everyone ended on a happy note and it didn't take long for the gingerbread house to disappear.