Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Family Pictures!!

My AMAZINGLY talented friend took these photos for us at the beginning of november- and those of you getting christmas cards from us, don't worry you get a different picture than the ones seen here:).
I'm thinking these are just about the best pictures I've ever seen of my kiddos.

Classic James.
The thinker.
take 2.
See the piece of prairie? That was his "fishing pole" that ended up in a few shots.
"Nothing comes between me and my calvin's"

Probably my favorite shot of the bunch!
cute cute cute!
Right before this picture, O gave us his impersonation of cookie monster and proceeded to eat this stick in lieu of cookies, complete with "ahh-nom nom nom!!!" sound affects.
The whole fam damily.
I like this pic, but D is a little fuzzy.
I know it looks like James is picking his nose, maybe, in this pic- but he's really telling us to "shhh" along with D. This is why D is not smiling.
Our photog called this our Norman Rockwell shot. If you are familiar with his work, you might agree:)
Just us.
Thank you Jesa!!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The most wonderful day of the year.

I hope that title was sarcastic enough for you.
If not, let me try again.


but why?
ah, yes. Two words: The-freaking-car-wouldn't-work-the-way-the-stupid-thing-is-supposed to.

Last night, in the dash-console, my car put on its battery light and its parking brake light. The battery light I though was fine, but the parking brake light was a little weird especially since the parking brake wasn't on. Oh well, I thought, I'll just take it in on monday, because tomorrow is saturday, I need an oil change anyways and my mechanic is not open on saturday.

I should have taken it in today.

I knew something was wrong when, after dropping my husband at the library and the kiddinks at the Y, the radio was throbbing in very regular intervals- and I do not own a sub-woofer. I turned off the radio to listen to the engine. Nope everything sounded okay.

I got another 100 yards down the street. Then the noise from the radio (which is off by the way) turned into a noise from the vents. I try to listen intently and notice that the engine is idling in strange spurts. Uh-oh, I think. Maybe I can make it home.

100 yards later and the speedometer AND the tachometer both abruptly stop working.

100 yards later (at a stop light, and please note- all the distances are relative) the car starts to shudder. oh crap.

I start praying- you know the kind- the "please, Lord, I'll never ask for another thing ever again if you can get my car home in one piece, thank you, thank you, amen".

Maybe the Lord was taking someone else's call, because that didn't happen.

What did happen was this:
I expected to spend all afternoon sewing up a storm, trying to get all my orders filled so I could start on more.
What I did instead was spend all afternoon on the phone trying to find
1. a mechanic- no luck. none of them work on saturday afternoons.
2. a new alternator in town- this took 3 different stores.
3. someone who was available to help me get to the stores to pick up the alternator.
4. someone who was magically home with auto repair skills and time to spare, who could come help ASAP.
5. someone who could help me pick up my various family members from the Y and the library and deliver us safely home.

Let me es'plain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.

Things worked out- expensively- but not as expensively as it WOULD have been without amazing friends.
I have a car that works again. Hopefully through tomorrow and into monday morning.


Friday, November 26, 2010

too funny

okay- this just happened and it is too funny not to post.

James was sitting at the table eating some pretzels. He took two of them out of the bowl and started a conversation:

Pretzel 1: hi pretzel!
pretzel 2: hi! how are you?
Pretzel 1: fine. kjhaksuehmngfus ahseuh sajdkfh hjk, okay, lets go!
pretzel 2: good!

Then he took a bite of one pretzel. Enter mommy.
(speaking for pretzel 1): aaaah!! you ate my head!!!!

James looked up at me like I was crazy.
You know the look.
The "mooooommmm, you are so embarrasing!!!!" look.

Apparently, I overstepped my bounds here. Moms DO NOT get to play pretzels with the kids.
And I'll probably see that look many more times in the years to come!

Dear Santa

Last night, as per tradition, we sat down- stuffed to the gills with yummy thanksgiving feast- and helped the boys make a christmas list. We tried to explain Santa Claus, but I'm not sure that inspired any behavior modification. Because to a boy who takes things literally "Santa Claus" just doesn't make much sense. A magic elf who can see every thing you do, hear everything you say and judge whether it's bad or good? Oh, and he also happens to be Papa Alan. Maybe he'll get it next year.
But the word he DID understand was: PRESENTS.

My parents came up with a GREAT christmas present system many years ago. They gave us kids CATEGORIES (play, read, listen, wear, eat, watch) and we just filled in the blank so to speak. I am doing this with my kiddos this year.

So, Santa, here's what my boys came up with:
to read: (parental help here) anything by Mo Willems or Audrey and Don Wood
to listen to: no answer. my child chooses not to use his ears WAY too often.
to watch: How to Train Your Dragon
to wear: undies (4t), socks (sz.10-11), or PJs. (okay okay- he didn't actually ask for any of that!)
to play with: SUPERHEROS!!! (said in large booming voice). Oh, and a Basketball.

to read: anything featuring animals.
to listen to: what ever James wants too.
to watch: Curious George
to wear: winter coat (sz.18 mos). You'd think that I would already have a winter coat for this kid- but you'd be wrong. James' winter coats are WAY too big on this little peanut! man!
to play with: I can get MORE toys?!

And to fill out the parents' side...
to read: anything besides a textbook.
to listen to: Complete Beethoven Symphonies
to watch: All Creatures Great and Small.
to wear: wool v-neck sweater (navy)
to play: a new conducting baton.

to read: The Sewing Book by Alison Smith
to listen to: new running ear-buds
to watch: a new Gayle & Terri watch (see me for details:)
to wear: running tights/running gear in general
to play: fabric. lovely fabric.

well, Santa. There you have it. Apparently, you get off easy this year! No one wants anything larger than a basketball!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

and one more thing..

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And until then, it is still halloween season!!!

I had the brilliant idea for our family halloween costumes this year: we would all go as The Incredibles! It would be so easy, I said. Just get matching stretch tops and bottoms in red, stencil the i logo and draw on masks- POOF!, I said. I found the stretch tops and bottoms just fine. And then the i logo. But I put it off, and off and off (almost like this blog post). Until the night before (and I'm seeing flashes of high school as I type this) and I'm working feverishly on getting our costumes together! But the final product is something to be proud of I think...

Presenting Dash Incredible in all his super-hero glory!!!!
He adopted the Dash persona to completely that I'm still having to refer to him as "Dash" instead of James. To be fair though, he has also identified himself as: Russell (from UP), Dash, Batman, Super James, Horse, Charlie and Alligator.
Here's my pumpkin. My excuse? We were finger painting! I had to come up with something that could be done with fingers!
Dash's pumpkin. He got all excited about all the colors, pained a few on the squash and then just had a BALL smearing everything around. The pumpkin went from Jackson Pollack to 4-year-old in no time flat!
And that's all I have for the rest of October.

I really need to get on the blogger ball here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This is really late....

Ok. In the middle of October we went to Martin's Hillside Orchard. I may have mentioned them before on this blog. Or I may have mentioned them many times. Either way, we love it there!

Oliver was excited! This was his first trip that he could actually get down and around. Notice the shorts? It was a warm October.
I tried and tried and tried and tried etc.... but these two boys simply CANNOT "look at me!" at the same time.
James was in motion the ENTIRE time we were there. I thought this was appropriate picture to explain the boundless energy that boy has in spades.
J is climbing Mt. Haymore with his friend, Oliver Friest.
When I told him to smile, he gave me this. I guess it qualifies as a smile if you squint real hard.
This was a tee-pee made of corn stalks. It still had dried corn on it and James had a great time finding them and tearing them apart. lovely.
And where was Oliver during this whole time? Petting this dog:
A little information about Oliver: he LOVES dogs. And I've never ever seen a baby so good with animals. James was another story entirely- he and dogs just don't seem to get along well. He's actually been nipped a few times! But Oliver is so soothing. Even at 12 mos. Oliver is so gentle that the animals don't mind him. I think James may be a little too high strung for the animals.

And then we found these awesome trikes. Who knew John Deere made tricycles?!

I went to Martin's with 2 of my dear friends- Heather Janssen (and her little GQ Dane)
And Sara Friest- I love this girl! I have the prettiest friends ever.
Do you see Oliver with the dog?
We took home some gourds and caramel apples and these pictures. Not a bad haul for an October afternoon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I'm not really sure how to start this post. Should I try for humor? Should I make it sappy? Is there really any appropriate way to write about passing from one life into another?
I don't really think so.
So, here are the facts.

Fact: Grammy Maria Bailey passed away yesterday morning.
Fact: It's a good thing for her- her body was done living.
Fact: She influenced so many people and was a good woman.
Fact: Also fiery and VERY funny (now, as I'm older she gets funnier).

I have a few memories of her I would like to share.

Since I am part of a blended family, I have more of the best family than most people. 3 sets of grandparents instead of 2, more fabulous aunts and uncles, and lots and lots of CULTURE (or "cul-tcha" as we like to say when we're being snarky)! Which is nice for little white-bread old me. I need as much culture as I can get.
When we were very new as a family I remember going to El Paso, TX for christmas one year. Or maybe it was a stop on the way to somewhere else for christmas. Either way, we ended up at Grammy's house. She had this enormous walnut tree in her yard that we tried to pick nuts and eat. I'm not sure if we ever succeeded in this endeavor. but I DO remember playing the front runner to Jenga called Takarati Blocks. It was such a novel game and I remember playing it with my sister. Grammy had wood floors and I remember thinking the crashing sound of the tiles sounded so neat against the hard wood- but Grammy wasn't so excited about that sound. She came out of wherever she was and told us to clear out and try to find some other place to play because she couldn't listen to that awful sound anymore. It's a small memory but it's my first of her specifically.
Another memory:
Grammy came to visit us a few years later. I was so excited because she got to share my bed with me!!! We had a wonderful time with her until bed time. Now, I don't actually remember what happened in the bed, but I do remember that the next morning Grammy had to ask to sleep somewhere else because all I did was kick her in the back all night long. I felt so bad about that!!! Amy always has slept like a mummy- just as still as a log and I've always been a thrasher- you know the kind. Poor Grammy, she had to sleep with "The Thrasher".
Last memory:
Grammy came to visit us one more time. Amy and I were in high school and taking spanish. Grammy, of course, spoke spanish and would watch Univision all the time! After school, she would be watching Telenovelas and invited Amy and I to join her. This was a great way to learn a few things:
1. Conversational spanish goes MUCH faster than english and you need to develop your ears just right to listen that fast
2. No one does soap opera like that channel.
3. Maria Del Sol was the awesomest soap opera ever! I still remember the deep voice and smooth words of the announcer. Maria del SOL.

Grammy, you must be so much happier right now and I'm proud to have been a part of your family. Thank you.

ps. I have two little blond boys! You would have loved meeting them!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

coming attractions

here's what I am trying to get around posting about:
Martin's Hillside Orchard
Capture the flag

maybe it will get done by Jan 1. You know that's only 2 months away right?

Oy vey.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Row Row Row Your Boat

James loves to sing.

Here's a new twist to an oldie that you might find engaging:

Row Row
Your Boat
Down da streem
merry merry
like a spider's dream.

the end.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin-ing in 3 parts: 2

Essay two. Subject: James

Pumpkin-ing in 3 parts

This is a short photograph-essay about the pumpkin patch. Subject: Oliver