Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I generally am quite terrible at doing crafty things with the kids. Its overwhelming to have two of them there at once, and I get frustrated and they get frustrated and it all ends in disaster.

Today, that did not happen! I had picked up these Foamies ornaments (well, we made them into ornaments) and Gwen and I did hers while Ethan was at pre-school.

Then after lunch, Ethan and I did his.

Other than a few burnt fingers from the glue gun (quickly soothed by sticking their fingers in their mouth), it went very well!

Both pics are blurry because the kids would not sit still. They couldn't stop playing with their figures and I don't think they will spend much time on the tree! Its already been established that the snowman doesn't have a mommy, so the angel will be its mommy :)

Christmas list for the kids

Per the many requests I've received, here is a list!

Bratz, Barbie or GI Joe size dolls for dollhouse (no Bratz please!)
Farm set (barn, animals, etc) for imaginative play
Simple puzzles
Books, particularly touch and feel or peek-a-boo books
Playdoh kits (zoo, kitchen, doctor, etc, etc)
Geo-Trax sets
Hop Ball (you know, a big ball with a handle on it)
My First LeapPad
My First LeapPad books
Any Bob the Builder or Thomas the Tank Engine stuff (clothes, DVD's, books, action figures, etc)
Ethan - size 5T
Gwen - 2-3T
Any building type activity where they can roll a marble, ball or car down their completed maze (example: Marble Run)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ok, one last post for the day.

So on Friday, we were treated to a great visit from Grandpa Les and Grandma Karen. The kids had a blast and we so enjoyed our visit with them! Karen brought a blanket she had made for Ethan, in hopes of replacing the tattered and threadbare blankie that he totes around. While he loves the new blanket, his attachment to the pile of strings that is blankie remains.

Over the weekend I decided on a whim that I wanted custom Christmas stockings for the family. I posted on my message board asking if anyone did them, and some did, but Jason really wanted me to make them myself since my sewing room will be packed away soon. A last hurrah if you will ;) I purchased this excellent e-book online (making only one tiny change) and on Sunday I whipped up all 4 in about 4 hours. I was really surprised at how fast they came together. I'm rather proud of them!

So Thanksgiving went well. It was only 9 people, which is the smallest number we've ever had in remembered history! It was nice to have so few people though... more personal and relaxed.

Thanks to my (apparently) poor reading skills though, Thanksgiving was nearly ruined. On Wednesday I'd stopped at a sporting goods store to buy an injector for the turkey (for the record, injecting a turkey was kinda creepy) and I grabbed a digital probe thermometer (with a nifty portable monitor so you can wander off while still watching your temp) for testing the oil temp. It was made by Weber, so I thought, "Oh, this will be of good quality and reasonable temperature taking".

Thanksgiving day and we walk outside to get the oil heated. We drop in the probe and carry on with our business. Oil temp reaches 199 and... stays there. Forever. Never rising. Well the burner is on, at full blast, so we know its getting hotter. Come to find out, this "nifty" thermometer doesn't go above 200 degrees, making it useless for what we needed it for. Jason gave me a hard time about it and I got defensive because I knew that it had said it went to 425. So I go online and find the manual and find, "Probe is safe up to 425 degrees. Monitor will not display above 200 degrees". Huh? This product CAN take temps up to 425, but to really piss you off, we won't show you above 200. Have fun now!

So panic starts to set in. My Mom doesn't have anything other than a meat thermometer, which won't go high enough. My Aunt Deanne doesn't have one either. She does have a turkey fryer with thermometer, so she calls Aaron home from a friends house to find it, but he has no luck. My Dad does have a heat reading laser thingy, but its somewhere in the abyss of the garage or pole building and no one can find it. Kristi starts to panic and moan about ruining Thanksgiving. Jason refuses to let her wing it on oil temp, fearing a huge explosion or fire. Finally, though we doubted they were still open, my Mom calls the one grocery store in Granite Falls and they ARE open. So Jason and Jenni rush off, praying that they have a good enough thermometer. They did and Jason bought two of them, which turned out to be a good thing.

So, in goes turkey. Then thermometer #1 falls into the oil as well. Fearing that the mercury would break in the thermometer, Becki and I do a fast turkey evacuation while Jason fishes out the thermometer. All is fine, turkey is not radioactive. Turkey goes back in. We fashion a new method with the second thermometer so it dangles more securely in the oil, so we can monitor the temp. 15 minutes later, #2 takes the death plunge as well. Out comes the turkey, out comes the gauge. But now we must continue using it because we have no other, so this slimy, cloudy object must be precariously dangled in and out of the oil. Really, it was quite dramatic, and along with the 30 degree temps and worries about how late our entire meal was being delayed, quite stressful.

Finally 40 minutes later the turkey is done and pulled out and served and the rest of the night went smashingly well. The turkey was actually very good, much better than the last time we fried it.

Now that you've slogged through my epic tale, I'll give you pics :)

Gwen posing in the sun

Jenni and Ben playing Rock Band.

Becki slaving away in the kitchen, making what turned out to be a fantastic stuffing :)

Me and Jenni playing Rock Band. Can't believe I didn't get a pic of Michael playing. He, being a guitar player already, did so good!

Preparing for the turkey

Mere minutes before thermometer #1 would drop

Becki, myself, and Jenni freeeeeeezing... huddled around the fryer for warmth.

Finally, the bird is done and oh so very tasty.

Gwen digging in. She really wanted a piece with a bone, and she got one!

My not-very-camera-shy girl and Aunt Becki

Ethan and I had a tea-party after dinner.

Gwen and Mommy after a long day!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Before I post about Thanksgiving, I want to put up these pictures from Ben's birthday party weeks ago. I had forgotten we'd taken pics and when I was going through the Thanksgiving ones, I found them!

This was when Ethan was being good :)

Working on the lineup with Aunt Becki

(I'm sure my Dad and sister will love these shots!). Grandpa teaching Gwen the technique.

Jenni giving Ethan her advice

Gwen (who was an amazingly good bowler, except she had barely enough umph to get the ball down the lane). Note how her feet are off the floor!

Ethan taking his turn

She really loved bowling. I think its funny to see how big those balls are next to her. And the shoes. Who would have thought they had such teeny tiny bowling shoes?

The birthday boy, my cousin Ben!

This is when Ethan started being not so good. He kept laying on the floor and not moving.

Gwen and Mommy

Aunt Becki and Ethan

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Its interesting how this pregnancy has been so different than the others.

With the first two, I didn't even feel pregnant until nearly 20 weeks. I got tired here and there, but I was working (full time with Ethan, part time with Gwen) and made efforts to look and dress decently most the time.

With this one, I felt pregnant before I even tested. It was that big of a change. I'm sick on a daily basis. I'm nearly positive that there has only been 1 or 2 times in the past 13 weeks that I haven't worn jeans and a hoodie. That is my official pregnancy outfit so far. I can't recall the last time I dried my hair with an appliance and not a towel. I've worn makeup maybe 5 times. Today we were at the store and I felt so... frumpy.

Its not that I don't have nicer clothes... its just that they look so uncomfortable. I have these hot and sexy boots, but geez, my tennies are so much more comfortable. Maybe when I get out of this in-between stage of being pregnant but not really showing enough so it looks like you just have a big tummy and not that you're pregnant I'll start putting more effort in. I can hope at least.

After dropping off Ethan at pre-school, Gwen and I hit the dollar store. I needed to get some taper holders for our Thanksgiving table and of course, we had to get a few other things too. I foolishly did not get a cart, so everything was right at Gwen's eye level. Everything was her "faborit" (i.e. favorite). Bath scrubbies, back scratchers, Bibles, toys, books, you name it. When we did finally leave, the checker said, "Was this the girl who kept yelling, "This is my favorite!"?". Yes, yes, that is my daughter. The girl loves to shop. You should have seen her around the purses. She had 5 that were stacked up on her shoulder.

Well, off to clean up a little bit before we go pick up Ethan.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Good news!

Thanks to the unbelievable kindness and generosity of my sister Becki and her boss (the OB who delivered Ethan and Gwen), I was given a FREE ultrasound today at their office.

Everything is fine. Just peachy. Baby measures 13 weeks, which is right on track. There is a heartbeat. We even saw the baby dancing around. I do have an anterior placenta which means that instead of the placenta being on my spine side, its on my front side. That means I won't feel kicks as easily, and most significantly, it would be very difficult to hear an early heartbeat. Between that and the tipped uterus, well, they may never be able to find a fetal heartbeat with a doppler :)

Now I can enjoy the holiday without worry. Whew.

Thanks Becki and Dr. Dydell!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I hesitate to post this, but it is pretty darn funny.

We've been really struggling with keeping the kids in their beds. Yesterday, well, I won't go into details, but it involved two naked children, poop, all the wipes being removed from their container and a very upset Mommy and Daddy.

Anyway, these frustrations have led me to threaten spankings. Far more threat than actual action.

So I'm putting the kids to bed and I say, "What are the bedtime rules?". Gwennie, with her little sideways glance that is impossible to describe unless you've seen it, says, "We MUST stay in our beds, or you spanka butts". She then demonstrates by spanking her own butt. I was cracking up so bad, it was very hard for me not to just burst out laughing. She smiles, knowing just how cute and funny she is, then lays down. That girl... she is going to be able to talk herself out of anything as a teenager.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Today we braved Costco with the kids. It was a daring plan, held together only by suckers and the promise of a churro on departure, if they behaved.

One of the first things the kids laid eyes on was this huge swiveling dollhouse. They. went. nuts. Actually, I was pretty impressed too! It was large enough that a Barbie type doll would fit in it and it was solidly made, even the furniture was sturdy. Problem is, its $280, which is pretty dern expensive. Then again, the way the kids latched onto that thing it might be worth it. Ethan could talk of nothing else on the way home. He loves imagination play and to him, setting up and acting out various scenarios in any setting (but especially one with a kitchen!) really intrigues him.

Thankfully, Costco was not crowded (yay Arlington Costco!) and there were plenty of food samples to quell any beastly behavior before it got out of hand. The weather was dreadful and we were soaked on both the way in and the way out.

We came home and I pulled out the turkey fryer to clean it. Truthfully, I hadn't done much to it after we used it last... oh, two or three years ago! The gunk at the bottom smelled like motor oil. Guh. I filled the huge pot with water, set it up on the propane burner and let 'er rip. After awhile it boiled and I dumped the oily water and luckily all the gunk went with it. Sometime soon I'll have to lug the beast of a pot into the shower and really scrub it out with hot water and dish soap. Next time I won't be so lazy and clean it up within a few days instead of a few years!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Well I'm feeling very frustrated.

We just returned from the midwife appointment and they still can't find the heartbeat. Now with a tipped uterus, that isn't so unusual. But what really irritates me is that they want me to come in the day before Thanksgiving and have another doppler check and if that doesn't pan out they'll put me in for an ultrasound.

At my OB's, they would have pulled out the ultrasound the first appointment and not keep dragging me in to the office time after time. Who wants to find out the day before Thanksgiving that they might have miscarried? There are plenty of signs that I haven't miscarried... morning sickness, breast tenderness, no bleeding, etc. but geez, could they stretch this on any longer? I'm starting to regret that I went with this office.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So Jason has arrived home, grocery man finally showed up (far later than usual), and a good thing too as we had NO food in the house and the kids and I were starving. Life returns to normal.

I was able to hit a second-hand store, Other Mothers, and purchase a full body snowsuit for Gwen in excellent condition ($8.99), along with a pair of waterproof gloves ($3.99). For Ethan, I purchased some high end snow overalls in excellent condition ($14.99), as well as a snow jacket in a Bob The Builder motif ($8.99) and gloves ($4.99). I was so pleased at the quality and prices! Buying new would have cost me 2-3x as much, at least. Especially for items that the kids will wear infrequently and not likely fit next year, I prefer second hand. And I'll be able to bring them back in for store credit when they outgrow them.

Tomorrow I go into the midwife to look for the baby's heartbeat. Unfortunately, I'll be bringing the kids with me, but it will be just an in and out appointment and I shall bribe them heavily with treats :)

We are going to be deep-frying a turkey this year at my Mom's. I think this year I will inject a marinade and then do a simple rub on the skin. We'll have to trek to Costco tomorrow or Saturday for the big jug o' oil and then to another store (not sure which one) to find the injector. I think I'll use a garlic/butter/hot sauce marinade or something. Still not sure on that part.

It was a real joy to have Ethan hand me his pre-school work and see a slip of paper asking Ethan to bring 1 cup of diced carrots to the next class on Tuesday. The kids will each be bringing something and making stone soup. This is like the 3rd or 4th thing they've cooked or mixed up in the large church kitchen and I just think its so neat. Ethan adores doing it too. Those are his favorite days.
I just got home from 5 days at my Mom's house. She is so nice to let us do that... I know it really disrupts her schedule!

While catching up on email and message boards, I ran across this test, which I thought was rather interesting.

Here are my results (click on the graphic for more info, or to take your own test)

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I'll blog more later, but have to clean up the house before grocery guy gets here an we have to get Ethan from pre-school.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Heavens, I'm a terrible blogger. I used to blog every day, now its good if I do it once a week!

Know what is probably the worst thing you can find 5 minutes before your kids are bound for bed? No guesses? Well, try hearing little voices in the laundry room (door closed) and you open it up and there is brown stuff all over the laundry room floor and you think, "Shoot, did they get into the Halloween candy somehow?" but then the smell assaults you and you realize that it is NO chocolate on the floor but something much much worse. And your children are walking barefoot in the not-chocolate, frantically trying to clean up the mess with what they assumed were diaper wipes but were actually dryer sheets. So you have a floor, children and now dryer sheets covered in poo, all facing you just as your energy was ebbing and you were ready to put them down for the night. *sigh*

Today I took Ethan to pre-school and hung out to help a lady with MOPPETS (the stuff the kids do while I'm at MOPS) prep. I could not believe how much this lady was doing on her own... from preparing curriculum, crafts, buying and assembling the crafts for the classes, organizing for each class, including name tags, check in sheets, procedures and making sure all classes have sufficient coverage. There are over 60 kids and 20 workers to prepare and organize for. Based on what I saw, it truly is a part-time job. She is 5 months pregnant and will not be able to finish out the year, hence her cry for help. She showed me how to prep for the classes (basically assembling the craft parts into a central location for each class), distributing coloring sheets, instructions for the leaders, etc. Then she had me start preparing craft parts for future classes. She was up around Easter time, so she's almost done. Anyway, I spent two hours running around, asking questions and cutting out a myriad of little trees out of construction paper. Two weeks from now I get to do all the prep myself, as she won't be able to be there. EEK.

Awww, the kids are snuggling together on the couch and Gwen is saying, "I lub you Abu" and he is saying, "I love you too" and she replies, "I lub you too Abu" and he says, "I love you too" and they just keep it going back and forth, not realizing that you don't always have to respond. Its so nice to see them be NICE to each other now and then.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Today is just full of news.

I heard early this morning that my little sister, Michelle, is getting married! Wow! Its not surprising, but still a surprise. I couldn't be happier with her beau, Peter. He's a wonderful guy.

I also had my midwife appointment today. They still won't give me drugs for the headaches, but did recommend physical therapy. So I'm going to try that, but I'm kinda bummed that they won't give me just like one measly Vicodin pill or something to help this 3 week headache just DIE. Oh, they weren't able to find the heartbeat, but as my uterus is "very deep and tipped" (whatever that means) and I'm still early its not a huge reason for concern. I will be going back in two weeks from now for another look though.

And lastly, Gwen came up to me complaining about her nose. She had just been eating Nerds from her candy stash. I jokingly asked her if she had candy in her nose and she said yes. Still thinking she's just kidding, I told her to blow her nose and sure enough a bunch of Nerds flew out. GROSS! She did start laughing hysterically, as did I. She said, "I don't know why I did that Mommy".

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'll start out the Halloween post by telling you a story.

We'd put the kids down for an early nap, in hopes they'd get a real good sleep before ToT. I was downstairs cleaning for about an hour, when I heard Gwen screaming. I go up there and open the door. *Whoosh*. A great powdery cloud enveloped me.

Apparently, my precious little Ethan had decided he was not tired and found the new bottle of baby powder and spread it all over the floor, his bed, and, his sleeping sister. She was sleeping and he dumped it on her face. The poor thing was white from head to toe. Thank goodness Jason was working from home because I was this close to absolutely losing my cool. We had to strip everything out of the room, wipe down all surfaces with wipes, rinse the children, and vacuum. AND, the room still this morning absolutely reeks of baby powder. No, there are no pictures. I was crying and very upset and worried about Gwennie (particulate inhalation anyone?) and not in the mood!

Oh, to add to the fun, after that was done, Jason left to run some errands and Ethan calls me back up to the room. He left a nice poopy surprise for me on his blanket, which I promptly stuck my hand into because I didn't see it. I don't know if I've ever been more grateful to get into the shower.

So, now to the real fun stuff. The pics!

Ethan was a dragon, Gwen was Angelina Ballerina (a cartoon ballerina mouse). I made her costume and its really quite bad, but she liked it.

Her tail

Posing for the camera.

A shot of the kids (and my cousin Ben) and our dirty TV :)

My Mom shocked everyone by showing up with her own surprise, PINK HAIR! I was speechless, until she told me it was temporary. The joke is kinda on her though, as she didn't read the bottle very well and it said not to use on gray hair, which she has. It didn't wash out this morning. Oops!

Ben in his Darth Vader costume.

This was only part of the "gang" that accompanied the kids. 13 adults for 3 kids!

The after party... very tired kids warming up with cocoa.

Aunt Deanne had picked up these gummy eyeballs. They were so gross, and tasted pretty gross too... Definitely that type of candy that is more about the gag and not so much about the eating.

Jenni freaked out E & G by pretending that was her eye.