Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Carving 2009...

This is a tale of two working parents. These two working parents live in an area of the country that provides for some crappy fall weekends. These two working parents have three adorable children.

Two of these three adorable children wanted to carve pumpkins this year (because the two working parents were able to "forget" to carve them last year, only to be noticed by the oldest of the three adorable children after Halloween). The two working parents really don't like carving pumpkins, but they do love their adorable children. So with almost every weekend being rained out or filled with lots of stuff to do, the two working parents realized that the best day to carve pumpkins would be on Thursday, where it was SUPPOSED to be 70 degrees and sunny (it was in fact overcast and a little chilly).

So after gymnastics, we rushed home (I had picked up two gorgeous pumpkins at the local wally-world during lunch for $2.99 can't beat that!) to begin the carving process. Because to make matters even more difficult, the sun sets at 6:30 PM. Gymnastics ends at can see where there is not much time to get this accomplished.

So we carved (more like everyone else carved and I stayed clean "in case I needed to pick Ryan up" - did I mention I hate carving pumpkins?). It got dark and the kids had barely cut anything. Finally, around 7:15 they were pretty much done, and the pumpkins looked great! There are no pictures of the finished products because it was cold and dark, and the youngest of the three adorable children was starved and squirmy, so he was taken inside while the others cleaned up.

John and our neighbor cleaned and sorted the seeds so that they could toast them.

This was *fun*, if that's what you call it :) I'm sure it will happen again next year, I just hope maybe we'll get at least one warm, sunny, fall weekend so that we aren't rushing it on some weeknight again :)

**"I don't understand why you will not let me put my marker in that pumpkin. And why on earth am I not allowed to get my hands in all that gooey stuff?"

**I don't think he bought into the whole pumpkin carving thing...he didn't like to touch the stuff, and he kept his helmet on so that he could escape quickly and return to bike riding.

**This could have been an opportunity to feel guilty about the two-working-parents thing, except our neighbors are also two working parents, and they were right there with us, carving in the dark!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hanging Out...

Not much has been going on the last couple of days, which is strange because they have flown by and I feel exhausted. Work has been busy (we file tomorrow), so that is definitely making the day go by quickly, and just normal nightly stuff with the kids is definitely tiring!

Last night the kids got their flu shots/flu mist (Ryan got his second shot and Kylie and Josh got the mist). They did fantastic and John got them a Frosty as a treat. This meant that they were in no way hungry for dinner, so we just played for a while. Kylie and I started to play school, while I was at the same time watching Joshie’s hockey game. Then all of a sudden it turned into an all-out wrestling match between all three of us! Then after a while Ryan came down and joined the wrestling :) Then John, Josh and Ryan played football while Kylie read to me.

We ate dinner, during which Josh spilled his strawberry milk all over the floor and was worried it would stain his beloved windpants because “red things stain,” and then the kids got ready for bed.

We have moved “Front Porch Monday” to Wednesdays now because of Monday night football, which has been a long-standing tradition for John and the kids. So the kids went to bed early last night and John and I sat on the couch and talked. I have to admit it’s not even close to the same. I miss the porch :( We’re desperately trying to figure out a way to make it special again (John has even contemplated getting those big outdoor heaters to put on the porch), but until then, we’ll just have to settle with quiet talking on the couch.

Tonight we have gymnastics and pumpkin carving. It will be sunny and a high of 68 degrees, so we want to take advantage of what will probably be one of our last nice days (Saturday, which is trick-or-treat, will only be a high of 57 and rainy :( ).

Christmas Gifts...

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s almost October, and that means that Christmas is quickly approaching. As I’m sure most of you do, I buy Christmas gifts for some people that are very difficult to shop for – they are either super picky or they already have everything they could want. So while browsing the internet the other day, I was pretty excited when I came across these unique items and decided that an Address Plaque would be a perfect gift for at least one person on my Christmas gift list!

When we moved into our new house, one of the cool features is they “engraved” our address into one of the bricks on the front of the house. In our old house, we had the usual numbers screwed into our trim and mailbox. They got the job done…people could see what our address was, but they in no way flattered our house. Our new house, with the pretty engraved address, stands out to people and really catches your attention.

So while searching for unique gifts, I saw these Address Plaques, which I thought were beautiful! They do to houses what our brick engraving does to our house…they let people know what your address is, but they also add a touch of class. There are both wall-mounted and lawn marker Address Plaques, so whether or not you want to physically add something to the outside of your house, or if you’re just looking to add a touch of decoration to your flower beds, they’ve got you covered. I only wish my address was as decorative as these are!

And did you notice the plaques at the bottom of the page? What a fun gift idea! I only wish they had one that had playing cards on it…that would be perfect for my husband’s poker room!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Baby Laugh...

I love it when babies laugh...

Ryan in Bath #2 from Debbie on Vimeo.

Drama in the 'Hood...

Every Halloween we have a potluck dinner in our court. It started in our old house, and we brought the tradition up to our new house. It allows us to have dinner before we all go out trick-or-treating together. This year, with Halloween being on a Saturday, we decided to have an all-day party because it’s a Saturday in Buckeye country :) So John is going to put the game on the garage wall, and we’re inviting all kinds of people to bring some food and hang out. We thought it would be a great way to get to know some of our new neighbors, and a fun time to hang out with old friends.

Our neighbor, who I haven’t really gotten along with for a while now (although he hasn’t really gotten that message…I guess he thinks me not talking to him is a term of endearment), set up a website and got e-mail addresses for people in the neighborhood as a way of keeping everyone informed of neighborhood events. So we asked him if he would send it out for us. He said that would be fine.

And then we sent him the flyer that John made up…it was really cute – it had a pumpkin with Ohio State carved out of it, and then it gave all the details about our party. At the end of it, it said “BYOB.” Everyone knows that means bring your own drink…right?

Apparently, my neighbor didn’t think that was appropriate. Now remember, this is a party that our other neighbors and us are putting on, so it’s a private party…still not sure why this neighbor thinks he can decide what’s appropriate and what’s not. He sent off e-mails stating he had talked to our HOA, and his attorney, and they all thought we should take it off. What??? This is a private party that we are throwing…we can do whatever we want! And our main concern was that we wanted people to know that they were free to bring beer. If you put “BYO Beverage” (which is what our neighbor wanted it to say), then people think “OK, there is a reason they didn’t put beer, so they must not want any alcohol there…”

To make a long story short, we told him to go fly a kite and John created a new website, got all the e-mail addresses from previous e-mails our neighbor had sent out to everyone, and last night the other neighbor who’s having the party with us and I walked around and passed out flyers.

I just can’t believe all of the drama that has surrounded what was supposed to be a fun party. Obviously this guy is totally against alcohol (even though he strongly denies it), and instead of pushing his own beliefs aside, he had to make a huge production about it.

At least now everyone seems to understand why I don’t speak to him. The worst part is that this guy makes offending comments left and right (think comments about women’s body parts), and yet he’s worried about BYOB. It just doesn’t make sense and I told him that. I just hope that he will now finally leave me alone, and that the party will be a ton of fun!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Very Busy Weekend...

This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity, and while it was a ton of fun, I really wish that it had not gone by so quickly. It went by so quickly, in fact, that I don’t have any pictures to share from it :(

Friday night started the weekend with dinner with some friends from church. We were discussing a new group that John and I want to start that revolves around one of our strongest passions – can you guess what it is? If you guessed “marriage,” then you guessed correctly! The only downside to the evening was that Ryan was off in his nap schedule, and he wouldn’t nap for me. He ate a snack around 5:30, and then we tried a nap. He wouldn’t stay down, so I brought him out to play, and then put him down again around 8:00. He didn’t wake up before we went to bed, and I was very nervous that I would be woken up in the middle of the night because he was hungry!

But he stayed asleep until 7:15 Saturday morning! I gladly got up with him and played with him and then fed him a huge breakfast (the boy was starved!). After breakfast we headed to the gym where I took a step aerobics class that was both good for me and torture (I’m still very sore today). After that we came home and made cookies/ate lunch, and then Kylie and I headed to the mall to get her some winter clothes. After that I had a hair appointment, and then I was off to scrapbook the rest of the night.

Our scrap night was amazing! The girl who graciously hosted provided this huge taco bar…every type of filling/fixing you could want! I had two full meals in the 7 hours I was there, along with cookies and other goodies. I only got a few pages done, but I had a ton of fun hanging out with everyone. I didn’t end up getting home until after 1:00 AM!

My alarm went off way too early Sunday morning, but we had to get everyone ready for church, and Kylie had had a friend sleep over, so that was another person to feed and make sure was ready. After church we hurried home, fed everyone, and then it was off to Joshie’s football games. He won both of them, and this time John’s parents were there, along with his sister and our nephew.

After Joshie’s games I ran a few errands, and then we went out for pizza. When we got home, John and I were ready to crash! Ryan had only had a 1 hour nap all day, and Joshua didn’t have a nap at all! Ryan went to sleep around 8:00, and then the other kids went to bed around 9:00. I realized at 9:30 I was falling asleep! Going to bed that early should have provided me with a great night’s rest, but Ryan decided that he wanted to whine and cry from 1:30 – 3:00 this morning, so that was an unwelcomed interruption.

On top of all of these was some drama that we had going on with one of our neighbors. I think that would be a great topic for tomorrow’s post…

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kylie's Gymnastics "Show" and Weekend Plans...

Last night Kylie had her last gymnastics class in this session. It doesn’t really mean a whole lot to us since she starts another session next week (there are very few breaks between sessions throughout the year). Her teacher put together a little show where the girls could show off their favorite skill. Kylie is the little one in the black leotard…

Kylie's Mini-Gymnastics Show from Debbie on Vimeo.

I’m really looking forward to this weekend! Saturday I have a hair appointment, and then afterwards I’m going to scrapbook! I feel like it has been forever since I’ve gotten to scrapbook with my friends (I haven’t done it since July). So maybe I’ll get some pages done :) Or maybe I’ll just hang out and talk and make it look like I’m working :) Either way, I'll be having a lot of fun with friends!

More Dreaming...

Remember when I talked about how John and I dream of having a nice big deck and patio someday…to be able to sit out there and relax on warm summer nights? That dream also includes some awesomely comfortable outdoor patio furniture. Of course we would be able to relax or eat or entertain unless we had some outdoor patio furniture, and I do sit and think about what kind I would like.

I would love to have comfortable outdoor couches/chairs…you know the kind you sink into and never want to leave? My only concern with those is that they would obviously soak up water, so I’m guessing we would have to bring the cushions in each night? That seems like it would be a huge pain. I also want to have a huge table…with enough chairs and space for our whole family plus some guests to eat (because honestly, it seems so rare that it’s just our family eating!). And I want a huge umbrella that we can put up if it’s super sunny out. And the chairs have to be comfortable enough that you never want to leave or stop eating :)

I love having people around me, and I love warm weather, so having a great outdoor space to entertain with tons of outdoor patio furniture is definitely a dream of mine. I can picture in my head us eating dinner out there each night in the summer, the kids are teens and pre-teens, and life is wonderful. I can imagine the parties outside…soft lights hanging creating a beautiful ambiance and tons of great food and great wine. I see birthday parties and graduation parties out there. What wonderful dreams…

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday Night Recap...

Last night was an up and down night...

When I got home I decided I really wanted to go to the gym again. So I loaded up Kylie and Ryan (Josh was outside playing football with John) and we went. As soon as we got home I put some TV dinners in the oven, and headed up to take a shower. Just a few minutes later John comes in and tells me the life insurance guy is here. I had completely forgotten that I had scheduled this dude to come over 2 weeks ago! I was a little perturbed that he didn't send some sort of confirmation, but I still can't believe that I forgot about just didn't make sense.

So I hurry up and finish and go down and we have our little meeting. Afterwards we all eat dinner, and then the kids go up for showers. We redeemed the bad night (I say it was bad because John just left them hanging once the life insurance guy got there) by playing a family game. We played the I Can Do That game and all had a blast!

Afterwards the boys got comfortable on the couch to watch the Blue Jackets game and Kylie and I went up and read the book she brought home from school. John was starting to feel sick, so he took some medicine and then he and Joshie conked out on the couch, while Kylie fell asleep in my bed. I went down and got myself a brownie and a drink so that I could sit in bed and watch TV. But when I came upstairs I spilled my pop (diet pepsi = dark!) all over the cream carpet and the edge of my bed. So I spent the next 1/2 hour cleaning all of that up (I think I got it all out...we'll see). Then I finally got to sit and relax.

But my good sleep was cut short as Ryan decided to be up off and on from 4:00 AM on. He's got a really bad diaper rash still, something going on in his little belly, and teeth coming in. Thankfully John is taking him to the doctor today, so hopefully she will have some answers for us!

So definitely an up and down night!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Relaxing Night...

Last night was a good night. When I got home, John and Josh were out mowing. Josh loves riding with John on the mower. He puts the huge headphones on and will ride with him the whole time he mows our yard and my parents’ yard. So while they were mowing, I fed Ryan and snack and listened to Kylie reading down in the playroom. I really wanted to go to the gym, and was going to take Kylie and Ryan, although I was worried that Ryan wouldn’t do very well as he was getting tired and cranky. But before I could decide, John and Josh came in. They took showers, and afterwards I mentioned the gym to John and he told me to go, and he would make dinner. I asked the kids if they wanted to go, and they both jumped up and down and get ready really quickly.

The short car ride we had to the gym was fun with just the three of us…the kids talked about all kinds of goofy things, and on the ride back from the gym, they discussed how funny it would be if the gym thought Ryan was a basketball. We got on that topic because the childcare workers had let Josh go into the big kid’s area with Kylie, which is only supposed to be for ages 5 and up. In that area there is basketball and video games.

So the workout was good, and then we got home to a great meal on the table for us. After that the kids got ready for bed and we all played for a while. Below is some funny video I took of Ryan watching football with John.

Ryan Watching Football from Debbie on Vimeo.

Ryan Watching Football #2 from Debbie on Vimeo.

Then the boys sat on the couch and watched Monday night football, and Kylie and I snuggled in my bed. After a while she asked me “can we turn the TV off and just talk about my day?” It was so awesome listening to her tell me all about her classes and her friends. We actually had a great discussion about gossiping as she had said she though one girl was kind of strange based on what one of her friends had told her. I never dreamed such important lessons would start at such a young age!

So it was a good, relaxing night. I can’t wait for the next couple of nights as the temperature is finally warming up again!

Backyard Dreams...

John and I have a lot of dreams, which I think is so important for every married couple. We have short-term dreams (get to the gym regularly, get enough sleep, teach Ryan to walk, etc.) and long-term dreams (raise our kids, watch them graduate college, watch them get married, enjoy retirement, etc.). One of our middle-term dreams is to have a patio and deck built in our backyard.

We built our house with a big builder in our city (one I’m pretty attached to :) ). So while we could have added a deck when it was built, 1.) that wouldn’t have been smart as the land was still settling, and they advised us to wait three years before doing that, and 2.) it would have been a very cookie-cutter patio/deck, which is not what we want.

So we waited. And now with everything the kids are into, and with the economy in general, we have decided that it would not be wise to have one built in the super near future. So we dream. We dream of a deck coming off of our house, which then goes down to a patio. We dream of being able to eat dinner in the summer on a beautiful deck as opposed to our driveway or front porch (we can be such hillbillies!). And most of all, I dream of a place to relax! I love fire pit tables…I could have one with chairs around it and people could sit and relax! The fire pit table would let us roast our marshmallows and hot dogs and have a place to set our drinks and food. And what would be really awesome would be a dining height fire pit table…that way we could pull chairs around and eat our food with a beautiful fire glowing in the middle.

But for now we dream. And someday we will have our place of relaxation in the backyard.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Fabulous Fall Weekend!

This weekend was OU’s homecoming, and I don’t think we’ve missed attending an OU homecoming since we’ve graduated. So we had every intention of making the trip down there and going to the parade and the game, just like every other year. But as each day in the week leading up to it went by, the high temperature for that day got lower and lower, and there was a chance of rain. For me, standing outside, in 35 degree weather, trying to entertain 3 cold kids, does not sound like any fun. So we made the hard decision and stayed home this weekend. And thankfully, John and I were both really glad that we did.

Friday evening my mom babysat the kids while John and I went and saw Couples Retreat. We thought it was a really funny movie, but were surprised at how many teens were there watching it! It was funny to us because so many of the jokes had to do with marriage and kids, so I don’t see how anyone that young would have gotten the jokes. My sister also came into town Friday night, so she and Kylie had a girls’ night…they painted nails and watched part of Titanic together.

Saturday morning we did some stuff around the house and then my sister and Kylie went on a donut/coffee run. After a great breakfast of donuts, my sister’s friend came over and hung out for a while, and then they took Kylie and went out to lunch and shopping. I continued to do all the crap I do around the house (I despise laundry…I feel like it.never.ends.) and watched as our beloved Buckeyes played horribly.

Saturday evening I made this meatloaf, which turned out AWESOME! It tasted really good, and we paired it with some Paula Dean onion rings and some homemade mashed potatoes. My other sister came over to have dinner, and the really neat thing was that John took Kylie and Josh to a bonfire our city was putting on (which included s’mores and hot dogs), so our dinner was an old-time family dinner…just my mom, dad, sisters and me. It was very strange because that hasn’t happened in at least 9 years, and I’m not sure it will ever happen again.

After dinner we put the kids to bed and watched The Proposal. I hadn’t seen it before and thought it was pretty cute.

Sunday John took Kylie and Josh to church. For the first time in forever I didn’t go. Most of the reason I didn’t go was because our pastor wasn’t going to be there, and because I have been super tired lately, so I really needed a chance to catch up on my sleep. So my sister and I went to yoga. It was my first time and I now know that I don’t like yoga. Besides the fact that we had a bad instructor and environment (my sister has been to yoga a few times and she said this lady was horrible), I just came to the conclusion that I can’t clear my mind. The entire time I was there, I just kept thinking about how this was a waste of my time, and there were so many other things that I needed to be doing. At least with regular exercise (like running), I have to concentrate on it, and that lets those “lists of things to do” slip away.

So after yoga we came home and I got some lunch ready for everyone and then got the pot roast ready to go into the oven. Joshie had a double-header football game that afternoon, so as soon as they got home from church, we were running around trying to get everyone ready to sit out in the cold for two hours to watch Joshie’s game.

Luckily, the sun was out and it turned into a beautiful afternoon for football. I was still chilly, but I know it could have been a lot worse! We were armed with our Tim Horton’s hot chocolate, and we watched Joshie play two football games. We also played in the leaves and on the playground (anything to keep Ry-Ry from throwing a fit!). It was a fun afternoon!

We came home to a wonderful pot roast dinner, followed by making up a batch of the best chocolate chip cookies ever! My sister and dad had to leave shortly after that, and the rest of the evening was spent doing Kylie’s homework, playing hockey and Wii hockey with Josh, and playing on the floor with Ryan. We were able to get the kids to bed with enough time for John and I to hang out and watch some TV together, which is a rare treat!

It was a wonderful weekend…it seemed to go on forever and all of the family and fun times filled my heart!

This is how Ryan kisses :)

Ryan and Aunt Suzie:

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Night Without Ry-Ry...

A milestone occurred last night…

Almost every Friday my parents watch the kids. Now that they have their house next door, Josh and Kylie usually go over there to spend the night, and then I would bring Ryan over in the morning. Even though my parents offered many times for him to stay over there, since he still got up in the middle of the night to eat, I just couldn’t subject them to that.

But Ryan has been sleeping through the night for a couple of weeks now (with the occasional whine where he needs his paci and his music turned back on). So last night he spent the night over there too. It really is the best thing because then he isn’t forced to wake up by me carrying him over there, and everyone may be able to sleep in a little. This would be the first time he would sleep somewhere else while I was at home (he obviously wasn’t with us when we went to Charlotte earlier this summer, so it wasn’t my first time away from him).

He went right to sleep when I laid him down…not a peep! And when I went home it felt very strange. It felt very weird not having to be quiet, and it felt very strange not having anyone to check on. And this morning it felt very strange not having to be quiet while I was getting ready.

I haven’t talked to my mom yet, so I don’t know how he did through the night, but I did notice that there were no lights on in her house when I left, so I’m taking that as a good sign! I actually got to work on time this morning since I didn’t have any kids to carry over or say “good-bye” to a million times. If this continues, I just might get used to having quiet Thursday evenings with John and smooth Friday mornings.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What I'm Struggling With...

More often than not, when I tell people how many kids I have, I usually get raised eyebrows, shocked looks, and many comments like “wow, that’s a lot to handle.” The responses get even more dramatic when people ask if we are done having kids and I tell them that we probably want to have one more.

And while yes, physically taking care of three kids can be difficult…there are three cups to fill with drinks (which is a constant request in our house), there are three plates to fill with food, there are three baths/showers/teeth brushing at night. But while those items can be exhausting, they are not the hard part of having “so many” kids for me.

I have seen much discussion on whether the Duggars have too many kids. For the most part, I really don’t care how many kids they have or how they live their life. What I do care about, and what gets my blood boiling, are the rumors I’ve heard about how the older ones have to take care of the younger ones. I’ve even heard that they have a buddy system, and if their buddy is sick, it’s their job to take care of that child. I really don’t have the time or energy to look it up to see if it’s true, but just the thought of that makes me mad. Don’t have kids if you can’t take care of them…plain and simple. And I don’t just mean financially…I mean physically and emotionally. I just don't believe that one set of parents can meet the emotional needs of 18+ children.

Which is where my current struggle is…nightly I am bombarded with three kids who all want to do three different things. Joshie wants me to watch his hockey game, Kylie wants me to play school with her, and Ryan just wants attention or someone to throw the ball with him. And all of this on top of the nightly things I have to do (like make dinner so that we can eat!).

Thankfully I have a fantastic husband who is an amazing father. So in reality we have two adults trying to fill the needs of three kids. But of course there are times when John wants to do things by himself or with friends, and visa versa with me. And we try so hard to make everyone happy…but I still feel like I’m failing so badly in this area. Ultimately I will go to bed at night feeling like at least one person was neglected, and whether that is one of the kids or John or myself, it’s not a good feeling.

I will try to go to the playroom and watch a hockey game, while sitting in school, while throwing a ball with Ryan. But ultimately I can’t be 100% engaged in any one thing (obviously, the most I can be is 33.3333% if I'm being equally attentive). But I’m trying. And I hope the kids know that. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with them playing by themselves or learning to entertain themselves…it’s just that I like to play with them, and experience life with them!

I can tell you the happiest nights/times are when we are able to find something to do with all of them…whether it’s Ryan being down for a nap and the four of us playing a game or Wii, or whether we all go somewhere and each child is having their own fun doing the same thing.

I just hope the kids grow up knowing how hard I’m trying…and that just because I may not get it right, that doesn’t mean I love them any less or don’t love hanging out with them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday Night Recap...

Last night was fun with some screaming mixed in…

John and Josh left for the hockey game and Kylie got to work on her homework that was due today (she had to draw a map of her bedroom that included a map key). While she did that, I entertained Ryan and tried to get the house picked up as the cleaners are coming today.

Ryan did a lot of screaming because he has a really bad diaper rash. I can’t figure out what is wrong, other than the fact that we need to change him all the time (it’s like his little system is cleaning itself out). But he screams even when you lay him on the changing table…he knows what’s coming and he knows it’s going to hurt. I tried to give him a bath and all he did was scream and hold his little butt up in the air...he wouldn't sit down! It broke my heart!

After I put him to bed, Kylie and I watched Hannah Montana the Movie, and ate brownies and ice cream. It was a fun girls’ night :) After the movie (which went way past her bedtime), she came upstairs and fell asleep in my bed with me.

John and Josh got home around 10:30 and they had a blast! Joshie told me all about how CBJ won, but they were jipped out of two goals. He was doing instant replays showing me how the goals were scored and how the goals were missed. It was so cute!

I got up a little early this morning since Ryan went to bed early again, but unfortunately, Ryan didn’t wake up at all before I left :( I talked to Jen and he still has the rash really bad, but he didn’t scream when she changed him…so maybe it’s not as painful. I just hope it heals up quickly!

Tonight Joshie has football practice…I probably won’t go because it’s freaking cold here and Ryan does not do well confined in a stroller in the cold. Who am I kidding? I hate the cold and really don’t want to sit in it! Thankfully, since John is one of the coaches, I don’t feel guilty about not going…I know Joshie is getting some good daddy-time!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Relaxing Week So Far...

So far it’s been a nice, quiet start to my soon-to-be-stressful week. Yesterday I actually left work on time, went home and made a quick and easy dinner of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, popped some brownies in the oven and then played with the kids. The scary thing that happened yesterday is that Ryan choked on his pizza at lunch. Our nanny said it was pretty scary, but luckily she was able to pull the pizza out and he was OK. Very scary.

After dinner Ryan was getting cranky. It was only 7:00, but I knew he needed to go to bed. I hate that. I hate the phase that all of my kids have gone through where they need to go to bed early…I hate missing that time with them. So to make up for it, I decided that I need to be up and ready to play with him when he wakes up. He’s been waking up anywhere from 6:30 – 7:00 most days, so this morning, I got up 15 minutes early and got to play with him for a while before I left for work. Tomorrow I will try to get up even earlier so that I can play with him immediately (this morning he sat in the bathroom with me while I finished my hair). It was nice to spend time with him when he was in such a good mood (I love babies when they wake up in the morning…they are always so happy!).

Anyway, our evening ended with our pastor and his wife coming over to talk about a group or house church or something that John and I have a real passion about starting. It was so nice to sit with them and talk with them and as usual, went by too quickly.

The evening ended with John and Josh watching Monday night football on the couch, and Kylie and I snuggling up in my bed watching the Rachel Zoe Project (I am really starting to like that show).

Tonight Joshie and John are going to a CBJ game (hockey) and Kylie, Ryan and I will just play at the house. Kylie has to draw a map of her bedroom for homework, so I’m sure we will have fun working on that together!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kids Wake Up at the Darndest Times...

This past weekend I took on the chore of making a wedding present for the wedding that we went to. I was etching a picture frame…and if any of you have ever done that before, you know that 1.) the etching cream should not touch your skin, and therefore you need to be very careful with it, and 2.) the cream is not forgiving, so you have to make sure that you only get it on the spots you want it. I was also in the process of stenciling out what I actually wanted to etch.

Anyway, in the middle of all of this, Ryan decides to wake up from his nap, and unfortunately for me, John was outside mowing. Ryan is at a point where I really can’t leave him out of my site as he will climb the stairs, and he has no idea how to get down the stairs. So I ask Kylie to watch him with me…she’s not too thrilled. But then I remember a toy that Ryan got for Christmas last year (since he was so little last Christmas, a lot of the toys that he got as gifts went down to the basement until he was older and could really play with them) that I think they both will love to play with…it’s the Little People Nativity Scene. It is one of the best Nativity Sets for kids that I have seen…it has all the characters, and also has a stable that plays “Away In A Manger.”

So I get it out (which takes me about 20 minutes by the time I un-tie all those stupid twisty-tie things), and they love it! It’s great timing because they kids will play with it from now until Christmas, and I can use it to help reinforce the Christmas story.

So if you’re looking for a great gift for a baby, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything Little People, and the Nativity Set is a great way to start teaching kids the real meaning of Christmas.

But I will warn you…it doesn’t work magic…Ryan was only occupied for a short little bit. Kylie on the other hand had fun playing with it for a while!

Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters

Recently, General Mills sent me a sample of their new Nature Valley Granola Nut clusters. I was pretty excited as I do love granola :)

Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters are a bite size blend of select ingredients, including nuts, granola and a touch of honey. They offer the perfect sweet-and-salty flavor combination with a crunchy texture featuring natural nut goodness you can see and taste. And with a resealable bag, Granola Nut Clusters are perfect for sharing either on the trails or in your living room!

The sample they sent were the Nut Lovers (they also have Roasted Almond, Roasted Cashew and Honey Roasted Peanut), and they were little clusters of nuts and granola (duh!). They are very crunchy, just like their normal granola bars, which I'm not a huge fan of, but the taste is very good. We have recently purchased the Roasted Cashew flavor with one of the coupons that they sent me, and I love that flavor even more.

So if you're in the mood for a healthy snack that tastes great, I strongly recommend Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters.

Weekend Recap...

What a weekend!

Friday night started with John working really late…he was at home, but didn’t get off the computer until around 8:30 :( But the kids and I just relaxed and played. Ryan was super tired and went down for what I thought was a nap at 5:30 (he ended up waking up around 9:30 for an hour and then went back to sleep). Kylie and I watched “Say Yes to the Dress” and playing the Cat in the Hate I Can Do That game (which is super fun by the way). One of the police officers stopped by and hung out for a little bit which was a nice distraction for John.

Saturday we got up and I went to work making a present for the wedding that we were going to that day (I etched a picture frame with the name and date of the bride and groom and then we are going to put a picture from the wedding in it). Then the kids and I made some cookies that tasted so good.

John and I went to the wedding that afternoon. The wedding was for one of the police officers that John is friends with. I also know him fairly well, as well as some of the other officers that were there, so at least I wasn’t going to a wedding where I didn’t know anyone! The wedding and reception were very different from any wedding I’ve been to. Luckily there was free wine :) After we had eaten, some of the people wanted to go out…so we headed to a pub close to our house and had a ton of fun.

Sunday we got up and went to church, and then came home and Kylie and I went and took a nap. Joshie had a football game, so he and John headed out early and then Ryan, Kylie and my dad and I headed out later. Joshie scored another touchdown! When we got home things got a little crazy…John and Joshie crashed and Ryan needed to, but wouldn’t. I had to wake him up to go to the game, and he needed to take another nap…but apparently didn’t want to :)

By about 7:00 everyone had gotten somewhat back to normal, and we all went out on a walk. John and I were able to talk about a new small group we want to start, and the kids had fun all snuggled up in the wagon. It was so adorable hearing the three of them talk and play together!

Now it’s time for the stress to start at work…but at least that makes the days go by so much faster!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Apparently I Like Routines...

What a crazy week it’s been! It’s so strange how routine things become, and when you’re out of that routine, it feels so strange. I remember that’s what I hated about maternity leave…I felt like there was no routine or structure to my time.

I was out of work and at home Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, and yesterday. I had so much fun getting Kylie ready for school, walking her to school, playing hockey with Joshie (and Ryan too :) ), having cool lunches and resting during nap time :) I also loved that I could get my normal chores around the house done during the day instead of at night (I will not have near as much laundry to do this weekend!). And yesterday Kylie had a two hour late start at school, so I made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and I loved listening to Kylie and Josh play down in the play room together while I fed Ryan and cleaned up the kitchen.

Today it’s back to normal. My parents watch the kids on Friday, so they are having fun with Pappaw right now. It’s rainy and gross outside, but it’s Friday, and knowing that this will be my last weekend for a couple of weeks that I will not need to work, I will be enjoying it as much as I can! John and I have a wedding to go to tomorrow, so it will be a nice evening out for the two of us…which we haven’t had in a while. Then Joshie has another football game on Sunday, which will be chilly, but fun to watch!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend too!

Ryan and Joshie Playing Hockey from Debbie on Vimeo.

Obviously the hockey bug has hit a certain little one very early. And yes, after this video, Joshie went on to kick my butt in hockey. And no, I did not let him win...he really is better than me :)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Another Day Off!

Another day at home with the kids! While I'm very sorry our nanny is sick, I'm having a blast with these unexpected days off! Today Kylie had a late start, so we hung out in the morning, and then I brought the boys to my office, and now we're off to lunch with one of my friends. I will be working this afternoon, which is not fun, but oh well!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Christmas is Right Around the Corner!

My sister-in-law sent out an e-mail a few days ago asking us if it’s too early to draw names for Christmas. In the past, I would have emphatically said “yes!” But now, with the economy the way it is, the earlier I can start shopping and spread out the enormous expense, the better! So with that, I am automatically beginning to get in the Christmas spirit.

I hope to get a tree up and pull out the large Christmas decorations out the day after Thanksgiving. Even though Thanksgiving is late this year, I still don’t think I can bring myself to pull out the large Christmas decorations before it’s over. But as soon as it is? I will be decorating!

We still don’t have a tree. Last year we had decided that we were going to get a fake tree, and some very nice friends of ours lent us their tree so that we could go shopping after Christmas and get one on sale. But after hours spent shopping the day after Christmas, John and I came up empty handed. I’m not sure if we’ll get a live one this year or just fork over the money for a full-price fake one and be done with it.

Once the tree is up, decorating is easy…we don’t have large Christmas ornaments, instead our ornaments represent something…there are the “my first Christmas” ones, and the “first Christmas married” ones, etc. I love pulling out each ornament and the memories that come flooding back to me. And last year the kids really got into helping, and they loved hearing what each ornament meant and whose it was.

I love Christmas…it’s by far my favorite holiday. Nativity scenes, Christmas lights, hot chocolate, church services, Christmas carols, and Christmas movies…it doesn’t get much better than that!

Book Review: Adventure Annie Goes To Work

You all know I’m a working mother. And while I think I do a great job of balancing all aspects of my life, there are times when one area overshadows the other (like the fact that I’ve been home with my kids the last two days because our nanny is sick). Unfortunately, sometimes it goes the other way…the not so good way. Sometimes, I have work when I’m “supposed” to be with my family. There are many times that I will have to work on the weekends (October is full of them) and yes, I have brought all of my kids to the office on occasion.

This book, Adventure Annie Goes to Work, by Toni Buzzeo, is about a little girl that has adventures every Saturday with her mom. But one Saturday her mom has to take her into work to look for a missing report. Adventure Annie turns this into another one of her adventures and has a lot of fun at Mommy’s office.

Kylie, who is six, started off reading the book to me. She didn’t have any problems until she got to some of the unusual word choices describing Annie’s actions. They didn’t flow very easily, and to a beginning reader, they were a little difficult. So about 1/3 into the book I took over and finished reading it to her. She loved it, and as soon as we were done, she grabbed it from me so that she could read it to her class (she plays school every night).

I think this book has a fantastic message for children of working moms…you can make an adventure anywhere, and just because mom may have to work, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love going on adventures with you too!

My Day Off...

On my day off there was cookie baking, grilled-cheese eating, hockey playing, chalk drawing, bike riding and movie watching.

And airplane watching,

And crying when naps were needed :)
What there wasn't was a good picture taken of my two adorable boys together :)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Today, my nanny is sick.

Today, I got to take Kylie to school.

Today, I got to clean up the kitchen for John (yuck!)

Today, I get to play with Ryan on the floor.

Today, I get to play in the hockey game: Red Wings vs. CBJ (I'm getting my butt kicked).

Today, I get to be a kid with my kids :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Great Way to Spend Fall Evenings...

As much as I don’t like it, fall is here. The air is cold, the sun is not shining near as much anymore, the days are shorter, and I’m afraid my flip-flops have been retired for the season. I really don’t like fall, and I despise winter. I just don’t like cold weather. I’ve been begging John to move is down south somewhere, but unfortunately, his business is here. And our family is here, so while I’ve been begging, it’s really for real because there’s no way I could leave our family.

But there is one thing that makes fall a tiny bit better for me…fires in an outdoor fire pit in the evenings. Obviously since we’re not out in the sticks (like where John and I grew up), we can’t have a fire just anywhere, so we pull out our outdoor fire pit, start it up, and pretty soon we have some neighbors hanging out with us for the evening. And I’m warm…that’s the most important thing!

The kids love fires in outdoor fire pits…they get to make s’mores! And I too love roasting marshmallows. But more than that, I think the kids love the tradition that they bring. We start them as the sun is going down, the adults all sit around the fire with drinks, and the kids run around the yards, or they are riding their bikes in the dark, or they are back jumping on the trampoline.

We have had some awesome conversations with friends around fires at night. We started them at our first house, and I know that’s how we got to know our two sets of neighbors (who later turned out to be good friends of ours) so well.

So if you haven’t tried this, I strongly recommend getting a fire pit and lighting it up. It’s such an easy way to make friends and get to know your neighbors, not to mention it’s a great way to relax!

Joshie's First Football Game...

This past weekend was a very nice one, and while there wasn’t too much going on, it still went by way too quickly.

Friday night was spent playing outside and inside, and then after the kids were in bed I watched a lot of TV, so it was nice to catch up on some of my shows.

Saturday we got up pretty early – since Ryan is not pretty much sleeping through the night, and since he goes to bed around 8:00 (his choice, definitely not ours!), he’s ready to go by 7:00 AM everyday. But it was nice to get an early start on laundry and cleaning up, so by lunch time there was football on TV and I was able to play with the kids a little. John and I went to the grocery store and then I made a nice Chinese dinner.

Sunday we went to church. After that is when the day got crazy! Joshie had his first flag football game that afternoon, so we had to rush home from church, eat lunch super quick, and then John and Josh headed out. Ryan was napping, so I wanted him to sleep as long as possible. While he was sleeping I gathered up everything we would need at the game, and then I quickly got a couple of pot roasts ready to go in the oven so that we could have a nice big dinner that evening. After that was all done, I got Ryan up and Kylie, my dad, Ryan and I headed to the game (with a stop at Tim Horton’s for some hot chocolate first!).

This game was the cutest thing I have ever seen! Seeing those cute little boys out there in their jerseys (they are all after NFL teams – Joshie’s team is the Browns) just melted my heart. And to see Joshie out there…one of the littlest ones, was exceptionally cute!

Joshie got the ball two times (the coach made sure that each kid got it at least once), and each time, he turned and started running the other way. The first time I was surprised because he plays football with John and the neighbors all the time…he knows which way to go…but then I realized that he was just faking the other team. He is so fast that he can turn around, run the wrong way, and then circle back and go in for a touch down! Thankfully my dad was taking video and you can see him do it on there!

I hate cold weather, and I really don’t like football. But I LOVED watching him play. I was so proud of him! And I know he had a ton of fun!

After the game we came home and I finished up dinner (which included Yorkshire pudding, which is not pudding, but a bread to soak up the gravy, and millionaire's shortbread). The dinner was outstanding! The pot roast was from Pioneer Woman (did you know she made a cookbook that comes out soon? I can’t wait to buy it!). It was a great end to our first weekend spent primarily inside. Fall is here.

Joshie and our friend Tony:

Look at the size difference! The age range is 4 - 6, so Josh is one of the youngest.

Go Browns!

John is one of the he is giving Josh some tips:

Josh with the head coach:


Joshie's First Football Game from Debbie on Vimeo.