Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Popcorn & Oreo's

My kids bedtime is often my favorite part of the day. Not that I don't love my kids, because I do. I'm grateful everyday that I'm able to be a stay-at-home mom. I love that I'm home to see my oldest off to school and here for her to come home to at the end of her school day. I love that I spend my day playing with and tending to my two other children, not old enough to go to school yet.

I'm not saying that everyday is 'sunshine and rainbows' wonderful. Some days are tough. Kids are cranky, housework overwhelming, the phone is ringing off the hook with solicitors. Some days I dream of having a job outside of the home to get a break from it all. Overall, however, I'm thankful that my husband works as hard as he does to provide for us so I can stay home to raise our children, tend to our home and run the errands.

But. At the end of the day. When my husband comes home and the kids go to bed, it's 'our' time to unwind and relax. We can kick back and enjoy our time.

Charlie unwinds with a handful of oreo cookies and milk and I have a mini bag of popcorn drizzled with a little olive oil. It's the part of our day where we don't have kids hanging off of us, begging for our food.

We wait until the kids are all in bed so we can sit down and relax with our snack without hiding in a corner somewhere trying to devour it before the kids notice and come begging for some. Not that I mind sharing my food or snack with the kids, but it's the one time of day where my snack is just that. . . mine.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Goodbye Roxy. Hello Bertha.

Last weekend Charlie went up the street to the auto salvage yard in our tiny town. While he was there he noticed a conversion van for sale out in front of the property. It still runs and it's super clean inside considering how old it is. (it's a '90 Chevy). We have a '91 GMC Suburban (affectionately known as 'Roxy') that Charlie rebuilt and painted for me and is big enough to fit all 5 of us very comfortably.

However. Roxy has been giving us some trouble over the past year and when Charlie fixes what he thinks is the problem or replaces something that's old something else starts going bad. So, we haven't driven Roxy in a year. She's just been sitting taking up driveway space and costing us a few bucks a month in insurance costs. We got 2 good years out of the ol' girl.

When Charlie got home from the salvage yard he told me about the van he'd seen but wasn't sure if it would be something I'd be interested in. The van has a sink, mini fridge, microwave, TV, VCR and CB in it. The bench seat in the back lays flat and has an extension piece to make it a full size bed. There is a bucket seat in the middle row behind the passenger seat, but the 'kitchenette' is behind the driver seat. When he finished telling me about it I asked how much they wanted for it and it the salvage yard owner was selling it for $2,000.

Jokingly I said "I wonder if he'll trade the van for our suburban." I think Charlie was kinda hoping I'd say that. We'd talked about trying to sell Roxy, just to get it off our hands.

Today, Charlie went back up to the salvage yard and asked the owner if he'd be willing to trade the van for our suburban and the man said "Sure". Charlie came home and took me up to see the van to make sure I actually liked it in person first before making the 'deal' official.

I loved it! It would work great for our family. Plenty of room for everyone to be comfortable and the kids would love being able to watch a movie in the van and if we take a day trip somewhere we have the mini fridge to keep drinks in and the microwave to heat up food and storage space under the sink for snacks.

The deal was made. The owner gave us the title and I drove the van home and Charlie got Roxy and took it up to the salvage yard. I brought the title up 2 days later when the owner's wife was home so she could give me the proper paperwork to go along with the van title for me to get the van tagged in my name and I signed over the title of the suburban for them.

I was a little sad to see Roxy go because of all the hard work Charlie put into it for me, but, I'm super excited about the van. It took me a week to figure a name for the van. (a silly 'tradition' my mom started when I was a kid) but, I think I've settled on a name for her.

Big Bertha.

I think it fits her nicely.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sleep Walking

When I was a youngster I would occasionally talk in my sleep. My grandmother told me once that I had an entire conversation with her in my sleep. Of course I have no recollection of it, but it was pretty funny according to her.

This seems to be a trait I've passed down to my oldest.

The one time I'll never forget and look forward to telling her about was the day she lost her 1st two baby teeth. (Yes, she lost 2 in one day, sweet payday from the tooth fairy that night!).

It was July, 2007. John was a month old and we had gone to DE that day to visit with extended family for a 4th of July cookout/graduation party for my 2nd cousin. Tabytha lost her 1st baby tooth before we left for DE and the 2nd baby tooth while we were at my Aunt Sandy's house.

That night when we got home Tabytha got her 'tooth fairy pillow' out and put both her teeth in the pocket, tucked it under her pillow and went to bed. Some time later, when Charlie and I were going to bed for the night I got her $2 ($1 per tooth) and went in her room to retrieve the teeth and put the money in the pocket of the tooth fairy pillow. I didn't turn on any lights, so I was working with the light from the hallway.

Charlie went back to our room and was in the bathroom. He'd left the door open and his back was toward the door. While he was doing his business I was switching teeth for money. Just as I had gotten the teeth out of the pillow and was putting the money in it's place Tabytha sits up in her bed.

Since it was dark-ish in her room I put my back towards her hoping she wouldn't notice me standing in her room with her teeth. Apparently it worked. She got out of bed and went into our room. I guess seeing our bathroom light on and the door open she thought I'd be in there.

This was my chance to put the pillow back and get out. QUICK! I jumped across the hallway into John's room as if I was in there the whole time checking on him in his crib. While I was scampering, Tabytha walks into the bathroom and surprises Charlie. She says "Where's my mother?" As soon as I heard what she said I realized she was sleep walking. She never refers to me as "mother" when she's awake, I'm simply "mommy". Somewhere in Charlie's surprise he was able to reply with "I don't know where your mother is, maybe she's checking on the baby". She said "Oh, Ok" and she went back to her room and got back in her bed.

No sooner did I get into Charlie's and my bedroom then we both burst out laughing at the whole situation. Of course, the next morning she didn't know anything happened in the night and was so excited to discover the tooth fairy had given her $2.

SO. On to the real reason I'm writing. Last night after the kids were in bed and Charlie had gotten home from work we sat down together to watch a movie. Around 10:15pm we hear footsteps coming down the hallway.

It's Tabytha. She comes into the living room seemingly wide awake as if she was meant to be awake. She sat down in the chair and began petting our dog. (he was loving it!). Then Tabby twitched and I started giggling cuz I figured she, despite her eyes being open, was asleep. Charlie asked her what she was doing and she started saying something about her friend, Stephanie's, shoes.

It was so hard for me to stifle the laughter, so I got up from the couch and told her it was time to go to bed. She gave our dog one last pat and said goodnight to Charlie and I walked her back to her room, kissed & hugged her goodnight and she got into her bed.

I didn't even make it half way back to the living room before Charlie and I both burst out laughing. It's so funny when she does stuff like that in her sleep. This morning I asked her how she slept last night and she said she slept fine. I asked her if she stayed in her bed all night or if she got up at any point in the night. She looked at me a little puzzled and said she stayed in her bed all night. She didn't get up at all last night, why was I asking. So I told her about how she slept walked and came into the living room the night before while daddy and I were watching a movie. She thought it was hysterical.

I didn't lie, I told her I thought it was hysterical, too.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day Rainbows

I receive Parenting and Family Fun magazines each month. They're both full of helpful, interesting and fun articles, crafts and recipes. The March issue of one of these magazines (can't remember which one specifically) focused on fun St. Patty's Day crafts and goodies. The recipe that caught my eye was rainbow cupcakes.

I tore out the page and put it aside until St. Patty's Day. I kept the article for the food dye measurements. I just used boxed vanilla cake mix, but needed the color chart to get the colors right.

I divided the cake mix into 6 small bowls, dropped the precise amount of food coloring into each bowl to get my Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple (I know, I know, there's no 'indigo' in there, but you get the point)

I put cupcake papers into my cupcake pan and then got out 6 zip top bags and filled each one with one of the colored cake mix batters. I began pipping one color into all the cupcake papers, then another, and another, building all the colors in a layer on top of the other.

Finally, I was done filling the cupcake papers. I put them in the oven and waited. I was excited to see the final result. When the timer went off I pulled the cupcakes out of the oven, took the cupcakes out of the pan and placed them on the cooling rack. I waited (a little impatiently) for them to cool so I could cut into one and see if my cupcakes really looked like rainbows.

Well, they weren't exactly 'rainbow's like in the picture from the magazine, they were more 'psychedelic' then 'rainbow', BUT, all 6 colors were definitely there.

It was a lot of fun using food coloring in the cake mix and I can't wait to try it again.

Oh, and the cupcakes were super moist and really yummy. They were actually so moist I didn't even bother frosting them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Baking Cookies

Tabytha brings home a Fall Fundraiser and Spring Fundraiser each school year. This past fall fundraiser our friend, Harold (affectionately known to our children as 'Uncle Howie') bought 2 kinds of cookie mix.
So, over the weekend Harold came over to help Charlie in the garage on a car project Charlie was trying to finish up for another friend of ours. (doing body work and paint on a '57 Chevy wagon).

After they were both done getting cleaned up, I got the ingredients out needed for the cookie dough mix and Harold and Tabytha got started making cookies together.

Tabytha got to crack the eggs all by herself and put all the ingredients in the bowl. Harold mixed and they both scooped out dough and placed them on greased cookie sheets.

Harold put the cookie sheets in the oven and set the timer. When they were finished he took them out and he and Tabytha each took the freshly baked cookies from their cookie sheets and placed them on a cooling rack.

I took pictures throughout the whole process. The first batch of cookies Tabytha and Harold made were triple chocolate chip.

They were delicious!!!

Since it was still early enough in the evening they decided to make the second batch of cookies Harold ordered through her fundraiser. Hot Cocoa Cookies. Also delicious!

Tabytha had a blast baking cookies with her 'Uncle Howie' and I had fun taking pictures.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Eagerly Awaiting

My kids are typical siblings. One minute they love each other and play so nicely together and the next minute they're at each others throats and fighting.

Tabytha's the oldest. She's in school during the day, so John and Jessi only have each other to play with and my nerves to frazzle. John and Jessi are pretty much inseparable. Where one is getting into mischief the other isn't far behind.

Tabytha's bus picks her up in the morning and drops her off at night right at the end of our driveway each day. (such a blessing!). In the mornings Tabytha and I wait on the front porch for the bus while John and Jessi wait inside at the door (until the weather warms up, then they'll come outside, too). As Tabytha walks to the bus we wave our goodbye's and sign 'I Love You'. As the bus pulls away John and Jessi both hang out of the door waving goodbye to 'sissy' on her bus until it's out of sight.

In the afternoons I wait inside at the door. When the bus is in sight I call out "Here comes Sissy" and wherever John and Jessi are, no matter what they're doing, they come running and shrieking through the house to greet Tabytha. As the bus slows to a stop at the driveway John and Jessi go wild with excitement.

They're so eager to see her and hug her she often has trouble just trying to get in the door. It's really something I think is pretty incredible to witness. They love their big sister so much and can't wait to have her home each day.

To sit here and really think about it brings a tear to my eye. Children love with no limitations. Their love for each other overflows in their shouts and shrieks and little dances of joy are priceless to me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Generation of Great Friendships

My friend, Sarah, was in town this week from NH. She has a 3 yr old, Kaleena, and we made plans to get together to hang out and let our kids play together before she had to get back to NH.

After Tabytha got on her school bus Monday morning I packed up John and Jessi and made the journey over the bridge to visit with Sarah and Kaleena. Jessi discovered the piano and commenced to climbing onto the piano bench and banging the keys. John wanted in on the action so he went over to the piano and proceeded to make 'music', too. Shortly after Kaleena wanted to join the fun and made her way to the piano to bang out some tunes.

No, they weren't playing anything distinguishable, but they were all getting along so well, it was music to my ears. Kaleena found a microphone and pretended to sing. John had a turn next and when they were done 'singing' they played with blocks and knick-knack toys Sarah's mom had for the kids to play with.

Shortly after arriving at Sarah's mom's house another friend of ours came to hang out. Julia showed up around lunchtime and brought pizza for all of us. We sat and got the kids started on their meals and all enjoyed a slice or two ourselves.

Then, today, my friend Jen came over to my house and brought Elaina. Elaina is only 3 weeks older then Jessi and get along pretty well. When Jen got here, Jessi was already down for her nap and John was playing 'shy' hiding in my room. So, Elaina had all the toys in the living room to herself for a bit. I think it worked out better this way. She was able to get used to her new surroundings without being overstimulated with John and Jessi in her face trying to play with her.

About an hour and a half into our visit, Jessi woke up from her nap (mostly because John burst into her room calling for her, "Baby! Baby! Wake Up!!!", lol. Naturally, she woke up. I brought her out and she sat in Jen's lap for a bit to wake up a little more before getting down to play.

The kids were getting along. Playing together and independently. Jessi kept going to Elaina with her arms open to hug her, but Elaina wasn't really sure about it and would walk away. No problem. She wasn't familiar with Jessi and that's alright. Jen worked it out that Jessi was able to give Elaina one hug and I snapped a picture. Not too long before Jen and Elaina left Jessi tried to give Elaina another hug and this time Elaina was willing to accept a hug from her.

That's when it happened. Jessi went in for the hug and whether from the momentum of going in for the hug or Elaina stepping back, the girls fell backward. Jessi on top of Elaina and poor Elaina hit her head on one of John's toy trucks and the floor. I was closest, so I swooped her up and handed her over to Jen so she could comfort her little girl.

I felt sooo bad. She had a big knot on her head where it hit John's toy truck. I got the 'booboo pooh' and wrapped it in a paper towel. Jen applied it to the booboo. I got some baby Tylenol and Jen gave it to her. Jen rocked her and sang to her to calm her down and help her feel better.

Shortly after the big booboo it was time for Jen and Elaina to get going. We had a good visit, minus the head bashing.

I have great friends and love spending time with them whenever I get the chance. Now that we've all got kids growing up together I hope our kids will grow up to be as good of friends as my friends and I are.

Another generation of friendships could be starting now. It's pretty cool!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Through The Years

This weekend was my friend, Kristin's, surprise bridal shower. She and I have been friends for almost 15 years now.

In fact. All of the lovely women you see in this picture I've been friends with since high school. These 5 women have been the best girl friends anyone could ask for.

Over the years we've all grown up. We've gotten jobs, moved, met the men of our dreams, gotten married and started families. Our lives have gone in different directions through the years, but one thing remains.

Our friendship.

No, we don't see each other all the time or even as often as we'd like. That's part of having our own lives and families, but, we're always there for each other. Our bond is strong. Some of us have had our fallings out, but, that bond of friendship we have has always brought us back together.

I have several other wonderful friends outside of this little 'group' and I don't want anyone to feel left out, but these women you see pictured above (left to right ~ Julia, Drea, Kristin, Sarah, me and Holly) are so special and dear to me. I love them like sisters.

I'm truly blessed to have these women in my life as my friends.