Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve!

I hope you have fabulous New Year's Eve plans! We will most likely ring in the new year pretending to be rock stars while playing Rock Band 2! :-) (Have I mentioned how addictive that game is??) We might even get wild and crazy and go rent a movie or something. We live on the edge, you know! Ha!

I worked half of a day today and came home to a very "lavender-smelling" home. Apparently Sophie tried to "wash" the boys' hair with Johnson & Johnson's bedtime lotion. Brent had to wash their hair in the sink!

Brent is now off to an eye doctor and to see the ear, nose & throat doctor...we're trying to cram everything in at the last minute before our insurance deductible resets! The kids and I are entertaining ourselves until he gets home. They asked for capes so they could "fly", so here's their makeshift capes. Sophie and Blake are wearing scarves and Graham has a tea towel. Ha!!


Totally off topic, I posted this information on Facebook and have gotten a great response from friends who have found "lost" money through the Kansas Treasurer's website. Follow this link and search for your name. We "found" a $9.33 check payable to Brent from a Godfather's pizza job he had in the 1980s!! We filled out the form and the KS Treasurer's office sent us the check. Too fun! There's no charge for the service. I've had several friends find money on there, the latest found $1,000 from an old retirement fund. Check it out!!
http://www.kansasstatetreasurer.com/prodweb/index.php

HAPPY NEW YEAR! SEE YOU IN 2010!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

GratiTuesday

Brent is on vacation this week, and his GratiTuesday input is "I'm grateful that the day ended well and there were no injuries." Ha! He's watching the kids while I'm working this week, if you can't tell. :-) However, Blake does have an unexplained bruise by his eye--undoubtedly from wrestling with his brother.

I've posted about a lot of the things we've been thankful for over the past week, so I won't add a list to this post tonight. I WILL, however, show you a couple of cute pictures! Sophie didn't take a nap yesterday and fell asleep in her dinner. In her mouth is actually a bite of sandwich that she hadn't even started chewing yet:
Graham is enjoying Daddy's new Wii game, too! He got Sophie's guitar and started jamming with Daddy tonight. This game is addictive for all of us!
You might notice that I changed the family photo at the top of the blog. This picture was taken on that same day, and Brent and I laughed so hard that we cried when we saw it. Is his face PRICELESS or what?! As you can see, Blake was throwing a fit and Daddy wasn't handling it so well. This has "Calgon, take me away" written all over it!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bedtime woes

Bedtime is a problem at our house. The way the boys' beds are set up, their dresser is between them and houses their lamp, radio, humidifier and baby monitor. Almost nightly, the boys change the channel on the baby monitor (which makes the monitors in the other rooms beep to let us know they're "off radar"), turn the radio on full blast (occasionally they figure out how to change it from lullabies to the hard rock station), pull the curtains off the rod, pull all of their shoes/socks out of the drawers and turn their lamp on.

Last night, Brent was working and I was fine for the first, second, third, fourth and fifth time I'd gone in to put them back in their beds and tuck them in. The SIXTH time, however, I was OVER IT and opened their door with the intention of spanking. Blake had finally fallen asleep, but I saw Graham's silhouette standing on his bed. As I started walking toward him, he collapsed on the bed and started pretend SNORING. I stood there for a minute in stunned amusement, then had to leave the room for fear of laughing out loud!

How do they learn that?! They're barely 2 years old! It saved that ornery child from a spanking, though, so it worked. :-)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

As you've seen, this was a great Christmas for clothes for the kids! These shirts are from Uncle John and Aunt Amy in Memphis. Aren't these adorable??

I've heard that monogramming is the equivalent of a Southern girl's tattoo--which means that I should have been born Southern! I'd monogram EVERYTHING if I had the ability. When Brent and I were in South Carolina several years ago, all of the ladies had everything monogrammed--their purses, shoes, keychains, jackets...CUTE, CUTE, CUTE. Maybe I can get connected with someone who has an embroidery machine and work out some kind of deal??

Last night at dinner Graham was entertaining the other two with his antics. I had to snap a quick video of it, because it's funny to see what makes toddlers laugh. video
Grandma and Grandpa gave Sophie a tea set, and she was hosting a tea party in Bunny's honor (see Bunny in the high chair in the lower left corner of the photo). She was the best hostess and kept offering Bunny more tea and pastries. I need to get some fun hats, gloves and scarves for her to wear when hosting tea parties. Cute!
Sadly, about 30 seconds after I took this picture, the boys came in and ransacked the party--they were on the plastic pastries like a pack of wild dogs. "Tea" (water) was everywhere...sigh...sometimes I feel bad for poor Sophie--it's tough being a girl with two little brothers!

Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Santa came to our house this morning and greeted the kids as they woke up! The boys hesitated for a few seconds, but warmed up quickly. (They said "Daddy" a few times which was pretty funny.) Sophie opened her eyes and went right over to give Santa a hug. (Maybe we should work on "Stranger Danger" with the kids??) He brought them candy canes, so he won them over immediately!! We love you, Santa!

Brent got a Rockband 2 game for the Wii, which comes with a guitar, drums and a microphone. We have had so much fun playing it today!

As promised, here are pictures from yesterday's gift-a-palooza from Aunt Kelly & Uncle Roger! The first gift Sophie opened was the birthday cake set, and we could barely pry it out of her hands to open anything else. The "faux" aquarium is a big hit with all three of them AND the two cats--it's mesmerizing, beautiful AND I don't have to clean it. Score!! They also got clothes, books, tambourines, jammies and a tent. Spoiled, aren't they?! :-)

Here are the boys in their new jammies from Aunt Kelly & Uncle Roger! "Toy Story" characters--Buzz & Woody. Trying to get them to stand next to each other resulted in a 20-minute wrestling match. Ha!

This morning we got a pleasant surprise visit from our neighbors next door who brought gifts for us and the kids! A HUGE box of chocolates for Brent and I, cars for the boys and an alphabet game for Sophie. They are the nicest people--we're lucky to have moved next door to them. (I didn't even BAKE anything this year...am I a slacker neighbor or what?!?!)

Last night we got a visit from our friends Tammy, Rob & Logan who brought us a turkey, ham and gift cards for the kids! SO generous!! There's a preschool homeschooling program that I've been wanting to get for the kids, so we can finally order it!!

The lighting on these next pictures isn't very good, but this is what happens when Mommy and Daddy are too busy rocking out on Rockband to realize that they accidentally said "yes" when Sophie asked for a cookie. Little did we know that she took down an entire village of gingerbread men. Here's the carnage:

(p.s., I use the term "rocking out" as loosely as possible. I'm the girl with NO rythm who won't even do the Electric Slide at weddings for fear of embarrassing myself. Brent's pretty great at it, though.) :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santas, Santas everywhere

The kids are having so much fun with Christmas gifts already! Melissa came over on Tuesday with a tower of gifts for the kids--they got a tower of blocks, an Elmo See 'n Say and a magnetic puzzle (that has a magnetic "fishing pole" that you pick up the pieces with). They are nuts about them!

Wednesday they (and I!!) were feeling loved by the sitters...Leslie got them this great toy that spins and plays music. The kids are supposed to jump over it as it turns--I hadn't ever seen one of these before! She said she needed to give them a toy that would burn off some of this excess energy--ha!! (Why hadn't I thought of this?!) Have I mentioned that we have the greatest babysitters??

Wednesday night Becky brought gifts in the cutest bags ever! The kids each got a long-sleeved shirt and a super-cute sweatshirt jacket. Sophie's jacket is fur-lined, and is SO soft! Blake was hysterical when he opened his--he pulled the jacket out and said "so cute!". Ha!!! There was even a bag for ME that had Bath & Body Works lotion/shower gel (in "Twilight Woods" scent--AWESOME) and a pair of the softest socks (that have shea butter in them). I'm wearing them right now and looooooving them. I also put the lotion on after my bath, so I smell delightful, too. :-) Yes, it's GOOD to be me! AGAIN, have I mentioned that we have the greatest babysitters?? :-)


The kids decorated birthday cakes for Jesus tonight! I thought you might like to check out a video of them in action--they had a ball doing it, but I think they might have eaten more frosting than they used!
video
I know this post is getting long, but an AMAZING thing happened this afternoon. The doorbell rang and a young man was carrying two huge bags of goodies--he said he was being a delivery man for someone who wanted to be our "Secret Santa." After I stood there speechless with my jaw on the floor, I took the bags from him and noticed that this note was enclosed. It reads: "Yes, Brent & Jennifer, there really is a Santa Clause, and, I too, worship Christ! Kisses & Hugs, Santa." Inside is a $100 bill. HOW COOL IS THAT?!?! I had to stumble over my pride for a minute (then burst into tears for another minute), but realized that this is obviously someone who really cares about us. As you know, I've been giving talks at churches about this frugal lifestyle that we've chosen to live for the next several years, and I can't help thinking that it's someone who heard that message, too. The gentleman said that the person wanted to remain anonymous. Again, HOW COOL IS THAT?!?! God willing, I can't wait to get a little farther in this Dave Ramsey lifestyle so we can be doing this for other families in future years. Awesome!!! Praise God!!! If I knew who it was I'd probably smother them with hugs, so it's probably safer for them that I don't know who they are. :-) Ha!!

Kelly and Roger came over tonight and spoiled the kids rotten (of course!)--I'll post those pictures tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

GratiWednesday & some photos of "home"!

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but AGAIN I'm ashamed of myself for being a day late with my GratiTuesday post! This week we are thankful for:
  1. Two more of my friends, Sarah and Laurel, brought meals last week after my surgery. Laurel even stayed to eat with us AND gave the kids baths for me!!
  2. The biopsy results showing no cancer!
  3. PERFECT weather last weekend for traveling--for us and for my brother and his family driving from Memphis.
  4. Dad & Louise's new sunroom! It's beautiful and adds a lot of room. We had a LOT of people at their house and it didn't feel crowded.
  5. A friend of our mom's came by and delivered scrapbooks to my brothers and I when we were home. It was VERY thoughtful and touching. I'll post more about that later.

Here are some of the pictures from this weekend! I have a lot more that I'll sprinkle into future posts.

Sophie & Grandma:

Blake climbing on Grandpa:

Graham playing by the squirrel feeder:

Blake was enamored by the train under the tree!

The cousins!!

Blake and Graham got cowboy hats! Blake thought Uncle Jimmy needed a hat, too!

Aunt Kris made Dad blow out birthday candles!

John, Dad, me & Jim in the new sunroom!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Brent's New Wreath!

We had a great time at Dad & Louise's this weekend! I'm busy editing those photos, and I'll get them posted later this week.

In the meantime, I'll show you how Brent spent his Christmas gift from Dad & Louise! He's been eyeing a HUGE wreath for the front of the house for months, but it was too expensive to justify buying. When he opened the envelope with money inside, he KNEW what he wanted to spend it on--we barely got back into the Wichita city limits on Sunday before he was making a beeline for the store! Plus, it was even on SALE! Woo hoo! I had my doubts that it would fit it into the car, but it did:

Look how big this box is (and how big Brent's smile is!)!!

The finished product on the house. The picture is a bit blurry and doesn't do it justice--it's stunning!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Biopsy Results

The biopsy results are in:

BENIGN!!!!! NO CANCER!!!!!
PRAISE GOD!!!!!!

Gifts from Tara...and stinging ants...

Like I've mentioned time and again, we have the best babysitters ever. Tara was with the kids yesterday and brought Christmas gifts for them. (There was even one for me! An awesome picture frame set for the stairway once the painting is done!) Here is the stack of gifts:

"To my favorite kids"--how sweet is that?!

Getting ready to tear into them! They got a Hungry Hippo game, a fun pizza PlayDoh set (which has entertained them for HOURS), activity coloring books and stickers. Awesome!!!


On the topic of Christmas gifts, I got my nephew an ant farm for Christmas, and was worried that the ants wouldn't be shipped in time. Lo and behold, look what showed up at my office yesterday! 25 ants arrived in a small vial in a padded envelope that read:


I don't want to ruin the fun for my nephew, so I'm letting him put the ants into the habitat himself. In the meantime, my job is to simply keep them alive... Their current residence is in a jelly jar (with TINY holes in the top--I was getting tired of Brent making gasping noises because he thought I was suffocating them, so I tapped some holes in the lid).
The white matter is "sand" from the habitat--I had to sprinkle it with water to make it moist. Apparently that's how they drink. I also had to feed them, so I put a small piece of apple in there. They attacked it! It was gone by this morning.

I think this is a SUPER cool gift, but here's where the whole thing goes South: The instructions said that these ants sting and leave welts (good heavens, what did I BUY??), so not to touch them. I dreamed all night that they had escaped and were in my bed biting me.
My friend at work said "His parents don't mind that you're giving him this for Christmas?" Um...well...to be honest I didn't ask them. (I wonder if I should have??) Oops. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a jar full of stinging ants, right?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GratiTuesday

I had every intention of being "on time" with my GratiTuesday post this week, darn it! I had a little surgery on Monday to have some lymph nodes removed along the left side of my neck. Here's a picture taken at the surgery center after the doctor marked me with a surgical marker. We're waiting on the biopsy results.

This week I am thankful for:

  1. My doctor's gentle bedside manner.
  2. The staff at the surgery center for being so warm and calm.
  3. My anesthesiologist. After hearing about the troubles I've had with general anesthesia, he consulted with the surgeon and made some changes to the anesthesia they used during surgery. I handled it MUCH better than in the past.
  4. Kelly, who stayed during the surgery and took me home (with brief stops at the pharmacy and the chinese restaurant for soup)!
  5. Pain medication!!
  6. Barbara Jean and Brooke for bringing dinner Monday and Tuesday night.
  7. Sharon for being with me Monday evening and Kelly for being with me Tuesday evening--they both got the kids ready for bed and tucked in for me. I can't lift the kids yet, and bedtime is a full-contact sport!
  8. I understand that friends from church will bring dinner for the next three nights...how AWESOME is that?? I'm back at work today, and already can tell that I won't be up to cooking tonight. I'm not sure who to thank for organizing that yet...but I think it might be my friend Laurel...
  9. Friends and family who have called or e-mailed. Waiting on the results is the hardest part.

I'm sure I'm leaving something or someone out...this week has been kind of a "fuzzy flurry". The kids are really cute--I showed them my bandages and told them I have an "owie." Every now and then they'll touch me and say "You have an owie, Mommy?" (which comes out sounding something like "Oohabanowiemommeeee?").

Sunday, December 13, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!

TODAY IS MY DAD'S 70th BIRTHDAY!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRANDPA!!!

WE LOVE YOU! SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mist & Mattresses (& some Santa, too!)

The kids needed their H1N1 "booster" vaccinations (30 days after initial vaccination), and Brent needed to get vaccinated, too. The kids got the nasal mist, but Brent OPTED for the injection. Who does that?! He's a toughie!!
Sophie getting hers...(notice Graham to the side showing off his abs...):

Graham was next...

Then Blake...

Afterwards we picked up the boys' new mattresses!! You might remember that we changed them to "big boy" beds a couple of months ago, but the mattresses we chose then were "bunkie mattresses" designed for beds that don't use box springs. They're a solid board covered with foam, and MIGHT be the most uncomfortable things we've ever laid on. We decided to upgrade to REAL mattresses and try to sell the almost-brand-new bunkie mattresses on Craigslist. Sooo, we needed support for beneath the mattresses, so we made our own "bunkie boards."
Brent had the plywood cut...
...and I covered it with thick material purchased at the fabric store.
But the BEST part was getting to use the air-compressed staple gun! I can't believe Brent let me use his "toy" unsupervised--it was too fun!

NOW for the Santa pics! Last week (before we all got sick), we took the kids to see Santa! Santa made his appearance at the event in the bucket of a fire truck--really neat! The kids all ran right up to him to sit on his lap.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy GratiTuesday (a day late!)

I started working 4 days per week last week, so my Tuesday schedule has changed a bit. I'm getting into the groove of working the extra day, but bear with my sporatic blog posting for a bit!

Things we're grateful for this week:

  1. Brent had a good review this week at work! It's not time for raises yet, so there was no monetary reward, but the encouraging feedback from his boss was as good as money. It was nice to see him with a little spring in his step!
  2. My friend from church treated me to lunch last week, and it was so timely. I was really struggling with the decision to start working an extra day, and she helped me sort it out.
  3. I really believe that being offered this extra day at work is a blessing, but it's SO hard being away from the kids. I'm grateful to have a job that's close to home and has a relaxed atmosphere. Hopefully this extra day at work will help us on our Dave Ramsey debt payoff plan!
  4. On top of number 2, we are continually grateful for the sitters that come to our home to watch the kids. Having them there relieves me a little of the mommy guilt that comes along with working more, because I know that the kids are really loved by the sitters and they get a lot of personal attention from them. If the kids were at a daycare facility, I'm afraid my stress level would skyrocket.
  5. Brent and Kelly for running errands for me while I was sick at home with three sick kids.
  6. Karie for filling in for an open sitter spot at the last minute!
  7. Caryn for taking care of me again--we had a MAPS Christmas party last night and I didn't have a scarf for the scarf exchanged. Caryn saved the day with the perfect scarf, wrapped in a bag and everything!
  8. For my dad, who knows that timing is everything.

Monday, December 7, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOUISE!!

Today is Louise's birthday!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!!

We love you! We'll see you next week!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bleh... (*updated with pictures*)

The kids and I are sick, sick, sick with a head & chest cold. No fun! We've been homebound this weekend, and Brent's been at work. Thanks to his late-night errand running and Kelly picking up a few things at the store for us, we at least have food and medicine! We've spent a lot of time watching cartoons and coloring pictures. It would be a lot of fun if we felt better!

I gave the kids some candy cane sticks thinking it would help soothe their throats, and Blake had his EVERYWHERE. I finally confined him to his chair until he finished, and you can see in this picture that he's a sticky mess! The kids LOVE candy canes. I'm a big fan of the cellophane-wrapped Christmas peppermint nougat candies that have a Christmas tree design in them--do you know what I mean?? They're like peppermint taffy deliciousness. I haven't seen them this year, though...I'll have to watch for them.

On weekends I usually get a lot of cooking and baking done for the week, but for obvious reasons that's fallen by the wayside this weekend. Unfortunately, so has cleaning... I have a couple of loads of laundry finishing up right now, though, so I'm not a total slacker. I had Kelly pick up some "vapor bath" for me (it's kids' body wash that has a mentholatum scent to it--I use it like bubble bath for the kids when they have colds and it really helps them breathe better--I'm a HUGE fan!), so they'll be getting baths when they wake up from naptime.

Does anyone know how to make Asian hot & sour soup?? I'd give my kingdom for a bowl of it right now. If anyone has an easy recipe for it, I'd love to have it!!

**Updated: I took these pictures after their bath and dinner. You can tell they're not feeling 100%, but they each ate TWO pb&j sandwiches, apple slices and bananas for dinner. That's a good sign! Poor babies, they just want to snuggle, so I'm off to oblige!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Our other "kids"

The kids' favorite "toys" are our cats, so I thought I'd better showcase them here for a change. :-) They are the best cats ever!! Seriously, the kids will tackle them to give them "hugs", and I'm sure it bruises every one of their internal organs every time.

Edge is our boy cat (left) and Heidi is our girl cat (right). As you can see, they're curled up together on the couch. The kids were in bed when this was taken, so you know they're enjoying their kid-free rest!

A family tradition we've done the past few years is to load everyone up in the van and go look at Christmas lights, which we did tonight. We stopped first at Starbucks for hot chocolate for Brent and I (peppermint hot chocolate for Brent, which is waaay yummy!). Lots of great lights this year! (Between you and me...I think Brent uses this activity to do "research" on what gawdy blow-up Christmas decor is on the market. If he had it his way, our yard would be COVERED in that kind of stuff. So far I'm winning the battle, but I'm worried what he has up his sleeve for future seasons...) The kids loved tonight--it's fun that they're so "aware" this year!

Tonight we put the kids to bed slathered with Vicks Vaporub--the fevers from Sunday were apparently a warning of worse things to come. Sophie's chest is really congested, and the boys have coughs which seem to be developing into something deeper. So far Brent hasn't been affected, but I've been getting progressively more congested as the day has worn on, so I'm off for a hot bath and some Vicks Vaporub myself. :-)

GratiTuesday

Happy December and Happy GratiTuesday! Since I posted on Thursday last week, this week's list will be a little shorter. This week I'm thankful for:

  1. Good girlfriends! Thanks especially to Kelly for breaking away and coming over for a long visit last night after the kids were in bed. Couch time with friends is the best therapy sometimes.
  2. This weather! I can't believe it's December 1st and I don't have to take a coat with me.
  3. Our Christmas decorations! Our house looks very festive inside and out.
  4. My friend Jancy, who exhibits a great amount of patience and enthusiasm when taking our family's photos. We spent some time with her on Friday taking snapshots for our Christmas card. I haven't seen any of them yet, but I'll post some when I get them. (Also, she's a steal! If you need any photos taken, let me know and I'll connect you with her!)
  5. My husband, who didn't flip out when I told him I wanted to throw the boys' beds out the window. (They're so big and impossible to change the sheets on! We made a big mistake when we chose the mattresses--unfortunately, it might be an expensive mistake, too.)