Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just a random update

Well, we're at week 2.5 on the weekend husband/daddy schedule. We're doing pretty well. It is not ideal, but it IS a job. Actually, Mark has an interview with AT&T this Wed for a Field Tech position. We'll see how that goes.

The kids are doing well. We are having a somewhat tragic (for Mommy) transition. Cassie is phasing out of napping. She just doesn't need it. If she does nap in the afternoon, I have a lot of trouble getting her to bed at night. I haven't decided yet which is the pro and which is the nap and early bed (with no down-time for Mommy) or nap with late, late bed (with Mommy's freedom time). We're instating PPT for her to have her personal play time and me to have some personal quiet time! :)

Conrey cracks me up more and more every day. I think that I mentioned his animal sounds. The other day, I said, "Conrey, what does an elephant say?" That is his favorite, so he promptly blew his little trunk noise. Then, he looked over at me with a very bored expression on his face and said, "Baa. Boo." Boo his his "Moo." It was like he was saying, "Yeah, yeah...I know what you want. Here you go..." Too funny. He and I have full conversations these days. They aren't always in words...we do some sign language, he follows direct commands, and he is really innovative at communicating in other ways. This morning, my sister was gathering her stuff to leave (she spent the night last night). She said, "Did I get everything? I think so." I notice him get down off of the couch and race back to my room, but I didn't think anything of it. He came running back carrying her phone and ran up to her and held it up for her to get. He heard her ask, remembered that he had seen it back there, and quickly retrieved it so that she wouldn't leave without it. I'm sorry, but what a SMART BOY!

My kids amaze me continually.

Oh, another thing...Cassie went to the eye doctor for the first time this morning. I guess our genes gave no option, but near-sightedness. She is already near-sighted at 20/40. The dr said that within 1-2 years, she will need glasses. It makes me sad that, as humans, we have no control over our children's bodies. I wish that she didn't have this condition. I know that it isn't tragic, but it will be an annoyance to her for the rest of her life. I know that I am annoyed by my lack of vision when I wake up in the night and when it's raining and the likes. I do, however, think that she will be adorable in little glasses. We'll just wait and see what happens in the future. I know that God made her perfect and in His image, and that is all I can ask for.

Well, my mister is awake and crying in his crib, so I guess I'd best go get him and get to frosting cupcakes with Cassie. Later, gators!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Story About A Slister

Ok, so I have to tell a story on my slister. It is really too, too funny not to share. Hope she forgives me for posting it. :) And yes, that says Slister...inside joke. :)

My sis got married in June. She has been experimenting with cooking and really becoming great at it. She had very little experience beforehand, much to my mother's great angst, because she was so very busy in high school. She has really impressed us all with the things that she's tried and succeeded at making as a very green cook (which, when used here does not mean eco-friendly, but rather, novice).

So, at my birthday party, she was telling us a story about some chicken she made. David was helping her. It was a honey-orange chicken w/ white wine and golden raisins. I thought that it sounded gross, so I wasn't surprised for them to talk about how the sauce was kind of gross, but they thought that it would be alright once it was on the chicken. They started eating and both kind of choked it down, not wanting to waste money. They said that the chicken itself was awesome and really, really moist. Having had enough of the foul-tasting sauce, David decided that he couldn't stomach any more. When Dani was all done, he made her rinse her mouth out and said, "Now, I'm going to tell you what this tastes like...vomit." She said that she took a tiny little taste and realized that he was absolutely right...that was why it tasted so tasted like vomit.

Here was my question: WHY DID YOU EAT IT?!?!?!? Ew. I would not force myself to eat something that tasted like vomit. Anyway, we all had a good laugh, but the punchline was yet to come.

Fastforward from that night to a week or so later. Dani came over when David was working to hang out with Mark and I...scratch She went to get a drink from the refrigerator.

Dani: "Why is this in the fridge?" I looked up and she was holding a box of chicken broth that was about half gone.
Me: "Because it's been opened."
Dani: "Oh no...I've just kept mine in the needs to be refrigerated?"
Me: "YES!!!!!!! It will go rotten!"
Dani: "OH MY!" 5 minutes later: "There was chicken broth in the vomit chicken sauce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Me: "Are you serious? How long had it been in your pantry?!?"
Dani: "Only 3 or 4 weeks..."
Me: "THREE OR FOUR WEEKS?!?!? DANI! It is only good in the fridge for about 14 days! In the pantry for 3 or 4 WEEKS?!? You could have DIED! How did you not get SICK?!?" Followed by other exclamations on both of our parts.

By this point, I was almost on the floor laughing. I was dying because they ate rotten chicken broth and neither of them thought to themselves, "If this tastes like vomit, perhaps I shouldn't eat it..."

She brought over cheesecake brownies that night, as well. After a loooong conversation about what to refrigerate vs. what can go in the pantry, I asked if she had been keeping the cheesecake in the fridge. Nope. She hadn't. I said, "If you're unsure...REFRIGERATE...ANYTHING!"

Alright. I got that out of my system. It is probably a much better story in person, but I just had to get it out. Too, too funny! Thank you, Lord, for not letting them get awful sick.

Thank you, Dani, for many great stories to share! :)

A Fall Recipe (or 2)

It's that time of year...fall. The leaves are changing, the weather is changing, the menus are changing, the wardrobes are changing. Something refreshing about the crisp coolness of the air and the beautiful color in nature at this time of year. My family has always been very food-oriented. So, fall brings several things to mind to me: Chili, Halloween Cookies, Pumpkins, Squash, Spiced Apple Cake, Yellow Cake with nutmeg sauce, many different soups, etc., etc., etc. If it is fall-related, we ate it. My mom would make fall-themed dinners. One that I remember was stew that was cooked in individual pumpkins and served that way. I am going to focus on 2 fall desserts today; one that I've never tried, but am going to. The other is one that is one of my favorites for fall!

The newbie is a really quick and easy version of apple dumplings. Everyone knows what an apple dumpling apple inside of pastry with cinnamony goodness. This is a time-effective, cost-effective method. Here it is:
~1 stick margarine/butter
~3/4 cup sugar
~1 teaspoon cinnamon
~2 Granny Smith apples (I bought Fuji, because they're my fav kind of apple)
~1 can of 8 Crescent rolls
~1 can of Mountain Dew or Diet Mountain Dew (Does anyone else think that the diet option is a bit silly considering that it has a stick of butter and 3/4 c sugar?!?)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt margarine, sugar, and cinnamon. Peel and core apples and cut into quarters. Wrap each apple quarter in one Crescent roll. Put into a lightly greased 8" or 9" baking dish/pan. Pour sugar mixture over rolls. Then pour Mountain Dew over the crescent rolls. Bake in preheated oven until brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

I have no idea how long they will take to bake, as it was not specified. I thought it sounded intriguing and yummy.

The second is Pumpkin Dump Cake. Sounds great, right? It is a lot tastier than the name projects. :) Basically, you dump a bunch of stuff in a baking dish, all mixed up, dump some stuff on top, and bake. I'm not a pumpkin pie person and was extremely skeptical of this, but I have to have it every fall and find myself craving it at other times of the year, as well.
Preheat oven to 350. Mix together the following:
~1 small can pumpkin (pie filling)
~1 small can evaporated milk
~3 eggs
~1-1/2 c sugar (Just in case anyone is like my sister, that doesn't mean you can pick. She thought that you could use 1 or 1/2...she's so silly! It means "one and one half cup")
~1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon (same--"one and one half teaspoon")
Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Pour pumpkin mixture into the dish.
~1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
~2 Sticks of butter, melted
~3/4 c. chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle the melted butter over that. Sprinkle pecans over that.

Bake for 1 hour at 350.

I am planning to make this tomorrow to take to my Bible study. Start salivating now, ladies. :) All I can say is "Yum." :)

If you are interested in any of the other aforementioned recipes, comment me and I'll post them.

Hope you all have a great 2nd day of fall and I'll catch ya later.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The JOYS of being a parent

You know those moments when your heart about bursts with love for your little ones because you see them do something extraordinary?

Last night at my parents' house, my little Conrey (15 months old), put his little fork down and folded his hands when my dad said it was time to pray. I wasn't going to make him because it was a late dinner and I had let him start eating about 10 minutes earlier. He did it all on his own and stayed that way through the entire prayer grinning at himself. Precious. That is the word that comes to mind. His precious little heart knew what was the right thing to do and did it.

There are days that I want to rip my hair out by the handful, but then I remember something like this and it brings a sweet balm to my spirit.

I love these babies!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Insert witty title here

Let me introduce name is Devon...I think we were friends once upon a time...

Yes, it really is me. No, I didn't get hit by a mack truck, drown in the shower, or lose my mind (although that last one really is a miracle, I'll say). Life here has been...well...crazy. Really, really crazy. I don't even know where to begin. Mark worked for the company with which he got a job for around a month and then, due to reasons that I don't wish to go into online for the world to read, he quit. It was a very difficult situation as a man and as a Christian, and he decided that it was not the place where he needed to be. The quitting means no unemployment and a bad situation, but it is what it is and we're surviving. He is working in KC some with his brother and for his very first electrical company and that has been difficult. The kids and I are managing, but we don't love it.

The kids are doing really well. Conrey now has 16 teeth. That is the full set minus the 2-year molars. However, seeing as how my kids are early teethers, I expect those to make their debut in the next few months. He has moved up to the big boy class at church and loves it. He knows many animal sounds and noises. Here is his list of sounds:
Lion (Which is a very soft roar...not very intimidating)
Cow (which he says as "BOOOOOO")
I think that that is all. He LOVES animals and wants to read animal books, pet any that he sees, and loves the zoo. He is very much like his daddy in that regard.
He says the usual baby things like Hi, Bye Bye, Momma, Dada, etc., as well as:
Paci (Pa Pa, which sounds like the 1st syllable of paci)
Please (speaking and sign language)
Thank You (mostly in sign language)
Grandpa, Grandma, Grannie (Ni Ni), Granddad
Cassie (those it sounds nothing like Cassie and I can't remember how it sounds)
Hammer (Mam mer)
That's all I can think of. His speech has really taken off lately. He repeats ANYTHING that I ask him to say. It is all very much in his throat and often his mouth doesn't even open, but the intonnation is the same. I feel that it is due to his paci, so for quite awhile now, he only gets it when he sleeps (or when we're in public and he's fussy). This seems to be working and his speech has improved as a result. He is wearing 18-month clothes, but the pants are sooooo long on his little legs (he's built like his daddy...long torso, short legs). We roll the pants and that seems to work. It has been good just wearing shorts this summer. :)

Cassie is a riot...24/7. A riot. She comes up with the most hilarious things. However, we are having to learn about what are appropriate versus inappropriate things to say. She is starting to make observations about people and some of them are not kind. She is a very sweet, loving thing, though, so she isn't being rude, she is just stating what she sees. She doesn't know that it is not ok to call someone fat or weird or that they look funny. So, we're working on that.

She is also learning how to play us...mostly Daddy. :) The other night, she said she had a question for daddy. He said OK. She said...and I QUOTE, "Well, it goes ruff ruff...................and..................I THINK you need to buy me one!" We were rolling.

She is such the opposite of her brother. She is long and lean. I have her in 3T pants for length, but they are huge on her waist/legs. Today, she worse 24 Month pants and they fit her waist really well. :) She has started picking her own clothes. Mommy has to "help" quite a bit with matching and such. What is driving me BONKERS is that she changes clothes all throughout the day and then puts stuff that is not dirty into the dirty clothes. She'll get something down, change her mind, and into the laundry it goes! UGH! I seriously need to put a lock on her closet doors! She has definitely started showing her own sense of style, though. She loves to be all dolled up and loves wearing dresses/skirts. She does not, however, like to have her hair done. She just wants to wear it down and it drives me nuts being in her face.

Oh, did you all notice the new pics to the right? Those were their 3-year and 1-year pictures.

I am now keeping some adorable kiddos 2-3 days a week. Right now, it is just half days, but their momma is looking for a job that is 2-3 full days/week. When they're here, I currently have a 3, a 2, a 1, and a 6.5 month old. WHEW! They keep me busy, but I truly do enjoy it. I'm not just saying that either, Kel! :) Cassie and the 2-year-old, are the best of friends. I hope that Conrey and the baby will be too. The 2 oldest are girls and the 2 youngest are boys, so it works out so well!

Which reminds me of another Cassie story...Donna, this one's for you! :) I'm not sure if their momma would want their names on here or not, so I'm just going to call her "S."
When the kids were here yesterday, the 2-year-old, was signing and singing and singing. Let me tell you, the GIRL can carry a TUNE! As with many 2-year-olds, sometimes you can't tell what they're saying, but with her, it didn't matter. I knew exactly what songs she was singing...over and over and over and over..... :) She was singing the "I LOVE YOU" song from Barney and then the Farmer and the Dell followed by The Wheels on the Bus. She sang Barney for probably 20 minutes without pause and total, she was probably singing for close to 40 minutes. Finally, Cassie went up with a little bell (from Dani's wedding) and rang it in her face. She said, "Ok, S...that's about enough singing! That's enough singing, S!" I couldn't help but crack up!!! What did the little sweetheart do? She switched back to the Barney song and kept on goin!!! Cassie looked at me like, "REALLY?" and then went on her way. It was too, too funny.

Oh, another milestone around here is that we got new neighbors next door that we really enjoy for several reasons. First of all, the dad is a policeman. His cruiser is there most of the time and that makes me feel much more safe and secure. Secondly, they have 2 girls, a 7-y-o and a 3-y-o who is 1 month older than Cassie. They have become fast friends and the 7yo is so great to play with Cassie too. They've had a lot of fun. On my birthday, they baked me a cake and tried to bring it over, but couldn't get ahold of us for a few days, so they finally just ate it. I felt so bad and was super bummed, but thought that it was so kind. I am hoping that we can be neighbors for a long time to come.

I am trying really hard to keep up on things around here as far as keeping our house presentable (or semi-presentable) at all times. I don't worry about a few toys here and there, because I want my kids to be able to play and such, but I am talking dishes, laundry, beds made, floors swept, etc. It is funny, because I seem to be more productive on daycare days. It seems like I get more done on the days that I have 4 kids rather than 2! :) I definitely want this to be a place that Mark comes home to to just kick back and relax after the travelling back and forth. I don't want the stress of a messy house to add to it all.

Oh, another thought...Mark and I have had a bit of a rocky year, but we are more happy and in love right now than we've ever been. We are both focused on taking care of each other and loving each other well. We feel so strong because of all that we've gone through and really just have gained so much through the difficult stuff that we've been through. I give God the glory for that and for pulling us through these rough times by drawing us nearer to Him, nearer to each other, and nearer to our children. I have watched Mark become such an amazing father to both of our kids and see him doing more each time he is with them. He really amazes me when I see him love them in just the right way that speaks to their little hearts and it makes my heart burst to see it. We only ask God to continue to protect what we have worked and prayed so hard for that He helps us work to make it even better. Satan has had it out for our families lately, and we have been the target more than once. We thank God for His providence, for His love, for His protection.

Well, I guess that this loooong post pretty much has summed up our lives at this point. Meshellyn...does this suffice? :) Sorry that it was so long, but be glad that I've thought up all of these things from the past 2 months! :) Life is in chaos right now in many ways, but life is so, so good right now. I love my God. I love my husband. I love my kids. I love my family. I love my friends. Heck, I even love myself. :) They all love me back, too. What else is there to life? Money, jobs, houses, cars...all meaningless without love.