Saturday, December 27

Christmas Vacation

Can I just share that I've so been enjoying the Peanut's Christmas vacation?  Not only has it been nice to have her home with us (on many, many levels--but the sibling bickering????  Make. It. Stop!!!!), but it means I don't have to be such a Nazi about bedtime--which I usually am.  I usually, without fail, have the kiddos in the bath by 6:30 (6:40 if I am living fast and loose that evening) so as to have them in bed, stories read, and lights out by 7:30.  Both of them require 11-12 hours of sleep and when they wake up around 7:00-7:30 each morning, they need a firm bedtime.  And who am I kidding?  I enjoy a little quiet time to myself each night too!  Anyhow, all that said, because we can sleep in each morning with no firm obligations, it's been nice not having to be so rigid about bedtime. Not that we go crazy by any means, but 8:00 and in bed? 

No biggie. 

It's just been really, really nice.

We had a nice little quiet Christmas.  We did the thing floating around Pinterest for gifts for the kids this year and it was SO nice.  Four gifts for Christmas--something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.  We initially decided on that mainly because of budgetary constraints, but in the end, our kids are so very blessed and they really don't need anything.  They have closets full of clothes and tons of toys to play with (thank you Grandma and Grandpa!).  The Hubs and I don't really exchange gifts (although I did get him a Charger's sweatshirt that I totally forgot about this past September!) and he did built me a coat rack for our mudroom main entry/exit through our house.  That will have a post of it's own later.  

We entertained my mom's side of the family here on Christmas Eve and then went to my Aunt and Uncle's house for Christmas dinner. While Christmas time has always been my very favorite-ist time of year, with the kids and their emotional highs and lows of the last several days (lots of excitement, lots of family time, lack of strict schedules {see above}, etc.) EVERYTHING has the potential for a big ol' meltdown.  So.  That said, I am kinda enjoying the rest of this week just being able to lay low and watch movies, eat leftover cookies and soup from Christmas Eve and just relax

I hope you are getting to do the same!!!


Wednesday, December 24

His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful

Saturday, December 20

The Peanut Takes a Picture

Since I am the official picture taker of our little family, there are very few pictures with me in our photos.  While my kids will surely know someday that I was there at all the events, I would like for handful of them to actually have me in them as well. 

However.  I am really bad about remembering to ask the Hubs to take some pictures with me in them.  See how this plays out?

Then the other day, Peanut begged to take a picture of me and the boy. 

And I let her.  I know, right?

She did pretty good, considering she is even more a novice than I am.  We just might have a newly added photographer in the family!


Thursday, December 18

How I Got Hired for This Job, I'll Never Know

A few weeks ago, we got a call from Peanut's school. That's never a good thing, is it? The only times I've received phone calls from the school was either a) The Peanut was sick and I needed to come pick her up immediately or b) She had been exposed to some infectious disease {whooping cough, chicken pox, etc} and they were giving us the legally required disclosure.

Well, they called on Peanut's scheduled day off from school, so this worrier automatically assumed she had been exposed to something once again. Nice, right? I have no idea why Hubs calls me a dooms-dayer. No clue at all.

Turns out, we were being invited to a special assembly last week. She had been chosen as Student of the Month for November. Now, because it's a Christian school they choose a student based on the monthly character trait. (I was Student of the Month many moons ago {in public school} and it wasn't based on anything like that. At least that I remember. But it could have been based on being a suck-up, because that is something I excelled in for sure.)

Anyhow, back to November's character trait.  It was loving kindness. Loving kindness. Specifically referenced from Micah 6:8~

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Let me tell you, that was humbling. Because folks, that fine quality so did not come from me. That is her daddy through and through. I am all about what is fair, what is right (in my mind!)--what is just. I guess I have the just part down, but the problem is, I don't follow that through with the love kindness part. Ouch. But our daughter? To her teacher, she stood out among her peers in her consistent, kind and loving manner.

Wow.  This was a very much needed reminder, that that precious little Peanut of ours--she isn't ours at all.  She was a gift.  A gift entrusted to us from a very loving God.

Now I know in my heart that God is good and God is sovereign in all things.  But for goodness sakes, in my head I can't help but wonder what He was thinking in trusting someone like me to be their mama?  I am poor, poor example of Christ each and every day. #utterfailure

I am impatient and probably expect far too much from their little six and two year old selves.  As I just said, I like doing the right thing and I want them to do the right thing.  And let's face it, my little sinners don't always mind their mama.  I feel like I am banging my head against the wall on most days.  But that's probably how He feels with me, right? Because I am His little sinner.

In the end, I have to remember cling to that He will work everything for good according to His purpose.  While the loving kindness trait didn't come from me, I have a sneaking suspicion that Peanut is the way she because He knew I could learn from that.


Tuesday, December 16

Christmas Performances

The Peanut had her school's Christmas program last week.  It went well and she did great.  Each of the classes does 1-2 songs, starting with the youngest (this being her class--the Kindergarteners) and ending with the 5th grade classes.  Her class's song selections were Go Tell It On the Mountain and O Come All Ye FaithfulO Come All Ye Faithful was wonderful just as expected, but Go Tell It On the Mountain?  Well, it was oh, SO sweet.  It's not a Christmas song you hear a lot--at least not on the radio.  I mean, I grew up knowing the Mahalia Jackson version of the song.  Very few current artists do this song on their Christmas albums.  But Let It Snow?  Excuse my while I roll my eyes. Not only do I REALLY NOT care for this song, but it seems like EVERYONE has sang it. It's just so not my favorite, mmmkay?

ANYHOW, her class's little version of Go Tell It On the Mountain was complete with hand motions (most of which I believe were ASL, but I'm not entirely sure?).  And it. was. precious. So precious that I've had her sing it for me since because it's just that sweet.

I love her little school programs.  But it was kind of a bummer this year because her school program was the same exact night at nearly the same exact time as her voice {lessons} recital.  So we had to choose one.  We thought it was important that she be at her school program with her class, since that was a one time event.  Plus, part of her music grade was based on her attendance at the Christmas program.  Secondly, she still had a chance to preform with her voice lesson comrades this last weekend at a local retirement home.  So we had her do just that.  She sang in the school's program and then she also sang with the other "voice" students this past Saturday night.  Plus, it was good that these last three months of practicing her Christmas solo were not in vain!!

Her solo was great too, despite her bundle of nerves an hour before her program.  I think she's starting to get nervous for these things, which saddens me.  It means that she's starting to feel self conscious, doesn't it?   I mean, wow, the girl wouldn't even eat her dinner before the recital.  That's just not like her!   Anyhow, if you would like to view it, here it is:

In the end, she still got past it and she did a fabulous job once she got up there.  The posing at the end?  All her idea.  The Merry Christmas at the end?  All her idea. 

My little precious Peanut, how did you grow up so fast? 


Tuesday, December 9

Happenings Around Here

Thanksgiving has come and gone {explain to me exactly how that happened?} and we are already full swing into many Christmas festivities.  But before I forget, I wanted to share these little tidbits.


My dad's employer is one of the very few left that still gifts a turkey to their employees for Thanksgiving.  My dad also likes to bless us, so he gave it to us.  We all went to my aunt's home and had a lovely Thanksgiving Day at her house, but I am in the camp that Thanksgiving just isn't the same if you don't have leftovers.  I cooked up the gifted turkey the Saturday after Thanksgiving (along with {from scratch} green bean casserole {FYI: once you go scratch, you never go back.  For reals.}, horseradish carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy and of course, fresh cranberry sauce) so we too, could have a weeks worth of meals.

Once all the trimmings leftovers were gone, of course we had lots of turkey still to be eaten.  So the family favorite White Enchiladas was on the menu. Can you say yum? 

And then. 

Ladies (and gentlemen as it may be), these are the new family fave for leftover turkey. 

Turkey Taquitos with a Spicy Cranberry Dipping Sauce

I was reading my favorite Food Network Magazine and Guy said these were his favorite to make with leftover turkey.  And funny enough, it isn't his recipe, but they are still oh so delicious!  I'll be honest, they are a pain to make if you don't have a deep fryer (we don't) but well worth it!!!  While casseroles that use up all the trimmings are great, they still taste like Thanksgiving dinner, and if you are like me, four or five days in you want. some. variety. of flavors!!!  Any Mexican inspired dishes are always a hit at our house, and these are a great option.

I also made these pretzel rolls and these schnitzle sandwiches recently.  Actually, it was about six weeks ago, but whatever.  The rolls tasted great (which I thought turned out looking pretty good too!) and the schnitzel sandwiches were divine


We've all been passing around the sickies.  So that's fun.  But what's really the greatest is that I currently sound like (and have for about a week now) a fifty year old two-pack-a-day-smoker named Roxie.  I'm telling you, it's every bit as charming as it sounds. 


About a month ago, our sweet boy was at the counter eating his lunch and he looked a little sad.  He was propping up his head on the counter with his crooked arm {I hope that word picture makes sense}.  I asked what was wrong and he said to me, "Me wish me had a truck like Daddy's" and sighed a sigh so big, you would have thought he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.


A few weeks ago, I overheard the Peanut telling her Daddy about her day at school.  They have chapel on Fridays and she was telling him all about it:

"Sometimes when we are singing, people hold up their hands and close their eyes......I don't know why they close their eyes. But they hold up their hands 'cause it's like they are giving a high five to God."

Oh my gosh, I just about died laughing.  This girl is something else.  I feel like I fail her on so many different levels each and every day and she is just still as sweet and innocent as can be. 

I can't believe God chose me (!!!) to be her and my son's mama. 

To say I am humbled would be an understatement. 

Sunday, December 7

The Perfectly Imperfect Gingerbread House

I am learning and really, have been learning since the Peanut was about two, that these traditions I am trying to create with them don't have to be perfect

Why yes, I am a very slow work-in-progress.

Anyhow, our little Christmas schedule is quickly filling and between all my DIY projects, Peanut being in school, and just living life {otherwise known as cleaning, laundry, ironing, bath time, the revolving door of sickness, etc}, there were very few days where Operation: Decorate Gingerbread House could commence. So this weekend it was.

And thank you, Grandma, for picking this up for the kids and thank you, Wilton, for placing such high expectations (for myself) of how these should turnout. (Really, their little kit is great and such a time saver, but holy smokes, do these people have children?  I think not.)

By about the third candy placed on the house and in between the little brother placing the gumdrops IN his mouth before placing them ON the house {"Me didn't eat, me just tasted" was his explanation}, I realized the picture perfect gingerbread house would not happen. Why yes, I believe I've had the conversation in my head before.  The same happened this year as well

But once again, just like all the other times, in the end the kids had such fun, and could. not. wait. for Daddy to get home so they could show him their artistic prowess. 

It was a great day.


Monday, November 24

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

Today was Peanut's last day of school prior to her Thanksgiving break.  She was so excited for "the feast," as it had been referred to all week prior.  They didn't even have to bring lunches today, so it was quite the big deal.  Just ask our 6 year old daughter.

Here she is with her besties.  Ha, ha!  Although, she has never referred to these girls as that, from the way I hear Peanut's tales from school and recess, these three are inseparable and I am so thankful she has made such good little friends just a few months into the year!  

All the children made Pilgrim hats and they did a few recitations and songs for the mommies and daddies in attendance.
This is mommy's favorite {a new one for me}:

The turkey is a funny bird
Its head goes bobble-bobble;
And all he knows is just one word...
And that is


And an old favorite:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  Psalm 118:1 

Many blessings to each of your families this Thanksgiving.  


Tuesday, November 18

The Theater

About a year and a half ago, we began a new tradition with our little Peanut--we have been taking her to plays.  

One of my closest friends (her mom matched up the Hubs and I) has a daughter (our flower girl!) that is involved in a Christian theater arts group and I have taken the Peanut to several of their productions.  Of course this is an "amateur" arts group, but I seriously think they put on some really great performances.  Although I've only seen three of them, I have loved each and every one! 

Last year we saw The Little Princess.  Just an FYI, this was the first book that I never finished as a young, avid reader--I thought the story was so sad and depressing--I just hated it as a little girl.  But their performance of it made me love the play, so I really think that says something. 

Earlier this year we saw The Little Mermaid, Jr.   Need I say more.....I mean really, what's not to love??!?  Great characters, great music, great costumes......

And just this past weekend we were able to go see our former flower girl starring as Miss Hannigan in Annie, Jr.  She did SO good!  And this time we were finally able to work it out so the Hubs could come with us.  There might have been some initial arm twisting.  In the end though, I think he had a really good time. 

This is actually how we were able to get the Peanut into her voice lessons.  Her instructor advertises in the play's programs and since the Peanut has always been such a little singer around the house, I thought why not put her in voice lessons?  I mean, I certainly can't instruct her in that area, so why not have a professional do it one day a week?

Anyhow, we had a great time and we can't wait for the next one!

Saturday, November 15

And just like that, the season is over

The season was just eight short weeks and just like that, it's over.  I think the Peanut enjoyed herself playing soccer, but she has some mixed emotions to be sure.  She told me more than once today that she was sad that it was over.  But then when I inferred that she would play again next year, she didn't seem too big on the idea. 

She ended up playing goalie quite a bit throughout the season.  I'd venture to guess probably 85% of the games?  There wasn't hardly any bench time for her and when she was out on the field, she was goalie.  But the thing is, while she did pretty well at it, she didn't like being goalie.  She wanted to be in on the action--part of the fun.  But then today, she got her chance (her first time in several games) to play both offense and defense and she didn't know quite what to do with that.  And in her defense, she didn't have much practice doing playing either position, so what were we expecting really?  I think if she had had more practice in playing those positions, she would definitely have more confidence out on the field.

It really is a bummer too that it was over so fast, because her team really seemed to be finding their groove.  They were really learning to play as a team and passing the ball to teammates to accomplish the goal making efforts as a team--which I think is big for 6-7 year olds!  I'm sure it always seems like that though, right?  Just as the bigger picture is figured out, the season is over. 

They had a pizza party after the game today and they got little certificates for team participation.  Several of the teams from her school went to the same pizza place and one of those teams got trophies for their participation.  I think that the certificates and/or trophies portion was coordinated by the parents of the team and I am glad our team didn't do trophies.  That probably sounds really bad, but this was a soccer league that didn't keep score.  So if they are not keeping score, then there isn't winning or loosing, right?  And to me, trophies indicate that you've won something.  Personally, I am so not in the camp of "not keeping score." 

While I am probably the least competitive person on the planet (according to my husband), I don't think not keeping score is a good idea.  Now, at this age level, it's probably not really that big of a deal.  The purpose of this league is for the kids to learn to play the game and have fun.  And that was definitely accomplished.  But while "score" wasn't kept, most of the kids totally knew which teams won each week.  So whatever "they" were trying to avoid, wasn't really avoided. 

Anyhow, I think Kristen said it very well last spring in this post.  I think in the long run, all these certificates (yes, those too!) and trophies can give today's kids an over inflated sense of self and I think that can be very dangerous, you know?  In the end, loosing can build character and it makes you learn how to do better next time.  Just like in real life, right?  You learn from your mistakes and you move forward and do better next time.  Funny how that works.....? 

There is always room for improvement, am I right? 

But for this time around, I'm glad she had fun (I think she probably enjoys the social interaction the most.....ah, yes, my little social butterfly!) and hopefully when my brother-in-law moves home, he can coach the Peanut and train her and she'll be more confident and want to give it another go next year. 


Saturday, November 8

Random Thoughts

Just some of the randomness from the last week:

The Peanut has been asking to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house for several weeks now.  I was on the phone yesterday with my mom and Peanut was waving rather wildly to get my attention.  And who am I kidding, she was whispering RATHER loudly too, about her NEED to talk to Grandma as I was getting ready to hang up.  So Peanut gets on the phone and asks Grandma when she can spend the night and I hear an "uh you too, Grandma" and she hangs up.  I ask her what Grandma said.  Peanut tells me confidently, "Grandma said I can spend the night in the next year."

"The next year? Are you sure it wasn't before the end of the year?" knowing full well my mom would never give Peanut a 365 day window of spending the night--and even just as doubtful that she would even give a 60 day window of time.

"Nope, that's what she said."  And she went back to playing.

So I talked to my mom this morning, "So mom, what exactly did you tell Peanut about spending the night?" {We had just made specific plans for her to spend the night this weekend}  "Oh, I told her we've been really busy, but definitely in the next month or so."

While Peanut's concept of time is getting much better than it used to be, I guess we still need to work on terms like months and years.

The Little Brother's newest phrase any time he sees a picture of him and his sister on the computer, a cell phone, a framed picture, etc?  "Ohhhh, that so CUTE!"


My roots grow out is something awful right now and my mama (bless her heart!!!) is going to color those this weekend.  Why, yes, I am still trying to hang on to the vestige of my youth (blond hair).  I've never really felt like myself with the brown hair I developed in my twenties.  That said, the silver lining is that my hair is probably close to 25-30% gray now, so I can confidently say that my hair is actually starting to get lighter again.  Or not--at 35, I am not ready to throw in the towel just yet.


I have an awful habit of biting my nails.  Yes, I know.  Tacky.  Gross.  SO unladylike {spell check tells me this is all one word.....who knew?}  It's an awful, nervous habit.  Well, I figured out if I paint my nails, I am much less likely to bite them.  So girlfriend has been keeping her nails painted for the better part of two months and my nails look so much nicer!  But of course, then I have to repaint my nails nearly every week, because while I won't mess with my newly painted nails, once that first nail chips?  All bets are off and I start picking at the polish.  See?  NERVOUS HABIT.


The Hubs and my dad felled the two large trees in our front yard this past weekend.  Boy, was that stressful to watch.  It probably would have been a good idea to call in some professionals for peace of mind (mostly mine!), but that just wasn't in the budget and the trees sadly needed to come down.  Why, you ask?  Because we hate the leaves.  I am SO kidding!  No, really there were two major factors.  We have a VERY tiny yard and the trees were just getting to be too big.  Like many people, the prior homeowners didn't account for the fact that trees grow and they get bigger.  When that happens in such a tiny little yard, the root systems can start to cause problems with the foundation as well as any paved surfaces.  Just a couple blocks away from our house, our city went through the neighborhood and highlighted (with hot pink spray paint, no less) any damaged sidewalks from tree roots.  You can guess who gets to pay to have the sidewalks replaced--the homeowner.  Well, we are not in the position to pay $5-10K to have the sidewalks around our home repaired.  While the trees hadn't done any damage just yet, it would have happened in the next couple years, so the trees needed to come down while they were still somewhat manageable to do ourselves {you know I use that term very loosely, right?}.
The deer on the right was just a little visitor we had this past summer.  SO NOT normal for our little suburbia!

Anyhow, thanks to my dad's help and Hub's cautiousness (not that my dad is an idiot--he's not at all, I just think they balance each other out in some ways) both trees came down just fine.  Of course, I DIDN'T get a nice before shot to give you an idea of just how big the front tree was, but it was pretty good sized.

Enough to make this mama's heart rate sky rocket and palms sweaty during the cutting process and to make my knees/legs like Jell-O for the better part of 15 minutes after the tree was down.  

We live on a corner, so Hubs played the part of traffic control from both directions in case there were any cars coming at any point during the cutting.  The bigger of the two trees was definitely tall enough to lay across our street, so obviously we didn't want any liabilities from the whole thing.  So Hubs was cautiously darting back and forth across the street to watch for cars (and a falling tree!) while my dad was hopping around the trunk of the tree with the chainsaw going full force, doing his best to "expertly" cut the tree so it fell that way instead of this way. 

Yes, I was a little stressed.

But I couldn't NOT watch, because you know I had the full capability to stop anything bad from happeningAhem. 

In the end, things went great (even the weather cooperated! PTL!!)  and Hubs has nearly all the debris hauled off.  Now he gets to work on getting the trunks and roots torn out.

And silly me, I thought the hardest part was over!

Friday, October 31

Tinkerbell and Her Duck

For this Halloween, I had planned on using the Peanut's duck costume from several years back for the little brother this year.  And I had high hopes of creating a swan costume for the Peanut.  So you know, they could have went as a swan and her duckling. 

(You know I am all about the theme costumes.  See 2013 here and see 2012 here.)

(In my defense though, my mom started the theme theme by suggesting Dorothy and the scarecrow for Halloween 2012.)

(That said though, I didn't object one single bit.) 

However Halloween was getting closer and closer and I was running out of time, and I kid myself into thinking I could sew something really cool (I can't) and plus we don't have a lot of extra money lying around these days.  Plus that Peanut of ours has a dress up trunk full of some pretty cool costumes--this Tinkerbell dress came from my cousin's little girl.  About a week ago, I suggested to the Peanut that she go as Tinkerbell and we could do glitter and she could wear her hair up in a bun like Tinkerbell.  "What do you think about that?" I asked her.

"Oh yeah!  I can go as Tinkerbell and he {the little brother} can be my duck!"

This girl.  She cracks. me. up!


Tuesday, October 28

Just Like Daddy

The Hubs was getting ready the other day on his day off and the little boy was making all sorts of commotion.  I had a know idea WHAT for.  Turns out the Hubs had promised him to put hair stuff (I think it's a pomade?) in the boy's hair just like he does.  So of course I ran and got the good camera.

It's sort of a mutual admiration society between these two.  


Saturday, October 25

Pumpkin Patch 2014

It wasn't a big family event like it has been in years past.  Mainly because the pumpkin patch that Peanut's class went to this year asked that younger siblings not attend.  Parents could go, but not the little littles, so that left me at home with our little boy.  Which in all honesty, was kind of okay with me--it poured nearly all. day. long.  According to Weather Underground, the precipitation accumulation for Wednesday for 1.70 inches.  Average rain in these parts is about 3 inches in the month of October, so we got more than half our normal monthly rain in one day.  That said, I was completely happy to hunker down at home all nice and dry.  Plus I stayed busy making meatloaf, roasted brussels (I never knew that was plural!!!  did you?) sprouts, horseradish carrots, and mashed potatoes--a nice hot meal to put on the table when the Peanut and Daddy got home all cold and damp. 

I was going to ask my sweet Hubs to take the good camera (I am not a fan of phone pics at all!).  However. I felt so bad because it was so nasty outside.  I will tell anyone who will listen my issues with camera phones (they are so not a replacement for a good camera!!!), but I will readily admit that they are much more convenient in terms of size--and lugging around a spendy camera in the rain showers of the northwest (camera bag and all) is NOT fun or easy.  Especially at a pumpkin patch. 

So I let the control freak in me relax and asked the Hubs to make sure to get some pictures on his phone--and the day was documented, even if it was with the iPhone camera.  ;)

Click here for 2014~with the fam

Click here for 2013 

Click here for 2012 

Click here for 2011 

Click here for 2010


Tuesday, October 21

Dress Up for the Little Brother

When the Peanut turned two, my mom made a very impressive dress up box for the Peanut's birthday present. So this past June (ahem), when the little brother turned two, my mom required herself to follow suit in making him his very own dress box. Never mind the fact that the Peanut didn't really start using her dress up box (aside from the gaudy jewelry!) until about 18 months later--when she was about 3 1/2.

I told my mom as much when she was frantically trying to get his dress up box done just before his birthday, "Mom, Peanut didn't use the dress up stuff until she was nearly 4.  You've got some time...."  Her response should have been expected.  "Peanut got hers when she turned two.  He will get his when he turns two."

Well, okay then.  

Just as Peanut's dress up box was fit for a girl, his is just as masculine as her's is girly.  My mom stained his in a nice dark finish, very much like the finish on his furniture she refinished for him when I was pregnant with him.  She was going for a treasure chest look--which worked out well for this mama.  We ended up using the chest for the treasure hunt at the Peanut's pirate party in September!

And in the end, I guess the surprise is on me. I didn't account for the older sibling factor.  Peanut is there to show him the ropes in the art of all things dress up and make-believe.  She takes her role as teacher very seriously.  And he takes his role as apprentice even more seriously.  He can "fight a fire" like nobody's business.  He hammers away on things with the force of a grown man and he can give a patient "a shot" without a thought to their pain.

Yes, he definitely needs to work on his bedside manner, but he is all boy.  Indeed.



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