Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Crafts

Oh, how I love Christmas crafts!

Star and bell suncatchers are easy and fun to make.

These applesauce and cinnamon ornaments sure make our house smell yummy!

The activity the kids love most is decorating snowman sugar cookies.

The survivors, but they know the clock is ticking.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Commercial Seepage

TV advertisements are seldom viewed in our household. This is largely due to us having TiVo and the fact that most of the programs the kids watch, such as Dora and Backyardigans, only have commercials at the end of the show.

However, holiday shows such as Rudolph and A Charlie Brown Christmas are broadcast on major networks that place commercials intermittently throughout the program. Yes, we are able to fast forward through the ads, but when I am in the middle of fixing dinner, I am not always able to grab the remote. Agitated pleas fill the air, "Mommy, bring Snoopy back!" Of course when brainwashing toy ads fill the screen, the natives settle back down.

And so, my children are being exposed to commercials. Is it making an impact? Yes, in a way...

I am downstairs piddling around the kitchen, when I hear Laurel finally stirring from a good night's sleep. Walking into her room, I happily sing, "Good morning, Sunshine," and lay down next to her to snuggle.

"Good morning, Mommy," she replies and smiles and stretches. "Is today Christmas?"

"No, Sweetie. We still need to wait six more days."

Laurel takes this information in, smiles and states, "Yeah! Six more days 'til Christmas. And then the commercials come!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Visions of Sugar Bums

Laurel just before she lays down for her nap: Mommy, I'm going to dream 'bout sugar bums!

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
Clement Clarke Moore

Laurel's dreams of sugar-plums came true, we assembled our gingerbread house!

A little icing here...

and a little icing there.

Laurel doesn't like what Ian is doing to the house.

But finally she buys into it and helps out.

The kids had a great time making the gingerbread house. I'm sure a little bit of candy will be missing from it each day, and I will continue to find candy on the floor and sugar on the walls until Easter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

~Clement Clarke Moore

I don't know about that "not a creature was stirring" bit, for certainly someone in this household was stirring in order for this to happen...

Me: Ian, why are your socks on top of your dresser?
Ian: They're ready for Christmas.
Me: Christmas?
Ian: Yes, Mommy, you silly. I'm putting toys in the stockings for all the little children.
(If you look carefully, the socks do have bulges and there are toys sticking out a couple of the openings.)

Santa, do you have need of an extra set of hands? This boy is ready and eager!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Trick or Treat?

When I was kid, Halloween and trick-or-treating was a huge ordeal for residents in my neighborhood. Everyone seemed to participate: those with children and those without, younger families and older families, even the grumpy old man who lived next door (sure we were scared to ring his doorbell, but who's going to pass up an opportunity to get even more candy?)

Over the last decade, I've noticed trick-or-treating has started to dwindle. Different organizations such as churches and malls have taken it upon themselves to provide Halloween parties, fall festivals, or trick-or-treating within their own parking lot, calling it trunk-or-treat. I understand parents wanting to provide safe Halloween celebrations for their children. But one advantage to trick-or-treating within your own neighborhood is conversing with your neighbors, hopefully getting to know them a little bit better.

As we took our own two children out for trick-or-treating, it saddened me to see so many dark houses. This year, I'm guessing maybe only 20 percent of the residents in our neighborhood participated in this Halloween tradition. It was also sad to see so few children out trick-or-treating.

Do I need to change with the times and find some alternative Halloween celebration? I hope not. The few neighbors we do know, really got a kick out of seeing the kids in their costumes. And for a few moments, we conversed and giggled together. I guess our little family will continue this tradition until we're the only ones left with a brightly lit porch light.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween

Wishing your family a spooky Halloween night, from Tink...

and Wall-e.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Three, Two, One...

AAAAHHHHHH!!! We're at the final days of prep for Halloween. I LOVE this holiday. It's become one of my favorites. Decorating, thinking of crafts, getting creative with costumes, carving pumpkins, reading spooky stories, trick-or-treating, it's all good.

But, of course there's a but, I tend to be a perfectionist. For the anal side of me, there's never enough time to get everything done that MUST be done. And, I over plan and don't spend enough time actually doing things.

Laurel will be Tinkerbell. We bought her dress and shoes/slippers. Easy, right? NOT. I found out on a trial run that the dress is too big and the shoes won't stay on her feet. Taking in the dress is not that big a deal, except that I DO NOT sew. I do not own a sewing machine and refuse to get one. Why? I just don't like to sew. However, I did learn how to hand stitch in a junior high school class, so I dusted off my extremely underused sewing kit and set it out for one of today's tasks.

As for Laurel's slippers, hmmm. Fortunately, there's a bit of gold lace across the top. I bought some elastic gold cord and just sort of weaved it along the edge and thought we'd tie them on her feet. Then a spark of creativity came into play: I weaved gold bells along with the cord. Now when she walks/runs/skips Halloween night, she'll sound like Tinkerbell. Cute, huh?

Now, I'm starting to think about Tinkerbell's hairstyle. Sure, I can do a ponytail on the top of her head and add a little bow. But, oh no, the perfectionist in me nags, "You can do more!" The problem is, I'm not exactly a hairstylist. My idea of fancy IS a ponytail. All last night I tossed and turned thinking about this little detail. I finally decide at five this morning to get up and turn to Google for help (I heart Google). Within minutes I find a site that gives me peace of mind: She Does Hair. The wonderful woman of this blog demonstrates how to achieve the Tink hairstyle step by step with pictures. She explains it so well, I think even I can do it. Today, Laurel and I will do a dry run. I just need to purchase some hairspray and possibly some glittery hair stuff.

As for Ian's costume, um, well, let's just say I've been very busy painting and cutting and Googling (of course), and making many trips to the craft store. I swear the cashier looked at me yesterday and muttered, "What? You, again?"

Yes, me again, I have made about a bizzillion mistakes.

Have I really been to the store that much? Let's just say, Laurel, all of two and a half years old, knows the layout of the store well enough that she can locate the felt and glue sections without blinking an eye. "Over here, Mommy," rings through my ears as she and I trod through aisles of crafty fun.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Farm Time

Our quest for fun lands our little family at a farm. This is the third year we have gone to Schnepf Farms. Some things we have done before...

The goats and other farm animals were quite patient with us.

We had to ride this monster slide. Climbing up the hill ensured both kids were tuckered out by the end of the day.

Thank goodness we brought the wagon or we'd have had to carry both of them.

Corn on the cob is a must!!!

Of course we had to pick pumpkins!!!

With so many cute pumpkins to choose from, it's hard to decide.

And some things the kids tried for the first time...

Flying is a huge hit.

Laurel wants to join a circus just so she can be the trapeze artist.

My little girl had to ride a pony. She chose the biggest one. Not exactly a pony, is it?

Oh, my, we're overheating. What to do, what to do? I know...

ice cream!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Something I Never Thought I Would Say to My Son

It's almost bedtime, so our little family busily cleans up the toys downstairs. I notice Ian is wearing Laurel's princess shoes, a common sight these days.

Once finished with picking up the day's mess, I announce, "Alright guys, it's time for bed. Let's go upstairs and put on your jammies."

Ian meets up with me at the bottom of the stairs and states, "Mommy, I'll race you upstairs."

"No, Ian, I don't want to race you while you're wearing heels."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ian, the Chip Eating Soothsayer

Ian sits with Laurel and I eating lunch. Like most times before, he happily munches on his potato chips first. About halfway through, he briefly stops to inform me, "Mommy, when I'm done eating my chips, I'm going to ask you if I can have more chips. And I know you will tell me to eat my sandwich first."

He then returns to crunching away on his Pringles.

A couple minutes later, he finishes and asks, "Mommy, may I have more chips?"

I simply reply, "Ian, what do I usually tell you?"

He smiles and answers, "To eat my sandwich first."

I laugh and say, "Ok, Ian, go for it!"

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Still Here

We're still here, just busy. I've been wanting to post more about our California trip - the beach, the aquarium and Legoland, but of course life interrupts and the computer is not cooperative in allowing me to view, let alone edit pictures. Sigh.

Recently, Ian, Laurel and I had a wonderful opportunity to spend a week at a friend's time share beach house in Rocky Point, Mexico. My friend brought along her two children, so there were us two mommies and four kids ages 4 (Ian), 3 (Riley), 2 (Laurel) and 1 (Connor).

The beach was awesome. At low tide, there were tide pools everywhere and we could wade in the water and chase Kermit Crabs, fish and some other bigger crabs. I have to laugh because not only do my kids cutely say "Kermit Crabs," but so does Riley.

On the last day we collected seashells in our buckets. Ian excitedly scooped up piles of tiny shells. Looking inside his bucket, we discovered it's entire contents were on the move. I informed him he needed to release his prisoners. We then tried to find unoccupied shells, a difficult thing to do. After rinsing the shells and laying them out to dry, we found several still had residents.

Non beach activities included making bracelets, a huge hit with Ian who made about ten of them. The kids also loved frosting, decorating and eating cupcakes. Of course the week was a huge party, so we made crowns. There was lots of chasing, singing, reading books, coloring, watching movies, Laurel and Riley pretending to be princesses and playing in a bunkbed turned castle, some squabbles, some crying (and not just by the mommies), and sweet hugs.

A wonderful week!!! Hopefully, if a certain computer gets fixed soon, I'll be able to post pictures.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Vacation: San Diego Zoo

We're home and ready to rest after a week full of activity.

We of course had to visit the San Diego Zoo. It's amazing, and enormous! We chose to walk instead of taking the tour bus. Believe it or not, the kids walked the entire time. Well Laurel did anyway, Ian maybe let us walk him in the stroller for about 500 feet's worth. I'm guessing we must have walked at least three miles, probably more.

The animals are amazing: koalas, gorillas, gobs of snakes, grizzly bears, pandas, and the usual lions, giraffes and elephants. A couple of our favorites had to be the polar bears...

...and the hippos.

My personal favorites were these three.

We easily spent seven hours there and didn't see everything. Next year we'll take a different route to see the rest. It's definitely a zoo worth visiting.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

C is Also For...

California and Carlsbad.

Legoland, here we come!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Today's Post is Brought to You by the Letter...

C is for cotton balls and ...


Cookie monster (of course),






...and CRAZY HAIR DAY!!!

Ian loves his preschool, but I think I'm having more fun. Let's face it, it wasn't his idea to fix his hair like that. This shows more of what he really thought about it...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Toddler Emotions

Toddlers cracks me up...

Paul, Ian, Laurel and I have just finished swimming. We have taken all the boats, styrofoam noodles and squirt guns out of the water. Paul is reconnecting the pool vacuum, while the kids and I put the toys away onto the patio.

At one point, I turn around and catch Laurel sitting at the pool edge, dipping her feet into the water. This is a big no-no, especially since she does not yet know how to swim. She knows better, so I immediately sit her in a chair on the patio for two minutes of time-out.

Oh yes, there are tears. Between sobs, she screams, "I am very angry...and jealous!" Then very softly, she whispers, "And I love my mommy."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fill One's Socks

As a mother of a preschooler and a toddler, I usually dress quickly in order to save precious seconds. Simply, I wear jean pants, shorts or capris so I easily match my bottoms and tops. As for socks, I have a bountiful drawer of white socks. Easy, right?

That's not always the case. On more than one occasion, I've noticed my socks felt slightly tight, leaving me pondering if they shrank in the wash. Upon further scrutiny, I notice they look a bit different from the norm. Then it dawns on me, "Oh, these are Ian's socks!"

Is it possible that my four year old has feet almost as big as mine? Evidently it's close enough we can almost wear each other's socks. No wonder we're spending a small fortune on footwear for our wee man.

Bigfoot may be out of a job soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back to School Meme

Evidently, my mind is blank about what to blog about, so I need to steal others' ideas. Lauren at Baseballs and Bows did a back to school themed meme. With all my teacher friends heading back to work, and all the wonderful kiddos I know excited about going back to school, I think it is a great idea!

  • In kindergarten, I remember each child's chair had a cover over the top of it with a huge pocket on the back of it full of crayons. I even remember the fabric was a bright yellow with pictures of Raggedy Ann and Andy on it.
  • In first grade I got to ride in the school float for the city's parade. My mom had sewn a prairie dress that I wore to school, and the teachers thought it would be perfect.
  • My best friend, Stella, and I were in the same second grade classroom. I really don't remember much about that year or hanging out with her then, but we are still friends after 30 years.
  • Third grade was horrible, due to a dragon lady of a teacher. If we were too talkative, she would tape our mouths shut with masking tape. One poor girl got in so much trouble, the teacher put tape on her mouth and around her hair.
  • In fourth grade I started playing the flute. I loved it, and the piccolo later on, and become a serious band geek. My mom must have been seriously bummed, since I started hating playing the piano, and would only continue piano lessons for two more years. Oh how I regret that decision now. As for the teacher, he was ok, except his punishment for inappropriate behavior was to put some sort of hot pepper flakes in our mouths.
  • Fifth grade, hmm, another wicked teacher, although she liked having us perform short plays and had us try out for parts. I don't remember any of the plays we did.
  • Sixth grade was a lot of fun. Volleyball, softball, basketball, you name it, I loved sports! Slam books were a huge hit. Anyone remember making or filling those in? I remember taking my Merlin game to school, and of course the teacher took it away. Our school had a book character parade, and I dressed in a white jumpsuit like Princess Leia from Star Wars episode V.
Anyone else have some school memories they would like to share? Let me know, I'd love to read them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Laurel is a little happy about her new bed and mermaid bedding.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Unexpected Food Storage Opportunity

It's lunch time. I call out to my little anklebiters, "Lunch time, guys."

Ian comes running to me at Mach five, jumps into his chair and immediately shovels chips into his mouth. Laurel sort of floats in on tippy toes, wearing her blue princess dress. "Ok, Princess Laurel, let's take that off so it won't get food stains," I tell her as I remove her outfit, leaving her to eat wearing just a diaper.

There's lots of crunching going on since the kids usually eat their potato chips first. Laurel suddenly growls, looks out from under furrowed eyebrows and deeply grunts, "I NEED A BIB!"

Her voice is so garbled I can't help but laugh at her. She hates to wear a bib, so I must inquire, "Laurel, why do you want a bib?"

Still growling, she replies, "Chips are all over me!"

Curious, I investigate. I pull her booster chair away from the table and notice there are indeed chips all over her. As I clean off my dainty little princess, I notice an extraordinarily large collection of crumbs in her bellybutton. Laurel's bellybutton is an innie and quite cavernous, and evidently can hold about a teaspoon's worth of food. My laughter is now uncontrollable, "Laurel, how did you get all those chips in your bellybutton?"

Ian is now laughing at her, too, "Laurel has chips in her bellybutton!"

Laurel again furrows her eyebrows and growls, then joins in the laughter.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Well Color Me...Rainbow

A. I'm too trusting.
B. I'm not keeping a watchful enough eye on these two.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Insomnia hits me square in the face this morning. I lay in bed staring at the clock at about 2:30, finally getting up and dragging myself downstairs an hour later. I've done some laundry, cleaned off the bar counter top (where everything ends up and is never put away unless I have insomnia), put away some of the kids' toys, Googled gift ideas for my tween niece's birthday, and blogged.

Nature calls, so I walk into the bathroom. My sensitive naked feet complain about a dirty floor. I look, and yes, yet again there is sand encroaching on the white tiles and grout.

A couple years ago, we had our back yard relandscaped. Paul and I thought it would be a great idea to designate an area for a future swingset/jungle gym for the kids. We had a sandpit put in measuring approximately 15 by 18 feet. There is no swingset yet, but the kids do love to play in the sand (so do the cats, but more on that later).

My mother warned me early on not to have a sandpit. "Your going to find sand everywhere in your house," she would tell me over and over again. The woman never let up on this, and I would reassure her that we'd strip the kids down and shake sand out of their clothes before letting them enter the house.

Ha. Perhaps it's laziness, but that just doesn't happen. Most times we remember to take shoes off, but we forget to check pants and shirt pockets. Oh, and let's not overlook the potential for sand collecting in diapers (you'd think the wearer of such a diaper would complain, but alas, no).

The kids sometimes have a mind of their own, and will run into the house unannounced while wearing wet sand covered shoes. Ian has a knack of leaving a beautiful set of prints leading from the back door to the bathroom.

I have swept and swept and power-washed the patio and pool deck, and still sand can be found - not a comfortable thing to walk on in bare feet. We have found sand in every room of the house. There is sand in the van. Paul and I even find sand in our own clothes thanks to the sharing of laundry machines. You can imagine the surprise when putting your hands into your pants pockets and pulling out a small pile of sand.


Thankfully, my mother is not exactly internet savy, lest I get a phone call today pretty much stating, "I told you so."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Call Me Alligator

Every night, our little family climbs into Paul's and my king sized bed for stories. Ian jumps upon the mattresses with book in hand, crawls past my feet and suddenly stops. "Mommy, I want that."

I follow his gaze to see what he's looking at. He's staring at my feet.

"What, Ian? What do you want?" I inquire.

"Mommy, I want that," he replies, pointing at my big toe.

My toenails are not painted, so I'm not exactly sure what he means yet.

Confused, I ask again, "Ian, what do you want?"

"I want that," and he touches the bottom of my big toe. "I want those lines."

Ugh, he wants to have calloused, scaly feet like mine. Yup, it's definitely time for a serious pedicure.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Welcome Home Grandma and Papa!

Great news, Grandma Ann and Papa Dave have returned from Scotland. Laurel and Ian were excited to go visit them last night. "I love Grandma and Papa, I miss them sooooo much!" Ian would tell me.

We took dinner over to their house. Ian knew we would be doing this. As soon as he woke up from his nap (yes, he's four and still takes a nap, otherwise his name would be Mr. Cranky), he reminds me, "Mommy, don't forget to take dinner to Papa and Grandma's house. As soon as Laurel wakes up, we have to go get food so we can eat."

I guess he was already hungry, although lately, he's been very food oriented. At any party we've gone to or had, he's always talking about what we're going to eat. He's all about the food, especially when it involves his favorites: pizza, cake, cupcakes, ice cream or popcorn.

As much as Ian and Laurel missed their grandparents, you'd think they'd burst out the van as soon as we were parked and run inside the house to get hugs and kisses. The opposite happened, they hung back, waiting for Paul and I to walk them up to the door. Once we were inside, they were quite shy and it took some coaxing to get the kids to say anything and give hugs.

After dinner, Grandma and Papa gave us a truckload of gifts from Scotland. There were tons of books, many involving a certain cheeky little blue engine. There were tons of clothes, including a new kilt and blouses for our ever growing Laurel. Ian got knee high socks, kilt flashes and a beautiful vest to go with his kilt (Ian also already has a belt with a thistle on the buckle, and a sporran). We are attending the Arizona Highland Celtic Festival in Flagstaff next weekend. Laurel and Ian are going to look fabulous!

Grandma and Papa, welcome home! We sure have missed you. We're going to have a blast up in the mountains next weekend.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Happy Fifth Anniversary, dear sweet husband. I love you immensely, and love our roller coaster life we have together!

Happy birthday, America! You are still quite young, and have many, many lessons to learn ahead of you. Please be considerate and flexible in your thinking.

Five years ago, Paul and I decided to lose our independence on Independence Day. With a week's planning, we bought a dress for me, rented a kilt for Paul, booked a flight and a room, and happily followed our hearts to Vegas to elope. It was all very romantic, very low stress and TONS of FUN!!!

Paul and I consider ourselves a team. We work together to get things done. I can't tell you how much I depend on that ideal. Knowing he is there to help out with anything, whether it be changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, or listening to me vent, is worth more to me than all the money and desirable tangibles the world has ever known.

Too often we are told it is not good to be dependent on anyone or anything. I like that Paul and I depend on each other, that we can count on each other to help out. Obviously, Laurel and Ian being wee tots depend on us to provide them with food, shelter, and love. That dependency is what makes us a family. We rely on one another to help out. The burden of chores, the loving and caring, should not rest on one person, but all of us. It is much easier to tackle those undesirable tasks when there is someone by your side.

Will someone always be there for assistance? No, that would be impossible. But knowing later someone will listen to you vent about loathsome tasks is quite comforting.

To Paul I must say, thank you. Thank you for always listening. Thank you for lending a hand when you're home. Thank you for numerous back and feet rubs. Thank you for encouraging me to rest when dog tired and I don't know better. Thank you for ignoring the irritable side of me. Thank you for letting me make mistakes and learn from them. Thank you for encouraging me to go out and have fun with my friends. Thank you for Ian and Laurel. Thank you for letting me depend upon you. Thank you for journeying through life with me.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Hello, Scotland!

Hi, Grandma!!! Hi, Grandpa!!! We have to shout so you can hear us all the way in Scotland.

Yesterday, we saw the movie WALL-E. We really, really liked it. Now we run around pretending to be Walle and Eve. In the movie, Walle keeps trying to hold hands with Eve, so that's what we do. We hold hands everywhere.

The nice people at the movie theatre gave us these blue watches that have Walle and Eve on them. Ian wears his all the time.

This morning Mommy had us play in the backyard as soon as Daddy went to work. It was already hot out, so we put the tents up for some shade.

We needed a tunnel to ride our scooter and trike through, so we moved the tents to the patio.

Like everyday, Ian checks for edible strawberries. No luck, the birds got to them first.

Mommy said we looked red, so we had to go inside and cool down. Some cold drinks do the trick.

Of course, popsicles make us cold faster!

We know you're having a great time in Scotland. We miss you. Sending you hugs and kisses! Love from Ian and Laurel.