Friday, December 31, 2010

Adios 2010...it was a great year!!

A year in review.

We celebrated the beginning of 2010 with good friends and chocolate,......

In February we enjoyed some sunshine.

March brought Kimbers half-birthday and we kept church-shopping.

In April, we celebrated Easter and my 34th birthday.  We also worked on our garden.

May, some amazing but strenuous hiking and more fun outside.

June brought on a shopping trip in Nashville, finishing our front flowerbed, celebrating dads and enjoying the sunshine.

In July we FINALLY made some progress on the potty training front!

August was a BUSY BUSY month.  Matthew turned 3, we spent a fun weekend in Chattanooga, potty-trained some more and celebrated or not our 12th anniversary.

September brought another birthday, Kimber celebrated his first birthday.  We had some silly moments and reminisced a little.

We resumed our camping life in October and visited the pumpkin patch.

November was a crazy month.  We spent a week in Florida in an attempt to see space shuttle Discovery launch, we shared our family pictures and dealt with way too many bodily fluids.

In December, we had a white Christmas and bid adieu to 2010.

Hope 2010 was all you hoped it would be and that 2011 is pure greatness!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Card Scoring System

From SWISTLE, a blogger who never fails to make me smile....


Christmas Card Scoring / Rating System

  • Card received: +5
  • Card received before December 1st: -1
  • Card received after December 25th: -1
  • Card is pretty, and looks nice on wall: +3
  • Card is glittery: +1
  • Card does not contain card, but only letter, so there is nothing to put up on wall: -3
  • Card is e-card: -5

  • Card includes photo or is photo card: +5
  • More than one photo: +2 each additional photo
  • Photo is non-Christmassy so will look good on fridge all year: +1
  • Photo is Christmassy so increases holiday feeling of card: +1
  • Red-eye causes family to appear possessed by evil Christmas spirit: -1
  • Photo was taken on beach this past summer in summer clothing, so family looks chilly against winter pattern of card: -1
  • Photo includes dogs with glowing eyes who seem poised to eat humans: -1

  • Card includes letter: +5
  • Letter is informative and interesting: +3
  • Letter describes child as "amazing" or "already an avid reader at age 3!": -3 each
  • Letter is so braggy and saccharine-cheery, I wonder why I associate with these people: -3
  • Letter is so very braggy and saccharine-cheery, it crosses over into comical and becomes fun to read aloud in an unkind tone of voice: +2
  • Letter is a sermon disguised as a Christmas letter, and contains pious hopes for our country, for mankind, and for me personally: -5
  • Letter mentions details of gross surgery: -1 or +1, depending on entertainment value
  • Letter contains thinly-veiled family gossip: +3
  • Letter contains information that should have been told earlier: -2

  • Card includes check: +5
  • Large check: +10
  • Card includes announcement of pregnancy: +10
  • Card from Christmas Card Friends contains surprising news of baby born since last card sent: +10

Saturday, November 27, 2010

10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...never mind



We recently traveled to Cocoa Beach, Florida via Cumming, GA in an effort to see the final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery.  

Due to launch delays we ended up spending a few days relaxing with good friends.  We played in the Chattahoochee river, watched a great soccer game, ate some yummy food, trick-or-treated and even got a few naps in. 

 




 Finally on Monday morning we were off. 


We have yet to travel more than a few hours since becoming a family of 4 and were a wee bit apprehensive as to how the trip might unfold.  Truth be told, it wasn't as bad as it could have been but it was not a piece of cake either.  9 years of pre-kid travel does little to prepare you for traveling with litte ones.  Gone are the days of only stopping for fuel, reading a book, dozing, friendly conversation, NAPS.  Welcome to pit stops every 50 miles it seems, the passenger riding backwards 70% of the time, diaper changes, cup refills, Matthew telling us he is "all done" 469 times an hour, adjusting blankets, sun shades, rotating books, fuel stops taking no less than half an hour followed by a crying fit by the little guy becasue he does NOT want to get back into his seat (not that I blame him).  

We finally made it and had a great time...despite the fact the shuttle never actually went off.  Our 4-day vacation turned into a 7-day adventure.  Matthew keeps telling us that he wants to do that again. 

Pretty sure there are not many things cuter than wet sand between chubby baby fingers.
 I think Kimber was pretty impressed with his first beach experience, and he didn't even eat that much sand!




The one overcast day we went out to Jetty Park and got to see turtles, porpoises, birds, "a big bridge", tugboats and even a couple of submarines leaving.  I was reduced to tears watching our soldiers headed out to sea.



During a rainy spell Kimber decided climbing on the dash was a good idea.

Matthew THOROUGHLY enjoying his first Drumstick.
 Saying bye-bye to the beach on the morning we left.

The best Chowda' EVER

We discovered this recipe from Williams Sonoma our first Thanksgiving as parents.  It has become tradition and we look forward to it all year long.
We buy 2 medium butternut squash and roast them with a little butter and then puree them instead of buying the Williams Sonoma puree.
 
Chowder has a long-standing reputation as a communal dish. It is said to have originated in 16th-century French seacoast towns, where local fishermen would contribute part of the days catch to a stew that was shared by the entire village. The stew derives its name from the vessel in which it was cooked: a large pot known as a chaudière. Over time, chowder became synonymous with a type of thick, hearty soup that can be prepared with a variety of ingredients. Like our butternut squash version, classic chowders typically include chunks of potatoes or other vegetables, which add texture and substance.

Ingredients:

  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh sage, plus small sage
      leaves for garnish
  • 4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch
      cubes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 jar (32 oz.) butternut squash puree
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion, celery, bay leaf, chopped sage, the 4 tsp. salt and the 1 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the vegetables are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Add the wine and simmer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.

Add the butternut squash puree and bacon and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Ladle the chowder into warmed bowls and garnish with sage leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Poop & Puke & Pee.......Oh My!!!!

Its like lions and tigers and bears....but different.  VERY DIFFERENT!!

Bath time tonight was one for the books.  These boys LOVE taking a bath and are quite celebratory during their bath each night.  When we remodel their bathroom, there will be a floor drain on the outside of the tub...to accommodate all of the splashed out water.  I digress.

I had gotten Matthew out and was in the process of assisting him into his pajamas when Kimber starts screaming in absolute hysterics, I turn around and he is perched on the side of the tub about to fall headfirst onto the tile, I scoop him up and peer into the tub and see a massive poop that was causing all of the drama.  So I stand him up outside of the bathtub and get some toilet paper to remove said poop from the tub, while I am doing this, half-dressed Matthew comes over to see what's happening and gets sick at the sight/smell and starts puking.  My hands are full (literally) and Kimber is now standing by the toilet observing the poop disposal so I tell Matthew to throw up on his towel that is on the floor, which he does...the first time.  The second and third round of puking occurred in route to the toilet area.  So now I have poop laden Kimber and puke laden Matthew standing in front of the tub that I am trying desperately to sanitize.  Muppet the dog is happily lapping away at the regurgitated food.  The smell is overwhelming and the space heater working overtime is NOT helping matters.  I eventually got the tub clean, Kimber wiped off and then showered off, Matthew rinsed off and back out onto the enormous pile of rugs/towels/clothes that were providing a barrier between the ick and the clean boys.  As I am drying Matthew off....Kimber walks off to the other side of the bathroom and proceeds to pee....everywhere.  At that point I just laughed...I had to.....where is my wine...pretty sure I earned a glass bottle or two.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh Christmas Cards....how I think about you WAY TOO MUCH!

I don't know about you but I spend the entire year thinking about our Christmas card picture.  When I am behind my camera, or without my camera, I think, hey...that would be a great photo for our card.  I love (and have used) a collage in years past and love the idea of it.  It seems to hard to capture our essence in a single photo....especially with a one and three year old who never seem to smile at the same time.  I also think using several pictures is fun when you have babies since they are growing and changing at lightening speed..or so it seems.

We spent nine years married without kids and watched our Christmas mail change from cards from friends to cards with just kids on them, mind you, our friends have some pretty darn cute kids...we just missed seeing the friends.  We swore that our Christmas card picture would be of our entire family...and it always has....no matter how rough we felt looked!   


I am pretty sure I have decided on this one for our 2010 card but I really like the simplicity of this one, if only my family were that frickin' gorgeous, don't get more wrong, my red headed babies are precious just not that happy....or tan!! 

I am also IN LOVE with these desk calendars and think they may just get put into some stockings this year.

I have to brag on Shutterfly here, I have used them for both babies birth announcements, thank you cards, stationary and more prints than I can count.  Their consistently excellent quality has made me a loyal customer and their prepaid print prices are hard to beat.

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, follow the arrow √†  http://bit.ly/sfly2010 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Family Pics

2010 Family Picture Time

These were done in our backyard by the talented Apryl Murphy and incorporated some meaningful objects as well as our little family.

A head hug...on the porch swing...that is patiently waiting for us to build it a new home.


My grad school graduation gift, Will's great grandfathers rocking chair.
 My sweet boys in the red wagon we had long before boys.
 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Punkin' Patchin'

On a gorgeous fall day I took my two little monkeys to the pumpkin patch.  We picked out pumpkins, got to ride on a trailer behind a tractor, fed our leftover apple to a horse, patted a calf and some bunnies, played in not one but four different corn cribs, jumped in hay, slid down slides and got completely filthy.

Oh yeah....and I took a truly obscene amount of pictures! 
 



 




Saturday, October 23, 2010

No neighbors..I am not torturing my children.....they just H A T E sleep.

As in any long-term adventure there are good days and then there are the not so good ones.  I am pretty sure my neighbors must think I torture these poor kids with the way the carry on at naptime and/or bedtime.  It seems we are finally breaking even in that we have an many good days as not but the bad days are tough.

Here is the scenario, on a good day, I lay Matthew down in bed and he usually reads books or plays tractors until he doses off, I then nurse Kimber for a bit and lay him down awake in his bed.  He usually fusses for less than a minute and then dozes off.  SO on a bad day, I lay Matthew down after reading books, nurse Kimber for a bit, lay him down, he wiggles, rolls, turns on his aquarium, chews on the crib, whines and then starts crying as if the world is coming to an end...at which point Matthew screams "Baby lay down" while kicking his legs like a mad man.  At this point Kimber either cries harder or laughs.  This can go on for hours if I don't intervene and the actual intervention delays bedtime by at least 30 minutes.

I know all about Mr. Ferber, The Baby Whisperer and Babywise, I have read the books, repeatedly....believe me.  I truly think that my children are genetically predisposed to sleep adversity...that and I am not a Ferber mom, though I have had my days where I have let the screaming go on because I am simply at a loss for what to do.

I know that this is all a phase and that a month from now it will be different, hopefully better, but at least different.

Back.....

Back on in the wagon tent.


After a nearly 4 year camping hiatus we did it, we went camping with our little men, we survived, we had a good time, we ate like kings (thanks Falkners), we got dirty, we peed outside, well, everyone but me peed outside and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. 

The first "fun" activity, digging in the cold ash.



 The whole fam on our hike to the waterfall.
 Pretty awesome waterfall.






I think my favorite part was being away from home....and the never ending laundry, to do list, and getting to watch my two little boys sleeping snuggled up next to each other.

Willie enjoyed cooking, hiking and spending some much needed time with all of us.

Matthew and Kimber enjoyed getting dirty, playing in the dirt/sand/cold ash, eating marshmallows, hiking, and just getting to be outside.  Matthew was pretty impressed with the tent and the fact that he could drop his drawers anytime and just pee.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Suitcase

Well, not really.

I put both boys in overalls Friday and it was the cutest thing ever.

We had German Class and some errands in the morning and once we got home we played outside for an hour or so.  After we had been home a half hour or so Matthew came up to me saying "suitcase off mama" about 20 times and it took me to the 20th time to figure out what he was saying.  For some reason, he was calling his overalls "suitcase".  Maybe because of the latching mechanism...who knows.  Regardless, it was funny to me.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Grey-Bear

You are ONE year old today my little man.  You came along and filled a hole in our family we didn't even know existed. You made our perfect little family seem complete.  Your smile never ceases to illicit a smile from myself or complete strangers.  You are most certainly our eater. You are walking more and more each day and I am counting down the days that my toddling little baby morphs into a running little man.  You adore your brother and he loves making you laugh.  You have been trying to do a somersault for a while now but you can't get past the downward dog yoga position.  You hate to sleep...which seems so appropriate in your quest to be like the rest of the boys around here.  You can say "hat", "Mups", "Mama", "Da"(Papa), "Brud" (brother) and "Bye-Bye".  You are quite adept at signing "more"....as in more food.

A very proud mama and papa....


We had a low key celebration for your birthday and it was perfect.  After devouring your dinner and making a mess with your cupcakes, your brother taught you how to open your presents.  You made out like a bandit...as usual.  Your very own train set, which resulted in timeout for your brother (which is a whole other blog post), some new clothes, a guitar, your very own hammering toy and a bike seat and helmet.  You have already perfected the art of pointing at your helmet as a way of "telling" me you would like to go for a ride.

Such serious cake consumption....
 Whoa, this stuff is GOOD.
 See, you pull here.
 As always, the box won BEST GIFT award.
 On your first bike ride!
 

Your one year photo shoot:
(In your new overalls from The Nairns)









 
We love you little bear and that love grows exponentially with each passing hour.  Thank you for teaching us once again that is does not matter how nice our cars nor how big our house, it matters that we are filled with love for each other and that we recognize how greatly we are blessed.