Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend Top Five 12/1/08

I posted about our Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping experiences already. Go read them if you want to be jealous of the easiest Black friday experience ever.

The rest of the weekend was pretty much non event-ful so this is when it is fun to try to think of five things. here it goes

5. A Staple Free Head

Although it bled when the 4th one came out, and Aaron cried in pain when he didn't when they went in, it is a relief to everyone that the healing can finally progress, including washing the nasty hair.

4. Noah's First Library Card

While I put Aaron down for a nap on Saturday (he needed one desperately), Steve took Noah to the library. He came home SO proud with his VERY OWN library card.

3. Christmas Wrapping

I don't like waiting until Christmas Eve to wrap presents so I locked myself into the bedroom after bedtime Saturday night and wrapped all of the presents. It made me realize that things are a little uneven leaning toward Noah so I need to get Aaron caught up on stocking gifts. Aaron is always harder to shop for.

2. Children's Museum

Yes, again we headed over since Deb was there for Hannah's birthday. The kids had fun jumping into a new penguin exhibit they have there. We realized after Noah's third mental breakdown that we hadn't fed him before we left, and ended up leaving less than an hour later with him in tears. Not the best time at the museum.

1. Sick Boy and Playworld

Noah woke up Sunday morning complaining about "hurting all over" but seemed okay. So off we headed to church, since our quartet had to sing in both services. After church, Noah was still going in and out of perfectly normal and zombieville, so we decided that we would go home, rest for awhile, and then go to Playworld. We are thankful that our former babysitter works there and slides us through to play.

We got home from church and the whole house smelled like natural gas so I herded the very tired and not so healthy boys back to the car while Steve stayed home to call the gas company. At Playworld, Noah laid on my lap for the first 45 minutes while Aaron went off to play. He did go play for a short while later, when I got the okay from Steve to bring the boys back home. The culprit was related to the dryer problem we have had for awhile.

Told you it was the most boring weekend ever after the two fun filled days of Thanksgiving and Black Friday. We're under a Winter Storm Warningl. We're hoping for a snow day tomorrow, but I guess I'll just keep you posted. Noah continues to lie around on the couch, claiming his stomach hurts. I never know if he's sick or not, so I will also have to play that by ear in the morning too. Did you have a more exciting weekend than I? If you posted about it, please feel free to join Mr. Linky below.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Thanksgiving in Good News, Bad News Style

Bad news: My brother and his family were at my parents with my sister's family and this year was our year to be with Steve's family

Good News: Only half of Steve's family were there, so it wasn't nearly as crowded of a house.

Good News: We got on the road early so there would many hours of play opportunity for the kids

Bad news: Dinner wasn't put on the table until 5:30

Worse News: FROZEN pumpkin pie didn't go into the oven until 6:30, hour before we had to leave

Worst Of All: I never got my Pumpkin Pie(Remember this post?)

A Little better (but not really) News: At least we had a little bit of yummy fudge that Aaron and I made

Good News: Steve's brother has a trampoline with enclosure for the kids to play on

Bad News: Mean Mommy wouldn't let the kid with the stapled head jump

Good news: Two six year olds and two four year olds LOVED sitting together at their own special "kids table" while the adults were eating in the dining room.

Bad news: One adult in particular had to keep leaving to keep the crazy kids table from becoming a full body contact event

Good News: Noah was the first one done, and actually ate everything on his plate, including four bites of turkey (thanks to the pool of ranch dressing Aunt Mia put on their plates)

Good News: My sister in law's mother was able to be with her for Thanksgiving

Bad News: She has become pretty sick and mean through her aging disease

Worse News: She screamed "Shut Up!" in Aaron's face scaring him half to death, bringing him to tears, and then called him a terrible baby for crying

Worst Of All: He spent the rest of the day running from the room every time she came near, getting away from the "Mean Grandma"

Good news: The kids bonded all day, including snuggles for a viewing of WALL-E

Bad News: Do we need to worry about "Kissing Cousins" in a few years?

Noah hugging Cousin Olivia through the entire movie

Yeah, a few quirks throughout the day, and I got to have some pumpkin pie at my dad's the next day, so all around not too painful. We really are lucky that the kids have cousins their age on both side s of our family so they look at any visit as an adventure.

As we were leaving Thanksgiving night, Noah's asked "Mommy, can we come here for Valentines Day?"

Anyone Got A Good Black Friday Story?

If you stood in like for hours on Black Friday, I suggest you stop reading now.

If you're still with me, you may wish to join me for Black Friday shopping next year. Deb claims that I just had "good karma" this year.

As I have stated many times, this year has looked quite bleak for Christmas. So when Steve couldn't get the day off for Black Friday, I was relieved to tell Deb that I wouldn't be joining her for our annual early morning shopping marathon. I went ahead and got the boys' three presents and after looking at the ads, still decided that there really wasn't any reason to go out early this morning.

Then I looked at the ads again Thanksgiving morning. Several caught my eyes, especially a door buster at ToysRUs. It was for that Eye Clops magnifying eye that is normally $50. It would be the first thing I would have picked for Noah but there was no way he could get it because I just couldn't spend that much on a toy for him this year. It was listed as a door buster for $19.99. I begged Steve all day in Thanksgiving to see if we could get that for Noah. If you know my little science boy, it is PERFECT for him.

They actually opened up the store early and the managers did a GREAT job of keeping a few people at a time entering and it was extremely well organized. I went straight for the two items I wanted and headed to the checkout. I figured since I had to be home at 7 for Steve to leave for work, I might get through the line fairly quickly and still have time to get to Target before my "curfew".

Turns out, I was the VERY FIRST person through the line, and as I was checking out, the Grand Rapids Press and two TV stations lined up to INTERVIEW me. What fun!

So after the interviews I headed out to call Deb to see where we were headed next. As I am talking to Deb, my sister calls to tell me she just saw me on TV. This was just too easy of a morning.

I imagined Target would be worse. The only thing I needed were two leapster games that were on sale for $15, down from $25. Deb needed some too so we go into line at Target, which wasn't due to open until 6:00, which wrapped all the way aroundf the side of the building. Once again, huge long line that was controlled BEAUTIFULLY by the employees and we walked in orderly and slowly, but still went straight to what we needed and guess how long we were in line at Target?

Oh, about a minute and a half.

Let's head to Meijer's.

After parking two parking spaces from the door, we wander the aisles a few minutes, leave having spent $1.31 on two little stockings for the cats. After dropping Deb off at her car, I pulled into my driveway at 7 :03, plenty of time for Steve to get to work and the boys just waking up ready for breakfast.

I know I will be headed back out later for one more thing at Walmart. But for now, shopping is behind me and we're off to a fun day of head staple removal and a morning seeing the cousins.

I had a chance to actually watch the interviews later that night. I came off looking a little like a pauper, which bothers me a bit, but I guess that's what I get for being interviewed on only three hours sleep.

Have a great Friday (thanksgiving story to come's a whopper)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday: The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

(Note: If you haven't entered my giveaway for FREE laundry detergent yet, click've only got until Wednesday.)

As I have mentioned several times over the last month, I have been dreading decorating the Christmas tree because of a certain kitten that has graced our home.

When Minnie was a baby two years ago, she got stuck in the tree about a half hour before we had to leave for Christmas Eve church, had to be CUT OUT, peed all over the floor, and the tree went into the garbage before Christmas morning.

Wonderful memory, huh?

I was determined to not have a repeat performance.

So I decided to try a spray that I read about online. This one was Boundary Cat Repellent.

(FYI... this was not a review product and I received nothing to write this...I just discovered what works)

I was curious to see the difference so first I brought the Christmas tree upstairs and left it in the box in the middle of the living room floor. Within a minute, this is what I found...

One cat IN the box, the other observing as if deciding whether to join the adventure.

What would happen if I sprayed the tree before I took it out of the box?

Both cats ran away and hid on the other side of the room to observe at a safe distance.

So I figured it was safe to go ahead and put it up.

Putting lights on the Christmas tree is OFFICIALLY the worst job in an entire year that one needs to battle. Steve and I would get in shouting matches every year while we did it.

I decided this year to try to put them on a little at a time, one branch at a time. It worked very well, until...

Oops, Big Sister has ventured to try a nibble...

Grab the spray...cats gone!

I had two of the three sections up with lights by the time we had to go get Noah from school so the tree was missing it's top for the rest of the evening.

After the kids went to bed, I put the top on and finished "poofing"

Aaron woke up in the morning and exclaimed

"WHOA...IT GROWED!!!!!!"

So, finally it was time to allow the boys to start decorating. In years past, I would have followed behind, directing then where to put the ornaments.

I am proud to say that I resisted the urge.

Because I was so restrained, this is how the tree looked when they were done...

So as they started playing with the nativities (see next week's T13), I rearranged the ornaments, putting their cheesy character ones further to the back and our nicer ones in the front. I also added some bows to bring more color.

We used to have BEAUTIFUL colored glass and really nice ornaments. Then two little boys graced our home, followed by two cats, and I have opted for safety over beauty. Maybe in a few years, we'll get out the pretty balls again.

I also used to have a really pretty tree skirt, but I read an idea in a magazine last week that I am going to try, even though it looks a little silly at the moment.

I got a simple red tree skirt and the boys each put a hand print on it. Then, I outline it with glitter glue and label it.

Every year we will add their hand print. I imagine my the time they are older, it will be fun to look at all of the hands through the years.

This picture was taken before we got Aaron's print on the skirt.

So it needs a few more ornaments and it's not exactly the prettiest tree, but while were watching a movie Friday night as a family, I turned and saw Aaron just gazing at the tree with this sweetest dreamy look

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this picture. If I could bottle that look of contentment and sell it, I would be a millionaire.

and I decided that I now understand haw Charlie Brown felt.

(P.S. If you're wondering how the spray is working, each time the cats start trying to get near, I spray the bottom and the cats stay away for hours. I think it was WELL worth the $12.99 I paid.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Top Five 11/24/08

The weekend top five has to start earlier in the weekend than usual, thanks to Aaron's little collision with the wall Friday morning.

(Note: If you haven't entered my giveaway for FREE laundry detergent yet, click've only got until Wednesday.)

5. Aaron's staples

Yup, as I was on the computer doing bills (not blogging), Aaron came running into the hallway, slipped and I heard a VERY loud bang and saw he had hit his head. Because he doesn't cry when he gets hurt, I just went to him, gave him a hug, and returned to bills. About a minute later, he came in and begged to snuggle. I figured his head probably hurt from that big of a bang so we went and sat for about five minutes on the couch. Then he crawled away and wanted to sit by himself. I figured that meant he was feeling better and went to go grab a shower. He got up too and then I noticed A LOT of red in his hair.


So I took a quick look, saw quite a lot of blood, noticed how VERY wide the gap was , and decided it would be better to get it checked out. So off to the ER we went.

Two and a half hours later, we were on our way home, with four staples in his head. They need to stay in for a week and instead of shopping on Black Friday, we will be in the doctor's office making sure my son's head has grown back together.

The kid never cried or whimpered a single time during the entire ordeal.

His big brother, on the other hand, freaked out and keeps hiding from him.

4. Christmas Decorating

This will get an entire post on Tuesday, but it was definitely a huge part of the weekend. I wanted to get most of it done Friday night since we were going to be gone all day Saturday. It still is not done, but we're getting there. It's not like Thanksgiving has even passed. Full details Tuesday...

I just noticed how prominent Aaron's stapled head is at the bottom of this picture. You can't really miss the big black blotch, can ya?

3. The Birthday Party That Wasn't

My nephew, Odin celebrated his 5th birthday party on Saturday, but due to the split open head, we opted to stay home and try to keep Aaron calm. We will celebrate a belated one with him this Friday.

Here is Cousin Odin with Aaron on one side of him and Noah on the other in St. Louis on vacation last April.

2. The Mall to Climb and Visit a Jolly Old Elf

Because we were hurting for something to get the kids out of the house, but still limiting Aaron's activity level, we headed to the mall to visit Santa.

I loved Noah's letter he wrote for Santa before we left.

He had a little trouble spelling "Bakugan" and "Transformers"

Afterward Noah asked to climb the climbing wall in Dick's Sporting Goods. We decided to go ahead and let him and he did better than I expected him to. As a matter of fact, he would have kept climbing except that he looked down, and then it was over.

1. Roller Skate Day at Church

Not really, but I love this reference from my sister to refer to the all music Sunday every year.

In the past years, I have been running around CRAZY for this service. This year, I got out of singing with the ensembles and only had to direct my three groups, as well as sing in one quartet.

My cherub choir is for ages 5-8 but I have been letting Aaron (he's newly 4) sit in rehearsals and he has been singing the songs really clearly, so I decided to let him sing today as well. The cherubs sang one song alone, and another with all of the other choirs and were awesome.

Which boys are mine, you ask? Well, that would be the two that are "shout"ing when they are singing that word within the song.

A fun, busy weekend.

It is a little easier starting out this week knowing I only have to deal with the rat race of school for two mornings this week before Thanksgiving break.

I love breaks, don't you?

As always, please leave your link below if you are joining me in the top five weekend event meme. (or you just want to share your weekend post)

Happy Monday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Night Thoughts about Silliness and It's Impact

Both of our boys are somewhat silly, but in very different ways.

Noah's is more of a show-offy kind of way that often drives us insane. He is smart beyond all measure, but sometimes resorts to inappropriate humor to try to get attention. This is something we are working with him on daily and hopefully can get a handle on it before it becomes detrimental to him in the friend making process. As of now, he has lots of friends and is known as the "second funniest in the class" and he is quite proud of this label.

Aaron is just plain silly. He has an infectious smile that you can't help but notice from a million miles away. It stands out in a crowd.

The fact that he has such a vibrant joyfulness about him is a trait that I hope will always serve him well, even if he has other struggles (which are just starting to try to surface).

Last week at Aaron's preschool conference, I was not surprised by anything the teacher said. We had spoken the week before on what she deems are "concerns" about Aaron. Nothing that I think are a big deal right now because he is indeed young and I plan to hold him another full year and not send him to kindergarten until he is almost six.

But something really bothered me afterward and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I thought about it more the next day and it has been on my mind ever since.

As I stated above, Aaron exudes an extremely cheerful personality. Anyone who meets him for 30 seconds can notice it. He is excited about pretty much anything. But at this conference, the teacher mentioned NOTHING about this trait. As a matter of fact, she stated nothing in regards to positive traits he displays in the classroom at all.

Even when Noah struggled behaviorally in preschool and kindergarten, his teachers started the conference talking about the positive things they noticed about him in class. Aaron's conference started late and was rushed to end on time since the parent behind me was a teacher and had "limited time" but it was ALL BUSINESS about the things they tested him on and how he was doing according to the printed out report she had filled out.

I understand all business. But like I said, anyone who spends more than a minute around Aaron notices his zest for life. Why wouldn't this teacher have said SOMETHING about his happiness or exuberance, or any kind of positive trait he is showing in the classroom. The few times I have visited, I haven't noticed anything stand out as troublesome, but I am still very uneasy about this.

I don't really have much else to say about it. Just a thought that has been on mind for several days now.

Because of this post being about Aaron's silliness, I think I will lighten it up with a moment that made me laugh hysterically a few days ago.

Aaron found one of Steve's hats and put it on his head and said out of the blue...

"Look, I'm Uncle Matt!"

I guess you wouldn't understand why this so funny if you don't know my brother. So let me clue you in on the joke. Here is a picture of my brother with Noah several years ago donning his usual head wear on a summer's day

Look familiar. Even though my husband Steve has been wearing this hat ever since Aaron was a baby, the first thing Aaron said when he put it on was that he was just like Uncle Matt.

It made me laugh.

Happy Tuesday.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Top Five

The weekend was quite uneventful, other than trying to finish figuring out Christmas shopping. I know it seems strange me being so centered around Christmas shopping now, but I need to get it done so I can caught up on our mortgage and other bills. I like to get the sale prices as they come, and I like to be done early. Then I can actually ENJOY the holiday preparations without the worries of shopping.

Especially with our anniversary four days before Christmas, as well as the big music performance in which my bells are playing six pieces.

So yeah, some of the top five is centered around this obsession.

5. Friday- Bakugan Mania

Since I was sick on Thursday, I ended up teaching a few lessons on Friday. It was strange to come home and still have it be dinner time. We ended up doing movie night with the boys with the Pirates Movie again and then I did head back out to the mall with Deb.

Since I am wanting to finally establish the "three presents" rule with the boys for Christmas (which is getting considerably stretched...I'll explain in a different post), I want to be sure that the three are what they want and not just "some present". It is making me work a lot harder to make sure that they are three things that count.

Noah wants everything.

But before he even knew what they were called, his first thing on his list was: "the thing that is a little ball and opens into a creature."


So when he started looking through the catalogs when they came, he found what he was talking about and showed it to me. I am quite picky about what the kids watch and play with, and have even outlawed Pokemon just because I don't understand them. We don't have cartoon network and I can't imagine he has even seen the show or knows there is a game centering around this whole thing.

When he showed me these Bakugan things, I figured, okay those little balls to play with, no big deal, right?


Apparently, they are the thing this year for little boys. I still don't intend to let him get all wrapped up in it, but if it's just little balls rolling around at each other, I guess I can live with that.

Meijer, WalMart and Target are officially sold out of them, so when I found a starter package for $10, I scooped it up. I didn't want to spend the money on the $30 "arena" so I saw in the Walmart Exclusive catalog they had a "flip open" one for $15.

Perfect...the price is right and it will thrill him on Christmas morning (even though I still don;t understand how the game is played). I am excited that I can make his dreams come true...

until Deb and I get to WalMart on Friday night.

I asked at the service desk, who called a super WalMart about the ad. Apparently, WalMart can't even keep the things in stock and told me to order it online and they wouldn't charge shipping to the store.

Online, they are all out.

Shouldn't they have figured on this before they put it in the Big Toy Book and had every kid on earth asking for it?

I know Noah will still be thrilled with the little balls (I found a set at Target while there were still three left), and it is weird being part of a "trend" I thought I had a few years, and I thought it was strange since I had never even heard of these things. I probably should still try to figure this whole "arena" thing out though.

Is anyone else facing this on their little boys Christmas lists? If so, start looking now!

4. Lost and Found MP3 Player

Again because of this whole "three presents" thing, I locked myself into the bedroom for a short time on Saturday to go through and make sure I really was done with shopping for the boys. I really have no hiding places in the house so I brought up a separate bin to put each boys' stuff in while I sort and wait.

Last March, my nephew Patrick got an Ipod for his birthday.

Noah wanted one desperately.

Well, there was no way that was in the budget, but about six months ago, I found a user friendly MP3 in metallic blue on sale for $20. It was back ordered for at least another month or two, so when it finally came, I was thrilled to have the one thing he really seemed to want all summer long.

When I went to go sort through the stuff, I couldn't find it ANYWHERE.

Slight panic, fight with Steve, and a broken dresser later, I resigned to give up for awhile and stressed over trying to find the money to get him another one and wondered if I would ever find that kind of deal.

Later Saturday night, I had an epiphany...

Sure enough, I walked straight up to one of the bags that had a different toy hiding within and pulled it right out.

Huge relief and NOW I can say, that I am done and can start saving for the mortgage.

3. Leaves

We had absolutely NO plans for Saturday, so we were pretty much sitting around the house all day. About 2:30, I looked outside and noticed that the six bags from two weeks ago that the boys and I raked were no longer sitting in our front yard.

When I asked Steve about them, he said that while Noah and I were at the library that morning, a guy drove up and offered to take them away for his compost pile. And then Steve said that he offered to take anymore if we wanted to finish the yard.


No more words needed.

"Boys, let's get outside and get the yard done.

This time, we actually let the boys PLAY in the leaves before bagging them up, and a good time was had by all.

Steve and I were amazed that we finally have boys who are at the age that the help they have to offer is wonderful and we got the yard done in less than half the time than any other year, thanks to giving the boys jobs, and rewarding them with "teamwork treats" when it was over.

2. Noah's Watch and Children's Time at Church

This was quite an adventure all weekend as well.

I am he lunch mom on Fridays at Noah's school. This Friday when I left, Noah kind of flipped out a little about wanting to come home then instead of waiting. So I took off my watch and gave it to him and said I will be back in three hours. He was thrilled to have the watch all day and when I picked him up, he begged for a watch just like mine. Not one with characters or digital, but with a real face like mine.

While Deb and I were at WalMart, she was also looking for one for Abby so when we found these perfect watches for $6 we were both quite happy.

She is saving Abby's for Christmas, but Noah has now had THREE PERFECT WEEKS at school so I decided Saturday morning to present his to him as a reward for such great work at school.

He was SOOOOOO happy. All day long, he was reading time, showing everyone he saw all day, and kind of making me wish I had saved it as his only present for Christmas, he was so happy.

So I let him wear it to church Sunday morning, which turned out to be a BIG mistake.

During children' message, something apparently burst inside of him, and when our youth director told the kids about the food parade that they will be doing next week to collect food for local food pantries, Noah launched into a HUGE soliloquy in front of the entire congregation about "we're going to be in the Christmas parade at school and I'm going to wear a Christmas hat and mommy's going to wear antlers, and I can tell you when we'll line up because I have a new watch...etc" at the top of his lungs.

I haven't been that embarrassed in church in ages. No less than six people came up to me after church, "Noah sure isn't shy" and comments like that.

I know he was excited, but I am quite ashamed and he will not be going up for children's message for quite a long time.

1. Bells

No big story for this one, but it was fun having my sister and niece come to bell practice after church today. They are filling in for a service in December and it was fun having them there.

For a boring weekend, it actually came away with some silly stories. This week looks pretty boring other than STILL trying to find the money to pay the mortgage.

But if anyone sees a Bakugan flip open travel arena anywhere in the blosogphere, please throw an email my way.

Otherwise, have a great week.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Photo Story Friday;Two Boys and a Camera

A couple of weeks ago, a friend at Steve's work brought in a meal of Jambalaya for the office staff. Steve came home ranting and raving about how good it was and that he wanted to make it. So he went grocery shopping.

It was VERY spicy and all that sodium made us all quite sick within a half hour of eating. It was dark and cold outside so we didn't want to go for a walk, but we desperately needed to move some, so we broke out the American Idol dance mat that I got for Christmas last year.

I decided to take a few pictures, INTENDING to do a quick post about the jambalaya and it after effects (that lasted for about three days).

The boys took a turn first. They really don't "get it" about watching the arrows, but they like to pretend.

Then it was mommy and daddy's turn. I gave the camera to Noah to try to get some shots.

Not quite attractive of the mommy.

At least I'm smiling in THIS one.

But apparently the boys got bored, and decided that it would be fun to create some photos of their own, with Noah as photographer and Aaron the Ham as the "star".

I had no idea what they were doing, other than laughing hysterically behind us, until later that night when I looked at the camera. This is what I found:

A very close up of Aaron

A little further away

Many of the shaking your booty variety

And quite a few of the booty itself

Then come the silly show off poses

And several that were taken looking directly into the light that I had to lighten up to even see Aaron's face.

I love this one. It is SO Aaron.

Noah has asked numerous times for his own digital camera. I got him one of those toy VTech ones last year, but it is pretty bad quality and he is so good with the real thing that maybe next year we will figure out a way to get him one. Until then, I don't mind allowing him to use mine. He has a great eye.

Have a great weekend.