Sunday, January 30, 2011

Picture of the Week - January 30

Sometimes even lizards need a little snack ...














Just don't tell anyone that I let animals sit at our dining table.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kidspeak

Setting: In the car - where most good conversations with children happen. Somehow we started having the "What will you be when you grow up?" conversation. The first of many to come, I'm sure.

Daddy: "Sam, what do you want to be when you grow up?"

Silence (maybe he's just really thinking about it ... or, more likely, he has no idea what we're asking).

Daddy: "Maybe a firefighter Sam? Or a doctor?"
Sam: "Yeah!"

(Not really sure which one he was affirming, but at least we got a response).

Me: "What about you, Peyton? What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Peyton (very matter-of-factually): "Um, Mommy, I am NOT growing up today."
Me: "Oh, ok, maybe another day then?"
Peyton: "Yeah, another day. But not today."

That's fine with me sweet girl. I'm not in any hurry ...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Toy Court is in Session

We're one month in on the new Christmas/Birthday presents and the verdict is in. We definitely have some winners and losers in the toy department this year. For the sake of not hurting anyone's feelings (including my own since I'm selfish like that), I'm only going to tote the ones we really like. We definitely had some toy duds this year, but I won't do them the injustice of bad mouthing them in a public forum. They know who they are (by my repeated cursing at and throwing of them), so we'll let them suffer in silence in toy limbo at the bottom of the toy box. As for the winners, here they are in no particular order.

Note: I had a model for most of the time I took the pictures of these toys. He was unwilling to let a picture be taken without being in it and them looking at himself on the viewfinder afterward. Narcissistic, you say? I prefer to chalk it up to his budding prowess as a child model.

First up is the often mentioned pink vacuum.





















A great toy. The best part is that the front part detaches and becomes a dust buster. So it's really two toys in one. The dust buster turns on and makes noise, which is a good bonus. The only drawbacks were that I could not find it in any color but pink and I'm not quite sure about the durability. This thing has already taken a beating. Luckily it's not expensive, so we could easily get a replacement if needed. It's a Circo Toy Vacuum from Target.














The next find is food and kitchen accessories. We've had the kitchen for a while (a great consignment find), but we needed more things for the kids to be able to "make" their own food. Cooking in their kitchen is one of their favorite activities and one of only a few games that they can all four can play together in relative harmony (usually there aren't enough parts or pieces of a toy or game to appease all four of them at a time). On the left is their new coffee machine and on the right is the mixer and then the toaster right below it. Kitchen toys for kids tend to be pretty inexpensive and allow a lot of room for imagination. I know the coffee maker came from Big Lots and the other accessories were gifts from others.














The next toy with a passing grade is this VTech 3-in-1 Musical Band guitar. The kids LOVE it. You can play it manually or it will play music and you can strum along to add your own notes to the already playing music. You can also use the keys on the neck of the guitar like a piano. The only thing I don't like are the pre-programmed songs that it plays. This is purely a taste thing (the songs are fine) and I think all moms will agree that when you've heard a toy sing a song once, you've heard it five million times. Luckily, the guitar has volume control, so I'll just ask the kids to turn it down a notch if they insist on listening to "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" for the 67th consecutive time.

One more picture of my budding model with the guitar ... just because it's cute.





















Another favorite was Mimi's Art Box.














Homemade gifts are the best and this one was no exception. Matt's mom is a retired art teacher and she went the extra mile to make the kiddos their very own art box.














It's chock full of everything - stamps, crayons, markers, pipe cleaners,  you name it. I love having creative grandparents! If you want a personalized Art Box of your own, you can email Mimi directly HERE.

Just kidding. That's not Mimi. But if enough of you want a personalized Art Box she may have a second career in the making.

The last toy on the agenda ('cause this is getting a tad longer than my long-winded self intended) is this ...





















This toy actually has a great story about how it got into our home. It's called the vtech Sort and Soar Rocket. I wanted to get this toy for Luke because they have one at the Y and he loves it. I asked my friends in Child Watch at the Y what kind of toy it was and they let me know. So I went home and after the kids were down for a nap I went online to hunt it down. I was assuming it would cost maybe $30. Well, I about dropped dead on the floor when I couldn't find it for less than $130!!! Are you kidding me?!? I looked directly on vtech's website and couldn't find it there, so my assumption was that it must have been a discontinued toy that was being marked up on other sites because they don't make it anymore. I really wanted to get it for Luke, but I just had to throw in the towel. I was NOT paying $130 for some plastic and lights. I told my friends at the Y what had happened and they were flabbergasted as well.

Well, fast forward two weeks and I'm in FL for vacation right after Christmas. I get a voice mail on my cell phone from the Y to tell me that they have a special gift for Luke when we get back in town. After we got back from vacation and headed to the Y, I was amazed to see that they had found and gifted Luke the vtech rocket! After I told them I couldn't find it, they made it their personal mission to hunt one down. They looked online and everywhere else, but couldn't find one either. Then they just happened to stumble upon a completely new looking one at Goodwill! It cost all of $4! Can you believe it? It never even crossed my mind to look at Goodwill or a consignment store, but it makes sense since it's a discontinued toy and, therefore, probably pretty old. Luke loves his rocket and I'm so thankful to the wonderful people at the Y that love Luke so much that they would go out of their way to find him this gift!

Ok, enough about Christmas ... really this time. Does anyone have some great toys that they'd like to share? I'm always looking for Christmas ideas (even though I know we're 11 months out), so let me know if you have any deals or duds to share. I'm of to play a little guitar and make some pipe cleaner art!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Picture of the Week - January 23

Still in her PJs at noon ...





















... but at least she remembered that shoes are a girl's most important accessory.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bullets

I'm feeling a bit scatterbrained today, so I thought a list would be the best way to channel my thoughts. I don't know if any of this will even relate to my kids, but here goes ...

 • Jeans ... why are they so freakin' expensive? It's not like denim is a luxury fabric. And I hate it that the expensive ones definitely fit the best. My only consolation is that I do wear them all the time from October to April, so I (sorta) feel like I'm getting my money's worth. It's kinda like buying a TV. When you divide the number of minutes that thing is on during its life by the cost, it really seems like a bargain. Guess I need to have the same approach with the jeans.

• Haircut ... I need one. Not necessarily a chop, but some sort of new style. I've let all my previous color grow out and even though I'm ok with that, I at least want a new cut. And I am ashamed to admit that we have lived in NC for a year and I have yet to get it cut here. I have gotten it cut in the last year, I just got it done with my old stylist in FL when we happened to be down there visiting. So how do I find a good stylist without playing scissor roulette and chancing a bad cut? I've been told I should just approach someone whose haircut I like and ask them where they get it done. Sure, this sounds easy in theory, but how does one really break the ice with that question? "Hey, I was watching you run on the treadmill, not that I was watching you, and I noticed your hair. Don't worry it's because it looked good even when you were sweating. Not that I noticed that you were sweating because I really wasn't stalking you, I mean watching you. I just wanted to know who cuts your hair." Awkward. Maybe I'll just park outside a couple of salons and look at the hair of those walking out before making any decisions. Not at all stalker-esque, right?

• Why is Sam regressing in the potty training department? Someone with a boy please tell me this is normal. It is not an act of defiance or anything like that, he just won't go until it is literally streaming down his legs. The only thing that works is withholding fluids and I don't want to have to do that (he still drinks, just not gallons upon gallons). The girls are potty trained machines. I hate to chalk it up to the theory that boys are harder to train than girls (I tend to not care for all those generalizing mantras), but I might have to agree if he doesn't start holding it in more frequently!

• IKEA is awesome. Even more awesome is that we live within an hour of one.

• I want to get a really good devotional book. It doesn't necessarily have to be geared towards women or moms, but just a good one that makes you think. I need something to channel and guide my thoughts these days. Please, anyone, give me ideas if you know of any good ones.

• Speaking of books, I'm almost halfway done with Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. They are a fast read and I liked them. I also read The Kite Runner, which was an amazing book about the wars in Afghanistan and how they have affected the people there (along with a personal story woven in). Other books that I see in my near future include:

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God - Francis Chan
The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls
A Gracious Plenty - Sheri Reynolds
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - Donald Miller
Shepherding a Child's Heart - Tedd Tripp

I love to read, so I'm excited about getting to all these new books. Any other suggestions or reviews?

• The kids are working on their 47th cold in the last few months (you think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not). Fingers crossed that it's not a horrible one. I feel ok so far, but I know I could be blindsided at any time ...

That's all I have to dump out of my brain for now. Hope I didn't bore you too much, but it's Friday and I'm ready to get this weekend started. Nothing says fun like a cloudy Saturday with a high of 37 degrees! Any tips or ideas on child-approved indoor activities would be greatly appreciated!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Doctor, Doctor

So we went to the doctor today. Yes, me and the four kiddos. Something I just LOVE doing, can't you tell? We were just going for check-ups, so at least it wasn't for any illnesses. Anyway, my most favorite part of taking all four to the doctor is when we get called back and get to wait, all five of us, in the 6x8 foot cell they euphemistically call an exam room. They might as well just put a sign that says "Entering Purgatory" on the door.

So, there we are trapped in our cell with no books (oops, forgot those ... wait, this is a pediatrician's office ... shouldn't there be books around?), no snacks, and no way to take the two who have to go potty to the bathroom without leaving the other two unattended in the cell. Lovely. And did I mention that I'm in my workout clothes without a shower or makeup? Double lovely. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm 99% certain the pediatrician has never seen me with makeup on. At least she doesn't know what she's missing.

With no entertainment and roughly two square feet of space per person, you'd think they'd all be trying to get out of the door. Nope, not my kids. Despite the lack of toys and space, they entertained themselves for quite a while by doing this (shot with my phone, so sorry for the quality).

Is this all they need to have a good time? A mirror and some of that sterile paper they put on exam tables? Because if that's the case I just wasted a whole lot of money this Christmas on toys. In actuality, it kinda made me wish I could have just as much fun with paper, a mirror, and my hands. But them I remembered that I'm a boring adult who requires things like television, electronics, and media to entertain me. It started to make me wonder when children stop having fun with anything within their grasp and start demanding that someone else create their "fun" for them? I'm gonna be pretty sad when that change happens. So even though I'm sure everyone in the doctor's office could hear the little debacle going on in our cell, I just let them play. And since the doctor walked in right after this video, I'm fairly certain our noise making got us seen a little faster too!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pizza With Daddy

Getting ready ...












































Making the dough ...





































Pressing out the dough ...















LOTS of cheese ...






























Cheese hands!
The finished product!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Picture of the Week - January 16

Someone got a hold of my camera ...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kidspeak

Setting: At home. Kids are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Santa in just a few days. His impending appearance has been dominating the conversations lately.

Me: "Sam, are you excited that Santa is coming in a few days?"
Sam: "Yeah!"
Me: "Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and then the day after that is Christmas!"
Sam: "Yeah Mommy, you're right. I think Santa is coming Nexterday."


Setting: In the car.

Me: "Have you guys been learning the day of the week in school?"
Peyton: "Yeah, we have!"
Me: "Great. Today is Monday. What's after Monday?"

Silence

Me: "Okay ... well there's Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday ... do you know what comes next?"
Sam: "Oh, I know! It's Fries-day!"

Apparently Sam has an affinity for creating his own words. Personally, I think Nexterday makes perfect sense and I would not at all mind if one day of the week was exclusively devoted to fries. Makes me kinda hungry just thinking about it ...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ambushed

Like the rest of the Southeast, we've had some wintry weather lately. I'm trying to prevent myself from going stir crazy, so this afternoon I went on a baking binge. Let's just say that if anyone within a 100 mile radius of my home needs any muffins or cookies in the next two months, please feel free to drop by. The kids were itching to get out into the snow all day, so I finally bundled them up and took them out this afternoon. It was a good chance to give the snowsuits, snow boots, and gloves a test run before our trip to Colorado in a couple months (except for Luke - poor guy had to don the make-shift snow suit made of wind pants, duct tape, and boots two sizes too big).

They really loved playing in it this year. They enjoyed it last year, but this year was a whole new level. I think another year plus actually having snow resistant clothing made all the difference. I had to drag them inside once it started getting dark.

Luke wanted to wear these boots when I told him he needed boots to go in the snow. Actually, now that I think about it, these maybe could have worked with some duct tape.





















Notice my baking bonanza evidence on the counter in the above photo. I'm not kidding y'all, just give me those muffin/cookie orders now. I CANNOT have them in my house for too long or I will eat them all.

Snow bunnies ...


























































Snow angel ...





















You can tell it was getting dark in the picture above.

So, just as I am about to drag them inside and start the assembly line of take off right boot, take off left boot, remove gloves, remove suit, shove kid in the door, repeat, I start to feel like I'm being watched. You know that feeling you get when you just know that someone is lurking around the corner? When you know something inevitable is about to happen? Well, just as the hairs started to stand up on the back of my neck I whirled around, camera in hand, and documented this:












































I guess that's what you get for teaching your kid to throw a snowball. What goes around, comes around.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Krispy Kreme

Ok, you can shoot me right now. Quick, do it before I change my mind. No? Fine, suit yourself. You may have second thoughts in a few minutes after I reveal what I have done (or, in this case, failed to do). I have committed a sacrilege, unforgivable sin that I'm not sure can ever be forgiven. I may have cost my kids a bit of their childhood with this mistake. Did you know that Winston-Salem is the home of the Krispy Kreme donut? Did you know that a Krisy Kreme donut is a taste of heaven itself (I pity you if you do not)? And did you know that as of yesterday, over A YEAR since we had moved to Krisy Kreme town, I had not taken my kiddos to a KK so they could partake in this spiritual awakening? I'm going to wait while you find and load your gun ...

Yes, I am a horrible mother. How could I deny them this pleasure? Well, I decided that yesterday was the day and after naps we headed down the street to good ole KK. Let's just say that the kids were impressed. No, beyond impressed. More like hooked. Addicted. Donut-a-holics. What have I started?







































I shudder when I think what will happen when they realize that you can buy them a dozen at a time. Or when they find that they have a different thematic donut for every conceivable occasion or holiday (donut with a face of MLK on it anyone?). Or when they discover that Mommy really likes donuts too and all we need to do is ask nicely with a "pretty please" on top and she will pull into the KK parking lot faster than you can say coronary heart disease.

Sigh.

I guess I'd better start exercising now. Anyone know how many crunches it takes to work off the 6 pack of glazed donuts sitting on top of my abs?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Picture of the Week - January 9

I know it's 30 degrees outside, but, ice cream anyone?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kidspeak

Setting: Peyton and Matt are At Mimi's house looking at the photos she has lining her stair walls. She has many pictures of Matt and his sister as they were growing up.

Matt: "Peyton, who is this (pointing to a baby picture of himself)?"
Peyton: "Oh, that's Luke (they think any picture of a baby is Luke)."
Matt: "No, that's a picture of baby Daddy."
Peyton: (Pointing to a picture of Matt's sister, who had curly blond hair like Adah) "And that's Adah."
Matt: "No, that's baby Meghann."
Peyton, who at first looked confused, now looks like she is starting to get it.
Matt: "Now who do you think this is (pointing to another picture of himself as a baby)?
Peyton: "Oh yeah! That's my baby daddy!"

Ummm, no honey. Let's not start with that kinda slang yet. And you had better NEVER have a baby daddy or we will have some serious talking to do!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pajama Jeans

This is awesomeness embodied in fabric. Why didn't anyone get me some of these for Christmas this year when I was pregnant? You have to check them out HERE.

If anyone is curious, my birthday is in August ...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some More Christmas

Here are a few videos from around Christmas that I have been meaning to share. The first is of Luke and his favorite toy from Santa that I shared about HERE. I am so glad Santa decided not to bring a vacuum that makes noise.


And here's the newest Mariah Carey in the making. She has a classic rendition of "All I Want For Christmas Is You", but she wasn't willing to share that one this day. I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I bought a kids' Christmas CD, but man was I sick of that thing by about December 10. However, I endured and I am slowly having to wean the kiddos off of Christmas music like they are crystal meth addicts. Hopefully we don't go into full blown withdrawal during the process.


She actually used to call this song, "Walkin' Around the Christmas Tree", but she must have figured out in the 456 times that we heard it that they said "Rockin'" instead of "Walkin'." The best part is the words she inserts when she doesn't know exactly what the singer is saying. Personal favorites include the voices singing "let's be tommy" (being jolly must be overrated) and "everyone dancin' harry-ly" instead of merrily. I don't think I want to dance with anyone who is a self-described harry dancer, ew.

I think that's about it for Christmas (I know you're thankful for that). More to come later ...