Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

After a long drive home from New Orleans today, I'm a bit too tired to wax philosophical about 2008, so I'll save the emotional aspects of celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of another for a future post. But I thought I'd just make a quick list of how our lives have changed this year:

* Evan was born in May.
* We moved from the city to the suburbs in June.
* Sydney started kindergarten in August.
* Liam started Mother's Day Out in September.
* We survived Hurricane Ike in September.

And those are just the big things!

We had a really busy year and we're looking forward to a calmer 2009.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas - The Sydney Edition

Of the three kids, only Sydney really gets what Christmas is all about. She's excited about Santa and for the first time, really understands the Nativity Story and the true meaning of Christmas. The details are still a bit muddled, however, as evidenced by her proclamation that Jesus was laid in a crib in a stapler since there was no room at the inn.


We went for a walk to look at the Christmas lights in our neighborhood and she declared that everything was "decoratiful." I rather like that word.


And for the first time, we decorated a gingerbread house together:





And since this will be my last post before Christmas, from our family to yours:


Sunday, December 21, 2008

We'll Leave it to the Professionals

This is why we turned to the professionals for our Christmas pictures this year:


Here's our annual picture with Santa. Both Sydney and Liam recognized their Paw Paw under the red suit and we never did get them to look straight at us.


In front of our Christmas tree - Liam's most recent black eye included.


Evan did a nose dive while Liam clutched Sydney's doll. Not good.


One happy looking kid out of three. Hmmm.....not quite Christmas card material.

Ryan and I have many talents. Photography is most definitely not one of them.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Carol Answer

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, there were 17 Christmas carols used in Wednesday's post. Here it is again with the carol titles in boldface (slashes are between consecutive titles) :

Do you hear what I hear?

It’s a Silent Night / In the Bleak Midwinter. It is 9 pm and no one is crying or screaming. No one is arguing or fighting. Everything is Still, Still, Still. Every child in my house is asleep.

And the best part is every child in my house will stay asleep until 5 am or so. That’s right, all three of my children now sleep through the night.

I repeat, all three children now sleep through the night.

The first evening when It Came Upon a Midnight Clear and Evan hadn’t fussed one bit, I thought, “What Child is This?

The next night when I didn’t even have to Sing (a) Lullaby, I thought, “Hallelujah! / Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day!”

By the third morning of a good night’s sleep, I was so excited that I wanted to proclaim my Joy to the World, but I thought that I might jinx myself. Instead, I figured out a way to hang up our Christmas cards just to Deck the Halls a bit.

On the fourth morning when it was well Past Three a Clock in the morning and the sun began to rise Out of the East, I actually had to Wake, O Wake my sleeping baby boy.

We are now on day five of sleeping entirely through the night and I feel confident enough about the situation that I could not only Go Tell it on the Mountain, but shout it from the mountain top. It’s as if all the Angels From the Realms of Glory are calling down to us, “God Rest ye Merry Gentlepeople.”

Ah, rest. I can finally get some real rest.

Thanks for playing along!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Silent Night

Do you hear what I hear?

It’s a silent night in the bleak midwinter. It is 9 pm and no one is crying or screaming. No one is arguing or fighting. Everything is still, still, still. Every child in my house is asleep.

And the best part is every child in my house will stay asleep until 5 am or so. That’s right, all three of my children now sleep through the night.

I repeat, all three children now sleep through the night.

The first evening when it came upon a midnight clear and Evan hadn’t fussed one bit, I thought, “What child is this?”

The next night when I didn’t even have to sing (a) lullaby, I thought, “Hallelujah! Tomorrow shall be my dancing day!”

By the third morning of a good night’s sleep, I was so excited that I wanted to proclaim my joy to the world, but I thought that I might jinx myself. Instead, I figured out a way to hang up our Christmas cards just to deck the halls a bit.

On the fourth morning when it was well past three a clock in the morning and the sun began to rise out of the east, I actually had to wake, o wake my sleeping baby boy.

We are now on day five of sleeping entirely through the night and I feel confident enough about the situation that I could not only go tell it on the mountain, but shout it from the mountain top. It’s as if all the angels from the realms of glory are calling down to us, “God rest ye merry gentlepeople.”

Ah, rest. I can finally get some real rest.

*Any guesses as to how many Christmas carols are included in this post?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eight Years

Eight years ago today, we looked like this:


(You get to see my parents, too, since we don't have a scanner and this is the only picture I have on the computer.)

Isn't my wedding dress pretty? My mom made it. She also made my sister's and nieces' dresses (matron of honor and flower girls).

Right before Liam was born (so forgive my fat face), we looked like this:


And right after we found out we were expecting Evan, we looked like this:


We may have gained some weight or lost some hair (through haircuts or natural causes), but I think we still look pretty good together.

I wonder what we'll look like eight years from now.

Happy anniversary, Ryan - love you!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wanna Be My Friend?

I officially caved to the pressure: I now have a Facebook profile. And if I've ever e-mailed you, you probably got an invitation to be my friend.

Pretty please? Wanna be my friend?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Would you believe it actually snowed this evening?








Wonders never cease.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

You'd Think She Had One Foot in the Grave

Other than the forced Hurricane Ike break, Sydney hasn't missed one day of kindergarten so far. Until today, that is. She came home with a fever yesterday and despite the medicine we gave her, she woke up with one this morning, too.

LIke all mothers do when their children are sick, I've been indulging her a bit to distract her from the discomfort of the fever and sore throat. She got to take a long, leisurely bath in my big garden tub this morning. She's watched more TV than I usually allow. She drank an entire can of Sprite and a juice box this morning which is a huge privilege for a girl who is allowed only one cup of soft drink or juice a day. Since Liam's at preschool today, she got to play on the computer without her brother bugging her. And just like my mother used to do for me, I fixed her some chicken noodle soup for lunch and changed the sheets on her bed (something about clean sheets always made me feel better). Except for the fact that I just made her go lie down in her room (with the door shut) to "rest" (please, oh please, go to sleep!) for an hour, she's had a pretty cushy day. And she's milking it for all it's worth, too.

Since Sydney's fever has been quite high, I'm betting that she'll be staying home tomorrow as well and I'm running out of ideas.

So here's my question: what kind of things did you mom do for you when you were sick? What kinds of things do you do for your own kids when they're sick?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Girls vs. Boys

Parenting truly is an adventure. Something new happens every day and while most of it makes me laugh, a lot of it amazes me as well. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the differences between boys and girls.

Sydney is all girl. She loves having long hair and likes for me to braid it and use pretty pigtails and barrettes to get it out of her face. She's very particular about how she wants her hair each morning. She wants to wear a dress or skirt every single day. No matter what the temperature is outside, she asks to wear a skirt and cries when we tell her no. (Thirty six degrees means pants. Period.) Her closet is full of pink and purple clothes; if she had her way, there would be nothing but pink in there. And while she likes having her toenails painted, she really prefers a full pedicure (from me - not from a salon, but only because she's never been to a salon). If my grandmother were still alive, she would call Sydney "Miss Priss".

Liam, on the other hand, is all boy. He gets all excited when he sees me picking up all the toys strewn across the living room and runs to get his favorite toy: the vacuum. He wants to pull the cord out, plug it in, turn it on, work it and worst of all, he wants to ride it. He is obsessed with electrical outlets and has figured out how to pull out the plastic safety plugs we have in them. I caught him unplugging the Christmas tree this morning and trying to plug in the blender (he pulled it out of the pantry when I wasn't looking). He's also figured out how to open up the cabinets despite the safety locks we have on them. And taking him grocery shopping is almost more than I can handle. Last week, he turned around just enough to grab a box of baking chocolate and while I was searching the shelves for something, he opened the box, unwrapped a square of it and ate some. For those of you who will be getting some of my homemade fudge, I promise that I didn't use that square of chocolate. He is mischievous beyond belief, but knows to crack a smile when he's about to get in deep trouble because I just can't resist his goofy grin. I just know he's going to be the death of me.

I haven't figured out Evan's personality just yet. Perhaps he'll be just as sly as Liam and then I'll really be in trouble. Actually, I think Sydney will be in even more trouble. But, he could be just as sweet as Sydney (hopefully without the prissy parts). Who knows. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, December 5, 2008


This kind of crap is exactly why I quit teaching. I'm not saying that the teacher is completely faultless, but the mother's reaction just really irritates me.

I actually had a mother accuse me of being a racist when I didn't accept her daughter's late homework (it was a college prep class - no late work accepted). Never mind that I tried to protect the girl from her own mother's wrath by being fuzzy about her rude response to me (then the mother called me deaf, too). Never mind the fact that the girl had attitude issues with many teachers. Never mind that the girl forged the nurse's signature on a hall pass to skip a class. Never mind that she refused to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance (I never forced anyone to say it, but I did ask everyone to stand during it). Even after all of this, I'm the one accused of wrong doing by trying to hold the girl accountable for her actions?

No wonder so many teachers quit. When parents go looking for someone to blame for the state of public education in this country, they should stop and take a good look at themselves.

Sorry. This is obviously a sore subject for me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our Little Elves

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

And the Winner is....

Heidi, from Mommy Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Congratulations! I've sent you an e-mail and with any luck, you'll have your chocolate by the end of next week.

Thanks to everyone who entered. I truly wish I could send each of you some chocolate, but take heart, because I think I'll be hosting another giveaway as we approach Valentine's Day. That way you and your sweetie will have something scrumptious to nibble on (besides each other, of course).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Updates X 2

First, the giveaway update: I'm thrilled that so many people are excited about the chocolate giveaway! And I'm loving the favorite holiday treats that everyone mentioned. Peanut brittle - yum! Peanut butter fudge - yum! Ribbon candy - yum! You still have time to enter. Just leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite holiday treat by 11:59 pm tomorrow night. Sydney will pick a winner on Thursday morning before school and I'll post the winner later that day. And you don't have to have a blog to enter, just an e-mail address. Also, if you don't like chocolate (which is hard to imagine because who in their right mind doesn't?), you can always give the tin to a neighbor as a holiday gift.


Second, the CIO update: For those of you not familiar with the alphabet soup of parenting acronyms, CIO stands for the "Cry it Out" method of getting babies to sleep on their own. AP, or Attachment Parenting, parents think it's cruel and they may be right, but it works (at least for us). For proof, this is Evan's old nighttime schedule:

7:30 bedtime
10:00 cry, I feed him
12:00 cry, Ryan puts pacifier in
1:00 cry, Ryan puts pacifier in
2:00 cry, Ryan gives him a few ounces of formula
3:00 cry, Ryan puts pacifier in
4:00 cry, Ryan puts pacifier in
5:00 cry, I feed him
6:30 wakeup

Now you know why I was whining about the lack of sleep. Poor Ryan got the brunt of it.

Here's what happened our first night of CIO:

7:30 bedtime
10:20 cried for an entire hour
12:00 cried, I fed him
3:00 cried for 20 minutes
5:00 cried, I fed him
6:30 wakeup

And our second night of CIO:

7:30 bedtime
12:00 cried, I fed him
5:00 cried, I fed him
6:30 wakeup

Much better, no? In a few weeks, we're going to let him CIO on the midnight feeding because I don't think he really needs it and then (hopefully) we'll have a baby who sleeps from 7:30 until 5:00. It took Liam a long time to drop that 5 am feeding so I'm not too worried about Evan hanging on to it for a while.

In the meantime, I'm already getting greedy about increasing my sleep some more. The poor boy is only waking up twice (as opposed to seven or more times) and I'm already looking forward to the day when he doesn't wake up at all and I can have eight hours of sleep in a row. I've almost forgotten what that feels like.

Thank you to everyone for your support on the CIO issues. It was tough to listen to him cry for an hour, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


To celebrate the end of NaBloPoMo (and because I've been the recipient of one of Mommy Daisy's giveaways AND because it's finally cool enough I can mail these without fear of them melting) I'm hosting a giveaway!

One lucky reader will win a large holiday-themed tin full of homemade chocolates:

(This is a picture of a small tin from last year, but you get the idea)

There will be peanut butter cups, chocolate covered cherries, mints, and chocolate rice krispie treats like these:


And a variety of fudges like these:

(That's a truffle in the middle)

AND a variety of truffles like these:

(There are two squares of fudge in the middle)


Everything is made from scratch by me or my family (we get together and make chocolates every year).

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me what your favorite holiday treat is. To enter twice, link to this post on your blog and then come back here and leave a second comment telling me you did so. The contest ends at midnight on Wednesday, December 3rd; I'll have Sydney draw a name out of a hat (very scientific, I know) and I'll post the winner on Thursday. Be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment if I don't already have it so that I contact you for a mailing address.

Good luck!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wish Us Luck

We're instituting the full-on "Cry it Out" method tonight with Evan. It's the best thing for all of us, even if it is pure torture.

All I know is that three or four nights of pure torture beats three or four more months of exhaustion.

Hopefully I'll have some good news to report by this time next week.


Also, how is it possible that "A Christmas Story" is 25 years old?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

To the tune of the last verse of "The Twelve Days of Christmas":

On my Thanksgiving weekend, my family gave to me:

12 bouts of crying,
11 dirty serving dishes,
10 hours of "visiting",
9 temper tantrums,
8 pounds of sweet potatoes,
7 types of veggies,
6 food stained bibs,
5 kinds of pie.......
4 screaming children,
3 boring football games,
2 gigantic turkeys,
And a head cold that won't go away.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful Thursday 3

My last set of non-serious things for which I am thankful:

* Bibs that catch gallons of drool
* Cornbread dressing
* Warm pecan pie with vanilla ice cream on top
* Icicle Christmas lights
* Hot showers
* Coupons
* Stain remover
* Swings (even as an adult, I still feel like I'm flying when I'm on one)
* Itty bitty newborn clothes
* The library for feeding my reading addiction free of charge
* My parents who are keeping Sydney and Liam overnight tonight

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Because I'm Out of Blogging Ideas

Your Pilgrim Name Is...

Damaris Allerton

Your Native American Name Is...

Olathe Litonya

Your name means: Beautiful Darting Hummingbird

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Good Day

Evan's tummy seems to have calmed down and today was happily a vomit-free day for us. He'll be back on solid foods tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes. :) Thanks to everyone for your concerns and well wishes for my sweet, digestively challenged baby.

The other part of my good day was that I got to go see "Twilight" this morning with my sister and her girls. I haven't seen a real (no animation or talking animals) first run movie since before Evan was born. Two hours of mindless entertainment - ahhhhhhh.

So how was your day?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Here We Go Again

Tonight was Round 2 of Vomitfest 2008 in our household. Naturally, Ryan had band practice this evening so he missed the whole thing. But in the span of two minutes, Evan projectile vomited all over himself, me and the recliner, Sydney spilled her drink on the living room carpet and Liam woke up crying from all of the commotion.

I'll spare you from the really gross details, but I will tell you that Ryan came home to wet carpet, a sink full of dinner dishes that I just couldn't get to, a washing machine full of stinky clothes (including not one, but three sets of Evan's pajamas), puked-on sheets and towels, a half-naked wife (in a totally non-sexy mood) and a half-naked, vomit crusted baby. After the third Exorcist-esque episode, I simply gave up on clothing for either of us and sat with Evan in the recliner with nothing but a diaper for him and a towel for me. And sure enough, there was a fourth episode and I was thankful that I hadn't bothered with clothing.

So I'm off to take a shower to wash off the ickiness of the evening. Come to think of it, I might just take two showers. It was just that bad.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shopping Scenarios

Scenario #1: I used to have grocery shopping down to a science. I would go on Tuesday mornings because there are light crowds, the shelves are restocked from the weekend and I only have one kid with me due to school/preschool. Well, Tuesday mornings aren't working so well with Evan's schedule, so I have to find a new plan.

Scenario #2: I started going Monday or Tuesday evenings after dinner. Again, stocked shelves, light crowds and NO kids. But last week, a woman got mugged in the store while I was there, too. I heard the whole thing. So shopping at night is out.

Scenario #3: I went this afternoon to give Sundays a try. Maybe it was the fact that I was in a hurry or that everyone else in The Land of Fruit was doing their Thanksgiving shopping, but it was horrible. The aisles were packed and the shelves were almost bare and traffic was so bad it took me 30 minutes to get home when it should have taken me ten.

So, when do you go shopping? Do you take your kids and if so, how do you keep your sanity? Do you do a week's worth of shopping at one time or do you break it up into segments? Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bullies Anonymous - Liam's Post

Hello, my name is Liam and I am a bully. I acknowledge that I am a bully, but I don't think it's a problem.

You wouldn't think it to look at me since I'm smaller than most kids my age, but my classmates at preschool fear me. When I saunter in the room, some of the boys instantly cower. A couple of the boys are complete wimps; they cry for their mamas every single day. What in the world is there to cry about? We get snack and juice, time to play on the playground, all the books we can read, new toys to play with and cool cots to sleep on. Best of all, there are no moms around! Dudes, you gotta get yourselves together. Enjoy the time away from your moms.

As for the ladies, I've discovered that they love a bad boy. The two girls in my class, twins no less, are totally crushing on me. They call my name when I enter the room and wave bye to me after nap time. All I need is a leather jacket and a motorcycle and I'll even have the teachers swooning over me. I suppose my fleece jacket and tricycle will have to suffice for now.

I don't just bully my classmates, either. You ought to see me wail on my little brother. The kid is a total pushover. Literally. I just pushed him over yesterday for no reason at all and he didn't fight back. Mom put me in timeout, but I just did it again because it's fun. She warned me that someday Evan is going to pay me back for all of the abuse, but I don't see it happening. The kid is way smaller than me and cries all day just like the sissies in my class.

The only person who fights back is my sister. I pull her hair and she pushes me away. I push her back, she yells at me and tattles to Mom. My revenge? I bite her. Two weeks ago, I bit her really hard on the stomach. You can still see the mark. Sometimes I impress myself.

The best part of being a bully is that I know when to turn it off and be charming. I can charm the pants of anyone. I've got my grandparents totally snookered; they think I can do no wrong. In fact, everyone over the age of 55 thinks I'm adorable and that's just the way I like it. It's the retired crowd that has the money and can buy me great gifts.

Granted, I have gotten in trouble for my bully ways. Not only does Mom put me in time out like ten times a day, but my teachers at school have written me up several times. You ought to see Mom's face when she sees an Incident Report in my cubby when she picks me up. An Incident Report means that I hurt someone else, usually one of the wimpy boys, but you know, if they would fight back, then I'd learn my lesson. At least that's what Mom is hoping for.

Maybe someday I'll grow out of my bullying ways, especially as I figure out that all the other boys are bigger than I am. If not, then I suppose I'm on my way to becoming the next Napoleon and then my parents are really in trouble.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Six Things/Fun Fact Friday

Mommy Daisy tagged me for a Six Things About Me post so I thought I'd make it my Fun Fact Friday post. Here goes:

1. I've lived in Texas for most of my life and I've never been to Dallas. I hear it's loads of fun, but I've never had a reason to visit The Big D. I've also never been to El Paso, but in my defense, it's like 750 miles away and that is one car trip I don't care to make.

2. I belong to two book clubs here in The Land of Fruit. One is made up of a group of ladies I found through their website. The other is made up of the ladies in my sister's Sunday School class. I am so thankful that both groups let me crash their parties and join in the fun (yes, I said fun). Not only do they keep me reading great books, I have an excuse to get out of the house two evenings a month to have child-free time (and sometimes wine, too). And yes, we do actually discuss the books.

3. When it comes to music, I have perfect pitch, but my sense of rhythm stinks. Ryan thinks it's hilarious.

4. I've never played organized sports.

5. I don't like wearing socks. I'd rather walk around the house barefoot in the winter and have freezing feet than put socks on. I will resort to wearing house shoes, but only if it's cold enough for snow. Which is, you know, almost never, since I live in southern Texas.

6. I really want to start exercising again, but can't figure out how to fit it into my day. The only solution is to get up before the kids and do it before the day starts and considering that I already have to get up at 5:45 to get our daily routine going, it looks like the exercise just ain't gonna happen any time soon.

Now it's your turn if you choose to accept the challenge. Write six things about yourself and then tag six others.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Another edition of non-serious things for which I am thankful:

* Pink sunrises and sunsets.
* Being able to see the stars at night (since I couldn't really see them when we lived in the city).
* Showing Sydney and Liam how to "see their breath" on cold mornings.
* The neighbor's cat that lets me pet him.
* Sydney's sweet giggle as she watches "Tom & Jerry" cartoons.
* High thread count sheets (we only have one set and I love them dearly).
* Antibiotics that make my baby feel better.
* Homemade pot pie.
* Allrecipes.
* The beautiful park nearby that has a lake with a one mile track around it.
* Curbside recycling.
* The fact that when her teacher asked what she was grateful for, Sydney said she was thankful for her brothers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tell Me a Joke

I'm elbow deep in Evan's bodily fluids (the old "both ends at once" digestive issue) so I don't have time write anything of substance today.

But I do need some cheering up to take my mind off of the fact that not only have I had to change Evan's outfits several times today, I've had to change mine as well. The Resolve carpet cleaner had to be put to use, too. It hasn't been pretty around here.

So, anyone know a good joke? I really need the laughs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mommy Math

Solve for X:

1 baby (4 shots + 1 ear infection) + 1 toddler (2 shots + teething) = X hours of sleep (mom + dad)

Any guesses?

Tomorrow….word problems!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bad Mama

The boys had their well baby checkups this morning and I feel like the worst mother in the world. While their heights and weights were fine, it turns out that Evan has an ear infection. After his screaming fits last week, I told Ryan I thought he might have one, but we kind of shrugged it off since we knew he'd be going in today for his checkup. So who knows how long the poor little guy has been in pain. He hasn't had a fever and hasn't been pulling at his ears and short of learning how to use an otoscope, I don't know what else we could have done. He'll start an antibiotic this evening and hopefully that, along with the acetaminophen for his shots-related fever, will keep him comfortable until it clears up.

As for their statistics, once again we were reminded that our children are not going to grow up to be linebackers.

Liam - 32 inches tall (5th percentile), 25.7 pounds (25th percentile), BMI in 75th percentile
Evan - 26.5 inches tall/long (50th percentile), 15 lbs, 10 ounces (25th percentile)

Both boys got shots and while they both cried, amazingly, I did not. That's a first, for sure. Maybe I'm finally toughening up a bit.

The pediatrician did warn us that if Liam has another ear infection then she'd like us to consult with an ENT. I was hoping to avoid the whole "tubes" thing, but if makes him more comfortable, then we'll have to seriously consider it. Unfortunately, I think Evan is on the same path seeing as he's had three ear infections in the last six months so it looks like at least one of our boys will have to have something done.

Anyway, considering all the things that can wrong in such tiny bodies, we are very lucky to have such healthy kids. Heaven knows there are worse things than ear infections and short statures.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Ick Factor

I've cooked thousands of dinners for our family over the years (seriously - we've been married almost eight years and I cook six nights out of every seven) and we've had chicken as our main source of protein for probably one-third of those meals. Not just any chicken, mind you, but boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I use them for everything from grilled chicken to baked chicken to casseroles. That's a lot of chicken. And a lot of money. And just like everyone else these days, we've been looking for ways to cut back on our grocery bill so the days of using expensive chicken breasts three times a week are over.

So in the spirit of pinching grocery pennies, I cooked not one, but two whole chickens for the very first time yesterday. I'd found whole chickens on sale at our local grocery store (2 chickens for $8) and used probably $3 of lemons, herbs and spices. Our little herb garden came in handy for this recipe that saw on Oprah a few weeks ago so that saved us even more. And while I was thrilled that I could save money by cooking whole chickens, I was not so thrilled with the process.

I thawed the frozen chickens. Very easy, not messy at all. So far, so good.
I opened the packages and rinsed the outside of the chickens. Very easy, a bit messy. Still so far, so good.
I put my hand inside a chicken to pull out the innards. And this is where I lost it.

With a pile of gizzards, necks and who knows what else piled in the dish I'd used for defrosting, I slowly slunk down and away from the cabinet leaving my hands over the sink and put my head as close to my knees as possible. My gag reflex was working overtime and I was certain that my lunch was going to make a reappearance. Sydney came running to see what was wrong and then ran to get Ryan who finished cleaning out the chickens and patted them dry.

While Ryan laughed his head off, I composed myself long enough to use a pair of forks to stuff the birds with lemon rinds and herbs. And while I'm sure it was not the fastest or most efficient way of doing it, using one fork to lift the chicken's tail area (I think that's what it was) and the other to stuff the flavorings into the smelly cavity worked quite well for me and my gag reflex. I poured the marinade on top, covered them with foil and shoved them in the oven.

They came out quite juicy and tasty and those two birds supplied us with enough meat for four meals. We had roasted chicken with vegetables last night and this week I'll be making chicken enchiladas, chicken pot pie and depending on the weather, perhaps chicken and dumplings.

On the upside, we saved quite a bit of money: we got at least sixteen servings of chicken for about $11.

On the downside, there's a huge ick factor involved: I don't think I'll ever get the image of the innards or the smell of the inside of a chicken out of my head. And despite the money we saved, I don't know if I can go through the process again.

But, since Ryan didn't seem to be bothered by it (apparently that's one advantage to growing up in a family that hunts for its meat), I think I'll just make him do it from now on.

After all, I've cooked enough meals - it's his turn.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas Card Sneak Peek

We finally took the kids to have their pictures taken professionally after my attempts did not turn out so well. We went to Portrait Innovations at the suggestion of Allie at Adventures in Imperfection (thanks, Allie!) and they turned out really well. Here's a sneak peek at our seemingly well behaved children:



So if you get a Christmas card from us, you're most likely going to see one of these pictures. Hope I didn't ruin it for you. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fun Fact Friday

I'm running short on ideas for posts today, so I'll have to fall back on the old Friday standby: fun facts.

1. The kids got a ton of Halloween candy and are only allowed to eat a piece or two each day. It's been 14 days since Halloween and it's almost all gone. Oops.

2. My dream car is an Audi TT with no car seats in the back.

3. I'm cooking a whole chicken for the very first time tomorrow (we usually just eat chicken breasts). Keep your fingers crossed.

4. There is a lady down the street who has introduced herself to me twice and I cannot for the life of me remember her name. I'm usually good with names so I'm pretty embarrassed to have to ask her again.

5. The boys have their well baby checkups next Monday and I have to take them by myself. Both of them are scheduled to get shots. What was I thinking?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Seeing as it is November and the month is dominated by Thanksgiving, I thought that I would devote the next few Thursdays to thinking about what I'm grateful for.

I am, of course, grateful for my family, health, comfortable home and plenty of food to eat. But on the lighter side, I'm also thankful for:

* red toenail polish.
* the seat warmers in my van.
* the DVR that lets me revisit great shows like "The West Wing" and "Malcolm in the Middle".
* jeans that fit "just right."
* underwear that fits "just right."
* seeing my kids' faces light up when they open gifts.
* my little herb garden.
* finding awesome new recipes to try.
* scented bubble bath.
* finding the perfect stocking stuffers.
* Ryan who lets me steal sips of his Coke.
* Sydney who lets me experiment on her hair.
* Liam who hugs me ten times a day.
* Evan who giggles when I make funny noises.

What non-serious things are you grateful for?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Would you believe that I have become an expert on mommy type issues? Yeah, me either.

But the other moms in our little Wednesday singing group at church seem to think that I have all the answers for baby/toddler problems. Once they found out that I had three kids (they only see Liam and Evan since Sydney is in school), I have been bombarded with questions:

"Where did you get that pacifier clip?"
"How do you get green bean stains off of a baby-sized collar?"
"Is separation anxiety at 6 months normal?"
"How did you get him to sit up by himself?"
"Where did you get that snack carrier?"
"How do you get him to be so friendly?"
"How do you go to the bathroom with a toddler and an infant?"
"When do you eat?"
"How do you do it all?"

I answer as many questions as I can, but some of them stump me, like the "How do you do it all?" one. I usually just say, "One day at a time," and they laugh, but I seriously don't know what to tell them. And when I'm answering something easy, like the green beans on the collar question, I want to shout, "If only you knew how incapable I am of getting my baby to sleep through the night!" But I don't shout that because it would scare the babies and more importantly, I don't want to shatter their image of me. :)

I'm amazed that in their eyes, I am the expert. Would they still think this if they saw me bribe Liam with a cup of juice or snap at Sydney because her room is a mess? Probably not. Would they still think I'm a Super Mom (I have visions of a woman in "mom jeans" with a spit-up covered cape) if they knew that the toy room is a perpetual disaster area or saw the frying pan that I just can't seem to scrub clean? Nope. By the way, anyone know how to get dried/burnt barbecue sauce off of a supposedly non-stick frying pan?

It seems like yesterday that I was the one asking all of the questions and I realize now that the moms from whom I was seeking advice were probably thinking that they weren't experts on anything mommy related, either. But I guess there are no experts, just women who don't mind sharing the wisdom they've gained from their experiences. It's just crazy to think that now I'm one of the wise ones.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Day

For all my fellow Americans, Happy Veteran's Day! If you know any veterans, please take the time to thank them for all they've done for us.

For anyone who is not American, Happy Armistice Day! I always thought it was so neat that the treaty to end The Great War (aka WWI) was signed at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.

And, if my memory serves (which is questionable thanks to "mommy brain"), Happy Birthday to Matt! For those of you who don't know Matt, he just got engaged and he wrote about his sweet proposal here. If you need a pick-me-up today, you really should read it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

And the Award Goes to....


What award is that, you ask?

Why it's the "Crappiest Sleeper in America" award.

I know I whined about it before, but it has gotten so much worse the last couple of nights. We have no idea what is going on with him, but he just will not go to sleep. Or stay asleep.

There's the screaming. Nothing calms him down and he screams. And screams. And then screams some more. Saturday night/Sunday morning, he screamed for an entire hour. It didn't just seem like an hour, it was an hour - I watched the clock. He didn't have a fever, he wasn't gassy and I can't feel any little teeth buds along his little gums so we have no idea what was going on.

And he insists on touching either our faces or hands while he's sleeping; as long as there is skin to skin contact then he'll snooze until he's hungry (which is still every 3-4 hours at night). Ryan wound up sleeping on the couch last night so that Evan could sleep with me. I pretty much had a baby's hand on my face all night long. It sounds cute, but it's a little hard to sleep that way. That just may be me, though. You might be able to sleep with someone's hand on your face and if you can, please share with me how that doesn't make you feel a bit claustrophobic.

We're pretty much at our wits' end with the kid. He was baptized yesterday (pictures coming soon once my camera cooperates) and I briefly thought last night, "It would not look good for me to smother my baby after I just promised in front of God and the entire church to protect him his entire life." (And before you call Child Protective Service, I would never, ever, ever do this.) So, he's still alive, but I'm about to drop over dead from the sleep deprivation.

Anyway, I just needed to whine some more. I keep telling myself that I just have to get through this and reminding myself that he will eventually sleep through the night. Until then, I'll just have to find happiness in something other than sleeping. In fact, I think I'll do that right now by eating one of the cupcakes left over from Liam's birthday party. I might even eat two of them. I think I deserve it at this point.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Big Two

Today my sweet baby boy turns two years old. At exactly 1 pm on November 9, 2006, he entered this world screaming his head off, all 5 pounds and 11 ounces of him.

Today he's a rough and tumble toddler of a boy who doesn't hesitate to let you know when he's not happy. But he loves to give out kisses and hugs and flirts shamelessly with every little old lady we meet. His smile makes my day and when he says "mama" my heart just melts. He has brought an endless joy to our lives and I cannot imagine life without him.

So, Happy Birthday, Bud. We love you.

*Pictures of the big Blue's Clues day will be posted once our camera decides to let go of the pictures that are on it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't Bother

I'm sure that Ryan and I were two of the last people on the planet to see the latest Indiana Jones movie, but if you haven't seen it, can I just not waste your time. It was terrible. Thank goodness we didn't spend money to see it.

When we moved to The Land of Fruit, the welcome wagon people (also known as the local chamber of commerce), sent us some coupons for local businesses. One of them was for three free movie/game rentals at a local store and so I took advantage of the coupon last week by renting Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Sex and the City and the the Wii Music game. Luckily, the other two choices were great, because the Indiana Jones movie stunk.

***Spoilers below***

It should have been titled " 'Stargate' + "The Mummy' + 'National Treasure' + the Other Three 'Indiana Jones' Movies" because it was very unoriginal and contained almost every adventure movie cliche:

* Long, silly title? Check!
* Angry, half naked native people? Check!
* Female foe with a strong accent? Check!
* Drawn out chase/fist fight scene? Check!
* Friend that turns out to be a traitor? Check!
* Character that dies due to greed? Check!
* Foe that gets what he/she wants and then dies? Check!
* Large temple full of treasure? Check!
* Temple that is actually a space ship? Check!

I had such high hopes for this movie. I adore the first and third ones of the series (sorry, Kate Capshaw, not a big fan of all the screaming in #2). And I thought that since the third one was so good (my favorite, actually), the fourth one was bound to be at least amusing. Wrong.

It took us two nights to finish it because I kept falling asleep and that right there should have been a sign that it was not worth it (that and the fact that they kept mentioning the Mayans in South America - gah!). But we finished it anyway and then looked at each other and immediately agreed that it was a big old stinker.

The one thing I did like about the movie was the fact that there was no helpless, screaming love interest. Karen Allen (Marion) revised her role and I loved her character. But other than that, total waste of time.

However, I do give two big thumbs up to "Sex and the City" and Wii Music game. Those two are definitely worth the money if you loved the HBO series or have a Wii console. I would pay to rent those again, and that means a lot from someone as cheap frugal as me.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Let me first say thank you to everyone for your tips and sympathy regarding our little non-sleeper. Sometimes I forget that we're not the only ones who are going/have gone through sleep deprivation. We will be trying some of your tips and with any luck, I'll have some good news to report back to you in a week or two.


A few months ago, I read about Postcrossing in this post by Swistle. I was immediately intrigued by the concept.

Here's a quick rundown: register with the site, request addresses, send postcards to random people around the world, they update the site saying they got your postcard, wait, you get postcards from around the world (or the US if that's an option you chose on the site).

As a former geography teacher, I am loving it. I've sent postcards to Finland, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, Japan, New Zealand and Germany.

I've received postcards from Australia, Germany, Italy, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and Spain. I'd show you pictures of them but my camera is acting up. But trust me, they're beautiful and I love the little messages that the senders have written on them.

I love opening up the mailbox and seeing a postcard from a surprise location. And since the economy is tanking and traveling is pretty much not an option for us, I feel like I'm still getting to see other parts of the world.

And the best part is that it's cheap, albeit nerdy, entertainment. I found Texas-y postcards for a quarter apiece and the international stamps cost 90 cents each.

Of course, it's also educational, which I LOVE. I show Sydney each card that I get and we've even pulled out her globe to locate the countries on them.

So, two huge thumbs up. Happy postcrossing!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Running on Empty

I am tired. Not just "Hey, I could use a nap" tired, but "If I don't get some real sleep soon, I'm not going to make it" tired. I don't think I've ever been this tired in my entire 30 something years of life.

At nearly six months old, Evan is still not sleeping through the night. We've tried reinserting the pacifier when he wakes up in the middle of the night and that works for say 20 minutes and then he's awake again. And he doesn't just whimper; he wails. Loudly. The boy has a great pair of lungs.

We've tried the cry it out method and he just won't stop wailing. After several nights of what seemed like hours of angry screaming on his part (although I was pretty close to screaming, too), we gave up and I just went back to feeding him when he woke up. We can't just put him in his room and let him go until he wears himself out because he'll wake up the other two. And heaven knows we don't need all three of them awake in the middle of the night.

I've tried focusing on his naps because according to the experts, "good sleep begets more good sleep" in the infant population. But, thanks to the schedules of the other two kids, the poor kid just can't get regular naps. He naps for twenty minutes and then I have to get him up to take Liam to Mother's Day Out or to go meet Sydney at the bus stop. I've tried keeping him awake until after we've done drop-off/pick-up, but he either falls asleep in the car or gets overtired and then can't go to sleep at all. I'm at a loss for what to do and we're all suffering the consequences.

Ryan is so tired that he dozed off at a stop sign the other morning. Thank heavens he was stopped and not on the freeway.

The circles under my eyes are becoming permanent. Makeup doesn't even cover them anymore.

Use any cliche you want and I probably fit it: I look like death warmed over, like the walking dead, like something the cat dragged in, like something the cat threw up and then dragged in.

And even worse, I am grumpy. Actually, grumpy is an understatement. I am one of those people who has to have sleep. I function best when I get nine hours of good sleep (Ryan thinks this is ridiculous, but I know myself and I'm sticking to it). The last time I saw nine hours of uninterrupted sleep was March of 2006. Two and half years of sleep deprivation is enough to make anyone crazy. Come to think of it, isn't sleep deprivation a form of torture in some countries?

If ever there was a reason to not have any more kids, lack of sleep is it (at least for me). Yes, kids are expensive and yes, we're out of rooms for them to occupy, but those are things that we could deal with. But I absolutely cannot deal with the sleep deprivation that comes along with babies anymore. I don't know how the Duggars do it. Maybe they're those lucky people I hate envy whose kids sleep through the night at six weeks. Or maybe they just function better than I do on no sleep. Who knows.

So, any tips on how to get the little man to sleep better? I "top him off" at 10 pm or so and he has started eating solids (although I pretty much have to force it down him) so those two things should help, but I'm not noticing much of a difference. Any other ideas?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Well, Duh....

You Are a Moderate Mama

You're not overly political, and your views fall more with the American mainstream.

In fact, it may be difficult for you to decide who to vote for at times!

Your approach to politics is reasoned and well though out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted, Did You?


Have you voted? If not, put down the computer and go right now. Seriously...go right now. All of your e-mail and blogs will still be there when you get back.

OK, now that you're back.....

My all important "I Voted" sticker has a skull next to it because I voted early last Friday. And because I voted on Halloween, I got to vote next to an Indiana Jones look alike. I bet no one else can say that!

I took all three kids with me because what else am I going to do with them I want them to learn how important voting is. And true to form, we had some Sydney-isms.

As we were walking in, she asked if I had to raise my hand to vote. The man passing us on the sidewalk chuckled. I explained that too many people were voting to do that so I was going to use a machine and punch some buttons instead.

As we were leaving, she declared in a very loud voice, "I hope Barack Obama wins!" (She's seen him on TV - Ryan and I don't discuss politics in front of her). The man walking in to the polling location thought that was rather funny.

And she told me yesterday that her school has a mock election and that she voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin. She didn't really tell me why, but I think it's because she liked the SNL Sarah Palin skit that she caught a glimpse of on the news. The little boy that gets off at the same bus stop as Sydney told me he used the "Eeny Meeny Miney Moe" method to decide. I have a feeling he's not the only one who uses that approach.

Anyway, I hope you vote/voted. And I hope your "I Voted" sticker is just as cute as mine.

Monday, November 3, 2008


We have the tradition of carving our jack o'lanterns the day before Halloween. We can't do it any earlier because they'll get all mushy and gross thanks to the lovely Houston humidity. So Thursday afternoon, I pulled out our carving paraphernalia and began to prep our pumpkin.

I must tell you at this point that I have the habit of putting my wedding and engagement rings in my pocket when I'm in the kitchen. I'm afraid that if I leave them on, they'll get all gunky with whatever I'm working with and I'm afraid they'll fall down the sink drain if I leave them on the counter. So into my pocket they go. It's not the best solution, but up until last Thursday, it worked for me.

So my rings went in my pocket and I began to work on the pumpkin. To avoid having pumpkin guts flung all over the kitchen, I carried it out to the back porch where Sydney and I gutted it while the boys looked on. This basically means Sydney complained about the sliminess, Liam transferred pumpkin seeds into an old dirt lined planter, Evan fussed and I did the actual gutting.

Once the poor pumpkin was sufficiently emptied of its innards, we all hosed down and went back inside. I left the prepped pumpkin on the counter so that Ryan could do the actual carving later and got to work on dinner.

It wasn't until about an hour later when we were filling and rolling our spring roll dinner that I noticed my wedding ring had gone missing. My engagement ring was still in my pocket but my wedding ring was gone. I panicked. I dug through the garbage. I ran outside and dug around the leaves on the back porch. I peered between the slats on the deck thinking that maybe it had fallen out of my pocket while gutting the pumpkin. I crawled around on the floor thinking that maybe it rolled under a cabinet. And the whole time I cried.

Ryan hugged me and said it was OK. He said we could pull up the boards on the deck and look for it. I cried even harder. All I could think was, "What kind of idiot loses their wedding ring?" I was so mad at myself that I would have hit myself if that were possible.

Defeated, I sat down to eat dinner. And then a light bulb went off inside my head. I ran, and I mean ran to our blue recliner. I lifted it up, reclined the back, and ran my hand along the seat. And there it was between the seat and the armrest. Whew! I'd forgotten that I'd sat there to feed Evan in between the pumpkin and dinner prep.

So the ring has been found and all is well. I celebrated by having a glass of wine with dinner and vowed to never leave my rings in my pocket again.

But now I'm trying to figure out what to do with them when I'm in the kitchen (at night they go in my jewelry box). What do you do with your rings? Do you wear them all the time or do you have a special spot for them when you know your hands are going to get dirty?

Sunday, November 2, 2008


It's November and time for NaBloPoMo again. I've been falling behind on my blogging (and commenting) lately so I thought NaBloPoMo would give me a chance to get back in the game. I can't promise that all of my posts will be interesting and/or witty, but I'll give it a try.

As we're headed to my niece's 13th birthday party in a few minutes (how is it possible that she is 13?), I don't have much time to write, but I'll leave you with a teaser for tomorrow's post:

I lost my wedding ring last Thursday.

Chew on that until tomorrow!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Last night we trick or treated in our new neighborhood for the very first time. The kids made quite a haul in the candy department. Now if I can just keep myself from eating it all!

Here they are in their Halloween finery.

Sydney as a bride:


Liam as a dragon (the headpiece didn't fit):


Evan as a pumpkin:


And since we let Sydney pick our jack o'lantern pattern this year, I give you Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty):



I hope everyone else had a fun Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No Worries

I was sure that Evan would have to have his tear duct surgically opened; after all, the pediatrician acted like his life depended on it. We took him to a fancy pants pediatric eye specialist at one of the world's most prestigious children's hospitals and he told us it was no big deal, but he would prefer to wait a few more months to do the procedure. Yay. More waiting. In the meantime, Evan will just have goop in his eye twenty fours hours a day. And just so you know, there is very little that freaks me out about parenting, but seeing my baby with his eyes dilated gave me the heebie jeebies.

Then, I started worrying about Liam's lack of speech. I'd chalked it up to the fact that Sydney rarely gives anyone else a chance to speak, but then she went to kindergarten and he still didn't talk. So I called the state agency to evaluate his speech and cognitive abilities. They came this past Monday and he does have a slight speech delay, but he is cognitively right on track and his fine motor skills? Well, let's just say he tested off their charts. No wonder the boy doesn't talk! He's too busy fine tuning his skills by stacking up to nine blocks (and balancing them which amazed the evaluators), drawing circles and stringing half inch beads like a three year old. They think there's nothing to worry about and his speech will just explode one of these days. Then I'll have two kids who won't shut up talk.

And then my hives came back in full force. I had them all over - in my ears, on my eyelids - you name a body part and it had hives. I was certain that my pregnancy with Evan caused them. I've had hives after each of my pregnancies and I was told that the huge hormonal change can make your body suddenly react to allergens that didn't bother you before. I gave myself allergy injections for three years after I had Sydney because allergy testing revealed two dozen things that I was allergic to (but had no idea). To avoid the long drive to the old allergist, I went to a new one in The Land of Fruit and was retested last week. Turns out I'm not allergic to the things the other doctor said I was because he did the test all wrong. I've been avoiding chocolate because of what I was told by my former allergist. Chocolate! The new allergist did admit that my years of allergy injections probably did build up my immunity to various pollens, but I probably never was allergic to the foods I was told to avoid. Needless to say, I've been indulging in those foods the last few days.

So I did all that worrying for nothing. Just goes to show that worrying gets you absolutely nowhere.

Now if I can just remind myself of that from now on.....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pass the Kleenex, Please

I've been crying a lot in the last week.

No, nothing terrible happened. A lot of good things happened and as someone who cries at everything, I just couldn't help myself.

Sydney attempted to ride her bike without the training wheels for the first time. The bike is a bit small so it didn't quite work out, but she tried and for my reluctant five year old this is a big deal.


She also started reading this week. She's been reading small words for a while, but yesterday she picked up a book and just started reading it. Here she is with her free pizza for reading twelve books in October (OK, we read them to her, but that still counts in kindergarten):


And who stole my baby and replaced it with one that rolls over both ways


AND sits up?


Liam wasn't about to be outdone by his siblings. He started saying several words this past week and, sniff, got his first real haircut. We knew it was getting too long when Sydney started putting it up in a pigtail:


So he got a haircut. Here's the before:


And the after:



He did fine during the haircut. Me? Not so much. Bawled like a baby. My sweet baby boy is now a big boy.

Someone please tell me how to keep them little for awhile longer. I don't think my tear ducts can take much more.


P.S. Thanks to everyone for your responses to our birds & bees dilemma - we feel armed and ready for the next time we get "the" question.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oops and Uh-Oh

The Oops: I didn't mean to get everyone's hopes up about Ryan's birthday present! (We actually had someone call to wish Ryan a happy birthday and ask what he got after reading this.) We just usually don't get each other much so I was excited about buying him something he didn't specifically ask for. Unfortunately, for you, and perhaps for Ryan, it was not anything spectacular like a flat screen TV or a new iPod to replace his dying one. It was one of these. See? Not all that exciting. But he's mentioned getting one for a couple of years now (especially after painful dental cleanings) and it's something I didn't think he'd go out and buy for himself.

So now you know that we're really old. Because who buys a toothbrush for someone's birthday unless they are really old?

The Uh-Oh: The following conversation took place the other evening while I was putting the finishing touches on dinner. The whole family decided to join me in the kitchen and this ensued:

Sydney: "Mommy, you know how you had me and Liam and Evan in your tummy?"

Me: "Yes."

Sydney: "Well, how do you make a person? How did a baby get in there?"

Liam: "Ba la la ma pa la la la la la ya ya ya ya!"

Me: "Liam, hush. What?!?"

Sydney: "How do you make a person?"

Me to Ryan: "You wanna field this one, Mr. Biology Major?"

Ryan to me: "Not particularly. I'll let you handle this one."

Me to Ryan: "Oh, come on. You have a degree in this."

Ryan to me: "I didn't learn this in college. I learned it in elementary school."

Me to Ryan: "But not from a teacher. From your friends. This is Texas, after all. There is no class on this in Texas."

Ryan to me: "True."

And then Sydney wandered off, tired of waiting for us to give her an answer.

You'd think we'd have come up with an answer for this by now, seeing as she's old enough to remember both of her brothers being in utero. But, like the stereotypical ostrich, we've had our heads stuck in the sand hoping that she'd never ask.

I guess I should come up with some sort of age appropriate answer, but I have no idea what that will be. We don't want to overwhelm her with too much information or scare her or whatever, but we also don't want to lie to her.

Help? Anyone?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is Ryan's birthday. I won't tell you how old he is, but he's five months older than me, so if you know how old I am, well, you can do the math.

Tonight we'll be having steak for dinner and cheesecake for dessert to celebrate. Sadly, I don't know how to cook/grill steak, so Ryan will have to make his own birthday dinner. But, I did make the cheesecake, so I'm not all that terrible of a wife.

And he'll be getting a surprise present from all of us, too. We usually don't get each other much for our birthdays (the adults, that is) and if we do, it's usually something we've asked for so there is very little element of surprise on the birthday front. But he has no idea what he's getting this year and since I bought it while Sydney was at school, he can't grill her for information. I guess he could try to get it out of Liam or Evan, but I think they'll keep my secret safe.

Anyway, in honor of my super old husband, here are a few pictures of him being the great dad he is. These were taken at Sydney's school carnival a few weekends ago:





And here's a few without him, just because I think my kids are so cute:




Happy Birthday, Ryan!!!