Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shhh...Christmas presents

(I'm scheduling this to post after Christmas, so it shouldn't spoil any surprises.)

Kellie's scarf

scarf for Kellie



nativities for Josh and fam, Stephan and fam, Grammy and Gramps, and Grandma and Grandpa

dishcloths for Miriam - these are actually the ones I made for myself, but hers are the same concept

Post Christmas, I plan to crochet a scarf for Michael, make some mittens and hats for the boys using felted wool, and sew some more aprons and capes for the Joy School kids.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Countdown Days 16 and 17

Make gifts for friends

making Christmas presents

making Christmas presents

Make gifts for teachers


The best part about the quick bread pictured above is that the bottles can be returned to an area grocery store for a bottle deposit refund. Love it!

cole blogs:look at me

Christmas presents
This is Cole talking.I made Christmas cards for my friends.I had to make 40 of them.18 for my class,19 for Eli`s class,4 for rylans class

Oh yeah, Rylan had a birthday too.

I like to keep birthdays pretty low key around here. With the older two, I give them the option of having a bigger party or having more presents, but for Rylan, I decided just to have a small party (and we didn't get him many presents - it's tough being the third!)

He decided that he wanted to invite his friend K over to play Wii, but then K ended up taking a nap right at the time of the party!

mario kart

K's mom and brother J came over, and we played Mario Kart. Rylan loves anything to do with cars. This is the kid who will take a toy car to bed with him like some kids will take a teddy bear. (He's also the kid that loves princesses.)

Rylan's birthday

Rylan's birthday

We got him a Matchbox car Lightning McQueen set, and my parents got him a Lightning McQueen Duplos set. Rylan is one happy kid.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rylan Says...

Me: Time to get dressed. Go get some new underpants.

Rylan: Underpants?

Me: Yes, underpants.

Rylan: But there's only one of them. Not two.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


After two years of insisting to Cole and Eli that there are no such things as "girl colors" and "boy colors," my feminism was tested this week when Rylan picked out...

Minnie Mouse slippers and...


Disney Princess boots


I swear it's not so much the "girly" factor that bothered me about letting him buy these as much as the fact that they are SO PINK. I hate pink. Blech!

Christmas Countdown Days 2, 3, and 5

Shop for Holiday Magic Angel present


Decorate the Christmas tree
(Rylan only managed to break three ornaments)


Make Christmas cards




For last year's cards, we did potato stamping with great success, but this year, I decided just to provide them with a bunch of materials and let their creativity go wild. The cards are turning out very interesting...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The week I'm having

Washing machine breaks

Rylan, Eli, and Cole catch the stomach flu

I clean up vomit in the middle of the night for five nights in a row...without a washing machine

The highlight of the Great Stomach Flu of 2010 is when Cole throws up while climbing down from the top bunk and then runs to my room (instead of the bathroom) leaving a trail of vomit across the whole house

Boys stop throwing up...things are looking up...Michael leaves on a business trip...I wake up with the sniffles

I finally make the pumpkin pie that got nixed from Thanksgiving dinner...Eli takes one whiff, it reminds him of Thanksgiving, and he throws up all over the playroom

Apparently the last thing he ate was blue

This Year's Christmas Countdown

Along with some very lousy pictures. Obviously I have no idea how to take pictures of lights. (Tips are welcome)

advent calendar

But I did catch Rylan's funny face - even if it's blurry.

advent calendar

Christmas Countdown
  1. Read a holiday book.
  2. Shop for Holiday Magic Angel present.
  3. Decorate tree.
  4. Attend state Community Christmas Celebration.
  5. Make Christmas cards.
  6. Celebrate Rylan's birthday.
  7. Paint nativities.
  8. Read a holiday book.
  9. See the lights at Lake Myra.
  10. Attend ward Christmas party.
  11. Daddy picks dinner.
  12. Make secret elf gifts.
  13. Deliver secret elf gifts.
  14. Eli picks dinner.
  15. Read a holiday book.
  16. Make gifts for friends.
  17. Make gifts for teachers.
  18. Joy School Christmas party.
  19. Momma picks dinner.
  20. Cole picks dinner.
  21. Go carolling.
  22. Watch a holiday movie.
  23. Travel to Miriam's.
  24. Christmas Eve.
  25. Christmas Day.
Each of these activities is written on a piece of paper and slipped inside the cases on the tree pictured above. We used Maya's tutorial for a toilet paper advent calendar. Choosing what to do on each day was a little difficult this year with Young Women's, so there are lots of nights where we're just reading a holiday book.

May the countdown begin!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cole Says...

Cole: Momma, are there more days or nights in December?

Me: There's the same amount because after every day, there's a night.

Cole: No, there are more days. There are no nights in December. There are no swords or helmets or fighting. Get it?

Me: Oh, you mean knights.

Cole: Yes, I was being funny...with homophones.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Outing

There's a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the interstate near Whole Foods, and I've been trying to figure out for awhile now how to get to it. For any Raleigh friends wondering the same thing - I think the best way is to park at the North Carolina Museum of Art and hop on the greenway there. It's kind of a hike for little legs, but it's totally paved so you can take your stroller if you need to. I brought mine, but then Rylan insisted on walking the whole way anyway...

art museum greenway

art museum greenway

art museum greenway

art museum greenway

art museum greenwayart museum greenway

The Saga of Cole's Birthday

There's a boy in Cole's class this year that Cole has talked about non-stop since September. Every time I turn around, it's "that's a game I learned from Bob*" and "Bob told me that" etc. etc. etc. So when I found out at the beginning of November that Bob's birthday was three days before Cole's, I told him he better find out when Bob was having his party so they didn't plan them for the same day.

Assuming that Cole would be invited to Bob's party. Which he was not.

I think this is the most heartbreaking thing about being a parent. You have this amazing child, and you think everyone in the world should kiss his feet because he's so smart and creative and talented. Whatever faults he might have, he's still one of the three most amazing kids to ever walk the planet. And you don't ever want him to get hurt or sad or made fun of or not invited to a party by an obviously stupid kid from school.

Cole wasn't as upset about it as I was - in fact, he announced in a very matter of fact way that he wasn't invited to Bob's party and that he'd like to have a party at Chuck E. Cheese instead and just invite his friend Suchir, so I guess he wasn't traumatized and life goes on.

But in the midst of my feeling like I wanted to strangle the idiotic kid from school, I vented to Miriam that Cole had decided not to have a birthday party, so she decided to throw a surprise party for him. She is the rockingest aunt of all aunts everywhere.

Cole's 2nd party

And there was a piñata!

Cole's 2nd party

I think Miriam was regretting the pinata after Michael and I insisted it was too cold to do it outside. Look at her face!

Cole's 2nd party>Cole's 2nd party

So I guess if you're seven years old and you get to have two birthday parties, it's not such a big deal if a kid from school doesn't realize how awesome you are.

*Name has been changed just in case we ever make friends with any parents from their school.

A Thanksgiving to Remember

A week and a half ago, our washing machine quit working. We procrastinated a couple days before calling our usual repair guy, who waited a few days to call back and refer us to another guy, who couldn't come for a few days and then didn't have the part he needed, all culminating in the following happy Thanksgiving:
  • Michael and I spent $21 at a laundromat on Wednesday night to get us all clothed in clean clothes and stocked with dishrags and towels.
  • On Thursday, I woke up feeling nauseous, nixing my awesome pumpkin pie from our dinner menu.
  • That night, Rylan started puking...and puked and puked and puked. All night long. Michael and I took shifts.
  • On Friday night, my visiting relatives decided they'd better cut their vacation short and head home early.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My little foodies

Cole's birthday

I love how when I ask my kids what kind of cake they want for their birthday, they pick a flavor rather than a cartoon character. My little foodies in the making.

For his birthday this year, Cole chose an ice cream cake. I searched around on the internet but couldn't find instructions for making one that didn't involve ice cream sandwiches (I already had a gallon of ice cream in the fridge that I wanted to use). Now that I've made an ice cream cake, I'd say that the ice cream sandwich idea is very smart. Also, a walk-in freezer would have been nice.

I made the cake layers on Friday night and let them cool completely. On Saturday, I thawed out the ice cream, spread it into a cake pan, hardened it back up, and then flipped it onto one of the cake layers, adding the second layer on top. Then I froze the whole thing for an hour. That was not long enough, so when I attempted to frost it, ice cream oozed out everywhere. I finally got it frosted and put it back in the freezer. We ate it three hours later, but even that was not long enough for the ice cream to reharden, and it was an oozy mess.

Cole's birthday

The key, it seems, is to refreeze overnight because today when we had cake for dinner (yes, we do that sometimes), it was perfect.

Cole's 2nd party

Happy Birthday, Cole!

We realized yesterday that Cole's birthday is exactly two weeks after mine, and then Rylan's birthday is exactly two weeks after Cole's. So between the three birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, November and December are one big party around here.

We started off the day yesterday with Raleigh's annual Christmas parade. We only stayed for an hour this year, so we didn't see if the Storm Troopers from last year are a regular feature. We actually weren't able to see much at all since we got there at 9:30 and the parade started at 10:00. Apparently you have to arrive at 7:00 in your jamamas to get a good spot. This was the view Michael and I had:

Christmas parade

This was how the boys watched the parade:

Christmas parade

Rylan had the best seat:

Christmas parade

After the parade, we headed to Chuck E. Cheese
for Cole's party. We did a family party this year, but let him invite one friend.
Cole's birthday
Back home to eat cake

Cole's birthday

And open presents

Cole's birthday

We also fed the missionaries that evening. As we sat down for dinner, Michael and I turned to each other and whispered, "Are you hungry? Me either..."

All in all, I think Cole had a good day.

Eli Says...

During journal time...

Eli: Daddy, I drew Cole, I drew ballons, I drew a piñata. What should I draw next?

Daddy: Why is there a pinata?

Eli: I'm drawing Cole's birthday.

Daddy: But there wasn't a piñata at Cole's birthday.

Eli: (in a "duh, Daddy" voice) But birthdays have piñatas.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rylan Says...

Instead of "ramen noodles"...

Rylan: We're eating rotten noodles.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cole Says...

Cole: I know three bad words that start with "d."

Me: Do you?

Cole: Yes, but I'm not going to tell you what they are. I already told Eli.

Me: You better not be teaching Eli bad words.

Cole: You already know one. You said it one day.

Me: I said a bad word?

Cole: Yes. You said "dead."

Me: Dead is one of the bad words?

Cole: Yes. Dead, deceased, and dying. Those are the three bad words that start with "d."

Cookie Dough Balls

Michael is in New York tonight, and it seems that I haven't been in a photo-taking mood lately, so we skipped journal night tonight in favor of a pseudo-fondue party (using this recipe except I skipped the second freeze part).

cookie fondue

cookie fondue

cookie fondue

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Because Kellie gave a thumbs down to the video I posted on Facebook...

...I have to post a bunch more videos. I discovered this new musician named Johnny Flynn this past weekend, and I have become borderline obsessed with his music. Some (Michael) might say I've surpassed obsessed. I may or may not have listened to his album twenty-five times since purchasing it last Saturday. I may or may not have watched every one of his music videos multiple times. And I may or may not have spent several hours googling reviews of his albums.

Michael, I promise it is purely a musical crush. You have nothing to worry about.

(Ladies, besides being a singer, songwriter, actor, and poet, this guy can play the guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin, and trumpet, and is pretty fine to look at, I must admit.)

Here's the video I originally posted on Facebook. I really like the cello harmonics, the catchy drum beat, and the way it builds up at the end.

The string instrumental about two-thirds of the way through this next song is so amazing - I'm pretty sure it's a violin/cello duet, but it could be two violins. And then I really like the violin plucking right after the instrumental.

This is the first song I heard of his, and it's not my favorite by any means, but it's his most popular.

If you've made it this far...this is my favorite on the album:

And Kellie, he's also the guy in Lisa Mitchell's Coin Laundry video.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

H A Double L O...

Halloween around here started on Friday morning with a trip to every thrift store in the vicinity to try to find a vampire cape for Cole. Instead, I found a bunkbed. No pictures because the lighting in that room stinks, and anyway pictures of bunkbeds are no fun. But you'll have to trust me that it's a mighty fine thrift store bunk bed, and all members of this household are happy to have more space in the boys' room.

We never found a cape, but we did find a very polyester black skirt that was quickly modified into a vampire cape. He makes a handsome vampire:



Earlier this week, the boys and I made bows and arrows out of sticks and rubber bands, which inspired Eli to be Robin Hood for Halloween. Then Rylan announced that he wanted to be Robin Hood too, so I made him be Friar Tuck. But if you ask him, he'll tell you that he was "Friar Tuck Robin Hood."



You may recognize the Robin Hood costume from a couple years ago (cleverly disguised as "Peter Pan.")

Last night was our church's trunk or treat. Holy cow. Some people really get into Halloween. I am not one of them. But we enjoyed the festivities and the candy, and Michael entered the Death Star into the pumpkin-carving contest. He didn't win, but I think it's just because no one could tell what it was supposed to be. He needed a sign.

Michael's star wars pumpkin

Michael took these pictures, and he couldn't figure out how to take good pictures of jack o'lanterns. I told him to look it up today, but his pumpkin had already started decaying by this afternoon. :(

Michael's star wars pumpkin

Tonight we skipped the trick or treating and did our usual journal time with Blood and Bones as the treat. Only, since I'm weird, I decided to try using beets to dye the milk instead of the red food coloring. It didn't work as well, but if you are looking for a dye-free way to give your kids an authentic Charlie and Lola experience, beets boiled in milk makes very convincing "pink milk."
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