Monday, December 31, 2007

Gingerbread Houses





It's hard to post during Christmas, so this is a week late, but I had to share. When I was a kid, we made gingerbread houses with graham crackers and a can of frosting. So when I think of a gingerbread house, that's the image that comes into mind. Ben's mom had different ideas. She made all the pieces of the house (roof, chimney, opening door, sleigh, and everything) along with homemade frosting. She also brought a TON of candy for the kids to decorate their houses with. Nicole had an interesting method. She would eat 10 pieces of candy and then put one on her house. Then, when no one was looking, she would eat that piece too. Tyler did pretty good until he saw what Nicole was doing and he realized that he could eat the candy too. Either way, the kids had a ton of fun and the houses turned out really cute. A week later they still want to eat their houses and remember the fun they had with Grandma Debbi. Thanks Papa Jim for taking the pictures. :-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ice Cream for Breakfast (What are Grandparents for?)

The kids are unbelievably excited for Christmas. They are excited for the presents (duh) but they were also very excited for Grandma Debbi, Papa Jim, and Uncle Zach to come. With the grandparents sleeping in Tyler's room, that means they both get to sleep in Nicole's room. They love sharing a room. I can't tell you how happy that makes me because they will be sharing a room when the baby comes. They don't want to wait until April, they want to start now! After everyone leaves, we're going to move the furniture around in Tyler's room and get it all ready for them. I thought about trying to redecorate so that it worked for boys and girls, but Nicole really doesn't care what it looks like. Anyway, they are both thrilled that their grandparents are here and they pretty much leave me alone and play with them instead. I'm not gonna lie, it's nice to get a little break from being the favorite. Unfortunately, they aren't used to the beautiful December weather here in the the Northwest and the rain is starting to get to them. It stopped raining today for a few minutes and Grandma got the kids bundled up and took them for a walk. They went to Target and looked at all of the toys and got a treat. I don't usually let them eat treats until after they have breakfast, but just in case the rain came back, they had to leave right away instead of eating first. When they got home, both kids had an ice cream cone. Someday when I have grandchildren (gosh, that's a long time from now) I'm going to do that kind of stuff so I can be the favorite. Why do parents have to be the bad guys all the time? Someday, I'm going to do the fun stuff and break the rules. It's going to be great.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Official. Ben is going to hell.


Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Well, I have suspected this for a long time, but I am sure it is official now. So here's the story if you care.

Last night I was watching Family Guy. (It's hilarious, what can I say?) Tyler has watched it with me a couple times and now loves the show. As soon as he sees it on he shouts, "Family Guy!" When a commercial comes on, he furrows his brow and asks me, very seriously, "Where did Family Guy go daddy?"

Anyhow, at one point in the episode Quagmire falls over and says his catchphrase, "Giggity." Tyler then laughed and said to me in a very excited voice, "Giggigy!" I laughed at THAT let me tell you.

Later, when Kristi got home, (you didn't think she was actually within 10 blocks of this when it happened did you? Like I say, I am the one going to hell, not her) I told her what had happened. She just stared at me blankly. I then tried to get Tyler to say it for her, when Nicole piped in with a "Giggity" of her own. I just about fell over from laughing at that point. Oddly enough, Kristi did not see the humor in the whole situation and didn't seem to think it was nearly as funny as I did. She seems to think that I shouldn't let our 2 and 3 year old children watch that show, (or 28 year olds for that matter) let alone have them starting to quote lines from it. Not to mention the fact that Tyler told Nicole she sucks the other day. (Maybe I should stop telling the Lakers that when they either lose, get behind, or miss a shot? Oh well, that's a whole other set of issues)

I wonder how many years of purgatory I'm gonna get for this? Not nearly enough I am sure.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yummy Treats

Citrus Drops

18 1/2-ounce package yellow cake mix
3 1/2-ounce package instant lemon pudding mix (the small box)
1 can of soda (something other than Cola usually)

Glaze:
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, and soda and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel
To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they're still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.

The flavors of the cake mix, pudding, and soda can be done in a thousand different ways. I like to use a white cake mix, cheesecake pudding, and raspberry cream soda. For the glaze, I use raspberry juice instead of the lemon juice and zest. I've also used diet cake mix, diet soda, and fat-free, sugar-free pudding. It's all good! These treats are super easy and fun and everyone loves them!

Our trip to see Santa

I thought it would be a wonderful adventure for the kids to go see Santa and they thought I was the coolest Mom in the world. When we got there the kids saw Santa and that was fun, but they didn't want to get anywhere near him. Tyler clung to my mom like his life depended on it. He told Santa that he wants trains and cars for Christmas, but he wouldn't sit on his lap. Nicole sat on my lap while I sat by Santa and held her hand in front of her eyes to hide from him. He gave her a candy cane so she had to cover both eyes with one hand while she held the candy cane. Then he gave her a stuffed animal and she was forced to reveal her face to the world. After Santa said the magic word ("Dora") they were best friends and she wanted to sit and visit all day. He was a very cute Santa with a real beard and the kids were very excited that Santa was going to go back to his workshop and make their toys.
My mom was supposed to take pictures of the kids with Santa, but that didn't really work out, so we got pictures of them on the carousel at the mall. That's all they could talk about for the rest of the day, so I think next year I'll just skip Santa and go straight for the carousel. Much less stressful that way.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Price of Sleeping In


This morning Ben and I both wanted to just stay in bed and let the kids entertain themselves. I got up, turned on some tv for them and gave them some juice. Everything was out of reach (I thought) so I got back in bed. A little while later, we got up to a big messy surprise. Somehow, they had found the baby powder and paint. The paint was all over the chairs and floor of the kitchen. The powder was (and still is) everywhere. After they were done with the kitchen, they took it outside and powdered the table, patio, and barbecue. I think Tyler is the one who put the powder on Nicole's head, but you never can tell with these two. Tyler had powder on his jammies from sliding all over the floor. He made sort of a home made slip-n-slide in the kitchen. That baby powder makes wood floor super slippery! The paint mixed with the powder made sort of an impenetrable paste that took forever to clean up. I think next week, I'll just get up and make breakfast instead.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Stolen Camera




Yesterday, things got very quiet around our house for a little while. I realized that it was much too quiet for anything good to be happening, so I set out to find my kids. Nicole was just playing with her dolls and Tyler was hiding in his room. Hiding is never a good sign. He found my digital camera and, since he's a genius, figured out how to turn it on and take some pictures. After deleting a hundred pictures of his carpet or under his dresser, I found these and thought they were too funny to delete. I love that he smiles for his own pictures!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Scratch my back, Daddy



Nicole didn't get her nap today and was a little grouchy tonight. She fell and started screaming. The only thing that would make her feel better was if Daddy scratched her back. She put her head on his lap and as soon as he started scratching, she fell fast asleep. It was pretty dang cute. She doesn't fall asleep while cuddling very often. I bet in the last year I've only held her asleep once or twice. You could tell Ben was happy about it. :-)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Yay for December!






Okay, I'm a little stressed about Christmas being so close, but I'm trying to enjoy the season. We decorated for Christmas in November, so it seems strange that it's just now finally December. We have two trees this year (one for the kids so that they don't harass the big tree too much). Ben is totally gung-ho about decorating for Christmas, so I have lots of help. He also likes to get it all done fast and then clean up the mess, so that's helpful. I don't have any pictures of our Christmas stuff yet (I'll take some later) so here's some pictures that made me laugh from the last couple of weeks.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quick Update






Thanksgiving was tons of fun and now that it's over, I'm freaking out about Christmas. I will probably be really bad about updating this for a few weeks, so here's some cute pictures and hopefully I'll get around to writing something down before the end of the year! Sorry most of these are of Nicole, but Tyler wasn't cooperating that day. :-)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Funny videos are, well, funny.

Kristi asked me to post this video. So here it is. It is mostly funny because Tyler falls over because he is laughing so hard. This game is now called 'Sploosh' at our house.
video

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ben's Celebrity Look-alike



I have to admit, this one looked pretty close to me. If Ben had blue eyes and longer hair...

Cute kids





I just wanted to put these cute pictures on here that I took this morning. Nicole likes to smile really big for the camera now and the kids take turns taking pictures of each other (with my help and supervision of course). They took these pictures of each other (and yes, Tyler took a picture of me). The picture of me was first thing this morning (still in my jammies) so be nice and don't laugh at me.

Halloween


Ben's costume this year was supposed to be a redneck (I think) and instead he just looked really gross and not at all like himself. He wore a mullet wig, fake teeth, a camo jacket, and a pillow in his shirt that was supposed to make him look fat, but mostly made him look pregnant. I barely recognized him.


The kids loved Halloween this year (what kid doesn't?). Tyler was a football player (for the 3rd year in a row) and Nicole was a duck. She couldn't quite get out "trick-or-treat" so she said QUACK instead. I must admit, it was really cute. We just went around our neighborhood and then over to Grandma Belva's for a few minutes. They are still eating their candy, but I picked out all the good stuff (Snickers are my favorite). Enjoy the pics.

Jumping in the leaves






Unfortunately, I am terribly afraid of snakes. Ben, I'm sure you laughed when you read this because truly, afraid is the understatement of a lifetime. When I was 8 months pregnant with Nicole, I saw a teeny tiny little (harmless) snake in the grass and I climbed Ben like he was a ladder. I promise, that is not something I would have been able to do under any other circumstance. I laughed at myself for being so silly and then started to cry because that stupid little snake really did scare me. Anyway, because of this lifelong fear of snakes, I have never been one to jump in a big pile of leaves in the fall. I mean, what if there is a bunch of snakes in there? That would be the end of me. But I was bound and determined not to let my kids be dumb like me, so last week, Ben's mom, Debbi, and I made a big pile of leaves for the kids and they had a blast. She got right in there and let the kids bury her in the leaves (something I could never do) and the kids had a blast. I know it's dumb to be afraid of something that can't hurt you, but I never said it was a rational fear. Anyway, the kids miss Debbi like crazy and they want Mommy to play in the leaves with them. I think I'll stick to raking them into a pile for now and just let them jump in them. Maybe someday, but not today.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cooking with Kids



The kids love to help with everything I'm doing, especially if it involves cooking. If they see me dumping ingredients into the mixer they immediately think that we're making cookies and they want to be there for every step of the way. This time we were making bread pudding and Tyler wanted to "hatch" the eggs. (I guess he doesn't like the term crack.)They had fun stirring everything and dumping in the ingredients. We did a lot of baking over the weekend and I think that by now, if they could read, they could make a cake all by themselves.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pumpkin Patch



Yesterday we went to the pumpkin patch. If you know what the weather was like yesterday, you'd realize that we are insane. It rained and poured the whole time we were there. Actually, that's not true. The sun came out and stopped raining about 3 minutes before we left. I guess that's just the way it goes sometimes. The kids had a blast playing on the hay pyramid, they hay maze, the petting zoo, and then the tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. Nicole was looking around for a pumpkin that she could actually pick up. Watch the video and you'll see what she was able to find. :-) Tyler thinks it's funny to lick his pumpkin. I don't know why, he's a 3-year-old little boy and there's very little I understand about how his mind works. They were both so excited about the animals, but when we asked them what their favorite part was, Tyler said that it was jumping in the puddle. I guess next time I should just go outside and let him jump in puddles instead of running all over Vancouver! By the time we got home, we were all soaked, muddy, and tired. We all went to bed early and today we are ready for a new adventure!
video

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Throwing Fits and Cheesy Grins


I walked into my room today and found Nicole sitting at my vanity trying to put on make-up. She's not supposed to do that without my help. I just said, "Nicole..." in that you're-in-trouble voice and she burst into tears and buried her head. Luckily, I had the camera in hand, so I got a cute picture of it.

When Tyler saw the flash, he came running. He always loves to have his picture taken. You may be wondering why the top of his face is cut off, well, I managed to fall over while taking the picture and that was what we got. Tyler thought it was funny, so I thought I'd share it with all of you. If you had been there to see my fall over, you would have laughed too. :-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My First Doctor Appointment

Whew! I can't tell you what a relief it is to have been to the doctor and have her tell me that everything looks good. The baby's heart is beating fast and strong and it was so wonderful to hear it. It sounds just like the last two babies, so that's a good sign. Even more wonderful, the doctor said that there is, in fact, just one baby in there. I didn't really think I was having twins, but the idea of having two babies at the same time makes me want to cry. I can't imagine how hard that would be. So, everything is good and we are hoping that things will continue to go smoothly for the next several months.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I am posting this willingly. No, really, I am!


Well, in an effort to acquiesce to the demands of my wife to post a, uh, posting, on this blog. I know, I know. acquiesce is way to big of a word to be coming out of my mouth. That is why the thesaurus feature of Word is great. It makes it appear that I am smarter than I really am. Well, at least that my vocabulary is a little bigger than Tyler's, which shouldn't be too hard, since his entire vocabulary tonight consists of the phrases, "I want mommy" and "mommy, hug". It's a real treat, let me tell you.

Kristi has now sat down next to me while I am typing this, so I better clean it up for the censoring board.

I really do not know what to discuss with whomever may be reading this. I am pretty excited to weigh less than 180 pounds again. I was a little soft around the edges there for a few years, as recently as June, I weighed in at a svelte 206 pounds. So I have lost 27 pounds in 3 1/2 months and now weigh less than when I got home off my mission. (Random event: Nicole just ran up to me and informed me that she wants more 'po-corn' and then ran away arms flailing. I really wish we had a video of her running. It is quite hilarious. End random thought)

I am putting in 2 pictures here for your comparison. One is me and one is Tyler. Obviously you can tell who is who, but I like to think that this is pretty concrete proof that Tyler is indeed my son. Not to imply that there was ever any doubt or question about that, there isn't, but it is funny to see nonetheless.



Kristi just told me that I need to write my whole life story. I disagree whole-heartedly with that notion. I think it would be fair however to finally admit the truth about what went down the night Kristi and I met. The truth is, and I bet Kristi would never think that I would finally cop to it, but the truth needs to come out after 7(!!!) years. The truth is, she kissed me first. I know, I am a wuss, but she apparently saw something she wanted, or in the more likely scenario, she was just desperate for some action. So that is the unvarnished truth and now you know. And as we all know, knowing is half the battle. Well, its at least a good one-eighth of the battle. It might even be a majority of the battle. Okay, I am done now. I better post a picture of Nicole to alleviate any potential jealousy that the kids may feel. Alright, I am really done now. Gigitty.

Three foods I wish were healthy

I love to eat. I especially love to eat food that is bad for me. Every once in a while I thoroughly enjoy something healthy, but even that would probably taste better with something sugary or fatty added in. Here are 3 foods that I really wish were healthy so I could eat them every single day and not feel bad about it:
-Marshmallows. Not the big ones so much (though that's good for s'mores) but the little mini-marshmallows. My kids have them with pretzels for snack once in a while and I always stare at them longingly and my mouth starts to water. I just ate one and it was the most delicious thing ever. Maybe it's the pregnancy or maybe I haven't had one in a while, but, oh man, it was good.
-Cream cheese. I would put cream cheese on everything if I could. I like it on sandwiches, bagels, crackers. I like to put it in casseroles, mashed potatoes, frosting (oh sweet, delicious frosting), cookies, and basically anything that I can get my hands on. Of course, it goes without saying that it's the best part of cheesecake too. I could eat cheesecake all day long... It's just too bad that it's got so much fat in it! I don't really like cheese in general, but cream cheese is probably my favorite dairy product (next to chocolate milk).
-Peanut butter. Today I had toast with peanut butter and honey for breakfast. For a snack I had an apple dipped in peanut butter. For lunch I had macaroni and cheese, but I wished I was eating something with peanut butter. When I'm done typing, I'll probably go eat a spoonful of it with some chocolate chips because my mouth is starting to water.
I realize that I would be 300 pounds if I ate these things a lot, but luckily, I have some self control. I'm not going to go nuts and live on this junk, I'm just saying that I wish these things were good for me so I could indulge myself a little more often without getting fat or feeling guilty. Hopefully I planted the idea in your head and you'll have a sweet tooth all day and think of me. Have a marvelous day!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

What about me?


I realized that my family blog turned into Tyler & Nicole's blog very quickly. So here's a little update about me. I am now about 10 1/2 weeks pregnant (25% of the way done!!) and I'm already starting to show! I didn't start to show until about 5 months with Tyler and probably 4 months with Nicole. This is way sooner than I expected. I was afraid I was just getting fat (I haven't been throwing up my food this time), but I've actually lost 5 lbs, so I guess it's all baby. I'm shocked and amazed that I already look pregnant, but there isn't much I can do about it. According to babycenter.com, our baby is about the size of a kumquat. Unfortunately, I don't really know what a kumquat looks like, so I had to look it up. According to Wikipedia, it's about 3-5 cm long, 2-4 cm wide. I really shouldn't be showing with such a tiny, little thing in me, but apparently this kid has other plans. I have all of these nightmares about having twins or something, but I guess I shouldn't worry about that too much. I have my first doctor appointment next week, so I guess I'll find out for sure then. The good news is, while I feel really horrible all day long, I am able to keep my food down so I can function like a normal human being (mostly). We have had some negative feedback on the names that we like, so if you have any great name suggestions, we would love to hear them. Ultimately, we'll just name this baby whatever the heck we feel like it, but ideas are always nice. Tomorrow I'll try to force Ben to give an update on himself so that you guys can see how great he's doing.