Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's TOO quiet

Before they left to visit their dad in AR, I got to spend Thursday with the kiddos. Audie and I had an interesting conversation. We were talking about their behavior recently and how it upsets me that they'll listen to Tim, but won't listen to me. Audie said that I seemed to be happier and less stressed when they come back from visiting and thought this was a mini vacation for me. In truth it is a little. A week of not having to yell to be heard, or repeat myself or repeat myself or repeat myself, or being ignored. It's nice to have a break every once in a while.

But it's too quiet in my house.

This is particularly evident on nights when I get home and Tim is already at work. Like last night. When I throw something quick together because I'm the only one eating. When I look around and the house is empty. Good grief, what will I do when they're grown and move out???

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Yes, folks, it's back by popular demand! Or is it? The anniversary is one of those less celebrated holidays because society has cheapened its value through separation and divorce. Now I know what you're thinking. 'But you got a divorce!' You're right, I did. There's only so much abuse one person can take, and had I not I wouldn't be in love with my husband of two years now. I'm not talking about those kinds of divorces. I'm talking about the Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson kind of divorce for irreconcilable differences, or the Tiger Woods being unfaithful thing. Gee, if the Hollywood stars can't make it, then who among us can?

You know, my parents have been married for over 30 years. Tim's parents for longer. My grandparents were married to each other without separation until the day they died. Marriages like that aren't a fairytale. They truly do exist! And, in this humble blogger's opinion, they exist far too infrequently.

*stepping down from my soapbox*

Anyhoo. Instead of traveling all the way down to Tyson's corner, we decided to stay a little closer to home and try the new Logan's Roadhouse in Martinsburg. I can't tell you how hard it was to throw the peanut shells on the floor. Tim kept laughing and doing it for me. We tried their sampler appetizer with loaded potato skins, mozzarella sticks, and country chicken tenders (don't get the other ones, they're spicy!). He had the porterhouse, I had sirloin and shrimp, and we each had one of their "bucket" desserts. We even got to keep the buckets for souvenirs! Everything was tasty, and the steak was SOOOO good! We stopped by Game Stop so that he could use his gift card from Christmas. I let him get Golden Eye for the Wii and paid for the rest as his anniversary gift. Finally we went to the theater and watched Tangled. It was such a cute movie! A little more singing than I think I would have liked, but overall cute. I think the kiddos will enjoy it. Then we went home and whooped on each other playing Wii games. I beat him in bowling finally! He said he felt bad that he didn't get me a gift to which I responded, "Write the letter so we can get sealed in the temple." He said he'd do it today. I'm so happy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas at the Whitcomb's

I took Thursday off from work so that I could spend it with the kiddos before they went to AR for a week or so. Tim and I ended up going shopping for their gifts during while they visited with my parents. I got to spend 2 hours that evening wrapping everything. :)

Friday the kiddos and I baked some pies and chocolate meatball cookies, then while Tim was at work, we watched some movies and worked on dinner. We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, green beans, Mom's deviant wheat rolls, and Hannah's salad. Then we read the Christmas story from the scriptures and opened gifts (since we were traveling on Christmas day). The kiddos loved their gifts. Audie got the bow and arrows he'd been asking for, Dougie ran around in his SWAT gear "shooting" the rest of us, and Chloie is excited to use the knitting needles and *bright* pink and purple yarn we got her after they get back (she's been asking me to teach her to knit for some time). We finally broke down and got them a Wii, though I must admit I like the archery and bowling in the Sports Resort we got with it. We got enough controllers so that all 3 kiddos could play. Tim and I have already challenged each other several times!

We left at the butt crack of dawn on Saturday morning bound for Knoxville, TN. It flurried a little on the way down, but all in all it wasn't bad. The kiddos were occupied for hours with the Crayola Color Wonder sets my parents got for them. Awesome stuff there, BTW, just sayin'. The only place open to eat on the way down was Waffle House. I will tell you that since VA raised the speed limit to 70, the trip went a lot faster. We met, JD left with the kiddos, and Tim and I ate at IHOP.

We left at 2pm from IHOP fully ready to get home around 10 or so, but the weather had a different idea. At about 5:30, the snow had mucked up the roads enough that we were only going 40 mph. Add to that the darkness, and we decided to spend the night at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Dublin, VA. We had dinner at the Waffle House (yay) and passed out from exhaustion. Those beds are comfy! I'd already called my parents to tell them what happened, and I called my friends in the Primary to let them know I couldn't get home to do singing time on Sunday. It broke my heart, but I didn't want to risk the trip.

We left the hotel at 9am and headed home. By that time, the sun was up and the roads were well cleared. Driving home from then on was a breeze. We watched a movie, washed the road grime off, and went to bed. I'm glad to be home. I think we're going to start looking into trains, buses, or airplanes for future trips.

On a bright note, I finished the blanket for my brother-in-law and his wife. I also had enough yarn in those colors left to do booties and a hat to match. I showed her the unfinished blanket Friday night while they were at dinner, but these are the first pics of the finished set.
Aren't they cute!!! So tiny!I admit that the booties are crocheted while the hat and blanket are knit. I wasn't sure that I could do booties with knitting needles, so I went with what I knew.
This project was a first on many fronts. First time using circular knitting needles, first time cabling (the lines and twisting), first time knitting with 2 colors separately, and the first time using double pointed needles (for the hat). I can't wait to do the next one!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hunk a hunk a Christmas spirit

Last night the family got together and went to Chloie's school for the 1st and 2nd grade Christmas concert. Chloie was part of the drama club and had a part as an elf in the show. There was even one child dressed up as Santa and a rather clever rockin' elf named Elfis (think Elvis with the wig, glasses, and sparkly cape). This is Chloie in costume...You could tell the kids worked really hard on it because it was really very good. We particularly liked the Elvis-impersonating comments from Elfis during the program. The room was packed, and we'd even talked my parents and sister into coming. The kids' music teacher at one point ripped and tossed the script from in the sleigh because it was distracting the actors. Hehe. Even better, Tim pointed out the archaic equalizer attached to the iPod they used for the music.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The stuff of dreams

Last night Tim and I watched two movies. One, with the kiddos, was Despicable Me. It was surprisingly cute and a little mushy at the end, but it was funny. We all liked it. The other, after the kiddos went to bed, was Inception. I must say that the movie was appropriately trippy. Things like the Penrose Stairs made an appearance that just make you go wow. O.o I love optical illusions like this. Does the fork have 3 tines or 4? Which line is longer? Are the lines parallel? It's great stuff. I could follow this triangle around for hours trying to make sense of it, even though I know it can't be done.

Speaking of trippy things... the moon was very bright last night, made more so by the reflection from the snow. It was almost bright enough to mimic a cloudy day. Weird, huh? It reminded me of something from when I was a kiddo. I remember looking out of the window and seeing the back yard lit up by the moon just like it was last night. It was so bright. I also remember going outside and playing in the back yard and swinging on the swing set. Something like this so simple a memory, yet my parents insist that it never happened. Is is possible to remember a dream from so long ago? The funny thing is, I don't remember much else. It's not like I can recall my favorite toy, or what we did on any given day, but this is my most vivid and most easily recalled childhood memory. Just weird.

Monday, December 20, 2010

That was sNOw coincidence.

I promised pictures of the snowman I made for the ward Christmas party on 12/11, so I finally sent myself the pictures from my hubby's phone. Here he is, Elder Snowman! We carried him in in pieces (one ball at a time) and assembled him on the table. He's even got a name tag and tie! :)
The best part was the name tag. I love details like that!
Nobody wanted to cut him. I had to do it before anyone would eat it. I did make Cody make the first cut because it was his "likeness". After that I continued the demolition. I will say this... putting fondant on a sphere-like cake is not fun. Just sayin'.

The kiddos and I spent the weekend baking and making the tasty goodies for our bonanza. I spent a couple hours dividing all of the treats among the boxes we're gifting out this year but realized too late that I'd forgotten the chocolate-covered pretzels. Go figure.

We got to hand a bunch of the goodie boxes out at church on Sunday morning. Even better, the Primary kiddos got to sing Have a Very Merry Christmas to the congregation. They did SO well, and I'm SO proud of them.

Sunday we had a fun activity in Primary singing time. My kiddos made some felt ornaments from Michaels as wee gifties on Sunday (we had penguins, Santas, reindeer, and gingerbread men). On Sunday, I selected a seeker to find some random adult in the hallway and bring them into the Primary room (we had a member of the presidency standing by for assistance). While they were seeking, I selected a wrapper to pick an ornament and decorate a gift bag with felt holiday stickers like trees, gifts, mittens, candy canes, and snowflakes while the rest of us practiced a Christmas song from the songbook. Then our guest was brought in (quite surprised, I might add), we gave them the gift, sang them our song, and wished them a Merry Christmas. We never knew who was coming, and they were always so suprised. It was a lot of fun, and both the junior and senior Primary kiddos enjoyed themselves. I'm definately doing this again next year. The joke was, however, that this was a new program to make sure the adults were in their meetings instead of in the hallways.

We had the Markland family over for dinner Sunday evening so that Nora and I could work on selecting music for the first quarter in January. We've decided to do an opening song that they either know or one that we can teach easily, spend 10 minutes learning our Program song for the month (or part of it), then sing a song we know and learn a new one from the songbook. This way they're being exposed to more of the songs and giving us more options to select from later. I'm also going to work with the senior Primary to teach them more about the music itself... reading and conducting, singing in parts, etc. Things that they don't normally learn. I figure this way it will prepare them for Young Men and Young Women where they aren't sung the song to learn it. It will also build their confidence as they learn to conduct and lead others. I'm excited about the new year! The last thing we've decided is that I'm going to build a huge set of scriptures for the Primary room (since this year's theme is the scriptures), and having a member of the ward dress as a character from the scriptures and visit us on the fourth Sunday of the month. So one day we'll get a visit from Adam and the next time maybe Joseph Smith.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What is this stuff?

As you read this, keep in mind that I don't see daylight during the day until I leave work...

Yesterday I was talking to one of my friends at work. How are things? Well, and you? Great. Have you seen all of the snow we've gotten so far.

Wait, what?

We have snow; about 2 inches of it.

When did this happen???

Sure enough, school has been let out early, Hubby is worried because I have the car and not the Trailblazer, oh, my!

Lucky for us we had received the new tires for the TB and Tim had them installed that morning. He would pick up the kiddos and make his way to my parents' house, and I would meet him there so that we could leave the car and borrow the Explorer... 'cause you know how much *fun* it is to navigate our driveway and surrounding back roads without a 4x4.

I managed to get there without issues, unlike some people. The little grey car in front of me looked like it had the hiccups because the driver didn't know how to drive in the snow. He (or she) kept pulsing the gas pedal, and oh my goodness when he hit the breaks.

The only trouble I had was crossing the bridge to my parents' house. In second, tempted to use first to slow down, I came over the bridge at a crawl and promptly slid into Berkeley Station Road. I saw the snow plow coming, so I gassed it and just drove through. We stayed at Mom and Dad's for a dinner of home-made pizza (YUM!) and headed home after a quick trip to Martin's for raspberries (for a cake) and Jiff peanut butter (it has to be Jiff, I don't know why).

The cake is done, and sitting on my desk at work waiting for someone to come pick it up. I was up past midnight working on it, but it looks good. When I get home today, the kiddos and I will start molding and baking for the bonanza. And you know what's even better? School has been cancelled for today!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And I still have shopping to do...

I'm just a little behind this year. It seems like I don't have the time or energy to do all of the holiday shopping done that I need to. I mean, I have some small gifts, but the larger ones are still sitting on the shelves at their respective stores. I think I'll start earlier next year. I could do it like Mom does it and collect gifts throughout the year as I see them, wrap them up in December, and give them at Christmas. What do you think?

I do know one thing. Before we give the kiddos any more toys, we're going to go through the ones in their play room and sort out some to give away to Good Will or something. This way we can reduce the clutter before we add to it. I'd like to make some bins or something so that they can organize their toys a little. One for blocks, one for cars, one for Chloie's tea set, one for the train pieces. It would be nice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lego my cake

I made a cake for my BFF's hubby's birthday, and being a fan of Lego blocks, we thought he'd like a cake like this.

Imagine if you will...

A cake.

Made up of Lego's.

Made up of cake.

I love it. The best part is... it was solid carrot cake! Mmmm, tasty!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday madness

It seems like I can't catch a break... then again most people can't this time of year. I've decided to start my cookie baking bonanza this week, and finish it by Wednesday next week. On the menu...

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies
Sugar Cookies (in festive holiday shapes)
Pecan Dreams

And for the less bake, more make variety...

Chocolate-dipped Peanut Butter Balls
White Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Other molded candies

It should keep me busy until Christmas Eve when we're hoping to have family over for dinner before the kiddos go to Arkansas for a week. I might take the 23rd off and stay home to prepare. Of course it wouldn't be a bonanza without my sous chefs to help me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

When "addiction" meets "OCD"

Sometimes I just can't help myself. Of the top 5 things I could consider addictions in my life, two are ribbon and yarn. When my "addictions" meet my anal-retentiveness, bad things can happen.

Take, for example, the white elephant gift exchange we did last night in the Relief Society meeting. I wrapped my gift in a shoe box... no big deal there... until I put packing tape on the lid to keep it closed. Red paper... check. Ribbon... oh, my! YES! The poor sister who got my package couldn't get the ribbon off, but it looked pretty... This is the final product of the Mystery Crochet-along I did. I still have to finish the other two, but I wanted to get one done. I spent a lot of time obsessing about getting the squares even, but I suppose in the end it all paid off. Oh, and it's warm.
I am now officially 1/2 done the baby blanket for S&H. I say officially because I ran out of yarn from the first skein and had to start the second. I had a wonderful evening talking about knitting with Sister B Carpenter; it was so much fun!

As for my third addiction, well, I'll be caking the night away for the fourth night in a row! I can't wait to finish the cake for tonight!!!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

One Down

I've been caking the night away for the last 2 nights in preparation for this weekend, but while things have been baking, I've been trying to finish the afghans I started as part of the Bernat Mystery Crochet-along. I finished one of them last night. Now all I have to do is sew the last one together and put the edging on both of them.

I've also gotten to the half way point on the baby blanket I'm knitting for S&H (no, not shipping and handling). So far it measures 36 x 20 inches. It's funny how something like this will attract attention. I've been sitting in the foyer of the church building on Tuesday nights while Audie is at Scouts, knitting away, and people will stop and watch. Some just watch, others ask what I'm doing it for, what is that extra needle for, or how it is done. I knit in church, too, though not so much to pass the time but to focus on the talks. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but Mom and I are the same way. Repetitive work with our hands helps us listen. I don't know why. Just KOOKY, I guess.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

'Tis the season

... to start baking!

That's right, it's time to start on my cookie-baking-bonanza! OK, well, I also had to add a few cakes and pies and truffles and fudge to the bonanza, but at least it'll all be in the kitchen. I can't seem to help myself... the flour is calling my name!

And it all started last night.

I have a relief society meeting this Thursday that involves a cookie exchange, so I made a batch of triple chip cookies. Tonight I'm baking cake for this weekend. I'll give you the riddle now so you can try to guess, and I'll give you the answer on Monday. :)

What's cold and white and gives away a Book of Mormon?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

No more lip

Actually he's still got his lip.

Dougie's stitches came out yesterday morning without incident. Tim went with him because I had to work. He said Dougie just sat there and let them remove them without crying or anything (my dude is such a trooper)! I got to see him last night when I got home from work. He's got a thin red line where the scar will be, but it has healed nicely and will continue to do so.

It is simply amazing how quickly kids heal.

Monday, December 06, 2010

We're finally finished!

After what seems like a year... or was it really? I can't remember... we've finally finished the dressers!

Tim was kind enough to finish putting the polyurethane on the pieces for me. Saturday afternoon I went downstairs and finished putting the knobs and felt pads on the drawers, waxing the runners, and checking for fit. I had to make a couple minor adjustments, but all in all not bad.

So here is the finished dresser! I had the kiddos put everything from their room in their closet, and we spent Saturday evening breaking down the boys' beds from bunk beds to individual beds, one on each side of the room. I had little helpers to lift and move the pieces, and as we moved everything we vacuumed the floor under everything. We broke down the old particle-ply dressers and put the new ones at the foot of their beds. The kiddos took the drawers up, and Audie helped me take the cabinets upstairs. We filled the dressers with the clothing we knew was clean, and then we started going through everything in their closet. YIKES! Turns out Dougie has been sneaking candy during his naps; I found 7 uneaten lollipops in their room and wrappers and sticks for what must have been 8 more.

The boys seem to like their new setup. They are allowed to have a couple small things on top of their dressers, but no more toys in their rooms. The conditions for their rooms are:

1. Beds are to be made every morning with their jammies under their pillows.
2. Dirty clothes are to be put in their baskets.
3. Church clothes are to be hung up in their closet, belts on the belt hanger, ties on the tie hanger.
4. Mom and Dad will check to make sure their room is picked up and everything is as it should be.

It's been 2 days, and so far things are good. My goal is 1 week before we have another hurricane in their room. :)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Behold the terror... Franken-Dougie!

Here he is 24 hours after his catastrophe...The swelling has gone down nicely, and it looks like his scar won't be much of one. He's having trouble saying his "P" sounds, and brushing teeth is a little painful, but otherwise he's doing well. Thank you all who wished him well.

He's in such good spirits about it, that he spent the evening drawing pictures for Santa... Franken-Dougie's self portrait, Franken-Audie, Franken-Chloie, Franken-Mommy, and Franken-Daddy all have an impressive assortment of stitched scars and neck bolts. All of the pictures are on the wall behind the tree. :)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Are stitches contagious?

I ask because last week a boy in Primary had to get them, and now this...

Last night at home I was working on a project for Primary on Sunday, the kiddos had finished their homework and were playing in the living room and front hall.

I hear a scream.

This wasn't the normal "He hit me and now my feelings and arm hurt" kind of scream. It was the "blood-curdling, stop Mommy's heart because I'm really hurt bad" scream, and Dougie comes into the kitchen holding his mouth with blood on his hands crying. A quick look (and later discussion on the way to the emergency department at City Hospital) revealed he had run into the corner to the hallway and split open his upper lip, which successfully kicked my mode from just Mommy Mode to Panicked Mommy Mode.

The next few minutes were a flurry of activity... Get your shoes on... don't worry about socks right now... help your brother get his coat on... put this on your lip... everyone in the car... who wants to say a prayer? We took turns praying in the car, and when the direness of the situation finally started to upset everyone else in the car, we started singing Primary songs (THANK YOU for my new calling where I learned the songs we sang!!!). I started making phone calls when we reached the top of the mountain - I asked my parents to take Audie and Chloie while I was at the ED with Dougie and left a message for Tim.

My sister, who met us at the hospital to pick up the kiddos, said I sounded different because of the evening's events, and looking back I would have to agree. There's something about a hurt kiddo, I mean beyond the normal bumps and bruises kind of hurt, that puts an edge of panic in one's voice, like you're walking a fine line between trying not to cry and remaining calm.

We sat there for about 45 minutes before we were called into triage. Tim's perfect timing brought him to the ED just as we sat down. Luck for us the split didn't go all of the way through his lip. It did have a bruise line on the inside of his lip, but his teeth were OK. They took us back to the minor injury section to get him stitched up. A physician's assistant and then the doctor came to take a look, talked to us about the injury and what they would do to fix it, and started making preparations. There was some concern about the location, but the doctor was confident that he could fix it with minimal scarring and without the need for later cosmetic correction. He said that the hardest part would be making sure the lip line was straight, but after that it was only closing the wound. He also said that he would use smaller stitches to reduce scarring, but more of them so that they would hold it closed and wouldn't break.

We wrapped Dougie in the papoose to keep him still, and Tim and I took turns covering his eyes when the doctor injected the numbing agent. I kept my eyes closed. I saw the first stitch at the lip line, but couldn't handle the tugging on the skin around the cut, so Tim took over and I sat down. I seem to remember that the head injury last February was a lot easier to handle than this. Tim (a.k.a. the poster boy for the American Quilting Association for the number of stitches he had to get as a kid) was fascinated. Dougie was a little trooper. He only cried when they injected his lip. He'll have a fat lip for a couple days, and the stitches will come out Monday. He'll have to be gentle eating and brushing his teeth for a few weeks, but all in all he will be OK.

I wasn't brave enough to take pictures of the before and after, but Tim did. I'll post pictures later when I get them from him. In the mean time, Dougie is spending the night at my parents' house. The whole excursion from leaving the house to the ED to my parents' house for dinner (we left our house before we had a chance to eat) to getting back home took about 4 hours. I'm glad it is over.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

More Decorations

Since we've gotten all of our decorating done at home, and because Tim doesn't like to do anything more than the tree and stockings (and begrudgingly the train), I brought the window clingy things to work with me to decorate my office. A few snowflakes for the glass in my door... And what winter scene would be complete without penguins? These little guys adorn the window of my office that overlooks the production floor (no outside window here). Do you know what I had to do to make sure my reflection wasn't in the picture?
Either way, these little cuties have already made some one's day in addition to me, of course. Once I get my white board cleared off, I'll put the rest of my snowflakes on it. :)