Monday, December 28, 2009

Time for a new clock

Hey, Mom!  Like my new clock?  Thanks!


I love my family!

I love food!

I love presents!

I love road trips!

I love smiling faces!

I love that Christmas is hope, peace, joy, and the truth of the gospel!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas, Round 1. Ding-ding!

We're going to string out Christmas for an entire week this year....never done that before.  I always hear of people who have multiple Christmases in one year and am always slighty jealous...and slightly confused.  I grew up with ONE Christmas, ONE big celebration and ONLY on Christmas Day!  Anything other than that is just plain odd....and sinful.  Well, this year we get to experience what most normal people do each year.  The verdict so far:  I LOVE IT!  A week of Christmas?  Oh YEAH!  Christmas started yesterday - an awesome day at Willow Creek where we had our Christmas service - a great time with a great reminder of the miracle of Christmas.  (  Then we took a trip down to Grandma and Grandpa Riders (aka Troy's parents) just to spend some time with them and didn't realize the boys would have the start to their Christmas that evening.  Ryan was thrilled to get some Lincoln Logs.  He immediately announced that it was his "favowite present" and clung to it the entire drive home.  Even though it was late when we got home, we opened it.  The little cowboy guy that came with it is his new friend....goes everywhere with him.  Seth got a fun train that does all kinds of exciting things - lights - noises - and he's had a blast following it around the house.  It's amazing how quickly they learn how to make their toys work!  And a bonus - the boys got some matching shirts (I love matching shirts)!  Not only do Ryan and Seth match, they match with their cousins - Chase and Roen.  Maybe they'll have to get a family portrait in their new matching shirts.  Ok, flashback to horrible memories of the last family portrait - uh, no thanks.  Anyway, it was a fun night and a great start to the Christmas 2009! 

We hadn't planned to have our own Christmas present opening ceremony tonight, but we're moving up our trip because of the impending storm and there was really no other time to do it!  So, Troy made the decision to rip in!  We turned on some Christmas music, ate a turkey casserole (kinda Christmasy) and gathered around the tree to have fun with presents:

A huge packaged arrived in the mail from my brother and sister-in-law:  A sit-n-spin!  AWESOME!  It was a huge hit:

Sittin' and spinnin'

We ended the night with this:


Troy got me one of the coolest and most unexpected things EVER.  You all know that I love love love to read....well Barnes and Noble is about to lose a significant revenue stream because I'm the proud and thankful owner of a:

Sony READER!  (like a Kindle....yeah, the Kindle that I've wanted for 2 years but thought was so ridiculous, lavish, gadgetty and so unnecessary).  WOO HOO HOO!
This thing is AWESOME!  I've already downloaded 3 books to it (the sequel to the Nanny Diaries - just for fun; a book by Ann Rule - because I'm slightly addicted to true crime...don't tell anyone; and a John Piper book that I've wanted to read but have been to cheap to buy at full price.  I'm so so so so so excited.  You have no idea.  I might be the only person in the world who has read Les Miserables (unabridged, BTW) 8 times (not kidding) because I simply run out of choices in my pathetic home library.  Library?  Yes, I know, Mom - I should REALLY take advantage of my local library.  Well, yes, I should.  But....I'm lazy, I'm impatient (don't want to spend time browsing for books and I never figured out the Dewey Decimal System), and I tend to use books as coasters and got in trouble last time I returned a book with a water ring on it.  No joke.  AND, the last time I went to the library I took Ryan and he was too young - threw a tantrum when he had to hand his book to the librarian....the not-very-nice-librarian.  We couldn't get out of there fast enough.  Anyway, I NEVER get cool techy things.  I NEVER get big presents (not a complaint - just a statement that I usually get what I ask for - slippers, mixing bowls, books, etc) and I NEVER NEVER get BIG TECHY presents so I'm super duper pumped.    It looks small in this picture; it's about the size of your typical small paperback.  Ok, gotta run - I've got reading to do!!!! 
Ok, reality check - I have about a gazillion things to do before heading out of town.  Next stop, Bunt Family Christmas.  Stay tuned.  The final stop will be the Cunningham Christmas.  Can't wait!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Little reminders that the world is not as perfect as I need/want/would like:

Reminder #1Church Christmas programs.  If you were at "the Creek", you totally understand (Mr. Miles, for example).  In his first Oscar-award-winning perfomance:  Ryan sat on the stage like a champ.  No one can sit and glare better than my little guy.  Yes, there were children younger than him singing and doing the motions all perfectly.  Not Ryan...he stuck by his guns, no singing, no motions, just pure disgust.  He looked like he WISHED he had a gun.  Not a big surprise as my Mom reminded me that I was not exactly a Christmas angel myself: (a few years older than Ryan) I had a solo part and a few yahoos in my Sunday School class had the AUDACITY to sing along with me during my moment to shine!!! Can you believe it?  Apparently I sang my heart out while giving them death glares, barely looking at the audience....and pronounced to all who could hear:  "it was SUPPOSED to be a solo."  Wow, real cool. 

Silver lining:  He looked ridiculously cute....if I may say so myself

Reminder #2:  My kids eating habits.  I slave over a hot stove (such a pathetic phrase) for 45 minutes making beef stroganoff.  Do the kids eat it?  Nope.  Do they try it?  Nope.  Ryan chooses punishment over even taking one bite.  Seth throws his on the floor.  And then what happened?  Glad you asked!  I find them eating playdough.  Yep, Seth demolished at LEAST a few bites of orange playdough and was begging for more.  Lesson learned:  my  cooking is less tasty than playdough.

Silver lining:  Pending.....still researching playdough ingredients - there's got to be SOMETHING nutritious in there, right?  I bet all the Vitamin C is what gives it the bright orange coloring.  Yes, that's it.

Reminder #3:  Art projects are not very artful at all (to be read: full of anxiety, mess, lacking in logic, order, pattern, this is NOT okay with me).  To ward off boredom, I decided to have some art time tonight.  Ryan was put on earth to challenge my need for perfection.  Thanks.  Say it with me now:  dip the brush in water, dip the brush in paint, place brush on paper, swipe, repeat.  Ahh, peaceful, logical, beautiful.  But nooooooooo, we have to dip the brush in ALL the paint colors in one by one: starting with black, ending in (gasp!) Yellow!  Colors mixing, dripping, panic setting in.  THEN we dip the brush in water, removing all paint from brush. Then spill water and drag sopping paintbrush across paper, resulting in a wet not-very colorful  soggy "art project".  It was actually painful seeing the purple end up in the yellow, the black in the green, it hurts me to even type it.  I caught myself following behind the runaway paintbrush with a papertowel to clean up the missplaced colors.  (I'm SICK, I know).  Did he follow directions?  Nope.  Was he interested in my loving suggestions?  Nope.  Was my idea for a PERFECTLY peaceful and creative moment appreciated?  Nope.  He even asked me to "excuse me please Mommy".  His kind way of telling me to go away and leave him alone.

Silver lining:  despite my ulcer, I'm left with a (dirty, messy, sticky, wet) SMILING BOY and a BEAUTIFUL creation by his little hands.

TORTURE to even look at: (I know, I need professional help...this is after cleaning it up)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gotta have Paninis

I'm sorry - I hate winter.  I don't know if that's wrong to say, but I do.  Ok, it could snow a bunch on Christmas day just for novelty's sake...but I'm over it.  I don't like snow, I don't like cold, I don't like windchills, I don't like warming up the car, scraping ice, dirty cars, sand and salt tracked in the house, the heat bill, the closed windows, the "cooped up" feeling, the hassle of parking in a lot full of snow, pushing carts through snow, coats, scarves, boots, schlepping children in and out with all their coats, blankets, hats and puffiness, short days and long nights, dry skin....get my point?
Winter is cool (pun intended) for about a week around Christmas, but other than that - I have no need for a Winter Wonderland.  Sorry, Iowa.

I will just mention that I do LOVE Christmas.  I mean LOOOOOVE Christmas - I'm really just talking about the season of winter. I guess that many other people feel this way....but here are a few things that help me cope:

  • Paninis....I'm addicted.  Can't live without 'em these days.  So easy, so warm and comforting, so yummy and scrumdiddlyumptious.

So, here's the secret to making the best paninis in the world:  melt a few tablespoons of butter, add parmesan cheese (grated) until a thick paste consistency, sprinkle in some garlic salt.  Spread on one side of bread.  Load your panini with whatever you want.  Grill slowly on a panini maker (we use our Foreman grill) until spread is brownish and crispy.  Sourdough bread is best.

My happy list continued:
  • Hot chocolate - every single night.  Yes, with marshmallows.
  • Shaklee hand lotion.
  • Candles - especially Gold Canyon baking or coffe line - yummy.  I'm normally a candle hoarder, have tons, don't like to burn them...but something about winter makes me BURN BURN BURN
  • My new remote start on my van.  I can start it from unbelivable distances.  For example, I was parked at the mall by Scheels and I started my car from the second floor of Barnes & Noble.  Woot woot!  I'm guessing that's 200 yards?
  • Paraffin hand wax (got one for free with my haircut) - almost as yummy as the paninis.  That will probably be the only hand wax I ever get.  I have no idea how much this would cost to "buy".  hmmmmm.
  • I laugh every time Ryan says "cold".  He says it "tolc" matter how hard we try, he cannot say "cold".  I'll even say, "Ryan, are you TOLC" and he'll say "no, mommy, not TOLC,  it's TOLC!" "Ryan, do you mean COLD?" "Yeah Mommy, TOLC".  Just one of those things......

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My what a difference a month makes!

Date of these two photos:  November 7, 2009

Date of THESE 2 photos:  December 9, 2009

Notice that in the first snowy picture, Ryan is standing ON the picture window ledge, which is 18 inches off the floor, and the drifts are up to his waist beyond that.  A LOT of snow.  We are officially the ONLY family on our entire block without a snowblower (well, we were given one but it no longer works).  Troy spent a few hours shoveling - in the time it took him to shovel from the street to the sidewalk (approx 8 feet), 2 other neighbors were completely done with their driveways and sidewalks.  Nice.

So how did we spend our snow day?  Well, I got lots of work done. Booooo-ring, I know - but I didn't have the day off - just worked from home.  But for fun, we:

1. made a messy dinner:

2. ate some yummy dessert:

3.  plopped down for movie night - Rudolph (wow, movies have come a loooong way)

4. and shared some popcorn!

When the boys went to sleep, I finished the second coat of paint on the stairs and hallway - darkish brown.  I'd have posted pictures but it's like a dark cave now.  Interesting.  I like it - anything would be better than the beat up white walls we had!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We're baaaaaaaaack! Family Pictures

I took a little vacation from blogland - had a few very busy weeks and I let myself go, well actually, I let my blog go.  I'm so so so excited to share some of my favorites of our family pictures.  Enjoy!