December 31, 2008

What do you think?

So...what do you think? This isn't real. It is photoshopped in...but I'm thinking about getting my nose pierced like this. Seriously. Of course it won't be this bright. Andy brightened it so you could see what I'm talking about. And I know I look rather glamorous here in my unshowered state. Hadn't even brushed my hair yet! I'm not joking! I think it is the looming 30th birthday. But I also think a small stud would be cute and tasteful - much to some family members dismay! No, not my parents or Andy. I have full support from Mom and Dad and Andy says hey, if you want it, do it! Be nice!

Homemade Marshmallows!

My happy helpers!

Notice Luke's facial expression - and it looks like Wilson's eating one!

Forgot to rotate this one! A plate of fluffy homemade marshmallows!

Yesterday the boys and I used my new stand mixer to make marshmallows. I didn't even know you could make them until I saw them on a food blog I read! They were easy to make (with a stand mixer- lots of mixing). Then they had to set overnight. This morning we got the powdered sugar out (and got it everywhere!) to cut them. One mistake I made is not oiling my 9x13 well enough. So it was rather difficult to get them out of the pan. The marshmallows were so fluffy! If you ever make these make sure to thoroughly oil your pan. I cut the marshmallows apart and the boys were in charge of rolling all the sticky cut sides in powdered sugar. Then they each ate one to test them out and I got a thumbs up from Wilson! We'll be dipping these in chocolate fondue tonight for our family New Year's Eve Party. We're staying home and making homemade pizza and chocolate fondue! We'll be dipping marshmallows, pretzels, graham crackers, strawberries, and bananas in our chocolate. I'm making a few changes the the recipe- omitting water and using coffee in place of the water and instant coffee. I'm cutting the recipe in 1/2 and I'm going to use chocolate chips instead of cutting up a chocolate bar...we'll see how it goes!

* If you use google reader click on my blog to see the picture Andy had framed for me for our anniversary. I just added it to the I Do post!

December 30, 2008

I Do!


8 years ago today Andy and I were married! It was a cold snowy evening that I remember well. We were surrounded by our family and friends on a perfect evening! I married a great man and look forward to many, many more anniversaries! The memories we've shared in these short 8 years are amazing- especially the ones involving our 3 beautiful boys! This morning when I woke up, there was a large framed picture that Andy had taken outside this fall. It's a great picture! He not only took the picture but also matted it himself. I was surprised! It is now hanging on the wall in our bedroom over our bed. I love it! He is so sweet to have done that for me. Tonight we went out to dinner at Red Lobster (with Ty) while some friends of ours kept Will and Luke. It's been a great day! Happy Anniversary, Andy! I love you!

Fun in the Kitchen

Here are a couple of good recipes I tried using my new cooking stuff! Chocolate Chip Cheesecake using my new springform pan and electric mixer! Soft Garlic Knots using my new mixer. I love my stand mixer! It is a-mazing! The first time I used it I couldn't stop smiling. No more will I turn on my hand mixer to mix-turn it off-set it down-crack the egg-pick up the mixer to mix- turn it off- set it down- etc! Stand mixers are glorious!! Both were pretty good recipes- that was my first real cheesecake to make using a springform pan and all. It turned out pretty good. I think I overmixed the garlic knots. Andy thought they were good as did the boys but they weren't light and fluffy. I'm still new to bread doughs! The new soup I tried was okay but not a recipe I'm going to keep. It had leeks in it- which I had always wanted to try in a recipe, but it wasn't our favorite! I enjoyed it but can live without it. Andy didn't care for the texture of the leeks which I think are like big green onions without the onion flavor. We also made fondue Sunday night in the new fondue pot Dan and Carol got me for Christmas. It was fun! The boys were so excited but as it turns out, they didn't care for the cheese fondue. Andy and I enjoyed it - though it was expensive to make! Here is the recipe for Three Cheese Fondue. I served it with a big platter of cut up baguette, potatoes, broccoli, zuchinni, carrots, and green apple. That was dinner! I was able to find 2 cheeses at Meijer and the 1 at Whole Foods. The fondue pot works fabulously- it is electric so you don't need a flame or anything. The boys really had fun adding the shredded cheese to the pot and watching it melt as we whisked it into the liquid. I promised them next time we'll do a chocolate fondue! I really want to make homemade marshmallows to dip into the fondue. I'll keep you posted! But I did find a good chocolate fondue recipe I want to try.

December 28, 2008

After Christmas

We're keeping busy around here! On the 26th we went back to my mom's to celebrate Christmas with Cara & Co since they were feeling better. Then that evening the women on my side of the family met at Panera. My cousin, Allison was in town from LA. It was great to see her! Cara and I stopped at Old Navy for a quick shopping trip on the way home. I got Wilson a new winter coat for $13! I also got an outfit for me and one for Ty that says "Don't let me size fool you!". It's cute. Yesterday we went bowling with Andy's family. It was Wilson and Luke's first time to bowl. They enjoyed it for about 5-6 frames! I broke in the new Le Creuset last night to make dinner. Yesterday afternoon I planned the boys birthday party and cleaned in the kitchen. Then last night Andy and I went birthday shopping for the boys! I'm trying 2-3 new recipes today (gotta use all my new cooking stuff!!) so if I find anything delicious I'll post it! Tomorrow I get to go to dinner with my fabulous team (our 2nd annual!) at PF Chang's. We decided to do this last year instead of exchanging gifts. I'm really looking forward to the food and time with my friends! Then Tuesday will be mine and Andy's 8th anniversary! This time of year brings so many celebrations for our family! I'm going to enjoy them all!

December 27, 2008

Winter Break - Days 5 & 6

On Christmas Eve we hung out at home and had an enjoyable day. We let the boys open a gift from us around lunchtime. Wilson got a mail airplane Lego and Luke opened his discovery toys shovel. We went to my sister's around 3pm for appetizers and games. That was fun. I made the Cheese Queso from the Pioneer Woman Cook's website. It was good. I also took home made chex mix. We played Buzz Word which was a great game. We went to our church's Christmas Eve service and my parents, Cara, Madelyn, and Silas came too. Caroline was sick so Jason stayed home with her. Read about their not so Merry Christmas here. They all ended up with a stomach bug. After church we set out cookies and egg nog, sprinkled reindeer food on the yard, and put the boys to bed. Then Andy and I traded stockings and did the Santa thing! It was fun! In my stocking Andy gave me a silicone whisk, an apron, a label maker, ghiardelli dark chocolate with caramel, a new knife for cooking, and fuzzy socks. It was a great stocking! Andy's had 2 photography magazines, a gift card for netflix, itunes $, a chocolate orange, gum, and a 12 pk of moutain dew. I love stockings!

We had a wonderful Christmas Day! The boys woke up early, around 6:50 am. We let Tyler sleep in but the boys were ready to see what Santa brought. Wilson got the Police Station Lego set and Kung Fu panda movie plus several stocking stuffers. Luke got a basketball, a camera and stocking stuffers. They were both thrilled with the things they received. Then Andy and I opend gifts. Andy really spoiled me this year! He got me a set of Springform pans so I can finally make cheesecake, the movie 27 Dresses and a Le Creuset dutch oven. I've wanted one of those for a couple years and he was so clever in tricking me when he wrapped it! He used a DVD case (since I asked for 27 dresses) and inside the case it said "Gotcha! Go look in the oven...". There he had placed my new dutch oven! It is beautiful. It is Carribean blue (teal) and 5 1/2 qts. I love it! It is the exact one I wanted. Then in a bigger box he had wrapped the movie! I'm making dinner using my new dutch oven tonight! Andy got a Canon backpack for his camera, 2 long sleeved tshirts from Eddie Bauer, and a couple camera accessories he wanted. Ty woke up around 9 and we opened his stocking. He got a new winter hat, a baby book, new passies, and a couple small toys. We then went over to my mom's for brunch and presents. We ate delicious food but missed Cara & Co. who were all home sick. We opend gifts there and played on my mom's Wii. I got a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer!!! I've wanted one of these for a long time! It is black and I can't wait to use it. I'm using it tonight. I received so many cooking things (which I wanted!) and I can't wait to use them. When we left my mom's we went over to Danny and Stephanie's to hang out for a while. Then we came home and relaxed before going over to my Grandparent's for Christmas Dinner. We again had delicious food and fun with the family. It was a great day! I'll post a picture slide show later because there will be lots of pics I want to share!

December 24, 2008

Winter Break - Day 3 & 4

Day 3 (Monday)
On Monday we went back to my mom's to decorate the Gingerbread Men cookies. Here is a sampling of what they look like!
Silas enjoyed eating the icing instead of icing the cookies! They also made some Christmas crafts at Gamma's house. In the afternoon I tackled a few stores for my last few gifts/stocking stuffers. I finally found a stocking for Ty that would suffice. I had looked at Target, Hobby Lobby, Meijer, Walmart over the last several weeks. Ended up getting one at J.B. It doesn't coordinate with Wilson and Luke's but it was the best I could find. Monday night we hung out at home, I tried a new recipe which we weren't crazy about and made this gingerbread tree from a kit my mom had.
Day 4 (Tuesday)
We woke up and went to Panera for breakfast, thanks to a gift card from school! We sat by the fireplace and all enjoyed a bagel (except Lukie - he always gets a pumpkin muffie!). Three seperate people talked to Andy and I and told us the following: we have such a nice family (heard that twice!), you've got your hands full (twice too), you've got a great daddy, and I raised two sons, mine has done that too (in reference to Wilson crawling under the stall on the bathroom floor to get to me and Luke). People were so kind and friendly! Love the holidays. After Panera we drove around (hey, kids were buckled in, calm, quiet, and not fighting!) and explored in the country. After a while we turned our GPS on and told it to find our way home. Fun! We're loving the GPS. In the afternoon we went to Walmart and got groceries and some organizing tubs and new laundry baskets. Then came home and made chex mix (had to use crispix, Walmart was sold out of wheat, corn, and rice chex). Also made pepperoni rolls and soup for dinner. Here is a picture of Tyler when I was making dinner - he decided he loves Tarn now!
After dinner we got the kids ready for bed and drove around looking at Christmas lights. We picked my mom up and she went with us to see the lights downtown. Then we dropped her off and drove around a neighborhood. Wilson fell asleep in the car. But not Luke. Stubborn thing. He fought the sleep and stayed awake!

December 23, 2008

Breaking News!

At 6:04pm Alyssa's missing hairbrush was found! Wilson, an almost 5 year old said "I found the hairbrush under the couch!" Alyssa was thrilled to hear the great news though she had gotten a new hairbrush 4 days ago. Alyssa also said she wishes she had thought to look under the couch last week.

Winter Break - Day 2






On Sunday afternoon we headed over to my moms for some cookie baking. It was fun! Cara made sugar cookie dough and I made gingerbread cookie dough. My mom had tons of cookie cutters and cookie decorations. We rolled out the dough and let the kids cut and decorate. On the sugar cookies we used an egg wash to paint the icing on. That was super fun for the kids. Then mom and I cut out the gingerbread men and baked them. The kids were done with cookies by then so we didn't get them decorated until Monday. We all took turns playing my mom's Wii and Guitar Hero. Then we ate chili that my dad had made. On our way home we stopped by a local firestation to watch their light show. They had their garage door open and Santa was inside so Andy took Wilson and Luke in to see the trucks and Santa. They thought that was great!

Winter Break - Day 1


Matt & Elise

The boys playing Guitar Hero!

Elise & Tyler
On Saturday we loaded up the van and went on a day trip! We were going to visit some friends who had a new baby! Matt and Olivia had sweet little Elise 4 weeks ago. We stayed and visited for a couple hours. Elise is precious! She has lots of hair and is so tiny! We couldn't believe only 4 weeks separated Ty and Elise. Olivia didn't think she was up to Ty's birth weight yet! We had lunch together, watched Wilson and Luke attempt Guitar Hero (soo cute!) and talked.

When we left their house we used our GPS to find the Masonic Home (nursing home) where my grandmother lives. It led us there and we surprised her with a visit. We were so close by we decided to stop. She was thrilled. She met Ty and held him in her lap. We went up to the dining room to see the Christmas tree and also the birds and fish that are near the dining room. She doesn't see hardly at all anymore but she navigated pretty well through the hallways. Luke even sat on her lap and she rolled him down the hall. Wilson and Luke don't remember going there even though they've been twice but they handled it nicely. They were a little afraid but warmed up quickly. They each chose a stuffed animal from her bed and had fun looking at the train with Daddy under the Christmas tree. It was great to see Grandma and to see how happy she was to have us visit. We should go back more often.

At this point we were all hungry. Andy had heard of Bluegrass Brewing Co. (they make their own root beer) and thought it would be fun if we could go there for a snack. So we looked in our GPS and it was less than 2 miles away! Score! So we went there to share a couple appetizers. Andy got a root beer and I tried an Altbeir. Then we had a big soft pretzel with beer cheese and a Chicken Quesadilla. Both were yummy. The boys ate most of the pretzel and Luke even liked the beer cheese! The restaurant was neat - they had a kids play area which looked like a small stage with toys out. They sat us near the play area and the boys were able to get up and go play. Great feature!

December 21, 2008

14 Weeks

Tyler is growing so quickly! We can't believe how big he is getting. He was 14 weeks on Friday. He is alert a lot more often now. He loves to sit at the table with us in the high chair (with it leaning back) and see what the family is doing when we eat dinner! He is smiling and giggling a lot now. He loves to be tickled and given raspberries. He also loves to sit and stare at the Christmas tree. He is absolutely perfect and we are enjoying every minute! His big brothers are still doing well around him and usually love to help with TW. Look at those thighs in the picture - see the rolls?! This boy hasn't missed a meal yet! We are so blessed to have 3 precious boys.
*We go to Cincinnati Children's on January 6th. Pray for good news :)

December 18, 2008

This one is so good!

*These take a long time to make but are very easy. They are delicious. I think they are worth the long prep time due to cooling!

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Ingredients:
For the crispy crust: (Andy and I thought it might be good to double the crispy layer next time)
1 ¾ cups crisped rice cereal
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. butter, melted

For the chocolate peanut butter layer:
5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter

For the chocolate icing:
3 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ tsp. light corn syrup
4 tbsp. butter

Directions:
Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8×8” square baking pan.

To make the crispy crust, pour the cereal into a large bowl and set aside. Pour the water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and the corn syrup (do not let any sugar or corn syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235° F.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands or a silicone spatula, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.

To make the chocolate peanut butter layer, in a glass bowl set over a pot of boiling water, combine the chocolate and peanut butter. Cook, stirring with a spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.

To make the chocolate icing, in a glass bowl set over boiling water, combine the chocolate, corn syrup and butter. Cook, stirring with a spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled chocolate peanut butter layer and spread carefully into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the topping hardens.

Cut into 16 squares and serve. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Holiday Recipes

Caramel Corn
3 pkgs popped microwave popcorn
1 stick butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
Pour popped popcorn in a large bowl. Discard unpopped kernals. Melt 1 stick butter in saucepan over medium high heat. Add sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Stir until boiling. Turn down heat and let mixture bowl for 5 minutes without stirring. Then add soda and vanilla - it will bubble up- and stir. Pour mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly. Put popcorn on two cookies sheets. Then bake 1 hour at 250, stirring every 15 minutes.

Peanut Butter Patties
Ritz crackers (reduced fat)
Jif Peanut Butter (reduced fat)
Chocolate Almond Bark
1 T shortening

Make peanut butter cracker sandwiches. Melt chocolate in a double boiler, adding 1 T shortening to thin the chocolate. Dip sandwiched crackers in chocolate completely, shaking excess chocolate off. Let cool on wax/parchment paper until chocolate is set. I usually throw them in the freezer on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to speed the process along.

The missing hairbrush.

My hairbrush has been missing for days. DAYS. I don't even remember how long, but since the beginning of the week I think. I love my brush. It is in my house, somewhere. So after going a couple days trying to use Andy's comb (it's a flimsy kind too) and finger through my hair I'd had enough. So I went in the boys room and stole their hairbrush (my old hairbrush). I used that one for a day or two and then IT went missing. Is someone sneaking in my house and stealing my hairbrushes?! I asked Wilson about them and he said he didn't know, he hadn't used my brush. I asked Luke if he knew where my brush was. He said yes. So I asked him where are they? and he said They are hiding. Somewhere. Well that could mean 2 things. Either he used them and doesn't remember where they are or he has no idea where they are and he was just making stuff up. If you haven' t noticed, my hair is the longest it's been since I was a sophomore in highschool. Yep, you read that right. It has been this long since I was in the 10th grade. That was like 13 years ago or something. So I need my brush. I've looked under beds, under dressers, in toy tubs, etc. Help!

December 16, 2008

Snow Day #1

It's me! No fancy shmancy writing today like all those big vocabulary words by sweet, intelligent husband uses. I teach second grade ya'll, our writing is more elementary! Just kidding, I loved his post and he was correct in why I wanted him to guest post. I told him I've never seen the word poop so many times in one paragraph. Anyway! Had to tell you about our fabulous snow day!

I got my text that we were out of school around 4:15am. So I rolled over and went back to sleep. Was up at 5 to feed Ty and then turned off both alarms. After I fed Ty I went back to sleep and Andy let me sleep in until 8:30! It was wonderful. Today was spent in the kitchen. Pretty much all day- cleaning the kitchen, baking, cleaning, baking, etc. I made two batches of caramel corn today which takes for.ev.er. Then I made Peanut Butter Crispy Bars because it was a recipe I was wanting to try- yum! That one also took a long time because it has three layers and needs 2hours of cooling total. I had to use a candy thermometer for those and that was fun! Andy bought me one at Walmart today because I'd never needed one before. The teacher gifts are ready and the caramel corn for snack day at school is ready. After so much time in the kitchen today I didn't feel like making dinner. So I called Puccini's and order to Chicken Bada Bing Calzones. Yum. You should try one. They are delicious. We had salad with them and Andy picked up a frozen pizza for the boys. I never left the house today. That was kind of nice! I've really enjoyed being home with Ty - he has another cold. Lots of boogers, a runny eye, and he has sneezed several times. Poor thing. So I was glad to be home to take care of him. The big boys helped in the kitchen and drove us crazy today! So when Andy went grocery shopping I reserved Horton Hears a Who from Redbox and he picked that up. They were quiet and content during the movie with popcorn and hot chocolate. That gave us the break we needed! Luke talks SO much. It's nonstop. And he repeats himself over and over and over until you respond! Sweet but some days it's too much! Andy picked up our Christmas cards at Wal-mart and those are almost ready to go out. I've been able to cross several things off my list. I really this snowday to stay caught up. Though the house is a mess and I still have to make Cowboy Caviar for my small group Christmas Party and I still need to make homemade Peanut Butter patties. I'll post the recipes if anyone wants them!

December 15, 2008

What kids say...

guest post by Andy

This morning while Wilson, Luke and I were eating breakfast, Luke in all seriousness told Wilson "It's okay Wilson. We can buy more poo-poo."

Let me back up and share the rest of the story that led up to Luke's consoling remark. We were shopping at Walmart on Saturday and someone (can't remember who) spotted a great gift for the youth group Christmas Party gift game. Maybe you've heard of it-the Super Duper Reindeer Pooper.

It's a plastic reindeer that poops brown jelly beans. Well, Wilson was so fascinated by the toy that he didn't like the idea of giving it away as a gift. So Wilson talked his way into going to the youth party so he could try to win the toy. Wilson won the toy in the gift game and spent the rest of the night pooping the candy out of the reindeer. He was happy to show everyone just how it worked.
This morning at breakfast, Will was lamenting the reality that he had eaten all the reindeer poop and had no more reindeer poop to poop out of his toy. This is what prompted Luke's sweet but hilarious comment.
We'll just attribute all this to my Uncle Bill who years ago bought the boys the book "Everyone Poops."

(I think Alyssa had me guest post this story because she didn't like all the poop references...girls)

December 13, 2008

Letters to Santa!

Last week we drove through downtown and noticed a huge red mailbox for putting letters to Santa inside. I thought that would be really fun for the boys. So this morning we decided to write letters to Santa and take them to the mailbox. Wilson and Luke each told me what to write in their letter. Luke said he wanted a camera and that's all. That he had been a good boy. Wilson listed all of the Lego sets that he likes so that Santa could choose which one to bring. He also said that he had been a good boy. Then they each drew pictures on them and Wilson wrote his own name except for the s. On the envelope they put some Christmas stickers in place of a stamp and we were ready to deliver! We parked and walked over to the big red mailbox. The boys were pretty excited! They each put their letter to Santa in the mail slot. Then we took them across the street to Starbuck's and got them kid hot chocolates. They thought that was a pretty great outing! Enjoy the pics!

Ty is ready for Christmas too!

December 10, 2008

What a sweet sound!!

video

State Quarters


Andy found the last quarter he needed. Yea!!

They Called!!

CCH that is! Finally!
Here's the scoop-
Tuesday January 6th we have two appts 1 with the opthamalogist and 1 at the Hemangioma and Vascular unit. Then we go back on JUNE 15 to meet with the neurologist. That was the first available appointment! Crazy. I'm so glad they called and we have Ty's appointments scheduled.

December 9, 2008

More stuff.

- Luke has an ear infection too. Andy took him to the doctor this afternoon.
- Wilson made us playdoh pizzas for dinner. As he was setting them on the table he said "That's just the way life is mom."
- I am a little upset to find out that my sister still has numbness from her C-section which occurred almost 4 years ago. Wow. And here I thought still have numbness after 12 weeks was weird! Live and learn.
- I haven't started my Christmas cards yet.
- We're thinking of getting cable since I passed National Boards and will be getting a raise. We haven't had it our whole married life - 8 years this month. Should we get it?! We're both so used to not having it now...once we get it there will probably be no going back!
- I'm losing my voice and have lots of gunk. Not feeling well. But I don't have any sick days! Used them all for Tyler. Hopefully I can make it through 8 more days.

December 8, 2008

Stuff

- Ty laughed tonight for the first time- Andy tickled him under his arms!!
- Wilson went back to the dr today, has a double ear infection. Poor thing. He just finished an antibiotic on Thursday.
- Luke smashed his finger in the door yesterday - pretty bad - has a cut on it and it swelled a lot. Not broken though!
- Andy and I are both not feeling well. It's that time of year...
- 9 more days of school before Winter Break
- The boys helped me wrap lots of presents tonight. They were so excited to wrap their teacher gifts!
- Luke cracks me up. He has been peeping in the potty a lot! He says I peeped in the potty mommy! It always brings a smile to my face!
- Have you had a C-section? Is it normal to still feel itchy around the incision from time to time- from the inside, like it's still healing? And it's still kind of numb in the incision area and I still have occasional pains etc. It's been 12 weeks. Is this normal?
- We did not hear from CCH Friday or Monday as they told us we would. Guess I'll have PAA call there again.

December 6, 2008

12 weeks!

I know it's a little blurry, but Silas loves Ty so much I had to share this picture!

Ty is doing great! The last 3-4 nights have been great- only waking up 1 time to feed Tyler around 2-3am. Then he sleeps until 5:30-6:30am before needing to eat again. On school days I am up by then so I only have to wake from sleep 1 time to feed him. That has been great - and much needed. I'm so tired still, all the time. Thursday night I couldn't even stay awake to watch Grey's, had to tape it because I was SO tired. By the way, what is the deal with Izzy and Denny? I sooo don't like that story line. HE's DEAD. Come on!

Ty is smiling lots and getting better head control. Still not quite ready for his new Bumbo seat he got from Mimi and Poppy and Chirstmas. He likes to try to watch tv if he can but we don't let him! Every now and then he'll sneak a peak while Wilson is holding him and watching a show. Today I have on a striped shirt and he has stared at the stripes a lot! He is doing great and is such a snuggle bug. We love holding and cuddling him. He had his first big brother induced injuries this week - both very minor but still! Wilson hit him with a fire hose off of one of his toy fire trucks (on purpose) and had to go to time out. Ty had a red mark on his forhead for a few minutes. Then the next day Luke kicked him when he was laying on the floor - not very hard, but still! Both times Ty cried a pitiful little cry. It was awful!

Thanksgiving Pictures

Yeah...so...I didn't take very many pictures! I'm used to Andy taking tons of pics on my camera. But now he has a new fancy shmancy camera of his own! So he doesn't use my little Canon Elph anymore. So here are the ones I have! We had fun at Nanny B.'s in WV. I was spoiled by getting to stop at Frost Top for Root Beer travelling to and from Nanny's! Yum! We had a delicious turkey dinner and lots of relaxing.

December 5, 2008

Updates

I'm feeling a little less stressed since my last post- it's Friday! I get to "sleep in" tomorrow! I've bought most of my secret santa gifts. This weekend I need to write my clues and get the gifts ready. Last night I did some online shopping for Christmas so that was a good feeling. Still have a few more gifts to go buy. I called our Dr.'s office on Thursday and had them call CCH to check on Ty's appointment. (Thanks for the advice, Tricia!) Cincy said they would call us this afternoon or Monday afternoon with an appt time. They are trying to schedule the appointments with the neurologist and opthamologist at a time when the ENT will be available if necessary. Why would we need an ENT? I wasn't sure, they hadn't mentioned that before. Anyway, they didn't call today so I'm hoping to hear from them on Monday.

Dinner tonight was GOOD! I tried two new recipes. First, Carol's pepperoni rolls. This was a big success for me! I have always avoided yeast dough recipes because they didn't turn out for me the couple times I had tried them. Well over Thanksgiving I sat and watched Carol make her dough- and took notes!! She was making cinnamon rolls but her basic dough recipe can be made into cinnamon rolls, pepperoni rolls or dinner rolls. I have always loved her breads- and this time it tasted right! On a 1-10 scale Andy gave them an 8 1/2, which I thought was pretty awesome! If anyone wants the recipe let me know and I"ll post it.

I made Cheddar Broccoli Potato Soup to go with the rolls. Yum! It was easy and delicious and Andy and I both really enjoyed it. Here is the recipe. Perfect for a cold night! If only we had a fireplace!

This Sunday night the boys will be in our church's Christmas program. Luke will be a sheep and Wilson a shepherd. I love watching them in the play! Afterwards the youth group host a Coffee House. It's a fun evening. Hopefully tomorrow I can post some pictures from Thanksgiving.

December 2, 2008

Feeling Stressed

Do you know how difficult it is to get any shopping done with three BOYS under 5? I'm sure it would be difficult with any children under 5 but you know. So I still have quite a bit of christmas shopping left to do. I've done some online and we finished shopping for Andy's family because we celebrated Christmas this past weekend at Thanksgiving. BUT I still have lots to do for my family, Andy and the boys. I realized yesterday that Secret Santa at school is NEXT week and I hadn't even started shopping. On Thanksgiving break the only store I was near was Dollar General and there wasn't anything I wanted to get for gifts there other than a few stocking stuffers. Tonight was somewhat successful- the boys have a new haircut and almost all of my secret santa shopping is done. Just need to buy the ornament. I guess having 3 small children, working full time at school which is non-stop every minute, and now adding the upcoming holiday my plate is feeling VERY full. Usually Andy and I are able to get the tree decorated in an evening. We've worked on it for 2 evenings so far. I keep moving ornaments that Wilson and Luke have hung because on some branches there are 2-3 ornaments! And then the rest of the time I'm saying "be careful!". Hopefully this coming weekend I'll be able to get a lot done.

* Tomorrow I am turning in all of my paper work for my National Board Certification! Think Rank change! Thing retroactive pay! Think raise!
* We have not heard from CCH about Ty's appointment yet. Still waiting.

December 1, 2008

Yummy Recipes

Last week I tried 2 new recipes. We had a bake sale at school to raise money for our Helping Hands account. I took that as a good way to try some new recipes I have in my huge stack of recipes I want to try! I made Cranberry Bread and Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake. I received compliments on both so I figured the recipes were good enough to share! Oh and my two contributions made $23 at the auction!! I did tell Andy that I won't be making the Crumb Cake again until I have a stand mixer. It requires a lot of mixing! I have linked the Crumb Cake above. Here is the Cranberry Bread recipe:

4 T unsalted butter, melted (plus more for pan)
2 cups flour (plus more for pan)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 12 0z bag cranberries, wash and throw out bad ones
1 T turbinado sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine butter, egg, and milk. Add wet mixture to dry and whisk to combine. Fold in cranberries. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with turbinado sugar if desired. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let bread cool 30 minutes. Invert onto rack and immediately turn right side up to cool completely.

*I didn't have any turbinado sugar so I left it out. I'm sure it would be tasty though!
*This is taken from Everyday Food Magazine.

November 30, 2008

My Maw-Maw

Happy 80th Birthday! We had a great time celebrating this milestone with my maw-maw last Sunday night. The whole family was getting together for Thanksgiving dinner so we decided to combine her birthday celebration with it too. The girls in the family planned some special things to honor Maw-maw. Margaret made a poster full of pictures of Maw throughout her life. That was neat. The best part of the night was that every 8 minutes each one of us shared a special memory we have of Maw-maw. Then depending on what string you drew out of the pitcher you also shared a favorite gift from Maw or a favorite food she makes or one of her best qualities. It was so neat to listen to all the memories and special things about Maw-maw. It meant so much to her too as you can see in the picture above, she is listening to one of us talk. Allison sent in a special memory that Margaret read- it was so good and Justin called as well as Doug, Susan, Ashley and Matt. It was a very special evening. I'm so glad we were able to celebrate with you Maw and looking forward to many more!

November 26, 2008

Which holiday is it?

Driving down my street I get confused. I see pumpkins at one house. Then a couple doors down I see hay and gourds. The next house I see has a scarecrow and christmas lights (yes, both) and others have Christmas trees in the window. What holiday is it?! See how I get confused? I guess I'm the type who likes to finish one holiday before starting the next. You see, a few days after Halloween, when the pumpkins start to rot I throw them away. Then I'm ready to gear up for Thanksgiving. I don't have any TG decorations but we did hang a turkey on the door that Wilson made at school. So right now I'm celebrating Thanksgiving. Then probably this weekend we'll set up our Christmas tree. I guess I'm a one holiday at a time kind of girl. What about you?

November 25, 2008

5 Blissful Days!

We are so excited to be on Thanksgiving Break! Lots to look forward to. Today Wilson told me his ear was hurting around 4:40. I called the Dr. right away and they fit us in. I didn't want him to be sick over TG. When we got there I realized that his ear was red all around the top- inflammation. So anyway he has a bad ear infection but is now on antibiotics. While we were there I made him get a flu shot. That was rough. Me and the nurse pinned him down after trying to talk him through it and tell him about it. The nurse was really good with him. I told him he had to get one for Ty so we don't get him sick, Drs orders. Then after the crying and panic on his part while waiting for the nurse I finally used bribery - legos. I knew there was a $5 one that he wanted and I knew we were going to Meijer to get the presecription so that helped, a little! Wilson and I left the house around 4:45 and returned at almost 6:30. Had to wait for the prescription and everything. When we rushed out of the house to get to the doctor it was already time to feed Ty so Wilson and I took him with us. We got to the office and I was going to feed him in the waiting room. I picked him up out of his car seat and he had poop all up the back of his outfit. So W and I went to the bathroom and changed his clothes. Of course they called us back while we were in the bathroom. Then I fed Ty while we were waiting on the Dr. Sorry that is kind of out of order but I can't cut and paste on blogger! With 5 days off I'm looking forward to sleep! Time with the boys! Time with family! Board games! and yummy food! Have a great Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2008

A Glimpse from Today

Highlights from the Day:
- After breakfast Luke decided to color. He then threw away all the white crayons because he said they don't work. Hilarious!
- I bribed the boys with a treat and said if you're nice to each other and don't fight while I'm in the shower you can have a small treat when I get out- it worked! Ty was napping in his swing with his door shut!
- Went to lunch at Ma-Maw's. This was nice and gave me a chance to relax a little. While we were there Wilson gave a speech. He pulled out a foot stool to stand on and had a notepad on a music stand in front of him. His speech was about music and he said the words to Twinkle Twinkle!
- Let Wilson feed Ty a bottle- he did great!
- Visited with mom and Terry.
- Gingerbread Latte from Starbuck's
- Boys are finally quiet and asleep.

Low points from the day
- Waking up at 7am. Luke wakes up like clockwork
- Looking up from cracking a nut to eat at Maw's to see Wilson and Luke putting dirt from the plant on the carpet so that they could vacuum up the dirt. Wilson had cracked a nut by himself and gotten it all over the floor. So we had gotten out the hand vac. He was having so much fun using it he thought dumping dirt out so he could vacuum it was a good idea.
-Cleaning up a spilt applesauce cup (Carpet and wall)
- Bedtime. It was rough.

The rest of the day was filled with picking up the house, changing diapers, playing with the boys, giving all 3 a bath, making dinner, ending fights, and reading fire fighter books. Overall we've had a good day! Last night I went out with my family to celebrate at Jalapeno's. Yummy! Tomorrow my family is getting together for our Thanksgiving so I'm looking forward to that. Plus only 2 days of school this week and then I'm with the boys for 5 whole days!

November 21, 2008

Ham & Pineapple Bake


This is a super easy recipe that we have enjoyed for several years. It looked so pretty when I was making this week I thought I'd post it on the blog! Then I forgot to take a picture when it came out of the oven...oh well! Imagine a lightly browned top covered in a sprinkling of melted cheese!

Ham & Pineapple Bake

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked ham
8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
4 green onions, chopped
1 cup bisquick
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons yellow mustard (dry or regular)
1 cup shredde colby jack cheese
Heat oven to 400. Spray pie plate. Sprinkle ham, onions, and pineapple in the pie plate. Mix bisquick, milk, eggs, and mustard until blended. Pour over ham mixture. Bake uncovered about 25 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered until cheese is melted.
Here is what it looks like before you bake it!

Big News!!

I passed!!!!!
I am now a National Board Certified Teacher!!!!!
I am SO excited :)
It's time to celebrate!!!

November 20, 2008

10 weeks old


Our little Ty is 10 weeks old today! Time has FLOWN!! He is doing well. Not much has changed in the past two weeks. You know he weighs 15lbs and loves to eat. I can't reach around his thigh with one hand! He's like a baby sumo wrestler his legs are so chunky! He is sweet as can be. I love him so much. He and Daddy have really bonded these past two weeks with me back to work. I think it is so special that each of our boys have been taken care of by daddy while mommy is working. As much as I miss Ty everyday it is so comforting to know he is with his Daddy. I heard from Cincinatti Children's on Wednesday. They were just letting us know that his paperwork had been reviewed and that Ty will be seeing the neurologist and opthamologist when we go. They are to call early next week to give us our appointment. I'll let you know when we do!

It's almost time...

So, I got this email today from the National Board people:

November 20, 2008
We are pleased to inform you that you will be able to access and view your score results on Friday, November 21, 2008.

Oh. My. Gosh. I'll know tomorrow. I'm nervously excited!!!

November 17, 2008

8 week visit

Ty had his 8 week check up today (though he was 9 weeks old on Friday). He did great! He was a whopping 15lbs 5oz. Wow!! That's in the 97%ile. His height was 84%ile. The doctor said he looks great and that it is totally normal for a breast fed baby to still be waking up 2 times a night. :( Ty was such a trooper with his 3 shots. Poor thing. He didn't cry very long. The tylenol seemed to help and he has been very sleepy. We have a healthy, happy boy! (Around this time Wilson weighed 13 lbs and Luke weighed 14 lbs.)

November 14, 2008

7 more days

One week down! So hard to be away 5 full days. Wednesday I cried the whole way home - I'd had enough being away but I was able to get through the last two days without anymore tears. Unfortunately I'm getting slightly more used to being away during the day. Even though I hate it. I have my daily call to Andy to check in while I'm pumping and he will often hold the phone up to Ty so I can talk to him and hear him grunt! Some days Wilson or Luke talk to me too. That does help, just knowing what they are doing and how Ty is eating etc.

School has gone well, just getting my feet back on the ground STILL and there is always so much to do. It won't all get done. I'm doing the things I have to do to do my job well but some things just won't get done. And I'm learning to be ok with that, even if the rest of my teammates do get it done! I'm always eager to leave and come home to my boys. At this point it's hard to even bring work home because once Wilson and Luke are in bed I still have Ty. I refuse to give up any more time with him. Plus Andy and I need time to talk and hang out. So, with my bedtime goal of 9:30 there just isn't much free time in the evenings. Andy and I are getting our routine down of laying out the boys outfits, making lunches and coffee, and washing the bottles/pump at night. It sure makes the morning go smoother for both of us.

I've been so tired. Painfully tired. Waking up around 1am and 4am to feed Ty is kicking my butt. Then the alarm sounds at 5:15 (don't usually hear this one) and again at 5:30 when I have to get up. I'm still up right now so I can feed Ty again in a few minutes and hopefully only have to wake up once in the middle of the night tonight. Andy's uncle came over so Andy and I went to Chili's and I had a Mango margarita and chips and salsa. Andy got dessert. Then we went to Wal-Mart and bought some things. We got back home around 11:00. It was nice to have a "date" (hard to count Walmart as a date!). Ty slept in his carseat at both places and never made a peep!

November 13, 2008

Waiting Game

Taken from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standard's website:

Score Release

Score results for 2007-2008 candidates will be released on or before December 31, 2008. Continue to watch the NBPTS website for updates and information.

COME ON! I'm ready to know if I passed or not!

November 11, 2008

Wilson - The Builder!

Wilson loves Legos and I am amazed at what he is able to do with them! I had my first few experiences building legos by following the picture directions in the last couple months. I built a farm and racetrack with Wilson. I found it is really fun building legos with the directions for me - I hate building legos without instructions. I'm not that creative! Wilson has been buying Legos with his money whenever he can. He is also asking for Legos for Christmas. Andy still has lots of his legos from when he was a boy so we have some of those here at home and Wilson plays with them too. Andy has taught Wilson to go from a pile of lego pieces to building a lego thing. See, look!

Just a pile of Legos!



Following step by step directions - all by himself!

Ta-da! It's a fire truck!



Yesterday on my first day back to work Wilson had a thoughtful idea for me. When Andy picked him up from preschool he said that they should get me a plant for my first day back. So they went and bought me a rd Gerber Daisy plant - my favorite flowers and had them for me on the counter when I got home. I thought that was so sweet. Then Wilson dictated the following on my card: Dear Mommy, We got a surprise for you. It's from Wilson, Daddy, Lottie, Lukie, and Tyler. We missed you and we love you! Then he traced his hand on the card! It made my day :)

November 10, 2008

First Day Back

I survived! Leading up to this day was harder than the actual day itself. I cried several times in the last week over facing today. This morning my eyes teared up when I was feeding him and teared up again when I got home and scooped Tyler up and squeezed him. I missed my little sugar lump so much! I am much more accustomed to being away from the bigger boys but after 8 weeks of seeing them a lot I missed them too. The alarm sounded EARLY! 5:15 and again at 5:30 when I got up and ate breakfast and got ready. Right on schedule to feed Ty at 6:30 and walk out the door by 6:45ish. The morning worked out perfectly. Wilson and Luke stayed asleep which is the norm. I fed Ty around 3:30am last night so that was great too for him to be ready to eat at 6:30am. The school day was ok, I'm a little out of the loop and trying to get caught up on how some things are working now. My students were good and so glad to see me. I put on a smile and kept thinking of the verse from Sunday (which is now in my heading at the top) "This I know, that God is on my side."
Andy and the boys did great today! He said the day went very smoothly and little TW was great. He ate his bottles and let daddy get some work done. Wilson and Luke had good days at school. Thankfully I pulled leftover Shepherd's Pie from the freezer yesterday so dinner is easy tonight. I haven't set Ty down since I got home. He's sleeping in the Bjorn right now. Thank goodness for those!

November 8, 2008

Ty's birthmark update

We heard from Cincinnati Children's yesterday. The first step is to fill out the paperwork and fax it in. Once they receive the paperwork and review it they then schedule the appointment. So I was on the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center's website quite a bit last night. Very informative. Looks like they'll know a lot and really be able to help us. We are so fortunate to live near such a big hospital. It was a little upsetting to read much of the info on there but I want to be informed so that I understand what they are telling me when we go. PLUS I keep telling myself every day I cannot worry until I know there is something to worry about. But let's be real. I am worried. But I'm controlling the worry with that statement above so that I can keep living in the moment. I have 3 boys and a wonderful husband that need me! Anway, the packet is very detailed. We're talking 13 pages. I'm almost done filling it out so I can fax it on Monday. The only things left to do are measure the birthmark, attach a picture of the affected area, and measure the affected area so they know the size. The rest of the packet is medical history, personal info, referring doctor info, etc. Thank you for praying for this situation. I'll let you know when his appointment is scheduled. I hope it isn't too far away because I'm ready to hear their opinions.

November 7, 2008

8 weeks old!

Tyler is 8 weeks old today and I have big news! He is smiling!!He is smiling! It is absolutely precious. It was so hard to choose which pictures to post on the blog today. I wanted to post like 299 because they are all slightly different but I didn't think anyone other than mommy and daddy would appreciate that! So I chose a few. (and by the way, Andy's new camera takes GOOD photos! Plus he's a good photographer!) Wednesday night Ty slept from 11-6:30. It was a miracle! And it didn't repeat last night. I was so hoping we were starting the new trend of sleeping through the night. No such luck. That would have been perfect timing for my going back to work. We'll keep working on that! Other big news is Ty does well drinking his milk from a bottle. He doesn't seem to care if mommy's milk comes directly from the source or out of a bottle. As long as he gets to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours he is a happy camper. His 8 week appointment isn't for another whole week. I'm hoping I'll somehow be able to leave work for a bit and meet Andy at the appointment. I hate missing dr appointments. I have loved being home and caring for Ty these 8 weeks. The last 4 have been so enjoyable since my recovery after the c-section. I'm trying to enjoy the moments I have with him and not stress about the hours I'll be away at work. And no matter what they tell us at Cincinnatti Children's hospital - he's perfect.
Absolutely perfect.

November 5, 2008

The Celebration Continues!

Tonight I had a surprise birthday celebration for Andy at youth group. I think everyone who reads this knows Andy is a youth pastor. The youth get together every Wednesday night so since his birthday fell on a Wednesday I definitely wanted them to celebrate! I was so sure Andy had figured out that I had planned something but he promises he had NO idea! Woo-hoo! A big thanks to Holly for helping me pull it off! Here's what we did: I wrote 30 questions about Andy and cut them apart. I rolled each question up and put 1 question in a balloon. So there were 30 questions in 30 balloons about Andy. The youth were to pop a balloon and try to answer the Andy trivia question. The person who knew the most answers won a Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate bar! Way to go Daniel S! So when we got to church there were 30 green and blue balloons on the floor of the youth room. I secretly put the game together on Tuesday when Andy was gone and hid the balloons in the back of the van in large trash bags. The other decoration was streamers hanging in the doorway. This morning while the boys were at school and Andy was at work I made two pumpkin desserts for the youth party. Then when I went to church with Wilson to pick Andy up to take him out to lunch I snuck the desserts, balloons, and streamers in Holly's car. When Andy left work for the day Holly did the decorating! I couldn't have pulled off the surprise without her! Thanks, Holly! So when we went to church tonight I just got in the van like normal. Andy didn't suspect a thing!I had a small bag in there with candles, matches, etc. but Andy didn't notice that. I always have lots of bags! Anway, I'm glad Andy had fun at his youth party and thanks to all the youth who came tonight! Look at that glow!


I managed to get 30 candles in the shape of 3-0!!

Happy 30th Birthday Andy!!

Andy is 30 today! Last night we celebrated with my family at my mom's house. We had a delicious dinner- pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, salad, and chocolate cake! Andy has 1 candle per decade :) in the pictures above! All the kids had fun celebrating and eating cupcakes! Andy is celebrating at home tonight with pancakes and breakfast casserole for dinner. I also made him a Mountain Mama Mudslide dessert, one of his favorites. Hopefully he's having a great day! More pictures later!

Here are the pictures from our birthday dessert at home this afternoon!

Halloween


Better late than never! Only thing missing is trick or treat pictures. They are on Andy's camera. On Halloween both boys had parties at school so you can see those pictures! Wilson was very insecure at his party- not wanting anyone to look at him in his one man band costume. He did wear it for the parade but that was about all. Luke's school had a pajama party for Halloween. He was so excited! He wanted to bring muffins so I made pumpkin muffies (just the tops) for him to take to school. He had a great day! In case you missed their costumes, check out the post from the Harvest party at church to see them!