"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No, look over HERE!

It is not easy to get pictures of the kids good enough to print 8x10 style and send to the grandmas.  I keep telling myself that it'd be more work and stress to take them somewhere, and I'll save myself a lot of money if I can just buck up and do them myself. 

Note to self: check background for random parked vehicles.  Darn it!  Oh, well.  It turns out this was not a great location anyway, not a break in sight from the cold 30mph winds.

Once in a while we'll get really lucky and all five will be faced my direction with a natural smile on their face. This is as good as we got this time.

After about 20 minutes of this, the little boys are jumping and crossing their eyes and Rugger isn't doing much better.  Reise just loses all expression in her face, and Ryleigh starts looking a little pained.  Sweet girl!  I turn into ugly, mean mommy, with lots of sighing and eye rolling, and we just need to call it a day!

Something tells me the grandmas would just like to get their hands on a print of any sort, so we're going with what we've got!  ;)

Choosing to love,

Free Shutterfly Cards

I've never ordered cards from Shutterfly, but will definitely be taking advantage of their 50 free cards for blogging about them! Why not?  Who doesn't love FREE?!

My sister in law orders everything from cards to mugs to calendars from them, and loves their stuff!  If you blog, and want to get in on their 50 free cards promotion: go HERE.

We never send out Christmas cards because life's so crazy in December, I figure there is no reason to add to it.  This year we're adding to the crazy by letting the big kids participate in our church's annual Christmas program which runs 13 performances.  They will love it, and I'm grateful for the opportunity they've been given to participate!  Anyway, we always send out Valentine's a few weeks later to make up for it!

This year I might use my 50 free to send JDRF Thank You cards from Ryleigh. 

I'll let you know how they turn out.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rose Colored Lenses

This was the conversation my handsome husband and I had yesterday before we put the tree up:

Him: I can't believe we caved and bought a fake tree.  It's just not really Christmas without the real one.

Me: Really?  You miss that?

Him: Don't you?

Me:  No.  I don't miss hauling five kids out on the coldest, windiest night of the year and sitting with them in the van while you went out and picked the tree.  Definitely don't miss keeping the kids out of the way while you hauled the tree up the stairs into the living room leaving a blanket of needles on the carpet as you went, only to remember that the end of the trunk needs to be sawed off.  Then, not being able to find the *#&% saw after you hauled it all the way back down.  Sure don't miss having to declare a free cuss day before we even got started.  Do I miss getting covered in sap and nearly losing eyes from needle pokes so I could hold the tree straight while you screwed the trunk into the stand?  No.  Altho, I do still laugh about the time we had to drill holes into the trunk in order to get the screws in.  I sure don't miss waking up in the middle of the night to a giant crash and sappy water covering the carpet after the cat climbed the tree and knocked it over.  Nor do I miss taking apart the vacuum every week due to needle clogs.  Not to mention, the two children who are allergic to trees will easily be more comfortable this December.  Yep, pretty sure I'm going to be just fine with our gorgeous fake tree.

Him:  Whatever, why are you so negative?

I love our new tree.  It was totally worth the wait, and the early morning day-after-Christmas shopping it required last year to get it 75% off.  I wonder why he isn't laughing about us getting the van stuck in a two-foot snow drift behind Shopko that morning?  That was easily as funny as having to rig the tree up with fishing wire and ropes that year the trunk was so crooked we couldn't keep it from falling over any other way. 

The branches are on hinges, so it just collapses down into itself and takes about 3 minutes to put together.  And, it's pre-lit!  Can you hear the angels singing?  Glory!!

It's super tall and skinny, perfect for our small living room.  I couldn't be happier!

What a relaxing afternoon of football and tree decorating.  No vacuuming, no steel wool required to scrub the sap off my fingers, no cussing...and the neighbors will appreciate that we won't have a dead, brown, dried up tree leaning up against the side of our house until mid-March this year. 

Gosh, I can't WAIT to put the lights up outside, which is almost as fun as getting a real tree.  Almost. 

Choosing to love,

Thursday, November 25, 2010


The day before the holiday might be my favorite.  Ryleigh loves Eves.  Eves upon Eves are declared several days out.  This Thanksgiving Eve we created a feast of sorts, including some of our favorite food items.  The lunch menu: cheesy noodles, brownies, craisins, pickles, turkey, stuffing, jello, and marshmallows. 

Rugger woke up early and helped me get my first ever turkey into the oven.  He's so funny.  I really had no idea what I was doing, I've never even really seen it done start to finish.  He was all about it.  Of course, an hour later when his buddy Eli showed up, he was too cool for the kitchen.  Whatever, dude.  We both know what went down in there at 6:30am, and I loved every minute! 

I talked turkey with anyone who would listen to me over the last few days, and got a few tips.  The ones I used: use a bag, use poultry seasoning, stuff a stick of butter into the cavity, use apple juice instead of turkey stock, cook it breast-down.  The one I couldn't figure out: pull the baggie full of giblets out before you cook it.  I couldn't find that baggie, I searched!  I even checked the packaging to see if it said something regarding giblets.  

My mom found it, cooked.  "Did you know, most people actually take this out before they cook the turkey..."  Good grief. 

For whatever reason, I decided to make massive quantities of french toast sticks for my freezer this morning.  In addition to the turkey and stuffing I had going on!  The griddle was already out, and I happened to have three-dozen extra eggs and several loaves of bread sitting around.  I asked Rugger to bring me the eggs from the refrigerator in the garage.  A few minutes later, Pete and Repeat showed up!!  I about died laughing, and risked taking a picture before carefully removing them from their arms :)  Then I told Rugger that next time, the boys should not be carrying cartons of eggs up the carpeted stairs.  Please.  Oh, they were proud as peacocks! 

Maeson was pretty pumped to crack a few eggs. 

Then, he just threw the whole thing into the pan.  So proud!  Oh, buddy. 

Rowen's got it down pat.  

There was a little slippage, but in the end...no shells.  Good enough for me.

Pretty exciting stuff, when that little red button popped out.  I wasn't sure if we should trust it.  Could it really be that easy?  What if I dig into it and it's still raw!?  I texted my kitchen savvy sister-in-law semi-feverishly.  (I'm putting a meat thermometer on my Christmas list.) 

After taking this picture I decided the little boys would be getting haircuts tonight.  My goodness, shagsters!

We made place mats to use for our "feast".  So fancy....in a marker, construction paper and stickers kind of way. 

My mom randomly swung over and got in on the lunchtime festivities.  She told me she thought it was time to throw out that orange Tupperware cup.  It's at least 25 years old.  It's never been tipped over, and I will never throw it out.  If I could find a dozen more like it, I'd buy them.  Can you imagine a day without a milk spill?  What would I do with myself? 

The turkey was delish, and fully cooked. 

I also wanted to do a trial run on homemade stuffing, which was another first for me this year.  The kids got to the table about 25 minutes before that stuffing ended up being ready, and they sat sort-of patiently, sampled the turkey, sang a few songs...and then it was finally time to eat.  Guess how many kids wanted stuffing?  ONE.  Thank you, Rugger!  Poor little bored kids, they could have eaten and been done after all that time :)

Thanksgiving Eve haircuts are honestly a little stressful.  If those cuts get botched, we're showing up to Grandma's in baseball caps?  Lucky us, a little hair gel and we'll be good to go this year.

So much to be thankful for!  At the top of my list: a loving and merciful God who knows no boundaries, my handsome husband, our sweet chickens, a great group of friends I get to share life and raise babies with, parents who love each other, and siblings who will forever be on my speed dial.


Choosing to love,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sink or Float

These kids love to play Sink or Float.  It's usually kind of a mess and takes forever because they want to test every toy we own.  But, it's a blast.  Ryleigh makes a list of the things we're testing, and then records whether it sunk or floated.  She gets a huge kick out of it.  We don't call that testing a theory or handwriting practice.  We just call that Sink or Float! 

This time they made boats out of popsicle sticks.  Then they tried to float them with toys on top.  Oh, boy.  The excitement just keeps building! :) 

Foil boats were a new experiment.  We discovered that you can put pretty much anything on top of foil and it will float.  Unless you spring a leak :)  Rugger actually cut a hole in the bottom of his foil boat just to check it out.  Pretty entertaining.  Ryleigh just doesn't get him. 

Good times :)

Choosing to love,

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I woke up to this. 

They love each other, and they take every single opportunity to sleep all together in Maeson's double bed.  It was also 62* in our house, so huddling together for warmth might have been the goal.  During the day when I'm running around like a crazy lady I will sweat like a pig if it's any warmer in here!  Most of the time by 10pm after I've sat still for an hour, I remember to turn it up a little for the night.  (I forgot last night.)  ;) 

We bailed on the Jacob's Well food distribution a little early this morning.  It was cold and crowded, and they had plenty of help.  I came home to this in my yard. 

It's official.  I am praying that the perfect little family comes along and NEEDS our house. 

In the meantime we'll be having hot cocoa, and I hear there's a dance party being planned.  (More like a rave, the kids found the techno CD's.)  Rowen's really concerned about the marshmallows that just seemed to disappear on him!  Check out his little kitty, cracks me up :)

Choosing to love,


Because, there's not really much going on around here...but so much going on at the same time.  Etc.: additional odds and ends; extras.

Such a random, everyday moment that just cracked me up. 

We normally do our grocery shopping on Sundays right after church.  The store isn't busy yet by that time, and the kids have had enough goldfish crackers in Sunday school to hold them off until we have a late lunch.  There are not usually samples on Sundays.  I'm not sure why they had them on this particular Sunday, but it was a great surprise for these two boys.

The thing is, those spoons are just. so. tiny.

Maeson gives up and poses for the camera.  Not Rowen.  Rowen is relentless, will not give up, needs to get a bite of that pumpkin pie!

Not working.

I love them.

Choosing to love,

Friday, November 19, 2010

A girl can dream.

We're going to try and sell our house, which by the way, seems like a giant task.  I find myself thinking about what I'm going to look for in a new house if this one sells.  Things like: laundry on the same floor as the bedrooms, a low maintenance yard, and few more bathrooms.  Then, I start to get crazy and things enter my mind...things like....tile floors and a painting room!  Hmmm....probably not a very practical use of space, but wouldn't that be fun?  :)

I think it's interesting that Rugger prefers to sit by himself at his desk and take one color at a time.  He does what he wants with that one color, and then returns it for another.  Ryleigh prefers to sit and collect as many colors around her as possible.  I'd love to psychoanalyze all of that, but there just aren't enough hours in my day :)

Maybe my painting room will include a sink for used brushes... not that this pop can isn't doing a great job!

In addition to the painting room I'm dreaming about a carpeted, padded room with no furniture in it that would be open 24/7 for wrestling matches.  I think the child development folks call it rough-and-tumble play.  Whatever, all I know is, it might actually be a better use of space than a painting room.

Choosing to love,