Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November, with #20 and #22

We started off the month with me going on a ride-along with Chad. He's been doing this job for almost seven years, and this is the first time I've seen him in action. I guess I waited so long for a few reasons: I was worried I'd witness something scary that would freak me out and have me worried more for him when he's working, I didn't want to pay for a babysitter, I get carsick, etc. But I gave in, called a sitter, and dubbed the first Saturday in November "date night" at work. I actually really enjoyed it. We didn't see anything crazy or scary, but I did get to see my man act all in charge and authoritative, but in a very polite manner. He's good at what he does. And we got to eat dinner together, which made the date night official.

Fall officially arrived with a glorious weekend of 40-ish weather! It was an occasion for jackets, scarves, tights, and boots--all at the same time. I was in heaven...for that weekend at least, because it was back into the mid-70s the following week. But it gets gradually cooler every day

And we realized that we need to quickly outfit the kids for cooler weather. Luckily, we found a few items in their closets from last year that still fit them.

Bree lost her first tooth! It was literally hanging out of her mouth, and she was playing with it constantly. One day during school, I was getting so annoyed because she couldn't keep her fingers out of her mouth. I offered to pull it out for her, and she didn't exactly say no. She actually just looked at me skeptically, which I took as a yes. So I yanked it. She gave me a look as if she had been mortally wounded, and her feelings had been seriously hurt. "Ow! That hurt!" I handed her a tissue, reassured her that it would stop bleeding really soon, and told her to get back to her school work. She soon got over the insult, because she quickly discovered a slew of new tricks she can do with a gap in her teeth (poke the tip of her tongue through, breathe through it, drink through a straw, etc.). And the tooth fairy did not disappoint.


Chad and I celebrated our birthdays quietly. I made him chocolate lava cake, which, for future reference, is hot enough to melt a birthday candle, resulting in a cake with a beautiful gooey center laced with green wax. Surprise, surprise. But he ate it anyway, despite my offer to swap with him. That's love.

Chad made me waffles for breakfast the next morning for my birthday. And while he was at work that evening I got a sitter for the kids and went to see the final Twilight movie with a couple girlfriends. Going out with the girls is not something I get to do often enough, so it was a really enjoyable way to spend my birthday evening. The movie was decent too.

 I captured the view of the sunset one evening from our kitchen window. We enjoy beauties like this all the time. The camera does not do it justice. Sunsets here are amazing.

We've had to limit Mason to one hour of video games a day. He is like a crack addict. His first question to me each morning is "Can I play Mario Brothers/Lego Star wars?" He is often dressed with teeth brushed before I even get going in the morning, because he knows those are prerequisites to game time. I limit game playing because of the mental/emotional effects of too much play time, but the fact that gaming is a sedentary activity doesn't even come into it. Mason is literally incapable of sitting down while playing. It's impossible to play alongside him, because he can't stay out of the way.

Goal #22: Invite someone I'd like to know better over for dinner
This technically happened in October. On Halloween night, we made chili and cornbread, and invited my friend Mackenzie and her family over after we trick-or-treated downtown. Mackenzie and I know each other really well, but I haven't spent much time with her husband Aaron. I think this was only the second time we've had them both over! Shameful. Chad and I both agree that Aaron is good company. We should totally hang out again, before another two years goes by.

Goal #20: Turn off all electronics for 24 hours
This was not nearly as difficult as I thought. I purposely chose a Sunday, and a day when Chad would be working (because he wasn't enthusiastic about the idea). I was worried we'd have trouble filling the time. I could have done without the 50 or so requests to watch a movie (we are apparently addicted). But I played a few board games with the kids, which they loved because we don't do that often. Then I had to declutter the house a bit in preparation for a session of sugar cookie making (I have a hard time starting a new mess-making project when the house is already a disaster). So, once the house was passably clean, I mixed up some dough. The whole process of mixing, rolling, cutting, baking, frosting, and cleaning again took about 3 hours. It's a big process even without kids "helping." I even let Mason use some non-traditional cookie cutters (a "W", an "8", an ice cream cone, etc.), but had to stop him before he dirtied every cutter in the 100-piece Farberware set. Mason's decorating technique consists of squirting a blob of frosting and adding sprinkles to one cookie, then immediately eating it. He repeats this until he is sick to his stomach, then gives up on the whole thing. Bree actually stuck it out until every single cookie was frosted. She really gets into the creative stuff.

We had Thanksgiving at my grandparents' ranch this year. It was definitely the most delicious family meal we've had there--and there was a ridiculous amount of food. I am talking ridiculously ridiculous. We returned to my mom's house with two pies that had gone completely untouched because there were so many desserts. All the dishes were really tasty.

Especially this:

Sweet Potato Casserole from The Pioneer Woman

And chocolate pecan caramel pie from Southern Living.

While we were out there, we took some family snapshots in my grandpa's horse corral. I'm sure he thought I was out of my mind, raking horse manure out of the way, posing in front of the 100-year old fence.  But I had a vision, and I think we captured it.

Bree keeps begging me to make ornaments with her. Unfortunately, most of my ornament-making supplies are packed away. I even have a bag full of pine cones and red berries somewhere in the camping trailer. But Bree was not to be deterred. She came out of her room a few days ago, showing off this little beauty. The hook is made from a paper clip.

And, one good guess as to why our tree looks like this

The Christmas movie watching is well underway. So far we've watched:
  • The Santa Clause
  • Arthur Christmas
  • Elf
  • Just Friends
  • Rise of the Guardians (not a Christmas movie after all, but it does have Santa in it)
  • Prancer
  • Stealing Christmas (a cheesy ABC Family movie)
  • White Christmas
  • I'll Be Home for Christmas
  • And the kids have been watching the kids' Christmas classics: Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, along with some Diego, Thomas the Train, and Wonder Pets
Oh, and our Elves have recently been coming to life at night. And though I've reminded the kids that the elves keep on eye on them for Santa, Mason assures me that the elves actually can't see him when he's sleeping, because, as he's stated before, he sleeps with his eyes open, and he's never seen them in his room at night.The kids have gotten a kick out of waking up to see the elves playing tic-tac-toe, reading tiny board books, and hanging from kitchen cabinet knobs. They've been waking us up in the mornings in their excitement to report on the elves' latest antics.

Yes, the end of November is Christmasy around here. I like it best that way.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

19 Months

This post was originally intended to be an 18-month update...that is indicative of how things have been around here lately. We're busy, I didn't have recent photos, etc. Actually, Lincoln started doing some really awesome things AFTER the 18-month mark, so this post is much more impressive than that other one would have been.

The details:
  • Signs "food" and "more" and "drink"
  • Says "baba" (bottle), "muhk" (milk), "bye" (accompanied by a wave), "hi" (with a wave), "nana" (banana), and "mama"
  • Can point to my nose, and find his tummy and feet
  • Likes looking at books, and pointing to things on the page
  • Has to be a part of all jokes, and will always chuckle belatedly
Don't mind Bree, the creeper
  • Walks all over the place with great balance, does impressive squat reps, and crawls onto the coffee table and into any crack he can fit into
Chad took this one while I was out, and it was a lovely surprise to discover as I imported photos to my computer
  • Maneuvers push and pull toys like a pro
  • Can stack rings, and insert coins into a slot
  • Loves to dance, wave his arms, and bob his head to music  
Really enjoys the TV
  • Has lately begun to elicit signs of separation anxiety--a first in any of our kids
  • Opens and empties drawers, shreds magazines and newspapers, and will trail toilet paper around the house whenever a bathroom door gets left open
Lincoln is still a snuggly little baby. I am loving the extra time I get to enjoy him when he's still small. He gives the best hugs, and I can't get enough. It makes everyone else in the family jealous. He is the center of our family; I can't imagine us without him.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Morning Snippet

Mason's first words to me today: "Mom, I have a drooling nose."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Portrait of a 4-Year-Old (with guest appearance by a 6-Year-Old)

At lunch table.

BREE: Christmas isn't about the presents. It's about family, and love, and Jesus' birth.

MASON: Jesus lives at the South Pole. And sometimes, he's at the Bass Pro Shop.

MOM: I think you mean Santa.

MASON: Oh yeah! I meant Santa.

MOM: And the North Pole.

MASON: Yeah...

Bree, upon seeing a picture of Barrack Obama, and being told he just got re-elected.

BREE: For a president, he's just not that smart. He should go to president school. Why don't they have those?

MOM: I don't know, Bree. I just don't know.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Portrait of a 4-Year-Old (third installment)

 Scene V
"Obesity Foreshadowed"

MOM: You don't have to finish that second burrito. Make sure you listen to your tummy, and stop eating when it tells you to.

MASON: But I just can't stop eating--it tastes so good!

Scene VI
"The Passage of Time is a Difficult and Abstract Concept"

MASON: Is tomorrow Christmas?

MOM: No. Tomorrow is Friday.

MASON: You mean the next day?

MOM: Yes, the next day is tomorrow.

MASON: Well, when's Thanksgiving?

MOM: In three weeks.

MASON: I knew that! Thanksgiving is in... four weeks...Momma, is three... I mean, is four... three weeks...

MOM: It's okay, buddy, don't hurt yourself.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween--with Daddy!

This was the first year that Chad has been able to spend Halloween with the kids and me. He has always been working in the past! He was very excited. We kicked off the festivities with pumpkin-carving. Chad helped Mason carve the alien he wanted, and I helped Bree with her dog jack-o-lantern (I thought her Doberman choice was interesting, given all the options).

We went downtown again for trick-or-treating, because it was such a hit last year. Local businesses hand out candy that either they or local residents have donated. It's a nice leisurely walk up and down main street, which is blocked off to traffic--a huge bonus when you have a Mason in your family. And in less than an hour, your candy bag is full!

Costumes this year:
Lincoln: Frankenstein
Mason: Han Solo
Bree: Cow Girl
Me: Vampire whose cheap teeth fell out and got lost (so I looked like a goth in everyday attire)
Chad: uh...resident of West Africa (wearing clothes from his mission)

We met up with my friend Mackenzie and her family for trick-or-treating, and we all enjoyed Chad's delicious chili, cornbread, homemade pumpkin donuts, and hot chocolate back at our place. The kids all enjoyed running around, playing together, and watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"

It was my favorite Halloween yet.
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