Saturday, November 28, 2009

Proof I love my kids more than I love Christmas lights

Ok, so 24 hours ago I was all excited and ready to make my statement to the world neighborhood that it's my year to decorate the front of the house.  I felt empowered.  I woke up with a "Yep - booooring white lights.  Bring it!"  Then this morning when we pulled out many of the decorations we realized that none of the lights for the tree outside are LED and since we think Jesus and Santa would prefer a more earth-friendly and economical option we chose to replace them.  Before heading out to buy new lights Chris asked the kids if they wanted to decorate the tree outside with white lights like on the house or awesome colored lights.  They both said colored lights.  That was the end of the discussion.  I relented.  For the sake of my kids.  I get it.  As with my body I once again have sacrificed beauty for those little people who live here and won't leave. 

I will say, though, that Drew told me she loves the white lights on our tree in the front livingroom.  I told her I think white lights on a Christmas tree are soooo beautiful.  Just like her.  I think that may seal the deal on having another white-light-lover in our family.  And it is oh, so true.  

Here are a few pics of our Christmas decoratin' day:

The kids got to decorate the tree by themselves.  They had such a good time and it made for a really special morning.  And I love saying, "Wow, you guys did a fantastic job!  That glob of ornaments right there in the center looks beautiful." 

Sweet Lauren exploring her first Christmas decorations

The Christmas light supervisor

"Hi, honey!  You're doing a great job hanging the white lights!"

Just like her mommy, barefoot in the winter and loving it.

Yes, she's 4.  Yes, she's on an 8 foot ladder.  And yes, she's giving me a thank you thumbs-up for the colored lights she's putting on.

Because I love my children.  A lot.

How'd your Christmas decorating go??

Friday, November 27, 2009

'Tis the season of giving but thank God it's MY year, sucka!

Christmas lights!  I frickin' love Christmas lights.  Little white ones that are in straight lines (not the lights that are in those tubes) and that line the roof, the windows, and are in the big bushy trees and line the downtown streets.  If you ask Chris (and probably lots of other people) that is BOOOOORING.  I beg to differ.  That is beautiful.  That is traditional.  That is calm.  You know the Christmas song lyric that says, "All is calm, all is bright"?  They were talking about beautiful homes dressed in white Christmas lights.   Like this:

 Chris, on the other hand, likes big! colored! lights! and if half the strand blinks and the other half doesn't, all the better.  No, I made that last part up but it may as well be that way because it's just like frosting on the tacky cake.  I hate it.  He thinks it's festive, I think it's gawdy.  Like this:

  You can see that there was just no meeting in the middle on this issue.  We decided for the sake of our marriage that we should just simply alternate years.  This year is my year and I'm very excited.  I look forward to tomorrow when we get to put up MY lights.  And all will be calm.  And all will be bright. 

If you're a Christmas lights snob like I am, you may enjoy this website:

I'm posting this today knowing that tonight we are going to see a local house that off-the-hook crazy with Christmas lights and also that tomorrow my house will be decorated.  I may post updated pictures.  Or not.  Do you even care?  I seriously need to get a life.

BTW, neither of those pictures is of my house.  Just in case you thought so. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On this, Thanksgiving Eve

It's soooo cliche but I feel like doing it anyway.  Here are 50 things I am thankful for (in no particular order):

  1. My marriage
  2. Chris
  3. Drew, William, Lauren
  4. fertility
  5. my mom
  6. my brother and his family
  7. Chris's parents
  8. Dad and Cindy
  9. our extended families - every single person
  10. nap
  11. Bravo
  12. double strollers
  13. Lions 'N Lambs
  14. Oakland Fire Department
  15. Starbucks
  16. blog readers
  17. awesome washing machine and dryer
  18. good health
  19. chemo
  20. Puffs
  21. my education
  22. Ipod
  23. housecleaner
  24. baby giggles
  25. pacifiers
  26. Jet Blue
  27. washable paint
  28. music
  29. internet
  30. Aveeno chapstick
  31. Neutrogena hand lotion
  32. Playtex Drop-Ins
  33. old friends
  34. sleep
  35. new friends
  36. epidurals
  37. Costco
  38. 2-days
  39. Real Housewives of ... (don't judge me)
  40. Lifesaver CPR
  41. unexpected phone calls
  42. secure employment
  43. William's imagination
  44. my camera
  45. Harry Connick, Jr.
  46. Cape Cod
  47. Starbucks (I know, but it needs to be said twice)
  48. disposable diapers
  49. children who sleep through the night
...and the last thing I'm thankful for may not be the most important thing but in this moment, it's all I can think of.  I am THANKFUL THIS IS NOT ME THIS THANKSGIVING:

Thanksgiving Day, 2008

Sunday, November 22, 2009


If you know me at all you know I am a grammar and punctuation Nazi.  You can click here to read about what a bitch that makes me.  Anyway, I have no idea if my email had anything to do with it but I am happy to report that one of my favorite restaurants has changed its menu.  I doubt the actual menu in the restaurant has been changed, that would cost an absolute fortune.  Since I hadn't heard from them regarding my email I have been checking their website every now and then to see if they had changed their mistake.  Tonight I saw that 'Entree's' is now 'Entrees'.  Yippeeee!  One small, tiny victory.  I'll take it.  That is, of course, if I had anything to do with it. 

If you live around here it really is a fabulous place to go for a great meal and a unique dining experience.  I highly recommend it.  Their entree's are fabulous.  Tee-hee.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Snack help... please!

I used to be super anal about what Drew could and couldn't eat.  As an infant I made her baby food.  I paid close attention to sugar and all that stuff.  Then William came along and I became less concerned.  I made his baby food for the first month.  Then he was on that dreaded jar food.  And Drew, who was 19 months at the time, got snacks that were super convenient for me rather than what I thought was best for her.  Then Lauren showed up.  I've never made her baby food and the kids are lucky I don't just throw a bag of Hot Cheetos at them and sit them in front of the television for the afternoon.  This is why I will not have a 4th child.  I cannot keep up with the nutritious snacks and I'm not one to feel guilty about stuff, especially about the food I choose to feed my children.  It doesn't help that my kids don't eat meals but they sure eat snacks. Maybe because I suck at cooking and the snacks just taste better. I don't know. I'm wanting to switch things up for snacks, I'm tired of them eating the same things. This is the daily script, right around 3:07pm: "Mommy, can I have a snack?" "Sure. Would you like an apple or a pear?" "I want Goldfish." "How about a pear? I'll cut it into cubes if you want." "I want rolled candy." "How about an apple? I'll give you some peanut butter to dip it in." And so it goes, on and on. 

I'm not really even sure who reads this blog - I may be publishing this, putting out into cyberspace, and there it sits.  Lonely and bored.  And no one to respond.  That's ok, 'cause for someone who likes to write and who has 3 children from whom to escape it's worth it.  But if you have something to contribute, please respond!  I'm anxious for feedback 'cause I'm outta idea when it comes to this subject.  What are some of your kid's favorite snacks??

Here are a couple things Drew and William love:

      We call this rolled candy.

                                            C'mon, just being honest.

Here are a couple things Lauren loves.  Granted, she's still limited given that she only has one tooth...

Really, I'd love to hear what your kids or babies like to eat.  I'm ready to mix it up for them.  I don't want to resort to throwing Hot Cheetos at them but I'm getting close.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I don't want to get all serious so instead of professing my gratitude for my husband who works so incredibly hard, runs a successful business, and still is the best and most committed daddy I know, I figured I'd share a few of the other less important things in my life that make me feel lucky, happy, and cozy.

I am thankful for:

If you have chapped lips or just like to prevent it from ever happening, this is the best product EVER.  I have one in my pocketbook, at my bedside, in the car, and in the kitchen.  And I recently purchased one I have left out as a sacrifice for the chapstick Gods since it seems they seem to steal the ones I have tucked away in other places. 

I love love love candles.  I have always been loyal to Yankee Candles but I think Gold Canyon is actually better and have made the switch.  My enitre house smells good with just one candle lit in the livingroom.  I know someone who sells them if you're interested! (That's not a shameless plug, it's just a fact.)

Bath and Body Works used to carry this but they don't anymore.  I found it on google, though, and have purchased it through independent sellers.  I LOVE this stuff.  Haven't showered w/o it in more than a year. 

  If you have any really great things that you love (and are especially grateful for), I'd love to know what they are! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Using God to scare my kids... don't judge.

I came across this video from a year ago and although the first 2/3 of it is just William showing off his smarts the last 1/3 is a real genuine lesson in why kids should not say naughty words.  It just makes God angry.  It's a fact.  It's also proof that God always has your back.

Just watch:

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William had just turned 2 a month before this and Drew was 3.5.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is this safe? Oh, crap.

It always makes me laugh that people think being married to a firefighter is all shits and giggles.  It's not.  I mean, the schedule is great.  And I know that if Lauren chokes on a Hot Wheel she's going to survive.  And he's super strong and handy around the house.  Ok, so maybe it's better than I originally thought.  Oh, but wait.  There is that whole pyro thing.  Yeah, that takes points away from the whole deal.  Inherently firefighters just have a love of fire.  Not just putting them out, but also starting one, watching it, experimenting.  I'm not talking about destructive fires.  He may be curious but he's not dumb.  You know how little boys like to just make a mess and play and experiement and watch how things turn out?  Like that.  But done by a grown man.  And with fire.

This was on the 4th of July this year.  William, only 2 years old, took cover in the car.  He loves fireworks like he loves firetrucks and Santa - from afar.  He wanted to watch but didn't want to be close.  Turns out, as usual, William was the smartest person in this whole scenario.  Our neighbors were out to watch the show.  Why?  Well, because Chris is a firefighter and they know that he's a pyro and that he's capable of handling whatever may happen to occur.  Chris's antics and confidence around fire makes me very nervous, although you'd never know it by my voice in this video. 

Oh, and in this video, the launcher is homemade.  Yep, like he-went-to-Home-Depot-and-bought-pipe-for- this kinda thing. 

If you're interested in attending the Peters Firework Extravaganza  next year just let me know.  Maybe William will make room for you in the car.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Flashback Friday

This is a flashback to 5 years ago, almost to the exact day.  This was taken at our friends Monique and Jim's wedding at the coast.  I was 8 months pregnant with Drew.  I was happier than I'd ever been and I think it shows.  I look at this picture and think of how completely different life was for us then.  No kids, one house, Chris's business was just beginning to really take off.  I was weeks away from ending my teaching career and being a stay-at-home mom.  Things were simple and so much less busy I just wonder what the hell I used to do all day.  The best part of this picture, though, has got to be the danger sign.  And no, I didn't crop that out when we sent this as our Christmas picture that year.  I thought a little comic relief for such a sappy picture was needed.  Yes?

Merry Christmas, 2004

What were you doing 5 years ago at this time?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I'm a sucker for alliteration, hence the title.  And you know what I post on Fridays so my next post will be Flashback Friday.  Maybe I should come up with one for every day of the week!  No, I'll spare you.  Anyway, I thought it'd be nice to take a minute to post one of the million things I am thankful for on this, my new weekly post - Thankful Thursday.

I really am thankful for a million things.  Or maybe just 937,492 but I think I'll take the liberty and round up.  A million just sounds better.  I had the best life as a kid and as an adult I think it's even better, if that's possible.  But for today, I'll stick to just one thing.  Today I am thankful for this and this alone:

I just love her.  My Lauren.

I'd love to hear what you're thankful for.   

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Christmas Card Anguish

This is yet another Christmas card post.  It's getting to be THAT TIME.  I must bite the bullet and just choose a picture.  I need to get my Christmas cards ordered so that I can get them addressed and mailed out that first week of December.  'Cause that's when I send them.  And I'm not changing that despite the fact that Chris thinks I may as well send them out in October if I'm going to send them out that early.  The picking the picture part is waaaaay harder than it sounds.  And of course, waaaaaay harder than it should be.  First of all, it's not often that we have a picture taken of all 5 of us.  And with Lauren being our new addition I need to choose a picture that reflects who she is now, not 2 months ago.  Right?  I mean I don't want to send out a picture that shows this infant when in fact I have an 8+ month old who is nearly cruising.  We all know that a 6 month old is very different from an 8 month old.  See?  This is the thought process that drives Chris apeshit which is why he thinks our Christmas cards just magically appear.  I can't talk to him about my CCA.  That's Christmas Card Anguish for all of you who don't worry about such things.  Anyway, I decided I was going to keep my CCA under control this year and not even shop for outfits or anything.  We were just going to happen to get a casual picture of all of us.  And by casual, I mean cash-oo-al.  I wasn't going to worry about it.  I had a few requirements for this year's picture:  everyone must be seen.  Everyone must be looking. And no one can be making a stupid gesture.  Ummm, that's about it.  Here's what I've got to choose from:

Here is the picture of no one making a stupid gesture

Here is the picture of everyone being seen

Here is the picture of everyone looking

I have a couple that were taken in  August when Kia Gregory took our family pics.  I LOVE them but Lauren has changed so much since then. And I've also lost 15 pounds since then.  Not that you can tell one ounce yet but still.  Whatever.  I'll use them.  I'm over it.  And I know, there are a ton of actual life problems that I could be worrying about but my blog is not going to get all serious.  Not now.  I'm not in the mood.

Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Flashback Friday

Instead of just searching back through pics from this week last year, I went back further, 2006 to be exact.  William was 9 weeks old and Drew was 21 months old.  She had her own language, one I could completely understand.  I remember once driving in the car and Drew very emphatically said something to Chris in her language.  Chris looked at me and said, "What??"  I said, "DUH!  She wants you to roll her window down."  I probably rolled my eyes after that.  In fact, I'm sure I did.  It used to frustrate me to no end that Chris couldn't understand her.  I really became sick of being her translator.  I realize now that it was kind of a special thing we had.  I would speak to her in English and she would understand me and she would speak to me in Drew-speak and I would totally understand her and I was the only one who could.  I didn't really appreciate that but I do now.  Anyway, here she is doing what she used to love doing - watching the birds from the kitchen window.  Chris was birdwatching with her and she was telling him all about it.  In her language of course.  Can you understand her?  I can.  And I love that.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mission accomplished. Now what?

This is an update to my post from October 8th about bribing the kids to stay in their rooms until the clock says a specified number.  You can read that here in case you missed it.

It totally worked.  I'm proud of the fact that I set up an incentive program that was successful and didn't fizzle out after a week or so and I'm super proud of Drew and William!  Check out their charts today:

  The original reward at the end were these awesome rain boots.  Well, when both kids hit their 15th sticker I figured I'd better get online and order the damn things.  I really didn't expect that this would work (or that they'd earn all 20 stickers) so I hadn't ordered the rain boots earlier.  The kind that Drew had chosen and the ones William had chosen were no longer in stock.  Chris was harping on me to just buy them something much more practical and by that I mean something totally not fun.  I had to explain that the whole point of this was for them to earn something of their choosing.  I searched a little deeper online and with the little nagging Chris-voice in my head, I did try and find something not completely useless, still fun, and in the same genre as the original reward.  I found these:

They are snow boots and honestly around here they are about as practical as rain boots.  We do get rain, but not a ton.  Not enough to have a need for rain boots.  And we plan on going to the snow much more this year (last year I was pregnant and too fearful to be walking where I may fall and have to have an army of men called in to help me up again).  Not only are these Spiderman and Princess snow boots, they light up when the kids walk.  I know.  I think to them it'd be the equivalent of a pair of Uggs for me that washed dishes and made lunches.  Comfy, soft, and just generally the best things ever. 

The boots arrived yesterday, the day Drew earned her 20th sticker.  William earned his this morning.  Today they wore their boots with pride.  And huge smiles.

So... now what?  Well, I'm thinking of each decorating their own jar and giving them a penny a day instead of sticker.  Then when each has earned 20 pennies, they can take it and buy themselves and ice cream or something like that.  They love to pay with their own money for things and I think this would be lots of little lessons all wrapped up in one.  Especially with this time change when everyone is waking about 6:15am I need an incentive that works for them to stay in their rooms and play quietly until 7:00am.  7:00am is the magic hour when I turn from a pumpkin into a princess so the time is not negotiable.  I'm open to other reward/incentive ideas. 

The clock says TWO FIVE THREE and I told them they could come down from quiet time at THREE ZERO ZERO today.  I have no sticker or no penny system set up yet so today they are going to get what I used to get when I did what I was supposed to as a kid.  A hug and a smile.  This should go over well... 



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