Thursday, December 30, 2010

outdid, outdone, ouch

Last night Ryan told me he signed up for the biggest guns competition at work. Coffee with cream came out my nose, I laughed so hard. Thing is, he was serious. Sorry honey:)

So, after making corn chowder, bbq pork chops and homemade french bread for supper tonight. I thought it time to start the 200 sit up challenge. So I put down the extra large coffee cup and had the girls sit on my feet and the big kids count. I made it to 30 before I felt like passing out.

The nine year old decides she wants to try. She got her second wind around 80 and completed a whopping 106 on her first try. SHEESH. I think she is adopted. For the record, wanna be big guns made it to 60. Not bad for a thirty something man who weighs a buck eighty soaking wet. Love you, honey:)

At this exact moment he is bench pressing my 35 pound babies.

Dare I dream of the 100 push ups ?

UPDATE: She is currently in the 200's on lunges. Ryan told her to stop at 200 and she said, "I'll stop when it hurts."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tell me how this works.

Regifting Game


Today the kids slept in till after nine. That is so rare. It almost scared me, no it did. It scared me. But considering the chaotic crazy Christmas 48 hours we have just experienced I should have just expected the sleeping in.
On Christmas eve we attended church. Usually the pews are so packed there are few seats left AND Maleah had to play a few songs for the prelude so we got there early. Which is sort of a miracle in itself. The service was wonderful and it ended with the traditional candle light Silent Night. Really sets the tone.
After church we all go to my mom's. We eat. We gab. We eat some more. We gave up giving presents years ago but this year mom decided to try something different with the kids.
My sister and I think alike:) Look at those handsome cousins.

Mom gathered the kids up and told them that they were going to draw numbers and then draw a name and choose a gift to give to a cousin. A lesson in giving and in receiving. It was wonderful to see them look at the gifts to choose the perfect one for the name they chose.
I think my brother in law had the most fun of the night, though:) Mom got the kids a few stocking stuffers, too. Somehow she always ignores the no gift rules:)

After the gifts were received we laughed, hugged and cried a little. Then we all went home to our respectable homes for the night.

We got up early to stuff the stockings and the kids were already awake. It was 6 am.
Tell me why I bought markers for her. WHY!?!?!?!
A homemade gift from Maleah.

We made it to Grandma and Grandpa Gordon's by dinner time. After dinner we cleaned up and opened gifts. Ryan's mom gets everyone a gift. I am not sure how she does it. Nine children and their families and significant others. Come to think of it I am not sure how she feed us all, either. She is pretty amazing. A living Saint, I do so believe.
Gavin playing the dice game
Uncle Brian giving nerf shooting lessons.

Maleah made a haul of birthday and Christmas gifts.

Addison got spoiled...again.

This year I got a special gift. I was so surprised, and elated! An e-reader, WOHOO!
Then we played our sort of new tradition of the dice game. Once for the kiddos and once each for adult males and adult females. This is probably the highlight of the day. This year I lost one of my die in a coffee cup and the whole table was screaming at me to roll. I also noticed Ryan's dad (when he had the gift he wanted and there was less than 10 seconds left) shake those dice ever so slowly only to roll doubles at the very last second! This year we had a tie at the end and there was a roll off for the winner of lottery tickets!
Kids getting the instructions from Auntie Kim about the dice game. More living Saints. Auntie Kim and Lisa provided all the gifts for the game! WOW!

We spent the night and got home late yesterday afternoon. It was fun, but exhausting. The kids were plenty worn out from all the partying.
Another Christmas come and gone. Another new year about to turn.
I hope your families are healthy and happy and exhausted from partying during this wonderful time of year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I can do it myself

Well today was the annual decorate cookies with the kids day. I would be okay if this day never arrived and it only really happens once a year. I completely removed myself from the process this year. I let them cut out their own cookies. I baked them and I colored the frosting and then

the phone rang, the ups man came and my sister stopped by so we were left with these. All the sprinkles are gone. The frosting is mixed and the cookies are frosted and er um sprinkled.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Can you see it?

When the Star of Bethlehem appeared in the sky it appeared to everyone. But only three men noticed the star and they were from lands far away. Our great God gives us signs and messages everyday but we need to have the holy eyes to see them. I am seeing the signs of God's goodness and mercy in all my wonderful Christmas greetings from friends and family.

Merry Christmas!

Cloud NINE!

Nine years ago this morning I got the best Christmas gift I have ever gotten. I love you so much little miss mismatched Maleah :) Happy Birthday my growing up too fast first born!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Multitudes #718-739

This week I am so very grateful and thankful for;

Coffeemakers bought on black Friday that FINALLY arrive in the mail... mmmm coffee.

Clean white streets in the morning and the joy it brings.

Sunday night Christmas programs that include handmade costumes, angels, shepherds, kings, and baby Jesus.

Treat bags filled with fruit.

Christmas cookies and hot apple cider with red hots.

Getting dressed up for church in dresses I found for $3 on clearance.

Sunday morning hymn sings in church followed by sermons that blow me away!

Watching the kids wrap gifts for their teachers and friends. Then watching them present the gifts. Seeing the joy in their face as they give instead of receive.

Anticipating time with family this weekend.

Birthday preparations for Maleah on Wednesday and baby Jesus on Saturday.

Giving plates of cookies away. Bye bye yummy calories.

Healthy, happy kids.

Projects getting completed in the house.

An ice shack that may be put to use this year.

A new recipe for birthday treats. I am gonna change this one up with some flax seed!

For my Aunt Patty and her battle with the bully.

For my sister Josie and her amazing ability to help me with anything I need help matter what.

For my brother Ben and his amazing talent of making things.

For my dear dear friend Gene. I am not sure what my life would be without him. My family is so blessed to have Grandpa Geno. I don't tell him enough how much me means to me.

My wonderful, adorable, hard working and even harder playing husband whom I love dearly but have not gotten a Christmas present for.

Being content and even excited that my present will be watching my babies open gifts, hug grandparents and sing Silent Night. It will be the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

All I want for Christmas...

Wild Olive

Have you seen these yet? I want one in every color. I wish I would have thought of this one.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Scrambling and I am not talking eggs here people.

Every time I download photos I get a surprise. This was on my card from yesterday. Enjoy this chaotic still life of my table taken by, "not me, I didn't touch it, or it was probably one of the babies".
I took the girls out to the Colony Christmas play today. It was an adorable play called The Littlest Reindeer. Nora was enamored by the little boy who was dressed as Santa. She couldn't take her eyes off him and I saw her waving at him more than once. I managed to invite my neighbors and we had a nice little visit.

For some reason the alarm didn't go off this morning and both Ryan and I overslept. I missed my much needed morning workout session. (Yep, I broke into the cookies last night, again :)) He made it to the time clock with a minute to spare. It took me 25 minutes to set up my Wii fit and I did get about 30 minutes in but it just isn't the same as that 5:30 am social time :) I have been playing the "catch up but I really know I never will be caught up game" all day long, hence the Friday night last minute blog post...

The house is all decked out. I was all ready to photograph it in the 40 degree weather and then it snowed. We have a (mostly) buck this year, unless the rack decides not to light up and then she is a doe. I am happy with the result. I have ALWAYS been a white Christmas light kinda girl, but the kiddos do dig the colored lights. Merry Christmas from our house!

Ryan said he was hungry for grilled brats the other night and I snorted. Then I watched him bundle up and go outside. Here is the proof. Proof that man can multitask = scooping snow and grilling at the same time. Baked beans and brats on the table that night!

Yesterday the photo postage stamps came so I finally sent off the last of the Christmas cards. No letter this year just a photo and a handwritten greeting. My brain is too frazzled to put anything that is remotely comprehensible down on paper. I can't even spell crochet. That, coupled with my !@#$# wireless printer that doesn't print a single thing even though it is brimming with spendy ink cartridges, forced me to scrap together some postcards, some cards and a hundred business card size notes for family and friends. No fancy magnets this year. More PROOF of scatter brained mommy: I ordered my mother in law LAST year's calendar for Christmas this year. Yep, a total repeat. That's what I get for using the same company.

Hi, my name is Rani and I am addicted to yarn. I have totes of the stuff. I love the color, texture and the wonderment of just what that ball of yarn can become. I buy it on clearance, I buy it on sale, I buy it at thrift stores. I would probably buy some from the trunk of a shady car if the price was right :)

So for a few weeks now I have been destashing. I had my gift all ready for Kris last night. I met her for a bite to eat before we attended the Washington Pavillion's 'A Christmas Carol'. It was really fun and nice to stop for an hour and a half and just enjoy :)

Then, at the last minute I decided to add some more to it, the gift, are you still with me? This is exactly why I didn't write a letter this year... So last night after I downloaded the photos of the play for show and tell I put some final touches on some gifts. Can I just say that making a gift for someone is so much more joyful that clicking submit order? But today I finally put down the hook and had some fun making things. These "fun" projects have filled every bit of my "free" time the last week or so. I can't eat while I am working so I am thinking it is good on the health front as well.

I added the tassels and a few crocheted flowers to my destashing project of scarves, scarves and more scarves. Man I love that yarn. The middle ones are made from mohair this brand is Italian and I found it when thrifting in a small town in Texas. I bought 15 skeins of the stuff with the original labels. Aren't the colors fantastic? That was fun to stuff in my luggage for the ride home. It made a nice bed for the pecans I found at my Aunt Jenny's.

This was fun. I didn't have enough hands at home today for this project so I utilized my curtain rods in the living room and even the piano to help me make these funky "no sew" scarves. I have seen them at the craft shows for a pretty penny. I made mine from my stash and I have no idea what they cost but they were fun to make and actually more difficult for me than the crocheted ones. What does that say about my ability to "craft"? It was really fun picking colors and textures. I made one for myself in, any guesses? Yeppers, pink :)

Lastly, I had the kids try on Christmas outfits the other night and tried to snap a photo. We were short a pair of black dress shoes but then a friend called, perfect timing, and had some shoes in the right size for the girls. Ridiculously blessed, I tell ya...Capital B, Capital L, know what I mean.

Just one short week until Baby Jesus' Birthday Bash!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

oh, yum

As if I need another cookie/bar recipe. These look so good I don't think I shoiuld make them...Coffee Cream bars by Macheesmo. Just don't go look at them. Then you won't have to fight the strong urge to make them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Project Man's daughter

Like father like daughter. And, yes, that is a playdough hammer. And, yes, she really got the nail started. And, yes, she already had one in the wall all the way when I figured out what she was doing. Sigh...

Oh, and, yes, those are the walls dad just painted so he could put the trim up.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Multitudes #680- 717 (long overdue)

I ain't gonna lie. These past two weeks have been rough. The jingle jangle has been more like crashing and banging. But, somewhere in between an invite to a big girl party and some long awaited quality family time I found my thankfulness again and my eyes opened wide to the glory of the newborn King and all his wonderment and along came the tidings of comfort and joy, tidings of comfort and joy.

I am back to crunching the numbers.

This week I am so very thankful for;

the amazing and wonderful joy of motherhood

piano recitals

decorating the tree with family

hanging up lights in 40 degree weather

dancing to Christmas songs

packages in the mail

workout buddies who plan cookie exchanges

kids singing songs at the program with all their heart and soul (I am talking about you Andy:))

monogrammed stockings

Christmas cookies that look great even if they took me all day

advent calendars

snow days with dad at home

sledding for hours and then

drinking hot cocoa

parties with great women

tasting some new wine flavors

gift exchanges

cookie exchanges (worth mentioning again)

grandma's birthday and her extended vacation with her sisters (a snowstorm blessing)

Aunt Patty's health and safe travel for Mom and Aunt Pam

JoAnn's return home

a cleaner house than last month

a warm garage for dad to do projects in

Christmas cards that are almost ready to mail

breakfast with grandpa

crocheting again, this time a new scarf for me and my sissy

a baby that takes after her daddy (remind me to post about her)

roast beef in the crock pot

cookies in the freezer

a paycheck to deposit

a very special birthday present just waiting for grandma

an organized baking cupboard

a clean car even though the doors are frozen shut

seeing a familiar face at the mall

the nativity on the piano

watching the girls put on a 'show'

a full DVR for when I get a chance to watch

a son who enjoys the kitchen as much as I do

In spite of the many benefits God has blessed us with, how many times do we complain about little difficulties and trials? We lose sight of the big picture and fail to appreciate the really important things. Just as we cannot benefit from a wrapped gift under a Christmas tree until we open it, so gratitude can be seen as our way of opening the gift of God's love intended by all the small and big positive events of our lives.

Ronda De Sola Chervin

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow Day

I tried this new recipe for my cookie exchange it was a long and tedious process for dainty cookies. I don't know if I would do it again. The checkerboards gave me heck and I ended up making striped cookies and then marbles with the rest of the dough.
Marble cookies:)
Salted nut chews. Ryan's favorite.
8:30 am. The kids were out sledding in a blizzard.

They lasted 15 minutes.

Friday, December 10, 2010

seven and nine year old wisdom

I was telling Maleah that I heard people on the radio talking about the best Christmas present they ever received. I told her that the best gift I was ever given was my first baby girl born a couple of days before Christmas and how the nurses wrapped her up in a stocking for me. "Yeah", Maleah said "And if I was born on St. Patrick's day they would have probably painted me green."

I was showing Gavin the scarves I have been attempting to crotchet. He looks them over and then says."Mom, if you have time today, make a hundred of these and we can sell 'em at a craft show for money."

Maleah is reading the back of the cereal bag and she says, "This is my favorite cereal and it is much cheaper than Honey Bunches of oats. I think Malt-o-meal is a much better value. They have a website, too mom. We could learn all about cereal."

We put the reindeer up in the yard and Gavin worried about it falling over. "We need to stake it, mom, do you have any stakes?" he says. "And we gotta figure something out about that star on the top of the pine tree, too. One big wind and whoosh it's gone for good."

two and three year old wisdom

Driving in the car I am wiggling along to the Christmas songs on the radio and telling the girls to dance, too. Addison starts singing. Nora screams, "ADDI don't sing, JUST DANCE!"

I say to my littlest when she just wakes, "Morning, sweets."
"No," she says. "I am Nora."

Addison is pretty much potty trained. She is noticing that Nora is getting treats more often than her for voiding on the potty. So she negotiates a deal with me. "Mom, I will go potty IF you give me a BIG sucker."

Santa entered the gym last night after the concert and Nora sees him and yells, "Mom, I wuv that man!"

I tell the girls that Grandma's birthday is coming up. They get really excited and say,"I want to go to her party!"

Digging in the treat bags they got from Santa the girls are devouring candy. I ask, "How many candies are you going to have?" Nora holds up one pointy finger and says, "TWO". Addi looks at her fingers and finally just holds up all of five and says, "Free".

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Man this brings back memories of Acapella Choir in college...I miss it so much.

Monday, December 06, 2010


I received this in an email recently, something to think about...

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:

*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*Do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.

How many other things are we missing?

Friday, December 03, 2010

where is the comfort and joy

I can't stand losing control and every year at about this time I lose it. big. time.

While everything around me boasts love and merriment I am screaming on the inside.

The numbers are crunching in my head and it is clear there is not enough to go around. There is never enough and for 11 months out of the year I have no problem with it. But something dark takes hold of me in this season and makes me WANT what is not needed. It is as if I am brainwashed. I know it and I try to prepare for it but every year I fail to fully ignore it.

It is foolish and brings me only feelings of guilt and shame. There are a stack of boxes in my storage area just waiting to remind me of my selfish and immature heart. The kids have the "I want" flu and it hits every December. I justify every gift with excuses and foolish reasons when I should just say no.

Meanwhile the world is spinning faster and faster. My house is a mish mosh of projects from sheet rock repair to painting to trim. The rooms are disheveled. There is five gallon buckets of paint and piles of tools and sandpaper. My husband and I compete for space every day in the kitchen. He needs to finish his projects and I need to cook/clean/bake/prepare. The kids are cranky and fighting. They are begging to put up the tree. Where would we put it? In the center of the room? I can't imagine adding to the chaos. The calendar is chock full of parties, recitals, programs, cookie exchanges and sub days. Tell me why we have to do EVERYTHING in four short weeks? WHY? None of it is about Jesus. I just want it all to be over and done.

Today Addi cut a chunk out of Nora's hair. A CHUNK about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. The thing is, NO ONE NOTICED. I was at school all day. Dad was busy with projects. Maleah took out Nora's braids for a bath and with the braid came hair, a lot of it. Maleah was shocked and her face was priceless. I think she thought she had done it by taking the rubber band out. Addison announced that she cut Nora's hair with the scissors she found. We still don't know when or where it happened. But there it is, a spike of one inch long hair right on top of her head, just waiting to be photographed thousands of time in the next few weeks. Forgive me that, " it'll grow back" doesn't make me feel better.

At night as I stand in the hallway and point to their bedrooms I pray that I will have time tomorrow to tell them the story, to get out the nativity, to have a conversation with them about the reason for the season. Then, tomorrow comes and I am even more tired and even more lost and even more sad and the whole cycle just keeps me further and further away from the truth.

This is the time of the year when I am supposed to be joyful and at peace and anxious for celebration and all I can think of is what needs to be done, what I haven't checked off the list. It weighs on me and makes me crabby.

So much of what I feel comes from wanting control of things, my children, my home, my life. I know this. I feel the tug of temptation. I know it stems from the darkest of places. Why can't I just ignore it?

This therapy of mine (writing) seems like it doesn't do the trick anymore. I went through Monday without one thought of thankfulness this week. Sigh.

I am feeling pretty bad about myself today. Problem is my mood sets the tone of the house and my mood has got to get moving up. I pray that the next time I have the time to sit and plunk out some words they will be positive ones.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


day is it?

Geez... I think I lost a week or a month or something.