Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

We spent our last night of 2008 at home. We ate some yummy junk food, drank soda, watched the movie Elf, and watched the ball drop at 9 p.m. care of MSNBC News Channel. We tried to convince Evan that it was the New Year already! I forgot, we also played a rousing round of Pooh's Matching Game. Then we sang songs while Evan played his new guitar. It was a pretty successful evening!

Evan and I spent some time at the museum today. This was part of their outdoor display.

Hudson is peeking at the New Year!

My men enjoying New Year's Eve.

Blessings and happiness for 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I was tagged by my friend Carol. She's right. I do like doing these types of things! And without further ado, I present the list of 8.

8 TV Shows I Watch.
A lesser know thing about me is that I LOVE tv. The fact that the tv is not on at the moment is very strange. I love our big tv. It fits perfectly inside that space. See?

The fact that I'm sitting in a dark room with nothing but silence is very strange, but I digress. Here are 8 of my favorite tv shows, but this is by no means a complete list.

1. Grey's Anatomy - I just can't do without McSteamy and McDreamy.
2. All My Children - I can't help it. I've watched it since I was a kid. We'll blame my mom for that one.
3. American Idol - Can't wait for it to start in two weeks. In fact, I can't wait for tv to get soooo much better starting next week! Yippee!
4. My Own Worst Enemy - This is a new one this season that Eric and I have liked.
5. Gossip Girl - This may sound like a lie, but I like to watch this show because I love seeing the shots of New York City. Really, I do.
6. The new Beverly Hills 90210 - I watched the original. I had to watch this one!
7. The local news - I like to catch every version (5, 6, 6:30 and 11). Eric says once you see one half hour segment you are good. I say some catastrophe may have happened in between 5 and 6:30 that I desperately need to know about.
8. The Bachelor - Yes it is awful. So what. It is mind numbing, and after a long day, I just want to let my mind be numb.

8 Favorite Restaurants

Really, there aren't many restaurants I don't appreciate. Just like watching tv, I like to go out to eat. It means no mess in my house! And giftcards are the best! I would have taken a photo of my Olive Garden gift card, but I couldn't find it.

1. The Spaghetti Factory
2. Sweet Tomato
3. Sweet River
4. Me 'N Ed's Pizza
5. Chevy's
6. Japanese Kitchen
7. Olive Garden
8. Red Lobster

8 Things That Happened to Me or That I Did Today

1. Created one scrapbook page before taking the kids to daycare.

2. Went to work.
3. Spent the work day helping my principal write our accreditation document. Fun stuff.
4. Ate out at a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Thank you Kim!
5. Went to Victoria's Secret to buy more of the scent that I am now in love with called Love Spell. Besides the gift of lotion and spray I got for Christmas, I now have body butter, shower gel and bubble bath. Can't wait for my bubble bath.
6. Talked to my mom on the phone.
7. Talked to Eric on the phone.
8. Threw a load of laundry in to wash.
Aren't you jealous of my exciting day?!

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:

1. A few more days of vacation.
2. Putting away all the Christmas decor.

3. Getting my new exercise program least that is the projected delivery date.
4. Hudson learning to talk.
5. My birthday. Yes, it is still two months away, but I can still look forward to it!
6. Evan being at my school next year.
7. Our 6th anniversary.
8. Being done with WASC.

8 Things I Wish For:

1. No debt.
2. To write a book. I guess I shouldn't wish. I should write.
3. To be caught up with scrapbooking.
4. My parents to live closer.
5. An end to the scary economy.
6. Motivation to continue to exercise.
7. A remodeled house with a huge great room and indoor washer and dryer. Someday for sure.

8. All the time to spend reading as I want...never enough time to read! (this was Carol's, but it applies to me too!)

8 People I Tag:
Nope, I don't tag people. I don't mind being tagged, but I was never able to run fast enough to tag the other kids. So I'll keep up with that theme here. If you wish to do this fun list, definitely copy away and do it!

I bet you have never been happier now that you know more about me!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Church is not for the weak minded

Church is important to our family. Maybe I should rephrase that. Church is very important to me and my husband. Our entire dating relationship revolved around going to church. Eric got confirmed before we got married. We got married in our church, served in the church, and baptized both our babies in this church. However, as of lately, I dread church. Not because I don't want to be there. Oh I do. I really do. It's just that church with my two boys is about the hardest thing we do each week. Truly, where else can you go where you are expected to magically contain two squirmy, loud, and restless little boys in a tiny square foot of space while at the same time trying to listen and be in communion with those around you? Not many places besides church offer guidelines such as these!

Church with kids is like an Olympic event...or maybe it's more like a marathon. The idea is to make it to the end. This may not be the politically correct thing to say, but I don't like going to church with my two children. It's hard. It's long. It's noisy. It's an exercise in patience. It's an exercise in humility. It takes a strong mind to ignore the looks you get as your smallest child is smacking the biggest child and screams ensue.

We were going to try to go the 9 a.m. Mass this morning, but for the first time EVER, the kids slept past 8 a.m. I literally woke up at 8:40 wondering if my children were still breathing. I couldn't figure out any other reason for them not to be crying, begging for warm milk, or basically going out of their way to irritate me.

The nice thing about being Catholic is if you miss one Mass, there's always another one to go to later in the day. We got up and got ready for 11 o'clock Mass. Amazingly enough, we were all clean, fed, dressed, and on time to church. As luck would have it, we also got there in time to score seats in the back row.

There used to be a time when my sweet husband and I would sit in one of the wings of pews pretty close to the front. There was also a time when we used to volunteer our services during the Mass. I used to Lector, and Eric used to be a Eucharistic Minister and Usher. Those days are long gone (for now). Now we sit NO WHERE near the front of the church. It's just too embarrassing.

After every piece of the Mass zips along, I am mentally doing a pumping fist of victory that we made it through that particular section without any major mishaps. My favorite mishaps include: screaming, crawling under the pews, children whose legs suddenly don't work, playing with the kneelers, and running down the aisle. There are many more things that the children find to do during church, but those tend to be the highlights.

The only thing we have going for us with Hudson is the fact that he is afraid of strangers, so he doesn't venture too far. Evan just has to be threatened 142 times to stop doing whatever he is doing.

It is sad to admit, but I have no idea what the homily was about today. I did listen to the First Reading. Does that count in gaining any spiritual enlightenment? I was just too busy keeping Hudson from touching the man sitting next to me. I used to get paranoid about my kids not bugging anyone during Mass, but I am relaxing my standards. I figure we are doing all that we can by sitting as far away from the action as possible, and if people are lucky (or unlucky) enough to have to sit by us, well, there's not a whole lot I can do except to smile and apologize.

One highlight of church this morning was Eric needing to help collect the offering. Evan went with him up and down the aisles and deposited the money into the big collection baskets at the back of the church. He was so proud. However, Hudson tried to follow his brother and dad as they walked down the aisle. That led to me chasing him down the aisle. I just love being noticed in the middle of church.

I have to keep reminding myself that it will get better. The kids will learn to sit still. I know this happens because I see lots of kids from my school sitting nicely with their parents. Maybe someday we'll actually earn our way back to the front of the church, proud and quiet! In the meantime, you can catch us in the back, trying desperately to maintain some semblance of peace as those around us shoot us dirty looks. Eric and I are so going to heaven for getting through these Sundays with little people.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Christmas Wrap-Up

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. We spent Christmas Eve in Chowchilla with my family. We spent Christmas Day in Bakersfield with Eric's family. Two long, but fun days.

The four boys on my side of the family before going to Christmas Eve church service.

What would Christmas be without a shot like this?

The Forcey family ready for church. Evan is obsessed with his new hand-me-down boots from his cousins.

The caption on my new mug says, "You can't scare me...I teach!" Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Santa came to our house at 10:30! I was still up and had a great conversation with him!

Evan's big present was Guitar Hero.

Hudson's big present was a rocking horse toy that eventually can hook up to the tv. He went right to it, hopped on, and started bouncing up and down.

Hudson received Animal Crackers from Santa in his stocking. Here he is enjoying them while surrounded by the Christmas mess.

Looking at this picture, you would think this kid is nothing but a ham and a showoff. Heh. He only gets like this when he sees a camera. The rest of the day at Mama and Papa's he spent firmly attached to my body like a clingy little monkey. I got a short break when he attached himself to his father.

The Nevada cousins sang the song, "Please Christmas Don't Be Late." Evan joined in for some "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." I know he looks depressed. It was a long day without a nap by that point.

These two little faces are why it is all worth it!

Friday, December 26, 2008

This is what happens...

when an open bottle of Gatorade is left on the kitchen island and a step stool is left next to the counter. I have got to remember that the littlest Forcey can climb.

The day after slump

It's the day after Christmas. All the presents have been opened, played with, and tossed aside. The husband was supposed to be home, but had to go to work for the morning. I was supposed to be cheerful, but so far it's not happening. Two grumpy kids will do that to a body.

I did get a kick out of Evan this morning when he wandered in from our bedroom after watching 3 hours of cartoons. Yes, I am that good of a mother. Suddenly he announces in the saddest little voice ever, "Who is going to play ball with me? No one wants to play with me."

This statement cracked me up because he was acting as though there were dozens of people lurking inside our house who had all turned down his gracious offer of football tossing. I don't even know if I responded to him.

Dad finally got home and Evan rushed to get dressed (at 12:17 no less) to go outside to play. Two football passes later, and the child was crying. I poked my head out the door and asked Eric just how badly he didn't want to play the game. Evan hurt his finger trying to catch the ball. Oh well. Toughen up kid. Dad is the only one around here who took you up on your offer to play ball.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

At least he knows the Christmas story

We spent Christmas Eve as we always do in Chowchilla with my parents. It was a great day of playing games, eating, and laughing. At 5:15, all 10 of us trooped off to the Christmas Eve service at the little Lutheran Church on the corner. The same Lutheran church that I grew up in and to which I owe my religious background.

The church hasn't changed in 30-plus years. It's still itty bitty. What has changed is the fact that I am now Catholic. It cracked me up when my 4-year-old automatically made the sign of the cross when the pastor said, "Let's pray." Another thing that is a bit different from our super large Catholic church is the interaction with the pastor/priest. Let's just say that unless you are attending the Friday school Mass, there isn't a whole lot of interaction with the priest during Mass. Not so with the Lutheran pastor tonight.

He decided to show us several painted depictions of the Nativity. Then he started asking questions. Well, Evan was certainly not shy about yelling out his answers...loudly. When the pastor asked who was next to Jesus in one particular painting, Evan started shouting, "It's Mary! It's Mary!" Not one to step out of the limelight, the child continued. "They are in the stable. There's the shepherds. There's Joeseph."

At this point, people were chuckling and looking at the kid. But I was starting to panic. I just knew the next thing out of his mouth was going to be, "They are in the stable with the stinky animals." Last year when I was trying to explain what a stable was to the then 3-year-old, I told him it was a place for stinky animals. I guess I was trying to impress upon him that Mary did not have Jesus in a clean hospital, but rather outdoors amongst the livestock. In hindsight, I should not have used the term "stinky animals." For a while that was the only part of the story Evan could recall, much to my embarrassment.

Luckily Evan did not shout out that part of the story. I did have to tell him to pipe down. I think the pastor was getting irked that the child was giving away all the answers. I am glad that he knows the Christmas story. We have progressed beyond the stinky animals to understanding that we are celebrating Jesus' birth.

Merry Christmas to all. I hope your day tomorrow is filled with love, laughter, family, and happiness (and no stinky animals).

P.S. Santa has already arrived at our house. Then the baby woke up. Eric brought him out here to pour him some milk. The 15-month-old looked in awe at the Christmas Tree with all the presents. I told Hudson not to ruin the surprise for his brother. Luckily, the kid can't talk, so I think his brother will still be surprised in the morning.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Joy of Cooking (with children)

Today Evan and I baked bread. This isn't just any old loaf of bread. This is the Hartman Family Annual Christmas Bread that was passed to me from a family friend. I think Mrs. Fore got tired of making loaves for us every Christmas, so she decided to teach me how to make the bread myself. I have unsuccessfully tried to teach my sister how to make it. She's smart. She wants no part in having knowledge of this 6-hour project. She only wants to eat the results...little bread eating shark.

Since no one else is able or willing to make this treat, it is left to me to create every year. I figure if I start young with Evan, maybe by the time he's 8, he can make it all by himself! Hey, I can hope.

What is normally a 6-hour project turned into an 8-hour project. Cooking with a 4-year-old somehow mysteriously warps time. Let's just say it took the child an awfully long time to measure out one cup of sugar. Being the ever patient mom that I am (hey, stop laughing), I stood by and let him feel the success of getting that cup of sugar leveled to the top...even though it took 18 stinkin' minutes.

Measuring sugar one grain at a time.

Mixing eggs and sugar. No "creaming" anything in this recipe thank goodness!

The best part of making this bread is punching it after it rises for 90 minutes.

Now comes the tedious part of making this bread. This was the highlight for Evan. There was flour (or powder as Evan kept calling it) everywhere...counter, hair, floor, and shirt. See all those round blobs? I had to roll these into strands and braid them together. It takes FOREVER and is the reason I only make this bread once a year.

At this point, the strand making portion of the day was a race against time. I had a doctor appointment that I had to get to, and I was in the kitchen in a bathrobe and wet hair. I don't always manage my time well. I also forgot how long tasks take when Evan is helping.

I did manage to get all the strands braided and back in the oven to rise again. However, the actual baking of the bread had to wait a few hours until after I got back home from the doctor. I was worried about leaving the bread, but I didn't have much of a choice. Once I got home, I found that all was well. The bread turned out golden and puffy, just the way it is supposed to look.

The braided beauties. That blob near the left center of the baking sheet is what Evan created. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I let the blob bake with the loaves.

Two days in a row of baking. Those wife/mom instincts are really kicking in now that I'm on vacation!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sometimes I feel like a "real" mom!

There are days when I definitely don't feel like a mom. How can I possibly be a mom? When did that happen? Where was I? It's just sometimes hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I'm married, have two boys, a job, a minivan, a house, and two dogs. I love it, but sometimes I just marvel at it all.

Then I wake up (at 1 a.m. mind you) because there is a 4-year-old tapping on my butt. Will this child ever sleep a full night in his own bed? And if he must come and sleep on our floor, will he ever stop feeling the desperate need to wake me up to share the fact that he has indeed left his bed? Then I remember...oh yes, I am in fact a mom who is in her 30's with gray hair and a grumpy attitude that late at night.

It's just that some days I feel more like a mom than other days. The days when I barely scrape by are the days I don't feel so mom-like. You know those days. Those are the ones where I am sniffing the uniform shirt that the kid wore the day before and analyzing whether the dirt spot is "too" dirty to send him off to school in. Those are the days when he's eating a granola bar in the car on the way to school...if he cooperates and eats anything at all.

Those are the days when the little one wakes me up at 4 a.m. screaming in his crib because he doesn't like the feel of poop running up his back. I can't say that I blame him, but does it have to be a 4 a.m. diaper change? Those are the days when the teeth don't get brushed, the hair looks like I super glued it straight up in the air, and the shoes don't quite make it on the feet.

And then there are days when I get a wild bug and decide to bake homemade muffins from scratch at 8 'o clock at night because apparently I don't have enough to do. Then I sort of feel like maybe I have this mom-thing down! Then I remember this is me we are talking about and I get a good chuckle out of myself. But in any case, I always feel more wifely and motherly when I cook or bake.

I did bake cream cheese blackberry muffins tonight. I got the recipe from a friend at this blog. Caroline makes the most amazing muffins and scones. I know this because I used to be her children's teacher and she made yummy treats for me from time to time. I have a sneaking suspicion that my muffins did not turn out quite like Caroline's. And I certainly did not package the muffins in a cute container with a cute label the way they were always delivered to me in my classroom. That's okay. I tried. I made a large mess in the process.

Here are the muffins before they head to the oven. I don't think they look very pretty. My counters didn't look very pretty either.


As usual, I get smack into the middle of a baking project only to be perplexed. I had to call my mom to clarify what "creaming the butter and sugar" meant precisely. I think the problem is that I do not have a standing mixer. I had to use my little hand held mixer. The butter and sugar did not exactly seem to "cream" to me. I don't bake enough to understand these tricky terms! At least the batter smelled good.

Are they done? Well, I'm not really sure because I used the microwave timer to tell me when they were done. In the middle of baking, Hudson started screaming. I had to console him, hunt down his milk bottle (which mysteriously had levitated to the bathroom counter across the hall), refill his bottle, and shove it in the microwave for 30 seconds because neither of my children drink cold milk. Stupid habit I never should have started with those two. And as soon as I opened the microwave to put in said milk, I lost the "timer" element on my microwave. Ugh. So I guessed how much more time these babies needed to cook. I decided they did not look done, so they went back in for some more heat.

The finished product. I think they look fairly nice. And more importantly, they helped serve the purpose of making me feel more like a mom this Monday evening. I've been a mom for over 4 years now, but it never seems to get any easier. Maybe by year 5 I'll have it down pat! Yeah right.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Singing and Dancing

Some of you may have seen this on Facebook. It was posted under Eric's profile. For those who didn't, here is a video of Evan singing his version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Then for your viewing pleasure, Evan does a pretty spiffy tap dance at the end of the clip!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

A rather strange incident happened to me and the boys earlier this evening. We were planning to eat out as a family and then go look at Christmas lights, but Eric was late getting home. We decided to eat separately, and meet as a family to see lights. I took the boys to Togos for sandwiches and ice cream.

Things were going fine...or as fine as they could when it was just me wrangling a 4-year-old and 1-year-old, a purse, a platter of food, and a high chair. No problem. I'm getting good at stuff like this! A nice older lady was sitting across the aisle from us. She made small talk with Evan. Then things got weird.

A very strange man was seated a bit away from us, but he kept staring at the kids. At first I tried to pay him no attention, but it was getting on my nerves the way he was eyeballing the boys. Call it a mother's instinct, call it overly sensitive, call it whatever you want. I didn't like it.

It got worse when the man seemed to be done with his meal, but instead threw away everything except for his cup and came and sat at the table directly across from us. He was about 2 feet away from me and the kids. Then I could really tell he was staring. He was also mumbling to himself, acting fidgety and just giving me that creepy feeling.

We finished up our meal. Evan was a great little helper and threw everything away. I got myself completely together in order to get the kids to the car and safely inside. I was already worried that the guy might just happen to come out at the same time, and I didn't want to be unprepared.

Luckily nothing happened. However, as I was finished strapping Evan into his carseat, the nice lady who had been eating near us came out to her car which was parked by us. She called out to me and said, "Honey, I don't know about you, but that man was giving me the heebie jeebies!" I just laughed nervously and agreed with her. Then she said, "I wasn't going to leave until I made sure that you had those babies buckled up. I didn't want anything happening to you." I told her thank you several times and we wished each other a Merry Christmas.

I was left with a shaky feeling knowing that I wasn't the only one who thought something was a bit "off." But I also felt a great warmth and thankfulness for this complete stranger who spent a bit of extra time during her evening to make sure my kids and I were safe. It really is a moment of clarity when you realize that there are some amazing people in the world. Someday I hope I can reassure someone the way that woman reassured me tonight.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Milestone

We have reached yet another milestone. Hudson is ready for a booster seat, and Evan has switched to sitting in a regular dining room chair. I am so happy for this milestone because the high chair takes up an enormous amount of space in our fairly small eating area off the kitchen. Yippee!

Off to be donated. Please ignore my shirt on the floor. It must have fallen out of the laundry basket on the way to the washer. Yeah, that's it! That's what must have happened!

I told you this child was a little ham! All I said was, "Smile!" He's also trying to feed himself. Dad had to help out after a while.

I can't help it. I am excited about these milestones. Every once in a while I get a bit sad about the baby years passing by, but by and large I am more excited about the kids getting bigger.

One item I am NOT ready for Hudson to outgrow just yet is his crib. That's not because I don't want to see it leave because then my baby isn't a baby. Nope. That's not it at all. I still want him in the crib because it contains him! There are times we still need containment!

Monday, December 15, 2008

We broke the cardinal rule of parenting

We broke the cardinal rule of parenting on Saturday night. All parents know that their kids are going to get sick. It's inevitable. And we also know that we ourselves are going to get sick. However, the rule is that both parents are NOT allowed to get sick at the same time! I don't make these things's a real rule!

On Saturday night at about 11 p.m, both Eric and I started feeling sick to our stomachs. Thus began 24 hours of throwing up and other stuff. I don't like to think about the other stuff. It's gross. The word starts with a "D," and I don't like to write it or think about it, much less have it.

Anyhow, we were both terribly sick. I called my parents at 7:30 in the morning. They came to town to watch the boys for the day. Eric and I locked ourselves in our bedroom and slept until late afternoon. I woke up just in time for Evan to start throwing up. He's been a pretty sick little boy along with his mom and dad.

There's nothing worse than having a sick child while being sick yourself. My mom kept telling me someday I'd laugh about this. Hmmm. That someday is going to be pretty far off before I start laughing. I'm too tired to laugh.

We are on the mend today having taken a day off work. We wanted to send Hudson to daycare so the rest of us could sleep, but he wasn't looking too great himself. He isn't throwing up, but his diapers aren't pretty. I am hoping we are all up to speed by tomorrow.

Thank goodness for my parents helping us out yesterday. I do feel terrible that they are both sick now. Apparently this stomach virus is really contagious. My mom keeps telling me it's okay, but I still feel badly for messing up their Sunday and keeping my mom from two of her Christmas parties. Sorry Mom!

I made Evan a little bed on the kitchen floor after he threw up on the family room carpet. Much easier to clean up puke from a hard-surface floor.

Sick little boy.

Hudson had to spend time in the pack-n-play while we dealt with Evan.

My dad under a blanket. He was starting to get sick, but we didn't know it at the time.

My mom. The saint. Thank you for helping yesterday! I am sorry you are sick and had to stay home today.

I hope Eric and I never ever ever break the cardinal rule again. Being sick at the same time is miserable while trying to take care of kids. Besides, when you are sick at the same time, it's hard to get sympathy from one another! When I said, "My back hurts," he said, "Mine too." Not the sympathy I was looking for! If we are ever going to do this again, it better be when the boys are able to take care of themselves for 24 hours.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


A friend tagged me on a blogger game. The idea was to post the fourth photo in the fourth folder on your computer and explain the picture. Here's what I found:

This is a picture of Evan playing football with his dad in the side yard this past summer. Eric has him running passes. It's funny to watch. The picture is a bit blurry, but it is the fourth pic of the fourth folder, and I didn't want to cheat.

I'm not going to tag anyone else, because I think all my friends have already been tagged. It was fun to play!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is what happens when we let the chicken feed himself.

And this is what happens when I laugh at the chicken after he feeds himself and refuse to let him out of his high chair. He wasn't laughing.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I misplaced my brain

Yes, you read that right. Yesterday I misplaced my brain. That's the only explanation as to why I would dare to venture out into the madness by myself with two small children. I guess I figured I am a competent and able person. No big deal. I just wanted to pick up a few presents for Eric from the boys. Eric wasn't feeling well, so even better for us to leave for a bit and give him quiet time to rest. And then it all fell apart.

We made it to the mall. I strapped Hudson into the little umbrella stroller. Mistake #1. I should have had the large, heavy-duty stroller which would contain the small child in a sturdier fashion. I then let Evan push said stroller. Mistake #2. What, am I crazy? It's Christmas time and there are only about 42 million people roaming around the mall. Evan's chipper mood lasted all of 86 seconds. Hudson's mood went sour shortly thereafter. Evan wanted to go the candy store. Hudson wanted to get out of his stroller.

Normally I wouldn't let Hudson out, because as any mom knows, the minute you let them out, it is next to impossible to get them back in. But the child was about to cut off the blood circulation to his lower half by leaning so far out of the stroller. Not to mention the fact that his brother hanging out the stroller did nothing to slow Evan down or keep from crashing his brother's body into every aisle display in sight.

Against my better judgment, I let Hudson out. Mistake #3. Then Evan wanted to ride. Um okay. Mistake #4. I guess I was lying to myself in believing that Hudson might actually hold my hand and walk calmly beside me as I pushed his 4-year-old brother through the sardine-packed mall. Like I said...brain misplaced. I ended up carrying the 1-year-old while pushing the 4-year-old with one hand. Not so easy to do while also trying to balance a purse and packages bought at the store.

We did our shopping at one department store. I then made it about 14 steps into the mall before turning around and high tailing it right out of there. I guess I found my brain sitting under a poinsettia plant! I was smart enough not to let Evan get a glimpse of Santa and then beg to see him. Yeah right. The line was a bit long. I wasn't going to put myself through that torture without involving my husband in the fun!

We managed to make it home in one piece. Barely. I am pretty sure I am thinking clearly again. At least clearly enough to never do THAT again.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And now for the inside

Now I'll share the work I did on the inside of the house.

I cross stitched this stocking 15 years ago. See, I have a couple of talents!

Here is the Christmas tree. Yes, I know it is crooked. That is what happens when the 4-year-old topples the whole thing over when it is half decorated. Eric managed to get it back upright, and I held onto it while he crawled under the tree to screw the base into the holder. This is the result. It just isn't going to get any better this year.

The fireplace. I bought the solid red and green stockings yesterday for the boys. I let Evan choose which one he wanted. He chose the red one, so the green belongs to my Chicken boy.

The formal living room with the piano.

Decorations are pretty much done. I do enjoy the house at this time of year. The only problem this year is having to keep Hudson from touching everything. I purposely put Christmas toys he can play with lined up in front of the fireplace. Does he want to play with those toys? No, he wants nothing to do with those toys. Sigh. The Christmas tree is much more appealing to him. Maybe next year will be easier.

Deck the Halls

We woke up Saturday morning to a gray and gloomy day. That was okay though. After breakfast, Evan and Eric headed outside to put up lights and lawn decorations. Eric worked hard. Evan had his own special way of helping!

First they had to drag all the boxes and containers down from the rafters of the garage.

Eric got the large snowglobe and Santa in place. While all this was going on, Hudson was taking a four hour nap, and I was very content watching White Christmas, blogging, and running in and out to take photos! What a wonderful day it was for me!

Evan has his own way of's called keeping out of Dad's way.

Our beloved Frosty is dead. I think this is the first blow-up decoration we bought when we started going big on the decorations outside. Goodbye dear Frosty. You served us well.

Here's Evan again doing his part by "helping." I guess sitting on the wreath box is helping in his mind.

At this particular point of the morning, Eric realized that he had no strands of Christmas lights left from last year. We threw them all out last year because there were too many sets not working. He and Evan headed into the craziness known as the Christmas Shopping Season. Lowes had no lights. Then they went to K-Mart. They bought lights, and Evan got a new set of gloves to keep his little hands warm. In years past, trying to put gloves on this kid was a pain in the rear. He couldn't get the right fingers into the right spots. This year he can manage it all on his own.

Up on the roof stringing lights. This part scares me. I don't like these photos. One thing Eric always does is get up and there and start exclaiming over this and that. I start to get curious about all the stuff he sees. Sometimes that curiosity gets the best of me and I climb up on the roof. Then I get angry at myself because I know better. I'm not afraid of heights, but I am afraid to climb back down. I vowed never to get myself in that predicament again. I am proud to say I did not give in to the curiosity this year.

As long as Eric was up on the roof, he figured he'd scoot over to the side of the house to fix the Dish TV receiver. We can't ever get Channel 30 in HD, so he wanted to adjust that. My job was to stand just inside the door and flip through channels on the tv to see if we were getting reception. Lots of fun to be had yelling results out the door up to the roof.

I just thought this picture was funny because it's all I saw as I yelled out tv reception results to Eric up on the roof.

From looking at this picture, you'd think we live on a ranch somewhere. Empty field across the street, not many houses in sight, horses passing by on the irrigation canal. That's why Evan scaled the chain link fence like a little monkey. He wanted to see the horses. We pretty much live on the edge of the town limits, but are still very much located in the city. By the way, the long gray building on the left is the mini storage that is going in on that empty field. At least the neighbors won't be noisy!

Evan gets to go up on the roof for the very first time. He loved it!

Then Hudson woke up and joined the party. He's looking up at the roof trying to figure out what his daddy is doing up there!

I just can't get enough of this face!

As the day wore down, we headed inside to finish watching a football game (Hudson says "Touchdown!") and get ready to go to the downtown electrical Christmas parade. It's our tradition. I took the boys by myself last year because Eric was as sick as a dog. Last year Hudson rode on my body in a Snuggli. This year he road on my body in a backpack. Not too much has changed. This year, however, I did remember to bring blankets. Last year I was suffering from amnesia after giving birth two months prior!

The completed look at night. Looks good boys!