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Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We headed to McKinney, Texas for Thanksgiving this year.  My dad's family has met there ever since I can remember, and it's an awesome time. (It has to be--we all keep coming back!) Now that we all have children and grandchildren, there are quite a few of us--46 were there this year (We had 4 people who were missing?? Maybe??)!  We just keep breeding and breeding! :) We ate on the driveway this year.  It's happened before--usually due to warm, nice Dallas weather.  This year it was a necessity.  You'll notice we all had jackets on. It was suppose to be 70.  NOT! The weatherman missed it.  Thank you Uncle John and Aunt Patty for a blessed holiday once again! Annsley hasn't stopped talking about how much fun she had!
Having so much fun in the car I could spit!

Solving the world's problems...

A portion of our feast!

A portion of our crowd...

Playing football or some resemblance of it on the front lawn.

Waiting for fire!  The rain put a slight delay in the makings of hot dogs!

Andrei roasting a marshmellow with his Aunt Patty.  And yes, he enjoyed the smores.  (Annsley told me she had 6 of them!)

I never would have thought a hammock could be so captivating!

Fun times with cousins in the "play room!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

100 Things

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I though I'd share something I felt the Holy Spirit has been working with me on. 

Several months ago the Holy Spirit was gently guiding me into an attitude adjustment.  I had gotten into a habit of being cynical; ungratefulness was creeping in; Poor Pitiful Me Syndrome was rearing its ugly head.  I felt compelled one morning to begin listing 100 things I was thankful for.  I thought, "OK Lord. This will be a piece of cake.  Watch my dust! (or ink...) Paul writing most of the New Testament has nothing on me...

And so I began my list.  I wrote a out a nice, concise title for my assignment: 100 Things I Am Thankful For and I began to write. The first 10 things were no brainers.  It was composed of the "knee-jerk" responses one thinks about during these assignments.  God, my children, my husband, my family, living in America, etc. By number 30, I was tired.  My brain was tired.  Yeah, I live in the greatest country in the world, I'm healthy, I'm not alone and I'm struggling.  Gee God...You might have a point.  Maybe I do need an attitude adjustment... (sigh)

Day 2:  I grab my pen with renewed vigor.  I will finish my task today.  If you give me more than 10 minutes to finish, you'll have missed my diligence.  I'm really wanting to finish up reading Romans today, so I have great motivation.  I finally quit at 75.  OK God, You've made Your point.  My attitude sucks these days. 

Day 3:  I finally finish my list. I read it daily--well, maybe not daily, but quite frequently.  It does wonders for my attitude. I am blessed beyond measure.  I start sucking my thumb some mornings, and after reviewing my list, I take my thumb out, take a big breath, get a firm grip on my underwear, and pull up my big girl panties.  I am blessed.  I am blessed...

A few of the not so cookie cutter thankful things on my list...
**having  horses to ride growing up
**my girls can swim
**smell of chocolate chip cookies
**clean underwear every morning
**Post It notes
**asphalt on my driveway
**I am made righteous through Jesus Christ
**my pregnancies
**my children's great sleep  habits

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Cyber World!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stop the Presses!

I made a BIG, HUGE accomplishment yesterday.....drum roll please...............................

Yes, I, Current Queen of the Toilet Paper, managed to get all my washing, ironing, AND housecleaning completed in one day!! It's the first time since we brought home Andrei!  It was nearly 9:00 last night when it was all finished, but I finished it!

I've tried the method of just concentrating on one room a day, but it doesn't work for me.  It's kinda like when you begin a remodeling project.  Painting the kitchen leads to dingy looking tile.  That leads to new tile.  New tile shows how scraggly the cabinets look, so that lead to new cabinets. New cabinets show just how nasty your kitchen faucet is, so that leads to a new faucet.  New faucet = new sink.  And on, and on, and on. 

Same with house cleaning.  A clean child's room shows just how dirty the other ones are.  Then you notice dust all over the bookcases in the living room.  And then you notice the fingerprints all over the sliding glass door, and so forth.  It just easier to get it all done at once.  Up until yesterday I usually managed everything but the floors, and I would get that finished the next day.  Today I'm just getting to enjoy my already clean house this morning.  I'm breathing easier today.  My secret?  Andrei took a really, really long nap yesterday and the girls were quite cooperative yesterday about cleaning up the toys off the floor. Combined with my hypersensitivity about getting everything finished, I met with success! Whoo Hoo! (And maybe because the girls left yesterday afternoon to spend the night with their Mimi could have a HUGE factor in the matter...) 
Wow, such stimulating news around here....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fiona and Phylis

Annsley comes out of her room the other afternoon, sits on the couch beside me, and says, "Mom, I have something I need to tell you."  She isn't looking me in the eye, so I'm thinking this must be a serious matter.  We've had a few bathroom accidents (no relation to the tp rations by the way), so I ask, "Annsley, did you have an accident in the bathroom?"

She frowns and says no--and rather indignately I might add.  "So what is it?" 

She smiles, looks away shyly, and says, "I don't want to tell you."

I'm still thinking about bodily fluids, so I press farther, "Did you get some clean underwear on?"

"I didn't have an accident, Mom!"

"OK, then what is it?"

"I don't want to tell you."

Now Doug is getting in on the action.  "Annsley, you need to tell us if you had an accident."

"I didn't!"

Doug and I together with frustration, "Then TELL US what it is you want to talk to us about!"

Annsley takes a deep breath and says, "I want to change my name to Fiona."

Fiona???? "Why?"  I ask.

"Because I hate Annsley.  I love Fiona!" and she jumps off the couch and runs to her bedroom.

I have NO IDEA where a name like Fiona came from in her little world.  Kennedi has been sitting on Andrei's Lightening McQueen car listening to this conversation. After her sister's departure into their room--which  I'm guessing to mull over the finer points of Fiona and practice rolling F-I-O-N-A off her tongue, Kennedi pipes up.

"Mom, I want to change my name to Phylis."

Surprise, surprise. "And why Kennedi?"

"Because I hate Kennedi.  I love Phylis!!" And she zooms off on Lightening McQueen singing "I hate Kennedi.  I love Phylis!"  Meanwhile Andrei is screaming and running after Kennedi because she is touching his things--yet again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

TP Rations

(You know it's been a slow week when all you have to blog about it this:)

We're on rations around here...toilet paper...I'm tired of buying it...not tired of using it--big difference.  It's the children--and I don't mean Doug or Andrei.  It's the little women of our household.  I noticed a few months ago that we seemed to be going through a lot of the paper.  I noticed that Annsley sure was having an abundance of empty toilet paper rolls for her arts and crafts projects.  It was always in the back of my mind when I put on a new roll, but I could never quite remember when the last time I replaced it, so I kinda thought it was just me.  Well, it's not. 

I finally caught them.  I had just bought another new package, and put one on the roller at approximately 4:30 PM Thursday.  Noon on Friday the roll was empty. 

And so we began our 3 steps to Wise Stewards of the Toilet Paper Training training.  I reinstituted the 5 square rule.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I told them to count out five squares and that's it.  It's not "let's wad up the toilet paper the size of a pom pom to wipe the delicate parts of our body."  Kennedi told me she didn't know how to count 5 squares.  Yeah, right. 

Notice I said reinstituted.  When Annsley was two, she became pretty self sufficient with the potty training and preferred to be left to her own vices in the bathroom. Literally, she would hold her hand straight out from her little body as she sat on the toilet.  "Go Mom.  I'm fine!"  I figured if she was going to be left to wipe herself at two, she needed a little direction with the use of toilet paper.  In a quandary about how to show a toddler how much toilet paper is "enough", I decided to go with a quantitative measure:  ie. 5 squares.  And should my little rule follower follow you into the bathroom and you choose to use 6 squares instead of 5, she would let you know about your excess use! Trust me and the grandmas on that one! LOL 

Anyway, Kennedi was introduced to the 5 square rule as well, but I never really followed up on it.  Yes, I became lax in my mommy skills.  And it really didn't become an issue until a few months ago when I noticed that my children were becoming wasteful with several items around the house.  It could be pouring half a bottle of shampoo into the bath tub to make a bubble bath...or dumping the last of the hand soap in order to get to use the new stuff that smelled differently...or purposely getting muddy in the late afternoon before church in order to wear new clothes that evening...and so on...

So, Friday afternoon I showed them both how to count out the toilet paper lest there be any miscommunication.  Problem solved.  Or so I thought.  Sunday I happened to be in the bathroom while Annsley was in there doing her thing.  I watched her systematically count out her squares, making an ever so slight tear at each square.  "That's my girl!"  I thought.  Then, I watched in horror as she did it 4 more times.  (And this was not something that required repeated wipings....)  Sunday evening I found about half a roll of toilet paper in the trash can--compliments of Kennedi.  When I asked her about it, she said that she had counted out too much toilet paper, and threw the rest away. 

OK, so it wasn't going very well.  I know what you're thinking...this story can't get any better...Out of my frustrations we are now on toilet paper check out.  I am in charge of the toilet paper.  All of it.  Queen of the TP.  If you need to go to the bathroom, come get your toilet paper before you go.  Surely, this will get their little attentions.  Quite frankly, it was a lot of work for me yesterday as I finally had to put a roll in every room so I could remember where they were.  Last night I asked Annsley how she liked having to ask to get the toilet paper.  (I'm thinking that she thinks this is way below her standards.) In a much too chipper voice she says, "It's OK Mom!"  Kennedi, on the other hand, has kept repeating, "Mom, I'm so sorry I wasted so much toilet paper!"  I have toyed with the idea if this doesn't work, then I can always just give them each a roll all to herself, and when it's gone it's gone...but then what do I do?  That would be a bit self defeating.  Maybe  a sticker chart for good stewardship...

The fact that I just wrote an entire post about the wiles of our toilet paper saga makes me think I'm off my rocker trying to teach my kids to be good stewards of the all important toilet paper.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You Veterans!

I am so honored and blessed to live in this incredible country thanks to all that you do and have done!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Applesauce and Macaroni

What do macaroni and applesauce have to do with one another? Absolutely nothing. 

Yesterday afternoon we made homemade applesauce and today we had a bit of a macaroni incident.

The applesauce story:
Until last year, I had never made applesauce.  I have always thought applesauce was OK...never craved it and would have never put it on my top ten things to have if I ever get stranded on a deserted island.  Annsley read a book last year about apple picking and then the family made applesauce when they got home.  There was a recipe in the back of the book.  My oldest child loves to cook.  So we had to make it.  Let me just's a little bit of heaven!  Especially warm--right out of the pot.  Liquid apple pie.  YUM!

So, yesterday we made it for the third time in my life.  In the words of Fancy Nancy, "Oooh La La!"  Delicious once again!  Now, if I were into cooking and giving you a drive by of my skills, I'd have pictures to guide you along.  I am not, so I don't have.  Here is the super simple recipe if you're up for giving it a try.  I don't know how much the recipe makes--a big ole pot--maybe something like 8-10 cups???

9 apples--at least 3 different varieties
     (peeled, cored, cut into 1/2" pieces)
10 oz. apple juice
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 C. brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

Add everything into a large pot except ground cinnamon and nutmeg.  Bring to a boil.  Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until apples are tender.  Remove cinnamon sticks.  Add ground cinnamon and nutmeg.  Use a potato masher to mash until desired consistency. 

What I've learned...
**why use 3 different varieties?? I don't know.  That's what Grandma did in the book.  Annsley is a stickler for the rules, so we had to. Grandma said it made it the most flavorful.
**Red Delicious apples are one of the most difficult to peel.  Macintosh are the easiest.  I'd go heavy on the macs.
**I've been out of apple juice and used water instead.  Just a good.  Maybe not as sweet, but you'd never miss the juice.
**Twice I've accidentally added the ground cinnamon to the boiling mixture.  It didn't result in a do-over either time.
**I''m thinking that a scoop of vanilla ice-cream with the warm sauce would result in indescribable bliss.

The macaroni story:
Today, Kennedi left the house with one piece of macaroni and returned home with one less piece of macaroni.  About 12:25PM while I'm fixing lunch--macaroni and cheese no doubt--she starts crying and says, "Mommy, I have macaroni up my nose!"  She had asked for a few dried pieces to munch on beforehand.

What??? I thought this was reserved for 3 year olds!  "Kennedi, you're kidding!  How did it get up there?" (Like I don't know!!!)

Kennedi shrugs, and says, "I don't know.  It was just right here Mommy (pointing to her nostril opening) and then it just went up!"  (You have to watch those pesky macaronis.  They have a mind all of their own.  Didn't you know that???)

So, I have her blow.  Nothing.  I look up her nose.  Nothing.  She tells me she can feel it.  Oh brother.  I take her to the bathroom and have her lie down.  I tell Annsley to watch Andrei.  With the flashlight I can see a bit of it.  I try with the tweezers while holding the flashlight in my mouth. And try.  And try. We have a mighty fine M*A*S*H unit going on here. My tweezers touch but I can't get it.  She sneezes. "DON'T SUCK UP YOUR SNOT!"  I scream.  Now I can't see the vermin at all, but I know it's still there.

Our pediatrician's office is closed until tomorrow.  The pediatrician's office who is on call is closed for lunch until 1:30.  It's 12:30.  So, I load up the crew and we all head to the urgent care clinic.  Doug is out of town, so we have to make it a family affair.  One hour later we finally get called back. Annsley is way past boredeom.  Andrei is getting high from no sleep.  And Kennedi needs to be duct taped to a chair by now. I'm guessing Kennedi did enough somersaults and shimmy shakes on the leather sofa at the clinic all while chasing Andrei who made the rounds in waiting room that she loosen up her macaroni.  The nurse had her blow and out it came.  "Do you want to still see the doctor?" the nurse asks.  No, thank you. That will be all.  $40 later and minus our elbow pasta, we leave.  Nobody has had naps today.  They are all on forced outside play right now.  I'm enjoying my quiet...just me and my keyboard...
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