Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Family Bathtime

So, we've been in Maryland for the past week for a very long overdue family reunion, and what picture do I get? Cousin bathtime...

Thanks Henry for being modest!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ten Down...An Eternity To Go

Yes, it's true. Rick and I have been married for ten years today. We're even spending this event the same way it started...in Maryland with my family. Granted, this is not how we dreamed our ten year party would turn out, it just kinda happened that way. Anyway, during these past ten years we've...
1. Had three beautiful children - Richard Aren, Lily Katharine, and Tatiana Claire.

2. Watched one of those children be released from a life full of pain and hardship, to the loving arms of her Father in Heaven.

3. Watched another child be released from that same pain and hardship because of a bone marrow transplant.

4. Watched a third child come into this world as healthy and happy as a child should be.

5. Stood by eachother as Rick completed a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, while working full time.

6. Survived living with Rick's parents.

7. Survived living with my parents.

8. Never declared bankruptcy...we've come close, but not yet!

9. Finally spent more time together than apart...thanks Rick for getting out of the Guard!

10. Continued to love eachother despite everything that has been thrown at us.

I love you Rick, and everything we've done together has made me happier than I thought possible...now don't screw it up.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who Needs Nail Polish?

Yesterday after all the kids had gone home but before the mess had been picked up, this is what we found. If you can't figure it out, this is Tatiana using a birthday candle, dipping it in frosting, then painting her toes with it. At least she's resourceful.

Happy Birthday Aren!

Yesterday we celebrated Aren's ninth birthday...can you believe it! I was going to post the typical birth birthday to present birthday pics, but since we already went through the "I can't believe my baby made it this far" in October because of his transplant, I'll spare you all again. Instead, here's way too many pictures of kids you really don't care about.

Stereotypical balloon race

Opening presents...lots of Bakugan

Blowing out the candles...on the good cupcakes

Peace at last...watching Kung Fu Panda and waiting for the pick-up

Cupcake Chaos

Yesterday was a really busy day...Breakfast with Santa, Aren's birthday party, haircuts, blah blah blah. With so much going on, I asked Rick if he could make the cupcakes for Aren's party. About halfway through my haircut I get a text from Rick that says, "CALL ME!!" I was pretty sure he only wanted me to pick up something at the store so when I called back he said, "Um, buy more cupcake mix. Mine didn't turn out." It was only two hours before the party started and there was no way now I was going to make cupcakes so I just picked some up at the store and came home.

So, wanna see what happens when Rick is in charge of cupcakes and when I am in charge of cupcakes?

Here's Rick

Here's me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Ms. Austen!

Happy Birthday Jane! Because of you, I have this...

My world was forever changed the day I found Mr Darcy.
All my gratitude to you.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I've decided something over the past few days. It took a few days to come to this conclusion because I like to mull things around in my head, talk them over with Rick and my sisters before deciding how I feel. So here is what I've decided.

I don't care. I have no opinions.

I don't care about politics. I don't care if someone thinks Obama will keep our country from the depths of despair or if he is, as my sister-in-law says, "Obama-geddon". I don't care where my tax dollars go as long as they go somewhere. I have absolutely no clue about politics and quite frankly, I don't want to. I see how involved Rick gets and how upset he can be that he can't share his opinions without someone thinking he's a left-winged, tree hugging, military hating, tolerant (which is now a bad thing), barely hanging on to his temple recommend whack job. I listen to my father-in-law and others talk about people such as Sean Hannity along with Bill O'Reily as if they were some kind of conduit of righteousness being used to usher in the second coming of our Lord and I just don't see it.

It's not that I don't care about anything, I just don't care about being informed and having an opinion. I have friends that are so worried about the state of the world today I wonder how they even function...constantly wondering if the school their children attends is conversative or liberal enough, if they have enough guns to kill the intruders that will certainly be trying to steal their food storage now that the world is coming to an end. I just can't do it.

I worried for two years whether my children would live or die, planned Lily's funeral before we even knew she would die, wondered what I would do with Aren's game cube if he didn't come home from the hospital. I missed so much by what if-ing and wondering and I refuse to do it anymore. Let the world go where it may. Let politics take it's course. It will go and do it's thing whether I watch the evening news or not. For now I'm just going to watch Aren get off that bus and run to me while holding up his hand in the I love you sign and give him a hug. I'm going to wach Tatiana grow up and learn to say thanks and please. I'm going to prepare lessons for 18 month old children that would rather blow bubbles than listen to me. I'm going to hang out with Rick and finish watching the last season of Angel and decide together which show we should waste our time on next.

I'm just going to be. And that's ok.

The Tao of Pooh

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast? said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
"It's the same thing," he said.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Parade of Santas

Every year at the main park here in town, there is a big display of wooden cut out Santa Claus' from around the world and through the ages. It's kind of fun to see how he has developed and what he represents. Here are some of the highlights...

St Nicholas brought apples to the poor people...boo! Who wants an apple for Christmas?

Here's traditional Santa, complete with annoyed Tatiana.

Of course the kids saw the slide and we had to make a detour so they could play. I mean, looking at Santas isn't as fun as you'd think apparently.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Treats - Part 2

These are Hearty Trail Mix Cookies in a jar. These make great holiday gifts...yes, HOLIDAY because you are not limited to just gifts for Christmas. Change the M&Ms colors and you can give this gift for Valentine's Day, Halloween, or even 4th of July. So without further ado...

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup quick oats
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 M&Ms

1. In a 1-quart jar, pack brown sugar in bottom and make as level as possible. Pour sugar over and level.
2. Pour oats over sugar and level.
3. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Gently spoon flour mixture over oats. Level carefully, then tap down.
4. Sprinkle raisins over flour mixture, level and smotth the edges to make them even. Sprinkle coconut over raisins and press down.
5. Sprinkle candies on top. Press down and place lid on jar.

Attach the following directions to the jar with rafia if you're really crafty or with some duct tape if you're Rick.

Hearty Trail Mix Cookies
1 egg
6 tablespoons butter; softened

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Empty contents of jar into large mixing bowl. Add 1 egg and 6 tablespoons softened butter or margarine.
*Beat on low speed or by hand to blend, then drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
*Remove from oven and let cookies cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to cooling rack. (Makes about 3 dozen.)

Happy Saturnalia!

Friday, December 12, 2008

For Rilz! It's Moprah!

My e-bff TAMNers is having a way super cool e-party and giving away lots of way super cool goodees!!! Go find her and she can be you're e-bff to...but not as good as mine...for rilz.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

18 Months and Yummy Cake

Tatiana has made it to 18 months and contrary to popular belief, Rick and I CAN make kids that aren't jacked up! She's about as healthy as they come...23 pounds, 31 inches, and up to date on immunizations! Did you know when kids get colds they don't always lead to pneumonia and ear infections? Did you know that not all children have to have blood transfusions on a regular basis, or infusions to keep them alive? Really! I'm serious! It's true!

So, apparently Pillsbury makes a mean cinnamon loaf. Here are some pics of Tatiana getting every last crumb she can...yes, I took pictures instead of telling her it's disgusting to lick the floor.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Treats

I love making/eating treats...shocking, I know. I found this recipe on-line the other day and thought it was too much fun to keep it to myself. To help out the cooking dummies out there, I've documented each step with a picture. I believe these things are called Chocolate Buttons. Enjoy!

Step 1: Ingredients
You'll need a bag of pretzels (preferably the circle kind, but if you can't find those the regular twisty ones will do), any variety Hershey Kiss, M&Ms, and parchment paper (no! not wax paper).

Step 2: The pretzels
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper then add the pretzels. Make sure they don't overlap and they are all on the paper and not touching the cookie sheet.

Step 3: Chocolate
Unwrap the Hershey Kisses and put one Kiss on top of each pretzel.

Step 4: Baking
Put in a 200 degree oven for 5-10 minutes or until chocolate is melted (the Kisses will still have their form).

Step 5: More chocolate
Take M&Ms and place in the center of the Hershey Kiss and press down so the chocolate flattens out a little and covers the center of the pretzel. Leave on parchment paper until completely cooled.

Not bad, eh?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Give Up

Well, I guess it's better than his last school picture.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Holidays!

We all know I'm a blog hopper. I jump from one blog to another reading people's lives and thoughts. I roll my eyes, I laugh out loud, I even forward stuff to Rick and some of my other cyber friends so they can join in on the fun. During this past week I've noticed a pattern and it's driving me crazy...almost as much as e-mail forwards.

Quit being offended by the use of Happy Holidays!

Are you people serious? I can't even begin to describe how annoyed I get when I hear about Christmas being under attack because people don't wish you a Merry Christmas when you buy your groceries at the store or because there's a menorah next to the nativity at city hall. Last time I checked there is more than one holiday during this time of year. Ever heard of Hanukkah? Kwanzaa? New Years Day ring a bell? Happy Holidays is an all encompassing term used to lump everything into one, not to take away your right, or mine, to celebrate the birth of your/my Savior. And I promise if you say it or hear it, it won't make you any less of a Christian or any more of a socialist.

Taking offense when offense is not intended isn't the most Christlike thing. I don't think baby Jesus, or the grown up one for that matter, would approve of the lack of brotherly love.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dear Ol' Dad

Aren loves Rick. Everything about Rick intrigues him and he wants to be just like his dad in every way. If Rick uses a word that Aren is unfamiliar with, the word must be defined and it is immediately incorporated into Aren's vocabulary. Most recently Aren has added the word "literally" to his list of words. When Rick says, "Aren, go jump in the car," it is followed up by Aren saying, "Do you mean literally?"

Rick can be a pretty sarcastic person and Aren has been picking up on that and trying to use it appropriately. He'll even go so far as to say, "Dad, do you think that was sarcastic enough?" Rick honestly has a tear in his eye when Aren is able to make a comment that is not only filled with correct vocabulary usage, but can also be used as a back handed remark.

There is one thing however that Aren wants nothing to do with when it comes to Rick. This morning Rick made eggs for everyone and Aren grabbed his plate and sat down without getting a fork. Rick, who had already been eating, gave Aren his fork and went to get another one. I looked at Aren and said, "Ew! Now you have daddy germs." Aren just grinned and said, "Fine by me! I like dad." It would have been perfect if it had stopped there, but Rick had to open his mouth and say, "Now you have my germs and my genes. Hope you like hairy backs!"

Aren's face went blank, he dropped his fork, spit out his eggs, and went and found a different fork to use. Seems that Aren wants to be just like his dad...but the hairless version.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pockets are for Sissys...Take 2

Come on. Who needs pockets when you've got a perfectly good diaper, ya know?