Monday, December 31, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes--December

Happy New Year! Andrew's back is out again, so while I have a pity party for myself about missing out on our friends' party, enjoy these blurbs and hopefully you'll get a chuckle or two.

12/3--Tonight at the dinner table, Brandon announced that he has written two songs. I had no idea. They are titled, "You're In the Traffic of America" and "Yo, Dude! You're Part of My Galaxy!" Sound like future hits to me.

Musician AND songwriter
(Love that concentrating face!)

12/4--Andrew read the scriptures with Whit tonight and they were talking about how Jesus wants us to help others. Whit's comment, "Yes, He wants us to help if someone's house is on fire...or they're stuck in a cage." You know, the types of things we're always helping people out with.

12/12--Now Whitney has started rewriting well-known songs with her own lyrics. (I guess she couldn't let Brandon be the only songwriter in the family.)
*She is convinced that the classic children's song, "The Farmer in the Dell" ACTUALLY says, "The Farmer and the GIRL." Sounds pretty scandalous to me.

*At the end of Rudolph, he doesn't go down in history. He'll "go down and kiss DI-ary."

*And at the end of "Up on the Housetop," it's not down through the chimney with GOOD St. Nick. Nope. It's "down through the chimney I bit Saint Nick." Uh oh. Not the smoothest way to make it on Santa's good list.

*This one sounds kind of sacrilegious....I wish she wouldn't have been walking around the store singing it at the top of her lungs. In the song "Angels We Have Heard on High," there is the beautiful Gloria in the chorus followed by the words "in excelsis Deo." Nope. Whit's version says, "Jesus shelf is de-ad." Oh my gosh. Again, tried to get it her sing the right words. Why do they have to be in Latin? She decided my words were gibberish and hers were correct.

12/14--We had a Christmas party at church tonight and Santa was there. Both kids took a turn telling Santa their deepest desires for Christmas. B wished for a Nintendo Wii. Thankfully, we had a witty Santa who replied, "I think all of our wii-eaters destroyed the wii's, but I'll see what I can do..." W's only wish was for a unicorn. Are you kidding me? Alas, both children are going to wake up very disappointed on Christmas morning.

"When I'm right, I'm right."

12/17--I have to give a quick sidenote before the real story here. In her prayers right now, Whitney doesn't ask for anything. They are all prayers of gratitude. Thank thee for this and that and this and that. Amen.

Ok, with that in mind...When she and I down for lunch today, there was a squirrel out on one of our trees. It was in a position as if it had been climbing down the trunk, but it was just stuck in that position. It stayed there the whole time we were eating lunch and I was asking Whit, "Do you think that squirrel is dead?" What a curious place to die. We debated about whether or not it was actually just sleeping and decided to go investigate after W's nap. (But when she woke up, we actually forgot to go outside and check it out.) Well, she said the blessing on dinner and included, "Thank thee that the squirrel on our tree isn't dead. Thank thee that it is just sleeping." Andrew and I can usually keep our composure during her prayers, but we both lost it, busting up laughing, which of course made B laugh...and W laugh. FYI, when we woke up the next morning, the squirrel was gone, so I'm thinking he really WAS alive....or a scavenger found him.

12/19--So I've shared stories over and over about how self-confident both of my kids are, right? Well, this morning after Whitney got dressed in a t-shirt and denim skirt with leggings, she did a little twirl and said, "I am SO pretty." Brandon was standing nearby and said, "Whitney, not everyone things you're pretty....but I do." How's that for a little stab in the back followed by a spoonful of sugar?

"I think you're pretty....even if no one else does."

12/20--Shelley watched my kids today while I went visiting teaching. As usual, they were a good source of entertainment for her. Here are a couple of the gems they shared.

Shelley was telling Whitney how she's looking so big, like she has grown lately. Then she said, "Brandon, you look pretty much the same." He replied, "I grew six inches this year! I grew two inches playing basketball and I grew four inches at Safety Town!" I don't know where that last comment came from, but it's not the first time he has said it. Safety Town lasted for two weeks, friends, and he thinks he grew a whopping 4 inches.

Whit has been obsessed with the fact that when she grows up and gets married, she's going to have a baby in HER tummy. We talk about it almost every day. So, she was telling Shelley all about it and said, "And when I have my baby, my mom will...."
Shelley tried to fill in the blank, "Be a grandma?"
Whit: "No. She'll have OLD skin!"
She's probably got a point there.

12/20--Andrew is the official bath-giver in our family. Thanks, honey! Tonight he gave Whit her bath in our big bathtub. While he was filling it, she was digging in the bathroom cupboards and found my "sanitary supplies." She pulled one out.
W: "What's this daddy?"
D: "That's for mom."
W: "Is it a diaper?"
D: "It's kind of like a diaper."
W: "Mommies don't wear diapers! Why does she need it?"
D: " need to talk to your mom about that."
I haven't heard any follow-up questions yet.

12/21--This afternoon from the backseat of the van, this is what I heard from B, "Mom, wouldn't it be cool if it was your birthday...AND your mom was having a baby....AND you were flying on a plane all by yourself to see your aunt...AND you had a bunch of treats to eat on the plane...AND it was Christmas...AND you got a Wii?" Wow, buddy. I'd have to say YES, that would be cool.

12/24--When the munchkins were SUPPOSED to be cleaning up their rooms (which really means go upstairs and play for a few minutes until mom and dad get impatient and come up there to be the enforcers), W found a bell. She walked around up there ringing the bell and asking for money. Hmmmm...think she's seen a few Sal Army workers this season? (It didn't work. She didn't tell us she would do the MOST good with it.)

12/24--Brandon left these cookies and milk along with a letter for Santa:
It says, "Dear Santa, Can I please have a MP3 player or a wii?
Lego too. Certainly, Brandon.
P.S. Wit wants a toy unicorn and a hair set."

12/30--Andrew's back is out again, so I ended up giving W her bath tonight. She was pretending to make me a cake. She said, "Now, what kind do you want, sweetie pie?" It was such a Southern thing to say! It totally took me by surprise.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas 2007 recap

Here's what has kept us busy for the last week or so:

Whit's Christmas program at school.
She was an angel. Her class sang
such Christmas classics as "This Is the Way
the Donkey Rides" and "The Angel Told Mary Good News."
(Oh, wait. I'd never heard of those songs. How 'bout you?)

The Annual Family Gingerbread House Making Night
The latest innovation: using a hot glue gun to
build the foundation. I stole this idea for W's
preschool teachers. It ROCKS!

Building houses with candy makes W HAPPY!

This is Andrew's interpretation of our house,
complete with the hot tub (that little box to the right)
with four of us soaking our cares away.

The finished products: W, B, Me, and Drew

For Christmas Eve Dinner, Andrew requested
artichokes. They were just a side dish, but I
think the size I got could've been a meal on it's
own. SOOOO good.

After dinner, we made our annual
ornaments to add to the tree.
I bought plain glass balls.
We added paint,


and voila!

We each made two and I love the way they turned out.

The kids enjoyed dressing up for the Nativity.
So did the parents--Andrew doubled as the donkey
and a wise man. I played the angel.

We had a VERY fun gift-a-rama on
Christmas morning. The kids got SO
much stuff. I found myself wondering
why I buy them anything fun. I think
the grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles,
and cousins give them PLENTY.
I think next year "Santa" might bring
them clothes and school supplies.
We spent most of the day just playing
with our new toys.
Whitney loved her new princess dress-up.

Brandon and Andrew had a blast with his new
race track, complete with Jeff Gordon's car.

When we were finally tuckered out,
the kids got dressed in their new pj's.
Aren't they cute? They look like they
could be medical assistants at a Pediatric office.

They both got sleeping bags, so they camped
on the bonus room floor to try them out.
Apparently they're kind of slick because
the kids have a tendency to end up asleep on
the floor across the room from their bag. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's a....

The votes are in and readers predicted we'd be having a girl. I think the final tally was 12-7. Well, we had our ultrasound this morning and you guys are good! We found out that we'll be having another little GIRL join our family in May. (That makes me 0-3 in predicting the gender of my children. So much for mother's intuition!)

Future princess

We are thrilled, a little nervous, excited and can't wait to meet the new little peanut.

Whitney was SO happy to hear that she'd be having a little sister. Brandon threw a little bit of a tantrum when we first told him. When he calmed down he said, "Well, I guess I'll just have to teach her about Pokemon and Lego." He'll be a sweet big brother.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Boy or Girl?

I'll do a post-Christmas commentary later, but for now the countdown is on. We get our ultrasound on Thursday morning, so if you want to make a guess before we find out, now's the time to do it.

So far, the votes very slightly favor a boy. Here's what I've got:

Sandy, Jackie, Laurie, MIL, Amy, Dave, Brandon and I all think it's a boy.
Angie, Angelica, G & G Hiatt, Denny, Andrew and Whitney all think it's a girl.

Boy: 8 Girl: 7

Anyone else want to get on this?

If any previous voter wants to change his or her vote, let me know. Also if you have any questions for me that you feel might give you a more accurate prediction, let me have 'em.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Magic of Christmas Eve

This is one of my favorite little snippets to read at Christmastime. It's an essay by Gregg Easterbrook that was published in the NY Times in 1983 called "The Gift Behind the Gift." I'll just share a few of my favorite parts. I love the feelings he captures.

"The most splendid Christmas gift, the most marveled and magic, is the gift that has not yet been opened. Opaque behind wrapping or winking foil, it is a box full of possibilities. An unopened present might be ANYTHING. While the present is unopen, it can rest under the tree to be regarded and speculated upon at length, becoming whatever the recipient wishes.

"Opening the present, by comparison, is often anticlimactic--no matter what the contents. For once opened, the gift passes from the enchanted realm of promise into the constrained reality of material possessions. Then it begins to impose terms on its owner--terms like sizes, warranties, colors, maintenance, accessories, storage space, assembly, extremely thick books with instructions.

"So it is that Christmas Eve is the best part of Christmas. Compared with the clamor and urgency of the day itself, Christmas Eve is serene. It is the moment, still and expectant, when the warmth of the season may be felt for its own sake--the moment to light candles and listen for a sound in the distance. It is the moment when the meaning of the day may be contemplated without distraction from timetables or remote-controlled robots."

Does that ring true for you like it does for me?

I hope amidst the last minute shopping, cooking, wrapping, and stuffing, you're able to find those moments for relaxation and contemplation--when you can focus on the true meaning of Christmas as well as enjoy the anticipation of the excitement to come.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Brandon's movie

During the two hours that we saw Andrew on Sunday, he and Brandon decided to make a movie.

Yep, all by themselves--wrote the dialogue and everything.

It's hard to believe, but true.

If you have five free minutes, hop over to Brandon's blog and take a look. Fun times.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Random assortment of thoughts and updates

***WARNING***This is a marathon post. I had a lot to say.

*Christmas tree*For all of you who had been concerned that we'd lost all Christmas spirit, we FINALLY got our Charlie-Brown style tree up.
It was Brandon's turn to put the star on top.

*Tea cakes*My girlfriends have been so festive this year. I got to participate in not one, but two baking-related girls nights out. (HUGE props to Andrew for taking two nights of kid-duty!) First I got together with some church friends.

We met at Kelly's house

There were a whole bunch of us wannabe cake-decorators.

We joined in on one of Kelly's holiday traditions--
tea cakes. (Kind of ironic since none of us drink tea.)
Have you ever heard of them? I hadn't either.
They are individual little two-layer cakes
that you decorate to be super cute.
Here's how mine turned out:
Aren't they fun? They got rave reviews from
all four of us in my family.

*Cookie exchange*Another night I got together with my preschool/playgroup friends and we had a cookie exchange. I felt so domestic. Ok, I took the easy way out and made Pretzel Hugs, but I got to take home lots of YUMMY cookies. And we've already eaten almost all of them.

Cookie exchangers.
Oops--Shani and I lost our mouths.

Sidenote: I volunteer in B's classroom once a week
and on two different occasions, two different children
asked me if I was "Sebastian's Mom," who happens
to be one of my good friends, Bea.
Do you see the resemblance? I think we could
be sisters! My Latin blood does shine through!

*Leaves, glorious leaves! *LOVE the spring in NC when the trees start blooming. LOVE the summer in NC when the there is green EVERYWHERE. LOVE the fall when the trees burst into bright shades of red, orange, and yellow. HATE having to clean all those leaves up when they fall all over my yard. Boo on that!

We broke down and got a leaf blower to help.
It still took both Andrew and I working for over
two hours straight to get the yard looking decent.

Fun side effect: HUGE leaf piles for the kids to
jump in and bury each other.
Where's Whitney?

Here's a glimpse of

and after. I forgot we had that
little path under there!

*Christmas in July?*Our weather around here has been GORGEOUS this week. I felt like we moved back to AZ! It has been 75 or higher all week. Hasn't felt much like Christmas, though.

We had picnics in the park,

played in the sandbox,

and had a mean game of soccer between
B and me. (He won.)

*Goodbye, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night to Whit's purple cast* Yay--we survived the five weeks with a one-armed wonder and yesterday was her big day to go back to see Dr. Norris and get it off.

This was her pose in the waiting room
when I said, "Let me get one last pic of
you with your cast on."

They gave her these headphones so the saw
doesn't sound as loud. Great idea. She loved 'em.

She's such a brave girl. Didn't bat an eye at that
scary-looking saw being used next to her flesh.

See those little green things? Those
are the tips of the pins in her arm.
They took a follow-up x-ray to make
sure everything had healed properly.

It had, so next step: pin removal.
That's the new crush on the left--Dr. Norris.
I don't think he's supplanted Dr. Buckley on the crush-scale.
They had me hold Whit like this in preparation for
restraining her if she freaked out, but she was
SO brave and just sat there as they pulled
Can you believe how long they were?
Her arm was not as stinky or hairy as I imagined
it would be. Instead it was covered in dried skin
that will slowly shed over the next few days.

She is still adjusting to having a healed arm.
She walked around all day yesterday holding her
arm as if it were still in the cast. This morning
she has gotten a little better at using it.
I'm sure it's stiff.

*Reality TV* So I just found out that both Angie and Amy (My SIL) have been watching THE BIGGEST LOSER this season. Anyone else? Who do you think is going to win? I think Bill is going to beat the ladies, but I want Julie, the cute little blondie to win. I like her personality. I'd be happy if Isabeau won, too. But I'm not a big Hollie fan, even though she's from Tucson.

What about Survivor: China? Anyone watching? It's the big finale tomorrow. Exciting stuff. I'm rooting for the lunch lady, but unless she wins the next immunity challenge, I'm afraid she's gone.

*Sixteen weeks along*I've made it to the four month mark in my pregnancy and am feeling great. Yahoo! And even though I've felt like I've been showing FOREVER, the general public is finally admitting that I'm showing.
I think it's a cute little belly.
LOVE this part of pregnancy.
I haven't really started feeling the baby move, though. That'll be the next fun milestone. We'll find out whether we're having a boy or girl on Dec 27th, so start thinking about your guesses. I'll take a poll before the ultrasound and we'll see who the most accurate predictors are.

Phew...I think that's it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Six habits of a less-than highly efffective me

My SIL, Angie, tagged me to post six truths or habits. I've already revealed so much about myself in previous posts that I'm really going to have to rack my brain to come up with SIX things I haven't already told you. Here goes.

1. I am in a housekeeping/cooking slump. It has been going on ever since Grandma Cuca went home. She totally spoiled me with her yummy cooking. And despite my best efforts to convince her to just RELAX while she was here, she would scrub things until they shined every time I turned my back. It was almost like having some magical house cleaning fairy around for a couple of weeks. Well, the fairy has left, but I'm still waiting for the dishes to wash themselves, the vacuum to do its thing, and the toilet to scrub themselves. Still waiting.....

Why have you abandoned me, fairy?

2. I floss my teeth every night. Ok, maybe 95% of the time, but that's still pretty good. This probably comes as no surprise to anyone. I better practice what I preach to my patients, right? Not that I actually have patients right now, but in theory.... I've also started flossing my kids' teeth at night, most nights. We've gone through phases earlier in life where we would floss, but then we'd get out of the habit, now we're back in and I hope it lasts. Love that clean-between-the-teeth feeling.

Remember--You only have to floss
the teeth that you want to keep.

3. I am a picky eater. I've come to terms with it. I used to rationalize that it was good because most of the foods I refuse to eat are not the best choices anyway--fried chicken, bacon, sausage, ham.... But now I realize that with the amount of chocolate and ice cream that I consume, I can't claim that I'm just a healthy eater. I guess I'm just kind of a quirky and that's OK. After all I do the grocery shopping and 97% of the cooking, so I can cater to my own tastes and whims. Now the irony in this is that I refuse to accommodate my kids if they don't like what I made for dinner. How hypocritical is that? "This is what we're having, so eat up!"

4. Many of my friends who were stay-at-home moms when I met them are going back to work
now that our kids are getting older. I have absolutely no desire to follow in their footsteps. And don't get me wrong, I LOVED being a dental hygienist and I think I was pretty darn good at it, too. But I have no aspirations of becoming a working mom who can "have it all." Instead, I have visions of free time: scrapbooking, going to the temple, blogging, doing family history work, volunteering in my kids' classrooms....Yes, my world will be rocked if I ever need to go back to work out of necessity.

5. I am a bad phone-call-ender. I like talking on the phone. Unless I have something pressing to do, I enjoy conversing with another adult. So I often drag out calls longer than the person on the other end intended. Then I'm not sure how to wrap it up. I feel like it's awkward when it's time to say good-bye. Any advice?

6. I've previously mentioned that I love having a garage and being able to park in there. But I haven't shared this habit: When coming home, I try to see how far away I can push the garage-door-opener button and still have it work. It has an amazing range! So far, I've gotten it to work when I pass the mailbox of the home four houses up the street from us. But when I tried it at their backyard fence it didn't work. I'll have to find a spot somewhere in between to see if I can increase my current record.

Ok, there ya go. More than you ever wanted to know about me, I'm sure. So, now it's your turn to share. I'll tag Erika, Marci, Sandy, and Daneen to give us a scoop into their habits and truths.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas my way

I don't actually read my own blog. I mean I just typed it, why would I read it? (And I think it's pretty obvious that I don't proofread.) But I DO have my comments e-mailed to me and enjoy reading them. Well something must be wrong with my spam filter because I only received ONE of the ten comments that were posted about the piano. I thought everyone had stopped reading or you were all giving me the cold shoulder. So I was thrilled to actually look at my blog today and find TEN comments. Thanks for having something to say and for sharing my excitement!

A friend e-mailed this Christmas quiz that I thought would be fun to post. Feel free to borrow the idea and share your Christmas traditions, too. (hint, hint)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Mostly wrapping paper with a few gift bags tossed in, too.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Fake. SO fake. It's not even a nice-looking fake tree. It's the one we could afford on our student budget and I've yet to upgrade. Maybe one of these years I'll buy a nice one on post-holiday clearance. Or maybe we'll just stick with our somewhat pathetic tree. It's become part of the family now. :)

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually we do it right after Thanksgiving. This year things have been CRAZY. We have not had A SINGLE night between Thanksgiving and now when our whole family has been home without company so that we could decorate it. The kids are getting very impatient with us. Ok, so am I.

This is the state of our tree as I'm typing this. Yikes.

4. When do you take the tree down? I don't have a set day. Whenever I get around to it. It's always down by the end of January. That's a good thing, right?

5. Do you like egg nog? NO. I don't like eggs and can't bring myself to drink it. But all the other members of my family like it, so I buy it every year anyway.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I have a terrible memory for things like that! The one that comes to mind is going to sound lame, but I loved it. When I was around 10 or 12 years old, I got an electric blanket. It was THE BEST. My bedroom in the house was so very cold and that blanket kept me toasty warm.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. I have several of them now.

My favorite is the Willow Tree one that we've gotten slowly over the years from Andrew's parents.

The faraway picture doesn't do it justice. It's beautiful.

Then I have this cool, colorful wooden one that Greg got for us in Sweden last year. I thought I lost it in the move, but it turned up at the very bottom of one of our boxes. Yea!

I also have this awesome one from Peru that's new this year (also from Andrew's mom).

And my mom made these CUTE wooden ones for my kids that they keep up in their rooms. Whitney already lost her baby Jesus. That's a problem.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Andrew's dad, I guess. We draw names among our siblings, so this can change from year to year.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Brandon. He wants SO much and is very vocal about it. I have lots of choices.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Andrew writes a witty Christmas letter for the family, too. That's my favorite part.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? That's a loaded question! I'm going to play the pregnancy brain card here and say I can't remember.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story--so many belly laughs. "I triple dog dare you!" "You'll shoot your eye out!" "Fra-gee-lay. That must be French."

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I guess I'll say November. In my mind, I do a little shopping throughout the year, but then I often end up giving away those gifts for birthdays, so I guess it doesn't count.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so.

15. Favorite thing to eat at
Christmas? many choices. I guess I'll go with Peppermint Ice Cream. We just finished off our first half gallon last night. Mmmmm....I wish I was eating some right now.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Oh Holy Night, especially when performed by Nicolle. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. But I LOVE, love, love Christmas music and have several CD's that I start playing the day after Thanksgiving.

18. Travel at
Christmas or stay home? We ALWAYS travel. We have done that our entire married lives....until this year. This will be our first year that we stay home for the whole Christmas/New Year's week. Unless we end up doing something with Paul and Daneen, but that will be relatively local travel if we do.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph. I think that's all of them, right?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A Star.

21. Open the presents
Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning. Love the anticipation and excitement, especially with kids in the house.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Not having enough time to do everything I want to do.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Homemade, I guess. Cheezy? Yes. Practical? Also yes. We usually make an ornament every year as a family and they have started filling up the tree. Woo hoo!

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Chicken penne? That's the only thing I've made on my own. I'm happy with anything when I'm at family members' homes.

25. What do you want for
Christmas this year? Sheet music and a piano light. :)