Friday, December 26, 2008

Umm... Happy Boxing Day!

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We celebrated by going washing machine shopping. Hey, they come in boxes, right? Our washer was pretty much on its last legs, but when I tried to do a load on Christmas day, we found that the tub didn't spin at all any more. Being a front-loader, a non-spinning tub turns it into a boat anchor. So, the purchasing timeline shifted from "whenever we find a good deal" to "as soon as we run out of clean socks" which was pretty much TODAY. But, we got a pretty good deal on a machine at Lowes (another front-loader - I will never go back to a toploader. Seriously.) and it's supposed to be delivered tomorrow. Ho ho ho. I talked to the collision place this morning and they said that they have the Yaris but they haven't looked at it yet - their lot is still wall-to-wall cars from all the accidents that day.

We had a pretty good Christmas. The kids liked their presents, we got to talk with family on the phone, and the ham was pink, fatty, and delicious (kind of like Amy). I am dying to do some scrapbooking. Normally this is the point where I complain about how hard it is to get decent pictures on Christmas morning but as I'm looking at them, I'm realizing they're actually not that bad.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

...And to all a good night.

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What do you do when your car is smashed up so you can't leave the house and it's Christmas Eve?

You scrapbook, of course!

Edited to add: Also, you take pictures. Cute dresses courtesy of Aunty Emmy, who doesn't have any girls (yet) and has to shop vicariously through mine. Bright, shiny smiles courtesy of the M&M/Mars Corporation ("Smile reeeeal biiig, and you'll get some M&M's!") Naked baby's upper arm rolls courtesy of Mom.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Well, Merry Christmas already!

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So, we got out of work early today, because the roads were bad. The thinking behind that was, if you leave before rush hour, you'll be less likely to get in an accident, right? So I went slipping and sliding across the parking lot to my car, chiseled the ice off of it, and set out at a snail's pace for home. It wasn't even snowing, it was freezing rain, which is almost worse because you have no traction, and all the caution in the world won't help you when there is no traction. People all over were getting into accidents... which is exactly what I did, not five minutes after I left work. That's right, I got into a car accident two days before Christmas.

So, that was awesome.

Fortunately, no one was hurt. The other driver's car was still driveable (is that even a word? drive-able?) but mine wasn't, so it's sitting in a parking lot waiting for an available tow truck. Fortunately, my co-worker was taking a different route home from work so he drove by not two minutes after it happened (and he was driving a borrowed van instead of his usual sportscar - really, a series of fortuitous concidences) so he was able to help me get part of the way home. And lucky for me, the people at our insurance company are wonderful and manage to be uplifting and helpful even though they must be dealing with billions of car accidents right now. (Liberty Mutual. I highly recommend - every time we've dealt with them, they've been great.) And the lady who was watching my kids was very understanding about having to look after them for an extra three hours or so while I slowly made my way home. When I did talk to the police dispatcher later, I learned that there had been something like eight hundred car accidents in Indianapolis today, and that's not even counting the interstates. And I guess it's a little bonus that I won't be working tomorrow, which I was scheduled to but, um, didn't want to because it's Christmas Eve.

So. We need a new washing machine (the bearings are shot or something, so the drum comes loose and the spin cycle rattles like World War 3) but that's going to go ahead and wait until after the estimate comes in. And truly, I don't think it's going to be that bad, but then I thought that about the Taurus in 2004 and it turned out to be a total loss. Which is NOT REALLY what we need this year. Mainly, I just need it to hurry up and be 2009 already.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Now She Is Six

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Betsy's lucky: she got to have her birthday party on her actual birthday. And I, being burdened with more ambition than common sense, thought it would be a kickin' idea to throw her a birthday party. You know, with all my spare time and whatnot. Actually, once I was able to scale back my expectations a little bit, I was able to come up with some ideas that were perfectly suited to the attention span of five- and six-year-olds. And I was able to do the whole thing - decorations, invites, goody bags and all - for around fifty bucks. Thank You, Hobby Lobby.

Unfortunately, Matt woke up this morning with the stomach bug that's been making its rounds in our family. Fortunately, both Betsy and I had already had it, so we were able to make do. Of course with my Chief Balloon Blower-Upper we were in danger of having no balloons because I can't blow them up to save my life. (Insert "But you're full of hot air! Ha ha!" joke here.) Fortunately I was able to use the foot pump from one of our million air mattresses, and good thing too, because the balloons were a huge hit. I mean that literally - the girls were all whacking each other gleefully with them. And if you haven't seen seven kindergarteners with their hair standing on end from static, let me tell you, it's something.

Anyway, Betsy was a gracious and charming host/birthday girl and all her little friends were sweet. They played Duck Duck Goose and Pin The Crown On The Princess and had cupcakes with pink frosting and colored princesses (seriously, at this age it's so easy to keep them entertained) and even made a craft. And Porter had a lovely time clomping around the living room in Betsy's new Cinderella slippers.*

*(He is going to kill me for that when he is sixteen.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mission: Accomplished

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Got my kids to sit on Santa's lap without crying.
That doesn't happen often. We had a Breakfast With Santa at the kids' school this morning. It was really nice - a good breakfast, and a lot of crafts, and a visit with Santa and a free photo, and a goody bag, all for $4 a person. The kids had been looking forward to it a lot and I kept telling them it was after my birthday. I think they were in a hurry for my birthday to be over so that it could be Breakfast With Santa Day.
Also, while we were inside the school, approximately 1,364 feet of snow came down. So that's fun.
I got to do some scrapbooking yesterday with my new goodies. This page was really fast - I did it while I was on the phone with Emily - because I scraplifted it from one of my previous layouts. Rather than reinventing the wheel every single time, ya know, like I usually do.

I love love love that picture. One of Matt's coworkers does photography with his wife, and they took pictures about a month ago and we got some free prints to send in our Christmas cards. (Assuming I ever get the Christmas cards sent. Hint: Don't count on it.) Anyway, after we were done torturing the kids they had some time before their next appointment, and I was just playing around with Amy. At least she seems to like having her picture taken. So of course I had to get some prints so I could scrapbook it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy birthday to MEEE!

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Friday is my favorite day of the week anyway... lucky that it's my birthday too! Today I am 29, which makes me the same age as my mother (it's a biological miracle). My mother-in-law gave me the gift of cold, hard cash which translated into a trip to Archiver's. I had a blast. (Actually some of this stuff I bought a few weeks ago when Scrapbook Corner was closing. sob)

I have to say, even I am surprised at how much Basic Grey I bought, considering that my usual amount is none. I don't know why, I just found the colors in those papers really appealing. (Lest you think I am abandoning long-held principles, though, rest assured that I didn't like any of the other BG lines that I saw. Not even the Christmas ones.) Anyway, they were having a sale on Thickers and if there is one thing I love, it's discounted letter stickers in cute fonts and innovative materials. And seeing my new stuff all laid out reminds me that Betsy made a very astute observation (which I was too preoccupied to notice): that Archivers has the exact same countertops as my kitchen.

I also went to the BMV to get my new license. I was in and out in about fifteen minutes, which is crazy. Next up is making my cake - I think I'll put some peppermint extract in the chocolate frosting, because it's my birthday and I can do whatever I want. Nyah.

On a sad note, Betsy figured out today that 'scissors' begins with an S and not a Z. Oh well. There's always a bright side, and today the bright side is that Porter has been going around singing: "On the one day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... A pine tree."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Back from Texas

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Okay, okay, so we actually got back on Sunday night. I am just updating now because I am busy all the time. I HATE BEING BUSY ALL THE TIME. But I got a lot of good pictures and I'd like to share. So here they are in no particular order (because Blogger makes it really hard to put my pictures in the order I want them in).

This is pretty representative of what we paid for gas most of our trip. The lowest we saw was $1.35 in Rolla, MO and the high was $1.85 in Dallas. (This was in Illinois. The funny thing was that if I'd walked inside the gas station and bought a quart of oil, that would have been a blend that I tested and approved. Okay, so it's not THAT funny.)
Amy and her cousin Kage. She's actually going to abandon me and go live in Utah so that she can see her buddy Kage every day.

My niece Anahi... I totally wanted to steal her. Those eyes, that curly hair... couldn't you just die?

On Thanksgiving night the girls went out and saw Twilight. Mark took a picture and the shutter on the camera didn't open all the way. But I think it's kind of appropriate, don't you? The movie was cute but I am really looking forward to #2. Team Jacob!

Everything is bigger in Texas... even the spiders. *full body shudder* Jessie found this hairy spawn of Satan out by the mailbox. So if I ever move to Texas, don't try to send me anything by mail, because I will never set foot within 50 feet of my box

The fireworks. SERIOUSLY. Nobody lost any fingers, though.

Carolyn (Jenny's mom) got these canvas teepees and put them in the yard, and each kid got to paint a section. What a neat idea.

We had dinner at the Yacktmans' house - that's my husband's brother's wife's parents. (We actually know them pretty well, since they used to live in Chicago; they were at our wedding, even.) Plus, two of Jenny's brothers married sisters and so pretty much their whole family came too. I think the final count stood at 46, although I don't remember if that includes babies or not. Believe it or not, there was actually food left over.

Betsy and her cousin Shardae bonded over Barbies.

Sophie licked the frosting knife clean. And then stuck it right back in the can. Man, I wish I was six and could get away with stuff like that.

This is what the frosting was used for: to glue these little beauties together. We are so making these next year.

The paintball warriors! Wednesday featured a massive paintball war between the Lynns and the Yacktmans. The Lynns lost. Oh well, we're still awesome.

Sohpie loved pushing Amy in the swing. Don't you love Sophie's long, strawberry-blond hair? The last time we saw her she was two and didn't have that.

Matt finally got to play some tennis with his brother Mark. I love this shot because Matt looks really cool and Mark looks like a dork. I married the good brother, people.

We stopped in Springfield, MO to pick up fireworks for Mark. The store actually wasn't nearly as redneck as I thought it would be.

None of us had ever been to Missouri before, even though it's only two states away. My kids really liked the big upside-down letter U.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hello! And goodbye!

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We are leaving for Texas tomorrow, so I really should be packing and not writing on my blog.

Watch this space for lots and lots of pictures. It should be really fun!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Still here...

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Not too much exciting going on. I am on call for work this weekend, which sounds way more important than it actually is. Am I performing emergency surgery, maybe rescuing puppies from a burning building? No, I am testing and approving automotive lubricants. Whee.

We're leaving for Texas a week from Monday. And let me tell you, the sudden precipitous drop in gas prices couldn't have been more well-timed. (It bottomed out around $1.75 here. I haven't paid that price since Betsy was a baby. Of course, at the time we thought that was highway robbery.) It's going to save us a couple hundred dollars, since we will be traveling over two thousand miles. Yes, 1100 miles in the car, each way, with three little kids. Hmm, what was I thinking, again?

Amy had a checkup yesterday (would have been her six-month visit, but she's seven months. Oh well). She's only gained a pound and a half since her previous visit two months ago. But now that she's a crazy crawler, I think she's actually burning some calories. Actually, the pediatrician was kind of surprised that Amy's crawling already, and has been for about a month or so. Don't ask me if she crawled earlier or later than her two older siblings because I can't for the life of me remember.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The sweetest treat

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Forgot to show this in yesterday's post: a little something I got done on Friday. (Yes, I am addicted to that die cut cardstock; why do you ask?)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

To infinity... and BOO-yond!

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So, another Halloween's come and gone. It was pretty good timing with H-day coming on a Friday, meaning that I didn't have to work (and Matt normally gets off at 4:00. He had to stay a little later than usual because he made a really big sale! Woot!) and the kids were on Fall Break so they didn't have school. And although it's been cold most of the week, the weather on Friday was perfect - it was nearly seventy degrees when they started out. In fact, with Trunk-or-Treat the night before, and then a neighborhood parade (they had a fire engine!) and then ToT'ing in the neighborhood, my kids came home with a respectable haul. Which I then "inspected", you know, to make sure it's "safe." Wink-wink.

I bribed the kids with candy to get a decent picture of them once they were in costume. That went better than I expected it to, but Porter's "cheese" face actually looks more like a grimace. Finally I told then to make a scary face and they actually smiled.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Move over, Stephenie Meyer!

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Because my daughter is now a writer. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The Balls Trilogy. (Illustrated by the author. Yep, she's talented.)


Balls are fun

I love balls

Some balls have polka dots

BOOK TWO: Pumpkins

Pumpkins are beautiful

I love pumpkins

Pumpkins are best

BOOK THREE (The Thrilling Conclusion): Flowers

I give flowers to people in my class

I love flowers

Flowers are beautiful

Editor's note: Sorry about th wonky formatting. I've been trying for an hour and a half to get it right (Thank You So Muc, Windows Vista, For The Spinning Blue Donut Of Doom) and I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tempus fugit

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How quickly does six months go by?

Ask the mother of a six-month-old.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Holy cow, it's fall already?!

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Actually, I'm happy that it's autumn because all my favorite shows are back. (At least, the ones that come on before my 9 o'clock bedtime!) NCIS is looking really, really good this year and how much did you love Pushing Daisies? Karen Tyler as a nun!

Here are some cards I made the other day:

I didn't actually make them on World Card Making Day, which was yesterday. (I was busy sewing, and listening to General Conference on the baby monitor.) But, as someone who's never been that into card-making I actually found them rather fun. I mean, I have a ton of scrapbook supplies that will probably never get used up otherwise, and cards are pretty much instant gratification.

I've been working on a dress for Betsy, with long sleeves for fall. I have a wonderful new machine with a zipper foot, and guess what? I still stink at zippers. (I used invisible thread for the topstitching... is that cheating? It's still crooked but a lot less noticeable.) I think I need to learn how to do an invisible zip before I attempt Betsy's flower girl dress for next year.

Matt's mom went back to Utah at the end of September and my sister Emily came up for the final week of my regular sitter's maternity leave. The kids have been enjoying their cousin Gavin, although I think it's safe to say he's been enjoying them a little bit less. And now that he can walk, Gav's all about exploring the new place... he really, really likes my kitchen cabinets! Last weekend we went to a free showing of The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything at the IMAX theater... and the fancy schmancy new mall where it's located was having some kind of grand opening, so there were balloons and free cookies and the like. AND a cartoonist was doing free caricatures of the kids, which was totally worth standing in line for. Here's Gavin and my girls (Porter was busy checking out the playground, so I left him alone). I love how a caricature of a baby is basically a picture of a baby, because they're inherently disproportionate and goofy-looking to start off with.

New this week: somebody has a new trick.

She was actually able to get into a sitting position before - she accidentally discovered the skill while teaching herself how to scooch across the floor - but lacked the requisite balance to keep herself upright for more than a few seconds. (I blame it on those big fat cheeks.) Now she can not only sit up, she can bend over to pick up her brother's shoe and sit upright to chew on it. And now I have a hard time getting Amy to lie down for naps. Her favorite is to sit up in the middle of the living room floor and sing a song she just wrote, which goes like this:
I am the cleverest baby in the world
I know how to sit up all by myself
Look at me, I am so clever, not to mention cute
Now, how 'bout some miiiiiiilk...
I don't like to brag, but could the Nobel Prize for Babyness be in her future?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Forward momentum

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Finally caught it on video!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Avast, ye! Swab the poop deck! Et cetera!

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That's right, it's International Talk Like A Pirate Day again! Yarr! In case you were wondering, my pirate name is Cap'n Gwyn Sharkchum. And if you ever wondered what kind of pirate I am, it's the kind that doesn't do anything. Well, either that or a space pirate. It's also International Wear A Dress Week, so I have on a skirt right now - since the work week is finally over. I need a pirate dress. That would be cool.

So, so much has been going on lately, and I haven't blogged about any of it. My little sister is a teenager now, my brother got engaged, and both of my baby nephews turned one. We finally got around to painting Porter's room this weekend. The paint chip described the color as apple green but it came out of the bucket highlighter-yellow, though it eventually dried to what Betsy describes as "sunny green." That's actually the phrase she uses for light colors: ie. sunny brown is tan. But in this case it actually works.

Amy is getting closer and closer, but she still hasn't mastered the whole crawling thing. She gets up on all fours and rocks, and then she throws up one fat leg behind her like she wants to sit up. She can actually sort of iinchworm-it across the floor but inevitably gets stuck in the corner, like those robot dogs always do. And then she goes "Arf! Arf!" until her batteries run down.

Porter started preschool this week. Here he is on his first day. Isn't he cute?

This week they learned about watermelons. And he gets to ride the bus every day, just like Betsy! He was pretty jealous when she started riding the bus in the spring so I'm glad it's his turn now.

And Betsy? Well, kindergarten is pretty much love for her. You remember that, right? Life doesn't get much better than kindergarten. Her teacher is really big on writing - for example, she tells the students if they want to ask her a question or remind her of something, they should write her a note, and she's sent home words we can post all over the house - and Betsy really seems to get it. Pretty much every scrap of paper - junk mail, receipts, I swear I caught her with the checkbook the other day but I got to it before she vandalized it - is covered with letters. Sometimes I can decipher it, sometimes not. They just got done with a unit on butterflies, and as everyone knows,

butterflies are wonderful.

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