Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The rest of Christmas

I posted about Rehm's worst Christmas ever, but I never got around to posting about the rest of Christmas or anyone else's experience. In this case I think pictures may be more useful than words...

Christmas Day:

Sunday before Christmas and Christmas Eve:

Yesterday I heard the girls singing Happy Birthday when they were supposed to be napping. After "nap time" - they didn't actually sleep - Cici asked them who they were singing Happy Birthday too. They told her they were singing to Baby Jesus. Hopefully that means we are doing a decent job of focusing on the true meaning of Christmas. Although, last night on the drive home from dinner they spotted Santa and both started telling me that "Santa says ho, ho, ho!" Apparently Santa had just spotted Barbie...

What were they thinking?

This afternoon while I was blogging my thoughts on Barbie, Cici told Charlotte to check on Ruby and Eliza Claire who were playing in the backyard. She went to the door and said "Cici! They are naked!"

Sure enough when I got to the door there were two completely naked children running around in the back yard. When asked where their clothes were they ran over to the baby swing and said "right here!" They had loaded all of them in the swing. Their shoes, socks and diaper/panties were strewn throughout the yard.

I asked Ruby why she was naked. Her response: "Cause I NAKED!!!!!!!" Then she danced off to enjoy her new found freedom.

I have no idea what made them decide to take every stitch of clothing off and run around but I'm glad it is almost 70 degrees in TX today.

For obvious reasons I won't be sharing pictures of this little incident.

Silly girls! There is never a dull moment at my house...

My Thoughts on Barbie

I spent an hour at Toys R Us today with Charlotte. She has a gift certificate from her birthday to spend. She kept trying to convince herself that each item she saw was the one she had to have. When I asked her what it was at least half the time she had no clue. I told her is she didn't know what it was or what it did she could not buy it. While she was browsing the Barbie isle I spotted this gem.

I do not like barbie and overall think Barbie is a ho! I mean what child needs this Barbie? Can we get anymore trash than this?

I know the picture is not good but I only had my camera phone as my new camera has not arrived yet . It isn't scheduled to get here until 1/9-1/15. I may have a mini-breakdown from picture taking withdrawal before it gets here.

Back to the picture, even blurry you get the point: Barbie is a Ho! For a clearer picture click here.

Michael sent me this article today about how our girls are growing up to fast. No surprise when stuff like the above Barbie is being marketed to them. I won't even get started on the Bratz line. They are forbidden in this house. Barbie just has to be checked for ho status. If she is a wholesome Barbie or a princess Barbie she is usually allowed.

While at TRU I also saw the retro barbies from the 70's. This one caught my attention as I'm sure either my sister or my cousins (Vicki and Tracy) had this Barbie. My favorite Barbies were the ones with the sunglasses on their heads and I remember this outfit. It was always a favorite of mine - I think because it was easy to get on the Barbie. I guess Barbie was a ho even back in the 70s...as the outfit is completely see through!

Oh and I convinced Charlotte that if she didn't find something she really loved she should not spend her gift card. She decided she really wanted a Diamond Castle Baribe and they were out of stock today. So we will be going back another day to shop again.

In other news Mary from the Little People Nativity has been found. She was hanging out with the stuffed animals and dolls. But now the cow is missing again. I'm assuming it went back to the farm to be part of the herd. Oh well, a nativity minus a cow isn't a big deal. A nativity minus a Mary, well that is another story...

OK, I feel better after getting that all out of my system.

Friday, December 26, 2008


I hate it. I truly hate it. Anytime I have a "big" decision to make I research and research and end up with too much knowledge and can't make a decision. Not only does the drive me crazy and stress me out, but poor Michael has to live with me while I agonize over whatever the current decision is. What is causing all my angst? Right now it is purchasing a new digital camera.

I dropped mine on Christmas Eve. The event was nothing spectacular. I was holding it in my hand with my hand down by my side and the kids came running by and either bumped in to me or I got distracted and dropped it. Either way it hit the laminate floor and bounced once and landed. It didn't fall hard and the surface wasn't that hard. It had definitely survived worse falls. I didn't think anything of it until I went to take a picture later and when I turned it on I got a black screen with the cryptic message "Lens error, restart camera." That is when I noticed the case had separated slightly at the seam. Uh oh!

I really liked my camera. It was a great point and shoot. It was a Cannon and just a good camera. I had had it almost two years. I'm bummed to be in the market for a new point and shoot. I was hoping at some point to add a DSLR to my collection and have one I could throw in my purse for those moments that have to be captured when we are out and about just living normal life and one for "good" pictures. But that is not to be. Now I'll be replacing the point and shoot and continuing to dream of the day when a DSLR can be a reality.

So here is where I am. Olympus makes a shock proof camera. It is made to withstand drops from five feet. It is waterproof to 10 feet, crush proof to 220 lbs and weather proof to 14 degrees. Sounds great right? So what is the problem? If I buy it I lose megapixels from what I'm currently used to and it costs a little bit more than my other option ($40 more).

My other option is a very reasonably priced Nikkon that has the same megapixels I'm used to and more optical zoom than I currently have. And the price is nice.
So do I go for more zoom or more durablity and less resolution? What to do? I can't decide and therefore can't order the blasted camera. Furthermore, about once an hour I start talking aloud about what the pros and cons are of each choice and my husband is about to pull his hair out or shoot me. It shouldn't be this hard. I went to Best Buy this morning with every intention of walking out with the Olympus (I've now found it $35 cheaper online) but started looking around and due to information overload now can not make up my mind.

My mother would tell you I have had this problem since I was a small child. And would probably proceed to tell you about finding me laying in my floor in front of the closet on school days crying my eyes out because I just couldn't decide what to wear. My dear husband would roll his eyes and tell you any time an item costs more that $100 I do this and drive him crazy. He would tell you it doesn't matter if it is a car seat, jewelry, electronics or carpet cleaners I research things to death and then due to my neurosis can't actually make a blasted choice.

I see this as a blessing and a curse. I usually mull over things long enough that I don't have buyers remorse, but I make myself and my dear husband miserable during the process.

So which one would you buy? Depending on the minute, maybe second, my answer changes. Ugh! So bets on which one I chose and how long it takes me to decide?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Worst Chirstmas EVER!

Rehm checking out what Santa brought

Playing with his alien maker -very cool he loved it

Well for most of the family it was a great Christmas, but not for Rehm. Poor guy had one of those days where nothing went like it was supposed to. Santa brought him three games for his Nintendo DS. He was thrilled. He went to get his DS so he could play them and it needed to be charged and he couldn't find his charger! We looked and looked and never found it! No stores were open that would have a charger so we couldn't even go purchase a new one - he just couldn't play these three great new games. It was bad!

Then he got out his new airbrush painter and the markers were dried up and it wouldn't spray. It said it will use any super tipped marker. We tried some other markers that look to be the same size but they would not insert far enough into the sprayer to work! Poor guy - this wasn't looking good.

He went upstairs to try out his new desk (actually an old desk mine and my mother's before me that we repainted for him) and there was no chair - we had forgotten to get it down from the attic! And the switch on his brand new desk lamp is broken and the lamp can't be turned on!

Rehm got a bit whiny and put out to start with but quickly changed his attitude and had a good day. I was very proud of his behavior. He never pitched a fit or even shed a tear. He did great and was a real trooper.

We will be braving the shopping crowds tomorrow to find a DS charger and to replace/return his airbrush toy and his desk lamp. And yes, we will also be getting his chair out of the attic.

It has to be really difficult when your little sister keeps delcaring this the best Christmas EVER and your Christmas is definitely NOT!

Merry Christmas - Hope you had a Charlotte Christmas and not a Rehm Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from all of us!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Five Year Old Fashion

I love to see what Charlotte is going to come downstairs in each morning. It is a shame you can't see the pink and green camouflage shirt she is sporting under the striped sweater. She has an...interesting... style all her own and I try my best not to squash it. The boots are a particular favorite right now. Thanks Kennedy!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nativites around our House

This is our Veggie Tale nativity. We love the Veggie Tales at our house and right now Ruby and Eliza Claire are very enamored with them. They ask to listen to our VT Christmas CD every time we are in the car. They were thrilled when we hung Larry on our Christmas tree and also when we unpacked the VT nativity. One day Eliza Claire and I were looking at the VT nativity and she was a little confused. She brought me one of the wise men and this is what happened from there:

Eliza Claire: Mommy, what this?

Me: That is one of the wise men that came to see Jesus after he was born.

Eliza Claire: No it not! That Larry!

Me: Well, yes, that is Larry but he is dressed up and pretending to be one of the wise men.

Eliza Claire: Where baby Jesus?

Me (pointing at the manger): Right here is baby Jesus.

Eliza Claire: Mommy, that not baby Jesus! That a carrot!

Um, I think she might have a point. That is a carrot. And apparently at two a carrot can not also be baby Jesus. That is just too big a stretch.

So it is a good thing we also have the Fisher Price Little People Nativity as well. (The current model is more elaborate than ours, oh well. Though there are some add on pieces I wouldn't mind having...) All the characters actually look like what the children think they should look like. Except, we currently have a problem. Mary is missing!

What will we ever do? How can we possibly have Christmas without Mary? What was she thinking leaving that newborn baby? At the moment we have a stand in but it just isn't the same. I've search the house and so far no Mary. Apparently being the mother of God's Son is just a bit too overwhelming at the moment. I can't imagine why she would think that. I mean I get overwhelmed by being the mother of mere mortals imagine the pressure of being the mother of Jesus! I think I might just check out for a bit too.

See, I told you I had been searching for Mary. I didn't find her in the bin of Little People, but I did find the cow that is suppose to be with the nativity. It had been hanging out at the farm and a stray sheep had been taking its place. Now if we can just find Mary all will be right with our nativity world. What do you bet she is off driving Barbie's Corvette or hiding in someones purse?

Holidays at my house are never dull.

Edited to add: Michael wanted to know why I was so obsessed with finding Mary tonight. He just shook his head when I told him it was because I needed to take pictures for the blog. At least he tolerates all my crazy blog induced habits.
Posted by Picasa

'Twas the Night before Christmas

Yes I know it is really two nights before Christmas but bare with me for a minute.

For several years we have made a point to drive over to Chianti Court to see the lights and read the story "'Twas the Night before Christmas." The entire street works together to decorate all the houses and string lights from all the roofs across the street. In each yard there is a big sign with part of the story painted on it. In the center of the cul-de-sac the neighbors have a collection center for donating toys to Brown Santa.

In years past we have driven the street and read the story, this year we decided to park and walk. Everyone had lots of fun. Rehm kept declaring which house had the least and most decorations. Ruby got very excited each time we got to another page of the story, Eliza Claire got scared by a truck with a loud engine and Charlotte danced around and well, was Charlotte. This is one of our yearly traditions that I truly love and look forward to each year.

We came home and all the children had a Krispe Kreme donut before heading off to bed. What do you bet they insist that the donuts become part of the tradition in future years?

Merry Christmas!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our not so Little Angel

Isn't she beautiful? This was Charlotte after her last ever preschool Christmas Chapel! She is growing up so fast. She did a great job singing each and every song.
Posted by Picasa

A Day at the Zoo

We saw lots of monkeys and lions :)
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 15, 2008

Life is Good...

Yesterday all the children's choirs sang at our 11:00 worship service. Both Charlotte and Rehm were singing. Michael was not at church with us as he was home with the little girls as they were recovering from sinus infections.

Charlotte's choir only sang the first two songs of the service. I needed to pick her up and take her back in the sanctuary with me right after she sang. When I went to pick her up I was talking to a dear friend who was also picking up her daughter. We are in support group together*. We both have children in heaven. She was telling me about a book on loss she has been reading. She quoted the last couple of sentences of the book. I can't give credit here as I don't know the title or the author. When I do I'll let you know as it sounds like an interesting book that I would like to read. Anyway, the book ends with something along these lines: "Life is good but something is missing. Life is good and something is missing. Life is good..."

My friend was pointing out that today was one of those days when we got to live the "life is good." That we were making wonderful memories with our living children, doing the things we always thought and dreamed about doing when we had children one day. And that today "life was good." It was so very true.

Charlotte and I went back in the sanctuary and she was sitting in my lap. We had a family get baptised. After they had baptised the baby the minister led the congregation in singing "Jesus Loves Me." This is a part of baptisms that is especially hard for me as we sang that song at Sam's memorial service. I can hear children sing it with no problem. But hearing adults sing it, especially in our sanctuary puts me right back in the second row of the church singing "Jesus Loves Me" with aching empty arms, a six inch incision that was throbbing, feet too swollen to fit into shoes, tears streaming down my face, wondering if I will ever get to hear a child of mine sing that song. It brings me to tears every time. Every. Time.

Yesterday I was sitting in the church with my precious five year old on my lap, listening to her sweet voice sing those wonderful words accompanied by the voices of the congregation and my dear friend's words started echoing in my head "Life is good but something is missing. Life is good and something is missing. Life is good..." I hugged Charlotte a little closer, and yes, I shed a few tears. I was right back at the memorial service but this time I was holding a child of mine and hearing her sweet singing. A feeling of coming full circle washed over me. Life is good.

No matter how many years pass or how full my life is, Sam will always be in my heart and mind. I will always, always wish he were here with me. But I will not let his loss overshadow the the blessing of knowing Sam for such a brief time or the additional blessings God has bestowed on me and my family. Life is good!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow...

*Let me just say a bit about support group. Michael and I attended a group regularly for serveral months after Sam was born. It made a huge difference for me to be around others who truly understood what we were dealing with. Several years later, we felt called to start a group at our church. We have since passed on leadership to others who are better suited to leading the group today. I don't attend regularly and I no longer need group to get through the month, but I love this group of people. Even 9 years after Sam's death, it is still great to have friends, and they are definitely my dear friends, who truly understand what it means to have a child in heaven. I see this group regularly, mostly for social gatherings and do attend group every couple of months. I strongly recommend support groups to anyone going through difficult times. It is so nice to know you are not alone and that what you are feeling and thinking is completely normal given the circumstances.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Somebody's Tired

Eliza Claire and Ruby have been sick for two weeks now. We finally went to the doctor yesterday for an anitbiotic. Both girls really don't feel great but refused to nap yesterday. Poor Eliza Claire was so tired she kept dozing on the couch but her loud siblings kept bothering her.

Feel better soon Sweetie!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Eliza Claire Quotables

Eliza Claire is a very funny girl. She talks non-stop. OK, I know many of you are thinking she is not the one you usually see talking. That is because she is shy, but at home the girl talks all the time. Once she is comfortable with you she will talk your ear off - I guess she is a lot like her mother.

She says some of the funniest things. One of my favorites is when she is getting dressed. Every time her head pops out of the top of her shirt she exclaims, "Here me is!" It melts my heart every single time. It is just the cutest two year old expression. It ranks right up there with "Mommy, hold you!" when ever she wants me to carry her.

Then there are the times her talking is not so much fun. Like at 2 am when she starts yelling, "MOMMY! I need my wubbie!" over and over and over. If she had her own room I'd just let her yell. But since she doesn't I usually go to find the blasted luvie. Then you get the even more dreaded, "Where my udder wubbie?" Yes, she has two wonderful luvies. One was supposed to be the back up luvie but somewhere along the lines she started sleeping with both. She will not let you leave her room until you have found both wubbies! It doesn't matter that it is dark or that her sister is trying to sleep or that her mother would like to be asleep she is going to ask for "my udder wubbie" until it is clutched in her fat little hand. Did I mention that she is also a very stubborn child? I can't imagine where she got that trait!

Oh, and if Michael and I play monitor chicken - you know both of us pretend we don't hear the monitor and are still sleeping until the other one gets up - and I win when she has called for Mommy, guess what happens. Yep, Michael goes in and she yells at him, "No! I want my Mommy!" And guess who has to go find the blasted udder wubbie? Yep you guessed it.

We have been talking to her about waking us in the night and telling her she needs to find her own paci and luvie and not wake anyone up. It seems to be helping a bit. So the other night at bed time I was walking out of the door and Eliza Claire wasn't quite ready for me to leave. She dropped her luvie on the floor and insisted that I needed to pick it up. I had had enough of the bed time stalling and the toddler demands. I looked at her and said "Eliza Claire, you pick up your own luvie! If I pick it up I am taking it with me!" She didn't ask me again and I could hear Michael laughing in the next room. I guess that is what I need to tell her during the night too, huh?

Gotta love her!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Girl...you got a panty on your head!

Potty Training Day 2: Three accidents, not so bad.
Posted by Picasa

Children and Cell Phones

I've always thought it was ridiculous to see a elementary school aged child walking around with a cell phone. I see a few pull them out on their walk home from school everyday. I mean really do they need a phone? Really? Really! I've always said I didn't see why a child would need one until at least high school and then maybe not until they start driving.

But I have a confession to make.

When Rehm came home from school last Friday he announced that it was Cookie Friday. A wonderful neighbor makes cookies for all the school kids and serves them in her yard on the first Friday of each month. The twins were sick and asleep. Charlotte was playing happily on the computer. But it was Cookie Friday and Rehm wanted to go. What to do?

The neighbor lives around the corner from us. So it isn't possible to just watch Rehm go and make sure all is OK. So what did I do? I whipped out my cell phone, reminded him what button to push to call home and told him to call me when he got there! Yes, I handed the seven year old a cell phone and told him to use it. He called about a minute later to say he had arrived. I told him to call me when he was leaving their house so I would know when he would be home. About 15 minutes later he called to ask if he could stay longer. I talked to my neighbor to make sure she didn't mind and let him stay. I reveled in how nice it was to allow him the freedom to go to Cookie Friday without dragging the girls out of bed.

So would I let him have a phone all the time? No. Do I see situations where they can be useful? Absolutely. I've thought seriously about adding an additional phone to our line just to have on hand for times when it would be convenient for him to have one. But not yet...though there is a good chance I'll be eating my words about no cell phone until high school...


Monday, December 08, 2008

A tale of two chefs....

Jennifer bakes cookies:

Michael bakes cookies:

Same recipe...

Edited by Jenn to add: What my husband is nice enough not to tell you is that I said ugly words when I smelled the cookies burning that were not very respectful of him. He was nice enough to not be offended by my outburst. Had the roles been reversed I'm sure I would not have been that gracious.

Does this Make Me a Bad Mother or a Lazy Mother or just Normal?

I have Ruby in big girl panties and Eliza Claire in a diaper. Ruby has been very into dressing and undressing herself for the last few weeks. I know she is ready. But I wasn't ready to deal with potty training times two. So instead of continuing to put it off I decided today to focus on just Ruby and the potty. I expected Eliza Claire to insist on doing it to but so far she hasn't even asked to go potty even when I'm helping Ruby go.

Ruby spent the morning in "Princess Pants," our name for pull ups. She kept them dry even on an outing. She pooped in them before nap time but OK, I can live with that. After naptime she asked for panties. I told her she could wear them but if she got them wet she was going back to Princess Pants. I also told her that I would by her Elmo panties as soon as she has a completely dry day (not including naptime). So far so good. I can do this! I. Can. Do. This.

Now just pray that Eliza Claire is happy in "Doggy Diapers," our name for diapers since they have dogs on them, until Ruby gets this down. Don't get me wrong I'm not underestimating Eliza Claire. I know she could do this too. I'm just not sure I can. And if she asks to go or wear panties I will let her.

Lazy/Bad/Normal? Jenn

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Past

Who remembers these?

These ornaments were made when I was a child. Apparently, when I was four given the date on one of them. Several of the cousins got together and did shrinky dink ornaments. We traced pictures from coloring books to do them. The Rudolph was my creation and the other two were done by my sister. I still put them on my tree every year. They still bring back fond memories of my childhood even if they aren't the most glamorous decorations.

Aunt Sherri, I guess if you want yours back you can have them. Not sure how I ended up with yours in the first place.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 05, 2008

Firefighters and CPR Training

I attended CPR training yesterday. Yes, groan and moan. We all dread it. The last time I took it I went in with a terrible attitude about how horrid and boring and mind numbing it was going to be. Then the instructor got started and I realized this was not the CPR class I had come to expect. Our church brings in a group called CPR Resources to teach our classes. It is a group of firefighters who teach on their off days. This time around I didn't go in dreading it because I knew it would be good and entertaining.

The firefighters are truly fabulous. They are very down to earth and have a great sense of humor. They make the class fun and present things in a way that doesn't make CPR and first aid seem so daunting and intimidating. I think the fact that they are out in the real world using these skills on a regular basis allows them to present CPR as something that isn't a big deal.

One of the things I think they do a great job with is emphasizing that doing anything is better than doing nothing. Doing CPR incorrectly is much better than not doing it at all! I think that takes the pressure off of the student to have to write down and remember every last single detail. You don't leave with the feeling of I'll never know this good enough to do it if I need to. You leave feeling capable. Big difference.

Interesting things I learned or was reminded of today (disclaimer: do not use this as your guide for performing CPR. Go look up the proper guidelines at the Red Cross web site or somewhere, these are just my observations.):

  • 30 compressions to two breaths. Compressions should be quick and hard enough push the chest a 1/3 of the way to the spine. Breaths should be just enough to see the chest move.
  • For a good compression rhythm try humming "Another One Bites the Dust." The beat in this song is exactly 100 beats per minute. If you are the more optimistic type you can try "Staying Alive" as it has a similar beat/minute.
  • ABC (Airway, breathe, compressions) repeat.
  • When giving CPR you are not going to see any dramatic change in the person. Chances are you won't have a TV moment where all the sudden the person regains consciousness and is fine.
  • If someone vomits or emits other bodily functions that does not mean I have succeeded or failed, it just means their muscles have relaxed from lack of oxygen.
  • There is nothing you can do in CPR that will cause more harm than not performing CPR
  • Chances are you will break ribs. Keep going. Ribs can be fixed later.
  • Even performing CPR on someone who doesn't really need it will not do unrepairable damage.
  • You no longer check pulse before doing CPR. Now you check responsiveness and breathing. If completely unresponsive and not breathing then start CPR.
  • Must public places have defibrillators. If you have one handy use it. They are idiot proof. Always dispatch a helper to locate one.
  • CPR is usually not a cure it is life support. It simply keeps the patient from getting worse (we hope) but won't fix the problem.
  • CPR has two goals: To keep the heart fibrillating and to get oxygen to the brain.
  • In the state of TX you have to be 18 and have a license to cut someone's hair, but even elementary students are taught CPR - Obviously you can't mess it up too much or do too much damage if we are teaching kids to do it.
  • CPR has a 20-50% success rate even if you do everything exactly right! This doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, it just means that if the person doesn't make it that is not indicative that CPR was performed incorrectly. Again bad CPR is better than no CPR.
  • Infants for some reason respond really well to CPR and you are less like to break ribs on small children as their bones are much more flexible.
I know there are a lot more things I learned and I may not have gotten all of these exactly right. But you know what? I did walk away with the assurance that anything I can do is better than just sitting, crying and waiting for help. Any assistance is better than no assistance.

Michael mentioned in passing the other day that he assumed the reason we were excited about the firefighters was due to their looks. I explained that while the looks didn't hurt it had a lot more to do with their approach to teaching the class and their sense of humor. They really do make the process non-intimidating.

If you haven't had a CPR class in the last couple years I urge you to go take one. And if you have a firefighter group that teaches it that is where I would go.

I hope I never need this information but it does give me peace of mind to know I have some clue what to do if an emergency ever arises.

Haning out with Drunk Santa

Charlotte and Eliza Claire were having fun singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and checking out Jupiter, Venus and the Moon - or whatever planets were close to the moon this week. I always get it wrong, must be my bad remembory!

We have had this Santa for almost 10 years. We originally bought him because our whole street agreed to decorate the yards the same - Santa and candy canes with lights strung between them. This was the Santa we could afford. I've always thought he looked a little drunk or high. Oh well, he gets the job done. And you'll notice we ditched the candy canes several years ago.
Posted by Picasa