Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blue Ribbon

Yes that is a blue ribbon. The chocolate white chocolate chip bar cookies won 1st place in the cookie category at the church picnic. The rice krispy treats did not win a ribbon. I was not at the picnic so Charlotte surprised me with it this morning.

Here is the cookie recipe.

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add vanilla. Combine the cocoa, flour, and baking soda, baking powder and salt gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, fold in white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until puffy but still soft. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

For bar cookies, press batter in a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 375 for 25-33 minutes. Let cool and cut in to 1.5 inch squares.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not Super Mommy

I started the day thinking I could be Super Mommy today. We had a long list of things that had to be done today that included: several loads of laundry, making rice crispy treats and chocolate white chocolate chip cookies, making a salad, a playdate, a meeting, and picnic at church and a going away dinner. After breakfast we had an hour and a half before we needed to leave for our playdate followed by a work meeting.

I decided that this was plenty of time to help the kids make their entries for the church picnic dessert contest. Rehm was making rice crispy treats and Charlotte was helping with the chocolate cookies. I managed to forget the four kids helping when I was calculating the time needed to get this done.

I got Rehm set up measuring out rice krispies and was creaming the butter and sugar for the cookies. Charlotte wanted to help crack eggs and put them in. While I was helping Rehm with something, she proceeded to dump an egg and a metal half cup measure into the mixer while it was on. In addition to making lots of loud noise the measuring cup went flying through the kitchen flinging batter haphazardly in its wake! Charlotte got sent to couch time while I cleaned up the batter and measured the rest of the ingredients because girls who do not listen to Mommy and put things in the mixer without permission must have a time out.

Eliza Claire was watching from her seat at the table. Ruby was "helping" from her perch on the two step stool. Charlotte was on the step stool - once she got out of time out. Rehm was on another step stool melting butter and marshmallows at the stove - yes I know having a kid on a stool stirring something hot probably isn't the best idea. After rescuing the marshmallows from potential burning we got the rice crispy treats in the pan. I looked up and had twenty minutes until we needed to leave. The cookie batter wasn't even finished much less cookies baked. Lunch wasn't packed, snack wasn't packed, water bottles weren't filled. I needed a clean shirt because shockily mine was covered in coco powder. The kitchen looked like a candy factory had exploded. The kids were not listening but running around squealing.

I hurried and finished the cookie batter and decided we would be making bar cookies instead of drop cookies. I got them in the pan. I asked Rehm to make water bottles. I asked Charlotte to go get closed toe shoes on. We have a rule that you have to wear socks and closed toe shoes if going to the park or school, which we were. Ruby and Eliza Claire were getting tired - ah the joys of toddler beds. Rehm finished the kid water bottles, I finished snacks for the car. I asked Rehm to make me a water bottle and rushed upstairs to change shirts. When I came back Rehm and Charlotte were still standing with the freezer door open arguing over who was going to put ice in my water bottle. I'm ashamed to say I yelled. And when they still couldn't get moving on the water bottle I took it away and filled it myself. I herded everyone to the car.

When I was putting Ruby in her seat she was fussing. I asked her what was wrong. Rehm piped up from the back seat with, "Mom, I think she is sad because you yelled at her." Great, thanks Rehm that's just what I needed. I realize I've forgot lunch and run in to grab it. I get back to the car and when I get in Rehm asked why I yell at the kids all the time. OK, I just have to say I don't yell at the kids all the time. But it does happen more than I would like. It usually happens when I get fed up because no one is doing what I've asked them to and instead of finding other means to get them to listen I yell. Today it happened because I was trying to do too much at one time and got stressed out by everything.

So I proceed to appologize to the kids for yelling and tell them I shouldn't have yelled and that I was sorry. That I had too many things going at one time. I reminded them if they helped me by doing what I asked I wouldn't get frustrated and yell. I look up to find Rehm reading a magazine. Great I take the time to appologize and he isn't even listening. Lovely!

So apparently they aren't going to remember that their Mom helped them bake two different desserts for the dessert contest - because you know they could not possibly cooperate and make one dessert that the could enter together. They are going to remember that Mommy got mad and yelled.

We went to the playdate. We went to church for my meeting. We came home. We had quiet time and then Rehm and Charlotte washed the dishes from the baking session. I found a great system for this too. Rehm got to wash. Charlotte got to rinse and inspect Rehm's washing job. If it wasn't clean she got to make him re-wash. After the dishes were washed, Rehm wiped the counters and water off the floor while Charlotte sharked (cordless vacuum - couldn't live without it). Then we all went upstairs and watched Wipeout while we all folded laundry.

Are you tired yet. I now need to go make myself at least partially presentable. Wake the little girls. Take the kids to church to meet Michael. Do a little bit of work and rush to a girl's dinner I have tonight. Then when I get home I need to get ready for the twins birthday which is tomorrow.

If I'm not in a straight jacket by the end of the week you might get another update on our crazy life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Firsts at Micky D's

We had a play date today at McDonald's with some dear friends. If you have known me since my pre-kid days you are giggling right now and remembering that I swore my kids would never eat at McDonald's. I've never had a problem with fast food but I have never liked McDonald's. I don't like their burgers. It goes back to childhood. I didn't like anything on my burger and it didn't matter how many times we went there and asked for plain burger they always put onions on my burger anyway. And the onions at McDonalds are so tiny it is impossible to pick them off. Thus my lasting hatred for the restaurant. This was way back in the day when McDonald's didn't have McNuggets. So there was no alternative to a burger. I remember when they first introduced McNuggets. Man, I must be getting old.

Anyway, I have found that the Micky D's close to my house has a nice air conditioned playscape and a restroom located in the playscapy area. Having small children this is the perfect place for a playdate. Everyone is contained. Everyone is occupied. Restrooms are close at hand. I can actually visit with a friend and my kids have a blast. It is the best of all worlds. And they have gotten much better with their special orders as my picky child can even find something to eat there - he gets a cheese burger, no patty please, bacon instead, no condiments, no veggies. You should see the look on their faces when I order for him. They always look completely dumbfounded and most of the time they get it right. If not the first time, always the second.

OK, finally I'm ready to tell you about the firsts. Eliza got stuck in the playscape. She climbed way up to the top and couldn't figure out how to get down. The more the other kids tried to help her the more upset she got. Finally I had to climb up and help her get down. Let me tell you those things are not made for adults to be in. It is a good thing I'm not claustrophobic because it requires some fun manuvering to get around in there.

After my fun jaunt in the playscape everything was going great until Charlotte was running (which she should not have been doing) and ran into a little boy about a year old. She knocked him down. He hit a support column, knocking off a peice of wood moulding and then smacked the back of his head hard on the tile floor. I didn't see Charlotte run into him, I just turned in time to see his head hit the floor. He had a large knot on the back of his head. I felt terrible. Charlotte felt terrible. She appologized. I appologized. She had a time out for running.

This of course led me to the quandry of what was the right thing to do in this situation. Was there something else I should have done? Was my response appropriate? Was Charlotte's consquence enough?

Ah the joys of Micky D's

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Naptime Results

We put the girls down for their nap around 12:45. At 2:30 it was finally quiet. We decided they were getting up from nap at 4:00 whether they woke up on their own or not. This is what we found at 4:00.
No girls in their beds

Here they are. Sound asleep on the floor. They were none too happy about being woken up either.

They've been down for bedtime for about 45 minutes. Any guesses on how long it takes them to go to sleep tonight? We've decided as long as no one is screaming we are not going in their room. If they want to run around for hours and play they can. But come 7:00am they are getting up in the morning, whether they are ready or not.

Ugh, I have a feeling it is going to be a long week. Did I mention they are both starting to ask to use the potty? If you see me looking frazzled you'll know why.

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Big Girl Beds - Oh, My!

After Ruby launching herself out of her crib once and getting her legs stuck in the slats of her crib several times we decided it was time for big girl beds. I bought the beds on Friday and put them together on Saturday. We moved the cribs out and the new beds in. We also took out the changing table and chest of drawers - I know these girls and didn't want to pick up and refold every piece of clothing they owned twice a day for the next several weeks. Nor did I want anyone to decide to climb the furniture. And yes, these two would definitely try.

Ruby and Eliza Claire were so excited to get in the big girl beds. They just laughed and smiled. We put them to bed last night at 7:00pm. At 9:00pm they were still making noise. They weren't upset, they were just having fun playing. Finally about 9:30 it got quite. I checked on them in the middle of the night. They were both asleep shockingly they were in their beds and not curled up in front of the door or in the tent.

Goodnight, Ruby!

Goodnight, Eliza Claire!

As I type they are "napping," yeah right! They have been in their room for over an hour and have yet to get quiet! I'm giving them another half an hour and then they are getting up. Eventually they are going to get tired enough to actually sleep in their beds, right?

I swear Ruby would have been asleep 45 minutes ago if Eliza Claire, would stop bothering her for 30 seconds. And Eliza Claire would have been asleep if she would just stop moving for 30 seconds.

They will sleep, they will sleep, they will sleep. See if I repeat it enough times it will happen. If it doesn't, someone may have to get me some medication!

PS Thanks Grandma, Grandpa, Cici and Papa for the beds! We really do love them. Seriously, they are great!

Mayborn Planetarium

Ruby and Michael ready for the show

Rehm's cub scout troop took a field trip to the Mayborn Planetarium in Killeen, TX on Saturday. Rehm and I were the only ones of our family that had been to a planetarium before. I've been to the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, NC several times and Rehm has been to the planetarium at SciWorks in Winston-Salem, NC.

Rehm checking out the day/night cycle of the Earth

We had a fun trip. Ruby could not be quite so she had to leave early. Charlotte had a terrible time sitting still but made it through the show. Rehm wasn't sitting with us but said he enjoyed it. After the Cowboy Astronomer show we went into the lobby and looked at the few exhibits they had. Rehm loved looking at the revolving globe that showed the day/night cycle. He was completely mesmeroized by it. He also got to touch a rock from space.

Rehm touching a rock from space

Rehm's favorite thing about the trip to the planetarium was seeing the movie. Charlotte's favorite thing was that the movie told you how the cowboy grew up.

It made me want to drive out in the country and find a quite spot to lay and stare at the sky. It also made me want to learn the constellations again. I learned 20 or so in 8th grade sciene (thanks Mr. Loomis) that I could easily identfy from my back yard. Now I'm doing good to find Orion and the Big Dipper. Maybe in my spare time I'll take up astronomy. Ha!


Look at that Knot!

This is the result of Charlotte and Rehm running for a balloon at the same time. Charlotte definitely got the worst of it. Rehm just had a small red spot. They both screamed like they had been mortally wounded. Almost 24 hours later and Charlotte is still complaining that her forehead hurts. I honestly don't know if it truly still hurts or she just enjoys the attention. Knowing Charlotte...well I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mad Scientists

It has been an awesome week at VBS!

Power Lab rocked. My kids had a great time and learned something to boot. Aha!

This week in the process of learning about Jesus they made bouncy balls, slime, plates, and picture frames.

They got to do science experiments everyday.

They had water day. They danced. They sang. They had a blast!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Daddy Day

You want me to do what?

Finding another clue

We couldn't celebrate Father's Day on Sunday because I had to work all day getting ready for VBS which started Monday. So we sent Michael on a scavenger hunt around the house to collect all the wonderful things the kids made for him and to find his present on Friday. Don' you just love the tie decoration Rehm made for him? It came with a book Rehm made all about his dad. My favorite thing in the book was "If my dad could go anywhere he would go home." I'm glad to see that our kids know the place we most want to be is with them. When Michael finally found his present, he was pleasantly surprised to find out it was a eight person tent. I guess that means I actually have to go camping again sometime...

My kids are truly blessed with a GREAT dad. Happy Father's Day!
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Cheese, Please!

Today we went to Sam's to pick up several items we needed. Ruby was riding in the main basket of the cart. At some point Charlotte said "Mom, look what Ruby's doing with the cheese!" I looked down to find Ruby gnawing on a two pound block of cheddar! Look closely and you will see the bite marks. She is a very determined little girl. Oh and you should have heard the indignant screams when Mommy took her prized cheese away!

Papa Socks!

Ruby, Charlotte, Rehm, Eliza Claire

This is a phrase we hear daily in our house right now. Grandma and Grandpa went to Alaska an brought socks back for all four kids. We decided these should be their "sleeping socks." Every night when it is bed time Ruby and Eliza Claire start running around saying "Papa socks, Papa socks!" over and over and over. They do the same thing as soon as we walk in their room in the morning.

It is amazing that Grandma doesn't get any credit for these socks because I'm sure Grandpa really was responsible for finding just the right pair for each kid.

Going to the Gym

Well, since school has been out for everyone I have been going to the gym regularly. However, several of my friends are giving me a hard time about it. You see most days I don't actually work out, I work!

This is the deal. For the summer I have no regular childcare lined up. Through the gym I am allowed two hours of childcare each day. I can't leave the building but that is OK because there is free WIFI available in the Cafe. So I put the kids in childcare and go to the cafe and work.

The last few weeks I've been getting ready for VBS. Ocassionally I take a day and work out and yesterday a friend caught me taking a day off from it all and reading a novel! This is the cheapest regular childcare I can line up.

Maybe after VBS is over I'll be able to work out at least a couple of the days I'm there.

PS I LOVE my gym (Lifetime Fitness) if you have one near you I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cute Things Heard Around My House

Eliza Claire
Oh Man! (said with lots of feeling)
I see doggie!
Baby happy
Liza want more ______ (insert whatever Liza wants)
Liza needs go night night!
Liza go outside! Blow bubbles!

Eliza's Nighttime Prayer
Thank you Mommy
Thank you Daddy
Thank you Eem
Thank you Charla
Thank you BB

We have always prayed with both girls and given them time during the prayer to add their own things. For the last few nights as soon as I start praying this is what Eliza says, instead of the random babbling she used to say.

Oo ah, oo ah (her word for monkey)
Don't know
Wan sum! (want some)
Hold you, Mama.
Peas! (Please)
Isick! (her word for music. Heard every time you turn the car radio to an adult station or off)

Favorite Books - I highly recommend these to anyone with toddlers. I need to video story time with these, my girls have made them quite interactive.

Bunny and Me
Sam's Cookie - there is a whole series of Sam books that are all adorable, this is the only one we actually own. Ooh, I need to remember that for their birthday - Sam's Potty might be perfect for them.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Dance Recital

Last Sunday was Charlotte's dance recital. She was so excited. On Saturday we had the dress rehearsal and went on a special date just the two of us afterward. She thought the costume and getting to wear make up and having special time with Mommy were all wonderful. She was so excited for the actual performance. Her dance teacher has had a hard year and thus was not able to teach a significant portion of they year. Thus her class had various substitute teachers. I think it shows in the routine as none of the girls knew it well. I told Michael what Charlotte lacked in skill she sure made up for in personality! Isn't she just adorable?

At the moment Charlotte is saying she does not want to take dance in the fall. She is trying to decide if she wants to do gymnastics or soccer. So this may be our last dance recital for a few years.

If you can't see the slide show click here to view the pictures.

Rehm's Favorite Number

At dinner tonight Rehm wanted to know what Michael's favorite number was. After Michael answered he asked Rehm what his favorite number was.

Michael: What is your favorite number?

Rehm: Zero

Michael: Why is zero your favorite number?

Rehm: Because it is the number that separates the negative from the positive.

Michael was really blown away with this response. And my very optimistic husband decided he really liked Rehm's reasoning.

Lots of updates coming soon.

Do you see it?

No not the weeds in my yard, though after seeing this picture I definitely need to add weeding the flower beds to my to do list. Do you see our newest "pet?" The lizard sitting on top of the statue. That is Leah and "she" has decided that our front flower bed is home.

For a few weeks now every time we walked in or out of the front door we could hear scurrying in the bushes and knew "something" was living in there but could never see what it was. Then for a few days we would catch a glimpse of a tail. At that point we knew it was some kind of lizard but still didn't know what kind. At that point Rehm was concerned that Leah might be a gila monster. We assured him that our new pet was definitely not a gila monster and that he didn't need to worry.

In the last few days we've have started to learn where Leah likes to sun herself and have been getting to know her a little better. After comparing our pictures to ones we found online we think she is a Texas spiny lizard. We are anxious to see how long she resides with us and how big she gets. Her body is probably 4 to 5 inches long and tail and all she is probably 8 or 9 inches. As long as she doesn't get in the house she is welcome to stay as long as she wants.
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Saturday, June 07, 2008


The evening of my frustrating afternoon on the phone about the vacuum cleaner I went to the actual store so I could deal with a real live person. With in five minutes of getting there I had a manager agree to give me a brand new vacuum to replace my broken one. In the process of getting the actual vacuum I met the person I had been talking to when my phone died. He was very nice and very helpful and had been trying to find a way to figure out who I was to get in touch with me. He was very glad I had come in and the store was giving me a new vacuum.

So with a little annoyance and a lot of insistence I now have a nice shiny new vacuum. I'm taking bets on how long this one will last. The manager that agree to replace it did urge me to buy the protection agreement because she said they "would not replace it again." I told her that was fine if it broke again I just wouldn't buy that brand the next time but I wasn't investing anymore money on this one. I did ask her if she would include the protection agreement since she wouldn't refund the money for my repair that never got done. Her response was "Ma'am, I'm giving you a new vacuum." I decided I better not push my luck.

I did just this week buy a new dishwasher and I did look at the store the vacuum came from but did not buy there as the other place I was looking had cheaper delivery and installation. So I might shop there in the future but I guess time will tell. Well and how long the vacuum lasts this time!

Now if I can just get the hospital to quit sending debt collectors after me for a bill from when the twins were born that was paid by insurance (I have a copy of the cashed check!) I'll be a happy camper. Every time I send the documentation to the debt collectors they just have a different debt collector contact me. I guess they think I'll eventually get tired of fighting them and pay it. Apparently they don't know who they are dealing with yet :) But man am I tired of wasting my time dealing with this.