Monday, December 28, 2009

The travel gods

Yes they have it out for us....those darn travel gods. Either that or someone has a travel voodoo curse out on us. I'm just sure of it.

If you're not convinced, here's a few to persuade you:
1. Bandit running away when we went to Europe (Summer 2004)
2. Bandit running away when we took him to Kentucky (Dec. 2004)
3. Running into ice on our first road trip to Kentucky...took 3 days instead of 2 and missed Christmas Eve with the family (Dec. 2004)
4. Missed our flight cut off time at the curb side check-in by 5 minutes and they wouldn't let us check in even though the flight hadn't left (and we waited over an hour) and stuck in the airport with a 15 mo. old (Nolan) for 12 hours (Dec. 2006)
5. Flight canceled coming back from Folly Beach, SC and had to stay an extra night and leave at 4 a.m. and missed a day of mandatory training for my work.

And, that's just a few...not all of them!  This year, we had the bags packed, ate a leisurely breakfast - it was wonderful! Campbell wouldn't touch his banana which he usually eats in .95 seconds on any other normal day. Then he wouldn't stop drinking his milk...I means two cups of milk. That should have been my first clue but I was just in my 'let's make sure we catch the plane' mode so I just gave him a huge bowl of blueberries. Our neighbor graciously drove us to the airport in our van so we wouldn't have to worry about parking, etc. We left three hours early (lesson learned from Christmas 2006). We're about 3/4 of the way there when Campbell spits up a little bit...weird since he's outgrown that stage, but no big deal. Well, moments later it's followed by a huge finale of breakfast...blueberries and all! We pull into the closest gas station and strip him in the parking lot.

Pop Quiz: Who are you feeling most sorry for now? 

A. Me as I'm the one cleaning down the screaming toddler in the filthy bathroom with no soap or paper towels after carrying him in the freezing cold to the bathroom in just his diaper.
B. Justin as he's the one trying to hose down the car seat in the gas station parking lot only to find out that the hose is frozen and has to walk down to a tire and lube station to use their hose while it splatters all over his shoes and pants.
C. Our neighbor who is completely second-guessing his choice to be neighborly and give us a "quick" ride to the airport?
D. All of the above

If you answered "D"...all of the above, you passed the quiz. Thank goodness we had a suitcase full of spare clothes and changed him in a jiffy. Since the car seat was soaked and had seen better days we had to get the airport fast but couldn't put him back in the drenched seat. So Justin drove super cautiously as I buckled both of us's not like we carry a spare car seat! It was only about a 5-10 minute drive but a very nervous and windy one since the windows were down.

Thankfully that was the most eventful thing that happened. I think I might have prayed, "Please God don't let him throw up on the plane," at least 50 times before we boarded. Apparently, it worked! Every gurgle and cough made me a nervous wreck though. When we arrived, we definitely gave everyone a hug from a distance.

I feel just awful that our neighbor had to endure not only that but then DRIVE our car home! He was so nice and he's a marine and said that he's seen worse but I'm not so sure...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

God is great

I wish that I could just put him in a bottle and save him at this stage (well most of the time). Look at those chubby little "pray hands." God is truly great!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I told Nolan the other day that we get to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus soon and he said ever so excited, "Is He going to be at our house?" Then I came with my head full of wisdom (or so I thought) and said, "No honey, he's in heaven but He's going to be in our hearts." Nolan responds and says, "He already is, mommy." Who's supposed to be teaching who again?

Then he proceeded to tell me how Jesus is in the bones of his heart. That made me feel a little better.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Family photo shoot

Usually when I have a brilliant idea to take family pictures or even pictures of the boys, it involves taking about least 30-50 photos (possibly more) to get a decent one of all of us. Couple weeks back I wanted to get a family photo of all of us to put in our Christmas card. I was preparing mentally for the beat down that was about to begin but as I've learned in the past, beat downs are just part of this stage with young kiddos.

We get the tripod set up and for the first time in history, we got "the" shot on the first try! Justin and I couldn't believe it. What are the chances? Campbell's not smiling but who cares...everyone is looking at the camera! Do you know how hard that is? Last year Justin had to photoshop Nolan's head from another photo because we just couldn't get everyone to look at the camera at the same time.

Then Campbell started having a ball with the camera...he's discovered the digital camera. He would pose and then run to the camera to see his picture and it worked! He kept wanting to take more pictures! So just for fun (really it was fun!) we took some more photos of the boys. These are a few of my favorites. Nolan is really into this photography stage now and took a lot of these shots. Not too bad for a 4 year old. He's getting a kid camera this Christmas and we can't wait for him to play with it.

Nolan took this one!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We are Santa's Elves

Ho ho ho
Ho ho ho
We are Santa's elves.
We are Santa's elves
Filling Santa's shelves
With a toy
For each girl and boy.
I could recite the entire song for you maybe even when a little dance but I'll spare you the agony. If you're a parent of a 4 year old you know this song by heart. I'm referring to the soundtrack from Rudolph the Red Nosed know the claymation from 1964? What a classic. It's one of the many movies in our holiday collection.

Let's back I must admit that I've begun a little obsession in our son. I'm not sure if it was when we elfed ourselves or if it was Pickles from Elf on the Shelf but something definitely started Nolan's love with elves this year. He kept telling me that he wanted to be an elf for Christmas but I just shrugged it off kind of when he said he wanted to be Wolverine for the Christmas pageant, but this time he wouldn't let it go. So I casually mentioned it to my mom. Well when it comes to costumes, nothing is casual in conversation with my mother. She loves any opportunity to work on a costume for the kids. I mean look at their costumes from the Christmas pageant! She ran all over town and pieced together this costume. Nolan went nuts for it and I mean literally he went a little crazy. So far we've worn it for 5 days straight. Don't worry, I got a washing in there somewhere when he spilled yogurt on it (with a little meltdown, of course). As soon as he put it on we were in the car and he started making DJ requests immediately for We are Santa's Elves and he was singing that and Have a Holly Jolly Christmas at the top of his lungs. It was really hard for me not to die laughing. He is #1 when it comes to having Christmas spirit.

He even wore it to church on Sunday after he swore he would be so good in it. Everyone asked if there was a Christmas program at church that morning. Nope, he just likes to dress up like an elf!

We went to visit Justin at lunch today and he said on the way, "I think Daddy's friends are going like my costume." Well they loved it. All these people at Alcon were stopping and taking his picture. It reminded me of the movie Elf when Will Ferrell visits his dad at work and he thinks he's there to give him a Christmas gram.

But the ultimate is when he said with such sincerity, "I've always wanted to be an elf for Christmas. I love Grandma." Now if we can only get him to put it away after Christmas...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rudolph cupcakes

es, We're on a roll...a cupcake roll that is. Minus the baseball birthday cupcakes, I'm on my way to redeem myself with the past two attempts to make adorable cupcakes (spider cupcakes at Halloween). These are the recent ones we made for Nolan's Christmas party at school. Almost too cute to eat, right? Almost.

They call me the fireman

Monday, December 21, 2009

Get your holly jolly on...

We've been going to our church now for about 6 years and for about 4 of those years I think we might have been the only young couple that was actively involved. We love our church, don't get us wrong, but we were a little concerned that the boys were getting older and the only ones in the nursery. Well with much prayer, boy have things changed in the past 6 months. We have a new minister, Rob Morris, and we just absolutely adore him. He does have three kids of his own so it helped double our children attendance immediately!

Because he's so funny and popular word got out and more and more young families are joining which makes us so excited! We actually have Children's Church now! And let me tell you since I'm one of the teachers, they are a lively group of kiddos! I usually need a nap on those Sundays. Nolan absolutely LOVES church and gets so excited about going...nothing could make me happier.

We're starting to meet once a month or so sometimes with kids and sometimes for some adult time with just the parents. This month, Justin and I volunteered to plan, and we went downtown so the kids could see Santa and then headed to the church for a yummy Mexican meal...tamales, rice, beans, and some to-die-for sopapilla cake. It was perfect, we hooked the kids up with some movies and let them run wild while we played games, laughed and did a white elephant gift exchange.

I'm so excited about this new energy in our church and I can't wait to see what the future holds!
8 families showed totaling 15 kids (not all pictured)

just chillin' next to Santa in his sleigh
giving Santa some love
the family pic with SantaCampbell just taking it all in
the kids entranced with watching movies at church
can you tell they were having fun?

One of the many white elephant gifts...this one was ours. Hard to give that one up...not really

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All aboard!

We went to Grapevine, TX, the Christmas capital of Texas, and let me tell is! My brother-in-law David got us tickets for ride The North Pole Express. It was going to be a family affair but with Campbell sick last week, we decided to play it safe and I took Nolan with my parents. We just finished watching Polar Express and have been reading it at bedtime off and on this Christmas season to get in the holiday spirit.

They had a conductor and on the way to load up the train, they even made it snow. It's an old vintage train and Nolan ate it up. We sang Christmas carols and he was singing along right next to my mom who I think would watch Polar Express and read it to her students (she teaches 2nd grade) everyday if she could. Nolan was so cute and was looking for wolves just like in the movie when we were going on the train ride. On the way back, Santa came through our car and said hi personally to each boy and girl on the train. I couldn't hear what he asked him but Nolan said, "He asked me if I was happy." He was just smiling ear to ear. I think Santa got his answer.

Afterward, they had hot cocoa and the kids could make ornaments. We asked him if he wanted to come back next year and take Campbell and he said no. As sad as it was to not take Campbell with us, I think Nolan thought it was extra special because he got to experience it all by himself. I don't think he wanted to share it!
Nolan with the "conductor"
walking to the train in the snow
about to board with Granddad
made it on the train and all smiles
looking for the wolves like the book and movie
definitely a Christmas memory
just when it couldn't get any better...a special guest arrives
after the train ride with Grandma and Granddad

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Best (or worst) Christmas pageant ever!

Every year the boys do a Christmas pageant with their school. One of the many things I love about them going to a daycare in a church. It was very hectic getting there (just like always) and having the boys dressed and ready to go. Nolan has been going through a huge separation anxiety phase for the past week where he cries about missing me (another reason for mother's guilt). So when I dropped him off he was bawling and I just had a feeling he wasn't going to be very cooperative with the pageant.

Campbell was supposed to wear a red sweater but since he was going to be a sheep, I didn't want him to get overheated so I threw on an old ratty long sleeve t-shirt. Well, we forgot the sweater in the car and so Justin handed it to the director to put on Campbell.

So Campbell's class is the first out and he comes out in his ratty t-shirt but I'm just thinking they ran out of time to put it on him. I'm a little embarrassed that all the other kids are in their cute outfits and my child is up there in play clothes but not too big of a deal. He was precious singing Jingle Bells and ringing his bells.

Then Nolan's class comes out. Nolan comes on stage in Campbell's sweater!!!!! Apparently, there was a BIG miscommunication and they put Campbell's sweater on Nolan! YES... a 2T sweater on my 4 year old who's wearing a size 4 in little boys clothes because he's so tall. I can't believe they got the thing on his head. He looked completely ridiculous and he was pouting so bad. He refused to sing. I'm not sure if it was the separation anxiety or the fact that he couldn't sing because the sweater was too tight. He just sat on the stairs in his "mini t" while the others sang. It was so quiet in there that I could hear crickets chirping. The director said that Nolan is the loudest singer of them all and she wanted him to wear a Santa hat. Well I guess that was just for practice because he didn't sing a word! Look at how sad this picture is. You can tell he's just hating it being up there in that sweater!

Finally, it's time for the nativity scene. I think Nolan is so happy to hide that tight sweater that he was an awesome shepherd. Campbell came waddling down the aisle in his sheep costume and was so adorable that I couldn't stand it!

After the show, a special visitor showed up and the boys got a chance to sit in Santa's lap. I can't believe that Campbell didn't cry.

This is definitely a Christmas pageant we won't forget all because of that sweater! I told Justin to not be surprised if out family gets nominated for the angel tree after that pageant with our children and their clothes looking like ragamuffins!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Checking in with Pickles

Nolan had a bad day at school on Monday and there were some consequences. So he knew on Tuesday that it wasn't going to be pretty if he had another bad day. Thank goodness his teacher said he had a perfect day. He came home and I was in my room and overheard him talking to Pickles about his behavior.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009


My best friend, Angi, told me about Elf on the Shelf last year and I knew it sounded like a tradition that I wanted to start with our family. It's an elf that appears after Thanksgiving and he's Santa's helper and reports to the North Pole each night to tell Santa how the children in that house behaved for the day. You get to name your elf and Nolan decided ours should be named Pickles.

Each night Pickles is in a new spot to get a good look on things. Nolan looks forward to finding him each morning. Well, with our rather stressful week this week, we've forgotten a couple of times to move Pickles. Oops! It's only happened twice but we're usually scrambling for an answer really quick. So far we've said, that he was really tired from his last trip and had to take a break. Ok, so it wasn't the best answer but it was the quickest thing I could think of! On Christmas Eve, Pickles jumps into Santa's bag to live the rest of the year to live with Santa. Note to self: DON'T FORGET TO PUT UP PICKLES, DON'T FORGET TO PUT UP PICKLES!

Let me tell you, this Pickles thing works! Anytime we're having behavior issues, I'll say, "Pickles, are you seeing this?" And he'll immediately say, "But I want to be good!" His teacher said that when she has to get on to him at school that he says, "Sorry Pickles!" Now before you think we're scarring him for life with Pickles, we always reassure him what a good boy he is and that Pickles is making a really good report to Santa on him each night.

Only two weeks ago before we got Pickles, he said that he didn't really like elves (they are a little scary looking). Then once we got Pickles he's decided he wants to be an elf for Halloween next year. He does get to go to the North Pole every night. Can you blame him?

Friday, December 11, 2009

A day I'd rather forget...

WARNING: long drawn out dramatic blog post. Sorry, wish I could cut it short, but there was too much drama this week that I couldn't!

I don't even know where to start about this week. Monday was my birthday and it was so wonderful. My kids at school were great and the boys were extra good. Isn't that so sad that my mood and my day is all based on the behavior of all the children in my life? Sad, but true.

Wednesday was the day from hell and I'm not joking at all. We had an all day field trip and I mean all day. We went to Camp Carter with 100 5th graders to do outdoor learning. Sounds fun, right? Not when it's 24 degrees outside with a wind chill of about 12 in the morning. We didn't get back to school until 6:00 p.m. and I was beyond exhausted after our 2 hour hike and just being around that chaos for the entire day in the bitter cold. I told myself on the bus ride home, I was going to take a shower and head straight for bed.

Justin picked up the boys from school and had band practice at church so I went to pick them up from church. My mission was to get them in bed as soon as possible so I could follow right behind them. When I first saw Campbell he was coughing and sounded just awful. He had coughed throughout the night on Tuesday night but was really wheezing. Poor thing sounded like he smoked a pack of cigarettes. I thought about taking him to Carenow on the way home but knew that Justin would be right behind me so decided to wait until he got home. Justin saw how worn out I looked and volunteered to take him to the doctor. I ALWAYS am the one to take them, but Wednesday I was so exhausted that I didn't argue.

Fifteen minutes later, Justin calls and says very calmly, "Hey we're going to take Campbell to Cook's by ambulance because he's not getting enough oxygen." Good thing he was calm because I was SO not. We decided for me to drive to the hospital so we'd have a way home. By now, Nolan is in bed. I can't get a hold of my mom, dad, neighbor...let's just say that it wasn't one of my finer moments. Words were being said that I wasn't so proud of. Finally, I got hold of my neighbor and he ran over (thank goodness for them) and I beat the ambulance to the hospital. I had absolutely NO business driving myself but really had no choice. I SO do not have grace under fire. I called my sister, Tonya, to track down my mom but was so upset she could hardly understand me. Somehow she got a hold of them (they never answer their drives me crazy) and my dad ended up beating me to the hospital and my mom came 5 minutes later. So we're all at the hospital waiting for the ambulance to get there.

At Carenow, Campbell had really labored breathing and was at 94% oxygen. They like it to be at 98-99% and get really worried at 92%. They gave him a breathing treatment and oxygen on the ambulance ride and by the time he was at the hospital, he was breathing anywhere from 96-99% oxygen on his own. We spent the next 4-5 hours giving him breathing treatments, x-rays, and monitoring his oxygen. They diagnosed it as bronco-spasm wheezing. We asked the doctor what is all this and she said that basically it looks like he's going to have asthma. They don't like to diagnose children before the age of 2 with it though because Nolan was the same way (never quite this bad though) and now has outgrown it and hasn't had a breathing treatment for almost 2 years. So at 1 a.m they released us.

The worst part was just knowing that he was in an ambulance and that I wasn't there with him. Don't you know that I'm going to every doctor appt for the rest of his life. He's going to be so embarrassed when he's 30 and married and I'm still out in the waiting room.

He had another labored breathing episode on Thursday so we took him in to our pediatrician. I've learned it's better to overreact with him. I just showed up during her lunch hour and she saw us. So now we're on a slew of meds and doing breathing treatments every 2-4 hours around the clock. It's always fun wrestling an alligator 6-8 times a day...but hey, it's helping him so we'll keep doing it.

Thanks for everyone's prayers and concern. What a scare!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cookie monsters

I still have very vivid memories of baking cookies with my mom at Christmas. It was so much fun rolling the dough, cutting out the cookies and icing them. I think it might be why homemade iced sugar cookies are still my favorite cookies.

This year my sister, Tonya, and my nieces came over to join in the fun. We put on the movie Elf (another one of my favorites), and got started on some Christmas cookie fun. I was surprised at how Nolan really was into it this year. Last year, he liked it but was done after about 10 minutes. This year he was right in there with the dough rolling, cookie cutting, and icing them with the rest of them. The problem was trying to get the kids to not eat so many so we would have some left over for a few days for us all to share.

Campbell wasn't so much into the cookie making...he was more of a cookie taster. He's a smart kid, making everyone else do all the hard work and then delighting in the cookie goodness...I can't blame him! Before you judge too quickly, it looks worse than it really was. After he attacked the icing, he only ate half the cookie.
Rollin with Nolan
Look at that fine cookie artNolan helping with the icingGrandma in the kitchen with her grandkidsHe didn't know where to start. He couldn't get it in his mouth quick he started with his nose!Everyone was in the kitchen

the final works of art!


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