Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not THAT peanut

First two things:
1) We use correct names for our anatomy around here. No "hoo-hoo" or "weenie" or whatever - we call them by their proper names.
2) We don't tend to use "peanut" as a pet name - probably because Caris is deathly allergic so "peanut" doesn't seem all that endearing.

I changed Canaan's diaper the other day and once I was all done I said, "what's up, peanut?" Canaan looked at me for a second and said, "huh?" I repeated: "what's up, peanut?" He pointed to his diaper zone and said, "that one? Peanut?" I literally LOL, emphasis on loud.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Picture Overload

It's so heartwarming to see my Dad interacting with my daughter - like reclaiming a bit of my own childhood.

Oh my GOSH I love my kids. :*) We were leaving for my Dad's on Christmas Day in this picture. We looked high and low and couldn't find the shoes that went with Caris' dress so she wore boots. LOL

Have you ever played Mexican Train? It is FUN!

I was telling Graham this year that the year he was born, he was 3 weeks old on Christmas Day. That year, when we went to my in-laws' house, I laid him on their couch, put a big ol' santa hat on him, and snapped a picture with a throwaway camera. As I told him this, I wished I had kept up the tradition every year. Better late than never!

Caris, soooo sweet in the little church performance. The kindergarten class told the story of Jesus' birth, each child speaking a line. Caris' was "a King would be". So precious!

Canaan is one cute boy - but can you see his rascalian look here? This is the expression he has when he wants to do something he's not sure I'll let him do. "hold it?" "have it?" etc.

Weight Watchers week 4! Down 4.2 pounds this week for a total of 12 so far. 62 to go!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


When my Grandma went to be with the Lord eight months ago, she left a hole here on Earth. We miss her so much. Sometimes it's the big things, like Christmas, and remembering all the ways she made it special. Other times it comes in a fleeting moment - just some small way she impacted my life. Some of these memories make me smile. Some make me laugh. Some bring stinging tears to my eyes.

Right after she died, I wondered to myself whether I would actually want to leave such a big hole. Would I want my kids and grandkids to miss me so desperately?

I realized something today, though. Yeah, my Grandma left a hole. A huge one. And when I think of her, sometimes I feel sad. But then there's this: impact. She didn't really leave a hole, did she? She taught us all so much through her love, her laughter, her way of doing life. In a big way, she made my Mom who she is - she made my sister and my brother and I who we are. Her ways have trickled down through three generations already.
That's not a hole. That's a life's purpose - fulfilled. Still, if I ask the Lord to hug my Grandma this Christmas season and tell her that I miss her hands, her sparkling eyes, her sweet words, her singing next to me in church, her juice in the morning, her green beans, her egg basket, her green thumb? If I ask Him to let her see me singing her lullabies to my children at night, to see me bouncing them the way she used to? I think it's ok to cry a little.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fanatical Friday

Who's fanatical? What are we fanatical about? Is fanatical even a word? Anyway, here's our week in review:

Canaan wasn't sure about the big ol' tree in our living room at first. I'm sure he wondered what in the world we were up to now, and he didn't like the "sharp" feeling of the needles. We encouraged him that it's ok that there's a tree and it isn't really sharp, just a little poky, and he likes it now.

Here I am on Week 1 of this WW journey . . .
and here I am now, week 3, down 3.2 more pounds for a total of 7! Yay! My bodyguard back there is fierce-looking, isn't he?

Just - you know, toddler cuteness.

Caris was in a play this last week called Christmas Around the World and she represented Belgium: "Christmas breakfast in Belgium is a special sweet bread what's called coognoo. The shape is s'posed to be like the baby Jesus." How cute was she?? Oh my gosh. And by the way, my Mom - GORGEOUS!!

Canaan entertaining himself while he waited for the play to begin.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Squeamish Reptile Update

I wonder if there's a way for non-reptile-lovers to opt out of my reptile posts. I understand the need to not hear about them. I would not be housing reptiles if it weren't for the passion of my second-born son.

So last night was the opening night of Caris' Christmas play, and it was great. Totally delightful. Alif and the boys stayed home since they are all going to attend tonight's performance.

When I got home, Alif pulled me aside. He had some bad, bad news. Nancy had had an accident. I'm sure you can see where this is going. She has lost her tail. The accident was caused by a child. Let's just say that I had 10 points left to eat for the day and I was so not hungry.

Once I got Canaan to bed I signed on and did some research about gecko tail loss, and I found a lot of information. Apparently it's really, really common. I got tips on how to care for her and passed that along to the boys and they did exactly what I told them to do.

Poor Nancy. Who knew my heart could hurt so much for something so disgusting?

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Friday Again

Warning, reptile pictures ahead. Ok, you've been warned!

Meet Nancy, so named after the Fancy Nancy books, since she's very colorful. Please, take my parenting advice here, ok? DO NOT GET YOUR CHILDREN REPTILES AS PETS. You see Nancy there - she's really cute. Do I want to hold her? No, I do not. But she's pretty cute to look at. Don't even let her cuteness fool you. Lizards = somewhat cute. Their food = DISGUSTING. I won't even go into it, to spare you the grief, but they eat live insects, ok? It's gross. So gross.
Here I am at the end of Week 1! I lost 4.6 pounds! Hip-hip-awaaaaay! They changed things up this week and now I have fewer points per day than I did last week, but it seems realistic to me and still pretty darn generous. I really did not feel deprived this last week at all, just like I needed to pay attention to what I was eating. I laughed today when I calculated the point value of these cookies I'd been eating all the time before I started WW and they are three points each. Ohhhh my gosh. LOL So ok, I look awful in this picture but there it is, week 1! Thank you for being so supportive of me!!

Last week when I dropped the kids off at enrichment classes, Caris' first period teacher pulled me aside. She was asking questions about her peanut allergy and the more I told her, the more uncomfortable she became. I don't blame her - Caris' allergy is very stressful. Bottom line, she asked if I would keep Caris with me during 1st period because it was a baking class and there was a lot of stuff with nuts. So after I walked her to her second class I grabbed this picture of Canaan with a sleigh on the museum grounds.

But during period 1, Caris, Canaan, Alif & I watched Graham's puppet show. It was so cute!! Here's Graham peeking out before the show started.

Oh - here's Miss Piggy, so named because though she's quite a lot smaller than Nancy, she can really EAT!! And that is all I will say about that. You're welcome.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

WW Day 3

I'm on day 3 of Weight Watchers!! DAY THREE! Go ahead and laugh but this is a major accomplishment, sister. I really cannot wait to weigh in on Friday, and if I haven't lost at least 2 pounds I will be one unhappy camper. Last time I did WW I lost 7 pounds the first week. I would be shocked to have that sort of loss this time since I get an extra 10 points a day for nursing. I will have to see how it goes - if I'm not losing like I want to (2 lbs a week) then I'll have to cut out the extra nursing-mom points. Graham's birthday party was a challenge. We served chips, soda, cake, ice cream, cookies and candy. Yeah babuy. I had some of the candy and a piece of cake, which cost me a total of 15 points. Not that bad for a special occasion.

Speaking of Graham's Birthday party, here's the main man himself!

He had a nice little party! I wrote up a shhhedule a couple years ago that gives each child a big party and a little party on alternating years. With four kids, one starts to feel a little guilty inviting all the friends and family over every couple months for a party. I thought it would be good to change it up a bit so there are usually only 2 big parties a year. So this was his little party, and it was just lovely. He collects nutcrackers, so he chose a nutcracker theme. Sure made my decorating job SUPER easy!!

And to top it off, he seriously received all the gifts he'd asked for. He's wanted a lizard for years, so we got him a setup and he got a couple pet store gift cards. Alif & the big boys are out now procuring the creature. I'm sooo excited. :-X He got not one but two cool watches, not one but two awesome nutcrackers, a guitar, a book that looks right up his alley, fabric to sew with, money for a camera - he is really a happy little guy today. And nine - I'm still in disbelief.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Week in Review

Canaan rockin' the nerd glasses at Tony & Rabae's house for Thanksgiving dinner

Is it possible that Alif has boob envy after seeing me nurse our babies for the last 10.5 years? I have seen him trying to latch a baby on, after all - and not just once or twice, either. And let's not even wonder what my brother-in-law Tony is thinking here.

How happy do I look to have weighed in at a whopping 224 pounds at Weight Watchers today? Pretty dang happy, to be honest. It's my absolute highest ever, pregnant or not pregnant, and it's all down from here. My precious mother bought me a membership to Weight Watchers after we tried a TOPS meeting and it was less than motivational for us (though a very, VERY nice group of people). On our way to the meeting the kids were trying to get a picture of what it would be like, and Caris asked if it was going to be like Biggest Loser. I said it kind of would - I was thinking of weighing in, you know? And she said, "so will they drop you into water or anything?" I LOL and told her there wouldn't be any challenges or anything and explained what it would actually be like. It must have seemed pretty dull compared to Biggest Loser. My first goal is to lose 22 pounds - 10% of my body weight. That would put me below 200 which would be MOST motivational, I think. I will tell you that I sure have some bad habits to change. Last night I mentioned that to Alif and he asked what I meant. I said, "well, I'm used to eating whatever I want whenever I want - (laughing) I guess that's why I'm in this position to begin with." :-O Wish me luck!!

I just had to include this because it cracked me up. This is so not typical Caris! LOL

NINE (as of yesterday) year old Graham in the pajamas I made him yesterday.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Now voting is open at Exposaroonie, if you are inclined to check out (and vote for!) my photo. Thanks, friends!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Here we are last year . . .

And here we are this year! Thank you to Megan for starting this little porch picture tradition!
Happy Thanksgiving to all my bloggy friends!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beach Trip 2008

Last weekend we all piled in to a house my Dad and his wife rented - us, my sister & her family and my Dad & Georgia. We had such a wonderfully relaxing time! Lynette asked me what all we did and I was hard-pressed to come up with any specific answer. LOL "Umm . . . went down to the beach a couple times . . . hung out and talked . . . uhh yeah, that's about it . . . "

Canaan and Caris enjoying the sand

It really wasn't super warm out but the kids didn't mind

I love seeing my Dad play with my kids. He has an honorary doctorate in play.

Malachi and Graham weren't afraid to get in the COLD water. My Dad said next year we should rent wetsuits.

We walked a loooong way down the beach, and the whole way back
my Dad held Canaan's hand and let him walk in the waves

It all looks like good fun here but Alif was doing the usual heckling . . .

All my boys . . . how blessed I am!!

So pretty here, at the top of the beach access

My kids seriously love their cousin Christian

Oh - and I uploaded oooooone more picture, over at Exposaroonie. Wanna go vote for me?

Exposaroonie - Expose Yourself

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It hit me

Here are things that have hit me the past few days:

* I have let so many little things slide in my internet stupor. As I worked on deep-cleaning the dining room today, I found two patches that needed to be sewn onto Malachi's Awana shirt. He works hard for that stuff - it should be sewn on the week he earns them. I sewed them on today.

* Canaan does not babble any more. Did you have that with your kids, when you just woke up one day and realized that they didn't babble any more? So weird. I told Alif and he found this a lot less remarkable than I did. I think he basically said, "oh." LOL Anyway, Canaan's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, and a lot of what he says is not recognizable to anyone but us, but it definitely means something.

* A cold. I'm so thankful it's not a throwing-up sick or anything, and I do feel a lot better today than yesterday, but still - I'll be glad when it's over. Canaan has it too.

*This didn't really hit me per se, but I received a packet of information from Tourette Syndrome Association and it had a provider list of medical professionals who diagnose/treat TS. There was only one listed for my city so I called and made an appointment with him. It's in January, so a ways off but at least we're on the books. I asked Graham before I made the appointment and he said he'd like to go. I asked what he would like the doctor to do and he said, "make the tics stop." Not sure it will be that simple but we'll see.

*Caris is officially a reader. She can sound out simple words, and she read me her first book today - the Bob book "Sam". You know - Sam sat on Mat. That sort of thing. I am so proud of her.

*Another non-themed note: Graham told me today that if we're not going anywhere it makes our day boring. LOL

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cleaning House - God's Way

I had a bit of a parenting crisis last night. When I put the boys to bed, I had them tidy up their room. As they did so, I noticed a tiny little saw, like the kind meant for pumpkin carving. I knew that had not been in there the day before when we crazy-cleaned their room, so I asked about it. They lied.

I don't know about you, but when my kids lie, all bets are off. It's the one thing that sends me completely over the edge, and for good reason - God has a lot to say about liars, and none of it is flattering.

I went over the edge. I really did. I kept asking them and kept taking things and privileges away every time they lied, so half an hour later the little that was left in their room after Saturday's purge was gone and they were to sleep on the floor with a blanket and a pillow. My stomach hurts just thinking back on it.

I came out to the living room and e-mailed my Mom. She came quickly to the rescue, talking me down from my ledge and insisting that I get my boys off the floor and deal with the problem, then put them to bed in their nice, cozy beds. It was hard to swallow my pride - I was afraid of looking like a wishy-washy Mom - but God took care of it. The guilty boy confessed close to midnight and we all went to bed and had a good sleep.

This morning we returned the stolen item to the store and the security office there gave my son a very good talking-to. God had all the details covered.

My Mom said something last night, in the middle of the mayhem, that was straight from the Lord. She said that it sounds like God is doing some house cleaning. She reminded me of a problem we had a couple weeks ago - Caris & I had just cleaned out her room and she was suddenly really scared at night and couldn't sleep. I joked with my Mom that maybe she just wasn't used to her room looking so nice. Later that night, though, Alif said that when he went in to get Canaan in the middle of the night, he felt uneasy in their room, like something wasn't right in there. I prayed over the room several days in a row and there haven't been any problems since.

Then my computer broke, and my online time was and still is far, far less than it was before. And now this with my boys.

God knows what he's doing. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, He says, and that's true. How wonderful a feeling it is, though, to know that He cares so desperately about the details of our lives. That he's not content to let me raise my kids under the oppression of an internet addiction. That they mean far too much to Him to let them slide under the radar with misbehaviors that could blossom into a lifetime of pain.

I am so thankful that He never gives up on me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I don't know whether to cry or cry harder

Graham had soccer practice this morning and Alif took both the big boys, so I decided to tackle their disgusting room. I planned to throw and give away a lot and I just wanted to do this without them in there complaining about it. Caris was my big helper and in return I told her she could have any change we found on their floor. LOL

Their room was awful. Seriously, I don't know how it gets so outrageously bad without my noticing. Here is a partial list of contraband items I found in their room after cleaning literally all day long.

Pens from Alif's desk
Wood filler
Crayons - tons of them.
A $50 compass (the kind that you use to draw circles)
A racy game from my bedroom (don't worry, we'd never played it - but geez.)
Candy wrappers
Electronics that we were missing

Now we're on Sunday . . .
You get the idea. It was such a long day. I am glad to have cleared out their room but guess what? I am literally sore from all that cleaning. I told Alif that if that isn't a sign that I need more exercise I don't know what is.

Soccer and Sleep

Malachi likes soccer. A lot. Well, he likes playing soccer. He doesn't like, sit around watching the spanish station and shouting, "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL" or anything.

He's played AYSO since he was 5 and for the last year or two he's been asking if he could play club. We have not looked into this at all. We figured that he's still really young and we are not of the mind that we need to have our kids in the best sports at young ages so they can get scholarships and blahblahblah. We like them to play sports, they like to play them, but we are not all about being consumed by our kids' schedules.

This year he was asked to play on a club team that needed players. We were so tempted but declined since it would have made our already-hectic schedule even busier. It would also have meant possible conflicts with the AYSO team he was already on, and that never seems like a fair situation to us.

Well, then an opportunity came up for him to play on this club team just for one weekend, in one tournament. We went to practices, got him the socks & shorts he needed . . . and very last-minute, the coach called to tell us that something went wrong with Malachi's registration and he was so sorry but Malachi can't play.


Malachi took it like a man and didn't even complain, but he was definitely disappointed, as were we. We reminded him that there's a reason these things happen, and maybe God is protecting him from something that we couldn't know about.

Nonetheless, Alif's going to spend some special time with Malachi today. Hooray for sweet daddies.

And in happy news, Canaan slept 10 hours last night. Hooray for sleep!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall is speeding by

It doesn't seem so long ago that soccer was just starting, I couldn't believe a new year of AWANA was upon us, and fall just seemed a long way away. Despite the beautifully sunny weather, fall is seriously in full swing! Yesterday we had a potluck with a group of homeschooling friends. There were crafts and food and friends and it was delightful. I used to hang out with some of these ladies years ago and drifted away, and seeing them again and feeling comfortable yesterday was such a coming-home feeling. Here's Caris making a handprint turkey, complete with feathers and googly eyes.

We had inside out and backwards night at Awana. Last year I wore my pants inside out and backwards and felt strangely on display all night, so this year I just wore my shirt inside out and backwards and left my pants normal.
Soccer was interesting last Saturday. Our first game was in the morning and we were uncomfortably warm in our long sleeves. We went home in between games, and I figured it would be even warmer in the afternoon so we dressed in short sleeves. Wouldn't you know, it completely clouded over and we were all freezing? I had to raid my trunk for a long-sleeved shirt for Canaan, which was a size 12 months and definitely too small. LOL

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Winner & Loser

BAND OF BROTHERS is the winner of the little bandage dispenser. E-mail me your address at and I'll send it on out!

My computer is still on the blehhhhhhhhhhhhh. I'm using Alif's laptop usually once a day and it is crazy how much less that means I am on here - it's been a very, very good thing.

I thought soccer was over last weekend but Graham's team went to the playoffs and Malachi joined a club team. Good thing we enjoy soccer - but I was really looking forward to a break.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bandages, anyone?

Do your kids think band-aids are really stickers? It doesn't matter how many boxes I buy, the kids can go through them in days if I don't hide them and/or keep an eagle eye on my stash. Then someone gets cut and oh, the tragedy, there aren't any band-aids! Ack! Anyway, sent me the most darling little band-aid dispenser. It would be perfect as a stocking stuffer, the diaper bag, the glove box, wherever you need a few bandages at your fingertips.

Leave a comment telling me what YOUR kids get into the most (or what your guilty pleasure was as a child!) and I'll enter you to win this cute little dispenser from - complete with a few bandages!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Portraits

Somewhere I read about a new photographer setting up business here in town. I checked out her blog and couldn't pass up her amazing price ($25 for a 30 minute session!) so I scheduled a little fall shoot. She posted a preview today!
I really can't say enough about how non-stressful this was. Candra was so sweet with my kids, taking her time, talking to them, getting to know them . . . she was very kind and patient and VERY obliging. She offered the kids candy as a reward for sitting for portraits and Caris goes, "I want one of these pumpkins!" (OMGOSH!!) Candra said, "sure, you can have one!" (NO, I didn't let her take it - boy that girl can be so BOLD!) Anyway, we all had such a good time and I can't wait to see the rest of the pics!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Life Lately

This is my nephew Cole. He's four years old. I asked if I could take his picture and this is what he did. He's so cool.

Here's the dessert the kids & I made for my mother-in-law Juanita's Halloween party. Graham made the "fence", Caris made the scarecrow, Malachi made the haystacks & then he & I stacked the pumpkins all around.

My Mom invited me over for dinner when Megan was in town last week. She made us THE CUTEST drinks - PINK hot chocolate in these adorable cups, with pink & white jelly beans in the drink and on the plate, whipped cream and pink sugar. Do you think we are just a little bit excited that my Mom's breast cancer treatments are OVER?

I took Canaan along with me to dinner at my Mom's. He was playing here and being so silly.

Here's the gang after pumpkin carving at the party. Top Canaan & Malachi, bottom cousins Cole and Brea, Caris, Korean friend #1, Graham, Korean friends #s 2 and 3 (I'm sorry, I forget their names).

Christian & Canaan, both in the pajamas Grandma bought them and both thinking Christian's sippy is quite intriguing.

I love sleeping babies. And toddlers.

Look at the smile on this kid's face. Do you think they just won a big game? They did not. They have, in fact, lost EVERY game of the season by a landslide. I absolutely LOVE that my boy has such a good attitude. He is competitive and one of the best players on his team, and he really wants to win. But if they don't, he still smiles. He is a very good sport.

I am SO GLAD that this phase seems to have died down. For a while, I found Canaan in the refrigerator like this no less than 10x a day. It was enough to make a mommy batty!

This was Bible hero dress-up night at Awana. Caris was Mary and I was Sarah. Graham and Malachi didn't dress up - party poopers! I stopped to pick up one of Malachi's teammates, whose mother I had never met. I thought she probably wondered where I was taking her son . . .

Malachi with his long locks. He decided that he wanted it cut - SHORT. I like it better long.

Speaking of long, it is so much fun to style Caris' hair! I asked Alif if he liked this one and he said, "It's different!" LOL

Malachi and Graham were on a BIG sewing kick. Malachi made 4-5 awesome pillowcases.

This little boy makes my heart melt!!
And now the post that I had started before I uploaded pics and Blogger would only let me put them up top:

Let me start by saying that my computer is dead. Or sick. I don't know what's wrong with it but for now I basically only have access to Alif's laptop, and that pretty much only during naptime. It's really kind of a good thing. I needed less time online. Well, my family and home needed me to have less online time. Now we're thinking of getting me a laptop. A Mac, actually. Would that be called a Macbook? I'm clueless.

I made the best dinner EVER last night. It was also my first time ever cooking with alcohol. Concidence? Hmm. Here's the recipe - I hope I'm not forgetting anything. It's from Everyday Food magazine.
Irish Beef & Stout Stew
beef cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup flour
12 oz tomato paste
2.5 pounds new potatoes (the white ones)
2 cans beef broth
1 can (12 oz) irish stout
2 medium onions, cut into 1" pieces
10 cloves garlic, sliced
20 oz frozen baby peas

Toss beef with flour in a big pot. Stir in tomato paste, then everything else except peas. Bring to a boil. Move to a crockpot on low for 4-5 hours. Add in peas & let heat through for 15 minutes or so. OH SO GOOD!!