Thursday, January 28, 2010

Firefighters, Cowboys, and Lions Oh My!

Dress up has started to become common play around here. The most common of which is use of the firefighter coat and the cowboy hat. And yes sometimes at the same time on the same boy. :) Ian is starting to actually act out his play. Riding from room to room on his stick horse with his cowboy hat on. Using parts of my vaccum cleaner as a fire-hose to put of the fire. Turning blankets into capes and flying around the house as a super hero. Taking his drill, hammer and my clamp (which is used as a saw), putting on his hard hat and going to work fixing my house. The excitement never ceases around here. Cai is just beginning to show use of his creative and massive imagination. Mostly he like just putting on the hats and coats. But watching him in other areas such as making noises for his cars and trains, making animals noises when playing with the barn, taking care the baby doll. And cooking! Oh how that boy loves to cook for me. Sometimes in the boys' kitchen and sometimes in mine. It is no longer safe to assume my pots and pans are in the cupboard. Because more times than not they are scattered around the house. :D But the greatest joy of all is watching the boys slowly learn to play together. To share an activity. Although there is still plenty of screaming and frustration, they are truly beginning to play together. Such a gift for mama.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oh Kansas Weather

Kansas weather can be all over the place. And this week sure does follow that idea. Yesterday our high was 39degrees. Today we got up to 49 degrees Fahrenheit.
And tomorrow's high? Predicted to be 28 degrees. In fact Harvey Co in under a Winter Storm Watch till 6pm Friday. ARGG So because it is beautiful out today and because Ian desperately needed to get out of the house, we took advantage of the sun and warmer temperatures.
Despite the fact that I've lived in Kansas my whole life, it still feels odd to be outside with out my coat one day (I didn't check the weather today, so I have on one of my warmer sweaters and a coat on top is just too warm) to bundling the next. And in January no less. Weather whiplash. If I wasn't enjoying the warmer winter weather I just go crazy.


My sewing machine is fixed!!!! Yeah for repair shops and wonderful husbands who drop things off on their lunch break. We have a Singer repair shop in town. I just was having a hard time getting my machine, kids and self together to drop it off. Oh thank you Mark for doing it for me! Now that it is working properly again, I have a long list of projects I want to do. And yeah for me, one is complete! A curtain for Ian's window was on my to do list for awhile. Before we had an old blanket tacked up with thumb tacks. After we put plastic on our windows for the winter, we decided not to put of the blanket again. Thus pushing me to make a curtain. We took Ian to the local fabric store to pick out fabric. But unfortunately my machine was not working, so the fabric has sat in my dresser for a little over a month. But no more waiting. It's done. And if I do say so, looks good too. I had enough fabric to make two that would then open in the middle. But we decided that since just one fits so nicely over the window to save the fabric. Now I get to figure out what to make with the rest of it. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (Jan 25th)

So I'm finally starting to menu plan again. I actually had last week planned but never posted. Just not in the habit and it got away from me. But I'm determined to make meal planning a habit again. Life is just plain chaotic without it. I swear I run around the house like chicken with it's head cut off without a menu. It's not a pretty sight. So here is this weeks menu. If you see "freezer meal" it means one of the meals (soup, curry, etc) that we still have in the freezer. Yes we still have meals from when I both cooked before Aiden was born and that friends brought over. Big smile :) We use at least one or two a week. But I have been trying to cook some because truth be told I like it. I feel better when I cook at least a few times a week.

Tuesday: Wheat Spinach Strata
Wednesday: Church supper
Thursday: Salmon Broccoli Bake
Friday: Black Bean Lasagna
Saturday: Freezer meal
Sunday: Breakfast dinner
Monday:Veggie Burrito Bake

As always check out Organizing Junkie for more menus.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Goshen Christmas: The Gifts

I love gift exchanges. One of the many reasons I love Christmas is the gift giving. And I do mean giving. As much as I love getting gifts, and watching my boys get gifts, I get just as excited about giving gifts. I love getting something for someone else that they want and will enjoy. I love the watching others unwrap gifts. This year I felt very uncreative in my gift giving. I stuck mostly to want I know people wanted and nothing (with the exception of some dry soup mixes Ian helped put together) was homemade. But then again I had a new baby, so I guess I get a pass on being overly creative.
The boys got some great gifts this year. But especially some great handmade gifts.
Aunt Rachel, made this cute little elephant for Aiden,
And this awesome puppet theater with two animal puppets for Ian and Cai. My sister-in-law always amazes me with her creativity. Starting last Christmas she started making cloth gift bags for giving gifts. They are all very simple bags, but that fact that she takes the time is what I find impressive.
Above is one of the many bags she has sewn. And every time I see one, I think I should do that. But right now there seem to be other things on the list. Oh well, prioritize, that's how things happen, right?
As for Mark and I, we got some great gifts too. I was giving House of Testoesterone: One Mom's Survival in a Household of Males by Sharon O'Donnell and The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule. Both of which I'm very excited about. Mark got the book Shop Class as Soul Class by Matthew B Crawford. I've heard good things about this book and plan on stealing it from Mark as soon as he finishes it. (I'll be nice and let him read it first) I also got a gift card to Ten Thousand Villages which I think I'm going to use on a tea pot. I so want a teapot and they has a great one that will go nicely with my Blue Willow china. As per usual, I'm so grateful for the generosity and love behind the gifts we received.

Goshen Christmas: The music

Music is a big thing around our house. We constantly have music playing, are singing songs, or playing instrument, and sometimes all three at once. And luckily for us, this carries over to when we visit Grandma and Grandpa.Dancing in the living room is a common at least once throughout our stay. :) Always fun to watch (and videotape). Every year another boys joins in the fun of dancing. And we will have at least one more Christmas of this being true.
This year Uncle Eric made Ian a guitar for Christmas. This was most likely the favorite off all the gifts, maybe even over the train table, although maybe they are tied. Ian instantly started playing and singing as soon as he got it unwrapped.
I love that he insists on playing left handed. Although he is right handed in almost every way (sigh). I'm still holding out for Cai to be left handed with me.
While given to Ian, Cai gets as much pleasure out of this gift as Ian does. So much fun to watch. We may just need to beg Uncle Eric to make another for Cai. :)
The evening after our gift exchange, we were serenaded by guitar and banjo to the tunes of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jingle Bells, and other fun songs included some original compositions from our two little musicians. Uncle Eric has made our nephew a guitar for his birthday in November. It turned out looking more like a banjo, but I don't think Josiah minds. In fact the smaller instrument seems to fit better in his hands. Both interstments are personalized with the letter of there name on the top. :) So great! They make me smile. I'm so thankful for the creative work of gifts like these and for the people who take the time to make them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Goshen Christmas: The Snow

I love snow. I feel that if winter has to be cold then I want pretty snow to look at. Unfortunately Kansas is not know for getting tons of snow. Although we did have snow this year for Christmas. Even if it was only a light dusting. And we were fortunate enough for come home from Indian with snow on the ground. So today with our low 40s (which feels like a heat wave compared to single digits of last week) I am with sadness watching our snow melt away, revealing the all too familiar brown earth underneath. So I figured today would be a perfect day to start commenting on our trip to my in-laws. And what better place to start than with the lovely snow.I think it snowed for a major portion of our stay in Goshen. But my boys didn't seem to mind. They got lots of opportunities to play outside. And seemed to have lots of fun doing so.
Grandma had found two sled at a garage sale last summer. All three boys (Ian, Cai and my nephbew) loved it. Much time was spent with an adult dragging one or more of them on a sled around the yard. And even Ian dragging Cai. :) While most of the time the snow was not good for packing, New Year's Eve it was perfect. So Ian went out with Grandpa, his uncle and his cousin to build a snowman. It was quite the undertaking, making a snowman with two little boys running underfoot. But they did it with what looked like little trouble. Both boys were radiant with delight with the finished project. Cai and I watched from inside, alittle sad about being left behind. So soon I was bundling Cai up so that we could join in the fun outside. So say that Cai was amazed in downplaying it. His was mesmerized by the snowman. And stood with bright eye looking up at it for quite some time just everything in. He and I then spent some time making snowballs and breaking them apart. Cai had a great time squashing the snow between his fingers. With fresh snow at the end of our trip, I made sure to make snow ice cream. With help from the boys. :) They seemed to like it. But Ian got cold fast and before he even finished his bowl was off to snuggle with Dad and watch football. It was there that he fell asleep and didn't even wake for dinner. Snow will do that to you.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Reflections on Christmas: Chrstmas Day

So I realize that Christmas Day was two weeks ago. But we celebrated all through last week. So bare with me as I slowly get my reflections written down. I want to document this year celebrations. And as seems normal with me, written is not on my top priority so I'm alittle slow getting everything posted :)

After we had all eaten and gotten dressed, we piled into the van and drove an hour north to my aunt's house to celebrate with her family. My folks, grandparents, little brother and younger stepbrother were all there as well. I love visiting my aunt. And despite the fact it was cold, windy and snowing, I was very glad we made the drive up. She made a wonderful ham dinner. And because there were so many of us Grandma and Ian sat at the coffee table to eat. Of course with three large labs running around there was lots of longing looks from the dogs. Really they are all really well behaved. And don't really beg. But it sure is funny to watch them look at you with those big sad eyes.
My aunt also has three boys, now grown. Her youngest and my brother graduated the same year.With my uncle being a High School football coach, it was natural for them all to be athletic and play football along with a slew of other sports. Ian has been into football this fall. Probably due to the fact that Mark watches it with him on the weekend. So this Christmas my aunt gave Ian his very own football helmet and football. It was a big hit.
Ian thought it was very cool. And Cai loved it just a much. Although it's so heavy that Cai can hardly hold his head up with it on. Something tells me there will be football in our future. Even if it is only in our yard. Because my brother lives in the same town as my aunt, we just decided to do our family gift exchange at my aunts house. I was very excited to get dish towels and mini muffin tins. Yes I know I'm silly. But I really really wanted dish towels and mini muffin tins. I'm so turning into my mother and enjoying cooking and baking (well I've always enjoyed baking). A running joke in our family is the difficulty of opening gifts wrapped by my stepdad and my brother. Some years are worse then others. One time my brother got a gift completely wrapped in duck tape. This year was mild in comparison. But that doesn't mean my stepdad went easy on him. It makes me smile every year. And although I know Josh gets frustrated in the process, you always see him smile.
I'm so glad we went and celebrated with all of them. And I know my aunt loved dotting on my children. She always does.

Reflections on Christmas: Christmas morning

This Christmas was really fun, especially since Ian had a better understanding of what was happening. He got excited about helping wrap the gifts for various family members and such. And he was of course very excited about the gifts that started to appear for him. So I was alittle worried about how early he would wake up Christmas morning. And as expected he did indeed wake up very early. Thankfully though he climbed into bed with us and everyone slept till about 7-7:30am. Not bad if you ask me :). Once it was clear that boys were not going to sleep any longer we all got up and quickly put cinnamon rolls into the oven and coffee and water for tea started before sitting down in front of the tree. Ian's excitement caused Cai's excitement (who had very little idea of what was about to happen but was excited none the less).
First came the stocking, which were filled with dark chocolate earth balls, a honey stick, raspberry yogurt covered pretzels, a candy cane and a wooden toy boat for the bath. The boats we found at this nice little toy store Imagine That Toys in Wichita. I was so thrilled to find them, as I've been wanting some nice boats for bath time. The pretzels were throughly enjoyed during the rest of our gift exchange. As seems so true with little ones, unwrapping the gifts was just as fun as the gifts themselves I love watching Cai get all excited about bows, boxes and wrapping paper. :)The train table was a big hit. We had covered it with a blanket and once every other gift had been opened by everyone we told the boys to stay in front of the tree and play with their new barn (Thank you Grandpa Keith and Grandma Janet). Mark and I then quickly uncovered the table and made sure everything was in place. Then we told the boys they could come see. Ian quickly ran over and as soon as he saw the table his eyes light up.
Cai, who had only decided the day before that walking would become his main form of travel, took alittle more time. But was just as excited. It was a major hit and we had a hard time getting them to come to the table for breakfast after. In fact, I don't think Ian ate much of his cinnamon roll.
We finished our morning around the table with fresh, hot cinnamon roll, hot tea, and coffee. It was a very nice morning.
Mark's shirt says "DAD" in binary. It was part of his new Christmas pjs. :) Got to love ThinkGeek for those computer nerds.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reflections On Christmas: Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve at our house was filled with both rush and excitement along with relaxation and a weekend feel. We slept in late (or as late as a house with 3 boys under 4 can). Had a big breakfast of apple pancakes, milk, coffee and hot tea. Which both Cai and Ian helped prepare. And then went about trying to ready ourselves for the rest of the days preparations for Christmas. Ian helped me finish wrapping gifts. Dad disappeared to the basement to work of the big surprise for the boys. We started the hot apple cider in the crock pot for Christmas Day, along with making dough for cinnamon rolls. We did lots of laundry, because we needed to be ready to pack to leave on the 27th for Indiana. The day felt both rushed and relaxed in the busyness of preparations. Both filled with the slowness often found on the weekends, with the extra hands of Mark around, but the craziness of a full house anticipating the excitement of Christmas morning. Looking back I smile. Although that just could be the fact that I'm now a whole week past the craziness. :) As we have had the pleasure for the second time in two years, we attending our church's Christmas Eve service. Prier to last year we were always away from our home on Christmas Eve. Usually spending it with Mark's folks. But I must admit home much I enjoy being in my own home for Christmas Even and Christmas morning. I love the opportunity to enjoy the Lessons and Carols service surrounded by my own church family. Sure, I can embrace the miracle of the night in a varity of other churches. But there is something special about celebrating with one's own community. And I'm grateful when I get to celebrate in my own congregation. As a child, my family had the tradition that we opened on gift on Christmas Eve. Mark and I have carried this tradition over to our family. So after braving the snow and strong winds that we encountered on our trip both to and from church, I put on milk for hot chocolate and we all gathered around our tree to open our gift.
Everyone got a new pair of pjs. :) Unfortunately, only the boys got to wear theirs. Mark's pants were two big. And mine is a sleeveless nursing nightgown. Which I might add, I'm very excited about and will love come this spring when the weather warms up. I should also add, that Mark did exchange his pants for a smaller size and now has very warm fleece lounge pants which he is very excited about. So after the excitement and now dressed in warm new pjs, we got the boys off to bed. Leaving us to finish the craziness of wrapping the last of the boys' gifts. I felt like such the secret elf, which is sorta funny considering we don't really emphasize Santa around our house. After finishing up cinnamon rolls, putting together a train table (which Mark did almost all the work on), and making sure everything was wrapped, we finally made it to bed ourselves. And only alittle after midnight. Not too bad, I think. Looking back I feel we had a wonderful Christmas eve, the first of many with our three wonderful boys.