Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas-ing up the Joint

Adam and I have discovered that we don't have a lot of Christmas decorations... and by 'don't have a lot' I mean it's pathetic how little we have.

So, with that... and a small budget... I've been working on some things to add to our Christmas stash.

Start with some Christmas-y type fabric. Clearly I am more kitschy and less traditional... whatever floats your boat.

Get out the pinking shears and hack the fabric into approximately 5x5 squares. Now the type A in me wanted each square to be precise and perfect... the realist in me gave up the dream and just cut. Approximations are all you need... trust me when I tell you that no one... not even you... will be able to tell the difference.

Get yourself a straw wreath (at any craft store), a screwdriver (I use a flat head but I doubt it matters) and a toddler who wants to help.

Wrap the fabric around the tip of the screwdriver and drive the tip into the wreath. When you pull the screw driver out, the fabric stays in.

Do that often enough and your Christmas wreath will start to take shape...

Ta-da... Christmas wreath for above the TV!

On to the front door. It was feeling bear and pathetic, especially since we put up some Christmas lights on the porch.

Enter a wreath from Joann (bought at 50% off -woot!), some extra Christmas ornaments, an extra piece of ribbon (that I could swear has been with me since mom and I were decorating for Christmas), an extra piece of fabric from aforementioned wreath and some crafting wire. Put it all together and you have a happy Christmas-y front door.

This is absolutely not homemade but I am excited nonetheless!

Tomorrow starts Advent and we are all set to countdown with Chase. I put 3 Andes mints in each days pocket, 1 for each of us. I think (and hope) it will be a fun thing for the family to do each night counting down until Christmas day. Oh and see what I mean... more kitsch, less traditional ;~)

Last but not least.... dinner tonight was awesome. I mean I hate to brag... and I shouldn't too much because my awesome husband did just as much as I did... but it was my idea and it was awesome. I got bold (after a tense 'we eat the same meal every night' discussion last night) and decided to try Pioneer Woman's Leftover Turkey Pot Pie. We left out the wine, added some red pepper and added some chicken (we were actually short on turkey) and it was phenomenal.

Not only that but it was pretty easy to make. I will say that when I make this again (without the help of hubby) I will be sure to have everything prepared beforehand. Veggies cut, turkey/chicken shredded, cans opened... that sort of thing. But truly, it was easy and it was a one dish meal, my personal fave!

If you haven't checked out the Pioneer Woman, might I suggest it? She is wildly entertaining on a variety of topics... and she has a basset hound, Charlie, who will steal your heart.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving goodness

You know what I am thankful for...

my missing puzzle pieces!

Seriously... anyone on FB knows that these 2 pieces have been driving me insane. They are from 2 Melissa and Doug puzzles and I have tried for the past few weeks to get replacement pieces with no luck. Fast forward to Thanksgiving day... Chase dumps a different puzzle in the toy bin at Bamma and Grandpa's... which forces me to sift through all the itty bitty toys in the bin... and like 2 little pieces of gold, there they lie, begging me to pick them up and take them to their rightful home. Ok... that might be a tad melodramatic but seriously, I was so happy to find them!

Speaking of puzzles... after giving Chase a shapes puzzle, played with for the first time on Thanksgiving day, he dumped it on his tray and proceed to put every single piece back in it's place on the first try. The boy is a genius.

Poor little guy still wasn't feeling well so we watched some Thomas the Tank Engine.

And Riley did a good bit of Turkey watching. I can almost guarantee that some turkey 'accidentally' fell to the floor while Joe was carving ;~)

Never to be outdone, Biff was keeping an eye on the turkey carving as well.

We were responsible for dessert this year (BTW, I think we definitely made out on that deal ;~)

Adam made this gorgeous and very yummy apple pie (I did core, peel and slice the apples ;~)

And he also made a pumpkin pie...

that Chase definitely approved of!

It was a great day filled with family, great food and smiles... not too shabby!

I know I said I was thankful for the puzzle pieces and I am... but I am also thankful for so much more. Here's my list for this year:

God who has blessed me so richly and carried me through times of trouble.
My amazing husband
The best son I could have asked for
My In-laws
My Dad and Stacie
Friends who take the time to make me a part of their life
A warm shelter and the ability to pay bills
The ability and drive to be a SAHM
People who take the time to smile back
A mom that loved me more than I ever knew

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas and the Pioneer Woman

Sing with me... (cue musical note) It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... everywhere you go. (cue musical note)

Yeah yeah... I know. We haven't even had Thanksgiving yet. Get off your high horse and cut me some slack.

This might be the most I have looked forward to Christmas since I was a child. We bought Chase's Christmas gift and I absolutely cannot wait for him to open it. I can't wait to revel in the fun that is Christmas morning. Mounds of christmas paper, new toys and family sitting around with hot chocolate.

So Adam and I broke out the holiday bins from storage and started doing some decorating. Usually Adam does this with me kicking and screaming (internally of course) but this year I was a willing participant. Lights on the porch... musical Santa's that I remember from Christmas at my Grandmother's house (she was a collector)... Christmas ornaments from years past.

Yeah, I am definitely in the spirit.

So is Riley... can you tell?

and this kid... he's all about the spirit.

Oddly enough I don't think I was this excited last year or the year before... well to be fair Christmas 07 I was likely still in the throes of postpartum. But even Christmas 08... I wasn't this thrilled. But now that Chase is old enough to really get it and really have fun... yeah, it makes it that much more for me.

On an entirely different note... I am becoming quite the adventurous cook these days. I made my first ever recipe from the Pioneer Woman's website and it came out great! Usually I am so intimidated by her recipes that I read through them for the fun commentary and great pictures but never attempt it on my own.

Not this time... I decided that Sweet Acorn Squash with Rosemary was too good to pass up.

I love acorn squash but I've only ever had it one way... not anymore. This will become a permanent side around our house. Although I will use fresh rosemary next time. I used the dried stuff and it wasn't bad but I think the fresh would have sent it over the edge.

Unfortunately Chase is sick (just a little cold so far) so we will be missing our Thanksgiving shindig tomorrow morning. I hate that we won't be there but it's better for all involved. I don't want Chase to get anymore run down and really be sick for Thanksgiving... and I would hate if he infected one of the kids, or *gasp* one of the babies. Too many vulnerable so we are hunkering down again tomorrow. I foresee lots of playdoh, coloring pencils (thank you Bernice and Cari!), stories and toys in my future.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Miss me?

I don't know what my problem has been... I just haven't felt like blogging or writing e-mail. Call it a computer funk. The TV however, has had no problems getting my full attention. Addiction comes in all forms people.

Oh well... I am working on getting back up to regular posting... you know, for my faithful 5 followers. You know who you are.

Not much has been happening in the G household... at least not outside of the norm. Which with our track record, is perfectly fine. We relish the ordinary these days.

Chase and I are part of a MOPS group which meets every other Friday. I say Chase and I because he has become a fixture in the MOPS meeting rather than the nursery with the other kids. Try as I might, he just will not stay in the nursery. He made it about halfway this past Friday but I am guessing there were many tears involved. I do everything that I can to prep him and let him know what is happening... and he talks a big game. On the way there he says "Chase nursery... Mama tass ("class")" and "play with other tids ("kids")" but as soon as we pull in the parking lot he starts in with "back in Mama's truck!!!"

*sigh*... we will just keep trying.

Written in the dirt of the truck... "warning, driver doesn't play well w/ others". It made me smile.

My biggest Roof Shampoo helper... we're putting out a couple cases for Bamma and Grandpa. This also made me smile.

And poor under-photographed Riley the Wonderbeagle. I thought he could use some camera time. He also made me smile.

This might be one of the coolest gifts ever... courtesy of Aunt Becky. It just arrived in the mail a couple days ago and we have already read it at least 674 times. Please excuse the poor picture quality... I was too lazy to get up and get the good camera... opting instead for my iPhone in a low light situation. And yes, I am checking to see if I have grown roots to this couch...

As you read through the book it spells out your child's name, one letter at a time... each with a different animal attaching the letter.

"The cheetah raced in with incredible speed. "The letter C is the one we need!" - C for Chase and Cheetah... see the good times there???

I impulsively put Chase's middle name when I filled out the card and I am so glad I did... I love his middle name.

"The porcupine suggested a P while clinging tightly to the tree."

Chase already knows this page and fills in the last stanza before I even start reading.

Anyway... I am in love with this book and wanted to share. You know... holidays... babies being born... children turning new ages... just doing my part people.

Clearly I have been away too long... I think I am working on the longest post ever.

I was a much better parent before I had kids.

I am not sure who first said that but man is that ever true.

I swore up and down (after years of working in the nursery) that I wouldn't have a child who cried when I left. No way the workers would have to spend the entire time holding my child and trying in vain not to call me away from service.


I also swore up and down that I would not be that parent who thought she needed every single toy for her child... and consequently bought every single toy for her child. Yep... at this rate Chase will own every toy known to man by his 3rd birthday.

Ok, obviously (hopefully it's obvious) that is an exaggeration but I really do need to take it down a notch. Or at least start selling blood.

Ok last line I promise. I bought my first item off ebay last night! It was somewhat of an impulse (never a good way to shop) but I couldn't help it. I am now the proud owner of a paint splattered Thomas the tank engine.

It was definitely fun to watch the time count down but I am going to tread lightly here. I can see this getting WAY out of hand.

I do plan on selling something via ebay but more on that later.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mental Block

Because I am having a bit of a mental block I am subjecting you to a survey! My sincerest apologies.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
Just before 7... Chase didn't wake up until 7:40 and Adam didn't wake up until I brought Chase into bed with us ;~)

2. How do you like your steak?
Medium rare... the only way it's good.

3. What is the last film you saw at the cinema?
The proposal I think... it was a mom's night out.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Oh boy... if I list them all I will be exposing myself as an addict. The Big Bang Theory, The Biggest Loser, Lost and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. There, that's not too bad.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Hard to say... every place has their pros and cons. Until I find utopia, I will stay right here in Hagerstown.

6. What did you have for breakfast?
It was more brunch by the time we ate but eggs and cinnamon raisin english muffins.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
Good ole hearty American meat and potatoes. I can't pass up a good steak.

8. What food do you dislike?
Cooked carrots or cooked celery... I shudder even thinking about them.

9. Favorite place to eat?
Right now LJ's but Adam and I want to try Volt... that's for the next date night!

10. Favorite dressing on a salad?
Raspberry Vinaigrette

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive?
03 Jeep Grand Cherokee... I love it.

12. What are your favorite clothes?
Winter - jeans and a comfy sweater. Summer - capri's and a tank.

13. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Greece. It's always been a dream to go there.

14. Is your cup half empty or half full?
I am sorry... half nothing? Try overflowing.

15. Where would you want to retire?
In an RV seeing the country... another dream of mine!

16. What is your favorite time of the day?
Depends... wake up is awesome... Chase is cute and chatty. Coffee making time is awesome... Chase loves helping. 6ish is great because Adam gets home and both Chase and I are happy to see him. 7:30 is great because Chase is sleeping soundly and Adam and I have free time. My days are pretty good.

17. Where were you born?
Austin TX.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Baseball, *ahem* Yankees, but I don't watch much of it...

19. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Both and everything in between.

20. Do you have any pets?
Riley the Wonderbeagle.

21. What did you want to be when you were little?
A wife and SAHM.

22. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Memories with my mom are my favorite. I have such a poor memory that anything I can remember is special to me.

23. Are you a cat or a dog person?
Both... only ever owned dogs but I like cats.

24. Are you married?

25. Do you wear your seatbelt?
Every single time... have heart palpitations if I don't.

26. Have you ever been in a car accident?
Not really. I got side-swiped by a charter bus once... that was not cool at all. Oh and my mom and I wrecked on a scooter when we were living in Spain or TX... can't remember. I was fine and she had a scraped knee.

27. Do you have any pet peeves?
People who don't use their turn signals... which is apparently an epidemic in MD.

28. What is/are your favorite pizza topping(s)?
chicken, onion, red pepper and mushrooms with a pesto base... homemade!

29. Do you have a favorite flower?
Blue iris

30. Favorite ice cream flavor?

31. Favorite fast food restaurant?
If I have to eat FF, Wendy's. Will not go to McDxxxxx'x. Consider it a curse word.

32. How many times did you fail your drivers test?
Not a one!

33. From whom did you receive your last email?
Facebook telling me Diane sent me an email.

34. If you could max out your credit card at any store, which would you choose?
Oh man... tough call. Probably Target. Clothes, toys, household supplies, electronics... yeah, I am could go broke there.

35. What are you listening to right now?
Silence... well that and the clack of my keyboard.

36. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with?
Husband and baby last night.

37. What time is it?
2:48 pm.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Visiting the Dena

What a fun day Friday was! Jaime and I had been planning to get together for at least 3 weeks. Then 2 days before Adam mentions that he has to meet a client at the Dena office on Friday! Woot! Not only do I get to see one of my best friends, I get a chauffeur chance to spend more time with my hubby!

No, in all honesty, having another person on that drive makes all the difference. I do not know how Adam did it for a solid year.

Chase and I stopped into the office as we dropped Adam off and Kare Kare had a few birthday surprises for Chase!

Thank you so much Kare Kare for all the wonderful gifts... Chase is already worked his way through 2 DVD's, read his book about a million times, worn his airplane shirt and tractor PJ's and refuses to put 'Potato' down. Seriously, we had to tuck him in, blanket and all, before we went to sleep last night ;~)

Then Chase and I headed to Jaime's house where things like this happen...

You couldn't wipe the grin off Chase's face (although who would want to ;~) He just thought it was the funniest thing that Zoe was in the sink.

Chase and Jackson doing a little dump truck bonding.

Love that grin little Jackson!

My lack of pictures should clue you in on how great a time I had. I just didn't want to break from the conversation to take pictures (I heard that collective gasp).

I love visiting my friends but it makes me wistful that I can't be there all the time. Oh well, at least we have special days like this! It was great to see you Jaime!

And for my video lovers... a little ABCD action!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

5 Years

Today marks the 5th anniversary of my mom's death.

In reality, that's really all I want to say about it right now. I feel like I should have some long emotional post written to commemorate the occasion but I don't. What I do have is a very lackluster attitude in general. I am tired and would just really prefer not to think about this particular loss right now. It's too overwhelming and I just don't feel like crying right now.

Maybe I will feel different tomorrow or the next day but tonight... that's all I have.

And now for a few pictures of one of the reasons I smile so much:

Science lesson at the park.

Sometimes a good roll on the floor has to happen.

Chase in his pack and play while I shower... notice where the paci is?

He did this all on his own... quite the comedian.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Death of a Camera

Cameras and me... not a great track record right now. I am looking to turn that around... more on that later.

Please pause with me for a moment of silence.

Canon SD 800is. You were a good camera. You brought so much joy and gave us so many memories. You have been here through 2 Christmas's... almost a 3rd but alas, it wasn't meant to be. You endured being the primary camera for Adam... not an easy task as he is not gentle on his gadgets. You attempted to fill the void when I foolishly lost my camera and for that I am thankful. You didn't always focus correctly but I think you were doing your best and in the end, lens trouble is what took you down. Now I understand.

Rest well my friend.

And because mama can't be without a camera for long... meet my new companion.

I love you little Canon SD 780is. This is the start of a beautiful friendship.

PS. Ever the observant child... Chase's reaction...

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Big Engine That Couldn't

Yesterday the whole family went on a steam engine train ride through Western MD. I have been so excited for this trip and I've been prepping Chase for about a week.

When the steam engine pulled in front of us... Chase's eyes were as big as saucers. I am pretty sure I saw true love. It was awesome trip... even through some comical hiccups... and because pictures say it better...

Let me introduce you to everyone... from the left... Joe, Adam, Nick, Chase, John, Aunt Vicky, Sandy and Uncle Jimmy!

Going through the dining cart heading to the first class car... there is something about this picture that I just love... the busyness I guess.

Chase's go to toys are his Thomas magnetic trains so of course they came with us. Something so cute about a boy riding a giant cha-choo while playing with his smaller cha-choos ;~)

Once the train set off, we explored some of the other cars. At the very end they had this observation car where you could stick your head (carefully) out the window. Chase enjoyed it up until he got pelted with coal.

Who knew that a coal burning steam engine would put off flecks of coal... chalk one up for mother of the year ;~) He was fine... no long lasting dents or anything. Hey, at least I got the picture.

Much more enjoyable way to use the observation car.

My hope was that Chase would nap (even just a little bit) on the way to Cumberland (a good hour and a half car ride). My hopes were dashed.

As it turns out, didn't really matter. Between the excitement, family and trains... he was a very well behaved little boy.

Around 2:30 he started to get a little uncooperative so I set up a little mommy napping station on my chest. He was out within a few minutes.

So for the most part we are just chugging along... you know, like trains do. Chase is peacefully sleeping to the rhythmic motion of the train... until it starts to come to a halt... a jerky, sliding kind of halt.

As soon as the train stops, Chase's eyes pop open. I'd estimate 10 - 15 minutes of sleeping... *sigh*

The next few (re: 20) minutes the train does it's best to get the wheels working... all the while not really getting anywhere. It turns out we were on an incline and a curve with wet leaves on the track... not a good situation for a steam engine train.

We roll backwards until the train is straightened out to see if we can build up some good pressure and get her going to clear the curve.

Massive fail... not only do we not go around the curve, we don't make it past the point we rolled back to...

Poor engine just couldn't do it.

So the conductor announces that we will be waiting for a diesel engine to come along and push us the rest of the way to Frostburg (our turn around stop)... only a mere 40 minutes (re: hour ;~)

So like the good sports that we are, we bought a deck of cards and started enjoying the slow pace... I mean stopped pace.

Adam and I played Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Vicky in a game of Rummy 500. I got a crash course on the rules and definitely didn't do well the first go round...

but on the second... not too shabby!

Sandy, Joe, Nick and John played cards as well... I think they played Hearts.

I learned that I don't know a lot of card games.

I think we were up and moving when Adam took this picture...

And if you look to the very end of the train you will see our diesel savior ;~)

Chase watching the steam engine turn about.

I wanted one good family photo! YAY!

Funny story... Adam was standing this close to the engine... I was a few feet to the side of him with Chase... Sandy was behind us. We were all admiring the fire (just out of the shot) where the coal was burning and I was pointing out the wheels to Chase. Adam turned to see this little puff of steam and thought it would make a nice picture. No sooner did he snap the picture when a loud crack sounded and the biggest flood of steam was let loose. Adam was instantly engulfed... I mean you couldn't see his head, totally absorbed. I jumped back and let out a yelp while pulling Chase closer to me. I turned and got out of the path of the steam as quick as I could. As soon as it cleared, we all dissolved into laughter. Except Chase... poor thing was screaming. It scared the daylights out of him (and me for that matter) and he wasn't not happy with the cha-choo. He kept crying out "smokestack". After a moment he calmed down and we talked about the train not wanting to hurt him and how funny it was now that it was over. He seemed to buy it and I don't think he will have any long lasting resentments against trains.

So this was the schedule board when we left...

and this was the schedule board when we got back... only 120 minutes late ;~)

It really was a great experience and I would encourage anyone to do it... just be sure to get the first class car ;~)