Sunday, November 30, 2008

a "Tera-rific" weekend

Lauren had so much fun with Tera on Friday that she begged and begged for Tera to come over again on Saturday...and then on Sunday as well.

On Saturday we took the kids to Monkey Joes. They had a good time jumping on all the inflatable toys and kept the meltdowns and tantrums to a minimum. I didn't get any pictures of them jumping but here's a few pics of the quarter operated Bus.

After we jumped up an appetite we went in search of some lunch. Matt got Overly-Excited when we passed a Krystal and he insisted on eating there. I choose to pick my battles so I agreed. He ordered a #6 which is 12 burgers, 2 fries and 2 drinks. Lauren ate 2 1/2 burgers, Tyler ate 2 burgers and Tera ate 2 herself. GROSS! But this happens to be the first fast food burger the kids have ever eaten. So I guess it's worth documenting.
Saturday evening we invited ourselves over to Mike's house (Tera's Dad's house) to watch the Duck vs. Beaver game. I'm glad my Ducks won but I would have been happy if the Beavers were able to prevent USC from going to the Rose Bowl. I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too all the time.
On the way home Matt took a picture of our house. He over-exposed the shot so was able to take a better pic than I did.

Today, Sunday, we woke up to Pancakes. The pancake master pulled out all the stops this morning.

After breakfast we invited Tera over to play again. They played their hearts out and came up with some very interesting games. This one was called "hide from Mommy." They camped out under the kitchen table.

We had Mike, big Tyler and Tera over for dinner tonight since I made a Huge dish of Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake. This was delicious and even a couple of the kids (big Tyler and Lauren) ate a decent serving of it.
This evening we gave the kids baths and got ready for tomorrow. It's back to school for Lauren and back to work for Matt. Welcome to the real world.

Weekly Menu

In preparation for my family visiting over the holidays, the next three weeks I'll be showcasing my Diet Cookbooks.

This week is: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.

Monday: Caponata over l/o ciabata loaf and finish off T-Day left-overs
Tuesday: cheese crisps and pasta with Hunts 99-cent canned spaghetti sauce
Wednesday: Focaccia with Feta Cheese Toppiong
Thursday: Chicken, Sausage, and Capers over brown rice
Friday: Southwestern Salmon and Spinach Broccoli Muffins
Saturday: Corn and Bacon Chowder and l/o T-day rolls
Sunday: Pappardelle with Shrimp and l/o T-day rolls (hopefully these will be gone now)

Friday, November 28, 2008

so long Thanksgiving...let's talk Christmas

In contrast to my last few posts, I'm going to be brief today.

It's been a great couple of days. While I was preparing the side dishes and while the meat smoked in the Traeger, Matt "raked" the leaves and pine straw in the back yard.

Lauren took some time out of her busy day playing to help me knead the dough for some rolls.

Soon she was back outside enjoying the 60 something degree weather while I filled the house with the delicious smell of baking dinner rolls.

The final product. If you can't tell I'm very proud of how they turned out. I just may be starting to like baking. I've always cringed when it came to the oven for anything other than casseroles. But it was kind of fun to see these rolls turn out from just a lump of flour. Maybe someday I'll try cakes and the like.

the only other picture of the Thanksgiving dinner I took was the Green Bean and Artichoke Casserole. This looked pretty but the artichokes tasted too canned and preserved. It would have been delishes without the artichoke hearts. Sometimes you just shouldn't mess with the classics.

After dinner Mike, Mike and a new friend Kevin came over to watch some football.

Today we woke up bright and early (at our regular time) to head to our new favorite store the Big K. We were able to discreetly pick up some more Christmas presents for the kids without them really noticing. We got these toys at Doorbuster prices. Matt was thrilled that the receipt showed we saved almost as much as we paid. This was our only stop for shopping but on our way home we went by our favorite tree farm parking lot and found our perfect 2008 Christmas tree.

So while Matt and I decorated for Christmas, Tera came over to play with Lauren and Tyler. The first thing they always do is change out of their clothes and into pajamas. I couldn't decide which picture was best so you get all three.

and here are my un-professional photos of the Christmas decos.

(this would be a string of colorful lights along the balustrade)
the mantle, ready for our Christmas guests
(Matt's stocking is behind mine we're in need of another Pottery Barn gold tree stocking holder)
the decorated Christmas tree
the Christmas tree without the flash
a bad picture of the house. you'll have to use your imagination. Matt will have to take a better pic later.
currently Lauren and Tera are in the basement bedroom watching Cinderella, Tera's brother Tyler is in the living room watching Final Fantasy 7 and my Tyler is in my bedroom watching Thomas the Train. Matt, Mike and I are about to head to the basement to watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Fun times all around.

Night Yall!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all

I woke up this morning after a long night's sleep (I went to bed at 8:30 last night) childishly excited for this holiday. It's just our little family of four but it's still Thanksgiving and I want it to be special none-the-less. Matt got started on the Prime Rib (no turkey for us today) and I got the kids some breakfast and then turned on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This has always been the start of the holiday season for me. Macy's Parade, Football, lots of Fuss in the Kitchen for a Meal Consumed in 30 min Tops, Naps, Hauling Up Christmas Decos from the Basement, Christmas Tree, big old-fashioned eye-sore Lights on the House and then pretty soon my Family Will Be Here For Christmas. What is there not to be excited for. (sorry for all the Capitals...I told you I was Excited.)

So while I'm watching the parade on TV I'll recap the last 2 days.

Lauren and Tyler fought ALL DAY LONG. The skill of subtle annoyance and the ability to send your brother into a mad fit of rage must be hereditary. However, I honed my skills so as to not bother my parents in the process (right Mom?!!)
In response to Lauren's constant irritations and life's other frustrations, Tyler has developed many different versions of the word No. I hope you can all be so lucky to hear each one.
The first one is saved for me. It is a very loud "NO THANK YOU" at which point he'll fall stomach to the ground no matter where he is and cover his eyes. His No Thank You brings chuckles to others in the grocery store, library, middle of the cross walk, or wherever we are but it sounds like fingernails on a chalk board to me.
The second no is reserved for Lauren. It is a loud "NO" followed by a shrieking and prolonged scream and sometimes hitting.
The third is a loud guttoral NO. This is when the forces of nature ruin his not-so-well thought out plans. Such as when they knock over his top heavy lopsided tower of blocks or make his rubber ducky float instead of sink.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that Tyler is going through a "stage" right now. Let it pass...Let is pass.
When Matt called from work on Tuesday saying he had free tickets to the GA Tech basketball game I was ready to go!
We had Casey come watch the kids and we left for Atlanta early so we could have a nice relaxing ("NO word" free) dinner. We ate dinner at Ecco in Midtown. Dinner was so relaxing and delicious. Neither Matt nor I felt in top shape but we both agreed it was still very nice to get out and enjoy each other. From the restaurant it was just a 15 min. walk (and only through one sketchy street corner) to the Thrillerdome. GA Tech has some tall starters. The shortest were 6'5" and the tallest was 6'10". Must be all those black-eyed peas, collard greens and fried chicken the boys in the South are raised on.Here's a picture from our nose bleed (but remember FREE) seats. Matt and I stayed until half-time and then fought the airport traffic to get home. (I guess Hartford-Jackson was having some electricity problems and traffic was backed up all the way from the airport to the interstates. Crazy traffic at 9pm!)
I had to get to bed to be ready for my 7:40am Mohs surgery on Wednesday. I was extremely nervous and even to the point of tears. I felt foolish but they came out of nowhere. I was just sure that the surgery was going to leave a huge crater in my chest. But luckily the first slice of tissue Dr. Chastain took out got it all. He then stitched me up and I was out of there in only 2 hours. The bandage looks huge for what little they did.

poor me...

Although it was just a simple out patient procedure with very little pain, the outpouring of support from friends has been amazing. 2 families from our community group contributed to a hot meal of Shepherd's Pie, Rolls and a tasty dessert. (many thanks to the Wilsons and the Walkers...I want the recipe to the Shepherd's Pie.) And Claudine brought over a care package with soothing tea, gummy fish for me only, slices of red velvet and german chocolate cake and some yummy blondies. There have also been numerous phone calls, e-mails and Facebook comments expressing concern and prayers. I have the best set of friends in the world.

Post-operative care includes taking a round of anti-biotics just to be safe, pain pills (which I don't need) and no heavy lifting or activity for one week. The stitches are self-dissolving and I can remove the Steri-Strips in 2 weeks. Super easy but there will still be a scar. (were the trips to the tanning bed worth it? probably not)

And now I'll be taking it easy until it's time to get started on our Thanksgiving dinner. I'm going to make hot dinner rolls from scratch and a green bean and artichoke casserole along with mashed potatoes and gravy. Add the prime rib and it will be a tasty dinner. Dessert has already been taken care of by Claudine.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and Thankful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend Review

(warning: this is long...long enough to bore the casual reader...even the lurker readers...but perfect for all the GGs, Grandmas and Grandpas, aunts (tias), and uncles out there who actually give a 'care'. [wink])

I spent the weekend doing as little as possible all in the comfort of various Pajama sets. (Here in the south they are pronounced pa-jaw-mas.) I was able to keep fashionable because one of my mom's-in-law gives me a new pair of pajamas for Christmas each year. I heart comfy PJs...especially when I'm sick.

Just because I didn't leave the house doesn't mean there wasn't a whole lot of fun going on.

Lauren and Tyler have been counting down the days until their friend Sebastian's birthday party. Since I wasn't able to go...thanks to the pink-eye goo...Matt was more than willing to take them. He even took them shopping earlier Saturday to buy Sebastian a present (a very boyish truck.) They were gone just over 2 hours when I called to make sure everything was okay. They had decided to add in some Christmas shopping too. They got home with just enough time for me to wrap the present and have Lauren and Tyler make up a birthday card before it was Party Time.

Here is the birthday boy ready to blow out his 3 candles.

at the party there were lots of toys...
...a big ole jumpy thing... of Simon Says...
...painting (with real paints - not just the kiddie kind...) (I think...)
...and of course balloons.

oh..and crazy clown wigs.

The kids had a great time and came home telling me how sad I should feel for missing it. Lauren said it was "funnest as a giant." And you can only imagine how fun that must be.
Sunday, I made up the grocery list and once again sent Matt out while I stayed home. I asked the kids if they wanted to stay home with Mommy or go to the grocery store with Daddy. (This is always a rhetorical question...of course they would rather go with, Always Funner Than Mommy, Daddy.) Oddly, Lauren wanted to stay home with me....right up until Daddy and Tyler were out the door and got in the car. So once again I was left alone in a big, quiet, and relaxing house. I was feeling better so I did a few loads of laundry and picked up a bit.
They got the groceries and also did some more impromptu Christmas shopping. We are almost done Folks!! Just a few stragglers to buy for.
Since I was feeling better I made dinner for us all. Baked Spaghetti Squash was on the menu and I needed to use up the mushrooms I bought for it. Matt begged me not to make it because he just "knew" it wouldn't be edible. I made it anyway and it was really good. I even had my own hesitation about it. (I mean, c'mon, Spaghetti Squash?!) Matt couldn't believe how good it was. He even called me from work today to tell me his left-overs were Excellent. Now if Matt thinks a vegetable based dinner is good then You Need To Try It Too! (it does have 2 sausage links in it too.) Here is the recipe...HERE.

The excellent dinner put Matt in a good mood and that gave him the urge to make Chocolate Chip Cookies (I'd link to the recipe but just go buy yo'self a bag of Nestle Milk Chocolate chips and follow the recipe on the bag.)
studying Matt's technique
(I guess I need to clean that darn microwave everyday, huh?)

posing with her hat and apron (sorry, I didn't feel like turning the picture around.)
Tyler helps with the clean-up crew.

Matt's t-shirt really freaks me out in this might have to "accidentally disappear".

the best part of helping to make cookies

This morning I woke up with my OTHER EYE all gooped up. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. However, there was no way I was spending another day confined to my house so I put in a couple drops of my prescription eye-drops, put on some real clothes and went out anyway. K-Mart was having an unbelievable sale so I threw my pride out the window and went into the store. I'm sure my mom is Shocked. When she used to take me to K-Mart (as a child) I would Insist on staying in the car for fear someone would see me in the store and I would be docked a few thousand "coolness" points. But in these times, a good deal is a good deal...and you just may get said good deal as a Christmas gift.
After our K-Mart adventure we went to the library to return and check out some books. This time I didn't have any unfortunate pant splitting experiences. We picked out our books and while Tyler played with the toys, Lauren played on the computer. She did a little Playhouse Disney.
Back home we had a quick lunch and then a late nap. I watched my show and then got started on dinner. Pumpkin Burgers and Sweet Potato Oven Baked Fries. Both of these were okay but just not crispy enough. Therefore I'm not providing a link. You'll have to Google search them if you're desperate.
Instead I'll insert a picture of Lauren in her blond Pocahontas t-shirt she made at school.
We even added the braids to emphasize the character.
and we must include Tyler with his 2 suckers for a snack
and here's some visual proof that I'm still around (and back in my comfy PJs...and what is that!!?...a double chin?! omgosh!)
Tonight was the usual Monday night routine. Play, Clean-Up, Snack, Bath, Books, Bed, and Poker (Matt.)
In about 5 minutes I will retire to my bedroom suite and S-l-o-w-l-y read the fourth and final book in the Twilight series. I'll be so sad when I'm done.

Friday, November 21, 2008

bah humbug

Well, I probably used up all my "sympathy points" with yesterday's blog but I'm going for broke now. Today was even worse. (prepare for my bah-humbug paragraphs.)

So....this morning...well, 3:30 am to be exact I WOKE UP with my left eye swollen and stuck shut. Since I have 2 kids who've suffered through these exact symptoms I knew immediately what this meant. I had Pink Eye. (conjunctivitis to the edu-ma-cated folks.) Since I was disgustedly wide awake, I decided to finish the last 100 pages of Eclipse instead of trying to go back to sleep.

So with very little sleep that night I got up and got the kids ready for the day. Today was Lauren's Thanksgiving Feast but since I woke up with a sudden case of the highly contagious Pink Eye there was no way I could go. This broke my heart because the girl has been obsessed with the Feast for 2 weeks now. She was SO EXCITED for it to be here. Luckily, Matt was coming home from his Orlando work trip just in time to make it for the Feast. I met him at the school parking lot to give him her booster seat and the video camera so I wouldn't have to miss a thing.

We watched the video tonight and it was great to see her all excited. I would have posted the video on this blog but I have no idea how the heck to do that. You'll just have to visit us in good ol'e Georgia to see it and believe's worth it.

So..oh yeah...back to the bad news. After I dropped Lauren off at school I noticed I had a message from my dermatologist. The biopsy results were back (already! I thought I had at least another week) and it turns out I have a Basal Cell Carcinoma on my chest. So my Mohs surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday. I should be recovered in time for tanning season. (j/k)

Since I was sick...and Matt was home...I Played The Part...(which I feel I fully deserved...hey, I'm miserable) I took a nap and then relaxed on the sofa to watch "General Hospital."

He’s such a great guy that he Took On The Part with joy and perfection. He made his own recipe of Philly Cheese-Steak Sandwiches for dinner.
Matt being the anal retentive guy that he is Invented his own style of clean-up/cooking.
He's such a STUD.

He even made the kids a different variation of the cheese-steak sandwich. (bacon, toast and buttery corn.) After dinner he played with the kids and then got them ready for bed. He didn’t want me to pass on my sick germs to them.
playing double horsey
Right now the kids are in bed and my popcorn is popped and we're headed to the basement to watch The Messengers.

Night Y'All.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

this is all you get today...

I'm sick. It's the annoying sore throat, stuffy head, runny nose, sort of out-of-it kind of sickness. I'm I taking the evening off. Just me and my Sudafed and a lot of CBS tonight.

Here are some pictures from our day to tide you over....

big boy Tyler washing his hands

a relaxing Tyler eating his snack

Lauren looking oh so pretty

she requested another photo
As I carried Tyler upstairs to bed tonight he snuggled into my shoulder and said, "I just want Daddy to come home."
We all do...tomorrow morning won't come soon enough.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I need to title this

I finally saw the dermatologist today...and by the look of my sketchy mole she immediately said it looked like basal cell skin cancer. She gave me 2 weeks to live.......

....until I get the results back from the biopsy. I'm really not freaked out and don't feel like this is a big deal. (which if you know me, you may find this odd because I normally freak the heck out over the littlest things.) I'll keep y'all updated.

Matt worked a little late tonight since he stayed home to watch Tyler during my Drs. appointment this morning. He also had to prepare for his brief trip to Orlando this week. If Lauren didn’t have her Thanksgiving Feast on Friday and if we didn’t have a birthday party to go to this weekend we would have definitely turned this Orlando work trip into an Orlando FAMILY VACATION.

For dinner tonight I made Grilled Vegetable and Mozzarella sandwiches with home-made Ciabatta Bread. This bread turned out Great. It even tasted better than the left-over store bought bread I had in the fridge. Take the time to make this…it’s worth it. (I was bored so I took a lot of picures...sorry.)

loaves ready to go into the oven

and fresh out of the oven
the veggies roasted (I used yellow squash instead of eggplant)
and finally the roasted veggie sandwiches

When I pulled the fresh bread out of the oven Tyler ran into the kitchen and said, "it's smells stinky in here." But after I lifted him up to smell the bread he said it smells "yummy." And then he came in three more times to "smell the bread." "I need to smell the bread, Mommy."

Even though he liked the smell of the bread he didn't eat much of it. The kids did try some of the roasted veggies and nibbled here and there. I deemed the amount good enough for them to get a snack. (mostly to avoid any fights and arguments tonight.)

And now for today's deep topic:

We bought some new Kandoo hand soap for the bathroom downstairs. (btw, this smells tasty) Lauren said this is the same soap that Grammy and Uncle Brian have at their house. (we haven't been there for months yet she still remembers this.) I was less interested in her memory of the hand soap than her linking of Grammy and Uncle Brian. I asked her about it and she said "it's like Grandma Jan and Grandpa Michael and MeMa and Papa."

What used to be "Grammy and Grandpa Bob" has changed into Grammy and Uncle Brian. This brought on a discussion of a couple things. First, that Uncle Brian doesn't always live at Grammy's house. And second, a discussion about my Dad who passed away last year. I don't think she really remembers him...which breaks my heart. I got to grow up knowing all of my Grandpas and I know, KNOW my Dad really wanted to get to know all his grand kids. His whole focus was about us kids and what he thought was best for us and I know, KNOW he wanted to do the same for the grand kids. So we spent some time today talking about heaven and Jack (the cat), Grandpa Bob and also Grampy. (She was happy to hear that Grampy is feeling much much better in heaven now.) We looked through our family photo albums and relived some good memories.

Life is great and wonderful and yet can also be so very very cruel.