Sunday, October 25, 2009


Here are a bunch of things, (in my lazy list format) from my October:

1. I have been working A LOT lately. A lot for me, anyway. I think from October 5-November 15, I will have worked more hours than I did in all of July, August, and September combined. I've been at a hospital that I've never worked at before, and I have really enjoyed it. And by "enjoyed", I mean "taking care of COUNTLESS people that have flu". And then having to explain to them, that yes, they most likely have swine flu (99% of all flu we have seen since April has been swine flu. If you've had the flu, or known someone that has had the flu, it has been swine flu.), and that no, we're not going to test them for flu/swine flu because there's no treatment for it anyway. The swine flu has proven itself to be fairly resistant to the TamiFlu you are begging for a prescription for, but likely won't find a pharmacy to fill because they are all out of stock. So go home, take some Motrin, and crawl into bed for the next 4 days. And please stay out of the hospital, because NOBODY THERE WANTS YOUR FLU. Most of the nurses I have been working with have gotten used to wearing a mask all day at work and handwashing about 100 times a shift (no exaggeration) to keep from getting sick.

Stepping off soapbox now.

2. Dane has become quite the runner in PE. I take no small amount of satisfaction in knowing that I can beat my 5 year-old's time.

3. Harper has had a very busy month as well. She has gotten her first tooth, started saying "da-da-da" (not in reference to her Daddy, just babbling new sounds), and is very close to crawling. She can do a forward army-scoot, and occasionally figures out how to get her knees up under her. Her days in the "Cuddlers" nursery are numbered, she'll soon graduate to the "Crawlers" class at church. That is, if her Cuddlers Crew will ever put her down to see if she can crawl, which isn't likely. So she may stay snuggly wrapped in the sweet arms of her Cuddlers Crew till her first birthday, which is just fine with her!

4. Due to our erratic work schedule these past few weeks, we have been making a lot of soups, and similar things that we can make in a big batch and come home and reheat for dinner. Monday and Saturday are the only nights of the week when we are all home in the evenings before 8:30, so it's been nice to have quick and yummy things to eat instead of grabbing fast food.

We discovered this tortilla soup recipe that has made our life complete. We made it twice last week:

2 cans pinto beans
2 cans of Rotel (I used 1 can regular and 1 can hot and it had a pretty good kick to it, may be too spicy for you)
2 cans tomato soup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Worshticer sauce (don't know how to spell that...)
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1 chopped onion (I think we used 2 or 3 cloves of garlic and 1/2 an onion)
1/2 bag of frozen chicken tenders (the raw ones--they cook faster than whole breasts)

Cook chicken in 6 cups water, boil till chicken is cooked. Remove chicken, shred. Measure 4 cups of chicken water. Add chopped onion, spices, Rotel, and tomato soup. Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat. Drain and rinse beans, add beans and chicken to soup, and cook on medium for another 15-20 minutes.

We served it with shredded cheese and tortilla chips on top, Brandon also topped with sour cream. For a milder version, use mild Rotel.

I also made Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Spice Muffins with cream cheese icing yesterday, and my life will never be the same. I'm pretty sure Brandon ate four of them for breakfast. And I'm trying to justify the cream cheese icing by calling it a "dairy". Hmmm. And look! She's all dressed up for Halloween:

5. Aidan played an entire 6 minute quarter and half of another one in his soccer game yesterday without crying and running off the field. He actually ran with the pack of other 4 year old soccer players, and even kicked the ball a few times, including a possible score on his own goal. He thinks he scored a goal, as evidenced by the look of sheer jubilation on his face at the time. This may not sound like a big deal, but it's a huge deal in Aidan-land. I have a picture of Aidan playing soccer to put here, but Blogger is having an identity crisis and went to find himself, and can't be bothered right now to post pictures where I want them.

In other soccer news, Dane's team was "white" instead of "red" yesterday, prompting a temporary name change. His team is the Fireballs (what happens when 5 year-olds name soccer teams), but Dane told his coach that they couldn't be the Fireballs, since they were in white they would just have to be the Snowballs. His coach didn't quite know what to say to that one.

6. If I am related to you and you are wondering what to get me for Christmas, I have decided that this is the only thing on my list this year. Isn't she pretty? I think I'm going to go with the ice blue color that makes me happy when I look at it yet doesn't go with anything else in my kitchen. In 9+ years of marriage, I have never owned a stand mixer, only a $19 hand mixer that moans a little bit and smells like burning plastic every time I use it.

7. Halloween and trick-or-treating is next week, which means I have approximately 6 days to rig Harper's Princess Leia costume to fit her properly. Because right now, the side-bun-hat thing is big enough to fit Brandon. Happy October!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Harper Girl

Our Harper Girl has been very busy this weekend.

In between sporting the bib-hoodie combo at her brothers' soccer games...

and modeling the latest in fall fashions courtesy of my Aunt Betsy's crazy-talented knitting skills. Aunt Betsy gave me this sweet pink sweater and hat last Christmas right after I found out I was pregnant with a Harper and not a Jude. And it's very difficult to photograph Harper in her sweater and hat without her grabbing the camera.
making flirty eyes...

missing her mouth...

and attempting the ever-elusive perfect sibling picture...

It's a little embarrassing how horrified I am that these are halfway decent pictures and Harper is bow-less.
she has barely had time to grow her first tooth, which broke today, and is apparently only photographable when she is screaming. I know you can't really see it, but trust me, it's there.

And you will be proud of me--I am procrastinating the adoption paperwork no longer. As soon as I am in possession of our actual home study (and marriage certificate) in-hand, I will be submitting my completed (as of this afternoon) I-800A form to USCIS (Customs and Immigration) for approval. Because apparently, I forgot that I had to do this (insert yet another parentheses here). Why it requires 8 billion little steps and costs 75 million dollars (I may have rounded up) and takes 19 years to adopt a child, I will never understand. Parentheses count=5 in 4 sentences. My grammatical skillz are to be envied.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Please Excuse the Stream of Consiousness

Here's just a few more pictures from our weekend (yes, a week and a half ago) at my parents' house, and some other things we have been doing.

We made feeble attempts in the waterlogged backyard at some cousin pictures, with minimal success at best.

Dane liked posing with his MoMo

Aidan liked posing in a blue hard hat

And Zane wasn't quite sure what exactly was going on

I have been working extra hours (hello, expensive adoption whose endless paperwork I have been procrastinating) at a hospital far far away from my house, and the blog may start feeling a bit neglected over the next few weeks. I have tons of pictures of my family to weed through, and lots to write, but my "unscheduled" moments are feeling few and far between of late, and I have had minimal motivation to write on ye old blog.

Our home study has been accepted by our adoption agency (despite Aidan's best efforts during the interview. Another story for another time, because his antics are not "funny to me" yet), so the proverbial ball is officially in our court. The agency is waiting on us to complete the Endless Paperwork and Forms to submit to China, before our "wait time" actually begins. Hello, Endless Paperwork and Forms, this is the Queen of Procrastination speaking. Have we met? No? Oh, I must be putting that off in favor of watching reruns of the Duggar family visiting various themed amusement parks. I'm bound and determined to work diligently on the EPaF this weekend, in the 4 hour block of previously unscheduled time that will occur Saturday afternoon. So if you happen to see me on Facebook Saturday afternoon, please kindly chat to me to GET OFF FACEBOOK, ALREADY.


Remember the photo shoot I mentioned when the kids and I were up at my parents' house last July? Well, the lovely and talented Lorraine had some pictures ready for me on this past visit up. Some really cool, creative pictures. Here are a couple of my favorites:
I think it's safe to say that this will be hanging in the boys' room for a long, long time. And if by some weird twist of events, my boys grow up to have arm tattoos and play in a rock band, this picture will be to blame.

Speaking of this picture, I have been wanting to go with a "Star Wars" theme for this kids' costumes this year, ever since I saw this Princess Leia costume and its side hair buns for Harper. I had high hopes for Luke Skywalker and perhaps Yoda or Darth Vader accompanying her on her first trick-or-treat. Classic, recognizable Star Wars characters of my childhood. Instead, Captain Rex and Commander Cody Star Wars Storm Troopers will push precious Princess Leia in her stroller on Halloween night. Argh. At least I get the side buns.

And speaking of pictures, Aidan had school pictures last week. Traditionally, we have completely forgotten about school pictures every year. Every year. Not wanting to break tradition, I remembered about pictures (BEFORE school this time) the morning of, and had to get Aidan changed out of his Texas Tech football jersey and into a "church shirt" (i.e., a shirt with buttons) right before leaving for school for his fall-themed school pictures.

Fall themed.

And the shirt with buttons he picked out for the fall-themed preschool picture?

Lovely. Happy fall, y'all from the glorious state of Hawaii. And don't even get me started on the shorts. That's my Aidan.

Last Saturday our little family was invited to be a part of a birthday celebration of sorts. One of our seniors, Justine, was turning 18, and is a bit of an Amazing Race fan. Her parents put together an Amazing-Race type of scavenger hunt type thing for her and her friends, and Brandon, myself and the kiddos were a "stop" along the way. We hung out at a local pumpkin patch and waited for the birthday girl with her "clue" for the next location. The boys played on the slides and posed for pictures, then enjoyed a hayride through the Christmas trees.

I cannot explain this picture. Giant hay-bale spider. Kung fu fighting boys in sweatshirts and shorts (yes, I know, Dane needs a new hoodie that fits). Weird dracula cut-out holding a tombstone. Pumpkins and Christmas trees in the background. I'm a bit baffled just looking at it.
The birthday girl and her friends showed up after an afternoon of clue-hunting at the local mall and around town (cool birthday idea, much?) and had to find a "familiar face" among the autumn harvest.
Harper didn't relinquish the clue easily, though. The birthday girl had to sing for her supper at the pumpkin patch that day.

One last thing--Brandon has preached a couple of Sundays over the past 3 weeks, and he's bringin' it. He did a great job last week, but Ephesians 2 was my favorite so far. So proud of my hard working husband.

Sorry this post is so sporadic and random. I'm practicing "efficient blogging" with my limited time these days. Have a great week!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

State Fair of Texas

Yes, I am still blogging about last weekend. What can I say? It was a busy, fun 3 days, and I have been plowing through the approximately 600 pictures taken by the numerous photographers in attendance.

After a fun Sunday at my parents' house, we loaded up Monday and headed out to the State Fair of Fried Goodies. The boys were giddy with Midway anticipation, and I was giddy with I-get-to-wear-long-sleeves-outside-in-Texas anticipation. (Dear Fall, I love you. Please stay. Love, Mandy).

Aidan tried some fried Reese's peanut butter cup, then some french fries.

We played our annual duck game at the Midway. I'm not clear on the official rules of the duck game, but the way we play, Pappy asks the Duck Attendant how much the stuffed duck, ball, and light-saber are going to cost him, and the boys turn ducks over to their hearts' content and miraculously win the prize they had their eyes on. Funny how that works.

The boys rode some rides.

Zane thought about riding a ride, then changed his mind.

We met some baby goats in the petting zoo, then my child who does not like taking pictures decided to pose for some.

Harper ate her stroller strap...

...and some cotton candy, then promptly threw up and fell asleep on the way to the Pineapple Whip stand. Perhaps a little too young for cotton candy...

The boys found a fountain by the Pineapple Whip

And splashed their uncle John and his camera a little bit.
After a few hours of fun and many, many calories consumed in the form of various fried goodies (Hello, fried twirly sweet potato rolled in cinnamon and sugar), the kids and I left the perfect weather that Dallas enjoyed Monday and headed home to the mosquito-infested swamp that welcomed us home.

Stay tuned for one last installment of pictures from last weekend to come. Then I promise I'll find something else to blog about.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

4 Cameras

When my parents and family get together, something interesting happens. My brother John pulls out his Canon Rebel, my sister Lindy pulls out her brand-spankin' new Canon Rebel, and I pull out my Canon Rebel. Sometimes my dad pulls out his giant camera, just to make us all feel inferior. And we all start snapping pictures of ourselves and our children doing nothing at all. So expect a ton of pictures over the next several posts,

Of Harper in her church dress. (I'm a little baffled at the way this bow looks like it is just sitting on top of a bald head. She has hair, people. I promise. And that bow is clipped firmly to all 4 of the hairs on her head.)

Of the boys making a pillow pile in the living room.

Of Dane cannonballing into said pillow pile

Of Lindy making a face

Of MoMo with my kiddos (guess which one had just gotten in trouble?)

Of Harper showing off her new Uggs (thanks Aunt Marrietta!)

Of my boys forsaking the ham lunch in favor of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

And of Harper looking stinkin' cute in her warm outfit

Of John and Andy behaving curiously

And of Zane and Harper dancing to the singing dog (doesn't every family have a dog that dances and sings "Who Let The Dogs Out"? I wish I could tell you that my dad bought it for the children...

One thing we didn't get a picture of: My mother cleaning off Harper's post-baby food face with a pair of underwear. That's right. I turn around, and my mom is wiping off the sweet potatoes with a pair of white Hanes' boxer briefs. But do you know how soft they are? Do you know that they make great dusting and cleaning rags? And it's TOTALLY normal to clean a baby's face with underwear in the kitchen. EVERYONE has underwear in their kitchen drawers. I think I am forever traumatized by the site of my infant daughter's face being scrubbed clean with a pair of man undies.

It was a fun Sunday, to be topped off with vain attempts at achieving a perfect cousin picture, and a trip to the State Fair still to come on Monday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pumpkin Patch 09

It's going to take me an entire week just to blog about this past weekend. The kids and I went up to my parents' for a few days to visit and go to the State Fair of Texas, while Brandon was on a ministers' retreat in Colorado Springs. Colorado may have beautiful mountains and clean, crisp air, but do they have fried butter? I didn't think so.

Saturday morning started off at the local pumpkin patch. A trip to the pumpkin patch always sounds like a good idea at first. Pumpkins. Inflatable slides. 30 year old playground equipment. Hayrides. What could be better? Throw in Saturday-in-October crowds, mud, lots of morning dew, and some mommies and grandparents BOUND AND DETERMINED to get a great picture of 4 small children, and the idea starts to go downhill fast.

After (briefly) losing Aidan in the hay maze, and eventually sending Dane into rescue him after he had fallen and muddied his jeans, we managed to get a few pics of the cousins.

Some of them turned out pretty good, all things considering.

Others featured a very awkward Aidan who DOES NOT like to pose for pictures.

Dane struck a pose...

Harper met some pumpkins...

(I'm going to pause for a moment to contemplate the cuteness of her Halloween tights.)

And the boys finally got to play for a little while.

I think I played on a merry-go-round just like this one when I was in third grade. I think enough small children got sucked underneath the maniacal spinning merry-go-round that they stopped putting these on elementary school playgrounds. But that hasn't stopped the pumpkin patch people.

We got to the pumpkin patch 5 minutes after they opened, and left after an hour and it was packed. We got there at just the right time, and were definitely ready to leave after about an hour.

It was only the beginning of a very fun weekend, packed with family, some shopping, and lots of pictures.