Monday, November 28, 2011

Let's Go Fly a Kite

(I'm going to spend this next week going through the 2000 pictures taken over Thanksgiving and blogging about our fun holiday with family. I know this won't be interesting to some of you, so consider yourself forewarned.)

I almost don't know where to begin to blog about this past week, so I think I'll skip ahead to Saturday afternoon. My dad had made a couple of kites (with some gracious last minute sewing help from their "friends-since-before-I-was-born-friend", Colyn.) There are very few people who will sew kites for you two days before Thanksgiving, while trying to plan a Thanksgiving feast for 30 of your closest relatives, and I am very thankful that Colyn is one of those people.

And why didn't we sew the kites ourselves? Oh, we are, with few exception, not a crafty people. Except for Lindy. My sister Lindy is semi-crafty, and at one point this past week she convinced me that we were going to make felt flower hair clips for our girls together. Sounds simple enough. Trace flowers onto felt, cut flowers out, hot glue flowers strategically to hair clip for instant cuteness.

So cute, right? (And baby Nora's not bad, either!)

Turns out, I am only good at the "tracing the flowers" part of the craft. I cut little flowers out of felt for about 20 minutes and I wanted to stab myself in the eyeball with the scissors. And my flowers looked a little bit like stars. I am not cut out for any type of craft that requires cutting small shapes. There are many reasons why I am not an elementary school teacher, and the cutting stuff out part is just one of them. But, surprisingly, the felt flowers cut out by the remedial scissor-user turned out pretty cute!

Back to all the kite flying. Pappy made a couple of kites before we got to town, and we just had to polish them up a bit to make them fly-ready.
Yes, that is my husband wielding a blow-torch at the kitchen table over Thanksgiving, while small children looked on in wonderment. A few minutes later, the Yellow Jacket and Red Dragon ready for their debut, we headed out into the incoming cold front, complete with near-freezing temperatures, cold wind, and a little drizzle to fly the kites in Colyn's made-for-kites backyard.

It was the highlight of the week for Dane, and with the exception of some very memorable tacos in Aidan's book, his favorite activity as well. (Seriously. They flied kites, shot BB guns, played front yard football, put pennies on the train track, and played with their cousins all weekend, and Aidan's favorite part of the trip was "going to that taco place".) Harper actually busted out the "Let's Go Fly a Kite" song from Mary Poppins, and she thought she was just so cute and big.

The kites were a big hit. Red Dragon went up first, and an unfortunate crash landing ended his high-flying dreams for good on that windy Saturday. Yellow Jacket had a chance to shine, and the kids each got a turn to fly the kite.

Emerson was the only one who almost got a little "carried away".

Of course the men of my family fashioned a parachute and miniature video camera to float up the kite line. That's not a part of everyone's kite-flying experience?
After Yellow Jacket crashed across the street, Uncle John and I took the little kids home for some lunch and hot chocolate, while the big boys, Pappy, Brandon, and Uncle Andy logged some more kite time and got Aidan some tacos.

More to come from our fun Thanksgiving break later this week!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

All She Wants for Christmas

We've spent the last 5 days in DFW at my parents' house, and I'm pretty sure I have enough blog material for the rest of the year. We have had so much fun with my family. I will blog about Thanksgiving and post a bajillion pictures of the kids and cousins (we had a family portrait session where about 1400 pictures were taken), but I wanted to talk Black Friday for a bit.

I LOVE Black Friday. I love the fun of getting up at dawn, list and coupons in hand, and plan out exactly where we're going to go. I'm usually home and finished before lunch. It's not the "camping outside the store and I am going to GET THAT giant TV for $199" part of Black Friday that I love, it's the "get up early to do some fun shopping with the girls and see how many other crazy people are out at 5am in their comfy clothes" part that I enjoy. This year was a bit different, with so many stores opening at midnight or before, there were hardly any crowds when we were shopping from 5-8am. No madness. No lines. No crazies. It took a little bit of wind out of our sails to NOT get tackled by a middle age woman at 5am in her pajamas, but it was kind of nice to get a lot of shopping done, still get some great deals, and finished in record time.

My side of the family is not really big on "surprise" gifts for Christmas. Lists are made and exchanged. Gift cards are almost expected. And a receipt is always included. But I gotta tell you, my mom took the Christmas wish list to new levels this year. I'm just going to share with you an email that I got from my mom last week:

I don't know who was planning to get gifts for who, but I looked around and found some ideas. You might can go in together if it's more than you wanted to spend. I'm sure the stuff will be cheaper on black Friday or Thanksgiving day

Also, there might be some coupons online to print off to save more $.

At Target, (these jacket things are in the section that says Womens and Morona is written on the wall with a big picture of a lake and lady & girl . It's down the isle by the make up. It's a zipper hoodie sweatshirt with fluffy lining on a rack with wheels. I need a small-1st choice is burgundy, 2nd choice is gray. Regular price is $27.00. # on tag is 016/02/4061

Also at Target, Mossimo regular hoodie sweatshirt in small and gray. Regular price is $19.99. The FM store is out of smalls in gray. It has 2 white strings by hoodie. It's in the front section across the aisle from the hats & scarfs.

Kohls-go in right door and look to the right and in the work out area. The wall says Tek Gear. Reversible with fluffy showing on outside. Regular price is $48.00 They were 1/2 price when I looked. Grey in small 00920 36895 on tag.

Belk- towards the middle of the far right wall in store. Jackets are against wall-Jane Ashley brand 100 polyester. $40.00 on sticker-style is 20025-Khaki/white. Says casual Lifestyle on tag. Fake fur at collar and cuffs and strip down center of both sides. Size small- On sale for $27.99
7-97640-84996-9 on tag

Penneys- White zipper sweatshirt hoodie-Arizona brand-not lined-size small Reg price of $36.00 644-4101-0101-03
Also black with fluffy gray lining zipper sweatshirt hoodie. Medium size-$46.00 regular price. 664-4100-0300-04

I hid these 2 items in the section that has a sign that says Womens Sleepwear (across from the bra section) There's a picture on the wall of a girl with a dog. There are long housecoats hanging to the right of the wall picture against the wall and they're behind those housecoats.on the floor.

I bet they'll be cheap on Thursday or Friday.

Seriously. This is the Christmas wish list she gave us this year. Brand names. Colors. Item numbers. And when "pre-shopping" earlier this week, my mom actually took items off their rack and hid them under a rack of housecoats so we could find them later. And she hid them effectively:

Womens Sleepwear

Girl with a dog

Long housecoats
And on the floor under them?

You guessed it. The coveted hooded sweatshirts. Yes, my mom requested six different hooded sweatshirts for Christmas this year.

Here's the kicker. She swears that she's not the only person who sees something she likes at a store, and, instead of buying it, hides it somewhere so that no one else finds it so that she can come back and get it later, like when it's on sale. My mom is convinced that this is totally normal behavior that everyone does, and that it's not weird at all. But what gets me, is that it's not exactly the hard-to-find door buster item that she has hidden beneath the housecoats. They're hooded sweatshirts from the JC Penney.

On Thanksgiving day, when we were mercilessly laughing at/with my mom about this list, she urged me to survey my blog readers to see how many other people employ the "pre-shop then stash the goodies in random parts of the store so you can find them later when it's on sale" method of shopping. Since I don't know how to put an actual survey in my post, could you do me a favor? If you are guilty of this shopping habit, please fess up and comment so that my mom will know she is not alone. If you do not employ this practice, feel free to let me know that I am not the only one who thinks this is just a teensy bit out of the ordinary.

And, if you're wondering what you can get my mother for Christmas, now you have a couple of *vague* ideas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, Monday

I realize that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I should probably post something sentimental about family and thankfulness. But that's not going to happen here today.

I had an awesome weekend this past weekend. Girls night, vampire ridiculousness, parades, lots of time spend doing nothing, church, birthday parties, and turkey bowling. People love weekends and dread Monday mornings for a reason.

And last morning was about to remind me of this. My Monday started at the unwelcome hour of 5:30am, when Dane burst into our room to tell us that their upstairs toilet was overflowing. I kicked Brandon in the shins, and groggily muttered to him to bring a couple of towels with him to investigate the early morning bathroom mishap. Because clearly I had no intention of getting out of bed.

About thirty seconds later, Brandon was wide awake, hollering at me that this was beyond a two-towel clean up, and I was going to have to get up and help with the unfortunate toilet situation.

And the situation? Well. The upstairs potty was a-overflowin’, and it got a little too ambitious to contain its’ destructiveness to just the bathroom. The water had seeped into the boys’ adjacent bedroom, soaking their closet floor and half of their bedroom floor. But heaven forbid it stop there. The water had soaked through the upstairs floor, and was poring through sections of the living room ceiling just below. I walked downstairs to find the entryway and half of our living room underwater. I’m not going to lie, I had some Ike flashbacks when I saw the water coming through the living room light fixture.

I did what everyone does when their house is flooding from the inside out at 5:30 in the morning: I folded laundry and started packing our suitcases for our Thanksgiving trip. Again, my thoughts flashed back to the time period immediately post-Ike destruction, when I stood in the pantry and debated what dry goods to throw out, as a hurricane raged outside and water flooded my bedroom and kitchen. My brain sometimes copes with stress by focusing on mundane, unimportant activities.

I did have enough sense to call our insurance company (who hates us by now), and by 10am a company was at our house ripping the floor out of the living room and measuring moisture levels throughout our house.

In other words, how everyone wants to spent Thanksgiving week. I had the unenviable task of keeping all four kids upstairs for most of the day while the crew worked downstairs, and when I started seeing the dozens of giant fans and dehumidifiers that were to be set up throughout the house for the better part of this week, I decided that perhaps our insurance company would be interested in sponsoring a hotel stay for a couple of days. I had images of Harper surfing down the stairs atop a giant dehumidifier. We packed up a couple of bags, and headed to our home-away-from-home: a 2 bedroom suite with full kitchen and THREE television sets. And an indoor pool. Three television sets. We have one functioning TV at our house, so we were all a little excited about all of the holiday week TV watching options. I thought for a few minutes that I was being a little whiny about staying in a hotel while our house was still livable, then we stopped by this morning for a couple of things, and this is what I saw:

Yeah. No, that would not have worked at all. And it sounds like a wind tunnel. An 88 degree wind tunnel.

Speaking of 88 degrees, Happy Thanksgiving from Texas, y'all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Recap

Well. Monday has been eventful enough to get its own recap, so for now I'll just backtrack a couple of days to last weekend.

Friday kicked off with the much anticipated girls night out to see the new Twilight movie. 12 friends, all but one of us way too old to be watching teenage vampire romances, opening night. And it did not disappoint. Sometimes, no matter what you do, a night that was supposed to be fun, just isn't. And sometimes, nights that sound like they might be fun, just fall into place perfectly and are so. stinkin'. fun.

Silly, unintentionally matching t-shirts certainly help.
Telling funny stories while standing in line outside the theater, surrounded by Twilight-obsessed high school girls an hour before the movie is never what I would plan to do for entertainment, but it was so, so entertaining.

And RUNNING to the theater, smokin' past the gaggle of Twilight-obsessed high school girls so we could try to find 12 seats together, made my night.

There's a rumor floating around that pubescent manager at the theater wearing a vest and bow tie may have threatened to kick us out for running and a brief near-tackling episode. Don't believe everything you hear. We did NOT knock that 15 year old down.

After Twilight-appoluza, Saturday morning came much too early. Especially since we had to be at the parade site at 8:30am, looking cute and happy and ready to wave our pageant wave and smile "till our gums hurt", according to Dane.

We were asked to ride on a float for a local pregnancy center who advocates for adoption. Since we're pretty big fans of adoption, and have the requisite token adopted kid, we agreed. We met in a church parking lot, and were subsequently greeted by this sign:
Of course.

Now, let's have a little 4th grade math review.

We were asked to be at the parade site at 8:30 in the morning.

For a parade that was scheduled from 10am till 12 noon.

And we were riding float #116 out of about 130 floats, with horses, football teams, marching bands, and the like interspersed throughout.
If you've done the math, you'll quickly realize that Brandon and I, and the four children, were to sit on a float for about 4 hours. 3 1/2 of which would be basically parked, waiting for our turn in line. Outside of a donut shop, which is just torture for a float full of children on a Saturday morning. Speaking of torture, the music playing out of the back of the truck that pulled our float was "Greatest Hits From A Mississippi Children's Choir That You've Never Heard Of".

Which my daughters were not afraid to dance to.

Harper-lo found someone to walk her around for most of the morning.

If I had a bucket list, and it had "be in a parade" on it, I could check it off. It was a different experience for our family, something we don't normally do on a Saturday morning, and I'm glad we got an opportunity to participate. We did get some significant bonding time (4 hours of bonding time) with several other adoptive families, which was pretty neat. The kids loved the actual "parade" part of the morning, waving and holding their signs.

Saturday wrapped up with a blissfully unscheduled remainder of the day, gearing ourselves up for yet another very busy Sunday. After church Sunday morning, I loaded up the kids before 3rd service and headed home to get Harper down for a nap before a 2pm birthday party that she was invited to. It was a party at one of those "paint the piece of pottery" places, and we decorated a purple Tinkerbell that, according to Harper was "just so beautiful". (This is one of Harper's favorite phrases currently, and she is just so cute when she says it). This is the first time we have been to a birthday party for one of Harper's friends, and to her credit, Harper only once tried to strip off all of her clothes and try on some of the birthday girl's new outfits from her grandparents.

Sunday evening found me wishing that I had not left my camera at home. Brandon had a high school Pilgrim Night, complete with high schoolers Turkey Bowling. What is Turkey Bowling, you ask? Officially? My absolute favorite Thanksgiving-themed contest involving frozen poultry and baby oil. A quick how-to, so your family can enjoy this friendly family competition on Turkey Day:

Participants: 2 frozen turkeys, large tarp, 12 2-liter sodas, lots of baby oil. And an iron stomach.

1. Set up soda bottles at one end of tarp to resemble 2 bowling-pin formations, side by side.

2. Pour 1-2 large bottles of baby oil all over tarp.

3. Form 2 teams of bowlers, and, using the (packaged) turkey as a ball, see which team can be the first to score 10 spares or strikes. Don't worry, the turkey wrapper will only last a few throws, you will soon be bowling with a naked, raw bird, legs flapping with each toss, gravel embedded in the slimy skin from the over-enthusiastic throws of competitive teenagers.

4. Do not put your hands in your mouth until after you have washed all of the raw turkey nastiness off of them.

5. Just throw away the tarp. It's not worth cleaning off.

You're welcome in advance for introducing your family in what will become your most beloved Thanksgiving tradition. I promise you will enjoy this more than you like that yucky cranberry sauce with the "can imprints" on it.

I for one am looking forward to a week of Thanksgiving, spending time with family, and a little black Friday shopping. I love the predictability of Thanksgiving, especially after a few days of anything-but-routine events!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sentences I Never Thought I Would Write

I haven't blogged in a week. I feel like such a blog-slacker. Several "out of our usual routine" things are going on this week.

I had the whole day to myself at home yesterday. No work. No kids. I try to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the girls are at school, but yesterday found me off work, at home, with a blissfully short to-do list and perfect weather. Windell the Kindle and I cuddled up on the back porch with a cup of coffee and spent some quality time together. It was perfection.

I am going to see the new Twilight movie with 12 of my closest girlfriends on opening night. I am speechless as I look over that sentence. I NEVER in a million years would have thought I would be braving the movie theater on a Friday night (too crowded) to see a teenage vampire romance (!) on opening night (hello, crazy fans and crazier lines). But, I can't wait to embrace the ridiculous-ness of the whole "Twilight thing" with my fun friends :)

I have watched the three previous Twilight movies in the last two days, and I didn't hate them. I didn't even throw up in response to the dramatic stares into one another's eyes, majestic soundtracks, or meaningful forehead-touches. But don't get me started on the giant wolves.

We're going to be in a parade on Saturday morning. All six of us, riding on a big float with a stork on it. A local town is having their holiday parade this weekend, November is apparently National Adoption Awareness month. We are one of the token adoptive families that will be riding on the stork float. I expect to be the only mommy spending the entire parade persuading her children to not jump off of the float.

Three of my four children sang in a choir on Sunday morning. And it was even cuter than what you're picturing in your head right now.

And their choir shirts said "I Am Crazy". Why? Because my church is awesome. Crazy awesome.

Dane ran the length of the football field Saturday, scoring a rushing touchdown in flag football. Dane's not, what some would say, a big kid. He's super fast, and has absolutely no fear, even when the other boys on the field are 30 pounds bigger than him. And while I didn't get a picture of that (of course), I did get this sweet picture of Harper and Emerson eating cupcakes afterwards:
At least it's not nail polish.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Creative Daughter

I have this daughter. I love her very, very much.

I love her very, very much.

Sorry. Sometimes I have to repeat things.

Back to this daughter. I actually have two daughters, but this is the only one who is two right now.

Two is going to be the death of me. That, or it will send me running for the mental institution.

Why isn't mommy in any pictures when I was two?

It's because she checked herself into the mental institution and didn't come out until you were seven.

Harper's had her fair share of, um, creative days.

But last Saturday, I was guilty of letting Harper play quietly upstairs alone for about 10 minutes. In what I thought was her playroom, with what I assumed were dress-up clothes. Little did I know that either my Hot Husband or I had left the door to our bedroom open. Dane went up to check on her upstairs, and then I heard the words no mother of a creative 2 year old ever wants to hear:

"Mom! Harper got into the nail polish!"

No. The 30 bottles of nail polish in the zippered bag, in the drawer in the vanity in the master bathroom? Why would my precious, sweet girl bypass the room full of age appropriate toys, the dress up clothes and Duplo blocks and baby dolls, to dig around in her parents' bathroom and play with the NAIL POLISH??

No. Nonononononono.

I found her at the top of the stairs, proud as can be. I quickly picked her up, my arms straight out in front of me, carrying her to the shower.

Girlfriend had painted herself from her toes to her knees, her tulle dress-up skirt, her hands, and her face with (at least) four different colors of nail polish. Nail polish is all over the carpet in my master bathroom. The good news is, Harper is advanced in the area of fine motor skills. I can't even get those bottles open half of the time.

What. Am. I. Going. To. Do. With. This. Girl.

A couple other tidbits for the Harper Files?

Yesterday morning after I had gone to work, Brandon came downstairs at 7am to find that Harper had body-slammed her way through the baby gate to get into the kitchen, and was holding three half eaten hot dogs in her hands from the refrigerator. We have no idea how many she ate before Brandon found her. Three. Cold cheese hot dogs. At 7am

I wish cold hot dogs are the worst thing we have busted Harper eating from the fridge.

Yes, that is a stick of butter.

I love her very, very much. I love her very, very much. I love her very, very much.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not Your Average Fall Festival

I hate it when I look at the calendar and realize it's almost the middle of November and I still haven't blogged about half the stuff we did in October.

So lets just take a quick stroll down memory lane. Not too far, just back a couple of weeks.

The Sunday before Halloween, our church had a HUGE "Party in the Park". Brandon was heavily involved in the planning process, which explains why we were the only fall festival in the area with this:

Yes, that is an axe-throwing station.

When we got to the event, the crowd was still somewhat small (1000-1500 people ended up coming), so the boys took advantage of short lines to participate in this:

They climbed into these giant inflated beach balls, then prepared to do their best hamster impersonation.

At one point, someone sat around their house and thought, "I have this great idea. Let's stick kids in giant transparent beach balls, then watch with glee as they run around on a pool filled with water, trying hopelessly to catch their balance while their orange hairspray rubs all over the inside of the beach ball, making them look less like Ron Weasley and more like some sort of tye-dyed Beanie Baby."

Goes without saying that the boys LOVED this. And throughout the night, a sizable crowd formed, watching the kids run around their hamster wheels.

It was almost as good entertainment as this:
Emerson smiling for pictures while strapped into a velcro suit and thrown up onto the wall? Funny every time.

All of the pastors took their shift in the dunk tank:

After getting dunked a couple dozen times, Brandon changed into his costume for the evening.
Of course my husband has a head-to-toe Thor costume that he's had more than one occasion to wear.
Of course some of our high school students had some of these super-creepy "morph suits".

Another activity making our fall festival a bit, um, unique?

Paintball the Pastors.

Thor costume optional.

All in all, when I wasn't doing frantic head counts, making sure no one had wandered off unnoticed, and cleaning cotton candy off Harry Potter robes, and searching high and low for Aidan's lost scarf, and briefly losing Emerson, we had an unforgettable time at Party in the Park.

And Brandon's keeping that Thor costume.