Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Wrap-Up

I can't believe Christmas is over already. It seems like it flew by this year. We had a really wonderful Christmas; we celebrated with Chuck's family on the 23rd. The boys got a ton of fun stuff there and Moosey got to show off his dance moves.
Check out this little video:

We had a quiet Christmas Eve at home, which included tracking Santa's sleigh on the NORAD site-very cool thing by the way! And then we headed to church for the candle light service.

The next morning the boys were up bright and early to see what Santa had brought them. Ever since the incident in 2004, they have to wait for an adult to go downstairs on Christmas morning. ("The Christmas incident" was the time that Bryce and Jarron went downstairs without us on Christmas morning and opened EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING, under the tree without us knowing. They were only 3 and couldn't read, so they assumed everything was for them. It was Jackson's first Christmas. He didn't get to open anything that year-neither did Chuck or I. I rewrapped the gifts for Uncle James and my parents.)
Anyway, the boys were so happy and surprised to see that Santa had brought them so many things from their lists. Jackson got his Zsu Zsu hamster, thanks to an elf that looked suspiciously like Uncle James, Bryce got his Mindflex, thanks to another elf that looked like Aunt Fawna, Jarron got his skateboarding gear (but no ramp for the backyard, Santa's got to draw a line somewhere!), and Brody got some Little People sets.

Christmas evening, my family came over and we had another round of presents. My nephew, Blaze got his very own camera for Christmas (his momma is a super talented photographer and he is following in her footsteps). So the boys spent a ton of time setting their wrestlers and other toys up in elaborate scenes for Blaze to photograph.

Okay, so the toys weren't the only props being photographed-Moosey did this on his own, he is standing in his mega blocks wagon while being pulled around-the kid has no fear!

The Saturday after Christmas, we headed down to Jackson County, Ky to see Chuck's grandmas. After a few more presents (the big boys got these cool lantern things-a big hit!), we headed to Lexington to spend the night at a hotel. A hotel with a heated pool! Woo hoo! (By the way, if you are ever in need of accomodations in the Lexington area-I highly recommend the Holiday Inn Express near the University-super nice and clean and VERY affordable!). As you can see, the boys loved the pool.



We had a really fabulous Christmas, and I am looking forward to what the new year will bring! See you next year! :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

1. Christmas is just 10 days away! I can't believe how fast the season is going by this year. I'm just about done with my shopping, just a couple of scrappy gifts to make. I'll try to post pictures of the teacher gifts this weekend-I am making them pocket planners and maybe some notecards.

2. Our digital cable box/DVR broke Friday night. So frustrated with Time Warner these days. A couple of weeks ago they just didn't show when I made an appointment to get a new line installed, and then this. The guy on the customer service line told me to take the box to the mall and I could swap it out for a new one. We lost all of the shows we'd been saving on the DVR-Chuck's Kentucky games, my brother's interview on a national show, and all of the mid-season finales from last week-so annoying. The lady at the mall wasn't very helpful either-she acted like I was bothering her when I asked for the new box-and told me it would be more convenient if I had mailed it in or had someone come out to the house. Maybe for her-but we needed that box working for Saturday's basketball game-we couldn't wait a week for a new one to be mailed or a tech to come out. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

3. But some good came out of the whole fiasco, it forced us to go somewhere that we rarely go these days-the mall! And you know who is hanging out at the mall this month? Right?
This guy...

Surprisingly, Moose sat on his lap without any hesitation. I had to bribe Jarron to go anywhere near him (apparently, some 8 year olds are too cool for Santa). Bryce and Jackson were both willing to talk to Santa and let him know what they were hoping for (the Mindflex game and a zhu zhu pet). After a few pictures, Moose got restless and he was done, but I think we got at least one good shot.

4. We got our tree Saturday afternoon from the produce farm up the street. It's a really nice tree and we got a smokin' good deal on it-$25! Highly recommend Uncle Rog's produce stand for trees! (They also have yummy fruits and veggies in the summer.)

I have no idea way Jarron is smiling like that. This was the best picture of the bunch though. Sigh.

5. Bryce and Jarron are working on a unit in economics at school. As part of their lesson, they have a Barter Day this week. They have to make an item and bring it in to trade with the other kids in their class. I took them to Hobby Lobby to pick out the materials-the whole time all I heard was, "Can we get out here? This is a girl's store...can we at least go to the wood aisle-that's manly!" Shortest trip to a craft store ever! They each bought a wooden nutcraker to paint and decorate. Let's just say that the black paint was a popular color.


6. Sunday morning Bryce, Jarron, and Jackson had their Christmas cantata at church. Jackson was towards the front, so it's easiest to see him. He did a little dancing to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"-so cute. Bryce and Jarron were in the middle of the sea of kids but they both looked like they were singing. They all looked really cute in their new sweaters.

 That's Jackson in the gray sweater grinning because he saw me taking pictures from the balcony. (The poor kid in the plaid looks like he's going to burst into tears at any minute.)

Of the 15 pictures I took, this is the ONLY one where Jarron is facing the camera. (He's in the red sweater and collared shirt.)

Bryce is in the gray sweater, looking super thrilled to be on stage.

7. We decorated the tree Sunday afternoon, the boys and Chuck did most of the work, I just finished it off with some bows at the end. As you can see, the majority of the ornaments on are on the upper 1/3rd of the tree. You'll understand why when you read #8...

(Clearly, Bobbi is the photographer in this family-lighted Christmas tree pictures are hard to take!)

8. Moose loves balls-footballs, basketballs, tennis balls-LOVES them. So when he saw the ornaments we were hanging on the tree, his eyes got really big and he kept pointing to it and saying "ball!". It must be a dream come true for him-a tree with balls on it, growing right in his living room! He and Keaton have broken 3 ornaments so far. I'm thinking putting the glass ornaments up was a bad idea this year.

He looks so innocent here-like he would never, ever crush glass ornaments with his fists-ha! Looks can be deceiving!

9. I just finished the book "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoulet. It was a really hard read. It was a story similar to Columbine but told through the parents of one of the victims and the killer. I think when Columbine happened I was closer to high school than I was to having kids of my own, so I identified more with the kids and their terror. Now that I am a parent, all I could think about was how helpless it must feel. I just wanted to hug my kids and wrap them in bubble wrap when I finished the book. I just want to shield them from the ugliness of bullies and the awfulness of trying to fit in. But I can't, my job as their Mom, is to prepare them for that stuff and give them the tools they need to overcome it and succeed. Anyway, I'm not really a fan of heavy reads like this. Make fun all you want, but the cozy mysteries that I enjoy rarely keep me up at night like this book did.

10. I'm getting my hair done Monday-woo hoo! I haven't had a cut in 3 months! I'm also going a litle darker (for winter-ha!), so looking forward to it. I'm thinking little Moose is going to be getting his first haircut in the next 2 weeks. He has really adorable curls in the back when he first gets a bath but within a couple of hours it looks like a mullet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ten on Tuesday Returns!

1. Welcome back to Ten on Tuesday! How fun was that video of Bryce and Jarron wrestling? We've gotten a few comments from random strangers about that video on You Tube. Too funny.

2. Moosey is quite the little dancing king these days. Anytime we turn the TV to the Music Choice channels, he stops what he is doing and starts do this funny looking sumo wrestler style dance. He LOVES to dance.

3. I think we've finally made it out of the worst of the winter sickness (I hope), all of the boys had the H1N1 flu with no complications, all of us got the stomach virus thing, and 3 of us have had ear infections. I'm pretty sure we kept the companies that make amoxicillian and Lysol in business this past month.

4. We celebrated Thanksgiving with our families last week, I wasn't feeling too hot so we didn't make it to Kentucky. We celebrated with the Lakes that Saturday at our church. There's just so many of us that it made sense not to cram everyone into Chuck's parents' house. The boys had a blast, running around playing ball.

You tell em, Moose!

5. We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family that Sunday. Chuck set up our new Blu-Ray player and the kids watched Up! I won't say who, but one of the adults (not me, Chuck, or Bobbi) got a little emotional the first time he viewed this particular movie and might have shed a tear or two. Naturally, we had to make fun of this adult; you should never give this group a reason to make fun of you because we will take FULL advantage!


6. I won a prize! I feel kind of like the Dad on "A Christmas Story", except my prize isn't a leg lamp. I listen to Warm 98 in the car throughout the holiday season (they play Christmas music 24/7). On the morning show last week, they had a little trivia question about the Bengals (I think we all know that I'm a bit of a Bengals fan) and I entered it via email. Yesterday, as I was pulling into work, they announced my name as the winner! Yay me!  So excited, I'm picking up my prize this afternoon-a $50 gift card to Montgomery Inn and a tabletop cornhole set. Sweet! I'm also entered into the grand prize-a new recliner and a tailgate party for 10-how awesome would that be?

7. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here yesterday morning. We got our first measurable snow of the season-which promptly melted. It was pretty for an hour or so.

8. Jarron has been saving up his money for awhile now (he wanted a hot tub-hee!). This weekend he saw a basketball game like you'd see at Chuck E Cheese for $99 and decided that is what he'd spend his money on. I'll be honest for $99, I  thought it would be a small two player hoop thing-I was SO wrong. This thing is HUGE, like something you'd see at Dave & Busters. Chuck and the boys spent 3 hours putting it together last night. I have a feeling the boys will be spending hours with this thing.

Imagine this thing in your basement-not small at all!

9. So, I'm doing this couch potato to 5K training program that can be found HERE. I was totally going to ignore the whole start off at three days a week thing, and then I tried to get out of bed this morning, and I was pretty sure my legs were going to fall off. It hurts to walk, shuffle, MOVE. So yeah, I guess they knew what they were talking about with the 3 days a week thing. But I'm determined to be back out tomorrow morning. I actually really enjoyed my walk/run Monday-it was so peaceful and the snow was barely coming down-so pretty. But the pain I'm feeling now-NOT pretty. At all.

10. We're getting our tree this weekend. I wanted to go to The Big Tree Plantation in Morrow. They have real reindeers, an elaborate train set and all sorts of fun things to do. No one else in the famly wants to go. Even the boys voted against me, so I guess we'll be going to the lot up the street. I guess the fun part for the boys is just decorating the tree. (They have promised me that we can go to Festival of Lights at the zoo this year-so that sort of makes up for it).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

1. Let's just ignore the fact that I haven't updated the blog in awhile, shall we? I haven't really taken very many pictures lately either! I'm looking forward to some down time after Thanksgiving to regroup and get organized!

2. I did snap a few pictures of the boys at their Upward awards for Flag Football. The church that held the award ceremony was the biggest I have ever seen. The kids had a great time and Moose was generally well behaved. He was quiet as a mouse until someone would start praying then he'd either start humming or saying "Da!" really loud.

Ever spent much time with a bunch of 8 and 9 year old boys? Because this is how they typically display their excitement. I was just grateful they let me take a picture. That rarely happens these days.

3. I am really blessed to work for a company that not only believes in giving back to our community but encourages it. I was able to help out at a Habitat for Humanity house last week. The community we were building in wasn't the greatest-I couldn't help but think about how lucky we are and how much we have. It was some hard work (shoveling rocks; mudding, sanding, and painting walls; I even got to use power tools!) but it was so rewarding.

4. We've all been pretty sick in the last week-nasty stomach virus. But Jackson got things the worst. Not only did he get a stomach virus but he also got a horrible ear infection and his ear drum burst (again!). I'm happy to report he is feeling much better already but I got to make yet another visit to Urgent Care. I'm pretty sure they know us by name there now. Honestly.

5. Because he wasn't feeling well, he was pretty cranky Sunday and got really mad when I threw his milkshake away (he had left it on the counter when he took a nap). I told him his dad would get him a new one when he went out later. He didn't believe me and said, "You are a liar, you lied, one, two, three, four times! and I don't believe you!" He then followed up with, "And you are always in my business-why are you always in my business?" Hee. He was just absolutely miserable and in pain so he got a pass. (Trust me-our kids normally would never talk to us like that!) Rather than be upset I just had to laugh-it was such a ridiculous thing to say.

6. Jarron and Bryce had a sleep over at their friend Logan's house this weekend. Bryce talked all weekend about how he couldn't wait to try Logan's Mom's brownies. When I asked him the next morning how they tasted he said, "Well, the brownie itself was good but I made the mistake of putting ice cream and hot caramel on top-so it got all ice creamy and yucky. That's the last time I give in to peer pressure!" :) Let's hope so.

7. Jarron also had his share of witty remarks. At one point one of the boys at the party said, "My great-grandma is 91!" And Jarron said, "Mine's 99. When she doesn't listen to me, I just give her a poke. That really works with the seniors!"

8. I'm pretty sure Chuck sabotaged our TV so he could get a new one. A couple of weeks ago he was talking about how great the new plasmas are and how affordable they are getting. Low and behold, a day or two later our TV breaks, just stops working and we are forced to buy a new one. Coincidence? I think not.

9. I really, really want to go see 2012. I love cheesy disaster movies. LOVE THEM! I think my obsession with them started with "Twister", my all time favorite and grand-daddy of all natural disaster movies. Chuck, being the awesome husband that he is, finds the TV disaster movies when they are on and lets me know about them. He will even sit and watch them with me. You know a man loves you when he's willing to sit through "Earthquake in New York! The Big Tremblor!"

10. The new West Chester Library opened last week, I might need to make a little trip over there tonight for some reading material for the drive to Kentucky this weekend. I {heart} libraries! All of those books lined up all nice and neat, just waiting to be read...pure bliss. I am fully aware of how nerdy that sounds.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

1. I'm back! Did you miss me? Between the craziness of Halloween, flag football and the flu hitting our house, I just didn't have much computer time. I will be a better blogger, I promise! :)

2. The boys had a blast at Halloween this year. We had Trunk or Treat at church on Thursday, so the boys got to hang out with the Lakes cousins. (And collected 4 buckets of candy.) On Halloween, we went trick or treating through our neighborhood. (And collected 4 MORE buckets of candy.) Jackson was cracking me up, after each house, he would look in his own bucket and examine the candy and then look in Brody's bucket. If Brody had something (like Kit-Kats) that he liked better, he would switch.  And each time he would say, "Brody doesn't like Kit-Kats (or Hershey's, or Reese's)". By the end of the night Brody had a bucket full of Tootsie Rolls and Almond Joys. Poor kid.


3. As you can see, we had a bit of a Sci-Fi theme going with costumes this year. Bryce was Captain Kirk, Jackson was Luke Skywalker (disguised as Anakin-I couldn't find the real dark colored Luke costume-Jackson never knew the difference), and Brody was Yoda. Jarron, being Jarron, wanted nothing to do with Star Wars or Star Trek and went as an Army guy. I was just thrilled he wasn't a Power Ranger (as he was in 2004, 2006, and 2007)!






4. I was the parent helper for Jarron's "Harvest Party" at school. Fortunately, Bryce's room is right next door, so I could go back and forth and see both of the boys having fun. I caught Bryce bobbing for apples. (The "ewww" factor was really high for me. Seriously, gross. I am not at all surprised that Brycey was sick the next week.)

(This was taken after I witnessed 3 other kids "bob" for apples. Yuck!)

5. One of the mom's from Jarron class was telling me that he loves to eat. Which, of course, I already knew. She went on to say that her son was sharing with the class that he was going as a box of french fries in a costume that she made and Jarron said, "I'm so hungry I could eat that costume!".
That night, as I was telling Chuck that story, Jarron interrupted me and said "She's a French Fry Costume Making Liar!, I never said that!"  Nice.

6. Chuck was able to get some tickets to UK's exhibition games last week. He took Jarron on Monday night and Bryce on Friday night. (He and Bryce forgot the camera for their trip-since the boys are identical twins, I am just going to make two copies of the pictures for each of their scrapbooks-they'll never know. Kidding!) Needless to say, Chuck is thrilled that the boys share his love of the Wildcats. It makes me so happy to see them hanging out together. I know I've said this before, but Chuck is such a good dad.

(There's a story behind this foam finger-look for that in the next week or so!)

7. Our last flag football games were this Saturday. All three of the boys had a great season, playing far better than Chuck and I expected them to. I won't miss freezing to death on the side lines, but it was great to see them having so much fun.

8. Does anyone else watch Mad Men on AMC? As you know, I've spent my entire career in marketing and advertising, so I absolutely love this show about a Madison Ave advertising agency in the 1960's. I just watched the finale and I don't want to spoil it for anyone but it was so awesome! I'm sad about Betty & Don but love what they have done with the agency.

9. This past Sunday, we headed over to Rentschler Park to have our family photos taken by Bobbi. I'm not going to share the photos here until after the new year (they are for our Christmas cards). It was such a beautiful day and there was a ton of leaves on the ground. So, naturally the boys had to have some fun after all of that posing!


10. While at Rentschler, I snapped this picture of Chuck, James and all of our boys. I love this-I love that these boys are growing up together, hanging out every day. I love that my brother and his family are such a big part of our lives. We are so very blessed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

1. Does it feel like a Monday to anyone but me? No? I guess because I spent most of my Monday in a quiet dark room fighting a migraine it feels that way. Stupid migraines. Seriously hoping that my new prescription makes them go away.

2. Jarron got the flu last week, he had a fever from Wednesday until yesterday. (Not to mention the aches, pains, and general misery.) He seemed pretty excited to be heading back today.

3. Jackson went to his first "friend" birthday party for a little girl from school. It was at the giant inflatable place, Bananas. It was so great to see him interacting with the other kids. I'm so used to seeing him hang out with family that it was so cool to see him hanging out with kids that the twins didn't even know. He has his own identity there and that's pretty awesome.

4. Speaking of awesome, Bryce got a part in the school play. Only 25 kids in the whole school made the play, and he got a speaking part! He is Banzai, the lead hyena in Lion King. The play isn't until March, but the script is 62 pages! (I know!!!)
(Insert a picture of Bryce here. Oh wait, he refuses to have his picture taken because he is 8 and a boy. Never mind.)

5. This little Moose is a sneaky one. He is into everyting these days. (Especially our kitchen cabinets!)
What am I doing? Ummm....nothing just standing on this container of dog food... caught me...I'm busting through the baby proofing and getting into the cabinet...again. :)

6. I am completely addicted to the new seasons of Amazing Race, Top Chef, and The Office. Also on my list of must watch TV is Storm Chasers. Love that show. I am completely fascinated with tornados but have a healthy fear of them. So, while I will avidly watch Reed and his team chase the twisters, you would find me cowering in the basement holding onto a heavy object if the sirens go off.

7. I caught Chuck out in the garage last night admiring his bike again. Totally cracks me up to see him out there just looking at it.

8. Chuck asked Jarron last night if he wished that he had tried out for the play that Bryce is in. Jarron said, "No way, that's just extra homework." And that is the difference between Bryce and Jarron in a nutshell.

9. On a sad note, we had to have our dog, Tubby, put to sleep last night. He'd been losing his sight for awhile, but he went completely blind in the last couple of weeks. His kidneys were shutting down and he was having trouble walking. It was a horribly tough decision but it was the right thing to do. He was an awesome little dog and we will miss him so much.

Tubby Smith Lakes, 1993-2009

10. Halloween is just 4 days away, we have the candy and costumes but no pumpkins. Guess what the Lakes will be doing tonight? (Did you guess carving pumpkins? Because that is what I meant...) Check back next week for pictures of the boys in costumes, we have a bit of a Sci-Fi theme going this year...

Monday, October 19, 2009

While I Was Out...

(thanks to Aunt Robin for the title inspiration!)

Chuck redid our master bedroom! While I was at work on Friday, he completely repainted and made over our room. He researched and bought all new bedding, and did everything in one day! Now, to be clear, this was no small feat-our bedroom is big-18 x 19-that's a lot of painting! Not only did he re-do the bedroom but on the walls were new pictures of the boys! A month or so ago, while I was at scrapbook night, he took the boys to the park for a secret photo shoot with Aunt Bobbi. (He also picked out and bought them all new outfits!) I can not believe the boys kept the secret for that long...especially since I found the "photo shoot" outfits in the back of Brody's closet a couple of weeks ago. I thought for sure I was going crazy because I definitely did not remember buying them but everyone convinced me that I must have forgotten about them!
(To see the pictures from the photo shoot, visit Aunt Bobbi's blog HERE).
I have no "before" pictures of the bedroom, but trust me when I say that it was super boring, nothing on the walls but a weird purplish-beige paint and an odd hand-painted black border. We talked a lot about making changes to the room but we just hadn't got around to it.

Isn't this bedding beautiful-I couldn't have picked anything better-PERFECT!

I love the new room, LOVE IT! I keep randomly walking in there and sitting on the bed, just taking it all in.
Seriously? Best. Husband. Ever! I love you, Chuck, I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me that you did all of this for me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Seriously? Could He Be Any Cuter????

Nope, I don't think so. A little sneak peek from tonight's one year photo shoot with Aunt Bobbi...take a look then go right on over HERE to her website and book yourself a shoot for your Christmas cards! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

1. Moosey's birthday party was Friday night and he had so much fun. He got to eat pizza and cake (which he loves) and got lots of great presents. Uncle James and Aunt Bobbi got him the coolest little moose rocker! He loves that thing.

Ready to party!

The birthday boy!

Look at that chubby little cake filled hand!

Moose on a moose-so funny!

2. It seems like Moose's vocabulary is really expanding lately. When he wants something, he points to it and says "ME" (as in give it to me!), he also says "Oh boy!". So funny to hear him say it, I've tried capturing it on film but he just won't do it. (Of course as soon as I turn the camera off, all I hear is "oh boy" over and over again!)

I think he might exceed the weight limit for my washer.

3. Feeling good about Halloween planning right now, I've got all 4 boys costumes purchased and ready to go. And we got our treat buckets personalized and ready for decorating. Every year, the boys and I get pails or bags and decorate them to use for trick or treating. It's a lot of fun for all of us. We haven't gone to the pumpkin patch yet, but hopefully we can cross that off our list in the next week or so.

4. Bryce was up to his tricks again this week at football, this week he ran through the tunnel blowing kisses at the crowd. Such a showman!

5. Jarron has been such a huge helper to Chuck and I lately. He is always helping take care of Moose and this weekend he helped Chuck with all of the yardwork. He even got to mow for the first time. He is so proud-and I'm sure Chuck can't wait until the twins are able to take over that chore all together!

6. How is it that I have never tried Nutella before? I found a recipe on a blog for Nutella Croissants and I made them this weekend-they are delicious. (Not so yummy cold but very yummy warm.) How did I not know about this product?

7. My 6 month quest for the perfect stroller has ended in success! I have been stalking eBay and Craig's List for a gently used Maclaren Techno XT stroller and yesterday I found it! At my sister in law's store (visit her website HERE) of all places! You have no idea how happy I am to have this fine piece of European machinery join our house. After 4 kids and 7 strollers, I knew exactly what I wanted from a stroller-lightweight but sturdy, adjustable handles (Chuck's nearly a foot taller than me-so my perfect handle height and his are very different!), storage basket, and a nice rain shield. This stroller has ALL of that! Woo-hoo!

8. Said by Jarron last night as we were running errands and passed a Waffle House with some sketchy looking patrons milling about outside, "Hey mom, let's stop there, those people look friendly, plus it's a house of waffles, what's better than that?"

9. Our Cincinnati Bengals are now 4-1! Whaaaatttt? I know! So exciting but these last minute wins are giving me heart attacks-I'd love to see them have a really decisive win.

10. We have a busy weekend ahead-football games, museum center, Halloween party and (maybe) family pictures-I'm tired just thinking about it! :)