Thursday, December 31, 2009

son up to son down

I was on the phone for just a few minutes yesterday while I was recanting the nightmare that is Sears Appliance repair (don't even get me started on them and how it is all still not working AND the Sears customer service/recovery/relations 800 numbers that kept me on hold for an hour and a half on Monday, plus another half an hour talking to six different people repeating all my information), when I rounded the corner to this...

Different angle to get the best perspective... notice Oliver is up on the steering wheel. This is a recipe for disaster huh?

Not only is it a ride-on vehicle, but it is also their stool. They are munching down on my homemade chex mix, which apparently has addictive qualities to it as they keep finding ways to get at it like little addicts that can't help themselves. And seriously, I was only out of sight for maybe two minutes tops.

Of course what makes it all the better is when I rounded the corner, I met eyes with Collin who promptly and appropriately said "uh oh!" Then started shoveling the chex into his mouth faster.

Though Collin has used this ride-on as his stool several times, this is the first time I have seen both on it. This, like many other things, puts me in mind of that saying "mothers of little boys work from son up to son down."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We took the boys to the wildlights at the zoo tonight. We were a little worried since it would keep them up extra late, be cold and very crowded, but they did really well. Ethan happily hopped around (which was no small feat given the amount of layers he had on) the zoo taking in all the lights and sights. The twins only had a few minor meltdowns, but otherwise were very happy and engaged (which trust me is not always easy to accomplish with twin two year old boys).

Ethan seemed to really love all the lights - there were more than I remember from the last time we went (a couple years ago). The twins even really seemed to enjoy the lights - or "ights" as Collin calls them. My personal favorite were the lights around the pond set to motion while the Carol of the Bells by Trans Siberian Orchestra played. Very cool.

Photo with flash (washed out the lights, but you can see the snow falling and Ethan's huge smile)

Other than the lights, the first favorite thing was the snow. Specifically catching it on their tongues. Ethan started it and then his mini me, Oliver (he likes to do everything that Ethan does), followed. Even Collin was smacking his lips, pretending to eat the snow that fell in his mouth.

The second biggest hit of the night was the almost full moon. Collin spotted it and keep pointing and yelling "mmooo n! mmooo n!" At one point, when the moon went behind the clouds, he said "mmooo n wherarou?" (it's hard to find the spelling of the way he pronounces things). It took me a second (and him repeating it several times) to realize that he was actually saying that. Really, it took a mommy to know as Collin's speech (because of Apraxia) is very hard to understand (most of the time they aren't words anyhow). This was a sentence! Holy crap! A sentence! The "where are you" all ran together like it was one word and the tone of this voice fluctuating during the sounds is what tipped me off... that and his obsession about the moon all night. Fabulous event!

The other really cute thing was something Oliver said. On our way there, Steve said my name - Wendy (which is not uncommon of course). For some reason Oliver picked right up on it and said "Wendy. That's my mommy. Wendy is my mommy." It was so cute. (maybe you had to hear it, but trust me it was stinking cute!)

A perfect way to end this Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I had a dream...

...that I might actually be able to take cute photos of the boys. What a silly, silly, silly dream. Three boys which consist of a five year old and twin two year olds... really, what WAS I thinking?

Steve and I took the boys to a local park Sunday evening, which I know in the past has had a beautiful sleigh all decorated with plants and bows and all. I had this dream of getting the boys standing next to it looking all cute and having some really nice Christmas photo of them. Well, the sleigh was not there... and the boys did not stay still for more than a nanosecond the entire time. Without Steve, in fact, I would have lost one of them as there was always one running off somewhere (fortunately this is a park that has one parking lot, so cars were not a concern) down one of the many garden paths.

See the speed?

Steve, I think, actually thought we could get a good photo too. I even decked them out in cute sweaters thinking I could slip their coats off for a few minutes (it was very cold) while they posed all cute for me... but that was just not even in the cards (if we could catch them to get it off, we would never catch them to put it back on). I even thought that if I said "smile" that they would smile a real smile, even given the fact that they never do any other time, especially Ethan. Case in point, "Smile pretty Ethan"...... uh... no comment.

In the end, these two are the best of what I got (yes, nothing basically)... Other than my huge photo disappointment, the boys had a fabulous time running and running and running, oh and running some more. Lots of giggles, exploring and smiles. And that, is really what it's all about. Wish I could make photos from the images I captured in my memory today - to share with all of you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Poor little O

My poor little Oliver has had a rough couple days. Christmas Eve's eve and Christmas Eve he was not feeling well, just irritable, runny nose, couldn't sleep... just miserable.

On Christmas he seemed to be feeling better, well... if only he didn't have that head trauma in the morning. While I was upstairs and Steve was un-boxing items for the boys (after all the presents were unwrapped), Oliver walked right by him, up to the stockings and yanked one off. That would be the metal, extremely heavy (I am not kidding, it has to be close to 10lbs it seems) stocking holder as well as the stocking itself - definitely more than he bargained for. Steve only heard the thud of it hit the tile and Oliver's cry, he looked up too late to see what exactly happened. Oliver had a scratch and a quickly rising bump over his right eye as well as a gauge right above his hairline, that, as you can guess as with any head would, was very... well... ewww. Fortunately, it did not require stitches (though I think I asked Steve about fifty times, one right after the other if he was sure we didn't need to go the hospital) and he recovered quicker than Steve and I. All of this happened, of course, moments before Grandma Dee (another set of eyes) arrived. You know, we waited until Christmas Eve after everyone was in bed to even put the stockings up so as to prevent this exact incident... so how do you suppose we forgot to take them down immediately after they were emptied? The guilt... I will say though, the swelling went down by the next day and the cut looked a lot better too. But still, the guilt...
Then the day after Christmas his virus, which we thought was better, hit his eyes. And on top of that, he developed either an allergic reaction or yet another gift of the virus because he developed hive like bumps that spread from his face to his feet throughout the day. Thankfully Amy, Steve's sister and nurse practitioner, was here during this time to look at it. Actually, she ended up being on-call for me since she was only there during the breakout around his left eye. I called her later for advice when the red blotches and hive like bumps creeped all their way down his body, but still in patches (thank you Amy!). We gave him benedryl and that seemed to help some. They really didn't bother him, just us. He did sleep well and had about half the bumps the next day. We are still not sure what they are, but I suspect the virus.

Needless to say, poor little O had a rough couple of days... but lots and lots of extra love and kisses.

Christmas... again

The day after Christmas Christmas...

Presents and kids galore!

Oliver stealing Chex Mix (he and Collin were quiet, nimble and quick with their stealing missions).

'Couzind' Isaac stayed afterwards to play with Ethan, something that greatly excited Ethan, as all the younger kids took naps.
After about a half hour of playing, they informed me that they needed a snack. I asked them what they wanted. They looked at each other and smiled 'the smile' and Ethan said "something sweet!" I said: "how about something..." and was quickly interrupted by "no, we don't want cheese and crackers." "how about carrots?" "NO!" "Hmmm, apple?" "No, we want cookies," they giggled with big dimply smiles. I convinced them to have applesauce first (my homemade unsweetened applesauce that is) and then we would discuss. And that they did... sorry Amy... I caved. They were just too darn cute and who are we kidding... all days surrounding Christmas are almost lost causes to practical eating. Aside from how this photo may look, I did put a limit on the sweets. They actually had a yogurt covered pretzel and a cookie each.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Merry Christmas everyone!

As close to all looking and somewhat smiling at once.

Ethan: "Seriously, my head hurts from the flashing and smiling mom... surely one of those 1000 photos you took are okay, now stop!"
Collin: "Yea mom, I can hardly see now."
Oliver: "What are you two talking about, I'm always 'on' and cute as can be, just look at me."

Let the present opening commence. Look at Oliver hugging the gift. Yes, Steve has Grinch pjs - does that really surprise anyone?

"Luke, I am your father..."

Oliver in his zen: with book.

Checking out the new bath toys.

Ripping through the kitchen on his new wheels.

Ready for a nap.

Building a castle with Grandma D.

T'was the night before Christmas...

and all through the house, not a creature was stirring (okay, mom and dad were), not even a mouse (I sure hope we don't have any mice). The children were all nestled, snug in their beds while visions of sugarplums (okay, make that chex mix, cookies, bakugans, books, super heroes, etc) danced in there heads. While I full of stress and dad feeling the same, were so thankful that Ethan (who was on Santa watch FOREVER) finally fell asleep. We sprang into action and wrapped all the gifts... okay, you get the picture...

Ethan was in full Santa mode this year, waiting for Santa to arrive. He even placed a toy plane standing up in front of the door when we weren't looking. When I tucked him in, he said "mom, will Santa come through the door?" I said no honey, he's coming down the chimney. He said "Darn, then that plane will never fall!" Every sound was Santa and every light was Rudolph. Which was cute, but though we say every year we aren't going to wait until Christmas eve to wrap... we do. Every year. So, we wanted him to GO. TO. SLEEP. I mean, once you pull everything from all their hiding places throughout the house and cars, drag all the wrapping paper down, determine which wrapping paper for what (if you know what I mean) and organize... well... that puts us a little past 1:30 am. Again, Ethan was awake forever!

Ethan's note to Santa this year was too funny. He drew some pictures (Batarang of course, cookies and Santa) and then dictated the note to me. He actually wrote the Dear Santa and the Love Ethan part himself. Some of the funny stuff from the note was Ethan telling him not to get his beard all chocolaty (from the chocolate candy on the gingerbread boys and peanut butter kiss cookies) - actually, this was very funny to Ethan. And at the end he told me to write "I love you real, real bad." (I had to hold back the giggle)

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I picked up a bunch of inexpensive wood ornaments for the kids to color. Though they all have had some fun, I have learned it is more age appropriate for Ethan so he has been the one to color the most.

Ethan has decided that they needed to be gifts for his friends and family (now I wish I had bought many more). In such, he is taking great pride and time in coloring in each one perfectly (during the hours that his brothers are napping, otherwise we have markers all over the wall, floor and ourselves... those little buggers are fast). He talks to himself and me while doing this and I have to tell you I enjoy that just as much as how hard he is working on them. Like yesterday, when he colored a couple more, he decided he was coloring one for his cousin Isaac and his friends Nick and Andy. While coloring the one for Isaac he said he could not use pink because Isaac would not like any pink on his ornament. Really? However, pink was okay for Nick. And the way he sits and decides who he will give each design (tree, santa, snowman, reindeer, etc), funny. Sigh... this is a fun, fun age.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Ethan and I made spice spritz cookies today while the twins were napping. As he was operating the trigger like cookie press, he said he was having the best time of his life. No wonder... spritz cookie presses are much like many boy toys... and this toy shot out cookies! What isn't fabulous about that?
Eating the cookies.

The Journey to Bethlehem

Ethan's school program was last Thursday and the theme was the journey to Bethlehem. The kids showcased some of their agility they have been working on in gym, all while posing pretty for all the flashing cameras. Then the music teacher told the story while the children input parts. They also sang songs.

Of course it was wonderful and Steve and I enjoyed it greatly. Mostly what we enjoyed was watching Ethan's many faces during the story and the songs (which I couldn't get close enough to photograph - I tried though). He is the king of the funny eyebrow and mouth faces. The king.

Doctor's Appointments abound

The first week of December all four kids had appointments. Ethan his five year appointment, the twins their 27 month appointment and Lauren normal appt with with the Rheumatologist. Then last Friday Collin had an appt at the Apraxia Clinic with the developmental pediatric doctor at Children's specializing in speech disorders.

So, here's the run down:

Ethan five year appointment: he is now 42 lbs (50 percentile) and 44 inches (75 percentile). His blood pressure and eyes checked out. His right ear didn't do so well in the hearing test but it was low tones so the doctor isn't worried about it (this is the ear he always had ear infections in even well after tubes). Otherwise, he checked out fine and put on quite a performance for the doctor.

Twins 27 month appointment:
Collin was 31 lbs (65%) and 37 inches (90%).

Oliver was 26.5 lbs (30% - he had been sick and not eating so I think he is a little bigger really) and 35.25 inches (50%)

This appointment was scheduled due to their hearing test in August and the delays we saw at their two year appt. The doctor just wanted to check up on them. All things are as they were, waiting on developmental peds.

Lauren's JRA appointment:
Everything went well with Lauren. She had a couple small flares which Steve treated with Embrel and it worked like a charm. The doctor's were really pleased and she is to continue as needed. Otherwise, all the labs checked out fine.

Collin's Apraxia Clinic Appointment:
We finally got an appt for Collin last Friday, which was a cancellation that they let me know about late Wednesday. I grabbed it! As you might recall, we were meeting with a doctor that the Apraxia Support Group moms recommended we see. As with most specialists, she was a little dry and hard to read. She asked me a billion questions and referred to the HUGE questionnaire that I had filled out prior. She also checked Collin over and spoke to him some. He was his ornery self getting into everything... including opening the door of the exam room and darting out. As she and I chased after him, she kept saying how quick he was... while we were panting. He actually made it very far... for a big little guy he sure is quick. This prompted her to sit in directly front of the door for the rest of our hour and a half appointment. In the end, she said that he has all the signs of Apraxia and she feels he is indeed Apraxic (which we really knew already). She said she has two sets of Apraxia patients, one that Apraxia is their primary problem and others where it is one of many issues. She said the ones with Apraxia as the primary issue tend to progress much faster (obviously) and that Collin appears to fall in this category. She did say however, that three is when they do further testing. Sometimes they find that by three they are not progressing as much as they think they should, so at that point they do a more thorough evaluation and include MRI and CAT scans and the works, if needed. I guess they have found children that have had mini stokes that are undetected until these tests but obviously the reason for the Apraxia. Strokes?! Yes, I had one right there. She said that wasn't very common but it has happened. There are many other underlying issues that could present during these tests as well, but none of which she would share and at this point I was cool with that (didn't want anything worse or equal to mini stokes floating through my head every time Collin back slides on talking). She put him at about a 16-18 month age level with the speech he has now. He's 28 months old. That's a little hard to take, but like Steve said, it could have been way worse and he could not be talking at all right now.

All in all, Collin is getting much better. He is now repeating words. Not all words, but some and easy ones mostly. However a few months ago, heck even a month ago, he was not doing this. His spontaneous words are very, very few and these are, of course, the most important ones. And though we know he is saying some, we just don't understand much of it. But, he is improving and that's what matters. Lastly, the doctor did say that our therapies currently are all good and that we are doing what we need to do at this point. We will re-evaluate this in six months when she sees him again.

And that's that on the doctor end of it... for the kids at least!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Counting down the days

I got the boys a new Advent Calendar two weeks ago which I love. As a child, I remember every year my Grandma H always sent us an advent calendar. They were always unique and fun and something I really looked forward to every year. I used to try to find ones as neat and different as the ones she used to get us for Lauren when she was little, but I never succeeded. I wanted ones that you could decorate a tree with an ornament a day, or build a scene, or an interesting shape or anything. Instead I always found just the paper ones with chocolate, which she LOVED, but I knew they could be way better. So, she had years of counting down with chocolate, which she looked forward to every year (she would remind me to get it every year), but I was always a little disappointed by how boring it was (she obviously was not).

But for the boys, being so young, they just didn't need any chocolate (plus at this point I would have to get three as if one of them gets food, all three of them want it - whatever it is... hmmmm do they make veggie advent calendars? I might be on to something! So, really, I have only had maybe one in the last couple years but it just wasn't all that interesting or engaging. I did, I guess, miss out on some really cool ones from Hallmark. Three years ago I got there too late, last year apparently they didn't have one and then this year they had different once which was also neat and it "flew out the week of the open house." Sigh...

Imagine my excitement when I was paging through the Fisher Price catalog (when I was able to get it away from Ethan and Oliver) and came across the page with a "new" Little People Advent calendar. Not that I am a huge Fisher Price or Little People fan, but was pretty neat looking. You build a nativity scene day by day with little stuffed people and animals and it plays music. Now that is fun and engaging for a young child right? I searched for FP coupons on the Internet, found one, and ordered it (it was an on-line exclusive of course), hoping to bring the love of advent calendars to the boys as well.
So far, they really like it. Keeping the twins from making the entire scene or not using them to play with Ethan's super heroes is another story though. But they do like it. As a matter of fact, last weekend Ethan grabbed the stool and ran to the family room. When I asked him what he was doing he said "Remember... the countdown to Jesus?!" (I assure you that is not what we call it, but it was kind of cute really).

I am happy we have one that excites all of them, that they look forward to doing daily, and that incorporates the real reason for Christmas. I hope Grandma H can see the kids and knows I am carrying on her tradition.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Only three more to ride in the fast vehicle with flashing lights...

Yesterday afternoon I received a call at work that I am guessing no one wants to receive: "Steve is being taken to the hospital by squad." (don't panic, he's okay, read on.) After my initial reaction of "WHAT?!!!" Steve's co-worker, Bill, says "it seems maybe his back gave out. He's doubled over in pain and can't walk. I offered to drive him to the hospital, but he told me to call the squad." Okay, anyone that knows Steve knows he is not a "call the squad" kind of guy, in fact, too often he doesn't go to the doctor when he should period. Also, keep in mind, the hospital is just a few blocks away from where they work. Just a few blocks. But yet he still wanted the squad called. Needless to say, taking all that into consideration, I was a bit panicked - your mind can go funny places when you are faced with news like this (and as it turns out Steve's mind had went to the same place as mine).

When I got there Steve was in excruciating pain, I know not only from him saying it but from how he was acting (which was a way I have never ever seen him act). Pain that came back after some pretty hefty meds were given to him through his IV... we're talking five minutes after they gave them to him... same excruciating pain was back. Needless to say, the said hefty pain medication injections kept right on coming for quite some time until the pain was manageable. The wait, like any ER was long and much of it was on a bed in the hall in front of the nurse's station (fun, fun!).

Five and a half hours later, the results said that it looks like Steve will be giving birth to multiple (as in lots and lots of 'em) kidney stones in the next seven to ten days. Do you think it's the right time to joke about how he'll now get to experience childbirth like me? Hmmm... maybe I'll save that for later...

So, now, for those of you keeping track... in the last two years, three of us have had to be transported in a squad (and until two years ago no one had been in one). First, little tiny five week old Collin when Ethan accidentally tripped over my leg and fell/sat on Collin's head - I was instructed by the pediatrician to call the squad (he checked out fine... I could have used some sedation though). A year and a half ago when I broke my right elbow bone clear off my arm at the Relay for Life walk (BEFORE I even started the walk). And today. Only three more people in our family left to get this thrill. Okay, it's definitely not a thrill at all. And I am hoping it stops here. Do you hear me family?! NO MORE SQUAD RIDES! No more!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ornery, ornery child

Random things done by Collin in the last couple weeks.

  • While I was standing in the kitchen doing the dishes, I caught a glimpse of Collin running by... completely nude except for Ethan's knit batman hat on his head.

  • Collin loves a centerpiece I have on the living room coffee table... loves to destroy it that is. I have been trying to hang onto it as I loved it once (when it was full and beautiful), so the other day when he was starting to mess and pick at it, I told him firmly "NO!" He looked at me, stuck his index finger out and then moved it toward the centerpiece stopping just shy of touching it... all while looking me right in the eye and wearing a huge ornery smile. He did it several times. I think he loves messing with me as much as that darn centerpiece. (again, he's barely two people!)

  • At nap time a week ago, I heard Collin but it wasn't on the monitor like normal... it was more clear. He was standing at the top of the stairs. I walked over to the bottom of the stairs and saw him standing there. I told him to get back into his room and started up the stairs (since though he can obviously get out of his crib, getting back in is not as easy). The moment my foot hit the first step, he was off! Lighting speed, giggling the whole time. This happened another two times. Oddly enough, Oliver, who was left behind, did not cry like he normally would when he is left behind anywhere. No, instead he waited quietly. Our speculation is it was a scheme they devised together to get out of nap. Collin to Oliver: "You stay here, I'll make the break. You know how old they are and how much they hate going up and down the stairs. I'll wear them out and they'll give up and let us out of nap. Plan?" After they high fived and did whatever secret handshake or pinky swear thing they might have, Collin began execution of the plan. The result: after three separate chases, we gave up and they got out of nap.

  • Saturday morning at 6:25 AM, in our half asleep state, we heard Collin say "Hey!" and then Ethan's voice. When I realized how early it was I jumped out of bed to see what was going on and to, more importantly, try to get everyone back asleep. I found Collin in Ethan's room. He hopped out of bed and went into Ethan's room to say "hey!" apparently. Now here's the thing, Collin is our sleeper! He is NEVER the first of the twins up and rarely the first of the three boys awake. But yet here he was at 6:25 AM bright eyed and cheery wanting to wake everyone up. I shuffled him back to bed... no luck. He was up to stay. And now that he can get out with absolutely no trouble, it's futile to even try more then once to get him back to bed. Sigh...

    Have I mentioned that we are in so much trouble before? We are.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The neighborhood bash

Saturday we had Ethan's neighborhood (and cousins too - Ethan insisted his "cuzinds" be there) birthday party. Since we were having sixteen children ages two to seven, we decided that structured activity would be good. The kids made their own mini pizzas, decorated door knob hangers, had cake and ice cream (with toppings for them to put on their ice cream), opened presents and played. I couldn't have pulled it off without the help of all the moms and Steve to pass things out, assist with activities and keep track of whose was whose. Too many kids, too small a space.

A family room full of kids (and this is only some of the kids):
Door knob hanger decorating:

I also made super hero masks for them, which Steve helped to cut out and tie the elastic. In most of the photos they have them pushed up on their heads - in case you were wondering what those are.

I think everyone had fun... the house looked like everyone had had fun and Ethan was happy. And we only had one major issue, as Aaron said "It rained in Ethan's basement!" (the toilet clogged and over flowed without us knowing... on the hard wood floor... out the door... for the first time since we lived here... and leaked through to the basement.) Oh well, what's a party without a little drama right?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happiness is...

Your free birthday ice cream with gummie bears from Cold Stone.

Now if I could only get him to smile that nice and look at the camera when there isn't that very rare bowl of ice cream in front of him!

Christmas outside

Sunday afternoon, while Steve and Ethan were playing with his new toys, I decided to put up the Christmas lights. Of course half of them didn't work, so off to Meijer I went and managed to snag the last four sets of multi-colored lights they had. They were literally flying off the shelf - no joking. Like I said, it was a nice day. When I got back, Ethan decided he wanted to help me. It took us a while and when I got to the prickly shrubs I gave him a break. He took that time to hop onto and into the big snow globe box and ask me a million times to guess where he was and to get him out.

His friend Andy, whose mom Kris was out putting up lights too, wandered over right before we put up the snow globe and asked to help. With my two little helpers, we got Charlie Brown and Snoopy up and sledding in the snow. They oooo'ed and awww'ed over it once it was blown up. For a while. Oliver is constantly running to the window and saying "look, Charlie Brown is out there!" Which to be honest, is why we have it. As far as decorating outside, or inside for that matter, I am simple and and traditional. However, since I met Steve and Lauren, that changed. Because those oooo's and awww's over things like inflatable holiday lawn decorations or colorful lights are what drive your decorating. Don't get me wrong, it's all still pretty simple and I am not looking to go all out with things everywhere and win contests, but I was just reflecting on how I used to decorate way back when and how it's completely changed. And probably more importantly, how much I like the reason for that change.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The big FIVE

Ethan officially turned five on Sunday. I can't even believe it's been five years. I often look at him and think of my tiny little baby... my first born... and the love I felt instantly when I met him... before I met him even. I can't believe how big he has gotten and how fast. How much he knows, how his personality has developed (and how funny it is), the things he says, the stories he tells, the way he blesses my life each and every day. I pray often for time to slow down so I can thoroughly enjoy every single moment of him growing up and not miss a single thing.

For Ethan, this has been a big birthday. For some reason he has been acutely aware that he is the last to turn five of his neighborhood friends and even behind his cousin. I am not exactly sure why, nor is he, but it really bothered him and he spoke about it often - to me, to the neighbor moms, to his teachers, to Ms. Erin, etc. So, Sunday, he was very happy to turn five. He also announced to me, and his friend Andy later in the day, that he could now have a sleep over because he was five. I am not sure where that magic milestone (five and sleepovers) came from, but he is convinced that these two things happen together. Fortunately he didn't insist on one that very day, because I am not sure Steve and I are ready for sleepovers (been there, done that, know what happens... for girls at least).

As big a day as this was to him, he just wanted simple. Go to Panera for lunch (and a pumpkin muffin of course) and play with his new toys. So that he did.

Happy birthday my little E! I love you whole, whole bunches!

Ethan's family birthday party

We had a small family birthday party for Ethan on Saturday. Batman themed of course. He was super excited to see his family and counted down the days until this event all week.
Ethan proudly standing in front of the big "all about me" laminated sign his teachers make each kid for their birthday. One of the questions was what do you want to be when you grow up - "the fastest man alive", yep, my little aspiring super hero.

Ethan's cake.

Blowing out candles on two cakes, because I've been told that I like to post bad photos of people like when they are mid blow on their candles.
Grandma Dee's birthday cake.

The "couzind" hug.

A good, good day indeed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The lucky guest

I was the lucky person who Ethan picked to bring to the Thanksgiving feast at his school. Before we ate, he and his classmates performed three songs for us in their crafted Indian dress with handmade drums. I WISH I would have known this so I could have brought my video camera! They were very cute.

Lesson learned...

Okay, quick lesson. When making cream cheese frosting, never ever put the powdered sugar in last and then turn the mixer on medium high. Why? Take a look:

The powdered sugar literally exploded out in a big puff that stretched a 10 foot radius, which included me. (if I was going for cupcakes sprinkled with powered sugar then they couldn't have been more perfect looking... unfortunately I wasn't)

In my defense, it was late, I was tired and well, I'm not always the sharpest tack...

This gruesome scene (which is not as well depicted in the photo as it was in person) happened last Monday night while I was making birthday snack and the Thanksgiving feast dessert for the next day. The whole night of baking was actually much like this one incident, a comedy of issues. I stopped at the store to get the last items to make Ethan's birthday snack AND the Thanksgiving feast pumpkin dessert that I was signed up for by my son. While the twins were getting a bath, with Ethan's help, I started the dessert - pumpkin crunch Wendy (my special recipe) - which Ethan requested. At that time I realized that they (the kids and Ms. Erin) ate eggs that day and I didn't have enough for his birthday snack. After the twins were in bed, I ran to the store for trip two. When I got back I read to Ethan, tucked him in and started on birthday snack - pumpkin cupcakes per his request - which take forever to make (but I love him bunches, so I dove right in). At 11:05 pm I had the powdered sugar explosion noted above. It was late, as I said, and I was tired... first I was mad, then I laughed, then I afraid that Steve would come up from the basement (where he was watching the football game) and see it (and give me a hard time, then complain about being up all night cleaning it - you know it's true Steve). I hand vacuumed and washed the hard wood three times... it was still sticky. Steve still made fun of me (mainly because we found sprinkles of powered sugar for days in places you would never suspect) and still ended up cleaning it himself as well. After the cupcakes were frosted and put in the refrigerator, I realized that I forgot juice (when you have snack you have to bring juice)... and napkins. Tired and cranky, I went to the store once more, this time in my black satin trench coat and pjs (oh yea, I wasn't about to get dressed - it was 11:30 pm!)... and still partially covered with powdered sugar. I was pretty sure my mommy license was going to be revoked that night.

The cupcakes and pumpkin dessert were both hits though, so it was all worth it. It was worth it just because I know how much Ethan loves pumpkin anything and it was his special day times two (birthday snack and Thanksgiving feast).

That said, I'm not going to lie here... at the end of that long night the "they better all love these desserts!" words did cross my mind, maybe once (okay a few times). Especially since the other items on the sign up sheet for Thanksgiving feast were things like: lunch meat, bread, cheese, crackers, fruit, plates, napkins, etc. I could have had it easy with just birthday snack and a simple bought item for the feast, but no, I got birthday snack AND pumpkin dessert too - the ONLY item for the Thanksgiving feast that had to actually be made (and they really did as there are two food allergies in the class so store bought baked goods are won't work). And both items, specified by Ethan, were homemade only anyhow. The pressure, the time, the loss of sanity (I know, I don't have much left)! And we all see how miserably I did. But thankfully, Ethan said he loved his birthday snack cupcakes and the moms all commented on how good the pumpkin dessert was ... and I felt better about my botched night. Nonetheless, lesson well learned.

Mommy got her groove back...

Okay, I made myself sit down, even still in this yucky funk, and crank out some posts. Too much good stuff (and funny stuff) has happened not to update everyone. And really, it is helping my funk to get my blog groove back on. So, hold onto your seats, the posts will be rolling in multiples until I catch up!
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