Monday, December 17, 2012

Best past few days ever. Kent is HOME.  

He loved running around with a bulletproof vest and rubber rifle while avoiding fake land mines and pretending he was a GI Joe Medic- but I'm just happy to have some holiday time with him! because we ship out this week and leave him to continue working.  I'm so blessed to have a husband with a great job and a great work ethic- even if it means I don't spend as much time with him as I'd like! Thanks, Kent- for doing it all.

The past few days with Kent have been FULL of festivities!  I love christmas parties!  I love ALL parties really.  

Friday night was Kent's work party. I didn't get any pictures- but it was great.  Kids were invited but I threatened to not go if Kent wanted to take the kids. It was a fancy dress up party and I had no desire to dress up and then wrangle kiddos while eating fancy hors d'oeuvres that they wouldn't touch.  It was lovely to have a night with just Kent.

Saturday night we had our Christmas Extravaganza.  Wear your most festive outfits- and bring your tackiest gift.  It was so fun.  My cheeks hurt from laughing so much!

I got my sweater on a black friday special at Meijer. Kent's is from the Goodwill. The mistletoe and antlers are from Target.

I didn't get nearly enough pictures.  I missed most of the couples who came.

I need to get myself a singing tie and candy cane turtle neck.
The white elephant gift exchange is my FAVORITE part of any party.
Check out the Unicorn picture.  I found that beauty at the goodwill. The Darth Vader Mug (and another wookie mug) were the hot items of the night.
We won Kent's hat and an assortment of canned fish from Russia. Just what I wanted.
Two of the best gifts that night-  wwf talking figurines.
And best sweaters of the night. Amber's santa was a toilet seat cover?!? and Travis' sweater lit up.  Very nice, Barlows.
The rugrats are so excited for Christmas.  We haven't seen some of our family for TWO YEARS!!  that it waaaaay too long and I can't wait for the parties.  Plus- everybody needs to meet our Miss Metta.  Her Auntie Metta has never even seen her in real life!!

She looks more and more like an elf every day with her red scrappy hairdos and her pointy ears. The striped leggings help, too.  She is the funniest little girl.  
And I had to include this picture.  She constantly has her mouth wide open.  It must be genetic- because I have the exact same problem. Always talking or eating or laughing.  She'll even pose like this!  really.

And finally- I HAD to include this.   It's classic.  Yesterday our home teacher called and asked if he could drop something off for the Holidays. Guess what he brought?!  A real live made from scratch ginormous and heavy as a brick classic FRUITCAKE.  He says it's his grandma's recipe.  He also said his wife told him not to deliver them to his families!  that it would be tacky.  

I had to take pictures.  I think if we wrapped it up- it could last for years :)  this thing was a BEAST.
if by chance our home teacher reads this- we ate the whole thing. It was delicious.
Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

staying busy without Kent!!

I'm a busybody. And with Kent gone- my busybody goes into full force.  I like to be out and about distracting myself from lonlieness :)

We've had Christmas parties and all sorts of other fun nearly every day!  Just a few days left.

And qunicy has been having all sorts of her own fun :)  here are a few of her antics from the past week!

this one was Zeb's favorite!  She decided to go for a flight on the plane he made at Lowes.

This little trick made Zeb FURIOUS!  He folded his arms and told me he was 'disappointed' in qunicy.  I had been hesitant about having the elf do anything 'naughty' (aren't we trying to get our kids to be nice?!?) but I thought toilet papering the tree would be fun.  Boy- was I wrong.  he got on the bus grumpy because of it.  "What if I need to Poo, mom? and Qunicy used all of our toilet paper??".

Sunday, December 9, 2012

here we go....

Trying out the real deal photoshop for the first time.  With Kent gone- I gave myself a goal of jumping into my photoshop elements program and figuring out the basics.  I've never used it before (I've only used  small contrasting/brightening tools already in our windows picture viewer). 

 Here's to hoping it makes a big difference with my picture taking.

And here's to Miss Metta in her Holiday dress.  I bought it at the Gap in 2004 when I worked there right after I got home from my mission.  I paid three dollars! and now- 8 years later- I'm finally using it :) 
Every morning I wake up to find her hair a little wilder and her personality a little crazier.  I'm pretty sure all babies this age are wiggly and extremely vocal (?)- but the other 17 babies at church are a little younger- a lot quieter- and 100% less mobile.  So I feel like she's UNRULY. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

just spreading a little christmas cheer.

  We've succumbed.  The Elf on the Shelf made it into our house.  I remember elves on shelves at my Grandma Oswald's house every Christmas growing up- so this little elf brings back fond memories.  I wasn't going to cave into the insanely overpriced elf until Zeb couldn't stop talking about it.  ALL of his friends have elves on shelves.  Why didn't Santa send us one!?  and then I found the whole book and doll shebang online for 13 bucks.  Still a stretch- but better than the 29.95 Target was asking!!

And so we present- Quincy.  Our elf on the shelf.  Named after Zeb's good pal.
And here are some pics of the rugrats sending Christmas cheer to Kent. He's gone. For waaaay too long (which really isn't all that long) at field combat/casualty training.  I guess it's supposed to be really fun (minus the fact that he has to eat MREs for days on end- which apparently leads to constipation! ha! ).  He's training to be a doctor out in the 'field'- so that way if/when deployment occurs- he's ready :)  

Best picture of the day.  I love her angry face.  
And Zeb- my Christmas tree head.  This Elf thing is getting him so excited.  I love seeing his little eyes light up- and his head churning-while he tried to figure out how it works.
Ike's christmas list is impossible. It grows exponentially each day.  Every commerical he sees- he shouts: "I want that on my Christmas list".  Every store we go to- he adds items to it.  He's even creating Metta's list when things are "too girly" for him.

Monday, December 3, 2012

 I haven't blogged very well the last week.  I've been crazy busy- which I love.  working, playing, chasing kids.

This little ragamuffin has suddenly become not a baby anymore.  She's climbing stairs.  She's going through a crazy growth spurt and is obsessed with solid foods.  Bottles just don't cut it these days.  She loves broccoli, beans, blueberries, carrots, zucchini, and even tomatoes.  I am going to force her to be my good eater.  So far so good.

and look at her hair!!! so crazy red.  people comment on it everywhere we go.

Oh- and before I forget- I need to write this down.  Last week after church Zeb was upset about Kent having to go to work.  He turned to me and said word-for-word: "mom, I hate to tell you this- but you talk to me too much." and then he turned to Kent and asked: "can mom go to work instead of you, dad?".  Zeb is usually my buddy.  The one who loves his mom the most.  We're 'best friends' he tells me.  I guess I've got to stop talking to him so much, though.

I've also been doing a lot of picture taking lately.  I've been trying to practice with friends in the area.  I've realized I don't really like taking pictures of babies.  I prefer families or toddlers.  I really do like just taking pictures, though.  and I definitely like to learn new stuff.  

Check out my practicing here.  Don't judge- I'm definitely in the thick of the learning curve, still.  Photography is pretty stinking complicated.  Really I want to be able to make a few bucks so I can buy my dream camera (the nikkon d7000!!) and some new lenses.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

the dayton children's holiday light parade!

Year six of our annual holiday light parade!  I don't know what we'll do when we end up living somewhere without a Christmas parade!  It will be tragic.
This year was FREEZING.  Thanksgiving day we played outside without jackets- but on Friday the temps dropped 40 degrees.  Metta was perfectly happy in her giant snowsuit- but she did not like my big fur hat at all.
and this year- our "magic glasses" made all of the lights look like reindeer. Pretty nifty, huh?   Last year they were snowflakes.

Besides being cold- the parade was really fun.  Two of Zeb and Ike's favorite babysitters were playing in the marching band!

Even metta seemed to enjoy the evening and all of the lights and sounds.  She is such a flexible and happy kiddo.  and people tell me every day that she looks like a mini girly ike.  But I just see zeb.  look at those zebby lips!

Zeb's favorite part of the evening was the 'phone an elf' booth.  He got to call the North Pole and speak to one of Santa's elves.  When I asked about the conversation Zeb simply said: "we talked a lot about Christmas stuff.  And he said I have to leave a plate of cookies out for Santa when he comes".  It was pretty funny to see how serious Zeb was about the whole thing.
Then we actually got to SEE Santa.  I'm not so sure our kids are really into it.  The same thing happened last year.  They acknowledge Santa and understand who he is- but they don't really worry about him or want to send Christmas lists to him or anything.  I'm pretty sure they know their bases are covered by pseudo santas.  Zeb is far more concerned in knowing his Christmas list made it to gramps :)

We'll have to see if she's so smiley in next year's picture!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

turkey day

 I knew precisely what was going to happen the moment I placed our martinelli sparkling cider drinks on the counter for Thanksgiving.  So I had my camera ready :)  Things like this make me laugh.

Ike noticed them first- and asked: "Mom, what is this???!  Is this ALCOHOL?".
When EVER we are at the store and we push our carts past the alcohol aisles- Ike and Zeb ask all about it.   So- we have regular conversations about it.  We don't drink it (here's why)- not at all- and they know that.
Then Zeb snatched the bottle from him and got on his little high horse repeating the same words we've discussed many times before.  "We are NOT supposed to drink alcohol!  NONE. NOT AT ALL! NOT EVEN ON THANKSGIVING!!"

We finally told them it was just juice.  It's nice to know our kids are listening and are inclined to obey! We are lucky our kiddos are so naturally obedient- but we also try to teach about differences and loving everybody I don't want my kiddos making unkind judgments. Somehow my parents found a way to teach me to be accepting and loving of differences and I hope to do the same.

For our actual Thanksgiving dinner- we went over to our friends place to celebrate with a few families.  I was so happy to have Kent around this year!  He's in ER this next month so we got to pick the days off he wanted for the month so we went with thanksgiving and the day after. The two days were wonderful!! and now I just have to make it until Christmas.  He has very few days off until then!

 Metta was the most excited to be headed to friends because she got to chase around the dog- Jingle.  Jingle was very patient to endure her endless grabbing.
Metta is finally getting over a terrible cough.  I think one night she got up 17 times.  I'm quite certain that a sick or crabby baby could be used to break terrorists with secrets.  There is NOTHING more exhausting than being awakened from sleep every fifteen minutes.  But- now she's back to normal.  Happy as a clam.  Always such a little joy. Thus her middle name.

I mean, seriously.  Look at her.  Adorably happy.

and my zeb munchkin.  playing angry birds.  He thought this game was soooo cool.  
this year I decided to brine the turkey.  I don't know if I'll do it ever again.  While removing the turkey from the brine I spilled all of the multiple gallons of nasty turkey juice laden brine ALL over the kitchen floor.  Disinfecting our kitchen was a ridiculous task.  Plus I don't really think the turkey tasted much different than normal- but I did love the way it made our homemade gravy taste.  I do the turkey and Kent does the gravy.  He's pretty much a professional in the kitchen.  If the whole doctor thing doesn't work out- he can become a chef.  
I also made 5 dozen homemade potato rolls.  They were AMAZING.  and I hid a carrot in one. The lucky winner was to get a prize.  It became quite the contest.  And then we never found the carrot.  I found it today (saturday!) while making leftovers. 2nd to last roll.  
there was SOOOO much food.  It was amazing.  Everything you could hope for.
I made the world's best jello pretzel cream cheese salad.  It was beautiful and DELICIOUS.  Apparently my mom made it for her Thanksgiving, too. Only hers looked like an animal at slaughter. Mom- I'll be in charge of it when I come home for Christmas :)

and dessert.  I love thanksgiving.  My pal, Kristi, and I did a long turkey run that morning so we could enjoy a little extra pie.
Here's my pal Amber and her pregnant belly.  Her baby girl is due on my birthday and she's going to name it Leisy.  Right, Amber?  She's from the South and brought a fried turkey, mac and cheese, and a warm cheesy pineapple and butter casserole.  ALL delicious. I think Thanksgiving should always be celebrated with many people and many food varieties.

After dinner there was playing, football on tv, and lots of talking.
I'm so grateful for my family and my family away from family.  What a fabulous day!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

just boys- no girl.

We went to the dentist this week and are happy to announce that we are still  members of the 'No cavities club'. Plus- the boys were absolute champs getting their teeth cleaned. Zeb said this time at the dentist was so much better because he got a new flavor of the tooth cleaning stuff. Grape is WAAAAAAAY tastier than bubble gum apparently.

And the new toothbrushes from Dr. Kondas are "actually much cooler than last time" says Zeb.  He inserts the word 'actually' into at least 50% of his sentences.
I also had Zeb's parent/teacher conference this week.  He's quite the little kindergarten champion.  When I told him that his teacher told me all about how smart and good he his- he responded: "but mom, you already knew that".  And that is true- I did already know that.  He is a kind and well behaved and smart little rugrat.  He helps teach the reading groups and gets to be the helper whenever there's a substitute.  He really takes school quite seriously.  At Brantwood they are all about teaching behaviors along side academics.  He is always talking about 'Brantwood behaviors' and whether or not something is appropriate.  He loves to school family members on the most important four: "Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, and Caring".  In that order.

Our little Ikester has been acting a little grumpy this week and just yesterday started wailing (literally) about an earache.  Either he has an incredibly low pain tolerance or it hurt like crazy. The screaming and moaning and writhing around was too much for me to handle. And the last ear infection he had was EIGHT LONG TORTUROUS and TEAR FILLED days.  We said lots of prayers yesterday and got him started on some medicine.  This morning he claims his ear doesn't hurt at all.  It's a mommy miracle.  Seriously.