Sunday, December 28, 2008

still here...

We are still in Houston and I have a ton of pictures to post but I forgot the cord to put the pictures on the computer so they will have to wait until we get back home.  We should be heading back tomorrow but my wonderful husband is letting us stay at least another day!  

Have I mentioned how much I love it here???  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

and we're off...

That's right, tomorrow morning we are going to Houston and I can't wait.  If Cody didn't have a basketball game tonight, we would have left today.  Unfortunately I have this thing about commitments and so I can't leave his team without a player.  This would have been a time I wish he didn't feel well so we would have had a good reason to miss the game, but he feels great and so we're putting off our trip just one more day.

Which probably is a good thing because I am no where near finished packing.  So, instead of packing, I'm on the computer!   It's just not very much fun packing for five people and figuring out how I am going to fit everything in the car!  It's way more fun to play on our new laptop!

We got a new MacBook and it is awesome and very fast.  I love it!  For every kid who passes the AP test at the end of the year, TJ gets $50 and the school gets $50.  TJ had so many kids pass this year that he was able to get a new laptop, photo printer, case, and extra memory.  Merry Christmas to me :)

Ok, I guess I better go pack so we're able to leave as early as I am planning in the morning.  The laptop is coming with us so I'll be able to keep everyone updated on how our Christmas is going (although half the people who read this live in Houston so they will already know how our break is going)

This is for Uncle Doug, Aunt Veronika, Danika, and Patrik...the kids LOVED their presents.  It might have been easier for you to have shipped them down to Houston in the first place because all the toys are making the trip down there anyway.  We had them go ahead and open them so they could do so with McKinly and Ty since they are staying here with their mom.  Cody and Cade have not stopped playing with their toys since they opened them last night and McKinly and Ty are saving their gift cards until after Christmas so they can buy themselves the presents they wanted that they didn't get :).  The kids all say thank you very much!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Scuba Steve Update 2

We haven't really talked about Scuba Steve lately because I had put him up for a while.  He has been safely tucked away in Cody's "box"of memories.

Well today Cody came running in the room excited because he had found both of Scuba Steve's arms and one of his legs.  He was so happy that I had to dig Scuba Steve out of hiding.  I explained to him that Scuba Steve still wasn't in the best of shape and we'll have to put him back in the "box" but he could go ahead and sleep with him tonight.

A few minutes later he came in and said, "I really wish we had another scuba diver I could play with, I would name him Diver Doug."

Diver Doug is the name of the scuba diver on Dive Olly Dive.

This is where I need help.  I would love for him to get a 'Diver Doug' for Christmas (It doesn't have to be the actual guy, just any scuba diver.)  Does anyone know where to find one or does anyone want to get one for him??  The poor little guy is so happy to have Scuba Steve back but I'm just afraid he will fall apart again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snowman Cookies

Last week, the boys and I made snowman cookies at Tristin's house.

I got the idea from my good friend, Betty Crocker!

Cody working very hard

(notice he had already taken a bite before he started decorating it)

It took a minute for Cade to get interested...

but only a minute.

Cody waiting for everyone else to finish so he could finally eat!

Cade was taking the longest and not making Cody very happy

The finished product.

I made this one, the boys' were not as well proportioned

Eating them was their favorite part!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Card Debut

It took me a while but I finally finished our Christmas Cards. They are being printed as we speak and I will get them back in a day or two. Most of my envelopes are already filled out so all I have to do is slip the cards in and toss them in the mail box.

If you don't think you're on my list, but would like to be...let me know your address and I'll be sure to send one to you too.

Here is what you'll be getting...

Actually, I think I'll just wait until you get it in the mail...I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise now would I???

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with yummy food



and naps...the poor kid ate too much turkey I guess

The kids loved having Nana, Aunt Chandler and Uncle Jonathan around for the holiday. I really love Thanksgiving but not just for family and food. Thanksgiving means only one more day until I can start decorating for Christmas!

It was supposed to rain all day Friday but the Christmas decorating gods were looking down on me and it ended up being a beautiful day. Perfect weather for my husband to get on the roof and hang lights.

and didn't he do a great job??

I was in charge of the inside and the Christmas tree

The boys had more fun with the bows

but then again, Cade has always liked playing with the bows

I love this season!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things to be Thankful for...Day Thirteen

Day Thirteen: I am thankful for this little guy's smile

Trust me, some days I want nothing more than to shove him in the backyard with the dog and lock the door. He has been getting under my skin like no other lately. He is getting closer and closer to being two and every part of his attitude proves it.

However, when he flashes me his sweet smile with his bright blue eyes, I forget all about his attitude. That is until he throws another tantrum a few seconds later...

It has always been easy to get Cade to smile

all you have to do is look at him and he will giggle.

When he was younger, he would just see the camera and know what to do.

It didn't matter if he was covered in oatmeal

or dressed like a pumpkin...

the kid was always smiling.

Even though he would rather run from the camera these days, I'm still able to catch a few good smiles from him...

although most of them happen right after I snap the picture.

He sure is a handful right now, but I forget all about it when I see his sweet smile!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Things to be Thankful for...Day Twelve

I didn't get around to posting this weekend so I'm behind again...what else is new??

Day Twelve: I am thankful McKinly and 'Uncle' Clay are so close

I was looking through old pictures this weekend and I realized my little brother, Clay and McKinly have always played well with each other. They have grown up together and have known each other since they were just a year old.

(look how much McKinly and Cade look alike!)

They have always loved playing together...

...whether it is swimming

or sleeping in the forts they made, they always have a great time.

Now that they're older, they don't really 'play' as much as they 'hang out'

or attack each other with silly string, whatever works!

As they get older, they are becoming closer and closer. I have loved watching them grow up together and I love when McKinly calls him 'Uncle' Clay (considering he's only a month older than she is)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Things to be Thankful for...Day Eleven

Day Eleven: I am thankful for being able to take my kids to the zoo in the middle of November

Yesterday was an awesome day. It has been kind of chilly here the past couple of weeks and a cold front is coming through again tonight. But for just one day, we were able to enjoy perfect weather in the 70's without a cloud in the sky.

I don't know how many more of these kinds of days we will be able to have, so I decided to take the kids to the zoo. We met Cody's friend, Tristin and his mom up there too. We also brought along Cody's friend Kylie as well.

All the kids were perfect. There was no fighting, no screaming, no crying, etc. A rare occurrence with three three-year-olds and two one-year-olds plus a newborn.

Playing on the Lion Statue

Cody loves wearing his Rhino shirt Aunt Leslie got him. The kid is terrified of elephants, but loves Rhinos...go figure

Feeding the ducks

The bears are always a favorite

Aren't you my dinner next Thursday?

Just Chillin'

Can't leave the zoo until we've played at the park

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Things to be Thankful for...Day Ten

Day Ten: I am thankful for my 3 month old baby boy!

Cole, today you turn 3 months old!

You are the most laid back baby I have ever met. You are still content just hanging out on your Boppy pillow watching your siblings run around. You smile and kick your little legs like crazy any time anyone talks to you. You are just so happy.

You can get a little angry if we take too long fixing your bottle, but once we shove put it in your mouth, you're back to your happy self.

You are still an amazing sleeper for such a young age. You are starting to wake up a little earlier in the mornings, around 6:30 am, but once you're fed a bottle you go back to sleep for a few more hours. You still sleep in our room but not because you're not ready to move in with Cade. It's because I'm not ready for you to be big enough to move in with Cade.

Oh, but Cade would love for you to be roommates with him. That little man adores you! He can't get enough of his little brother. If I put Cade in the car first, and you're not there, he will cry for "baby" until I reassure him you're coming with us too. He could hold you for hours...when I say hours I mean 30 minutes at the most...but to him, that's hours! You make him so happy, even if you think he's crazy sometimes!

No one can make you smile more than McKinly. The two of you can just "talk" to each other and it never gets old. The photographer from our family pictures even captured a great shot of it the other day and I can't wait to get it framed.

We are very happy you have come into our lives and now I realize our lives were just not complete without you! You are our little man and we love you so much!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Things to be Thankful for...Day Nine

Day Nine: I am Thankful for my son's imagination

Cody has always had a pretty big imagination, as most three year olds do. He's been a pirate, batman, a builder, a shark name it, he's probably played it.

But his friend "Jack" is what cracks me up the most. You see, "Jack" is imvisible, as Cody would say. He is little like him, lives with his little brother and two parents (hmm??)

He is Cody's best friend. Every weekend he asks if he can go to "Jack's" house. Sometimes we have wondered if Cody really thinks "Jack" is real but he is very aware that he is imvisible (not imaginary, Cody will correct you).

We have never let Cody go to "Jack's" house because "Jack" lives in the Purina Dog Food Factory.

Sometimes "Jack" comes over to our house but he always leaves when the kid's come home from school.

Whenever we pull into our neighborhood and Cody see's The Purina Dog Food Factory "Jack's" house, he let's us know his imvisible friend lives there!

One of these days, Cody will forget all about "Jack" but until then, I'm thankful he has such a love for his little imvisible friend.

*poor kid has to either play with his imaginary friend or Scuba Steve, who now only has a torso*

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Things to be Thankful for...Day Eight

Day Eight: I am Thankful for coupons in the Sunday paper!

I realize I'm a huge dork, but I look forward to getting the Sunday paper every week. Most of the time, I get the early edition paper that comes out on Saturday. That is just how cool I am!

I have studied the coupon world for a couple of weeks. I used to think it was more trouble than it was worth cutting out all those little coupons every week. Now that I have learned the little tricks and trades of the coupon world, I save a lot of money. Plus, our pantry is always full.

There are some things I buy that I probably would have never bought without a coupon, but I just use it in place of something else I didn't have a coupon for. It has worked well and we have never let anything go to waste. There are 7 people who live in this house, 5 extra kiddos everyday, and my brother and his girlfriend here on me, nothing gets wasted!

Today I studied the ad for our local grocery store that doubles coupons and decided what I was going to buy. The key is to only use coupons on the items that are on sale. Half of the time, you can get an item for practically nothing.

Like the box of ice cream bars I got for $.29

Or the dressings I made money on

Or even the peppers that only cost m
e a nickel.

Don't forget the Chex Mix Bars, they were only $.50.

Some days are better than others. Today was a better day.

All of these Groceries rang up to $85.29

After coupons, I only paid $42.96! Not too shabby if I do say so myself!

*not pictured, because I had already put them away before I decided to be a nerd and take a picture of my groceries; 2 boxes of Rice Krispie Treats, 2 jars of fruit, 1 circle loaf of Hawaiian Bread, and 2 packages of buy one, get one free stuffed chicken breasts from the meat department!*

Monday, November 17, 2008

Things to be Thankful for...Day Seven

Day Seven: I am Thankful for everything McKinly does for our family

A few days ago, I wrote about how much I appreciate everything McKinly does around here. She is such a great girl and I couldn't leave her out of my "what I am thankful for" list.

McKinly is my step daughter but I have known her since she was three months old. I couldn't ask for a better big sister for my boys. She loves them and protects them through everything they do. She is there for them whenever they need her. To tell the truth, Cade chooses her over T.J. and me most of the time. After his nap, she is the first person he asks for. When we pick her up from school, the whole way home he repeats her name...over and over and over again. She gets annoyed with it after a while but I think deep down, she really loves it.

I am very proud of everything she does. She is doing really well in school, has even been bumped up to sixth grade math. She helps tutor kids in the younger grades during her recess time and she also has started helping out in the library during any other free time she has at school.

I might not have a biological daughter, but I think that's God's way of showing me I already have the best daughter I could ask for.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I CAN count!

Just for anyone who noticed, I realize it went from Day Four to Day Six. That is not a mistake on my part. I have each day scheduled to be posted at midnight. However, for some reason unbeknown to me, Day Five never posted. I'm not sure why that is, but as soon as I can figure it out, I will let you know. I will go ahead and continue posting in order but will let you know when Day Five is available.

I can count, I promise!

Things to be Thankful for...Day Six

Day Six: I am thankful Cole sleeps so well!

My day is chaotic to say the least. I have nine kids in and out of here throughout the day and at night, I have 3-5 kids plus my husband who I have to feed, bathe (well I just have to bathe the kids, my husband can bathe himself), and put to bed. On top of that, I have to find time to get to the gym so I can try and lose the weight my three precious boys helped me gain.

When everyone finally goes to sleep, it's my time to have a few minutes to myself. I finally get to bed around 11 pm so I can wake Cole up to feed him one last time.

I am able to do everything I need to do during the day because Cole sleeps through the night. I don't know if I could function as well as I do if I was getting interrupted sleep.

Cole is already on the same schedule as the other kids. He wakes up in the morning around 7, I feed him a bottle and he goes back to sleep till 9 a.m. He stays up and plays for a few hours and then around 11:30 a.m. I feed him and put him down for a nap. He sleeps a good 3 hours and half the time, I have to wake him to go pick the kids up from school. Around 5 p.m. he starts getting sleepy again so he takes about an hour to two hour nap. We wake him between 6 and 7 p.m. to feed him another bottle and then he's down for the night around 9:30 p.m. This is how it has been since he was four weeks old and I love it!

I am very thankful to have such a laid back baby. He is very happy the majority of the time and I couldn't have asked for anything more :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Things to be Thankful for...Day Four

Day Four: I am thankful for my relationship with McKinly and Ty's mom

As weird as it might sound, McKinly and Ty's mom, Cathy is a great friend to me. Over the years, we have grown closer and closer. We have a lot in common, other than the fact we have both been married to T.J.

Besides T.J. and the kids, she was the only other person I knew when I moved here. It was a little strange at first, I will admit. I'm sure to her too. She and I have worked really hard to make sure everything we do is in the best interest for McKinly and Ty. They were the only thing that mattered and we made sure we were always aware of that, we still do.

However, if she would like to admit it or not, she has become my friend. I'm sure there are things she doesn't agree with involving how I raise her kids but she always supports me. Whenever I have a problem with the kids, she's the first person I go to so she is aware of the situation and she does the same.

The day I was going to have Cody, she took the whole day off of work and sat at the hospital with us while we waited to have him. She left to go get the kids so as soon as their brother was born, they'd be the first to see him. She rushed the kids up to the hospital as soon as Cade was born as well.

Since Cole was born on the first day of school, she took pictures of the kids, got them developed, and brought them up to the hospital because she knew it was killing me not being able to be there like I have every year prior. She was still at the hospital when Cole was actually born (not in the room because that would have been a little weird) and besides for me and T.J., she was the first to hold him.

Some people find it strange we are all friends, but I am very thankful that's the way it turned out. I appreciate everything she has done for us, because she truely has done a lot. She loves my boys and I know she would do anything for them if I asked and that makes me extremely happy. My boys even call Cathy's mom "Mimi" just like the other kids. I'm working on a name for my boys to call her because "grandma Cathy" isn't cutting it (Cody is a little confused because he has a Grandma Kathie so he thinks that's what he is supposed to call her too). She doesn't find it nearly as funny as I do!!

Today she even took Cody to get his hair cut because she was already taking Ty to get his cut...for our family pictures.

I don't know if we tell her enough how much we appreciate her, but we do.

So yes, I am very thankful for T.J.'s ex-wife and the relationship we have all been able to have with each other!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things to be Thankful for...Day Three

Day Three: I'm thankful TJ didn't get "fixed" as soon as we had planned

TJ was supposed to get "fixed" last May as soon as school got out. We didn't really have any extra money at the time to pay our deductible for it, so we decided to wait a little longer.

If TJ would have had the surgery when we originally had planned, then this little guy never would have been born.

Because of our lack of extra money, we were blessed with another perfect little little man (who will end up costing more than that little deductible would have cost us, but that's beside the point).

I am very thankful we were blessed with one more baby, but I am also VERY thankful we can't have anymore.

*I'm also thankful Kyle and Cortney gave us the little blanket in the background with his name on it. Works for a great backdrop in a picture too! I'm NOT thankful they moved away from us :( *