Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seven Year Olds are LOUD

This past Sunday afternoon, we had John's seven year old birthday party at a local place called Stomping Grounds. (Think McDonald's playscape on crack.) It was a relatively small group of boys – only about 10 total – but my oh my were they loud. We were the last party of the day so the place had mostly cleared out by then tail end of our party. It wasn't until the kids were stuffing their faces with pizza and cake that I realized that the deafening roar we had all been enjoying just moments earlier had subsided. It dawned on me that our 10 kids had been comprising the better part of that roar. Good heavens. I cautioned James that while the boys yelled, whooped and hollered, little girls shriek. Loudly. In very high pitches. He looked scared.

Here is a sampling of the party…

I have been getting some requests for updated pics of Scooby, so below are a couple new ones of him. He's nearly 70 pounds and still growing… albeit, not as rapidly. He's a handful and a discipline nightmare. We are working on it, but suffice it to say that a rambunctious, awkward, 70 pound puppy is a lot of work. And by a lot, I mean full time job. On Dec. 20, we had Scooby's "manhood" removed in hopes of slowing him down a tad. It didn't. In fact, only three things have changed; he eats more ravenously now than before, my Dad now refers to him as "Scoobette", and his flatulence is now officially unbearable. I mean toxic, noxious, deadly unbearable. The vet says we have a good six-month wait before we see any slow down from the surgery. Lovely. I frequently tell Scooby the same thing I used to tell John when he was wailing from colic… "It's a good thing you're cute!" (And Scooby
IS cute!)

Lastly, I leave you with a sweet pic of John and James on a lazy Sunday afternoon and an adorable shot of my sweet niece, Allie.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Year…New Look

Last year, I unveiled a fresh, new look to the blog, so I thought I might do the same thing this year. After all, our family has undergone so many new changes over the past 12 months, that it seems fitting to celebrate 2010 as sort of a new beginning for our growing family as we start life as a family of five, back in God's Country (aka: Texas).

I have to tell you that last year, I paid a blog designer to create the look for 2009. While it was really nice to be the "client" for a change, I had a hard time forking over $75 for a design I know I could have done myself. I am a gifted graphic artist, after all (*wink wink*). =) There was, however, one giant obstacle standing between me and financial blog freedom… I don't know html. I'm not a programmer and my strength is not in multi-media. I am a print media guru. If it can be printed on paper I can design it. But if it needs to be on the web, uh-oh.

Over the past 7 years of freelancing graphic arts, I have relied heavily on my web designer friends to meet the html needs of my clients, as they have arisen. However, with blog design becoming a new and blossoming opportunity for freelance, I figured the time had come to buckle down and delve into the unknown world of primitive html and figure out how to get a blog from "here" to "there". So… this new blog look is my first attempt at creating a blog from scratch. I hope you like it! I'm hoping to become more adept at manipulating the code so that maybe I can branch out into blog design as another avenue for revenue. Be sure you scroll all the way to the bottom so you can see the cute little page footer I added down there. =)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Nursery at Last!

Master procrastinator that I am, I finally finished the nursery! With a "little" help from James, of course. =) The only thing missing is the rocker/glider, but it has been ordered and should be here before the end of next week. I was going to wait until it came in to post pictures, but my very life as been threatened by my own sister if I don't post pictures NOW. She scares me a little, so I am going ahead and posting rocker/glider-free pictures so you will just have to use your imagination. The rocker will go in the corner where you currently see the bouncy chair.

The color scheme was carefully planned out since I intend to convert her room to Strawberry Shortcake when she becomes a toddler. This way, we don't have to repaint! Genius, I know. =) Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Much-Anticipated Countertops!

The wait is over! My kitchen is put back together, the backsplash complete (thanks, honey!), and our beautiful new granite countertops are installed! Prior to the granite, we had formica counters that were supposed to look like granite, but really all they did was give you a headache from the busy, awful pattern. Here are some before pics of the kitchen:

And here is what my beautiful kitchen looks like now!

I would say it's perfection. Special thanks to my hubby who worked all weekend to install the backsplash all by himself! You rock, baby!

Christmas in Fast Forward

I sure hope everyone had a good Christmas. We did! As always, we headed up to DFW for the holidays, only this year there were no airports, security screens, delays or headaches! We loaded up our own car with all our gifts – even the ones for our own family(!) – which I had already wrapped (can't bring wrapped gifts through the airport), and drove on up. HUGE deal for me. The only downside – the 25 potty breaks for Mommy along the way. In the interest of keeping things honest, as I always do on this blog, I will go ahead and tell you in full disclosure that I broke down and bought Depends for the trip. Yes, I wore diapers. No, I never had to use them (thank the Lord), but having them on was enough security to make it through traffic and desolate parts of the drive. My Alzheimer's-ridden Grandma informed us that wearing Depends gives one "total freedom" and she is quite content to wear her toilet wherever she goes – and use it, too, I might add. Now, let me just say that Depends are NOT all Grandma cracks them up to be. First of all, they are not comfy. Secondly, I had the distinct concern that I "rustled" when I walked. Good heavens. Thirdly, those things are large enough to stuff two people inside. I was terrified that they would ride up over the top of my maternity jeans giving me that "toddler-in-a diaper" look that men really go for. Poor James. Hard to believe that man still loves me… I think.

When we finally did make it to DFW, we arrived to an empty house (my parents' house) because my entire family was in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, attending my brother's wedding. Yes, that's right! My little bro tied the knot on Dec. 20 and I couldn't go. I was afraid to fly so close to the end of the pregnancy since Matt was so early, and even if I had been comfortable flying, there was no way I could have made it through a beach wedding with no immediate bathroom facilities. And Depends generally clash with wedding attire. Bummer. BUT… my sweet family brought back excellent pictures of the ceremony and I was able to "experience" it that way. Here are a few pics I lifted from my sister's FB page. Congrats, Jared and Erin! I love you both!

My sweet sister felt so badly that I had to miss the wedding, that she used her God-given talent for photo-enhancement to Photoshop me into one of the pics. Thanks, Julie! It's so professional, you can hardly tell I wasn't really there…

Since my family was busy on the beach 1500 miles away, we spent a lot of time with James' family. Turns out it worked out well since we got a HUGE surprise when James' older brother, John, and his family came out to visit for the holidays. I had only met John once before at our wedding, and had never met his wife and daughter, so it was really nice to be able to spend time with their family and get to know them. James and John were apparently very close growing up (there are 6 years between them), but even with the passage of time, they had no trouble finding the love again…

John and Matthew enjoyed meeting their Uncle John, Aunt Karen and cousin Megan for the first time, too! John was thrilled to meet an Uncle with his same name.

But no one in the house was happier than my mother-in-law. Her smile alone lit the Christmas tree. It was a very special blessing.

All the excitement from having his brother home after 10 years was too much for James. He went a little cookoo…

It turns out my niece, Megan has a wicked sense of humor! I enjoyed getting to know her. She's a hoot! Here are Hannah and Megan with Tootsie (in her finest Christmas attire).

Despite the fact that I got roughly 30 minutes sleep the night before (thanks, Jossilyn), we all managed to have a super good Christmas day and we all had a wonderful time opening gifts with family.

At the end of the day, though, it was still my mother-in-law who got the most special and priceless gift of all.

Perhaps the second most surprising and special thing about this Christmas was that IT SNOWED on Christmas EVE!!!!!!!! At 34 years old, I finally experienced my first white Christmas ever! We got 4-5 inches at my sister-in-law's house, but my sister who lives just 30 minutes further north got closer to 9 inches!!! The snow was beautiful. It was the first time in 80 years that DFW had snow on Christmas morning. Amazing. When I was packing for the trip, the forecast called for the coolest temps to be in the mid-50s. That's sweatshirt weather for those of us who spent the last four years in the Bay Area. So all the boys had to wear was a light-weight hoodie. Sadly, as a result of my error, they had to watch the snow from in the house, but they did venture outside for a microsecond to get this picture with the snowman James built. (Yes, I know he has no corn-cob pipe, button nose or two eyes made out of coal, but those things are not readily available in Arlington, TX. Remember the "first time in 80 years" comment.)

I leave you with a couple super cute pics of my niece, Allie, and her cousin John.