Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When we go to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Christmas, Grandma's table is filled with sweets. It's a real buffet of yummy-ness. I usually skimp on the meal and pig out on dessert. It's a little bit of heaven on earth.

So when I go, I don't like to go empty handed. I am, after all, going to eat my weight in wine cake, pecan pie, and cookies. I like to contribute.

This year I discovered these yummy little treats at my friend Chera's open house. One of the other ladies had made them and I couldn't stop eating them. They looked easy enough, so I thought I'd make them with the kids.

First you take square pretzels and lay them out on the cookie sheet. (Is it "lay" or "lie"? I'm sure my readers who have a better grasp of the English language will be happy to correct me...)

Anyway, the placing of the pretzels was extremely important to the Doodlebug. She wanted them to line up and make nice little rows. When the Nutty Papa came along and dumped pretzels on her cookie sheet, she let him have it. "That's not right!" I didn't know I had such a perfectionist on my hands.

Next you put these little candy discs on top of the pretzels. I searched all over for these little things. I finally found them in the Christmas aisle at Walmart. They had these and the little plastic molds. So I grabbed a bag of each color; red, white and green.

After all the pretzels have received their splash of color, you put them in the oven just long enough the soften the candy disc thing. We liked 5 minutes on 350. That was just enough. You have to be careful not to melt them threw though. That's a mess!
Once the candy is soft, you take them out of the oven and put peanut M&Ms in there. Why peanut? I don't know. That's how the lady at the party made them. I suppose you could make the regular ones. But I think the peanut adds to the salty part of the salty sweet flavor.

And here's the final product. You can see which ones are the Doodlebug's. She insisted on having her peanut stand straight up. It was cute. She wouldn't let her Daddy help either because he didn't "do it right".

Whew! Perfectionists!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas at Wolf Lodge

We celebrated Christmas early with my side of the family. My Mom wanted to take the kids somewhere fun, and she found this place called the Great Wolf Lodge. The kids love playing in the water and this place has an indoor water park. It was amazing! Everyone had a great time!

The lobby of the hotel was beautifully decorated for the holidays.

This was Chojuk's favorite spot. The big bucket dumped water on everyone every 5 minutes. It was so fun! The water almost knocked his suit off once! And it was a heated room so it was comfortable to play even though it was cold outside.

This was the Baby and Doodlebug's favorite spot. Lots of room to splash and play. Behind the wading area is a wave pool that everyone loved. The Snugglebug loved it all! He'd go wherever anyone else was and found fun. He even enjoyed the baby area. He found fun splashing the grown ups! No use staying dry in a pool, right?

At night, they had storytime. The kids would gather around a reader while they read stories. Luckily for us, Santa was the story teller. He read "The Night Before Christmas." See my little blondies there? It was fun!

When we weren't in the pool, we were playing a hotel game. You bought into a scavenger hunt of sorts. You bought a wand and with it you got a playing guide. The guide gave you clues to find. When you found the clues, a wave of the wand would direct you to the next clue. There were kids running all over the hotel looking for clues and waving wands. It was so fun!

If you found all the clues, and collected all the ancient runes, you got to battle a dragon. We didn't make it to the dragon, but we sure had fun trying!

We even encountered some mystical creatures along the way. It was a fun game!

Thank you for a wonderful vacation, Mimi! We're looking forward to going again next Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa Claus Came to Town

One night, a few weeks ago, we heard that Santa was going to be at my favorite coffee shop in town. So I thought it would be a great time to take the kids. It would be a quiet intimate place to visit and see Santa. With four little personalities, you never know what reactions you'll get to the big guy.

We were the only ones there when we arrived. As expected, the Doodlebug and the Snugglebug jumped right into his lap. Good thing Santa expects this behavior from children. Anyone else wouldn't have seen it coming.

The Baby wasn't too sure about him. He kept his distance and only offered a high five for a greeting. He quietly observed our jolly new friend for the rest of the evening, never getting any closer than required.

Chojuk has never been a big fan of Father Christmas. When he was smaller, we'd pass him at various locations around town and Chojuk would dare to look and possibly wave, but only at a distance. He's a cautious little guy.

The Doodlebug nearly talked his beard off. She told him all about life with 3 brothers and was happy to report that they were mostly naughty, and she was the nice one. And when she was asked what she wanted for Christmas, she simply said, "A new movie." I hope she's always this easy to please.

The Snugglebug was the first to reach Santa. He didn't bother to introduce himself or engage in small talk. He jumped right to the meat of the conversation. "My friend Mallory has Mario Kart and that's what I want for Christmas. Don't forget to bring me one, ok?"

After 30 minutes of chatting with Santa and trying to get a good picture of the whole family, as evidenced by the Christmas card you've hopefully received, we went into another room to eat dinner. We wanted to give other families the chance to speak to Santa if they wanted to. But for the duration of our visit, we were the only ones there.

After he finished eating, Chojuk went back in to see Santa. He had kept his distance earlier but I think his curiosity got the best of him and he wanted his chance to talk to Santa. He told Santa all about his favorite video games, how he lived on a farm, but didn't like to go outside, and what the true meaning of Christmas was. They visited for quite a while and the longer they talked the more comfortable Chojuk got. Santa and Mrs. Claus were extremely complimentary of him, and all the kids, and said it was due to our homeschooling. I cherish those compliments as they are so rare!

By the end of the evening, I'd say Chojuk had pretty much welcomed our jolly new friend into the family. It was fun to see him enjoy himself and have such a good time with Santa.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Irony at It's Best

The Nutty Papa has a pea sized bladder. Everyone knows this. When we make road trips, he is cut off from beverages. Otherwise, we're stopping every 45 minutes. It's annoying how often he pees.

There's always an exception to the rule.

The Nutty Papa called me this morning to tell me he had gone to the doctor for his "upset stomach" and was off to the emergency room. Turns out, his "upset stomach" was appendicitis. Yep. Merry Christmas.

So I pawned the kids off on one of the only people that can handle all 4 at a moments notice, thank you Michelle!, and head to the hospital. After waiting 4 hours, they get him in for a CAT scan. At this point, I had to make a childcare switch. So I'm off to pick up the kids and take them over to Aunt Deborah's for the rest of the night... thank you Aunt Deborah! Luckily, Aunt Tricia was there to step for me while I'm runnin the kids all across God's green earth. And as soon as I leave to pick up the kids, I get a call from the Nutty Papa... "It's Appendicitis. I'm going in for surgery." Great. I have been sitting in the ER all morning with him and the moment I leave, he's taken away for surgery.

Luckily nothing happens fast in a hospital. So I was able to pick up the kids from Michelle's, run them to Aunt Deborah's, and get back to the hospital before he went in. The nurse tells me it will be an hour surgery and an hour recovery. 30 minutes later, the doctor is walkin in to tell me it's over. It wasn't ruptured, just fat. It needed to come out. He tells me no heavy lifting and no work for 2 weeks. (The Nutty Papa was thrilled with this news since his work has basically closed down for the next two weeks. He gets a free pass from work and can't use it.)

So I sit in the waiting room and wait. And wait. And wait. 3 hours after he's finished with his surgery, they call me in. He's ready to go home. HOME?!? Great! But he has to pee first. No problem! He pees all the time. Wrong. There was a problem. That man couldn't pee. This is the guy who pees every 30 minutes. Couldn't do it. Give him something to drink, they say. He drank 6 Sprites, 3 Cokes, 4 bottles of water and had 3 bags of IV fluids. NOTHING! Finally 4 hours after his surgery, success. We can go home.

The Nutty Papa is home and crashed out. He says he feels much better with it out. Thanks to all those who helped and prayed. We appreciate it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cherish your Gifts this Holiday Season

This is what greeted me as I walked out the back door the other day...

When it gets cold, we get the dogs pillows to enjoy while napping. They love them. They fight over them. And apparently, they get so excited to have them, they tear them up.

I spent the next 45 minutes picking up pillow fluff from the yard. They obviously don't appreciate their gift. Silly puppies!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What is it they say about Apples...?

I have been dying to show these pictures to you since I took them at Thanksgiving. It brings to mind the amazing way genetics comes into play while creating children. Being an only child, I have often watched with wonder how siblings are so different and so alike. I have enjoyed the puzzle life puts forth as to whether the child resembles Mom or Dad. But I never realized the resemblance could go so deep.

Example #1: The Baby. Animal Lover. Like Brother. Like Father.

Example #2: The Snugglebug. Looks like Daddy. Loves animals like Daddy. Genetic wonder? Nature vs Nurture. Hmmmm...
And for those of you who wonder, here's Daddy:

He apparently spent lots of time outside with the animals. He especially enjoyed trying to tame the not so tamed cats.

Apparently he was successful at times. And the resemblance is more than just emotional. Check out that hair! The nose! Those eyes! It's like cloning!

And his love for animals always shines through. Like Father like Son? Yep.

Gettin' Her Wig Busted

The Doodlebug has never had her hair cut. People are starting to ask, "When are you going to get her hair cut?" It's not like it's too long. It's not like it's in her face. But it's ratty. And apparently, people think that if you cut ratty hair, it won't be ratty anymore. I'm tired of being pestered about it, so I decided since I was going to get my hair cut, she could too. Maybe that would get the monkeys off my back.

So yesterday, I made the call. In small towns, there's no need to wait. They are usually waitin' for ya with open arms. And they were. Belinda said, "Come on in!"

Here is the Doodlebug ready to get her haircut. It looks fine. A little runaway. But when you don't have much hair, there isn't much to cut.

She sat so still. I was so proud! She didn't wiggle or squirm like I expected her too. She loved it!

She even paused to give me the classic Doodlebug smile... it usually includes a wink. See?

She loved the attention and the pampering. I can tell she's going to be one of those girls I wasn't. The kind of girl who pays attention to fashion. The kind of girl who applies her makeup in just the right way. The kind of girl who always has her hair styled nicely. Not like her mother.

She was enjoying herself, however the woobie made it's appearance too. It was there to make sure she was 100% comfortable in the situation. To ease her nerves. To make it a really GREAT experience. Because that's what woobies do.

When it was all over, she was thrilled. You can hardly tell she got a cut. But the experience was divine. Let your inner diva shine, Doodlebug!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby Teeth

The other day, while snuggling with my Snugglebug, I got to looking at his little teeth. I was telling him that since he's 5 going on 6, he'll probably start loosing his teeth pretty soon. He got his teeth really early. His first two little biters arrived when he was 3 month old! So, if the theory is correct, since he got them early, he'll lose them early.

Losing your teeth is a milestone for kids. When our friends Miles and Davis lost their teeth, their faces all of a sudden looked more grown up. It made them lose the baby face I was so used to. When Chojuk lost his first tooth, I wasn't prepared for it. It happened on accident and it surprised me. He is still losing his teeth really slowly. So his face isn't morphing quite as fast as our friends did, but I still miss that little baby toothed smile.

Not wanting to forget how much I loved those little baby teeth, I decided to snap a picture to cherish the moment.

Look at those teeny tiny teeth. It's the little things about being a Mom that I love so much!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh, Yeah... Thanksgiving!

I knew I was forgetting something. In all the hustle and bustle, I forgot to tell you about our Thanksgiving. It annoys me to no end when the stores skip Thanksgiving and jump straight into Christmas after Halloween. None of that here!

Our Thanksgiving plans had been to go to my Mom's house. Unfortunately, she got sick. So we invited ourselves down to my in-laws Thanksgiving. It's always fun for the kids there... cousins! The boys get to play with their boy cousins and talk Pokemon and video games. And the Doodlebug gets a good dose of what life would be like surrounded by sisters. Girlie stuff everywhere! And she has a ball!

After our delicious Thanksgiving meal, Aunt Nancy gathered all the kids at the dinner table to teach them a new game... Spoons! It was a great game! The kids all get 7 cards. The dealer passes the cards around the table with the goal of getting 4 of a kind. Whoever gets 4 of a kind first is supposed to sneak a spoon off the table. As the other players begin to notice a spoon is missing, they grab one themselves. A spoon grabbing frenzy soon begins and someone is left without a spoon. That person is the loser.

Needless to say, there were some tears shed... no one likes to lose after all. But it was a lot of fun! Trying to keep up with the passing of the cards, watching what you have in your hand, and watching the spoons was quite a lesson in multitasking!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Little Angel Update

Remember the little miracle baby? Matthew , the little miracle baby born to my friends Beth and Tony. He's 5 months old now. He's getting so big! His Daddy likes him to wear hats. It's adorable!

They came to the Nutty Forest to visit during our "We shake 'em, you take 'em" Fall extravaganza. It was a blast! You should plan on coming next year! ... shameless plug... I'll stop at nothing to drum up business...

Anyway, he's doing great! His Mommy and Daddy are so good with him and he's an easy baby...

And he is oh, so cute!