Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Movie Time!

Today we took Jack to see a movie in the theater for the first time. (My first choice for the day was to go snow tubing, but since I'm pregnant and Jay messed up his back over the weekend, throwing ourselves down an ice-covered hill didn't seem like such a wise idea.) We finished reading The Tale of Despereaux last week, and as soon as we closed the book, Jack said, "Now we can go see the movie!" I had heard from several people that they thought the movie was extremely dark, but I didn't think so--especially compared to the book.

Outside the theater

Jack chose a big bag of M&MS from the concession stand.

The movie was quite a bit different from the book, but it was still enjoyable. After hearing some of her comments about the movie version of Because of Winn Dixie, I am curious to know what Kate DiCamillo thinks of this adaptation. You know, because I'm a nerd like that. Anyway, Jack had a good time and thinks we should go back again!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Shu Flots

Today was flu shot (or as Jack called them in a state of panic, shu flots) day. It will probably come as no surprise to many of you, but I am pretty pro-vaccination. For some reason, though, I have the hardest time actually following through on flu shots. In fact, when I got our records today, I saw that the last time I had one was 2003 (when I was pregnant), and Jack only got one his first winter. Oops. I will try to remember to get us all in when next year rolls around. Really.

Jack was determined to go first--he told me that the scaredest one always goes first--and he cried a little, but did pretty well. Jay's former tech was the one giving the shots, so she let him pick out an extra sticker. After my shot, he chose a sticker for me, too. The torture of the whole experience subsided when we went to Target afterward and Jack got to spend some of his money on another Planet Hero. Yippee!

May you all have a happy, healthy flu season!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Random December Pictures

Since I wasn't able to get pictures on my blog for a while, here are a few random pics from December!

Jay with his bacon cookies--they really weren't too bad!

Cookies for the Christmas party (rotated for some unknown reason)

The big mammoth modeling his Santa hat

Playing with gingerbread playdoh

I *think* I have beaten the pregnancy fatigue and wretched cold that have haunted me for the last couple of months, so I am hoping to be blogging more consistently in the new year!

Christmas Pictures

We left town Wednesday to begin the Christmas festivities at home. Every other time of the year I always have my camera nearby and am taking lots of pictures, but for some reason I never seem to have very many of Christmas. Here are a few I did get!
Every Christmas Eve we go over to Jay's former neighbors' house for a Christmas Eve party. This is the one picture I took there--Jay and Jack with Linda (and of course, the dog, Rufus).

After the party, we headed over to Jay's parents' house to spend the night and open presents in the morning. Jack had some company while he waited for the presents to be passed out.

These are the cutest pajamas that Jack got from his Nana and Papa. You can see them (and more like them) here.

Around lunch time we went to my parents' house to celebrate there.
Jack and his cousins.

Everyone trying to ride on Grandpa's feet.

What there are no pictures of:
  • Christmas night all of my aunts and uncles and cousins came over and we all had dinner together.
  • Jay met with a builder and saw some plans for our house.
  • We got together with some old (only in terms of the time we've known them, not in age) friends from high school (and before).
  • Jack spent the night at a hotel with my parents and his cousins.
  • Jay and I looked all over the house for at least twenty minutes trying to find Boris. We eventually found him curled up in some blankets in the back bedroom. He really hates leaving Grandma and Grandpa's house.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"For every year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!"

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Real Christmas Dinner

A while ago there was some discussion on a message board I visit about people being "real" on their blogs. I will be the first to tell you that I am not the world's best housekeeper, and I will crop junk out of a picture when I can. But in the interest of being real, here is what our Christmas dinner table looked like yesterday. Let me take you on a little tour...

Starting at the top of the table, you'll see the rolls. They are perched (kind of crookedly) on top of a pile of drawing paper. Doesn't the colorful bucket of markers next to the rolls add a certain je ne sais quois to the set up? And don't forget the matching crayon bucket, too. It looks like R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker are hiding out there next to the Cherry Eggnog Tea Bread--the end of which is cut off, because when I baked it the day before, I couldn't resist trying some.

Moving down the table (don't overlook the assorted plastic placemats!), we had scalloped potatoes and ham. There was also some broccoli, but it wouldn't fit on the table with all of the other fun decorations. At the bottom of the table on the left hand side, you'll see the box of Christmas cards. Yes, I still have a few to mail.

Just above the cards, you will find the butter dish, atop some magazines and Jay's recall roster. Rounding out the ensemble is the laptop, where Jay was hard at work all weekend, finishing up his CME for the year. And of course, don't forget the lovely expressions on the boys' faces. You can tell how impressed they are about all of the preparations.

So there you have it: my holiday preparation deficiencies exposed. In my defense, I did dig out some snowman placemats, but then I realized that I would need to get out the white dishes, and those are in the garage, and it was about 15 degrees. I almost went out and got them, but in the end I came to my senses and threw lunch on the table and called it good. I am just thankful that Jack ate his ham without too much fuss and that we aren't spending this Christmas season getting ready to send Jay off to another country. And there's always next year for the table to look better!


Pictures are back! I *think* I have figured out how to work with pictures on our new computer set-up. For some reason, though, I have forgotten how to work with them on Blogger, so for a while they may be oddly placed.

Each year we have our own little Christmas here at our house on the day closest to Christmas when Jay doesn't have to work. That means that this year, Jack got to have Christmas four days early. Poor kid. It just killed him to have to go ahead and open his presents.

The top picture is Jack on "Christmas Eve." He was extremely excited about Santa coming and told me he thought he might not be able to sleep. He asked for some Star Wars figures, a gun (that shoots puffy balls), and Planet Heroes. It seems the days of the yellow pencil are gone.

Jack was extremely excited to get the original Pluto.

He also got a Scooby Doo game and some Legos, but they weren't nearly as exciting.

There were also some presents under the tree for me and Jay. I got Jay a Star Trek shirt and the new Dido CD; Jack got him a set of mechanical pencils. For me, Jay got season two of Magnum PI and season three of Perry Mason. Jay and Jack went together and got me a gift certificate for a massage, or as Jack calls it, special pettings. I have been dying to lie on my stomach, so I was excited to get this!

Now we have just a few days to recuperate and then we're on to Christmas with our families!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

10 Nice Things

I think my last post made Jay a little nervous that he was coming off as mean or something for not thinking I could fit in my dress. This was totally not my intention since I was the crazy one and he was very nice about the whole thing. In fact, he is a very nice guy. For your consideration, ten random nice things he's done for me over the last fourteen and a half years:
  1. The first semester of college he made the two hour drive home to see me every single weekend.
  2. He indulges my love of 80s TV shows and has gotten me the entire series of The Golden Girls, as well as eight seasons of Murder, She Wrote, which he can't stand.
  3. The first Christmas we were married, he bought me a digital camera, which was a very big deal back then. When I broke it the next summer, he didn't get mad at me.
  4. He bought us five acres of land in our hometown.
  5. The second Christmas we were married, he got me a cat. Actually, he let me get two. And when one became horribly ill, he got up early, stayed up late, rearranged his work schedule, researched medicines, gave shots, pushed pills, and rubbed creams for four long months until he was in the clear.
  6. For the last three weeks he has rubbed Icy Hot on my back every night without complaint.
  7. When I had my first real job he made a four hour round trip in one afternoon/evening to go to my first faculty party with me.
  8. When I was transferring to OU my mom had taken a day off work to drive me down so I could enroll. Somehow, I didn't bring my license, and they wouldn't let me enroll without it. Jay talked an adviser who had nothing to do with me into enrolling me anyway.
  9. The first Christmas we were together I was telling him about this cute cat pin I saw at the store. A couple of days later I took him by to show him, and it was gone and I was disappointed. Guess what I unwrapped on Christmas morning.
  10. The week before we got married I found this great antique bed. I called him and told him about it and he said not to buy it. I bought it anyway, and he very nicely put it together without griping at me, even though it was hard to assemble and took quite a while. He has reassembled it in two more apartments and one house (and he is pretty quick at it now) and he even bought me dressers and nightstands to match.
So there you have it. He's a good man.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Maternity Clothes

I am currently unable to download pictures from my camera, so I've been trying to think of things to blog about that aren't picture-dependent. That's hard for me! Hopefully I will have the camera thing figured out soon. In the mean time...

When we went home for Thanksgiving I brought home my giant tub of maternity clothes. And I mean giant. Why on earth do I have four pairs of black maternity slacks? I think I had a maternity wardrobe larger than my regular one. Some of the things will probably never be worn again--too dressy or, unfortunately, too small. It made me think of five years ago and the most beautiful dress I own.

During the summer of 2001 I was able to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, aka Nerd Heaven. An entire week of colonial American history from dawn until well past dusk. It was an insane amount of fun and I still have a baggie containing all of the receipts I am still afraid to total. The following school year I did a half day colonial shindig for the 5th graders at my school.

The next year I was in charge of social studies for all of the 5th graders, and I got a little more adventurous. It helped that my friend Annette was pretty much always up for anything. So one evening we went to Hancock's and found dress patterns and material and I located a woman who could do the sewing for me. $100 later I had the most beautiful dress ever. I am even going to say it may rival my wedding dress. I love this thing. We put on a whole day to-do and it was incredibly fun. And we looked fabulous.

Fall of 2003 rolled around and I found out I was pregnant. One of the first things I said to Annette was, "You know that dress isn't going to fit this year." It was really quite fitted. So I planned on wearing a Colonial Williamsburg t-shirt and I was good with that...until about a week before our Colonial Day was scheduled. As I was sitting at my desk one afternoon, it occurred to me that I could still squeeze into my regular jeans, and if I could do that, then surely I could squeeze into that dress. As the afternoon wore on, I became more and more sure that I could pull it off. I mean, I was only four and a half months pregnant. Why on earth would that super-fitted dress from a year ago not fit me?

When Jay got home that evening, I had the dress hanging in the doorway. "Help me zip this thing up," I said. "I think it's going to work." He gave me a funny look, but he didn't say anything. I slipped on the dress and turned my back to him. "Ready!" I sucked in my ever-expanding belly and felt the zipper begin to slide up my back. And then it stopped. I looked over my shoulder at Jay, turned back, sucked in some more, and grabbed onto the door frame. Even though there is no photographic record of this event, I know you've all seen it many times before:

Except this time, instead of flouncing into class in my totally-rockin' colonial garb, I was half dressed in the hallway with my husband looking at me like I was crazy. "Did you really think it was going to fit?" he asked? "Yes. I was sure I could suck it in." The look in my eye must have warned him against defying my hormone-driven logic, because he just shook his head and unzipped the dress. I sighed, "Maybe next year." Which, of course, didn't happen because I quit teaching, and no one else thought it was as fun to plan a full day of colonial activities for 80+ kids as I did.

My dress has been hanging in my closet (next to Jay's Star Trek uniform) for the last five years, peeking out of the plastic bag at me each time I reach for my sandals. Unless I develop some kind of serious illness, I don't think that dress is ever going to fit me again. But if I do develop some serious illness and it ends up killing me, I am leaving instructions to bury me in it. I may be dead, but you are not going to believe how great this dress is!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


No, this picture isn't fuzzy. It's a block of ice with toys frozen inside.

I took some little animal toys and put them in a bowl of water in the freezer. When it was bath time last night, I took it out and gave it to Jack. First he dunked it to get the ice to come out of the bowl.

He eventually poured water over it to get the rest of the animals out. He had the best time doing this, and he has requested that I freeze "Daddy's guys" (aka Jay's Homestar Runner toys) for tomorrow's bath.

I think that when it is colder I am going to put some dinosaurs in the mop bucket and freeze it outside. Then he can have an iceberg that will last a while!

Just Like LeBron

Have you seen this commercial? Jay managed to recreate it in our kitchen using parmesan cheese. Pure awesomeness. Except for the cleaning up part. And the part where I started laughing so hard I was gagging while trying not to pee my pants. Otherwise, it was all good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Are Any Other Words So Sweet?

As full panel? I think not. Watch out, because now I am going to be "sophisticated" and "stylish" and the most comfortable I've been in quite some time. I am pretty sure this is my most favorite thing about pregnancy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bird Confessions

Someone asked if I cooked the turkey with the breast side down. To tell the truth, I'm not sure. How you see it on the table is how I cooked it, I think. And I'm not sure if that's the breast side that's up or not. I try not to look at raw whole birds too much.

My aversion to raw whole birds comes from two incidents in my childhood. The first, an ongoing occurrence, was hearing my mother cutting through whole chickens when preparing dinner. Just hearing the sound in my mind still gives me the willies.

The second incident was killing and plucking chickens at my grandparents' farm. My cousins and grandpa did the actual chopping off of the heads, but my sister and I had to wait for my grandma to dunk the headless chicken in boiling water and then we would have to pluck all the feathers off. The plucking wasn't too bad, but the smell of hot, dead, wet chicken is enough to make just about anyone crazy.

So, with the exception of Thanksgiving, I only use boneless, skinless breast portions. And when I cook the turkey, I cook it until the meat slides off the bones, so I don't have to do any cutting. There you have it. I'm a poultry weenie.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Somehow we had our family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. I say, "somehow," because I'm not quite sure how it all came together. Saturday night I felt awful, but thankfully I already had several dishes made. Sunday morning I didn't feel much better, but most of the big work was done, so it came together. And then I hit the couch for the afternoon.

Jack is making this face because he's worried about having to eat turkey. He's not too adventurous as the dinner table.

Now it's on to Christmas!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Planning

We've started our countdown (actually a countup, I guess) to Thanksgiving with a turkey. Turkey gets a new feather each day. I first saw this on Candace's blog, and then somewhere else, and I think the idea was to take a feather off, but then you get to Thanksgiving and you have a bald turkey instead of a nice feathery decoration, so I'm doing it this way.

Each year we do a big Thanksgiving dinner at our house for the three of us. We do this on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and then eat the leftovers all week until we go home for official Thanksgiving with the rest of our family. This will be the fourth year we've done this, and I've just about gotten it down to a science.

I start by finding the smallest turkey I can. Jay thinks there is some kind of correlation between the smallness and the juiciness. This year's turkey is 12.07 pounds. And we're not eating that piece of cheese that has apparently jumped to the bottom of the fridge back there. Did I mention that when I clean out all of the leftovers the fridge gets a good cleaning?

After the first year I made a master list: all the dishes, where to find them, and their ingredients. With a few exceptions, I make the same things each year. This list has helped save a lot of time with shopping lists. I also got smart and copied the recipes I use over and over and put them in a binder so I don't have to go hunting down all the different cookbooks anymore.

Now all I have to do each year is calculate my cooking times. I usually make the sweet potatoes, dessert, and cranberries on Saturday and everything else Sunday morning.

Last year's final result!

This year's menu includes:
  • Turkey
  • Gravy
  • Rolls (I usually use the frozen Rhodes Rolls)
  • Green beans
  • Corn
  • Sweet Potato Souffle (my aunt's recipe)
  • Stuffing (I use Stove Top because I hate picking out celery from real stuffing)
  • Cranberry Pineapple Salad
  • Pumpkin Pie (my grandma's recipe)
The cooking starts in less than 24 hours!

Baby Answers

Now I'm getting text messages for details and I have no clue how to send text messages, so I thought I'd post some details here!
  • I'm due June 7. That should make planning Jack's party fun, because his birthday is June 10.
  • Jack seems mildly interested, but he was more excited about getting a new Madagascar toy in his Happy Meal after we went to the doctor. At least he was not negative about it, so that's good.
  • I'm not finding out if it is a boy or a girl. Last time, Jay knew, but I didn't. He says he doesn't know if he'll find out this time. We don't really have a preference either way, so it's all good.
  • I'll have the baby at the hospital down the street. Heavily drugged.
  • We haven't agreed on any names yet. If it's a girl, her middle name will almost definitely be June. The name I liked for a boy was August, and I don't think Jay is going to go for that since it won't be born in August.
  • We have known for just over a month, though I suspected it for a while before that.
  • Jay has signed up for three extra months with the Air Force, so we won't be moving with a one month old. That's good.
  • Jay is not delivering this baby. He's a little out of practice since they don't do OB in the clinic here. He is apparently still good at heart rates, though.
Those are all the questions I can think of....If I missed something, let me know!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yes, Sir

That's my baby.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So you never win anything, huh?

Well, today is your lucky day, Heather! Jack picked your name to win the copy of Christmas Trolls. I'll get it in the mail to you this week--guess I should have held off a day on mailing your card, huh? ; )

Becky OK's post reminded me of several Oklahoma authors I got to meet: Harold Keith (the only Oklahoma author to win the Newbery Medal), Anna Myers, and Bill Wallace. I don't have any pictures of me with Anna Myers, but I did find this one of an assembly she did at our school.

I know I have pictures with Harold Keith and Bill Wallace somewhere, but finding them is another story. Maybe someday they will appear and I will post them!


The last couple of weeks we have been learning about leaves. Due to the insane wind and some other things that kept popping up we didn't get as much done as I was hoping, but we still had a good time. A couple of the things we did:

We made a tree that changes from green...

...to pretty fall colors!

We also did a little cooking with an idea I found in Family Fun.

Ours don't look quite as pretty as they did in the magazine, but they were still delicious! We filled ours with chocolate chips and cream cheese. Yum!

Some of the books we read:

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!

Fall Leaves Fall

In November

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf

Leaf Man

When we're driving around I'm always pointing out pretty trees to Jack, and my love for the fall colors must have rubbed off. As we were out the other day, we had the following conversation:

Jack: Is it fall?

Me: Yes.

Jack: I love all the fall colors. I like red leaves and yellow leaves and orange leaves.

Me: Me, too!

Jack: (In a surprisingly hateful voice) I hate green leaves!

Flying High

Saturday morning Jack had a zoo class on birds. They brought in a chicken for the kids to see. They weren't too sure about it!

Working on his bird craft

Flying the finished product

Playing a round of Bird Bingo

After class we went to the lake to feed the ducks. It was cold!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

FIAR Ornament Exchange

This year was our first year to participate in the FIAR ornament exchange. We signed up and got our list of other families around the country (and in Canada) that we would send to and receive from. And then I did nothing.

I had an idea in my mind for a while to do Corduroy, which was the first Before Five in a Row book we did last year. I toyed with a couple of ways to make him, but in the end, I came to my senses and picked the easiest one. We found some wooden cut outs (for just a quarter each!) at Michael's and we were good to go!

Ready to paint!

I cut and lined up while Jack painted and glued, and when we were done we had a Corduroy army.

When we have received all of our ornaments I will be sure to post. I'm still trying to figure out where we'll put them since our tiny tree is already overloaded!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bloggy Birthday Giveaway!

A year ago today I started this blog in an attempt to get in the blogging habit before Jay deployed to Kuwait. Now he's been back almost six months and I'm still plugging away!

I have always enjoyed meeting authors and illustrators. It's just the kind of nerd I am. It started in college, when I was able to visit Mike Wimmer's studio and I still get a thrill out of it.

Meeting Avi (2005)

Me with Kate DiCamillo (2007)
I got to drive Chris Soentpiet around Omaha once and I also met Jane Yolen, but I don't have any pictures, so you'll just have to take my word on it.

And what's a birthday without a gift? I have a brand spankin' new signed (by Jan Brett, not me, haha) copy of Christmas Trolls, Jack's current favorite Jan Brett book, to give away to one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on this post telling us about someone famous you have met, or if you haven't met anyone famous, tell us who you'd like to meet. (It doesn't have to be famous like the president famous, it can be anyone!) Please leave your comment by 7:00 pm (Central Time) on Tuesday, November 18. Good luck!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jan Brett

This morning Jack and I took a little road trip to Lawton to see Jan Brett, a famous children's author and illustrator. You know she's big time because she actually has this rockin' Gingerbread Friends bus, and not some teachers driving her around (as I've done in the past).

Jack with Hedgie the Hedgehog

She gave a talk before the book signing. She said that her illustrations for her books usually take her about an hour per inch. They are extremely ornate and very beautiful.

She did a little demo of how she draws her characters. Her main recommendation for art supplies for kids was prismacolor markers. She also talked about how she uses shading and coloring to create depth, etc. It went over Jack's head, but I thought it was cool. Too bad I can't draw at all.

She signed every book we had--including two of Jack's latest favorites, The Trouble with Trolls and Christmas Trolls. She was very nice and we also got a poster of The Three Snow Bears and some free buttons and other goodies. After tonight she is headed to Omaha, so Jack told her she should visit the zoo.

Jack seemed to enjoy his first trip to meet an author, and I definitely thought it was worth the drive. Her new book, Gingerbread Friends, is really nice, so check it out!