Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve

I sure love this guy of mine.  I'm spending the evening with him.  Oh, and our five kids will be around too!  Happy New Year!

This is what I get for trying to take a family picture on a night like this.  Goofballs.

The Facebook Edition: December

Kimble just counted to 10 all by himself!  Then, he counted to 14!  Didn’t miss a number.  What a smartie.

7:18am wakeup (unintentionally overslept). All four kids out the door at 7:26am. Now I know my alarm really isn't working, and I'm not just going crazy. Stupid phone alarm.

"Yes mom," Kolby replied, when given his punishment for wrongdoings. "But I'd like to reschedule my punishment for a better day." Nice try Kolby.

Keaton begrudgingly cleaned his room, all-the-while wishing his invention of a robot-who-does-your-chores had transitioned from concept to reality.

My first day off since spring. I'm having a Downton Abbey marathon, since I never got to watch it. First episode down...tons more to go. This might last all week.

Kolby is doing reading time. I hear "Mom, how to you say this?" and then he spells out v-a-m-p-i-r-e?" A minute later, he says "How do you say p-a-r-a-s-i-t-e?" Kolby, what kind of book are you reading?

The absolute last of the Christmas shopping was done last night. Today it's a trip to the post office to make the end official. We did good.

It's nap time. Kimble knows this. He is hiding from me. I called for him, and after the third time, he yelled back "I not here!"

I feel somewhat conflicted when dicing carrots and onions to go with our baked chicken, I give the peelings and veggies discards to our live chickens.

Keaton came to me rather seriously. "Mom, there is something wrong with my voice. It just won't go as high as I use to be able to go." I suggested it might have a bit to do with getting older. "Puberty?" he said with a squirmish smile. Oh, these next few years are going to be fun to see.

Today is national "Believe" day. For every letter written to Santa, and dropped off in the special red mailbox at Macy's, 2 dollars will be donated to Make A Wish. Take a minute and have your children write a letter. It helps make a child's wish (like Kimble) come true. Please share!

All my kids are home safe, and I am devastated for the people affected by the shooting. My prayers are with them.

My kids have done their chores twice, drank salted caramel hot cocoa, played in the snow, played a board game (ticket to ride), helped Kimble go potty about 34 times, and now are settling down to watch a movie. It's been a nice day at home, with the crazy windy/stormy/snowy weather outside.

Kimble always proclaims with fervor "I got an idea!" but when we ask what it is, he clamps up.

I've blogged, and am just about caught up. 30 blog posts. Read all about it.

What? The world is still here, going on like normal? Couldn't imagine that happening.

Guess I have to clean my bathrooms, now that we are around another day to use them.

Getting our Christmas Eve candlelight dinner ready! A tradition we've had since I was a kid. After dinner, we take our Christmas Eve jammie picture, which is a tradition we began our second year of marriage. Love it!

I actually had to go downstairs this morning and wake up all my sleepyheads. Merry Christmas !!

I just added about 15 books on my hold queue at the library. I love to read! Any good books I should be reading?

I need to stop hiding in my cave and go to the grocery store. I'm out of toilet paper, which is motivation enough for me, even if the kids seem oblivious to the fact.

After the previously-attempted-toy-murder-by-flushing incident, Kimble moved to the other bathroom to take a bath in comet powder. It's been an eventful morning.

Hot chocolate is perfection on a chilly day.

I hear absolute quiet in the house. Something messy must be happening.

I once pierced a boy's ear during my second year of college using ice, a yarn needle, and a potato. Anyone else have a "I once" story to share?

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Got Gas?

It's been nice the past week or so, seeing our gas prices drop again to about 2.80.  It's been upwards of 4 dollars for so long now, that I've really had to manage my errands well enough so I could still only fill up the gas tank every 3 weeks and keep within our gas budget.  During the summer, The Husband bikes to work a lot, so that helped tremendously, but it was still hard to see that gas price go up and up.
I realized I had a 50 cent/gallon savings reward on my Safeway card (it had been adding up), so this week, both The Husband and I took our cars to get them filled up.  On the same transaction, we filled up both vehicles and the total came to just under 60 bucks (which is close to the amount I paid just to fill up the van this summer).  Yay!  Let's just hope the gas prices continue to drop!

They call me Mr. Trouble

Mr. Kimble is now called Mr. Trouble, or Mr. Destructo.  He makes messes, is in to everything, and when I tell him that he did something bad, he'll say "No momma, you bad!"  To quote something my sister says often, "That little darling" is the culprit to much disorderliness.
He tried to flush his laser gun.
Then he went in the other bathroom to take a bath in comet powder.

He is constantly making messes, but he is still my little sweetheart.  I'm totally biased, and I know it.

When Kimble is happy, it's contagious. He got his turn on our trampoline the other day, and although I'm sure he's been on a trampoline before, it seemed like the first time. He was so thrilled, and even though it was about 14 degrees outside, he jumped and fell and jumped until his little hands were bright red with coldness.  He had such a great time.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Instagram Christmas Favorites

I got a new phone for my Christmas present!  I really needed an upgrade, as my old phone's speaker was busted and nobody could hear me when I made phone calls.  The camera was also broken, and the phone wouldn't hold any memory, so even taking one picture would flash an alert that I was over my storage limit.  I purchased it a month before Christmas, and it was hard not to break it out and use it, but I was a good girl and kept it nicely wrapped up until Christmas morning.

One nice thing about the new phone, is that I was able to have a nicer camera to do instagram photos with!!  I've been having fun the past few days with posting pictures.  Hopefully I'm not over posting, as I'm new to instagram and don't really know proper etiquette.

So with picture-taking in mind, I asked each of the kids to bring me their favorite Christmas gift.  This is what they brought me:

Kamy loves the new kindle we got for all the kids to share.

Keaton is excited to learn to play the guitar. We included the Chord Buddy with it, as seen on Shark Tank, to help us all learn how to play.

Keaton was also thrilled to get the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.

Kennedy loved this assortment of beads and jewelry pieces which help her make her very own jewelry.

Kimble LOVES this truck/trailer that came with two little horses to keep in the trailer.

Kolby got a Bear Grylls pocket knife, and understands that with great cutting ability comes great responsibility.

All the kids got a trampoline from Santa, and we just got it set up today.  Kimble wasn't pictured, as he was taking a nap.

The Husband has been enjoying the family Kindle as well, and he also got a huge outdoor knife which requires it's own belt sling, to be used in outdoor-manly activities, like camping and fishing and hunting.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The North Pole

The North Pole is actually just about 25 minutes away from us, nestled in the mountainside of Pikes Peak.  It's open about 9 months of the year, but I'm sure the busiest month for them is December, and it's a mini-amusement park of sorts, with a Christmas theme.  Since living in Colorado for the past four years, we have never been.  On Christmas Eve day, we decided to change that.

Going back to our Make-A-Wish trip this summer, upon leaving GKTW, we were given a  packet of information.  Within that packet was a list of places separated by state. These listed organizations are supporters of wish kids, and thus have granted one day's worth of free admission to wish families for the year following their wish trip. In our area, The North Pole was listed as one of these organizations.  So following the instructions, I emailed them a week in advance, and told them we planned on going on Christmas Eve.  As per the reply, there were tickets waiting for us at the entrance.  Pretty cool, eh?

So we arrived about 20 minutes before the attractions opened.  Although there was no snow at the time, we were in the eve of a winter storm, not to mention high up in the mountains, and it was about 20 degrees outside.  Brrrr.  We waited patiently, but all of us were pretty frigid. Here's Kolby, all bundled up.

We made it inside, warmed up a bit, and then went outside again to stand in line to see Santa.  After all, you have to see Santa if you are at the North Pole!  Since we went there fist, the line wasn't too long, and within 15 minutes, we were sitting on Santa's lap (not me...the kids) and telling him what we wanted for Christmas.

Then we went on a few rides.  We rode the Train, we went on the Tilt-A-Whirl, rode a little rollercoaster, and visited a shop or two (mostly to get warmed up!).

We had been there about an hour and a half, when Kimble began to be uncontrollable in his state of mind. He didn't understand why we had to wait in line, why we had to leave a fun ride after it was over, and why his hands were so cold (he wouldn't keep them snug in his jacket or pockets).  We were waiting in line for a little car ride, when we couldn't keep Kimble happy any longer.   He was crying and whining and throwing a fit, and although we were within minutes of being next in line, we decided that the day wasn't going to get any warmer, and Kimble wasn't going to understand line limitations any better, so we made the quick decision to leave.

Upon hearing that we were going, Kennedy lost it. She cried and cried and Kimble cried and cried, and by the time we pulled out of the parking lot, they were sad sad children.  However, we promised them hot cocoa when we got home, and after giving them all a packet of fruit snacks, they quieted down.

Although we were sad we had to go, we were happy we got to experience a bit of The North Pole, even in the short time we were there. Perhaps on a warmer day next year, we can give it another go.

Sleeping Beauty

I don't know why it took so many years for me to catch the brilliance of using a sleeping mask, but boy oh boy has it made a huge impact on my life.  I love it being really dark when I want to sleep.  I hate night lights on, or a leftover hallway light glowing softly in the night.  I don't like the gleam of the computer screen, the haze of a streetlight shining through the window, or the brightness of the television being watched by The Husband.  In fact, the thing that was the hardest for me when I was in the hospital with Kimble (all those times) was the fact that the lights never went off in the CICU.  It was so hard for me to sleep.

Now, all of those nuisances are taken care of.  I wear my sleeping mask and suddenly the world is pitch black.  I sleep deeply, without light's interruptions.  It's glorious.

Christmas Break

The kids had the entire week before Christmas off, and we didn't have a thing on the calendar.  It was so relaxing to just be able to stay home and enjoy each other.  Even with all the kids home, there were plenty of quiet times around the house.  I found Kimble sneaking ice cream in the kitchen (strawberry ice cream, left over from Kennedy's birthday dessert).  He was happily eating, and instead of disciplining him, I thought he was on to something, so I grabbed a spoon and helped him finish the last remaining bites. 
 Kimble is also getting officially pottytrained now. He is still on daily medicine to remove fluid from his lungs, and thus, it causes him to pee as frequently as every 5 minutes, for the entire 2-3 hours after he takes it.  This makes it difficult to take him anywhere outside the house during that time (as we discovered with our early morning church), and thus are pretty much glued to the toilet during this time. We solved this issue somewhat, by having his little pottychair in front of our tv. Kimble gets to watch Backyardigans or Toy Story, and he can pee every five minutes, and not have to worry about having any accidents during this frequent urination period.  Hopefully when he learns a bit more how to "hold it" for longer periods, this won't be such a difficult morning routine.
We had a dusting of snow early on in the Christmas break, and another little storm that rolled through Christmas Eve. The kids enjoyed what little snow we got, by playing around in the backyard.

We discontinued our television service (something I've wanted to do for a long time) and I'm happy to tell the kids to find something to do with each other.  On this afternoon, while Kimble was napping, the kids played one of our favorite games Ticket To Ride.  They didn't follow the exact rules, but had a great time building their train routes and gathering cards.

During our transition of the food storage closet downstairs, Kolby took the opportunity (unbeknownst to us) to grab a few boxes of granola bars, and he snuck them under his pillows, to eat at leisure.  Well, he grabbed the Fiber One protein bars, and per experience, I know that if you have more than one of these granola bars, the fiber really messes with your system and you have terrible gas pains, flatulence, and and upset tummy for a while.   Kolby came to us complaining of how badly his tummy hurt.  For a few days, we just thought he was sick as a result of the flu.  Then one day, it dawned on us what the problem was.  We asked him if he had stolen the fiber one bars, and after he admitted to eating a few boxes of them, we explained what was wrong with him, then left him to enjoy his self-inflicted punishment.

Next up is a picture of our kids right before we went to Church, the day before Christmas Eve.

The kids also love to watch movies in our bed, all snug with each other.

That's pretty much how our week went.

The Cupboard Under The Stairs

Although Mr. Harry Potter doesn't live in our cupboard under the stairs, and no magic Hogwarts letters have arrived for any of us via owl post, we do indeed have a small closet of sorts, which we have revamped as of late.

Just inside one of our basement bedrooms is a door which opens up to a little closet, which continues on to the space under the stairs.  We have previously used this space for extra boxes of clothing (sizes too big and too small), an assortment of blankets, boxes of shoes, and gallons of paint.  When we began our couponing phase, earlier in the year, we decided this would make a great space for our storage of pantry and essential items.  Although it's not very close to the kitchen, it was out of the way and closed off from everything, so we thought it would be ideal for the storage area.

So with a few storage drawers recently vacated by toys, and some odds and ends shelving, we set up shop in the space under the stairs, for our grocery supplies.  We also got a cupboard with doors, to put items that were too tempting (for Kolby) to leave alone, like fruit snacks, powdered jello, granola bars, and brownie mixes.  We put a lock on this cupboard, and it resided just inside the closet door.  Atop the cupboard we stacked boxes of cereal.

Although the area worked well for the better part of nine months, we knew we needed more shelving.  So when we finally got around to it, The Husband measured the space and figured out a design for the shelves that would maximize the space.  These next two pictures show the transformation we have made in the past few weeks, of the little closet area just inside the door.

Just past this area is the space under the stairs.  Next year we will add shelving in here, but for now we will use our odd assortment of shelves that are in place.

Our storage is a work in progress. We continually use it and replenish it, as the coupons dictate.  We have an assortment of food and nonfood, which we enjoy stocking up.  These items include first aide supplies, feminine supplies, soaps and shampoos, toothpaste and chapstic, laundry soap and dishsoap, as well as canned goods, jarred items, almond and coconut milks, rice and pastas, oatmeal and seasonings, soups and boxed potatoes.  Most of these items were purchased at 80% off retail price too!

Our freezer is full of meats and other perishables, and our garage still has #10 cans of rice, soup mix, oats, sugar, beans, and other things.
It's a work in progress, but we are happy with what we have accomplished with couponing thus far, and we look forward to overgrowing this cupboard under the stairs and transitioning into a bigger area for our food and supply storage.  You never know when another Zombie Apocalypse or Mayan Calender world ending will occur.  Gotta be prepared!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve Picture

Per tradition, we take a Christmas Eve picture every year, in our red and white pajamas.  This is done after our traditional candlelight dinner (ham, potatoes, green beans, rolls, sparkling juice).  After that, we usually read/discuss the true meaning of CHRISTmas. This year, we watched a few short videos on about the Nativity story.  They were beautifully done. Then we watched The Sana Claus 2, sprinkled reindeer food outside, fed the kids pie, and then they went to sleep.  Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

School Pictures

I didn't order any of the kids' school pictures. Guess I was feeling like I take enough pictures of them that I don't need to pay a fortune for the school pictures.  So when they all got their ID cards, I just scanned the picture in so I'd have it.  Now, in all their glory, I present: The kids' 2012 school pictures.