Monday, January 30, 2012

Mission Possible

Fact:  This is the first Monday that I have had to work in January 2012.
Fact:  If I make it to Friday, this will be the first full work week that I've had since....October 2011
Fact:  It's 7:05 p.m. and I am EXHAUSTED.  Hence the "If" I make it to Friday.

To say that I've been spoiled the last few weeks as a working mom would be an understatement.  I got a quick dose of reality this morning.  The kids have been staying the night with Grandma and Grandpa on the days they've been watching them.  This helps me A. Not have to get up at the super ass crack of dawn and B. Not have to get myself, plus two out the door.  I am so thankful for this. 

Today I woke up at 3:45 a.m. (on purpose people).  I said to myself:  "Your mission, if you choose to accept it is to drop the kids off with their Aunt Nana and Uncle John sometime between 5:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m."  If I was even a few minutes late, this mission would be an epic FAIL. 

I was lucky in the fact that both kids woke up on their own at 4:30 a.m.   They also woke up in excellent moods.  That was like plus a thousand for the entire day!  They both agreeably got dressed (I think because they were excited that it was an Aunt Nana Day.)

We were well on target to meet our goal.  And then I remembered what it takes to get all of us out the door.  Our hallway was lined with bags, blankets, and sippy cups.  This would be a minimum of two trips to the car:  lunch bag, tablet bag, work bag, purse, 3 blankets, two sippy cups, a Miche delivery, and a bag packed for the kids.   It reminded me of a baggage claim area at an airport - each piece silently waiting to find it's home either in the car, at work, or someplace else.
This is Emma - early morning style.  She picked the hat, I picked the PJ's.

This is Brayden early morning - he picked the hat, shirt, pj pants, AND rain boots. 

I need a helper in the morning and in the afternoons to get all this crap back inside the house.

I didn't even bother with cute shoes today - instead it was a running shoes kind of day.  We made it into the car with no meltdowns, no forgotten blankies and cups, and no "I have to go potty!".  Still completely on target to meet our 5:15 to 5:30 goal. 

There's no shocking twist in this story.  Nothing really funny happened in our 15 minute car ride.  We sang songs, we told each other how much we loved one another and we all stated that we wished daddy didn't have to work all night long.  Even though it was the most hectic Monday I've had in awhile, it was still nice to have those few minutes of laughter with the kids - even at 5 a.m.  We met our goal.  In fact, we pulled into the driveway early:
Mission Accomplished.

As I pulled out of the driveway, I reminded myself of this quote from one of my favorite movies:

"Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." 
Ferris Bueller

So true, right?

Friday, January 27, 2012

This week in pictures and videos: Things that make me smile...and cringe.

Overall, this has been a pretty good week - no blood, no calls to poison control, super productive at work, kids were pretty well behaved all week and no laundry to fold.  Now the laundry thing is mainly because I haven't done any laundry all week - but I'm choosing to look on the bright side of things.   I have about 3 or 4 different topics that I want to write about, but tonight we're keeping it simple.  Tonight's all about the pictures!  And about a yummy breakfast recipe that can be made the night before! And about welcoming my very first sponsor to my blog!  Yep it's going to be a pretty simple one tonight, so without further ado...let's get started with our video clips of the week:

On Sunday, I got to spend a little one on one time with my baby girl.  Brayden got to spend some time with his cousins and grandma and grandpa, so everyone was a winner.  After church, Price Chopper, and Wal-Mart, we made a quick stop at Quik Trip - when I got back in the car from filling up with gas, I looked back and Emma was going to town with Old McDonald....and apparently he had a pig, and a pig, and a pig....oh and another pig.

Later in the week I shot another video at the urgency of my three year old.  "Hey mama - watch me jump really far!  Oh and video camera it too!"  So, I present to you what might possibly cause my hair to go a little gray in the near future: (Please pay close attention to that awesome outfit:  Caveman T-Shirt and a pair of GoodNites Underwear)

Now, on to the pictures that made me smile and also made me thankful for haircolor:
This is Brayden's room...also known as the pig pen.  I started cleaning his room on Monday.  I was so disgusted after I found a used pull up in the closet and a cup of sour milk on his dresser that I just gave up.  His room still looks like this, minus the milk and pull up.  And he was sweet enough to turn his sisters room into a wreck too. 

I love retail therapy.  We scored some great deals from Target, including some cool new jammy pants for Brayden, a new Sweater for little man, Sparkly jeans for Missy Em, and a new Booster Seat that has a booster seat for a baby doll attached to it.  Everything I got was on clearance....and that makes momma happy.

We told Brayden that he needed to quit pulling his chair over to the sink because every time he did he made a mess.  So, what's a kid to do?  Well, in this kids case, he's going to use his monkey toes to climb up the cabinet...and....still make a mess.  "But you didn't tell me I couldn't climb!"

Seriously?  I mean...seriously?  I went to the bathroom for...maybe 45 seconds.  I hear Brayden say to Emma "Do you really think I want to go around picking your mess up Emma?  You are going to be in BIG trouble."   We all (meaning I did it by myself) picked up this mess.

I started a new diet this week...I went to HyVee to grab some cauliflower, and logically this display was on the top of the cooler that the veggies and fruit were in.  FML.  I did muster all of my strength and chose not to purchase a candy bar bouquet.  But I wanted to.  Boy, did I want to.

The picture above may look like an ordinary picture colored by a three year old and a one year old.  In all actuality, it's a picture, colored on by a three year old and a one year old on a piece of $16 "Tank Grip" paper that daddy had bought for his motorcycle.  And had intended to use again.  Now my friends, it's a lovely picture hanging on our fridge.   This is just about the most expensive piece of art we own.

With the massive amount of cabinet space we have (please note sarcasm), I desperately needed the blender one night.  And because we are so organized (insert eye roll) and the hubby new exactly where it was, all of my Tupperware ended up on the floor.  Well, as it turns out, my blender was not in that cabinet and all of the Tupperware got shoved back in the cabinet, even more disorganized then when it was taken out.

This was a mid week package that I had got this week...I had forgot that I ordered it, so it was very exciting! 
Piggy Paint is odorless, non toxic nail polish that I bought for Emma from  I had been wanting to get
some for a while, so I jumped on it when it was finally in stock....And it came with a surprise!

Pay no attention to the dirty dishes on the table...instead pay attention to all of the free samples I got in my order of nail polish - It was like Christmas in trial sizes!

See that book in there with the pretty pictures on it?  Well dearies...that is actually a calendar/organizer.  One that I haven't looked at in over two weeks.  Now if I had looked in it, I would have realized that we had an appointment to have our pictures taken at church tonight for the new directory.   Instead, my mom accidentally reminded me with an email that she sent to my work today:  "Are you still having your pictures taken tonight?"  Oh. My. God.  It was three o' clock, I was at work - a good 45 minutes from my home.  I had woke up late this morning so had 0 make up on and was not having the best hair day in the world.  I had laid out no clothes for Garry/the kids, nor did Garry know about the pictures because I myself had forgotten.  We ended up throwing ourselves together with fairly little drama, made it to church - looking like a fairly cohesive family, and got our pictures taken.   Now, that was a close one!

This one is upside down, and I'm to lazy to fix it.  We got a free 8 by 10 and a free church directory.
Because I'm a sucker for a good pic, I ended up buying the proofs of all of the pictures taken for $25 - but we
we all looked to dang cute not to make some sort of purchase.

And last but not least....

Overnight Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

I've been wanting to make this mash up of some of my favorite things for quite some time.  The picture above is what it looks like before you let it sit in the fridge overnight.  I'm not going to lie....I cannot wait for tomorrow morning so I can pop this puppy into the oven.

Things ya need:

Casserole Dish
12 pieces of bread, cubed
8 eggs, beaten
1 cup of milk
1 cup of half and half
2 packages of cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup of syrup
A dash of cinnamon and sugar

What ya need to do:
Put a layer of bread down in your casserole dish. (6 Slices)
Plop your cubes of cream cheese randomly around the first layer of bread (use all of the cream cheese.)
Put another layer of bread down in the casserole dish.
Mix your eggs, milk, half and half, syrup, cinnamon, and sugar together.
Pour mixture over bread. 

Optional: I made a cute squiggly design with a little more syrup and sprinkled some more cinnamon on top. 

Not Optional:  You cover the dish with foil and refrigerate it overnight.  Take it out in the morning and bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes.  Take it out, let it cool down just a touch, and enjoy some rich, yummy, goodness for breakfast!

And now, I would like to take a minute to welcome RD Photography to my blog!  I am super excited to have my very first sponsor!  RD Photography is a local Harrisonville photographer that works with you to make your experience unique and fun!  She takes her time with her clients, she's patient, and so easy to work with!  She does great work at an incredibly affordable price!  As a special deal, she is taking $5 off an hour session for everyone that mentions Tiaras and Tantrums!  Thanks RD Photography!  We can't wait to have you take more pictures of our family!

Check out some of her work below and then go and like her on Facebook!  And then book your session and make sure you mention Tiaras and Tantrums!
Find RD Photography on Facebook!  Book your session!  Mention Tiaras and Tantrums!  Get some money off an already affordable shoot!  And according to the last two paragraphs, I absolutely LOVE exclamation points!!!!! 

Cute right?!  I'm especially fond of the last one...but I'm not biased or anything!  So the question I pose to you tonight:  When was the last time you had family pictures taken?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Challenge Thursday: 5 Cards Out; 1 Letter In

So last week I started "Challenge Thursday" on my little blog.  I challenged everyone who read it to send at least one note to someone they are thankful for and/or someone who has touched there lives. 

I decided to write 5 cards - my adventure began by taking Brayden to the store to find 5 pretty cards to write my notes in.  After steering Brayden away from the cards with Batman and Star Wars on the front - we worked together to pick out 5 simple, pretty cards.  We put them in the cart - purchased 43 more dollars worth of stuff (even though the cards were all we came for) and headed for home.  They stayed in my purse until yesterday.

I got the cards out and decided that I needed to make good on my first challenge.  I started to think of who all I wanted to say something to - of course, my list was only a million names long.  Please don't be offended if I didn't send you a card - it's mainly because my hand was starting to spaz out from all the writing!  It doesn't mean I love you any less. :)   These are my card recipients:

1.  My mom (with honorable mention to my dad.):  She listens to me whenever I need her.  She's been there for me through everything that's ever happened in my life.  She supports me in more ways than one and I don't say thank you enough to her.  I made sure that I said thank you in my card to her .  My dad fits right in there as well, bad jokes and all.

2.  Jill J:  Jill started off as my babysitter when I was in elementary school, getting me ready before school and making sure I got on the bus.  She then became my summer sitter as well.  Once I was old enough to be on my own, she simply became my friend.  Growing up she was like a second mom to me.  I'm glad she is still in my life, and that I am also able to share her joyous spirit with my kids.  I love running into her at different places because she's always so much fun to catch up with.

3.  Kim N.:  I work with Kim N.  I don't think she knows how valuable she is, not just as a co-worker, but as a person and a friend.  She would literally do anything for anyone.  And she's got really great style - I'm completely jealous of her wardrobe.

4.  Michelle G.: I could probably write a whole entire blog dedicated to Michelle - my Chimichanga.  She's such a beautiful person inside and out.  She gets my warped sense of humor.  We don't see each other often, but when we do it's like we've never been apart.  We trade office gossip, husband horror stories, and brag on our kids.   We met when we worked in the same unit - we even shared a little cubicle.  She even used to french braid my hair on our breaks!  I love that girl.

5.  Random Person from the phonebook:  Yep, you read that right.  I opened the phone book and picked a random person and sent them a card.  I figure it will be taken one of two ways.  1.  The receiving person will think it's completely sweet and adorable and will be inspired to do something similar. Or 2.  The receiving person will think it's incredibly strange and stalkerish and try to track me down to tell me not to send them cards.  On a side note - I didn't include my return address on this one - I simply wrote on the inside of the card "You are so valuable to so many people - don't ever forget that."....just in case they decide to go with number 2.

I put Kim's card on her desk this afternoon after she left, so it's the first thing she will see when she gets back in the office.  I mailed the others, but not until today - so if you are reading this and I sent you a card - Surprise!  It's on its way. 

Words really do have an impact on people.  I've been carrying around an envelope in my purse for several months.  I had found it when I was going through a box of pictures and art projects from my own preschool days.  The envelope was worn with time.   It had "Cathe Poisal" written on the front and on the back it said "to be opened when Cathe is 25".  I was 27 at the time,  so I was only two years late in opening it.  Once I did though, I decided that it was going with me everywhere I went because it made me feel so good.  This is what the letter said:

August 15, 1989

Dear Cathe,

My name is Michele Hershberger.  I was your preschool teacher when you were three through five.  This letter is to remind you of those fun times

You were a very bright and cooperate girl - a joy to have around! You loved to color, write letters and do art projects.  You never missed a trick.  You enjoyed playing with Colby, Sarah, Jennifer, and of course baby Erin.

You loved being a helper, and remember The Three Piggy Opera?  We really did have fun.  I shall always remember those sparkling brown eyes.

With love from your teacher,

Miss Michele

This is no joke:  I'm still bright and cooperative (no really, it's written in my evaluation at work).   I love to color and art projects are still some of my favorite things to do.  I'm a natural helper - in fact I love helping people and I always have.  Oh - and don't forget my sparling brown eyes - because I still have those as well.

In addition to the letter was a sticker in the shape of a ribbon that said "Cathe Poisal: FutreNow as if the letter weren't sweet enough (and pretty telling of my future), how ironic is it that one of my managers wrote nearly the same thing on my Christmas Card over 20 years later?

I will probably carry that envelope around in my purse for the next 50 years. 

It's a new challenge!!  So I've shared my experience with the challenge from last week, so it's time for a new challenge!! 

Participate in the Valentines Card shower for the kids at Children's Mercy.  We're breaking out the construction paper, glitter, glue, markers, and stickers this weekend and whipping up a batch of V-Day cards to be sent to the hospital.  For more information, including the different drop-off locations check out  Happy crafting!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freaky Friday

To put it bluntly, this past week has sucked.  As soon as something started working properly in our house, something else went down the pooper.  "Oh, look - the dishwasher is actually washing dishes - yay for not having to hand wash every single dish just to place it back in the dishwasher! "  "Oh crap - the dryer took 12 hours to dry a small load of laundry - oh and the washer is leaking."

My children's behavior left much to be desired as well.  At one point, I felt like I was living in a live action version of Children of the Corn - no my kids weren't knife yielding psychopaths trying to bring down all the adults in town - they were more like screaming, whiny heathens trying to bring one adult down - me.   I was super productive one day at work - only to be super unproductive the rest of the week.  One of my babies got rid of a nasty cough, the other one has to go see the Ears, Nose, and Throat Specialist next week.  My resolution to not eat out more than once a week was blown twice, and then three times.  The paragraph above is hardly all inclusive - just the highlights.  Like I said, this week has sucked...and it's taken its toll on me emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

My sweet, sweet Friday has finally arrived.  I didn't realize it was Friday the 13th until I got to work this morning.  I'm minimally superstitious so knowing it was Friday the 13th had very little of an impact on me.   All I knew, is I was ready to get my workday over with and end this week on a high note.  Lucky for me, our office building shut down at 9 a.m. and I got sent home, with pay.  "Maybe Friday the 13th is my lucky day!"  It was definitely a high note for the day!

As I was driving home, I contemplated how the rest of my day was going to go.  I had it ALL planned out it in my head.  It went a little something like this:

I came home to children and a husband that were ecstatic to see me.  I was greeted at the door with hugs and kisses and three voices telling me how excited they were to see me. 

I ran through the house and picked up what needed picked up, which was barely nothing.  My husband had done an AMAZING job keeping the house clean! 

I sat down with the kids and played multiple games of Candyland and built various things out of play dough.  All while listening to their adorable giggles.

I fixed a delicious lunch for my family.  I laid the kids down for a nap - and they drifted off to an afternoon sleep land with ease.  I was then able to watch the finale of "One Life to Live", my favorite soap opera which was being taken off of the air.

After OLTL, I laid down and took a nap with my husband.  It was a glorious two hours of pure rest. 

We all awoke with smiles on our faces.  I decided that I was going to prepare an equally delicious meal for dinner as I did for lunch, Chicken Rollatini.  I began to prepare dinner while my children quietly entertained themselves in the living room.

We ate my delicous dinner and then went to get a movie and some popcorn.  We all sat and relaxed while watching a movie.  We all looked at each other with happy smiles on our faces. 

The kids went to bed with no problem and I spent the rest of my evening with my husband, lovingly staring into each his eyes, talking over a glass of wine, telling him exactly how much I loved him.

The End

And this, is how my Friday actually went:

I walked through the door and was greeted by my husband, tush planted firmly on the couch.  He had a lap top in his lap, and he may or may not have looked up when I came in.   I was also greeted by two Wild Things, running around repeating every word to the "Wow, Wow, Wubzy" episode that was currently on TV. Nobody hugged me and nobody expressed their loving adoration of me for coming home early.

I planted my tush firmly on the opposite end of the couch from my husband.  Brayden let me borrow blue blanky because I was cold.  I preceded to close my eyes for approximately 4 minutes.  That's when the kids started arguing over the keyboard that I had bought at a thrift store the other day.  "OK, OK, I'm awake".   We all watched an additional episode of Wow, Wow, Wubzy.

I started to fix lunch, (grilled cheese), but my husband insisted on fixing it for the kids.  Obviously the kids enjoyed their sausage links, cheese sticks, fruit pouches, and strawberries much more than they would have enjoyed my grilled cheese.

I attempted to watch One Life to Live, but my chair kept getting taken from me.  I had one kid crawling on my back and another eating all of my apple pie.  I thought that something similar to this may happen, so I DVR'ed it and plan to watch it Saturday night after my kids go to bed and  my husband go to work.

One child went down for a nap without a problem. The other one stayed in his room but did not take a nap.  I did however get in a little snooze.  This is about the only similarity in what I wanted to happen and the reality of what actually happened.

Once we woke up, one child quietly sat and watched a movie.  The other one "helped" me put up his Hotwheels Wall Tracks in his room.  I could have probably accomplished this in 20 minutes by myself, with two extra hands, it took more like an hour.  At this point, what we were going to have for dinner had not even crossed my mind. 

We decide to pack up everyone and go to Wal-Mart, Family Video, Little Ceasers, and Price Chopper.  I went into Wal-Mart for eggs, milk, and butter.  I came out with 3 storage tubs, 1 sponge bob Marshmallow sucker thing, a pack of Valentines cookies, 5 Thinking of You cards, 1 tub of butter, 18 eggs, and one gallon of milk.   The trip to Wally world was followed by a trip to Little Ceasers.  This is the third time we've eaten out this week, and the second time that it has been pizza. The pizza pick up was seemingly flawless - mainly because I was able to do it by myself.  Next stop, video store.  My kids moved every children's DVD in the joint, mixing them up with every passing second.  We quickly picked up 3 kid movies and one grown up movie and headed for the line.  We had to deal with a major meltdown from Emma who wanted to run up and down the aisles.  I took her to the car while Garry and Brayden waited in line to pay for the movies.  Last stop was Price Chopper, for a much needed bottle of wine for mommy and daddy. 

We came home and ate our pizza dinner, with some popcorn as an appetizer.  We gathered in the living room and watched one of our rented movies "Arthur Solves a Mystery".  That my friends, was the quietest 15 minutes of the week.  Both kids cried when it was over.

The kids went to bed with a minimal fight.  I started a load of laundry and started cleaning out our basement.  My hubby planted his tush back in his spot and got on the computer. 

We eventually started a movie, the hubby poured us some wine, and now we are sitting across the room from each other.  He's watching a movie and I'm multi tasking: watching the same movie/writing this blog.  Occasionally, he lovingly looks over at me and says, "Did you see that?" or "Tell me what just happened". 

So, my night didn't go as I had planned, but then again what ever goes according to plan?  Looking back on the week, I'll take the negative with the positive.  I've lived another day and I've loved another minute.  I've been blessed with another crazy day with my family In the words of a friend of mine "I'm learning to appreciate my life for what it is: imperfect and absolutely fabulous." 

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Challenge Thursday

From the beginning of starting this blog, and I've wanted it to be more than just words. I don't expect every post to be life changing but I want each post tomean something. So in my attempt to write something meaningful in a short time I have decided that Thursdays are going to be my challenge days. I post a challenge and then report my results the next week, and along with the next challenge. So here is your mission if you choose to accept it:

Send a minimum of one card or note in the mail to someone that has touched your life or that you are thankful for. Remember the minimum is one, but you can send as many as you like. I will be sharing my own results next Thursday.

You may be surprised but a little act of thoughtfulness can make a huge difference in someone's life.

Kindness is a yellow umbrella covering the rainy days of life.
---Annie Engstrom

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice...That's What Little Girls Are Made Of!

For obvious reasons, my time has been far shorter with Emma than Brayden.  And by obvious reasons, I mean she was born later.  And to be exact - March 29th, 2010 was the date our little princess entered the world.   She was dubbed a princess from the day we found out we were having a girl.  Here's a rundown of everyone's reactions when we saw the sonogram:  I cried - Garry shook his head - and Brayden said "I have a sissy?"  Garry followed up his initial reaction later in the day with "Does everything seriously have to be pink?"  I just looked at him and we haven't had that conversation since. 

Emma completed our family - we had our boy and we were gonna have a girl.  We turned our extra bedrom into a two shades of pink, sparkly, tiaras everywhere nursery.  This momma was on cloud nine, and that's an understatement.   She's not quite two, but every moment has been a blessing.  Every screech, tear, and giggle add to the personality of one AMAZING little girl   So please enjoy every Tiara wearing moment.

Sister has had a sense of style since she was born.

10.  The eye roll. 

We were sitting at dinner one night and Emma started doing something she wasn't supposed to.   I looked at her and said "No, No Emma".  She looked back at me and gave me the biggest eye roll I've ever seen on anyone.  She was barely a year old and she proceeded to roll her eyes at me two more times during dinner that night - each time after I told her "No" about something.  I definitely have a diva on my hands!

9.  Hi Daddy!

Her first word was of course, Daddy.  Now she's learned a lot more words and talks all the time.  Everytime I come home from work, she runs to the baby gate and says, "Hi Daddy!".  She's gotten better recently about calling me Mommy - but occassionally when she's talking to me, she'll let the "D" word slip.

8.  Dag Nabbit

She is a repeater.  Especially anything her brother says.  Again, we were sitting at dinner one night and Garry said something and followed it with "Dag Nabbit".  Brayden followed by repeating Garry.  Emma then tried repeating Brayden - hers wasn't quite as clear as the other two though.  She kept saying it over and over again - it's just that it sounded more like "God Damnit" than Dag Nabbit.

7.  Bebe

She loves her baby dolls.  She covers them up at night, she sings them lullabys, and we have to take them everywhere with us.  She got a carseat for Christmas and now we have to take that with us everywhere too.  It's so cute and precious to watch.  But man it's a hassle to take that stuff everywhere we go.

6.  Morning Glory

She rarely cries when she wakes up in the morning.  Instead she sits in her crib and just jabbers away to herself.  She occassionally sings too.  It's so adorable!

5.  My little Annie/Fancy Nancy

Girlfriend has got some crazy hair.  She's got these beautiful curls that are impossible to tame, but I love them.  I think her bright red hair adds to the craziness but it's still beautiful.  We can't go anywhere without someone saying "Oh my - look at that gorgeous hair!"  She's a cross between Fancy Nancy and Annie.

My favorite pic of her so far.  She is so gorgeous - crazy curls and all!

4.  Tough as a boy.

Brayden learned fairly early that he could take things away from his sister without her doing much about it.  And for awhile - she did just that - not much.  She has since learned to defend herself and her stuff.  Many times it's by out running Brayden and hiding behind Garry or I, but I have seen her pop Brayden on the head occassionally.  She is definitely learn to hold her own in house with a rough and tumble boy. 

3.  She's addicted to bubbly.

No, not that bubbly.  She is addicted to Sparkling Blueberry Grape Juice.  After she had a taste of that, she wanted nothing to do with the apple juice that was in our fridge.  It was quite entertaining listening to her say "No - not that juice!!!" 

2.  My own personal Snuggie.

She loves to snuggle.  I love sitting on the couch and she comes up and sits beside me.  She does the same thing with Garry.  A lot of times when she sits with Brayden, she will put her arm around him.  Again, sweetest thing ever.
Cute, right?!

1.  It's Potty Time!

She started using the potty, completely, 100% voluntarily.  We had no plans to introduce it until after she turned two.  Just a few weeks ago she started telling us she needed to go potty.  We finally started listening - she started using the potty.  She's not all the way there, but we're on our way to being diaper free!! Woot, woot!

We are again, so blessed to have Emma in our lives.  She screams bloody murder and then lets out this little tiny giggle.  She dances around in circles and it's so hilarious to watch.  She loves dresses, bracelets, necklaces, and carrying a purse.  (She's so my daughter.)  Emma Grace = My Princess for life.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mr. B's Top Ten

My little boy - don't let that sweet smile fool ya!
There is much to be said about Brayden.  He's hilarious , adorable, amazing, intelligent, and the list goes on and on and on.  He's also mouthy, bossy,ornery, and repeats everything you say.  He's chock full of energy all the time.  Sometimes I wonder if his cups are laced with Red Bull.   He loves all kinds of music and he loves to shake his groove thing.  He will ask anyone that will listen if they think his little butt is cute. And if you see him in the store, please talk to him - or else he will get whiny and say "Mom - that stranger won't look at me!" or "Hey - that silly oink won't say Hi to me!"  He thinks every employee in Wal-Mart is a police officer - and if he isn't good in the store, they will take him to Wal-Mart jail where they serve nothing but cauilflower and broccoli.  My favorite - he strips down to his undies as soon as we walk through the door at home and occassionally when we are at other places.  One time, he managed to strip down in a short 10 minute car ride. 

As I began to contemplate this blog post,  I asked my parents what their favorite Brayden story was up to this point - my mom said it best:  "There isn't just one story about Brayden, Brayden is a story."  She was absolutely right.  Brayden is and always has been one in a million.  I could seriously write a book, just on "Brayden stories".  So, I've compiled my list of my top 10 moments, events, conversations etc.  You'll cry, you'll laugh, and you may even cringe.  

10.  Girl parts and boy parts.

 Brayden is always full of questions.  He requires actual answers along with explanations of "why". You can't just say Yes or No - because that's not what he wants to hear.  This is a recent conversation about the difference between girls and boys.

Brayden:  Mom - Emma don't got a weanie, right?
Me:  Nope - she doesn't.
Brayden:  Because just boys got weanies?
Me:  Yep - that's right. 
Brayden:  Yep, because girls just got two butts.
Me: What?!
Brayden: Yep, you know they got a front butt and a back butt.  They peep out of the front and they poop out the back one.
Me: (Hand to forehead). Ummm...let's talk about it when your 5.
Brayden: O.K.

9.  Get in my belly.

After explaining to Brayden that his Aunt Jamie had a baby in her tummy, Brayden turned to his Aunt Jamie and asked "Why did you eat that baby?"

8.  It's not even 9 yet. 

My mom recently started watching both kids during the day while I'm at work.  I got a call this past Tuesday at 8:45 a.m.  It was my mom and she was laughing hysterically.  Brayden had asked her to wash his blanky - she agreed and when she went into the laundry room, Brayden shut the door and locked her in there.  He let her out quickly, but laughed the whole time.  Tonight while we were over there, he locked my dad in the garage when he went out to get something.  Again, laughing the whole time.  Ornery, ornery, ornery.

7.  Where's my blue blanky?

My sister in law compared Brayden to Linus from Charlie Brown one time, and she was absolutely correct.  Brayden latched on to a very large, blue blanky when he was less than a year old.  We have dragged that blue blanky every where with us - church, the grocery store, every car trip and more.  He has a best corner and sleeps with it every night.  (He puts his "best corner" up one of his nostrils when he's really tired.)  Occassionally when you lay down with him he offers you his best corner - but only if you put it up your nose.

6. Daredevil.

We've gone to a pumpkin patch every year since he was born.  This past year, we went to one that had a zipline.  He was the first kid in his class to go up on that thing.  It was pretty far off the ground (at least I thought so) for a three year old.  He ziplined and was SO proud.  We had to call grandma on our way back to daycare AND that's the first thing he told his daddy when we got home that day. 

5. Where did you hear that?

 One morning, on our way to daycare, a guy cut me off in the highway.  I said "what a jerk."  Brayden said "Mommy, he's not a jerk - he's a jack ass." 

4.  The Mr. B Origin. 

As I mentioned above, Brayden's Grandma Poisal started calling him Mr. B.  One day they were talking and she said "O.K. Mr. B".  Brayden looked right at her and said "O.K. Mrs. Gr".

3.  Hugs and kisses.

 Brayden doesn't just give normal kisses and hugs.  He will start out with plain old kisses and hugs, but then he has bear kisses, bear hugs, monster kisses, monster hugs, then you kiss him and he kisses you, then he hugs you and you hug him.  And then you start all over.  It's pretty awesome.  I know someday, as he gets older I'm not going to get quite as many hugs and kisses - that's why I load up on them now.

2.  Our Accident. 

On our way to pick Emma up from Aunt Jana's, Brayden and I were in a car accident.  To make a long story short, there were four cars involved, we were hit from behind and our car was turned sideways on the highway and pushed into the guardrail (our license plate is still imprinted on the guardrail to this day.)  After the initial impact, he started crying and screaming for me.  He had gotten into a bad habit of getting out of his car seat restraints - thank God, that particular day he hadn't tried to get out of them one time.  The car that hit us was a mess - the back seat was in the front seat and it looked more like a heap of scrap metal than a car.   Brayden and I were so fortunate that neither one of us was injured.  Things like that will make your lookout on life change dramatically.  Our time is so short and can be taken away in an instant.  That same night, Garry had to work and my parents took Emma.  I held Brayden for the longest time.  It was just us and realized that  I could have lost him.  In true Brayden fashion, he eventually asked me to leave so he could get some rest, and I hesitated but agreed to leave the room.  Before I left, I told him that I would always be here to protect him - he smiled and drifted off to sleep.  That accident was over a year ago and every once in a while he will ask, "You are always here to protect me, right mommy?"  I always reply with a simple "Yes, baby".  That day made me slow down and start looking at what's really important in my life.  It was a life changing day for sure.

1.  My American Honey. 

Brayden loves Lady Antebellum -  I borrowed the CD from a co-worker and haven't been able to give it back because he asks for it basically everytime we get into the car.  Numbers 10 through 2 are in no specific order, but the video below is my #1 moment this far. 

We are beyond blessed with Brayden.  And though he drives us crazy at times and sometimes I wonder if I'm going to have to commit myself to the looney bin, he makes up for it with monster kisses, bear hugs, and lots and lots of love. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year! Reflections on 2011

One of the first things on my long list of New Years Resolutions for 2012 was to start a blog.  I love to write, although I'm not very good at it, but it still doesn't keep me from trying.  I was also inspired by a fellow blogger, who has an absolutely AMAZING blog.  Google "High Heels and Dirty Dishes", start from the first post, and I promise you won't be disappointed!  

This first post in my blog is to make up for the 32 Christmas cards that I still have sitting on my kitchen table.  If you actually got a Christmas card from us before Christmas - feel loved.  If you got one before the end of this year - well you can feel loved also.  If you've gotten one since January 1, be thankful because I was going to recycle the cards for next year.   If you haven't gotten one yet, don't worry about it.  You are still loved too.  I'm planning on mailing the rest out next week.  So, you can either look at the glass half empty (OMG - look how delayed she was in getting Christmas cards out) or you can look at the glass half full (WOW!  Christmas cards already, and it's only January - that Cathe Johnson sure is efficient!)  I prefer the half full glass myself.  To go right along with my Christmas cards,  I get this brilliant idea every year that I'm going to write this cute, witty, fun Christmas letter that goes back over the past year.  Of course in the letter I leave out all of the embarrassing moments our kids handed us throughout the year and I conveniently leave out all the bad words they might have said at the most inappropriate time, but alas, like my Christmas cards - the letter never gets done either.  So, my very first blog post EVER serves two purposes:  1.  I'm making good on a 2012 resolution - GO ME.  and 2.  This first one is in lieu of the Christmas letter that I never sent out.   And to keep you entertained, I'm putting in some of the embarrassing stuff - bad words and all.

January 2011 - January brought the first of 3 business trips to Philadelphia for myself.  This means, it was the first time that Garry had the kids for longer than a day by himself.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried.  The last time I had left for longer than a day, was in 2008.  Garry and Brayden met me at the airport and Brayden didn't have a coat or shoes on.  It was October and it wasn't one of those warm Octobers either.  So I had a few reservations about leaving him with two little ones.  I knew he would take good care of them, liking making sure they stayed fed - I was mainly concerned that they wouldn't have their clothes changed more than once every couple of days.  As it turns out, I really had nothing to worry about - when I got home there was a trail of dirty clothes all over the house which means, someone had their clothes changed.  Emma had pajamas on, and while I didn't smell them, I'm just going to go with "they were probably clean."  Lucky for Brayden, he's big enough to change his own clothes.  So he was laying in his bed with half a Buzz Light Year costume and half a zookeeper costume on.   Garry and Emma were happy to see me when I returned - but I think Brayden was the happiest.  He had told my mom that I was never going to come home because I was staying in "Philafelfia forever to go shopping." 

February 2011-When the snow falls, I stay home.  Driving 45 minutes one way to work in good weather is one thing.  Driving 45 minutes to work in bed weather is something else.  So take that February Blizzard of 2011 or the snowpocalypse as we like to call it in our house.   We were fortunate that we had enough diapers, milk, cheese sticks, and chicken nuggets to get us through the few days that we were home bound. When it was finally time to "unbury" ourselves, the snow had drifted so high in spots that you could barely see the top of my car. I attempted to uncover it, but tired quickly and decided I would just wait for it to melt.  Now if I would have actually waited for it to melt, I probably would have had to stay home for at least another couple of weeks. Lucky for me my husband stepped in. I think he did it simply out of the fear that if he didn't unbury the car that it that I would just stay home indefinitely.  The kids and I lovingly watched him from inside our warm house.  Brayden would say "Daddy looks angry" and I would reply - "he's not angry he's motivated".

March 2011- In March, we went to see Disney's Toy Story 3 on Ice. Emma stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Poisal while my sister, sister in law, two nieces, one nephew and my own husband and kids piled in 2 different cars and headed for the Sprint Center. Brayden found a love for Toy Story sometime shortly after his 2nd birthday during the previous year.  We sat just a few rows away from the ice, and watching Brayden's face light up with pure joy and amazement at every little moment in the show is something I will probably carry with me for the rest of my life. I love to see my kids happy and that was defintiely a happy moment for my son. He quickly forget just how much fun and happiness he had once the show was over.  Enter super duper meltdown in the parking garage.  "I don't want to hold your hand!!!"  "I want to go watch the show!!!"  "I don't want to wear my coat!!!"  So, the kid had fun, but he was still two at the time.  And while the twos are a majority of the time terrific - they have there terrible moments at times. 

Emma turned one in March.  We celebrated with a Garden Party on quite possibly the coldest day in March.   I was thankful that I had decided to have the shin dig inside instead of on actual grass...or in an actual Garden.  We painted flower pots (and nobody ate the paint) and we decorated cookies (and I saw several licks of icing.)   It was a special day, and right smack dab in the middle I decided I was going to start toning down the birthday parties because they are truly exhausting.  Before I went to bed that night, I had already picked a theme for her 2nd birthday party.  Eh - the toning down thing seemed like a good idea at the moment.

April 2011 - The big news in April???  Garry turned 30!  Because I'm such an awesome wife, we celebrated with cheesecake and gifts.  He got $50, two Monster energy drinks, and a box of Just for Men haircolor.   Thanks HyVee for taking care of all my birthday shopping needs!  

May 2011 - Brayden turned 3 in May and we celebrated with a Toy Story party.  He requested a really cool cake, cheese puffs, and orange soda, so I delivered.   We did something special at his party and requested that the guests bring items to donate to a local women's shelter instead of presents for the birthday boy.  I was a little worried that he would be upset that he didn't get tons of gifts, even though we talked about how it was nice to do things for others and just how fortunate he was.  I would never let my child go presentless - so of course he had presents there, but that wasn't his focus.  He wanted to run around and eat cake.  We couldn't have been prouder of him.  There were no meltdowns over not getting more things that he didn't need.    It's definitely a tradition that we will be carrying on into 2012 with both of our kids. 

June 2011- June brought a couple of trips to the city - one to World's of Fun and one to a Royals Game.  Each went fairly smoothly, given our family history of traveling anywhere.  Brayden did try to take off his clothes at the Royals game, but we left before he was fully nude.  Emma had her binky, blanky, and a ball park hotdog, so she was content during the 7 innings that we stayed at the game.   The World's of Fun trip was a smooth ride also - until we bought Brayden a little toy truck and he decided he was going to ride it on our way out of the park instead of walking.  He only almost got ran over.  If I remember correctly he ended up going over daddy's shoulder and being carried out of the park.  If your noticing a theme to things, my kids don't do very well with exiting places or fun times coming to an end.

July 2011- July brought the end of Brayden’s first season of T-Ball. Emma loved watching all the kids play. Brayden loved sitting in the middle of the T Ball field, cleaning his shoes off with diaper wipes.  He also loved wearing his ball glove as a hat to make the other kids laugh.  He spent the entire last game underneath the bleachers picking flowers.  We've decided to give t-ball another chance in 2012.

It als brought a new word - Firestamps (Brayden) vs. Fireworks (the dictionary)

August 2011 - August brought the realization that my babies were truly growing up. Emma started daycare at Kid’s Kountry and Brayden brought home his first school supply list. It was surreal shopping for school supplies for a 3 year old, but I couldn’t be happier with how smart both of my kids are.  Emma's teachers told me every day how smart she was and how fast she caught on to everything.  I got the same kind of feedback from Brayden's teachers as well.  You gotta love my Mr. and Miss Smartie Pants!

August also brought to my attention that the terrible twos extend way past age two.  Let me paint a brief picture:  Sunday morning, in church, our Pastor is in the middle of his sermon.  My son decides he's going to play Mr. Funny Pants, sneak out of the pew, and run to the front of the church, in front of the pulpit and straight out the door.  Because I couldn't pretend that he wasn't mine at that point, I followed him.  Mortified is a good word to describe that day.

September 2011 - September brought some pretty exciting news for all of us - Grandma Poisal retired from her job. All of us got to go downtown to the IRS building and my kids basically got to roam where there aren’t many people allowed to roam unless you’ve passed a background check, gone through a metal detector and have an IRS badge on.  My kids will probably end up being the reason why no kids will every be allowed back in again!

October 2011 - October brought cooler weather, sugar overload,  Halloween parties galore, a pretty little butterfly and a big strong batman.  We (I) had two missions on Halloween -  go to Sonic to get our 3 free hotdogs since both kids and myself were dressed up in Halloween costumes and perform a strategic Trick or Treat night so I, I mean the kids could stock up on Reeces Peanut Butter Cups.  We got about 4 houses away from ours and a kid that was probably to big to be trick or treating scared the crap out of Brayden and he was done after that.  He told us he would try again next year.  Our Hot Dog mission didn't go much smoother - Emma had a meltdown in the parking lot because I wouldn't let her run free, on Halloween, in a Sonic parking lot that was giving away something for free.  I know, I know, worst momma ever!

November 2011 - November was when we really realized how much Emma was growing. Her sentences were becoming very clear and she was starting to imitate everything Brayden did (good and bad). She is perhaps one of the most polite toddlers you would every come across. She says please and thank you before and after everything.    She drops the occassional "oh shit" when she drops something, but a majority of her words are very sweet and kind.

We went to Branson over Veteran’s Day weekend. We did some shopping, enjoyed the Christmas lights, Silver Dollar City, and the Branson Belle. We arrived in Branson after dark so it was lit up even more so than normal with all the Christmas lights.  Brayden makes a 3 hour drive worth while ooohhhing and ahhhing from the back seat and saying things like - "oh my gosh guys, this is so beautiful". And Emma makes the trip worth while with her tiny giggle and her sweet “pretty pretty” chiming in with her brother.

Garry and I were lucky enough to be able to sneak away for a night and catch the Branson Belle as an early anniversary present to ourselves. My parents kept the kids at the condo we were staying at while we enjoyed some delicious dinner and a wonderful show. Garry even surprised me with an early anniversary present - a gorgeous amethyst and diamond ring.   Sweet, right?

One of our last stops was Silver Dollar City. We stopped in to see the Frosty show first, and Brayden got picked to go on stage and help the characters put Frosty together. He was so proud (as were we). He did a great job - and later on during the parade of lights, the same person that played the mailman in Frosty, also played a Toy Soldier in the parade. We were sitting on the side of the street and the Toy Soldier found Brayden in this huge crowd of people and shook his hand and told him what a great job he did in the Frosty show. I’m not going to lie - I completely had tears running down my cheeks. Brayden had no idea that it was the same guy and was stunned that this toy soldier was telling him what a great job he did.  He looked at me and said "Mommy, did you hear that?" 

There's something special about Branson in general, but especially at Christmas time.  I can say with complete honestly that there were no meltdowns from anyone - Nobody (Garry) complained about the price of everything and the traffic.  Nobody (Brayden and Emma) had meltdowns after being up way to late and getting up way to early and Nobody (Cathe) pouted because they didn't get to go to the outlet mall or the Dollar Jewelry Store.  We had so much fun and decided that would be an annual trip for our family to keep building on the memories that have already been made.  

December 2011 - December flew by in flash, kind of like the rest of 2011. We had lots of family dinners, Santa visits, and "You better be good or you are getting NOTHING for Christmas" moments.

Garry and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with a movie and dinner and a little Christmas shopping. We ended the night with a bottle of wine and a Jeff Dunham special.  Time to ourselves is few and far between so it was nice being able to literally laugh out loud without a little voice popping in saying "Hey - What are you guys doing out there?!"

I also celebrated my 28th birthday - I took the day off and spent it wrapping Christmas presents. It was a low key, quiet day and I enjoyed every second of it.  Because like time alone with my husband, me moments are few and far between as well.

Christmas was here before we knew it. We drove around and looked at Christmas lights one final time on Christmas Eve. The kids and I headed to Church while Garry headed for work. I cried during Silent Night when Brayden rested his head on shoulder and realized what a truly amazing, wonderous, perfect time of year this was.  Of course this was followed by Brayden lifting up his shirt and showing the ladies behind us his belly.   Garry got off work early - so by the time church was over, he was headed home. We all bundled up in our coats and Brayden had the honor of spreading our reindeer food in the yard while he yelled for Santa and his reindeer to hurry up. The kids decorated sugar cookies for Santa and colored Santa pictures. (Which I will keep forever.)  We changed into our new Christmas jammies that a magic elf had brought us that morning and read “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, one last time. It wasn’t quite as big of a trial to get the kids to go to sleep as we had expected so we were able to get everything assembled and brought upstairs fairly early. As always, we are truly blessed to be able to provide for our kids - they had a very good Christmas. Garry and I ended our Christmas Eve with watching a home video from Brayden’s first Christmas. He was just 7 months old and as cute as a button. Again, the waterworks were a flowing. I couldn’t even believe that the video was taken 3 years ago and how much he’s changed and grown.

We ended 2011 with a New Years Eve party at my moms. Both kids stayed up until Midnight and slept until 10 the next day. As someone that is usually up before 5 a.m. there is nothing else to say about that except Happy New Year to mama!

We were blessed with a pretty amazing year.  There were more laughs than frowns, more laughs than tears, and more antics then I know what to do with.  So here's to another great year and from our family to yours:  Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year!