Monday, December 29, 2008

Alright, already

Seriously, people, I know. I am finally updating the blog. But, really things have been a bit busy around here. We have had the recuperation from the Stomach Bug of '08, the Trail of Lights, quilt making extravaganza (ie. get them done before Christmas), Recipe Book for Heller Family major creative force, Christmas Eve Service, Johnson City lights, school's out for break, 38 heat packs made, and now the Kidd family visiting. Plus, I worked a couple of shifts at the hospital and promptly became violently ill after returning the last time only to re-experience that Stomach Bug of '08. Here is just a little sampling of our adventures from the last few weeks, save the puking, of course...

This was actually less of a spectacular scene that I had anticipated. Really, the armadillos in the scene below should about sum up how I felt about the Zilker Park Trail of Lights this year.

Just look at the look on Jacob's face. He was NOT happy. He was NOT having fun. And we will NOT go on opening night if we ever go again. If we didn't have such good company it would have been a total flop.

Here is the result of the quilting frenzy. Actually this is only about 1/5 of the final product turned out for Christmas. This, however, was one of my favorites - a Levi's quilt for Dear Ol' Dad (aka. my dad). He only had a minor stroke when he "just knew those jeans would be cut up." Whatever, Dad. This one's for you. I felt it fitting the eagle is made out of fabric with the pledge of allegiance written on it. Sometimes I am very clever.

Now, this place was a real treasure. Johnson City, TX - a small town beauty. The Pedernales Electric Cooperative puts over a million lights into their gorgeous oak treas and it is a sight to behold. Something about this place just made our kids run out of joy. I can't really blame them; I was quite taken as well. Brian and I marveled as we watched our co-op dividends burn up with those pretty lights. I guess the cost is worth it.

Can you stand how adorable they are? I certainly could get used to them dressing like this. I mean, cowboy boots, a belt, and a tie? It doesn't get better than that.

This year we gave the kids the gift of transportation.

And apparently as soon as he got his wheels, he was outta here.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope yours was as wonderful as mine.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A story you might only hear in TX

So, I was at work the other day in my office with a bunch of sick kids (I am a school nurse for those of you who don't know) and we had become overrun. I had three deep on one bench all waiting for parents to pick them up because they were headed home. I like to ask the kids what their parents do so I know which parent to try first or who might be easiest to reach. Two of the kids were talking about how their dads were cowboys - like real cowboys, no kidding around here. I mean they work on the ranch and do cowboy things. As they were discussing the authenticity of their cowboy dads the third child chimes in and says, "My dad wears a cowboy hat all the time, but he's not a cowboy he just sells insurance." Oh Lord, I couldn't even stiffle my laugh. Sometimes kids are so funny.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pageants and Puke

So, yesterday when I was talking about the kids catching a bug, it was figurative. Tonight, well they have a bug. This is the kind of virus that leaves loads of laundry and a gagging father in the wake. But first, there was a pageant. Be patient, I will get to the puking.

Reba and Jacob have been preparing for this year's Christmas pageant for what seems like all year. This year Reba graduated from a cow (last year) to an Angel. And Jacob was a "Cleaning Shepherd" this year. We thought that the pageant directors did a horrible job typecasting these kids, but whatever. Reba was supposed to be an Angel and Jacob was supposed to clean. HA!

Reba had been a little out of sorts right before the play though I was confident that her natural desire to be the center of everything would shine through. Not so, right before the play was to start she broke down in tears looking for "MAAAMMMAA." Oh, Lord help me. So, I took my wailing angel I felt her forehead for fever and we discussed things. When all was considered she decided that I would sit by the piano on the floor and she would go sing. Brilliant. I was only trampled once by wisemen.

Jacob performed like a star. He was a little unsure what to do with the duster he was given to clean with, but he muddled through. We can't blame him for any confusion, it's not like he's ever seen me dust... If you recall last year, we had to do major coaxing to get Jacob even on stage for the dress rehearsal! This year someone told him that next year in second grade he could be Joseph or a wiseman. He was so thrilled. I checked his temperature too.

That night after I had blogged, gone to bed, and was soundly sleeping, we were woken by the sound of a puking child. Reba had made her way to the bathroom, turned on the light, lifted both toilet seats and successfully contained it all in the toilet. Bravo, kid. No wonder she was so off at the play earlier. Mystery solved and Reba got to enjoy a day with Daddy at home.

Fast forward to this evening. Jacob is laying on the couch, the leather couch, crying that his stomach hurt. I was cleaning off the laundry on the other couch for Reba saying, "Just don't puke on my couches. It's all over if you do." Just about midway through my last sentence Jacob starts to puke and totally is just laying in it ON MY COUCH! I was very motherly and caught most of it after sitting him up, moved him to the bathroom, and gently washed him off and changed his clothes. But, the couch... Anyhow, enjoy the pictures of the pageant; I have spared you all the ones of the puke.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday Night Dinner

You know how smells can just hit you and bring you back to a place and time - either good or bad? It seems like Christmastime and Advent are prime time for those good aromas to come back to us. I love the smell of our family's Hot Punch on the stove, the fresh cut Christmas tree, the crisp evening night air, scotch tape and wrapping paper (oh, yes, there is a smell), and so many other things.

Last night I was outside right after dinner - probably hiding something from the kids in my trunk - and I walked back into a house of aroma. Instantly it brought me right back to Saturday night dinner. Now I don't mean dinner last Saturday night - I mean what we knew in our childhood to be the standing arrangements for every Saturday night, dinner with the whole family at Grandma and Grandpa's. This was no ordinary event. This was the weekly family tradition steeped in strong family ties, hilarity between siblings, hilarity between cousins, glass glasses that spilled when you bumped the card table, nights of "programs" put on by the third generation, dress up clothes and quilt forts, trampoline coffee tables (serious here, folks), rolls that were always forgotten in the oven, malts for desert, arms resting on top of your head (a common familial position), and usually going home so tired you pretended you were asleep just so someone would carry you in. Sigh... Those were the times.

Cardboard Box Genius

My children have clearly caught my bug. Not the hacking, coughing, earache, sinus pain bug that I can't seem to get rid of - the cardboard box creative bug! Just look at these masterpieces. Geniuses at work here, people. Jacob crafted these cameras the other day. There's a telephoto lens on that FiberOne model. I wish I had a picture of the kids with them, but alas I took these just a few minutes ago and waking kids up at 10:30pm to take pictures of their cardboard box cameras is, well, silly. So, here's some shots leftover from Thanksgiving so you get your dose of adorable.

We seem to have a plethora of cereal boxes around our house. It's not that we eat an extraordinary amount of cereal - it's just that they sit in the garage until they are bundled for recycling downtown (CA transplants - it's hard not recycle your cardboard) and it can take several months for us to get around to it. At some point my children were looking for a new medium to create in and discovered this virtually untouched source. BOXES!!

I can relate to this love for boxes. It seems like you could really make anything out of them. My all time favorite thing to do was make Halloween Costumes out of them. There was the Milk Carton costume we made for my sister Jenny complete with the face cutout for "Have you seen me?". There was the refrigerator that I won best costume for - I even had a plug coming out the back. There was the Christmas Present (I was so cute). And there was even the ET lunch box costume for Molly - I think she did this one mostly on her own. My senior prediction was even something to do with finding my fortune in cardboard box costumes. I am so proud that my children have discovered this love.

So far my kids have just stuck with some basics - a good fort now and then when we have a giant box, some mailboxes, and those cameras. I am eager to see what they will make next. We have seen some fun accessories, though. The mailboxes came complete with mail. My special delivery came with some ads and a love note. I might have to run out to Lowes and get that Brown Mulch - what a deal.