Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Was a first for many reasons. Not only was it our first Christmas in Texas but it was our first Christmas as a family of six, Sweetcheeks first Christmas and our first Christmas where we didn't have to go to multiple houses. We woke up, hung out in our pajamas, ate lunch when we wanted to, took a nap when we felt like it and never stepped foot in a vehicle. As much as I missed my family, I did not miss jumping from house to house to house. It was nice to just sit around! And, I'm sure that it helped that we did open gifts on the webcam with my parents, and I did talk on the phone to various family throughout the day.

Obviously the kids were thrilled! I'm gonna do something different than I usually do, I'm just going to post all the pics, no explanation...it's pretty obvious and it's going to be an extremely long post with just the pics!
Overall, it was a wonderful day. B surprised me with a Kindle, which I have fallen in love with! It was a smart move on his part too because I bought him the new Black Ops game for the Wii so now, I don't nag on him to shut off the game...I'm too busy reading to notice!

For New Years Eve we are toying with taking the kids back to Sea World for their Celebration. B really wants to, I'm on the fence. First of all, we were just there and I don't want to wear out the fun of Sea World. Secondly, the shows are the exact same that we just saw so I don't know if it's really worth dealing with the crowd and the cool(er) temps {especially after dark}. He really wants to go for the fireworks show and I know that the kids would enjoy it...I'm just wondering if we should wait and do that around the 4th of July? Decisions, decisions right?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the stockings were hung by the fire with care...

Well we don't have a fire, but you get the jist.

Yesterday I kinda sorta realized that I had never made Sissy's stocking. We've had five stockings hanging up for almost two weeks but it didn't really dawn on me that we were missing one. So yesterday using the tutorial found here, I whipped one up. I cheated it and instead of using lining and batting, I used fleece. Hey, it's the inside of a kids stocking, I highly doubt that she cares. I also didn't use their pattern, I traced our existing homemade stockings. And, it's a good thing I did because apparently we had a mouse get into our Christmas stuff as some point during the last year and the furry little rodent ate through three stockings! Ugh, I am not a mice lover and it grossed me out knowing that he was in our stockings...where trinkets and snacks and such go. Yuck.

So like any sane person (right?) I waited until December 23rd to make 5 {more} stockings. (Yes, I technically only needed three but then the stockings wouldn't match so...yeah, five stockings). I knocked 4 of them out during naptime and then finished the last one after the kiddos were in bed. The two pink ones are quilted, they are mine and Sissy's. On the boys' I skipped the quilting because I'm lazy and was sick of sewing straight lines. I thought they turned out really cute considering all of the above.

In order we have B's, Bubba's, Sissy's, Peanuts, Pooks and mine. Hopefully I can get them embroidered at some point.
(please excuse the crappy lighting, it was like 9pm and no natural light was to be found)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Well the weather outside is frightful..."


"Dashing through the snow..."

try again.

"I'll have a blue Christmas without you.."

getting closer...almost there.

"I'll be home for Christmas...If only in my dreams"

Yep, got it. That's the one that best describes the holidays for our family this year.

Technically we are ''home'' but come on, will a place that reaches 82 degrees on December 21st every really be home to a Kansas girl? Seriously, we turned on our AC today. I went to the store tonight to buy stocking stuffers and at 8pm just four days before Christmas, I wore flip flops, capris and drove with my windows down.

Winter Wonderland? I think not. Totally kick-ass weather for going anywhere with four kids without worrying about marshmallow puffy coats and hats, yes. So, it probably goes without saying, but it's been really hard for me to have that rush of holiday excitement. It's a combination of moving, of online shopping being entirely too convenient for a mom of four who didn't rush any crowds this year, of missing family and friends, and of crazy warm weather.

But as a mom of four kids, you gotta do what you gotta do. The boys could care less if there isn't snow, there are still presents! So I have neglected blogging in the evenings and have instead been busy wrapping presents, baking cookies, remembering to move our Elf, digging out holiday decorations, and figuring out what the heck we're going to have for Christmas dinner.

Yep, it's the Christmas season and even though I may be lacking the usual Shannon super-excitement, I can fake it with the best of them. We have chocolate covered pretzels, we have peanut butter cookies and sugar cookies. We have indoor garland, hanging Christmas cards, cranberry scented candles and homemade wreaths.There is a spiral cut ham in my fridge and a can of French's Fried Onions in my pantry. My freezer is full with frozen strawberries and Cool Whip. {Which in my family can only mean Strawberry Pretzel Salad is in the works}.

A copy of ''How the Grinch Stole Christmas'' has a semi-permanent spot on the shelf in my living room, I've said the words ''We do not touch the presents/tree/stockings'' roughly 30 times each day, and I've belted out ''ALVINNNNNNNNNN" right along with the giggling voices of bubba, pooks and peanut each.and.every.day; all while still finishing up the song by saying ''That's enough boys, let's not over do it" and finding myself laughing (everytime) that Pooks belts out in response ''Whaddayamean overdoit???".

Yes, much like the Grinch I've come to realize that Christmas isn't just about presents or even traditions....it's about making the best with what you have and appreciating those around you {even if it's not everyone that you're used to}.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Showing off

I thought I would show off a few more pictures of Sissy and her recently pierced ears, you know a few pictures that weren't taken from a cell phone. 
 This next picture I imagine that she just took a tiny sip of tea and is looking poised...
 Getting some lovin' from big brother Pooks
And as long as I'm talking about showing off...Tonight the boys took all of their Hot Wheels cars, all of their "Cars" cars and I believe most of their Thomas trains and lined them up all down the living room. They scoured the house, checking toy boxes, bedrooms and under the sofas looking for ALL the cars. I have to say, they have quite the impressive collection!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Without so much as a single tear,

miss Sweetcheeks had her ears pierced today!
We had talked about having it done this weekend; B would go as well but more to wrangle the boys than to hold Sissy. He flat out said that he wanted it done now but he knew he couldn't hold her while it was being done. So, while out running errands this morning I decided to just do it. Why wait until the last weekend before Christmas when the mall would be absolutely insane? Better to do it at 10am when it just opened and not crowded. I brought some crackers along to keep the boys sitting patiently and we headed to the mall.

Why the mall? Well when I was maybe four years old my Papa Barry took me to the mall to get my ears pierced, so it was fitting. Also {and Papa if you're reading this...I hope this is okay} but Papa had sent us some money for our Christmas gift and we decided to use that to pierce her ears. Granted the money wasn't used on the entire family but my Papa paid for my ears to be pierced and now he paid for his Great Granddaughter's ears to be pierced too :) Ideally I would have asked him to take her but because of our move and because I wanted them pierced while she is too little to play with them, the timing just wouldn't work.

So back to today. We walked around until we found the ''boutique''...my first question was if there was a manager working {i really wanted to find someone who was experienced with piercing ears and infants ears as well), luckily the woman working was the manager and completely comfortable, so I filled out all the required paperwork and picked out the earrings that I liked. (We opted for 14k white gold with tiny little "diamonds".) Then I listened to the manager explain how to clean her ears and how often. Things to watch out for and finally it was piercing time! While I held sissy facing out, the lady wiped Sissy's earlobes with alcohol, then took a small purple marker and marked Sissy's ears with dots where the earrings would go. I watched like a hawk as she prepped the gun, removing it from it's sterile bag, loading up the cartridges with the earrings in them and held Sissy tight as she pierced the left ear.

Sissy's reaction?

A delayed little cry, not even a scream or a tear and then she stuck out her tiny little bottom lip and did a few little hiccuping noises. The manager then turned and pierced the other ear. Sissy again let out a tiny cry but as soon as I turned her around to face me and said ''Shh, shh, shh...you're okay Sissy" and gave her a kiss, she did a pouty lip followed by a big ol' smile. Honestly the person most affected by all of this was Pooks who had apparently watched as the lady pierced the second ear.  He was very concerned, and honestly kind of rude, as he barked at her ''What did you just do to my Sissy!?". I leaned over and showed him Sissy's ear...he asked if I knew ''dat lady was gonna give her a shot?", I assured him that I did and that Sissy was okay. He then replied ''Her ears are pwetty-pwetty."

I cleaned both of her ears to show the lady that I was competent understood how to clean them. Obviously the six holes in my own ears didn't demonstate that! We then paid, I put Sissy back in the Ergo carrier and we were good to go. She hasn't seemed the bit fazed at all...just smiley:
We have to keep her posts in (and loose) for two months, then we can switch them out. I can't wait! Now when she hits the magical age of three months, if all her hair falls out like her brothers hair did, everyone will know she is indeed a little girl because she will look so ''pwetty-pwetty".

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pizza Hat

Today I had a long list of errands to run so as soon as the boys were up, we were in motion. I nursed Sissy while helping them dress, then got them situated with a bowl of cereal, a sippy cup of milk and they had a ''breakfast picnic'' on the living room floor while watching "Super Why!"While they were chowing down, I nursed Sissy (yes, again...ever since she started sleeping 8hr stretchs at night, she nurses more in the mornings) got her dressed and set up in the swing in the master bathroom. Once all 4 were happy and content, I hopped in the shower. (I usually shower in the evenings but I feel asleep watching Psych last night and didn't make it to be til 2am) I was able to shower and get myself dressed before Super Why ended so after 2 diaper changes on the littles, we were out the door.

First stop was the pharmacy; I went to the dentist on Tuesday planning on having a cavity filled and ended up needing (and starting) a root canal. Apparently I had a cavity under the filling that got abscessed and it's a bad, ugly, no good situation. So I have to be on antibiotics for a week before they can finish the root canal. Pharmacy was a quick in and out, then I hopped over to the other end of the parking lot to gas up the Swaggerwagon.

Next was the bank. Since we have a small Kansas/Colorado bank we have no way of cashing checks now that we're here in Texas. And since my family pretty much kicks ass people have sent us a few, I needed to do something with them. So, with all four kids in tow mind you, we ran into Bank of America to set up a checking account. Took about a half hour and they did great. Better than great. They colored, begged for suckers and generally just behaved. It was amazing!

After the bank we headed over to Target for some essentials and so they could pick out a present for B. (If you are curious, I was wearing Sissy in my Ergo, Peanut was in the cart and Pooks was sitting in the cart's seat while Bubba walked. It's how we roll.) Target was a little crowded, the kids were a little hungry but overall a successful trip with only one tantrum by Peanut (he wanted a toy). Not as amazing as the bank but they were complaining about being hungry and it was now 11:45. We loaded back up in the van, I nursed and changed Sissy, and we headed off for lunch...which is always interesting when it's 4 kids vs 1 adult. Usually in situations like this we would drive thru, get something to go and bring it back home.

Well, they were doing really really good and I really really didn't want McDonalds or the like so I suggested Pizza Hut. This got everyone's attention. So off to Pizza Hut we trekked, me hoping that they have a lunch buffet like the PH back home.

We get there and much to all our our delight, they had a buffet! So I get the kids situated at the booth nearest the buffet and went to work filling their plates. They remained sitting in the booth and, albeit talking a little loudly to me, waited patiently. Lunch was flawless. They ate their pizza, a scoop of pasta and a breadstick without so much as a dropped fork. I was able to eat my salad at a normal pace, not speed eating just to make sure that I was able to eat something.

When Pooks needed the ''Papajarn cheese'' he actually said ''Mommy can you pass me that cheese shakey?". After they finished their plates, they happily ate some mixed fruit and pudding from the salad bar while I enjoyed my 2 pieces of pizza. Sweetcheeks happily sat in her car seat during all of this without so much as a peep!
 (Kinda unheard of, usually she'll want held). So we get all done eating and Pooks said ''Mommy, I need to tell you something''.

"Yes Pookie?"

"Where are 'da hats?"

"What do you mean?" I responded...I had no clue what he was talking about.

"Da pizza...where is it's hat? We are eating Pizza Hat but there are no hats on the pizza?"

I started laughing hysterically. This is when I had to reassure my three year old that there wasn't suppose to be hats on the pizzas, that it was in fact Pizza HUT not hat, and after explaining what exactly a hut was he promptly looked at the box* with the Pizza Hut logo on it and said. "Mom, never mind. The hat is wight there on those letters"...
It's days like this and situations like these where I realize just how lucky I am to have these kids. Just how lucky I am to be their mom and to be able to stay at home {or run errands} with them. But perhaps the best present of all was when we returned home...they all laid down for their naps and within 10 minutes, they are ALL asleep. This hasn't happened since we moved to this great state. And while I would like to think that it's my payoff for having such great patience and bravery to take them all places, in reality it was probably a carb overload from the pizza....but I'm okay with that too ;)

*normally with the buffet they don't give boxes but when our waitress brought us our check, she asked if the boys liked cheese pizza, would want a pizza to go that they had made by mistake...hello, not one to pass up free food, I said sure. Then when I paid the ticket (it was like 1:15) she asked if we would want some free cheesesticks that they had made for the buffet but it didn't look like they would need. Um, yeah...I'll totally take those too! So now tonight when I made spaghetti we'll have cheesesticks to go with it and B has a free lunch for tomorrow as well.  Overall a totally WIN day!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Today we got Sissy into the doctor for her "Two Month Well-Baby visit"...technically today she is 10 weeks old but since we moved, its the best we could do. At today's appointment she weighed in at 10lbs 14oz and was 23 inches long! She's in the 50th percentile for weight and the 65 percentile for length. Her head measurement was also 50the percentile, though I can't remember what exactly the number was. Eh, doesn't really matter anyway.

Doctor said she looked great! He couldn't get over how much she looked like her brothers, lol. Her soft spot is starting to close up nicely, she was kicking and moving both sides of her body equally and she was tracking him with her eyes. She's smiling and starting to mimic our facial features, which are both great milestones to be reaching at this stage. She did receive all of her immunizations today so she can officially {and safely} get her ears pierced now.

I am super excited! Both B and I agreed to have them pierced, before she was even born we knew that we would do it while she was still very young. It is a cultural tradition on B's side of the family, a rite of passage and a symbol of wealth for his family {in fact they have them pierced even before 2 months!} but purely aesthetic for me. We are choosing to have them done now, because she is at an age where she won't have any lasting memories of pain, she won't have the dexterity or desire to mess with them. Hopefully she'll be so used to having them there that by the time she is old enough to touch them, they will be so normal to her that she won't. I think we're going to go this weekend and I'll post pictures once it's all done!

Sidenote: I know there is controversy on piercing an infants ears before they are old enough to have a say in it and I will request that there will be no drama left as comments on this blog. Yes, I realize that I am making a decision to put a hole in my daughters body without her consent. No this does not bother me, I am her mother and will be making decisions regarding her for the next 18 years. If, when she is older she has a problem with them, I will let her take them out and let the holes close.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Christmas Celebration...

at Sea World! I may be twenty-six years old with four kids but yesterday was my first trip to Sea World. So not only were Bubba and Pooks extremely excited, their mama was too. We opted to buy a one year family membership so we can go again, didn't have to do everything in one day, blah blah blah...but I was dead-set intent on feeding a dolphin. The second we entered Sea World, we stopped for the obligatory photo in front of the fountain:
Then I made a beeline for the dolphin cove. It was 1:30 almost on the dot and that was dolphin feeding time! So we put up our $6 and got our tray of fish and went over to feed the little guys:
Bubba also fed them and Peanut tossed a fish into the water for them (he didn't like their teeth)
And pooks? Well he did not feed the dolphins. In fact if he had it his way, I don't think he would have even looked at the dolphins. Keep in mind this is the child that when told he would get to go to Sea World said that he wanted to RIDE a dolphin. Apparently he was a little surprised at how big they were, how close they were and that he was encouraged to pet and/or feed them.
So as awesome as I found the dolphins to be, we didn't hang around. He started screaming at one point so we left the dolphin cove and headed over to the shark and coral reef aquarium. It was also feeding time there so we caught that as well. 
 Sweetcheeks slept through most of Sea World and the aquarium was no exception
After the dolphins and the sharks, Bubba and B rode one little roller coaster, then we decided to catch a show. Imagine Peanut's surprise when we chose "Sesame Street Christmas Celebration":
 Bubba and Peanut decided to dance up front...Pooks hung back and ate popcorn and turkey leg with B

 Not only was this pretty cool for the kids but it was nice that we got a "Sesame Street LIVE!" experience from our Sea World membership. I *puffy heart* being a family of six but being a large family makes things like Sesame Street Live really expensive (think $35-$70 PER ticket) so it was a great surprise!

And all this commotion woke up Sissy, even if for just a bit (long enough to look around, decide she was hungry, give a few smiles, get a diaper change and right back to sleep she went). 
After Sesame Street we soon meet the fate of first time Sea World visitors....we hadn't really paid attention to what time the other shows started. So after Elmo, we stopped ate some yummy amusement park food then started walking to the Sea Lion area. We commented on how dead everything was...turns out immediately after Elmo, we should have head over to the Beluga Stadium for the dolphin show. Well, we didn't know that. So we wondered down to the penguin exhibit, walked through there and got to the Sea Lion Stadium as soon as a show got out. This is when I had my ''Hey...it wasn't dead; people were watching the shows!" moment and we found our crumpled up map, flipped it over and checked out the show schedule. It was now a little past 4pm and we had just missed every.single.show until 6pm. UGH! So we went ahead and just watched the Sea Lions feeding and barking:
We opted to stop for an early dinner, in a cafeteria style restaurant that was pretty good. We then headed over to the next shows stadium (almost an hour early). We used the restrooms, fed Sissy again, and hit up the gift shop where each little guy picked out a treasure:
They opened seating for the show a half hour before it started so we went in and picked our seats...Sweetcheeks was actually awake during this time as well so she was all grins and giggles.
 The actual show was really cool. Very acrobatic and colorful...performers jumping from the rafters into the water, dolphins, parrots, and lights...the boys loved it!
After the dolphin show it was time to pull out the big guns. By this time it was 6:40pm, Peanut was tired, the place was crowded, it was getting dark, the temp had dropped and in less than one hour Shamu's ''Christmas Celebration'' show was starting. We debated leaving...just saving that for another visit. But I knew we wouldn't visit again while the Christmas show, plus it was night-time and it would look really cool with all the lights so we trudged on. It was 100% worth it! Peanut settled down once we had our seats, the boys loved it. I mean LOVED it. Pooks was super excited {and it helps that he was hopped up on cotton candy, pepsi and popcorn}
 The show was awesome...its just amazing that they can train animals to even do that! He (she?) is so big and the show was flawless. The kids loved it, B and I loved it, and I was pretty impressed with the pics I caught too.
 Peanut said ''Whoa..big fishy!" when he splashed our side (we were not in the splash zone, thankfully!)
 Grand Finale
Overall, it was a much longer day than I have originally thought. We got to the park around 1ish and didn't leave until 8pm. But for having 4 kids, 4 it went so smoothly there was never a point where we felt we should call it a loss and leave. Sissy did wonderful, I wore her in my Ergo the entire time and she never fussed. Bubba walked the entire park. Never once was carried. Pooks complained (often) of his legs being tired. Really he just wanted worn in a carrier too. Luckily this mama was thinking ahead and even though I was wearing the Ergo, we had taken the stroller for peanut...I threw my Babyhawk carrier in the stroller basket 'just in case' we need to wear one of the older boys. Now granted, I have 3 Babyhawks...what possessed me to toss in the bright pink one {over the black or the pumpkin orange} one, I don't know but when Pooks got tired, B rocked the pink. And floral print. And he didn't even complain.
Yep, it was a great day...odd hearing Christmas music while wearing flip flops. Seeing decorated Christmas trees while my husband wore a short sleeve shirt..but I guess Texas does have an upside! {Apparently it was freezing cold and snowing 'back home' while we were enjoying 76 degrees!}.