Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine Love

It is Valentine's Day!  

I totally heart this holiday.  

I mean, I like wine and chocolate and sappy cards and massages.

Those things are often included with Valentine's Day (Notice I 
said massages, babe.  Subtle hints are welcome, right?).

Those are the things I like, but a dear friend said she'd rather get a donut or lasagna.  

Or a coke.  

I guess this is what her ideal Valentine's Day would look like.  

Lucky for her, I'm pretty sure her girlfriend knows her 
well enough to get her just the right thing on V-day.  

{I may or may not be semi-stalking their Facebook pages, waiting to see what Ms. Donut-And-A-Coke's girlfriend came up with.  I know what Donut-And-A-Coke got for her and I am positive she is going to LOVE it!}

I had another close friend who had donuts as the late night snack at his wedding.

Donuts and beer?!

I was so happy I could hardly stand myself.  

I know I took a picture and posted it to Instagram, 
Facebook, Twitter, WedPics, all of it.  

 I was THAT excited about it.  

But now I can't find the picture.  

Sad face.

This one pretty much shows our excitement about donuts and beer, though.

Know what other picture I can find from that wedding?

This one.  

Yes, that is Dennis Rodman and The Hubs.  

He was sitting outside of our hotel, smoking a cigar, at eight in the morning.

They had a really strange conversation and then we were on our way.

NONE of that has anything to do with the point of this post, however. 

Back to Valentine's Day...

More than the stuff (and that is really all it is), I love celebrating love.  

It doesn't have to be romantic love.

It can be loving family, friends, your children's teachers, whomever.

I try to be sure I include all of those folks when sharing our Valentine cards.

And the Valentine cards are one of my most favorite parts! 

I talked about Valentine's Day and showed you 
their cards two years ago in this post.  

Evidently I didn't show you last year's card, though.  

Here it is: 

Aren't they the cutest?!

I love their cards so much that I have them hanging in my office and at the house.  

I wanted to try the idea I'd seen on Pinterest this year, though.

I adored the pictures of people holding candy and thought the boys would like them, too.

So, I took their pictures with them holding a fist in front of them.  

You have NO idea how difficult it can be to get a three year-old and a five year-old to hold an arm up in front of them, not drop the arm, not put the fist in front of their face, not stare at the fist rather than the camera, not forget they are suppose to be making a fist, not wiggle their butts because they think what they are doing is silly, and get them to smile.  

It took a few tries, but we managed it.

The beginning pictures were not great.

I mean, the kids are cute, but that is pretty much where the cute ends.

And, let's be real here.  
I never claimed to be a photographer.
That is evidenced by all the lovely shadows.
{Colby, Jenn, Ash... I'm thinking of you photogs here.  Try not to gag at my sad skills.}

You can also see all the handsome black marks on our walls due to 
them becoming race tracks for the boys' trucks.  


All it took was a little editing with PicMonkey and the black marks were gone.

Throw in heart overlays, a little pink tint for the big kid, 
a pink border for the little guy, some text and, voila!
You don't notice the terrible photography skills.
Or, if you do, just lie to me. 

Boom.  The cutest darned Valentine's Day cards ever.

Once I got the prints back, all I needed was a cutting board and my X-acto knife.

I cut slits at the top & bottom of their fists, slipped a 
sucker through the holes, and they were ready to go!

Bonus: Walgreens was having a sale on both 4x6 prints AND V-day candy.  

I scored 80 pictures plus suckers to go with all of the cards for less than 20 bucks.  
I say that it pretty good for something so adorable.

Sidenote: I know.  Eighty sounds crazy.  But, we attended a Valentine party with 20 kiddos, then had Goose's school, Tink's kindergarten & after-school program, all of their teachers, family, and a couple of friends to give cards to! I should have taken a picture of the multiple gallon-size freezer bags I filled.  It was nuts.  The good news is that they were super easy and really quick to put together, so it didn't take too long.

Sidenote to the Sidenote:  If you drink red wine while putting your kids' Valentine's Day cards together, you will secretly hope to never finish the task because then you'd have to do something productive and stop drinking wine.  See?  You just need to figure out how to make something as enjoyable as possible.  Or, does drinking wine makes it extra productive?

We are off subject again. Anyway...

I didn't want the grown-ups to have suckers with their pictures, though.   

I knew most of them would want to hang them up.

The problems would be:

1) The suckers would be too heavy and,

2) If they actually ate the suckers, the pictures wouldn't make much sense.

So, I decided to make flowers out of pipe cleaners to put in their hands instead.


It took me a few tries to get the sizing right and not have really lop-sided flowers, 
but once I got it figured out they were super easy.  

The boys were really excited about them, too.

However, I think it may have been just because they wanted the suckers.


No matter what it is that makes you smile... 

Suckers, chocolate, hugs, friendship, romance, or donuts and a coke... 

just be sure to find a reason to enjoy the day.  

Even better, give someone else a reason to smile.

Share the LOVE.  

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

If I Had to Guess Who Was Lying...

Have you ever wondered what it is like to raise a really smart, really ornery little boy?  

Wonder no more.  

This is a perfect example of the things we hear from him on a daily basis.

Goose: Mommy, can I have more apples?

Me: No, baby, I don't have any more apples. 

Goose: Yes, I think you do. 

Me: No, Goose. I do not. You and your brother ate them all. 

Goose: It not ok that you lie. Give me the bag. I gonna check it. Lying is bad, mama. 

Me: Maybe you should apply the "lying is bad" concept to your own life. You've had a rough time with that recently. 


Me: Well, hopefully T-Rex doesn't have the same issues with lying that Aiden has.

Goose: Mommy, just give me the apples. 

And that is a normal conversation in the car, on the way to preschool.

This kid is lucky I love him as much as I do.  

P.S.  In case you are wondering, yes, I laughed.  
BUT, I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from making any noise 
and I adjusted the rearview mirror to be sure he couldn't see me.  

He doesn't need to know how funny I think he is.  :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Toothless Tink

I'm finally going to have to admit my babies aren't really babies anymore.  

Well, one can still be my baby, but the other is definitely a big kid.  

Tink has lost his first tooth.  

I could tell you that he has been excited about his loose tooth, but that is a bit of an understatement.  He has been wiggling the heck out of that thing for a couple of weeks now.  

And the one next to it is getting pretty loose, too.

We are going to have some pretty gap-y Christmas pictures this year.  

Anyway, the losing of the tooth was rather interesting.  

Here is my Facebook post about it:

Yes, assuming your eyes can make out the 
tiny print, you did indeed read that correctly.  

The kid ate his tooth.  

So, I needed to figure out how the Tooth Fairy would handle a missing tooth.  

We decided to put Tink's tooth pillow out, sans tooth, for the Tooth Fairy.  

I asked Tink if he thought the TF would still come if there wasn't a tooth for her to take and he enthusiastically nodded his head while giggling like crazy.  

So, he was off to bed with his tooth pillow next to him.  

This was where the TF (ahem... this girl) decided to get creative.  

Kids don't just get money.  

I mean, they have to do something to earn it, even if that something is just losing a tooth.  Without a tooth, there is no evidence of them having done anything for the cash.  

So I decided the TF needed something more than an empty tooth pillow in order for her to fork over the dough.  

She did make an appearance, but all she left was a note.

Ok, I don't care how great your eyes are.  There is no way you can read that.

Here is what it says:


I saw your tooth pillow on the bed.  I checked it for your tooth, but didn’t see one.  I wasn’t sure if you’d meant to leave the tooth in the pocket and forgot or if you’d accidentally left the pillow out, not realizing I would think it meant I was suppose to be visiting.    

I tried to check your mouth to see if there were any baby teeth missing, but you are REALLY heavy.  I couldn’t roll you over to look in your mouth.  I was going to ask your mommy or daddy for help, but they were sleeping, too, and I didn’t want to bother them.  I had money to leave for you but, since I wasn’t sure if you’d actually lost a tooth, I kept it.

Anyway, if you want to leave me a note to let me know if you’ve lost any teeth, that would be great.  I will try to swing back by tomorrow night.  There are a TON of children in Morocco who’ve lost their teeth (November 18 is Morocco’s Independence Day. Who would have known dried apricots could wiggle out so many teeth?!), so I am going to be SUPER busy.  If I don’t make it back tomorrow, I will definitely be back by Tuesday.  

The Tooth Fairy

Tink woke up in the morning and had Daddy read the note to him.
When I went to his room to ask if the TF came to visit, this was our conversation:

Me: Hey, baby.  Did the Tooth Fairy come last night?
Tink: Yes.
Me: She did?! Awesome! Did she leave you any money?
Tink: Nope.
Me: What?! Why not?
Tink: She weave me a note.
Me: A note? What did it say?
Tink: See twy to woah me ober.
Me: She tried to roll you over?! Why would she do that?
Tink (giggling hysterically): Uh-tuz she want to see my mouf.
Me: Why did she want to see your mouth?
Tink: To see my toof.
Me: Ooooooohhhhh.  She wanted to see if you'd really lost your tooth?
Tink: Yep, but you & Daddy sweeping.

(This is where I feigned some serious confusion.)

Me: Me and Daddy were sleeping? What does that have to do with anything?
Tink: I too heah-bee.
Me: Oh, you were too heavy so she wanted us to help? 
Tink: Yeah.  

Me: So that is it? No money?

Tink: No, she coming back. 
Me: She is coming back?  Can I read the note?
Tink: I ah-weady.
Me: I know you already read the note, but I haven't read it.  Can I read it so I know what her plans are?
Tink: Ok.

I read the note and we talked about his having to write a letter to explain what happened to his tooth.  He decided he wanted to write it before going to school, so he sat down at the kitchen table and got to work.

It took Tink about 10 minutes to write his note.

I helped him to spell "Tooth Fairy" at the beginning, but the rest was all his doing.  

I have to say I am really proud of him and his emerging writing skills.  

Here it is:

I'm sure you are probably wondering what in the heck that says.

Wonder no more:

     Tooth Fairy
     I at my tuf.
     I kan my not giv it to you.


     Tooth Fairy,  
     I ate my tooth.  
     I cannot give it to you.  

And here is a better explanation of why his note looks as it does:

Darn it, he is the cutest.  
This little note sealed the deal.

Anyway, we wrapped the note up like the note 
the TF left for him and put it in his tooth pillow.  

She made an appearance and left him a dollar, but "forgot" the note.  
Evidently she dropped it on her way out.  
Guess that means mommy gets to keep it as a memento!  ;)

I could say Tink was excited about his dollar, but 
that, too, would be an understatement.  


He is planning to use it to buy himself a t-shirt with Santa on the front.
I'm not sure a dollar is going to cover that purchase, so Mama is likely going to have to fork over some more cash.  

It'll be worth it to see his toothless grin.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Love and Halloween

I was having a bit of a rough day today.  

I'd spent a good amount of time telling The Hubs how I feel a bit 
overwhelmed with life stuff right now.  

I've been trying to deal with a pretty fair amount of 
stress and I felt like I was reaching a breaking point.  

That said, today is Halloween and things were busy with the boys.  

We had multiple school events, parties and whatnot to attend, 
so there was no time for a mopy mommy.  

I made it to Goose's school in time to get him 
dressed and settled before we took part in the Halloween parade.  

Tink had a party in his kindergarten class, was picked up early by MaMaw, and came to Goose's school to participate in the costume parade.  He made it with just enough time to don his costume and be ready to go.  

Here they are, in all of their Monsters, Inc. glory:

And another with Goose giving his best monster "ROAR!!!"

We marched around the building where Goose's school is and collected treats from all of the offices.  The boys seemed to have a really good time.

Mommy, on the other hand, was still working to ignore her stress.
After feeling like I'd said "Please do not run" for the umpteenth time and beginning to sweat through my clothes, I was more than ready to be done.

After the parade, I told Goose I needed to take Tink to his after-school program (for yet another party) and I would be back for him.  

Tink and I took off in an effort to get there before the party started.  

We got there, quickly parked, and hopped out of the car to race inside.  

As we headed for the dor, Tink grabbed my hand, 
pulled me to a stop and said, "Mommy, you is great."

I asked him, "What do you mean I am great?"

He responded with, "You is great for me.  You is great... my great mommy.  You is great for me and Aiden."

I just about melted into the sidewalk.

I couldn't say anything at first because I didn't want to start 
crying and worry him that he'd said something wrong.  

Instead, I scooped him up in a hug, kissed his sweet face, nuzzled his neck, 
and then quietly said, "Oh buddy, I love you so much." 

He put his arms around my neck and just said, "Love you."

In that moment, I knew the other stuff I'd been worrying about didn't matter.

I knew that the most important job I have, the job of making 
my boys feel loved, is something at which I am succeeding.

There is no way Tink had any idea how much I needed that today.

Regardless, he certainly did bless me with a sense of 
love and peace I'd been unable to find on my own.

I am so grateful for my little monsters.

I hope your Halloween was a beautiful as mine.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Husband Needs Sensitivity Training

So, I just found this post I'd started writing almost exactly a year ago.

I remember beginning to write it on my phone in the car because I didn't want 
to forget the conversation (or lack thereof) The Hubs had with Tink.

Since we are coming up on this year's trip to the pumpkin patch, I thought I'd post this. If for no other reason, it may serve as a reminder to Daddy how NOT to respond to a question about a cemetery.  

Here it is. Enjoy:

Today we went to the pumpkin patch with the boys' school.

On our way there, we passed a really large cemetery.

I would guess at least 90% of the graves had flowers.

Tink pointed out the window and said, "Hey! Who dettin' mah-weed out dey-uh?"

(Translation: Who is getting married out there?)

Daddy's response?

"No one. They are all dead."



You totally just told a four-year-old that he is looking 
at a field of dead people. And they 
appear to be invisible dead people at that!

Insert a more appropriate response from Mommy:

"Baby, when people die they go to heaven. But, the people they leave behind on Earth miss them very much.  So, there are places called cemeteries where people can go and leave flowers or presents.  There are spaces for everyone who has died to have those things left for them.  That way the people here on Earth can feel like they still have a connection with them.  They can even talk to the people in heaven, they just can't hear them talking back."

"I wite pow-wus an' peh-sans." 

"I like flowers and presents, too, baby."

Feel free to also insert a death glare for Daddy.

We are probably going to have to have a talk about how we plan to approach the 
subject of death with the boys before we manage to traumatize them.  

And before Tink thinks that every time he sees a bunch of 
flowers there are invisible dead people everywhere...  

[Editor's Note: Since writing this a year ago, Tink has experienced dealing with death many times.  This has happened through both my sister's dog dying, as well multiple animals at his school (Mostly fish.  Those little stinkers don't last very long.). I have to say that he has handled each death very well.  I was a bit nervous about how to approach the first death with him (Joe was the first one to go belly-up. He was the big black fish in the tank in his school's lobby), but there ended up being no conversation to be had.  I broached the subject by saying, "Oh, Mr. Bubbles is the only fish in the tank."  Tink's response: "Yeah, Joe dead.  I hungry.  It breakfast now?"  Obviously, he was neither distraught over the loss of Joe nor was he confused by or wondering about the concept of death.  I guess the combo of Daddy's "Everyone is dead" and my "Heaven is a place and everything will be ok-ish" talk was sufficient.  I hope the birds & bees talk is this manageable...]