Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy 11th Birthday Lauren

I can't think of a better way to come out of my blogging hiatus then to share about my baby girl's birthday.   

Somehow, without my permission or me actually aging at all, she turned ELEVEN years old.
Happy Birthday Lauren! 

She chose KFC for her special birthday dinner.

 Instead of cake she wanted Banana Splits.
...Happy Birthday to Lauren,
Happy Birthday to You.

She got some great gifts from her family.
Not pictured are the numerous checks (cash money) she received from out of town family.
(Hopefully you've all received your Thank You notes.)
For her friend party, Lauren wanted to go to the MALL.
(She really did turn 11?! sniff)

She made out invitations to two of her closest friends.

The weekend after her birthday we made it happen.
Z and L came over and requested Lauren open her presents before we head out for the Mall.
(She received some cash to spend and also a Justice gift card.)

Load 'em up!
We live on one side of town but the best mall, in my opinion, is on another side of town so off we went for a 60 minute car ride.

To break up the ride and grab some lunch we stopped at The VARSITY.
This place was an absolute zoo but that's to be expected when you serve burgers, dogs and greasy fries.  Heaven.
All three girls must have gotten something in their eyes at the same time.  I can't imagine why they wouldn't smile for the camera.
(hmm....11 year olds.....)

It was Game On when we got to the mall.
These girls didn't stop.  I'm pretty sure we hit every tween store and every tween department in every store and then some. We shopped for 3 1/2 hours straight.  The time flew by, the girls had so much fun, and they all came home with some really cute stuff.  

After we shopped till we dropped we stopped at California Pizza Kitchen for dinner.
It was a 60 minute wait for a table for 6 but they said they could get us in quicker if we were willing to take two booths next to each other instead.
I asked the girls if they wanted to eat by themselves and before I finished the sentence they said, "YES!!"
(hmm....11 year olds.....)

They were right behind us but I think they felt pretty grown up.

(btw: The wine bottle is just decoration and Lauren bought her glasses at Claire's.)

Back at home they played some Super Smash Bros. on the Wii before bed.

It was a fun packed sleep-over and I look forward to many more as we navigate these tween and teen years.

The next day, after her friends went home, Lauren laid out all her loot she bought at the mall.
Not bad, not bad at all.
She was excited to finally fit into clothes at American Eagle and I was excited that the only clothes she could fit into were the t-shirts!

With her extra birthday money she bought herself a pair of high-top Converse sneakers on-line.
I also once wore Converse high-tops so I had my Mom send a picture.
I think she wears them better.
(but I was kind of cute in a middle-school-awkward sort of way, right?!)

In conclusion, all her Daddy and I need to say is...
Happy Birthday Lauren!
We love you and are looking forward to all the great things being ELEVEN will bring!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekly Menu 2-9-2015

Even though it's been awhile since I've done a Weekly Menu we are still eating.  I've been eating a little too much myself lately so I've picked mostly healthy recipes this week. Enjoy!

Weekly Menu 2-9-2015

Monday:  Lasagna Soup & garlic toast
We had this tonight and it was D-LISH-US!!  Everyone licked their bowl clean.  Try it...for realz!
Tuesday:  Matt out for work dinner so L and T will make "Be My Valentine Chicken Saute" and "Hearts of Jasmine Rice" from the Spatulatta Cookbook.
Wednesday:  Cheesy Cajun Beef and Potato Bake & salad
Thursday:  Skinny Shrimp Alfredo Pasta Bake & corn & biscuits
Friday:  left-overs or pantry meal
Saturday:  Valentine's Day.  I bought a good looking steak from Patak's so I'm going to let Matt grill it up for us.
Sunday:  Mexi Meatloaf Muffins

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Shiny Clean Car

Check out my Shiny Clean Car!
Matt washed it for me and spent a ton of time on the wheels.
It looks great, Babe!

Unfortunately, he only agreed to wash it if I agreed to let him park his car in the garage for an entire week.  That's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

My poor shiny clean car.
It's obviously out of its element

Friday, January 23, 2015

Quadruple Tooth Extraction

Quadruple Tooth Extraction

For a few years now we've known that Lauren was going to need braces.

Two years ago her Pediatric Dentist referred her to an Orthodontist to keep an eye on her and some issues that could be seen by x-ray.  The Orthodontist saw Lauren every six months FREE OF CHARGE just to monitor her progress. (We have yet to pay him a penny.)
At her last visit the Orthodontist decided it was time to get the ball rolling.  She had lost all but one of her baby teeth and there just wasn't room for all the grown up teeth to come in (neatly.)  He recommended a Quadruple Tooth Extraction and referred her to an Oral Surgeon.

We scheduled the appointment two months ahead of time.  We didn't tell Lauren about the appointment because the girl likes to STRESS and who needs to stress for two months?!

We told her a week before the appointment.  Every night we reassured her of all her worries.
"It'll be fine."  "There's nothing to worry about."  "This is a very common procedure."

Wouldn't you have it, two days prior to the Quadruple Tooth Extraction Matt had to go to China for a last minute work trip...

(I love the "FIND MY iPHONE" app.  He can't just pretend he's going to China anymore. he he he)

...and one day prior (yesterday) a bird pooped on Lauren while she was jumping on the trampling...
(She couldn't even look at it.  Gross.)

...and the forecast for today called for non-stop rain.

Despite all the bad "signs" we celebrated anyway.

Last night we had a final dinner for all of her teeth.
Lauren's favorite:  Campbell's soup and grilled cheese sandwiches to dip.
(a Grammy original according to Lauren) ;)

This morning came all too fast.
We got Tyler on the bus for school and Lauren smiled for her last full toothed smile picture. 

At the Oral Surgeon's office it seemed we were in the waiting room forever.
Lauren played on her iPad to pass the time.
At first she told me she just couldn't smile at all but then I somehow got her to laugh.
Finally they called us back.  I was thrilled that one of my friends was the surgeon's assistant.  She put Lauren at ease.  I was able to be in the room while they started Lauren on the laughing gas.  After she was settled in I made my way back to the waiting room.
(I fainted when I had my own teeth pulled as a sixth grader so I thought it best I didn't watch my daughter get her teeth pulled.) 

I was only in the waiting room for 20 minutes when the Dr. came out to tell me everything went well and she'll be out shortly.  In that time I was able to pay my share of the bill.
I'm thinking about insisting both of my children become Oral Surgeons.  The amount of money this Dr. made in 20 minutes is A-Mazing!!!!  (Thank goodness our insurance paid for most of it despite the Dr being "out-of-network.")

Lauren came into the waiting room telling me all about it.  Her mouth was full of gauze and it was hard to understand her but what I did understand was...1. It hurt "really bad" when they numbed her gums.  She felt every shot.  2. She cried and her legs shook the whole time and she almost tore off the arm rests from gripping them so hard. 3. It didn't hurt at all after the shots.
Poor Girl!!!!
My friend, the surgical nurse, said L did amazing and was braver than most of their adult patients.

Halfway through our 30 minute drive home Lauren told me she was hot.  I turned the heat down but that didn't seem to help.  10 minutes from our house she told me she felt like she was going to throw up.  I rolled her window all the way down even though it was pouring down rain to give her some fresh air.
We barely made it into the house when she went limp in my arms and I guided her to the sink where she got sick.
Blood, Gauze, and Puke
Somehow I just handled it.  I wiped off her mouth, applied clean gauze to stop the now dripping  blood, settled her on the sofa and cleaned the puke out of the sink.  No big deal for this Momma.

I put a cold wash cloth on her forehead.
Despite how miserable she looks in the photo she told me she felt so much better after throwing up.
(The boogie board is there because I told her not to talk.  If she wanted to say something she needed to write it down for me.)

One hour and a half later she was up and at 'em.

...checking her new NUMB look out in the mirror...
(She couldn't stop talking about how weird her numb mouth felt.)

...trying to eat Chicken Noodle Soup and Applesauce with a completely numb mouth...  
She dribbled all down her chin.  I have a pretty funny video but she wouldn't let me put it on the blog.

Look at these suckers.
(Lauren couldn't/wouldn't look at them.)

Despite having a Quadruple Tooth Extraction Lauren still made dinner for the three of us.
Her specialty: Pizza Cups.
They were delicious.

She also was able to do her evening chores.
(She's pointing at her duct tape design to keep the top of the broom handle from popping off.)

It wasn't until after a bowl of ice cream that her mouth started to bother her.

I gave her some Children's "Tylenol" and have some "Advil" ready to go if she needs it.

I also had her start icing her cheeks.
(There's a frozen pack of corn under her head.)

And then there's Tyler.
He's a great kid.  He was concerned about his sister when he came home from school.  He immediately sought her out and asked her how it was.  That didn't surprise me one bit.  That's who he is and he does what he does.
Right now he's into playing World of Tanks.

Lauren's next appointment is a follow up with the Oral Surgeon in two weeks and then she'll see the Orthodontist in 6 months after some of these grown-up teeth have settled into place. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas!!
With only three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year I felt this whole holiday season was rushed.  Regardless, we made sure to enjoy and appreciate the holiday.

Christmas Cards are important to me.
I like to send them and I like to receive them.
(Remember when we used to send out photo DVDs?)
This year a good friend of ours with a fancy camera offered to take our family picture if we would take hers.  Deal!  Thanks Amy and family!

My two favorite pictures.

After Christmas cards were sent out the School Parties started.

I volunteered to make Grinch Kebabs for Lauren's class and Strawberry Santas for Tyler's.
The Grinch Kebabs turned out great but my Strawberry Santas didn't look exactly like I wanted them to.  (My inspiration on the bottom left, my reality on the bottom right.)

They were all gobbled down though.

My Photogenic Kids at their School Christmas Parties.
They love to pose for pictures.
(is there a font for sarcasm?)

I wasn't very good about taking pictures of our Christmas decorations.  We did decorate though.  Matt put lights outside and I took care of the inside.

Chris, our Elf on the Shelf, came back for the 12 days before Christmas.

He wasn't as creative as last year.  This year he stuck to the perimeter of the family room.  Some days he decided not to move at all. Which made Lauren think her Daddy might be moving the Elf because the days Chris didn't move corresponded to Daddy's poker nights.  BUT... I'm thinking the kids behaved so well this year that he didn't need to make the trip back to the North Pole as often.

Every year Grandma Jan creates (paints, sews, molds with her own two hands) a new Christmas decoration for us.  I love them and they are the bulk of my decorations.  This year she quilted a Santa. She really outdid herself and when I grow up I want to be her.

Did I mention I love to receive Christmas cards.  I let them take over my glass table and my entire refrigerator.  Totally felt the love this year.

I believe this was the last year for our cute little fake tilted Christmas tree.  Our ornaments have outgrown it and Matt said I could get a bigger cute fake Christmas tree next year.  

Here's a pic of the mantle and also a pic to show how tall Tyler is getting.  I didn't realize he was already to my shoulders.  He's in 3rd grade...stop growing already.
 On Christmas Eve we made our traditional Cinnamon Rolls & icing

We put Reindeer food out on the front lawn and set out Santa's plate of cookies plus carrots for the reindeer if they didn't get enough food outside.
Christmas morning did not disappoint.

Santa came!

He and the Reindeer chowed down on their snacks.

Santa filled the stockings and brought the children a very special gift!

Before diving into the stockings L and T took some time to check out their special gift from Santa.  New iPad Minis!  Santa was kind enough to put them in protective cases before he left.  Blue for Tyler and Pink for Lauren.


Present Time 

     Let's Get it Started 

I'll spare you the blurry action shots of each kid opening up each gift.  It sure was fun to watch though.   
We were all excited for all of our new Christmas treasures.  I love how appreciative L and T truly are of each gift.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  The thank you cards are on the kitchen table just begging to be filled out.

Gift Piles

Lauren, Tyler, and Me...didn't Daddy get any gifts?

Now it's Time to Play!!!

(clockwise, top-left:  Lazer Maze with the Nerf gun handy and ready to attack at any minute, Pinball Baseball, Minecraft Legos, telescope)

(top row:  5-in-1 Table Game.  Rock came over to play too.
bottom row:  The Claw Carnival Game.  Unfortunately The Claw did not come to us fully functional.  Matt was able to figure out what was not working and solder some wires together.  That guy can do everything.  I have a bill to The Claw manufacturer in the mail.  It's not an easy game but they love trying for the candy.


My Beauty Shop Pal and 3-in-1 Styling Tool (curler, crimper, & flat iron)

PicWits Game
(like Apples to Apples but with!)

Make your own Cat Treats kit

Make your own Lip Balm kit

(This is pretty cool.  She's already made two different flavors.)

Minecraft Legos

during the build, after the build

Making origami from instructional YouTube videos on her iPad.

Christmas Dinner
Once again Matt's work gave their employees a gift card to Honey Baked Ham.  So once again we got our Christmas ham for a very low price.
Christmas Menu:  Ham, Green Bean Casserole, Skillet Creamed Corn, Honey Roasted Red Potatoes, Cheddar Biscuits and Graham Cracker Eclair "Cake" for dessert.

Since it was just the four of us we had A LOT of food.

I am so blessed by my wonderful family and this Christmas season really reminded me of that.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and took some time to celebrate the true Reason for the Season.