Friday, January 31, 2014

Getting the band back together

31/365
 Many many moons ago, I was in a group called MOPS.  Chris was 18 months old when we started our MOPS group.  We disbanded a couple years ago.  We mutated our group last year, called ourselves GTMOMs, or Getting Together Moms, and we meet periodically to have breakfasty brunches, Mops dates, or something without the child care provided.  But it's the base group - that has splintered off into my Book Club, and my Freezer Cooking Club.  I miss these woman.  I miss the base group.  I wanted to get 'the band'  back together.
So this week, when Kindermusik got cancelled, and Miss Stacy came round to clean, I saw a golden opportunity.  By gum, I'd host the old Mops group gals (with the few new additions from our church that we've added on) at our house.  My first time hosting at the new house.  I had been afraid, because when Craziness comes to our house, Chris adds to it and can magnify it.  But with the big boys at school, it would just be Jake and I, that wouldn't add too much to the crazy.  So I decided to give it a try.


It was Actually a Success!  
I had 6 moms, and 8 kids, and it didn't get unreasonable at all.  
The kids ate, the Moms got to talk.  
It went really well....I may be actually able to do it again. 

The boys didn't clean the basement, so the bigger guest kids couldn't go down there to play.  
But it didn't matter much, because they just had a wonderful time playing with the items on the main floor.  
The kids played in the play kitchen while the grownups milled about in the kitchen.  
And there was brunchy snacks.  I love a nice warm beverage in the warming, and it was even more heartwarming to have good grub and friends to share it with. 

video

The kids found great joy in the music room, which has only been recently updated enough to not have boxes of crap everywhere.  Now things have homes, and the kids had instruments to play, and they Literally acted like they were getting the band back together.  



I loved how they were making "Joyful Noises".  That may make me crazy, that I don't mind dueling drum sets, I find it enchanting whenever any little one finds joy in music.  All this Cuteness is good for my soul.  I found a great love of music, and then I found my love (my husband) because of it!  


The littles also had a fine time playing on the living room floor. 
I guess our house is Good for having kids over to play. 
There was a lot of cuteness, and a lot of laughing.  
Between last night, and today, I had so much laughter, I feel like a new woman! 


We were surrounded by all this Joy, I had such a good time visiting with my friends, some I hadn't seen in a long, long time, and the Abundant Cuteness, well, I may just have to do it again! 

Getting By with a little help from my friends.

30/365
You know the phrase, "It's always darkest just before dawn"?  
It's so true.  
I find it applies to my husband (or anyone that's working) when right before they go on vacation, they are given unreasonable amounts of work, such that the hours even out before we've even left!  
Same thing with kids, you wouldn't think that this kind of job - motherhood gets on you, but it does.  And it always seems my kids get the most crazy Right before I'm due for a Mom's night out.  
Last night was no different.  The bigger boys had all week to clean the basement before my friends were coming over tomorrow..they chose not to.  They ACTUALLY said being Grounded was easier than cleaning up the basement.  I had threatened to ground them for the whole weekend, and I picked that as an unreasonable punishment.  Surely, they wouldn't Actually rather be grounded than pick up after themselves. 
Nope.  They didn't get the job done.  And as you can imagine, there was much yelling and gnashing of teeth trying to get them to do so.  I'm tired of being cold. I'm tired of losing my temper with my kids.  I'm tired of being tired.  My body still doesn't do what I want.   Jake will only sleep in my bed, but I think after a month, I'm getting so used to it, it doesn't bother me as much, I'm getting used to only getting crappy sleep.  Or maybe I'm sleeping better, because I'm so exhausted from having a small child in my bed every night.  Either way, between only sleeping with him, and being with the kids all the time, I'm just Touched Out.  It's rare that I get out without Jacob, at the very least, so it's a Wonderfully rare night that I get to get out with no boys at all.  By the time I left to go my Freezer Cooking Meeting last night, I was Done.  I could not wait to get out with my gals!   And I went with no children whatsoever. And it was Good.  No, it was Great! 


I needed some good quality junk food to drown my sorrows.  Some good quality company, and to laugh and cry and everything. And when I arrived at Lori's she did not disappoint.  
She mentioned making a "cookie thing".  One friend mentioned being bummed when she heard, she thought it might be one of those fruit pizzas on a shortbread, which sounded way too nutritious.  I think it was that kind of week for us all, none of us wanted anything nutritious.   It wasn't. :)  
It was a peanut butter cookie, topped with chocolate chips and marshmallows, and baked into ooey gooey happiness and joy. Words cannot describe.  


And the wine. 
We mustn't forget the wine.  
Our group has our own wine - whenever we get together we drink at least one bottle of sparkling pink moscato.  The pinks are my special treat.  

The wine was tasty, but the company was even better.  
We told stories about our crazy boys, our even crazier dogs, and I literally laughed until I cried.  In fact, more than one of us may have nearly peed from laughing so hard, many legs were crossed.  I hadn't had a night like that when I laughed until crying in way too long.  I love this group of gals, they get me, and it does my heart and my mental health such good to get together with them.  In theory, we meet for Freezer Cooking.  We do the cooking at home, then meet up, and swap our foods.  We made Grandma Willman's Ham Balls  and Spinach Balls  this month.  Honestly though, Eric has done most of the cooking, since before Jake was born.  He likes cooking, but I'm getting closer and closer to participating a bit more.   Last month, I made cookies for it.  I'll get there.  ;)  In the meantime, it's meetings like this that help my health improve.  Laughter truly is the best medicine. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pretty cunning, don't you think?

29/365


I finished a project today. It's a Jayne Cobb hat. Now I'm sure most of you don't recognize the name Jayne or the hat. Well then, you need to go out (or borrow from me) or find on Netflix and watch Firefly.
I found a recipe for it on Ravelry, and decided to make it. It was supposed to be for Eric's cousin, but it came out a little small. I'll just have to knit more. :-)
Knitting it makes want to watch Firefly ...but I've also been watching Chuck.  Guess I love Adam Baldwin too.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An indoor sort of day

28/365


It was another really cold day, it was -4 when we got up, went down to -8 before heading up to zero, still it's very cold outside, so Chris had a delay for school.  His idea of good times is cinnamon rolls and playing wii.   He told me it's a Perfect Day.  A delay day with cinnamon rolls, wii, and school!
We've inadvertantly begun a new trend.  On delay days we have cinnamon rolls.  It's so nice to have a hot breakfast, I picked some up last week, when I was at the store and we'd already found out we were having a delay day.  So now, it's become a Trend.  One that Christopher really loves.  
First I bought cream cheese icing ones, then we got some orange ones.  Then when I hit the store again, we got more of the same, so wonderful and rare is it when they want to eat the same thing as we do for breakfast.  Yesterday, we had white iced, and today orange.  As we sat down for our cinnamon roll breakfast, Sam pointed out, "We have a pattern for our cinnamon rolls on delay days.  First white, then orange."  Kids pick up on the darndest things.  I never would have thought about it.  We just happened to pick up some more.  
But I think Jake could care less about cinnamon rolls. 
He doesn't mind chewing on the wii controller wheels.  But he has little interest in food.  


He just wants to do his own thing.  And he likes to be at home.  But I have found, that Jake is getting a little big and tired of being in the seat.  I switched it to rocker, but he still wanted the toys, even though he's so big they hit him in the head.  I gave him to him sideways, and he was pretty ok with that.  But really, he just wanted out.  Boy likes to do things his way, and that would be being held by me all the time if he got his way.   I do hold him a lot, but  but he doesn't always get his way...just a lot of the time.  

The reluctant shoppers

27/365
Yesterday, Sam had his parent/teacher conference before he went to school in the afternoon.  It went well, he's smart but stubborn, though I knew that.  I traded kids with Eric for the privilege of going.  But when I got back, I didn't think I had time to do the shopping I wanted to do.  It was Wicked Cold out.  Cold enough for another 2 hour delay for Chris.  We were out of many things, so I decided to go for it....though it took me more than an hour to get moving because I just wasn't in the mood to go out.  Once we got out though, it was ok to be out and about.  Jake is a good shopper.  He didn't lose his mind until the very end at Costco, and that was really only because he was hungry and soggy.  From there we popped by Target for just the last bare necesitites before heading home to get Sam from school.  



I got a quick snap of us running to the car, because Jake kept making funny faces.  
He didn't appreciate being out in the cold. 

Though after our shopping endeavors, I was so happy to see THIS on the way home. 


What in the world is that?! 
The Sun! 

How I'd missed it.  
They say we're being hit with another Polar Vortex.  
I had never heard the term before this year, all I know is it got ass cold, below zero and wicked wind chills.  
Did you know that -40 degrees is the same in Farenheit and Celsius? 
Oh yes, it is.  And thanks to this winter, and its wind chills, I know what -40 feels like. 
Ass Cold.  I could've gone a lifetime without that.  
Or at least, learned it somewhere awesome like Sweden where my Dad did a night at the Ice Hotel for his 65th birthday.  Not cool to be sampling that kind of weather in my own Indiana backyard.  


Still, there was a break in the clouds, maybe it's the eye of the storm.  
And I got to see the sun.  The snow is even disappearing a bit.  I saw grass.  Eric says it's probably because it's been so cold and dry the wind blew all the snow away, and now we get to see the grass.  And the sun is so bright with the cold, the clouds had tiny hints of sun doggy rainbows on them.  

Well, we got all our shopping done, and now we can sit tight, warm and cozy for the rest of the week. Whew.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The waterhole

26/365

We have this spot out back.  
It's where the water from the sump pump gets pumped to the storm drain.  But the piping we used has tiny holes in it, the theory being that we could put our garden there, and there would be moisture in the ground to keep things growing.  Only, we've not gotten around to planting a garden.  Doesn't matter so much, as this winter has been so moist, that there is plenty of water to pump out, and it has made the ground so warm and moist, that it is one of very few places around that is not entirely frozen right now.  Today, we had a large selection of birdies come visit.  It was neat to come see them get some drinks.  


Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal come for drinks together.  I call him Jackie, as I've called all cardinals since I was too.  I used to think the same Cardinal, named Jackie lived by us and would come see me all the time when I was little.  I was probably way too old before I realized otherwise.  Anyway, I still call them Jackie, or Jackies.  But this Jackie has a Mrs.  Her name is The Mrs.


Jackie guarding the waterhole. 


He's so pretty. 

Every time I see a cardinal in winter, the way they stand out, it always makes me think of Eric's Grandma, Grandma Willman.  She had cardinal stuff around her house, I think she loved them.  Maybe she loved all birds, but I always think of her when I see cardinals.  I made her a blanket for her birthday a couple years before she passed that had cardinals on it.  I received it back from Grandpa Willman after she passed away. I'm glad of it, it makes me think of her.  



We got a Bluejay today too. 

Grandma Willman used to say that Bluejays were the bullies of the birdfeeder.  



I can see why she'd say that.  When Mr. Bluejay came down for a drink, everybody else moved to the other side of the waterhole.  Of course, if he does have a bit of ego, it's perfectly understandable, he's so pretty.  


Can you see Mr. Bluejay guarding over the waterhole?  The mourning doves took over one side, and the juncos the other, and the big bully stands guard. 


 It's a whole dramatic scene going on in my backyard.  
It's one of my favorite shows to watch. 

Game Night

25/365

Once upon a time, long ago and far away, I was a Blog Stalker.  I read every blog my friends wrote, and sometimes, I would start reading the blogs of friends of my friends.   I met one of my dearest friends ever that way.  She went to Butler a few years after I did, we knew some of the same people.  And she wrote a groovy blog.  Her blog entertained me because her daughter was only a month older than Christopher, so they were doing some of the same sweet moves.   One day she started writing about moving to Brownsburg, and when she put her email out there, and I wrote, explaining how I'd been stalking her for a while, and perhaps she might like a play date.  She invited us for "Game Night"  She said a bunch of their Butler friends and other friends came over to play board games, and pitch in a supper for an evening.  It sounded fun to me, though Eric was apprehensive, not knowing anyone.  Though once we got there, we realized that not only were we kindred spirits, but our spouses were too.   It was the first of Many Game nights.  And the first of many playdates for Chris and Bryn.
But then Amy moved away, and the Game Nights got few and far between, we all have a bazillion more kids than we used to, so whenever we get together, it's a whole lot of crazy.  I guess that's just the way it goes.  All of a sudden, Life Happens, and I realized it had been 2 years since *I* had attended a Game Night. Eric went, without me, when I was on bedrest, and before that I think I'd had a cold or something.  And when I realized that, I HAD to go.  Then I was even more excited when Mike said he was bringing Firefly: The Game.  I couldn't wait to give that a try.  By gum, I was ready.
But the weather was icky, and Jake hates traveling, I just hoped we wouldn't be Sorry.


I wasn't sorry.  When we arrived, the big kids dashed off to play with each other.  They curled up in the playroom to play wii games, and I barely saw them.  Must say, I wasn't too sorry about that at all. ;) 



 Carrie's birthday is today, so they surprised her with a giant nutella pie.  She was so sweetly taken aback, sorry the photo stinks, we were all laughing, smiling, moving and wiggling too much.  I was bummed it was nutella though.  Winter is the One time of year that it really sucks to have a hazelnut allergy.  Few realize that nutella is actually not just chocolatey goodness, it's chocolatey Hazelnut goodness.  Also anything that Starbucks uses their Toffee Nut syrup (I learned the hard way that the nut in toffee nut is a macadamia/hazelnut blend).  




The grownups split up into small groups taking over all the different rooms.  There were battles going on of Ticket to Ride, and Action Princesses, as well as my own Firefly Epic Battle.  Eric let me agree to dash off to play a "quick game" of Firefly.  Only as it turns out Firefly: The Game is Not Quick.  And I am Blessed with a wonderful husband who spent the whole evening juggling Jacob, because he refused to be put down, or play with any of the other kids, or be touched by anyone other than Eric or I.  That's gonna need to stop soon, but last night wasn't the night to fight it.  Eric was Exhausted by the end of the evening, and so was Jake. But at least I won't have to worry about Jacob getting sick from touching one of the other 20 kids germs or something.  Because he didn't touch Anything.  


I am Sorry, only I'm not Sorry.  "I am a leaf on the wind."
I got to play a game with some of the best Firefly line quoters Ever. 
I owe Eric huge, absolutely huge for letting me play a game for 3 1/2 hours.  I was winning when I had to bow out.   Jacob's cry changed at 10 from general pissiness to Just can't take anymore.  I had 10.5 of the 12, 000$ that were needed to win the game. But I couldn't stay to finish.  He had to leave.  All 4 of my Boyz were Done.  So I cut out.  I passed on the dinosaur token to Brian who had been our guide since he'd played before.  Since I don't know the outcome of the game, I will think he and I won.  






Friday, January 24, 2014

Another fun delay

24/365

I think I'm finally finding my groove to making Delay days fun and a bit special instead of more awfulness as the kids go wild then we scramble to get them on the bus.  Today was Another 2 hour delay due to the below zero temps.   But Sam still had to be at school at his regular time.  But that meant I had over an hour between Sam going to school and Chris getting on.

So after dropping Sam off, Chris and I did what we do best.  Stop for Drinks!  


Then he got a crazy idea. ( I know, where does he get it. ;))
He suggested we have a wii tournament, so we played Winter Games Bobsleigh and Mario Kart.  
I won Olympics and he won Mario Kart.  I think I need, and will probably be getting more practice.  
The wii machine had been disconnected since we readied the loft for Jacob, and now that it's put back together, it's like a whole new toy!  Of course after over a year off, some of the parts weren't working so well, so we got a few new ones...like the boys new colored controllers, and it really is The Old is New Again.

But Jacob is learning very early.   He likes the steering wheels best. 



After getting Chris off to school, I didn't have much time, but I needed to run out to Avon for ham for hamballs, before getting Sam at noon.   As we came home, the weather was icky beautiful.  The sun was Sun Dogging, showing those beautiful icy rainbows.  It was so neat. 



And the wind was drifting the snow, like little snow cyclones all over the cornfields.  


Pretty, and not too scary to drive in.  Still, I'm most content at home on these snowy days, but I'm also going a little crazy at home with these crazy boys.  I need some time off before the next snow hits.  I'm going to take it tonight, going to the movies with Kathleen for the Late Show.  Tee hee hee.  



Thursday, January 23, 2014

A good delay day

I got a wild hair when I went to the grocery store last night.  I decided to pick up some cinnamon rolls.  See, Christopher's school had already declared that there was going to be a 2 hour delay for a bit of snow and more excessive cold.  So we should have time for a yummy hot breakfast.  Well, at first the boys were mad that they weren't getting their traditional breakfast of an egg sandwich and a bagel with cream cheese.  But then when we tried the cinnabun cinnamon rolls, they were So Good.  It ended up being a great breakfast.  I didn't have to argue with anyone.  

23/365

 Chris had gotten dressed, practiced the piano, and when breakfast was done, he asked nicely if he could go play with the new wii controllers that had just come in the mail this past weekend. He'd been grounded for misbehaving 4 of the last 5 days, and this was the first day not in trouble.  It was rather refreshing to have him around to play.  



It was historic, because for a few happy moments, they were playing well together.  
For the first time in Days.  
Chris was so happy to use his new blue wii controller, and Sam was thrilled to use his new green one. 
They love to play the characters "Brozer" and "Waliigi" respectively. 


Even Jake got in on the action, and pulled down one of the Mario Kart wheels to join in the fun.  
Luckily, he couldn't do any damage to it, with no controller inside.  But he had fun being allowed to touch it.  
Almost like being allowed to drive too. Oh dear.  




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

This weather is for the Birds!

22/365

The high today was 12.  The windchill is now -20.  There was tiny piercing snow. It is the epitome of Bitter Cold.  Yes, Baby it's Cold Outside.
And yet, the kids had school, life must go on.  Blessedly, I got to spend some special time with friends today.

But really, the only ones that were content outside today were the birds.


The water from the sump pump is warmer than the ground, so there is a tiny water trail, and given that all other water is frozen, this afternoon, I caught a number of happy little birds out there. 


A chickadee and a junco watch the birdfeeder.  They were a little afraid to come around because Jake kept banging on the window.  


Chickadee on the watch. 


He's looking at me. 


They did come over and get some birdy snacks, so at least I'm taking good care of them. 
I think it was even too cold for the squirrels! 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Delayed

21/365

We had a 2 hour delay this morning.  


It brought extreme highs and lows.  Highs because the boys love to sleep in, although, technically they didn't.  And I was up early because the phone call to let us know that school was cancelled woke me, and I didn't get back to sleep.  And we had a nice breakfast of french toast casserole and maple sausages.  Chris initially bawked at the breakfast...until he tasted it.  He's been grumpy as all get out lately.  I wonder if it's because Sam has been back to sleeping in his own room.   He's been sneaking screen times when I'm not paying attention, and getting into trouble for it.  It's been rough.  I feel like I yell at him more than talking in a normal tone.  If all I do is talk, he ignores me.  Is it because he can't hear me?  Is he because he choses to ignore me, because he doesn't like what I have to say - I know he'd rather pretend he didn't hear me tell him to go get dressed or practice his piano, or do his homework.  He told me last night he thinks he's too busy.  I asked what he would want to give up - music? karate?  No.  School?  He liked that idea - unfortunately, that's not an option.  
So I send him on to school, I make him too his homework.  And Sometimes he is finding a bit of joy in the process, like this morning, waiting outside with Daddy, he 'helped' shovel off the porch, and played around a bit.   A little joy in a 2 hour delay in what ended up being another rough day.  Thank you, I'll take it. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Date

20/365

Today, Sam had to go to school, and Chris did not.  So after dropping the middlest brother off, Chris and I went for a date, at Starbucks, for Cocoa and good Company.


And Good Company was exactly what I got.  
He's a heartbreaker.  And a little crazy. 
He put on this Hawaiian shirt, telling me He's On Vacation! 
He didn't care that it was 30 degrees outside, he's a maniac. 


He took this picture of Jake and I too.  


Me and 2/3 of my sweetboys.  
It was a great morning for a date, and some Quality Time. 
For once, I didn't have to yell at him, we just talked.  I asked him about school.  He misses C* his best friend, and actually can't wait to go back to school tomorrow.  And when he grows up he wants to be:  a. a teacher, b. a superhero, and c. a daddy.  
All of the above! 


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday's Sweetboys

19/365

You all know how I have a matching pajama problem.  Well, my mother in law is a cohort in my crimes.  For Christmas she found the elder boys matching yellow and brown monkey jammies.  She'd hunted but couldn't find them in Jake's size.  I found them on amazon, and they just arrived this week.  Now I have happy matching monkey boys.  So the boys were happy to put them all on this evening.  But Jacob is a maniac. He won't sit still for storytime.  


He won't sit still for smiling.  


He just won't sit still.  
Evening is not his time.  
Eric and I got out this afternoon/evening to see The Hobbit 2, while Mom W. watched all three boys.  
They were Done, and not really in the mood to cooperate, but Boy, they sure were cute. 



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Because we didn't have enough snow already

18/365

I don't know, I didn't think I was burned out on snow yet.  It's so pretty.  However, it feels like we only got 2 days with now snow...actually, less than that, because the big foot never fully melted away.  Not that I'm bummed, but just as a topic to write about.
This morning, we woke to a thick dusting of the prettiest snowflakes.  I didn't even have to get very close to make out their shapes.  Gorgeous!

Unedited, and simply unfooled around with, like nature.


I loved all the shapes, easily visible from standing. 

But this afternoon, another snow rolled in.  They say we may get 4 inches.  
True, that's nothing like the foot we got last week, still, it's a whole different kind of snow. 


These were tiny.  Sorry about the weird blue light, but since it was really dark, I couldn't get a focus without adding extra light.  And the flashlight I chose, made it look blue.  But still, they flakes were tiny, not fluffy.  


Funny how it's the teeny tiny stuff that falls and falls and stacks up to cause so much trouble. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Night at the Museum

17/365

Once a quarter or so, the Children's Museum has Members Nights.  It's open late...well, late for them, 5-8 in winter, 5-9 in the summer.  Tonight was one.  We hadn't been in, well, I can't remember how long...pretty sure, it wasn't with 5 of us.  So this evening, after Chris came home from school, we packed a quick dinner and went downtown to the Museum.  It's Sam's favorite place, sure, but the other boys enjoy it too!



We met up our friends the Julius's.  The girls and boys hadn't played together since Chris's birthday party. 


The kids were circling crazytown from the moment they arrived...well, really before, but when they asked to go upstairs and play on the carousel, well, that's one of my favorites too.  How could I resist?!


The 'cool kids' on the carousel!  
They love to play the game, Who's the tallest kid?  They'd go all around and around, with me yelling, "Oh Kristin is the tallest, No Wait - it's Christopher, No Sam's in the lead!"  Hysterical.  Makes me happy to make them laugh that hard. 


7 cents.  For that price, I brought great joy to the kids who got to watch the pennies spin around and around, taking turns, and having a great time.  I remember doing that at this museum when I was little too. 

There were 2 places, the kids wanted to hit - the Carousel, and Playscape.  
Eric had never been to the new playscape.  It was weird to be there at night, the new playscape is so bright by day, it felt very different to be there at night.  
But the kids had a great time.  They let their guard down.  They played.  


Jacob got friendly.  
He's been a bit of a wee beastie lately.  Kathleen thought there for a moment she couldn't make him smile or laugh, but it's ok, she did.  And he is teething, a lot, think that other front tooth is coming in any time now, and it puts him in a bad mood.  So we just never know when we're going to get a few moments of sweetboy. These were a few.  And they were good.