Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One fish, two fish... fish, blue fish.

Santa brought each of the boys a betta. Aren't they pretty?

Logan named his (the red one) Reffey, pronounced "reffi."
The blue one is Jordan's and is yet unnamed.

Here's Jordan, watching them eat their breakfast while he eats his.

Now they're living on our awesome new hutch. We got this thing on craigslist. It was listed for $175 but Hubby got them to take $150. It's very nice. There's a light in the upper cabinet, too. We put it where our Christmas tree was. It was just a big empty spot and the hutch fills it nicely, and now we have even more storage space! Yay!

We took the boys sledding again yesterday. It's been great sledding weather and we've been having a LOT of fun going all together. The sun came out and there were pretty sunset clouds in the sky. This is what the sky looked like through the woods out back when we got home. *sigh*

Life is good.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except for a mouse

Until he died.

I'm not even kidding.

We went to my father-in-law's house on Christmas Eve, then came home to put the kids to bed and wrap their gifts. We tucked our little angels in, and then headed to the basement where everything was hidden. We opened the door and there lay a freshly-dead mouse to welcome us.


A couple weeks earlier, I had been sitting at the computer, which is in the bonus room above the garage, and I heard something scratching around above my head, in the attic space. Hubby climbed up there and put down some D-Con.

We figured that's what killed this mouse.

So, we wrapped the kids' gifts and I headed to bed because Hubby always has secret Christmas business that I'm not allowed to see. Then he showed up in the doorway of the bedroom with something in his hands.

It was a lovely white chocolate Santa he had bought from Sanders to put in my stocking.

But someone got into it first.


So now we're thinking the mouse died of Death by (white) Chocolate.

Jordan awoke at 11:15, just as I was getting comfortable in bed, and had to be snuggled back to sleep. Logan tried to get up at 2:30 and I quickly vetoed that idea. I don't know if I was "on guard" listening for kids to creep down the stairs or if I was just excited or what, but I didn't sleep much. Finally at 6:30 Logan woke up again and Christmas morning began. First, though, I had to wake up Jordan, who really really just wanted to sleep. He got over it, though.

It was a lot of fun. Logan was tearing into the gifts like crazy. This is the first year he has done it. Usually it takes literally hours for him to make it through his gifts, because he wants to open and play with each one as he opens it. He tore everything open before playing this year.

Jordan was pretty slow about opening. He got his Little People raceway ramp thingy from Santa and his Pillow Pet puppy and he was perfectly happy with that and didn't seem to want anything else.

Here is a photo of the mess. Note the presents still on the coffee table. Those are Jordan's. The stockings were still stuffed, too. We waited a while to open those. They were stuffed with lots of (too many) yummies and some other small treats. Hubby and I ONLY do stockings for each other, and we each got each other new Timex Ironman Triathlon watches for running and new weight lifting gloves, among other things.

The kids loved their gifts, but like most kids these ages, the box can be even more fun. This was a bean bag box, and it had pre-made "windows" so it made a great play house. It lasted until today (the 27th) and became demolished, so now it's a trash holder and will go to the curb tomorrow.

One thing that made this Christmas morning super special was that Logan lost his first tooth! How exciting!

The Tooth Fairy came Christmas night and put a $2 bill in the tooth's place. Logan came downstairs the next day and said "Mom! I got a dollar, except it's got a 2 on it!" He'd never seen a $2 bill before. Neat.

So, it was a fantastic Christmas with my three men, and we're having a nice family week while Hubby's off work and Logan's off school. Come Jan. 3, this house is going to seem very quiet and lonely without them.

I'm going to suck it up as much as I can this week!

We have no New Year's Eve plans as usual. That holiday always depresses me. I sit here and Hubby falls asleep on the couch and I force myself to stay up even though I usually go to bed at 9. For some reason I feel a need to watch that dumb ball drop, even though it makes me cry and feel sad. Whatever.

So, hope you all had a Merry Christmas and have a very Happy New Year!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve giggles

Last night we were all watching AFV before bed, and there was this 26-second sequence of people and animals sneezing. Jordan thoughgt it was SO FUNNY! He was sitting on my lap, just cracking up so hard and yelling uh-oh and pointing at the screen.

I rewinded the sequence about six times and it didn't occur to me to record it until he'd done it probably four times. He was getting tired of laughing so hard, I think, but I still think his giggles are contagious.

Also, it's dark and crappy, because we had the lights off, but you can get the idea.

LOVE this kid!

Merry Christmas. Hope this makes you giggle.

OK, wow, this showed up even darker than what i previewed it on youtube. too bad because jordan's smile is so cute when he laughs.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Body After Baby... yeah...

I didn't even get a Body After Baby post up last week, probably because I didn't have much to say.


It's vacation time. Today is the first day I have both boys AND Hubby home, and they're home with me until Jan. 3. I LOVE having them all home. I don't even want to think about dieting.

I'm not going crazy, though. I'm keeping things in moderation and enjoying the holiday without a full-on eatathon.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we'll be having lasagna at Hubby's dad's. I'm planning to have a normal piece and some salad. Hubby and I will probably enjoy a couple drinks after the kids go to bed, as we're going about our Santa business. OMG is just have to say i am SO VERY EXCITED about Christmas morning this year, because of the boys' ages. Almost 2 and 5 1/2. perfect. It's going to be so fun to watch them open their gifts and see what Santa brought! If things work out like I want, the Tooth Fairy and Santa might just even visit on the same night because Logan's tooth is SO loose!

On Christmas morning I'll have a cinnamon roll, and then for dinner I'm making turkey breast and shrimp cocktail. Maybe I'll do the shrimp for lunch and then the turkey for an early dinner.

Day after, we'll be having roast at Hubby's mom's house.

So, I don't have any major pig-out fest planned.

Also, I signed us up to make 20 sack lunches for the local homeless shelter on New Year's Day. :)

So, I worked out all last week, taking yesterday off for a chiropractor appt. But then I took the boys sledding, which was pretty much a workout!

Today I ran a mile and did chest and back weights. I plan to hit the gym tomorrow morning and do some stairs and leg weights.

Possibly, on Christmas I might go for a run. Hubby and I do that sometimes.

But anyway, I'll be happy to maintain through this vacation time and then come 2011... It's ON, baby!

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More than monsters

I've been a crabby mom lately, referring to my kids more often as "monsters" or "ogres" than anything else.

What's wrong with me? I LOVE these kids!

I'm very excited to surprise them on Christmas morning with all their goodies.

I love that Logan is doing so well in kindergarten.

I love that Jordan is learning to say more and more words every day.

I am excited (and a little sad) that Logan's first two teeth are going to fall out ANY DAY NOW.

I love that Jordan's wild hair matches his wild personality, because I just can't bring myself to get him his first haircut. I can't say goodbye to that white-blond ducky fuzz yet.

I love that Logan is adamant about saying his prayers every night (thanks to his daddy) and makes me do it even when I just want to hurry up and go to bed myself.

I love that Jordan screams every day when Logan gets out of the car at school (well, not really, but I'm glad he misses his big brother), and I love that Logan makes it a point to kiss his little brother good-bye several times before he gets out, because he knows Jordan is sad when Logan gets out.

I think it's funny that the only two things Logan will not eat (fruit and dairy) are the only two things Jordan wants to eat.

I love that Logan gave his beloved penguin, Peamotion, to his little brother to sleep with. I love that Jordan MUST have Peamotion to go to bed each night. I think he likes it so much because it was his brother's.

There are so many reasons I love these kids, and I am mad at myself for being crabby at them lately.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a short video of Jordan and his latest antics: Belly surfing on the table, saying "Ho ho ho," making an exasperated kkkkhhhhh sound and playing his new favorite (and dangerous) game, Blind Boy.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Body After Baby Week 2

Not much to say about Week 1.

Samantha posted two challenges this week:

1) Write down everything you eat and drink.

I need to do this. I haven't done it lately but will be starting up again today. Got my little book out. I know it helps. I really want to try to stick with this.

2) Cut out one unhealthy habit completely this week.

Mine's a little unconventional... I have been refraining from buying myself anything new to wear because I don't want to stay this size. However, my clothes are CRAP. SO I got myself a sweater and a sweatshirt this week so I feel a little better about myself. I also bought a pair of "goal panties" that I want to fit into nicely.

It's a snow day today and I for some reason laid awake all night last night. Hubby's going to be very late tonight due to a hockey game he's going to (doesn't start til 7:30!) so it's probably going to be a long day. The wind chills are pretty low, but I am going to bundle up the kiddies and take them out for a short burst of fresh air while I shovel the walk, since I'm expecting some things to come in the mail.

I was the ONLY person at the gym this morning besides the lady who works at the desk! Guess everyone else is a Winter Storm wimp! :P

Have a great week, even though this post is late and the week's almost over!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Solving a classic car mystery

I'm SO not into cars. Not even a little bit. So, it's kind of strange that I felt the need to delve into the world of classic cars to solve a little mystery.

There's this little island that Hubby and I like to visit called North Manitou Island. It was populated long ago by loggers but is now a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. There are many signs of past life there, but wilderness is reclaiming the island more and more each year. Every time we visit, it seems, things are a little harder to find, a little more dilapidated, a little more obscured.

One of our favorite camping areas on the island is marked by this old car. In searching for North Manitou Island hiking stories online, I have seen photos of this car in many a backpacker's memories of the island, but no one ever mentioned what kind of car it might be.

On a whim yesterday, I Googled "Identify an old car" and came across this website. I emailed the site owner a photo of the old car in question and he came back with some sort of 1940s V8 Ford.

I searched for that and found this website full of old Ford photos, and after it uploaded, which took a million years on my super slow computer, I decided the car looked like a 1940 Ford Deluxe Tudor.

So, I Googled THAT and found these photos on, compared them to the car I was wondering about and...

ding ding ding!!! I think I solved my little mystery!

These photos are credited to someone named Wayne of Kerrville, Texas. I borrowed them from the website with no malicious intent. I saw no way to contact Wayne, so hopefully he doesn't have any issues with me sharing his photos here. They simply helped me determine what my mystery car is... or used to be, anyway.

So, here's a comparison of the old car with the new car. I don't see anything that would point to it not being the same type of car.

I'm thrilled to know just a little bit more about this car that sits rusting away on a wilderness island I love. Now I just wish I could know whose car it had been, and more about that person. I'll probably never know that, though.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh, Christmas Tree

On Sunday we made our annual excursion out to Mutch's Hidden Pines to get our Christmas tree. We always seem to pick the coldest day to go, but we bundled up so we were warm enough.

First things first, when we got there, we went to see the man in the red suit.

The kids on the porch of Santa's House

Lo telling Santa he wants Stinky the Garbage Truck and a bumblebee Pillow Pet.

What is UP with the kid outside the window?!

This is Jordan saying "Oh HELL no!"

At this tree farm, they have wagons hooked up to tractors and they take you on a ride out to the tree lots. The boys love this part.

Logan among the trees

Jordan was having fun communing with the trees. He kept stopping to talk to them.

Hubby cutting down "the one."

This photo on the way back is amazing because Jordan was actually flipping out. He was cold and ready for his nap. Hubby clicked at just the right moment so it looks like we're all smiling.

Then we came home and Logan drove us crazy until after dinner and the boys' shower. Then it was decorating time.

It was Jordan's first time decorating a Christmas tree. I think he liked it.

I don't think we've ever broken an ornament while decorating the Christmas tree until this year. Jordan "helped" a lot, so I've got to get some super glue.

My dudes in their flannel jammies

Small, medium and large Johns men


All lit up

The tree is gorgeous. I will be amazed if Jordan stays away from it, though. I have space to put up the Super Yard around it if I have to. We got a blue spruce specifically so it would be picky and maybe deter him from touching it. That doesn't seem to bother him, though.

Anyway, there's our tree!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Alien child

I have this lovely green serving platter thingy that I like to use when we entertain. It's only plastic, but I think it's pretty. I usually put veggies or olives on it or maybe taco fixings if we're doing a taco bar (LOVE me a good taco bar!).

Jordan adores it, but not for holding food. For him, it's an alien mask.

I almost wet my pants laughing yesterday. I was doing something in the kitchen, and I turned around and this little alien was looking at me

Just as I was about to send him back to the mother ship, he revealed his true identity.

Turns out, I am the mother ship.

I've decided to keep him. He's good for a laugh!

On a completely unrelated note, hop over to my friend Marcia's new blog Mom.Wife.Fitness.Life. to enter her giveaway of an Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelet. Giveaway ends Dec. 8.

By the way, don't you love the name of her blog? *ahem ahem*

Are you "well-read?"

Borrowed this from another blog, The Hippie Mommy with Kaleidoscope Eyes.

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (read in french)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Most of them I read in school. I might have read a couple of the others, like I can't remember if I read To Kill a Mockingbird or not. Guess if I did it didn't make much of an impression.

Anyway, I guess I'm slightly "above average" but not very well-read when it comes to "classics!"

How about you?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Body After Baby Week One

Yes, it's that time again. Body After Baby over at Samantha's Mama Notes blog.

I haven't had much success in my quest to lose these last 15 pounds of the weight I gained while carrying Jordan. I don't know what the deal is. I seem to lack mojo when it comes down to it. I've been stuck here for WELL over a year.

As usual, I'm great when it comes to working out. I don't even eat THAT badly. As a matter of fact, I eat pretty well, except I add a few too many extra treats. Sam Adams holiday special beer and Aztec chocolate spice cookies, anyone?!

Really, it's discouraging, but I do want to lose the extra padding. I'd love to be back in the "happy place."

I did it before and can do it again.

Recently I read the new version of an old favorite, Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet. The new book, Eat Clean Diet Recharged is way better than the old one and quite motivating. As a matter of fact, even though it's only been a few weeks since I read it, I just requested it from the library to read again. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

The "clean" approach to eating is simple: Cut the crap. If it's processed, man-made, etc., then it's not really food. Keep it as close to whole as possible. Lean meats, eggs, a big variety of fruits and veggies, whole grains, dairy. Remove white flour and sugar, corn syrup, trans fats and ingredients you can't pronounce. Shop the perimeter and skip the boxes (at least, for the most part.)

I have weight loss goals, for sure. I have fitness goals, too. I want to be able to do pull-ups and one-arm pushups. I want running to be easy again. I want my energy levels to skyrocket.

A biggie? I want to avoid cancer. My dad's had it twice and mom's fighting it right now. I figure my best bet there is to treat my body better than I've been treating it.

So, for this challenge, I'm going to focus on making it a habit to eat cleaner. I still plan to enjoy some holiday treats. I'd be stupid to say "Oh, I'm not going to have any Christmas cookies or wine or blah blah blah." How boring! I want to LIVE. I just want to live BETTER.

So, that's it. My plan is to clean up my act in the kitchen and see what happens. If I do it right, I should start losing the pounds, slow and steady. I should see almost immediate increases in energy. I should be able to fit more comfortably into my jeans and maybe sometime soon I can wear some of those cute little shirts I got when I was thinner, before having Jordan.

I'm ready for good things to happen.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The best cookies EVER!

Do you tend to pass by the Christmas cookies because they're always the same-old same-old?

Yeah, me too. Until now.

I stumbled across a recipe on a blog for chili chocolate cookies. I'm in love with chili chocolate bars (Like the Lindt ones) so I thought they sounded great. I printed off the recipe and prepared to make it but realized there wasn't anything even remotely chocolate in there. I tried to contact the author but she didn't get back to me, so I went Googling for a new one.

I found a recipe for Aztec Chocolate Cookies at Savour Fare (on the site it says it was adapted from Martha Stewart)and decided to give it a try. Boy am I glad I did!

I went to the high end of the chili pepper and I found the need for some more liquid because my dough wasn't doughy at all, but very dry, so I added an egg, which worked out very well. I was probably a little heavier on the chocolate chips, too. It was so good, I ate a lot of the dough before it could even become a cookie.

The recipe, adapted from Savour Fare, which adapted it from Martha Stewart:

1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tb. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground chipotle chili pepper
1 tb. cocoa powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown cugar
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
7 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I basically gave each of my boys a handful of chips to snack on and just dumped the rest of the 12-ounce bag in!)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Combine flour, spices and cocoa powder in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add honey and vanilla and beat until combined.
Dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 tsp. hot water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking soda mixture and egg, then rest of flour. Mix in chocolate chips and refrigerate dough for about a half hour. Try not to eat all the dough because it's awesome.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Scoop up spoonfuls of dough and roll into balls. (Original recipe said 2-inch balls. I think mine were smaller. Whatever.) Roll balls in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet. Flatten slightly.

Bake 20 minutes or so until surface is slightly cracked.

These taste like chocolate-chip gingersnaps with a warm afterburn. AMAZING! They're quite spicy but my kids even liked them, and we're all wimps when it comes to hot stuff.

I fully admit to eating about 90% of this batch myself. It was insanely good and I should probably not make them ever again or I'll gain ten pounds.

Hope you like 'em! :)

Oh, sorry there are no photos. I couldn't stop stuffing them in my face long enough to take any. They look like brown chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What little boys are made of

I love being the mom of little boys.
They're fun little critters.

Boxes are awesome.

So are mom's slippers.

And funny faces.

Nature is amazing.

Trees are good friends.

Monkeys like to hang from trees.

And tree forts are so cool. (Daddies think so, too!)

Kicking a soccer ball at Mom's face is a riot.

"Gone With the Wind is SO not my favorite book, Mom."

Boys. They're messy little dudes, but that's OK. I love 'em anyway!

Plus, they give great, sloppy kisses!