Sunday, November 30, 2008

We Won!

OK, first let me point out that after an entire season of complaining about football, don't you love how I include MYSELF in the team's victory....WE won?!? Hey, I fully admit to being a fair weather fan and I did help the team by relinquishing my husband to them for the entire freaking long season! :)

It was a great game. Back and forth the entire time and always within reach of pulling ahead for each team. The other team came with about 200 players....all corn fed farm boys! It was a good matchup to our team of tough boy city kids!

My husband at work. He had a few injuries (torn ACL and broken kneecap...ouch!) but nothing too bad.

I thought I took a picture of the final scoreboard, but didn't. The score didn't change in the final 12 seconds, but it was a nail biter. The other team got pretty darn close to another touchdown in those last few seconds. HCHS would be Hazelwood Central High School, my husband's team The pollsters had them losing by 21 points...not even close!
Congratulations team! My husband is now MINE for awhile...well, I mean after basketball and baseball seasons are over.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Baby time!

My brother and sister-in-law were in town for the holidays and that meant lots of baby time for the rest of the family.

This little nugget just slept and slept and slept. He is only 3 weeks old, afterall, and they don't do much more than that at this age. I think he was held non-stop from the minute he arrived until they packed up and left town.

Not to be outdone by his baby brother, big brother Isaiah charmed the pants off whoever was NOT currently holding his baby brother.

Especially if you came around with a camera that has a flash that pops up when needed.

As soon as he saw that flash pop up, he started making his faces.

And just kept going as long as someone on the other end of the camera kept making that flashy thing go off!

OK, we may have temporarily blinded him by now but being the trooper he is, he keeps on going.

But we give it a rest when he finally flashes this look that clearly says, "Enough with the pictures, Aunt Gretchen...let's go play with the trains instead!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Since I'm not making the big meal, I have to blog this morning! :)

I have so much for which to be thankful.

My kids. Our road to parenthood was full of high mountains and very deep valleys. Just the fact that I get to parent these wonderful children is one of my greatest treaures. I'm thankful for Carson's wild spirit (which does drive me nuts at times) and gentle side. I'm thankful for Elise's peaceful and gentle nature and her strong desire for order.

I'm thankful for my husband who puts up with me in truly the best and worst of times! :) (Yes, this is a public acknowledgement that ~I~ can be a bit difficult to live with at times....those times are few and far between, right?!!)

I'm thankful for our extended family who love and support us in so many ways. I'm also thankful for the wonderful friends who made...most of whom we don't get to see very often as we've all spread throughout the country.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wii anyone?!?

Anyone have a Wii and willing to share how they like it?

At Elise's IEP meeting this week, she was released from physical therapy (YEAH!) but her PT said she still needs some work on eye-hand coordination. When I asked for suggestions on activities that would encourage that type of movement, the PT seriously recommended a Wii. (So, if the PT recommends it, does insurance cover it?!? Don't worry, I already know the answer!) you have one? Do you like it? Would you recommend it for a 6 and 10 year old? What games do your kids enjoy the most?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A project interrupted...

...our dining room project has encountered yet another hurdle. (Yes, for those inquiring minds, Perry's team won the semi-finals and will play for the state championship this coming Saturday!)

We cleaned out the room. I have dining room furniture all over the house at the moment. Including the table right where we usually put up the Christmas tree, so this room needs to come back together pretty darn quickly (why do the home improvement shows always make it seem like you can do this type of project in mere hours?!?)

We painted the top half of the walls and started building the wainscoting. I should add here that my brother-in-law did this same pattern all over their house and it looks wonderful. There to put this politely....a wee bit of competition between Perry and Shawn (previously mentioned brother-in-law). Knowing we are hosting Christmas this year and we've been talking about doing this for about 2 years, Perry decided to fit this project into his continuing football schedule! :)

Wainscoting is up and we've started painting. I love it! That yucky carpet (complete with pet urine stains from the previous owner...blech!) will soon be replaced with hardwood flooring.

But, in the process, we discovered this pesky pipe. You see, we've been noticing a teeny-tiny drip of water in the basement so we decided to open the wall up to check it out. Nothing. Didn't see any water, but the wood around the pipe was wet. We were perplexed.

Let me mention that my husband was born with the "I hate to pay anyone to do a job that I could easily do" gene.

Except that the last time he attempted a plumbing project, we had a MAJOR basement flood and ended up completely re-doing the basement. Not to be confused with the time our basement flooded last spring when the sump pump went to the pearly gates of sump pump heaven. Yes, that would be TWICE that the basement has flooded and we've had to replace everything.

We're a bit gun-shy of anything that might cause another basement flood! We literally cannot afford another flood.

But, that "I hate to pay anyone to do a job that I could easily do" gene still prevailed in my husband.

He did what most men would do...sought the advice of a 16 year old kid at Home Depot. Said kid recommended some epoxy covering.

I, having NO PROBLEM paying someone to fix what could prevent another basement flood, called a plumber today while Perry was at work.

Problem solved, pipe replaced, project can go on.

Turns out, the pipe had been nicked by a nail, probably back when the house was built 14 years ago. The plumber said he sees this all the time. It starts as a slooooowwwww drip and very quickly escalates. Because the pipes are in the walls, when it goes, it causes a lot of damage. Phew...I'm so glad we had it replaced.

And who knew that Joe the Plumber made so much money!!! :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Albuquerque is a Turkey

Elise's class is singing the following song in front of the entire school on Monday so we've been practicing. Here are the words (Elise only signs the first 2 verses in the video...sorry about the poor quality).

(Sung to the tune of Oh Clementine)

Albuquerque is a turkey

And he's feathered and he's fine

Yes, he wobbles and he gobbles,

And he's absolutely mine.

He's the best pet that you can get

Better than a dog or cat

He's my Albuquerque turkey

And I'm mightly proud of that!

Albuquerque is a turkey

plump and prime I'd have to say

All who see him can foresee him

Brown and stuffed Thanksgiving Day.

One the eve I went to feed him,

But the lot it was quite bare,

He no longer strutted proudly

Albuquerque was not there.

I assumed someone had stole him

So for them he did exist,

As for me I age bologna

Never sure what I had missed.

Next day after I heard laughter

Ran to look with much concern

There he was both proud and stately

Albuquerque had returned.

Seemed the children loved my turkey

So they took him from the pen

Hid him good til it was over

Then they brought him home again.

Albuquerque is a turkey

Who survived Thanksgiving Day

Now he proudly strolls around me

And I love him to this day.

Warning...this song is highly addictive. You may find yourself humming it over and over and over and over....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Urine Sample

How's that for a glamorous title!?!

I was asked to provide a urine sample yesterday. Not for me. Not for my children. But, for my dog.

Yeah...think about that for a moment. How would you collect such a sample!?

Trixie's been showing signs that she might have UTI and we wanted to get that checked out so off to the vet we went (without the urine sample...I just laughed and told them I had NO IDEA how to obtain that...they assured me they could help collect one when we arrived.)

They put us in the same room where Sneakers fell asleep for the last time. It was a bit emotional. I kept remembering the heartbreaking sobs that overwhelmed Carson and I on that day. ( are still greatly missed, sweet puppy!)

Several shots and tests later, Trixie was given a clean bill of health. No UTI but she does have a case of separation anxiety. Why should my dog be any different from my children?!?

And, they proclaimed that Trixie has beautiful pee. Isn't that special?!?

Sigh...the things dog lovers have to brag about!

(And for the really takes 2 people to collect a follows behind the dog with an upside down frisbee....see what useful tips you know now after visiting me today?!?)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday recap

I'm posting pictures of the pooches tonight because they are the only ones that got along today.

The kids pushed every button known to mom and their sibling today. It was a rough day. The kids were emotional and lost it at the drop of a hat. Carson's birthday party is tomorrow and while we're not having it at the house, all the kids are meeting up at the house to go to laser tag so the house needs to look somewhat presentable. Perry was gone all day at a football game so I was by myself. It was a stressful day.

I think Molly thinks she's part cat. Molly doesn't quite do the "I'm always so happy to see you" dance that Trixie does (and all our other dogs have done).

The Thunderchickens won again. Dang it. So, next weekend, when you should have started to see lovely hardwood floors and wainscoting here, my hubby will be at yet another football game. Someday it may look lovely, but for now, it'll look like this...complete with one lazy dog (by the staircase).

And to all the suggestions that we bring the team over to help with the floor...I mentioned that idea to Perry. He teaches in a pretty rough school. He thinks it best that the kids NOT know where he lives because (a) a lot of kids flunk his class and (b) they have a hard time keeping some of these kids OUT of jail. They might do a bit more than TP the house. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thunderchicken Update

For an explanation of Thunderchickens, please see here. It has to do bored football coaches and a crazy looking logo.

In case it hasn't been clear...I'm not a sports person. My 92 year old Grandmother has more in common with my husband than I do in that area. Seriously!

So, combine one less than enthusiastic wife with one husband who has a career in SPORTS medicine, add in postseason football and you have one unhappy momma.

The Thunderchickens are now in postseason play. Don't get me wrong, I know it's very exciting for the team and for many of these kids it's their only ticket to college (my career is in higher ed so I'm all for getting kids to college in whatever way motives them!).

But, we had plans to re-do our dining room over the Thanksgiving week. Nope, no contractors coming in, we're tackling this puppy all on our own!

That is, if my husband is around.

Three games stand between the today and the state championships. Three. Any guess when the state championship game would be.

Yup....the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

With the next game being this coming weekend (which should have been the time we prepped the room) and the next game being the following weekend (when the hard labor is scheduled to occur). Sigh...if all had gone according to my plans, we'd be spending the weekend after Thanksgiving doing the finishing touches to get the room all ready for our big Christmas celebration. Now we MIGHT be sitting in the Edwards Jones Dome (or whatever it's called these days) watching 2 high school teams battling it out.

I really am happy for the team. Perry has been with several teams all the way to the top and there is an energy that is unlike anything you've seen at that level. So, yes, I am excited.

But, I'd still like to have my dining room done by the end of November. :(

(Oh, and the team they are playing on Saturday are HUGE the point of there being a shooting after the last basketball matchup between the two....I won't be taking the kids to the game this weekend!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My 3:00 am wakeup call

Allow me to set the stage....the kids didn't have school today. My aunt very kindly agreed to babysit so they wouldn't have to go to the day program at the local Y (which they hate). My aunt spent the night here so the kids could sleep in as long as they wanted. And Perry and I could get out of the house without having to wake up the kids.

At 3:00 am, I feel the gently prodding of a child and the quiet "mom, mom, are you awake?" I roll over to look into my daughter's eyes (well, as much of her eyes as I could see in the near darkness of 3:00 am).

I'm fully expecting her to say she's had a bad dream and ask to crawl into bed with us.

Me: What's wrong, honey?

Elise: Mom, will you and Dad wake me up to say goodbye before you leave in the morning?

Me: Sure, is that it?

Elise: Yup. daughter was so concerned about us leaving and not being able to say goodbye that she kept herself up at night!

And, for the record, we did very quietly ~try~ towake her up (Ok, not really, but it's what we told her!) before we each left this morning. My aunt reported that she slept in quite late! Guess once she knew we'd try to wake her up, she was able to sleep more soundly.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Carson had a great birthday yesterday and will stretch out the celebration by having a laser tag party with his friends next weekend.

But, this weekend, his cousin is staying with us so his birthday weekend is turning out extra special. My kids LOVE their cousins and it's a constant battle for attention. Poor Tyler must get tired of hearing, "will you play with ME now?"

Added to the normal tension of an extra playmate in the house and vying for his attention, there is a bit more tension this weekend.

You see, Carson got two new PSP games at our family's birthday party 2 weeks ago. Games he really.really.really wanted.

Unfortunately, his PSP decided to choose that day to break. Would not load a game to save it's life. So, Carson's PSP is off for repairs and who knows how long that will take. In the meantime, these two new ultra-fabulous games have been collecting dust....completely UNplayed.

That is, until his cousin showed up with his shiny...and most importantly...fully functioning...PSP. Not only did he bring his PSP, he brought a strong desire to play Carson's new games as they are games he does not have.

Normally, the kids have enough different games between them that they have no problem sharing. Carson welcomes Tyler's ability to get past certain levels of most games.
Except when you have only ONE machine. Not only do you have to share the games (which they typically don't mind), you also have to share PLAYING TIME.
Add to that one little girl who could care less about the PSP games and only wants her cousin to play with her...and you have a recipe for one big ol' momma headache! :)

And this is off topic, but as I walked over to dump my pictures, I found YET ANOTHER dead fly. They are all over our house right now. Between the dead flies and the fake Halloween cockroaches, our house is a lovely place to visit right now.
RIP, Mr. Fly. (P.S...could you send out a message to your comrades that our house really isn't a desirable as it might seem to a fly? Really, I'm sure there are better places to congregate. And those dogs you torment in my house may one day actually CATCH and EAT you!)

Friday, November 7, 2008


Dear Carson,

It's hard to believe that 10 years ago you were born. You've grown into an amazing boy! I love your spunk, your kind spirit, your keen interest in all things nature, your sense of humor, your energy. I have so enjoyed being your mom. I can't wait to see what the next few years have in store for you!



Somehow, it seems as if I just blinked and you went from adorable toddler into this grown up and handsome boy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Was this necessary?

What smarty-pants decided this would be a good thing to give away at Halloween?

They must have been giving them away at the parade because between my 2 kids, we have about 17 of these critters.

I keep finding them lunch box....the the the underwear drawer....

I wasn't feeling well last night and fell asleep before the kids. I woke up in the middle of the night, turned over and felt one of these nasty things in the BED! (I was tempted to wake someone else up at 3:00 am and share how funny I really found the prank!)

And, as I tried to take a picture of this guy, a quick hand darted in and tried to steal it away. Hmmm....wonder where I'll find this one next?!?


Monday, November 3, 2008

I vote for....

...continuing the presidential election for a few more months!

No, I'm not insane...and I live in the media market for one of the hotly contested states and our airways are being bombarded by political ads.

But...have you seen the price of gas lately?!? I filled up for $2.17/gallon yesterday! SERIOUSLY!

It seems the closer we get to the election, the lower the gas prices go. Just think about...2 more months of campaigning and we might go UNDER $1.00/gallon.

Now that's worth putting up a few more weeks of political ads and robocalls, don't you think?!?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm an aunt again!

I love being an aunt. Probably because we have AMAZING nieces and nephews and I was an aunt way before I was a mom.

And now I have one more nephew to fawn over. Peter Nathaniel was born yesterday. One of his due dates was on Carson's birthday later this week and Carson was really hoping they'd share a birthday.

He was born yesterday in Chicago. It took a great deal of restraint to not hop in the car for a quick one day trip up to lay eyes on him.

This is my brother, who is 10 years younger than me (but with all that grey hair is looking closer to my age every day!) I still see him as a 14 year old kid so it blows my mind every time I think of him as a father!

And not to be outstaged, here is Isaiah (Peter's older brother) lounging with one of their dogs. He has no idea how this new baby will rock his world.
They are coming down for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure I can wait unti them to get my hands on this new guy and play with Isaiah.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween parties and parade

Yesterday was a wild day with class parties and our town's Halloween parade.

It is next to impossible for me to attend both kids' classroom parties. Our district breaks the schools into K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 grades. As my kids are 4 years apart in ages, they won't be together in the same building until high school. And, by then, I suspect they won't really want me around.

This year, I did manage to partially hit both parties. Elise's school does a parade from their school to the district offices and back. It's just under a 2 mile round trip walk and the entire school of 450 students dresses up in their costumes for the walk. We got lucky this year as it was 70 degrees and sunny. (I've done the walk in some pretty crappy weather!)

There's the princess with some of her classmates.

It's really quite a sight to see that many kids. I'm standing at the turnaround point and if you look carefully, you can see the sidewalks on both sides of the street are full of kids for as far as you can see!

And it's a great opportunity to get a class picture. (Elise is off to the side because she was upset about getting a sweet gum ball from the tree stuck in the tulle of her dress!)

After the parade, the classroom party begins and that is where I sprinted over to Carson's school to hit the tail end of his party.

Carson with a friend and his teacher. I think you could have easily combined the boys' costumes!

Carson's class played pictionary. The other moms and I weren't quite sure where Carson was going with this drawing! Turns out it was a candy apple. One girl drew what I thought looked like an ovary, but turned out to be a makeup container (?!?). I'm not sure who had more fun...the kids or the moms trying to figure out the drawings.

To cap off the day, we headed out to the town's annual Halloween parade. My folks even came over to join us. It's an evening parade, which is always fun and the kids get TONS of candy. Both Carson and Elise found friends in the same spot so it was a fun evening for all. It was a beautiful evening for a parade.
Between trick-or-treating and the parade, I think we're set for candy for about 2 years!