Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Until We Meet Again...

I apologize it has been a few days. I have been updating the family blog with lots of pictures.

Now on to our regularly scheduled blogging...

Oh, Buddy, our sweet Buddy. Well, mostly sweet, a little bit mischievous. Very entertaining. Reminds me of a little dog who lives in our house.

Anyway, Buddy's last days with us...

One morning we found Buddy fishing in a bowl of goldfish. I think he was using a little Barbie fishing pole...

The next morning, we found Buddy in the toyroom. He was singing Christmas carols ("Away in a Manger" to be exact) with some of the Little People. That is a little songbook ornament I have had for years; it is usually hanging on the tree. I guess Buddy needed it to stay on key.
Finally, Christmas Eve morning, we found Buddy hitching a ride with Santa on his sleigh. I can only guess that was in anticipation of Santa (the bigger guy) coming that night in his full size sleigh. Apparently Buddy hitched a ride back to the North Pole that evening; I am really missing him these days. Hopefully he will come back next year!

Until we meet again, dear Buddy. Thank you for the good times!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Losing It

I have debated whether to write a whole post about a certain little girl. And I still don't know whether I should or not. I may just summarize it by saying that this year has been a good year with her. I don't know if it is maturity, her teacher, being part of a team (basketball), or just confidence, but little Miss is a different child this year. I was worried about the holidays because that has always been a difficult time with her. But this year it hasn't. In fact, she has been downright delightful.

One change I am seeing is the smiles and joy coming from her daily. It used to be when I saw her in the hallway at school (which happens fairly often), she would look away from me or say "hi" with the enthusiasm of a stick, almost forced. This year is different. When I pass her now, she will wave to me and smile and often tell me hi.

Well, yesterday I ran into her while my kids were having a bathroom break. She came up to me, eager to talk. Highly unusual. Then she told me excitedly that she had a couple of loose teeth.

I was surprised.

This child has shown NO signs of loose teeth. None. She is mid-second grade and hasn't lost one yet. In fact, at the dentist appointment this past summer, they took x-rays to make sure she HAD permanent teeth somewhere. They were there but nowhere close to the surface.

So this news she delivered caught me off guard.

I told her to let me see it.

She opened her mouth, and I peered in. Then I almost fell over in shock.

Her TWO bottom permanent teeth have completely come in behind her baby teeth. How did I not know this???

She wiggled her loose tooth.

It fell completely forward.

As in it was going to fall out within a day.

Again, how did I not know this?

Later, I asked Child 3 how come she hadn't told me she had two loose teeth.

Her response? "Mom, I didn't know either. I just found out too."

And...a few hours later, it was out...with my help :).


It is hard to tell since the permanent is right behind it. But she will proudly tell you if you doubt.

I am predicting the second one will come out anytime.

Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy in one week.

On another note, Buddy adventures. I know you are just waiting in eager anticipation.

One morning, after a long search, Buddy was spotted inside the fireplace. Not only was he hanging out there, but he was wearing a Santa hat and had a small bag of...I don't know what. I didn't look. But it looked like Santa's bag. Sad news for Buddy though. Our fireplace is a gas fireplace. There is no chimney. :)
The next morning we found Buddy hitching a ride on a very dusty ceiling fan. It took us a while to find him. Who would have thought to look up? Thankfully, since it is winter, the fan is not spinning.

This morning Buddy was having a snowball/marshmallow fight on the table.

Silly elf.

Finally, a certain little boy has been making giggle which is much nicer than making me cry. Yes, that does happen on occasion.

Yesterday in the car, he announced that he was partway grown up. He also eagerly told me that he was probably almost as tall as his teacher's cabinet. Okay, you probably had to be there for those. They were cute though.

Then tonight he announced that he was an angel (which is a laugh in itself :). I turned around to find my little "angel" with a white hair scrunchie pulled over and around his head like a headband.

More soon,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Random Ramblings (The Week Before Christmas)

I have so much "real" stuff I need to blog about, but instead I am going to have a random rambling post because I can't focus on one thing/topic for more than a minute or two...

Before I forget, here is Buddy on Friday. We found him riding on a train, headed straight for the Polar Express movie. So guess what we did Friday night? Had a movie and popcorn/Shakes night! Woohoo! That Buddy has the greatest ideas.
Apparently the popcorn and shakes weren't enough for our elf friend. Saturday morning Buddy was discovered eating M and M's from the candy cup. I don't think Daddy was very pleased with that. He claims the peanut M and M's for himself and doesn't particularly care to share...
They say "Melts in your mouth, not on your hands". But I guess they said nothing about not melting ON your face...
This morning, We found Buddy in the living room. He was hanging out, playing with a Christmas Rubix cube.

Totally not Elf related, here is our little Fuzzy Face. Have I said lately how much I adore her???

We still have no ornaments on the tree. Well, a few that the kids have made. That is it. I am thinking maybe Wednesday when we will have more time to do it.

Nor have I sent a Christmas card out. I do have them (I think...). I just need to do the whole addressing, licking the envelope, stamp thing.

Just in case it sounds like I am totally not in the holiday spirit, I should add...

We are doing the Countdown to Christmas books. I did not wrap them all at the same time as I have done in years past. I am wrapping about 5 or so at a time. Then when we are about to run out, I wrap more. That has been okay with the kids and has worked for me.

I am also doing a "12 Days of Christmas" for my hubby. Each day I have a corny little poem or note to go with a little treat or a promise for a date later. Today's was a pack of gum with a note telling him I would "chews" him over and over again. Nothing big. Just fun. I put them in a different place each day.

I am not sure where the weekend went.

I was running some errands yesterday. On a whim, I stopped at a store to check on some things I was looking for. I hit the jackpot. I got four new custard cups for fairly cheap (which was a treat since some children in my house used my other custard cups for paints and they never have looked the same). And I found Black and White drizzled kettle corn. I had had it at a baby shower not long ago and had dreamed of it ever since. I bought some. I wish I had bought more. It is DELISH. Yum. Yum. Surely it is kind of good for me, right? Popcorn has fiber in it...

Did I mention that these are random ramblings?

We had a nice evening last night, hanging out with our friends J ad A for dinner. Good food, good company.

I better stop rambling. I will try to be serious soon. Maybe.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Elf Adventures

So much to share. We finished up programs tonight. We had a fun night creating a gingerbread house. And some thoughts on Santa and gifts. But none of that will happen tonight. I have been very busy with Christmas related tasks and still need to do a few more things...

So I am going to do an easy post. I will share a few Elf adventures around here...

One morning we found Buddy hanging out in the Christmas tree. The tree that STILL has no ornaments. Well, other than this one ornament Buddy hung up. Hmmm, looks a lot like a little elf I know.
The next day we found Buddy hanging out by the water/ice dispenser. Looks like he wrote out a little message for the children in the house.

The next day Buddy was spotted in the dining room, riding a Star Wars Starfighter. Looks like R2D2 and Darth Vader were checking him out.
One night Buddy decided to sign our daughter's agenda (for school). I wonder what the teacher thought about that?
This morning the kids found Buddy in the toyroom. He and Barbie were apparently taking a joy ride around the house. They need to be careful though. I didn't see a seatbelt on either one.
Buddy seems to be a bit infatuated here...
Hmmm, I can only guess what our next adventure will be!

More soon,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feeling Festive...Finally!

I am a bit behind in posting some big events, but with good reason. Programs. We attended our third holiday program tonight (Child 2 has had two, Child 4 one), with one more to go this week (Child 1). I want to share a picture or two from each but will wait until the final chorus concert.

We are slowly getting into the festive spirit around here. I finally just stayed up one night and did a little decorating. The stockings are hung. The nativity sets are out. The garland adorns the fireplace. And I even have Christmas music playing from my i-pod these days. (Though our tree still does NOT have ornaments...)

It took me a while to get here.

I have mentioned before that it isn't that I am anti-Christmas. Quite the contrary. I am so very thankful for Christmas and what it means. I am just anti-early holiday. Seeing Christmas in October is just too much for me. I treasure Thanksgiving and what it means (giving thanks for all God has provided and even more for who He is). I don't want to rush the holidays. In fact, I want to savor them. Each and every moment.

And finally I am there.

Now the kids...well, they have been festive for some time. :) But they have patiently (most of the time) waited for me.

I think even the pup is feeling festive these days...
Well, kind of :)

I haven't given an elf update recently. I have a few more to share but they are on the camera and I don't feel like getting up to get it.

Here is Buddy on the day of Child 1's birthday. He must know what a Razorback fan our son is. Or maybe he is a fan himself. :)

Finally, as you may remember, about a month ago, we gave up eating out as a family. We talked alot about sacrifice with the kids. We told them we would take that money we normally eat out with (once a week, occasionally twice) to give to others. At first, the kids didn't feel the sacrifice. I will admit, Mark and I had a couple of "dates" that involved food but otherwise, we kept to our promise (about not eating out as a FAMILY). I think I felt the sacrifice first...I love pizza and missed it terribly. I made some at home but it isn't quite the same. About the third week, the kids were feeling it too.

One month later, we ended the sacrifice with...pizza of course. :)

We used some of the money for an offering at church for missions.

But we still had some left.

So tonight I talked to the kids about some possibilities for the money; they will each get a portion to share at the charity of their choice. I mentioned missionary friends, some charities in Guatemala, "angels" at the elementary school (to help with Christmas),
etc. They also brought up Circle of Life, a local hospice, that is near and dear to my heart. We will talk more tomorrow but for now, it looks like the boys are leaning toward some opportunities with charities in Guatemala. And the girls are leaning toward Circle of Life. Though we are eating out again, we are going to slow down on eating out (really, we don't do it THAT much) and continue to give monthly to a special cause.

Well, that is a quick wrap up. I better head to bed. More running to do tomorrow!

Have a good day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Deck the Halls...

Slow Moving. That is what we are. Slow moving.

As of last night, our tree was up with lights on it. And a star.

That is it.

Maybe it will have ornaments this weekend.

Maybe not.

Because of course, we have lots of activities this weekend too.

Just lights is kind of pretty, isn't it?
On another note, I am even behind in blogging about Buddy. After Buddy's fun playing in the snow (or powdered sugar), I guess he felt it necessary to take a bath to clean up. I am also thankful he cleaned up that powdered sugar...it really was a mess. (Now if he could just teach my kids to do the same...)
Last night, apparently Buddy had a rough flight to or from the North Pole. We woke up to this...
His poor little foot.
Hopefully an elf's foot heals quickly!

On a somewhat funny note, our youngest child's teacher told me that he was a bit of a turkey today. She didn't have to tell me, I knew. He was like that when I saw him too. Anyway, she said they were walking to the gym. She had to keep stopping to tell him to follow the rules. As I said, he was being a turkey. She finally stopped to tell him he would need a time out in the gym once they got there. She then told me the next thing she heard was his little voice, "I am going to tell Buddy the Elf that Ms. L doesn't get any presents this year."

Do you see what I am dealing with?

She said he did apologize later for saying that, but inside she was laughing.

I am glad she was laughing.

I don't think Santa will be once he hears about little turkey's day...

More soon (really),

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Angels We Have Heard On High

Another evening of holiday activity.

And another tired Reba who doesn't have a real blog post in her.

Just an elf post.

Because they are short.

Of course, just typing this, I keep falling asleep.

So I better be short and sweet. And promise yet again to be more informative tomorrow. (I think NO activities tomorrow after school other than one "ball" practice...)

So we got up this morning and a certain elf had made snow angels (or maybe "elf" angels) in a white substance on the counter. (After further investigation, it was determined that the white substance was actually powdered sugar.)

We have a very messy elf on our hands.

And a messy counter.

Maybe he misses the North Pole?

More soon,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree...

How bare were your branches...

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree, now covered with...

toilet paper?

Oh, that silly elf.

When we got up this morning, a certain elf (who will remain nameless) had decorated our bare tree with toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper. And though it is tempting to blame one of the kids for this one, to make matters worse, we found that certain elf still hanging out IN the tree, empty toilet paper in hand.

Caught red-handed.

Or is it white?

Anyway, I should give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was trying to help out our pitiful attempts at decorating this year. Maybe the white reminded him of the snow at the North Pole. Or maybe we just have a mischievous elf which fits in well in this household.
Either way, I have to say, it keeps life interesting around here!

PS I do have more things to share if we will ever have a free night of NO Christmas programs. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Buddy the Baker

So much to share but it won't be tonight. I am still trying to recover from all I did yesterday. And all I still have to do.

But I wanted to share our Buddy (the Elf) adventure for today.

So this morning was Mark's morning to get up with Marley. Except for that whole twisted ankle thing. So I got up. It was a tad bit chilly out there. I hung out in the toy room waiting for her to take care of her business outside then come in to eat her breakfast.

A bit later, it was time for the kids to get up. Mark started getting breakfast ready for the kids, when one of them yelled out that Buddy was in the dining room.


Buddy had prepared breakfast.

Mark and I were off duty for the morning.


Gotta love an elf that bakes!

More soon,

Fall on Your Knees

Oh, that crazy elf. Look where the kids found him this morning. He was hanging out in the fridge, sitting on a Sprite can, drinking syrup from a crazy straw. You just never know what Buddy is going to be doing each day...

Well, the day started off on a positive note. Yesterday, Mark told me he would really like to stay home today (Sunday). That is unusual for him to suggest. I think he just wanted some family time in the midst of all of the busyness. He had some plans for some advent activities. And we hoped to get some decorating done too.

I will say that a certain little dog still does not understand how to sleep in. But she did go out, take care of her business, then come right back in and curl up with us to snooze a little longer. At least until she got sick. (If she would be more selective on what she ate/chewed on, she probably wouldn't get sick...)

We just hung around the house for a bit. Then we prepared for the setting up of the tree. This is a long process for us. Every year. I was hopeful though. This was the year we would get it done in one day.

Sounded good anyway.

Unfortunately, my sweet hubby took the "Oh Holy Night" selection "Fall on your knees" too literally. As he was carrying in the bag o' tree, something happened. I still am fuzzy what. I just know the next minute, he was walking in (sans tree) limping...or maybe it was hopping. I just know it wasn't walking.

Twisted ankle.

The kids managed to get the bag o'tree in the house. While hubby nursed his ankle (or rather propped it and moaned and groaned occasionally), the kids and I got to work sorting branches, "fluffing" them, then putting them on the tree.

I was curious what little Miss Marley would do and think about the decorating. I am actually not sure how decorations will go this year. She is a mischievous little dog. And she can get into ANYTHING. At first, she seemed oblivious to all of our activity. Then she decided she just had to chew on the tree stand. And a branch or two. Now look at her trying to look all innocent. Yeah, I know. I completely fell for it too.

Finally, the tree is assembled. And bare. Very bare. (Now the song "O Christmas Tree" comes to mind.) Guess who usually lights the tree so we can decorate it? That would be the lighting man of the house. I don't even know where the lights are. Sigh. It is going to be a long process yet again...

Because Hubby was now on the "injured list", that left me. I ran to the grocery store (which he was going to do...pity party for me :), came home, cleaned up the kitchen a little, worked on laundry, and worked in the garage, organizing some stuff. Oh, and I ran to pick up a pair of crutches a friend is letting us borrow.

We had steak for dinner. I was going to cook them in the oven. But hubby decided that with "crunches" (as one child calls them), he was able to grill. Out in the cold. More power to him. I stayed in the house and handled the fried potatoes. At least until I heard, "Help, help! I am going to faint..." For a brief moment, I thought I was the one who would faint. Mark stumbled into the house. (At this point, his ankle is so large, his socks don't fit...) Thankfully, he had finished grilling the steaks, I just had to grill the Texas Toast. Did I mention I have never grilled in my whole life? And that it was VERY cold outside?

Somehow we did it. Dinner was delicious. Then it was time for dessert.

My sister and her family gave us an early Christmas gift (I was SO nearly not that ready). A fondue set. I have never had anything fondue but it sounded like fun. I was surprised when I read the little owner's manual. Several recipes were listed...things I had never thought of. I can't wait to try them! Tonight, I decided we would try out the dessert...chocolate fondue. I may have reconsidered if I had known I would be the sole parent in charge. But I had already promised. And I had already thought about the chocolate.

We put some large marshmallows, pretzel sticks, strawberries, and bananas on the table to dip. Then we went to town. YUM. I really could have just eaten spoons full of the chocolate fondue. But I didn't.

We had a lot of fun. Just one very picky eater (who I won't name but she turns her nose up a lot around here) didn't like my chocolate dip. The rest of us ate it heartily. I can't wait to try more recipes!

It was a full day. Very little decorating. I am now having to go to the attic to retrieve decorations which is very scary for me...that is not my usual job. We didn't really get to discuss much in the way of advent, though we are making a point to talk about it each day in some way.

But even with the ups and downs, we were able to really enjoy our time together as a family.

More later,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buddy the Elf's Morning Appearance

Well, as soon as the kids got up on Saturday, they searched for Buddy (the Elf). I think it is like a game for them. They found him fairly quickly. He was hanging out in the DVD cabinet, sitting on top of a new DVD. Guess which one? ELF! I love that movie and have been wanting to watch it. So our Saturday evening plans were now set...
We had to get up fairly early. Child 3 had a basketball game...they won! Woohoo! I don't have any pictures of that because I was getting ready to watch my runners head out in our school's 5K fundraiser. I have to admit, I wasn't worried about Child 2. She has been training for a year and a half and has run three 5Ks already. I was a little more worried about our firstborn . He hasn't trained beyond the running he does on a football field and the one day he "exercised" by running down our street a few times. Needless to say, there was a LOT of teasing going on...

Well, 30 minutes later, look who appeared. No, not our firstborn. Child 2. She had her best time yet. 30 minutes 37 seconds. Woohoo! I will admit to feeling a little pride when one of the junior high track/cross country coaches from our area came up to a group of us and asked who that girl was and how old she was!

Though he didn't "beat" his sister, who should appear but child 1, five minutes later. Yes, the child who had never trained before ran the 5K in 35 minutes. I have to admit, I had to apologize for all of the teasing I had done. (Don't think I am mean and unsupportive...he was participating just as much as I was. He did say that partway through the run, he asked God to not let him die right there. :)

Oh, by the time the run started, Mark and child 3 had joined us (child 4 was already with me). And Marley the pup came along too. So it was a fun family event. I am very thankful it was NOT raining (as it did later) and that the weather was bearable though it was a bit chilly with the wind.

After that we went separate ways. Mark and the little ones stayed home for naps. One child had a birthday party to attend, and the other helped out at a shopping event at school. And I ran errands (a certain boy has a birthday coming up...next weekend!).

But we were able to come back together for a yummy dinner (crockpot chicken dip), then our viewing of our new movie Elf. Our youngest was laughing hysterically before the opening credits had ever finished...

And this is how Marley felt about the whole thing:
Apparently the morning's excursion wore her out. She just draped herself across my legs and snoozed through the whole movie.

Then when I got up to do some things, she decided that Mark's clean clothes were a good resting spot.
Rough life she leads, isn't it?


Friday, December 2, 2011

Hey, Buddy, Buddy

Last year I started hearing about The Elf on the Shelf. Some of the teachers had guest elves in their classroom. And some friends and family had elves visiting their homes. But alas, no elf at our house. Perhaps Santa's little helpers had heard about our household. Or maybe they were short staffed. I don't know.

But this year...

This year...


an elf was assigned to our family. Poor fellow.

Last night Mark and I had to be out for a fundraiser event. That could be a post in itself. But I will spare you.

Anyway, as you probably remember, we have the whole book holiday book tradition.

The kids are supposed to open a book a night from December 1 through December 24. Like a book each.

The only problem is that for some reason, December snuck up on me. I don't know how. (Word is highlighting "snuck" for me but it just works here, so deal with it :) I mean, December 1 was right after November 30, just like every other year. But for some reason, I wasn't prepared. At all. One book. One total. That is all I got wrapped.

We left the house with instructions for the sitter and for the kids. (By the way, the sitter was in my kindergarten class once upon a time!) I told them they would just have to share the book. And then of course doled out promises to have more books wrapped tomorrow (now today).

And I did. A few more anyway. This may be done in stages this year.

Anyway, this is neither here nor there. Or anywhere.

The book. They opened up the Elf on the Shelf book.

I wasn't here to participate in the reading.


So fast forward to this morning.

We get up and what should we find in our living room hanging out with the books I have wrapped (which are sitting upon the coffee table since we have no tree up...), but a cute little elf.

Apparently he has been signing in on the official certificate in the book. He writes kind of small.
The kids had some fun names, including Marba (for Mark and Reba). But in the end, Dad threw out a suggestion and it stuck. Buddy. (If you have ever watched the movie Elf you understand why :)

And what happens first thing?

A child, who I will not name but will say is old enough to know better, was just standing there, holding the elf.


Did you NOT read the book?

It says specifically DO NOT TOUCH.

Oh, this poor Elf. He is going to get a workout running to the North Pole each night to talk to Santa.

Some time today, Buddy moved ...After school, he was spotted in a NEW spot with a little typed message for Santa. You know, the whole, "Things are going well here at camp but the kids won't leave me alone" kind of message.

Sadly, the afternoon was not so grand for another child (who will remain unnamed...we can just call them Turkey). I have a feeling Buddy is going to be tattling tonight!

Ironically when the kids found Buddy in his new spot with his little "complaint/suggestion", another child immediately went over to pick him up. Did these people not read at all???

I guess that they finally understand the rules. Today at some point, Buddy moved to a new spot. (probably after hearing about the day of one of the kids). The oldest two kids worked together to figure out how to set him back up without touching him. I am still not positive what they did. I just know that pliers were involved. And they didn't touch him again. At least not where I could see.

It will be interesting to see what Buddy will do while hanging out with us. I wonder if he will be a good influence on us or we will be a bad influence on him?

Deep thoughts by Reba