Merry Christmas 2010!

Christmas around here is simply magical. Our home is warm with smiles, laughter and love.

These are just a few highlights from this wonderful day!

Ginger, as always, was the easiest child to please. She was in awe of each present she received. Here she is with Barbie clothes from Pap and Nana.

This was her most wanted item (next to her own pair of scissors). I had banned markers from any child under the age of 8. Although you would be correct in guessing that I'm a little compulsive about certain kinds of messes, I have to say that one can only find marker art on so many no-paper surfaces (such as dressers, bathroom walks, bed linens, you get the picture) before losing one's mind. Scissors have also been hidden and out of reach (rememember the case of the mysterious missing hair?). Anyway, Ginger was very happy to have the ban lifted.

She was also thrilled to receive a little bling!

A piggy bank from the dollar store was a big hit, too!

I'm not so sure this Wocket was a big hit for Ginger. She couldn't wear it, make art with it, or read it. It's been stuffed in a bag since Christmas day. I guess they all can't be winners, right?

Owen was thrilled with his boring assortment of boy toys. Bakugan, Mighty Beanz, video games.

As you can see, his fashion sense did not change for the holidays. (Not so interesting side note - Owen received this sweatshirt as a Christmas gift from my mother in 2007. The fact that he is still wearing it is a testament to his fashion sensibility. After all, you wouldn't want to wear something that actually fits and isn't designed to look cute on a toddler).

Maddie was tricky this year. She told Santa "Please bring me something to entertain me." That is totally not fair. I wish someone would explain the rules to this child! Without a wish list, how is Santa supposed to know what to get?

She was pretty entertained by her Nintendo DS. In fact, she has been entertaining her self with this pretty much non stop since Christmas day. In FACT, she has been wearing this same outfit since Christmas day.

And, what's Christmas without a little drama? Here is the Queen with a squishy ball, which was "Just what I ALWAYS wanted!!!"

I don't even remember what this was about. Whatever it was, it was pretty dramatic.

The girls dressed in their outfits that I got on clearance after Halloween. I think they cost 25 cents each. They've been wearing parts of these outfits ever since, so I think that was money well spent.

CoCo loved her Grinch, until I read the story to her. After that, she wasn't so impressed with him.

Even socks are exciting if they are wrapped in princess paper and found under a tree!!

And this is the Mayor of Quinbyville, who presided over the days' activities.

Merry Christmas to you! Hope that the magic of Christmas is with you always!


I just can't seem to keep up with anything these days. Ginger woke me up today by crying because she doesn't have any clean pants to wear. Seriously - it's that bad.

So, it's no wonder that I'm only posting about Thanksgiving now. Not that anything exciting happened. On the contrary, it was as boring a holiday as ever. Gobble gobble, and all that.

Anyway, the highlight of the day was this turkey sweet potato that Maddie made. This picture doesn't do the potato justice. That potato weighed over 1 1/2 pounds!! That was one big potato! I never had any intention of cooking it (we are a big family but - dang! - that was one big potato!). I just bought it because I wanted the kids to see it. I figured they'd never believe me (seems that certain children think that their mother is guilty of exaggerating at times).

I couldn't exactly buy a potato and not USE it. That would just be wasteful. So, I gave Maddie the job of turning it into a turkey. As you can plainly see, she did a fantastic job.

The part that you can't see is what Maddie wrote on the back of the tail feathers. She went around the house asking each mammal what they were thankful for. (I was thankful that she didn't ask the amphibians or fish - but I forgot to mention it). She wrote what each person was thankful for on the back of each feather. This has to be the funniest thing I've ever seen. Here is what she wrote:

Owen: "I'm thankful for the food Mother Nature gave us."

Mom: "I'm thankful for my family, especially my children. And that Quinnby came back." (I was a little freaked out that the cat ran away, and was truly thankful to have him home again).

Ginger: "I'm thankful for the trees that give us air."

Maddie: "I'm thankful I have a family that cares for me."

CoCo: "I'm thankful that we have turkey. And my workplan." (CoCo is very proud of her workplan - most kids in her class don't get one until kindergarten, and she's only 1/3 of the way thru pre-school).

Then, Maddie started getting a little punchy.

Quinn (aka the Mayor of Quinnbyville): "I'm thankful to be home."

Frizbee / Beano: "I'm thankful that I only sneeze 6 hours a day." (Kitty colds are no fun).

Kahlua / Buddha: "I'm thankful that I wasn't chucked out when I started peeing all over the house."

Amber: "I'm thankful that my owners got a cat that puts up with my herding and biting."

And that's that.

Hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Halloween 2010

I love Halloween. I think that it's my favorite holiday.

I got a lot smarter this year. Previous years, I have scrambled to make Halloween costumes. I let the kids choose anything they want, and then I spend weeks and weeks in a panic, hoping I'll be done in time. This year, I had purchased costumes for the kids. AND, I got them on clearance LAST year. I was sure to pick things that I believed the kids would like, but I absolutely, positively did not consult them on this matter.

It turned out great.

The little girls were Sharpei and Gabrielle from High School Musical. Ginger would have preferred to be Sharpei (her life long wish is to be blond), but the other dress fit her better.

They were so cute. It took me hours to curl Ginger's hair. (Ok - so maybe I'm exaggerating. Wouldn't be the first time. But, it sure FELT like hours).

CoCo only let me work on hers for a few minutes.

Maddie wouldn't let me touch her hair at all. Maddie has the most beautiful hair in the world, and she never lets me anywhere near it. I had visions of straight, very Egyptian looking hair (until Maddie informed me that Cleopatra was Greek).

Owen has become very camera shy. It took a lot of bribing and threatening to get these few pictures. He is the cutest Jedi knight that I have ever seen.

The kids (and mom!!) were so excited to wear Halloween costumes 3 days in a row. We we to a Halloween party at the haunted dojo where they take karate, spent an evening on a horse farm with Owen's friends (with horses in costume - if you can imagine that), and Halloween night trick-or-treating with Maddie's friends. It was a fantastic weekend.

And, I am proud to report that I have already bought 3 out of 4 kids costumes for next year. 90% off at Walmart. Can't beat it.

Another Year at the Gourd Farm

This was our second annual trip to the Green Level Gourd Farm in Apex. (Although it was actually Owen's first trip - last year, he was in DC for his "boys only" trip). We love this little farm - it really gets us in the mood for fall and Halloween.

We started our day in the mini corn maze. I am too directionally challenged for full-size corn field mazes, so this one was perfect for us. No one got lost. In fact, I could stand at the edge and watch everyone without ever entering the maze myself. (I didn't. The sign said that parents had to accompany children, and we follow every single rule that is on a sign).

Then, we moved on to the haunted hay ride. Calling it haunted is a little bit of a stretch, really, but the kids get a big kick out of it. This picture is probably the most haunting part of the entire ride.

Here is Owen, ready for anything. He was very disappointed that the hay ride didn't take place in the dark. (However, Owen later had the chance to go on a very haunted hay ride. I could hear him screaming from the other side of the farm. He could not sleep by himself for weeks after that. I am a bad mother. I should not have let him go.).

Funny story - Owen wore his "Jukebox the Ghost" shirt almost non-stop during the Halloween season. I think he thinks the "ghost" has something to do with Halloween! He cracks me up.

After the hayride, we got to play with the many toys and activities that they have on the farm. We stayed for hours. There's so much to do (although, to be honest, we could do most of these things in our own back yard. There is something about being away from home that makes it so much more fun).

They loved pushing each other around on these horse swings.

And had fun driving around the tractors.

Maddie's favorite is pretending to lasso steer and horses.

There were lots of things to climb, crawl thru, and slide down.

We spent a long time just playing games.

And, of course, there were the pumpkins. Er....I mean gourds? I don't know. Either way, this is one of the best parts.

After pumpkins have been selected, you are allowed to decorate your pumpkin with stickers and markers for FREE! You have to pay a few dollars for the pumpkins, but you can decorate to your heart's content.

I have to say, I felt a little sad about the kids growing up. As I watched them play, I realized that this wouldn't be fun for them much longer. In fact, Maddie spent more time hanging out with me than she did with the other kids. I enjoy my kids so much at every age, and I am excited to be a part of them growing up. But they sure aren't babies any more. This was a day for little kids and this a place for families with small children. We aren't going to be that family much longer. It's kinda sad for me.

But - we had a wonderful time. It was a beautiful day and the kids are still talking about the fun that they had.