Sunday, December 28, 2008


Our Christmas festivities mostly went off without a hitch. Our Christmas day with my family was postponed until New Year's day due to the snow and difficult driving conditions. My Grandma would be coming from The Dalles and the freeway was closed for most of the week, so nobody was even able to get up and get her down here.
But we still had our Christmas eve with my mom here at our house. Then we went over to my husband's folk's house. We had a nice time visiting with family and eating things we should only eat once a year.
Once we got home, we got the kids to bed and set out our cookies for Santa. He was nice enough to come and leave our presents under the tree. The kids were really worried that they wouldn't make it to the "nice list" due to a few incidents over the past month involving snooping and arguing. (long story) But miraculously they DID make it to the nice list after all.
We had an awesome Christmas day opening presents and spending the whole day in our pajamas, eating Christmas sticky buns (a favorite for as long as I can remember). It was really nice.

Plus as always, we got some great pictures.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The insanity finally comes to an end!

So as I may have mentioned a time or two, all of our Christmas gifts this year were handmade. I do enjoy holiday cooking and baking, but this year I took it to 11. Luckily we have been trapped in our house for the past 2 weeks because of the snow, but it still was a lot of planning and long hours in front of the stove.

We put together gift baskets with a stocking for each person cross stitched by yours truly. Then a multitude of baked goods and other stuff to eat. So essentially in the past month we have made enormous batches of the following.....

Peanut butter cookies
cranberry orange cookies
cinnamon chip cookies
penuche (walnut fudge)
peanut brittle
almond roca
hard candy
chex mix
bailey's Irish cream
incredible pasta sauce
fresh homemade pasta (made by my awesome husband)

It only comes once a year and I do love to do it, but boy I am glad when it is over :)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Now is the winter of my discontent!!

Seriously!! This snow! It warmed up to about 35 today. So all that 12 feet of snow I have out in my front yard....still here. Not going anywhere. I am so sick to death of this. We almost considered canceling our Christmas eve festivities tomorrow night. But decided that we could make it work. Christmas day at my family's house was canceled. We hope to have it on New years day instead. I am beginning to fear where all that snow will melt off and go to. We could have ourselves a pretty gnarly flood on our hands.

I blame Al Gore for all of this. In case you were wondering.

Monday, December 22, 2008

All the Jews in the house say HEYY!!!

I am an equal opportunity blogger over here at Jaxonfive. I am not Jewish, but I did love Fiddler on the roof and secretly wished I was (Jewish) for a long time. You guys have great dancing, music and the best bagels this pasty protestant will ever sink her teeth into.

We are eating our annual Latke dinner tonight and loving every bite of it.

Happy Hanukkah!!

Enough with the snow already!

Ok I am all for snow and all. Don't get me wrong. It is beautiful and fun to play in. That said.......enough is enough!!! It has been snowing for a week straight. All last week of school was canceled. Not that I don't love my kids, but I was in no way prepared for an extra week of kids under my feet. We had made the decision that everyone on our Christmas list (except the kids who are getting gifts from Santa) would be getting homemade presents. We have been pounding away making our gifts for the past several weeks. We were mostly on schedule. Until.....the great white menace came upon us. And when I say menace, I mean snow. And when I say snow, I don't mean just a light dusting like we normally get here in Portland. I mean it has dumped non stop for the past week. Then there is the freezing rain. A pleasant addition to an already annoying situation.
As of right now, we have been completly stuck in the house. The kids have been out and playing in it, but I can't exactly get out and get anything done. I myself have not left the house for 5 days. As I write this, I am looking out at my van. The snow is up to the bottom bumper. I would literally have to dig the car out to even go anywhere. It is a big mess. It wouldn't be so bad if our street got plowed, but no such luck. I am going to attempt to make it out to Costco this afternoon. Mostly because I am in desperate need to see another person outside of my immediate family. Cabin fever is driving me nuts. My kids are driving me nuts. But mostly the pile of wet clothes by my front door and the trail of ice chunks through the house (because nobody seems to understand that you can't walk through the house in your snow boots) are driving me nuts.

In short, it's pretty and all but I'm ready for spring. By the way...welcome to the official 2nd day of winter. This is going to be a long winter.

We did get some cool pictures though.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sunshine's musical debut

Last night despite the fact that school has been canceled all this week because of snow and ice, the show must go on for her Preschool class. They had their big Christmas program. It was really cute. I love this age because they are so freaked out to be up in front of everybody that most of the kids either forget to sing or spend their time on stage waving to their parents in the audience. For some reason Sunshine felt a little antisocial and kept a good 3 foot distance from her classmates on the risers. Perhaps she felt more like a soloist than part of a group. Although as a proud mother I can safely say that she did outshine all of those other armatures. Maybe star search is in our future.

When the program was over the teachers handed out stockings to each of the kids with a ton of presents in each one. It was just trinketly stuff like crayons and beads, but they really know how to win the heart of a 4 year old. She was so tickled with herself and her performance. It was really her night to shine.

When it was all over she said her goodbyes and she had to run and give her best friend Cora a big "Merry Christmas" hug. Little girls are just so cute at this age. They looked like a couple of little ladies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blazer game

Last night we went out and saw a Blazer game. I have never been to one and Rockstar has not been to one in years. Bug has some sort of special deal from his school for students and their families so we got tickets for really cheap. As you can tell by the pictures we were way, WAY up in the nose bleed section. We still had fun though. The game itself is almost irrelevant. It's all about the experience of everything else going on. Talk about stimulation overload. Everywhere you looked there was something going on.It sort of threw Bug into an overload at first, but he got into the crowd participation stuff.

We ended up getting home around 10 which was way past his bedtime, but he seemed to recover pretty well today. All in all he had a great time. It was just cool that we found something that we can do special with just him. Something that we have been having a hard time with is doing special stuff with them as individuals. (not just family stuff) Something that I am sure all parents of more than one child struggle with. Truth be told we are just making it up as we go along.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

A night at the ballet

Last night we took Bug and Sunshine to see the Nutcracker downtown. We have been looking foreword to this for a long time. The kids are classical music junkies and I don't just mean they like little Einsteins either. I mean that's all they listen to on the radios in their rooms. I have switched stations several times, but they change it back to the classical station. I am thrilled with that, being a former band nerd, I can appreciate classical music too.

Rockstar and I used to go see The Nutcracker every year at Christmas and had stopped when we had kids, mostly because they weren't quite ready to go yet. It's sort of a big kid thing.

We have been preparing for weeks by watching the dvd's of the Nutcracker (to understand the story) and get familiar with the music.

We got all gussied up and had ourselves a nice night out. I don't think they could have enjoyed it any more. They sat spell bound for the 2 1/2 it ran. They each had a pair of binoculars and just had a great time. I could hear Sunshine humming along with the music through a couple of the songs. They really loved it. It just filled me with such warm fuzzy happiness that they loved it as much as I knew they would.

It was a great night.

They kids and I checking out the orchestra pit and seeing all the musicians that make up the orchestra.

Playing in the stairs during intermission.
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Only in Portland

Rockstar husband got this cool picture this morning in our front yard.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow day!!

We woke up this morning to the snow coming down fast and furious, so we got some breakfast and headed out to play in it before it was gone. The kids had a blast playing in the field across the street. We got some great pictures along the way too.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pure aewsome

I'm sure you CAN have Christmas without this little ditty, but why would you?

Beauty eh?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12 days of Christmas

This is pretty much how I spent my year too. Funny how that is works :)

Oh wow do I wish I could have thought of this, but that's why she is a professional blogger and I am,... well, This video came from Dawn over at If you ever get a chance I highly recommend you check out her blog. She is awesome.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

volume 4...Rock our faces off!!

So after we finished up with all the candy making festivities on Sunday, we rushed out of there and my friend Molly was so nice to come over and watch the kids for us because we had tickets to the Nine inch nails concert.

It's been a few years since I have been to a big concert like that, but ohh was it worth the wait. Two days later I think my insides are still vibrating from the sheer volume and awesomeness of the whole event.

I love me some Nine inch nails, and I saw them live in 1994. But this show was unlike anything I have ever seen before. They did things with lighting and stage production that completely blew my mind. It's hard to explain without boring you with details, but they used 3 separate screens that were like digital scrims. They used them like an LCD screen. In short, it was like watching a music video live. It was incredible. Add in awesome music and you have a winning combination.

So yeah, that concluded our insane weekend extravaganza. It was a nice cherry on top of a near perfect weekend. Only thing is, we were exhausted when we finally climbed into bed around midnight Sunday night. Monday morning came way too fast :)

Volume 3 ...candy making

My family has this tradition of making hard candy at Christmas time. It started with my Grandma making it years ago and has been a tradition that we are trying to resurrect. We have been doing it the past 7 or 8 years traditionally. It's just something that is so much more fun with a big mess (figuratively and literally) of people to help with all the jobs involved. It even has jobs that the littlest kids can help with. It is very messy though.

We all got together on Sunday afternoon to make some up. A good time was had by all. Of course with all the nutty activities this weekend, we sort of spent our time and dashed out of there with a cloud of powdered sugar in our wake. We got some great pictures though. I love that my kids will have the same fun memories of this that I had growing up.

weekend marathon ...volume 2

So Rockstar and I went out to lunch Saturday afternoon at the place that we always go if we have an afternoon off. Someplace romantic you may ask,....not really. We always go to Ikea. ....Because we are big dorks. We look at furniture and cabinets and dream of what we could do with our house if money were no object. Plus Ikea has a fantastic cafeteria with really good food. Call it what you will, but hey, we know what we like.

So we finish up with Ikea and we need to get back because my in laws were going to be dropping off the kids soon. So we start heading in that direction, when my husband starts taking a little detour.

Me- "ok where are you going? Have you forgotten how to get home?"
Rockstar- "I have always wanted to see what kind of neighborhoods are over in this area."
Me- "It's right next to the airport, nobody lives over here voluntarily. Sightseeing over, we need to get home so your parents don't think we ditched the kids on them"
Rockstar- "Oh they can wait, I just want to see what is over here......"
Me- (starting to get antsy) "We can do this another time, c'mon we need to get home"

Meanwhile we pull into a hotel parking lot and he turns off the van.

At this point I begin to panic and worry if I should call his parents and let them know that we are going to be late.

Then he says "we aren't going to pick up the kids, they are staying the night at my parents house."



"I couldn't wrap up your Christmas present and put it under the tree, but I can give it to you now."

He got me (us) a night at a really nice hotel here in town. Not just a nice room, the Presidential suite.

Oh heck yes!!

That little fart planned this whole elaborate plan with setting up child care, packing all of our clothes, toiletries and sneeking it out of the house right under my nose. Not an easy undertaking. I see all. But this one slid right past me. He even got all the kids clothes packed and got them all church clothes and remembered pajamas. Not that I have ever doubted his ability to do this, but it's just something that I have always taken care of. But he did it all. Not only did he do it all, but he did it all under the radar.

The room was awesome. It had a jacuzzi in the living room and an enormous television. We did absolutly nothing. It was fantastic! We had pizza delivered and sat in the hot tub most of the night while watching TV. It was so nice not to have to worry about dishes, or working on craft projects that I am doing for Christmas presents. I didn't have to constantly be in ear shot of a baby monitor or sleep with one ear open for the kids. I didn't have to let dogs out in the middle of the night to go potty or break up arguments over toys at 5 AM. It seems so simple, but it was the best Christmas present anyone could have given me.

Here are a few pictures of our room.

We came back down to reality sometime Sunday afternoon when we had to go get the kids. For real I mean.

But because it was a marathon weekend, it was only half done. There is still more to come.......

It should be noted also, what an awesome husband I really do have. Not that anyone has ever doubted this. But I thought I should point out here, because I know he would never disclose this.

His band parted ways a couple months ago. All on good terms, but it was still hard to do so for him. He knew he didn't want to do the whole band thing anymore, so he went out and sold all of his equipment. All but one of his basses. He had a lot of equipment. I say this now, because he had this present for me in mind while he was selling his stuff off. This is not something we could normally afford. He used that money he got to pay for Christmas presents. I can't even begin to express my love and gratitude for such an expression. He so rocks!!
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Weekend marathon volume 1...Cutting down our tree

I know I have been behind on putting up pictures here. But I have been so busy lately, that I have barely had time to even get the pictures off the camera . Let alone write a little something about them.

This past weekend we had a marathon of events, one after the other. On Saturday morning we went out and cut down our Christmas tree. Our friends from church, The Austins, have some property that they have been growing Christmas trees on. They let us come up and pick ourselves out a tree. I have decided that I was going to put the tree in the middle of our living room that has 14 foot vaulted ceilings, so I wanted to do a tall one. The dang thing took 3 men and a boy to take down. (Not really, but it IS big) Rockstar just sort of rolled his eyes but cut it down anyways. He thinks it's a little too "Griswald" and that there may be a family of squirrels living in it.

The kids had a blast running around and weaving in and out of the trees. As you can see, the older kids barely stood still long enough to get a picture that wasn't blurry.

We got it cut down and loaded up in my father in laws truck. My in laws asked if they could take the kids for the afternoon so they got the kids loaded up and off they went.

We then had the afternoon to ourselves and off we went to have lunch all by ourselves.

Or so I though......

to be continued....

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

I was born in the wrong era

So tonight we took a trip down to our local soda fountain. I am convinced that i was born 40 years too late. We bellied up to the bar and had our self a lovely root beer float made the old fashioned way by the soda jerk. It was a nice kick back and the kids had a great time. ....Ok, we did too.

We sort of stumbled onto it by chance. We had gone downtown Milwaukie thinking we were going to go to the tree lighting ceremony, but it turns out I got the date wrong. Hard to imagine I know.

Now I am glad I screwed up.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Gobble Gobble!!

So I know I have been sort of letting my blog slide lately. This time of year is just so stinking busy I can barely find the time. But tonight I figured it was well overdue to put up some holiday pictures of our Thanksgiving.

My family always celebrates Thanksgiving on the Saturday before the actual holiday. It started many years ago when my Mom used to work a retail job and just couldn't do both the holiday and get in enough sleep to brace herself for black Friday too. Plus it has always worked nicely so there was no competition with in laws wanting that Holiday too. There has never been an issue of having to make several stops at different Thanksgiving dinners.

We had it over at my Mom's house in Battleground, Wa. The entire family came out and we even celebrated my Grandma's 89th birthday. We all made her something to commemorate the event. My mom and I worked together to make her a scrapbook chronicling her life. She was really tickled with it.

We ate, the kids had a great time playing with their cousins which are pretty close in age to them and we had a great day.

Then came the big day.

We did what we do every year. We all gather around the television in our Pj's and watch the Macy's parade.

Have I mentioned my utter annoyance with my furniture situation. We do not have enough seating in our family room, so everyone just piles on me in the chair.

Then we made up our vegetarian dressing and side dishes and headed over to my in laws in West Linn.

It was another great day. We visited and ate and I planned out my attack plan for black Friday. Also Bug got turned on to guitar hero. We all but had to pry it out of his hands.

This is the worst possible picture ever taken of my husband. Although he assures me he has worse. Here are some of the real pictures of our family Thanksgiving dinners.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another fun day at the rink

So Bug was invited to a birthday party today at Oaks park skating rink. What I didn't realize is that on Sundays, they bring in an actual organ player that plays the Wirlitzer organ. It is this giant monstrosity that is attached to the ceiling in the center of the rink. Apparently this is one of the last working Wirlitzers in the US. Also the only functional organ in a skating rink left in the world.

It was a really cool little slice of what it must have been like in it's heyday. The rink was built in 1905 and has been operational since then. Only closing down for a couple months in 1948 due to a flood that damaged the wood floor. It was just a cool little afternoon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quote of the day

So Bug and I had some running around to do this afternoon and as I was checking out at a store, I suddenly got a mean craving for some Necco wafers. Now if you don't know what these are, they are a classic candy that has been around forever that sort of tastes like Valentine's sweethearts but less sweet and more chalky. They don't really taste like anything specific, but my Mom always had a roll of them in her purse so I grew a bizarre fondness for them.

When we got out to the car I shared a couple of them with Bug. He doesn't get candy very often so it is a big deal for him. He took a couple bites and then made a face. I asked him what he thought.

His reply...."it tastes like old ladies smell".

That about sums it up. I ate a couple more and concluded that they taste like lilacs and soap.

I still finished off the roll though.

There are starving kids in the world. I couldn't let them go to waste

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why -O Why -O Why -O did I ever leave Ohio?!

So if you notice the time stamp on this here post, you will notice that it is ridiculously early. Just a little after 6 AM to be exact. Why am I up and blogging this early you may ask. Because I am apparently a glutton for punishment. Here's my dilemma.

Last week Peanut discovered how to climb out of his crib. Something they all eventually figure out how to do. Once this skill comes into play, it time to get them out of the crib and into a real bed. I learned this lesson when Bug first learned how to climb out because it almost always invites an injury. The rail to the crib is chest high on me. So they have to be able to swing their pudgy little leg over that and jump (from chest high) to the floor. And pray that there are no sharp or pokey toys in their landing area. (Which is hardly ever the case) It usually ends badly.

So when Peanut hit this milestone, I thought "great time to ditch the crib and make the transition". So taking baby steps into this transition I took the front part of his crib off. So basically he just had a toddler bed that he could get in and out of. Then we put a little rail up so that he does not just fall out in the night. There was about 6 inches at the foot of his bed that he could get in and out of. This seemed like a great plan.... in theory.

Boy was I wrong.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!!!

We have had this set up for 3 nights now. He manages to still fall out of bed 3 or 4 times a night. Then wakes up confused as to how he ended up on the floor.

But the biggest flaw in this great plan is that he now has the freedom to get in and out of bed at will. This means when it's time to go to bed he needs to know it is bedtime time and that he needs to be quiet and go to bed. Unfortunately I am expecting rational logic from a 2 year old. That's my problem. Another flaw in this plan....he shares a room with Bug. So between the two of them they sit up and chatter like a couple of sorority sisters half the night.

I have asked, I have pleaded, I have threatened, I have begged...."please ,please be quiet and go to sleep!!!" (insert your own "or ______ will happen/you won't be able to do __/___will end up at the Goodwill/there will be no birthday this year!")

Over the years this issue has never really given me a lot grief. Bedtime has always been strictly enforced. There has never been wiggle room. It was absolute. But then came Peanut and the need to share a room. Bedtime is still enforced, but with him contained in the crib it really was not all that big of an issue. He and Bug would chatter and talk for about a half an hour and then crash. But now he has the freedom to get out and play. Which keeps Bug up far longer than he likes. Bug wants to quiet down and go to sleep and Peanut is not letting him. This is a major problem. Bug does not have to luxury to take a nap in the middle of the day like Peanut. So he is starting to act up in school mainly because he's not getting enough sleep at night.

But the biggest problem as of recent is not getting to bed. It's getting up at freakish hours and playing. Kids by nature are early risers. I am fine with that (mostly) as I am a morning person myself. But this morning Peanut woke up at 4:30 (yes AM) and decided he was bored so he woke up Bug to have someone to play with. Poor Bug just can't fall back asleep. Once he is up, he's up. I was able to shut their door and try to get back and catch just a couple more ZZZ's myself. But no go. Somewhere around 5, an argument broke out over a toy dispute (which in turn woke Sunshine up) so in order to save face (and at least let my husband sleep) I had to take everyone downstairs. Not happy.

So now I am faced with a dilemma.......How do other people do this whole room sharing thing? I feel terrible for Bug that he can never get to sleep through the night without being pestered by his siblings. I know each child having their own room is a luxury many kids don't know. Do you just put up with a couple years of sleep deprivation (by the whole family) and motor through it much like the newborn phase?

Also should I put the crib back together and hope Peanut has a major injury climbing in and out? I know that seems odd to take away a freedom that has been granted, but for the sanity of the rest of the family.

Any thoughts? Suggestion? Mind numbing drugs?

So for now I am just going to get the kids off to school and spend the rest of my day (drinking) beating my head against the wall.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mmmm. Doughnuts.

So I got this hankering the other day for doughnuts. I was just too lazy to load up all the kids and run down to the store, so I found a recipe and made them myself. It really was not all that hard. Just sort of messy. Sunshine and I made doughnut holes (mainly because I didn't feel like rolling out the dough and using cutters) . They were no Krispy Kreme, but they were every bit as good as what you would get from Safeway. That and we had fun making them.

Here's the recipe if you feel so inspired.

Doughnut holes

4 Cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
about 1 1/3 cups cold water

Preheat a deep pan on the stove top to 375-400 (I used a candy thermometer to judge) with about 4 inches of oil. (I used canola)

Mix all dry ingredients together in the mixer and slowly add enough cold water to form a stiff dough. (I threw in a little flour just so I could work with the dough without it sticking to my hands) Roll dough into balls about the size of walnuts. Drop balls a few at a time into hot oil and fry until golden brown. (about 2 or 3 minutes). Drain on a paper towel. While they are still hot and a little moist from the oil I rolled them in a cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat them but you could also do powdered sugar.

And voila!! Awesomeness on your counter top!

Also this is something that has many little jobs so you can get kids involved.

Sunshine was my cinnamon / sugar duster. She did a great job.
The end product. From start to finish this took about an hour and a half. But do beware....this makes a huge mess in the kitchen. But it was worth every bite.
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