Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So long Jack Hammer

A few days ago, the boys said goodbye to their amphibian friend, Jack Hammer. Jack and his pal, Fred Finklehorn, came to live with us back in October when the boys returned from a trip to the toy store WITH THEIR DAD. Their new pets looked pretty much the same to me, but much like the parents of identical twins, Sam and Fulton would say...Oh no mom! You can definitely tell them apart. Jack's got the tiny spots and Fred has the big ones! In just a few months they had grown to appreciate each frog and his particular characteristics. It was really sweet!

Sam and Fulton agreed that he needed a proper burial. So we did what every good frog owner would do... We wrapped him up in tin foil and dug hole. They requested to bury him close to Dixie and Linus. "We found the perfect spot!", Fulton said. They made a little grave and each each said a few kind words regarding his good nature and overall character. They followed up with a prayer and thanked God for giving us Jack to take care of. The sincerity was PRICELESS!

Jack Hammer
October 2011-February 2012

Now, Fred swims freely in his acrylic cube.

Shannon and I both commented on how skippy and happy he seems without Jack in his way. Hmmmmm?... should we conduct an investigation?


Monday, February 20, 2012

The Good Ol' Days

Remember cereal boxes with prizes inside?
They were the BEST! It was always at the very bottom of the box and may or may not have even been packaged in anything. My older brother and I were forever in races to see who could get the last bowl of cereal and ultimately... the prize. What joy a box of Apple Jacks or Cheerios could bring!

I remember my friend Margaret and I getting in trouble at her house because we dumped a FULL box of Froot Loops all over the counter just to get to the Neon Leon {remember it?} in the bottom of the box. Whatever trouble we got into was worth it because our bracelets were AWESOME!!! So the dirty cereal went back into the box, but we got our prize.

I used to cruise the aisles of "The Pig" with my mom when I was a child. I looked for the best prizes and that would determine which cereal we bought. Prizes in boxes are few and far between now. There are lots of "mail-in" prizes with 400 proofs of purchase, etc.

But that's no fun!

Why'd they change it? My kids don't look forward to the simple pleasure of digging through a box or anxiously awaiting the last bowl of cereal. The few boxes that do have prizes, they are all packaged up and taped to the side of the box, to eliminate digging, I suppose.

But that's no fun either!

The other day Oliver picked out a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch because it had the Justice League Superheroes on the front. He didn't realize there was a comic book inside, but boy did his brothers! Sam was so excited to be the first one to get into the box the next morning. The book was literally taped to the inside of the box. Totally easy access...BOO! The dig was so much more fun. Regardless, he got it and flipped through the comic and passed it off to Fulton, who flipped through it and gave it to Ollie.

It took me back about 25-30 years and reminded me of how simple surprises are often the best.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Whoooo's Ready for...

Monster Jam 2012????

Last Friday night we took the boys to Monster Jam. It was quite an exciting time for the Baker boys. It was my and Ollie's first experience. Sam and Fulton were so excited that we were joining in their tradition. Shannon has been taking them with friends since Sam was 2 {sorry, I wasn't blogging then, but here's 2007}. They really look forward to this annual event. This year we decided to make it a family affair. It was definitely worth it seeing Oliver's shell-shocked face.

As we walked into the Colonial Center and saw the dirt arena and giant trucks, all the blood left his face and his mouth just hung open. He was A-MAZED! Sam and Fulton are the old pros and showed the newbies the way. We went to eat dinner at their traditional hot dog spot and then armed ourselves with the appropriate protective ear-wear. They kept me filled in on all the significance of each "drive". I feel extremely enlightened now that I have experienced a real live MONSTER TRUCK SHOW!

On one of my 14 lovely days {the day before we went to monster jam}, I surprised them with a visit to see one of the trucks that would be participating and its driver, as he was parked at a local auto parts was Rap Attack! Again, Oliver was motionless and speechless. So funny! Sam and Fulton were ALL-OVER-IT...literally. They were climbing all over the tires and even asked the driver if he could take them for a ride. Uuuuuuummmm...well, there's only one seat. Not possible, guys.

Any was a night to remember for us all. I enjoyed being just one of the boys!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

14 Lovely Days Catch Up

Happy Sugar-Coma Day 2012!

I fell down a little on blogging, but I didn't fall down on my 14 Lovely Days! Our weekend was so busy I never got a chance to blog!

Days 10, 11, 12, and 13 were filled with lots of lovely things! Then, of course, there was Valentine's Day over-kill yesterday!

Over the last few days the boys got a couple little notes and sweet treats to finish out our 14 Lovely Days. We also had a pretty awesome family date night on Friday. I'll blog about that later.

Their school likes for them to be creative when making valentines, so we spent some time being creative together. They had a great time {except for when I informed Fulton that he had to address each of his 25 valentines for his friends...not so much fun}! Any chance they get to use my design software is a big deal for them. And when I told them it was time to do valentines they immediately asked if they could use the computer. Sam got finished with his and  said "I think I could really be a designer one day." I loved it!! They got them all put together and ready for delivery on Tuesday.

Oliver celebrated with his class on Monday, so I made his treats {those yummy little pretzel, kiss, and m&m things that everyone on Pinterest and in blogland made} for school and used the printable I created for his valentines. He was so excited to go through his valentine bag when we got home. He made me read each one and asked if he could eat every piece of candy. I loved his enthusiasm!

Valentine's Day morning I woke up a little early to make their special cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate. I set the table with their cute little place mats they made in 3k {Ollie will make his next year} and their valentine's napkins and mugs. Sam woke up grumpy, but quickly perked up at breakfast. I think they actually appreciated the effort! Ollie wakes up later so he had his own personal valentine's breakfast seating.

Shan and I grabbed a quick lunch together {with Ollie in tow}, as he had meetings all day and couldn't get away for very long. But I didn't feel slighted because we had a great date night  on Saturday at a Chili Cook-Off benefiting the boys' school. ~Great Fundraiser Idea...Just FYI~
We kept supper low key for Valentine's and decided to celebrate as a family. I made some yummy potato soup, a pretty salad and cheese bread. Needless to say, the day could be renamed  death-by-carbs day! We finished the night off with sweet treats and red velvet cake it was sooooo good!

I feel blessed to have such sweet Valentines in my awesome husband, my boys, my parents, and friends. The boys made out with a ridiculous amount of Valentine's Day loot from classmates, Muzzy and  Boppa, our sweet neighbors, and the Valentine Chicken {who does not bring candy...only books!} It was a great day!

On a side note...
The whole "be creative" thing is kind of a pain with non-crafty boys, but when they bring home their valentines, I love to see what the kids {parents} come up with! My fave of all they came home with was this...



Friday, February 10, 2012

Days 7-8-9 and A Story

We have almost completely emerged from the the "sick tank", as my momma has been calling it. I'm actually very excited! If all goes as planned, as of 9:30ish {because I'm always late dropping off}, today will be my very first day in 2 weeks with everyone at school. I can actually run errands, clean up my house, do my couch 2 5k or go to the gym WITHOUT ANYONE IN TOW! I am reluctant to shout that because I'm just gonna have to believe it when I see it.

I have been super un-creative in my 14 Lovely Days recently. It's hard when you're just plain ol' wo' out from your daily duties. Any who...

Days 7-8-&-9
In the past 3 days I gave the boys these cute little Valentine's activity pads that I found at the dollar store, I wrote them "you are special..." love notes, and made them some Valentine's cupcakes.

I was so excited when Sam asked "mommy, when IS Valentine's?" I replied, "Next Tuesday. February 14th." He so sweetly said, "Oooooh! It's been kinda like Valentine's Day everyday because we keep having these surprises."

Awwwwww! It's so nice when your efforts are recognized.

In other news...
There's a blog link-up going on until Valentine's Day over at From Mrs. to Mama of bloggers telling their love stories.

If you've followed me long enough you can probably put my story all together from different posts. So you can fast forward at any point. ;-)

The list of questions to tell "Our Story" are as follows...

1. How long have you and your significant other been together?
This October, Shan and I will have been together for 20 years. It's so hard to believe that we've been together longer than we weren't!

2. How did you meet?
We met at AC Flora high school in Mr. Roberts's SAT Math class. Shannon {very unfortunately for him} sat in between two of the {then} worst note passin', gossipers of AC and one of my dearest friends {still}, Anna Rock.

I stalked him for about 8 or 9 months until he came to his senses. I think he was scared of me because he never would ask me on a date by ourselves. We always went as a group or with other couples...Hmmmm? But one of our first "dates" was to see Hellraiser---such a romantic, he is!

3. If married, how long have you been married?
Shannon and I will be celebrating 13 VERY blessed years in June of this year.

4. If you are married, where did you get married? Big or small wedding?
We had a medium-ish wedding with a couple hundred guests. We got married at St. Joseph's, the church I grew up in Columbia. We were surrounded by all our closest friends and family members on the HOTTEST day of June...EVER!!! We exceed maximum capacity of the reception location and froze the air conditioner.

I couldn't wait to shed my 75 pounds of wedding dress, crinoline, hose, etc. I was roasting! My hair was soaked, my make-up had run off my face and my dress was filthy...all signs of a great party.
We sang, danced, and even clogged the day and night away!

5. Do you have any nick-names that you call one another?
We don't really do nick-names. If you know Shannon, you know he's a man of few words. Come to think of it...I don't think he's ever said my name...Hmmmm?

I call him Shan or Shanny-McFanny, but that's about it.

6. Name 3 things you love most about your honey.
I adore Shannon's dedication to his family, honesty, and authenticity. He goes above and beyond for me and the boys---ALWAYS! What you see is what you get with Shan. I just love that about him.

7. Tell us how he proposed?
Our proposal was quite hilarious and unromantic. On September 11, 1998, I sat boringly at Shannon's parent's house {where he was living at the time}, while he studied for an insurance exam. The internet was a fairly new concept and I just sat on the computer searching for and printing out a stack of engagement rings I'd like and asking him repeatedly if he was almost done because I was bored.

Shannon was getting antsy because he had already asked my dad, had already planned our engagement in Charleston in two weeks, and already had "the ring" in his closet. I kept showing him pictures of the ring(s) I wanted  and he nervously went to his closet and rustled a bag from the top. Trying to get me to turn around from the computer, he asked me if I was interested in borrowing his answering machine...HUH????

I snippily said...NO! Please hurry up and finish studying so we can go out!

He said well I was gonna wait a couple of weeks to do this, but since you're picking out rings now, I thought you might like this one.

And he got down on one knee...

8. Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberries, champagne, and rose petals?
None of the above. We are a card and dinner-in kinda couple. Occasionally, we'll grab each other a little sursie, but we keep it low key.

9. Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?
At this point in our marriage, with three busy boys and lots going on, date nights are few and far I'd take either!

10. Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant one day. Go anywhere?
Shan and I have always talked about traveling together. We didn't do much, if any, before kids. I think we'd start our bucket list of places to go with Nantucket.

11. Tell us what you plan on doing on this Valentine's Day.
This Valentine's Day we will probably do what we usually do. Fix the boys a yummy supper of their choice, exchange cards/sursies with them. After they go to bed, Shan and I will get take-out Sushi and have a date night in!

12. Are you asking for anything this Valentine's day?
Last year I asked for a new printer and got it! I was so excited. This year I haven't asked for anything in particular, but I run my mouth constantly about what I'd like. If he gets me anything, it'll be one of my 10,000 random wants.

13. Give us one piece of advice of keeping a relationship strong and full of love.
The only adivice I'd give to keep your relationship strong is to find out each other's needs and meet them!

14. Show us a picture of what love means to you.
Any man who will wear a Jon-Jon for Halloween...really, REALLY loves you...LOTS!
Halloween 2010

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Days 5 & 6, What I Wore, and Other Tragedies

Days 5 & 6 were a bust, as far as artsy, craftsy, and valentinesy. I was showing my love by playing nurse-maid and trying to keep everyone happy.
Saturday evening (just before making our snack mix for movie night) I texted my pediatrician and told her that I was worried about Sam and his terrible cough. He would have spells so bad that he would throw up. She was out of town and suggested we go to the pediatric after hours office. For those of you in my neck of the woods, it's a fantastic resource in a pinch.

Any who. Shan took him. I was suspecting the flu, but they said no flu...just a bad virus and he should be better by Monday. We dosed him up after our movie night and crossed our fingers that he'd be better Sunday.

He was not.

He just got worse on Sunday. No appetite, no energy, terrible coughing spells, etc. So I took him back to the doctor on Monday (4th Dr's visit in a week; excluding mine for a sinus infection).

Well, we opened the door and IN FLEW ENZA! ---Sorry, that's my dad's corny joke. But I had to use it!--- After 3 finger sticks to get enough blood for a CBC, some Phenergan for coughing spells {who knew?}, and a breathing treatment, we had a diagnosis. The flu.

Poor Sam. Thankfully, he rested very well last night and I'm hoping he perks up soon {and that no one else gets it}.

So my 14 lovely days got a little curtailed. But I plan to redeem myself today; we're making cupcakes!

On to What I Wore.

For those of you who follow blogs, you know there are some bloggers out there who do weekly  segments called "What I Wore." While I love checking out their latest get-ups, I'm thinkin' I could never do that! No one really cares about my 6 year-old jeans, 2 year-old Target sweater, and gym clothes. I'd love to be fashionable enough to blog on my outfits, but I'm not.

Saturday, I was in frump mode so bad. I'd been home bound all day taking care of little people and trying to get caught up on housework that had been neglected. I was feeling oh-so-pretty when my mom stopped by. We chuckled at the idea of me blogging "what I wore".

So I am. In hopes that some of my 5 readers can relate to days like this!

So here's the moment you've all been waiting for...the "What I Wore" debut!

Let's go top to bottom. Shall we?

Glasses: AriStar circa '00 --- perfect for sleeping in and wearing around the house; Top: 2009 USMC Mud Run "trophy" shirt --- greatest and dumbest thing I've ever done all at one time; Pants: Merona {they don't even sell that brand anymore, I don't think} from Target with hole in right thigh, possibly from over bleaching; Shoes: Leopard Isotoner slippers c/o my hubby and boys for Christmas

I look GOOD! Don't I?

So next time you're feeling frumpy...just tune in and remind yourself that you could look like this!

Needless to say, getting showered and ready for my solo trip to church on Sunday made me feel like a new woman!

More later with Day 7!


Saturday, February 04, 2012

14 Lovely Days: Days 3 & 4

Well, I thought we had kinda turned a corner as S and F were well enough to go to school on Friday. But Ollie was still not up to par so he stayed home with me again. Then I woke up with a ferocius sinus headache and decided to go to the doctor myself before we got into the weekend. I had been duking out a terrible cold for a few days, but it was getting worse and I knew I needed to nip it ASAP.

Any who... S had a sleep-over birthday to go to on Friday night. I must have asked him 200 times if he felt well enough to go. Every time he'd say "YES-AH! I'm fine." So I reluctantly took him to the party with the dry hacking cough and warned the parents (who are both physicians) of his condition. They said not to worry that he'd be fine and assured me they'd take good care of him. Well Sam returned home about 10 a.m. today and looked horrible. He said he was just tired so he went to lie down. Fast forward a couple of hours...Sam's got a temp of 101.2! UUUUHHHHG!!!! Ironically, the birthday boy's mom texted Shan (a.k.a Coach Baker) in regards to the basketball game this afternoon and reported that Evan would not be there because he had a temp of 101 too. So I'm sure they love the Baker family right about now!

We survived another homebound afternoon. I can't wait to go to church in the morning! By myself!!!!

Okay so yesterday was Day 3 of my scheduled random acts...

We live in a "vintage" house and we have an original exterior door on the interior, so it has panes. I left them each an "I love you because..." note on the door to the den. It's a great spot because they can see it as soon as they come down the stairs...

Today was Day 4.

I've seen lot of cute ideas for Valentine's snack mixes online. We made our own concoction today. Each of them got to fill their own bag so they could have it for our movie night. It was a super quick activity.

We used a mixture of regular cheerios and frosted cheerios, marshmallows, and M&M's. I thought about adding some craisins to it after the fact. I also saw one with dried strawberries and pretzles! They would have been good in there too.

Ours was the one over at JIAD and they loved it!

Poor sick little Sam with his empty bag before we started.
Fu scooping his Cheerios.
Ollie sneaking a bite.
I had a card that read on the outside... I {heart} you so much...
That you get me all mixed up!
Perfect snack for movie night!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

14 Lovely Days: Day 2

Well, we've been living in the land of the crud all week and the last 2 days I've had all three home sick. Cabin fever is setting in!

I tried really hard to keep the peace today. I let the boys pick their "territory". Sam chose my bedroom and Fulton chose the den. Ollie just roamed and took turns visiting his brothers in their territories. It was an interesting day to say the least. I'm just hoping everyone is well enough to go to school tomorrow.

Any who... on to Day 2.

My random act for the day originally involved making a special snack together, but I didn't think sharing the germs any further was a very good idea.
So instead...I picked a little activity that I found on Pinterest the other day.

Origami Monster Bookmarks! Cute, huh?

But when I got to the site from where it was originally pinned, I realized my Japanese was a little rusty. Sooo I did a little googling and found an origami site the shows you the folding process for the bookmark and we made our own.

I tried to photograph step-by-step so you could follow along...

Card stock or construction paper in various colors
Hole punch for embellishments

We started with a 6x6 square
Fold into a triangle
Fold the left corner to the center point
Fold the right corner to the center point
Open up to a triangle again and fold one flap of the center point to the bottom
Re-fold the left corner towards the center point and tuck it into the "pocket"
Re-fold the right corner toward the center point and tuck it into the "pocket"

Cut a contrasting square slightly smaller than the 3x3 pocket
Apply glue and press inside
Cut embellishments- teeth, eyes, nose, tongue, etc.
Apply glue and press in place
Slide them onto the page corner of your favorite book
and voila!

Poor Sam was feeling so bad that he didn't want his picture taken. But he wanted me to let everyone know that he made the one that looks like a tiger, "with the cat eyes".

And finally. What does the 3 year-old who is fascinated by the scissors do while you're origami-ing with his brothers?


He cuts a hole in his shirt, of course.
Good times. Good times.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

14 Lovely Days

It's the month o'love! The pressure is on, Shan {if you even read this}. I want a beautiful plant (not roses, because they die), dinner reservations at Ristorante Divino, little boxes with shiny jewelry, and pampering gift certificates.

Just kidding...well, not really. I'd love all that at some point---what girl wouldn't? Just not for Valentine's Day. How about just because---on ANY day.

Actually, why can't we just show our love all the time? It's important to let others know you love them, daily. Right?

This year I've decided to celebrate Valentine's Day for the first 14 days of February in hopes of creating a habit. I want to create a habit of showing my boys random acts of love. I know I tell them {several times} daily that I love them, but I want to show it more. I'm thinking little love notes, making special dinners and treats, going on a surprise outing, and a little sursie here and there.

So here goes...

Day 1

Last night after the little peeps went to bed, I whipped up a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I have such little time these days that it seems slice & bake is about as good as it gets. I'd forgotten how easy it is to make homemade cookies. And boy are they delish!

 Sambo, Fu, and Ollie {but especially Shan} were very excited to have such a yummy treat today. I think it was uber appreciated.