Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Mini Village

Aren't they adorable?  Thanks to my sweetie, I was able to get these done much quicker than I would have alone.  I have been putting this off all week since I knew I could only do it at night once little hands were not "helping".  These will serve two purposes.  They are my "decor" for table I'm hosting at the Christmas Tea on Saturday and they are also my favor.  How cute!

I decorated them in blue, green, white, and silver.  They same colors in my china pattern.  Although the shades of blue and green are much different than my china, it still has the same theme.  I'm pleased with how well they turned out.  If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the one on the farthest left, I think.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bows for my pretty Girl!

The big boys got haircuts today, and I decided it was about time Katie did too.

Katie has never been professionally groomed before, but I was willing to give it a try.  Her hair has gotten quite unruly these days and I certainly don't have the time to give her the pampering she needs.  Off to the groomers she went.  We decided to go with a "trim-up" and a "furminator" treatment.  The furminator is a grooming brush that reportedly gets rid of the undercoat and thereby reduces shedding.  She came home looking great, smelling like a Christmas cookie, and with pretty green bows on her ears.  Love it!

Derek thought the bows looked silly and wanted to take them out.  I reminded him that she's the only one in this house I can put bows on, so they were staying put!

In other news this is a super busy week for me/us.  I don't know why I do these things to myself, but I practically cram my schedule as full as it can possibly get.  I do like it that way, but I will need to work in more "free days" so I don't get overwhelmed.

There is a Christmas Tea this Saturday at my church where I'm hosting a table.  I could have easily bought favors for it, but no, that would have been too easy!  I'm going to be making them so I better get cracking on that.  I also have a cookie exchange this Thursday where I need 4 dozen cookies.  Luckily I'm half-done with that.  Brighton's 3-year appointment snuck by me somehow, so I squeezed that in on Thursday morning.  I have a research study on Wednesday night and Maverick and I have one Friday morning too.  Yes, it's going to be a busy week.

Oh....and as soon as the Christmas tree stand arrives in the mail, we'll get our Christmas tree picked out and put up (or shortly there after!)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Who says he can't paint?

Granddaddy Bob is quite talented if I do say so myself.  Although he has told me on more than one occasion that he doesn't like to paint, he made something that I was very impressed with.  While cleaning out my grandmother's house in Nashville he stumbled upon something that was his as a young boy and he wanted to pass it along to his grandsons.  He only had a daughter of his own, so this was fitting that he now has the boys (he thought) he always wanted!

I don't remember what clues were given about what was inside the mysterious box, but the final guess before the big reveal was "a turtle!"  We all had a good laugh about that one.
It turned out to be an army helmet that my dad played with as a boy.  It's origin was most likely WWII. My dad said that he had painted it over the years every color in the rainbow, but gave it a new camo-paint job before passing it on.  

Brighton the soldier.
I've never attempted to paint anything camouflaged before, but I know who to call if I need it.  I thought it looked great.  Dad said he even cut out a leaf pattern to add to the realism.  

Of course, you can't play "army" without guns too, so those were the next gift to be opened up.  The boys had a blast with their army presents.  Chandler is wearing a cap that was my dad's when he was in the airforce.  I thought he looked real comando-style here.  So funny!

Dad, thanks for the great fun.  We can always count on you to spoil us!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ho Ho Whole Lotta Shopping!

Yes, Today is Black Friday!  My favorite shopping day of the year.  I couldn't decide whether I wanted to stay up until Midnight for some deals, or just get up early to shop a little before the boys woke up.  Midnight is usually way past my normal bedtime, and I'm not a night person.  Anyways, that's what I decided to do.  Just before midnight I headed down the  street to my local Target.  I expected I could just pull up at 11:45 p.m. and stroll up to the front of the store and wait with a small crowd.  Boy way I wrong!

IT WAS PACKED!  I guess it was worth the wait.  I did find the three items I was looking for and actually scored the very last one of a certain hard-to-find item.  I was happy and back in bed by 12:30 a.m.  (that was the even better part)

Once the rest of the crew woke up and Maverick had his morning nap, I took all the boys to the Christmas Carousel Craft show at the Fairgrounds with the promise of a visit with Santa.  Grandma and Nanny met us there and they watched the boys while I "power shopped" for about 1 hour.

It was worth it and I scored a few more items off my shopping list, so I'm pleased.  This was the best picture of the boys with Santa.  I think it came out good!

Apparently, Maverick was very interested in the long white bearded man.  He wasn't looking at the camera in many of the shots.

Chandler told Santa that he wants a fish for Christmas.  Brighton wants a flashlight, and Maverick wants his two front teeth!  Ha!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grandmother Cooke's Dressing

I'm definitely in the mood for Thanksgiving now!  Growing up, Thanksgiving was my least favorite holiday.  I associated it with arguing.  There was always arguing about getting ready, who was doing what, cooking what, bringing what.....etc.  Then we'd get to Grandmother and Granddaddy's house and everything would be great.  All the smells coming from the kitchen would be wonderful!  You know what I mean.  

I think that we actually counted up the dishes my grandmother had prepared (solo) one year and it was SEVENTEEN!  She liked to have just a little taste of everything.  My absolute favorite thing she would make would be her dressing.  We would have it for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.  I'm not sure when I decided that I needed this recipe, but luckily I had her "help" me make it one year and tried my best to write down how to make it.  

This will be the first year I've ever made it since, much less, without her guidance.  I really hope it turns out well.  This has been an all day event for me in between taking care of three little ones....I'm pooped.  Sweetie, I'll be ordering a pizza for dinner FYI.

First, I woke up before 6:30 a.m. so I could hopefully have an hour or so to prep before my "day" began.  I guess I should note that grandmother would already have most of these ingredients on hand as she made things ahead of time and would freeze them.  Maybe I'll try that approach next year.

Here's my first step.  I had to make "cubed loaf bread crumbs".  I cut up bread and baked it at 200 until crispy.  I boiled my six eggs while that was baking.  That's about all I could get done in my hour.  The next step would have to wait until naptime # 1.

This next step was going to be the hardest.  I had to make corn meal bread crumbs from scratch.  My instructions were to combine equal parts corn meal and flour, some shortening, and milk.  Get this to a "dough-like" consistency and cook until it crumbles. 

After getting my "dough" I spread it thin on a cookie sheet, preheated the oven to 450 and baked it.  It came out great for my first try.  While this was cooking I began working on the celery.

I diced up the celery (very explicit instructions on how to cut it) and then diced up the eggs I had boiled earlier.  The rest had to wait until naptime # 2.

Now I decided to finish while I had at least 1.5 hours to myself.  I diced up the onion and began sautéing it.  Now, I did not have chicken stock from scratch on hand, but had to used canned.  Hopefully that will be okay, grandmother.  I also used a small amount of Pepperage Farm stuffing for seasoning.

Since my MIL doesn't eat onion, I split the mixture into 1/3 and 2/3 portions.  I really can't remember what kind of bowl we'd mix this up in, but it certainly would need to be a big one!

Below is the mixed up onion version, and the non-onion before I added the chicken stock and mixed it. You also were supposed to add pepper to taste.  It tasted great to me.  I hope I can cook it right.  I wasn't quite sure about the amount of liquid to add since that was a ballpark figure too.  The onion kind was a little drier and the non-onion was a little wetter.  We'll see which one cooks the best.

The last step was bagging it up.  I froze half of it for Christmas and saved some to try and cook tomorrow.  A little extra incase the first batch burns or something.  The "O" means onion :)

Can't wait to taste the cooked version tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Which way to go?

The first sketch from our Architect
 We met with our Architect this past Friday.  Overall we had a good meeting and generated many ideas on where to acquire more space for our growing family.  As shown in the drawing (close-up below) he was suggesting going out in the front, in the back (behind the master currently) or to the side where the driveway is.  We think we may go out in the front and on the side, but have nixed in the back behind the master.  We are also exploring the possibility of going up!

It was an exciting meeting and we can't wait to see what the more detailed drawing phase brings.  We are hoping to meet again in early December.

Close-up of areas for building

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Holidays are HERE!

Another Christmas card contender...
I think I'm in denial.  How can it be that the holidays are here already?  The Christmas music is already playing on the radio and people in our neighborhood have already put up lights.  Can it be that the holiday are already here?

I love this time of year, but I'll admit that there is an element of sadness this year.  With the loss of Uncle Dennis the day after Christmas, and also my Grandmother on April 15th things just aren't the same at the holidays.  I have so many great memories of both of them at this time of year and that will help me through this time.  How I wish they could be here with me, so I'll do my best to think of them and how they would make these times special.

On that note, I'm trying my best to re-create my Grandmother's dressing for Thanksgiving.  It will be a hard undertaking, but I'm going to try.  Chandler is very excited about the holiday season and Brighton feeds off that excitement.  In Chandler's mind Thanksgiving is coming and Christmas is the day after that!

Maybe I will feel more in the "spirit" once we get some decorations up.  The boys already demanded that we get down all the Christmas books this weekend.  Since Daddy does bedtime books with the big boys, I haven't gotten to read any of those yet.  Derek and I have already decided to scale back our decor this year.  Mainly because with all that's going on with the house and possible renovations coming it seems like so much to get done.  It's hard to figure out what "not" to do though.......

Friday, November 18, 2011

Maverick's 8 Month Stats

My little guy is 8 months old already!  Where has the time gone?  This little guy is such a hoot lately.  He is generally happy, but has had a few "fussy" periods lately.  Perhaps he'll finally get some teeth in?!?

I got his stats as the following:
             Weight: 17 lbs 10 oz
             Height: 28"

In comparison to Chandler and Brighton he is quite the peanut.  Chandler was over 19 lbs and Brighton was 20!  He doesn't seem to be any where near crawling yet, but we'll see.  We might end up having to place a gate around the Christmas tree after all!  Maverick doesn't have stranger anxiety yet and loves for other people to hold him.  He likes investigating their glasses, jewelry, and earrings.  Be careful because he's been known to rip things right off and broke my mom's necklace just the other day.

He loves it when his older brothers play with him.  Chandler and Maverick especially seem to have a separate "brother" language.  Maverick is still nursing exclusively and to be honest, I've had a much more laid-back approach to introducing solids to him.  Now that he's eight months I'm starting to give him more than one meal a day and he's snacking occasionally on Cheerios and Puffs.  We've tried giving him some juice/water on a few occasions, but only a handful of times.  It's not that he doesn't like it, but he could take it or leave it for now, and I'm happy with that.

He goes down about 7:30-7:45 and is sleeping great.  Sometimes he'll wake up around 6ish, but will settle right back down and then gets up about 7-7:30 a.m.  He still naps in the morning for about 1 hour (or a little more) and then in the afternoon for about 2 hours.

I'm starting to see the light (at the end of the 1-year tunnel).  I think we're going to make it sooner than I'd like!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Maverick's Wide mouth happy

So, I'm still learning how to upload videos to the blog without asking Derek any questions.  This video was almost there.  Hopefully I can do the next one without ANY help :)

This is a short clip that shows Maverick's big mouth open when he is happy.  Such a sweet boy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

He's Happy, I promise

Maverick turns 8 months old this Friday.  He is changing so much these days.  This past month he has started doing some funny things including blowing raspberries all the time.  He also does this thing where he opens his mouth up really wide and is almost saying "ha, ha, ha".  He looks mad when he does this, but he's really having fun.  I had Derek get a picture of this so hopefully I can remember his silliness someday!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas Card Outtakes

So, this one won't be making the "A" list.  Derek did however, snag a good version that you'll have to wait and see for yourself.  I thought the boys looked great all ready for church this morning!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's been a hard week!

Today is Veteran's Day.  I'm certainly thankful for all the brave men and women that have put their lives on the line for our country.  Thank you.

There are many changes going on around here this week.  I'm still not feeling the best with my back and neck.  I'm hoping this one step forward, two steps back starts moving in the forward direction for good soon.  My Dad, Mom, and Aunt have been cleaning out my grandmother's house in Nashville this week, and Derek is off work today and helping them.  I hate that I can't be a part of it, but I'm playing the part of "mom".

We have hired an architect to give us some plans for how we can add onto our house.  It exciting, but at the time bittersweet.  I know where the money for this addition comes from, and it had a very steep price.  I'm still very upset over the death of my grandmother and I miss her very, very much.  I wish she could be here sharing in this exciting time with us.  

All the boys were home when the architect came by to measure our house and get a floor plan before getting started on his designs.  I was here with them by myself and tried to not get so stressed out keeping their curiosity at bay.  The architect has no children, so it was hard to tell if he found their curiosity endearing or annoying.  Hopefully I kept the annoyingness down to a minimum.  Chandler carefully followed him around and drew his "plans".  That was cute (at least to me!)

Super Brighton!

Maverick trying to stand!
That about wraps up our week.  I can't wait to see the architect's ideas.  I'll keep you posted....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chick-Fil-A repost

The lady at Chick-Fil-A that took this picture of "Date Knight" finally got around to e-mailing me a copy (a month later).  I thought I'd post here for your enjoyment :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ow! My aching neck....and back....

I have been seeing a Chiropractor regularly since pregnancy # 2.  I've really only had my lower back (mainly my hips/pelvis) adjusted.  Unfortunately in the past few months, I've been having more and more pains in my upper back, shoulders, and neck.  The way that my insurance works is that there has to be a "reason" for the adjustments and pregnancy qualified.  Since I'm no longer pregnant, all these adjustments were coming out of pocket and when that gets pricey I was tending not to go as often as I should.  It had gotten to the point where I was in constant pain and having a lot of difficulty sleeping.  Basically I went in and said what will it take for my insurance to start covering this.  It was determined that I would need x-rays to prove that there was an underlying cause to all this pain.  Turns out there was some major issues going on.

By far, the worst area was my neck.  All the tiny arrows show wear/degeneration on bones that should be box shaped (not rounded like they are)  Also, the bones should be curving from my neck to my shoulder in a "backwards C" shape and they are almost doing the opposite of that!  There are also some bone spurs present that are going towards my spinal column.

The next image is of my upper back.  There is a slight curve in my spine seen here.  Not enough to be considered scoliosis, but troublesome still.  

Of course, carrying multiple children throughout the day isn't helping any.  I'm trying my best to be conscience of this and use good posture, etc.....

Hopefully with several adjustments I can get back on track and stay healthy.  My boys need me to be able to keep up with them!  I try and look on the bright side that this was caught now before it got much worse.  I hope to be feeling much better soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meet Wilbur

Today our neighbor got a horse!  We knew he had been working on this project for sometime now.  We were truly astonished by the end result.  Wilbur is the white horse in the "barn" at the end of my neighbor's driveway.  Note that we live in the city limits, so Wilbur isn't really allowed.  I guess it's okay since Wilbur is only a painting.

You can't believe how many people I've fooled though.  Of course, it was really easy to fool the boys.  They were all set to head over for a trail ride.

Soon enough...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Time for planting!

In preparation for the time change this weekend, I've been adjusting Maverick's sleeping schedule by 10 minutes everyday.  So far it's been working.  He slept in today and when I woke him up this is how I found him: 

Notice that his head is at the opposite end of the crib from where he was placed to sleep.  This has happened for the past few mornings.  Gotta wonder what he does in there?!?  Even though it was in the low 40s this morning I was determined to get on of my "to do" list accomplished and get some bulbs planted on the front hill.  I got the big boys dressed in many layers (you would think it was snowing!) and since Daddy dislikes the cold, he and Maverick stayed in.  Daddy decided to snap some pics of Maverick and then came outside for a minute to document our progress.

I like how in this picture all you can see are Chandler's eyes.  I let both boys pick a bag of bulbs and toss them one-by-one on the hill so we could plant them.  

After tossing the bulbs, I started digging the holes.  We planted three varieties and a total of 32 bulbs.  Even with gloves on, I managed to get a blister on the middle of one of my palms.  I think Brighton got cold and apparently wanted some water because after his turn helping me I looked around and he was gone.  After Derek assured me he had come inside I made Brighton come back out to tell me he wanted to go inside.  He knows better than that!  Overall, I'm pleased that these bulbs have been planted.  It's something that I've been wanting to do for a long time.  I can't wait till spring time when I get to see the fruits, or flowers rather, of my labor!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Update: 30 Before 30

So, I'm trying to make the time to update on my 30 before 30 list.  I will cross out the things that have been done so far, and leave some comments where appropriate.

30 Before 30
  1. Purchase a beginner piano book and learn a simple song
  2. Take a train ride
  3. Walk through a corn maze
  4. Write 5 handwritten letters to friends
  5. Fly a kite with my boys
  6. Plant daffodil bulbs in front yard
  7. Take a meal to a new mom Seems like I'm always doing this.  I've actually done this about 3 x already!
  8. Pay it forward (I've gotten my three to pay it forward to: Megan P, Jen P, and Emily N....have no idea what I'll be making for you all....but it will be handmade and special I'm sure)
  9. Visit Connor
  10. Try out a new recipe
  11. Go Christmas Caroling
  12. Post my 500th blog post
  13. Donate to a charity Inspired to donate to JDRF by a close friend
  14. Have a party (not for my children)
  15. Take a good friend to lunch
  16. Do something nice for a neighbor
  17. See a movie at the theater with Derek
  18. Decide where Chandler will go to Kindergarten Now that Wake County has finally released their plan of "choice schools" we can really begin to tackle this problem.  No easy feat!
  19. Visit a new city
  20. Read one book for fun  Several people have recommended "A Discovery of Witches"....any other recommendations??
  21. Update our mailbox
  22. Figure out how to upload videos to the blog
  23. Have a progressive dinner party
  24. Bring a meal to somebody who is sick/has sick kids
  25. Try a “fancy” cupcake
  26. Volunteer at the preschool
  27. Bake & Decorate cookies with my 3 messy boys
  28. Have a live Christmas tree for the first time in 10+ years
  29. Visit the Biltmore House, or at least plan the trip
  30. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride, or plan it! So this is the most "interesting" one so far.  Shortly after I posted my list, several of you noticed that there was a Living Social Deal for a hot air balloon ride.  Just know that I've gotten my tickets secured and I'm thinking we'll make the trip in late summer/early fall of 2012.  To me this was God providing for me.  I "put this out there" and God made a way for me to get it.  God always makes sure that our needs are met, but sometimes provides for a few wants as well.  God is so good!  Derek joked that I should have put win the lottery on my list!

So, that's 5 down, 25 to go with just over 6 months left.  I've gotten a good start on my list so far, so I still think I'm on track.

In other news, if you've been following the blog closely you will have seen that we've met with an architect.  We met with a builder yesterday (Halloween) and we are beginning the process of figuring out how we can gain square footage for our growing family.  It has yet to be determined if we will add on or move.  It's an exciting time in the Osterhoudt Family, that's for sure!