Saturday, December 30, 2006

Our Christmas stories....

FYI - the post below this is also new. I posted both at once.

Sunday 12/24 - Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve this year we went to Joe’s dad house in the morning to do Christmas. Justin got a few really cool things – like a crib baby soother. It’s looks like a fishbowl and clips to the crib and plays music and has moving animals. It’s really cool! Joey got some educational toys like a Vsmile laptop, a Quizzard toy that quizzes you on animals and facts and more. We had a nice time unwrapping gifts there and visiting.

Joey (with his shiner) and Joe

If you click on this photo, you can see how bad his black eye was. Poor kiddo. Here he is with his present.

Joey opening a gift for Justin. It was the first Christmas gift opening he didn't sleep through!

Joe's dad and Karen breed purebred show quality German Shepherds. Their dog had 13, 2 died so now they have 11. Here is Joe's dad showing Joey the puppy. They were just a few days old.

Later, after the kid’s naps, we went over to Joe’s grandma’s house (his dad’s parents). Dinner was really good. How come the gift part is always so frustrating? I don’t know why everyone waits so long to open gifts. All the family parties we go to wait to open gifts and these poor young kids get so upset and frustrated. Joey is not even three and patience is really not something that he’s good at right now.

After dinner was cleaned up we started to open gifts. Joe’s Grandma is so good at picking out gifts! She got Justin the Amazing Animals Choo Choo Train – it’s so cool! I wanted to buy it for him myself and she got it for him! She got Joey some race cars that he loved! Through the gift exchange Kendra got Justin another Amazing Animals toy – a polar bear! Katie got Joey a sled. We got a cookie and hot cocoa basket from Tena and family. Darlene got Joey some clothes and got us a frame for our yearly Christmas frame. We also got cash. We had a great time.

Wow, a photo of me! Here's Joey and I at Grandma's house.

Every parent's nightmare!!! These DAMN twistie ties. They hold all the toys in the box. They are awful. This toy had a bunch of cars and look at all these twistie ties! Awful!

Here Joey is with his cars. He likes to line up all his cars. I used to be like that to. I like things lined up.

Joe and Justin. I'm sure he was excited about all his new toys :)

We drove home that night to sleep in our house and then get up to go to my parent’s house for Christmas day.

Monday: Christmas Day

Christmas morning we drove over to my parent’s house for Christmas. I could not believe the amount of presents under the tree. It was crazy! Our presents we bought for the kids were there and my parents went quite nuts buying toys for the boys. My brother and his girlfriend Audrey also had gifts for everyone.

We ate breakfast first. I don't know how we do it but we have the worst table manners in the world. You would die if you knew what we talked about at breakfast. We talked about everything we shouldn't have - vasectomiesk, gas, whatever. I swear our family can just about say anything. Audrey was laughing her butt off. She said her family is the same way.

My moms tree. Can you believe all these gifts?!!

Joey and Justin with a photo by all the gifts.

After breakfast we then unwrapped gifts. Joey got so many gifts and so many really cool gifts that not even half way through opening gifts Joey had a major breakdown because he wanted to stop and open what we already opened and play. He didn’t care there were tons more gifts for him under the tree, he just wanted to play with what was there. We didn’t want to open everything and have it all over the place.

I think it took 2 hours to open everything. It was crazy! Joey got so much stuff! Joe got more Men's Warehouse gift certificates. We got some new knives. I got a gift certificate to ColdWater Creek.

Justin playing on the floor. We had to keep telling Joey not to throw anything or walk on him he was so excited.

My dad doing baby duty. He loves to hold Justin.

My dad loves frogs. My mom got him a kissing frog.

Joey opening yet another gift. He got this really cool Thomas pull out sofa chair he's sitting in.

Joey helped open Justin's gloworm. I used to have my own gloworm when I was a kid. When Joey opened it, Greg groaned. He said I used to run around the house and hit him with it when we were kids and he said it had a really hard head. I don't remember doing that but it was funny.

Joey was so interested in the new toy he didn't realize he had this huge piece of wrapping paper on his back. Haha.

Joe unwrapping a gift.

Justin got tuckered out and fell asleep in my dad's arms.

Joey trying to open a gift. Was not happy about the fact it was with his teeth.

Can you see his shiner again? Yikes it looks bad here.

Other things on Christmas - Greg and Audrey announced they were engaged! They are going to have a very small wedding. They've been together for three years and I wasn't expecting this. It's just kinda weird for me because she's like 33 and I'm 28 and Greg is 24. There is almost a 10 year gap. I guess it doesn't matter but it's weird that he's dating a girl that's almost 5 years older than me! I'm happy for them. It just really surprised me!

This toy took 2 hours to put together by Greg, Joe, myself, Audrey and my mother. It was NUTS.

Greg and Audrey. My mom surprised Greg with a gift certificate to his favorite tool place and he wasn't expecting it.

Seriously - this is ridiculous. Keep in mind I already put away all the stuff from the weekend before. This is JUST the last three Christmas's! OMG. This is nuts.

Justin after we got home that night posing while sitting in his bumbo. He loves to chew on his hands! He's as bald as they come. Ok, no really he has hair - it's really really blonde. He's a tow-head like his brother! :)

I'm sitting in the next room nursing Justin and Joey walks in. I had just heard a bump. He says to me 'Mommy, I knocked over the Christmas tree. Fix it!'. I said to him, 'You are kidding right?'. Joey shook his head. I said, 'Please tell me you are kidding'. He looked at me confused (he doesn't know what kidding means) and he says unsurely, 'I'm kidding...'. All I could think of was to laugh and get my camera. I got up, got my camera and took a few photos of Joey and the fallen tree. Now keep in mind I've had cats since 1998. I have FOUR cats. I have never once had the tree bothered by the cats. My kid was the first to knock it down. It fell on a big storage bin and one ornament blew up and shards of glass were everywhere!!! It was awful to clean up. I hate it when you break glass. You hate to step where it broke in case you didn't pick it all up.

Joey knocked over the tree.

He looks guilty, doesn't he? He told me he knocked it over before I even went to see it.

For Christmas I got a lot of cash so I went to B&H and got myself my a new camera lens (50 mm fixed 1.4) and a remote for my camera so I can put it on a tripod and release the shutter without touching it.

When I got my camera lens back I took these photos to test it out. If I do say so myself, the pictures of Alex turned out pretty good.

A photo of Alex with my new lens. I love how it blurs the background!

Joey wanted to play with his new construction vehicles in the sandbox but it's too cold outside and we got rid of it this fall to buy a new one this spring. So I got out white corn meal. This kept him occupied playing in his 'sandbox' for hours!

Joey playing with his new trains (with my new lens).

My favorite so far with my new lens. This is Alex.

Joey with his new Thomas toys. He has almost all of them now I think.

Sunday 12/24

Other things:
Have I told you that Joey says 'Baby Donkey'. I have no clue where he picked it up. I thought he was saying ass at daycare and they told him to say donkey instead but they said no. Then we thought he meant 'baby's ok'. We still can't figure it out but now it makes us laugh when he says it. So Joe and I will sometimes go around the house and just say 'baby donnnnnkeey and each of us laughs our butt off. It's sooo funny.

Joey, for about a month or two now, has been opening the fridge, pulling out what he wants and eating what he wants out of it. It's amazing seeing him grow like this.

You know, I was worried when I had Justin that I would take more photos of him than Joey but so far, from what I've noticed, it's about even. I'm happy about that!

New years resolutions (I'm going to try to keep these up!!).
1. Workout 3x a week. (this includes walking at work or curves).
2. Journal every day and stick to Core WW plan. I want to get as close as I can to my goal by end of February because I have to start paying WW at that time if I'm not at goal. I'm about 20 lbs over right now.
3. I want to take a photo a day.
4. I want to update my blog at least twice a week.
5. Give my kids at least 5 hugs a day. Goal is 10. Dr. Harvey Karp (author of the Happiest Baby (or Toddler) on the block says that to have kids grow you need to give them at least 12 hugs a day.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas parties ... and the week before Christmas

Sunday 12/16 - The third Christmas party.

Sunday marked the last of the first weekend of Christmas parties. We left for our house early in the morning at 9am. We got home about 11:30 and told Joey it was time for a nap – even though his nap is really at 1pm. He didn’t fight us on it. He went down until quarter to 1 when we woke him up. The party started at 1.

This party was my dad’s family. I didn’t know until we got there that dinner/lunch wasn’t until 3 and Joey never even had lunch earlier. I felt bad and made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He ate a few cookies and would have polished off the entire platter if I wasn’t watching.

Our Grandma and Grandpa.

Beth, Justin and Kelly. Beth and Kelly are actually MY cousins. I'm the third oldest in our family of cousins, and they close to the youngest (Sophie who's four is youngest) and Aunt Jen is pregnant with one due in May. My cousin will then be younger than both of my kids!

My cousin Teresa lives in WI so we don't see her often anymore. Here she is with Justin.

Joey got super moody around 2:30. He was mad he couldn’t open gifts, he was mad it wasn’t time to eat and he was just plain bored. There were no toys and I didn’t bring any which was poor planning on my part.

I knew that taking him outside to run around would occupy him for a little while so we went outside and he ran around. He was happy to be no longer cooped in the house. He ran and we played a little bit of tag and he just ran and fell down and ran and fell down and was just plain happy.

Joey having fun playing outside.

Joe and Joey rough-housing.

We went in the house after awhile to get food. He ate a little cake, got mad again because dinner wasn’t ready and Joe took him outside while I ate dinner when it was ready. Oh boy was the food good. Homemade city chicken, galumpkis (stuffed cabbage) and I made cheesy potatoes. The food was good but it was hard to taste it because I was worried about gulfing it down and relieving Joe so he could come inside and eat.

Finally Joey and Joe came inside and it was almost time for gifts. Phew!! Santa was coming! Santa rang the front door and came inside. Joey ran up and gave Santa a big hug. Then Santa brought a bunch of gifts with him and starting calling all the kids names. Santa had a LOT of toys for Joey. The first two toys Joey was not thrilled with and threw them aside and said, ‘No’ which is about every mom’s nightmare because you feel so bad for whoever took the time to buy them!

Joey, Sophie and Santa.

He got a baseball bear stuffed animal and some rubber ducks for the bathtub and was not excited about it. Then he got a car and some stuff like that and was much happier. We brought two gifts for him since the year before no one brought him anything and my father had a FIT about it. So this year I felt bad because everyone overcompensated for last year and he by far had more than the other kids. I guess that’s the way it goes!

Santa then called all the other gifts that other people brought to the party. Joey got a really cool Tonka truck Tow Truck and some light up matchbox cars from his cousins Sophie, Beth and Kelly. Joey was so excited about his gifts that he danced up to see Santa whenever his name was called. Boy was it cute! Justin got a taggie blanket. Go to – the blankets aren’t cheap but they are awesome!

Joey and his new tow truck.

We never see Jeremy. Christmas is usually on Christmas day and this year it was the week earlier. He's always busy Christmas day but since we moved the date, he was able to come this year. So here are is the threesome - Briana, Jeremy and Teresa. We were inseperable growing up as cousins.

Santa left once all the presents were unwrapped. Then it was time for the adult gift exchange. All the adults bring a $5.00 gift and they get to play. Everyone picks a number. There were 26 people there so we did one to 26. You want the last number in this game. What happens is the first person goes up that drew number 1 and they pick a gift and unwrap it in front of everyone. Person who drew #2 can choose to steal the first gift or unwrap a new. When it’s your turn you are able to steal from anyone in the room and then they have to go pick a new gift. Joe went up and got a gift and it was a picture frame. I was #15. When it was my turn I stole a car ice/snow scraper from my cousin Megan. She had to go get another gift. Then my second cousin Troy stole the ice/snow scraper from me. So I had to go get another gift. I then stole these really nice plastic Christmas themed cups from my Uncle Jim and I figured I could use them for Joey and Justin. The hot things in the game were scratch off lotto tickets, the cups I had, the ice scraper I had at one time and some beer. We’ve done this three years in a row now and this is the first year we’ve really played. The funny thing is everyone buys really fun $5.00 gifts to see if their’s becomes the ‘hot’ item. We brought the lotto tickets. The tackiest gift was a glass high heel syrup pump. I am not kidding. It was a glass high heel filled with syrup and had a pump so you could pump it into coffee or on pancakes (it was flavored syrup for coffee). I laughed so hard when I saw that gift!

Joey was pretty tired that night so we laid him down to sleep early.


I organized the gifts we accumulated from over the weekend. Joey got this really cool lamp that was for the Cars movie and it was in the style of a stoplight. When you turned it on, different lights blinked green, yellow or red. That night Joey wanted it on before he went to bed. It doesn’t go off by itself so I went in an hour later to turn it off and he was still awake. I waited a little longer and then turned it off.

Justin is starting to grab things better. He grabbed this off the floor next to him.

Here he grabbed the bear and was chewing on it.


Tuesday night he wanted it on before he went to bed again. I wasn’t too happy about it taking him so long to go to sleep the night before but I picked my battles and figured it was fine. I went in an hour later to turn it off and Joey was still up – again. I wanted to go to sleep so I asked Joe to turn it off when he went to bed.

At 1:30 am Joey woke up chanting ‘I want it on, I want it on’ – just like a monk. I went in his room and told him, no way. The light does not come on at night. It stays off. He knows that it only goes on when he goes to bed. He started to cry. I told him, sorry, it gets to hot. He needs to go to bed. He proceeded to have a major all out tantrum. I told him if he didn’t stop, I would take him lamp away and I did. He would not stop throwing a tantrum. We tried to reason with him, hold him, nothing helped. We finally left his room that night and went to bed while he was screaming and crying, ‘I want it, I want it’. He screamed and cried until 3am!!! I think he finally just decided he wasn’t getting it and went to sleep.


Wednesday morning he was really moody. When I picked him up from school that evening I asked Dina how he was and if he was really tired today. She said that Joe dropped him off in the morning with a Capri-sun drink. Joe let him take it inside daycare and Joey drank it. The problem came when he wanted another and Dina told him she didn’t have any. He threw a tantrum again. She showed him the fridge, cupboards, everything. He still had a massive tantrum. He kicked and flailed, hurt his eye and the only thing that got him to stop 45 minutes later was telling him if he didn’t stop she was going to go put him in a crib. She said he stopped just like that. He’s been having all these tantrums lately and it’s frustrating. That’s why we moved his bedtime back to 8pm.

The next night he never asked about the light and we didn’t bring it up. The nice thing is we get him in the tub now at 7:30pm and he can stay in until 7:50 or so. We then have a little time to read book until 8 or 8:10 and then its bedtime. I got him a bunch of new books from the library so he’s been happily accepting his story time in the evenings.

The cats on Wednesday. They LOVE to sleep on Joeys bed. TyTy (the orange cat) looks like a HUGE fat cat! He's really not that fat at all! Sasha is by far heavier but it must be the angle. When he lays down, he spreads out like this and it's a riot!!

Other things going on this week:
1. I lost 1 pound at weight watchers Thursday night. That brings it to 15 lbs total lost since 10/12/06!
2. Just today (Friday) Joey was saying Darn it over and over and over again. Joe stayed home with Joey and Justin because they both have a bit of a bad cough. Joe said to Joey, ‘Ok Joey – that’s enough’. Joey said to Joe, ‘Daddy, Why? I’m not saying Damn it!’. Hahaha that’s funny.
3. Wednesday evening Joey came home with his right eye banged up from throwing a tantrum at daycare. Thursday he came home with a gash under his eye and it turning black from where he fell on a toy while playing downstairs. Bethany felt awful about it and apologized a billion times. Joey was embarrassed by it because everyone was making a huge deal about it. The poor kid is going to have some really interesting Christmas photos! (you will see a lot of black eye photos coming up through Christmas!)
4. Joe says anymore the weeks go by in a blur. He can’t believe how fast time goes by anymore.
5. Joey’s birthday gift came in this week. He’s a January birthday so we have to think of birthday gifts. With his Tow truck Christmas gift he got a dvd called ‘Where the garbage goes’ and he watches it all day long. It’s from We ordered the whole set for Joey’s birthday. They have other ones about farming, building houses, etc and show all the trucks, tractors, everything. It was $90 shipped for 6 dvd’s. We are sure he will like them.
6. On Saturday while Joey was eating Mac n cheese that grandma made Grandma asked him if he liked Pumpkin roll. Joey said, “I like garbage trucks!!!’.

Friday 12/22

We were at Grandma's house for the weekend. Here are some random photos.

Justin with his new Taggie blanket. He LOVES this blanket!

Joey's black eye.

Saturday 12/23

Justin, Joe and Joey

Justin and Joe

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas parties!

This past weekend was the first of six Christmas parties. We had three Christmas parties this weekend and three next weekend.

Friday 12/15:

We had a lot of errands to run after Joe got home. I noticed that one of our fish was having babies – again. We loaned out all of our baby fish related stuff to our daycare provider because her angelfish was having babies so we had to go buy some.

The first babies in the tank the other three fish either ate or the mother ate! It’s weird how a mother can have a baby fish and then turn right around and eat it! It’s not like I don’t feed the fish. I sometimes feed them 2 – 3x a day! So I was able to save about 6 or so fish before we left to the pet store.

At the store we got a special tank where you put the mother in it and if a fish is born, it is carried away from the mother and into a separation tank (so she doesn’t eat it!). By the time she was put in the tank, she was done having babies so we didn’t get to see how it worked. The first batch of fish I saved all died. They looked deformed. We fed them to our fish in the big tank and they were completely gone in less than 2 seconds.

She had some while we left to the pet store and I think about 3-5 of those lived. We put them in a mesh container in the big tank – just like how we raised the previous 2 batches. I fed them before we left to go up north so I won’t know if they are alive until we get home. We wondered why we never noticed any baby fish in the big tank (we had 49 fish in there). Well it’s because the other fish eat them in no time flat. I’m not sure how many more fish we are planning to raise. We have a LOT of mollies already and really don’t have the room for a TON more! I think we have about 15 alone of just mollies!

We got the cats some different food because it seems that they don’t like the food we have gotten them lately. They keep tipping over the garbage can trying to get the food that was thrown out in there or bugging us when we eat. They never did that before either.

By the time we ran our other errands it was late, we still had to pack and go up north. Once we packed, loaded the car and all it was 11pm! Justin had just woke up and Joey went to bed. Justin only stayed up for a little while and then went back to sleep for the night

Saturday 12/16:

Saturday morning we were starving. Grandma was making ham in the crockpot from last night and a farmers omlet for breakfast and it was taking FOREVER!! Because breakfast was taking so long, they let Joey open most of his gifts first thing. He got a Thomas loader playset where the Thomas cars move back and forth loading and unloading stuff, a Thomas movie with a Chinese Dragon Thomas car on it, a robot that goes back and forth by remote and $50.00.

Finally breakfast was done and we all sat down to eat. YUM what a great breakfast! I tried spiced apple rings for the first time and they were great! We also had all of our desserts for breakfast too. Grandma made a cherry crisp – the one with crushed pretzels on it. YUM! We also had a cherry pie that Uncle Fred made and Grandma made another pumpkin roll. By were we stuffed when we were done eating!

Mom (MIL) preparing breakfast.

Justin didn't make it through the gift wrapping event. He fell asleep right before.

Off to open presents. I got money from Grandma (enough to by the camera lens I want to replace the one I broke!), and from Uncle Fred Joe and I got a new blender (smoothie maker). Joe got some money. Joey got a large semi truck that held a bunch of matchbox cars in the side of it. He loved it. Justin got a mat with a bunch of stuffed animal heads on it that make noises of the animals when pushed and some Baby Einstein blocks that do different things. Justin slept through the entire thing.

Joey with his new Thomas playset.

Joe looking at the gift Joey received and helping remove the train from the packaging for him.

Joey excited over his new truck he received!

Justin was still sleeping when the Christmas was over at Grandma Norma’s house. We decided to go to Joe’s mom’s house since she wanted to do her Christmas before Joey took his nap. Justin was still sleeping so we left him with Grandma Norma.

From mom I got some fish yard ornaments (to put in my garden), some nice Chef’s knives, some candy in my stocking, and a bamix (it’s a really expensive, nice wand mixer, chopper, blender type thing).

Joe got $500 in gift cards between his mom and Grandma to buy new suits, a Tigers 2006 ornaments, a shower radio, a dice poker game and some candy.

Joey got a TON of stuff. He got Cranky the Crane for this Thomas playset and that was one of his favorite gifts. He also got this felt board that he can put horses and stuff on. He got some coloring books, cards games, some trucks and cars, some buildings for his tractors, some tractors, a bouncing ball you can sit on and bounce, a punching bag for kids, a teepee that is life size, a lightening McQueen shirt (which he threw) and a Thomas Video which was under the shirt (mom had to show him that!), an art easel and a bunch of other misc stuff I can’t remember. Both kids got polar bear fleece rug/blankets.

Joey tearing the wrapping paper off his gift.

Joey taking a moment to smile.

We owed mom some money for the tv that we all chipped in and bought Grandma and she said to just take that money and put it in Justin’s bank account for Christmas.

We got Joe’s mom a boot warmer, a new coffee pot, Starbucks coffee to go in it, a car seat cover that the dogs can sit on and not ruin the seat and a new griddle for pancakes.

Overall it was a great two Christmas parties. Saturday for the rest of the day we sat around and enjoyed our gifts. Joey played a lot with his new toys!

Joe with the boys.

Joe playing with Joey. I love this photo. Joe is still but you can see the blur of movement.

I have photos from Sunday's family party. Will be posting those soon.