The Culprits

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Greetings to You & Yours!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! With Love From Us


 When ONE is sad, we ALL share in the sorrow.

 Tom & Jerry have been with us for a whole year now!!!
Wuv....twue wuv.......

 Mommy's "helper".

 Little Christmas Elf
 Some Christmas stuff in my house.
 Our special advent calendar from Nanny.

A picture I painted a few years ago. I've been asked if one of the kids did it. Nope. That was me. And I like it.

 We loved last week's snow!!!! I would have loved it more if Justin wouldn't have done doughnuts on every side street we drove on.
 The tree my sweet husband surprised me with & which the kids & I decorated this week.
 I like my ornaments.

 Some little boys who are confused about what season/ holiday it is.
Yup. Here's my Christmas Card & family letter. Lame, I know. I know I made you think I would send you a card because of the Christmas card pictures I was trying to take a couple weeks ago & about which I blogged. But I decided I'm going cheap this year. Normally, I enjoy making my Christmas cards (you'd think that would be cheaper than buying cards, but it's not). Postage is ridiculous as well...for the amount of cards I send out each year. In these trying economic times, I am so thankful Justin has a reliable job with good health insurance & that we have a roof over our heads & food to eat. We have had significant car troubles the past few weeks, which has put a bit of a strain on us financially. Fortunately, Justin can pretty much do anything he puts his mind to & we didn't have to take it in to the shop. He finished changing the starter in our Suburban on Thursday, last week, just in time to rescue me from the side of the road on Friday, when the alternator in the van died. I think we're going to be a one-car-family for a little while, which is OK. We have everything that we need and more. We're doing better than a lot of people, but I'm still trying to be careful with our money. I am even shopping at thrift stores for my kids' presents, which they're not excited about. But too bad. I hate the commercialism of Christmas anyway....and all the feelings of entitlement that go along with it all. It's ugly. It creeps me out when I see it in my own kids. I want them to understand how blessed we are compared to so many. I want them to think about giving & doing for others. I am having them do some gift-giving & service-giving types of things this season. I may keep this thrift-store-Christmas thing up every year. I've found some great stuff & great deals. SO. Don't feel like you're the only one who's being gypped with a virtual card. I'm just gypping everyone all around. It's nothing personal. And a big thank you to those of you who have sent me a card already this year. I love that tradition. Your cards are hanging on my wall, making me feel special & loved. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue it next year, by sending out real cards. If you want, you can feel free to print out this blog post & hang it on your wall, so you will feel special too. :) What's nice about this blog/Christmas card/family letter is that......if you've been reading my blog, you already know what we've been up to this year. If you haven't, then shame on you. Fortunately, there's this neat little link at the bottom of the blog that says "older posts" & you can catch up. :) But,'s our family update in a nutshell: Life is good. We are very busy with church & church-related activities & friends. Kids are healthy. School is fine. Some of us are learning musical instruments. Some of us are learning to read. One of us is learning to talk. Some of us are still in love. After 16 years. None of us have had pneumonia or appendicitis this year. No nails, quarters or poisons (not very dangerous ones anyway) have been ingested recently. ER visits have been minimal this year. Justin's job is great. We are so thankful for all of our blessings & for the best gift of all: Jesus!!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Critic

Jarod is my little aspiring chef. He is 10. I am....29-ish. I have been cooking (some might debate this) for....a while now. Tonight, as I was making pot roast & draining some of the blood off, he chided me for (and I quote), "wasting perfectly good meat drippings, Mother!" Thank you, Alton Brown.   

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In Search of the Elusive Christmas Card Picture

Today was the perfect day for taking a picture of the kids to send with our Christmas cards. It snowed all day, but it wasn't too terribly cold out. The boys & I ventured out of the house for a fun little photo shoot in front of the police station. Great winter weather. Totally awesome, giant Christmas tree. What could go wrong?

              This one would have been pretty good, if OCD Boy hadn't been trying to straighten out his sleeves.

                Whoa. Something pretty interesting over THAT WAY.

                              Um. I guess we've decided no hands are better than sleeves that are too short.

A smoke-breathing-Jarod!

                                                    Yummy! Snow!

                            Ooooo....pretty ball!!!

OK. Let's try some shots over here. Maybe Isaac will be happier if I hold him. Jarod, stop sitting on Titus please.

 Seth: "Say cheese!"
Micah: "What kind of cheese?"
Gideon: "I'm a good boy."
Isaac: "Why me?"
Titus: "My pants are dry and my sleeves are straight!"
Jarod: "I like cheese."

 Yup. Isaac is MUCH happier now that I'm holding him.

Micah & Gideon having a friendly game of "Punch Your Brother".

                                                               Knock it off!!!

                                                                        Mama quitting.

This is a good shot! You can't see their faces. It's perfect!

                                 Maybe I'll just use this one for the card.

 Or this one. This lamp post is really pretty. And it holds still.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Please, Sir......." AAAAAAAAAaaaaaack!!!!!!

My cousin Andrew, and his family, pleasantly surprised me with a visit last night. They were traveling north to see other family for Thanksgiving & needed a warm bed for the night. I was incredibly happy to see them. The visit was super fun & special. However, I don't KNOW my cousin Andrew very well these days. We haven't spent much time together at all over the past 15 years. I, of course, wanted to impress him & his wife (Jessica) with how well-behaved, well-mannered & lovable my kids are. 

Well, a couple factors worked against me in my efforts to display the amazing accomplishments of my mothering skills. First, Justin's schedule has changed. We are no longer able to be night owls. We get up much earlier now, and TRY to go to bed much earlier than we used to. It's been a process, but we're getting there. My kids are no longer used to staying up till 1:00 am. We all know that when kids stay up waaaaayyyy past their bed-time, sometimes they get cranky. OTHER times, they get ridiculously SILLY..............and giggly.............and........gross (if they are boys). Once that train takes off, there is NO.....STOPPING.....IT. 

Another factor that worked against me was Justin's wonderful fathering. He has been spending so much quality time with the boys since he put the TVs out. He plays games with them & reads to them now, instead of watching TV with them. This past week they have been reading Oliver Twist. During story time a couple nights ago, the boys all took turns mimicking Oliver's famous line, "Please, sir. I want some more." Titus was able to perform a pretty good little English accent & we all got a little chuckle at how cute that was. Such an innocent, sweet 4 year old.

Back to last night. I let the boys stay up until my cousins arrived around 1:00 am. Way past their new bedtime. I opened the door & hugged Andrew. The boys, who were sitting calmly on the couch behaving themselves, said, "Hi." in very polite & well-mannered voices. It all went swimmingly. Andrew went back out to help his family to come in from the cold & bring in their bags. I went to the kitchen to muss around doing something or other. I heard giggling, snorting & what-not from the living room, but wasn't really paying attention to what was actually being said. I heard Andrew come back in, so I went to the living hear the words, "Please, sir......." coming from Titus.

I thought, "Oh cute! He's going to recite the line from 'Oliver Twist' and show how cultured & smart he is."

Instead, he said, "Please, sir. Your BUTT STINKS."

GASP. Shame. Mortification. Humiliation.

The boys all dissolved into hysterical giggles, as my face flushed. Andrew was a good sport & I heard him give a little chuckle. I quickly chided the boys; I told them to quit being nasty & to quiet down. But every time Andrew walked by to get more things from the car, they would repeat the horrible phrase & giggle even louder & more hysterically. I threatened them with various consequences & made hissing noises with my teeth....but the that train had left the station & was gaining speed. Chugga-chugga-choo-choo. Keep in mind, I haven't spent much time with my cousin & I just didn't know how he was taking this. Needless to say, I was VERY relieved when he threatened to fart on their heads.

The boys are now telling me that Titus didn't actually "Twist" that adorable line from Oliver. Apparently, it morphed from some Christian rock song in which someone was melodiously singing, "Sir, your breath" I don't know what is passing for "CHRISTIAN" and "MUSIC" these days.....but what is UP with THAT?????!!!!! Whatever Titus' inspiration, it did the same damage to my mothering-ego. *Sigh*

That one charming incident aside, it was a wonderful visit! They have a sweet little family. I LOVED seeing them & hope they come back we can have a belching contest!!!   

 Their youngest boy, Gage, "loving" the kitty.
He's almost the same age as Isaac, about 21 months.

                             The Lovely Raine, who is the same age as Gideon: 5 & in Kindergarten.

   Jessica, Me & Andrew: Is it just me, or do Andrew & I share a certain look? I think our smiles, cheek-bones & noses are well as the way our eyes scrintch up when we smile. Oh. And thank you, Jarod, for the bunny ears in the only picture that didn't turn out fuzzy. Stupid Iphone.  

                                                                    Jarod & Gage


Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSO & A Mother-Son Date Night

My very thoughtful mother-in-law bought tickets to take Seth & herself to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, because she is such a cool grandma. But it turned out that she had to work on the night of the concert. She was going to have Auntie Emily take Seth instead, because she is the "Cool Aunt" who takes the kids to do cool stuff. But my thoughtful husband suggested to Mom & Emily that I should take Seth because I love the TSO. My thoughtful Mama-in-law & thoughtful sister-in-law agreed. Thus, it was decided that I should be the Honored One to take Seth to the concert. Little did I know that I would be treated like such a queen on this special night. As I was getting ready to go, I heard the doorbell ring. My thoughtful husband, who was thoughtfully sitting at the computer doing nothing.....(and I was doing my hair: important business), called from across the house, "I think it's for YOU, Heather!!!" Fortunately, I was more curious than irritated. I decided not to say anything snotty about Justin's lazy rear not answering the door, or about my hair not being able to fix itself, or about hoping that Justin didn't strain himself too badly as he called for me........or anything else which I would have felt guilty for later. When I opened the door, there stood my handsome oldest son, holding out a beautiful bouquet of flowers to me. So, I got all teary-eyed, kissed Seth (and Justin) & grabbed the camera. Now, I know I am supposed to think that Seth thought of that all by himself.......but I know he had a "little" encouragement from his daddy. Oddly, all night long, Seth was a perfect gentleman & kept offering me his arm, as we walked. He held all the doors open for me. I was stressing out in traffic, because I'm a big baby & hate driving downtown. I was afraid we'd be late, get lost, miss the concert & drive into a black hole. Seth kept patting my shoulder & calmly telling me that we'd be fine, that we'd get there on timeun-zapped into outer space for all eternity. He was so sweet & reassuring. He even told me I looked nice! These things don't come naturally to a teenager, as moms are about the most annoying people that they know. It was like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Seth is a great kid. Don't get me wrong. But I know my husband put him up to this & the fact that he did made me feel so Seth, but especially to Justin. I get teary just thinking about it.

 Anyway, enough gushy, mushy shtuff. We did get there on time. The concert was freaking awesome. 
 Unfortunately, I couldn't get the camera to take shots of the musicians due to the cool light show. I was able to catch a little of this:
 and a little of THIS:
 I'm pretty sure the whole stage was actually on fire for a few seconds. ;)
 I can't even really describe the concert & do it any justice. It's unlike anything I've ever seen or heard before. It was classical-meets-heavy-metal..........along with other assorted styles. It was clean. It had a neat Christmas message. The musicians were all unbelievably talented. The keyboardist had the fastest fingers in the West. I could listen to her play for the rest of my life & never get tired of hearing her. The singers were like angels from heaven: some opera-singing-angels & some heavy-metal-ballad-singing-angels. Seth was especially enamored with the drummer & bass players. We both loved the other guitarists. The fiddler was the coolest chick ever, with her strutting around, head-banging & fiddling. There was ballet, head-banging & other super fun choreography. The whole concert was chills & thrills & ridiculously great music. That's all I have to say about that. :)

 What else is one to do when sitting in a parking garage, wait for traffic to move?

 Yup! We had a good time.
Thanks, Mom (& Emily), for the tickets! Thanks, Justin....for teaching Seth to be a good date & treat his mama special. Thanks, Seth, for hanging out with me. I'm so glad we share a love of music!!!