The Culprits

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!!! 


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Daddy made "swords" with his boys a week or so before Halloween.

  This bloody nose happened, oh......5 min after they started sword fighting.  Now Daddy is shopping for head gear.
Wouldn't wanna come across these guys in a dark ally!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Man's Birthday

On Justin's birthday, I made him dinner & cake. The boys all made him very heart-felt birthday cards. We dimmed the lights, lit candles, made sure everything was just right & waited for Justin to come home from work. The boys all wanted to have a "surprise" party for him. They hid in closets, behind couches & under the table. Everything was very peaceful, clean & quiet. Then Justin called & said he was working a bit late. I didn't tell the boys. When my hard-working man finally got home (& interrupted my 'quiet mommy time'), he opened up & read his cards.
I don't know how to feel about Jarod's card. 

Reasons I love this man:
He forges weapons with his boys. 

He plays, adventures & spars with his kids.

Snuggles his babies.

He knows that kids spell love, "T-I-M-E".

Snuggles me.

Smiles for all the pictures I take of him.

Friday, November 5, 2010


That's not really a super cute alligator. It's just Isaac.

In the days before Halloween, my kids think it's Halloween all week. This is what Titus was going to be for Halloween, before he changed his mind. Fortunately, we collect all of our costumes over the years, so we can afford to have a few changes of heart & costume. Many costumes that we own are good deals that I found after Halloween....or in off-seasons at the thrift store. Some are gifts that aunties & grandmas bought for them at after-Halloween-sales, or off-seasons at the thrift store. Halloween costumes make great Christmas gifts.

A little dragon that went "Trunk or Treating" with us.

Ballerina Kitty
What my kids were ON Halloween.

What they were last night after the $2 costume clearance at Wal Mart.

Even Daddy played!

Beware of the evil Sith lord, Seth! Poor little alien. Scary Army guy. (I didn't call him a Marine because they wouldn't be caught dead in that sloppy of a uniform. Would they, Justin? ;)
Jarod transformed.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?! (The stupidest cartoon EVER created...but my kids LOVE him anyway.)