Friday, December 31, 2010

Lego Land

Santa brought the boys Legos this year, and they were a big hit. I was hesitant to consider buying any Legos because they are super tiny, there are a billion of them, and I knew the boys would lose them and I would find them when I stepped on them in the middle of the night.

Surely, that is my own "only child" inner girl-child talking. Boys need things like that.

Caleb took to these like he did with puzzles. His gift was a Creator set where you can make three different cars from this one set. Last night he finished the first race car after working on it, on and off, all day.



Please excuse the crappy photos, taken with my phone. Our camera is being tempermental and works when it wants to, and I just don't want to buy a new camera until it completely dies.

This morning he and his dad sat at the table and transformed it into a Mario Kart type race car.


Tomorrow he is going to change it into a Jeep.

I think this year is the year of the Lego. I forsee tons tiny pieces in our future.

Any ideas on organizing all of these into their respective sets for storage?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family vacay planning...

While we save up money for our Disney Cruise, hopefully in the summer of 2012, we have decided to take the boys camping for our 2011 vacation.

This seems ideal for our wallets as well as for the activities they have for the kids. If you know me at all, you know that "roughing it" means a hotel without room service, so we had to pick a place that had cabins with air conditioning and a bathroom. I refuse to hike it in the middle of the night to go to the potty.

So over Spring Break we will be heading to Waller to Jellystone Park! The boys are very excited about all the things they can do there, all with Yogi Bear. I mean, what more could you ask for? A pool, splash pad, serpent slide, mini-golf, petting zoo, fishing, campfires...the boys will have a blast.

I am super excited that our cabin has a full kitchen, a bathroom, a loft for the kids, air conditioning and heating, a screened in patio, and a fire pit. We can bring our cereals and milk, have sandwiches, roast hot dogs and marshmallows, and still go to the snack bar for goodies if we want.

Roughing it in style, that's how I do it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

As 2010 comes to an end....

I reflect on our lives this past year. We have had a fantastic year. Even though Josh worked a lot, I think we still were able to spend a good deal of time together as a family. That is actually Josh's resolution for 2011...to spend more time with me and with the kids.

Jansen started Kung Fu in January. In February, Caleb took a cooking class and an archery class. In March we took a family trip to Monster Jam World Finals in Las Vegas for Caleb's birthday. In April, Jansen took field trips in his final year of preschool. In May we found out Jansen had horrible allergies and asthma and ripped out all our carpet to be replaced with laminate. June saw us either at the library, the pool, or the Rec Center. July, Caleb broke his arm and we had to get really creative, but we still got to see the Circus. In August, Josh and I saw Kathy Griffin, we took the kids to the Astros, and my babies started Kinder and 2nd grade! Soccer season and piano began in September and my kids became Mario and Luigi for Halloween in October. November began with a "congratulations on your weight loss" trip to Cozumel for myself and Josh, and then was followed by my being in bed for the rest of the month after my Mommy Makeover surgery. December was very odd...trying to recover and feel "right" again, while getting ready for Christmas. This was the first year that I honestly did not feel the Christmas spirit at all. It was actually very sad. But I am sure that next year it will return again.

AND TODAY JANSEN LOST HIS FIRST TOOTH!!!


My goals for next year, having reached most of them this year, are more financial.

I want to build our emergency savings back up, since we reduced it by half when Caleb broke his arm.

We never paid off our last credit card this year, and actually gained one more balance....so I would LOVE to have both of those paid off.

And on a personal level, I want to start running. More specifically, I just want to be able to run anywhere from 1-5 miles non stop. That can't be that hard, right???

We have had a blast this year, but I feel like we over extended ourselves. Half of me thinks, we can't take money with us. And the other half thinks we are in a recession and we need to have savings galore. I want to meet somewhere in the middle, do my best, and have fun with the family.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We are so blessed. We hope your family had a wonderful, blessed holiday as well!!!








Monday, December 20, 2010

Sickness go away!!!


This winter season has been exceptionally sickly this year. I just don't understand what is happening. It seems like as soon as Halloween is over, my kids start coughing. And then we go through, "how long do I treat this with over the counter meds before we go to the doctor?"

Well, Caleb suddenly spiked a fever on a Saturday two weeks ago, so the three of us rushed to Urgent Care. He had a URI, and got some meds and was told he would be fine in a few days. He was fever free the next day, but still has a really yucky cough.

So the following Thursday, Jansen gets the same thing. More antibiotics and he will be fine in a few days. He had to miss his Christmas party at school and was totally bummed. But he is on the mend now, slowly getting his appetite back and fighting just the occasionaly cough.

Overnight, I got hella-sick. I got into the doctor this morning and was told that I am wheezing and it sounds like I have more fluid in my right lung than the left. So he sent me to get a chest xray. I left there with a shot, three meds, and a puffer, hacking and coughing, and killing my poor stomach, which is still very sore from my tummy tuck 5 weeks ago. Looks like OVERNIGHT I developed Sinusitis, a URI, an ear infection, and bronchitis. I feel like poop!!! Needless to say....this will be an uneventful week in our house as we all struggle to get better. We just pray Josh doesn't get it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Candy cane blossoms

Yesterday the kids and I baked candy cane blossoms for their teachers. We got the recipe off of the peppermint Hershey Kisses bag....have you ever had those???? They are delish!

Time consuming, but a really fun project to work on with the kiddos because there are a lot of things they can do to help. They can unwrap all the Hershey Kisses, they can sprinkle all the colored sugar on the cookies, and they can place the kisses on top. So their teachers are getting cookies decorated by them!

Anyway, here is the recipe on the bag...

Ingredients
* Hershey's Kisses
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
* 2 cups flour
* 1/4 tsp. baking soda
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 2 Tbls. milk
* red or green sugar crystals

Directions
* Heat oven to 350 degrees.
* Remove wrappers from the kisses
* Beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended.
* Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and add alternately with milk to the butter and sugar mixture.
* Shape dough into 1 inch balls.
* Roll in red or green sugar crystals

* Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.
* Remove from oven and let cool about 2 minutes.

* Press a candy piece into the center of each cookie and allow to cool completely.
So there you have it. They are super tasty, and fun for the kids to make. Festive holiday fun!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Free mini-wreaths and wrapping party

Friday, I was invited to my friend, Jennie's 5th annual Christmas wrapping party. First, let me tell you something about Jennie. She has a gift. She loves to throw parties of all kinds and they don't disappoint. She is the most creative person, which is not surprising, because she comes from a super creative family. Everyone either paints, writes, bakes, etc. You name it, and they can do it!

Anyway, Jennie hosts this party...tons of food, a chocolate fountain, baskets of Christmas balls, ribbon, fabric strips, garland, wrapping paper, tags. She supplied it all. We just showed up with an empty tummy and a handful of gifts, and got to wrapping. I only had 4 more presents to wrap..and now that they are under the tree, I feel sorry for all the previous presents.



I just don't think that much about the outside of the present. Each present gets wrapping paper, a bow, and if you are lucky, a tag. But these are so beautiful...I don't want to give them away now, because my tree will go from feeling like a Glamazon to a red-headed-step-child. I am sorry in advance beautiful tree.

On another note....ugh. When I wrap presents, no matter how well I try to measure things out, I always have these little strips left. I hate to throw these away but I never wrap something the size of a mosquito....

So I decided to make a wrapping paper scrap mini wreath for Caleb's tree.


Now that I made it, Jansen is begging for one. I found out that an old scratched CD makes the perfect template for this. I just made it exactly like I did my book wreath a couple months back...little strips, hot glue and ribbon. Baby steps back into crafting...and it was my favorite price....FREE.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Look what we made...again


Let the festivities begin.....

My family breaks up Christmas like crazy. On the week before, my in laws like to have Christmas with just us...them, my little family, and my nephew. Then on Christmas Eve, my little family goes over to my parents' house for breakfast, and then back to my in-laws for the rest of the day to celebrate with one side of the extended family (divorce you know). Then on Christmas we have Santa, then we go over to my mother-in-law's parents' house, then we go to my mom's side of the family, then we go to my father-in-law's mothers' house (divorce you know). And then finally, the day after Christmas we go to my dad's side of the family.

We, let me rephrase that, I get to bring a dish to almost all of them. The plan for Christmas Eve is to make some awesome sounding guacamole...thanks for the recipe, Faith!!! I am making broccoli, rice, and cheese casserole for my mom's, and desserts for my dad's. Right now I am debating on the desserts. I can make fudge, cookies, cupcakes, triple chocolate fudge cake....just not sure yet. But I need to figure out something soon so I can hit the grocery store before it gets holiday crazy!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kids' trees and holiday baking

So maybe I am the only mom in America who doesn't let their child decorate their Christmas tree. I have a strict, no kids' ornaments rule on our main family tree. I know to most that must sound really harsh. But when the hubs and I first got married, like most newlyweds, we had a whole lotta nada. I vowed that no matter what, someday, I would have the tree that I envisioned in my mind. So every year, I would buy a handful of ornaments that spoke to me that year...all red and/or gold.

For the last two years, my tree has been just like I envisioned. I haven't bought any new ornaments and I (or the children) haven't broken any either. I pretty much told the kids if they broke any of Mommy's ornaments I would throw away all their presents. It worked, but they might be pyschologically scarred...

Anyway, this year, the boys have collected a good amount of homemade ornaments, which I cherish by the way. They are finally old enough to decorate and maintain their own small trees. We had some cute patio trees that I purchased about 3 years ago when we moved into this house. They were gorgeous on our patio, but because of the slope and the wind, would never stay standing.

This year, they became Caleb and Jansen's trees. Each child pulled out all their handmade ornaments, and got to purchase one package of new ornaments of their choice. Surprise...they chose Monster Jam. :) They each took a tree into their rooms and started decorating however they saw fit. Caleb was excited that he got to have a tree just "so", just like Mommy's.

So here is Caleb's finished product...


Jansen's finished tree....(with all the ornaments in one big glob)

And as well, today I started some holiday baking. On the agenda was chocolate peanut butter fudge and white chocolate and brownie cookies....

Here are all the ingredients you need for this super easy, fool-proof, delish fudge.
Here is what it looks like in the fridge...
And here are the cookies...
Both of these are for my cousin, because she so awesomely and generously cleaned my house for me the other day. I just can't sweep, mop, and clean the bathrooms yet. What a blessing!!

In case you would like to make this fudge...here is the recipe I use:

3 Minute Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fudge

1 1/2 cups chocolate morsels

1/2 cup sweetened, condensed milk

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon water

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on full power for 30 seconds, then remove and stir. Heat again for another 30 seconds, then stir again. Mixture should be smooth by this point, but you may need to microwave it 1-2 more times in 30 second increments depending on your microwave. You can also melt this mixture over a double boiler if you do not want to use a microwave.

When mixture is smooth, pour batter into a baking dish and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or more. When ready to serve, cut into squares

Dear Lord, please don't let me eat all of it before it goes into the Christmas tin....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas time is near.....

It has finally been cold here for about 3 days now, which seems to be a record for south Texas. We have our tree up, the mantle decorated, a few presents under the tree, and our lights up outside. My husband is very electronically inclined, but has traditionally not loved to put up lights outside. However, last year he figured out how to time lights with music, and it was on like Donkey Kong. Each year now, he adds a little to it, and this year, I am totally loving the outdoor decor. He did a fantastic job...so I took a little video of it...(it is a little difficult to hear the music, but it is there) video We did have to purchase a new tree this year...I didn't pick it out, my husband did. He said he wanted a skinny tree. It's growing on me. When it comes to the holidays, I am of the "bigger is better" school of thought, but this probably works better for our space.


Up next, holiday baking!!!! My fave!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A few pics

I have debated and debated on whether or not to post some pictures of my personal journey through this surgery and recovery. In the end, I decided to post just a few. Here is a little background...

This year I turned 30 and was always told to get your weight in control by big, bad 30, because it is so much easier to gain weight in the years after. This was the year. So in April, I started a mission to lose 30 pounds. Long gone are the dreams of being my college weight (actually, maybe not). I changed my eating habits and started exercising, mainly walking at the track across from my kids' school. It was too easy to put on some sweats, walk them to school, and hit the track all before 8:00. By the end of the summer, I had lost about 35 pounds and things were starting to shrink. But I became frustrated because that weight loss only translated to losing 1 dress size, because my stomach was actually getting worse!

My stomach was so stretched out by gaining so much weight with my boys, and I had a protruding umbilical hernia that was awful. I had been begging my husband for years to get a tummy tuck knowing that it could make a dramatic difference. After losing the weight, my husband agreed to make a consultation with a plastic surgeon to see what could be done.

At my consultation the doctor assured me that if I wanted to lose a little more weight and sculpt my hips and thighs, it could be done. But if I was looking to tone my stomach or return some volume to my breasts, it could not be done without surgical intervention. He began to draw on my abdomen and literally lifted two handfuls of skin away with his hands claiming that "all this could be gone". He couldn't promise my all my stretch marks would be gone since I did have many above my belly button, and I would have to lose a tattoo I got several years back. The hubs and I discussed it, and we decided to go ahead with it.

3 weeks later, I was being operated on. Now, I didn't take any before pictures but the doctor did. So I will post before and after pictures after my Final Recovery visit in March. And I was in a way too fragile mental state to actually take pictures immediately after the surgery or in the two weeks out. But this is 3 weeks out, and I feel 100% better. I have lost about 5 pounds so far from this surgery, and the doctor assures me that I am still very swollen and stand to lose more weight over the next 2 months.

The first couple of days I was in and out. We don't have a recliner so I slept in our bed with a ton of pillows under my head and back and a wedge pillow for my legs. It was fairly comfortable, but a recliner would have been perfect. By the end of the first week, I hobbled into the PS's office for a check-up and to remove my right drain. Most unusual feeling ever, follow by about 2 seconds of sharp pain. Each day I would struggle to get out of bed and pull off the binder to take a shower. After the shower all the dressings had to be changed and each time I would curse that extra drain in my left side that kept falling and pulling the stitches.

By the second week, most of the sharp pains were gone, and severe soreness had set in. There was no chance I was sleeping, and the mental game began. I had the second drain removed, and although that phsyically made me feel better, my mind was playing tricks on me. I had incredible self-doubt, crazy frustration, hopelessness, my swelling was ridiculous, and I was totally upset that I wasn't healing as quick as I thought I would. But by the third week, I was able to drive on my own, and the doctor was happy.

The reason I decided to post the pictures ( I am fully covered), is that I have literally had 6 people ask to see it because they were thinking about doing it themselves. They had tons of questions and needed to know what they might be getting into.

So without further ado, here are some post-Mommy Makeover 3 weeks:
This is a front view of how low the scar is.

The side view. I couldn't really get a picture of how far back it goes, but it does go pretty far back.
And this one is up close. I still have a lot of stretch marks but they were reduced by about half. Most of the swelling is in the middle part of the incision, just to the left and right of my new belly button, which the doctor assures me is healing well...
I am slathering on the Mederma, just to reduce the redness of my incision, even though it can be completely hidden by undergarments, thank goodness. Not that I am going to be out wearing a bikini or anything...that just isn't me. But I still want it to look as good as it can be.

Anyway, there you have it. My 3 week update. Hopefully by 6 weeks, it will be better, and then in March, I will post the before and after pictures.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ohmygoooooooodness

Ok, I am fascinated by medical procedures, but before I had this surgery, I would not watch any of the abdominoplasty videos. Now that mine is done, I watched it, and it was incredible. If you are squeemish in any way, don't watch it. Seriously, don't watch it. PS. This is not me...I can't believe this woman gave her permission to put this on youtube.

But this is one of those train wreck things that is so incredible, I just could not take my eyes away from it. Now I seriously realize why I have been such a basketcase and was in such pain.


Total craziness! Enjoy your lunch everyone....