Monday, November 23, 2009

Holidays are coming!

Are you excited about the upcoming holidays? I am. I love holidays. I am sure it is because we always had the best times growing up. I was one of the lucky ones that had fun family times and special traditions every year. They were not anything fancy, just the same thing every year. My little family holidays have not been that way, for obvious reasons. I have to really battle being sad every year because we never know what our holidays are going to bring. The first hitch in our get-along is Todd's job. Please know that I am forever grateful for his job, he has a job which I know is no small thing. But, retail and holiday celebrations do not mix! The last two years, Todd has had to work even on Thanksgiving morning. We have enjoyed our Thanksgiving, but it is quiet without a lot of extended family around. We had one Christmas where Todd had to go to the Club three times to turn off the alarm that someone had not set properly the night before. All the Santa presents waiting patiently to be opened while daddy went to work. The last three years have really been crazy. So much have not traveled until you have traveled during the holidays! Of course two years ago we had a newborn, more craziness. Maybe there was craziness when I was little and just didn't know it :).

We are so excited to be closer to home this year. The holidays will still not be the picture perfect holidays that you read about, or dream about, but that is ok. I am finally coming to terms with this. Life is not perfect. Since Thanksgiving is the next holiday, I am hopefully going to be focusing on all that we have to be thankful for. The next six weeks will not be anything for Martha Stewart to write about, by any means! But, it's a holiday, how can it not be fun! What I am looking forward to is decorating my house, cooking meals that we don't normally eat, and seeing how excited the kids are. Gannon is five, a perfect age for holidays. Callie will be a blast as she starts figuring things out. Kellen and Garrett are getting old enough that we have memories to reminisce about. So, here is to reminding myself to keep this year low-key so that we can enjoy each other and the time we have together, whether or not it is picture perfect!

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The cooking has begun. Cornbread waiting to dry out for dressing and mashed potatoes. I'm getting hungry!

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Callie up early to help me cook the dressing. I love that we can make it ahead an freeze it. It is actually better that way!

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Very serious about her stirring!

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This is what happens when mama is cooking and almost two-year-olds are left to themselves! The boys saw her and actually said "I thought you knew she was doing this". Seriously?

Side note: Yes I do comb Callie's hair. She has crazy hair in these pictures because within five minutes of combing it, it is crazy. I hate to tell her that I think she may have inherited my hair :(. Do you think she is too young for mousse?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Back In The Swing…

We are getting back into the swing of things and it feels so good! What a blessing to have a house that doesn’t need fixed! There are things I would love to tweak at some point, but it is not a necessity. We have really enjoyed just spending time as a family. I’ve been cooking up a storm. We were all so tired of eating out for two months! The kids and I had some home-cooked meals, but Todd only had take-out or the occasional frozen something he made in his hotel.

I have a new favorite site for recipes! Whole Foods Market. I’ve never been to a Whole Foods store, but the store always looks so yummy and healthy on Top Chef :). Wish we had one here!

Last week I made a beef stroganoff from their site. It was fine. The guys liked it. This is one of Todd’s favorite things so I made that for him :). I made a yummy chicken and rice soup. This was for me :), but everyone loved it. Yesterday I made Chicken Alouette. This was not from their site, I saw it on a blog I follow, . It was so good and kind of fancy for us! Of course, like everything else I do, it did not turn out like the recipe. The recipe said it would make six, I ended up with twelve. Oh well, I am sure they tasted the same! This week I made Potato Chowder from the Whole Foods site. Everyone loved it, except Todd, who didn't get any! I made it on the night he closed, thinking the kids wouldn't love it so there would be some left, but no. We ate it all!

Hope this is a sign of things to come! We enjoy eating together and I enjoy cooking when things aren’t crazy everywhere else in my life! Here’s to happy cooking!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Well, we are slowly getting settled in here in Springfield. Luckily, we had three out of four Halloween costumes ready before we got here, so we didn't have to stop in the middle of all this to figure out costumes. Garrett could not decide what he wanted to “be” for Halloween. He finally settled on Mystery Man. We had all the stuff to make his costume, but of course didn’t make it until the morning of Halloween. I wonder why?!

Halloween in our house seems to be almost an afterthought lately. This year, we had just moved. Last year, we had just moved. The year before, we had a baby. The year before mama was pregnant. Can you see how this happens? Last year at least we had moved into a neighborhood that had a lot of kids so therefore a lot of Halloween action. This year, not so much! Our neighborhood only has one other house, occupied by a single man we don’t see much of. So we decided to take advantage of a local church’s festivities. This is one of those churches that looks more like a mall than a church. They had tons of stuff to do and lots of kids in costumes. The weather was beautiful. We had a nice time, even if it wasn’t the traditional Halloween of going to neighbors houses and hanging out after dark.

My kids all love to dress up. They would dress up all the time if I would let them. They are all so imaginative that they take their pretend games to the max and have costumes and all! So, just having an excuse to dress up for the day made it fun for them.

On a side note: our house in Bettendorf has sold! Three weeks after we listed it, we accepted an offer. We should close on November 10th. They buyer is a cash buyer, so hopefully he won’t spend all his money before the tenth! I am so excited to be done with that worry. Now I feel like I can concentrate on this house.

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Ladybug! Ladybug! Fly away home!

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Mystery Man

Detective Kellen

Captain Rex

Little Ladybug

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Daddy as an OU football coach, again. ha:)

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Being a detective is serious business!

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Not a great picture of us, but wanted to show how many people were there! We couldn’t believe it. I did not partake of all the stuff in my hands. The church was giving out free kettle corn, I didn’t eat any but kept ending up with all the empty cups!

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Waiting in line for one of the attractions. Detective Kellen had found some time to shave. Apparently the moustache was itchy!

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When we got home from the Halloween party, we started working on our pumpkins. Our realtor here in Springfield had left pumpkins and carving kits for the kids. The kits were Potato Head brand and poked in the pumpkins like Mr. Potato Head pieces. They are so cute!

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Everyone working hard.

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The finished products. Aren’t they the cutest? Gannon made a skeleton, Garrett a pirate, Kellen a vampire, and Callie made a princess, of course!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A New House

When I say a new house, I literally mean a new house. After looking at many, many houses in Springfield we settled on a newly built home. This last year of remodeling our Bettendorf house has done us in for a while! When we would see things that were OK and only needed this or that done to them, we wanted to run! The thought of picking up a paint brush right now makes me want to scream! I am excited to be able to move in and not "have to" do anything to live in it. There are some things that I would like to do to make it our own, but I can take my time because it is fine the way it is.

There were many pluses that helped us settle on this house. First, the area. It is just a few miles from Todd's store. It is right in the middle of Springfield, Ozark, and Nixa and puts us a little closer to Branson than we have been before. So, we will have easy access to all the "stuff" we like to do. It's a few miles from the church Todd has been visiting and that we will see about when we all get there. Since it is a newer neighborhood, we were able to get on the street that won't ever have any houses behind it. Behind our yard is a field and then trees. Gannon calls it the forest. I don't think you could call it a forest, but it is think enough that I can't see them when they are playing out there. Love the idea of no back neighbors! As a matter-of-fact we will only have one neighbor right now! That will be a little weird. I hope a few more people move in soon, I'm not one to live out by myself. It will be fun right now though, the kids will have the run of the neighborhood on their bikes since there will be no one there! New streets, no cars!

Another plus, at least for the kids is that the kids are all going to have their own rooms for the first time. They are so excited. We'll see how long that lasts! Kellen is the only one that has had his own room for any length of time. Well, Callie has her own room in our Bettendorf house, but she doesn't sleep in there, so it is really for decoration :). I am the only one not jumping for joy about the rooms. I like to have all my little chicks around me all the time, or at least most of the time. I'm just a little controlling like that! We are going to be a little more spread out, which people keep telling me is a good thing with the ages my kids are getting to be. That doesn't make me feel any better. Yesterday Gannon said "are you and daddy going to share a room?" When I told him yes, he just looked at me with a look of sadness, like he felt sorry for us having to share. It was so cute!

No matter what house we would have picked, it would be closer to home. That is the best part of all. I can't wait for the holidays, a Christmas where the kids and I don't have to take a vacation to spend time with our family. Maybe, just maybe, Todd will get to participate in more holiday activities. It just makes me smile with anticipation of the holiday season. I have told Todd for three years that I don't care where we move, I just want to be able to get home in half-a-day. I have my wish, so the house is just icing on the cake!
Here are some pictures of our house. Figured I better show you now before I mess it up with my random decorating!

The front, of course. Todd said they came and planted some trees yesterday. We didn't even know they were going to do that!

Living room, looking out the back windows. I love the view. Our outside door is off the kitchen with the deck on the side of the house. I love that. I don't have to stare at the grill out my living room!

Basement, not finished of course. The builder said it would be done by the 23rd. Eeeek.

"The Forest" ha!