Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tonight I colored.........

really. That's what I did. Me, a color book, and a box of crayons. It started out with Cooper asking me to color with him, so I told him that we could color for a few minutes before bed. He has a giant coloring book with the Nick Jr. characters, so he picked out a Backyardigans page for me to color and a Diego page for himself. He pulled out the giant box of crayons and markers, and I went to my secret crayon stash for my barely used, still sharp, unbroken box of 24 Crayola Crayons. You see, I am a self confessed crayon snob, just like Shannon is a self confessed tree snob. I could actually not care less about my Christmas Tree, but my crayons MUST be Crayola, and they must be new and unbroken. So I keep a stash, and when they no longer meet my standards I add them to my children's collection. I know, it's petty and superficial and shallow and wasteful and all those things, but it's who I am. Every year during the back to school sales I stock up on crayons. At 20 cents per box, I can afford to supply my habit with five boxes for the year. Then when I do sit down to color, I actually enjoy it!

The real issue here is not my affinity to a certain brand of crayons, it is that I really did not have the time to sit and color for as long as I did. You see, Cooper and I colored together for about 10 minutes, then he was done and it was time for bed. After I tucked both the boys in and prayed with them I went back to the coloring page instead of doing the so many other things that I should have done.

Like fold these............

Or decorate this.................

Instead I colored this................

And I enjoyed it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Baby is FOUR!

Happy Birthday Cooper! I can hardly believe that four years have gone by since you were born. Mommy had a craving for Pumpkin Pie when I was pregnant with you, but could not eat it because I had Gestational Diabetes. I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through Thanksgiving without a slice. It turned out that I didn't have to, you decided to make your appearance three weeks early on the day before Thanksgiving. What a gift you were! You spent the first week of your life in the NICU, and were a bit of a grumpy guy, but I don't blame you. All those nurses did was poke and prod at you. When we finally brought you home we knew our family was complete! You are so special to us. You are a fun little boy. You are always willing to try anything from new foods to new adventures.

Your daring spirit has kept daddy and I on the edge since you started walking. After you learned to walk, you quickly learned to climb, then took on the challenge of riding a scooter before you were two. When that became to easy you decided to learn to swim, and this summer you began jumping off the diving board into 11 feet of water. You were three and a half, and mommy was a nervous wreck.
You are daring and you are brave but what I love the most is that you are so sweet, loving and cuddly. No matter what adventure you are on you always stop to give hugs and kisses and at the end of the day you always want to snuggle and have "face". I hope we never lose those moments.
As you continue to grow, I pray that you will continue to seek new adventures in life. I also pray that you will discover a love for Jesus to carry with you on your adventures.
Happy Birthday little buddy! We love you so much.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving with the Rosebrook Clan

Every other year we spend Thanksgiving with my family. The great thing about it is that everyone in my family is on the same schedule, so Thanksgiving together is a HUGE deal. As in 33 people with just my immediate family. This year my parents have an exchange student from Slavakia, so there was 34 for dinner!

We left our house around 9 for the usually three and a half hour drive to my parents. It turned into five hours because of traffic and construction through Everett. Our boys are used to the drive, so they were very good. Cooper and I both took pretty long naps while Dave drove and Ben read. Dinner was supposed to be at 2, but the turkey took a little longer than expected to cook, so we weren't late, and I even had time to make the candied sweet potatoes, yum!
After dinner there was rough housing and games, and the chance to just hang out. There is 19 kids ranging in age from 17 years to 7 weeks and we managed to gather them all, except the baby, who was sick of being passed around, on the stairs for a picture! You can't see them to well, but there is Chelsea, Amanda, and Ivana (exchange student) all 17, Darian, Brandyn and Breanne all 15, Shaylene 14, Alyssa 13, Cannyn 12, Andrew 11, Brystan and Jesse both 10, Caleb 8, Benjamin 7, Libby 6, Abby 5, Cooper 4, and Jonah and Olivia both 3. The joy of it all is that for the most part the kids all get along so well! It is very fun watching them grow up.
Friday morning my sister and I ran to Fred Meyer for socks. I usually stock up for the whole year at the day after Thanksgiving sale. We got to Freddies about 10:30 and were out the door by 11! No early morning crowds and lines for us. Then we just hung around the rest of the day eating leftovers, and taking a drive out to see our othere sisters almost finished new home.
Friday evening it was time for another Rosebrook Family Quarterly Birthday Party. After the brith of all those kids we finally smartened up and started having quarterly parties. Once every three months we get together and celebrate birthdays for all the kids in that quarter. So it was time to celebrate the 4th quarter kids (Andrew, Cooper, Jonah, Olivia and now Baby Darius). We rented out a Jungle Playland all to ourselves! It was so much fun. Again, all the kids had a blast together. The big kids played right along side with the little kids, and since we had the place to ourselves there was no worry of other kids getting trampled.
Saturday morning brought the chance to sleep in for Dave and I. Cooper was up early with Grandma. I got up around 9, Ben was next at 10:30 and then Dave emerged around 11! That is such a rare thing for us. After we got up we just sat around at my mom and dads until after lunch time at which point we decided it was time to either take a nap or head home. So we packed up and got on the road.
What a great, relaxing weekend! I am so thankful for my amazing family. While we have our issues (what family doesn't?) getting together is such a great time. I cherish the chance to pass on the importance of family to my kids and I hope we have these traditions for many generations.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Scones and Little Birds

Benjamin was assigned a project last Friday that is due tomorrow. And we completely forgot about it over the weekend. Possibly because we were having far to much fun cleaning up the gazillion leaves in our yard and trimming all the rhododendrons and it just slipped our minds that we were supposed to create a food to take to class on Tuesday along with a 2 minute report about his heritage!
It was so tempting tonight to just throw a bottle of Ketchup in his backpack and call it good because we are pretty much of the Heinz 57 pedigree. There is so many heritages to choose from that just about the only food we could not send was chips and salsa! But we decided on Scones, and his English heritage. His report is more centered on the United Kingdom, which includes England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, all from which he draws his heritage. So tonight we set out to make scones. Now granted, I have never really had a scone that I enjoyed. They always seem to be to dry, and difficult to swallow. Maybe that is why they are always paired with tea or Starbucks coffee. But every website that I went to on my quest for the "perfect" (translate: easy) scone recipe dubbed theirs the "most moist" scone on the planet. So after a little surfing I found two recipes for scones and took them into the kitchen along with my seven year old to create our heritage. I adapted and married the two recipes to fit the ingredients that I had available and off we went. He measured and sifted the dry ingredients while I combined the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Then I showed him how to "cut in" the butter. Of course my graceful "cutting" turned into his shower of flour flying everywhere. Then we combined the wet and the dry, added some cinnamon and raisins (our adaption), rolled, cut, brushed with cream, and sprinkled the top with cinnamon and sugar and into the oven they went. Fifteen minutes later out came the yummiest, most moist scones I have ever tasted! I should offer my adapted recipe to Starbucks. Of course, yummy and moist translates into calorie ridden and forbidden, but I did taste one. After all I could not send a treat to school that I wasn't sure tasted delicious, besides it's our heritage!

Oh yeah, Cooper spent the evening pretending he was a little bird. He flapped his little wings all through the house, jumped off the back of the couch pretending to fly, tried to peck his dinner, and then tonight when I went to tuck him in to bed, he was laying on top of about 15 stuffed animals stacked under his blanket. When I asked him why, he said it was his nest and he was going to sleep in it. Okay. All I can figure is that Diego must have saved a little bird this morning on his show? However, when I just checked on him and it looks as if the little bird has fallen out of his nest.
Is anyone, besides me, watching the countdown? We are under a month until my husband graduates from college!!!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Fun Giveaway

Check out my friend Michelle's Blog to see how to enter for an very fun giveaway that she is doing. While you're there take a look at the work that she does. She is very gifted and uses her gifts to bless others. Check her out!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I love my house

I really do. Our house is very small. It is 1302 sq. ft. And with two boys it seems smaller than that some days. But I love it. We sold a larger house on a very small lot in order to buy this smaller house on a much larger lot. When we first came to look at this house I thought for sure there was a mistake in the pricing, I thought it should not have been within our budget because of it's desirable location and the size of the lot, but it was. The location was to good to be true, the yard was exactly what I was looking for, and I had told our realtor that I didn't really care what the house looked like as long as it had a big yard and was within one of three particular public school boundaries. We saw the house on a Friday evening, within 6 hours of it being listed, and had a full price offer in by 7 am the next morning. We were the second offer, the first was contingent on the sale of their other home, so we slipped in because our house was already sold! God wanted us to be here. We have a big yard for our boys to play in, our house is on a flag lot so we have a very long driveway which is perfect for bike, skateboard and scooter riding. We are in the boundaries for a fabulous elementary school, and we have the most amazing neighbors that shower my children with love and affection. So, unless my husband gets a job out of the area (like perhaps the Port Orchard area?) I feel like this is the house I want to live in for a very long time. I do not have a desire to have a much bigger house, but we can and probably will add about 500sq ft. on to this house in the near future.
That said, I do feel like there is some things that I would like to do to make the space in our house more useful, organized, and homey. So here are a few of my dreams...........

This is the pantry I have:

This is the pantry I wish I had!

This is the office, in what is supposed to be my dining room, I have:

This is the office, in what is supposed to be my dining room, that I wish I had!

This is the kids creative area, in what is supposed to be my dining room, that I have:

This is the kids creative corner, in what is supposed to be my dining room, that I wish I had!

So do any of my blogger friends have any advice on how to achieve these dreams without breaking the bank? Oh yeah, and did I mention that I am decorating challenged?

Monday, November 12, 2007

An ode to my big sista....

Kris is my sister. She is number 4 and I am number 5 of six kids. Our mother had six kids in 9 years, and the biggest age gap is between Kris and I; 2 years 9 months, and that is because there was a stillborn brother between us. Growing up we were not particularly close. We were so different, she was very quiet and reserved, I was loud and obnoxious. She was frugal, I was not; when we would get to go to the store for candy hers would last all day sometimes more, mine would be gone in a flash, and then I would be so mad that she still had some. She was very strong, I was a wimp. Kris was also a very hard worker, and would be so dilligent about saving her money. She bought her own first car when she was 16, she moved out on her own when she was 18, and married when she was 20. I admired her growing up, but she was always a mystery to me.
Kris is not one to draw attention to herself, as a matter of fact, she is very modest and pretty shy. But she cares very deeply. One day when I was about 11, Kris was out in the woods next to our house trying to save a cat that had wandered up a tree and would not come down. She had been trying to coax it down for quite sometime, but it would just not leave it's perch. The cat was sitting in a 'Y' in the tree about 15 feet above ground. Kris decided to go up the tree to bring the cat down. Just one problem. The tree had no branches. But up she shimmied. She got a few feet off the ground and decided that her shorts were to tight to shimmy in, so down she came, removed her shorts, and up she went again, in just her undies, shoes and shirt. Just as she reached the 'Y' where the cat was perched, something happened and Kris lost her grip and fell. Flat on her back. She was hurt. After a few seconds of shock she told me to go call 911 because she could not move. Did I mention that we were the only ones home at the time and we lived 15 minutes from the nearest podunk town?I ran back to the house, called 911, explained what had happened: they would send an ambulance. Then I ran back out to the woods where Kris was still lying on the ground, in her underwear. With the wind knocked out of her, in a somewhat delusional state, Kris then asked me to put her shorts back on her. So I did what any good little sister would do. I put her shorts back on her. Never for a second did either of us think that she could have a spinal cord injury and me moving her even the tiniest bit could do more damage. We just knew that we didn't want the paramedics seeing that she had been climbing the tree in her underwear. The paramedics arrived just about the time that our mom was pulling in the driveway, and they hauled Kris off to the ER. There was no serious spinal cord damage, but she was definitely hurt. If I remember correctly there was a couple of broken ribs and some deep bruising, and the mystery of how so much dirt got in her underwear. Oh yeah, a few days later the cat came down from the tree and died.
When she was 16, Kris let me tag along with her, her boyfriend Nikko (he was an exchange student from Sweden or Switzerland or Finland or somewhere like that) and a few other friends to the Worlds Fair/EXPO 86 in Vancouver, BC. That was amazing! Here I was, 13 years old, along with all these cool teenagers, in a foreign country. I'm not sure I'll ever let that happen with my kids, but it was so awesome for me then.
Not long after that, Kris moved out on her own and my parents, younger sister, and I moved to Georgia. There was not much communication between Kris and I during that time only because we were so different and there wasn't much to communicate about. During the summer before my senior year of high school, Kris married Joe.Then off they went to Alaska where Joe had been living and working. While in Alaska, Kris had her first son Brandyn. Eventually she and Joe moved back to Washington and settled near Bremerton, where their second son Andrew was born.
In the past 12 years my relationship with Kris has evolved. Besides being sisters, we have become great friends. Not that there was ever a rift or anything between us, I just think that 'adulthood' has brought us together; that and her cancer. She is a Breast Cancer survivor, and during her illness we connected. We have bonded over having two boys; each the same age apart, and each set of boys so much alike. She is an amazing parent and I have learned a ton by watching her and Joe raise their boys.
We still are so different, but now we just laugh at those differences. We tease each other about being her being OCD and me being ADD. She starts a task or a project and completes it to the very end and does it to perfection. I start a task and then get sidetracked and start another task, then I decide to go have some fun, and only get back to completing any tasks after she gets after me to get it done. She has helped me on just about every home improvement project I have ever done. In our first house she helped me paint my family room/dining room red. That was a big job because it required 3 coats and it was a big room. Then the week before Cooper was born she came down and helped me paint his room. Yet another big job because we did stripes. Another time she helped me take the small deck off our old house. Last year she helped me paint Cooper's bedroom in our house that we live in now. Again, a big job because we did a road around the entire room. Recently she came down to help with the tear out of our old kitchen cabinets and painting of the kitchen (red again!). This past weekend she was down again and this time she rearranged my living room and helped me get my house organized. The funny thing about the work we do together is that we don't usually start working until well into the evening and usually go until the wee morning hours. The night we painted Cooper's nursery we started around 9 pm and finished at 5am. She was just into remission and I was 36 weeks pregnant!
Know what else Kris does? She cuts hair. She used to do it in a salon before she got sick and now she just does it in her kitchen for her family and friends. She gave each of my kids their first haircuts. And she does a much bettter job than The Barbers.

So to Kris, thank you for being such a great sister and an even better friend. I appreciate you so much. Not just for all you do, but for who you are and how you love! You have been a rock to me. You are steady and strong. Thank you for loving me and my family so generously. I love you! YMF................

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Was I too hard? (as in does the punishment fit the crime?)

I have been having some struggles with Ben lately. Actually it seems like I have been having struggles with Ben since he was about 18 months old. Not always the same struggle, we will get one issue (usually character issues) straightened out, and something else will rear it's ugly head.
So the latest one has been about being "trustworthy". I have explained to him that being trustworthy means doing what you say you will do and making good choices even when I am not around.
So today was the Book Fair at school. Ben has been dilligently saving his money for Disneyland so I gave him $6 this morning to buy a book at the book fair. Now remember this is huge for me, because I do not usually buy anything more than the necessities for my kids, but he loves to read so I broke my own rule. When I gave him the money we discussed that he was to use it to buy a "chapter book". Since it was my money, I felt that I could put that stipulation on it. He agreed, put the money in his wallet and went off to school (which is a little scary in itself ; a seven year old with six bucks in his pocket). This afternoon when I picked him up he promptly showed me the book that he bought. It was not a chapter book! As a matter of a fact the book had absolutely NO WORDS in it. He bought a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Poster Book. It is a book with pictures of the characters and scenes from the movie, and besides the front and back cover there is not a word in it. Just pictures. The kid reads at a sixth grade level and he brought home a book without a single word to read. Oh, and he bought 5 large erasers that look like surf boards and twenty dollar bills.
I was mad. I asked him why he did not stick to buying the agreed upon chapter book, and he said "there were no chapter books." Apparantly the kid thinks I just fell off the turnip truck. I was at the book fair this morning and saw a huge selection of chapter books. I put no other stipulations on the money except that he buy a chapter book. He could have bought a SpongeBob chapter book and I would have been fine with it.
So for his discipline I made him pay me back the $6 from his Disneyland savings and I decided that he would need to return the Harry Potter Poster Book (because he knows that we aren't reading or watching the Harry Potters at our house) and 3 of the erasers (he had already given one away and the other he had used).
Does the discipline fit? Would you have handled it differently?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

MY Children will NEVER

Gina tagged me to do this post. Go read her list, and then laugh because she has five kids and it's only just begun. So here is my list of things my children would never do:

  • stash candy under their pillow "just in case I get hungry in the middle of the night"
  • turn up their noses at any resemblance of a vegetable
  • suck Sprite up their nose, through a straw, in order to know what it was like to drink like an elephant
  • have "bees" (applebees) or "Donalds" (mcdonalds) in their first ten words spoken
  • wrap an entire roll of dental floss (36 ft) around every fixture in the bathroom thus creating a "boobytrap" for their mother to encounter at a time when she had to pee so bad she could barely hold it. (I tried to take a picture but the translucent floss did not show up in the picture and so all there was to see was the dirty bathroom)
  • squeeze out and smear an entire tube of toothpaste on the bathroom mirror.
  • dump their entire brand new bottle of shampoo in their bath with the water running (I guess I should supervise my kids a little better when they are in the bathroom)
  • tell me, their father, their siblings or any one else for that matter that they "hate" them
  • repeat or mimic (in public) any unsavvory comments muttered by their parents out of frustration

So there you go, there are some of the things that I truly believe my children will NEVER do (again).

Any other mothers care to go there?

I did it again!

Another one of my sisters has entered the blog sphere!
Allow me to introduce Kris.
Why would you want to read her blog?
She is so creative. Not necessarily in the "crafty" sense (although she can craft), but more in the "something from nothing" sense. I see junk or garbage, she sees a whole new functional use.
She is productive. Need help with a project? Call Kris. She can do anything and will do it well.
She is frugal, no make that miserly, and that is not a bad thing.
Besides, she's my sister. Why wouldn't you read her blog?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Calgon take me away.......

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and worn out. It has been one of those weeks. I look around and it looks as if nothing has been done around my house. When the reality is that I have spent all my spare time this week making a milk carton costume and finishing the chocolate chip cookie costume that my mom started and then mailed to me. The costumes were a big hit, everyone thought they were so cute and creative and at one house those costumes even scored extra candy for my kids because as the lady put it "you just don't see original, innocent, homemade costumes like that anymore". That means that extra candy is really mine, right? So while the costumes were cute, there is a sense of disappointment that it is all over.

The other issue that has me overwhelmed is that my dryer broke last Friday. Ugghhh, do you know what a pain it is to be without a dryer? Over the weekend I kept up with the laundry just by doing a load and then immediately hanging it on the wood clothes rack (that I normally use for camping!). But as the week has gone by it has not been easy keeping up. The repairs were scheduled to be done yesterday, but after figuring out what it would cost to have them come repair it I decided I could just buy a new dryer for a little more. Then I did a little research online and decided that I could probably fix this one myself. I would just need to get the parts. No problem, there is a Sears repair store down in SE Portland that has the parts in stock. I just need the two hours (minimum) that it will take to get down there to pick them up, so it will have to wait until Saturday. Until then, I have laundry hanging all over my living room and bathroom and a pile that needs to be washed but I am out of hanging room.