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Friday, November 30, 2012

Ode to my Pumpkin

I once bought a pumpkin,  it was orange and round,
For Jack's pictures it would be, an autumn prop on the ground.
The photo was precious, even though Jack was a toot,
Now what to do with this overgrown fruit?. 

Let's carve it, says Halle, and roast the pumpkin seeds,
A princess was her vision, and carving knife was our need.
But only a steak knife we had, to make this ball art,
Thus a scary witch was the product, and the crown fell apart.

Oh well, 'least the seeds are tasty, from this hunk of squash,
Now what else can we do with the pumpkin not-so-posh?
"Let's bake it!!"  said I, "I'll give it a good rubbin'
With olive oil, and slice it, and stick in the oven."

Two hours go by before it's nice and tender,
I pureed it to a pulp with my handy Ninja blender.
So much pumpkin I had, what on earth did I do?
I bagged it and froze it, and even made baby food!

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cobbler galore
It was so yummy, but now I must say PUMPKIN NO MORE!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Halloween week

This year I made Halle and Arden's Halloween outfits.  The outfits were mainly made of tulle.  I think I did a great job!
Arden wanted to be a scary witch
and Halle was the Queen of Hearts
Since Jack can't walk yet, I thought this would be the perfect time for him to be a Jack in the Box!  I ordered his clown suit off of Amazon, but constructed the box myself.  Because Brian stayed behind to pass out candy while we went trick-or-treating, my brother-in-laws took turns walking Jack to the door to collect candy.  They got a major workout repeatedly carrying this 25 pound box.  They were more than willing to do it, though, because of all of the attention they were getting from Jack's costume.  Jack had celebrity status on Halloween.  Many people in the neighborhood stopped to take his picture and he even won a prize for the best costume. 
The kids had several opportunities to dress up leading to Halloween, too.
Crazy hat day at school
For career day at school Halle dressed up as a marine scientist
Arden also had an Alice in Wonderland costume that she wore.  This is her with the other dancers at her dance class
My godson, Austin, had a costume party for his birthday.

Having fun at the Halloween store

my kids and two of my nephews all ready to trick-or-treat

The adults also dressed up for a Halloween party.  Amanda as Katniss from the Hunger Games and Aaron in his space suit

Alicia and Rusty as pirates

Brian and I as the Queen of Hearts and a card soldier.  I made Brian's costume, too, out of pleather and table cloth vinyl. 

The action shots while we were playing this ping pong game kept coming out blurry, so this is Brian faking an expression

This is his real expression just as I scored the winning point, lol

and since I worked so hard on the Halloween costumes.... and because Jack has no teeth to eat his share of the candy, anyway, I treated myself to the candy stash :)



Monday, November 26, 2012

Moving Forward

This post reminds me of a funny story that Brian has shared with me several times.  I love hearing Brian give his account of it: 
When Brian was a teenager, he owned a truck.  Being the typical teenage boy up to no good and being bored one day he decided to take his truck mudding.  He ragged his truck out that day.  I don't know exactly how he did it, but his mudding excursion ended up breaking his truck.  Scared to death of his dad finding out that his recklessness caused the damage, he managed to get his truck to a car wash to clean it up.  He washed away all of the dried clumps of mud from his truck until it was sparkly clean and beautiful.  To hear Brian tell it, it was spotless, and there was no trace of evidence.  He told his dad when he showed up, "I don't know what happened to it.  It just broke down."  Except Brian forgot one teeny-tiny detail.  He forgot to wash the whole undercarriage.  The entire bottom was still caked with mud.  Well his dad, being a smart dad, figured out in no time that Brian wasn't so innocent in the matter.  He was one pissed off dad. 

This was the problem with the truck.  It wouldn't drive forward.  It only drove in reverse.  His dad, very angry, his left hand on the steering wheel, his head turned over his shoulder, resting his right arm over the bench seat, drove that truck from the car wash. all. the. way. home.... in REVERSE!  He drove several miles.  He drove down Cypresswood, across 249, and into the neighborhood, periodically glaring at Brian through the front windshield as Brian followed behind in his dad's car.  He got majorly grounded for that one.  Ha!  I love hearing Brian tell the story. 

So I don't know if my husband passed on his irreversible misfortune (see what I just did right there?), or if this is something common with babies, but my children seem to get themselves stuck in reverse when learning to become mobile.  Arden and Jack, especially, had problems going forward in the baby walkers and while crawling.  They would see something in front of them and try to go toward it.  Their mind would say go forward but their bodies ended up going backwards instead.  This caused them lots of frustration.  For the past month Jack has been sliding all around the floor, pushing himself backwards.  He would get so mad when his object of desire kept getting farther and farther away.  He then learned that if he wanted something all he needed to do was turn AWAY from it and go backwards to get it.... pretty comical to watch.

I have a baby calendar that I keep track of Jack's baby milestones with.  I had been impatiently waiting to mark the calendar with the "crawling" sticker, but didn't feel right denoting the achievement with him still in crab-mode.  These are the things I stress about.  I know, I need help.  So, finally on Saturday, to my delight, I added the sticker; he actually moved FORWARD!  Yay!  He crawled!  It's only an army crawl, but it's a start in the right direction. 

I have a really cute video of Arden stuck in reverse-mode at Jack's age, but unfortunately wasn't able to load it on here.  So here's a few more pictures of Jack in his crawling endeavors. 
Trying to crawl


his expression is funny

And finally just a sweet picture of Jack when he fell asleep in his walker.  such a sweetheart


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Liar, liar

Pinned Image

This was me tonight, Thanksgiving evening.  Halle and Brian were away on a father-daughter date, Jack in his bouncer, and I was enjoying a book.  Arden was playing in her room, or so I thought.  I realized that she had been quiet for a long while, so I knew something was probably up.  I called her name, but had no answer.  I walked down the hall and heard the water rushing from my bathroom sink.  Arden is probably playing in the water, I thought.  Not something I necessarily condone, but not too harmful either.  I called her name again right behind her, her back to me.  She jumped, startled, and turned to me with a wipie in her hand.  Nope.  Not just the water. 

Before I even had a chance to ask what she'd been doing, she already has a response ready.  "I'm just wiping my face," she says with a sweet, innocent smile.  She is a master liar, or so she thinks.  Smudged all over her face and on the front of her shirt, though, is my bronzing powder.  Arden knows that my makeup is off limits.  I turned toward my makeup area and I saw my powder was closed, but it was spilled both on the counter and all over the floor.  She had made efforts to conceal her wrongdoing. 

I decided to give her a chance to fess' up.  "Arden, why is my makeup spilled?"  "Hmmm,"  she said as she rolls her eyes toward the ceiling, contemplating on telling the truth of not, "I don't know," she answered after a moment.  "Arden, did you get into Mommy's makeup."  "No. I didn't."  "Arden," I said sternly, "you need to tell me if you were playing in Mommy's makeup.  You need to tell me the truth."  She told me no repeatedly; all the while a mischievous smile playing on her lips.  At this point I was angry with her, but also was trying hard to maintain my composure because she is blind to the fact that the evidence is all over her face.....and it's so funny! 

Needless to say she got in B I G trouble; not only for getting into my makeup without permission and dirtying her clothes, but for lying.  Lying is a major no-no in our house.  Just ask Halle, she'll tell you.  I emphasize to my girls that they may get in trouble even if they tell the truth, but it's nowhere near the punishment they'll get for lying.  Arden is just now coming to the age where she can cognitively make a choice to lie or not.  Most of the time, she has chosen to confess, but this time she didn't.  I wanted very badly for her to make the right decision.  After her punishment this time, though, I hope she will choose wisely next time, for self-preservation purposes.  Kidding ;) 

I managed to snap a few pictures of her pre-punishment.  She had no idea at this time that I knew.  Ha!

although the bronzer makes your eyes appear bluer, sweetheart, I think it's about 5 shades too dark

The snotty nose tops it off :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Twilight Zone

So I'm a Twilight fan.  It's no secret.  Although the books were originally written for teenage girls, women (and some men) of all ages have taken to the series.  It would be safe to say there are as many adult fans as teen fans.  I read the books when I was pregnant with Arden; all four within a week's time.  They kept me enthralled during my 2-week power outage post-Hurricane Ike.  I fell in love with the characters and story-line and could not wait until the movie came out.  Of course the first movie was lame, but I think the actors have gotten a BIT (no pun intended) better over the course of the next movies.

Well last night was the premiere of the last Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn 2.  It was an eventful outing.

I made plans to see Twilight with my usual movie date, Amy.  I bought the tickets online three days before.  I tried to reserve seats for one of the reservation showings, but the only seats remaining were on the front rows.  We didn't want to watch Breaking Dawn with a crook in our neck, so I ended up buying tickets for a showing that didn't have reserved seating.  Hence, we showed up two hours early to stand in line.  Normally I wouldn't be one of those crazy fans, but I liked the idea of getting away to hang out in line with my good friend.  We are both busy with our families, so it's nice to have girl time.  Hunter, her fourteen year old, also joined us.  Hunter is a great kid, but he has hit high school, and now he is WAY too cool for us.  It has been a shock to see him transform overnight from a sweet little kid into a typical teenager.  Anyway, he wanted to see the movie, but he was less than thrilled to be hanging out with his thirty something year old mom and mom's friend at the movie theater where many of his high school friends work.  It was hysterical!  I told him he was in the company of two of the hottest chicks in the theater, but he didn't buy that.  Amy and I had a great time embarrasing him.  It didn't take much to make him cringe.  For example, Amy and I were trying to get a Facebook worthy picture of us.  We made Hunter try to get a good pic, but none of them were coming out cute.  He kept rolling his eyes as we made him repeatedly snaps photos.  He was trying to do it fast since he didn't want his friends seeing him take pictures of us, so of course they came out bad and blurry.... which made him have to take them again.  The lack of pictures on this post should tell you that we never got a good shot. He was then especially annoyed when his mom made him fetch us popcorn and coke.  Ha! 

Since we arrived two hours early, we had a good place in line.  We were probably about forty people away from the front; definitely in good enough standing to get a great seat.  Amy and I decided it was safe to leave Hunter in line with our two purses to get some drinks.  When we returned Hunter was still standing against the wall with our two purses (which we left behind to save our place).  Except there was no more line!  "Hunter, where did everyone go?"  "I don't know, they all left."  We race to the now open theater to find everyone that was in front of us... and behind us in line were already seated!  The only seats available were on the front rows.  Doh!!!!  Our long wait wasted!    He said he was waiting for us to return.  Seriously?! Now Hunter is a smart kid. I would probably go as far as to say he's a genius. I mean the kid is a freshman in highschool and is already taking AP classes.  Why Hunter didn't go into the theater to secure us seats I may never know!  So we reluctantly take seats on the second row.  A frustrated Amy went up to the top to try and find single seats for us.  Better that we split up then end up with a splitting headache.  As it turns out, some lady cut the entire line once the theater opened and tried to save ten seats.  The Twi-hard fans that saw her do it reported her and she was kicked out.  The vigil antes didn't even want the seats, they just wanted to see justice served. Don't mess with these women when Edward and Jacob are involved! We lucked out because we snagged a group of those primo seats just in time.  Whew!

So we are now in great seats and there is an empty chair next to me.   Enters 40 year old 350+ pound man. He could best be described as a younger, larger John Goodman during his Roseanne days. Now remember this is a Twilight movie.... the only men in the theater are those boyfriends and husbands that were drug along by their wives and girlfriends.  I know a lot of men that secretly like Twilight (COUbrianGH) but they wouldn't dare see it without a female companion.  Amy and I decide he was probably a dad keeping an eye on his teenage daughter while she watched the movie with friends.  But I'm still curious and want to know his story.  So I ask him.  Nope.  No teenage daughter.  He is there ALL BY HIMSELF!  He proceeds to tell me that an ex girlfriend got him hooked on Twilight, and he just couldn't wait to see the last movie.  I then see him take a monkey-arm photo of himself and post it on Facebook.  I was dying laughing on the inside that a big, burly, heterosexual, single, middle-aged male was flying solo at a Twilight movie. 

We get settled in and all of a sudden we hear screams a few rows in front of us.  Some girls were screaming that there was a mouse!  No one dares to leave their seats though, because they worked hard to get them.  I saw teenage twi-fans at their ultimate bravery.... willing to withstand a mouse on the loose in order to preserve their seats for a Twilight show!  I'm not sure where the mouse went, so I made sure my purse was closed and my bucket of popcorn guarded. 

There was so much excitement and anticipation in the air for this Twilight Saga finale.  It was probably a mixture of teens past their bedtime, the cool air, one too many cokes, the long wait, and estrogen.  As soon as the PREVIEWS started rolling, the crowd was cheering.  And lets not talk about when Jacob made his first appearance.  The crowd went wild.  So funny.  The movie was great to watch with all of the other vampire loons like me.  It was enjoyable to listen to the audience laugh at the faintest bit of humor.  A regular viewer might not have even cracked a smile, but this audience GOT it.  These fanatics have all read the books and know these characters through and through.  So much better than watching it with all the crazies than with half-hearted viewers who don't fully understand the movie.  And the twist.... oh gosh!  People were yelling at the screen because they were MAD!  I was mad!  The movie had the audience in an uproar.  It was good, though!

I was sad when the movie was over.  It was so good and I was sad to see it end.  With my full 40 ounce souvenir cup in hand, I head to my car.  My phone is dead and immediately plug it into my phone charger.  My cup to too big to fit in the cup holder, so it teeter totters on the holder while I reverse.  The next thing I know all forty ounces spill onto the bottom of my middle console area and onto my phone charger.  Aghhhhh!  I have nothing to clean it up with, so I try to scoop as much coke as I can out with the cup.  I then use the sweater that I'm wearing to sop up the remaining 20 ounces or so.  What a mess!

Between the long line, the lost spot in line, the score on the best seats, the excitement in the air, the burly fan, the annoyed teenager, the mouse, and my spilled coke, it was a memorable night!  I can't wait to see it again! 


Monday, November 12, 2012

Jack's First Word

Brian and I have been battling to get Jack to say his first word.  Brian tried hard to get Jack to say "Dada," and of course I was working on "Mama."  We would o back and forth, "Say Mama!  Mama, mama, mama, mama."  Brian would retort with, "Dada, Dada, Dada, Dada!." 

Well Jack finally picked a side last week.  He said "Mama!"  More like "Mmmmm mammm muh."  I don't care, I'll take it! 

Brian's argument is that Dada is harder to say.  I say he's a sore loser.  :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halle for President!

Halle won!  There were 7 candidates total, and she was voted in as president.  I'm so happy for her!  Congratulations, Halle.  You deserve it!


November 6.  Election Day for our country.  Well move over Barack and Mitt because there's someone else running for president- Halle Hargrave!  Haha, just kidding.  Halle is running for student council president at her school, Hancock Elementary.


We have been working hard all week on her campaign.  This has been serious business.  In order to be considered in the running she had to submit essay questions and get 25 nominations.  Now that she is a candidate she will have to give a video speech.  We have also made posters to hang in her school, made her a campaign shirt, and made stickers for her to pass out. 

This has been a great opportunity and learning experience for Halle.  If you know Halle then you know that she is a bit shy and soft-spoken.  She has been practicing her speech repeatedly and is learning a lot about public speaking:  eye contact, speaking loudly, speaking slowly, enunciating, smiling, and speaking with passion. 
stickers for other students to wear

closeup of one of the stickers
 We came up with a couple of campaign slogans:  "Rally for Halle!" and "Remember the 4 H's- Halle Hargrave 4 Hancock Hawks!"  Cheesy I know, but we're trying to win the votes of 10 year-olds. 

Hancock's election is later this week, and according to Halle the competition is stiff.  I'll update you as to whether or not she wins.  Win or lose, I'm proud of her for being bold and taking on this challenge!  I love my Halle Monster!  Below is the questionnaire that she had to submit.  She did this on her own.  I just proof-read it and did slight editing. 

Questionnaire for Student Council 

Halle Hargrave
1.       Why do you want to be a Student Council officer?

I want to be a student council officer because I care about helping other people, my school, and the environment.  I feel that this job will help me accomplish good outcomes for those three important things.  I want to make sure that every student has a voice when it comes to his/her education. 

2.      Describe your leadership characteristics.

I am very creative.  I am capable of coming up with new ideas for the student council and the school.  I am very honest and trustworthy.  I will be responsible and committed to the goals that the student council sets.  I am also a kind person and a good listener.  If any student comes to me with an idea, I will give him/her my attention.  I promise that I will be available everyday to listen to my classmates’ ideas.  Lastly, I am not a quitter.  I follow through with projects to make sure they are complete and done right.  If something doesn’t work the first time then I do not give up until it’s right. 

3.      What can you accomplish for the school if you become an officer?

One of my biggest concerns for the school is keeping it clean and eco-friendly.  When I become an officer I can accomplish tasks such as organizing a committee that keeps the school environment clean.  The committee could perform jobs such as picking up trash from the playground.  I would also make an effort to recognize those employees that keep our school safe and running; such as teachers, custodians, and those that serve us in the lunch lines.  I would also establish a program that recognizes students who work hard to keep our school clean as well. 

In closing, there are many things that I can make possible if I become an officer of the student council.  I will work hard and rally the other members of the student body to meet our goals.  When we all put our heads together then anything is possible.  Thank you.