Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No picture today...

...and when you find out why, you'll understand!

Brooks asked if he could go outside this morning after school. Sure! He rounded up his flip flops (super warm today) and headed out.

He made it about 2 steps, dropped his drawers, and peed on the porch.


"I had to go to the bathroom before I play"

No Sir! You are not stranded in the woods! You are 20 feet from our bathroom! That is for EMERGENCIES only, and when you are home, there are no emergencies. We have neighbours! Now they've all seen your naked bum! And now all our visitors have to step in your pee!...those last two were in theory anyway, it was a very thorough lecture:-)

Guess who's porch got washed today? I really don't know what else to say, except, BOYS!!! No other explanation needed, I guess.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chillin' My Brains Out

A park-time first: Brooks can do something Kenna can't. And she is not very happy about it! Brooks can climb all the way up the curly slide...and Kenna can't. She was a little peeved that it 'wasn't working' for her, but she also refused his helpful suggestions of holding onto the sides for help. So she couldn't do it:-)
*(Note: we were the only ones there, otherwise there is no climbing up the slides)*

A funny: While watching them play from a bench, Brooks calls out "What you doing? Just chillin'?" Yup, just chilling! "Are you just chillin' your brains out?" uuuhhh, sure. Something like that.
He was very proud of himself!



Brian's family came down for the long weekend, and we had a great time! I was out of batteries for my camera, so I didn't get very many pics:-/ We had a fun time together, playing Apples to Apples, which Brian didn't like, because there was no strategy involved (meaning, he couldn't figure out how to win:-). We went to a matinee at the "fee-de-or" and saw Tangled (so cute!), and even hit up one (only one!) sale on Black Friday to pick up Brian's Christmas gift from my sister Lauryn. Because of the sale and the coupon I had, I was able to get him more than originally thought. Yay! We even set up the Christmas tree, and almost all the other Christmas decor (still have a few things to do today), and spend a day with friends. A FULL 4 day weekend! And other than about 3 hours of time, Brian didn't have to work at all, which was amazing, rare, great...we didn't even know what to do with ourselves and all this time off. It felt like much longer than four days. Anyway, here are some pics!
A place setting

I was WAY "ahead of the game", or so I thought. I made place tags for everyone in advance...to match the dishes we would normally use. But less than 2 weeks before Thxgiving, we were given China from our friends leaving for the mission field. It's really pretty, and I just had to use it, especially because my Grandma Shantz had made a navy blue table runner and napkins for me. Perfect match. Unfortunately the name tags no longer worked as well, but we used them anyway!
Kenna made her own place tags, with her own name on each one:-)

Eating some appetizers while we cook! We were thoroughly stuffed, of course!

Making dinner rolls! I used my Great-Grandma's recipe, and made them 'pull apart' style. Very yummy! I'll have to post the recipe.
The hat boy was in love with Meghan's hat. Even with a large flower on it!

I had to pull out my large craft table for enough room to seat everybody! Then we put the food on our regular table, and it was perfect! Enough room for all!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sleeping Babies

Thursday night before I went to bed, I checked in on Brooks. Not in his bed. Not in the big chair (he loves to sleep on it). Checked in Kenna's bed. He was not there. And neither was she. Mommy panic moment. Is it possible that someone stole my children through the window while I was in the livingroom? Back to Brooks' room for a more thorough look around. No boy. Back to Kenna's room. Whew!! Look who I found huddled in the back corner of the room? Looks like a sneaky little impromptu camp-out. They really scared me there for a minute! And I am actually very impressed they were able to pull this off without talking enough for us to hear.
And Grey was snug as a bug too:-)

Check, Mate

Last year for Christmas, my brother Lehman (who was 11 at the time) gave us a "Redneck Checkers" game. He made a rustic checkerboard, and with the help of some of our other brothers, working at a Recycling Depot, collected different coloured beer tops for the game pieces. For whatever reason, the kids are recently into "playing checkers" but don't take kindly to my 'interpretation" of the game (=correct). They prefer their own method of randomly placing pieces in patterns, and jumping helter-skelter all over the place. I've given up on the educational aspect of it, and just let them do what they want. It gives me 30 minutes of peace and quiet:-)

They want to get into chess, but the only set I have right now is a decorative one, from Russia, and they aren't allowed to touch. Oh how they wish they could! They like to look at the pieces and ask what each one is called. Seeing how they take to checkers, I can only imagine how chess "lessons" will go. Fearless Prediction:  Bobby Fischer, they are not.
Brooks and Jack, checker champs!

Brooklyn Bridge Is...

...falling down.This is the version of London Bridge we sing around here. And how true it can be! Brooks, acting like a crazy hooligan, pulled the Jumperoo down onto himself last night. After seeing that all was ok, did I rescue the boy? No. Despite his pleas, I made him wait until I found the camera, and took a picture. "But he's pinching my face!" Too bad. If you don't like being pinned under babies and baby gear, maybe you shouldn't act like a wild man. How about them apples! Sympathetic Mom? Not so much. Good Mom? ...I'd like to think so :-D
When it all comes crashing down!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sneak Peak

Here is a sneak peak of some of the pictures we had taken on Sunday! Our wonderful photographers said they need some editing and tweaking before they are ready for print, however, we can get an idea by watching this little video. Don't you just love them? I do, there are LOTS of great pics in there!! Thank you a thousand times over to Ben & Joy, the a.m.a.z.i.n.g. photographers!!

Clicking the little arrows (pointing outward) will allow you to view the video full screen sized:-)

Seeing this in my inbox this morning definitely made my day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Christmas Pics

haha...Made ya look! Nothing to post yet, but, Sunday we had our family pictures taken, (the yearly Christmas ones we've done since 2007). We've done the beach, and the forrest/leaves in the past. So this year, for something different, we went downtown...I can't wait to see the pics!! I'm sure they took about two thousand of them, so at least 10 should be perfect right? Of course I can't wait to share them...but maybe I'll make you wait until closer to Christmas? We'll see. I'm pretty impatient, so I will likely not be able to wait:-) Let me just say, I LOVE photo shoot sessions. I am a huge fan of the "natural" style pics, instead of the "studio" style, that Sears/Penney's etc does. I feel like we've been super blessed with great memories and pictures because of our lucky connections with budding photogs, like Chani, Kari, and this year, Ben & Joy. I'm on pins and needles to see the results!

Soccer Ends

Saturday we played our final game of the soccer season! The kids were sad to see it end. Until next year!! Kenna will old enough to play tee-ball in the spring, so we might have her do that, we aren't quite decided if we should yet, or wait until next year when Brooks can play too. Next fall we'll have a new "first" two kids on two separate teams...two games times...argh. Maybe Mommy will wimp out and request that Brooks move up to the 5 & 6 age...It's the super-easiest EVER now, with only one team and game and practice to worry about each week:-) I'm soo lazy:-) Anyway, a few pics of the final game!
Chubba Bubba!

Kenna, Gabrielle & Lane, playing with Grey

K & B were numbers 7 & 8 this year. They love to play together!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flower Pretty

Kenna and Brooks cut flowers off one of our rose bushes (with scissors even). And then re-planted them with dirt in a cup. Gorgeous.
They came in the house a few times for various things...to ask permission...get scissors...get cups...get garden gloves...and then they traipse though to the garage door. "Can you open this? We need to find something in the garage" What? "Something". They emerge with an old flower pot for their next creation...
And who doesn't want dirt with dead flowers on their kitchen table?

Bottle Time

These two are getting to be best friends. Sonny is one step ahead of Grey with pulling up and crawling, and Grey is inspired to keep up!
It's Gwey-Gwey and Sonny!

My Favourite Things

I love tea. I love drinking it when it's not soo hot outside that it makes me sweat:-) Fall weather is starting to feel fall-ish to the Northerners like us...and tea. Love! I'm loving loose tea this year, and my friend Heather gave me this most adorable little cozy. Cutest ever. I make my tea and it makes me smile even before I take a sip:-)
A silicone tea cozy. Bliss.

Name your Babies - Go for Style!

My first post on NAMES. Yay. I'll start out, instead of introducing a name, meaning, or story...with a tip. A few tips, really.

One of the most important things, in my very humble opinion, about naming people is this. THINK ABOUT IT. It's not something to be haphazardly approached (to me - or anyone, I mean, isn't the name the most time consuming thing you discuss when having a baby?). Lets leave out animals and inanimate objects for now. You can name them what you want. If you are a 'names aficionado' like me, you can give it quite a bit of thought and make it creative and cute and inspiring. But they don't really need that much attention, compared to humans. Babies.

How to pick names that no one will laugh at behind your back:

1. Never name anything - You can't please everybody. Or anybody. As the saying goes, I can only please one person per day. Today is not your day. Practical advice? Not really. But it's true! Names are deeply personal, and every one has an opinion on the subject. If you love a name, just pretend those odd, blank, confused stares are warm, approving gazes. It will make you feel all fuzzy inside.

Practical Tips on Narrowing the Selections
1. Go through a baby names book. Highlight all the ones you like and love - Not only the loves, but likes/could live withs too. (If you are like me, you will use different coloured hi-lighters to indicate intensity of love. Yes, I am that weird:-)

2. Take a look at the smattering of names you have highlighted, and see if they fall into any particular type of pattern. - Classic, Popular, Whimsical, etc. Most people are drawn to names of a certain fashion, and pretty much all their selections will fall within that category. The problem is that you don't name your children alone. You have to corroborate with your spouse. Lucky the parents with the same taste in names!

3. Think about how many children you might want to have. And don't start something you can't finish. - If your very fave names are very Classical (James, or Michael), but you only LOVE 3 of those names, and the rest of the name you like are very Popular. Consider how many children you will possibly be naming. If it's only 3 kids, you can keep your names "matching". There is nothing stranger than siblings named William, David, and Rainbow. You can rest assured Rainbow will never quite know what on earth you were thinking. We all like to belong and fit in. If you are thinking of having 5 kids, why don't you try and come up with a list that combines your love of the old and new? Noah is an older (Biblical) name, yet is also very popular, so it could work for both categories. Emma is another example of that, which springs to mind immediately.

And now for the don't start something you can't finish part...Lets take, for example, our favourite over-sized family, the Duggars. All of their children start with a J. They purposefully started that trend, and can't bear to leave anyone out (which is great as far as my other point of belonging)...but it has left them with apparently no J names left to use! So they have some very similar names like Joseph, Josiah & Josie, and Joy Anna & Johannah, and a creative J...Jinger, and the only girl with a non-feminine name, Jordyn (kudos on the creative/feminizing spelling though). Chances are you won't have 19 or more children, so you won't have to have that many names on hand. But if that is in the realm of possibility for you, plan ahead.

So basically, yes, I am suggesting naming all of your children before you even have ONE. Haha! We did that, and the stories of our names will be forthcoming.

So go for style...and figure out what yours is!

These are my very own CATEGORIES along with a few examples. I'll elaborate more with some bigger examples later. This will just get you started with your new hobby - Name Loving. It's just so fun!

Classic:         James, David, Emily, Laura
Old & New Again:        Henry, Ruby, Claire, Abigail
Gender Neutral:         Taylor, Kennedy, Jordan
Whimsical:        River, Palace, Coco
Biblical:         Jeremiah, Noah, Gabriel, Chloe, Rebecca, Leah, Sarah
Foreign:           Anya, Tatiana, Cruz
Popular/Trendy:        Heath, Ava, Ethan, Mason, Cassidy
Creative Twist: - changing the common spelling of any name - Emilee, Lorah, Lauryn,
"It's all about the meaning": choosing names in large part because you like the meaning of the name.

There are likely more that I am not thinking of right now. And as you might notice, a few of these "cross-over" nicely between categories. If you get into it like I do, and break everything down you get this...

My category? Surnames!! Almost every single one of my fave names are/used to be surnames. I also have quite the thing for names from the UK. So my style tends to be more gender neutral or masculine sounding names (many surnames sound more masculine). I also would consider myself to like "cowboy" sounding names. I personally am not into the meaning of the names so much, as far as, I don't think a 'negative' meaning ever has to be mentioned, and likely will not shape your child into any particular type of person. Just because your name means "Strong in Spirit", doesn't mean you will be. Likewise, if your name meaning "balding", it doesn't set your path on a hairless future. That's only my opinion though, some people really like to give a name with a strong meaning, and that is fine! I am also not a huge fan of super girly sounding names. I truly love very very few girls names (only 3 in fact). There are others I could live with, and I'll elaborate at a future time, but they all pretty much fit into a gender neutral (surname) or trendy category.

One day, you'll all love names as much as I do!! - Or you'll all be sick of hearing me talk about it!! Either way, you'll love me, right? :-D

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trampoline - Video

A few trampoline moments from today with Kenna, Brooks and Jack. Not even a minute after coming back inside to check on the babies, Kenna runs in - "While we were jumping on the trampoline, Brooksie Bolger peed in his PANTS. Not a joke. He did". Too much play, and not enough potty time, apparently:-)

"Wait for it, wait for it...!"

The game, explained.

Street play - Video

Playing in the street! Loving the warm fall weather. And loving our cul de sac too, it's so great for playing with no traffic!! A short clip of the soccer boy, doing his thing. This one was on my phone from October.

Brooks Reading - Video

I tried to catch some of Brooks' hilarity while learning to read. The boy cannot sit still, but still manages to learn something anyway. I think. His blending of the sounds is getting much better, but he sounds it out, then says "Just regular?" ALL the time (to pronounce it the normal way). Haha! Enjoy!

Puh-at, just regular?

Fat - like my Momma's tummy!

It's um, oh yah! It's um, oh yah! Um....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Cooking...

...Starts now! Yummy! Only the coolest mom ever puts chocolate candy on top of peanut butter cookies:-) Recipe is here. Enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shopping Cart!

Brooks is Grey's shopping cart hero! Brooks wanted to ride in the yellow car cart with his brother. Mommy said ok, so this was Grey's first time to sit in a cart while not in his carseat. He loved every single minute!! We were at Kroger (the place with the mini-carts), so Kenna navigated responsibly ahead of Mom so she "doesn't loose the privileges".
He was "steering" ferociously the whole time!

The Stats!

We all had doctors appointments yesterday! Here are the results, in pounds and inches, as well as the percentile they are in for their age. Everyone is healthy and happy, so we're good!! The Body Mass Index thing is kind of strange to me...that they do it so young now, but I guess they have to, to keep everyone from over eating at McD's!, anyway, K & B are both really skinny, yet the % sounds high to me, but I don't really know how that works (maybe the higher number means you are thinner not fatter). As long as they are deemed healthy who cares what the number are, really.

Height = 39.5in (15%)
Weight = 36lbs (37%)
BMI = 16.7 (83%=healthy weight)

Height = 38.75in (50%)
Weight = 36.5lbs (77%)
BMI = 16.9 (81%=healthy weight)

Height = 28in (90%)
Weight = 22.8lbs (greater than 97%)
Head circumference = 18.11in (97%)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Grey fell asleep while hanging with Mom & Dad

Oh Brooks!

Having the kitchen stools dragged around the house in this formation is a daily (if not hourly) occurrence around here.
What do we do with 3 stools and 2 pencils?
Of course you guessed a drum solo, right?
Brooks is very dedicated to practicing for his pending rock-star career. If only he weren't petrified of drums (too loud!) in real life!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New 'do

I need to take some more pics! I've hardly taken any the past week. I got this one today. Cute as a bug. We are still cutting random places on his hair as we see it "off". He wiggles so much that it's really hard to get it done in only one time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What's In A Name?

If you know me at all, you know I'm just like my mom...in at least 2 regards. I love baby names. And I hate cooking on a Sunday. I'm probably like her in many more ways (too many to count!), but we'll stick with those as the top two for now.

My mom loves (LOVES) names. And she had 11 children, so she got to name a lot of babies. I would need about 20 to get in all my faves (she likely would too!). She got to use up 28 names off her list. I got to use 8 off mine.

I really love keeping up with my blog, and hopefully you keep checking us out because you love like don't hate it too! I like to fill it with things that make me happy (if you haven't noticed!). And names make me happy. Since I will very likely not have many more children to name, I think I might designate a monthly post about names. The ones I pick, and the ones you do. Well, maybe not PRECISELY the ones you picked, since you might not want to know what I really think:-) And why should you? That is the number one rule of naming something (child, pet, car, boat). Go with what YOU love. Not your brother or your other child or your mother. Like my mom used to say "this is MY baby. You can name your baby whatever YOU want"

Anyway, I love to talk about names. Brian does not. He really just doesn't get it. At all. So if I want to talk about names...I will have to do it in a diary type fashion right here on my blog. It's kind of like talking to yourself, or talking when nobody is listening...

And so my musings continue. Maybe I'll even have my mom weigh in with a few "2cent" thoughts every now and again.

I should likely just start a "names" blog. Wouldn't that be fun?(for me). For now, indulge me, I'm keeping it here! Like I told a friend on facebook, Stay tuned. You'll pay for the whole seat, but only use the EDGE.

Short Story

An excerpt from The Power of Spoken Blessings, by Bill Gothard

One day in 1874, at a Gypsy encampment in a place called Epping Forest in England, a carriage drove up with two Americans inside. The two men were accustomed to being surrounded by large crowds in nearby London, for they were none other than the famous evangelist Dwight L. Moody and his musical partner, Ira Sankey. By the prevailing social conventions of the time, however, Gypsies could not expect to be welcomed at the evangelistic meetings the men were holding. Moody and Sankey, therefore, took the gospel out to them.

As the two men stopped and talked to some of the Gypsies, a group of boys gathered beside the carriage. Ira Sankey reached out and touched the head of one of the youths. "The Lord make a preacher of you, my boy."

The prospects for that coming true, however, seemed dismal at best. The boy, whose mother had died a few years earlier of smallpox, was barely literate and not yet even a Christian, though his father had recently found faith in Christ.

Fifteen years later, Ira Sankey was living in Brooklyn when a rising young British evangelist landed in New York on his first visit to America. He was soon introduced to Sankey, who took him on a carriage drive.

As they passed through Brooklyn's Prospect Park, the evangelist asked Sankey about the meetings with Moody in London years before, and whether he recalled driving out to a Gypsy camp. Sankey replied that he did.

"Do you remember that some little Gypsy boys stood by the wheel," the evangelist continued, "and that, leaning over, you put your hand on the head of one of the them and said, 'The Lord make a preacher of you, my boy'?"
"Yes, I remember that, too."
"I am that boy."

Sankey's joy overflowed! And the British evangelist - soon to be well known around the world as "Gypsy" Smith - continued in a ministry that lasted nearly seventy years, influencing millions of lives. For Gypsy Smith, the words Sankey spoke from the carriage that day became an enduring statement of blessing.

It was true in the 1800s and is still true today: Our words have incredible power.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

First Official

It's Baby G's first official haircut!! I say official, because, he's already had more haircuts than we could count (at least 8), but those were just cutting the dreads out of the back of his head. His long hair in the back dreads up when he rubs his head in his sleep. There is no untangling those suckers, so we cut them out. As I'm sure you've noticed, he really needed a trim. He constantly bats the hair out of his eyes! Brian started cutting it this morning unannounced, and before I could get an official 'before' pic. Guys are just so sentimental like that right? :-) So he'd already had some work done by the time I got these...
Dreads = cut. Top/Front = working on it. Sides = still to go

Can you tell where the dreads were?

We'll say he's less than thrilled with his new big boy look

And now's he's 15. Booooo! I hate it when that "baby" look is stripped away from that first haircut. He's all boy now! There's no turning back!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New & Old

The Three Amigos, cuddling up to watch Toy Story 3 on our bed this afternoon. Grey looks so much older than he is here, right?

This is an old one I think I forgot to post. If I did, ooops. If not, here you go! It's from Oct 7th, and we did some finger painting with pudding!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Hands

It is very hard for puppies to play hockey. She was giving it her best go!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just What I Needed...

...another little whirling dervish to come along behind me and un-do all the good things I do!
He got a hold of a laundry basket - folded. He pulled it over and gave it his own special touch

Argh! Clean clothes destroyed!

But he's just too cute. So I let him ruin my laundry. For today anyway!
Side note: We put an egg crate down on the floor - trying to give Grey a softer spot to try and move around. It's working! He's going smoothly from sitting to tummy - and almost back up to sitting again (he often gets stuck), and he's getting up off the ground and on his knees! No actual crawling yet though, now that he has a soft place to practice, maybe it won't be long. He doesn't like our hard floors:-)

Apple Coffee Cake - Recipe

To kick off Fall in some sort of official capacity - or the beginning of "our fall" anyway - the weather has finally started to turn! The thermostat was 69 when we woke up this morning, and now it's 72...which is about where we would have it with the a/c running...so perfect! I wonder how long we'll make it without needing the heat on?? It's really starting to cool off, especially at night!

This turned out despite realizing I loaned out my square 9x9 baking pan to a friend (they took the leftovers home in the pan!), so I used a round glass one instead...it worked! Super delicious, and very easy and quick to make, even though there are "three parts".

Streusel Topping
2/3 C Bisquick
2/3 C packed brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 C firm butter

Mix all ingredients together and cut in butter, until mixture is crumbly.

Streusel Topping, divided
2 C Bisquick
2/3 C milk
3 T sugar
1 large egg
2 medium cooking apples, peeled and thinly sliced (2 C)
2 T chopped nuts
Glaze (recipe below)

1. heat oven to 400, Grease bottom and sides of square pan, 9x9x2, with shortening.
2. Make streusel topping, set aside
3. Stir Bisquick, milk, sugar, and egg until blended; beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Spread half of the batter in pan. Arrange apple slices on batter sprinkle with half of the streusel topping. Spread remaining batter over the apples, and sprinkle with remaining topping. Sprinkle with nuts (I omit this step - not a nut fan)
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in the pan on wire rack. Drizzle with glaze. Serve warm or cool.

1/2 C powdered sugar
2 to 3 t milk

Mix all ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.