Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No More Leaks

We started with this:

Note the towel to catch the leaks that have been there since we renovated, and the crazy extra P-trap on the right that is apparently just there for decoration.

What were the builders smoking?

In the process of fixing the leaks we - okay, I - messed up the silicone coating this crazy looking joint that cobbled together the PVC pipe that is the drain for the HVAC air exchange and the extra P-trap (that dipped part on the right).  Hence, what was originally a leak turned into a rivulet of water every time we drained the sink.


So I took some pictures, went to Home Depot (because it's apparently much easier for women to keep their ego intact while asking for help at a home improvement store than it is for men), and the employee and I came up with a plan.

And by gum, it worked:

With the help of a little plumber's putty, of course.

And just in case you're wondering... this was my first plumbing job.

P.S.  In the interest of full disclosure, it is important to note that the man of the house (Ben) did his part on this job.  He worked on it all day on Tuesday, and yet it still leaked.  When I took a stab at it on Tuesday evening, I made it worse.  So it became my problem to fix, apparently.

Feeling Blue?

Looks like someone got a new coat for Christmas, courtesy of Noni & Papa...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How Many Southerners...

...does it take to build a real snowman?

Answer: Doesn't matter how many you have.  It's impossible for them to do it without a Yankee.

Lucky for them, they just happened to have one on hand!

Snow Church

Due to road conditions, church services were canceled today.  It's too bad, too, because Olivia and I had used her new foam rollers after her shower last night and she had such a lovely "do" this morning.

But since we were here for the day, we made the best of it.  We had a lesson at home, read scriptures, and shared our testimonies.  Then we put Connor down for a nap and the girls and I got busy in the snow.

The we turned this snowdrift:

Into this snow fort church (because it IS Sunday and all):

And from another angle...

We even built furniture!
 A couch...

... and a chair.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Story

Once upon a time there was a family that moved to Oklahoma.

They really wanted to go back to visit their family in South Carolina for Christmas, but it was not meant to be.  They decided to make the best of it and just try to enjoy a great Christmas by themselves, but they were still a little sad.

Then, on the morning of Christmas Eve, an amazing thing started to happen.  It started to snow.

And snow.

And snow.

It snowed all day long and into the night.  They were entranced.

The kids played in it till their faces turned red.

The dog ate it.

 And they were awed and amazed that Christmas Eve when a special Christmas tree made of snow appeared on their door.

This special family had never been in this much snow before.  And when Christmas morning came, they awoke to another miracle.

The sun was shining and Christmas had come.  The storm had passed, and so had their sadness.  They were glad to be together, to be safe, and to be in Oklahoma. 

They had remembered that the important part of Christmas didn't have to do with presents, food, or even being with their family. 

The important part of Christmas is about being with Christ.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


OK, so I know I'm serial blogging these days, but I am just so full of excitement I can't help myself!!!


We're having a SNOWSTORM!

I haven't had snow like this since my last winter in New York when I was NINE years old!

And since the kids have never lived anywhere else but South Carolina... this is a big, BIG, BIG deal.

I love Christmas.  Especially white ones.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Olivia got dressed today and finally learned the principle of layering her shirts so she can wear the short-sleeved shirt she wants to while staying warm in her long-sleeved shirt.

See?  Very cute!

And Kelsey was watching Olivia layer her tops and decided that she wanted to look cool.  So she layered her shirts, too!

What a lucky mommy I am to have such beautiful and inventive daughters!

Pixie Dust

What happens when you let your 5-year old roll the balls of cookie dough in powdered sugar and place them on the cookie sheet all by herself?

You get a kitchen that is covered in pixie dust.

You also get a very proud pixie.

See?  I'm learning. 


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hey Mom, Look What I Can Do!

Christmas Sunday


(He's only standing on the coffee table because the dog kept wanting to be in the picture with him...)

The Beggar


Every time we feed Connor. 

This is what we have to deal with. 

She'd stop if she didn't get rewarded so much, but she knows...

Sooner or later he'll think it's more fun to feed her than to eat it himself.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

She Lost It!

After several weeks of having two loose teeth, Kelsey finally got one loose enough that it would gross you out to look at it.  You know, how she can turn the thing at a 90 degree angle to her other teeth and that sort of thing.  She kept fidgeting with it all evening long, and finally, around 8:30 she asked me for a little help to get it out.

With the help of this:

... we got that baby out.

So guess whose coming to our house tonight?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Crazy Week

I can't remember that far back, but I'm sure it was nuts.  Oh wait.  I remember.  I had to do laundry.  And put together the co-op order (see Wednesday below).  And make a bazillion phone calls. 

Lately Connor has decided that he must eat everything except yogurt with a fork.  Real silverware, too - not the baby stuff.  (And let's be honest, can YOU actually spear anything on a baby fork?)  So when I made some vegetable beef soup and rolls for dinner on Tuesday, I dished him some veggies and noodles and gave him a roll.  He got a fork to eat the veggies with.  And what did he use that fork for??

You guessed it!  The roll.

I had the privilege of driving down to a local produce distributor in Oklahoma City, picking up about $400 worth of produce, bringing it home, and carrying it all inside my house.  Then, once it was actually IN my house and I made sure the dog wasn't going to try to eat the carrots, Olivia and I (mostly I) sorted said $400 worth of produce into 18 baskets in my living room and dining room.

It was actually a total of 6 whole shares...

... and 12 half-shares (not all baskets are pictured here.  We needed a walkway.)

Not quite a full co-op compared to what we normally have (8 full shares and 16 half-shares), but nothing to thumb your nose at, that's for sure.

Also on Wednesday, the girls decided to get busy building sort of tee pee/lean to doohickey thing in our backyard.  We bartered with a friend of ours to get our pecan tree trimmed, and he started working on it last weekend.  Therefore we had a bunch of branches scattered around the backyard.  The girls were working on earning Christmas money by collecting them into a pile for us.  They decided to take it a step further and turn it into a fort.  You can see from the picture they were having a blast with Connor and our neighbor's daughter.

Grocery shopping in the morning, naps and sewing for a little while. then it was checking Kelsey out of school and dropping her and Olivia off for a "secret project" with Melanie.  While backing out of my driveway to take the girls to aforementioned "secret project", I realized I had a significant amount of gas leaking into a puddle under my car.  So I drop the girls off, and check around with the local mechanics to find one that can see us right away, since this is kind of a big problem.  At the second mechanic who tells me he's swamped, I start crying and embarrass myself.  Sometimes I hate being an emotional woman.  So I go back to our previous mechanic and they worked us in.  I won't bore you with why we were trying to find a new one, but suffice it to say they have won back my loyalty.  Fortunately we just needed a new fuel pump.

Around 10:30 p.m. I was trying to quickly finish a post on my "other" blog and started a small load of towels to run overnight.  About 30 minutes later Ben was heading to bed and realized we had a huge puddle in the laundry area.  We also had about 8 inches of water backed up in our kitchen sink.  Nasty, gray water.  With food in it from the garbage disposal.  And in the process of cleaning it up we discovered the hot water tank had backed up in the pantry and had flooded that room as well.  So now Friday is finally over (it's after midnight) but we can't call a plumber till the morning and Ben has to work tomorrow.  Do they charge extra to come out on a Saturday???

But it was not all drama today.  We had a few laughs this morning with some holiday copycats.

Or should I say "copydogs"?

Monday, December 14, 2009


Although I try not to be too redundant on this blog and my "cooking blog", I just have to make sure you all get to see this one!   It's some F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S hot cocoa mix, a recipe tweaked by yours truly to perfection.

So if you're not a regular reader of Your Daily Dollop, check it out by clicking here.

And just in case you're not sure if it's worth your time...

Doesn't that look good??

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I have realized a truth about myself that I'm not sure how to face. 

I don't know how to relax.

For those of you who know me well, this is probably not a surprise to you at all.  The biggest surprise may be that I'm just now realizing it.  But it's true.  I blame my mother.  With love, of course.  For most of my life she has been a single mom of six kids who worked really hard all of the time.  In addition to having a bunch of lazy gits at home that didn't clean up after themselves (yes, I'm including myself!), she also had church responsibilities and work responsibilities and so really didn't have much time to relax at all, let alone pamper and indulge herself.  In so many ways, she's my hero.  We laugh together as a family about how she would talk to us at night after we came in from being out with our friends and fall asleep in the middle of the conversation.  Or sitting on the couch with her head on the stack of towels in her lap.  But it's not really all that funny, is it? She was just really, really tired.  Exhausted, even.  Mom, I wish you'd had the chance to relax a little more - both because you deserved it, but also because that's something I apparently have never learned how to do.

I realized it when Ben was talking about wanting to pamper me with an afternoon at a spa and the very thought made me feel panicky.  Three hours with nothing to do?!  Are you crazy!?  I can't do that!

So what now?  How do I get started in learning how to live and relax and just be? Suggestions anyone?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rosa's Blog

Well, I have changed my mind about making Olivia's writing blog private.  Mostly because everyone who wanted to read it would have to have a Google account.  Some of our family is... hmm... shall we say "blogging challenged"?  I think it may be too complicated for them to figure out if we leave it as private.  So, for a compromise, Olivia gets to use an assumed name: Rosa.  All other family members will also have a new name.  Olivia really wants to have Spanish names for all of us, so here they are:

Ben - Papa
Anita - Mama
Olivia - Rosa
Kelsey - Katia
Connor - Pepe

Feel free to check it out from time to time!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gingerbread Girl

Kelsey was asked to decorate a gingerbread "person" for school this past week.  She worked long and hard last week, and turned it in early.  Lo and behold, it got lost over the weekend.  So she was asked to do another.  This time I actually snagged a picture, and I like it better than her other one!  The only thing I did for her was the hair, and it was per her request.  Didn't she do a great job??

(And by the way, this looks NOTHING like the one she completed last week...)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blessings & Bruises

It's been an eventful week or two around here.  Just after Thanksgiving our family was toying with the idea of going back to SC for a "quick and dirty" trip to visit and celebrate Christmas with family and friends.  And by "quick and dirty" I mean like taking 1 day to drive there, 4 days to visit, and an overnight at Niel's in Lousiana on the way home.  We toyed with the idea and got excited for about 4-5 days.  Since we don't have a money tree in the backyard it would mean that we'd really scale back Christmas gifts and the spend a lot of time making each others' presents.  We'd even skip having a tree this year (remember our redneck tree last year that broke?) to save money for the trip.  The kids were okay with this, if only we could go to South Carolina for Christmas.

But as sometimes happens when you're praying for something you want very much... the Lord says no.  And so we broke the news to the kids.  Although we were all disappointed, we reminded the kids that when the Lord says no he usually has a very good reason that we can't see.  And if we listen to His advice, we'll be much better off than if we went ahead and did it anyway.  And so we decided to stay in Oklahoma.

However, we still didn't have a Christmas tree.  We had put up all of our other decorations around the house, but the ornaments had been packed away back in the Christmas box and put in the shed.  Although we still planned on getting a tree, we really didn't have the money to get it right away.

What is so amazing about making the choice to live within your means is that it sometimes allows God the opportunity to touch someone's heart so they can bless your family.  And that's what happened on Saturday morning.  Our sweet neighbors , Terri and John, came by and dropped off a brand new (prelit!!) Christmas tree.  Terri knew we didn't have a tree yet and they felt inspired to get one for us.  So that afternoon we pulled out the Christmas tree ornaments, turned on the Christmas music and decorated that tree.  And it finally... finally... felt like Christmas.  What a great blessing.

Now about the bruises... and no, you smart alecks - they aren't mine.  We had some music on the other day, and the girls had started trying to break dance in the living room.  Kelsey, in particular, likes to try to spin on her head.  (Connor has been watching her and tries to do it, too - hilarious!)  This quickly evolved into Olivia trying to do a tripod.  That's the thing she learned in gymnastics where she stands on her head and rests her knees on her elbows.  If you'll look at the picture, you can see Kelsey deciding to do it too.  Right.  Behind.  Olivia.

What I don't have a picture of is the moment where Olivia decided to put her feet straight up into the air like a headstand and Kelsey sat up.  Seconds later, Olivia was falling backwards and kicked Kelsey in the eye.  O-U-C-H.

Fortunately, she appears to have escaped an actual black eye.  It was puffy and swollen all day long, though.  Poor little darlin'.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Where Has the Time Gone?

I realized today just how long it has been since I've spent any time blogging! It's not like I don't have anything to say. I mean... really. This is me we're talking about. I always have something to say.

So where have I been? For starters, I've been homeschooling Olivia. Hence, when Connor is down for a nap (i.e. my computer time) I'm spending more time off with Olivia or trying to get other things done. It's been an interesting journey for us both. We're getting past the honeymoon stage and into the "you never let me pick what I'm going to learn!" stage. Of course, that particular outburst came on the day I insisted she complete a writing assignment she didn't want to do. The girl really can't stand to write. So we're going to compromise.

As far as the writing goes, she's going to start her own blog for her writing assignments. It was be private for now, but if she's ever comfortable enough showing people what she's doing, we'll be sure to send invitations to some of you who may be interested in what she has to say. Therefore, she will also learn computer and typing skills in addition to writing.

And for the curriculum? I spent some time with her tonight showing her the book called "What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know" loaned to me by my wonderful and fabulous neighbor, Terri (also a 4th grade teacher). It's important to me to keep my kids on grade level or above, so I make curriculum selections from this book at the moment. However, we planned out our week together tonight. I'm looking forward to our week of science projects... in addition to the basics. We'll see how it goes!