Thursday, September 2, 2010

The big 5!

Yesterday shaped up to be a pretty chaotic day, although it was better than it could have been. I ended up taking off early because of all the things we had to accomplish, in addition to all the festivities for Alyssa's birthday.

Since the "Check Engine" light came on in the Jeep (again), we were going to take it back in to the shop. But apparently they are really short handed this week so taking out the entire transmission (again) and replacing the torque converter (again) is not something they have time to finish before we need it back. Alas, we will have to work that out next week. Hopefully we can find a car to borrow (again). (Broken record? Yup.)

Matt's FOP meeting went well. They had some good information for them that (we are hoping!) will improve his work opportunities and our family situation related to his work. We are keeping our fingers crossed for that one.

While he was at his meeting, I went to my presidency meeting (thanks to Wendy and Jen letting me reschedule). We were able to make some good progress on the Primary program.

Once all those things were out of the way, we baked the cake and headed out to finally celebrate the big day.

Usually for the kids' birthdays we let them pick a place to go as a family and then what they want for dinner. This time Alyssa wanted to go to the aquarium to see the new penguin exhibit. We discovered that the middle of the day on a Wednesday is an awesome time to go. There was hardly anyone there and we could let the kids run and look at everything without having to worry about people in front or behind us getting annoyed.

The kids had a great time checking out all the tanks and exhibits. (Liam especially likes pushing all the buttons to hear the sounds the different animals make). They have added a few things like a sea turtle in the shark tank (Lyss loves turtles) and an electric eel exhibit that converts the current the eel is giving out into noise coming through a speaker. (That whole thing was very upsetting to Liam who kept wandering around saying, "What's going on?" over and over.)

BUT - the penguins are the best by far! They are incredibly active and seemed to be just as curious about us as we were about them. The girls had a great time watching them swim and dive through the tank. Several times they would stop and float right in front of the girls' faces and watch them back. I think we'll have to go back and see them again when Liam is in a more congenial mood.

Lyssa's next birthday wish was to go to McDonald's for dinner, so we stopped at one with a big play area on the way home. (Apparently a germy play-place is my kids' idea of birthday heaven.) Kenna was the only one who made a real attempt at eating her food, the other two kids could not be bothered to sit down long enough to eat more than 1 chicken (?) nugget. *Note to self: just take them to the play-place and don't bother buying dinner next time.*

We followed our usual birthday tradition of having cake and ice cream with grandma and grandpa, but this time we took the party to Grandpa Y. He hasn't been feeling so hot lately and Lyssa wanted him there so we hauled our mess to my mom's spotless kitchen. Alyssa poured about 3 pounds of sprinkles on her little cake and Kenna used the rest on the cupcakes we had for everyone else. And, like the fabulous mom I am, I forgot to grab the candles when I packed up the stuff we hauled over there so we had to make do with a match in the middle of the cake.

All in all, it was a busy (but very fun) day. When I tucked the kids in for bed last night, Lyss told me she had a great birthday and gave me a big hug.

She's an awesome kid and we love her guts. Thanks for being such a little sweetie Miss Lyss. We love you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New wheels!

My dear Miss Alyssa turned a whopping four years old today. Oh my, where has the time gone! Seems like only yesterday I was sitting in the hospital reminding the hospital staff that I had a GIRL* and that - No, even though we didn't already have a name picked out we were NOT naming her Katrina**.

Daddy took the day off so we could celebrate as a family and boy what a celebration it was!

According to our family tradition, she got to decorate her own birthday cake. (Minus the chocolate frosting and the writing...)

We're not big party people around our house so we generally just have the Grandmas and Grandpas from both sides come over for a little cake and ice cream. My Aunt and Uncle arrived at my parents' house just as they were leaving for the party, so they piled in car and came over to join in the festivities.

Kenna just couldn't resist trying to help Lyssa blow those candles out!

Liam certainly enjoyed his piece of cake. It was gone in a flash! I think the cake part ended up (mostly) in his stomach, but I'm pretty sure the majority of the frosting was on his face.

He was also eager to help Alyssa with the presents. He managed to snatch a bow before she could shoo him away.

Reading the fun card the Aunt Tanya sent. There was an audible gasp when she saw that there was money inside...and stickers too! What more could a girl want?

And the finale of the presents - Mom and Dad finally broke down and got the kid some wheels. For some reason we have been reluctant (or too lazy...whatever) to get the kids bikes, so we decided that a scooter might be the way to get both the parents and the kids used to some extra mobility.

Liam immediately made a grab for the scooter while Lyssa was trying on her helmet. Looks like more than one kid might be getting wheels this year since they are already fighting over it. (SIGH.) I forsee many hours of enduring his screams while watching her ride it around.

After everyone left and we ran a quick errand, we let Alyssa pick where she wanted to go for dinner. She picked Arctic Circle based on the fact that they have a playground (and the fact that McKenna kept encouraging her to go there). Mom and dad were less than thrilled with the choice, but the kids enjoyed it.

After we read her new book and got snuggled into bed for the night, she told me that she had a really fun birthday.

Here's wishing you many more my sweet girl...

*There was another baby with the same last name born on the same day as Lyssa in our hospital. The other family had a boy. Somehow they thought that OUR baby was the boy. They had a blue card in her bassinet and one of the pediatricians even showed up for a pre-circumcision check-up. (That was disturbing in and of itself since we certainly didn't request the procedure.) We had to convince every doctor and nurse that came to check on us during our stay that we actually had a girl.

**Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans the day after Alyssa was born. Way too many people suggested we should name her after the storm. Like I want my child to have that kind of a namesake...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dancing Fool

When we got home this afternoon I went upstairs to change clothes. When I came back down, this is what I found...

Liam had pushed the chair all the way over to the girls' computer desk, climbed up and was trying to wrestle the mouse away from Lyssa.

After I took the picture, I went back upstairs to put the camera away and heard the music on the game Lyssa was playing suddenly get LOUD. I ran back downstairs to turn it down and found Liam twiddling the knob and dancing his little heart out.

That kid cracks me up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

C is for Cookie

I am ever on the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookies. We were in the mood to make a treat for Matt today so I decided to try a new recipe. I tweaked it a little bit to suit our tastes and what I had in the pantry.

They are perfectly soft inside and just a little bit crunchy on the outside. Just the way I like them. They were good enough I think I might keep working on the recipe to get it just right.

This is the way we made them tonight:

2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 (3.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c. milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes.

(If you don't want the cookie itself to be chocolate, substitute vanilla pudding mix instead. That's actually what the original recipe called for, but I only had chocolate and didn't want to go to the store.)

Liam really was enjoying his cookie, despite the face he's making in the photo. He's decided giving people angry looks is a fun game. As soon as you give the look back to him, he breaks out in the giggles.

Boys are weird.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Liam is walking!

My back is loving not having to carry a 25 pound baby all around the house!

(Also...note the pot and lid - these are his new favorite toys. He carries them all around the house and has been known to cry if he is put down to sleep without them.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This was the argument at our house after we got out of the car last night.

Kenna: "Dad, I think that bright star by the moon is Venus."
Alyssa: "No it's not."
Kenna: "Yes, it is. Right there. That one."
Alyssa: "No, it's NOT. That's a satellite."
Kenna: "No, satellites MOVE. That's not a satellite."
Alyssa: "Some satellites stay still. It's a satellite."
Kenna: "No it's not. It's VENUS. It's a planet."

They went back and forth, louder and louder. It felt a little like watching the Monty Python sketch about the African and European Swallows.

Matt leaned over to me as we finished getting all the stuff out of the car and said, "Do you think other parents have problems with their 5 and 3 year olds arguing about stuff like this?"

If they do...I pity them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Learning the Ropes

I'm still working on learning how to use the camera. Unfortunately I don't have nearly as much time to spend with it as I would like. I took a few more shots of the flowers downtown, since my lunch break seems to be the only time I can squeeze in some quality time with the camera.

Tanya had asked me to take some pictures of purple flowers for a friend of hers. I took quite a few pictures, but I didn't get any that I really loved. I definitely need more practice!