Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas recap

Well, it's been a long week and a half around here!  After five Christmas's we are finally getting back into our routine and the kids are coming down from a six day sugar high.

The weekend before Christmas we gave Santa a call and asked him to do us a solid.  Since we were going to be on the road on actual Christmas and he has a tendancy to bring the kids large gifts, we thought it best that he visit us at home.

We put out cookies and hot cocoa and the girls put on their Christmas jammies and went to bed.

And when we woke up, Santa had been there.  Addi even found reindeer footprints in the yard!  Well, it was either a reindeer or a heavy-footed rabbit... either way, Addi was thrilled.

And as excited as Addi was to rip into her gifts, I think Sam finally figured out the joys of the holidays.

On Wednesday morning we headed to Evansville and spent the night of the 23rd with the extended Ralph clan, including cousins, aunts and uncles.  With so many kids running around it was pure chaos but every minute was great.  I even got some pictures of the kiddos playing but left my camera in Indiana, so you'll just have to believe me that with 18 people staying in one house, things get a little wild.

Christmas Eve Adam and Molly, Adam and Robin, and Jay and I kept up the Haubstadt tradition of heading to the bars before dinner.  At the Nisbet we ran into some friends and had some of the coldest beer on earth, then Jay and Adam headed to the Carriage and the rest of us went back to Jill and Jay's house for more family fun.

Christmas Eve was as wonderful as always.  Lots of great food and quality time with the family, plus Santa rode in on his Camry sleigh and brought gifts for the kids.  Then we exchanged family gifts and played and ate some more!

Christmas Day we bid a fond farewell to the Ralphs and headed north to Indianapolis.  There, we shared Christmas dinner with my mom and Uncle Phil and Uncle Mike.  We had MORE food and more presents and played some more.

We relaxed and let the kids burn off some energy at Chuck E. Cheese, then prepared for our fifth and final Christmas celebration on Sunday morning - brunch with the Goddards.  We started that tradition way back when I was six and we lived next door to the Goddards.  Twenty four years later we still get together, eat eggs-eroneous and share some laughs.

After lunch we packed up the family truckster and made a slippery drive home.  Thanks to our amazing neighbor we pulled into a freshly-shoveled driveway and have been unpacking and organizing ever since!

Today we dropped of a hefty donation of toys and clothes to the Salvation Army and began preparation for our next adventure - New Years with our college friends.  They arrive tomorrow!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Big Mouths

Although it's hard to believe, I used to be quiet and shy. 

No, seriously.

In fact, that there was once a school conference where my teacher informed my parents there MUST be something wrong with me because I was so introverted.

For what it's worth, people also used to make fun of Jay for being too skinny.

Are we the poster children for NOT picking on people or what?

Anyway, these days I am definitely NOT quiet and shy.  I'm even known to be a bit of a big mouth.  Talking, burping, making friends with anyone in a line, telling the same story five times... I am finally comfortable in my own skin and don't mind the gentle joking about my mouth.

It's something I'd like to maybe NOT pass on to the girls, though. 

Unfortunately, they both already have big mouths.

At least, it appears that way in pictures.

My, how they grow

It's a fact of life that kids grow.  And from the amount of money I spend on new wardrobes, it's obvious they grow a LOT. 

But, over the last year, Addison's growth has slowed way down.  She actually wears clothes out now, where Sam still outgrows them before she's really got to wear them.  I'd almost even go as far as to say that Addi has BARELY grown since last fall.

Well, maybe not. 

Check out this picture from last October compared to this October. 

Wow.  Just wow.  She is over a head taller than last year!  Sam is also huge compared to last year but really, it's the comparison of Addi that just blows my mind. 

It goes too fast, people.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Old Mother Sam-urd

She's got motherhood down "pat". 

For a view into our lives (and to see how Sam spends HOURS, literally, covering babies up with washcloths and "patting" them to sleep), click the Youtube link below.  Enjoy!

Sami the Mom

The big guy

Last night, after much anticipation, the Ralph girls set out to meet the big guy.

Addi was understandably more excited than Sami.  You know, since Sam has no idea who Santa is.

Sam pretty much wanted nothing to do with the whole experience.  She finally agreed to a family picture, as long as Santa wasnt touching her.

And even though Santa was literally standing three feet from her, Addison had no problem misbehaving in Santa's workshop.

Maybe that's because as we walked out, she said, "Mommy, that's not the real Santa.  That guy doesn't fly!"

Maybe we can get Sam to believe past the age of three.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Today, I saw this while driving down the road, in the window of a local video store.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas, Kid Style

On the first day of Christmas, my kiddos gave to me... a night of cartoon-free TV!

On the second day of Christmas, my kiddos gave to me... Two sticky hands...
and a night of cartoon-free TV!

On the third day of Christmas, my kiddos gave to me... Three missing pacis...
Two sticky hands...
and a night of cartoon-free TV!

OK, You get the idea...

Now, from the top...

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my kiddos gave to me... twelve songs to dance to...
Eleven pet worms...
Ten tiny toes...
Nine episodes of Spongebob...
Eight dirty diapers...
Seven Eskimo kisses...
Six temper tantrums...
Four smelly feet...
Three missing pacis...
Two sticky hands...

and a night of cartoon-free TV!

Merry Christmas from my kids!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's a little TMI among friends?

Everyday when I pick up the kids at school, I get Addi first.  She usually hides from me... I pretend to not be able to find her... Then we talk to her teachers, go to her classroom, and she goes potty before leaving.  Then, 20 minutes later we get Sam and head home.

Today was no different.  So, while Addi went potty, I asked about her day.  "It was bo-wing." (Boring).  Then, she hopped off the potty, pointed in, and said, "Oh yeah, and, Mommy, we had CORN for lunch too!  See!"

You are welcome for the TMI. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend ruckus

I really don't know what Jay and I did with our time before the kids.  Nowadays, we are busy cooking dinner, doing dishes, calling poison control, folding clothes, wrapping Christmas presents, playing Bejeweled Blitz… you know, the things all families do.

This past weekend was no exception. Here are a few snippets of things seen and overheard at our house:

While reading a book, I let the kids play in our room. After a few minutes, I decided to see what they were up to.

Addi said this was their "house."  They’d make fantastic packrats, don't you think?

While playing the Wii with some friends, Addi asked if we could play the swimming game. Justin said, “Addi, do you like swimming?” Addi looked at him like he was nuts and said, “It’s not real swimming. You don’t wear goggles.” [insert eye roll here]

“Addi, don’t stand on the kitchen table.”

“Sam, don’t stand on the kitchen table.”

“Christmas ornaments are NOT baseballs!”

While I was doing dishes, the kids kept themselves busy. Building another house. IIn the living room.  Lucky us.

“Who stuffed these six toys inside our speaker?”

“Addi, Santa’s watching you!”
Addi: “Oh no Mommy, he wasn’t watching me do THAT.”

Jay: “What’s Sam eating?”
Me: “Oh, gum.”
[long pause while I played my game]
Me: “Oh crap, she can’t chew gum!”

Me: “What’s Sam eating?”
Jay: “Oh, toothpaste.”
Me: “Um, that’s not toothpaste.”
Jay: “It’s not?”
Me: “Nope. Diaper rash cream.”

Is it any wonder why napping is one of my top three activities?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009


Growing up, I always wanted a sister. Someone to play with, talk to, share secrets with, pull hair with, all the fun things sisters get to do together. However, I only had Lee. He did his best by wearing hot pink as often as possible but it was no substitute for the real thing. So when I found out we were having a second girl I was pretty excited that my kids would have the built in best friend I always wanted.

Whenever I can I make sure to tell the girls how lucky they are to have each other. Aside from Addi’s intense pursuit of a brother, she only has Sam and most days it’s more than enough. She’ll say, “Mommy, I’m a lucky girl to have Sami aren’t I?” and I can only hope the love between them never fades.

This morning Addi said, “Sami and I are sisters. Where’s your sister, Mommy?”

I said, “Honey I don’t have a sister, I only have uncle Lee.”

She said, “Oh that’s sad. So your friends have to be your sisters? You are lucky, you have a LOT of sisters!”

She is so right. While I don’t have a blood sister to share secrets with or confide in, I am so extremely lucky to have many good friends in my life. Old friends from high school like Colleen and Anne… College friends… Peoria friends like Jenny and Laura… Work friends… My mommy internet friends like Mandee, Mickey, Cecelia, Shannon, B… I could make a list a mile long of people I lean on daily to get through this crazy hectic life I live in.

I don’t tell them enough how happy I am to know them and call them friends. So here’s to you, my friends… without you, I don’t know what I’d do.

What a lucky girl I am.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Naughty or nice

Although Santa's been in the mix for a few years, I can tell as Addi gets older that she GETS it, more and more.  So, 100 times a day we catch ourselves saying things like, "Santa's watching!" and "You don't want to be on the naughty list, do you?"

I'll take whatever reinforcement I can get.  Obviously she doesn't always listen to me alone.

The other day while riding to school I asked Addi what she would ask Santa for when she sits on his lap.  Her gifts are already bought but I wanted to know what she'd say regardless.

She said, "Mommy, I want to ask Santa for a dollhouse for Sami."

Then she said, "That way, she'll stop playing with mine."

She's a sneaky one...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wii love family bonding

I expected a bit of rivalry when we got the Wii.  Jay and I can be pretty competitive at times so I knew we'd have a good time playing the games together.  It was an added bonus when Addi seemed interested and wanted to play games with us - almost a view to the future where we can actually do fun stuff like shoe shop together.  She's finally learning to wait patiently for her turn and once she can pay attention for more than 10 minutes we will be set.

What I didn't expect was for Sam to be more into the Wii than Addi.

Or for her to completely melt down when it wasn't her turn.

Who doesn't love a little family bonding?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Decking the halls

In order to get as much bang for our buck on Christmas decorations, we started putting them up first thing Saturday morning. While I corralled the kids, Jay dragged plastic tub after plastic tub upstairs and we got to work. Addi helped me by unloading every box and asking what ever single thing was. Then, she got creative and decided she knew how to decorate better than me.

Hairbrush ornament, anyone?

Since Addison and Samantha are both SUCH good helpers, we tried to do the big parts while they were otherwise detained. I detained them by taking a nap with them and Jay worked on putting the tree together. I woke up from my nap and found out that the basement flood of 2009 somehow seeped into the plastic tub and rusted the entire tree. Awesome. Good thing Monday is trash day.

Once Jay and Addi were back from the store we got to work putting the new tree together. The girls helped out by staying out of our way. There's just something about a giant box that will keep any kid busy for hours.

When that got old, they helped by asking Daddy 700 times what he was doing and destroying the playroom.

Finally we got to the good part... putting on the ornaments. Sam really enjoyed pulling off every one we put on, especially the glittery ones. We all know Jay's single goal in life is keeping his girls off the pole, but by bedtime Sam looked like she'd spent a rough night at the club.

By Sunday night our house was ready for Christmas. Now, it's time to wait for Santa!

Creative parenting

Having an annoying inquisitive three year old has been a test to my patience AND creativity. Questions that stump us come up daily… Why is the sky blue? Why do Joey and Jack have a basketball goal at their house? Why can’t I have a baby brother named Boner?

We are getting better at coming up with answers more substantial than “because.” But every now and then, a question will come up that totally befuddles the mind. Especially when she wants an answer NOW.

Saturday afternoon, I heard Addi crying. Upon entering the bathroom, I see Addi standing in front of the toilet where she obviously had an accident.

Assuming the tears are flowing because she didn’t make it in time to the bathroom, I said, “Oh, Addi, accidents happen. It’s OK. Don’t cry.”

She said, “No Mommy, I didn’t have an accident. I tried to pee standing up like Daddy. I tried and now my shoes are wet. Why can’t I pee like Daddy?”

I think it’s time I learn the age old answer… Go ask your father.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A blast from the past

Contrary to what Addison thinks, I haven’t always been married to Jay. I even had a boyfriend or three before marrying him. I have the scary pictures complete with braces and tight rolled jeans to prove it. I’m just glad we didn’t have digital photography back then.

A few weeks ago we were hanging out in the basement and I started digging through boxes. I found an old jewelry box of mine, filled with all kinds of fun things. Seriously, it was like a time capsule. Among the cheap gold earrings and unicorn pendants of the 80s were several yellow gold herringbone necklaces, bracelets and earrings from the 90s. I guess those looked good with my Air Jordans. Add in a few rings and necklaces from college and I had myself a little pot of gold.

I picked through all of it and kept stuff the kids might someday like to have. But I had no idea what to do with the rest of this stuff – it was definitely not anything I’d be wearing again, but throwing it away didn’t seem right. Then I found out that our jewelry store was buying gold and thought, why not?

I’ll admit I felt a little weird walking into the store. Not guilty, more like how I imagine I’d feel if I was pawning this stuff for beer money.

20 minutes later the guilt was gone. I had a $500 store credit in my hand and was happy as a pig in poo!

I cruised around the store, anxious to see what my money would buy me. I already have diamond earrings… I have plenty of necklaces… so I decided to browse the diamond engagement rings, just for fun!

I asked Bob the owner if he’d try to convince Jay to trade my current diamond in for a lovely cushion cut one… Price tag, a mere $25,000. Bob looked at me and said, “Steph, even Jesus himself couldn’t convince Jay to do that.”

I'm pretty sure Bob knows how cheap thrifty Jay is.

So, here’s to you, boyfriends of the past… Because of the kindness you bestowed on geeky teenage Steph, I walked away with a lovely new Pandora bracelet, complete with a monkey charm for Addi and a penguin charm for Sam. And a lot of money still left to spend at the jewelry store. Lucky me.

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