Tuesday, December 29, 2009

all i need and want

here are two pics from yesterday. i cannot even believe they are my off spring! especially topher. he does not look even remotely asian to me. anyhoo, in his pic is sporting his new phoenix suns sweatshirt that he got from jeehon imo, and holding a nerf basketball that has a few bite marks in it, that chris got for him. (and he is wearing one of my hats that almost fits him!) topher is all about basketball right now,especially the two that he is holding in this picture. he wants to bring them everywhere. they have to be in his crib when he goes to sleep. he throws them in his crib, and then tries to climb in after them. it has made putting him to bed a dream. i told chris the other day that topher could not wait to get into bed to play with his balls. chris said that was not something a mother should report happily about her son. whatev. but chris is SO HAPPY to see his little boy, his name sake, loving basketball. though not necessary, it's a nice bonus.

the other pic is of lily strutting her stuff. her aunt lindsay got her the tutu and the matching explosion of tulle and flowers on her head. you could call it a headband, but it's just so much more than that. lily LOVES this present. when she sees it, she says "princess?" and puts it on and twirls and poses and laughs till she's about to throw up. it's ridiculously adorable. she then says "cheese?" as in "get off your lazy butt, find the camera, and start capturing the wonderment of these moments woman!" and then she poses more. here she is wearing my sunglasses and holding the phone. a real woman about town. yes i complain about my lils. a lot. she drives me crazy! i don't know why she still wants to sleep in our bed. and i don't know why she won't just pee on the potty. BUT she clearly has a mind of her own, complete with attitude, charm, heart, and personality. if you ask any parent what they want for their child, the number one answer is good health. especially if that parent has a sick child, or knows a child that is sick. everything else is gravy. lily is made of gravy.

today was a funny day. topher came up to me and made me crouch down next to him. he looked at me. reached for my glasses. took them off. put them on the floor. and walked away. i think he was telling me i look like an ugly nerd. then lily did her usual thing of being an almost-3-year-old which is cute and trying. she is always quick to say 'sorry mom!' if she does something that she knows is not allowed. if i make a noise like i am actually vexed though, she is quiet for a second and asks: "are you happy mom?" it kinda breaks my heart. she doesn't want to make me sad. i just love love love my kids.

anyhoo, back to my day. december has kicked our finances in the behind. we a little bit over spent. oopsee. i saw our bank statement yesterday and noticed that there was probably just enough to cover our first of the month bills. just enough, if not a little shy of the mark. this is never a good feeling. and chris had just gotten paid. and we hadn't even tithed yet cause i forgot our check book on sunday. and then another thing came up that chris and i had promised we would give to. so we swallowed our common sense and gave. and you know what? God gave back! big times. we got a check that we have been waiting MONTHS and MONTHS and MONTHS for! and God conveniently waited for TODAY to give it to us! not before we gave back to Him, when it would have been easy to give. but just a few seconds after.

God has given us SO MUCH. He gave us his Son to die for us. I say it often, but that's just to keep reminding myself that that's all that matters. and yet He keeps on giving. so lavishly. so excessively. and His timing is of course- impeccable. i am amazed when God gives me the things that i need. and some of those things are things i didn't even know i wanted in the first place. but now that i've got em, i need em! i just love love love my God.

Christmas and Weddings

it really struck me on december 26th this year that Christmas is a lot like a wedding.

1.you spend a butt-load of money. everything involved in a wedding- dresses/tuxes, food, location, gifts, bombaniers, center pieces, flowers, etc. etc.; or presents for kids, your parents, your in-laws, your nieces and nephews, your boss, cookies for the neighbors, a million white-elephant gifts, stocking stuffers, stocking stuffers, and more stocking stuffers!

2.you have a bunch of pre-parties before the big shabang. bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinner; or a million small group parties, work parties, christmas eve dinner, 50 christmas eve services at church.

3. the day comes and it's AWESOME. family, friends, food galore! who could want anything more? but then in the grand scheme of things- it's just ONE DAY. we prepared for this day for weeks and weeks and weeks, and dropped tons and tons of cash (even though we tried SO HARD not to!) all for one day. you have sex on your wedding night. most of the time. but sometimes, as on christmas night- you don't have sex cause you are too tired, and you're broke.

4. the next day you are still tired. and still broke. and you are sitting in your living room in the midst of awesome new presents and so much wrapping paper that you are pretty sure you can hear trees actually wimpering.

5. you are SO glad it's ALL over. you are SO not looking forward to looking at your bank statement or credit card bills. but you had SO much fun and you are kinda looking forward to diong it all over again next year. (Christmas only. Weddings are too stressful to do more than once in a lifetime.)

hope you all had great Christmases. happy belated birthday Jesus!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Celebration Weekend: Part 2

today i will talk about the presents and the 'parties' from our awesome celebration weekend. this is very fitting because tomorrow is christmas and chris and i will not be exchanging presents, so it's good to remind myself that i got hooked up last weekend!

chris and i try to incorporate the 'traditional anniversary gifts' every year, but we've managed to screw it up every year except for the first. the first year is paper, and that went over really well. chris wrote me an awesome poem that is still sitting on our dresser. i wrote out our 525,600 minutes of married life. a good portion of my life spent writing that, which i will never get back. then for some reason i thought i read that the 2nd anniversary was supposed to be wood. so i made something for chris out of wood, and he bought me a bag of firewood with a coupon that said he would make me dinner one night and we would eat it by the fireplace. never happened people! i need to find that coupon so i can redeem it... by the way, cotton is the material for the 2nd year. then the third year gift is supposed to be leather. for some reason i am drawing a complete blank on last year's anniversary. hopefully i blogged about it... i will investigate after this post...

this year's thing was 'fruits and flowers' for the traditional gifts, and 'appliances' for the modren gift. we never do the modern gifts, cause they are so random. sure the traditional ones are random too, but they are the TRADTITIONAL ones. and if you look at the whole gammut of gifts-


on the traditional side, the 20th anniversary is supposed to be showered by china. (not the country) but on the modern side, year 2 is supposed to be marked by china. i don't like it one bit. except for this year. chris got me a cute dress from target that has flowers on it, AND a bissel little green carpet cleaner!!!!! yeah! for all the pooping on the carpet that happens in this family- i really really needed this.

anyway, we had a great anniversary and birthday bash this weekend. chris and i have had four wickedly good years together, and i praise Jesus for that. and, i guess i also thank my super-relaxed and good-looking and good-natured husband for that as well. love you christobear!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Celebration Weekend: Part 1

This weekend we had Chris' 30th birthday and our 4 year wedding anniversary. There is so much to report, so I think I will have to break it up into sections. For this portion, I will cover THE FOOD!

Saturday morning, which was the actual day of the two major events, we woke up late and dillydallied to breakfast. We originally planned on going to breakfast at about 9am, but since Chris got home from work about 5 hours before that time, I decided to let the old guy sleep in for an extra hour. We got to Liberty Market on Gilbert Rd at about 10:30ish. And that was perfect. No line up , tables available, just noisy enough where we aren't yelling at each other to converse, but also not so quiet that I feel bad for having our kids with us.

We ordered the 'American Standard' which consisted of 3 eggs, potatoes, a freshly made biscuit, and bacon. The bacon was made to perfection- a little crispy, but not even close to burnt! This was 8 and a half bucks. Very reasonable. I got 'Grilled Bread Pudding' which was pure awesomeness. I know lots of folks who don't love bread pudding. And because I love them so much, I have nothing bad to say about them. Lainey. Anyhoo, that was 8 bucks. I could have gotten just straight up bread pudding for 3 bucks less, but it was my anniversary and I felt like spending an extra $3 on my food touching a griddle, and coming out with syrup and a serious dusting of powdered sugar. Now, we should have stopped at that, but I wasn't sure how big the portions would be, so I made Chris get a blueberry scone ($3.50) and an extra side of Liberty Potatoes ($3). The scone was deliciousness itself. Very flavorful, and as moist as a scone is allowed to be to still be considered a scone. The Liberty Potatoes were super too. The bill came out to about $17, with 2 coffees to boot, cause it was Chris' bday, and Joe loves people's birthdays. And I LOVE JOE.

We got our overstuffed bodies into the car and zipped over to Joes Real BBQ across the street. Chris walked up to the take-out window, ordered the 3 meat sampler with a side, showed his i.d, and came back to the car with a bag full of free food. Did I mention that I love JOE? This food went directly into the fridge, and made a brief, yet wonderful appearance for lunch after chuch on Sunday.

Then we went to Abuelo's on Chandler Rd. for dinner at about 5:30pm. We were a little pressed for time since we had to be at the Suns game before 7pm, but we decided we would make the most of our dinner together. Cause we were ALONE. not in the restaurant, but without our kids. (Thanks Barb and Jerry!!!!) We ordered our food, and literally waited about 7 minutes. It was ridunculous. And somehow the food tasted fresh, cause you would think with that short a wait time that they have these plates just sitting around waiting to be ordered. Like Mc Donalds or something. I got the steak chimichanga plate, and Chris got steak and chicken fajitas. The food was yummy, the service was awesome, the ambiance was just right. We walked out of there just before 6:30, having paid about $24 for a very filling and delicious meal, complete with two soft drinks, thanks to my 'free entree' coupon! Abuelos es mi amore. (I think that says my grandfather is my love, but I'm not sure cause I failed Spanish in university...)

So, like I mentioned earlier, it was perfect that we had a later breakfast because we were able to get away with just eating an awesome breakfast and an amazing dinner. Obviously we missed a few great free eating hot spots, but my birthday is coming up in a month, so those restaurants will see me and my hungry family soon enough.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Parties!

i love this time of year. i love buying presents for other people. i love wrapping them up. i love seeing christmas lights strung up on people's houses (and particularly on their cacti on their lawn. i love living in the desert!)i love it all. and i really love christmas shindigs. we've already been to three, and we have four more to go! we went to our small group's party on tuesday, and we also went to the high school volunteers' party a few weeks ago. and we went to chris' work party on sunday. (that was for the guys on his squad.) here are a few of my favorite moments from those parties:

-at the high school volunteers' party:
one of the white elephant gifts was two mostly-eaten boxes of chocolates accompanied with pictures of the giver of the gift eating the chocolates. there was also a note that said: "Your real gift is dinner with the Suiters!" creative. and awesome. chris stole that present and we are looking forward to hanging with the suiters in the new year!

-at our small group party:
-one of the white elephant gifts was a giant bag of peanut m&ms and a note that said 'dinner with chris and jihae!' that seems like such a lame thing for chris and i to do, right? to steal someone else's idea for a gift? except that wasn't one of the gifts that chris and i brought to the party. robert and lindsay put that gift in the pile, unbeknownst to us. pretty much the funniest thing i have seen in a long time, so i can't even be mad that i am being 'forced' to make dinner for another couple. (which we are really looking forward to hanging out with john and betsy!)
-there were lots of lame presents at our white elephant this year. and juan was really trying to 'sell' his gift to anyone who had a turn coming up. he had opened a bag that had a super festive-themed sugar bowl and creamer set. i could only see it froma distance but i think i saw snowmen, santa, and possibly even a menorrah. perfect for a young bachelor like himself... when it was jenny's turn to pick a gift, juan really turned on his sales pitch for the set. jenny looked him straight in the eye and said: "why would i want that? it came from my house!" you had to be there. it was so amazing.

-at chris' work party:
-there are six guys on chris' squad, and all those guys and their families were there, with kids ranging from 12 years old to 2 months old. the kids were all really good about playing together and eating together, and all that. then they started to do that game that, i would love to say only kids play, but unfortunately adults do it too, and it's the "yeah, well i am better/richer/cooler than you" game. the 'game' gets started:
kid 1: "Yeah, well i have an xbox and a playstation..."
kid 2: "Yeah? well i have an xbox, a playstation, and a DS..."
kid 1: "Yeah? my dad has a rifle." (way to change it up!)
kid 2: "Yeah? my dad has a rifle too."
and that's when i wanted to point out to all of the kids at the party that ALL of their dad's had rifles. not a party you would just want to crash folks.
-chris is known as the 'cheap guy' on his squad. he gets ridiculed for his views of not wanting to live in debt, and for driving a '97 town car (c'mon! it's a lincoln for crying out loud!...), and for giving his kids a used gift from craigslist for christmas (a $70 thomas train table complete with tracks and 5 trains. that would have cost us over $160. something we are not looking to spend on out kids any time soon. especially since they still have no idea what christmas really is.) chris continues to have a winning attitude about it all. he embraces it. so the squad did a $25 white elephant gift exchange, and chris decided we should buy a $30 gift and take $5 out of it. so we went to costco, bought a bottle of vodka for about $20, and a bin of chocolates (that were individually wrapped) for $10. we took a good portion of the chocolates out and presented the gift. every one loved it. but in hindsight we probably should have taken out $5 worth of vodka. ;)

anyhoo, hope you are enjoying your holidays as much as i am enjoying mine!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Crazy Love

I finished my second book since living in the apartment a few weeks ago. Truth be told, it's also the second book I have finished for 2009. I am trying to fit in a third before the year is out!

So the book is called 'Crazy love' and it is by a pastor from California, and his name is Francis Chan. Francis is Chinese, he is married and has four kids. He talks about his past a little bit in the book- his mother died giving birth to him, his step-mother died when he was 9, and his father was a hard and emotionless man, who died when Francis was 12. Francis has always been, and continues to be around death in a very real way, performing funerals almost every week. We could go at any moment and find ourselves in front of the judgment seat. What will that look like? What will you say to the Creator of the Universe when you are face to face with Him? We should all have a sense of fear of that day, but also a sense of longing and excitement for that day. But that's all 'shoulds'. Do we? Do you? Do I?

A few days ago I was downloading something to my computer. It said I had 2 minutes till the download would be complete. So I thought that would be a GREAT time to have my quiet time. For two minutes. I actually sat in front of my computer, where I am right now, and I closed my eyes and clasped my hands together and started to pray. I am so grateful that God did not shoot me down with lightning at that very moment. He should have. But He didn't. And that's grace for ya. I had to stop because I felt so disgusting. Chan talks about giving a Holy God our leftovers. He who gave me life, an amazing husband who loves me, 2 healthy and wonderfully crazy kids, a handful of friends, and a gigantic family that loves me; He also happened to create the universe and sent His only Son to die for me on the cross so that I wouldn't have to spend my eternal life in hell, or my earthly life in misery, hopelessness, and meaninglessness. And I was going to give Him as much time as it took to download a program to my computer. And that's it.

The Christian life is not about minutes spent with God however, and I know this. And I am thankful for it. The point of this book is to get to Christians to wake up to the fact that Jesus truly loves us. It's a crazy love, and yet our response to that unconditional and undying love is so- normal. Pathetically so. We, myself very much included, try to appease the Lord our God with a few quick minutes of 'quiet time', read a chapter of the Bible, say a prayer or two, and then we get to check off the 'Did Christianly things today' box on our long list of things to do- which also happens to include 'check e-mail, blog, facebook, watch tv, eat, shower, sleep.'

One of the most memorable things that Chan says in this book is when he talks about the Marine Corps. And why he didn't join it. Because in the commercials for 'The few, the proud, the Marines', they were always running. And Chan hates running. "I didn't bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do fewer push-ups. Tha would have been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you." (p.80)

God tells us to do one thing- to Love. Not to run 3 miles a day. Not to sit and spend 20 minutes with him every day. Or even to read the Bible in a year. Every year. No. God tells us to love Him, with all our heart, soul, and mind. (Matt 22:37) Him. Not money, not acceptance of others, not the internet, etc, etc. Him. Then he tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. People! Not things! (thanks for the extra reminder in your post Cindy) He calls us to love Him, and to love each other. This translates into being a good and dependable friend, a loving mother, a responsible father, a respectable husband, a kind stranger, a generous human being.

God's love is crazy, and it takes a lot of courage and wisdom to even try to almost fathom what that means. "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:16-19.

This is my prayer for myself, and I encourage you to pray this for yourself. I think we all know that God loves us. When will we wholeheartedly respond to that love? HOpefully sooner than later. What will our lives, and the lives of those around us, look like when we respond to that love? I guarantee it will look better than it does now.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

if only we had a fan that crap could hit...

today was a long day. in our efforts to not have lily sleep in our bed, she now wakes up in the middle of the night and cries. last night i went to bed pretty late, and chris came home at about 3 am(from work. not clubbing.) so when lily started crying, no one took notice. except for topher. so chris and i woke up at about 5am to lily and topher crying their heads off. chris brought lily back to bed with him. i slept on the floor in topher's room with topher. only topher didn't sleep. he stared at me. did laps around the room. collapsed on to my face for kisses and hugs. it was all so funny and sweet. if only it hadn't been 5 in the frickin morning.

so that's how the day started. and it didn't get better. chris woke up at about 10ish. we started getting ready to go to costco, when the kids decided they needed a chocolate boost for the day- so they both said they wanted to potty. smart, conniving kids. so we gave them their dues- one m&m for sitting on the potty for at least 15 seconds. and i went to my room to get dressed, and to use the potty myself. topher was running around bare bottom, which happens a lot lately. but of course, today was a disaster. i was in the bathroom for a minute. max. i come out and find topher standing in his own feces that are stamped into the carpet. there is a GIANT turd right in front of me, a smaller turd beside that, and a smooshed turd, and little turdy footsteps leading to where my absolutely wretchedly disgusting son is standing. 'Oh no! Poo poos!' he says. i said the same thing, (in my head!) only using sinful adult vocabulary.

i threw him (almost literally) into my bathtub (where he dropped another baby deuce)and yell for Chris. kinda cause i need his help, but mostly so he can just see what happened. and boy was he disgusted and impressed. i am not joking- it looked like an adult had crapped on my floor. it was a big one. i picked up most of the poop with toilet paper. i scrubbed the crap outta the dirty spots with carpet cleaner and a sponge. there is surprisingly very little evidence left that anything inappropriate happened here today. i then proceeded to give topher a bath, and picked the poo in the bathtub up with my bare hands. cause why waste the toilet paper at this point? i already had stained hands from trying to get poo flakes to go down the drain in the tub.

so that was my day. it got better from there- but come on, how could it have gotten worse? i guess he could have pooed and ate it and then vomitted on the carpet on top of his poops...

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Know You're A Mom When...

-It's 10:40 pm, and because you have children-induced A.D.D, you remember when earlier today there was a punk kid who drove up next to you with their rap music blasting from their cool stereo in their cool car. And you remember thinking: 'Hey that was me, not too long ago. I should drive around blasting my stereo too.' But then you realize 1. You drive a minivan. 2. The music that is usually playing in your mini van is sung by a woman named 'Miss Melody' and she sings about shapes and colors. 3. Even if you were a cool punk kid five years ago, you are not cool anymore for the aforementioned reasons.

-It's 10:43 pm, and you are no longer playa-hatin yourself because you are having the greatest time being BY YOURSELF. The Suns game is on in the background, you are working on various Christmas projects, and you have scissors and other very dangerous things laying around- just cause you can!

-It's 10:45 pm, and you realize you are still wearing clothes that your son peed on while he was peeing on the toilet. Changing right then and there was not an option, but since the kids went down at 8:30, there were numerous opportunities to change your clothes, but you didn't cause 1. It makes you so happy that your son peed on the toilet that it's an honor to get peed on at all. 2. This time by yourself is too precious to waste on changing clothes. That will happen right before you collapse into bed in about an hour or so.

-It's 10:48 pm, and even though you aren't going to go to bed for another hour or so, you can't wait to check up on the kids before you go to bed, so you do it now, cause you love to hear their baby snores, and to see their sweet, chubby-cheeked, beautiful faces in 'rest mode' as opposed to 'i will throw another tantrum cause i feel like it mode'. And you do it again before you pass out into your bed (hopefully not in your urine-stained clothes.)

-It's 10:52 pm, and you know that the only chocolate in the house is in your kids' halloween stash that should have been thrown away a few weeks ago, but it is your happy treat at the end of a hard day (cause you got peed on), and it makes you happy that 1. You are saving your kids from having cavities by eating their hard earned sweets 2. You are eating chocolate.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday's Thing- Eclubs and Free Birthday Food!

What is an Eclub you ask? If you go to a restaurant's website, you will often find a link that says "Eclub", or something of the like. It has been my new hobby for the last two days to enter as many eclubs as humanly possible. "Why?" you ask. Cause Chris' birthday is coming up next week and I want to eat somewhere awesome for as close to free as possible!

So here's what I have come up with so far:
-www.joesrealbbq.com This is one of the bestest restaurants in Arizona. Super family-friendly atmosphere (read: your kids can be loud and no one will shoot you dirty looks.) And very very yummy food. Best of all- you don't even have to sign up on-line to get free food on your birthday! You just show up with your id and you get $10 off of the food you order. The best deal for anyone who wants to drown the sorrows of aging in some great bbq'ed foods.

-www.joesfarmgrill.com This is a cute little restaurant that serves breakfast- waffles, and stuff, and gourmet burgers. It's the exact same deal as the above. Cause it's a 'Joe's' retaurant, and whoever Joe is- he wants you to be happy, full, and not broke on your birthday.

-www.libertymarket.com This is another cute restaurant in Gilbert. I've never been here before, but am jonesing to make a stop. Will probably do so on Chris' birthday, since you get $10 off here too. My gilrfriend Cindy said they have very good salads, sandwiches, and desserts. They open at 7am, so hopefully their breakfast foods are good too. I think 'Joe' owns this fine establishment as well, because apparently 'Joe' owns a good portion of the town of Gilbert. Again- my hat goes off to you Joe. If I could, I would hug you.

-www.redrobin.com Great place to have burgers and shakes. If you sign up for their Eclub, you can get a free burger on your birthday. And I believe you can use it within a week of your actual birthday, which is good, cause there are some places you have to go to ON your birthday, so save this freebie for later on in your birthday week.

-www.abuelos.com This is supposed to be a really nice mexican restaurant with very nice ambiance and awesome food. (This is the word on the street. I have never been personally but am hoping to go soon!) I just signed up for their Eclub, and just for doing an online survey I got a coupon for a free entree! Hoping something even better comes up by Chris' birthday...

Ok. I think I probably should have saved this post till next week, after I actually 'received' things for Chris' birthday (I hope I receive lots of awesome free things for Chris' birthday!) But, the biggest clue that I am going to get something is that they ask for your date of birth in your Eclub registration. Why would you want to know my birthday unless you wanted to shower me with gifts and coupons?!?!?!? So, I guess part 2 of this post will come after the 19th of this month. (I will probably be about 10 lbs heavier after all these good eats!)
I just want you to be aware folks- that there is a lot of good food out there to be eaten (this is the United States of America. Land of the eating-well.) but you can eat well AND not have to miss your mortgage payment.

Happy meal times to all! And especially- Happy Birthdays. Spend your hard earned birthday cash on stuff other than food.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keepin Up With The Watsons

It's been awhile since I have posted anything about the kids, so here is a little update for you.

Topher has nine teeth. 3 on the bottom, 6 on top. Crazy little guy. But he still manages to take down a lot of food all at once without batting an eyelash. Yesterday he ate an adult-size helping of pancakes. He likes to stuff his mouth with as much food as humanly possible, then somehow he chews it all down, and then he goes in for more. It's gross, but really entertaining. We have high hopes for him to be the future hot dog eating champion in about 10 years.

Lily has a full mouth of teeth but does not like to use them on eating. Her latest, and grossest thing is that she chews up her food and then stores it in her cheeks, or behind her teeth. It is gross and not entertaining and will probably make her teeth rot right out of her head. It is a nightly battle to make her swallow the food she stores. It makes meal time last an extra 10 - 30 minutes. This usually only occurs when there is chicken involved, but sometimes she will mix it up and store some fruit or vegetables.

Topher has peed in the potty twice! That was two weeks ago. He hasn't done it again since. Lily has not peed on the potty since that psychotically communally traumatic time we tried to potty train her moths ago. That's ok tho. No pressure. Altho Santa gave me a heads up that she will be receiving one of those dolls that pees on the potty for Christmas. That should be interesting...

Everyday we try to go on our daily walk to feed the ducks. Topher and I take an extra trip to Discipline Land every day too. He is testing his limits, and my patience, in a big way lately. It is draining for everyone, but hopefully it will be over soon. Like within the next 15 years I hope. Lily also takes strolls through Discipline Ville, but not as fequently as she used to. Yesterday though, we were dropping the kids off at Nana and Papa's before bible study, and us adults were in the kitchen talking, while the kids were playing with a train that goes around the Christmas tree. All was well until we heard some crying in the other room. Topher was laying flat on the ground, under the Christmas tree, crying. Not moving, just crying. Lily was suddenly standing next to me and I asked her what happened. "I don't know," she said. "Did you push Topher?" I asked her. She nodded her head. "Time out!" I told her. And even though pushing is not allowed, being honest is always a good thing, so in that moment I was very proud of my bully of a daughter.

Other than that, things are pretty much the same old, same old. We are getting ready to celebrate Chris' 30th birthday next week, plus our 4 year anniversary on the same day, and then Christmas less than a week later. Things are busy, but things are good. Hope it's the same in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Super Simple Recipe- Shepherd's Pie

Today I would like to start throwing out some supereasy recipes that your whole family will love. I will not commit to doing it once a week, cause coming up with a 'Thursday's Thing' every Thursday is already too much stress for me! (Dang it! That's tomorrow!) But if you have any easy family faves, please feel free to share!

This is Chris' favorite right now. Cause it has meat and potatos in it. You can make this as easy, or as complicated as you would like. Depending on what you have in the fridge, and pantry.

Basic Ingredients-
1 lb of ground beef
3-4 potatos
1 cup of frozen mixed veggies
1 can of gravy

This should feed 4-6 normal human beings, but here it only feed Chris, me, and Lily and Topher (and Lily eats about the same amount of food as a regular 4 month old. Not a lot.)

Step 1- Preheat your oven to about 350.
Brown the beef in a pan. Drain the fat. Add as much or as little of the frozen veggies. You can get creative here. If you have mushrooms, celery, green peppers, add those too. We are in a recession folks- veggies are cheaper than meat. This would work especially well if you only had a 1/2 pound of meat. Then add the gravy. I like the Campbells gravy, cause it was pretty flavorful. Then I made it with no-name stuff a few days ago, and it wasn't nearly as flavorful. So taste your meat concoction. You might need to add some salt and pepper here.

Step 2- Make mashed potatos however you normally make mashed potatos. Some milk/cream, butter, a little salt and pepper to taste, sour cream, mayo, whatever you got. My mashed potato top comes out REAL thick. I usually use about 5-6 potatos. Mainly cause I am feeding Chris and he is a pig. And again- cause we are in a recession and potatos are dirt cheap.

Step 3- Throw the meat mixture in the bottom of a pan that can go in the oven. Then put the mashed potatos on top. If you have cheese and you like cheese, then you can throw a layer of it between the meat and potatos, or just cover the top for looks, or both.

Step 4- Put your beautiful pie in the oven for about 15 minutes. If you are making everything right before dinner, then all the ingredients should still be warm/hot, so it's just going in the oven for the cheese to melt, and for the layers to become intimate with one another in the heat of the oven. If you make this a day or two ahead, then you are obviously going to want this to be in the oven for about 30 minutes, or longer, so that your scrumptious meal is warm.

Step 5- Let it sit for a second or two before serving, and enjoy!

(not the best pic. i'm working on it. again- giant potato layer during the recession. maybe there will be a giant meat layer in times of plenty. whenever that day comes...)

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Two Cents About Weddings

i went shopping the other day for about 4 hours. by myself. it was glorious. some of it was grocery shopping (love that wal mart is open till forever.) most of it was Christmas shopping. one thing was a wedding present. i don't know why people get married in december. it's not smart. i know this as a person who is constantly shopping for wedding presents in the midst of my Christmas shopping, but i especially know this as a person whose anniversary is coming up in december. i am as stupid as all them other december brides! nobody wants to buy you a wedding present in december!
i'm not saying this as a person who didn't get a lot of gifts. don't get me wrong- chris and i got hooked up! BUT, i now feel so sorry for the wonderful people we invited to our wedding who had to do extra shopping in december for us. and i am also kinda sorry i got married on a monday night, cause who really wants to go to a wedding on a weekday when you have to go to work the next day? BUT it saved chris and i a ton of $$$$$! (so i am not that sorry!)
so here are my two cents- if you are planning to get married at some point- DO NOT GET MARRIED IN DECEMBER. january is not necessarily your best bet either. let people's bank accounts bounce back. go for april when people are getting their tax returns back. unless you have a lot of delinquent friends and family who you know are going to owe on their taxes. cause they are not going to want to buy you a wedding present then either.
i know weddings are about the union between two people, and two families, and yada yada yada. but there are not many occassions where you are going to be showered with gifts in your life after you hit the age of 16. so future brides and grooms (like guys actually read this blog!) plan wisely, know your audience, and have a great wedding, and an even greater marriage (with all your awesome gifts!)
and also, maybe consider getting married on a monday. it may not be the coolest thing to do, but saving money is way cooler than people want to admit.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday's Thing- Marriage

i think my last three or four posts have been about marriage, so i figured my thursday's thing would be about marriage. i have to say that i am beyond blessed to be married to the amazing chris watson. he is a seriously wonderful person to be married to. sure he farts, and he doesn't like doing housework. i think that makes him a man. but he is SO patient with the kids, and SO patient with me, and he supports me in EVERYTHING i do. most of all, he is very honest. he is honest when he is struggling with personal things, he is honest when he is struggling with things about me, and it is his number one goal to not make me cry. but today's post isn't about chris. it's about marriage. and i am all for marriage (remember? go lamar and khloe!) but more than that God is all for marriage. it is one of his best gifts. and it's a gift that too many people take for granted (tiger woods. oh, i don't even have the words for that subject yet...)

for those who are not yet married, but are planning on getting married soon, check out this website: http://azpastor.com. (why is this not making a direct link?!?!? computers! i don't know how they work.)

what??! is that a shameless plug for my brother-in-law's personal website? YOU BET! robert is one of the most hilarious guys i have ever met. when he and chris are together, you better be wearing a diaper cause you WILL PEE YOUR PANTS. but along with being hilarious, he is also WISE. He has a profound love for Jesus, and it shows in his life, and when he speaks. if you have never heard him teach, go to high school group at 11:59am at Sun Valley Community Church. and if you want someone to marry you, who can seriously cater your ceremony to be the way you want it to be- robert watson is your guy! i have had the pleasure of watching him officiate a good handful of weddings, all very different, all very special.

another great thing you will find on that website is premarital counseling, which robert, and other pastors at Sun Vally offer. and you need it. we all need counseling. cause we are all messed up. and we are marrying another messed up person. it's awesome! God is very good at taking messy people and making them clean. spotlessly clean, actually.

so, for you married people out there- keep on keeping on! choose your marriage, your spouse, over everything else. and for those who are about to embark on the journey- take heart! the path is not easy, but travel it with people who will pray for you, and who are also for your marriage. i want to say that chris and i are so very blessed to have that, which is why we have the marriage that we do. and you will never see us in the paper, with chris crashed into a fire hydrant, and me wielding a 3-iron.

Monday, November 30, 2009

keeping up with... lamar odom

for those of you who personally know me, you know i love me some basketball, and tv. admittedly, since the kids have entered my life, i have watched a lot less of both, but i try to keep up with the phoenix suns, and my favorite shows (so you think you can dance, LOST, the hills, the office, 30 rock) as much as possible.
as a loyal suns fan, i find it important to dislike anyone on the la lakers. they are just one of the most annoying teams out there, with some of the most annoying fans in the world, and we always play against them at some point in the post season, provided that we make it into the post season. one laker in particular has annoyed me over the years, and that player is lamar odom. in my mind he was just another over-hyped, over-paid basketball player on the lakers.
until i watched tv last week.
on my list of 'quality shows' to watch, 'keeping up with the kardashians' is not anywhere near the top. or even the bottom. that show is on the top of my 'shows to never watch' right alongside anything that paris hilton decides to be on.
BUT, i happened to stumble upon the episode of 'keeping up with the kardashians' where lamar odom starts 1.dating khloe kardashian 2. gets engaged to her 3. marries her. yes. all in the same episode. it's almost in real time. (they met, a few weeks later got engaged, 10 days later they got married.) clearly i HAD to watch this episode the way people HAVE to watch a train wreck.
so as i am watching the ridiculousness of two famous people's paths colliding, i realize that lamar odom is a man looking for the simplest thing- love. there was no one from his side of the family present at any point of the wedding preparation. i thought it was pretty one sided of them to just focus the show on the kardashians, even if the series is named for them. but then it comes out that lamar doesn't have any family. his mom died when he was 12, and so he was raised by his grandmother. at this point i am riveted, and i have to google more of lamar odom's story. he just turned thirty. his dad was a heroin addict. he has had three kids with his previous girlfriend. the youngest one died of SIDS at the age of 6 months, a few years ago. oh lamar odom! i just want to give you a huge hug!!!!!
when i had heard about the insanity of this marriage, i thought to myself "now those are two people who have too much money and not enough brains between the two of em." i know they were/are the butts of a lot of people's jokes, people have pools going to see how quickly this marriage will dissolve. but you know what? i hope this crazy thing works out for the both of them. mostly because marriage is a sacred union that is supposed to be FOR LIFE. but also because everyone should have a family that loves them and accepts them and supports them- even if they are on a basketball team that i don't like. i raise my coffee cup to thee lamar odom and khloe kardashian! cheers! may you guys have a long and prosperous marriage.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving in Heber

i think i mentioned before that chris' dad and step-mom bought a cabin up in heber, 2 hours away from the east valley. this place is straight-up pimpin! they have not even had it for all htat long, but it is furnished like they have lived there for years. so beautiful, so cozy, so awesome.
we drove up on thursday morning, with the malloys behind us. we got there in about 2 hours and 10 minutes which was awesome. the kids didn't even seem to mind the drive, they were staring out the window looking at the incredibly scenery whizzing past them. (i remember as a kid thinking everything was going by so quickly. now that i am SO BIG, it's seems like it's all going by at about 55 mph. if you want to get technical about it...)
when we got to 'The Abbey' (the cabin's name. i believe the name is supposed to mean place of refuge, or something like that. also, wes is a huge beatles fan.) there were tons of people already there. they had all spent the night up there already. robert, lindsay and the boys were there. wes and kim obviously. kim's parents. the leonards- family friends, consisting of gary, beth, leanne and brad. the malloys. and us. 14 adults and 5 crazy kids. a few people had last minute things come up so othe party was actually much smaller than originally anticipated.
we had an awesome thanksgiving feast, followed by much hanging out in the beautiful heber air. it was supposed to be cold. it was the warmest 55 degrees i had ever been in. the night was a bit rough for sleeping- topher had just caught a cold while we were up there. so he was really congested, but we got through the night! we would have actually stayed up one more night, but alas the boy needed to sleep with his humidifier.
we spent our two days up north eating, napping, playing football, watching people play football, having a gingerbread house contest, making smores, watching Mary Poppins, and taking tons of pictures. there is a slight possibility that Topher ate/licked an elk turd. to his credit, those things do look like caramels wrapped in chocolate. to the human body's credit, he projectile vomitted on me as soon as he consumed/licked it. gotta love the great outdoors!
an awesome time was had by all, and it was all thanks to 1. those wonderful pilgrims who started this holiday so many years ago. 2. wes and kim for buying this awesomely gigantic cabin that was meant for festivities such as this. 3. Jesus. cause we would have nothing without Jesus.
hope you all enjoyed great eats, and great times relaxing and enjoying friends and family. happy belated thanksgiving to you.

hanging out at the lake. so beautiful!

the kids in their accidentally matching pjs. i didn't plan to bring matchin mickey and minnie mouse pjs for lily and topher. i had no idea lindsay was going to put gabe in mickey pjs. a serendipitous disney moment.

being out in 'the woods' brought out the manly man in chris, and topher.

the abbey.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ridiculousness of marriage

tuesday night i had to pick up and drop off my favorite babysitter, who is unfortunately still about 6 months away from getting her driver's license. but the nice thing about picking her up is getting to chat with her in the car. she is such a sweet girl, and at the tender age of 15 she has dealt with a lot of drama. her parents have been divorced for over 10 years. both parents have already been re-married again, and are single again. crazy. she spends monday and tuesday at her dad's, wednesday and thursday at her mom's, and friday afternoon till sunday with whichever parent is supposed to have her and her sister and brother. wow. supercrazy.

so after she explains all this to me, she asks me if this is my first marriage, or if chris is my second husband. i actually laughed out loud, which hopefully didn't offend the poor girl, cause she was being sincere. it is VERY unfortunately a legitimate question to ask a 28 year old in this day and age. i have a handful of friends who are on their second marriage, and they are Christian, and they can name the cast of Saved By The Bell. Ridiculousness i say!

but on the flipside of that ridiculous 'fact' about marriage, my beautiful grandparents celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary yesterday! that puts us at 1950. right? (my math sucks! i'm asian and i hate math. there! i said it.) they celebrated the day by grilling up pork chops (grandpa's favorite), watching the movie 'UP', and eating pumpkin pie in their wonderfully modest home.

everything about grandma and grandps is wonderfully modest, except for their love for Jesus, and in turn everyone in their lives. that is lavish and excessive in the best way possible. they are so diligent in studying the Word- together, and individually. their relationship with Christ is so real, so alive, and so fresh and new everyday. it keeps them young and vibrant! and boy do they love to share what they know! they did chris' and my pre-marrital counseling (yup. we talked about sex with chris' grandparents. a little weird.but great Christian perspective on everything!) they are ready to dish out any kind of advice that may be needed, and Godly counsel at the drop of a dime. they are not focused on the things of this world- a bigger house, a better car, fleeting fashion, etc. etc. they are concerned with people knowing and loving God. they want their kids, and grandkids, and great-grandkids to have Jesus in their hearts, healthy bodies, and happy homes.

i am so thankful for the example that grandma and grandpa have been to me, and the awesome example they set as a married couple who love Jesus, and each other. i am praying that in my kids' generation- being remarried at 28 is ridiculous, and celebrating your 59th wedding anniversary is common place.

happy anniversary grandma and grandpa. we love you tons!

(this is a picture of topher with his awesome GG and GGpa.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

the things of life

i am presently sitting at a paradise bakery, enjoying christmas carols, free wi-fi, and a banana chocolate chip muffin BY MYSELF. sweet solace!

everything is pretty perfect. except i have a zit under my right eye that is slowly, but surely growing by the hour, impinging on my vision and concentration. of course we are going to take a huge family picture tomorrow- with chris' mom, step-dad, and all of chris' brothers and sister, and their families. 10 adults, 2 teens, 3 toddlers, 2 infants, and 1 giant zit. The promise of a great picture to be sure! :)

the other day chris was on his way to lead his high school boys' small group. he stopped to get a coffee since he was tired and early. the girl taking his order must have been new. chris asked for cream and sugar in his coffee, and the girl asked him if he wanted half and half. as in half and half cream, right? chris said yes. and when he drove up to the window he saw the girl take his coffee, bring it over to the sink, pour out half of his precious java, dump in half a cup of half and half cream, add sugar, and hand it to him. yikes. my wonderfully polite husband just felt sorry for the poor girl and drove away without saying anything. it helps that the coffee was free. sometimes stupidity is so shocking it just leaves you speechless.

and in our continued efforts to have a very casual home where pottying is cool, but not forced, i put topher on the toilet the other day ago, right as he was finishing up his bath. he looked like he was going to drop a deuce in the tub again. and that is not cool. ever. so i put the boy on the can, and he peed in the toilet! but first he peed all over me. soaked shirt and pants. thanks tophy. for everything.

finally, chris and i got a giant check in the mail from our insurance company. something about having had double coverage on the house or something like that. who cares? we got paid folks! $900! and then we brought the van in for a simple oil change. wouldn't you know there was a leak here, brake pads needed there, something loose somewhere else, and all of it came out to $900. oh Jesus. thank you for your provisions! you have a great sense of humour by the way.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday's Thing- Garanimal Pants

buying kids clothes is something that i love and loathe all at once. there are just so many cute and beautiful things out there to buy. but there's never enough money. and the thought of spending more than $10 on any item of clothing is killer for me because i know they are going to grow out of whatever i am buying them. and FAST. too fast.

an awesomely great 'investment' is in Garanimal pants, that they sell at Walmart. they come in boys and girls sizes 12 months to 5 years. i am generally not the biggest fan of Walmart clothes. but if my kids need pants, i go to Walmart. the picture above is of three of Lily's pants. i bought the jeans and khakis a year ago. they are size '24 months' and she still wears them, even though she is 32 months (oh time flies! no weeping. must post about pants without weeping...) the black stretchy pants are also Garanimals, and they were actually a hand-me-down, which means some other kid wore them for about 6 months to a year, and they are in perfect condition! no holes, no rips.

the pants are all pretty 'thin', which is just fine for living in Arizona. they are nott too hot in spring, and just warm enough for our winters too. the thinness of the material makes it more comfortable for the kids to play in, and sit in (compared to some other pants my kids have). they also all have elastic waistbands, that are shockingly not too loose (my general complaint against the clothes at Walmart) and not too tight (cause no one likes a muffin-top. not even on a 12 month old. just joking. topher's got a sweet muffin-top and we are all proud of it!)

the best thing about Garanimals is the price. the jeans and khakis are regularly about $5, and the leggings are about $3.50. and they always go on sale at the end of a season. so awesome. considering the fact that you can drop $25 for a pair of pretty stiff jeans, that have embroidery, or characters on them, which doesn't even make them 'matchable' with every outfit, at Gymboree or the Gap, this is a smokin hot deal.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Great Pics- Part II

i said i was going to post more pics after my awesome Topher pic last week, but like most of this year- i don't know how time has flown by so quickly.
so here are a couple more of my fave pics that barb took. i am saving a great one or two for our Christmas card... which i guess we need to start working on before Christmas gets here tomorrow...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Confessions of a Pathetic Shopaholic

how much would you pay for the above dress? $25? $10? $6.50 plus your integrity?...

august 29th i wrote a post about our moving from a lifestyle that could have been tagged 'seriously excessive' to a lifestyle that would be tagged 'only what's necessary'. i mentioned going on a shopping freeze that would include buying any kind of clothes or accessories for either myself or the kids, cause we all had more than enough stuff to cover our bodies for the next couple of months, if not years (more for myself, since i am no longer growing, and i still wear shirts that i bought 8 years ago.)

this post may have meant nothing to any of you. lots of you probably didn't even read that post. but i have to admit it has helped to keep me 'clean' for the last few months, for fear of having to share that i failed and bought something that i didn't necessarily need. there was a period of time when lily had a lot of mismatched pjs, due to our many moves (we have since recovered all the right tops and bottoms!), and almost everytime i went to either target or walmart, there would be a pair of pjs for lily in my shopping cart until i would get to the checkout and realize that though i loved lily in matching pjs, she did not NEED to have matching tops and bottoms to go to bed. this honestly happened about five or six times. and i refrained from giving in to my obsessive need to have new stuff cause i knew i would have to 1.write about it. and 2. tell chris.

now don't get me wrong. chris is no tyrant. he did not put me on this shopping freeze. i did it to myself. he is just severely supportive cause 1.it's saving us money and 2. he is a man of his word, and he expects others to be as well.

so i was really great for two months. and then i broke down last week. it started with our family picture. chris and james have matching gray polo t-shirts, so we decided they would wear those, the kids would wear colorful polos, and the girls would wear something complementary to all that. well, i couldn't really find anything 'special' for lily to wear. so i went shopping. yes. i was already prepared to break my word for the sake of an awesome family picture! but then the unexpected happened- i found two cute gray polo shirts for topher and sungu to wear that would match their dads! so i bought those instead of a dress for lily. cause truth be told- she had a dress she could have worn all along in the picture. i did however also buy her some ribbon for her hair though. i am a shopping monster!!!!!!!!!!

AND THEN... i went back to target the next night with my sister so we could stroll about with no kids. so wonderful. jeehon was actually looking for some shirts. i was just 'helping her out'. until i came across the above pictured dress. i am all about long dresses. i had wanted one all summer, and was so happy that they were such a huge fashion trend this last year. but i just could not bring myself to buy one for full price. this dress was $24.99. then it went down to $17.48. then it went down to $12.48. then it went down to $6.24. and then... i bought it.

c'mon reader! does your heart not skip a beat when you see a price tag with not only one, but THREE sale stickers piled haphazardly on top of one another? judge me if you will. but all i can say is i tried. i failed. and i am moving on. with my awesome new dress in tow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday's Thing- COFFEE!

here is a post about another mom-essential: coffee. well, it's a momming-essential for me. a lot of my beautiful friends here in arizona actually don't drink coffee. it's the strangest thing. when we go to starbucks i am the only one who ever gets an actual drink that isn't water. but for those of you in the east valley who appreciate a good (and cheap!) cup o' joe, read on.

the hidden gem in the cheap coffee world is Krispy Kreme. there aren't a ton of locations in arizona, but one of the three that i know of is a 3 minute drive, or a twenty minute walk (i know cause i have done it)from our apartment. their regular, everyday price for a 10 oz cup of coffee is $0.25. yes. i said it. twenty-five cents. hello? is this 1978, or some other crazy time before i was born???
this coffee is always a touch bolder than i would like, so i actually ask for 1 cream and 3 sugars. (i generally like to just drink my coffee with 3 sugars, no cream.)

another great deal is- believe it or not- a regular coffee at Starbucks. a tall (12oz) is $1.50. this is pretty great considering Dunkin Donuts sells their coffee for about the same price. but the best thing about Starbucks right now is that if you buy a bag of Starbucks coffee at the grocery store (usually for about $6 -$9), and you bring the empty bag into a Starbucks, they will take the bag and give you a free hot cup of coffee. so basically you paid about $4.50 to have a butt-load of home-made Starbucks coffee, only to be rewarded with someone who will take your garbage and give you a free coffee at Starbucks. the bag says you can redeem the bag for a tall coffee, but chris has brought in a bag before and gotten a venti. you might need to show a little leg, something chris is always willing to do for something free.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Great Pic- Part I

I just got a disc of amazing pictures that Barb, my wonderful jack-of-all-trades mother-in-law took. This one is hilarious and I am posting it first because it is from Halloween. Apparently he stayed in character the whole time he was out trick or treating with his Nana, not saying a word. One person giving out candy even correctly identified who he was trying to be. That means his costume was a success!
Tomorrow, or some other time in the not too distant future, I shall post more pics.

Here is a picture of my sweet little Topher

Here is a crazy picture of my disgruntled, crazy-eyebrowed, charlie chaplin look-a-like Topher.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wonderful Ignorance

This is going to be a quick post, cause it's late and I still have lots of random things I need to do. But it is too funny not to share.

Two nights ago I was giving the kids a bath by myself, cause Chris was working till 9pm. We all sit on the potty right before we go into the bath (I sit on the potty, but I don't go into the bath) but no one is ever able to produce any pee, except for me, cause I am not only a big girl, but I am also a good girl. And I know this cause Lily tells me so every time I make a pee. (This is our superslow, supercasual stroll into potty training for Lils and Topher.)

Then the kids get in the bath, and Topher almost always takes a stance like he is going to pee. I have caught his pee in a cup twice, which he doesn't like, so then he stops peeing, then sits in the bath and ruins everything. Sometimes I drain the water and start all over again, sometimes I don't. Let's be serious, it's gross, but that's life.

So this fateful night, two nights ago, Topher looked like he had to pee at the beginning of the bath, but I didn't catch anything. Then we proceeded with bath time, and as we were getting ready to wrap things up, Lily was sitting facing the faucet, catching the water as it pouring out. Unbeknownst to her, there was something pouring on her back, but she didn't notice cause she was already wet, or maybe she thought I had turned on the warm shower without her noticing, but lucky for Topher that she did not notice that he was peeing on her back, and a little in her long hair. Oh the verbal lashing he would have gotten from his big sister! Lily also did not notice that I was soaping her up again, and rinsing her off again.
Ah, ignorance saves the day once again!

Friday, November 6, 2009

El Paso

I usually put my pictures at the end of my post, but it's really anooying and time consuming, and i always mean to upload my pics and then start writing, but alas my memory sucks. so today the pictures are in reverse order, as is the rest of this long post.

Josh, #96, the kicker for UAB

Pregame walking onto the field. Little junior studmuffin

Chris and me bowling with no kids. That's the look of a woman who has only changed two diapers that day!

Chris and I went to El Paso, Tx this last weekend. Well, Friday morning till Saturday night. Chris' step-bro Josh is the kicker for University of Alabama Birmingham and so this was his closest game that we could afford to go to. Barb and Jerry watched the kids while we were gone, and even took them trick or treating on Saturday night. So great to have great family all around!

We left Friday morning around 11am, after we picked up our car rental (yes, we rented a car even tohugh we have FOUR vehicles!) and dropped off the kids. We took the route through Globe (and Miami, AZ. Didn't know that existed, wish I still didn't. Sad, sad, sad town), while the rest of the traveling pack went through Tucson. We beat them by an hour! I really love road trips with my hubby, they are like very private dates for just him and I to focus on each other and God's wonderful creation (excluding Miami, AZ). So we pretty much had the best 6 hour date there, and six hour date coming back! Kinda dated out! (haha. just joking Chris.)

Friday night, the whole Arizona crew was assembled at the Marriott, where Josh's team was staying (read: and we did NOT.) There were about 20 friends and family that came down for this game- it was pretty awesome! Some of those friends, were people that Chris and I had seen and met a bunch of time at Wes and Kim's house for Suns' games (undefeated season so far! woo hoo!), LOST parties, etc. But going on this road trip with them allowed us to actually get to know one another and hang out! That was a super-bonus to our weekend. After we said bye to Josh we went out for a wonderful Mexican dinner that stripped the lining from my intestines. I was very happy that the kids weren't there eating off of my plate for lots of different reasons, butthe main one being that they might have died. Great food! Little spicy. We went bowling till midnight, and Chris shot a 195 one game, and I shot a 123- beating 3 out of the 4 guys that went with us :) It was a pretty fantastic day.

Then Saturday was even more fantastic than the previous day! We woke up at 9am! Then we went outlet mall shopping! And no, I did NOT break my shopping fast- Chris bought lots of little things for the kids! It was too cute. He was going through some shirts at Old Navy for Lily and was like 'this one is cute.' No Chris Watson, YOU are cute. Then later he realized we bougt 3 shirts for Lily, and only one for Toph, so he had to even the score at The Children's Place. What a great dad.

After a quick yet very fulfilling shopping experience, we headed over to University of Texas El Paso's campus. I LOVE UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES! This last year we have driven through NAU's, UA's and now UTEP's campuses, and I just love seeing students hanging out, reading books, and being in such a fun and important time in their lives. It's a good energy to be around. (whoa. That sounded really new agey of me.)

We had seats 5 rows up from the field (which is actually not ideal for watching a football game and all the action) but it was great cause we got to see Josh up close and even touch him when he came by to say hi to his giant fan base :) UAB was supposed to get rocked by UTEP, but that is not even close to what happened. Josh's team played so well, and Josh made all of his kicks except one. It was an amazing game to be at! I a little bit peed in my pants (what? I have had two kids! The muscles down there don't work the way they are supposed to anymore!)

Chris and I took off for home after we said bye to Josh. We are so proud of our brother! What a good, and talented kid. The drive home was full of phone calls to home. We were pretty sad that we were missing Lily's and Topher's first trick or treating experience. But besides the timing thing, a great time was had by all.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday's Thing- Potties

This is NOT a post about how to potty train your kids. Why? Cause I have no clue how to do that. Today is a post about the potties that I do have though. (I am looking at this picture I just took, and it kinda stinks. At least this isn't a photography website!)

The one on the right is the ever popular Fisher-Price Cheer For Me potty. You can get it for about $30. It was Lily's cousin's, and after much disinfecting, it is Lily's. Cause I do not spend $30 on anything, least of all a potty that can't even train my kid to pee ;) Anyhoo, it's a cute little thing that requires batteries (of course. Do toy companies and battery companies own a lot of stock in each other?) It says fun little things like 'it's potty time!' and it sings and says 'up' and 'down' for when you move the lid up and down. Cute, but all so unnecessary.

The potty on the left is from IKEA. it is $3.99. I very gladly bought this for Topher myself. This cute little potty comes in black, red, baby blue, pink, and this awesome shade of green that I love. Topher picked it out himself, and later when we got home, we decorated it (and Lily's as well) with stickers. According to the books, it's good for the kids to have 'ownership' of their potty, and to look upon it as something that is fun and wonderful, not something that wants to steal their life essence (aka, their pees and poops.)

The best thing that this potty offers, that the $30 potty does not, is a pee-pee shield. There are lots of potties on the market, and lots of them have pee-pee shields, but none of them are $4. And another great thing about this potty is that since it is just one piece, it is very eay to clean. The other potty has a little piece that the kids do their business in, and you can take it off to empty it into the toilet. But there are lots of crevices and other pieces for kids to pee all over. Less to clean is always better. Always.

So run on over to IKEA. Then maybe to Michaels to get some stickers from their $1 bin, then blow the rest of your $10 bill at Starbucks on one drink, and have a great time potty training!... :)

here is Topher's potty up close.

And a side view so you can see the pee-pee shield to the left, and the back rest on the right. So many amazing features for just $4!!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Love You TOO!

I have been telling my kids I love them for longer than they have been alive. For the most part I feel like I am doing a better job at showing them I love them- with patience and kindness, which is my new motherhood mantra.

My kids have been able to communicate that they love me in their own special ways. Topher's a big hugger, which is so great. He is also a great lover of food, so if he shares even a morsel of what is on his plate- that's amore! Lily is a big flirt so she just looks over her shoulder, flutters her eyelashes, shines those giant dimples, and smiles.

We taught the babies to blow kisses at a young age, which we meant as a sign for 'bye' and 'i love you', but who cares? Those are things that we put on them. Just because they did it didn't mean that they were necessarily trying to say 'bye' or 'i love you'. They always got lots of extra kisses and 'oohs' and 'aahs' when people would get these adorable blown kisses, so maybe they were doing it for the acclaim. Who knows?

And with both of the babes talking, they have both been able to say 'I love you' after we say 'I love you', and repeat 'Sarang heh' which is 'I love you' in Korean. But again- does this mean anything to them? Should this mean anything to me?

Then recently Lily started saying something that made me feel like maybe she understood how I truly felt. Like the love that I have for her is something way deeper than the love I have for chocolate ice cream, which I often say that 'I love!' (I happen to have a great respect for chocolate ice cream, which comes out as 'love', but is in fact just a strong affinity.) She wasn't saying 'Mom, I love you like I love Pablo on the Backyardigans', she was saying 'Mom, I have watched you and studied you for the last two and a half years of my life and I can see that you truly love me and would do anything for me. I am moved by this love, and I LOVE YOU TOO.'

We have moved to the next level here people! The addition of that one simple word has so much meaning to it! Or at least I have now pinned on so much meaning to it! I know that there are things that we make the kids say, like 'thank you', that they don't always mean. Especially when we have to force them to say 'thank you' for something like an extra helping of rice. But when Lily was trick or treating this weekend, every piece of candy that hit her little bag was met with a heartfelt, sincere outburst of thanks.

We taught Lily and Topher how to say 'thank you' and 'I love you', but we can't necessarily teach them to mean it. But one thing I didn't teach Lily, which these days I am thankful for every time I hear it, is how to say 'I love you too', cause I think that just happened as a sincere outburst from her heart to mine.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday's Thing- Baby Carriers

i have used this picture before, but it goes with my thursday thing, and i just love this picture.
this is my mama. she is a domestic goddess. she cooks the most amazing food, and can do so for the largest of crowds. i think one of her personal bests was a party that we had at her house in toronto, and about 100 people came through our door at various points of the day, and all of them came to EAT.
anyhoo, today's post is not about my mom, but about baby carriers. she is sporting a crazy-korean thing which is basically a blanket with two ties and you wrap the crap out of yourself and the child on your back. i could not do this. even with her help. she throws it on by herself, and topher is in heaven. he gets to see all the action (dishes being washed, food being cooked) up close. which is the beauty of carrying your baby in a carrier. Topher, being my second baby, was in a sling A LOT. lily- not so much. slings are a 2nd mama's best friend.
my girlfriends (pretty much all of whom have had a baby in the last three months) are big on pouch slings. ring slings are best since you can adjust how you wear your baby, and who can wear your baby. and because it comes with extra material, you can also do a little private nursing while your baby is in the sling. ring slings are also good cause then dad, as well as mom can take turns carrying baby. i tried the HotSling for a little while, but Topher was not a big fan, which made me not a big fan. he was a squirmy one, and tried to push out of it on occassion, which wasn't that hard to do. but these types of baby carriers come in supercute fabrics and patterns, and can be found at your local target for $30 - $60. their selection of baby slings is amazing, so much more than when Lily was a newborn only two years ago! their brands range from Hotsling to Balboa Baby, which a little while ago you could only get at specialty stores or online. way to go target! i love you.
i have tried the Moby wrap ($40 at Target), and it was NOT for me. i tried it at the store (a specialty baby store that has since closed down a la recession), but it was nice to have the store owner show me exactly how to use it and let me try it on my own a few times. if you get yours from Target, you will really have to watch the video, srudy it, maybe take notes. but this contraption is basically a gigantic piece of fabric that you wrap around yourself in an assortment of different ways, and then you somehow stuff your baby in there. i know there are a lot of moms who love this thing, and those moms are patient, and have patient children. not so for me, so let's move on.
check out their website at http://www.ergobabycarriers.com/
these are like the Baby Bjorn carriers, only it has a really thick hip strap that made all the difference for me. and actually, some Baby Bjorns are about the same price, but you can only carry a child up to about 6 months or a year. you can use the Ergo till your kid is 5. and this may sound ridiculous to some of you, but have you ever been to the zoo, or at the mall and seen parents lugging around giant children who are not wanting anything to do with their strollers, or don't even have a stroller at all?
this carrier looks like a backpack, and all the straps are adjustable so Chris and I were both able to use it very comfortably, and you can also use it on your front or back. another great feature on this carrier is a head covering flap so that your baby can be protected from the sun if you are out on a walk, or to keep your baby hidden if your baby is taking a nap. Topher fell asleep in this almost everytime i used it, which also allowed me to get a lot of work done on the computer (when i went to work.)
i started using it when Jeehon moved in with us (cause it was hers!) which made Topher about 2 months old, and i used it very regularly till he was about 10 months old. it made shopping, hanging out with Lily, doing the dishes, etc, a lot easier. and best of all, it provided a lot of snuggle time for me and my little baby in the midst of busyness and trying to keep up with life! Jeehon used it with Sungu, who is a heavy piece of kid, when she would travel. it was especially handy at the airport since you have to completely dismantle your stroller and get it up on the xray machine thing.
these bad boys run for about $105, but i think that they are worth every penny.
anyway, i strongly suggest to any new mama, and especially to moms who are about to have their second! i didn't really use a baby carrier with Lily, except the Baby Bjorn that I got as a hand-me-down. but i didn't love it, so i didn't use it that much. but now you have a world of options out there, so i suggest you dive in, cause having an extra pair of hands (even if they are your own) is the best thing that you get when you invest in a baby carrier.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ghetto-Fabulous Halloween

Here is our family at our Small Group's Halloween party that was this last Saturday. We went crazy ghetto this year because of the recession. Every year, Halloween is a pretty big deal in our household. Chris just loves to get dressed up and make people laugh. If I were on our other computer, I would show you the progression of Halloween costumes he has had over the last couple years. And the amount of money spent on costumes have ranged from $100 (pre-marriage!) to about $30. Last year was the $30, when we bought material to make all of the Wizard of Oz costumes. That was $30 and about 20 hours of labor! FRom both Jeehon and myself! This year we spent a whopping $4.79. Money was not necessarily the issue, it was more of a heart matter- I just didn't really care this year! And neither did Chris. In fact, Mr. Halloween himself did NOT have a costume idea three hours before the party. (Which, by the way, we were in the van driving back from Sierra Vista. Long day!) Two hours before, he ran to the closest costume store and bought a Phantom of the Opera mask for $4. And he also picked up a black make-up pen for Topher's mustache. $.79.
Our family theme was Movie Characters. We borrowed a suit from Sungu so that Topher could be Charlie Chaplin. A ghetto Charlie Chaplin. I got this idea from Topher who occassionally acts like the silent, quirky, comedic actor. Then last year Kim got a rat costume on clearance for about $5 so that made Lily 'Ratatouille'. She is holding a spoon for effect. It cost a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie to get her into the dang thing, and as soon as she finished eating it, the costume came off. At least we got one pic! As for myself, I went as Juno, from the movie of same name. But in reality, I looked like myself from the time I was pregnant with Lily to the time that Lily was one year and a week old. Except I wore a skirt over my jeans, which Juno did, and I did not. But you can't see it in this picture.
Anyhoo, here are some pics of my little man being as cute as cute can be. Chris and I will very unfortunately not be taking our kids trick or treating this year, as we will be driving back from El Paso (this is the main reason for Chris' and my lethargy in getting dressed up this year), but the babes will be with their Nana and Papa, so I'm sure I will have awesome new pics next week. And we are still trying to think of a costume that Lily will actually wear...

Topher is wearing track pants with his suit jacket. The suit pants were too big on him and he doesn't have a baby belt, and so while he was walking around the house before the party, his pants were around his ankles. Poor skinny kid...
Looking dapper in his borrowed hat (Charlie Chaplin's looked different, but this one was free so we took it!) And he is wearing one of Chris' ties that i was going to cut, but instead tucked into his sweatpants!

At the end of the night, our poor little guy was spent. And possibly drunk... This may be what he is going to look like in 40 years...
Happy Free-Candy-Getting Folks!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Everything In It's Place

Lily has been extra hilarious lately. Yesterday we were hanging out at Robert and Lindsay's, and Chris was shooting these little basketballs into Gabe's toy basketball hoop across the room. After one particularly wayward shot that nearly knocked two pictures off of the wall, Lily looked at her dad and yelled " 'O More!" And when her dad chose not to listen to her and threw another terrible shot, Lily looked at him and said very sternly "NO! 'O more!" Funny that she can say 'no' but not 'no more'. Kids! I don't understand their brains, and that's probably why I love them so much- so much mystery!

Another thing that is important to Lily- right up there with not destroying other people's houses, is for things to be where they belong, even if she is the only one who knows where things 'belong'. This doesn't mean that she is always clean and tidy, but everything is where it belongs in her world. And when she sees an animal- whether in real life, or in a book, she yells at it to go to it's mommy. Cause that's where they belong- with their mommies. For someone who is such a daddy's girl, I am glad to know that in her heart she knows she also belongs by my side.

Then this week we went down to Tucson to hang out with Chris, who was doing some training thing there all week. We went down on Thursday afternoon, hung out and waited for him to finish up on Friday morning, then took a trip to see Chris' uncle in seriously-south-Tucson, which was on the way to ridiculously-south-Sierr Vista, where we hung out with the Malloys till Saturday. Anyhoo, Lily saw pine cones on the ground for the first time, outside of our hotel room, and I told her and Topher that they fell out of the trees. This was unacceptable for Little Miss Lils. They needed to go back where they belonged. If only she could figure out how to get the sad little pine cones back into the trees from which they had fallen...
Lily and Topher nursing, and taking inventory of the hurt pine cones.
This first picture is kinda dark, but I'm no Erin or Jenny, so pretend that you can see Lily standing under the giant tree, hoping the pine cones will flutter up to their homes.
Finally! A little help from dad! Though the pine cones still did not end up where they were supposed to be, Lily was back with her dad, and that was good enough for her. All in a day's work.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More New Girlfriends for Lily!

lily has some more friends to hang out with! last year was definitely the year of the boys. we had gabe, topher, and grady, and they all fight over cambry, the only girl in our posse born in '08. but this year has provided a better mix, with corban and greyson being the men of '09, followed by gretta, zoe, and now brielle, and colbie- who are cousins born two days apart!

brielle is the miracle baby we have been praying for over the last two years. she was born to mike and cindy on oct 7th in an overly ecstatic, and relatively sickening manner (just joking. kinda. cindy just really loved birthing her child, and that's not even almost common to hear. check out the FULL account of every amazing moment on her blog: MC Brantons, on the sidebar.) she was a ridiculous 5lbs 7 oz, which officially makes her the smallest baby i have ever held. i mean i have 'held' babies that small before, they just happened to be in my frickin womb.
the brantons are doing SO AWESOME and we just praise Jesus for that.

colbie is a miracle as well, because i think we all now know that having a healthy and beautiful baby is a miracle! and this little lady, like her older sister cambry, has amazing hair and LOVES TO SLEEP! four hour stints from the get-go. thank you Jesus for that serious blessing! christin is doing surprisingly quite well for having birthed this amazing girl at a hefty 8lbs 4oz. she beat lily by an ounce! and so because i know what that feels like- my hat goes off to you christin.

i went over to bring the brantons and roberts' food on monday, but i forgot to take a picture of everyone together! so here are some pictures i had, and stole off of facebook. but i would just like to say that when i went over with my kids, lily and cambry were actually playing Together, not just playing with toys in the same room like they used to do! there was a moment where lily had her head on cambry's lap, and cambry was stroking her hair. I LOVE IT! thanks cindy and christin for making even more fun friends for lily to hang out with!

here is an amazing picture of cindy and her teeny tiny baby! (that i stole off of facebook)
so happy for you guys! so gorgeous- both of you.

here are pics of jeehon and i visiting christin and colbie. yes, christin just had a baby and she looks better than me. whatev...
jeehon just happened to be in town that weekend, and we missed the brantons by 2 hours! the cousins were in the hospital at the same time! precious!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Progress. For Me, Not Lily...

as i have mentioned before, motherhood is ridiculous cause you and your 'personal' time are nothing compared to the time that BELONGS to your kids. and sometimes i am good at dealing with this, and sometimes i cheat. but when i cheat- don't worry, i get burned. for example, this morning i stayed in bed till about 8am. it was glorious. lily was definitely in my room with me, and she probably woke up around 7:30, but she let me lay down and drift in and out of consciousness. what a nice girl. i could also hear topher down the hall at about 7:45, but i just kept right on staying where i was at. and then i remembered that i was going to go to church for MOPS, cause they were having a panel of dads come in to speak, and Robert, my annointed-speaker-teacher-pastor brother-in-law, was going to represent a 'new dad'.

MOPS was at 9, and it was already 8. and as close as we live to church, it still takes us about twenty minutes to get there. so then it was hustle time. i got the kids up and into the living room with their morning cups of milk. i ran back to my room to get ready. i kinda had a nose bleed last night (dryness) so then i had blood in the back of my throat. gross, and probably too much info, but it will kinda explain the immensely stupid thing i did next. i started to get my contact lenses out, so i unscrewed the case, and then i started to gargle and spit out into the sink, and all of a sudden there was a contact lens in my mouth. what the heck. i finally slowed down to assess what the heck was going on here. as i stood at the sink, with a contact lens in my mouth, and my empty contact lens case in my hand, i realized that i had opened the dang thing up, poured it (contact solution and lenses and all) into my mouth to gargle. what the heck???? i guess even waking up at 8am was not enough sleep for me...

so last night went alright with putting Lily down for bed. the first night i had to sit outside of her room for about 20-30 minutes. not bad, especially since I decided to use that time productively by reading The Bible. you can't get mad at a kid for not sleeping while you are reading the Bible. then the next night was super-easy cause Lily hadn't napped that day, so even though she tried to fight sleep, she lost. i sat outside of her room for 10 minutes, even though she fell asleep after 2, just so i could finish the chapter i was on. then last night i was in front of her room for 40 minutes, and i finished a book that i had started a long time ago in preparation for a leader's retreat i was supposed to go to. finishing that book marked the first book i had finished reading in two years! YOWSERS. i am going to try to start reading books again- and finishing them! and i might do all of that in front of Lily's room.

so here's the progress i have been showing. i was never a big fan of this 'sitting in front of the room' business, because i was 'so busy'. always so many dishes to do, toys to pick up, numbers to input (for my 'half-of-kinda-part time job), e-mails to write, blogs to blog... etc. so instead it was easier (and my pediatrician even recommended it to me, so it wasn't entirely my laziness people!) to lock Lily into her room and have her scream and cry. i guess my demanding that after 8pm was my time, and no longer Lily-time burned both her, and myself.

and even though this new regiment we have going on is A LOT more time consuming, it is actually a lot less stressful since i have a new attitude about it. i don't sit there and think about how Lily is 'wasting my time' anymore, which i used to when i would have to go up and down the stairs to yell at her to stop screaming and go to sleep. i am plenty good at wasting my own time thank you very much. but now since i am using that time to read, i actually enjoy, and look forward to our nightly routine. Lily sometimes gets out of bed to grab another book off of her shelf, and if she loiters too long, i gently tell her to go back to bed. sometimes she comes over just for a hug and a kiss, and then i tell her i love her, and she goes back into bed. trauma and drama have been replaced with gentleness and kisses. cheesy, but true.

for now, this is working for us. i feel like Lily's been calmer lately, but maybe she is that way cause maybe i am calmer too. she and i kind of have the chicken-and-the-egg thing going, i know i obviously came before her, but i usually blame my hysteria on her hysteria, but maybe it's my disgruntled-tiredness that makes her disgruntled and full of tantrums, which then leads me to be angry-yelling mom (who i hate by the way, as Lily does as well) which she counters with sad and mad and hysterical Lily. i guess being the adult in the relationship, i will change my ways, and continue on this path of calm, patient, and kind mama, and see how that continues to change the Lilster too.