Wednesday, December 31


We've made some special treats, delivered all the bread and treats to our neighbors and are getting ready to enjoy some family time. I think Maxwell will last until about 8:30pm and Payton about 9:30 or so. From then on it's just Matt and I to bring in 2009. Wow, it's weird to type that.

Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve and we'll see you on the other side. ;) Love you all.

Tuesday, December 30

Three Posts today...

well, four if you count this one.
I broke up the Christmas Summary into 3 parts for easier reading. Be sure to see all 3 posts below. :)

Christmas 2008 Summary: returning to normal life

After our crazy days of Christmas-ing with our families, we had planned to go to Columbus to visit my favorite Aunt & Uncle. However, with the craziness of the holidays, I failed to look forward and realize she didn't have a crib for Max. There's no way that kiddo can sleep un-contained. I don't trust him and he wouldn't have it anyway.

So we returned home, making plans for the Columbus trip in February. Matt and I returned home on Sunday night, tired and overwhelmed with presents. BOTH cars were packed full. We even left a few presents behind to retrieve on our next trips "home" to our parents. When we finally unloaded, our living room looked chaotic. We sorted some, at least getting all the presents to the proper bedroom. We got the boys to bed and Matt and I rocked out to Guitar Hero World Tour.

The last two days have been filled with organizing and removing all the Christmas stuff from the house. Payton's room is ready and organized and Maxwell's room is going to be tackled this afternoon and tomorrow. The Christmas tree is down and it looks like normal daily life around here. Kind of sad really. But I'm ready to start the new year.

OH! And an update:
After my post about only have a few Christmas cards, we got them in swarms! One day we got TEN!! Our total thus far (and I expect a couple of straglers yet) is 49! Thank you to all who sent a card. I love see your faces and kind words.


Christmas 2008 Summary: the travel days

Christmas never seems to be a time for us to relax. We just go, go, go. We did make a decision that from now on, if Matt is off work on Christmas Day, we'll not be traveling to Ohio except for Christmas Eve with the Kobylak family. It's too much to be away for too long and Matt misses a lot of the kids' Christmas. And we want our own traditions.

I digress. This year, we started on the 23rd with a present opening for just the four of us. The boys were THRILLED with their gifts and Matt got a "Dad" pen from Payton and I got a bubble bath from him. He loved picking out his own gifts for us this year. Maxwell's favorite gift (for this part anyway) was his guitar. Payton's was his long awaited Leapster 2.

Later that night, after some more shopping and playing in the snow, we made "Christmas Tree Pizza", our newest tradition that I'm sure will stick. Payton loved decorating it and we made it in "Food Network Challenge" style so it was a competition. And it was tasty!!

Christmas Eve Day, we traveled to Toledo to be with my inlaws for the HUGE Kobylak Family Wagilia that we have every year. It's something I really look forward to and enjoy. The boys had a great time with all their cousins and family around them. And the presents...oh the presents. They made our like bandits, as they do every year.

Christmas Day was spent with Matt's immediate family, with my mother-in-law's parents coming in the afternoon. More presents...

Then on the 26th, Matt joined us and after dealing with some car trouble and a lot of ice, we finally made it to Berea to join my family. Exhausted, we hung out on the couch eating lots of junk waiting for the festivities to begin. And they did. We let the boys go first. We've finally gotten smart. We ate, let the boys do their stockings...and put them to bed!!! Ahhh...a Christmas that I could see what everyone got! Finally! Finished our trip with Happy Birthday, Jesus cake.

WHEW!!! Are you exhausted yet?!?!?!

Christmas 2008 Summary: the wind up

Our Christmas events began on Sunday, December 21, 2008. Payton had the only speaking part in the 2 year-kindergarten kids' program at our church. I worked all day yesterday trying to get the video on the internet and can't do it. So here is what he said:

"Luke 2: 6-7 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger because there was no room at the inn."
He said it perfectly at both services, at the mic, with no prompting or help. All his grandparents and a few of his cousins, an aunt and an uncle were all present to see his debut. We're so proud of him.

The next few days leading up to Christmas were filled with shopping, visiting, wrapping and baking. It was nice to just spend time together.

Sunday, December 28

Home Safe

Well, I survived another Christmas holiday season. Whew!! It's exhausting. We're home and I think we're going to lock ourselves in for the next 48 hours. My house seriously looks like Toys R' Us threw up. We have a lot to go through and organize. Yuck.

I'll post pictures and updates from the last week in CliffNote form over the next few days. I hope you all had amazing holidays and enjoyed the time with your loved ones.

Friday, December 19


Just as predicted, we have received about 6.5 inches of snow so far since early this morning. The weatherman was right this time! They canceled school around 5am. But I didn't find out until 7:15am. I went right back to bed. Payton played on the computer (I love the independent age!) and Max slept until 8:30am!!! Matt got up with the boys and I slept another hour. nice having him home.

When I finally rolled out of bed, Matt and Payton went out to shovel. I got Max snowgeared up and we went out, taking Missy with us on the leash. She LOVES the snow!!I'd love to let her run and romp in the front yard with us, but she'd take off.

We shoveled and played for about 30 minutes then came inside. Matt's gone to work now and the boys and I are just hanging out. I think we'll work on some more pumpkin bread loaves for our neighbors. And some sugar cookies. And maybe P's gingerbread house while Max takes his nap.

Here are some pictures from this morning. Enjoy the snow!! If you can. Especially you Aunt B! I'm sure this in a big change from Texas. ;)

Thursday, December 18

My baby's coming home!!! and weekend plans

Matt's been gone since Sunday. Not very long, but it feels like FOREVER. I've been really missing him around the house and keeping me company. I find it harder to sleep soundly, and I'm not used to caring for both boys at 7am. It's been hard on me. And with so much Christmas stuff to do adding in, didn't help.

But, he's coming home! Today!! I'm so excited to have him home. To be here. To help. To "babysit". But to just be with mostly.

This weekend, we'll also be entertaining quite a few guests. My parents are coming up, Matt's parents are coming up and a few members of my father-in-law's family are coming up as well. The occasion? Payton's big debut! He has a speaking part in the children's performance at church. He'll be reciting Luke 2:6-7

"While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in the manger because there was no room at the inn."

He practiced tonight with the group on stage and did perfect! I'm so proud of my lil' big guy.

Wednesday, December 17

PANIC!! Need prayers!! UPDATED

I'm in need of urgent prayers for a minor thing. I don't use ask for prayer for such trivial things, but I need 'em.

I was in charge of gathering money for Payton's teacher's gift card. I went today to purchase the $80 gift I can't find it. I'm 90% sure I brought it home and I remember looking at it...but I'm not sure if that was at the store or here at home.

I'm terrified that I won't find it by Friday and I'll have to go buy another one. It's just not something that Matt and I can afford to do right now.

PLEASE say a prayer that I'll find it ASAP so I can stop panicking.

Update: 12:30am I found the card!! I sat at the table, said a prayer and the next thing I picked up, the card was stuck to the back. Whew!!!! So glad I found it. Thank you for the prayers. Especially, Dot, Matt & Mom, who I know were really concerned for the card, but also my mental state. (I was going crazy and getting sick about the whole thing.) God is good. All the time.

Monday, December 15

Kobylak Pierogi & Cookie Day

Wow, what a blast!! I had such a great time on Saturday with Matt's aunts and cousins. Eleven of us total got together to make way too many cookies and pierogis...all from scratch.

I've really been wanting to learn the art of pierogi making for years. And this year, when I heard that the family was doing a day of it, I couldn't NOT go! And I'm so glad I did. I put on my apron and jumped right in and learned the dough, the filling and the folding of them. If I had a tabletop mixer at home, I'd be making them right now! Oh yum. They were so good too! I'd invite you over to have some, but there are only 3 left...and they're MINE! (Actually, saving them for Matt.)

And then we make cookies. A LOT of cookies. I think 13 types! GEEZ. I have way too many cookies in my house.

It was crazy. But oh so much fun. There were rolling pins broken, wine drank, jokes told and great stories shared. I loved learning the process and all the new cookies. But really, I loved hanging out with Matt's family. We had such a amazing time we'll be doing it again next year!

Thursday, December 11

Go ElfYourself!!!

And it doesn't cost you a thing!

The "specials" teachers at Payton's school did this and showed it at the assembly yesterday. SO funny. Everyone was laughing so loud you couldn't hear anything!

I loved it so much I came home and found it. I made one for a friend (hope you liked it, Marissa) and then made my own kiddos! Here is their elf-debut!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

If you want to make your own elf dance, click on the boys' dance show. If you make one, email it to me so I can show the boys their friends dancing. ENJOY!!

ADDED: Because Matt accused me of exploiting our children, I decided to be fair...
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, December 10

One of those days....

It was all fine and dandy until 4pm. It seems the be the hour everyone goes into overload. Including me!

We got home from work and Payton started his homework. before long, he was complaining of a splinter in his foot. I told him I needed to look at it. That alone sent him over the edge. We spent 25 minutes arguing about how I needed to get it out because it was already looking red and inflamed. It's now 5:30pm and the thing is still in his foot. I'm sick of arguing with him.

And Maxwell is in true Maxwell form. He's been sent to time out twice in the last hour. Once for kicking me repeatedly while I was changing his diaper. The other time for coloring on the dining room table.

I was contemplating not taking them to church tonight just so we could be home and in bed at our normal bedtimes. But now I'm thinking that maybe putting them in someone else's care for an hour and a half while I talk to grownups might be good for all of us...

Tuesday, December 9

Christmas Cards

I'm feeling a bit unloved over here in Roseville, Michigan!

I always look forward to Christmas cards...seeing how people have changed over a year, hearing about how families celebrate, and just being reminded of all the people that think of us. By this time in December, I usually have over a dozen cards on my wall with at least one or two coming in daily.

This year, we have 5. JUST FIVE!! I'm wondering if the economy is stopping people from investing 100 in paper and they just aren't sending cards.

Or maybe people are just running me. Our cards are in the process of being printed. I promise you that they are coming! And hopefully you'll have them before 2009! ;)

Monday, December 8

The build up

We're nearing the final stretch here. Christmas is just 17 days away!!!

I have more than half our shopping done...and I've run out of money from this paycheck. I guess we should pay bills instead. Hopefully we'll get it finished before Christmas. It helps that my family decided not to buy for one another this year. And Matt and I don't buy for each other either.

And while we left our kids' names in, Matt and I pulled our names out of the Kobylak Family gift exchange for the second year in a row. I don't need a $25 gift to know that they love me or think of me. I don't feel slighted, or embarrassed. I'm not there for the gifts. I'm there for the family, the memories...and the perogies!

The house is as decorated as it's going to get. I'd like to get a new tree stand because our tree is currently leaning...against the wall. Yeah. Maxwell. Need I say more?

I haven't wrapped a thing. I save it all for one night. I like to light candles, put in a Christmas movie and do it all at once.

So, really, this Christmas season hasn't been "bad" for me at all. I've enjoyed it. I've attended a few Christmas events, including a production at our church. Payton's children's performance at church is in 2 weeks and then just a few days until the travel begins. I will be driving about 14 hours in a period of 7 days this year. Just me and the boys!

That's the part I'm NOT looking forward to!!

Saturday, December 6

Christmas Music

I have such an emotional connection to music anyway, but Christmas music really puts me over the edge.

When I was young, I loved the silly songs like Chipmunks Christmas and "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells". But I always loved the song Away in a Manger. My childhood church sings a song "Jesus, the Morning Star" from a children's program we did a long time ago. It still grabs me.

I cry when I hear "Mary, did you know?" Oh man. Gets me every time. I love the version currently on my myspace page by Kutless. And "Mary's Song" by Amy Grant gets me too. (I've signed that a few times at a few different churches and it leaves me emotional.) I guess because I'm a mom, I can't imagine birthing a child I knew was the son of God and that I wouldn't be able to protect him from his future and fate.

There is just such a pulling for me with lyrics and how people express themselves, happy or sad. So if you see me crying while I'm singing in my car, don't be surprised. Just check the radio stations to see which song it is making me cry this time.

Friday, December 5

Special Weekend

Matt just left for Ohio for military weekend. He took Max with him to hang out with Papa and Grandma.

That leaves Payton and I home alone. Tomorrow he has an event at Rachel's church for the Advent season. Then we'll be spending the weekend doing things just the two of us. We'll play some games, do some crafts, play the Wii, practice some spelling words and math (yeah, homework on the weekends), watch a movie...

We'll have to see what else we decide to do, but no matter what we decide, I'm sure we'll have a great time just the two of us. Since he started school, we rarely get time just the two of us and I miss it. I am SO excited!!

Tuesday, December 2

Perfectionist Disappointed

Before I start this post I need to say;
Yes, it is my fault.

I'm the one in our family who Payton has picked up his perfectionist tendencies from. I accept that. And I love him for it. Even if it's disappointing when you don't live up to what goals you believe you can achieve.

The week before Thanksgiving, Payton's school sent home notes telling the parents if their child was going to receive an award for the grading period at an assembly the following week. I knew he would be getting a "perfect attendance" award, but I didn't know about the other two. The other awards were for "moral focus" (basically well behaved, courteous, responsible children) and the "Principal's award" for the most "well rounded" child from each class. Only one would be given per class. I figured he may be getting one of those as well and maybe both...but I wasn't 100% sure. None the less, I didn't mention to him that he would be getting ANY award.

So the time of the award ceremony comes and Payton is called for the Perfect Attendance award and then the Moral Focus award! I was so happy!!

And I knew he was one of two in contention for the Principal's Award. So at the end, when the time came, I got close to the front to take a picture regardless of who won. Payton's name wasn't called, but the little girl who did get the award is a friend of his, so he was first.

But by the end of the ceremony, I could tell from the bleachers that he wasn't happy about something. Sure enough, I got down there and found him sobbing. He was "very, very, very sad" that he didn't get the Principal's Award. I told him there were more turns and he may get it next time. His teacher, Mrs. McCoy, came over and realized what was going on and she told him that she was sure he would get it one of these times soon. I told him that we'd just have to keep trying.

That's when he about killed me with what he said. Warning: This comment will break your heart!

"But Mommy, I don't think I can trying any harder. I'm trying as hard as I can!!!"

Ohhh. My heart breaks again just typing that. We were able to appease him after school with some ice cream from Baskin Robbins. But I'm praying he gets that Principal's Award next time. I can't handle that again!!!

Monday, December 1

Thanksgiving Weekend Highlights

Fun. Busy. Exhausting. But fun.

The boys and I arrived in Ohio on Tuesday night. Wednesday we hung around with my parents and my oldest brother, Loren. He spent most of the afternoon slowed down because he was helping Payton learn to cook. It was so cute. Payton stood on a stool with his uncle to the side and did everything he was told. I wish I had gotten some pictures of it. :(

Thursday, the boys and I spent time with my father-in-law's side of the family. It was a nice dinner and it was great to catch up with them all. In the last few years, a lot of the cousins have become adults and don't get together as often because we all have our own plans for the holidays. It was great to see a few I don't get to see all that often. And Payton had a GREAT time helping his great aunts rake leaves in the yard and jumping in them.

Friday, Max and I went to Target around 9am and picked up a few things then went back to my parents house. Matt came in to spend a few days with us. It felt like I hadn't seen him in weeks and I was so happy he was there with us. We went letterboxing with my dad while Max napped and Payton was very proud to find two boxes that my father had planted. When we made it back to my parents, we enjoyed a great dinner with my brothers, my sister-in-law, my uncle, my parents, and one girlfriend. It was great to have a full table....MINUS children!! I put the boys to bed early and we had a NICE grownup dinner. Ahhh...what a JOY that was!!

BUT, the highlight of the weekend...going to Tower City Center in Cleveland. It was a great memory place for me as a child...the lights, the stores, the decorations, the characters, the parade, the decorated window fronts, Twigbee store...I wanted my children to have those memories too. Payton had a GREAT time and Maxwell was mesmerized by the Toy Solider. It's impossible to capture the magic of the moment on film, but here is my attempt.

We had such an amazing time. The parade was a disappointment and we won't stay for that next year, but overall, it was an great memory relived for me.

Sunday, we went to church with my parents where I was able to sign a Christmas song for the church. These are all the people that watched me grow up and it was nice to share something with them.

We're home. Settling in and catching up on laundry. It's exhausting being gone for so long. But it was well worth it to see all our family and friends and to spend to so much time with loved ones. We have so much to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 27

Most Thankful For...

Yesterday, I listed all the things I'm most grateful for. Today, I just want to focus on one.


We've had a rough year. And I wasn't sure if we could turn it around. But we have. And we've done it together. I'm thankful for a husband who understands, listens and loves unconditionally. When I'm being a "not very nice person", he still manages to show me love and compassion.

This past week, I was having considerable back pain and practically ignoring his needs. He was able to step outside of himself and see what I needed. He is a role model for me and I look to him for guidance lately in how I should be more compassionate.

I'm grateful for all he's been doing around the house while I'm spending hours at P's school each day. He does it without complaining because he knows the school is important to me.

He's supporting me in my decision to go back to school. I'm anxious to get started and he's anxious to help in any way possible.

Matt. Thank you. Thank you for loving me. Through the bad and the worst...and the good. You amaze me daily in your strength and love you show. I've been blessed by God to have you as my husband. I love you. More everyday.

Wednesday, November 26


All month long at Payton's school, I've been writing articles about gratitude. It's the moral focus of the month there. Gratitude is being grateful for what is done for you, given to you or what you have, be it opportunities or material possessions.

I'm sure it's the post lots of people will do on Thanksgiving, and it's cliche, but I can't help but do it this year. I need to. I have a LOT to be grateful for.

This year, I am thankful for...
* my husband.
* a change of heart.
* God guiding my marriage.
* my two wonderful children.
* having a home that is warm and stocked with food.
* my husband having a job.
* the ability to spend time at Payton's school and all the people who make it run.
* friends who listen, advise and are honest, even when it hurts.
* my life.
* family (blood and marital) who support me through anything.
* the freedom of religion and speech.

As I've gotten older, the things like "my tv" and "my car" have been pushed to the back of my list. It's interesting how priorities change as we get older. I never would have thought I'd look at my list and see so many privileges and people and so few things. God has truely blessed me and my family and I promise to not forget the things that he has given me.

Tuesday, November 25


We made it. It was actually a fairly calm least the boys were calm. Drivers were crazy and the weather was nuts, but all in all, it was a good trip. My best yet with the boys by myself.

We're here for the holidays. My three brothers will all be joining me and the boys, along with my sister in law, my parents, possibly my uncle and one brother's girlfriend. AND MATT!!! Matt hasn't been to a Thanksgiving meal in YEARS. It sucks having family out of state and not having a Thanksgiving meal close by. He always has to work around or on the holiday and can't make the 4 hour drive.

This year, he will be joining the Galt Family Thanksgiving...which occurs in great Galt style...a day late. Figures. Nothing in this family happens on the day it's supposed to. Even Christmas is celebrated on the 26th!

The boys are all settled into bed after an hour of cuddles for Gmaw and Papa Bear. I can tell they've been missed.

I think tomorrow we'll set up my parents' Christmas Tree for them. And then my oldest brother, Loren, is coming over to do some cooking for the big meal. I'll be working on an apple cake and maybe a pumpkin pie....we'll see.

Have fun in all your preparations and travels! And be safe!!!

Monday, November 24

So Behind!!!

Thanksgiving is FAST approaching and I'm behind! This weekend, the boys and I ran errands and did fun things on Saturday. Then Saturday night, I started feeling not so good. Just achy and tired really. It was gone by Sunday morning however, so I went on with our plans; church and then visit my inlaws. It was a fun, but busy, weekend.

BUT, that busy weekend was not filled with the things I needed to be doing!! My laundry is piling up and over flowing in all the baskets. I have cookie making supplies out and no cookies to show for it. I have a mess on my counters. I have to pack all the boys clothes and supplies plus my own to travel to Ohio tomorrow. CRAP!! TOMORROW!!!!!

I better get a move on! Someone kick my butt into gear!!

Saturday, November 22


The dreaded Christmas Photos are done!!!

Yesterday, a very brave friend of mine, Jess, took a photo shoot of me and the family. We got a great whole family and even a couple cute ones of the boys by themselves! I'm so happy. AND a few weeks ago, she took pictures of the boys at the park and I got those back too. I think I just spend $50 at ordering prints and Christmas and Birthday presents for family.

So, now I just have to make the Christmas card and get the dang things printed. Ah's the joy of the holidays, right?

Here are the outtakes: glad it's done!!

Thursday, November 20

A few of my Favorite Things

It's about time for Oprah's Favorite Things. I love that show. I get to look at all the wonderful things everyone else is getting that I'll probably never even get to touch or look at because most everything Oprah likes it out of my price range. But whatever.

So I'm doing my Ellisa's Favorite Things instead.

Aveeno Lotion- My kids have eczema. We have tried several products that have little effect. And while they still have the eczema "flare ups" even while using the Aveeno products, the relief seems greater. The most immediate relief is from the Oatmeal Soothing Bath Treatments. Followed up with some great Daily Moisturizing Lotion, and we have it under control for the most part. Last week, the boys had flare ups that results in painful marks for both boys, including cracked and bleeding skin. With the help of some hydracortizone lotion, the Aveeno is helping soothe the pain.

Say Yes to Carrots - I'm a chapstick addict. I think right now I have about 6 tubes in various locations; my purse, the car, my make-up bag, the diaper bag, by my bed, etc. I have several brands because whenever I see a new one, I pick it up. I have recently fallen in love with "Yes to Carrots". The scent choices are awesome and unique. And they work! And I like that it's organic and I can identify the ingredients!!

Smart Water - Usually, I drink water from my Klean Kanteen, right from my filtered tab. But the other day, I forgot and grabbed a bottle of Smart Water when I ran into the drug store for some other things. Normally, I'd say water is water. But this taste good! Really good. It tastes "clean". It's "electrolyte enhanced" and "vapor distilled". But whatever, it's good water.

Senseo Coffee - I've never been much of an everyday coffee drinker. But getting up so early with Payton (6:45am...too early for me!) has made me a coffee drinker. I brought out my Senseo Coffee Maker that I keep on hand for when my parents or my inlaws are in town. I really like that I can just make one cup/mug worth and not waste a whole pot. I pay about $4 for a bag of 16 pods. That gets me 8-10 cups of coffee. WAY cheaper than Starbucks!!!

Cranberry Sipper drink - I love this stuff. I made it a few weeks ago for a party I had. It was so yummy. SO SO yummy and warm! Mmmmm... I got tons of great compliments on the drink and everyone said they're going to make it themselves for holiday get togethers. So here is the recipe!! I made a double batch and it was enough for about 30-40 glasses.

  • 6 inches stick cinnamon, broken
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1/2 of a 12-ounce can frozen cranberry juice concentrate (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 of a 12-ounce can frozen raspberry juice blend concentrate (3/4 cup)
  • 1 6-ounce can frozen apple juice concentrate (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup brandy or rum or 6 regular tea bags (optional)
  • Orange slices (optional)
  • 4- to 6-inch cinnamon sticks (optional)


1. To make spice bag, cut a double thickness of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth into a 6-inch square. Place cinnamon and cloves in center of square. Bring up corners of cloth and tie with clean string.

2. Combine the thawed cranberry juice concentrate, raspberry juice blend concentrate, apple juice concentrate, sugar, lemon juice, and 8 cups water in a 3-1/2-, 4-, or 5-quart crockery cooker. Add the spice bag to the juice mixture.

3. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the spice bag and discard. If desired, about 5 minutes before serving, add brandy or rum or the tea bags to the crockery cooker. Let stand for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags, if using.

4. To serve, ladle beverage into mugs or cups. If desired, add an orange slice and cinnamon stick to each serving. Makes fourteen 6-ounce servings.

Wednesday, November 19

My lil' man

Since I've been venting about all the "unique" things Maxwell has been doing lately, I decided I better talk about his good side.

He's 22 months now (two in January). He's talking in 3-4 word phrases. He says things like "help please, momma.", "Where did it go?" and "There it is!". He knows a lot of people's names and he's making his own friends finally. His favorites are Tyler ("Tyter"), Bella ("Baahhhha"), Traftyn ("RaRin") and Mia ("my Mia").

He's OBSESSED with his belly button. He has to be able to reach it at all times. That means in the car if his coat is over it, we have to listen to him scream until we get somewhere or pull over and adjust it. Then he says "All Better!". He has to be able to reach it to fall asleep. So no one piece PJs. Ugh. My boys and their weird quirks.

He tells me when he needs a diaper change. He likes to pick out his own clothes, something Payton still doesn't care about. He is sleeping in his own room, but still in a crib. I don't think I'll move him until he's four. I just can't trust him by himself.

Oh. Yeah. The good points. Umm...He loves people. He says "hi" to strangers we pass in the parking lot and out shopping. He uses his manners, a lot of the time without being asked. He loves to laugh!! Especially with Payton. They make funny sounds and rhythms in the backseat all the time.

He loves to do everything his brother does; play the Wii, color, read and watch movies. He does his "homework" when Payton does by sitting at the table with a pen and paper and "writing". He also LOVES puppies/doggies and to play ball. Kick it, hit it, throw it. Does matter as long as it's physical!

He really is a great kid. He's mischievous, hilarious and a trouble maker. But he makes people laugh and has a great personality. He definitely is a lot like his momma.

Tuesday, November 18

Not what I want to write about...

but it's on my heart and mind. I had planned to write today about what a great weekend Matt and I had together. My inlaws took the kids (yes, again) and we spent a great amount of time together. Then I thought maybe I'd write about PostSecret since I went to see the "showing" last night at EMU.

But then about 45 minutes ago, Matt called from work. He started the conversation with "Remember how this weekend we were talking about how we may not have everything, but we have a good, solid family?" He then proceeded to tell me that this moment was on his mind as soon as he entered work today.

He then told me about a mom who had come into the hospital. She felt she didn't want to live anymore and so she had taken an overdose of pills. But apparently just ending her own life wasn't enough. She also put klonopin, an anti-panic or anti-seizure medication, into her 10 year old and 13 year old's hot cocoa after school. And then at some point, she set the house on fire. The children and their mother are all going to be fine, physically anyway.

I am just torn up over this. I know times are hard. I know that situations can be rough, miserable and even depressing. I just could never see this situation seeming like the only answer to me. That mother must not have family like I have. Or friends like the ones I have. She must not have a church family who she feels accept and love her like I have.

My heart breaks for those children. They will always remember the day that Mommy tried to kill them. And my heart aches for that mother. Because I believe that someday she will realize the pain she's caused to her children. And she will never be able to explain or soothe that pain away.

Please take a moment now to pray for these two kids. And their mother. And all the others like them that are out there.

Friday, November 14

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!

At least here at our house it is!!
Payton had Thursday and Friday off school for "Professional Development Days". I assume they mean the teachers, not the students.

I couldn't take the asking "How much longer?" and "Now?!?" anymore. Finally, Matt said I could put up the tree. Oh yeah. Payton wanted to help too.

So yesterday, we busted out the tree. Usually I do a Americana themed tree, but I'm trying a new "rustic" theme, but I don't have quite enough ornaments to do the whole tree yet, so this year we put up our heritage tree. All the ornaments from when Matt and I were kids that our parents got us, along with all the boys' ornaments they've received thus far. It's a lot of nice memories.

In addition to all the tree decorations, Payton also helped me put up my "houses". Back in 1984, when I was just 5 years old, my grandmother, Bam, got me the first in a Hallmark series called "Nostalgic Houses & Shops". I have all of the main ornaments and a few of the special ones, like this years 25th anniversary Town Hall. Most were purchased by my parents or grandparents. Payton loves to help me each year put them up. He loves to see our city grow and look in the backs and see all the rooms decorated for Christmas.

Finally, we put up the snow globes. The boys have 3 thus far. I leave that to my mother-in-law to purchase. It started a few years ago when Payton became obsessed with a snow globe they have at their home. Payton thought it was funny this morning to take the motion & sound activated one and put it in bed with Matt to wake him. Teehee. That kid has my sense of...well, not humor. Jokester I guess.

Anyway, while Payton and I were decorating inside...with Maxwell's "help", Matt decided to clean out the gutters. And since he was up there, he also put up our Christmas lights. YEA!!! I'm so excited.

So if you need a dose of Christmas, just come on by. If you call in advance, I'll even bust out the hot cocoa, candy canes and Christmas music!!

Wednesday, November 12

Maxwell, Maxwell, Maxwell...

Today, while I was volunteering at Payton's school, I got a call from Matt. He was calling to tell me that Maxwell had gotten himself into some mischief. He'd "found" some superglue. question was "Where was the super glue?" Matt had been doing some work with his miniatures that he makes. He stepped out of the room, didn't put the glue up and Maxwell found it.

Maxwell tracked Matt down and was whining and showing him his hands. They were glued together. Matt tried to get some off, but my only nail polish remover was non-acetone (still hadn't gotten the right stuff since the permanent marker incident).

We're still working on removing the glue from his fingers and palms. Just another great story about our kid who goes to the max with everything...

Tuesday, November 11

They really DO love each other!!

Tonight, while at McDonald's for $1.99 happy meal night, Payton did something I thought he would pass up in a heartbeat. Something that moved me to swell with enormous amounts of pride and love.

After the boys ate, they took off to play with some friends we had met there. Payton and Kyler were running up and through all the germ-infested, never-cleaned tunnels, while Moriah and Maxwell were playing on the germ-infested, never-cleaned landing to the play area. Maxwell was happy to go up and down, but I could tell he wanted to go with his brother.

At the end of the night, I asked Payton to follow his brother up the tunnels and "push his tush" to help him through. I thought FOR SURE that Payton would say No. I would have put $5 on it I was so sure.

But just when you think you know your kids, they surprise you. Payton said "sure. Come on, Maxwell." and off they went. I watched them with climb up and through every tunnel. I could hear Payton telling other kids "That's my baby. He's only one." "No, just wait. He's moving." and "I have to stay behind my brother. You go."

I was so proud of him for making the right decisions and for being so loving and protective of his lil' brother. It's not often that I get to see that side of him since they're always fighting over the TV remote (yes...already) and over who has the crayons and paper that the other one wanted while sitting in the "wrong" chair.

But tonight, I got to see that loving relationship shine through. Right up until the slide to bring them back down. Then I got to see how loud Maxwell's screams sound in a tube slide. He wouldn't come down. Payton couldn't make him and was afraid to pull him down the slide with him. Maxwell started to retreat and Payton went down the slide.

In the end, I climbed up the tunnels and got Maxwell down. Those things weren't as dirty as I thought. And it actually was fun up there. Maxwell was happy to see me. But I don't think he'll be doing the tunnels with him brother again. Or anyone for that matter. But at least he had a great loving moment with his big brother.

Friday, November 7

So excited!!!

Tonight, Matt will be taking the boys to Ohio to spend time with my in-laws. I will be hosting a Tastefully Simple party. It started off just being 4-5 friends from my moms group. But now, I'm wondering if I went too far and invited too many people!

I invited a lot of my new friends from Payton's school. About 8-10 of them. I was thinking they wouldn't come, or only a couple would. But really, there's quite a few who will be making it! Right now my count is 10 "yes" and 7 "maybe". If only 2 of those maybes come, I'll still have a full house!!

I'm not excited because of the product I'll get off the party or because it means anything for me. I'm excited because I'm having my friends over. To hang out. And just be silly. and to just be a girl.

The rest of the weekend, Matt was supposed to be off work. Then he was on the schedule. Then off. Finally, he's back on. No way around it. It's a disappointment because I was really looking forward to spending time with him. :( But, I'll get a lot done this weekend. And I really need some me time I think.

So have a great weekend everyone! And if you're in the area tonight around 7pm and you want to come hang out, just give me a call on my cell phone!! ;)

Wednesday, November 5

Anyone know how... **updated**

I'm just wondering if anyone can help me out.

I'm looking to get permanent marker out of some things.

Say, a dishwasher for instance? Any ideas how to get the marker off that shiny surface?

Or my stool?

Or my kitchen cabinets???

Or maybe my floor?????

Any help would be great! Or if anyone wants a almost 2 yr old budding artist...the problem is that he things the whole HOUSE is his canvas. And permanent marker is his medium of choice.

The only nail polish remover I had in the house was non-acetone. Surprisingly, it worked!! My stool is completely clean, the dishwasher "artwork" is barely noticeable, but it didn't work too great on the linoleum floor. I'm repainting the cabinets. I put one coat on, but the marker came through. I think I'll have to put Kilz on and then the paint and then the finishing strokes.


Zoo Day

Yesterday, after Matt and I voted, Maxwell and I joined some friends at the zoo. It was odd being there without Payton, but it was great to see friends and Maxwell really enjoyed himself. He was able to see some of the animals and really view. His favorite exhibit is still the polar bears and seals. I think because he likes water so much and because the animals are so easy to find. Here are the "best of" the pics I took.