Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Recap Part 3: Christmas Day

On Christmas morning we were scrambling as usual to get started. We traditionally eat Monkey Bread for breakfast after we open presents, so Bella helped me throw it together quickly and pop it in the oven, while Daniel unloaded the SD card in the video camera. We always set up the video camera on the tripod and let in run while we open presents, which is why I always have very few pictures of Christmas Day.It is just too busy to take many pictures. I'm sure we'll cherish all of these videos when they are all grown up.

After we finally got done with all of the opening, we had breakfast and I got started on prepping the Christmas food while the kids played with their loot. My parents and brother arrived around 12:30pm and we spent the rest of the day eating, playing, visiting, etc. Here are some pictures...

Trying to photograph my brother is like photographing a Yeti. It's best not to let the Yeti know that you are trying to photograph it. Wait until it is looking away from you and talking. Good job Daniel!

And this concludes our Christmas recap! Yay, I got it all blogged up and it is not even January yet! I am ready for a new year. How about you?

Christmas Recap Part 2: Christmas Eve

Do you see how all of the women in this house cater to him? We're powerless to his charm.
We celebrated Christmas Eve in our usual way. First we read the Christmas Story from the bible, Bella read it to us actually. Then we usually watch a related short Christmas movie, like Joy to the World. Sadly, our disc was scratched and we had to watch Mr. Krueger's Christmas, which I did not enjoy as much. We'll need to get a new copy. But I digress. We follow that up with the kids each opening one Christmas present. We played briefly, then headed to bed. Here are a few photos...Bella wanted to read the entire Christmas story herself, and she did a great job!The little guys abusing the Little People nativity while Bella was reading. At one point Xander placed the stable on its side and started standing on it and jumping off in a professional wrestler style move.The little guys with the things they opened.Juli's Crayola Glow Dome in action. It's kind of cool. Bella opened a Blendy Pens gift set that Juli picked out for her, somehow I didn't get a picture of that.

Christmas Recap Part 1: CCC

Last Tuesday Daniel and I spent almost 3 hours wrapping the Christmas presents. Wrapping is my least favorite part of Christmas. That afternoon, Daniel's sister and "the cousins" came over for our 2nd Annual Cousin Christmas Crafts (CCC) event. The items made this year were...Candy Cane bead ornaments, foam Sleigh ornaments, popsicle stick snowflakes, and candy trains. Nothing super fancy, but my kids enjoyed it, They are always ready for anything involving crafts. If the cousins stick around here for another year, I'm sure there will be a 3rd annual CCC day. Here are a few photos...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Round Here

Got some cleaning done today. There is MUCH more to go. I am determined to whip this house into shape. Speaking of whipping things into shape, I started back on exercising today. My back is already thanking me. The difference in my daily back pain level when I exercise is unbelievable.

The kids spent most of the day playing. While I was making a lasagna this afternoon they were playing with their Zhu Zhu pets (they didn't ask for them, but we thought they were cute). My mom searched everywhere and recently found a 4 pack at Toys R Us, so they each have one. Taking out the video camera pretty much ensures that someone will start acting up. This time it was Xander. He decided that he liked Leia's Zhu Zhu and not his own...sigh. I would have just stripped it from him, but then he would have thrown an epic tantrum and brought my video to an end. As it was...the battery died and brought my video to an end. I know that you are so disappointed that my Zhu Zhu video is only 6+ minutes long. The excitement never ends on this blog. :)

Zhu Zhu from Erika on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Annual Photos

I said that I wasn't going to send out Christmas cards this year. I changed my mind at the very last today. They'll be in the mail tomorrow as soon as I pick them up at CVS and put the address labels on them. Here are a few that make me smile, but didn't make the card.
I love Xander's expression and hands in this one. "How did I end up in this girl gang?!"I love these girls. I remember the day that I found out Julianne was a girl. I cried because I was so happy for Bella that she was going to have a sister. I just knew that they were going to have a special relationship, and they really do. They are so different, but so close.And they so sweetly incorporate this crazy little ball of energy into their sister club.If I live to be 100, having played a role in manufacturing these 4 amazing human beings will surely be the greatest accomplishment of my life.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I'm eating Christmas cookies for breakfast. People keep showing up at my door with cookies. What am I supposed to do?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Pajamas

I always buy the kids a couple of pairs of pajamas as one of their gifts each Christmas, so I've never bought them new pajamas to wear ON Christmas morning. My SIL has this tradition in her family of everyone getting and wearing a new pair of pajamas for Christmas. I've always liked the idea, and finally caved this year. I ended up going out last week to get B&J a nice pair for pajama day at school, because they've got a lot of nice pajamas...but none warm enough for school with the REALLY COLD weather we've been having. Then I felt badly about the little guys and went back to get some for them today. I guess they will all be looking sharp in our video footage of present opening this year. Little things like this get expensive fast when you need 4 of everything. I guess I'll continue with it next year and skip the gift pajamas since it seems kind of redundant. Thanks for the idea M.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Experience

Xander has become fond of taking off his diaper, or trying to take off his diaper every time he is in his crib. After washing all of his soggy bedding this morning, and putting it back on just in time for nap...he took off his diaper and peed out through the slats in the crib, making a lovely design on the floor. Another 1st experience on my 4th attempt at motherhood. I may have to start duct taping his diaper on.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Thanks to my best friend all of my Christmas presents are now officially on the premises. I do not know how I ever survived Christmas shopping before I started doing 75% of it online. Oh...wait...I remember...I didn't have a boatload of kids back then. They sure are cute though. Let's just be thankful for the internet...and free super saver shipping...amen.

I'm moving on to wrapping this weekend. Hopefully Daniel's promise to help was not an empty one. There may or may not be some assembly involved, and I like to have that squared away before Christmas morning. It's more fun to get things when you don't have to sit around waiting for Daddy to put it together.

If I don't return, call 911. Tell them I'm buried under a mountain of partially wrapped gifts in the disaster I call my closet. Also, tell them not to be fooled by the DO NOT ENTER sign that is currently taped to the closet door. Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Food Inc.

Y'all know I have a penchant for documentaries. Here's another one that I would recommend (if you have a strong stomach).
I'm getting really tired of being shocked and dismayed. I was already aware of most of the concepts presented in this film before I saw it, but it is still shocking and depressing to be reminded. I've been making a feeble attempt to buy more locally produced food, but have gotten away from organics somewhere between having 2 kids and having 4. Those feeble attempts just haven't been enough to ease my conscience. It doesn't help that I wasn't motivated toward organic for health reasons, I was motivated by ethical reasons. This film was a reminder.

Sometimes I am troubled by so many things that I feel like no one else cares about, I want to pack up my family and run away from the suburbs as fast as I can. I contemplated erasing that last sentence, but honesty prevailed. What's the point of keeping a journal if you don't talk about your feelings, right? I like to pretend no one actually reads this, then right before I hit publish...I remember there are actually quite a few of you lurking out there. Hello quiet people (waves at screen). Once every half century I actually check my stat counter and remember all of you are out there, and I am not just talking to my self.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brother Love

On to happier matters. This guy is absolutely in L-O-V-E with Julianne. He is drawn to her like a moth to a flame lately. He kisses her relentlessly, jumps into her arms, squeals and runs to her every afternoon. He insists on sitting pressed up against her on the couch no matter where she sits. And despite her introverted nature...she quietly eats it up. I honestly think that it is helping her mature emotionally. The more he treats her like a rock star, the more she develops a little bit of swagger. It's awesome. I'm so glad he's here.

Not looking forward to Swim Suit Season

Watch out. Here comes a pathetic vent about something which I logically know is unimportant...but nags at me nonetheless.

Okay, so I know it is December. I probably violated some sort of rule when I tried on my new Modbe suits that came in the mail yesterday. But seriously?! I need to get Jillian Michaels back up in this place and burn that freaking 10 extra pounds off! The sight of my own stomach makes me want to cry. A friend of mine says that my self flagellation is due to me being a perfectionist. My husband agrees with her. I mean really, is 10 pounds more than my self proclaimed IDEAL weight really that important? The BMI charts suggest that I am on the low end of normal weight. The BMI charts clearly haven't seen my severe case of muffin top.

I don't care what other people weigh. I generally don't even notice other people's weight at all unless they are dangerously obese. So maybe I'm a little screwed up. I blame it on spending 27 years of being really, noticeably thin, while eating like a horse. Getting older stinks. Am I being obsessive about 10 measly pounds? Yes, yes I am. I have strong feelings about not letting things snowball. First it's 10 pounds, then it's 20, then the next thing you know you're completely unhealthy. I'm also secretly afraid that my hypothyroid is behind this, and I'll never be 104 pounds again. That would make me sad. I really need to channel some of this angst into action.

Thanks for not calling me a skinny B. I understand that no one really wants to listen to someone my size complain about their weight. It's squishy belly bothers me just as much as someone bigger. A squishy muffin top looks no better in size 2 pants then it does in size 12 me. If anything it is more noticeable in the size 2's.

Vent over. Yes, I know it's petty and vain and stupid. I like to keep things honest here.

Friday, December 4, 2009


It was a crazy, crazy day in South Texas.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


The girls had their first recital tonight. Here is the video! Not too shabby considering that they just started lessons 3 months ago, and J has severe stage fright. We were proud...Grammy cried...ya know, the usual.

Recital from Erika on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's that time of year again!
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's December!

December is here and we went out to get our tree last night. We managed to get it up with lights and garland by 8pm, then put them to bed. This afternoon the kids put up the ornaments. I took a lot of pictures and did very little in the way of helping them. I have strong feelings about the tree being a "family tree" and not a "decorator tree". So, it is far from perfect and I'm sure our motley crew of ornaments are somewhat bunched up and imperfectly placed. But my little love muffins did their best, and it looks great to me!
My choices seem to be ugly pictures with flash, or blurry darkish pictures with no flash. You can see I prefer no flash. I'm sure if I had actual photography skills I could remedy that. ;-)