Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ben rocks the candy cane.

These snapshots crack me up. Ben is learning how to work the camera now, and is displaying model-like behavior. He makes faces as though he's trying to appear un-interested. He's almost arrogant-he totally gets that from his daddy.

Wrestle like no on is watching...

My wild children were both spinning in circles the other day, dancing to some music from the TV. They spun until they fell down, making for some good belly laughs from mom.

Hunter pauses to model the Do Diego hat Me Maw bought him for Christmas.

Hunter tries to share with Ben, but...

Ben's not having it. The encounter results in wrestling.

Love these slice-of-life moments.

So many things going on...

The actual date is Wednesday January 2nd, 2008. I can't fix this date?
Hi all. So much going on lately, much to talk about, and not a lot of time being dedicated to the blog. Sorry.

First, Happy New Year! Theo and I made it up to midnight for the first time in years. We are party animals, you know... ee watched Law and Order reruns. We are L & O addicts, and get sucked in if we see 3 seconds of the next episode in a back to back circumstance. Before I had Ben we were bonified L & O experts, but then it became to emotionally dificult to watch dramatic episodes that involved kids or mommy's. I took a long hiatus, but recently have been able to watch me some L & O no matter the subject matter. So, that was how we spent our New Year's Eve. Didn't watch any fireworks, no ball dropping, nothing celebratory in any way. And most importantly, we didn't make any snacks or explicit fattening goodness. We order pizza, a treat, from a local place we have not ordered from in a long time. You know, it was so good! The pizza dough bubbled up in spots, which is my favorite. And it was not at all greasy, like some other places we' ve ordered from in recent years. We ate the pizza pie in moderation, sensible portions, and no booze. Yeah us. More on this later.

I have taken down all of the Christmas decor. Earlier than usual for me, but I just needed the clutter to be gone. I have sure enjoyed looking at everyone's Christmas cards, filled with incredible stories and pictures. The passage of time is most prevalent this time of year, as our entertainment center fills with pictures of friends and family who are growing older and changing. I had a few requests for my annual Christmas letter, so I will resume next year. I already bought paper on clearance for it. I'm prepared.

2007 was an interesting year for me. I started watching my caloric intake, only to lose control of my eating completely by February ( see paragraph on Theo's seizures). I joined the YMCA in the summer, and used the membership enough to get more in shape, but not to lose weight. I could do an hour on the elliptical without huffing and puffing, but I just could not seem to cut calories comfortably. By August I lost a little weight, and gained it back on vacation in California. Come December I had enough, and started weight watcher's again. I lost 7.5 lbs, gained 2 back at Christmas, and now I'm on track to lose some serious poundage.

Sidenote: Did anyone catch Biggest Loser last night? So awesome. I am in love with this show. My ears were ringing. I know those of you who have followed the rise and fall of my weight know I could SO do that show... never fear, I am on my own plan here at home, bound and determined for greatness, and health. I will keep you posted.

Other resolutions from last year? I tried to stop biting my nails/cuticles, and did so for about 10 months out of the year. I was trying to control my swearing, and I think I've made some serious progress in that department. I vowed to become more technologically savy, hence the blog turning one year old this week, & my creating a facebook account. I also figured out how to work photoshop, but have more to learn there. I promised more rapid response time to e-mails, and have succeeded with that. I tried to purge unused items in our home, rather succesfully, although that is still a work in progress. I have some goodwill piles, and some garage sale stuff awaiting spring. I also think I had some resolution about cooking for my family more & having a healthy garden. The garden this year was awesome, so pleased with the pepper, squashs, herbs, tomatos, all of it. And the aesthetic portion, well, you all watched me blab about that all year; I learned how to overwinter tender bulbs, a big goal for me. I cooked with the garden goods: tacos, mostachoili, homemade chili's galore, burgers, veggies. When the garden season was over I taught myself to make homemade hamburger stroganoff, made Leena's suggested muffin recipe & stopped buying muffin mix, and I mastered the cookies and fudge this year, which were flawless. I made art almost every single day, too. I submitted several pages for publication, but have yet to be picked up. My scrapbooks are fatter than ever. I am totally NOT burned out on this hobby yet. Oh, and I vowed to drink more wine. I didn't. But that's okay.

As a family, we started the year excited about the Bear's heading to the Superbowl, and were let down when they lost hard. This season was a disappointment, outside of whomping on the Packer's. Theo was recovered from his Nov 06' reconstructive foot surgery by January. We bought a used truck, bringing our vehicle count to two for the very first time. We acquired a high quality set of dining room furniture for the super cheap deal.

A week later, just before we celebrated the 6th anniversary of the day we met, Theo had sudden seizures. You can see the blog about it here, and here. I can't explain that part of our year again. I thought I lost my husband. I have never been so scared. The events changed our marriage and our outlook forever. Thankfully, Theo recovered comepletely, although he is still under the care of a neurologist, he has to have his driver's license approved by doctors, and he still takes anti-seizure meds when he can remember to. Currently, the Army is investigating whether or not he can remain in the service. His seizures, coupled with the disabilities associated with his foot, have caused the Army to take a close look at his health. His unit will deploy to the Middle East, likely Kuwait and Afghanistan for another 12-15 month tour, a year from now.

After Theo recovered from his seizures, our year was rather normal. I had a spectacular gardening season, the kids grew and progressed healthily, we got a new dog, and took our very first family vacation to California.

This fall it has come to our attention that the city we live in is looking to expand their fire and city works departments. As many of you know, we live right behind these buildings. In December the expansion was approved; our town has a new 1000-home subdivision coming soon, and will need a full time fire-deparment, and a larger fire station and city works facility. the city has to decide whether or not to add onto the existing buildings, or create all new locations. Either way, it looks at though our home will be threatened by eminent domain.

Yes, this information is alarming, but it's also a bit refreshing. Our home is like 114 years old, and needs serious renovations we don't want to make. The Army will inevitably move us in about 2 years anyway, so we will be selling our home in the next couple years regardless. The difference between eminent domain and selling is huge for us. With the city taking our land and home, we would be given fair market value for our home, likely about what we paid or slightly more. If we had to try and sell this house, I worry about us getting what we paid, or making any money off this home. In addition, if we know the house will be torn down after the city buys it, we do not need to invest in a new roof, windows, siding, bathroom renovations, and new floors in severel rooms. Instead, we can use what we have until the house is no longer ours.

We hope for good timing. If the city begins to expand and tear down our house while Theo is deployed you can imagine I'd be in a sorry state. That would be SCARY shoots people. If they try and take eminent domain before he leaves, I'm also in a situation where I may have to buy a new home and establish ourselves in it all alone. The scariest outcome would be this: the Army moves us, and the town is not ready to do their project & give us fair market value for our home. See, the expansion would be public knowledge, and we could not sell our home without disclosing our awareness of the impending situation; we'd be in a new town, and would have to pay to live there, while still paying our mortgage here. Impossible. I guess only time will tell, but you can certain the Rex's will be attending City Council meetings from now on. I'll keep you posted, but I can feel in my blood, change is a-brewing.

Our resolutions this year involve weight loss, weight loss, weight loss. I plan on getting the kids to expand their flavor pallete, with a big shove away from all the crackers. I plan on getting rid of the dysfunctional furniture and appliances in our home & gradually replacing them with heirloom quality furniture. Theo is starting school in two weeks, in hopes of getting an associates/transfer type of degree before leaving for Iraq, to aid in his promotion overseas. Ben should start pre-school in the fall, if we are financially able to provide this for him. We are still thinking more babies, but we waiver back and forth. We're not taking birth control, but we are being cautious. If it happens, we do a happy dance, if it doesn't, we go on as normal. I have some very specific scrapbooking, photography, and gardening goals for 2008 as well. I'm sure I'll be blogging about those things later. The kids are working on manners bigtime. I know my husbands a redneck, but my kids need to be a little softer around the edges if they are going to pass my class. We plan on replacing our computer, and getting a real television. Theo has some hunting goals in mind, including a turkey hunt in the spring, and big plans for deer & water fowl this fall. As a family, we need more fun time. We've got plans brewing for a visit to the Northwoods of Wisconsin, and camping as often as possibe locally. I want to hit some trails in the Kettle Morraine, too.

Happy New Year Kiddos. Best wishes for all of you in 2008. I will continue to blog... more pictures to come soon.

Snowman Snow

From sun up to sun down it snowed yesterday. The snow did not stop once, leaving every branch coated in a fluffy later of 6 inches of snow. Truly, we are in a winter wonderland here.
I could not resist taking the kids out in the snow once I figured out the snow was packable! Finally, snow man snow! Hunter is way more than knee deep here.

Isn't this just so pretty?

In all his gear, Hunter can barely stay standing, let alone get himself up once he's down.

Every time he falls down he lays and flails, yelling "Stuck!" It's kinda funny.

When Dad got home he helped retrieve Hunter from various time he was "stuck!" This one time he picked him up from the jumpers. This made Theo and I LOL for awhile. Love how Hunter's smiling, too.

Of course, I had to make a Frosty for the kids. They tried to help. Hunter knocked it over again and again, and Ben pat his handfuls of snow so hard that the snowman lost whole pieces of his body at a time. But, finally, I made something resembling a snowperson.

Ben was so convinced this was Frosty. He said, "I'm going to sleep, and I'll wake up and Frosty will be here and it will be his birthdady and we will play." Uh-huh.

I like how Theo's standing here looking like he helped. Ha! He was not home at the time, but he did get the sticks for arms.
Hunter, being the romantic that he is, instantly went to kiss Frosty. It's just how he greets people.
Yes, he put the carrot in his mouth. Hilarious.

The slide beckoned. Ben takes out a heap of snow on his way down.

Just some shots of my little snow angels.

This time, Ben could actually make a snow angel.

Hunter wanted to go for a walk. Isn't he cute, so independant.

Right before we went inside, we went to the front porch. I asked Ben to hug Hunter and H was not having it. Too funny.

Have a safe New Year celebration everyone. Stay warm.

Hunter Right Now

Took these picture of Hunter Christmas day. Bout' time for a little update on Hunter.
He's really talking now, saying all kinds of Hunterisms. This morning (Dec 27th) he said his first audible two-word phrase, thanks to dad. He was in our bed with us, and he was pointing at this moose pillow I have. Dad taught him to say "moose butt." (Ben's first 2 word phrase was "bye, bye pee nee" during a diaper change, LOL). Since this morning he's starting saying "Hi mama," and "Bye, bye mama." He also says, cheese, dog, mama, bye bye, hi, snack "snah," cracker, fish "ish," baba, more, mine, cat, meow "meeeee", hat, hair, book, blocks "bahs," weee, no-said with an emphatic "uh-uh," yeah, cereal, trash truck, car, bath, moon, outside "ha," eat, tree, "mmmm," done, here, Uh-Oh, up, dark, light, spoon, pizza, teeth, ears, zoom, juice, bubbles, socks, poo-poo, vacuum "baKK," hands, phone, tractor, Doodlebops "Bops," Spongebob, "bob bob," Barney "Bahn," Ben, stuck, and more...

He makes sounds like a pig, duck, cow, cat, and dog.

He wears an 18 or 24 month or even 2T on top, and his 18 months are too small on the bottom.

He's added ears, hair, knee, leg, fingers, toes, cheeks, tongue, butt, and the ever important penis to the body parts he knows by pointing.

He has whole conversations on the phone, something like, "Hi. Mama. Uh-Oh. Bye, bye." At which time he slams his cell phone shut.

He loves wearing his handyman goggles.

He doesn't watch TV for more than 2 seconds unless Barney is on.

He's still very crabby when he wakes up.

He gives the most wonderful kisses, lips shut and pouted out.

The first character from TV he recognized and named was Spongebob, or "bob bob." He can spot bob bob anywhere, and often I have to spend time looking at the all shelves to find where he sees bob bob. However, he does not watch bob bob on TV.

He loves to snuggle.

He loves to be read to.

He's into his picture books and word acquisition.

He loves to spin in circles until he's dizzy and falls down.

He loves to dance (bobs his head like the SNL character's at an odd angle.

He loves to eat soft pretzels, cheese crackers (if see one he can't have, like on a shelf in a store, he has a major heart attack), cheese (cheddar sliced thin), macaroni and cheese, banana chips, PB and apples, green chile enchiladas, corn bread, fruit snacks, yogurt, and toast.

His favorite activities are making long trains with the die cast metal Thomas toys, building towers with the wooden blocks, and vacuuming. He will ask me to vacuum every time we are near the closet where I keep the vacuum. As of late he also loves loading his mack truck & putting all the cars on the track.

He loves baths, and hates to taken out of them.

When he does not get what he wants, he throws serious temper tantrums, tossing himself on the floor with a thud, and crying big tears until he's pooped out.

He pushes Ben back now.

He can blow his nose.

He tries to put on his own shoes, pants, and socks.

He loves to brush his teeth.