Sunday, December 13, 2009

Birthday Icecapades

This year I have had some trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. To combat the winter blues, I decided that this year for my birthday, some friends and I would go ice skating at Crown Center. John took care of the babysitting arrangements (Thanks Aunt Terri, Uncle Jim, and Aunt Patti!!), and we loaded up the Honda with friends and hot chocolate. And maybe some peppermint schnapps. ;)

The day was perfect! The rink wasn't too crowded, the weather was crisp and sunny, and the girlfriends were hilarious. We all don't get together too often, so when we are actually under the same roof, we make the most of it. Amber brought some crazy hats, I brought cocoa (and schnapps, maybe), and we had a blast. Nobody went to the ER, though Johnny did take a bit of a tumble. I didn't fall at all, but there were some close calls. We laughed. We skated. We posed for pictures. It was a wonderful birthday, and just the cure for my Scrooginess.

Me channelling my inner Cousin Eddie
Some great girlfriends! Minus Amber, the picture taker. Oh, and plus one stud of a husband.

Sam, Rachel and me.

John captured my "almost" fall on film.

Warming up inside

Our pre-ice skating tailgate. If we're hanging in a parking lot, there's always beverages.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving, Take Two

On to the second wave of Thanksgiving.

Since John and I have been together, my family Thanksgiving has always been on the weekend following the actual holiday. It works out better for us, since their house is a not-so-quick 5 hour car trip for us. We pack up Friday after I've shopped till I dropped, and we load the DVD player, say a prayer for quiet children (HA HA HA), and get the hell into Dodge. My dad's birthday is always the week of Thanksgiving, too, so our trip home is a two-for-one deal...we sing happy birthday while stuffing our faces with turkey.

This year the weather was crazy nice. Aidan and Sam played outside in long sleeved shirts, and I cooked up a storm with all the windows open. My dad tried his best, yet again, to make my Indoor Husband an Outdoorsman. :) They roamed the fields for pheasants while I made pies and my mom had fun with the kids. John is even talking about taking the hunter's safety course, so perhaps my father's nudging is beginning to work. We had a lovely meal, and even had a visit from great grandma Lindsey. All in all, a good weekend. :)

It always feels good to go home to me...even though as an anxious teenager I couldn't wait to get out. I love seeing the kids play with Nana and Papa in the house I grew up in. I love going outside at night and seeing stars for miles. I love showing John and the kids around "my town." Though Lawrence is now the place I call home, it is always nice to go back to Dodge City.

Sam playing with...the box.
Aidan waving the wheat after a KU touchdown. What a ridiculous game that turned out to be.

Sloane and her Papa.

A future hunter perhaps?

Sam playing in the backyard.

Aidan was trying to show Sloane how to play the "Fishing Game"

"Look Sloaney! You do it like this!"

Sam giving Papa some birthday snuggles

Super Sloane
Cousin A-Dogg

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving, Take One

For John and me, Thanksgiving comes in waves. This is our first Thanksgiving wave. :)

The Taylor Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. Patti and Jim graciously let the Taylor clam swarm upon their house for turkey and ham and all the fixin's. In order to feed all of us, Patti makes enough food to feed a small country.

This year was a special year. John's brother Frank and his family were down from Minnesota for a visit. We've seen Frank and Paula twice this year now...that just doesn't happen too often. It was a great time!

The Taylor Thanksgiving usually goes something like this:
1. Eat. A lot. Too much.
2. Sit around, watching TV, using toothpicks to keep your eyeballs open.
3. If you haven't gone into a Thanksgiving coma, you go to the movies. This year's movie was "The Blind Side." I heard it was great. My two heathen spawn did not allow me to go to the movies this year. Maybe I'll get to see it when it comes out on 3 years.
4. Come back to Patti and Jim's house to eat more food, scour the newspaper ads, get Christmas lists from everyone, and gear up for Black Friday shopping. I would have loved to stay for it, but by then we were in "Meltdown: Red Alert" status, and screaming children do not make for good holiday fun.
5. Get up very early for Black Friday shopping fun! Once more, I didn't get to participate. Sloane's motto of "I'll sleep when I'm dead" is getting old. Waaaay old.

Even though the kids were grumpy messes, John and I had much to be thankful for this year. Our two munchkins are blessings. Our two babies in heaven are bright shining stars in the sky, who look down over us and protect us. Our family is all happy and healthy. We have a roof over our heads, and food on our table. There is love in our hearts. I couldn't ask for more! Well...except maybe for more sleep. That'd be great.

Johnny posing with one of two turkeys consumed that day. Mmmm.
A small sampling of the Taylor Thanksgiving spread. We don't mess around.

Miss Sloane on her first Thankgiving. She loved Aunt Patti's sweet potatoes.

I see a future for Sam in the hotel industry as a doorman. He likes doors. A lot.

Grandma Lolly and Michelle

Paula and Dr. Michelle. :)

Me and Kathy on clean up duty. I'll gladly wash dishes if it means Thanksgiving is at someone else's house!
A small sampling of the Taylor army watching TV.

Miss Sloane couldn't escape the grasp of her Uncle Dave!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Birthday weekend fun!

The first weekend of November was John's birthday weekend, and we did it up good! Aunt Terri came to town to watch the kiddos, and John and I went out to dinner at Lidia's in Kansas City. Alone. By ourselves. This just doesn't happen that often. It happened to be First Fridays over in the crossroads art district, so it made our Friday night date even more special.

The next day, we all had a very special date at my friend Erin's farm. Erin had a big bonfire and barbecue, and it was a great time. The weather was perfect! It was also a milestone day for the Taylor family...Sam and Sloane's very first pony ride. I even got John on a horse, for the first time in 30 years. :)

It was a pretty perfect weekend, and what I hope was a pretty memorable birthday for John.

One boot Sloane.

Aunt Terri and Sloane

Sam and John on Gordo...Sam was not impressed, per usual. :)

Look! It's an urban cowboy!

Sweet Sam, enjoying the stock tank with the goldfish in it. A pasture full of ponies to ride, and my kid wants to play with the fish. Typical.

Me taking Sloane on her first pony ride. She loved it! There will be many more to come.

Hello Gordo! My name is Sloane. I am a diva.

Sloane's new cowboy boots from Great Grandma Lindsey. Notice the rhinestones..

Me and Johnny on our date night.

John enjoying a piece of his homemade German chocolate birthday cake. Zero Weight Watcher points, right?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Christmas Card Fiasco of 2009

Yeah, I'm one of those people. The ones that do the "Look at us! We're a big happy awesome family" holiday cards. Well...I should say I would like to be one of those people....and then reality hits.

Two years ago, I was settling in to my role as a new stay at home mother, so I nixed the holiday card that year. Last year, I was a crazy pregnant lady, and no matter what angle you shot me from, I still looked like a sense in scaring the family with that, so the card was axed again.

So, this year, I was bound and determined to get a lovely photo montage of the children playing happily. In my mind, I imagined our friends and loved ones opening their holiday card from us and "oohing" and "ahhing" over my beautiful family. I got the kids dressed in their KU outfits, and decided that our limestone KU Taylor rock would make a pretty sweet backdrop.

I forgot to mention that Sam is crazy about Jayhawks. Like, borderline psycho about them. He points to them no matter where they are, be it a flag adorning someone's driveway, or plastered across the chest of the creepy weirdo at the ghetto Wal-Mart. So, much to my dismay, I couldn't get Sam to stop pointing at the Jayhawk on the rock....scratch that idea.

Yep, Sam, that's a Jayhawk. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

So, then I decided against the themed card, and settled for "cute shots of the kids playing together." Here are some that I captured.

This is what a pretty typical day at our house looks like. Sam bugging Sloane, and Sloane bawling. Happy Holidays!

"Hey Sissy! Mommy got out the camera, so this seems like a great time to kick you in the face, and flash my "I didn't do it" eyes while I give you some sympathy snuggles." HAVE A BLESSED HOLIDAY SEASON, LOVE THE TAYLORS.

"Hey, he started it!"

"Hey Brotherman! What do the five fingers say to the face? SMACK!"

I guess where I'm going with this is....even with the best intentions, for the third year in a row I may end up putting the kibosh on the holiday cards. BUT, if you do get one...just know that it probably took a lot of bribery, threats, and time outs to make that card look nice. Or, I might just go the non-traditional route, and fill our holiday card with pictures of what real life in my house is like....and sign it "Happy Holidays from the Hot Mess Express." Parenting is about lowered expectations, isn't it?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Playing catch up

Just to get you all in the loop with things, I thought I'd give a quick run-down of what's going on with the kiddos, and with us.

Sloane turns 8 months old on November 15. I can't believe it. She's crawling, and pulling up, and standing alone, and doing all kinds of crazy daredevil stuff. She's opinionated, bossy, loud, and a bit of a diva. She must get that from John. ;)

Sam turned 2 August 8th. He's in speech therapy, but the kid knows his words...he's just having a hilllarrriouuss time watching mommy worry. Since starting speech therapy, he's learned that if he says a new word, mommy forgets about the dog food he's digging in, or that he just hit his sister on the head with a block, or that it was naptime 20 minutes ago. The kid is a quiet manipulator, who loves all kinds of cutlery and tableware. He also knows how to take apart child-proof door locks, turn the V-chip on the remote control, and get into the refrigerator.

John is still working at the newspaper...and I thank our lucky stars every day for that. He and I have been on Weight Watchers since April, and combined have lost close to the weight of a whole other human. We both feel great. I wrapped up my big humane society auction event at the beginning of October, and we're both getting our game faces on for the holiday season.

Here are a few pictures of the kids from the past few months. Enjoy!

Me and Sloane
Princess Diva Pants

Every day is a tutu day

The cutest looking puppy I know!

Halloween 2009- A puppy and a Jayhawk

Could you say no to this face? Believe me, it's hard.

Sam, mommy, and daddy...paying homage to the school that took a LOT of our money..and will probably rob us of more in the future.

Sam doing somersauts...his preferred method of transportation

Sunflower field, late August

2nd birthday, 2009
Sam marveling the awesome skills of his Martha Stewart mommy

Me, posing with my very first Cake Wreck.