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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Comedy of Errors

We've had a fun Christmas so far (pictures to follow eventually). Our families are fabulously generous, and we've loved spending time with Aunt Brandi and her family and my friend Kenzie. However, our break has not been without some humorous complications. Here are some of the highlights.

As soon as we got out of school, we hit the road for Wichita. The trip was uneventful, until I missed the turn for Towne East. As I was flipping around, I heard a sound from the back seat...Emilia puking all over her car seat and coat. We cleaned up the car seat as best we could, but it smelled like puke the rest of the trip (and made her smell like puke every time she sat in it). We had to buy Emilia a new coat, too. Luckily I found a cute and reasonably-priced one at Dillards, which Emilia fell in love with and refused to remove. And the car seat cover probably needed to washed anyway.

On the way home from Wichita, Emilia fell asleep before we were even out of town. She slept all the way to Montezuma, which was fabulous. But Ella needed a bathroom stop in Greensburg. So I dropped Ella and Ryan off at the convenience store and then drove around town to keep Emilia asleep. (By the way, there are some incredible new homes in Greensburg, and some incredibly huge potholes. Not so great when you're trying to keep a baby asleep.) Luckily Emilia stayed asleep. I picked Ryan and Ella back up, and I thought I gave Ella plenty of time to get herself arranged. But I had forgotten what a slowpoke she can be. I started to pull out of the parking lot, only to realize that not only had Ella not gotten herself buckled in, she hadn't even closed the car door. I know, I know, I should have looked, but I didn't. So Ella tried to reach for the door to close it, and her unbuckled booster seat began to tip. I slammed on the brakes and narrowly averted a parking lot spill. Good times.

Monday we went to Rolla for Chandler's birthday party, and Tuesday Trena took family pictures of the Burrows clan. It went remarkably well for us being such a huge group, and included some strange combinations of children posing together....Ella and Preston together; Ella, Preston, Ashton, and Anya together; and so on. There are many camera hogs in our family. I'll post a link when Trena gets them uploaded.

We had planned to go over to Rolla on Christmas Eve, but all the meteorologists were forecasting blizzard conditions with eight inches of snow, so we wound up going over a day early. We packed up the girls' snowsuits and prepared to be snowed in. My parents, who had planned on joining us in Rolla for Christmas, stayed home. And we got absolutely no snow. None at all. Nada. Zip. Zero.

Before we left for Rolla, I ran Emilia to the clinic because her snotty nose just wasn't clearing up. They put her on an antibiotic, which cleared up the snotty nose immediately, but also led to tremendous diarrhea and many ruined pairs of tights. And a path of stains on the family room carpet. And diaper rash.

On the Tuesday after Christmas, we went to Garden City with Brandi and the girls and Kenzie. Ella had a dentist appointment, and we did some shopping. The good news: Ella didn't have any cavities, and the dentist said she was doing a good job keeping her teeth clean. The bad news: she left her new purse (which held her new Nintendo DS and her digital camera) at the dentist's office. Had we known she had her DS and camera in the bag, it wouldn't have left the car, but we didn't know. That's how things go. We didn't realize the purse was missing until we got home that evening, and it was too late to call all the places we'd been and track it down. Luckily the dental hygienist had found the purse and was holding it for us. So Ryan made a flying trip back to Garden the next day to pick it up.

While we were Garden, we also went to Sam's Club for diapers and wipes. I found some sheepskin boots and was trying to sort through the mess of sizes when Ryan called from the front of the store, ready to check out. So I gave up on finding my size and took the girls to the snack bar while Ryan checked out. I didn't realize I had set an empty box of boots on the top of the cart while I was sorting through all the boots, and Ryan didn't realize the box was empty, he just thought I was buying a pair of boots, so we paid $34 for an empty box. Luckily we were able to return the box and get our money back, on yet another trip to Garden.

It's always interesting with us. Everything has turned out all right, but I think we'll be ready to return to some semblance of normalcy when this break is over.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Butterscotch sauce

I made this yummy sauce the other night--easy and delicious. It would be good on ice cream, but I pretty much ate it straight: first warm out of the saucepan, and then the next day, cold from the fridge. It reminds me of salted caramel, which is one of my obsessions.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nutcracker pic

Here's a link to a picture of Ella in her candy cane costume for the Nutcracker.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Santa Visit

Santa visited the Community Building this morning. Ella concluded that he was another fake Santa, but she doesn't seem to know who he was. Emilia sat with Ella to visit with Santa, but she didn't want to sit by herself. No surprise there. Once she discovered Santa's bowl of candy canes, she was willing to get close, though.

We've had a little trouble with Ella's Christmas wish list. The first time she saw Santa in Hays, she asked for a Nintendo DS, so Santa's elves got right on that. Last week, she brought home a letter to Santa she had written in school asking for a Wii and a TV in her room. This kind of annoyed me because I had tried to talk her into a Wii earlier (because I want one), and she'd turned her nose up at the idea. And the elves had already taken care of the DS. (Santa's elves like Amazon.) So we had a talk about how Santa won't bring presents that parents don't approve of (because we're just not TV in the bedroom people). Then the other night, she started talking asking for a Loving Family Grand Dollhouse, so we had a talk about how Santa's elves might have already started processing her first request. It must have worked because she told her friend Addison that you only have one chance with Santa. He gets you the first thing you ask for, and you can't change your mind. And she asked Santa for the Nintendo DS today. (Except today she said DSi...Santa's elves are hoping she doesn't really know the difference between DS and DSi. The elves sure don't, except that the DS is about $40 cheaper. And the DS is already wrapped.)

If you want to see more pictures from the Santa visit, I have a bunch posted on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another hat

Here's Emilia in Ron Smith's work hat. She didn't want to take this hat off, either.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Emilia's Hat

When I bought this hat in Guymon at the craft fair, I didn't think Emilia would really wear it. It matches her coat perfectly, and it was so stinkin' cute I just had to have it, but I really figured Emilia would refuse to wear it. How wrong I was. She loves this hat. She refuses to take this hat off. She brings me this hat and wants me to put it on her if she's not wearing it. She even wants to sleep with it sometimes. That's our stylin' baby.

Dancing Baby

Let me apologize for the quality of this video--I have absolutely no idea how to edit videos, so it's sideways, and there's several seconds of Emilia just standing there. And there's some crazy camera work going on. But if you bear with me and watch, you can see Emilia's fabulous dance moves. And Ryan's if you watch carefully. Enjoy!

Winter Weather

Well, we never made it to Ella's second performance of the Nutcracker. It started getting icy, and Ella was tired, so we just stayed home. There were several accidents in the area, so I think we made the right decision.

Ava came over last night, and she and Ella played in the snow. There wasn't a lot of snow, but they got bundled up in snow suits and (45 minutes later), they headed outside. First they jumped on the trampoline. Emilia and I watched out the window for a little while, but it made Emilia mad (she wishes she were one of the big girls) and they way they were sliding around scared the pants off of me, so we just pretended we didn't know what they were doing. Ignorance is bliss, right? They played in the deeper snow in the ally until our neighbor's dog scared them. Then they went Christmas caroling around the neighborhood, carrying camping lanterns to light the way. Here they are warming up afterward with hot vanilla soymilk and chili.

And here's a picture of ornery Emilia enjoying her supper.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Nutcracker

Ella's first performance of The Nutcracker was last night. She was super nervous (like complete and total melt-down nervous), but she did a great job. She and Dettra Crawford's daughter Kynna were the little enforcers--they kept shushing the other girls. When their scene was over, the line leader who was supposed to lead them off stage just didn't go, and so the whole group stayed on stage. So Mrs. G cued them again, and they all danced to the other side of the stage, but still didn't leave. So then the girl playing Clara got up and tried to usher them out, which still didn't work. Finally, Clara got them convinced it was time to leave, and they all left. Finally. It was pretty cute.

Ashton and Preston came over with Grandma and Grandpa, and they did a good job sitting still and watching the show. Preston made a list of the dancers he thought were cute. He also teased Ella by calling her "Curly," which makes her mad, but she secretly likes.

I was really proud of Ella. She did a good job dancing, and she is by far one of the best behaved little girls. Some of those girls are wild!

We have another performance this afternoon. I hope Ella has all the jitters worked out!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

iPod Love

Ella's Christmas Concert

Love in a Can

She never would take a bottle. But a can of whipped cream? Now, that's a different story.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pioneer Woman Cookbook and T-Shirt Giveaway

The Provident Woman is hosting a giveaway for a signed Pioneer Woman cookbook and a T-shirt!

Black Friday

Emilia plots out her Black Friday plan of attack.

Until this year, I've left the early-morning Black Friday madness to Ryan and his family. We've been in Satanta or Rolla for the past few Thanksgivings, which means to really get the Black Friday deals, you don't have to just get up early--you have to get up ungodly bat-poop crazy early. And since I hate crowds and I hate Wal-Mart, it seemed best just to send Ryan out while I stayed home with kiddos.

But this year we were in Hays, and there was a certain item (which shall remain nameless because Ella does occasionally read this blog) that was on sale at Wal-Mart. So I drug myself out of bed and arrived at Wally at 4:45. Driving out to Wal-Mart was a truly bazaar experience, like something out of a science fiction movie. Car after car after car, all headed to one location: the Wal-Mart parking lot. It was like a pilgrimage to Mecca. I was lucky enough to find a spot in the parking lot, but most people were parking on the gravel and grass beyond the actual lot.

I planned to get a cart, but all of the carts were gone by the time I made it in the door. This was, however, serendipitous, because it allowed me to move much more freely through the crowded aisles.

I made my way back to electronics and found an enormous swarm of people. "What's this crowd for?" I asked a girl in the crowd.

She told me, and by some chance, she also knew where the item I was looking for was located. So I made my way over to the paint counter to get in line. But there was no line. I finally found a Wal-Mart worker to ask.

"Oh, those? We sold out of them a long time ago."

Nice. I wondered why people were in line with cartloads of stuff waiting to check out when I walked in the store 15 minutes before the sale technically started. Maybe that helped avoid mob chaos and tramplings and whatnot, and I probably still wouldn't gave gotten what I wanted, but I was still seriously annoyed. So I turned and walked out of the store (okay, maneuvered my way through crowds of overflowing shopping carts and shoppers in pajamas). So I guess it didn't really matter whether or not I got a shopping cart since I didn't even buy anything. An article in the newspaper that evening quoted people who had gotten in line for laptops at midnight. Sorry. I'm not willing to do that to save $30. My sleep is worth more than that.

Luckily, The Mall was open. I shopped at JC Penney's, which had opened at 4, until the other stores opened at 6. I found some pretty good deals, and best of all, was able to shop without two munchkins harassing me. That was the best part of all. That and the fact that after I left The Mall, the Starbucks at Gutierrez's opened just as I pulled in the parking lot. I really needed that late.

My Black Friday shopping experience wasn't that bad. But I'm never stepping foot in Wal-Mart on Black Friday again.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Popcorn Love

Ella and Emilia shared popcorn at Grandma and Grandpa's house. By "share," I mean that Emilia helped herself to Ella's popcorn, and there wasn't much Ella could do to stop her. Benny enjoined the popcorn the girls dropped on the floor. A good time was had by all.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Another giveaway

Mosey in over here to I Should Be Folding Laundry to enter a giveaway for a gift certificate to Tiny Prints.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Breakfast with (a fake) Santa

The Mall in Hays sponsored a breakfast with Santa Saturday morning, so I took the girls out. While we were waiting in line, Santa entered the room. Ella took one look at him and announced, "That's a fake Santa!" I managed to quiet her down with the whole "Santa has many helpers" line, and by the time Santa made it around to our table, she had apparently gotten over her indignation enough to talk to him. On the car ride back to Grandma's house, I quizzed her about fake Santa versus real Santa.

"What made you think that Santa was a fake?" I asked, expecting her to point out that the mall Santa was a little on the thin side. She's used to the Jeremy Hazen, the Satanta football coach, as Santa, and he's a pretty burly guy.

"His voice was all wrong," she replied.

"What does Santa's voice sound like?"

"Not like that. Besides, his beard didn't meet his hair."

I hadn't noticed that. "So is the Santa you see in Satanta the real Santa?" I asked.

Moment for reflection. "Nope."

"Have you ever seen the real Santa?"

Silence again. "I don't think so."

"So how do you know this wasn't the real Santa?"

"Because, Mommy, his beard was all wrong."

"So do you think this Santa will be able to tell the real Santa what you want for Christmas?"

"Yes, he'll send the real Santa a letter."

Emilia had been having a very grouchy morning, so I was a little worried about taking her out in public, but she loved it. There was a big open area between the food line and the seating, so she ran around and danced to the Christmas music. She showed off and flirted with all kinds of people. She was curious about Santa, but I didn't even attempt to get her too close. Here you can see her watching Ella talk to Santa.

I really wasn't expecting quality food (after all, it was free), but the pancakes were yummy. Here's Ella attacking hers like a wild woman.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When you're one year old...

Who needs toys when you can play under a table?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Emilia's First Ponytail

Ava gave Emilia her first ponytail this weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lisa Leonard Giveaway

Tsh over at Simple Mom is giving away three $50 giftcards to Lisa Leonard Designs. Click on over here to enter the giveaway. Lisa's jewelry is simple and beautiful. If you're looking for a Christmas gift for someone special (like, for example, me), this necklace is especially nice. You should also check out Lisa's blog.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Little bakers

Helping bake Daddy's birthday cake is fun...

but the best part ....

is eating...

(and fighting over)....

the batter.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An easy little dish

Last night, I concocted a simple side dish to go along with my spaghetti. I combined about half a can of white cannellini beans (rinsed and drained) with a chopped up roasted red pepper from a jar, a few chopped marinated artichoke hearts (from a jar), and several chopped up Kalamata olives. I added a little basil and warmed it up in the microwave.

I ate it plain, but I think this would also be good over pasta; in a pita as a sandwich filling; as a dip with pita or bagel chips; or as a bruschetta topping. I think feta cheese would also go well with it, but I didn't have any feta on hand.

Nothing fancy, a little salty...just like I like it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

World Peace Cookies

I gave this recipe for World Peace Cookies a try today. I was intrigued by it because it combines two of my greatest loves, salt and chocolate, and I'd have to say it's a keeper. The cookies are deep and chocolatey, with the sea salt providing a bit of both surprise and crunch. They are incredibly easy to make; I dashed home at lunch to whip up the dough, and after school I sliced and baked the cookies with Emilia on my hip. (For this reason, my cookies aren't as perfectly symmetrical as the ones in the picture, but they still look pretty good. At least I think they do.) Now, do I think eating these cookies every day will lead to world peace? No. But they're a quick and easy chocolate treat that I'll probably make again.

Speaking of salt and chocolate, you should check out this blog, Salt and Chocolate. I have no idea who this person is, but I enjoy following her.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Snot-nosed baby

Poor Emilia has had a terribly snotty nose the past few days. This morning she seemed congested, so I used some saline drops to clear out her nose. It worked, as you can see from the picture.

Well, that's one way to keep them quiet

Hunter, Ashton, and Ella.

Silly Baby

Here are some funny things Emilia has done lately:

She had a great time dancing at Chris King's surprise birthday party. She also enjoyed trying to get into beer coolers and removing her shirt while dancing. The girl has some moves.

While we were in a children's clothing store, she discovered a mannequin that was about her size. She ran over to it, patted it on the head, and gave it a hug. She wanted to drag it around the store, but we wouldn't let her.

She loves to throw things away, like sippy cups, spoons, toothbrushes, medicine cups, and anything else she can get her hands on.

While I was getting dressed this morning, she ran out of the bedroom and into the bathroom where Ella was bathing, and before I could stop her, she threw Ella's panties in the toilet.

Oh, that baby. No wonder we can't keep the house clean!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Big girl pics

Trena took pictures of Ella tonight. You can go here to see them. My favorites are 6, 7,8,18, and 19. She looks so grown up!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ella Has Contacts!

(Or, How I Spent Two and Half Hours at the Eye Doctor's Office and Nearly Killed My Daughter)

Ella had an appointment with the eye doctor this morning. As is her custom at such appointments, she asked, "When will I be old enough to get contacts?" This time, Dr. Bowling thought about it and said, "Well, you might be ready now." He explained that contacts would actually correct her vision better than her glasses, and if she was motivated, we could give it a try.

So off we went to the contacts room. They didn't have her exact prescription, but they had some that were close enough for her to try while the right ones come in. Now, I thought they would just have me take care of putting in and taking out the contacts, but no, Dr. Bowling wanted Ella to learn how to do that herself.

So Christine, the contacts technician, put the contacts in the first time (which caused some short-lived drama, but Ella soon recovered). Then Christine tried to get Ella to take the contacts out herself. Uh, no. Not happening. Ella just couldn't figure it out. I really think she just doesn't have the coordination for it yet.

Then Ella got frustrated. And when Ella gets frustrated, well, it's not pretty. It was a major-league meltdown, the type she usually reserves for the dentist's office. Crying, screaming, yelling. All the good stuff. Lots of fun.

Luckily Brandee's sister is also an optometrist in the practice we go to. She stepped in and was able to calm Ella down a little, but more importantly, get Dr. Bowling talked into to allowing me to put in and remove the contacts. Then we just had to get Ella convinced of that. We did...eventually. By the time Christine decided we knew what we doing enough to set us loose, we'd spent two and a half hours in the office.

On the one hand, I understand Ella's frustration. Learning to put in and remove contacts is tricky. It's a strange feeling to put something on your eye. And I really think that expecting a seven year old to learn how to do it herself before she even gets used to wearing contacts in unreasonable. (And if that's the expectation the doctor has, he shouldn't fit kids with contacts until they're older.)

On the other hand, Ella's behavior was way over the top. She became so emotional there was no way she could learn to do anything. We're talking drama of epic proportions--blaming everyone in the world for her difficulties, insisting that blankie be draped around her neck while she tried to remove the contacts, and closing her eyes and refusing to open them. If she would have just calmed down and let me talk to her and the doctor, we probably could have been done an hour earlier. (And saved me a heck of a lot of embarrassment.)

But we made it through. She's seems okay with me inserting and removing the lenses, and she did okay wearing them to school this afternoon. She's only supposed to wear them for a few hours at a time for the first few days and then slowly build up to wearing them all day. Hopefully she and I will both survive the experience.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Ella had fun trick or treating. Emilia, not so much. She didn't really have a great day on Halloween, starting out with her photo shoot grouchiness. She had two short naps, but no long one, and when Emilia gets overly tired, she gets hyper. While we were trick or treating, she didn't really want me to hold her, but she didn't want to walk where I wanted her to. She kept sitting down in the middle of the street to play with rocks. Whenever I tried to carry her, she squirmed and wriggled and screamed bloody murder. I finally took her home early and sent Ella with the Howies and the Goods.

Emilia also didn't cooperate when we tried to have a babysitter watch her during our Halloween party. Emilia wouldn't have anything to do with the high school girl we hired to babysit, so poor Alex got to lug Emilia (all 26 pounds) around all night. We so owe Alex.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

One year pics

Trena took pictures of an incredibly uncooperative Emilia this morning. I don't know how Trena manages to get good pictures of a grumpy baby, but she somehow does. You can go here to see them. I think this one might be my favorite. Or maybe this one. I can't decide.

School Halloween Party