Monthly Archives: December 2008

Cooties reign!

While watching a kids’ program featuring Cupid shooting someone with an arrow (picture the exploding hearts over the screen)

Baby A(disgustedly):  When do you get over the love part?

Baby C:  When someone breaks up with you.

I’m perfectly happy that girls are still out of the picture.  It gives me more time to train them!

My Grownup New Year’s List (with apologies to Amy Grant…)

  • Healing for dads (especially Meredith and Amy’s)
  • Strength for my friends as they walk emotionally twisting winding rocky roads
  • A year without a major surgery for Baby B (or even a minor one!)
  • No phone calls from the principal
  • That all my friends keep their jobs and my unemployed friends find one
  • That my willpower doesn’t disappear by SuperBowl Sunday
  • That I rediscover the power of God in my life to see beyond the circumstances, to stop obsessing about a future over which I have no control, and to live my life as He intended.

I did it!

I’m so proud of my Baby C! He asked for a Lego set for Christmas that had a ridiculously large number of pieces. There was much hesitation on our part, but in the end, it’s what he wanted. Five days later….atte1

Travis’ gift to us…

Opening presents this Christmas morning was a delight. There were a few surprises for the boys, an unexpected scanner/copier for me, some hedge clippers for Craig (and I got major points for noticing the old ones needed replacing).

One of the bigger hits was a handheld labeling machine that I got for Craig so that we could label all the extra power cords and USB cables to the equipment around the house. It has a full QWERTY keyboard and is a cinch to use.

Travis (Baby B) was particularly interested in playing with it Christmas morning. I was hesitant to let him handle it since it was Craig’s gift, and I was afraid that he would mess it up before we even had a chance to use it. (He is differently abled, and “mash all buttons until something happens” is his preferred way of exploring). Craig graciously said “Let him be”, and we moved on to cleaning up the room and getting ready for company.

Later that morning, Craig brought me a little white strip of paper, freshly cut off the labeling machine. “Look what he typed – all by himself. ”


Could there be any more perfect gift under a tree?

Happy Birthday to me (until 6:00, that is)

I’m a Christmas Eve baby.  Which means that I get to share my birthday with perhaps the most special Babe of all – the Baby Jesus.  My mom was so cool about my birthday.  We’d have a cake and a little get-together every year in the afternoon.  I’d have a Santa pinata and a Christmas tree cake.  My birthday presents would NOT be wrapped in red or green, and it was my birthday up until 6:00.  After that, Jesus could have His day.


Today was fun – The boys served me breakfast in bed (pancakes, bacon, clementine, orange juice and MOST importantly – coffee).  I received some lovely gifts, and then it was off to the races.  As a youngster, I never appreciated all that my mother had to do on this day.  Now, I’m racing around just to fit it all in – I can’t imagine having to plan a birthday party on top of it all.

I thought you might want to see what happened in my kitchen today.

Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake

This is for breakfast on the 26th, when we’ll have company.  I’ll wrap it tightly and hope it’ll keep.  I also made

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Cinnamon Rolls

Tea Ring/Stollen

Tea Ring/Stollen

The tea ring is a family tradition (it’s rising in the picture above – didn’t have time to wait for the rising and the baking and the icing)  We had a Swedish friend who made one for us every year.  Hers were works of art, and in 15 years of trying to replicate hers, I’ve never come close.  I am getting better at it, though, and my husband and father-in-law look forward to it every year.  This year, I added dried apricots.  I hope it doesn’t throw the flavor off.  I’ll let you know later how it came out.

No need to panic

I was sitting at my desk the other day and I overheard the boys playing with their legos in the next room.  They were playing wedding.  I thought that might be a bit girly until the conversation took a decided turn.

Baby A:  You have the bride?  That’s the girl, you know.

Baby C:  What’s the boy’s name that gets married?

Baby A:  It’s a grime.

Baby C:  Okay, let’s do the checklist.  Cupcakes, jelly beans, doughnuts?

Baby A:  Check.

Baby C:  Punch?

Baby A: Check.

Baby C:  Light sabers?  Grenades?  Machine guns?  (Where is this wedding occuring?  Tehran?)

Baby A:  Check.

15 minutes later, the bride and grime are dead, the wedding hall is blown to pieces and bits of lego bodies are strewn across the room.  The boys announce this is now a crime scene investigation and all causes of my concern have drifted, carried away on the sound of exploding bombs coming from beyond the bedroom door.

Christmas Blessings to a stranger…

I’m back from my trip, and it was GREAT! I got to see almost all of my family and spent a lot of quality time hanging out with my very cool parents. Went to Wal-Mart and the Ginger Jar (neat little gift shop – if you’re ever on Hwy 81 going through Duncan, be sure and stop). Went to Braum’s three times (the diet begins in January). Went to my home church and introduced the boys to the same ladies that taught me Sunday School and showed them the baptistry where my father baptized me. Baby A commented “Wow, Mom, there sure are a lot of historical facts about you in Oklahoma.”

One neat thing happened to me on the return trip at Exit 13 in Alma, Arkansas. I like to stop there because it’s convenient to a Braum’s AND a gas station, and it’s sort of a home exit for me since I attended grad school at the University of Arkansas, a mere 45 minutes up the road from there. Before they built the by-pass, it was the exit that I would take, so for nostalgic reasons, I like to stop.

I unloaded the boys and made them take a bathroom stop. I took Baby B in with me to the ladies’ room. (For those of you who don’t know, Baby B uses a wheelchair. He has cerebral palsy and autism, so he needs a little extra help with the bathroom.) Fortunately this time, I didn’t get any stares from anyone. There was a nice woman there who offered to hold the door for me and smiled at us.

She and her husband were leaving the restaurant at the same time that we were. I loaded the boys in the car and they were pulling past us as I was wheeling the chair to the back of the car to stow. The car stopped and the man got out. “May I help you load the chair?” Tears sprang to my eyes. This was an elderly man, and he was offering assistance while four men half his age had walked by with nary a word. I accepted, thanking God for sending someone my way. That chair was/is heavy, and I had to load and unload it probably three more times that day.

He was so gracious “I know you can do this by yourself, but I wanted to help.” I thanked him and asked for God’s blessings on his day. And thanked God for blessing mine by showing me how He keeps His eye on me and cares for me, even in the seemingly small ways.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, Mr. Arkansas Helper. You’ve certainly blessed mine.

Pilot Alert!

I’m typing this from a hotel in Little Rock. All the lights are out and I unplugged the clock so the children wouldn’t know I put them to bed at 7:00. Today was a long day, and all our rest stops were at Pilot Fuel Stops.

I love Pilot – they have the giant pump buckets of half and half (or french vanilla flavoring if you’re feeling skippy and don’t mind ingesting hydrogenated oils). And they have six different kinds of coffees to choose from. I recommend the house blend for all the caffeine without the astringency of the 100% Colombian.

We were supposed to stop and spend the night in Memphis, but I woke up at the crack of dawn this morning and hit the road before the sun decided to appear. I was in Memphis by 1:30, and the prospect of entertaining the boys in a small hotel room for the rest of the afternoon didn’t thrill me, so we pressed on.

Tomorrow’s the last day on the road. Since it’s our first morning in Central Time, I’m sure they’ll be up by 5, so I’m prepared to be on the road by 5:30. Oh well, at least I’ll beat rush hour…

On the road again

I’m packing our things for our great trek out west for a few days to visit the family in Oklahoma. It’s 22 hours of driving time and I’m the lone adult, so we’ll be breaking it up with a stop at the in-laws Tuesday night and Wednesday night in Memphis.

I have taken the boys on this trip annually since they were two. (Let me tell you, it was a lot of fun the year we were potty training. I-40 had a few bare patches along the road from little boys who told me at the last minute and the middle of nowhere that it was time to go. That was the trip that I thanked God that He chose to bless me with all boys and that all I had to do was open the door and tell them to aim for the side of the road.)

My friends all think I’m nuts to do this and remind me that there are such things as airplanes, but the call of the open road is too strong to ignore. There’s something about a wide stretch of highway, playing the road game (and hoping for a Zaxby’s or the Knoxville Zoo sign when we get to “X” or “Z”), watching hours of movies (the boys) and listening to hours of satellite radio (me), jumping up and down on the hotel bed, and stopping for ice cream and french fries at the first Braum’s that we hit (on the west side of Little Rock) no matter what time of day it is.

The added bonus is the family that waits at the end. It’s RARE that I am in my mother’s house at the holidays. I called today and Dad’s putting up the tree and stringing the lights. We’re making plans for fun things to do with the kids and fun girl time just with my mom. And I am anxious to see my beloved brothers who mean the world to me. No girl has been as blessed as I to have three awesome men to support and encourage her. It’s a treat to be with them, and we’re already planning a get-together on Saturday.

I’ll try and update, but if you don’t hear much, just assume that I’m making a gingerbread house or going to see the buffalo, and I’ll be back before too long.

Go ahead, make my day…

I got an email from a Sunday School class member this afternoon wanting to know my recipe for the breakfast casserole I took to our class brunch this morning. It has made my day to know that it brought joy to someone else. Cooking is one of my hobbies and something that is relaxing and fulfilling. So, in the hopes that you will enjoy it as much as Laura did…

Susan’s Breakfast Casserole

1 stick of butter
1 pkg. Simply Potatoes Shredded Hashed Browns
1 lb. breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, mexican mix, pizza blend – your call)
8 eggs
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Pour 1 stick of melted butter into a 9×13 pan and line the pan with the potatoes. Sprinkle the top of the potatoes with salt and pepper.  Bake this layer for 20 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and lower heat to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle cooked sausage on top of potatoes, then top with cheese. Beat together eggs and milk (season with salt and pepper) and pour over top. Pop back in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove, and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

This is a great bake-ahead if you have a busy week.  Make it on Sunday, and pop a piece in the microwave for 1-2 minutes for a hot breakfast even if you’re short on time.