Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Late Arrival

I wasn't on the ball "enough" for Branch's birthday. So, one of her gifts was quite late.


But, a kid likes a present whenever it comes, whether it is early, on time, or late!


She was wearing her pajamas when the box arrived. No, she did not want to change her clothes even though I was taking pictures!


As she tore into the box and and found the prize inside, she was ecstatic to find her very own new pair of suede chaps with a vest!


She couldn't hardly stand it. She had to get them on - NOW!


She is awfully proud of her new chaps! I can't wait to see her try them out with her jeans, boots and hat!! Watch out summer sheep... here she comes!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

I didn't TEACH her this one, did I?

I have been having this debate with myself. I want to share a funny little tidbit about my baby girl. I think it will make you grin at the least. I busted out laughing so hard I thought I'd pee my pants. Here lies the rub... I don't share the names of my treekids on this public space! So, I figured out a partial solution. I will give her another different name for this post only. For those of you who know our little Blossom, you will easily be able to see how her name fits and use her name in your hearing the fun in your head. Now, with all that squared away... 

We took a flight from Portland to Denver on the 17th of this month. When going through security, the agents will often ask children (who obviously have no photo id/drivers license) what their name is and where they are going. They all know their names (thank goodness!). Bud knew we were flying to Denver and then driving the rest of the way to Nebraska. The girls knew we were going to Nebraska. So, The agent gets to asking for this pertinent information. Blossom is last and hasn't been paying the slightest bit of attention to what is really going on. 

"And, what's your name?" asked the gate agent.

"Jan," said Blossom.

Bud says, "Her name is really Janessa."

The agent responds, "Oh, ok. And, where are you going today?"

Blossom says, "Oh, we are flying to Braska to see Wuke, Wogan, and who, Mommy?"

I say, "Family."

Blossom says, "Family in Braska."

Luckily the security agent was kind to our somewhat confused child and she was able to breeze through the metal detectors!

On our way to the airport in Denver on Monday for our return flight home, I thought it would be smart to prepare the treekids for this process so that they would help to make the process much more smooth. We got through Bud without a hitch, Branch had to be reminded of our destination... you know, HOME {itty bitty town name}!  Except, see, we don't really fly home. We don't have an airport in our tiny town.  So, she needed a bit of coaching as to our destination of "Big Metropolis" Portland, Oregon! Next up, Blossom.  So, I said to her, "What is your whole name?" She responded as calmly and sweetly as can be...

"Janessa Alliese Nordevetz Come Here"

They were not asked their names or destination in Denver... but, a funny story we now have!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cousin Fun

While our weekend trip was SHORT... it was loaded with fun for the cousins!! This is the treekids' ONLY girl cousin (out of a current total of 8 grandkids they have 1 girl cousin and 4 boys! Ah, but we are in luck... there is one more brother and he has NO children! Uh, but no hurry... he is in college still.) sitting with Branch. They both loved that they were wearing matching pigtails!! AND, who couldn't love THAT squinty-eyed smile!?! I recall all of the treekids making the same cutie face! Ahhhh, I'll have to dig up some old photos...

Blossom is only a little more than two years older than this cutie pie, so they played well together and talked little!

This wild group of hooligans cannot be said the same of! Ages from left to right, 8.5, 7.5, nearly 6, nearly 4 and LOUD, fast and furious was their game!! We took them into town to a rec center where they ran and ran and ran. Thank goodness for that, as it rained ALL DAY on Saturday!

Branch was lovin' on the youngest cousin, 9 months. She thinks real babies are just grand. I guess that "Baby Alive" from Christmas just isn't quite as alive as this one. She was so proud of herself feeding him his cereal. Too bad they don't live closer so she could try it out more often and find out that maybe, just maybe, it isn't "all that." But, she claims that she is definitely going to be a mommy when she gets to be big.

Grandma likes to buy matching or at least coordinating clothes for all of the kids for a nice picture whenever we are all together. It is a great idea. It often is insanity and we have a few pictures to remind us of that! I think it was 3 years ago that the photo shows only one kid out of six looking toward the camera... two are trying to squirm away and are crying, while the older sibling is trying to keep them in place. WHAT A HOOT. Ah, well... what to expect with little children off a routine and having fun!! 

The girls are cooperating nicely... ah, but oh, such nice socks, Blossom!! (She had a fever, was shivering and had a terrible cough. The picture session had to be fast. She was fading fast and had few smiles to share. But, she was willing to sit on a swing!!)

Always a squirrel or two in the bunch...

Not too bad of the treekids. Poor little Blossom just didn't have it in her to do a real smile.

Dad and daughter watching all those crazy cousins... can he convince her to go back into the mayhem? I think Grandma and Grandpa were getting ready to go and she chose to give hugs and kisses instead. Good choice, kiddo!

Pops was game for a bit of "Purshing" as Blossom calls it. It was too cold to go swinging through the air, so her coat had to be located! I suggested a whole set of CLOTHES, but she wanted to "match."

These two characters insisted on a "twisted head" picture... uh, well, ok. Here it is twisted heads. What makes boys be so strange?!?! I guess it is kind of two-headed dragon like. But, still. Where does this craziness come from? Dads, I suppose.

We all had a great time on our visit. We hope we get to hang out again soon. We love you all!!

Our Godson

This past weekend, we visited family in Nebraska in order to Celebrate the Receiving of First Holy Communion for our Godson (and nephew). We were so happy to be there and support him in his young Catholic journey.


Grandma made a lovely cake for the brunch after Mass.  This little big boy is quite the sports fan and football happens to be a favorite. So, Grandma made a "Touchdown for Jesus" cake. I wondered where the "Touchdown Jesus" was at the end of the goalposts like at Notre Dam, but I am not so well versed in football of any kind, so this cake looked spiffy to me! I am told that a very similar (if not identical) cake was made for this First Communicant's father... MANY moons ago.


Congratulations, big guy and may Jesus continually bless and guide you. We love you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Great Updates of Eight Await

I was tagged for this meme by Regina and was glad, since I wasn't into writing something today!

8 Things I am looking forward to:
  1. May - Pops and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary!
  2. June - A trip to the Tetons - hopefully a bit of camping or cabining with my brothers-in-law and their families. 
  3. July - Pops' grandparents are scheduled to come for a visit
  4. August - Our county fair
  5. September - College football Saturdays begin. I couldn't care less about the football, but Saturday tailgating at home with brats for breakfast is on my mind!!
  6. October - Fall colors... my favorite!
  7. November - Christmas Shopping completed before "black Friday"!! (Can you see my fingers are crossed?)
  8. December - the end of a VERY hectic 2009!

8 Things I did yesterday:
  1. Washed, dried, folded and put away laundry
  2. Talked to my mom on the phone
  3. Read to Blossom at the library
  4. Took Branch to T-ball practice and Bud to baseball practice
  5. Stressed over the t-ball/rookies baseball game schedule as I recorded it on my calendar
  6. Ate dinner with the treekids at a local eatery since our water was off
  7. Fell asleep waiting for Pops to get home from his day trip to Seattle
  8. Flipped the mattress and remade the bed once Pops got home

8 Things I wish I could do:
  1. Become and STAY organized
  2. Purge stuff (adult and kid stuff alike) lots of stuff
  3. Stay motivated on the treadmill/exercise plan
  4. Bake delicious treats that are "healthy" but REALLY taste good
  5. Feel a high level of energy all day every day
  6. Keep plants alive
  7. Own a private jet in order to jet set across the country visiting friends and family
  8. Time travel and be able to take other people with me

8 Shows I Watch
New episodes only. I don't care for the reruns unless specified.
  1. Dancing With the Stars - ABC
  2. Grey's Anatomy - ABC
  3. Private Practice -ABC
  4. Brother's and Sisters -ABC
  5. Samantha, Who? -ABC
  6. Good Eats with Alton Brown - Food Network
  7. Whose Line is it Anyway? - ABC Family (reruns)
  8. What Happened to... Men in Trees, October Road, Cashmere Mafia???

8 People I tag: 
Since I believe that many have already been tagged... here is who I am tagging:
  1. You have a blog or some public place to record your thoughts
  2. You have not yet been tagged for this meme
  3. You have bloggers block and need an idea for one of your next posts
  4. You have learned to read and write
  5. You have or have had parents
  6. You have blonde, black, brown, red, white, gray or no hair (or a mix of any of these)
  7. You have a home on Earth
  8. You have read all the way to the bottom of this
Let me know if YOU were any of these 8 people I tagged!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Today the weather is great. We are in the 70s this afternoon and the treekids are outside exploring God's amazing creation. Uh, and they are complaining because the city has turned off the water in our neighborhood and they have apparently never experienced a time where we didn't have water on demand 24/7. Hmmm... I think perhaps today is as good a day as any to explain that some people just don't have clean water in their homes to drink and bathe with... And, THAT concludes today's Earth Day presentation. Thanks and stay tuned for Family Circus... it's my favorite comic!!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We're home!

We arrived home yesterday to 87 degrees! What a treat after worrying about travel versus the snow. Warm sunshine and clear skies... beautiful!

This kind of weather gets me in the mood to get organized a bit. Today, I have been working in my laundry room re-organizing my cupboards. Next stop kitchen cupboards, a closet here or there and then finally the dreaded garage.

Since we are currently on spring/summer break around here for school I can work at it without trying to also make sure that all the schoolwork gets done! It is official... Bud has completed the planned 1st grade work and Branch has completed all of her Kindergarten work. It feels great to be finished for a while - especially with the great weather! We'll start up 1st and 2nd grade soon... we won't wait until fall; we are on the go too often to take all of our time off in the summer!! 

Well, I'm off to finish that laundry room and work on some of the other areas as well. What is keeping you busy on these beautiful spring days?!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pinch me

We are on our way to a family gathering in western Nebraska to celebrate of our Godson's 1st Holy Communion. We will be flying into Denver International Airport - a mere 2.5 hour drive to nowhere. But, that is half way to everywhere, you know.

Anyway, we are ready to go. We are packed. We are ticketed. We have photo ID (after a small detour to acquire it). We have quart sized bags containing bottles and tubes of less than 3 oz. in quantity. We are prepared. 

Have you seen the latest weather forecast? Denver is NOT ready for us. According to the National Weather Service, the "urban corridor" is expecting 10 to 24 inches of snow. Hmmmmm.

I must be dreaming. Didn't someone say that today is APRIL 17th?!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Too Big

The big kids had t-ball and baseball practice yesterday. The field is right next to a playground that Blossom loves to use while practice goes on and on and on. I bring a lawn chair and sit between the field and the playground so I can keep an eye on everyone. She runs and plays, picks flowers for me, hangs like a monkey - all things that growing kids like to do at the playground! But, my favorite is when she slows down a bit like she did yesterday. 
She came over and climbed up in my lap and sighed, "This is so fun, Mommy." 

I smiled and gave her a big squeeze. "I am glad you like it! Do YOU want to play t-ball later this spring?" 

She turned and looked at me with the most confused look on her face. "I don't want to play t-ball." 

"Oh, you don't? Well, maybe when you get bigger?" 


I sat there a minute and then said, "Well, is there something that you do want to play now or maybe when you get a little bigger?" 

She hardly missed a beat and said, "I just like to play with my Polly Pockets at home, Mommy." Then she was off like a rocket to pick me some more weeds flowers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Apron & Tea Time

Remember that pretty little apron that I made and sent off a few weeks ago? Well, the other end of the swap has come through! Branch has received her apron and assorted tea time necessities!

Isn't it cute? It looks like a slice of watermelon to me! Pink flesh, green rind and a bit of creamy white between the two!

A green tea cup and saucer shaped like hearts...

A pouch of shiny lip gloss in delicious flavors...

And mostly, a very happy little girl who got to open a package with her own lovely little apron!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter!

We had company visiting for Easter this year. It was fun to have visitors and we have been missing these friends who moved from our area to Seattle last summer. So, it was great to have them here!


An outdoor Easter egg hunt was fun for the kids right after the group pictures were taken!

Regina's family brought some funny "confetti eggs" that is a tradition for their family. Before the pictures, she went and hid the confetti eggs outside with the Easter Bunny eggs. These are dyed egg shells filled with paper confetti and sealed with a piece of tissue paper. When they found a confetti egg, they smashed it on someone's head. I do not fully understand this tradition... but, everyone thought it was fun - despite the fact that they can actually hurt!

The bigger kids did a great job of helping the younger kids find a few eggs. Everyone got plenty of plastic eggs filled with chocolates and assorted candies.


Even the littlest egg hunter found something fun... the confetti sprinkles!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday, Branch!

This is year 3 for Hello Kitty Birthday with Branch. So, her love of the character continues on! I have to say that she now is the proud owner of all things Hello Kitty... or is she?!?

I had seen these Hello Kitty Cakepops over at Bakerella and decided that I needed to try to make them for our feline fiend this year. The attempt was made and I had just enough for each kid. I don't think I will be making HK Pops again. I will stick with something more simple. Cute, but time consuming!


Since I spent so much time on those cakepops, there was very little time for a actual birthday cake with candles! So, I raided Branch's Hello Kitty toy selection and found these lovely little cake toppers! Woooo Hooo!  Sent them through the wash and aren't they cute as can be!

We had her party at the park with a total of five families for a total of 10 adults and 20 children!!  HOLY COW! We kind of took over all the park equipment! Branch had a great time with some of her favorite west coast friends.

She was so excited and loved opening presents! Who wouldn't?!!

Most of the dads stayed busy at the swings pushing kids and trying to keep other kids from getting smacked by the swingers!  We had a great time and were happy that our friends could join us in celebrating Branch's 6th birthday!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Good Cop. Bad Cop.

I've been at it again.

I can't help myself, though. I don't have a better plan.

Here's how it went down.

Good Cop

"Hey, monkeys!! Go put your stuff away."

"Sure, mom!" And then they'd run off to their room and make about a five minute attempt at the disasters that they called their rooms. If only they only had just five minutes worth of clean up to do! I assume the best of those monkeys and thought that they had done a fair amount of the job, even if it wasn't complete. Well, at bedtime, I discovered the rest of the story. They had spent the rest of the time creating MORE mess. Lovely. We are having company over this weekend. What are they thinking?!?!

So, the next morning the sun rose on the new day and I had high hopes that they would want to live in a calm place. So, we worked at putting away some laundry together and I left them to finish putting away their things and to put the scraps of paper and assorted junk into the trash can. I was busy tidying this or that and making that for lunch and then dinner. I got busy in my day of doing at home things. Bedtime rolled around and the kids got ready for bed and Pops and I came upstairs to say prayers with them and to tuck them in for the night. I should be praying every night that these kids eventually decide that putting things away is easier than tripping over them and hurting their toes, but I digress. Obviously, it was still a mess.


Next day.

Bad Cop


"What, mom?"

"Today, those rooms are going to be cleaned. If you don't get them cleaned up before the timer goes off, I will come up and help you. However, my help will involve a very large black trash bag and I will not preserve much. I am setting the timer for 40 minutes. Go."

A chorus followed.

"Aah, mom."
"Don't throw away my things!"
"That's mean."
"I don't like you to be a mean mommy."
"Can't you just help us get it done?"

"I will help you in 38 minutes with my black trash bag. I have been Mrs. Nice Mom for the past two whole days, and the two before that. I am tired of your messy rooms. Yes, I will help you when the buzzer goes off. Until then, I would suggest you start putting your things away."

That 40 minutes went rather quickly and I went out in the garage to get a couple black lawn and leaf trash bags. I went upstairs to find Bud and Blossom wrestling on the floor over some toy in Bud's room and Branch busily working in her room putting away all of her prized possessions. I went into Bud's room and began putting anything that I found that was out of its place into my trash bag. That was met with some extreme disgust. Most of what was laying around in Bud's room was books. He is always reading - but he fails to get them back on the bookshelf 99 times out of 100. I then went into the girls' room and found Branch still busy and Blossom sitting in a chair facing the corner. Weird. We don't have a "naughty chair" or a "time out" chair or anything like that. But, she was looking at a book and was leaving al the tidying up to her big sister (like usual). So, I started taking her things first to be put into my bag. Oh, the wails that followed! So, instead of now trying to race me to get things out of my way, she just wails and leaves. So, I continue. Branch became overtly concerned about the safety of her precious items. I reminded her that I hadn't yet gotten to her side of the room, and that she should just be faster than me.

Good Cop

In the end of MY cleaning (which took me about 10 minutes) I sat on the couch in the loft and asked all the kids to come and stand in front of me. I told them how disappointed I was. Then I said that I was proud of Branch for working on cleaning up even when her siblings were not helping. So, I made her an offer. I told her that if she could tell me anything that was in my trash bag that she could name without looking I would give back to her. She recalled that I had a blanket and a couple books of hers. She was right and I dug them out of the bag. Then, I told her that I was REALLY proud of her willingness to help today. I told her that I knew that she is usually the one who is doing the cleaning when I ask her to. So, I gave her a little bit of power. I told her that she could choose to help Bud and Blossom get their items out of my bag for them to put away if she wanted to. She had the option of just leaving it how it was, or she could make requests of me on their behalf to have things removed from their impending doom. I was only slightly surprised to see just how willing she was to help Bud and Blossom get their books, clothes and toys out of the trash bag. There was still a half bag of trash to toss when things were all said and done. 

I have a tidy home, for now. I hope to be done with Good Cop/Bad Cop. What strategies do you all use to find your home being tidy again? I want a new plan. I'll leave bad cop duties to Pops.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Wild Ride

Saturday afternoon, Pops told the Treekids that we would be going to a rodeo later in the day. Branch was super excited and asked if she would get to finally try mutton bustin'. I had called the rodeo organizers a few days earlier and got her on a waiting list for riding a sheep!! So, she asked a few questions about how to stay on, and Pops volunteered himself for mutton bustin' practice!! What a GREAT dad!

They got all squared up, and away they went with the fun. I could barely contain myself.

It was one of the funniest sights. YOU imagine your own husband romping around in the front yard on his hands and knees trying to brush off your kids!

She'd fall off...

But, she kept getting back on!

She hung onto her rope like her life depended on it!

Bud decided that he would like a go. But, he wanted to ride a bull. Nice horns, Pops!

This bull spun (I wish this photo had some bull snot or spit flinging - that would make for a perfect spinning shot. Somehow, Pops the Bull was able to contain himself.)

and kicked and bucked

until that skilled bull rider fell off.

All the fun and games were leading up to this moment at the rodeo. Branch was ready and she knew that she could stay on a sheep for a long long time.

Her sheep took off running and Branch and "#7" left a bunch of other kids spitting dirt out of their mouths behind them. She held on tight and went around the arena for more than an 8 second ride. At the end there was a sheep incident, where another couple sheep were a bit too close for comfort and they were kicking dirt up into her face. She had a nice soft landing...

in the dirt. Branch got up and brushed herself off like a champ and walked over to Pops who gave her a pat on the back and told her what a great job she did! She was the last girl still riding! Only 2 little boys rode a bit longer than her.

She walked over to the announcer with some other kids for her bag of peanuts.

AND a trophy! She is ready for this summer when the mutton bustin' is one kid at a time, instead of the mass chaos of all kids and sheep riding all at once! She is sure she'll stay on long enough to win a buckle this summer. 

I am sure that a daytime, outdoor, summer rodeo will offer better lighting for my picture taking!! We'll keep ya posted about her rodeo circuit!