Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Jammy Dream Come True
There are few material things in this world that I love more than Christmas jammies! I buy them at the first of December and let Samuel & Roo wear them all month long! While at Freddy's tonight I saw Carter's Christmas jammies for 50% off! I bought a 4T and 2T for next year and get out: they are matching!! Adding to my sheer joy, when I got to the counter they were an additional 25% off and and ended up being only $5 each! How flippin' sweet is that? So not only will I get to torture my children with pictures of them in matching Christmas jammies for years and years to come but I even got them for a bargain. I've also learned a new trick: always buy next year's Christmas jammies during this year's after-Christmas sale. Genius. You couldn't beat this with a stick!

I proudly give you: Christmas Jammies '09

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hey Samuel, 1973 called and they would like their bathrobe back...

I'm going to wear this thing all the time, move to Cali, surround myself with some hot babes (besides Mommy) and have my friends call me, "Hef". And once I can see over the steering wheel, I am so getting a convertible.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Grandma Emily's Caramel Corn -- WW points : 5 bazillion
6 quarts popped popcorn (yes, quarts!)
1 c butter or margarine (I even get by using Brummel & Brown whipped yogurt)
2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c corn syrup
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 t vanilla

Find something big enough to put your popcorn in; a roasting pan works great

Melt butter, stir in brown sugar, corn syrup & salt. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. As soon as it comes to a rolling boil, stop stirring and let boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in baking soda & vanilla.
Pour over popcorn and mix well.
Call Gigi and tell her it's no where near as good as her's...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Roo's First Christmas

Ok, so I'm only 10 months old and this is my first time doing this but I'm pretty sure that Christmas is the best day EVER! Are you kidding me? We wake up, go downstairs and there are presents all over the place? There were the biggest socks I've ever seen and they were loaded with goodies: animal crackers, baby dolls, crayons, play doh...yowza! I've never seen Samuel so excited in my life; he was jumping around going from present to present and Mama and Daddy were letting him eat the candy out of his big sock! He never gets to eat candy before breakfast!

Samuel got a big kitchen (just like Mama's) and I got a choo-choo train that I can walk behind! Samuel is a little confused though and thinks its his; he's very good about sharing my toys but not so much his. Maybe next year Samuel will get some manners for Christmas, jeez.

All week long Mama had been telling us that we were going to be celebrating Baby Jesus' birthday so I was kind of expecting cake... Daddy says we can celebrate Christmas in our hearts all year long and I like that idea. Samuel does too because Christmas is over but he still sings "Happy Birthday" to Jesus all day long.

So like I said earlier, I'm new at this but I'm pretty sure that Christmas, and especially the part about celebrating our Savior's birth is pretty awesome. Can you imagine how happy the whole world would be if they kept the joy of Christmas day in their hearts all year long? And I know I'm little and no one listens to me but maybe you big people could remember baby Jesus' birthday a little better if cake was involved. Just a suggestion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby, Its Cold Inside
At 4:30 on Sunday the lights gave a flicker and by 4:45 they were out. With a few minutes of daylight left we rounded up our candles and lanterns and hunkered down for what we expected could be a long time without power. We knew we were one house of about 28,000!

28 hours after the electricity found its way back to our walls I'm almost a little disappointed. It ended up being this huge blessing in disguise as Hot Jeff and I loved the time to totally decompress. No phones (limited cell usage as we were trying to conserve the battery), no TV, no internet and limited radio (we turned it on for the occasional weather update and some Christmas music). It was a great time to play with the kids, read, visit, (I hemmed some of Roo's pants--so very Little House on the Prairie) and sleep. Thankfully we have a gas stove so we could cook and by remaining bundled up we stayed pretty comfortable.

Samuel did get restless and missed his morning Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but it was so fun to watch his imagination run wild and have him pull us into the scenarios because we weren't doing laundry, on the computer, watching a game or talking on the phone. It was a wonderful lesson to Hot Jeff and me to slow down and play with our kids!

Now I know the June Cleaver-ness of it all would get old (and it was starting to); I'm terribly thankful to have my washer and dryer today and when I turned Mickey on this morning Samuel exclaimed, "Jesus fixed our tv" so don't get me wrong we're thankful to have power again...I'm just saying, those times when we're forced to slow down can be a wonderful blessing and a reminder our lives could use a little re-prioritizing.


Changing a diaper in the dark with a head lamp to light the way (the flash makes it look much lighter than it really was!)

Temporary refrigerator

Samuel asleep with his Beaver stocking cap on

Roo bundled in her bed--so cozy

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sugar Shack

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day #4
We're making the best of things over here on Landon street. The weather may have us in lockdown but we're letting the good times roll...

I wonder if I'll ever get to leave these prison walls?

Making cheerio necklaces! We eat as many as we string.

Super, now what are we going to do with the remaining 7 hours and 30 minutes of the day?

Good idea: flying on Mama's feet!

Even Roo likes to fly!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pork Chop Slop
I had this at Hot Jeff's mom and dad's house this weekend. She had been given the recipe by Hot Jeff's sister, Jodi. I don't know what the name is and there is a lot of dumping involved so I named it "Pork Chop Slop".

In a crock pot, over 4 trimmed pork chops, dump in a can of cream of mushroom soup. Dump in another can of cream of chicken soup. Dump in 1/4 cup of chicken stock or broth. Dump in some minced garlic and salt and pepper. Cook on high for 6 hours. Right before serving shred the pork and give it a good stir. Serve over bowtie pasta.

I served it with steamed green beans and sauteed some garlic and pine nuts in a little olive oil to put on top of the beans. Mmm. I also made it with fat free cream of mushroom and chicken soups to bring down the ol' weight watcher points!

The perfect recipe for a cold winter's night!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here's the deal: if you don't think your kids are trying to have you committed you are either 1) not paying attention or 2) have sneakier kids than mine. Here's how my day has gone, in a really long nutshell, of course.
I have:
-been pooped on
-been thrown up on
-had my new, wool coat pee'd on by the cat
-had my dinner boycotted by a strong-willed 2 year old
-spoken to the vet once
-spoken the the pediatrician's office twice
-cut my thumb

And...if you think it sucks to be me; try being Roo; she's got:
-a viral rash on her torso
-a yeast infection diaper rash
-2 top teeth coming in
-a double ear infection that is on its 2nd round of antibiotics
-a nasty cough and stuffy nose

So if you're wondering what the above picture has to do with anything?? Well, its just a funny metaphor for everything I just wrote. I had just pulled a chair over for Samuel to help me make muffins when the phone rang (it was call #2 from Dr. Baskin's office). I was focused on my conversation with Nurse Julie and paid no attention to Samuel shoving everything he could possibly find into the microwave. I realized what he was doing when I heard the beep of the buttons. I suppose had he burned the house down I could have added "made 911 call" to the list.

And now for my moment of Zen at the end (thank God) of this day. I made a yummy new dinner tonight (recipe to follow tomorrow) that Samuel refused to eat. After talking calmly and rationally with Samuel, Hot Jeff gave him the option of either eating dinner like a big boy or going to bed right then; Samuel said he wanted to go to bed. When Hot Jeff called his bluff and actually took him up to his room with pajamas in hand all hell broke loose. Samuel started crying/screaming/kicking all the way up the stairs and telling his Dad he wanted to go downstairs and eat his dinner. Hot Jeff, bless his heart, calmly told Samuel he would give him a second chance because God gives us second chances. Down the stairs they came, Samuel asking for forgiveness and for his dinner. As I warmed it up a touch in the microwave I thought, "I should make the little scamp eat it cold". Ok here it is friends, you've been waiting patiently, the moment of Zen: the Holy Spirit softly whispered to my heart, "In the temper tantrums of your life, after you've sincerely and tearfully repented, does your Father serve you up cold leftovers?" Of course not. He's the loving Father who runs to the embarrassed child and gives him the highest seat of honor at his table. He lovingly says, "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals for his feet...Let's have a feast...for this son of mine was lost and is now found."*

I am so thankful I have such a loving Father who does not treat me as my sins deserve; what a humbling example of how I should love and treat my kids, the little tyrants.

*Luke 15:22-24

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mommy's Musings: The Least of These...

Today we went with our friends Don & Connie (from my office) to a local nursing home to give out goodies and spread some Christmas cheer. When I first said I would come along I thought of bringing the kids because I knew those sweet elderly folks would love the kids; I also thought it would be a great lesson in teaching Samuel that Christmas is more than just presents but its about loving others. As we drove to the facility I prayed, "Lord, let us be a blessing to them". What I didn't anticipate is how much I would be blessed in return.

Those folks were so touched by our visit and they did love seeing the kids. Many of them reached out from their chairs or beds and caressed Emmy Roo's arm or hand. One woman commented, "I'm so happy to see these children it almost breaks my heart". I was struck by the humanity of that place. These people are the fabric of our society, woven so deep that we don't even notice it. For it was just a few decades ago that they were running our banks, teaching at our local schools, nursing at our hospitals and defending our freedom. We owe a gratitude of thanks to these forgotten citizens.

As my family walked the halls today I remembered the verse in Matthew that reminds us what we do for the least of these brothers we do for Christ. I'm so thankful to my friend Connie, who came up with this idea because it turns out I needed the lesson more than Samuel; we are our brother's keeper... God is in the minority, He's in the forgotten, He's in the sick and lonely. When I sit amongst the "least of these", I sit with Him.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Makin' Muffins
Mama asked me, "Samuel, how can we bless Daddy today?" and I suggested we color a picture. She said that was a good idea but she was thinking of making blueberry muffins: Daddy's favorite! I was all for that. I love to help Mama stir (and muffins aren't bad either)!

Mama says we "fold in the blueberries". Huh?

Sample time

Hey Dad, no worries. The finger I sample with is not the same finger I pick my nose with!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The midgets are both on antibiotics! We were at Dr. Baskin's yesterday for Samuel's strep and in there again today for Emily's double ear infection...seriously! Meal times are like one big doping session.

I open this post with that so you'll know my frame of mind as this story unfolds...we went to Fred Meyer to pick up Emily's prescription and it wasn't ready. We mulled around for 30 minutes and during that time I made the fatal mistake of heading down the toy aisle. I still needed one more present for M and I thought it would be fun for Samuel to pick it out. Not so much. His eyes caught a Mickey doll (exactly like the one he has at home) and he had to have it. In his loudest, most obnoxious voice he kept saying, "I need a new Mickey. My Mickey too dirty at home. I need a clean Mickey". He is so delusional...not only is his Mickey perfectly clean but I was not going to give in to him when he was acting like such a lunatic at Freddys.

So we check out, go pick up the prescription and head to the car--the whole time he's repeating how he needs a clean Mickey, blah, blah, blah. As I begin loading him into the car he starts ranting, "This not my carseat...I no go home in this carseat...this not my carseat", to which I lovingly reply, "This is your carseat now stop talking to me; I am tired of hearing your voice". Of course he replies with, "This not my carseat...I no go home in this carseat"; I continue to tune Rain Man out and put M in her seat, run the cart back and get in the driver's seat. As I look back on them I notice something odd: Emily is front facing and Samuel is rear facing. I had put them in the wrong carseats! Poor Samuel's knees were crammed up into his neck and he was still repeating, "This not my carseat...I no go home in this carseat". At this point I burst out laughing and apologized to Rain Man for not listening to him. I switched them around and by this time Samuel was laughing at me laughing and asked if I would leave him in "M's seat" and call him "Baby Samuel". I'm telling you, the kid is nuts! The best part about him being nuts--he gets it from his mother!!

I wonder what Dr. Baskin could prescribe for me? I hope it tastes like bubble gum.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

So sad...
Tonight I got so excited to post pictures of Hot Jeff putting up Christmas lights, our midget Christmas tree, a picture of Hot Jeff & me before Martinis & Mistletoe last night (a picture in which I looked way hot in...I was wearing red lipstick...) and then with the push of some random, very bad button, they were gone. Deleted from the camera and not downloaded into Picasa. I've searched all over my hard drive and hidden files in my camera and they are gone. I'm so disappointed I could cry. There were super sweet pictures of the kids playing in front of the tree this morning and did I mention how hot I looked all dressed up last night?

So sad for me, so sad for you because I know you all wanted to see pictures of Hot Jeff on a ladder and my beautiful children clammering around our midget tree. Fortunately someone got a picture of us at the party and emailed it to me. Its not a great picture of Hot Jeff but its not a bad one of me.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Reindeer Food, of course
Samuel and I were writing a letter to Santa today which naturally led to a discussion about leaving cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Samuel then asked what "reindeers eats" to which I replied what Christmas lore has told us for centuries: "reindeer food". Duh. After the little boy wonder went to bed tonight I hit the internet in search of what Santa's reindeer really do eat and I've decided this will be a tasty treat that Santa, his reindeer and Samuel will all enjoy.
Puppy Chow (now aptly renamed to "Reindeer Food")
9 cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex®, Wheat Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
In 1-quart microwavable bowl, stir together chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mommy's Musings: Call Me Paranoid, but...
Amazon.com is watching my every move. Mine and Samuel's. I think they are in the house, most likely in our car as well. Tomorrow I will begin a thorough search for "bugs".

I got online today, specifically amazon.com, to buy a preschool daily devotional for a Christmas present for Samuel. When I got there I read the typical welcome message and then these words: "Our recommendation for you, Jennifer Henderson:"

So, either they have infiltrated the house or the word is out on Samuel. Hmm. Bug says they make these recommendations based on recent purchases but I don't know how or why "How to Make Your Kids Mind Without Losing Yours" or "Grace-Based Parenting" would tip anybody off that I need a book about a strong-willed child.

On a side note:
Dear Samuel's Future Wife,
Samuel's "difficult" qualities that I'm dealing with now are going to be what make a him a wonderful husband and spiritual leader someday. Don't give up on him. You are my only hope he will move out some day so please, don't give up on him!
Your Future Mother-in-Law (who doesn't mean to be so controlling and will try really hard to stop calling so much. By the way, that spaghetti sauce was a little watery and could have used a touch more garlic.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Many Faces of Roo

Chris Farley?

The Many Faces ( & Stunts) of Samuel Edward

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mommy's Musings: Captain Christmas Jr.
Everyone is always saying how much Samuel is like me; usually the context is Samuel's wacky emotional outbursts however tonight I saw a side of him that is like me that made me smile instead of cringe. I love Christmas: I always have and hence my dear friend, Traci Piltz, years ago dubbed me "Captain Christmas". The name stuck and Hot Jeff now uses the term endearingly each year when I'm barking orders about lights, wreaths and garland.

Tonight Samuel and I ran to Fred Meyer after the sun had already set; it was his first time being out after dark since everyone has begun putting their lights up and he was in awe!! At each turn of the car new glimmering lights would come into view and he would exclaim, "Wow; more Christmas lights!" I took him by a local house that's known for its lights and he giggled with glee at the snowflakes dangling from the trees and the icicle lights that hung from every peak; as we drove off he said, "Mama, I love Christmas lights; they so bee-u-tiful". And if that doesn't make you smile, after leaving Freddy's he asked me if we could listen to "Santa songs" in the car.

So on the way home we sang along with the radio, oohed and awed over lights and my heart felt like it might just burst open with joy; for my sweet little Samuel is a Captain Christmas kindred spirit.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pictures of the Week
Why won't this sweatshirt come off? Why are you taking my picture instead of helping me?

New baby doll from Nana; Roo's first baby

Samuel's new dump truck from Nana


Nana's sweeties

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday
I'd like to tell you that Mom and I revved up the old tradition of being the first at the stores as they opened at 5:00am on the day after Thanksgiving but I can't. It just didn't happen. We haven't done the Black Friday shop since I lived in Montana (11 years ago) so we were a little rusty. We were out of the house by 10:00 though and feeling pretty good about the freedom we were being granted! Our first stop: Toys R Us! I got all my Christmas shopping done for the kids and saved $60! WooHoo! We had a wonderful time; it was so fun being together!

The Toys R Us haul...

At Baja Fresh after working up an appetite

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How Could I Ask For More?
Per Henderson tradition we made our way up to Tualatin to Jodi & Geoff's house for Geoff's Famous Smoked Bird and Jodi's wonderfully cooked and perfectly timed spread. They never disappoint--mainly because they don't ever change the menu; we love the smoked turkey and Jodi's ridiculously good baked mashed potatoes (I don't even want to know how many WW points a serving of those are).

I am so grateful for the Henderson & Cochran families and how they have loved me from the very beginning. I am incredibly blessed to have such wonderful and fun "in-laws". We all had a great day watching football, playing games, visiting and watching the cousins play.

It was especially nice having my Mom here to join in the fun. At one point I looked around the table and saw my amazing husband, my children, Mama Della, Jim & Cheryl, my beautiful neices & Geoff & Jod and I thought my heart would nearly burst at the fullness I felt. My cup runneth over.

Brooklyn & Madison playing cards with "Auntie Della"
Madison & Brooklyn after a long day of chasing Samuel

Nana & Emily

My Mom Della and Hot Jeff's Mom Cheryl
How totally hot are our Moms? No wonder Hot Jeff & I are so good looking...

Hot Jeff, Nana & Roo
not pictured: Samuel...he was way too busy playing with
Brooklyn & Madison to pose for a picture!

One of my favorite songs is by Cindy Morgan and called "How Could I Ask for More"...here's an excert that sums up the way I feel tonight.
So many things I thought would bring me happiness
Some dreams that are realities today
Such an irony the things that mean the most to me
Are the memories that I've made along the way
So if there's anything I've learned from this journey I'm on
Simple truths will keep you going, simple love will keep you strong
Cause there are questions without answers
Flames that never die
Heartaches we go through are often blessings in disguise
So thank you Lord, oh thank you Lord
How could I ask for more