and kids

and kids

Monday, November 30, 2009


My computer is crashing! It is so frustrating! Yesterday it finally seemed like it was going to be ok and was working, but started to act up while I was online (like just randomly rebooting while I was in the middle of something). This morning it is working so I'm blogging/complaining about it before it dies again.

Everything is gone! All my pictures! All my Quicken for three companies and our personal account! (Unfortunately, this year I actually kept up with it and was up to date - but I don't know how to back it up - I know, I know - I actually am not as computer illiterate as I sound! You have to send it to the DVD burner and then go to another program and burn it, I have been waiting for Jason to confirm I was doing it correctly, and it never got done). All my music! EVERYTHING!

I've a "call" in to a friend that is a computer genius (as my Dad put it) to tell me if he thinks there is any chance to find these things, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

I was working on another Christmas decor blog to bore you with, but we'll just have to see how the computer is acting this afternoon to see if I get a chance to do it.

Moral of the Story: Back up your computer files! Especially your pictures and your finances!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Putting up the Christmas matter what!

(sorry this is long, bear with me - it is for the family history book)
It is our tradition to put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I know my mother never worried about it, but for me, I am done with pumpkins and turkeys and ready to move on to Christmas. There have been years that it hasn't happened, especially 2000 and 2001 when I had a less-than-one-month-old to exhaust and unmotivated me. If I'm going to put the effort into decorating, I want to enjoy it for five or so weeks, not just one or two weeks.

Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, I had a migraine and severe vertigo so I was drugged up and a little 'on edge' (so I was told).

This morning, I decided I needed to get out of the house and I decided to venture out into the Black Friday abyss. I went to Target and the lines looked eternal, but really they went quickly and I only waited about 35 minutes (if that sounds terrible, you should have seen how long the lines were, I was expecting much longer). I told Jason I was only going to be gone an hour-and-a-half and I was already past that time frame, but I decided to go to Kohl's also, hoping to complete my shopping (which I did for the most part). I waited in line at Kohl's for an hour and ten minutes. Insane, I know!

Anyway, it had been a long morning - no complaints though, I had fun (at Kohl's I was in front of and behind very fun, animated ladies in line that made the time pass very quickly).

I brought home Wendy's for a late lunch, which, hopefully, made up for my tardiness. The kids knew we were going to do the tree and they were very ready to get started.

After lunch I went out to get all the packages out of the van only to notice a 'drawing' in the back door of the van. And I mean, in the back door - literally. Apparently, some time in the past week, Tavis had gotten a sharp rock and etched some drawings into the paint of the door. This began my blood curdling, but Daddy was still home (he was heading to play indoor hockey) so he got to handle it.

After that, Tavis wasn't interested in putting up the tree. He went out to ride his bike, while Mollee, Daegan and Capps helped put up the tree - I was in no mood to deal with mopey so I let him go.

Obviously, we have a fake tree. Here I am nailing down the tree base so that it doesn't 'accidentally get knocked over' at some point during the season. If you have carpet you don't ever see the nail holes afterwards.
I love the idea of a real tree, but I don't want it to die before Christmas and I'm a little nervous about my allergies. I usually put the tree together and get the lights on before the kids get involved, but this year I just let them at it. They matched up the rows of branches while I did the lights - they actually did a great job and are hired for next year (unless I get a pre-lit tree that I'm always dreaming about).
After building the tree and hanging the lights I decided to wait for Daddy to do the ornaments after dinner - the kids all have their own box of ornaments that they get to put on the tree each year and I try to make a big deal out of it. I let the kids play outside for awhile, but Mac came in with a stinky diaper and soaking wet from some water he had found to play with - and no one knew anything about it! Everyone came in and I made hot cocoa as a treat (why do I do these things to myself?). Mac got chocolate milk in a mug instead, which was a good thing because it ended up in his lap.
And here is pitiful Mac when the chocolate was gone.
I had to take a time-out away from the children to de-stress, but I then decided (maybe in hopes of a early bedtime?) that everybody needed a bath and pjs before Daddy got home and before dinner. Mac and Capps went first, but Tavis and Daegan (the older boys) somehow managed to make a pool of the bathroom floor, and I don't mean a few splashes on the floor. Again (by the grace of God) Daddy got home right about that time and got to deal with it.

We had PB&J or soup for dinner (mommy was in no state-of-mind to cook). Then we decorated the tree and the house! The kids are funny because certain decorations have to go in the same spot every year, which is fine by me for now. No matter how much stress they can cause me in one day, I love for them to be involved in these traditions. That is one reason why most of our ornaments are on the bottom half of the tree - and I leave it like that (unless the vacuum accidently knocks it off and I decide to put it somewhere else).Mac always wants to say "cheese" and then as soon as you snap it he yells, "let me see" - the world of digital.And for some reason, Capps was insistent upon getting a picture with this ornament (his 'Baby's first Christmas' ornament).Here is the tree decorated with lights and ornaments, tomorrow it will magically get covered with icicles.It has been a long day and it is getting late. The kids were in bed by 7:45 (my plan worked) and, instead of getting to bed early myself, I'm sitting in front of blog world.

Thanksgiving Crafts

For some reason (because I love them, right?) I got involved in a craft with the kids on Wednesday. It was really because they didn't have school and needed an activity. I had some Thanksgiving foam items (which I love) left from a project I did with Tavis' class last year.

I am always amused at the predictability of the outcome.
Someone recently mentioned taking pictures of their childs artwork (or scanning it if possible) and keeping a digital copy of it, rather than having tons of pictures around. My OCD/anti-clutter self is curious how this could work...

Mollee's is the typical 'little girl' card (I think she actually made a couple):
Tavis' is all about Native American symbols - that is what they are studying right now in school so he is always wanting me to guess what different symbols mean (he would be so disappointed I could name all these, but I do see fish, river, deer and mountains):
Daegan's is 'Daeganesque' (this is bullets shooting turkeys):
Capps' is highly detailed:
Mac's is 'excitement with a marker' (that unfortunately ended in a spanking because he colored all of the counter, his hands and his shirt when mommy left the room - with foam markers, the only downfall of this craft):

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm thankful that....

Sorry Camille for stealing from you:
  • Jason loves me (and my family)!
  • I got my 4-mile treadmilling in before we headed out (since I wasn't able to participate in the 5k) - did you know that at the average Thanksgiving meal one will eat 5,000 calories?
  • My mother can handle big crowds in her home, at some point in the day there were 16 adults and 21 kids (all but one child was age 9 or younger).
  • All the girls/ladies were able to bring various parts of the meal so mom wasn't overwhelmed.
  • I didn't keep my calorie log.
  • Someone else took pictures because I didn't take any - UGH! (still waiting to see what others got).
  • The cousins all played well together (sometimes they are too much like siblings, if you know what I mean).
  • There were no ER trips for stitches.
  • It didn't rain and even though it was cold, the kids got to enjoy outside (football game with the Uncles and Grandpa, walk in the woods, lots of gun fights, etc.).
  • Mary brought awesome sweet potatoes!
  • We didn't have to travel and, after an exhausting day, we got to collapse into our own bed.


  • We have a roof over our heads and food on our table - every day.
  • The Lord is faithful!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Third Grade Thanksgiving Feast

Today Mollee's class had a Thanksgiving Feast. All the mom's sent in various Thanksgiving dishes and the kids got to eat in their classroom (instead of lunchroom). The kids were encouraged to dress in Pilgrim or Native American attire. If you can see Mrs. Wilson at the front of the classroom, she was a Pilgrim.
Mollee was also a pilgrim (with a floral apron)I know you can't see it, in hindsight I should have taken a picture, but on each desk is a 'candy turkey'. They were adorable. They were made with a mini-Reeses cup upside down on the bottom, one layer of oreo, a hersey kiss and candy corn, with icing to 'glue' it all together. Anyway this isn't exactly it, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To fight it, or not to fight it!

None of my kids took a pacifier, and Capps is my only thumb sucker. He is now 5 1/2 and it is time (or past time) to work on him trying to stop - right? Of course, it is also time to get my almost-3-year-old potty trained, but I'm not there yet either. UGH! The pediatrician says it is the dentist's call and the dentist said we'll talk about it next time, which should be about now but I haven't made that appointment yet.

In theory, Capps only sucks his thumb at night - really it is only when he is holding his frog. For the past couple years, I don't think I've ever seen him sucking his thumb, except when I check in on the boys before I go to bed. Usually, if he is sucking his thumb during the day I can link it to something he is stressed about. I just encourage him to put his frog back on his bed, but clearly, sometimes, he just needs it and 'Momma ain't going to fight it'.

My first step has been to just talk about it. And we have been talking about it lately, which I don't know if that has put more stress on him or not, but this morning he was so proud because he had "lost" his frog in the night and stated that he didn't even try to find it, he just tried to sleep without frog and without sucking his thumb. I asked him why he thought he sucked his thumb and he clearly said, "Because if I don't suck my thumb at night I think too much".

My mind runs a mile-a-minute at night, so if I could turn it off by sucking my thumb maybe I should do the same?
And now, for my sake of memories *sniff*sniff*
11-months old and hanging out in his crib with Frog:
Age 2 - jumping on Mommy's bed with frog (before the head shaving began, when he truly had 'monkey hair'):Age 2 1/2 - Frog joins us at breakfast:
So, I know it is time, but I don't look forward to fighting it, that is his comfort - how can I take that away?

Monday, November 16, 2009


Did I mention I put myself in CAA?

Hello, my name is Gretchen Brown (Hello, Gretchen). It has been three weeks since my last Coke.

This may mean nothing to you, but in this battle to lose weight I decided to take baby steps toward losing weight, instead of starting some major diet that would frustrate me. First step: cut out all coke, tea and coffee - they are just empty calories. I love Coke, not Diet Coke, I hate that, I want the real thing. I also enjoy tea and coffee, but I don't need them, I don't need them, I don't need them - I'm still trying to convince myself. That leaves me with a lot of water, Crystal Light tea for flavor, and Diet Pepsi or Diet Mountain Dew when caffeine is necessary. Did I mention that I love Coke?

As part of the first step, I am getting back into my exercising. I still haven't been given clearance to run (*hmpf*), but I am doing aerobics in the morning at least four times a week and each night I walk on the treadmill for 45-70 minutes (I've even cheated and had some 90 second runs to boost my heart rate - shhh, don't tell). It is getting to the point that I crave the exercise, which I love that feeling. I can't wait until I am really running, but I'm happy with what I've been able to do for now.

I've also been keeping a food log. I've never really done this before, but it is amazing (or sad) if you actually do it. I'm a grazer, but now, since I have to write it down, I think twice about raiding the kids Halloween bag for a snack size Snickers. I know this wouldn't work for some marriages, but Jason handles it just right, so I leave my log on the counter (so it is easy to write things down immediately) and he can look at it any time. That is good motivation! I've been keeping track of calories, fat grams, fiber and protein (since I'm doing weights in my aerobics I was told to make sure I was getting enough protein, which I haven't been doing, so I drink a protein shake after aerobics).

So, three weeks in, what I have learned? Calories add up quickly, I don't really need Coke, if I eat oatmeal for breakfast it really kills my snacking needs throughout the morning, I can drink water, I don't need Coke (did I say that already?), exercise is good, etc. I also have found that I don't crave the grease that I once craved. Jason wanted to go get Zaxby's chicken last night, which is my favorite, and it just didn't sound good. It could have just been my mood, but I think it is also that I realize how long I'd have to walk on the treadmill to burn it off.

I'm not saying I'm a health nut and that you'll never see me eating junk food, but I have been making some major changes that I hope stay life changes. Since I assume I won't be getting pregnant again I have motivation to get this 'baby weight' off and I don't want to keep playing the roller-coaster weight game.

I'm going to stick with it. I have to do this! I can do this!

Nothing like a little pep talk for yourself!

PS. I've lost 9 lbs in three weeks, that is also good motivation!

The Weekend!

After many, many very busy weekends (mostly because of Greta's Beads shows), this weekend was just what we needed. It actually was supposed to be busy, but ended up not being busy at all. And it was productive!

Jason didn't work Friday so he was home, which is always a treat. He got to work on his truck and got a few odds and ends done around the house. I had Baby David and wanted to get some cleaning done and some laundry done because we were going to be gone all day Saturday.

Unfortunately, our Saturday plans didn't work out. We were supposed to go to Franklin to visit with the McClure's, but at the last minute Shannon found out she had to work Saturday. It was very disappointing not to go, Mollee and Tavis didn't handle it well, but we will make it happen another weekend (this was the second time to get cancelled this Fall)!

Since I had all my cleaning and laundry done (ok, really it is never completely done), I went out Saturday afternoon and got some Christmas shopping done. It was a good reminder why I don't usually wait until December to do my shopping - it was insanely busy!

It was probably for the best that we didn't go out-of-town because we have all been fighting a cough, etc. At the beginning of last week, Daegan missed school because of strep and on Wednesday Mac had to get a steroid shot for a rough case of croup. I haven't had a voice for about six days (this happens to me every Fall?), but, thankfully, I haven't really felt bad.

Therefore, we stayed home from church Sunday morning, and it was nice just to take a slow, relaxing morning to do nothing. We went to Mom and Dad's for lunch (thanks mom for cooking!), but didn't really stick around like we normally do and came home for some more "nothing". I watched "UP" with the kids (which we all enjoyed, but it was a little sad and Capps said the movie made his stomach hurt) and then, after the kids went to bed, I watched "G.I.Joe" with Jase (which was entertaining - if you like action packed).

And now, another week starts!

Can you believe next week is Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 13, 2009


This is a delayed blog. A few weeks ago, we were invited to Dusty and Rachel's house for some Wii time (we used to spend every Sunday night with the Kemp's, but things have gotten busy). The kids have been begging to go for awhile so it was nice that it finally worked out. Of course, they had a blast.
The evening started out with some Guitar Hero: Beatles.which Mac didn't understand, but throroughly enjoyedThere was a lot of sword fighting
Mario Kart (Mollee driving was way too scary) Daegan enjoyed everything about it (and wants to know how long it would take him to save up money for a Wii) And Capps enjoyed the frisbee throwing - here with a triumphant cheer.

It was great! And amazing! Computers can do anything now!

Thanks Dusty and 'Skip'.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Paul Frank

My Capps loves all things MONKEY! He is so excited about the Paul Frank line at Target of shirts that have monkeys on them (maybe his excitement has been encouraged a little by Mommy!).

The Winter Toboggan Monkey:
The Hockey Monkey:

And the Race Car Monkey:
I love it! :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday T Dog!

As is our tradition, Tavis had three birthday parties:

One with the Brown's on Friday night. Uncle Daniel (and Aunt Heather, but we don't blame her) gave Tavis a roll of paper towels for his birthday. This picture makes it look like he thought it was funny, but when no other gift was in sight he seemed very sad, but I must say he was grateful and kind about it (which made it harder on mommy!). Then Uncle Daniel ran out to the car for the real gift which was some big G.I. Joe Jet that was so AWESOME!
A party with the Caines' (which he celebrated with Eleanor - there is always a cousin to share your birthday with in the Caines family). Tavis isn't a sweets lover (go figure?) and usually only eats dessert if it is oreos, so Grandma made him a pile of oreos for his cake (which is a tradition!). And we celebrated at home tonight, we always try to celebrate on the actual birthday. As a big shock, he asked me to make No-Bake Cookies for his birthday (not Oreos??), but we couldn't get the candles to stay in the cookies very well. Tavis was laughing and being so goofy that he blew out the candles somehow by his laughing. WHAT A HAM!

Like I said, What A Ham!(Obviously, he didn't get his two front teeth for his birthday, maybe Christmas?)
Tavis is the hardest one of my children to buy a gift for. He doesn't ask for much and when you get him a toy, it is usually 'adopted' by Daegan or Capps within a week. He did request a watch, so hopefully, he can keep track of it.

Happy Birthday, T!!!! Or T Dog!!!! Or Mr. T!!!! Or Sweet T!!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tavis turns 8 (tomorrow)!

Yes, just nine days ago Mollee turned 9 - you do the math - it was a busy/hectic time. Unfortunately, Jason and I don't remember a lot about it. Tavis was a happy baby (not requiring a lot of 'attention') and Mollee, as a 13-18 month old, kept us on our toes. Mollee actually cried for the first nine months of life so it is our belief that the Lord made us pregnant again quickly before we decided this baby thing wasn't for us. Tavis was a wonderful baby that made us think maybe the baby thing wasn't so bad.

My memories of Tavis as a baby are this: Labor was induced because of preclampsia and he was born around 11:30 AM, he had RSV at 2-months old, he was always happy, ate more oatmeal than any child should, and he never took a bottle.

Here Tavis is only a week old and Mollee had already decided he was a good baby doll.As I was looking through pictures I wanted to scan to put in this post it cracked me up that in most of Tavis' pictures from his first year, he had this glazed, 'I don't really know what is going on' look on his face. That really should explain a lot.
(I remember this was St. Patrick's Day - because all good Protestants wear orange for St. Patrick's Day - did you know that?)

This was Tavis' response to meeting Daegan at the hospital (15 months later).

And here I was trying to get a group shot after getting Daegan home - and Tavis is still glazed over (and Mollee has another doll baby).
At age 3 1/2 he was my little sweetheart charmer - Oh, wait, that label still fits him perfectly!Wearing big-boy ties with Daddy!!Age 5 (still enjoys wearing a tie)
Age 6 (Birthday hat he got to wear for his birthday in kindergarden)

Age 7 - wearing an awful sweatshirt, compliments of the brainwashing from Uncle Daniel (Roll Tide!) And now he is turning 8!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mollee turns 9!

Somehow, my oldest daughter turned 9 yesterday! I honestly can't remember how I let the time slip by so fast. She is beginning to look so grown up that it is a little unnerving. For her birthday, she got her ears pierced and she got an MP3 player from her Uncle Daniel and Aunt Heather. Those things alone make it seem like she is even older.
Like every other birthday in our household, we celebrated three times.
One with the Brown family on Friday night:
One at home on the actual birthday:
And one with the Caines family (which Mollee always enjoys sharing with Uncle JR) on Sunday:

Our kids get lots of blowing-out-candles practice.

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