Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Visitors!

 My family all came to visit the day after Christmas!  My parents drove in with Laurie after visiting my grandparents in Florida.  Jeff and Maggie came down from Chicago for a night as well!  The house was busy for a night but Jeff and Maggie left to go to Nashville to visit some friends.  Laurie left on the 30th and my parents stayed until New Years Day.  It was nice to have company but now it's on to the final countdown to Brendan coming home!!  5 weeks!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!!! 2013

 Even with Brendan so far away, we managed to have a fun Christmas Day!  We skyped with Brendan during present opening and he got to see the chaos!  I'm sure it's a bit muted coming through a computer!  Declan was feeling a little bit better but on overdrive because of the steroid that the doctor prescribed!  He really enjoyed playing with his toys and everyone else's!!  The big wins of the day were Aidan's iPad mini, Emmy's kindle, Aoife's dress up dress from the movie Frozen and Declan's truck.  They got tons of presents but a more moderate amount than normal - which was good!!  Maybe Santa has finally hit his stride!

Getting started!
 "Helping" Declan open gifts:
 the TRUCK!!

 Daddy watching the mayhem
 a PINK cover for her kindle!!!!
 Declan playing with everyone else's toys

 Emmy jumping rope
 TRUCK - nothing else matters
 except perhaps that gun that Aidan is holding

 It's just my size!
 Trying to make bad guy faces - only Emmy can follow direction
 playing before bed!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

Christmas Eve was definitely not what I planned it to be this year.  Declan has been sick for a few days - cough and not sleeping very well.  I thought he would get over it on his own and so I didn't bring him to the doctor the day before Christmas Eve.  That always turns out well, doesn't it?  He woke up on Christmas Eve morning after a horrible night's sleep (maybe the 3rd in a row) and wasn't any better than the day before - maybe a little worse.  He wasn't his normal happy self but didn't seem to have a fever so I wasn't too worried.  He woke up after his nap and was warm for sure.  My thermometer said 99.8.  Since my neighbor was over with her daughter, I decided to take Declan into the ER.  Monica said she would take the kids and order dinner - we were going to eat Chinese together anyway.  Declan and I packed up and headed out.

We got to the ER and got all checked in really quickly.  About 10 minutes later we were in triage and the nurse took his temp - 103!!!!  The nurse immediately freaked out and told me he needed Tylenol AND Motrin right away to get his temperature down.  Two lessons from that - 1) my thermometer sucks and 2) you can take tylenol and motrin together - who knew?  Declan is the worse medecine taker and promptly gagged on the tylenol and threw up all over himself, me and the floor of the triage room.  If you want a nurse to really warm up to you try bringing a sick little baby in and have him puke everywhere.  The entire staff was super nice to us - they even brought Declan a little shirt to wear and gave him a little bath.

After a few minutes we got to see the doctor and she ordered a chest x-ray.  They came to get us and poor Declan had to be strapped into a plastic tube with his arms over his head for the x-ray. Needless to say, he did NOT like that and was very happy to be released and to get a popsicle as a reward.  Thankfully, it was not pneumonia but his chest looked bad enough that they sent us home with a steroid to help him out.   The steroid seems to be helping but totally prevented him from sleeping at all today.  He went full steam from 7 am until 7:30 pm when I forced him into bed.  Lord help me if this child doesn't nap for the next 3 days!!

We were discharged and headed home after only about an hour and a half.  The ER at Fort Campbell is the fastest ER ever!  I have never been there longer than 2 hours! We got home and retrieved the other kids.  I tried to get Declan to eat but he didn't want anything more than a few Goldfish.  After a bath he seemed a little revived and had a good time opening presents.  We open the kids' presents to each other and Mommy and Daddy's present to them on Christmas Eve.  Santa brings everything else the next morning.  They all had fun playing and headed off to bed happily, ready to wait for jingle bells on the roof!  I collapsed on the couch, ate a plate of Chinese food and got to work.  Luckily, there wasn't much to do since I had done 90% of everything in the week leading up.  It's a good thing or it would have been a much later night!

 Declan and me in the ER in his new hospital garb:

 Getting ready to open presents!
love this mess!
Santa came!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Lights in Clarksville

 We went to Clarksville's Christmas lights display down by the river tonight.  You can't really tell from what the kids are wearing but it was warm - almost 65 degrees!!!   It was a great night to be out and they LOVED the lights.  Aoife was especially impressed and jumped up and down practically the entire time shouting when she saw something new.  She decided that this was,"THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!!!!!"  After we looked at the lights, the kids played on the playground for about a half an hour before we headed home.  It was getting late but it was just too nice to not stay out.  65 degrees in December is unheard of - even around here!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Picture Christmas Ornaments

  I made these ornaments for part of the kids' teachers' Christmas gifts this year.  I always struggle on what to get the teachers.  They do so much for my kids that I want to get them something nice but I don't want to get them just a gift card.  Although useful, it seems impersonal!  I settled on getting them some ornaments, making and ornament and including a gift card.  Hopefully I hit all of the bases!! 

So I started out with 2 inch wood cubes that I got at Hobby Lobby.  I gave them a quick sanding with 400 grit sandpaper and rounded out the corners and the edges.

After that, I gave them about 3 coats of Antique White Acrylic Paint - letting each coat dry before applying another one.

 After that, I applied an antiquing glaze - this is totally optional but makes them look a little more rustic.  I mixed the glaze with a little water in a bowl, painted it on and then rubbed it off with a cloth.  You can do this until you get the look you want!

I printed out the pictures that I wanted in 1 3/4 inch squares and used a square punch to cut them out. A paper trimmer would work just as well but I like fast!  Before you apply the pictures to the cubes, spray them with a quick coat or two of acrylic sealer - Mod Podge makes one - this will make sure that the pictures don't bleed when you apply the mod podge.  Let your pictures dry after you apply the sealer.  Don't forget to note the year on the ornament.  I had the kids write a note on a piece of paper with the date and I put that on the bottom side!

Apply the pictures to the wood using Mod Podge and a foam brush.  Just brush on the Mod Podge and set the picture in it.  You can either let that dry and then add layers on top or go ahead and put your first layer right over the picture.  It works fine either way. 

Continue to layer thin layers of Mod Podge - 4 or 5 - and let dry in between each layer.  I found that a cookie cooling rack works great to dry them.  I would only do the sides at first and then once those are completed, do the top and bottom.  If you set the cube down on a wet side, it will stick to whatever it is on.  NOT GOOD.
 After all of the sides are complete, let the cube dry for about a day.  Screw in a little eye hanger into the top and hang with a ribbon.  Spray the cube all over with one or 2 thin coats of acrylic sealer to eliminate any residual tackiness of the Mod Podge. 
Hang and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Concert at Lucas

 Aidan and Emmy had their holiday concert at school on Thursday (Emmy) and Friday (Aidan).  It was very nice and the kids sang some fun songs.  Poor Aidan looked terrible throughout his and he was inching away from the rest of the kids the whole time.  We figured out why when he threw up in the car on the way home.  He was the third one to catch the stomach bug that has been ripping through the school.  Emmy had it first on Monday, then Declan on Wednesday, Aidan on Friday, me on Saturday, and finally Aoife on Tuesday.  I'm just glad that we are done with it before Christmas!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Declan LOVES Christmas

 So far Declan loves everything about Christmas.  He hasn't met a cookie that he didn't LOVE. He hasn't met an ornament that he couldn't get off the tree and he hasn't heard a Christmas song that didn't make him dance.  He hasn't even gotten to the best part yet! I can't wait to see how he reacts to all of the presents!!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013


 Aidan and Emmy wrapped up their basketball season on Saturday.  It was such a fun season.  I love watching them play and they seem to have a great time as well.  They have both gotten so much better since the beginning of the season and Emmy even scored in the second to last game!  She has a great shot but isn't really aggressive and doesn't get her hands on the ball that much.  She and Aidan are both great at defense since they are bigger than everyone!!  Aidan has gotten much more confident and scored in a few games but really increased the number of shots that he took!  I'm so proud of both of them and I'm looking forward to next year!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Brendan and Duck Dynasty

I finally got a picture of Brendan in Afghanistan!  He didn't actually send it to me - he tweeted it - but I'll take what I can get!  Here he is with two guys from Duck Dynasty and Matt Light.  Pretty awesome!!