Sunday, December 23, 2007

Weekend in Charleston SC

Well, we are way behind in updating the blog. I guess we'll start with our trip to Charleston. We got a phone call to come check out a time share property in Charleston. I'm sure you know the deal - spend an hour and a half with a sales person and they give you a great deal on a room for the weekend plus some cash. All in all, not a bad deal. We had a great time. We toured several Navel vessels (submarine, aircraft carrier, destroyer), went on a horse drawn carriage, hung out downtown and went to the Isle of Palms beach. Here's Dad with the kids on a pier close to downtown.
Mom and Emma at a city park fountain.
Check out the set of guns!
It takes a crew to drive a boat that big.
Emma watching out for airborne attackers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Emma's Actual Birthday

Emma started her "real" birthday off with a couple of gifts from her cousins. What a great surprise to have gifts waiting at your breakfast spot, first thing in the morning! At school, Emma and her friends were treated to a couple of stories read by her Nana and then a cookie cake. We could tell that Emma was loving every minute of it, but was rather shy about getting so much attention!
After school, we picked up Subway subs and headed for the park. There we had lunch, played on the playground and visited the ducks and geese. We were hoping to take a boat ride, but no one was at the rental booth. Huge bummer!
Since we had already overloaded on cake a few days earlier during her party, we opted to buy a couple special desserts for the evening. Emma enjoyed a berry creme brulee with a couple of sparkly candles on top.
It was a great birthday and having Nana to share it with made it even more special.

Halloween 2007

I guess I have gotten enough inquiries about Halloween and the kids' costumes that I have decided to actually take the time to blog it. I have been so wrapped up in entertaining, holidays, birthdays, etc., that I just haven't been blogging much lately. Sorry out there!

So, I have to say that this was probably one of the best Halloweens ever! Will had early release from school, so we were able to have some time to goof off before "getting ready". We also decided to have a neighborhood party here this year. We started early, at 5:00, so the little ones in the neighborhood could have a chance to trick-or-treat before bedtime and before dark. It worked out great! Allan made his famous ginormous batch of chili in the King Cooker. We also had hot dogs and any type of beverage imaginable. Neighbors brought all kinds of snacks and yummy treats. It was incredibly warm, so we had the feast in the garage (yeah, no mess!). The kids had a ball trick-or-treating at the 13 or so houses in the neighborhood. Just the right amount for our little ones! It was a really nice evening and I think the kids really enjoyed themselves. We then had the next two days off school, so it was a great beginning to our Fall Break.
Here are some pictures of the kids in their get-ups.
Will, aka Harry Potter.
Jack the pirate. And, Miss Emma as Ariel. Gotta love that long red hair!
Jack enjoys one of Miss Pat's popcorn balls. You can't tell very well from the picture, but trust me, his whole face was orange and sticky! Yes, I, Tanna, allowed sugar before bedtime. Shocking!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Emma is FIVE!

Our little princess has turned five years old! We just can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday that we were in the delivery room with lots of nursing students watching (and crying behind their clipboards). Then, Allan and I got to hold our new baby girl. She was so tiny compared to Will. And we were worried to death about her foot being all bent up and the bright red birthmark on her chest. Little did we know what a feisty, confident little lady she would become! Well, with Will as her brother, we had some idea!
To celebrate, Emma decided to invite her neighborhood girlfriends over for cake and ice cream. Actually, she had it in her head that she was having a big party with lots of friends and activities like some of the parties that she had been to. We played the "party" up big and she was so excited, she could hardly sleep for a week! To top it all off, Nana came to help celebrate! Emma was in heaven! We had the celebration a few days before her actual birthday because Allan was going to be in New Hampshire during her birthday. It was a gorgeous day and everyone had fun playing with Barbies. In case you don't have a daughter or are living under a rock, Island Princess Barbie is just THE thing right now. Emma got the Barbie Princess, her prince and the video. I think she is set now!
Emma with her Barbie cake
I think Jack is ready to eat the cake!
FINALLY a boy Barbie to play with. No more girls kissing girls!
Emma and her friends, Jordan, Abby and Cassidy

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I hate spiders. I dislike them even more since it is believed that I was bit by a brown recluse last summer. They just aren't my friends.

That being said, Will, the bug enthusiast, came to Allan and I and told us that there was a Black Widow spider in our water meter. I obviously was not about to check things out. Allan gave Will the old "OK, we'll check it out later" response. To be quite blunt, neither of us believed the child.

The next day, after hearing about this Black Widow in our water meter a million times, Allan decided to go take a look see. Given that Will IS a bug enthusiast, I have to ask myself, "WHY did we not believe him and check it out immediately?" Lo and behold, there really was a Black Widow spider in that water meter. Scary! Allan disposed of it and life went on.

No joke, not two days later, I was working in the flower bed, donning my flip flops, when I caught something out of the corner of my eye, down by my feet. I moved on, but then came back. What I saw freaked me out. It was ANOTHER Black Widow, with an egg sack tucked into the bottom of a tree stump!!!! I quickly used an entire can of wasp spray trying to make that nasty thing die.

Now, here we are, a couple of weeks later and Will came running like a lunatic, requesting that I check out the spider on the zip line. I should have learned my lesson the first time. I didn't and put him off once again. It just happened that I went to use the zip line and found this gigantic orange, black and white spider hanging from it. Will and I did some research and found that it was a type of garden spider. It looked like the picture below.
I know spiders do good, but I wish they did it in someone else's yard.

I Played Football!

Tonight was an absolute riot at Will's football practice. As usual, I parked my chair alongside the other mom's and started up our usual mom banter (yes, I admit that it is banter). Not long into practice, the coach pointed at myself, his wife and another mom and requested our presence on the field. We women, along with about 5 dads, played against the kids. All I can say is, Thank God I wore my sneakers tonight!

We had a BIG time and the boys just LOVED it! I feel that it is only right that I divulge all information about my playing abilities - or lack thereof! I managed to knock a ball away from a receiver, miss a ball that was thrown directly at me, and lunge at a boy that only came up to my kneecap to take away his flag. The kids got a lot of giggles out of a mommy being laid out on the grass to get a flag!

This was, by far, the most fun football practice that Will and I have ever been to. And we both concurred on the way home. You bet kids keep us young!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Football Season.

We are finally into the football season (pee-wee flag football at the YMCA that is). Willster is on the Blue Bulldogs team. He is number 10, not number 4 Bruno (inside joke). Emma is on the Cheer Leading squad. Both groups are for kids from 4 - 7 years old so it is quite a hoot. This weekend Tanna had a sewing class so Dad hit the Y with the 3 munchkins. During the game, Will ran the football with an illegal quarterback sneak. He said that a boy on the yellow team, who he calls "fast legs", caught him from behind. At the same time he was colliding with his blocker and a different kid from the yellow team. Will refers to this incident as the kid explosion. Emma was as cute as ever cheering on the sidelines.

Will and the other boys involved in the kid explosion.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Cowpokes

Today was cowboy/girl day at Emma's preschool. Luckily, we had most of the gear already. Aunt Janet had given her the boots a couple of years ago (yes, they STILL fit) and she got the bandanna from Vacation Bible School this past summer. We ran out at the last minute to buy the hat and it was the only one the closest store had. Better than nothing!

To be sure, there really isn't anything spectacular about cowboy day at school, other than it gave me a great opportunity to shoot some pictures of my little birds. Emma had the whole posing thing going on. I am beginning to wonder if she hasn't been sneaking up at night to watch that Tyra Banks model show! I sure as heck don't have those moves (anymore!).

As with all other things in life, if Emma does it, Jack has to do it. So, the hat went on him and up on the twisted tree he went. I know they are my kids, but they really were cute! A neighbor even caught us during the photo shoot. Luckily, he knows what a nut I am, so he didn't question the fact that I was taking pictures of my kids in a tree.
Here's what we came up with:

The arm in the air is Emma pretending to be throwing a lasso!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm a Sub!

Yesterday, Emma's teacher pulled me aside and asked if I would be her sub this year. It just so happened that she had a funeral to go to today and needed me. How could I say no?! It was tough saying "no" to the fall cleaning that I had planned with all kids out of the house, but I did it.

What a blast! Emma is part of an incredible class. They were so mannerly and fun. We had such a grand time talking and getting to know each other that we were late for the group activity! There were three beekeeper who came to visit and give a presentation. It was really cool! We saw real bees in a hive (behind glass), a smoker that is used to calm the bees and a beekeeper's outfit. We tasted different types of honey and saw products made from the beeswax. For snack, they had biscuits with butter and honey. Have you caught on that it is "B" week yet?

Anyway, it was fun and the kids and I got along great. One little boy was even holding my hand every chance he got by the end of the day. For them, I would put off cleaning any day!

My Little Chefs

There isn't much that I enjoy more than a good day of baking! The weather here has cooled down to the mid-80's and Emma decided that it was time for making some cookies. Making cookies in Emma's book means using a rolling pin and cookie cutters. In my excitement, I pulled out all of the fall themed cookie cutters that I could find and decided we would take these cookies as a treat for Will's football team on Saturday. Well.....according to Miss Emma, leaves are boring and don't make good cookies. Instead, we had to pull out the butterfly, tulip, heart and Pooh. Probably not exactly what a bunch of football players would enjoy, but hey! it was all about having fun (I did sneak in some leaves). Emma and Jack had a grand time of rolling, cutting and decorating. Don't worry! Jack's dough was simply for having fun. None of it actually made it into a baked product, thanks to the cup of drool that was mixed in. :)
It was a fun time and the football guys gobbled them up!
Princess Emma has to get the dough just right
With his mouth hanging open like that, how can you not get drool in the dough?!
That is the look of a sugar high - check out the eyes!

A Video For Jonner

This video was made by Will especially for Jonner. Will just LOVES the fact that Jonner's team suffered such a miserable loss during their first game of the season against Appalachian State. This loss has been dubbed "the Mother of All Upsets" and has been the butt of many a joke in our household. Hence, the following video...

Please note that the video and all of its contents are soley the idea of Mr. Will. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Emma's Surgery

It all started a couple of months ago. I noticed that Emma's lip was looking puffy. After further examination, I found a lump in her bottom lip. It didn't hurt and it progressively got a little bigger. I took her to the pediatrician who told me that it was nothing to worry about - just a mucocele. He directed me to take her to the dentist, who in turn also told me that it was a mucocele and that I should wait 3 weeks. If it didn't go away, I would need a referral to an oral surgeon. Of course, it didn't go away and we went to the surgeon. (See for a great explanation and picture!) He scheduled the surgery right away as it was getting larger and needed to be removed.

After Emma's last encounter with needles, I wasn't so sure this was going to go well and explained this to the surgeon. He was awesome! He showed Emma the chair that she would lie in, the mask with that provided laughing gas, the "straw" that would go in her arm to put her to sleep, everything! She was pretty calm about it and I answered all of her questions. She was scheduled for a 6:30 am procedure and was asked to wear her jammies in. Everything went extremely well - just a few tears at the sight of the needle. It was all over within an hour. She looked horrible afterward, but managed a smile when I gave her a special gift of a Fairytopia Barbie and a new backpack for school. Then, she was back to sleep. She ended up with a fat lip, four stitches and a big bruise inside her lip. The mucocele had actually started to spread into her muscle under her lip. Good thing we got it done when we did!

Miss Emma slept for a couple hours after returning home and then decided she wanted to get the Fairytopia movie from the rental store. We passed a McDonald's on the way there and she decided she was hungry and needed chicken nuggets. Against my better judgement, I gave in. That woman ate 6 nuggets and a bag of apple dippers! All with stitches in her mouth. The stitches ended up bothering her, so she started pulling them out. (mom scream!) Without vomiting, I managed to cut the extra length off the stitches and things were better. So much so, that she insisted on going to a farm team baseball game that night! She was up until 11:00 that night without one complaint. Maybe a little Motrin, but no complaints! What a trooper. Kids just amaze me sometimes. Mine are awesome.

Emma on her way to the surgery. She carried a pillowcase with her Webkinz and her favorite CD of bible school music.

Emma two days after surgery.

I have to add that no pictures were taken of her lip close up, before or after, per her request.

First Day of School

Once again, the first day of school and all of the jitters that go along with it, has come and gone. Will started the migration on August 27th. He entered the First Grade with Mrs. White. Only one of his Kindergarten friends is in the class. This doesn't seem to bother him or affect his excitement about starting a new year. I, however, am not as laid back about this new situation. My initial vibe about Mrs. White and the new class is one of hesitation and concern. I will give it time, but have to admit that I am anxious to get volunteering in that classroom! Watch out, Mrs. White, I will be watching you!

Will eats the traditional first-day-of-school meal, green eggs and ham.

Will hams it up with Emma and Jack.

Next, Emma started her Kindergarten readiness preschool program on September 4th. The girl was all smiles from the minute she woke up. It took some talking to get her to accept the fact that she would not yet be attending Kindergarten at Shady Grove. Then, we had to help her understand that Ms. Neva would not be her teacher this year even though she is at the same school. Phew! Then came Open House. We met Ms. Bonnie, her new teacher, who seems wonderful and very loving. The real kicker is that the class is FULL of boys. Other than Emma, there is only one other girl. Thankfully, this little girl is sweet as pie and believe it or not, smaller than Emma! Emma is actually the youngest in the class as the other children all turned 5 over the summer. This should prove to be an interesting school year! Emma will go to school, Monday through Thursday, for 3 hours a day.

Jack is so excited about this first-day-of-school thing that he has to practice wearing his backpack.

The day after Emma started, Jack had his first day of Mother's Morning Out. He goes for 3 hours, one day a week at the same school that Emma attends. Everything was excitement and happiness for Jack that morning. He even went right into his room and got down to the business of playing. I headed out and according to Miss Kissy, his teacher, he burst into tears as soon as he noticed that I wasn't there. He shed tears off and on for the rest of the day. He just wasn't fond of the fact that I wasn't there with him. He kept calling for me, cry and then get back to playing. When he finally got home, he told me that Miss Kissy hugged him, they rode bikes, they played outside and they painted. After conferring with the teacher, I found all of this information to be correct. Not bad for a 2 year-old!

I just love this picture!

Can you tell Emma adores her little brother?!

All in all, the first days went well. Everyone remained happy, we slipped back into the routine without a hitch and life is good! The big question everyone has now is: "what are you doing with your time when all three are in school?!" So far, I have managed to run errands and make appointments. I actually made it in and out of the grocery store in 10 minutes! That hasn't happened since before having children! I also have listened to NPR and a classic rock station while driving home from dropping the kids off. I actually felt like I was back in high school during a couple songs! Parking the minivan brought me back to reality though.

I have grand plans of doing my fall housecleaning without stopping 106 times within an hour, going to the dentist alone, going to my "annual exam" ALONE, getting my hair cut alone and maybe even trying some beautification/pampering. I also plan to volunteer at Will's school on the days that I don't have something scheduled. Hmmmm......we're 3 weeks into this and I haven't done any of these things yet. Stay tuned to see what actually happens during my "alone time".

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Preparing for the Winter

Date: August 25, 2007

Since the dog-gone deer ate all of our tomatoes (among other things), we decided to head over to the Triad's Farmer's Market to see what we could find. Evidently, we hit it just right. The farmers were putting out the last of their tomatoes and corn, so we loaded up. Just to be clear, there will continue to be corn and tomatoes available, but not in the large quantity that we wanted. I bought 5 dozen ears of corn and two crates of tomatoes, along with about 12 bell peppers, jalapenos and a big bag of onions!
After getting home, we set the whole family into motion and husked all of the corn. Allan helped cut it off the cob and then we cooked it all to be put in the freezer. We used Allan's mom's recipe and it turned out great! We ended up with 18 quart bags of delicious home-grown corn. YUM!

The next day, I went to work on the gazillion tomatoes. We had run out of homemade spaghetti sauce and were in dire need of some more. I used my Grandma's recipe and added a special zing, which turned out to not be a zing at all because the peppers I used weren't even hot. Big bummer. Nonetheless, we had a ginormous pot of spaghetti sauce cooking on the stove until 9pm on a Sunday night with the next morning being the first day of school for Will. In hindsight, that was really stupid timing, but it was then or never. The sauce turned out OK, but definitely needs my doctoring before putting it on the pasta. I made it the other night and put lots of my special ingredients in it and everyone LOVED it. All is well and we ended up with 14 quart jars and 14 pint jars. Good thing spaghetti is the kids' favorite meal! Guess what we'll be serving all of our guests for the next year?!

I am happy at this point. The sauce is looking good!

Now, I have had enough. I want the sauce to be done and in the jars!

Showing off his ear!
Emma does not want her picture taken - that is a first!Will is all business.
Counting up our ears.