Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Bowling Outing

We finally got to the bowling alley and bowled a game.  It was the first time for the little ones.  Their feet have just now gotten big enough to fit in bowling shoes!  I'm so glad we made the extra effort to go again this week because we had a great time.  Grace is an especially enthusiastic bowler.  She was whoopin' it up and cheering constantly.  Her favorite phrases that night were "Great job!" and "Is it my turn yet?"  I told Byron will be watching her on ESPN 3 someday.  Needless to say that girl was asleep five minutes after I put her in bed.  She wore herself out.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Pain of the Parent Strikeout

Byron and I had a great plan to load up the kids after dinner tonight and take them bowling.  I thought I had all my bases covered.   I checked the website to make sure there was open bowling tonight and age limits, prices, etc.  I cooked and served dinner early.  I fed the kids, pet, and husband and cleaned it all up.  I changed the kids clothes, checked everyone's socks to make sure they were clean, oversaw everyone took a potty turn before leaving, and ushered the kids out into the cold van.  We drove there, got out into the cold and headed into the bowling alley to be told that there were so many leagues tonight that all the lanes were full.  The disappointment on the kid's faces was so strong that the owner gave us all free passes.  Even Maddie was so sad!  I hate when stuff like this happens.  Not only do I have to let my kids down, but I've done all this extra work for nothing!  So frustrating!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Coming to You Live From My Bedroom

My blog has suffered the last few months.  I have not blogged nearly as much as I usually do.  I used to crawl into bed at night and use my wonderful little net book to reflect about the day on the blog, check facebook, play a few games.  I loved that little netbook.  Then one day I crawled into bed and pushed the on button and nothing happened.  I don't consider myself stuck on material things, but I was real upset when that thing died!  I loved it so much!  It was perfect for my needs.  Well, thanks to my wonderful husband I received a new netbook for Christmas!  Yeah!  So I'm sure I will be more blog active now.  If I am able to put two thoughts together at the end of the day then I will put them on the blog.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas in Pictures

Post to come later.  I've already been contacted by some grandparents to post Christmas morning pictures.  I better get on it if I know what's good for me!  LOL!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Grace

I found the sweetest tribute to daughters on another blog I track and I just had to post it in honor of my sweet little Gracie's birthday.  I wish I had a way with words like these poets do.  Grace we all love you so much and everything in these writings is how I feel about you (and all my girls!)

A daughter is a gift of love.
-- Author Unknown

A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend.
-- Author Unknown

A daughter is a mother's gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. 
-- Author Unknown   

A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous...full of beauty and forever beautiful...loving and caring and truly amazing.
-- Deanna Beisser

A daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give.
-- Laurel Atherton 

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future. 
-- Author Unknown

A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart. 
-- Author Unknown

A mother's treasure is her daughter. 
-- Catherine Pulsifer

Our daughters are the most precious of our treasures, the dearest possessions of our homes and the objects of our most watchful love.---This one is my favorite!
-- Margaret E. Sangster

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, I am such a dork.  My sister and brother-in-law were here for the whole Thanksgiving holiday and I did not take a single picture.  Not a one!  I was too busy having fun I guess.  The best I can do for you is a picture of these cute turkey candle holders that Kendall and I made.  They'll be featured over at  Back to Thanksgiving.  As stated before, my sister and brother-in-law came and we had such a nice time with them.  They are so laid back and fun to hang out with and my girls are CRAZY over them.  Grace has the biggest crush in the world on Uncle Rich and every night she would ask me, "Will Uncle Richard be here in the morning?"  They let the girls play with their I-Phones and they had all kinds of cool games on them (according to Kendall).  We ate and ate (of course) and then Angie and I braved the Black Friday shopping.  We left the house at midnight and stayed out until about 7:30am.  We will probably not be doing that again!  The lines were insane!  I've never seen anything like it.  It was still fun though and it was good to get in some sister time.  We also had another first this year and that was frying a turkey.  Luckily, Richard had done it before and was able to guide us a little better.  The boys had to do it in the garage because it was raining and it made the whole garage smell like frying oil!  It was worth it though because that turkey was DELICIOUS!  Then the boys went to see Catholic High play in Danville on Friday night and Angie and I stayed with the girls.  We were so tired we just sat on the couch and stared at the TV.  Man, we were zonked.  I am going to sleep like the dead tonight.  I'm super thankful that I'm tired from having fun and not tired from working. It's a much more fun type of exhaustion, don't you think?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

True Blue Gracie We Love You

This will be a very fast post because we're trying to get ready for church this morning.  It's too funny to let it pass by and be forgotten though.  Byron had a map of Lexington out this morning and Grace, in her special 3 year old way, was asking about 500 questions.  Where's this?  What's that?  Where is Lexington?  Where's our house?  On and on and on.  Then I hear her ask "Where are the basketball players?"  Yes, even a 3 year old can't get away from basketball fever when you're living right next door to it.  Good grief!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Smeller's the Feller

So a while back Maddie had a weird smell coming from her nose.  We were in the process of moving but I was just about to take her into the doctor and the smell stopped.  She'd had a runny nose at the time and I just contributed the smell to a runny nose.  Then the smell came back again.  So after much blood, sweat, and tears of dealing with all the rules surrounding the stupid patient health care privacy yada yada I got Maddie into a doctor.  The first thing the doctor said to me was that he thought Maddie had stuck something up her nose.  This came as no surprise to me because I had already Googled "smelly toddler nose" and this was the number one reason.  Plus I've caught Maddie sticking stuff up her nose before.  According to Google, it seems that kids love to stick sponges and couch foam up their nose.  He laid Maddie down on the table and took a good look up that little booger maker and sure enough he saw something.  Well it almost felt like Christmas morning.  What was going to be in Maddie's nose?  A lost earring?  Money?  My ipod charger?  Okay, probably not that last one.  Any guesses?  It was blue playdoh!  It was big.  At least the size of a quarter.  Poor Maddie!  I hope she felt a lot better afterward.  Her nose smelled better immediately.  The doctor asked me if I wanted to take the play-doh home and I almost said yes just so I could take a picture and show everyone on the blog; but I changed my mind.  Sorry!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I've Got a New Attitude (Okay, Maybe Not)

So I went to get my driver's license switched over to my new address last week.  You know how when you are dreading something and it makes the actual event worse because you have a bad attitude?  Well, I know all about that and should know to avoid bad attitudes at all costs.  However, you would have found me whining to Byron the night before how I didn't want to go down to the DMV and how awful it would be etc. etc.  I should have kept my mouth shut.  I get up the next morning and announce at breakfast that the kids and I are taking a little field trip to the DMV.  Well, you would have thought I said we're going out in the tobacco fields for 8 hours of hard labor with all the whining I encountered ( I don't know where they get it!).  I had gathered all my documents before and we headed out the door.  Well, we almost headed out the door.  After coats and shoes were on, Maddie had a diaper blowout.  Okay, Maddie and I shed our coats and shoes and change her diaper and pants.  Coats and shoes back on and out the door.  Now it's raining.  I had been in Lexington for three weeks and it has only rained twice.  Of course it's raining today.  In the car to get to the DMV.  The dvd player in the van is not working.  The kids are chanting, "Put on Cinderella!"  I tell them they will survive because we're not going far.  We get there.  Grace falls on the sidewalk on her way in and starts wailing.  I get in the door and immediately get dirty looks because I'm toting a crying child.  I ignore them.  But thankfully no line!  Who hoo!  I hand over all my paperwork.  The lady behind the desk informs me she needs my original birth certificate and not a copy.  I inform her my original is a mess because it has some weird dark parts on it that makes it hard to read.  She says if she can't read it I have to drive to Frankfort to get a new one.  Oh great.  Okay, back home to get the original birth certificate.  We get back and in my hast to get out of the rain I spin around and some how shut my jacket in the van door.  Now I'm like a turtle on my back and cannot get turned around to open the door.  Kendall has to climb into the other side of the van and open my door so I can get free.  Back into the DMV where they process my information.  I go over to get my picture made and the guy tells me I need to scoot back because it looks like I have a pumpkin head!  Well that was just the cherry on my sundae.  I can't help but wonder if my day would have gone better with a good attitude.  I'm pretty sure it's hard to have a good attitude after you've attached yourself to your own vechile and been called a pumpkin head.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ladies, time to Vote!

Some of the first women to vote in November 1935
I hope you got out and voted today.  I especially hope you did if you are a minority or a female.  There are so many before you that have fought for these rights and the best way to thank them is by exercising your vote.  So no complaining or whining about the lines at the poles being too long.  You've waited longer for a table at a restaurant.  No complaining that candidates don't keep their promises.  Maybe they do, maybe they don't.  If they don't, you have the chance to not vote for them again.  I don't want to hear that the ballot is too confusing.  Really?!  It takes me all of 5 seconds to read the ballot and there are tons of volunteers at the polling site to assist you.  My remote control is harder to figure out.  The number one reason to get out and vote today?  If you don't vote; you can't complain about the government!  To non-voters I would give these words of wisdom I share with my kids, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  If you don't vote then you are just stuck with what everyone else chooses.  You don't want someone else picking your house, car, clothes, etc.; so why would you let them pick who represents you?  Plus, if you go to the polls they give you a sticker that says, "I voted."  You can't beat that.

Side note:  I just saw on Facebook that my friend Kelly took her 4 year old son to the polls with her and he was disappointed they didn't have food there.  LOL!!  I'm with you Wyatt, would it kill 'em to put out a box of bagels and a coffee pot?  Geez!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Double Dipping

We went out to my in-laws for a few days this week to hang out and trick or treat.  I thought I was being really smart by heading to Ashland for trick or treating (which was Thur in Ashland) because I thought I would miss trick or treat here on Friday.  Wrong!  Trick or treat in Lexington is on Sunday (I know, I know, I'm surprised too.) which means that I have two choices.  I can A) make the kids stay in the house while I answer the door and hand out candy, or B) let them go again.  I guess I could C) turn off the lights and not answer the door but that seems so wrong; especially since my kids have already been once this year.  So I guess we'll go again.  Maddie is actually spending a couple of days in Ashland with Nana and Gramps so the big girls are excited about covering some major ground on Sunday night.  I, however, am making sure I have enough freezer bags to bag up all this candy coming into my house.  We'll be eating Halloween candy until Easter.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wanna Be Smarter?

Then read something!  Why not start with my homeschool blog?  Check it out at  I promise I will post the link for "Getting Schooled" on this blog over to the side as soon as I get smart enough to figure it out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A True Southern Lady

We've been in Lexington about 2 weeks now and we're finally showing signs of settling into a routine.  The kids and I made it through one day (and yes, it was just one day) last week without anyone losing control and having a meltdown, including myself.  This is a rarity at any time, but especially after moving into a new environment.  I had a little rite of passage this weekend because I went down to the Kroger and got my Kroger card.  Now Kroger in the south is like Hy-vee is in the Mid-west.  There's one on every corner.  In fact, there is a Kroger .25 miles from our house.  I'd already been in there a few times and when I checked out they would always ask me for my Kroger card.  I would have to whisper to the checkout girl that I didn't have one and then see the look of shock on her face.  See, no self respecting southern woman of my age or older would walk around without having their Kroger card attached to their key ring or in their purse.  Even when I would visit KY and go to Kroger they would ask me for my mother's phone number so they could use her Kroger card for my purchases.  I even got one for Byron so he can run up to Krogers and not have to suffer the humiliation of not having a Kroger card.  So now that I've got that out of the way maybe I can tackle more important things like finalizing my renter's insurance and getting a new driver's license.  Actually, I can probably get that done at Krogers too.  

Note:  You might have noticed that I wrote "Krogers" in the story instead of the store's given name, "Kroger".  This is because I've never hear anyone called it "Kroger".  Since I could talk everyone has called it "Krogers" or "the Kroger".  Except for Byron who calls it K-Roger.  You can't really go by him because the whole time we lived in Iowa he called Hy-vee "the hive".  Sigh....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Go Upward Go!

Well, this post is a long time coming.  Kendall started cheerleading in August and I'm just now posting about it.  Good grief!  I wanted to post pictures but I had packed up all the USB cables and just now found one.  We must have 30 USB cables so I don't know why it was so hard to find.  Okay, on with Kendall.  We joined a sporting group this year called Upward Sports.  If you don't know about Upward Sports check it out here  Kendall decided to do cheerleading for the football teams.  Well the first game it was so windy!!  The girls were freezing.  The second game was windy and raining and we were sent home.  The third game was rainy and the girls stayed to cheer but not picture weather.  Finally, her last game was sunny enough that I could take pictures.  So here she is with the squad.  So stinkin' cute.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I wasn't in Kentucky for 2 hours before I had my first Ale-8-One.  Some of you just went "huh?"  Ale-8-One is a soft drink made and sold in KY and usually only in KY.  Some of it might find it's way into TN on another neighboring state, but it's home belongs right here.  Ale-8-One or "a late one" is bottled in Winchester, KY (I didn't know that, I had to look it up.) and it is so yummy.  It tastes like a mix of ginger ale and mountain dew.  It comes in cans but it usually still sold in a bottle.  I love to drink one and drop salted peanuts into the bottom of the bottle.  Then you can suck the peanuts out of the bottle after they've soaked up all that soda goodness.  It turns out they even have a website with recipes on it!  Guess what will be heavily featured in the Hall menu the next couple of weeks?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Update on Gas Compnay and Funny Story

THE GAS MAN CAME!!!!  Then he left without finishing  :-(   Then he came back and finished!!!  Something about a gas emergency is why he left.  Maybe a kid fell down a well or something.  I don't care because we're going to have hot water in an hour or so.  Shower, shower, shower!!!  He also found the furnace which I could not find.  Guess where it was?  In a trap door in the ceiling of the upstairs master bedroom closet.  Didn't see that one coming did ya? 
On to the funny story.  Although we are in a quiet neighborhood, we live within a mile to some very busy places.  There's lots of traffic and lanes etc. I was driving yesterday and accidently pulled over into a lane and cut someone off.  Completely my fault.  So I said out loud, "I'm sorry!  I'm not used to it here."  What I meant was I was not used to the area.  Kendall thought I meant I wasn't used to traffic so she shouted out.  "Give my mom a break!  We're from Iowa and it's small there!  She's not used to so many people living in one place in KY.  Why can't some of you people go home?!  She's trying her best so back off!!".  Dang!!  Road rage anyone?

Making Friends Already

Well we made it to Lexington and into our new place.  I'm currently sitting in an empty dining room in a lawn chair writing this blog post.  Our truck will be here early tomorrow morning and we will be SO glad to have our stuff back.  We got here Saturday evening and Byron flew out to New York for work Sunday morning.  He's doing his training for IBM and getting all his equipment (toys).  I just saw that he posted on facebook that he is officially an IBMer.  I'm not sure what that means but I hope he didn't have to get branded or a tattoo or something.
With Byron gone that leaves yours truly to hold down the fort for a few days.  It should be easy because how hard is it to take care of an empty house?  I've certainly had my bumps in the road the past couple of days but almost everything is going good.  The major problem was that when we got here we realized the water heater was gas.  I was TOLD by my cocky property manager that everything was electric so I didn't turn on the gas.  So we haven't had hot water since we've moved it.  I've been boiling water on the stove and hauling it up the stairs in a bucket a la "The Money Pit" style.  Not a big deal though.  I was going to call Monday and get the gas turned on.  I called.  They took my info and said I need to sign some paperwork and pay a deposit.  Hmm....weird but whatever.  She said if I come down to the office and fill out the paperwork she can have someone come out in 3 days.  Groan!!!!  But what can I do?  I go down to fill out the paperwork and the guy tells me I need to have my license verified by a notary, etc, etc and all this other bull dung.  I say "This is crazy.  I have good credit. (I do, really!).  I didn't have to do this with the other utilities.  What's going on?"  Well, turns out they have me listed as Alyssa Paul.  Not surprisingly, that name did not match up with my social.  Back to the customer service phone.  I explain the whole situation to the lady.  She asks if I have an acct. number.  I give it to her.  Then I kid you not she says, "How can I help you?"  Did you not hear anything I said before the acct number???  I re-explain.  She changes my name.  She says it still shows I have bad credit.  I said, "Spell my name"  A-L-I-C-I-A  H-U-L-L.  I correct it for her again.  She runs it again and I says it's still coming up bad.  I said, "Your system is wrong.  I just rented a home and set up other utilities.  I could not have done that with bad credit."  I'm practically sobbing into the phone of the lobby of the gas company.  I'm sure I looked like a crazy person with my dirty hair and dirty kids in our dirty clothes and crying to the lady to please turn on the gas.  All I needed were rollers in my hair and fuzzy slippers!  We'll I know I should have stayed on that phone and fought that lady to the death about turning on the gas but I was just too tired.  I just told her my husband would set it up under his name and hung up on her.  That's right!  Alyssa Paul hung up on someone.  Not in anger, just in exhaustion.  Then I came home and took a cold shower that woke up every pore in my body.  Yowey-Zowey!!  I wasn't tired after that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blue Moon of Kentucky

"keep on shining.  Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.....".  Oh, Elvis, will their ever be a generation you don't influence?  Well we have been keeping a secret for what seems like a LLLLOOONNGGGGG time.  That's probably because I wanted to tell so bad and I couldn't!  Byron has taken a job with IBM and we are moving to Lexington,  KY!!  Crazy, I know.  The crazier part is that we're going to accomplish all this by Oct 15th.  We're packing, we're looking at rentals in Lexington, we're tying up our jobs here, we're getting our home ready for our renter, we're spending extra time with friends that we are going to miss so dearly!!  It is a lot to take in but God has been so faithful all the way through.  Even up to the tiniest but important details of allowing Byron to have the week off during the move.  So awesome!  After 13 years, we are finally going to be close enough to family to actually jump in the car and go see them without having to leave at 3am.  We can't wait to catch up with everybody and spend holidays together.  There will be a big hole in our heart when we leave the ones we love in IA and I will miss seeing our good friends everyday.  However, we are super excited to see what God has in store for us in the Blue Grass Region!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Cantaloupe

I am constantly telling my kids to back up and give mom some room.  Wherever I am you can bet my kids are within five feet of me.  If there is ever a fire and I have to grab the kids quickly and run out of the house we will all be ready.  I can't ever convince them (short of tying them to a chair) that it is okay to not know what Mommy is doing every second of the day.  Go play by yourselves for heaven's sake!  Well I think I finally taught one of them a lesson on this point.  The other day I'm sitting at our breakfast bar eating cantaloupe.  Maddie is crawling under the stool I'm sitting on and threatening every five seconds to accidentally topple us both over.  Due to my poor fine motor skills, a piece of cantaloupe popped out of mouth, fell, and hit Maddie squarely in the head.  She paused, looked up and saw me with my fork in mid-air and immediately began to scream.  Obviously her two year old mind told her, "Your mother just hit you in the head with a piece of fruit!!  Protest!"  I ignored her screams (it didn't hurt) and told all the kids, who of course were standing within five feet of me when it happened.  "This is what happens when you don't give Mom some space.  Be aware, because next time it could be a lot heavier!"

Monday, August 30, 2010

The BirdMan

BirdMan of Winterset
BirdMan of Alcatraz
Byron has been complaining that every time he goes to mow the yard that birds follow him around.  I always brush him off because it sounded like such a silly thing to complain about.  Birds are following you around the yard?  Well, you're outside for heaven's sake!  Of course there are going to be birds outside.  Well, I guess you have to see it to believe it.  (BTW, you won't see it.  I tried to take some pictures but they didn't turn out.)  I watched from the front door as Byron mowed.  At least 30 birds were circling him while he mowed.  He moved to a new spot in the yard and they followed.  This goes on for at least a couple of hours!  He said they come about this time every year and they always follow him around.  So weird.  I told Byron he is officially the Birdman.  Can't you see the resemblance?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Well Now She's Got Something to Say

I took Grace back to her first speech therapy appointment this morning after her summer hiatus.  The good new is that she scored the exact same on her speech test that she did in May which means no back sliding at all.  Yeah Grace!  Her teacher Mrs. Abby also said she is speaking clearer and louder than the end of May.  Well I can attest to that.  See when I take Grace to her appointment their is really nothing much for me to do.  So the kids and I usually sit over on the other end of the room and play quietly.  This affords me the chance to hear some of Grace's lesson.  Today she managed to tell her teacher that we have spiders in our house (true), that she has been bit by a mouse (not true), we have poisonous snakes all over our yard (not true), that her sister gets poopy diapers (true), and some various other things that I think I might have understood but her teacher did not. I'm not sure I'm so glad she's finally sharing with the world.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Night Crawler

My little Maddie is a night crawler.  She will frequently turn up at my bedside (on in my bed!) in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.  I usually get a "Hi Mom" as I drag myself up and put her back in her own bed.  Lately she has been skipping the midnight drive by in our bedroom and trading it in for just doing her own thing.  A few times I've found her in the living room playing with toys at 4:30am.  One morning I found her sleeping on our pillows from our bed that were piled on our bedroom floor.  This morning I go to leave for work at 3:30 and I found her curled up asleep in a living room chair.  It's kind of cute except it scares me have to death.  To think of her walking around the house at night and I don't even know about it!  She could crack her head open!  I tell her every time that she needs to stay in her bed.  You know the answer I get?  "Okay mom!".  But I'm sure she'll be at it again tomorrow night!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Check Out My New Blog

I've got a new blog up and running.  I'm homeschooling my kiddos this year and decided to do a blog to help them share their work and myself share what's going on etc.  So if you are into the teaching thing, or the homeschool thing, or you are a grandparent of one of my children (you know who you are) then you might find it interesting.  Don't worry if you don't fall under that list.  You can do your part.  My favorite wine is a nice light Riesling.  Don't be stingy now!  I'm going to be with the kids ALL DAY!  Actually while you're at it, you can send over any headache medicine you have laying around too.  Don't worry, I won't mix the two.  Promise!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Maddie Kenevil

Maddie is the daredevil of the family.  I don't know if it's because she's the youngest or it is just her nature.  She does things at age 2 that Kendall never did at that age and Grace still isn't doing at 3.  She conquered the highest tornado slide in the park earlier this summer.  She's been climbing to the top of our playground and sliding down our super fast slide since she was 16 months.  She climbs to the top of the bunk beds.  She jumps off the last 4 or 5 steps of everything.  She eats spicy foods that the other 2 won't touch.  She jumps into the pool.  She warms up to people right away and talks to anybody.  She has no boundaries as far as watching out for the road or staying close to mom.  Dancing on chairs, jumping off the bed onto her sisters, climbing on top of tables; she's always on the go.  I have had SO many close calls with her.  But we love her crazy self anyway.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Grace's Bad Day

Poor Grace.  You know how sometimes you just have one of THOSE days.  Try having that and being 3 years old.  Grace woke up this morning not feeling so great.  I won't go into details but she spent twenty minutes in the bathroom with no real success.  After we finally got that sorted out we had her least favorite breakfast, eggs and bacon.  Then her favorite dress was in the laundry so she had to settle for her denim dress which I'm sure was hot since it was in the upper 90s today.  (side note, I told her to wear shorts and a tank top, but she insisted on a dress).  Then we were outside playing and a bug flew in her mouth.  She flipped out!  I'm surprised the National Guard didn't show up in our driveway with how she was going on.  You'd think it was a disaster.  After 30 minutes of convincing her the bug was gone (BTW, she is still telling me it's in her mouth even this afternoon) she went back to playing only to have a tree frog jump on her face!  I am not making this up.  After she calmed down we were able to head out to her doctor's appointment.  While waiting for her antibiotics at the pharmacy she spilled her chocolate milkshake on her dress.  I tried to make things better by putting her favorite movie on in the van but it kept skipping and wouldn't play.  She hasn't had any more mishaps today but we still have bath time and bedtime to go.  Poor Gracie!

Happy Birthday Kendall!

I know, I'm late.  In my defense we were out of town with some family in the Ozarks and celebrated Kendall's birthday while we were gone.  Ever since we have been back I have been all messed up on my days and I don't know what is going on half the time.  So forgive me and here we go.....

Happy 7th Birthday my beautiful first born.  From the moment I held you I knew you were a force to be reckoned with.  You amaze me with your energy and keep my laughing with your witty one liners.  You are passionate, inquisitive, and thoughtful.  You light up the whole room with your smile.  Everyone thinks you are the sweetest thing that's ever walked the face of this earth (and you use that to your advantage, LOL).  You are a great big sister and a wonderful daughter.  Even though it pains me to see you grow up so fast, I am thankful to God that you are becoming such a fine young lady.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the Up Swing

If you don't already know, we are trying to sell our home.  I've had a blog about our home up and it never seems to get any hits but I just noticed that it has actually been getting some hits lately.  Hmmm...maybe the economy really is on the up swing.  So I thought this would be a good time to post my house blog site on my family blog site and do some collaborative blogging.  All the info is on the blog, including contact info.  We're also up for trading with someone in the KY, TN area and/or renting to someone if the circumstances are right.  So go over and take a look.  Even if you're not in the market you might know someone who knows someone, who works with someone, who has a cousin who's sister-in-law wants to buy a house in Winterset.  Besides more hits on the blog make me happy.  You want to make me happy don't you?  :-)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Dipper

Sometimes on a hot and humid day like this I get to feeling a little nostalgic.  I'll announce to Byron that I'm having a Dipper craving.  He usually says, "Okay,  I'll go get ya one.  Be back in 23 hours."  Now if you grew up in Owensboro Ky you would know right away what a Dipper was.  The Big Dipper is the full name of a hamburger joint in town that makes the best hamburgers and tater tots will you ever have in your life.  Now some from Owensboro will read this and start an argument that Wonder Whip is better.  Wonder Whip has it's place in town, but if you grew up on my side of town then the Dipper was the place to be.  There is nothing special about them at all. No fancy sauces or secret ingredients.  No fancy buns, Kobe beef, or different toppings to choose.  I guess their only special technique is that maybe they don't clean off the grill too often.  I started eating Dipper hamburgers when I was knee high to a grasshopper on the front seat of my mom and dad's old orange car.  It was all vinyl seats that would burn your butt right off in the summer.  I remember my mom used to keep a 70s style flowered towel in there just so you could sit in the dang thing without your hindquarters sweating off and then sticking to the seat.  I guess that was almost 30 years ago (wow, I'm old) and I don't know that one thing has changed about the Dipper or it's food.  They still have a walk up window or a drive through with a squawk box that's loud enough to announce your order to half the county.  You have to drive over a cord that dings with your car and that's how they know someones ready to order.  I know that thing dings all day long because I've been there at 10:45 on a Friday morning and a line of cars already be out to the road.  I even took my two oldest kids there a couple years ago.  I took a picture of them right in front of the sign like we were visiting a national monument or something.  We sat on those busted up picnic tables in their parking lot and the kids and I ate burgers, tots, and peach shakes.  Only time I've ever seen Grace finish a whole sandwich.  I swear I'd call them up right now and have them next day air me a sandwich, but I think the grease would probably melt through the box and it would fall out before it made it here. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Use Thy Cuteness to Swipe Toys (a kid version of the 8th Commandment)

Our town had their Summerfest celebration a couple of weeks ago. The theme was "A Day at Disney" which about put my girls into some heavenly Disney princess orbit. So they all dressed up and headed downtown (I forgot to take a picture, grrr..) to enjoy the festivities. Maddie was rockin' out the stroller and we were having a nice time shopping, playing, and visiting with friends. We were on our way back to the van when I looked down and Maddie had a new toy in her hands. There had been lots of sidewalk sales that day and I was afraid she had swiped it right off a store's shelf while we were walking around. Then I realize I had just handed her a drink a few minutes before and she hadn't had this toy nor had we walked past any stores since then. We HAD however walked past lots of families with kids in strollers and little toddlers walking around. The only thing I can think happen as that she stole it from another family! Oh the embarrassment! I promise I had no idea! So Winterset families, if this is your toy, we have it waiting for you.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Homemade Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Don't worry, this isn't turning into a food blog. I guess when the middle of summer hits I start getting a hankerin' for some new reciepes. I was sneaking around some of my favorite food blogs and I found a reciepe for homemade Dulce de Leche ice cream over at Now I would easily knock over my own grandmother (sorry Mamma) to get the last piece of Dulce de Leche cheesecake. That stuff is my favvooorriiittteeee. It's my Green Eggs and Ham. I could it in here or there, I could eat in anywhere. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, last meal on death row; you get the picture. But this recipe gets even better than that. She make her own homemade Dulce de Leche sauce!! And it looks so easy! Shut your mouth, can you believe that? Well, I am going to immediately put my ice cream maker in the freezer and get my tooshie over to the grocery store first thing in the morning. I will be eating ice cream by mid-afternoon. uuuuhhhhhhhh (Homer Simpson drooling sound.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Taste....10, Presentation.....0

When I was a kid my favorite dessert was something called Pretzel Salad. It's a three layer dessert. The top is a strawberry/strawberry jello layer followed by a cream cheese/cool whip layer and the crust is made from pretzels and sometimes pecans if they happen to be in the pantry. My mother made it every Christmas and sometimes on other holidays too. She used to make it for me as an adult when I would come home to visit. She doesn't do that much anymore since I've had my kids because becoming a grandma makes your love for the original child lessen. Those of you that have little kids know what I'm talking about right? Once your parents become grandparents then you get tossed out like an old towel. I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. Anywhoo.....back to the pretzel salad. I TRY to make pretzel salad on the 4th of July holiday. You got your red, your white, and if you put it on a blue plate your totally set. One problem, every time I make it it looks like this......

Why is my pretzel salad such a mess? I have two theories. One, I time the layers wrong as I putting them in and I get something too hot or too cold and it doesn't want to attach the next layer. Two, I can't wait to eat it and I pull one little piece (okay two) out of the pan early causing the whole thing to lose it's support system and come crashing into the empty side of the pan. Take a guess which theory I'm leaning towards.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad (salad is very loosely defined)
2 1/2 c crushed pretzels (throw in some pecan pieces for a little extra)
3 T sugar
3/4 c melted butter
1 8oz container cool whip
1 8oz container cream cheese
1 c sugar
1 6oz pkg strawberry jello
2 c boiling water
1 16oz pkg frozen strawberries in syrup
Mix together pretzels and pecans, 1 T sugar and melted butter. Press into 13x9 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 375. Cool. Mix together cool whip, cream cheese, and 1 cup sugar. Spread on cooled pretzel mixture. Mix jello and water together. Add strawberries and put in fridge until it begins to set. Then pour over cream cheese mixture. LEAVE IT IN THE REFRIGERATOR until set; at least 4-6 hrs. Or the other option is to sneak into the kitchen and cut out a piece early then claim to your family that you don't know why it always falls apart when you serve it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th?

Making some confetti pop...very serious business.

Waiting for the fireworks to start.
Maddie catching up on the latest gossip while she waits.
What the rest of our weekend looked like.

I just love to celebrate 4th of July. Obviously the best part is a chance to remember our own freedoms and to honor those who allow us to keep those freedoms. I have friends who have lived in other countries for extended periods of time and according to them, we have it really good over here ladies. The second part is just being able to enjoy the outdoors with good food, friends, and entertainment. Everyone just seems friendlier on July 4th. It's just nice to get out in your yard and visit with your neighbors and enjoy the festivities together as a community. The ribs sizzle, the beverages flow, and the fireworks pop. We certainly enjoyed all that this year.....on July 3rd. July 4th and 5th (every one's day off) brought rain....rain...rain. Not buckets of rain but that steady drizzle/rain/drizzle/rain combo that lasts all day. So we were very thankful that most of our celebrating was done a day early. Happy 3rd of July everyone!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Oh my goodness I was so happy when this weekend rolled around. Two reasons. One, it did not rain. Okay, well technically it rained on early Saturday morning and early Sunday morning but that doesn't count. Second, no one had to work this Saturday and there were no pressing household needs. The two together mean the Halls can actually get out and have some summer fun! Fun we did have. It is so nice to be able to go somewhere all day and not have to worry about naptimes, bottles, and super cranky babies. Yeah the kids were cranky, but not until we were ready to go. They even played with each other some while Byron and I sat and did a little reading! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE babies. However, there is something to be said for the benefits of kids growing up.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Will Not Let Fear Rule my Life

Those were the words that Kendall kept repeating to herself as we walked through the mall to the earring store. She has wanted to get her ears pierced for several weeks but could not muster up the courage until right at that moment. She had quizzed every one of her friends on what to expect and even asked her teacher how bad it really hurt. We went into the store and even watched a teen-ager get her's pierced. When her time came she panicked and wouldn't get in the chair. I told the woman we needed a minute. We went and sat at a table and chairs right outside the store. I said, "Kendall, I won't make you get your ears pierced, but if you don't do this you are going to regret it." She was shaking like a leaf (it broke my heart!) but she kept telling herself positive things about having pierced ears. It was so precious. Finally she stood up and announced she was ready to do it. We went back in the store and she got in the chair. As the loaded up the earrings into the earring guns she looked at me and said, "I've changed my mind. I can't do this." and she started to cry. Well I could have melted into the floor right there on the spot. Instead I said, "No, we've come this far. You're ready to go. We're doing it." She was crying hard by now but I told the ladies to go ahead anyway. As soon as they pierced her ears, she took one look in the mirror and immediately stopped crying. "Ohhh, I love it!" Of course, I am a wreck by now and tears start running down my face! I'm sure the ladies at Claires thought we were nuts. This story has a happy ending though because she did it and she couldn't' be happier! It's all she talks about. In fact to drill home the point that we were a couple of crazies, Kendall stood up in the store right after she was done and said (loudly) "From now until the rest of my life, Kendall Hall has pierced ears!". I'm sure we will be the talk of the store for the next couple of days.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Time to Make the Cupcakes

I have taken a little part time job at a bakery. I make cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc. early in the morning so when the owners get there all the goodies are ready to decorate. I know Homer up there is holding a doughnut but they don't make doughnuts (I know, it's a tragedy) It's not really that kind of bakery. They make all kinds of fancy decorations and cakes that look like they should be hanging in an art gallery. I end up getting home from work about 7:15 in the morning. Well Grace and Madison have taken to "sniffing" me when I get home. After a couple of days, I noticed they would hug me and then hang around a little while and smell my clothing and hands. I can't complain. I'd rather come home smelling like a cupcake then smelling like sweat I guess!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Maddie-Mo!!

Maddie, you turned two today and my heart is overflowing with love for you. You're generous and sweet. You're silly and carefree. You stand your ground and don't let your big sisters push you around. You're easy going and comic relief for the whole family. We love when you dance and sing and make funny faces. Everyone loves that you follow your own beat and that you let us join in whenever we want. You've been laid back and relaxed since the day you were born. You were the coolest baby in the nursery! You make our family complete. Proof that God's surprises are the best ones we can receive.

Mom, Dad, Kendall, and Grace

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Love is in the Air

Look closely and this crudely made craft. Between all the hearts and the happy couple are the words "I (love=heart) you Kendall." I found this love note in Kendall's backpack after school. When I asked her where she got it she said,

"Oh mom, Jacob gave that to me at school."

Me: "Who's Jacob?"

K: "Just a kid in my class. I guess he likes me."

Me: "What did you do when he gave it to you?"

K: "I said thank you (whew..good girl) and then snuck it into my backpack."

Me: "Did you show it to your friends?"

K: Lots of unnecessary and exaggerated eye-rolling "Oh my gosh, NO!! I would die. I didn't tell anyone."

Me: "He hasn't tried to kiss you, has he?"


How stinkin' cute is that?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Have No Title

I sat for a few minutes and tried to think of a little story to go with this picture and here it is.

Maddie was outside and she sat in a bucket. The End.

Props to Gramps

The Hall family wanted to give a shout out to our patriarch Larry (aka Dad and Gramps) Hall who will be celebrating his retirement of 35 years with his company. Thirty five years is a looooooong time (he's been working there since before I was born) to work at the same company. If you don't think it is, then you're probably one of the few people in the world that has never had a job. Nana and Gramps are currently on a Caribbean cruise (we'll try not to act jealous when they get back) so they won't see this for quite a few days, but congratulations on your retirement from the Hall family. May your next 35 years be a lot more relaxing than the last 35!