Thursday, December 31, 2009

They're Arriving!

All my seed catalogs, that is. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Pajama Day at the Library!

Just when I thought the kids couldn't get more excited about our weekly visit to the library for story time, the library hosts Pajama Day! The kids have been squealing with glee over the fact that they are going to wear their pajamas to the library. I don't know why, but that cracks me up! We love story time with Miss Jane.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

White Christmas w/ the Family

The kids and I drove to Flower Mound to spend Christmas with my family. My brother and SIL graciously opened their home for the get together this year as they, with a one month old and me with a 3 month old, were unable to make the trek to our parents house for the holidays this year, and I with a 3 month old wasn't up for the long drive by myself much either.

It was a GLORIOUS time! We made it there without any incident - unlike Mom and Dad, for whom it took 12 hours and 15 minutes to make the trip this time due to the snowstorm. We were SO thankful they made it safely. 287 was closing down the line, right behind them it turns out and so many were stranded on the highway for Christmas Eve. We later learned that the road was closed anywhere from 8 to 13 hours, depending on the location. It was a MEGA long trip for them but thankfully, those 35+ years driving in that sort of mess for the highway department made Dad able to make the drive.

There was still snow on the ground when we arrived. We enjoyed a scrumptious Christmas dinner and many other yummies during our visit. The kids got to enjoy playing out in the snow - building a snow man and having snow ball fights and "skating" on the ice. We received many wonderful gifts and I think Dad really enjoyed his clock I made.

With five children ages 5 and under the house was FULL of fun and laughter. Hadley and Ryan SO enjoyed playing with their cousin Court and I think he took a real liking to Hadley, or HI-EE as he called her.

Some of the things I enjoyed most about the trip
- seeing/spending time with my family and meeting the newest Patterson, Beckham
- watching all the kiddos play
- having a snowball fight with my bro. Actually, I just threw ONE NEAR him but he decked me with several good ones. I complained at the time about the lack of fairness but I loved "being a kid" with my baby bro.
- laughing at the yellow snowman. Tucker decided to treat it like a fire hydrant and that cracked me up. He did it not once, but twice!

Had Ourselves a Merry Little Christmas

...and we hope that you did as well.

Our first Christmas "home" in our current abode was a great one. In years past, we've been able to travel up to my parents' home in the Texas Panhandle for the holidays (and let me just say that there is NOTHING like my parents for Christmas!) but this year, with Ray having to work and with a 3 month old, it was just no doable. We hung lights on the house and, for the second year, got a live tree to decorate. Everything was festive for the holidays.

Ray had to work Christmas Eve at work and then spent all afternoon/evening working at the Christmas Eve services at church. The kids and I headed over to some friends home for a bit to celebrate and then went to the late service at church. After the Christmas Eve service, we met up with Ray and drove around looking at some spectacular Christmas lights! After returning home, we set out brownies and milk, hung the stockings by the chimney with care and the kids went to bed... well, they were SUPPOSED to be in bed. Around 11, Ray went outside and shook the jingle bells and upon coming back inside, overheard our oldest son tell his sister, "I heard him!! I think he's here!" and then all went silent and the kids went to sleep so "Santa" could visit.

Christmas morning found the children thrilled with all their gifts.

After enjoying some of their gifts, the kids and I packed up to head to Flower Mound to spend Christmas with my brother's family and my parents. Unfortunately, Ray had to work over the weekend so he was unable to join us. He spent the rest of Christmas visiting some of his family, then having dinner and catching Avatar in 3D. He thought the movie was pretty cool but, personally, I think he enjoyed having a coke and popcorn sitting in peace more.

It was a blessed Christmas for us this year, despite not being a great year financially for anyone. We hope that you and yours were as blessed as we were.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Yellow" in Brown

I participated in a test knit for one of Erica Jackofsky's (of Fiddle Knits) beautiful new hat designs, Yellow.

Unfortunately, the yarn I used was not ideal for the project. The alpaca in this yarn created far too fuzzy a texture to be able to really see the beautiful stitches that make up the hat. I also ended up with some extra yarn from the skein I used and wish I'd been paying closer attention to that as I could have made more of a slouchy hat, versus the beanie style I made. Oh well... it is done and wrapped up. I'm giving it to my SIL. Before I packaged it up, however, the kiddos "modeled" it for prosperity purposes.

I definitely recommend this pattern. It is a simple pattern that, once you get going, you can knit on the go as it's a small project and you don't need to tote around the pattern cause you can remember the repeat easily.

UPDATE: It fit my SIL and, IMHO, looked GREAT on her!

Me & My Baby

Manly Men

The guys shared a little "dude" time together recently when Ryan needed a little help with weaving in the loops on the potholder that he made for me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Look At Me...What Do You Think?

These are the words we hear so often from the lips of our darling daughter. She loves to dress up and show us her various "outfit creations" as well as loves to show us the various ways in which she can put clips in her hair, even when style "Z" looks just like style "A" and the other 25 hairstyles she's decided to do.

I decided to share a couple of her recent "looks" with you. (Don't you think the Vicks rag just makes these outfits? HA HA Oh and the Vicks rag was already on her...she didn't add it. LOL)

He Just Melts My Heart

I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE his little grin. He's such a charmer and KNOWS he has his mommy wrapped around his little finger.

I can't believe, however, that it's already been 3 months since he entered our world. I can hardly remember life before him... Oh wait, I do recall sleep being part of that pre-Reese life. HA HA... Just kidding. I'll give up my sleep for this precious little man.

Helping Hands

My older two decided to be very helpful while their Nanny was visiting (I can't get them to clean like this when she's not here) and washed the dishes. They did a wonderful job and when finished with the dishes, they scrubbed their chairs and little dinner table...and, gasp, helped clean their room!

Baby's Room

FINALLY, I'm posting pix of the baby's room. I've had them on the camera for eons but am just now getting around to downloading the pix. Blame the delay on having three kids and too many projects...

We were going for a "vintage sports theme". It is a handsome little guy's room, IMO (in my opinion)....AND making it even more stellar, again IMO, is that this is predominately a "re-mix" that I am MOST proud of!

An old camel-colored micro-suede couch slip cover, with a huge ink stain, was the jumping off point for the remix and the "base" fabric for the baby bedding. The curtains we had gotten from freecycle a few years ago and were using them in our room. The sheers were being used in my old office. The bed was a hand-me-down from a friend of mine, Heidii, who also was responsible for making the super cool pennants that spell out the baby's name. The dresser, wicker shelves and rocking chair were things I already had, although a coat of red paint made the chair so pretty. The same red paint spruced up an old lamp, some frames and a couple shelves. My super talented and wonderful Mom made ALL the baby bedding and the uber-comfy chair cushions. She also dyed some sheets and changing pad covers I had to brown to match everything!

Everything came together to make a really cool room that I absolutely LOVE! AND, this baby bedding set will see yet another life when Reese moves into room with his older brother Ryan. I'm going to re-mix the bedding to make valances for the curtains and pillows for the beds and continue the sports theme to the boys room. I already have an idea on a baseball bat bookshelf...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Here Comes Santa Clause

Guess who came to town? That's right. SANTA!
He visited the Cedar Park Library during the kids' weekly story time. There was a TON more kids there to see Santa than we usually have for story time but that was understandable. The kids all sang several holiday songs before Santa made his big appearance.

Although both the older kids were very excited about seeing Santa, by the time our turn arrived, Ryan wasn't much into sitting on Santa's lap, or even talking to him for that matter. I did, however, get a pix of all my babies with Santa Clause though.

Funny thing...a few days earlier as I was driving to the store, I passed a vehicle that a "real" Santa was driving. It made me take a second glance to be sure it was who I thought it was and sure enough...SANTA was driving past me. Now, I could have been all grown-up and played it cool and drove on as though nothing was out of the normal, but that wouldn't be like me. So what did yours truly do? With a big goofy grin on my face, I waved like crazy at Santa. He probably thought I was a loon. LOL.... It made my day though, to see Santa!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A PURR-fect 5th Birthday

This past Saturday we celebrated my darling daughter's fifth birthday. I still can't believe that it was five years ago that the hospital sent us home with this little bitty thing and expected us to be able to raise it. Our first child, we were, looking back now, so clueless as to what we were doing. It's amazing she turned out as well as she did. LOL... Just kidding.

Anyway, Hello Kitty was the "theme" my DD selected for her fifth birthday party which was attended by both family and friends. We had a Hello Kitty cake with ice cream and punch. Hadley received gobs of wonderful presents and had a wonderful time. I just can't believe she's five years old.

(Pix descriptions....The birthday girl was very surprised, and very happy, to see a new bicycle for her birthday.
Digging all the way down to the bottom of every bag.
"You wear these like this." Showing us where the barrettes go.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cow Tongue....Mmmmm

While I've eaten just about anything you can kill, I'd never had cow tongue. Hubby wanted some though, so cow tongue I made. Cleaning it fell somewhere on the gross-o-meter between pulling chicken innards out before you cook a chicken and cleaning the slime off of deer meat. It was SO nasty.

Anyway, we cooked it up. First I boiled it for a while. Then, after removing the outer taste bud layer, I roasted it for a bit before shredding it up and sauteing it with onion and tomato. Toss it on a warm corn tortilla with a squeeze of lime and YUM-MY!!! It was like a very tender and mild tasting pot roast.

Granted, while it was good, it was more work than I, personally, think it was worth so it won't be something I just whip up on any given night, but it was good and now I can say that I've eaten cow tongue. Just don't tell me that's what I'm eating while I'm eating it. ;O)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Baby Girl is FIVE

Happy 5th birthday to my oldest, my darling, sweet, baby girl. She is growing up WAY too fast. I can't believe it has already been five years since she first came into our lives. We're having her bday party this Saturday.

Sweater for Reese & Other Knitting

With only a little bit left to knit, my unofficial ADD got the better part of me and this little sweater, which I began knitting right after having had Reese, went into a mini-hibernation. FINALLY, today, I finished it. I'm very tickled with the end result and can't wait for my littlest guy to wear it.

Also knit up a little scarf collar for DD. She'd picked some yarn from my stash and wanted a
scarf knit from it. Unfortunately, I only had 27 yds of the bulky so it ended up being a "collar". Hadley picked out the groovy button used to close it. Knit up in just a jiffy.

Although I STILL have the Tuscany shawl that needs to be finished (and I should be working on it so I can have it done to wrap up in on cold days like today), I cast on for the Celtic Tote this afternoon. I've wanted this tote since it made its appearance in Interweave Knits Winter 2007 issue. Thanks to a coupon for % off purchase, I got some yarn to get knitting on it! It has a more intricate and challenging cable pattern than I've ever knit before so it should prove interesting, however, having just completed a simple cable project with the Sleeveless Cabled Baby Sweater, I'm feeling confident that I can work through it. The body of tote is going to be a Natural Brown Fisherman's Wool and the trim will likely be black. Not decided about that part yet.

I'm SO excited I finally finished Reese's little sweater though. Also, for Thanksgiving, he wore for the first time, the little maize colored cardigan I'd knit up while pregnant. He was so handsome in it!

Difficult to Choose

The Saturday after Thanksgiving the family headed off to get our FIRST family photo taken by Stephanie Huebinger of Huebinger Studios. She does EXCELLENT work and was able to make all of us look much so, in fact, that it is going to be difficult to choose which pix to order. I'm very excited about the fact we got an "official" family picture though. Costly as it is turning out to be, they are going to be so wonderful!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm a Super Hero

So our now middle child Ryan was running about the house in a superman cape hollering "I'm a Super Hero!" I asked him if he was going to help people. His response?

"No, Mom.. I'm just a pretend Super Hero. Not a real one. Only the real ones help people."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not Smart Enough

We were talking to Hadley about the possibility of her getting a bicycle for her birthday (I can't believe we're about to celebrate her FIFTH birthday!) and she was just certain that she wouldn't get one. Her brother told her that she would "for sure!". She disagreed with him. When I told her that Ryan was being optimistic, she replied, "He's not smart enough for that." It cracked us us.

Will she get one? Heaven knows she needs a new one. We've lifted the seat and handle bars as much as possible on the little toddler bike we'd been given a few years ago and she's way too big for it. I guess we'll have to wait and see...

Welcome, little Beckham, to the family!

My SIL gave birth to their second child, a son which they have named Beckham Pierce Patterson, this morning at 5:23. Welcome to the family, little guy. I wish I could be there to meet him but with our own new little guy, traveling isn't in the books at this time.

It was funny... When Mom told me the name they'd selected for the baby, I commented, "Pierce. Good name." Mom knew where my mind was and informed me that they named Beckham's middle name Pierce after someone on my SILs side of the family and NOT after Remington Steele/James Bond (aka Pierce Brosnan) who I have always thought is just hot, hot, hot. hee hee....

Anyway, I digress... We are very excited about the newest addition to the Patterson clan and everyone in this household can't wait to meet our newest nephew/cousin.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bound to Happen?

Ryan dropped his baby brother on the floor. Okay, so "dropped" might be a bit strong of a word. Ryan was looking for the baby's pacifier which had slipped under the baby while in the swing. He picked up the baby and was putting the baby on the floor and just sat Reese down, rather than lying him down, and over the baby fell. Kerplunk. Ouch. Baby cries. Mom freaks. Ryan is excited he found the baby's binkie.

Everyone survived. No harm done. Explained to the older kiddos, yet again, that they aren't to pick up baby brother.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What's Up Pussycat?

Just wanted to share a pix from the other day of the littlest guy in my life. This pix of him givin' me the "Hey mom...what's up?" look cracked me up.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Men In My Life...

A SPOOKtacular Halloween

With hubby's folks here to watch the baby, we took the older kids out for trick-or-treating this year and what fun they had! To start off the evening, my DH took the kids to a nearby church for a "trunk or treat". THAT was, I think, the highlight of the kids' evening. We finished off the night walking around visiting houses.

Ryan was Spiderman, unmasked (he decided he didn't want to wear the mask). Hadley was a fairy princess. Ryan told her she looked like a Fairy Godmother. In any case, both kids were all dressed up for Halloween, had a fun time trick or treating, and got lots of candy which Ray and I sorted through for the kinds we liked, I mean, potentially dangerous candy, first. HA HA...

It was a perfect Halloween holiday, despite the fact that it took a bit to wash the white spray out of Hadley's hair and there was glitter everywhere for a few days.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Star Light, Star Bright

Overheard oldest son the other evening wishing upon a star...

"Star light, star bright
first star I see tonight
wish I may, wish I might
have a gun."

WHAT? When asked what he needed/wanted a gun for he informed us that he needed one so he could find the deer and shoot them. LOL.... He'll be hunting before we know it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

☆☆☆☆☆ (5 Star) Brownies

Hubby didn't care how I marked the recipe, with 5 stars or what, as long as I promised to make it again. Had a ton of eggs and was seeking a from-scratch yummy recipe for brownies that would use a few of them. Found one that wasn't difficult to put together and the results were beyond stellar. DH stated they were the best he's had! That said, I'd recommend the recipe to anyone seeking a decadent brownie recipe.

Chocolate Brownies (makes 1 dozen)

1 c butter, plus more for pan
8 oz unsweetened chocolate
5 lg eggs
3 1/2 c sugar
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 c sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c chopped toasted walnuts (I used pecans and didn't toast them)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center. Generously butter a 9x13" pan and set aside. In the top of a double broiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs & sugar at high speed for 10 minutes. (Yes, I had the mixer running on high for 10 minutes. The whole house was wondering WHAT was I making.) Reduce speed to low and add the melted chocolate/butter mixture and the vanilla; beat until combined. Slowly add the flour and salt; beat until just incorporated.
Remove bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips and toasted nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the edges are dry but the center is soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into 3 inch squares. Serve. These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days...if they last that long.

Hope you enjoy these as much as my family is. What a great use of eggs! This recipe is taken from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Downright Chipper

"No wonder you are downright chipper this morning" was my husband's response when he heard that the baby slept enough during the night that I was allowed almost four hours of glorious, uninterrupted sleep! Despite the fact that my day began a little before 4 a.m., he's right... I am a bit chipper. Amazing what a little sleep will do for a person. Here's hoping that this becomes a new trend (but realizing it was likely a fluke thing).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Aliens Have Taken Over My Children

When presented the option of having dessert, my children tonight said they wanted a bath INSTEAD. When offered the idea of dessert and then a bath, they voiced that they didn't want dessert, just a bath. I know baths can be fun..all the bubbles and splashing and such, but REALLY??? Bath over dessert? What have the aliens done with my children?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Touchdown...Kid's 1st Football Game

Ray took the kids (our older two while I stayed home with the baby) to their first football game Friday night. What fun they had! I'll upload a hilarious video he took soon!

We Joyfully Welcome...

Yeah, it has been a couple weeks and I'm WAY behind on posting pix of Reese (of course, how many baby sleeping pix does anyone other than me want to see...okay, so my mom would want to see as many as I do as well... besides us though. HA HA.

Just wanted to share another pix of Reese. (You'll probably see this one again on his birth announcements, should I ever get those done. Yet another thing on the to-do list that isn't getting done these days...)

Total Destruction...

Very sad news of a gardening kind. Our friggin’ dogs broke into the fence that surrounded/protected our pond and surrounding “get away” garden and completely, and I mean COMPLETELY, destroyed EVERYTHING! Screaming and tears were involved (especially considering it happened a couple days after I had the baby and my hormones were, well...haywire). Fortunately for the dogs, I didn’t kill them although they are NOT getting much loving from me these days, the turkeys. Anyway, most of the fish appear to have survived the horrific event so it is just all the plants I have to replace...and a pond I have to reclean again. Urg. All that work and it was looking so pretty for the first time since we moved in...

I can only bear to show a very small portion of the destruction that occurred. It kills me to go out there right now and I sure don't want to see pix of it all, even though I have begun trying to clean everything up. Stones were overturned, Tiki Man was knocked over, landscape cloth dug up and, of course, tons of my plants destroyed. I just needed to vent/share my sad sob story.

Anyone want a dog or two???

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And Baby Makes Five....

The fifth member of our family was born last Wednesday, September 23rd at 12:30 p.m. Reese Jackson James was 8 lbs 10 ozs, 21 inches long, and perfect! I'll TRY to post more pix in the coming he currently has his days/nights a wee bit confused and we are solely breastfeeding I'm not only constantly busy with him but über tired as well.

I'm very thankful, and blessed, that my parents were able to be here for the birth of our third child (and for all the help while I was in the hospital and the days following my return home!) and so very thankful that Ray's parents were willing to watch our older two until we could bring them up to the hospital after Reese was born (and for watching the kiddos those few wee hours we had "false alarm" runs to the hospital).

Proud Dad
Nanny & Granddad ... Grandparents a 4th time (soon to be 5th w/ upcoming birth of Brother and SIL's 2nd child in November!)

Very Proud Big Sis and Big Bro with their new baby brother

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What's That Smell?

With the horrid drought we've had this year combined with my being hugely pregnant and not wanting to work outside in the horrid heat (hottest summer on record WOULD be the summer I'm pregnant...LOL) it pretty much goes without saying that most of my garden has gone kaput. ONE thing, however, has not only survived the abusive heat and lack of water but has thrived. In fact, it is about the only thing that has bloomed in my garden this year.

I didn't know/couldn't recall what the plant was so I took the pix, not only to document the gigantic and beautiful flowers but also to assist in identifying the plant. Actually took me several shots before I was able to get some without a gob of flies in the pix. The excessive fly attraction was explained one we ID'd the plant.

Turns out our blooming beauty has a name, and a smell, that is far from beautiful. Stapelia gigantea is commonly known as Carrion Plant, Carrion Flower, or Dead Horse Cactus. Yup...the beautiful blooms smell like dead animal which attracts all the flies which is how this particular plant is pollinated. Lovely... only plant that I have this year that is growing/blooming happily smells like a dead animal. Yuck.

I guess I can stop trying to find that dead squirrel or possum or whatever I thought it could have been that was stinking up things. Turns out it was my plant. HA.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Feast or Famine

After months of record breaking high temps and nary a drop of rain it began storming last night. After a brief intermission this morning, it is once again pouring. Our yard, which had, due to the lack of rain (or watering), turned into a big dirt plot is now a huge mud lake and one could almost tube the rapids roaring down the street. Still though, I'm thankful for the rain!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How-To: Knitting Running Stitch on Eyelets & Ridges Washcloth

The Eyelets & Ridges washcloth is one of my faves not only 'cause I find it a quick and easy knit but I, like the designer, enjoy the contrasting smooth and bumpy sides of this cloth.

A friend recently inquired as to how to knit Row 3 of the pattern. Hoping that either these pix or the mini video (camera got cranky and I couldn't redo the video at this time so tried some pix as well....hope one of these work/help) will help her understand the stitch. It is über easy, IMO, once you understand what the pattern is asking.

Step-by-step pix option. NOTE: To view the pix in a larger format, just click on the picture to enlarge it.

OR try the video option.

Happy knitting, Laurena...and everyone else!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Newborn Nightgown from an Old T-Shirt

Started with an old t-shirt that we couldn't seem to part with but never wore. Ended up with a sleeper gown for the new baby! This cracks me up and is a great way to recycle that old t-shirt and give it one more, albeit brief (as babies grow quickly out of things), life.

I remember going to the Lizard Lounge once my 1st semester of college. Was down for a University Programming Board conference (also the first time I saw Jeff Dunham and Peanut) and we went to Lizard Lounge one night. THAT was a long time ago. Shirt, however, belonged to my DH. It's been a painting/work shirt for some years (hence the splatters and such). Now, it gets to be spit up on.

Instructions and pattern were found on thismamamakesstuff's blog in case you have some old tees that are screaming to have a second life as a newborn gown.

Big Sis & Big Bro

Seeing how applique isn't one of my strengths when it comes to crafting and I'm doing it on my regular sewing machine, I don't know why it is I come up with projects that require it.

Expecting the final addition to our family anytime in the next few weeks, I wanted to make our DD and DS some tshirts announcing their role(s) in the family. (When our 2nd child was born, my Mom had gotten a cute little t-shirt for Hadley announcing to the world that she was a big sister...I wanted to do something similar this time around.) The kids picked out their t-shirt color and the fabric(s) they wanted used on their shirts (okay, so I helped a little...but ONLY a little as this was their thing).

Ever the fashionista, Hadley got a pink tee and three groovy fabrics. Ryan initially picked out a blue tee but then switched to a red one and the only fabric that he liked was Thomas the Tank Engine. He didn't want any other fabrics - "just the train".

Ryan helped a little in the making of these shirts (and I use the term "helped" very loosely...pressing the reverse button when I'm trying to sew forward and such) while Hadley was more into supervising. With that extra "help" and the "supervision" I received, we finished the "Big Sis" and "Big Bro" shirts this morning!

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Ears Can't Breathe...

...was what my DS told me when I asked him WHAT in the world he was doing with a couple of his TinkerToy hoses in his mouth and blowing air into his ears.