Monday, March 30, 2009

Christian's 7th Birthday Party

It was Saturday.

I spent the evenings last week modelling sugar animals to put on her cake... she drew a picture for me to go by! She wanted a barn, a cow, a pig, a sheep, a chicken, and herself sitting on a horse! Not too much to ask, huh?

Friday night I didn't think she was going to get her grand farm-themed cake, to go with her cowgirl-themed party. I was just exhausted. Somehow, I finished it. I don't know how those Food Network challengers do it! They only have eight hours to complete a cake five times the size of this one!
The barn is white almond sour cream with strawberry swirl cake... and it was DELICIOUS!!! The pasture is Devil's food. They both have white chocolate buttercream.

Cullen really liked the animals. He wanted to kiss them all. I held the chicken so he could get a closer look, and he kept saying he wanted to give it a kiss. I knew nobody would be eating it, so I let him. Then he wanted to kiss the cow, so I held it up for him, and he LICKED IT!!!

I was so mad! I had to re-color the cow's face, since he licked the color off it. Like I said, nobody ate the animals. All the kids wanted to, but there weren't enough animals for each kid to have one, besides the fact that Cullen kissed and licked them! Little turkey.
Hubs really liked the little sheep. I thought he was pretty cute, too. He and the cow are Lorraine McKay's design... I just copied her! Incidentally, she's coming to Houston this week, and I'm SO SAD I can't go! But my OB looked at me like I was crazy when I asked him if I could... since it's three hours away... and I'm 3 1/2 weeks from my due date!

Christian thought the pig's, ummm... ham, was pretty funny.

This cake is definitely not without its "issues," and trust me, I see them all. I was so unbelievably tired, and having numerous contractions, that I decided to skip leveling the cakes. I knew it would come back to bite me in the butt. The pasture was not flat, so the barn was sitting on a slope. I expected to wake up Saturday morning with the barn having rolled out of the pasture and off the cake! Then, when I placed the cake on the board, my belly prevented me from getting as close as I normally can, so I couldn't see if the cake was straight on the board.

It wasn't. Oh well.

See those little pink boots on the table? Those boot cups are the whole reason for the cowgirl party. She found those in a birthday party supply catalog, and just HAD to have them. There were brown ones for the boys. I found sets that had cowboy hats, spurs, sheriff badges and belts with HUGE buckles, so I wrapped them all up inside bandanas for each kid, along with their boot cup, which they drank from at the party.

My little cowgirl had a great time, and loved her cake! Especially since the sugar figure of herself is riding a horse, while wearing her cowgirl hat and new cowgirl boots. NOT to be confused with cowboy boots or a cowboy hat. There's a difference. It's pointed out to me every time I slip up.

We were so busy, I can't believe I actually forgot to wrap and give her her gifts! They're still in my closet... I'll get to it... eventually.

To see some more talent, go to Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Few Things I've Noticed

1. I am really, really bad at being pregnant. I absolutely hate it. Can't wait for it to be over. I hurt. I can't sleep. I'm HUGE. I'm bitchy. Okay, bitch-ier. Because anyone that knows me knows that I'm always bitchy. Courtney, shut up.

2. Nothing seems to help the hurting or the not sleeping, which really doesn't help the bitchiness.

3. I hate the word "bitchy," but it's really the only word that sums up my current state.

4. I don't have much energy, either. See numbers 1 and 2.

5. This lack of energy doesn't help the state of our home. There has been a growing pile of clean laundry needing to be ironed sitting in my living room for the past two weeks. I just can't seem to find the motivation and strength to do it. Meanwhile, the dirty laundry seems to be multiplying, too. The floors are filthy, the sheets need to be washed, and the whole place needs de-cluttering. I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed.

6. I had a dream that the baby came early and we weren't ready. Although he now has clean clothes, folded and in his drawers, diapers, wipes and a place to sleep, so it can't be too terrible. I think I'm just stressed out because we haven't put the crib together (although I washed the bedding) and there's so much housework to do.

7. I used to use Cullen's naptime as a time to get things done around the house. Now it's MY naptime, too. I'm having so many contractions at night that they're keeping me awake (along with the excruciating pain in my back and hips) and I wake up continually throughout the night. Which means I'm super tired during the day. And it starts all over again at night.

8. Hubs is sick. I hate it when he's sick. He coughs and coughs and coughs, and it's so loud it has to hurt. Does he stay home from work? Nooooooo. The city might slip into mass chaos without him there. He never goes to the doctor, either. He prefers the gallons of Nyquil and bags of cough drops route. He just looks like he feels awful, but he won't stay home and rest.

9. My lower abdomen hurts. I'm experiencing a lot of dizziness and shortness of breath. My OB says it's pretty common, especially late in pregnancy when the baby starts to crowd the lungs. And boy is he crowding the lungs. Going to the grocery store has become a dreaded weekly task that I'll do almost anything to get out of. Well, anything that involves sitting on the couch with my feet up.

10. I have the two most precious kids on the planet. They're in the bathtub right now, covered in bubbles, and are taking turns drinking water from the faucet. Random giggling can be heard. I love the sound of them laughing and playing together. Especially if it means I can have five minutes of peace.

11. Peace time is over. Cullen apparently slapped Christian. I know, because she whined it to me in a sing-song voice.

12. I hate the sound of whining.

13. Hubs and I still cannot agree on a name. I swear, if he doesn't cave, I'm going to hold out until... I don't know. But something. Something really bad.

14. Someone remind me again: why are we having another one???

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

She's Like Sunshine On a Cloudy Day

My girl.

Born seven (gulp!) years ago today. Well, tonight, actually. Labor with her was long and hard. Not fun at all, but what you'd expect when there's a 9 1/2 pound baby in there!

Men, look away for a minute, if you will, while I indulge in memory lane...

The night before she was born, it was imperative that I organize all of our bank statements from our five years of marriage. It just had to be done. I was manic, and could not stop until every single statement was found, and put into order by month and then year.

Her little nursery, all pink of course, was ready and waiting. Had been for some time, if the truth be told. The minute we found out she was a girl, we painted it pink. I remember dancing in the elevator after the ultrasound confirmed what I knew in my heart: my princess was on her way.

I went to bed late that night, but didn't sleep much. I woke up throughout the night, uncomfortable and sore. Around 5:45 I felt something I'd never felt before. It sounds silly, but it literally felt like a balloon popped inside me. And then there was some wetness. I told Hubs, "I think my water just broke." Then I sat up, and there was waaaaaay more than wetness. It was gushing. The font was flowing. "Yep. My water just broke." He ran to the bathroom for a towel, and I hobbled in there, trying to let as little get on the floor as possible. I remember just looking at him and thinking, "What do I do???" I finally just had to sit on the toilet, in my jammies, until it stopped. Then I showered and got dressed, and we went to the hospital. I had already been there twice with false labor, but this time I knew they wouldn't turn us away. We were coming home with a baby!

Once we got to the hospital, I found out my OB was just coming off a 24 hour shift, and would not be delivering Christian. Ugh! I really wanted to keep the number of people familiar with my nether regions as small as possible, but I guess that wasn't going to happen. Hubs and my SIL were the only people I let stay for the big event, and only after they both swore they wouldn't peek at my goods.

It was really slow-going. I was there for 12 hours before she was born. We got there at 6:45 am, and she was born at 6:54 pm. My brother was the first person to be allowed in, only because he'd been hanging around waiting to see her before he sped to Houston to pick up my mom at the airport. Christian had just been born, and the doctors and nurses weren't through with me, but I asked that they stop for a minute so my brother could come see her before he left. He came in and walked straight over to me and started crying and hugging me. I asked him, "Don't you want to see your niece?" Through tears he said, "I'm just so proud of you. I just love you." We hugged and shared a moment, then he went to look at Christian and get a picture of her to take to the airport so my mom could see her.
Incidentally, Hubs cried the most of all. Maybe he was seeing all the hunting and fishing he would be giving up over the next eighteen years. Maybe he was envisioning her wedding day, or all the boys he was going to go toe-to-toe with. He was in love, though. We all were. Still are.
It was the hardest, most painful thing I've ever gone through in my entire life. I'm pretty sure the epidural wore off, because I felt everything. And I do mean everything. I felt like my body was on fire, ripping in half. I decided I'd never, ever do that again...
I know many people would scoff at my saying she's all grown up at seven, but that's how I feel. It just doesn't seem like she should be that old, or as independent as she is. I still see her like this:
Two years old and chubby-cheeked.

She's grown into such an intelligent, compassionate, kind and beautiful girl. She has to read to me every night for homework, and each time she does, I'm amazed at the words she knows. When she knows someone is hurting, she hurts for them. She reads to her little brother, too, which is just about the sweetest thing I think my mommy-heart can take. Here she is, holding him the day he was born.
This was her first dance class. She was four, and I was pregnant with Cullen. We didn't know he was a boy, so to her, he was "Strawberry Shortcake."
First day of school, K-3
First day of school, K-4
She's been wanting some cowgirl (not cowboy; there's a difference!) boots for a while now, so we got her some for her birthday. Along with some jeans to fit over them. I know boots and jeans aren't the most coveted gifts on a seven year-old's list, but she didn't act disappointed. I'm pretty sure she was, though. But she's like that. She oohed! and aahed! appropriately, even though I could tell she was hoping for something with Barbie on it.

My girl.

Just the sweetest thing ever. I love her so much it hurts.

Happy Birthday, baby girl.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Seven years ago today I was visiting my OB. It was my due date. I got the depressing news that I was not dilating at all... and so we would wait. He told me that if labor hadn't started by Monday (it was a Thursday) he would induce. And so I went back home, to lay on the couch, and wait. And hope that baby would FINALLY come out. She did... three days later, weighing in at 9 lbs 4 oz.

One year ago today Hubs and I were secretly excited over the fact that we were expecting our third baby. We hadn't told anyone the news, but were planning on surprising everyone (Christian included) at her sixth birthday party the following day. Two days after that, on her birthday, I lost that baby.

Today I spent the morning folding and putting away tiny newborn clothes, and trying to remember when I had last seen Christian and Cullen in those sweet little nightgowns and sleepers. It's sweet to remember, but it also hurts a little. My babies are getting so big. In about a month, God-willing, I'll see our new little baby wearing them all over again. I can't wait to meet him. Poor, nameless baby.

Time is flying by.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I have the most beautiful niece and nephews in the whole wide world...


Good luck, John. You'll need it as she grows up. But not if she keeps doing this:

Yowza! What do you think she's telling my SIL with her eyes? I'd rather not say what I think she's thinking. I love her and would hate to see her in time-out for the next four years.

This one? He's my Marshmallow. Although as he grows taller, he's beginning to lose his Marshmallowy-ness. But he's still pretty yummy.

Have you ever seen dimples like these??? Lord help me, I'm done. But the excessively hairy arms kind of creep me out.

Oh, wait. Never mind. Those are my brother's excessively hairy arms. But the dimples? Oh, how I can taste me some dimples.

I have dimples, too, ya know. They're not nearly as cute. Maybe because they're on my thighs. But I digress.

This is my baby playing with Dimples. Dimples is being a hooligan and trying to hide from my camera. These two absolutely adore each other. They're almost inseparable, except when they're not together. Then they're fairly separable.

On a completely different note, my dad called yesterday. Apparently, he just discovered my blog. He's quick like that. He hadn't checked his e-mail in seven or eight years, give or take, and so hadn't received my many messages to, you know, check my blog. But he finally did, and spent a couple hours reading and looking at pictures and videos. He seemed to get a kick out of this here newfangled tek-naw-loh-gee.

Everybody wave "Hi!" to my dad!

Hi, Dad!

Glad you stopped by.

Love you.

Peace out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

An Interview With Christian

I've seen this on several blogs, and finally decided to do it, too. My job was to ask Christian a few questions, and have her answer in her own words. Here it is, completely un-edited:

1. What is something mom always says to you? You have to clean what you make.
2. What makes mom happy? When I hug and kiss her and that I’m her baby.
3. What makes mom sad? That when I’m at school and she’s away from me and when I move if I move. When she thinks about me moving to a new house.
4. How does your mom make you laugh? She tickles me.
5. What was your mom like as a child? Horses.
6. How old is your mom? I don’t know!!! 21? Actually, 40? (note from me: NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!)
7. How tall is your mom? Five feet.
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Play with me and Cullen.
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? Take care of Cullen by herself.
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? For making a cake.
11. What is your mom really good at? Cake-making.
12. What is your mom not very good at? Ummm, let’s see. Nothing! I think she doesn’t have anything bad! I think my birthday cakes from her are pretty!
13. What does your mom do for her job? Taking care of us.
14. What is your mom’s favorite food? Cake.
15. What makes you proud of your mom? She won two medals and a silver plate.
16. If your mom were a cartoon character,who would she be? Tom and Jerry. She would be Tom. Actually, Jerry!
17. What do you and your mom do together? When it’s my birthday, she takes me surprise places on my real birthday, but on fake birthdays she takes me wherever I want to have my fake birthday but she surprises me at my real one.
18. How are you and your mom the same? We’re both girls?
19. How are you and your mom different? She has kind of grayish hair and I have kind of lightish hair.
20. How do you know your mom loves you? She always hugs and kisses me and says I love you and we always play together.
21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go? To the mall and to the beach and to the place where she got the sun cup.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hubba, Hubba Cullen!

I HATE taking Cullen to get a haircut. First, it's a twenty minute drive into town. Then there's the wait. And lastly, he's not the best client ever. I've had to hold him in my lap the last two times (the first time I documented here; it was horribly traumatic. I'd hoped he'd blocked it out, but apparently not.) which means I become covered in tiny bits of hair, and some is usually caught in the back of my throat for the rest of the day.

I don't know why I never thought of it before, but there's a barber shop next door to the convenience store a few blocks from here. So I took Cullen there yesterday, but first, I stopped in the convenience store to buy the one thing he BEGS for every time we leave the house: a slushy.

The whole event was soooooo much fun. Which is why there are no pictures of him actually getting the haircut. I had to hold him the entire time (again) and he was a teary, snotty, slobbery, hair-covered mess long before she was finished. And so was his slushy. Yummy.

She told him he was handsome, and I told him to say thank you. So between wails, he pitifully whimpered, "Say tank ooo." At least he was polite.

She would tell him she was almost done and he was going to have to go show his daddy, and Cullen would cry, "Okaaaaaaaay." And then, "Most done... most dooooooooone." It was hilarious. Or it would have been if I hadn't been covered, head to toe (and in my mouth) with his hair.

Apparently, the extra hair was directly linked to his self-control. Like Samson, once the hair was gone, so was his (what little he had) self-control. He was W.I.L.D. all afternoon. I took this video of him, and he did this two times before I even got the video camera out. He was WOUND. UP. He would run as far away from me as he could get, only to turn around and run full speed at me until he slammed into me laughing maniacally. OVER. AND OVER. AND OVER. But he's so stinking cute I just grabbed onto him and hugged and kissed him until he turned and ran away to do it again. Then he found Christian's shoes that she left in our bathroom and put them on. He was walking around saying, "It's MY shoes! It's MY shoes!" until he would kick them off as hard as he could to see how far/high they would fly.

But I have to admit, he looks pretty darn cute with his new 'do.


I feel the need to explain this video. But I can't. I have NO IDEA why he starting asking this. Or why he felt the need to repeat it 24, 972 times.

Friday, March 6, 2009

She's Got a Way With Words

Just before she left for school yesterday morning, Christian reached for my belly. It was such a sweet moment as she stood there, rubbing it and smiling.

"You're getting really fat, Mom," she said. "See, the baby's growing, so the bubble in your belly is growing, too, and that's making you get fatter and fatter."

Awwwww, honey, thanks. I love you, too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Additions to the World of Bella Sara

My kids love horses, but Christian also just loves playing online. She's into Webkinz and Pixie Hollow and PBSKids and who knows what else?

That said, there's just something about the Bella Sara site that keeps bringing her back. She loves to log on and "feed" and "groom" and "play" with her horses. She loves looking at their individual stables and seeing what's new...

And there's lots new at Bella Sara right now. They are introducing the Bella Sara Miniatures Series and the Bella Sara Treasures.

The Miniatures Series is a brand-new line of tiny horses from the land of North of North. They're for collecting, trading, displaying and playing. Each pack comes with one velvety-soft miniature horse figurine, a bonus code that will reveal an animated horse statue for your cottage, and a full-color checklist.

Christian just loves these little horses. Partly because they're small (little=cute to a little girl!) and partly because they're really beautiful. She uses them as babies for her other horses, and carries them around with her in her purse. Their small size makes them perfect to take with her and keep her occupied whenever we have to run into town. She can even use them as board game pieces to games she already has!

Treasures is the eighth series in the line, which has sold over 55 million cards. They now have printable activities like coloring pages, wallpapers, puzzles and even a poster. It also features rare jewels, natural wonders, historical artifacts and magical items to explore. Each Treasures pack comes with five collectible cards, a card checklist, a mini-game, and Bella Sara tattoos and stickers.
Christian really loves to go online and print the pages and puzzles... and what girl doesn't love the stickers and tattoos? She's "saving" the tattoos for a special occasion, but the stickers were immediately applied to her special sticker book.

Bella Sara is having a special online contest that runs from February 27th through April 30. Kids will have the chance to win an exciting treasure hunt party for them and their friends!
The Miniatures Series Collection hit stores on March 3, and is about $1.99 per pack. The Treasures card pack retails for about $2.99 per pack. They're available at most bookstores, toy stores, discount stores, and hobby and equestrian shops.
There's so much to see and do at Bella Sara. Sometimes, once I kick Christian off the computer, I'll feed or brush one or three of her horses. Let me just say that it appeals to kids of all ages!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Totally Talented Tuesday... and Cake Show Results

Thanks for all the really kind and encouraging comments on Saturday and Sunday's posts. You guys sure know how to make someone feel good!

First of all, this cake didn't place at all. Several people told me how much they loved it, or how much their kids loved it, or how cute it was. Several people told me they were surprised it didn't win anything... but you just never know what's going to appeal to the judges. It had a few votes for the People's Choice award, so that's something, I guess. And I know it's going to taste good, so it's not a total loss!

Remember my Christmas cake that wasn't really a cake? Actually, it didn't have a single piece of cake on the board at all...

This one?

This one won first place in the Special Techniques category! I was shocked!

After I got my medal, Hubs and I watched a few more categories/divisions (category= what type of cake like wedding/sculpted/novelty, etc; division= child/beginner/advanced/master, etc...). Since I knew he wanted to go to Cabela's, I asked him if he wanted to leave right then. He said sure, so we left the awards ceremony and went back to the cake displays/vendors' booths to buy a few cake things.

We were on our way to the door when someone in my category/division stopped us to congratulate me. We ended up talking for quite a while, then said our goodbyes and began to leave. Hubs saw a few people with silver platters and asked what they were for... I told him I had no idea. On our way out, I saw the new president of Austin's cake club and stopped to say hi and congratulate her. She asked if I'd gotten my stuff, and I said, "What stuff?" She said, "You won another award!" (Typing that reminds me of the "major award" the dad won on A Christmas Story.) I flipped out! The awards ceremony was over, and I had missed winning! We went back into the hall where the awards were held, and she looked up what else I had won. Turns out, my Christmas cake won for the entire division!!! So I was one of those people that should have been walking around with a silver platter! Hubs couldn't resist taking my picture with my medals and platter, so this is one of the only times you'll see a picture of me on here. Yes, that's my 8 month pregnant belly behind my arm and under that shirt! Anything to make objects appear smaller.

But then, she said there was more! She started going through boxes and bags, and part of my prize (the medal and the platter were more than enough for me!!!) was three buckets of fondant (which is what all those little people and things are made of; it tastes like marshmallows), piping bags, a dusting brush, a fondant smoother, a box of sugar flowers, a GIANT box of cake mix (it's more than 4 times the size of store-bought mixes), a jar of banana flavoring... and a check! It felt like Christmas morning! Hubs wanted a picture of all my winnings, so here it is:

My sweet friend Darcie took a picture of us together in front of everything. Hubs said since the Christmas Day concept was his idea, he'd just settle for the check (you know, the one that's made out to ME!) and let me have all the cake stuff, since he's not into making cakes. Isn't he just the sweetest thing ever?

Seriously though, I had a GREAT time with him there. He's so much fun to walk around with and listen to his comments (some of them are funny, some are pointing out things I hadn't noticed, and some are downright snotty!) and just look at all the cakes with. I don't know many men who'd be willing (and pretend to actually enjoy) spending a weekend at a cake show. Don't feel too sorry for him, though. He dumped me for a few hours on Saturday for Academy's gun counter. :) I was okay with that. I watched a bunch of live competitions and shopped at all the vendors' booths. Then Sunday we went to Cabela's gun library. He found a gun he was interested in... for $60,000. That's SIXTY. THOUSAND. DOLLARS. I told him I'd have to win a heck of a lot more cake competitions to pay for that thing!

All Sunday afternoon he had to endure me hitting him on the arm and saying, "Can you believe my piece won over all the other cakes in my division??? Can you BELIEVE that???"

I'm still finding it hard to come down from my cloud.
To see what other people are talented at, go to Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cake Show Today! (LOTS of pictures)

I'm at the 5th Annual That Takes The Cake Sugar Art Show and Cake Competition in Austin today.

Here is the second piece I'm entering:

I'm calling it, "Christmas, 2009," because it's a snapshot into what our living room will look like this coming December 25.

Here's Hubs and me...

with my big, fat diamond ring (HA!) and my hot cocoa and cinnamon roll. I wonder what's in the box? Better be something good!

Hubs just HAS to have homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas day. It's one of our family traditions, so I had to include them. There's wrapping paper and ribbon debris all around.

I probably should have made the box turquoise with a white ribbon! Seriously, it's the best Christmas wrapping a girl can get!

Here's one of the many tiny gifts I sculpted. This one's painted, too.

And my cute little Christmas tree. (That's "Kwissmiss twee" to Cullen.)

Christian is about to dig into her warm, gooey cinnamon roll... since she already opened her gifts!

You just gotta have marshmallows with hot cocoa.
Let's not forget the train... or "TWAIN, MOMMA! CUTE CHOO CHOO TWAIN!" as Cullen said when he saw it.

A tiny little car...
The baby... who is, as of this moment, nameless...
Cullen, with a new ball. Notice ganket is right behind him.

A tiny little rolling ducky.

The view from above.

When I held Cullen up to see it for the first time, his face was so precious! I wish I'd been able to get a picture of it, but, like I said, I was holding him. He just kept noticing all the little details, which really surprised me. He pointed out the Christmas tree, the "teddd-a-bear," and each of the toys, he pointed out the "sit-down baby, the sit-down Daddy, the sit-down Momma, the sit-down Shistian." He didn't realize he was on there, too! I also thought it was cute that he was telling me what each person was doing. He even noticed ganket! What a smart little baby boy!
I think it's funny that whenever Cullen sees me modeling things like this, he always knows right away that it's cake. Most adults don't realize everything on that board is edible, but Cullen sure does!

"I ant (want) cake, too, Momma! I ant cake, too!"

This took soooooo much time. I think I went a little overboard. As I mentioned yesterday, Hubs had the idea for the family Christmas scene. It was Christian's idea to add Santa hats.
The judging was Saturday, and the awards ceremony is at noon today...
Wish me luck!