Saturday, February 27, 2010

At the Cake Show in Austin...

And this is my competition:

While moving this piece, the show organizers broke one of the ribbons off.

I have several bags full of so much stuff, I literally can't even remember what all I've gotten. Lots of new toys to try out, that's for sure! I can't wait!

Judging was today, and the awards ceremony is tomorrow...
Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It Was Only a Matter of Time

Remember the spur-of-the-moment tractor purchase?
Well, I was thinking it wouldn't be long before I'd see Christian or Cullen riding around in the back yard, with either Cullen or Cavan riding in the trailer.
And I was right.

Yesterday, while Christian was at school, Cullen loaded hay into that trailer and "hauled it" all around the yard. He'd stop, get out, unload the hay, and drive off, only to turn right back around and load it up again.

These two had so much fun driving/riding around the yard the other day. Ignore the state of the grass; it's been raining nearly constantly and we haven't been able to do much out there. I was just glad the standing water was finally drained enough for them to play for a while! Unfortunately, we have a 90% chance of it again today.

I guess it's Cavan's turn next.

I just hope Cullen doesn't take it upon himself to go get the baby, drag him outside, and put him in the trailer on his own.

He wouldn't do that, though.

Would he?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Am Machine


That's what Cullen's been gleefully saying over and over and over again, all morning long.

Except, that's really only part of what he's been saying.

When I finally figured out what he was really saying, I told him, "Stop it. We don't say that."

He furrowed his little brow, deep in thought.

"We don't say machine?" he asked.

"No, you can say machine," I answered.

He thought some more, then gave me his sly, sweet little grin.

"We don't say damn?"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Where, Oh Where, Has My Little Baby Gone?

Chubs is ten months old today. I can hardly believe it.

It's time to start planning his first birthday party.

He's crawling all over; he's not happy about it, but he does it.

He'd much rather be held. By me. All day.

He absolutely LOVES his brother and sister. When they're gone, he looks all over for them. When they're here, he laughs at everything they do.

I can see two teeth moving down his top gums, and two little bumps on his lower gums. Poor baby seems to be getting four teeth at once, just like Cullen.

I hate that.

One of my favorite parts of babyhood is toothless gums.

Now I wonder if I took enough pictures of his toothless little smile.

Are there ever enough, though?

Probably not.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Middle-of-the-Week Weekend in San Antonio

Hubs had to attend a Homeland Security Conference in San Antonio this week. My MIL encouraged me to go with him, and volunteered to watch Christian and Cullen, so I did.

I'm so glad I did.

We have a really large, beautiful hotel room, located in a 100 year-old hotel directly across the street from the Alamo.
There's a huge walk-in closet that Chubs had the pleasure of sleeping in last night. Since the valet didn't get his crib up here until 11:30, he was pretty tired, and slept until after 10 this morning.
We got up and got dressed, and my San Antonio friend M'lissa came to see us. I had called her yesterday to let her know we were coming, and as we were saying goodbye, she ended the conversation with, "Bring me some cake!"
So I did. I made a four-layer tuxedo cake (same flavor combo as the valentine cakes) in four hours! It was a little cake, but it had to be to be baked and decorated in that amount of time.
We walked around downtown a bit, then stopped in at Fuddrucker's for lunch. We were waiting our turn to order when a nice-looking man walked up to me, held out a cup full of ice, and said, "Someone asked me to have you get them a refill." I said, "Excuse me?" And followed his glance to where my husband sat at a table with a third man. Can you believe that out of all the places to eat in downtown San Antonio, we both picked the same place for lunch??? I had to apologize to his friend for the dirty look and ugly tone I gave him before realizing Hubs was playing a trick on me.

After lunch we walked around a bit more, then went back to our hotel room. It's the row of three windows with the lights on.

M'lissa took the cake I made for her and left Chubs and me alone to nap for a bit before Hubs came back from the afternoon session.

We got up, Cavan blogged a bit...

And Facebooked a bit...

And then we went next door to Morton's.

But they were full until 8:30.

A pox on their house!

So we walked a few blocks to Bohanan's.

But they were full until 9:00.

Boils on their buttocks!

So we went next door to The Palm, where we were finally offered a booth and sustenance.

We ordered lobster bisque (which Cavan heartily approved of! me, too!) and bone-in ribeye and hand-cut fries. Since it was our first visit to The Palm, the waitress brought us a plate of flash-fried sweet onion strings and cottage fries on the house. It was all sooooo delicious! I mean, that was some seriously good food!

Cavan was quite the star at the restaurant. I can't count the number of people (servers, management and guests) that stopped by our table to talk to him, touch him (ew!) or just admire him. He basked in all the adoration, too. I gotta say, that little bald head (bald is beautiful!) gets me every time, although several people said it was his fat little cheekies that drew them in.

Since the dining experience was considerably longer than he's used to, his good mood began to deteriorate by the end of the meal. He never fussed or cried, but he was definitely tired of sitting in the high chair, so we took dessert back to the hotel room:

Seven layer chocolate cake...

and nobody around who wants to share it with me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

You might say we went a little overboard this year on all the valentine hoopla.

And by "we," I mean, "I."

I told Christian I would bake cookies for her class party, when I don't do cookies. I let her put the tiny hearts on the cookies. I would have let her decorate all of them herself, but I didn't have the time to let her run wild in the kitchen. I think she did a better job than I would have. I would have put the heart straight in the center. Which would have been quite boring. I like her whimsical placement much more than what I had planned. I put edible glitter on them once she was finished.
I told Cullen he could have a party, too. With a special cake, cookies and homemade valentines. Last I heard, this cake is still uncut. The party was Thursday.


If I do say so myself.

I told Christian I would make cakes for her teachers, and goodies for the secretaries, principal, nurse and librarian. These were the goodies. They were large cookies in a bag with her valentines tied on. We also drove to my dad's house and gave my stepmom one. My dad just got valentines; no cookies. It's sad and discriminatory, I know, but we ran out!
These were the cakes we made for her teachers. All in all, I made SIX of these. One for Cullen's party, one for Christian's homeroom teacher, one for her reading teacher, one for her favorite teacher of all time ever, one for our just-moved-in neighbors, and one for very special neighbors. This is the one that I go to when I run out of ginger, and end up staying for two hours. It happens quite regularly. ALL of our neighbors are awesome, but this couple are seriously amazing people.

The cakes were tuxedo cakes: chocolate chocolate chip and french vanilla cake layered with chocolate truffle and white chocolate truffle filling. A-MAZ-ING. Seriously. I will be making more very soon. The lids and bows are all edible, and the "truffles" are actually little balls of cake that I dipped in chocolate.
I have been wanting to take our new neighbors a casserole or gift of some kind to welcome them, but just hadn't done it yet. I took the cake over there Thursday night so that if they weren't cake-eaters they could take it to work on Friday. I told them I knew it was really creepy to get a valentine from your neighbor, and I was sorry for that, but that was the holiday up first since they moved in.

I told Christian and Cullen we'd make special valentines for them to hand out. I printed out 25, each, then went back and printed another 20. It seemed like a lot more. I'm really impressed with how cute these turned out. Everybody that sees them pretends they're pretty cool, which feeds my insane need to craft useless things. But with faces this precious, I'd have to say they're not completely useless. I mean, once the candy is gone, you have eye candy, right?
Is this thing on?

And not to be left out, I let Cavan help with his first valentines, too.

All together now:
Hope your day is filled with chocolate and flowers.
Unless, of course, you're allergic.
Or dieting.
Or a diabetic.
Oh just forget it.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

You Have Yourself A Nice Day, Now, Ya Hear?


Today the boys and I took my dad and stepmom some valentines and cookies from the kids.

I tried to surprise her at her office, but she'd left for lunch. The secretary told me where she had gone, so I headed to the restaurant so she could see the boys and Cullen could give her some treats.

I didn't mean to hijack her lunch with her friend, but she wanted us to stay and eat with her, so we did. Well, I ate. Cullen annoyed us all (they tried to act like they weren't annoyed, but I wasn't fooled; or maybe it was just that he was annoying me on a whole new level today with his 5,861 questions) and stole cheese from her friend's plate before I could stop him. And then didn't eat his food when it came. But I digress.

After we left, I drove around the area, looking for my former pastor's house. It was just a street or two away from where we were, and I wanted to see if it looked the same as it did years ago, when I spent as many nights there as I did at my own home.

It didn't.

I passed it slowly, looking at all the changes. Then I made a u-turn at the block, since I was now headed in the opposite direction of my dad's house, which was my next destination.

It meant I'd get another look at the lovely, and huge, old house.

I barely noticed the old man walking on the opposite side of the street, just a few houses down, until I was alongside of him.

It was at that point that he whipped his hands out of his jacket pockets and flipped me off and began screaming "F&%# you!" repeatedly.


I'm sorry?

Crazy Old Man, do I know you?

That would be a no.

I looked in my rearview mirror.

He had taken up a position in the center of the street, facing my departing vehicle. He had added a crotch grab to his repertoire. He wasn't shy about it, either. He was rising to his toes for dramatic effect. He was screaming and grabbing himself and flipping me off with gusto. He was proud of that gnarled old finger. He must have fond memories of his days waving planes in to land with those hands.

Unnerved, I continued to my dad's house. Surely this is the town's beloved insane hobo, I thought.

"Don't mind him," my dad was bound to tell me. "That's just Old Salty."

Except my dad had no clue who I was talking about. He wanted to jump in the car and go find the old man.

I suggested he kiss Chubs' cheekies and snuggle his fat little body and answer Cullen's 8,672 questions instead.

He thought that was a pretty good idea.

So that's what we did.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Children Were Nestled All Snug in Their Beds...

While their mommy raced around like a lunatic, making valentines, cakes and cookies.

Christian's class party is Friday, and she's supposed to bring something to contribute. I asked her what she wanted to bring and she said cookies.

Of course she said cookies.

I don't do cookies.

Well, I do do cookies, but not pretty decorated sugar cookies. And, let's face it, that's what kids expect at a valentine's party.

So this week, I've made two batches of sugar cookie dough and six mini valentine cakes for various teachers, and random other people (lest I spoil the surprise by saying who). And valentines. Lots of valentines.

Cullen has patiently quietly excitedly watched all these preparations this week, and asked if he could hand out "Balentimes," too. So I made Cullen some "Balentimes." Then he asked if he could have a "Balentimes" party, so I made him some "Balentimes" cookies and a mini cake for his "Balentimes" party.

It's (as I write this) just a few hours away. When he wakes up I'll feed him breakfast and get him dressed and take him to Granny's house, where he goes every Thursday. He and his cousin Jakob will have a little "Balentimes" party of their own.

Believe it or not, but I think I'm probably more excited than he is. And he's pretty darn excited. It's just that it's his first little party, and his first go at handing out valentines, and I've worked so danged hard on all this stuff this week. The valentines are pretty dadgum cute, if I do say so myself. Which adds to my excitement. I can't wait for the recipients to see how adorable they turned out.

My neighbor came over tonight and kept me company while I worked for a bit, though I did way more talking than working. I showed her their valentines, and we just couldn't get over the cuteness of these things! She was pretty impressed.

I would show a picture ('cause I took about a thousand) but it would spoil the surprise of the people reading this blog who will be receiving these cute little things.

I'll post pictures of them, and the cakes, in a few days.

I only have Cullen's party cake complete right now. I'm kind of excited to see the others lined up, all complete and ready to be devoured. I think it will look like Saint Valentine puked all over my kitchen. But in a good way.

So, in the absence of incomparably cute "Balentimes," I'll leave you with Cullen's "Balentimes" cookies. Which were decorated after hours upon hours upon hours of me standing in the kitchen, up to my elbows in sugar.

Fear my mad sugar cookie decorating skillz.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Little Tiny Baby is Growing Up

And we all know what I think of that.

He's crawling now; protesting all the way, but he's crawling.

He scoots all around the house in his walker, looking for Cullen and Christian, gleefully following along behind them once they're found. If they're not home, he comes after me and jerks on my pants leg, fussing, until I rescue him.

He's crawled out of his room many times. He's crawled from his play area in the living room to the kitchen and dining room.

The other night we had ribs for dinner. Cavan ate most of one of mine. I don't mean pureed meat or tiny little pieces, either. These were chunks of meat. He'd scoot over in his walker to me and open his mouth so wide it looked like his jaw was double-jointed. I'd put a chunk of rib meat on a fork and hold it to him and he'd grab it like a shark grabs... well... whatever those big bloody hunks of meat that sharks grab are called. Then he'd scoot away, sucking his lips and smacking to get all that delicious flavor before coming back for more.

Last night we didn't even break out the baby food. We just cut up little pieces of chicken and gave him the potatoes we were also eating.

Excuse me while I curl up, suck my thumb, and cry.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Spur-of-the-Moment Purchase

Last week when we got Chubs' picture taken, we saw this on clearance at Sears:

So we, and by "we," I mean, "I," made a split-decision to buy it.

Cullen bugged us about it the entire time Chubs was mugging for the camera.

"Are we going to get my tractor? Is my tractor over there? When are we going to get my tractor? Are we going to take my tractor home? Can I drive my tractor? I want to drive my tractor. Are we going to get it? Are we going to get my tractor?"

They stood like vultures while Hubs assembled it that night.

And just couldn't wait until the morning when the battery would be fully charged.

Would Cullen drive it?
That would be a no. He just wants to push it around the yard, and put the trailer on and take it off and put it on and take it off.......

But Christian sure seems to enjoy it!