Friday, November 30, 2007

Slimey Stats - Day 61

Yes, it's been that long since I posted about our dear friend sitting on a jar on my kitchen counter. And yes, he's been sitting there for 61 days now! So, here's what's been going on since day 21 back in October...

About a month ago, I could actually see some eye buds. Pretty amazing.

About 2 weeks ago, Ben was standing on a chair "helping" me do the dishes. He said to me, "Mom, I want to see Slimey." My hands were all wet so I told him to wait and I'd show him in a few minutes. Apparently, that was too long to wait because without me knowing, he picked up the jar and was checking Slimey out all by himself. I went to grab the jar and noticed that it was upside-down. I completely freaked out! Now let me just tell you that I was a little extra emotional at this time, if you know what I mean. Thinking back now, I realize that it's just a caterpillar. I ran down the stairs screaming to show Jon the jar. Neither one of us could see poor little Slimey. I took it back upstairs where Ben has this terrified look on his face because of how I reacted. He said, "I just wanted to play with my pet!" Hugs, kisses, apologies.....and I'm back to trying to find Slimey. I mean everything we had in there was all over the place. I did finally find the chrysalis out of the cocoon in some grass. The cocoon was made in the grass, if you'll remember and that was amazingly still in tact. So I was able to get him back into his cocoon (without touching it, mind you) and there he sits.

I look in on him all the time and he still looks the same. Jon keeps saying he's dead but I don't think so. Wouldn't it be all shriveled up by now? And it's still shiny. Wouldn't he be all dull if he was dead? Here's hoping for a spring butterfly or moth......

Thursday, November 29, 2007

O-Mazing Grace!

Sometimes the sound isn't so sweet...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!

For every year the Christmas tree
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!

I am NOT singing the nice happy tune O Christmas Tree, sung to honor the lovely Christmas tree. I'm saying it more groan-like, with a nice big heavy sigh! The "Stevens sigh", if you will.

"Much pleasure doth thou bring me!" "Joy and glee." Give me a break!!!!!!! It is verdant though. Yes, it is definitely green.

The Christmas tree getting process started out wonderful! My friend Stephanie was visiting from Oklahoma so she came with us to good old Lowe's!

We chose a tree in about 2 minutes. I handed Stephanie the camera and asked her to take a picture of us with our tree. Somewhere between wiping snot off of Talon's face and getting Ben to look at the camera, Talon got loose. Jon ran off to get him while I stood in front of our lovely tree with Simon and Ben. After Jon grabbed Talon he lifts this other tree up and says "Hey, what about this one?!" Stephanie and I were both like, "Ooohh, I love that one. That one is much better! It's such a nice shade of green!" So off we go to get our picture taken with the new tree.

As Jon's tying the tree onto the van I say to Stephanie, "This is usually one of our biggest fights of the year!" She says, "It's my presence!" I said, "You're coming every year from now on!" Okay, it's all tied on and we head out for dinner. We ended up at Red Robin and had great food. The kids were really good too. And the raspberry limeade was awesome!!!

So we head home and Jon goes to get the tree ready for the stand. We have this stand that has a big spike in the bottom of it. Then when you choose your tree at the tree farm, they drill a hole in the bottom of it for you. You come home and slide it on and it's done! We used to get our tree at the tree farm like my sister and her family but decided that Lowe's is now our place of choice - much closer, much easier and less time and money. Anyway, Jon decided that he would make the hole a little smaller and hammer the stand on so it wouldn't wobble. The second the tree was up we all knew that it was completely crooked. Not the stand. The tree. Then I realized that he forgot to put the water bucket thingy on before he hammered the stand into our tree. So he hammered the stand out, put the bucket on and re-hammered it onto our tree. But he accidentally put the hammer through the plastic water bucket. Oh fabulous! He started to take the stand off and accidentally hit the wall with the hammer. At this point, Jon is about to lose it! He picks up the whole thing and carries it to the porch where he is successful at removing the now broken tree stand.

He quietly heads to Target to get a new stand. Gets the new one installed properly, adds water and it begins to drip all over the place. As he was screwing the tree into the stand it cracked up the whole side. I head to Target to get a new, bigger one. (Maybe that's the problem...who knows?!!) I get home and start getting the new stand ready and Jon walks into the room and sees I'm about to start crying. He comes to give me a hug and offer me some nice tea. He puts on the Christmas music and we sip our tea. Ahh, better! Back to the pain in my side. Er, I mean tree. This time I go under it to screw the huge screws in. I come out and we let go and....

Tah-Dah!!!!!!!!!! It's straight (almost) and it looks so good! I think the Lord fixed the top of our tree somehow while I was at Target or something because that thing was crooked!!! And I am loving my new star. Since we got married nearly 8 years ago we've had the same grapevine star, which I still like, but I happened upon this one at OTP and had to have it!

I'm not even going to post about the ornament process. I won't put anyone through that whole ordeal. But here are a few pictures that look like everyone is happy and enjoying themselves. Let's just say for the record, they were not. Neither was I. I actually had to leave the house at one point. Oh What Fun!!!

But the bottom line is...the tree is up and relatively straight. We're ready to start the Christmas season...again!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Life is Full of Firsts!

Well, Simon and Bennett had their very first look around the
Does that make me a bad mom that they've never even been inside of the Disney Store?

Well, regardless, I took Simon and Ben to the mall on Sunday afternoon. No daddy. No Talon.
We had such a fun time together. And I wasn't a sweaty mess as we were leaving because I was dealing with all of the kids at the same time. Usually it's just too much! But Simon and Ben are a lot more self sufficient these days so it was really great. We had lunch in the food court. Bought gumballs. Rode the elevator twice. Rode the escalator twice. Rode the carousel once - a.) I wasn't going to spend another 4 bucks and b.) I was so dizzy I just about threw up.
Thanks for a great day boys! I love hanging out with you.
And I got a really cute Buzz Lightyear costume for Halloween next year for 10 bucks! Gotta love that!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Family of Stickers

Simon got some free stickers in the mail. He proceeded to hand them out to the entire family - choosing their favorite color, which I thought was really sweet.

Then he said he wanted to have one for each person in our family up on the fridge. Here we are!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm Thankful and Going To the Bright Side!

Salvation Army bells started ringing the day after Halloween around here. Christmas candy was being put out next to the Halloween stuff - before Halloween. There is a whole holiday in the middle, people! Have we forgotten about Thanksgiving??? I mean, are we in that much of a hurry to get to Christmas that we can't stop to be thankful!? I love Thanksgiving! It's my mom's holiday. Back in the day we would have the grandmas, all of my aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of the family over at our house for the whole day! Ahhhh, I remember it well...Aimee and I would be setting one of the 6 tables we had set up, while watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, keeping track of the floaty balloons going by and waiting for our favorites. My mom would be making food all morning long. She had already stocked the fridge and freezer with all of our traditional favorites. Ham and Turkey of course. Butter with mashed potatoes! :) Pickles and olives. Peppermint ice cream. Those creamy pastel mints with the white sprinkles on the bottom. Our Thanksgiving traditions have changed a bit since but we still get together with the whole Riddering clan! And we have some things that have become new traditions. I'm a very nostalgic person so change is not fun for me. But a lot is changing with the coming holidays. And guess what? I've learned to embrace the changes as part of the fun!

So, after saying all of that...I am usually the person who despises, well maybe not despises let's just say, doesn't like, Christmas music and decorations before Thanksgiving. (Sorry Kate!)
But not this year! I don't know what it is. It's definitely not the weather. Bright and sunny today. Cold though. But I am excited this year! I will wait to put up my tree and lights and decorations but I can't seem to help but listen to the Christmas music. We listened to it at "cards" the other night and that was it. It was like something clicked in me. I actually had it playing this morning while I was doing my dishes. It made for such a nice chore. Christmas is coming! I'm excited for the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking and cleaning - All Of It! Can't wait!!!

Now, if we could just have some snow...yeah, that would be good!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh Talon...

you are my favorite son of the day!

My latest issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray was on the kitchen table. I put Talon in his booster seat for dinner. I went to grab the magazine to put it away. Talon spotted it and immediately pointed and said "Mama! Mama!" She looks totally hot on the cover of that magazine.....and that is why Talon is my favorite son of the day!

Love you Tal! You made my day!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

My Spidey Senses are Tingling.

2 Sundays ago, we went to the "Spiderman Park". (Named by my nephew Cameron years ago and it just sort of stuck.) Anyway, it has this huge web-like climing thing in the middle of it (hence the name!) that my boys just love! All FOUR of them...though Talon prefers the small jungle gym!
Could they look anymore alike??? I mean seriously!
Ben calls this tube thing his "jump seat". You know, like in fire trucks. There's a little fire truck next to it with a steering wheel and stuff that he loves to play in!
And Talon basically just loves life!
The park was closed almost all summer so when it finally opened again a few weeks ago we were so excited! Candi, we need to hit this park next spring!!!


And since were on the subject of super heroes, I wanted to show you all my super heroes, complete with capes (well, 2 towels and an apron).

Talon would not stop so let's just say his are "action shots"!

On the subject of Spiderman...5 Minutes for Mom is hosting another great giveaway. Click here to check it out!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wedding Bells!!!!!

My niece Melissa (my sister Leanne's daughter) got engaged over the weekend! This is just too exciting. I hope she doesn't mind me posting these pictures of the gorgeous ring...
And, guess who gets to be the flowergirl and ringbearer...
I am so excited! Aimee and I have talked about this since they were born. Hoping...wondering...if maybe they would be able to be flowergirl and ringbearer together and now it's happening.

So after she called yesterday I was talking to Simon about it and Ben said, "I want to go too!" I said, "Yeah! We're all going. And you'll get to be all dressed up and everything!" He said, all excited, "I know! I'll wear my dragon!!!!"

My niece is getting married! And my son is going to be her ringbearer. This is just too much!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Fire Breathing Dragon, A Very Cute Policeman and a Buzzy Bumble Bee

My boys all dressed up and all smiles! Yes, even Ben.

We saw a few police officers driving around the neighborhood throughout the night but the 1st one we saw recognized us I think (from various community events) and smiled, waved and said to Simon, "Hey, I like your costume!" Simon was beaming after that.
Ben making his dragon face. He really took the whole dragon thing seriously.Talon's first look at all the candy. He had no idea!
Our neighbor's dog, Stanley, was a bumble bee as well. Too cute!
What a great night! The kids really enjoyed themselves. It was so nice that it was still light out. And it wasn't too cold either. There were sooo many kids around our neighborhood. It was great!
Talon got sick of it after a while so Jon took him home. I stayed out with Simon and Ben - until they got sick of it too. Here they are trick-or-treating with Wylie, the skunk. :)There was still time for others to trick-or-treat when we got home so Simon set up his post on the stoop. I couldn't figure out how he kept running out of candy when I watched him give each person a huge handful. So we were able to get rid of everything we didn't like. Very nice!

Monday, November 05, 2007


Well, we have had our fair share of pumpkins this year!

I took the boys to Vandergriend's 2 weeks ago to pick out their pumpkins. We chose little ones to paint and big ones to carve.

This is the only good shot I got of all 3 before my batteries died...again!

They never die at home when I'm taking some unimportant picture - only when I'm out somewhere doing something good. Anyway, they had an inflatable pumpkin filled with balloons that flew around and an inflatable haunted house. I didn't want them to do the haunted house because,'s pretty obvious but they (Simon & Talon) wanted to go so bad, so I walked through it first and it was really just a maze with blacklights. They loved it. I had to literally push Ben into it. Once he was in, he had a blast! I had to drag them out of it. And Talon was a maniac in the pumpkin filled with balloons. I have some video of that. Maybe I can try to figure that out one day...

Here they are getting ready to paint their pumpkins.

I think Ben feels sorry for the battered and bruised pumpkins. Those are always the ones he leans towards. It's really kind of sweet. He picked Talon's and yes, it has marks all over it too. :)

Talon couldn't believe we were letting him do it. He laughed and smiled the whole time.

Simon created this masterpiece.

Once side is day...

and the other side is night.

Ben used every color paint we had. The stem was so mushy from all the paint! He was still sitting at the table painting long after everyone else was done. He enjoyed it so much.

And here's Talon's....

As if painting wasn't enough...we decided to carve some pumpkins this year too.

We sprayed them with this clear sealer stuff and it made them virtually squirrel proof. Not to mention rotten pumpkin proof. They still look perfect.

And as you can see...neither one of us wanted to carve Talon's pumpkin. It's just fine without a face. Talon didn't seem to mind a bit! :)

Trick or Treating post is next!