Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Matthew's Christmas Concert

Matthew had his Christmas Concert at school this past Monday. He was really excited to go and sing which is unusual. He usually loathes going to these things and just kind of does it because he feels it's his duty. But you can see him up there, sighing and mouthing the words to the song. Never really singing and looking utterly bored.

That wasn't the case this year. It was a major turn around and I owe it all to a little thing called a BOW-TIE.

As he was getting dressed he asked if he could wear his Dad's bow-tie. (Matt got it when he was in the Choir one semester at college.)

When he got to the school and sat with his fellow classmates they all instantly complimented him on his "fancy tie". You could literally see his confidence explode.

When it was time for him to sing, he got up there and was the biggest ham. I wanna say he stole the show, but that may be a little biased.

He was all about holding onto his tie and wiggling his eyebrows and looking real smug as he sang. I had never seen him act like least not during a performance. Now, if he was at home? Sure. All the time. Seriously. All...the...time.

It made me think that he would do great in theater when he gets older. But then again, my mom said the exact same thing about me. But unfortunately I couldn't get over my crippling stage fright. It still haunts me to this day. But he does have some of his father's personality, so we'll see. Either way, he always has a way of putting a smile on peoples faces.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Did we ever stop eating?/Cub-Scout-Deputy Shoemaker

I received an email from a friend a few months back and came across it today. It made me laugh then and I got a good giggle out of it again. I even called Matt over and he read it and just shook his head with a big grin on his face. That Matthew of ours is something else. He's funny even when he doesn't know he is.

Here's what she wrote:
Matthew was so cute today, He comes in and I ask him how he is doing, he says great. Mom and Dad had a fight I think it was about food but they made up and everyone is eating again.
This is just so funny, l felt you had to know. He's such a cute little guy, you both must be doing something right. So glad to hear you are all eating again.

He has the funniest ways of explaining things sometimes. I wish I could be a fly on the wall every time he tells a story from home. Because sometimes his perception of what happened is way funnier that what actually happened.

Totally off subject:
For Cub Scouts a couple of weeks ago they were visited by a Deputy Sheriff. He came and talked to the boys. (didn't get to hear any of that) But afterwards all the boys wanted to see his super cool police car. He even let them climb in and turn on the siren for a split second. (so we didn't scare the locals) Right before we were getting ready to leave I requested a picture with the Police Officer (can't for the life of me remember his name, and I should.)
The only 2 boys around were my Matthew and his fellow cub-scouter who is also Matthew. So they got behind the car and hammed it up while I snapped pictures of them.

Deputy Sheriff's in training? We'll see...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Craft Time with a Toddler~Success!!

Today I finally had some success with doing some crafts with David. We did it without him eating it or becoming instantly bored.
I will say it wasn't without some whining when I put the apron on him.

I got that sudden crafty itch today and decided, on a whim, to make my very own finger paints. It wasn't hard at all really. I'll include the recipe at the bottom for my fellow crafty parents.

Like I said before, he whined a little when I put the apron on and then presented him with the paints. But then I showed him how to scoop up some with his finger and swirl it on the paper. It was an instant hit!

The only thing I've noticed so far is that he doesn't fully commit and get his whole hand dirty. It's only the pointer finger and then he complains until I clean it off. I suppose so that he can get another color.

But he had a lot of fun so I deem this crafting activity a SUCCESS!!

Cornstarch Finger Paint Recipe:
3 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
food coloring

bring to a boil, 2 cups of water. In separate bowl mix 1 cup cornstarch and 1 cup water until combined. When water comes to a boil, remove from heat. Add the cornstarch mixture until combined. Return to heat and let boil for about 1 minute or until thick. Remove from heat and separate into individual bowls. Add food coloring and let cool. Get messy!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love Found a Way

Let me just start out by saying how honored I am to have my story told. My wonderful friend Connie offered to do my story and I was more than thrilled.
This subject is very close to my heart. I thank my parents every day for all they do. For the unconditional love they show me on a daily basis. The part at the bottom always chokes me up. Both of my parents proudly show off all 4 of their grandchildren. No one would suspect they are not biologically theirs. But they might as well be.

I typed out the entire article at the bottom.

Amber Hughes Shoemaker, Parnell, is very aware of the positive effects adoption can have on a child.

Shoemaker was born March 3, 1981, and was brought to her adoptive parents' house on March 12. She was just eight days old. Shoemaker and her brother Steven were both adopted through the Edna Gladney Center for Adoption.

Jim and Tanna Hughes had a deep desire for children. Although they had tried for years, Tanna was seemed to be unable to conceive.
They went to a fertility doctor. Tests were administered. Treatment was prescribed. Nothing was working.

"When the doctor told my parents they wouldn't be able to have their own children, he had tears in his eyes," Shoemaker said. "My parents adopted my brother shortly after that--in September 1976."

When Shoemaker was 7 years old, she remembered asking her mother questions about babies. Had she really been a baby in her mommy's tummy?
"That's when my mother told me about being adopted," she said.
She told me my birth mother loved me enough to give me to someone who could take care of me.."

Shoemaker grew up knowing she was adopted. It just felt natural.
"That's how it was and how it's always been," she said, "We were their kids. My brother is my brother. He picks on my like any other brother would pick on his little sister."
Shoemaker's was a closed adoption. When she became an adult, she realized nobody in the family looked like her. "Matthew looked identical to my husband," she said.

All the information Shoemaker has about her birth parents is in a manila envelope. A few medical details are inside. She knows eczema runs on her mother's side of the family. Both her birth mother and father wear glasses. There was also a list of some of the activities her birth parents enjoyed. She knows her birth father is Irish.

But that's where it stops. Shoemaker has no medical history about her birth parents. She worries about her sons, Matthew and David. What if they were to have a medical concern in their future?
She decided to look for her birth parents; however, she has discovered she can't get any information about them. The records are closed.

Shoemaker said she has talked to people who have considered adoption but were concerned they wouldn't connect with a child that is not their own.
"My parents never had that problem," she said.
"When I had our second son, David, my dad went around at work showing everyone his picture.

People were telling Dad how much David looked like him. He didn't tell them any different. My mom and I both have green eyes. My dad and Steven both have brown eyes.

Editorial Note: November is National Adoption Awareness Month

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Monsters and Marios

We had a fantastic time Trick-or-Treating in the Maryville Square this year. We had a pretty tight budget when it came to costumes so I tried to be as creative as possible.100_4892

Cookie Monster and Mario…a.k.a. David and Matthew


David is our little Cookie Monster, he lives up to this name on a daily basis. So when we found this shirt at the store one day, we just HAD to get it for him.


I tried to make it a little more “costume-y” by drawing horns on him. Matt insisted they were eyebrows since the original Cookie Monster doesn’t have horns. Either way, he looked pretty stinkin cute.






The tale of Matthew’s costume: One day I went to St. Joseph and stopped by this awesome thrift store. I always find lots of clothes for the kids at super cheap prices. I was stoked when I found these red overalls. I immediately thought of Matthew and how he had been raving about wanting to be Mario for Halloween. I couldn’t wait to get home and show them to him. I just knew he would love them…and he did. But then later, he gently broke it to me that Mario actually has blue overalls and a red shirt. He even gave me a reassuring pat on the back, saying that he was completely ok with it. He said he would just be “reverse-Mario.”

I think about these times when I’m pulling my hair out with him. Because in the end, he’s a pretty amazing kid.

So, Matthew loved his costume. I added a mustache with liquid eyeliner and he pulled it off amazingly. He posed up and down the square so that I could get an adequate amount of pictures.




He posed…


…and posed…



…and posed…


…and posed some more.

Funny story:  While we were walking down the square, Matt scooped up David and put him on his shoulders because we were getting ready to go through a big crowd. A few minutes after we passed them, Matt stopped and said with a frightened expression “Wait…where’s David?” It only took him a second to realize that he was on his shoulders. Of course I took a picture as a reminder of the hilarity. 



The kids got plenty of yummy goodies that Matt and I thoroughly inspected and tested. (as only a good parent does.) A good time was had all around. I can’t believe that Halloween is already over. Where did the year go?

Did I mention that Matthew posed a lot?









Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Operation: Matthew's Super Secret Birthday Surprise

For Matthew's 10th birthday we decided to give him a "Not So Extreme Room Makeover." A.K.A.: We repainted his bedroom.

We decided on a Saturday to do it and sent Matthew off to spend the night at a friends house.

"How hard could it be to paint his room?" We thought.

Well, it turned out to be a little more difficult than we thought. But that's just how things go.


So we got in there and moved furniture and taped off the walls. I was excited to start...

until Matt got the paint out.
my dear husband, taping off the walls.

He opens up the can and says "Ummm...this looks more purple than blue."

Me, trying to be optimistic say "Oh, it will dry darker. Go ahead and put some on the wall and see."

So he does, and guess was PURPLE! Not a blue with a purplish tint, but super dark PURPLE.
Note to self: take the paint swatch home and look at it in the lighting of the room, both during the day and at night.

We weren't due to get any money till that next Wednesday. So we had Matthew and David camp out downstairs. Matthew was just itching to know what his present was. He was digging for clues when he asked me why we couldn't just move it into my craft room. (which is David's closet) But when I explained to him that it was much to big to move and definitely wouldn't fit into the craft room he was stumped.

Wednesday finally rolled around and we went and got the paint we wanted. (the day before we got the swatches and checked and rechecked to make sure it was blue and not purple.)

We would paint during the day and then get cleaned up before Matthew got home from school. It would have been pretty obvious what we were up to if we came downstairs covered in paint.

Friday came and it was the day of his birthday. We wished him a wonderful day at school and dashed upstairs to finish up. We didn't get finished until well into the afternoon. But we accomplished our goal to finish it on his birthday.

Tada! All done!!

Oh, and check out his new fan that Matt installed for him.

After he got over the shock of the surprise he ran over and gave us both big hugs and kisses.

It was a lot of work, but seeing his reaction made it all worth it. I sure do love that little guy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Dog-R.I.P.

Am I really going to write a blog about my dog? Yeah, I am. Only because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Plus, there's a story to tell and I feel like telling it. So here it goes.

Our dog died last Sunday.

We'd had him for around 6 years. His name was Daxter (or Dax, or Daxie-poo, or the unflattering nickname my mom gave him the last time she visited. *snicker*)
He'd been with us through the best of times and the worst of times. The
highs and lows. The lefts and rights. (you see what I'm trying to say here.)

He was much beloved by Matthew and a loyal companion and running buddy to Matt.

Although we'd had him awhile, he was still very much young at heart. Extremely hyper-active and very playful. And although he had all of those qualities, I feel that I must share...I couldn't stand him.

We obtained Dax the same way we obtained a few of the pets we
've had over the years.

Matt: "Hey babe, I was wondering, would you like to have a (insert animal)?

Me: "No." (Mentally preparing to stand my ground)

Matt: "Oh....well I thought you'd say yes. I already got the (insert animal) . It's really cool! "

Me: *sigh* (mentally giving in) *rolls eyes* "whatever, as long as I don't have to feed it, or take care of it in any way."

I have to hand it to him, I mostly never did have to take care of Dax or any of the other random pets we've had. I say mostly because there's always that rare time that I have to do it. But it's slim to none.

Now I will also say that I have also brought home a couple of cats. But I came to realize that it's enough work for me to take care of the kids and the house and feed the monsters that live in it. So I swore off bringing any pets home until I feel I can manage it. (it probably won't be any time soon.)

So, that's how we got Dax.

Here's the story on how he died.

Sunday night, Matt decided to go for a run. He never goes at night, only in the mornings, but he has to pass his PT (National Guard Physical Test) and he's been trying to run as much as physically possible.

He then took Dax with him. He loved to go running with Matt.

Just the week before I went walking while Matt went running and we were outside stretching and talking. Suddenly we became aware of a whining sound. It was Dax, standing outside his doghouse shaking and whining at us. He knew Matt was getting ready to go run, and he wanted to go.

When Matt came bursting through the door he told me this is what had happened:

They were over by the bridge (about a mile away from the house). Matt was running on the left and Dax was over on the right. *Dax never could stay by Matt when he ran, he was always ahead or behind, sniffing or checking something out* Matt saw the car coming and figured the dog would get out of the way.

He did...mostly.

But the car got him right in the head and he died instantly.

Poor Matt was pretty shaken up, he started carrying him home, but the dead weight was just too much for him. Plus he realized he was a mile away from home, and he really didn't want to carry his beloved dead dog all the way home. So he came back and got the car and we buried him that night.

Matthew was pretty upset the rest of the night. He just sat in my lap and cried. And I cried right along with him.

Now Matthew knew good and well that I didn't like that dog and I
wasn't about to start pretending I did. I didn't think that was fair.

But I explained to him that I would miss the look on his (Matthew's) face when he came inside to tell me something Dax did. Or the joy and companionship Matt got out of his running buddy.

Plus I have to admit, that dog was loyal.

He would get off his chain and go running around town. But 10 minutes later he'd be back on our front porch. He always knew where home was. No matter what...or where.

So, farewell Dax. We are glad you got to go on one last run.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Boy And His Rain Boots

This was the scene at our house this morning. David running around in a t-shirt, diaper and his beloved rain boots. He put them on and refused to take them off.

I suppose it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

First day of school

Today was Matthew's first day of 3rd grade. To say he was excited is putting it mildly.

Last night he set his alarm for 7am, but when my alarm went off at 6:30 I could hear him rummaging around. Come to find out he had gotten up as soon as he saw the sun and gotten dressed. He had even brushed his teeth!!

Needless to say I was super impressed.

The only downside to him getting dressed early was that he had a whole hour before he could leave for school.

So he put on cartoons and squirmed on the couch and asked every 5 minutes if was time to go until it was actually time to go.

He and Matt then walked up to the school where Matt said he gave him a hug and a kiss and ran off to meet up with his friends.

I just hope he'll be just as excited every day of the school year as he was today. But that's probably just wishful thinking. I'm sure I'll be dragging him out of bed and rushing him out the door in no time.

Cucumber Update

The following pictures were taken by Matthew.

The day after the cucumber discovery Matthew decided to extract it from the brick. He armed himself with a hammer and loads of patience. Surprisingly it only took him about 5 minutes to completely free the cucumber.
The brick that the cucumber was encased in.

He proudly brought in the square cucumber where we discovered it was not 2 cucumbers, but actually1 that had folded into itself. He then ran outside to track down his friends and brag about his awesome discovery.

But before he did that he snapped a few pictures of his beloved square cucumber. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with the pictures I saw when I downloaded them onto the computer.

A day later the poor cucumber met its end when it was dissected to see what it looked like on the inside. For the record, it looked just like any old cucumber...only it was perfectly square.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Tale of the Square Cucumber

As told by Matthew W. Shoemaker (filled in by Amber)

Last night, as I was finishing up some chores outside I walked by the garden. I saw something pretty AMAZING!!!

At first I didn't know what it was. Then I took a closer look and realized it was a cucumber stuck in a brick!! I came inside and told my Mom what I had found but she didn't think much of it. She though there was a cucumber stuck in the fence around the plant so she just told me to pick it and come inside.

So I decided to bring the whole thing up on the porch for her to see.

Mom said that it probably started off like any other cucumber, only it had found a brick to grow in

Mom tried all of 3 seconds to free the cucumber (which we later realized there are 2 cucumbers stuck in there!) But it was almost bed time and she didn't want to mess with it. So I asked to get the camera and took these pictures and a video. I was a little hesitant to let my mom put these pictures on her blog. I was afraid we would get too much attention from our "Awesome Square Cucumber." I am certain that once people see this they will be coming from all over to see our "amazingness." I just don't want alot of people I don't know at our house.

Maybe we can just keep this between people we know?
And here's the video of my awesome discovery!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hello little birdie! No, you may not eat my sunflower seeds.

One morning we all went outside with intentions to spend the day in the garden. We did, mostly until it got too insanely hot to be out there. Before we got to work I was called over to the sunflowers to observe something. Matt and Matthew had spotted a couple yellow finches snacking on our sunflowers. So I ran inside, grabbed my camera and proceeded to stalk them so that I could get as close as possible to get a shot. I actually got a couple until my little rhino (aka: David) decided to stomp and sing his way over to them. They promptly flew off. But it was still pretty cool to see what had been munching on our sunflowers. I had noticed a few days before that something had been eating them. Now I know, and I don't mind, they are very pretty birds.
Along with the birds we also had a hummingbird and some really pretty butterflies. But those were way too fast for me to capture with my camera. It was really serene sitting there watching the birds and butterflies that morning. At least until the afore-mentioned rhino showed up. Oh well, he's a cute little rhino.

And here he is, my little rhino. He climbed into the strawberry patch and just as I was getting ready to get onto him he throws his arms out and proclaims "TA-DA!" There was nothing I could do at that point besides take a picture. Sometimes he's just too cute for his own good.

After I was done taking pictures of the birds I discovered my next subject. It was an opportune time to get pictures of the boys. They were both dressed and in pretty good spirits.

Matthew was a good sport posing with the flowers even though he thought they were "kinda girly"

Farmer Matthew ready to go, grass in his mouth and all.

Of course David couldnt' have cared less about all of this. He was just happy being outside and stomping through the grass. I picked a flower for him to hold and he did just that, allowing me to take pictures of him. I kept trying to get a picture of him smelling the flower, but he was too quick for me. Then of course because he saw his brother doing it, he was pretending to eat his flower as well.

Of course no photoshoot is complete without a few goofy picutures.

David watches his brother like a hawk! He is consistently mimicking any and everything Matthew does. It's pretty darn adorable.

This is what I get when I try to get my boys to pose with flowers for too long.

After taking pictures of the boys I went around our property to take pictures of this years garden. I always like to look back at the year before and see what we did that yeaer. This year we decided to extend our garden and have 2. One in the front where the old house used to be, and one in the back where we had it last year. We made the one in the back slightly larger.
The front garden, these are our tomato plants.

front garden still, our corn stalks and zucchini plants.

here's a shot of our back yard looking down from the front. These are our sunflowers and zinnias that line the back fence.

Our first harvest of the season. This is not all of it, just what was ready at the time. We have red and yellow potatoes, carrots, and red, white and yellow onions.

My sweaty farmer man. Thank goodness I'm the one that likes to take the pictures cause I'm pretty sure I looked just as sweaty.