Monday, November 14, 2011

Conversations with a 3 year old

While getting out of the tub, David hears the water draining.
"Mommy! It's burping!! (moment of stunned silence) Oh, it says 'Excuse Me.' "

While I was getting him dressed after his bath.
"Mommy I naked boy!"
(in his best superhero voice) "Naked Boy!"

This little exchange happened the other day.
"Mommy, you're awesome."
"Thank you David."
"You're welcome Mommy."

"I like the skelly goat."
After a few seconds of mental confusion I realized what he was talking about. A telescope.

While sitting on my lap with his head on my shoulder and rocking us back and forth.
"Rocky a baby, in the tree."
Looks up at me and whispers...
"Close your eyes Mommy. Go to sleep."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How am I doing?

Everyone keeps asking me "How are you doing?" I think this is really sweet, but I don't always want to give the full, drawn-out explanation. So mostly, I just say "I'm fine, thank you."

There is truth to that. I am fine. Just not all the time. A lot happened last week, including the miscarriage.

Matt's Aunt Christina passed away suddenly at the young age of 42. His Grandfather also had a stroke, but thankfully seems to be doing well.

The passing of Aunt Christina just about knocked me off my feet. It was just a few months ago we were visiting and were all piled on her bed with 2 of her 3 kids talking and laughing while Matt fixed her computer.

So I'm dealing with a lot of grief.

Today doesn't seem to be one of my good days. I'm weepy and cranky.

I just need to keep reminding myself that I'm having a bad day, not a bad life.

So, I am fine. But then again, I'm not.

I'm still healing from my miscarriage. I didn't think it would take this long. I always thought you had a miscarriage and then that was it. A one day thing. But it was a week on Sunday and I'm still feeling the effects of it. Ibuprofen helps. So does lots and lots of candy.

Thank goodness for Halloween.

Monday, October 24, 2011


The following post is slightly graphic. 

Writing is sometimes therapeutic for me. I'm going to talk about something that is very hard for me to verbally say but I want everyone to know. Mostly so there are no awkward conversations. One day I will be able to talk about it. Maybe even in the next couple of days. But right now, every time I utter the word Miscarriage, my heart aches and the tears flow openly.

I had a miscarriage.

Sunday morning the boys and I went to church. Matt stayed home because he is working the night shift and so sleeps during the day. I was still on my new pregnancy high. 7 weeks pregnant, the baby was the size of a blueberry. That was our little nickname for it.

During church services I noticed I was cramping a little. My back was sore also. I just shrugged it off, thinking maybe I was being a little bit of a sissy. I had been spotting the week before and even went and had an ultrasound done. I saw the teeny heartbeat. I'll always remember that teeny little heartbeat. But according to my doctor, everything looked fine.

Spotting is normal as long as it's not bright red and there are no clots. So I just kept an eye on the spotting and slowed my activities way down. No lifting and lots of laying down to read.

Sunday afternoon we were invited over to a friends house for their daughters First Birthday. I arrived at 4pm, played with the baby. Watch David be crazy and silly per usual. I even received some congratulations for my pregnancy and showed off my ultrasound which showed a little blur for a baby. Even at that point I just wasn't feeling right. Call it intuition. I just couldn't put my finger on it.

At one point I went to the bathroom. It was then that I noticed my underwear was soaked with blood, amongst other things. I was devastated.

Matthew came to the door just as I was getting ready to leave. "Mom? Are you ok?" I opened the door, let him and start crying. I manage to say "I lost the baby." He immediately tears up and wraps his arms around me. I love that kid so much.

I then realized I was going to have to walk through a whole crowd of  people to get to the front door while still crying freely. I made it to the kitchen where my friend Beka was preparing food for the party. I managed to sputter out that I had to leave because I just had a miscarriage. She gave me a big hug (hugs really help) and offered to take the boys home later, I agreed and ran out of the door, desperate to get home to my husband.

I get home, wake Matt and we go to the ER. Mostly because I didn't know what to do in a situation like this. I'd never had a miscarriage. After a 4 hour wait, blood work, and an ultrasound, it is determined that this indeed is a miscarriage.

I had pretty much prepared myself for that outcome, but to hear those words come out of the doctors mouth broke that teeny tiny string of hope I had left. We cried and then I told Matt I just want to go get something to eat.

So he fed me, he hugged me, he even rubbed lotion on my legs because they were dry. He has been my rock through all of this. I am so thankful that he is mine and I am his.

I will say that even though this has happened and I am sad about it:
I will not let it define my life or who I am.
I am not broken.
I will be happy, although just not right now.
I will recover.
We will try again.
We love Matthew and David so much. We are eternally grateful to have them as our children.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Silly boys and a BIG surprise!!

Things have been kind of crazy here at the Shoemaker Homestead.
Winter is closing in fast so I've been trying to relish in the last warm days of Fall. 

Last week it was so warm we decided to grab some blankets and soak up some sun. It was just what we needed. 

A few days later Matthew took it upon himself to rake some leaves in the backyard. He then led his little brother out there and they jumped and played. It's days like that that get me through the days when they aren't getting along so well. 
Matthew as the leaf monster!!

 David attempted to be a headless leaf monster also but then quickly decided the itchy leaves were no fun to lay in.

A few nights ago Matt was off working the night shift at Energizer so it was just the boys and I. We went upstairs early that night. (Morning sickness has been kicking my behind and all I want to do is curl up in a bed with a good book.) 

So there I sat in my bed while the boys played. At one point they came in like this:
 Then Matthew had the brilliant idea of grabbing my sweater to put around David.
 Oh, these boys always know how to make me smile. 

In other news we found out that I AM PREGNANT!!!
I'll know more about when my due date is when I go to the doctor but we're estimating at late May/early June.
We couldn't be more thrilled. Everyone keeps asking if we hope it's a girl. Of course we'll take whatever is given to us. A girl would be different, but if it's a boy then at least we'll know what to do with it! Hahaha!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Stop Motion Animation

Matthew made his first stop-motion animation a few years ago to stave off boredom. 
He loves doing it and created another one just the other day with his friend Aurora. That one supposedly features a Transformers toy, but I have yet to see it.

He always astonishes me with his creativity.
 I hope he never gives up on it.   

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Donut Heaven

About a week ago someone in my little family suggested making homemade yeast donuts. I don't remember who it was, maybe my dear husband who is well known for his massive sweet tooth. Either way the thought of  homemade yeast donuts  instantly had us all drooling. Matthew signed up to be my side kick in the donut making process. He was instantly ready to get in there. He even went and washed his hands without having to be ask. (he's getting so big! *sniff*)

I had never made donuts, much less yeast donuts.  I may be kind of weird, but I can't stand anyone (mostly my children who demand attention) in the kitchen when I'm trying a recipe for the first time. I just need to be able to concentrate so that I don't waste food if I botch it up. There's a lot of pressure there. I never like throwing away food. Even though we now give the veggie scraps to the chickens and the meat scraps to the dog. But those scraps aren't nourishing my yeah, pressure.

Attempt #1 you're supposed to heat up the milk, sugar and butter on the stove until the butter melts. Well I didn't consider that the milk mixture would get screaming hot and kill the yeast when I poured it in there. That was a flop. Didn't rise one little bit. 

Attempt #2 heated up  the milk mixture and then let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. I also made sure to watch it so it didn't get as hot as it did last time. 
Nope, that didn't help either. The yeast died and I was left with dough that was hard as a rock. I wanted to throw it at someone!! But I didn't, I simply threw it in the compost pile. 

After the second attempt I decided to do some research. Matt was concerned that my yeast was old and that's why it wasn't rising. So I checked online and found a little experiment

Take couple of teaspoons of yeast and sugar and add them to a glass of lukewarm water, Let sit for about 5 minutes. If it starts to foam then you know your yeast is good!! If not, well then it's time to restock.

I also found out that the milk mixture needs to be between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Attempt #3 I took my newly discovered information and put it to the test. I dug out my candy thermometer and put together the milk mixture. I was shocked to discover that it took almost a half an hour to cool down to 90 F after getting everything melted. I just wasn't expecting that. 

Matthew then joined me in the kitchen. I felt pretty confident it was going to work this time. David was not allowed in the kitchen at that time because he becomes very needy and demanding. (I want a drink! No milk! I want water......umm, no. I want milk!) It's a bit tiring. Luckily Matt was home and swooped in to distract David with toys and good ol' rough-housing.   

Matthew and I measured and mixed. Then the hardest part. THE WAITING!!
(Would it rise!?! Would it fail?? Only time would tell!?!)

We waited an excruciating 60 minutes. I tried not to go into the kitchen during that time. And if I did, I did not make eye contact with the covered bowl sitting on the counter. 

The timer dinged (Matthew practically informed the entire neighborhood) 


I won't bore you with the rest of the cooking process.

 We fried them up and topped with warm chocolate frosting. Oh yeah, they were divine!!

Matthew had just polished off his second donut when he practically floated into the kitchen proclaiming "I think I'm in Donut Heaven!"

Once I figured out all that I was doing wrong, they didn't take too long to make.

It looks like we may have the start of a family tradition on our hands. I can handle that.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Zombie Manicures

The past 3 days I have been plagued with terrible insomnia. I would lay in bed and just wait.....and wait...and wait, for sleep to over take me.

So naturally I would get up and roam around the house. Picking up toys. Sweeping floors, rearranging bookshelves. There was even some vacuuming involved.

Nothing online was worth watching.

I was bored. And wide awake. And the rest of the family was tucked cozily into their beds. With content looks on their faces. I know, because I would go and watch them for a little bit. Does that sound creepy? I just think they look so perfect just laying there and re energizing for the next day. I never know how my day is going to go with those two pieces of my heart. I love it.

Anyways, after I finished gazing creepily at my children I went downstairs and fiddled around on Youtube.

I love finding beauty tips that look slightly complex but in fact are super-de-dooper-easy.

So, I found this little gem. (it's a nail tutorial)

I spent a couple of uninterrupted hours painting and decorating my nails. I did get some stress-relief from all of this but at the same time just wishing I could go to sleep.

Around 5 this morning I finally fell asleep.

Matt woke me up around 10 with pancakes on the table! My-oh-my...he's a keeper.

I then spent the rest of the day preparing corn to be frozen, making cucumber salad from our huge cumbers and working on restoring our bathroom door, amongst other household chores

At the end of the day, after I had gotten the toddler out of the bath I look down and realize that my polish is already starting to come off.

I wasn't bitter. I kind of think of it like "washing your car to get rain"

I painted my nails the night before and had terrible insomnia. But I got up and played with my kids and was super productive. All the while I would glance down at my "fancified" nails and giggle.

In theory, to keep me from having a slum ho-hum kind of day, I just need to paint my nails the night before.

Another theory, take care of myself and it will make me happier in the long run.

I kind of like that one better.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sweet Little Petunia

A couple of months ago the white cat that came with the house had kittens. This is the 4th or 5th litter she's had. She's an outside cat and her kittens always run off when they get big enough. We want to get her fixed but just never have it in our budget. (we named her Old Lady due to her sad eyes and looking older than she is) The last time she had kittens there were complications and all 4 kittens died. They are now buried underneath the willow tree.

This time she was bigger than she was last time. We estimated on at least 5 or 6 kittens. She ended up having them underneath the house and figured it would be a while before we saw any of them.

A couple of days later she brings out 1 itty bitty kitty. All white except for 2 little dots on her head. We waited and waited for Old Lady to bring out more. Sadly we discovered that the rest of her litter did not survive.

Meet Petunia, the surviving member of that litter. We haven't officially said we are keeping her, but the kids adore her and Matthew is the one that named her Petunia. We all think that's a very sweet name. I'm fine with the whole thing as long as she stays an outdoor kitty.

Matthew and his bucket o' cuteness.

But who knows, things may change. Either way, we are enjoying having a little kitten around. Watching her catch bugs and imaginary things in the grass is nightly entertainment.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Momma's Hot Cookies!

The local church here in Parnell had a Bible School for all the kids last Monday. It was a 2 hour event and even David was able to go. That meant a whole 2 hours with no kids at the house!!

Afterwards they had little performance we got to watch. David ran over and sat in our laps as soon as we were in sight. So he just sang in our laps. We spotted Matthew hanging out with his local buddies, they were singing with very goofy expressions. *sigh* What can you do...

We were then led down to the play area where they had made cookies and decorated hot pads while they were there. This was my favorite part.

Yes, that says "Momma's Hot Cookies."
That coupled with Matthew's hilarious smug look makes this whole thing priceless.
I couldn't love him more.

David enjoying a cookie with his baker's hat. He was very serious about the cookies.

Then Matt put on David's hat, because it made us all laugh.

David holding his beloved hot pad that he lovingly decorated.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Who needs TV with silly shows when I have unlimited entertainment right at my fingertips?

When David and Matthew are in the room (and are both in a good mood, this is key) it's like comedy hour at our house. They can really ham it up and it's hard to resist joining in on the fun.

Recently we held a "laughing contest" while my mom (aka Nana) was here. In case you don't know what that is, it's when you square off with an opponent and you each do whatever it takes to make the other person laugh without laughing yourself. I can't remember who won or lost, only that Nana lost within seconds of squaring off with Matthew. It was fun. We are never without an abundance of fun at our house.

I would like to say that I have truly been blessed with some amazing kids. It's an honor to be their mother.

This is David's rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dinosaurs in my house

This little exchange happened today between my husband and son, David (age, 3):

David: Daddy! Daddy! I a di-saur!! (dinosaur)

Daddy: you're a dinosaur!? Me too! Let's go be dinosaurs together!

David: Yea!

Daddy: I'm from the Cretaceous Era!

David: Yea! A Eh-wa! (Era)

They then proceeded to attack me and then "eat" various things around the house including a stuffed teddy bear.

Typical day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guest Post

I had the pleasure of being asked to write a guest post on a friends blog!

A Thankful Heart

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Friends and Inspiration

A big THANK YOU to our friend Gina for introducing us to our new friends.

Gina had been pestering us for MONTHS to meet some friends of hers. They are family with 3 kids around our kids' age. But that's not what makes this awesome.

The reason Gina had been wanting to get us all together is because the husband, Jeremy, plays guitar. (and very well I might add!)

Matt has been a singer for years. But due to well...LIFE, he hasn't had much time to pursue his love of music.

Jeremy came over last night and they sat down and played around with some songs for a couple of hours. It was so lovely to hear my dear husband sing again. I had missed hearing him sing.

After he left we got the kids to bed and Matt watched his nightly episode of The Glenn Beck Show.

This particular episode was about Courage. Mr. Beck is gearing up for his Restoring Courage rally.

He told a story about how he recently had to deal with bullies.

His young daughter wanted him to go watch a movie at the park with her. He and his family went and as they were watching the movie someone "accidentally" kicked a bottle of wine, splashing the back of his wife's shirt and soaking the blanket they were sitting on.

His young daughter also had some people yelling unkind things to her.

The jeering continued until the end of the movie. At the end, when the Beck family got up to leave, those same bullies applauded their departure.

Now, he said there were a lot of GOOD people there, but nobody spoke up. Nobody told those bullies to cool their jets and just watch the movie!

I hope if I ever see someone being bullied, adult or child, I will have enough COURAGE to tell them to stop. I'm not a very outspoken person, but I believe in treating each other equally.

No matter what that person does or believes in, they are a human being, just like you and me.

You may not agree with the choices they are making, but it doesn't mean you can't show compassion towards them. You never know, it may be the only kindness they see all day.

So I kind of got off subject there, but I felt it was important to say.

The reason I wanted to share the COURAGE story is because after Matt watched that he went to the kitchen and did something I hadn't seen him do in YEARS! He sat down at the kitchen table and wrote a song! Jeremy came over today and they worked on putting the song together. I was very impressed with Matt's words. He inspires me to continue to pursue the things I love.


Here is the song he wrote.
Courage to Conquer
The light shade has been pulled
shut because I can't watch the
hate anymore. The building of this nation
has been shattered into pieces.
Is there anyone to stand back up
to fight this disillusion?

I'm sitting alone, feeling the grief of a
million people dying. I pray to God
and the answer is clear to
stand up for what I believe in.

Even though I feel alone there
are others that are sleeping.
Wake up! Wake up!
Wake up because the
battle is coming. It's nothing new, but
it's my time now to raise the flag again for freedom.

Ask yourself, what do you believe in?
If you don't, you'll be deceived then.

Oh America the beautiful, God shed
His grace on thee, but now we've become
disillusioned that freedom is just free.
But oh America, sweet America, this
freedome has been taken. Lift up
your voice and sing with me as the
war continues brewing. And if it's blood
you want, then blood you'll get, but my
children will be free. Because you are few
and we are many, there's no chance you'll succeed.

Matt said this is just one of many songs that he will be writing, and that he may be adding more to this one.

I hope they continue to write songs and play them. I'm fine with them jamming in my living room (with kids running all over the place) as long as they can provide some songs for me to get happily stuck in my head.

Did I just turn into my husband's groupie? Yes, yes I did.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Muddy Cousins

This afternoon, I was charged to look after my own boys plus my nephew, Atom. No big deal, I thought. What's one more kid?

What I didn't realize is that a group of boys means mischief, especially if that group of boys are cousins.

I had been watching them from the kitchen where I was happily making homemade marshmallows. (They are delish!)

I peaked out once and they were digging in the dirt.

I peaked out again and they were washing the dirt off with the water hose and spraying each other with it.

I walked out the third time and found....this.

I had a moment of mental freak out where I said to myself "Their Dad/Uncle Matt is going to KILL them!! It's right in the garden area!!" But then I realized nothing was planted there and they were just having good um...clean, fun.

They wanted to go in right away and take showers but I insisted on taking them to the back and hosing them off first to get the top 30 layers of mud off first.
(I got no enjoyment on setting the hose sprayer to jet and watching them squirm, gotta get that dirt off somehow! *wink!*)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


The other day we were all hanging around the yard when Matthew suddenly says "Hey Mom! Come take pictures!!"

Well, I am definitely not one to pass on an opportunity like that! So I grabbed my camera and we played around at the park across from our house while I took pictures.

A couple of days later Matthew had Day Camp with his fellow Cub Scouts. He armed himself with a camelbak full of water, hat, sunscreen and bugspray. He claims he had a lot of fun. It's not too hard to believe when he's bouncing up and down while he's telling me.

Of course we always have fun at home too. Especially when I get my camera out.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Dad My Hero

Dear Dad, I really wanted to write this blog on the day of your birthday. But we were out of town at the time. Then when we got home we were greeted with company. I suppose I could have just written it while everyone was here, but I wanted to be able to sit and give this my full attention.
So here is your belated birthday post. Hope you like it.

Monday was Memorial Day, it was also my Dad's birthday. I thought about him all day that day. Hoping that his day was going well and wishing I could be there to give him a big squeeze and tell him to his face Happy Birthday.

My Dad has been an inspiration to me my whole life. He has made me strive to be a better person. I looked up to him when I was little and I still do to this day. He is the most caring, thoughtful person I know and I'm proud to say I know him well.

He is always concerned about his family and worries about us constantly.

He catches us when we fall and cheers us on when we take off running the race of life.

I remember being in Elementary school and taking part in a charity race. I've never been much of a runner and I tired out early in the race.
Just as I was getting ready to give up and walk off the track, I hear my Dad cheering. "Go Amber!! Come on! You can do it!!"
I started running again, unfortunately I tired out again and came in dead last. But he cheered me on the entire time.

He has always been one of my biggest fans. He pushes me to blog more and I find myself calling him up after I've finished a blog post. More likely than not he tells me he'll look at it as soon as we get off the phone.

He gets on to me if I haven't posted in a while because he tells me he checks it every morning. I like that he pesters me. I love that both of my parents enjoy my writing. If it's only them that get any enjoyment out of what I say then I'm ok with that.

My Dad has an amazingly cheesy sense of humor that cracks me up and inspires me to be just as cheesy. I love to sit and listen as he jokes and teases the grandkids with his extremely cheesy humor. They love it too.

He is a lover of Louis Lamour books, Home Alone Movies, and he is an all around amazing human being.

He is my Dad. I love you Daddy.

Staring Contest

I was cleaning out my emails today when I came across this email I had sent to my parents. Apparently it was written pre-blog.

I should note that the email is dated August 14, 2008. So David was just around 3 months old at the time.

So the other day David was being really fussy. He just wanted to be held. So I would hold and rock him till he fell asleep. But as soon as I put him down, he would start crying again. I kept picking him up and soothing him, but again he would start crying as soon as I put him down. It was Matt's day off so I threw my hands up and told him to please try and see if he could get him to sleep. I went into the next room and can still hear David crying.

A couple of minutes pass and I notice he's not crying anymore.

Matt proudly comes strutting out with a huge smile on his face, and says. "I put him to sleep!" I ask him HOW!?! (please share your secret so that I may use it too!)

He said he put him in his swing and then proceeded to stare him down. David just stared right back and eventually just went to sleep!

So come to find out, after all my failed attempts to put him to sleep, all I had to do was stare at him.

Monday, May 30, 2011

David turns 3!

My little bouncing baby boy turned 3 on May 11th. I've been realizing for some time now that my babies are no longer babies. I'm going to try to not dwell on that too much.

We had planned a modest birthday party for him. It was going to be at the park and we were going to make it as fun as possible on a minuscule budget.

I had plans to make newspaper hats for all the wee ones and have them decorate them. Then stuff them full of cake and ice cream and set them loose on the playground.

Unfortunately, the only thing that went according to plan was that David still turned 3.

The day of his birthday is started pouring rain off and on. Since I had planned an outdoor party I had to make the difficult decision to call around and tell our friends that the party had to be cancelled. It kept nagging at me that they would get all the way out here and it would rain....and then rain some more. Then we would all be stuck inside. Not that I wouldn't mind sitting and visiting with all my friends and my sons friends. It's just not what I had envisioned.

That bugged me.

I realize now that it must have bugged me pretty good because I didn't get very many pictures of him.

Of course he could have cared less. There was cake...and ICE CREAM!! And he could eat as much as he wanted! (ha! so he thought, we pulled him away from the table on more than one occasion.)

So to make up for my lack of picture taking on his actual birthday I included a couple other pictures that were taken not long after his birthday. My apologies.
The newly minted 3 year old helping to cut his cake. Cause you know...he's a big boy now. :)

Matthew made sure all birthday traditions didn't go unnoticed.

You see that blotch of red icing on David's nose? That is a birthday tradition (usually only involving me) where my mom puts icing on my nose. It's been going on since I was about 4.
Matthew actually pulled off this tradition. should be proud!

These were taken a week or so after his birthday. The park down the street from our friends house had finally opened up. So of course we had to go check it out.

I think he approves.

Happy Birthday my little Rhino!! I love you! xoxo

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mother's Day Tribute

Since I'm a few states away from my own Mother, I decided to work with what I have and write a blog about her.

Mom=Tanna Jo Hughes

So here you go Momma, I present to you...your very own blog post!
(imagine me dancing around throwing confetti in the air dramatically)

What is there to say about my Mom?

First off, she's just plain amazing.

She's always there for me. Whether it's for happiness, disappointment or sadness. She is always there to listen to me and cry along at times.

She was recently visiting when I got news that Lizzy (11-year-old girl that I lead in a church group) had suffered a major stroke. I was pretty upset. But Mom just held me and let me cry. We talked about Lizzy and some memories I had of her at the time. She had met her a couple of times so we just sat and talked. It helped me a lot. (Update: Lizzy is now doing so much better!)

After my Mom left, she continued to ask about Lizzy and I would read the updates to her that were emailed to me.

She has such an huge heart that mom of mine.

In fact her heart is so big that when she found out she would not be able to have children of her own, she and my Dad decided to adopt. And here I am. The result of that adoption. (well, actually my brother Steve is the 1st result, but I'M the 2nd!) I couldn't have asked for better parents.

I'd rave on more about my Dad, but sorry...this is MOTHER'S DAY. You'll get your post next month. Hee-hee!

I have to thank my mom for passing down her love of reading to me. When I was a teenager I would climb into her bed at night while she read. She always propped up her arms on a pillow while she read, so I would put my head down on the pillow and she would scratch my head until I felt sleepy enough to go to bed. It was so soothing and full of love.

So I grew up always seeing my mom read.

Because of that I have developed a pretty massive love for reading. I hope to be able to pass this love down to my own kids. Matthew does a little. I love sitting in my bed with one or both of my kids to quietly read and snuggle. It's very comforting.

I will say that I've also adopted the reading pillow habit from her. I'm just not comfy on my bed reading unless I have an extra pillow to put my book on.

She loves each and every one of her grand kids. There are 4 at the moment. *fingers crossed for more* (wink!!) And they love her just the same.

Another quick memory I want to share:
But first a little back story:

Matt joined the National Guard in October 2006. We didn't think we were going to have anymore babies at the time because Matthew was already 6.
Matt was scheduled to be in training for 8 months, so I decided to go stay with my parents, who lived in Arizona at the time.

Matt still denies he said this, but I know for a fact his memory...well, stinks. When we found out he was going to be gone for 8 months he joked that "wouldn't it be funny if you got pregnant and then I got back just in time for the baby and completely missed out on all the hormones and craziness? Wouldn't that be FUNNY!?" Ok, so not an exact quote, but you get what I'm trying to say here.

Back to Mom:
2 weeks after Matt left I take a pregnancy test and it comes up POSITIVE! I ran into my mom's room, where she was still sleeping, and started frantically waiving the stick! She went into "Mom-mode" and while comforting me that everything would be alright, led me into the computer room so we could look up Dr.s in the area.

Throughout the pregnancy she was there when I missed my husband. She told me that "You are the bravest woman I know." While at the time I didn't feel so brave, those words stuck to me throughout the rest of my time without Matt.

As I mentioned before, I'm adopted. So witnessing a live birth was somewhat new to my Mom. But she hung in there like a trooper for both of my labor and deliveries. She's one tough cookie!

I love her smile and to hear that laugh of hers.

So on this Mother's Day Momma, I hope you smile and laugh and remember that you mean the world to me.

"Can you feel my arms?" "They're wrapped around you, giving you a big hug."

I love you Momma!!!

Friends and Fun in a Box

This is Jana, Matthew's best friend. They hang around our house most days being silly and hilarious.

The other day they saw this box. They each climbed into it and proceeded to act out a scene in Spongebob. Meaning they went on wild adventures in skydiving, mountain climbing and anything else they could think of while using their IMAGINAAATION!!!

Being the photo-junkie that I am, I made them pose so I could add the rainbows that are used in the Spongebob episode.

As you can see, they happily obliged.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Nap Time

I was doing a little Spring Cleaning in my picture folders when I came across this picture. It instantly made me smile.

I think this may be the cutest picture of my Dad ever.

David, who is turning 3 next week, was just a couple of days old at the time of this picture.

If you look closely you can see David had his little arm propped up near his head, just like his Pop-Pop.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Grandpa and Grandma Hughes

My grandparents popped into my head this morning as I was getting ready. All of them actually. But I want to dedicate 1 blog post to each set of grandparents.

First up are my Grandpa and Grandma Hughes.

Otherwise known as J.P. and Ruby Hughes.

My Grandma passed when I was about 17 years old. My Grandpa passed almost exactly 2 years later. But this post isn't about their deaths.

I want to talk about the memories I shared with them.

~Grandpa and Grandma~

Growing up my family lived in Texas. My Grandparents lived in Florida. Kissimmee, FL to be exact. About an hours drive to Disney World. My brother and I visited them most summers and most summers they would take us to Disney World. It was fantastic! (Brag moment) I think I'm getting this Grandpa helped in the constructions of Epcot. My dad did too I think. Growing up I always bragged to my friends about that. I thought it was pretty darn cool. Heck..I still do!

Going to my Grandparents house always guaranteed one thing. Tons and tons of fabulous food!! Man, that woman could cook! Every single morning she would make homemade buttermilk biscuits. My favorite thing to eat was a biscuit with a big ol slice of fresh out of the garden tomato. When I moved to the country and started growing my own tomatoes I restarted the tradition of biscuit and tomato sandwiches. I think of her every time I have one.

One time I asked her to show me how to make her famous biscuits. But it consisted of "a handful of this a handful of that. Mix it to it's about this consistency" At my young age I couldn't really grasp that whole idea and I gave up on trying to make them. This may be silly, but when she passed I would often miss her biscuits. Maybe because I thought if I had them, I would have her too.

I never have been able to recreate her biscuits. But I found a recipe a few years ago that comes pretty close. Close enough to qualify to have a slab of tomato applied to it!

~Grandma and a baby Amber~

Another food favorite. Black eyed peas. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my Grandma and Aunt Gladys (Grandma's sister, still kickin!!) shelling peas and talking. They always set me up with a big bowl of peas and let me go to work. I rarely finished a whole bowl by myself. But I loved sitting there and listening to their conversation and feeling all grown-up like. I have to note that they always went to the local farmer's field to pick and bring home multiple bags of black eyed peas. So it was usually an all day affair.

After all the shelling was done, the cooking began.

This is another recipe I have yet to master. But man oh man were they delicious. I feel sorry for you poor saps that have never tasted them. Ha!

She would make a huge batch and separate it into batches and freeze them. I would then come in grab some and warm it up. Add a slice of onion from the garden and I was GOLDEN!! Bonus if she had made cornbread that day.

The last time I had those black-eyed peas, she had already passed. My Aunt Gladys had found a batch in the freezer and sent them home with my dad just for me. Have I told you how much I love my Aunt Gladys? I think she deserves her own blog post.

My Grandpa was often stern, but always loving. He loved to tease me. Like when I would come in and out of the house 3 or 4 times in 10 minutes he would tell me. "You can't go back outside until those hinges cool down!" At the time I didn't know what hinges were. I just thought he was talking about the doorknob. So I would tentatively touch the door knob (like I thought it was going to be hot) and he would smile.

They had these wonderful spinning chairs in the kitchen. I loved to sit and spin in a circle while we were eating. He told me many times that if I didn't stop he was going to put me in a straight back chair. I listened...for a little bit. But I couldn't resist the call of the spin and I would be spinning my heart out not long after.

There was one (really, it was only one) time he made me sit in a straight back, non-spinning chair. It was a sad day for me. But I returned to the spinning chairs and I'm pretty sure it didn't slow me down too much. In fact, If I had a spinning chair I'd probably be spinning right now. Which is why I only have straight back chairs. Ha!

He loved to watch baseball games. I often would sit with him and watch too. I remember asking him what his favorite team was that was playing. Whatever his response, I would tell him that was my favorite team too.

There's so many more memories I could share. But those were the ones that stuck out in my head the most. I hope I did them justice in writing about them. I miss them very much.

Learning to Cook

Matthew decided today to try to make yeast doughnuts. With minimal assistants from us.

Well, he's just learned the first lesson in cooking.

At least it is when your still learning, or trying a new recipe. He was getting upset because he just had to throw out his 3rd batch of scalded milk. This time because he put 1/3 of a cup of salt into it.

Mom...Dad, if you reading this...go ahead and laugh. I know you are.

Let me share a story of long ago past:

When I was just about Matthew's age (I think I was 12) my Grandma gave me some cookbooks for Christmas. They were magnificent!! It was a complete set of 10 books. Each one containing recipes from different cultures and styles of cooking. I remember sitting and perusing each and every one of them. Marveling at all the wonderful food I would be able to create with them.

Truth be told, I rarely used them.

But there is one thing I made that sticks out in "The History of Amber."

One day I found a recipe for pineapple upside-down cake. That just happens to be my Dad's all time favorite cake. I told him my plans and he went out and bought all the supplies so I could make it.

I went to work! I measured and mixed and baked. It looked spectacular!! Really, it was a work of art. I called my dad in to marvel at my masterpiece. He "Ooh'd and Ahh'd approvingly. I was so pleased.

Then the time came for him to taste it. He grabbed a spoon and scooped up a mouthful...only to almost immediately spit it out into the sink. (Luckily it was close by)

As it turned out. I had mistaken a cup of sugar for...wait for it...a cup of salt.

There is a happy ending to the story. Being the awesome Dad that he is, my Dad returned to the store and bought the ingredients so I could try it again. The second one was a success. But no remembers THAT one!

I had to share this story with Matthew this morning as he was making his own cooking mistakes.

And let it be known, my family has yet to let me live that story down.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Super Goobs!!

There isn't really a whole lot to say about this picture. Basically...I got bored. I decided to start playing with my makeup. It was supposed to be a masquerade mask. I pranced around the house showing off my handy work. David kept looking at me strangely. He said "Mommy?? Mommy??" I knelt down and he gave me a big hug. I asked him if he would like to be a superhero. His face lit up and he sat still all of 2 minutes while I quickly drew on his face.
Matthew, always willing to one-up his brother, said "I can sit still for a long time!" So he sat down, told me his mask idea and I got to work.
My husband was a poor sport and wouldn't let me touch him with the makeup. I didn't pout though. I'd already had my makeup fill. Plus my boredom had been cured!!

Monday, April 25, 2011


This year we spent Easter with just our little family of 4. It was amazing and relaxing and tons and tons of fun. Matt and I stayed up entirely too late the night before and ended up sleeping in on Easter day. (Boo...) That means we missed the church service. Note to self: please start going to bed earlier...PLEASE!!
I'm hoping that once the craziness of Matt's college schedule stops, we can return some normality in our lives.
But I'm getting off topic.... EASTER!

The kids woke us up promptly at 7:30 yelling "Candy! Candy!!" (that was mostly David doing the yelling) We decided to just let them have at it. We opened packages and Matt popped on an Easter movie the church had put out. We then fell back to sleep and woke up around 10:30.
Thank goodness Matthew is such an awesome big brother. He took care of David while his Mom and Dad slept in. That kid is awesome. He didn't complain once! Of course having an ample supply of chocolate didn't hurt either I'm sure.
We finally got around to the hunt once we woke up. Matt had bought some edible grass to put in the kids baskets. Thus the picture below. I will say, just because they say it's edible doesn't mean it tastes good. It was like sweetened styrofoam. Blech.
But that didn't stop the boys from shoving handfuls in their mouth and mooing around the house.
I had boiled a dozen eggs for the hunt and Matthew colored all of them. They were magnificent. Unfortunately his brother saw the beautiful eggs and threw half of them on the ground. I think he liked the crunching sound they made.
So we were left with 6 eggs to hide. Matt had just sprayed weed killer the day before. So we didn't want to poison the kids by hiding cracked eggs in the sprayed area. The kids couldn't have cared less that there were only 6 eggs to hide. Matthew just adapted. He came up with the idea to have his Dad and I hid the first round of eggs. They hunted and found.
Next, Matthew hid the eggs and the rest of us had to find them.
Lastly, Matt hid the eggs. I ended up sitting and taking pictures. I didn't get any really cool ones. But I love any picture of my kids.
David was super excited about the whole "find the egg" thing. Of course he needed lots of help from Dad to find any. But he had lots of fun. Everytime he found one he would come up to me and say "Mommy wook! A egg!"

If you look closely in some of the pictures you can see our "free-range" chickens. They're usually in the chicken shack but Matthew said he wanted to let the roam around the backyard that day. (I suppose he was feeling sorry for them)
After wards we went inside, snuggled up on the couch and rented two movies online. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt1, and the new Narnia movie (which was awesome!!)
It was so much fun to just hang out with my little family. We played, we laughed, we were lazy.
It was lovely.
David was happy of course because of the amazing bounty of chocolate he woke up too.