Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve Breakfast

And the new traditions continue! Chris and I made the kids breakfast this morning for Advent. We had Christmas Tree Waffles with "ornaments" (M&Ms). This is SUPER special because I never let them have candy for breakfast (a constant request by Ramona) AND I let Chris put green food coloring in the batter. (Last time, Max had blue poop.) They loved it! Max kept banging his empty plate and begging for more. Ironically, Ramona decided she didn't like candy on her waffles. But wanted to know if she finished her waffles, could she have dessert? Um, this IS dessert! I am spending the rest of the day making Christmas presents...yes MAKING, Handmade Christmas, baby! Hopefully Chris can keep the kids entertained. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus!

For the past couple of weeks I have been entertaining the idea of never telling Ramona and Max that Santa is real. Last year, Ramona HATED Santa. See a proof here. As a result, I came to terms with never having "Santa" bring gifts to our house. And then this year, Ramona started asking who Santa was. After putting her off for awhile and talking to Chris, we decided that we would try to tell her that Santa is just a fun Christmas cartoon, like Dora. That seems to be working so far. Hopefully she won't shatter any other children's Christmas dreams in the years to come.

Anyway, on our Advent calendar the other day our activity was to "write a letter to Santa". No way! That would just confuse her. Instead, we made Jesus a birthday card. She immediately asked how we would give it to him? Uhhh.... I don't know. After talking to our sunday school class about their Christmas traditions, we settled on air mail. Tie a balloon to the letter and send it straight up to Jesus! Awesome, right? Ramona thought so. And HEB gives away free balloons to kids. BONUS! This activity was free, baby!

My favorite part of our trip to HEB to get the balloon was the elderly woman in front of us in line talking to Ramona.
Woman: Are you excited for Christmas?
Ramona: YES!
Woman: Have you seen Santa yet?
Ramona: (Confused look...)
Woman: Have you written him a letter?
Ramona: (Confused look again...)We made Jesus a birthday card.
Woman: Oh! (Awkwardly turns around and proceeds to check out her groceries.)

I promise this actually happened. Poor woman, probably thought we weren't celebrating Christmas at all. Oh well, I thought it was funny that she got all weird around a 3 year old who mentioned Jesus. Go Ramona, speak the truth! This is Jesus' holiday!

She let go of the balloon and we all screamed,
"Happy Birthday, Jesus!"

This will definitely be a new tradition. Happy Advent, Everybody!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Band Trip!

We hit the road with Price Hill again last Wednesday. Max as per usual got sick as soon as we left. He has high fevers, vomiting and a nasty cough. So, we were lovely house guests to the Salas family that hosted us for 2 nights. We pretty much took over that house. Max was afraid of the dogs, so they had to stay in their kennels. Max got sick and fearing that it was a stomach bug, I kicked Chris and Ramona out of our room the second night to sleep in the game room. But, our hosts were so nice, they gave us their another one of their bedrooms so that we would be more comfortable. Their poor son had to sleep on the couch. Best house guests EVER! Thankfully we spent the third night in a hotel and their family got their beds back. Aside from the sickness, we had fun! One of the best parts of Chris' band playing at churches is that there are playgrounds, instruments, nursery toys and sporting equipment to play with. Otherwise the children would revolt and this would never work.

Guess which one's gonna be the drummer.

Ramona introduced Max to slides!

He loves the danger.

We had to skip out on the second half of the trip this weekend. Hopefully Max will be better by tomorrow, if not it's off to the doctor!

It's Halloween Night!!!

For as long as I can remember, my Dad and his good friend Billy have called each other every Halloween night and screamed at the top of their lungs: IT'S HALLOWEEN NIGHT-A! No, that is not a typo. My Dad adds an "A" sound to the end of "Night" for effect. You know, like the count on Sesame Street. One-A-A-A, Two-A-A-A...well you get it. I don't know how this tradition started, but it always makes me smile. I'm pretty sure they call each other on St. Patrick's Day also and yell, "TOP OF THE MORNIN' TO YA!" Again, I don't know why. But who cares, they've been doing it for 30 years!

What does this have to do with my kids' Halloween night this year? Nothing! It's just a fun story.

Ramona designed the Jack-o-Lantern this year.
This is what she wanted us to carve.

This is what we actually carved.

Princess Ramona

Froggy Max and Fisherman Poppy

Step 1: Knock on Door
Step 2: Say, "Trick or Treat" and accept candy

Step 3: Sit down, make yourself at home
and befriend the whole neighborhood
while ransacking their bowl of candy.

Hope you had a wonderful Halloween! We are slowly eating all of our candy...the kids are, I mean. I am, of course, pounding back handfuls of fun sized candy bars all day long. Stupid chocolate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Great Pumpkin Patch

Get ready for pumpkin picture overload...

Super handsome!

Max tripped over quite a few pumpkins.

This one's perfect!

Yep, it's the exact same size as my belly.

Put me down!

Oh yeah, Max walks big deal!

And bear crawls.

Max couldn't be bothered with family pictures.

Tiny orange balls, FUN! Do they bounce?

Mom, they have tiny pumpkins!!!

A lady never goes anywhere without her purse.

As I mentioned before, Ramona goes to her Cubbies Class every Wednesday night. We were practicing her Bible verses this morning. Chris and I hear her talking to herself in the kitchen with what sounded like her reciting her own, made up verse:
"Ramona will obey her teacher. Ecclesiastes 6:8-toot" Chris laughed till he cried.

Friday, October 14, 2011

J&M Salvage Yard

Hello, Friends and Family! My friend, Justine, and I have been super busy the last few weeks crafting our little hearts out. We signed up for a booth at our church's craft fair with hopes to make a little extra cash doing something we love...CRAFTS. This quickly turned into a small business we named J&M Salvage Yard. Most of our products are made from everyday materials, either found at home or in garage sales. We then upcycle those materials into beautiful items for you. Our main focus is recycling. We want to cut down on waste and cost, thus keeping the cost low for you! If this sounds interesting to you, check out our Facebook page (search J&M Salvage Yard) and you can see all of our products and shop online! Just message us or comment on a product picture to buy. Most of our products are one of a kind. Our products will change from month to month (maybe week to week). So if you see something you like, act fast! We have 3 craft shows coming up also: Central Baptist Church's Craft Fair, MOPS Home Based Business Fair and Jonestown Street Festival. Thanks for all of the positive feedback we have received so far!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sweet, Tiny, Newborn Baby Jesus

Ramona has been learning a lot about God and Jesus in her Cubbies class on Wednesday night. She has memorized the following verses:

1. God loved us and sent his son. 1 John 4:10
2. All have sinned. Romans 2:23
3. While we were sinners, Jesus died for us. Romans 5:8
4. God is love. 1 John 4:8
5. And of course the Cubbies motto: Jesus loves me!

I am absolutely amazed at how quickly she learned these. She loves to stand in front of the mirror in her Cubbies vest and say, "Hey, Cubbie, what's your motto? Jesus loves me!"

Ramona is also learning how to say her prayers. The other day, she asked Jesus to forgive her for sinning when she disobeyed me earlier that day. And then last night while we were saying her nightly prayers, she thanked God for her family. There is nothing sweeter than hearing a 3 year old pray.

And on a low note for Jesus, Ramona was vacuuming her room earlier and I hear her frantically yelling, "Baby Jesus is in the vacuum!" Apparently, she was cleaning too close to her doll house and her tiny Jesus doll got in the way.

Ramona with her new Cubbies vest and book.
Also, notice her new haircut!

Max's love affair with fish continued at the San Antonio Zoo.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rain and Name Calling

It rained! And it came at the best possible time. The whole family went to the park on Friday to feed the ducks and after 10 minutes it started pouring! Ramona was so excited and started dancing around in the rain (not that she realized we were having a drought for the past few months). It was wonderful, we waited out the storm under a tree by the pond (don't worry, no lightning...I don't think). We were soaked by the time the rain stopped. But the fish, turtles and ducks were glad we stuck around. We fed them 2 bags of bread. But best of all, we made some good memories.

And here's a conversation from earlier tonight:
Ramona: I ran all the way to the house! I beat Daddy!
Me: You did? Is he slow?
Ramona: Yeah and fat.
Me and Chris: Fat?!?
Ramona: Yeah, like Paw Paw.

Wow. Neither Chris or Paw Paw are fat, by the way. I was temped to ask if she thought I was fat, but was afraid of what the answer might be. The other day she was watching me change in the closet and she came over and grabbed my stomach and said, "Look at this chunky belly!". RUDE! I told her she and Max were the reason for that! She's lucky she's so dang cute!

And now, for your enjoyment, here are some chicken pictures.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More of Max's Birthday

I finally found Max's cake pictures! Enjoy!

He LOVES cake.

This is my favorite family photo!

Happy Birthday, Shark Baby!

Well, this is embarrassing, I'm posting Max's birthday blog 2 months late. Sorry, Max!

We had a shark themed birthday party in honor of Max's favorite hobby. He was teething like crazy and biting me all the time. I usually saw it coming, because he would get his "bite face" on. His chin would jut out and he got a crazed look in his eyes. (No picture, unfortunately.) So, of course, I made a shark cake and other sharky decorations. We had a blast!

Shark Decorations and Watermelon Punch

The cake!

Allie (one of Max's many girlfriends) and the Shark Watermelon.

His big gift.

LinkDaddy couldn't wait to get in on the fun!

The party ended with a big jam session. Thanks to our family, Price Hill and the band wives for making Max's first birthday so special!

I also made Max his first book. A preview can be seen here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On the road with Price Hill...

Alright, it has taken me way to long to post this update. You would think with Chris at home now, I would have more time to blog. Not the case. Anyhoo...

We are BACK! In case you didn't know we were gone, last month the whole family went on tour with Chris' band, Price Hill...for 3 weeks. Yes, it was hard and yes, it was awesome.

Here's a rundown:

Week 1: Christian Camp of the Living Word in Point, TX
1. We got our own bunk room with a bathroom! And it was attached to the cafeteria and game room, so we could actually leave the room with the monitors after the kids went to sleep. Priceless.
2. Max ran a 102 fever for a couple of days, so we had to take him to the ER. I know! The ER? For a fever? But, we couldn't see any local doctors with the kid's insurance so they sent us to the ER. Come to find out, they didn't take CHIP either. So we owe them a few hundred dollars...for giving Max Tylenol. Frustrating.
3. Ramona had a blast playing with the camp director's daughters, listening to Price Hill, swimming, sleeping in a bunk next to Mommy and Daddy, etc...

We left Point, TX and hit the road for Cincinnati, OH.

No way were we going to drive the whole way without stopping like the band, so we took our own car and camped (in a tent) for the night in Memphis, TN.

Camping in Memphis, TN
1. We arrived before dark and set up camp and the weather is beautiful!
2. I tore a small hole in the tent...oops.
3. Chris leaves to go get dinner for the family while we play at the playground.
4. We have a wonderful picnic of roasted hotdogs and chips and salsa.
5. We clean up and get ready for bed.
6. Chris starts looking for the laptop. (Ramona has been watching movies on it in the car.)
7. Chris realizes where it is and starts freaking out.
8. Apparently, when he got Ramona out of the car earlier, he set the laptop on top of the car...then went to pick up dinner.
9. Chris drives around looking for the laptop...on the highway.
10. Chris finds the laptop smashed to smithereens.
11. Chris mourns.

RIP, sweet mac.

We left Memphis, TN early the next morning and arrived in Cincinnati, OH that evening for dinner. That drive is beautiful!

Week 2: Cincinnati, OH and Surrounding Areas
1. The band plays in Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
2. We stayed with a band member's in-laws in their awesome basement.
3. Me, Chris and the kids had our own room. The kids did great sleeping all together.
4. Max hit crazy milestones: cruising, pointing, table food. And he developed a love for the drums, fish tanks and the guitar player's wife, Allie.

The obsession begins.

Allie and Ramona running out of the misting cloud at the zoo!

5. Chris gets a speeding ticket. Dang!
6. The band van breaks down, but a good Samaritan at the Kentucky church we were at fixes it for free!
7. Our car breaks down, so we buy a new battery.

Week 3: Road Trip to Illinois, Iowa and Oklahoma
1. We hit the road to Illinois, only to have the car break down again in Indiana. It's the 4th of July, by the way, so not a lot of places are open.
2. We manage to get the car to a Auto Zone and they confirm that it's the alternator.
3. We say quick prayers and tell the guy that we are from Texas and have no place to go.
4. He calls a friend at NTB and they fit us in right away. (Thanks, God!)
5. Luckily, there is a Goodwill and a Dairy Queen open in the same parking lot, so we are entertained while we wait. I don't know what we would have done for 2 hours in a NTB with 2 kids.
Max had his first taste of desserts on tour.
He cried when the ice cream was gone.

6. We spent the night in Illinois at a lovely couple's home who volunteered to take us in after the band played at their church.
7. We spent another night in Iowa in the middle of beautiful farm land at a camp choc-full of kids Max and Ramona's age! I wish we could have stayed there longer.
8. Then we drove to Oklahoma and spent a night with my cousin and her super cute family.

Ramona and her cousin, Olivia, were instant friends!
(which means they didn't fight TOO much.)
I'm so sad we don't live closer.

9. Luckily, we had planned on stopping there, because Chris' car broke down AGAIN! I honestly, can't remember why this time.

And, finally, we headed home for a few days.

The kids and I were supposed to go with Chris to yet another camp for the final week of tour in Tanglewood, TX. But, the camp was too full and we didn't have anywhere to sleep. Honestly, we were fine with that. We were exhausted.

Nap times are quick and dirty on tour!

So, as you can see, there were many set backs on our trip. But it was amazing! God really took care of us. Every time we broke down, we were never in danger or had to walk for help. And when we got home, Chris' parents had bought a (relatively) inexpensive lap top for Ramona to play her games on. So we decided that would be better used as the family computer...sorry Ramona.

Even with the hard times, it felt great traveling to different cities doing what we believe God made us to do. And as an added bonus, we were able to see so many beautiful parts of the country. I took several breathtaking drives through the Kentucky hills while the kids napped in the backseat. (Note to self, taking pictures while driving is bad parenting!) I would love to settle down nestled in the Kentucky hills one day. Maybe after we are done touring like crazy with the band. (fingers crossed!) Our goal is to have the band be our main source of income. So far, God is blessing us like crazy with new opportunities. More posts to come on that, hopefully.

Extreme Save Mode

My family has been going through some big changes for the past 9 months in order to save money. Here's the rundown:

1. We sold our house. We bought it when we had two incomes and I was nine months pregnant with Ramona with no plans to be a Stay at Home Mom. Well THAT'S changed!

2. We signed up for CARES Apartment Life so that we could plan events for a local apartment complex and live there at a discount. CARES is a great Christian program, but as it turns out won't work with Chris' band schedule. We found that out AFTER we sold our house. But we knew that God wanted us to sell, so we moved in with Chris' parents for 5 months to figure out what our next step.

3. We purchased The Doublewide! It is a fraction of the cost of our old house with more square footage. Our mortgage payments are less than half of what we were paying. Yay! Also, because Chris' parents live on 3 acres of land, we get to set it up on their land for free! I am so excited about the kids being able to play on all of this land everyday. And best of all, the kids can walk over to Nanna and Paw Paw's house all by themselves. Well, Max can't walk yet, but you get the idea.

Chris and Doug built a deck for The Doublewide.
I LOVE it.

4. Chris and his Price Hill band-mates are finally quitting their day jobs and pursuing the band full time. They play Christian camps, youth events, concerts at churches and parks, revivals, etc... For many years they have been really successful at doing this part time. But we all believe that this is our calling and that God wants us to spread his word through music. What does this mean? Chris quit his job in June to play all the summer camps they had lined up. That's right, you read correctly, we are SELF EMPLOYED! So we are trusting God 100%. Chris had to turn down a promotion which would have led to a significant pay raise in order to play with the band this summer. Which was really scary, but we were not put on this earth to earn money. If this is truly our calling, we believe God will take care of us....and he has. (more posts to come)

Hence the EXTREME SAVE MODE. We are not spending ANYTHING unless we absolutely have to. Here's how we are making it work:
-No TV
-A shared cell phone plan with Chris' parents
-No internet...unless we sit by the window in the living room with our lap top.
-Food stamps (Thank you, LORD!)
-CHIP health insurance for the kids
-Medicaid for me and hopefully Chris soon
-$400 a month mortgage for The Doublewide
-A collection of odd jobs for me and Chris

We have managed to get our monthly bills down to around $1000 a month! Amazing! Hopefully Chris and I can actually earn that much a month. So far, so good!

Well, that's the updates. With the addition of eating organically, we are pretty much overhauling our whole lives. The organic thing is going great by the way. I lost several pounds and then we went on tour and ate camp food and pizza for 3 weeks.

The next post: Price Hill Summer Tour 2011!