Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Road Trip!

Today at the fabric store, Ethan says, "Mom, I need to get out of this state!"
So, I asked, "What do you mean, Ethan?"
Ethan:  "Well, Momma, I need to go on a road trip.  To maybe Alabama or Louisiana or Omaha."

Sunday, January 29, 2012


To know me is to know that I will do just about anything to get something for free.  Seriously.  I actually emailed the putt putt golf place in town where Jackson's next birthday party will be to see if they wanted to do a trade of some sort.  I'm thinking maybe they will go for it.  I mean, it seems like they must be a family owned place...right?  if they won't, we'll still have his party there, but if they do, score!

So, when presented the opportunity for my family of five to get to eat out for free at a restaurant just opening in Omaha, I jumped on it!  Ethan and I babysat Audrey for a few hours this week while her mother trained at the new store and tonight we went to Longhorns (opens Monday, Jan. 30 at 74/Dodge) to reap the benefits of Audrey's mom's training.

Our family had a nice time (though I had to wait quite a while for my salad at first) and enjoyed our family date night.  Brennan ordered a steak from the ADULT menu and was very proud and excited about this.  We really liked the chocolate cake in our trio of desserts that we got to share...if you go, just get the chocolate cake...it's huge and will be enough for your whole table!  The trio was good, but just chocolate cake would have been the best.

We all enjoyed our meals, except poor old Brennan whose stomach got upset towards the end...but that's a blog post for another day, one entitled, "Brennan and Jessica's mad dash through Walgreen's to find a restroom".

The best part of the meal?  When the check for $85 came and we got to walk out without paying a penny!

So, if you have a Longhorns, maybe you go check them out.  Tell them Jessica sent you.  ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Brennan cooked supper the other night:  ALL BY HIMSELF (well, I removed the hot dogs from the oven at the end).
He opened the brand new pack of turkey hot dogs (barf), put them on a cookie sheet, preheated the oven (broiler), timed and cooked the dogs, (I took them out of the oven).  He then put them on buns, added ketchup for Ethan, plated them, along with Pringles and jello, and set the table.  (I love when Bart is out of town and I get super lazy cooking.)
He was very proud of himself and so am I.  I love to see him learning and growing and becoming more independent.  His brain is quite a sponge and he loves to fill it with all kinds of interesting facts and tidbits.

Next on his list of things to cook:  mac n cheese.  How old was your child when you let him/her cook that?

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Red Robe

Alternately titled, "Why Jackson should be grateful his mother did not put on clothes before taking him to school today."

Jackson has had a loose tooth for a while now.  I thought it would be out by Monday or Tuesday it was so wiggly.
He however, refused to let anyone near it, so it wiggled, got into odd positions, and was overall a 9 on my grossness radar (teeth out of mouths, finger nails clipped, and cut hair....YUCK).
This morning as he was brushing his teeth, he hit it and the tooth turned sideways and he starts screaming.
Bart and I get him onto the couch, try to calmly get him to let us look.  No dice.
Try to pry his mouth open to wiggle it or pull it.  Nope.
Finally, through some fancy two on one parent vs. kid action, we managed to get his mouth open, get the tooth out and hopefully move on with our day.
 He bit me twice.  TWICE.
We got the tooth out.
We cheered and said all the nice and fluffy thing people say when one loses his first tooth.
But Jackson screamed.
And he cried.
And he threw the world's biggest fit because he was "scared".

By this time, we are all late for everything.  Too late to eat breakfast at home, Bart was too late to walk to work, late, late, late.
So, we piled into the car, and Jackson very unwillingly gets in.
We drop Bart off at work and head to school, where I tell the boys they will be eating breakfast. No big deal, they do it at least once a week.
Jackson screamed.
And he cried.
And he refused to get out of the car.
A timer begins in my mind.  For every minute Jackson made me stay at school, he would lose that much time playing video games tonight.
2 minutes
Finally, I declare he won't be eating breakfast today as it is really too late for him to even get in there and go park in front of his drop off zone.

He cries some more.
He declares he is scared.
He hides his face with his backpack.
He does not get out of the car.
I am trying so hard to be patient and Christlike and loving and understanding...it was hard, but I think any mother would have appreciated how hard it was to restrain myself from lashing out and being negative.  :)

Here is where the red robe comes into play.  See, I'd not gotten dressed before the tooth situation came up.  I am wearing a sweat shirt, shorts, socks, and a big ugly red robe.  I have morning breath, wild hair, and a anger deep in my guts that this morning had not gone according to plans and that Jackson was being such a whiny boy over this.
If I'd only had on p.j's and slippers, it would have been okay.  I'd have sucked it up and dragged that screaming monster to his class, to let his teachers deal with him.  I would have gotten out of the car, pulled him out, and drove away.  (Just far enough to make sure he got in safely).  I would have acted.  It might not have been pretty, but it would have been quick and we would have been able to move on.


I had to sit there and at first nicely try to get him out of the car and in to his classroom.

Then the niceness wore off.

I was hungry.

And getting annoyed.

And ready for Jackson to just calm down already.

I finally got him out of the car...but then he latched onto the door handle like Megan with Grey Goose on an everything's-gone-to-hell kind of day.   There was no shaking him.  I was in quite a pickle.  I mean, I can't drive off and run over his feet.  And what if he runs after me?  I can't get out of the car.  I am only in a red robe and hot pink socks.  I can't just sit there all day.  Oh, and the temperature outside?  Maybe ten degrees.  Yet he stood outside my window, banging, crying, and just overall not being happy.

No parents I knew walked by where I could explain what was going on and have them carry a screaming Jack up to school.  No teachers are down by the cars to help.  My husband at work was in a meeting so I couldn't go get him to come help (his work is maybe 1 minute from the boys school).

It was a nightmare.

Finally, right before the second bell rang (having wasted 20 minutes of time, missed breakfast and bell work, and lost video games for the night), he runs up the walk, screaming and crying all the way.  The only reason he went (unless he had an divine intervention from God and realized that Mama was about to say RED ROBE BE DAMNED and drag him into class) is because I told him he'd be locked out of that door and have to go to the principal if he didn't get into school that second.

Now, being the good mother that I obviously am, I had quickly written a note to his teacher to alert her to Jackson's issues, so hopefully the hot mess that stormed into her classroom will get a little sympathy.  Or an extra graham cracker at snack time.  Or a time out to calm down.  Something to help him be excited about this BIG STEP towards growing up.  This change.  Because as some of you know...Jackson HATES changes.  Especially those concerning him.  He needs a lot of time to get used to new situations...and I guess even though he'd known this tooth was loose for well over a week, he was not ready for the change of having it out of his mouth.

So, I am writing this post, not so much to entertain you all, my lovely readers, but to have it documented so that one day, when I scrapbook this event, I will have all the details down correctly.  Because yes...I have a before the tooth came out smiley picture.  I have a him throwing a fit flung on the ground after the tooth came out picture, and I will get (once he's calmed down and happy) a "look I lost my first baby tooth now I am a big boy!" picture.  And I think this post will be an important part of that visual story.  Maybe I need to snap a picture of this ugly red robe that Bart hates so much but that saved Jackson today.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grits and Grandma Maxine

When I was in high school, girls would sometimes wear/write/use the phrase "G.R.I.T.S"  GIRLS RAISED IN THE SOUTH.  Now, while that is quite the thing to be proud of (both the location and state of mind of being "southern"), any time I think of grits, I think of my Grandma Maxine.

See, my mother is from "up north".  Washington State, to be exact.  My dad is from Louisiana, but when it comes to preparing menus, shopping, and cooking, the mother is generally the one that dominates that area and my family was no different.  So, we did not eat grits, or collard greens or anything super southern, as a general rule.  So, when my younger brother and I, at the age of about 5 and 6, went to live with my grandparents in Jonesville, LA for a few months (military transfer, school semester, and parents who wanted us to no move to a new school with just a month or so to finish the year is how I remember it)...you can imagine my leeriness towards these gritty, white, bits smothered in butter.

My brother, Jason, liked the grits.  He ate the grits up.  He asked for more grits while licking his spoon.
Me, on the other hand...I did not.  I thought they were salty.  I thought they were lumpy.  I thought they were gritty.  And I was going to have none of that.  No-sir-ee.

However, you did not challenge my Grandma Maxine or Grandpa McClure.  You ate what you were given and said thank you at the end, like it or not.  (Or at least this is how I remember it)  So, for three (four?  two?  I can't remember but I am sure my dad will leave the correct time frame in the comments section) months, I had to eat grits for breakfast.  In my mind, looking back...I had to eat grits every.single.day.  It could be possible that once my grandmother saw I did not like the grits I got toast and eggs, but I do not remember that.  I only remember grits.  And how I thought "Grits are Gross."

Overall, I have very fond memories (though very hazy) of spending time with my grandparents and two uncles who still lived at home.  We got money each day for snacks at school, we played outside all the time, and we were loved.  It was a good time.  However, the first thing I think of is always my enemy, the grit.

Other then Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cookie Crisp that I had for my very own not having to share with three siblings at the age of ten when I went to visit my other set of grandparents, I do not remember a single food item ever consumed at breakfast as a child.  And to this day:  I do not eat grits.  I will not eat grits.  I do not even force my children to try grits to see if they like them.

My Grandma Maxine passed away this week, after a short battle with cancer, and her funeral is today in Jena, LA at 2 p.m.  I didn't know her as much as I'd have liked, but as an adult, we developed a bit of a relationship thanks to facebook and email.  Some people might think social networks and all this time people spend on the internet is a waste.  Not me.  Because of social networking, I got to communicate with my step-grandmother, something I would not have otherwise done.  I was able to build up a little bit of a relationship with her so that I have a few more memories then grits.  Because of the internet, and sending emails, I made sure I got to go visit her when we went home to Louisiana.  I might have let that relationship fade even more had I not.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I believe with all my heart and soul that we can be reunited with our family when we die.  That we can return to Heaven and find the same joy and happiness we have here on earth, only magnified greatly.  I know that I will get to see my Grandma Maxine again, just as I will get to see all the others I've lost.  Any time I did visit Grandma (after my grandfather had passed away and we'd moved to NE), she always had a smile and a hug and something good to eat, and I know when we are reunited, that she will have that same smile and a hug ready and waiting for me...maybe even a pan of peach cobbler. Heck, it's heaven...maybe we can go swimming in her peach cobbler!

Until we meet again, Grandma.  All my love.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Most Brilliant Plan, Possibly Ever

Photo by Dry Ink

Have you noticed how I've slowly been sharing all the amazing photos from our super hero photo shoot in Louisiana?  I didn't want to overwhelm you with a huge post full of them, so I am slowly sharing them.  I love them SO MUCH and am so glad Erika at Dry Ink had such a cool concept to try out on the boys!  If you are anywhere near the Baton Rouge area, or will be driving through (or visiting for just ONE day for just a few hours, like us)...book her now...you will not be disappointed.

But...that is not what this post is about...so let's get to THE MOST BRILLIANT PLAN, POSSIBLY EVER!

The day after the game that shall not be mentioned, a friend who was watching the game with us and heard me talking about babysitting for someone later that week, gave me a call.  She had just gotten a job at a brand new, not yet opened steak house and was to train in two weeks.  However, training time was non-negotiable and it would overlap with her fiance's work schedule.  She asked if I could watch her cute 2 year old daughter (who has Ethan's heart) for about 2 hours a day for 5 days...so, about 10 hours total.  She offered to pay me, but when she mentioned a training night, where you get to eat whatever you want for free, for the whole family...well, she had me at free. And, because she is getting married this summer and it's just a few hours and I like to be nice from time to time, well, I decided to just take free food as my payment (because I really can be nice sometimes, honest!)

I was excited (hey, I like free food!) and I knew the boys would be stoked...ever since eating at a steak house in Idaho Falls (see picture above, blogger won't let me move it.), you'd think they were carnivores the way they ask to eat steak all the time (yet never get it.).

However, I wanted to play this to my advantage.  You know, not just give away what someone can earn.

I told the boys, "Hey, we are going out for a family dinner in two weeks.  It is at a new nice steak house (really, I think it is an average steakhouse, not like Ruths Chris or something but Bart and I are excited b/c we ate at this place in Alabama once or twice and really like it) and will be fun for our family to go to.  BUT...you have to earn the money to pay for your own meal.  By earning money, though, you can order whatever you want, not just the kids menu."

And, because they are young and gullible and awesome kids, they took this statement to heart and have been working away, night and day, to earn money for their steak.  Sorting laundry was not a challenge...not when it involved them earning a quarter towards their dinner.  Playing with Ethan after school?  No whining there...I get a nickel!  They even ask me for jobs to do to earn another nickel, dime, quarter!

And extra points for the boys finding pennies and other loose change and turning them in.

Abusing my motherly privileges?  No way...they are doing the chores they are expected to do anyway...it's just giving me a two week reprieve from the complaining and ignoring that sometimes happens around  here when it's chore time for the kids.

And I bet that when those boys get to eat whatever they want off of whatever menu they want, they will be so satisfied, knowing they earned it by working so hard.  They seem proud to be working hard and saving up for something they want (ha, food...my kind of boys!) and I am proud of them for doing such a great job at their tasks each day.

I'll let you know how the big night goes.  I think they will need to get dressed up for it...make it even more special for them!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Valentine's Day Bow Ties...so cute!

I've listed 5 choices of Valentine's Day bow ties in my etsy shop...go check them out!

And a new thing I've got:  You can order #1 or #2 as an adult sized bow tie if you'd like!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In Need of a Thesaurus

We went to Half Price Books today (LOVE that store, if you have one in your town, go check it out!). We traded in two bags of books and got a few bucks back. (Don't go in thinking you will get rich trading in your old books, but the ones they have for sale are usually at a great price, esp. their clearance books)

We let each boy pick one book, $2 or under, with the money. They picked, then we checked out.
Once we were in the car, Ethan started making frustrated grunts as he pulled at the price sticker on the front of his book.
After a minute of this, he says, "I can't get this STUPID thing off!"
I say, "ETHAN, we don't say that word!"
So, he replies, "I can't get this BAD thing off my book!"
Photo by Dry Ink
 We were too busy trying to hide our laughter to correct him a second time.

And, being the awesome mom that I am, I had that price sticker off his book in just a few seconds.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cake in the Face

Bart's friend flew in from Florida this past weekend to watch that train wreck of a football game Monday night (but we still had a great party!).  He was here Friday  night through early Tuesday morning.

We had a great time talking about "the good old days" and all that that entailed.  Bart and Will have been friends since they were kids, so my "good old days" were not really so "old" as they are "in the past decade"...
(The fact that I can say I've known anyone for a decade makes me feel kind of old, and I am only 32)

Anyway, January 1st was my mother in laws birthday (she passed away in August of 2002).  There was this one time that I baked a lovely (think:  box of cake, canned frosting, in a 9x13 pan w/ sprinkles) cake for her birthday.  For some reason William came with us to her house for her birthday (Glenda was like a second mom to him, so this was not totally unusual).  When we got there, Will asks Glenda if he can smash his face in the cake because it looked so good.

And, for some reason, Glenda told him to go ahead...probably thinking he was kidding.
He was not.
It wasn't a little cutesty smash like a bride and groom do.  Nope, he shoved his whole face into that 9x13 pan and RUINED the cake.  I mean, who, other then William, would want to eat face cake?

It made me pretty mad at the time (I mean, come on Will...we wanted to EAT that cake), but he had asked, and he did have permission, even if we all thought he'd not really do something so silly.

Looking back though, it has taught me a few things:

1.  Never tell someone it is okay to do something if deep down you don't really want them to.  (Or say yes when you want to say no)  Whether that be face cake or giving something away or even helping out (I am learning now...it is okay to sometimes say NO to the endless requests of your time/talents/money)
2.  Never use canned frosting (lol, just kidding, maybe?)
3.  If you can forgive your friend for ruining the cake your newly wed wife worked so hard (in hindsight, not so much ;) ) to bake, then he must be a really great friend...and I have to agree with Bart.  Bart is lucky to have Will as a friend, just as Will is lucky to have such a hunk-a hunk-a burnin' love for a friend as well.

Monday, January 9, 2012

LSU vs. Alabama...EPIC

Pictures courtesy of Bart and his cousins.  Brad hand paints these helmets to be replicas of the ones the LSU football players wear.  One of the ones he was showing us had a TON of LSU football player signatures on it.  One of them was an actual game day helmet, but those stats of the who and what and when have left my mind already.

hiesman pose!
Bart's family is SERIOUS about football and I love it. It is so fun to hear/see all the cousins/aunts gathered around talking about it!
Bart with CRAZY eyes!

Bart and Brad in the Heisman pose

HECK YEAH WE ARE #1 (and hopefully we stay that way!  We will see tomorrow night!)
Brennan trying it on for size...a TINY bit too big.
But,not surprisingly, just about right for Mr. Chubby Cheeks Ethan.

GEAUX TIGERS!  Roll the Tide!

How are you celebrating this year's national championship football game?
Our party started out small, just Bart and his two friends who moved from Baton Rouge to Omaha when we did.
Then, he invited a few church people.
Then, his best friend from his childhood called on Thursday night to say he'd be landing on Friday night at 9 and staying through Tuesday to watch THE BIG GAME Monday night.
So, now our tiny party has grown into quite a full house...hope we have enough chairs!

We are serving gumbo (made by Bart, using meats we bought in LA and froze to get home), jambalaya (made by me and the crock pot), and some delicious bread pudding.  I also went into a WalMart in Baton Rouge , LA for no other reason then to buy Zapp's potato chips for our party (Crawtator of course!)  They are so yummy...I bought 2 LSU-tator bags, 1 VooDoo bag, and 1 large crawtator flavored bag.  They don't sell Zapp's in my parents town and Bart really wanted them for the party.  The things we do for love.  ;)

It should be a good game.  There's been a lot of hype.  There's been a lot of predictions as to who will win.
There's been some arguments with Jackson over why he cannot wear a red shirt on Monday (He likes both teams!)  And in less then 24 hours...we will have a winner.  And a loser.

If LSU is the winner, Pratt Street has better watch out...because the last time Bart and Will watch LSU win the national championship...there was some streaking involved!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

JuMpInG BoYs and Mommy Awesomeness

Cousins are some of the best friends around...and I love when the boys get to hang out with theirs.  They have 2 first cousins, but they are younger and girls and don't have a cool trampoline in the back yard.  Johnathan and Logan (second cousins, I guess?  whenever your first cousin has a baby, that's what they are)...do.  The boys LOVE it when we tell them we are on the way to Aunt Linda's house.
Logan is a wild one when it came to jumping...he needs to teach my boys so lessons!
I really love taking pictures of the boys jumping...it's so funny to see how high they look for that split second...and luckily Brennan loves it, too.  Logan was eating it up..."Take just one more Jessie, please!"  It was really funny.
And, I feel this post about jumping would not be complete without a confession.  Also, all that stuff up there is pretty lame and boring and travel-loggish and kind of making me want to fall asleep. 

See, the boy cousins were all outside jumping...4 or 5 boys, including Ethan.  Bart's aunt and cousins keep nervously looking out the window at them, worrying Ethan or Jackson would get hurt.
I, however, let them jump...burn off some of that energy that naturally comes with it being Christmas day.  It was such a nice day, compared to our Christmases the last few years in Omaha (but not the year we go to escape bad weather...nope, this year NE had NICE weather for the holidays.)

Well, we finally made Ethan get off (it was getting rough).  Then, I thought, "Oh, I should go get my camera and capture some of this jumping.  Even Jackson will look like he is jumping high!"  So, I went into the house to get my camera.  When I came back out, there was Jackson, laying on his belly, crying...in the corner far from the trampoline door.

Well, I felt a tiny bit guilty for leaving them alone, but really, even if I'd been there watching, Jack would have gotten hurt, so, I shrugged it off, put down my camera (after contemplating taking a picture of crying Jackson and his sad belly down pose), and climbed into the cage to get him.

His foot was hurt, he cried, maybe his leg.
I asked which foot, he pointed.  The right.

So...to get him to the trampoline door and to a chair, I drug him by his good foot to the door, then scooped him up and gave him some TLC.

Only a mother as awesome as me would rescue her injured son by dragging him, belly down, by his non-injured leg to the door. giving him carpet burn on his stomach along the way (is a trampoline burn?  IDK the technical term and I am sorry I had to use the incorrect term, maybe.  Or, maybe it is the correct term and I didn't know I was so smart?).

I know, I know...brilliant!!!!  But really, how the heck else was I supposed to get him to the other side?  Trampolines are not really mean to be just walked on.  True story.  They are meant to be jumped on and I think if I had J.U.M.P.E.D. across the trampoline while forcing him to hop on his good foot, that would have been a lot worse.  He could have gotten hurt.  :)  Those trampoline cages are like death traps, leaving you only one choice, to resort to animal like instincts and just PULL!

Jackson's foot is fine now, though it was a little tender for a while, especially the next day.
He lived to tell the tale.

And me, as soon as I made sure Jackson was feeling okay, I went to the trampoline to capture some jumping boy shots, mourning the loss of Jackson in those shots and thinking, the the very back corner of my mind, how if another kid got hurt, I'd have pictures to capture the moment AND I'd be sure to capture the after injury shots as well, of pain and sadness and loss...the loss of getting to jump any more that day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Apparently Les Miles has teamed up with Raisin' Canes...and why wouldn't you team up with them?  One of the best coaches around, plus hands down the best fast food fried chicken ever?  That's a win win...there were these bill boards all over Baton Rouge and I just loved them!

Apparently they also made the image into a tee shirt, but by the time we made it to a Raisin' Canes, they were sold out of kids size shirts and only had like 3XL for adults.  No good. :(  So, we are fist bumpin' Les Miles shirt less, but we are plus one cool picture of my kids at Raisin' Canes "wearing" the hat.

COUNTDOWN TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP:  T-minus 4 days!!!!  And then...the LSU TIGERS will (hopefully) Roll the Crimson Tide right back to Alabama with a new fear of the hat!

Monday, January 2, 2012


What is your favorite sandwich?

Is it a ham and cheese, nestled between some tomatoes and lettuce?

Perhaps it is the more classic, PB&J?
Whether your sandwich is simple (yet made wildly famous by Uncle Justin using tons of butter when making a grilled cheese) or fancy (I love all these sandwiches shops all over!), sandwiches are delicious....even after watching Bridesmaids and seeing sandwiches in a totally new light.

But, my most FAVORITE sandwich of all is a JESSICA sandwich.

Here's how you make it:

Take TWO of the most awesome Jess/Jessie/Jessica's around (that's your "bread")
Add ONE Brennan
And ONE Jackson
And ONE dirty and unwilling Ethan who had to wear his pj's all afternoon b/c he had a potty accident and had no more clean and dry pants.  Clean and in the washing machine?  Yes, but dry?  Not for another hour.
And BAM!  You've got one AWESOME sandwich!

I am so glad I got to spend some time with Jess (my brand new for just a few months and we still haven't scared her off yet!) my sister in law, and Justin, my brother, for a few days after Christmas.  We all really enjoyed our time together and I hope they did as well, even if my boys are loud and messy and whiny sometimes.
I'd have to say, after a trip two hours away (after she had to get up super early to get to my parents house in time for us to leave by 11 or so) for shopping at Lowe's, a photo shoot, scouting out a cupcake shop, eating dinner at Raisin' Canes, and a trip to the bookstore all in one long day, I think I provided her with an excellent motivator to NOT have any babies until after grad school. ;)
I just wish we could have made this sandwich Amazing by making it a CLUB sandwich by adding some Jeni bread and Brooklyn and Sophia stuffings as well!