Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Photo:Boo!

Happy Halloween from one fire breathing dragon and one sneaky little mouse! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keeping the romance alive....

This is what my mom came home to the other day courtesy of my dad....

(.....okay, now you can say awe)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


 Hard to believe that this is the face of a wonderfully serious student.  Yes, I know bragging isn't cool and I also find it extremely annoying, but I'm going to take a few moments to simply brag about my kiddo, because...well, he deserves it!
 But first, let me brag about this one.  This brave soul (who has been sick this entire week with what I like to call the, "man cold." No, really...he feels pretty rotten) who sticks his hands in pumpkins to retrieve their guts.  All for the sake of tradition.
 Where was I? Oh yes, bragging about Baylor......yes, the one who is sticking his face in the pumpkin.  Yes, that one, the future rocket scientist.  My favorite is Brody's expression, "dude, what are you doing?"

      ....and then there is this photo.....lets just say that they have been using their artistic skills wisely......

                                                       "MOM! We have chicken pox!!!"
 Back to Baylor.  Last night was the first of many parent teacher conferences for the eldest yahoo.  We weren't really sure what to expect and clearly looked like it as we walked into the school, conference sign up sheet in hand. I still haven't figured out where the library is yet.  We were asked if we needed help a few times and then finally made it to the two lone chairs sitting outside of the classroom.  We entered the brightly decorated and visually stimulating classroom and sat down in two adult size (thank goodness) chairs.  We got the low down on how Baylor has been doing at school.  Fives across the board (five would be awesome, just in case you were keeping track) all except one thing......cutting with scissors.  I am to blame for this one shortcoming in my son's young life, simply because when asked if he practiced at home, he replied, "No, mom doesn't let me use the scissors."  Sorry little dude, I'll go get you some right away! The teacher was also very impressed with how this child had so much joy, he is excited to learn anything and always eager to do it! That gives me hope, because at home, just getting him to put his shoes on happens to be an epic battle.  She also said that Baylor was very polite and always expressed extreme gratitude (we see this at home too) for just about everything.  I am so proud of my little man and his accomplishments. I know it is just AK, but it's the beginning of his education, the foundation for reading, writing, science, art, social name it.  We also know that the teaching just isn't for at school and continue to, "home school" him if you will, every day and every opportunity.  Almost anything can be a learning opportunity.  So as we work on the cutting with scissors at home, we also praise this little guy for being such a good student. Lets hope this continues throughout his life!

Okay, done bragging....for now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Yahoo Stats

It's been a while since I've enlightened you with the updates from the two yahoos that currently reside here. 

Name: Baylor 
Stats: 5 years old, 40 lbs, wearing 5T or XS clothing and size 12 shoes (pretty soon and he'll be catching up to his mama!)
Favorites (at the moment)
Movie: How to Train your Dragon 
Music: Adventures in Odyssey 
Books: Bernstein Bears Halloween books, Anything science related (weather, rocks, dinosaurs, space)
Toys: His miniature dragons and animals, planets and believe it or not, he's taking an interest in art!! (mama is proud!)
Activities: Awana, playing with his new AK friends, tormenting his little brother, loves to learn new things, growing up too fast. 

Baylor has really matured in the past few weeks.  It took him quite a while to get used to the school thing, but he's really soaking it all in now and excelling rapidly.  He has a great desire to learn anything new and we hope that continues through his whole life.  He still picks on his little brother, but they are slowly learning to play with each other rather than beat each other up.  He has taken an interest, much to my joyful surprise, to art.  We got him some new markers and he's been writing and reading words as well as drawing some pretty cool pictures!  He's also dressing himself and has made it the last two nights without a Pull-up on (which is a HUGE deal) Next he will be mastering riding a bike (as soon as we can find him a bike) and tying his shoes! 

Name: Brody Man
Stats: Age 3 going on 12, 36 lbs and slowly catching up to his weight that his.  Wearing 4T and size 9 shoes. 
Favorites (at the moment)
Movie: The Polar Express 
Books: Where's Waldo, Eye Spy books, Are you My Mother? 
Toys: blocks, anything that isn't really a toy.....spoons, cups, VCR tapes, umbrellas. 
Activities: DUMPING liquids into other liquids (examples: full bottles of water into the toilet, orange juice into my coffee and hot chocolate into the sink water) throwing major tantrums in public places, entertaining just about anyone he encounters.  

This little crazy man has been making life always entertaining for his parents.  He gives new meaning to the word ATTITUDE.  We're trying our best to deal with this persistent and strong willed child (just like his brother!) He talks non stop during the day about pretty much anything you can imagine.  He has also been quite the stinker when it comes to night time and nap time, sneaking around and doing all sorts of naughty things such as putting Windex in the fish tank (they're still alive) and crawling up on the bathroom counter to empty out the medicine cabinet.  He can still melt our hearts with just one dimple smile.  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Happy birthday Papa Steve!! 

To the best Grandpa and Father ever.  
We love you!! 

(now get back to fishing) 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I can't, I have to practice....

This is what has been consuming me for the past few weeks....lots and lots of practicing.  Our brass band has been very busy getting ready for an upcoming competition in the Chicago area in November.  I have to admit that having two kids who think they need to sing, stomp or play the piano along with you while you practice, has made this quite a challenge.  Brody has misplaced a few pieces of music and ran off with my metronome. I'm usually up for a challenge but it really thrown me for a loop and I've had to re-live college again by escaping to the music practice house on Cornell's campus late at night.  I think all of the hard work should pay off, we're really starting to sound good.  If you're in the St.Charles area on November 6th and are in the mood for some amazing brass bands, you should stop by!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Letting go

Sometimes it takes a special friend, an honest one, one who you blatantly ignored because you were angry, to really set you straight.  As human beings we all have the tendency to want to run and hide when faced with conflict as well as take on the victim roll and hold on to our baggage.  I, being only human, have done both of those things for the past few years and it finally got thrown in my face today.....and it couldn't have been better timing.

Just about every one has had something uncomfortable or upsetting happen to them that they have held on to.  Clinging to the past and dwelling on the anger it made you feel.  These feelings are multiplied when they come from people you thought were your friends. You cling on to those feelings because sometimes you just don't want to change and they have slowly become a part of you.

Without going into detail, I had a similar experience a few years ago where I was really hurt.  I continued to stew on these feelings of rejection and anger and that only made them worse.  I used this past hurt as an excuse and a crutch in building relationships, getting involved and even making friends.  It is just like the man at the healing pool in the bible who was paralyzed.  I had been paralyzed with anger.  Then along comes Jesus and asks, "Do you not want to get well?" In my case, it was a friend who finally sat me down and explained that holding on to the past and not forgiving and forgetting is a sin.  Not only a sin but a burden that causes more anger and frustration in the process.  I have a tendency to be very thick headed and stubborned and it finally came down to someone presenting me with the truth. What good are these feelings of anger? Why are you holding on to them? She acknowledged that I was hurt in the past but reminded me of the freedom from moving on and forgiveness and I was reminded of Jesus telling the paralyzed man to pick up his mat and walk.   It is the least I can do for a savior who died for my sins.

So today I choose to move on and let go. I am picking up my mat and walking.  I choose to forgive and forget just as Christ did for us.  I am thankful for a friend who had the guts to get in my face, get angry with me and tell me the truth.  I encourage you to think of the thing that weights you down, maybe it is a person or an event.  Maybe you can't let go or can't forgive and it's been haunting you.  It may have been something trivial or something that changed your entire life.  It doesn't matter.  Now is the time to pick up your mat and walk.  Letting go is the first step to moving forward.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Truthful Tuesday: Bad habits

This child....yes, the one SITTING on the counter top looking oh so cute but at the same time very very naughty....yup, that one.  HE is going to be the death of me.  Terrible two's my's the terrible threes that have me considering boot camp.  Love him to death but this child is giving me gray hairs and making me crabby.  Just ask anyone who saw me today.  "You look tired?" and "are you dragging today?" and "you should have been there, they talked about anger today..." and "is he making you crabby?"  My answers: Yes, very. Yes. You've got to be kidding me. Yes.

Got in the car and the song on the radio was talking about being joyful....always.  Okay, win.

And I digress.

On with the show......bad habits, truthfully....I have so many I've lost count......

1. I bite my nails. Ewww gross, I know. I also chew on pen caps.  I know, I's better than picking my nose, right?

2. I have this really bad habit of staring at peoples hairline when I talk to them.  I have absolutely NO idea why and it pretty much freaks them out.  Seriously, why?! I should look them directly in the eye balls but no, I stare at their hair. Maybe I'm supposed to be a hair stylist? The only thing that I can think of is that I am details person, I study every detail...including their hair.  Please don't judge, I'm working on it.

3. I leave glasses and mugs half full all over the house and then wander around aimlessly going, "have you seen my coffee?"

4. I don't follow directions. Never, never ask me to put something together that involves following a 234 step process.  I lose interest after step number 2.

5. I can't follow directions.  I guess that would make me directionally challenged. Whatever it's called, I have it and can't find my way out of a parking space.  Which way is North, you ask? Up.

6. I'm very bad at listening.  There, I said it.  It's not that I don't care or don't want to, believe me. I just have really bad listening skills. I blame the that a bird? Wait, where was I?

7.  I follow my children around and pick up their toys while they are still playing with them.  In fact, I follow other peoples children around and pick up after them.

8.  I have a wee bit of a lead foot. Wee.

9.  I check myself out in reflective surfaces.

What are your bad habits?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey, you!

Hey, you!? 

Who, me? 
Yes, you.  What are you doing?
I'm looking for something....

What are you looking for?
I can't tell you.
Why not?
(Try not to look to cute when you're guilty, okay?)
Found it!!!!
A man after my own heart.  He puts ketchup on everything. 

 E-E-V-E-X-W-R spells KETCHUP! Mom! I can spell.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Snapshots

My superhero. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Silver Bullet

Today was a bittersweet day in the Speidel house as we said goodbye to my first car, Bessie, the very reliable yet super small Carolla.  We have been toying with getting a bigger vehicle for obvious reasons such as the boys are growing and transporting my artwork around.  We stumbled upon this Ford Freestyle with low mileage and a great price at Cross Roads Car Company in North Liberty, owned by friends of our family.  We prayed about trading in the Carolla and they gave us a deal we just couldn't pass up.  So meet The Silver Bullet, the non mini van (sorry, I just can't do vans! Right Jen?) cross over. It seats 8 but don't let that give you any ideas on the size of our family, we're perfectly happy with it only holding 4, some groceries and my artwork.  I think the best thing is the fact that the boys can't touch each other!! One in the way back and on in the middle seat.  Pure genius.  I also have a radio for the first time in about a year.....which is also heaven.  The only drawback is the gas mileage so I must learn how to hit all the stops in one swoop when running errands.  Just another blessing to add to our family!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday's Meals: Kid friendly

I just have to face the fact that my children just might be the pickiest eaters on the planet.  They're slowly expanding their taste buds to go beyond mac and cheese, but in the meantime I try to be as creative with meals as possible.  Making sure they get one fruit and one veggie and something semi-healthy.  A little PB&J once in a while won't kill them. Some of these are also great for getting your kiddo in the kitchen with you.  It's never to young to help them learn how to cook....they'll thank you later when they're in college.

Monday: Ham and Cheddar Loaf (with fresh fruit, cottage cheese)
1 loaf frozen bread dough
1 1lb shaved ham
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I like cheddar for this)
1/4 cup lowfat mayo or miracle whip

Roll out bread dough into a rectangle and flatten.  Cover half with sliced ham. Mix cheese and mayo and spread on other half.  Fold into thirds and pinch ends together. Cook at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Tuesday: Mini Pizza bagels (with fruit and protein)
Package of mini bagels sliced in two
Mozzarella cheese
Tomato pizza sauce
Choice of: black olives, mushrooms, broccoli, Canadian bacon, sausage, hamburger, pineapple, chicken

Slice bagels in 1/2 and lay on cookie sheet. Cover with pizza sauce and then top with whatever toppings your kids will eat.  Broil them for just a few minutes, careful to not burn them. Serve with a side of fruit.

Wednesday: Cheeseburger veggie Mac
Two boxes of the good mac and cheese (you know, the ones with the packet of cheese)
1 lb lean ground beef
Frozen veggie of choice (peas or broccoli works great)

Make mac and cheese, add veggies and browned hamburger.

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner
Whole wheat pancakes
Eggs of choice
Whole wheat toast
Meat (turkey bacon)

Friday: Pigs in a blanket, fruit and veggie dip
1 package all beef hot dogs
1 pkg crescent rolls
Slice cheese
Carrots and low fat ranch

Cut hot dogs in half, unroll crescent rolls.  Lay a thin slice of cheese on fat end of crescent roll, then the hot dog and roll away.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the rolls are slightly browned.  Serve with carrots, ranch and a fruit of choice.

Banana and strawberry smoothies (made with plain yogurt and almond milk)
Parfaits (blueberries, strawberries, vanilla yogurt and lowfat granola)
Caramel apple dip (1 pkg cream cheese, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cut up apples)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Snapshots

I love fall. I love trees. I love my boys. Amen.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A boy and his dog

This boy loves his dog.