February 26, 2014

February 27, 2013

M.I.A. and now I'm found....

Can we pretend it hasn't been over a year since I've written in this blog?

If it's ok with you?  Honestly, even if it's not ok with you, that's pretty much how it's going to be.

We had a blizzard this week.  Which means the monkeys have been home a lot.  It also means the hubby has been home.  

I needed a little "Mandy time", so I went on a snow walk.

I felt a little like Lucy and Mr. Tumnus in Narnia.

Gus and Ollie went with me.  They aren't made for snow walks.

Oh yah, you don't know who Ollie is!  
We had a moment of weakness and thought our family needed another fur ball.  
He is cute as a button, but I'm afraid he doesn't click on all cylinders.  To put it nicely....Ollie is a very slow learner.

Gus is fatter than ever!  I had to drag my feet in the snow to make a path for him to follow.  He was breathing like he was in cardiac arrest.  Poor boy!!  I've decided this Spring that he is going on a diet! 

Ian and Gracie also had fun throwing snowballs at each other.  They built forts and a snowman.

See there....we made it through a post without any awkwardness.  It's just like we talked yesterday.  :)

February 15, 2012

Sweet (how in the world) 16!!!!!!

I'm not really sure how it happened.  'Cause last I knew it was January 22nd, 1996......and I was holding my beautiful red-headed baby.  I was a scared new mommy who was absolutely......completely......head over heels in love with her baby boy!!!!

16 years have somehow passed.....and that baby boy can now PICK ME UP!  

If I think about it too long, I get all misty eyed.....but I don't want you to misunderstand.  I'm proud of the young man he has become.  I'm still head over heels in love with my 6'4"+ baby boy.  

There are certain moments in my "timeline" that I will never forget.  
I'm pretty sure that this is one of them.
I was the only person awake....and it was Sunday morning.
I made coffee.  Decorated the chalkboard.  Hung a Birthday banner on the mantle.  Unloaded and loaded the dishwasher.  You know, ordinay stuff!!  But the whole time I'm thinking......holy cow!!!!!  How in the world is it humanly possible for time to go so quickly!!!

Then the clock on my oven turned to 8:02.  The exact time I held Ryan for the very first time.  He had a cone head, he was covered in ICK, he was screaming bloody murder........but my heart skipped a few beats.  I felt love on a new level.......a mommy's love!!!

I'm pretty sure that I drive him bonkers!
I may even embarrass him from time to time!
Often....he's angrier than cuss at me........
But I'm his momma...............and I'm so, so, so proud of him!

So.....this is the part of the story where we open a few presents.  
Can't have a sweet 16 without presents, right?

Ian was with his church youth group on a weekend trip....so Emma Grace picked out a present from both of them.  
It was a x-box 360 game.  Honestly, can't remember the name of it for nothin'.  Honestly, I couldn't care less.  I haven't enjoyed a video game since the Sega Genesis released a game called "Space Harrier".  I was the master!  I played till my thumbs hurt.  

The next present was from Mom and Dad.

Yup......a Hotwheel car!!!  
Because Rick and I think that we are funny!  

Wait a second!!!!!!!!  
Rick and I think we are comedians!!!!
We duct taped his final present shut.  In case you didn't get that......We covered the box in duct tape!!!!!!
OK....guess it's not THAT funny!

After he finally dug a steak knife out of the drawer and cut the box open.....he pulled out a little green drawstring bag with the name Lauhoff embossed on the front.  
He's puzzled.  That's a jewelry store?  

Then he pulled out a shiny new engraved key chain with a key attached to it.

He is finally starting to understand.
He's shaking!
He's smiling!
He's nervous his mom and dad are trying to be comedians again.
(And we sort-of were.......See I posted a picture of his car on Facebook, tagged him in it, then made him check his wall.  
Whadya' know?  It's a picture of a car THAT'S IN OUR DRIVEWAY!!!!!

I included this blurry picture for a reason.  I wanted you to believe me when I tell you that Ryan has never moved so quickly in all his life.

And this is what he found...........

His reaction was what I meant earlier when I said I would never forget this day.  There isn't enough money in this world to trade that memory for.  
I've never seen him so excited!!!!!  
My heart was bursting!!!

This is the part where you start to lose me.  
Hemi engine.
The guts of the car.
Under the hood.

Then we watched him open his other gifts.
This one was from his girlfriend. 

A Kansas dart board (how appropriate)!

....and a MU camo shirt. 
He got moola from his grandparents that I'm sure will pay for gas and dates with Lacey. 

My camera was acting wonky.  I wanted to have both of them in focus.  But it would either do this......

or this?

What's a car without a license?  Right?

This was taken the morning he officially became a driver.  He wanted to drive to school and his car wasn't quite ready, so he asked to take my rig.  I didn't mind that he did, but it required that he take me home first (because I didn't want to hang out in Wal-Mart for 6 hours).  We pulled up to the house....and it was time for me to get out of the car.....and let him drive.......ALONE...........WITHOUT A LICENSED DRIVER........WITHOUT ME!!!!  I was thankful that I had sunglasses on because my eyes welled up and I had a lump the size of a walnut in my throat.  I sat there, in the passenger seat, for a little bit.  Not saying anything (because I couldn't), yet not reaching for the door handle either.  It was time for my red-head....who is growing up....but still has a momma who is head over heels in love with her baby boy, to let him go.  
So, I gave him a squeeze, told him I loved him and that I was proud of him, and although my voice was now cracking, I told him to PLEASE BE CAREFUL!

Then I ran in the house....plopped myself in a chair.....curled up in a ball.....and bawled my eyes out!  

It's been three weeks since that day......and I'm not crying anymore.  Quite the opposite....I'm thankful to not have to sit in my car every night for 20-40 minutes waiting on him to get out of basketball practice.  I'm thankful that he can drive himself to physical therapy for his ankle.  I'm thankful that he can take himself to his girlfriends basketball games.  
It's kinda nice!!!!!!

So happy birthday Rhino the Dino!  
I love you more than new car smell!!!!!
And birthday parties!!
And Duct tape!!!!

January 11, 2012

Cannot Be Held Responsible

I'm a two cups of coffee into my morning.
One cup: Still not safe to talk to me
Two cups: I can hold a conversation, but cannot be held responsible for my words.
Three cups: My kidneys are now working overtime, but I can finally begin my day.
Four cups: I can conquer the world!!!!!!!!!

So, I'm blogging on two cups.  Just warning you!!!!!!

Yesterday I worked my tail off on these signs.  All because I was in the mood to get a little crafty (and also because I'm a wanna-be super mom).  

This is Ryan's.  

Because I was also channeling Betty Crocke.....I made these!!!!  Recipe will be at the bottom of this post (in case you want to forfeit your New Year's resolution).

Then I sat my hiney on a bleacher seat.  Again.
I thought it was fun taking pictures of the student section with my signs.  
How cute are our Hornet fans?  Ummmm....VERY CUTE!!!!!

Here are all three of our Coaches.
The guy in grey is Coach Marsh.....his name is Tim.
The guy in the black argyle sweater is Coach Cunningham....his name is Tim.
The guy in the white shirt and red tie is Coach Cool.....his name is Tim.
Nope, not kidding.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Cheesecake Filling:
10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper or foil allowing a little overhang and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Leave your oven on while you prepare the dough.
3. While the crust is cooling, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Using your hand to form clumps, distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake batter in teaspoon-sized clumps. Be sure to use all of the dough. 
5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Chill in refrigerator overnight or for at least a couple hours.
6. Lift the bars out by the overhang and cut into squares for serving.

I found the recipe on this blog........Brandy's Baking

January 9, 2012

New Year = New Lists

I'm going to table my Christmas (part 2) post until later this week.  
#1. There are TONS of pictures and I'm dreading the comentary.
#2. People......I am soooooo done with Christmas.  The thought of looking at the pictures nearly brings tears to my eyes.

So, I will skip forward temporarily.

It's a New Year!!!!  2012!!!  Holy smokes they sure come around quicker and quicker nowadays.  We had a little bit of family and a little bit of friends over to celebrate (and it was nice).  
Normally I make the New Year's Resolution to bless someone every day.  I thought this year that I would add to that some.  2011 was a little difficult for me.  I wasn't sad in the least to see a different number on the ole' calendar.  I'm making a vow to make 2012 happier!  (More on that in a bit).

So, here is my list....... 

#1. Drink more water and less Diet Coke.
It's really not fair.  Why can't Diet Coke be good for me?  Why does water have to taste so blah?  Anywhoo, so far, I'm doing a better job.

In summary....

and less.....

#2. Plan meals ahead so there is less eating out.
We are gone nearly every single night.  Ball games, play practices, and whatever the heck is happening in our home, takes us away from our family table.  I believe that if I just planned better, we could avoid some of the impulse super sized Big Mac meals. 

#3. Exercise more and be aware of what I eat.
I go through spurts.  I have to say that last year, I did much better in the "healthy eating" catagory.  I want to continue that though and possibly improve on it.  I downloaded four apps on my phone called, "Ab Workout, Butt Workout, Leg Workout, and Arm Workout".  In case you're wondering, the apps target my ab's, my butt, my legs and my arms.  I did them all yesterday and my buns especially are a little achy today.  Achy is probably a good thing.  Achy means......DO IT AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN!!!

#4. Go to church regularly.
I'm starting a bible study on James on January 19th.  Pretty pumped up about it.  

#5. Ali Edward's "One Little Word"  started on 1-1-12.  I have picked a word each year for the last three years.  I try to be mindful of it.  This year, I am choosing HAPPY.

December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011 (Part 1)

The holidays are over......
We ingested large amounts of sugar, saturated fats and caffeine.  My jeans are on the snug side.  
So, like the majority of Americans, I am on a strict diet!!!!!
I will share more about my New Years Resolution in tomorrow's post.  Before that happens, I need to catch you up on our Christmas festivities.  At least the ones that I captured, I kindof failed at photo taking during the holidays.  

Buddy and Bridgette (our elves) brought each of the kids a gingerbread house.  We have assembled these for four or five years straight.  I made up my mind that this year.......we would forego the tradition.  Mainly because it's a humongous mess, but also because after they are done, they sit around till I throw them away.  Just not a fan of things sitting around on the counter.  It stresses me out.   But since the elves brought them, I felt like we had to do it, ya know?

This year, Ryan wasn't too thrilled about playing with frosting and peppermint candies.  He knows that it was important to his mother however.  So he put on a pretend smile and began opening his gingerbread box.  Call it luck of the draw or........ he threw the box against the wall when I wasn't looking, when he pulled the gingerbread out, it was crumpled to pieces.  Guess that took care of that problem.  

Ian and Gracie's were perfectly intact though, so I made them continue.  

Rick sorta feels the same as Ryan about the whole edible house thing, so he watched his favorite holiday movie instead.  

Then another of our traditions of reading "What God Wants for Christmas".  This year we let the kids read instead of Rick.  We also made them read the corresponding Bible verses.  

Gracie drew a manger scene on the chalkboard.  I'm going to be awfully sad to erase it because it might be my favorite drawing she has ever done.  

We headed over to Grandma Charlotte's and Grandpa Bob's to have our Christmas with Macy, Titus, Colten, Trey, Nate, Pam, and Heather.  

We had our first dusting of snow that day.  It might have stayed on the ground for 30 minutes.  No snow this holiday!  It's a very strange 50 degrees AND I DO NOT LIKE IT!  In a perfect world, it would snow the week before Christmas and melt on the 2nd of January.  Then not return until the next third week of December.  But Missouri doesn't work like that.  

It wasn't, however, warm enough for shorts.  But my children are freakish and they wear them year round.  

We opened gifts and I practiced my depth of field.

Then we loaded everyone up to eat barbecue.

Titus was having a bad hair day.


The holidays sure fly by.  It seems like I just decked the halls.  I'm not a Grinch guys, but I'm usually glad that they are over.  It's just so much mingling, and eating, and short nights, and kids fighting, and cleaning, and cooking.  I love it................yet I dread it.  Does that make sense?

Part two of Christmas 2011 coming soon.......