Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

What a day! Cavett dressed in his costume to go to school. This year he decided he was an "army man-soldier." He had a wonderful day while Kendrick and I played. After eating lunch I could tell that Kendrick was about to poop. I decided to seize the opportunity and took him to the bathroom. He actually pooped in the toilet. It was by chance and I don't expect this to happen again for another year. But, if I catch him trying again, why not? We went back to Cavett's school a bit early so that Kendrick could play on the playground there. He wasn't terribly interested in the slides and such, but all the different cars really captured his attention.

That evening we trick-or-treated up and down our street and the one behind us. Then we helped host a street party two doors down from us.

As Cavett was eating his hot dog at the party, he asked Dad for his drink and Dad replied, "after you finish your hot dog." Cavett said, "Ok Dad, you can go now. I'm eating with my friend." Wow. That hit Stephen in the heart. Cavett continued to play with the kids, most much bigger than him until about 10:30. He had a fabulous time and didn't want to go home.

I agree, great fun with great friends.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Begun...

This morning as we were getting ready for the day, I gave Cavett a list of things he needed to do.

1. Get dressed and out on your shoes which are in the bathroom.

2. Help me make your bed.

3. Brush your hair.

As he goes into the bathroom to get his shoes, I over hear him say to himself, "How did Mom get so crazy?"

BTW, we finished the pumpkins. Here's the final product.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Afternoon Project

After church today, we set out on a family project to carve pumpkins. However, not in the literal sense. Our cul-de-sac is having a party for our small neighborhood on Halloween evening after everyone is done trick-or-treating. The typical bobbing for apples, broomstick limbo and jack-o-lantern bean bag toss. We had some left over plywood in our garage and so I volunteered us for the bean bag toss.

We searched for our design--a winking pumpkin--and drew it on the plywood. Stephen and Cavett went to Home Depot for a couple of hinges for the back and some paint, then came back to cut it out. They did a great job and Cavett loved working with the power tools!

We actually made 2. As I was drawing the big one, Dad found an additional smaller piece and let Cavett draw his own. It ended up looking kinda square-ish, with dots for eyes and nose. I asked him if he'd like me to help and we came up with the second design similar to the first, but with one tooth.

We will paint it tomorrow sometime. I'm so proud of my boys and we will have yard decorations for years to come!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Being a Single Mom

Being a single Mom really stinks. I am so thankful and appreciative of Stephen. He is so helpful and truly cares about his children and me. I am blessed to have him as a husband. We all really miss him when he is gone, but we know it is for the good of all. That being said, we had a great time in Shreveport, but it was really hard. I'm not going to lie and make it sound all rosey.

The trip up wasn't too bad, but after lunch at Chick-Fil-A in Lufkin, Kendrick never fell asleep for his afternoon nap and fussed the last 2 hours. When we arrived I put him straight to bed and he napped until 5. That evening we had dinner at Taco Mania and I had an enjoyable evening catching up with Nana.

Wednesday was Anna Grace and Memaw's birthday. So, while Nana was at work we waited for Anna Grace to come home early from school. We packed up a lunch and headed to the park with Anna Grace's new bike and a scooter for Cavett. Candace really captured some cute pics, so check out her blog too.

That evening we had a babysitter stay with the 2 little boys at Candace's house while we celebrated birthdays at Monjuni's. We did all the regular birthday things for the girls including gifts and cake. Memaw received an opal ring that she just adores and Anna Grace received several Fancy Nancy or princess items.

Thursday Candace and I took the kids to the Boardwalk in Bossier and did a little shopping. The kids got to ride the carousel and play in the pumpkin patch. Again, catch Candace's blog. We grabbed lunch at Fuddrucker's and then back to the house for nap time. Unfortunately, when we got home Cavett didn't get his pants pulled down in time and we had the first of a series of accidents. Poor thing, it even made it to his shoes. Naps were had and I did wash and changed sheets, since we would all be sleeping upstairs the next evening. Nana had some friends coming in.

Thursday evening Candace cooked Spaghetti Squash Ratatouille for all. Yummy and very good for you! After baths, I put Cavett in Nana's bed to start and Kendrick in the crib. All the siblings headed over to Jonny's to watch the Auburn game. I really don't have any interest in the game, but it was good to be with my brother and sisters.

When I came back home, I decided to pick up Cavett and take him into Kendrick's room with me. I didn't want him waking up early when Nana goes to work. Unfortunately, Kendrick woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep. He just kept screaming and I didn't want to keep everyone in the house awake, so Kendrick slept in the bed with Cavett and me. Mind you this is a double bed. It wasn't very restful. Long about 3 am, I was awoken by the smell of pee. Cavett had another accident, but didn't even wake up to realize it. That is how tired he was. We stripped him and I sent him to Nana's bed. However, it was too wet for Kendrick and me as well, so all 4 of us were in Nana's bed for a bit. Kendrick thought it was play time and wouldn't go back to sleep, so I had to let him cry in his crib.

We slept until 7:30 am Friday morning. The kids watched tv while I showered. We headed to Gran's to visit for a bit and then to Jumping Jupiter. Why hadn't I know about this place? We could have definitely spent Wednesday morning there. We had a fabulous time and I dare say it was the highlight of the trip. We finally got some time in with Aunt Karen and William. Time was too short as we were meeting Jonny and Amber for an early lunch at Superior. I ordered Cavett quesadillas and he didn't touch them. Not a bite and they changed me for an adult order and added unwanted rice and charged me for that too! I wasn't pleased.

Of course, nap time came and I packed the car. Kendrick only slept about 45 minutes, so I wasn't able to sleep either. I went up to get him and we laid down together and he fussed. He was still tired and didn't want to get up but also wasn't confortable. We rolled around on the bed for about an hour until I couldn't take it any more. Nana's house guests were also napping, so I did the best I could do to keep him quiet downstairs.

Cavett woke up and again had another accident not getting his pants down. Of course, all the suitcases were packed tightly in the trunk. I melted. Good thing Nana made it home. She cooked the boys french toast and I recovered. I was just done. I was literally tired, and tired of accidents, tired of trying to get kids to eat and worrying about getting a rounded meal. Tired of the chaos, tired of not being in my own home, tired of the struggles and juggling children by myself. It's just harder when you're not at home. (Ok, and I'm also PMS-ing).

We got in the car and after stopping at Counter Culture for a Humphrey Yogart for me, we headed back to Sugar Land. Kendrick cried and slept off and on. Cavett watched two movies and then we listened to classical music. Surprisingly, I wasn't terribly sleepy. But, I did stop for a latte in Lufkin. I cried the last hour of the trip. I was sad that it didn't go as well as I had hoped and that I wasn't able to spend more time with Mom. I was sad that my Dad isn't here to play with and get to know my boys. It's just a tough time of year. As much as I love the weather, fall is a tough season.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I know. I am way behind. I have fallen so far behind that it's almost daunting to go back and fill it all in. I have been swamped with a "Math and Music" presentation that I am doing for the Professional Development portion of the grant that I am working with Houston ISD on. It has been taking up every free moment. Also, Stephen and I both worked last Saturday, so it wasn't that eventful.

However, Friday Cavett did have his fall festival at his school. We had pizza and hot dogs, played all sorts of games and enjoyed the blow up bounce houses. It was a good time as it is every year and I thank God that I don't have to fund raise for the school. Between their fall festival, Scholastic book sales and the parent's only Auction and Dinner at the Country Club, they seem to be able to fill in the money blanks. I don't just hate fund raising; I abhore it! I guess it is because I hated selling it myself as a kid. All that to say, I don't mind paying 50 cents a ticket for Cavett to toss a hula hoop over a jack-o-lantern or find a trinket in a bale of hay.

Yesterday we drove to Shreveport. Stephen is in Vegas again to teach. Today we will be celebrating Anna Grace's and my grandmother's (on my Dad's side) birthdays. More to come tonight.....

Friday, October 17, 2008

You know....

You know your future grocery bill is in trouble when your 3 and 1 year old finish an entire box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese all by themselves!!!!
What is your "You know...?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Game Day

No, I'm not talking about football. Today during quiet time Cavett and I played games. We played two that came out of his Click magazine and then we looked for Chutes and Ladders. Unfortunately, it was missing still yet to be found. Instead, we pulled out the cards.

We tried Uno first. Besdies trying to play with just 2 people, it went fairly well. He quickly caught on to how to match either color or number. As for the action cards, well, we kind of ignored them. Next, we tried Go Fish. This was a bit more of a challenge, but again he caught on. Luckily, several years ago we received a huge box of stuff from Aunt Lynn in Chicago. In it were card holders for kids. I held on to them thinking they may come in handy. Very ingeneous--they work like a charm and Cavett even came up with his own way to hold them.

This evening after Kendrick went to bed, we played with Daddy. It is so much more fun to play with 3 people instead. I look forward to more game nights with my boys. This is what I have really been looking forward to! Stephen even commented on how I have gotten over "winning at all costs." Thanks, honey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spinning Applesauce

Today I got to enjoy Kendrick one-on-one while Cavett was at school. He had a great morning nap. I even had to wake him up to eat lunch. But after lunch we played. At one point I started humming "Let's Go Walking" to myself, because I am trying to "re-learn" it. (Evidentally, I learned it wrong. Long story.) Kendrick immediately recognized it as a SongPlay song. He's only been there twice at this age and then one session when he was 3 months old. So, I was amazed at how quickly he recognized it. Even though it was the wrong song, he recognized the situation. He went to my back and wanted to do "See-Saw." After a while he got tired of that and came around to the front to do it again. Later we tried out a few more songs--specifically "Teddy Bear." He has figured out how to turn around and around. Vestibular simulation at work!

He was also allowed to go crazy with the applesauce tonight. It was all over the face, hands and bib, but the bowl managed to stay in one place and there was very little on his outfit. He would have nothing to do with me spoon feeding it to him.

He's really growing up.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sand and Scootin'

This afternoon when I met Cavett at school, he was covered. Literally, covered. Head to toe in sand. In his hair alone he must have had at least 3-4 Tablespoons worth. There was sand in his shoes, in his socks, stuck to his arms, legs, and hands. He loves the sandbox and has had an issue with his teachers (and me) about throwing the sand. We have had to empty out the shoes before getting in the car, but today was ridiculous!

As soon as he got home, he went straight to the bathtub and got a nice "exfoliating" scrub. He whined and cried about it the enitre way so a nap was appropriate. "Just a little catnap," as he calls it. Well, it turned into a 2 hour and 45 minute snooze. He was ready to go after this little "catnap." Unfortunately, he also had some ice cream after dinner. He was wired. So, we got out the scooters and had a race down to the mailboxes and back several times. Sometimes we were both on scooters, other times one of us ran and the other scooted. Cavett won every time.

It's now 9:25 and he's still up in his bed awake. I guess we will have to push through the whining and complaining and crying so that he will fall asleep easier. He is so his Dad when it comes to sleeping.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shreveport=Good Food & Family

On Thursday we headed out of town to Shreveport in our new car. This was to be the first voyage, so we were anxious to see what kind of highway gas mileage we could get. We encountered some stop and go traffic downtown, but other than that the trip was fine. I drove carefully, never above 68. We ended up getting about 45 mpg. Fantastic! As the weekend went gas prices just kept dropping from $3.89 to $3.45 for diesel.

Friday morning we spent playing with the Chaneys and celebrating Candace's birthday. Unfortunately, they were heading to Hot Springs at lunch so that was the last we would see our cousins this weekend. After they left we called Uncle Jonny and he met us at Centenary where we watched the choir for a few minutes before heading to the "chips and dip" place, Superior.

After Nana got home we headed to the Red River Revel, an arts festival in downtown Shreveport. Other than the physical set up, it really hadn't changed since I was a kid. We watched a very funny German street performer, got Cavett's face painted, Cavett made a necklace and dug in sand. Kendrick enjoyed listening to a band and having Nana and me chase him. We ate Nachitoches Meat Pies, Turkey Legs, Corn Dogs and Funnel Cakes. The lone purchase was made by Cavett. He got a hand crafted wooden rubberband gun.

Saturday morning we relaxed and the kids pretended to cook and eat until Nana got back from her Fall festival at school and we went out to see Gran and Grampaw briefly. Kendrick wasn't feeling well, so he didn't go inside. Lunch was at Monjuni's where Cavett and I split spaghetti and meatballs.

I know this sounds like a weird post for people who don't know Shreveport. But, for those who have ever been to or lived there, it's all about the food. There are so many incredible Mom and Pop restaurants that have been there for at least 30 years. I posted on Facebook for my status that "Jennifer is feeling fat after eating at Superior, the Revel and Monjuni's." I had at least 4-5 people comment on how they were jealous and why didn't I hit the Sweep the Kitchen Pizza at Johnny's, A Humphrey Yougurt at Counter Culture, a Shrimp buster at Herby K's, a glazed doughnut at Southern Maid, and strawberry pie at Strawn's. Lucky for me, we get to go back in about 10 days for my niece's and grandmother's birthday party.

So, until then Shreveport, I'll be saving my calories.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Candace!

By Candace Amanda Den...

This year I was reminded what a talented sister I have. Growing up she always claimed she wasn't the musical one. I remember her getting into soccer for a while. She was definitely the athletic one. She always had a loving, God centered-heart in whatever it was she was trying to do. This year, her creative writing side blew me away. I mean, I always knew she had a keen sense of writing. I think she was published in the Caddo Parish Schools creative writing book, Seedlings. She always came up with clever ideas, skits and sayings. (Indians and the Princess Bride come to mind.) But, this year she began her blog. She wrote about her kids, our parents, extended family, her friends, her work all the while focusing on God and his purpose.

One cold January evening, my Mom and I were sitting at the computer and I was showing her a website that I had just found--Blurb. They publish whatever it is that you would like published at very reasonable prices--cookbooks, photo albums, journals, poetry, stories, and blogs. We looked at all kinds of different books and we decided that the one who should be writing a book in our family is Candace. At that point she had been adding in a devotional type excerpt to her blog every 5 days or so. So, for the past 8 months I gathered them all up and put them into a Blurb book.

I am so proud of my little sister. She is such an inspiration to me and all that meet her. She sees the bigger picture and has the "Mary" heart for all of God's work and creation. I hope that you have a fantastic birthday, Candace! I love you. ~Jenny

Click here to order your own copy of This Little Light of Mine. A small profit has been added in that will go to Candace's favorite missionaries.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soccer Practice

Soccer is going well for Cavett. I would say that he is making 50-75% of the goals the team makes. He is fairly aggresive on the field and has gotten over the fact that you fall down and get dirty. He really looks forward to the games and practices.

Kendrick on the other hand has a difficult time. Some days he is good in the stroller the entire time. Other times, like today, nothing about the stroller or snacks will satisfy him. Today he found his shadow. He found it interesting to wave his arms and watch how it changed. At one point, he tried to pick it up. He also enjoyed riding on Dad's shoulders.