Friday, December 26, 2008

Wonderful, Relaxing Christmas

We had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas. Jim bought me way too much (as usual). In fact, I am ini the process of figuring out everything on my new laptop. I am so excited to have this awesome gift. Now I can take all of you with me everywhere I go. Santa brought Gabe and Zane a Nintendo DS each. So Gabe and I have decided we need to go hang out at Starbuck's with my laptop and his DS. Just because we can.
Jack got 2 new pieces to his Geo Trax. He was so excited he jumped up and down. Maci Clare got a Bye-Bye Chou Chou baby and a stroller. She has been pushing her baby around the living room. She also got Tinkerbell. We've watched it 4 times already.
My friend, Belinda, (who I haven't seen in forever and I am making it a point to call her and drop by one day after the kids get back in school), made me a beautiful bracelet with all the kids' names on it. I love it. She made me one with the 3 boys and I gave it back to her to add Maci Clare's name and we just never got around to it. Jim called and she fixed it up for me. It was in my stocking. It is my favorite gift.
I also got a Pink CD in my stocking. I love Pink. I did get the clean version of Funhouse so I can listen to it and not worry about what the kids are listening to.
My mom and dad and grandma spent the afternoon with us. My mom cooked lunch and brought it all to my house so that the kids could stay with their toys. My mom is awesome like that. The 3 boys went home with my parents last night and Jim and I watched Hancock. We also had the 1st 3 shows in the first season of Weeds. Have you seen this show? OMG, it is pretty vulgar but you just have to keep watching to see what happens. Anyway, I'm going to try to post a picture of my bracelet when I figure this laptop thing out. I want everyone to see how talented Belinda is. But she just refuses to sell her stuff. She has 6 kids and I think she just doesn't want another thing to think about. But she makes beautiful jewelry and she enjoys doing it for her and her friends. Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. We sure did!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas The Night Before Christmas...

And everything is finally ready. (Except I have to clean up a little bit today.) But my presents are wrapped and ready for tomorrow. Jim made the comment that he thought we were going light this year, But as you can see that is very hard for me to do.

I also finally put my Nativity up. I have more than one but this is my big one. The lights look funky in this picture but it is really pretty. Now I am wishing for the Willow Tree one. I think I'm going to just start buying one piece a year until I have the whole thing.

I usually add a decoration every year. This year I didn't think I would have time to get a new one but I found this beautiful angel at Mast General Store Friday night when Jim and I were downtown. I loved her and she was 50% off making her only $5 so I knew she was coming home with us.

We made a Ginger Bread house the other night. In all its imperfection I sill love it because it was decorated by my family.
Lots of the candy went in to Maci Clare's mouth but we still had enough to finish it.
Here is the finished product. The kids were very proud. But Maci Clare keeps sneaking up on a stool to steal candy off of the roof. So we are left with one side bare now.
We decorated Jim's bald head and nose too. Jack thought it was funny to lick the icing off of Jim so I snapped this quick picture. We really had fun.
Now we are just waiting on Santa and tracking his progress at Norad.
We are headed to church for a 4pm Christmas Eve service. We are going to the nursing home to see my grandma (and deliver some packages to those ladies that don't really have family), then back home for grilled hamburgers and Santa tracking. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and I'll be checking back in sometime this weekend.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Verdict

Okay! We finally know what is wrong with Gabe. He has an ear infection and, get this, Walking Pneumonia. Now we know why he felt so rotten. Thank God we have an antibiotic. Hopefully this is the end and we will be well for a while. He was not happy to go back to the doctor but I was very relieved to find out what was wrong for all these days. Now Jim and I are headed out tomorrow and get things wrapped up. My mom is going to babysit and even volunteered to spend the night if we wanted to stay out late and do something.
I have baked 120 cookies in the last 2 days. I decorated 55 or them tonight. 35 of the decorated ones are going to Gabe's class. 20 are going to Jack's class. The ones I didn't decorate are going to Zane's class along with icing, chocolate chips, sprinkles and marshmallows and they will decorate their own. Tomorrow is Polar Express Day(which I hate because I'm sick of the movie and I know the kids are sick of it.) But anyway they are having hot chocolate and cookies. Easy enough and would've been easier except for all the sickness. Jack's class is having a birthday party for Jesus and they are doing McDonald's Happy Meals. They will all start Christmas break tomorrow afternoon. The big boys get out at 11 and Jack gets out at 12 and we finally have a break.

Gabe had a little concert tonight and he and another kid played The Arkansas Traveler. He did a good job. I have a video but it is so big I'm having problems uploading it. I'll try again later because he really sounded good tonight.
BTW, Gabe has lost 6 pounds since last Thursday. I told you the quickest way to lose weight is to get sick. I am going to try to post a couple of videos throughout the weekend of the Christmas programs that we have been to this year. Most of you will probably get sick of seeing my kids performing but bear with me. This is for my MIL because she is so far away.

Here Again!

This morning, Gabe is still sick. He just can't seem to shake this stuff. So we are headed back to the doctor this afternoon. He went to school about 11:30 to try to take the last 2 tests he has to make up. He has a fiddle/mandolin duet with another kid tonight at the concert at school. So he is going to stay for about 10 minutes after school to practice and then we are headed to Greenville for the third time. He doesn't know it yet. So needless to say, I still don't have everything done. I am working on clearing out my laundry room and laundry baskets full of clean clothes.
Last night as I was still trying to do some internet shopping the power went out. It was pitch black in here and I couldn't see anything. I woke Jim up and he got up and found candles and went to check on kids. So while the power was out, I ate a bowl of cereal and tried to read a little. but then the flashlight I was using went dead and so I just went to sleep. I am going to try again tomorrow. Oh well, maybe I'll have something a little more positive to say on my next post.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Did I Get To This Point?

4 kids at home this morning! Yes! 4 kids at home this morning! Yesterday, Gabe started to come out of his funk. So, we worked on a little school work and studied for the many, many tests he has to make up. At about 4:00, when I asked Zane to start his homework, he started to cry and say his stomach hurt. Well, this being his standard excuse and me being the horrible mother I am, said, "Oh, just go do your homework. You're not sick." When Jim came home 15 minutes later, Maci Clare and I headed to Walmart for the rest of the stuff for the school parties that I am in charge of. At around 6:00, when I called, Zane had just thrown up all over the couch and floor. So much for getting over the sickness. He proceeded to throw up for the next several hours. Not just throw up but throw up accompanied by screams and cries. (Zane never throws up so I guess it caught him a little off guard to feel like that.) Jim headed out to the Cub Scout party when I got home and the rest is history. So this morning, everyone stayed home.
Gabe went to school about 12 and is feeling much better than he has in days. Zane is now eating and normal again. And so far (I'm keeping my fingers crossed and sending lots of prayers heavenward) no one else is sick.
Tomorrow, I will be free to try to get some stuff done. Then Friday, Christmas break starts.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Monday

It was another very rainy Monday. Gabe is still at home running a high fever and can't seem to get moving. He is coughing and throwing up. Needless to say, we are headed back to the doctor tomorrow. I wanted to try to get some shopping done today. So where did I go? The internet. I got quite a bit bought but I don't usually shop on the internet and it was very frustrating to me. I probably will avoid this unless it is a necessity next time. I am going to try to get a few more things done. You know, Santa brings all the presents so the parents don't really have to do that much. I am getting a little stressed this close to Christmas and everyone keeps getting sick. Oh well, it will be alright I'm sure.

A Shepherd with No Sheep

Yesterday as I was getting Jack ready for the church Christmas program, he looked at me with his big eyes and said, "I can't be a shepherd today." I thought to myself, "Oh no, here we go." Last year he was supposed to be a wiseman. He made it to the stage and I was on the floor below him. He turned and took a flying leap right into my lap. So I just pictured the flying leap without me sitting below to catch him. So I bravely said, "Why not?" And he quietly said (with a little panic in his tiny voice), "I not have any sheep." So what is a mother to do when her shepherd boy has no sheep? Take two stuffed sheep. He was perfect.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This is Ridiculous

What is going on in The Sickels' house? Yesterday, I got up to wake Jack and Zane up for school and Jim was laying in the middle of the living floor under a pile of blankets. He was running a fever of 101.5. No work for him. Gabe is still running a fever and went back to the doctor this morning. They gave him more medicine and hopefully he will be able to participate in his Christmas program in the morning.
And now for the real kicker! When I got home from taking the boys to school, I started throwing up. Yes, can you believe it? Another Stomach Virus. I was so disgusted. So I was in bed all day. I am much better today and Jim is up and moving too. So hopefully the worst of it is over. Now I've got to get busy Christmas shopping. I am not even close to finishing and that is so unlike me. I need to get it in gear and shop, shop, shop!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Tree

This one will be short. I promise. But I just had to share Maci Clare's Christmas tree. Last year, I looked and looked for a pink tree and much to my dismay could not find one. I saw them around Thanksgiving and then they were all gone. I couldn't believe that many people wanted pink trees. So here was my solution.A white tree with pink ornaments. I found all this at Big Lots and the white tree came from Dollar General. I couldn't resist.It is looking kinda rough right now because Maci Clare un-decorates it as often as she can. I love this tree and to top it. What else?A Princess Tiara

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Few Of My Favorite Ornaments

Finally, I am putting up a Christmas post. I love my Christmas tree every year because every ornament on it is special. Each ornament has meaning. We do not do fancy, themed trees. The theme of my tree is family and friends. Because that is where each ornament came from. I wish that I could show you every one but I know you quickly bore. Some of the pictures are dark but you can get the idea. So here are just a few of my favorites and why they are so special.
The first a close friend of mine gave to me. It is a pig (I used to collect them) with wings sticking out of a Christmas stocking. It is made from Georgia Clay. And it has a little story to go with it about the Pig Angel.
The next one is a cute Santa with movable legs and arms. I love this ornament just because I think it is so cute. It was given to me by my mother-in-law.The first year we were married, we needed Christmas ornaments. So we drove around and everywhere we went, I would pick up cheap ornaments. This was one of them. I love it because it is just a Christmas ball but it has a picture of Santa kneeling at the manger.
Another pig that I actually bought just because she was handmade and oh so sweet. She is an angel. Jim hates this ornament.I have several teacher ornaments but I love this one. It has my name, the child's name, and the name of the school where I taught.
I threw this one in because we look like babies. It was our first Christmas together and we spent it alone. We lived far from our family and decided to stay put. It was awesome to get to spend that first Christmas together.
This one is my favorite. I bought it last year less than a mile from my house at a little gift shop that is hooked on to a convenience store. I love the message. I know you can't see it but it says,"Who else would think of sending a message and wrapping it in swaddling clothes."

Now here is the whole tree.
My tree topper is very simple. It is a handmade angel that my mom bought me at a craft fair a long time ago. She sits on a marble top table all year in my living room and at Christmas she goes on top of the tree. I stick lights around her because she doesn't light up. Sometimes I wish I had something else but I can't find anything that I like better. I think she is so pretty and so simple for our special tree.
Like I said, I have lots and lots of ornaments. Some made by my kids and all very special. All of my kids' "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments are on it too. But I couldn't pick just one. So there you have it. My shabby but beautiful Christmas tree.

A Little Motivation, Please

I needed a good kick in the pants to get motivated for Christmas and after reading several blogs and looking at beautiful Christmas decorations, I may finally be getting there. I can't say that I'm in the mood yet. But I better get there in a hurry. Gabe and Zane are counting down everyday. So I will share some of my Christmas stuff a little later. (I hope tonight if things settle down a little.)
Gabe went to the doctor this morning. They say it is a virus. They checked his blood count for pneumonia and did a flu test. And both were fine. So now we're just waiting it out. No medicine except something to control the cough a little. So maybe tomorrow he will feel a little better. We came back by Ingles and rented Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Fred Claus, and Wall-E. So at least he won't be quite so bored. I'll share pics later.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Rainy, Yucky Day

Gabe is still home sick. His temp is still 103 so tomorrow we will probably just head to the doctor. I don't really think they will give him medicine. But we really need a doctor's excuse for school. He really doesn't need to miss these last few days before Christmas but he doesn't have a choice.
Anyway, my dad wanted to get out of his house today (the cleaning lady came and he doesn't like to be there) So he came here and stayed with Gabe. Maci Clare and I headed out. Our first stop was Dunkin' Donuts for a quick, unhealthy breakfast. She wanted a doughnut so I got one too. Toasted Coconut. DELICIOUS! Then it was off to Walmart to try to find some of Jim's Christmas list. No luck. I bought him one thing. It was not even on his list. Oh well, I'll get there one of these days.
Our next stop was my very favorite thrift store.
We found a few good things.

An American Girl Family Album (hardback book for filling in some Grandma and mom stories for a girl.)
A Spiderwick Chronicles book
A Wiggles Song Book that really plays 6 of the Wiggles Songs
Guess How Much I Love You Board Book
A paperback copy of Blueberries For Sal
I paid 10 cents each for these books.

Then I bought The Brethren by Beverly Lewis
And 5 books by Wanda E. Brunstetter ( a couple in the Daughters of Lancaster series and 3 in the Brides of Lancaster series)
These were .25 each.

All these clothes were $1 each. Can't beat the prices.
This was too cute to pass up even though it is a Cherokee brand (probably from Target.)

These pants are Gap and size 2T (too big for MC now but she'll grow into them.)
They have this cute little horse head hanging from the belt loop.This is a Gymboree dress shirt that I found for Jack.
We love Spongebob and pajamas for a$1? Can't pass that up.

This Nautica Sweatshirt is Gabe's size but it looks a little small. He hasn't tried it on but if it is too little, Zane will get it. (He will get eventually anyway.)
So it was a pretty good trip. Now I guess we will head to Greenville to the doctor tomorrow. I'll let you know what they say when we are back.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Walgreen's and CVS Trip

This morning, I decided to make a Walgreen's run before I picked Jack up. Here is the deal.

2 3 packs of Scotch Gift Wrap Tape
2 packs of Reynold's Wrap Aluminum Foil
3 2 packs of Sharpie Markers
3 packs of gift Tissue (24 sheets)
6 plastic light organizers (we needed these bad)
3 packs of plastic cutlery
2 dozen eggs
1 pack toothpicks (250)
Total = $12.88
I will get a $2 rebate on the tape and the aluminum foil was free because it was on sale for .99 and I had 2 $1 coupons.
I also bought a 1.5 quart crock pot. She forgot to charge me for it and when I realized it, I went back in and paid for it. I got a $3 RR. So it was really only $6.99.

Then we headed over to CVS. I bought:
6 bags of Hershey's Bliss Candy
2 bags of Hershey's Kisses
2 Vitamin Waters
1 Powerade.
Total was 28.80 and I paid $14 for all of it. I paid with the $25 gift card which didn't cost me anything. And I got back $11.49 ECBs. I will go tomorrow and use these to buy diapers.

All in all, a pretty good shopping day.

Tonight is Jack's school Christmas program. Maci Clare has been throwing up today (because of drainage). Gabe came home from school about 12 with chills, fever, sore throat, and a terrible cough.
Jim's comment: "Maybe we're getting it over with before Christmas."
I sure hope so.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Belated Birthday Wish

To my wonderful husband. I really didn't forget his birthday. We had a big bonfire/party and I spent every minute getting it all together. So now I have a little spare time to sit down and show you our party. We had so much fun. We really weren't calling it a birthday party. We usually have a bonfire in the fall and this year there just wasn't enough time.
A lot of guys from Jim's job were invited and all but one came. Of course, the men stayed outside by the fire while the women huddled in the kitchen. I had to force myself to go out in the 29 degree weather to get these pictures. But I did not stay out long. It was actually warm by the fire.
This picture is a little funky because of the fire fumes. This is Joe and his wife Crystal and Steve. They all work with Jim.Jim was nice and toasty. Chris is the one sitting beside Jim. He is an intern and he is graduating and has accepted a job back where his parents live. He was funny. Notice he has on flip flops. Needless to say, he came and huddled in the kitchen after a short time. Beside Chris is Don, Jim's boss and then Brett. Brett used to work with them but went to another company.
This is another guy that works with Jim. His name is Kevin and he came alone. His wife didn't want to come out and freeze her rear end off.
Zane loves fire and stayed outside until it was time for him to go bed. He kept a stick in his hand the whole time.

Jack was in and out. When he was out, Lucy wouldn't leave him alone. But he didn't seem to mind.Brad is one of our best friends. Of course what is a bonfire, without marshamallows and hot dogs.
Hunter played on Zane's football team. His mom and dad are new friends and I'm so glad they got to come.

Now if you are offended by boobs, do not go any further. I made this cake for Jim. I thought it turned out pretty cute. But no one even took a bite. So we have it in the freezer.

There were not very many pictures of the girls. I'm not sure why I didn't take them but Jim's friend, Connie (who is Swedish) took a couple. Here is one of them.

We had good food and good friends and we had a really good time. We are trying to plan another one after Christmas and hopefully the people who didn't get to come, will get to come in January when things are not quite so busy.
Jim, I'm not sure I even told you Happy Birthday because I was so busy. So Happy Belated Birthday and I love you!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Creative title, huh? Anyway, tomorrow is Jim's birthday and we are planning a big bonfire/party. My time line for getting ready is all screwed up. Guess who is home sick today? JIM! He came home about 10:30 and is in the bed with stomach issues (not sure what because he won't elaborate) and I think he is feverish. So I'm blogging and reading email and playing a little blog catch up reading right now. But soon, I will have to revise my plan and get something done.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Magic Kingdom

And it was truly magical. We had a great day . As we were going in, I stuck my camera out of the sunroof and this is the picture I took.

When we made it to the monorail, we asked the little guy standing there if we could ride with the driver. So me and the boys got to ride up front.Jack was not at all thrilled to be there. Can't you tell? But after we got going he was better. I thought it was pretty fun.The driver was so nice and this is the view out the front window.You can't go to Disney and not take a picture in front of the flowers shaped like Mickey. Unfortunately, I look pregnant in this picture. Oh well, I'm not!
As you are walking down main street, Cinderella's castle looms ahead. I just love that castle.
Since the kids weren't really into the characters, I didn't take very many pictures. In fact, the only character I even got close enough to to take a picture was Scrooge McDuck.

Maci Clare and Jack wanted to look but no way were they going close enough to touch. They really like It's A Small World. That was always my favorite when I was little. I had a vinyl 45 record of that song that I practically wore out.
Jack barely made the 40 inch requirement to ride some of the milder thrill rides. So he did get to ride Thunder Mtn. Railroad (a roller coaster)
He loved it! Looks like my mom did too.
This guy was walking around the park wearing these pink mouse ears. He turned around at one point and said, "My daughter won't wear this and I paid $16 for it. Somebody's gotta wear it." I just thought that was a perfect Disney moment. Everything is soooo expensive.
We didn't go to any parades but we wanted to be sure we made it for the fireworks and Tinkerbell's descent.
This was Maci Clare watching the fireworks and here is why she looks like that.
Not only was the castle lit up with different colors, there was also lights draped over it. It was so pretty.

The little light spot is Tinkerbell. I couldn't get one better than this. But you get the idea how far up she was.

These pictures are a lot better when you can see them big. But I just wanted to share so you know that the fireworks are well worth staying late in the park.
We fought our way to the gate after that. It took us about 45 minutes to get out and get to our car but we had a great time.
Thursday night Jim and I took the boys to Downtown Disney because they had heard about LegoWorld. It was something to see. That was the only place we went but I took quite a few pictures of the things made of legos. This is the Loch Ness Monster. He was built in the water and I just couldn't get a great picture. I think he was my favorite Lego Creation.

There was a family made of Legos. A mom and dad (both holding cameras) and 2 or 3 kids holding leashes to which these dogs were attached.

And if your kids are scared of Santa, why not take a picture with Lego Santa? My boys loved the lego stuff and spent quite some time in the store.
You guys know what happened the next morning so I won't tell you again. But we did have a wonderful time. No matter how crowded I would recommend this experience to anyone.