Thursday, December 30, 2010

A year in review*

I think I have had a pretty productive year, maybe not on the blog, since this is my lowest amount of posts in a year! Which is pretty sad, considering the year I started this was when Gwen was born in 2006 and in 6 months I had 20 more posts than for the year than this year! Wow! I also looked back at how the year started for us and I found this post! The pictures and post probably sum everything up from the beginning of the year. I did get out and start meeting people, I think I have made friends, I am tentative to say that still, I don't know why, but I am. I did finally get Gwen's paperwork in to the preschool! She loves it, I love it, Eric loves it, and Nate loves it. The kids look so young in that picture, don't they? They are so sweet and troublesome, but if it wasn't for them I probably wouldn't have gotten out and met people!
I think I am doing much better at the end of this year. I am finally no longer controlled by the depression that has plagued me for 4 years. I am able to sit and play with my children, today we played playdoh for a while. It was fun! I am better able to tolerate my children's personalities quirks without raising my voice, a huge step for me. I still occasionally raise my voice, but on rare occasion, yay me! I certainly didn't want to be that kind of parent. I am still no perfect Mother, but I am improving and hope to continue to improve next year. I don't want to always say no to my kids, I feel like I say that a lot, and I am not talking about the don't do that things, I am talking about the stuff they want to do. We need to spend more time doing what they want to do, so I need to budget my time better, so we have more time do do fun stuff. For example, sometimes they will ask to go outside right before I have to start dinner, so I need to find the time to do that earlier. Of course sometimes I am being lazy and don't want to go outside in the rain, but I will work on saying yes more, within reason.
I think overall I am in a better place this year, which means everyone in the family is happier this year. Sure, it is still a struggle to live the lifestyle we live, but I have found a way to be more at peace with it.
I feel like I have had lots of introspective kind of years and I am ready to no longer consider who I am what I want to be. Hopefully having friends means I won't have time to sit here and consider anymore. But who knows what this year will be for us, we are as ready as we can be for this year! We hope you who read this have a great 2011!

*So I realize this isn't much of a year in review, but this is all I've got for you today...I had great plans to do a year in review when I started, but as I started to blog I apparently ran out of steam! I have made some resolutions for next year, but I will be not be discussing them now. Hopefully I will be a better blogger next year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A real snow day

The day after Christmas we got 6in of snow. It has been a little chilly since then, so the snow hasn't melted. The kids are really enjoying the snow, Nate still loves to eat the snow. Fortunately we had all these boxes laying around, the bat cave box is perfect for sledding, when you are 2 & 4! The waxy surface plus the place to put their feet, perfect! So we brought it out back and let the kids sled. Then we went for a drive and came back and realized there was a bigger hill that we could take the kids to, not far from the house. So, we walked over there and braved the big hill. Gwen loved it! For some reason Nate was not that interested in going down the big hill, I took him down with me a time or 2, and Eric took him and Gwen down, one at a time...we didn't get any pictures of that, but I am compiling a slide show of both hills.

I also took videos of the kids so my Mom could see them sledding, only in our back yard though.

Gwen sledding from Melanie Ubil on Vimeo.

Nate sledding from Melanie Ubil on Vimeo.

Gwen & Nate sledding from Melanie Ubil on Vimeo.

Looking back at the slide show I realize that Nate really doesn't know how to sled, he kept falling over or running into things, he didn't get hurt though. Although knowing what I now know about that boy, if he did get hurt I am pretty sure if he like it, he would still do it, getting hurt jumping on the bed has not stopped him from doing it...blast that boy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I've decided instead of going through the Christmas pictures, I would just put all the pictures in a slideshow, you can look at them at your leisure, you're welcome!

A couple things to note, Gwen woke up at about 7:15, I could hear her little foot prints and I said "who's there" she said "Santa's been here, he's left us presents". We thought we would eat breakfast open presents, nope we opened presents they played and then Eric and I ate breakfast, around 9ish they decided to eat. When Gwen opened her presents she said "IT'S WHAT I WANTED" for almost everything, even though they weren't on her Santa list. Needless to say she loved them all and she was very excited. It was funny and cute, and made me realize these are probably the perfect years for Christmas. Nate was beside himself I don't know if his little hands could carry anymore. When I was putting him to bed he asked if Santa was coming again with presents...I suspect this is going to be a lot like Halloween for him, he is going to try to wake up every morning and look for presents! We had a good day, everyone stayed in PJs, no real fighting, and no entertaining needed, lovely! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Figgy pudding

I asked Gwen what she wanted for Christmas dinner and she wanted figgy pudding, she was adamant that we have figgy pudding. So, I made figgy pudding. Who am I to challenge her? Several people have said to me that I am a good Mother for doing this, and I don't think of it that way. I have been thinking of this concept, what makes a person a good Mother? I know several people who I feel like go above and beyond the call of duty. People who we don't know how they do it and wish we could too. But we all have areas that we excel in, and areas that make us so nervous and relieved we don't have to worry about as parents, if push came to shove we would step up for our kids, or I am sure I wouldn't be friends with you. ;) And in the general scheme of things I am not sure making figgy pudding is all the great, but I did it and Gwen tried it and we all had a Merry Christmas, in our PJS.

So, what was the verdict? Figgy pudding, not really that hard to make. Easy, really, the hard part is the steaming of the pudding, my recipe called for a bundt pan covered in foil and then secured with a rubber band, then putting it in a 12x17 pan carefully pouring in boiling water covering the whole thing with foil and steaming it. And that wasn't the tricky part, the tricky part was making sure it was done, we couldn't find a rubber band to put around it, so we fashioned a piece of copper was kind of a pain, but it worked out for us. So, how did it taste? It tasted liked fig newtons with out what I am assuming is the newton part of the fig newtons. It was too seedy for Gwen and I, but the hard sauce made it yummy! I won't be making it again for a while, and if I do, let's just say I will try to de-seed some of the figs!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Snow day!

We had our first snow day here last week, well, our first since Gwen has started school. I thought it would be fun to stay in PJs and watch movies, Gwen had other ideas. I ended up reading "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" a couple times and Gwen was determined to go outside and play before all the snow melted...I tried to explain to her it was mostly ice or sleet, but she still dressed herself...I didn't dress Nate so much I left his PJs on and he put Gwen's boots on (he's been wearing them A LOT lately with his cowboy hat and calling himself Jessie, he might be obsessed with Toy Story!) and then I put his jacket on...we had a good time until Nate fell on his face. I decided that was a good time to go inside and have lunch! Enjoy the slide show.

To explain the inside pictures, we read "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and they gathered up stockings and used them to pick up toys around the house and put them in the sleigh, since they were trying to stop Christmas...real grinches! Not my idea at all, because who wants to clean that stuff all up!


This is going to be a random post with random pictures, they probably won't relate to anything, but you should know no children were hurt in any pictures, or stuck, for long!
In the following picture, please excuse the laundry pile, waiting to be laundered!
The past couple of days have been busy, I have been scurrying to finish Christmas cards and get them sent. Which I think I finally finished. I think that sending Christmas cards are becoming a thing of the past, if my excel sheet shows any indication, either that or out of sight out of mind...I don't know which, but I still do them and give you 2 years, if I don't get a Christmas card 1 year, still on the list, but 2 years in a!
We have been watching Christmas movies, and during this movie Gwen was scared, which for some reason means she watches from somewhere not on the couch, usually in her room, but the view to the TV is blocked by the tree, so she had to sit here!
Nate fell asleep during said movie, he slept the night through, it was about 7p when this picture was taken!
I have been told by the bank 5-7 business days until a NC certified check will be processed which I am sure complicated by the while I consider the Jeep sold, Eric still is waiting. Although with all the paperwork and info we have on this lady seems to me that everything on the up and up, especially since the woman and her fiancee seem to own a used car dealership! Eric does wonder if they are just going to resell the thing, but who knows!
I have realized that I don't have any cookies for Santa, so on the docket today, making cookies for Santa. I feel like staying home today and going no where, so that is what I am hoping to do. I paged through my Dec issue of Southern Living with Gwen and she picked out 2 cookies to make...I have all the ingredients so we are going to try them!
Gwen made this hat during her preK "celebration" she is very excited it jingles! I also stupidly asked her what we should have for Christmas and she is adamant-it is not Christmas with out figgy pudding! I usually make a cake for Christmas, so what the heck, all though I have heard reports that the figgy pudding is terrible, and I was considering making another cake, but I guess now that we are making cookies, I won't have to make another sweet!
I was on my way to a playdate yesterday morning when Eric called and said I can't finish the Jeep can you come home? I was already about at their house so I stopped at the door and said, sorry we can't stay, here's some candy, Merry Christmas! She generously offered to watch my kids so I could run home and help Eric (I guess when you have 7, what is 2 more?) I decided to let her watch the kids, no point in disappointing all those kids right before the holidays! The kids had a great time and wanted to go back today, but as I already mentioned, I am not driving anywhere today, if I can help it! I think I had another random thing to mention, but I can't remember it now!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The lights!

Now that I have gotten the Christmas cards out and have finished candy, I can now veg out in the evenings, and by veg out I mean work on the blog and exercise...although I think that my veg'ing will be short lived since Christmas eve is soon, I guess in 2 that right? I am so out of sync! When Eric finished his portion of the lights, he made me run outside in the cold down the street and fortunately I had brought the camera so you can see the view also. (Amy this is for you!)Eric tells me his intent was if someone is at the end of the street they will look down and see a bunch of lights and say "Gosh, I've got to see that!"
Here is the side view, Eric and I discussed him fixing the half strand of the icicles that aren't working, but I thought if he fixed it we might blow more year we must work on our strands/outlet.
This is the almost finished look...this is after we finished everything, but sadly the garland lights I put around the garage door didn't stay up, and I don't feel like going out and fixing them all the time, so sorry, this is what it currently looks like with wreath and mailbox lit! No word on who won the neighborhood contest, but we suspect that the voting was low and they don't know what to do! I guess we will find out eventually, my neighbor hung some lights outside around her door, influenced by our awesome light display...I guess that is reward enough, cheering someone up and spreading the joy of Christmas lights! So, Eric and I will continue to plan for next year and we look forward to going out after Christmas and picking up some cheap stuff on clearance for next year...I hope I am not the only person out there who looks at the lights planning for next year...I saw a outdoor light timer that goes you can set to go on at dusk and off at dawn or at any other time, that I have my eye on!
Today we sold the Jeep. It happened so quickly, we are a little in shock! But it certainly was a nice Christmas present for us. Eric might be a little freaked out and miss the Jeep. But we will adjust as we have with everything else.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We go to a weekly playgroup and in lieu of the playgroup this week we went to the museum. This was Nate's favorite display. He could move the skeleton heads and he loved it. He kept going back to it.
This might have been his second favorite thing, the spaceship. He played with the controls and ran around and talked about space.
He really enjoyed it.
And then we had to go pick up Gwen at school, so we had to leave. :(

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cookie decorating

One of the things I most remember about Christmas is having the neighborhood boys come down and decorate cookies with us. I don't know why the sisters that were my age didn't come down to decorate, maybe they did, I don't remember. So I decided to have my friends that have kids Gwen and Nate's age to come over to decorate cookies on Saturday. Gwen and I made the family cookie recipe on Friday, I doubled it! Nate was so excited on Saturday, he sat in the kitchen at the table for about 45 minutes before everyone got there. And then my friends arrived with their kids. There were 10 kids here, although I guess the 2 youngest being 1 and under don't count? They were here, but they didn't do any decorating or eating... I took some pictures, but I seemed to have missed one of the little girls, she was on the wrong side of the table for me.

The kids didn't color as much as I thought they would, so I decorated the rest of them really fast before the icing melted. The kids seemed to have fun then we pushed them all outside to run off some sugar. I think at most the decorated 5 and ate most if not all of them. Gwen really showed her stuff. It was a lot of fun, but I was pooped for the rest of the day! Eric even made dinner!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Tree!

This weekend we came home from Church to find that Daddy had put the tree we decorated the tree on Sunday. I was determined to get every decoration on the tree, we have a lot of decorations and Eric thought I was being a little ridiculous, but I did it! With the help of the kids of course.
Not only did Gwen decorate the tree with me she also did the garland, can you tell? Maybe not in this picture, but you'll see...
It is also easier to put every decoration on the tree when Gwen put every decoration on one branch.
See how proud she is!
Gwen had a play date the other day and the girl told me that her tree was prettier than ours....I was not offended, I think it is funny. They apparently buy a real tree, which I imagine it is much nicer than our fake tree, but ours has personality!
Nate helped Eric diagnose the lights.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


I had what I thought was a rather humorous phone call from our neighbor. She called to make sure she hadn't offended us because she made a comment about how she doesn't have to use lights in certain parts of her house because of our light display! That was not the case at all, we weren't offended, we were just blowing fuses because we may have put too many lights in the series...oops! As my Mother has reminded me, it is a work in progress and it might take years for us to perfect our lights display. I thought I would take a picture from last night and show you where we would like to "grow" our lights display. Poor Eric worked on it for about an hour last night, I'd feel sympathy, but I was making candy and stirring the pot the whole time! Here is what we have so far, minus the arrows. So last night Eric worked on adding those 2 sets of lights at the top of the 2 trees. Eric has told me he was going for height, so that when people down the street ride around looking for lights, will see the sheer height of lights and drive down the street to look! You can see Eric in the picture, the green circle above his head, I am hoping we will put a lit wreath there, I don't think I am exaggerating it's size! The green arrows around the garage door, I am hoping to put lit garland there...we have it, we aren't using it, I say why not! Maybe we should also use it around the mailbox. The yellow arrows where we would like to get something to line the drive with, like these or these or some other pathway lights that are not candy canes (because our neighbors have those and we don't want to copy!). If you see the lavender arrow you can see Nate's snowman lawn ornament, sometime it is there sometimes he grabs it out and chases things with it, also we have a half working set of net lights there, Eric is going to fix those, I think. Eric would like to get some kind of lawn ornamentation, but we can't agree on that, we would put it in the dark space to the left of the picture. I am also thinking that the right of the house would be perfect for me to shine the AU on the wall, but Eric would probably want to do some Christmas thing that say happy holidays or something.
I can totally see why my Dad totally got into this, man it is fun. I remember half listening to him while he talked about his plans. So I recommend if you have the slightest competitive personality you might not want to get started putting up lights, or you will start competing randomly with neighbors, sure our neighborhood is having prizes this year, but I think we would compete no matter what! To look back at what we did last year you can look here and here and picture them together.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Its snowing

Today, surprisingly enough it snowed. I say surprising, because I haven't been watching the weather so I had no idea it was going to snow. I guess now that Gwen is in school, I should start paying attention to those kind of things. The school was having a craft fair today and we volunteered to help out, so while I was at the craft fair Eric played outside with the kids. Here are the pictures he took.

Apparently they tried to make a snowman and Nate stomped on it so Eric told Gwen she could throw a snowball at him...
I think she missed. I think in this picture you can really see the Mohawk quality of the hat. (did I mention we got it at Old Navy?) You can also see the snow he squashed to his right.
We ended up with about 3 inches of snow. I went out tonight and took pictures of our house, you can see the whole deal here, this was taken from our neighbor's driveway.
I played around with the settings to get this picture, which I think shows the craziness that is our house lighting scheme.
This is from the side view, when you are coming down the street this is what you see...
We thought we had enough lights to do the trees, so I think we are going to get more lights, I think if we are going to compete we really need to step it up. I have a large lit wreath I want to hang outside also, but Eric is fighting that, and by fighting it, I mean not brainstorming to help me figure out how to get it hung and is a little heavy. Maybe after we get more lights we will take more also can't see the lawn decorations the kids picked out or the tree ornaments.
We are also watched the Auburn-SCarolina game. Pretty good game if you are an Auburn fan, which I am! Looking forward to watching the National Championship game, so hope no one needs me Jan 10th in the evening, although I think they play better when I tape the game and watch it a little behind everyone else. I also hope the game is more like tonight's game and not like the last several nail bitters!