Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Eve

We started out our Christmas eve celebration with a short representation of the Nativity. My niece and nephew, Aryn and Braden, were Mary and Joseph, Jackson was a shepherd and Kate was an angel. (Sydney wasn't feeling well)

Then our family exchanges family presents. The first present Kate opened was this cute apron from her cousin, Jessica. It's so perfect and adorable...she loved it!
Jackson and Braden each got a Nerf sword. They loved them and Jackson will has his but it might not last the month...he likes to attack his sisters.
Evidence that Sydney was cheating...she's opening this present clearly marked To: Kate. Now, I know she can't read, but she knows an 'S' from a 'K.'
Jake relaxing after the craziness...getting ready for Santa's visit.

My birthday cake

This cake really deserved its own post. Jake got the recipe off the cover of Bon Apetit magazine and it turned out perfectly. It's a dark chocolate, peppermint meringue cake. It was so yummy and isn't it beautiful?!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Jen!

Happy Birthday Jen!

Today is Jen's 29th birthday, for the fifth time. It started exactly as she and I had planned: with lots of sleep. And she needs it. Our kids keep her very busy. With any luck, today will also be the day we learn whether she and kids can destroy their own house, not Grandma & Grandpa's house (in other words, we should be finalizing a home loan sometime today).

I often tell Jen how amazing she is. But on her birthday, I want to announce it for all to hear. She is infinitely patient with me and the kids. We've been living in stressful circumstances for over a year and she is still all smiles and positive about the future. Just when I think her brain is getting mushy from dealing with kids all day, she snaps into a conversation about accounting and inventory with her dad, and I'm left in the dust, covertly thumbing my finance dictionary to figure out what she was talking about. At night, as soon as the baby monitor crackles with any sort of whimpering, she rockets from deep sleep to instant, attentive mother. She may even bed down for the rest of the night in the kids room to comfort them; either that, or I snore more than I thought. Though I freely admit my bias, I really think she has some of the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen.
She is getting more and more beautiful with age. When a hair cut is upcoming, she asks what she should do next. My reference point is always her eyes. What can we do that will frame her beautiful eyes?

She's been dreaming of pursuing graphic design lately. And she'd be good at it too. I think we're within mere months of beginning that new adventure. It's her natural designer's eye that also makes a wonderful home. She recently made some blankets that are cute (and I say that, hoping my manhood is intact). The kids are well dressed and happy. They love her. And though they run to me when I get home from work, they want her when they are hurt or sad. She is everything to her kids, even when Grandma & Grandpa Jorgensen are so close.

My ramblings are random because Jen is an overwhelming influence on me and everything I do. It's hard to separate her influence from everything else because she is so influential. And I love it that way. Perhaps that's what I do know very clearly: I love her. And I love all that she has done to my world (including ironing my shirt and pants - thanks - today's choice was nice). So, here's to Jen's latest successful year, another batch of priceless memories, and - most importantly - an eternity to come with the woman I love! (And married, because: Mom, I love you, but we're not married; and, Sydney, I know I say we can get married, but you have to grow up and find your own husband. Until then, I'll be your boyfriend.)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I know you were wondering what we finally did with all our 8 lbs. of leftover Halloween candy. Honestly, it sat in a Ziploc bag on top of the china cabinet for a month or so. But a week ago I realized I hadn't yet made the elaborate advent calendar I've been planning since last year after seeing this on my friend's blog. So I set out looking for some fun, simple homemade ideas. Not finding what I was looking for, I headed to the dollar store for inspiration. I came home with curly ribbon. Not helpful. Then I found some cellophane bags in the closet that I had big plans for (that never happened) and low and behold, there were 25 bags. So I decided to put some candy in each bag, one to be opened every day. Here's what I came up with...and yes, all the candy is recycled from Halloween. :)

Most of the bags contain 3 of the same candy but a few are assorted. Notice, I did use the curling ribbon

Each bag had a large number inside and were hung randomly on the garland.

Jackson loved helping me hang the bags on the garland

Final product, though I'm contemplating a couple red bows or something. You get the idea though.

Though not nearly as cute or heirloom-y as Brooke's, it's still a lot of fun and very cheap! I'm sure the kids will love it and we'll do it again...maybe even after I do the other one :)

Monday, November 30, 2009


We've been looking at a lot of houses lately, hoping to buy one very soon. Occasionally we bring the kids along to tour the houses. Saturday we looked at 3 houses with them. Each had fun was ENORMOUS with lots of random closets that would be perfect for clubhouses and hide and seek. I think I could even hide pretty effectively in this place. Then there was another one that had a big pond across the street that Jackson was SURE would be the perfect place to catch fish for dinner. (which we've NEVER done) The other house has a swing set and a playhouse in the back yard and a big unfinished basement to ride bikes in. Each house we walked into Jackson would immediately start assigning rooms to certain tasks and deciding where we were going to put everything, including our dog that we don't own. Naturally, Jackson is having a really hard time deciding which house he wants to live in. Luckily, he has told us that he trusts us to pick out a good long as he gets to pick the color we paint his room. I think that's a fair trade. We have made an offer on a house...we'll let you know in the next week or so which house we made an offer on...if it all comes out as planned! :) Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Family pictures

I was so happy to see Jackson smiling so gives me hope for some good family pictures someday...when all the kids will smile and look at the camera! Actually, I really love these pictures. Thanks to my friend, Sara, for doing such a great, fast & easy job.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In the car...

Me: Jackson, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Jackson: A daddy.
Me: Oh can go to work with daddy. Sydney, what do YOU want to be when you grow up?
Sydney: A fairy.

I texted this to Jake. Jake's response...
I'm just glad it's not the other way around.

So true.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ode to an empty plate

A few weeks ago, our neighbor brought over some AMAZING cookies. A week ago I made those cookies and planned to take a picture and blog about them so I could share the recipe with you, my friends and family. (Those who haven't given up on checking this blog since I never post!) But alas, the cookies were SO TASTY, the picture never happened...but for your sake I will not wait another day to share the recipe with you.

Oh empty plate of crumbs, how I wish you were still full of Gooey Butter Cookies.

Gooey Butter Cookies

1/2 c. butter (room temp)
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese (room temp)
1 box butter recipe cake mix
powdered sugar for dipping

Beat butter, vanilla, egg, and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in dry cake mix. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat cookie sheet with cooking spray (I didn't do this as I bake on silicone baking mats). Drop by teaspoonfuls in a bowl of powdered sugar, roll into balls. Bake 10-12 minutes. Makes 3-4 dozen. (Unless, like Jake and I, you eat about a dozen worth of the dough.)

You're welcome.

Running Scared

Encountering an especially scary trick-or-treater...

Monday, November 2, 2009


The kids are still a bit young for the pumpkin carving thing. They do have all those great little safety saws and things these days, but kids and cutting implements...especially MY kids, well, not always a good mix. Along with that, they both have strong opinions how they want their pumpkin to look in the end. Jackson especially is a perfectionist and gets very frustrated when he has a picture in his mind and what he draws or carves or whatever doesn't look right. He's very hard on himself. Anyway...this is where Jake and I step in. They kids decided what they wanted...Sydney=puppy, Jackson=werewolf (he's been SUPER obsessed with werewolves since he saw a 5 minute clip of Harry Potter 3 when Lupin turns into the werewolf). Jake took on the puppy project and I hunted on the internet for a werewolf for Jackson.

Sydney with her puppy

Braden with his Frankenstein and Jackson with his werewolf

All lit up!

Hello. Is it me you're looking for? Carved by Jake, of course.

ps...I did carve a little pumpkin for Kate on Halloween but she was asleep for these festivities. And after carving the werewolf, I was burned out and my pumpkin was never pierced. Maybe I will make some pumpkin roll with it.

H-A-double L-O-W-double E-N spells Halloween

Halloween was a three-day event this year. Thursday we went to a Halloween Party at the Library, Friday we had our church Halloween Party and then, of course, Saturday was the big show. The kids were TOTALLY into Trick-or-Treating...and it paid off. We have more candy than anyone should ever eat in a lifetime! But that's what it's all about, right?

Jake rescuing innocent bystanders by capturing super-sticky Kate.

Sydney and Aryn "carnival-ing" at the church.

Trunk-or-Treating to Grandma's trunk in the church parking lot with our neighbors, Gracie and Charlie.

Jackson as the Mizzou Tiger (Telling people he was the Mizzou Tiger got him extra candy!)

Sydney as the misfit Fairy.

Katybug the Ladybug

Some of you may recognize these stairs. Many a game of "Red light, green light" were played here...and are now enjoyed by my kids.

After shedding her body and wings, Kate was "doing choreography" (a la "White Christmas") I also think she could pass for 3 or 4 in this picture. She's growing too fast.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Lots of good news...Jake passed the MO bar...Jake is officially an associate at the firm he's been clerking at in Columbia...and he's already been in court TWICE!!! I'm so proud of my husband...the big ATTORNEY!! Congrats Jake! California...check. Missouri...check. Only 48 states to go! :) (Do it and DIE!) We love you, sweetheart.

Oh yes...and there are several new posts below. Please take the time to scroll down and check them all out. I've kept the dialogue to a minimum.


Sydney AND Jackson started preschool last week. They're both getting so big! I'm so glad they're such great friends. They were so sad they couldn't be in the same class...but I think absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Making Cookies

Rainy days mean lots of time inside. So what to do? Make cookies...lots and lots of cookies. :) It's a great activity for the kids if you can turn your head on all the mess. Of course, for me...the worst part is trying not to eat all the dough. Why is it so good??? The vanilla-y, almond-y goodness...I just can't get enough!I love how Kate is kept so far away at first...and Sydney is wearing her cookie-baking outfit

Kate is loving finally being involved

thank you, grandma!

Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa Skousen! I love my new ballerina dress!

running through the sprinklers

One hot night, the kids decided they couldn't take the heat any longer and ran through the time for swimsuits!

Jackson is getting quite the physique! He IS the man of steel, after all.

Born to dance...or for musical theater...but something big.