Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hey, Soul Sister

Mark has a passion for guitar. He used to be in a band and still has alot of recording/audio gear left from those days (when we were younger and the kids weren't around to destroy all of our possessions that cost more than 2.99...think I'm exaggerating? Just ask my ipod).


Mark has tried many many times to get me to sing into the microphone and record songs with him. I feel stupid. So I usually mumble something about needing to switch the laundry and high-tail it outta there. Except for that one time around Christmas when he talked me into singing "Blue Christmas". Even then, I made him leave the room and go on the other side of the house so he couldn't hear me with his own ears. Maybe I should have had him drive around the block.

Megan does not feel this way.

She loves the limelight, baby.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A visit from the Huffords

The last week of June we were thrilled to receive a visit from Mark's eldest brother, Jim, and his fabulous wife, Ameli.

We did some cool stuff and we ate yummy food, but my favorite part was just sitting around and talking. It was nice to have an opportunity to get to know them better. And we also cooked up some plans to do some type of extreme racing event in the coming year.

I learned a new word: RAGNAR. It sounds like something I'd love to help with by handing people their water bottles. There was also some discussion of doing a race called "Tough Mudder". There is electrocution involved. Sounds perfect for those Hufford boys.

Events of the weekend included the Cubs/Royals game. The Cubbies took the win and Mathew consumed much stadium food. It was one of those "natural consequences" situations.
I don't think he ate again until 24 hours later.

He got to go alone with Dad to make up for not going to the Kentucky Derby in May. He likes to remind us that the Cubs game didn't FULLY count because there was no air travel involved. I think air travel is like naps and Mexican food. Kids have got it all backwards. I would trade a plane trip for a nap and an enchilada any day of the week.

Aunt Ameli, Mathew, Jim and Mark. Not as outnumbered by Royals fans as you might think in Kansas City. What is it about the Cubs and their loyal minions?

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out at the house. Ameli was awakened daily by crazy children jumping on her air mattress. Poor things had to sleep in the living room. Not a whole lot of extra real estate to be had around here. We've got kids in every space with a door.

The boys introduced Jim to the joys of Beyblades. He was an excellent sport and even did the obligatory Beyblade war cry: "1...2...3....Let 'er RIP!"

Oh...we also went canoeing at Kilcreek Park. It was fun, but humid. At least I thought that is was humid. Now I laugh (HA!) at how ridiculous I was because that was nothing compared to how humid it is now. That humidity was child's play. Anyway, when I think I'm feeling humid, I only manage to take one photo of canoeing trips. It's one of my shortcomings.

Come again, Jim and Am! Or maybe we'll meet you out west for a crazy race. I'll bring the first aid kit.

Please hold.

Something weirdo is happening with my bliggety bloggety blog.

Please feel free to go about your business while I figure out what in tarnation is the problem with my layout. I estimate it will take approximately 5 hours and 37 minutes....

that's when Mark gets home.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What have you done with my babies?

One the things we've been doing this summer is having the kids take turns helping to cook the meals. I know good mothers already do this, but I've resisted it in the past because I'm lazier than your average mother. I don't care what you say, it's just plain faster to do it yourself. And probably cleaner and safer and more sanitary. And less aggravating.

But I'm trying to be awesomer lately. And that takes work.

So I've started letting them into the kitchen and I've been giving them knives and peelers.

That all sounds just wonderful and uplifting, but it struck me the other day that my children are CUTTING THINGS.



I mean even the cheese grater can do a wicked number on a knuckle. Blood can be spilt.

So the thing that I would like to know is.....

When did this:

Turn into this:

And this:

turn into this:

And who gave her:

And her:

Razor sharp utensils and told them to "get crackin" on those carrots?:

It's starting to feel like the Twilight Zone around here.


And while we're on the subject, I don't recall giving her:

Permission to turn into her:

Seriously. I miss all those sets of sweet cheeks.

But I suppose I can see the beauty in additional help in the kitchen as well. I kind of like the company.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fantastic vomitous contraption

After swimming lessons one day, we went over to Mill Creek Park for storytime. It was before the weather decided to turn into the blazing fires of Hades, and so we really enjoyed it. The storyteller was a guy that spoke loudly, showed the pictures, and knew his way around a guitar sing along. It was one of those things that makes you feel like a good parent just being there.

The other great thing was that we discovered that Mill Creek Park has one of those merry-go-round thingies.

You know.

The one that you spin around and around and around until you feel like you might throw up the graham crackers you just begged off your baby sister? The one where you either stand in the middle, straddle a pole and hold on for dear life, or take your turn spinning the rest of those poor suckers until they beg for mercy?

That's the one.

And it's SO awesome.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Night games

Let's face it.

Bedtime has flown right out the window.

I used to be able to maintain a fairly rigorous schedule, even through the summertime. But these days I am hardpressed to sell a 7:30 bedtime to the residents of my household. The sun simply refuses to go down before 9 pm and it seems that is just when the party is getting started.

When everyone is around and the parents are feeling amiable, the kids of the cul de sac like to congregate and have a good time together.

Having a good time means different things to different people, it seems.

For Megan, it means stealthily stalking fireflies with Charlie from down the street.

Surprisingly, she even likes to catch them and hold them in her hands. I wouldn't have guessed this about her. She strikes me as a "GET IT OFF ME!" kind of gal.

Not so.

But I do believe it helps that they "sparkle".

Check out this picture:

The way I see it, there are three distinct groups:

1. Girls standing in a group giggling and hanging out in there short shorts and tank tops. There was extensive texting and picture taking and a general air of flirtiness about them. It brought back alot of memories just watching it from the porch.

2. The Older Boys standing a few feet away staring in admiration while thinking up new ways to tease and get the girls' attention.

3. The "little kids" playing with their army guys and completely oblivious to the fact that hormones were flying willy nilly from the prepubescents all around them. They were clueless.

And don't think for a second that I wasn't FLAT OUT THRILLED that my two boys were knee-deep in army guys.

I will sleep well tonight.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Swimming lessons

We joined the "Optimist Swim Club" for lessons. I'm not really sure what that's supposed to mean, other than we are feeling optimistic about learning not to drown. If that's it, then we picked the right place to take our lessons. Mostly I chose them because they held their classes at the Middle School around the corner and we can walk there. I'm a big fan of walking. It builds character and reduces my bickie size (bickie is Huffordspeak for BUTT). And, by the way, since when do Middle Schools have pools?

So we took two rounds of lessons, which comes out to 4 weeks of going Mon-Thurs, 9-9:45 am.

And get this: Parents aren't allowed to watch. The first two days I sat out in the hall like an idiot. Then I got wise and started making little mini-trips to get a bagel or a juice and I soaked in the kid-freeness of it all. Realistically, it really only comes to about 38 minutes, because I have to get them in there and get back a little early so the other mom's don't judge me.

But I'll take my 38 minutes and make the most out of it. You won't catch me walking around the Middle School track. I'm no fool.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A classic

To kick off the ridiculous amount of photos I will be sharing with you all (hi Mom!), concerning our Hufford Summer Adventures (hitherto referred to as HSA), I'd like to start with a classic.

Putting the sprinkler under the trampoline.

When I suggested this to my kids, they gasped with delight and verbally praised me for my fun and inventive idea. Like I had made it up. I had just gone up a few rungs on the "fun parent ladder". I didn't feel the need to disillusion them. The view is way better up here.

So we started with the sprinkler. The first sprinkler head I tried was LAME-O. It couldn't muster the pressure to get anything through the trampoline fabric (is it fabric?). You know what I mean. I went inside for a minute to make lunch and the kids dug out a much better sprinkler head and swapped it out. They're getting so old and capable. It's weird and awesome.

This was super fun for a little while and then they started to get a little bored. Meg went down to investigate and consider their options.

They called for help. From DAD. "Hey! Dad!......DAD!....We need your fun expertise!"

He's the actual fun parent. His fun rung is substantially higher than mine. So naturally he "rigged it up".

Then he backed up, ran full speed and dove in.

And did fantastical flips

Don't worry honey, I know your not supposed to climb to the very top of a ladder, but it's okay because I'm way down here on the bottom keeping it from falling over and holding the camera. And the baby. And the sunscreen. And graham crackers (in case someone gets hungry).

I know....I should have dove in too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I come to the end of this day and I feel like I must be crazy for staying up and surfing around the web. A few hours ago I would've given anything to speed up the bedtime shenanigans just to get a little peace and quiet and slip into a semi-coma.

But now the house is quiet, except for the heavy breathing of my fat little baby girl laying in between me and Mark. He's the smart one and he's already out. I really should gently move her into her own crib/room, but somehow I just don't really feel that push to get her to move on to that level of independence. She's so sweet and squishy and fat fat fatty. And she needs me. She is a professional spooner.

Besides, who am I kidding? I have yet to get a child of mine to sleep through the night until precisely 14 months of age when I just happen to slip to the brink of insanity because I am still nursing them on demand throughout the night...or as one pediatrician put it, "He is living his nutritional life at night. It's like an all you can eat midnight buffet." I stressed over the situation with the first 4. Now, I'm just spooning and I figure I'll stress at 13 months 3 weeks and 6 days.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Hufford Summer Adventures

We're looking at the last month of summer here. School is a measly 4 weeks away.

I suppose it's time to recount the fun and laziness that we have enjoyed this summer.

I, of course, stole my summer inspiration from my Sis-in-law, Sarah. She posted her summer schedule and bucket list and it inspired me to follow suit. Thank the heavens we did, because things were getting boring fast.

I have a couple rolls of pink paper that I got for free at the church library about a decade ago (not exaggerating) and it comes it really handy for things like this:

Our Summer bucket list:

It was kind of a crazy, draw a picture, slap it up there if you wanna do it, kind of thing.

Some of our summer goals:

*Go to the Planetarium
*Go to Science City
*Take the dogs to the dog park
*Jump on the trampoline with the sprinkler underneath
*Go the the Great Wolf Lodge
*Complete the Library Summer Reading Program
*Make homemade butter
*Go the the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve
*Go fishing
*Go canoeing
*Play in the fountains at Crown Center
*Complete swimming lessons
*Have a Master Chef night
*Have an art show
*Go to an IMAX movie
*Go to the farmer's market
*Get a gourmet cupcake at a cupcake shop
*Play nature bingo
*Have a water fight
*Go to Nelson-Atkins Art Museum
*Have a Yahtzee tournament

We have done about 90% of this list and we're hoping to fit it all in in the next few weeks. We decided to leave off the making of treats and movie nights, because we do that all the time anyway. I really mean ALL the time. We really like movie night because it's about 15 degrees cooler down in the basement with the tv and the beanbags are right in line with two very chilly cooling vents. I mean we even have Movie Night supplies...because we commit to our couch-potatery

This has been such a memorable, fun summer. I have loved spending time with my kids and doing all of these things together. I'm sad that school is starting again and we won't be making cookies at 10 am AND 7 pm anymore. BOO.

But we still have 4 weeks! HOORAY!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

FHE Hall of Fame

I've been reminiscing.

Just thumbing through the old photos. And I came across this blast from the past.

This was our lesson on "Daniel and the Lion's Den".

Check out those cheeks on Mathew.

I think our Family Home Evening lessons have gotten a bit tamer as the years have gone by. I'm feeling inspired to spice things up. Imagine what I can do with a kiddie pool and the Exodus of Moses and his people.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fourth of July

Did you know that fireworks are illegal in Johnson County, Kansas?


I didn't either until I realized that there was a noticeable lack of red and white tents set up in grocery store parking lots. I thought maybe I was missing something.

I was.

They're illegal.

This is hard for someone from Arkansas to wrap her brain around.

So we did the next best thing.

We found someone in another county to blow them up for us (and foot the bill).

But first!

We did fancy firework nails...courtesy of Aunt Kaira and her magical manicure supply box.

Mom stood guard over boiling potatoes and eggs for the potato salad. She passed by researching her birds on the laptop. My, we are a computer literate family.

Kaira made a fabulous patriotic jello dish...

Mark manned the BBQ.... and kept our disassembled swingset company ....

I slaved over some tri-color cupcakes (recipe here)...

And Anna helped out by behaving in her Bumbo with a Mum-Mum. I would like to take this opportunity to say that I, too, would like to contribute by sitting in a Bumbo and eating a Mum-Mum...but only if it is a cheddar-Jalepeno flavored Mum-Mum, because seriously, have you had those new Cheetos? Oh say can you see!

After we ate all the yumminess, we packed up and headed to Independence, MO for the firework show. My personal assistant, Regina, was good enough to clue us in to the best fireworks around. Word to the wise: when googling "Independence Fireworks" you are going to get more than just fireworks in Independence. Turns out the word "Independence" is quite common when used in relation to the Fourth of July. You've been warned.

We drove up just as it was getting dark, parked our cars and headed out to find a spot to park our behinds.

I look pretty excited, no?

Isn't my mom the cutest? Yes, she is. AND she carries blankets!

The fireworks started just as we located a good spot. Here's Ethan and Charlie getting excited about the start of the show. Or maybe they're doing the Hand Jive. Either way.

This really is the first time we've taken our kids to a big firework show. You can tell by their expressions. They'd never experienced something this big exploding so close. They were very appreciative and squealed and clapped and cheered from the start to the finish. It was so fun.

Megan and Addie

Mark spent the evening taking pictures and experimenting with the camera. He got some great shots.

Overall, a great way to spend the Fourth.

What an amazing country we live in....that we can spend the day with people we love.

Happy Fourth of July everybody!