Saturday, November 30, 2013

The fish

This is the product of many hours of Zoob construction. 


Christmas is just around the corner. 

I can tell because my best friend is perched on the roof.

Gaining a year and losing your cookies

Poor, poor Anna. 

This year her birthday fell just a little too close to our Thanksgiving Barf-o-rama.

And even though she was the second one to get 7 days ago...she managed to go for another trip through Vomitville on the night before her 3rd birthday. 

By the time morning came, Dad had stripped her bed and given her another bath and we thought that she deserved a bit of an early celebration. 


If you've got to be stuck in your bed on your birthday, it helps to have a miniature horse wearing a miniature hat to keep you company.

I don't have a photo of dinner, but I am 100% positive that it was spaghetti with meatsauce and garlic bread with a healthy side of her favorite: torn (corn).

Her favorite gift this year was from Grandma Kathleen, who sent her twin lemurs!

And she loved the little note she sent along with them just as much. She had Mathew read it to her over and over and she kept moving the sparkly flower stickers.

Maybe not the absolute best birthday ever, but it definitely ended better than it started.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Annigator!

Thanksgiving 2013...the week of insanity

It all started when we heard that unmistakable sound.

You know it if you have a kid.

Barfing...liquid substance on sheets and carpet...then crying.

As bad as that is normally, for us it has taken on a new and special horror.  With vomiting, comes the possibility that the dreaded Stomach Virus has arrived in our house. Of course, no one wants to have the stomach virus, but with a child with MCADD, a stomach virus would a guaranteed ticket to the hospital.

When Laney threw up on Saturday night, we hoped it was just an upset stomach and she wouldn't start the barfing-every-20-minutes cycle that we are all too familiar with.

Unfortunately it became clear 20 minutes later that we were dealing with a virus.


And that meant that it was up to Mark to stay up with Laney and help her through it while I kept Everly as far away as possible. Even though that sounds like a pretty good deal for me, it was so hard to hear her crying and feeling sick and not jump in and be Mom. I am surprised how hard it was to let go and let Mark do the nursing. But he was amazing. He slept on the floor and changed sheets and got the barf bowl where it needed to be...all night long.

When morning came, Laney was exhausted. Mark was exhausted.  And we hoped that we would escape without further problems.

It was not to be.

It was the beginning of 9 days of vomiting. The virus took its turn on each one of us.


And yet we were determined to do everything in our power to keep Everly from getting these germs. We soaked ourselves in Hand Sanitizer (or as Anna would say: Hanatizer) and we wen't through buckets of and buckets of disinfecting wipes.

And we were blessed with a miracle.

Despite living in the same house with 7 barfing people for 8 days, being nursed by a mom that only moments before was throwing up....

Everly didn't get sick.


And that meant that she didn't have to go to the ER and get stuck by needles.

And that made it an awesome Thanksgiving.

And so I will count a few blessings.

1. I am so thankful for my friend, Courtney, who braved the germs and delivered a big pot of Chicken Noodle soup when I texted her to cancel on our Thanksgiving plans. It saved us. And it was the healthiest thing that the kids ate for many days.

2. I am thankful for Mark.  He took advantage of the brief hiatus between sick kids to initiate the Thanksgiving cooking. It was so fun to hang in the kitchen with him and work as a team.  I am amazed that I am saying this...but, vomiting aside,  it was one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever.

3. Thankful for the Thanksgiving Eve cooking we did. It made the actual day alot more relaxed.

Also...the Pumpkin Crunch Cake didn't make it through the night.

4. I'm thankful for Sarah teaching me how to make cranberry sauce from scratch many years ago. It's so rewarding to watch all those berries burst.

5. SOOOOO very grateful that there are sisters that can laugh and play and that jammies and undies are perfectly acceptable attire.

6. OH. I love technology. It's possible that one or more children weren't as miserable as they otherwise would have been due to unfettered access to ipads, iphones and ipods.

7. So grateful that we were able to eat together on Thanksgiving. 

8. I am also thankful for digital cameras that allow me to see that this blouse is...uhem...less than flattering. Yikes! Upper arms and belly pooch! Ack!

Which affords me the opportunity to add a cardigan with cute sleeve buttons.

9. Thankful that Anna never feels obligated to wear pants.

10. And I am thankful that we are now all recovered and Everly never had to go to the hospital. 

All is right with the world. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Remember when?

Remember when you couldn't wait to go to the dentist because the hygienists were perky, cute girls and they gave you sunglasses to wear and even a handheld video game to keep you happy while they poked around in your mouth? And how then gave you two tokens to play "The Claw" game after you were done and you skipped out of there with a goodie bag full of fun toothbrushes and floss and mini toothpaste and a rubber ball?  

Me neither.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A return to the cafeteria

I really love my kids. 

This is illustrated by my willingness to attend the "Turkey Lunch" with them at the elementary school. 

In honor of Thanksgiving we all show up at the doors of the cafeteria and pay 3.50 for a roll, a scoop of peaches, reconstituted mashed potatoes and gravy with a healthy portion of pressed turkey product. 

It really took me back. And I wondered if the same lunch ladies from Barnett Elementary (circa 1981-86) might have relocated to the Olathe public school system. 

We contented ourselves with noogie entertainment.

Don't worry! This was just the first round! You didn't think both my kids would eat lunch at the same time, did you? NAH! We polished of our first round of unsalted corn with a side of chocolate milk and we went through one more time with ....Megan!

Since we had already tasted the offerings, we focused more on our selfies.

And the pumpkin pie squares...those were worth having twice.

And we leave with our hearts full of Thanksgiving for our newly acquired knowledge that next time we should get wise and bring Subway turkey sandwiches.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Five Things

1.  Today I made myself a Spicy Thai Chicken Salad (it deserves the capitals) that is beautifully close to my most beloved Thai Crunch Salad from The Marketplace in Arkansas that went out of business. I ate a bowl of it yesterday and knew immediately that it was missing crunchy wontons. So I went today and procured the wontons and I cried tears of happiness over my lunch. It was a big deal to me.

2. I ate approximately 18 mini York peppermint patties today. I justify it because they are kind of like Junior Mints and everyone knows those are like the "least bad" candy to get at the movie theatre.

Okay...I admit it.  I'm eating one now.


So maybe I should save myself the effort and graduate up to the full size Yorks.

The big leagues.

I'll think it over this weighty issue.

3. It took me 4 trips to the school to pick everybody up this afternoon. During the first round, I fell asleep while waiting in my car and kept waking up when my head jerked up in that freaky way.  I would've looked around to see if anyone saw my embarrassing behavior, but I know full well that most of the other moms were asleep too.

4. Everly is doing the official ON THE KNEES crawl, as of about 10 days ago. It is the cutest thing ever and almost makes me sad that she is growing up. Except for that goal I have of not wiping anyone else's behind but my own.

5. I've already nursed Everly to sleep 3 times in the last 30 minutes.  I do it because I have no energy or will power to parent correctly after 6 pm. I officially throw in the towel at 6:01.  So that doesn't bode so well for our immediate future. I'll just keep telling myself that "This too shall pass".

On the other hand, one of the perks of training my baby to only be able to sleep when she is quite literally attached to me is that I get to lay down for nap time. Even if it's only for 10 minutes till she konks is the best 10 minutes.  Add in a space heater aimed at my feet and I call that a little chunk of heaven.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Behold...we went forth and we did multiply and replenish this swingset. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I hate the part where you have to stand on the porch and wave goodbye.

I loved having Jordan and his beautiful family come to visit for a couple days. 

We hung out.

We had Minsky's.

We had Oklahoma Joe's.

We rocked out.

We had our traditional chicken pot pie and spooky drinks. 

We had so much fun trick or treating together. The kids were so excited...Anna laughed out loud from door to door. How could she not?  People were giving her free candy!

Hali sang modified Christmas/Halloween carols to candy givers on the doorsteps. Adorable.

And the funnest thing of all was spending time with my brother and getting to know him as an adult and a fellow parent. I was impressed. 

And now I miss them even more.

So thanks for that. 

Love you, Blanchards!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Family Home Krispies

Trying to spice up the telling of the story of Samuel the Lamanite.

Looking back on it, I should have known that the kids would be paying more attention to the wall than the lesson.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween 2013

So here are the Halloween costumes for 2013.  I would spare you the gruesome details of how we arrived at each child's particular costume decision and the arduous process behind getting it all put together....but what's the fun in that?


He's twelve years old and his voice is changing and he DEFINITELY requires deodorant. He's growing up. And part of him feels he is too old to dress up and go trick or treating. Part of him decided to tell me to just "pick out a pumpkin" for him. WHA?

So that's new.

And a little awesome and super sad too.


There's another part of him that is still willing to painstakingly cut out armor from cardboard and spraypaint it silver.  Admittedly because I denied his request to buy a 60 dollar Roman soldier costume from Amazon.

In the end, he did go trick or treating. And he got tons of candy while freezing his Roman tootsies off because there are not many jackets that would fit over this thing.

And even though he was playin it cool, he still did this pose for me:

He loved it when I showed it to him and I know when he gets a tiny bit older, he will be embarrassed...but his kids are gonna love it.

Now Mathew.

Mathew asked to be Poseidon. That's right....this guy:

The God of the Sea....what 10 year old boy wouldn't like to have a deadly spear and lustrous beard?  Not to mention those abs!

In lieu of adopting an intense workout to develop his six-pack (also trick or treating in the almost-nude)...we went for....that's right! Cardboard armor!  So go back up to Ethan's picture and trade out the red cape for a blue one and the shield for a trident made from a big cane of bamboo I picked up at the dollar store.

It was awesome.

But alas, he decided to go for last years arguably much comfier Jedi costume.

I'm almost over it. (The trident was awesome.)

Megan requested a "Hooded Huntress" costume from an expensive magazine that arrived in our mailbox.  It was also muy expensivo....and didn't even come with....anything. No boots, no bow and arrow, no long lustrous braid. she is....cute...a little to "sexy" for my 8 year old, so I figured we could alter it a bit and make it happen.

Here is our final product:

She wanted a longer cape and we found some cheap boots at the thrift store. Made her a tunic out of material we had in our "Nativity Play" pile and knocked out a bow, arrows and quiver with a combination of sticks, twine and duct tape.  

And she still looked 8 years old. All is right with the world.

That brings us to the Laney and Anna....the pumpkin sisters.

We found matching pumpkin costumes. So cute! So classic!

I dug up some old tights and we dyed them a marvelous shade of Kelly Green. Unfortunately, I dyed my hands the same brilliant hue and approximately 20 minutes later....they decided they would rather be cats.

And so they were...

Because I'm so very tired. And my hands are Kelly Green.

And last of all, we have Everly.

It's her very first Halloween and so I need to make it special. We can't use any of the other 5 baby Halloween costumes we have because this is the one time as a Hufford you will not have to share your moment. Unfortunate that she won't remember it, huh?

I thought about perhaps Little Red Riding Hood?

A piƱata?

A rainbow?

I promise you....Pinterest had so many wonderful suggestions. But when all was said and done, I settled on an owl hat and a soft jacket with little felt wings pinned to the sleeves.

Because having six kids has taught me many things.  One of which being that babies DO NOT love being dressed up in fussy costumes. No, they do not.

Not even sweet little owl hats.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Scenes from Halloweens

A few miscellaneous pics...

The pumpkin selection

Ethan and Mat head out on their own

Little girls get ready to go.

The Blanchard/Hufford little people.

Grandpa Joe Cool.