Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Surprise guest

Today, Eli and I were enjoying a little playtime on the floor together. We were having some fun playing the LeapFrog drum. That little guy loves to pat, so he does great with the drum! He's our little drummer boy. Teehee!


As we were playing, Eva walked up beside me. She just stood there, so I turned to give here a little pat only to be confronted with the most awful sight. Was she bleeding?? Another mast cell tumor?? A tick??

No, friends! It was none of the above.

It was this!

In her mouth! Inches from my face! Eva had caught herself a squirrel and was proudly bringing it to Mama.

Well, in less time than it takes to say, "AHHHHHH" I'm up off the play quilt with the baby in my arms, making a run for Matt's office.

Now, for those who don't know, Matt works from home. With him being home, it's tempting to talk to him all day, so we have a system. If the office door is closed, he's too busy to chat.

His office door was closed.

I hesistated an entire half second before knocking on his door and screaming that the nature had invaded our home via the dog door and he must come rescue our family.

By this time, Eva has given up the prize and it is now resting on my living room carpet.

Matt rushes out of his office--because through the door all he heard was a panicked wife yelling and for all he knew, we were being robbed at gunpoint--to find the deceased resting in peace where my baby plays. where my baby plays!!

My hero hubby grabbed some paper towels, because we all know Bounty is the quicker picker-upper. In a moment of clarity, I stopped him before he picked up the corpse and reminded him of the necessity of a photo, because nothing says "blog fodder" like a dead squirrel laying on your carpet.

Once photographed, Matt gathered the dearly departed up in the paper towel shroud and headed outside to toss the critter carcass over the fence. Meanwhile, inside I attempted to lower my blood pressure and recover from the shock.

Rest in peace, Mr. Squirrel, rest in peace!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Jumping the Gun

When Matt got off work today, he let me know that the buyout is not certain. It is contingent on the government bailout, so they are in a holding pattern.

Matt has a great peace about the whole thing. Of course, my female-driven hysteria makes up for his peace. Just kidding!! I know we are blessed!!

Thanks for your prayers and please continue to keep us in your prayers. We will also be lifting up all the many who have been or will be displaced due to the country's awful financial situation.

Financial Crisis Hits Home

The news has broken that Wachovia Corp, Matt's employer, is being bought out by Citibank. Please join us in prayer for Matt's job security! Employees are receiving very little information right now which leaves lots of room for speculation and breeds worry and concern! With all that said, Matt takes great pride in his ability to provide for our family and works tirelessly to be sure that we are well cared for. We believe that God will reward him for his efforts. We are trusting Him and know that no matter what may happen, He is Jehovah Jireh, Our Provider! Thanks so much for praying!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cake Catastrophe

After last year's R2D2 cake, I was feeling kinda cake-confident. So, one afternoon Jacob and I sat down and searched the internet for a great birthday cake. He and I decided on the football helmet cake and I was stoked to give it a try.

Today, I spent all afternoon in the kitchen working on the helmet cake. I finally finished it and was quite proud of how it turned out. Don't get me wrong...Duff at Ace of Cakes has absolutely nothing to worry about. But, I thought it was pretty good. Here's what it looked like...

Not bad, right??

Well, lots of icing + warm kitchen = sliding Steelers logo, not so pretty cake, and stressed out stepmom. So, for all of you who will be seeing the cake tomorrow at the party, please just scroll up one more time to see what the cake actually looked like (yes, past tense). Etch that picture in your memory! Then, when you see the mess-of-a-cake tomorrow, you can just close your eyes and everything will be fine. Everything will be fine. Everything will be fine. Everything will be...oh, sorry! I was trying to convince myself!!

And, of course the consolation is that chocolate cake with chocolate icing tastes good no matter how it looks!!

More party stuff

Here are the Rice Krispie Treats we made. I used Cocoa Krispies instead of the regular Rice Krispies, and added some peanut butter, just to shake things up! I'm crazy like that, you know! I had my football-crazy hubby shape them for me. Then, I piped on the white icing and ta-da...football treats!

Making of a Football Party

The next few posts will be related to Jacob's 9th Birthday and the party that is scheduled for tomorrow. He asked for a Pittsburgh Steelers birthday party and I took a little liberty and generalized it to a football party.

There will be a football helmet cake, football rice krispie treats, football games, etc.

I just thought I'd narrate as I prepare, so follow along...

Here's the invitation I created on my scrapbook software.

I love birthday time, because I can really tap into my creativity. I'll be back later with some more football party fun!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

These two little guys are easy on the eyes!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

9 things I love about you!

Dear Jacob,
Today marks the beginning of your ninth year and in honor of that I'd like to list 9 of the many things I love about you!

1. I love that you are so curious and inquisitive. You are always asking questions and seeking knowledge, even when I consistently repsond with "I don't know, Buddy!"

2. I love that you always have a song in your heart. You walk (or skip, or dance) around the house singing. It makes my heart happy to hear you singing. It makes my heart overflow when the songs you choose are "church" songs.

3. I love the way you care about your brother. If you hear him crying, you rush over to do one of those many things you do to crack him up.

4. I love your sense of humor. You make me laugh...out loud!

5. I love to watch as you turn into a gentleman. You are learning to hold doors. You say ma'am and sir. You choose to be polite. You are beginning to think of others before yourself. The evolution is a joy to watch.

6. I love your enthusiasm for the board game. I love how you've changed and matured through the years when it comes to games. Although winning is more fun (and you tend to win quite a bit), you've learned that sometimes you lose and that's okay, too!

7. I love the pride you take in your work. You want to share your accomplishments and I'm so thankful that you share them with me.

8. I love that even though you are 9 years old, you're not too old to cuddle with your dad or me. I know the days of those cuddles are drawing to a close as you get older and I treasure each one.

9. I love you!!!

I am so thankful that God has blessed me by allowing me to be a part of your life. I hope you have an awesome 9th birthday!! You certainly deserve it, buddy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another milestone

Our little Eli hit another milestone. It actually happened two weeks ago. And now, I am finally able to post about it, because I've finally been able to catch it on camera. Check it out!

Don't know what it is yet? Try this photo.

Still nothing? Okay, here's a hint. Look closely at his bottom gumline.

Looks eerily similar to this...

Just in time for Halloween. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Never say never! - EDITED!

When we started discussing having more kiddos, one thing we agreed on immediately was the vehicle. There would be no minivan parked in our driveway. We would be an SUV family, for sure. Minivans are driven by unexciting, suburbanite, homely, robot-moms. I would not be joining that force. That would not be me!

Flash forward!

As of yesterday, this is what is sitting in our driveway!

Yes, I know.

That's a Toyota Sienna!

Yes, I know.

The Sienna is a minivan!

And, we are the proud owners of it.

Never say never!!

**Edit: And just so you know...the stereotype is all wrong. Drivers of minivans can be hip, fun-loving, exciting, and according to my hubby, sexy mamas who've just happened to discover the functionality of a minivan. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

What's with all the wittiness?

As Jacob is getting older, I find that he gets more and more witty. Sometimes his statements are thick with sarcasm and sometimes it's just an innocent comment that comes across as absolutely hilarious.

Last night, we were hanging out by the grill while Matt cooked. I was telling Matt about a blog post I had read earlier and Jacob asked where the blogger lived. As per typical Jennifer, I said "Texas, Alabama, Arkansas...I don't know, one of those southern states." Jacob then said, "Maybe Pennsylvania?" Now being a true Southerner (yes, you capitalize it folks), I wanted to be sure that Jacob knows which states hang out with us below the Mason-Dixon line. I informed him that no, Pennsylvania is not a southern state. To which he replied while laughing hysterically, "Yes, it is. It's southern of New York!"

Oh, yes he did!

From the mouth of our almost 9-year old!

And, he knows he's funny!

So, if this is what the next 9 years of my life holds, I might just need to invest in some Depends, because friends, that is some funny stuff.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Road to Recovery

Jacob's mom posted a "Jacob update" over at Wilbank's World. Check it out and keep him (and his nurse mom) in your prayers! :)

We certainly miss the big guy! He's been convalescing at his mom's (thanks to Niki for protecting the baby brother) and it feels like it's been forever since we've seen him! We can't wait to see him again!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rockin' pneumonia and the boogie-woogie flu!

Well, not exactly.

Niki gave us a call earlier to let us know that she took Jacob to the doctor today. He's had a little cold-type thingy for a couple of days and it was time to "nip it in the bud" so to speak. Lo and behold, it wasn't a little cold-type thingy. No, sir! Jacob has pnuemonia. Poor guy! He seems to be feeling fairly good, and apparently when he found out he gets to miss two days of school he felt even better!

With that said, please keep him in your prayers! He has a big weekend ahead of him--he's in his aunt's wedding--so we pray he is 100% very soon!

Bat swinging and song singing!

Thursday night, Jacob's team, the Cubs, had their second game and second win of the season. They are tied for first place which is great, but it is still early in the season. Jacob played catcher and also spent some time in his favorite position, short-stop. He got the bat on the ball several times, but unfortunately, the opposing team was able to handle the ball to make the out at first before he could get there. Overall, he played a great game and says he had fun, which is what matters!

It was another late night for Eli and on the way home he was cranky and was letting everyone know. So in the style of The Partridge Family, The Osmonds, or The VonTrapps even, we broke out in song.

Oh, yes we did!!!

There was "The Itsy, Bitsy Spider" and some "I've Been Working on the Railroad." We even threw in some patriotic tunes just for fun!

I will not pretend it was the most pleasant or harmonious sound, but it was great fun for those of us singing and apparently it wasn't too bad to listen to, because Eli stopped fussing and commenced to smiling and laughing.

Good times! Good memories!

Friday, September 12, 2008


I had a couple of people ask about the holupkies from the previous post. I figured what better way to address that than to write an entire blog post about it! So, here it is!

I remember the visits to my Pop-Pop and Nanny's house in Pennsylvania. We would always go shopping at a huge outlet mall in Reading. Stops at my Aunt Linda and Uncle Joe's house were a blast thanks to the hair salon on the bottom floor of their home that served as my own personal playground! My dad often took us to a pretzel bakery that was down a small one-way alley and I loved walking in and seeing the huge brick ovens. Visits to "the Market" were a must with steak sandwiches included. And, Nanny always made holupkies. I remember, even then, thinking how special holupkies were. They were unlike anything we ate at home. They had a neat name that sounded different. No one back in NC knew what they were. And all those things made them special and wonderful and MINE!!

Flash forward.

I meet a great guy who happens to be from Pennsylvania. As we get to know each other better, we are running down the lists. You know, the favorite lists. Favorite book? To Kill a Mockingbird. Favorite color? green. Favorite food?





(Matt leaves off the "s"--he says holupkie is already a plural word, but we won't even get into that here. I just don't have the time.)

Back to the story...

He couldn't know about my holupkies. They were special and NO ONE knew about them. Except that Matt knew.

And at that point I knew without a doubt in my mind. It was perfectly clear!

God must have sent him!

6 months later we were engaged.

5 months after that we were married.

And all because of the holupkie(s)!


For those who asked for the recipe:

Holupkie recipes tend to vary based upon the region in Europe from which they originated. The recipe I grew up with was ground pork and rice wrapped in steamed cabbage leaves and slow cooked in a tomato sauce base. It was handed down by my great-grandmother, BaBa, who came from Russian-occupied Austria. The recipe Matt grew up with is very similar, but contains ground beef, sauerkraut, and a tomato soup base. That recipe was handed down by his great-grandmother who came from Czechoslovakia.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Hubby

It took a little more time and energy than I normally put into dinner, but making holupkies (cabbage rolls) for hubby made him so happy that it was worth it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Last night was Jacob's first fall baseball game. The night proved to be hot and muggy, and the game seemed to drag on, but Jacob's team, the Cubs, came away victorious. Jacob had a great game. He handled the new kid-pitch with ease and got one of the few hits off the pitcher. Behind the plate, he shined as he caught the pitches a teammate threw (even though not all flew over the plate). He made a great play in the first inning to get an out! Overall, not a bad start to a new season in a new league with new rules! Man, what a talented kid...handsome, too!

Thanks to Jacob's mom, Niki, for the picture. Seeing as how my super-mom memory ran out early in the day and I forgot my camera, I pirated this pic from her blog! :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


We may be some of the most overprotective parents there are. Jacob turns nine this month and we haven't permitted him to ride his bike or scooter further than the street at the top of the hill. If he were to go past that, we would not be able to see him.

Now, I know that when I was his age I was riding out of my parents' sight on a regular basis, but things aren't the same today as they used to be. We've tended to be cautious, even though we live on a cul-de-sac street, in a neighborhood! I know, I know...overprotective.

So, last night after dinner, Jacob saw some kids riding in our cul-de-sac. We know this family and so I sent him out to ride. But, the kiddos were already out of sight. So, I put on my big girl panties (excuse the phrase) and sent him off. Yes, out of our sight! He knows where this family lives and I told him to head that way. And encouraged him not to forget to come home. I didn't want all this freedom going to his head :)
Off he went. I spent the next 20 minutes checking the window in 5 minute increments. Oh, yes, psycho-step-mom in full force!

He made it home safely and to say he had a great time is an understatement. He can't wait to head out again! Just call him Mr. Independent.

And this is his baby bro watching him ride off. Yeah, he's pretty excited for Jacob!

Hubby humor

Last night, Matt and I were talking after tucking the kiddos in. The conversation turned to baby names (no, we're not pregnant...yet). There was talk of Tuck and Bodie, Charlotte and Stella, then I mentioned Amelia. "Like Amelia Bedelia" says my hubby. Hoping to bring a little more dignity to the name, I reply, "like Amelia Earhart." Then, with a straight face, I hear him say, "Like Amelia...Estevez?"


I got nothing!

But, I fell asleep thinking of Andy from "The Breakfast Club"--good times!