Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Contest: Guess How Much, Get a Prize!

So, for Christmas, Neil bought me this device thingy that allows me to play my iPod in my antiquated minivan.  In order to install it, he had to remove what we thought was a broken stereo. The CD player hadn't worked for months.  We knew it was probably due to the children thinking the CD slot was a reverse ATM machine, but we were thinking more along the lines of a couple pennies.

Neil shook out all the change, and voila, our CD player actually works again, and I can play my iPod.  Double score!  Now, guess how much change he found in the radio?  The person closest without going over, wins the money! 

On your mark, get set, GO!!! Only guesses submitted in the comments of the blog count in the contest. 

(Disclaimer:  If I've already told you the amount, you are not eligible to play.  Sorry Mom!)

Merry Christmas from the Pennington's

Merry Christmas Y’all! My name’s Madison Riley, the newest addition to the Pennington clan, as of January 17th.  My arrival changed things up, but in a good way.  Mommy was getting a little bogged down with all the boy’s pent up energy.  Now that’s the important stuff, but since I’m obligated to tell you the rest, I will. 
So we go to this church called Fusion, which used to be a service at this other church but is now becoming a plant up where we live.  Mom had to give up her job at camp to do so, but apparently it was worth it, something about a community.  I don’t get what all the fuss is about yet, but I do like hanging out with the other babies in the nursery.  Owen and Blake talk about their friend Jesus a lot.  I think it’s a little weird that they sing songs about a guy I can’t see, but Mommy says I’ll get it someday.  I sure hope so.

What else?  We traveled to Georgia in June to celebrate my GG-Daddy & GG-Mommy’s 60th wedding anniversary.  It was cool to meet all these people for the first time, & I totally got to be the center of attention, especially to my Aunt Becca.  We also took a really long trip in August, and spent a week with Grandma and Grandpa at the beach Florida (a first for Blake and me).  Then we dropped off O and B at Nana and Papa’s and Daddy, Mommy, and I hung out in Charleston for a few days before heading up to spend time with their college buds in NC. We also went down to Georgia at Thanksgiving.  Every time we leave this place, we go there.  They say they miss their family, Zaxby’s, sweet tea and bean and corn casserole.  Weird, huh?
Owen’s  4 now and goes to school 4 days a week.  He’ll be going to Kindergarten in the Fall. Mommy fills up our social calendar with this mom’s group she started.  We think it was a rebound from camp, but it works well for all of us.  Blake’s definitely in the terrible two’s.  He’s clingy and whiny, but Mommy says he’s just too adorable to sell on the black market. Daddy’s trying to get him to go potty, so he doesn’t have to change his diaper anymore.  Since B got his stubbornness from Daddy, you can imagine how well that’s going. 

Mommy dove into the world of politics (also a rebound from camp), but really enjoys it.  I think it helps her keep an identity outside of mommyhood.  Now she is the Communications Director for a local county council campaign.  She also manages 4 blogs, which is no small feat, but given how much she loves to write, it’s a good fit.  Daddy keeps himself busy with projects around the house.  He single handedly chopped up firewood from a 100 foot tree they took down in our back yard.  After Christmas, he’ll be working with Papa on a play set in the backyard (thanks Nana & Papa).   He’s been out kayaking a few times as well.  He can’t wait to take O and B, and someday me too.  He tried to get them out once or twice, but they never really got off the shore.  I’m thinking I’m going to have to show those boys a thing or two as soon as I’m big enough to fit in a life jacket and hold onto a paddle.  
That’s about it, 2009 in a nutshell.  From our crazy family to yours, we hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a super cool New Year. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Year's Plans?

Originally, our plans were to hang out here at home, and anyone who'd like to join us, can come and attempt to make it to midnight with us.  However, my mother-in-law just offered to stay a day or so extra and watch the kids so we can go out.  Question now is, where would we go?  It's too late to get tickets anywhere, plus, it probably wouldn't be any fun unless we knew people. We've never been big on New Year's.  We're not big party-ers, and we certainly don't do well is large crowds so going downtown is out of the question. So, here's the question, what should Neil and I do for New Year's Eve?  Should we stick to the original plan or change it up and venture out?

Please post ideas in the comments below.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It's official.  The weather lady says it's going to snow and it's going to be a big event.  Yada, yada, yada!  What excited me was what she said at the end of her segment.  Listen closely and pay attention to a very special date.  I might just be looking at my first ever White Christmas.  I know it's selfish, but I'm totally praying for it.  I've never woken up in my own house with snow on the ground, and I'm super excited about the possibility...even if it's only a 40% chance at this point.

I'll keep you guys posted!  Oh and for the record:  Since the Pennington's have moved to Maryland, we have never had a snow event as big as the one they are predicting for tomorrow.  This may turn out to be the wildest winter ever (at least for those of us born and raised in the South). 

Also, good to note, that the first snow fall of the season, for the last 6 years, has been on December 5th.  Guess when we moved to Maryland?  Yep, 6 years ago!  Hhmmmm, coincidence?  I think not!

The Conclusion to the Dilemma

Thank you all for your advice.  It's hard to be in a pickle and immediately know what to do.  So, here's what I ended up doing.  That very day when I posted my blog, I found a fantastic deal at JCPenny.com.  In their Wednesday deals, I found a well-rated play kitchen for $23 shipped.  Literally, I pounced on it.  The way I see it, if they like it, then maybe it was the best (and least expensive) choice.  If they don't, I can sell it (or donate it to my new church, as suggested by friend, Katy) for about what I paid for it.  Seemed like a good solution to me.  What do you think? 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Debating??? Need HELP!

It's my fault really.  I wanted the kids to have a Play Kitchen, and I planted the seed in Owen's head.  Now, when you ask him what he wants for Christmas, he says, without hesitation, "PLAY KITCHEN."  I started the hunt a few weeks ago, found a great deal at Walmart.  Bing was offering 20% cashback, the kitchen was on sale for $149, and shipped free to store; plus, I had $60 in giftcards given to the kids from their Aunt Heidi.  When I went to show Neil, he, of course, hesitated.  By the time I got him to agree to allow his boys to have a kitchen, the darn thing was out of stock, Bing cashback was back to 5%, and I still have the gift cards.

After a little research, I found that the manufacturer of said kitchen is out of stock, meaning, no one has it in stock, and won't until the end of January.  So here's my dilemma, do I settle for something else so Owen has something at Christmas?  Or do I wait until the end of January to buy the one I liked? 

See, I really wanted a wooden one.  Both Little Tikes & KidKraft make cute ones that aren't too girly (AKA pink).  Both are out of stock.  Ikea also makes one though it is simple and lacks adequate storage.  But it would work as well and is about the same price.  Of course I can't use the Walmart gift cards there, but I could always use them for something else and still let the kids know that the Kitchen is from their Aunts, one who gave them cash and the other who gave the gift cards. 

I'm open to suggestions, because I really don't know what to do.  Will it even matter in the end?  They'll have plenty to open up on Christmas.  They might even forget about the kitchen all together.  Okay, that will never happen, but maybe I could take a picture of it and tell them that it will be here soon.  ARGH, this is so frustrating.  Normally I could care less, but this one I have to take full responsibility for.  I started it and therefore, should finish it, right?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Madison the Ape

You guys have to see this.  I was dying laughing.  So last night, we're at church, and in all the hub-bub of getting ready for the Chili-Cook-Off, I just totally spaced on the diaper bag.  Of course, Madison decides to pee out of her diaper and all over her pants.  And since I had no extras, we just let her go pantsless.  Madison, the trendsetter.  Apparently, Grace has some pretty rough carpet, because this is how my daughter had to crawl due to the rug burn on her knees.  Why she didn't just decide to get up and walk is beyond me.  Enjoy!

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

This is my absolute favorite season.  Honestly, if I could just keep my house looking the way it does right now, with the decorated trees (5 in all), bright shades of red and green, adorable stuffed animals adding flare through out.  Yes, if only I could leave it just like this all year long, and not be accused of cat-lady syndrome or red-neck dysfunction, I'd totally do it.  In a heartbeat, I'd do it.  It's just so farm and fuzzy, welcoming and festive, from the music to the candles and the lights.  Even as I type this, I'm sitting in my living room lit only by the lights from the Christmas tree.

However, it begs the question, why can't the sentiment of Christmas last all year long.  How hard would it be to keep a tote or two of special "seasonal" decorations to interchange from time to time?  What about a playlist on my iPod that changes every couple of months, filled with songs that capture the mood of whatever season it happens to be.  And of course, I could change the lighting options within each room to adjust for the changes in the length of the day.  I could do all of these things, but it just sounds like so much work, especially after I just spent a week transforming my house into the winter wonderland it is today.  Maybe that's why I only do it once a year. 

Of course, in all this, I don't forget the "reason for the season," which does in fact amuse me that Christians make such a huge deal about the commercialism of it all.  But shouldn't my walk with the Christ be daily, not seasonal?  And didn't Christmas in fact find it's roots in a pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice?  In fact, I hear Jesus wasn't even born in December.  Granted, it's a great time to remember the mere fact that God did come to Earth in the form on a baby.  God!  The Creator of the vast universe came here, humbling himself to the point of humanity, in order that I might have a relationship with him.  I get that. Don't get me wrong.  I just love all the rest of it too.  The Christmas cards, the shopping (especially the deals), the trees wrapped all pretty under the tree, the parties, the family & friends.  I love it all.

The kids are having a blast, enjoying the festivities throughout the city.  We've been visiting train gardens, making cookies with friends, watching a light show at the National Harbor (where they have a Peeps Store), crafting Christmas cards for Owen's classmates, taking pictures, and decorating the house (of course).  I even got all three of them to sit with Santa.  Owen's never even gotten close to the man.  Now that he thinks Santa brings him presents, he's all over him.  I guess the promise of a present, a play kitchen in fact, is enticement enough.  Though Madison continues to look on with caution, she too is quite taken with the jolly ole' fellow.

This week, we're gearing up for a Wrapping Party (come if you'd like), Owen's School Party, and our Bible Study party.  I just love parties!  I get to give out lots of gifts as well.

Before I go, I have to tell you about our Christmas Eve plans.  So Fusion, our new/old church, traditionally does an 11 pm service and since that will be our last night at Grace, they thought it best to stick with the original plan.  For some of us, as you can imagine, 11 pm doesn't work so well.  I'm hoping, at least, that all three of my kiddos will be in bed.  So a few of us families decided to do our own thing and it caught on.  So Christmas Eve, we'll be gathering at our house at 5 pm to sing a few Christmas Carols, read the Christmas Story, and just worship together.  It will be very family friendly, kids are welcome.  If you don't have anywhere else to go, come hang with us. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Couch Hangover

I admit it.  I had a little too much couch last night, and now I am paying the price.  Cranky, tired, and all kinked up.  Well, let's just say it's not how I envisioned starting off this day.  Actually I didn't exactly envision a slumber party on the couch either, but some things can not be avoided. 

So no, I didn't get in a fight with my husband sending me to my tortuous demise.  Believe it or not, I got kicked out of my bed by none other than my middle son.  I know, I know, Everybody knows how much I hate having kids in my bed, but this was a special circumstance.  See, I decided to stay up a little later than normal (which is sadly becoming the norm) to catch up on a couple of my shows.  I'm pretty sure the coffee I had around 4:00 in the afternoon was the culprit of that poor decision.  Anyways, around 11:30, Blake starting crying, only it sounded a bit off.  It didn't take me long to figure out that this was going to be a rough night.  As I reached down to tuck him in and calm him down, I immediately noticed the heat radiating from his head.  Yep, it was going to be one of those nights. About the time I got him calmed down and back to sleep, I heard Madison stirring.  "Ah, she'll go back to sleep," I thought.  And I made my way downstairs to turn off the lights and then head to bed.  Guess what?  She didn't quiet down and Blake was back to crying as well.  I managed to get them both calmed down and was making my way to the stairs when Blake started up again.   I'm at that point where all I want to do is close my eyes, and it was beginning to look like there would be no rest for the weary.  But that's my job, right? 

At this point, Blake had a pretty rough fever, and Madison was on the stir again.  So I did the only thing I could do at the time.  I picked him up and took him to Daddy in bed before heading back to deal with Madison.  By 1:30, there was silence in the house, minus the various levels of snoring coming from my three little bears.  Finally, I could get some sleep.  I head up stairs, throw on my sweats and start to climb in bed.  But there's a Blake sleeping soundly on my pillow. 

So, do you see now how I ended up cranky, tired, and all kinked up?  It's what I'm calling a couch hangover.  It should be a really fun day.  Just so you know, Blake woke up this morning with no fever, but we'll stay quarantined just in case. 

Wow, you'd think I would have written about the myriad of other things that I have happened since I last blogged, but that's what's on my mind.  Fair enough!