Saturday, January 31, 2009

Holiday Review ~ part two

{Holiday Celebrations}

This year we attended several Holiday parties all within a week of Christmas. Our first holiday celebration was at Buca de Beppo with a group of friends that Chris works with on December 19th. Sadly, I forgot to bring my camera to take pictures of this fun group of couples! This was our third year attending and while Ryan got a night out with aunt Geneva, Kara tagged along with us (she is still going through a "don't want to be with anyone but mommy and daddy stage). We had a great dinner in the Pope Room and it was great just spending time with other adults...even if the conversations were mostly about our children! A big THANK YOU to Derek and Kelly for planning this get together each year. We can't wait for next year...we will definitely make sure a babysitter is lined up (for both kiddies!) so we can stay out and enjoy the fun longer!

A few days later on December 21st, we celebrated our Annual Friends Christmas Party hosted at the Gaston Family house this year. I think we need to come up with a fun name for this about RICHIGAS? If we want to be like the Hollywood celeb couples...that would be a combination of our last names! What do you think Jammers and Wendell? You like?

This tradition got started way back in 2002 when we hosted the first dinner at our cute little apartment in Exeter. We take turns hosting dinner each year. Owen (Wendy and Chris' son)was only 5 months old that first year and of course the only baby in attendance. Boy has the crew grown since then! We now have 5 energy-filled children in the group. Gone are the quiet, candle lit dinners. We are now lucky to get through the dinner without a cup spilling or having to tell the kids to sit down and eat 10 million times! It's a crazy fun adventure and we look forward to spending time with the Richards and Gaston families each year. Below are a few pictures from this night:

Wendy is on the left and Jamye is to the right. All the boys in the middle (not sure where Jaylin is). I am taking this picture while feeding Kara on a comfy rocking chair in the corner. And of course all the hubbies are in the other room watching tv.

Ryan got a cool Diego car from aunt Jamye and awesome Wonder Pets figurines from aunt Wendy. Kara got clothes (yay!), a doll and hippo ball toy. Ryan loved that he got to open his gifts and Kara's too.

There's little miss Jaylin! Isn't she a cutie! Love the boa girly! She got a ton of dress up items for Christmas this year.

Here is Jaylin and Kara. Jaylin was so excited when she found out I was having girl. They are going to be best buds (just like their mamas are!) as they grow up. This is a cute shot where Kara is not crying....we took at least 10 more where she is screaming her head off. I can't wait for this stranger (and family/friends!) anxiety goes away for good.

Ryan and I playing doctor. He is very good at checking my vitals. His prescription each time to "make the sick go away" is drink your cocoa and you feel better, ok mama. We still don't know where he heard this expression but it makes me laugh each time he says it.

But the real doctor in the house was Dr. Caleb. Doesn't he look so professional in that coat and mask? He double checked my vitals and told me I needed a shot! Oh no, not the needle!

Our entertainment for the evening was by cha-cha Jaylin! We got her this adorable Dora dress up for Christmas. She loved it but later said "oooo, it's itchy. take it off!" Too funny.

Here's the Gaston kiddies all dressed up. This picture kinda reminds me of Halloween not Christmas! I just realized that we didn't get many photos of Owen. He had gotten two new Nintendo DS games from the gift exchange so he was pretty much out of sight the rest of the evening playing his video games!

We can't wait for next year!

Up next: Christmas Eve

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'd like to thank...

...the blogging community for giving me this amazing opportunity to journal and share the High Family journey with you all, my family and friends for their love and support through the years, my wonderful husband, Chris who is and will always be the Love of my Life, my beautiful children Ryan and Kara who bring tears and smiles to my life everyday and who are the main reason I keep this blog going....

Are you confused yet?

Can you believe I received my first blog Award? My little mommy blog got recognized. Whitney from The King and I felt I deserved the Lovely Friend Award (I was first on her sweet of her!) and proudly passed it my way on January 14th. Does that date ring a bell? Oh yes, the day the washer broke! So it's taken me this long to accept my award and pass it on to other deserving blog friends!

The best thing about blogging is meeting other wonderful people who also blog about their everyday lives. I have laughed, cried, cheered and supported many over the past year through comments on their blogs. I came across Whitney's blog when she was featured on NieNie's blog (if you haven't checked out Nie's blog...please click over to read her amazing story!). I thought Whitney's comment was so sweet and I loved her blog name. Curiosity got the best of me, so I hopped on over and started to read. Whitney is pure joy and is an amazing writer. The King and I are newlyweds and reading about their life brings back memories of the good old days when it was just Chris and I...

The blog awards kinda remind me of email forwards. You are always asked to fwd them on and I usually will fwd on the really funny ones. The blog awards are also different because they are given and received with a goal to spread the blog love and introduce others to some amazing bloggers where email forwards are read, passed on and forgotten. I feel so honored to accept this award and will proudly display it on the sidebar. Thank you Whitney!

So here first blog award states:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Before I list my 8 fellow bloggers (eight is my lucky number!), I have to say that it was hard to choose and I also had to double check everyone to make sure they haven't received this award yet.

Christy from The D'Angelo Family- We have been friends for a long time. Our sons were born only 10 days apart from each other. We share a lot in common and I credit her for getting me addicted to blogging!

Luci from The Schaeffer Family- I met Luci through Christy's blog and quickly realized that she was married to an old marching band friend from my HS days. We later found out that we live practically around the corner from one another. She is an awesome writer as well!

Margie from Chesapeake Ribbons- Have you noticed those lovely barrettes in Kara's hair? Well Margie made them. I will be blogging about Margie's amazing talents in the near future (it's a post that has been in the making for months now!). I found Margie's blog shortly after creating my own while doing a search on mommy blogs near my hometown. She was pregnant and we were due on the same day! My Kara arrived a week early and her Anna decided to be late! I am amazed at how Margie is able to juggle motherhood and all the extras in her life. I am also addicted to her cute barrettes and will be life customer!

Brooke from Brooke and Freeland- Another amazing discovery from NieNie's blog. Brooke's blog is fresh and fun to read. She is also a newlywed and I love reading about their adventures!

Jenni from The Belly Diaries- What can I say? Jenni is just amazing and uber talented! I truly wish she didn't live across the country because I just know we would best buds hanging out and getting our little ones together for play dates. I started following Jenni's blog because we were both due to give birth in June. Her little guy decided to be late and arrived on June 13th. I still remember reading her blog as her husband gave play by plays of what was happening during the delivery. I think her blog was the last thing I read before going into labor with Kara the next morning. So we have another special connection...our little ones are only a day apart! I will be curious to see if Jenni accepts her award?! ;)

Lisa from My Stay-At-Home Momma Drama- I think Lisa is hilarious and super fun. Her daughter is adorable and Lisa is expecting her second bundle of joy this Fall. She is an awesome mommy and very creative person. Thanks for the laughs Lisa...and Ryan LOVES the music you post.

Nikki from JohnNikkiMarshallCoen- I found Nikki from Jenni's belly blog. I love reading Nikki's blog because she is real. She isn't afraid to tell us what she is going through even if it involves gross details of a c-section incision that didn't heal properly. Her boys are the cutest things (second to my own children of course!) and I love reading about their family adventures.

Tara from Kidz- I am pretty sure Tara has already received this award...maybe even several times but I had to include her inspirational blog. She is the mother to one amazing little girl named Chloe. Please visit her blog and read their story. Her blog is filled with nothing but LOVE and INSPIRATION.

Thanks again for the award Whitney! Now my blog friends...go spread the love!

Monday, January 26, 2009

OUT with the OLD...IN with the NEW

Remember when I posted about my wonderful HANDYMAN husband and how he can fix anything and everything in our house? Well, I take it back and here is why. On Wednesday, January 14th our Maytag Atlantis washer decided it just couldn't go on and stopped working. It quit spinning and agitating. There were tons of dirty clothes and no washer to clean them. Chris took it apart that evening and quickly realized this job was beyond his handyman abilities. This is the part of the story where I really miss my Pop-Pop Copenhaver and wished he was still alive. He owned a washer/dryer repair business and had come the rescue in 2002 when a pair of pantyhose got tangled in the agitator of the washer...oops! I got a good lecture to always use my lingerie bag and I now own several bags! Anyway, I know he would have found the problem and had it fixed asap.

The following day Chris called a repair man and set up an appointment for the following Tuesday. We had to wait a WHOLE week to find out what was wrong this machine...

Finally after waiting what felt like forever and two trips to the laundromat later, Rick the washer machine handyman arrived and took the entire machine apart. He gave me good news and bad news. The bad news was the transmission needed to be replaced. The good news was that it was still under warranty! Woohoo, we only had to pay for the labor. I paid the $80 service charge, and said good bye to Rick with a promise that my husband would be calling to confirm that we indeed wanted the washer fixed. Little did I know, the good news would soon turn into even more bad news.

Chris called and found out that the labor, kits to install the new transmission and tax would add up to around $400. Can you imagine what the cost would have been if the transmission wasn't covered under warranty?? Now I am sure some of you are thinking, hmmm...that price isn't that bad....better then spending $800-$1500 on a new washer, right? Well, it is when you only spent a little over $500 on the washer back in 2001. Why would we dish out almost that much to get it fixed and not know if it will last another 8 years without something else happening. It just made more sense to buy a new washer. So thus began the process where Chris did his research...and research...and research. The engineer in him had to look into every brand made, how it is made and which brand worked best on a 2nd floor laundryroom floor. I love that he wanted to make sure we purchased the right washer BUT after a week, I was ready to just buy something...anything!

Here is our cute Maytag Atlantis washer and dryer. Our first purchase as a couple in 2001. Please excuse the messy laudryroom. It's the only room (other than the kitchen) that hasn't been worked on and it holds the utility sink with all the paint supplies in it.

While Chris did his research, we had to continue to visit the local LAUNDROMAT...

Chris and I have a good amount of clothing so allowing our clothes to build up wasn't a problem but the kiddies go through clothes quickly! Between Kara's messy eating habits and then spitting up the food afterwards and Ryan's potty training....we use the washer A LOT. I never realized how much I actually depended on that machine until it broke. I really missed it.

I think the last time I had to visit a laundromat was in college. My memories include clothes being ruined by the machines and thinking $1.25 was TOO MUCH to pay for a load of laundry. Guess how much it costs now? 10 years later...$2.50 a load!!

There were a few times where we made going to the laundromat a family adventure and brought the kiddies. Most of the time I would go shopping with Kara while Ryan and Chris sat and waited for the loads to wash. Here is Kara saying HI while we waited for Daddy to pack up the laundry baskets in the car. Good Times!

Ryan loved going to the laundrymat. He really enjoyed counting the coins and putting them in the machines. He also liked to hang out, eat a snack and watch TV.

On Saturday (after a week of reseach!!), we took a trip to the laundromat after visiting Sears (for the third time!!). I left the boys there while Kara and I went to the grocery store. This trip would be our last because Chris finally couldn't take it anymore. On this day there was an old lady at the laundromat who smoked the entire time they were there. Both Chris and Ryan smelled like they had spent 3 hours in a bar when they got in the car. Yuck. Is it even legal for people to smoke in laudromats? Personally, I think that's just plain disrespectful to others using the facility.

Ryan also said something that embarrased his father. When Chris told me this story, I laughed and laughed. He said an old man (taxi driver) with a long grey beard came in to help the "smoking" lady and Ryan took one look at him and yelled "It's SANTA!" hahahahaha

So on Sunday we headed back to Sears and ordered our NEW washer! After all the research, we agreed on the new Samsung frontloader washer. We knew we wanted a frontloader because they are the best energy efficient ones. In the long run, we would be saving on our water and electric bills. With the decision on a frontloader complete, we needed to find a brand that offered the best Vibration Reduction. Our laundryroom is located on the second floor and we had heard horror stories (and watched YouTube videos...yes, people actually videotape their clothes washing) about frontloaders causing crazy noise and vibration while in use. Our Maytag washer would go crazy when off balance and caused a lot of shaking so I couldn't imagine something worse! We had read a ton of online reviews about the Samsung washer and they were all positive.

We bought a silver colored Samsung because the white (which would have matched our white dryer) would have taken another 1.5 weeks to be delivered!!! No way were we waiting another almost 2 weeks when we could get the silver color the next day! We left the store happy but also sad. Though we were excited to know that a new washer would be in our home in less than 24 hours, we were nervous that we spent a good penny on a machine that could die 3 or 5 or even 8 years from now. The money we used to buy the washer would have gone to a new wood stove fireplace to replace the crappy existing one we have now. Guess this project will be put on the back burner once again...oh well.

Today we received our new washer! She's a beauty!!

We didn't waste any time trying it out and by this evening had washed 7 loads of laundry! We couldn't be happier with our purchase. This machine is very quiet even when it is spinning! Here it is with our Maytag dryer.

And in case you were wondering...yes the kiddies LOVE it too. Please excuse Kara's crazy hair, she had just woken up from a short nap. We all (including Chris) sat in front of the new washer and watched it spin for the first load...FUN TIMES! Oh and don't worry...all the bells and whistles include a childproof lock so Ryan can't climb in!

So I hope all the research paid off and we enjoy this washer for MANY years to come! We are off to a great start so far....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Video of the Week

It's been a crazy week. I have a lot to blog about but finding time is hard lately. I hope to get a few posts up this weekend. Stay tuned...

To make up for my lack of is a video I took of Kara eating last week. You will hear her sweet and loud voice....I have the joy of listening to this every day. Aren't I one lucky mama? Listen closely....tell me if you don't hear an "I LOVE YOU" come out of that cute mouth! ENJOY.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day Thoughts...

Today, history was made. Today, our 44th President was sworn in and tomorrow President Obama will begin the hard task of getting our nation back on their issue at a time.

I believe in him and believe in our country. A NEW BEGINNING. Three simple words...three powerful words. WE CAN. Two simple words...two powerful words. CHANGE. One simple powerful word.

I had tears in my eyes as I listened to President Obama's speech....

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. "

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace. "

I smiled when I heard Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery say these words at the end of his benediction...

"And in the joy of a new beginning we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead man, and when white will embrace what is right. Let all those who'll do justice and love mercy say amen. "

Today was a day filled with hope, inspiration and unity. We are the UNITED States of AMERICA.

I sang the Star Spangled Banner with my children at the end of the inauguration. Ryan didn't know the words but he hummed along anyway. It was beautiful.

"At Last" is our new President and our new First Lady.

Aren't they a lovely couple?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sweet Tooth

Guess who likes to eat cereal now?

We just have to add applesauce to it! She already has a sweet tooth.

Guess who loves to feed herself?

It's cute but seriously can become very annoying.

Guess who gets very messy because she wants to feed herself?

Guess who is now constipated after eating cereal, fruit, veggies and a little Similac in the past week?

poor baby.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ryan Funnies

Hmmmm....what's wrong with this picture?

Yes, Ryan is wearing his Santa jammies (gasp! after x-mas) but that's not it. Also, he sleeps with his favorite flashlight...well until I put it on his nightstand when I check on him late at night. That's not it either.

Did you guess the sock missing on his left foot?

Hmmmm....where did he put it?

I guess his hand got cold.

Such a silly boy!

Hola Lina!

Meet Lina.

Isn't she beautiful? Lina was my college roommate while attending my Freshman year at Penn State (Abington). We lived in an attic, in an old mansion across from our campus. I am not kidding when I say ATTIC. There were three (mini) bedrooms, a bathroom and a "kitchen" that had a mini fridge and hotplate in it! It wasn't luxury (even though it was in a beautiful mansion) but we made the best of it. I was a little nervous to meet Lina at first because the owner (Mrs. Joseph) had told me that my roommate was a "princess from an island." hahaha!

I still remember that hot August day as we unpacked our belongings. We were in our makeshift kitchen and at the same time we placed a can of peas&carrots and a can of New England Clam Chowder on the shelf. That was the icebreaker we needed. (I thought I was the only weirdo who ate that stuff) We had a good laugh and quickly learned that we actually had A LOT in common even though we grew up in different cultures. Our year living together was awesome and I will always cherish those memories!

Lina was born and raised in Puerto Rico and she moved back to PR after graduating in 2000. She married her college sweetheart, Kris (funny that we married guys with the same name AND they are both engineers) and they are the proud parents of THREE gorgeous girls! I plan to do a Flashback Friday soon about my 2008 trip visiting her's always fun spending time with them. I wish we had a vacation house there so I could live there in the winter!

Here is Lina and Kris with Ryan. They met Ryan and Kara for the first time this past September. It was a great seeing them and I hope we are able to visit them down in PR soon!

Lina and I do a gift exchange around the holidays each year for the children. This year, she got Ryan this fun spin and hop toy. He really loves playing with it (as does Chris!).

Thank you Lina!

¡Nosotros le perdemos y le adoramos tanto!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy 7 months!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week I turned 7 months old. Mommy and Daddy can't believe how quickly I am growing up. I can sit up all by myself now. I love to talk and just last night I said "mama" but only my mommy heard me. Sorry Grandma. Maybe next time I will repeat it when mommy calls you on the phone. I was more interested in eating the phone then talking last night!

I love to sing all the time and really loud. I think my brother Ryan is super funny but sometimes he can be bossy by telling me NO KARA when I touch his toys. He likes to come in to say good morning to me when I wake up. He plays with me and makes me smile every day! I just wish he wouldn't grab my arms sometimes.

I am getting my two bottom teeth and they hurt really bad. I love to chew on everything, especially my teething rings right from the fridge. I hope these teeth pop soon so I can feel better. I think mommy and daddy are hoping they do too.

Today, I had to see the doctor to get my weight checked again. The doctor told mommy and daddy to try stage 1 foods now. This is what happened tonight when mommy gave me SQUASH!

I am still a peanut. I only gained 2 ounces from last month. The doctor says I look really healthy and he is not concerned about my weight. He thinks I will gain more with eating solids three times a day. My mommy said I will be trying cereal with applesauce tomorrow. I don't like cereal but the applesauce sounds yummy!

Bathtime is my favorite time of the day.

Bright light! My mommy likes this picture because it shows my pretty green eyes.

She also likes this one because of my long eye lashes.

Here are a few more pictures of me eating my first vegetable. Can you tell how much I liked it?

I also love to hold the spoon and try to feed myself. Mommy says I need more practice.

Can you believe my mommy let me get this messy? She can't believe it either!

My story wouldn't be complete without a picture of me crying. Being cranky is my claim to fame. No more squash, give me the MILK!

The End.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

oh HAPPY day...

Can you guess what my son did tonight?

He ate this....

in this....

photo courtesy of:

Ryan has been fighting us for over a year with eating vegetables! Tonight we thought it would be the same struggle at the dinner table. Us telling him to try just one carrot and him saying, "'s yucky." Instead as I took a bite and said, "mmmmm, it is so good daddy. Thank you for making this scrumptious soup!" Ryan took a scoop (with a carrot on it!) and repeated what I said, "mmmm, it's yummy daddy!" He ate the entire bowl without pushing the vegetables (there was celery and onion in the soup as well) aside.

YAY...oh HAPPY day!

That was not a picture of my husbands yummy beef barley soup. I didn't think to grab the camera while eating his delicious soup tonight. Trust me, it looks just like the above photo!

This Christmas I received this adorable apron (ok, I totally ordered it and told Chris that this was from him). Isn't it the cutest thing?! I feel like a domestic goddess when I wear it.

I also received this awesome cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld.

It has a ton of yummy recipes made with vegetable and/or fruit purees hidden in them. I just finished reading it and once we buy a steamer, I am going to turn into a puree making fool! Chris and I also have a problem with eating out of our "comfort zone" of veggies. We have been together for almost 9 years and we have NEVER bought or eaten spinach, broccoli, cauliflower or even squash! This cookbook as a recipe for brownies that has spinach hidden in it! So I am hoping we can all benefit from this cookbook. Wish me luck....Chris usually does all the cooking in our house. I think I will create posts after I make the recipes with pictures so everyone can see the end result AND if my family could taste the hidden ingredients or not!

Holiday Review (part two) post coming soon....