Monday, December 10, 2007


We spent Thanksgiving at the Lawler's this year and had LOTS of great pies, as is our custom, great food, and lots of fun! For those of you that aren't in our Thanksgiving tradition, I'll share it with you. I think everyone should adopt it. It started a long time ago when my mom would be slaving away getting everything ready for an enormous dinner and my dad would come in and sneak pieces of pie. She got tired of shooing him out and then having to argue with us ("but Dad has pie...Why can't I have some?" in the most whiny tone imaginable). Finally she gave up and just said, "Here! Have all the pie you want!" So she just started making extra pies and letting us have a free for all! Now we have Thanksgiving pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then we have some turkey along with our meal of pie. It's GREAT! We all love it.

This year, Ryker tried to hang on for dinner, but just couldn't make it. For any of you that know Ryker and his sleeping habits, this is SO not typical:
And Granddad plopped this down on Raelin's plate, just to see what would happen. Unfortunately, I had no warning and didn't get a chance to take a photo of the initial look of delight and excitement. But here's Raelin gobbling (pardon the pun) up an enormous turkey leg.

And... Um... I have no explanation. Gina and I discovered that the napkin rings would fit just tightly enough in our eye sockets that we could wear glasses without ear pieces or nose pieces. Don't ask... We're retarded.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Raelin's Birthday

Raelin's birthday was a blast! What a fun-filled, busy day. She wanted to go to the park, so Raelin, Ryker, Mimi (Brice's mom, who came for Raelin and Liam's birthdays), and I walked to the park and played and played! They had a great time!

Raelin likes the swings best.

When we got home, Raelin wanted to do a project, so we got out some playdoh. This is Raelin's penguin that she made. It has wings and a beak and everything! I was REALLY impressed!In the evening, we had a BIG dinner with lots of family and extended family twice removed (it's too confusing--you'd need a diagram). At least this year we had room to accommodate everyone! Last year we had most of the same people (a few additions this year) and boy, was it crowded! Brice's mom made the best fried chicken any of us had ever had! The kids played some fun games. Brice made a beanbag toss that also served as a jungle gym:

Winter and Ryker were great at it (though Ryker mostly just got lucky). Just to give you an idea of how confusing our extended family is, Winter is this cute little boy in the orange shirt, and he is Brice's brother's wife's sister's husband's grandson (ridiculous, isn't it!) and just to confuse things further, his aunt is the pretty princess in the blue sweater, Renee.

The kids also played the fishing game that we always had at our birthday parties when I was a kid. We would throw the "fishing pole" over the backyard fence and when we felt a tug, we would reel in gummy fish or gummy worms. We don't have a backyard fence yet and we also don't have the temperate weather of California, so we did it over the pony wall around the stairs.

Little cheaters spied on the fish in the stream...
And found Granddad!Present time was great! Raelin got so many great presents! She loves to do crafts, so she got LOTS of "project" stuff, some fun games, and lots of other toys!
Then came the grand finale! Drum roll please! Raelin got a SNAKE!!!! That's what she wanted for her birthday more than anything. She was so happy and excited and it still hasn't worn off.Why would a four year old girl want a snake, you ask? Well, I'll tell you the story: A few weeks before her birthday, we decided to scrap the fish tank we'd had since she was a baby. It had contracted something that was killing off all the sucker fish and I just really didn't want to change the water on a weekly basis--it's a BIG job. So I thought it would be fun to get something else to put in there for the kids for Christmas. So Raelin and I got on the internet and started looking at reptiles. I asked Raelin what reptiles she liked the best. She said snakes, so we started looking at different kinds of snakes.
Somehow she just decided that she was getting a snake for her birthday. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that was probably better then getting one for both kids for Christmas--Ryker's not old enough for that, and he's proved it several times over since we've had the snake. Anyway, we learned a LOT about them. Ask Raelin something about snakes sometime and see if she knows the answer. She knows what they eat, recognizes different species of them, knows that they are cold blooded and what that means, and knows how to clean the tank. We've also talked about venomous snakes and a few ways to tell noce snakes from not nice snakes (red next to yellow will kill a fellow and red next to black is a friend of Jack, and the wider cheeks). When we were snake shopping (I wanted Raelin to pick out the kind of snake she wanted and to tell me what color variations she liked the best. She was very definite on all the things she wanted. She wanted a corn snake, a girl one, and she liked the ones with the brighter red and orange colors best), Raelin kept talking about wrapping her snake in a blanket. We couldn't figure out why she thought that, but we were a little worried that she thought it would be like a cuddly doll or puppy. Then I realized that she wanted to give it a blanket because it was cold blooded! I explained that, for people, we make lots of our own heat and the blanket traps it, but for a snake who doesn't radiate much heat, a blanket doesn't really help (I've since read something that indicated that they do make their own heat, but they have no way of retaining it, so maybe a blanket would be useful to a snake...). We did put a little doll blanket in the cage anyway just for her and the snake loved to use it as a hiding place! Raelin was right; it does like blankets! Oh, the other thing about this snake adventure: we went through all of Toys R Us, putting things she liked into the cart for her to choose from at the end, and after that we asked her what she wanted most for her birthday. She leaped in the air and shouted, "A SNAKE!!!" I was so proud! What a girl!
So, she got her corn snake, a girl one, and she is beautiful! And, by the way, the snake is just a baby. It's about 14 inches, but it will grow to be anywhere from 3-5 feet! Raelin decided to name her Aurora. I asked her why she liked the name Aurora (I wanted to see if it was because of her auntie Aurora or if she remembered it from Sleeping Beauty or from somewhere else). She said, "Because it's a beautiful name, and because it's Auntie Raroo's name." So there you go, Aurora! You have a beautiful name and, now, a snake named after you. Aren't you proud!?

Something I think is fantastic about this little girl is how much she knows her mind. It wasn't just limited to wanting a snake. I'd been asking her for a while what kind of birthday she wanted. I like to make fun cakes for the kids and kind of theme the birthday around that--that's what my mom did and it was so fun. I'd asked Raelin often to see what answer she gave most consistently. At some point she decided to have a Santa birthday. Once she got that idea in her head, she never deviated. So we got out the Christmas decorations early and got lots of dollar store Santa stuff. And I made the hardest cake yet!And here is poor Brice. This is how he spent the evening. He was really feverish and congested and not feeling well at all. What a way to spend his daughter's birthday. So pitiful...