Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'd like to present....

I'm done!!

I'm done, I'm done, I'm done.

I just finished my Sunburst quilt. The Kaffe Fasset inspired quilt I've been working on since July. And I'm super excited. I love the way it turned out and bonus, I finished it before the new year so I can add it to my stashbusting points. What do you think of it?



In addition to finishing my quilt, I've had quite a busy day. After a late start (I'm really starting to get used to sleeping in every morning), I posted my blog. Then I cut Seeger's hair. He wasn't happy.





But he was okay with the end result.


After the haircut, I fed the boys lunch and we planned the afternoon. Seeger wanted to go to the library and Nicklas wanted to ride the bus to the mall. We compromised and decided to ride the bus to the library. After a 3/4 mile walk from our house, we made it to the bus stop.



It was a fun trip. We talked about the benefits and downfalls to riding the bus and the boys really enjoyed the experience.







Finally! Our destination.



After the bus trip, we picked up one of Nicklas' friends who is spending the night. The boys played well together and it was a great evening. I even did all the laundry. (Well, almost - there is still one load in the dryer.) That's right, I'm a rock star.
There is still another hour left in the day. Maybe I'll work on my next quilt?

What to do today?

This is day 11 of my two week vacation. It's been busy, what with Christmas and all, but now that the holiday is pass and the parties are over, I'm finally started to relax a bit. I haven't put away the decorations or presents, and the laundry and house work is piling up. I'll get to it soon but I'm in vacation mode right now.

I spent the last few days trying to finish up a quilt before the end of the year. If I pull it off (and I should be able to) it will be major points for the stashbusting contest I'm doing with some fellow quilters. I just need to finish hand stitching the binding. Once I do, I'll be sure to post pictures of it and few other small projects I've recently completed.

Mike is gone for the day so it's just the boys and I. I'm planning to give Seeger a hair cut and feed the boys lunch and then maybe do something fun. I think we'll either take the bus to the mall (I think the boys would get a kick out of a bus ride and I want to support the city's bid to reach 5 million riders in 2008) or go to the library.

But right now, the boys are playing together really well and there is a lot of laughter so I don't want to interrupt them. They were spying on me for a while, then chasing each other through the house. Then, they were using a pair of binoculars to look at each other's belly buttons. Right now, they are taking turn covering each other in blanket and giving me a "present".

I love vacation.

Follow up to the Santa question

Well, it happened. Nicklas now knows the truth about Santa. In a previous post, I wondered if this should be the year to tell him. Mike and I decided we'd tell him once Christmas was over but I went back and forth on thinking it was the right thing to do. Fortunately, he figured it out on his own.

I never believed in Santa as a child. I think when I was about 4, I thought to myself that I really wanted to believe in him but the whole idea of a man living at the North Pole and flying around the world in a sleigh didn't seem right. And when Christmas came and the Santa presents were wrapped in the same wrapping paper as the rest of our presents and the writing from Santa was identical to my mom, my thoughts were confirmed. And then there was the Christmas when we were getting ready to leave for my grandparent's on Christmas Eve and my mom "forgot something" and had to go back inside the house. Oh surprise, when get got home from midnight mass, our presents from Santa were there.

Once my kids were old enough to question Santa's true identity, I decided to go to great lengths to keep up the farce. I have a special roll of wrapping paper for the Santa presents that I keep hidden. I hide the Santa presents really well in case the kids go peeking. I use different handwriting for labeling the presents. I don't automatically know which stocking belongs to which person once they're stuffed with Santa treats and I ALWAYS take off the price tags.

(In my mind, I think my act is so good and this is the reason Nicklas has never doubted. I'm that good, right?)

You're probably wondering how he found out then. It's because I slipped. The night before Santa came, after I wrapped the Santa gifts and filled the stockings, I took a picture of the set up. And of course, Nicklas found the picture on my camera.

Nicklas: "Hey, wait a minute. Why is there a picture of our Santa presents on here? I don't remember you taking this picture."

This caught Mike and I off guard. I wanted to tell Nicklas the truth but I wasn't prepared right at that moment. So I choked. I looked to Mike for help.

Mike: "Well, mom woke up before you and took pictures but since you were still sleeping, she went back to bed."

I glanced approvingly at Mike, nodding in confidence at his quick comeback.

Nicklas: "But GUYS.... This picture says it was taken at 11:53PM!"

Busted. We didn't have a response. I looked to Mike help again to which he replied by saying: "You wanted to tell him the truth. Go for it."

So we did. We told him that for years and years, parents have been pretending to be Santa Claus to keep the tradition alive but that now he is old enough to know the truth. We also emphasized that he has the power and responsibility to keep the story going for others who still believe - like his friends and especially his little brother.

And in true Nicklas fashion, he shrugged his shoulders and said "okay."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Quick rant

I just want to point out my frustration with my blog template. For some reason, I can't format the way I'd like.... I put spaces in and then when I post, the spaces disappear. I delete spaces in one section and they get deleted in another section. SO FRUSTRATING! I'm a stickler for layout and consistency so it drives me bonkers. (I'm telling you this so you realize it's them, not me when you see weird formatting!)

FINALLY - the Christmas 2008 post

I'm warning you up front. This is a LOOOONG post, mostly consisting of pictures. We attended five family Christmas celebrations and I'm attempting to put them all in one post. And since there are some family member who weren't able attend the celebrations, I took lots of pictures. So without further ado.... the five Christmas celebrations....
The family Christmas
Nicklas and Seeger baked cookies for Santa (with Mike's help) and got the milk and platter ready.

The next morning... Santa arrived (a day early, no less)!

After opening presents, the boys go on a treasure hunt through some Disney books to find out that we're going on a trip to Florida in February.


Christmas with The Gallogly's

Our tradition is to spend Christmas Eve (at my grandmother's house on Lake George, Indiana) with my dad's side of the family. I come from a large family - my dad has four brothers and sisters and my mom has six. This means lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. I've always felt fortunate for this and the fact that both sides of the family still get together during major holidays. At the Lake celebration, Nicklas played Santa.








Christmas with my dad
After the Lake Christmas, we go to my dad's to have Christmas with he and his wife.


Christmas with my mom
We leave my dad's on Christmas Eve and drive to Fort Wayne to spend the night at my mom's. On Christmas morning, we wake up, eat cinnamon roles and open presents with my siblings.


Christmas with the Kubat's
We schedule Christmas with the Kubat's around work schedules of my brother-in-law and father-in-law. This year we celebrated on the 26th and Mike and I hosted. I realize now I didn't get many pictures - probably because of the hosting gig - but I did manage a shot of all the presents. The in-laws said they were going to cut back this year. Can't tell, can ya?

After presents, we managed to get the kids to settle down long enough for dinner. They actually sat and ate. It was a Festivas miracle!

And finally, the last shot of Christmas. While I was out Christmas shopping, I saw these sweaters at Old Navy and HAD to buy them for the boys. They didn't love wearing them, especially twice in three days but I didn't care - they were so darn cute! Don't you agree???

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hey, at least I tried...

I'm not much of a breakfast eater. I like a big breakfast but I'm usually too hungry when I first get up that I don't have the patience to cook anything elaborate. And if we try to go out to breakfast as a family, by the time we're all up and ready to go, I'm so grumpy from hunger, I'm no fun to be around.
But sometimes, I try to make the boys smile with the breakfasts I prepare for them. (notice I wrote prepare, NOT cook.) Seeger asked for smiley face pancakes. (Precooked pancakes that I microwaved.) I give myself a D for effort but at least my four year old doesn't care.




After seeing this, Nicklas asked for Toaster Strudels with an R and W (for Redwings, duh!)



Not the healthiest breakfast - I'll have to pump them with fruit for a snack later on.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Foundation update

An update from my Jacking up the Foundation post....

So the appointment with the structural engineer went better than I hoped. After checking everything out, he told us that right now, he doesn't see anything to cause concern with the foundation of the house. The porch has dropped a bit which has caused the crack in the cement slab and brick exterior. He looked at our basement and complimented the concrete walls because he couldn't a single hairline crack. That said, he mentioned that house settling typically happens in the first 10 years but since our home is 14 years old, he is concerned that we've noticed a significant difference in the cracking the past few years.

At this point, we're keeping an eye on things and if we continue to see cracking and slanting of the porch of more than 1/2 an inch, we will need to consider a fix. We're planning to finish our basement this summer and when we start the planning, we'll look at it again to see if damage has progressed.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lindy trains

Mike's dad called the other day to see if we wanted to go the Linden Railroad Museum. Linden is a small town south of Lafayette. The Nickel Plate passenger service and Monon railroad used to run through Linden and the town has turned the depot into a museum. They have a few model train sets on display and since Seeger loves everything trains, we thought we'd check it out.




Our favorite model replicated the town of Linden in the 1950's. The attention to detail is very impressive.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

At what point?

At what point do you tell your kids that Santa Claus isn't real?

Mike and I have been debating the issue of talking to Nicklas about the true story of Santa Claus. He's in second grade and still believes in the tale and we're starting to get uncomfortable with continuing the appearance and tradition. We both think he's old enough to know the truth and we'd rather be the ones to tell him instead of him finding out from someone else.

He's at an age where he's asking for big ticket items and things we aren't necessarily going to buy him. This year, he asked Santa Claus for a Nintendo DS. We've talked to him about asking for other things so Santa Claus has options and although he's added a few things to his list, it's the DS he really wants and its what he thinks he's going to get. But he's not.

I think he's going to be disappointed when it's time to open presents which will break my heart. I guess it's just another sign that he's growing up.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Highlights

I'm currently in between hair stylists and it's been awhile since I've had my hair done. I had a hair cut two months ago but I haven't had highlights done since this summer. My hair has been looking pretty dark so I decided to bite the bullet and get highlights.
I have the best girlfriends ever. Since I'm cheap and I didn't want to pay salon prices, they agreed to come over and do my hair.

Bonus, Melia - the cutest baby EVER - tagged along!

Three and a half hours later and I was blond again. My hair is much lighter than I thought it would be but I love how it turned out. (Every time I see myself in a mirror, I ask Mike if it's getting lighter. He promises it's not!) I had promised to post a picture right away so the giries could see it dry. Please excuse the lack of make-up and fact that I didn't "do" anything with it. I'm on vacation and you're lucky I'm even taking the time blog right now. :)

Seeger Potter

We went to the Jeff HS basketball game the other night. It was tied with 5 seconds to go and Jeff got fouled and hit one of the two free throws. When New Castle got possession, they somehow managed to score to beat Jeff by 1 point. Bummer.

During the game, Seeger took some pictures including this great shot of a fellow blogger.



He also went through my purse and wanted me to take a picture of him wearing my sunglasses.




And of course since he looked so cute, I took another picture of him with my glasses on.


Obviously, the camera prevents boredom. (And obviously Seeger and I are easily entertained!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

I *heart* the 80's

Mike and I are sitting here drinking wine and watching the Fall Guy. We finally finished the first part of season one and my brother has loaned us the second part. I'm also eating peanuts and M&M's mixed together which is my favorite. As you can tell, I'm in a good mood, in part to the fun evening we're having but also because today was my last day of work for a few weeks. Hubby time, vacation, wine, M&M's, and the Fall Guy - what more could a girl want?

Speaking of the Fall Guy, my obsession may be getting a bit out of hand. I changed my Facebook profile picture to an image of Lee Majors, I can't get the words to The Unknown Stuntman out of my head, and today Seeger and I were playing around and I was pretending to take punches in the face from him. Someone asked me what the deal was with my love of everything Fall Guy. I'm not quite sure. Yes, the acting is bad. Yes, the plots are flimsy. But I loved that the show didn't take itself seriously. And Colt Seavers is awesome! A man's man (which would drive me crazy in real life but is fun to think about in fantasy world) with the GMC truck with the Fall Guy license plate, the big belt buckle and outdoor tub, tucker's hat, and ability to take punch. All during an era when things were simpler. (Granted, I was 7 when the show first aired.) Oh, and I found out that Lee Majors went to IU on a football scholarship but was kicked out for getting into a fraternity fight.
I was chatting with a friend who reminded me of another 80's tv show that I loved.... The Greatest American Hero. As a little girl, I had the biggest crush on William Katt.



This show may be next on the list!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Update

Today is Thursday and tomorrow is the last day I'll be at work until January 5. I'm rather excited to have the next two weeks off with Mike and the boys. I've been scrambling to get things in order and feel okay about being away from work for two weeks. Running my own program makes it pretty easy as I can set my own deadlines. Tomorrow will be busy though. My students have their final presentation and I have to get their grades turned in since I won't be in the office next week. I also have two meetings and the weather folks are reporting a big ice storm headed our way tonight. Nick's school has already cancelled the Christmas program for tonight. I feel like it's all a little premature but we'll see. (The last time the school cancelled evening activities for reported thunderstorms and high winds, NOTHING happened.)

On the home front, everyone else is finishing up activities/school this week and looking forward for the holiday to officially begin. Mike and I had debated driving to Fort Wayne for a Christmas party on Saturday but ultimately decided to stay home since we'll be driving that way on Tuesday. This means we have no plans for the weekend. Yes, you read that correctly... We have NO PLANS. I honestly can't remember the time we haven't had any weekend commitments. I'm looking forward to finishing up the shopping (I have just one or two more things to get) and wrapping and doing some quilting. I'm making a few gifts this year and my work keeps getting put on hold for things like dinner and swim team practice and holiday parties and baking and what not. I'm sure our weekend will also be filled with lots of game playing and movie watching. I can't wait!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Seeger the videographer

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know how much Seeger loves to take pictures. You probably also know that we've been really into video blogging lately. I think video blogs are super fun and a great way for family to catch a glimpse of our daily lives. Of course, I don't rely on dial up or a slow modem so it's fun and easy for me to watch video blogs. I don't know if watching video blogs is as fun or easy for others.
I'm able to track how many folks visit my blog every day but I don't track how many watch my video blogs. I've been torn lately between posting more videos or trying to stick to still shots. Do you have an opinion? If so, send me an email at ngkubat at yahoo dot com. In the mean time, here are some video blogs for your enjoyment. Seeger shot the first and second one. I did the third one at Nick's insistence (he just didn't seem to trust Seeger.)



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jacking up the foundation!?!

I'm a little freaked out right now but I'll start at the beginning... So Mike and I have been in our current house for 2 years. When we bought it, we noticed some cracking in the brick exterior but the home inspection didn't bring up any concerns. (And we had a GREAT inspector so we weren't worried.)


Over the summer, we noticed the cracking was getting a bit worse. We started to feel a little concerned but didn't do anything about it.


Right before Thanksgiving, Mike and I were doing the last bit of yard work before the winter and Mike said he thought the cracking was getting worse. As much as I wanted to deny it, I couldn't. We discussed if we thought we could wait until spring to call someone. We decided we could but we'd continue to monitor the situation.


Then it happened.... This weekend, I was sitting on the couch that is pushed up against the outside wall with the cracks. I heard a big gust of wind sweep through the neighborhood and suddenly, I felt the floor shift a little. I looked up and Mike (who was sitting across the room) didn't seem to notice anything. I immediately knew it was the crack. I got up to investigate. Yes, the crack was much worse. I called Mike outside to look and he agreed. The freaking out began.


So for the past hour, I've been online googling house settling foundation cracks brick mortar concerns. Most websites advise having a structural engineer look at the situation.


I called the first guy I was able to pull up on google. (He happened to be the only one listed from Lafayette.) He totally freaked me out by talking about bad builders that move soil for building houses in ideal looking settings (we live on a walk-out basement) and "easy" fixes like jacking up the house. Even more scary - he charges $100/hour with a $400 minimum. Then he asked how I heard about him. He seemed pleased that he's the only one who popped up from Lafayette on google and proceeds to tell me there are others in town that are also qualified to do structural engineering but most won't be bothered with small jobs like mine. He also mentions that one in particular is very good but jokes that he's not going to tell me his name.


I hang up with first guy and immediately check the phone book. Yep, there's another firm listed. I call the second guy (who isn't at all dismissive about a "small" job and even mentions up front that he'll do a free estimate). He wasn't as dramatic but did mention concern about the brick cracking in half (opposed to just cracking through the mortar) and fact that we live on a hill.


I scheduled an appointment with both for next Monday. I'll be freaking out until then.


Livin' on a Prayer

Mike and I went to a dinner party on Saturday for our friend Marty who turned 30. It turned into a poker tournament, cocktail drinking, Rock Band playing festival. Marty and I made it in the top two of the poker tournament so we split the pot to end the game and join the others in Rock Band. Here's a photo of Mike and our friend, Allison, singing.



Saturday, December 13, 2008

The birthday party

Seeger attended a birthday party today. I dressed him in his new sweater because he's just so darn cute.


The party was held at Chuck E' Cheese and the kids really enjoyed playing the games.
At least some took a break to eat some pizza!

A visit from Santa

Thursday was the Jeff High School Athletic Department Christmas party. We look forward to this every year - Mike and I because of the yummy potluck food and the boys because Santa Claus always makes an appearance and hands out gifts.
While we were waiting to eat, Seeger took our pictures.

After dinner was the visit from Santa. Nicklas received a 20 Q.

Seeger was looking forward to telling Santa about all the items on his list. Here is a photo of him getting started.
And still talking...
And still talking! Seriously, the kid has a list a mile long!
Finally, he got his present. Surprise - a new Thomas train engine.
And the funny shot of the evening... Nick's face after eating a sour piece of candy.