Monday, December 31, 2012

Tool Pillow, Log Carrier and another apron

This Christmas I didn't go too crazy making that many presents. I did a few here and there... 
oh kiwi tree oh kiwi tree!

log carrier for my dad!

I thought it turned out pretty manly...

ahhh Bumble's attacking our felt tree

for my nephews;  a "tool" pillow and a dinosaur/taggie head

my mom modeling her new apron! it was from the remaining material from my bathrobe. (went with green this time)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

missing photos ;(

So I'm not really sure what is going on with all my photos on my posts.... kind of annoying?! Sorry peeps. I swear they were all working on the day I posted them!

In other news... Merry Christmas!!! And happy birthday Jesus :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Super Hero Pillows

What little boy doesn't love super heroes right?! A little boy from our church turned 4 the other day and I was trying to figure out what kind of present to get him. He's always wearing a batman shirt so I thought Super Hero pillows!

First I printed off the logos I wanted......

I had just enough yellow fleece..... 

I had this old Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt.... I'm almost regretting using it b/c it was my "maternity lounge shirt" of sorts.... but it did go for a good cause! (it was an XL)


I ended up buying some blue fleece b/c I didn't have any scraps that color! And I also needed some more stuffing! Not bad huh?!

Monday, December 3, 2012

And then there's the flu...

Oh poor little Ceej..... he woke up Saturday morning at 5:00 am... coming into our room whining... This isn't an unusual occurrence these days. He almost always wakes up once during the night asking to be "tucked back in". I guess I should get on teaching him how to tuck himself in!? But this time was different.... he smelled of vomit, and so it began.

Then the stripping of the sheets, blankets, stuffed teddy bear............ before we could realize what was going on it was in our bed too. I am so thankful for JDub. He has got to be the best when it comes to the kids being sick (throwing up). He always stays with Bubba whenever he gets that way.... and well Ceej is a bit of a daddy's boy so it didn't surprise me when he hung on to him for dear life. Fortunately this was the first time Ceej has really been this way. He was sick when he was a baby but that's a different story....

I started the unending laundry for the day and helped "set up camp" in the basement. We tend to have a quarantine in the basement when one is sick; trying to keep the other child (and adult) from getting sick as well!

I tell you what.... 6:00 am is about the right time to go to Wal-mart. Yes.... I looked like death! But I didn't see very many people... and there were a couple other death walkers as well... I loaded up on Sprite, Jell-O, bread (for toast), Saltines, applesauce, and chicken noodle soup.... Just in case! There was no line.... and I had about 5 people ask if I was finding everything I needed.

So far... no one else has puked. (knock on wood). And the only side-effect I seemed to take on was an everlasting stomach ache.... I figured it was my way of getting the flu... and I am feeling much better today (so far so good!)

I am a little sad I wasn't able to attend our ladies Christmas party for church though :( We were going to relax and have a fun little ornament exchange! We were to bring an ornament that described you... and well instead of trying to find one I just made it. Guess it looks good on my tree so I'll just keep it!

I was channeling my inner grinch the other day and made the boys this....

And this morning I was feeling a little festive as well :)

Of course Ceej thought it was a snake.... and NOT a candy cane... but eh... it could be a snake too!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!

2012 has been such a wonderfully blessed year
with our 3rd baby on the way, and our family so near.
I'm not too thrilled about about big I've become..
worst part is there is still more to come!

Then there's the asking if I'm due very soon
 "NO....... its actually April.... when I am due"
The look of embarrassment becomes pretty clear
Which makes it easier since I can't have a beer...

I am truly blessed as I always say
I thank God for His blessings each and every day
We've been working on being grateful around our household
the boys chime in with with what they've been told
To be thankful for all that God gives us
like our beds, and our food, and cousin Gus

I hope God's been blessing you like He's been blessing me
and if not.... hey! there's always 2013!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect on the treasures in our life. But I'm trying to be thankful all year long.. and not just this month. I find it funny that so many people are posting facebook statuses about what they are thankful for. I just hope they can remember them once November is over.

We've been reading a thousand gifts in our small group. So I've actually been keeping a list of different things I'm thankful for (even before November so ha! j/k, its not a competition). Here are a few on my list....
-carving pumpkins
-a big ol' glass of sweet tea
-prenatal vitamins (healthy hair and fingernails!)
-christian radio stations

Here's hoping you all have a fabulous Turkey day and have lots to be thankful for!! Gobble Gobble!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Recycled bathrobe

So I have a few bathrobes..... I swear I have never bought myself one... but somehow acquired four!? So when I saw this one with stains from the cat barfing on it!!! I decided ok... we'll work something out.

I know its gross... but I didn't use any portion that had cat barf on it... and well I washed it shortly there after!

I liked the ribbed look of the portion around the collar and down the front, so I decided to make a cut along the seam down one side. I thought about using the side with the pocket... but then I'd have to rip it off and re-attach it b/c it would have been sideways!

I cut the belt in half and attached it to the sides for the new ties. I even decided to leave the belt loop on to hang it up when its not in use.

I did decide to make my own little pocket and sewed that to the front.

 After wearing it around (I looked ridiculous b/c of my big baby belly...) I decided I didn't care for the lilac color....

After stewing for roughly a half hour, a rinse and a wash.........

Here's my new apron/towel! I swear whenever I'm cooking I go to reach for a towel and the boys (JDub included) have taken it somewhere!!! Now the towel will be attached to me... they won't be able to take it away so easily :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lego my truck!

So a while back JDub thought it would be a good idea to get out the Legos!! Not the mega blocks... but the old-school Legos he grew up with. It was quite cute seeing all my boys huddled on the floor legos everywhere.... For the most part they are pretty good with them. I think the boys have more fun pretending to shoot me with the lego men's gun or chopping at me with the little ax then actually building anything... but eh.

JDub still has the instruction books on how to construct a couple different trucks and atv's and whatever else.... (he's such an organized nerd, gotta love it!) but last night he thought to make up his own "super truck" if you will. I kid you not... he worked on that thing for 4 hours.... ok... maybe it was 3... but still. He worked on it while the boys were awake... and then he got it back out after they went to bed and worked on it some more.

Here it is!!!

He even built it an engine...

I know I should be more enthusiastic... every time I show him one of my crafts and he's all.... oh nice... and I'm thinking do you know how much time and effort that took?! I was hoping for a little more of a reaction... and then there's me rolling my eyes and calling him a dork instead of saying good job honey the boys are gonna love it!! (and then destroy it... I'm guessing it will be intact for 2.5 minutes.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

ISU patches for pants

red material= sweatshirt, yellow = fleece scraps, black = sleeve scraps from a LBD remake! There is also some black and white puffy paint in the mix as well.

I tell you what... jamming that tiny pant-leg onto my machine and maneuvering it around to sew it on was a pain in the rear.... but it turned out pretty cute.

I just cut the excess black material off close to the seam line. I left it kind of "raw" because these are boys pants after all! They are so rough I find so many holes in the knees!

I know its a little gaudy I suppose... but a 4 year old can get away with it :)

Go State!! 

On another note.... my sis got a hole in her maternity jeans 
(ya know the comfy ones that are worn in :) ) so I made a little patch for hers as well!

Holey pants no more!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Makeshift heating pad

Bubba has been battling colds all summer/fall it feels like! I really think he has allergies... but I'm too cheap and lazy to take him to an allergist and get it confirmed. He's also been complaining of ear aches as well. I was plagued with ear aches as a child... I remember frequently waking up in the middle of the night (why do they always come at the worst time?!) screaming in pain due to an ear infection. Then we'd have to go to the doctor and get prescribed the yummy medicine that was pink and tasted like bubblegum! Well I do believe in modern medicine... I think if my child is screaming in pain and complaining of his ear; something is wrong... They usually come after a long period of him being sick with a cold that develops into the ear infection! Well I saw that laying on a heating pad can help reduce the pain. So I figured what the hay... lets try it! Only... I couldn't find my heating pad!

Go figure..... I'll admit I'm a bit disorganized... and it only gets worse with my pregnancy brain. So while Bubba's off whining on the couch I'm like ok I have some rice... lets just make one!

and here's the finished rice-filled heating pad

I made it red b/c its Bubba's favorite color! He loves the thing.... wants me to heat it up every night and he lays his little head on it :) Whatever it takes to make that lil guy feel better works for me. I even have the other arm of the sweatshirt if we ever lose this one! I'm using some of the other material for another little project. Want to guess what it is for?!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Turkey love

This past weekend JDub and I had the privilege of going to a wedding in Ames! We were able to see some of his old fraternity brothers and relax for a bit (w/o the kiddos). It was nice :) The couple was about the cutest couple around! I'll admit when we get invited to weddings I'm usually the "let's just get a gift card" type of person..... I mean everyone loves getting a gift card right?! I know I do. But I thought I'd get a little more personal this time around.....

See the groom is a turkey farmer! And with it being Thanksgiving season and all I thought of something to make!

I took some plain white kitchen towels (from Wal-Mart)........

 And turned them into this! The bottom red and yellow strips are ribbon, and the rest are scraps I had on hand. I did have to iron on some interfacing to the back of the turkey to make him extra sturdy. Then I did a zig-zag stitch all the way around each feather and the body. I decided to go with yellow and red to represent ISU! I added the towels and some other kitchen goodies from their registry to a nice red bread basket. And of course I couldn't pass up throwing in a bottle of my favorite Reggae Red wine! I hope they enjoy them :) They were fun to make. 

I got in the turkey spirit and made a couple of felt turkeys to play with too! One is a girl turkey if you can't tell....

Gobble Gobble!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not ideal... but is anything?!

This week was a hard week to be thankful. I'm not saying I wasn't thankful... because really I was. I thought of plenty of things to appreciate in my life. God is so awesome. But two funerals in one week... is not ideal. In attending these funerals I thought of something that made it a little easier. While it is very sad to see loved ones leave this earth.... it is reassuring to know the friends that left this week were believers in Christ. I know I'll see them again in heaven! And they are no longer in pain.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

I don't know what your relationship is with Jesus... or if you even have one. But I sure hope you do! He is a constant reassurance in my life that everything is going to be ok!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Feed the Ghost

Well folks... I have my game for Bubba's preschool party ready!!! I'm calling it "Feed the Ghost." Hopefully it's not too scary for the lil kiddos. Initially I wanted to have a jack-o-lantern eating the candy corn bags I made... but then JDub said he had some particle boards at work that already had holes cut in them?! So I improvised...

The white particle board + red and black spray paint + Candy bean bags = Feed the Ghost!

Its not too pretty... but hey it works. I've been letting the boys play it while leaning against the wall... I thought about trying to have JDub engineer some hinge/board on the back... but eh... I think we're good.

Don't you want to feed the ghost!?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Um..... where's my milk?!

There's really not much sweet about my 4 year old anymore... I mean yea... there are those moments... but they are far and between what they used to be. It's sad how fast kids are "growing up" these days! I'm sure its partially my fault... I never enjoyed the baby talk... I find it rather annoying when people talk to your children in the babbly baby talk.

Every morning I wake up to "Where's my milk?" Why its in the fridge dear, where the milk goes. "Go get my milk." Excuse me?! Is this the way I talk to you? I know sometimes I do the occasional ordering around... go get your socks... you need to put your shoes on.... but I do try my best to get a please or thank you in there. Unless its the 4th or 5th time I've had to ask!

These boys can't have cold milk either.... it must be warmed up. Yes.... I know... it's MY fault.... after all I'm the on who started the warming up of the milk in the first place... In hindsight I should have never done that! (Note to new mother's out there... don't do it!!!) So not only do they need milk... but it can't just be readily made in the fridge for them... no I have to put it in a microwave-safe cup, warm it up.... not too hot.. not too cold (or I get complaints). I have it down to a science really since I've been doing it for years now.....

Here's the funny thing though... I stay at home... so I'm the one getting up every morning to get the milk, unless its the weekend, or JDub's on vacation or something. But when JDub happens to get the milk ready he closes the cups way too tight. I mean insanely tight... and when I first wake up in the morning I am so out of it I'm not really in the mood for having to strain myself just to get the cups open! And then I have the impatience's over here like "seriously mom.... where's my milk" while I'm struggling to get the cup open to even put the milk in?! Ceej has caught on (most likely from muttering under my breath) and he'll be like "Ugh! Why Daddy shut my cup?! Why Daddy shut cup?!" So hey... at least in my moments of pure frustration and agitation I can get a little laugh from that....

So how early can kids start using the microwave?.......

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Candy Corn bean bags

I have been asked to supply a game for Bubba's preschool Halloween party! I have to admit... I love Halloween!! I love dressing the kids up... I even like to dress up myself when the time comes. A few years back I sewed my first Halloween costume!

You might recall the little candy corn!! Aww Bubba's so sweet and innocent here! Ceej even wore the costume last year. Well I had plenty of yellow, white and orange fleece leftover from my little project. And you know how I am about holding on to my scraps!!! Anyway, I was trying to figure out what kind of game to do. So I logged onto Pinterest and started browsing. There were a few cute ideas out there.
Boo bowling with TP and pumpkin

throw darts to pop the balloons filled with confetti

witch pitch; throwing candy corn into little black pots
They were all cute... but I thought for a classroom of 15 kids.... the whole balloon confetti deal was a bit much... setting up the bowling game every time for every child would probably be a pain...... and would the kids even toss the candy corn or just eat it?!

I have to admit I initially thought "pin the face on the Jack-o-Latern"... But I thought I'd branch out a little (what with my "pin the tail on the sheep" and "pin the parrot on the pirate"). So after seeing this...........

I'm thinking I'll try it! I haven't started the pumpkin part... but I made my candy corn bags!!

I literally filled them with dried white beans... hopefully that's ok?! Aren't they cute?! Let's just hope the boys don't lose them before the party..... I'll keep you posted once the whole game is put together! Looking at them makes me want to buy candy corn and peanuts!! YUM!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Meeting baby

Well JDub and I (and the 2 little stinkers b/c they refused to go into the play room...) had the privilege of meeting our lil babe last week :) Usually my pregnancies are routine and normal... no "high-risk" or anything for me... which means only one ultrasound.... so getting to meet our babe with and early ultrasound was kinda fun!

Baby was moving around like crazy in there... and silly me trying to get ready for the ultrasound drank WAAAY too much water and had to be not once, not twice, but 3 times during the hour we were there! Ridiculous! According to their measurements... I was 12 weeks along... due date of April 9th...

Then comes this week... my actual 12 week appt. My doctor thought I was measuring 16 weeks... so she wanted to do an ultrasound to see if I had multiples! ha! I said "No... just one baby in there... I just had an ultrasound last week... they thought I was 12 weeks along..." But hey I didn't mind seeing baby again! I tried to have the lady look to see what sex it was! No luck though.... baby's legs were right in the way! (Stubborn!!) She did say she didn't see any definitive "boy parts"..... but it was still pretty early too... I will still be keeping my fingers crossed that its a girl... not gonna lie :) I measured 13 weeks along with a due date of April 4th with her measurements... but not enough to move the date up I guess! So it will remain April 10th... but I have a feeling we'll have a March baby... or at least an April Fool's one!

Ok... I am a pig. I really, really am. All I want to do is eat?! I don't remember being this way with my other pregnancies... And I actually have cravings... they aren't usually good ones either! The other night it was greasy pizza (pizza rolls) then last night it was Cheez-its!

Ugh. I have no will-power. I'm not talking just one serving size either... No wonder my doctor thinks I'm measuring at 16 weeks..... and my pants aren't fitting. Poor Bubba has an ear infection and the nurse at his doctors office already asked me when I was due?! It's gonna be a long pregnancy.....

At least my cravings earlier were a little healthier... cucumbers soaked in vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper! YUM!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Popsicle fun

So I had some popsicle sticks JDub decided to wash and hold on to for some sort of craft... I've had them for a while... and then thought of this!

It was super easy to create... yes I am a freak and already owned all of these colors of felt! I know there aren't any gray and black popsicles... but eh... I had the felt! The boys had fun being quiet and playing with them during church today! So I'd say they were a success.

And of course they are educational too!!

Who wants a Popsicle now?!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I have an announcement

Well folks.... its that time again... time to have ANOTHER baby... oh jeez. I'm starting to wonder what we were thinking... JDub and I... even talking about having another baby... because its like once we have the talk then BAM! I'm pregnant... It literally was that fast! I guess God knew all along it was time :)

I'm not gonna lie. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really hope its a girl. I mean obviously I will be happy with whatever God gives us.... but I can hope right?!

There goes my hot bod :( Oh well I suppose I got it back after 2 babies..... so I can do it again right?! I just might have to join Kosama again when its all said and done! I am already showing... which is quite ridiculous... I'm not even fully through my 1st trimester and its like there's the belly. I know part of it is b/c I have to eat every 2 hours... I know some of you are like yea right... you don't HAVE to eat every 2 hours... and you're right I don't have to... unless I want to feel all pukey and light-headed! And the other part is I have not worked out in forever... like pretty much since I posted about working out 4/5 days... it was like oh wait... I have no energy what is my deal... oh yea I'm preggo. I know you can still workout when you're pregnant.... I just haven't had the energy to! I'm hoping I'll get some here soon though...

hot bod after 2 babies
And to all you people who don't gain 50+ pounds when you are pregnant.... that's awesome... I'm jealous really... I don't know how you do it... well maybe you just don't eat like a cow and you workout too... and that's great. But for me... I'll just gain it all and then hopefully lose it by working my butt off after the baby arrives.... So don't tell me to only gain 25-35 pounds.... cause I might just punch you in the face :) Blame the hormones!!!
this will be me in 7 months...

Anyone want to make predictions on when my belly button will pop? They try to say its like a turkey thermometer popping out... once that happens the turkey is done!.... yea not so much with me... I'm guessing month 4 it'll be out..

Also just a fun little fact... BOTH of my sister's are pregnant right now too?! Joke's on grandma I guess :) Love you Mom!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

School, Lies, and Bedtime

Oh my goodness... where do I even start?! Bubba is in full-swing of preschool. Thank goodness he is loving it. At first he was very hesitant.. He said something sweet like "I don't want to go... I want to hang out with you Mommy...." and normal mom's would probably be all "Oh isn't he just the sweetest I don't want to send him off?!" Yea... well I'm not normal! I look forward to a couple hours away... And if you ask me... 12:45-3:15 really isn't long enough.. I mean Ceej barely gets a nap in with all his tantrums... but oh well... for a free preschool I guess I shouldn't be complaining!

Bubba has turned into a liar of sorts... JDub says I shouldn't call him a liar... but that's what he is?! Why sugar-coat it?! Just today he's eating lunch (hot-dog, peaches, and broccoli) and I'm trying to look somewhat presentable, getting ready in the bathroom because even though I start lunch at 11:30 my children rarely finish before we need to leave no later than 12:35...... when he's all "Can I get down?!" I left him with 3 pieces of broccoli to finish.... so I ask if he's eaten his broccoli... he says he has.... I go in to confirm and lo and behold his plate is clean! I praise him for finishing his food (knowing he was whining about having to eat his broccoli for about 10 minutes...) And proceed to the trash to find THE 3 PIECES OF BROCCOLI SITTING ON TOP?! Ok... where do they learn this from? And I'm sorry if he really wants to get away with it he has to do a better job than that (at least hide it under the rest of the trash....) I do have to give him props for admitting he lied... but still he has to get that little smirk on his face the instant he knows he's caught! Just like his father that one is... whenever we get into an argument about something or I'm angry he's instantly laughing and I just want to punch him in the face! (his father... not Bubba...) Anyway... he's been lying about the dumbest things... but I'm not really sure how to deal with it. I've tried reasoning with him, I've tried time-outs, I've tried taking things away... nothing is really working yet...

Oh Ceej.... my cute little punk Ceej.... The "blu paci" as he calls it... is gone... I kind of made him get rid of it cold-turkey... I know its a bit mean considering how much he loved it... but I was getting really tired of him waking up in the middle of the night frantic b/c he couldn't find it (If you know me at all you should know I don't like my sleep to be interrupted...) Bubba is going to bed a little earlier now that he has school in the afternoons and can't take naps. We hadn't been making Ceej go to bed any earlier b/c he can still nap during the day. Well a couple weeks ago Ceej made me go through the drill of putting him to sleep to only get out of bed and say "no sleepy". Yea well I wasn't in the mood so I said "you can go to sleep now... WITH your paci.... or you can go to sleep later.. WITHOUT it..." I repeated it several times and he just laughed and smiled running around like crazy. So later that night he went to bed w/o it. Only he didn't go to bed. He proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs and cry and carry on forever. That first night JDub was a trooper and he laid with him until he fell asleep. The second night I tried to lay with him until he fell sleep after lots of explaining... but apparently I am not a ninja and can not get out of his bed the way JDub does and he woke up clinging to me for dear life. Let's just say its been a couple weeks now and we are still struggling......... we've stopped the laying with him and moved on to the holding the door shut keeping him in his room. I believe it went on for over and hour 2 nights ago... and last night was a much shorter-lived tantrum. I can only pray God will help him through it (and help me not break down) because it is exhausting every night and every nap-time to go through this. Its hard to believe some stupid piece of plastic used to make him curl up in his bed and go right to sleep no fuss!

At least I had a nice surprise this morning.... Bubba slept in til 8:00! He NEVER does that... and Ceej slept in til 7:30 :) Well technically he came into bed with me around 6:20... but he fell back asleep until 7:30... I really do love my kids... I just also really love my sleep :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pirate Birthday Party

Well folks... its what you've all been waiting for!!! (okay... maybe its just what I've been waiting for....)

Bubba's Pirate Party is complete!! Yay! I have to thank my mom for all of her help... she did soo much the day of the party (I owe you!) And for my sis for helping me with the cake, and for JDub for helping with the boat, and for everyone that came! It was a blast. I have to admit I did not do a great job of taking photos... (I was pretty frantic the day of the party) but thankfully my mother-in-law took some wonderful photos for me to share!

goodies for the kiddos included duct-tape and cardboard swords, mini-treasure chests, beach balls, and eye-patches.

orange boats floating in a sea of blue berry jello!

pirate ship cake

How cute are these cookies! Emi's Treats did an awesome job!

pin the parrot on the pirate

Beware of sharks!
So when I told JDub I wanted a pool full of water he did a double-take.... Really?! He said.. Let's just say the kids had a blast... but it was a mess! Ceej's pants came off quick and he was swimming around before you knew it. My niece got in on that action as well. 

Didn't JDub do an awesome job on my boat?! We had part of our swing set behind there so each kid could get up tall and "be on a boat".

a view from inside the boat... this was when we were setting the party up! See Ceej already diggin in the sand?!
each child dug for a rubber duckie, some beaded necklaces, gold coins, and buccaneers!

I think the kiddos loved digging in the sand for their "trasures". All though between that and the water it sure got messy! But really can kids have any fun if they're not making a mess or getting dirty?!

I'm not sure why some of the pics are so grainy... but anywho it was a lot of fun!

I got the banner, eye-patches, mini-black treasure chests, rubber duckie pirates, pirate beach balls, and some temporary tattoos all from Oriental trading. Everything was really great quality I thought. A few of the treasure chests were broken... but I figured that would happen.

I found the idea for the jello orange boats from Pinterest!!! Jell-O orange boats

I also came across the Pirate Ship cake recipe on this link. Pirate Ship Cake I have to say I put the cakes in saran-wrap and put them in the freezer for about 4 hours and it all came together great. I did also use some straws inside the cake for extra support.

Those awesome cookies were from Emi's Treats. If you are in the Cedar Rapids area and in need of delicious/cute cookies you should check her out! Here's her fb page...

Well folks... I tell you what even though the party was yesterday and we had a lazy day today... I am still pooped! I know some of you might be thinking I went a bit over-board for a 4 year old's birthday.... but eh... Bubba loved it so much! And with his birthday being so close to when school starts... I figure he wont' be able to have all these elaborate parties when he's in school right?! Or maybe if I'm crazy enough he will... who knows!

About Me

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I stay with my children day in and day out. It's a 24/7 job. They are my life... along with my husband and kitty-cat! We have a simple life, and owe it all to God! I'm just trying to stay sane and keep my typing skills up to par.... hope you enjoy my rants :)