Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bakin' Babies

BEFORE the unfortunate foot incident I managed to bake a few dozen cookies. I had planned on baking more and even have a fridge full of butter to prove it! After I broke my foot, I decided some things had to go and cookie baking didn't make the cut. So sorry, Butter, old friend. Know that you will always hold a special place in the Michael family mixer.

One of the things I always pictured doing when I had children was baking with them. Boys...girls..what kid wouldn't love getting dirty in the kitchen and making sweets?? And my kids DO love it. I have had Isabelle helping me for a couple of years at whatever capacity she can. And she can do a lot, actually. She can crack eggs, add ingrediants measured into cups. Now she can help roll out dough, use cookie cutters, and of course, add decorations. We usually all end up a bit covered in whatever, but the time together is usually worth the effort!

This year Grace got into the fun. She climbs up into a chair and her head just peeks up above the island. When she thinks I'm not looking, she quickly reaches her little hand up and grabs a hunk of just rolled out dough with her fingers and shoves it into her mouth. It was so funny, I couldn't reprimand her at all that evening! She thought she was being so sly!

But as you can see from the pictures, we were all covered in flour! More priceless memories!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Payne-Full Christmas

Last weekend was our annual Payne Christmas party. It was really nice to be with family. Conrad was working (as usual this year!) and couldn't be there, but we had fun anyway!

Isabelle and my cousin Shannon's little guy, Eian, are the best of pals. They run around like a slightly younger version of Lord of the Flies when they are together. Eian calls her, "My fwend, Isabelle." They hovered around the Christmas tree expectantly together. Teased the dog, ransacked teenage Jenna's room, and sat on the stairs eating chips and "having a tea party" as Isabelle would later tell me. They have deep theological discussions on the evil-ness of coyotes (a continuous and looming topic for both of them) and they even have little fights.

Grace, on the other hand, was my ever present pleasant precious youngest. She was beautiful and sweet and won the hearts of everyone by smiling, liberally passing out kisses, and planting her little self in family members laps to help open gifts. Of course, she always returned to her favorite spot throughout the day. With Momma, you ask? No, on Granny's lap!

On a sad note, my Grandma Margie's best friend for years and years passed away, unexpectedly on Saturday. Phyllis has been a life long friend to Grandma and although the day was fun, we all felt Grandma's loss and mourned with the Meeker family! You will be missed Phyllis!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just Me and My Scooter

As some of you may have heard, I broke my foot the weekend before last. I wasn't doing anything really, just unloading the car and broke my fifth metatarsal. I am currently in an air caste and as of Friday, I can actually walk on the caste, without crutches.

My kids went and staying with my mom and Grandma for a few days. Isabelle said, "Mommy, you left us there a long time." Break my heart! It was a terrible time to break my foot, with the holidays and with Conrad working all the time at our seasonal store at the mall. I was home alone missing the kids and just being sad. So, by Wednesday I decided it was time to go back to work. I rented one of those nifty scooters and ride it around my office building like a kid on a skate board. It attracts a lot of attention and an occasional mocker!

Can I just say, thank God for America!? Thank God for these totally great inventions, like knee scooters, thank God for handicapped ramps, and handicapped electronic door openers, and for stores that have those little electronic carts for handicapped customers! Thank God for America!! I have a new found respect for all a physically challenged person goes through in a day!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Last night was Isabelle's first ballet performance. We were wondering how Isabelle was going to do considering how many sessions she's missed...or how all of the girls would do considering...well...they're three! Totally worth all of the drama! Keep watching a minute or so in when Isabelle stops dancing and starts yelling to Daddy in the back. Daddy wouldn't respond, so she yelled louder! I was laughing and shaking so hard I could hardly hold the camera still.

Ballet Classes=$65. Costume=$40. Getting America's Funniest Home Video-worthy footage: Priceless.
Isabelle is on the far right

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Naked Face...

After nearly five years of marriage, Conrad woke up this morning and accidentally shaved his gotee. I have never seen his naked face, except in old pictures. Isabelle said, "Daddy, where's your chin?"

I have to say, he's still the most handsome man in Asia and America! What do you think?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Current Isabellisms

Mommy: Isabelle, what day is it today?/What day do you have ballet?/When is preschool?
Isabelle: Friderday

Mommy: What time is it? (anytime you ask this)
Isabelle: Sixty O Clock

Mommy: Isabelle, what do you want for Christmas?
Isabelle: A puter. I really want my own puter (read: COMputer)

Mommy: Do you want to watch a show, Isabelle? What show?
Isabelle: The one about the Saurases (read: DINOsaur's, Dinosaur Train!)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Fall Heard Around the World

Before I jump in, I wanted to share that Isabelle and I did our first Operation Christmas Child! It was fun to go the store with her and choose things to give to someone else, someone she didn't know. She didn't REALLY get it, and some of the gifts I had to pry out of her still sleeping hands, but fun, never-the-less!

We wrote a letter to our little friend and sent her a picture of our family, and even prayed over the box before we sent it out. This is real meaning of Christmas anyway, right??

And on another note, Grace's little boo boo on her forehead from the unfortunate fall is healing nicely. There was kind of a delayed reaction around the world from the incident. I posted a picture of her a week or so ago, Conrad's cousin, Susanna read it on line, came home and told her Aunt, her Aunt called her Sister, Conrad's Mom and told her Grace got SEVEN stitches (emphisis on SEVEN!!)! We got an urgent call in what must have been the middle of the night (In India) about Grace's well-being. Not long after that a call was made to the Middle East from India relaying the same information (Grace got SEVEN Stitches), and we got another urgent call from Dubai wondering what in the world was going on and how was Grace!?

It was a little late, and all of the drama had passed, the stiches were out and Grace was like, "Wha? What fall?" But boy did Conrad and I get in trouble for letting our little angel fall!...I'm glad they don't see the girls acrobatic stunts off the couch or kitchen chairs ( not pass this information along...or we might have a worried Indian grandmother show up in Ohio in the middle of winter to supervise our parenting techniques! ;)

We thought it was funny the opposite response we got from my side of the family. Something along the lines of "Ohhhh poor baby. Well, if it didn't kill her, it'll make her stronger." Cultural differences are such blog worthy stories!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another First

Last Friday, as I was doing laundry, while Grace followed me in to "help." With perfect precision, she stepped on the dirty clothes pile just as I was pulling a few items up to put them in the wash. She fell hard. This is not unusual with my 13 month old. She falls and tips and climbs all of the time. Of course, her head came down and hit the window sill. Ouch. I pulled her up quickly to comfort her and saw a big gash on her forehead. Although it wasn't bleeding much, I (surprisingly) knew it was gonig to need stitches and quickly loaded up the girls for a trip to Urgent Care. Of course, I was quite paniced as I was calling Conrad and trying to convey to him that he needed to meet us at Urgent Care!!

Needless to say, it was a rough evening of holding down my baby while they put 7 stitches in!! One on the inside and six on the outside. Poor little thing. But as usual, as soon as it was over, she was happy and smiley. In spite of the doctor's repeated warnings that she might have a scare, it's almost completely healed, in just 10 days!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

Don't forget to pack your Christmas box's for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. I can't wait to go shopping with Isabelle tonight and pack a box with goodies for someone else's little one!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Martha's Cupcakes

Much to the chagrin of our family blood sugar level, I have been cooking my way through Martha Stewart's Cupcake book. Yum! I got it to make Ladybug cupcakes for Grace's birthday and have already made several. I got the book from the local library, but then Grandma Margie bought me my very own copy! Really, this is the best cupcake book I have evern run across.

Although these are not the best pictures....they were yummy cupcakes!

Lady Bug Cupcakes

Chocolate Salted Carmel Cupcakes. I LOVE the combination of Salt and Carmel. If you do too, you have to try this one. Here is a picture of the cupcakes..minus the frosting. They were delish!

Another favorite in our house was the Oreo Cheesecake cupcakes...yummy and easy! What a great idea to put an oreo in the bottom!?

And last but not least, for all of you peanut butter and jelly lovers out there, there is the PBJ Cupcake. This one is not for the faint of heart..if you love you some peanut butter, make them...if not...stay far far away. I topped mine with homeade blackberry jelly...and promptly sent them to the babysitter for the kids to eat!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

It hit Grace hard this year....

Cry Baby

And it starts. But so early?? I was thinking this kind of thing started about six year's old??


This Halloween was so much fun! Isabelle really got it this year and we made the rounds in the neighborhood. That was fun...on a high note. On a low note, we didn't make it home in time to pass our OUR candy. So instead of having TONS from Trick or Treating, we also have tons of our own left over. Good times. Anybody have any idea for recipes using Halloween candy?

Before we went out, I asked Isabelle, "Now what do you say to people when you go up to them?" She answered, "Trick or Treating." "Right, but it's Trick or Treat." She replied, "That's what I said, "Trick or Treating." Oh well. It's close. Grace rode happily along in the stroller occasionally collecting candy and enjoying the spectical. The weather was beautiful and classic mid-western fall! Even Conrad couldn't resist and went with us

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicken What?

The week before last was our first offical field the Michael Family. Isabelle's preschool class went to the Pumpkin Patch in town. It was frigid, but Grandma Margie and Grace went with us and everybody was a trooper and simply happy that it wasn't raining!

We had fun with her little class, riding the slide in the hay barn, picking out pumpkings, going on a hay ride, and eating fresh donuts and cider, and seeing the animals. Consequently, an interesting conversation followed the chicken sighting.

Mommy: Isabelle see those chicken's there?
Isabelle: (Standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CHICKENS...REALLY...16 INCHES FROM HER FACE) What? What chickens?
M: Right there.
I: Blank stare
M: Right there, baby. Those birds. Those are chickens.
I: Blank stare
M: You know how much you love chicken nuggets? Those are chicken nuggets!
I: Blank stare
M: Chicken, Isabelle! you see them?
I: Where?

We just weren't making a connection. I started worrying about her eyes then. But, I thought I'd better take it down a notch before I started traumatizing some poor three year old and their beloved Happy Meal.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our Magic Pumpkin

Recently I read a really cool Autumn Idea that I thought we'd do with the kids. I went to the store and bought a pumpkin a few days ago. I hid it and brought out a little seed (actually a cardomen seed!). I told Isabelle it was a magic pumpkin seed and will grow a big pumpkin in a little time. So we went outside, planted our seed and she went down for a nap. While she was asleep I put the pumpkin out where the seed was buried. Seeing as she is three, I didn't have to worry about the obvious flaws with the deceit. Like...why is the stem cut, why is the seed still buried...etc. etc.

When she got up from her nap and went out to look it was pure magic on her face when she saw her pumpkin. She was sooo excited! Luckily, she didn't ask to plant another one, since I had only bought one pumpkin!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Can you Tell?

One is Grace @ 12 months and one is Isabelle @ 12 months.

The Upside to H1N1

As I mentioned in a previous post, my kids went to thier Oma and Opa's house for a?!
few days since my sitter came down with H1N1. After she got it last week, about three kids have followed we just thought, why risk it when the Grandparents are always happy to have them?

So my Dad came down and got them and left Monday late afternoon. They left and I was home...alone. With no work. Nothing. I took a leisurly shower..I even shaved my legs. Pure luxury. Then I laid down and read a book. Wow. Soon Cornad came home early because of a dentist appointment. He had several shots of novicane that hadn't worn off. Not wanting to go back to the office drooling, he just decided to take the afternoon off. He napped too.

After a couple blissful hours of deep sleep, we got up and cleaned the house for a showing we had that evening. Then we went off to a mantinee movie and dinner at the Olive Garden. I LOVE my kids and we talked about them non stop the whole night. But Man, it was a REAL vacation day and soooo restful. Thank you Oma and Opa...and H1N1!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ridin' Train

I love Fall and have been wanting to make sure that we take advantage of of season with the kids. So....last weekend we decided to take the Hocking Valley Scenic Train. It was so nice to spend the day with my parents and Grandma and the kids. And it was...well...I guess it was fun. I think the kids were a bit too young and most of the time we spent trying to reign them in. On the other hand, I thought "scenic" was a strong word. It was "scenic" in an Appalachain poverty kind of way. I also heard that they have a Polar Express train around Christmas where kids come in thier PJ's and even the hobo comes around and makes an appearance. Maybe when the kids are a bit older??


I have been really really wanting to learn how to quilt for a long time. I could take a class at Jo-Ann's but I really wanted to learn from Grandma Margie! Unfortunelty, her schedule is always so packed we have put it off for years! But good news is that she came to our house last week to spend a few days (just in time, as our babysitter came down with H1N1!) and I coerced her into teaching me to quilt. Here is a picture of our purely hand-made baby quilt. It's just pieced together here, but I almost have the front fully sewed together!

Of course, Conrad quickly got on line to see the "going price" for such a work of art. He was happy to announce that Grandma and I could get about $150 for our labor of love. Whaaa? All of those hours for $150 bucks?? I don't think so. He also asked me if he thought we could get a little sweat shop of children in India together to create quilts. We could advertise, "Lovingly handmade by children." Hmmmm...I'm thinking no.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Happy Birthday Grace

October 7, 2008 Grace entered the world at 3:05 p.m weighing 7.7 pounds and 21 inches long. Since that day she has been the light of our lives! We couldn't ask for a more pleasant or happy baby. She has been walking since 10 1/2 months and she says "Bye Bye" and "Hi!" (whenever she says "hi" she holds her elbow to her ear and her hand behind her like she's holding a phone) She sleeps beautifully and makes lots of bubbly baby talking noises. Just thinking about her makes me smile. We love you Grace Christine...more than words can express!

Grace 10/7/08

Grace 10/7/09

Grace's Birthday Party

Wow! We had such a great time at Grace's 1st Birthday party. In true Indian fashion we had a big party and got to celebrate with tons of friends and family! We have, in the past, had birthday parties at my parents house since it's usually family up north who join us and it's so much more convienient for them. But it's also a lot of work for my mom (who SAYS she loves it..but still!)

We had Indian food and Pizza (for the less adventuruous eaters and kids). I also Martha Stewart-ed it up with Lady Bug cupcakes and Dark chocolate Cupcakes...yum! I have to say that I was pretty proud of these cupcakes and the hours of rolling little fondant balls to make bugs paid off!

For the kids we decorated our own sippy cups, had tatoos and a few other crafts, as well as a game and a bouncy to play in. I had made little favor bags of toys and the highlight (ah-em) was the little birdie whistle each child got. I need to say to all of the parents of guest(again) thanks for coming and I'm sorry about the whistle!

Grace ran around and chased the kids the best she could! She had a blast and didn't really know what to think about all of the presents. Honestly, I'm not sure who's playing with them more..Isabelle or Grace. Grace patiently waits her turn as Isabelle comendeers her toy box. I'm sure Isabelle thinks they are her's...and Grace thinks they are Isabelle's too!

(p.s I don't have that many great pictures. I only took a few before the party started..but then was too busy. Someone else (who shall remain nameless: Honey. Took pictures but forgot to OPEN THE FLASH so everything is blurry. p.p.s SEND PICS TO ME IF YOU HAVE THEM!)