Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Finally Finished

We're finally finished celebrating Jason's birthday.
He can say he didn't have 5 parties, but Happy Birthday was sung to him 5 times...
so yeah, he had 5 parties.

For party number three we went to Benihana for the sole reason that it's the "fanciest" restaurant where all our children will:
1. behave (they are completely entertained by the "cooking show")
2. eat

Not that you'd know there was good behavior from Jason's souvenir birthday picture. 

True to form, Kyle can't stop eating his ice cream long enough to say "cheese", and Reed's furious I took him away from his ice cream to pose for a picture.

While we were there we kept talking about how we knew we had another Benihana picture somewhere. 

Of course, I found it.

I'm assuming this was for my birthday (since I'm wearing the hat) and it was in the 2002 photo album.
You'll notice that Jason and I have turned much blonder and/or greyer in the past 9 years .

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's a Secret

So I'm going to give you the top, top secret recipe for my kids' favorite cookies.

Barn Cookies

Toll House cookie dough (make sure you get plenty of the dough on your face as you shove more in your mouth than you get on the cookie sheet)

Smashed as flat as you possibly can
 (Not sure why they think that's part of cooking making.)

Supervised by Paw-Paw in his barn.

And Voila!

Seriously, who wouldn't want to make (and eat) Barn Cookies when the barn looks like this?!
(Yes, Freddie decorated it for Christmas.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ready For My First Show

When JD and I spent the day together in Houston he took me by his "office". 
While waiting to become a famous opera singer, JD is currently the assistant director at the John Cleary Photography Gallery.

And being that I'm buddies with the assistant director of the gallery, I had a personal and private tour.

And now that I'm well versed in the art of photography, I'm totally ready for my first show.

(JD, I'll await your call for my booking.)

I'm calling this show: A Boy and his (Grandparents') Dogs

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Because We Are Home

Because we made it home today, means we were in Amarillo last night.
And if we were in Amarillo last night, that means we were at....

The Big Texan.

And thankfully, it was just as cheesetasticly awesome as last year (and the year before that).

We almost had a major mishap when Reed decided to play with the Texas flag toothpick that was stuck in a jalapeno.
Poor boy, raising him in Colorado he doesn't know about the "dangers" of jalapenos.
He now knows not to rub one of his eyes after touching anything that's even been near a jalapeno.

But as you can see by his chocolate syrup mustache, he was fine by dessert.

A photo op with the big rocking chair and we called it a (Big Texan) night.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lots O' Reynolds

The official count for Thanksgiving at Windy Hill Farm was 49, but I'm sure we missed somebody so I'm gonna say there was an even 50.

We tried to gather everybody on the porch for a picture, and here's what we came up with. 
(My little family alone is missing Jason, Reed, and Granny Sherry.  You can spot JR on the front row wearing a hoodie, and my parents on each side of the back row.)

It was the biggest turn out we've had in years (though we think a small turn out numbers in the 30's) and was the first time all the 1st cousins have been in the same place for many, many moons.
There's a 34 year age difference between the oldest and the youngest, and though I'd love to claim youngest, I have to settle for youngest granddaughter. 

With this many "Reynolds" in one place, it's easy to be thankful for family!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nothing Says Thankfulness...

like a pair of Froot Loops turkeys.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Bunch of Fuzzy Pictures

I didn't realize until I was putting this together that every single picture is fuzzy and/or out of focus.
Oh well, you'll get the idea.

Sunday I went to Holy Spirit Episcopal church in Houston to hear JD sing.
I couldn't help but giggle thinking about how two children who were raised in Baptist churches every time the doors opened were "Sundaying" with the Episcopalians.

JD came to greet me before the service started and I actually had to quote Dolly in Steel Magnolias to make myself feel more comfortable, "Oh, honey, God don't care which church you go, long as you show up!"

The service was full of readings, responses, kneeling, and crossings (which I think were blessings). I did my best to blend in, but felt like a total heathen when I stayed firmly seated during communion. (I was very uncomfortable with their lack of mini Saltine-looking wafers and tiny plastic cups of grape juice.)

But I did get to hear JD sing, (I hadn't heard him since my wedding) and he sounded amazing!

And, of course, I took pictures during the service for you.

Choir processional

He's famous!

When we got back to Jason's dad's house we tried to have JR take a picture of us. 
Fuzziness aside, in case you were wondering just how tall JD is, and just how short I am...

My most famous and favorit-est former student!

Monday, November 21, 2011

How Hot Is It?

So hot the shirts came off and the guns came out.

The Shorts Give It Away

So you know if there's Christmas decorations combined with shorts we're definitely not in Colorado.
The humidity's about 90 percent this morning here in Houston, which means my skin looks amazing!

My hair? Not so much.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fashion Fabulous Friday

If you can't find your snow boots....

Water shoes work just fine too.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Authenticity is of Utmost Importance

As you may have noticed from Jason's birthday picture, the house is decked out in all its Christmas glory.

I've mentioned before what a good decorator JR is, but now the little people are trying to get in on the action too.

This one has Kyle's design aesthetic written all over it.

Country church- Check
Dickinsonesque carolers- Check
Nativity Scene- Check
and, of course....
Monster truck parking lot- Check and Check

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Hot Glue of the Food World

The hot glue of the food world?
Oh yes. Just like hot glue, it's a fix all.
And thy name be....
Chocolate Frosting.

I was telling Cassidy all about how I made Kyle and Reed's cookies for their Thanksgiving feast and I said, "Yeah, and I just hot glued them together."
But with chocolate frosting's magical stickiness, it's easy to see how I could make the mistake.

I found these cookies on Pintrest and they were a huge hit with both the kids and the moms (my two target demographics).

The most time consuming thing about these "acorn" cookies was unwrapping the Hershey's Kisses.

Take a mini Nutter Butter, chocolate frosting a mini chocolate chip on top, a Hershey's Kiss on the bottom and you're done.

The kids went crazy over the turkey cookies. 
I saw some cuter ones online, but these were the simplest.
And you know my motto passed down from my mom: "make it easy on yourself."
The "recipe" called for the body to be made of a chocolate covered cherry, but I thought these toasted coconut marshmallows would be cuter. (And I was right.)

Why all the turkeys with a half tail?
Well, letting 3 year olds help carry in the groceries resulted in a package full of broken cookies.

This one is just as easy as the acorns: a package of Fudge Stripes, toasted coconut marshmallows, and candy corns.  Glue together with chocolate frosting.

Kyle and Reed went on and on about what a "good cooker" I am.
Maybe I should start telling them how beautiful and thin I am too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2 Down 2 To Go

Jason's birthday isn't until the 25th of this month, yet we've already celebrated twice.

Party #1 was Saturday night. 
It was right up Jason's alley. 
4 girls making up the 6 party guests.

Then we celebrated with the kids last night.
Why celebrate on a Monday?
Well, we're leaving for Texas on Friday and we certainly wouldn't want a perfectly good ice cream cake going to waste!
Cake on Monday means leftovers the rest of the week.

Reed's non-smiling face only represents the entire crowd's displeasure at my taking a picture and holding up the cake eating process.

So, with two celebrations under our belt, I'm guessing we only have about two more to go.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Parading and Proud

Friday was Veteran's Day, and I couldn't have been more excited that JR remembered (from last year) that both of his grandfathers are veterans.
They also had a little Veteran's Day lesson at school (and from what I can gather) JR told the class all about proper flag etiquette.  (Thank you, Cub Scouts!)

Of course, those flag respecting Cub Scouts hit the streets for the annual Veteran's Day parade again this year.

I dressed Kyle and Reed in camo thinking it was Veteran's Day-y, but when they decided they needed to wear the flag bandannas too, I couldn't help thinking they looked just like Rambo!

Kyle was refusing to have his picture made, until it was time for a Scout group shot.  And wouldn't you know it...he totally snuck in! (Sorry for the X-rated portion of the picture, Kyle's Miss Muffin Bear seems to be mooning you.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Liberace Revisited

I'm pretty sure it would be impossible for me to be anymore proud of JR when he plays the piano.
The way I carry on you'd think he was recital-ing at Carnegie Hall, and not St Mark's Episcopal church.

His teacher is leaving for 3 months to go play on a cruise ship, which, of course, JR thinks is the coolest thing he's ever heard. (Hence the reason for a recital in November.)

And if you want to hear the virtuoso/child prodigy/pianist at work, here you go.
I'm pretty sure the tongue wag is just another sign of his piano genius.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fashion Fabulous Friday

Happy Veteran's Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Plea For Help

Notice a theme here?

Poor Hunter.
No place is safe from Reed's "love".

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Almost as Fun as Waterboarding

Kyle and Reed thought their game of running around shoeless on the back porch screaming "barefooted! barefooted!" was a blast.
In the summer, maybe.
While covered in snow?
Sounds like torture to me.

You can see they made Hunter play too.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'd Probably Have Done The Same Thing

We got our first biggish snow on Saturday, so by Sunday the boys were dying to make a snowman.
With Jason gone on a deer hunt, and me being a Texan and not an engineer, our snowman wasn't anything to write home about. 

But we (JR, Reed, and me) got through it. (Kyle went inside after about 2 minutes.)
Here's our finished product, my kids chose to forgo arms and make him a hunter instead.  That big stick is supposed to be his gun. 

 But my children making a gun toting snowman in the middle of liberal Durango isn't even the best part of the story.

Being a snowman novice, I decided the best way to make-up his face was to use some of the ridiculous amounts of candy we have. 
Those eyes are big Halloween sized Tootsie Rolls.

As it was getting dark Sunday night, Kyle came to me and said he was going to play outside.
I said "Okay" knowing it was cold and he wouldn't stay out more than a few seconds.

A few minutes later I heard the front door shut, Kyle's feet coming up the stairs, and then as he approached me, the faint smell of chocolate wafted through the air.
I looked, and there was Kyle standing in front of me with some chocolate smeared on his cheek.

I asked him, "Did you get in the Halloween candy?"
But knew he hadn't since I hadn't heard the candy drawer rolling open or the pantry door shutting.

And then it came to me...

"Kyle, Did you go outside and eat the snowman's eyes?"


This is probably one of those occasions when a teachable moment about how your shouldn't eat a snowman's face should have occurred, but I thought it was so hilarious I just laughed.

Our snowman looks like this now.

Monday, November 7, 2011


So with all the candy you saw in our house, you might be wondering how I keep my girlish figure.

But, it just so happened that in the six weeks leading up to Halloween we had a partner weight loss contest in the circuit class I attend at my gym. 
It also just so happened that in the week leading up to those six weeks, I had three different "helpful" comments from the gym trainers/teachers/guys that fold the towels. 

In a week's time I was told:
  • "Oh, it's so hard to loose weight when you're shaped like a gymnast."  (Meaning: Oh, it's so hard to loose weight when you're super short and stocky.)
  • "You've got a body that puts on muscle easily." (Meaning: You also put on fat easily, and you'll never be lean.)
And my personal favorite...
  • "Wow! You've got muscular calves.  Do ski boots even fit over them?" (Meaning: Wow! How do you function in our amazingly fabulous Durangoan lifestyle with those giant Texas legs?)

    Needless to say with all those "words of encouragement" I figured I better participate in the circuit contest.

    I complained nonstop to our trainer about how unfair the contest was since it was strictly measured by weight loss. I argued that there was no way I could ever win a weight loss contest and it should be measured by weight loss percentage, attendance to circuit class, or measurements.  Our trainer told me we were doing it his way, and I better find a partner that could loose weight if I wanted to win.

    So that's just what I did. 
    I forced recruited my friend, Kylie, who at almost six feet tall is the complete opposite body type to me, to be my partner and.....

    Kylie went on the HCG diet and lost 12 pounds. 
     I worked my tail off in the gym and lost a pound and half. 

    But no matter, with a 14 pound total loss (they rounded up for me) we were the overall winners and each won a free 60 minute massage!
    Ohhh yeah!

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    This is Ridiculous

    This picture was taken this weekend.
    They gorged themselves all week, and we still have this much Halloween candy.
    I finally had to clear a drawer.
    I think we're set for awhile.

    An only child can only bring home so much candy.
    It's amazing the haul three of them working together can score.

    BTW,  lots of Durangoans are health conscious even at Halloween. Much to my kids' chagrin, there's a lot of organic selections in there.
    I can promise you the "EnviroKids-Organic-Whole Grain-Gluten Free-Crispy Rice Bars" will be the last to go.