........there was a little boy who asked Santa for a dog.  And that little boy had a little brother that cried when he found out that "dog" was on the Santa wish list because he hated dogs.  Terrified of them actually.  After lots of deliberation and thought, Santa decided that a dog was exactly what that family needed.  And it turns out........................
there are few things cuter than a sleepy boy and his dog.  Now that dog has done a lot of good for that little boy and his little brother and the rest of his little family.  In fact, now the little brother loves the dog too.
So even though that dog chews on everything
(and I do mean everything!),
and even though the dog is full of energy and chases after everyone all the time,
who could stay mad a a little cutie patootieshnukums like that?!
Not this guy....................
or this one either.
Love ya' almost as much as my baby loves his dog,
Cassie
 
    I'm sorry friends, but I've been suffering from a severe case of writer's block lately.  Well, writer's block and the stomach virus, but there are so few details of that situation you would want to know about that I'm am choosing to leave it to the imagination.  Let's just say that it was me and the three kids here because poor husband is doing some fairly serious, can't miss, type audits at work right now, and since that's what pays the bills and all - my girl basically had free range of the house for a whole day.  And I had to call poison control.  Again.  We are literally on file.  Literally.  They can now pull her up using my phone number.  For serious.  This time it was a fairly large quantity of children's ibuprofin that I swear to you was closed.  With the child proof cap.  Honestly she is a Houdini.   

    So in a week I have only written once, and I was so disappointed in it's content that I didn't even link it to facebook because I thought it was lame-o.  If you haven't read it, don't waste your time.  Here are the cliff notes.  I stay up too late at night and see a lot of commercials for completely ridiculous things. Destruct-o-girl was sick all weekend, I don't give medicine for fever because I am evil, I took her to the movies while sick with no medicine because I thought she would actually be still, she vomitted all over creation.  Do you see how that could make for a lame story?

    But tonight my friends, I am actually kind of excited about this post.  "Why Cassie?"  you might ask.  Well, it is because I feel as if it is my duty in life to make you feel better about all of your "fails".  Those times you plan with the best intentions but they go all haywire.  Take Christmas card photos for example.  Everyone wants a fabulous picture of their cute little family to show how happy and lovely you are.  Problem is - we all know the truth.  Christmas card pics are awful no matter how you slice it.  Usually everyone is dressed "matchy" and in something that makes at least on person itch, the sun is always in someone's eyes, and heaven knows there is no way you are getting everyone to look forward at the same time.  Our family, in fact, attempted to take a card worthy photo, not once, not twice, but on three different occasions.  And while you are about to see three different and adorable sets of coordinating outfits on my weirdo, fantastic offspring, please know that my facebook status after round two read a little something like this -

        So tonight I attempted to take a Christmas card photo of my kids. Epic fail. It ended with me screaming, all three kids crying, and D trying to shove her whole head into a sandwich sized ziplock bag just to prove to me how mad she was - if that tells you anything about how awful it went
ROUND 1
Picture
At this point the kids had already done card photos with Aaron's parents with all 10 grandkids, ages 9 and under (you can only imagine what a trick that is) and then pics with Aaron's grandfather. So by now Turnanator is mad that we won't let him go inside to play video games and take that heinous (to him) sweater vest off, and Destruct-o-girl has, unbeknownst to us at the time, adopted her new go-to monkey face for all photos.
Picture
And now we discover the monkey face. Honestly if Aaron would have been looking up at all, this would have been our Christmas card pic this year because I feel like this is the most accurate depiction of our family I have ever seen. That and because I think I look naturally fabulous for a chunky girl in this shot. I'm just sayin'.
Picture
And now we've reached critical mass. Even though three of us looked good, the two smallest were doneski. Not happening. Ova.
ROUND 2
Picture
Just because someone said it was a great idea on pinterest, does not make it a good idea for you. Especially if you have no idea how to use your camera except on auto.
Picture
"Oh I know kids! Let's go outside at 8 o'clock at night when your daddy is still not home to help and while it is no more than 38 degrees Farenheit and you have no jackets on to take a picture standing in the middle of this giant wreath that you can barely hold up! It will be great"
Picture
"Oh I know kids! I'll change the setting of my camera from auto to something else and see what happens! My my Turnanator, what a large nose you seem to have all of a sudden."
Picture
This is about 59 photos in and 37 seconds before the tears and sandwich bag incident. At this point we were frozen solid.
ROUND 3
This is the final, and most successful round of pictures - mostly because we chose a better time and went back to everyone's favorite, the big swing.  But I do feel that I need to be completely honest about the situation.  Before we ever got started, I was going to give the kids a big push so Aaron could take some fun shots and...................................
Picture
I pulled it back too far in the air and dumped my girl face first on the ground.
Picture
Luckily she took it well.
But finally, FINALLY we got a half decent shot and decided to stop while we were ahead.  No one had tried to suffocate themselves yet that day.  So even though many of you will get this in the mail some time between now and Christmas (probably a whole day or two beforehand) and even though I cropped and edited it and now Super G has a weird shadow on his leg that kind of makes it look like he wet his pants (I promise he did not.  I would have blogged about it.), here it is in all of it's glory. 
Picture
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our family to yours!! (and that my friends is the best we could do)
 
.......Whew!  I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard that line in the past four days.  I would definately have enough money to go get mexican, order a real drink and not just water, and even get a large cheese dip.  ('cause that's just the level of cool that I am).  My boys have been pumped - pumped I tell ya' - about halloween.  Not so much the costume part, but hard core the candy-gettin' part.  Hard-core.  Well, I take that back.  My little OCD Turnanator has been unexcited about the costume.  Super G, on the other hand, who for some reason is high drama (I still have no idea where he gets it) is big much in love with the costume of it all.  And he definitely went all the way this year - costume, hair, hat, face paint - the whole schmere.  

    So because everyone else is doing it, and because there are now four of you that might actually care about my kids and their level of cutieness, here are some pics from this weekend and tonight.
Picture
This is my supercute bumblebee, Bumblebee, and a totally kickin' clown tonight. All out for the goods. (and some reeses for their mama that they didn't know they were giving to her)
Picture
Again with my same cast of characters, except this was last night at trunk or treat at church and Aaron and I were dressed as bee keepers for obvious reasons. 1. We're dorky and like to dress up 2. D was a bee. Mostly #1.
Picture
and speaking of dorky.............I actually thought these were pretty good costumes considering we threw them together in an hour or so. But right as we were getting ready to leave for a party I realized my dessert I was supposed to take was not ready. So guess who got to go into the grocery store dressed like a pirate. I'll give you a hint. It wasn't the tall one. It's a good thing I'm good at being awesome or that would have been embarrassing.
You're going to need a little info on this next picture.  Super G was invited to a birthday party for a boy in his class, and it was to be a "scary" good time.  The instructions said to wear your scariest costume and my boy was upset that he had a clown suit and it wasn't scary at all.  Luckily for him, his mother is bad to the bone (and youtube exists) because it didn't take long to convince him that there is nothing scarier in the world than a seven year old, serial killer clown.  And to prove it...........................
Picture
But seriously, I gave birth to him, got him dressed, and did his make-up and he still freaked me out just a tad. Disturbing.
Hope your Halloween was great, and you had a large time either getting or giving the candy!  (and I hope you snuck enough of it that you can remember why Halloween is awesome)

Experiencing Stomach Pains Involved With Excessive Amounts Of Reeses Peanutbutter Cup Intake,
Cassie 
 
    So I was playing around with my pictures a little today when I was laying on the couch feeling extra nauseated from some migrane medicine while still trying to make sure Destruct-o-girl doesn't kill herself.
Picture
This is husband. He was preaching at church a few weeks ago for a big night we have for the local junior college. All the athletic teams from the school come and he preaches then we feed everyone. There was somewhere in the relm of 450 people there I think, and he did a great job. I thought this looked like a shot from a newspaper.
Picture
This is Super-G riding his motorcycle. He is one bad mamma-jamma. Ok, so it took him two and a half years to get brave enough to ride it, but hey - he's tearing up the back yard now.
Picture
This is a super cute kid jumping on a trampoline.
Picture
This is a second super cute kid jumping on a trampoline. Doesn't she look like a big girl when her hair is in a ponytail?
Picture
This is not a person. But I'm pretty sure you could already tell that. This is, however, a poor quality photograph of the things I bought on today's shoppping trip to CVS. It was a good one so I had to brag. Sorry. Two 12-roll packs of Bounty paper towels, four boxes of kleenex, one jug Lipton tea, one Mitchum deoderant, three Hershey bars, one Revelon lip gloss, and one Maybelline Falsies mascara. Out of pocket - $13.47 Extra Care Bucks - $7 So it's basically like I spent $6.47. BOO to the YEAH. Today I saved $56.64. I know that this fact alone may encourage you to want to be like me, but remember I'm not a big showerer. So really - you don't.
 
   Then bless your heart.  Seriously, I am like the most computer and technologically idiotic person alive.  For reals people.  Your grandmother knows how to do more on the computer than I do.  I can facebook stalk, check my email, type a basic paragraph with nothin' fancy on Word, play solitaire, and online shop.  That's all I've got in my bag of tricks.  Your 4th grader knows 900 times more stuff than I do about computers.  Sad, I know.  Somehow I fell into a crack in time known as...................."a microbiology degree doesn't exactly require much computer knowledge and considering I was married and knocked up by the time I graduated and went straight to be a domestic goddess and since I am too lazy to teach myself anything.......I am a techno lamebrain."  The end.  
    
    Anyways, I tell you all that just to warn you, because I am so behind, because I just figured out how to hold down the "control" key to select more than one thing at a time, what I am about to tell you may be old news.  I am about to tell you all something that I think is great and new and wonderful, and to you it will be like me being excited over tiVo, or the internet on your phone, or precooked bacon.  You've already been there - done that.  But I don't care.  If I know my audience at all then I am sure there are at least 3 of you that need to know what I am about to impart on you.  So you 3 - listen up.

    Picnik.  That's it.  Well, picnik.com actually.  It is a web site for photo editing that makes it so, so simple for doe-does like me.  I have an SLR camera (the digital kind that clicks really fast) and it can do so many different things with so many different settings and lenses, and I don't know how to work any of it.  In fact, it is a very rare occurance that I ever change that sucker off of auto.  I owned the thing over a year before I ever put the bigger better zooming lense on it. (see I don't even know what that lense is called, sad)  But with picnik I can download my photos and edit them up right nice.  I know there are tons of photo editing sites and software out there in the world, but I've got to be honest.  I have owned photoshop for several years now, and I've opened it up once.  It looked like something I was going to have to spend time learning and actually work at, so I said "forget it".  It was way too intimidating for me. (see, now this is where most of you are thinking "what a lazy dumbo.  photoshop isn't hard."  well I'm sure ironing your clothes and washing your hair on a regular basis isn't hard for you people either.  we live in different worlds my friends.)  I actually discovered the site because I accidentally happened upon someone else's blog (I can't even remember what it was called), but now I'm a believer.  It's simple, fast, and there are a lot of features on there to use for free.  They also have a $25 per year membership that offers more options which I have and still don't know how to use most of, but it's not necessary if you aren't doing any hardcore editing.  

    So just to show you the difference a little editing can make even when done by a person with no eye for anything artistic or lovely, here are a few before and after pics.

Picture
This is when Super-G got the frog out of the pool for me. I ran inside to get my camera and of course because it came from a nice cool house to the surface of the sun outside, all the lenses fogged up. We didn't want to sit around and wait for the lenses to unfog, so I just clicked the photo and went on with my life.
Picture
This is what picnik did for me. Literally, I took the above picture and edited it to look like I took a good one to start with. Cool, huh?
Picture
This is my friend's little girl and I am now her aunt because that's what she decided to call me. Aunt Cassie. So because I am her "aunt" and because I love her, I took her pictuer watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. Since I have no idea how to really work my camera, this one gave me fits. If I left it on the Auto or Nighttime settings, the flash was so bright that I literally couldn't tell it was night outside. But if I turned the flash off, it was too dark to see her face at all. So I just improvised and left it on Auto and then held my hand in front of the flash so some of it would be blocked. Pretty smart for a doe-doe if I do say so myself. (even though I'm sure there was a much better solution for people who know what they are doing) Well this is what I got
Picture
This one is not as drastic of a change as the one above, but it did help me to see the top of her face quite a bit more as if there was more light shining on her really.
Picture
This is the original picture I took of Judd's soybeans. That's all I did is squat down, point the camera at the grain bins, and click.
Picture
But here if you can tell (it's easier when the picture is bigger but I obviously don't know how to do that) I cropped the picture, sharpened the grain bins, intensified the color and sharpness, and then gave the picture a treatment that makes it focused in the center and get fuzzier as it goes out. I am really happy about this one and am probably going to print it out and hang it somewhere.
    Just so you know, this is not an add.  I would love to do an add for something because it would mean that I am getting paid, but no friends, this is not one.  I just thought there might be a few of you that don't know about Picnik.  Maybe some of you have a cute beach picture or some other something that could look really cute edited and hanging on your wall.  So there you have it.  And for all the rest of you that already knew about it, or have some other editing stuff, or are not afraid of photoshop, I warned you.  You were welcomed to have turned back at paragraph 2.  I'm just saying.

Love you like precooked bacon,
Cassie

P.S. - I know I am an awful speller, but the website is really spelled picnik - even if your sandwiches on a blanket under a tree is not.

P.P.S. - Before anyone tries to bolster my self-esteem, I am ok with being a techno lamebrain.  I have Aaron to do all that kind of stuff for me anyway.  I am good at other stuff.  Like putting icing on cupcakes really thick or tuning out my kids who are fistfighting on the cereal aisle at Walmart. 
 
The 4th of July parade around town full of everything from dirt bikes, to tractors, to horses, to 4-wheelers, to trailers full of little leaguers............................... 
Picture
to people piled on golf carts
Picture
to boys in transformer costumes
Picture
to twins in wagons
Picture
and pretty girls on bicycles
And the end of the parade in the big open field so we could all...............................
Picture
get free lemonade and hear from local political hopefulls
Picture
and see Uncle Sam
There were..........................
Picture
moms and daughters
Picture
daddies and little girls
Picture
and sweet, goofy friends
Picture
pretty ladies and piles of food
Picture
and very full bellies all around
And at the end of the day everyone gathered for..................................
Picture
fireworks
Picture
and squeals of delight
Picture
and memories
Picture
and a few reassuring hugs from Daddy
 
    Just by sheer accident, I found out that tonight at our church building there would be a Relay For Life fundraiser - Dinner With Disney Characters. So we rushed around and got dressed and headed up there.  That's where the boys had a great time, and Destruct-o-girl................well.  Let's just say that she didn't mind leaving when it was time to go.  I remember the time I paid a bunch of extra money to have breakfast with Elmo and Cookie Monster before watching the Elmo Live show with a 2 year-old Super-G and a baby Turnanator.  There is a photo of me holding a crying baby and a panicking, screaming, clinging toddler while leaning in the general direction of Elmo.  Good times.  Also, a lot like all those photos with Santa that I stupidly stood in line forever for.  "Um...a big old hairy stranger that dresses weird?  Sure, dump me in his lap.  I'll handle that just awesomely!"  And let's please not even discuss the come apart that occured over the cowboy clown that makes balloon animals.  Yowzer.  So I keep on trying and one day they will not be terrified.  And that will last about a month and a half until they decide there are really just people in those costumes and they are too old for characters anyway. In the meantime, here are some cute photos of my little spawns.
Picture
Turned around cheesing before she realized who was standing behind her.
Picture
The boys were pumped to get balloons and autographs
Picture
Still not sure about the princesses, but at least not screaming or crying at this point!
    On a seperate and totally unrelated note, am I the only person whose kitchen is totally infested with tiny ants?  Getting into everything and ruining perfectly delicious left-over cake from a bridal shower?  It really was good.  Icing is on my short list of reasons to get out of bed each morning.  Stupid ants.  Just wondering. 

Wishing I had a piece of cake right now,
Cassie
 
    Here are a bunch of photos that you may or may not care about, highlighting things going on around here this week.
Picture
 Ba-ba-ba-booya!  Yep.  I finally got to do my CVSin', and let me tell ya' - it all about the ECB's baby.  So I actually did two transactions, the first of which was good but not exciting.  But then the second transaction - *scream*jump*happy dance*call somebody*put it on the blog to show off*yay*.  I got a Gillette Fusion Pro Glide razor, 5 bottles of Dawn dish soap, a bottle of Gain, 1 tube of Crest Pro-Health toothpaste, and 2 tubes of Covergirl Naturelux lip gloss for (drumrolldrumrolldrumrolldrumrolldrumrolldrumrolldrumroll)
                                                                                         $1.61
                                                                         um yeah......be jealous

Picture
I know it's hard to tell what this is, but it's my classroom at VBS.  My lesson was on Jesus and Peter walking on the water, so my room was complete with a boat, silhouettes, clouds, rain, thunderstorm noises, wind, and all glow in the dark.  It was a pain to put up and take down, but the kids seemed to really love it when they came to class.  So - totally worth it!  And I was lucky enough to have Ms. Molly, the best VBS helper and actual schedule follower in the world!  It was a great week.

Picture
This is destruct-o-girl in her car seat as we were leaving the church building yesterday.  She was already exhausted by the end of the week and then it took over two hours to get my room cleaned up.  So by that point she was a tired, hungry, ill, mad, little woman.  As you can see, one side of the pigtails was long gone, the shoe was in the process of being ripped off.  Her brand spankin' new just took off the tags that day Mudpie outfit had tootsie pop sucker that she stole from her brother's bag all over it, and she was screaming as if she was posessed by an actual demon.  I have no idea why I felt compelled to take a picture of this.  I just did.  Stellar parenting in action I guess.

Picture
This is a picture of me with my children, crashing on our couch watching Disney channel after a long week.  I am quite fond of these people.  Quite.

 
    This weekend, as we have done the past two years and is becoming a Memorial Day tradition, Aaron's family came in and all gathered at our house to eat, visit, and swim.  It really is a lot of fun.  I am so blessed in the in-law department and am thankful that my children have so many aunts and uncles (on both sides really) that they can look to as Christian examples and awesome people.  And let's not forget about the cousins!!  I grew up with a few cousins, but all of them much younger than me.  I was the first grandchild and in many ways I was on my own when it came to the "kids at the holiday get togethers" for a long time.  Not so for my kids.  They are so lucky.  When Aaron's family gathers, there are nine grandchildren already, with one due in September and I'm sure more to follow.  They play, and they fight, and they build forts, and they play family, and the fight, and they tattle, and they sneak cookies and Mountain Dew, and they plot, and they fight, and they fall asleep in a big adorable pile in front of a late-night movie.  It is worth all the hassle of housing nine kids ages 9 and under.  Seriously.  It actually is.  
    So in honor of all our fun times this weekend and because I like taking pictures with my camera on the "sports" setting, I have decided to wow you with a montage of amazing diving board tricks, dives, and feats.  Prepare yourself to look at cute kids doing such breathtaking things as - a belly flop, a can opener, and the most daunting of all.......a cannon ball.  Do not worry.  There are no photos of me in a swimsuit posted on here because frankly - this is just not that kind of website.  Plus I would really like it if I did NOT, in fact, horrify you to the point of therapy.  You are welcome.  Enjoy.
Picture
The cannonball
Picture
Freestylin'
Picture
Super G trying to learn how to dive but looking a bit more like a Superman/toadfrog mid leap
Picture
Who doesn't like jumping through a ring?
Picture
Can opener that splashed all the pretty ladies trying to lay out and dry off
Picture
Again, who doesn't like jumping through a ring? Me that's who. We decided that since we were such a mature group, we would take turns diving into this tiny child's ring so see if we would pass through. Well, as seen here, Kara made it. Brother-in-law Trent made it. Even big ol' Aaron made it. Know who didn't make it? My girls. Yep, stuck right there under my armpits at the top of my swimsuit. Awesome. Just awesome. (and by awesome I mean terrible, but I'm pretty sure you are smart enough to catch my cleavage sarcasm)
    There was one more really funny diving board picture, but I promised all my sister-in-laws that I would not put any unflattering pictures on here.  So Lori, because I love you, I didn't put the awesome photo of you holding your nose and squealing.  You're welcome. To the rest of you - sorry you have to miss it.  
    Hope all of you had just as great a weekend and have just as great of families as we do.  If not, we have plenty and I'm sure there are a couple of folks around here we would be glad to let you borrow.  Just let me know and we will take a family vote to see who is out.

Hope it's not me,
Cassie
 
    I feel like I have had so much stuff to write about this week, but I have felt too busy to sit down and write the second it pops in my head.  Now that it is 2:30 in the morning (and everyone is asleep and leaving me alone) I have some time but can think of nothing interesting.  So I am just going to post some photos of all the stuff we have had going on lately.  Everyone is busy this time of year with the end of school and I know you are no different.  You will have plenty of photos just like this.  But there are like three people who read this blog that actually care about the adorableness of my children and want to know what they are doing.  So grandmothers, these are for you. The rest of you - sorry.  Check back later for something you may or may not care about.
Picture
swinging really, really high
Picture
losing teeth
Picture
Bike-a-thon. This is two seconds before he wrecked, incured a head injury, and was done 3 laps in. I know, I know - helmet. I know. You don't have to tell me.
Picture
Panning for shark teeth with Oma. Turnanator was soooo not into getting wet. Super G was soaked within the first 9 seconds.
Picture
The Clampets Go Golfing
Picture
Just checking to make sure this light fixture is ok. I am in no way up on this counter because there is a package of fudge striped cookies. No.Way
    Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and remembers the men and women in uniform that this weekend is all about!  I also hope you eat 'til you puke - almost.  We have a lot of family coming over tomorrow to party it up, and I have high hopes of a clean house and shaved legs.  So wish me luck.  And please encourage me to quit being an idiot that's up typing at 3 am.  Tell me to go to bed.  Now.  "Yes ma'am".  Good night.

Love you like red meat,
Cassie