Wednesday, December 31

Christmas Cookie Cookin'

For our Christmas goody boxes and plates (see explanation below), we made these peanut butter star cookies, chocolate crinkles, sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, salted nut rolls, chex mix, cereal mix and pretzel chocolate M& M doodads.

Ever since Blogger changed their format for loading photos, none of my pics are ever in the right order. If they'd make it easier to move them around that'd be nice, but for now, you'll all just have to deal with the dysfunction of my photo loading efforts. Above is the photo that'll make Tori drool! It's the table full of cereal mix drying in the open air. Jack, Amy and I made boxes and plates of Christmas cookies and other assorted goodies for neighbors, family, friends and a few shut-ins the Saturday before Christmas. I was up into the wee hours of Saturday morning, then got up and got to cooking again and cooked all day Saturday. We handed out the goodies on Sunday after church and before our program (yes, Amy and I sang!) and cause much delight as we passed them around. We REALLY enjoyed making all the goodies and will definitely do it again next year!

Jack was a great deal of help, as you can obviously tell by the photo above.
If you wear the mitts, you're officially in charge, kid.
This photo doesn't belong here at all. Grammy Tami and Gampa Jerry gave Jackles a doctor kit for Christmas. Amy took it with her to the doctor that Monday for his appointment and it really helped with his fear. The nurse would check him and he'd check her. It works really well for all you parents with doctor-phobic chitlins.
Jack's buddy Owen sent this all-too-fitting shirt to him for Christmas. It says, "It's my way or no way."
And now we're baking cookies again! *%#&ing Blogger. 
I don't even remember why he was crying here.
Putting the sugar into the mixing thingy. He had a good time helping out...for about an hour, then moved on to something else.

Tuesday, December 30

Fetus Whisperer Prediction

Okay, I get it. You want some Christmas pictures. I promise some as soon as I get the paper done tomorrow morning. All the pix are on my work computer. Maybe in the meantime, Aunt Susan can send me some and I can do just one post...hint hint...

For now though, I am forced to do a fetus whisperer prediction. My sister finds out tomorrow what she's having. I've put off as long as possible this particular prediction 'cuz I thought for sure I was right last time and was WRONG, totally messing up my ratio.

So now I have to totally wing it again and I have no clue! Usually, in order to predict I have a simple system. I picture the family, then picture the family with one or the other. That system ALWAYS gives me a strong feeling either way and I just roll with it (and 13 for 15 is a pretty good system, right?). On this one, I have absolutely no strong feeling either way at all--probably because a year ago yesterday she had Jacob. I need more time to feel out the family dynamic! (I'm gonna have to make a rule about distance between kids 'cuz I need an Excedrin right now. As I'm sure she does also.)

Right now I'm going to go into a dark room and really concentrate on what it is. I'll be right back to post my prediction....

... I'm back and it's a...

....stay with me now....

....wait for it...

...a little more patience....

....keep scrolling....

It's a....


Amy's at it Again

New and improved weight loss blog....

Sunday, December 14

Check It Out!

My first few days at work happened to be the same week our web page redesign was launched. Since I feel like I know a little bit about that and the program was similar to what I use here, I appointed myself the guru of the site. My first three days involved troubleshooting the site and getting everything uploaded. By Friday afternoon, I felt like I'd taken 'stupid pills' my brain was so fried!

I have some tweaking to do--of course--but overall I think it's pretty awesome. We are now able to put news on as it happens (cuz there's always breaking news around here!) Check it out:

And make sure you vote in the poll!

Saturday, December 13

An Olde Fashioned Xmas Day

We headed downtown today for Palisade's Old Fashioned Christmas celebration. I was photographing for work, but snapped some photos of Jack and Peyton too. Here, Jack gets his stockingful of goodies from the man in red. He looked up and very enthusiastically shouted, "Thanks, Santa!" It was totes adorkable.
Peytie with Santa Claus. She was pleasin' with some cheesin'.

Jack and I had been discussing what to do when you sit on Santa's lap. He wasn't nervous or shy a bit. Santa asked him what he wanted and he said "cars". (I think he put an order in for Nathan too, Missy). Then he said "Thanks, Santa" again and just kinda sat there talking to him. Any fears I ever had of Jack being shy have disappeared lately. The kid is a jabberbox and will literally talk to ANYONE. know what I want for X-Mas now...nice to meet ya...can I get down now?
When I'm photographing for the paper, I get all kinds of crazy ideas like climbing on top of buildings and stuff like that. I'm only posting this photo, which we won't use for the paper because it's a bit overexed, because I thought it's funny that the two chitlins running around like screaming banshees were the two Vrbas boys' spawn. Whodathunkit?

Wednesday, December 10

Granny Janny's House

Mommy was muy sicko all weekend (and part of this week already too), so Jack and I spent very little time at home in an attempt to avoid her icky mommy germs.
On Saturday, we went to a movie with Granny Janny, Unca Joe, Aunt Sarah, Peyton and Luke then to Tori's game with Heidi and Heather. Sunday, after church, we went to Granny Janny's and chilled there. And this is the only photo I took all weekend. It was naptime and Jack and Granny Janny were both needing their beauty rest. I love the fact that Jack has a Hawaiian Punch 'stache in this pic.
Mommy is still having stomach issues, so we're hoping that clears up soon. It's no fun having a sick mommy.

Tuesday, December 2

Craft Time

This morning, Jack and Daddy decided to do a quick craft after Mommy left for work. We'd had the stuff to do it for a while but I was finally patient enough to try it this morning. Jack did a great job of putting the letters on where I asked and told me all the sounds the letters make (thanks, Leap Frog videos!). Then we both worked together on the pipe cleaners. The little swirls are from his fingers. Some of the others are from mine. The yellow one on the right side is something he did and I thought it was cool so we put it on. At our house, we always say "I love you seriously." It's something I started when Jack was an infant and it just sorta stuck. It's our thang. Now Mommy has something to decorate her room with! YAY!

Friday, November 28

Thanksgiving Deuce Aught Aught Ocho

I'm poaching photos from Missy's blog for much of this post. My new camera's charger is still missing, so I've been using the old one. I wasn't in the mood to photograph at all on Thxgiving though. Here, Cynthia, me and Sarah chill before din-din.
Jack was running around outside and we took his c'boy hat in order to get his hood on. Later, during dessert time, he decided to double-top his noggin.

Keith and Jack were buddies that day. They were impressed by each other's boots.

Heidi, Jared, me, Tor-Bug and Sawyer Brown Jane Rotter Vrbas after lunch. Do we look full? (Hint: we were.)
Later, we ran back to Palestine, then hoofed it two blocks over to Missy's. Jacob and I were buddies that day. He would NOT let me put him down. I was okay with that.
Breaking news: Jack is adorable and handsome.
Yee-haw! I played horse for the c'boy. For some reason, the other kids thought I would go faster if they spanked me. Hint: It didn't work at all.
Jack and Joe traded hats. Jack didn't want to return Joe's hat though.

This afternoon, we decorated our house for Christmas. I'm still using the old camera, mind you, so this pick through the front door didn't turn out as good as I'd have liked but I think it's still kinda rad. We put the tree right in the large triple-window area. It looks great from the street. Many others concur with me on that one.
I took this photo of Jack by the tree without flash so it would show the lights more. Didn't realize until later that he was playing with Maya's angel ornament. How sweet.
We're going to have to work on keeping him away from the ornaments. Wasn't a problem at all last year but this holly-day season he's messing with all the ornaments and pulling them off the tree. Not gonna work for me...

Happy Holidays, Blog Readers!
-- The Vrbi --

Wednesday, November 26

Thanks For This Thankfulness

Timing: I got this post done one day before Thanksgiving this year, instead of a week after. That's amaze-a-zing!
Health: We're all three very healthy people. I thank God every day for that. And though an all-day volleyball tournament makes me rickety and pokey, I'm thankful I can endure it!
Amy: She's an awesome wife, mother, speech path and person. Love you, LadyBird Vrb!
New Digs: We're quite pleased with our new home in our new town. Very good fit. Now, about that Spinach Artichoke Dip carpet...notsomuch, kthanks.
Kraut: This is strange, but I found this new recipe with kraut, potatoes and brats baked into a pie crust. In the words of another great David: Zehr gut!
Stamina: When the going gets tough, the tough make some tough decisions and own them...

Friends: Every new test shows you the value of good friends. It also weeds out the less-than-stellar ones.
Offers: They came at an odd time, but they were a perfect fit. God had a plan. Thankfully. 'Cuz ours was kinda dumb in retrospect.
Results: I refuse to gloat, but I am quite happy with this year's election. 'Nuff said. Good luck, President Obama. I will pray daily for your safety. Now, about those me...let's chat...

Technology: Amy got me an iPod this year. After years of not 'getting it', I'm hooked!
Happiness: This is cheesy, but I so enjoy hearing Jack laugh about the 'little things' in life. He's my happiness. This is his entry.
Immediate Family: We truly have the best families ever and they're all priceless to us. They've shown us that blood is thicker than water, syrup and cement. (What does that even mean? I have no idea.)
Safety: We're thankful Jake is safe right now and pray relentlessly for his safe return to us.

The Palisade United Methodist Church: Our new church family is grand and Reverend Judy is a treasure.
Hillary Clinton: I was very rough on her, but she's a class act. Secretary of State? Why not? I think she'd be a classy Sexy of State.
A--hats: I believe a--hats are angels sent to tell us exactly when it's time to just move on. Thanks, a--hats, for doing your part to get us out of craptastic sitchos!
Newspapers. Except the Gazette. I don't read that paper. Neither should you.
Kindness: There is a great deal of kindness in the world. I hope I'm sharing it enough. I know you are. I've been the recipient.
Family Guy: We never watched this show before this year, but we're hooked now. I thought I'd seen every eppy twice, but have 12 DVR'd that I've never seen! Yay!
Unbelievable Olympics: We were addicted to the Olympics this year. It was Splenda.
Love: We've been showered with it this year. James Taylor would be pleased. (At least I think so. He's kinda uptight. YOU ask him.)
New car: We got a new car this year and it's a perfect fit for us. It's roomy, kind of a grocery-getter lookin' thing and Jack can watch the DVD instead of screeching. Perfect fit indeedy.
Employment: In this economy, it's not a guarantee. Also happy my Dad has a new job.
Silence: Time to be still with your own thoughts. Time to reflect on the day. Time to chill. It's priceless.
Starting anew: Here's to 2009! I think you're going to be presh!

Thanksgiving Eve

He's looking at me as if to say "Dad, don't take my picture here. Don't you know this Spinach Artichoke Dip carpet doesn't photograph well? Okay, if you must...take the dang picture."
How quickly he came around. I love that cheeser smile soooo much!

I tip my the keeper of the diapers...

I took Jack, Nathan and Matthew to story hour at the library this morning for the second week in a row. I think most people consider me either extremely brave or painfully stupid for attempting to take three toddler boys downtown, but they really behave for me and it's no sweat at all. All three of them are angels down there. Here, Debi reads them a story about a snake. They also read a story about the first Thanksgiving. Debi is the best story hour conductor of all time, just so you know.

Matthew enjoying his popcorn. He paid attention to Debi's craft instructions really well and worked on this craft very quietly and did a great job. Barely needed any help at all.

This is the result of all that crafting. Here, Nathan models what he and I put together.

Jack really liked his new hat.

Matthew showing off what he made.

What a bunch of turkeys.

Tuesday, November 25

Always Be Prepared

If your cows get out in the middle of the night, fear not. We're ready.

Monday, November 24


So, my lovely wife decided to change the background on her other blog today and ended up accidentally deleting the links on here instead. I assured her it was fine and dandy, that I was planning on putting a holiday template on here anyway. This just gave me the go-ahead to do it early. The bad thing though is that the template change she did deleted my links. So if your blog is not on here, take no offense. It's simply because I'm piecing it back together. If it is on here, congrats 'cuz that means I remember your addy!

Happy Holidays early from The Vrbi!

Playing At The Park

There was a day last week that was beautiful, so Jack and I went down to the park to play. It was kinda eerie to be at the park alone (we're not used to that), but it also meant we had free reign over all the fun stuff. I took some pics, then my camera battery went dead. Now to dig through some boxes to find the charger.
I told him to smile really big and this is his 'cheese' smile now. He smiles like me: with his whole face, especially the eyes. You have a while to worry about it, Jack, but I have two words for ya: crow's feet.

You didn't think we'd go to the park without our cowboy boots adorning our feet, did you? And yes, in our world, wind pants go with c'boy boots.

There's something really weird about this merry-go-round that I'll warn you about if you're ever visiting the Palisade Park. IT DOESN'T TURN! WTH? Okay, it turns, but is really hard to turn and it sure doesn't go very fast. Whatev. We had fun on it anyway.

Thursday, November 20

All About Tori

One of the best things about being here in town is that we get to experience all the stuff that we were only able to hear about before. For instance, the first week we were here we got to watch Tori's volleyball team upset a couple of teams in sub-districts and battle head-to-head with the eventual state runners-up in districts. That was a blast to watch, let me tell you. Another great thing is that Tori was inducted into Honor Society last week and we got to attend the ceremony. It was a cool feeling to see her get inducted. I turned to her Aunt Sarah at one point and whispered, "I can safely say that I've never been to one of these before." I sure hope I get to attend several more in the future though (perhaps for several of my own chitlins). Congrats, Tori! (Above in the photo are the new inductees. Tori is in the back row, far left.

The other night, Tori and Daniel babysat for us so we could go out. From the looks of it, they had a lot of fun. I'll let you be the judge though...

Tuesday, November 18

Moving And Other Stuff

We hit the road on Saturday, November 1, with Joe, Heidi, Tori and Daniel coming that morning to help us load up. I had loaded almost all the boxes by the time they got there, but it still took until mid-afternoon to get everything else on the U-Haul. We also loaded up the back of a large flatbed trailer Joe brought. We quickly came to the conclusion that we have too much stuff. And if that weren't enough, our stuff is way too damn heavy! Above, Sabrina and Larissa load food into the pantry--my very favorite room in the house.'s awesome.
Nancy helped out by getting some of the kitchen organized and contact paper in the drawers. Jack and I came back to Palisade by ourselves because Mommy wasn't quite done with her contract. So we definitely appreciated all the help we received.
Here, Sarah helps me put toys away while Peyton does her best to play with every single last one of them before they're put in the bins.
Here's Rodney on top of our roof doing some insulation. He spent a good week at our house with Uncle Joe getting some much-needed stuff done.
I'm not kidding when I say that these two are like peas and carrots.
Ummm...I rest my case...
I love this photo for two reasons: 1) the two kids in the photo are totes adorb and 2) you can see the woodwork in the house. It's in great shape, has never been painted in 100+ years and looks rad.
Yeah, Jack has been in kind of a cowboy hick phase since moving back. I'm not sure if that's coincidence or second nature, but it's sure been cute! Here he is sleeping in his boots because he refused to take them off. The other night he was begging me to let him wear his hat to bed. The answer was 'no' every time he asked, so you know...
Last year, we couldn't get him to wear any mittens or hats. This year, we can't get him to take them off! You're gonna notice some greenish-shaggish carpet in some of these pics. It's in good shape but way ugg. I call it our Spinach Artichoke Dip Carpet.
Since we're here in town, I'd like to shamelessly plug another family business. Earlier, I photo'd Rodney from RJ Construction, and now I'd like to highlight JC's Computers who bring us this coffee mug and the internet we use to post to this blog. And the photos are taken by none other than the guy who needs to get the photoshop software figured out on his computer, a building cleared out and his biz set up downtown in the next week or two. There, three plugs in one.
Luke came down and saw us on Sunday. The next day, Jack's mom went to work and worked with Luke's dad. It's a small world.
Yes, he wore that hat all day--but not in church, 'cause that'd be rude.
I'm pretty sure this was the night he begged to wear the hat to bed.
Sittin' in the book trunk...bein' a dude...all in a day's work...
Some people call me the space cowboy...cuz I wear my jammers and hat and shoot varmints with a bubble gun.