Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 review

It's that time of year when everyone puts out their lists.... best and worst of 07. In the spirit of list-making I want to offer a list of highlights from our year (for those of you still holding out hope for a Christmas letter from us, just print this out).
In January we made a trek across the globe to visit Jeff and Christine and the boys in Uganda. It was your basic re-con mission to determine if these two crazy kids were in fact insane, or actually true missionaries with a heart for other people. They are sane. We had a great time seeing their home and work, and of course the kids enjoyed playing together in the African mud which was available round the clock. Jason proved once again that he is a traveler, content with the journey as much as the destination. Cameron proved she is a tourist, only interested in the ends, not the means. Her determination to make herself heard on each flight was enough to suck the travel bug out of us completely until we ventured out again in October for a weekend trip to Yosemite. Global travel will have to wait a few more years.
February and March flew by as we continued to recover from our jaunt across the world. We did celebrate many birthdays and went to Jason's Kindergarten Tea (which, to him was a complete rip-off because we neither had tea nor started actual kindergarten). In April, Jason turned 5 and was completely shocked to learn that that was again, not enough to grant him entrance into a kindergarten classroom, he had to wait for September. April was also the month that Jason discovered Legos and we lost him for hours at a time as he created his masterpieces.
In June, Cameron discovered her love of the water. She enthusiastically participated in swim lessons and dared to dip her toes in the waves at the beach. Her bravery was fun and yet scary at the same time. We spent the summer in a constant schedule of library story-times, beach days, park days, and lots of craft days. Jason completed the library's reading program once again and earned many great prizes.
This summer we also spent many days geocaching and discovered many quiet corners of our beautiful county. August was spent getting ready for kindergarten. For Jason it was the slowest month of the year!
In September, school finally started and our lives were thrust into a new routine. Jason started to soak up knowledge and silly stories at an incredible rate. Cameron started her gymnastics class and library story-time. The gym proved to be Cameron's love and the best place to expel all her energy. I learned the art of living out of our car as I became a chauffeur for all these activities. Only 15ish more years to go!
October was a flurry of birthday activity once again as we celebrated Darren and Cameron's among others. As I mentioned earlier, this was also the month we dared to travel again and enjoyed a weekend in the motorhome in Yosemite. November and December hurried right by as we prepared for Christmas.
I am grateful for all the growth we've seen in the kids this year and for their wonderful health. I am also grateful for Darren, who I continue to love (even after 11 years!). And I'm grateful for you faithful blog readers, you continue to inspire me to record the quirky details of life in the Rusco house. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas roundup

It's over already, can you believe it? All the preparations and crafts and baking..... no reason to stop the crafts and baking! The kids enjoyed both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because they were both packed with visiting and opening presents and playing with toys. Jason spent most of Christmas Eve constructing his new Lego airport at Nanny and Da's house while Cameron mashed all her beautiful new playdough into big swirling blob. My mom bought my love and devotion with the gift of a Kitchen Aid mixer and my dad gave Darren the gift of heat for his truck. We also went to Grandma Jean's house that evening for a quick Rusco Christmas. In the morning we gave the kids their scooters for Christmas. We then headed over to Darren's parents for breakfast and more presents. Grammy's theme this year was pajamas, and we all love our new jammies. Of course, Jason got more Legos, so we lost him for another day. We are very appreciative of all the wonderful gifts we received this year and were very happy to be able to give gifts as well.

Monday, December 24, 2007

some assembly required

Good night, and good luck!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

funny stuff

I just had to post a few of the pictures we took while the kids were isolated with pink eye for 2 days. We started to go a little stir-crazy! (And by the way, is anyone else hooked on "Clash of the Choirs"? This is a show! I'm sure my mom's watching!)

taking a sick day

I think pink eye is the most awesome of all the childhood illness (I mean, if you had to rank the awesomeness of such a thing...). From my point of view, it is awesome whenever you can call in your kid's symptoms to the pediatricians office, have them confirm that you do indeed know what you're talking about, they then call in the prescription for you and to top it all off.... the drops only cost $10! How great is that?! And the best part is that Jason wasn't even feeling crummy (he's just making a goofy face in this picture) so we were able to spend the day making paper snowflakes.

Friday, December 14, 2007

christmas program

Wow, I am absolutely giddy with giddiness. We attended Jason's first school Christmas program last night and words cannot express how much we loved it. Don't get me wrong, it was full of mistakes, forgotten lines and set mishaps, but isn't that what makes kid's programs so great? Jason was Joseph and a little girl from his class was Mary (and if you ask Jason about it he will be quick to tell you that the baby was a doll, and it was naked and wrapped in cloths; he finds it very funny). The premise of the show was something about Christmas cards, and every class made a scene as if they were on the front of a card and they also sang a song. Several kids from our church were in the show, so it was fun to watch them also. Afterwards we went to McDonald's with our friends and for about an hour our sugar-filled, high on post-show excitment, loud and goofy kids terrorized the place.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

portland flashback

The kids were outside on the patio drawing with sidewalk chalk the other day. They had sweaters and beanies on and it was chilly. It reminded me of afternoons in Portland, because that's exactly how we spent the time with buddies like Alison and Anna. I just wish their moms could have been there to drink hot tea and talk to me while the kids played :(

teacher gifts

I am so excited about how these gifts are turning out that I had to stop mid-craft and post about it! For teacher gifts this year I bought a bunch of composition notebooks (97 cents at Target) and covered them with paper and ephemera from my scrapbooking supplies. I also bought votives and clear holders (4 for $1 at Michael's) and covered them in a printed vellum. I used doubled sided tape to attach everything (my new favorite product!). SHHHHH! don't tell anyone how little I spent. And please, oh please if you are a blog reader who receives one of these gifts act surprised and amazed at my creativity.

Monday, December 10, 2007

the 12 crafts of Christmas

Jason and I are on a roll this year. We are cranking out the crafts for both gift-giving and home decorating. We started with a classic paper chain made from all my scrapbooking paper scraps. Then we found a tutorial on how to make these cool modern paper ornaments. Next we made bath salts for gift-giving. Jason decorated some clear ornaments by rolling paint around the inside. And I've been decorating clipboards and notebooks with cute paper and embellishments. Not to mention our eco-wreath and the projects Jason makes in school. I think we'll definitely hit 12 this year.

Friday, December 7, 2007

2 & fabulous

saving the earth.... one craft at a time

I don't know why, but for some reason I hoard those plastic bags that you get at every store. For some reason I think that I may use them all someday. And unfortunately our apartment complex does not recycle... so the space between my refrigerator and countertop is jammed with obnoxious plastic bags. Until today. Since it's popular to be environmentally aware these days (and you know I'm such a trend follower...) I jumped at the chance to make this wreath out of bags. It was time-consuming and I think I may have inhaled too many chemicals from cutting all the bags. I'm sure my lungs will clear soon. But for now, enjoy these pictures. Darren and Jason were helping until a tragic scissor incident sidelined Darren. Jason had to help him recuperate by doing Mad Libs , so I was left on my own. The instructions are on the make&take section of two peas in a bucket, a scrapbooking website.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

it's the most wonderful time of the year

We finally made it to December 1st! The day before Thanksgiving we were driving around town and Jason was yelling at all the Christmas decorations in the parking lots, "You have to have Thanksgiving first!". As noble and endearing as his sentiments were, he scarfed down his Thanksgiving dinner so we could hurry up and get to Christmas. So, since Thanksgiving was so early this year, we made a deal: we would wait until December 1st to decorate the house for Christmas. The poor boy barely made it. He was begging me all week to get out "just a few things...." Yesterday started off the Christmas season by going to Kohl's and buying a new piece for our Christmas village collection (we got the post office, we already have a church and a gas station, for some reason, this order makes perfect sense to Jason). We then got our holiday dose of orange chicken at Panda Express. And finally, it was time to trudge through the wilderness of the Wal-Mart parking lot to chop down our tree. (Someday, I will ride a horse drawn sleigh through the snow, in the forest, drinking hot chocolate, singing carols, and we will actually chop down a live tree.... it will be great.). Jason and Darren sawed off the stump when we got home and we set it up inside. No fights. After decorating and having dinner we bundled up and headed downtown for the holiday light parade. For 2 hours we sat on the curb, freezing, waiting for the parade to start then watching the floats. Who knew there would be 74 entries? We only made it through 40 before the kids had had enough. All in all it was a good day. Now our house smells like pine and we have fabulous decorations everywhere.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

check this out

Last night, it was very late, I stumbled upon this website. Consequently, I stayed up even later than I had planned and now I'm blogging at 7am because Cameron hasn't learned that you sleep in on Saturdays. anyway..... Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2007


We have a quirky household. I like it. I like my dwight bobblehead prominently displayed upon the stereo. I like Darren's "filet de crap" from Romania on our display shelf in the living room. I like the framed picture of Cameron with chocolate frosting smeared all over her face in the middle of all the posed pictures. But most of all, I like that my husband likes the quirks too. In fact, he's a contributor. His latest contribution is an ode to Dwight Shrute. He made one of these for each of us and we use them as placemats. The beauty of it is that Cameron loves her picture so much that she has finally spoken her own name, "it's Cameron!" Except, it sounds like "cammen".


So, I'll admit that sometimes, Darren and I become very desparate parents. Our latest dilemma is the state of our children's diets. Our kids prefer to subsist on crackers and juice. They will occasionally humor us by eating yogurt, a pb&j sandwich or some applesauce. The other night we were disgusted by our kid's refusal to eat homemade macaroni and cheese. Yeah, noodles, cheese and a crushed cracker topping... sounds like awful kid-food right? Darren's response (after calming down and putting the kids to bed) was to create a game based on one of our current favorite games, Whoonu. Whoonu is from the Cranium folks. It's a game of ranking random items and scoring points and basically laughing at the ridiculous items you have to rank in order from least to most favorite. Jason loves to play this game. So Darren created Fru-nu. He took Jason to the grocery store, they picked out 8 fruits, 4 we knew we liked and 4 we had never tried before. Jason came up with the idea of tasting the with our eyes closed.... and he actually did it! We found a new language to speak to our son in, games. The results were great. We had a fun afternoon trying new fruits, Jason exhibited bravery in the face of new things and the kids ate something new. I really hope Darren doesn't invent Veg-nu because I would have to pass.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Hey gang, long time no blog.... sorry. I have been obsessed. About a week and a half ago I got the new Pottery Barn Kids catalog in the mail. I always take this on as a challenge.... how can I get the same cute stuff but for less? In this catalog I was struck by the Thanksgiving stuff, it was all so great and I never think to decorate for Thanksgiving. I really liked the scene where the kids are sitting around their own table, eating their dinner, wearing turkey headbands and looking really festive. I especially liked the banner overhead which read "giving thanks". Not only was it cute, but it was made of felt! Felt! Remember blog readers... I'm into felt lately. Anyway, on Saturday I was at a craft thing at church, talking to the ladies about craft trends (seriously, there are craft trends.... no joke). I mentioned felt and my Pottery Barn banner and a woman exclaimed, "wait right there, don't move, I'm going home right now to get something for you!". About 15 minutes later she returned to church with a huge garbage bag stuffed with felt. She told me that she had been given a ridiculous amount of craft supplies by another woman and she couldn't possibly ever use all of this stuff. She insisted I take some! Amazing! The great thing was that this bag contained a lot of old felt, with colors I haven't seen in stores (because they hadn't been in fashion since 1982). It was perfect for my banner. I went home that night (a little timid because somehow I had to stash a huge bag of felt in our small apartment.... and I had just been muttering that morning about our lack of space...oops) and immediately cut out the pennants. The next day I cut out the leaves and started hand stitching them on. Just yesterday I finished by printing out the letters on my computer and using the templates to cut out the letters. I decided to hot-glue the letters on because all the veins I had stitched on the leaves set me back a few days and I really wanted to get the banner up. I love it! Jason saw the catalog and persuaded me to make some turkey headbands too. Now we're ready for turkey day! Take that, Pottery Barn! I took your $49 banner and made it for free!

Monday, November 5, 2007

attention: Kadin

Would you like to name our new friend? He's been by to visit a few times. Ever since our tiger beetle, named Chocolate, rolled over and died we've been needing a new pet. How about it Kadin?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

terrific twos

I'm trying to be optimistic. All weekend Cameron has been making comments about her shirt, only in two-year-old language the word "shirt" is missing the r. Also, she recognizes utensils at the dinner table. Unfortunately, the word "fork" is also missing the r. And so, as we drove to church this morning with Cameron babbling in the backseat about her pretty new shirt (minus the r) I prayed that my daughter would not inadvertantly swear at a sweet, unsuspecting church member. Mission accomplished. Time to work on our r's.

amazing race

"Oh my goth." Did you catch the first episode of The Amazing Race? What? Why not? "The Amazing Race is like a love letter to the planet." You have got to watch. Where else can you hear such fabulous comments like, "you pick donkeys like nobody's business, babe." Sundays at 8... be there!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

all hallow's eve

The Geico gecko's night out finally arrived! With much anticipation, Jason put on his costume and posed patiently for my pictures. He could not wait to get to the Harvest Festival at church. Cameron, on the other hand, fought like a wild animal while Darren and I wrestled her costume onto her thrashing body. We won! We arrived early to church and got into the bounce house before it was too crazy. Darren and I split up, he took Jason and I chased Cameron around all night. Cameron only cared about one piece of candy, Jason was after lots of candy. After two hours of fun, the gecko's tail suffered an unfortunate incident in the bounce house. But if a gecko is anything like a lizard, it ought to grow back soon.

pumpkin gut poem

a poem by Jason

Pumpkin guts are gooey.
Some people think they're chewy,
But they are really, really gooey.

Monday, October 29, 2007

a poem by Jason

911 Let's have some fun
922 Tie your shoe
933 I like that tree
944 Knock on the door
955 Take a look at the hive
966 Look at those sticks
977 Look up to heaven
988 Check out that gate
999 Check your spine
91010 Let's do that again!

This piece of literature was composed upon the throne (ahem, I think you know what I mean). 911 is the fire number that I learned at school.
a poem by jason

Thursday, October 18, 2007

evolution of a gecko

... it fits! Now that I've let out a sigh of relief the detail work can begin. Stay tuned...
Yes, I do know that the picture is on its side and no, I don't know how to fix it. iPhoto has it adjusted but opening the file in blogger has it on the side. Sorry.

Happy Birthday Da/d!

Yes, I will get the post done before the day is over! Happy Birthday Da/d. We love you very much and hope you have a nice relaxing day laying hardwood floor. You sure know how to party!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

halloween costume update #1

So, several months ago Jason had a brilliant idea: he wanted to be the Geico gecko for Halloween. We all laughed and thought that was great, cute, just a kid thing, probably would pass... and here we are months later, making a gecko costume. In this pic you can see the tail and the beginnings of the body suit. I'm modifying a dragon costume pattern. I got a laugh yesterday when I was working on the zipper and muttered to myself something like, "oh no, I think I messed up!" Jason was over on the couch. He sighed and said, "alright, I guess I'll just be Charlie Brown again this year." I reassured him that I was very good with a seam-ripper and all would be well again soon. Stay tuned for more costume updates, and get my "Most Awesome Mom" award ready....

1st school picture

It's finally here... Jason's first school picture! My apologies to Lifetouch, because I'm pretty sure I broke one of their rules by posting this! Wow, so much anxiety went into picture day.... what should he wear?..... will he eat snack before or after pictures? ... will recess be before of after pictures? ... will his hair be sticking up?... will he have a goofy look on his face? No need to worry... I LOVE IT!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

look who's 2... it's CAMEROOOOO!

Happy birthday Cameron! We love you!

hey, what about Darren's b-day blog?

Calm down, blogheads. I know, I know, you were anxiously checking this site all day Friday for a witty post on Darren's birthday... and it NEVER came! We spent Darren's 33rd birthday in the glorious wilderness of the Mariposa/ Yosemite KOA. Darren was in desparate need of a few mental health days so he planned a little trip to get us out of our normal world and into the WILDERNESS! We checked in Thursday only to discover that the advertised "free Wi-Fi" was only for the first time you used it in the campground. The second time you booted up your computer to contact the outside world you were politely informed of the "first-time free" policy and the convenience of using VISA or MC for access to the internet. Alas we were truly roughing it as we had to settle for full hook-ups and cable TV... and oh yeah, the nature and stuff. SO that is the big explanation for the missing birthday blog... send your complaints to the geniuses at the Mariposa/ Yosemite KOA (with FREE wi-fi!).
On Darren's birthday we took our rolling home on down the road for a little jaunt into the park. Ever been through the stone arch gateway in a 24 foot motorhome? THRILLING! We stopped in the valley for the spectacular views of El Capitan, Half Dome and the amazing waterfalls (which aren't all that spectaculr in the fall, perhaps if there was a little water to fall down the falls I'd feel differently). We walked around for quite some time, checked out the Visitor's Center and the Indian village display and rode the environmently friendly, free shuttle buses. After thoroughly exhausting Cameron (the trick was to NOT bring a stroller... the little fireball had to walk/run to keep up!) we headed back to the Tioga to find another parking place preferably next to the Merced River (trickling stream... see above note about fall not being optimal for water). While the guys went fishing I coerced Cameron into dreamland for a well-deserved nap. During the nap I had a little excitment. A rather loud family pulled up right next to us (empty parking lot, but apparently we were in a prime spot so they snuggled up). After loudly spilling out of their car, they settled in for a picnic lunch (this was about 2 o'clock, so the low blood sugar increased their volume). Just when I thought they couldn't get any louder, they did. I looked out the window and saw what all the fuss was about: 2 BEARS! Well, they were only Jason-sized brown bears and they were only trying to get into the bear-proof trash cans, but the knuckle-heads thought it was an extreme emergency. And you know what we all do in emergencies.... get pictures! (Was it wrong to secretly wish for loud family to get mauled by little brown bears?) Finally the bears went away and the loud family packed up and left and we were the only ones left in the picnic area. The guys had a great time fishing in the stream, crossing over logs and scouting out the best spots. I am so glad that they didn't catch anything because who knows how we would have handled that?!
The birthday was topped off by a dinner of spaghetti and homemade meatballs and brownie with strawberry cheesecake ice cream back at the campsite. Delicious! We spent the next day hanging out, trying to keep Cameron from tripping and falling and crying every 15 minutes. We were those people. You know, the ones that you secretly spy on while you're camping because they are so much more fascinating than the book you brought along. By about 11 o'clock that morning we had decided to cut the trip short and drive home that night instead of the next morning. That way, the kids could sleep the whole way home. It was the most delightful, quiet 4 hours of the entire trip! Not that we don't appreciate our kids, but you know....

Monday, October 8, 2007

birthday party #1

Yeah, we're anticipating 3 birthday parties this month, so the title isn't ambitious. So this was Rusco night and we gathered together to celebrate. Cameron was given an adorable kitchen for her birthday and from the pictures you can tell that the big kids loved it too. I made the cakes for this event and learned a few valuable lessons: #1 I should probably get a mini muffin pan. My bug eyes looked horribly disproportionate and #2 Black food coloring (used for the frosting) turns lips black... some people don't appreciate the "goth" look. A wild and crazy night was had by all. Darren was the recipient of a few joke gifts. He got a fishing vest from his parents and a tackle box full of insults from his brother. Unfortunately he had let it slip that he was taking Jason fishing this week and hilarity ensued. Even more hilarious than the joke gifts will be the moment he or Jason actually catch a fish and the city kids attempt to butcher and cook. More blogs to follow.....

Friday, October 5, 2007

grammy's birthday

Yikes! I better hurry up and get this posted before the day is over. Happy Birthday to Grammy! We got you a really cool present, but you can't open it until tomorrow!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

let the birthdays begin!

Happy Birthday to Noah and Tim! (Sorry there's no pics of Tim... the 4 year old wins because of the cuteness factor...) Have a great day guys. We love you.