Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our visit with Santa - and luckily it didn't involve a trip to the mall.

Technically it isn't Christmas day yet so I'm going to squeeze in one last post pre-Christmas activity post.

Sarah is a Daisy Scout this year.  The very first field trip they took together was to ride the Santa Train at the NC Transportation Museum

Family members were invited so Dan, Peter and I went as well.  And it worked out great because Santa was on the train.  Both kids got their picture taken with Santa and we didn't even have to go to the mall! 


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The 2009 Gingerbread House!

Every year our church hosts a gingerbread house workshop and this was our third year attending.  It has become a sweet little tradition for our family and I hope we continue participating for years to come.

Dan takes the role of lead designer and decorator and the kids offer lots of advice.  However; this year, once the kids stopped eating all of the decor, they decided they should take a bigger role in determining placement of the candies and actual gluing of the candies.

Lots of frosting and candy later we had a really cute house. 

I thought I loaded the pictures of the side views of the house but apparently failed to do that before our just imagine lots of cross mosaics made out of chicklets.  (Think stained glass windows gingerbread house style!)   Stunning, I tell you!  Stunning! 


Gingerbread men and cupcake frosting!

My husband loves gingerbread cookies.  Well, mostly he loves frosting so he makes gingerbread cookies as a delivery mechanism for the frosting. 

I do not like gingerbread cookies and I do not like to make any cookie that has to be rolled out so my husband and Sarah have been making them together for the last couple of years.

My husband has the patience of Job and doesn't seem to mind flour, sugar and spices flying around the kitchen.  And Sarah loves to measure, mix and roll so it's the perfect combination.

I hope the memories of baking cookies with Daddy will be as sweet for her when she is all grown up as the cupcake frosting that they make for the cookies.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nothing bonds a family like 16 and a half hours in the car in a snow storm in a traffic jam.

Friday started off according to plan.  The kids went to school and I ran around doing laundry, packing suit cases and cleaning messes.

Then around noon it started to ice a little.  And by 3:00 the snow was really falling. 

A sinking feeling washed over me.  We probably wouldn't be leaving for our trip to Massachusetts as originally scheduled.

The plan was that we would hit the road as soon as my husband got home from work.  We would be in Alexandria, Virginia by 11:30 PM and then on Saturday morning we would be on the road by 5:30 AM and hopefully in Massachusetts no later than 4:30 PM.  We've done this road trip 14 times by now and we have it down to a science -  we even know the locations of all the McDonald's with the best playlands between NC and MA.

But then it started to snow in North Carolina and I knew all bets were off.

When my husband got home we decided we should postpone our departure until Saturday morning.  My husband is an excellent driver in the snow but most people in North Carolina are not.

So we headed to Alexandria around 10:00 AM on Saturday and hoped we would arrive no later than 7:00 PM.  We were hoping what normally took us 6 hours would take us 9.

And we were actually making great time.  The snow had been cleared off the highways and even though it was still snowing we were pleased with how well everything was going.

Until around 5:30 PM. 

We were on the north side of Richmond and things slowed down, way down. But we figured we would still be fine.

Until around 7:00 PM.

We were only 35 miles from my sister-in-law's house when we came to a complete stop. Well, I guess I shouldn't say complete stop because in the next three and a half hours we technically we did move 2.5 miles. 

Yep, that's right.  In three and a half hours we moved 2.5 miles.  And then we realized we weren't moving again and it felt like we were never going to move again.  So we cut the car off and got out the blankets and tried to get some sleep.

Yep, that's right.  Right in the middle of I-95 we put cut the car off and tried to get some sleep. 

The kids were troopers - there was minimal whining and minimal fighting.  Luckily I travel with a lot of snacks so we weren't starving.  And luckily Sarah doesn't have a problem peeing in a cup. And luckily I didn't finish my Diet Dr. Pepper at lunch because I do have a problem peeing in a cup.

And finally around 1:00 AM we started moving.  And we finished the last 30 minutes in an hour and a half.  But let me tell you, it felt like we were flying!

Needless to say we spent the next day in Alexandria.  More snow up the east coast and the thought of even setting foot near the car prevented us from making the second leg of our journey.  So we slept in, went to the late Mass and took the kids sledding.

And then finally, finally, yesterday evening we arrived in Massachusetts two days later than originally planned. 

But we were safe and sound and now, let Christmas begin. 

Well, after I wrap a whole lot of presents!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I know his baseball season ended in early November but I've been busy!

After an interesting season of spring baseball, Peter decided he would like to play fall baseball.

When he announced this over the summer I was a little leery.  Practices would begin as the new school year was beginning and it seemed like too much to handle.  And he would be moving up from coach pitch to machine pitch.

Before registration, I asked him repeatedly if he really wanted to play and his answer was always yes.  And since fewer boys play in the fall I figured this would give him a leg up in the spring (if he decided to play then as well) as  he would already be familiar with the pitching machine and might do a little better.

We practiced hitting and fielding over the summer and by September he was ready to start the season.  He had a great coach who emphasized listening to and respecting the coaching staff and he emphasized supporting your team and most importantly having fun. 

The older boys on the team were great to Peter and did not give him a hard time when he had trouble throwing or hitting.

Hitting a ball that has been thrown by a machine is so much harder than hitting one that is being lobbed to you by your coach.  And while he hit the ball occasionally  for the most part he struck out.  It was very demoralizing for him.

And because is still isn't a great fielder, he was stuck playing in the outfield.  Although frankly I think he was a little relieved at this because  he has finally realized that you are supposed to know where to throw the ball when it comes to you to try to get an out.  And even though he knows this, he still hasn't really learned where to make the plays.

But through all of these issues, one thing kept him going back game after game - the knowledge that he would receive a trophy at the end of the season.

And just like at the end of every season before, he said he didn't want to play baseball next season.  And I told him that would be okay.  But this time, I think he means it.  Because right after his end of year party he asked me if "they give trophies to the people that eat all those hot dogs in those food eating races."

Sounds to me like he's looking for other ways to add to his trophy collection!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The best face!

Today I received an email from Sarah's kindergarten teacher.  It was a 5 second Flip video of the whole class saying in unison "Merry Christmas Mom and Dad!"

I watched it 5 times when I got it this afternoon and when Sarah got home from school we watched it together at least 30 more times.

After watching it Sarah declared, "I have the best face in the whole class!"

Not only does she have the best face in the whole class but apparently she has the best self-esteem as well

Monday, December 7, 2009

My girl.

As a parent you learn early on to pick your battles.  And one of the battles I have consistantly chosen to let Sarah win is the battle over what she is going to wear.

She loves to choose her own outfits.  And she loves to mix stripes with polka-dots or flower patterns with plaids.  I have filled her closet with solids and patterns yet she never chooses to combine them the way I want her to.

And I'm okay with that.  Sort of.

I have learned to let it go because after all it was only preschool. So who cares what she looks like. And now it's only kindergarten. So who cares what she looks like.

However, occassionaly we do go out in public and I do care what she looks like.

Two weeks ago we took Peter and his friend Colton to the Lego store for his birthday.  While the boys were in their class we were going to walk around the mall.  (Theoretically we were going to shop but as much as she loves clothes, she hates to shop.)  And then we were going out to dinner afterward.

Two days before our outing, Sarah chose to wear some cute leggings underneath a sheath dress.  (The dress was from last year and was actually a size too small so it looked more like a long shirt.)  And the leggings were solid and the dress was stipped and it. was. adorable.

The next day she chose to wear a pair of leggings underneath a skirt that had small polka dots on it and a solid colored shirt.  And it. was. adorable.

On the morning of our outing I told her to pick an outfit and I was so excited to see what she was going to choose this time.  After all, she had done so well the two previous days I figured I had nothing to worry about.

Boy was I ever wrong.

And no amount of calm dissuasion would change her mind.  And when I saw how excited she was with her outfit, I decided to let it go.  After all.  It was only the mall and dinner.

I will admit though that I was a tad embarrassed when she turned heads while she was prancing through the mall, bracelets jingling and grinning from ear to ear.

And it didn't take long for me to push my feelings of embarrassment aside.

She felt good about herself.

And as a woman, I know those feelings will be fleeting.  I hope they aren't but I know how mixed up things get inside our heads. 

I hope she always feels good about the way she looks.  And I hope she never cares if she turns a curious head. 

She's beautiful.  And she's my girl.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's a good thing he's cute!

Last night I called my husband over to check out some items I had in my shopping cart at

After I showed the different items to him (ranging from electronics to toys) to make sure he agreed with my purchases, he said, "So, Amazon sells more than books now, huh?"