Monday, November 29, 2010

Goals! You've got to have goals!

I ran in my third 5k on Thanksgiving Day. 

My official chip time was 30:21 which is slightly better than the other two I've completed.  I guess I'm a little annoyed that I'm not getting any fast but at the same time, I'm not training to get faster.  And there were hills on this course.  Lots of hills.

So I've got something to work on before my next 5k...or dare I say it 10k.  I think Jennifer and I have decided we would like to try something a little longer next time.

You've got to have goals  - and a great friend to run with doesn't hurt either.

 Here we are before the race...and the hills.

Here is the official photo of me taken at the finish line.  I could see the photographer and was attempting a smile. (And if anyone from Carolina Snapshot is reading, please don't get mad that I've posted this picture here. I've actually ordered a copy from you.

And here is the picture Dan took of me after crossing the finish line.  I didn't see him, so no smile.  Plus I'm gasping for air. This is pretty much what I looked like throughout the entire race.  Did I mention there were hills?  Lots of hills.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bah! Humbug! In the largest order!

I just returned from the mailbox dejected. 

It is a full three days before I will be sitting down to a large table full of family and friends, giving thanks to God for all of the blessings he has bestowed on our family and eating copious amounts of food turkey and potatoes and pie.  And in my hand I am clutching a...Christmas card!

I have spent the last week deleting "Order your Black Friday specials NOW!!!" emails from my inbox and watching Christmas decorations sprout up through the neighborhood.  And what about the stores who have been displaying Christmas goodies since Halloween?

I can overlook all of that I suppose but the Christmas card three days before Thanksgiving?  It is just too much for me to take.  Especially when I haven't even given our Christmas card one single thought. 

I would love to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving but apparently Merry Christmas is in order.

Little Star

You may remember a post I did a while back about the book Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To by Anthony DeStefano.  If you don't remember the post, I highly recommend going back and reading it.  

Anthony DeStefano has just released a children's book entitled Little Star.  I received a copy from him to read and review.

I flipped through it when I first received it and immediately was drawn to the illustrations.  The Little Star has a tuft of hair coming out of his top point.  How can you not immediately fall in love with that?

The story, in a nutshell and without giving anything away, is about a little star who is ignored by the other stars because of his size. When Little Star finds out Jesus is being born, he wants to burn the brightest of all the stars. But how can he do this?  After all, he is the littlest star.

I read Little Star to myself  before I read it to the kids and immediately loved it.  It was such a sweet story without being overly maudlin or gooey. 

When I read it to Sarah, she grabbed the book from me and insisted she hold it and turn the pages.  I knew she was captivated.  She thoroughly enjoyed the story and the illustrations.  Even Peter, who was playing and listening from another part of the room, stopped what he was doing several times so he could come over and join us. 

Little Star is a sweet story that talks about the birth of Jesus and it's meaning in a different way than your typical children's Christmas story.  It gets 6 thumbs up from the Cotell household!

And just as a cool side note - Anthony Destefano was 15 years old when he wrote this book.  He was taking a  writing class that was taught by Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes.  The assignment was to write a children's book and Little Star was born.  Mr. Destefano considers this his greatest work.  The teacher must have liked it as well because he got an A!

Please note - I was given a copy this book to review.  That was my only compensation for this post. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

At the time I did wonder when Sarah had been eating vanilla ice cream in the car.

It was Wednesday afternoon.  I had just found out that Sarah did in fact have basketball practice at 6:00 that evening which meant she needed to change her clothes immediately if we were going to get to the allergist's office in time to get Peter's allergy shots before we had to be at church for Faith Formation class.

I raised my voice to a level somewhere in between panicked yelling and angry screaming so that the kids would know that I really meant it when I said, "Get in the car now!  Move it!  We are going to be late if we don't MOVE IT!"  Because, apparently if I'm not loud, either the kids don't hear me or they don't believe me.

The kids finally got in the car, I started backing out of the garage and right in the middle of my "I really wish you kids would do what I ask the first time I ask it" lecture when Peter screamed, "It's a BIRD!"

Peter and Sarah both started screaming and right as I was about to scream at them for screaming in the car, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw A BIRD flying around in the back of our car.

I threw the car in park while rolling down the windows, screamed at the kids to "Get out!  Get out!" and ran around to the back of the car to open the hatch.  The whole time I was doing this, I could hear the dull thumping noises of the scared bird flying into the hatch window.

She finally found an open window and made her way out of the car.  I ushered the kids back into the car and we began to make our way to the allergist's office.

Right in the middle of my pondering the expression "bird brain", I suddenly realized the watery white substance I had wiped off the center console with my fingers was probably not melted vanilla ice cream as I had originally suspected.

Thank goodness for the large bottle of hand sanitizer I keep in the car.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Grown up"

Last night before dinner Peter said, "Mom, I need a knife at the table every night instead of just a fork.  I'm eight now so I can handle a knife.  Oh and I'm going to need a real glass instead of just a plastic cup for my milk, because I'm eight now you know.  I'm grown up."

Images of broken glass and cut fingers filled my mind but he's right.  He is eight you know. 

As we gathered around the table Sarah turned up her nose, crossed her arms and huffed, "Now that you're grown up are you gonna read the newspaper every night?"

My husband and I exploded with laughter.  If she knew what air quotes were, she would have used them when she said "grown up".

Peter replied, "Well, only the comics."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Highlights from Peter's 8th Birthday Party

Around the beginning of October, Peter told me what he wanted to do for his 8th birthday party.  He wanted to take his best friend to Washington, D.C. to visit the Smithsonian.

My sister-in-law Cathy, lives in Alexandria, VA which is a suburb of D.C. so I knew we would have a place to stay.  I got the o.k. from my husband, from Cathy, and from Colton's mom and we had a party scheduled!

We left as soon as my husband got home from work on Thursday night.  We arrived at Cathy's around midnight.  We were up at at 'em early on Friday morning.

We visited the Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural History.  The kids rode the Metro with Cathy. We went to Peter's favorite Mexican restaurant, La Lomita, for dinner.  We took a Ghost Tour through Alexandria and then we called it a day!

On Saturday, we went to the Farmer's Market in Alexandria, Arlington National Cemetary where we saw the changing of the guard ceremony and the changing to the wreath ceremony.  We visited the Iwo Jima Memorial and we went to the Air and Space Museum. Then we headed back to Aunt Cathy's for dinner and cake and presents. 

And finally on Sunday we went to church and headed back home. Whew!  We packed a lot in but it was a great weekend.  The weather was wonderful.  We got to visit three Smithsonian Museums (4 if you count our visit into the original building where John Smithson's remains are kept in a crypt) and we got to see a lot of other great sites.

Colton said it was the best birthday party he had ever been to.  I would have to agree!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eight is....

Eight is...

A great reader 
A loyal friend
A momma's boy
A good student
A Cub Scout
A people-pleaser

Eight has my heart.

Eight loves to...

Play Roblox on the computer
Build with his Legos
Yell at his sister when she's pushing his buttons
Play with his best friend Colton
Go to the beach
Sing when no one is listening
Watch You Tube Videos
Play in the pool
Eat cereal

Right this very minute, Eight is in Washington, DC with his best friend Colton visiting several of the Smithsonian Museums!

Happy Eighth Birthday, Peter!  Mommy loves you more than you will ever know.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's easy to be a good sport when you win something!

This past weekend was the Cub Scouts annual Raingutter Regatta.  Last years race ended with tears and lectures about sportsmanship.  This years race ended with smiles and sleepovers - no lectures involved.

Peter won third place out of the Wolves which meant in addition to receiving a nice medal, he also got to race in the overall competition.  He didn't win anything there but the excitement of getting to continue to compete seemed to be enough for him.

Peter's best friend Colton took first place out of the Wolves and second place overall.  Way to go guys!

And thanks to Jennifer who invited Peter over to spend the night after the Regatta.

Races.  Medals.  BFFs.  Sleepovers.  That's the stuff memories are made of!

This is Peter blowing into the sail of his "The Wimpy Kid" boat!  Didn't my husband do a great job with the drawing on the sail?

This is Colton and Peter in fierce boat-to-boat battle! 

Aren't they cute?  Look at those smiles - nd this was even before they found out they were going to have a sleep over!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fight Pray Write

As a mom, it is my wish and my prayer that my kids get along.  They are so close in age, so different in temperament and so stubborn that they fight. A lot.

Sarah likes to harass Peter.  Peter can't control his anger. So they fight.  A lot.

And the more they fight, the more I lecture them on loving one another.  And the more I lecture them, the more I pray for them - because I know those lectures are going in one ear and out the other.

Or are they?

On Friday evening,  I sat down at my computer to check my emails and this note from Sarah was laying on top of the pile of papers in front of my monitor:

Let me translate:

We might get in fights but I know deep inside that we love one another.

I'm not sure whether she was writing this as affirmation to herself or whether she was writing this to calm my fears.  Either way, I love it.

Now if I could just find a similar note from Peter.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm always looking for an easy recipe, but this might be taking it a step too far.

My cooking isn't very good.  I'll be the first to admit that.  Scratch that.  My family would be the first to admit that.  I wonder how they would feel if I served this latest "dish" being marketed by the makers of Campbell's Soup:

Recipe (in case you can't figure it out by looking at the little handy graphic):

Heat up a can of soup
Cook a cup of rice.
Dump soup over rice. 

My family might actually like it.  Although, in reality, I would be a 90-year-old woman in the rest home with my dear husband and he would still be saying, "Remember the time you tried to serve us a can of soup of rice?"  Emphasis on still.  I can't risk hearing about it for the next 49 years.

If anyone else has tried this, let me know.  I would be interested to hear how your family liked it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Real men like Pixie Stix.

Peter had strep throat last week.  And you know what they do when you get strep throat, right?  They prescribe Amoxicillin.

"Can he swallow pills?" the doctor asked as she was pulling out her prescription pad.

"Well, he can swallow Zyrtec and Singular," I replied, "but they're pretty small."

"Better write it for the liquid," she said with authority.  "Amoxicillin tablets are pretty big."

After picking up the medicine from the pharmacy, I shook the bottle according to the instructions, removed the lid and the moment the stench of rubbery bubble gum hit my nose, I knew I was in trouble.

Peter was going to have to swallow this foul-smelling pink elixir twice a day for ten days.  I quickly calculated that I was going to have to hear all of the moaning and whining associated with getting this medicine down 20 times before it was gone.  20 times.

And my boy can whine and moan and  fake cry and foot stomp and arm-fold-over-the-chest with the best of them.  He's a pro in that department.

So for three days, I had to beg and plead and cajole and offer chasers of Coke Zero and Sprite, anything just to get him to swallow the antibiotic.

Dan even stepped in a couple of times and did the "be a man son and just take your medicine" routine. When he intervened, Peter would shorten the baby routine but there was still a lot of yelling and tears whenever it was time to administer a dose of the pink stuff.

And then came Halloween.

And instead of Sprite and Coke Zero chasers, we used minature Twix chasers and Starburst chasers. 

And right before he left for Boy Scouts last night, dressed in his little uniform complete with hat and neckerchief, he stood proudly in front of his Dad and exclaimed, "Look Dad!  I can take it like a man!"

And he opened his mouth, turned the little dosing cup filled with the pink liquid up to his lips, threw his head back and in one giant gulp took his medicine like a man.  

"Aren't you proud of me Daddy?"  he asked with a big grin and a puffed out chest.

And so what if he chased it with a couple of Pixie Stix  Real men like Pixie Stix.  Don't they?

Monday, November 1, 2010

It wouldn't be All Saints Day without a bunch of pictures from Halloween, now would it?

Here are my little cuties all dressed up in their spooky costumes.
Please note that Peter is wearing an old skeleton costume underneath his ripped clothes. He is supposed to be some sort of spooky zombie creature that has come to life.  However neither he nor the spooky witch with fang teeth seem to be scaring my dear little grandmother.  (Isn't she cute in her Halloween sweater and turtleneck?)

And here are my little spookies along with the rest of the bunch we went Trick-of-Treating with.  Aren't they a motley little crew?  And I mean that in the best Halloween way!

And here are the kids eating their traditional pre-Trick-or-Treating Mummy pizzas.  Sarah looks a bit like the undead in this picture.  I blame it on the fact that she had already been into her stash of candy from the Trunk-or-Treat we went to the night before!

Before bed last night, Sarah was lamenting the fact that Halloween was over.  I told her that  it wasn't over until the last piece of candy was gone.  She declared that she was going to save her candy so that Halloween would last for ever. 

And then she thought about it some more and said, "Nah.  I think I'll just go ahead and eat it all and start waiting for next Halloween."

Good idea sweetie cause Mommy knows where your stash is and Mommy isn't good with waiting...especially if chocolate and peanut butter are involved!