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Monday, November 30, 2009

So much better than a big party!

In July they opened a Lego store in a mall about an hour from here.  Since Peter loves Legos and loves the Lego store we've been to in Massachusetts, we promised him we would go as soon as it opened. 

But July turned into August and August into September and well, you get the drift.

I convinced Peter that he didn't need a big birthday sleepover with lots of kids and a pinata(kids birthday parties are so overrated if you are the parent who is hosting it). Instead we took Peter and his BFF Colton to the Lego store where they could attend a class and afterward we would go to dinner and Colton could spend the night.

The moon and stars aligned properly and we finally got Peter to the Lego store 4 months after it opened and a mere two weeks after his birthday.

I do not recommend setting foot in a mall on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and if you do, please steer clear of the Lego store.  That place was packed. It was wall-to-wall kids, parents and of course, Legos.
But we knew it would be and the boys didn't seem to mind searching for the perfect Lego set in a crowd.

And even though the store was packed, they were the only two kids in the class they were taking.  And there were two instructors!  So for one hour, they worked hard to figure out the best way to combine a pile of Lego gears, handles and bricks and make it into a working bubble beater.  They each came up with different beaters and I think they both had a great time.

After the class we left the mall and headed to the Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner.  The kids loved it there. 

It was loud.  There were cars hanging from the ceiling. They had great kid's meals that came with Twizzlers and they comped us a big ole hot fudge brownie with ice cream. 

Peter didn't even miss the pinata!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...How Lovely Are Your Branches


That's better.

And I purposefully left all of the paper plate ornaments at the bottom of the tree hoping that the kids wouldn't notice the ornament redistribution I had done while they slept.  And it must have worked because no one has mentioned that there are no longer branches with 17 ornaments each hanging from them.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
In beauty green will always grow
Through summer sun and winter snow.
Publish Post

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...How Laden Are Thou Branches!

Can you tell the kids helped me decorate our tree?

It looks verrrrrrry bottom heavy.

Notice all the ornaments are concentrated together right at Sarah and Peter level.  And look how many they have piled on each branch.


I think I may need to redecorate it tonight when the kids are in bed!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Yes, I know Thanksgiving was yesterday...

Last year and the year before, I had the kids make a Thankful Tree and a Thankful Turkey.  Don't they look so proud?  (I guess I didn't blog about the turkey from last year but I have it stored away in my closet.)

This year with both kids in school and afternoons full of homework and practice and Faith Formation and all three of us just being worn out, I never got around to making anything crafty.

However, I did want the kids to at least make a list of things they are thankful for.  So I put "Things I Am Thankful For" at the top of a sheet of paper and asked the kids to start writing.

Peter didn't want to do it because "that's too much like school work!"  And Sarah who is usually game for something like this seemed pretty disturbed from the start.

So Peter sat at the table and in less than 30 seconds had written:

Gramae (Grandma)
Grendpa (Grandpa, of course)

And when he was done said, "There. Can I go play my DSi now?

O.k.  Not quite the spirit of thankfulness I was looking for and then out of the middle of nowhere, Hurricane Sarah swept through and made landfall right at my kitchen table.

She began to scream (yes, scream!) and cry that she wanted to do it like Peter. 

"Of course you can do it like Peter!  That's what I want you to do!  Make a list, just like Peter!"  My frantic smiles did nothing to calm her and I knew I was in for at least a ten minute storm.


Oh.  I get it.  She wants to be able to write her words like Peter and of course, she doesn't know how to spell everything.

"Honey, why don't you tell me what you want on your list and I can write the words for you!"  More frantic smiling.


"Well, honey, why don't you tell me what you want to write and I'll tell you how to spell the words."  More frantic smiling.


At this point, I was done with the frantic smiling and had to pull out the old, "Well, if you can't calm down, then you are going to have to go sit in your room for a while."

"I just want to do it like Peter!" 

She was so mad!  Certainly not how I wanted our Thanksgiving Thankful List making to go.  So I let her tantrum for another couple of minutes and then she began to lose steam and sat at the table and proceeded to write the following list without any help from me:


I cracked up when I saw it and it almost made the 10 minute screaming and crying fit worth it.  She just wanted to make her list on her own.  That girl is an interesting and sometimes annoying mix of stubborn and independent. (And if Sarah Palin is not the first female President, then maybe my Sarah will be!)

And if God and a few kindergarten site words are all that's on her Thankful List, then I guess I'm o.k. with that.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Webster defines it as being satisfied.

I was reading this post at Scribbit earlier in the week and she references an article she recently read on Being Content With Our Homes which references a book  by Linda Dillow entitled, "Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment"

Contentment is something I find myself struggling with every single day and if you will recall, being content was the only resolution I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

Unfortunately as this year draws to a close, I still find myself struggling to be content.

Whether it is my house (my kitchen is too small, my  house is not organized and my couches are old and ugly), my appearance (if only I  could lose just 3 pounds, I have zits and wrinkles and my wardrobe is so plain) or the job I am doing as a mom (my kids aren't helpful enough,  kind enough, respectful enough).

I never feel satisfied with the way things are.

The article lays out these five principles of contentment from the first chapter of the book:
  • Never allow yourself to complain about anything — not even the weather.
  • Never picture yourself in any other circumstance or someplace else.
  • Never compare your lot with another persons lot.
  • Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
  • Never dwell on tomorrow — remember that tomorrow is God’s, not ours.
 The first principal immediately threw me for a loop!  I complain about everything.  And maybe not out loud (well, all the time anyway!) but to myself.  I grumble all. day. long.

So I am going to strive to spend the last 6 weeks of the year following the above principles.

And I am going to try to turn my complaining  into thanking God.

In the last two days for example, I have turned the following complaints into thank-yous and my attitude is already changing:

Old: I wish Dan didn't have to work late -  again.
New: Thank you God for Dan's job. Through it he is able to provide everything we need.

Old: This kitchen is so small nothing fits in here!
New: Thank you God for my warm and cozy home.  We are so lucky to have a house when so many don't and we are lucky to have food when so many are starving.

Old:  My kids are driving me crazy!
New: Thank you God for the gift of my kids.  They are healthy, smart, beautiful and energetic.

What a whiney, selfish, unthankful brat I have become in my old age.  No wonder I can't find contentment.  I'm too busy complaining.   

And just in the last two days, as I have started praising God instead of asking him to changes things, I have felt more peaceful, more satisfied - more contented.

I have six more weeks until the new year, and I think this year I have a chance at actually accomplishing my resolution!

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

(And I can't wait to get that book!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I suppose he's right.

Sarah:  Peter, let me show you the Thanksgiving book I made at school.

Peter:  O.k.

Sarah:  See, here's the Mayflower.  And here's a pilgrim.  And here's an Indian. And here's...

Peter:  Actually they prefer to be called Native Americans.  Because, really, they weren't from India.

I suppose he's correct  but I miss the good old days when we could all sit Indian-style.  Criss-cross apple sauce just doesn't have the same ring to it.  

(No apples were offended in the writing of this post!)

The best giveaway ever!

I hesitate to share this but it's such a good giveaway I have to let you in on it.  (And, truth be told, I get an extra entry for putting up the button.)  

Scibbit is giving away an HP Touch Smart 600-1055.   

So get over there quickly and enter before I change my mind and take this post down.  I don't need the competition.  

Oooohhhhh!  I hope I win.  We could really use a new computer and this one sounds fantastic!

HP TouchSmart 600 Giveaway

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Who says Rock Stars don't wear pink?

So we survived Crazy Hair day on Tuesday which meant yesterday was Rock Star Day.

Sarah informed me on Tuesday afternoon that she wanted to participate in Rock Star Day because her BFF was going to dress up.  "Oh really?" was my quiet reply.  "What is the old BFF going to wear on Rock Star Day?" I questioned her.

"Um something glittery I think. And probably her boots but I'm not sure." was her less than helpful response.

Something glittery?  I guess if you consider Hannah Montana a rock star then glittery fits the bill.  But I don't.

I consider Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Guns N Roses rock stars.  Oh I how loved me some metal music in the late 80's and early 90's!  And these guys wore lots of black tee shirts, ripped jeans or spandex and tacky scarves.  And since it was the late 80's - lots of hair spray in their permed hair.  (Oh take me down to Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.  Oh won't you please take me home.  I'm afraid I'm going to be singing this all day now.)

Sarah's tastes land on the pink side of the color spectrum with an occasional foray into purples so I knew there was nothing black in her closet and the only thing with Hannah Montana on it was a pair of pjs that she will be wearing to school on Friday.  (Don't even get me started on pajama day.) But we headed upstairs to try to pull together a Rock Star outfit anyway.

I said a quick prayer because my girl is stubborn and she wanted me to run to the store to get her a Rock Star outfit.  And I can be pretty stubborn too so the chance for tantrums on both sides was pretty high.

This past weekend my mom got Sarah a pair of shiny red boots from Wal-Mart.  Since they were red (and not pink or purple), Sarah patted them tentatively and said "I'll wear them later" which in Sarah speak translates to "I'll never wear these."

So I grabbed the red boots and suggested a mini-skirt to wear with them.  We looked through her skirts and found a red one that was covered in pink and purple and white hearts.  I then grabbed a pink tee shirt with a pink heart on it and a pair of white tights and said, "Look!  You can be a heart rocker! Get it?  Heart Rocker?  Instead of a hard rocker you can be a heart rocker!"

And then I preceeded to spend the next 15 minutes chuckling at my own pun. I repeated it so often that Sarah told me to "Stop saying that!  I hate it when you say that!"  Peter however, actually got it (oh how that boy gets me) and laughed.

Sarah was not very happy with her outfit but she wore it anyway.

Yesterday was my day to volunteer at the elementary school so I got to see all the other Rock Stars.  There were lots of little Hannah Montannas covered with purple hair, sequins and eye shadow.  And there were lots of metal rockers with ripped jeans, black t-shirts and sun-glasses.  And there were lots of cowboy boots and plaid shirts.  There were even a few Michael Jacksons walking down the halls.

But none of them as cute as my little heart rocker.  I love you Sarah.  Thanks for putting up with me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crazy Hair Day equals Crazy Mommy Day

This week is Spirt Week at my children's school.  That means every day has a different theme and the kids are encouraged to participate.

Monday was Twin Day.  My kids wanted nothing to do with dressing up like their friends so that day went by as usual.

However, Tuesday was Crazy Hair Day.  Sarah has been talking about Crazy Hair Day for two weeks now.  Her BFF was going to have crazy hair so she wanted crazy hair too.  Anything the BFF is doing, she is doing. 

We had decided that I would put it up in 4 pony tails because what is crazier than that?  And honestly, I don't have very good "little girl hair style" ability.  So on Monday I decided I that we just make it PINK.  She was thrilled at this idea but decided she wanted pink AND 4 pony tails.  So instead of making it easier for myself, I made it harder.  She had a doctor's appointment on Monday morning  and afterwards we swung by Sally and picked up a can of pink hair spray.

The person that waited on us in Sally was a very helpful androgynous looking sort.  I was not sure if it was a male or a female and the whole time we were being waiting on, I was holding my breath. We made it out of the store uneventfully but the minute the door to Sally closed behind us, Sarah asked, "Mommy, was that a boy or a girl?"

And it was at that point that I thank the good Lord for that embarrassing day at Burger King 3 years ago when Peter stated very loudly as we were walking out, "Mommy, did you see how FAT that person was?" But luckily we were walking out as the very large person was walking in so I was able to frantically usher the kids into the car before having the talk with them.

And from that moment on I have been drilling it into their heads that we don't ever say out loud in public if someone looks fat, strange, different, weird, etc.  We always wait until we are alone with Mommy until we talk about it so we don't hurt their feelings.  And thank goodness, the kids have been listening because we have dodged many bullets after seeing large people, mohawked people, bald people, scarred people, tattooed people, etc.  It is so much easier to explain to your children how or why other people are different from them when you aren't also trying to apologize to those people for your children's questions.

But I digress...

After school Peter realized that Sarah was going to paint her hair pink and he got very upset.  "Where's my blue hair spray?" he asked through tears and a tantrum.  (Yes, my 7-year-old is still very good at tantrums.  It is something we are working on.)

He had told me earlier that he did not want to participate in Crazy Hair Day so I didn't bother getting anything for him.  But since he seemed so upset I told him that after I dropped Sarah off at Daisy Scouts I would look for blue hairspray for him but I was NOT going to go back to Sally.  It was too far away and he would have to take what I could find at one of the local drugstores.

So after a trip to Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Wal-mart, I determined that there was no blue hairspray within a 6 mile radius of our home and we would have to get creative with hair gel.  (Apparently every other child had already purchased every color of hair spray because apparently every child had blue hair expect my son.  I will be better prepared next year and will buy up all shades of hair paint at Halloween when Wal-Mart is very well stocked.)

And since Peter doesn't really have much hair to speak off, there wasn't very much I could to to make his hair crazy.  I like boys and men to have very short hair and I will be very glad when the shaggy 1970's looking hair phase has passed us.  I think, based on all the 1980's fashions I see in the store, Mohawks and glitter gel are about to become all the rage again.

I digress again...

I had to get the kids up early on Tuesday morning so I could do their hair and the whole time I am thinking in my head that this whole concept of Spirit Week for elementary school kids is ridiculous.  I agree with my husband when he said, "When is it going to be Let's See How Much We Can Learn in School Day?"

But after much brushing, spraying and gelling, this was as crazy as it got for my kids. I'm not very good with hair and I think it shows...


Sorry kids.  My crazy hair skillz are limited.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Seven is...

a great reader
a momma's boy
a rule follower
a Cub Scout
a good swimmer
a ball player

Seven has my heart.

Happy Birthday, Peter!  I love you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

She's all about her loose tooth!

Sarah is obsessed with losing a tooth.  Peter has lost one.  Her kindergarten BFF has lost two and Sarah thinks it's time she lost one too.  I think keeping up with your kindergarten BFF is probably more important than keeping up with your big brother.

For the last month or so she talks nonstop about loose teeth, wiggles her teeth, wonders when oh when will she have a lose tooth and constantly asks me to check for loose ones all to no avail.  They are all holding firm in her five-year-old gums.

Yesterday afternoon she was nibbling on a fun-sized bag of Skittles.  (And yes, you know you are thankfully at the end of all the Halloween candy when the kids are down to Nerds and Skittles and Dum Dums.  Where did all those Reese's Cups go?  Hmmmm....I wonder....)

And as she was nibbling on a Skittle she let out an "Ouch!" followed by "Mom!  I think my tooth is loose!"

So I wiggled it and I wasn't sure one way or the other so I said, "It just might be."

And then the phone calls began.  We had to call Grandma and we had to let Daddy know at work.

And then there was more wiggling.  And then there was lots of excitement and anticipation at the mere thought of letting the kindergarten BFF know at school the next day.

And then she wrote "Loose Tooth" on multiple Post-It notes and encircled her dinner plate.

When I asked her why she was doing that she stated very matter-of-factly, "Mom, I am all about my loose tooth!"

I guess the Tooth Fairy better stock up on ones just in case.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lazy Couponing Works for Me

About a year and a half ago, I decided to save money by couponing.  I read all of the money saving websites, clipped every single coupon and tried to play the coupon game at CVS and Walgreens.

And I hated it.  gasp

There.  I said it.  I hated it.

I know there are thousands of people who stock pile items this way and save hundreds and hundreds of dollars every year and get very excited when they buy a whole grocery cart full of cereal and toothpaste for mere pennies.  And I know this should excite me and I guess it would have except for that time I bought a giant bottle of Sambucal and then accidentally let $21 worth of CVS bucks expire.

It was at this point that I realize I didn't have the energy or the gumption to clip every single coupon every week, scour the sale ads, match up coupons to sales and spend hours on all of the money saving websites.

Now don't get me wrong.  I have several friends that do this and I have a huge amount of respect for themBut I am too lazy.  But at the same time, I feel that throwing away all of those coupons that come anyway in my Sunday paper is a waste.

So I come up with a system that works for me.  I keep each coupon circular.  And I mark the front of them with the date and toss them in a folder.  I have separate folders for Red Plum, Proctor and Gamble and Smart Source.  This takes me about 30 seconds. 

And when I see something as I am casually flipping through the weekly food circulars that I know I am going to get anyway that happens to be on sale and wonder if there is a coupon out there to match it, I head to

This site is awesome.  All you do is type in a product name and it will tell you if there is a coupon out there for it, how much the coupon is worth, which circular it came from and when it expires.  It also has a 'clip' feature.  If you know you are going to use this coupon, you 'clip' it (by hitting clip) and it will mark it so that you don't think you have this coupon when you do future searches.

I know I'm not saving tons of money this way but I am saving some money, I'm not spending hours clipping coupons I'm never going to use and I can spend the rest of the time happily reading blogs...WORKS FOR ME!

For more Works For Me Wednesday, please visit Kristin.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Of boats, rain gutters and disappointment...

Peter got to participate in his Cub Scout pack's annual Rain Gutter Regatta this past weekend.

The scouts each work with their dads to design and make a boat.  The boats are then raced in rain gutters in multiple heats to see who has the fastest boat.  In addition to ribbons and trophies for the fastest boats, there is also a prize for Most Creative boat and Best Looking boat.

Dan wasn't confidant in their skills to make a fast boat since this was their first year competing but he knew they could make a nice looking boat.

So Peter and Dan sanded and painted and glued and painted some more until they created a replica of the USS Constitution.

 Here she is before the big race.
Peter is proudly displaying his boat before the race.
The boats are under sail power only.  The boys aren't allowed to touch the boats.  They can only blow on the sails.
After the first leg of the first heat, you can see that Peter's competition beat him to the end of the gutter. 

Peter was very disappointed that he only won one of the legs of  one of the heats.  He lost the rest but we reassuered him that surely he would win for Most Creative or Best Looking.

But alas, it was not meant to be.  Peter didn't win anything and to add insult to injury, his BFF Colton not only won as fastest Tiger but he beat the 4 other age divisions to win as the fastest boat over all. Way to go Colton!

After shedding a few tears, listening to a couple of lectures from Mom and Dad about good sportsmanship and how you can't always be the winner, and reading a few chapters in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Peter was able to shake off the disappointment and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. 

And Dan is already contemplating next year's winning design. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kids Walk

One of the benefits of doing the Shred workout this summer was that my kids got to see me working out.  They got to see me jumping, pushing, running, sweating, grunting, huffing, and muttering all in the name of being healthy and getting in shape.

And they always wanted to "take exercise" with me.  (Sarah calls it working out "taking exercise".  Isn't that the cutest thing?)

Occasionally they would try to join me but the living room was too small and the workouts were a little too complicated for them so they would always give up after a few minutes.

Now that summer is over, they are still in bed when I am "taking my exercise" so they don't get to see that I am still working out.  And they often ask me if we can do the Shred together.  And my answer is always the same, "I've already done my Shred.  Why don't you guys go outside and run around."

But earlier this week on the Exercise Channel I noticed a few workouts for kids.  So on Friday evening when they asked to Shred with me I turned on "Kids Walk" for them.

And boy did they ever get into it.  They both did the entire 20 minute workout.  Peter even grabbed my weights and Sarah, not to be outdone, grabbed some decorative pumpkins to pump.  And because Sarah has to be just like Peter at all times, she even took her shirt off when he did.  Because,you know, exercising makes you sweaty!

I'm not sure they will do the workout again but I love that my working out is making them aware of staying in shape and moving their bodies to get exercise.

And if nothing else, Dan and I were able to have a peaceful twenty minute conversation while the kids were taking their exercise!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I would have done anything to make that noise stop. And now I'll be paying for a long, long time.

About two weeks ago as I was pulling in the driveway I noticed a cat sitting in front of my door.

That's odd, I thought.  Why is the neighbor's cat sitting at our front door?

As I approached the cat I realized that it was not our neighbor's cat, just a similiarly colored cat that looked as if she had not eaten in days.

I took one look at this cat and knew I was in trouble.  The way it was laying on my doormat as if it was his own personal bed made me realize that this cat had decided it had a new home.

"Go away, cat.  Go back to your home."  I said half-heartedly as I scurried inside.  The cat tried to make it's way into the house but I pushed it back.  "No. You are not coming inside."

I sat down in the office, which is conveniently located right off the front door, to check my email.  And then I heard it - that horrible moaning, mewing sound that only cats in heat or cats that haven't eaten in days can make. 

I had to make that horrible noise stop.  How was I supposed to concentrate with that noise?  I'll take fingernails on a chalk board over a cat moaning any day.  And I really hate fingernails on a chalk board.

I tried to ignore it as I read through my email.  But the sound got louder and louder and more pathetic and I couldn't take it any longer.  So I scrounged through my refrigerator and pulled out a couple of slices of sandwich meat and put it out along side a bowl of water.  The cat looked at me as if to say, "Sandwich meat?  Are you kidding me?  Do you know how much sodium is in this stuff?  And what about all of the nitrates? Are you trying to kill me?"  To which I replied, "If it's good enough for my husband and my kids, it's good enough for you."

So he scurried off leaving the food untouched and I felt satisfied that I had at least tried to do a good deed.  I hope he finds a good, sandwich meat free home, I thought.

And I assumed that was the end of things until the kids got home from school and excitedly screamed, "Mom!  Look!  A cat!" 

And I knew it was over at that point.  The fish has long since sufficed as a real pet and Sarah has been begging me "for a sister or at least a dog Mommy. I need someone to play with." 

So I reluctantly bought some cat food at Wal-Mart and it has been ours ever since.  She comes and goes as she pleases  but she always seems to make it back in time for breakfast and dinner.

In fact, every morning while I'm sitting in the office before the sun comes up, the cat (Who has since been named Gray-Gray by Sarah.  She would not even consider my suggestion of Kit Kat. Yum.  Kit Kats.) will take her bowl and scrape it back and forth across the porch and bang it into the door until I feed her. 

So the kids have a pet and I have another mouth to feed.  That's usually how things work around here.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm not surprised.

Report cards came home today.  My first grader and my kindergartner both got less than perfect grades on their handwriting.

Apparently the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What kind of mother would I be if I didn't post these?

Peter is still into blood and gore.  His mask bleeds when he pumps a little heart that he holds in his hand. He actually made a few kids cry at his Boy Scout Halloween party.  Of course these were younger siblings but none the less, there were actual tears.  Which made it even more frustrating for him when he didn't when the Scariest Costume award. I had a hard time explaining that all the awards went to costumes that were made by hand (most likely by mothers with way more patience than me) instead of purchased at the Halloween store.

Sarah is still into pink.  She choose this Wonder Woman costume even though she has no idea who Wonder Woman is (or was I should say)!  And the pink costume cost more than the old school red and blue costume.  What's up with that?

We had a great time Trick-or-Treating with our neighbors.

And you know how I know that my kids and their friends are growing up?

Everyone lined up, looked at the camera and smiled when I asked them to.  There was no crying, no pushing, no whining and best of all - I got this picture on the first take.