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Friday, September 30, 2011

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---

I think the kids and I are finally in our groove homework-wise.  I have given up my dream of having them immediately come home and sit down and complete all of their homework before doing anything else.  Maybe they will want to do that when they are older but now it's just not happening.

So now they come home and get a snack and do half of their homework.  And then they get to play with their friends for an hour or so.  When their friends leave, we finish the rest of the homework.  And on nights before tests, we do more studying whenever we can like right after dinner or in the bathtub or right before bed.  The kids seem to prefer this broken up approach and there is much less whining, crying and huffing so I guess we are all happier.

--- 2 ---
The kids are already asking me when we can get out "that Halloween recipe book" and make something fun. They are referring to a book I've had for about 5 years now.  They love looking through that book this time of year and picking out something creepy and fun for us to make.  I think we've made everything in that book that I'm willing or able to make so I was tooling around on Pinterest yesterday and found this:

I think we could easily make these ghosts and these eyeballs and I think they would be tasty!  We love chocolate and pretzels around here.  (I would love to give proper credit for this picture but the link on  Pinterest just says

--- 3 ---

The kids wore their "winter" uniforms to school today since it was chilly this morning.  I took some pictures with my new camera and they look horrible.  I am still learning how to use it but jeez you think I could at least hold the camera still.

--- 4 ---

And speaking of uniforms, I think the kids have finally adjusted to wearing them.  There is very little complaining any more.  This morning Sarah said, "I like wearing my jumper. It makes me feel like a princess - a poor princess.  Because no rich princess would wear a dress in these colors." 

--- 5 ---

And speaking of my new camera, I am still trying to learn how to adjust it to take the best pictures.  I am learning about aperture and shutter speed and light, oh my!  I am just such a slow learner.  And when I have time to practice, the kids are at school so I end up taking a bunch of pictures of inanimate objects.  This for example:

--- 6 ---

And this...

--- 7 ---
And speaking of the camera once again, I think I need a different lens.  I got a 50mm to take close ups and portraits and my intention was to get a zoom when Sarah starts basketball in January so I can take action shots.  But we are taking the kids to the zoo next weekend and the 50mm just isn't going to cut it.  So I may be getting the zoom a little sooner than I planned.  Merry Early Christmas to me?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thank goodness there's a phone-sized pocket in my purse!

I had to take Sarah to the dentist this morning.  We settled onto one of the waiting room couches and I looked up to see another mother with her small daughter.  The daughter was happily playing at the kid's activity table and the mom was hunched over a clipboard filling out paperwork.

I immediately noticed that the woman was rather large and had on a low-cut top.  Her cleavage was on display and you could tell she was pleased with it and it's largeness. 

And then I noticed her phone.  It was wedged in between the fleshiness of her left breast and the fabric of her satin bra.  It was lodged so tightly that I am certain there is a permanent iPhone shaped indention on her breast.  No need for tattoos even though she had a couple of those as well.

Sarah leaned over to me and whispered, "Do you see her phone?  It's on her boob!"  And then I gave her the please-be-quiet face because I really didn't want to find out if this lady had a temper or not.  There's no telling what she had packed on the other one!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And I have the wreath to prove it.

Dan had a 7:00 AM conference call so I took the kids to school this morning.  There was a traffic accident on the way and the kids were beside themselves at the mere thought of being late. My reassurances of "I"ll walk you in and get you a late pass" did nothing but seem to agitate them even more.  But luckily we made it in plenty of time.  No late passes were necessary.

I had a doctor's appointment at 10:00 and roughly two hours to kill before I needed to be there so I headed to Target after a quick stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a cup of coffee. 

Whenever I get coffee from DD, I know it's going to be  hot and not just hot-hot but smokin'-hot but I just can't wait until it cools down so I take a sip anyway and end up making a face like this:

I do it every single time.  And I think about Jim Carrey as Fire Marshall Bill every single time.

Anyway, after I burnt my tongue because I'm too impatient to wait on my coffee to cool down and I made the above face, I headed to Target.

Ahhh, Target.  Nothing soothes a burnt tongue like the peace and quiet of Target at 8:15 am. 

And then my cart started to squeak. I knew I had a squeaky cart the minute that I pulled it out of the cart rack but I thought to myself, "It'll be fine. Maybe it will stop squeaking."  I think that every single time.  And it continues to squeak every single time.

Much the same way I am too impatient to let my coffee cool down before I take a swig, I am also too lazy to walk all the way back to the front of the store to get a new cart so I continued to use my squeaky cart and tried to pretend that the squeak wasn't annoying me and that my tongue wasn't still burning.  I'm sure there's a verse somewhere in the Bible about impatience and laziness ruining a good trip to Target.  Or something along those lines anyway.

But all of my problems were forgotten when I found a beautiful fall wreath and placed it lovingly into my squeaky cart.

I've been wanting a fall wreath for the front door for years but I always told myself: 1) you could make a fall wreath way cheaper and way prettier than one you could buy at the store and then 2) since you were too lazy to make one and it's practically November, why don't you just wait until they put all of the fall wreaths on clearance and get one then.

And at that point it's Christmas and I realize I blew it and decide I'll just buy one in the fall and then the whole vicious cycle repeats itself.  Hence the reason I am 42 years old and have never had a fall wreath on my front door.

And now that I have purchased a fall wreath on hung it on my front door, I think I can officially say,

"It's Fall, y'all!"

It's no wonder people hate Southerners.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Neatness counts.

In addition to all of his nightly homework and weekly tests, Peter has a monthly project.  This monthly project is exactly what it sounds like - the kids get assigned a different project at the beginning of the month and they have until the end of the month to complete it and turn it in.

Peter's September project was to draw (on poster board) the floor plan of the first floor of our house.  Windows and doors had to be marked with certain symbols.  He had to create a legend with these symbols as well as any other symbol he used in the floor plan.  He also had to write directions (using left, right, North, South, East, West) explaining how to get from one room to another room.  And he has to present his map and his directions to the class.

His teacher made it very clear that this was the student's project and not the parent's project.  We could offer direction and advice but the project was to be completed by the kids.

So Dan and I offered direction and advice and Peter finally wrapped up his project this past weekend.  He spent almost 4 hours on this project.  It felt more like 14 hours when you factored in all of the whining and complaining and huffing and puffing but when I looked back it was merely 4. 

When it came time to take it to school yesterday morning Peter said he didn't want to turn it in.  At first I thought he may be nervous about doing the oral presentation but he said it was because it wasn't neat. 

And he's right.  I can't tell you how many times during those fourteen 4 hours I said, "Take your time!  Be neat!"  or my husband instructed, "Use the ruler!  You need to use the ruler when you are trying to draw a straight line!"

So, he's right, it doesn't look very neat.  But it definitely looks like he did the work himself.  And at least he can see that it wasn't as neat as it could have been.  Maybe he'll want to spend more time on the October project so it looks nicer.

Or maybe not.  Because when I asked him on Monday morning if he wanted to redo his project to make it look neater (it's not due until Thursday), he said, "Nah." 

And I hate to say it but I actually breathed a sigh of relief.  It was hard enough to get him to sit down over the past couple of weekends  and do this project.  I knew that I would not be able to get him to sit down after a full day of school and after a full evening of homework and get him to redo a project.  I know his limitations. And I know mine. 

So, here's hoping for a neater October project and at least a couple of other less-than-neat posters in his class so Peter's project doesn't stick out as the messiest.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I love you to Mom

Sarah is a night owl.  She's usually awake long after we call "lights out". 

When I come up for bed to check on her, I can always tell that she had been busy before she finally closed her eyes.   Books, colored pencils, paper and dolls strewn around her bed are all evidence that she was working hard on everything but sleep.

One of the things she likes to do when she should be sleeping is to write notes and leave them strategically posted for the recipients to find.  She will leave Peter a note on his pillow beside his head while he is sleeping.  Or she will leave a note for Daddy on his nightstand. 

Sometimes she will write me a note on the back of a picture of the two of us or sometimes she will draw a picture to go with the sweet words.  Sometimes I find these notes on my dresser, other times they are laying beside my sink.

Lately though she has left me the same note laying on the floor at the entrance to her room:  "Mom turn off the fan."  She has been sleeping with the ceiling fan on but always wants it turned off when I go to bed.  And she doesn't trust me to remember this so she makes sure to leave me a note. 

On Saturday night, I was greeted to the same ceiling fan note and as I was tucking her in, I noticed her MagnaDoodle at the foot of her bed.  It had been wiped clean of whatever doodles she had been making so I picked it up and left the following note on it:  "I love you, Sarah!"  I laid it back at the foot of her bed propped up so she would notice it first thing after she woke up.

The next morning she saw called me up to her room and excitedly asked when I had left her the message.  She was so happy with the little note.  Why hadn't I left her a note like this sooner? 

This morning, sweaty from my run, I decided I would check my email before grabbing a quick shower and heading out the door to do all of my Monday morning errands.

And this is what greeted me on my computer:

I can't tell you how happy this tiny little note made me.  One quick little note from my sweet, thoughtful daughter made my dreary Monday morning.

And this little note reminded me of one I left my mom when I was Sarah's age.  It said, "Dere Mom, I love you.  You love me to I no."  Mom framed that little note and it still sits in her kitchen to this day, 35 years later. 

I'm off to check Google to see if anyone makes a picture frame the size of a Post-It note!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What, me worry?

I was entering my date of birth on the computer when Peter walked up behind me.

"You were born in 1969?  So you lived in the 80's?" he questioned.

"I sure did!"

"And people wore parachute pants back then didn't they?"

"Yes, but I never did," I said shuddering at the mere thought.

"And there was a video game with a triangle that shot at big slow moving rocks?"

"Ah, yes!  Asteroids!"  I used to love asteroids on the Atari.

"And  Care Bears?  What were those things?"

"Those were cute stuffed animals from a cartoon series.  Where did you learn about all of this stuff?" I questioned, impressed with his knowledge of the eighties. 

"Mad TV"  was his answer.

Alfred E. Newman - teaching history since 1954.

What, me worry?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just documenting something that has never happened before and may never happen again.

Peter come home this afternoon, sat down and started working on his homework.  It was time for Sarah to go to piano lessons and Peter asked if he could go to Grandma's next door so that he could finish his homework.

This. Is. Huge.

Could it finally be that after three years of trying to explain that if you just sit down and do it, then you can play the rest of the afternoon and evening with no interruptions?  Did it finally sink in? 

I hope this new behavior continues because it was so nice to be done with homework early and without any tears.

I'm getting so tired of my mascara running.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thank you Lord for protecting my husband.

The phone rang amidst the noise of a house full of kids on Friday evening.  I  checked caller ID and when I saw that it was Jennifer I assumed she must be calling to check on her four kids who were spending the night. 

Dan was in Reno on a business trip/team building meeting so it was the perfect time to hold the sleepover that the kids had been bugging me for.


"Are you watching the news?" she asked tentatively.

My heart started to pound a little quicker.  "No, why?" I questioned licking my lips nervously.

"Um, there's been a plane crash at those air races in Reno.  Spectators have been killed."

"What? No!"  My heart started to pound and I immediately started praying please God let him be o.k.

I kept repeating that prayer over and over as I hung up with Jennifer and started dialing Dan's cell phone number.

After what seemed like an eternity but was probably less than 45 seconds, I heard a click and his beautiful, sweet, perfectly-fine voice, "Hello?"

Thankfully, Dan had left the air races right before the accident.  He was in the shuttle bus on the way back to the hotel when it happened.  The plane went down about 150 feet from where he had been sitting.  None of the other 29 people from his group were hurt even though they were all still in the stands at the time of the crash.

I pray for my husband.  A lot.  And when he travels, I pray for him even more. 

That morning, I specifically prayed that God keep Dan and his coworkers safe from any accidents at the air races.  And the kids and I had been praying every morning for his safety during his travels.  And I know my mom prayers for him when he especially when he is on a business trip. 

I have been thanking God all weekend for his protection over Dan.  And I have been praying for comfort and peace for the families of the nine people that lost their lives and for healing for all of the others that were injured.

For in the day of trouble
   he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
   and set me high upon a rock. - Psalm 27:5

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  - Psalm 62:6

Every word of God is flawless;
   he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. - Proverbs 30:5

Friday, September 16, 2011

A list with bullets and a picture of hopefully-not-spoiled-rotten fruit.

My husband is out of town on business and the kids have friends over for a sleepover so I thought this would be a perfect time for a list - complete with bullets because I'm fancy like that!
  • I think the kids are slowly but surely settling into their new school.  They seem happy when I pick them up in the afternoons - not happy that I'm picking them up, but happy with how their day went.
  • Their school had early dismissal today for a teacher's meeting so we went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch.  There were several other kids there from school.  One was a boy in Peter's class. This little boy came running up to Peter and gave him a hug.  Peter got a big goofy grin on his face and told me who the little boy was.  That makes two friends for Peter that I know of!  And as for Sarah, she seems to be friends with all of the girls in her class. 
  • The homework is killing me.  We haven't quite found our groove yet and when I say "we" I mean Peter and Sarah. I don't do their homework for them but I make sure they do it.  And making sure they do it feels like work to me - hard work!  I just can't get them to understand  that they spend more time whining and complaining about doing the homework than they actually spend doing it.  It is maddening! 
  • I let Peter skip his allergy shot this week and I decided against paying him for each shot.  I am considering changing the time we do the shots.  We've been going on Wednesday right after his guitar lesson which means we don't end up getting home from school/guitar/shots until 5:00.  That's a long day for the kids and that might be contributing to Peter's annoyance with the shots. 
  • I got a new camera for my birthday.  It's a digital SLR camera so I've got a lot of things to learn.  In studying about the camera, I have realized that I have gotten dumber as I have aged.  Terms like f-stop, aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation are making my head swim.  I have to read and reread and still find I'm not retaining the information.  Luckily my camera has a full auto mode so I can still take decent pictures but the whole reason I got a digital SLR was so I could take really good pictures.  It's just going to take me a while.  I'll read a few pages, take a few shots with the camera and then realize that I don't remember what I just read.
  • I just looked over and realized that I never cut the pineapple that I bought 5 days ago.  I better whip out my Pampered Chef pineapple slicer and get that thing taken care.   Mmmmm...fresh pineapple!
  • I guess I better sign off before I start talking about the tomatoes that are sitting beside the pineapple that are also about to go bad.  Rotten tomatoes and rotten that's the stuff riveting blog posts are made of!
  • Here's a picture of my hopefully-not-spoiled-rotten fruit taken with my new camera:

May your weekend be full of ripe fruit and no homework!  

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    How to make curls with a sock bun!

    I was cruising around Pinterest the other day and found a link to a YouTube Video on how to create beautiful curls overnight with a sock. 

    Interesting, I thought.  I'll give it a try with Sarah.  And that's exactly what we did.

    Here is a quick picture tutorial of how to make pretty curls with a sock bun.

    This is Sarah's hair after we washed and dried it. We have done the sock bun curls on freshly clean hair and two-days-ago-it-was-clean hair.  It worked great both ways.
     Put the hair into a ponytail on the very top of your head.  We got ours a little off center but that doesn't matter.

    Next you need to take an old sock and cut the toe off.

    Then you need to roll the sock up like a do-nut.  Just start rolling and in just a few seconds it will look like this:

    Then spritz the end of the pony tail with a little bit of water - not too much just a couple of spritzes. Then take the sock do-nut and place it on the pony tail so that a couple of inches of hair is  hanging out:
    Then take those couple of inches of hair and wrap around the sock do-nut.  Do this by folding the ends around the sock and tuck the hair underneath the sock.  It will look like this:
    Then start rolling the rest of the hair under the sock until the sock reaches your scalp.  This is very easy and only takes a few seconds.  Then you have this:

     Then all you have to do is sleep on the bun.  It's soft and on the top of your head so you can't even feel it according to Sarah.  Wake up the next morning and roll the sock out of your hair, remove the elastic ponytail holder, shake your hair a little (don't brush!) and voila:

    So pretty, so quick and it doesn't damage the hair!

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    All I needed was a red dress and elbow length white gloves.

    Yesterday was my 42nd birthday! 

    And don't think I didn't just have to stop and do some quick calculations before I typed 42 because can I really be that old? 

    Apparently I can be.

    My husband and I had previously celebrated our birthdays and anniversary on Saturday night with a nice dinner out, just the two of us.  And since he was at work yesterday and the kids were at school, my mom took me out to lunch to celebrate!

    We went to Childress Vineyards and had a lovely lunch.  And since it was my birthday, she got me a really nice bottle of wine to go with lunch!  And when I say "she got" I really mean, "I ordered and since she was buying lunch she paid" for a really nice bottle of wine.

    And honestly, I was only going to get a glass but the very helpful waitress informed me that the Reisling which I had just ordered was on special and to get a whole bottle would be cheaper than buying two glasses so it seemed like the most economical thing to do at the time.  (Thanks, Mom!)

    And the wine was delicious.  I love Reisling.  It's sweet.  It's not dry.  It's sweet.  It doesn't burn.  It's sweet.

    I don't like all wines but I do love a good Reisling and this Reisling was delicious. 

    We ordered and were enjoying the lovely view of rows and rows and rows of grape vines when the waitress appeared at the table with the bottle of wine and a cork screw. 

    And then that's when I remembered that when you order a bottle of wine at a nice restaurant the waitress pours a little bit and then hands you the glass and then what the heck do you do? I typically order a beer or just a glass of wine at a restaurant so I wasn't sure what my next move should be.

    So I did what any smart, sophisticated, worldly 42-year-old  would do. I imitated what I have seen them do on TV and in the movies. 

    I took the glass, sniffed it, twirled it around and then took a sip.  And then I shook my head approvingly.

    What a total dork!  I guess I really need to look up what the heck you are supposed to do so that next time I order a bottle of wine in a restaurant I don't look and feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.  Because that's exactly how I felt.  Especially when the waitress stiffled a snicker.

    But don't worry.  I showed her.  I ended up marrying Richard Gere.

    O.k. so obviously I didn't marry Richard Gere but the wine was delicious, I had a nice lunch with my Mom and a great birthday so that's just as good as leaving behind a life of prostitution, falling in love and marrying a handsome wealthy man.


    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes you need a little extra explaination!

    This weekend we celebrated our birthdays.  Dan's birthday is actually today and mine is tomorrow but we had a big lunch complete with cake at Mom and Dad's yesterday.

    My brother was in charge of taking pictures of us blowing out the candles on our cake and I just had to share them.  And even though the pictures don't show it, we did have a really nice celebration!

    Please read the captions so that you understand exactly what's going on in each photo!

    This is us and our cake. Please note the candles have just been lit and the singing is about to begin.

    Everyone is singing "Happy Birthday" to us.  Please note Peter and Sarah's open mouths - they are singing too!  It's almost time for us to blow out the candles!

    My brother was slow with the shutter release button so what you missed is Sarah blowing out the candles.  And instead what you see is me looking shocked, Dan looking mildly annoyed and Peter getting mad!

    Here we are laughing at the fact that Peter is so upset.  So Grandma decided that we should relight the candles and do it again.

    This is Dan relighting the candles.  (Obviously!)

    Once again, my brother was late pressing the shutter release button on the camera so instead of a nice picture of the two of us blowing out the candles on our cake, you get a picture of Dan just finishing his blow and me looking highly annoyed that my brother missed the shot - again.

    I hope you enjoyed these pictures!  I know I got a big kick out of them when I looked at them.  Especially the last one.  What a face!

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Should I create a "pain allowance"?

    Since October, Peter has taken allergy shots every week.  Poor kid is allergic to pollen, dust, grass, dogs, cats, cockroaches.  Basically if you can be allergic to it, he is.

    He takes Zyrtec in the morning, Singular in the evening and Advair twice a day to control his asthma.  That's a lot for an 8 year-old which is the main reason we decided to do the allergy shots.  The hope is that after a couple of years, they will have worked their magic and he won't have any  more allergy symptoms and can stop taking all of the other medication.

    However, he has to take three shots each time we go.  THREE!

    That's a lot of shots.  And he is a pretty thin kid, scrawny might even be a better word to describe him, so it's not like there's a lot of meat for the needle to go into.  So I bribe him with Dunkin' Donuts every Wednesday and things have been o.k.  He has never really given me a hard time.

    Until recently.  A couple of weeks ago they went up another level on his dosage...after one set of vials is completed they move on the the next which I believe is a higher dosage.  Anyway, once they moved up to the red vials he started giving me a hard time about going.  (He didn't seem to have a problem the other times we moved up.)

    And yesterday, I practically had to drag him from the car.  And once he got into the lobby I had to practically drag him into the waiting room.  And once they called his name to go back into the booth for the shot, I had to give him my mean momma face to get him to go back.  Had there not been 30 other people in the waiting room, one of which is a boy he knows from church, he probably wouldn't have gone without creating a scene.

    And then when the nurse was giving him his shots, he started crying.  Not just one or two tears but lots of tears.  He has shed a couple of tears once or twice before but  never very many and they only lasted a second.  But these tears seemed different.  I could tell there was real pain associated with these shots and I am assuming it is because of the higher dosage (maybe they are having to inject more and its taking longer/hurting more)?

    So today I have been toying with the idea of paying him every time he gets his shots.

    Would that be sending the wrong message?  I've never done anything like this before so I'm not sure if  being compensated for his pain would make him a little more willing to go (perhaps even look forward to going) or would I just be creating a kid who expects to be paid every time he has to deal with something hard/complicated/painful in life?

    Input, suggestions, thoughts are appreciated.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Big Loser! (And not Biggest Loser. Which would be good because that means you are losing a bunch of weight!)

    Yesterday I went to my first M.O.M meeting.  M.O.M. is Moms On a Mission and it is basically the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group that I used to be a member of but had to leave once I no longer had preschoolers.  The group is no longer chartered with MOPS International and is now doing their own thing.  And the first thing they have done is allowed Moms to stay until their kids turn 10! 

    As I was sitting at the meeting with my group, our care group leader handed us a short questionnaire she had created just as a way to get to know each of us better.  One of the questions was "This year I want to learn how to ___________."

    Typically this kind of question strikes me with fear because I don't ever have an answer.

    Um, can we say "big loser" together? 

    Anyway, for once I have an answer for this question because on my list of things to do this year, (and it's still a list even if there's only one thing on it, right?) is get a new camera and learn how to use it.

    I have spent lots of time reading up on different cameras and I have finally picked out the one I want.  My birthday is next week so it will be a joint birthday gift from my parents and Dan. 

    And it is a grown up camera.  It's finally time to put away my little Canon Power Shot Elph and move on to some thing that can take pictures I will be proud of.

    And here's where the "learn something new" part comes in.  I am actually going to have to sit down with the manual and study it.   And try to remember what I have learned otherwise my pictures will still look like one of my kids took them.

    Study.  Remember.  Learn. The urge to rush out and buy new school supplies just came over me! 

    Heather, my care group leader, who also has a grown up camera recommended that I take classes at Ritz Camera.  And I may have to do that, but first, I want to give it a go with just me, my camera and my manual.

    Class is in session! Let the new school year begin!  

    Unfortunately, I'm still trying to figure out how to answer  the very last question on the questionnaire - what is something we would be surprised to learn about you?

    I left it blank because this kind of question strikes me with fear since I don't ever have an answer.

    Um, can we say "big loser" together?