Sunday, December 30, 2007


Today we were all sitting on the couch watching t.v. after lunch. Heather snuggled up to me and said:

Heather: Today is a pitiful day.

Me: It's not pitiful. It's a great day.

Heather: Well, I didn't get to go outside.

Me: Well, now that is pitiful.

Heather: Yes, pitiful.

That kid cracks me up!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

movie warning

I went to see P.S. I Love You today. Loved it. Totally wonderful movie! I highly recommend it. Five stars ~~all that jazz. But here's the warning ~~ take some tissues. I cried off and on (a lot of on) through the entire movie. Just when I was feeling that uncontrollable not being able to stop feeling I looked over and my friend was crying just as much! Whew! I wasn't alone.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

what the heck is moon sand?

Aunt Wendy got the kids moon sand for Christmas. Um, thanks. Heard of it? Me neither. I did breeze by some in the toy store while shopping this year. I remember seeing a fancy pink castle. Anyway the kids got some. Yesterday, the kids asked to play with it. Sure, why not! That sounds like what a very cool mom would say, but really I just wanted to read my book a little while longer.

It pretty much works like regular sand but with super fun colors, I guess. The kids found that adding a little water made it mold a little better.

The package says this stuff never dries out. We'll see. It says it doesn't stain. Better not!

A good time was had by all. Heather even vacuumed the floor for me when they were done. They ran upstairs to play, including a dress-up session... 

What's with this look and the one eye sticking out? Check out the Christmas Day pictures to see a similar hat look for her. Signature style? Stephanie chose a dance recital outfit and some bling. Later they sported many different looks ~ another dance outfit, fairy outfit, jammies again. Repeat. Gotta love a jammie day!

Oh, and I finished the book. :)

five year old conversations

Heather got up today while I was making Greg's breakfast & lunch for work. Then she asked to take a bath because she wants to use some of the Tinkerbell bubble bath she got for Christmas. Who am I to say no? So the singing (all activities in the bathroom require singing from her) and soaking ensued. When she got out:

Me: Are you done?

Heather: Yes.

Me: Did you wash your hair?

Heather: Yes.

Me: Your body?

Heather: No, I didn't think I had to wash.

Me: Even in a bubble bath you still have to wash. Get back in.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

holiday happenings

The last few days have been filled with excitement, food, family, and last minute preparations! I took far too many pictures to post here, so here are just a few.

Sunday we went to an afternoon Christmas service at church, then over to Grandma & Grandpa Smith's for our annual gathering. The kids love to go over there. They like to sit on "Daddy's stool" to watch grandma finish the meal preparations. When Greg was little, he'd sit on this stool and help with dinner. Over the years and a move later, they had to get a new stool, but the kids still refer to it as Daddy's stool ~ much to Wendy's dismay. We chatted, stuffed ourselves, and opened gifts. And don't forget the very cool snowmen that Kathy and Kayla made. Huge hit with the kids. 

Christmas Eve was low key at our house. Greg had to work, so the kids and I spent the day cleaning for company and baking cookies. They had a blast with the cookies. What a mess! At first Heather was very stingy with the frosting. She got the hang of it, though, putting huge amounts of goodness on the cookies. When Greg got home we had dinner, watched a movie, read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, set out cookies for Santa, and sent the kids to bed. Then we did what all procrastinating parents do on Christmas Eve ~ wrap presents and stay up too late.

Christmas Day was at our house this year. When I was doing Stephanie's hair she had a plan of how the afternoon should go:
  • visit and have munchies,
  • eat lunch,
  • open presents, and
  • have dessert.
I think we may have a little party planner on our hands. Most kids want to go straight to opening presents.

We had a house full of people ~ parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, and sisters. Before lunch was ready, the kids were running an animal adoption agency with the girls' Littlest Petshop animals and Monopoly money. We were all given a stack of cash to adopt a pet. Then for a nominal fee, they provided babysitting services. Apparently there was a bidding war between Aunt Wendy and Papa Robinson over a turtle. Papa won. 

We stuffed ourselves (again) and opened presents. There were smiles and squeals of excitement wrapped in a flurry of paper and bows. Gianna just wanted to open presents ~ any presents. 

Sunday, December 23, 2007

just when I thought I was done

I finished Christmas shopping last night (don't be jealous). I went grocery shopping EARLY this morning. I needed to get groceries for a dessert to take to Grandma Smith's today, groceries for Christmas dinner, plus general weekly groceries. In my cart I added flour and powdered sugar, because I was pretty sure I was near out. I could barely see over my cart as I steered the unruly beast toward the check stand, just missing two old ladies. Luck was with me, as a smiling clerk directed me toward her lane with no waiting. Woohoo! Back at home I was going to start a batch of my traditional pumpkin bread before getting in the shower. I needed more sugar in the canister ~ no worries ~ except there was none in the pantry. I counted two and half bags of flour, plus the new one on the counter. I counted five boxes of powdered sugar, plus the new one on the counter. BUT NO SUGAR!  So much for multi-tasking. Unless you know of any yummy confection I can make with flour and powdered sugar only, this means one more trip to the store just when I thought I was done.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

the much anticipated day has arrived

School is out for winter break! What can I say ~~ I'm elated! Giddy excitement filled the halls of school yesterday for both the teachers and students. Each for their own reason were thrilled at the dawning of this day. Students looked forward to Christmas parties and endless bouts of sugar and mayhem, then of course to two weeks off school. Teachers looked forward to the dismissal bell ringing, then of course two weeks off school.

In Heather's class they were having a Polar Express party, which is why Heather and her teacher are wearing their pajamas. The anticipation of the party nearly killed the girl, I think. She looked forward to it so much and in pure "Heather-style" asked time and time again how many days it would be until the party. I popped in on her party and she was having a great time, along with all the other kindergarten kids. They were watching the movie and taking turns decorating sugar cookies to eat with hot chocolate. Later Heather reported that some kids were not watching the movie attentively. I asked her if she did and she said, "Yes, of course."

The party in Stephanie's room arrived with much less hype, but there was a flurry of excited tension nonetheless. Can you imagine taking a spelling test with the promise of sugar induced hysteria at the end of the day? Stephanie's room is next to mine. When I peeked in on her, her teacher gave me the shoot-me-now look and the kids rushed to the door to talk to me ~ something they are normally not allowed to do. Stephanie was excited to wear the hair bow she made at a slumber party a couple of weeks ago.

Then, there was the party in my room. A wonderful mom came and helped the students make this train out of candies and icing. This required concentration from the kids, so it wasn't too hectic ~ until the cupcakes after the pizza. They all thought it was funny when one kid got frosting all around their face...then, they all tried to follow suit. Then someone ran around the room with a cupcake in their hand. Whoa! That was enough. The Grinch almost stole their Christmas at that reckless decision.

All in all it was a good day. Students were sent off with a hug and a wish for a Merry Christmas. A big sigh could be heard through the empty halls of the school. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

that mother of the year award is mine ~ all mine

So, I was in Heather's closet this morning trying to find a clean shirt (I might be a little behind on laundry) that she hasn't outgrown when reaching for the top clothes bar I nearly stub my toe on a small Christmas tree box!  Oh my gosh!  I can't believe while we were decking the halls I forgot to have them put their trees up in their rooms. I recall them asking about it and I told them "later," but then no one ever brought it up again. I forgot!  Did they forget? Or were they being extremely patient with their frazzled mother? Patience? Seriously! They must have forgotten. Ever since Stephanie's 2nd Christmas (she was only 3 mos. old for the first one), we've had the kids put up mini trees in their rooms.  What a sweet tradition I'm unwittingly trying to ruin! I know what we'll be doing this weekend. Better late than never, I guess. I'll let them keep them up longer into January ~ how's that for getting myself back in the running for that award!

who's more excited?

Only 2 more days until Christmas break! I don't know who is more excited ~ my students, Heather & Stephanie, or me! I love my job and the kids love school, but breaks are always welcome. More time to spend with the kids. More time to do projects. More time to sleep late or take naps (Don't tell Greg!).

Saturday, December 15, 2007

holiday sneak peak

Just thought I'd give you a little sneak peak. This is not the official Christmas card photo ~~ but it was a runner up.

a star is born

This is not a Halloween costume!  Stephanie is in drama club at school this year and she was in her first production with an audience of more than 20 parents (2nd grade class play last year). She played the part of a toy (Minnie Mouse) at the toy store in Christmas on Angel Street.  She didn't have any spoken lines, but sang and danced in one number. Not a bad breakthrough onto the big drama stage.

Since she has dance recitals on the big stage at the University once a year, this was a piece of cake for her really. She was quite worried for weeks beforehand because she felt no one knew the steps and words well enough. She wanted it to be perfect. It went off without a hitch, though. 

What a cutie in her costume! After an evening performance and two school assemblies she'd had enough of the head gear that wouldn't stay on straight. 

Sunday, December 2, 2007

deck the halls

Decking the halls seems to be happening in stages this year. Wait, it happens like that every year. Just once I'd like to finish the same day we start! Anyway, last weekend we pulled all the Christmas decorations down, put up the tree, and started putting out other decorations. Last night the kids put the ornaments on the tree. They started with their own special yearly ornaments, then moved to the regular ones. Except for the ones I put up high for them, they really did most of the work themselves. 

Heather chooses the spots for her ornaments very carefully. Since the tree rotates, she has to make a decision and get it on the branch quickly. 

Stephanie is showing me the ornament she got last year to commemorate going to her first Nutcracker ballet. They love to look at their own ornaments and talk about why they have them. Heather's ornament from last year was a mini book of the Polar Express to commemorate our trip on the Polar Express train. I wonder what ornaments we will find for them this year. 

All done!

Yesterday included playing outside for a long time while Greg worked in the back yard, going to a friend's house while Greg & I went to my school Christmas party, then putting the ornaments on the tree. The kids were absolutely tuckered out and fell asleep while we were watching tv. I love this picture because it also shows the true bond that they have with each other. Although they bicker and argue at times ~ who are we kidding, it's daily ~ they are truly best friends and can't stand to be separated. 

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thankfulness - Part 3

This turkey hand is courtesy of Stephanie. The sentiments from the turkey are in no way meant to represent her real feelings about eating turkey. She loves turkey!

This Thanksgiving we decided to get the kids more involved in the preparations. Last weekend when we shopped for the feast, Stephanie was in charge of the list, Greg pushed the cart, and Heather deposited items in the cart (after an organizing lesson from me). Folks, don't try this at home if you are in a hurry. Letting a five year old put items in the cart (plus remembering to hand them to her instead of quickly putting them in the cart yourself) is no quick task. Stephanie has been in charge of the list on previous trips, but this trip was a full participation event!

The kids also helped some with the meal preparation. In chorus they declared how disgusting it was when I rinsed our fine feathered friend and stuffed her body cavity with apples and oranges. When I pulled the skin back to insert the sage they were sent over the edge of grossness. Later in the day, they donned their kid-size aprons and set about their cooking tasks.

Stephanie was in charge of making green bean casserole (with Daddy's supervision). She was very proud of her culinary skills!

After the casserole she was in charge of peeling potatoes. She was kinda slow at this task and enlisted the help of Aunt Wendy and Uncle Tony. They huddled over the trash can (yes, Danny, the trash can) and got to work. Wendy and Tony said they'd had so much practice peeling potatoes as a kid that this was an easy chore. Maybe that's why kids end up peeling so many potatoes in life. It's one of the first jobs a mom feels like they can handle in the kitchen.

Heather was on celery dicing duty. She complained when I handed her the butter knife about not being able to use a real knife. Then the knife slipped out of her hand and landed on the floor. Greg declared that's why she was using a butter knife. Looks like I need to show her the proper finger curling technique for her non-chopping hand!

The kids were thrilled to be part of the process. They really felt a sense of pride and ownership when we sat down to eat. 

Just look at this beautiful bird!  It was just as delicious as it was good looking.

So today, I am thankful for helpers in the kitchen -- both big and small. I usually feel the need to be in control of everything. But today it was nice to let go, to let my children understand they are important.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thankfulness - Part 2

This year I have more students reading below grade level than ever before. Their skills are glaringly lacking. I know it has not been for lack of effort by previous teachers. I know my colleagues work hard. But reading with the lowest group of kids in my class is torturous. I wonder if they will ever catch up. I think about how many times in life we are required to read just to survive, much less for pleasure or continued knowledge.

So today I am thankful I can read (and write). How lost I'd be without these skills!

Monday, November 19, 2007


Yesterday we went to Grandma & Papa's for breakfast.  Heading home on the freeway we passed a pick up with a Barbie cadillac-style kiddie car in the bed, complete with boomy speakers in the back.  Greg looked over and said, "Look, there's Barbie's pimp car. Then from the back seat we hear in echo, "Look, there's Barbie's pimp car." Doh!  Heather was apparently listening! I tried to keep my composure, but just couldn't.

I am thankful for laughter and my very funny family. They keep me in stitches!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tiny Dancers

Stephanie and Heather are taking another year of dance.  This is their third year at this studio and I am continually amazed by what they learn.  Last year Stephanie accomplished the back bend walk over. This week Heather announced that she did it on her own for the first time. I am forever doomed to the audible quick draw of breath inward as they perform their gymnastic moves. It's not just simple cartwheels anymore. This year both girls are taking a combo class (ballet, tap, & gym) and a hip hop/gym class. In previous years, even though the girls were in different combo classes they were scheduled at the same time.  This year they are still in different combo classes, but one after each other. So we are there for two hours on the combo night. Add to that another hour the next night for the hip hop class.  I might go insane! Sometimes the kids work on their homework while waiting...other times not so much.

Stephanie is concentrating on making the same moves as her teacher. 

Heather watches on during Stephanie's class. 

Heather's turn to dance.

Stephanie watches Heather too, but lately she's been wanting to figure the percentages of the papers I'm grading on the calculator.

Stephanie's self-portrait.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Morning to Myself

The kids went to Grandma & Papa's yesterday after lunch. They called and asked to spend the night. Sure ~ why not! We are off school for Veteran's Day today. So, this morning the kids were gone and Greg left for work. What do I do with a morning all to myself? Scrapbook? Paint? Clean? (Are you insane?). Nope, I watched t.v. Yup, sat on the couch like a lump and watched two and a half shows. This after I just told Greg that I felt bad for watching too much t.v. sometimes. Oh well. What was so great was that I didn't have to pause for any questions, referee a fight, to pour juice, cook breakfast, or anything! After the third program I pulled myself off the couch to take a shower and go grocery shopping. Now I'm working on laundry...sort of. See ~ the day isn't totally full of lazy behavior! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Gotta Wear Shades

About a week and a half ago Greg was getting ready for work when I heard some choice language coming from the closet. His glasses broke! Not a good time since he works outside all day and relies on his sunglasses (on the magnetic clip). He was due for new glasses, but this was quite inconvenient! So we scheduled an impromptu visit to the eye doctor and a week later ~ voila! Stunning!

Since I was away on my scrapbook weekend with Kim on the day of his appointment he had to pick out the glasses on his own.  Very nice choice indeed! Don't you think? Since he went with a new style and no magnetic clip, he needed new sunglasses too. Stylin'!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Three Divas

Everyone should experience the good life ~ right?  Well, this is no exception for my sweet girls! For several years now, I have taken them to see Stacey for a hair cut every other time I do. I cut their bangs in the in-between time. I'm not bad at it usually. I've even trimmed all of their hair before, but I'm very slow (don't want to mess up) and they get antsy. So, off to get pampered we go! I have introduced my children to the sheer joy of having a hair wash. There's no turning back. Ahh, the warm water, the gentle scalp massage, the peppermint conditioner....hmmm. They think this is the best part too. Then they sit very still and watch in the mirror as Stacey cuts their hair. Stephanie has an opinion about her hair now. Last time she requested some layers. Heather likes it when Stacey uses product in her hair ~ but needs to smell it first. Occasionally they make funny faces in the mirror to entertain themselves. We walked in the salon today just a little normal, maybe even a little blue...but we emerged as freshly styled divas!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Trick or Treat!

These girls look positively scary! Ok ~ probably not. It's hard to look scary when you're so cute! 

The kids were so excited to dress up and go trick-or-treating. I was certain Heather was going the burst from the excitement. She could barely contain herself on the way home to get dressed. Much to her dismay (and my relief), Daddy had dinner ready when we got home, so she had to eat first. We went out for about an hour and a half. In the past there was more than one house that gave them pause as they ventured to the front door. There have been houses they refused to go to because they were just way too spooky. This year as long as they were side by side, no spooky house was an obstacle. Until the very, very frightening one. There were lots of people dressed in scariness. Stephanie and Heather began to wind their way up to the front door. At one point they turned around and started back. I didn't blame them. But then a very nice fairy offered to take them to the door. They, again, ventured forth. After they reached the safety of us at the end of the driveway I asked if it was scary. They both burst into tears. Time to go home. We came back with tired feet and loads of candy. After a quick sort by Daddy they settled into sugar bliss. Ahhh ~ chocolate!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sunday Night Blues

No, I don't have my days mixed up.  I know it's not Sunday yet.  But I've already got the Sunday Night Blues. They started yesterday, in fact. My friend, Charlotte, and I have a term for the way we feel the night before going back to work after a longer break (what-used-to-be-summer, Christmas vacation, track break) and that is Sunday Night Blues. Although we may be excited about the teaching moments to come, we are blue that our vacation is over.  This doesn't really happen on regular weekends and once we get back in the swing of working again the blues go away.  Thank goodness for that! Charlotte is very organized and manages her time perfectly so she always gets her to-do list done.  Me? Not so much.  I am organized in my head only and have the worst time management.  The fact that I am sitting here typing this right now just proves the point. Plus, my list is never-ending. I will never be done. Sure I accomplish a certain number of things, but never what I imagine. So, the blues are here. To make things better (yeah, right) I have to go to school today and do my lesson plans because I was so excited to be on break I just walked out of my class room leaving all the mess and no planning!  Not very smart, but worth it at the time. The upside?  The kids love to go to school and play while I'm working. 

Friday, October 26, 2007

Life ~ as Measured by Hannah Montana

This summer while Greg was home from his hand surgery, Heather would ask him how long until the next event.  Most of the time she wanted to know when Stephanie and I would be home from school. Now, since 5 year olds have a hard time understanding time (heck, sometimes I have no concept of time...stop laughing) he told her how many episodes of Hannah Montana it would take for the time to arrive.

Just now, Heather finished her bead necklace while I was working on the computer.  She wanted to get Stephanie up.  Stephanie, not a morning girl, wouldn't budge.  I told her to give her 10 more minutes and try again. Heather said, "How many Hannah Montanas is that?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Look Ma - No Cavities!

Today the kids had their cleaning and check up at the dentist.  One of Stephanie's teeth had been loose lately.  When she found out she had an appointment, she starting worrying because she was sure that if he saw the tooth in it's very wiggly state he'd want to pull it.  It's happened to her once before and he was not gentle enough in her opinion.  Plus, what dentist can pass up such a wobbly treat?  I think she over wiggled it just to get it out. During breakfast she pulled on it and it came out.  She said it didn't hurt at all.    

Both girls were very cooperative for their cleaning.  Wobbly teeth aside, they get excited when they hear it's time to get their teeth cleaned. Heather says she likes to get the toy. Even Stephanie likes to get her teeth cleaned even though she's been through more than her fair share of pain with all the appliances she's already had to have in order to give her more room for her permanent teeth.  Good news! No cavities! Music to every mom's (and dad's) ears. What gorgeous smiles! 

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Visiting Arizona

Last week we visited my brother and his wife in Arizona.  We had a great time doing not much at all.  Very relaxing.  I read half a book while we were there. We had dinner at Kim's mom's house one evening.  She had pumpkin shaped sugar cookies ready for the kids to decorate along with McKenna.  Oh my gosh! Sprinkles everywhere!  We had a picnic at a train themed park and rode the mini train.  The weather was so nice.  I thought the boys might fall asleep under the trees.  Kim and I also made it to several scrapbook stores preparing for our upcoming Scrapaway weekend.  I probably have too many projects planned...but better too many than not enough. One night I was thinking about my projects so much that I couldn't sleep.   

The kids had a great time with their uncle!  They just love Brent to pieces.  I'm sure he didn't mind all the extra snuggles.  On one of the days Brent had to work, Heather asked about him nonstop. Where's Brent? When will he be home? 

We were sad to leave. :(  It was so nice to spend time with them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Welcome to my first blog!  Sure, I should be cleaning or doing laundry (both of which never seem to end).  But this is more fun, isn't it?  

I'm on track break and so far having a really nice, relaxing time.  The kids are enjoying being at home too.  They always find something to do.  Right now they've made a makeshift craft area in the living room.  They are watching tv and making cards for various relatives.  

Ok - now I'm going to do some crafts.  :)