Friday, February 29, 2008

from somewhere way back when

I went to storage today to clean out the last of the boxes ~ finally. I found these books in one of the boxes.

Oh, how I loved reading Heidi. Funny, though, I don't remember too much of the story except the basic idea of it. But I do remember loving it. When we lived in Texas, I held it in my teeth while I climbed my neighbor's tree so I could sit and read in peace. I also remember spending time with the Enchanted Isles book, but again can't specifically remember any of the stories (full of short stories). I'm going to give them to Stephanie now that she's old enough to read them. Maybe she'll love Heidi too.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

mommy and stephanie day

Grandma and Papa wanted to have the kids come over all day today, play with Gianna, spend the night, then play all day again tomorrow. Well, Stephanie has drama practice on Thursdays and can even go on track break. We gave her the option of skipping today, but being the responsible child she is, she said that since she has a big role that she really thought she should go to practice. So Papa & Gianna came this morning to pick up Heather. Let's see, Heather and Gianna playing the day away ~ giggling, running, screaming, hugging, being cousins. How nice would it have been of me to make Stephanie help clean the house today? I'm not that much of a monster. So we had a Mommy & Stephanie Day. She chose to paint sun catchers while I packed their suitcase. She also watched as much tv as she wanted today (she's been grounded from tv for a week). Then we had a nice lunch at Applebee's, including mozzarella sticks for appetizers. We stopped by one store, then made it to school a little early for drama practice. 

After Heather had gone and I was doing Stephanie's hair, she told me that she was liking our Mommy & Stephanie Day. Good to hear, because I was worried that she was going to feel slighted. Then again, there was no sibling fighting, no vying for my attention, no interrupting during her story, etc. It was a great day. Stephanie is a joy to have lunch and conversation with!

I've decided to go out on a limb and start something new. I read about this thing called Project 365 where you take a photo everyday for a year that tells about your day, your life, or even something you find beautiful/interesting. The photo can be anything. Then you add a little description. Well, I'm going to try. I was going to try it and just not say anything about it, but I might be tempted to quit when the days get harried and hectic. So I'm saying it so I will do it. Today is actually Day 2 since yesterday was silently Day 1 (photos of the flowering plum). And hey, you get to benefit from the pictures, especially when they are about the kids. :)

For more information on Project 365 go to And here's the best part ~ I challenge you to do it too! I'd love to see your photos!

do something important today

...and get smarter too!

Play this vocabulary game online and "earn" rice for starving nations. Right now they are donating to Myanmar in Bangladesh. They are hoping to expand to other nations. For each correct answer 20 grains is donated from FreeRice to World Food Programme with the United Nations. 20 grains does not sound like much, but every little bit adds up. Play for a few minutes here and there. This is totally free to you. They are sponsored by the advertising. Check out the website. There's a video you can watch too. It's totally fun (yup, I'm geeky that way) to play and see what vocabulary level you can achieve. What a simple way to make a big difference!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

are you kidding me?

Yesterday Greg suggested I take some pictures of our flowering plum tree in the front yard. He said I should have the kids hold up some poster board to get a nice white background. This morning the kids and I headed out there, not with poster board, but with tissue paper. That turned out to be a disaster because there was a bee that kept flying around. The kids were skittish about it and wouldn't follow directions and hold still. Ok, so no white background.

Just as I get started on the no-white-background pictures, I look up and see the trash truck coming down the street. I thought for a minute about scurrying back inside until they were gone. My hair was not combed and there was left over black smudges under my eyes. I was wearing my house clothes that included shorts, a stained t-shirt from when we stained the pergola in back, and no bra. The stain was deep red - looks kinda like dried blood on my shirt. Maybe I should throw that shirt away. The kids were in their pajamas. On second thought, they're far enough away at the end of the driveway, they'll never notice. Throwing caution to the wind, we stayed out and I went about pretending I was a world famous photographer. Then the trash guy summoned me over for a conference. Are you kidding me? Right now? You want to have a chat? I immediately began thinking that we'd surpassed the weight restrictions on the garbage can one too many times. Maybe he was mad that we don't always bag our grass clippings. Turns out he just wanted to let me know that our garbage can was broken and to call the office to get it replaced. Oh. Sure. No problem. 

Here's some of the pictures I took. They turned out pretty nice. I like how the flowers are sharp, but the background is out of focus. 

Monday, February 25, 2008

do you know what this is?

Well, duh! It's fabric! 

This represents some of my many planned track break projects. I'm not telling what all this will be just'll just have to wait and see. I promise to post pictures as each project is completed. 

Of course, I have waaaaay too many projects rattling around in my brain for this break. One of them even includes cleaning & organizing the computer-craft room. I know. I'm scary that way. Actually, I'm scared of that project, so it just might not get done. 

My #1 goal this time is to keep on top of the dishes. We all know I'm horrible at doing the dishes in a timely manner. I've even tried to corrupt Kim into just letting them sit until morning. She could not be persuaded to join me on the Dark Side. The thing about dishes is just when I finally get them ALL done, the people in this house eat again! 

I'll keep  you updated. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

dear ice cream man

Do you think it will be possible in the future for you to see fit to drive down our street? I know we live on a longish cul-de-sac, but you've really got to help me out here. On days when the kids are outside (and sometimes even the inside days) they hear the faint call of the one song you play over and over and over. Their faces light up with expectation as they ask for money. They have their own money, but they feel the need to spend ours instead. They wait...and wait...but you never come down the street. So, lately they've talked one of us into walking down to the end of the street to wait for you. And still, somehow we miss you. Today they looked at me again with doe-like eyes and asked to take the walk to the corner. I obliged. Once we got there with the neighbor boy in tow, they waited for a few minutes then sat on the sidewalk, ready to be patient. Me? I felt like a hooker standing on the corner waiting for the truck to pull up. So we left. Later, Greg was successful at the end of our street. But, dude, you'd really make things a whole lot easier if you'd just turn the corner and come our way. So do you think you could?

Stephanie & Heather's Mommy

the kid is a sleeper

I just made Stephanie get out of bed. It's 10:45. That kid can sleep forever!

Now she's mad at me because Heather's been outside with Greg for some time now and no one woke her up. Geez. Can't win.

three pigs and a cow

This morning Greg was sitting on the couch. I laid on the couch and plopped one foot in his lap. He grabbed it and said my toes were disgusting. 

Me: What do you mean?

G: The toenails are all gross, like a bird was pecking at them.

Me: Oh, I was picking at them last night. The other foot is fine.

G: (Checks out the other foot). These are too.

Me: Oh, I was picking at those the other day.

G: If I sent you to get a pedicure right now, you'd be embarrassed.

Me: (nonplussed) I'm always embarrassed when I get a pedicure. (I have the driest heels and lack of foot pampering ever!)

G: You'd really be embarrassed this time. You need to take care of yourself. How will I ever marry you off?

Me: I thought you wanted to keep me. That's what you say.

G: Well, if I can get a good price...maybe someone has a nice dowery for you.

Me: Yeah, three pigs and a cow.

G: That won't be acceptable.

Me: That's all he's got.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

counting the hours

...until track break!

Tomorrow is the last day of school for me and the girls for 4 weeks. We have a track break combined with spring break. I'm all fluttery with anticipation. I am feeling grumpy and in need of a break. A good long break. I can't be a good teacher, mommy, or wife when I'm feeling so darn grumpy. 

What will I do?

Don't know.

The days will definitely include: sleeping (seriously, stop telling Greg), playing with my little monkeys, sewing, painting, scrapbooking, reading, watching t.v., going to the library. If the kids are lucky there may be some trips to the park included. The kids still have dance practice so I have to drive across the country twice a week for that. But mostly it will be whatever I feel like at the time! Showering optional. 

Monday, February 18, 2008

playing in the dirt

I've spent the last week with a cold ~ not quite the short, sweet kind either. I had fevers in the evening that were clear by morning. No reason not to got to work, right? Friday night was the first night with no fever. Woohoo ~ feeling like I was on the downhill slide of this. That is, until I spent the whole night coughing, not sleeping. I did finally fall asleep a few times once I moved myself to the couch so I wouldn't wake up Greg and the kids who were camping out on our floor. Little did I realize I was still keeping him up too. Anyway, I woke up Saturday with that unmistakable pressure that means only one thing...sinus infection. Greg was all set to work in the yard. He had to do some dirt moving into the tiered planters in the back yard. I asked if he wanted my help and he told me no, he didn't want me passing out back there. I procrastinated a little, then took myself to the doctor. Sinus infection confirmed. Antibiotics started.

I came home to find this going on.

Let me back up a minute. We have piles of dirt (that we paid good money for) in our backyard, waiting to be shoveled into various places in the backyard. We have tried to be diligent in keeping the kids off these piles because 1) flat piles are harder to deal with and 2) with the protective "crust" broken the dirt we paid for blows in the wind to the neighbor's house. They didn't pay for the dirt. Keeping the kids off these piles has been no easy task. The backyard is a very S-L-O-W project so they've been there for a while. Plus who doesn't want to play 'king of the mountain' now and again? So to see my children shoveling willy nilly in one of these piles caused panic. I calmly asked Greg if they were being helpful or a pain. He turned to see them shoveling and said they were being a huge help. Apparently, they'd taken over my job of filling the buckets to be taken to the higher tiers of planters. And they were doing a fine job and even somewhat quickly. So daddy found himself some little helpers! Unlike some jobs where they help for a little bit, then go screaming for the swing set, they stuck with this one for the long haul. They woke up bright and early Sunday morning to help shovel some more. Later in the day we went to the plant nursery to get plants for the highest tier with a gift certificate. They tried to help plant those, but digging in the highest tier is like digging through a rock. They got pooped and a little pissy. When I came home from the grocery store, they were showered, jammied, and watching t.v. while Greg finished.

Friday, February 15, 2008

beautiful boy

We got pictures!

He's so cute I could just eat him up ~ and his dad's pretty cute too. ;) Carter already adores his daddy. Check out his gaze. I'm so excited about this little guy and can't wait to see him.

Kim looks wonderful and at ease with her new role of being a new mom.

I'm so amazed by parenthood, birth, all of it. It is event more spectacular when it is your own family! Well done, Brent & Kim.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

teach your children some manners, people!

Teachers at my school have outside duty before school about every other week. Some of the duty stations I have are in areas where you see kids as they are arriving to school. I have duty at the bike rack this week, for instance. So I see bike riders, kids getting dropped off at the curb, and various walkers arriving and passing by me. I always say "good morning" to the kids and adults. All adults respond appropriately, as well as most kids. But there are about a third of the kids who just look at me like I'm from outer space or don't even make eye contact at all. Hello! Someone spoke to you, and even said something nice. Would it kill you to have some manners and respond, or smile in response at least if you are too shy to say anything??? So, parents, teach your children the polite way of interacting with others - adult or otherwise. Words like good morning, hello, excuse me, please, and thank you should definitely be a part of a child's early vocabulary as well as the knowledge of when to use those pleasantries. I also can't tell you how many times I've been mowed down by kids in the hallway because I was in their way without so much as an "excuse me." 

love letter

At school, Stephanie's class used the candy conversation hearts to write letters for Valentine's Day. They write the letter and insert the hearts in various places. Here's Stephanie's (started before he was born incidentally):

Dear Carter,

You are PURRFECT. You are going to be my NEW LOVE in my life. You are the ONE I LOVE. I will MISS YOU until I come to visit you in March. Will you BE MINE?


he's here!

I'm so excited to tell you that Carter was born yesterday! He was 7 lbs. 14 oz. and is 20.5 inches long. His mommy and daddy are doing well and are basking in the glow of being mommy and daddy. I can feel the glow over the phone! I am so anxious to go visit them! Of course the kids are just as excited and both asked to be able to call Brent & Kim when I told them the good news. They are already so in love with their little cousin. Me too.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

what did you do this weekend?

I know what you must be thinking...three posts in one day? Did she sit at the computer all day long? No, I've actually been moderately productive. Sort of. Ok, just barely.

The block areas of the island in the back yard was stuccoed in October. We've yet to paint it. We were letting the stucco cure, yes, that's it. Anyway, we picked colors and bought paint yesterday, so it's now very pretty. If you know me at all, you know I'm not shy with the paint. The back yard is no different. Here is the before picture.

Greg is taking a break in the shade.

It was a fabulous weekend weather-wise. We wore shorts in the yard and at one point while I was painting in the sun I was thinking it was a little too hot. The high was only 68 yesterday. I was soooo cold the last few weeks that I thought it would never be nice again. I usually don't get the chill so bad, but this year it got to me. I'm ready for the nice spring weather. And it can just stay spring weather all summer long as far as I'm concerned. We painted the brown and burgundy yesterday and the green today. I have decided that I don't want a job being a stucco painter. It was hard to cut in in a straight line. It was hard to get in the cracks by the brick without painting the brick. At one point I considered painting all the bricks too. Ok, not really. But it was a pain!

Here's the after:

One step closer to grass in the yard!  Woohoo!  (Ignore the white parts at the bottom. They will be covered with dirt and grass and such.) We (I use that term very loosely since Greg does most of the work and I only help out...or get in the way.) still have to move some dirt around the planters and level the yard.  Then we will be ready for seed.  

What else did I do this weekend?
  • laundry (only some)
  • dishes (only some)
  • take a nap
  • go to Target
  • go grocery shopping
  • post three times in one day

carter is a rat

At school on Thursday, Stephanie came up to me and informed me that Carter will be a rat. Right about now you're thinking, "What? How could you say such a thing?" Sounds unpleasant, I know, but the kids were studying the Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Rat. So, Carter will be one. Those born in the Year of the Rat are said to be clever, ambitious, creative, hard-working, fastidious, charming and sociable. So, who wouldn't want to be a rat? Or be friends with a rat?

Carter is due today. Hurry up, little baby. We are waiting for you! Stephanie and Heather are anxious for their new cousin! 

disneyland - day 1

Going to Disneyland is one of our favorite times of the year. Ever since I met Greg, we go to Disneyland with his family once a year. There were even a few times we made it there more than once a year. It's a wonderful tradition that I loved before we had kids. I just love the atmosphere at Disneyland. It really is the happiest place on earth! Churro, anyone? With kids, going is so much more exciting. It's amazing to see them have a good time.

Who came? Well, the four of us, Grandma, Papa, Tony, and Gianna. Papa's sister, Mary, and brother, Bob, were there too, but we only saw them a few times for a few minutes. They did their own thing all day. Some years the group is bigger, but this is about as small as it gets.

Stephanie is concentrating intently on her driving skills. Grandma's looking a little scared, don't you think? Stephanie wanted to drive in a car all by herself, but she was just a little too short to go solo. 

Who let this short kid drive? She can barely see! On the dashboard of the cars there's a sign that says not to bump the car in front of you. Papa was in charge of the gas and bumped Stephanie and Grandma a few times. Heather was appalled! She pointed to the sign and let Papa know that bumping was against the rule. She was sure they'd get in trouble.

Heather has been tall enough to ride many of the more exciting rides for the last few years. However, she is still unsure of whether or not she likes them. She likes them in theory, but when it comes down to it, she may end up crying. We talked her into going on Splash Mountain again. She like most of it, except the last hill that drenches you. She liked getting wet, but not the drop. She and Greg sat in the front seat so she was soaked! Every time we got to a ride she was unsure of we'd tell her, "It's okay, you like this one." Probably she cried last year on it, though. She and Stephanie are adamant they are not going on Tower of Terror with us. Someday.

Heather's favorite rides are Soarin' Over California (at California Adventure) and Star Tours. She raises her hands like a pro on Star Tours. She's the only one who does and she gets this very serious look on her face when she does. Stephanie's favorite rides are Space Mountain and California Screamin' (at California Adventure). She loves the fact that it goes upside down (so does mommy). Last year both Space Mountain and California Screamin' had music from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the rides. Not this year. It was better with the Peppers!

Stephanie didn't get so wet on Splash Mountain. But mommy did. How does that work?

Last year we tried to see the fireworks show, but it was cancelled due to wind (except there wasn't any). This year we saw it. All I could say was, "Wow!" I've never seen anything like it. At one point they had fire coming up out of the castle in big fire ball bursts. I could feel the heat! Tinkerbell flew across the sky a few times to the delight of the girls.

We were at the park from opening to close (14 hours).  No naps. The last hour or so got a little dicey with crankiness, but we stayed anyway. Once at the hotel, the kids put their jammies on and I told them to climb into bed. Two minutes later, this is what I found. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

tea party

Heather had a tea party for her birthday party. She invited three girls, so with Stephanie there were just five. It was really a perfect little party. Upon arriving the girls put on their plastic bling and tiaras. Then the squealing and screeching ensued while they played for a little bit. 

The girls were treated to a "mini mani" complete with jewels and sparkly top coat. Stephanie insisted on painting her own while another mom and I took care of the rest. One little pair of hands is missing because she came late. Watch out boys of the future, these girls are getting used to the pampering pretty early on.

The girls pretended to put on airs while "tea" was served. They had chicken salad on croissants, carrots & cucumbers with dip, fruit, and fancy cookies. Oh, and don't forget the white grape juice, I mean, the tea. No rules here - get what you like - more cookies? No problem. Have two or three. It was difficult for them to act stuffy with their airs because there was a lot of whispering and giggling going on. 

Just in case they didn't get enough cookies earlier, there was cake and ice cream after the presents. This gorgeous butterfly cake was custom made to match the invitations. (No silly, not by me.) After this the girls played and played until they were each collected by their parents. Heather was sad to see everyone leave. She had a wonderful time and felt like a special princess at her tea party. I found out that even the simplest party can bring the greatest joy to a six year old.


I know you have all been wondering to where I must have skipped off. 

Was she discovered and is now modeling for Vogue magazine? Hardly. 

Did pirates steal her away in the middle of the night to make her the boat wench? They wish. 

Did the 2nd grade monkeys gag and tie her up so they didn't have to hear about complete sentences and putting their name on stuff anymore? Likely in the near future. 

Suzanne all but demanded a fresh post! So this measly post is for you! :) These past few weeks have kept me kinda busy. Kinda busy means kinda tired, so no late night posts. I hereby promise to let you know all about Heather's Tea Party, our Disneyland trip, plus whatever comes to mind. Soon. I'll start right away. Maybe.