Friday, May 30, 2008


Papa brought Gianna over to play today. Tomorrow, Gianna is moving to San Diego with her mommy. The girls really love to be with Gianna. They take very good care of her like little mommies when they are around her. She is almost three and really talks a lot now. She calls both of the kids Stephanie-Heather.  

It was a very nice morning, so the kids played outside for a little while. Actually, nice means nothing to these kids. They'd be out there even if it was 145 degrees! At one point they were fighting over who got to push her, sit by her, breathe the same air as her, etc. They share toys quite well, but have trouble sharing a cousin. Gianna is oblivious to all this and just flits from one activity to another with two older cousins vying for her attention.

So Heather was pretty mad that she had to sit by herself here on this swing (she got her cousin-partner later on).

Oh! Happy now that she got to spin with Gianna. Ok, well, maybe I had to intervene on this one and tell Stephanie to bugger off.

If Gianna (and the adults) would let them, the kids would carry her around 24/7. Sometimes she is like a little doll to them. If only she would cooperate and let them carry her, stroller her, dress her, feed her....

Still on a bowling high from yesterday, they set up a mini game on the patio. That didn't really work out well because every time the pins were set, Gianna quickly took a ball and knocked them over at close range. Taking turns it not in her game plan.

After a while we came in to play and then had lunch. Gianna loves our assortment of dress up shoes. 

Taking a picture of Gianna is quite a feat! Once you get the camera aimed and ready, then push the button and wait for the shutter to engage, she usually has her head down or has turned around. This happens even when she doesn't really realize you are taking her picture. I have tons of pictures of the top or back of her head! She doesn't pose too well these days either. I had to bribe her with a sucker. Then she gave her cheesiest smile for one picture only. Wouldn't you know it, that was the picture that Stephanie and Heather weren't ready for. Getting her to take another resulted in behavior like this picture. I finally gave up!

Gianna's supposed to be in town for one week a month to visit her daddy. We will get to see her about as often as we used to, but somehow it won't be the same as when she lives here. 

blocking my view

Pretty soon, our cornfield row of corn will block the view out my bedroom window. When mature, the stalks should be taller than me. 

The pumpkins are taking over the garden. I see lots of flowers, but haven't seen the beginnings of a pumpkin just yet. The beans are hidden in there somewhere. 

Something is starting to happen here. Not sure what, but it will be corn someday.

These lovely roma tomatoes taste sooo good. Greg is doing a wonderful job with our little test garden. 

Thursday, May 29, 2008

no modesty

Stephanie & Heather are playing out back with one of the neighbor boys. I just saw Heather pull up her shirt to her chin to scratch her chest. Who's daughter are you?

lowest number wins, right?

Ahh ~ track break. Lovely time to relax and take it easy. Right? Then why was I busting a blood vessel to get the kids to get their shoes on to get out the door this morning? Turns out that even though we were the last ones to get to the bowling alley, the others were also late and arrived just before us. Whew!

Heather's teacher had free passes for bowling. So we met her and her four kids, plus another mom & two kids at the bowling alley to throw some balls around. Throw would not be an exaggeration for some of the kids. It's not often you get to hang out with your teacher outside of school, so Heather was thrilled. I think Lacey was glad to see me too (Heather's teacher's daughter is in my class.).

When we put on our bowling shoes Heather announced that the shoes are funny looking with a little pout. Yes, dear, they sure are. After I told her that bowling shoes are always funny looking and she took a look at all of our feet she was ok with the whole deal.

Me? Very out of practice, scored a big, fat z-e-r-o for the first many frames. Who cares!

The kids got the hang of it and both bowled a 70. Well, thank goodness for the bumpers. Maybe next time I will try with the bumpers and see how I do! Cheaters!

Check out Stephanie's form and the airborne ball!

No granny bowling for this crowd.

Heather watches with tense anticipation as her ball travels pretty slowly down the lane. Without the bumpers, she'd be toast.

Intense concentration.

Both of the kids told me (more than once) they had a good time bowling.  While they were feeling all warm and glowing inside I tortured them with shopping at the craft store and Target. hee hee.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

i win, i win, i win

All this time, I've been working so hard on that darned Mother of the Year Award. Come to find out, I've already won!

You see, my dear husband pointed out to me today that since I am the only mother in the house, I sort of win by default. I'm the only one they can vote for. And since I'm the one who does the cooking around here, I can't be voted off the island either. Well, I guess I can, but then they'd be miserable. 

Knowing that I've won gives me such freedom! I can now be in a bad mood & yell at everyone without feeling guilty. I can feed them cereal for dinner and let the dishes pile up for days weeks. Laundry? Hey, if it doesn't smell, wear it again. Ironing? Well, I just can't give that one up. Shower on track break or weekends? Heck no! Dusting? Vacuuming? Cleaning toilets? Hmm, no thanks. Cleaning up clutter? A little clutter never hurt anyone. Disciplining children? Instilling virtue and manners? Do whatever you want. Everyone else's kids do. Monitoring homework and projects? Don't have time for it. Snuggles and cuddles? Aw, that's for sissies.

It's liberating, really, to know that I've won and that can't be undone.

So next time you see me I'll be lounging on the couch, eating ice cream while a watch a movie or read a book. Or maybe I'll take a few naps.


That's right. I only have to work two days this week. Then I'm on track break. 

It couldn't come at a better time.

I really need this!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

what was that?

I just heard a crash from downstairs. Sounded a little bit like glass. I waited for the sounds of crying, tattling, something to clue me in to what is going on. 


So I called the kids up here (cuz I'm lazy like that). 

Me: What did you break downstairs?

S: Nothing.

Me: What was that crash?

S: We knocked the lamp over.

H: But we picked it up and put it back.

S: Yeah.

H: There are no little pieces or anything.

Me: Stop playing with that ball down there.

S & H: Ok.

I'm wondering if there are big pieces. I'm strangely uncomforted by their explanation and attempts to assure me nothing is amiss.

proud moments in wonderland

Stephanie's play was Thursday for Cultural Arts Night at school and I'm pretty sure she stole the show! I can say that with confidence because I am not one bit biased or anything!

She was the perfect little Alice. Her lines were perfectly memorized and delivered with expression

All the kids did a great job with their lines. Sometimes the kids can be very hard to understand even though they have memorized their lines. This group of kids was able to deliver their lines clearly.

Daddy bought her flowers from the guy at the freeway off ramp that you usually try to avoid eye contact with as you wait for the light to change.

Heather was very proud of her star sister. She did take this proud moment to inch her way onto the step above Stephanie to be taller, however.

Friday they performed two more shows for assemblies for all the students. They sported these cute little drama club shirts when they weren't performing. Stephanie felt pretty cool to be able to wear make up all day at school. Don't get used to that, little girl! Suzanne decided to have the drama club open to 3rd and 4th graders next year, so Stephanie has decided she will be in the drama club again. That's fine with me, but don't go demanding bottled water and imported cheeses in your dressing room or anything! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Well, I woke up still a little miffed about yesterday. When I got to school one of the teachers asked me if her student teacher could pop in and observe me today. Usually, I'm very accommodating in these situations. I just had to tell her today wasn't the best day. I told her I wasn't over my bad mood, but felt sure that Thursday it will have left me. 

As the day went on I found I was pulling out of it. Yay for me. I can keep my job. 

I have a feeling that I was still a little pissy today because I stayed up a little too late reading a vampire novel. But at the moment I felt I deserved to stay up late and read. I finished the first two books and bought the third. I'm halfway finished already. They are so oddly addicting. I think Edward might be my new boyfriend.

i found this

I was going to the bathroom the other day in my bathroom (TMI, I know) and I look over to find this:

Many of you might think that with hundreds thousands (but I always have to buy more to find matching a matching set when I need it) of these things floating around our house that it may have just happened to fall all bundled up onto this tiny little space. Nope. Can you just guess who did this? I didn't witness it, but I know my children and I know how this went down. I chuckled as I saw this unfold in my mind. This child was allowed to take a shower in our bathroom (they fight over the turn to do this) and was using the bathroom before like a good little monkey should. She was probably singing a little tune to herself as she pulled the pony out of her hair (like they've been told to a million times). She pulled it out all bundled up like this and happened to see just the perfect spot to tuck a coiled pony. Then she smiled, pleased with herself, finished her business and got in the shower (more singing probably ensued). 

Can you guess?

It was Heather, I'm certain.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

there are days

...when I seriously doubt my choice of becoming a teacher.

Today is one of those days.

I fantasize about going back to college to get another degree. Perhaps in art. Maybe to be a flamenco dancer. I could be good at that. Bring on the feathers.

I'm so grouchy that the mere noise of  the happy-go-lucky childhood of my own children is grating on my nerves today.

And all because I question my job choice.

I've got the strangest bunch of students this year. HALF of them do not read at grade level (they read below grade level ~ not above). Three-quarters of them are missing the common sense gene. It takes several of them many agonizing minutes to find page 219. Most of them seem to suffer from either severe memory loss or I-don't-give-a-shit syndrome. When beginning a lesson, good teachers review something from the day before, the week before, or even reaching as far back as the year before for the easiest of concepts. Every time I am stupid enough to do this, they all look at me like I have three heads and are wondering just what to do with me. And I am very patient. I wait. Blank stares. I wait some more. I wait for the light to come on in their empty little heads. I sigh a little and sit on my stool. I wait. The bulb has burned out. Maybe there is no bulb.

Here's the thing. I'm totally hard on myself. I'm always trying to improve on my teaching. I'm always my worst critic. I spend hours trying to come up with what's right for the students. Saying that, if I examine the situation carefully, I KNOW I am a good teacher. I KNOW I am better than many. So what's the deal? 

I think I will have to send most of this group on to third grade with a note of apology. I'm sorry I was unsuccessful ~ I tried my best. 

**Do keep in mind that when I rant and rave about my class I never (usually never) speak for the whole bunch. There are a few who care and actually possess a common sense gene as well as some smarts under the hood.

little scientist

Stephanie finished her science fair project Sunday. She's very proud of it and I'm very proud of her. The topic was a suggestion made by Daddy and she really got into it. She can totally explain the need to have a closed circuit to make electricity happen. We made her practice her presentation. I can't tell you how many times when I was teaching 4th grade that kids would bring in their projects and not be able to really tell you what they did. They could read it, but they didn't know how to tell me about it. 

And, who can resist this little monkey?

Monday, May 19, 2008


Here, at our house, we are testing our limits. We are trying to see how much stress we can possibly handle at one time and not S-N-A-P! Considering the computer, sewing machine, and our children are all in one piece, I'd say we have succeeded so far. 

Stephanie's costume is almost done. I stayed up late last night and intended on finishing, but tacking down the lining and sewing the hem (both by hand) took forever! I gave up at 12:30. Tonight I just have to finish the bottom of the apron. This, really, should be no problem. The dress isn't perfect, but from the audience you'll never know I had a little trouble with the zipper and a couple more places. 

Yesterday we also had to help Stephanie finalize her science fair project. This involved taking & printing some pictures, managing her typing skills, and getting the information on the board all pretty like. Wouldn't you know, the computer started acting senile. The color printer was out of black (one trip to the store for me). The computer will not be pushed. It somehow senses the urgency of a project and drags its feet, demanding some quality attention in the form of a disc repair or some sort. Once Greg got everything working properly, Stephanie did a wonderful job of putting it together - with a little advice. Her cuts are not measured and uneven in spots. Some of the stuff ended up a little crooked. My instincts were to swoop in and make sure it turned out perfect. I pushed down those instincts and let her be. She did it herself. 

Where is the littlest Robinson in all this? Well, frankly feeling maybe a little dejected. She kept getting in the way of Stephanie's project so she was told to go find something to do. I couldn't play with her because I was trying to do two things at once. She made the best of it and played house by herself. She did get to go out and play when Greg mowed the yard. Two bloody noses and a bike fall later she was sent in prematurely and told to take a shower. 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

blog break up

Get control of yourself! 

Don't be getting teary-eyed thinking I'm breaking up with you! I'm not leaving the blog world. I'm way too self-centered for that. Plus, I think I might actually be funny sometimes. 

When I first started finding blogs I read only a few. Then I'd click on one of their links and find another one. I swear sometimes reading someone's blog makes you start to think you might actually know them. Some I read I think that if we lived in the same town we'd be friends. Some I read I know we'd never be friends, but they are fun to read anyway. I started having to bookmark the blogs because I didn't want to lose track of them. When I can, I make my way down the list and check in on everyone. If I don't have a lot of time there are those I check in on for sure and the others have to wait. 

I think, though, I might have to break up with some of my blog buddies. They are the ones in my list I find myself skipping over, even when I do have time to read more than a few. One I read is just too much. I think the woman is swirling into a sea of depression and since she's not actually a friend or family I just can't go there. One has just gotten so irritating after a while. You see my point? So I'm going to break up with some and delete them from my bookmarks. 

making the 8-year old mad

Stephanie is just a little mad at me. Well, maybe mad is not the right word. She's, hm, maybe frustrated. I'm sewing her costume for her play this Thursday and well, I'm not done. In fact, I just started it yesterday. I've had the pattern and fabric forever, but haven't seen fit to start it. Cutting out the pattern is a pain, so I just wait. 

Two weeks ago after drama practice she informed me that everyone had their costume but her. Really? Everyone? Yes. Even Zoe? Yes! No she doesn't because I know for a fact that her mom had not started hers yet either. She's worried I won't get done in time. She's losing faith in me. When have I ever let her down? She said never. So there! Last night I was telling Greg this story and he asked if I could blame her. He asked what I was going to do if something with this costume didn't work out. I laughed and said I'd have to pay Zoe's mom to fix it. I've got a back up plan...sort of.

Anyway, yesterday I cut out the pattern. I read all the instructions and the sewing doesn't seem bad. So today I sew while Greg and I supervise a science fair project. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

silly girl

Last night, Stephanie was taking a shower in our shower. I walked in there to get a load of laundry and heard her talking. Fully intending on eavesdropping, I stopped short and stayed silent. She was mumbling too much, so I couldn't really make anything out.

Me: Who are you talking to?

Stephanie: No one.

Me: Oh. Hurry and wash so you can get out.

Stephanie: OK.

She must have been done already because she turned off the water and stepped out. Wearing her new swim goggles. 

She cracks me up!

Monday, May 12, 2008

i'm hooked

I'd heard about this series before and thought I should see what it's all about someday. I read on someone's blog that the movie is coming out in December for the first book. I watched the trailer and immediately became intrigued. So, I ordered Twilight on Thursday morning. It came Friday. I started the book Friday night and finished Sunday morning. I'm totally hooked.

So I bought the 2nd book yesterday.

And when I'm done, I'll buy the 3rd book. The 4th book comes out in August. 

View the trailer to the movie here. You'll be hooked too.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

all wet

Alas, the stars and moon have aligned in just the right way. The daisies sway peacefully in the breeze as the spring sun warms their faces. The gods of all that's equal have smiled down sweetly on the little lass named Heather. The fairness monster has been once again laid to rest...for now.

Stephanie had field day in early April. The kindergarten kids have their field day separately from the rest of the school. Oh, the morning of field day for Stephanie was filled with cries of "not fair," punctuated with pouts and stomping feet. Tragic, really, to be the little sister at times. So I explained, again, that the field days are separate and that hers was scheduled in May. I assured her that she too would be able to don copious amounts of sunscreen and spend the day outside screaming while playing games. 

Yesterday was Heather's field day. When my kids were at art, I went to see how things were going. They were having a ball. I think Heather may have been having more fun than any kid out there. They were playing a sponge game. The person at the beginning of the line soaks a sponge and they pass it over their heads. The last person in line wrings the sponge out into a different bucket and runs to the front of the line to start all over. The official object of the game is to be the first line to fill your bucket at the end of the line. The real object of the game is to get W-E-T!

When passing the sponge you are supposed to gingerly pass it to the person behind you and if you happen to squeeze just a little too hard over their heads as you are completing the pass, well, that's the danger of playing the game. Oh, no, not these guys. Each kid practically emptied the sponge of water on their own head before passing it to the person behind them. 

By the time I went inside Heather was completely soaked in front. I laughed and told her I didn't send any dry clothes with her! She pretended to be shocked while she laughed too. This little monkey had so much fun on her field day.

are we ready for life on the prairie?

Last week Stephanie's class read a story about making pies. So her teacher decided to have the kids make sour dough starter. This week the starter was ready to bake. Stephanie was the designated kneader in her group. She stayed in a few minutes at recess to finish the job.

This girl really loves to cook. She keeps telling me she wants to be a chef when she grows up. She's stuck with that plan (alternating with being a teacher) since she was in kindergarten. 

The class made enough bread that each kid took home a mini loaf. She munched on it continuously after school, then shared the dregs of it with us that evening. It was pretty good.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

major announcement

The backyard grass has officially received clearance for frolic and folly. On Saturday, Greg told the kids that they could play on the grass. They hooted and hollered as they ran across the grass doing their gymnastic tricks. They love to do running cartwheels and round offs, but the living room is smallish for that. 

Oh, and don't forget the back bend kick over. They are so lucky! I never learned how to do one of these when I was a kid. Maybe I'll sign myself up for a gymnastics class. 

Stop laughing, you might fall off your chair!

Greg cringed only a little as he watched them make trample marks in the long grass that was ready for another mow.

no thanks

One night last week I had to go to the grocery store to get paper mache supplies. When we walked in the store Heather said she wanted to push the cart. Sometimes I'm up for letting them, sometimes I'm not. If at any time they hit my ankles with the cart, they are done for the trip. No second chances here. Mean, I know.

Anyway, she was pushing the basket down the aisles without too much incident. At one point I was loading the basket, turned back to the shelf to get more, then turned to put the items in the basket and she was halfway down the aisle. 

Heather's still a little short to see over the top well so she moved to the front of the basket to pull it. I thought I'd help out and push while she steered. 

Heather: No, thank you. (putting up her hand to wave me off)

Me: I'll just help a little.

Heather: No, thank you.

Just in case you are wondering, liquid starch is a great paper mache glue. If it gets on clothes, or even carpet, it comes right out nicely since it's a laundry product. And! There's no pasty mixing involved.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

i never get tired of this

Last Thursday we had the 2nd trimester awards assembly. Stephanie got awards for 100% attendance, straight A honor roll, and the effort award. She was thrilled to get them all. She doesn't take them for granted, which to me makes them all the more sweet. 

It's impossible for me to get a decent picture during awards because of how far away I am and the light - so, sorry.

Monday, May 5, 2008

cookin' with the uncle

Sunday morning in Arizona was filled with holding a baby, feeding a baby, and changing a baby. While Kim and I chatted in Carter's room, this is what happened.

Brent let the kids help him with breakfast. He was very patient with them as they put butter spread on the garlic sticks (hey ~ any kind of bread for breakfast is just fine). He let them grate the cheese for the eggs.

Brent cooked the sausage, but then he let them do what they seemed capable of doing. He even let Stephanie help cook the eggs. 

It was a scrumptious breakfast.