Wednesday, July 30, 2008

sneak peek

I finally finished the apron for this apron swap I joined. I've had the fabric & pattern forever. But in my true style, I'm finishing it at the last minute so it can be mailed off tomorrow. And now I'm wondering about the actual deadline. Was it the 30th or 31st? Well, I'm sure my partner will be understanding when she gets this really cute apron. I'll show you the whole thing in a couple of days when I'm sure it arrived at her house. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

maybe i am a little old fashioned


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

the quest of the brown sandal

In the summer I like the kids to have at least two staple pairs of sandals ~ a brown pair and a white pair. Well, let's face it ~ here it's more like spring, summer, and most of fall. These two pair will cover just about any outfit where sandals will be appropriate footwear. Any others we add to the mix will just be a bonus.

I have not been able to find the kids a pair of brown sandals for over a year. They are both out of the toddler shoe size and into the little girl shoe size. When I look in that shoe area I see many shoes with a heel available for them. These are just a few that I saw:

Ok, I'll admit ~ way cute! And let me tell you, I love a heel. But let's remember who these shoes are for. My children still RUN at recess. They should not be wearing a two-inch heel except maybe on Easter or if they are in a wedding! And even then, I don't know. I'm even ok with a chunky heel like some sandals have. But, this is so not appropriate! 

These sandals are cute and fairly appropriate. They really should have a strap around the back for proper playing. I would have let them get these, but they just didn't fit right. They complained about them in the store. Never a good sign.

These are so perfect for the kids. Too bad we are looking for brown sandals, not white. Why can't these come in both colors?

I know I can be overprotective and a little old-fashioned sometimes, but it just seems like foolish behavior to stick a 6 or 8 year old in a two-inch heel that is too high for some grown women. Why are the options so limited? We are not allowing children to be children. Where are all of the appropriate brown sandals these days??? 

I'm just saying.

Monday, July 28, 2008

we saved so much money

We tried to spend a fortune to buy tickets for the HM concert for Stephanie and Heather. We were poised on the computer the minute tickets went on sale. No luck.

We tried for days to win tickets from a local radio station. I still want to grab a phone and dial those magic numbers when I hear the song (a regular Pavlov's dog). No luck.

We considered going to the movie at the theatre but we were met with a $15 per ticket price (for a movie?) and the bad timing of the only week it was showing. No luck.

Finally! Just when it seems these children will never see the concert or the movie of the concert, they air the movie on television. All I had to do is go to the store where I refuse to shop and ask customer service for 4 free pairs of these cool shades.

Then Saturday night, after an all day (school clothes) shopping event, we let the kids stay up way too late to watch the 3D concert (yea for Tivo). It looks like Stephanie might be asleep, but she's not.

This one really is asleep. She feel asleep with the glasses on. I hope she won't try that trick in school!

Sure, being at the actual concert would have been so much more rockin' than laying on our living room floor watching Hannah and Miley. Seeing the movie in the theater would have been way more cool than the carpet too. But, you can't beat the price of this!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Remember those sprinklers that slowly make their way in one direction, then make a quick ch,ch,ch,ch motion back to the beginning? Greg got one to spot water the grass because the heat (yes, that again) is taking a toll on our grass. 

Friday night he turned it on and let the kids run around in it. 

They ran to and fro, in and out of the water, shrieking all the way.

The neighbors may not have appreciated the squeals of delight, but we love the simple fun they are so easily amused by.

They made up little games ~ like running toward the center of the spray. Their hands? I don't know ~ diving maybe? A shark? A rudder?

Friday, July 25, 2008

high ponytail

When I put the kids' hair in a high ponytail, I find it easier for me if they look up toward the ceiling. It just is.

Anyway this morning, Heather complained about looking up while I was ponytailing.

Me: Stop complaining. Just do it. It's not going to kill you.

H: Yes, it is. Kiss me good-bye!

nothing to say

Apparently I've not had much to say this week. Well, that's not true. I have plenty. When have you known me to be without words? But did you really want to hear:

  • It's hot - Africa hot.
  • I'm pooped.
  • I can't wait for this school year to be over.
  • My students are testing the limits of my sanity. I'm gonna win.
  • My children tried to test the limits of my sanity. I won.
  • All children I spend time with on a regular basis have received "that look" lately.
  • Did I mention it's hot?
  • I'm behind on the laundry (no surprise there).
  • I'm behind on the dishes (what's new).
  • The house looks like a tornado came through (again).
  • Oh, yeah, it's hot. And that drains my energy.

Right. I didn't think you wanted to hear all that!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

i had something

important to say this morning. But the thought came to me after I used up my carefully allotted morning computer time. The little gem of insight came to me in the shower.

  • I ironed (duh!) and got the kids & myself all gussied up for the day.
  • I went to work.
  • I sweated buckets at bus duty.
  • I shepherded small children all day.
  • I made sure everyone washed their hands, got along nicely with each other, had silent reading time, and even taught the beginnings of multiplication.
  • I stayed after work and pretended to work more. I just ended up straightening my class room a little. 
  • I went to a class. It may or may not have been a line dancing class. And if it was, no, I will not do a dance for you.
  • I cooked picked up dinner. Thank you In-N-Out.
  • I combed a 6-year old's freshly showered hair and tried to con her into combing mine. I was met with mediocre results.
  • I wondered where the 8-year wandered off to after her shower and found her in her bed.
  • I watched a little t.v. while waiting for my turn on the computer.

And now? I forgot it. But let me tell you, it was brilliant.

Monday, July 21, 2008

hey ~ where's my shorts?

Did you look in your drawers? Did you look in the laundry? Uh, maybe I used them to make this.

Check it out here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

lettuce wraps and garlic snap peas

We went to PF Changs for Greg's birthday lunch after church today. As the title indicates, lettuce wraps and garlic snap peas are some of our favorite menu items. Heather is in love with those snap peas. Greg even eats the peas. Hmm. Maybe Greg likes more vegetables than he lets on.

Besides the four of us, Mom, Danny, Grandma & Grandpa Smith, Tony (he's in the picture way in the back) and Gianna were there.

We had a very nice time which included tickling the littlest person and Stephanie's hand motions to one of her favorite church songs. To put a great ending to the lunch, we walked outside to find it was not blistering hot. It was a little cooler, humid, and seemed like it might actually rain. We did get a couple of sprinkles on the way home.


Just before Father's Day, Gianna fell and broke her arm. She sported a fancy purple cast and proudly showed it off to us when we saw her one day for lunch.

The cast was just about bigger than her!

We saw her today for lunch. The first thing she said to us was that her "elbow came out" as she showed off her cast-free arm. She engaged us in a whole conversation with us about her arm and woes of being in a pack-n-play when you're too much of a big girl for one! Well, ok, maybe she just said the pack-n-play "went away."

She is such a doll! We wish we could see her more often.

an old hymn

From the time I was in the 5th grade to the time I left Arizona in my twenties, I attended a Baptist church. Very traditional. Organ, old hymns, pews, and all the pomp and circumstance that goes with established, conservative churches. Week after week we'd sing the old hymns ~ sometimes at a pace too sluggish for my taste. I only wore dresses or skirts to Sunday morning services. The church did not approve of dancing. The decons took the offering and served communion. The deasons were, of course, men. And there was no hand-raising of any sort during a song that may have moved you to do so. Like I said, very conservatively traditional.

Now we go to a nondenominational church that is very modern. We do not sing hymns. We sing upbeat and often rockin' worship songs. I often wear jeans to Sunday morning services, even though it somehow feels a little wrong. Dancing is just another expression of worship or fun. Anyone can take the offering or serve communion. I've done both. Those who feel moved to do so, raise their hands in praise. Very different from how I grew up.

Every once in a while, we sing an old hymn ~ How Great Thou Art ~ with a different arrangement. The tune is the same, but the song is more modern with quite a livelier beat. When we sing this song, I am strangely transported back to the days in the Baptist pew. I feel as if I am stradling a line of who I was and who I am now. I feel like I have roots that allow me to grow into a more colorful person. I am glad I know the old hymns and their familiar tunes. At the same time I am glad that some have new arrangements that meet the needs of a more modern church.

Friday, July 18, 2008

mornings well spent

This is how the kids spent their morning before school a few days ago.

Making a birthday card for Daddy that says, "You Rock."

Catching up on classwork from being absent from school for a week.

so much for a happy birthday

Last week I told Greg my car was being sluggish when I started it. He said he noticed it too ~ probably the battery. He said we should just get a new one over the weekend and change it out before it totally dies. That weekend came and went. 

Greg decided he didn't want to go out for dinner for his birthday, but wanted to go out on Friday instead. I didn't plan a special meal, thinking we'd go out. So after work I headed to Panda Express. Just like the last few times we went there, the timing was perfect ~ no line. Yea me! Then we got in the car. I started the card. Rrr...... No battery. 

I called Greg...and called...and called. The one phone was off the charger and dead. He didn't hear the only other phone upstairs. After about the 97th call, he heard it. He came to my rescue, then headed to get a new battery. 

After dinner he changed my battery. When I took this picture he was less than amused, but shook his head in the knowing way. Knowing, of course, where this picture would end up. His amusement level quickly deteriorated. What should have been a quick 10 - 20 minute deal ended up taking two hours because the screw on the clamp for one of the terminals was crusted still. He was not thrilled. Finally, it budged loose. He said next time I have to pay the $7.99 and let the boys at Pep Boys do it.

So let's just add #11 to that list of important things. Greg is my knight in shining armor! He comes to this fair maiden's rescue...more than once.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

10 important things about Greg

Happy Birthday, Greg!

To celebrate Greg's awesomeness, let's talk about some important things about him.

  1. Greg is loving. He loves to snuggle the kids and me. You will often find him snuggled up with one or both of the kids while watching television.
  2. Greg is thoughtful. He is always trying to think about others first. He will go out of his way to do something nice for the kids. He helps me out by picking up Heather from daycare sometimes so I can get a little more work done at school before I come home. He will go to the grocery story with me just so I don't have to go alone. He also vacuums, dusts, and cleans the bathrooms if I pick up all the junk.
  3. Greg is smart. He is a whiz at math and can figure anything out! When he decided he wanted to make a website, he taught himself html codes ~ some very tricky ones, too. He goes online to find information or checks out books from the library. He has never gone to college, but is far smarter than some college educated men I have known.
  4. Greg works hard. He puts 100% and more into his job. He takes his job very seriously and wants to be the best example for FedEx that he can be. He has always taken this approach to working. He also takes providing for his family very seriously!
  5. Greg has precise time managment skills (unless he's on the computer). He figures out the most efficient way to complete a task gets to it. This is a handy skill to have working for such a time oriented business!
  6. Greg is funny. He is always making me laugh. Of course we have pretend arguments about which one of us is funnier (really, it's me him me him). He believes that fun and laughter are essiential parts of a happy family.
  7. Greg is a believer. This is important to me because I could not have married a man who did not believe in God and who didn't have the same value system as me.
  8. Greg doesn't like vegetables. He is very much a meat and potatoes guy. He does like corn and green beans. He does enjoy a salad, but no tomatoes or anything vegetable-like on it besides lettuce and carrots. But go ahead and load up on the meat and cheese. Since I have known him, he has found out that he likes a broccoli salad that I make. In any other application, however, he's not a fan of broccoli.
  9. Greg doesn't like to be hot. This is not always convenient for a FedEx guy in the middle of the summer, but he likes work that keeps him moving around. We keep our house very cool. You might want to bring a sweater.
  10. Greg is supportive. I've had many ideas over the years ~ some good ones and some half-baked. He gives me his opinion about matters, but in the long run he supports me even when he thinks I'm absolutely nuts. In our old house I wanted to paint the guest bath navy blue for a celestial theme. He helped me. (Turned out way cute, by the way.) When we were newly engaged, he bought me my own scroll saw because I took an interest in tole painting and wanted to cut my own wood. He's my biggest reality check and my biggest cheer leader.

I'm so glad we both ended up at Edee's birthday party eleven years ago. My life has been blessed and enriched beyond measure from knowing this man. He is my soul-mate and my rock. Thanks, honey, for being you!

Monday, July 14, 2008

new boss

Remember I told you my principal accepted another position in the district? Traitor. Anyway, we've had an interim principal and our lovely assistant principal for the last several weeks. Today our new principal started. I was all nervous and my belly was tied up in knots this morning. Would I like her? Would she like me? Would she someday know our staff as well as CA had known us? I had no idea how much CA knew about me until I realized she had probably orchestrated some events that led me to lead some trainings in the midst of me having this strange new fear of speaking in front of a group of adults. I had no idea she realized what a perfectionist I am until she teased me (nicely, because there is no mean about her) about it at the beginning of this year. When CA announced she would be leaving our school, I was heart-broken and cried when she personally told my class before track break. I was unsure of what was to come, but I made a conscious decision to accept this with an open mind and make the best of what would come. Change can be a positive force, and I am determined to accept its gifts. The new principal may come in and shake things up. But just because it's not the way CA did things, it doesn't mean it's wrong. 

This morning the staff was gathered in the library to meet the new principal. She walked in, laughed, and said something funny about us all staring at her. The next few words that flowed out of her mouth in her southern lilt, including the word y'all, put me at full ease. There is something about her that is immensely familiar. There is something about her manner that tells me this change is going to be all right. This change just might be fun.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

new outfits

The kids wore new outfits to church this morning ~ partly made by Mommy.

The idea was to take a pair of jeans or shorts that were too short, but still fit in the waist and create something they could still wear. Then to pull it all together, applique something on a nice white tee. That way I could make that pair of pants last just a little while longer with a new life. That was the idea. I had no problem finding a pair of pants from last winter that still fit Heather up top but were decidedly high-waters. Stephanie? No such luck. I ended up buying her a pair of shorts to cut off and sew the skirt onto. Oh well, it's cute anyway. 

Originally, I thought I might have made Heather's too short, with the layers being too skinny. I thought I might have miscalculated the math. Hey, it's been known to happen! So I added some to the measurement of Stephanie's ruffles. That may have been too much. But at the rate that child gets taller, I don't think I'll be sorry it ended up longer.

breakfast on the patio

Yesterday Heather wanted to eat breakfast on the patio to enjoy the overcast day. Stephanie didn't want to join her, so she went out all by herself. She looked so peaceful as she ate and kept an eye on things in the back yard ~ you know, birds and such ~ and reported errant sprinklers to Daddy.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

home again, home again

Our sweet girl is home again! 

They had the kids call when they were about 45 minutes away from church. Stephanie couldn't remember my cell phone number (huh?) and called home. I was still at school doing lesson plans. Luckily, Greg was home a little early and got the message. They ended up coming home about an hour and a half earlier than originally expected. So we raced to pick up Heather and over to the church. We pulled into the church parking lot just a couple cars in front of the buses. I tell you what, I thought I was going to start crying right then and there as we stopped and waved at all the busses as they passed us.

Then we all stormed the doors of the buses, trying to be patient and civilized, while forming one line to request our child and show our id. As several of the parents in front of me received and hugged their child, I got that choked up lump in my throat again. Geez! What an embarrassing mom I am! Then it was my turn. Hallelujah! 

Stephanie was so very excited to see us! Her sunburned little self had so much to tell us. I had to many questions to ask. She's not done telling her stories, but from what I can tell, she had an awesome time. I asked her if she wanted to go again next year and she hollered yes!

We can all breathe a sigh of relief that she is back.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

just one more thing

to keep me from the dishes! Oh my! I swear a bomb went off in my kitchen. That can be the only reasonable explanation because I have been so on top of those dishes lately.

Anyway, I just finished this little beauty and listed her on Etsy. You can find the listing here. Do you know a 4T girl who can't live without this?

I bought the shirt and pair of shorts and just added embellishments to the shirt and ruffles to the shorts.

beach post ~ hosted by heather

Hi, this is Heather. It was fun going to the beach house. I had a good time.

What was the best part about the beach?

Going in the waves. When I go in the waves, I go, like, whoa. It's so strong.

Was the water cold?


How was the sand?

It was dry and soaky. When I stick my hand in the ocean, I found a sand crab that sticked onto my thumb. It was gross and kind of hard.

What do you think of the sand crabs?

They creep me out.

When the wave comes up your feet start sinking into the sand. Well, they don't go all the way. It just goes a little bit.

What's in your hand?

A clam, a shell, or maybe something. I found a clam by myself.

Ben and I were digging to see what we could get. See there's a wave? The water comes at you.

I like to run from the waves. Me and Megan. 

We were helping each other find sand crabs and sea shells and clams. We had a good time.

Aunt Wendy and I were standing in front of a big wave. It was kind of scary because we were standing in front of it. I went out far with Aunt Wendy.

We went on a ferry. We got to drive our car onto the boat. We got to go outside the car and take some pictures (no ferry pics here). The boat ride is just called the ferry.

where's waldo

The leaders at camp have been kind enough to post blog entries and hotline messages about the camp activities. Since we really are not expected to hear from Stephanie, except in a case of extreme homesickness, it is nice to get updates. I can't imagine how my mom let me go to camp all those years with no updates since it was not expected I would call home. She was probably secretly calling the camp to check on me!

Along with the updates were a couple of pictures. Stephanie is in both of them. Can you find her? We've cropped them some to make it easier for you. To see the pictures larger, just click on them.

If you can't find her, I will give you a hint later. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

sweet dreams

In the past when one of the kids was away for the night at some sleepover or the other, we let the one still with us camp out in our room with her sleeping bag. Actually, sleeping bag camp outs is a normal weekend habit for the kids on at least one of the nights. It was nearing Heather's bed time and Greg was nowhere finished with the computer (sorry, no beach post tonight), so I sent her in my room to lay in my bed. She asked if she could read a book. Sure! Number one: who am I to say no to the love of reading. She had just finished reading a different Biscuit book to me and declared she loved Biscuit. It's easy to love a book when you know all the words. Number two: I knew she wouldn't last 10 minutes with the combination of our comfy bed, being tired, and the enchanting, cross-eyed dance of words on the page in combination of the first two. 

Sure enough, I found her like this. Notice her thumb is still holding her place. She probably just thought she would rest her eyes just a minute and finish reading the rest. I've made that mistake a time or two myself.

She will never even realize when we scootch her down to her sleeping bag.

Monday, July 7, 2008

there was gonna be

a beach post hosted by Heather this evening. But we watched a movie tonight and as soon as it was over she fell asleep on the couch. I asked her if she still wanted to blog. She said yes, followed me upstairs, then lay down on the floor and went back to sleep. You'll just have to wait until tomorrow ~ the girl needs her beauty sleep because her mommy kept her out past nap time doing all kinds of dropping Stephanie off, eating lunch with daddy, and shopping stuff in the blazing, hell-fire heat. 

minus one ~ again

Yesterday, Heather came home from the beach, making our house whole once again. This morning, I sent Stephanie off to camp. Once again, the balance of the Robinson household is disrupted.

Stephanie has never been out of town without us before. Not only is she without us, she is without anyone she knows really well. Even though Stephanie has been going to church for years and always at the same time, she has not made any lasting friendships for some reason. She doesn't even seem to know the leaders that well. I have been stretched to my mommy limit last week and this week. We have allowed our children room to spread their wings and experience new things. I recognize and understand their need to experience some things in life without us standing by so close. This understanding does not make the separation comfortable for me. 

I started going to camp when I was only a few years older than Stephanie and went to camps well into my twenties. I loved the camp experience. I know she will be enriched beyond belief. I know she will form bonds with girls her age in a way that could not be made elsewhere. I know she will form attachments to her counselors and leaders who will supply solid positive examples of who she will strive to be in life. I know that children need as many positive examples as possible to figure out who they want to be.

But I will miss her. Just like I missed Heather last week.

Stephanie is showing me how crazy excited she is to go to camp. 

Stephanie's counselor is a 17 year-old named Taylor. She is very enthusiastic! She is involved in theater at school. Stephanie warmed up to her immediately (so did Heather). Stephanie also started making a new friend at the group table while the kids waited to board the buses. Whew! We were a little worried about her going off to camp with no buddies to hang out with. But she is turning out far braver than Greg and I ever felt we were!

When it was just about time to go, she gave Heather and me hugs and kisses. She thanked me for letting her go to camp. She shed not a tear. I watched her get on the bus and stood waiting for it to pull away. I cried a little behind my sunglasses. Heather said she cried too.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

there's no place like home

Heather is home from the beach and back in her hat again. I heard the car drive up and waited at the door. As soon as Heather saw me she kept saying, "Mommy" over and over again and gave me huge hugs. Then she saw Greg and said, "Daddy" over and over again while she hugged him. Then she started crying. She told Greg she was crying because she was so happy.

All is well with the world. The balance has been restored.

Tomorrow I will let Heather help me write a post about her beach trip.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

a day off

What did you do with your day off courtesy of our Founding Fathers?

Greg woke up early & went to The Depot to get some screen for some plants that are having a hard time with this summer sun. He took Stephanie along. He had my camera with him since he took pictures of the plant victims. Apparently Stephanie was in charge of holding the camera.

She got a picture of Daddy doing some comparison shopping.

What's with these plants? Does she want these for the back yard?

And a self-portrait. I told her I saw the pictures she took with my camera. She said, "Yeah, I was bored." 

They came home to get me to go Best Buy. They reason they came to get me is because I sweet-talked my way into a trip to Joann's while they were in that neck of the woods. I was taking too long browsing for material for my apron swap for their liking so they walked to Best Buy without me. 

When we came home there was lunch, general laziness, and naps. After our naps we went to Suzanne and Dustin's to swim, have a BBQ, and watch fireworks.

it's her hat

Heather has this winter beanie hat that she wears at the oddest times. Remember this?

Sometimes she wears it when she and Stephanie are playing dress up. Sometimes she puts it on after a shower, with her jammies & robe. She just enjoys wearing this hat.

Thursday night I walk up the stairs to find Greg sitting at the computer with Heather's hat on. I said, "Hi, Heather." He told me Stephanie just said the same thing to him minutes earlier.

Stephanie fell asleep on the couch. Greg was still wearing the hat when he woke her up to go to bed.

Stephanie stole the hat. They've been fighting over it all weekend.