Sunday, September 28, 2008

a new bike and a tattle

Grandma and Papa took Stephanie shopping for a new bike last Sunday. She's pretty much outgrown her old one. She got a really fun Mongoose bike with a new helmet.

This one doesn't have foot brakes like her old one. I think she was a little bit nervous about this. We prepared her for the inevitable fall. The inevitable never happened that afternoon. Whew!

She whizzed up and down our street like a pro, loving her new bike. 

Then ~ somebody else wanted a turn.

Oooo! I'm tellin'! Aunt Wendy and her unborn child hopped on Stephanie's bike for a test spin around the cul de sac. Of course, Greg click-clicked away with the camera for bloggy evidence. We told her she was going to get in so much trouble when Chris saw these on the internet. Apparently she went right home and confessed her wayward self...but no pictures showed up this week because I got behind. She told me today that she confessed for nothing. Well, not just for nothing, Wendy. I'm late, but here they are on the internet! Good thing you confessed.

I think Gavin rather liked his bike ride.

And so did his mother. It's hard to keep Wendy off things with wheels ~ bikes, scooters, 4-wheelers, big girl trucks ~ you name it, she loves it.

And here are the artistic race car driverish shots. Or maybe Wendy is doing an Oakley ad.

About 6 o'clock, Paulette said it was time for them to go ~ after all, it was 6 o'clock and she hadn't eaten dinner yet. Then I made some sassy comment it must be past the Senior Dinner Hour. She likes to eat so stinkin' early! I'm not thinking  I scored any Cool Daughter-in-Law points on that one. There goes another award. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

lunching with the little lady

After church on Sunday, we met at Olive Garden for Stephanie's family birthday lunch. We were thinking that most of the family does not want to be a part of the all-girl slumber party that will be taking place this Friday, so a birthday lunch was in order.

What else do you need besides the good company of family, some hearty pasta, a birthday song, and an ice cream sundae?

Duh? Presents!

Hey, what is it?

Oh, geez! Not the box within a box trick! Jim and Tona used to do that to Greg and Wendy all the time. I've heard stories about especially brutal instances when a screwdriver was required to unscrew many screws on the wooden box to get to the next box inside.

Wishes do come true! This girl has been wanting an ipod for over a year. We decided to give in and get her her very own hot pink Nano.

Grateful does not describe the bone crushing hug and ear piercing squeals I got.

This is Heather's P-L-E-A-S-E face when she asked me if she can have an ipod when she turns nine. What was my answer? Well of course, the usual ~ "We'll see." Come on! I think Rule #57 of Parenthood is not to give in easily. Rule #65 is to not show all your cards at once.

Stephanie had a great lunch. Then she headed out with Grandma & Papa to go bike shopping and with Aunt Wendy for a birthday shopping spree. Nah ~ she's not spoiled or anything.

10 important things about Stephanie

Stephanie is turns NINE today. It seems like just yesterday this sweet girl came into the world and made me a mother. Here's 10 things you should know about Stephanie.
  1. Stephanie is sensitive. She cried at the end of Monsters, Inc. when she was only 3 years old. She is concerned about others' feelings and wants to comfort them when they need it. She is very in tune to my feelings especially, even when I don't say anything to her.

  2. Stephanie is smart. She does very well in school and is a good problem solver. She reads above grade level and catches on to new concepts quickly.

  3. Stephanie is a performer. Although small crowds of watchful eyes make her nervous, she is very comfortable on the stage. She has shown that she is a natural with her drama club and dancing.

  4. Stephanie is quiet. Although this seems quite contradictory to #3, she likes to quietly assess a new situation before completely joining in on the action. She is careful with her first actions.

  5. Stephanie is a snuggler. Sleeping, watching a movie, in church ~ she is happiest when she is snuggling someone she loves.

  6. Stephanie is the very best big sister. Being a big sister means lots of looking out for her little sister. She takes this role seriously and most times seems glad to do it. She looks out for Heather's best interests and teaches her things.

  7. Stephanie is fair. Although kids can selfish at times, she is generally interested in fairness. She wants all of her friends to get along. She wants everyone to have an equal turn. She worries about whether or not her different groups of friends will be able to mix with ease.

  8. Stephanie is a leader. When she is part of a group, she sees what needs to be done and takes on a leadership role. Heather sometimes interprets this as being bossy.

  9. Stephanie is a sleeper. She has boundless energey while awake, but this girl needs her beauty sleep! Given an opportunity, she will still sleep 12 hours at night. She is a bear to wake up. She also prefers to stay up late (like me) and then sleep late (like Greg).

  10. Stephanie has perseverance. She has shown this most clearly with all the dental work she has gone through so far. She complains about the contraptions in her mouth very little. If she says something is bothering her, it really is. She has been told she cannot have gum countless times, but still tries to have a good attitude. (And she still tries to get us to say 'yes' about the gum. No way, kid.)
Happy Birthday, sweetheart. Thank you for being in our lives. We are blessed beyond measure.

she does math in her sleep

I stayed up later than Greg and the kids tonight to make cupcakes for Stephanie's class tomorrow. The kids were snuggling with Greg in our bed and they all fell asleep. A couple of times I heard someone talking well after I knew they'd gone to sleep. I wondered which of the girls was talking in her sleep.

I got hooked on my book, as usual, and just now went in there to coax them to their beds. When I tried to wake Heather enough to walk she opened her eyes and fixed her glassy stare past me. Then she whispered, "Zero."

I'm guessing she was the sleep-talker. I'm also guessing she's doing some math right about now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

catch me if you can

Look at these! A little bit out of the box for me, don't you think. Afterall, they aren't all white. Or they aren't all white with a little pink on them. I think they're pretty cool.

So about 270 months ago, I bought a Nike sportband with the hopes of getting it in gear and keeping track of my walking. Not that I was doing any walking at the time. But I was going to start. Honest. I somehow failed to realize that I really did have to have the special shoes to put the sensor inside. I thought I could just slip it into my regular walking shoe. Not so much. It hurt and didn't even work. Slip it in the cuff of my sock? Not that either.

Frustrated I repackaged it to send back for a refund. And there it sat. For 269 months. I never sent it back. Now my window of opportunity was up. Crap! Oh, I know! I'll just sell it on eBay. I won't get the full amount for it, but I'm thinking something is better than nothing. Still it sat.

On Labor Day weekend we were in a shoe store getting new P.E. shoes for Stephanie. I found the Nike display and started eye-balling the shoes. They weren't as expensive as I thought they would be for the shoe for the neat little compartment to hold the sensor. And look at these! So cute! Greg asked and found out that we were still the proud owner of a Nike sportband. After a few eye rolls (which I probably deserved) he told me I'd just better get the shoes.

Tonight I went on my first walk with them ~ after dark. That's ok, don't worry, I took Heather with me for protection. You know, safety in numbers. We walked 1.06 miles in 24 minutes. Heather counted 24 crickets. That averages to a cricket a minute. Two dogs barked at us from behind their fences. All in all it was a good walk.

flag ceremony

Time again for flag ceremony. Every class gets a turn to lead flag ceremony outside on Fridays at school. This past Friday, Stephanie's class had their turn. Her teacher asked who wanted to be speakers. From those people, she drew names. Stephanie was one of the three lucky winners. Her buddy Tyler was another lucky winner. Except for 3rd grade, Tyler and Stephanie have been in the same class since kindergarten. Isn't he so dang cute!

Stephanie told me that Tyler was supposed to announce the song their class was singing, but didn't want to hold the mic during the song. No worries. Our little performer is very comfortable with a microphone in hand. So Stephanie held it and went to town. Their teacher had them do some swaying in one part. Stephanie was a real natural. On the beat and on tune, too. You could tell she was really enjoying herself.

And finally, the school song. She still did all the hand motions while holding that mic. 

Great job, Stephanie!

Friday, September 19, 2008

i say to-may-to, you say to-mah-to

Tonight was a fend-for-yourself dinner night. As I was making macaroni and cheese for Greg, who clearly got the "for yourself" part mixed up, I thought about noodles. We have vast differing opinions on lots of foods. I like lots of different foods (see my hips) and he is picky. We also have vast differing opinions on noodles.

I like my noodles al dente. I do not like smushy noodles. I can't eat smushy noodles. For me this falls into the category of soggy bread. Don't even get me started on soggy bread! Ugh, I'm gagging just thinking about it. Greg, however, claims I don't actually cook noodles. He says they are crunchy. Not true. They are al dente ~ the way a noodle should be cooked. He shuns al dente. He likes his very well cooked. Smushy. Ew, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth!

So, when I cook macaroni and cheese for just him, he gets his noodles cooked longer than the box says and he gets the Velveeta kind. Gross. But that's the way he likes it. I'm not eating it, so he can have what he wants. When I cook for the whole family, we get al dente.

He is smart enough to eat what the cook is cooking. He says Grandpa Smith taught him that piece of wisdom.

going to the nut house

The other day I was teasing my students that they were driving me crazy and I was going to have to go away to the Nut House. Of course, they asked me what the Nut House is. I told them it's the place were they send people after they've gone crazy. I also told them that they really don't want me to go the Nut House because the sub they send for teachers who are in the Nut House is always the mean sub. One of the boys, we'll just call him Squirmy, told me that he'd go the Nut House with me. I just smiled at him and said, "You will? That's sweet." I didn't have the heart to tell him that he is one of the main reasons I may be headed that way!

I'll have to tell you more about Squirmy some other time. Right now I'm too exhausted from saying his name 87,000 times a day and watching him be utterly out of control of his actions.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

you don't bring me flowers

Nope. But Squeaky Clean does bring me dandelions regularly. One of the other teachers commented in front of him that I must be the luckiest teacher to receive flowers so regularly. Yup! I am. He beamed.

Yesterday he said, "I love you" as he gave me a hug.

Monday, September 15, 2008

in need of a cut

Do you notice anything odd here? Look closely.

There's a spot of grass that is longer than the rest. Saturday I was working on a small spray paint project. I started in the back yard, then Greg said he was going to mow the grass. So I moved it to the front yard. I told him if he was going to mow the front to tell me & I'd move it again. 

He mowed the front.

He didn't tell me to move it. He didn't move it himself.

He just mowed around it. 

I thought that was pretty funny.

When I asked him why he didn't tell me or move it himself he said I must have seen him mowing (I was sewing in the front room) so why didn't I move it.

So now there's a patch of grass that needs a cut. 

Oh, well. It'll keep until the next time.

This is why I'm not allowed to spray paint on the rocks. I had paper down, but I also had a little over spray. It will be gone with the next mowing.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

hello stranger

It's been a while since we've spent time together.  I've missed you.

It's been ages since I heard your quiet, yet steady, hum.

Well, alright, it's only been since school has started. Still, I find it completely unacceptable that I haven't spent time with either my sewing machine or any of my other crafts in such a while.

Grandma Smith asked me if I wanted to have a table at her community craft fair in October. I have never had my own table anywhere before. I'm worried about how I'll do. Will they like my stuff? Will I make the right stuff? Will I have enough variety? Will I have enough duplicates? Years ago, Tona had a craft boutique at her house and I put my tole painting stuff in. That was different because all of my stuff was all mixed in with the other stuff. This time it will be just my stuff on table. Yikes!

That said...I'd better get busy, right? So I have enough stuff. Talking about it won't produce it!

So I made two things yesterday in between blogging, going to the Depot with Greg, and something else, I'm sure. 

I made this cute skirt set. It's a 3T. I didn't actually make the tee, but sewed the applique on it. I did make the skirt. From scratch. No pattern.

I'm pretty dang proud of this one! I used the denim shorts I altered for Gianna's birthday for some of the measurements for size. I checked out a tutorial online on how to make my own bias tape for the bottom. Then I decided on some measurements and got started. Once I got the bias tape thing figured out, the rest was easy.

And I whipped up another journal cover. It gets easier every time I make one. 

Today Stephanie and I went to a couple of quilt stores to look for some fun fabric that Joann's doesn't seem to have. I liked the first store well enough. But when I got to the second store I wished I had gone there first and not spent as much money as I did at the first one.  I was only there about 20 minutes because it was closing time. I will go back to that one for sure! 

I got talked into making some Halloween place mats for the kids. First it was just a coaster, then it turned into place mats and a coaster. Sheesh! I'll let you know how that turns out. It better turn out pretty soon considering October is just around the corner. Shh. Don't tell anyone, but I might still have the 4th of July decorations up. Or I might not. Can't really say.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

make yourself famous

You didn't know I was featured in an art gallery, did you?

Or the kids? Fashion models in a bustling city.

And Greg? Well, he is larger than life with a spotlight for all to see.

You can make yourself famous too by going here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

infatuated with jane

Monday the kids and I were driving to dance class when Greg called. In the background, he heard Jane telling me where to turn. He mentioned that she had a very nice voice over the phone. Yes, her voice is even and calm. She doesn't scold you when you purposefully make an errant turn just to see if she can recalculate your route. She doesn't get impatient when you choose to take a slightly different route that she prescribed. (She apparently doesn't know the back-road way to church.) When I called Greg after dance to tell him we were headed home, he mentioned her smooth voice again. I think the man may be indeed infatuated with Jane. That's ok, she can't cook so I know this romance won't go very far!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

an addition to our family

We've been talking about this for a few years now. When would be the right time? When would the situation be right? When could we afford to? We have thought about it, prayed about it, and discussed it. We thought we might still wait a few months, but things sometimes work out earlier than planned. So, we have finally decided now is the right time. Not sure about affording it, but when can you really be so sure of that?

Oh, you people are horrible!

I know what kind of conclusion you are recklessly jumping to. 

You should be ashamed of yourself!

If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times (don't you hate that phrase?) that we are only having two children! We are not talking about a new baby here, so don't get your heart all in a flutter.

What we are talking about is a new car!

Well, I guess Phoebe is our new baby. We decided it was time. The miles on our Expedition were running dangerously close to 100,000. Each time we test drove a car the salesman asked us if it was over 100,000 like if it were that would be worse than spreading the plague across America.

Phoebe is a 2009 Scion. Amazingly, the 2008 and the 2009 models were exactly the same price! This color only came in the 2009 model. She's cute. She's funky. She's just a little bit out of the box for us. Not what most people would expect us to come rolling up in. She gets way better gas mileage. 

She's not quite complete. The DVD players in the headrests for the kids are backordered. The dealership also owes us new rims that will be put on when we get the new headrests. The price of the car was so economical, we were able to add a few bells and whistles. We were also able to add a navigational system to the car. Her name is Jane. She will never let me get lost (not like I'm worried about getting lost). In her very calm voice, she guides us to our next destination. 

I'm taller than my car again! I really did love the bigness of the Expedition, but I'm also loving the smallness of Phoebe. The kids think she's pretty cool. I'm getting some Cool Mom Points by driving them around in this one. Lord knows, I will need to rack up all the Cool Mom Points I can. Heather has already asked if she can have Phoebe when she is old enough to drive. Yeah, sure, let's get that in writing that you will want a 10-year old car when you are sixteen. Hopefully this car will retain it's coolness factor. She said she wants Jane around so she knows where to go. 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

mountain mama

Last Friday, Greg called me at work to tell me he had gotten off work early. He was well-rested and had plans for our weekend. The first order of the weekend was dinner out on Friday night. Woohoo! Mexican food, at that. My favorite. Sign me up for that excursion.

His next order of fun was a hike in the mountains on Saturday morning with a cold-chicken picnic. Whoa! I'm all for that cold-chicken picnic ~ but hiking? Me? Have you seen my athletic proweress? No, that's right, I didn't think so. Nevertheless, I am a good sport and agreed to it. Afterall, we needed some cooler, more refreshing air in our lungs, right?

Saturday was an overcast day. Perfect. The temps in the mountains were cooler. The kids must have thought we were suddenly transported to the Arctic Circle because they insisted they wear their jackets. 

The kids wanted to climb just about every boulder we passed. Once on top of the boulder, they insisted on having their picture taken. Camera hogs!

There was quite a lot of waiting for Mommy as I was draggin' my wagon up the mountain. Sometimes Greg and Stephanie went further ahead, then stopped to wait. Heather was my constant companion, usually no more than a few steps ahead of me. Greg assured me we were in no real hurry ~ we could go slow and stop as much as we wanted. This made the hike so much better because even though I needed to stop and catch my breath (a lot) the kids got to stop and look at things without us pushing them along to get somewhere. So much of our days are spent hurrying on to the next thing. They don't always get time to stop and touch the rocks.

Not far into the hike, they decided the jackets were too much afterall. Oh, I tell you we are such city girls. They wanted to climb onto this log that laid across a ditch. I wanted to let them. But they were unpracticed in log climbing and I cringed the whole time they were balancing their way to the middle. 

Whew! They made it. 

This hike was really no big deal for the FedEx guy. Me? Yeah, check out that red face! 

We found a small spring with just about a trickle of water. At other times of the year, this is actually a flowing creek. The kids had a ball traipsing along this path that was under and over logs and back around.

Greg had a good time photographing the beauties of nature.

As we neared the canyon we were headed towards, the hike got more and more interesting. No longer was it a trail, but more of an obstacle course. There were lots of rocks and logs to navigate.

Almost there! This is were we almost stopped. We were in a canyon and it looked like it might rain. Getting caught in the rain in a canyon is not a very smart thing. We had decided to make this the end. But while we were taking these pictures, the sky cleared up a bit and we decided to go a little further.  

Apparently we were much closer to the goal than we thought, because just around the corner was the "slide" we were looking for. This "slide" was made from years of rushing water during the spring snow melt. It is just big enough for some kid booty. They climbed up the backside and slid down it over and over. 

What a gorgeous view. All of the mountain views during our hike were breath taking. And of course, the scents! As soon as we got out of the car at the beginning of our hike, I was taken back to my childhood days of going to camp. Stephanie and I agreed that it smelled exactly like camp.

Bye-bye, canyon. We weren't going to press our luck too long in the canyon on an overcast day.

Can you believe on our way out of the canyon we found a mermaid singing on a rock? I know. Completely amazing. I think she's much prettier than Ariel! This mermaid insisted we take her picture as she sang.

On our way down the mountain we found this little cave area with "rain" coming from the moss. Very cool.

The hike was 1.8 miles one-way. About a half a mile into the hike, Heather found a big rock she wanted to take to school and share with her class. We talked her into putting it by the side and getting it on the way back down. Stephanie later found a pocket-size rock that was just as cool for Heather to take. We didn't think Heather would actually find the rock on the way down ~ we were thinking she'd forget about it, even. Nope. Not only did she remember she was supposed to look for her rock, she actually found it. We told her she had to carry it. She did for a little bit, then turned to me and said in a quiet voice that she wanted to share the little rock with her classmates. Yeah, that's what I thought.

When we reached the car, we were ready for that cold chicken and some cold drinks. We tried to find a picnic area, but didn't want to pay the $7 to get in the gate. So we found a nice little area to park, put the back seats down, and ate in the back of the car. I think that may have been more fun than a picnic table! All of a sudden we were feeling full and drowsy. We decided to take a little nap in the back of the car too! So we closed the doors and snuggled up the best we could with jackets for pillows and rested. Stephanie didn't fall asleep, but the rest of us did. After about half an hour, we headed down the mountain toward home.

What a great day! The kids had a blast, which made it all the more fun for Greg and me. It was so nice not to worry about anything except what was going on at the moment.