Sunday, May 31, 2009

why oh why

I love Dr. Pepper! I've had a love affair with the Dr. for many, many years. I drink it first thing in the morning and just before going to bed. Don't forget all the hours in between. My students tease me year after year about being a Pepper. I'm a Pepper. Of course, they probably don't know the jingle.

And now there's Dr. Pepper Cherry (not to be confused with the cherry vanilla which it totally gross). Equally as delicious. It tastes like someone opened my DP and poured maraschino cherry juice in it. Lovely.

So, tell me why is soda up to $5 and more a 24-pack these days. Why? Highway robbery! Greg's beloved Pepsi is just as high. Are people really paying that price? Cuz I tell you, we are not.

We've been forced over to the dark side ~ the side of Big K. That's right, you heard me don't make me repeat it. Sniff. Greg drinks Drop Red (some highly caffeine-infused cherry thing) and I'm clutching a Dr. K. We are protesting by only buying the brand name sodas when they are the same price (or lower) as their step-brothers and sisters.

Here we sit...waiting...for the price to come down so I can be a Pepper again.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

you could be a winner

You can enter this contest, but don't be too disappointed when I win and you don't! Camille over at Simplify is giving away these two jelly rolls of fabric she designed ~ Simple Abundance. You can't see how lovely the fabric is when it's all jelly rolled up here. Go over to her blog ~ she has a link to her fabric. I have some of her Cotton Blossom fabric that I am hoarding at the moment. I have plans for it, but don't want to cut into it just yet. Anyway, go check out her giveaway. Still. I'm gonna win.

inquiring minds want to know

Well, two minds are inquiring. Here are your answers.

Danny & Paulette want to know:

How old are you?
Well, I celebrate the anniversary of my 29th birthday every year.

Is it true that your husband can do anything (McGyver)?
Absolutely true! Soon after we first met Greg asked me if I wanted coach lights installed by the garage because he felt the front of my house was too dark and not so safe. I hesitantly said yes and started thinking about whether or not I had enough money to pay a professional to fix the mess he was bound to make. You see, the last guy I was with would have totally screwed that up! So I chewed my nails the whole time. The result? Pretty coach lights that looked like they were part of the original construction. Since then he has done countless projects and fix-it jobs. Never disappointing. So, anytime I need something constructed or fixed, I know I can count on him. The only thing different about Greg and McGyver is that Greg insists on doing the right way. No rig jobs for this guy!

Can we go to the park? (Heather question)
Nope. Too hot now. Check with me in late September.

Is Bruce Wayne really Batman?
I've been to the Bat Cave. I could tell you what you want to know, but then I'd have to turn you into a bat.

Can you stand on your head?
Mustard!? Don't let's be silly!

At what point did you become uninterested in my questions?
Huh? Oh, sorry. I think I might have drifted off there for a minute!

Which Disney character is your fave?
Um, that would Honestly, I don't know. I like so many for their different qualities. Greg Goofy is up there of course because he's just so, well, goofy. Tinkerbell is so cute and packs a wallop of spunk. Mickey is the ever faithful friend. I had a prom dress reminiscent of the lovely Cinderella. Don't make me pick!

How long is half of eternity?
Shorter than a day with 2nd graders!

Hopefull wants to know:

What state to you live in?
Now that depends. I alternately live in several states, but typically I'm in a state of confusion mixed with a little denial!

What is your best fam vacation?
We haven't been to too many places as a family. We repeat a lot. Every year we go to Disneyland, which really is the happiest place on earth. On longer California trips we have included Sea World. We also visit my brother and his cute family. We want to broaden our vacation horizons, but funds always seem to be an issue.

Greg and I went to Seattle on our honeymoon. Loved it there. We were also fortunate to be able to go Alaska two summers in a row (no kids). We are convinced we'd like to spend our summers in Alaska when we retire.

What is your favorite restaurant?
I LOVE Mexican food so my favorites there include Macayo's, Chevy's, and Baja Fresh. I'm pretty sure I can eat Mexican food every day. Outback and Macaroni Grill are also high on my favorites list.

Do you tent camp?
We have a tent and all the supplies that go with it. We went tent camping once when Stephanie was about a year and a half old. It was Memorial Day weekend. When we got to the campsite we found out the ground was still frozen and the water was not running. (We don't totally rough it.) No matter, we came prepared with lots of water. The day was so pretty and we had a nice time in the mountains. Night fell and it was time to go to sleep. It was a little chilly. I brought what I thought was the appropriate amount of blankets, but didn't realize we were going to be dealing with Arctic temperatures! We froze. We took Stephanie out of her pack-n-play & put her in between us so our body heat would keep her warm. We used everything we could find as a blanket, including Stephanie's blankets. It was miserable.

The next day, it was lovely again. We should have gone home, but we thought with such a pretty day the Arctic chill couldn't possibly be repeated. Except it was. About four in the morning we risked waking the other campers when we started Greg's truck, threw the camping supplies and unpacked tent in the back and high-tailed it home.

We haven't been tent camping since. Kinda scared.

Funny, you should ask this, though because when we were just at Wendy & Chris' house this past weekend, the subject of camping came up and we all said we want to take a big family camping trip this year. I will take every blanket we own!

Do your girls do chores? with chart?
The short answer is yes and no.

The long answer? I am not a disciplined housekeeper. I was not given chores, to speak of, as a child and was never really taught how to take care of a house. I learned everything I know by observation. That said, it's hard for me to instill the discipline of chores in my girls. I try. We have charts and they have their assigned duties. They are enthusiastic about it and check off their chores for about two or three weeks, then it all falls by the wayside. Then I just ask them to do things (which are mostly their assigned chores). We've even tried giving them an allowance based on the chores they complete. Agh! Just a lot to keep track of!

So there you have it! Everything you were dying to know.

Friday, May 29, 2009

something fluffy

I'm testing this chair out where the new *old* chairs will be. They are halfway finished. I just need to spend some quality time on the back porch with a paint brush.

Meanwhile, these beauties are in the shop. They are waiting for you. Come on. I'm in love with these fabrics. I've been toying with the idea of these fabrics for valences for the living room. What do you think?

This one is so sweet!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

soggy when wet

The weekend before last was spent doing science fair projects and tackling Mt. Laundry. Let me tell you, this was all we could handle in one small weekend! I gave up control of neatly folded and put away laundry ~ this is a big step for me people. I made the kids fold and put away all their own laundry. It's good for them even though their drawers aren't as neat as I prefer. I'll just keep repeating that until I'm convinced.

Anyway, back to the science.

Heather tested the absorbency of three brand of paper towels. She colored the water (not necessary, but fun), soaked the towel for three minutes, then measured the amount of water left over.

She tested Viva, Bounty, and Target brand. Guess which one absorbed the most. Most people have guessed Bounty. I guess their advertising dollar has been well-spent. Nope, Bounty came in last. Viva was the most absorbent, followed by Target brand. Grandma will be pleased since Viva is her favorite. Still, I'm not paying that much. Target brand is fine for us!

Heather insisted I take this picture for her board. It looks like...well, never mind.

Stephanie tested the saturation of various sands & soils. We took her to the rock place close to our house and she had a nice discussion with the office lady as she helped Stephanie gather her samples. The lady was very helpful and seemed excited that Stephanie would choose this project.

Stephanie carefully measured and weighed her soil samples, water, and soggy soil. We bought the kids these graduated cylinders to make their measuring easier and more precise.

Stephanie tested 8 products. The lawn mix had the least amount of run-off. You can be confident purchasing this for your brand new grass seed ~ hmm, we did.

After hours of testing, computer work, and board prep, their boards turned out really well. Stephanie gave her class presentation yesterday. Her teacher complimented her because she spoke loudly & clearly, and did not face her board while she was speaking.

Heather also presented her board to her class. Science fair projects are not required for grades 1 and 2 ~ merely optional. She was the only one in her class who did one.

I'm so proud of these monkeys! They worked really hard on their projects.

Oh, and check out the cute bandanna skirts they are wearing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

just ask me

In the interest of future lively blogs, I'm inviting you to ask your questions. Ask what you wonder. Ask what you've wanted to for all this time. Ask the mundane. Ask the extraordinary. Ask away. And because I'm vain like that, your questions should be in regards to me (or my family) rather than politics, world affairs, or other things I pretend don't exist. In return I will give you an answer to what you ask. It may or may not be the truth, but it will be and answer.

Go ahead. Bring yourself out of lurkdome ~ all two of you. Ask. If you don't ask, you might never know!

Speaking of truth, that reminds me of a game/ice breaker that I've played before. It's called 2 Truths and a Lie. Maybe we'll play that later on. Maybe there will be prizes.

You could end up knowing more about me than you ever really wanted!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

invite me to your bbq & you will likely become blog fodder

Grandma Smith's nephew & his wife are in town, so we had a bbq at Greg's aunt Kathy's house. This was this season's swim debut for the kids. They were oh so eager to put on the new suits the Easter Bunny gave them. EB has a way of leaving new swim suits in their baskets. Lucky girls!

Doesn't it look like Heather is striking her Super Hero pose ~ especially with those goggles! Don't worry, Heather will save you.

Away we go! Check out the big breath in those cheeks. Gianna is making sure she watches Heather's every move. She watches these girls closely. She wants to be a big girl with them.

Stephanie and Heather love a chance to see Greg's cousin, Kayla. She's just so cool and fun. Kayla is going to school to be a teacher. I try not to let her see the worn-out-I-smell-like-a-second-grader side of me. She's gonna be a fabulous teacher. And seeing Gavin again isn't too bad either!

Where are the rest of the pictures?? Uh, I don't know. These are the only ones that ended up on my camera.

Still early in the swim season, once the sun moves down in the sky, it gets a little chilly in the pool. The popsicly girls trouped up to Kathy's room to watch t.v. A little bit later, Kathy comes out to tell us that the girls might have questions later about what they saw in her room. (cue the needle scratching across the record).


Minds begin to race. And in not the cleanest of places.

Greg, Tony, Wendy, and I are standing there with our chins dangling at our knees, just wondering what is coming next. Kathy tells us that they saw her tiara and wand (fake of course) that someone at her office gave her a while back and started asking questions. Well, Kathy went with it and told them how they could hold the magic wand, concentrate really hard, and make a wish. Gianna wanted to know if they had to close their eyes. Kathy said if that's what she felt like doing to go ahead. I can just see the three of them, sitting there with rapt attention, trying to figure out what they will wish for when it is their turn to hold the wand. Hey, when do I get to hold the wand?

Fast forward to the ride home. The kids asked me if I knew she was a queen and speculated what she could be the queen of. There were more speculative comments, but I was so busy trying not to bust up laughing that I couldn't concentrate. And then my mind jumped to a time when the kids were really little and we were having a largish family gathering in a restaurant. The kids decided they'd blow bubbles in their water. Greg and I were quick to stop that inappropriate public behavior. Kathy encouraged them and blew bubbles right along with them!

When we were getting ready to leave the bbq, Kathy commented on how nicely I was dressed (thanks, I needed that) and asked if I always dress like this for work. Well, mostly. Danny said it was no use to butter me up now that she was already blog fodder.

So, Kathy, yes, you are most surely blog fodder now. No one is safe. Although, like I told Danny, being blog fodder is not always a bad thing.

Thanks for hosting the bbq, Kathy. We had a great time. You can be blog fodder any time you want!

Monday, May 18, 2009

saddle up yer horse

Cuz there was a country-style school carnival on Friday night. The kids were beyond excited about this. Heather gave me an update everyday for a week how close we were to Friday night.

As you can see, these two cowgirls stood in line forever to have their faces painted. Great job! No little heart on the cheek for these girls ~ they want the full-on drama!

It was hot. Maybe Africa hot. But the kids had a great time and came home with tons of prizes they won from the games. I can't tell you how much it thrills my heart to see Stephanie and Heather enjoy themselves so whole-heartedly. They were in charge of their own tickets and made their own choices about how they would spend them. I only said no to the cake walk.

All the kids at the carnival seemed to be having a really great time!

Greg lovingly obliged his wife and spent more hours out in the heat than he wanted to after a whole day out in the heat working for the Purple.

Heather's spin art

As part of the staff, I was supposed to sign up to work a booth for a little while. I talked Suzanne into signing up for the spin art booth. Another 2nd grade teacher also signed up with us. Ha! That was a mess! Thanks to one lovely young lady who didn't follow my directions and wildly squeezed the paint bottle with all her might, my newest (and favorite) school shirt is not dotted with lavender paint ~ that won't come out. Greg was leaning over my shoulder for this one and he got splattered too ~ on one of my favorite shirts of his. He wasn't as peeved by it. He says it's not his favorite and not my shirt. But I told him I'm the one who looks at him & its one of my favorites. Good point, he says.

I'd do this booth again next year, though. Besides the splatters, it was fun. Next time, no favorite shirts.

Stephanie's spin art

Thankfully, our booth was in the shade. Greg was intrigued by the spin art and the technique. He spent a lot of time by the booth ~ in the shade.

Each class was responsible for preparing a basket for a raffle. The students bring in stuff for the basket and the baskets are raffled off. The baskets were themed. My class did a movie night basket with DVDs, movie tickets. candy, popcorn, etc. I bought four raffle tickets with the intention of letting everyone in the family pick a basket they'd like to win. In the end, I put all four tickets in one basket ~ not really expecting to win. Because I just usually don't.

Flip Video

But at the end of the night, this little baby came home with me. It was in a basket with scrapbook stuff. I was so surprised I nearly peed my pants! It will be fun to use at home, but I was really wanting it for school to help the kids produce their own little Reading Rainbow shows that I learned how to do when I took an imovie class a few months ago.

The rest of the weekend was spend doing laundry and science fair projects. More on that later.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


It's totally unfair that it's this hot!

And this is only the beginning...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

totally spoiled

I'm one spoiled mama!

It all started Friday evening. Greg picked the kids up from school so they could plan and shop. I stayed at school ~ all by myself ~ and got some work done around the classroom. Work I never seem to have time to do, like reorganize the bookshelves because they were a mess. And rearrange the desks because those 2nd graders are being too talkative during working times. They called me later and gave me the "all clear" to come home. It was nice to spend some time working in my room without worrying about whether the kids are getting bored and without mediating some bickering! Oh, they were charged with anticipation when I got home. At dinner I jokingly asked, "So what did you get me for Mother's Day?" Heather almost told me! But not before she got the stink-eye from Greg and Stephanie!

On Saturday Greg helped the girls wash my car. He got a little frustrated, so I don't know if that will be happening again any time soon. Well, once was nice, I guess.

Before bedtime I was presented with a menu of breakfast choices and asked to circle what I wanted for the next morning. Breakfast in bed on Mother's Day has become a tradition over the years. Making my choices reminded me of being in the hospital with them and choosing my meals.

Sunday morning included breakfast in bed. First, there was the appetizer of strawberries and cantaloupe. After which I could choose to read, sleep more, or watch tv while they finished the rest of the breakfast. I chose reading. Breakfast was served family-style on a huge platter. In previous years the kids would bring me breakfast and sit on the bed with me to see if I liked everything. Then they'd give me that look ~ that baby-bird-and-mama-has-a-worm look. So I'd feed them in between my bites. This year, Greg had them put a lot on one big plate and we all had our own fork.

After breakfast they presented me with gifts. First the cute gifts they made at school. Heather made a pretty little magnetic frame with her photo inside. Stephanie's class made a cookie mix. So sweet. With grand gestures, the kids gave me the presents they picked out on Friday night. They bought me a purse, a purse hook, and a bracelet. All so pretty. Stephanie told me that she knew I needed another purse. That's my girl! Greg rolled his eyes. Stephanie understands my love for purses, whereas Greg is certain that one purse for a lifetime would be plenty. In fact, why aren't pockets good enough? He doesn't understand.

Later in the afternoon we headed over the Paulette's to spend some time with her and the new mama, Wendy. Of course, we got to snuggle and giggle with this little guy.

I can't pass up an opportunity to get a few photos.

Gavin and the girls have started a mutual admiration society. They simply adore each other. Heather even lets him pull on her hair even though she's such a tender head. She just smiles and coos at him, waiting for someone to rescue her locks from the baby death grip.

This was a great Mother's Weekend. Apparently I got whatever I wanted just by invoking those two little words ~ Mother's Weekend. I'm going to try it this next weekend and see if it still works.

Friday, May 8, 2009

breaking news

I have some news from a very reliable source ~ cuz 7-year olds are the most reliable sources, right?

Apparently in a private ~ or maybe paparazzi filled ~ ceremony, Hannah and Oliver got married!

Say wha?

Notice, though, she is not giving up the wheel of that getaway car. No sir, you sit in the passenger seat, drape your arm around me and be supportive.

May they live happily ever after!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

too late?

Is it too late to show you these adorable girls in their Easter dresses?

On such a beautiful day.

All happy and getting along.

Plus a little bit of the hunt.

Which thrilled them immensely.

And then frustrated them when it got a little harder to find the eggs that were left.

Nah, I didn't think it was too late.

Friday, May 1, 2009

this chair

Have I told you the story about this chair? No, I don't think I have.

For a little while now, I've been looking for the perfect chair to go with the perfect fabric that I want to buy for a cushion. I've been looking.

For over a year.

I have some very specific ideas in mind about what I want, but am also strangely flexible. Color doesn't matter ~ I know how to work the paint afterall. It had to be perfect. I did find one such perfect chair at a discount place. The style was spot on. It was red. It would have been great to paint black & distress so the red peeked through. It was also tagged on the seat. Punks! So I took it to the register to barter with them (which is totally out of character for me). They wanted $50. I was willing to pay $20 since it was brand new and all. But sheesh, it'd be a lot of work to repaint over that tagged area. Not! I tried to work the pitiful angle. Apparently it didn't work because they were willing to sell it to me for $40. I walked out of the store without the spunky red chair, but with a tiny lump in my throat instead.

Charlotte called me one morning before school to tell me she saw a perfect chair for me on the side of the road. She told me where to find it. I embarked on the impossible, trying to hustle the getting ready process so I could go snag a chair before work.

Several minutes later she called & breathlessly told me that she got one for me. Later, she told me about how she felt like a common criminal, looking this way and that to make sure no one saw her taking the chair from off the curb, even though it was intended for the trash.

The chair was a lovely specimen. She had a striking silhouette that had once been painted a soft shade of aqua. She had obviously spent some hard time outside and would need a lot of love and care. Even in her chipped up state she was a beauty queen. Right now, she was rough and rickety. Some new screws, some sanding, some paint ~ oh, she'd be as good as new in an oldish sort of way.

She spent the summer on my front porch. As with any big project, I didn't start right away. I can't start right away. I have sit and stew on the idea for an eternity. I have to work it all out in my head before my hands can get to work. Every time I walked in the front door I looked her way and thought of the possibility of what she could become.

Finally one day I went out to really survey the damage I had only glanced at before for fear of getting entirely intimidated. That's when I realized that her day was truly over. She was much too much work for me. All those curves? With sandpaper? I was less than confident.

So I reluctantly set her out on the curb again. I was so hesitant to give her up. She really was beautiful. My dear friend Charlotte stooped to thievery and risked spending time in the clinker rapping her tin can on the cell bars (or so she felt) because this chair was something she knew I would love. But I knew the time had come. I had to let her go.

What would be her fate this time?

Hopefully soon I will have a story to tell you of the two chairs who came home with me today.