Monday, March 31, 2008

I've been creative!


Check out Kristina's blog to see the new banner she enlisted me to help her create. It was ORIGINALLY intended to coordinate with the polkadot layout she was currently using, but after coordinating the banner to the page, we realized only very small SIDE banners were "allowed" on that particular layout, and she wanted something more substantial, so we used the banner anyway, and doctored all the font colors and background colors of a NEW layout to coordinate with the banner. What do you think???

Also, Betsy enlisted my help as well, but won't be around much tomorrow to make her own decision about which banner she likes best, so please head on over to Betsy's blog and give your opinion (please, pretty please!!). I'll say now that a thin border of white needs to go around each of them, but it's LATE and I'm heading to bed and will deal with it later.

PS Have a I mentioned how much I love Photoshop Elements 5.0?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Quote of the Week

Money can't buy happiness, but it can certainly rent it for a couple of hours.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Future Marathon Runner

(and if this picture wasn't out of focus, it would be the most hilarious picture EVER--look how into it he is!!!)

Friday, March 28, 2008


Several people guessed correctly

1 Jared
2 Connor
3 Emily



The winner not only gets the $10 Starbuck's card, but they also recieve this fabulous award

And the winner is...

Congratulations Grandpa Dan, we'll get you your gift card next time we see you!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Guess Who?!?

***UPDATE!! The contest will run until 1pm Pacific time, March 28th, which will be about a full 24 hours from the start, at which point the correct guesses will be put into a STEELERS hat and JARED will draw the winning name. Spread the word!***

Out of all the correct guesses, I will select a winner from a hat for a $10 starbucks' gift card (sorry, gotta keep it cheap or I'll get in trouble with my better half...How about we just don't mention this to him at all, okay??? *grin*)




Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Through the Looking Glass

Well, through the hole in the leaf...

...I see EMILY!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And the winner is...EMILY!

WAY back in October-ish, Emily's school finished up a fundraiser were the students sold entertainment books. Emily sold ten, and for every so many that you sold, you got "scratch cards" with codes on the back that you entered online to see if it was worth a prize. Emily won a candy grabber and we were told it would be delivered sometime in March or April. WELL, it arrived yesterday and it's decently fun, but mostly impossible to get any candy because the claw only goes around the perimeter instead of being able to fully move around within the grabber machine. It always plays obnoxiously LOUD music (which we've since muffled with a piece of tape). For a free prize, it's pretty awesome, I guess, but be warned: DO NOT SPEND YOUR MONEY TO BUY ONE.

Monday, March 24, 2008

When he plays, HE PLAYS


We took the kids to the Children's Museum and Connor just RAN and RAN and RAN and explored every single corner of the place, got wet, dirty, bruised, and scraped and had a smile plastered on his face the entire time.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!!







Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jared strikes again...

We were at a Family Event (basically a field trip, except siblings are included)the other day for Jared's preschool class and the lady running the walk-through before the kids got to play in the Children's Museum asked the kids what rules they had in class. One little girl said something about how we get to paint, but you can't paint on people. Jared raises his hand and the lady calls on him and he says, "One time Kazmiera pooped her pants, and you're supposed to poop in the toilet!" (one time Kazmiera really DID poop in her pants but it was MONTHS ago!). Kazmiera's mom happened to be standing directly behind me and I don't know if she heard or not, but a few of the other moms burst out laughing and I was horrified! The harder one person would laugh, the harder the next person had to laugh until there were several of us really cracking up (behind our hands), but at the same time, I was HORRIFIED and it made it even worse that I was laughing over it.... UGH!

Friday, March 21, 2008


The second round of report cards came out and Emily is doing FANTASTICALLY. Her teacher said in Kindergarten they NEVER give out 4's (on a 1-4 scale where 4 is the best) for the first report card and they're very stingy with them on the second report card, but Emily has NINE 4's on this most recent report card. I was also told that for the section where they evaluated the kids on blending letters into words, and breaking down words into the individual sounds, Emily was the only one in the whole class who got 100%.

And here's what her teacher typed out about Emily Grace:

"Emily has grown a great deal over the last semester. Her love for learning continues to shine through and she does very well in reading and writing. Her kindness towards everyone draws her peers to her and she is truly a friend to all. She is aware of the feelings of other children and is always the first to help a friend in need. Emily is a hard worker who takes pride in doing her best and is eager to share her accomplishments. She is a true joy to have in class!"

I know it's not nice to brag, but I'm so proud of Emily!!! She's come such a LONG way acedemically since the beginning of the year when she didn't know all her letter sounds or how to blend them into words and really had no interest in reading or writing. She's a totally different kid with a whole new world opened up to her and she's THRIVING! All she ever does anymore is WRITE WRITE WRITE (stories, letters, songs, lists, etc); she can read simple books and is making grand attempts at more complicated books. She amazes me every single day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Emily's lifelong passion

Besides dancing and singing, Emily has another less known passion FOR ROCKS. I should have suspected this would be an on-going obsession when she was 2.5 and I took these pictures of her, while at the same time explaining that rocks are for OUTSIDE and that NO, the rock would not be sad and cry if we made it stay outside:


(excuse me while I have a momentary "BOO HOO" moment over how teeny tiny she once was and now ISN'T!)

Fast forward to Kindergarten and I can't begin to tell you how many ROCKS my child has brought home from school! They're generally about 2inch or so, like the garden-style river rocks. On average, I'd say she brings home a rock once a week. We've discussed how we have plenty of rocks at home and don't need to bring any home from school. We've talked about how if she keeps bringing rocks home school, there won't be any rocks left for the other kids to play with. We've talked about how you DO NOT PUT ROCKS IN YOUR POCKETS AND BRING THEM HOME FROM SCHOOL. (she still brings rocks home from school). She doesn't DO anything with them. After I'd discovered them and either thrown them outside or in the garbage, she never asks about them. WHY DOES SHE KEEP BRINGING THEM HOME?

And the story about her begging to bring the large rock (pictured abover) into the house? TOTALLY TRUE. She cried. She cried some more. She tried begging Daddy. We hauled her into the house without the rock. She lived. But apparently still worries it will be lonely and wants to bring it home lots and lots of little 2 inch friends.

Reminds me of the movie The Shawshank Redemption where the guy is digging his way out of prison, and everytime he gets to go outside, he grabs handfulls of the dirt and lets it fall down his pantleg outside to the ground where it blends in with all the other dirt. Makes me wonder if my child is somehow trying to dig her way out of the schoolyard and is bringing home the rocks to dispose of all the evidence... ha ha ha!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Things I learned recently PART FOUR...

The Rule of Wipes

I learned that when you leave the house without wipes (because you plum forgot the container in the diaper bag was empty), your baby WILL poop his pants, despite the fact he'd already pooped that morning.

The Napkins

I learned that unused McDonald's napkins and water from a who-knows-how-old water bottle found rolling around in the van WILL make halfway-decent-not-the-greatest-but-better-than-nothing make-shift wipes

The Screamer

I learned that when your baby is screaming while out shopping, you shouldn't just always assume it's because he's unhappy being strapped (tightly) into the cart. You MAYBE should assume it's because he has a poopy diaper. And you PROBABLY should also assume it's of the acidic variety, where his little bum is being eaten alive to the point of bleeding in some areas after your 20 minute shopping trip.

The Parents

I learned that it's a pretty good bet that the people in the store who look at you and your screaming child sympathetically are parents themselves or even grandparents, and that the people who glare and/or make rude comments ARE PROBABLY NOT. After a snippy comment from one young gal about how I shouldn't be so selfish and be out running errands while my baby is obviously miserable (in my defense, we'd only arrived a few minutes before, I knew I wouldn't be long, and I paid the toll to cross the bridge and I wasn't going home without getting what I went out for!!), a middle-ish-aged gentleman came up and said he's got two at home just like mine and that sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. AMEN!

The Nap

I learned that a baby will probably take a good long nap after such an ordeal. Such a good long nap that he won't even wake up when you arrive at DQ to purchase an ice cream cake for his daddy's birthday. Or when you buckle him back into the carseat. Or when you stop off at a friend's house to load her daughter's booster seat into the car.

The Goofball

Lastly, I learned that despite sitting in a poopy diaper getting a sore tush, and despite screaming during a shopping trip, and despite having a too-early/too-short nap, your baby can still manage to be sweet and happy and GOOFY.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Closer Look

While coming down the big inflatable slide with Connor at Pump It Up, Emily, apparently, decided she and Connor needed a closer look at the slide on the way down. As they neared the bottom, she turned "just so" so that her feet got caught up on the siding, which slowed her legs down and spun her upper body to the side just enough that she somehow managed to roll over and flip onto her face, taking Connor with her. I had the camera focused and ready to click as soon as Em and CJ got within range. OF COURSE, they got into range and face-planted at the very same second I was trying for the picture.

Please excuse the poor quality of the photo. It was dark in there, and the kids were moving FAST, and I don't claim to be an expert photographer by any means...

I think this picture is hilarious (look at Em's face, especially!), despite the fact that Connor BAWLED and wanted no further part in the slide action afterwards. Emily was fine and came up giggling like crazy. I expected "rug burns" on their faces because they DID slide down partially on their faces, but they were fine. I think Connor was mostly just mad more than anything!! Wasn't there some rule, something about "only one person at a time on the slide", but those are more like guidelines right (kind of like the pirate code in Pirates of the Carribean)? LOL!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

"I'm just playing with my friend Ava"

We attended a birthday party over the weekend and Jared came across a little friend from school, Ava. I haven't seen them spend much time together in class so far this year, but the two of them hit it off BIG TIME at the birthday party! Wherever one went, the other was either nearby, or joined at the hand coming with.

It was adorable watching the two of them run around together. I'd ask Jared if he wanted to play with Emily for awhile, or go try out another bounce area (we were at Pump It Up) and he'd say, "I'm fine. I'm just playing with my friend Ava."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quote of the Week

(QUOTES of the week, today)

Jared: "Mom, you really should sweep this floor."

me: "Yes, I know Jared, but I have to finish cleaning Connor up first."

Jared: "Yeah, well, you'd better hurry because I'm tired of getting all this crap on my feet."
*disclaimer: we truly DO watch our language around the kids...*

me: "Jared do you want oatmeal, cereal, or jelly toast for breakfast today?"

Jared: "I don't want ANY of those things! I just want an egg and cheese sandwich."

me: "We can't do that right now because it's getting late and we need to hurry."

Jared: "How about I just eat that last cupcake?"

me: "Sorry pal, you're not having a cupcake for breakfast."

Jared: "DAMMIT!" (said while stomping his foot and smacking his leg)

*Mommy and Daddy compose themselves briefly before mommy goes over to speak to Jared about his choice of language*

me: "Jared, dammit is NOT an okay word for little boys to use; even if you hear a grown-up use it, that doesn't mean YOU should use it."

Jared: "But guys are SUPPOSED to say "DAMMIT!" when their moms won't let them eat what they want for breakfast!"

*Mommy turns away briefly to compose herself again*

me: "Jared, guys who are only almost-four-years-old do NOT, EVER, say that word. Where did you hear that word anyway?" (out of curiosity's sake as I'm pretty darn sure it wasn't from ME, but you never know...)

Jared: (as sweetly and innocently as you please) "From Teacher Terrie."

*disclaimer: I'm 100% positive he did NOT learn that word from his preschool teacher!*


*Mommy unfortunately doesn't remember the exact circumstances behind this one, but it IS a direct quote*

Jared: "You hurt my reflexes!!"

*Daddy promised waffles for breakfast but is still sleeping at the moment*

Jared in full Batman mode: "Batmom, this is precisely why I need to wake up Batdad, because I'M HUNGRY!!"

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Emily Comes From Good Stock, Too

Apparently it can be passed down to future generations (see yesterday's post HERE)

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Come From Good Stock

Several years ago, my grandpa submitted an old photo from my grandma's family (I believe) to the "Looking Back" section of the local newspaper. My Uncle Greg was telling Dan and I some stories of the two boys in the picture and they're about the most ridiculously hilarious things you've ever heard. You'll have to excuse me if I can't remember the exact relationship to myself of the people pictured; I was told several years ago and saved the newspaper photo and only just came across it the other day and HAD to share.

The boys are Oscar and Ernest (who apparently went by Ockie and Ernie, and I BELIEVE would eventually be my grandma's uncles, but again, excuse me if I'm not positive!). Here's where it gets good. According to my Uncle Greg (who says he heard it from my grandpa), one of the boys went blind from drinking bad moonshine, and the other is missing a finger because he bet another brother (not the blind one...LOL!) that he could move his finger off the chopping block before the axe came down and COULDN'T. I told you; I come from good stock! LOL!!!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Free Parking?


Our house is situated on a really fun BLIND corner (can you hear the sarcasm in my voice when I say "really fun"?????), and whenever there is any sort of road work on our road, as they get near to the corner, they park the vehicles not immediately in use, in my driveway instead of parking them directly on the road like they do on the straighter stretch of road (they'd then for sure need a flagger to help guide traffic if they weren't using my driveway). No one ever comes to the door and ASKS if it's okay if they park in my driveway, or if we need to be leaving the house anytime soon. OVERALL, it's not really much of an issue. Yesterday, it was annoying, because they parked there right during naptime, and my sweet Heidi (nearly-8-year-old black lab) gets a little antsy when there's strangers in the driveway and BARKS. AND BARKS. AND BARKS. Did I mention the boys were sleeping? There was also another time we came home near-ish bedtime for the kids and there was a dumptruck, a pick-up truck, and a giant bucket truck for the utility company parked in the driveway. They actually had the nerve to ask me if I could come back in about an hour so they wouldn't have to move!!!!!!!!! When I refused stating it was bedtime, they huffed and puffed and moved the pick-up truck out of my way so I could INCH by the dump truck and giant bucket truck, and then one of the workers had the nerve to holler out to me that I should be appreciative that they're out late at night keeping my power working. I'm pretty sure I never said ANYTHING about being unappreciative of their hard work and dedication to keeping my power working, but THEY should be a little respectful of people needing to use THEIR OWN DRIVEWAYS!!! sigh... Anyway, this most recent time was overall uneventful; the boys didn't wake up with the dog barking, and the workers finished their work about two minutes before I was going to have to go and politely ask them to move so I could leave to get down to the bus stop, so that worked out pretty nicely. But I'm sort of wondering how I remove the invisible "Free Parking" sign on my driveway??? There's a house a few minutes from ours with a sign out front that says "50 cents a U-Turn". Maybe I should stick up a sign that charges per vehicle per minute? I could use the extra cash... LOL!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I had to tell Emily Grace tonight that her best friend in the whole wide world, whom she's known since she was only 15 months old, is moving to Florida as soon as the end of June. She immediately asked me if that was further than Pittsburgh, and I said that it was. It was THEN that the poor little thing BURST INTO TEARS because she knows how far Pittsburgh is (Dan's extended family lives there) and how it's hard for us to get there very often because of how expensive airfare is. Knowing Florida is even further away broke her little heart because she knew that meant she wasn't going to see Rachel very often. She doesn't remember NOT knowing Rachel!! I spent a good half hour with her SOBBING in my arms trying to calm her down and hyping up that it's a great move for Rachel's family because they get to move back to where Rachel's daddy has family, and that Rachel's daddy gets to have a better job, etc. All the while my heart is hurting for her pain. The real kicker is that Rachel is taking her mother with her when she moves, and her mother is MY dearest friend, so I feel Emily's pain just as strongly. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS FOR LONG DISTANCE PHONE PLANS, EMAILS, and YAHOO INSTANT MESSANGER, as I'm sure all three will be getting plenty of use. Those of you in Florida, keep an eye out for Kerry, Carole, and Rachel, and give them a warm welcome and take care of them for us... They're a fantastic family and we're going to miss them lots and lots (*wiping tears from my eyes*). Carole's under strict orders to purchase a house with a guest bedroom large enough for five people to come visit every few years or so...LOL!! Dan's always joking he wants to go winter in either Florida or Arizona. Well, now we can vacation during the winter in Florida more realistically (this is me trying to be more optimistic).

Carole, you know how much you'll be missed, but I know this is the right move for your family and I wish you alllllll the best.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Please bear (bare?) with me as I continue to fiddle with the background colors to try and compliment the new banner. I'm open to suggestions and would gratefully accept opinions, good or bad. I'd like the site to be pleasing and welcoming and I need your help! Watch out for the loose nails on the ground. I think I spilled some while I was throwing a minor tantrum that the colors I WANT to use for the background are not available... LOL!!! I almost smacked my thumb with a hammer during all the hard work, too, but I just missed. WHEW! Feel free to grab some tools and throw around some ideas. A one-woman job isn't very fun! LOL

Monday, March 10, 2008

Paper Crafting

Here's the card I made for my friend Bree for her baby shower yesterday evening:

And because this is just the sort of person I am, I decorated the gift bag so it would coordinate with the card:


The gift was a hair wider than the front to back depth of the bag, so the top kept puckering open funny, which prompted me to tie it closed. That still didn't seem like just the right touch, so I whipped up a little tag that would hang down and finish everything off:

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Outdoor Fun

Emily and Connor on the teeter-totter-style swing. You should have heard CJ giggling!

Jared pretty much refuses to swing on his bottom and opts for his belly instead

Here's Jared getting REALLY frustrated that the swing wouldn't swing perfectly straight

Friday, March 7, 2008


(and I DO mean "wow" over "woah")

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Good Friends and Good Fun!

Emily, Taylor, and Rachel

And some Photoshop Elements fun! Emily giggled like CRAZY when I showed her!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

MORE collages!

I'm a little obsessed...

Here's Connor and his buddy Sam
(Rennie, if you're reading this, you'll get a hard copy in class tomorrow!)

And here's one I did for baby Grace's babybook (or whatever her parents choose to do with it!)
(Jessica, if you're reading this, you'll get your copy hopefully this week if we can coordinate a get-together!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Actually, Dad, I would prefer one of those delicious pieces of pie, please."

And YES, my not-quite-four-year-old REALLY DID say that yesterday when offered some crackers for a snack. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 3, 2008


I was playing around with my early birthday present (Photoshop Elements) and created some collages. I'm having sooooooo much fun with these collages and I can't WAIT to get some more pictures of my three kids to play around with!

Here's one I did of Emily (the pictures were taken at a local kiddy salon at a birthday party she went to for her friend Rachel. The girls got their hair and nails done, and then we got to pose the girls in the little photo studio in the corner). I had to include the silly one in the bottom right corner it really shows off her personality (diva, ham, prankster...etc!)

This one I did for Rachel as a little momento of her party:

I liked it so much, I did one for Emily:

And one for Taylor:

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rock On, Jared, ROCK ON!

We all thought this was completely hysterical last night, let me know what YOU think!