Friday, January 30, 2009

Writer's Workshop

Another batch of Writer's Workshop papers came home yesterday in Emily's Thursday Folder from school. I'm so amazed as how much she's improved just since the last batch! The ones from January have much neater hand-writing, better use of capitals and periods, etc...

This is the one that made me laugh this time around:

(written as Emily wrote it)

I was a bride for hola-wene. My mom made my flawrs. I was happy cause it was wite with lots of beds (beads). It gose with anather story but I'm not gana tel it.
Kind of leaves you wondering what the other story is, doesn't it?!?! She's got that cliff-hanger strategy down pat. LOL

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It fits!

When Emily was 2.5 and Jared was six months old, a friend of mine, who was currently living in China, came home to visit her parents. I took the kids over to see her and was shocked to discover she'd brought gifts back for us. Emily was given a beautiful red "China dress" (as Emily calls it!) and Jared was given a blue outfit (which fit Emily at the time it was gifted! My friend wanted them to have room to grow.)

The red dress was placed in a safe spot until the time it actually fit Emily, and Emily is quite pleased to finally get to wear it! She wore it Monday for the Chinese New Year, and I bought the hair sticks for her hair at Claire's the day before. Isn't she cute?!? I'm wishing I'd taken her picture without the sweater on...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How times have changed

Emily and I were talking a few days ago and she was asking me what games I used to play on the computer when I was her age. I informed her that most people didn't really have computers in their homes when I was her age. If I wanted to play a game on the computer, I had to go to the library during a rainy day recess and wait my turn to use one of the TWO computers I remember being in the school, and the games were green words or objects on a black screen. And I truly don't remember getting to play games on a computer during rainy day recesses until I was in 4th or 5th grade. She looked at me with an expression of mixed horror and shock and exclaimed, "How did you look up information then??!!??" Books at the library, little girl. Books at the library...


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Build-a-Bear birthday party

Emily was invited to a Build-a-Bear birthday party for her friend Alexandria over the weekend. We had been to BAB several times in the past (mostly just to browse, but each of my kids received a special bear from Dan and I as newborns), but had yet to experience a BAB party. It was FANTASTIC!

The kids all meet in the front entrance to the store to get name tags and hear the "rules". Justin was in charge of the party and he was GREAT. Very upbeat and fun and really kept the kids' attention.
build a bear,Emily,fun events

Then the kids got to choose an animal (their selection is dictated by the parent paying for the party). Emily chose the SOFTEST little bunny I have ever felt. Then the kids all go into a back corner with the employee leading the party (in our , case, with Justin) to do the heart ceremony deal, and then they got to take turns having their animals stuffed.
Emily,fun events,build a bear

To keep the rest of the kids entertained while it wasn't their turn to stuff their animals, Justin led them in a few songs and games. The kids had a BLAST! Here's Emily playing Duck Duck Goose, except they didn't just say "" they said different animal names and the person being touched had to make that animal noise, then the "goose!" part was played normally. Very fun twist and really kept the kids' interest and attention.
Emily,fun events,build a bear

After everyone had had a turn to stuff their animal, they took turns grooming their animals under the blowers, then they each got to pick out a shirt for their animal, as well as choose some ribbons and bows to dress up their animals.

Finally, it was time for a group photo!
Emily,fun events,build a bear

The grandma of the birthday girl had saved a big seating area in one portion of our mall, so we'd all have a place to sit and have cupcakes and watch Alex open her gifts after we were done at BAB. It worked out great! I did spend $4 and some change on a little pair of leggings for Em's bunny to go along with it's Camp Rock shirt because I'm a sucker and the poor thing looked a little funny without any pants. ha!

There's currently a dinosaur there I'm debating on for Connor. Not like I need to spend that kind of money and not like I need another stuffed animal around this house, but he's been Mr. Chattypants about "dininsaurs" A LOT lately, and he's always so hard to purchase for (getting hand-me-downs of clothes and toys from Jared doesn't leave him needing or wanting for much of anything!), this could be a good gift idea!!

Anyway, I sure as heck wouldn't be paying for 14 kids at BAB like Alex's parents did, but this could be a really fun way for any one of my kids and 3 of their friends to celebrate a birthday. We'll have to think on it!!

Monday, January 26, 2009


All this over a heart-shaped bowl I mistakenly put down in front of him instead of his sister???

Sunday, January 25, 2009

One week to go!!

One more week until Superbowl! GO STEELERS!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I miss this

We didn't get hit as hard as some other cities in Washington, and it didn't interfere with any of our major plans, AND the kids and I had a BLAST playing outside in it day after day, and I kind of miss this:

Maybe we'll get lucky and get more blast of snow before Spring hits. It could be years before we see that much snow again!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Men vs. Women

Last night, I was feeling very tearfully overwhelmed and exhausted and frustrated with whining kids, a screaming babysitting charge, nothing having gotten done on my to-do list, chores times TEN still left to be done, my back aching terribly after the long day (frustration that 7.5 months after the accident I'm still in pain)...

Had a good friend walked into the room and seen me, she would have immediately realized I just needed a hug and some reassurance that I'm doing the best I can, and that some days just stink and tomorrow will be better. That's exactly what I needed.

Instead, Dan walked into the room and suggested I need to prioritize a little better, and maybe not try to do so many extra things like knitting baby blankets for pregnant friends, and making cards, etc and then I'd have more time for the things that I'm feeling overwhelmed and stressed out over. So I should take away the things I enjoy in order to have extra time to clean??? The things that let me keep a little piece of ME??

I just don't see how men can be so blind about some things and women can be so in-tune.

I need a girlfriend. *grin*

(PS I didn't do this post to bash Dan, just to point out that sometimes women are more intuitive to the emotional needs of another woman, while men can be entirely clueless!)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Clean Teeth!

Emily and Jared had their first appts with our new dentist yesterday. Lucky for us, my Auntie works there and she was the one cleaning their teeth. They were both extremely excited leading up to these appts, and I'm happy to announce that they are both cavity free! WOO HOO!

cool shades girly!

There was a time when Emily was three-ish years old when Auntie gave her a test run in the reclining chair and the little girl didn't think it was fun AT ALL! Look at her now! I love how much more cooperative they are as they get older

WOW, I swear that light didn't look THAT bright as I was taking the picture!! This picture almost looks a little creepy!

Jared's test run of the reclining chair was back in June and he did very very well then, and he did very well again this time:

Won't Auntie be PLEASED when she finds out the WILD ONE is scheduled for an actual appt in July?!?! I'm not convinced he's going to cooperate, but I'll sit on him if I have to. And July is 6 months away. He can change, right???? He only bites Jared, so her fingers should be safe. LOL

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tea Party fun

My MIL invited the kids over for a tea party yesterday afternoon. Emily was already set up to have a playdate with one of her friends at our house, so Julia got to come along as well.

Emily and Julia (who have been friends since September 2005 when they started preschool together, and have maintained a good friendship despite not having been at the same school since that one year!)
Emily,fun events

Jared and Connor enjoying some tasty treats!
fun events,Connor,Jared

The girls had a bit of fun dressing Connor in some "la di das"
Connor,fun events

Here's the whole group
fun events,kids

Monday, January 19, 2009

Proud Steelers Fans and some Photoshop creativity

While the AFC Championship game wasn't the most exciting game ever, and Pittsburgh leaves themselves some serious room for improvement in two weeks at the SUPERBOWL, we are proud to say they pulled off a win anyway, with my family cheering them on the entire way.

It was getting pretty sketchy towards the end, with the Ravens coming within 2 points of our score, Ravens had the ball and were moving it down the field, and time was running out on the clock. Dan was getting a little antsy and a few things had been flung across the room in frustration. He said something about us needing a good sack or a turn-over or SOMETHING to get Pittsburgh's momentum going again. The phone rang just then and as I'm answering it, Steelers sacked the Ravens' quarterback (ask and ye shall receive!). On the other end of the phone line is my friend Cattigan, wondering how things were going at my house with the game having turned a little sour for the Steelers. Barely a few sentences into the conversation, Steelers got an interception and ran for a touchdown (ask and ye shall receive!). At that point, I had to say the game was going rather well... LOL (Cattigan, please feel free to call during crunch time of future games; you must be good luck or something...)

There are a few bitter Seahawks fans from the Seahawks vs Steelers Superbowl of 2006 that have already felt the need to text and/or call with some whining and snippy comments. I can only say one thing: AT LEAST WE'RE GOING BACK!! muh ha ha ha! *grin*

With a bit of help from Photoshop, here's a picture of our family proudly displaying our Steeler jerseys after the game:
photoshop stuff,steelers

Before photoshop:
photoshop stuff

photoshop stuff

(the self-timer option doesn't work so great when you don't have a tripod to set the camera up on!! So, with a bit of creativity and a handy little program like photoshop, we can all be in the same photo at the same time--something that rarely happens in this family!)

GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Our plans for today

Our plans for today are to be planted in front of the TV cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game! GO STEELERS!!


Friday, January 16, 2009


A few days ago, I spent the entire morning listening to Connor jabbering away about Toto and wondering where in the world he got THAT name stuck in his head (we haven't watched The Wizard of Oz in over a year, I'd say). "Toto go in the water." "Toto swim." "Toto hide his head." "Toto eat his food." Toto this, Toto that. Suddenly he comes out from Em's room with a book and says, "Lookit Mama! A Toto!" So I look over and on the cover is a TURTLE!!!!! LOL When you have trouble with R's and L's in certain words, it causes some confusion from time to time!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Checklist for the first day of school

Pose by the front door for "first day of school" picture...(check!)

(don't mind the bright red ear, he'd just stumbled and whacked it against the edge of the ONE step in our entire house, which leads down into the playroom)
Connor,school stuff

Head straight to the bathroom upon arrival to wash hands, as is requested...(check!)
Connor,school stuff

Rinse, rinse, rinse, "I do it all by self. Weave me wone!" (check!)
Connor,school stuff

Test out the "snow" over and over and over again...(check!)
Connor,school stuff

Paint mommy a pretty picture...(check!)
Connor,school stuff

Test out paint dobbers on a construction paper hat...(check!)
Connor,school stuff

[carry said hat around for the rest of the day as a prized possession...(check!)]

Show mommy what a genius you are to figure out how to remove nails with the prongs of the hammer...(check!)
Connor,school stuff

Test out the polar animals...(check!)
Connor,school stuff

Test out the water table...(check!)
Connor,school stuff

Test out putting wet hands into the "snow", test out rewashing hands, sit for circle time, eat snack, throw fit about the injustice of having to leave to go home, tell everyone for the rest of the day about getting to eat a cookie, pretzels, fruit snacks and water...(check, check, check, check, check, and CHECK!)

financially and time-wise, putting Connor in the 2's class at the same preschool where Jared is in the 4's class is going to be a real strain, but knowing that my sweet little boy has something that is HIS in life, where he isn't just a tag-along sibling, strapped in a stroller or a car seat for the bulk of the day, where he has an outlet for all of his energy and curiosity, is going to be FANTASTIC. I'm so excited, and we were given a warm welcome by the families already enrolled in the class (we snuck into an opening after another family dropped out), and look forward to finishing out the school year.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm not ready for this!

My sweet (I use that word rather loosely lately...ha ha ha!) little "baby" has taken to wiping off my kisses and screaming as if he's in pain if I try to force some loves on him in the way of hugs and/or kisses, or snuggles on the couch. Today, the little heart-breaker was pouty-facing about having to be buckled into his car seat, so I leaned forward and said, "I love you, little man, pouty face and all," then kissed his forehead. He gave me a look of pure disgust, quickly wiped the back of his hand across his forehead and then YELLED at me, "THAT GWOSS MAMA! NO KISS ME MY HEAD!" Of course I took that as an invitation to plant several more kisses all over his face and head, because HEY, I'm his mother and I can kiss him whenever I darn well please, and he's only 2.5 and shouldn't be fighting off my kisses for a few more years yet!

I'm not ready for my baby to already be shoving me and my loves aside. CRY!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cheerleader: n. a person who leads spectators in traditional or formal cheering, esp. at a pep rally or athletic event.

These are blurry because they were taken from way across the gym, and then zoomed and cropped within my camera for easier viewing, but isn't she the most adorable little cheerleader you ever saw?!?!



She had SUCH a good time, and the little girls were just ADORABLE in their matching uniforms, hair bows, and pom poms. I'm borrowing a better zoom lense from a friend for next week and hopefully will get some better pictures!! I did try to take some video, but because I had to sit across the gym from her, my view of her was across the basketball court and the basketball players keps running through my line of vision and blocking Emily (the NERVE!!! ha ha ha!). Next time I'll have a better idea of where to position myself; this was the first time she's cheered for a real game (we'd just had practices until this weekend).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quote of the Week

If you can't say something nice don't say nothing at all!!

(special thanks to Kaci over at Ellyphant for jumping in and posting a Quote of the Week for me this morning! I was off enjoying the morning with Emily on a 1st grade field trip, and it was about the coolest thing I'd ever been to!)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Easy Bake Chef

Emily got an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas and she's been having a good time with it! She loves to help in the kitchen, but generally, we're rushing to get dinner done (and let's face it, having help in the kitchen in the way of a 6.5 year old girl does NOT often actually speed up the process as the word "help" would imply!), and I try to limit the amount of baking I do so that we aren't being tempted by SWEETS all the time, so she doesn't get to help as much as she'd prefer. With the Easy Bake oven, we get the chance to bake together, but the finished result isn't much more than a few bites for each person in our family, so we get the best of both worlds!!

I will say, the first time we used it, we made these darling little cookies (the white cookies had chocolate hearts in the middle, and the chocolate cookies had white hearts in the middle), and we did a double batch in order for each person in the family to get one (with three cookies leftover for three kids the following day), but standing around for 11 minutes EACH COOKIE got old FAST, and I pulled out the toaster oven and baked the last 5 cookies all at once that way. ha!!

The second time we used it, our little cakes rose above the tops of the little pans, so when we pushed them out the slot and onto the built-in cooling rack, the tops got ripped right off. One of the layers came out pretty mutilated so it was difficult to frost, but it was tasty nonetheless!

Emily carefully decorated the cake with some Christmas sprinkles we had in the cupboard:

And I should point out that she was ever so (grudgingly) kind as to allow her brother to help as well:

What's even more amazing about this new "toy" of Emily's, is that though you can buy the fun refill packs of cakes and cookies, you can also get online and find THOUSANDS of recipes specifically for the Easy Bake Oven. So now we're really only limited by what ingredients we have in our house at the time we decide to hunt up recipes.

Bon Appetite!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Best Buddies and a Mr. Sneaky-Pants

During preschool last year, Jared and another boy, Max, really hit it off well in class. They go to different preschools this year, but they've kept a nice bond, and when they see each other, their joy and excitement is just the most adorable thing EVER. It's hard to coordinate schedules, so it doesn't happen often, but it happened yesterday. Jared had been counting the days since we found out earlier in the week that Max could come to play, and it bordered between excitement and pure obsession. Nearly ever other word out of his mouth was something about Max. At 7am yesterday morning, Jared wondered WHY, oh why was Max taking so long to get to our house; he should BE HERE BY NOW! When the time finally arrived and we opened up the front door to welcome Max into our home, the boys greeted each other with shouts of excitement and exuberant hugs.

They promptly threw on boots and coats and headed outside to enjoy the first rain-free day in awhile (and by rain, I mean some serious RAIN, which resulted in some major flooding in our state). I very stupidly didn't take all the extra rain into consideration when sending them out (with Max's mother's permission...) that maybe, just MAYBE, my backyard may have turned into a bit of a swamp and I should have laid out some ground rules before sending them out. They hadn't been outside more than 10 minutes when Jared came in to inform me that he was a little bit splashed from the muddy water in the garden.

In viewing this picture, you're noticing a few random muddy splotches on his pants and I'll bet you're thinking, "That's not too bad at all!" But what you CAN'T see from this picture (much to my dismay) is that he is DRIPPING wet from the knees down.

Basically, there are several areas of my backyard that are under several inches of water, and the areas NOT under several inches of water are very very GUSHY and mucky, and let me tell you, those boys had a BLAST.

Are you wishing I'd taken pictures of the flooded areas of my yard for a better visual of the fun the boys had? WELL, I was all set to snap a few pictures, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that THIS little cutie had found a handy pair of shoes and had wandered out to do some exploring of his own:

And these would be his sisters "dress" shoes (nice enough to wear with dresses and skirts, etc, but not so nice that she can't run around in them at recess at school), which he so kindly tromped through a few mucky spots with, and shuffled through puddles in:

PS It wasn't windy in that picture I took of Connor... That's pure bed-head, folks, because he wasn't down with me spraying it with water and I wasn't in the mood to fight with him! ha! And please ignore the ill-fitting overalls he's wearing. I had all the clean jeans drying in the dryer and he found those in his drawer and insisted on wearing them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

We have a vampire in the family

Jared's blood must be like a drug for Connor, because Connor doesn't bite ANYONE in this family except Jared. This latest time was BAD. Jared had on a nice thick sweatshirt and I'm convinced it's the only thing that saved him from losing a good-sized chunk of skin. Even through the sweatshirt, Connor bit so hard that there was IMMEDIATELY a large welted bruise, a bright red blood blister, and broken skin (not actual bleeding, but layers of skin were peeled off). This picture doesn't even do it justice (it was welted up a good half inch high and about a silver dollar-size in width)!!

Connor got a MUCH MUCH MUCH milder taste of his own medicine and hasn't bit Jared again, though I'm not holding my breath. The other thing that's helped is that Jared has FINALLY decided not to take crap from his baby brother any longer, and will happily shove, kick, etc (whatever it takes) to get Connor off of him if he feels threatened. Though Connor's reaction is generally to step up the attack, but at that point, the screams of fury have usually clued me into a problem and I break it up before things get ugly. And just think, they're only 2.5 and 4.5!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jared is funny!

I know a lot of what I share about Jared probably doesn't seem all that funny to the random reader, but those of you who KNOW Jared and his expressions, and the general manner of how he speaks (well beyond his years in most cases!), this will come off as extra comical!

Monday was Jared's first day back to school after being out of school for snow days, and Winter break, and the kids in his preschool class were REALLY chatty about everything they'd been up to, and the presents they received, etc. Jared's teacher told me that Jared was just BEYOND excited as he was talking about the metal detector that Santa brought for him, and was animatedly explaining how to turn it on, and describing the sound it makes when you find a metal object, etc. She then asked him if he'd found anything interesting with his metal detector, and he very enthusiastically replied, "Yeah! The fridge, and the stove, and the fish tank!!!" LOL!

In his defense, our weather was less than ideal for heading outdoors to "treasure hunt", so he mostly just stuck to the indoors and was figuring out which things in our house are made of metal and which things aren't. So it wasn't so much that he meant he found our fridge and the stove and the fishtank, but that he discovered that they're made with some metal parts...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jared and Ryder

Jared seems to be taking after his mommy and likes to get his hands on a baby when he can. He and Emily were invited over to the neighbor's house the other afternoon, and when Dan and Connor and I walked over to pick them up later on, I got to hold Ryder for little bit (Connor hadn't met him yet since he wasn't feeling good the day Emily and I took presents over, so I wanted him to get to see the baby). Jared suddenly appeared at my side and whispered that he hadn't had a turn to hold the baby yet. I settled him on the couch and he sat there and smiled as sweet as could be at the sleeping baby Ryder in his arms. Of course Mr. Shifty-eyes wasn't cooperating for the pictures I was trying to take, so you'll just have to take my word for it that his expression showed that he was clearly pleased to be holding this baby!


Monday, January 5, 2009

Emily's new trinket

Emily LOVES to get to go to Claire's at our mall. I've splurged on her plenty of times in that store, but the last few times, I've had her spend her own money (figuring that it will teach her to appreciate what money she has if she sees how hard it can be to earn it, and that she will take better care of the item she's purchasing it if she has her own money invested in it, etc). She's bought herself a new hair clip, a pretty ring, some earrings, and a little purse so far.

This most recent time, she picked out an adorable little lamb key chain (her stuffed lamb, Lambie, is her most prized possession, so the lamb key chain is very fitting).

wait a minute, something's wrong here! What's with the hole in the back?

Oh geez, this can't be good

Clean up on aisle 9!! Farmer Jed forgot to housetrain this little fella

I take my kid into the girliest store you can come across and she comes home with a pooping lamb key chain??? You should have heard her giggle and giggle the entire drive home. She talked her daddy into putting it on her backback, but I'm pretty positive that's not going to be appropriate for school and is going to have to come off... LOL!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Movie Reviews

Well, for a family who RARELY (and I mean RARELY) ever EVER goes to see a movie in a theater, I've managed to see three in the span of about a week (7 or 8 days).

Marley & Me:
CUTE movie (haven't read the book, so I have no clue how well it follows the story-line there). Bring tissues. I felt there was a little more language than I would have expected for a PG movie. There was also a lot of s-e-x talk (use of the actual word, heavy make-out scenes, and implications through squeaky beds and skinny-dipping) that I worried about having to explain on the way home (kids didn't bring it up and NEITHER DID I!!). We covered little eyes two or three times, and then it ended up being that we hadn't needed to, but you just didn't know where things were going and we were being careful. LOL It had enough humor to please my husband who isn't into the romance portion of the movie...

I liked it! Dan and I both thought it followed the book closely enough and although some parts were a bit changed, and a lot of the build-up from the book was left out, the integrity of the story was intact. We would both love for someone who HASN'T yet read the book to go see the movie and then tell us what they thought. I wonder if certain things are very clear to someone who hasn't read the book???

Tales of Despereaux:
My kids loved it. I could do without ever seeing it again. It was cute enough, but the previews REALLY don't give you a good feel for what you're getting into and it wasn't anything like I was expecting it to be. It was what it was, but it didn't gain me as a huge fan. But again, my kids really enjoyed it, and so did my niece-to-be, and since it's a KIDS movie, I guess it's the KIDS' reviews that should really count! ha ha.

And although this isn't currently a theater movie, I just have to add that we also recently saw Wall-E and I totally don't get the hype!!!!!!!!! I felt it was extremely slow-paced and just dragged for a lot of the movie. There's very little dialogue, and while I get why there wasn't, I guess I'm a girl who likes some talking amongst the characters in movies I'm watching. I also STILL have the Wall-E voice saying "wall-e!!" stuck in my head (and my children don't help by repeating it about every 37.5 seconds). Kids love this movie. I DO NOT! However, it does have some pretty powerful messages about conserving our resources and taking care of our planet (and eating right, etc), and if the kids can pick up on the messages while enjoying the rest of the movie, then I'll give it a thumbs up, even if I don't plan to see it ever again!

PS Happy Birthday Daddy!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Red Beard:


and Blue Beard:

And they came to visit because all of the adults in the house stupidly assumed there wasn't anything in the daylight basement the kids could get into at my IL's house on New Years Eve... ha ha!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy "Nude" Year!

I hope everyone had a fun time celebrating the end of 2008 and the start of 2009. Seems hard to believe another year has come and gone...

I'll leave you with some pictures of the kids toasting in the New Year (two hours early! ha ha!!) with sparkling cider:





And just to make things a little more interesting, here's a "Happy Nude Year" from Connor!