Friday, April 30, 2010

Dearest Children

Dearest children,

If I ask you if you've brushed your teeth, don't tell me "yes" when a simple glance in your mouth will let me know that you did not, in fact, brush your teeth. When I ask you if you've emptied the litter box, don't tell me "yes" when a simple glance into the box will let me know that you did not, in fact, empty the litter box. Same with whether you've flushed the toilet (I can lift the lid and look), washed your hands (I can see the dirt still on your hands and/or I can tell your hands haven't been wet and I'm not smelling any soap smell...), or hung up your backpack/coat properly, or put away your shoes (I see it all still laying on the floor).

I don't get the constant need to lie over trivial things. Why not just brush your teeth? In the time you spent in the bathroom PRETENDING to brush your teeth, you could have just actually been doing it. Same with the other examples. Then add in the time-out factor WHEN you get caught, and you see that your lie gained you NOTHING, saved you ZERO amount of time, and only served to anger me and cause me not to trust you.

I don't enjoy giving time-outs and other fitting punishments. I don't enjoy the time spent "lecturing". I don't enjoy your DRAMA after you've been caught in a lie. So do me a favor and either get better at lying, or better yet, just do the things I ask you to do! I ask you to do these things to keep your body healthy and safe, to teach you how to take care of yourself and your things, and to teach you some responsibilities within your family and your home. Are those really such bad things?

Your loving mother who just wants you to tell the truth and do as you're told for goodness sakes

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Proud mommy alert!

Katin (a sweet little girl we met in Jared's preschool class, who we currently babysit before and after school) had a Girl Scouts function the other night, and each girl was asked to tell the group who their role model is, and why. Katin said that Emily is her role model because she is nice to everyone, and because she helps the younger kids and encourages them at recess (that's not an exact quote as I wasn't there to hear it myself, but that's the jist of what I got second-hand from Katin's mommy). I thought it was the sweetest darn thing! It was one of those "I must be doing something right afterall" moments. My sweet little Emily, a role model!

Then last week during Jared's gymnastics class, there were several new kids in class. Two of the kids we "knew" through preschool related events, but they are in different classes so we don't KNOW them (if that makes sense). The one little guy was very hesitant and unsure about the whole thing, and Jared walked right up to him, took him under his wing, and encouraged him along. He even took a few extra seconds to show the little guy how to do a move he wasn't very clear on and THEN made a big deal of praising the boy after he attempted it. The little boy's mom came over and was so appreciative and grateful, and was singing Jared's praises over the incident. I just loved how Jared was so in tune with the other boy's hesitations and took measures to make him feel more comfortable.

And Connor, who can be a royal pain in the REAR (and you know I say that entirely lovingly!!), has been just AMAZING the last three days. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. !!!! Cooperative, helpful, reasonable, calm... We volunteered in classrooms, ran a ton of errands, sat through dance, more volunteering in classrooms, more errands, more dance, gymnastics, errands, meetings, appointments, missed naps, etc. and he was just a major trooper through it all. I have sung his praises like CRAZY these last three days, trying to encourage more of this behavior. I have soooooooooooo enjoyed Connor. Not that I don't normally, but there is a different feeling at the end of the day where I haven't battled him every step of the way compared to when I HAVE battled him every step of the way. It's just been wonderful. I'd better knock on wood it lasts. This sweet little man trucking along next to me without a single fuss is a dream come true!!

I ♥ my kids! Life is good!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Mom, do you remember that big huge bus that was little?" -Connor

Friday, April 23, 2010

More Crafts

I had so much fun making the Big sister and Little Sister frames that I rushed out and bought more frames to work on. My SIL's sister had a baby only a week before my niece, Eva, was born, so I decided to do a frame for baby Bella as a little gift, since she's loosely a part of my family now, too.

Like last time, you can't see the glittery of the white lettering...

Making these could be a little addicting, and the possibilities are endless!! LOL

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Singer in the band

Dan's "band" is currently without a singer. Connor took a stab at it: (wow, you can really see his self hair-cut in this one)

He was even tapping his toe to the beat: (notice his black dress shoes with the filthy jeans?? ha ha!)

When I stepped outside with the camera to document his adorableness, he turned around screamed at me into the microphone (but in a singing-ish scream) "GOOOOO. AAAAA. WAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!" and tapping his foot all the while. LOL!!!!!!! It was like heavy metal rocker boy style of singing or something. SO FUNNY!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I love this girl

My girl, typically on the more timid and hesitant side (you know, a "check the waters with a big toe before jumping in" type of girl), isn't afraid to make a bold statement when it comes to clothing. She rocked it at 2 years old, hittin' the town with a purple tutu pulled up and over any and every outfit, and she's rockin' things now, in the way of shimmery scarves, glittery shoes, and sequined arm socks (oh, and fake hair slipped over a bun):


She wanted me to be sure to show off her hair (scrawny little thing, isn't she? I swear we feed her!)

Her favorite place to shop is Justice for Girls, and it troubles her greatly that her mother is too cheap to shop there very often. *grin*

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Join the club

I've officially joined the Mothers of Children Who Cut Their Own Hair club. sigh... It's not a proud moment, believe me!

Back in the day, when I was working at a local daycare, a little girl walked in with her bangs chopped off right at the roots, and she was left with a little fuzzy fringe. Apparently, she wanted to be just like Dorothy, and as you know, Dorothy doesn't have bangs.

When Emily was old enough to be mobile and somewhat verbal, I started coaching her on the idea that SCISSORS ARE FOR PAPER, NOT FOR HAIR!! I wasn't messing around with her chopping off her own hair! It got to the point where I think I could almost literally see her blood start to boil when I'd ask her, "What are scissors for?" before letting her have anything to do with scissors. SCISSORS ARE FOR PAPER, NOT FOR HAIR. The kid could probably chant the mantra in her sleep.

I'm sure I spent time chatting up Jared about scissors being for paper, but apparently I let the ball drop with Connor. Or more realistically, I told him, he didn't care, and used them for hair anyway (that whole "walks to the beat of his own drum" thing, you know?). Wouldn't be the first time that child went off and did something he'd been specifically told not to do. And before you start getting all preachy on me and wondering why I wasn't supervising my kid while he was using scissors, I'll explain how he was eating a bowl of oatmeal, with the scissors locked in the art cupboard (child proof lock), and I went and took a ten minute shower. He's sneaky. And fast. And did I mention sneaky?

Thankfully, the damage isn't horrible (took me until much later in the day before I even noticed it, but of course, it's all I can see NOW! ha!). We're able to "ruffle" his hair and cover up the bulk of the damage. So far no one has noticed it on their own (or at least hasn't spoken up and asked about it!)



Monday, April 19, 2010


Saturday morning, a Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) update on Facebook came up, announcing her safe arrival in the Pacific Northwest. A bit of digging on the Internet and I realized it was a totally doable drive to attend her book signing, which I somehow hadn't managed to have heard of until that morning. Dan agreed right away to take me, insisted we take the boys with us and make a night of it, and off we went. (Emily was with her auntie, uncle, and cousins for a movie and sleepover).

We arrived at 5:30pm (a half hour after the book signing started) instead of the two hours early I'D pushed for, but Dan didn't believe me that there would be the crowd that there ended up being, and I figured better there at 5:30pm than not at all! I was assigned a ticket stating I was in the J group, and told there would be an hour and a half to two hour wait. Not bad!

There was a large cafeteria-type area on the same floor as the bookstore on the upper level, and several restaurants, and a stage. Dan decided he didn't want to feed the boys there, so I camped out on the floor (only seating available at that point) and perused my new "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" cookbook while he and the boys drove off to find a McD's or something.

At 6:45pm, a table opened up in the cafeteria area so I rushed toward it at the same time an older couple did. There were three seats at the table, and the three of us agreed to share the table. They were in their mid-70's and very friendly. I got to hear about their grand-daughter, who has had some small parts in TV shows like House, CSI, and a few other shows on channels I don't get. I also got to hear a bit about the woman's experience as a small child in France during the war, and how she and her family were refugees for about 5 years, and her father was a prisoner of war for five years. When they finally reunited, they'd lost everything and traveled to another country where her uncle still owned his house, but it had been vacant for years. She talked about helping her mother restore the house, and about having no running water, etc for a number of years while they built it back up into a home.

At 7:30pm, group E was called (so clearly group J was a LONG way from being called, and that two hour estimate was a bust.) to stand in line to meet PW, and a Big Band started playing on the stage, so conversation got a little tricky, and we mostly sat quietly and listened, and chatted briefly in-between songs.

At 8pm, I texted Dan and told him he should probably just come get me and we should head home and it was clearly going to be extremely late before I got my turn, and we had little boys with us who were going to need to get to bed soon. Dan said the boys were having a BLAST and going strong, and we'd already made the drive and waited 2.5 hours, so it would be silly to give up at that point.

Within a few minutes of that call, the older couple spotted an open table closer to the stage (they were there for the music, not the book signing), and a gal about my age immediately came up and claimed one of the empty chairs at my table. We hit it off and started talking as best as we could over the music. She mentioned that her fiance was babysitting her 2.5 year old daughter, and she felt bad because it was getting way past her daughter's bedtime and she was thinking of giving up and heading home, but her fiance was pushing her not to give up. I laughed and said I'd JUST had a similar conversation with my husband!!

Suddenly I realized that PW's daughter, Alex, was wandering the crowd, and I was debating asking her to sign my cookbook as well (there's a picture of her in it, so why not, right??), but wasn't feeling very brave until another lady near me stopped her and asked, so then I jumped on the bandwagon and asked as well. Alex was a DOLL; totally cute and very sweet. And TALL. Granted, she had on cowboy boots, but still, she was tall, and very slender, with LONG legs. The lucky thing...

Dan and the boys came back to join me around 8:30pm, and group F had recently been called. There was a tiny play area in the cafeteria very near the table I was sitting at, so the boys entertained themselves playing in there. There's a small "bar" type table/chair set up on three sides of the play area, and Alex ended up sitting there, sipping at a lemonaid. Jared came up from inside the play area, and put his arms up on the table, preparing to say something to her (he had ZERO clue who she was, but she was a pretty older girl and YOU KNOW JARED!!), but he accidentally knocked her lemonaid over. Thankfully it didn't get on her. I shoved cash at Dan and insisted he go buy her another one, but she said the drinks were refillable. She was very gracious and full of smiles over the whole thing. Camery, the gal I'd been sitting with, laughed and said my claim to fame would be that my son spilled lemonaid all over PW's daughter. LOL At some point in the evening, Camery and I decided to ask Alex to pose for a picture since she was there and we had time to kill.

The boys played, the adults talked, we bought sodas, blah blah blah, and finally around 10pm, group J was called.

Suddenly, it all seemed VERY exciting and the wait was starting to pay off. Camery and I went and stood in line within the bookstore while Dan stayed in the cafeteria with the boys so they could continue to play in the play area.

The lined EVER SO SLOWLY creeped through the bookstore. When I was 12 people away, Dan and the boys joined me in line. It was pushing 10:50pm at this point, and those little boys of mine were PERFECTLY behaved. They were cooperative, friendly, enthusiastic... They got along perfectly (which is a HUGELY momentous thing compared to the past few weeks, let me tell you!!). I was sooooo very VERY proud of my little gentlemen. Everyone is line was extremely upbeat and energetic, GIDDY, and while the line was slow-moving, we were all having a great time talking to the people in line around us!

At 11pm on the nose (according to my cell phone), it was my turn!!! I had planned to say something along the lines of:

"I'm so glad you decided to add Seattle to your book tour; it means so much to get to meet you. It was reading your blog that inspired me to start my own, and I just love viewing your pictures and reading your stories."

What came out was something more along the lines of mumbled/stuttered:

"I swear I'm not a bad mom, and I don't normally keep my little boys out this late, but we had no idea it would take this long. Oh, but it was worth every minute of the wait!"

Um, yeah...

Connor kept giving her his infamous SCOWL (and if you know Connor, you know "the look" I'm talking about. For those of you who don't know Connor, that SCOWL is the look he gives ANYONE who dares strike up a conversation with him, especially if it's to ask him a question. If he's the one to strike up the conversation, he'll chat your ear off and entertain the pants off ya!), so she got up close to his face and (here's where things get a little tricky, because I was still scrambling to remember what it was I'd wanted to say to her, trying to remember to enjoy my 30 seconds with her, and so I know for a fact she said SOMETHING to him in a funny voice, and I BELIEVE it was the following, but don't put money on it, okay???) and quoted Joey from Friends, "How YOU doin'?" Nothing from Connor. Pose for the picture, move out of the way for the next person, and it was over. Very whirlwind-ish.

Am I thrilled I got to meet her in the flesh? YES! (and she's every bit as adorable in person as she seems on her blog). Was it totally worth the wait? YES! Had I been told ahead of time I'd have to wait until 11pm to get my book signed, would I have still gone? NOPE. I'm glad I didn't know ahead of time! LOL

The time actually went MUCH more quickly than one would expect, and the boys spent all day Sunday talking about how much fun they had that night. Dan said he enjoyed seeing the boys having fun, and being a part of me getting to meet someone I really looked up to (that's not quite the right wording, but it's hard to explain. Fellow PW fans will know what I mean!!).

And now, for the pictures!

Here are the boys, sipping some lemonaids by the play area (Connor is sitting in the seat Alex was sitting in when Jared knocked over her drink):
fun events

Alex being sweet and agreeing to pose for a picture:
fun events

Alex's autograph (clearly an old picture of her, right?)
fun events

Ree's autograph:
fun events

And here are the boys and I, posed with PW!! (Ignore CJ's scowl. I've seen worse, plus, it was 11pm and we'd left the house at 4pm, so I figure he's entitled! LOL):
fun events

There was some gal standing around, in charge of taking your picture with your own camera, and I assume she was really ready to be done with the day at this point, and wasn't bothering with any ZOOM functions... Here's a cropped version (below) I did in photoshop. Much better, right? *grin*

fun events

I need to get my teeth whitened.

fun events

PS I never really saw myself as the sort of person to get star struck, but oh my goodness, I totally was! I'm still feeling the "high" from getting to meet her!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Maybe it's an Indian tool!

I am currently reading book #2 from The Boxcar Children series to the kids. We recently got done reading a chapter in the book where the four children found some Indian artifacts on the little island they were staying on (arrow heads, axe heads, bowls, etc). Connor was out digging in the dirt the following day, found a blackened, misshaped spoon, and ran to the house shouting, "I found something crazy in the dirt! Maybe it's an Indian tool!" It was so cute! A few days earlier, had he found that same spoon, he would have come in wondering why there was an old spoon in the dirt (I'd like to know the answer to that myself, to be honest!), but after hearing an interesting book, suddenly that same spoon in the dirt becomes something much more exciting. I LOVE BOOKS!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bowling Pro

Connor shows off his cool bowling moves:
Connor,fun events

In case it's not clear, that's Connor, in the process of slipping and falling into the gutter after throwing the ball down the lane!

If only I had pictures of when he insisted he didn't need help, then set himself up to roll the ball down the lane like we'd shown him, and before anyone could react, heaved the ball up over his shoulder and launched it as hard as he could toward the pins. OOPS! We were sure to hover a little more closely after that!

Never a dull moment with Connor around!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's "Way to Go"

While sitting here, struggling to come up with something to post about today, I decided to list a few things I'm proud of or happy about lately. This would fit into the "Thankful Thursday" deal many bloggers do, except today isn't Thursday, so I had to be creative. *grin*

1. Connor WILLINGLY sat down with me the other day and worked on some alphabet letters. I bought some dry-erase flash cards for him to practice writing his letters, while also opening the "door" to work on letter names and sounds while we're at it. It's been a bit of a struggle with him (if it's not running, jumping, biking, climbing, wrestling, or any other type of PHYSICAL activity, he doesn't want much part in it), so to have him sit there, happily tracing (very scribbly, but he was doing it!) his letters was AMAZING. And he even recognized the letters A and B later in the day, and could tell me the sound for B after the fact. He'd lost it again by bedtime, but it was an amazing start, and I hope it continues. I've been a bit worried!

2. Jared's handwriting is improving!! Jared was a bit like Connor, not interested in coloring, drawing, writing, etc. so he really didn't have very good control of a pencil for forming letters nicely. His teacher had him evaluated twice at the beginning of the year, but he wasn't considered delayed enough to qualify for extra help (they basically chalked it up to lack of experience over an actual inability to do it, which makes sense). His handwriting has improved IMMENSELY, however, now we have to work on SPEED. He's so deliberate about forming his letters nicely (something the rest of his class was focusing on at the beginning on the year), that he often falls behind in school work. We've made FANTASTIC progress so far, and I'm confident we'll get his speed up to par as well. We have some papers that we work on at home to help build his skills, and they seem to be doing the trick, slowly but surely.

3. Hurray for Em's glasses! We recently found out that her current lenses have helped her "lazy" right eye improve since her last appt 6 months ago. This means we don't have to patch her good eye afterall. Since getting her new lenses in October, she's rediscovered her love of school, her confidence in herself, and her school scores have improved greatly! For the reading comprehension testing they have at her school, she's allowed to read books up to a level 4.2 (which is a book geared for a 4th grade reading level, and she's only in 2nd grade), and her teacher has commented several times lately how much she enjoys listening to Emily read out loud. Em's GOOD at putting emotion into her words as she's reading. It's so fun, and such a change from October when she was calling herself stupid, sobbing about having to go to school, and refusing to read. Last night? She begged to stay up a little past bedtime because she was reading "the best book EVER and I need to see how it ends or I won't be able to sleep." LOVE IT!!

4. Jared is reading chapter books. In Kindergarten! He's a little choppy, and needs help with words here and there, but he's really good at reading through words, sounding out words, and even predicting at what a long word (one he wouldn't be able to sound out) might be in a given sentence as he's reading (and he's right more often than not!!). He's found a love of reading, and has been begging lately to sit and read to me. I've always enjoyed reading, and I'm thrilled to see my children developing a love for reading as well.

I'm not a proud mommy or anything, am I?!? ha!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Latest Craft Projects

I made these frames for my nieces, and I had sooo much fun! Ideas for future frames are rolling through my head at a speedy pace... *grin*



Monday, April 12, 2010

MS Walk

I participated in the MS Walk over the weekend. For those of you that don't know, the MS Walk is a fundraiser to get money to help find a cure and help fund research and treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. My Aunt Sue died from complications of MS when I was a little girl, and my parents were both diagnosed with MS within 6 months of each other back in 2000. The first year I ever did the MS Walk was the year my mother had been diagnosed (but not my dad quite yet), and I walked with both my mom and one of my aunts. Some combination of that original group has walked every year since, with the addition of my mom's good friend Mary, and my cousin-in-law, Jessica the last two years. I've missed three years due to being rather heavily pregnant with each of my kids, but I'm proud of my involvement thus far, and look farward to my involvement in the future. Doing the MS Walk and raising funds helps me feel like I have a little bit of control over a situation that I truly have no control over whatsoever. I'm so thankful that both of my parents have responded well to treatment, and both lead active, normal lives (minor issues here and there).

Here is Mary, my mom, myself, and Jessica (we're loaded down with "freebies" they hand out before the walk starts)

These guys took the picture of our group for us. LOL!

There was a big poster set up with the words "I walk because..." listed at the top, with Sharpie pens hanging from string to allow people to sign it.

We had a great time, and I look forward to next year! It was COLD (39 degrees!) with a rather biting wind, but the sun was out, the sky was blue, the crowd was energized, the scenery was gorgeous... We just made sure to have warm coats and whatnot and enjoyed the day!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Riddle me this

Jared took his lunch to school in his lunch "box". He ate lunch, then put the empty lunch box in the lunch tub (each classroom has a tub in the lunchroom where the kids put their empty lunch boxes before heading out to recess from the lunch room. Kids from each class are assigned to take the lunch tub back to the classroom, where at the end of the day, each kid digs through and find their lunch box to put in their backpacks to bring back home again). At the end of the day, his lunch box wasn't in the tub. It's also not still in the lunchroom, nor is it in the lost and found bins. It's not in his classroom, and none of the other teachers have reported finding a random lunch box in THEIR lunch tubs. So just where did the lunch bag go? The bins are clearly marked, so there's not much chance he put it in the wrong bin by accident (and a teacher would have discovered a random lunch bag at the end of the day even if he HAD). His name was clearly printed on the back, so not much chance there was confusion as to who it belonged to. It appears to have simply VANISHED. J is pretty upset as it was the special one he picked out over the summer from The Children's Place to be his Kindergarten lunch box/bag. Now he's stuck using an old one from PRESCHOOL (the shame!) until we either find it or can replace it with something he'll be excited about. UGH!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This little piggy is black and blue

One little piggy went to market.
Another little piggy stayed home.
Still another little piggy had roast beef.
And one poor little piggy not only had none, but he also got the crap beat out of him by a wooden post in his diningroom!!
And the last little piggy went WAH WAH WAH in sympathy, all the way home.

I'd share pictures, but my toenails are untrimmed and unpainted (sadly neglected feet), but imagine that little "ring" toe in lovely shades of black and blue, packing a little extra chub and THAT would be MY toe. OUCH!

It's in much better shape this morning than yesterday morning when it first happened. I don't think it's broken, but it's badly bruised, for sure! Thankfully, dance class was already canceled for other reasons today, because while it IS feeling better, I don't think it's quite up to dancing just yet.

(stupid wooden post...I refuse to take any blame for what happened. That post jumped out and got me, I swear it. LOL)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A little competition?

What do you think? Matthew McConnaughey's got a little competition, right?

(God, I love this kid!)


Jared's been wanting to dress nicely to school from time to time, and yesterday, he wore the suit/tux from his uncle's wedding this summer. One of the boys in his class asked me if Jared wears ties and tuxes because he wants to be a spy. LOL! (He DOES have spy gear!! ha ha!)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Little Ballerina

"Every day brings a chance for you to kick off your shoes, draw in a breath, and dance." -Oprah Winfrey


My girl LOVES to dance. She currently takes ballet and tap, and would happily take more if I had the money for the classes and the time in the week to take her. LOL Dance days are her favorite days of the week and she comes to class with so much excitement and enthusiasm each and every time. She's not the best in her classes, but I'd be willing to bet she's one of the most passionate about it. Seeing her excitement each week, for the 5th year in a row, is partially what gave me the push to take the adult jazz class when the opportunity came up. She just has so much FUN, and it was contagious. I had to try it. And you know what? It IS fun!!

I'd recently been looking into quotes about dancing, and came across the quote at the beginning of this post, but it wasn't credited to anyone. I loved the quote because it just seemed to perfectly fit Emily, and I've had plans of figuring out some sort of wall art for her room using the quote, but I felt compelled to figure out who the quote originated from. Turns out, it was from Oprah Winfrey!

Em, I love how much you love dancing; it's so fun to see you so excited about it, and you make me so proud when I watch you working at, and then performing, a routine on stage. What a brave and beautiful little girl you are.

Oprah, thanks for the perfect quote!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Happy Joy Joy

1. I found Jared's long-lost newborn footprints mixed in with random paperwork and expired coupons, in a bag, buried in a box of EMILY'S keepsakes on the top shelf in her closet over the weekend. No clue how they ended up there. SOOOOO happy to have them back! I've cried many times over those little footprints being missing! *does a little happy dance*

2. Finally got to test out the Lego Store with the kids. FIL and I drove them up North, AND he helped fund the purchases... Slight disappointment on my part that there wasn't more "girly" colors for Em's sake, but she was quite pleased to expand her stash of legos anyway. The boys were enthralled with all of the displays of built legos, and all three kids had a good time choosing lego "bricks" from the bulk bins. The added bonus? I had a solid hour and a half of time once we arrived home where no one was fighting/arguing! They all played side by side with their new legos, got along, and even SHARED, can you believe it??

3. Got the preschool newsletter finished several days in advance. To quote my good friend Kaci, "WOO TO THE HOO!"

What made you extra happy this week??

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Photoshop Fun!

The kids and I were having a bit of fun with Photoshop Elements yesterday!



This one of Connor cracks me up the most! His expression just doesn't match his attire AT ALL! LOL!!

And here are some before and after pictures: