Friday, October 29, 2010

Mario and Luigi

The 1st graders at my children's school have been studying and "raising" meal worms in their science classes. Every week, they examined the meal worms and documented any changes they saw, gave the meal worms fresh bran and a fresh chunk of potato (for moisture), and made guesses about what the meal worms would turn into. Jared named his meal worms Mario and Bowser, but after Bowser died, it was replaced with Luigi.

Currently, Mario has transformed into a beetle, and Luigi is still a pupa.

As the beetles were emerging, permission slips came home to be signed if the parents were agreeable to allow the nasty little critters beetles to come home with their child. My first thought was NO THANKS, but poor Jared was devastated at the idea of not being able to bring home his nasty little critters beetles that he "worked so hard to take care of and now you're just going to let them be thrown away!!!!!!!"

And so, we have a pupa and a beetle to add to our pet collection. Thankfully, the adults only live a few weeks, and they are content in a small plastic container full of bran flakes and a chunk of potato. I can handle that.

It's this I can't handle so much

But it thrills the heck out of Jared, who LOVES science, and who am I to stand in the way of a love of science?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My little reader

Jared has been able to read for quite some time now, but he's never really ENJOYED it. Until about a week ago! He would read because it was part of his homework, or would very occasionally read "just because", but there was a long list of other things he'd rather be doing. A week and a half ago, I gave him a chapter book to read, and he whined and whined about having to read, and about how it was going to take forever, and taht it didn't even have any pictures. I told him to just TRY it and see what he thought.

He read the entire book in a day and a half. He read every spare second that he had, and hasn't looked back.

When he had a friend over to spend the night that same weekend, he offered to read his friend a story before bed:

He still dearly loves his Legos and playing the Wii (especially if it's Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, or Lego Harry Potter!), but now we can add READING BOOKS as something that's high up on his list of favorite activities.

On top of enjoying it, he's also GOOD! I really enjoy listening to him. He's been bringing home 2.0-3.0 level books, which are basically 2nd-3rd grade level books (he's in 1st), and I'm sure he could read even higher. I'm so proud of him, and I'm so glad he's finally taken an interest in reading. It's something I've always enjoyed myself, and something his daddy enjoys as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I haven't made many cards the last few months (summer was too busy so I didn't push for orders), and of the ones I've made, I haven't really remembered to take pictures of...

HOWEVER, I recently got a card order for a card for a girl aged teen or older, two toddler girl cards, and two toddler boy cards. No other requests or requirements. AND I remembered to take pictures!

This is what I came up with:
(hard to tell, but the flower is three layers of textured paper flowers with a light green gem in the center)



(please excuse that these next two are pictured together; I was running out of space on my memory card!)

Connor wondered why I would make such cool boy cards for someone else and not HIM, so I will have to make him a "cool boy card" very soon, JUST BECAUSE!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

Connor's preschool class got to visit a cute little farm about a half hour away from where we live last week. They got to have a little hayride, then pick some apples off the actual trees, dig up some carrots, choose a small pumpkin, and then got to feed some bread to the chickens! The kids had a BLAST!



Connor has hauled his pumpkin all over the house, proudly showing it off to anyone and everyone who will listen (and since we haven't had many visitors, he's had a very grudging audience of older siblings who are sort of at the "WE KNOW, WE KNOW!" stage at this point...LOL).

We had hopes of getting the entire family to a pumpkin patch this year (something I don't believe we've done since Connor was just a few months old), but we never ended up with a good weekend. I guess we'll be buying pumpkins from the grocery store again this year (and that's assuming there's even any left!).

At least Connor got to go with his preschool class!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Flying V, or A?


You tell me, but the group of preschool kids I was with at the time I saw this decided it was far more of an A than a V (Even more so right before the picture was taken; those darn things started shifting as soon as we grabbed for our cameras... They couldn't bear for us to have EVIDENCE! haha!).

Monday, October 18, 2010

It should have been so simple

My husband decided to repair the popcorn ceiling in our house (which got damaged four years ago when the new roof we'd had put on the house LEAKED). The new popcorn didn't match up in texture OR color, so then he decided we should paint the ceiling. And then since we were painting the ceiling, he figured we may as well texture the messed up wall in that same room. And since it was being textured, it would need to be painted. And since we were painting it, we might as well paint it an accent color (but we have mismatched garage sale and/or hand-me-down furniture, so I'm not sure what we're accenting...). I was told something along these lines, "I'll get all the tape and plastic up in like an hour Saturday morning, and we'll paint some primer and be doing final coats before we go to bed Saturday night. Just leave it to me, this'll be no problem."

We didn't end up doing any taping or putting up plastic until closer to 1:30pm Saturday (due to the boys' soccer games and some bloodwork Dan had to get done as part of his physical). Wall texture and ceiling popcorn didn't happen until closer to 3pm. Then we spent about four hours celebrating my BIL's birthday. By the time we got home and put kids in bed, it was 9pm and we were still dealing with primer. The lights in the room kept flickering out, and then we discovered a MESSED UP wire in one of the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling (complete with SPARKS when the light fixture was moved even the tiniest bit...makes me feel super safe!!), so that took some time to deal with. And then the paint sprayer we borrowed was full of WATER, so we had to drain all that out before we could start spraying paint, and THEN it over-heated and stopped working before we were finished with what we wanted to do. We called it quits around 10:30pm and headed to bed.

Sunday morning, we realized that with the kitchen and familyroom all taped off and plastic covering everything, we'd need to eat breakfast OUT somewhere. Once we got home and Dan started painting again, we realized that 4 gallons of paint was not enough to paint a popcorn ceiling (that stuff SLURPS UP PAINT!), so then we had to drive out and get more paint. And by this time, the high-quality plastic we'd used was getting too heavy for the tape, and started pulling loose in some areas, which led to a staple gun being used along the ceiling/wall line to hold it up instead. One thing after another seemed to go wrong (including Connor somehow managing to get paint on his new jeans AND MY COUCH, despite being banned from being anywhere near the work!!!!!!!!!), and we didn't end up with enough time to paint the newly textured wall. My livingroom and diningroom and both currently storing furniture from the familyroom, and my kitchen looks like a war zone.

All to fix the popcorn ceiling that got damaged when the roof leaked four years ago. LOL

Yes, I'm happy the ceiling is decently fixed, and the messed up wall has been on the "to do" list for the entire ten years we've been living in this house, so I'm thrilled that's being taken care of as well. It's just that something seemingly simple always turns out to be such a PRODUCTION for us!! (the roof that caused that problem in the first place was supposed to be a two-weekend job, which really took 4.5 months when all was said and done, but that's a story I won't get into right now!)

I will share a few before/after pics once we have the wall dealt with and all the light fixtures screwed back into place, which should be by Tuesday (but in the meantime, the toilet will probably over-flow, the car will break down, and the ceiling will cave in from the weight of 4+ gallons of paint). HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Special shout-out to my FIL, who spent part of both days this weekend helping texture and paint so that I didn't have to!! We appreciate all your hard work. What a relief it will be to cross a few things off the ever-growing "to do" list!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Dan and Emily stole my camera last night and headed outside to take some pics of spider webs.

Curtesy of Dan:

Curtesy of Emily:

Em said she saw the hole in the web and wanted to fill it up and knew that a clover wouldn't be too heavy. LOL I ♥ that girl!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Firefly Lane

I just got done reading Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I didn't start out loving the book, but something about it pulled me in anyway, and I could hardly put it down. I wanted to see where life took the two characters, who start out as 14 year olds meeting and becoming friends in the early 70's. The setting of the book is Seattle and the surrounding areas (cities within Washington, where I live), so that was fun to read, and it was fun to read the references to what was popular in those time-frames as the book progressed to present day. By the end of the book, I was totally hooked, and it ended with a great reminder/message about how precious life is, and how each and every moment count, which is something I often forget in the chaos and rush of day-to-day life. I'm so glad I decided to pluck this book off the shelf at Target last week (I completed my errands with about an hour to kill before Connor was done with preschool, which wasn't enough time to bother going all the way home and having to come right back out again, but left me nothing to do for an hour, so I bought a book and read in the preschool parking lot!!).

I just started reading another book by the same author called "the things we do for love" (written in lowercase letters on the book cover, so don't go thinking I don't know you should capitilize book titles! LOL). I'm hoping I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Firefly Lane. I guess we'll see!

Has anyone else read Firefly Lane? I'd love to hear what you thought about it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alexander and the THNGVBD

Have you ever read this book?

If not, in a nutshell, this book is about a little boy named Alexander, where his entire day just sort of goes sour, one thing after another. It's funny, kids (and adults!) can relate to it, and it's a nice reminder that other people have bad days, too.

Every so often, when I feel like the day is spiraling southward, I can't help but smile and think of poor Alexander and how he "went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."

Mine's been more like a bad week.

"I keep waking up in the middle of the night unable to fall back to sleep and my allergies go crazy every morning and I spend half my morning just blowing my nose and sneezing, and everytime I try to pack the kids' lunches they complain that we don't have anything good to eat, and Connor says he wants one thing for breakfast and then changes his mind after I've served him, and no one wants to do their homework and I get to be the bad guy and MAKE them do it, and even though we have shoe bins and coat hooks no one ever seems to have any idea where their shoes and coats are, and somehow that's MY fault, and I had my very first cavity and got my very first filling and I am upset and embarrassed and my dang tooth hurts now, and and AND....." I'm trying not to let this be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

I need a better night's rest, more cooperative children, more hours in the day, a personal chef, a housekeeper, a daily hour-long massage, and...

Maybe I'll have to just settle for a better night's sleep because that's probably the only one I can realistically "get my hands on"! LOL!!! It's amazing what sleep can do for a person anyway!!!!

Send me sweet dream wishes, and any "get back to sleep pronto" tips you may have. I'm tired of waking up anywhere between 3-5am and being AWAKE for the day!!!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Blind Boy

I love the message behind this story:

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.

That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were.
The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?"

The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said, but in a different way." I wrote: "Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it."

Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

Moral of the Story: Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear.

The most beautiful thing is to see a person smiling. And even more beautiful, is knowing that you are the reason behind it!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

4 years ago, today...

...we had baby Connor propped up against a bunch of pumpkins as we creeped closer to his first Halloween!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I'll start with "the bad, and the ugly" by telling you a brief story:

Once upon a time, (three years ago, to be exact), someone stole a piece of equipment from Dan's company. Dan was recently alerted to it's presence on Craigslist and contacted the police, who pretty much told him they have more important thing to deal with.

**Really? Someone reports they've found their stolen property listed on the Internet, and you can't be bothered to help them recover it??**

It was listed FAR cheaper than it's actually worth, so Dan's bosses gave him the "okay" to just go ahead and buy it back, which he did. He bought it on his way home from work last week and had to bring it home with him until heading back to the office the next day.

Which brings us to "the good." Connor and Jared LOVE construction equipment, and thought this machine was about the coolest thing ever.

You can't really tell, but CJ's all seatbelted in, and he's obviously having a great time!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Toothfairy Time!

Emily Grace wants to be The Toothfairy for Halloween. I set to work on a colorful tutu for her to wear, dug up the wings and wand from when I was The Toothfairy last year, and ordered her a long-sleeved white leotard (she'll wear white leggings underneath as well). I think the overall result is pretty dang cute! We'll foo-foo her hair up, and add a little tiara and hair glitter to complete the look when it's actually Halloween.



FYI, as gorgeous as the pink sparkly tule is (pictures don't do the color of the tutu justice), I will NEVER purposely use it again. It's stiff and hard to work with, and that's not even mentioning how much GLITTER ends up EVERYWHERE. AND. I. MEAN. EVERYWHERE. (everywhere). It also acts much more velcro-y than regular tule, so the whole tutu ends up in a jumbled mess rather quickly, which makes me sad because of how hard I worked on the darn thing, but Emily is SUPER thrilled with it, and that's what matters most anyway.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fisher-Price Little People

We acquired our first Little People set when Emily turned one and we got her the zoo set. She LOVED it, and we quickly ended up with several more sets. Once Jared was born and was having his first Christmas and birthday, we ended up with a few more, and then Connor came along, and we ended up with yet a few more.

Little People have taken over our playroom.

Recently, several months had gone by and the Little People had gone seriously neglected, so I started to brainstorm what we should do with the sets (sell them on Craigslist? Give them to my baby niece? Donate them to Goodwill? ETC?). I hadn't really figured out officially what to do, when suddenly, Connor made the decision for me:

We're keeping them! For awhile longer, at least. Connor hooked several of the sets together into a little town, and sat in the middle for TWO HOURS, playing quite happily. Then he begged me let him leave them out so he could play with them again the next day. Which he did. And the next, and the next... We could certainly use the space the shelves by getting rid of the Little People sets, but I refuse to part with anything that will keep Connor entertained for that amount of time, even if several months DO go by between use! LOL

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Layers are not just for cakes

As many of you probably know already, LAST March (as in March '09), I cut off TONS of hair and donated it to Locks of Love. The stylist that cut my hair ended up cutting it way shorter than I originally requested, and gave me a somewhat layered hair-do (there were basically two layers; short and shorter...LOL). People RAVED about my hair after the fact, but I was very unsure that it was really "me". Over the next few months it grew out a bit and was looking awkward (in that "not long enough to be long, but getting too long to be short" sort of way, and the layers were looking extra funky due to the in-between length), so in June, after Emily cut off and donated HER hair to Wigs for Kids, I went ahead and had the gal repeat the cut from March. MORE raves about my hair, but it finalized things in my own head that it was not a style I liked on myself and needn't ever repeat.

That said, I spent the next year (and a little bit longer) afraid to have anything done to my hair at all. As a result, the style grew out to a length I was much happier with (it could be easily pulled back into a ponytail, for one thing), but the ends were getting really dried and scraggly, and the two layers were still rather awkward. I finally made up my mind to be brave and have something done. I went into the place I've been taking the boys for around two years now, to the same gal that does their hair, and told her I needed the ends cleaned up, the existing layers dealt with, and was very firm that I wanted to keep enough length when all was said and done that I could pull it back into a ponytail without needing clips and bobbypins and whatnot. She went to work, while I nervously sat there hoping for the best.

She took 2-3 inches off the main length, gave me feathered layers in front that start a bit above my shoulders, and then gave me very subtle layers through the back. MUCH more "me", I have to say!!

The best part is that it actually looks better air-dried over blow-dried, so I've just bought myself and extra 10-15 minutes in the morning! WOO HOO!! Or maybe the best part is that for less than the price of the cut I DIDN'T like very much from another place, I was able to get both Connor and I done...and I liked the end result! Sara had better never retire becaue I don't know what the boys and I will do! And I'm totally taking Emily there from now on as well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I ♥ Jack Johnson!

Dan and I drove nearly 3 hours to The Gorge Amphitheater over the weekend in order to see Jack Johnson. I had never been to The Gorge before, and it was AMAZING. GORGEOUS view as you sit on the grass (you can see a bit of the view in the picture below), as if that wasn't enough, the sun was HOT, the sunset was beautiful, and laying under a clear, starry sky listening to JJ sing live was just, well, it was awesome!

We arrived with about 20 minutes to kill before the main gates opened. We stood in a HUGE (HUGE!!) long line to get in, but it actually went quite quickly. Dan immediately got himself an extremely over-priced beer, while I filled our water bottles up at the hydration station. We scoped out the food, then found a place to sit. We chose to be off to the side where the grass was broken down in little "platform" type rows, instead of just being a big steep slope like in the center. It was PERFECT. Dan chatted up the people around us for awhile, and then headed up to get me an over-priced guitar-shaped margarita. I got a text from him about 10 minutes later stating that JJ had come out onto one of the little stages about ten feet away from him in line and was doing a mini show.


He took a picture on his cell phone, but hasn't emailed it to me yet so I can use it in my blog post...

Vee Avi started her portion of the show pretty much right at 6pm. I'd never really heard of her before, but she really has an amazing voice. Very clear and pretty, and I really liked the mellow style.

G Love and Special Sauce (more people I'd never heard of!) came out next, and put on an upbeat show. They were kind of rappish, which isn't really my thing, but I rolled with it and enjoyed the experience well enough.

After the sun had set and it was getting dark, JJ came on stage and the crowd went NUTS! I wish I could tell you what he opened with, but I've forgotten (too many good songs were played to keep them all straight!). A few songs in, towards the end of one of the songs, he suddenly just sort of mumbled/hummed a bit of the verse, and I had to laugh because it was clear to me he'd just forgotten the words!! ha! I'm honestly shocked it doesn't happen more often. They sing so many songs, sooooo many times over the course of their careers; I can see getting lost in your thoughts while you're singing and forgetting where you were... The crowd was totally forgiving and cheered even harder for that song than the previous ones. He thanked everyone at the end of the song for not boo-ing him for forgetting the words. LOL (A friend pointed out that at least we knew for sure he wasn't up there lip-syncing!).

For not being the type of person who enjoys going to concerts, I will admit to being quite apprehensive about driving across the state to sit outdoors for hours on end in a huge crowd, but it was amazing! Being off to the side on the grassy layers meant people weren't crowded in nearly as tight as on the more main hill, and I didn't have to stand around for the whole concert like you would at a concert at Key Arena or something along those lines. I got to lay on a blanket, snuggled up to my husband, under a beautiful starry sky, and listen to the relaxing, yet upbeat tunes of JJ. I can't say enough about how good of a time I had! Dan's truthfully not all that into JJ (he insisted we get tickets because he figured it was a show I would enjoy and he really wants to get me more interested in attending concerts with him), but even he commented SEVERAL times throughout the night about how awesome it was.

We'd also been a little "worried" about how long it would take to get out of the parking lot after the concert was over (parking was FREE, btw!!), but it was all very well-organized and we cruised out with no problems whatsoever.

It was a great day/night with my hubby, and I'm so glad we went. Thanks for the awesome show JJ!!