Monday, December 21, 2009

Mini blog vacation

As soon as I get my life organized, I promise to be a better blogger. Until that time, enjoy these!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You're never too young to start

The other night, I took the children on a hunt for pink, blue and green feathers for the Christmas tree. (Why be traditional, right?!) So, after I picked everyone up from school, off we went on our trek to the craft store.

As soon as we walked in the door, Baby Bear says "Mom, can we get some toys." I said, no, I don't have money for toys today. He reaches into his pants pocket and pulls out several coupons cut from the Target toy catalog. He hands this wad to me and announces that he had brought coupons so it won't cost a lot of money.

First - I picked the children up from school and went shopping.

Second - Neither child knew this was the plan.

Third - I wonder how long he has been toting around coupons in hope of that perfect opportunity to use them?!?

Never a dull moment :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tis the season

For a little gingerbread house making fun!

I recently got an email announcing a gingerbread house workshop and honestly peed a little due to the excitement. I was certain after the instructors saw some of our mad construction skills, they would want to cast a bronze statue of our creations.

(See here and here, if you have no clue what I'm referring to)

Alas, we weren't recognized during our class, but we had a great time.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Today, I am thankful for my family. For me, that can be interpreted a couple of ways.

I have a wonderful extended family. I love the holidays and the time for getting together. Seeing my grandma, my crazy aunt and uncle, the cousins that I rarely get to see, my parents and brother and sister - I love every minute of it.

Then, there is MY family or OUR family, the one that A. and I have to work at every single day. Some people make having a family look super easy and sparkly-butterfly-fun, then there are those that throw in the towel and go their separate ways to achieve sparkly-butterfly-fun. Well, A. and I fall somewhere in between except there aren't a lot of sparkles and more sparks. But, at the end of the day, we entered a covenant with God that we would make this thing work. And on the days (months) when I forget that, A. gives me my space and I've learned to give him his. I think we both wake up most days and try (it may only be for 5 minutes, but, it's an attempt) and until we get it right, we'll keep trying. And for that, I am thankful.

Side note...I asked the children what they were thankful for this morning.

Mooka: I am thankful for all of the people in the world, even those that I don't know.

ME: And you?

Baby Bear: Candy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What I'm thankful for, pt 2

I am extremely thankful for my friends.

It's rare for me to go out and do things with other people. I never pick up the phone and call. A large percentage of the time, I have no idea where my phone has landed and even if I do hear it ring, I don't jump up to answer it. Email and social sites, while incredibly convenient, I rarely write a note to anyone.

I should probably rephrase my original comment to say, I'm extremely thankful I have any friends.

Anyway, you each know who you are and whether you are the person I call when I may have been drinking and can't remember the name of a song or the one I call when I want to talk about "what-ifs" or the one I call when I just need to get away from the house or the one I talk to once a year or the one I sit next to every day at work - thank you for being the best friends a person could have!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I'm thankful for

There are a lot of folks who have updating their blogs daily this month to include messages about what they are thankful for. I knew that I couldn't commit to a full month of posts, so in my head, I was really going to commit to post everyday this week.

I'm not real good with commitment.

So, it's Tuesday and that's close enough.

Plus, my first what-I'm-thankful-for post includes two things, which technically means I'm only one day behind.

These two little gifts are absolutely the most amazing people in my world. They can drive me absolutely crazy, but at the end of every day I am thankful to have such wonderful kids. Sometimes, I read other peoples stories about the struggles they faced with getting pregnant or early childbirth or diseases that impact their babies lives and I am deeply humbled at how different our experience has been from those. It makes me appreciate what we've been given that much more. And there is not a day that goes by when we don't thank God for what He has blessed and entrusted us with.

So for today and every day, I am thankful for my babies.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Update on the non-updates

1) I work a lot.

2) I am lazy.

3) I may be dealing with a pinch of depression.

Bundle it all together, and you get my lame excuse for the lack of posts.

The kids are great and as soon as I can put together a coherent post, I'll update. Right now it is a wicked routine of get up early, drive kids to two separate schools, race to get to work on time, work, race to get home, pick kids up from two separate schools, pretend to make something worthy of being called dinner, put kids to bed, crash. Repeat.

I have decided to branch off and keep a separate blog to talk about the weight loss. There is a bunch going on in my head the contribute to points 2 and 3 above. I'm hoping writing it down will be a coping mechanism for me. The update on the progress in that department is that I have continued to enjoy my 44 ounces of the sweet nectar known as Dr. Pepper daily. You do the math.

We are off for a busy day. I hope to post more this weekend.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Christmas Carol

I was SUPER excited this morning to get our pictures back from The Christmas Carol train thingy that we went to back in August.

Well done Disney, on the coolest marketing campaign I've ever seen.

BB as Tiny Tim

Mooka as Scrooge

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Clearly they got their father's taste in music

Tonight, as I was on my miserable drive home from work, I decided to pop in Galore by The Cure and went to my happy place. I was so happy bopping along and then I thought, why have I not let the kids hear this yet. They would LOVE it.

When I got BB in the bus, I was giddy as I pressed play for us to listen to Why Can't I Be You on our drive to get the girl.

We didn't make it a mile down the road and he was sleeping.

Fine, maybe he's just really tired.

So, I get the girl in the bus and she starts chattering about her Christmas program cd that we have already listened to 1,000 times and she can sing it in her sleep and I'm wondering how can neither of these children pick up on the brilliance that is flowing from my mini-van sound system right now?!?!?!?!?!

I'm going to try it again in the morning. They are MUCH more receptive to new things at 6:30 a.m.

This one's for you new mommy in Chicago :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's 40 degrees outside and you want to do what?

That was the response I got on Saturday morning when I announced that it was time to get swimsuits on and head out the door for lessons. No one was too excited about it.

I was really surprised at how well Baby Bear took to the water this time around. You may remember from last time, that he was more interested in the teacher than the actual lesson. This time he literally jumped right in the water and was always first to volunteer to try something new.

Mooka was so excited to be back in lessons, especially after the whole cheer leading incident.

Overall, week one was a success minus the chilly morning. Hopefully by the end of this session at least one or both of them will be able to swim without a float belt.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Halloween Post...a few days late

We made sure we gave the kids plenty of opportunities to get candy this year. The church had a fall festival, then we raced to get to Boo at the Zoo and then on Saturday the traditional trick or treat.

They dressed up as Tinkerbell...

And a pirate...

More picture fun...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Giving it another go round

Unless you live in a hole, you have probably seen the recent ad campaign for Slimquick.

The children have clearly seen these commercials and believe the product will work.

SCENE: Crowed Wal-Mart last weekend. Children in the cart. We enter the vitamin aisle.

IN UNISON (at a volume that could be heard throughout the entire health and beauty department) : Mommy, mommy, stop! There it is!

ME: There what is?

THEM: The stuff you need so you won't have such a big butt. Here lets get two because you really need it.

And so it goes...

I'm back on a diet.

Now in all honesty, I have not done anything to attempt to get healthy for the past year. And consequently, I now weigh as much as a linebacker (not a running back, a linebacker.)

Sure, I've thought about it. But, I've also thought about all the reasons why I should eat nachos at 10 at night while watching Chelsea Lately. I feel like I have earned that down time. Why ruin it with exercise?

But, I'm really unhappy about the way I look and most of the time I am too exhausted from lugging around 46% body fat to even think about fixing it. I have considered starting a second blog to try to hold myself accountable like this guy did, but I'm too ashamed to actually post how much I really weigh. So, as a compromise, I have decided that I will post how much weight I lose each week on this blog. Depending on how that goes, I will determine if I need to get more aggressive with accountability partners.

So, wish me luck and if you have any tips, please feel free to send them my way!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Parenting lesson #740

Always expect the unexpected when you ask the question, how did your day go.

I'm beginning to think that watching bad comedy movies while rocking Baby Bear to sleep when he was still an infant may not have been the best idea. I've mentioned several times before that he tends to do things seen in Napoleon Dynamite. But today, he switched movies on me.

ME: How did your day go, did you have any poopie problems.

*NOTE* for context, we have had some serious poopie problems in our house for the past 5 days.

BB: Well...I went poop in my pants. And I kept my poopie pants on ALL DAY LONG. {Said in a proud-as-can-be tone}

ME: You have extra underwear, you could have changed them.

BB: NOPE! And it is all over my underwear.

ME: {Shakes head}

At this point, I think the responsible parenting skills were supposed to kick in and I was supposed to give him a speech about good hygiene. Instead, immature adult self showed up and caused me to call my sister to share in the good fun.

If you've not seen Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, here is the clip that I am referring to.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


A couple weeks ago (and yes, I've been very lazy with updating this blog) Mooka came home from school with a big packet of information stating that she had qualified for the gifted program.

I think most parents would be excited to get that sort of news, but I was more like, well, duh. I have actually been worried that she is not getting enough out of school as she and her brother seem to be covering the same type of lessons while he is still in pre-school.

Less than 5% of the kindergarten and 1st grade students combined are invited into the program and she is the only one in her class who was selected. This is another thing that bothers me. I don't want her to feel like she is different. I don't want her to feel pressure to have to perform a certain way in school. I remember being a junior in high school and nearly giving my self a aneurysm when I thought I wasn't going to make it into National Honor Society. And guess what, my grades have never impacted me one bit in my adult life. It's not like I've ever gone into a job interview and been asked "What were your grades like in high school English?" It just really doesn't make a whole lot of difference.

So, I actually struggled with the decision to let her be a part of the program. When we talked about it, I asked her if she knew why she was being asked to go to a different class or if she knew what they would do. She was told it was a special reading class so that she could read more books. Which is fine with me. I would prefer for her to NOT hear that it is a "gifted" class because of the stigma that is associated with that word.

The good thing is that we can take her out of the class at any time. They also wrap up the testing to get into the program with the regular standardized testing that the school does each year. And if she doesn't get in next year, that it A-OK by me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Queen of hearts costume

I normally do not play the normal mommy blog game of entering contests or posting giveaways, but this is just too good to not mention.

First, you must understand that I love Alice in Wonderland. Specifically, the rabbit character.

Second, you must appreciate my daughter's strong willed personality to understand the "perfectness" of this costume.

Third, you need to understand my love for things that are unique.

Then you will really appreciate my link to this blog contest.

Seriously, this is the cutest costume I have ever seen. And we are borderline with having the costume size fit, so I'm hoping that we win it!

So if you are interested in winning an Alice in Wonderland costume (cuz Queen of Hearts is spoken for) head over to the Grosgrain blog and check it out!

Tiggie update

Thank you to the Disney Store for not messing up the shipping on getting new Tiggie to us as quick as possible. And just in time too, because a certain someone pee'd all over old Tiggie during nap time.

Can you tell which is which?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good morning

I love waking up to the lamas.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dog for sale - real cheap.

It has been a rough week at our house, thus the lack of posts. The kids have both been sick at separate times, this was A.'s long week for working overnights, the dogs are on my last nerve and work is work.

The straw that broke my back this week just happened this afternoon when a small congested four year old boy let out a shriek that a dog had attacked his tiggie.

I may have at one point said to the dog "I will CUT you!"
Please don't call PETA.

For those of you who have spent anytime with Baby Bear, you understand how much he adores his Tiggie. He does not go to sleep with out him. He takes him to school and keeps him in his cubbie all day long, everyday. This is actually Tiggie #2 as the first one had to be retired several months ago because he had made one too many trips through the washing machine. And Tiggie is always laying within reach of one of the three dogs. Why they decided today was the day Tiggie was going down is beyond me.

In case you were wondering, Tiggie #3 has already been ordered. And I will gladly ship you dog #3 in the container once it arrives.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

No need to call Dallas just yet

As part of Mooka's birthday presents, I let her go to this cheerleader camp offered by one of the local high schools. The way day worked was 3 hours of camp in the morning, then a break for lunch, then come back and perform during the second quarter of the football game.

When I came to get her from camp, I walked up to see her squatting and twirling her hair.

We went to lunch and talked about how her morning had gone. She said that cheering made her tired and hurt her legs. She then asked if she could take swimming lessons again.

She had a great time once we went back for the actual game. She just did her own little thing and looked adorable doing it. There was a storm that had been brewing all morning but had held off, until the last four minutes of the quarter.

She was pretty bummed that they didn't get to finish the quarter, but she's excited about starting swimming lessons again.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The birthday cake

I was actually pretty impressed with the way this one turned out. Unlike some of my other attempts to be creative in the kitchen, this one actually resembled the picture in the book.

I got the idea from this great book called "Hello Cupcake." It has a ton of great pictures and provides step-by-step instructions.

And most important, the birthday girl LOVED it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday baby girl!

Dear Mooka,

I cannot believe how quickly this past year flew by. It literally feels like yesterday that I was sad because you were turning five. And now you are six! Six! We now have to use two hands to count your age.

The things I will remember most about you being five...

You LOVE your brother and you do everything with him.

You LOVE to read and you read everything to us.
You eat like a bird, unless we are having fondue or sloppy joes.
You hate to have your hair combed.
Your favorite girl singer is Taylor Swift.
Your favorite band is Skillet (and you can sing most anything by them).
You save every single note I write and stick in your lunch box (even if it's on a napkin).
You flip out at the thought or mention of the squirrel from the movie Ice Age.
If kids were allowed to compete on American Gladiator, you would be first in line for try-outs.
You still suck your thumb and twirl your hair.
You still crawl into bed with us most nights.
You are absolutely the sweetest little girl as long as things are done your way.
You love to make us laugh.

The biggest difference I have noticed in this past year is that you have gone from being a baby girl to a little girl. So much about you has changed. I wish I could just stop time and keep you this size forever.

But, no matter how big you get, Daddy and I will always think of you as our little baby girl.

We love you so very much. We thank God each and every day for blessing us with such a wonderful gift!

Love - Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fired up...again

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have already heard about how the town we live in just made national news with a horrible bullying attack on a school bus.

The whole ordeal has made me sick and brought me to tears for several reasons.

First - I can't stand bullying. I was never in the popular crowd, but I also wasn't an outcast (at least not in my own opinion.) I hung out somewhere in the middle. But, I always have had compassion for the person who isn't quite like everyone else. I remember in grade school, I would make it a point to play with the kids from the special ed class because no one else would. I didn't mind if everyone in high school thought I was a freak. I worked for The Salvation Army for thirteen years and once ate Easter dinner with a prostitute and a "John". I never once felt like I was entitled to something more or better than them. My point is, it doesn't matter what life experiences a person has walked through, everyone is on a journey to be better than they were the day before. I believe everyone deserves to be treated equally and with respect. To me it doesn't matter how different a person happens to be, they still are human with dreams, hopes and feelings. At the end of the day, each person is going through "something" and as humans we should help each other in this walk. With all my heart, I believe no person is better than another regardless of race, education, title, gender, you get the picture. When I see or hear about someone belittling another person or attacking someone because they feel like they can, it makes me want to vomit.

Second - The media should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to promote the video. I will not link to the video or any stories that provide the details about what happened. There has been entirely too much promotion. Kids now think it is cool to gain notoriety by posting videos of beating the crap out of each other. The media is continuing to feed the monster.

Third - My heart breaks for those of us raising children in this day and age. While society has continued to make advances in technology and science, it has also taken major steps back in areas like values, respect, and family. I know in our house, it takes a LOT of work to make things work. We have also made the commitment to raising our children in love and letting them know every single day that our lives are blessed by their presence. And each day, it feels like we are slipping into the minority.
Babies have become accessories. Children are raising themselves and I think we are starting to see this generation act out survival of the fittest. We now have kids that are mature way beyond their years overtaking the innocence that once was childhood. The things that some children are exposed to now in grade school, I didn't have figured out until I was out of high school. There is just so much evil attacking their little souls.

And finally, I pray that the school takes a stand. A FIRM stand. I think the kids that did the beating should be taken out of the school system and put into serious therapy. I think the parents of those children, should be put into crisis counseling. I think the children who cheered on the bullies should be suspended and if any of them are seniors, they should not be allowed to walk with the rest of their class in the spring. The school has to let it be known that this type of behavior or supporting it, will not be tolerated.

Parents - hug your kids. Turn off the tv and read them a book. Tell them how much you love them. It's up to us to make a difference with this next generation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How was your day?

It's the standard question that I ask when we sit down to eat dinner. I usually follow it with, what did you do today?

The typical response that I get from the girl is "good and nothing."

The boy, however, tends to be a bit more unpredictable. His days are much more adventurous and he usually ends it with "and we ate green beans for lunch."

Yesterday, was no exception.

Me: How was your day?

BB: Good. The teacher brought in baby polar bears and then they got angry and scratched off the teacher's faces. Then we played with them. Then we had meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Me: Silent.

BB:Oh, and we had green beans.

Me: Of course.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Aspiring artists

I bought some cheap craft paints, recycled some displays from my last job, handed the kids some sponges and said "CREATE!"

This is what they came up with...


Baby Bear's

Instant modern art for our dining room! The whole project cost me $3. Not too bad for two custom art pieces.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An update, but only so Aimee will still be my friend

There is nothing going on, but at the same time things are a little chaotic.

The kids - They are great. Moo is settling nicely into school. She comes home daily to tell me about her new friends and then proceeds to roll her eyes when I ask their names. Apparently, she is not one to get bogged down by those details. She is also motivated by rewards. Last week, she came home and insisted that she learn her phone number immediately so that she could get this FABULOUS ribbon. She then spent the next ten minutes recounting the details of the colors, pattern, and size of said ribbon. (Maybe if her friends wore more vibrant clothing, she could recall their names.)

The boy has been moderately traumatized because his best buddy has not been at school for the past two weeks. Each day he gets in the van and asks if she will be back today. I think the economy has taken a toll on her family and they have elected to have her out of the school for a bit. Hopefully, she will be back soon because his big sad eyes just break my heart everyday.

The job - Well, it's officially over. Fortunately, I am only technically unemployed today. Tomorrow, I start a temporary position through the end of the year. Not the ideal situation, but I am not going to complain (I spent Saturday feeling sorry for myself and now I'm over it.)

And that's about it. Life is full of surprises, but at the end of the day I've got an amazing family and that's all that matters to me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First day of school 1.4

Today is the real first full day of school - YAY!

On a side note, I have really begun to enjoy the time alone that Baby Bear and I have in the car alone after we drop Mooka off at school. There are about 7 miles between her school and his, so we have a little bit of bonding time.

This mornings conversation went like this...

Both of us were singing along with the radio.

BB: Mom, how do babies get in mommies bellies.

Me: I'm sorry, what?

BB: How do the babies get in the bellies.

Me: Honey, why do you want to know.

BB: Because I want to know how them get in the bellies.

Me: Because Jesus puts them there.

BB: Okay!

Silence the rest of the way to school.

Where do they come up with these things and what in the world was going through his little head that made THAT the question for the morning?!

Monday, August 24, 2009

First day of school 1.3

I think we are going to consider this the first official day of school, since she will technically be there all day. Today, she had school until 12:30 but will then go to latch key. (Which apparently is extremely cool because it's all both of them talked about this weekend.)

Walking up to the doors...

Peeking in the window...

Ready for Mom to leave...

And someone scored a cookie for breakfast because Mom was a wreck...

And in case you were wondering, I didn't even make it back to the car today before the waterworks started.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Last weekend's update

Because I was so school focused this past week, I never got around to sharing the pictures from last weekend's follies.

We made our annual trek to the Illinois State Fair.

We made the decision to let them ride this ride for the first time this year. They both were well above the height requirement and were both begging, so I gave in. I'm not going to lie though, I about crapped myself (and no, there is no better way to phrase that) after the thing started moving. I have an absurd fear of carnival rides/heights/things that go fast, in fact my palms are sweating as I am typing this and reflecting on the moment.

Clearly, they were not phased by my constant screams on the sidelines...

I love the sheer joy on their faces in this one...

We and by we I mean A. always takes the kids on the big slide. After going down first with the boy, they were quite disappointed in the lack of speed they were able to achieve. They made up for it on the second pass with the girl and while this picture isn't the best, you will see what happens when you get over zealous on the big slide. (this one is just for you Grandma Gayle)

Friday, August 21, 2009

First day of school 1.2

Today, she opted to have her picture taken in front of the morning glory vines.

As I mentioned yesterday, today was only a two hour day and she was without me.

I got to hang out with this red mustache bandit.

Her report when I picked her up was "I really like kindergarten."

There were no tears until I had dropped everyone off at day care and this song came on the radio.

O, well...there is always Monday :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First day of school 1.0

Today was Mooka's first day of school...sort of. I am finding that they make it easy for kindergartners to make the transition by having a week worth of firsts. Today was an hour orientation that I was able to attend with her. Tomorrow is two hours on her own. Monday and Tuesday are half days. Then finally, Wednesday, she will go for a full day. I love that they ease into it, but if you are trying to capture the true "first day of school" it makes it a bit difficult.

Anyway, so here is version 1.0.

The orientation was set up so that the kids were separate from the parents. I was completely shocked when she grabbed a hold of my arm and asked me to not let go of her hand. (No, I did not cry.)

A teacher came over and introduced her to some other girls and took her hand to lead her into the room. She blew me a kiss and away she went. (No, I did not cry.)

I went into her classroom to get her things situated and to meet her teacher. As I sat in the tiny chair and looked around the room, everything just felt completely surreal. (No, I did not cry.)

Afterwards, I was able to walk Mooka through her class and show her the desk. She is sitting in a quad with three other little girls. I noticed that there is another quad of girls very near by, so the class is nicely blended with a total of 14 children. We finished our tour and then it was time to go.

As I drove her to one of her last days at daycare, I looked in the rear view mirror to see her looking out the window while sucking her thumb and twirling her hair just like she has done since she was a baby. Neither one of us said much.

When I walked her up to daycare to join her brother, she did not want to go "because those are the little kids and I'm in school now."

It's so hard to be in that transition phase.

Baby Bear came running right up and started asking all sorts of questions, so off they went.

I got back to my car and sobbed all the way to work. The exact same way I did 5 short years ago when I dropped her off with her Grandpa on my first day back from maternity leave.

Cherish each day because they just fly by.