Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Our celebration is getting underway! We just walked home from our neighborhood sushi place where we had dinner. I love that our kids aren't afraid to try new foods. Clara's not much for sushi so she just had chicken teriyaki. Alex on the other hand had a bowl of miso soup, some California roll, Furaibo roll and Tempura Shrimp roll... plus part of Clara's chicken. At the end they brought us a bowl of green tea ice cream to share. Clara liked it and had quite a bit... but the boy loved it, even drinking the melted ice cream out of the bowl when he was done! :-)

They're getting clean now and soon we'll start a rousing game of Disney Scene It and whatever other game they might pick out. We'll mix up some mean Shirley Temples and have some chips and queso. Then, when they start getting tired we'll have our countdown, regardless of the actual time.... we count down from 10 even if it's only 8:30... shout "happy new year" and do our confetti poppers. Does life get any better than that? I honestly really enjoy it.

Okay... they're almost clean so I've got to go!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tying Flies and Other Stuff

Thank you so much everyone for the birthday wishes! I had an okay birthday. I started out my day nearly ill after my camera quit on me after one pic at the aquarium... seriously, I nearly threw up right there. I thought it was dead. Turns out it was just my battery that was dead... apparently I didn't have it in the charger right when I charged it before we left (or it possibly was unplugged at some point). After some time in the charger we were back in business. For my birthday dinner we went to one of my favorite places... Cafe BaBaReeba. Yum!

Oh.... I need to send you a note but Jen Caputo... send me a note when you get the chance, I would love to have a photo playdate sometime when you plan on being in the city. Anyone else out there... let me know if you live in the area.... I need new photo buddies (not that they'll ever be able to replace you... Anne, Brenda and Amy :-).

Today was pretty good... we are houseguest free which is a wonderful feeling. I'm really itching to establish some sort of normal routine so now we can start. I placed my first Peapod grocery order and we'll be restocked sometime tomorrow morning. We took a walk to a furniture store to try to find bar stools for our kitchen. Apparently our counter is a "non-standard height. sigh.

I started going through my hundreds of photos tonight. So I'll leave you with a few. These are from the weekend between leaving Texas and driving on to Chicago to meet the movers. My dad likes to tie fishing flies.... he always has. As I kid, I used to like to watch him and sometimes even "help". Well... now it is Clara's turn. She wanted to see what he did with that table full of stuff... so together they tied a fly :-)


Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

Yep.... today is my birthday... wooo hooo. Hopefully I'll snap out of my funk soon... my in-laws are about to drive me batty at the moment. I think my main problem is that I am soooo worn out from our crazy month that I have zero patience left... and I just don't have the energy to generate any more.

Our night at the zoo was really nice last night. The kids had a great time seeing the animals and the lights and riding the carousel (that is until my fil made my son cry -again.... but that's a whole other story). As soon as everyone is clean and dressed we're heading to the Shedd Aquarium for the morning. My grandmother gave Jeff and I money for Christmas to be used on purchasing a family membership somewhere.... so I think we'll use it on an aquarium membership today. After that we come back here and me, Jeff and my bil leave the kids with my in-laws and head out. Not sure where we're going or what we're doing... but just being out will be nice.

I took a bunch of pictures last night and I can't wait to see if any of them turned out. Hopefully we'll dig out the rest of my computer's parts tomorrow after my in-laws leave.

Okay... I'm going to go and think happy thoughts!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

sweet home chicago!

We're here... we're finally all here as a family!!! We got here two days ago and the kids are thrilled with our new home. Yesterday Jeff's family showed up so we have a house full of guests. All is going well... even after I filled our place with smoke when I first turned on our oven yesterday to bake a cake for my MIL's birthday. The weather is absolutely gorgeous! We spent part of this morning at the park and barely needed jackets! Alex made a new friend at the park today which thrilled me.... now we've just got to find Clara some friends too.

I have so many pictures to go through... its just killing me that my computer isn't hooked up yet! Jeff found most of it yesterday but my external hard drive and tablet are still MIA. We had a great day at Silver Dollar City last Saturday. We got there right as it openned and there were hardly any people there. We got to ride a bunch of stuff without having to wait in line and the weather was beautiful. I have a ton of pics from that day. I took several on Christmas morning but my speedlite and I weren't getting along that morning.... mostly it seemed right on then all of a sudden it would way overexpose a bunch... ugh. Perhaps learning how to properly use my speedlite should be one of my new year's resolutions (honestly, i think that was on the list last year too). I've taken a few today but not many.... later this afternoon we're heading to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see the animals and stay for the zoo lights display. So.. there's still a chance for more photos today! LOL!

Well... I'm fading fast... I think I need a little afternoon nap myself! Only one more full day of houseguests left and then hopefully we can start trying to establish some sort of normalcy in our lives here in Chicago.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


That's what I feel like I could do for days now. We closed on our house first thing Tuesday morning and ever since then we've been in non-stop motion trying to get unpacked. Over dinner tonight we decided that we've completely run out of steam and it was time to just stack boxes against the walls and focus on getting ready for house guests two days after Christmas. We really want to get back and see the kids who are with my parents in Missouri.... so we just unpacked as much as we could then uncovered the beds and cleared walkways. We're going to head out to MO first thing tomorrow morning (about 8-8.5 hour drive)... I can't wait to see the kids. Saturday we have a whole big day of Christmas fun planned (hopefully, I'll take lots of pics)... we start out with breakfast with Santa at Bass Pro Shops, then we make a second attempt at going to the Christmas Festival thing at Silver Dollar City. We tried to go last Saturday but it was INSANE!!! There was so much traffic, we had to park at this lot a couple of miles from the park AND the line for bus to take you to SDC wrapped around the parking lot... needless to say, we just drove on. Alex was crushed though, so we promised him we would take him when we got back from Chicago.

Well... I'm exhausted.... seriously... I don't think I've been this tired in a long time.... my whole body aches.... Anyway... I'm heading to bed. We do have internet now (although we're heading to the land of dial-up tomorrow)... but my computer still hasn't seen the light of day yet. Its still in boxes downstairs. With Jeff's family coming the day after we get back from MO, it probably won't get set back up until after the first of the year. Then I can get back to my photos and scrapping!! YIPPEE!!!

Merry Christmas everyone! See you in a couple of days!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006


Here I am! We're in Chicago.... well... Jeff and I are at least. We got here last night, today we have our final walk-through and tomorrow we close and the movers unload. Can you believe it? I'm not sure that I do yet.

Last night Jeff and I went out and bought new coats. After 4 1/2 years in Texas, we were both lacking in the coat department. I LOVE my new coat!!! Its a black quilted Burberry coat and it's just perfect! I also got a hat, scarf and gloves.

Yesterday the kids went to church with my parents (keep in mind its the same small country church that I grew up in). Last night was their children's Christmas program so they asked Clara (and Alex) if they wanted to be in the program. As as expected, Alex said "no thank you" but Clara was all over it. They had three rehersals yesterday so she did have some clue what was going on. Mom said that she did fabulously... she got up there played her bells and maracas and sang. The surreal part of the evening was that she was up there standing between the daughter of one of my best friends growing up and the son of my first "boyfriend" (we went to the junior high dances together). Oh, the fun of small town living!

Okay... I need to get going so we can get everything done today.... its our last day of being homeless LOL!

I hope everyone is doing well and having a wonderful holiday season.... hopefully I'll be back on line soon!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

bye for now..

... in less than two hours I leave with the kids to meet my parents. While I'm gone, the packers will be here so my computer may be boxed up when I get back home (close to 8 hours later). I'm hoping to check in occassionally on Jeff's computer. But if I don't get to...

... see you in Chicago!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

wish me luck...

... today is my big day of "good-byes". First we start the day with taking Clara to her last day of preschool... between her and Alex, this is our fourth year at the preschool so we've gotten to know a lot of people there (plus since it's at our church, we know a lot of the people from church as well). Then Alex and I go straight to our last homeschool recess group. Then for lunch I'm meeting Anne (painted moon) from our 2peas Photo Playgroup. Then at 4:00 a friend of mine is picking me and my kids up for our last IKEA outing together. I will either be a total wreck or totally emotionally numb by the end of the day.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Its the week of the final countdown. It really started for me yesterday. Yesterday our cleaning lady came by and picked up all of the furniture we were getting rid of. It was tough.... one of the items was our kitchen table... I loved that kitchen table. But we only have room for one table in the new place and the dining room table won out. Today our car went away. Yes, as of today we are a one car (umm... minivan) family. We don't need two cars in the city. Jeff will take the el to work and the kids and I will use public transportation (I don't drive in the city)... plus we've only got a one car garage.

I feel like I'm permanently nauseous and I can be on the brink of tears without any notice. Yesterday was a rough day at church... I nearly lost it several times. Why do we have to move at Christmas?? For some reason Christmas carols make me tear up even at the best of times.... I'm just a wreck now. Oh... and we've also been watching all of the Christmas movies that have been on ABC Family each night. There really hasn't be a one that hasn't had me choking back sobs. For crying out loud... I was a mess Saturday when we watched Elf!!! I really need to pull myself together.

Thank you all for all of the kind wishes and encouragement lately... it really means a lot to me. Hopefully soon I'll be back to posting pics and layouts soon and no more talk about how much of a pathetic wreck I am! LOL!

Okay... off to get my hair cut.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Yesterday was one of those days that nearly sent me over the emotional edge. Yesterday was Clara's Christmas program at preschool. However, Clara woke up saying that her tummy hurt... just to make sure she wasn't just hungry and being dramatic, I reminded her that her program was that day and if she was truly sick, she wouldn't be able to go. Well... that's when she started sobbing that she really really wanted to be a sheep but her tummy hurt. So, we missed her last ever preschool program. It was hard on me that she was sick, but emotionally, with the move, I just wasn't ready for things to end... especially without the big "fun" ending I had hoped for. I teetered on the brink of a crying binge for a while. But I had to get over it because I had my next emotional hurdle of the day to get through...

Alex has a girlfriend... they've been together for over 3 years! Can you believe that those two latched onto each other in three year old preschool class and now they're 6? I seriously thought they would move on the next year when they were in the 4 year old class since they went on different days. But they still saw each other at church each Sunday and the previous two years they were in the same choir at church as well. Anyway... yesterday Alyssa's mom came and picked up Alex so he could have a lunch "date" with Alyssa at her school. They picked up Happy Meals and had lunch with her in the cafeteria. Alex had picked out a present for her... a Webkinz, so, if Santa brings him one, they could keep in touch via Webkinz World. After lunch, they got to play on the playground together at recess. He had a great time. It makes me sad to move the two of them so far apart from each other... but honestly... how long could young love like that last?

Clara threw up during lunch (nope... not before OR after... but DURING) so we went off to the doctor that afternoon. The PA we saw was sure Clara had strep but the test came back negative. She seems fine now... so who knows.

Well... I need to shower and get on with my day.... the crunch time for the move is just about here. The next few weeks are going to be insane... here's a brief run-down...

12/13 - I drive halfway to my mom and dad's house in MO to transfer the kids to them. This is also the day the packers start packing our stuff. We're going out to dinner with friends that night.
12/14 - The movers start loading the truck. We're staying in a hotel that night so that afternoon, as part of my Christmas present, Jeff has a arranged for me to have a massage.
12/15 - We close on our house here first thing in the morning and drive to Missouri.
12/17 - Jeff and I head out to Chicago - we'll be driving since we couldn't get flights with Jeff's miles due to the holiday.
12/18 - Inspection on our place in Chicago.
12/19 - We close on our place early in the morning and the movers arrive with our stuff as soon as its over.
12/20-12/22 - (dates may vary) Jeff and I unpack and set-up our place. Then, when done, we'll drive back to Missouri for Christmas.
12/26 - Drive back to Chicago, this time with the kids and the dog.
12/27 - Jeff's family (his mom, dad, brother and 20 month old niece) arrive for Christmas. I think they're staying until the 30th.

Pure craziness.

Okay.... now I really need to get moving (either that, or I'm going to go crawl into a hole and hide until this is all over).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


We forgot the tooth fairy! Alex lost his 4th tooth yesterday and put it out for the tooth fairy before he went to bed. I completely forgot about it until I was in the shower this morning. He was already up when I got out but Jeff said that he hadn't mentioned anything yet... so maybe he forgot to check. So, Jeff had him and Clara *help* him change the lightbulb in Clara's room so I could sneak in and make the exchange. So far, so good.

Monday, December 04, 2006

what is wrong with my children?!?!?

Clara's quote from last night:

"Mom... when I looked at my pee, it was yellow like lemonade... but I didn’t drink it or anything... I just recognized it.

And now Alex is singing a song he made up about pigs eating ham.... sigh.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

got dry, fly-away hair???

Clara does...

We cleaned out the attic yesterday so she was out there with us, sitting in a lawnchair in the garage. She had been rubbing her head around on the back of the chair and this was the result! LOL! I thought it was the perfect opportunity to practice my backlighting! :-)

Oh... and it appears that my email is finally working again so if I owe you a note, you should hear from me soon!

Friday, December 01, 2006

good clean fun

Apparently the kids didn't get enough fluffy white stuff while playing outside all afternoon in the "snow" so they opted for a bubble bath in the big tub last night....

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Texas Snow Day!

Okay, so it's really not snow, it's sleet/freezing rain but the kids don't care. They've played in it all afternoon like it was piles of fluffy white stuff. They won't know what to do with themselves when they see the real deal when we move to Chicago. We get so giddy on the one day of winter weather we have each year. Alex and I picked Clara up early from preschool and stopped by the grocery store to buy hot chocolate (and mix to make hot strawberry for Clara because of her chocolate allergy), marshmallows and cookie dough! They played outside for a while and then they came in, we lit the fire, made our hot drinks and baked cookies. I took a few pictures but my battery was dead... I took about 4 pictures before everything went black... I would put in the charger for as long as I could stand and then put it back in the camera to take 2 or 3 more shots (this process was repeated several times LOL!).

Here are some of the pics of Clara, plus one of the dog. I should have a couple to post of Alex "snow" surfing once I look at them all... he put a pile of snow at the bottom of the slide and would surf across it as he came off the end of the slide. Anyway... here are the pics I have so far...

The big news of the day is that the buyers of our house here in Texas have asked to move our closing date up to the 15th of December. I honestly don't know how we'll swing it. Our holidays are a total disaster this year anyway.... so what's a little more chaos??

Anyone have any good book recommendations? My husband and I have a book club that we do, just the two of us. Each year for Christmas, we each select 4 or 5 books and buy two copies of each book. We give them to each other on Christmas Eve and then throughout the next year we read the same book at the same time, discussing it while we read. I usually have a running list of possible books for our "club" but this year the whole thing has snuck up on me and I don't have a clue. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Right now I'm reading a book Jeff got me last year (not from our book club) called Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. I'm just on the first chapter, but it sounds very interesting.

Well... I should probably get moving... I've been playing with blog for a while now.. giving it a bit of a makeover.... yikes... Jeff's on the phone... gotta run!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

back again... at least physically... maybe not mentally

Mentally, I'm on complete overload. Systems have shut down. I'm a total ball of nerves and I'm beginning to truly freak out.

Okay... backtracking... Thanksgiving! We had a great one in Missouri even though I spent the actual day lying in bed or on the couch at my parents' house trying not to throw up... again. I managed to miss dinner at my grandmother's house... but I was so queazy that at the time, I didn't care where I was as long as I was lying down. Here's my PSA... never attempt to piece together a meal with packaged foods found in a convenience store somewhere in Oklahoma. Better yet, do not let your dh choose those foods on his own.... beef jerky and trail mix is NOT a well balanced meal!! Yikes!!! The reason for this eclectic meal was that we waited over an hour at a well known pizza chain in a very not well known town in Oklahoma for food that never came. To be fair, they brought the kids' food a quick 45 minutes into this wait, but our food never came. It was 7 pm and we still about 4 hours of driving ahead of us, so we decided that since the kids were fed, we would go on and take our chances.

I was feeling better on Friday so my mom and I went on our annual Thanksgiving weekend shopping spree. No, we don't fight the crowds at the mall or show up outside Target at 5am... we usually hit Talbots, which thankfully in their town is not in the mall. My mom likes to buy me clothes for Christmas and my birthday (4 days after Christmas)... but she knows me well, and knows that if she gives me money to spend, I won't spend it on myself. So, she takes me to Talbots and a couple other local stores to shop. I had absolutely fabulous luck at Talbots! I may have to post pics later. I ended up with two new pairs of pants, three sweaters and two shirts. And I have to say, I love every piece we picked out.

Well... since I was still a bit queazy and mom has a broken foot, we cut our trip short and headed home right after lunch. We ended up having several hours to ourselves once we got there since the guys (Jeff and my dad) took the kids golfing with them! I'm sure that was a sight to see! Apparently Clara filled the basket on the cart with golf balls and then would ride in the basket from hole to hole, sitting on her *eggs* and clucking like a hen.

Saturday was the big dinner with my mom's family... I think there ended up being about thirty people there. The kids had a blast! The weather was great so they played outside all afternoon. The cousins spent a lot of time all piled on the golf cart playing Silver Dollar City. Sometimes the golf cart was the parking lot tram and they would drop kids off and pick them up. Other times, the golf cart was the steam train ride.... one would person would drive, one would hang on the back doing the commentary, there would be at least a couple passengers and then one would be off hiding to jump out at the "train" just like the train robbers during the ride. You've just got to love kids with imaginations!

We got back on Sunday night and since then I've been freaking out about this whole thing. I get worked up about the Christmas season regardless but throw a move into the mix and its about to send me over the edge! Oh well... tonight Jeff and I are going to sit down and make one great big gigantic "to do" list and then divide it up and work our way through it. Right now I'm so overwhelmed I can't start anything... hopefully dividing it up into manageable chunks will help.

Well... the kids are asking to play a game, so I should run... hopefully I'll have pictures later!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

okay... i should be packing

We're seriously never going to make it out of this house today. We've got a 7+ hour drive ahead of us and I still haven't packed.

First of all... I FINALLY got my cards I ordered from Shutterfly! I made them with MandaBean's MandaPanda kit (I posted the card last week I think)... but I wanted to show you a snap of what the actual card looks like. I LOVE IT! It looks a little hazy here, but it isn't at all in real life...

I have a few layouts to post and then I really really really will go pack (I promise)...

details here

details here

And finally a scraplift for the 2peas challenge...

details here

Jill... thanks for the kind words! Let me know if you read the book... I'm dying to know if it really was that good or if I am just a big sap! LOL!

Have a Great Thanksgiving Everyone!!!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I know... two posts in one day! Anyway... I just had to. One of my favorite parts of homeschooling and using Sonlight in particular is reading great books I missed as a child. Today we finished The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. If you haven't read this book, you must, recommend it to your children or read it aloud to them. I had tears in my eyes several times while I was reading. And the book sparked some very interesting conversations with my kids once we were done. It has an amazing, timeless message. If you read, let me know!

I *heart* LT

Actually right now I love my whole fantasy football team! Right now I'm leading our league AND leading in Pick 'Em too (where you predict who is going to win each game in our league each week). This is something my husband and possibly my FIL are not too pleased about. Oh well. Jeff and I play each other this week so it should be interesting.... the Funk Soul Brothers v. Mommy Dearest! LOL!

Everything seems to be moving alone with the sale of our place and the purchase of our new place. I hope everything goes smoothly. Especially since we'll be moving over Christmas. This year is just crazy! I'm trying to get our Christmas cards out early so that can be done. Mom mentioned that while we're in MO this weekend maybe we could do some of the Christmas shopping for the kids so we could just leave the stuff there since we'll probably be at their house for Christmas morning. YIKES! This will be our first Christmas as a family that we won't be waking up on Christmas morning at our own house. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Anyway... I decided that if we might do some Christmas shopping then I should probably know what the kids want. We limit their Santa list to no more than three items so we can tell what they "really" want v. them just spouting off every commercial they've seen in the past 6 months. Alex's three items seemed to be things he really wants, however, Clara's appears to be the last three commercials she watched (but, that's typical Clara). So, I'm not really sure how much good that exercise did yesterday. We're thinking that the big "Santa" gift might be stuff for our video game system. We finally broke down and got one this summer, but it only comes out if the kids pick it for their Friday Family Night activity. So maybe we'll get two more controllers, a memory card and a couple of games that Santa gives to the family and then get them each one of the smaller items from their list from Santa to them individually. One thing we are going to look for this weekend to give the kids at Christmas is cold weather gear. We need coats, hats, gloves, scarves, etc. We have none of that stuff!

Also, since we'll be in the process of moving (and moving to less space than we have now) we're asking for more "family" gifts this year... and those are all memberships to Chicago museums. I made a list yesterday of all of the museums we would be interested in having memberships for and how much they cost. I think any of them would be a really great gift to receive.... especially with homeshooling. I loved it when we had a membership to the Dallas Zoo. It was fun to go on a whim and not care if the kids only wanted to see the elephants and climb on the rocks that day. We had days (my neighbor had a membership too and we used to go together) where the kids wanted to do nothing but play in the little stream that ran through the Children's Zoo... but that was okay, we didn't feel the need to see it all everytime we went. We're doing a really great art curriculum this year and I would love to have a membership to the Art Institute. This program has art appreciation along with art instruction so it would be so much fun to be able to go to the Art Institute and see just those works that pertained to what we were studying that time. I think I would feel the need to see the whole thing if we were paying each time... to justify the cost. But that would be way too much for the kids to handle.

Okay... rambling... must stop.

I posted a few layouts yesterday....

details here

details here

details here

Okay... it's after 10am and I'm still in my pj's... I should probably get moving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

i'm back!

I actually got back from Chicago on Friday, but with my MIL here until this afternoon, I didn't do much computer stuff.

The sale of our house is still progressing so that's a good thing. AND... we found a place in Chicago! I really, really love the place. However, natural light photography is going to be a challenge once we move (it was going to be a challenge not matter which place we chose, I've been spoiled by our big huge windows here). I really do love the place though. We're going to be in the Lakeview area of the city. We ended up with a duplex down in a three unit building and its new construction. I never expected us to find new construction in the city. Since its almost finished but not quite, we get to customize a few things. We've got light fixtures to pick out, floor stain to decide on and carpet to choose. The floor plan is what really sold me on this place - the main floor has a living room, dining room, powder room, big kitchen and a family room. Downstairs has all four of the bedrooms and two full baths. Since we're living in a multi-unit building, it is so cool that no one is above our bedrooms but us so it should be quiet at night. I took several pictures but they're not great. I may upload them here one night this week. So.... if you ever find yourself in Chicago for any reason, be sure and get in touch!!

I have zero creativity lately... I'm not sure what to do about it. Its been so long since I've felt that creative spark that I know feel like I'm trying to hard when I do try to scrap. Any ideas to help me get my mojo back?

I did get our Christmas cards done! I used Kim Christensen's Winter Wonderland Card Kit (just modified a bit to fit my picture better) and I LOVE it!

Nothing else to report here. Clara had her last soccer game as a pink pony on Saturday and the whole thing makes me sad. Don't get me wrong, I'm really excited about our move, but things still get to me. The pink ponies were a great little team.... great girls, great coach, and great parents. That combo is hard to find. Clara really does well at soccer and wants to continue so I guess I'll have to figure something out once we get up there.

Okay.... I'm going to go watch the football game. Have I mentioned that I'm leading our fantasy football league? I'm currently winning my game 164 to 95. He's got a player going Monday night but I thinking I'll probably still be okay. :-) I'm going go sit back and see if LaDainian Tomlinson gets any more points for me tonight! Ack.. while I was typing that he scored ANOTHER touchdown... I'm up 176 to 95 now!!!! Okay... I'm out of here...


Monday, November 13, 2006


We have a contract on our house after being on the market 9 days!!! We're flying to Chicago tomorrow to find a house there. I'll try to post again before we leave, but in case I don't... you know where I am!

Wooo Hoooo!!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Can cleaning count as working out??

Man, I have cleaned more in the last week than I ever have in my entire life!!! Or at least it seems that way. I'm really hoping for lots of showings this weekend. We have one scheduled for tomorrow already... and its supposed to be a good one... a family that wants to be in our specific neighborhood.

I honestly have done nothing but clean (oh... and school) lately. I really hope to be more exciting soon. I should take some pictures of my nice clean house. Hmmm... then I should probably scrap them. That's a project! I also want to take pictures to scrap of other places we love here before we move... I know I want to do our church, but I'm not sure what else. I'm really not very creative lately.

I did sort of scrap today! I FINALLY made the thank you note for Clara's birthday party (now several weeks ago... I'm horrible, I know). I just wasn't sure what I wanted to do then today I saw that Miss MandaBean release a brand new kit called Manda Panda that was a perfect match for the pic I wanted to use. Not a very fancy card, but I thought it was cute. The best part is that its already uploaded to Shutterfly and my order has been placed... now I just have to write them when they come in.

Oh... one more fun thing... I am so loving these calendar pages at Scrapartist....

I downloaded the kit today and have already started playing! I think the grandparents will love these as Christmas gifts (plus I want one too!). Fun stuff!!!

Okay... need sleep so I can get up and clean again tomorrow (our big showing is in the window of noon to 1pm)... wish us luck!!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

just some pics

Nothing much to report here today. We had a great day of school but nothing noteworthy... just a good day.

Here are some pics I took though...


Hmmm... not sure why the slideshow is so small... here are the pics on 2peas.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I am finally at peace...

with my homeschool schedule that is. Last year we did our own thing based on the book Galloping the Globe. It was fun for a while, but I found myself going off on tangents, staying with some countries entirely too long and not long enough on others. I felt I needed more structure. So this year we went with Sonlight. Everything we needed came in one great big box (which you folded inside out to make a castle - added bonus) plus it came with a big nice instructor's guide with everything scheduled. This was perfect, wonderful... no planning, just get up and look in the book. But then life got in the way... we misplaced our first reader (still haven't found it), didn't have all of the stuff for a science experiment, etc. Suddenly I found myself right on track with some subjects, behind in others and even ahead in some. I was beginning to get frustrated with my big ol' schedule book. I was getting lost trying to remember which week I was on in which subject. My first bright idea was to take some time off from the subjects we were ahead in, slow down in the ones we were right on schedule with and speed up those slow ones until they were all caught up on the same week. Well... that experiment was a failure. Finally, the light bulb came on and I got it... I have not abandoned the instructor's guide, but have pulled out the applicable pages for each subject and put them in a separate binder. I am ignoring the week numbers at the top of each page and just concentrating on moving forward. We are so much happier now. I am free to double up on the read aloud assignments when the kids are so into a story that they don't want me to stop. I am able to accept the fact that we have no clue where that first reader is and move ahead to the second one even though it is scheduled a ways further into the year. We are able to be a few weeks behind in science because we have taken time off to incorporate Alex's Cub Scout beltloops into the mix (we've completed his fishing beltloop and now we're working on his geology beltloop and pin). Well... at least that's one less thing I'm stressed out about lately! :-)

Other than that... nothing really to report. I finally used one of my 2peas Gift Certificates. Here's what I bought...

Well... I'm heading to bed!


Monday, November 06, 2006

Warning: highly edited pics

Clara decided to make amends with me today by offering to let me take pictures of her. That sounds wonderful, right? Well... it would have been if I would have been halfway competent today... instead I severly underexposed them (this was even after using my trusty grey card). For variety I took the first three in our master bedroom. It is really dark in there (we have solar screens on the windows) and I was having trouble with the light.... it was an overcast day but occasionally while shooting the sun would burst through and blind Clara.... my settings were all over the place and as soon as I would adjust for the sun (or at least think that I had), it would go back behind a cloud. They're not ones to frame, but I don't think they ended up too bad after some adjusting.

That last one is of her in her hat that she found in the clearance bin at The Children's Place... I'm not sure she can pull that look off. What do you think? :-)

I just wanted to add a great big thank you to all of you who commented and sent emails after my last pitiful post. It really meant alot to me to receive that support at a time that I was feeling so low. Thank you all so much!

With that... I'm heading to bed.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

i'm seriously losing it

I've hit a new low with the frustration of dealing with the kids and the house on my own. I'm not sure how much more of it I can take. Tonights new low was brought on by Clara dropping and breaking into four jagged pieces the ceramic cat planter my great grandmother gave me as a child. I know its just a "thing", but it was mine and now it's gone. blah, blah, blah....

There was much more rambling earlier, but I'm calmer now and have somewhat pulled myself together. I just have to get through this.

For a bit of therapy I did a layout... nothing special but here it is...

It features Succotash from MandaBean's Table Scraps series.

Okay... I need sleep.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

pink pony pics, some layouts & a movie review

Wow! Let's see if I make it all of the way through that list before I completely lose focus!

First I'll start with some Pink Pony pictures...

These are from last week's game. The sun was out so the shooting was rough. Clara played really well, but was having much more fun on the sidelines. Here she is playing with her friend, Logan (the next shot in this series - which was completely out of focus - was of them crashing to the ground). You know things are getting a little out of hand, when you have to yell at your daughter across the field to stop poking her coach in the behind! I have no clue why they thought that was a good idea.

These are from today. It was really overcast today, but also pretty cold (I know... not "Chicago" cold) and windy.

Okay... on to the layouts!

details here

details here

Finally.... we supposedly had showings today from 3-5 (one officially cancelled on us after we were already out of the house and the other, we have no clue since there were no signs of anyone being in our house)... so we decided to go to the movie. We let the kids pick between The Santa Clause 3 or Flushed Away. Well... they picked Flushed Away and Jeff and I were less than thrilled with that choice. Until the movie started... maybe it was because our expectations were so low but we thought it was really, really funny.... one of the funniest kids movies we've been to in a while. We're actually still laughing about some of the lines!!! Clara, however, climbed up into Jeff's lap and slept through the last 1/3 of the movie. Oh well.

Okay... time to give the kids their bedtime hugs and kisses!


Friday, November 03, 2006

Thanks and some observations

Thank you Jill for the advice... I hope it was just a growth spurt. We gave her motrin and when she didn't calm down right away, we brought her downstairs and she layed with me on the couch while Jeff and I watched a movie. She fell asleep pretty quickly then. I guess I'm just a little paranoid. A couple of years ago Clara had horrible problems with leg cramps at night... she was also a restless sleeper and would occasionally have lots of "accidents" within a short time period for no good reason (that we knew of)... at the time we had no idea they were all related. I was talking about her sleeping problems one day and someone suggested that I read Is This Your Child. I checked it out from the library and started skimming. I found a case study and started reading... it was like it was describing Clara... the leg cramps, restless nights, and accidents! It was amazing... Jeff was working from home that day so I ran up to his office and started reading it to him. We then looked through the chart of common causes under each of those symptoms and one that stood out to us was chocolate! She was at her absolute worst at my parents' house when we stayed there spring break and my dad is a total chocoholic... so there were M&M's out plus chocolate ice cream for treats. However, at the time, we found excuses for it all... the restless nights were because she wasn't in her own bed, the "accidents" were because my parents had just recently moved into a new house and she wasn't familiar with the layout yet. Another really bad week was Easter week that year. Not only did she have tons of chocolate from the numerous egg hunts we went to that year, but my MIL had sent them a big box of CocoPuffs in their Easter care package. She would have multiple accidents a day... some of them right after having been to the bathroom. But according to this book, she was having bladder spasms that would just keep happening. We took away all chocolate and so far we've been basically leg cramp, restless night, accident free. Until just recently.... so it makes you wonder if its just growing pains or something more.

We had all of our carpets cleaned today... they look wonderful! Some of the rooms are still damp though. Our dining room is a bit so all of the dining room table chairs are in the kitchen... it was like playing a game of Rush Hour trying to make dinner tonight. I had to think out my path and move each chair basicially one tile square at a time to get the right configuration to get from the fridge to the sink, and then rearrange them all to get from from the sink to the stove. Craziness!

I had a bunch of observations I was going to put on here... but now that its after 11:00 and I still need to rearrange chairs again so I can wash the dinner dishes... they'll have to wait... honestly, I have no clue what they were now anyway.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

i'm still here

Sorry its been a couple of days... we've been cleaning and purging. Today we officially signed papers with the real estate agent. Wow.. it's real now.

Not much of a post... I'm just occupying myself while Jeff takes a shift on consoling Clara. I have no idea what's going on. She went to bed at 8:30 and fell asleep right away and now at nearly 10, she's up and sobbing uncontrolably. Nothing calms her down. She says that her legs are cold and hurt, yet nothing we do warms them up or makes them feel better. I hate this helpless feeling... sigh.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Have I mentioned that I s*ck at flash photography... well I do. Here's the best of what I got tonight...

Are you ready for this???

Here are Clara's curls! LOL!

Monday, October 30, 2006

nothin' good

Nope... nothing exciting here.... except that our house has never looked better! LOL! I am such a pack rat but I have been getting rid of stuff left and right. Maybe it's the laziness in me but right now it is more appealing to get rid of it than to have to find a place to put it once we move. It's actually somewhat disturbing how much we've taken to Goodwill since Friday.

I have a major cold and I'm not happy about it. Actually Alex and I have both had something going on since we got our flu vaccines on Wednesday. His was intense but short lived (high fever, bad headache and just a total lump on the couch for about 12 hours). Mine hasn't been intense but it has been dragging on for some time now. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that it happened right after we got the vaccine but it was weird how Alex was acting just like he did last year when he had the actual flu.

No pictures today but hopefully I'll have some tomorrow. You won't believe this but after her bath we put Clara's hair up in the little sponge rollers. LOL! I can't even imagine what her head is going to look like tomorrow... her hair is so short that she may end up looking like a ball of fuzz! Sigh... this is what happens when the girls are left alone while the boys go to cub scouts.

Well... I'm off to take a shot of cherry flavored nyquil and call it a day!


(Hi Kathy, Hannah and Rachel!)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

just a couple of my girl

I'm supposed to be up here setting my fantasy football line-up for tomorrow. Thought I would throw in a couple of pics I took of the girl today...

Okay... setting my line-up now... let's see if I can hold onto the number one spot in our league for a second week. LOL!


Friday, October 27, 2006

a silly girl and superman

Tonight the kids had a Halloween/Birthday party to go to across the street. It was amazing! I wish I could have gotten in there in advance and been able to take pictures of their super cool decorations. For the entertainment, they had a Mad Scientist group come out to do all kinds of fun experiments. They loved it.

Just a couple of quick pics... snapshots really. You all should know by now that I have issues with flash photography. I struggle with it so much. I bought my 550EX speedlite over 2 years ago and have barely used it because it scares me. However, I bought the DVD Guide to the 580EX (there wasn't one for the 550) by Blue Crane Digital a couple of months ago and finally watched it. I can't say that I have used the DVD to it's fullest yet, but it at least gave me the confidence to start using my flash again. Especially since we are entering the season where I will be using my flash more. Anyway... the first one is straight on with an Omni Bounce on the flash, the second one is bounced off of the ceiling (with the omni bounce still on). Oh... I shot in P mode. I've got a long ways to go, but I'm glad to be gaining some confidence.

Oh... btw, these aren't the kids' official Halloween costumes for this year. Clara's is the clown costume I bought to shoot her circus birthday invite last year and Alex's is actually pj's that I bought to shoot his Valentines from a couple of years ago (the Valentine, I think you're super ones). They had a bounce house and an inflatable slide at the party so I was afraid they would totally trash their official costumes (Clara - Forest Fairy and Alex - Darth Vader).

Well... off to scrub face paint off of Clara's face!


well... that didn't go as expected

We finally told the kids about our move this morning. Alex, my hyper-sensitive, emotional child was all smiles and bouncing up and down. Clara, my happy-go-lucky, roll with it type was an emotional sobbing wreck. My goodness... it was all I could do to not start bawling right there with her. Her main concern (at 5 years old) is that she won't have any friends and that she'll have to leave the friends that she has here. Thankfully last night I had talked to a friend of mine who lives in Chicago... I had told her that the kids would probably be concerned about friends so even before this happened, she had told me that she would round up some of the kids in our old neighborhool (in Chicago), take a picture of them and send it to me so I could show the kids that they had friends ready and waiting for them. Hopefully that will help. I knew the kids would be troubled somewhat by the move, but I expected the emotional outburst from Alex, not Clara. I think this is one of those things that we'll just have to limit how much we talk about.... kind of like Lilo and Stitch 2 - Stitch has a Glitch. For some reason for over a year after we watched that movie, you couldn't even mention it without her face turning red and tears forming in her eyes. She gets that same look anytime you mention Chicago right now.

Sigh.... now we need to do some school (Friday is test day in our house.... plus fun stuff day, with the hope that the two counter balance each other)... then we'll start cleaning closets. Fun!

Okay... I feel like I need to include a pic, but I don't know what to include so I'll just sign off for now!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

an announcement....

here's your hint...

Yes... we're moving back to Chicago! Jeff has a new job that doesn't require so much travel, so soon we'll be a real family again, living in the city we consider "home". Although, being in Texas for four years has probably thinned out my blood a bit so moving back in the thick of winter in Chicago is probably not the best situation, but we'll be just fine. Yay!

Other than that... things have been pretty crazy normal around here. Today was Clara's 5 year check-up... she's doing great. Alex went with me to have a couple of warts (that word just makes me cringe for some reason) frozen off and we were all getting flu shots. When the PA came in she told us that if we wanted to we could do the nose thing for the flu vaccine instead of the shot. I was all for that... I don't like shots and Alex is a beast to deal with when it comes to shots. So after Clara's exam, the PA froze Alex's warts, however, she didn't have the little plastic cone thing tight to his skin around the wart so the freezing stuff ran all down his finger.... his whole finger was turning white!!! It was numb so he didn't feel it at the time... but it started to sting about the time they came to do our flu vaccine. When the nurse came in I noticed a syringe... apparently the cost of the nasal vaccine is different than the shot and since I had already paid, I was getting the shot (the kids' vaccines were covered under the co-pay). I got to go first and have a nice little Daffy Duck band-aid to show for it. Clara was next... she stood right up and got the vaccine without so much as her eyes watering. Now.... we come to Alex who was already starting to freak out seeing me get a shot, plus his finger was stinging. He totally lost it... I mean totally lost it. He was a total wreck. As a mom, I was so torn right then... part of me wanted to tell it was okay and we didn't have to do it... but I knew we should (Alex and I got the flu last winter and it was HORRIBLE, plus Clara has a history of breathing problems... so we need to stay healthy in our house). He sat on the floor, grabbed onto a chair and refused to move. I had to pick him up while the nurse pryed the chair out of his hands. We finally got the vaccine in him and he just blinked and said "that didn't hurt". Well... duh! That's what we had been trying to tell him. Clara kept trying to comfort him by telling him how easy it was and even at one point turned her head away from us and closed her eyes. I had no idea what she was doing, but when she turned around she told me that she had just prayed to God to make her big brother brave. She can really surprise you sometimes.

Anyway... if you don't like nastiness... don't look at this pic... it's just a shot of my poor boy's finger from where the freezing stuff got out of control. Have you ever seen a blister like that?

Well... after my day of 6 year old boy wrestling... I'm tired and ready for bed.


Monday, October 23, 2006

i need help

I seriously need an intervention here. I know it has only been a couple of days since Clara's birthday party but I am totally addicted to the little Webkinz she got. I had never heard of them before she got them from a friend on Saturday. They looked like regular stuffed animals but they had a tag with a webcode on it.... you go to their website, log-in, name your pet, get your adoption certificate and then the fun begins. Your little webkinz have a life of their own online... they have a room, which you get to furnish, they need to be fed, bathed and put to bed. You have dollars to spend to buy the things you need... which you then have to replentish (quite often if you have a child you *must* have the funky flower toliet for 350 in kinzcash). To replentish your money, you can play trivia games, go to the arcade or find a job for your Webkinz. Totally, totally, totally addictive. So far we have bought beds for Uni and Piggy (which are, you guessed it, a unicorn and a pig), toys for their playroom, a yard (1000 in kinzcash... yikes!), a pool and a trapoline (a healthy webkinz must get exercise), a toliet, a bathtub and an incredible amount of food. I find myself obsessing about why Uni's happiness meter isn't at 100% when she's been fed, excercised, had a bath and taken a nap... we've even told her that she's a "good pet" and taken her to the arcade! Like I said... I need help.

Today is officially Clara's birthday. We're not doing much today... yesterday was her big birthday outting with just Jeff and me. She really didn't *need* anything for her birthday so we decided to take her on a birthday "date" instead. After lunch, Alex stayed with Grandpa and Grandma while we took just Clara to the mall. We asked her what she wanted to do and she knew exactly what she wanted... to go to Build-A-Bear. She had been there before... once over two years ago for a birthday party and again last year to make a bear to send to their new baby cousin. So, she had never had free rein to make something just for herself. She picked a pink poodle to make... we had a good time, but man, that place was a zoo!!!! After that we did a little clothes shopping... she loves to try on clothes. And for some reason her favorite store in Talbot's Kids. She picked out two jumpers to try on... one was a gorgeous black velvet jumper, the other was an adorable pink jumper with embroidered dots that reversed to green with patchwork looking dogs. She ended up picking the reversible jumper. It is really cute.... plus it was on the clearance rack for $29 with an additional 25% off. I was secretly hoping she would pick the velvet one because it was gorgeous.... but I guess I should be glad that she didn't... she'll get more good out of the one she picked.

From there we went to the Cheesecake Factory to rest our feet, get something to drink and to have a piece of birthday cheesecake. Clara picked the Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake.... it was so good. They brought it with a candle in it and sang Happy Birthday to her.

Our last stop was Nordstrom for a new set of PJ's for Clara. Why is it so hard to find decent PJ's for kids? There really wasn't much a selection anywhere we looked. The set we got was adorable though. This is basically the set.... but her's is pink and brown plaid with a pale pink cami underneath. She was desperate for pj's... she's really grown since last winter.

Well... that's it for me, for now... I have more to write about (especially my adventures in flash photography this weekend) but I've got to get the kids fed so we can get to cub scouts.

Here's one pic of Clara and Poodlie (although all you see is poodlie)....

Saturday, October 21, 2006

scenes from a sock hop

Just a quick little post with some pics from Clara's party.... it was so much fun!

More details coming... 'nite!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

hi... i'm still here

but my house has been invaded. Yes... my in-laws are here for Clara's birthday. My online time will be limited between now and Monday. Thankfully my office and the guest room are no longer one shared space so I will have significantly more online time than I used to when they would come to visit.

Tomorrow morning I go to the dentist... yippee. I'm on probation with my dentist right now. I'm really bad about finding new dentists/doctors for myself when we move so it had been about four years since my last trip to the dentist. No cavities, but I got a stern talking to and was put on probation.... I have to come in every three months until I prove that I am a responsible teeth owner.

Today Alex and I went to Clara's preschool to help out with their Hoe-down (or is it ho-down.... I really don't know). It was so cute. I took lots of pictures but I haven't downloaded them to see if they're any good. It was very dark in there and I hate the on camera flash so we'll see.

Well... I need to get back to the baseball game and see what happens.... GO CARDS!!!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

ahhh... the fall colors

All around things are changing colors... including my hair apparently.... sigh. I went in today for new highlights and came out a brunette. I know we discussed low lights for a warmer... fallish look but now my hair is very dark... and I'm not really sure its a good dark. Hmmmm.... maybe I just need to get used to it. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get a pic tomorrow... but don't count on it. :-)

Nothing really to report here. I am really struggling with the party favors for Clara's birthday party Saturday. I went to three places today with no real luck with finding favors that fit her "sock hop" theme. I'm really running out of time.

Speaking of running out of time... I really need to learn how to use my external flash by Saturday too. I keep meaning to watch the dvd I bought, but I just haven't made the time. What to do, what to do?

I did scrap one page today... that was a minor miracle. I've been trying to scrap for a couple days now... I even played with paper today as well... but I only managed to eek out the one digi layout....
details here

Well... I'm going to go. I love Tuesdays... we don't go anywhere on Wednesdays so I leave the dishes until the morning and we get to sleep in... love it!

Off to read my book! 'nite!

Monday, October 16, 2006

we survived!!!

Yay! We did it! We survived a weekend of camping! It actually was quite fun. Although I will admit, Clara and I only camped one night though. We got there about 12:30 on Saturday.... we didn't leave until after her soccer game (which they won and Clara scored her second official goal). The weather was perfect.... warm enough for short sleeves but not too warm. It was sunny with a nice breeze off the lake. The kids had a great time playing along the water with their friends. The campfire was a lot of fun with skits and stories too. However, it was after this that things started to go downhill a bit. Clara and I went up to the restrooms for one last visit before bed only to find out that the water had been turned off and all of the toliets were backed up. Okay... I will confess that I have an adversion to public restrooms under the best of circumstances but this was more than I could take. It still triggers my gag reflex just thinking back on it. Then, right at "lights out" time, it starts to rain and didn't really stop until about mid-day today! Thankfully our tent didn't leak one bit but that didn't stop me from worrying about it all night... plus I was obsessing about what in the world I was going to do about the bathroom situation come morning. Of course Clara woke up first thing in the morning having the desperately "go" so Jeff got the priviledge of taking her out into the woods in the rain.

With all of the rain, we decided not to hang around and to just pack up and go. However, it was pouring so hard while Jeff was taking down the tent that it filled up with water as he was folding it up. So we had to pick it up by one end and dump as much water out as we could. The final thing was that the mini wouldn't start when we got ready to leave. The battery was dead. But my friend had jumper cables so we were on our way in no time. It poured all of the way home and I really did not enjoy driving in it alone.... in the car, which I'm not used to driving. Jeff was probably regretting that I had his number in speed dial on my cell phone because I kept calling him with paranoid questions about the car. To my defense... it was hard to drive with all of the rain AND a warning light did come on briefly. Regardless... we made it home safely... took showers and vegged the rest of the afternoon.

Anyway... here are a few pics of our camping trip. I really didn't end up taking that many. The first one is of Alex and his third tooth that he lost. It came out while eating a sandwich at lunch on Saturday. Then one of him walking right in front of where we camped... that used to be covered with the waters of Lake Texoma. Then just a couple of Clara.

I need to go clean up a bit... this weekend is the big birthday weekend at our house and I've got so much to do!


Friday, October 13, 2006

left behind

Look what was left behind today....

This is the first night in 6 years that my son, Alex, has willfully spent without his yellow blanket. Sigh... my boy is growing up! Now, he's not one to carry it around or anything, but he *always* sleeps with it. Today as I was up in his room finding sweat pants for him to take camping, he came into his room, hugged "yellow" good-bye, asked me to take good care of his blanket and placed it on his bed. Neither of us asked him or encouraged him to do this and with everyone having their own tents, none of his cub scouts friends would have even known he had it. But, he had decided, himself, that it was time to leave "yellow" at home. It seriously brought tears to my eyes when he put the blanket on his bed and walked away to go camping.

Okay... brighter note... once the boys were out the door Clara and I headed out and got pedicures. It was soooo nice. I haven't had one in months and I desperately needed one. Clara picked a sparkly pink polish for the both of us. She got flowers painted on her big toes, I didn't.

Nothing else to report here. First thing tomorrow morning Clara has a soccer game and then we join the boys at the camp out. It should be interesting. Clara is one to hear stuff and get scared so we're probably in for a long night.

Wish us luck!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

let's try this again

I've been a bad blogger this week but part of it isn't entirely my fault. I tried to blog last night but Blogger wasn't cooperating and I lost my post.

Nothing terribly exciting here.... just getting ready for the big cub scout camp out this weekend. That should be entertaining! LOL! We are such newbies on the whole camping scene. We had to go and buy EVERYTHING... tents, sleeping bags, a lantern, oh gosh... just plain everything. AND... the weather shows rain all weekend. Thankfully, Clara and I aren't planning on going up until after her soccer game on Saturday morning so if its raining, we might just stay home. Today Alex and I visited the brand new Super Target right by our house (it just openned over the weekend) to buy the camping food. I have a feeling we have entirely too much food.

The new Super Target is beautiful... love it! Great food section... Alex and I picked up some sushi for lunch... yum.

Have I mentioned that I'm struggling with getting Alex to read for "fun" versus just reading what I assign to him? Well... I am. He does read everything in sight... box labels, signs, t-shirts (that's not always a good thing), etc. but he doesn't read books outside of "school". So, I started this chart system and for each page he completed, he would get a special treat of some sort. That worked for the first sheet, he was so motivated that he read the 15 books to fill the sheet in about 4 or 5 days. It's now been about 2 months since he completely that one and only sheet and he's only filled about half of the next one. So, I upped the ante... if he filled all of the sheets in the folder (about 5 with 15 spaces per page) I would get him the hermit crab he's been wanting for a couple of years now. Not thrilled about a new pet but I was desperate. Still hasn't motivated him. HOWEVER, here is where the plan has backfired... it has motivated Clara to learn to read. Yes, I know, that is a good thing, but she has decided that if Alex reads those books and gets the pet he's always wanted, well then... she's going to also and she wants a BIRD!!! So, my darling daughter has been taking the Dick and Jane Treasury with her to bed every night so she can practice her reading and she's actually about 50 pages into it. Sigh... it looks like we might be getting Clara a bird long before Alex ever gets his crab. Clara even checked out about 4 books about caring for birds this afternoon at the library. I'll keep you posted.

Hmmm... other than that... I've actually done some scrapping if you can believe that. Just working my way through some pics from our fall break trip to Missouri...

details here

details here

details here

Well... I'm going to post this before blogger eats it again!


Monday, October 09, 2006

Hillbilly Golf Anyone?

I had never heard of this game before we went to my hometown's fall festival a few weeks ago. My parents picked up a set that weekend.... and we played it on our fall break visit to their house. Now Hillbilly golf (or whatever you want to call it) is fun and can be played by any age... but any game combining Clara and projectiles is an adventure to say the least. Her first turn resulted in Clara hitting herself in the head with the ball. Thankfully no one else was injured during the game. Here are some pics...

We had a great school day today and had fun doing our Mexican Bark Paintings that came with our Spanish curriculum. I took pics but they're still in my camera and my camera is downstairs and if I go downstairs, I'm staying down there and getting in bed... so maybe tomorrow.

That's it... I'm tired and still out of it here... sigh... tomorrow's another day! Maybe that's the day I'll get my act together! LOL!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

tea party

I was going to post more pics from our trip but decided to post these instead...

Clara and Lauren (her baby doll) got invited to a very special tea today to celebrate her friend's 5th birthday. Both Clara and Lauren *had* to wear their princess dresses... Clara's dress is her "Belle" dress from her recital this past spring. It was so cute to see all of the girls in their princess dresses! The mom had everything set up so well. The dolls even had their own cups and plates AND she even made miniature versions of the food she made for the girls for their dolls.

Anyway... the weekend is ending so hopefully I will get my act together tomorow!

Oh... and it looks like I just might win my fantasy football game too! Woo Hoo!


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hmmm.... 5 wierd things about me

I've been tagged by Jennifer Pebbles so here goes....

1. I can pick things up with my toes. Honestly... I don't think this is strange at all, but my husband does. Actually, he's the odd man out in our house since the kids now do this too!

2. I'm usually not an neat/orderly person but I cannot sanely fly on a plane if the little plastic latch that holds the tray table up isn't straight up and down. Sadly, I noticed this summer that I have passed this illness on to my daughter. As a side note - I also have panic attacks on planes. My worst one was when we flew to Disneyland in February... I got my own row if that gives you any indication how much I panicked.

3. I eat any little colored candies in pairs by color.... skittles, receses pieces, m&m's, etc.

4. I love the band Little Feat.

5. I don't feel hot, cold or pain on the right side of my body. I was in a bad car accident when I was 14 and broke my neck. The injury caused a syndrome called Brown-Sequard Syndrome.... which left me weak on on my left side and without temp and pain sensation on my right. Although I got my strength basically back on my left, the sensation never returned to my right.

Hmmmm.... now who to tag...


Ack!!! In the process of tagging Kirsty... I just noticed that she has tagged me! I'll get to that tomorrow... I promise!

Anyway.... I spent the day cleaning out a closet and it has made me grumpy. I am such a packrat and throwing things away makes me very nervous. LOL!

Here's are a few pics from our first full day in Missouri last weekend. The kids, Jeff and my dad took my dad's little boat out to the lake. Mom and I just hung back, chatted and took pictures.

Okay... I need to run... it's time for a family game of Junior Monopoly!


Friday, October 06, 2006

frogs, deer and bats... oh my!

We're back and we had a wonderful week in Missouri with my mom and dad. I have so much to write about and so many pictures but I need to keep it short so we can get unpacked.

As you can tell... we came in touch with quite a bit of wildlife this trip. Alex and Clara befriended a frog in my parents' backyard. We got within a few feet of about SEVEN deer on walk at the nature center. AND... one rather unique experience with a bat on a trail at Ha Ha Tonka. We were just walking down the trail to the spring when I heard a loud noise and then Alex started screaming. As mom and I rushed closer to them we could hear Alex yelling... you're standing on it... get off! Clara, in her typical oblivious fashion, just kept saying "what?" over and over. She finally took a step to see what she had been standing on and she had been standing on a LIVE BAT!!!!!!!!!! Now how does that happen???? There was a parks maintainance guy coming down the path, so the kids ran to him and told him about the bat. He picked it up and assured us that although Clara standing on him didn't do him any good... he couldn't have been a well bat to begin with to be lying there on the path like that in the middle of the day. He told us that he would "take care of it" and we continued on our way. However, the kids "discussed" the matter for a while with Alex casually referring to Clara as a "bat killer" and Clara screaming back at him that "it was going to die anyway... it wasn't my fault!". Oh the joys of siblings!

Okay... need to do something productive! Pictures coming soon! And thank you all for the congrats and Jennifer... I will answer your questions later tonight.

Friday, September 29, 2006

my pint-sized picassos

Have I mentioned how much I love our art curriculum??? I really truly do, it was my best impulse purchase at the curriculum fair, I do believe. I love that it not only teaches them about how to "do art" but it also teaches them about art through art appreciation. Today we did Picasso's Mains Aux Fleurs. We learned about brush strokes and color mixing... so much fun! I got really brave and let them do this at the table in the playroom (over carpet!!) so they could follow along with the dvd. Here are some pics (not sure I like the new photobucket slideshow thing though)....

Oh... my big announcement is.... I'm now officially a digi CT member for A Cherry on Top! I'm so excited to work with such an amazing group of scrappers!!

Other than that... we're busy here trying to get ready to head out of town for Fall Break. We're going back to Missouri to stay with my parents. It's just nice to have a change of scenery. Our goal is to work on Alex's Cub Scout Fishing Belt Loop and Pin. My parents have a stocked pond on their property plus they just bought a fishing boat for the little local lake. We'll also probably hit the Nature Center and possibly Bass Pro. The fun thing about homeschooling is that we can turn his cub scout requirements into little unit studies for school!

Yikes! It's 20 to 4:00... I've got to get the kids to martial arts!

Oh... one more thing... send good health vibes our way if you can.... 6 kids out of Clara's preschool class were out yesterday with a stomach bug. I'm really not a fan of stomach bugs! Thanks!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

good morning!

I don't usually post in the mornings but I haven't been very good at posting at night lately. Sigh... not doing very good at getting anything accomplished lately! :-)

Alex is taking his math test so I have a minute to post so I thought I would. Hmmm... let's see... there's potential move craziness in the air again. So we should know more in a week or so. I'm actually much more at peace with this potential relo than I was with the last one. I know it seems nuts that I keep posting about potential moves... but I think since Jeff has taken this job that has him out of town Mon-Fri we have really started to crave a situation that would give us a more normal family lifestyle. Unfortunately, the potential for that (with us) is limited where are now. I'll keep you posted.

When I took the CT position at Scrapartist.... part of what I was to help out in the rotation of photo challenges. Well... this week is my week to host the challenge and not ONE soul has participated. So... if you're reading this and like to take pictures, please, please, please (yes, I'm begging) participate in my challenge!! Its not a technical challenge.. its a fun one... a before and after photo challenge. Here are my photos...

I thought about the theme for this challenge after seeing these two consequetive frames when I downloaded them. I took one last shot as Alex ran into the Splash Harbor area at Silver Dollar City last Friday. I didn't follow him because I didn't want my camera wet, so the next frame was from when he emerged. I love the contrast between the two shots and I think they'll make a cool layout (when I get my mojo back of course).

I wish I had some sort of freebie to offer to bribe you all into participating... but I can't for the life of me figure out what I can do that anyone would want! LOL!

Well... Alex is to the part in school where I need to stop typing and actually "teach"! :-)

Who knows... I might post twice today!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I am so overwhelmed with what I need to be doing right now that I'm not doing any of it! Am I the only one who does this? I did manage to finish one thing though... Clara's b-day invite...

Now I just need to remember to order it tomorrow.

Nothing exciting has been going on here.... we've been pretty boring actually. This week is just the crazy lull between our quick trip to Missouri last weekend and our trip back there for a week (we leave Saturday and stay the whole week - fall break down here). Actually, it's not much of a lull... I have tons to do... the only lull part is that I've got so much to do that I'm not doing any of it and accomplishing nothing. Perhaps tomorrow is the day that I will snap out of it.

With that... I'm off to bed!


Saturday, September 23, 2006

we're back....

and we had a great trip. I took lots of photos including a shoot for Clara's birthday invite. I should have more to choose from but here's one to give you a sneak peek!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

need sleep

Okay... still technically chatting at A Cherry On Top... so much fun! I think I did okay... sometimes I just can't keep up with so much text scrolling by!

I've got so many scrapping things to tie up before we head out tomorrow so I should probably get to that.

But... what was I doing instead today?? Paper scrapping again. Here's my layout from today... again... basically another scraplift of one of my digi layouts... but like I said before, you've got to start somewhere.
Tomorrow is the big drive to Missouri! Wish me luck! I'll be back Saturday night, hopefully with lots of pictures!


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

major headache

I have a headache today that just won't go away... so just a short post and then I'm going to bed.

Look what my boy won today....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

They had a contest over the summer and he ended up being the first place winner for his age group! Its actually really cool... in order to give it stability we had to fill the base with water. The instructions suggested a garden hose, but I wasn't sure how to swing that in our second floor gameroom. So the kids and I took pitchers and filled it enough to get them started punching and kicking it. I'll have to fill it the rest of the way later.

Well... I'm done. I'm giving up, going to bed and hoping that this headache will be gone in the morning.


Monday, September 18, 2006

guess what I did today...

... I actually paper scrapped... gasp! I know! It's actually pretty amusing since its a lift of one of my digi layouts from yesterday. But I guess we all have to start somewhere. LOL! So... here it is...
It was actually kind of fun.... even with the kids "helping". Poor things, I had them do my dirty work... they cleaned my stamps for me and they thought that was big fun. Now I just need to print off more pics so I can play some more! I think digi will always be my main thing, but it will be fun to play with paper too.

Do you know what I just realized the other day? As part of my month as guest digi creative team member at A Cherry On Top they're having a contest where you have to scraplift one of my layouts! So far there's just like four entries, but it is so cool to see another person's take on my original layout. Fun stuff! Oh... and don't forget about the chat on Wednesday... now I just need someone to remind me!

Still feeling a little cruddy. Hopefully the cold is on the way out and there will be no ear infections this time. I seriously can't be sick this week. The kids and I (oh, and the dog) are driving to my parents' house in Missouri for a couple of days. My parents get season passes to Silver Dollar City in Branson every year and if you order them early you get "bring a friend free" passes to be used at certain times throughout the year. Well... our fall passes expire this weekend, thus the last minute trip. Plus, my little hometown is having their fall festival/reunion this weekend as well. So we'll be hitting that too. I'm excited to be possibly experiencing some "real" fall weather. Since I'm not at all in the "real" fall weather mindset, I'll be doing some clothes shopping for the kiddos tomorrow.

Well... its getting late and I still have the kitchen to clean up (we had breakfast for dinner tonight along with fried plantains from a recipe that was in our spanish curriculum... yum).


Sunday, September 17, 2006

lazy, rainy sunday

We finally got a good rain here today! We had major storms some time during the night... I didn't wake up enough to look at the clock to know what time for sure. But they were great! We desperately need rain here.

I don't know what it is about rainy days but they motivate me to scrap... so I actually got two pages done today...

details here

details here

We really did nothing today. We went to church and to lunch. Then home to watch football (I'm losing my fantasy football game to my FIL... grrrrrr). Then it was back to the church to take the kids to choir and off to the grocery store. Exciting, huh?

I have a new goal this week... I am bound and determined to learn to paper scrap! I have no idea why the concept scares me so, but it does. I'll let you know how it goes!

Okay... I'm off to bed.