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.