Friday, February 29, 2008

a confession...

I have completely fallen off of the photo-a-day wagon. I was doing okay until CHA and then I just gave up. Well... there's always next year! LOL

I do have some photos from today....

These are from a workshop we attended with our homeschool group today.

After the workshop the kids had their first martial arts class here in Chicago. They used to take classes back in Texas but stopped when we moved. I wimped out on taking the class today but I will try it, I promise! :-)

Okay... I'm beat... I'm going to head to the couch!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

the pile of books is smaller now...

... but possibly only because I have misplaced a couple of books that should be in this stack... sigh.

Here's the link to what the stack looked like in January.

Here's the stack today...

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

This one I haven't started yet. I just got it from the library on Monday. I'm pre-reading it for Alex. That boy has really taken off with is reading. Right now he's burning through the first Harry Potter book. Anyway... back to this book... yes, I'm pre-reading it for Alex but I do love to read a good juvenile fiction book occasionally. This one is set here in Chicago and is billed as the Da Vinci Code for kids... sounds good to me!
The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

This book is one of my picks this year for the book club that Jeff and I do. It is really a good read... I'm really truly enjoying it. It is humorous in parts but it is far from a farce. He is taking his quest very seriously and sometimes that's just plain funny. I'm just about 3/4 of the way through it, so I might have more to say about it once I'm through. I do enjoy his writing style and I just might have to add his other book, The Know-It-All, to my reading pile.

Don Quixote... it's still there and I still haven't started it... ugh.

And this one is still there... double ugh. I was doing okay with it but then refused to read it on my flight to California for CHA... now it just sits on my nightstand unfinished.

Well... the kids just got back from their 3 1/2 hour playdate at the neighbor's house... I'm back on duty!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

another busy day...

... another photo of Clara passed out in a chair...
Here are the events that led up to this photo...

Today we decided to venture out to Millennium Park with another family from our homeschool group.

On our way to meet them, the kids discovered the Mark di Suvero sculptures on the Chase Promenade. This one (Shang) in particular was a favorite since it was a swing you could actually swing on....

Then it was on to the real reason we ventured out today....
Paintings Below Zero by Gordon Halloran

It was really cool... but unfortunately it did not hold the kids' attentions for very long.

They enjoyed watching big sheets of snow slide off of the bean (ummm... cloud gate sculpture)...
And playing in a HUGE pile of snow next to the Paintings Below Zero exhibit....

The kids all dug and tunneled, smoothed slides and carved forts for nearly two hours before we decided it was time to warm up at a coffee shop.

After the coffee shop, they weren't ready to go home yet and us moms weren't thrilled about heading back out into the cold so we went to the Art Institute until it closed at 5pm. We spent the entire time downstairs in the miniatures room, the touch gallery and the children's library. The kids had a GREAT time. The bad thing is that by the time we decided to head home we were traveling during rush hour. We all crammed on to a very crowded L train in order to get home. It wasn't too bad getting home, but avoiding rush hour would have been nice.

While I was making dinner, Clara fell asleep in her chair. We really wore her out today! And I'm pretty worn out myself!


Friday, February 22, 2008

a different twist...

... on the photo a day thing.

the kids have discovered "photo booth" on my mac....

... they really enjoyed it, if you couldn't tell.... LOL!

Four in the house are in bed, the two brothers went out for a drink and I'm upstairs alone so I'm off to watch Ghost Hunters before taking some cold medicine and heading to bed myself.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

going slow...

I started with this little cold thing after getting back from California last week... and although it hasn't been that bad... it keeps getting progressively worse. Now after about the third night in a row of not sleeping, it's really beginning to get to me. However, we have house guests coming for the weekend tomorrow so I'm going to need some good sleep tonight... wish me luck! LOL!

So... needless to say, most of my energy lately has been spent on school with the kids. If I get only one thing done a day... school is the thing that has to get done.

So, today, after they got their bookwork done, we picked out our musher to follow in this year's Iditarod.....
I rambled on about it on my homeschooling blog, so if you would like to know more, you can read it here.

Okay... I've been sitting here staring off into space trying to think of anything else to type.... but I can't. I'm off to bed!


ETA: I've just been sitting here staring at that photo above and just look how different their noses are! People talk about how much they look a like but their noses are completely different. Odd. Okay... no more revelations for tonight. (and no, I'm not on any cold meds... lol!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

why aren't the kids is bed?

Well... it might have something to do with this....
Yep... it's Lunar Eclipse night! This is one of those wonderful things about having kids and homeschooling (not that you have to have/do those two things to enjoy this sort of stuff... but without them, in combination, I am completely oblivious to this stuff). I don't believe I have EVER seen a lunar eclipse before. I didn't know about it until one of our homeschool friends emailed me about it this morning. We looked it up in our books and did a little online research too. Then after dinner, the stalking of the moon began. Every 15 minutes or so we would don our coats and trek down the block a bit to a break in the trees. I would have felt too silly to do this on my own, there's something about having kids with you that helps you look not quite so insane... LOL!

Now to ramble about the photography aspect... it was tough! I used my 70-200 2.8L but it just wasn't enough zoom. I have no clue where my 75-300 is since the move (that might not even be the right numbers but its close... lol). And then I had to manual focus while trying to hold that oh so heavy lens still! Not great shots but much better than I expected under those circumstances.

Well... the kids have brushed their teeth and they're in their pj's... it's time to tuck them in!


(ps... Kelly and Savannah, thanks for the input... I just might go for it with the martial arts class!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

so NOT happy

yep... that's the scene in my kitchen right now. My favorite mixing bowl and my measuring cup.... history. Apparently Williams- Sonoma doesn't make those same mixing bowls anymore either... sigh. I knew the bowl was a goner as soon as I felt it slip through my hands.... the measuring cup I didn't realize had broken (it was inside the bowl as I carried it to the sink) until I found unidentified chunks of plastic on the floor.... I discovered they were the parts of the handle.... sigh. I think I'll keep the cup around until I get a new one since I *think* only the handle is broken. I think this is a sign I should call it a day and go to bed.

Nothing much to report here. The kids and I stopped by the martial arts place and it seems really nice. We might have to just go for it. We'll see. We also went to the library and got some new books. Nothing terribly exciting though.

Geez... I'm grumpy now that I'm mourning the loss of my two kitchen friends... I think I do need to call it a day and hope tomorrow is better!


Monday, February 18, 2008

it's dangerous out there!

With our crazy weather we've been having lately (48 degrees yesterday with thunderstorms and currently 7 degrees with light snow) the sidewalks are dangerous! I'm serious.... some of them are just solid sheets of ice! Thankfully in all of our travels today I did not fall.... Alex did though, right onto his bag of food he was bringing home from cooking class. He was okay... although the meatloaf was a bit mashed and he caved in the side of the macaroni and cheese container. I know its wrong... but I was very excited (Jeff said I should say "relieved" instead.. lol) today when Clara's gym called to let us know that gymnastics was canceled due to some flooding they had yesterday. It was nice to not have such a hectic day. I woke up with a sore throat for the second day in a row... but for a change it seemed to get better as the day wore on, instead of the other way around.

I still did not take a photo today... so here is one from Friday....
Jeff gave me this fabulous box of chocolates for Valentine's Day when I got home on Thursday. However, they were just to cute to eat right away so I mustered up some willpower and saved them until after I got the chance to photograph them the next morning. I assure you that it does not still look like this.... there are a few (okay a lot of) gaps now. Mmmmm..... they are so good... my favorite so far has been the Liquid Caramel one... yum!

So... the kids announced today on the bus to cooking class that they would both like to take martial arts classes again. I brushed them off at the time but looked into some options in our neighborhood once I got home and on the internet. Well... I found a place that says that all of their classes are open to all ages and levels, which was nice because they had class times during the day which would work better with our schedule. Then I saw they had a family rate, extremely reasonable - unlimited classes for 2 or more members of one household. Cheaper than what we were paying for the two kids to take martial arts classes twice a week in Texas. I was telling Jeff about it on the phone and that's when he mentioned that perhaps I should take the class with the kids (their all ages and levels all the time thing was so families could do the classes together). I always use the kids and our crazy schedule as an excuse to not exercise.... this totally takes away that excuse. But I'm not really sure that I'm martial arts class material. Something to think about though. The main problem I see with this whole thing is that it totally takes away my main excuse for being lazy! LOL!

Okay... now I'm just rambling... I'm off to bed!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

jumping back in...

... to blogging and the photo-a-day thing. Well, today I'm getting back to blogging, tomorrow I'll get back to the photo-a-day thing.

Here are a few pictures from CHA. I didn't take as many as I thought I would. Some of the other photos I took will probably show up on the DiScTalkRadio site since I took a few while deann was doing podcasts from CHA.

Here's a photo of the events board in the F+W Publications booth... see my name there at 9:00? It cracked me up to see it on there. I was there Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays doing a little digi make and take. It was a lot of fun!
Not too far from F+W was the Hero Arts booth. There I got to see the fabulously talented Jennifer McGuire and she showed me the amazing projects she did with some photos of Clara...
the details on the card above are found here

There are a few of Alex and Clara in the Spring catalog. If you go to Hero Arts Products and choose "browse the 2008 digital catalog" you can see them on pages 6, 72 (this photo is quite the flashback) and 81 (the card above again).

I had a great time hanging out with deann for several days... starting with her picking me up at the airport Saturday night and ending with us sitting in the hotel lobby laughing until we were in tears. I had a great time meeting 5 of my fellow Memory Makers Masters and several women from our Hall of Fame Honorable Mention board. I got to hang out with so many fabulous and talented women I can't even name them all. I started to try and then I realized that I would accidentally leave someone out.

Yikes.... I meant to type more but I just took some cold meds that are making me a bit queasy. Hopefully I'm back on my blogging roll... so I'll be back with more tomorrow!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

i'm back from cha

.... and have been since Thursday night... but apparently that break has caused me to lose my blogging groove. Hopefully tomorrow I will get it together and start blogging again.


Friday, February 08, 2008


Valentines are DONE!!! Okay.... I haven't actually ordered them yet... but the pictures have been taken and the cards are designed. woooo hooo!

Here's Alex's pirate Valentine...
After running some errands this afternoon we pulled out his Halloween costume and did a quick shoot for his card. And it was super quick... we didn't start this project until almost 4:30 and it was getting dark-ish. Love, love, love Kate Hadfield's Pirate Doodles from I might have gotten a bit carried away... but who cares, I had fun!!! LOL!

The money in his hands was his idea... thought it was cute. Oh... and I found the phrase by just surfing around looking at pirate Valentines. It worked well for him since, as a boy, you can't have anything too mushy on your card. Since I'm ordering them tonight and I'm not back from California until the 14th... anyone who is expecting a Valentine in the mail from Alex and/or Clara, just know that they will be late. (not that they wouldn't be anyway... but this time I have an excuse)

Okay... I'm getting away from the computer for a bit!


Thursday, February 07, 2008

one down, one to go...

I got Clara's Valentine done today... now I just have to get Alex's done so I get them ordered tomorrow.

My mom just got Clara this High School Musical coat so we decided to use it as her "theme" for her card...
(credits: black paper by emily merritt, heart and rhinestones by two sisters designs and epoxy alpha by emily powers - all at We Are Storytellers opening February 14th)

My girl is growing up! No cutesy card for her this year... sigh.

Alex wants to do a pirate themed card so, worst case scenario, I'll use some photos from Halloween if I don't get more taken tomorrow.

Ugh... the reason I have to get the cards done by tomorrow is because I'm heading to CHA on Saturday. I'm very excited to be going but I feel like I'm so far behind on what I need to have done before I go. If you happen to be going to CHA, drop me a note and let me know! I'll be at the Memory Makers booth Sunday morning, Monday afternoon and again Tuesday morning. Other than that... I'll be wandering around!

Hmmm... let's see we had a great day of school so I'll post about that on my other blog.

Oh... and if you all get tired of my pointless photos you can blame Kirsty.... LOL! She encouraged me to post!

Okay... off to post my homeschool stuff!


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

i really, really am sorry

Only the second month into this photo-a-day thing and I've hit a major low. Now here's the question... is it better to keep the momentum going and take a random pointless picture or accept that you have taken no photos that day and there's nothing photoworthy in the vicinity and skip a day? (how's that for a run-on sentence?)

To illustrate my new low, here is my photo...
yes it is more legos... but this time it's not even anything particularly interesting that's made out of legos... it's just the shelf where Alex keeps his creations that are "in progress".... sigh. I really really meant to take a better photo today. The kids are all hyped up about the photos for their Valentine's Day cards this year and we were going to do a little photo shoot today. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate with us. It snowed or sleeted all day long. Even the kids' dance and piano lessons were canceled.

I promise to take a photo of something at least somewhat interesting tomorrow.... at least I'll try.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

paczki day

Mmmm... an excuse to eat big giant filled pastries for breakfast!
Here's Clara staring longingly at the plate of paczkis while I insist on taking pictures of them (she is way more blurred than I would like but it was dark this morning and I had to shoot wide open at 1.8).
Clara's custard filled, powder sugar coated paczki.
Alex enjoying his custard filled, chocolate covered paczki.I picked out lemon filled for myself and because I either have to do things in even numbers or perhaps I felt compelled to get one for Jeff, even though he's out of town, I also bought a blueberry one for us to share.

After our morning sugar binge and after our groceries were delivered... went to the Field Museum for school... you can read about it here, if you want to.

Kelly... thank you so much for the suggestion on organizing lego kits! I ran it by Alex and he said that he would like to try that for some of his special kits... specifically the airplane. Oh... and thanks for rubbing it in about the weather... lol! It's nasty here right now. Not terribly cold (hanging out right around freezing) but when I went out to walk the dog it was raining that yucky freezing rain. Our sidewalk was covered with slush... and it was slicker than I expected. Thankfully Friday doesn't like being out in any more than I do so it was a quick walk. Supposedly there's another storm coming through tonight with accumulation totals of another 5-8 inches. We'll see though.

Okay... it's nearly 10 o'clock and I haven't watched Ghost Hunters yet... so I'm out of here!


Monday, February 04, 2008

one girl... done

I'll be the first to admit... our Monday afternoons are exhausting... but apparently they hit Clara the hardest. This was her, shortly after dinner. We were watching an episode of Mythbusters while eating our dessert that Alex made at cooking (pineapple upside down cake... yum).

Today was especially crazy for some reason. Alex's science class at the museum ran over by about 15-20 minutes. We just missed our bus so we ended up having to take a cab to drop Alex off at cooking and then continue on to Clara's gymnastics (Alex was around 5 minutes late and Clara got to class just in time to change before it started). While they were both in class I ran to the library but nothing I wanted was in so I spent more time searching than I would have liked. Then I went to the bakery to pick up paczki's for tomorrow (I nearly forgot!). Came back in time to watch the end of Clara's class. Man, her new class is tough... she is pushed so much harder in this new class than her old one. Once class was over it was the mad rush to pick up Alex from cooking (stepping in a puddle while crossing the street that nearly swallowed us whole... well... it was deep enough to come up over the tops of our boots... ugh). We picked up Alex late from class and came home and had dinner (he had fixed mango chicken with wild rice... very tasty). Whew! Craziness! Alex's science class is an 8 week class.. so only five more to go!

Now I'm beyond ready to go to bed... I've watched my episodes of Ghost Hunters already... however... my son is sooooo excited about an experiment they did at class today that he can't shut off. He's been drawing models that he would like to make for further testing based on the experiments they did today. I think the last count is around 12 different models he has come up with since going to bed. The scary part is that he wants to build and test them all tomorrow. Which means I'm going to need my rest... lol!


Sunday, February 03, 2008

sorry... more legos...

I know, I know... I take a lot of lego photos... but you have to realize that they're taking over our house!

This picture is from Friday (you know those "other" photos I referenced). I'm not a neat freak but this project Alex embarked on nearly sent me over the edge.
Last April, for his birthday, Alex bought this plane from the Lego store while we were at Disney World. He kept it together for quite some time and he played with it quite a bit. But eventually the modifications began and by summer the parts from the plane were in use in several different creations.

On Friday he decided to rebuild the plane. That's great... EXCEPT that it meant locating the FOUR HUNDRED AND ONE original pieces. And that meant dumping out all of the lego bins onto the floor. It also meant major moments of frustration when some parts just couldn't be found.

He pushed through and built new parts to replace the missing pieces and now today we have this...
The plane is back together again. We'll see how long it lasts this time.

I'm actually quite proud of him... this is his first time to take on a project like this.. he has never rebuilt a kit before.

Nothing else much else here.... tonight Jeff and I watched the Super Bowl while the kids watched the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Exciting, huh?

Okay.... I'm heading to the couch!


i didn't forget!

I did do a photo of the day yesterday.... it was a picture of my camera and you can see the project I took it for here.

Meg - that shooting was horrible, it is all over the news here. Fortunately for us, it happened nowhere near us, we're in the city and it happened in one of the suburban cities. Thanks for thinking of us!

Thanks for the comment Kelly... the kids had an absolute blast!!! I think I had them in too many layers though... Clara looked like a little blue michelin man! :-)

Okay.... need to get ready for church! Back later!

Friday, February 01, 2008


Last night's storm made for a perfect sledding day today. Lots of snow and temps that weren't too cold (relatively speaking of course). So our homeschool playgroup decided to go sledding this afternoon.

The kids and I jumped on the bus with our sleds and thermos full of hot apple cider and headed for the sledding hill in the park. This was Alex and Clara's first EVER sledding day!

Clara was absolutely fearless... she would get going really really fast...Several times the kids went down together, holding on to each other's sled...
Alex had a need for speed...
and finally.... a wipeout!
They sledded for over TWO hours before I began losing feeling in my toes and insisted that we leave. They really didn't want to go yet. Alex proclaimed it his "best day ever"!

I have a whole other set of pictures from earlier in the day that I haven't even downloaded yet. I'm currently using both of my cameras. I used my 20d yesterday at the museum so I would have the option of the pop-up flash in case I needed it... and today I used it because I wanted a lighter camera since I was hauling so much stuff with me and with the conditions outside I didn't want my 5d out in it.

Okay.... nothing else really to report!

Happy Friday!