Sunday, September 28, 2008

catchin' up

I hate it when I miss a couple of days of blogging. I'm good when I do it on a fairly regular basis... but if I miss a day or two I get totally derailed.

Anyway... Thursday I pinched a nerve in my neck and spent the evening on the couch with a heating pad around my neck.

Friday, my neck was much better... just stiff and a general ache... but not like it was on Thursday. We went about our usual Friday activities.... violin and dance. I really, really like Clara's violin teacher. She's really enjoying her lessons so far. On the way home from violin we stopped at the library's used book sale and bought a big bag of books. I love books. I didn't even get a chance to look for me. We got a nice stack of kid books... both for school and just for fun. We stopped by the house to drop off the heavy stuff before heading to dance. Clara's friend from gymnastics just joined that class so she was so excited to see her. I really like her mom too so it was nice to have someone to chat with while we waited.

After getting off the bus by our house, we turned the corner to find our neighbors out playing with water guns on the sidewalk. So, of course, Alex and Clara dropped their backpacks on the spot and joined in.

Our favorite bulldog, Clyde, was there too... which made the day even better.

Here's Clyde getting a drink from Clara's squirt gun...
and then I took a few more pictures of Clyde (I have a bunch more, just didn't edit them)...
Here he is in mid - jowl flapping head shake...
Our poor neighbor came out to water his flowers with his hose and was ambushed by the kids!! He was a good sport about it and sprayed them good before relinquishing control and letting them play with the hose...
We are starting to get some fall weather here so the kids started to get chilly so we went in to get into dry clothes. Oh... if you're wondering where Alex was in all of this... he was smart enough not to get as wet as Clara and ended up on the porch building Legos with his friend.

Saturday was a big morning of dance for Clara and swim for Alex. Then a big afternoon of playing in the alley with the neighbors. Clara made a new friend... a girl who lives on the next block.

Oh... I totally forgot... we also walked down to the costume store to look at costumes. Clara and I had an idea for her birthday invitation picture so we went looking for props. We found just what we needed. Clara was excited so we took her photos as soon as we got home... and just let me tell you... I'm in love with them! I think is my favorite invite yet. I just have to confirm the party time with the party place tomorrow and then I'll order them. Once they're mailed out I'll post the photos here... they're just too cute!

Last night we watched the movie Apollo 13 with the kids. Alex had become interested in it after watching the series When We Left Earth on the Discovery Channel. He was soooo into it! Clara was too until she fell asleep about halfway through it. She was worn out.

Today was church and Alex's musical rehearsal. While he was in rehearsals, we went to the Disney Store and got costumes. Clara has been wanting to be Tinkerbell for years so that's what we got her. We took a chance and bought Alex a Captain Hook costume (it was 40% off)... HOWEVER.... he will not be going as Captain Hook. With some minor modifications, he will be Captain Long John Silver (and, no... this has nothing to do with the fast food place). One of the books Alex bought at the library sale was Treasure Island. He started it that same night and didn't stop reading until he was done. He loved that book! So... we're on the lookout for a few finishing touches to make the transformation complete. I think it's so cool that he's dressing up as a character that he knows only from a book. :-)

Alex also had guitar today and was so excited that they learned the song Go Cubs Go!

Okay... just realized that my family is waiting for me to watch some show we have recorded... gotta run!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

what is with my son...

and his insistence on wearing a striped shirt with plaid shorts??

This is today...
I wish this was an isolated incident... but it's NOT! It happens every week. Each week, at some point, he pulls out these plaid shorts and pairs it with a striped shirt. It's not always the same striped shirt... but a different one each week! He has tons of solid shirts in his closet and even a shirt somewhere that was purchased specifically to go with these shorts. But does he chose any of these options.... noooooooooo..... ALWAYS a striped shirt. I swear sometimes all he's missing are black socks pulled up to his calves with sandals and then his look would be complete.... sigh.

We've not done anything newsworthy since my last post on Monday. Last night was Alex's musical rehearsal... he got to wear his robe and carry the staff... in fact, he even got to bring the staff home to rehearse with. That'll make taking the bus to rehearsal next week very interesting. :-)

I've posted a bit of what we've done in school on my other blog if you're interested (Tues and Wed).

Other than that... we've been pretty boring!

Monday, September 22, 2008

a day out of doors...

... it was a beautiful first day of fall here. So, at the invitation of a friend, we spent the day at the North Park Village Nature Center here in the city.

I always find it amazing to be in such a "natural" space in the city. The kids love to go there too... although I don't take them there as often as they would like.

Here are a few from today...

Clara and her friend working on their scavenger hunt...
all of the kids working on their scavenger hunts...
posing on the tree....
and, finally, Clara and her friend go in just a "bit" deeper to see what they can find...
(I'm glad I brought her a change of clothes for the three bus trip home)

I have more pics and more details on my homeschooling blog.

The kids were happy and exhausted come bedtime tonight... could you ask for anything better than that? :-)


Sunday, September 21, 2008

ever wanted to know...

... why it stresses me out to be out in the alley with the kids when the dads are in charge?

Well... because here's what goes on with the dads in charge...

Alex stresses me out because he flies down the alley at the ramp like an out of control madman... and Clara stresses me out because she's a little tentative and goes a little too slow, resulting in some "edge of your seat" landings. Somehow it was easier to watch through the viewfinder of my camera than it was to actually just watch.

This weekend was soooo busy.... but a good busy. Saturday Clara had a placement class for a new ballet school she wanted to try (she had friends who were going to the placement class too). She came out of the class gushing about how much she enjoyed it and she definitely wanted to sign up.... she also admitted to liking it better than the other new class she's in... but she wants to stick with the other class through December so she can dance in their Nutcracker performance.

After the class we all went to lunch together... girls at one table, moms at another. Clara had a great time. Clara and I did a tiny bit of shopping before going home.

Alex had his first swim lesson while we were gone. He seemed to really enjoy it.

Today was church, followed by Alex's rehearsal for the musical that he's in. While he was in rehearsal, Jeff, Clara and I went to lunch and did a little more shopping. We finally found Alex a winter coat for this winter! Whew... it was beginning to stress me out that it was getting later and later and when hadn't found him a coat. I know... it's early yet.... but it's one of those things that just sneaks up on you. Thankfully Alex loved the one we picked out (mainly because it is red I think).

On the way home we dropped Alex off at guitar and then Jeff jumped on the L to go back and pick him up.

Not long after we all home together, our neighbors called to see if we wanted to play in the alley and grill out with them for dinner. I rushed in to make a quick pasta salad, while they played. We had a wonderful evening of hanging out together... our kids all get along really well. However, there is the whole ramp thing.... :-)

Okay... I'm off to bed!


Friday, September 19, 2008

a few from yesterday

Nothing exciting.

Just the multi-plaid girl...
a bright red shoe-mobile...
two crazy kids on the slide...
and a monkey bar master...
Today was crazy... good... but CRAZY!

Clara had her first violin lesson today and she LOVED it. She is obsessed with her violin at the moment. Her teacher is really sweet and a lot of fun.

She also had a new dance class today. It was tough... but she liked it.

Jeff worked from home so Alex got to stay with him. Wasn't sure what to do with myself with only having one child to watch while we traveled through the city! :-)

Okay... that was a totally boring post, but it's all I got! :-)


ETA: Totally forgot, I posted more sunflower photos here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

just one pic...

The kids and I walked past this amazing plot of sunflowers today. I have a bunch more photos.... but I'm tired so they'll have to wait.

Thursday is our late night, so I'm tired and ready for the couch.

More tomorrow.


it's always a surprise...

you just never know what you'll find when you go to turn off Clara's lamp at night. She almost always works on some project in her room for a while before going to sleep. Most nights you walk in to find all of her dolls or stuffed animals tucked into makeshift beds around the room. Last night I found a collection of Alex's cars. I knew they were arranged in some sort of pattern but I wasn't sure what it was supposed to be. Then, I stepped to the other side and looked again...

It's her name spelled out in matchbox cars! I had my iPhone with me so I took a quick photo rather than going back upstairs to get out my big camera. It just cracks me up. Clara's brain works in mysterious ways. :-)

I haven't posted much lately because we haven't done much that was newsworthy lately. Tuesday was Alex's musical rehearsal. Last night was dance and martial arts... although dance will be changing days....sigh. It's making me a bit nutty that we're three weeks into the school year and our class/activity schedule is STILL changing. We should be settling into a routine by now.

Oh.. my only other news is that Creating Keepsakes contacted me on Tuesday and they picked one of my layouts from their gallery to be published in an upcoming issue on the magazine! I was/am very excited!

Well... I'm going to go check on the boy.... he's still not up. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but last night after bath he ran into his door frame (not quite sure how that happened) and gave himself a big ol' goose egg on the side of his head. I had him stay up with me a while (we watched ghost hunters) to see how he felt and he was doing fine. I'm betting he was just worn out from his day yesterday.

Okay.. off to start my day!

Have a good day!

Alex is fine... he was just tired. The boy scared me half to death though... I was leaning really close to him to see if he was still breathing (ahhh, the joys of being a paranoid mother) when he popped straight up in bed and then started laughing when he saw how surprised I was... the stinker. Okay... off to walk the dog.

Monday, September 15, 2008

wish us luck...

... because look what just came to live with us...
Yes, a violin.

And here's who will be playing it...
She is sooooo excited to start lessons on Friday! I'm not sure I'm quite as excited :-)

The man we rented the violin from was so kind. He sat Clara down and explained that it will be awhile before she plays well and until then it might sound pretty bad.... but when it comes together it will be so worth the time and effort.

She's dying to start playing so I let her pose for a photo or two with her violin. I am completely clueless when it comes to violins so I had no clue what she should or shouldn't do, so we decided that it was best just to look at it a lot! :-)

Alex is still really into his guitar lessons and had us sing Blue Suede Shoes while he played this evening.

This is going to be one wild ride!

I'm off to check on the kiddos!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

one rainy saturday...

I am most definitely a "stay in" person on rainy days.... but today went out anyway :-)

My friend invited me and Clara to join her and other families who had adopted daughters from China for dim sum in Chinatown arranged by their Chinese teacher. (I'm not sure if that sentence makes complete sense... but my brain is beginning to shut down for the day... lol).

Clara and I jumped in a cab to my friend's house to wait for their Chinese teacher to come pick us up for our outing.

We ended up getting there around 1pm and the first order of business was lunch. Their teacher and her husband ordered us up a fabulous array of dim sum. Everything I tried was so delicious! I just wish I could remember what all we had! Clara loved it too.... she tried so many new things. Here's a shot of the table after the feeding frenzy was beginning to wind down...
Here's where we ate...
We missed the lion dance (it was the moon festival today) but we still got to check out the costume...
My Chinese zodiac sign...
Very damp Clara...
and my friend's daughter showing off her new umbrella...
While we were there, the boys were here...
... also in the rain.

But Alex was hanging out with Grandpa...
and dad...
(and Uncle Gary), so as you can tell by the look on his face... it was all good!

Now we're all home and in dry clothes!

I'm off to hang out with everyone....


Friday, September 12, 2008

i'm running a little behind :-)

My friend Lisa left me a comment last week that she had given me this...

Now I get to share some of my favorite blogs...

meg (love getting a glimpse into your life in fiji)
joyce (you're just too crafty! and i like keeping up with what K is up to)
deann (I would love for you to actually post to your blog... lol)
heather (I always have to see what project you're taking on next)
jennifer (you amaze me!)
shawna (I miss our chats)
pam (not sure if you want me to link to your blog but I love keeping up on what you and your family are up to!)

here are the rules:
1. If you've been tagged, you can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links to those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you've nominated.


Let's see... everything here is going well. Clara started one of her new dance classes on Wednesday... it went really well and she loved it. She found out that this school will be performing the Nutcracker Suite this holiday season, so she will get to be in the Nutcracker after all!

Jeff and Alex left this afternoon for Michigan. They're in East Lansing to go to a Michigan State football game tomorrow. Alex was very excited about a boys weekend.... just him and dad. Jeff's brother and his dad will meet them there tomorrow to see the game.

Clara is totally playing up the fact that we're having a "girls weekend". I hadn't really planned on a girls weekend... it was more of a regular weekend without boys. So, after they left, I sat through two episodes of High School Musical: Get in the Picture that we had recorded. Then we took a walk to have dinner (her pick). Then she came home and played an uninterrupted game of Barbie Fashion Designer on the computer. After that it she took a bath in the big tub with one of my bath bombs (think pink). Now she's in bed.... but in Alex's loft bed (shhhh... don't tell Alex). Tomorrow we have a fun outing planned... let's just hope the weather at least semi cooperates.

I don't have any pictures really to post... but a posted a few of our day today on my homeschooling blog. I hope to have some to post tomorrow... plus I sent the point and shoot with Jeff and Alex and told them that they MUST use it!

Okay... I'm done rambling!


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

celtic fest preview

Today we headed down to Daley Plaza with some friends to see the Celtic Fest preview concert.

The performance was by the amazingly talented Willis Clan...

It was neat to see how much they seemed to enjoy performing together...
and apparently the security staff in the building behind them enjoyed watching them...(a posted a few different photos here)

It was a wonderful performance which really inspired all of our kids. Alex is even more excited about his guitar classes and Clara is even more fired up about starting violin lessons.

After the performance we went out for a late lunch and then we headed home since Alex had rehearsal tonight.

While Alex was at rehearsal, Clara and I had a nice dinner out together and then we did a bit of shopping. It was nice having some girl time together.

By the time we got home, it was late and we were a bit behind schedule. Now, the dog has been walked, and the kids are in bed, so I'm going to head that way myself.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

decisions, decisions...

... this weekend was a weekend of decisions, nothing major, just lots of decisions... some popular and some met with tears... sigh. It was an emotional roller coaster of a weekend.

The first one was a long time coming. We had been at Clara's current dance studio for a year now. We were in pretty deep... she did the Nutcracker with them last year, in the spring Clara was enrolled in 4 classes and Alex was enrolled in two. And since they also offered music lessons, Alex was enrolled in piano lessons there (and Clara was eagerly anticipating violin lessons). And to top everything off, Clara and the studio owner's daughter became best friends... taking classes together, playdates, birthday parties... the whole enchilada.

BUT... the place is an organizational nightmare. I had been frustrated by this for some time and wanted to walk away BUT they were doing the Nutcracker again this year and Clara was determined to be in it. I tried so hard to look past the chaos.... but Wednesday at the first day of the new session I was met by even most chaos than there had been before. I wanted to be mad, but I couldn't be... I was sad and depressed... I knew this was it. I couldn't take it anymore and because of that I would have to pull Clara out of the Nutcracker.

Jeff was out of town so I didn't want to do this alone... we would wait to tell her until the weekend when we were both there. In the meantime, some of Clara's friends who had also left the studio had invited her to go to their new classes with them. So, the next couple of days was spent talking to the moms of those friends and then to those studios. I had options in place to tell Clara when we would tell her about the Nutcracker.

Saturday was the day... we decided to tell her first thing in the morning. It's an understatement to say that it did not go well. She was inconsolable. She actually accepted the Nutcracker thing fairly well.... what she had trouble with was that she would not be dancing with the same group of girls as last year. We had to explain to her that none of those girls were returning this year... they had ALL gone somewhere else and that she could try classes at the new places with her friends.

She went down to her room and continued to sob for a while. Then she calmly came upstairs and announced that she wanted to try class with her friend "O" and with her friend "L". And, she wanted to know if she could still have playdates with the studio owner's daughter... I said I would try to arrange that. She's been fine ever since and is very excited about trying the new classes. We'll try one this week. I told her that at this point she may try both but at January we'll reevaluate and pick one to continue with.

This all went down while Alex was at rehearsal for the church musical. We had to pick him up at 3 and race across town to the music store to pick up his guitar for his lessons that started today (not his regularly scheduled class, but he had other obligations this saturday and next).

Just a side note: the guitar lessons are also fallout from our split with the studio. With all of the chaos there, I had already decided mid-summer that we would take as few classes as possible there. So, I had been on the lookout for a new piano teacher for Alex. It was hard to get motivated, since Alex hadn't been that into piano... so, guitar lessons it was.

We had thought we were going to rent a guitar but the purchase price isn't much higher than the rental rate so we bought him a guitar and a backpack style carrying case. He was so excited.

While at the store, Clara kept staring wistfully at the violins. So, in a fit of guilt over the whole Nutcracker fiasco that morning, we checked into lessons for her (we had previously told her we would sign her up but she had to wait until after the Nutcracker). Given that we homeschool, they were easily able to find an opening during the day for us... so she's enrolled. She starts a week from Friday and sometime between now and then, we have to go have her fitted for a violin.

I guess all things happen for a reason... Alex had his first guitar lesson today and absolutely LOVED it. He came home practically vibrating with excitement. He immediately gathered us all up and showed us what he had learned today....

(please excuse the photo... he was so excited that I didn't want to ruin it all by arranging him in better light LOL)

He's keeping his guitar in his room and has already gone down to practice twice this afternoon. He never had this excitement with piano. Let's hope it lasts!

Okay... Clara wants to take over my computer to play Webkinz since Alex is on their computer!


Friday, September 05, 2008

too much stress

seriously... five kids on bikes, in an alley with three entrances at dusk.... too much stress.

So, I snapped a couple of pics...

and went back in leaving the dads in charge. I just couldn't watch.

We had a really nice low key day. The kids did a lot of school at their own pace since it was our first day this week without somewhere to be in the afternoon. Jeff got home from London. And after school Alex and sat and worked on his lines for the play since tomorrow they have their rehearsal kick-off all day.

Tomorrow should be interesting. Alex will be at rehearsal all day and afterward we have to run to the music store to rent Alex a guitar for his lessons that he's starting this weekend. He didn't necessarily want to quit piano, but I wasn't going back to where he took lessons last year and I haven't figured out an alternative place yet. He wanted to take guitar as well and that was easy enough to figure out since many places do group lessons for guitar. I'll still work on piano for Alex and violin for Clara. Can you believe that she really wants to play violin?

Anyway... not much to report here. Just glad we're all home together, at least for the weekend!


rainy day

(like their stylin' outfits? LOL)

It rained ALL day yesterday. Which, quite frankly, I loved... until we had to go out in it to get to gymnastics.

After school, it was time to head out. I thought I was being smart by deciding just to cab it there and back. It worked well there... not so well back. I got the cab driver's number and the company number from the guy who took us to gymnastics. So, when Alex was almost done, I called. The driver was stuck in traffic with a fare and couldn't be there for at least 20 minutes. I couldn't even get through to the cab company (well... I could get through, I was just put on hold forever). The waiting area at gymnastics was chaos and Alex was mad (his class had been out of control... you knew it was going to be bad when the instructor kept having to leave his class to round up various boys who had wandered off). He just wanted out of there and suggested that we just take off walking to hail a cab. Well... given that I couldn't actually call a cab, I agreed. It took us nearly 20 minutes (in the pouring rain) to find a cab. Thinking that this was going to go well.... I didn't bring an umbrella, we just wore jackets - unfortunately only Alex has a true rain jacket (he had to have it for camp). So, needless to say, Clara and I were SOAKED!! My jeans were soaking wet and my shirt was getting soaked through my jacket.... and I should probably mention that it makes me absolutely crazy to be wearing wet clothes. Seriously, it makes me nuts.

We finally got in a cab and headed home. All I could think about on the way home was warm comfy sweats. But, I remembered that I had to walk the dog since Jeff was out of town. So, instead of changing into my warm, comfy sweats, I walked around in the rain some more with the dog (which of course came back in to scent our house with that lovely "wet dog" smell... sigh). Finally, I was home, inside and dry. It was that kind of day that inspired me to make chili for dinner... yum! It was a good chili day.

Well.... after talking about the dog, it reminded me that it's time to do it again! Thankfully, it's not currently raining!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


That is what I am tonight... totally exhausted.

Today the kids did their book work in the morning before we headed to down into the loop to meet a friend and her girls at the library to see this performance...

Dancing in the Library: Discover Bharata Natyam with dancers from Natya Dance Theatre.

It was really amazing (I wrote more about it here).

After the performance we all headed north so we could get our kids to their various classes this afternoon. Once we were in the general vicinity of said classes... we stopped into a diner for a late lunch. After my friend and her girls had to head out to class... the kids and I still had time to kill before Alex's martial arts class. So, we wandered up the street. It was so nice to actually take the time to peek into all of the store windows that we usually pass in a rush (as we're usually running late to class). We browsed through some stores before making our way to class. Once Alex was in class... I had to run Clara back down the street to her dance.... and then part way through her dance I had to walk back up the street to get Alex... and then back again to pick up Clara AND then finally we walked home! We were all exhausted, so went to the noodle shop for dinner and all took the dog for a walk together and called it a night.

Thankfully we're home most of the day tomorrow, so we can be a little lazy :-)

The new season of Ghost Hunters started tonight... I'm off to check it out!


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

need sleep now

not sure why I'm so sleepy, but I am and I'm going with it :-)

Here are the kids on the first day of school in all of their back to school finery....

LOL! Apparently our school is footwear optional :-)

Our first day went pretty well... you can read more about it here if you're interested.

Other than that... nothing too exciting here.... just school, recess, art class, etc. The first few days of school consume me a bit. Hopefully we'll settle into a nice little routine soon!


mo photos

Whew! We're back from Missouri... our last trip of the summer. We actually got back on Sunday but yesterday I worked on homeschool stuff (our first day of school is today!) and last night, I will admit that I got sucked into watching a 90210 marathon until too late :-)

Anyway.... here is another photo overload...

We got to my mom and dad's house on Wednesday and immediately the kids were off riding their bikes.... so I took the opportunity to try to photograph one of these guys...

they were EVERYWHERE.

They begin to freak me out when they buzz around my head so I headed out to join the kids, Jeff and my parents at the pond to feed the catfish.

The next day we went to Silver Dollar City for the day. I love going there when most of the schools are in session. There were quite a few people there for the music festival that was going on... but very few kids. There were no lines for any of the rides.

The kids love the swings...On our way out we found a table of $.88 items, so the kids picked up some new headgear...

And, of course, once back at my parents' house, the kids were out on their bikes...
or out driving the golf cart...
Friday likes to follow the golf cart... always has... but more and more, she likes to hop in and ride along (poor girl is getting old).

Friday was an all day shopping day. What a chore it was to find Clara jeans that fit and church pants for Alex!!! It was exhausting... but we got a lot done.

Once back at my mom and dad's, the kids went fishing.

Here's Clara and her lil' kinz pug, Sarah...
Saturday we went back to Branson, but this time to see Noah, the Musical at the Sight and Sound Theatre. It was a good show. The kids enjoyed it.... but not enough that we would see it again.

On the way home, we stopped at Logan's Roadhouse for dinner.

Apparently you don't get between my dad and the bucket of peanuts...
Alex with a mouthful of peanuts...
and Clara and my dad playing peanuts and shells (tic tac toe)...
When we got home the kids played around outside for a while.

Here's a pic of Clara's new smile....
Just look at those crazy teeth! :-)

And finally, a shot of Alex riding off into the sunset...
(tried a "vintage" action.... not sure I like it)

Okay... the kids are done watching their math dvd's and are at the table working in their workbooks... gotta run!