Ramblings from my life…

Children

Little helpers

My kids are awesome. They love to help in the kitchen, especially when licking spoons is involved.

I’ve always been a bit hesitant about letting them help with any other cooking because most of my recipes are pretty involved. Lot’s of sautéing (that word looks weird, but spell check picked it), chopping and taking hot things out of the oven. Yesterday I made simple beef enchiladas. When I told the girls that I needed to assemble them, they both replied with, what does assemble mean? and can we help?

After realizing that my kids are in fact tall enough to stand at the counter and (b) old enough to comprehend directions, I put together an assembly line and put them to work. It was great… I got to supervise (read a book and have a glass of wine!).

Looks like I will be researching other easy kitchen suppers today…

This is easy mom!

Look at us!

Easy Beef Enchiladas Verde

1 lb (ish) of ground beef
1 28oz can of green enchilada sauce
4 cups of shredded cheese
12 small tortillas

Brown beef, add roughly 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce, let simmer for a few minutes. Transfer to bowl so that little hands can help assemble. Take one tortilla, add beef mixture, cheese and roll up. Place in 13×9 pan (which is prepped with a layer of sauce), repeat. Pour remaining enchilada sauce evenly on top, top with cheese. Bake covered 375* for 20 mins, uncovered for 10 mins for cheese to bubble. Serve with salsa and sour cream.


We all grow…

Most of my friends thought I was crazy that I didn’t check on my babies before I went to sleep each night. I figured they woke me up enough, why would I chance waking them up by going in their room? It is strange now though… they are 7 and 8 years old and probably at least once or twice a month I go up to their room to check on them before bed. I worry about if they are having a restless night because of their day at school. Or if the sleep walker is laying in the bath tub. Mostly it is because I miss them. I mean, I don’t want to miss them growing up. Each year seems to go faster. I know that the kids have to grow up and I’m sure we will have a good time when they are adults… but I like it how it is now. They are at a fun age – and still so full of adventure and what lies ahead.

I made a few simple new year resolutions. I know… nobody keeps them. Well here we are 14 days into the new year and I have kept ALL of them! My biggest resolution was to be a mom. Simple, right? I am a mom already, therefore – mission accomplished!

Really, my resolution was to BE a mom to my kids. Not their friend, not a space cadet, not lazy… but to BE there for them, DO things for/with them, Encourage them, Teach them, Lead them, Show them. One of the hardest balances is to let your kids grow up and yet still BE a mom. For instance… shower time. Seems simple enough… let kid shower and wash their hair, put on jammies and get in bed. When I first decided to let the girls start taking showers (instead of baths), I helped them – taught them how to get a good lather in their hair and make sure they were washing each and every nook and cranny. Then, after a month, I let them do it on their own. For about 4 or 5 months they have been completely on their own until one night I realized that I had become a lazy space cadet. I was enjoying my time reading or watching TV while they took turns with showers. I was letting myself off the hook because they were independent, instead of BEING a mom. What gave me this sudden realization? My older daughter, almost 9 years old, had smelly hair and armpits… AFTER taking a shower. I’ve come to the realization that long, thick hair on an 8 year old still needs moms help… and that a barely turned 7 year old still needs someone to talk to and guide her.

I have to say that by implementing this one simple resolution that life here in our little household is happier. Not only that, but since I am already upstairs helping them, we finish earlier (and I’m not yelling for them to “hurry up”) and we have more time for cuddling and reading stories before bedtime.

my silly kids playing on the Mac…

oh the fun...


Year end review

Well, December has turned out to be a very full and fast paced month! It seems that when your youngest child turns Seven, time starts to go even faster. When I started this blog Three years ago, I felt the urge to write all the time. Now it seems that with the addition of Facebook, I don’t have much to share anymore. Maybe, or maybe I’m just lazy.

Most of December was filled with activities for Girl Scouts, school or rehearsals for the Christmas Eve pageant. We also were taking the oldest child to the doctor for testing. She was very lethargic, fatigued and complained that her neck hurt all the time. Blood work revealed that everything was fine. This Holiday break has given her the opportunity to “heal”, if you will, from the stresses of being a 3rd grader and she has been the happiest I’ve seen her since this summer. I’m thinking that my new years resolution will be to take things slower. Not that we are over involved, she only does Girl Scouts and gymnastics… but then add in her sisters Girls Scouts which meets opposite weeks, our Bible study growth group and homework and all the sudden we have a full week.

We had a wonderful Christmas holiday. The girls were involved in the Christmas Eve service, as was I. Both girls were bell ringers during the first song and the 8 year old was a flag dancer at the end. All of those rehearsals paid off!

After the service, my parents came over to spend the night so that they could watch the girls open presents in the morning. Santa was generous this year and brought the kids (and daddy) a PS3. It came with one game and honestly, I don’t see any reason to buy another. Ever. This game has so many levels and the game system does so much more than just play the games.

We then headed over to my parents house for the night, along with my sisters family. We had a big Christmas dinner and played a few games of scrabble.

On the 27th, I celebrated my birthday. The day was very relaxing. I got to pick out a new phone (thanks M&D!), go house looking for fun and then have a low key dinner on the sofas by the fire at a local restaurant. The girls sat on the floor by the fire and ate their dinner under the coffee table. Their giggling reminded me of good times when I was their age… but I think I’m having more fun now.

Speaking of good times… this break has allowed us to not only have much needed family time, but also one-on-one time with the girls. The girly-girl and I painted toe nails and went grocery shopping together, while dad and the tom-boy built a lego house. We’ve also had time to snuggle and watch movies, read books and play games. The girls even made up their own version of charades the other night. Now the year is coming to an end. So many memories, a few of them sad… but all of them together make another chapter in our lives. Here’s to 2011!


Happy 7th Birthday, sweet girl

Moving on is hard. Today was a special but tough day. My youngest child turned 7 years old today. I woke up and tried to concentrate on her the whole day. We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast, opened gifts, went to church, had a special paint your own pottery party with her friends, dinner with my parents and finally dessert at my sister’s house. Today was also the first birthday celebration that we’ve had with our Seven year old without our puppy. A wonderful, fun day… but bittersweet with memories.


So long dear friend

Thursday was the hardest day I’ve ever had. My buddy Rusty spent his last day with us. When I wrote the last post, we had no idea things were as bad as they were. On Wednesday morning I took Rusty into the vet. She immediately told me that his spleen was enlarged. You barely had to touch his tummy to tell… which basically happened over night, because I know when I pet him on Tuesday it did not feel that way. She took some blood work and a few x-ray’s which came back concluding that Rusty indeed had an enlarged spleen which was bleeding and cancer in his lungs. Even with a spleen removal, 3 weeks healing time and a blood transfusion… the pup still had lung cancer which would spread fast and she only gave him around 3 weeks to 3 months to live. He would be in constant pain, even with meds. Our choice was difficult and the process was painful for us. Rusty, however, was very peaceful and passed away quietly in our arms.

As mentioned before, we got Rusty in 2001 when he was 8 weeks old. He chewed on my Birkenstocks and it was love at first sight. We brought him home and fed him ice cubes, which he had way more fun playing with in his paws, then actually licking.

Here is a stroll down memory lane. I asked the girls and my husband to give me some of their fondest memories of Rusty…

Rusty loved to chew sticks. It didn’t matter the size or shape… he would even drag a fallen branch over to a comfortable spot and begin to chew on it, most usually eating all of it. I guess he felt he needed extra fiber? 

If you gave Rusty a ball… he would roll over and play with it in his paws and drop it into his mouth. I think he thought he was a cat, the way he always used his paws. He might also use it as a back scratcher and roll on top of it.  

Rusty was a protector. He would follow the girls and I around all day. The funniest part about it was when the girls went outside. Rusty did not like to be alone, so as long as the girls were playing outside, he would be at their side protecting them. If they came inside, so would he. When you let him out to do his business, he would immediately come inside afterwards… even if it was a beautiful day out.

I took this through the kitchen window… looks like a bubble of protection!

Rusty loved to be part of the action… especially if the action involved water. Rusty loved the sprinkler and he would chase the water around and try to drink it.

The almost 7 year old @ 18 months old and Rusty

This past summer…

Rusty could be sitting completely still in the grass, enjoying the sights and the smells – only to suddenly get up and start running figure 8’s around the yard. Then he’d stop and lay back down like it never happened.

I think the funniest thing about Rusty was his daily routine quirks. Every morning around 5 am Rusty would get off the couch and come and lay by our bed. When my husband got up to shower, he would roll over for a belly rub and then go and lay on the couch until he was done. Even if I got up and went to the kitchen to make school lunches or coffee… he would stay on the couch. Then, when my husband got out his morning cereal, Rusty would come in to have 4 Mini-Wheats. My husband used to eat Mini-Wheats every day for breakfast for years. One morning he decided that he didn’t want them, but it was too hard to toss other cereals to Rusty… so, we kept giving him 4 Mini-Wheats. He would then go back to lay on the couch until the girls woke up. Finally when they came downstairs, I’d open up the back door for him to go outside… he never asked a minute before, he always waited on us.

I could go on and on with the stories, but will just close with a few more pictures… So long my dear friend. You were a great walking buddy, protector,cuddle buddy and deployment pal… but most of all, you were a family member – my hairy son.


The Golden Child

The Golden Child

I have a furry son named Rusty. We bought him on the spot when we were going in the pet shop to browse. He nibbled on my shoe and he stole my heart. I couldn’t imagine leaving the store and letting someone else take him home. As a puppy, Rusty got into quite a bit of trouble. From chewing on the kitchen table chairs to eating some mysterious mushroom and needing antibiotics. We decided to enroll him in puppy training and he was number one in his class. We even taught him how to sit with only a hand motion.

Fast forward 8 years…, Rusty has an issue with his eye, READ: How the cookie crumbles. After almost 18 months, we have had no issues with Rusty, until now. For the last week he has not wanted his regular dog food, nor been doing his deed as much as he used too. I am worried… and to make matters worse, he has a strange little knot in his tummy. I guess we are off to the vet, yet again…

But truly, Rusty is our Golden Child. As we deal with tweeny and pre-tween girl ordeals at home… the whining, fighting, complaining… having a son that complies with the rules is nice! I can deal with the homework, extra curricular schedules, etc… it is the moods that get me…

In other news, Thanksgiving was certainly a time of thanks! My husbands side of the family met together (minus one brother and family) and had a great time.

most of the paternal clan...

caught on film! The blurry part is me "scolding" my hubs (for something dumb…) Don't worry, not the bird, more of an Italian gesture of sorts! (too bad I'm not Italian!)


Letters to you…

I have been writing hand written letters to my girls in a journal. Mostly I’ve been remembering the past because this blog is only 3 years old and there is no documentation of our lives before that. I hope to get the journals up to date soon so that I can write them a monthly letter. I just thought that it would be a neat gift to hand over to them on their wedding day… or when they have their first child.

I’ve also been meaning to scan in some of the girls recent art and class work. I figured that I can’t save everything… so why not scan it on the computer? It is fun to come across something old that the girls did that was long ago recycled. Here are a few of their recent pictures they made for halloween:

I actually think this one is quite hilarious… they are each thinking about their "loves"… by the 6 yr old

I'm not sure why the pumpkin is melting… except maybe b/c when she drew this, it was still quite warm outside? by the 8 yr old

It is interesting to see their perspective on holidays. One that I haven’t scanned yet is a picture of the caterpillar from “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle… only his head is a skeleton head with a witches hat.

I can’t wait to find out what they come up with for Thanksgiving!!! Speaking of Thanksgiving, it is only 19 days away. Not only do I love the traditional Thanksgiving meal… but I love family time. I think this year I will have the girls write out what they are thankful for in advance and then have them read it to us on Thanksgiving day. Hm… maybe I will get hubs and I to do it too!


Stop the presses…

This morning I heard something that I have never heard before. My fashion princess asked ME what to wear. This is the girl who has taken pride in dressing herself since she was four years old. This is the girl who I go to when I’m not sure what I have on matches. Not to worry, she was just having a lazy moment. She is already back to her girly girl self.

Speaking of girly things, both of the girls are in Girl Scouts. The 8 year old is in Brownies and the 6 year old is in Daisies. I’m worried that when my Daisy bridges to Brownies at the end of the year, she won’t think it is girly enough. I mean, come on… we go from super girly, bright colors with a huge daisy flower on front to… brown? We recently had out Investiture and Rededication ceremony. The Daisies worked on cute crafts and the Brownies worked on a self life time-line. Could the two BE anymore different?


Perseverance to Perfection

She did it. My eight year old can now ride her bike without training wheels. I know, most kids do that around age 4. The problem is, you have to have commitment as the parent, to have the time and patience to run along with them, teach them balance and keep a positive attitude.

Two weeks ago we went to the park to try it out. After an hour of learning balance and riding with assistance, we went home. It was around 95* and she was starting to get frustrated. The six year old did not make it past 2 minutes without training wheels… that is a task for another day.

A few days ago we took the girls to the park again. Daddy worked with the 8 year old while I took the dog and the other child on a walk. After 40 minutes or so, we ran back into them and she was flying. He had her turning corners and braking without falling.

In other news, the girls started gymnastics. After much battle between what kind of sport/dance class to take… the girls finally picked gymnastics. The nice part is the beginning class is at the same time, but split up by age… so I only have to drive there once a week.

The girls continue to love school and their teachers. Last night was “back to school night”, where you get the low down on what the class will be learning, where they will go on field trips and how you can help your child succeed throughout the year. Once again I feel like the girls have teachers that fit their personalities. Amazing what a bit of prayer and patience can do…


Fly on the wall…

School started today. My kids are in 1st and 3rd grade. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet… but talking to them last night about their first day started to make me wish I could be a fly a on the wall. I mean, I know that they will be okay and their first day will go great – but part of me wants to experience it and see what it is like to be a kid in their class. Cheesy, I know. I don’t remember much from my Elementary days… so, I want to see how it feels to have the jitters/excitement of the first day of school, just so I can identify with them.

Ready to go!

The rest of my day will consist of cleaning. Sounds exciting, right? I want to have the house spotless when everyone gets home today. I think I might make the kids a welcome home sign. Last night my husband suggested that I make the kids a special breakfast today. They did not let me forget… so, french toast was served. I made the mistake of leaving a piece on the counter to cool before putting it in the fridge. When I got out of my shower, the toast was mysteriously gone and the one eyed puppy looked a little too happy.

What? What did I do?

In other news, I had a small basil cell carcinoma removed a few weeks ago. Apparently, these things grow really slow… in fact, mine has been present for around 7 years. I was born with a small bald spot on my head, known as a birthmark. About 7 years ago, it started to itch all the time. Even though it was annoying, I didn’t think much about it. Whenever I had my doctor look at it – they said it looked fine. So, I let this cancer grow on my skin because I wasn’t persistent about it. This year, I finally had enough. Having a spot on your head that itches all day long every day is very annoying. I told my doctor that I wanted it taken out. They sent me to a dermatologist and took a biopsy. The results came back saying that it could develop into basil cell carcinoma if it wasn’t removed. This was news to me, since my doctors had always said it looked fine… just a small bald spot, no big deal. After the spot was removed and sent to pathology, the results came back that it was indeed basil cell carcinoma.

Anyway, this is something in my life that is very private and I really didn’t want to share it with the world… but I feel the need, because left untreated… eventually the cancer would become a bigger problem. (Slow, yes… but progressing.) So… this now puts me at pretty high risk for skin cancers. I will never skip a day without sun screen anymore. I will also be that annoying itch that you have… telling you to get it checked out. The first sign is reoccurring itching. It doesn’t have to be all the time – but it is always in the same spot.


Summer days, drifting away…

I’ve been trying to be more relaxed this summer. Usually I’m worried about jamming in enough trips to the library, swim lessons and things that I forget to just enjoy the fact that we don’t have to do anything. I am a family girl. I’m not a huge fan of time away from my husband or kids. However, I haven’t been to my grandparents house in 9 years. I know, my kids are younger than that… which means they have never been down to visit. Thank goodness travel works both ways, as my grandparents have visited us several times over the last 9 years. So, this past week the kids and I jumped in my parents RV for yet another road trip adventure. When we arrived at my grandparents house on Friday morning, my grandfather was a bit taken aback. At first it didn’t click who these two little girls were standing at the door (my parents and I were hiding), but he knew that he recognized them. When we popped around the corner, it all fell into place. We then repeated the hiding as we entered the house to find Gran knitting. It took her a good hour to get over her initial shock! I can’t say that the rest of the visit was fabulous. There is something about living that long that gives you the right to be cranky. We’ll just leave it at that.

Thankfully, my cousin only lives an hour away and came to my rescue! We took the kids to feed some ducks and then took them to the mall to put on a fashion show for us. I’ve never let my girls in a dressing room alone before – so this was a special treat. They tried on outfits and then came out and modeled them for us.

This was a size 10 that she picked out… didn't try that one on!

We left a day early and set out to a camp ground, where we stayed for 4 days. The campground was on a lake and since over half of the sites are owned by people who keep their 5th wheels there… it was quiet. I took runs along the lake and swam in the pool for hours with the kids. The most memorable moment though was when my dad and I took a 3.1 mile bike ride to a local winery, did a wine tasting, and then rode 3.1 miles back to the campground with our purchase!

In other news, this weekend the family and I took a last minute day trip. The girls love water fountains… so we seek them out whenever we can.


Life with girls…

One word: Drama.

Anyone with more than one girl in the house can tell you that there is always drama. It doesn’t come it little spurts, but rather in large booms. Anything from screams, crying and growls to the Miss Prissy attitude… it is all there. You might have seen us out in public. We are the family with the two angels that never disrupt conversation or act rude. I mean it, no sarcasm there… but walk into my living room and another story develops.

I often wonder what life is like for my husband. Three moody girls and a dog. Lord help him the day the second kid hits puberty. I can imagine that the pinching, hitting and screaming episodes will calm down at each other… and the Mom is so not cool phase will start. I’m sure there will still be screaming, but maybe it won’t be as high pitched?

Obviously my girls can be sweet little angels at home too… but boy does it seem like they are at each others throats too often! Maybe because it is summer… maybe because the six year old finally has an opinion and wants to share it.

That's her, with her arms folded…

In the cooking world, I made three more appetizers to go over to a crab feast at our friends house.

Watermelon, Tomato, Basil Skewers (as easy as it sounds, with a balsamic glaze)

Black Bean and Mango salad (with red peppers, corn, basil and a lime dressing)

Smoked Salmon with capers and olive oil… garlic toast

All three are again from the cook book I am working through. I will post recipes over on my cooking blog. Tonight my sister-in-law is coming, so I am making a chicken and shrimp deal from the cookbook. Hopefully it turns out well!


Recycle, Reuse, Retire

As a family, we try to recycle as much as possible. Sure every once in awhile a paper towel will be thrown in the trash – but we try to be conscience of what we throw away. With the kids, I’ve started a statement with clean up time. We have our daily pick up of toys – which usually consists of them stashing things under furniture for the clean “look”. We also have our weekly mom sweep, which consist of me finding the proper place for a few things here and there…. and then we have the monthly toss out, which consists of my statement. “Girls, do you want to Recycle this, Reuse it (Something like construction paper that they rolled into a cone shape can be reused for a drawing.) or Retire it?” (which means, give away or throw away.) The monthly toss out takes about an hour and the girls have learned not to get frustrated or upset. I explain to them that old projects cause clutter and if they aren’t going to save it in their box, they need to recycle it. With toys, if it is no longer age appropriate, we decide if it can be given away or thrown away.

Another thing I’ve aways like to do is reconfigure furniture. I feel like it is easier to make a mess when things always stay the same. When you place your furniture in a different spot in the room, (or in a different room altogether) you can de-clutter and organize. When the girls started sharing a room a few months ago, their room became a tight space. However, the guest room stays clean and we only have one kids room to clean up now! Today I made the decision to move the reading chair out of the room and to the basement. The basement only has one overstuffed chair and a rocking chair, so it isn’t very family room friendly. We spend all of our family time up in the living room anyway, but now we have more options. Moving the chair out has made the girls room feel bigger – and taken away one more spot for things to get stuffed under.

In other news, I finished buying school supplies yesterday. I had some things left over from last year that the girls can use. They will also be re-using composition books. I will either tear out pages – or just leave it as is. The math journal had less than half used. I have two left over from last year too… in case she fills the whole thing up. Even with re-using, the supplies cost an arm and a leg. I’m gonna blame it on the pencils. Third grade asked for 8 boxes of 12 pencils, sharpened and First grade asked for 4 boxes of 12 pencils, sharpened. I know that my third grader will not use 96 pencils throughout the year. Maybe 30 – and I think that is pushing it.

Tuna sashimi from date night on the water! yum!

Speaking of food… I made three new dishes for my dad’s birthday party on Monday night. It took me 3 hours to prep them before taking them over to my parents house to cook. We have bacon-wrapped stuffed dates, grilled asparagus and melon salad and last, roasted tomatoes with garlic and gorgonzola. The last two are from the Giada cookbook and the first one was Giada inspired, as she has a procuitto wrapped stuffed date which is not cooked. I wanted to have the goat cheese melted inside the dates – and I love the flavor of the bacon with it. Since I used procuitto in my asparagus salad, I did try one of the dates with it and I didn’t like it as much. You can find all of Giada’s recipes over on my cooking blog. I forgot to take the “after” pictures – but here is the raw product!

raw bacon wrapped stuffed dates… almost yum!


Around the water cooler

Around our house you will often hear one or both of my girls singing or playing some tunes up in their room. They both love music, especially the 6 year old… it is not surprising since I am a singer and am always humming a tune or singing a song. They love all types of music from 80’s, 90’s, Jazz, Christian and more… but you will usually hear kid pop of some sort coming from their room, Hannah Montana, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato or something from High School Musical. The funny part is, I like all of the music. I mean, the artist are good and their tunes are catchy. I’m not embarrassed to say that I know all the lyrics to Ice Cream Freeze (Hannah) or HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUAPUA’A (from HSM) but I’m not sure if my kids think I’m fun and cool – or maybe a bit crazy.

Today my 8 year old is writing another song. She most recently wrote, The Sea, the Ochan and the Shore (her spelling), which she added some more versus to today. Her new song is titled, Summer, so I’m excited to read the lyrics soon!

Speaking of summer… we only have four weeks left until school starts. I’m not ready to face the fact that my youngest child will be in 1st grade. Rumor has it that our school will have it’s only male teacher this year – and in 1st grade. I think it would be neat… but the 6 year old is not so sure. Wonder if the rumor is true? Our school waits until the week before school to give out teacher assignments. While I can understand why they do it, my stomach remains in knots until we find out. My kids have always been matched with the perfect teacher for them though… so I don’t know why I always worry.

my beauties


Summertime… and the living is easy

So far I’ve never put the kids into summer camps. I’ve looked into the day camps each summer and for the amount of money they cost, plus the time they would be away from me is too much. I mean, call me crazy but I like to spend time with my kids. I think they are fun, well behaved most of the time and just pretty darn neat. Besides, they can always go to “camp” at grammy and grampy’s house – or in their RV somewhere…

the new portable hammock I gave dad for father's day!

This past weekend we took the RV to a very local campground and the kids had a blast. It was a family/kids weekend and it was loaded with fun activities for the girls. Not only did the campground have a pool, which we spent most of the time in, but they had bingo, face painting, moon bounces, etc… The girls did really well swimming, even trying new things like self-floatation!

my little fishes

One summer event that I do put the girls in every year is Vacation Bible School. That gives me one week of mornings to myself AND a fun, safe place for the kids to go learn more about the Bible and the events that go with them. We don’t have anything else planned for the summer except to relax, play, read and get together with friends and family.

I leave you with this… I was singing while sitting around this morning – “Summertime, and the living is easy…” and my 6 year old replies, “Well of course it is, mom.”

slip-n-slide!


Bittersweet

I used to think that adults were nuts when they said that time went by fast. In fact, I really feel that my first 24 years of life went pretty slow. Then I got married and had two kids by the time I was 27…my kids are now 8 and 6.5 years old. What is it about having kids that makes time go faster?

Today was the last day of school. A bitter sweet ending for me because for the last 5 and a half months I was a full time temporary employee. While I enjoyed my job for the most part, it was mentally draining. Since I was a temporary employee – my job has ended for good and I’m sad to say that I’d only consider a similar job again if it paid double. So, I will be going back to Substituting next school year. That is, of course, unless one of you has a stay at home job for me.

Yesterday my Kindergartener was turned into a magic first grader. Rewind two years and read: The Magic First Grader where my first born had this same celebration. The celebration was super cute. The teacher turned them all around slowly and then tapped a magic wand on their heads. Then she asked them if they felt any different, in which most kids replied with no. One child, however, replied with, “Well, I feel a bit tingly on my head.”

Poof! A first grader!

…and so the summer begins. Fun in the sun, at the pool, lots of crafts and games, lazy time and most importantly – extra family time!


The walking pal

Lately my 8 year old has been taking walks with me and the dog. I was hesitant at first that she would get too tired, since I walk for more than 30 minutes. She assured me that she could keep up… and boy did she ever… she even jogged.

Today on our walk, I decided to use the time to do “get to know you” questions. I have done this with both girls in the past when I have alone time with them, as suggested from a “date with your daughter” book for moms. I asked her questions like, “What makes you the most happy?”  To which she replied, “Spending time with you.” Or, what is your favorite color, food… etc. I also asked her what makes her the most sad. Her reply was, being alone. I asked her when she was ever alone and she said that if there is a babysitter and we are out. Normally the girls go to their grandparents house if we go out on a date night… and have maybe had a babysitter 3-5 times total in the last 4 years. I regress.

I then asked her what her favorite play time activity was… like, digging in the dirt, swinging, coloring, playing house, etc. She replied, “well, I love to dig in the dirt and pretend that I am a Paleontologist.”  Stop. “Okay, so do you know what a Paleontologist does?”… “Yes, of course mommy, they dig up dinosaur bones… you know that I love to dig in the dirt!” I think I was probably beaming all the way home.

I'm ready... Let's go!


The bean will sprout

I am still doing some searching on a Chef to follow cook through their cookbook. After a ton of soul searching, I’ve decided that I really want to try and cook every recipe in someones cookbook. Now, the question is who. My first instinct was to choose Alton Brown. However, I have followed a few of his recipes and they are pretty daunting. Next I thought of Giada – but I’ve made practically everything in the two cookbooks that I have of hers. Then I came across Cat Cora. I love watching Iron Chef America, so looking into that seemed like a good idea. I don’t think I am good enough to make anything by Masaharu Morimoto!

It has been a week since I typed the above note… and since then, I was at Target and spotted Giada’s new cookbook and gave in. It was an easy choice because there were no other cookbooks by people I have heard from – AND I peeked inside the cookbook and was overwhelmed by the aroma that I imagined from the recipes. Now… here comes the task, the cooking. I’m thinking the best time for me to start this is on June 16th, the day after school gets out and my last day of work! That way I will have time to shop for proper ingredients and make the dish.

In other news, tonight is the Talent Show at the high school. We use their auditorium because it is much, much bigger and nicer. Last night was the final rehearsal and the girls looked so cute up there on stage!! I think it is funny how I get nervous each time I see them. Or rather, right when they are walking on stage. I don’t know if it is a pride thing – or if I am nervous because I am reliving my on stage days. Boy was that a long time ago…

Speaking of children… mine are super cute. I’m really torn about this being the end of yet another school year… but, what can we do? I guess God has a reason that we grow up so fast. Today my Kindergartner was the guest reader for her class. She picked a second grade reading level book. I’m not surprised, the books with super big words bore her. Huge difference from when my 8 year old was in Kindergarden… she took a Dick and Jane book to guest read. Since I noticed that others were reading at a faster pace, I made both girls read, listen to books and go to the library all summer long last summer. She is thankfully, now caught up, which made the 6 year old ahead… but that doesn’t bother me.


Wishin’ and Hopin’

As I mentioned before, my kids signed up to do the school talent show with a few friends. I had the girls over to practice after school yesterday and the 6 year old has decided that she no longer wants to be IN the show. She informed that she wants to just be in the audience.

Anyway, I went over the song and movements with the girls a few times and then left them to talk and play for five minutes while I cleaned up the kitchen. I was getting ready to head back out when I heard the most awful scream. Now, the 6 year old is what we like to call “a drama queen”, because she usually over reacts to situations. So, my first instinct was to roll my eyes and prepare myself for the “what now” speech. Only, I didn’t get to give it because a friend came running in saying, “she got stung by a bee!” I immediately grabbed the baking soda from the fridge, dumped some into my hands and wet it to make a paste. As she came running in, I started to rub the mixture in. I then had her rinse her hands and applied a nice patted down clump of the mixture. She kept it on for a few minutes and took some benedryl. The swelling went down and she was fine an hour later. Paranoid mom that I am, I still checked on her before I went to bed to make sure she didn’t have a fever. I had a horrible reaction to a bee sting when I was her age… so, you never know.

In other news, the girls have been taking Enrichment Karate classes after school. Our local martial arts center is offering the classes at the school, immediately following school, one day each week and for less than half the price of their usual classes. They even decided to add on 3 extra classes at their studio for no extra cost. The girls are loving it. Not only do they get to earn a white belt at the end of the sessions, but they are also learning self defense and what to do in the case of a stranger trying to take them.

hi-ya


The rock star and the rock climber

I’m sure I’ve mentioned several times how different my two girls are. The 6 year old is a girly-girl who loves to dress up, fix hair and in the future (gasp!) will be the teen that is all over which shade of lip gloss will look best today. She loves all things music and pretends that she is a rock star, a chef or a princess.  The 8 year old is a tom-boy who loves to dig, discover, climb and day dream. She is a scientist, a builder and an organizer.

It is amazing to watch them in their element. Right now, the rock climber is outside collecting rocks and other specimens for further analysis. She uses a shovel to carefully scrape away dirt and gently lift the object to her fingers. She places the objects in her bucket and stores them away for later observation. The rock star is upstairs, playing music and singing along. She has her “Hannah Montana” headset on and is standing on her bed in front of her audience… a herd of stuffed animals that can’t defend themselves.

It is also fun to watch the girls interact. When they are both outside, the rock star will try and keep up with the rock climber. She will ask questions and usually give her opinion on why swinging or picking flowers is a much better option… but, they get along and play alongside each other. In other imaginative play, the rock climber will be in a play or musical with the direction of the rock star. She will sing, dance and act along side her sister, usually choosing her own path of rock stardom. In fact, it was the rock climbers idea to have them audition for the school talent show!

It’s fun (and scary!) to watch the girls grow up. I can only imagine what their true professions will be… but for now, I’ve got them pegged.

the rock climber

the rock star being silly with mommy (she loves, loves pictures too...)


It’s birthday time again!

It seems like each week passes more quickly than the last. I cannot believe another year has passed. My baby turned 8 years old today.

Last weekend she attended her very first slumber party. Now, she has had sleepovers with cousins before – so the nights of being silly and staying up late have happened before… but I have never shipped her off to another persons house for a slumber party. Rumor has it that the girls were all well behaved and eventually fell asleep. Needless-to-say, I am relieved!

This weekend found us in another “first” situation. My 8 year old and I had a camping weekend with the Girl Scouts. We slept in a cabin with 16 other girls and I was one of 4 adults. The first night they were pretty hyper, looking around the room at every noise (Which was mostly each other and the “swish, swish” of the old bunk mattresses.) and giggling with each other. Over all the girls were amazing. Willing to learn and explore new things. Next time I want to rough it with the girls and tent camp.

So here we are at today. A school day. Since we didn’t get home from the camping trip until yesterday afternoon, I haven’t had time to plan a friends party… so, today after school and work, we embarked on a journey to get ice cream cake and Chinese food. Last night when I asked my daughter what kind of cake she wanted, she replied, “ice cream cake” – which was a shock to me since I have always baked her a cake or cupcakes. I was going to bake it after she went to bed and major relief flowed over me when she said ice cream cake. This is the first year (since she started having friend parties) that I have not been on the ball at least a month in advance. If you remember back to last year, she had the Luau party which was a huge hit… but took me over a month to plan. This year she wants to have a slumber party. Pretty easy planning… except I was planning for our Disney trip instead. When we got back, I was planning for our camping trip. Oh well… I told her we would find a date for her slumber party this weekend while we did a continuation of her family birthday party with our movie night. She fell for it!

Happy 8th birthday to my first baby girl! You are so beautiful, smart and sweet. I love you!!

doing the happy dance! A zhu zhu!!


Dreams of Disney

Was it a dream? We had a great time at Disney. The trip started with a 3 day journey. We headed out on Friday after school and drove a few hours, just to make a dent. We set up camp in a Wal*Mart and then left bright an early for our all day drive. Night two was spent at a SAMS club… a bit quieter and the only thing around was a brewing company. So, the outside smelled of beer and bread. Day three had us arriving at Fort Wilderness Campground around mid-day. We pulled in, set up camp and the girls immediately started riding their bikes. That night we went to the Hoop-de-do Review, a Western song and dance accompanied by the most “de-licious” pails of chicken and ribs.

Hoop-de-do Maw!

They even got to play a wash board!

jammin'

It rained all night long and into the next morning, so we made the decision to wait a day for Magic Kingdom and headed into downtown Disney. The shops were overwhelming with everything Disney and the downtown streets were filled with exciting sights, especially outside the LEGO store. That night we went to the camp ground camp fire song and dance with Chip and Dale, roasted marshmallow’s and stayed up to watch the fireside movie.

cell phone pic... with Chip!!

On Tuesday we were up bright and early and on the boat to Magic Kingdom. We bolted in and immediately were able to watch all of the characters perform in front of the castle! The looks on the girls faces were priceless. They were both so overwhelmed and excited with completely different ways to handle it. The 6 year old was mesmerized. She stood there with a huge grin and did not say much. The 7 year old had her camera on and probably took 20 pictures… mostly which have the characters heads cut off because she was not looking at her camera, just shooting pictures!!

isn't it magical?

We then headed directly back to “it’s a small world” and the line was short! Again, both kids just completely in awe and shooting pictures. When we got off the ride, my 7 year old announced that we would ride it again, so that she could enjoy it this time. By the time we came off the ride the second time, other lines had piled up. We made the mistake of waiting an hour to ride the Peter Pan’s flight… cute ride, not worth an hour wait.

This is Leo, the Kindergarten class pet. It was our turn to host him.

hurry mom, I'm trying to enjoy the ride this time!!

We rode several rides, stood in several lines and then went back to the camp ground for a two hour nap/rest. It was painful waking the kids… I think they might have slept the whole night had I let them! We took the boat back over to Magic Kingdom, watched the parade and then followed it down main street to find a place to watch the fireworks. The fireworks started with Tinkerbell magically flying from the top of the castle – out of sight.

all I could see was the annoying 3 people (the only ones around us!) that wouldn't sit down... grrrr

Since it was already 11 pm and the crowds were mostly heading out of the park, we went the other direction and rode the carousel, small world (yes, for the 3rd time!!) and a few other rides before heading back to the camp ground. The girls were so worn out that we slept in the next morning before heading off to Epcot.

More tales to come…


Life goals… (when you are 6)

Does life get any harder at six?

Whenever our six year old does her pouty face and look, we usually reply with, “aw, it’s so tough to be six…” to which she will immediately agree. I however, do not agree. I would love to be six. Kindergarten, making projects, playing, getting to cuddle up in an adults arms… not saying that I would want to do the whole school thing again, but six? I could handle six.

Here are the said six year old’s life goals for the moment. (1) Lose a tooth. This is very high on the priority list because most of her class has already lost a tooth OR has a wiggly one. She will even go as far as constantly trying to wiggle a tooth. Fun times. (2) Try to get out of eating (fill in the blank). She might have loved the dish last week, but today is a different story. (3) Convince you that she is more knowledgeable on (blank) topic than you. “No really mom, it is true!” (4) Convince me that EVERYBODY else has play dates EVERY day.

She is a piece of work… but she is oh-so cute.

look at me! I am cute!!

In other news, the job that I was subbing in for the last two months has now become full time. I am a “temporary” employee for the rest of the year. I still go back and forth on whether I am okay with this, everyday. I guess soon enough it will be June and I won’t have to worry about it any more.


Back to basics

Funny how children outgrow likes and dislikes. My kids have always liked crafts, but right now they are really into cutting and gluing. It doesn’t matter if what they cut gets glued… and it doesn’t matter if what they glue was ever cut. Most things they make don’t make sense, but they always have an explanation for them. One thing the kids had seemed to outgrow was coloring books. Not coloring, they still like to color their creations and make cards for people… but opening an actual coloring book hasn’t been done in ages.

Yesterday I took the girls to ToysRus/BabiesRus to get a baby gift for a friend. When we were done, we walked by the game aisle and just glanced. They didn’t ask me to look at other toys and they didn’t ask to buy anything… until the checkout line. Behold, there was a huge display with coloring books. They looked so pretty and nice. They were shouting, “hey little girl! color me!!” and so they asked. “Can we have a coloring book? Look how pretty they are”! Seriously? So the 50 or so coloring books all stacked up neatly at home aren’t pretty anymore?

As soon as we returned home, the girls ran downstairs, grabbed markers and coloring books and have been coloring ever since. Well, they did sleep… but they are back at it this morning.

oooo, coloring is fun!