May 30, 2012

Vaca Fun: Day #2

Summer Vacation officially began for us yesterday.

So far we're still keeping things interesting  . . . let's face it we've only been at this 2 freakin' days people!

We headed to the library.  While we were there we were able to catch the 'story time', we signed up for the summer reading program, and checked out some books to bring home. 

The libraries around town offer a summer reading program which basically is put together to encourage reading over the summer.  Kids check out books and get points for reading or listening to books.  The points can be turned in for prizes.  Oh and a bonus . . . it's free!

Waiting for Mommy to make lunch

It was close to lunch time when we got home.  It was such a beautiful sunny day so I asked B and G if they would like to have a picnic in the front yard.  They thought this was a cool idea!

Lunch outside is good stuff!

After eating lunch we read/listened to a few books.

We also enjoyed the nature around us.

G noticed a butterfly on a dandelion.

He's walking over to the dandelion quietly so he doesn't scare the butterfly away.

Bending over to pick it.

"Look Mommy!  I brought you a DAM lion!  The butterfly left though."

Baby M thinks he's hilarious.

Our evening ended with B's baseball game.

May 29, 2012

Summer Vaca: Day #1

Today was our first official day of Summer Vacation.

My goal for the summer is to have fun with my kids, to practice skills to prevent summer loss, and maintain our home in hopes that our weekends can be spent enjoying time together rather than working.

After feeding Baby M I, set out to do some dusting, window cleaning, and  fabric refreshing.

Sometimes I don't even know why I bother cleaning the mirror in this bathroom.  It seems like 2 seconds after I do it, along come B and G and their finger prints!

Along the way I came across some picking up that needed to be done.

Since Baby M isn't old enough to put her books away and hang her laundry up I helped.

Baby M and I read books after this project was completed.

All of us spent a lot of time outside and in the water over the weekend, so of course this mess was to be expected in the bathroom.

Now when I arrived in G's room I was well . . . a bit surprised with the condition I found it in.

Let's just say that he was a little less than enthusiastic about my request to put things where they belong.  He did a great job of putting things back in their places!

B worked on a page from his summer packet while G cleaned up.

After eating breakfast B and G made puppets.

G and I practiced some preschool sight words and he read a book to me.

B practiced some sight words and read a book to Baby M.

We ate lunch and everyone, but Mommy took a nap.

I'd say we accomplished quite a bit on our first day of Summer Vacation!

May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our 3 day weekend together.  I cannot forget just who made this all possible.

                       THANK YOU

to those who SERVE this great country of ours!

Without you my family and many other American families would not have the luxury to:

Go for walks on sun shiny days

Express creativity with chalk on the driveway

Learn how to ride bikes with two wheels

Play with water balloons

Pay children back for surprise water balloon attacks

Enjoy the sunshine

Get in on the family balloon action (don't let her fool ya, she's just as sneaky as the other two)

Experience nature

See the simple beauty around us

Sit on the front porch

Play a good game of Candy Land

And last, but not least, paint my toes hot pink if I want to!

Please know that all that you do and all that you sacrifice is not overlooked. 

We do appreciate and salute you! 


May 23, 2012

180 Days

As of tomorrow I will have had the opportunity to enlighten the minds of my students for 180 days.

Yep, you got it tomorrow is the last day of school, for students, that it.

While part of me is so excited that I am lacking the words to express my joy, I am blue, as well.

I have been provided the opportunity to work with and whiteness my school babies grow and develop and learn for 100 and 80 DAYS!  So many amazing things have occurred in this time.

When you work with someone for that long they tend to become a part of you.  No, they are not my children, but I am their teacher.

I care about them and love them and think of them often.

When they succeed I cheer them on.

When they don't understand I explain, and re-explain until I am blue in the face and I will even do it again until they get it.  That's my job and that's what I love to do.

I comfort them when they need some support.

I nudge them when they are just idling along and encourage them to always strive for the best and not to stop until they succeed.

Yes, tomorrow marks the end of the year.

I am looking forward to a much needed break.

A part of me will be breaking inside as I watch them






out my door and onto 2nd grade.

May they hold onto all that they have learned this year and may they remember how  much I care!

May 21, 2012

What a Week

I never thought I would say write this, but I'm actually glad to see Monday here.  I needed to go back to work to recover from last week and from my weekend.

To make a long week short I will try to briefly explain the craziness: 

Tuesday I attended G's end of the year preschool program.

Brent had a huge project due at the end of the week so most nights he wasn't able to get home until 10:00 at the earliest.  Which left me to be a single Mommy. 

On Thursday morning I attended a funeral that was a 2 1/2 hour drive from our home.  I also attended B's end of Kindergarten program that afternoon. 

B had a baseball game Friday night.  Brent was still working so I took all 3 kids to the game on my own.  G managed to put several LARGE hand fulls of dugout dirt in his hair while I was talking with a parent of a former student . . . I was so proud!

Brent left town early Saturday morning to attend a family function 6 hours away.  B had another baseball game Saturday afternoon.

When we arrived home later that afternoon I was in the process of putting our house back together when the following conversation occurred:

*Background info.  G was told to put the toys away that were on the floor in his room.  He has a tall shelf where his Nemo stuffed animal belongs.  I told him I would help him get Nemo on the shelf.  He came down stairs and told me that he put everything away, even Nemo.*

May 16, 2012

I was simply HIS Mommy

You may or may not have noticed my lack of involvement in the 'bloggy' world lately. 

My explanation is simply; I have been SWAMPED!  At work, with things for my kids, and personally. 

I am struggling to keep my head above water. 

I have wanted to scream: "STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF!" from the mountain tops (too bad I don't live near any mountain tops)!

The time was short, but I was able to step away for a few brief moments yesterday and simply be G's Mommy.

He had his end of the school year program yesterday.  While it wasn't as easy to just walk away from my job, I am so thankful to have been able to attend.

It was lovely to watch him in his element.  He is such a happy go lucky, free spirited little guy.  Yesterday, he shone more than usual.

We have listened to him practicing his songs around the house for weeks.  All of his hard work (and the hard work of his teachers and classmates) paid off.

As he sang Sicky, Sticky Bubble Gum his face lit up with each sticky movement.  His head was stuck to the floor here.

He embraced his inner performer during Tooty - Ta.  He reached his high moment as his bottom went up and his tongue went out.  It was as if the lyrics were specifically written for him.

During the performance I couldn't help but reflect on how much he has grown, developed, and learned this year.

Brent and I were extremely worried about his ability to focus, follow directions, and STOP talking.  We have been pleasantly surprised with all of the gracious and honest complements we have received from his teachers, regarding his ability to focus and follow directions.  And surprisingly they haven't mentioned the talking.

He has grow up right before our eyes and sometimes I feel as if we are missing it.

Yesterday for a few brief moments I was  just Gavyn's Mommy.  Nothing more and nothing less.  And I LOVED it!

May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

My day started with a beautiful handmade (literally) card from my family along with a Cinnamon Crunch bagels from Panera and a Frappuccino from Starbucks.

We quickly went grocery shopping and then headed to the zoo.

It was a beautiful day.  First we went to visit the sharks.  Both B and G were excited because they were able to pet the sharks!

These are Dog Sharks.  While we were there the zookeepers were feeding them.  Apparently they only eat every 3 days because they are cold blooded.  They were fed shrimp.

From the sharks we headed to the dolphin dome.  This was the first time Baby M has been to the zoo.  It was difficult to capture, but I just loved the look of amazement on her face as she watched the dolphins swim around.

We visited the lions.  Usually the lions are asleep in some far off corner when we are at the zoo.  It is rare to capture a picture of them awake let alone from such a close angle.  While watching the lions B asks "Why are there 2 girls and only 1 boy lion?"  Brent replies "He's a lucky guy." 
Oh lovely . . . I can hardly wait until this comes back to bite him me!

Baby M looks a little worried about that lion.

Next, we were off to visit the rhinos.  I would like to personally thank the group of middle school students who found it necessary to bring it to B and G's attention that the rhinos were sniffing poop and continue to go on and ON about it.  I spent the next 45 minutes reminding them that we don't always need to talk about poop.

Oh and the fun 'boy talk' didn't stop at the rhinos.  No way!  It continued when we saw the monkeys with the red rear ends.  B LOUDLY pointed it out to G when he said "Hey G, look at his pink bottom, that's funny!"  In an effort to stop the conversation Brent said, "It's not that big of a deal you're bottom is pink too."  The next thing we knew G was spinning circles with the back of his shorts held out trying to see if indeed his bottom was pink or not.  All I could do at this point was walk away shaking my head.

They managed to pull themselves together when we visited the brown bear.

B comparing his arm span with the wing span of a bat.

Now it's G's turn.  B helps demonstrate.

The merekats.  Usually these little guys are pretty active.  They were pretty calm for some reason yesterday.  Either that or my children were so wild it made the merekats seem tame.

Did you know that cheetahs are the fastest land animal?

How appropriate for Mother's Day, an elephant with her baby.  How reassuring that even baby elephants have a mind of their own and leave mothers wondering behind.

The tigers were very interactive.  This tiger was pacing back and forth.  B and G were walking along with him/her.  G even tried to kiss the tiger . . . all I could think about were all of the germs on the glass EWWWW gross!

This ends our lovely trip to the zoo.  I hope everyone out there had a lovely Mother's Day!  Please share how your day was.

May 8, 2012

DIY Fabric Softener

Time to try a new homemade product because I emptied another container . . . this time it was my fabric softener.  When I try a new homemade recipe I start with a smaller batch, just to be sure I like it first. 

What to use (this fits in a 1 gallon container):
6 cups of water
3 cups of vinegar
2 cups of hair conditioner (I used 2 1/2 cups)*

What I used just to try it out:
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of vinegar
1/3 cup of hair conditioner *

** SMALLER BATCH - I used 2/3 cup of hair conditioner the second time I made this batch because 1/3 cup wasn't very fragrant.  I thought adding more conditioner would help it to have a stronger smell.  It did, but my husband thought it was too thick.  We have the HE front loading washing machine and dryer.

LARGER BATCH - I used 2 1/2 cups of conditioner.  It seems to be more fragrant and not as thick.
The Process:
I poured the water and vinegar in a mixing bowl and stirred them together.  Before adding the conditioner I heated it in the microwave for 30 seconds for the small batch and 1 minute and 30 seconds for the large batch.  Heating the conditioner made it mix more easily.  Once it was heated I added it to the water and vinegar mixture and whisked them all together. 

My Opinion:
It is very easy to make the softener and doesn't take very much time.  I use 1/4 of a cup of the softener per load of laundry.  I have a front loading HE washing machine.  I just add the softener in the area labeled softener. 

I previously used Downy.  I used to add a little water to the Downy because it was too thick and was leaving a lot of residue in the softener slot.  The homemade softener isn't as thick as the Downy and I don't have to add water to it.

The clothes came out soft and static free.  They smell clean, but the fragrance isn't as strong as the fragrance of Downy.  I'm still playing around with the amount of conditioner to add in hopes of getting a stronger fragrance.  I'll post updates regarding my opinion.

***Update 6/5/12***

Price Break Down:

1 gallon of vinegar costs $3.83 (at Walmart)
      I used 3 cups of vinegar. This would equal .72.

15 oz. of conditioner costs $0.94 (at Walmart)
      I used 2 ½ cups (20 oz) of the conditioner.  This would equal $1.25.

1 batch of the DIY Softener made 11 ½ cups of softener and costs me $1.97.  If I use ¼ of a cup for each load of laundry I am able to soften loads 46 of laundry with 1 batch.  This means I am spending $0.04 per load.

According 90 oz. of Downy softens 105 loads of laundry and costs $6.97. This breaks down to $0.06 per load.

May 5, 2012

You're on my mind

When you go away to college you learn so much more than you expect to learn.  Not only do you learn the obvious 'educational' lessons from attending class (When you actually attend class that is . . . Not that I would know anything about not attending class or anything . . .), but you learn about yourself, about life, and about friendship.

I knew I would meet and make friends when I went to school.  I'm a social kind of girl. 
Once in 6th grade band when asked if I would rather talk or play my instrument, I boldly looked at my teacher, cocked my head, and with a little sass in my voice replied, "I'd rather talk."  I was promptly told to go into the hallway and 'talk to myself'.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand, making friends in college.  I made the typical kinds of friends, class friends, friends for the moment, partying friends, friends I lost touch with because life happened, close friends, and life long friends.

One of my life long friends I met was my room mate, Rachel.  To this day I still refer to her as my room mate and rarely, as simply my friend.  To me room mate means so much more.  You see Rachel and I lived together for 4 years.  In those 4 years we created a friendship, a bond, that will never be broken.  It's not often that you meet a complete stranger and find that you are able to relate to and understand that person so completely. 

We both started out with different room mates.  My 1st room mate moved out of the dorms and into an apartment shortly after the school year began. 
She was too cool for me.  She was a sophomore and I was only a freshman . . . 'Like oh my gosh!'  Oh by the way she was also a cheerleader if you couldn't guess.  I was so glad to get rid of her.  I wasn't sure I was going to make it in college living with her.
I asked Rachel if she would be willing to move up to my floor and room with me.  I am so thankful that she said yes.  We were meant to meet each other and become friends.  While we don't see or speak with one another as frequently as we both would like we both know that no matter what we are there for one another.

I always look forward to and love the times that Rach and I get to spend together, I fear that the next time I see her it won't be a happy time.  Her dad isn't doing well.  He's sick.  Cancer has invaded and is taking over his body.  With every fiber of my being I want to just fix this for her.  This is my personality.  When something is wrong I fix it and things are better.  No matter how hard I try I can't fix this one and it tear me apart.  So in an effort to 'fix' things for her I'm going to try a little comic relief and reminisce about some of our favorite memories.

*Before reading about my college stories I need you to know a few things.  First, all while I did like to have fun with my friends I didn't drink as much as it appears.  It was just what we took pictures of most frequently.  Also, I did go to school to get an education which I was able to accomplish.

*Please excuse the rather crappy pictures.  I had to resort to taking a picture of a picture :(

Me, Rach, and Cat

2000, Our freshman year of college.  One of the first adventures I remember was when Rach, Cat, and I carried a concrete sign, that Cat wanted for her dorm room, from the Marsh parking lot back to Cat's dorm room.  What a goofy thing to do.  Our fingers hurt, but we sure did have a lot of laughs over it. 

One night we began our night of drinking in Cat's dorm room (This was a pretty dumb risky thing to do.  If we got caught drinking in the dorms there was a pretty hefty fee to pay.)  We decided to walk to a frat house.  Along the way a car came by and asked us where we were going.  Rachel told the driver.  The driver asked if we wanted a ride.  She quickly jumped in.  I remember saying I don't think this is a good idea.  She quickly told me it was ok because we were drunk!
-This is one of my favorite, yet embarrassing stories.  Between the two of us she is MUCH more cautious.  It is so funny that she would even talk to the driver let alone get in the car.  Let's just hope that none of our kids find out about this one!  It was a dumb move for both of us.

Cat. Me, Rach, and Mitch

Cat's parents' house wasn't too far of a drive from our college.  We used to drive there frequently to have parties social gatherings.  I was usually the first to puke for the night.  On this night Rachel was the first to call it night.  She didn't get sick (She never got sick and never had a hangover.  Wish she would have shown me how to do that!), but a piece of toast with peanut butter on it sure made her nauseous.

Rach, Me, and Cat

We both often had classes that were at night.  Due to our class schedules we frequently did our grocery shopping at night.  We used to spend hours at Walmart trying on the cheepy rings and fantasising about what kind of wedding ring we would once wear upon our fingers.  During these late night shopping trips we were also fortunate enough to see the town's finest.  Oh my it sure was scary at times!  One time there was a fight that involved a baseball bat in the parking.  We eventually coined the phrase 'Only at Walmart'.

We traveled to Rachel's parents' home one weekend because they were out of town.  We had a little celebration of our own.  I believe this is where our jello shot tradition began (I'll get into that more later).  It was also the first time I experienced peeing outside while drunk.  There was only 1 bathroom and neither one of us could wait.  Her parents lived out in the country.  We grabbed a roll of toilet paper and found a tree.  I remember giggling like a 5 year old as we passed the roll to one another behind the tree!

After living in the dorm for 2 years we were ready for the freedom that an apartment offered.  During the spring of our sophomore year we visited several different apartments, collecting data in order to sell this idea to our parents.  Once all of the data had been collected we found our top 4 choices and invited our parents to come and see them for the weekend.  Both sets of our parents were apprehensive about the apartment, but in the end our sales tactics won them over.  This picture hung on the wall of our apartment and reminded us that it was our first home away from home.

We were so excited about our apartment.  I remember talking as we went to sleep the last night in our dorm room.  We both shared with each other how we could hardly wait to get to the apartment, but we were sad because we knew we would have our own bedrooms.  Not sharing a bedroom meant we we no longer have our late night conversations as we drifted off to sleep.

In our apartment we enjoyed watching Friends on Thursday nights and staying up late to see the CMA Awards shows.  We used to sing along with them, predict who would win, and comment on the dresses.

A sene from the first party we had in our new apartment!  Ok,  now I will explain the jello shots.  When ever we had a party at our apartment it became a tradition that we would make jello shots.  We never seemed to have individual cups on hand to make them so we used the next best thing, round cake pans.  We passed out spoons and cake pans.  Typically, she and I each ended up with a pan at the end of the night.  One time someone accidentally dropped jello on the floor.  Rachel was very worried about wasting good jello shots so she got on the floor on her hands and knees and licked it up.  She justified her actions  by telling everyone it was ok because I just cleaned before everyone came over and they all knew what a clean freak I was (am)!  After this we knew Rachel was have an awesome night if she would eat jello off of the floor!

We planned a weekend trip to Chicago for her boyfriend (now hubby), my boyfriend (now hubby), and ourselves before our senior year of college.  We had so much fun planning the trip.  We got our hair and nails done before going.  Little did I know that I would come back engaged after this weekend.

Would you look at all of these delightful things the girl made for me to wear for my batchelorette party?!  Those are purple (it's my favorite color) sparkly (I love glitter) penises on my head that she glued a veil onto.  Move on down and you will find the glow in the dark penis earrings.  Finally, she made the sparkly batchelorette tank for me to wear.  How can you top all this stuff?!  Oh what a night it was.

Here she is playing the get the pantyhose with the hot dog in it in the water bottle.  One of the many fabulous games we played before hitting the town for my bachelorette party.  While out on the town I had to complete a check list, which included things such as taking a shot with another bachelorette, having my last dance as a single lady, etc., I fell off of my flip flop and broke the strap.  Rach was right there with her name tag to stick it back together for the night.  She also held my hair as I puked out the side of the cab window on the way home.  Now, that's a true friend right there.

2004, My wedding oh we had so much fun dancing the night away!  This was the last time (we had no idea at the time) that we partied before having kids (I was pregnant with B 6 months after we were married).  I don't know if she will ever realize how grateful I am to her for helping to shield me from events that occurred (nothing to do with my marriage - it's GREAT) on this day that I am still struggling with.

The night before her wedding.  I passed down my headband.  B was only 6 months old at the time of her wedding.  This was the first time I had gone out with friends since his birth.  It was such a fun night!

Courtney, Rachel, Me, and Cat

2006, Rachel's wedding.  Such a good time.  This is when we all began to realize how far we have come since college.  We were no longer college kids out for a good time.  We were adults enjoying and celebrating our friend and her new adventure.

In 2010 we established a Girls Weekend.  Rachel's dad wasn't doing well she and her husband had a personal loss.  I was RIF'd (Due to budget cuts I was told that my contract would not be renewed for the following school year).  Our friend Cat's dad wasn't doing well and our friend Courtney was having job issues as well.  The 4 of us thought we needed some girlfriend therapy!  We went shopping, got pedi's, went out on the town for adult beverages (that's the mature way to say got trashed), and stayed in a hotel.  Oh what a night it was!

Our 2011 Girls weekend.  We had a repeat weekend with shopping, pedi's, and Rach and I were the DD for Cat and Courtney.  Both Rachel and I were pregnant.  Despite the fact that we couldn't partake in drinking, we still had a blast simply talking and not having to clean up after little people.

My photo journey for my room mate, my friend, my sister and I has come to an end.  I began this post with tears rolling down my face, but reminiscing about the fun we have had together and anticipating the good times yet to come has helped to lighten my spirit as I hope it will for her as well.

I love you Rachel.  Please know that you are on my mind.