Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Party

For 8 years I've thrown Joe's work Christmas party in our home. I'm ALWAYS amazed that I can get it all pulled together. Here is it looking pretty...

The disaster before... does this happen to you? I was stunned by the mess as I pulled out all of the boxes. The kids had so much fun put everything out. I rearranged a little bit, but they did a great job, so I really didn't have to do much.

Beginning to decorate the tree.

As I was wrapping the stairs with the garland and very frustrated, I decided to wrap the bottom of the spindles instead of the top. What a brilliant moment... so much easier and now we can still hang on to the railing as we come down the stairs.

One of my favorite wreaths that I had to "steal" last year during our annual gift exchange... it was so worth it!

My little artificial group of trees... sometimes I add small ornaments, but this year they are adorned with ribbon.

The green room set up for the party. We had a smaller group this year, so I was able to leave the couch in the room for the first time ever.

The tables were set very simply with white table cloths with an overlay of gold toole... just to give it interest. Usually, I bunch up the toole down the tables, but Joe always feels like he has fabric in his food... so we went with simple. My awesome teaching partner wrapped all of the brown boxes for me and tied all of the ribbons. I had them scattered on the tables and around the room... the PERFECT touch!

Merry Christmas
Our self portrait near the end of the evening!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

They're all mine!

I love this boy! I can always find him on any court... that hair gives him away EVERY time. Taking pictures in the gym are so hard... I need a few lessons!

I love this boy! This boy that turned 8 -- I can't hardly believe he's already 8. He had a "tailgate" party at the house with a few of his friends -- it was INSANE! He made me smile from ear to ear when he opened his first NBA jersey -- Portland Trailblazer, Brandon Roy -- he SCREAMED like a girl. It was awesome :)

I love this girl... this smart, witty and funny girl who is not afraid to show who she is. At her brother's birthday party, she showed EVERYONE how to do push-ups correctly! She got down on the floor and told the boys, "This is how you do it!" and she proceeded to do 5 REAL push-ups and then she smiled and went on about her business. I hope she can take that drive and finesse it over time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It became a tradition?!?!

Last year, I wanted the kids to be able to create something on Thanksgiving day... I needed them to have something to do... thus, apple turkey's appeared.

This year, I hadn't planned on making them again, but Baby Girl reminded me, so I bought the gum drops at the store (just in case).

Sure enough, on Thanksgiving morning the kids asked to make apple turkey's. Luckily, we had three old apples in the refrigerator.

The Tablescape by Baby Girl
(learned from Sandra Lee)

Baby Girl decided to set the Thanksgiving table by herself this year. One of the things she and I enjoy together is watching cooking and decorating shows on early Sunday mornings. She has a keen eye and wicked sense... thus her table. (I forgot to take a final picture after she had added the apple turkey's.)

Place mats

Napkins tied with sparkly gold ribbon (the boys ended up with glitter in their eyes... too funny!)

Tall candles

REAL glasses!

Place cards for everyone -- She wrote their names on the front and inside wrote "Happy Thanksgiving love E_ _ _" If you've seen a six year write and run out of room, then you will get a chuckle out of this...

Replica of Daddy's card:

E_ _ _




(She started by writing thanks, but then ran out of room so continued the word above...)

They boys (without being prompted) wrote on the other side of their card what they are thankful for...

Pepe: The three f's -- food, football and family

Phinneous: My family

Will this be the next tradition?

2 of my 3 children do not like pie. It is a sad, but truthful fact. So, I decided to make sugar cookies, because they like those. I bought new cookie cutters while at IKEA (love that store) that are the shapes of forest animals... too cute. And I cheated a bit with the cookie dough... Baby Girl's daycare had a fundraiser and sold cookie dough... thus, I bought a tub to sugar cookie dough. Let me tell you... it was a great way to make cookies on a busy day!

Tradition lives because young people come along who catch its romance

and add new glories to it.

(Michael Novak)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

I find myself thinking today about all of the people I've lost recently... I'm not sure why.

I'm so glad that I've had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful families through my education, teaching and my children. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people surround me.

This is a day I give thanks to the many blessings that I have. My husband is an amazing man, my children make me proud every day, my friends stand by my side even when I don't have much to offer, I work with incredible ladies and I've had the opportunity to torture myself in graduate school... my life is full and I love it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk!

just laugh!

How many times have I told my kids not to cry over trivial things, yet, then I turn around and get to frustrated with something so trivial... like spilled milk.

Well, today it was my turn. I had my favorite green St*rbucks coffee mug filled with coffee. (I received my green mug my first year teaching, from a student. It's been through classrooms, teacher lounges, car rides, etc... goodbye green mug. I will miss you.) I had taken one sip when baby girl asked me to help her with her breakfast. I set my cup down on the table, poured a gourmet bowl of cold cereal (trying to make myself sound like a better mama) and turned and picked up my cup... all of the sudden it just slipped out of my hand.... CRASH!

I looked down to see my cup destroyed and a HUGE puddle of coffee all over the hardwood floors. I looked up at Joe... who had watched the whole episode and just started laughing. What could I do... I dropped my cup, I made the huge mess and it was up to me to handle it responsibly. I cleaned up the mess, got down a new cup and poured another cup.

What a morning!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hanging Out

It was an interesting week last week... all three kids were sick; 2 with strep, 1 with ear infection and a high fever and then passed out... twice! They are all doing better, but will probably cough for the next month... yuck!

We have soap, we have hand sanitizer, we are getting sleep, we are exercising/getting fresh air, we are eating mostly healthy and yet now, Daddy is sick. Oh, boy...

I am good... I don't have time to go down. My class ends Nov. 30th and I am sooooo ready for a break. I was just telling my sister that most of my life has stayed intact, but there are areas that really need a hand... and then I found a check she wrote me in MARCH, yes MARCH. We laughed and laughed. I so appreciate all of my friends who have helped me to keep my perspective or have at least humored my moods and tantrums during my adventure in graduate school. I just registered for my next three classes for Spring semester (spring semester begins in Jan... weird). I am definitely on the down-hill slide with an uphill climb ahead of me.

So, we are doing more hanging out around here. Enjoying each other and trying not to cough or breath on one another.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

Anyone else love Strawberry Shortcake as a kid? I went through a phase.

Baby Girl isn't really into it, but she does have the card game... the characters are so cute!

We found a cute site with pictures to print and color.

So, on this very rain and cold day (with no school for baby girl) we will be coloring and playing cards... Strawberry Shortcake style!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Self Portraits

During nutrition week (where we talk about good food for our bodies as well as how we feel about ourselves), we made self portraits. I wanted something hands-on and reusable. I'm sure I saw this idea somewhere on the www and I loved it. The kids did too!

I put out many different shapes of pasta for the kids to use to create themselves. They loved using the egg noodles for curly hair and long spaghetti for long hair. Easy to prep and fun to do!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tie Dying with PreK kids

For the second year, to celebrate Rainbow week, I have tie dyed shirts with my preK kids. It is a lot of fun and makes the parents nervous every year. They kind of give me a funny look -- tie dye... with kids?!?!??!

Funny enough, the process doesn't stress me out. I like to be in control (stop laughing), so I keep the process simple.

1. All children bring a cotton shirt from home (new or used, doesn't matter). Make sure everyone's shirt is labeled with their name in permanent ink.

2. The night before we tie dye, I bring all of the shirts home and twist and rubberband them (note... next year I should do this the day before in class with the kids. I think they can handle it.)

3. The morning of tie dyeing mix up all tie dye. I mix up three colors: red, yellow and blue. I like to use the die in squeeze bottles. Fill up tub to soak shirts.

4. Students come to the tie dye table one at a time. They wear an apron! They place their shirt on their tray and we talk about getting color all over their shirt. (Shirts should be in a ball, so that the ink can run through them, but so that the dye soaks into the shirt. I don't like the die running all of the tray... it makes a mess and is wasteful.)

I love to watch their faces when the see the colors mix together to make orange, green and purple. It is a real aha moment!

5. Place each child's shirt in a ziploc bag and seal. Let them sit.

6. When I finally get home (it always seems like I pick the busiest day to do this project. This year we had soccer practice, soccer party and the church carnival) I rinse out each shirt individually. I then run them through my washing machine on a quick cycle -- no soap -- and dry them. It is like opening a gift with each shirt I rinse. I love to lay them out and see all of the different designs.

7. I like to give my students their shirts the next day... they are so excited to receive them. We have a Noah's Ark party (instead of Halloween party) and I give them their shirts at the end of our reenactment of the story of Noah. Many children choose to put their shirts on and some give their away to their sister. All scenarios are acceptable. It is so much fun to see them wear their shirts to school throughout the year.

I can't find the pictures of the final shirts... I know I have them... I think I have to get on my other computer... They'll be here soon...

Friday, November 6, 2009

shhhh :: Don't Tell

It's Friday morning and my Friday's are always planned for me. I am either
a) in Baby' Girls Kindergarten class (they meet every-other Friday) or
b) I'm in my own classroom prepping for the upcoming weeks.

Today was suppose to be a Kindergarten day, however, Pepe is home with an ear infection. He's been on meds for over 24 hours, but is still experiencing pain. (Or he's doing a really good job pulling one over on me.)

So, now I've canceled the Kindergarten morning and I'm just at home. I feel like I'm hiding... sneaking from someone or something. I'm going to "pretend" like I am in Kindergarten and work on my action research proposal. I've not had a chance to work on it all week and I need to have the rough draft finished NOW. (I've found that I am so exhausted in the evenings, that I'm no prodcutive in this class at all. I have to save my work for day-time hours -- which I don't have many of.)

So, between my proposal and laundry (thought I'd go ahead and get a weekend jump on it), I will be busy for the next few hours.

Happy Friday!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Keeping It Real

I wasn't in the mood for Halloween this year. I forced myself to carve pumpkins withe the kids. Wasn't I stunned when they did most of the work themselves... happily.

I couldn't wait to be done coaching soccer... now I'm done and I'm gonna miss those kids. It is for the best... they all need someone else next year. It was a nightmare at times, but so enjoyable at times as well. Both of my teams certainly made me proud.

I am so frustrated with my graduate program... I will make it, but it is so tough to find a balance between mommy, wife, teacher, friend and student.

My son's team lost their first game today... my heart broke for them. They didn't deserve to win... they didn't play well, but I ached for those kids. And then, in a moment I was so proud of those kids. They ran across the field... high 5ed everyone, got a piece of candy, and headed to a team-mates house to hot-tub and have pizza and cupcakes (a totally last second invite). They spent a couple of hours playing and bonding. They were bummed that they lost, but that happens. They know what went wrong. As I talked with some of the other parents we all had the same idea... it was bound to happen (the loss), the kids are working so hard to gel as a team and the biggest goal we all have for our kids is to not get burned out... HAVE FUN!

We are trying a new Halloween tradition... the Gnome/Fairy comes and collects candy a child doesn't want and in return leaves cash. Guess what... I hate it. It made me sad to watch my kids after all of their fun of collecting candy and looking at all of it to have to decide what to give away. My kids love money, so their give-away bowls are huge, but they aren't happy about it. It makes me sad. I feel like the rug was just just pulled out from under their feet. Now, how do I fix it. I love the concept, but not for our family. I don't mind if they have candy... our Halloween candy typically lasts until Easter. A little here and there won't kill them.

I thought I was suppose to have it all figured out by now... I don't, but I'm trying every day. I'm tired of my mood swings and crabby answers... when you are tired of yourself, it is time to make a change.

I'm keeping it real....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Photos, photos, photos

What do you do with your photos?

I am completely digital... I upload my photos off of my camera and when I have time I send them to Costco or Snapfish to have prints made. I love to scrapbook, but don't have time for it right now. So, my photos sit.

I realized that I have a TON of photos just sitting on my laptop and I need to back them up. I used to burn them to a cd every few months (right now I have almost 8 months worth on my laptop and over a year's worth on my pc). I've also loaded them to sites like snapfish; where they offer free storage.

So, this morning I started uploading to another site to keep my photos safe. It is quite a process as I take a ton of photos. I'm trying to be patient and go through each folder and quickly deleting all of the oops photos. It's tough... I hate to delete photos.

Should I also back them to a cd? What do you do? How do you handle your photos?

Pictures randomly selected from my folders...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My guy

It makes a mama sad to miss one of her kids soccer games. However, when you are coaching 2 of the 3 kids, you are going to miss the kids games that you are not coaching.

It warms a mama's heart to hear about the incredible game I missed.


Tales to tell...

and a husband that is so proud tonight that he can't stop telling me about the game.

He even said... "I leaned over to another mom and said... Angela is going to be so upset that she missed this."

I guess my son was on his game today... sadly, I missed it.

I may have missed it, but I've seen so much joy out of the two people in the house with the same name, that maybe it was meant to be.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Molly Girl

My Molly girl passed away early this morning. As sad as it is to loose my dog, I know that it was her time. She lived for 12 years and 2 months. That is a long time for a large dog. The last year she has been here, but not been herself. For the past 2 months she was living... but not enjoying life. She couldn't go for walks (unless you count going to the mailbox), she couldn't chase squirrels and she couldn't get up the stairs to her bed in the boys room. We made adjustments for her... moved her bed downstairs, walked her to the mailbox and loved on her a lot.

This morning, when I found her I was sad... I cried... I sobbed.

Molly has been in our life for 12 years. She was my first dog. She was Joe's first dog. She was our first dog. She was great (that's not to say she didn't have issues, because she did).

She was so good with kids, not just my kids, but all kids. All of my babies crawled on her, pulled her hair and laid on her. She never complained. When they were out of the way, she would quietly sneak off for time to herself. She loved cleaning up cheerios off of the floor or steak leftovers.

She enjoyed walking and running. She loved the snow, the rain, the sun... it didn't matter, she just loved being outside. She loved being with us. We were her family.

Two years ago, Jeep came into the picture. She was his "mommy". She helped to train him and we were so proud of her. We'd always said that she would have been a great mom and she was.

Today, we are sad. We mourn her, however, we are grateful. Grateful for the 12 years we had with her. Grateful that she is now free to run and chase squirrels.

Goodbye Molly. You will forever be a part of our family.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Life's a little odd when...

* your son can stand on the ground and reach the monkey cross bars

* your daughter heads out on an all day play-date without any worries

* your son tells you that so-and-so and s0-and-so have a mustache/beard growing... um, they are in 4th grade... this should not yet be our conversation, right?

* you are told 'thank you' after helping with evening homework

* you are reminded that "it's time to read" from the child that doesn't love to read

* your children make plans to go and watch another friends soccer game... Oh, by the way, Mom, I need a ride.

My kids are growing up... they are still little enough and they still need me, but I see the tide shifting and I'd like it to STOP!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

It's green week at school; which means trees and nature... which is filled with many fun explorations and adventures... I love it!

A couple of years ago, I also made this week our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom week.

The kids love it, I love it... it gives us another spin on trees and really allows me to introduce and play with the entire alphabet with the kids. Later in the week, the kids will create a coconut tree that we will use as a mat for letter work... I'll have to post that photo later.

Don't forget to check out Chicka Chicka 123... a fabulous introduction to numbers. With my preK kids this book allows kids just learning their numbers to find success as well as kids who are ready for bigger numbers to feel challenged.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


After Pepe's soccer game, we headed to the beach to let the team play and enjoy the day. It was a beautiful day at the coast... and I just love this boy!

Shirts off... are you ready for some football. It was so great to see this team mesh together. Three boys, including mine, joined the team in late August and I am amazed at how quickly they have come together.

Friday, September 25, 2009

This is where I'd like to be right now...

Sisters Bakery... yum!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Garbage Day... ugh!

The alarm rings loudly... I'm still sleepy... just a few more minutes.

Down the stairs start the coffee, unload the dishwasher, start the breakfast sausages and then remember... it's garbage day. Honey is out of town, so it is all me.

Jeep and I head out and I grab a sweater... brrrrrrr

Down the loooooong driveway we go with my bad attitude, but as I pick my head up I notice the crisp, almost fall morning. A few leaves are blowing around, it's pretty quiet, except for a few birds in the trees. The morning smell is fabulous. The sun is shining.

As I head back up the looooooong driveway, I realize that I am smiling. It is a beautiful day... enjoy this day and hope for many more.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


wet, wet, wet, wet!

No two ways about it... we were soaked.

Soccer practice in the rain makes for very happy kids. Something about running and laughing in it is just priceless.

They peeled off their wet clothes, found warm sweats, ate, and retreated to their beds... very sleep kids.

I love rain! (but only every once in awhile... have you seen what a 130lb dog with wet paws can do to hard wood floors... yikes!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Don't adjust your screen... what you are seeing is real... Pepe actually let Jeep lick his feet clean... ewwww, gross... and then mama made him wash his feet and told him all 101 reasons why that was not a good idea... boys... dogs... ugh!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Day, again

This time it was my first day of school. I am a teacher and I am starting my 4th year teaching preK! I love it. I met all of my students quickly on Friday during our class visits, but I am always a tad nervous as I open the door on the first day... will I handle myself well, will I connect with my students, will I connect with my families, will they cry, will I cry?

The day was beautiful... it was a short day and many parents stayed with helps to ease the transition to school... was it just a "honeymoon" period, or are they angels? Only time will tell, but I like to think they are angels.

This year is bitter sweet... I'm in the last year of my masters program and I get to do some research and use my students; which is very exciting. This is also my last year teaching at the preschool; which is hard. It will be time in my life and the life of my family to move forward. My goal... to make this the best preK year EVER.

Today I get my students BY MYSELF! Should prove to be fun, hectic and I predict... rewarding.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Picture Day

It is picture day at school for the boys ... baby girl will have her turn next week.

Monday... and picture day... yikes!

Good thing the school called yesterday with a reminder. It really was a good thing, I had completely forgotten.

So, before bed the boys picked out their picture shirt... "You know it doesn't matter what pants/shorts you wear because you can't see them anyway." Smart boys.

With the price of these pictures they better be fabulous!

Happy Monday... today I start my teaching year with a room full of excited kiddos!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Makes me Smile!

She is 6 years old already and I can't believe it! She is a great kid... independent, creative, energetic, engaging, silly, serious, loving, sweet, stubborn, etc.

We spent some time at the local Children's Museum a few weeks ago and I had so much fun watching her play. We've been coming her since she was a tiny newborn. She has changed so much, but what I really love is that no matter where we go, she can find fun. I love that about her.

My little, tall 6-year-old Kindergartner... what a blessing!