Friday, March 27, 2009

My Baby Wears Combat Boots

Zoe has discovered a pair of boots in her closet and has taken quite a liking to them. She wore them around the house and outside to play this morning, and wants to wear them to preschool next week.

While I think she looks pretty cute in them, I'm not sure what the attraction is.

If you look closely in this picture, you can see they are Lizzie McGuire boots. They are hand-me-downs from one of the many awesome people who give me clothes for my girls. In fact, I think everything Zoe is wearing, except for the tights, are hand-me-downs. Gotta love that!

So, are your kids as stylish as mine?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scrapbooking Weekend

Two weekends ago my sister treated me to a scrapbooking weekend in Marshall, Michigan . The two of us met at the Riverside Inn and spent the entire weekend catching up on our scrapbooking. Okay, Leanne is pretty much up to date on her scrapbooks, but she still had some stuff to complete in her books. I, on the other hand, haven't scrapbooked in years and am hopelessly behind on my albums. But, I seized the opportunity and worked my butt off.

I did six spreads for Ian, five for Emma, and four for Zoe. Ian is now almost three in his album, Emma is about 6 months, and Zoe is about 2 months in her album. I know, I'll never catch up! But, I am now organized and having gotten a jump start in Michigan, I'm ready to get a lot more done.

Here are some of the pages I did while there:

This is a page for Ian. I found the layout idea from an idea book at the inn where we stayed. this was one of my faster and simpler pages, but I still love the results.

These are two of Emma. I like the ribbon I used and I think they are both really cute! (Only using one photo makes the layout a lot easier!)

This is Zoe. I used this photo I took of her a few days after coming home in my birth announcements. I just loved both photos and wanted them both showcased.

The inn was really just a house made for scrapbooking retreats. It is set on a river and the view from the kitchen is absolutely breathtaking. Our hostess, Katrina, lived next door with her husband and two kids. She provided all of our meals, which were delicious. There were snacks and drinks that we could help ourselves to at any time. While she ordered our dinners and lunch from local restaurants, she always provided salad or fruit as a side dish and made a dessert for both Friday and Saturday. She made Saturday morning breakfast and Sunday brunch, which included a delicious sausage gravy over homemade biscuits. The basement had 12-six foot tables each with an Ott light for well illuminated workspaces. The scrapbooking room also had a Cricut with about 6 or 7 cartridges, a Sizzix die cut machine with several dies, lots of scrapbook idea books, and CD player and TV with DVD's.

Leanne and I had an awesome time talking and sharing pictures with each other. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera to take any pictures because my kids and husband were walking in the Naperville St. Patrick's Day parade the same day. But trust me, it was an excellent weekend.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have become so busy with my family and other obligations that I've dropped the ball on my blogging lately. And it seems that the longer I go without blogging, the harder it is to get back into it. So today I am forcing myself on here in hopes that I will become re-dedicated to my blog and sharing the fun and crazy things going on in my life.

Today I share with you two fairly new (within the last month) occurrences in my life.

#1: I have begun to listen to country music. And I like it. I find myself turning to US99.5 more and more often, and only turning back to my traditional pop/ rock channels when they run one of their extremely long commercial breaks. Much to my husband's disdain, I like the themes of the songs, the slower pace, and the often humorous messages in the songs. I have even used some of my birthday iTunes gift card to download two country songs already (Darius Rucker's "It Won't Be Like This For Long" and Rodney Atkins "Watching You")

I have always liked some country. I own lots of Garth Brooks and have Shania Twain's first album and Carrie Underwood's first album. I also love Kenny Rogers and have an album of his greatest hits. So I guess it's no surprise I am liking it more and more now.

My husband will just have to find some way to live with it.

#2: I joined Facebook. Truly addicting. And I feel guilty when I haven't responded to people who send a message to me. I have been trying to find time to sit down and write everyone back, and therefore have neglected this blog in the process.

But it is fun! And I think that after the initial finding of old friends, the time on FB should slow down. Because really, once you catch up with someone you haven't talked to in over 20 years, you probably aren't going to talk everyday.

For anyone who is reluctant to give it a try, I suggest you do it. I have found people I never imagined I could find. For example, I lived in England for five years when I was in elementary school. I have found several old friends from those years, as well as an old music teacher! And seriously, it was so fun finding my fourth grade boyfriend and reminiscing on those days.

On top of that, I've found old college and high school friends and I'm able to quickly keep up with them and see their beautiful children.

And probably one of the most rewarding is finding old students from the four years I taught. They are all in college and graduating soon. The two I've contacted are so sweet and told me how much they loved me as a teacher. If that doesn't make someone feel good, I don't know what could.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Baby Is Five!

My youngest daughter, Zoe turned five today. I let her pick dinner and my benevolent daughter passed over bacon cheeseburger roll-up, probably her favorite meal of all time, for tacos, something her brother and sister both like. (Let's just say her big brother and big sister don't particularly enjoy bacon cheeseburger roll-up and leave it at that.) After dinner we sang "Happy Birthday" to Zoe and had ice cream.

We had the family over on Sunday to celebrate and had lots of fun and good food. I made my current favorite hors d'oeuvres, bacon wrapped lil' smokies. Can you say, "the way to ruin a diet?" Anyways, let's just say that they all got eaten along with the sugar coated pecans, cheese and crackers, dill vegetable dip and M&M's.

Zoe requested a Scooby Doo cake this year, so I made her a chocolate chocolate chip cake frosted in both chocolate and vanilla buttercream. Luckily I had a Wilton cake pan from when my son wanted a Scooby Doo cake several years earlier and so this cake was fairly easy to make. Zoe really loved it, which is always what is the most important to me.

Zoe got lots of great gifts, three dresses, a Barbie Thumbelina doll, a Hannah Montana doll, a book, and her favorite gift of the day: The Imaginext BatCave. It comes with the Batcycle, a Batman, a Robin, and lots of cool little features inside the BatCave itself. All three of my kids have now played with it every single day since Zoe received it and yes, Thumbelina and Hannah have been inside, as well as Brendan's Batgirl from on his dresser.

Now I just have to get used to the fact that my baby is five. Not sure how long it is going to take for that to sink in!

The Number 11 on March 11th

The number 11 isn't looking so good this morning on March 11. When I started up my computer to check my e-mail, this is what greeted me on my My Yahoo homepage:

Not the best representation of the number 11. But don't worry, I'll be posting something later that is sure to make 11 a happy number again.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Being A Parent (And A Kid) Isn't Easy

I'm not sure what it's like to have a kid with academic problems. So far, my three kids don't seem to have a lot of struggles with school. My first two learned to read fine and seem to be meeting all the marks they need to when it comes to their school subjects. My youngest, who is in preschool and has a speech problem, seems to be meeting her benchmarks as well and may even be done with speech before kindergarten starts next year. And while my kids are fairly young, 4th grade, 1st grade, and of course the preschooler, they seem to all be doing fine academically.

But my oldest child, my son, is having tremendous social difficulties. I feel like I know what to do when there is a math issue, or a science problem, but social issues are a whole different ballgame. When my youngest had speech problems, we had her tested and sent her to speech class. Through her speech class, her speech problem has shrunk while her confidence is soaring. But I don't know who to go to for social unease. I have talked to his teacher, which has helped. I have talked on the phone to the school social worker, and that helped, too.

But he still has problems. It breaks my heart. I don't know how to help him. How do you help a kid who feels awkward and doesn't feel like he has any friends? He isn't being bullied or made fun of, and he is included in the recess football game. And yet he still feels lonely.

I have listened to him and tried to reassure him that he is a great kid. I have tried to coach him with some strategies in being friends with others (following the old adage "Sometimes you have to be a friend to have a friend). I have offered to have kids from school over for the afternoon. I have let him know that I love him completely and always will. But I don't know how to make this part of his life better. I know kids have to go through some hard times in their lives. I know it can help them to grow. I know life isn't always a bowl of cherries. But it sure sucks while it is going on.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Makes Me Cry Everytime

I discovered this song some time ago, finally bought it from iTunes and every time I hear it I can't hold back the tears. It is Steven Curtis Chapman's "Cinderella" and if you have a daughter, I dare you to listen to it without tears.

My girls are only 5 and 6, but I can imagine all these upcoming events and I realize our time with them is truly only fleeting. I hope my husband and I are taking the time to dance with all three of our kids.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Weekend Fun

How was your weekend? Ours was busy, but fun. You know, the kind of busy that is good.

On Thursday, Emma, my 6 1/2 year old, had her first friend sleepover. They got to stay up until 10:15 and slept in sleeping bags on the floor. Anna had an Ariel sleeping bag while Emma used her cheerleader Barbie sleeping bag. They watched Ice Princess and had ice cream sandwiches for a treat.

The next morning Anna's mom came with her big brother and little sister and the kids played for another couple of hours while the moms chatted. It was a great way to spend a day off from school!

Then on Saturday Emma had a birthday party in the afternoon. While she was at the party I made giant half and half chocolate chip cookies to serve as dessert at that night's Daddy Daughter dance at my kids' school. Both Emma and Zoe went with Brendan this year and had a great time. The theme was sports so most of the dads wore Bears jerseys, including Brendan. Emma wore an Ohio State cheerleading outfit and Zoe wore a generic pink and blue cheerleading outfit. The reports are that the hot dog/ bratwurst/ hamburger dinner were great. There were games, dancing, and dessert, and of course the running around with the other first grade and preschool girls.

Ian and I stayed home and made a new recipe for dinner from the kids cookbook Ian got from the library. We both agreed the spicy chicken burgers were good and then we settled in for a few games of Mario Party 8 on the Wii. After Ian soundly drubbed me on the Wii, we turned on The Pink Panther movie with Steve Martin. We made popcorn and giggled at all of the silly antics of Inspector Clouseau. The girls came in just as the movie was ending at 9:00PM and we sent everyone up to bed.

Sunday brought church and play practice. It was a good weekend.