Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#Babble*

The kids are out of school all week and this morning I went for parent teacher conferences. It's always nice to get a chance to speak to the teachers and hear what they have to say about Peter and Sarah.  Usually it's no surprise what they have to say.  I am usually always well aware of what they point out as their strengths and as their weaknesses.

This morning I was told that one of my children had a great sense of humor and always kept the class laughing (but in a good way not a disruptive way). That made me smile and was something that I would have never expected.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall in both of their classrooms!

The kids were excited to have this week off because they really needed a break. Even though they both have homework, it's nice that they have a whole week to complete it and can do it at their leisure instead of rushing between homework, basketball practice, and scouts. 

Dan is excited to have a long weekend as well. We'll be driving to the mountains to get our tree on Friday.  Last year was the first year we've ever had a real tree.  We are always gone for so long over Christmas that it never seemed to make sense to pay for a real one, enjoy it for 3 1/2 weeks and then come home to a half dead tree.

Last year we decided we were ready for a new tradition and a real tree so off we went to get one. The kids enjoyed the drive, picking out our very own tree, watching it being chopped down, and lunch at Taco Bell afterwards.  I could take or leave Taco Bell, so Dan and I have already picked out the BBQ joint we'll be stopping at on our way home.

Poor Dan has spent our entire marriage saying the fake tree looks nice but it just doesn't smell like Christmas without a real tree.  Last year was the first year in 13 that I didn't have to hear him complain about the fake tree.  It was totally work all the vacuuming I had to do in January!

I will leave you with a few pictures of our week so far:

This is Sarah hard at work on a book report that's due on Monday.  Sarah is a very good writer but she tends to write with a lot of flair.  And by flair, I mean extra words that don't really add anything to the report and that I know the teacher won't appreciate because they are basically superfluous.  She and I were butting heads during the editing process yesterday.

Another reason that the kids were excited for a week off from school is because they don't ever get to hang out with Colton and Cheyanne any more because of basketball practice.  They came over yesterday afternoon to play and Chey brought Sarah this beautiful hat that she knit for her!! Isn't it gorgeous?
Sarah and I like Kale chips and my BFF, Jennifer, turned me on to this kit.  The kale is already chopped an a seasoning packet is included.  So easy!! 
And so yummy.  Sarah and I snacked all afternoon on these two pans!  (That was half the bag of mix.)


* #Babble - This is my new blog feature. There are many times when I want to write about something but it doesn't really have a beginning or an end and is more stream of consciousness . I had been using 7QT for that but I've recently decided I don't want to necessarily wait for Fridays and I don't want to be confined to a list and I just want to babble on my blog when I want to babble.  And since it's my blog, and since everything has a # these days - #Babble it is!  When you see that in the title, you can be warned that the post is just me rambling about whatever is going on or whatever happens to be on my mind!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Back to square one.

A couple of weeks ago I asked Sarah if she had given any thought to what she wanted for Christmas. I have to start the kids thinking early because we have quite a few relatives that ask for suggestions and I'm always at a loss.  And unfortunately, the older they get, the harder it is to come up with gift ideas.

She told me that she knew exactly what she wanted but she was going to keep a secret so she could test to see if Santa was real or not.

Lovely.

So I mentioned it again yesterday after she had finished up her homework.  She got a big smile on her face and excitedly grabbed a sheet of paper and started writing.

I was relieved that finally this year, I might get a decent list from her.  She presented the list to me saying, "This is all I want for Christmas this year."

And then I read the list:

Kitten
Bangs

I told her that those weren't items that Santa could bring so she scratched them out and now the list is blank again.

Back to square one.






Monday, November 17, 2014

A Washington, DC birthday!

Peter wanted to go to Washington, D.C. for his birthday this year.  He also took him when he was 8 and when he was 10 so it just seemed right that we should do it again for 12!

Dan's sister, Cathy, lives in Alexandria which is mere minutes from D.C. so we stayed with her again.  And Dan's brother, Bob, also lives in Alexandria so we got to see him as well.  Both my kids were very happy!

We brought Peter's friend Joe along this year.  What a great kid!  Peter and Joe had a great time together and Joe is just the nicest guy!  On the drive home, Dan and I decided we should just keep Joe, but ultimately, we gave him back to his parents.

We left our house around 4:30 on Thursday evening and arrived in Virginia at 10:30.  We were up at at 'em early on Friday morning.  Cathy made breakfast and then we headed over to the Wasington Monument.  We had 10:00 AM reservations to go up to the top.  (I highly recommend reservations.  It only cost $1.50 per person for the reservation which beat just walking up, waiting in line, and hoping for a spot.  Totally worth the $9!  And it was especially nice since it was cold on Friday.  We literally walked right in to the monument.)

And the views were spectacular.







After the trip to the top of the Washington Monument we visited the American History Museum.  We then grabbed some lunch and then headed to the International Spy Museum.  The boys really enjoyed this museum.  And actually, so did the grownups.   There were a lot of hands on activities as well as lots and lots of exhibits.  The people at the ticket counter said it would take about 2 hours to go through but if you looked at everything in this museum, you could easily spend 4 hours in there.  The kids were bored after about an hour and a half which I thought was pretty good.  So then we headed outside for the Spy in the City.  You have to pay extra for this but it was worth it.

The museum issued us a tablet and it was programmed with a spy mission.  We were walking through the city tracking a spy, decoding clues, and transmitting data.  This mission was aimed for kids 10 - 12 and I think it was just perfect for us.  The kids had lots of fun doing it even though they knew it wasn't real. 


Heading into some duct work to do some spying1

After the Spy Musuem, we headed to Ford's Theatre.  Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us see into the theater because they were preparing for a play.  But we got to go through the museum and we also went into the house across the street and got to see the room Abraham Lincoln died in.

After that we headed back to Cathy's house for a delicious steak dinner and homemade chocolate birthday cake!


On Saturday morning, we headed out to see a few monuments.  We hit the USMC Monument, the WWII Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.





After that, we went to the White House.  We had a tour scheduled for Noon and we had to be there by 11:45.  We literally ran but got there in plenty of time.  We went through multiple security check points and finally made it inside.  The tour was self guided through the East Wing.  We did not get to see the president. The kids joked that he was probably on the gold course anyway and weren't too disappointed.  The kids however, were disappointed that we didn't  get to see their dog, Bo. 





 After the White House tour we grabbed some lunch and then stopped in to the Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery briefly. (The kids weren't at all interested in looking at paintings.  I would have liked to have spent some more time there however.)

And then, we headed to the open air ice skating rink at the Sculpture Garden.  This was at Sarah's request.  We were tired, but she had been such a trooper on this trip that we couldn't say no.  And, Joe was excited to try ice skating because he had never done it before.  They all had a great time!

After ice skating, we went to Mass at St. Patrick's which was built in 1792!  After Mass, we went to dinner at Ted's Bulletin and of course, got the best milkshakes known to man.  (They use all cream in their shakes - not milk!) 

And believe it or not, that was all we did!  :)
 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lollipop Bouquet.

Sarah saw a DIY tutorial on how to make a lollipop bouquet and knew that's what she wanted to make Peter for his birthday.

She gave me a list of supplies and off I went to the store.  It was actually a very short list (my kind of DIY project).  It required no special tools, it was easy for her to put together, and there was no mess to clean up. 

And look at the adorable lillipop bouquet she made for Peter:


He was thrilled when she presented it to him at breakfast yesterday!


All it took was 2 bags of Blo-Pops, 2 bags of Tootsie Pops and 1 bag of Dum-Dums.  I purchased a foam floral ball and we already had the flower pot. Voila!  Lollipop bouquet! 

And a helpful tip:  the more lollipops - the better!  Don't skimp because you want a nice full bouquet!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Twelve is...

Twelve is....


intelligent
grouchy
humorous
serious
loyal
sensitive
knowledgable
inqisitive
hot-tempered
loving
tenderhearted


Twelve loves to...

play video games
read books about history
pick on his sister
play basketball, swim, and run track
watch You Tube videos
Google anything he wants to learn about
eat Sunday lunch at Grandma's and Grandpa's house
give shoulder hugs to his family
go outside and play with his Airsoft guns
eat BBQ, wings, and pizza
go camping

Twelve has my heart.

Happy Birthday, Peter!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's always good to get the first one out of the way!

I knew they were nervous.  Sarah, because she told me many times she was nervous.  Peter, because he was silent.  And I have to admit, I was nervous too.

Yesterday they played their very first games as members of their school basketball team.  They decided at the end of last season that they were ready to move up from the local rec/learning league to their school team.

I had been to one of their school's JV basketball games and I knew it was going to be a lot different than they were used to.  It was going to be a much faster paced, more aggressive game than they were used to.

We loaded up the car immediately after the school bell rang.  I drove Peter, Sarah, and two of Peter's teammates to the game - which happened to be almost an hour away.  But the weather was beautiful, the drive was peaceful, and all four kids worked diligently on their homework.  And I have to admit that I enjoyed eavesdropping on the boys as they talked about homework, school, teachers, etc. 

We arrived at Sacred Heart right on time.  It was a beautiful school - clean, bright, large. The gym was nice too.  It was very well lit and I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera.  I might have been able to get some nice shots.  The lighting in most gymnasiums makes it hard to get a decent shot.  (Well, that and the fact that I still don't know how to properly use my camera!)

The girls started their warm ups and the boys team all sat together and formed a little cheering section.

The game began and Sarah did not start.  I think she and I were both a little relieved about that.  The girls have a big team and the coach did a great job and giving everyone a chance to play. 

I could tell Sarah was a little unsure of herself because any time she got the ball, she immediately looked to see who she could pass it off too.  But she did take two shots.  One missed and the other went in!  She also grabbed a couple of rebounds and did a pretty good job throwing the ball in as point guard. 

The girls ended up losing but it was a really good game.  And then the boys were up.  Peter's team is really small compared to Sarah's and since he is one of the taller kids on the team, he got to start. 

The boys game was much faster paced than the girls.  And those boys were aggressive (but not in a bad way).  And Peter was, well, Peter.  He knew what was going on, but I could tell he was unsure of what to do with the ball. Or afraid he was going to mess up.  He passed it off a lot but he did make 6 nice rebounds and the boys won!

The next game is on Saturday but the kids will miss it because we are going to Washington, DC for Peter's birthday.  It's always good to get that first game under your belt. I think we will all breathe a little easier now.


Friday, November 7, 2014

PT Oh No!

So I believe I mentioned in a previous post that I'm serving on the PTO board as Stewardship Coordinator.  It has been a lot of fun so far and not that hard.  (My kind of job!)  However, several weeks ago, our current PTO President told us that her husband had just accepted a job with the University of Texas and they were moving back to Austin.
When I got that email, I immediately pulled out our PTO bylaws to see who was next in line.  We didn't have a vice president so I was curious as to who would fill her role.  The bylaws state that if a vacancy occurs in the office of president, a current PTO Executive Board officer will be selected by the Executive Board.  So that meant that 5 of us could potentially be the new president.

Whew!  That was four other people better qualified than myself to tackle this position.  I breathed a small sigh of relief.

And then I got another email from another board member that stated due to her work schedule, she was going to have to resign.  And then I heard from another member that she might be moving in March because of her husband's job.

And then at the meeting last night, one of the other members stated that she would love to be PTO President in two years when her youngest was in Kindergarten and her husband was hopefully done working 80 hour weeks.  But she would not be able to handle the role of president now.

So that left me and one other woman.  And I think the other woman would be PERFECT for this job.  BUT, she's the current treasurer.  And you can't be treasurer AND president...um conflict of interest anyone??  And we felt like we would have a hard time finding someone to be treasurer so it made sense to leave her there.

And guess who that left?  Yes.  That's right.  Me.

And y'all.  I'm going to be honest and say that I am scared to death about the prospect.  My two biggest fears in life are public speaking and heights.  Please don't ever put me up on a bridge to give a speech because I might just faint dead away.

I told them that I would do it, but that I did not want to run the general board meetings - because all those people are public and I would have to be speaking in front of them and I'm already breaking out into a cold sweat thinking about it.  (When I had to introduce myself at the last general meeting and explain my role, I got flustered and felt like I sounded like a blooming idiot.)

The treasurer and other members said that they would be glad to run the board meetings and with that caveat, I agreed.

On the way home from the meeting, I was in a daze, wondering what I had just done.  The current PTO President is really good.  She's got a lot of great ideas and a strong vision for the PTO and she's just got so much energy and....big shoes to fill.  Big. Shoes.

Luckily for me though, she has the year pretty much planned out so at this point, it's basically execution of the plans. I hope and pray I can do a good job. 

And I think this is going to be me for the rest of the year:


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Visual Vocabulary Day

Typically on the same day that the Kindergarteners dress up for All Saints Day at school, the middle school holds it's annual Visual Vocabulary Day.

The day I saw it posted on the school website, I figured Peter and I would spend hours scratching our heads trying to figure out what word to do and how to represent it.  But, that very afternoon, when I he hopped into the car, he exclaimed, "Visual Vocabulary Day is coming up and I've already picked my word and we need to go to the Halloween store so I can get my costume."

Well, all righty then!  So much for scratching our heads for hours.  And, yay!  I didn't have to scratch my head at all.  That's my kind of project!

Parents get to attend Visual Vocabulary so of course I went with camera in hand.

When I arrived at the gym, they had rows of chairs lined up and all of the 7th and 8th graders were seated, dressed as their words.

The 6th graders (Peter's class) was huddled around the entrance, dressed as their words.  They were waiting anxiously for the elementary kids to arrive.  As each grade arrived (they all had their appointed time slots) the 6th graders divided them up into smaller groups and took them around.

Each elementary student had a card with a grid printed on it with 9 squares.  The 6th graders took them to 9 different "words" and at each word, they learned what the word meant, what part of speech it was, etc.  And the 7th or 8th grader gave them a sticker to place on their grid after they learned about their word. 

Pretty neat, huh?  I thought so too!

Here are a few pictures of some of the words:

Peter as Incognito.



Rotund


Ablutophobia (being photo bombed by Incognito

Abecedarian



Nuclear


Ersatz

Buffoon

Notorious

Pavonine
Troglodyte

Sarah!

Incognito taking around some younger kids!


I had lots of fun looking at all the different words and I know Peter had a lot of fun as well! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween!

I just had to share some pictures from Halloween!

Look at my little darlings....errrr...creatures?





We did a pretty good job with Sarah's make-up, don't you think?

And Peter always chooses his costume based on teh mask that come with it and every year, ends up ditching the mask because he can't see out of it or breath out of it and it's too hot.  So, next year, I'm going to convince him that we need to do make up instead of wasting money on a mask that he ultimately will not wear even though he promises he will wear it.

After he took his mask off, he laughed at himself in the mirror and said, "It's pretty freaky without the mask!"  Freaky, silly.  Whatever.  As long as he's happy.

After the pictures, we headed out to meet our friends to get down to business.  And here's our annual group shot.





And do you see the cool costume in the back?  It's a jellyfish and they made it off Pinterest.  And I would say they nailed it! (And I hope you can see the cool glow from the LED lights!)



And our last stop of the night is at my parent's house.  My mom always makes the best treat bags for our group (and smaller treat bags for others who happen to stop by).