Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I am looking forward to in 2010...

1. being healthier
2. financial security and stability
3. giving more and taking less
4. watching my kids turn 2, 9, and 11 (11!!!)
5. 52 Tuesday nights
6. girls' nights
7. opportunities to grow
8. peace (please!)
9. laughing more
10. spiritual renewal

Tuesday's mitzvah was my sister's family. I gave my brother-in-law, my nephew and my niece each a little treat and a card telling them why they are special to me. They really are wonderful. And they make my sister happy. Which is the most wonderful thing of all.

Wednesday's mitzvah was kind of an annual tradition. I gave my sister the 25 Most Intriguing People magazine that I got in my stocking. I usually read it Christmas night or the next day and then pass it on to her. This year there was a bonus...a decade in review section. Wow. The end of a decade.

Today's mitzvah is to take my husband to lunch. Without kids. I honestly can't remember the last time we did anything without at least one child. Which we really don't mind. We both love being together with the kids. But it will be nice to be able to eat and talk without helping with the word search on the place mat or ordering something I can share with a one year old or sharing my soda and worrying about backwash. I am really looking forward to it.

And so ends my month of mitzvahing. It was an interesting and rewarding exercise. Thinking of who and what to mitzvah was often challenging. As was finding the time and opportunity. But I would suggest that everyone try it. It made me really think about who in my life is important. And it stretched my heart and mind and imagination. If you don't want to do a whole month, try a week. You will be as blessed as those you mitzvah.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Today is Monday...and I am not at school. I am instead sitting here in my pajamas blogging. This is my kind of Monday morning.

Josh went home with a friend after church yesterday and then when I went to pick him up, somehow that friend ended up coming home with us to spend the night. And I didn't mind at all when, while eating a warm grilled cheese sandwich, Josh told his friend that I was the best cook ever. Now I know that I am not, in fact, the best cook ever. I consider microwaving cooking. And make most things from boxes and cans. But to hear Josh brag about me, even if it was my skillz at making a mean grilled cheese, was priceless.

These sleepovers, though, do cause some difficulties. What do you do when your sons are only 19 months apart and one has a friend over? Adam wants to be with them. Josh wants to be alone with his friend. Adam gets picked on. Josh gets in trouble. A warning that the more trouble there was, the sooner the friend would go home stopped it for the moment. But I'm still wondering where the line is where Adam gets to be included and where Josh gets to be alone? It's one of those parenting things that we'll have to work through, I guess. But for now I'm going to go make grilled cheese for breakfast...because, well, I'm really, really good at making grilled cheese.

Today's mitzvah is to write thank you cards to all those who gave me Christmas gifts. That would be 19 thank you cards.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blessed Sunday

So I'm 37 years old, but I still love to get presents. The last week of school before vacation, a gift appeared on my desk at least once a day. It was so much fun to walk in to my classroom not knowing what new goody would be there. Then on Christmas Eve, I got my annual pajamas from my mom and dad. (No, I am not too old for new jammies every year.) Then Christmas morning I got a stocking full of goodies from my family. (Arrty and I only do stockings for each other.)

And then, if all that wasn't enough, we went to mom and dad's house for lunch and more presents. Dad made his first prime rib. Oh my goodness. It was so good. Everyone sat around the table and oohed and aahed and mmmed. I think it was decided that this was the new Christmas dinner tradition. As soon as we could pull ourselves away from the table we opened presents. The kids all got lots of fun toys. The boys got cars and Nerf guns, which were a huge hit. And the girls got blocks and a little stable complete with ponies. And Jules got a fleece blanket just her size and a matching one for baby in a Jules sized stroller. I got a new apron and some great kitchen scissors with all kinds of cutting edges. And the sweetest pictures of my kids that my sister mounted on tiles and embellished with paper and ribbon and little buttons that say faith, hope, and blessed. I love them. And then, after everything was opened and the paper was all thrown away, mom led Ada and I into dad's shop. In the back of his truck were two chest freezers with big red bows. You would have thought that my sister and I were 12 and the freezers were ponies with all the jumping and squealing that happened. Who knew chest freezers would be so appreciated? Today I'm going to the store just to buy ice cream and frozen pizzas to fill it up. :)

So I say all this to say, I have been blessed this week by receiving gifts...and by all those who gave them.

Today's mitzvah was to give little purse sized planners to two sisters at church with a happy new year card.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Week In Review

There hasn't been much time for blogging these last few days. So much festivity, you know. So I thought I'd catch you up on the mitzvahing.

Monday I went shopping for last minute Christmas stuff. I decided before I went to give to all my fellow shoppers politeness and to all those working in the stores a cheerful "Merry Christmas."

Tuesday I spent all day at home making Christmas gifts. The adults in our family were giving homemade gifts to each other this year, so part of my gift was to give time to make special things for each person.

Wednesday I was back in town to get more supplies after I ran out Tuesday night. And it was my dad's day to be mitzvahed. I picked him up from work at lunch time and took him to Panda Express. We sat in the sun and ate and visited. These lunches out with my favorite people have been my favorite mitzvahs.

Thursday we headed into town for Christmas Eve at mom and dad's house. On the way we dropped off Mrs. T's Christmas gift from the boys since their very repentant mother forgot on the last day of school. And then we dropped off two movies that we had rented the night before. (G-Force, which the boys seemed to enjoy but I was too busy to watch, and Julie and Julia, which I loved.) Then we went to the post office because the boys' Christmas gift was guaranteed to be there. It wasn't. So I gave the lady behind the counter a break since it wasn't her fault. Which then led to a quick stop at Target to replace the unarriving gifts since that was all we were getting them this year. (Now I have to go to Walmart next week to return the other ones that are at the post office today.)

Friday I gave a lot of things. Toys and clothes to the kids. Homemade jam (strawberry, blackberry, and blueberry) to all the grown ups. Homemade jerky to the guys and handmade cards to the girls. Plus spiced nuts to dad, personalized canning labels to mom and personalized recipe cards to my sister. And rice bags to everyone. But my mitzvah on Christmas day was to give to Jesus my attention and my heart. It's his birthday after all. He should get my best gift of all.

And that brings us to today. Today I am giving my family the day. I will watch whatever movies they want to watch. I will play whatever games they want to play. I will cook whatever they want to eat. And I will enjoy it with them. They are why I'm here. They are my purpose in this life.

So there you have it. My first week of Christmas vacation. One more glorious, unbusy, much needed week to go.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are all having a lovely day with family and friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blessed Sunday

I am blessed with great friends. I've posted about them before, these sister friends of mine. In today's sermon at church, the preacher asked who would be on our list of people we could count on, people who would never let us down. They are on my list. I love them and they love me. So today's mitzvah was to give special Christmas gifts to each of them. Katrina got a necklace with the word hope engraved on a heart...because, well, hope is her middle name. Marci got a snowflake necklace...because she is so good at dressing to fit the season and it seemed perfect for her. Kim is getting bubble bath...because she is the one of us who actually takes baths. And Kathy got a basket of papaya and mango bath and body stuff...because I know she loves the mango.

Merry Christmas, girls. And many, many more.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All work and no blog

No time to blog today because today's mitzvah is to give my family a clean least for an hour or two.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Show and Tell

Today for show and tell I will tell you what I got from my students for Christmas.

a ceramic angel and a glittery white tree ornament
honey in a bear shaped bottle
a glass apple and a pack of note cards
a box of cookies, a bag of candy, and a journal
a candle that smells like apple pie
a gift card to Applebees

Now don't you all wish you were teachers?

Today's mitzvah--I gave plates of cookies and candy to all the school staff. And I gave stuffed animals to all my students. (Which they all used for show and tell even though we just saw them get them.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

10 Things Thursday--Mitzvah Edition

10 things I love about my sister...

1. She knows. She knows things that no one else in the world but she and I know.
2. She is funny. Over the years, she has made me laugh more than any one else.
3. She is beautiful. Inside and out.
4. She is my perfect Pictionary partner. (See #1.)
5. She loves my kids. And they adore her.
6. She is an amazing mom. She loves her children the way a mommy should.
7. She is strong. She has survived more than her share of trials.
8. She is talented. She sings like an angel and crafts like Martha and cooks like Rachel.
9. She is my friend. The best kind of friend.
10. She loves God. And lets him love her.

For her mitzvah, she gets this list...and a big bunch of pink flowers. And my eternal, unconditional love and adoration.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I was up at 4:19 this morning. Yes, 4:19 AM. Miss Julianna decided to fuss. Which happens occasionally. I usually just let her fuss it out for a few minutes and she goes right back to sleep. But after about 5 minutes this morning, I whispered, to myself, "Please, go back to sleep, Baby." But she must have heard me through two doors and down the hall, because then she started saying, "Mama.....Mama.....Mama." Well, I can't not go get her when she calls for me by name, so I got up and went into her room. I picked her up out of her crib and went into the living room to snuggle for a few minutes. (I have a wonderful rocking chair in her room, but she refuses to sit in there anymore since she realized that life goes on in the rest of the house after she is in bed. Nothing was happening at 4:19, but she didn't know that.) So she sat on my lap with her sweet, soft head resting on my chest. I closed my eyes and had to smile because I thought of mornings I had spent like this a few years ago. 7 and 9 years ago. When the one year olds sitting on my lap in the early morning darkness were Josh and Adam. And how now, such a short time later, they can barely fit on my lap. And how now I wish I could once again feel their soft, baby heads under my chin. And how I wish, for just a second, that I could hold those sweet babies again. But they were asleep in their own beds. Not needing mommy to get back to sleep. So for that few minutes this morning, a few minutes longer than usual, I sat with this baby on my lap. This third baby. This last chance to snuggle sweet babyness. And I loved every second it.

Today's Mitzvah--Today I gave a card and some Avon goodies to Alyson. Alyson is my friend and sister in Christ. And she is the junior high science teacher at our school. She was also my secret sister earlier this year and spoiled me with all kinds of butterfly things, Oreos, and Diet Coke. And she's Julianna's friend Lily's mommy. But beyond all of that, she is an amazing example of Christian servanthood. She does so much for our congregation and seems to always be doing something to help others. She is a blessing to me and so many others.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today's mitzvah--Today I am giving thanks to God for healthy children. Taking care of Adam while he had the flu over the weekend reminded me of what a blessing that is. I always feel so helpless when the kids are sick. I can pour 7-up and cover them with blankets and turn on their favorite movies, but I can't take the pain away. And I want to take the pain away. So I am giving thanks to God that I only have to deal with the flu and colds and tummy aches. Things that pass in a few hours or days. Not the life long or life threatening illnesses that other parents have to deal with. Thank you, Lord.

Monday, December 14, 2009


My brain is full of all kinds of ramblings today. Maybe if I get them out I'll be able to sleep tonight.

We've had the flu. Adam the worst complete with middle of the night bedding change and laundry session. Mine is about gone but I'm still achy and tired.

We went to a memorial service today for a close family friend. My dad did the service. He did well. Even though I didn't see John often, I'm going to miss him. I keep seeing him in the faces of men with long beards. But none of them are him.

My class (including me) is pretty much in Christmas break mode. My one and only goal for this week is to get their gifts for their parents finished and wrapped. I am a little ahead in my curriculum, so I don't feel too guilty for not doing all my lessons every day.

Today was the first day of coats and boots and snow pants and hats and gloves. Such an ordeal for kindergartners...and kindergarten teachers.

Speaking of gloves, send gloves to school with your children! I feel sorry for the ones whose little fingers freeze during recess and even let a few stay in today who didn't have gloves. But I don't feel sorry for the parents. Send gloves to school with your children!

I really want to buy the boys this biggish present for Christmas, but I can't bring myself to do it since we are still dealing with unemployment in our house. Urgh.

Okay, I'm blaming my whining on the flu. And now I'm done whining.

On another note...

Today's mitzvah--I collected some books out of our family's huge collection of books to pass on to a sweet little girl whose family is friends of our family. Her mom had mentioned wanting new books for her and so when I was thinning ours, I thought of her. Hopefully she'll get as much enjoyment out of them as we have.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blessed Sunday

Today's mitzvah was cards for two ladies at church who I really admire. They are kind and generous and funny. They are good examples to me of what a Christian woman should be. They are my sisters, friends, and a blessing in my life.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Today's mitzvah went to Julianna. I gave her my time (and three Hershey's kisses). I spent the whole day being attentive to her. We played and read and snuggled and laughed. I dropped everything else when she wanted anything and gladly gave her all of my attention. It was good. For her and for me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Show and Tell

Ironman action figure that came from the store (I had to ask questions to get that much information. At first A. just sat in the show and tell chair and held Ironman up and then got up and went back to his place. That's more like show and not tell I guess.)

Nutcracker that's "very special that I got from Santa last year. His hand kept coming out so we had to tape it. You crack the nut like this. And this is it's sword and it has a diamond. And that's it."

Two stuffed cats that are "very special"

Stuffed puppy that M. got "at Claire's and she had clothes but I lost them and her name is Alissa and I really love her."

Wind up flashlight that D. got for his birthday "a long time ago" (Umm, he's six so it couldn't have been that long ago.) (And if you're wondering, yes it's the same thing D. brought last week.)

"Outer space thing that lights up on the little buttons and goes with a bear and a story. When I read a story it's kind of good but I didn't bring the bear and story 'cuz it's too long."

Two stuffed puppies--"This one is the big sister and this one is the little sister and they are twins. This one is named Emily and this one is named Katie. Sometimes I forget to brush their teeth. They are my favorite puppies in the world and I play with them everyday and I have more puppies at my house and I like them and it's going to be all their birthdays next year and sometimes they just wiggle and wag their tails and hide behind things and sometimes they are scared and these dogs are so special and I got them from the store a long time ago, two days ago, and my real doggie at home is not a stuffed one and I'm getting five little puppies for Christmas and I'm going to feed them every time and they like jumping and they like laying down on their hands like this or like this and sometimes they run and chase squirrels and cats but sometimes cats chase them and I like them cuz their my real dogs."

Today's mitzvah--Today was Kathy's day. She deserves several days for being such a good friend, for making me laugh, and for having my back whenever I need her. But for now she gets today. Although what I gave her will last for more than a day. I gave her a Toblerone candy bar, which I know she loves, and a coupon book with coupons for things like a day out with me, a day of babysitting so she can have a whole day of quiet, days of me taking her recess and lunch duties at school, a box of Junior Mints when we go to the movies, and a latte from Costco (not counting the one I gave her today.) Oy vey! It's the gift that keeps on giving. Love ya, Kathy! And happy mitzvah!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I remember about 4th grade...

1. It's the first year of school that I actually remember. I can close my eyes and picture the school and classroom and playground and kids.
2. I remember thinking I was very grown up. I turned 10 that year, after all.
3. My favorite thing to do at recess was to play on the tire swings.
4. Joan Jett's I Love Rock and Roll came out that year. I still can't resist singing along whenever I hear it.
5. It was the year I first noticed boys. And had my first "boyfriend." The relationship lasted from lunch recess to the end of school that day.
6. I had lots of friends. I went to their house and they came to mine.
7. I was in Blue Birds. Kind of like Girl Scouts, I guess.
8. I was in the running club. I think it was the last time I ran by choice.
9. I walked to school. Better than riding the bus, even in the dead of winter.
10. 4th grade was the beginning of the end of childhood for me. It was a transition time leading into the strange world of adolescence.

I've been thinking about 4th grade a lot lately because Josh is in 4th grade this year. He, too, is beginning to have those moments where he seems older than his 10 years. Less interested in little kid stuff. And then the next moment, he might seem much younger. Enjoying the little kid stuff. It's weird, this 4th grade time. For the 4th grader and for mom. I'm trying to enjoy the kid moments with him, and help him understand the maturing stuff. The last 10 years have gone much, much too quickly. I hope the next 8 slow down.

Today's mitzvah--Today was Josh's turn to go to lunch with me. He chose Taco Bell and we shared the double steak quesadilla and 7 layer nachos. It was a nice, quiet time with him. He asked me if we were going to keep doing this lunch thing or if this was the only time. And I just think I might make lunch with one boy at a time at least a monthly ritual. It's just been too good to not do again.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Field Trip

Today the boys went on a field trip...without me. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I wasn't there to watch them and experience it with them. I did okay since I knew that the grown ups they were with are very reliable and trustworthy and like the boys well enough to make sure they made it back to school. And I guess they did okay without me, too. They came back to school and said the field trip was awesome. So I guess we all survived...but next time I'm going.

Today's mitzvah--One of the 8th grade girls at school comes to my class each morning to help me with my class in chapel. She sits on one end of our row and helps make sure the kids put the right hand over their hearts during the pledge and sit and stand when they are supposed to and are quiet when it's time to be quiet. I've known her since she was born and love her and her family. She has a unique sense of style that I love. She is funny and smart and good company at plays and movies and Applebee's. She has a heart for the Lord and is an example to me and many others. So today I gave her a card and little gift (nail kit, lotion, bubble bath, and lip balm) to show her my appreciation.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Mitzvah Day 8

My mitzvah today was to take Adam to lunch. Just the two of us. And he got to pick where we went. He chose Wendy's where we had burgers and fries. He had a vanilla Frosty and I had a Diet Pepsi. And we sat and ate and talked and laughed. He is such a smart, funny, clever kid. I love him all to pieces.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Today's mitzvah--We are going to Santa and Mrs. Claus' house for a Christmas party tonight. I will be giving them "Santa's Magic Key" that I picked up a few weeks ago. It is for those houses that don't have chimneys. It's an oversized, old fashioned key in a blue velvet box. Very cute. I think they will like it.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Blessed Sunday

Another holiday tradition took place today. Every year our family decorates my mom and dad's Christmas tree together. There used to be four of us decorating. Then 5. Then 6 and 7 and 8 and 9 and 10. And today there were 11 of us all helping with the bells, bows, and balls. The kids did most of the decorating so the ornaments were not distributed evenly. And Julianna didn't know to hang the ornaments so she just found a flatish branch and made a pile with hers. But we all know that mom goes back after we all leave and fixes everything the way she wants it anyway. And that is just part of the tradition. We ate hot wings and laughed and told stories. We teased each other and smiled at the kids. We took pictures and made memories. And isn't that what the blessing of traditions is really all about?

Today's mitzvah--Today is the last Sunday before we have our secret sister revealing at church so I gave my sister one last gift and a card reminding her that she is in my prayers daily before she finds out who I am on Friday night. I also gave a thank you card to the sweet lady who organized yesterday's craft fair. I've been in her shoes and it's a lot of work so I told her how much I appreciated what she did.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Craft Fair

Our school had our annual craft and gift fair today. We had about 30 vendors selling scarves, cards, soap, jewelry, candles and at least a hundred other things. It's always a fun day and a good community outreach project for our school. I had a booth and sold Avon. I spent almost as much as I made, but I got to spend the day with my sister who had her booth next to mine. We don't often get to spend time together without being interrupted by rowdy boys or babies needing to be changed or fed or held. And although I love sharing motherhood with her, it was nice to have a day of simply sisterhood.

Today's mitzvah--My mom took care of the kids today while I worked the craft fair and when I went to pick them up, I took her a poinsettia. She is an amazing, wonderful mom and grandma. There aren't enough poinsettias in the world to tell her how much I love her, but I hope the one I gave her today is one little reminder of how I feel.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Show and Tell

a "stuffed up" doggy--No it doesn't have a cold. It's actually just stuffed.

a wind up flashlight--Which is apparently more fun to wind than to shine.

kissing horses (they have magnets that draw their noses together)--"This one gots a broken ear. Sometimes I wash their hair in the bathtub because they like to go in the bathtub."

a toy tank--that A got for his birthday and he "likes having it."

little notebook--that H got "a long time ago" and that she likes to draw pictures in

a music box with tiny penguins ice skating on top--It plays Joy To The World.

stuffed Cat in the Hat that "has a hat and is a cat" and a Cat in the Hat pop-up book where he "comes in the door and goes out the door. Then on the next page you pull this and it does this to that guy. "

stuffed doggy complete with pink carrying case and stuffed horse complete with plaid saddle blanket

Today's mitzvah--I am taking my friend Allison to lunch at one of her favorite local restaurants. I don't get to see her nearly often enough and she's moving in 10 days. I'm going to miss her, but I know that God has big plans for her. I'm sure she will be a blessing to all those she works with in Santa Fe just like she's been to me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I did before 10am today...

1. threw a party...well, started to throw a party. But as soon as I realized that it was a pity party, I cancelled it. Yes, I'm a nice person. Yes, I try to do what's right. But, like I've told Josh and Adam a hundred times, life isn't fair. Move on.

2. was a little louder than usual making lunches hoping that my sweet daughter would wake up before I left so that I could hug her and kiss her soft cheeks. It worked.

3. made the boys homemade egg was worth the extra few minutes it took to know that they were happy and full to start the day.

4. prayed with my friends. We have staff prayer time every morning before school. It's a real blessing.

5. smiled in chapel when, upon being asked if anyone had ever had a deer for a pet, the little girl next to me raised her hand. When I asked her if she had really had a pet deer, she said, "Well, I have the horns."

6. laughed out loud when one of my students told me that her sister (who was in my class two years ago) called me Mrs. Weird because she couldn't say my real name. Mrs. Weird...if she only knew.

7. put up a stocking in the hall outside my classroom for "Drkvature." (Dark Vader, or Darth Vader if you prefer. It was actually just one of my students, who wrote that instead of his real name. Too bad for him because he'd probably get something good in his stocking, but I'm pretty sure Drkvature is getting coal.)

8. tied 7 shoes and zipped 5 coats.

9. forgot to give milk to the kids who ordered it for snack...again.

10. kissed the tops of Josh and Adam's heads before I sent them to class. I do it as much as I can these days before I have to ask them to bend down to do it. It won't be long. Not nearly long enough.

Today's Mitzvah--I am sending pictures of the kids with Santa to my in-laws. They adore the kids but don't get to see them often. They will be thrilled.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mitzvah Day 2

Today I gave two of my coworkers/friends who I know are especially fond of chocolate, a chocolate espresso dipped pretzel. These two ladies do a lot for the school and for me. They are encouraging and helpful and always willing to go the extra mile. They deserve a lot more than a chocolate dipped pretzel, but for today they get that...and my thanks.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Mitzvah Day 1

So today starts my 31 days of Mitzvah--giving something to someone everyday and posting about it. I sat down and made a list of people who are important to me. People who make, or have made, a difference in my life. And those people are the ones to whom I will give this month. There are more than 31 on my list, so some of them I grouped together. But it's a good list. A list anyone would be proud to be able to make as important people in their lives. And that is true for me. These people, all 31+, make me happier than I'd be without them and are a blessing to me. So here we go.

Today's Mitzvah recipient is my class. My 10 students who teach me while I teach them. Who give me reasons to smile everyday. Who remind me of God's goodness. I have given to them free time. Free time is a big deal in kindergarten. We have a pretty full curriculum and so most of the hours we are together are spent working. But today as they sat on the story time rug, I asked them, "If you could do anything right now, what would you want to do?" Their answers were play with our new kitchen play set, play with Legos, and color. So that's what they did. And it was fun to watch them cook and eat and build and pretend. Free time is good. I'm glad I gave it to them. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

The End?

Today is November 30th. Which means that I made it through NaBloPoMo without missing a day. It was a challenge some days thinking of something to post. Or just finding the time to post. But I did it. And I may win prizes. One year I won a $40 gift card to itunes. I'd take that again.

But just when I thought I was finished with daily posts, I got an email about December's NaBloPoMo theme. And even though it's not officially National Blog Posting Month, the same challenge applies for December. The theme is Mitzvah. Which I found out is a Jewish word used to express an act of kindness. So December's challenge is to give something to someone every day and then post about it. It can be anything you want to give, from a kind word to time to a present. Sounds interesting. And challenging. I think I might just try it.

So I guess I'll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blessed Sunday

Yesterday morning, before 2/5 of our family was awake, Adam and I played 5 rounds of UNO Spin. It's UNO only with a plate sized spinner that comes into play with certain cards. It's really fun even though Adam beat me 3 games to 2. While we were playing, Adam, out of the blue said, "Mom, I've been trying to think who could have given us all those presents last year. I have a couple of ideas, but I'm not sure." He was remembering last Christmas Eve when we came home to our porch covered with bags of Christmas gifts for the whole family. Presents which included UNO Spin. There was a note, but no one had signed it. I'm sure it was someone (or a group of someones) from our church family who had done such a wonderful, kind thing for us knowing that we only had 1/2 a job supporting our family. It was a little overwhelming, this gift of kindness. Overwhelming to know that we have those who care for us enough that they would go out of their way to make our holiday happier. Overwhelming that God's love is so alive in those who did such a thing. Overwhelming to see my children experience such an act of goodness. I had just been thinking about all this earlier in the week and to have Adam mention it, remember it, be thinking about it a year later, was more evidence to me that what these loving sisters and brothers did was so much more than give us presents to unwrap Christmas morning. They gave us hope and joy and an example to follow. I hope that someday our family will be able to do such a thing for an other family in need. So today, I am remembering last year and our amazingly blessed Christmas. One that will be remembered always, by our whole family.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

'Tis the season

I did my best to focus on Thanksgiving this month so far. But now that it's over, other than the leftovers in the fridge, it's time to think about Christmas. I love Christmas, too. The lights and the cookies and the warm feelings. And the traditions. It's hectic and busy and full. But it's also happy and fun and filled with all kinds of goodness. So today I will change my blog background. And add a Christmas countdown clock. And make a list of things to do and things to make and events to attend.

And to help you get in a festive mood, too...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Say Cheese!

Our Thanksgiving was good. It started with the First Annual Family Cheese Off. There were 7 cheeseballs in the running. Here they are all set up pre-tasting.

This is Ada's chicken and cream cheese ball. Yummy!

Dad's smoked salmon and jalapeno cheese ball, pina colada cheese ball (served with graham crackers), and mom's ham and cheese ball.

And mine...Italian cheese, Colby jack, and cheddar and bacon (with some sliced cheddar for Aidan).

Although there was no official winner, dad's smoked salmon and jalapeno seemed to be a slight favorite. And really we all won because we all got to taste all of the yumminess.
The cheese was just a warm up for the main event. We had two turkeys, one roasted and one smoked, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, cream corn, green beans, sweet potato casserole, pea salad, bread, and pink stuff.* And for dessert there was pumpkin pie, carrot cake, custard pie, oatmeal cake, and s'mores brownies. Here are the birds right out of the oven...and smoker.

And the boys waiting patiently for dinner.

And the girls by the back door watching all the goings on outside.

It was a good day with good food and better company. And it was a good reminder of all the things we have to be thankful for.
*Pink stuff has been renamed "jabby" after Jules and Abby because it's pink and sweet. I knew the boys would come up with a more interesting name for it than pink stuff.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I'm thankful for...

1. Salvation...and all that comes with it--peace, grace, forgiveness, joy, and my favorite these days, hope.
2. My husband...who loves me through it all.
3. firstborn who taught me how to be a mom.
4. Adam...who makes me laugh everyday.
5. Julianna...who warms my heart like no one else can.
6. Mom and Dad...who have made me who I am and who love me like parents should.
7. Ada, Adam, Aidan, and sister and her family who I absolutely adore.
8. My sister friends...who I wouldn't know what to do without.
9. An abundance of material blessings...everything I need to take care of my family.
10. Long the one I am in the midst of.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ho Ho Ho!

Santa visited our school yesterday. The kids all had the chance to get their pictures taken with he and Mrs. Claus. Now there are those "Santas" around who say they are the real thing, but are, in fact, just helping the real Santa out before the big day. Our Santa is the real thing. How do I know? Well, for one thing, I have dinner with him every week. And I have prayed with him. And heard his stories. So if the real Santa is the embodiment of love and generosity and fun, this one, the one I know, must be him.

After he and his lovely wife finished getting their picture taken with 100 children, they joined us for lunch. But first, he took the stage and declared that is elf, Elvin, in the North Pole, had just checked the good and naughty lists and informed him that everyone at CCS was on the good list. Cheers broke out all over the room. (Even though some of us teachers had our doubts.)

And after it was all said and done, he told me, that by organizing his visit, I had done a good thing. I loved hearing that because my whole purpose in this life is to do good things for God's children.

And besides that, who doesn't want to be on Santa's good list?!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Busy Day

Laundry, breakfast, kindergartners, placemats, Christmas trees, Thanksgiving stories, Santa and Mrs. Claus, turkey lunch, decoration clean up, downtown parking, gingerbread houses, Costco, visit with the parents, dinner for the family, movie with the boys, books with the baby.

Now I will rest.

Monday, November 23, 2009

More fun in the snow

Julianna loved her first time playing in the snow. Well, she loved to walk around in it, but never would pick any up.

And how cute is she in her snow clothes?!

Here's Josh after rolling down the hill.

Jules chased the boys down the hill. Only she stayed on her feet. She wasn't quite brave enough to roll down.

And then she'd turn around and come right back up the hill. Here she is getting up after falling down while coming up the hill.

Ben, the cat, liked the snow, too. He followed the kids around all over the yard and seemed to have as much fun as they did.

The year's first snowball fight. I got hit once. No one would take responsibility. (But I know that it was the tallest of these three boys.)

The snowball target...Ben.

He never got hit. (They weren't really trying to hit him.) And he took advantage of all the snowballs near him.

Yes, he was totally playing with the snowball. And because of this, he, too, got blamed for the snowball that hit me.

I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of snowy fun at our house.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blessed Sunday


...and this...

...and this.

This is why I'm blessed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Craft Night"

We had "craft night" at church last night. Notice how I put it in quotes? Well that's because we call it craft night, but it often evolves into other things. Like last night it became movie night. We watched get ready for our outing to see New Moon tonight. I know, I know. We are a little older than your average Twilight fan, but it's just so fun. We can't resist. So tonight we will go and giggle and sigh and choose teams. (Team Jacob!) Then we will go home to our husbands and children and dirty dishes and laundry. But for 2 hours and 1 minute we will join the world of teenage girls and vampires and shape shifting wolves. And love every minute of it.

Now, back to crafting. This is what I bought at Michael's yesterday for $20.06. All these great Thanksgiving decorations and stuff for everyone to make cornucopias to take home. I know! What a deal.

Bunches of flowers for $.19 each.

A variety of cornucopias for $.59 to $.99 each.

This scarecrow for $.49.

A harvesty wreath for $.39.

3 little corn cobs for $.49.

And this sweet little welcome sign for $.39.

Here's my finished project. Cute, huh? Not bad for under $2.00.

All in all, it was a fun and slightly productive night. But mostly it was fun.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Field Trip Friday

So we were supposed to go on a field trip to the fire station today. And we did. But when we got there, the firefighters were on a call. So we played on the playground behind the fire station until we got too cold, and then went back to school with the plan to reschedule our fire station field trip. Hopefully on a warmer day. And a day when the firefighters are actually there.

In other news, I found Thanksgiving decorations at Michael's for 90% off. I got a whole basket full of stuff for $20.06! I'll post pictures soon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things on our Thanksgiving menu...

1. turkey (pretty much your run of the mill turkey...except since mom makes it, it's extra good. And sometimes dad smokes one, too.)
2. mashed potatoes (again mom's recipe...with NO miracle whip)
3. gravy (my sister has perfected gravy...mmm gravy)
4. dressing (kind of like stuffing only baked in a casserole and cut into squares to serve)
5. corn (the corn, too, has been perfected by Ada over the years. It's cream style with cheese...and it is so delicious.)
6. pea salad (mine is made special without onions. Thanks, mom.)
7. sweet potatoes* (that yummy sweet potato casserole with pecan topping...I wish I had some right now.)
8. pink stuff* (1 can cherry pie filling, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 can crushed pineapple, drained, and 1 16 oz. container of cool whip...easy and yummy)
9. bread (fresh baked at mom's Thanksgiving morning)
10. pumpkin pie* and various other desserts (cakes, pies, cookies, etc.)

Bonus: We are also having The First Annual F. Family Thanksgiving Cheese Off. We are all making cheese balls to see whose is the best. (But who really cares which is the best, we get to try all kinds of different cheese balls!)

*These are the things I am taking.

What is a must have at your Thanksgiving Feast?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today I am thankful for...

obedient children
finished projects
grace from above
kindergarten works of art

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why I love teaching kindergarten

Students randomly bring me gifts like pictures they've drawn or papers they've practiced their letters on...or like today, a Reese's peanut butter cup.

Kindergartners do things like come to the garbage can by my desk to throw things away and tell me what it is they are throwing today when one little girl came to empty out her pocket of "old bacon." (I didn't look. I just took her word for it.)

Kindergartners laugh a lot. Sometimes when things aren't even really that funny. And they appreciate my attempt at silly voices at storytime.

They say things like upsharpen (for sharpen), upside down 6 (for 9), stuffed up animal (for stuffed animal), and "My foot hurts. Maybe if I get a drink it will feel better."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where in the world...

The boys are studying world geography in school this year. One of the projects they are doing is to collect post cards from as many places as they can. The cards are then placed on the wall in the hall outside their classroom with a string connecting them to a map showing where they are from. They would love it if they received a post card from my faithful readers. Even if you live in Idaho. Or are traveling over the holidays. If you would like to make the boys happy and help in their education you can send the cards to:

Josh and Adam
c/o Coeur d'Alene Christian School
6439 N. 4th Street
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83815

Thanks so much.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blessed Sunday

We have a ministry at church called "Secret Sisters." Every few months the ladies who want to participate fill out an information sheet and we exchange them and encourage the sister whose name we receive. We can give notes or gifts at church or send cards in the mail. But the most important part is that we pray for that sister. And we have a sister who is praying us. So right now I have a secret sister that I have been encouraging and I have a sister who has been encouraging me.

Today I had in my church mailbox, a card that was so sweet. My dear sister, whoever she is, wrote this, "You are an awesome mom! You have a beautiful family and God blessed them with a beautiful mother." How wonderful is that? I don't know who she is, but that simple statement means the world to me. What a blessing to have a Christian family. And what a blessing to have such a loving sister in Christ.

In a few weeks we will have our "reveal" and I will find out who she is. I can't wait to thank her for all she's done for me the last few months. She has been an amazing secret sister and she, and her prayers, have been a real blessing.

P.S. I also have a not-so-secret-sister who I adore and who has also been encouraging me over the last several months. So that makes me double blessed, I guess. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thrift Stores and a Craft Fair

This morning I headed into town (by myself) to return some movies. (Up which is sooo good, and Wolverine, which is also good.*) Since I was going, I decided to run some other errands, too. I dropped off the movies, then went to a children's used clothing store and traded in some baby stuff for a pink long-sleeved shirt, the cutest pink corduroy dress ever, and a cute little tea set for Jules. A good trade, I think. Then I stopped by the post office to get the mail, stopped at the feed and farm to get fresh bedding for the dog and cats, and headed downtown to do some thrift store shopping.

So here's what I discovered. I don't like thrift store shopping. I don't like shopping in general, so when I'm looking for something, I want to go and get it and be done. I was looking for boots for the kids, tea cups and pots for my new collection**, and craft supplies for Christmas projects. After going to 4 stores, I found nothing. No boots, no cute little tea cups, no fabric or ribbon. (There were of course all of those things at at least one of the stores, but not the right size or cuteness or color.)

After that, my sister and mom called and asked me if I wanted to go to a craft fair with them. I was already going to call them to see if they wanted to go with me, so I met them there. We walked through all the booths looking at all the handmade goods. Some people are so talented. We saw some really beautiful things. I even took a few notes about things I want to try. I once again bought nothing, but had fun anyway.

Then, since I had no luck finding boots earlier, I went back into town to Payless Shoes since they are having their buy one-get one sale. Guess what? No boots for the boys. Not even in the men's section. They did have cute little brown and pink boots for Jules--for $35! Umm, no. So I went to Target to the boot aisle, found the boots that were on sale, found the kid's sizes, and was done. That's how I like to shop. (It would have taken even less time, but there was a family in the aisle trying on every kind of boots they had...twice.)

Then I went to Albertson's for the deal of the one pie (for $6.39) and get another pie and two boxes of Breyer's ice cream free. I know! What a deal!

Now I'm home. And gladly so. I need to finish my chores (that I didn't do since I shopped all day) and then I want to make a cup of Earl Grey tea and read. On second thought, I can do my chores tomorrow.

*I like Ryan Reynolds and was looking forward to seeing him in Wolverine. Someone really should have warned me that he was the bad guy.
**I was inspired by Marci's sweet tea cup collection. I have two already. One I bought for myself last week and a beautiful one my sister bought for me yesterdy. (Both were purchased at thrift stores, by the way.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Show and Tell

D--"This is my ship. My mom got it for me. That's all. I'm done." (It was a Transformer ship. I asked.)

M--stuffed bunny named Emily that "likes to play with things what she likes to do." M. pretends that she eats real carrots. She likes to play with toys, she buckles herself in her seat belt, "she eats Smarties so she's a smarty pants," she stomps her feet when someone doesn't pay attention, she loves sleeping with M. and going to a sleepover at someone else's house. (Quite a talented stuffed bunny, don't you think?"

M--doll that M. got from Target after school yesterday. "She can stand up and she can change hair, but I left her hair at my home." (She does in fact have hair right now. I'm not sure how she changes hair.)

P--sunglasses from home that are very special and P. got "from" her birthday (Prime example of finding something in a backpack when actual show and tell is forgotten.)

I--monkey and cheetah (as pictured above) Littlest Pet Shop toys. "They have a house and they live together. I have another house but I didn't want to bring it. And I have a car but I didn't want to bring it. And I have a pool and a mat and a towel that I brought with." (Wow. The economy hasn't affected Pet Shop toys--2 houses and a pool.)

M--a tiny baby that uncle B. bought for her and "I love them and they have little bows in their hair and I love them." (I think she loves them.)

K--a "music thingy" that K. had at his old house. "I don't know what it's called but it makes music like this." (Umm, it's a triangle.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I look forward to in Heaven...

1. seeing the face of God
2. saying thank you to him
3. meeting family members that I wasn't able to meet in this life
4. asking Mrs. Noah her side of the story
5. not having to worry...about anything
6. being able to see myself and others the way God intended
7. no more heartache or tears
8. hearing the angels sing
9. walking hand in hand with Jesus
10. an eternity of pure joy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


What I did on my day off...

watched the Today show
watched Ice Age 3 with the family
did a load of laundry
went through my craft stuff to see what I had for Christmas projects
snuggled with the kids
made lunch including making a cheese ball to put in the fridge to chill
played with Jules
took a nap when she did
got up and ate some of the yummy cheese ball
watched an episode of The Mentalist

...and that's just before dinner.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two For Tuesday

For the past few months, we have been hosting our Lifegroup (small group Bible study) at our house. I love hosting for a few reasons. First, it's convenient for the kids. The boys can finish their homework if they need to or play in their room if they don't want to sit in on the study. And I have all of Julianna's toys and books to occupy her and can put her in bed at her regular bedtime. Secondly, knowing we are having company insures that the house is clean. It's great to start out the week with a clean house. And thirdly, I like having people in our home. We don't do it often enough since we live out of town and sometimes feel like it's a burden for people to drive so far. But all of our group lives within a few miles of us, so it's not an inconvenience for them. Lately I have really appreciated the members of our small group. We are the youngest members of the group by at least 15 years (the oldest member of our group is 85). We are the only ones with kids still at home. In fact, all the other members of the group are grandparents. But we have this bond that isn't found anywhere else. They all love our family and we love them. I know without a doubt that I could call on any one of them for anything and they would do all they could to help. How wonderful is that? We meet every Monday night to eat together and study God's Word together and pray together. And because of that time spent together, we know and appreciate each other.

Last night we were discussing prayer and what prayer means to us as Christians. We read several scriptures and two of them happened to be two of my favorites. I'd like to share them with you.

Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Break It Down

Last night we were practicing saying words with Julianna. We'd say a word, then she'd say the word...or at least her version of the word. But when we tried to get her to say Julianna, she'd say "mommy" every time. "Say Julianna." "Mommy." After a few times, Arrty slowly said, "Say Ju," trying to break it down into syllables for her. She looked right at him and said, "Mo." We laughed so hard. She totally got him. She was ready for his little syllable game. And she won.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Blessed Sunday

Blessed Sunday is hard sometimes because 1.) I am so blessed that I can't decide what to write about and 2.) I want to write about the same wonderful blessings every husband, kids, family, and friends. So I think today I will just write about how truly blessed I am. I live in a time and place that is comfortable. I have a roof over my head and running water and electricity and a car to drive to grocery stores filled with food. I lack none of the necessities that many people throughout the world live without every day. And I share it with people I love and who love me. Wonderful people who fill my life with laughter and happiness. People who make me a better person just for knowing them. And all this is wrapped up in the amazing grace and love of God. The greatest blessing of all. Is my life perfect? No. But it doesn't have to be. And I wouldn't want it to be. But my life is blessed. Blessed to overflowing.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Tea Party

Julianna and I went to a tea party today.

First we chose our tea cups.

I chose this cute Holly Hobby cup because it reminded me
of Jules when she picks up our cat, Ben. And because it's Holly Hobby.

Here's Julianna with her little pink cup.

And here she is trying to get the camera.

And here's mom, Ada, and Abby. How cute are Abby's tights?!

And our lovely hostess, Marci.

And Jules and Abby playing.

It was a really nice girl's day. I look forward to many more Thanksgiving teas. Thanks for a great day, Marci.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Let's Talk

Today is parent/teacher conference day. I don't mind it since there aren't any major things to discuss about any of my students. The worst part is when parents come in and we talk for 3 1/2 minutes and then we're done. I always feel bad that they came all the way to school on their kid's day off for that. But I guess it's better than taking up the whole 20 minutes talking about how their kid is the only one I hope is sick on art day.

While preparing for my conferences I started to think about what I would like parents to know about teachers. Here are a few of them.

  • *We love your kids. We want what's best for them just like you do.
  • We work hard. Yes, we have holidays off and are off during the summer, but for those 10 months that we teach, we spend way more hours working than just the 7 we spend with students each day. And even during the summer we often look for new ideas and plan for the coming year.
  • We really, really appreciate being appreciated. A card, a gift, even a kind word will make our day.
  • We have tons of unmatched coffee mugs and Christmas ornaments that say "World's Best Teacher" and candles. If you're going to give a teacher a gift, be creative. (And if you can't be creative, we love gift cards.)
  • We like parent support. If my parents spend time reading to their children or practicing flashcards, it encourages me to do more, too.
  • We love being teachers. It's a job that you can't do if you don't love it. We don't love every minute of every day, but we love teaching.
  • We don't like it when parents are absent from their children's education. We want to see you at events and in the school. We want you to read the notes we send home. We want you to sign and send back notes and permission slips without having to remind you.
  • We know what we're doing. All certified teachers have taken tons of classes about how to teach your kids. And have spent hours and hours and hours with kids. We are experts.
  • We learn as much as we teach. I can't even begin to tell you how much my students have taught me over the years about school and kids and life.
  • We have stories. Every teacher has a story about "that kid" and "that class" and "that time that the class pet got out and did that funny/scary/weird/gross thing." Ask us. We love to tell our stories.

So, if you are a parent who has a child who has a teacher or will have a teacher, those are a few things they may want you to know. And if you are a teacher, please feel free to add your own things to my list.

*By saying "we," I mean me and maybe teachers in general. Of course all these things may not fit every teacher. Some teachers actually collect unmatched coffee mugs.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things that already made me smile this morning...

1. not waking up until 7:00
2. waking up to Julianna's sweet voice saying "mama"
3. a longish, hot shower
4. three little smiling faces waving and blowing kisses to me as I pulled out of the driveway
5. the 25 minute drive into town all by myself
6. being called Sweetpea by the McDonald's drive through lady
7. diet coke for breakfast
8. thinking about spending the afternoon with my family
9. teacher work's almost like a day off from work
10. Kathy walking into my classroom with freshly baked turtle brownies

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Check Up

We took Julianna in for her 15 month check up today. (Yes, I'm fully aware that she is 17 months old. I'm a little late.) Here are the highlights.

  • The new doctor's office that we went to has a beautiful office and the people are really nice.
  • Julianna is finally over 20 pounds. She is 20 pounds and 10 ounces.
  • She is 30 inches tall.
  • She was really, really mad when she got her shots. Not just, "Ouch! That hurts and I'm mad!" But, "I totally know what you just let them do to me and I'm mad!"
  • She is absolutely healthy...and adorable.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

In keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to give a big, huge thanks for...

this mini Jason Mraz...

...and this cute sheriff...

...and the most adorable little candy corn I've ever laid eyes on.

How cute are they?!?!

Before Trunk or Treat even began, Julianna talked me into giving her a mini Crunch bar. How could I resist this face?

It took us awhile to get around to all the trunks, because as we walked around to "trunk or treat," Little Miss Candy Corn had to stop and dance whenever anyone was playing music.

And see her basket for candy? She would not let me carry it even though it was probably heavier than her by the time she got done.

Here is our trunk all decorated like a pumpkin patch for the Trunk or Treaters.

Basket of pumpkins and gourds.

Basket of popcorn.

And the most important basket of all.

It was a really fun night. We had tons of kids from the community join us and enjoy dinner, games and treating. And I was so glad to see so many of our church members come and decorate their trunks for this fun event. I'm already looking forward to next year!