Saturday, January 31, 2009

Woo Hoo, I got a blog award! I am so excited! (Where's my little dancing emoticon?)
Thank you to Aimee for thinking my little corner of the bloggersphere is FABULOUS!
It seems there are rules that accompany this award. You have to share five addictions. Hmmm, addiction seems such a strong word, I prefer obsessions, lol. And you have to pass the award on to five other fabulous bloggers. That part is easy!
1. I am addicted to Diet Pepsi. Seriously, it is my morning coffee. My classmates even tease me about coming into my 8:00 class with a Diet Pepsi.
2. I am addicted to Starbucks. My other morning coffee, lol. Not really, it's too expensive for every day. But, I do stop more often than I should. There is a Starbucks on site where I intern. What can I say.
3. I am addicted to my craft projects. My interests go in cycles, but when I'm really into a craft, it takes a lot of my time. I love to craft for other people.
4. I am addicted to my computer. I cannot imagine what life was like before them. I cannot imagine typing all my papers on an old fashion type writer. I am a horrible typist and would never have made it this far academically (or on this post) without the "backspace" key.
5. I am addicted to learning. If I could make a living, even a meager one, going to school for the rest of my life I would (preferably without writing the papers). I love the feel of a classroom.
Ok, so now for the fabulous blogs I read regularly (in no particular order, well actually, in the order they appear on my side bar. Did you know that when you post, your blog jumps to the top, so I know you posted?):
LMNOP: I started checking periodically with Marey when her daughter was fighting cancer. She is such a strong and gracious woman. She gives amazingly. And she teaches Kindergarten, that in itself should gain her sainthood!
The Fourth Frog: I don't even remember how I found Amy's blog. But, I love reading it. You never what you are going to find there. It's fun to read her random thoughts about things. She is also hosting a "biggest loser" contest, which I am certainly not winning, but I want the CD prize!
Diary of an Overachieving Mom: Kim is proof that I can survive. She has FIVE kids and lives where it snows! She does crafts with her kids and even cooks! I think she may be supernatural. At the very least, she is an overachiever! I bet she even BAKES cupcakes to take to school on her kids' birthdays.
The Honey Bee Blog: Melissa is a friend from church, one of the few bloggers I know IRL. Her blog is sincere and devoted to her family and her relationship with God. I started reading to follow her journey to adopt a sweet boy from Thailand. Now he is home!
Priceless Reflections: My other friend Melissa, photographer extraordinaire. Sometimes I just like to go look at her work. She is awesome. Check out her pics and if you are in Ohio or even close, she's worth the drive!
Friday was an awesome day for Jacob. In the morning the school had a quarterly awards assembly, where Jacob received FIVE awards! Way to go Jacob. He received achievement awards in both Math and Language Arts. He got a citizenship award and awards for both perfect attendance and no tardies. As if that was not enough. Jacob was chosen by his teacher as Student of the Month for January and on Friday they had the SOM awards and lunch. The SOMs get to eat lunch on the stage in the cafeteria, provided by a local fast food restaurant, and parents are invited to have lunch with them.

Here the kids are watching as each student gets their SOM medal and the Vice Principal reads the letter that the teacher wrote about that child. Don't they look excited?
Here the VP is reading the letter Jacob's teacher wrote about him. The character trait for January is Fairness. Coincidentally, Jacob got SOM in January last year also, for Fairness. He is such a kind and gentle boy (most of the time).
This is what his teacher wrote:
Jacob (last name) is Room 34's Student of the Month for January. Jacob is an excellent example of our character trait, fairness. Jacob always follows our classroom rules. He tries to help other people when they are having a difficult time doing the right thing. On the playground he is a model fair play and cooperativeness. Each morning I look forward to seeing his bright and optimistic smile. I am so proud of having such an extraordinary young man in Room 34.
2nd Grade
Mrs. J
Here is Jacob and Mrs J. We are happy to have her too!
My dad and I went to have lunch with Jacob. Here is Jacob and Papa.

I am so proud of Jacob and his achievements, both academically and in his character. He truly is an awesome kid! I love you Jacob!

Did I mention that Jacob was tested for the Gifted and Talented Education program? He was invited and will be attending the school for gifted students this fall. He is a smart kid, and he knows it. I wonder when it will hit him that the other kids at this school are just as smart as he is...

Monday, January 26, 2009

The tooth fairy was doing double duty at our house last night. Just as Jacob was getting ready for bed, his second front tooth fell out. He had been wiggling it earlier and we knew it would come out anytime. He was humored by the fact that he could no longer whistle.

All I want for Christmas is my...wait, that's a long time to wait. Here is Jacob sans his two front teeth. You can also see that we are going to need some orthodontic work on those bottom teeth.
We have an old pill bottle that has been decorated with stickers that we put teeth in to put under the pillow. It is easy for the tooth fairy to find and a rolled up dollar fits nicely into it. If you look closely, you will he in his left hand his pearly white tooth.
Well after Jacob's tooth came out, this inspired Nate to get busy wiggling his loose tooth, his second bottom tooth. And lo and behold, it fell out too. So here is Nate sans his two front bottom teeth. They really make a cute pair now.
And since we didn't have two tooth fairy pill bottles (who would have thought we'd need two the same night?) Nate got a plain bottle that I tore the label off. Good thing I had an extra. I think I will let them put their names on then now, lol, and Nate can decorate his. If you look closely, you can see Nate's itty bitty tooth in his right hand.

The tooth fairy was quite generous last night too. Maybe it was because she saved gas snagging two teeth at one house. Or maybe, it was just that there were two boys and two teeth, but she gave them each two dollars. They were both very happy this morning. Now, a question for you: What does the tooth fairy do with all those these?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Year's resolution? No, I don't do those any more. It seems they never stick anyway. But yet again, I'm trying to gain some control over my weight. I was successful at losing about 20 pounds in the first half of last year. Then in the last have, gained most of it back. UGH. So here I go again.

My motivation? A little black dress, that I plan to wear on a little cruise, to Alaska in June. We will celebrate our tenth anniversary in May (but cannot go until school is out). I want to look good for my husband (who thinks I'm beautiful anyway).

Additionally, I want to get back to eating healthier. Last semester was crazy. There didn't seem to be enough hours in the day for school, homework, grading, laundry, get the idea. This semester (hopefully) will be a little lighter. I also plan to stick more closely to planned menus. That's the plan anyway. I'll let you know how it goes. Plus, if I can't think of anything else to write about, I can share the menu. That will keep people coming back, HA!

And the final piece of my plan: A little half marathon in May. Brian and I are planning to walk the River Parkway half marathon. We can currently walk 4 miles easily and 6 without too much effort. Now to bump it up to 13. I am looking forward to this. I think the toughest part is finding the time to walk. We usually put in 4 miles after the little boys are in bed. That is one of the perks of having teens at home. I will keep you posted on this as well.

So, those are my little plans for the first half of this year. Come back often. Cheer me on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's a great day to be an American! It doesn't matter who you voted for, or which party you hold true to. Today, is a day of change. It's a day of hope. It's a day of dreams. This is why we have term limits. It is time for new leadership in our country. And the people chose Barak Obama!

As I watched the inauguration, at home alone, I wished I was there. I wish I could say I was there on this historical day. I did not vote for Obama because he is African American; nor did I vote for him in spite of it. I voted for him, because I believe he supports the things that are important to me. I also acknowledge the significance that this day brings to the African American community. They can honestly say to their children, "you can be anything you dream to be when you grow up, even president." I believe Dr. Martin Luther King was smiling down today. As a country, we have come so far.

Obama's speech was inspiring and full of hope for our country. I love that he spoke of us in unity, the things "we" need to do. How "we" can help each other and ourselves. I look forward to seeing what Obama's plans are for the next four years. I believe we will be in a better place four years from now. Now, we have a lot of work to do.

My prayer today is for our country; for the wisdom of it's leaders; for the unity of it's people. We are a great country and I proud to be an American!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Remember that yummy brown yarn that I bought, just because? And I planned to make something for myself with it? Well, I finally decided what I wanted to make. So, I browsed some patterns. I'm not a good pattern follower, but I like to look at them to get ideas, them go out on my own from there. So, here it is...well the beginning anyway. What is it?
Well, I ALWAYS have cold feet, especially at night (just ask Brian). So I thought I would try my hand at making a pair of slippers. I have never made a pair of anything. I have been too afraid of trying to make to of anything that are actually supposed to match. This is the first slipper that I finished last night. When Nate saw it, he informed me that I should make another one. What a great idea!
So here is the other one I made today. IT MATCHES! I was so excited. I added a little cuff, because it seemed to need something. They are not the prettiest things I've made, but they are toasty. And they are the first thing I have ever made for my self.
And here they are on my big ol' feet. I love 'em!
I also finished the scarf I promised my dad. But I cannot find the cord to my other camera, which the photo is on (this happens every time I clean house, lol). Two more things down on my Procrastinator's Challenge!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I don't often blog about the big guys. Why? Well, I don't really know. So tonight, it's an update on one of Joshua's passions. He attends the Center for Advances Research and Technology (CART) for half of his school day. This is his second year in the program, which is only open to juniors and seniors. He is studying robotics. This year, he is on the robotics competition team. I thought I would share some of his competitions bots.

These photos were taken at a CART expedition. The larger robot is Hog Bog. During competition, it sports a pig. For luck? perhaps. The smaller one is Pot Bot (I think).

A closer look at Hog Bot.
A closer look at Pot Bot. Look at those wheels. This thing can really move! Click here to see how it moves. It moves in all directions. It would make parallel parking a breeze! It is not competition ready here. It needs an arm to perform properly.
This photo was taken at one of his competitions. You have to get these blocks into scoring tubes to get points. It's harder than it looks. It was really fun to watch. This Pot Bot, with it's arm attached.
Click here to see Hog Bot, complete with pig in competition. It will give you a little idea of what Joshua has been up to. He will graduate in June. He's talking about programs in robotics and astronomy. Astrophysics (rocket science!). Maybe NASA! The sky is the limit! Could I be more proud?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I finished the dog sweater. It's not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt by any means. As expected, it was too big for our little Amy, so my dad's dog Mohawk has a new sweater. Here is is modeling it. He wasn't to thrilled with it initially, but I think he's going to like. He is a Chinese Crested and Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Chihuahua) mix. He seems to show more of the Crested with the crazy hair on his head and tail.
Here's another photo of him.
This is our little Amy. Actually, she is Jacob's baby girl. She and Mohawk are from the same litter. He shows more of the Xoloitzcuintli in that she has just a touch of hair on her head. She is about half the size of her brother, although you can't really tell in this photo. I couldn't get them to stand still together to get a good photo.
When I was shopping for the sweater she is wearing here, there were some great sweaters. My mother said to me, "it looks like you could make that." Now, why hadn't I thought of that. And so began...another project. Now, I am going to have to make one for Amy though.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

If you read this post. Please say a quick prayer for strength for me this week. It's going to be a rough one on so many levels. Thank you. I will post an update soon.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Christmas was the season of scarves this year. I made scarves for the little boys' teachers. Actually, Jacob made the one for his teacher (but it magically grow a few inches every night. How come the yarn fairy never works on my projects over night?) I didn't get pics of the scarves for the teachers. I wish I had, because Nate's teacher's turned out beautiful!
The older boys each requested green and white scarves. Those are their school colors. I wanted the make them different, but with the same yarn. I was playing with two strands for Joshua, when he asked for a darker green (picky, picky). So here he is sporting his new scarf. It is really think due to using two strands. But, it's really warm for those cold winter mornings. What, It's not that cold in California? That explains why he is sporting a t-shirt and a scarf. Silly boy.
Here is Shawn with his lighter green and white. He really likes his (Joshua likes his better, totally different personalities). Color changes are a pain, even in something as simple as this. But, whatever makes my boys happy...
I finished this one up for Nate last night (It was on my unfinished list). Now Jacob is upset because he is the only one who doesn't have a scarf. You know what that means...Speaking of my unfinished projects...I found a website of another crafter who has issued a procrastinator's challenge to those of us with unfinished projects laying around. I decided to list my projects here to share what I am (and have been up to). These are only my yarn projects. I tend to craft in cycles. I love to scrapbook, make things with beads, make cards. Right now I am crocheting and loom knitting. I have a goal this year to learn to knit. So, here are some things that I am working on:
Remember when I said this was the season of scarves? Well, they didn't all get done before Christmas. The one in progress here was started for the teacher's aide in Nate's class. I had to break down and buy her candy instead. The blue yarn was bought for a scarf for my dad, by special request (after Christmas), so it's in line right now. The green is a scarf in line for my brother in law. It was the green that Joshua didn't want and green was requested by my brother in law. That's easy. The brown? Well, I thought I might make something for myself (eventually). What a concept. I just thought it was pretty.
This is a dog sweater that I started for Amy, Jacob's hairless dog. I think it's going to be for her. I might give this one to my dad's dog (who you can also see in that link, go look). Which means... I will be making another sweater. I am creating this as I go, without a pattern, so there's the extra factor of "I have no idea what I'm doing."
For this one, I thought about just taking a picture of the tied up bag. The intended recipient is not old enough to know what it is, but his mama might read. I started this project last summer. I bought the yarn on July 7 (that will give the surprise away) before I realized the significance. I decided on the rainbow colors to represent a very special promise God made to a little boy on the other side of the world. Then school start and life got crazy, and the little guy came home sooner than expected. If I get busy he might not be too big for cuddles in it.
This is the "camouflage blanket." There is a story behind this blanket that is beyond blogging. Someday, it will be a book. I has been a long term project of emotional healing. I work on it, when I "need" to. So, right now it sits in wait. But, nevertheless, it's unfinished.

So, that's 7 yarn projects in some state of progress. It's a good thing I have several needles, lol. I really need to get some things completed. Thanks for the challenge. Sometimes, you realize how many things you have floating, until you pull them all out and take pictures.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A grown up night out...

For Christmas, I got Brian tickets to see Phantom of the Opera in San Francisco. Tuesday, we drove up, just the two of us!

There was a weird mix up at the hotel when we went to check in. There was a reservation for a Brian Bernard (same last name). Brian insisted that he middle name is not Bernard, but there was not another reservation under his name. So we took this one. There was a not in the computer that there was a gift bag for this reservation. We looked at each other. Maybe this was not our reservation. The guy brought the bag and asked if I wanted to look in it; so I did.

Well, this bag was definitely for me! Inside, there was a bag of chips, a jar of salsa, some dark chocolate cookies and mini margaritas. (Cue the music...these are a few of my favorite things) There was also a note from my friend Nora welcoming us to San Francisco. What a thoughtful idea. Thanks Nora!

First things first, we put a couple of margaritas on ice.
Then we decided to walk to union square and browse since we had a couple of hours before our show. This is union square from the window of Macy's
Who knew there was an outdoor skating rink in union square in San Francisco? I didn't. There is just something not right about an outdoor rink surrounded by palm trees!
Beyond union square, there was this hill... We wondered what was at the top of the hill. Well, there was only way to find out. So we climbed the hill, er mountain. You know you are climbing a steep road when they build steps into the sidewalk AND the cars are parked at a 90 degree angle instead of 45 to keep them from rolling down the hill.
Union square is down there somewhere, WAY down there!
At the top of the hill? More big buildings. This is Grace Cathedral. It's a pretty church, but worth the climb up the mountain? Not so sure. And no, I didn't climb the steps to the door.
I thought this was cute. Notice the itty-bitty three story building in between the skyscrapers?
We walked a few blocks along the top of the mountain and started downward on another street. This is what I expected San Francisco to look like.
Had to get a photo of the cable car with the Phantom ad.
And the theater.
Cheers to Nora!

Unfortunately, I caught some stomach bug and woke up the next morning feeling miserable. We had planned to meet up with Nora and explore the Academy of Science. Sorry we missed that, maybe next time. Instead, I stayed in bed as long as possible, then we came home.

I went to bed early and Brian woke me up in time to have cider with the kids. What a way to ring in the new year. It can only get better, right?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Here's a quick look at our family Holiday Season: