Saturday, November 29, 2008

Here Comes December

Alright, my Christmas shopping is almost done. I finally feel like being in the Christmas spirit.

I was having some trouble feeling overwhelmed with everything. Why is this? I don't know. It's not even December yet! I know that I am not any busier than the next person but for whatever reason, I let everything I must do just take over my thoughts. I was in no hurry to get our lights up outside this year. Typically, I would be out there by mid-November putting them up if it was a nice day. Not this year. I decided that they would get put up when they got put up and if that meant it didn't happen until mid-December, then so be it. But yesterday was beautiful outside. Bruce went out there and put the icicle lights up on the guttering. Then he drug all the other yard stuff out and put it on the driveway. He asked me if I was coming outside because it was such a beautiful weather day and I couldn't very well say no. I was finishing up the tree and the remainder of the inside decorations. They were almost done though and I really had no excuse to not go outside except for pure lack of motivation. So I went out and started. B2 helped (B1 wasn't home at the time) and Bruce helped a little before deciding to go walking. But anyway, I am now so glad it is done. And it looks nice. We have basically the same stuff as we did last year with one new addition. I will show that to you in another post.

As far as Christmas shopping goes, I have 2 items to pick up that are being completed, 1 item I am waiting for in the US mail, and 5 items that I have ordered from a friend who sells a particular brand which need to still come in. Otherwise, the shopping is done. I am just waiting now.

Next up: completing the Christmas cards. They are all stuffed into the addressed envelopes but still need stamps, return address labels, stickers on the back, and to be sealed. I also need to get the small tree in the basement put up and I have to put strands of lights around the kitchen windows on the inside of the house. Then I need to begin wrapping the gifts.

This year (as opposed to last), my school semester does not end in December. I therefore do not have to worry about preparing a final exam and figuring grades before Christmas. That helps A LOT with the December busy-factor. All I have to really do as far as school is concerned is keep plugging away with regular homework, activities, quizzes, and tests. But no exam until January really helps.

I think that this year, since I seem to be a little ahead of schedule, I may actually be able to enjoy the month of December without being too rushed. B1's birthday is December 17 so that is always something else we need to celebrate. I do look forward to my party at church on Tuesday night too. And I think that next Friday, I am going to plan a girls' movie night with B1 and B2 to watch the newer version of "Miracle on 34th Street." We will all sleep in the living room together and have popcorn (well, B1 won't because of her braces), etc. It will be fun!

I posted a recipe today on St. Louis Recipe Swap. Go check it out! I think that last time I posted one was back in September.

Happy December everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

(Almost) Thursday 13

In honor of Thanksgiving, we all know that we are thankful for the obvious things in our, friends, jobs, etc. But I am going to list some random things that I am also thankful for.

Here goes. I am thankful for.....

1. Walt Disney of my favorite places (so far) on this earth.

2. Gas prices having gone down.

3. My mom's health holding its own these past 9 months.

4. The friendship that my daughters seem to have forged. Yeah, they still have a love/hate relationship, but here lately, I've seen a little more of the love side of it.

5. Our dog. I just love her, even though she sheds like CRAZY.

6. Our warm bed on cold nights. I just love being warm under the covers while the air in the room is crisp and cool.

7. Whoever thought to invent scrapbooking as it is today!

8. The fact that I seriously cannot remember the last time I was bored. I think this means that I have a lot of activity in my life and people who need me.

9. Our small house. I'm not real fond of cleaning this one. I can't imagine one bigger! Yuck.

10. My friendship with Bruce. Yes, we are "husband and wife," but we are also best friends, and that is a gift in itself.

11. New recipes I have tried over the past year. I have found some good ones either online or from other people who have given them to me.

12. Cookie dough. It is seriously one of my favorite sweet treats!

13. The 40.5 years of life I have lived so far. I am hoping that God rewards me with at least 40 more!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Remembering Jessica and Kelli

My family and I attended the candelight vigil tonight given in honor of Jessica and Kelli Uhl. It was a very nice ceremony. Their mom Kim spoke to the crowd as did their father. Then a few other people said some nice words about the girls and the healing process. The main thing I heard from everyone was simply "thank you so much for coming." They seemed to be so very grateful to everyone for coming out on a cold night to support them. It was nice to finally meet Kim in person as I have been reading her blog now for awhile. She is a very pretty lady and I am amazed at how strong she seems to be.

Pink candles were handed out to everyone in attendance and pictures of the girls were displayed. I took a magnet and a bracelet in remembrance of the girls I never knew. I also saw Maddy, the youngest daughter/sister. She is a cutie! Ironically, as the ceremony was coming to an end, a police siren sounded nearby. Kim spoke to the siren saying something like " need to be quiet now!" It was cute. I hope God continues to look over this family and help them along. They seem to be a strong group who love and care for each other.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm Gonna Wash That Gray Right Outta My Hair!

I colored my hair today for the first time in my life. Yep, I did it. I was nervous that the color would look totally different than my natural color, but it doesn't! Thank goodness! I actually have an appointment to have my hair colored this Friday. see, the gray was basically killing me. I looked in the mirror and all I could see all the way down my part was shiny gray hair! AUGH! And the crown of my head in the back was getting to be pretty "salt & pepperish" too. NO! So after speaking to a friend who colors her hair regularly, she encouraged me to get a bottle of color at Wal-Mart. Like she said, it's much cheaper than going to the salon. So I did. I tried to pick a color I thought matched my own. There are still a few grays that I can see but seriously, it looks soooo much better than it did this morning!

I got out some Christmas decorations this morning and started setting them around the house. I think I am getting old because I dread this task more and more every year. I actually have too many Christmas decorations. I do LOVE Christmas. And after we got married (actually probably a year or two before that as well), I went shopping the day after Christmas and just basically bought up all the decorations that I could find for like 50-75% off. So I had a lot of just "stuff." Stuff that now, I don't really like anymore. Heck, I probably didn't even like it that much then but I needed decorations. So here I am now with all of that stuff and things I have accumulated during the last 15 years. As I went through the boxes this time, I took a lot of things and put them on top of our ping pong table. Here soon, that area of our basement is going to become e-bay central! I plan to try to sell a bunch of stuff on e-bay. The trouble is that I probably ought to do it before Christmas. It would probably sell more before Christmas than after. But we all know how busy the month of December can be and getting that accomplished might be too much to ask. We'll just have to see. I do feel better about the things I chose to keep though. They are actually cute things (in my opinion) and look nice. It's not just stuff taking up space. I have less quantity now but I feel I have more quality. I put a tiny (like 1 foot tall) Christmas tree in our bedroom this year. It is sitting on top of the dresser. It is going to be our night light from now until the end of the year! Yay! We still have to put up the big tree, which will be a job for me and the girls on Wednesday. That's sort of become our put up the tree the day before Thanksgiving.

We tried to go to the Olive Garden tonight for dinner. We got there about 5:15 and the wait was 50-55 minutes. And it's not like this is a new restaurant or anything. It is always so crazy there! But we have a nice gift card and I am just simply in the mood for their food. We may try again tomorrow night or tomorrow afternoon. We ended up eating Chinese tonight, which was good, but not the pasta I had in mind!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Don't Get It

How do your kids get to school? Seriously, do they ride a bus, walk, do you take them? How?

I teach at our local high school and I am completely amazed at how many of our students are dropped off every day by their parents. You know how many times I was dropped off by a parent when I was in high school? None. You know how many times I wanted to be dropped off by my parents when I was in high school? None.

Now, don't get me wrong.....I honestly think that kids today have more open relationships with their parents than my generation did with ours. Kids today are not nearly as "embarassed" to be seen with their parents as some of my classmates were (I was not one of these!). I know that I talk to my children about more things than I ever did with my mom at the same age.

But some mornings, there is traffic congestion in the circle drive of my (high) school! What the heck? And today I happened to be in the office during the last period of the day. I glanced out the window to the front of the school and there were cars lined up around the circle drive and extending down the parking lot! Cars of parents to pick up their kids! OMG.....seriously, it reminded me of what I see on the few occasions each year when I go to the elementary school to pick up B2. And it's not like our high school is in the middle of town or something. We are about 1-2 miles right outside of town, on a main highway. There are busses that run to every part of the areas where our students live. BUSSES!

I realize that today's kid thinks that riding the bus to school is really lame. And as a parent, many of us probably don't want our kid riding to school with another kid. The bus would be a safer option. So I'm guessing that when kids don't want to ride the bus, then their parents cave and agree to drive them to school. I pass someone every day on my way to school who has just dropped off her middle school aged child and her high school aged child at 2 different schools. And this person must drive the 10 miles round-trip in order to do so. Why? There is a perfectly good mode of transportation available to them right outside their door! Gas prices have recently gone down, but during the first couple months of school, when everyone was complaining about the cost of gas, this person was still driving her kids to school! When will they grow up? Yeah, maybe the bus comes by rather early in the morning and the kids would have to spend more time on it than they would like. So what? Suck it up! Not everything in life is to your liking! The sooner people (kids) get used to this, the better off they are going to be! Deal with it. Now mind you, I too drop B1 off at her school. I justify this, however, with the fact that I drive right past her school on my way to school. If I didn't, she too would be on the big yellow limo every day! Even if I was driving in that general area, but not right past her school, she would be on the limo. She rides the limo home from school every day and it works just fine for her.

My school recently implemented a program called Edline. This is where parents can go online and check their child's grade every week. Parents can also go to the Edline calendar and view upcoming assignments, quizzes, tests, etc. So now, high school aged kids aren't even going to need to be held accountable for their own assignments......because Mommy and Daddy will be able to go online and "fix" it if they forget to write down an assignment. When in the world are these kids going to have to take some responsibility for themselves? Seriously. It makes me sick.

When I was a student in elementary, junior high, and high school, we took care of our own homework. Yeah, Mom and Dad may have checked it on occasion or gone over our spelling words with us or even helped us study for a test by quizzing us, but never once did I have to have my parent sign my agenda book showing that they were aware of what homework was to be completed at night. WE WERE REPONSIBLE FOR OURSELVES!!! Augh. Kids these days not only have the agenda books (which must be signed each night by a parent when you are in elementary school) but also the online way to check about assignments. I realize that all this technology is considered to be progress, but seriously, I think it's just making our kids more lazy, more dependent upon us, and more immature. Gees.

Do I check B1's grades online? Yep. Why do I do it? Because I am forced to get on the Edline program to update the calendar for my own classes (the ones that I teach). While I am there, it's two clicks of the button away to check her grades. Let me tell you though, if her grade ever falls below a certain number in any class, I better know about it from her before I ever see it on the computer! She knows this and follows it.

One more thing.....while recently talking with a friend, she mentioned someone else who had been complaining that her now high-school aged son spends at least $4 every day on his lunch at the high school. You know what? If that's a problem for you, then don't let him spend that much! I teach at that school and I know that a good, healthy, filling lunch (yes, even for a high school boy) can cost only $2.25 per day. Tell your kid no! Let him spend more on lunch maybe a couple days a week and the other days, make his lunch or only give him $2.25. Who is the parent?

Am I old school or just a ranting witch? I just don't get people sometimes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

He's Done it AGAIN!!

Last night, my favorite country performer won his 4th (in 5 nominations) CMA Entertainer of the Year Award. I know the streak will end one of these times, but for now, my heart skips a beat when his name is announced. Congratulations Kenny. You certainly keep this fan entertained year after year!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weekend Results

Like I said in a previous post, I spent most of last weekend scrapbooking. It was awesome! My friend Michelle and I even stayed overnight in a hotel (even though we were only about 20 or so miles from home) so we could minimize any time that would have had to be spent driving back and forth! There were several people there who did the same thing. It was great being in a community of people who "get" that it is fun to stay up for something like 18 hour straight and doing nothing but scrapboking (and taking little breaks to potty and eat!)!

Remember, you can click on any of the images for a larger view. I realize these pictures aren't the greatest!
I managed to finish our 2007 vacation. Above are 2 pages of a water park at Cedar Point called Soak City.
Here are 2 more pages of that water park.
The 2 pages above and the 2 pages below are of pictures that were taken in Cooperstown, NY.
The Anchor Bar is a restaurant in Buffalo, NY, where buffalo chicken wings originated. The other page here is of pictures that were taken at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, ON.
There are several pages of Niagara Falls pictures!
We rode the Maid of the Mist, did Journey Behind the Falls, saw the IMAX movie about the Niagara daredevils (people who tried to go over the falls in barrels, etc.), and drove down the Niagara River to the area where there is a large gondola that goes across the river.
My parents also treated us one day to lunch up in the Skylon Tower overlooking the falls. It was beautiful from up there and probably the best view of any that we had.

We went to a baseball game in Toronto, where B1 and B2 got to meet 2 of the characters from "High School Musical 2." They were signing autographs outside the game that day.
I love these 2 pages! On the left side are tiny little cut-out footprints next to each of the states that B1 and B2 have visited. B1 has been to 2 more states (Kansas and Colorado) than B2.
And the last 2 pages I did were from the last day of the trip. We went to a baseball game in Detroit.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween Pictures

Here is B1 beginning the pumpking carving process on 10/30
And B2 with the finished products. The one on the left is supposed to be a candy corn, although it looks like a Christmas tree. The next one is a "generic" pumpkin. You gotta have one of those every year! The ones on the right side are Mickey and Minnie Mouse. If you look closely, Minnie has a little bow. They turned out pretty cute.
B1 (who didn't dress up for the first time ever this year - she instead handed out candy at my parents' house because they get a lot of trick-or-treaters), B2 (dressed as Hannah Montana), and a friends' son.
And finally our dog Shinza dressed as a hot dog. She actually did pretty well with the whole outfit. The "ketchup" was loosely attached and by the end of the night it had fallen off. I think she got more compliments than anyone else in our group that night. Two people even took pictures of her!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day!

I plan to post pictures of our Halloween soon. I just haven't gotten around to downloading them yet.

Hope you all voted today. No matter the outcome, I know our country is in need of some new leadership. Let's hope the new leader can steer us into the right direction.

Our soccer team lost today in the super-sectional game. Had they won, they would have gone to state this weekend. But this is the farthest any boys' soccer team from our school has ever gone, so they have to be proud of themselves. We had 4 busses of fans (students) go to the game. I know the big thing for them was that they got to miss their 6th and 7th hour classes today, but no was nice to have so many kids cheering on our boys. They were all very well-behaved too, which was nice.

The good thing about us losing is that now, this weekend, I am free to go to a 3-day scrapbook crop! I don't think I will go on Friday night but I am thinking about going all day on Saturday, stay at the hotel Saturday night, and then stay for most of the day on Sunday. I hope to finally get last year's vacation done and hopefully start on this year's too. We will see.

Our new quarter at school starts tomorrow. The first quarter finally ended today. We started really late this year. I am seriously hoping for no snow days. Even without the snow days, MY last day of school would be June 4. WITH snow days, it would be June 11. I guess that's really not too bad. Those calls at 4:30 or 5:00am are kinda nice though......especially when it's a really cold day and the bed feels sooooo good! ha ha ha!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I was all pumped today to write a post about my Triad Knights beating Highland in 3 consecutive post-season sports this weekend. We started out strong, beating them handily in 2 volleyball games on Thursday night. Then last night (Friday) in soccer, we managed to shut them down 1-0. This ended the post-seasons for both of those Highland teams. Next up: football. We played Highland this afternoon on our field at 3:00. I went to school early so to go up to my classroom and make a sign on posterboard. It was a sweet sign too. It looked something like this: at the top, it said "Bulldog Checklist." Then under that were 3 boxes on the left side and the first 2 of them were checked. The first 2 lines said "End Volleyball Season to TRIAD" and "End Soccer Season to TRIAD." The third line said "End Football Season to TRIAD." I didn't have that box checked though because we hadn't beaten them yet. But I took my marker with me to the game. The Triad people who saw the sign while I proudly displayed it in the stands before the game thought it was pretty neat.

Problem is.....we lost today. It was a well played game by both teams, but they were simply better than us today. We were winning first 7-0, then 7-6, then 14-6, then 14-12. Then they scored again and made a 2-point conversion so they went ahead 20-14. We managed to score and went ahead 21-20 with 4 minutes left. That was enough time for them though and they scored again with only 16.5 seconds left on the clock. This wasn't enough time for us to come back and the final score was 26-21. I would have posted a picture of my sign that I was so proud of, but I ended up putting it quietly into a trash can as I left the game. I had also planned to display it in my classroom, had we won the game. Oh well. Bummer.

The worst part of a day like this is watching the seniors on the field after the game. The whole team went out like they always do and for the last time this year, yelled their "We Love Football" chant in the middle of the field. Then everyone slowly headed towards the locker rooms, but the seniors and a few of the juniors took their sweet time leaving that field. It's nostalgic for me to watch them. I know how much their hearts are into that game and how much it must hurt to know that their days of high school "Friday Night Lights" are over. I hate watching the seniors play their last game in ANY sport. It's just so bittersweet.

Our soccer team is going to the super-sectional game on Tuesday in Jacksonville. Triad boys' soccer has never been this far in the post-season before. I get to help chaperone a fan bus and we are leaving school right after 5th hour. The game (for whatever weird reason) is at 3:00pm. I am excited about it!

Great season, football Knights. And thank you for the memories........