Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Ready

Well, we are all ready for Christmas around here.  I was lucky enought this year that the girls did not have big lists made out.  They both wanted new daybeds.  DONE! And they wanted new clothes.  Big girl grows out of her clothes every other week anyway.  I'll probably have to return the clothes the day after Christmas since I bought them a couple of weeks ago and she's probably already grown out of them. 

There are NO toys under the tree this year!  The girls have decided they are too big for toys. There are a couple of video games, though.

We are having a quiet dinner and present-opening on Christmas Eve this year as Daddy is working on Christmas Day.  The first time since we have had kids.  They are dissapointed but what can you do?

I am excited to be done with Christmas but now what to do for Little Girl's Jan. birthday?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

End of An Era

I haven't posted for a while because we have been having a few issues around here. We have had to make a few changes.
Little girl has been going through some emotional problems.  For the past several months she has had some anxiety and anger issues.  The tantrums and fits usually, but not always occur at night. We can't take trips anymore.  We had to return from a trip to Washington in the middle of the night because she was screaming and throwing a fit (she is seven). We even had to leave in a rush from her grandparent's house on Thanksgiving day  (BEFORE DESSERT!)  Her dad and I have tried everything in the book to try to help her and to fix this problem including various forms of punishments and positive reinforcements.  Unfortunately, her problems have just seemed to escalate over time.

 Thanksgiving week at her Nana's house was the worst episode yet, resulting in my taking her to see her doctor on Friday. Her doctor, usually conservative, had a few suggestions and also implied that we might know more about whether she had a simple behavior problem or something more serious if we could compare her home vs. school behavior.

Home-schooling has been going very well.  She does her schoolwork quickly and easily and is well above grade level in all her subjects. But despite her doing very well academically, her dad and I have discussed several times in the past putting her into school for the social aspect and for the energy-burning aspect simply because of her behavior issues. (And, let's be honest, to give me a break from her).

So after much heart-breaking deliberation, we decided to put her in school for a while. We are hoping she will be active and engaged for a larger part of her day and if nothing else, be too tired to throw fits at night. I enrolled her on Wednesday before I could change my mind ( I changed my mind Wednesday night) and she started on Thursday.

I sobbed the entire day. I sobbed in front of the secretary. I sobbed in front of the cafeteria lady, I sobbed in front of the teacher.  Big girl thought I was nuts.  I think she enjoyed the peace and quiet.

So far, so good. She loved her first day of school. She liked her teacher and made some friends. She went to bed with NO issues last night...the first time in a very long time.  I don't know if this is going to be a solution or not  but we are hoping and we are certainly hoping to return her to homeschool someday.

Friday, November 5, 2010

How Do You Socialize Your Children?

Boy, have I had THIS conversation before!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Cuties

 Halloween was a big success around here.  Big girl was a greek goddess...we could never pin down which one...She is a big fan of the Percy Jackson books.  We figure she's a cross between Athena and Aphrodite. I made the you didn't know I was soooo talented.
Little girl was Hanna Montana.
Hanna must not be popular this year.  I didn't see another one out there. I did not make this one but I did make the belt and found the matching gloves at Claires.  The wig was a huge pain! 

 The girls were lucky their Daddy got off work early to take them...he has a lot more patience and goes as long as they want to.  They walked for hours until people started turning out their lights!
I had a great time handing out candy.  Handfuls for the babies and little cuties, one candy for stinkin' teenagers who are too old to be scamming for candy (One of my pet peeves).  Anyway, everyone had a good time. Love the holidays!

My New Love

Finally found a new car! It's a Mercedes SUV.  It's awesome...Very gadgety.  I do love the gadgets!  Here's a pic.  It has leather seats, which I don't care for but these leather seats are not so bad...we'll see in the summer, though.  The kids love it, too...lots of outlets for their electronics.  I love the automatic lights and wipers.  I can learn to live without the electronic sliding doors...I've become one of those people who park a mile away from the store so little girl doesn't bang into someone else's car (and okay, so no one bangs into me).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Death of a Honda

We have recently experienced a loss in the family.  It was not altogether unexpected.  She was getting on in years. The loss still hurts, though.  She will be sorely missed.  Poor, poor Honda! 


I am car-less.  A pedestrian.  Hitching rides from strangers.  Poor, poor me!

I am car-searching but so far nothing speaks to me as Honda did when I first laid eyes upon her.  Oh, the new-car smell, the Navigation system, the DVD player, not to mention the electric sliding doors...BOTH SIDES!!!... sniff, sniff....

I guess I am just not ready to move on...the pain is too fresh!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


The big Cinderella ballet was Sunday. I wasn't able to take any pictures or video of the actual ballet but I got some pics of the rehearsal.  Forgive the quality of the was very dark and I was pretty far away.

Big Girl is in the middle.  She played a forest sprite.

The performance was great.  The girls were fantastic. I was very proud

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Star is Born!

Big Girl did it!  She was cast as a Sprite in the Ballet Company production of Cinderella.  I knew she was a shoe-in!

She was thrilled, of course.  We are very proud.  This will be her 3rd time dancing with the company.  She was a mouse in the Nutcracker when she was seven, an angel in the Nutcracker last year and now she will be a sprite.  (Her dad teases her that she'll be dressed as a can of soda).

The ballet will be the middle of October.  I will try to get some pictures to post if I can get away with it.

Backs, Break-Ins and Ballet

Big Girl had a visit to Shriner's hospital on Thursday.  This was to be a regular check of her spine and we suspected a new brace would have to be made as she had grown so much it no longer fit well. 

After a looonnnggg wait we finally saw the doctor.  I can never figure out why it takes 2 hours to see the doctor when he only comes in the room for 2 minutes! 

The great news is her spine is completely straight for now and she gets to take a 6 month break from her brace.  She'll have to go back for x-rays in 6 months and may have to go back to bracing if her spine curves again.

She was ecstatic but she and dad were mad at me for giving the brace to the doctor to recycle...they had big plans for a bonfire. (You see why I was so anxious to leave it in Portland).

We had a celebration dinner at Joe's Crab Shack...a pretty fun place to eat. We went to our hotel looking forward to a trip to the coast the next day.  Our plans were quickly changed when we got a call from our alarm company.

We came home to find our basement had been broken into.  Luckily, the alarm scared them off and nothing was taken.  There was no damage.  Very scary, though.

We are now proud owners of a handgun and lessons are in my near future. I'm sure I'll be a natural.  I was pretty good at duck hunt on my playstation back in the day.

Today Big Girl is auditioning for a part in the Ballet Company's production of Cinderella.  Hopefully, later today we will have some more good news!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Orthodontia--The Sequel


Oh, the joy of flossing a 7-year-old with braces!
Only 12 months to go!

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Day of School!

We had our first day of School on Thursday.  The kids were excited to get started with some of their new curriculum. (Homeschool mom says hopefully).
They probably wouldn't have minded a few more days of vacation.

But first, the photo shoot.
Dance started this week too.  Girls were VERY excited about that.  They have decided to take a hiatus from karate this year...good thing, too since they are taking a total of 6 dance classes between them.  Mom needs to be home to clean and cook once in a while.

 Snickers wants in on the act. 
He's not a great model...hard to shoot a moving target!

Here's to a great year!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Well-Educated Mind...A Journey

I mentioned in my previous blog that our homeschool loosely follows Susan Wise-Baur's book The Well-Trained Mind.

She has also written a book for adults who wish to improve their minds and read challenging classic literature.   I purchased The Well-Educated Mind some time ago and fully intended to work my way through all the novels, autobiographies and poetry.  There is a recommended list of books and directions on how to read them... I got stuck on this one:

Unfortunately, this is the first book...So, I am challenging myself to read this book and blog about it.  I will be forced to complete it or be shamed in public.

Here is a short list of some of the first books in The Well-Educated Mind:

Don Quixote
Pilgrim's Progress
Gulliver's Travels
Pride and Prejudice
Oliver Twist
Jane Eyre
The Scarlett Letter

Ms. Wise-Bauer recommends reading the novels first before moving on to other genres. Anyone want to take the challenge with me?

Join the Well-Educated Mind Book Club!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Home School Review

It's that time again...Back to School.  It means something a little different for me and the girls than for most families.  Most moms are buying back to school clothes and school supplies and getting ready for a bit of freedom...

Well, our school clothes consist mostly of PJ's and our school supply list is quite a bit longer than most. 

This year's curriculum consists of:

Little Girl

Math-U-See Beta
Singapore Math 2A and 2B
Growing With Grammar 3
Institute for Excellence in Writing
History Odyssey
Singapore Science Early Bird
Trail Guide to World Geography
Spelling Power
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Art-Meet the Masters

Big Girl

Math-U-See Zeta
Singapore Math 5A and 5B
Singapore Science 5A and 5B
Trail Guide to World Geography
History Odyssey
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Institute for Excellence in Writing
IEW Grammar Fix-Its
Art-Meet the Masters
Life of Fred-Fractions

My new favorite book is Life of Fred Fractions...I'm not sure you could call it a full-year curriculum.  More of a supplement.  It is a humerous, fun look at math with quick assignments.  It reads like a story book.  Big Girl has really been enjoying it and did 3 chapters in one day.  I highly recommend for ALL students.  It begins at Fractions for about 4th or 5th grade and goes up to higher math.  Some of the books have a Home Companion for extra practice.

I am also really looking forward to History Odyssey.  We are covering Early Modern Times.  We will be doing lots of projects and using quality literature of the era. 

We loosely follow the classical model of homeschooling.  I follow the advice of Susan Wise-Bauer of the Well-Trained-Mind.  I use a lot of her recommendations with a few adapations of my own.

Looking forward to another great year! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Camp Cleawox-Part Two

This week I dropped my oldest child off at camp for the first time.  The first time she has ever stayed with someone who is not family.  The first time I won't be able to at least call her.  The first time!

She looks broken up, distraught,despairing!

We arrive at camp.  Me: Are you nervous?  Her: No.  Me: Wanna go home?  Her: NO!

Big girl gets loaded up with her gear...6 days is a long time!
I sense her fear is building.

After some tearful good-byes...

Sarah tried to put on a brave face and ran off to play.  Uhhh...honey?  Did you forget to say good-bye to Mommy?  Ummm...I'm leaving now, sweetie?

Blueberry Season!

Summer time is blueberry time in our town.  At least once or twice in the summer we load up our buckets and head to the berry farm. We pick from the rows and rows of blueberries until it gets too hot or our buckets get too heavy...The girls usually get more in their bellies than in the buckets.

This time we did pretty good... 10 pounds of berries in about an hour.  Cost??? Twelve Dollars!!!

Steve didn't want me do make jam or pie at first because the berries are so good fresh.  After a few days, though he gave in and admitted 10 pounds was too much even for the girls and him (I don't eat blueberries).

I made scrumptious smoothies and my first (2) blueberry pie(s).  They didn't turn out as pretty as I had hoped they would but I heard they were delicious.  Some even said it was the best pie they'd ever had!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Camp Cleawox

The girls and I headed out to the beautiful Oregon Coast for Girl Scout Camp this past weekend.  We spent 2 nights out in the out-of-doors, sleeping in open-air cabins, canooing, and camp-firing.  This was Little Girl's first time and she had a blast.  Big Girl had a great time catching up with camp friends.

We were up at dawn for sunrise painting.

I was actually convinced to go canooing,after the fiasco 2 years ago when Big Girl and I were unceremoniously dumped into the lake 5 seconds after leaving the dock...earning me my camp nickname "Splash".

It rained on night 2 leading to an indoor campfire by the fireplace...I wasn't too broken up about that...No bugs, nice warm kind of campfire!

I have to admit...I kind of had a great time, too.  But the best part of all.  Getting home for a long, hot shower!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fruits of My Labor

Last year when we did our landscaping we planted an orchard ( 2 cherry trees, 2 pear trees and 2 apple trees constitute an orchard, don't they?).  Well, after many months of watering, feeding and bug-fighting....

A Bumper Crop!

They were delicious, too...All 12 of them.  Don't worry, I shared.

We have teeny-tiny apples, too.  They are not ready yet and I'm not sure they are going to be any good this year but they have potential.

I'm feeling like a regular farm-girl! Bring on the cows for milkin' and the pigs for sloppin' !

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dance Night

The big recital was Saturday.  Emily was adorable in her jazz/ballet routine.  Without prejudice she was the star of the show dancing to "Let Your Heart Sing" by Katherine McPhee.

Sarah was later on in the evening performance.  She did a sassy version of "He Could be the One" by Hannah Montana.
Next Sarah did her coolest moves dancing hip-hop style to "Ima Bee" by the Black-eyed Peas.
Both girls were without a doubt the prettiest girls and the best in the shows. As you can see I am completely unbiased.There is some debate in the house as to from whom they got their dance talent.  Daddy thinks he passed down his dance skills.  He bases this on a two-minute waltz at our wedding. I think it must come from farther up the family tree. Their cuteness, though...that one is obvious!

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Mother's Day Sweets

 My honey was working on Mother's Day so I wasn't really expecting a whole lot on Sunday.  I expected business as usual but my little sweeties surprised me. 

I was trying to sleep in but around seven a.m. I started hearing my door opening and closing every few minutes with accompanying whispers in the hall.  "Is she awake?"  "No, I think she's still asleep."

I finally gave up and hollered to the girls that I was up.  In they bounced wearing aprons.  One held a breakfast menu (with 5 types of cereal) and the other held an order pad and pencil. For some reason, coffee was not on the menu so I had to request a special order from the chef.

I propped myself up with some pillows, turned on the news and awaited my gourmet breakfast in bed.

Much, much later, room service arrived and served my delicious frozen pancakes (no syrup), banana and coffee.  It was wonderful.  My lovely waitresses asked if there would be anything else and left me alone to enjoy my meal.

Soon after, room service arrived to remove the tray and bring my morning paper (I could really get used to this).

After reading the paper and having a second cup of coffee (and still having not put a foot down on the floor) I discovered a chick-flick marathon on ABC Family.  I snuggled back down into my covers and relived one or two old favorites.

I decided around eleven to check on the kitchen staff. They seemed happily busy with their own pursuits so I decided to exercise a bit.  While exercising I started watching chick-flick number three and didn't make it into the shower until after it was over.

My waitresses arrived with the lunch "manue".  The choices were peanut and butter and jelly sandwich or bagel with cream cheese with water or milk to drink.

I enjoyed a solitary lunch in my room and then decided it was time to rejoin the rest of the world.

The house was actually in pretty good order with minimal mess in the kitchen.  I was really impressed with the help.  They work cheap, too.

Later, we met Daddy for dinner in town.  The pampering continued at home as Daddy got the girls ready for bed and tucked them in as I watched recorded episodes of Dancing With The Stars. 

This was my very, very, best Mother's Day ever! I hope all of you were as lucky as me yesterday.

Happy belated Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Pioneer Woman Adventure

Shelly and I set out on our Pioneer road trip much as the original pioneers did:  with a quick trip to the Love's on I-5 for gas, snacks and diet Pepsi.
After 3 hours we arrived at our destination. There was no line out the door so we figured we were early enough to get a good spot to meet Ree.
Then we saw this!

We did manage to find a good spot to stand for the next 2 hours.  Ree got lost in traffic and was a bit late.  She arrived a bit flustered and came in the wrong entrance. The person who was to meet her at the entrance couldn't get to her and she ended up trying to talk into the mike stand.  She handled it in her usual self-depreciating way and got a good laugh from the crowd.

She took questions from the audience and even sang a bit of Ethel Merman.  The exciting news was that she is in talks with Hollywood-types to make a movie of "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" and that Reese Witherspoon has expressed interest in playing Ree!

A  few hours later.....Our numbers were finally called and we got to meet Ree.  "I'm from Oklahoma, too!"  I babbled excitedly.  I'm sure she was thrilled.
Actually, she was quite kind.  She had a short conversation with everyone who came up to her and smiled and laughed the entire time.  I'm sure we are best friends now and I'll be invited to the lodge very soon. I mean...look what she wrote in my book!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Pioneer Road Trip

Today my friend Shelley and I are headed on a road trip to Portland to meet The Pioneer Woman at a book signing.  I can't wait!  I hope to get some good pictures and maybe even see Marlboro Man!
I'll keep you posted!

If you don't know The Pioneer Woman here is her web address:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Puerto Vallerta Zip Lining

Well, we are back from our Mexico trip.  The first port we docked in was Puerto Vallerta where my honey and my big girl went  zip-lining in the jungle canopy. 
They had a blast.  They zip lined from platform to platform, rapelled down, crossed narrow rope bridges and climbed gigantic ladders.
Not exactly my cup of tea. 

I'll stick with shopping.