Thursday, December 29, 2005
On Christmas Eve Nana and Jason came to spend the night, like every year. We had to miss David this year though. He's a newlywed with a baby on the way now, so I'm afraid the Christmas mornings with David are probably over. :( Who knows, maybe I'm wrong. Back to Christmas Eve...Nana brought all the fixins for a special dinner, turkey, dressing, homemade cranberry sauce (my favorite), sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, fresh green beans, her famous Ruthie rolls, and good ol White Zin. She even brought Christmas linens for the table. Yes, we had cloth napkins, a rare occasion that MUST be noted. What a treat! I remembered to pull out my Christmas china this year, woohooo, so we had a fancy dinner on fancy china this year. :) After dinner we were all too stuffed for pie, of which there was plenty, but we did manage to make room for egg nog (with the nog, as Nana would say), and the kids had the non-nog. We sat around the table and asked each other questions from Nana and Big Daddy's It's A Wonderful Life board game, that was fun, but I think some of us need to study a little more next time, if we plan on beating Nana. I think she's probably watched that movie 50 times! We put the kids to bed shortly after putting the reindeer food in the yard and leaving grahm crackers and soy milk (Ashley says Santa may be lactose intolerant like Grams and uncle Jason). The kids were so excited and anxious to get to sleep so that morning would come quickly. After all the wine and nog we were anxious to get all of our wrapping over with so we could catch some z's.
Christmas morning was picture perfect. The kids were up just before 7 and patiently waited at the top of the stairs while momma and daddy slowly made their way to the coffee pot, and set the scene with Christmas music and lights. Dad picked up Eddie Faye on his way and they joined us around 8ish. The kids were so excited about everything they opened, while we were rewarded with sweet smiles and plenty of generous thank yous. Most of the morning was spent either jumping on the mini-tramp, or hopping around on Ashley's new X-box dance mat. Mark was busy trying to find food he could slice with his new mandalin and I was occupied putting together my new Kitchen Aix mixer and trying to figure out what I could mix up. By noon, Frank and Nicola showed up and dad and Ruthie were beat and ready to go. Frank and Nicola spent a lot of time playing with the kids, which the kids just devoured. By the time they left we were all ready for a good long nap.
Mom and Andy came over just after 5. We were able to have round 2 of the spectacular dinner from the night before, thanks to Nana. This time we made room for pie though. :) We had a really nice time with Grams and Pops, and the kids were more than happy to show off all of the wonderful new gifts that Santa brought. By 10:30 Grams and Pops were gone and we were making our way to bed. It was a beautiful Christmas Day, and I wouldn't change a thing about it, except to have all of the ones we love together.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Yesterday was Alex's last day at La Petite. We pulled him out because he had a "preschool angel" watching over him who told me some not so nice things about his teacher. I had noticed little things here and there, but I always made excuses in my mind that she was just having a bad day, or maybe she had some personal things going on in her life that weren't allowing her to be herself. Whatever the case may be, this was the last straw. Apparently his teacher woke him up from nap one day by knocking his cot over with her foot. That on top of his extremely long adjustment period, his frequent accidents at nap (that don't happen at home) and the directors inability to confront employees with personel issues was enough to send us running. Mark filled out a report and we were on our way. Unfortunately, Alex went his first week without crying last week and had just adjusted, but I think it won't take nearly as long for him to adjust to his new school. I'm starting to realize that his teacher played a bigger part in his uneasiness than I realized.
On a brighter note, we found him a new preshcool. It's an independantly owned liscensed preschool called Children's Garden. We spent over an hour there yesterday and were very happy with what we saw. Alex won't start for another week and a half since Mark has off all of next week, but he's actually anxious to go. His teacher is wonderful. She has taught infants to middle schoolers, but CHOOSES to teach 4 year olds despite the decrease in pay. A dream come true! I didn't think it was possible to find such a person, but she exists! She was very outgoing and was great with the kids. Anyway, I'm still a little nervous after our recent experience, so I'm going to have my radar on pretty high. I'm really hoping this place works out. If it doesn't I'm quitting my job and living on the streets if I have to.
Oh, I have one more. Tonight at dinner this little ham must have been trying to reach his "WHY" quota for the day and was once again asking me more questions than I had answers for. When I reach MY quota, I usually call it quits and just admit when I don't know the answer (even if sometimes I do happen to know). So he throws one out there, I don't even remember the question right now, but it was one I couldn't or didn't feel like answering at the time. From across the table our little 4 year old puts his hand up in the air matter of factly, and animates his response of "but you're an ADULT, MOMMA, you're supposed to know EVERYTHING, HEL-LO!" Now how do you NOT laugh at that one?
Friday, December 16, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Here are some pictures of the cake I made for dad:
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
We really did have a good time, even though the first class was more of a tease than anything. After not eating dinner it was pure torture passing one bowl of frosting after another around the room for everyone to "see the consistancy" (yeah the consistancy of my ability to restrain myself!). It took every ounce of restraint for me not to dip my finger in the gooey chcolate and taste a hunk. And then I sat there quietly drooling as she filled and frosted the chocolate cake. Evil I tell ya, EVIL!
I'm anxious to go back next week and learn more. The class is four, 2 hour sessions. So every week for the next 3 weeks I will be taking a cake to class to decorate...which in essence, means that I will be gaining an extra 5 pounds in the midst of gaining my OTHER required 5+ pounds from the Holidays. But that's ok, because I will be a mighty fine cake eating...oops, I mean mighty fine cake DECORATING momma.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Ok, so I'm rambling....the whole point of this entry to was to document another one of those genuinely sweet moments where Ashley made my heart pitter patter.
Yesterday, Mark and I went to vote and when we returned Ashley was curious about what we were voting for. I told her that most of it was boring stuff, but that the big issue on the ballot was Proposition 2. For the first time in our household I explained to her what the Proposition was, and I kept a 100% neutral explanation. After my explanation I sat there for a minute continuing what I was doing, waiting for her to respond, but acting as if the conversation was over... I was curious to hear how an unbiased 9 year old would respond. Slowly, her forehead wrinkled, her head cocked to the side and she said something that I will never forget, "But Momma, aren't gay people humans too?"
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
Alex had his 4 year check up on Tuesday this week. He's 42" tall, which puts him in the 90th percentile for height, he weighs 37 pounds which is the 70th percentile. He had 4 shots and did so well, momma was so proud! The nurse was amazing, she had him distracted by counting pictures on the wall. Surprisingly, he didn't even flinch for the first 3. I had to look over and see the bandaids to find out if she'd done anything yet! The 4th shot was the MMR, which is the most painful one, and boy did he feel that! He fussed for a little bit, but was such a brave boy and calmed quickly. He always gets a bit of a fever when he gets vaccinations, but here it is Friday and he's still feeling pretty yucky. Mark stayed home with him today because he had a fever and was really not feeling well, and he's laying next to me now with a 101 temp. Hopefully this will pass soon.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
My job is great, I didn't realize how much I missed the working world...imagine that! I'm really enjoying my job and can't wait to dive in and learn all about this company and the work they do. I am one of two drafters in the office, so we're talking a small business, that's for sure. I'm looking forward to learning Microstation! I feel so lucky to have this opportunity! I have to cut this short, my tooth is SCREAMING at me and I really need to go lay down.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Mark's first Zip
Scarier than it looks!
Standing on the platform in a 600 year old Cypress looking down
Leaning back over the edge...Jamie has trust, seeeeee! (pay no attention to my nervous hands)
What a showoff!Tarzan Zipping once again
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Nana came to spend the night on Friday, so that she could come see the kids games. Alex scored 2 goals for Nana, and Ashley served for SEVERAL points and returned a few serves as well. My little show offs. :) After the games Nana took the kids back to their house to stay the night. Mark took us straight to Cypress Creek Canopy Tours. It was AMAZING! I have a slight fear of heights...but yesterday I learned that I don't really have a fear of heights, it's just a fear of falling. ;) This place was amazing, I have never experienced anything like it, and can't wait to do it again. Basically, it's a zip line tour through the Cypress Trees. We were way up in the canopy of the trees zipping from tree to tree, just like a bunch of monkeys. The first zip took my breath away, but after that, it was smooth sailing. I will post pictures tonight when I get the chance. I hope the pictures are as beautiful as I remember it being out there.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
My boys watching TV together
Alex riding his horse
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Today proved to be a MUCH better day. We had an appointment with La Petite Academy this morning. I was aprehensive, because it seems like all I hear is negativity towards La Petite...but never specifics. The director was so warm with Alex and the other children. I saw her trying to coax a shy little girl to go play and she was gently rubbing her leg talking softly to her. Stepping Stone did not have anyone visibly as "warm". The rooms are all open, plenty of space, in fact a LOT of space. I was very impressed with their program and attention to detail. The place isn't nearly as new and sparkly as S.S. but it got my vote! Ironically enough, when we left, Alex looked up at me (before I ever said a word) and said "momma, I think I like this place better". :) Need I look further?
So this morning I decided I would call a local surveying company and see if they were hiring. They didn't have an ad posted anywhere, but what the heck, I figured it couldn't hurt to call. I called at 7:50 am hoping to catch the owner early before he got to busy. He was very glad to speak with me and wanted to me to send a resume' asap. I promptly emailed him my resume and within the hour he replied that he wanted to meet with me. Yahoo! So I went in today at 2:00 and met with him, his wife (co-owner) and their right hand man, Johnny. What a great place! I was impressed from the get go. This was the most professional surveyor I've ever run across. The interview lasted a full hour and we covered everything under the sun. As it turns out this position was somehow created just for me. :) When he asked me if I "had" to work 40 hours a week, I knew that this was going to work out. It turns out they are not in need of an 8-5er, they're in need of someone that can work maybe a little less as needed. How perfect! Chuck told me that he thought me coming in was meant to be, and that this sounds like the ideal situation. I couldn't agree more. He didn't offer me the job, but he did tell me that he thought I'd work out great and that they'd call me in a day or two after they had talked to tell me some specifics about when, how much etc. I'm just thrilled! This place is less than 3 miles from home and I never even have to get on the main road. I can drive through the neighborhood to get there, heck I could ride my bike! I will update when I hear more. :)
Sunday, October 09, 2005
I have no idea what this face is all about.
My two favorite kids on the hayride
Photo compliments of Miss Ashley
We made a family trip to Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls today. www.sweetberryfarm.com Marble Falls is about 45 minutes West of Leander down 1431. What a gorgeous day for a trip through the Hill Counry! The high was 85, and there was not a cloud to be seen. They had all sorts of activities for the family...you could stuff a scarecrow, paint pumpkins, shuck corn with and old time metal crank shucker (I guess that's what it's called), they had scarecrow stuffing, hay rides, a kiddie maze through corn-like fields. They had goats and horses, homemade icecream, and plenty of photo ops. We kept it simple and took a hayride and painted pumpkins. The kids had such a great time, I think we might have to work this in every year and start a family tradition.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Tomorrow is Spanish class number 2! I'm really looking forward to it, and hoping I can start memorizing some of the students names now that I'm a little more relaxed. Today I met a lady at the library who is a volunteer Spanish teacher also. She teaches Kindergarteners at another school in our district, but our program is exactly the same. We shared some ideas and talked a little about our first class, she was just as nervous as I was, and told me about how difficult it was for her to sleep the night before. I was secretly happy to hear that! Shhh! After talking to all the Spanish teachers at our school I was beginning to think that I was the only one feeling the first class jitters. I talked to several teachers who all told me "oh, they're just first graders, they won't bite!" Well DUH! Anyway, it was just nice to talk to someone who understood. She and I are the only teachers that I know of who are not fluent Spanish speakers, so that was a little comforting as well. I 've been wondering if I'm depriving the kids of the extra knowledge of a fluent teacher, and if they are missing out on too much, but the more I think, the more I realize that these kids are lucky, (and I AM just a volunteer). I'm teaching them the basics of Spanish, and my kiddos should go in to the 2nd grade with the same knowledge of Spanish that the next class has. Strangely enough I never even introduced myself to the lady, and I never got her name, how silly! Luckily, she takes her 3 year old to storytime on Thursdays also, so I'm sure we'll exchange names and numbers in the future.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
For starters I showed up an hour early at 10:50 instead of 11:50. Fortunately I checked the schedule when I arrived and realized my mistake BEFORE walking in to the class an hour early and completely embarassing myself. As it turns out the hour was just what I needed to calm my nerves, soak up the school environment, and get in to teacher mode. I was able to study my lesson a little longer, lower my heart rate, and focus on relaxing a little more. The first two minutes or so of class is a blurr. I was scared out of my mind (of what, I'm not sure), but those sweet little first graders had a way of putting my nerves at ease and making me feel like I was at home. Within a few minutes, I was at ease, as if I were at home teaching Alex. The kids were attentive, excited and very well behaved. Their interest in learning Spanish made my job so much fun. They are really are cute little people. I hope that I am able to remember all of their names though, my goodness, there are so many names! Luckily a few have the same name so that increases my odds just a bit.
My next class is the day after tomorrow, and this time around I'm not at all nervous, in fact I'm anxious to get back in there and have some more fun. :)
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Lesson 1: Introduction, Why it's important to learn Spanish, where Spanish is spoken, Similarities of Spanish to English, Como te llamas, me llamo, Read Say Hola to Spanish book. Alphabeto, colores. Phew! I hope I fill up the entire 30 minutes. I'm anxious to report back on how it goes, but it probably won't be until Sunday that I get a chance to get back online. I'm checking Ashley out of school early and we're leaving for Inks Lake to go camping shortly after I finish my class tomorrow. It's going to be a busy day, but I will surely reap the rewards while I lounge in the beautiful weather that is heading our way this weekend. I think the high this weekend is in the 80's. A huge change from the 108+ temps we've had the past week.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
So this morning in celebration of no school we went out to breakfast with Angie, Aubree and Jared. The girls really wanted Day Light Donughts, so we made a quick stop and picked some up, then we headed to an "adult" restaurant as we called it. There's a little mom and pop barbeque place over on 1431 that serves all kinds of yummy breakfast plates, so we decided to check it out. We were able to get a table on the back patio and let the kids run free, while we ate our breakfasts. It was so nice, and the girls were just thrilled to be on this little adventure during school hours.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Sunday, September 11, 2005
I have to admit, I am a little aprehensive about the program though. It's strictly a volunteer program, and like most volunteer programs, there is a shortage of volunteers. The program only has enough people to teach Kinder through 2nd grade...the same problem they had last year. I am concerned that the Spanish we teach will be lost after the 2nd grade. The next Spanish they are REQUIRED to have is in High School, and they could wait until their Jounior year to take it. That is a HUGE gap! If we were teaching 3rd - 5th only, as opposed to the lower grades, the children would be more likely to choose Spanish as an elective in Middle School, since the material would be so fresh. I don't know, maybe I'm thinking too much about this, maybe exposing them to a foreign language at such a young age will open their mind to something as simple as realizing that the world is bigger than Leander, Texas, and this will allow their minds to grow in ways I can't even really comprehend. Whatever the case may be, I'm excited and anxious to get started in a few weeks. How am I ever going to remember 20 kids names!!?
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
We had her birthday party at The Embassy Suites Hotel this weekend. I told her she could invite 5 friends, but somehow we ended up with 6. :) Here's the invitation I made:
As soon as we arrived at the Embassy, we got changed and jumped in the pool for a bit. Grandma wasn't scheduled to pick up Alex for a few hours, so we had 7 girls, and 3 year old Alex, who just learned to swim a few months ago. Whew, what was I thinking!? 9 year old girls are at the stage where they love their independance, yet still thrive on adult approval to some extent. This equates to 7 girls clear across the pool yelling "MRS. JAMIE, MRS. JAMIE, WATCH THIS, WATCH THIS!!", which would normally be fine if I didn't have a 3 year old who's swimming abilities out weigh his intelligence. The girls had a blast, momma came close to loosing her mind. Thankfully, our pizza arrived and we had an excuse to leave. After cake, pizza, and presents Grams and Pops took Alex home with them for the night THANKYOUVERYMUCH, and we headed off to the mall. I didn't tell the girls what we had planned, it was a complete surprise. We arrived at the food court and I handed each girl an envelope with their name written on the outside. Inside each person had a name tag:
a Scavenger Hunt Sheet. (I'll add that on to the end of this entry) Ashley's envelope had some money for a few of the items on the list, and a map of the mall. We decided that they should all stick together as opposed to splitting up in to teams because girls this age can be a little over competitive, and the last thing we needed was for them to be divided. That turned out to be an AWESOME decision. They worked so well together, no one was left out and everyone participated. It really turned out to be a great time for the girls. Mark and I tagged along behind them keeping our mouths shut as much as possible.
From there we went to Wendy's and ordered 9 Frosty's. What a time we had a Wendy's! Thankfully, the place was empty, had it not been, it would have been shortly after our arrival. Mark and I really let loose and let the girls have fun, which is not typical of us. Normally, we're the semi-uptight-stressed-to-the-max parents telling the kids to keep their voices down, mind their manners, and to wipe their chins, so for us, this was a pretty big deal. I have some great pictures from Wendy's, I'll post those later. Ok, so by now it's around 9:00 PM, so we head back to the hotel, where Mark proceeds to fall face first in to the pillow. Poor guy was beat! He played hard with the girls. At one point he had 4-5 girls hanging off him as he walked across the Wendy's parking lot. As Ruthie put it..he really shined that night. :) I was proud. Back to the room...the girls sat in a circle and did a craft where they decorated door knob hangars with foam letters and shapes, while pigging out on popcorn and yes, more junk. Oh man, those poor parents who actually sent toothbrushes, haha, I'm just crossing my fingers that I'm not the cause of any emergency dental work over the next week. We had cookies, gummy worms, chocolate, pop rocks, wax bottles, chewy sweet tarts and even more junk. It was heavenly.
After the sugar rushes peaked we did mud masks and nails. By the time we were done it was 11:30 and believe it or not the girls were ASKING to go to bed. NO, that's really no joke, they were ALL exhausted. We've found the secret to NOT staying up all night, WEAR THEM OUT and give them wayyyy too much sugar! We were in bed and sleeping by midnight. I never even saw the end of Saturday Night Live.
The next morning we did the free full made to order breakfast, where the girls pigged out on everything their little hearts desired...including soda...but shhh, don't tell. We ended the party by letting the girls run a muck in the hotel, they went from elavator to elevator, and floor to floor reaking havoc on the other hotel guests, which was fine by me, I wasn't with them. Muaaahaaahaa!!! We were packed up and on the road by 11:30, on the way back to sweet freedom. Ash had an awesome time, no fights, surprisingly everyone got along and made the best of it. I'm not sure if it was the closed quarters that forced them to get along, or the fact that I threatened their lives before we ever left the house. I told them that I would send anyone home that made fun of, left out, or caused trouble with any of the other girls. Poor Ash, I'm sure she LOVED hearing that speech. :) I will post pictures tomorrow, it's way late and I'm running on empty.
Ashley’s Birthday Scavenger Hunt
*Work together as a team to solve each clue to find out what items you need to complete this birthday mission. You may need to refer to a map of the mall to find your way. A $ next to the clue means you will need money, honey! You won’t have much, so shop wisely.
1. All young girls love to shop here and not just one or TOO of you. Go in this store and ask for a bag to carry your loot.
2. I am a plastic eating implement consisting of a small shallow bowl with a relatively long handle.
3. I am flat and round and you will find me where food is sold. You eat off of me and throw me away when I get old.
4. I am on all clothes when they are new, but discarded before worn.
5. I am born of a bud in the spring. In autumn, I turn brown and fall to the ground.
6. $ Shiny and round am I. 4 of me make a dollar.
7. I am made from paper and square, not round. When you are done with me, you flush me down.
8. $ I am chewed, but not swallowed. I am always sweet and sometimes hollow. You can find me in a machine.
9. $ You love me with milk when mom cooks me right. Bring me back without any bites. Make sure to get one of me for each person on your team!
10. You will find me at the bookstore waiting to hold your place. You slide me in your novels and I don’t take up much space. You can sometimes find me free if you ask, but in case you need to buy me, take some cash.