Thursday, December 29, 2005


It's almost New Years and I'm just now finding the time to write about Christmas! Ok, I'll admit, I've had the time, but instead of doing the things I *SHOULD* be doing, I've been playing with all the awesome Christmas kids that we...errr...the kids got. Har har. I'll have to mention those later though. Lets start with Christmas Eve Eve... aka the day before Christmas Eve. We continued our tradition of taking the kids to the Big Chrismas tree at Zilker. Last year we discovered the secret to missing the ridiculous miles of traffic was to get there BEFORE dark. That was the best discovery ever. This year we topped it by packing an ice chest of drinks and picking up pizza on the way, now THAT was genius! (Marks idea of course) We got there just before dark and JUST before they started charging $7.00 for parking. SWEET! We ate our pizza, and funnel cake (gotta have funnel cake) it got dark and the lights turned on just for us. :) It was a perfect evening. Everyone was in the best of spirits, and we really couldn't have planned it any better.

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

Nah na nah na, hey hey hey...


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.

Alex says...

Oh my gosh this kid never fails to amaze me. We're watching Madagascar tonight and some of the characters were stranded on an island. They made a sign with sticks that said "HELP". A portion of it fell over and left "HELL". Mark and I chuckle at the "inside joke" or so we thought. Alex laughs and says "now it says Hell". &#$%$%^%$&$%&**@! WHAT!!!

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

La Petite Update

It's FRIDAY!!! Yahoo! I have super news on this fabulous Friday. Bribery WORKS! Alex went all week without crying when I dropped him off. I am SO proud of him! Lets see if we can continue the bribe in to next week and possibly start a routine of smiles! :)

Updated Blog

I just got done transferring some old Blog entries from my old Blog. I've been needing to do that for quite some time. Yahoo, one more thing to check off my to do list. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dads Retirement Party

I have been so anxious to post about the party, but held off in fear that dad might actually read my blog. Ruthie did such a good job of keeping it a secret that dad never even suspected it. Everyone arrived around 1:00, and at about 2:00 Ruthie gathered everyone around to say a few words of about all that we are thankful for, and announce the "real" reason for the party. Dad was definitely surprised. I think it took a while for it to acutally sink in. Poor dad. He told Ruthie long ago that there would be NO PARTY. Ruthie announced that "she" was not having a retirement party, but that "he" was. Dad responded with "no we're not, it's a Christmas Party" Haha! Of course, dad is dad, and his response was to be expected. It was a wonderful party full of people that my dad has probably spent most of his life with. I wasn't surprised to see that he was well liked by his coworkers, some of which probably know him better than I do. I'm so thankful that we were able to show him that his dedication and hard work has really made a difference in so many lives. His work ethic has been a major influence in my life, and it will pass on to my children and become a defining part of our family values indefinitely. It was a beautiful day for us all.

Here are some pictures of the cake I made for dad:

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm having a.....


David and Cara had the Big Ultrasound today and It's a BOY!!! My very first nephew, I can't wait! Here his is, isn't he a handsome little guy??

Friday, December 02, 2005

4 year old thoughts

Alex: "Momma?"
Momma: "Yes, Alex..."
Alex: "I don't miss sissy OR daddy right now"
Momma: "Oh really, and why is that?"
Alex: "Because I'm eating these really yummy chocolates and they really make me not miss them right now"

Friday, November 11, 2005

Adventures in cake decorating

You know you're getting old when... you and your friends sign up for a Wilton Cake Decorating Class, and you seriously can't WAIT to go. And you REALLY know you're getting old when you walk out after the class with over $50 worth of cake decorating supplies, some of which come in a "tackle box"...(and that's with a 40% off coupon). Lastnight Mollie, Rachel, Tonya, Laurie and I went to our first class. We're officially old. Cake decorating at Michaels on a Thursday night, what's next, knitting? Weaving? LOL

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

Our little Free Thinker

I will never forget the words of Ramona Cain...the wife of the Preacher that married Mark and I, and one of the most unselfish women I've ever met..."Ashley is an old soul." At the time, I was only 21 years old and only had half a clue what she was talking about, and quite honestly I thought she was a bit KooKoo for saying that, but over the years that label has come to mind quite often, and I now see so much of the "old soul" within her. I don't know what I believe when it comes to statements like that, and I'm quite comfortable with not knowing what's real and what's not, it's an ok place to be actually, but when I see some of the things Ashley says and does, I wonder how on earth she could possibly have learned to be so empathetic and so in tune with human kindness in the short 9 years that she's been alive. Whatever it is, I sooo hope that she keeps it for life, and that she is able to share her "old soul" with people who can appreciate it as much as her mom and dad do.
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

Halloween Pictures

Alex is 4!!!

We had Alex's 4th Birthday party at Chuckee Cheese this year. We didn't want to fool with cleaning and cooking, so this was too hard to pass up. All of our close neighbor friends were there, Uncle Frank, Aunt Nicola, Alexis and the Kendalls and Grams and Pops. He had such a great time! Here's Alex Pre-Birthday Party licking his birthday cake batter out of the bowl. He doesn't miss a drop:

And here's the cake, (my very first, so no laughing allowed!)

And here are some pictures of the party at Chuck E Cheese:

Friday, November 04, 2005

Work and Preschool week 2 and 3

I've been at work for 3 weeks now and I've finally started to adjust physically and emotionally to my new schedule, it's about time! I go in at 8:00, come home for lunch and then leave for the day around 3:30 or 4:00. So far, I'm pretty much able to make my own schedule. Alex, on the other hand is not adjusted just yet. Week one went great, but as soon as week 2 started he realized that this was not going to be a temporary thing. During week 2 he was very upset as I was leaving, but now he's upset before we even leave the house. He tells me "I don't want to miss you!" It's a huge change for such a little guy who's always had momma around. I wonder if I should have put him in a Mother's Day Out program when he was younger, maybe it wouldn't be as tough on him. What can ya do, what's done is done.

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

It's finally sinking in

I don't know what I was thinking when I thought I could go through this transition emotionless. It's finally sinking in. It might be PMS, it might be the fact that I had to go to a totally lame convention all day on Saturday AWAY from my family missing both kids games, a birthday party and the school carnival, maybe it has something to do with a message my friend just wrote about her conversation with my Alex on the playground last week, and the fact that someone else is telling me about his day. Or it might be the picture on my computer of Alex fingerpainting with his two friends Emma and Mrs. Alex on Mollie's kitchen floor, or possibly the all the emails about playgroups that I keep receiving that I know I can't take Alex to. I know I will adjust, I know it's a completely normal, crappy transition that we are all destined to have to go through at some point, whether it be now, or when our children go off to kindergarten, but it still sucks, and I'm really not interested in going through it, not one bit. Alex will be 4 next weekend, and I know that I am so lucky to have spent all this time with him, but for some reason it sure doesn't make it much easier.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

First two days of work and preschool

Wow, I'm officially a working mom! Yesterday, Mark and I took Alex to his first day of preschool at La Petite. Sunday night we read "What to Expect at Preschool" which proved to be VERY beneficial in preparing Alex for his first day. When we kissed him goodnight he had the biggest grin on his face, he told us how excited he was to go to preschool in the morning, and that he couldn't wait to be a preschooler. I woke him up Monday morning and got him ready for school, and Mark and I took him in around 8:00. When we arrived, the kids were outside playing on the playground. It took him a while to remove himself from my leg, but eventually he went to play with the other kids. Surprisingly enough, I was emotionally stable. I'm not sure how that happened, but it did, and I was fine. I was so excited for the both of us that I didn't have a chance to be sad. Poor Mark, I think he might have covered the emotions for the both of us. I could tell pretty soon after we arrived that it was going to be tough on him. It was touching to see this emotional side of him. Alex did great on his first day, he never cried for us...and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that to be perfectly honest!

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

Cypress Valley Canopy Tour

Mark's first Zip

Scarier than it looks!

It's a looong way down

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

October 16th

Today is our 6th anniversary. :) It's hard to believe how fast the time goes by, Ashley was 3 year old, Alex was not even thought of, and Mark and I were starting our new life together. Through these years we've endured a lot of change together, but one thing that has stayed constant is our love for each other. I've had my best friend by my side all this time.

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

Dud Update

Well, we're pretty sure the Dud is going to be ok. This morning they did a stool sample, and some blood work. His stool sample was primarily blood. :( Scared the daylights out of me! They're not exactly sure what's wrong with him, but the vet says he has some gastrointestinal bacteria, which is causing all of his insides to be upset. Anything from emotional stress to feeding him table food can cause it. The biggest fear with this is dehydration, and he was not doing bad at all in that department, thank goodness. The vet wanted to keep him overnight, so they could try to push the fluids and see if they could get him to eat, while dosing him with something to coat his tummy. They called back at 5:30 and said he's doing great! He's eating, drinking and taking his meds just fine. This is a major relief, I was so worried that we were going to get bad news, like Parvo, or something awful like that. Dudley has been such a wonderful addition to our family and I just can't imagine our lives without him. He's a pretty special guy.

My boys watching TV together

Alex riding his horse

I have ink!

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again...I truly have the sweetest husband on the face of earth. He knows exactly what to do to make me smile. Yesterday, he walked in the door with a gift and a card to congratulate me on getting the job. I've been walking on cloud nine since I got the offer, and him coming home with that, in a way justified my excitement. He got me one of those fancy pens that really important people use. lol I felt like a total moron when it took me a few minutes to figure out how to use it. I twisted and pushed and pulled, and Mark just bit his tongue and watched me. Finally, after making a complete fool of myself I realized that the cap unscrewed. Anyway, I just love it, and can't wait to use it at my new job. :)

The Dud

I'm worried about the Dud. He hasn't eaten in two days. Two days ago I came home from a playgroup and when I opened the door, the smell of my house almost knocked me on my rear. I'm not even sure if he's drinking, it's so hard to tell with two dogs using the same bowl, and me being as busy as I have been the past few days. I think it's been long enough though, I'm calling the Vet. as soon as they open, which is in about 15 minutes. I'm so worried about him. He's just so lethargic and weak. He looks at us with pouty eyes, and I can tell he's hurting. I really hope this is just a virus or something and the Vet. can put our minds at ease and his pain at bay.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Job hunt update

I got a phone call at 9:30 this morning...I GOT THE JOB, it's official! Mark and I had worked up numbers so I could negotiate, but it turns out that they offered what I asked for. :) I start Monday morning at 9am. Wow, just 5 days ago I thought my entire world was crashing down, but today I feel like a million bucks. My new job is 2.4 miles from our drive way, and Alex's school is only 2. 8. Had we picked Stepping Stone it would have been right on the way, but I think I can handle the 4/10 of a mile extra for a school that I feel more comfortable with. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The job front

Well, yesterday I sent out my first resume, and if that wasn't nerve racking enough, getting an interview two hours later certaily was. The interview went well, I'm almost certain he'll be calling me back tomorrow with an offer. Unfortunately, the job is too far, and the working environment is not for me. Stark white walls, narrow white hallways, nothing but white. It just looked very institutional, and while the pay would be good, I'm just not interested. From there I went to pick up Alex from Mollie's, who was gracious enough to keep both kids at a moments notice. What a friend! :) From there we went to Stepping Stone School to tour their facility. My first impression was positive, but the longer I was there, the more I wanted to leave. The classroom was way too small for that many children, and it just didn't feel "warm". Otherwise, it was great, big playground, lots of learning centers, a great cirriculum, etc.
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

Sweet Berry Farm

My boys

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. 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 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

All good things must come to an end

I can't believe I'm already having to type this entry. Two years shy of what I thought was the end, I'm going to have to quit my role as stay at home mom. My heart aches and the lump in the back of my throat isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I keep telling myself that I'm such a lucky wife, such a lucky mom, look how far we've come, we have our health, we have each other. Then I'm reminded of everything we're going to miss, and just how much my perfect life is about to change and everything else gets fogged over. I just want time to stand still, even for just a little while. I look at the time I've spent studying during the day and cleaning the house, and I just want to take it all back, I want to close my books, put the mop down and play and dance and sing and cuddle.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Day 7 of the sickies, and La Maestra #2

Alex is now on day 7 of this stinking virus, and I am sooo ready to get my boy back to normal. He came down with a fever on Friday just before we went camping, and had a fever between 100 and 104 up until yesterday. :( He doesn't want to do anything but lay on the couch and watch TV. I took him to storytime today, since his fever has been gone for a day or so, that was a mistake! He didn't pay attention to any of the stories, he just wanted to lay on the ground and act up like a 2 year old. :( It's naptime right now, and he's laying on the couch just snoring away. At the library I found a Laurie Berkner CD, (Alex and I just love her!) so I put it on when we got home thinking that might perk him up, but he ended up falling asleep to it while I danced around the living room. Poor guy. I miss him.

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

My first day teaching

I'm only 5 days late updating on my first day of teaching Spanish. My days are completely full, as I knew they would be when I took on all that I have. So I'm taking a break from studying to update on last Friday.

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

Spanish tomorrow!

Well, this is it, I just went over the lessons I will be teaching tomorrow, for the last time. It's late, I'm tired, and I don't see me improving anymore tonight. Tomorrow is the big test. It will be my first time ever to teach. Yes, I'm nervous, but more anxious than anything. I'm so ready to see if I can do this without cracking!!! I have no idea how hard this is going to be, but I keep reminding myself that these are only first graders and that it doesn't matter how perfect I come across, all that matters is that I teach these kids some Spanish and have some fun.

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

Rita is on her way

We woke up this morning, got ready for school, and just as we were about to leave I check my email and find out that school has been cancelled. Apparently, all the schools South of us are packed with evacuees, and they will be needing the Elementary schools as well. It was so fun to stop the kids that were riding their bikes and walking to school to tell them there is no school today. One boy didn't beleive me, he says "you're pulling my leg, right?" I said nope, I'm serious, go check it out for yourself, the parking lot is empty. That's all he needed to hear, he and his buddy screamed at the top of their lungs and turned around to go home. I think it's great that they are opening up the schools for shelters, what perfect sense that makes! It's a good thing Rita is hitting over the weekend, maybe the kids will be able to return to school on Monday.
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

How annoying~

I just typed up a Looong post about Hurrican Rita, and it got lost. What a friggin bummer, that took me 20 minutes!!! I will summarize...Mark is out of town, Rita was expected to hit us hard, no flashlight, went to walmart, empty shelves, crazy people, bought in to the chaos, freaked out a bit, didn't sleep lastnight, missed my husband, forgot picture day, the gas stations were out of gas, missed my husband, it's now bed time, we're safe, the storm is not going to hit us, I have no reason to not sleep well tonight but I betcha I don't...still miss my husband.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Well, I did it. I officially committed myself to teaching Spanish. I haven't decided if I've completely lost my mind or not, but I'm sure I'll know on day 1 of classes. I'm not sure why a class of first graders frightens me as much as it does...more than likely because I only know basic Spanish and I have not been given any curriculum info. as of yet. So yeah, I'm a little nervous. lol What I do know is that I will be teaching 1st graders for 30 minutes one day per week. I'm trying to focus on what Mark told me the other day "You could do anything for 30 minutes, shoot, you could be a trapeze artist for 30 minutes a week." He's right, I can do this, and that's why I volunteered. I think it will be really good for me, and if anything, it will freshen up some of my Spanish, and that's always a good thing when you live in Texas.
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

Labor Day weekend

We had such a wonderful weekend at dads, it was really one of the best times we've had out there all summer. Most of the weekend was spent soaking up the sun and cruising the boat up and down the lake. Ashely sure has improved with her wakeboarding, she can now go over the wake! Next summer I just know she'll be jumping like a pro! ;) It doesn't seem like that long ago when miss Ash wouldn't do anything that didn't allow her to have two feet firmly planted on the ground. Now there's nothing that she won't at least try. We are so proud of our girl! Mr. Alex has been watching Sissy very closely. He's so lucky that he has such a talented big sister to look up to. After begging to wakeboard all summer, Nana broke out the kiddie skis for Alex. I didn't expect much, in fact I expected Alex to chicken out and not even attempt it, but much to my surprise, our bitty three year old skied this weekend. Nana stayed in the water with him, giving him detailed instructions, while Mark, Ashley and I rode in the boat. Momma driving the boat was definitely not the best idea. Once I pulled him up, I don't think I looked forward at all! Thank goodness nothing was in my way (or was there, haha). Every bone in my body was shaking thinking about what could possibly happen to such a little guy. He's a big boy though, he does fine in a life vest and can now even swim without one. Alex stayed in a semi-squatting position the whole time, with water slashing up in his face. He would turn his head to take a breath and then look back forward again. He was absolutely adorable! Once he'd had enough he signaled me with a thumbs down. This was the first time I think I'd ever seen him give a thumbs down! He's been riding on the back of the boat in a float with Ashley all summer and the only hand signals he's given is a thumbs up to go faster. So I slowed the boat down, with Alex gradually lowering in to the water (along with my heart rate). We were all so proud of him, even the lady across the lake was yelling for him. :) There's no such thing as a skiing toddler, I think that's pretty much an oxymoron, so it's official, we have a big boy now. I'm not sure how I feel about that one!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Mark and I avoided facing the reality of the hurricane as long as we could. Wednesday night we finally agreed to watch some media coverage, for the first time. It was just as we suspected, horrific and devastating. We both felt an overwhelming desire to help, as I'm sure all Americans have. We have no money to give, so we have decided to open up our home. We are well aware of the risks and will take every measure necessary to ensure that our family is safe. We are nervous, yet anxious to do what we can to help. The devastation is just awful. It's so, so sad. A couple from New Orleans just left dads, they came to talk to them about keeping their dogs until they get settled in a rental with a back yard. The dogs are currently at a kennel. Dad and Ruthie offered up the apartment to them. It was so sad to hear all that they have been through, the wife had a hard time composing herself when she spoke about all they had been through. They've stayed at 6 different hotels in the past week, and were almost in to an apartment, when they backed out. The apartment personel knew their situation and still they demanded 3 months of rent UP FRONT, IN CASH. That REALLY ticks me off. Those people need to be reported. Anyway, they couple will be calling sometime tomorrow to let dad and Ruthie know what they decide to do. I'm trying to stay away from all the news reports and articles, it's just too much to absorb right now.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pictures From Ashley's Birthday Party

Lyndsy, Kelcey, Kelly, Ashley, Aubree and Savannah (Ciara is off hiding somewhere)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ashley's Birthday Bash

My sweet baby turned 9 years old yesterday. It's hard to believe it's been 9 years since we first met. 9 years since I held that precious baby in my arms for the first time. She was the beginning of this beautiful chapter of my life, that continues to flourish every day.

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.