Saturday, February 28, 2009

For the love of dogs...

As a child, I did not have any pets. Oh, I think my dad had a hunting dog at one point, but we didn't have any inside pets. My parents are not dog or cat or bird people, thus no pets.

When Bobby and I were first married, we rented an apartment, and then a house. Thus, no pets. We'd been married just less than 2 years when we bought our own house, and quickly decided we needed a dog. I can't remember why we settled on a Labrador retriever--maybe he does, but he's not here--but I do remember scouring the classifieds for lab puppies.

And I remember clearly the day we brought her home--she was about 6 or 8 weeks old, tiny little thing that slept on the car seat of my beloved white Jeep the whole hour drive home. My brother had sent me a ton of old Sports Illustrated's to use in my classroom, so I skimmed through them looking for names. Final decision? Kobe, after the famous Kobe Bryant. The Lakers had won the NBA title that year, and his name was all over the Sports Illustrated's. It was the only name we could agree on, and the fact that it was a boy name for a girl dog didn't phase us.

We loved that dog--took her on walks, I taught her to sit, lay down, shake, high-five, roll over and play dead, she slept with us. When I was on bed rest with Macy for A MONTH, she and I did nothing but lay in bed and I read books and she slept. It was the most peaceful month I've ever had. We brought two crying, poopy diapered children into the mix, and she didn't bat an eye.

She's been a wonderful dog and companion, even if she gets in the trash and steals food right out of the girls hands. Today when playing in the snow, the girls covered her in snow for fun, and she just ran around in circles.

And then 7 years later, a friend needed to give a dog a home. I'd been after Bobby to get another dog when her email came through. I showed him, never expecting him to agree. This dog was a barker, and I needed some assurance when Bobby was overnight at the fire station. Gabriel was 8 at the time, and I worried about how the two dogs would get along. They did fabulous--Gabriel was more bothered by Bobby than he was Kobe!

Gabriel has become a huge part of our family too--he is our watchdog, our dress up dog (he looks pretty hot in a princess crown and Snow White dress) and sleeps in Macy's bed most of the time. He wants to eat at 8 p.m. sharp, and lets you know. We love him even though he eats our underwear and socks.

My dad doesn't think dogs can understand you, but us dog lovers know better. "Wanna go outside?" "Wanna go for a walk?" elicits automatic response. They know when they are in trouble, when you bring out the suitcases that you are going away for a while, they know when it is bedtime. Every morning Gabriel knows I will check on Kaylin before heading downstairs, and he leads me in her room to check on her too.

But, and this was the original intent of this post that has somehow turned into the Longest Post Ever, as much as I love these two dogs, I REALLY love how much Macy and Kaylin love these dogs. They follow them around, love on them, feed them, always want to take them on walks, and want to play with them long past the time when the dogs are tired. They call them their babies, and get mad at me if I scold one of the dogs. "Mom! Don't yell at my baby like that!" Kaylin likes to leave the tv on so Gabe can watch it while we are gone. I love how much they love the dogs.

It warmed my heart to watch them play outside in the snow with them today. Macy first wanted her picture with Gabriel, and threw herself down on the snow to lay next to him.

And the next three pictures show a progression--Macy threw a snowball at him, then said, "Oh, you sweet baby!" and lunged towards him. Then tell me the last picture is not the sweetest thing you've ever seen.

The dogs are getting older--Gabriel is 10, and Kobe will be 9 in April. They aren't spry chickens anymore. After all their romping in the snow, they will sleep all day tomorrow. The day either one of them dies is not going to be a pretty day at our house. We might even get to see Bobby cry a little. Maybe.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crazy busy and I'm not even teaching!!

I've been just crazy busy this week, and I'm only teaching one hour a day!

Our newspaper staff is hurting for money. We had an advertiser bail on us, printing costs went up, plus with the economy our regular adveristers aren't buying ads. So we are doing a fundraiser--a Dodge Ball Tournament! We've been busy the last couple days hammering out details, rules, trying to get prizes, etc. It looks like Chipotle is going to give us gift cards as prizes, plus feed everyone during the championship,PLUS give the winning team free Chiptole for a month!!! They rock my world right now. Any blog readers out there who want to put together a team are welcome!!

Macy tells me tonight, "I think I want to be a snake doctor when I grow up." I say, "Oh, you mean like a vet?" She corrects me-"No, Mom, I want to be the one to put a sensor in the snake and then figure out where it goes, that way I can always know where my snakey is." Sure, Macy. I've always told her she has to wait till she has her own house to get a snake, but the last time we were at Petsmart, she read that snakes are good pets for ages 12 years and older. Now she's decided she is getting a snake at age 12. Sure, Macy.

Our Missouri Tigers are on fire, and I love it. It's about time!!

Planning for our journalism trip to Phoenix in April, plus our beach trip in June, plus only teaching one hour a day is making me have spring fever big time!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Birth Order Analysis 101

Tonight I was just listening to the girls talk, and how they reacted to something (can't even remember what) made me think about how different they are. They have been raised the exact same, but have such distinct, different personalities.

Here's how first-borns (Macy) are described on a web site I found, with italics on what fits Macy best:

First borns – the leaders, the drivers and the responsible types. These people like to manage others but first they need to manage themselves. They love to feel in control and can feel uncomfortable with surprises or feeling out of their depth. They are conservative in their outlook, which is both a strength and a weakness. Their ability to focus on a goal and their propensity to organise others means they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.

Their tendency toward perfectionism can mean they can be low risk-takers but they can be the rock around which organisations can be built. Approval of authority is important for this group so don’t expect them to rock the boat too much. First borns, above all else, want to forge ahead.

This fits her pretty well--she is not a risk-taker, and won't try anything new unless her sister or someone else does it with her. She is deeply concerned about what others think about her, and is very shy in unfamiliar situations. For the most part, she listens to what we say, and ALWAYS listens to her teachers or someone in charge. She gets her feelings hurt frequently, and cries a lot. She is responsible, and loves school. She worries when she doesn't get her homework done, and worries about situations before they happen. She does not like attention brought to her, and gets embarrassed easily. She is loyal to her friends, and doesn't like letting them down.

And from the same web site, how youngests are described:

Youngests – the initiators, ideas people and the challengers. This group are the creative, live-for-the moment types who can put some fun and verve into activities. While the message for first borns is to lighten up, it seems that this group need to take things more seriously sometimes. Great initiators and very impatient doers, they persevere to get something started but often are not the greatest of finishers. This group will often do anything to be noticed so make sure you pay heed to their efforts. Youngests, above all else, will blow your mind.

Kaylin, from the moment of birth, has been a happy child. Always smiling, and happy with everything. That's not to say she doesn't get mad or throw fits, because she does, but she is generally happy. She's the one who spent four months in a body cast without any complaining. She can't sit still-always up doing something. She definitely needs to take some things more seriously, and I'm sure she will get herself in trouble in kindergarten. She's very impatient, and if you don't move fast enough for her, you get a loud sigh and a eye roll. Kaylin loves attention, and doesn't shy away from it like her sister. When in an unfamiliar situation, instead of drawing in like Macy, she turns silly and goofy to cope with the situation.

That, in a nutshell, is my two girls. They look different on the outside, and are completely different on the inside as well. I think that is one reason they fight so badly--they both handle things so differently.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Here's a lovely comment on teenagers today...

Yesterday the phone on my desk rang. Here is the conversation that followed:

"Higgs? It's Jake."

"Jake? Shouldn't you be in class? Where are you?"

"I'm in Problem Stats."

"You're calling me from Problem Stats? Where is Murphy?"

"On the other side of the room. He doesn't know I'm calling."

"Jake? What do you want?"

"Will you get me out of gym next hour so I can work on my newspaper page?"

"Let me get this straight--you're calling me from class, to see if you can skip another class?"

"Yup, pretty much!"

"Ok, I'm hanging up now. I'm not getting you out of gym."

"Ok, thanks anyway, Higgs."

Wow is all I could say...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Loved Winter Park!

We're back...had lots of fun, but boy, I am tired! I got huge responses from my By the Numbers on my Christmas card, so I thought I'd try it again instead of recapping every little thing we did...

1--number of DVD players that quit working
2--number of headphones that saved our sanity
8--pairs of socks the girls and I went through in 2 days
1--wet sock left in the car that was frozen the next morning
4--tubes we rented on the tubing hill
1--times Kaylin was plowed over by Eric on a fast moving tube
2--books I read on the trip
51--miles in Kansas that there was NO place to stop for a bathroom.
1--times Kaylin tried skiing
0--times Macy tried skiing
2--stops at Walmart in the middle of Kansas
15--number of tumbleweeds we hit
1--copy of High School Musical 3 that happened to come out on DVD today
14--feet is the diving pool at Casa Bonita
1390--miles we drove in 4 days
250--number of pictures I took
2--hours we spent at Casa Bonita
3--number of Gatorade bottles Macy drank today
27--mpg we got on the trip
4--number of layers I had on while tubing
70--dollars spent on souvenir t-shirts. Ouch.

We had such a blast with the DeMaria's! We want to make it a yearly trip. The girls have NEVER seen that much snow, and were just amazed at how they would sink into the soft powder. Here are SOME of the 250 pics I took

Us after a looooonnnngggg but fuuuuunnnnn afternoon of tubing. (My high school students drag out words like that, and I catch myself doing it now too.)

The DeMaria family, who we hung out with this weekend...Some of you remember Eric from college.

How Bobby and Eric spent the afternoon...hauling kids back up the hill. Notice Eric's short was HOT up on that mountain with the sun beating down!

The 4 kids...they all went down together like this, and screamed the whole way down.

To show you how deep the snow was up on top, look at how far Kaylin sunk until I could pull her out.

Macy and her giant chunk of ice

Macy and Gabriella climbing a mountain of snow

Macy exploring the creek behind our condo...look how deep the snow was on her!

Bobby and Macy had a snowball fight...

Kaylin tried skiing! I'm not really sure what she thought. All my pictures of her on skis turned out blurry b/c of a ice chunk on my camera lens; I was disappointed, but at least not all of them were ruined.

Look whose curls are back!

Macy and Gabriella on the sled...

I think this was their first trip down...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ride wasn't bad...

We're here safe and sound! The girls did fabulous--a few instances of fighting, but pretty good for the most part.

We bought headphones for the DVD players, and that was by far the best investment we made on the trip! No more do Bobby and I have to listen to High School Musical blasting in our ears. We were actually able to listen to the MU game and listen to the radio.

We did have one casualty--the DVD player bit the dust about 4 hours into the trip. We knew this was coming; this DVD player was about 6 years old, and was getting pretty beat up. We'd been looking around and trying to prepare for it. But I didn't expect it to happen today! So we made an unscheduled stop at the Walmart in Hayes, Kansas to buy new DVD players.

Tomorrow is snow, sledding, tubing and swimming.


Seriously, how do I pack so much STUFF? We are going to be gone 4 days, and I think the girls and I could be gone for 2 weeks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Have you seen such cool Valentine boxes?

I am offically Valentine-d Out. And it's now even here yet! Yesterday I went to Macy's party at school (she didn't have school today). There were some pretty cool Valentine boxes--I took pictures so you could see for yourself.

First up is Macy's. I know why this picture is so small, and I just don't have the energy to fix it. She basically used her shoe box from her High School Musical shoes she got at Christmas. I don't have the genes to make a pretty box with sparkles and hearts and glitter. Her's did just fine. And she loved it, which is what matters most.

This is Tyler's truck...pretty cool.

And Jocie's elephant made from duct tape. Dad would be proud.

I love, love, love Parker's. More about this one later.

Chloe had the right idea--just a plastic tub that she decorated. And usuable later.

I forgot which kid this one belonged to, but it was the largest box I've seen. Took almost two desks.

My newspaper kids also held a party today. We use it as a team-building activity. We give prizes to the best box, and they go all out. As evidenced by some of these pictures...

Holly made a paper-mache toilet. With tootsie rolls in the toilet bowl. She won the weirdest prize.

Phil grabbed his mom's Weight Watcher bag, and then put this sign on there about how he is on WW, and can't have any candy, but yet he wants some so give it to him anyway.

Katie won last year for Best Box (her dad, our assistant superintendent, came and sat cross-legged on a desk) and she won Coolest Prize today for her Abe Lincoln box. I'm not sure it was paper mache or what...

Hollie's alligator...I thought it was cool, but she didn't win anything.

Hilke's Batman box...these kids may be in high school, but they are still young at heart.

Emily won Prettiest Box. It had lots of glitter and sparkles. Her children's boxes will too, when she has them.

Mine! Inspired by good old Parker yesterday. I loved it. Easy to carry home, too.

And lest you think my kids are all creative and crafty, I present to you the Cheez-it box.

We are leaving Bright and Early for Winter Park, CO. I may or may not blog, depending on wireless access and my energy level. I'm sure I will have gobs of pictures when i come back.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hats off to single parents...

Tonight was a the green shift, or "C" shift, or Bobby's shift, so I was all alone tonight. Wanna know what I did with my time? I know you do. I know you are just dying to know. So here it is!

3:30-5:00--worked at Kaylin's preschool
5:15--picked up Macy from her friends house
5:20--fixed a wholesome meal of hot dogs, chips and juice boxes
6:00--dropped Macy off at basketball
6:10--dropped Kaylin off at karate
6:20--shopped at our newly expanded and very nice Dollar General for some things for our trip this weekend
6:50--arrive back to pick up Kaylin from karate
7:05--pick up Macy from basketball
7:15--visit with Bobby at the fire station
8:00--begin getting ready for bed
8:45--both girls in bed, not asleep, and begin making lunches/laying out clothes/getting backpacks ready for school
9:00--both girls asleep (a miracle this early)
9:05--take a shower
9:15--do my nightly email/Facebook/blog checking
9:30--finish up this blog post, going to pop some popcorn and do my homework for weekly Bible study on Esther (not Easter, as I originally typed).

Seriously, I have the utmost respect for single parents. While I had a crazy, busy night by myself, my husband will be home for the next two, and that will take some of the load off. Single parents don't have that luxury.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Photo Lesson 101

I am not by any means a good photographer. Sometimes my pictures turn out better than others, but that's because sometimes I put extra thought and effort into it. Getting a great photo is not an accident--you must spend time and thought into creating a great photo. I also take a ton of pictures in the hopes that at least 2-3 of them will be great. I know others who read this blog who take way better photos than I do, so they can just ignore my blathering on about stuff.

Since this is my blog, and I can talk about whatever I want to, I'm going to talk about two ways to get good photos today. If you don't care, then fine. But it's blog and I can cry if I want to (or write about whatever I want!)

Saturday morning the girls and I played at a park for about an hour before Macy's basketball game. I have plenty of pictures of them at one park or another, so I thought I'd work on framing first.

There are lines everywhere--jump right out at you lines, and more subtle lines that sometimes take a little longer to see. Lines make great natural frames. When I was taking this one of Macy, I realized the slide was making a natural frame. See how I messed up at the top and didn't frame it correctly?

These next two are better--the green slide fills all the edges, with a nice framing effect.

And no, you can't see their faces. THAT'S OK!!! So many times people think a good picture is someone smiling at the camera. While I love a close-up smiling at the camera, more unconventional photos are good too.

Kaylin was playing "store" and making me an ice cream cone (from the orange cone, of course). Because I was thinking of frames, I saw the lines around the window and Kaylin behind them. Loved that.

Bars make fantastic frames. Normally you wouldn't think to shoot through the bars, but I think it can create a nice effect. If you are a really good photographer, which I am not, you can play around with the apertures and make the bars fuzzier, and Macy crisper. Or the bars crispier, and Macy fuzzier.

Macy was working the drive-through window, and when I went to order my pizza, I noticed the bright red shape forming the window, and used it to fill the frame with her in the middle.

Enough about get the idea. One of my biggest pet peeves are people who are afraid to get close pictures. i see people all the time taking a picture of someone, say on the couch, and they take it from the other side of the room--think about how much extra stuff you get in that picture.

I love, love, love, love close-ups. They are my absolute favorite.Of course, I don't like close-ups of myself, but that's another story. Check out this close-up of Kaylin's foot--she was balancing it in front of me, and it looked so cute I had to take a picture of it.

And who could resist getting a close-up of this cute, smiling little girl?

Ok, I'm off my high horse. When you take photos, look for natural lines to create frames, and get close. You'll have better pictures for it!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Macy's Basketball Game Part II

Not much commentary here, but here are some pictures of Macy's basketball game today. I was sooo impressed with her defense today--she was all over her girl! She told me on the way home, "That girl at the end of the game was wearing me out!" :) She's getting pretty good, but still not very agressive. That'll come in time, I imagine.

On a sad note, her friend Kaylee's mom left their snacks and drinks upstairs during the game. Someone ate them!!!! Someone drank 12 Capri Sun's and ate 12 Valentine Little Debbie cakes! Unbelievable. They threw the evidence away in the trash can. Kaylee was so upset she was crying because she didn't get to hand out the snacks.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Nobody's are at our house

The Nobody's got into my Mary Kay foundation and smeared it all over the bathroom counter. When I saw Kaylin, she had the foundation tube in her hand, but promises me it was nobody.

The Nobody's also turned on Kaylin's light when it was supposed to be off. Macy was asleep and Bobby was at the fire station, but Kaylin again promises me it was nobody.

Nobody's good friend It Wasn't Me has been visiting quite a bit too. It Wasn't Me pinched Kaylin in the car last week, and It Wasn't Me also colored on the car seat with a green marker.

Wish we could count Nobody and It Wasn't Me on our tax deductions.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Not Me Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Last week, when swimming at the hotel pool, I did not have the bottom to my swimsuit on wrong-side-out, and it was not like that for a long time. I then did not pretend like my youngest had to go to the bathroom so I could fix it.

I did not put my children to bed in their clothes for the next day, so I wouldn't have to dress them in the morning!

I did not steal the $4 the tooth fairy gave my oldest so that I could give the girls "Jesus Money" at church {don't ask me why they call it that, probably not the most politically correct thing, but it has stuck for some reason} And you should have seen the look on Macy's face when I told her! I now owe her $4.

I did not let both girls, and the girl who spent the night on Saturday, eat chocolate doughnuts and popcorn for breakfast.

Finally, just now, as I was trying to buy a bottle of pop, I did not try to force my dollar into the pop machine repeatedly, only to discover the pop machine was turned off. Ooops!