Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I made it.

I made it to the end of November, blogging everyday.

Today I:
  • made Macy's 9th birthday party invitations
  • finished a brochure for our journalism program
  • met a new advertiser for our newspaper
  • watched the Crucible four times
  • planned the Revolutionary War unit

Tonight I am
  • going to see my beloved Missouri Tigers play basketball!

But my favorite part of the day?
  • Snuggling with my girls on the couch this morning. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Almost done!

Only one more day until I can stop blogging every day! Really, it hasn't been as bad as last year. But I will be glad to give myself a break.

Remind me next year to start with a movie after Thanksgiving...it was a very nice way to ease back into the swing of things. Do that at Christmas too? Mmmm...

Oh, and our boys' basketball team had their first win EVER tonight. How cool is that? Yeah for them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving wrap-up

What a great Thanksgiving break. Special times with family, good friends, decorating for Christmas, and most importantly--Bobby was off for most of it. Beautiful thing.

Today we fought the Christmas tree. We didn't get the best one, and finally Bobby put two 10-pound barbells around the base to support it, and I think it will be okay now. Our house is decorated. Normally I decorate just the living room, but I spread it out a little this year and decorated the living room, the kitchen and the dining room. The girls have little trees in their room.

Yesterday we brought home Bobby's grandmother's freezer, and her working record player and 8-track player. We listened to Johnny Cash's Walk the Line original record, circa about 1955, and brought home a huge bag full of other albums I need to sort through. If you like old, old, country, we have it!

Tomorrow starts the fastest 3 weeks in the entire school year. Somehow I blink and it's Christmas.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday Tips

1. Wear comfortable shoes. While boots might be stylish and keep your feet warm, after hours of standing on concrete, tennis shoes might be a better choice.

2. Tag-teaming is a must. Once entering the store, one person needs to get in line immediately. The others shop, then return to relieve the person in line so she can shop. Two of the stores had waits of an hour or more, so this allowed you to have a place in line while you continued to shop. A lot of women bring their husbands as line-holders. Mine said, "no way!"

3. Bulky coats are a hassle. A more practical choice might be more layers.

4. Have a list in mind. Yes, $5 pj pants are a great deal, but do you really need them? It's really easy to overspend. Know what you want, and stick to it.

5. Be patient and courteous. At 4:00 in the morning, after being up all night, crankiness can come out in all shoppers. Be nice to others.

This is my 3rd year doing Black Friday, starting at 11:00 pm on Thanksgiving Night. It is an incredible amount of fun. This is my friend Amy. It was her first year to go with us. Her daughter is Kaylee, Macy's BFF. I've mentioned her numerous times.

 And this is the crew...this was our 3rd year doing Black Friday together. Maria, Misty and me. This was about 3:15 am, right before we left Zona and headed over to Kohl's.

Ready for next year!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Family Tradition

This afternoon we headed up to the tree farm where we always get our tree. Here's the girls with Santa. Love this guy. This year he looked on his "list" and said Macy sometimes kept her room messy and Kaylin left clothes on her floor. Hmm. How true.

Bobby and Macy on the hayride to the trees.

Me and Kaylin. I was running on fumes at this point, after staying up all night shopping for Black Friday.

Photo Shoot with Macy

Photo Shoot with Kaylin
Checking out the pigs before we left.
Expression on Macy's face when Bobby said, "Yummmm....Bacon!"

After much searching for the PERFECT tree, we have brought it home and put it up. It's crooked. Very crooked. Not sure how he's going to fix it.

As much of a pain it is to find a tree, bring it home and set it up, I LOVE creating this family tradition with the girls. Dragging an artificial tree out of the basement just doesn't have the same memory-making event.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010!

Checking out the turkey with Aunt Julie...

Macy labeled the "desert table" for us...

Macy was a big help, and enjoyed mixing the 10 lbs. of mashed potatoes.
All four of the younger cousins. They were yelling "Grandpa has stinky feet!"
Now I'm off to Zona for some midnight shopping. Going to be a cold one!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...

Receiving Christmas cards in the mail is one of my ultimate favorite things. I blogged here about our dismal return rate last year, and I'm hoping this year will be better in that area. I LOVE seeing pictures of family members or friends we haven't seen in a while, and seeing how they've changed through the year.

I'm excited about Shutterfly this year for my pictures.  Shutterfly always does a great job. When my sister adopted Hannah, I created a photo book that chronicles Hannah's journey to joining our family, and it turned out soo good. Hannah and my sister really treasure that book. Shutterfly has a MILLION choices for photo cards.

Should I go with this design? I love the simplicity of it. And the H already in the middle is a good thing.

Or what about this one? A font fanatic that I am, I love the different fonts and the cool layout.

This one is neat...with the different sizes, and with 5 different pictures, I don't have to narrow the picture selection down too much.

Ohhhhh, I just saw this one. It kind of matches my blog layout. I love the "Believe in the magic of Christmas." It's only a matter of time before that magic is gone.

Which one should I choose??? I don't have anything to give you, except a big hug from me and a million blog points, but I would love it if you'd leave a comment and tell me which one you like. Or go to Shutterfly, look at their photo cards, and tell me which one you like.

Need more help with Christmas gifts? What about a calendar from Shutterfly? These are a great way to show off your family, and after the year is over, take off the pictures and frame them. What about a coffee mug from Shutterfly? We gave my dad one for Father's Day, and he loved it.

The really cool thing? Shutterfly is giving 50 FREE Christmas cards for writing a blog post about Shutterfly. Can you see my grin from your house? I LOVE Christmas cards, I LOVE Shutterfly, and I LOVE free stuff. Could that get any better???

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cyber pranking

Tonight we celebrated my beautiful niece Hannah's birthday. Such a gift that child has been!!

I have a couple pictures I was going to upload, but Blogger is being stupid and won't let me upload them. Here's the story behind one of them, and you can imagine the picture in your head.

My brother emailed me, said they'd made it in town (they were traveling from Atlanta), that he'd called Mom and Dad to tell them but got the answering machine. He said, it's only 7:30, are they already asleep?
I read the email outloud, and everyone got a kick out of it because Mom and Dad were sitting at the dinning room table!

So Mom and Dad laid their heads down on the table, pretending to be asleep.  I then texted the picture to my brother and said, "Too much partying at Hannah's party. They couldn't take it anymore" or something like that.

It was funny. I guess you probably had to be there. Or see the picture.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Something New

I've never professed to be a good cook. Others in my family can take that honor. But tonight I stayed after school with the FACS teacher (Family and Consumer Science, formerly Home Ec) and she helped several of us make pies. My dad and brother had asked for a pecan pie, so that's what I made. From scratch! Pie crust and filling all from scratch. The FACS teacher told me I had made an excellent pie crust and it really looked good. I took that as a major compliment, coming from her!

Hopefully my dad and brother like their pie.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Life's Full Circle

It's funny how life can bring you full circle.

When I was growing up, church was a non-negotiable. Unless you were dying, you went. I can remember many times spending the night with friends on Saturday night, and being picked up for church on Sunday morning. It embarrassed me, I will admit.

But this morning I stood in the living room of a friend of Kaylin's, kids in pj's running all around me, picking her up for church. This is the second Sunday morning in two weeks I've done this (remember when I was worried that Kaylin didn't have any friends?Yeah. About that.) and I had to chuckle, thinking of how life has come full circle.

Then the Sunday School teacher made the same point this morning, and I had to chuckle again.

Thank you Mom and Dad for creating the example, and I hope Macy and Kaylin follow the same lead.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Christmas Gathering

Last night I went to a special night at my church for women called the Christmas Gathering. Wasn't really sure what it was, but it sells out every year (400 tickets X 2 nights=800 tickets!!) so my dear friend Ronna and I went, and met up with some other friends from church and their friends/families. What a fun night it was!

Potato bar and desserts started the evening, then we moved to the fun part. They had 5 speakers lined up--topics were how to use an Advent calendar and make it special, how to be a savvy shopper, how to be a frugal gourmet cook during the holiday season, how to decorate your Christmas tree, and how to decorate your home at Christmas time. The speakers were very entertaining, and we cracked up at them all night.

The really neat thing? At the end of each seminar, the woman in charge would say, "Elves, bring out the free stuff for the ladies!" And a bunch of the men of the congregation would run out in elves hats and give us a free item! Just like Oprah's favorite things show! The men would act all silly too, which was funny. We received a package of hot chocolate mix (my dog ate mine today :( ), a nice re-usable shopping bag, a Christmas ornament, a Christmas tea towel, and a huge hurricane globe for decoration.

It was really very fun, and a great way to get in the Christmas spirit!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Update from Emotion Filled Day

Boy was gone, driving to Kentucky to try to see his dad before he passed away. I hope the dad makes it, or at least the boy makes it there in time.

Girl fighting with boyfriend was all lovey-dovey with him again. I have him in class in another hour. They are ahem a touchy-feely couple.

Girl upset about her test showed up with 10 minutes left in the hour. She obviously wasn't that concerned about doing well, or she would have been on time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A day full of emotions

One of my students--truthfully not one of my favorites--received some bad news today. He got a call, asked if he could go to the hall to answer it because his dad was in the hospital, then came in and asked to speak with me in the hall. His aunt was calling to tell him his dad was not going to make it. The boy is probably 6'3", 250 pounds, and started sobbing out in the hall. I did what was instinct--give him a hug and just hold this boy who was twice my size while he cried. Then I walked him down to the office to talk with the guidance counselor, who is much better at that sort of thing.

He has been on my mind all day. I don't know all the details, and I couldn't go into them here even if I did, but he lives with his aunt. Mom and Dad aren't stable parents. He's had a pretty rough life already, and this could be a breaking point for him. Like I said, he's not one of my favorites--he's loud, disruptive, and doesn't do homework. But my heart goes out to him as he deals with these strikes against him.

Then 5th hour, a girl was fighting with her boyfriend and she broke down into tears in class also. Seems trivial compared to the other situation, but I can feel for her-who hasn't been there?

THEN 7th hour, another girl came in. I'm giving a test tomorrow, and she started crying, telling me she was unprepared for the test and was afraid she wouldn't do well. She has a D, and a bad grade could bring her down to an F. I helped her with the study guide, and she worked with another group of good students. I feel for her too--it can be unsettling when you need to do well on a test and you don't feel prepared because of poor choices you've made.

 Three sets of tears in one day. It was about all I could handle. If I'd had another crier, I don't know what I would have done. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What happened to the dinosaurs?

This video has been watched over and over and over and over, until the girls have laughed so hard they almost cried. Bobby and I laughed pretty hard too, but a lot of it was because of the girls' reaction.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ghost friends

Some kids have imaginary friends. My sister had one that lived in a hole in the backyard. But my children take it one step further.

They have ghost friends. Macy's is named Camilla, and Kaylin's is Albert. They went with us to Walmart tonight, and I got yelled at twice for putting something on top of the ghosts in the shopping cart.

Then on the way home, Albert rode next to me in the passenger seat, while Camilla was in the backseat with Macy.

Hopefully these are nice ghosts.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big News!

Received this in the mail from my sister today. Apparently Macy wrote this at her house a couple weeks ago.

Big News!

American girl dolls are all gone. NO BIG deal about that no big deal about this either. Littlest Pet Shop's are all gone they are all gone. But the BIG NEWS is that all the jailers got out of jail! SO everybody lock all your doors and windo's and go to the best hiding spot in your house. And layer all your family in bubble rap. Then put duck tape all over the bubble rap. Make shore you layer your self 10 times with bubble rap then 10 times with duck tape and you should be good.

1. Obviously I need to work with her on run-on sentences. Ouch. Pains this English teacher heart.
2. Duck tape? How cute is that. Love her 9-year-old self.
3. Bubble rap? How cute is that too.
4. I have no earthly idea what she is talking about or why she wrote this.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday afternoon fun

What is

more fun

than dunking

your sister

with water

on a Sunday afternoon?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One on one

Spent some time with just Kaylin today while Macy and Bobby were at basketball practice. We ran a few errands, ran by the high school to do a few things. It was so nice to be with just her. Too much of my time is with both of them, they bicker and fight, I lose my patience and yell, rinse and repeat.

But being with just Kaylin today was so nice. No fighting or bickering, she helped me carry things and put things in teacher's mailboxes, and was very sweet.

Here's to more one-on-one time with my two.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Check that off my list

So today I, along with 2 great friends, presented two sessions at a national conference. I've never done that before, and it was really kinda fun.

The first session had maybe 20 people in it, and it went well. The three of us just took turns talking about different parts of the topic. We got a nice round of applause.

The second session was right after the first one, and they just kept coming. The room's occupancy was 114; every seat was full, and they were lined up in the back and sitting on the floor in the aisles and up front. It was crazy! I've never spoken to a group that size before.

Not trying to sound like I'm bragging at all, but I think we really helped some new advisers with some of the struggles and stress that comes with advising newspaper and yearbook. I've already received 4 emails from people asking for the PowerPoint or files to share with them. It feels good to make a difference and help someone. 

Now that the powerpoint is ready, I think we will present at the other conferences.

It was sad to not travel somewhere this time for our national conference, but it was also nice to come home last night and tonight. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't counting down the days until Anaheim in April!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Journalism conference

Every fall and spring we go to a journalism conference. If you've followed my blog for a while, you've heard me blog from Philadelphia, St. Louis, Phoenix, Washington D.C., and Portland. The conference this year? Good ole KC.

So we spent the day downtown, at the convention center and Power and Light. It felt strange--even more strange then when we are in different cities, I guess because this is home. Strange to just hang out in the city, instead of just running into downtown to do something and go back home.

Tomorrow we are presenting at the conference, which I'm trying really hard to not think about right now. It won't be as long of a day, for which I am thankful.

Happy birthday to my favorite big brother! And Happy Veteran's Day. Yes, I went to check the mail after I got home and was surprised there wasn't any mail...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Surviving the boys

Macy and her BFF Kaylee have spent lots of time running the sidewalk between our houses. Apparently there are some 5th grade boys who have been riding their bikes around too. Yesterday there was some ruckus with the boys "chasing" them--more than likely the boys were just riding their bikes. We know one of the boys, and he's a nice kid. Probably the beginnings of some flirting. But tonight Macy made a list.

Our plan to survive the boys

1. Ride bikes as fast as possible
2. Have a stick ready (2 if possible)
3. Have comfterable shoes
4. Drink lots of water
5. Make funny faces

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Home Alone and Dinner Choices

Yesterday was an important rite of passage for Macy. She stayed home by herself for about 20 minutes while I ran errands. I asked her what she did: "I watched TV, I thought about making some popcorn but didn't, and I got on your laptop. The battery was dead, so I found the charger and plugged it in. I watched YouTube videos about cats." Love her.  Very proud of her for staying home by herself, but sad she's growing up.

Dinner last night was a hodge-podge, clean out the fridge night. I gave the girls their choices, and they picked out what they wanted. Their choices:

(wholesome, healthy food Nazi's should stop reading)

Macy--1 scrambled egg, can of soup, 1 sausage link, Doritos and Goldfish
Kaylin--1 scrambled egg, Doritos, Goldfish, and a hot dog.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ghost hunting


Some believe whole-heartedly, others are majors skeptics. Some fall in the middle. I'm a fall-in-the-middle kind of person. I don't believe necessarily in ghosts, but am open to the possibility that they might exist.

The winery where Bobby works is supposedly haunted. Kids have been heard running and playing, singing Ring Around the Rosies, footsteps have been heard, a figure has appeared in a window. All within the last couple weeks. My high school students have been trespassing out there for years, and have some wild stories.

Sunday night Bobby took a group of about 30 firefighters and their families out for a ghost tour. Many were skeptics, just along to see what the old buildings looked like. Others were determined to "see" something or "feel" something. It was an unusual mix.

I knew I would be freaked out--I am, admittedly, scared of the dark and other creepy things. I threatened Bobby within an inch of his life to not leave me alone. Really, he didn't have a chance. I followed him around like a little puppy dog, not letting him out of my sight. I didn't freak out as much as I thought--it wasn't that scary in such a large group.

  • Bobby, the biggest skeptic of all, and about 5 others heard footsteps. Footsteps that sounded like running, and footsteps that couldn't be explained.
  • One man took three successive pictures on his phone, and you can see a blub moving from one picture to another.
  • Two women heard feet shuffling in an area where activity has been observed in the past
 It was fun--different than anything I've done before. Not sure I want to do the "real" ghost tour, but it was really fun to walk around these deserted buildings at night.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nothing much to say!

Not much to say tonight, and it's 11:00 at night, but I'm still posting so I can try to make it every day in November.

We went door-to-door selling Girl Scout cookies today...nice afternoon. Not great business, but it was nice.

We did the ghost tour at the winery tonight...will blog more about that later.

Now...off to bed.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Collecting cans

Macy's Girl Scout troop worked at a local grocery store this morning, collecting cans for Harvesters. It was neat to see the girls so excited! They really got into it--more than I thought they would. They did a great job taking turns, so they wouldn't bombard the customers when they came in.

You could tell right away who was going to donate cans and who wasn't. Not to be stereotypical--but it was mainly the younger men who didn't. Single men, I'm guessing, who don't understand how valuable the Harvesters program can be. Women grocery-shopping were our best bet. One man, maybe 50, filled up four grocery bags to donate!

The girls were so excited I signed them up for Salvation Army bell-ringing in December. Hopefully that works just as well!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Christmas Gifts Take 1

Christmas is on the horizon, so I've started talking to the girls about what they want. Their list so far?

An I-Pod touch--runs about $295
An American Girl Doll--runs about $100

Ummm...I don't think so. BOTH of them have asked for BOTH of these things. When I said I didn't think that would work, Kaylin replied,"Oh, Santa can bring it. He can make it in his workshop!"

Oh, the innocence.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Skeletons in the closet

We are reading The Crucible in my Communication Arts class. Today I used the expression, "they have lots of skeletons in their closets." One girl--very smart, runs around 95% usually--shuddered and had a gross look on her face. Boy in the front row--also smart--looked up at me. "What's that mean?" I asked how many people knew it meant, and only about 1/2 the class did. We talked for a few minutes about what it meant. I was surprised--seems like a common phrase to me.

But now I'm wondering--this was 5th hour. How many kids in 1st and 2nd hour didn't know what the phrase meant, and really thought I meant Abigail and John Proctor had actual skeletons in their closet?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

From the feeling better girls...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My birthday!

Another year has passed. I filled out a survey last night online, and had to check the 35-44 box instead of the 25-34 box. I felt sad. :)

Last night we celebrated at Texas Roadhouse, because Bobby had to work tonight. It was a fun evening. Then at 5:00 am, both girls began throwing up. I went on to school and Bobby called in sick to stay home with them until I could get home. I think at one point they were both throwing up at the same time in different bathrooms!

So when I came home, I got to snuggle on the couch all night with them. They were feeling better, but not up to par, so we sat on the couch all night and watched the Disney Channel. They are both asleep in my bed, and I'm heading that way.

A nice, low-key birthday. We are a get-up-and-go family who rarely just sits around on the couch all night, and after the busy weekend, it was a nice break.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has come and gone... what a fun time it is.

Friday was the school parties and the trick or treating around downtown. Saturday Mom and Dad took them to the zoo for Boo at the Zoo. I was out of town for all of this, but they seemed to have survived without me.

Sunday night we went around the neighborhood with some friends. Here's the whole group. All girls, one boy.

My skeleton and pirate

Macy and her BFF's, Jessica, Kaylee and Paige

Macy and Paige in front of someone's MU pumpkin. They also had a KU pumpkin

Kaylin and the MU pumpkin

We were discussing last night...as much as I love going house to house with them, I am looking forward to being able to stay home and hand out candy! I'm not wishing this time away with them; I fully enjoy it, but am also looking forward to the next phase.

I'm going to do the blogging every day in November thing again, like I did last year, so make sure you are checking back often!

I had an amazing time at my retreat, and I'm still processing everything. I'll blog about it soon.