Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It Was A Great Year!

I hope that 2009 does not go by as fast as 2008. I also hope that I get to see as many friends in '09 as I did in '08 (hint to those of you I have been begging to come visit)! We are going to Tampa to celebrate Jane's birthday with her today and will be spending the night with her and the girls. All girls are so excited to get to see their cousins. I cannot believe we are getting ready to start a new year!! Hope everyone has a very Happy New Year!!!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Picking Flowers


Christmas 2008

I hope everyone had a warm, safe and merry Christmas!! We had a nice holiday. I so enjoy spending the holiday at home and not having to be in an airport or on the road. It looked like a really big headache for a lot of the holiday travelers this year. Fortunately, Grandpa made it up to Vermont without any problems! Hope you are staying warm up there, Grandpa!!

We started celebrating here on Christmas Eve with our dear friend that we have know since way back in Alabama. She arrived around 2:00pm, and we sat around eating and visiting. She only lives about ten minutes away, but we cannot seem to see each other except for the holiday!! Terrible, I know. We had a large Christmas Eve dinner; the girls headed to bed around 9:00pm; and the grownups got to bed just after midnight. Everyone was up at 6:30am. The girls told me that they had been awake since "5:13am" but didn't want to wake us up that early, which was much appreciated! Although the big girls were up early, we had to wake up Rachel to go see what Santa had left under the tree. The girls were pretty excited about it all-although it was noted that they did not get the "most important" things on the list. This actually translates into the most expensive things on the list, but the kids did not really seem to care. We kept it pretty cheap, with the exception of the TV for the playroom. Despite not getting the "most important" toys, the kids have had a great time playing with the new toys. Allison is working really hard to master the unicycle and is making lots of progress. I cannot believe how fast she is picking up the skill.

We have just hung out around the house since Christmas. I got out in the yard yesterday and did some weeding and gardening in the flowerbeds. Gardening is a year-round hobby here. The kids played outside all day. Today I have got Mike fixing all of our leaking toilets. He is loving me for that. I think he has actually finished that project and is out in the garage working on his 30 year old trail bike. He wants to get it running again. He says Allison is old enough to ride it now, but I am a little uncomfortable with that. She still forgets to look for traffic when she crosses the street, so I am not too keen on putting her on a gas powered machine-it is tricky, isn't it Rosie!?!?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Break!!!

The girls are so happy to be out of school for a few weeks. I am so happy that I don't have to try to drag them out of bed for two weeks and that I don't have to crack the whip on homework for a while. The girls have been REALLY dragging the last week or so and really needed a break. I have to say I have not been much better.

Rachel has a new habit..........she is getting up at 4:30 in the morning!! That makes for some long days! I have gotten her to go back to bed, but by the time I have her settled, I am wide awake and it is almost time for me to get up, so I am up for the day. This morning she decided to sleep in until 5:30am. I guess she figured since it was the weekend.........I hope she does not do this through the Winter Break!! I was wide awake after she got me up this morning, so I just decided to stay up. So much for getting to sleep in.

Another busy week has come and gone. After Leah's party on Tuesday, I volunteered in Allison class on Wednesday morning, and Friday morning was Allison's party. The kids in her classroom had to present their "Holidays Around The World" projects that they had been working on. During the week, the kids had to make their presentations for the teacher. On Friday, they had to bring in a food from that country and serve it to the parents who came in for the party. The kids did a really good job. You can see Allison below serving her "Anzac Biscuits" from Australia. We had no idea what we were making....the recipe was called "Anzac Biscuits(cookies)" I expected them to look something like biscuits, but they really spread out when they baked and became REALLY flat. I have no idea if we screwed up or not! They tasted okay though.

In between running to the school almost every day this past week, I was trying to get a few errands done. It seemed that I was in the car more than I was at home! Yesterday, we took Rachel to her horseback riding, ran two errands and came home. The weather was beautiful, so the girls had a picnic (no fort this weekend, though) and spent the afternoon playing outside. Rachel and I went outside for a while. I am still trying to get her to figure out how to pedal the tricycle. Right now, I am pushing and she is saying, "no, no, no." Maybe one day. After the practice on the tricycle, I put her in the seat on the big bike and took her riding around the neighborhood. She really likes to do that. I would too, since it requires no work!!

Today after church, we are supposed to load up and go to Grandpa's for a visit. I keep sending Mike up there with the girls and I stay here to get things done, so I really should go this time.....but I have so much that I really need to do, and need to do without the girls, that I need to stay here. I am not sure what I am going to do, yet. Since the girls are out of school we will be able to spend the night and come home on Monday after dropping Grandpa off at the airport for his Christmas trip to Vermont. I hope the weather does not interfere with his flight!!

We are very sad to say that Allison's best friend has now moved to Wisconsin. She left at dawn on Friday morning. We are going to miss her!!!! She is such a sweet little girl. I kept trying to talk her mom into leaving her here, but just couldn't do it. We are hoping that they have had a safe trip up there, considering the weather there right now it just terrible!!! Allison told her to send us some snow pictures each week. It looks like there will be plenty of snow to take pictures of!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Leah had her class party Tuesday. I went in to help. The kids had a great time and got to make lots of crafts. The teacher gave them clear glass plates and paint markers and let them create a keepsake Christmas plate. All the kids did a great job painting their plates. They worked on them sooo hard. Leah did a nice snowflake. When she brought it home, I wanted to rinse it in the sink and put it away for safe keeping to use at Christmas. Guess what!?!!? The paint washed off!!! Yes, completely off-just slipped right off in a matter of seconds. I was mortified, but Leah handled it okay (probably because I promised I would go buy the paint markers and let her do it again). Turns out that was a $30 mistake. Paint markers are quite pricey! Anyway, with a set of markers of her own, she was able to redo her plate. Now Allison wants a plate to paint too. It is never ending around here.

Leah works on her original version of a snowflake. Just like a real snowflake, Leah's painted snowflake melted away. The second version of the plate has rainbow colored snowflake. I think I liked the white snowflake better, but it is her plate.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's All About The Girls!!

Friday, Allison went to spend the night with her best friend. This is the last weekend that her friend will be here in Florida. Next Friday, she is moving to Wisconsin. Allison is so sad to see her go. Leah was devastated that Allison got to go somewhere without her. It breaks her heart to be left out of anything, so Mike took her out for ice cream after dinner, and we let her stay up late (until 10:30pm or so). Rachel tried to stay up late too, but just couldn't do it!

Saturday morning, Rachel went horseback riding. Mike had to go into work, so Leah had to tag along with me and Rachel. She was none too happy about that, but she survived. It was pretty chilly out in the wind, but the sun was shining, thank goodness. Leah sat in the van and played Ninetindo games. Allison came home from her friend's house about 1:30pm. She and Leah spend the next few hours running in and out of the house, supposedly "playing outside." Mike got home from work about 3:30pm. At that point, I headed outside to put up the Christmas decorations. I told the girls if it did not happen this weekend, it was not going to happen. I actually got to wear a sweat shirt while I was decorating! I believe it is the first time I have decorated outside here and not had to wear shorts! Kind of helps put you in the mood for decorating. I was determined to get the outside completed Saturday, so I stayed out there until 7:30pm. The girls thought that was great and they stayed outside and played hide and seek in the dark with flashlights-they called it "manhunt", but based on what I saw, it was hide and seek. It reminded me of playing kick the can when I was young. Anyway, I finished the decorations, yea!! Decorating palm trees took a couple of years of getting used to, but I have my own technique now.

While the kids were outside playing, Allison's friend wandered walked by with her dog. The kids immediately went into covert planning for another sleepover. We ended up having Allison's friend over-well, it was her last Saturday night here-and the neighbor across the street, which is also a really good friend of Allison and Leah. She is in the third grade, so she fits right between Allison and Leah. Mike was a trooper and fixed dinner while I wrapped up decorating. Below are the girls chowing down on the spaghetti. It gave them lots of energy for the late night Twister game!
Sunday, the sleepover party headed outside to play. They decided that the debris pile down the street had the makings of a fort, so they drug all the stuff down to our yard and propped it up on the side of the house. Viola! A fort! They played in and around that thing all afternoon. They had a picnic lunch in there, which was really funny to see, because the square footage of the fort was only about 12 square feet. They were packed in there, but they had a great time!

This is what the fort looked like from the street. Yes, from the street. Needless to say, we had to take it down at the end of the day. I am sure the homeowners association would have not appreciated the craftsmanship that went into the fort.

Sunday evening was time to wind down and finish up homework. I usually get Allison to get her work all done on Friday, but for some reason that I cannot remember, that did not happen. Below is a lovely picture that Allison took of the rolls that were on the table Sunday night-Rose, Allison could use some pointers on how to photograph food artistically! Allison thought her stacking job was really cool!! No, we did not eat all of those. Allison just wanted to put them all out on the table so that she could build the pyramid. The things you just let slide to get through the day...........

Below Rachel gets ready for bed by fixing every one's water. She is so cute, trying to do it by herself. After she fixes the drinks she has to take them to the girls too. What a great little helper she is!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Cookies

We are in the holiday spirit now!! Yesterday, Leah had to bake cookies to take in to school this morning. I was hoping she would choose the cookies that I can just pop out of the package and bake, but no such luck. She chose to make the sugar cookies that you have to roll out, cut and decorate with the frosting and sprinkle decorations.....of course. Here are some pictures of how Leah spent her afternoon.

Leah rolls out the dough. I have to admit that the sugar cookie dough came from the package because you can see the wrapping here in this picture, but this is as close to homemade cookies as we get in my house.
The fun part!! We have no skill when it comes to putting icing on the cookies. We had the icing in a can, and none of us could manage to control how much we put on the cookies, but we had fun trying.
The finished product. Despite the looks, the cookies were great! The cool thing about not having control of the icing is that the cookies were covered in it, so they were extra good!
Check out Leah's star n the middle there. That one was probably our coolest looking cookie. I am not sure how she managed to do that one.
The job is complete. Note the icing on the forehead and eyebrow. The chef samples the product and looks a little worse for wear. You cannot see it in the picture, but she also had green icing in her hair. She had to go straight from the kitchen to the tub.
After dinner the customers gets to sample the wares too. The consensus was that the cookies were great!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Cards

It is that time of year again........time to make the kids sit in front of the tree and smile like they are having a good time. The reality of it though is that they are MISERABLE and I am MISERABLE. They are whining and complaining that it is taking too long and that they are DYING/STARVING/etc......!!!!! I am yelling that it would not take so long if they would stop whining and complaining and just smile.

How hard could it be to just smile? Apparently incredibly hard. This blog allows me showcase all those pictures that will never make it to the card. You always just see the one that I pick out of the group, but below are the ones that tell you the true story. They should really be the ones that go on the cards, because they show the real personalities, for better or worse.

Christmas Card Pictures

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Decorate '08

Another busy week, but at least everyone was well. Sunday we "HAD" to decorate the tree. The girls would have it no other way!! As usual, that was more of an ordeal than I had planned. I pulled out all the lights and realized that I did not have a single string that worked completely. Each string had at least one section that was not working. That meant a trip to Home glad it is close by. Of course the lights I wanted were all sold out!! That was a surprise, considering it was just the first day of December!

Monday I had to volunteer in Allison classroom. Fortunately that only took about an hour. After working at the school, I ran home and did some housework and made out my grocery list. I usually shop on Sunday's, but the Christmas tree decorating had taken priority. After picking up Rachel from school, she and I ran to the store for food. Tuesday I tried to get some laundry done, Wednesday was another volunteer day. That was wretched. The teacher wanted me to make these little books to help the kids do measurement conversions. I worked on those at the school until I had to go get Rachel, then I worked on them at home. It took me forever.......I later discovered that it was taking me forever because I had cut out enough pages to make 46 books instead of the requested 23. Oh well, extra is always good, right? Thursday morning was back to school for a volunteer breakfast. I try to avoid these, but Leah's class was singing and she was disappointed last year when I did not of to school for the morning again. After the breakfast I had an appointment for a haircut. Friday morning I tried to wrap up my Christmas shopping. As usual that took longer than anticipated too. Two hours in Target, yikes!! I came home and wrapped presents...just getting done before the kids got home from school. Why does everything related to the holiday took so long to do?

In addition to the running around, I spent this week battling with the girls to get their homework done. They are really starting to drag in that department. I hope that the Christmas break will help refuel them! With much help, Allison is just about done with her Holiday Around the World project, or shall I say, I am about done with her holiday project. She worked on the poster and did a rough draft of the report, but I typed it with some elaborations and added the graphics to the pages. Amazing what you can do with reports these days. This fourth grade report is way more fancy than any college paper I ever did, and it was way easier to do!!

Today, the girls are hanging out around the house. Allison had her best friend over to spend the night. We recently found out that this friend will be moving away soon-in tow weeks to be exact. We are all so sad to see her go. She and Allison have been friends since they were in first grade and she is a super sweet little girl. I told her mom I would keep her here, but she want let me have her. I don't think I would even notice one more little girl! Mike has take Rachel to her horseback riding. I was supposed t clean the house while he was gone, but that has not happened. I wonder how much I can get done before he gets home in the next 30 minutes. The girls want to go to the movies to see Disney's Bolt. I told them we will see. I wonder if I can talk Mike into doing that too? This evening we hope to watch Alabama win the SEC championship game! Roll Tide!