Tuesday, December 09, 2008

~8 Things~

My friend Amy tagged me:

8 TV shows I enjoy watching:
1. Burn Notice
2. Designed to Sell
3. House
4. Law & Order
5. Lost
6. Numb3rs
7. Project Runway
8. Psych

8 things that happened yesterday:
1. Took the Bear to the ER with a kidney stone
2. Lived with a migraine all day (couldn't take meds and drive)
3. Picked up dinner
4. Sorted laundry
5. Skipped MonaLisa's dance class
6. Didn't work on costumes
7. Went over my Christmas list
8. Finally read magazines that have been piling up.

8 things I'm looking forward to:
1. MonaLisa's performances this weekend
2. Finishing costumes
3. Receiving payment for costumes
4. Finishing Christmas shopping
5. Family Christmas Eve party at my house
6. Finishing painting the upstairs
7. Having time to clean properly
8. My migraine going away.

8 things I love about WINTER:
(This was hard. I'm a spring/fall kind of girl.)
1. I don't have guilt about not mowing my lawn regularly
2. Hot chocolate with hazelnut flavoring from Starbucks--mmmm (had to find someway to use those gift cards from the PTA)
3. Snow days
4. When it snows few people go shopping and I get great parking and no lines
5. Warm blankets
6. Sitting by the fireplace
7. Christmas lights
8. Christmas goodies.

8 things on my wish list:
1. A simpler Christmas (so with you on this one Amy)
2. To be more organized
3. A newer car
4. New kitchen cabinets
5. Self-cleaning house
6. A remodeling budget
7. To become a morning person
8. To become a better person.

8 people I tag:
Anyone who wants to!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

~Hooked on Phonics~

My sister-in-law sent me this and it cracked me up:

My five-year-old students are learning to read.

Yesterday one of them pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said, "Look at this! It's a frickin' elephant!"

I took a deep breath, then asked. . . "What did you call it?"

"It's a frickin' elephant! It says so on the picture!"

And so it does. . .

A F R I C A N Elephant

Saturday, November 22, 2008

~Free Drink~

Dr Pepper to deliver on its free-soda promise

LOS ANGELES – Dr Pepper is making good on its promise of free soda now that the release of Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy" is a reality.

The soft-drink maker said in March that it would give a free soda to everyone in America if the album dropped in 2008. "Chinese Democracy," infamously delayed since recording began in 1994, goes on sale Sunday.

"We never thought this day would come," Tony Jacobs, Dr Pepper's vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "But now that it's here, all we can say is: The Dr Pepper's on us."

Beginning Sunday at 12:01 a.m. (EST), coupons for a free 20-ounce soda will be available for 24 hours on Dr Pepper's Web site. They'll be honored until Feb. 28.

Story found here.

So, if you're interested, since it's Eastern time, it ends at 9pm PST instead of midnight. There are caffeine-free versions, too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

~Christmas Tag~

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I wrap. Mostly because I'm probably the world's most likely person to sneak a peak at a gift and therefore I assume that everyone else does it too. It also looks prettier under the tree.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. Kids are allergic to real.

3. When do you put up the tree? The past few years the Bear has put it up while MonaLisa and I are at Nutcracker dress rehearsal. (Two years ago he and Ratchet put it up using flashlights during the blackout. My heroes.)

4. When do you take the tree down? When it's convenient. (Sometimes as late as February--stop laughing.)

5. Do you like egg nog? No. Even raw cookie dough grosses me out. It's just wrong to eat/drink raw eggs.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Fashion Plates.

(Tell me that at least one of you had a set.)

7. Hardest person to buy for? The Bear. What do you get for the one who has everything and wants/needs nothing?

8. Easiest person to buy for? Ratchet.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. But, I prefer letters.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Every year my grandma made us shirts and every year mine was too small.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I'd probably go with a classic like "White Christmas" or "Holiday Inn."

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? September/October. If I'm done before Thanksgiving, I buy myself a present. Definitely not getting one this year.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? DeeAnn's chocolate-covered jellies, especially the cherry ones.

16. Lights on the tree? Yes. But, no colored or blinking ones.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Silver Bells.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home. Packing gifts back and forth doesn't appeal to me.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Of course.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star. Why? Cause angels don't have wings.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open the one from the Bear's side of the family at the Christmas Eve party, but all the others wait until morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Traffic gets worse as it gets darker and the weather gets wetter.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Red and silver.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Chinese. The Bear's mom feels that she had worked so hard to get to Christmas day that she should get the day off. So, she has a big Christmas Eve party and then the kids would have leftovers the next day, while she lays in bed and reads. Isn't she smart? Since we aren't the hosts, we don't have enough leftovers, so we pick up Chinese food the day before and warm it up when we're hungry.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A clean house. Oh, wait that's my every day wish. Then tickets to the Lion King.

26. Who I tag: Alisha, Amy L, Julie, and Maria.

Friday, October 24, 2008

~When Rules Are Meant to be Broken~

I'm not a big country music fan, but did you know that at 2am, other than infomercials, that is all that's on? So, when I'm having one of those late nights CMT videos are what's playing in the background.

One night (or should I say morning?) I saw this video and was in tears by the end (the embedding has been disabled, so you'll have to follow the link):


Did you watch?

Have you finished wiping your tears?

Don't finish reading until you're finished crying.

Okay, so I downloaded it from Itunes (you can't download a version with Andy Griffith in it though, just straight Brad Paisley) and one day we were listening to it in the car.

Ratchet: "That man is so nice."

Me: "Why do you say that?"

Ratchet: "He doesn't mind waiting for his woman."

Me (stifling a laugh): "Do you think you'll mind waiting for your woman?"

Ratchet: "Welllllllll. Is it past my bedtime?"

(For the record, I will not in the future encourage Ratchet using "woman" as he did during this conversation.)

Monday, October 13, 2008


The PE teacher at the kids' school has this great program. Each month they get a blank calendar to fill out. If they exercise three times each week for at least 20 minutes they get a prize and get to put their names on a star on the wall. Then at the end of the year if they've completed at least six calendars they get medals during a ceremony in front of the school. The teacher was new to the school last year, so it just started then. At the end of the year six students got medals and MonaLisa and Ratchet were two of them. And they were amazing medals. Not cheap plastic. But really nice and even engraved on the back with what it was for.

Now, it's really easy for MonaLisa to get hers filled out. She has two days of dance (last year one day was gymnastics), plus Nutcracker rehearsal, physical therapy, and occupational therapy with Ratchet. Ratchet we have to go out of our way to get his. He has OT and walks home from school on Tuesdays. But he usually needs one more day.

So, while doing the VIP questionnaire Ratchet said he loved running. We were really surprised. I'm not a runner and never have been. But, lately I've considered starting and I thought I can keep up with a 7-year-old. So, today during MonaLisa's dance class we went for a "run." I just went at his pace and would run when he wanted to and walk when he wanted to. We went "around the block." According to walkjogrun.net we went 1.05 miles in 19 minutes. And it was so fun to do something like that with him. We had a great conversation.

Somehow during the middle of it I thought that if we continued this we might actually have something in common when he's a teenager. And I really like that idea.


Ratchet was the VIP for his class last week. Here is his Q&A:

Food: French Dip Sandwiches
Season: Winter
Color: Green
Book: Scooby Doo & the Mad Mermaid
Animal: Huskies

Hobbies: Running, Legoes, Computer Games
My Wish: That Star Wars was REAL!!!
What I do well: Bake cookies, play video games, and play
A person I admire: Daddy
What I like most about our school: PE

Here are the photos we sent in:

When Ratchet was about two, he and MonaLisa were fighting over a toy.
He fell on the toy and she landed on him.
He had to have his head glued shut.

Also, when he was about two, he found three bags of shred that Daddy left out.
I found him after he'd emptied all three bags. He was sitting in the middle
of it all, throwing it in the air and yelling, "SURPRISE!"

We were able to tour the carrier the USS Lincoln when it was in port.
Ratchet was fascinated by the mini fire trucks.

Ratchet and MonaLisa were Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia for Halloween last year.
They still wear these costumes weekly.

Here he is playing in the sand on the Gulf of Mexico while
visiting cousins in Texas last Thanksgiving. This beach
received a lot of damage during Hurricane Ike.

I love this picture. He totally was caught by this wave
while we were on vacation on the Oregon Coast this summer.

Just a few weeks ago MonaLisa was at a friends house. I asked
Ratchet what he wanted to do. He said, "Bake cookies."
So, he did, almost completely by himself.
Look at his face as he was putting them on the pan.

~Book List~

This list has been making the rounds on blogs.

The Big Read is a National Endowment for the Arts program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six.

Here’s what you are supposed to do:
*Look at the list and bold those we have read.
*Italicize those we intend to read.
*Star the books we LOVE.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte *
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible (about 200 pages left)
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (read half)
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold *
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Sunday, October 05, 2008

~Giveaway Winner~

It's time for the drawing, but first of all, here's what people said:


1. I love you because you are as annoyed by people's bad grammar as I am.

2. And....because you know how to make all of the things I WISH I could do (like the banner). AND you make it look easy.

3. And because you make me laugh everytime I talk to you.


4. You are SO creative. I know everyone will say this, but the reason I'm so competitive is because I really want all the great stuff you make!

5. I like that you stand up for what you believe in, even if it is not the popular thing to do.

6. I do like that you are a font snob. Whenever I am choosing which font to pick, I always think "now which font did Becky tell me was the very best." I still don't know how to get to that ONE. Be a friend and share the love :)

D (my sister-in-law):

7. I love you because...even though you occassionally annoy the crap out of me, I think you're wonderful and amazing.

8. Even though we disagree poliltically, you don't argue with me about it.

9. Even though you don't like my dog and would have him thrown out of the fabric store in a heartbeat, you have a good heart, a strong testimony, and a love of Jesus Christ that I envy.

Dolls123 (who just has "giveaway" in her search engine and is just trying to win--people actually call most of these people bottom feeders. I deleted some of them, but she at least tried):

10. Because you're so crafty.


11. I have always been impressed with your ability to include everyone!!!

12. You don't know a stranger and I find that a great quality.

13. You're quick to invite all and are ALWAYS willing to serve others.

Melissa (my cousin, her blog is invite only):

14. I love you for your wit.

15. I love your willingness to serve others!

16. I also really love (and envy) your creativity and craftiness. :) I'm always amazed at what you can do.


17. I love you because you are so good, no great! at everything that you do. You spend all day and night doing things so that they turn out perfect!

18. I love you because you always want to have fun and laugh a lot.

19. I love that you are not afraid to voice your opinion. You are a strong person. I admire you and am also a little jealous of you. :)

JoAnn (at Pumpkin Petunia):

20. You are very friendly and helpful to strangers on other blogs. : )

21. You make adorable banners!

22. You are very lucky! (Go here to see what I won!!! She's super talented.)


23. You are not afraid to stand up for yourself and make sure that your needs are met, and you stand firm on the things that are important to you.

24. You have equal concern for others. You work hard to include everyone and stand up for them and their needs, too.

25. You are extremely organized and detailed, and go above and beyond on the tasks you take on.

26. You can always be counted on when you commit to something.

27. I have always been impressed by how close to the Spirit you are, and by how you unquestionably follow the promptings you receive.

Julie again:

28. I like how you are so busy and have so much you are always doing but you make it all look easy (or at least like you're having fun).

29. AND that all of the "stuff" you are always doing is for someone else. I wish I could say I was as selfless as you. OK, I could SAY it, but I would be lying :)

Lisa (cousin, sorry, her blog is private):

30. I love that you make me laugh every time I see you!

31. And that you give me all your used clothes for little boys because you have great taste in boy clothes.

32. And because even though I joined the family somewhat later than others, you always make me feel like part of the group.

Shannon again:

33. You make me laugh


34. You are the most considerate person I know when it comes to including everyone in group activities.

35. You are so creative, and its inspiring how you seem to always be working on a new project(which always turns out perfectly).

36. You definitely know how to sit, chat and have fun. I seem to always be laughing about something when we chat.

37. Everything you bake turns out so delicious.

38. I love how you genuinely care for the girls in YW, and seem to always be thinking about them.

So, according to the random integer generator the winner is:


So, Jenny, I'll bring it over soon.

And now I get to say what I love about each of you!!!

Julie: I love that you were willing to join me in Pink Christmas when no one else did. You are obviously very brave. And you have the best sense of humor. You can see the humor in all situations.

Shannon: I love your ability to love everyone. You are amazing and I'm so excited you get to be one of MonaLisa's Achievement Day Leaders. (I requested you, but was told probably not.)

D: I love what a good mother you are. You have so much patience and love for your children (and mine). I love how super-talented you are. You are an artist, a seamstress, and you can sing. I mean really sing. And I appreciate that you would never take a dog (or goat) into the Fabric Store.

Alisa: You are a great teacher. I loved attending your classes. You truly love each of the YW and have the amazing ability to get each of them to participate. And on a more temporal note, you have great legs.

Melissa: You are one of the most even-keeled people I know. You could totally feel overwhelmed and yet you seem so put together. I know I couldn't have three children under the age of seven and be married to a bishop and have your demeanor.

Maria: You are incredibly humble. I hope that you know how amazing you truly are. And I promise to visit teach this month (now it's in writing, you can call me on it).

JoAnn: You are really talented. I love your new Holiday items.

Alisha: Although you left us with hardly enough time to process; I love how balanced you are. You seem to get it all done and more. And I finally found the perfect reality show for you!!! It's even more perfect now. Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team. So it's too late for 2008, but you could totally be ready in 2009. Go here to find out info on tryouts. And we'll all be watching to see you on the field next fall!!! GOOOOO ALISHA!!!!

Lisa: I love your honesty and your intelligence. You're also really organized. And after reading your 100 list, I realized how much of the unique stuff we have in common.

Jenny: I love how open-minded you are. You would be the least shocked of all if I were to tell that I was once the maid-of-honor at a gay wedding, in Idaho, in the early 90s.

Thanks to all who played!!! I am so grateful to have such good friends. And I totally think it's time for a Girls Night Out.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

~A Change of Rules~

It's been a week and I only have 26 responses to my giveaway, so there is no longer a limit of three compliments (which means I added your extra one Alisha). So, you all better hurry before Shannon takes the last 12 spots!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

~Birthday Giveaway~

I am so glad that you all thought my banner was neutral. Because I made two at the same time so I could give one away to one of you!!! This one has a few different papers than the one I made for my family, but it's still the same color scheme.

Here are the rules:

1. Because it was my birthday and I didn't get the
girl's lunch (darn school starting and the month of September being way overbooked), I didn't get the "go around the table and say nice things about me" part. So, your comment needs to include why you love me, because I know you do!

2. There is not a specific ending time. The giveaway ends when the compliments reach 38 (because, unfortunately, that's how young I am).

3. You will be entered for each nice thing (up to three--that's to prevent
Shannon from writing 38 and winning automatically because she's THE giveaway competition queen).

4. Once again, I will use the
random integer generator to keep things fair.

Lots of luck.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

~Top 35~

Here's the Top 35 things I love about the Bear, because today he's 35!!!

  1. He’s H-O-T HOT!!!

  2. He makes me feel important.

  3. He has a strong testimony.

  4. He’s a worthy priesthood holder.

  5. He enjoys serving others.

  6. He supported me in my calling in Young Women for 4.5 years.

  7. He’ll watch chick flicks with me.

  8. He plays with our kids.

  9. He always puts his laundry in the basket (and the basket has a lid).

  10. He loves his family.

  11. He plays with my hair just right.

  12. His favorite gifts are the ones I make for him.

  13. He’s a nerd with social skills.

  14. He is the hottest tech support in town.

  15. He thinks I’m smart.

  16. He comes home early on Tuesdays and walks Ratchet home so Mona Lisa can go to ballet.

  17. He’ll go to the fabric store for me.

  18. He changed my TPN (total parenteral nutrition) bags every day during my extraordinarily horrific pregnancies.

  19. He thinks I’m beautiful.

  20. He thinks I’m most beautiful without makeup.

  21. He makes me want to be better.

  22. He reads to our kids every night.

  23. He has been putting the kids to bed almost every night for years.

  24. He thinks I’m funny.

  25. He knows I don’t like to cook and has been making dinner for the past few years.

  26. He waited so I would be his first kiss.

  27. He likes to kiss me.

  28. He’s very good at it.

  29. Did I mention how HOT he is.

  30. He sang to me on our wedding day.

  31. He will come home from work early on days where I’ve hit 0%.

  32. He makes me happy.

  33. He still loves me after 12 years.

  34. He’s my best friend.

  35. I get to be with him forever.

    ~Birthday Banner~

    I am really liking banners lately. So, I attempted my first one for our big birthday month. Here it is:
    I started this banner before my birthday in hopes of using it for mine, Mona Lisa's, and the Bear's. However, I finished it in time for the Bear's (which is today). Here's a close-up:
    So, the Bear thought made it only for him because he thought it was masculine. I tried to make it neutral. So, comments please. Is it neutral enough to use for both male and female birthdays? If you click on the bottom one you should be able to see the colors better. Plus, I added sparkles. Doesn't that help?

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Where I'll be tonight . . .

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    ~Top 10~

    Today my baby girl is 10.

    So, in her honor, I'm making a list of ten of the things I love most about her:

    1. MonaLisa is sensitive to the spirit.

    2. She is a really good friend. She tries to not exclude anyone.

    3. She's creative. She can make up stories and games really easily.

    4. She loves to dance. Not only is she naturally talented at it, but she also works really hard. She came out of her new jazz class last week and said, "I love that class, it is so hard."

    5. She loves Ratchet and is able to teach him things in minutes that we've tried to teach him for weeks.

    6. She can see the obvious when the rest of us miss it. One day we were listening to the song "No Air." One of the lines is "Tell me how I'm supposed to breathe with no air" and she commented, "If she can't breathe how can she be singing?"

    7. Her favorite subject is math.

    8. She is an amazing photographer. We gave her a disposable camera when we went on vacation when she was three. A lot of her photos were better than ours.

    9. She loves her dad and gets superexcited when he comes home from work.

    10. She likes to learn new things. Like sewing and crafting stuff.

    I'm so grateful you chose me to be your mom. I love you!!! Forever and ever.

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    ~My Baby is 10~

    Friday was MonaLisa's 10th birthday. As most of you know I am a bit of an overachiever when it comes to parties. So, we started out by making these cute invitations:Since preschool, she's been taking cinnamon rolls for her class. Of course, her preschool class was much smaller and her classes gradually become more populated over the years. I ended up making them by myself because of our crazy week and I had to make two batches. I do make the dough in the breadmaker and that helps, but this time the second batch didn't mix all the flour in and I had to make a third one. Which means I was up until 4am. MonaLisa had an asthma doctor appointment at 8:15 am, so you can imagine my mood that morning.

    After the appointment I took the kids and cinnamon rolls to school and then went home for a short nap. By the time the kids came home from school, there was some cleaning left (just don't look in our bedroom) and I had to finish the party favors. (Just a side note: I would rather give one nice thing than a hundred small things for party favors. For example, at her Care Bear party we gave Care Bears. So, I've given myself high expectations for the "goody bag.")

    The guests arrived and they played for awhile then we had pizza. I found paper products that matched this napkin on clearance at Target (in June) and we decorated around them.

    Then we gave the girls their goody bags. These cute cinch sacks (they're actually from Valentine's Day):

    And inside we had put a pair of pajamas. As you can tell, it's all about horses at this age. I made the bottoms and sewed the appliques on the t-shirts. Since we invited less guests she had a higher budget per girl.
    Here is MonaLisa modeling hers:
    Then we had birthday cake. I almost didn't post this because I didn't have time to finish it. Notice the lack of hair.

    And opened presents. She received this beautiful handmade afghan from her best friend:

    After that, the girls all curled up in the living room and watched this:

    I also found these cute popcorn cups when I found the other paper products. We didn't end up making popcorn, so they just filled them up with movie treats.

    Then the girls all piled into MonaLisa's room. One had gone home, so there were three in the bunkbeds and two on an air mattress on the floor. They stayed up until after midnight and still woke up before 7am.

    The next morning the Bear made waffles for our guests and they slowly filtered out the door. All of them still wearing their pjs.

    Her best friend stayed for the whole day and then we went to the Olive Garden for our family dinner. Here's MonaLisa, Ratchet, and her best friend.
    Overall, it was a good birthday, but a lot of work for me. My friend, Amy, told me they decided to do birthday experiences instead of parties. I told MonaLisa this was going to be her last party and from now on we'll be doing experiences. At first she was a bit disappointed then I showed her that if we were going to do it this year we would have had the opportunity to go see the "2008 Tour of Gymnastics Superstars" and she decided that it would be okay to change to birthday experiences. All I know is that I won't have to stress over house cleaning and party favors. (Amy, thank you, thank you, thank you for the idea.)

    Happy Birthday, MonaLisa!!!

    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    ~My Wish~

    Every celebration, Mother's Day, Christmas, Birthday, my kids ask me what I want for a present. I always tell them I want a clean house. And when I get the package I'm always pretty sure that I'm not getting what I requested.

    But now I think what I really need is a personal assistant. I think if I had the chance to be home I would have time to clean. Although I probably wouldn't since I like a clean house, but not the process.

    So, if I had a personal assistant I would have him/her do the following this week:

    • Drive MonaLisa to two dance classes and a rehearsal, the orthodontist, the asthma doctor, and physical therapy
    • Drive Ratchet to occupational therapy
    • Go to Costco, Top Foods, and Target
    • Make lunches each morning
    • Drop off and pick up kids from school
    • Drive the Bear to the dentist, pick him up and drop him off at work--because we choose to only have one car
    • Make my appointments at the physical therapist for my injured shoulder
    • Bake a cake and cinnamon rolls for MonaLisa's birthday
    • Chaperon the slumber party
    But this is why I can't have a personal assistant do this:

    • I need to help fit MonaLisa's jazz and ballet shoes, sign all her release forms, and watch parts of her classes for her physical therapist
    • I need to fit some of the dancers during her rehearsal
    • I have to sign the payment forms at the orthodontist
    • I have to be there when the asthma doctor signs off her school forms
    • I need to know what occupational therapy to work on at home with Ratchet and the same with physical therapy for MonaLisa
    • Quite a few I have to work around food allergies so, I need to do the shopping and lunch making and cake baking
    • If I didn't take the Bear to the dentist and then to work, I wouldn't be in the area to play with the dogs at the fabric store
    • It took me 20 minutes to set up my six physical therapy appointments working around my family's crazy life
    • Baking cinnamon rolls with MonaLisa is OUR tradition
    • There's no way I'd miss out on the memories of MonaLisa's first slumber party
    Wait, maybe I need a sister wife (just kidding).

    Actually all of these are the joys of being a mom and a woman today. And I can't even imagine missing out on the conversations in the car with my kids.

    If I hadn't picked MonaLisa up from school for ballet I wouldn't have seen the praise note at the entrance to the school about Ratchet returning money to the teacher that he found on his desk.

    I would have missed watching in the rear view mirror as Ratchet sings, dances, and clicks his fingers to Taylor Swift's "You Should Have Said No" and Reba McEntire's "I'm a Survivor." Yes, my kid likes country.

    And I would have missed out on the fact that instead of pouting that I wouldn't play her music, MonaLisa was singing all the words to Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and "Only the Good Die Young." I mean she has to learn the classics, right?

    I also would have missed the admiration of the other dancers when MonaLisa walked up and they said, "The Doll gets to be in our class this year!" (Which is really cool when you realize some of them are four years older than her.)

    Yeah, maybe a personal assistant would be nice, but I think I'll continue to wish for a maid instead. After all, how many of you sit around and talk about the time you cleaned the toilet together with your mom.

    One last note: the other day at a family party the Bear's Aunt C. said that a clean house is the sign of a someone who's boring. And my SIL said, "or someone with OCD" (which she has). And then another SIL said, "no, remember it's CDO" (get it, it has to be alphabetical).

    That was for you Amy (who I'm going to miss). The bottom birthday card on this post she made for me. Isn't she fabulous and amazingly talented?

    So, if you had one wish then it would be _____________ (fill in the blank).

    Monday, September 08, 2008

    ~And My Rant Continues~

    Today I went to the fabric store to pick up some stuff for MonaLisa's birthday party and to make Rachel's totebag/purse (totally excited by the fabric I found).

    And guess what?

    Yep. Another dog. This one was on a leash (for the record--NOT a service dog). And as the dog is pawing (with paws that had just came in from walking through the dirt-covered parking lot) at everything on the bottom rows of the store at least four employees walked by without a word.

    T., (my personal cutting counter gal, no seriously, we're on a first-name basis) called the manager (Karen--I feel no need to protect her identity) and when T. started to talk to her about it, Karen rudely interrupted her and snapped, "I know, I've dealt with HER before."

    I called corporate, again, and they told me the regional manager would call me within three days. I told them that I wasn't called the last time I had complained and she was completely surprised. Apparently it's store policy to contact the costumer/complainant within an allotted time. I'm beginning to think store policy means suggested policy and not actual policy.

    So be aware that the merchandise you buy from the Crossroads JoAnn Fabrics may not be very clean. Especially if you or anyone in your household has allergies. Unfortunately, it's the most convenient store to my house, otherwise I'd be going to Lynnwood. But, at this point, it may be worth the drive.

    For the record, how many of you think I'm overreacting? And how many of you find it an acceptable practice to take non-service animals into stores? (And how many of you find my overuse of parentheses annoying?)

    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    ~It's Official~

    On Monday I was at my in-laws for a Labor Day BBQ. I heard this incessant pounding and said, "What's that sound?" My 15-year-old niece said, "It's music."

    So it's happened. I'm old. I'm beginning to say things that I've mocked "old" people for saying. I knew what the numbers were saying, but since in my mind I hadn't aged past 25, I hadn't noticed that I'm now equal to the numbers of candles on my cake.

    So, it's Happy Birthday to me today. I now know I'm officially old.

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    ~Pediatric Dentist~

    Dr. Dawn Woo is our pediatric dentist. And we love her.

    Today MonaLisa had two teeth pulled. First they had a big comfy blanket to keep her warm and put a pillow under her knees so she would be comfortable. Then she had a choice of orange or bubblegum "happy air." She chose bubblegum, they gave her some sunglasses, and then she had flavored numbing gel. The dental assistant was awesome. Then Dr. Woo came in and sang a song from The Little Mermaid while she gave the numbing shots. MonaLisa didn't even notice she was getting shots. Then while the shots set in the dental assistant sang a couple silly songs to her. Dr. Woo came back and while pulling the teeth she sang songs from Mulan and Pocahontas. Then they put the teeth in a tooth-shaped container for the Tooth Fairy and we were done. Our bill was ready at the front desk and the instructions were actually personalized with MonaLisa's name throughout.

    This is in contrast to MonaLisa's first experiences with dentists. By the time we found Dr. Woo she had been to seven dentists with six horrific experiences. And they ranged from being held down by three assistants while having her mouth forced open (I still can't believe I didn't grab her and walk out) to having a dentist leave in the middle of a filling and say she would "never work on that child again."

    We love Dr. Woo and she's worth every minute we travel to see her. (And one time we were caught in a freak snow storm and it took us over three hours to get home.) So, if you're in the Seattle area, check her out here and take your kids in. I promise you won't regret it. From the way her office is set up--she has a playroom by the chairs so you can still see your other kid(s) while staying with the patient--to the way she and her assistants take care of your child(ren).

    I honestly cannot say enough good things about her!!!

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    ~I'm Raising a High-Maintenance Gal~

    Last week we had Parent-Teacher conferences before school (best idea ever) to discuss our children and our concerns for their school year.

    Which means I have to explain how high-maintenance MonaLisa is to her new teacher. The conversation goes something like this:

    "Well, to begin with MonaLisa won't be here the second day of school. She has to have two teeth pulled."

    Ms. A: "That won't be a problem. If she's still not feeling well on Thursday, just go ahead and keep her home."

    "Ok. She's also going to be late for school on the 9th. She has to get impressions made for her space maintainer at the orthodontist."

    Ms. A: "My daughter had braces for 10 years. I understand."

    "And she has to leave early on the 4th and 11th for physical therapy. Then on the 12th she's going to be late again because she has to see her asthma doctor. Plus, it's her birthday and she'd like to bring in treats."

    Ms. A: (in her mind this is what I'm sure she's thinking) "How many other ways can you disrupt my class and your daughter's education?"

    "Then on the 17th she has her well-child appointment with her pediatrician and has to get her space maintainer fit at the orthodontist, so I should be able to get her here by 11:30. And, um, on the 23rd she has her regular dentist appointment at 9am in [insert city 20 miles away] so I should have her here by 11 or so."

    Ms. A: (this time aloud) "I'm sure it will be fine, it's not like we're in high school. Is there anything else I need to know about your daughter?"

    "Well, she's far-sighted and has to wear her glasses for everything but PE and recess. And she sees double so she has a tendency to get headaches. So, she also will be going to see her optometrist and opthalmologist twice each year. She sees her asthma doctor quarterly and her asthma shows up through coughing so if she's coughing she needs to go to the office and take her albuterol."

    Ms. A: "Does she know to go to the office?"

    "Actually she's kind of embarrassed by her asthma and so she probably won't speak up."

    Ms. A: "So she's timid."

    "Yes. That's the perfect word for her. And she's left-handed so you'll need to seat her appropriately."

    Ms. A: "By the way does she prefer to go by MonaLisa or just Mona?"

    "Actually, she prefers to be called Mona, but she likes it to be written MonaLisa."

    I am not making this up. This is her/my life for the month of September. Honestly, how many of your kids have a pediatrician, asthma doctor, pediatric dentist, pediatric oral surgeon, orthodontist, optometrist, pediatric opthalmologist, and physical therapist? (Ratchet only has a pediatrician, asthma doctor, pediatric dentist, pediatric opthalmologist, and an occupational therapist.)

    So today I was dreading this conversation:

    "Um, MonaLisa's dance teacher has decided to move her up two levels instead of one this year."

    Ms. A: "That is so exciting. What a great opportunity for her."

    "Actually there's a problem. Her dance teacher actually does the dance schedule knowing that MonaLisa lives the farthest away. But, since she wasn't expecting to move her up to Intermediate (formerly Level 4) she didn't plan the schedule around that. So, her ballet class starts at 3:55 on Tuesdays instead of 7pm on Wednesdays. Will it be a problem to take her out at 3:15?"

    Ms. A: "Absolutely. I'd do it if it was my daughter."

    (Totally did not expect that answer.) "So, is it okay if she changes into her leotard and tights during the last recess? She'll wear her warm up suit over it. And can I come put her bun in during that same time?"

    Ms. A: "Well, I don't like the idea of her changing in the regular restroom, so I'll get her special permission to change in the staff restroom in the front office. It's more private."

    Seriously, is this teacher for real. I'm loving her. But, I am scared that this is going to get annoying the further into the school year we get.

    Then I had to go to Ratchet's class and ask to take him out early. His teacher was fine with it, but he's actually in music class during that time. When I talk to the music teacher, he's not okay with it. I understand because he only has music for 1 hour per week and this takes it down to 45 minutes per week. 25 percent is pretty high. He asked me to explore other options. I did explain that if it weren't for MonaLisa's dance class Ratchet would be getting out at 3:15 for occupational therapy anyway. Fortunately I was able to change that to Wednesdays after school. So, I think I'll try to look into a playdate exchange for Ratchet so he can stay at school. I know there's an extended day program at his school, but I don't know if he can do it just one day each week.

    However, look how cute MonaLisa's birthday invitations turned out. Since it's a sleepover, we decided to go for the sleeping bag effect. I think they turned out cute. And MonaLisa did the sewing by herself. I'm such a proud mommy seamstress.

    ~I Spy a Winner~

    So the correct answer was UNDER THE FRIDGE!!!

    So congratulations to those who guessed correctly:

    1. Alisha
    2. TaNicka
    3. Shannon
    4. Rachel
    5. Lisa
    6. Melissa
    7. Jenny
    8. Jennifer
    9. Cheryl
    10. Maria
    11. Tricia
    Now, before I announce the winner, here's a picture of what I found. Doesn't it really look like an I Spy collage?

    And can you believe I found all of these under my fridge? How crazy is that? When I started counting I couldn't believe it was that high.

    Here's a list of what I found:

    1 match
    1 partial clothespin
    4 lids (3 for water bottles, 1 for an inhaler)
    1 star marshmallow (this didn't survive the washing process and therefore isn't in the photo)
    4 Singulair (Mona Lisa's asthma medicine which also didn't survive the washing process)
    4 reward coins
    1 mango candy
    1 sharpie marker
    1 eraserless pencil
    1 thumbtack
    3 legoes
    6 twixit clips
    3 bread closures
    8 letters/numbers: CRUELV49
    1 green circle magnet
    7 Potato head magnets (2 arms, shoes, smile, teeth, ear, nose)
    4 random magnets (tooth, bear, flower, woman w/ flowers)
    1 mixing spoon
    13 farm magnets (tree, tractor, trailer, straw, 2 fences, gate, horse, hens, rooster, pig, barn, weathervane)

    Also, not pictured or counted would be the "bunny of sorts," meaning a large dust bunny.

    I know you all just want to know who won but as you know, I never do anything the quick and easy way. So to announce the winner, I've written a poem:

    "I Spy a Giveaway Poem"
    By Becky Reynolds

    Because I know with giveaways competition is in the air,
    I used a random integer generator to keep the process fair.
    The numbers were entered, the button was clicked,
    And I waited with anticipation to see who was picked.
    The number was chosen, it appeared on the screen,
    It was a FOUR and now RACHEL is my giveaway queen.
    So, congrats to the one who said "Your clues are pretty cool!"
    But keep watching my blog to see next who will rule.
    I love you all and thanks so much for playing,
    And good luck for the next time that I’m giveawaying!!!

    So, how many of you dare clean under your fridge now?

    And Rachel, e-mail me your favorite colors and so I can start working on your tote/purse!!!

    Friday, August 29, 2008

    ~One More Clue~

    All right, one more clue:

    What the 33 things have in common is a magnet.

    So, put together:

    1. Where do you rarely clean?
    2. That has about 1/2 inch of clearance?
    3. Where you use magnets that could fall off and get pushed beneath (The Bear says that's too big of a clue and I shouldn't give it away like that)?

    Come on I know you can do it. I want to have a big drawing!!! Okay, maybe not big, since only five people read my blog.

    ~Written With No Offense Intended~

    I don't like dogs (or cats). And I say this with no apologies. Plus, the Bear is allergic to dogs, well pet dander. He also almost had his ear bit off by a dog when he had a paper route. Mona Lisa is afraid of dogs. Ratchet is afraid of dogs; he was actually bitten on his face by one just a few weeks ago. Dogs just don't work for our family. And I don't feel it necessary to apologize for this.

    So, why do SOME (not all) people who own dogs feel as if they need to force their pets on us? In the past few weeks:

    Mona Lisa had a friend stop calling when she told her she was afraid of her dog (which wasn't a problem, she didn't really enjoy her company anyway).

    While at the park, someone let their dog off their leash and didn't seem to care that it was pawing and licking us.

    At a rest area a man tried to force Ratchet to pet his dog.

    And this was really weird: we were on the Oregon Coast and parked at a store next to a woman who was sitting in the drivers seat of her car, window down, music blaring, and dancing with the dog in her lap. When I opened my door she asked if she had awakened our sleeping baby. Since we don't have a baby, I said no, and started to walk away. Then she told Ratchet to come over and pet her dog (What?). I told her no he was afraid of dogs and had just been bitten by one. And she told me (in a loud voice now since we were walking away) I needed to bring him over to pet her dog because her son had been bitten by a dog and "Lola" had helped him overcome that fear. I said no and continued to walk and she (yelling by this time) told me she would wait for me to change my mind and bring him back to overcome his fear. (Now I'm not wrong, that is really weird, right?)

    While at Multnomah Falls last Saturday a man with a dog on a leash was pushing a double-wide jogging stroller across the rather narrow bridge and bumping into people, with no apologies by the way. As I manuevered my family as flat as possible against the side of the bridge so he could get by, I notice that he doesn't have a child (or children considering it was a double stroller) but a dog sitting on the floor of the stroller. I suppose I should just be happy the animals were being contained. Okay, so he wasn't forcing his dog on us, it was just annoying, yet, once again inconsiderate.

    (Okay, so the last paragraph reminded me of the following Dear Abby. Just substitute dog for cat.

    DEAR ABBY: I dress my Siamese cat, "Belle," in clothes and pajamas. (Yes, they make apparel for cats.) I also push her around in a stroller. My friends think I'm crazy, but I consider Belle to be my daughter.

    One time, a teenager came up to me as I was pushing Belle in her stroller and asked, "Where's the baby?" I told her that Belle was like my baby.

    Is it nuts to treat a cat like a child? -- MOM OF A FUR KID IN N.Y.

    DEAR "MOM": Nuts? No. A bid for attention ... perhaps.)

    Now, most of these I can deal with, but when they invade my personal space . . .

    So, today I'm in the fabric store (which we all know is my personal space) and I see a woman holding her small dog and leaning over fabric, therefore rubbing him/her all over the fabric. Bugged, I went to an employee (actually there were two of them) and asked them to have the dog removed from the store. They acted as if it was the oddest request they'd ever heard. I explained that my children were afraid of dogs and that my family had allergies and I didn't think it was acceptable for me to be expected to buy fabric that had dog dander all over it and possibly give my husband an allergy attack. They proceeded to give one another the "roll your eyes this is ridiculous" look. So, I repeated my request and they asked me what they should do. I told them to go to the lady, tell her it was against store policy, and ask her to take the dog out of the store. That's when they decided to go get the manager. Over 10 minutes later (which is 10 minutes of dog dander being rubbed all over the calicos) the manager appears and I point the woman out to her. She tells me that what happens is that people have their dogs groomed next door and then bring them into shop on their way out to their car. I tell her that isn't my problem and repeat that there is fear and allergies involved and that I'm pretty sure it's store policy. So, she goes over to the woman, points me out (did I emphasize enough that she pointed me out?) and explains that another customer has asked for her to take her dog out of the store all the while apologizing profusely to her. There were no apologies to me. So tell me was I in the wrong, because I felt as if I should have felt bad. Which I didn't. But, since I felt as if the situation was handled inappropriately, I did what I do best. I called corporate and lodged a complaint. The woman at corporate apologized for my experience but did tell me she didn't know what store policy is.

    So, maybe I'm making assumptions, but don't most stores (not including pet stores) have a no animals except service animals policy?

    And doesn't everyone have the right to not have something they like, fear, or are allergic to forced on them? Maybe I'm being insensitive to dog owners, but I feel as if they (once again, not all) are being insensitive to others. I think allergies to pet dander are fairly common. Fear of a specific animal is quite common. And just disliking something is extremely common.

    Is it too much to expect others to respect this? Am I asking too much?

    Hmm, I'm actually contemplating closing down the comments on this entry because I also fear the hate mail. But, I won't because this is my blog and I'm entitled to my opinion.