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!!!