Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's Up Doc?

Christmas Break is almost over.  Last year this time I was in denial that I had to go back.  This year?  I am just about ready.  Christmas Break has been good.  Just what the doctor ordered.  But, I am ready to see my small peeps again.

This has not been a Christmas Break that has been wasted.  Oh no.  I have been a busy busy beaver.

Over the last week I ...

Cleaned out the closet.  Again.  I think this marks the third time since this blog began almost 2 years ago.  Bother.  I dare say it won't be the last time I have to go through and thoroughly clean it.  And, I mean thoroughly.

I also cleaned out the pantry.  I'm sure our cleaning lady about fell out when she saw that last week ... not sure what she thought when she saw the closet yesterday.  She may have wondered if she came in the wrong house!

I completed (COMPLETED) a craft project.  I am good at starting ... not so good at finishing.  It is even ready to be framed in a frame that was purchased yesterday.

I am taking The Christmas Tour of Homes at The Nester.  There are 1085 entries.  I am on #63.  I should finish in approximately 2 years. 

I finished a book.  And, it was good.  Thanks for the recommendation Jen!  I am getting ready to load the Kindle with even more books to read.  Oh how I love a good book!

Went to the movies with Torrey.  And the museum.  And the mall.  I even dragged her with me to Hobby Lobby at least three times ... I think I can get in a fourth before the break is really over.  Maybe not.

Made rolled out sugar cookies.  It was a lot of work, but, boy were they yummy.  I definitely want to improve my piping skills this year.

Nursed a sick dog back to health.  Well, he isn't officially back to health, but he did chase the cat today, so I think we are on the road to recovery!  He no longer has the lumps on his sides and his neck lump is getting smaller.

Rested.  Cooked.  Celebrated with family.  Jumped on the trampoline (more than once!)  

This has been a good break.  I do still need to do lesson plans.  And report cards.  There may even be some papers to grade.  There is always tomorrow.  

Or Thursday!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Under the Weather

On Christmas Eve we discovered a rather large lump on Zack's neck.  Of course the vet was closed.  So we watched.  And waited.  And found 3 more lumps on his body.  We hoped the vet would be in the office on Saturday.  Nope.  So we still waited.  And watched.  And by this morning we had a sick little pupper on our hands.  

Actually, it wasn't until last night that he started to feel bad.  Know how I know he wasn't feeling well?  Nikita walked by him in the bed and he didn't move.  Ordinarily he would be all over the cat whenever he gets a chance. (Trust me, it isn't often!)

So when Dean brought him in to the vet he was running a high fever.  But, still wagging his tail.  

A few doses of antibiotics, an aspiration of the lumps and a day of rest at the vets and Zacky is home with us again.  When Torrey and I went to pick him up she said whatever he has is just "weird."  Which is exactly what you want to hear from your vet.  About your dog who isn't really your dog but more like your second child.  At least where Dean is concerned.  

Poor little guy still isn't himself ... although he did give a growl or two to Zoey when she went near his food.  Which caused us all to smile.  Because maybe he is coming back around.  Just maybe. 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It is a Wonder No Adults Have Been Injured!

We got Torrey a trampoline for Christmas.  It was for her.  All for her.  Not for us.  No.  No.  No.  We aren't those kind of parents!

She has spent HOURS jumping jumping jumping.  And, truth be told, she could have spent MORE hours had she not had competition for the trampoline ...
First Dean gave it a try ... and all was going well ...

And this is how it ended for him.  He wound up doing something to his back (which was already tweaked from putting up the trampoline) and has been miserable ever since!
Next I gave it a try.  When I was getting in, Torrey said "Mommy, don't hurt yourself!"  And, she seriously was nervous!

Doesn't she know I am a professional?  I did amaze her with my mad jumping skills.  If only I had stopped while I was ahead ... because next I attempted a seat drop.  Key word ... "attempted".
And, this is what happened.  Good thing it wasn't being recorded for posterity.  Good thing my family wasn't laughing hysterically.  Good thing.

I was officially done after that.  Know your limits people.  Know your limits!
Before we let Paul and Linda leave we told them they HAD to jump.  At this point Paul hadn't even jumped ... he had just gotten on the trampoline.  Do I really need to post pictures of what happened next?

He jumped fine and got off before there was a big spill  after he wiped out.  Good thing Torrey was close to assist him out of the trampoline.
"May I interest you in something in a pump?"  (That was for you, Linda!)

Linda was next.  She got on gracefully.  And then she pulled off this trick ... bounced to her knees and then ...
Back to her feet!  SHE is the professional!  She actually didn't stop there.  She also amazed us with the perfect seat drop (or "spank the baby" for you old timers ... I only know that because when we were telling her to do a seat drop Paul said, "You know.  Spank the baby.")  And, then she was done.  Because unlike the rest of us, she knew how to quit when she was ahead!

OK Torrey.  The trampoline is back to being all yours.  No blood was spilled (today).  No bones were broken (today).  Your trampoline survived having bigger people jump on it (today).  Enjoy it while you can.  We'll be back!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas '09

Our Christmas morning started much like all the others for the past 13 years ... with a certain someone up with the chickens and ready to go.  Christmas morning truly is for children.

AFTER breakfast (because I am so mean), Dean read the Christmas story.

This year he chose to read the prophecy of the coming Messaiah in Isaiah (Isaiah 9:1-7)  You just get goose bumps when you hear, "Wonderful  Counselor.  Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace."

After Dean read, he and Torrey passed out presents.  I love that my sister knows him so well.  She knew JUST what to get him!
And Torrey with her yearly posing with her gifts.  When we are asked what does she want?  What does she need?  Um, that would be nothing.  Seriously.

She did get many nice things from many people who love her.  She is blessed to be loved by so many.
While it has been COLD in Houston this year, we really got this coat for her upcoming field trip to Washington, DC.  I would like to say that when I was in school we went on field trips ... but, to places like Luray Caverns.  I'm just sayin'.

Gram opening her gift from us ... one of my favorites!  Dean says it is my goal to make her cry.  Not true ... I just like to find things that are meaningful for someone who means so much to us.
And, when I discovered this jewelry maker on someone's blog I just knew it would be the perfect gift.  We scanned her a picture of Dad and she burned it onto the little tile and turned it into a bracelet.  Torrey has one, too.  The first one was a smidgen too small.  Bother.

Torrey got some Texas A&M gear.  I am still in denial that we are entering High School next year.  How.  Did.  This.  Happen?
And, this just may be our favorite present EVER!  We are going to Israel in March to spend time with my parents and they got us a tour guide for our trip.  It was an exciting gift for all 3 of us.

This picture is pretty monumental.  We have had Zoey for a year.  Except for last Christmas when Zoey let Linda hold her, Zoey will not go ANYWHERE near Linda when she comes to visit.  Up until recently, she has spent Linda's visit with us barking her head off at Linda.  It is so embarrassing!  It was exciting moment for all of us when Zoey jumped on the couch with Linda and actually started licking her hand.  Truly "blogworthy"!
After lunch/supper (would that be "lupper"?) there was a wii competition in the game room.  Torrey got a new game that has "Jenga" on it and she challenged Paul to a game.  Dean soon joined them and immediately told them he didn't need to know how to play ... do I really need to say that he kept knocking down the tower?  Hillarity for all involved!

We loved our day.  The quietness of it.  The fun of it.  The food of it.  The family of it.  The peace of it.  It is a little sad to be here on the "day after" and know we have to wait 364 days for it to come around again!

Oh, and the trampoline?  There are pictures of that fun coming soon ... oh the fun! 

Friday, December 25, 2009

How Do You Spell Trampoline?

It started with a whole bunch of these ...
Which were opened one by one to reveal this ...

Hmmmm.  What can it be?  We were really not fair.  We had her open all of the vowels first.  When she came to box #4 she opened an "a" ... and said "I thought it might be a trampoline, but there isn't an "a" in trAmpoline."  It really took all we had to not say, "Oh yes there is!"  Box #5 stumped her too ... she thought the "n" was a "u".  And we worried that she would figure it out by box #1!

Finally we got to this ...

Ohhh ... that's how you spell it.  Wait!  Is that an "a" I see?!  When Torrey figured it out she immediately said, "Where is it?"  And, when we told her outside she wanted to know how she had missed it.  She doesn't miss much, but, she did miss this ...
And, we had one jumping Christmas in Texas!  Merry Christmas!

The Rest of Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was a quiet one in our house this year.  Only Torrey opened a stocking ... we are going to Israel as a family in March, so Dean and I saved the money we would have spent for that.

It was just the 4 of us.  And, it was quiet.  And, peaceful.  And, while it was different, it was nice.

Zoey couldn't stay out of the action.  She is a typical second born ... "Hi.  Do you see me?  Hi.  What are you doing?  Hi.  Does it have anything do with me? Hi.  Do you see me?"  And, as a second born I know of what I speak.  

Torrey got new pajamas from Dean.  He brought this tradition from his family when we first got married.  She always looks forward to a new pair on Christmas Eve.  He hit a home run this year.  You can't see it in the pictures, but the slippers are covered in fur and are ridiculously soft!

Somewhere along the way we added reading "The Night Before Christmas" to our Christmas Eve fun.  Torrey has been reading it since she has been old enough to read.  

We also open our stockings on Christmas Eve which is a tradition I brought from my family when we first got married.  Torrey's stocking was full of fun little treats ... candy, socks (neon colored ... my mom would be so proud!), movies, jewelry.  

Some traditions have changed or been modified as Torrey has gotten older ... I think these are the ones that will be with us forever.

We pray your Christmas is Merry and Bright!  Merry Christmas from all of us!

Christmas Eve

This was the first year we have ever gotten Torrey a gift that needed to be put together before Christmas.  Oh, and the gift was BIG.  And, Dean couldn't do it alone.  And, Torrey couldn't be in the house when it was being constructed.  So, we called in reinforcements ...

This would be the boys BEFORE they started.  It should be said that it was COLD in Texas on Christmas Eve.  And, they had to do their building outside.  And, part way through the construction the wind started to whip up and it quickly became quite miserable.  Oh, and our backyard?  It was a swamp because we have had so much rain lately.  It was not easy, but Dean and Paul persevered.

Meanwhile, Linda and I had our own assignment ... keep Torrey out of the house.  It was a tough job, but someone had to do it!

We took her to the Narnia Exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  Fortunately it was at their new Sugar Land site ... easy in and easy out and no one was there.  We couldn't take any pictures in the exhibit ... but there was snow, the Queen's chair (very chilly to sit on), costumes and props from the movies (Narnia and Prince Caspian) along with snippets of how they shot the movies and make-up, etc.  It was very fun.

After we were finished in Narnia, we looked at the other exhibits in the museum ... it is small, but there were quite a few interesting things to keep us busy and away from the house.

This entire wall was made of ice.  It was freezing cold.  Duh.  It was ice.  Torrey didn't really want to touch it.

Linda wasn't as fearful of the ice.  It must be said that she was only pretending.  She was NOT going to put her tongue on the ice ... she shared a story of Glenn getting stuck to the freezer.  She didn't want his fate to become her fate.

Torrey was at this cool whispering thing.  I was across the room at an identical one.  She had to whisper in hers and I would hear her at mine.  I didn't hear her for quite awhile and then I heard "Did you hear me Mommy?" and I turned to tell her I couldn't hear her in the thingy.  Because I thought she was standing right behind me.  Um, no.  She was still at her whispering thingy.  She had whispered it into the thing and I heard her in mine.  Pretty cool.

And, what would be a trip to the museum without standing in front of giant teeth?  It wouldn't be a trip to the museum that is for sure!

Boys were still working, so we headed to lunch at Pei Wei.  I introduced Linda to yummy edamame.  We all laughed at our fortune cookie fortunes ... I got a dud.  "Everyone likes hot things.  Eat more Kung Pao."  Seriously?

We then took a trip to Hobby Lobby.  I saw these and thought they look easy.  Really?  They are covered in sequins.  And small beads.  They were 50% off, and the girl at the register didn't believe me and muttered something about "these are never on sale."  So, I did what any sane person would do ... I went back and got the other set because if one was easy certainly two would be easier.  

And, guess what I found out when I got home?  Five pages of instructions.  Or, would that be ten pages of instructions.  Oh my.  

And as for the boys?  They finished their project and started a game of Madden before we got home.  And, what did they build?  Stay tuned!

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

We put two trees up this year.  We have a big one in our family room that is decorated in only red and gold balls.  The tree in our dining room is home to only snowmen.  It is the tree that I finally decorated last weekend.  It is also the tree with lights that decided to stop working yesterday.  Yesterday.  As in Christmas Eve.  

Perhaps I should be a girl with only one tree next year.  I'm just sayin'.

Anyways ... before the season ends and the decorations go back into the boxes I wanted to share some of the things that are on the trees that have made me smile ... even if only for a week.

This is one of the beauties that is on the fancy tree.  I have several boxes of "fancies" and then many boxes of "plain Jane's" ... all purchased from Target while we were still living in Florida.

My mom always gave a gift to the church members when my Dad was pastoring a church in Massachusetts.  One year this little guy was the gift.  I love love love him.  So much that I have about 4 of him on the tree.  

My mom decided to get rid of all her snowman stuff when they moved to Florida ... and I was the lucky recipient.  I'm pretty sure she got this from a great craft show we would always go to in Massachusetts.  We really loved Robin's things ... her booth would always be bursting with people and with little gems like this.

This little guy just makes me smile.  I took off the $3.95 price tag when I hung it up this year.  Seriously?  It is itty bitty and full of detail.  Um, Robin, you can charge more than $3.95.  Well, to other people.  Not me.

And, finally, this sweet little snowman angel.  Love him.  As I do all the other ornaments who didn't make this post.  The snowman tree is chock full of treasures that just make me smile ... shouldn't every Christmast tree be like that?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What a Week!

As I type this, Dean and Torrey are off on an adventure.  Bowling, lunch, and hoping to purchase one last Christmas gift.  

Yesterday was Dean's and my turn for an adventure.  I had received gift cards for a local spa last year.  A lot of gift cards ... do I need to remind anyone how hard last year was?  Haven't gone because I am not really a "spa girl."  Dean does love a massage, so I shared with him.  While he was getting a massage, I had a pedicure.  It was nice, but they made me wear a bathrobe and I was not in my comfort zone.  At all.  

I am loving my toes though.  Maybe the robe was worth it.  Maybe.

Monday Torrey and I went on an adventure.  Torrey has been taking private tumbling lessons, so she met with her coach EARLY.  After that we went to a movie, lunch and did a little shopping.  It was a sweet day with my girl.  Later that night Dean and I went on a date.  We went to dinner at Fleming's.  The ambiance was better than the food ... but, I am not really a steak eater.

After dinner we made a run to Restoration Hardware to pick up some snowflake ornaments.  At our Sunday School Christmas Party/Ornament Exchange, someone "stole" our friend's ornaments.  We laughed and laughed because she really wanted them.  So, we stopped by RH to pick up replacements and then zooped by her house to give them to her.  Surprised?  Oh yes.  Fun? You betcha!

And, finally, in a rewind blog ... on Sunday I finally decorated the Christmas tree in the dining room.  And, have kicked myself for not doing it sooner.  I then got a "wild hair" and started cleaning out the pantry.  And, then somehow moved on to straighten two other cabinets in the kitchen.  I think I was finished somewhere around 2 am!  But, it was worth it ... my pantry now sings "The Hallelujah Chorus" when I open the door!

And, now I am off to finish wrapping presents!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Are ...


Studying and taking exams.  Well, Torrey.  She got an A on her English exam ... she was told it would be impossible to pass.  Which became all our girl needed ... she is one determined little girl.

Decorating for Christmas.  Well, not really.  I still have a tree in my living room with nary an ornament on it.  It has been there since the weekend after Thanksgiving.  This weekend.  I think.  I will say I finally cleaned my craft room and completely freaked out our cleaning lady.  And Torrey.  And Dean.

"Teaching" Kindergarten.  Notice the quotes?  There for a reason.  I am enjoying this Christmas season with my class.  They have made me laugh more times than I should say.  I love the two weeks off, but, I will miss them terribly!

Exhausted.  So very exhausted.  

Enjoying family.  So very much.  We loved celebrating Linda's 60th birthday with her last night.  We have had some sweet family times as we head into Christmas.  Times that have just made us throw our heads back and laugh.  Times that have just made us love each other more.  Times that have made us hug each other tighter.

Focusing on WHO Christmas really is.  And WHY Christmas really is.  And WHAT Christmas really is.  And loving it.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When You Speak Too Soon ...

You know that saying, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch"?  Well, I counted chickens before they hatched earlier this week.

As in I said Torrey was better ... when in fact she was posing.  She seemed better in the early evening, but by 8:00 she was sliding downhill.

I was, of course, a FANTASTIC mother.  Because I may or may not have told her she WAS going to school tomorrow and she WAS going to be happy about it.

When she was still falling apart in the morning, cooler heads prevailed and she stayed home.

Which means, Dean stepped in and sent her back to bed.  

Hey!  We can't all wear our "Mother of the Year" pins every day.  

She did go back to school today and really seems to be just about back to her normal self.  

She has missed 10 (Ten.  TEN.  T-E-N.) days so far this year.  Texas law states the number of days you can miss a semester is 9.  We will be getting a letter.  And, if you are wondering how we know we will be getting a letter ... we got one our first year in Texas.  Welcome to Texas.  Good grief.

Have I mentioned I teach Kindergarten?  Have I mentioned that Christmas is right around the corner?  Have I mentioned that the weather hasn't been great the last few days?

Well, I do.  And, it is.  Also, it has been.

And, yet, somehow we are holding it together in my classroom.  Christmas.  Bad weather. Christmas.  An upcoming program.  Christmas.  I don't know how we are, but we are holding it together in my classroom.

I would like to call it the "Christmas Miracle of 2009".  And, I sure am hoping I haven't jinxed it by typing that.  But, you can be assured that if there is any change in anything tomorrow you can check back here and that sentence will be deleted.  

In the midst of all the hoopla going on, there have been a few funny things said in my room.  Let's see ... where to begin?

Serick called me "Mommy" today.  (I get called "Mommy" a lot.  I mean A LOT.  The first few times it happens the kids giggle.  I hate for any of my kiddos to feel embarrassed, so I told them that I think it is a great compliment to be called "Mommy" because it means they love me so.)  So, as soon as he said it, he looked at me and said, "I must love you so."  He can be a bit of a scalliwag, but, let me tell you, he is something else.

And, this ... it had been misting off and on all day yesterday.  It would have been our 3rd or 4th day to miss playground.  I kept checking to see if we could go out.  Finally, on the 3rd time out, the sun was out and it was dry, so I told them we were going out.  Noah ran across the room and said, "I must give you a hug!"

Never come between a boy and his playground.  Ever.

And, that, my friends, is all I've got.  May your Thursday be filled with things that make your heart burst with thankfulness ... even if it is semi-control in a Kindergarten classroom and a daughter who makes it to school two days in a row!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Greetings from the Sick House

Little girl hasn't been feeling too smiley this weekend.  She has been sick, sick, sick.  

Our Friday started out great ... snow, a rousing game of Farkle (which has become our new funnest game), and a viewing of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.  We just had a fun family night.  And, then we went to sleep.

And, it went downhill from there.

Torrey woke up at 1:30 am ...  sick.  She came to get me to clean up her bathroom.  It didn't take me too long to go back and get Dean for help.  I may or may not have been crying.  Ok.  I was.  Dean told me to go back to bed and he would take care of it.  He didn't even know what he was up against.  But, I did.

And, I went back to bed.

He came back to bed an hour and a half later.  And, I am not exaggerating the time.  

It was that bad.

It must be said.  My husband is a rock star.  He has been using the cleaning of the bathroom to his advantage, however.  As in, "I'm thirsty ... remember the bathroom?"  He thinks he can use it for 3 months.

I will give him a year. 

It was that bad.

Torrey and I stayed home from school today.  It was weird to be home and NOT sick.  I did enjoy the day and got caught up on some things.  And, the good new is ...

Torrey is feeling much better.  Much much much better.

It is my hope we can keep her feeling better.  Actually that we can keep ALL of us feeling better.  A friend commented this weekend that we have not all been well at the same time for a long time.  Feels like forever. 

We are both heading back to school tomorrow ... she is in review week for mid-terms (next week) and I will just be trying to keep order.  

Did ya'll know Christmas is near?  Just ask my Kinderfriends!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winter Wonderland

We knew when we went to bed on Thursday that Friday would bring snow.  I was praying for a snow day.  It  became apparent that the teachers were "out prayed" by the parents when I woke up in the morning and not a flake in sight! 

God has a sense of humor.  At 5 minutes to 8:00 the snow started.  My kiddos come in at 8:00.  It didn't take long for the pronouncement to be made that IT WAS SNOWING!  

Let's just try to do the math ... 2 weeks until Christmas break.  16 Kinderfriends.  Snow.  

Oh, my day was going to be loooooong.

We were dismissed at 1:00.  By then the snow was really coming down.  Dean had called to let me know that it was sticking at home.  Torrey and I couldn't wait to get home to the snow ... and the fun!

And, this is what the house looked like when I pulled up.  For a minute I thought I might be in New England ... but then I came to my senses and remembered the heat of the summer.  But, it sure did look pretty!

Zoey loved the snow!  Which totally took us by surprise since she is a bit of a prima dona about getting her paws wet.  If she suspects the grass is the least bit damp in the morning she refuses to step one paw on it ... we have to push her out onto the grass to go to the bathroom.

But, the snow?  We couldn't get her out of it.  

Zack, on the other hand, wasn't feeling the snow in the beginning.  He was content to squeeze his fat self into Zoey's bed and stay in where it was warm.  Smart dog!

It snowed for most of the day.  By the time it was over we had a good two inches of snow on the ground.  I'm sure two inches of snow is nothing to our New England peeps ... but, please remember the sheer joy we felt during last years monumental snow fall.  Two inches was magical.  Absolutely magical!


When we got home, Zack was finally done sticking his nose up in the air over the snow.  He enjoyed getting out in it ... but, I think it helped to have Torrey and the rest of the fam outside with him.

Zoey didn't care if she was out with anyone or not.  It didn't take us too long to realize that she was determined to eat ALL of the snow in the backyard.  Guess we should get her a snow cone machine for Christmas!

I would love to tell you that Torrey knew exactly how to make a snow ball.  But, she is a Southern girl.  She didn't know that she could put the snow ball on the ground and roll it.  If we hadn't given her a few pointers, I'm sure her snowman would have fit in the palm of her hand!

  A girl and her snowball.  This one is for my sister who asked "Where's the snow?" during the great snowfall of last year.  She's a funny one my sister.

Zack was very interested in the snowball.  We soon discovered it was because he wanted to "mark" it as his own.  Boy dogs can be disgusting.

  And, this is what happens when you learn that if you roll your itty bitty snowball on the ground it will become HUGE.  Do I need to say that Zack was beside himself?!

Dean thought it would be a good idea to try to pick up the snowball.  Here's the rest of the story ... said snowball was heavy.  Very very heavy.  Said snowball dropped on the ground.  Said snowball cracked in two.  Now Zack has two snowballs to "mark" as his own.

This would be as far as I went to actually getting on the snow.  Two steps.  I am so glad to be living in the South.  So glad.

The great snowfall of 2009 ... it really was great.  And, it brought great joy to a family who rarely sees snow!