Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Wish

This is not my whoo-hoo New Year's typical post. We are so low key tonight- had some friends and their kids over for family Wii playing, dinner at Tiano's (how quickly I forgot my stomach bug while eating ALMOST all of the greasy but so delicious stromboli, and now I'm regretting it) and a quick muy frio jump on the trampoline. The girls are in bed and we are recording the Happy New Year for them to watch tomorrow. However, B did just sneak S out of bed to see Taylor Swift in Times Square.

My New Year's wish is for my neighbor Amber. She is 29, married to an attorney, and full time mom to Jackson (3) and Emily (almost 1). Last April she was diagnosed with colon cancer and since then has found cancer in her liver, both lungs, and now possibly her stomach. She has been through one round of chemo, several surgeries, and now on chemo again. She is still a great mom and wife. The family went to Disney a few weeks ago. Our neighborhood has a rotation set up where someone takes them a meal every Tuesday and last night was my night. Amber had her chemo line put in yesterday (goes back tomorrow to have it taken out- this is every other week) and she was just as normal as you or me, except for the fanny pack around her waist and port on her collarbone.

I guess the reason I'm posting about this is because her situation seems pretty hopeless to someone on the outside, but she just keeps on going. She has such a strong faith that she has said more than once that she is not afraid of what will happen to herself, she is just worried about her children. And who wouldn't be? When you are faced with knowing that your children may not remember you or may end up being raised by other people, I'm not sure how I would be able to go on every day. Somehow she does with a totally postitive attitude. Amazing.

So my New Year's wish is for a miracle for Amber and for her cancer to disappear. If I had to make a wish for myself it would be to remember her when I feel like fussing at my kids for annoying little things and cherish every day with them. What's your wish?

Monday, December 29, 2008

60 years

Today is my grandparents' 60th anniversary. Anyone who knows me well knows that Grandpa and Grandma mean the world to me. I have wonderful amazing parents, but these are my heroes. Grandpa is stubborn, hard headed, but a total softie. He still calls me his sugarlump and is hopelessly devoted to Grandma. She is the total balance to him- sweet, quiet, but totally puts her foot down when needed. They were married in the pouring rain on December 29, 1948. Grandma was quite the Southern belle and her daddy was not too happy about her marrying this boy from Massachusetts only a few months after they met. It also rained on my wedding day and my parents' wedding day, so I think that's a good sign. They are a perfect couple and role models- today I told them thank you for showing us how to build a marriage and a family.

Now as I wipe up the tears, a few more Christmas photos:
B, me, and the girls...
Santa's #1 gift (a really tacky bow and a really bad picture)...

S, R, and cousin J...

Notice the hole in S's mouth. I'll have to tell you the story about Santa and the Tooth Fairy coming to our house on the same night...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A bad, bad thing

The stomach bug, that is. Yesterday I felt a lot like death. Today I'm feeling better- eating ritz and drinking diet coke- but I'm still laying low. Thankfully B is picking up my slack and taking good care of the girls. S was pretty much perfect yesterday (wonder if she is getting sick?). The house? Not so much. There are a thousand new clothes that need washing, presents unpacked and put away, and just stuff everywhere. I guess it can all wait one more day. I'll be back...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All...

I am currently waiting for the Tiaras to fall asleep so Santa can get busy. I remember those Christmas Eve nights so well, lying awake for what seemed like hours and hours. B is out in the garage working on the trampoline and I should probably be helping but it is so COLD out there. I'd rather sit here in my warm computer chair, watching 24 hours of A Christmas Story, posting these fun Christmas Eve pictures for you all.

This is S with our advent calendar. My mom's sister made it for me before B and I got married. Everyone in our family has one. It has an ornament to put on the tree for December 1-24. S was SO excited yesterday to be putting up the last one before Santa...

The grandchildren at B's family Christmas this afternoon. His brother has 2 children, age 21 and 20 (not shown), and 3 new stepchildren, age 10, 7, 4. Needless to say, it was wild and crazy at Nana's house today...

R playing under Nana's tree while waiting for presents...

R, S, and C playing with C's new tool set. B was so proud of the girls for wanting to be Miss Fix It...

Cookies for Santa!! Notice that R, my cheese freak, has left a slice of Kraft processed American cheese product for him...

The girls are STILL awake (9:32), so it's time to go lay the smack down...

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!

Monday, December 22, 2008


It seems that lately, I have not eaten very many real meals, but I have eaten my weight in cookies. Yesterday I ate about 5 cookies of various types while fixing lunch, and 2 more after lunch. Later during the course of catching up on my blog reading I probably ate 3 more.

So late yesterday afternoon, I decided I needed some exercise. That is a bad word in my dictionary. I am an inside girl. But I used to be a runner, so every once in a while I feel the urge to get back out there. I can not and will not run in heat or humidity, but yesterday it was 40 and windy. Perfect, in my book.

My run (which was actually a half-walk, half-run) took me on a little scenic tour of why I'm glad I still live in this little town where I grew up. I turned right out of our road, which led me past my mother in law's neighborhood and up to the road where Alice's parents still live. Then I turned left and ran/walked past my grandparents' house, parents' house, and could have kept going past my oldest friend Kristen's house where she grew up, but I was pooped. Coming home I had a perfect view of Hanging Rock, where my family spent a couple of weeks in the mountains every summer growing up, in the sunset. It was a beautiful reminder of why I really do love this sleepy little town!!

Today the girls and I spent the afternoon at my mom's house baking cookies with mom, my sister in law, and nephew Jack.

Candy cane cookies- the recipe was from my grandma's sister, Aunt Marilyn. No one in our family makes these like she did, but we try and they are GOOD...

The girls decorated the tree cookies- made possible by the trusty Pampered Chef cookie press...

Little Jack practicing pulling up and looking snazzy in S's Santa hat...

Tomorrow I'll be picking up a last minute gift for B and trying to locate a Wake Forest car magnet for my uncle that we have still not been able to find. Other than that, all the presents are wrapped and ready. And I just ate another cookie while writing this, so I guess I'll have to fit in another run/walk onto my schedule...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

That is one of my favorite Christmas songs, and now that school is out I am SO in the holiday mood!

Last night, we finished our shopping, all but the last little stocking stuffers. We also finally stopped in to see Santa at Friendly Center. He is a really great Santa, with his own white beard and long hair, and a really old strand of jingle bells from "his sleigh" that the kids can shake and marvel over.

B dropped us off and went over to the jewelry store across the street to pick up something my Grandpa had ordered for Grandma's anniversary present. They will be married for 60 years next week! The line was short, only 4 people in front of us. When it was our turn, S pranced right over to the big man and jumped up on his lap. R proceeded to scream, cry, and pull my arm to get away from him. She did decide after watching big sis survive the visit, that he must be OK and took her turn on the lap. Cute picture!!

After we were done talking, the girls wanted to write letters to put in the Santa's Mailbox, so we did that while waiting for B to pick us up. And apparently, my girls don't think that Santa can see them in the same room with him if he has other children on his knee, because they were running around, crawling on the floor, unhooking the red velvet line ropes, and just generally being heathens.

I did learn a little parenting lesson from this. Seems I did not tell them ahead of time that they are not allowed to run around in the Santa Spot. Just telling them to stop does not work, so I guess I need to do a better job with telling them the rules ahead of time. Good lesson!!

After Santa, we had dinner at Mimi's Cafe. The spinach and artichoke dip is fantastic and I had a deeee-licious crab quiche with some much deserved pinot grigio.

The girls after church today...

S, the drama queen

R, the diva

Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Tomorrow is the last day of school~ Christmas vacation, here I come!!! I'll be celebrating with Mexican and a Movie night. That's mexican food from Corona and a movie from Brewer's for you natives.

The school children have been bananas pretty much since the calendar turned from November to December. So that's about 18 days of insanity so far. I have never been so glad to not be teaching in a regular classroom. I can do my fun little brain games, get em all worked up for 30 minutes, and then LEAVE! I have consumed far less wine than I normally would during December because of this job!

Children at my house are no different. Until yesterday, S was literally bouncing off the walls, floors, furniture, etc. Seriously. I thought the child would end up in an emergency room by Christmas for sure. Miraculously, she finally got the message that her life was in danger and calmed down. Yesterday and today have been entirely manageable. We are still pondering the other issues with her, and I appreciate all the comments, advice, and support.

Little R has also had her issues this week. She is a bit of a hypochondriac. She loves the attention, extra snuggles, and chewable Tylenol she gets when she doesn't feel good. So for the last 2 days she has complained of her head, stomach, throat, legs, ears, and chin hurting. She has also had a small fever. I stayed home with her most of the day today. By lunch time she was FINE, so we went to school for S's class party, where R had a fabulous time. We then went to our local Y for her to observe a gymnastics class, where she ended up totally participating, so I signed her up to begin in January. By the time we got home she was fussy, whiny, and fevery again. Tomorrow's an early release day so we may be heading to the pediatrician after school.

Right now, B is painting our kitchen a fantastic shade of baby-poop green. Sounds pretty? I promise it will be. Next on the painting list are the hall by the girls' room, our bedroom, the family room, and later our bathroom (which might all end up in some shade of green). We also had to have a new motor installed in our garage door opener today and someone is coming to install crown molding in the girls' bedrooms tomorrow. Fun times!!

To start your weekend off right, here are a few festive pics from the Polar Express party the other week...

OK, blogger is having some image loading difficulties, so I'll try again with the pics later.

Happy last day of school!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I've decided to follow Alice's advice and just refer to my girls by their first initial here in the blog. It will make it easier on me and still keep them safe. So my oldest will hereafter be referred to as S, and the little one is R.

**Disclaimer** The following post will probably contain a certain amount of complaining, horn-tooting, and pity party-ing. Run on sentences and TMI possible...

I'm sure I have alluded several times in posts as to the struggles that we sometimes have with S, age 6. I am at a point where I need to vent a little, so I'll use the blog as an outlet. Let me start by saying that my daughter is one of my 3 favorite people on earth and a beautiful child, inside and out. She is smart, funny, and adventurous. Academically, she is at the top of her class. Her math and spelling averages are both over 100 and she reads on a high-3rd grade level (in first grade!). To say I'm proud is an understatement! She is amazing at gymnastics, particularly on balance beam which takes so much concentration. She sings, dances, cheers, and was the star of her school play last month. She is amazingly kind and caring, a natural helper, and is a friend to all. She is a wonderful child and I can't wait to see what she will become as she grows up.

While she is all of these wonderful things, she also has a very hard time focusing at home and at school. I find myself fussing, yelling, at her every day to follow directions, listen, hurry up, do what I said, etc... At school, she needs constant redirection to get things done. She is always trying to help the children around her, instead of doing her own work. Several times she has had to stay in from playtime to get her work done because she is too distracted during work time. Paying attention, focusing, and concentrating are very hard for her. She is also extremely impulsive, VERY energetic, and just plain wiggly. In teacher terms, she is not a behavior problem, but very high maintenance. According to the pediatrician, she shows many symptoms and tendencies toward ADHD, but he thinks she is too young for a diagnosis or medication. As a teacher, I totally agree and wouldn't hesitate to say that she is totally ADHD.

Here is my frustration: At work, I have it all together. I'm really good at what I do. I've been teacher of the year for my school, finalist teacher of the year for my school system, nominated for national teacher awards twice, curriculum lead teacher at my school (where I had to teach other teachers and did not enjoy it), principal's advisory council, school improvement team, etc.... You get the idea. I have always hated the planning part, but the discipline and classroom management part has always come so easily. I can walk into a room full of 1st graders and have them eating out of my hand. 5th graders love me. My 2nd and 3rd graders cheer when I come to get them. I know I am in the right profession, although I wish it did pay more. At school, I am wonder woman.

At home, not so much. If I am such a great teacher, why can I not control my own child? I have tried every trick in the book with S. Nothing works. I know it is not her fault that she can't focus, but I am on edge every day from the minute we walk in the door until the kids are in bed and I'm just tired of it. I want my children to remember happy mommy, not fussy mommy, and I'm always fussy mommy. Being a teacher makes me even more uptight about my girls' behavior b/c I see kids at school that I do NOT want them to become. I said to B the other day that I think either S needs to be put on medicine or I do. Seriously. I've seen so many children benefit from medication for ADHD, and I would like to try it with S, but he is very sceptical. He's afraid of the long term effects on her body, which does worry me too. I've also heard of children like S benefitting from alternative methods to medication, such as massage therapy and diet changes. I'm totally willing to try whatever it takes and what hyper kid wouldn't calm down from massages?

I guess we are at a point where we've got to make some decisions. Right now is such a crazy time of year and no child can behave in December, so I think we'd be better off waiting until after the holidays when things settle down a little. The bottom line for me is that I want my children to be happy. I do not want S to feel like she is in trouble every day, for her to feel like we are always dumping on her (which we do), for her to think that we don't love her as much as her non-ADHD sister, or for her to just feel somehow not good enough. I want her to know how awesome she is and I want to be able to enjoy her personality every day. I want to feel as good about my parenting skills as I do about my teaching skills, because being a parent is a much more important job in my opinion.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just plain busy

Slack, slack, slack. That is what kind of blogger I am, apparently. Or maybe I'm just plain busy? So far, my week has looked like this:

Monday night- teacher sorority meeting/social.

Tuesday night- flew home from school to put together a REAL dinner. No, not for the Tiaras, for my neighbors. Mrs. Neighbor has just come home from a hospital stay for appendixitis and Mr. Neighbor doesn't cook. After that, another neighbor and I put together a dvd of all the cheerleading pictures I have taken this season. I'll get B to burn copies this weekend and give it to my cheerleaders next week at our Christmas party.

Wednesday night- tackled Target on the way to gymnastics. After arriving home at 8pm, cooked another dinner not for the Tiaras. This one was for a school friend who just had a baby. Then I addressed 60 Christmas cards.

Today- I am about to leave for the school staff Christmas dinner.

Tomorrow night- we have a cookie swap for a preschool friend, then my Grandparent's house for White Christmas movie-watching and ice cream eating.

Saturday- my mom is taking the girls and I to see Annie -my absolute favorite musical as a child (no, Alice. I won't be buying any souvenir Annie glasses!!). After that, B and I plan to FINISH the shopping.

Sunday- my mother in law is taking them to see A Christmas Carol. Maybe I'll take a nap while they're gone?

Monday, December 8, 2008


My lip is almost all better, thank goodness!! I really don't like not being able to wear my Burt's Bees lip shine.

Our Polar Express party Friday was fun for all involved, minis and their parents. We had about 10 minis and 7 adults. The kids sat still for about the first 15 minutes of the movie, then scattered to drag out every toy they could find and trash my girls' rooms! We brought them back for cookie decorating and hot chocolate, and later made them watch the last 15 or so minutes so they would understand the bell part. If you have not seen the Polar Express, Santa gives a bell to the little boy at the end of the movie. Only those who truly believe can hear it ring. Of course, he finally hears it at the end. I had a little red box for each child with their name on it and a bell inside. They were so cute at the end when they opened their boxes, rang their bells, and all shouted, "I hear it!!!" We will definitely do the party again next year, but we are thinking about changing our movie each year. Any suggestions for what to show next? My camera battery is dead tonight, so I'll post pics tomorrow.

I was tagged by Stephanie for this meme. I love Christmas and love to talk about myself, so of course I had to play along...

1. What is your favorite Christmas Movie? it's a tie: White Christmas and Home Alone- we watch both all year round at our house.

2. Favorite Christmas Song? White Christmas, because I've always dreamed of one and never gotten it :(

3. Favorite Holiday Memory? Christmas Eve service at Grandma's church when I was 7 or 8 and my little brother was 1 or 2- we were sitting in the front row and he threw his Pound Puppy INTO the christmas tree.

4. What kind of cookie/treat do you like to make? funfetti cookies

5. Have you ever made an igloo? No…I live in North Carolina.

6. Do you love Starbucks? LOVE.

7. What makes the perfect Snowman? Well, probably snow, but I wouldn't really know.

8. Best gift you have ever received? Barbie house and a boom box.

9. What is the snowman's name on Rudolph? Ok, I am so going to copy Reynie’s answer…Sam.

10.Silver or Gold? Silver

11. What is your favorite Christmas decoration? Lights on houses

12. What's your Christmas decorating style? I try to use only the cutest of the mix matched gifts from students past. I rarely have to buy my own decorations.

13. Do you hang stockings? Yes, four of them, personalized.

14. How many days do you celebrate Christmas? Usually from the week after Thanksgiving to New Year's.

15. What was your favorite ornament on the tree as a child? the not at all tacky (I promise) sparkly sliver disco ball that twirled. I also remember trying to lick the dough ornaments (gross) so I must have liked those a lot.

16. Where will you be spending this Christmas? at home as much as possible!

17. What was your favorite holiday tradition as a child? Christmas Eve- after church we would ride all over town looking at the lights and decorations, and then watching the Santa Tracker on tv. I would hide in the backseat floorboard b/c I was afraid Santa would know that I was still awake!

18. What's your favorite Christmas food? Grandma's cheese grits

19. Do you like colored lights or white lights on your Christmas tree? white.

My question: How many Christmases do you celebrate each year? Usually we have 2 on Christmas Eve and 2 on Christmas Day- this year we're working on narrowing it down to just 1 on the 24th and 2 on the 25th.

And I'll pass it on to these unsuspecting fellow bloggers…

If you've already done this one, I apologize!!
Have fun!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Baby names, OUCH, & a party

Baby names- No, I am not pregnant- I am just still thinking about what to call my girls here on the blog. Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions. Maybe I should try one of the trackers before I decide?

OUCH- Today I went to the dermatologist for the annual skin check. I'm fairly fair skinned, being a red head and all, so I go every year to get the freckles looked at. I have had a big freckle on my bottom lip for a couple of years that is beginning to get bigger and darker. It's really the only thing I wanted to have looked at. The dr. decided to take a biopsy and sent it off to be checked out. It's relatively tiny, this freckle, but needles and I do NOT get along so of course I had to lie down forever drinking a juice box and feeling ridiculous afterward. They numbed the lip and then shaved off most of the freckle with a razor blade thing. The results are NOT cute, let me tell you. The numbing lasted all of about 30 minutes, right up until I was in the Harris Teeter on the way home. I was trying to avoid looking at people thinking they wouldn't see my fat and bloody lip that way. Yeah, right. It is still pretty gross looking but at least the freckle is mostly gone now and I won't have to worry about it... Use this as a lesson, don't forget your sunscreen, chapstick doesn't cut it!

& a party- Tomorrow night we are having our first annual Polar Express party. The girls have each invited a few best friends to watch the movie in their pajamas, drink hot chocolate, decorate cookies, etc. I hope we will do this every year until they go to college- think of the extra cute pictures we will have from every year! I'll be sure to share pics later!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

1 more DO

To add to my previous list...

Do pick up a $10 Shark 2 in 1 dust buster/vacuum at Target. This is my favorite new friend- especially with construction in the house. It really sucks, in a good way!

Also, a question- I'm getting tired of using "fake" names for my girls in my blog posts. I know it is for their safety and I never know who is reading this, but I would like to just use their real names. I see both real and false names in different blogs. How do you feel about this?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Do's and Don'ts

Although it will be 362 days before anyone will need any of this, here are a few lessons I learned while shopping on black Friday...

1. Don't expect to hear your alarm clock at 4am. You will sleep through it and wake up with an Oh Crap at 4:48.

2. Do take your makeup with you to put on in the car. If you have to be at Walmart with the maniacs, at least look good.

3. Don't expect to get a parking space when you roll up into the Walmart lot at 5:10am. All those maniacs have been there for hours already.

4. Do look out for 50 inch tv boxes coming toward you in the aisles. The buggy drivers can't see around them.

5. Don't leave your trampoline unattended in the aisle for longer than 2 minutes and 59 seconds. Do understand that Tiaras will trade your trampoline with the semi-cute blue mat for her boring beige one.

6. Do check out at the jewelry counter even if they do not have bags to put your stuff in. You will get out of there approximately 32 minutes faster than if you had waited in the regular checkout lines.

7. Don't worry when you set off the door alarm with your paid for but not bagged Hannah Montana guitar and HSM3 dolls. Nobody's checking receipts at the door today.

8. Do go to Kohls even if you weren't planning to. Its true that every single item in the store is on sale.

9. Do tell hubby to look out for the posts that hold up the line chains because he will have so much Kohls crap in his hands that he will not see the post under his feet, and he will trip and fall in front of everyone in the line.

10. Do check out the Dollar Spot on your way into Targay but Don't expect everything in the store to be on sale here.

11. Don't expect the caffeine from your 6:30am latte to last past 10am. You will fall asleep on the way home.

12. Do take a nap later.

13. Don't be surprised when the waitress at the Mexican restaurant the next day asks hubby if he got hurt when he fell at Kohls.

I do not plan to do this black Friday ever again. Unless we need another big item and find another ridiculously low price. Then I guess it could be worth it, but I am still tired...

The rest of Friday and all day Saturday were spent listening to B and his dad hammer and saw away at our new mudroom. It just needs painting now and it is the bomb!!! Last night we went to H's house with a new group of friends and had a great time. My stomach was not happy with me later, which I blamed on the Mexican food I had for dinner. B said it was probably more like something that starts with V and ends with -odka. Today we went to the Carolina craftsmen's show at the coliseum. I do not enjoy the woodcarving or embroidered tree ornaments. I go for the food samples and hair bows. Tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner and I'm ready to get in bed and watch the Girls Next Door. Only 14 1/2 school days until another vacation!!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We've had a busy few days here in the Tiaras house. Here's a *little* update...

1. There was no school the day before Tgiving, but BigG did have gymnastics. Her level 1 class was combined with a level 2 b/c so many girls were absent. Her teacher came to me afterward and said BigG was able to do all of the level 2 skills with no problems so she is going to push her harder from now on. I was proud!!

2. Thanksgiving day was surprisingly easy. In an earlier post I complained about trying to simplify the holidays. Turns out that B's brother and sister in law could only do Tgiving dinner at the same time as my grandma's dinner, which I will NOT miss. I don't know how many more holidays I will have with my grandparents who are in their 80's. So we compromised and had the inlaws over Thursday morning for brunch and parade watching and it was actually really nice. I fixed an egg/bacon casserole, grits, muffins, fruit salad and coffee. B is not a coffee drinker so he had kahlua & cream instead. The girls enjoyed having nana and papa to themselves without the other cousins to compete with. I was proud of the inlaws for coming over together with no issues. We spent the afternoon at home and went to grandma's about 5:30 for turkey and stuffing ourselves. Very good day!

3. The girls spent the night with my parents Thursday night so we could brave the black friday shopping the next morning. We NEVER do this and always wonder why people who do are so stupid? Well, we were among the maniacs at Wal-mart (my LEAST favorite store on earth) at 5:10am yesterday morning. We then added more stupidness to our morning by going to Kohls, Targay, and later Lowe's. More post on that later, but we did get everything we needed and saved a bundle!

4. Since we are not selling our house right now, we have decided to really upgrade the current crib. In addition to the bathroom work that will begin in January, B has decided to build me the mudroom of my dreams. Sounds dreamy, right? In all the new houses we have toured in the last 7 months, a mudroom is the new thing. Cubbies, hooks, benches, etc... provide a place to contain all of your bookbags, coats, shoes, keys, etc... here's an example. He and his dad started working on it yesterday afternoon and it is going to be awesome! Pictures coming soon.

5. Today we are just chilling at home, doing laundry, listening to B and his dad hammer and saw. The girls are going to see Madagascar 2 with the mother in law later and B and I will be partying tonight at the home of one of my oldest friends who is now my hair stylist. H and I go back to middle school and beyond and never get to hang together. We have to take drinkable gifts for dirty santa so it should be loads of fun!

Look for my black friday do's and dont's tomorrow!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas cards

For your day before Thanksgiving enjoyment lets narrow down the Christmas card photo choices. I uploaded these the other day but obviously am just today getting it posted. Busy much? Here are a few faves from our family photo shoot a few weeks ago...

I couldn't resist adding one of my cutie nephew J...
He is 6 months old now and crawling like crazy... look out!
Hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving!

People watching

A few sightings from my DC trip...

Cute must be one of the criteria for the guards at Arlington ...

B almost gagged on this one but I couldn't resist ...
(no, he was not really standing in a gift shop)

Colin Powell at the museum opening ...
(yes, that really is him)

This is what teacher icicles look like (see the windy flags) ...

On a different note, my new favorite website is - you can sign up for updates that will let you know the best deals coming your way this Friday. I got really excited today when I saw iPods, Barbie jeeps, trampolines, HSM3 dolls, Hannah Montana guitars, Wii games, etc... everything we are looking for all at fantastic prices. The only catch is that you have to be there at the crack of dawn (or earlier). Check it out!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Made it back!

I did make it back from DC without losing any fingers or toes to frostbite. It was pretty cold, with a wind blowing most of the time. But the kids were fantastic and the parents even were good, so it was a great trip!

We did accomplish everything planned for Wednesday (see below), pretty much on schedule for once. Thursday morning we got up and headed down the street to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte (yum!!). The hotel was in Chinatown, which was a first for us, but a neat cultural experience and not at all scary.

Thursday's stops included World War II memorial (1 of my faves), Air & Space museum (not such a favorite), White House picture stop, and freaking freezing Arlington cemetery. The only thing that got me up that hill in the wind and 30 degrees was the thought of those cutie cute guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Dinner was Pentagon City mall, but us teachers snuck across the street for mexican at Chevy's. I had a dee-licious shrimp and crab quesadilla (another yum!!).

Friday started with more pumpkin spice latte. Seriously, I could live anywhere if I had Starbucks 2 blocks away. Our 1st stop was supposed to be the Washington monument, but the elevator was broken. No one was too excited about going up in it after hearing that news so we trekked across the street to the American History museum. This was the opening day after 2 years of being closed for renovations, and as we walked up we could hear the ribbon cutting ceremony going on outside. Imagine our surprise as they introduced the next speaker, Colin Powell. I dont' care who you support, it was pretty neat for a bunch of 5th graders from the country to see him live and in person! After he read the Gettysburg Address (which I just read with my 5th graders a couple of weeks ago), they cut the ribbon and we were among the first 1812 people inside so we got a cute little smithsonian bag thingie.

After american history we went next door to Natural History, ate a horribly overpriced lunch, and then went across the street to the National Archives. Seeing the original Declaration of Independence and Constitution is a big deal when you're 10.

After that we got on the bus and headed back to NC. Seven hours and 3 movies later, we were home. I was pretty exhausted but glad they let me tag along. This was my first year going without my own class- I rode along with the teacher who took my place last year and her class, who adopted me like I was theirs and they were mine. It was nice to feel a little less stress, pressure, and responsibility- definitely a good trip!

Now I'm looking forward to a 2 day school week and then 5 days off for Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Heading out

Bright and early tomorrow morning I'll be heading for my favorite city. That's right- I'm helping take 75 5th graders and their 75 parents to Washington DC for the next 3 days. I must have bumped my head, right?

Morning temps for here in NC at 6:30am while I'm loading luggage, coolers, and doughnuts on the bus? A balmy 22 with a wind chill of 14. Awesome.

The forecast for the next 3 days in DC looks like this:

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, High 38(!!), Low 32

Thursday: Partly cloudy, High 48(heat wave), Low 31

Friday: Flurries, High 41, Low 28

At least it will warm up a little before we get to DC. 1st stop is the Pentagon with a tour scheduled for 1pm. We have been inside the last couple of years but I have not seen the new 9/11 memorial park (outside of course). After that we go to the FDR memorial (outside), walk around the path on the tidal basin to the Jefferson memorial (outside), and then head over to see Lincoln, Einstein, Vietnam, and Korean memorials (all outside). A nice warm dinner at Union Station will be followed by my even warmer bed!!!

Think warm thoughts for me please!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

House tour part 2

Before we go over to BabyGirl's room, let's stop by the girls' potty. We had this room totally remodeled 2 summers ago- new walls, tile, tub, potty, etc...

The new sink area:

I wanted them to have a girly bathroom- the shower curtain fabric is Dress Up Frogs from Kelly b. Rightsell. Pink and green are everywhere of course!

Here's the turtle stool (BabyGirl took this picture).

BabyG herself playing hide & seek.

The floor tile is the same as the shower. This was a huge improvement from the 1963 pink square tiles!
Important words to remember...

Next door is BabyGirl's room. It was the nursery when BigGirl was born. B and I stenciled the flower garden around the bottom of the walls when I was 9 months pregnant so I can't bear the idea of painting over it. You can't really tell here, but she LOVES her FancyNancy prints above the bed.

Flowers, bugs, and toys everywhere!!!

See the hair bow holder? BigG has one too and we'd be lost without it.

Books, toys, books, toys...

Come back later for more rooms!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Home Tour part 1

I thought I'd start the tour in my favorite rooms- the girls! This is not where you would go first when you enter the house, but it is the most fun area by far.

Today it's BigGirl's room. The color is Disney TinkerBell. She picked it out herself at age 3. It was excessively bright at first but it has grown on me.

She is still into the princesses, but I was NOT the one who hung those posters or princess prints in her room. DaddyB does not understand my rules of decorating. Alice knows I have a problem with licensed characters- the only clothes with Dora or the like that you will see my children wear are NOT bought by me or approved by me for wearing. You will NEVER see Disney or Nickelodeon bedding in my house. I'm such a mean mommy! I've considered staging a midnight raid to remove the princesses.

Here's her desk, but she does not do homework there. It is more like a stuff holder.

DaddyB made the toy box for her. However there are still toys EVERYWHERE. We need to clean house in here to make room for Christmas.

I know we will never find rooms this big in a new house.

Lots of tea parties and CandyLand at this table. Notice the massive doll house on the right. Another reason we need more space!!!

We'll go next door to BabyGirl's room tomorrow!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I think I am becoming addicted to the dvr. I never have time to watch my shows in real time so I have to dvr it and watch it later. Whenever I do watch something in real time and can't fast forward commercials I get agitated. Is this a bad thing?

We have Grey's Anatomy on the record-it list. We sat down and started watching it about 15 min after it started, so we were recording it and watching it at the same time. Don't you just love technology?

After Grey's, B was flipping through the recorded list and found a CMT Crossroads concert of Def Leppard and Taylor Swift playing together that he had not watched. If you are like me and have never watched crossroads, you need to check it out. DL and Taylor together sounds like a train wreck but it was awesome!!! They played a mixture of their old songs and her current ones with their bands playing together and her singing with the old DL guy (don't know his name). Taylor Swift singing pour some sugar on me and Def Leppard singing I hate that stupid old pickup truck~ like I said, awesome!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What really matters the most

Weekend lesson learned:

Bathroom remodel: $10,000
HDtv: $1300
Trip to Atlanta for T's wedding: $400
Credit card bill at J.Crew on Saturday: $70
Starbucks frappachino while shopping: $4
Unconditional love of 7 best friends all together again for the first time in 4 years: Priceless

What matters more than new bathroom tile, TVs, or clothes is these awesome friends that I have known since preschool and who are a major reason why I am who I am. They love me in spite of me, and I am so blessed to have them in my life!!!

Yes, that cabernet in my hand was well enjoyed. More wedding pics and post later...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Help Wanted

First, let me start off by saying that I am SO happy the election is over!!! I have mixed feelings about the results- I did not make up my mind until last week who I would vote for. I have always been one of those on the fence types about many issues. I was one of the undecideds everyone was talking about last week! I am looking forward to seeing IF all this change makes a noticable difference in the H household. Stay tuned for that one...

On to the help needed! I have many perplexing topics on the brain today...

1. We are probably going to take our house off the market. We may or may not put it back on in the spring. We have decided to totally redo our master bath, which will make a difference if we do. The contractor is coming over tonight to give us a quote! I'm excited about getting my (hopefully) spa-ish bath that I want, but not excited about tearing out walls, dust, and general unsettlement in the house. Reynie has inspired me to do a home tour, so you all can give me advice on the rest of the house coming soon!

2. The holidays are quickly approaching. We always have multiple family events to attend on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and are looking for a way to scale it down. Here's our delimma: B's parents are divorced and have not holiday-ed together once in the past 20 years. I would like to say, time to suck it up and move on, but that might not be polite! We usually do one holiday gathering with his brother's family at his dad's house, and then another gathering with the same exact people at his mom's house (minus the dad of course). Usually one parent has to settle for not having the holiday get together on the actual holiday, usually his dad, who in my opinion is the easier of the 2 to get along with!

I have not even mentioned my own family. My mom HAS to see us on the actual day. There is no negotiating. We go to my grandparents for Thanksgiving supper and Christmas breakfast, and then to her house later in the day on Christmas. Throw in the in-laws, and that's a whole lot of running around. We all live in the same town, but my children never get to be in our own home on Christmas day. Add to that the fact that there is MAJOR competition betweeen my mom and my mother in law for the children's affection. I also have to factor in my brother and his wife's family's multiple gatherings.

My question- how can we combine/simplify? Make the divorced inlaws get together for 2 hours and deal with their differences (they do see each other at birthdays and such and are civil with each other)? Make the mom and MIL celebrate together? Tell everyone if they want to see us they have to come to us and end up cooking multiple holiday dinners for all the gatherings? And did I mention that I really don't enjoy cooking? I'm exhausted just thinking about it all.

3. Atlanta area readers- this is for you!! I'll be in ATL this weekend for the wedding of one of my best childhood friends! We went to preschool together, he and B were bff's in high school, and he was the best man in our wedding. We are staying here and the wedding will be here. I'm pretty excited about it- Atlanta is one of my favorite places and we'll have all day Saturday to do whatever- the wedding starts at 5:30pm. I've done the World of Coke and all of the downtown attractions. This time I'm looking for some shopping places! Any good outlets I could find easily? Thanks in advance if you can help!

OK- lots for you to ponder. If you can offer ANY ideas, please feel free!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween happenings

Here's a few pics from last week's fun...

Carving our girlie pumpkin- she had a carved in hairbow and a real one!

BigGirl had fun taking a picture of BabyGirl and me

Tinkerbell (AKA BigGirl) at gymnastics costume day

Fancy Nancy (aka BabyGirl) singing a solo at her preschool party (she's a little shy, so she had a little help from some friends)
BigGirl's 1st grade parade (she's the ballerina princess on the left)
Sleeping Beauty and Fancy Nancy on the big night!