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?