Wednesday, December 31, 2008

East Coast New Years

Years ago I realized that New Years Eve wasn't any fun with young children. We couldn't afford a sitter (if you could even find one) and nobody invited us to a party that was kid friendly. I took it on myself to start my own party for those who were stuck in the same situation as me. We call it East Coast New Years. Friends with children are invited to come, everyone brings munchies and finger foods to snack on all night. The kids destroy my playroom and the adults hang out and talk (and eat, and eat and eat). At 9pm our time, which is midnight on the East Coast, we watch the ball drop in New York, we cheer, make a toast, then everyone goes home. My guests make it home before the drunks hit the road, and the kids are in bed before the meltdowns begin. Just another tradition at the Snows! Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Undies In the Stocking

It's tradition that us girls get undies in our stockings. Being that Mom worked at the mall for 15 years, most of the time the undies came from Victoria Secret. We also get undies in our Valentine cards, they tend to be pink or red with hearts or something on them. Mom is good about finding the styles that we like. Then Tiffani joined the family. Tiff wears a different kind of undie, so Mom had to start buying three different styles of undies for our stockings. Christmas morning, we would happily pull out our undies to show everyone what we got. The room would oohh and ahh. You can tell that we are excited about our new undies, and love this tradition. We really don't think there is anything strange about it. Then Jessica joined the group. Last Christmas my Mom gave her a stocking, and inside was undies. Jessica saw them, and hid them. Mom asked Jessica later if she liked them, and Jessica was very embarrassed to be talking to her boyfriends mother about her undies. We had to explain to her the tradition, and the fact that she got undies in her stocking meant she was part of the clan. Once Jessica got over her embarrassment, she told Mom what kind of undies she likes. Sooo, this Christmas, Mom counted her four pairs of undies to put in the stockings, then realized Christmas Eve, that two of them were Amy Jo's style, and she didn't have any for me. Christmas day we were opening stockings, showing off what we got (Jessica needed some coaxing to show us her undies!) and Mom had to explain to me that she owed me undies. Saturday when we were in Seattle shopping, we saw a Victoria Secret. I said, "Whoo hoo, Mom owes me undies!". When we walked in the door, the sale was 5 for $25. So, not only did I get my Christmas undies, us girls got to pick out our undies for Valentine's Day. We were quite comical going around this big display of undies, picking out the right styles and sizes for the right person. Poor Tiffani is the only one who doesn't know what she's getting in her Valentine....but we do! Jessica doesn't like pink, and I think that it's only fair that she should get pink undies for Valentine's Day, but Mom let her choose another color. Someday we will get her over to the pink side....someday. Until then, we love getting our undies, and hope to pass the tradition on to the next generation.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers


Yesterday I went to Seattle with my Mom, sister Amy Jo, brother's girlfriend Jessica, and all my Aunts, female cousins, and Grandmother. It was the whole Dennison clan, minus Tiffani who is 9 months pregnant (oh and add my aunt's friend and daughter) so we had a herd of 15 of us. We all had tickets to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the 5th Avenue Theater. The play was fantastic, the theater beautiful, and I think we need to make this a yearly tradition. We stayed at the Seattle Sheridan, which was very nice. My Grandma was very impressed that the "young man" at the front desk knew her name when she called down there. We did happy hour in our room before the show, and Grandma brought her ribbon sandwiches. Grandma makes these for every occasion, and it's now a family joke that we know Grandma can be counted on for ribbon sandwiches. After the show everyone was hungry, and we were turned away from restaurants who didn't want our big group. We finally ended up at Elephant and Castle, who were more than accommodating for us. We had drinks and appetizers, and had a great time. I still can't believe that Grandma stayed up past midnight....that old gal has some stamina! This morning we got up and headed to Starbucks for coffee. As we were sitting at a table outside of Starbucks, this man walks up and says, " You look like ladies that could help me. Where is the American Eagle Outfitters located?". Mom pointed left, Amy Jo pointed right, and Jessica thinking about it, pointed up. He just laughed and looked at me. I told him I had no idea. Amy Jo was right and we pointed him in the correct direction. (Good thing Mom now has a navigational system, because she is really directionally challenged). After coffee we did some shopping, then headed for home. It was a great trip, with many memories made. (Gail, step away from the reindeer sweater). I love that the Dennison ladies are a close clan that like to hang out together...... and can be counted on for ribbon sandwiches.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sharing the Love





Tiffani at Still Seeking Sanity (also known as my sister in law) hit me with this cute award. Thanks for the love! I'm supposed to blog about my top 5 addictions (only 5!!).


1. Lands End Overstocks.....mainly the shoes, but also the coats, swim suits, and kids clothes. I spend hours searching the site looking for deals!


2. Bath and Body Works soaps (yes Tiffani admitted to this one too!)....I love everything, and stock up at their sales....they also send me way too many coupons for my own good.


3. Mochas!!! Very bad addiction to those. I must have my morning mocha.....seriously!


4. Top Chef....boy I miss it when it's not in season. Dan bought me the Top Chef cookbook for Christmas....don't know if I will ever try anything that fancy, but hey, it's fun to look at!


5. Bargains, any good deal, clearance racks, door busters....it truly is an addiction.


I pass the Fabulous Award to..


Renae at A Walk in My Shoes

Lisa at It's Miller Time

Jaimie at Jaimstar

Jenn at The Samuelsens

Kristy at Kristy and Family


Christmas Joy

I should have known that Christmas was going to be different this year. Pastor Grant was preaching on Expecting the Unexpected, and God tends to hijack his sermon series to make a point. Every plan I had made for Christmas went out the window when the snow started. I never finished the last of the stocking stuffers (not a big deal) and the kid's teachers won't get their presents until January. I'm a bad Mommy because I didn't take my kids to see Santa. My Dad and Step Mom never made it up here, and my Mother in law postponed Christmas until Dan gets home. We normally have 6 Christmas's to attend, and so far we have only done 3. I have to say that it made the holidays more relaxing, but I was really disappointed at first. As you know we are a family of traditions, and when you break from tradition it's frustrating.
Christmas Eve we had so much snow that I couldn't get the van out of the garage. I tried to fire up the tractor, but it wouldn't start. So I had to drive Dan's truck. I don't like to drive Dan's truck, and have only done it a few times. I loaded the kids into the truck to head over to my Grandparent's house, and Lily asked who was driving. I told her I was, and she said, "You can drive Daddy's truck?". When we were almost there Lily stated from the back, "Mommy, you CAN drive Daddy's truck!". The roads were compact snow and ice, so I didn't like driving, but we made it safe and sound. Nate is to the age of questioning the whole Santa thing, and wanted to leave a spy camera out to watch for Santa. Christmas morning we woke up to snow falling. It was truly beautiful with all the tress covered in snow. The kids woke me up at 6:30 am, and I told them to leave me alone until 7am. At 7:01, Nate was in my face waking me up. The kids were excited and opened their presents and stockings. I loved Lily's reaction to her Swim to Me Puppy, "It's just what I wished for!". Here's a picture of our back yard early Christmas morning.
We headed over to my Mom's Christmas morning, and the kids were excited to see their step-cousins. The sun came out and they all played in the snow. My brother Marty and family took 4 hours to get to Mom's, but they finally made it. I totally skipped Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa Stauffer's because of the snow on the roads. Here's a picture of us opening presents, this is only half the room, but you can see the chaos. (No, I'm not picking my nose, just ignore me).
I learned a lesson this year. I can't plan everything! I need to learn to relax and take everything as it comes. The world did not stop because I didn't do cinnamon rolls (Dad is the only one who eats them anyway!), and the kids never missed seeing Santa. I need to get over my guilt of not making it out to the Stauffer's (sorry Grandma and Grandpa!). We do have two more Christmas's to do, so we are not done yet. Question is, do I have to keep my tree up until January 18th when we do Christmas with Dad?


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Tradition

I keep forgetting to blog about all the traditions that we do. Yesterday the kids made cookies for Santa with my Mom. They cookies look ugly, but this Santa takes a couple nibbles, then tosses them. Tonight the kids will leave out milk, cookies, and carrots (for the reindeer). I have to admit that I will be doing some present swapping tonight. The one and only thing that Lily asked for, is wrapped under the tree from my Dad and Step-Mom. They won't be doing Christmas with us until January now, so I think Santa will swap a gift for the one under the tree, so that Lily gets what she asked for.
Tonight is traditionally dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Dennison's. We always have (dry) spaghetti for dinner. My Great Aunt Laurel who passed away last year always made leftsa, a Norwegian potato bread. Now the women in the family do a leftsa making party before Christmas so that we carry on that tradition. After dinner of spaghetti (did I mention that it's always dry?) we open presents, eat desserts, and wait for the bells. When my cousins and I were little, we knew it was time to go home when we heard the bells outside. That meant that Santa was on his way to our houses, and we needed to hurry home and get in bed.
I know that we won't be doing these traditions after my Grandparents are gone, but I enjoy every year knowing that dry spaghetti will always be a joke in the family, and the leftsa tradition will live on.

Wishing you a Merry White Christmas!



We woke up this morning to fresh snow. We finally got the pretty snow that covers the trees. The kids were trilled and we were out the door playing as soon as my sister Amy showed up. The boogie board still isn't working well, and our neighbor suggested pulling the kids with the lawn mower.....it may just come to that. The big bummer is that my Dad and Step-Mom decided against driving in this bad weather. Dad is really disappointed that he's not here to play in the snow with the kids. Dan is in warm LA today, he says they will get a Washington Christmas with rain. I hope everyone takes it easy as they travel to their families today and tomorrow. May you all remember the reason for the season, and count your blessings. Merry Christmas from the Snows!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Freedom!!

I never thought I would be so excited to go to the grocery store. I finally got my freedom today and dropped the kids off at my Mom's house. They were glad for the change of location and she helped them make cookies for Santa. I ventured out to Safeway, which was busy, and then to Woods Coffee for a black and white mocha. Even though I was only gone for an hour, it felt like heaven to just get out of the house! We are forcasted for more snow tonight, so we will see if I will be doing any driving over Christmas. It is frustrating to have bad roads over the holidays, and I hope everyone is careful and has a SAFE Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holly's Book List

I know it's a little late to be giving Christmas ideas, but hey, there are always birthdays to buy for. We love books. I love Amazon, and always have a big wish list so that I can find books quickly when I have a little change to buy some. When Nate was little we were in a book club that sent a book, craft and stickers once a month. They always sent the best books, and I am glad that it opened my eyes to the wonderful world of children's books. I will break down our favorites by age group.

For toddlers:
Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
Toes Are To Tickle by Shen Roddie and Kady MacDonald Denton
Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk (great for boys who love trains!)

Preschool to Kindergarten age
Any book by Kevin Henkes, he is our favorite!
Dr. Seuss books, can't go wrong with the classics (even though I'm ready to hide those right now!)
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman
The Hoppameleon by Paul Geraghty

School Age
Nate the Great series of books by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
The Magic School Bus series from Scholastic

Happy Reading!

Boogie Boarding in the Snow


My parents are very creative. My siblings and I are very creative, and we know it comes naturally. As kids we learned quickly to create our own fun, or Dad would put us to work. As I mentioned before, Dad would bring out the "toys" on snow days. Not regular toys like sleds or tubes. No, we were on the farm, and Dad would use whatever he could find to make sleds. Most of the time our sled behind the four wheeler was a car hood (those rip your snow pants when you go flying off!). Sometimes it was a piece of fiberglass, or a plastic barrel (that one would give you a bloody nose if you rolled too many times!). So, here I am snowed in, without a sled. Naturally, I think like my father (scary) and use what we have. Last March when Dan and I went to Maui for our 10 year anniversary, he bought a boogie board. Then he payed to have it shipped home. Seriously, where would he ever use that thing again? Well...... I busted that thing out and gave it to the kids. Of course the neighbor used his tractor to clear most of the snow off the driveway this morning, so the kids didn't get the action they were hoping for. Oh well, it was entertaining for awhile, and may work later if we get more snow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Still Snowed In

Yes, we are still snowed in. Yes, I am going crazy with boredom. The kids have been having jammy days, where they stay in their jammies all day long. I haven't put makeup on in days (alert the media!!) and I have run out of Christmas projects to do. So, here's a picture of Lily's cookies yesterday...she frosted them by herself.

And here is Nate outside in the snow. We finally got a few hours where the wind wasn't so bad, and he had made a little fort. I had to keep yelling at him to stop throwing snowballs at the windows!
I am tagging everyone who reads this to leave a comment on things for me to do while we are snowed in. I can't say I will try everything, but I am bored enough to be open for suggestions.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cookies, breads and chocolate....oh my!

I used to love snow days. Dad would pull out all the "toys" and make mounds of snow in the field for us to play on. There were times he drove all over the county to pick up my friends, so that we could all have a snow day together. I have so many fond memories of snow days. Then why am I so mad at the snow now? I guess it's because I'm stuck in the house, knowing that the last minute Christmas gifts aren't going to get bought. I don't have friends to play with, and I must entertain the kiddos. I need to have a better attitude, but I'm really bummed and going crazy! Yesterday I made soup at 2 pm for no reason. I wasn't hungry, just wanted something to do. Today has been bread, cookies and chocolates. Seriously, if we don't get out of the house soon, I will gain 20 pounds! I am really hoping that Santa will show up and eat these cookies!

Another Christmas Tradition

My Dad is just a big kid. We all have come to realize that Dad will never grow up. Dad's favorite part of Christmas presents is filling all the stockings. Since our family is huge and still growing, years ago Dad and Marsha started filling gift bags for everyone instead of buying more stockings with every new family member. They are up to 18 gift bags this year to fill, and Dad has a blast shopping for them. Every year he finds some sort of toy for the "boys" in the family, and they spend the afternoon playing with them until they break. A few years ago it was wheels that were on a pulley zip chord, and they were racing them across my floor, seeing who could knock pictures off my wall. I finally kicked them outside and they raced them down my driveway. (Nate even got out the chalk and made a start and finish line). Another year it was marshmallow guns, and I found mini marshmallows around my house (ok, the kids did) for a month. Nate's favorite toy was the whoopee cushion he got. He spent the whole afternoon trying to get everyone to sit on it. The next year he asked Grandpa for another "tooter". He also loves to buy the grand kids noisy toys. If it's obnoxious and noisy, Dad will buy it for the kids. Seriously, it's never a quiet moment when Dad is around. Being that I am hosting Christmas with Dad this year, I am really scared about the toys he has found. I might have to take all the breakables down before he gets here. And where did I put those earplugs?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Grant and Ben!



Happy 2nd Birthday Ben and Grant!

Here we go again.......

Marty and Tiffani, congrats on your boy's birthdays.

Amy Jo, Rob, David, and Dan, congrats on your nephew's birthdays.

Mom, Wayne, Dad and Marsha, congrats on your Grandson's birthdays.

Emma, congrats on your brother's birthdays.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day



We did have a snow day today, and of course the Snows played in the snow. First picture is the kids outside, they didn't last long because of the cold NE wind. Next would be holly in the snow...get it? Oh boy, I really need to get out of the house!



Just call me Information

Maybe it's because I'm the big sister, or that I'm a stay at home Mom and everyone thinks I have nothing better to do. But I get a ton of calls for information. Don't have someones phone number, call Holly's Information Line. Need addresses or zip codes for thank you cards or Christmas cards, call Holly's Information Line. Need a recipe or directions on how to adjust a soup to work in the crock pot? Call Holly's Information Line. Seriously, these are just the calls I have gotten this week. I think I need to change my answering machine....Hello you have reached Holly's Information Line. For phone numbers press one, for addresses press two, for recipes....Call the Betty Crocker Hot line. Oh wait, my friend Amy calls me the Betty Crocker Hot line, so I guess that should be press 3. Who do I get to call for Information?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside


All quarter long I dreamed of this week. I would be done with school, and the kids would have one week left. I would get all my projects done, and all my last minute shopping. Then the snow came. I'm stuck at home, getting most of my projects done, but am not leaving the house. I ran out of the special tape I am using for all the calenders, so I'm at a standing point there, and a I need to get last minute stocking stuffers (without the kids of course). I'm guessing they won't have school tomorrow, and if it's still cancelled through Friday, their teacher's won't get their Christmas presents, and I won't have any time alone to finish my shopping. Grrrrrrr. Here's the snow we got so far, it's still snowing and the wind is blowing.....walking in a winter wonderland.



There may be more than Dr. Seuss in my head!

Grades were posted this morning, and I got online as soon as I woke up to check it out. In both my classes I got A's!!! Happy Dance time! I can't believe I got a 4.0, I didn't even get close to that my first time around at college. This is great because it will raise my GPA. Right now it's a 3.3. I was really doubting that I would get an A in biology, but she told us that there were points left up to her discretion. I did do some extra credit, and rarely missed a class, so she must have looked at effort. The funny thing is that when I started the quarter, my goal was just to survive without failing. It was about half way through that I realized that I could get good grades. My perspective has changed now, and my goal is to raise my GPA to at least a 3.5 by the time I graduate. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Dr. Seuss Stuck In My Head!

Lily is always trying to keep up with Nate. Every few days she wants me to measure her to see if she has grown as tall as Nate. She has wanted to be in Kindergarten since Nate started, and now wants homework every night like Nate. We read to her every night, and she is starting to pick up words that she can read. In class they have sight words that they memorize, and she loves to point those out when she sees them. She has always loved Dr. Seuss books, and as I've said before, I have the ABC book memorized. Last month Dan was helping her read Hop on Pop. She can now read the whole thing by herself, without any help, but some of it is memorization. So last night she picked out Green Eggs and Ham and told me she would read it. I figured she would read a few words, and I would do the rest. Oh no, little miss smarty pants read the book to me with very few words that she needed my help with. I am glad that she is excited about reading, but I know that my days of reading to her are about gone. This stage of reading takes a lot more patience too...sometimes I dreaded reading with Nate when he first started. I think I need some new Dr. Seuss books to help me get through this stage......Sam I am, I do not like green eggs and ham!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Are you ready for Christmas?

My friend Amy at Love my Babes tagged everyone to see if they are ready for Christmas. I am close to being ready, today I plan on finishing a couple baskets, and maybe a batch of jam. Tomorrow I want to hit Target and get the last of the gifts I need to buy, but we will see how the weather looks. Nate's school was delayed an hour and we just walked him to school. The temperature is 17 degrees, but real feel with the wind is -9 degrees. That walk wasn't fun, and poor Lily was getting blown around. Tomorrow I'll drive him to school! I did retrieve some of my decorations from my planter box that blew into the neighbors yard though!
While we are talking about Christmas gifts, I'll let you in on a few of my ideas......can't give them all away because I know who is reading this! For my grandparents who have everything, and don't want "stuff" from us, I do certificates for the bread of the month club. I print out little coupons, one for each month, that list a specific bread or batch of rolls that I will bring them that month. I did this last year for Grandma and Grandpa Dennison, and they loved it. So, this year I'll do it for both sets of grandparents. It's also a great excuse for me to go visit them once a month.
For the kid's teachers, I do gift baskets with homemade mixes and jams. I try to theme each one different, and get a little inside scoop on their likes. Nate is on a mission today to find out if his teacher likes tea or coffee. I also realize that the kids have many other teachers in the building that they see, PE, Music, Art, Librarian, Para educators, and the kids bring them all jam. It's important for me to show my kids that we need to thank all the staff at the school.
I found calenders at Michael's (for $1!!!!) that you insert photo's into. My kids love to have their own calenders, personalized with their favorite pictures. I also do them for my parents and mother in law.
Anyone else who wants to share their Christmas readiness, play along. (Seriously, some people get mad if you tag them!) Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Reminder

I received this in an e-mail from my sister. I don't know who wrote it (wish I could give credit where credit is due) but thought it was appropriate for Christmas.

I thought this was neat, a good reminder for this season of Christ's birth ....


If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Nutcracker Ballet


Last night Mom took her granddaughters to see the Nutcracker Ballet. To be fair, she invited the Mommy's of her granddaughters along. I still don't know who was more excited, my mom or the little girls. I prepared Lily all week and even bought the Nutcracker book so she was familiar with the story. The show was put on by a local ballet company so there were little girls Lily's age in the show. Seriously, it was a great ballet, but those little girls as pink mice and little sheep stole the show. Both Emma and Lily loved the whole thing. Emma was enthralled by the purple sugarplum fairies. She had to go meet a "purple girl" after the show. Mom had bought seats on the floor level, but we went up to the balcony for the second act so the girls could see better. It was a fun night and I realized that we are hitting little girl milestones. Lily's first ballet, her first "show" that she sat through. She is growing up too fast. Can she just stay 5 for a few years while I get used to this? Thanks again Mom for taking us to the Nutcracker, it will be a cherished memory.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snow for the Snows?

The weather forecast says that we are going to get snow tonight and tomorrow, then a cold 10 degrees by Monday. I stopped by my Grandparents house today to drop off my Christmas card and Grandpa says we are going to get a lot of snow. I think we will get a dusting, then really cold. So we now have a bet. If I'm right, Grandpa is going to buy me lunch, and if he's right, I buy lunch. I'll let you know next week who wins.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Letters from Santa

When Nate was little I heard about a little town in Idaho named Santa. The postmaster there is kind enough to mail your letters to your kids, with the postmark that says, Santa ID. So, every year I write letters to my kids, nieces and nephews, and mail them to Santa. Santa then mails them back to us, and the kids are thrilled to get mail. I include some stickers with their letter, and tell them to be good girls and boys. It's just a fun tradition. So here are your instructions.
  • Write letters to your children from Santa, include something personal so that they know Santa is watching, add stickers if you wish.
  • Address the envelope to your children, return address, Santa, and include postage.
  • Mail the letters together in a separate envelope or manila envelope to: Postmaster, Santa, ID 83866
  • Make sure to write thanks to the postmaster on the large envelope.
  • Ho Ho Ho, have a Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday Tarah!


Happy Birthday Tarah!!


So...here we go.


Stephana, Linda, Josh, Jesse and Joey, Congrats on your sister's birthday!
Anita, Steve and Jodi, congrats on your daughter's birthday.
Shane, congrats on your beautiful wife's birthday.
Randi, congrats on your mother's birthday!

Tracie, Tiffani, Amy Jo, Erin, and Tiffany, congrats on your friend's birthday.



Gotcha!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Celebrate!

I'm doing a happy dance because my quarter is over!!! Yah baby! I can finally focus on Christmas presents, projects, crafts, cookies........and the list goes on. Jessica and I celebrated today after our last class, with lunch at Olive Garden. Oh, and Congrats to Jessica for graduating from Whatcom Community College....three cheers for Jessica! She is starting classes at Western in January, so today was her very last day at Whatcom. I'm so relieved that Biology is done. I have to say that Biology gave me plenty of funny stories to blog about though. Oh well, in January we will have tall tales of Geology, Music Appreciation and Behavior Management.......all good stuff.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lighted Parade

One of our holiday traditions is to go to the Lynden Lighted Parade. The last two years we have had snow and froze our behinds off. This past Saturday I bundled the kids up and headed to our usual spot for the Lighted Parade. Funny thing about us and Lynden parades, if you ever want to find us we sit at the Bank of America for the Lighted Parade. In June, we sit across the street from Bank of America for the Farmer's Day Parade. I don't know why, but it's now tradition, and everyone knows where to find us. Ok, so back to last Saturday, it was just a light sprinkle when we got there, but right at 6pm when the parade started, the rain came. The whole street is lined with big trees, and so we were getting big drops of rain off the trees. We sat through the whole parade (minus a trip to the port a potty in the dark), and ran to the van once it was done. I wouldn't call the night fun, but it's tradition, and no weather is going to stop us from sitting on the curb yelling Merry Christmas to everyone passing by. Oh, and the lights were pretty too.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Reflective Journey

In my Education class, we are being reflective of our journey this quarter. I thought I would look back on the quarter as a whole and see what I have learned.

  • I am capable of balancing home and school.
  • My kids are fine with going to Grandma's house once a week, and I need to get over my Mommy guilt.
  • I can't say yes to everything.
  • The world won't stop if I tell someone no.
  • Even if I feel foolish at school, my friends and family are proud of me.
  • My love of writing never went away.....although it's been in years since I have written anything but a Christmas letter.
  • Biology is humorous...who knew about the barnacle?
  • Although my Biology class was meant to explain evolution, it gave me a bigger picture of the complexities that God created.
  • I still can't draw. If you want colored drawings of sea life, ask my children.
  • I still haven't found anyone who can explain the life cycle of moss to me!
  • My house may be a disaster, but I'm capable of good grades.
  • I can master new things on the computer, like power point.
  • I need to get over my stubborn self and go to the doctor if I am really sick.
  • My Mom is wonderful (Yes, I already knew that)!
  • And most importantly, I didn't do this on my own.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yes, I'm smarter than a 5th grader

I figured out the MP3 player yesterday. I now have music on it. The problem is that it still won't recognize all my music from itunes. Since most of the music are items I bought on itunes, I'm guessing that somehow it's protected and won't convert. If all of that doesn't make sense, I'll just put it this way..... I can't listen to the music I bought. The only way I know how to fix this problem is to burn the music to a disk, then install it to the new music program. That could take awhile. Again, I may not get my Christmas music on my player before Christmas. So if you see me singing The First Noel in February, just know that I finally got all my music moved.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

New MP3 player

Dan gave me my Christmas present early because he was leaving for work. He bought me an 8G MP3 player this is similar to his. I was excited because my ipod shuffle only holds 250 songs, and I have long out grown that number on my itunes. So this music player is a different brand, and promised to be compatible with my itunes. I put in the installation disk, and it grabbed most of my music, but not all. It took some playing around, but I finally figured out how to transfer the music onto the player itself. Problem is, it says it will take 147 days 8 hours and 23 minutes. I think I might need some technical help around here......I don't think I'm doing this right! I mean seriously, Christmas will be over before my Christmas music makes it on the silly thing!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Almost Done!

I survived a week from Hell, and got good news in the end. I have been stressing about finals next week. This being December and all, I have a million things I need to be doing, and studying on top of that. Yesterday I was told I won't have any final tests. YIPEEEE! So now that my projects are done, I can work on the million other things I need to get done. Besides the fact, my house looks like a train wreck and I'm hosting a baby shower on Monday. Wednesday will be my last class, and then I have freedom until January. I'm still on track to graduate this spring, and I'll keep you posted as to my grades this quarter.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tagged Again!


I got tagged again! Problem is that it's the same one as before, and you all have seen my 4th picture in my 4th file. So.... I'm going to pick a picture from this past weekend. We spent the weekend at Birch Bay in a condo. It was nice to have quiet family time without interruption. We played in the hot tub on our deck, and watched a beautiful sunset. A Wonderful weekend until....Dan and I got violently ill on Monday morning. Not a fun day. We could hardly move, besides running to the bathroom, and we had to pack up the condo and go home. We took turns driving, and I'm thankful that God gave me the strength to make it home! The next day I had a big presentation for one of my classes, and I had to finish up my handout. I was weak and had no energy, but managed to do my presentation, then go home. Last night as I was making cookies for church, cooking dinner, and finishing another presentation, Nate got sick. Seriously. This is what I have had nightmares about all quarter. So, I took care of Nate, called Mom, and she was able to take him today while I went to school. Nate is feeling better today, and so far Lily is fine. I somehow managed through my biggest fear this quarter, having major projects due, and sickness at the same time. I am so grateful for my Mom! I have only two days left in this quarter and I'm done......until January.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dad's Birthday




Congratulations on my Father's Birthday!!!!






Yes, this is a picture of my Father. He's driving the lawn mower with 3 of his grand kids with him.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stress!

I am totally stressed out about school. I am down to the wire with two weeks left. This week I have two presentations to do, and next week is finals. Both of my presentations require power point, which I have never done. I'm finally getting the hang of it, and I'm glad I have Dan home to double check my work. This is also the time of year that I want to be working on my Christmas baskets. I like to have them done early, along with any shopping, because I refuse to hit the mall (or Costco or Walmart) the week before Christmas. The kid's last day of school is Dec. 19th, so I have to have all the teacher gifts done by then. Way too much to do, and way to little time to get it all done. I will be so happy when school is done for the quarter and I can work on all my Christmas stuff!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Black Friday was very disappointing. I was up at 4am for make it to the mall at 5am. The usual gang was there, fully caffeinated (thanks again Ruthi!) and off we all went in search of bargains. The difference this year was there weren't any good freebie's at the doors. In years past we have gotten gift cards, or good coupons, and we didn't find any of those this year. I found great deals at Old Navy, and was there early enough to get everything I wanted, wooo hooo! I shopped with my sister, but we never did buy much. When the whole family meet for Cinnabon, we all smiled at the TV cameras in the food court. If you see a bunch of women stuffing their faces with cinnamon rolls in the background of the news cast tonight, that would be us. I am holding out that the retailers will do more discounts closer to Christmas, because I am not done with my list yet. The funniest part of the day was when we were standing in line at Old Navy and my Aunt Joni and her daughters were in the line next to us. For awhile, we were ahead of them, and then at the last minute, their line speed up, and they beat us out the door (with hooping and hollering that they won of course).

When I got home, we took out all the Christmas decorations, and Dan put up the tree. The kids were thrilled. I'm almost done with the Christmas cards, the first batch will go in the mail tomorrow. I might go wrap a few presents so that there is something under the tree. We have another Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, which seems funny now that we are ready for Christmas. Oh well, turkey is a universal holiday meal!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I love Thanksgiving, the food, family, and of course our Thanksgiving game. I think it's important for people to stop and realize everything that they should be thankful for. I am blessed with a wonderful family, beautiful, loving children, a caring spouse, the best supportive friends a mom could ask for, and everything else that God has given me.

Right now my second batch of rolls are in the oven, and we are headed to Aunt Ruthi's for turkey time! After a wonderful meal, and then our game, we put on our real game faces and tackle the sale fliers in the newspaper. This is part of our Thanksgiving tradition. We go through the fliers, and decide on a game plan for tomorrow morning. We pick which store has the best door buster, one that is worth our time standing in the cold. I grew up thinking that the people who did the door busters were crazy, and deserved to freeze their butts off on Black Friday. Then I had kids. Wow how that changes your perspective! When Lily was a toddler, I saw a little kitchenette in a Black Friday add. It was going to save me $20 to get out of bed at 4am and go to Freddy's. At the time, it was well worth the $20. That's when I realized I had become one of the crazy ones! Now I join the family in our quest for bargains. We all stand in the cold together, Aunt Ruthi picks up mocha's (that deserves sainthood right there!) and we chat and visit with everyone around us. Once the doors open, we are all on our own, going different ways to find our treasures. Then we all meet again at the food court in the mall to have Cinnabons and show off our goodies.
I've already gotten a phone call this morning asking about my plan of attack. I had to say that I won't know until the family attacks the paper. Here's a few more helpful hints to the crazy people like me who's wish for bargains overrules the need for sleep. Don't go alone! Last year I stood in line at Target for over an hour by myself, not fun! Go with a list. My sis is law Tiffani makes a notebook with the adds so that she knows exactly what she is looking for. Also in the notebook is her Christmas list, so that if she sees any other great deals, she can look to the list to see who else she needs to shop for. Get caffeine (and tip the baristas who are up early enough to sell you that hot, magical mocha at 4 am.).
Wish me luck, and I hope everyone has a safe Thanksgiving weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lily's bottom

This story is just too funny not to share. The other day while I was on the computer, Lily came running in saying, "Mommy come see this it's really funny!". So I go into the living room to see Lily's naked bottom on the TV screen. Nate had taken a picture of Lily mooning him, then hooked the camera to the TV so that they could see it enlarged. They both thought they were hilarious. I told Nate to delete the picture, and told him not to take naked pictures of his sister. Nate says, "It was Lily's idea!". That scares me! So then I had to have a long conversation with Lily about not letting people take naked pictures of her. She says, "I wasn't naked, it was just my bottom!". I tried another long conversation, but don't know if she understood. I am starting to rethink the idea of getting Nate his own camera for Christmas!

Thankfulness Day 8

Today I am thankful for our health. My family is blessed with good health and I pray that it will continue. Besides a nasty allergy season, we haven't gotten sick yet (knock on wood). Of course the holidays are here and that means someone will get sick, but I am thankful that an occasional cold is all we get. My prayer this holiday season will be for good health (so that I am not sick when Tiffani has the baby) and that we avoid another infestation of lice like last Christmas. We do not want to do that battle again!
For everyone traveling today and tomorrow, please be safe, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankfulness Day 7

Today I am thankful for my parents. Although they are divorced now, they were great parents that taught us many valuable lessons. I loved growing up on the farm. We always had fun things to do, or adventures to go on. We learned early on that you don't tell Dad that you are bored, or he would find a chore for you to do. We all had many chores, and learned responsibility at a young age. I am grateful for those lessons, and that they taught me that hard work won't kill you. Today in my Ed class we were talking about gender stereotypes. I am glad that my Dad taught us girls to drive tractor, and a stick shift. I am thankful that my Mom was always involved with whatever us kids were doing. She was the cool Mom on field trips, and hosted the best birthday parties. I am the woman, Mother and wife I am today because of the wonderful parents who raised me. Thank you Mom and Dad, I love you!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thankfulness Day 6

I am Thankful for my crazy family! My extended family is huge, but I love them all. On my Dad's side we have the huge Stauffer clan. Up until this year, we had Stauffer Sunday the second Sunday of the month. This was a gathering of the whole clan at a family members house, included a big lunch and celebrating the month's birthday's and anniversarys. This year the group has grown too much to make it work every month. I am still hoping for a scaled down comeback next year (which may include me hosting if I have to!). My Mom's side is the Dennison clan. We may be a bit smaller group, but the craziness is right up there with the Stauffers. We have many silly traditions, including the Thanksgiving Game. The Thanksgiving Game started when my Mom and her sisters were young, and their Aunt Laurel would have them over for Thanksgiving. Aunt Laurel didn't have kids, and needed something to entertain 4 little girls. She wrapped up little goodies, and gave the girls dice. The rules are that if you roll a double with your pair of dice, you get to open a gift. When all the gifts are opened, then we go around the room showing everyone what you opened. Then the game starts again, and this time, if you get a double, you get to steal a gift from someone else. A timer is set in a different room (so you can't tell how much time is left) and the game gets a fast pace. When the timer goes off, the game is done, and you are left with what's in front of you. That's when the trading begins. Grandma and Grandpa are the easy targets. If you really want something, they will give it to you. If you want something from the one of the cousins, you need to trade them for something they want. Grandma always wraps up little boxes of loose change to put in the game, along with lotto scratch tickets. The rules on those are you can't open unitl the game is over. So, you could be fighting for lotto tickets that are worthless, or get a money box filled with pennies, you just don't know. We all keep our eyes open all year for little things to put in the game. The guys always say that we have to many girl things in the game, so this summer we picked up a couple things at Cabela's.
I am truly thankful that I have all my Grandparents alive and well. I appricate that the families have kept up the traditions through the years. I am thankful that my aunts will host big family gatherings, and feed us yummy food! And although it's a silly game, I love our Thanksgiving tradition!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Student, Not Stupid

The other morning I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day and Nate comes running in with Lily on his heels. Here's the conversation.

Nate: Mom, Lily called me stupid.
Me: Lily, we do not call people stupid.
Lily: I didn't say stupid, I called him student. My teacher calls us students, and I called Nate a STUDENT (very loud and drawn out).

She likes to repeat everything from school. It must be a girl thing to have to recount every detail of the day. Nate on the other hand, I have to pull teeth to get info out of him about his day. The ironic thing is Nate can't be quiet at school. We had teacher confrences this week, and Nate is above grade level in all his classroom subjects. His only problem is that he talks too much in class (I blame my Dad for that one too!). Lily is doing great academically too, but needs to work on slowing down and doing the work correctly the first time. She is starting to read, and it amazes me how fast she is learning. I am proud of the youngest students in the house!

Thankfulness Day 5

Today I am thankful for my church. I love CTK, and have been there since 1994,(less the two years we lived in Oregon). I appriciate the volenteers that teach my kids each Sunday, and I feel that they are in safe hands. I am grateful for Pastor Grant, and am glad that he has been a part of the Stauffer clan for years. I have met many good friends through church (luv ya Tracie) and am thankful that CTK provided a Mom's group for me to attend all these years. We are blessed to live in a nation that allows freedom of religion, and I am thankful that I can worship almighty God every week.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thankfulness Day 4

Today I am very thankful for my hubby of 10 years. He has made many sacrifices for our family, missed many holidays, but is dedicated to provide for us. Dan is a tankerman on oil barges and is gone for 40 days at a time, then home for 40 days. Right now he is doing schooling for his captains/mate's license, and has been gone for most of this month. I can't wait to see him next week! This has been a hard time with him gone for schooling, but it will get him up the ladder in his career. I am thankful that Dan works so hard so that I have been able to stay home with the kids for the last 8 years. He is a great father, and a fun uncle. He loves to go camping..... although he's staying in the trailer right now and is getting tired of it! I am thankful for the hubby I have, and the hard worker he is.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanfulness Day 3

I am thankful that my children are getting a quality education. I know that many parents are frustrated with the public education system, and I know that there are changes that need to be made, but I am happy with the level of learning my children are getting from their school. Both kids have teachers who are caring and dedicated to their students. I am thankful that my kids are eager learners, and that school has come easy to them. I am proud that my kids brought home great report cards, and I tell them how proud I am of their accomplishments. I am thankful that our country provides a free education to all children. Thank the teachers you know, they work extremely hard and play and important part in our children's lives.

Smelly Squid

I started blogging on Thankfulness and forgot about telling everyone about my lab on Wednesday. In Biology, we are studding marine invertebrates. In the lab we looked at jellyfish, slides of sponges, and dissected a squid. I was a bit leery of this, but once I saw what we were doing I was fine. It really wasn't gross, just stinky and slimy. Do you know how to tell the difference between male and female squid? The male has one tentacle without suction cups, which is used to fertilize a female. Now you know. Oh, and then yesterday in class, we were told that the barnacle has the largest penis to body ratio of any animal. I don't think that would ever be a Jeopardy question. Wow, I never thought that Biology would end up like this. Next week, we are going on a field trip to the beach, at night, in the dark. Details will follow.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankfulness day two

I am truly thankful for my siblings. We are all close, and like to do things together. Today I am especially thankful for my sister. Amy picked up the kids from school today because they had early release, and watched them until I got out of class. Amy is always been willing and able to help, and she knows that I will repay the favor when she has kids,(which Nate says he will be OLD by then!). We joke that Amy is the family paparazzi, but we love her for it. We have tons of pictures to document this crazy family and all the things we do. I am thankful that my sister has also been a good friend to me. We love to hang out and talk, and were maid of honor at each others weddings.
I am also thankful for my brothers. I would not have said this as a child because they were a pain in my behind. But that's what little brothers do, and now they have moved on to torture my children. They are also very supportive and help me out when needed. Marty will mow my lawn in return for dinner and Rob will stay overnight on Thanksgiving so that I can shop in the early hours of Black Friday.
I love you all and thank God for his choice of siblings for me!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiday Food

Erin put out a challenge to post our holiday food dishes. This may not be exciting like pumpkin pie, but this is what my extended family asks for on Thanksgiving and Easter. My Grandpa loves my breads and rolls, so much that I made a little coupon book for him and Grandma last Christmas. The coupons were for the bread of the month club. At the beginning of each month I made them a different batch of rolls or a loaf of bread. They have really enjoyed it this past year, and I may have to copy the idea again. (It's also a great way to make me go visit them once a month). I tend to make at least two batches of rolls on Thanksgiving because I have a big family that loves them. Here's my Herbed Dinner Rolls that are a hit year round.

Herbed Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm water
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 egg
3 1/4 cup better for bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Put ingredients in bread machine, in order listed. Select dough setting. When complete, turn dough onto floured surface. Divide into 24 balls, place them on greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter. Cover, let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes.

Thankfulness

With Thanksgiving only a week and a day away, I thought I would start a little game called Thankfulness. From today until Thanksgiving, I will blog about something that I am thankful for. I won't tag anyone (some people get mad at you for that!) but I will encourage any other bloggers who want to play.

Today I am thankful for my ugly house. As you can tell from the previous post, my house was built in 1971, and the wallpaper and dark paneling on the walls proves it to anyone who enters. When we bought the house over 5 years ago, all I looked at was square footage and lot size. The house is over 2000 square feet, and the lot is 1/3 acre. All the other houses we looked at were newer and prettier, but I looked at size and layout. I don't know how I could have survived without the toy room. And our layout is great for entertaining, which I do with large groups. You will not find fancy things like china dishes or nice couches at my house, but you will find a place where children are welcome to play, and adults can relax with some coffee. I am thankful that my kids can be kids, and I'm not freaking out about the black paint on the carpet. Of course I dream of a beautiful house with beautiful things, but I know that stage of life will come when my kids are grown. Until then, I am thankful for what God has provided me with.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tiff, Seriously!!!



My sister in law Tiffani is not my friend anymore. She tagged me with the job of dropping everything, and taking a picture of where I blog, and my living room. Seriously?!?! Those are the two messiest places in the house. And....it's Tuesday, my worst day of the week. So I am a good girl, and do as I'm told, so here is my office, a complete disaster area, enter at your own risk. Right now there are only two computers, when Dan is home, we have three lined up in a row. My back desk is covered with crafts, homework, pictures, and my piles of projects (including Christmas cards). The shag carpet is orange, and it reminds me of Alf. We once watched Mom's orange cat, Albert, while she was away, and Albert thought he was camouflaged in the office. He would sit in there looking out like,"You can't see me!".



Next is the living room, which actually is what we call the toy room. The carpet has a big black paint stain on it from when we painted Nate's room, and he dropped the paint can on the carpet. The carpet is also not tacked down, just sitting on cement. This room was once the garage, so it is weird. This is the room I want to tackle next, finish the pergo all the way across, and the ugly paneling is coming down.
Thanks again Tiff, you were once my favorite sister in law!

I tag.....

Erin at Live, Laugh, Love
Tracie at Little Bearfoot Farms
Renae at A Walk in My Shoes

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nate the Great




I have a bunch of blogs about girls and Lily, only because it's been an exciting time for Lily with her starting Kindergarten and the new things she is doing. So, I will tell you about my Nate the Great. Nate the Great is 8 right now (it's fun to say) and I am convinced more than ever that he will be an architect or engineer. Since he was two, he has loved to build things. At that time it was train tracks. He would amaze me with the different combinations of tracks he would build. Then came Lego's. He is always building new "creations" as he calls them. He has Lego's all over the house, and changes his creations daily. This past summer when we were camping on the Columbia River, he and his cousin John were determined to build steps in the sand wall. We left before they could get far, but they have big plans for next year's project. Nate is really fast at math, and loves science experiments. I hope that he keeps his creativity and yearning for knowledge as he continues with school. That way he can get big time scholarships, get a good education, then support his parents! :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Girliness

I laugh that a most of my friends are like me, we grew up as tomboys. Now days, I'm more girly, but I have never been a prissy girl. My girlfriends are all similar to me, and it cracks me up that God would give us all girly girls. My friend Tracie who is tomboy to the core, has the most girly pink princess you can think of. Tiffani has my niece Emma who loves dresses and purple. My Lily is getting more girly all the time, take ballet, she may not be graceful, but she tries. So now my friend Erin has a daughter, and is scared of the pink girliness to follow. She called me this morning to ask a question about tights. She had her daughter in a dress and tights and wanted to know if she should put the frilly bottoms on top of or underneath the tights. I just laughed. (Sorry Erin) I told her to put it over the tights, and good luck.
On a side note, my mom is so excited to have a little ballerina, that she is taking us to see the Nutcracker. Mom has been dreaming of this moment for years, I don't know who will enjoy the show more!

Blame My Dad

My Dad has always had funny sayings. As a child I always believed what he said, and later in life I had to laugh at how silly they really were. People look at me funny if I repeat them, but sometimes I can't help it. Dad always told us that the only day we were allowed to be grumpy was on our birthday. You know that you are never grumpy on your birthday. He also told us that if you stick your lip out, a bird will come along and poop on it. He has many others, that I'll get to someday, but the one that cracks me up the most was he told us girls that we couldn't touch the boy's privates, because we already broke ours off. I guess it was a problem when we all bathed together, and he needed a practical reason for us to keep our hands to ourselves. So when my kids used to take baths together, I told them the same thing. They just looked at me funny, and it never sunk in. Then one day Lily was taking a bath....well, here's our conversation.

Lily: I want a private like Nate's.
Me: You can't have one because you are a girl.
Lily: But I want one like Nate!
Me: Lily, boys have boy parts and girls have girl parts, and God made you a girl.
Lily: But I want a private like Nate's.
Me: (Sigh) Well, you can't have one because you already broke yours off. (thanks Dad)
Lily: Well, then I want a new one!
Me:(Laughing till I fell off the toilet) Let me call Grandpa and ask him about that.

I called my Dad and he laughed. Then he said that I got out smarted by my daughter, because I had never questioned him. Great, thanks Dad, you are no help!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Am Fabulous

Wombattheinnsane


I was tagged by Melissa at Full Circle and Kadi at Womb at the Innsane. You must copy the button,(go to Kadi's blog for link) then blog about why you are fabulous. So here are my reasons, start thinking of yours and blog away!



I am Fabulous because:

I am a single mom for more than half the year.

I am a student keeping up good grades in my classes.

I am a loving big sister that helps her siblings.

I am a creative and loving mom.

I am giving of my time and talents (sometimes too much!).

Christmas Letter

I sat down last week and wrote our annual Christmas letter. Yes, it's still early, but I like to have my done early. Also, it takes forever because there are soooo many cards to put together. Family alone is enough to keep me busy for an afternoon. I keep past letters in a Christmas file on my computer, and I always go back to make sure I don't write the same thing. I had to laugh that I tend to write the same things, and maybe I need to rewrite my letter. Or, maybe I need a life that's more exciting so I have more fun things to write about. Ok, so I'm making an early New Years resolution......do more fun stuff next year so that I have more to write about in the the Christmas letter!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Helpful Tools

Just thought I would pass on some helpful hints to Moms who travel with kids. First off, I always have extra school supplies on hand (stocked up in Aug. during back to school sales!). So before every road trip, I take out a spiral notebook and put the kids names on the front with letter stickers. Then I pull out a new box of crayons or pens and a few sheets of stickers. When we hit the road, I pull these out and let the kids color on the road. While in Seaside, Nate was using his for hangman, and Lily didn't want to be left out, so she would write down the letters we were guessing. It's a simple thing to do, very cheap, and worth it's weight in gold when it comes to keeping kids busy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Home Again


Seaside was a fun trip, but the drive both ways was not fun. I have never been a fan of traveling alone (without another adult). The kids did ok, they had their movies to watch, and I should give them more credit for sitting in the van for 6 hours with only two quick potty stops. I get stressed out easily when traveling by myself, and it even took me a few hours after getting home to finally settle down. My wonderful sister in law Tiffani shampooed my carpets while we were gone, so I came home to clean carpets, and couches needing to be moved. We couldn't find the TV remote, and I thought that Tiffani was playing a trick on me and hid it. Well, she did, but it wasn't on purpose. It got buried under some toys when the couches got moved. Imagine the meltdown if I couldn't find the remote, oh the agony! So, I'm glad to be home, I like being a homebody. I don't like getting back to school and homework, but that's life right now, and I'll start planning another vacation (where I don't have to drive!).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunshine at Seaside

I woke up this morning to sun. This may not be a big deal to most people, but I can't remember ever going to the WA/OR coast and getting a sunny day. As a child we came down to Astoria for spring break, and it was always gray and raining. Being November, I never expected to see the sun. I was so excited that I convinced my family to take a long walk along the beach. The kids played in the sand, and collected partial sand dollars. Nate was turning them into math lessons, if he found half a sand dollar, it was 50 cents, and so on. After that Dan took the kids to the aquarium while I went back to the condo to study. It hasn't been the most relaxing weekend getaway, but it's been nice to spend time with Dan. We have a high wind watch tonight, and a long drive home tomorrow, but the small piece of sun today brightened my weekend.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bring it on

We had a fun night camping in the trailer last night. I always have games packed, and think it's important for the kids to learn old fashioned games that don't require the computer. (We had those too, but all had to take turns!). Dan and Nate were playing connect four, then Nate and I, then Dan and Lily. He kept beating her in attempts to teach her how to play better, yah right. Dan told her he was going to beat her again and she said, "Oh ya, bring it on Daddy!". I laughed so hard, how does a five year old learn these things?
Right now we are in Seaside Oregon all cozy in our condo. The kids are finishing dinner and Dan and Nate are playing hangman. It's fun to hear them play. We visited the Maritime Museum in Astoria today, and I wish the kids were a little older to appreciate it. Dan loved it, and tried to explain a few things that were relevant to his work. There were hands on exhibits where you get to steer a boat, or practice your knots. We will have to go back someday when the kids are older and can appreciate the history of our area.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Awards

Lily received an award at school yesterday, and could not wait to show her Daddy. She carried it around all night, and most of the day today as we traveled 6 hours to see Dan. She proudly showed him her award, and then he showed her his certificate from his class he completed this week. It makes me laugh that all four of us are in school right now. We all have homework, and we all have classes to attend. I don't know if the kids will remember this season of life, but I hope they remember that Mom and Dad value education, and made an effort to better themselves for the sake of the family. Maybe I need to start framing these awards so we don't forget.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Great Deals!

I am a bargain shopper. I am always on the lookout for good deals. I can't go to Target without finding the clearance stuff. Yesterday between classes, I had to run to Target to get a broiler pan for the trailer (Dan is staying in the trailer right now while he is doing schooling in Oregon). I found some great clothes for Nate on a clearance rack, and a 75% off isle of Halloween stuff. Not that I need more candy in the house, but for $1.14, I'm not passing up chocolate! Then I went to Bath and Body Works, because I had two coupons, one for a free trial sized lotion, and another for 20% off my purchase. The in store promo was spend $30 and get a $10 off coupon. So I got 6 hand soaps, 2 body washes, a free trial sized lotion, and it came to $30. I now have a $10 coupon, that I will save for Black Friday, and get super great deals! This may sound silly, but it's exciting to me, like a challenge to see what kind of deals I can get.

Oh, and Congrats on My Mother's Birthday!!! Happy Birthday Mom, love you!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tagged

I was tagged by my friend Amy. The game is you have to post and write about the fourth picture in your fourth folder of your My Pictures. Here is Lily this past Easter. My true Easter Lily. She is named after her Great Grandma Lillian Snow. Great Grandma Lillian was born on Easter, and her mother named her Lily Mae, but it got changed to Lillian Mae for some reason; I'm afraid to ask her again because the story could take all day. Both my mom and mother in law have the middle name of Ann (mine is Anna), so we have a Lily Ann. If you ask Lily she will say her name is Wilwee, L-I-L-Y, Wilwee. FYI- The flower is spelled LILY. So for all you bloggers, tag you are it!

Grandma's Day with Lily








"This is Grandma Lori writing, since I want to share my grandaughter Lily's new found talent. We have 12.5 grandchildren currently and we love them all. It's just happened to work out that Lily comes to my place on Tuesdays while Holly is at college, and we share all kinds weekly routine fun. Some of those activities include watching Cailou(on PBS for those without preschoolers), having tea parties, drawing with the new highlighters, getting ready for ballet lessons, and putting pretties in our hair to match the ballet attire. So now..... her new fascination is the digital camera. Everything she does, she wants to document on the camera. Do I hear a resemblence of her Aunt Amy here? Of course, she has a long way to go. I deleted 31 photos yesterday. She captured Poppa Wayne making goofy faces, she took 12 pictures of her ballet slippers, there was 10 of the TV screen, and others of her face (close-up). There is no harm in letting her "practice" because it only means a recharge of the batteries. Maybe one day she will be a pro and we will all have been a part of her start to a prestigious career. Or... I can blackmail her with some of the uglies and hold them for big bucks when she has a boyfriend. Either way, I feel blessed to have the time with her each week and enjoy the cutie she is!" Love, Mom






Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fabulous Fall



We have had a beautiful fall here in the Pacific Northwest. I can't remember such a dry and pretty season, with bright fall foliage. Normally we get so much rain that by this time of year everything is brown and gray. One bright spot of my school days has been the drive along Cordata on the back side of the college. The whole road is lined with bright colored leaves in yellow, red and orange. And today on the way home I was treated to the most breath taking view of Mt. Baker with a fresh dusting of snow on the foothills. What a blessing to live in such a glorious place where we can view God's creations every day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Grandma's Cereal

Last week my hubby was visiting my grandparents with our daughter Lily. When walking through the garage, Lily saw a box of cereal that she likes. She told my grandma this, and of course Grandma gave her the box of cereal to take home. When they got home, we opened the box to find that it had been previously opened, and the bag inside was half gone. Knowing how my grandma doesn't throw anything away, and on many times we have found things way past their expiration date, I looked at the date on the box. Best before Oct. 2004! Not only is it 4 years past it's expiration date, we have no idea how long the bag had been open. Of course I threw the cereal away, but I did get a good laugh. Mom and the aunts, this is just another chapter in the book!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Misson Acomplished


Our photo shoot last week got the desired result, a family picture that didn't have to be photo shopped. My picture on the right of the blog will be the winning picture in the Christmas cards this year. This picture was one of the fun ones. The kids love throwing the leaves up in the air. Thanks again Sis for letting us abuse your talents!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween


I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween. My kids were so excited for Halloween, in fact we ordered their costumes in August! For the first time they wanted to coordinate and I was so thrilled I quickly got online, ordered the costumes, and told them they couldn't change their minds. So for the people without kids, Nate is a red power ranger and Lily is a pink power ranger. They had a blast at school with parties in their classrooms, and a parade around school.
Our traditional trick or treating is different than most people. We travel around the county to visit family, and only get to 6-7 houses the whole night. Reason for that is every house we have to get out, go to the door, say trick or treat, get candy, go inside, explain your costume, take pictures...yada yada yada. This is how we did it when I was a kid, and it wasn't until I was middle school age that I figured out that we were getting ripped off in the candy department. For example, my husband grew up in a development, and the neighborhood kids would run around and get bags of candy. I'm holding out hope that the kids won't know what they are missing for a few more years, as long as Daddy keeps his mouth shut!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Eve

I had a sick day today and actually got to talk with some of my friends on the phone. I have missed chatting with my friends, and feel I'm out of the loop with everyone. While talking with Erin today, she reminded me of what Nate said last year about his Halloween costume.
Nate was going to be a police officer last year, and was talking on the phone with his friend explaining his costume. Then he told his little 7 year old friend that Mommy bought him handcuffs, but they weren't real like the one's under her bed. Dan overheard this conversation and about died laughing. We have a pair of handcuffs under our bed that were given to us as a gag. They are actually the same one's as Nate's, and I had not a clue he had been under my bed checking them out. Of course I had to find out if Nate's friend had retold this story, and asked this friend's mom about it. And of course I had to tell her the story to explain this whole thing, and she busts out laughing at my tale of handcuffs. No, the friend never said anything, but now everyone gives me a bad time about the handcuffs. Thanks Nate for sharing.

Halloween 2007, Nate the police officer, Holly the barista, and Lily the purple care bear.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Harvest Festival

Last night was the Harvest Festival at the kid's school. The night was a huge success, and there is already talk of another one next year. This is great because of the massive steps Dan built for the wagon rides. He was very concerned about every one's safety, and went overboard. The steps turned out great, as you can see, but now we have to figure out where to store them until next fall. I think Dan enjoyed the night just because he was driving his tractor. There are times he really misses our old farming days. The kids had a ton of fun playing games, jumping in the bouncy house, and riding on the hay wagon. Thanks to everyone who helped out last night. Mom thanks for the sign, and Cyndy, thanks for letting us borrow hay and the hay wagon. Next year we will be one step ahead with our giant steps!




Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Dance

Everyone join me in a happy dance today! I got my take home test back in Biology this morning, and I got a perfect score! Then this afternoon I got my observation paper back from Ed class, and I got a perfect score on that one too! Ok, so hands in the air, a big Whop Whop, and do a happy dance with me!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sassy Pants

Yesterday I was on the computer for a long, long, long time looking for a research topic for Biology. Not the most exciting thing to do, and it's stressing me out that I haven't picked a topic. Nate kept bugging me, and I kept telling him I was working on homework. After awhile I decided that I needed music to help my brain function, and was working on itunes to get an upbeat play list to keep me going. Nate checked in again with me and said, "Aren't you supposed to be working on homework?". Thanks Mr. Sassy Pants! While I was doing this, Dan was working on building steps for the hay wagon for tomorrow's Harvest Festival at school. Nate was checking in with him to make sure the steps were sturdy. Thanks kiddo for keeping us in line....now go do your homework!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Picture Day

Today was picture day. You know, the smile for the camera so Mommy has the best, I mean a good Christmas card picture. Even with the most talented photographer in the county, it's still been difficult to get a good picture every year. Both my kids have cheesy smiles, and Lily doesn't like to look at the camera. Our goal this year is to not have to photo shop someone's head, and hopefully we have a good enough picture this time. I'll keep you updated, and for friends and family, look for your copy in early December.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sibling Love, part 2

Yes we all get along, it's great. But we are also very proud of each other. So, I will shamelessly do a plug for my siblings.
Marty works for Oltman Insurance, and if you want to save money on your insurance, give him a call and he'll give you a free quote. (And he will take me to lunch if I send him referrals!!!) Give him a call at (360) 734-3960.
Rob is a middle school teacher, and we are very proud of all the schooling he has done to get where he is. He is also in a band called The Love Lights. You can check out their myspace page or listen to their music on itunes.
Amy Jo is the family paparazzi, I mean photographer. You can check out her beautiful work at www.amyparsons.com.

Sibling Love

Left to right is Mom, me, brother Marty, brother Rob, sister in law Tiffani, and sister Amy Jo. This picture was taken at a concert for The Love Lights on Rob's birthday.

My siblings and I have an unusual relationship, we all get along! As children we didn't always get along, I was the bossy one (firstborn), my sister being the baby got away with everything. The boys were always fighting and being boys. Once we all grew up, we became friends. We all talk to each other every week and will start making phone calls to the others if we haven't hear from Rob. While he was in college, if Rob wasn't returning phone calls right away, we would call each other and ask if anyone else had heard from Rob. After that we would leave him messages saying "call us, or we'll think you are dead!". Rob would get the point and finally call someone, and we would all feel better. We all help each other out, and like spending time together. Strange huh?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Homework Blues

I am so tired! Yesterday I finished my homework, including a paper I wrote for an interview I did. It's my first big paper for my ED class, and I wanted to do well. So it was finished, printed, and put away to turn in today. Then last night as I was trying to go to sleep, I started re-writing my ending to the paper. That is why I'm so tired. First thing this morning, I got up and fixed my ending, reprinted, and put the paper away again. This afternoon I turned the paper in, so maybe I can get some sleep, knowing I can't fix it anymore.
I also got my test back in Biology today. I did ok, pretty much how I thought I did. To make up for the lost points, I'm doing extra credit tomorrow by doing volunteer work for the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA). It should be a fun adventure, and at least the weather is in my favor!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Toontown

The world of Toontown is back. Dan and Nate love to play on Toontown online, and at the moment are sitting next to me playing. Our office is quite the joke with 3 computers set up in a row. Nate is on Dan's old laptop, Dan is next to him on his new laptop, and I'm next to Dan on the desktop. Most days when the two "boys" are home, you can find them sitting side by side conquering Cogs and completing their toon tasks. They are in their own little world with their own language. Nate says he needs 90 lawbots, and I have not idea what he is talking about. I'm already tired of the "meow meow meow meow meow" that goes on while they are playing. Somebody save me! At this moment I wish I had a laptop so that I could be on the computer somewhere other than here. I gotta say it can be entertaining, Nate just said, " You are going down double talker!". Anyone up for coffee so that I can get outta here?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Miss My Hubby




Most of you know that I am a single parent for half of the year. Dan works on tugs and barges and is gone for 40 days at a time. He has had this schedule for about 7 years, so I am used to this, but it still doesn't make it easy. I do so many things on my own with the kids, and it's hard to manage sometimes. I am blessed to have a very supportive family that helps out, but I miss my hubby. He is a great Dad who plays with the kids, and gets down on their level. He is also wonderful with taking extra kids so that a friend and I can have girl time, kid free. Our house is a fixer upper, and Dan had done all the work himself. From building the fence to remodeling our bathroom (even when he didn't like my idea of painting it red!). This summer he finished turning my part of the carport into a garage. He always has a big honey do list when he gets home, and may complain, but likes to work on things around the house.

Dan will be home tomorrow, and I am excited to see him. The kids have been counting down the days until Daddy comes home. This past 40 days have been some of the most difficult, so I'll be glad to have the support at home. Maybe he could take the kids to the park so that I could have quiet time for homework? (hint, hint) Love and miss you honey, can't wait to have you home!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thanks Tracie!!!!





Last night we went to the First Annual Chili Cook off and Pumpkin Carving Contest at Little Bearfoot Farm. Our friends Gordon and Tracie live at LBF and hosted this party in their barn. I entered chili, but didn't win. I tried to do something different and made a vegetarian chili, and it was great to see that all 7 chili's entered were different. Congrats to Tim who won the cook off, and congrats to Tiffani who won the boobie prize for last place. (Tiff I really liked your chili, can I have the recipe?). After chili everyone helped the kids carve pumpkins, and dear Tracie gave each kid a prize bag for entering. In this bag contained a whistle, so 13 kids had whistles. Thanks Tracie, there will be paybacks for that one.



Overall it was a fun night. The kids and I had colored hair (my friend and hairdresser, Stephana was very worried about it staining my highlights). I had brought our scarred pumpkins to carve, and when we got there I realized that the tops of the pumpkins were soft. By the time I got done carving, the tops sunk into the pumpkins. Oh well, maybe Dan can carve new ones for them when he gets home.

Friday, October 17, 2008

You are a Mother of Preschoolers.......

A few years back when I was on a leadership team for our Mom's group at church, I came up with this list (with a little help from my Mommy friends). We used it as a game once, but mainly it was for the purpose of making Moms realize that they are all in the same boat. Most mothers of preschoolers could speak the same language of diapers, drool and lack of dreamland. So, even if you don't have preschoolers, give a little grace to those around you who are stuck in this pit.



You Are A Mother of Preschoolers…..

By Holly Snow



· If you are sleep deprived
· If you have stickers and cheerios stuck to your socks
· If you have spit up, snot, or drool on your clothes
· If your shoes are older than your children
· If the idea of heaven on earth is a full night of uninterrupted sleep
· If you can cook dinner, do laundry, pick up toys, feed the dog, talk on the phone, with a child on your hip, all at the same time
· If your TV has been taken over by Disney channel, Nick Jr and Noggin.
· If you can’t sing a single Top 40 hit, but know all the words to Blues Clues
· If you can’t remember a single thing from Chemistry, but have Dr. Seuss’ ABC’s memorized
· If you can’t remember the last time you ate out without French fries
· If you have ever called everyone you know when your child did something new
· If you are missing a bottle or juice cup and are scared to find it
· If you go through a bottle a month of spray-n-wash
· If you ever bought a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, ran around the house cleaning walls, and truly believe it’s magic
· If you can’t remember the last time you bought yourself something pretty and not practical
· If your floor is booby trapped with legos, hot wheels, train tracks, barbies, or polly pockets
· If more people call you Mommy than your real name on most days
· If your cookie cutters, rolling pin and spatula are used more for play dough than cookies
· If you have ever driven aimlessly just so your child will sleep longer
· If your backseat has car seats full of cracker crumbs
· If you have more crayons on your floor than in the crayon box
· If you have to point out every farm animal, tractor or train while you are traveling
· If you feel like you deserve a gold metal for getting out of the house this morning with your hair done and makeup on
· If you are scared to look under your couch
· If you have ever locked yourself in the closet to talk on the phone
· If you have ever played hide and seek with your kids just to get a moment of silence
· If you stick your nose in your child’s bottom to tell if they are poopy
· If poopy and potty are in your everyday vocabulary
· If you go through the McDonalds drive thru more than you shave your legs
· If you speak of yourself in third person, ”Mommy got a boo boo.”
· If you have ever let your child talk to a telemarketer
· If your first response to any invitation is “Let me see if I can get a babysitter.”
· If you can’t remember the last time you went to Walmart without buying diapers
· If you are pregnant or have a potty training child, and must know where the restroom is everywhere you go
· If you just need a break, a friend, a snack, a cup of coffee, or just some time without screaming, squirming, slobbery children
· If you all the bandages in your house have cartoon characters on them