Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's a Miracle!!!

My boy slept in his own bed last night. ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

Quite the feat for this little guy who inevitably ends up in our bed EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.

There is something to be said for the power of suggestion.

His suggestion, mind you, not mine. (I've been trying for months to coax this kid into staying in his own bed.)

Last night as I was laying with Noah at bedtime, he informed me (not once, but twice), "Mama, I'm going to sleep in my bed the WHOLE night!"

"You ARE?" I asked a little shocked, hoping and praying that maybe, just maybe, I would get a full night's sleep without being kicked in the head or the gut a dozen times.

"Yup!" he replied very confidently.

"Wow, buddy! That's awesome, give me a high five!" and he did, with a big smile.

And, lo and behold, this morning when my alarm went off at 6:35am, Noah's legs were not flopped across my stomach. He wasn't even curled up at the foot of the bed or sprawled out in the middle. He was in his room...STILL ASLEEP.

I barely had time for this miraculous realization to sink in before I heard his quick little footsteps headed toward my room and yelling out proudly, "MAMA!!! I SLEPT IN MY BED THE WHOLE NIGHT!"

High fives and hugs from Mommy and Daddy ensued. Pat was just as shocked as I was. I think Noah was pretty surprised too. :)

Maybe all the excitement will motivate him to stay in his bed FROM NOW ON...

Now, that would be a freak of nature.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My 200th post - Space Camp or BUST!

*9/30 - I know I technically posted this on Saturday, but I couldn't resist sharing my excitement at Seven Clown Circus' Wordful Wednesday!

My 200th post!


I've been thinking for a couple weeks about what to post for such a "monumental" occasion, but couldn't seem to wrap my head around it...until today!

Today, I walked on the moon!
( an imax theater sort of way)

Ever since we first drove by the gigantic rocket towering outside the *NASA Space and Rocket Center (Home of *Space Camp) on our journey to our new home this past June, I couldn't wait check it out! As a kid, I always thought it would be awesome to go to *Space Camp, but it wasn't in the cards. I had to settle for living vicariously through *Lea Thompson and *Kelly Preston. (Loved that movie!) But after finding out the admission price for the museum was $24.95 per adult, I knew we'd have to wait until we caught up a bit from this past year of job searching, moving expenses, etc...
Fast forward to this morning - My mom and step-dad are in town visiting for the first time so we thought it would be cool to go to the Space and Rocket Center, even though we'd have to fork over $50. Luckily, kids five and under are free. But then, amazingly enough, I was watching the news (- I never watch the news) and found out that it was MUSEUM DAY 2009 sponsored by the Smithsonian and you could go online and print FREE passes!

How awesome is that?
As soon as we walked into the place, I went straight to information table to find out about membership, volunteering, and, of course, SPACE CAMP! Did you know they have programs for educators? And that you can apply to be a Space Camp counselor?

Yesiree! My dream may become a reality after all.
Day camps start for kids ages 7 and up. Abby and I already counting down, and Noah is not too far behind. He already says - "I going to be a astronaut and fly to da MOON!"
You never know.
Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
12 ordinary people have walked on the moon. More than 400 have traveled into space. An even higher number of people have made space travel possible through scientific research and perseverance. Rocket scientists, aviators, engineers, teachers...

Still there were skeptics who said it couldn't be done.

Boy! Were they wrong!

Looking for something FREE to do TODAY?

Today is Museum Day 2009 sponsored by the Smithsonian!

Go to to get FREE passes for venues in your area.

Science museums, children's museums, and even the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Home of Space Camp) which is where we are headed today! (It's normally $24.95 per person.)


Pics and details to come on my 200th post!!!

*Also another exciting FREE event is going on today in the DC area - The National Book Festival.
Mo Willems, David Shannon, and Judy Blume among many other authors and illustrators are making appearances. If I was in the area, I would SO be there! Of course, hanging out at NASA for the day isn't too bad either. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fishful Thinking Thursday - I'M A FAN!!!

Fishful Thinking is on facebook!

Just click the pic above to become a Fishful Thinking fan, learn more about the 5 key ingredients, connect with other parents, link to activity ideas, read helpful articles, and even join a book club discussion.

And now as promised, since it's Fishful Thinking Thursday, here's a link to an optimism article with some ideas that piggyback the Happiness Scavenger Hunt my family went on last week:

Accentuate the positive!
Article by Illisa Cohen (From Working Mother - November, 2008)

One of the suggestions is to to keep a happiness journal. So this week, I'm going to add this to our bedtime routine, right before prayer, and ask the kids to name one thing that made them happy during the day. Pat and I will participate too, and I'll write our answers in a notebook/journal. If we can make this a habit each night, I think this happiness/gratitude journal could become a special family keepsake and a great reminder of the many things we have to be thankful for.

***I'll follow up next week on our progress, and I'd love for others to chime in too and share your thoughts whether you try this activity, last week's scavenger hunt, or another activity on the Fishful Thinking site.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WFMW - It'll make ya wanna ZOUT!

I must admit I have a great appreciation for washing machines. We were in a Cracker Barrel restaurant recently where my husband noticed a metal washboard displayed on the wall next to our table. He asked Abby if she knew what it was and then told her that is what people used to use to wash their clothes instead of washing machines.

"They did?" she replied, looking a little perplexed.

On our trip this summer to see my 92 year old grandmother, she told me that her mother used to do laundry for neighbors to earn extra income for the family. She would walk down the long dirt roads carrying baskets full of dirty clothes back to their home where she'd scrub out the stains on a washboard. Then she'd light a fire under a huge pot, stir the water around with a big wooden stick as the homemade soap dissolved, and then proceed to wash each piece of clothing one at a time, continuously stirring the steaming, soapy water.

She was paid a nickel a load.

Can you even imagine?

Thank goodness for washing machines. Whoever invented that thing was a genius.

Still, I've had my fair share of laundry battles. Especially since having kids. But I have to tell ya, in the last couple of months since discovering this stain remover (only because it was on sale),

those battles are pretty much over. Seriously. This stuff seems to get everything out, even watermelon stains. Those are the worst! My poor kids. I hardly ever let them eat watermelon in the past just because I hated dealing with the stain, but not anymore!

Now I am starting to sound like an infomercial.

Really though, I just wanted to share this helpful tip because laundry is one of those necessary evils that we all have to deal with...

I'm just grateful I'm armed with a washing machine and a bottle of stain remover instead of a cold, metal washboard.

*Click on over to WFMW for other helpful tips! (She shares a great idea to help keep track of socks that I need to try. I hate missing socks!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

PSF - My Little Butterfly Catcher

"Look, Mommy! I think this butterfly likes me."

Coming from such a little sweetheart, what's not to like?

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Izzy 'N Emmy

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Fishful Thinking" Thursday - Happiness Scavenger Hunt!

YAY! It's "Fishful Thinking" Thursday!

And if you read my post last week, you know what that means...

Time to DIVE IN and try out one of the activities listed on the Fishful Thinking website which is full of activities, helpful articles, and even videos to help parents promote optimism, empowerment, emotional awareness, goal setting, and resilience in our kids!

Being that this is my very first "Fishful Thinking" Thursday, I decided to focus on the FIRST of the five KEY ingredients - OPTIMISM!

Children who are Optimistic: (Get more Optimism facts by clicking here!)

What more could you want for your kids...and for yourself?

Keeping that in mind, I thought it would be fun to go on a Happiness Scavenger Hunt!

Activity description:
*Create a list of simple items or experiences that make you and your child laugh, smile, or that bring a sense of pleasure (petting a puppy, watching ants march in a line, swinging, etc.). Devote 30 to 60 minutes to a happiness scavenger hunt where you try to find/do several things on the list. You and your child can draw happy faces next to the items on the list to show how happy they felt when doing each.

Modification idea: Even if you can't squeeze in a half an hour to complete the scavenger hunt all in one sitting, just make the list together, put it on the refrigerator, and then set a goal to do a few of the things on the list over the next couple of days.

Whatever you chose to do, even if it is a different Fishful Thinking activity, I'd love for you to please come back here, leave a comment about how it went, and share your thoughts and ideas. And, of course, if YOU decide to write a Fishful Thinking post, copy the link into your comment so we can stop by and read all about it.

Here are a few things that made our Happiness Scavenger Hunt List:
Playing basketball (Noah)
Playing with Barbies (Abby)
Camping with the family (Dad)
in the great outdoors
the in the living room

Listening to music (Mom)
Telling knock knock jokes (Noah)
Writing letter and shapes in my diary (Abby)
Dancing (Mom and Abby)
Hitting golf balls (Noah and Dad and Abby)
In the thirty minutes we had before bedtime last night, we were actually able to do quite a few of the things on our list. Pat and the kids played a little game of indoor basketball. Noah told us a knock knock joke. We ate a treat (one of my favorite things to do!). Abby danced around for us. I read the kids a bedtime story. We gave hugs and kisses, and then sang songs like we always do before the kids go to sleep.

Even this morning, I thought of a few more things to add to the list. I'm going to post it on the refrigerator and see how many more we can check off over the next few days.

The cool thing I discovered during this activity is that we already do a lot of the things on the list without even thinking about it. Hugs, stories, dancing, telling jokes...just little things that make us smile. And it's nice to know that bigger efforts are appreciated too like making a tent in the living room or taking a trip to the botanical gardens.

There really is a lot in this life to smile about.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm not sure who was more excited...

I got to read to Abby's kindergarten class today. When I heard that parents were welcome to come in and read, I jumped at the first opportunity. Maybe it's the school teacher in me or because I LOVE children's books or because I used to be the storyteller at the library...

Or it could possibly be the fact that I'm still suffering from separation issues as a first time kindergarten mom, even though Abby started school over a month ago, and I am looking for any excuse to help out in her classroom just so I won't miss her so much during the day. :(

Regardless, I was really excited to read one of my favorite stories to the kids - THE RAIN CAME DOWN by David Shannon. It's a funny story about how a little bit of rain causes a whole lot of chaos! I had the kids clucking, and meowing, barking, honking - they were loving it! And Abby was all smiles.

Noah even got in on the act calling out, "the rain came down!" with the rest of the kids. He thought it was pretty cool to be sitting on the rug with all those kindergartners. (He also thought it was pretty cool to take his CARS lunch bag into the cafeteria and sit next to Abby during lunchtime. We went to eat with her one day last week too when Noah was really missing his big sister.)

After the story, I showed the kids how to "make a rainstorm" (rubbing our hands together, snapping our fingers, then stomping our feet) and then we sang Rain is Falling with the actions a little faster each time. They seemed to get a kick out of it. It was a lot of fun. I could have stayed there all day.

Abby gave me and Noah a big hug and a kiss before we left. She was so happy that we were there and told me later that I am the first mom that has come to read to her class. She seemed pretty excited about that. (She likes being first!)

Still, I have to admit, I think I was more excited than she was...just because I got to spend a little extra time with her today.

Friday, September 11, 2009

FISHful Thinking - DREAM BIG, but start small...

Click the arrow to see what Fishful Thinking is all about!

I am so excited that the Fishful Thinking campaign is continuing! Pepperidge Farm is even recruiting 1000 more moms to serve as parent ambassadors to help promote positive thinking! So DIVE IN with me to inspire optimism, resilience, empowerment, emotional awareness, and goal setting in our kiddos...and ourselves.

In fact, I am setting a goal for myself right now to post a Fishful Thinking activity link every week, try it with my kids, and then share my thoughts on how it went and how our family can apply it in everyday life. The ideas are great for family nights, rainy days, playdates, or even the classroom. Of course, you don't have to be a "parent ambassador" to be a Fishful Thinking parent, but if you'd like to be more involved in promoting the program and even earn some rewards for your efforts, click here!

To help motivate me, and possibly a few of you, be sure to check back here for what I'd like to call "Fishful Thinking Thursdays"! I would love to get a group of moms (hint! hint!) and/or educators who have preschoolers and elementary aged kids (you know who you are!) to do the activities with me and then we leave comments sharing our thoughts and ideas. Then I can share them with other Fishful Thinking mamas through the campaign website.

Feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions. I'm really looking forward to this!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yet another reason to love summertime...

Can't it last just a little longer? :)

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

When the cat's away...

I found a grocery receipt a few days ago dated 8/02/09, when the kids and I were out of town for a week, and Pat was here all by his lonesome.

The receipt looks a little something like this -

DR. PEPPER - $1.38
BEEF FRANK - $2.50
TOTINO 3 MEAT - $1.25
TOTINO 3 MEAT - $1.25
WHITE BRD - $1.08
EGGS - $1.27

No wonder women have a longer life expectancy than men. Geez!

Friday, September 4, 2009

PSF - Teeing off with Dad!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Chris

On Abby's first birthday, Daddy presented her with her very first set of plastic golf clubs. And, of course, when Noah turned one, Daddy got him a set too. Even when the kids were in still in utero, Pat talked about one day being able to take them out on the course. He started scouting out Daddy-and-me golf lessons when Abby was barely two years old, only to find that the starting age at the limited places that do offer them is four or five. In the meantime, mini golf, hitting balls in the backyard, and Noah's golf course mural (courtesy of "Papa") have had to suffice...
But not anymore!!!
Hitting balls at the range with Dad. Noah's got a pretty mean swing for three-year-old.
Noah loves to loves to put the tees in the ground and set up his ball. The first time they went to the range, he showed Daddy his swing and told him, "Dad, I'm learning you how to play golf!"
Looks more like Abby's holding a hockey stick...This set is actually too big for her, but she still manages to hit the ball pretty far!
Noah is putting with a 6 iron. :) Later that morning, we broke down and got him a real kid-sized putter. I told him he'd have to trade his putter for his pacifier (which he was still using at bedtime). Worked like a charm! (I wish I'd thought of that little incentive before.)
Next thing you know, they'll be out on the golf course together, and I'll be driving the cart. (That's my favorite part.) We're hoping to get involved with The First Tee chapter here in our area too. Who knows? One labor day weekend, a few years from now, we might be at The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Now that would be a golfing dad's dream come true!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

WFMW - The Search is Over! (Cloth rest mat idea)

When I saw Abby's supply list for Kindergarten this year, all the supplies I needed to buy were pretty standard with the exception of a cloth rest mat (not to be confused with a beach towel or blanket). I asked a few other moms whose kiddos went to Kindergarten last year, and they hadn't ever seen one either. I asked a "Target team member", and she directed me to the traditional vinyl rest mats we all dreaded laying on back in the day. (I sure didn't appreciate nap time back then like I should have. What I wouldn't give now for a nap in the middle of the day!) Of course, now these mats are treated with an antiviral, staph-fighting formula which is a plus. Still, even when I was teaching a few years back and subbing just a few months ago, I don't ever recall seeing a "cloth rest mat".

Amazingly enough, as I was driving down the road, I saw a sign outside of a local baby and kids boutique that said, WE HAVE CLOTH REST MATS! I pretty much slammed on my brakes and skidded into the parking lot to get a look at one of these mysterious mats. Lo and behold, it was the same size as a standard mat, but was covered with a heavy kid friendly fabric, had a pillow attached, and even had straps for carrying.
Perfect, right?

Perfect if you can shell out $49 for a rest mat. YIKES! I did not see that coming.

The online retailers I found weren't any cheaper, if not more expensive. If only I could sew! Racking my brain to come up with a more wallet-friendly, sewing-free alternative, I came up with this idea -
A hot pink, microplush body pillowcase from Target for $9.99 plus a standard-sized vinyl rest mat...and VOILA!!!!
A soft plush, machine washable, cloth rest mat for @ $16.00 (including cost of the mat)!

What a relief! And I didn't have to do a thing to it except slide the mat into the pillowcase. It fits perfectly width wise and has a couple inches of extra fabric on the end making it really easy to fold.
The color even matches the cute backpack and lunchbox that Abby picked out. Bonus! (Noah wanted to sport his new Lightning McQueen backpack in the picture too.) It didn't shrink up in the wash either and came out just as soft.

Abby loves it, although she did recently ask me about having a pillow...

Back to the drawing board!

*Click here for more WFMW!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to School Giveaway... for Mamas!!!

It's that time of year again for the Writer Mama Back to School Giveaway! For the third year in a row, Christina Katz is giving away thirty books in thirty days to professional and aspiring writers. I spotlighted Christina last week as Tuesday's Tribute since her book, Writer Mama, has been so helpful to me. I'm sure her professional advice and hand-picked resources she is giving away will be of great benefit to you too. So don't miss out! If you have ever dreamed of seeing your name in print, head on over to the giveaway (don't forget to read "da rules") and start making connections with other "writer mamas"! You might even win something!