Friday, October 30, 2009

PSF - I have SUPER kids (and the pics to prove it)!

 I vowed that this would be a "green" Halloween meaning we'd re-use costumes we already have (aka -  "cheap" Halloween). Then I saw this cool and inexpensive idea (only cost $8 for two capes) on the Family Fun website and knew that Noah would LOVE to be a superhero, or as we like to call him "SUPER NOAH!"

"Show us your muscles SuperNoah!"
Fueling up on cookies at the library Halloween party!
Abby decided to X the Barbie Musketeer idea, and become "SuperAbby" instead -
can't resist a pink cape!
SuperDAD joined us at the party too on his way home from work.
Of course, he was still wearing his Clark Kent style disguise.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Carissa

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fishful Thinking Thursday - It's all about the treats!

I have a major sweet tooth. Needless to say, my favorite part of Halloween is the candy. And FREE candy at that!  When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to get home and empty my bucket to see how many crunch bars and peanut butter cups I had scored. Every year, a lady down the street would make full size popcorn balls for every kid in the neighborhood. Gooey, crunchy, sweet -n-salty popcorn balls. Just thinking about munching on one is making my mouth water. :)

This year when we get back from taking the kids trick or treating, I think it would be fun to try this Savoring Party activity listed on the Fishful Thinking site with their goodies!  

Set up all the items ( in this case - candy) to be savored on the floor and provide a stack of paper and crayons or markers. Ask each parent and child to pick something from the floor to savor and to write down as many words as they can that describe what they are savoring. Set a timer for 5 minutes (maybe 1-2 min. with younger ones). When the timer rings, switch to a new item to savor (and to EAT!) At the end, hold up one of the objects (their favorite treat) and give each parent and child the opportunity to read their description for that item.

For more activities and articles that foster Emotional Awareness  - the ability to identify and express feeling and to have empathy for what others are feeling  - in our kids, click on over to the site!

Happy Trick-or-Treating!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WfulW - Halloween past: Little Twinkle Toes

Abby's very first Halloween (2004)

I couldn't resist this baby ballerina costume.

Abby was fascinated by the shoes...

Never mind that ballerina Minnie Mouse...

It was definitely all about the shoes...
   Nowadays, she likes wearing the shoes,
but it's definitely all about the costume.
(recital '08)
She's still undecided about what to wear this year.
We are going "green" this Halloween and picking a costume
or princess dress she already has in her closet.
And still, hanging right next to them is
her very first ballerina costume,
along with her pink ballet shoes.
Size 6-12 months.

*To see Noah & Abby as Pooh Bear & Nemo ('06),
a firefighter & a fairy princess ('07), 
and Thomas & Barbie Princess Liana ('08),
click my smilebox!

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For more of Halloween past, click here!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The one where I vent...

Yesterday afternoon I texted my husband at work -  
I need to run a couple errands when you get home.
Meaning no kids. Just a half an hour to myself to go pick up a few things. A very rare occurrence around here.

Did it happen?


Pat got home a little late, dinner, baths, Noah freaked at the thought of me leaving, enough said.

Today, I attempted to run the same errands, only I had Noah with me, and it was raining. We made one stop and then before I could make it to the second one, he fell asleep in the car. He gave up naps eons ago, but I guess the clouds and drizzle lulled him to sleep. So, I turned around and drove all the way back home.

This afternoon, we picked up Abby from school. Since we were already out, I thought I'd attempt to run my last errand again and drop by this dance studio in the area that I'd sent my resume to. The owner sent me an email inviting me to stop by so she could meet me in person.  Being that they teach children's dance classes, I didn't think it would be a big deal to bring the kids with me since we'd only be there a few minutes. We pull into the parking lot only to hear Abby say, "Mom, I know I said I didn't have to go, but I didn't have the feeling. Now I DO have the feeling, Mom. I really, really, really have to go to the bathroom."

WHAT???? I had just asked her this less than ten minutes ago. And now I'm about to walk into this place and introduce myself for the very first time and I'm going to have to ask, "I'm sorry. Can my daughter use your bathroom?" Never mind the fact that Noah has begun to yammer away at the top of his lungs repeating,
 "I want to go home! I want to go home!" 
So instead of going inside and potentially making a spectacle of myself and squashing any chance that I have of future employment, I pulled out of the parking lot and drove home...again. 

When Pat gets home tonight, I am greeting him at the door with my keys in hand so I can take that thirty minutes an hour to finish my errands. And I may just have to stop by Bruster's on the way. The pumpkin ice cream is calling my name.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A little behind the times...

So I just discovered the "Follower" gadget today. (I added it over yonder on my sidebar if anyone should feel so inclined to add me to your list. I will be sure to return the favor!) And a couple days before that, I figured out that I was using the "old" blogger editor instead of the "updated" editor with all the bells and whistles - centering,  colors, fonts, and  strikethrough! I've always wondered how to do that.  I've been doing this blogging thing for a year and a half, you'd think I would have figured all this stuff out already.  Slowly but surely...kinda like when I send someone a text message. (sigh) Have I ever mentioned that I am the slowest "texter" in the entire world?


So if you've wondered why you've never seen me pop up under your "followers", please know it isn't because you haven't won me over, but rather because I've been a little technologically impaired.

Now if only I could figure out how to add my own personalized signature...

Yet another blogging mystery to be solved.

*FYI - To change your editor, if you haven't already, go to your dashboard, click Settings, then Basic, scroll down a bit and you'll see the post editor options. Easy peasy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A perfectly LOVELY award x 2 !!!

Two LOVELY awards for me? Wow!  I'd like to thank...


 for thinking of little ol' me. :)

As with all blog awards, it's all about sharing the love! Both of these lovely awards ask that the recipient link 15 lovely blogs that you have newly discovered. Lucky for me, I have quite a few to list since I've been on the computer waaay too much lately finding new writing blogs, preschool blogs, Fishful Thinking mama blogs, saucy SITS blogs... Still to link 30 blogs is a bit of an undertaking, so if you are on this list or newly listed on my sidebar, please consider yourselves TWICE as lovely!

Cake Crumbs (back at ya, Heidi!)

Phew! That's a lot of linkage! (if that's even a word.) A few of these are so "newly discovered", they probably don't even know that I exist yet. :) There are even more that I've visited over the last couple of weeks so if I missed you, please know that I think your blog is lovely too!

I hope this award brought a smile, and don't stress if you don't have a chance to pass it on. I've just come across so many new blogs lately that I had to share.

I really need to set up a Google Reader, don't I?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

PSF - Fishful Thinking style

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Kelli

To play PhotoStory Friday, check this. Copy this code into your post and sign Sir Linky:

I'm so excited to be co-hosting PSF this week with Cecily. She's a total rockstar with the camera and the Fishful Thinking mama who introduced me to this awesome campaign that helps inspire OPTIMISM in our kids. Since I knew I'd be co-hosting this week, I thought it would be a perfect time for our family to do the Favorite Photo activity found on the Fishful Thinking site.

In a nutshell: Find a photograph that captures a happy experience and describe it.

Here are our picks!

Abby's favorite:

I like that it's my first day of school and Noah is in the picture too. I was super excited!

Mommy's favorite:
Summertime and going down the BIG slide with Abby = BIG SMILES!

Noah's favorite:
I leally, leally, leally, like it! I fishing wid Papa and holding a fish!

Daddy's favorite:
Me and my boy playing golf 'cause that's what we love to do.

So click the fish, check out the site, and dive on in!

*Join me for Fishful Thinking Thursdays and share your thoughts and ideas to help our kids dream BIG, overcome obstacles, and look on the bright side of life!

Fishful Thinking Thursday - Recap!

Wow! It's been SIX weeks since I started posting Fishful Thinking Thursday, so in hopes of inspiring a few more Fishful Thinking mamas to join in (I know you are out there!), it's time for a recap!

Here's where the idea for Fishful Thinking Thursday began: DREAM BIG, but start small... and if you haven't seen this cute video yet, click the arrow! It's what Fishful Thinking is all about!

And just in case you missed any of the Fishful Thinking posts so far, here ya go!

Week one: Go on a Happiness Scavenger Hunt!

Week two: I'm a FAN! (Connect with other Fishful Thinking moms on facebook.)

Week three: Abby's Fun Run (How to make your own online photo storybook!)

Week four: Sardines anyone? (Just one of TONS of games under the Keeping Kids Active link.)A favorite Sardines hiding spot! (These boxes aren't normally up against the back of the couch, but Daddy had broken them down so we could make a Halloween decoration.) Noah also thought it was hilarious when he found Abby and me hiding behind the shower curtain.

Week five: How to Be a Happier Mom (Just one of many great articles on the Fishful Thinking site. In addition to the 8 suggestions in the article, a few moms left helpful comments with tips on how we can boost our mommy moods when we are having "one of those days".)

And that brings us back here to week six! This week I'm really excited to be co-hosting a Fishful Thinking themed Photo Story Friday with Cecily of My Chaos My Bliss inspired by this Favorite Photo Optimism activity. (Not only is she a crazy talented photographer, she's a Fishful Thinking mama, parent ambassador, and FT faculty member. In fact, she's the one who recruited me!) We'd love for you to join in!

***As always, I'd love to hear your "Fishful" thoughts and ideas. And even better, if you wrote a post this week about a Fishful Thinking moment or activity, please leave the link in your comment so others can hop over and read all about it. Thanks for sharing!

Now that's one "Scary Mommy"!

I'm jumping on the Scary Mommy bandwagon! What better way to coax moms to expose their parenting blunders than to offer a chance to win a Flip video camera and be featured on the Motherhood blog! I could probably just post a picture of what I look like right at this moment, and I'd have this thing IN THE BAG. Glasses on, unwashed hair pulled back, wearing gray yoga pants and a rumpled shirt I grabbed off of the closet floor as I rushed to get dressed so I could get Abby to school on time. I don't think I even remembered to brush my teeth.

Now that's scary.

Given the fact that my son will be in here any minute climbing all over me in his attempt to get me to let him "play on the computer", I'm quickly posting one of my scary mommy snippets from days gone by. (Believe me, there's more where this came from!)

So let's revisit, shall we?

6/20/08 - This has been one crazy week! Sleep deprivation, fighting kiddos, my inability to get Noah to stay in the shopping cart or off of the kitchen counters, Abby's meltdown at church in the middle of my Primary lesson (and then Noah's that soon followed...that boy will not stay in nursery!), the sound of crashing books as Noah cleared off TWO full shelves at the library spilling over onto the feet of innocent bystanders, etc, etc, etc....all leading up to what I call my "Mommie Dearest" moment. (No wire hangers, mind you...yikes!)

Seriously, Joan Crawford's face popped into my head after yelling at my four-year-old daughter, tossing her into her room, and slamming the door – a knee jerk reaction for her putting thick, gooey A & D ointment in her two-year-old brother’s freshly washed hair JUST as we were ready to walk out the door. ahhhh! (I hadn't slept much the night before that didn't help the situation.)

A guilt-ridden apology from me, a big hug, and an "I love you" followed minutes later. And I tried my best to get the ointment out of my son's hair without having to put him in the tub, but he pretty much looked like Danny Zuko for the rest of the afternoon.

Really, Flip or no Flip, sharing our less than stellar moments gives us moms the encouragement we so desperately need sometimes. It's comforting to know that there are other gals out there riding this rockin' roller coaster along with me, experiencing the ups and downs, twists and turns, but most of all, the THRILL of the ride that makes us want to do it all over again!

*A BIG FAVOR - If this post made you laugh, please be so kind as to vouch for my "Scary Mommy" status today over at Scary Mommy's place! Thanks!!!*

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WordFUL Wednesday - Motherhood Moments

(This week's prompt is inspired by the new movie Motherhood coming out this Friday. I can't wait to see it!)

As a mom, I have learned to expect the unexpected. For instance, I never expected...

to find both kids covered in magic marker, courtesy of three-year-old Abby (summer '07),

or to remove a slimy slug from my screaming daughter's hair just minutes after this picture was taken (fall '08),

or that my cereal bowls wouldn't be large enough to accommodate Noah's appetite - Rice Krispies anyone?

or to see Noah attempting to take his big sister for a stroll,

or to find Abby adding her special touch (aka Pet Shop figures) to the chocolate cake I just finished frosting...but it was her birthday,

or to hear giggles coming from the bathroom only to find my son in his birthday suit splashing around in the sink.

I've probably got a hundred more pictures just like these. :)

I never expected motherhood to be SO full of crazy unpredictable moments - never knowing quite what the day will bring or if I'll ever get a full night's sleep again. Still being a mom is the best thing I've ever done, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. So bring it on, kiddos! My camera is ready!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I went! I saw! I conquered!

My fear, that is.

As soon as I arrived at the conference on Saturday morning, I met a couple other newbies, both elementary teachers, who were feeling as tiny as I was. There really is strength in numbers. It was the keynote speaker though, Diane Z. Shore, who pumped everyone up and set our minds at ease with her hilarious depiction of her "bumpy road" to publication (385 rejection letters before her first contract!) and how not to make as many "wrong turns" as she did. Just by attending the conference, she assured us that we were already headed in the right direction. She even introduced a brand new product that is sure to be a great resource to every writer - "The Editor Voo-Doo Doll". Not sure how the guest editors felt about that one, but everyone else in the auditorium was rolling!

A few notes that I jotted down from her address:
"Write what you know."
"Compare yourself/your writing to YOURSELF 3 months ago, 6 months ago, etc..."
"Focus on your writing, not on publishing."
And this inspiring quote by Thomas Edison - "Many of life's failures are those people who didn't realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

I would think that quote could also apply to those who don't even dare to try. I've never really thought of myself as a daring person, but I guess, maybe I am. Slowly but surely I've been learning about this writing biz, daring to think that maybe I can be a writer. Something that I've always wanted to be since I was a kid - one who got lost in books and wrote stories every chance she got. Stories that I thought were LONG GONE until my mom unearthed them from a box she found while cleaning out her garage last year.

She even organized them into a cute little binder and made a cover page for me.

Sweet, huh?

I illustrated a lot of them too. (I only wish that my artistic abilities had progressed beyond a fifth grade level!) As a fourth and fifth grader, I used to go to the first grade classes and read my stories to the kids during circle time. It's no wonder that reading picture books to my students was my favorite part of teaching.

Needless to say, I have been sitting on this for awhile. Have I mentioned that both my dad and my brother are crazy talented artists? My brother and I have been talking about picture book ideas forever. I've got to get my rear in gear. Seriously.

And speaking of my little bro, he and my sweet sister-in-law had their second baby on Saturday afternoon. A beautiful little girl! He called me as I was driving down to the conference early Saturday morning to tell me they were at the hospital. So, of course, I was checking my phone in between workshops waiting for the news. Definitely added some extra excitement to the day! Being at the workshop was also a good distraction from the fact that I am ten and a half hours away and couldn't be there with the rest of my family to meet my new niece. It's really hard being away sometimes.

And speaking of being away - I was only at this conference for one day, but I am still catching up on housework. Ugh! The vacuum is calling my name.

Ever heard the phrase, "Clean less, create more"?

I think that should be my new motto.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My nerves are getting the best of me...

Bungee jumping is one of those things that I will never do. Someone could offer me a million bucks and I still wouldn't do it. (Two million, maybe.) Still, right now I am so jittery that you'd think the offer was on the table.

It's not...BUT attending the regional SCBWI conference is.

It's tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning.

I am driving down to Birmingham tomorrow morning to attend my very first writer's conference. Usually, people sign up for these events months in advance. Me? I just got my confirmation yesterday. I came across the information about a week ago, emailed the regional advisor to see if they would still accept my registration, and got a very friendly "We are so happy you can make it" go ahead.

Do I have anything prepared?


Did I sign up for a critique session?


Do I know what I am going to wear?

Yes. (I only have two outfits that would be acceptable, and I don't like the shoes that go with one of 'em so that was easy to decide.)

Do I really have any business going to this thing?

Surprisingly, yes. There are workshops galore for all levels of children's writers and illustrators. So there will hopefully be other newbies like me there, wide-eyed and overwhelmed. It should be a great opportunity to learn, learn, learn, and make some connections with both published and aspiring writers. And hopefully, I'll meet some local SCBWI members from my area and maybe, just maybe, be able to join a monthly writing critique group. That would be awesome.

Still, I am nervous. Excited, but nervous.

I've been googling "conference etiquette" today and came across this very useful post. After reading about her experience, I've come up with a game plan - listen, learn, introduce myself to people, and definitely do not corner an editor or agent in the bathroom. :)

Wish me luck!

PSF - It's so hard to say goodbye...

The butterfly garden at our nearby botanical gardens is officially CLOSED from now until spring. Total bummer. Since moving here this past June, the kids and I went to the gardens almost every week and always paid the butterflies a lengthy visit.
Even on those days when I was missing my family so much that it hurt, seeing those vibrant butterflies flitting around and the smiles on my kiddos' faces, especially if one landed on them, somehow made me feel at home.

Now that fall is in full swing, the Scarecrow Trail has become the garden's main attraction, but somehow...'s just not quite the same.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Carissa

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fishful Thinking Thursday - How to Be a Happier Mom

I love being a mom. There is truly no greater blessing in my life than my kids. Nothing in this world makes me smile or laugh the way that they do...

BUT there are days.

Days when I feel like a zombie because I've barely slept the night before. Days when if I have to scrub out one more stain or pick up one more toy, I think I'm going to scream! Days when I go to the grocery store and my fellow shoppers look at me like I'm crazy as I'm trying to wrestle my son back into the shopping cart. Days when I give the kids cereal for dinner because I can't even muster the strength to stand over a hot stove and cook a meal that the kids will barely eat anyway.

I don't know a mom who doesn't have those days.

It's no wonder that this article caught my eye as I was surfing the Fishful Thinking site - How to be a Happier Mom by Robert Barnett (from Parenting magazine—January 2007) It's definitely worth the read 'cause as the saying goes "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." :)

Barnett lists 8 ways to focus on the positive and improve your mommy mood including getting enough sleep!
Most of us know that money can't buy happiness, but who knew that a good night's sleep just might? That's a key finding of that University of Michigan study. "Making sixty thousand more in annual income has less of an effect on your daily happiness than getting one extra hour of sleep a night," says study author Norbert Schwarz, Ph.D., a professor of psychology.

You've got to be kidding me...

I am going to bed early tonight!

*Your turn - What do you do to boost your mommy mood? Go for a morning run? Make cookies with your kids? Pull out your stash of chocolate? Do tell!

***What is Fishful Thinking Thursday? Click here!***

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

WW - It's about that time...

Painted pumpkins, pointy hats, a bubbling cauldron
complete with tissue paper flames,
and even a sprouting box garden...

If only this perfectly landscaped, festive fall scene
was displayed in my front yard instead of along
the nature trail at the botanical gardens.

I haven't even bought a pumpkin yet.

Click HERE and that button there to join in the WW fun!

Monday, October 12, 2009

If she only knew...

Almost every night at bedtime, Abby asks me to sing her "The Cottage Song", as she calls it, due to her favorite line in the song being - "You and I will settle down in a cottage built for twoooo..."

Sound familiar?

In fear of dating myself a bit here, the actual song is none other than "My Little Buttercup" from the classic 80's comedy The Three Amigos starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short.

Hilarious. One of those movies that you can watch 25 times and still laugh out loud...and pretty much quote every line word for word.

I used to sing "My Little Buttercup" to Abby when she was still curled up in my belly but changed the wording to "My little Abigail"...and it just stuck. I'm pretty sure she thinks I made up the song especially for her. The lyrics do fit her perfectly - "My little Abigail has the sweetest smile..."

If she only knew... :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

PSF - A Perfectly Good Reason

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Angie

(Noah and I had just picked up Abby from school and had stopped by Sonic for a snack.)

Noah: I have a "sue-prize" for you, Abby. (Hands her a picture he had drawn for her that day.)

Abby: (eyes light up) Thanks, Noah!

Abby: (to me)...For lots of days, Noah is being nice to me and giving me surprises!

Me: I know! :)

Noah: (chimes right in) I give you "sue-prizes" because you are "boo-ti-ful".

Abby: (BIG smile!)

Amidst the little squabbles,
and occasional full body tackles,
it's moments like these that remind me how much
they really do love each other.

It's moments like these that turn their mama into mush.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fishful Thinking Thursday - Sardines anyone?

My kids love to play hide and seek. I always know when Noah has found a good spot because I can hear him giggling two rooms away. Abby's gotten to be a little more discrete now that she's older. She doesn't start to giggle until she knows you are in the room, but she still seems to think that I can't see the shape of her little body all curled up underneath the comforter on my bed.
So when I looked at the Fishful Thinking site today for a Keeping Kids Active idea to do with the kids, this twist on the game of Hide and Seek caught my eye - SARDINES!

I had forgotten all about this game! I remember playing it as a kid and feeling a little claustrophobic as a bunch of us tried to squeeze into my cousin's pantry...but it was always a lot of fun. We played the flashlight version too almost every night one summer when we got a little older. Good times, I tell ya.

There's a slew of Fishful Thinking game ideas and activities to choose from if you are looking for something fun to do with your kiddos this weekend.

I'll follow up next week on how our game of Sardines plays out. The kids loved playing Flashlight Tag a couple weeks ago so I think they'll get a kick out of this too. :)

What games did you love to play when you were a kid? Any favorites your family plays together? Thanks for sharing!