Sunday, February 28, 2010

Parachute Tents, Hungry Hippos, & a Webcast

Saturday morning, before the hustle and bustle of the day began, I coaxed the kids away from cartoons (and their daddy away from his laptop) to do this simple activity -

We came up with ideas of things we like to do together, wrote them on slips of paper, and put them in our Family "Gift of Time" bag. Making a tent in the living room is one of Noah's favorite pastimes so he wanted to do that one right away.

Playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos was also picked from the bag.

I'll be conferenced in to talk more about this activity during the Fishful Thinking Parenting Workshop featuring Dr. Karen Reivich in NYC on Tues. March 2nd from 12-2pm EST while watching via (Search for Fishful Thinking on ustream to watch it with me!)

Dr. Reivich is such an awesome presenter and Fishful Thinking is such an awesome resource so I'm pretty stoked to be a part of this workshop any way I can be - even via telephone.

If I still lived in Virginia, I'd totally be getting on a train that morning to be there in person.

*RSVP for the webcast on the Fishful Thinking facebook page or just tune in on Tuesday for some great info and ideas on parenting positive kids.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Check it out party people! Friday Follow's the place to be!

Friday Follow
Click the button to link up over at Midday Escapades!

I've had this Beastie Boys song in my head all week long.

Why? I do not know.

I can't even remember any of the words except for that one line (which is probably a good thing).

It's kinda driving me crazy, but still couldn't resist using it to spread the word about Friday Follow - a great way to follow some new blogs and get a few new followers in return.

Gotta love this whole blog-hopping party!

While you're at it, hop on over to - a resource for parenting positive kids created by Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. Awesome activity ideas, videos, articles - click the arrow to see a quick 30 second video of what it's all about - you'll love it!

To see the optimism-inspiring activities in action, come on back for Fishful Thinking Thursdays! Maybe you'll even be inspired to try some of the activities with your kiddos, write a post about it, and link up!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fishful Thinking Thursday (& PSF) - Finding Meaning...

One of our family goals for this year is to make a better effort to serve in our community, and even get Abby and Noah in on the act. It's my hope that we can make at least a small difference in the life of someone else and that we can create some neat family experiences.

It's no wonder that this Fishful Thinking activity caught my eye as I was browsing around the site:

Finding Meaning
Ingredients: Optimism, Empowerment

The first, and most important, step in enhancing your family's sense of meaning is to think about experiences in the past that have felt meaningful. You can do this by sitting down and making an "It Felt Meaningful When" list. Ask each person in the family to share times when they felt that they were engaged in something meaningful and talk about what made it feel that way.

Here's what we came up with this afternoon (in the words of my kiddos) :

It felt meaningful "and nice" when...
  • We made a blanket for kids at the hospital that need help.(Pat found a website for Project Linus and met the kids and me to deliver our no-sew fleece blanket to the local chapter yesterday. We talked about how a giving a new warm blanket to a child who is sick is like giving a great big hug and would help him/her to feel a little bit better. The Young Women at church made a couple of them too so we delivered those as well.)
  • We donated t-shirts and tennis shoes for the kids in Haiti (through a drive at Abby's school).
  • Abby: I did Jump Rope for Heart for kids with disease when their hearts don't work right.
(Abby drew this picture to give to her PE teacher. She has been so excited to raise money for this event and practiced almost every day to get better at jump roping. Anytime she found a coin lying around the house somewhere, it went straight into her Jump Rope for Heart envelope.)

I hope that these meaningful experiences will help teach my kids to have greater empathy for others, and, as a family, we will grow stronger and become better because of these opportunities. When you think about it, there are so many ways to make a positive difference in the world around us. We just have to make the effort to take advantage of them.

Done any Fishful Thinking this week? Link up!

And for more Photo Story Friday - click over to Cecily's place!
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Amy

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WfulW - Love notes of the Kindergarten kind

Imagine my surprise when I found these in Abby's backpack - "Love poems" as she calls them...

I'm not so worried about Jack. He's the only boy in the class who, like her, has "stayed on green" all year (very important to Abby) and doesn't seem to be into all this LOVE stuff. Abby said he just smiled when she showed the poem to him.

Raye has been Abby's best buddy from the first day of school. Her teacher has told me that they are pretty much inseparable. I didn't think too much of it since my very best friend throughout elementary school was a boy. We were "like peas and carrots", but he never brought me (and only me) a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day.

Then there's Xander. His recent seat change seems to have sparked an interest since he is now sitting at the next table over. He draws her pictures full of hearts and smiley faces and treasure maps on a daily basis. At the Valentine's party, his mom confided in me that Xander constantly talks about Abby and plans to marry her someday.

Information I won't be sharing with Abby anytime soon.

Abby also told me that when her class went to get their picture taken last week that some of the boys were fighting over who was going to get to stand by her. She said the photographer was laughing and told her that it looked like she had a fan club.

Information I won't be sharing with her daddy anytime soon.

He's still freaked out about the box of chocolates.

*For more WordFUL Wednesdays, head over to Seven Clown Circus!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nice while they lasted...

My vibrant, cheerful, glimpse-of-springtime Valentine tulips lasted for almost a week. Since they are potted, I had hoped the blooms would last a little longer, but they have already withered away (sniffle, sniffle).

At least I have a picture to remember them by.

I was thinking of trying to plant them in hopes that they might someday return to their former beauty, but I have never planted tulip bulbs before. Any advice from those with a greener thumb than mine would be GREATLY appreciated.

I'm just glad they were only $5.99. The withering away is even worse when you know the flowers cost an arm and an leg. Why roses cost so much money, I do not understand.

Give me tulips over roses anytime. ( A little hint for my husband if he happens to read this.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Follow - Blog Hop Extravaganza!

I'm joining in again this week!

Couldn't help myself after finding so many new blogs to follow last Friday and getting some new followers in return. Gotta love that! You gals rock!

I look forward to "meeting" more of you and hope you'll stop back by for Fishful Thinking Thursdays...and maybe even link up!

*What in the world is Fishful Thinking Thursday? Click here! Yesterday, I posted about our family's AWE Wall - click to see a pic and read all about it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fishful Thinking Thursday (& PSF) - The BIG reveal!!!

Here it is - the unveiling of our family's very own "AWE Wall"...

Help your family notice and appreciate the awe-some things in the world by creating an Awe Wall. All you need to do is find a wall in your house - in the kitchen or play room, for example, that you will dedicate to awe. Read more about this activity over on Cafe Mom's Parenting Positive Kids group page presented by Fishful Thinking.

We started our AWE Wall back in November after I watched Dr. Reivich's awesome Optimism workshop on the Fishful Thinking website. I wanted it to be at eye level for the kids, so this spot is actually underneath the breakfast bar in our kitchen, which can also be seen from the living room. (We don't have any barstools - I can just see Noah jumping off of one of those things - so there is plenty of space.)

Adding to the wall has become a routine for us - pictures the kids have drawn (rainbows, butterflies, animals), favorite quotes, special handouts/pics from church, the ribbon Abby won for her school's Reflections contest, etc... The kids love it! We change things around a bit depending on the season (like recently replacing our paper snowflakes with valentine hearts), but our Grateful Sayings poster has remained a permanent fixture. A collage photo frame full of ocean pics from a family beach trip is also hanging on the wall right next to it.

Just the thought of soaking up the sun at the beach (in the middle of winter - bleh!) is pretty AWE-some to me!

*To join the FT Parenting Positive Kids group on Cafe Mom - click here!
Like our new family pic? Click here to read more & create your own Goldfish family!

Done any Fishful Thinking this week? Link up!

*Our AWE Wall is also linked up to "Give Me Your Best Photo Story Friday" - hosted this week by two awesome moms, crazy-talented photographers, and Fishful Thinking faculty member extraordinaires.
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WW - My kids HEART pizza!

*I wish I could take credit for this special Valentine's culinary creation, but I must give Papa Murphy's all of the glory. Gotta love those "take and bake" pizzas!

For more Wordless and/or WordFUL Wednesday pics, visit 5 minutes for Mom or Seven Clown Circus!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our new family photo courtesy of Cafe Mom...

I've been wanting to get a new family picture taken for awhile now, but we haven't gotten around to it yet. In the meantime, the kiddos and I had some fun creating this one over on Cafe Mom.

Noah insisted that Daddy wear the leprechaun hat. (I'd pay good money to see that live and in person.)

You can create a Goldfish Family too and even join Fishful Thinking's Parenting Positive Kids group. Just click on over to Cafe Mom, create an account (if you don't have one already), and join in the discussion on the message board. I'm "writingthewaves". Hope to see ya there!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Does Ellen ever feature bad engagement photos?

Let's start with the pose, shall we?

Then there's the overalls, the rolled up jeans, the SOCKS with sandals, and the fact that Pat doesn't look all too thrilled to be having his picture taken. (I called it his "GQ look".)

Truth be told, he was somewhat annoyed with the photographer for taking about 50 pictures of us in front of a giant wagon wheel and a farmhouse backdrop after specifically telling the guy that wasn't really our thing.

The guy finally put us with this white backdrop, snapped a few more shots, and called it good. Out of the ten pictures without the wagon wheel, this was the best one of the bunch.

I guess that's what you get when you use a photo studio at the mall.

And given the fact that it was 1996, I didn't even notice the "fashion faux pas". Overalls were "in" and pretty much everyone in St. George, UT wore socks with sandals and cuffed their jeans - well, at least the mountain biker/skater guys did. I was lucky that Pat didn't wear a Haro t-shirt and shorts. (He managed a bike shop.) But, even if he had, I doubt I would have cared a bit. I found the whole skater-haircut-bike-mechanic-grease- under- the- fingernails thing pretty awesome.

Still, looking back, I can understand why my mom was slightly mortified that THIS was the announcement we were sending out to all of our family and friends.

As a compromise, we did end up having some re-takes done in a traditional pose for the engagement announcement in the newspaper. Pat even wore a tie.

It was fourteen years ago today that he asked me to marry him. The skater cut may be long gone, but I have to say, I find the whole goatee-golf-shirt-hard-working-great-dad thing pretty awesome too.

*I planned a post-Valentine's/engagement anniversary date for tonight (we haven't been on a date in over 6 MONTHS) to go eat at a Mexican place - just like we did the night we got engaged. Am I cheesy or what?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Doesn't get much cuter than this...

There's something so endearing about homemade valentines.

Abby made a few other heart butterflies too,
but really took her time on this one for her little cousins.
She said, "This one is extra special because
I'm making it for my family."

Noah had fun making this goldfish Valentine's bag
at our party on Friday. He got a kick out of the googly eyes
and added "heart bubbles" galore!

Such cute little valentines -
almost as cute as the kiddos who made them.

Happy Hearts Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Go Team USA!!!

During the last Winter Olympics, Abby was just a year and a half old, and Noah was a just a hope yet to come. How things change in four years time. They are both "super excited" about the Olympics this year. The snowboarding, the skiing, the ice skating - very cool stuff!

As the athletes were speed skating tonight, the kids were running around the living room racing each other! Like I said, they are pretty into it. :)

A little later, Abby insisted that we pause the TV if someone from the USA was racing while she was taking her bath. She didn't want to miss a thing.

Even during the last Summer Olympics, Abby couldn't get enough of watching the gymnasts. She kept saying that she wanted to "learn to flip like those girls on TV" and attempted somersaults in the living room over and over again.

I think she may have a slight competitive edge.

DVR will definitely come in handy over the next couple of weeks.

Friday, February 12, 2010

First "Friday Follow"!

Friday Follow

What a fun idea!

I'm putting on my party hat and linking up!

Click the pic to join in over at Midday Escapades and follow some new blogs & get new followers in return.

531 links (so far)...

Now that's what I call a party!

*Feel free to browse around or check out my latest post here!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fishful Thinking Thurs (& PSF) - 93 years young...

Today is my grandma's 93rd birthday. Ninety-three going on fifty-five. Seriously. She still gets out on her riding lawn mower and cuts the grass.

I love to call her when the American Idol auditions are on because I know she is sitting in front of her TV laughing. "Pants on the Ground" is her new favorite song. :)

And every single morning, for as long as I can remember, she's been going to McDonald's for breakfast.

I have so many memories of spending the night with her and my grandpa and then going to Mickey D's for an sausage biscuit at the crack of dawn.

Nowadays, she orders a breakfast burrito.

My kids love going to "Old McDonald's" (as they call it) with my grandma when we visit her. It's the only time we ever manage to leave the house before 7am...

and it's the only time that I snap pictures while eating at "The Golden Arches."

It's also the only time when practically every person in the restaurant stops by our booth to comment on how cute "those great grandbabies" are and to tell me what a special lady my grandma is.

She truly is.

Happy Birthday to the coolest grandma ever.

We love you!

* Fishful Thinking activity idea - Valentine's Day (or a birthday) is about showing the people in our lives that we care for them. Find a photo of your family that captures a happy experience and share it before the holiday.

Still need to make Valentines? Check this one out! Too cute!

Done any Fishful Thinking this week? Link up! Have a favorite photo to share? Link up here and over at Cecily's place for Photo Story Friday!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Mamarazzi

Monday, February 8, 2010

She can READ!!!

Abby read this book to us at bedtime tonight - 97% by herself.

Not even kidding.

"Mom, I'm getting good at reading Dr. Seuss books," she said,

eyes wide and grinning from ear to ear.

I was grinning too.

It's amazing how, all of a sudden, everything starts to click.

The letters, the sounds, the sight words.

It's amazing how fast my baby girl is growing up.

How much she is learning and how much she loves it.

Absolutely amazing.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sing it with me - Nah-nah-nah-nah!


Hey, hey, hey GOOD-BYE!!!!!!!!

Superbowl Sunday has come and gone - meaning that football season is officially over!!!

I'm doing a victory dance over here, people.

Seven months of football freedom (if you don't count the pre-season games) - oooooh yeah!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fishful Thinking Thursday (& PSF) - The Joy of Cooking

You may remember my New Year's Eve Fishful Thinking Thursday post about what Dr. Reivich calls "Goldilocks Goals" - not too easy, not too hard, but just right.

One of my goals for 2010 is to try two new recipes a month in an effort to find "the joy of cooking" Slaving over a hot stove is just not my thing, but after watching Julie and Julia (great movie. The book? Not so much), I've been inspired to adjust my attitude and make an effort to enjoy the process a little more.

For the month of January, I am proud to report that I made FOUR new recipes - taquitos de papas (potato filled taquitos), breaded parmesan tilapia, oatmeal peanut butter balls, and white chocolate chip blondies!

I guess the sweets shouldn't really count since I'm technically supposed to be trying new dinner recipes, but desserts make me happy, what can I say? The kids love to help me make treats so it's also something fun that we can do together, especially since we've been cooped up in the house so much lately...

and I just love seeing Abby put on her little apron and baker's hat.

*Made any progress on your goals for 2010? Have any recipes to share? I would be forever grateful, especially if it's easy.

*Just in case you missed the Fishful Thinking/Mom it Forward #GNO, click on over to my twitter page - @writingthewaves or even Dr. Reivich's page - @karenreivich, and check out the tweets. Lots of great ideas, tips, insights, and links! It was a blast!

Posted about Fishful Thinking this week? Link up!

Got photos too? Link up here!
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Robyn

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WordFUL Weds - Buried alive...

Poor Noah.

This playful incident last winter was slightly traumatizing.

Still, I can't help but laugh every time I watch it.

Noah sure loves his Aunt Mindy.

Luckily, Uncle Marc was able to redeem himself within seconds...

Sure wish we could be in VA playing in the snow right now.

We miss you guys!

Play along & link up to WordFUL Weds. here:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A #GNO, a Guest Post, and a GIVEAWAY!!!

TONIGHT is the night!

Mom It Forward and Fishful Thinking are hosting a Positive Parenting #GNO on Twitter!

(I know it's the LOST season premiere too. How I love DVR! Mine is already set and ready to go.)

They are also giving away a Fishful Thinking prize pack with a Canon digital camera!!!

How cool is that?

No twitter account? Never participated in a #GNO before? I didn't/hadn't either until a couple weeks ago, and if I can do it, you can do it. BELIEVE ME. Just go to Mom It Forward for all the details and to read my guest post about Mastery Moments, missing socks, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There are some cute pictures of my kiddos too. :)

I'm so excited to be one of the panelists (@writingthewaves) for tonight's event and to discuss all the great parenting ideas and tips that Fishful Thinking has to offer.

Dr. Karen Reivich will be there typing away, live and in person, to share information and answer questions too. This gal knows her stuff...(click the arrow to see what I mean.)

Fishful Thinking and other moms want to hear your thoughts and ideas too so if you haven't yet RSVPed, click on over and check it out!