Monday, February 28, 2011

Such a Gentleman...

When I asked the kids to go to the bathroom before leaving the house (as I always do - usually multiple times), Noah yelled to Abby, "LADIES FIRST!!!"

How chivalrous! (and clever, I must say. That boy knows how to stall.)

Despite his crazy antics and obsession with potty humor (thanks to Daddy), he sure knows the way to his momma's heart.

As I was tucking him into bed tonight, he gave me snuggles and Eskimo kisses. When I gave him a few butterfly kisses in return, he belly-laughed and nuzzled his face closer, cheek to cheek.

Definitely a charmer, that boy of mine.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Happy List! :o)

My bloggy Fishful Thinking pal, Mamarazzi, hosts this HAPPY little weekly link-up so I thought I'd join in today, especially after seeing these babies while in the check out line at the grocery store-
Mini-Reese's Peanut Butter Cups make me HAPPY. They are the first thing I look for when the kids dump out all of their Halloween candy each year. I never buy them though since they are $4 a bag, and I would not have any self-control with that many Reese's Cups in the house. 

But a teeny tiny bag like this one?
It was the best 89 cents I've spent all week!

Also on my list this week:
  • Lots of SUNSHINE and wearing flip flops outside
  • Finding a reasonably priced dog trainer to help us with our crazy lab pup ($20/hour for a home visit!)
  • Chatting with my Fishful Thinking friends on our first faculty call since November. (I've missed those gals!)
  • Completing my very first sewing project with Abby - a ladybug purse - without a pattern! (so much easier than the dress)
  • Playing "Tickle Hide-n-Seek" (at Noah's request) this afternoon 
  • Being surprised with another package of Reese's Cups courtesy of my dear husband this evening - does he know me or what?
  • Snuggles, stories, and songs with the kiddos at bedtime...that always makes the list.

What made you smile this week? Link up over at Mamarazzi's place!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Confessional: Out of My Element

I Confess:

The last time I used a sewing machine was in the 7th grade.

A blue and white checkered pillow in Home Ec.

I learned how to sew on a button too - a piece of knowledge that has been completely swept from my memory.

That being said, you can imagine my complete and utter confusion as I attempted to pick out an EASY pattern and material with my 6 year old daughter who has been begging to learn how to sew. (Thank you, Barbie Fashion Fairytale.)

I consulted with friends who have skills in this area. I was assured that "you'll be fine," "If I can do it, you can do it," trying to encourage me to venture into this uncharted territory.

So I did...with the assistance of a friend who spent THREE hours (with unlimited kiddo interruptions) trying to teach me (and Abby) how to sew a supposedly SIMPLE jumper-style dress. (I tell ya, she has the patience of a saint. A big batch of chocolate chip cookies is coming her way.)

And voila! A yard and an 1/8 of cute ladybug fabric (that Abby picked out) turned into a DRESS!

Yes, the dress is two sizes too wide and about four inches too short, but if I can figure out how to take it in a little, add a long ruffle, and put in a zipper, Abby just might be able to wear it in public.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Not so TOP SECRET after all!!!

When I originally read the guidelines for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build, I remembered it saying no cameras, camera phones, or video could be taken. I guess I didn't read closely enough because when we entered the fenced off area (a neighbor's front yard) across the street from the house, there was a glorious sign that read:


Of course, I had left my camera in the car so I would not be tempted (or have my camera confiscated - I had no idea what to expect). But since it ended up that the no camera rule was only for the INSIDE of the house (yay!),  my dear husband was kind enough to run back a couple of blocks to the parking lot and grab my camera for me. 

It was amazing to see how much work had been done in the last 72 hours and to see all of those community volunteers building a beautiful new home for this special family. After reading about Patrick (just 9 years old with brittle bone disease), and how he goes to the local children's hospitals to tell jokes and cheer up the patients, I emailed the show's creative team with an idea. 

Knowing that so many children (including mine) would want to help Patrick with his cause to make hospitals a happy place through laughter, I suggested that perhaps a Smile Card Station could be set up in the spectator area of the build site where kids could fill cards with jokes, stickers, and colorful drawings. Then Patrick could take the cards with him when he goes to visit and give them to the patients. To my surprise, one of the team members called me on Tuesday night, said they wanted to do it, and asked if I could head it up! I didn't even have to think twice about that one.

Over 100 kids made Smile Cards including a child who was there with the Make A Wish foundation. His wish was to help with an Extreme Makeover build - such a big heart. (Click here to see the news clip about this sweet little boy and his family.) It was so cool to see the kids sorting through the jokes and picking out what they thought were the funniest. They really put a lot of love into the project.  We ended up with over 200 cards for Patrick to share!

Later that evening, my husband went back to help load some landscaping supplies and such while the kids and I stayed back at the hotel room. Before heading out the next day, we went back to the build site with posters in hand to check out the progress - 


 It's incredible how much can be accomplished when so many people work together. Those "blue shirts" laid sod in twenty minutes flat. It was crazy. Not to mention all of the donations that were made, food that was provided, and money that was collected for the family. A.MA.ZING.

It would have been neat to stay for the reveal, but I didn't think the kids would last through the four hour window on Saturday waiting for the limo to pull up.  We did watch a "twitcast" at home on the couch which was the next best thing. There were over 2200 people lining the street waiting to welcome the family home. You could just feel the excitement and anticipation. The kids and I were shouting MOVE THAT BUS from the living room! 

We can hardly wait to see the show when it airs at the end of April and see the close-up reactions of the family and the INSIDE of the house! I'm sure the family is enjoying every square foot of it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Today's the DAY!!!

Right at this moment, BIG hearts are at work building this deserving family a new home. We can't wait to put on our hard hats and join in later today! I just found out Tuesday night that I'll be helping out with a kid-friendly project. I'm really excited! 
Some things are "top secret" until the show airs. No cameras or camera phones allowed so I won't have any build pics to post, but maybe I'll be able to at least snap a picture of the kids in the spectator area holding up their "MOVE THAT BUS" posters! 
 To learn more about this special family and how YOU can contribute, click here!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WW: Kids Helping Kids - Valentines with HEART!

Armed with stickers, foam hearts, glitter glue, and crayons, about a dozen kiddos (ages 2-11) got to work making valentines during our little decorating party on Friday. Between all of us moms, there were tons of supplies to go around! (Thanks, ladies!) What impressed me most was how much time the kids spent decorating these valentines knowing they were for children at the hospital. They were definitely made with lots of heart!

Abby and I delivered them on Saturday afternoon and explained that these had been made especially for the patients during the decorating party. The nurses were so touched and actually asked if we would take some around to the patients who could have visitors.We weren't expecting to be able to personally deliver them so that was a nice surprise!

Abby was able to give a handful of Valentines to three different children. It was neat to see both their eyes and Abby's eyes light up as she delivered their Valentines. One mother of a little boy (about Noah's age) commented that he would be missing his Valentine's party on Monday and thanked us for the cards.

Before we left, a nurse asked if Abby would tape the rest of the Valentines to the windows in the game room for the kids to enjoy. It was a special experience.

I keep thinking about those families, especially after having to take Abby to doctor yesterday for a high fever and cough. She was so upset about having to be swabbed for strep and the flu - crying, covering her mouth... I can only imagine what these sick children have to endure and how hard it must be for their parents to watch it all. I am stressed just trying to figure out how to use this nebulizer machine for Abby and worrying if she'll have some kind of reaction to her prescription. Still, I am so thankful that my kids are generally healthy and that there is technology and medicines out there to help when they are under the weather.

My heart goes out to those families, and I hope and pray that their children will be back to their happy, rambunctious, playful selves very soon!

For more WordFUL Wednesdays, visit...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day Service Idea for Kids!

Looking for a fun Valentine's activity to do with your kids?

I just emailed a bunch of moms about this last night. If you want to do it too, feel free to copy and paste the email and save yourself a little time. :) 

Hi everyone!

This a bit of short notice, but we'd like to invite you guys over to make some Valentines with us this Friday between 3:30 and 5pm for the Children's Hospital. What better time than Valentine's Day to show some extra love for others?

If you have any extra card-making supplies - stickers, foam shapes, paper, fun scissors, crayons, etc...,please bring them with you!  I figure between all of us, we'll have plenty of supplies for the kids to make a couple of cards each. You can stay the whole time or just pop in for a little while - whatever works for you! 

I will deliver the cards to the Children's Hospital either on Saturday or Monday morning. Please email or call and let us know if you can make it! We hope to see you Friday!


I've already heard from two families who are coming. Hopefully, we'll get a few more to join in too.   This may just be the start of a new Valentine's tradition!

*For more ideas on how kids can CONTRIBUTE, check out Fishful Thinking's We Can Club activities! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WW - Girl Scout Cookies are in the HOUSE!!!

If only I could keep them ALL!!!

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, 
head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!
Feeling WordFUL
Link up at 7 Clown Circus too!

Mommy Blunder - #2,731

Just a ballpark guess - give or take a few hundred.

And to add to my ever-increasing number - I just realized this morning, that the kids have been playing Clue with the super sweet girl who watches them while I teach dance on Mondays.  First, I must say that this sitter is AWESOME. She brings activities, games, crafts, sidewalk chalk....I swear, like right out of The Babysitters Club.  The kids ADORE her, especially Noah. He think the sun rises and sets with her. She has taught them how to play all kinds of games including Chess... to my four and six year old. And they are GOOD. It's unreal.

But this morning, as Abby is telling me that she won Clue yesterday  - "Miss Scarlet with the knife in the kitchen." - I couldn't help but think that this whodunit murder mystery isn't quite age appropriate for them.  They have mentioned playing it a few times before, but I didn't think much of it. I played Clue as a kid. I loved that game.

Still, my protective "mom radar" should have caught this earlier. Luckily, Noah just thinks that the point of the game is to guess what cards are "in the bag" as he called it. But Abby knows. She's pretty sharp, that kid. I could tell by the look on her face that she knew what I was going to say before I even said it, "I know it's pretend, but I think we need to find a Clue Jr. game and save that one for when you guys are a little older."  (...or not. You always hear about violent video games, but I guess I'll be watching out for board games too.)

Now if only I can explain this to the sitter without her thinking that I am totally lame.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Photo Story Friday and The Balloon Guy

As soon as we walked into the Mexican restaurant, Noah spotted the balloon guy roaming around from table to table.  "Mommy, Mommy! Can we get a balloon?"

After the super fun-filled day at Disney's Hollywood Studios (more pics to come!), I was surprised that he would still be so excited about a balloon animal. But he was. All through our big family dinner with Grandie, Grandad, two aunts, two uncles, and two little cousins, he kept eyeing that balloon guy.

"Mommy, when he coming to our table? When? When?"

The balloon guy was apparently swamped. We could see him twisting up huge balloon horses, hats, swords, flowers...We even thought we spotted a Buzz Lightyear. No kidding. It seemed that every time he took a step in our direction, he was waved down by another table. Feeling sorry for Noah, I finally asked the waiter if he could please ask the balloon guy to come by our table next if possible.

He got flagged down again.

It was nearly 9:00 by this time. We were done with dinner, and the balloon guy was still tying and twisting on the other side of the restaurant. I knew the kids were tired. Pat was tired. I was tired. My brother, sister-in-law, and their exhausted kiddos had already left the restaurant.

Knowing how patient Noah (and Abby) had been and how much he wanted one of those balloons, I asked him, "Noah, are you tired? Do you still want to wait for the balloon guy?"

"YES!!!! I want him to come over here, Mom." Then I saw his eyes light up as the balloon guy looked over at us and gestured that we would be NEXT!!!

"He's coming! He's coming!" Noah was beside himself.

The balloon guy (probably no more than 20 years old) did not disappoint.  He apologized, thanked us for waiting, and then named off an INFINITE list of characters for Noah and Abby to choose from.  He smiled, joked, and laughed with the kids. This balloon guy really went the extra mile...

Iron Man


It was definitely worth the wait.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Did you know that GOLDFISH are GOOD LUCK?

In learning about Chinese New Year traditions with Abby and Noah today, I found this craft over on Family Fun  - Good-Luck Goldfish, a Chinese symbol of good fortune.

I had no idea...and everyone knows how much I LOVE Goldfish. (Click on over to read the latest newsletter from Fishful Thinking - Expressing Love. The kids and I will definitely be making a Love List for V-day!)

Here's our simplified version of these fortunate fishes along with the Chinese lanterns we made at storytime last week -

Everyone can always use a little good luck!

And speaking of fish -  the New York Times Best-Selling Mr. Fish is BACK in The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big, Big, Dark by Deborah Diesen. The story has the same rhythmic charm of the first book and is about overcoming fears with a little help from your friends.

How I love these books - such great messages about those five key ingredients of optimism, resilience, empowerment, emotional awareness, and hope! If you missed it, here's my interview with Deborah Diesen when I spotlighted her book on The Pout-Pout Fishful Thinking Thursday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WfulW - PJs, Pancakes, and Punxsutawny Phil

We've been doing a little celebrating in our house this morning. Watching the festivities at Gobbler's Knob in our pjs, having a special pancake breakfast at Abby's request (we usually do pancakes on the weekend), and jumping up and down that Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow!!!!

Groundhog Day makes for some great school activities too - 

Talking about superstitions, making predictions, coloring pop-up puppets, measuring out the length of our furry friend and comparing, sequencing events and putting together a mini-book, giving a weather report - fun stuff!  I've still got some shadow activities up my sleeve that we will be doing later because right now it is WAY too cold to go outside.

Here's hoping that Phil's prediction for an EARLY SPRING pans out...(I am putting all my faith in this groundhog - how desperate is that?)

Happy Groundhog Day!

 For more Wordful Wednesdays - visit Angie's place!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Operation Contribute - GOING BIG!

When I picked "CONTRIBUTE" as my word for 2011, I was thinking small, kid-friendly things. Taking cookies to firefighters, picking up trash at a park, doing a lemonade stand for pediatric cancer patients, making a no-sew blanket for Project Linus - things like that. Simple, yet significant and worthwhile.

In our family prayers, we've also been praying for service opportunities. And wouldn't you know it? Pat was contacted by an area representative for the Special Olympics to see if he'd be interested in coaching golf for the participants. How cool is that? He was told that families can volunteer as well so I am looking forward to finding out more about how the kids and I can help out.

Then, last night, as we were watching last week's DVRed Extreme Home Makeover, and we started talking about how cool it would be to help with one of those new home projects - like we always do,  I thought "I should look up the volunteer info and just see...."

It was a little tough to find, but lo and behold - there is a build happening in TWO weeks less than TWO hours away from us! I could NOT believe it. I still can't believe it. Abby was jumping up and down with excitement talking about how she wants to help paint. Sweet girl.

Of course, I explained you have to be 18, etc... but I told her we could at least make signs for the spectator area to show support for the family and donate to the "Extreme Food Drive".  Both kids still want to swing hammers, but I'm sure they will think it is neat to be a part of the crowd.  Since I am over 18 (just barely - ha!), I signed myself up for a 2-8pm shift and Pat is doing the  8pm-2am shift so we can switch off with the kids. I am so excited to get more information on this. I am just glad I looked it up or we would have missed out on this incredible opportunity to help a deserving family.

I am always so moved by the circumstances and generosity of the families chosen and by the efforts of their communities and the Home Makeover team. There really need to be more TV shows like that where people work together do amazing things for one another.

We can't wait to be a part of it.