Sunday, October 30, 2011

This is a Halloween First - A Snow Ghost!!!

We lost power yesterday afternoon due to the record-breaking FALL blizzard that was showing us no mercy. I am talking heavy, wet snow (coming down sideways), wind, gloomy sky - it was something else. My attitude went from bad to worse. I was already so far behind on laundry and housework with Noah being sick this week and then all of the fall festivities at school. Now snow and no power? Not happy.

When the power flickered on three hours later, I was SO relieved and grateful...and decided that I'd better not whine about the snow anymore. We were warm. We were safe. We could make chocolate (aka almond bark)-covered peanut butter crackers. (That's what I call comfort food.)

Still, I admit, I wasn't looking forward to trudging out in the snow today - piling on layers....finding hats, gloves, scarves...pulling on snow boots...and I wasn't sure if we should after poor Abby spiked a fever last night out of the blue.  But the sun was shining, the wind wasn't blowing, and she was begging (since her fever had returned to normal) so I told the kids we could go out for a little while.

And I tell ya, I don't know what came over me, maybe the kids' excitement and enthusiasm finally rubbed off but I had this grand idea...

We made a SNOW GHOST - complete with Oreo eyes! Who would have thunk it - right? 

Just like going trick-or-treating in snow boots, school being cancelled, and another surprise for the kids I'll have to reveal later - this will definitely be a Halloween full of firsts. 

Happy Trick-or-Treating! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Um...Are You Kidding Me?


And it's STILL coming down...

Luckily, I bought those snowsuits early and grabbed some boots for Abby at Target yesterday when I heard the forecast, but mentally? 

Not ready for this, people.

Not at all. 

I need some warm chocolate chip cookies and a major attitude adjustment.

Hmmm...or maybe some peanut butter balls. 

That might do the trick.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Total Flashback

I had to pick up inhalers from the pharmacy yesterday. Make that three trips to the pharmacy in drizzly, cold rain before the pharmacists got us what we needed. The first location had the inhalers but not the opti-chamber and mask. The second location had the opti-chamber and mask but looked at me like  I was crazy when I showed up saying that the first location had sent me there. Then we got home and one of the inhalers had a circular mouthpiece instead of the curved rectangular one and didn't fit into the opti-chamber. I called the first location, and the lady told me that I could come back in and exchange it.

If I could have, I would have paid someone one.million.dollars to go and make that exchange. Noah and I had already been at the doctor's office that morning and had been up most of the night before. Poor kid was coughing more than usual on Wednesday as we ran around picking up last minute Halloween decorations and items for the iLove Music fall festival basket for Abby's class. That night at bedtime, his cough got worse - like coughing so hard that he actually threw up...three different times between 9pm and 1am.

The steam didn't help. The humidifier didn't help. The allergy medicine didn't help. I finally brought him into my bed, propped myself up on pillows, and let him sleep upright laying against me. I felt so bad for him and was clueless as to what to do. I said a prayer that he would be able to sleep, and he finally did.

Being that this cough has been hanging on since the beginning of October, I called the doctor in the morning. It had turned into bronchitis - thanks to the first doctor who told me "you just need to give it some time". I requested a different doctor for this visit who told me that seasonal allergies could be at the root of the problem and that he needed to be tested to see how severe they are. (Daddy is coming to that appointment - definitely going to need some back-up.) She also mentioned the possibility of asthma- or an allergy induced asthma - or something like that.

 All I heard was "asthma" and my mind went to Michael, my youngest brother. He's eighteen now, but I can still vividly remember pressing my ear against his little four-year-old back to check if he was him nebulizer treatments in the middle of the night when he and my sister would sleepover...making sure we always had his inhaler with us...

My eyes started to tear up as the doctor was talking. I couldn't keep my composure...stupid sleep deprivation. I looked away from Noah not wanting him to think that something was wrong. Like the doctor said, it doesn't mean he has asthma, but she wants him to try the inhalers, come back in next week, and then get tested.

Noah actually thought the whole inhaler idea was pretty cool, especially when I told him that Uncle Michael has one too.  Still, it felt like I'd gone back in time - shaking up the inhaler, pressing the canister, and taking deep breaths in and out with Noah like I had done with Michael at his same age.

The inhalers made all the difference in the world. He slept last night. He went back to school and to the fall festival today. He's asleep right now.

Still, I am praying that he won't need them forever...that it's not asthma...and that he won't completely freak out when we go for the allergy testing - not looking forward to that.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Little Miss Student Council

Ever since finding out she was chosen to be a student council representative a few weeks ago, Abby has been counting down the days until her first meeting which was yesterday during recess...

but she didn't mind one bit. And the best part? "Getting our pictures taken and putting what I like in my speech bubble" for the bulletin board by the lunch room.  She and the other class rep got to report everything back to her 2nd grade class too. Pretty cool stuff.

Yep, there may just be homemade campaign posters and Vote-for-Abby stickers in her future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Teach It Simple" Tuesday - Nutter Butter Ghosts!

Halloween treats don't get much cuter (or easier) than this! My bff (of 20+ years...and "domestic diva" as I like to call her) posted about these spooky delights over on my "teach it simple" site today.

 Pop on over to read all about 'em!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Would It Really Be The Worst Thing in the World if...

"...I had to drive you to school this morning?" I asked Abby as we were scrambling around, stuffing backpacks, and tying shoelaces trying to get out the door in time to make the bus. Their school is three minutes down the rode for heaven's sake.

"YES!!!!!!!" she emphatically declared (without a moment's hesitation), and Noah was backing her up all the way.

Really, the WORST thing? 

Geez. Thanks a lot.

There's just something super cool about that school bus. The novelty definitely hasn't worn off yet. 

I guess they won't be happy campers when/if I get a teaching job next year (hopefully at their school) at they have to ride with me EVERY morning.

Now that will be a tragedy.  :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Teach It Simple" Tuesday - Birthday Cake Cookies!

Want to learn how to make these?

I cute are those, right? 

Click on over to my new "teach it simple" site and for this easy recipe - courtesy of my awesome friend (and former Bruster's ice cream run partner), Jenny!

*If you have a keep-it-simple family activity, craft, recipe, etc... (which doesn't require much prep and is glue-gun free!) that you'd like to share over at my new place, please let me know. I know you've got 'em! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Photo Story Friday - Good Old Fashioned Fun

Last Saturday afternoon, Abby spotted a sign for a block party hosted by a local church - FREE FOOD, FUN, GAMES - so the kids, Papa & Gramma Peggy (surprise visitors!), and I thought we'd go and check it out...

Moon bounces, a horse-drawn hayride, a cake walk, hamburgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, ice cream, face painting...and it didn't cost one penny.

Did I mention the caramel apples? 

There are definite perks to living in a small town...especially in the fall.

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

A Twist on Teaching Table Manners

 Here's a "teach it simple" sample for you in case you haven't made it over to check out my new digs quite yet...

To curb the "yuck"s, constant interrupting, and feet…I mean, elbows on the table, I started a reward incentive called Mind Your Marbles to motivate my kids to mind their manners.  The kids can each earn marbles by staying in their seats, saying “please” and “thank you”, and – my personal favorite – taking their plates to the sink. The marbles are dropped into their special glasses lined with a decorated index card. Once they fill it half way, they get to choose a yummy dessert. When the glass is filled to the brim, they can choose the entire meal (plus dessert) for the family – or pick a favorite restaurant!  This incentive has worked wonders. My kids are excited to “mind their marbles” and have even asked to help set the table to earn extras - gotta love that!

*What works at your dinner table?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WW & Proud Mommy Moments - No More Training Wheels!

...and he has the band-aids to show for it!

So happy for that boy of mine (and my back is too)!

Now we just have to work on starting and stopping... 

*For more special everyday moments - check out my new site "Teach It Simple" - soon to be full of our most favorite "easy peasy" family activities, recipes, crafts, and other simple ideas! 

Join in the Wednesday photo-sharing fun at Seven Clown Circus,
 5 Minutes for Mom, Better in Bulk,  and wherever else you can find a link up! 
They are ALL over the place!

Just found another cute meme today (10/13) - 
this accomplishment definitely qualifies!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Well, I Finally Did It...

Remember that idea I mentioned way back before the summer began - the one that I had been sitting on forever and hoped I would have more time over the summer to devote to working on it...before Pat got that job offer, and we packed up our entire house in less than three weeks, and hauled ourselves 15 hours across five states only to start unpacking in a new place and try to get settled in brand new surroundings?

Remember that one?

Well, I am finally working on it. It's right here.

Simple beginnings for my new "teach-it-simple" site soon to be full of "easy peasy" activities and ideas that help families to make the most of everyday moments.

I feel like it has potential...and it's also a great way for me to get my teacher brain and my mommy brain on the same page, especially since I am planning to go back to teaching next year (if I can get through all of the red tape). I even purchased the domain name...I won't even tell you how long ago I did that.

I'd love for you to stop by, browse around a bit, share some ideas, maybe even click that "follow" button...

Like I said, just simple beginnings...but you have to start somewhere right?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Right in Our Own Backyard - Photo Story Friday

What are the odds of two of these making an appearance in our backyard in less than three months of living here?

If you look really closely, you can see a faint second rainbow off to the left - or a "double rainbow" as the kids and I have started calling them. 

I think I've only seen two other "double rainbows" in my lifetime so how cool is this? Really.

We've also seen three or four of these floating in the sky since moving here -

I captured this one from the grocery store parking lot. Then, this afternoon, Abby spotted one from our front porch. Pretty awesome, I must say. (Not that I'd ever go up in one...yikes!)

Gotta love colorful surprises in the sky, especially when we've had more than our fair share of rain clouds over the last couple of months.

For even more color, check out the pics from our latest adventure to see the world's largest crayon! Fun stuff. 

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Might Need a Tissue for This One

Noah spiked a fever on Saturday afternoon. We were sitting in Friendly's waiting (and waiting) for our food when Noah leaned into my arm, and I could feel the heat radiating from his little face. His temp ended up being 101.6 - poor kid. He just laid on the couch the rest of the afternoon and even fell asleep - which we all know is completely uncharacteristic for that boy of mine.

He's slept next to me for the last four nights - waking up every hour or so, sweating, coughing, crying...I took him to the doctor yesterday who assured me that it's probably allergies with a touch of croup. He woke up around 11 o'clock last night with that barking cough again (oh, and spiked a fever later on - definitely not allergies). I turned on the hot shower in the bathroom to let it get steamy and held Noah in the dark, his arms heavy around my neck, swaying side to side, humming, thinking of how I used to do this when he was a baby. My baby boy - now a whopping 45 lbs and going to school - riding the bus even. I thought about how it won't be much longer that I'll be able to hold him like this. My arms began to ache just holding him for a few minutes last night until I finally had to stop swaying and sit on the toilet seat lid. He curled into me even more, bringing his legs in and sitting "criss-cross applesauce" on my lap.

Being that I haven't had much sleep for a few days and that I am a sap of a mama any way, the tears were flowing - mine this time...not his.  This growing up thing is hard on a mom. As much as I love to see my kids learn and their talents develop, there's a tiny part of me that aches for that snuggly baby sleeping on my chest. Every phase has been amazing to watch - from taking first steps to writing their names, and even now it's neat to see how confident they are and how they've become more independent, especially Abby. She is just loving school. She was beside herself with excitement when she found out she was chosen to be a student council representative. Her reaction was the cutest thing, and I couldn't be more proud of her. But man...time goes by so fast.

Pat is always reminding me that they are still little...and I know that they are. They still need their mama. I've had to stop writing this post twice in the last five minutes because Noah got stuck in a hiding spot and then Abby stepped on a LEGO ( - that is never pleasant). It's just a mom thing I guess....or maybe a sleep-deprived sappy mom thing, and I'm sure it doesn't get any easier the older that they get. I just need to toughen up a little bit - treasure the past and savor the present...

and get in as many snuggles as I can before it's not so cool to hug your mom at the bus stop.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Behold! The World's Largest Crayon!

1500 lbs, people! Enough crayon to color three football fields and then some. 

The kids and I ventured out in search of The Crayola Factory this past Thursday since they had a day off from school - gotta take advantage of those! They don't get another one until Thanksgiving break - no Columbus Day or Veteran's Day privileges around here.  It was a bit of a drive and pretty packed, but the kids had a blast. Watercolors, Magic Markers, Model Magic, and more crayons in one place than I have ever seen!

They even let the kids write on the "walls" - love those window markers!

Abby kept going on and on about how fun it was. Having all of those art projects at your fingertips - how could it not be?

I'm glad we were able to make the trip while the kids are still into this kind of thing. As I looked around at the swarms of people, I noticed that a lot of the kids were younger than mine - lots of strollers and little ones toddling around.  I couldn't help but think of how big Abby and Noah are getting, how childhood passes way too quickly...and how grateful I am for the time I have with them and for the  "color" that they bring into my life (to borrow a favorite line from Ramona and Beezus).

Amazingly grateful.