Friday, October 29, 2010

Flashback Friday

In the spirit of Halloween
we're flashing back to the girls' firsts!

Lauren's First Halloween
October 31, 2006 

{Witch You Were Here}

Abby's First Halloween
October 31, 2005

{Mini Mouse}

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thank You Thursday

1. Thank you for a normal, enjoyable night at the gym.  The icing on the cake, they rang the bell for Abby.... She mastered her flip over the bar. Way to go, Abby!

2. I'm thankful for having the afternoon off to spend in Abby's classroom.  She was grateful to have me there.  I was grateful to be there.  I love that girl.

3. I'm thankful for the spirit that lives deep in the belly of those lovely girls of ours.  They were up early, filled with excitement about their school parties today.  Lauren couldn't be more thrilled about her Halloween costume.  There is nothing clever about it, but it is exactly what she wanted.  She is happy as a clam to be going as Woody this year!

4. I'm thankful Geoff made it back to Dayton. After spending all day yesterday in airports, and flying through massive wind storms, he's here and he's safe.

5. I'm thankful for my life.  Sure there are things I would love to change, but they are minor details.  I love my life!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tricked Out Treat

I was the lucky parent in charge of sending treat bags for both of the girls' Halloween parties at school tomorrow.  A glass jar would have made my concoction look even more like a creepy specimen, but in lieu of putting glass containers in the hands of little people, I opted for plastic gift bags.

Worms on the bottom, topped with Oreo Balls disguised as eyeballs.  A treat for any sweet tooth.

Oreo Ball recipe can be found on my sister blog:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Whose brilliant idea was it to start making Oreo balls at 9:00 tonight?!  Pat on the back, they do make awesome eyeballs for my treat bags.  I hope the kids get it.

2. I miss KARE11.  Me, in my jammies, at Mom & Dad's.  Or Shawn's.  Dayton needs good local news!

3. The benefit to being up so stinkin' late working on these treat bags: I'm up for the Tonight Show. That almost never happens for me in Ohio.

4. It's a good thing my dryer is fixed; it's too wet on the deck to dry our garnmets.

5. In all honesty, I wouldn't shed a tear if Jennifer Grey was sent home tonight on DWtS.  She's disappointedly annoying.

6. I miss New Englanders.  I miss their wit.  Their smart-ass comments.  Their wicked sense of humor.  Even the liberal ones.

7. Today's tornado evacuation to the basement yeilded over a half an hour of jokes, songs, stories and fun.  Have I mentioned how great my job is?!

8. My pumpkin seeds are taking a ridiculous long time to dry. I've got some intense ideas for this year's flavors.  Dry seeds, dry!

9. Sony has announced it will stop making the Walkman. I didn't know they hadn't already stopped.

10. I have an odd hunger for the Olive Garden. Any chances when Geoff gets back from Boston he'll be up for it?  Hmmmmm.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

She Shoots, She Scores

Today Abby attended a birthday party for an old friend from preschool.  I could go on and on about all of the things I saw this afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese, but the bottom line is the girls had a blast!  Lauren came, too, and they both had the time of their lives.

I halfway joked about needing a bar with a one-way mirror for the parents.  The truth is it was worth every bit of it to see the girls having fun with old friends.


{Abby Scores a Goal on Her Friend, Lauren, During an Intense Air Hockey Match}

Score one for all of us today!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Conversations With Lauren

Lauren was on a roll yesterday.  The crazy comments just rolled off her tongue....

Mom: Where did you get your cute personality?
Lauren: From the maid.

Lauren: Is my tiny heiny broken?
Mom: No. Why?
Lauren: Because it has a hole in it.

Lauren: (Pointing to her belly) You know what comed in my belly?
Mom: What?
Lauren: It's called a vaccine, beautiful girl.

Lauren: (Pointing to her mouth) You know what come in my breezing?  When it comes out?
Mom: What?
Lauren: It's called a belly button. A cute belly button.

Lauren: How did God make Rocket?
Mom: How do you think He made Rocket?
Lauren: He took the blanket. He double knot it. Then he took a blanket and he made ROCKET!

Lauren: I like this house, it's really pretty. I like to live in this house. And I like myself.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flashback Friday

Today, for the first day ever, both of my girls are at school and I am home alone.  Abby's been sick, so knowing Geoff could not take off work today they arranged coverage for me at school to stay home with Abby, since this week she's been home vomiting, rebounding, then vomiting again.  As luck would have it, she's made it past the 24 hour mark without blowing chunks.  That leaves me at home in a house of quiet.

This Friday I'm flashing back to the last time I can truly remember quiet being my normal.  We were in Boston.

November, 2004

{A Very Pregnant Me at the Public Garden
and the Make Way for Duckling Statues}

{Abby's Room.... Just Waiting for Baby}

Now, I'm off to make use of this quiet time and get my chores done!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thank You Thursday

Ahhh, so much to be thankful for this Thursday....

1. I'm thankful for having such a great job. I change poopy diapers. I wipe snot-dripped noses. I assist someone else. Yet everyday I am happy to go to work. If only every school could be run the way this little "family" is, oh what a great country this would be.

2. I'm thankful for 23 and a half hours of a barf-free house.  Woohoo! I'll be even more thankful if Abby makes it through the night without an episode. We'll see.

3. I'm thankful my Red Sox t-shirt has held up for this long.  But my pre-2004 World Series Championship threads has only a limited number of washes left in it. Let's just say I won't answer the door with it on, but I'll probably continue to wear it until Geoff secretly throws it out. Good thing he doesn't read these posts!

4. I'm thankful for a well-tuned McDonald's Sweet Tea artist.  Yes, I'm sure they are out there. Tonight I was mixed a highly diluted drink. Two Thumbs Down!  Lucky for me I was headed toward another establishment that sent me on my way with a smile. But let's be real, there is an art to the right combination of freshly brewed tea and ice.  I like it cold.  I just want to be happy with my $1 Mickey D's tea.

5. I'm thankful for simple moments that offer opportunities to get to know the people around me.  I always learn something about myself, too.

Now, off to watch Grey's. I'm thankful for that, too!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

{Between the Pages}

Thanks to idle time at the gym while the girls are doing gymnastics, some built-in down time in the afternoon, and lack of quality TV viewing I've been racking up mileage between the pages of books.  And thanks to the book club I am now in, I'm reading books I may not have otherwise chosen.

These are the books I have read within the last year.

David Walsh, PhD is on the faculty at the University of Minnesota and is one of the world's leading authorities on children, teens, parenting, family life, and the impact of technology on children's health and development.

I learned about this book from my girlfriend, Stephanie, and was intrigued with the tactics, explanations and examples he uses in his down-to-earth approach to the benefits of raising children using "No".

I recommend this book to:
All parents!  Especially parents of young children, and even to people preparing for parenthood.

In her memoir, Governor Palin starts from the very beginning of her life in Idaho and takes the readers through her growth as a person, a politician, and goes in depth into her run as the vice presidential nominee in the 2008 election.

What struck me most about this book was just how simple and ordinary Sarah Palin was.  What makes her extraordinary is her work ethic and convictions, instilled in her by her upbringing.

I recommend this book to:
Anyone interested in Sarah Palin, and her ground-breaking rise to fame in American politics.

Diana Joseph teaches creative writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  I have grown to greatly appreciate creative writing styles, and fell in love with Diana Joseph's unique approach to her memoir.

Diana tells her story by telling the reader about the men in her life.  She is funny, witty, honest, and down-to-earth.  She's inspired me to think about my writing in fresh ways, and look at my life through the eyes of those I surround myself with.  I love a book that stirs up self-reflection!

I recommend this book to:
Anyone looking for a light read, a good laugh, and an honest and simple human story.  Thanks, Shawn for sending it my way!

Lance Armstrong's book takes readers from his humble childhood to a Tour de France champion.  What makes his story intriguing is the hurdles he overcame to get there and how testicular cancer shaped his life up to the point that his memoir concludes.

I have to admit, I'm not a fan of Lance Armstrong personally.  This book was the first book club selection, and I found myself creating an understanding of who is was, why he was the way he was, and what it was that made him a champion cyclist.  Sally Jenkins is an impressive writer, and as a result I enjoyed each turn of the page; even all of the talk about cycling.

I recommend this book to:
Anyone who is interested in Lance Armstrong, a great human story, or looking to find inspiration.  Great pick, Heidi.  I really enjoyed this book!

Book club selection No. two.

I didn't know how much I would appreciate reading this one.  After all, I'm not from Ohio, and my knowledge of Ohio is excessively limited.  But I dove in.  And again, really enjoyed it!

This book is the first in a series of Haunted Ohio books Chris Woodyard has written.  I speculate that since Chris is a native of the Dayton area, the stories she collected for this book center primarily on this area.... Perfect!

As much as this is a story of "hauntings" I found it to be more a book of spiritual connection.  I have quite limited experience with anything of the sort, but found it captivating nonetheless.
It turns out that Chris Woodyard is not just from the Dayton area, but she took her daughter to the very preschool I take mine to and currently work at.  Icing on the cake of irony!

I recommend this book to:
Anyone interested in Ohio, Ohio history, ghost stories, or a combination of the three.

Book club selection No. three.  My pick.
A seamless transition from Haunted Ohio, Bonnie McEneaney, wife of Eamon McEneaney who perished in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001 writes a collection of stories told by family members and friends that were left behind on that day.
For me, this was a new look at the story of 9/11. I'm very drawn to the events that surround that fateful day.  This is one that edges out the tragedy with the hope, faith and love that was left behind.
As someone who has not lost a close loved one, I have no idea what the pain is like.  I have no idea how I will deal with that pain when the time arrives.  I found this book to be a comforting depiction of handling the loss of loved ones.

I recommend this book to:
Anyone interested in September 11, 2001.  Anyone who is interested in communication with the deceased.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Abby brought home Sweet Tarts today. I loved Sweet Tarts when I was a kid. I wonder if Abby is as fond of them.

2. There are too many exposed butt cracks. I mean, really.  The breeze can't be pleasant.  I would never put pants on my girls that flaunt their little buns and the space that divides them. Maybe parents don't think about it. Maybe they don't care. I'm thinking of inventing a butt scarf.  After all, people bought into the Snuggie.

3. The Pumpkin Caramel Glacier I had a Ritter's was good. But it left me feeling frumpy. Ice cream does that to me lately. If only I could remember that before I eat the creamy treat.

4. I love a toddler's ability to pick their nose in front of their peers (and yes, eat it too) or wear adult socks with their jammies to school and not care one bit. Don't get me wrong, I'm not promoting a booger feast, but whatever makes them uniquely their own person, uninhibited, I love it!

5. I've perfected the art of breathing strictly through my mouth during dirty diaper changes. It is a skill I did not use with my own children. Somehow consuming the fumes gave me reassurance of their healthy state. I am still not going anywhere near my nephew's dirty diapers, sorry Aubrey.

6. Abby loves to learn. She would sit at the little table all day and do school work. Yay!

7. It surprises me that my Lauren is a model student. I've never seen her disagreeable at gymnastics, and she gets nothing but praise from her preschool teacher. Most of the time she is sweet for me, too. But boy does that kid have a sour side!

8. Lauren has a new laugh.  I'm not sure who she got it from, but it is funny.  She laughs just to try it out. Love that girl!

9. Geoff and I still giggle about the time the Eagan police showed up at our cousin Party Ball party for "Reports of bad singing". Obviously the neighbors didn't appreciate my lyrical disco method of calling Twister.  It is still undetermined if there is a warrent out for my arrest from that cold December night.  Next time I get caught singing in Eagan, I guess I'll find out. Hahaha.  Although I'm guessing it may have expired.

10. Another vice: Each Saturday morning I wake up early just to listen to the American Top 40 Rewind from the 80s. It's like an addiction I cannot control. I have discovered that American Top 40 just may have been the inspiration for my love of useless information. I have such fond memories of riding my banana seat bike (complete with a basket on the front) up and down the driveway while listening to the countdown on my AM/FM Smurf Walkman. In the present day I listen to it on my Boombox from college or my Turntable stereo in the basement.  And yes, I sing. The Fairborn police have yet to show up at my door!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Autumn in Ohio

Yesterday we consumed the best time of year in Ohio.

The girls and I took a trip to
The Pumpkin Barn in the afternoon....

{Pumpkin Tree}

{The Pointer Sisters.... Jump!}


{My Little Pumpkins}


{The Short Straw}

That night Geoff and I headed out for date night.  After dinner and a trip to Caribou, we trekked down to Middletown, Ohio for a haunted house experience like no other at The Land of Illusion:

Five haunted attractions, a bonfire enclosed by a fence that burns pallets instead of logs, a DJ, a Breakdance-off, funnel cakes, and a real life headless horseman.  I highly recommend it to anyone in the Dayton, Cincinnati, and even Columbus area!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

How Do You Believe Woody?

Lauren drew a picture, as only Lauren could, then dictated a one-of-a-kind story to go with it.  The title is also her own.  Clearly we have some work to do in the story telling department.  Nonetheless, Lauren loves to tell a good tale; this one inspired by the recent purchase of her Halloween costume.  She's going as Woody.

Once upon a time there was Woody and Buzz.  Then there's all, and Woody got trapped inside here and he couldn't get out right here.  So he went all the way right here, to there, to there, to here.  Then Woody went all the way to get dressed up.  He went all the way to here.  That's it.

The End.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Flashback Friday

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House
{Home of Little Women}
Concord, Massachusetts

April 10, 2005

Just down the road from the Air Force base we lived on, and from the hospital Abby was born at.  Just days before we said good-bye to New England.

In a window just above where we were standing is where Louisa May Alcott penned the story of the Little Women.  I think my little woman is destined for great things; they both are.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thank You Thursday

1. Thank you stamp party. Because of you, I didn't have to endure the Nasty Mom Club at gymnastics tonight. Of course they weren't in attendance this evening, according to my husband; that's just my luck. Oh well. I had fun at my creative outlet nonetheless.

2. Thank you, Geoff, for being you. I'm glad you're my guy. My best friend. My partner.

3. I'm thankful for working with such great people. I love them! I've never worked anywhere like this school before. What a great environment to spend my days!!!

4. I was going to thank my mother for something, but for the life of me I cannot remember. So I guess I'll thank her for the life in me. I find that at least once a day I'm thanking her for something, even if it's only in my head.

5. Thank you to my pushy friend, Susie. She's pushed me in directions that have lead to great things. Everything happens for a reason, even if only for a season. Thanks, friend! {And you know by "pushy", Susie, I mean it with love!}

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hurry, Hurry

Lauren was hamming it up last night at the dinner table singing her preschool songs.

*Remember to pause the play list in the right column.

Old Lady Leary

Hurry, Hurry

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Old McDonald on Speed

This makes me wonder....
What kind of farms do they have here in Ohio?!

*Remember to pause the play list in the right column to hear the video.

Ten on Tuesday

1. I found a new post office.  One I like.  It is possibly my favorite post office in the whole world.  She didn't even freak out on me about not signing the back of my card.  Yowza!  I'm going to Alpha for all of my future delivery needs!

2. Some names bug me.  Some of them I just wonder why on Earth one would put their child through the wringer with a name like that.  I'd best not put the one I'm thinking of in print, for fear my daughters will name one of their children that just to anger me some day.  Hahaha.  I still hate that name.

3. When did I become that person that couldn't wait for my book to arrive so I could dig in?  It's here! Hooray!

4. Today she came home with an arm full of ink.... What happened to my innocent Abigail?!

5. Why would this kid let another girl write all over her arm? Seriously! I don't know whether to be dumbfounded, annoyed, or just down right upset.

6. I've never been a big Christopher Cross fan.  So thank you, Geoff, for whistling it in the shower.... it is stuck in my head like gum on my best tennies.

7. I'm craving good Italian food. The kind you walk into a café in Boston to get. Hmmmmm. Bliss.

8. Because life wouldn't be complete without another cupcake recipe: Purple People Eater pastries. More Yumm!

9. Geoff still sings songs about Tiny Tot in the shower. Thank you, Geoff, for replacing Christopher Cross with your lyrical love letter to Lauren.

10. How dirty can two little girls get in one day? By the looks of our bathtub, Geoff was bathing pound puppies and not little ladies last night.... they must have had a good time outside!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Them Apples

In this family, the apples don't fall far from the tree....

{Papa's Apple Trees in the Spring}

{Lauren and Abby's Apple Trees in the Fall}

How do you like them apples, Papa?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I Got Canned

When I first met my friend, Susie, she asked me a simple question: Do you give yourself challenges?  Hmmmmm.  If she meant, do I take on a million projects, then the answer was yes.  She didn't.  She was referring to the kind of challenge where you take on one task for every day of the month.... like sending random thoughtful cards.  I don't.  But now I've found one.  I think.

I've been canned.  Twenty cans of one of Owatonna's other beautiful exports, Festal Pumpkin!  My challenge: The Twelve Days of Pumpkin.  Twelve consecutive days is a bit too much, even for this fellow Owatonna native.  But I think between now and Thanksgiving I should be able to come up with twelve ways to put my Festal to good use.  Any ideas, friends, please pass them my way!

No matter how you look at it, it's a beautiful thing.  Thank you, Aubrey and Jason.  Now my Christmas gift of Hy-Vee Mac 'n Cheese has some company from home in the cupboard.

Stay tuned to my foodie blog: for the low-down, complete with a five pumpkin rating system.  Hahaha.  Happy Fall!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Flashback Friday

October 8, 1951

A young Airman rushes home from an Air Force Base in Mississippi and arrives late to his wedding.

{Grandma and Grandpa with the Pastor Who Married Them}
Just Happy to be Together

October 8, 2001

Grandma spends her day driving me up to the Cities with Mom, returning me to my new husband at an Air Force Base in Texas. I flew home to Minnesota for the first time since moving away to celebrate Grandpa and Grandma's 50th Anniversary.

October 8, 2007

Grandpa and Grandma spend their 56th anniversary hanging out with their granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.  Grandpa was on time.  And I didn't have a flight to catch.

{Grandpa, Grandma, Abby, and Lauren}
Just Happy to be Together

October 8, 2010
HaPpY 59tH AnNiVeRsArY, Grandpa and Grandma!

[Wish we could be there to celebrate!]

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thank You Thursday

1. I'm thankful Lauren has such a big heart.  Tonight she earned a sticker at gymnastics for conquering a maneuver she's struggled with for weeks.  She knew right away what she was going to do with that sticker that says 'Perfect'.  "I'm giving it to Sean," one of the boys who shares her affection at preschool.  Okay, so I wish she'd tone down the boy craziness.  But you gotta love her heart!

2. My mom was right. People who do wrong by others do get what is coming to them.  It may take years, but it always comes back to bite you where it hurts.  I hope this is not a lesson lost on the girls.  It's my motivation to raise them right.  Thanks, Mom, for the wisdom.

3. Thanks to my mother-in-law for the fun magazine subscription that fills me with so many new clever ideas it makes my head spin!

4. I'm thankful for preschool jokes. Today I told a little boy to stick it. He knew what I meant: stick your back to the wall. You can translate anything said at a preschool into something naughty.... sometimes it's the laughter that keeps you afloat when you're swimming in body fluids.

5. I'm thankful another week of gymnastics is over.  I used to look forward to gymnastics: watching the girls learn & enjoy themselves, and digging into a good book. Now I cringe at sitting amongst the catty moms.  Can't stand it!  I've got to find a solution to my suffering.  I've got two weeks to mull it over.  Thanks, Geoff, for taking over next week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stop, Drop and Roll

Our resident junior fire fighter would like to remind the masses it is Fire Prevention Week.

Please view the following public service announcement, created by Lauren herself, as a gentle reminder of what to do if you are caught on fire.

{Don't forget to pause the play list in the right column so you do not compromise the audio in the instructional video.}

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Going to the commissary makes my blood boil.

2. Going to Kroger would be worse, only somehow the people at Kroger are slightly more in tune with the world.

3. Last week at Kroger Lauren asked if a fellow patron was Santa. Embarrassed, I shushed her.  He waited a moment, then turned around and said hello to my little lady.  I was secretly hoping she knew Santa was watching her.  I was also still embarrassed.

4. Damn this blog for making me want a cupcake:

5. It is pretty funny to think of one of my classmates giving my mother a speeding ticket. Geoff and I are pretty sure she and her co-pilot were flying down Elm Street Dukes of Hazard style.  Only they were doing it in a Pontiac in Steele County.  Way to go, Mom!

6. Thank heaven for tough grandpas!

7. I woke up this morning with big plans for the case of canned pumpkin my brother-in-law picked up for me.  What isn't weird about that sentence?!

8. When you stop and think about it, it is a little strange that Hawaii is part of the United States.  I wonder if any of those people ever long for a week in the Midwest.  On second thought, I really have never wondered about that before.  Now I'm thinking....

9. Can I get my dishes done in 9 minutes before Dancing With the Stars?  Am I admitting that I'd like to beat the clock?  Yes.  What a nerd!

10. Bigger nerd: I got a coupon for a Snuggie online.  My first thought, Shucks, Geoff could have used this to buy my birthday Snuggie.  What was I thinking?!  First of all, I don't want the damn Snuggie.  Second, I already took it back.  And third, it was only for the Varsity Snuggie.  What next!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lauren's Letter Name

Okay, so she's got the ABCs down pat. Sounding out words.... well, let's just say we've got some work to do.

*Remember to pause the play list at the right side of the page to hear the video.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Let Me Translate

Abby and Lauren have their own way of posing the world around them through the English language.  The following is a collection of some their unique terminology.

hi-tootsies: open-toed shoes....
Why? Because when you put them on you can say
'Hi' to your tootsies!
bye-tootsies: close-toed shoes....
'Bye, tootsies!'
Chinese chips: chow mein noodles

{Exclusively Abby}
Bullseyes: Buckeyes
commer or commy: comma
{Uniquely Lauren}
 chubbies: cheeks
wristests: bracelets
hanimoni: manicotti
hotdog on a stick: corndog
Snuggly or Snug: Snuggie
Onions: Indians
Pia-a-light: Pedialyte
hunna per sen: 100%
the loops: Fruit Loops
tupan: tampon
Tuluf: Duluth
enemy: mummy
poler: fishing pole
a drink bird feeder: hummingbird feeder 
knucklers: finger puppets

Friday, October 1, 2010

Flashback Friday

The Evolution of Sisters


{Blog Archive}

{About Me}

My photo
Fairborn, Ohio, United States
I'm a teacher by trade, writer at heart & mom in every sense of my being. I never considered writing as a profession, but after I got married and began moving around the country, I began sharing my adventures, misadventures & updates through a sort of e-mail newsletter. I found a true passion in unconventional story-telling that has followed me into motherhood.