Archives for October 2009

Memory of Halloweens Past

This morning, the kids got up long before Lee and I were ready.  So as we laid in bed, they pitter pattered out to the living room.  From the warmth of our bed, we could hear them digging through their little halloween buckets where the candy they racked up yesterday trick or treating at my dad’s office awaited their arrival.

Twice they came into our room to ask if they could have a piece. Twice I played bad cop and said no, not until after breakfast – because eating a sugar-filled-teeth-rotting-sugar-exploding morsel is way better after you’ve eaten a bowl of cereal. (eyeroll)  Really, I just didn’t feel like I would be doing them justice as their mother if I allowed them candy at 6:30 in the morning.

Moments after their second rejection, I heard Sloan tell Tia that they should dump their buckets out and count their candy to see how much they had.

So with a tumble and a THWOP we heard the innards of their plastic buckets fall to the floor and the delighted giggles of two very excited children.  After saying a silent prayer that they would have the same amount of candy I heard Sloan count to 14…twice.

“Tia, we both have 14 pieces!” he exclaimed.  “That means we don’t have to fight!”

Yes.  And it meant that mommy could lay in peace for a few more minutes.  Praise God Almighty from Whom all blessing flow!

As I thought of them counting their little piles of candy, I remembered my trick or treating days when my brother and I would come home and share the same ritual.  We would dump out our pillow cases of candy and take an inventory of our loot.  Then, of course, the trading and bartering would commense.

I tended to trade the Twizzlers and M & M’s for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Skittles.  Of course, I also hoarded the Bottle Caps and Pop Rocks and we both handed off the Sugar Daddies and Suger Babies to my dad, because those are his favorite.  And we threw away the Nut ‘N Honey’s because, ew

Then we would diligently count how many pieces of candy we had and hoot and hollar if we were fortunate to pass the 100 piece mark then squeal with delight if passed 200.  We would plan out what we would eat when and how long it would take us to devour our treasures.

(Come to think of it, I wonder if my mom ever threw away a few pieces of our candy every day without us knowing so that we would ultimately not end up eating that much junk.  Not that I do that…ahem.) 

When it was all said and done and Brett and I were equally pleased with our final count, we would sit back and eat as much as mom would allow and rehash the night’s events remembering which house gave the best candy, who had the best costumes and how we nearly froze to death in the frigid Wisconsin weather.

Then we would head to bed, our stomach’s aching from over consumption and our head’s spinning from the rush of sugar.

Those are sweet (pun definately intended) memories.  I miss my brother.

What are some of your favorite Halloween memories?

My shy little goofball

Today Tia got to wear her costume to school.  She’s Princess Leia.

She has been so excited about it all week.

This morning, she put on her costume an hour before we had to leave and asked that I take her picture:

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She was most excited about her “for weal” Princess Leia hair.

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“Thsee mom?  I wook just wike Pintheth Yay-ya,” she said.

When we got in the car to go to school she asked me 100 times if I remembered her Princess Leia hair.

When we arrived, I secured it to her adorable little head and in we marched.


Someone laughed and told her she looked adorable…

And someone else told her she looked just like her older brother in that wig…

And someone else clutched her chest and grinned as she walked past…

And before we even made it to her room, Tia yanked the wig off her head and thrust it at me.

“I not want to wear it anymore,” she said.

And no amount of assurances that people were only smiling because they thought she looked cute would convince her to put it back on.

So I fashioned her hair into two pigtails and sent her on her way sans wig.  Then I went to the lobby to wait for her class to return and show off their costumes and sing us a few songs.

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Apparently she went to the bathroom before coming out to sing because her dress was tucked into her pants.

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And instead of singing the songs that she’s been so boldly performing for us at home, she sucked on her finger.

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And then she got tired and sat down.

The End.

Yeah, but we already knew that…

*Warning – the following post contains blatent and unapologetic bragging. Read with reckless abandon and feel free to spontaneously applaud whenever you are compelled.

We had our first big kid, elementary style Parent/Teacher conference today!  Seriously, I am so not old enough for all of this.

So there Lee and I sat across the table from Sloan’s kindergarten teacher and she dove right in to his first quarter report card.  And after that meeting I just needed to brag for a minute because my kid is THE AWESOME!

As far as develpomentally, he’s right on track.  He is reading basic words.  He can write very well, but needs to work on his lower case letters, he can count to 39 (but then skips to 90 and finishes up to 100 – can you blame him?  I’d hate for someone to ask me to count to 100 too. Bo-ring…let’s move on!)

He does have a few problems with phonics, which is understandable since he’s learning to read in two languages right now.  He sometimes mixes russian letters with English.  For example, he spelled ‘can’ C-A-H.  Because in russian the ‘n’ sound is the letter ‘H’.

But it wasn’t the skills that got me all hopped up.  It was the fact that his social skills were all top marks.  He was described as a leader, obedient, happy, a good listener, eager to learn and a great kid.

C’mon – tell me something I don’t know!

Seriously, Sloan is a great kid.  He’s passionate, for sure.  But all around, he’s a really, really good kid.  I’m glad he’s mine.

Lee and I have worked hard this last year with Sloan.  We’re still working hard (will we ever not work hard?) to channel his abundant zest for life in a positive and productive direction.

We really want our kids to be conscious of the world around them.  We’re constantly stressing to Sloan that when he respects his elders, those in authority, that things will go well with him. And today we get to reward him and show him once more that his respect for those around him is only to his benefit and his gain.

We have also worked hard at giving Sloan the confidence to take the lead among his peers.  Sloan by nature tends to follow others.  He so badly wants to be with people and a part of a group that he will do whatever he think needs to be done in order for that to happen.

We have been stressing to him the importance of being a leader, of standing up for what he knows is right and of being an encouragement to people he comes in contact with.  In general, these are things that come naturally to Sloan.  Remember this?  But he does need a few reminders, on occasion. 

You know, because he’s a normal kid.

Anyway, my kid rocks.  He seriously does.  And since I’m already in the bragging mode, I’d also like you to see this:

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This is part of the play that Sloan will be performing with the kids in his russian class.  The section at the bottom is Sloan’s.  It’s by far the most difficult text he’s had to memorize so far and he’s doing amazing.  He also has to learn a short poem about a bear, which he committed to memory almost immediately. 

I’m just in awe of the way he is learning this language.  I feel like I’m doing him a disservice because I don’t know the language well enough anymore to speak consistently with him.

Which, incidentally, his russian homework is kicking my butt!  I feel like I’m in college again trying to translate all these pages so I can help Sloan understand what’s happening. 

Oh, and Sveta – I might have to ask you for a little help translating this play because good grief! 🙂

Okay everyone – I know you’re so glad you spent five minutes of your time listening to me ramble today.  Try not to be too dissapointed when I tell you I’m finished bragging now.  You’re all free to go about your day.

*wink, wink*

Pumpkins and Funnel Cakes – A Lovely Combo


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If you must know – there were also three Kool-Aids, two hot dogs and sloppy nachos involved.  Yum…

There seems to be no escaping…

H1N1 is spreading around here like wildfire.  Every day I hear of new cases, more schools closing and so on and so forth.

We decided not to vaccinate our kids against H1N1.  We decided this for a couple of reasons.  First of all, the vaccination is too new.  I don’t trust it – plain and simple.  And I cannot get a concenses from doctors as to whether or not it’s a good idea.  Some say definately get it, others say definately don’t.  So in my mind, the risks outweigh the benefits.

Second, I’m not even sure that I would be able to get it.  Sloan’s school has to keep pushing back the date on the vaccine because they haven’t received their supplies yet and I would only be able to vaccinate him.  I don’t even know that I could get it for the other two – if I wanted it, that is.

Third, I feel like it’s inevitable that we’re going to get the swine flu.  I’m taking every precaution I can think of short of holing ourselves up and barring the door.  The kids are getting double the amount of vitamin C, I’m faithfully administering their JuicePlus vitamins, I’m serving them more green vegetables and raw fruits, we’re washing hands, I’m *limiting the amount of dairy they receive, I’m washing sheets more frequently in hot water and so on and so forth.  I’m not really sure what else I could be doing.

Despite all of that, however, I feel like this H1N1 thing is a ticking time bomb and I would almost rather we just get it and move on.  I know that sounds terrible and I’m not hoping my kids get sick, but if they’re going to get it, I’d rather it happen sooner rather than later so we can move on our merry way.

I heard on the radio this morning there are 1300 confirmed cases of the swine flu in the St. Louis area, which is more flu than doctors usually report in an entire season.  It really is spreading like the plague.  Even my friend Nicole has been affected and she takes similar precautions to me.

So we’ll see what happens.  I heard that this week there were 13 confirmed cases at Sloan’s school and five kindergartners were home sick today (I don’t know if they were any of the confirmed cases or not) so we’ll just take it one day at a time.  I did get the kids a seasonl flu shot this year for the first time since 2006 in the hopes that if they do come down with the swine flu it will be a milder case.  Who knows?  It’s just crazy.

* There are studies that say that dairy products increase the amount of muscus your body produces, so by cutting back on dairy, I’m hoping to help their bodies eliminate as much unneeded mucus as possible.  I can’t cut it out all together, as my kids love their milk.  But I’m pretty much only giving it to them in the morning at this point, rather than throughout the day.

Anyway, moving on…

Today was Sloan’s first field trip to the pumpkin patch and oh my goodness he was excited.  He’s talked about it all week.  Yesterday when it rained all day long, Mother Nature and I had a long talk about how she better not ruin my boy’s first time to go somewhere with his class, and she obliged somewhat – if you count freezing cold and overcast obliging.  But alas, at least there wasn’t any rain.

I didn’t think I would get to go because I didn’t have anyone to watch Tia and Landon, but at the last minute my friend Jessica offered to keep them and I was able to surprise Sloan and show up.  I’m so glad I went!  It was fun to see him in that environment.  Thanks again Jessica!

And I think he was glad I was there.  When no one was looking he gave me a big hug.  Of course, when he was eating lunch with one of his friends, he said I was weird.  Ha!

I’ll take it.

So that was a fun highlight of the morning.  And now I’m off to get the house in order because Lee and I are going on a date tonight.  A date!  What is a date?!

I’m not sure what we’re going to do.  We wanted to see our friend Joe and his band play downtown, but they aren’t going to start playing until 10:30 or 11:00.  Couple that with the fact that our babysitter doesn’t drive, which means I’ll have to drive her home and the knowledge that we have three little alarm clocks that will drag us out of bed at the crack of dawn tomorrow. 

Needless to say, we’re not going to do that to ourselves.  Getting old bites.

We may go see a movie instead, which sounds like an old person thing to do, but I was thinking about it today and I’m pretty sure it’s been about two and a half years since Lee and I went to the movie theater together.

I think we’re due for a movie night…

Happy weekend!

We made it!

Wednesday nights are busy for us.  The kids have Awana’s at church and Lee and I serve in the music ministry.  So it’s always late when we get home on Wednesday and roll our sleepy babes into their beds.

And this morning was the first time we’ve ever overslept.  I rolled over at 7:15 this morning and for a brief moment thought about just going back to sleep and letting Sloan play hooky today.

But reason got the best of me and I dragged him out of bed around 7:30, clapped my hands several times, and managed to get him on the bus at 7:57 with hair and teeth brushed, and a tummy full of Cheerios.

Because I rock.

Of course, Landon is still in his soggy diaper and jammies, but one out of three ready to go isn’t bad, eh?

The thing is, it’s so hard to wake them up when they look like this:

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I couldn’t even get a picture of Sloan because he was snuggled so deep into his covers that all I could see was a smattering if blonde hair splayed across his pillow.

So the day started a little hectic but the good news is, we’re all well rested!  How was your morning?

A post I wrote about my family heritage went up on 5 Minutes for Mom yesterday.  Go check it out when you get the chance!

My Minivan is cooler than your Lexus!

Due to several car trips in the last few months, our minivan has taken a bit of a beating.  Covered in dead bugs, splattered with mud and sporting the drop marks accrued during our deluge of rain last week, her sleek black exterior has lost a little bit of it’s luster.

It’s not often that one reads the words “sleek” and “luster” in the context of a minivan, I know.

So yesterday afternoon, I took my rockin’ hot minivan through a specialty car wash.  You know, one of those car washes where actual humans scrub your car?

After pulling her loveliness into line, I got out and shopped around the convenience store for a few minutes before heading out to watch them remove the layers of dirt that had been holding her back all these weeks.  And what did I find when I came out?

I found my minivan sandwiched between two Lexus’s (is the plural Lexi?) who were also being scrubbed to shiney perfection.  Then a third Lexus pulled up, followed by a BMW and a fourth Lexus.

And finally, the Créme de la Créme – a gorgeous (and I’m not a car person) sports car pulled up and parked nose to nose with my van.  I have no idea what brand it was, but it was somthin’ fancy, let me tell ya!

And guys, I kid you not, my van blushed and giggled when that thing parked in front of her.

And so, there I stood, the girl who brought her hoopty van to a class act party.  I was the like the stray dog at a country club.  The sore thumb.  The minivan surrounded by Lexi!

I tried to play it all cool like this was only my day car, but you should see what I drive at night.  But my mom garb didn’t help the situation – that being my unwashed hair, jeans, tennis shoes and puffer vest.

Oh, then there was the fact that I forgot to bring cash to tip the boys washing my car and had to scrounge for enough change to make it worth their while.  I, my friends, am nothing if not classy.

The best part of the whole process, though, was watching the boys attempt to work my tricked out van.  What she lacks in style she makes up in sheer awesomeness!  I mean, hello!  She has an automatic back hatch and one automatic side door, which I have child proofed, so the poor guys kept getting stuck inside the car when vacuuming because they couldn’t figure out how to open the door and got confused as to which was automatic and which was manual.

Good times.

And then, of course, there are the multiple – and I mean mul.ti.ple – scratches on the car from the kids running their bikes down the sides.  Yep – that’s how I roll.

So when the guys finally finished her up and handed me the keys, I climbed inside my now sleek and lusterous minivan and started her up.  Next to the purring sports car, she sounded like some sort mammoth as she roared to life.

And with that I held my head high, looked down upon the lowly sports car and I pulled out of Lexusland, driving her hotness off into the horizen.  I hope everyone watching wasn’t too jealous…

Weekend Update

This weekend’s Interactive Festival went off smashingly.  We had a great turnout (I believe there were just under 100 people there) and had relatively no major glitches.

We got a ton of positive feedback and people seemed to really enjoy themselves and learn a lot.

As for my panel – it went great!  I didn’t stumble or stutter over my words, I kept the conversation flowing (thanks to a fabulous panel of speakers and a very participatory audience) and I didn’t once have to imagine someone in their underwear.  Whew.  I had a blast doing it and can’t wait for next year’s event!

As for the rest of the weekend – honestly, Interactive took up most of my weekend.  The kids had a great time playing with their grandparents, since Lee was out of town visiting friends.  On Sunday afternoon, I decided to take the kids to Twin Oaks Park for our annual picture taking session.  I sat in on a photography panel on Saturday and was excited to try out the new tricks I learned. 

I think out of 82 pictures I managed to come out with about 9 really good shots.  Sooooo…I clearly need a little more practice.  It didn’t help that Landon was 100% not into having his picture made, and Tia wasn’t overly thrilled either. 

Here are a few that I got:

I don't think I got a single good shot of the three of them *sigh*

I don't think I got a single good shot of the three of them *sigh*


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I asked Tia to give me her best pose and this is what she came up with.

I asked Tia to give me her best pose and this is what she came up with.

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I’ll be back tomorrow with actual content for you to read.  In the meantime, have a blessed Monday!

A few deep breaths…and maybe a stiff drink

On Saturday morning I will be moderating a panel at the St. Louis Interactive Festival.  I’m so excited about this event.  After last year’s Festival, I made it my goal to be considered knowledgable to be asked to speak and lookie here!


Oh dear God I’m so nervous I feel like I’m going to be sick.  And I’m only a moderator.  I’m just asking the questions.  I’m not even speaking as a definate authority.  But I’m still nervous as all get out and here’s why:

(Don’t you love how naturally I segued into this next paragraph thereby sucking you all in to read about my neurotic little mental breakdown?  You didn’t even know it happened did you?  You had no idea you were being manipulated. Muahahaha!!!)

Okay – so I’ve never really “officially” been in the workforce.  The few years I had between marriage, college graduation and children were spent developing a career of sorts in writing and editing while also coaching gymnastics and working as a personal trainer.  In short, I’ve never had a “real” job.  I’ve never had a steady paycheck or limited vacation time (a huge perk to working for yourself, by the way).  I’ve never been to an office party or had to wear a suit to work.

In short – my life has been awesome! Ahem.

So I get around all these uber successful people and I’m all, “OMG (I actually think omg ) why would they want to listen to me?  So I’ve written a couple of books – who cares?  I did all of that in my pajamas!  I’ve never been in the rat race.  What do I know?” 

And on and on it goes until I’ve got myself all in a tizzy thinking about standing in front of a group of people who are all really career focused, employed, making the big bucks, doing cool things like hosting radio shows, producing movies, running major publications…

And then, of course, there is the importance of figuring out what to wear!  Oy!

So I’m taking deep breaths tonight.  And I thought about having a stiff drink but I feel like I’m getting sick so I settled for NyQuil instead.

It’s going to be fine.  I’ll picture them all in their underwear and all will be good.

Plus, I need to remember that I haven’t exactly had my head in the mud these last few years.  I mean, I have produced three pretty spectacular human beings and I do maintain a blog that’s all the awesome.

Okay, I was hoping that if I patted myself on the back a little, I’d feel better, but I’m still nervous and now I feel like a dork for tooting my own horn.  I think it’s time for me to go to bed and wake up tomorrow with a new sense of empowerment.

Yeah – that’s what I’m gonna do…

A fun little conversation

I don’t have much for you today.  I’m so busy working on this Saturday’s St. Louis Interactive Festival that I haven’t had much time for anything else.  Oh, and my internet was down all morning.


Please, if you are interested in attending the Interactive Festival, I encourage you to do so.  We have some A-HA-MAZING speakers lined up.  Seriously – top notch folks.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the St. Louis Bloggers Guild site and read for yourself.  Every day this week, I have been writing out descriptions of each panel and giving you the bios of all our speakers.

It’s FREE to attend AND your registration includes breakfast, lunch and beverages!  What a deal!  You should come!!!

M’kay – moving on…

I had an interesting little conversation with Tia this morning as I got dressed.  It went something like this.

Tia: “Mommy, I wike your undawear.”

Me: “Thanks, Tia.”

“Tia: “Who buyed dat for you?”

Me: “Nobody – I bought it for myself.”

Tia: “You buyed your own undawear?”

Me: “Yep.”

Tia: “Well, who buyed you your pants?”

Me: “Nobody.  I bought these pants for myself.”

Tia: “Why you buyin’ you own cwothes?”

Me: “Well, when you get to be a grown-up, you just usually buy your own clothes.”

Tia: “Dat woody thtinkths, Mommy.” (That really, stinks)  I fink dat sounds bowing (boring).”

Me: *pause* “Well, it does kind of stink doesn’t it?”

Being a grown up is so boring…