Tuesday, 30 December 2014

New Year's Resolutions 2015

I saw a meme on Pinterest and thought that it was a type of resolution I would like to try.  I will update as I progress through it.

Break a Bad Habit
January-I have decided to try and stop chewing my nails. I can't remember a time that I didn't bite my nails.  I do it for all sorts of reasons. I've read a couple of articles and will see how I do.  End of January-My nails look great. I haven't bitten them almost all month. I have had to deal with a couple breaks, which is frustrating. 
March-While I feel like I am biting my nails 95% less, they are still pretty short.  They break quite easily.  I wish that I had something to consistently show myself for the lack of chewing.  I do occasionally find myself absently sticking the corner to gnaw on it, but it is not like it used to be!  I just can't back slide since I don't get to enjoy the long nails that I should get too!

Learn a New Skill

Do a Good Deed
I decided that I would coach Jack's soccer team.  I am super nervous about how the kids will do and how I will handle it with my competitive nature. We've had one practice and I see that I have some pretty talented kiddos on my team. I have spent a long time trying to look up drills and teach myself anything about soccer. Our season ended in February and we were 5-2.  I was complimented by the parents and the main person who was there for Parks and Rec said that my team was her favorite to watch because of how nicely the played like a team.  I guess that means went well.  While I am not sure that I will take up coaching again, I wouldn't avoid it like the plague. 

Visit a New Place

Read a Difficult Book

Try a New Food
March-I saw a Groupon for a place called the House of Tibet.  While the Groupon didn't really work for me, I decided that I would try out some Tibetan food.  I went down for lunch only to find out they didn't sell their full menu but had a buffet out instead.  It probably worked better because I was able to try a wider array items.  I tried eggplant, which I never had before.  I am not sure I will have it again unless it was breaded or something.  It was only sauteed and that did not do it for me.  I also enjoyed some meatballs in a curry sauce.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed since I didn't like my previous curry experience.  The veggie fried rice was pretty similar to others I have had before.  My favorite was the Beef MoMos.  They were similar to a dumpling inside but the outside was a bit more like a yeast roll.  I am glad this was a resolution for me or I know I would have never tried it.
Do Something Good for Someone Who Cannot Thank Me
January-I donated a birthday gift to a 4 year old boy in foster care.  He requested a hot wheel track set. It was difficult to find one that didn't take batteries (I thought that might be difficult to consistently replace) and didn't take too much space while still being exciting and age appropriate. I'll never know for sure how I did, but I hope enjoys it. 

Take a Risk
March-While it isn't a huge risk, I am a bit nervous about this new journey.  Jack's principal approached me about being an instructional aide for 3-5th grade math.  The pay is awful, but the hours work well for me.  It will really shorten my "free" time, so I hope that I am able to keep my patience and home cooking up.  I don't want those things to suffer which is where the risk is.  I will let you know how it is going in a couple months.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Week in Review (December 21-27)

A Week in Review (December 21-27)

Watched: Jack open his Santa presents. He really only wanted one thing for all of Christmas. I put the other three things we got him out there and tucked the other one away. It was visible, but he had to look for it.  He was bummed when he opened what he thought was his MiP, but was an Icee Maker.  He didn't get upset, but just went on with a smile. I love that his list is so simple. 

Read: Not enough. Haha  Most nights I just went to bed too tired after having played with the boys. The writing of A Redbird Christmas was very disjointed and didn't pull me in. It felt more like a rough draft rather than a finished product.  I would not recommend it. 


Made: The drive to my mom's through some winter weather. We have been very lucky on this journey and had not hit any snow before the drive. Even the little that we did hit on the way here was pretty minimal and I feel very lucky to have covered 1900 miles with so little trouble!

Felt: So glad that we could visit with so many people in while we were in Olathe for the day. We wish it could have been more of you for longer, but we will just have to visit again to make that happen!

Planned: On a "quick" little stop at the Verizon store. We were sorely mistaken about that one, but we were glad to get Nick his new iPad. Now that he will be traveling to the field more often, we wanted him to have something that was LTE accessible. The new smart cases that Apple makes are really interesting too. I like them way better than just the cover. 

Loved: Watching Jack spend time with his cousins. I love how they can just spend hours together doing the most random things. They had a great time messing with the giant box that we carried the presents up here in. I couldn't tell you why it was such an awesome fun, but I do know that they destroyed the box having so much fun with it. I know I really need to be better about making sure that I take the opportunties to skype with them. 

Here are the pics for the week:

The cousins ready for books

The children were nestled all snug in their beds

Holiday baking. We had one more kid making his own thing too, but he was using the counter and missed the pic 

Poor Aunt Valerie got dog piled

Christmas Eve Night Photos

Christmas Day

Our day in Olathe (why I didn't take pics with everyone I do not know!)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A Week in Review (December 14-20)

A Week in Review (December 14-20)

Watched: The Broncos clinch the AFC West for the 4th year in a row. I don't know why Nick wasn't as thrilled as I was at this. He and Jack went out shopping for my Christmas present so he didn't watch much of it. He also came home with my annual Christmas item. I was sure that it would be something small so he wouldn't have to move it, but it ended up being these cool gift boxes. I think they were in part to replace my garland trees that I let go before the move. Don't they look wonderful?

Read:  I finished up The Poisonwood Bible.  This book did nothing for me.  It is the story of a Baptist minister, his wife, and four daughters as they embark about a mission trip in the Congo.  I had heard so many good things about it that I thought for sure there would be something that would grab me, but there just never was.  I would not recommend it.  Since I have been doing so much Christmas stuff (as always at this time of year), I  decided to start A Redbird Christmas.  It is by Fannie Flagg who wrote Fried Green Tomatoes and it is a cute little story.  It is pretty fast so I am hoping to have it done before Christmas gets here.  

Listened: To Jack bust out in Christmas carols. It's so fun to have him sing along with me.  He learned a little jingle at his school that he enjoys a lot too. He says his favorite song is "It's the Most Wonderful Time", but I think it might be Rudolph. We are all good unless the Sugar Plum Fairy song comes on and then watch out because he will do whatever it takes to get you to change the station!

Made:The trek to Wichita, hence the lateness of this blog.  It pretty much went according to plan. Jack and Nick played a lot of Minecraft and I did a lot of driving. Our Saturday stop in Denver didn't go very well.  The bar and grill we selected wasn't prepared and we had to wait way too long for food. The worst part is that the Internet wasn't reliable so Nick couldn't see the Jayhawk game very well.  The plus side is that the manager took care of the entire bill so that was good. I still don't think we'd frequent the place. 

Felt: Worried that all the stuff for our two week journey wouldn't fit in the truck. Luckily, it was fine and my worry was for not.  It was good that I packed the way that I did, but it wasn't so tight that we have to worry cramming it all in on the way home. 

Planned:  Just helping make Jingle Bell necklaces with Jack's class their last day of school before break. But it turns out that I was able to give his teacher an extra Christmss present and help out the entire morning. I taped down Name Labels on the desk, corrected the homework that was handed in, graded spelling tests, and changed out the Baggie Books. It was pretty busy and the kids were amped. We had fun making the necklaces though. 

Loved: Jack's excitement for finding Elf on the Shelf. We have had such a good time with him this year. If you haven't checked out the blog post about him, you really should. I'd link it, but they don't have that option from the app!

Here are the pics for the week:

My new Christmas display. The inflatable got ruined by rain this year. :(. But I think all the new stuff looks just wonderful. 

I just thought these snow capped trees were so beautiful. It could be that I was just out of whack from being up so high. Our highest point of elevation was around 11,150 feet up. Wowza!

A Week in Review (December 7-13)

A Week in Review (December 7-13)

Watched:  The Grinch Who Stole Christmas with Jack.  Because we only watch it but once a  year, it was like he had never seen it before.  It is so much fun to have the "new" experience with him every year.  I will really miss watching that excitement as he experiences something for the "first time".  The questions that he asked and the way he processed it were so much different.  We both laughed and said that Nick could never be the Grinch, because the first thing he would have taken and would not have returned even when his heart grew was the bells.  :)

Read:  I didn't do much reading this week.  My new book, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, just didn't draw me in like I need it to at this time of year.  I am pretty sure that I will start up a new book next week.

Listened: To a little man be quite mad at me because I suggested that he go to bed at the time his parents suggested, while he was clearly tired.  It has been a long while since we had a baby to put down at sleepy time.  I had forgotten how heartbreaking it is to hear them cry and no that they have no ability to reason with you.  It worked out, but it made me reflect on the old days and how much my little man has grown hard.  I can hardly believe it's just a little over a month until he turns 7.
Made: My annual holiday goodies.  While they are turned out super yummy, there were too many things that needed refrigeration for ideal storage.  I will try to take that into consideration next year.  I took a photo of the list below.  If you happen to think anything sounds delicious and want the recipe just let me know!

Felt: Shortchanged.  How is that dad's get to be the hero of their kid's life while it is usually the mother who toils away and the one they request everything of.  Since moving to Utah, Nick has had to put a lot of hours in, which leaves me doing more than what I am used to.  I knew what I was signing on for when we decided that he would do the pursuit of this project, but some days it still gets tiring.  However, it just smarted when Jack had to answer his homework question about a hero and he answered without a beat, "My awesome dad".  On the flip side, I am glad that I married a man, who even in times of working too many hours, takes the time to stay awesome with his kiddo.  Right now, it is because he is willing to play Minecraft, while I stay steadfast in my  refusal to get sucked into that game too.  I also was surprised while reading the other answers of his classmates that dad's had the overwhelming majority of answer.

Planned: On just doing a quick balancing of my checkbook before I went about other business, but sadly, I found out that we were victims of fraud.  A rather unintelligent fellow opened a package I had sent to Brooklyn and changed the included $5 for a $500 one.  It was an extreme hassle to deal with.  If this ever happens to you, please call me and I will help walk you through it!

Loved: Seeing the lights in Draper Park.  Luckily, we went right out at the conclusion of the Broncos clinching the AFC West (which I love too by the way!).  The weather was beautiful.  Jack enjoyed rolling down the hill and just playing around.  I wanted to take a picture of Jack near the magnificent tree, but my camera phone just couldn't do it.  Instead we got his silhouette, which I think is pretty awesome too.  Afterwards we went and saw a neat light show put on by two houses.  It reconfirmed that Jack hates the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy song.  It just really creeps him out ;)

Here are the pics for the week:

My holiday baking list.

Jack helps the little man unwrap his Christmas present for us.  Like almost all 1 year olds, he was not interested in the process.  :)

Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Week in Review (November 30-December 6)

A Week in Review (November 30-December 6)

Watched: A great comeback victory by the Jayhawks as they played Florida. They got down by 18. I couldn't believe how they rallied and played in the second. On a sadder note, we had to miss the Jazz game that Jack's team was invited too. Luckily his friend on the team took him for us. They got down by a lot too, and rallied, but they didn't get the win like Kansas.

Read: I finished up Dark Triumph. It was a good sequel and has me looking forward to the third book.  I wrapped it up Saturday so I didn't have a new chance to start a new book yet.

Listened: To Jack be super upset about Barley.  We had a moment on Tuesday where we both missed his barking in greeting of us. Then on a Saturday, I was looking for a picture for an old ornament and so I printed out one of Barley and Frank. Jack found it and just broke down. I've tried to talk to Nick, but he feels it's just too large of a commitment for him to take on while he is working so many hours.  I guess I understand, but it still doesn't make it any easier. 

Made: The cutest paper strip trees with Jack's class. They all turned out super cute. The kids had a ton of fun with the project. If I were a first grade teacher, I would add it to my keeper pile!  I was so busy engaging that I didn't get a picture. 

Felt: Exhausted after my volunteer shift at the Scones and Sweet Rolls booth at the Festival of the Trees. Jack's teacher is one of the board members and is in charge of recruiting volunteers so I picked a slot that she needed to fill.  It is amazing the amount of work that goes on. It is said over the 4 days, they sell 19,000 scones. They also sell sweet rolls too. It takes 100 volunteers a day to run the booth.

Planned: On all three of us attending the Festival of the Trees together. Unfortunately, Nick was super busy at work so he was unable to make it. I really thought I was being tricky and taking my kid after the normal bedtime would mean smaller crowds, but I was wrong. There was an unbelievable number of people out to support this awesome cause. You can learn more about this fundraiser HERE. We were able to see Santa and got some fun pictures with him.  I posted a few below.

Loved: Getting all dolled up with my hubby to go some friends Christmas party. Jack cracked me up by saying that I didn't look like me. I asked him what I looked like and he said a woman. I asked him what I usually looked like and he said a mom. Haha  We had a good time talking with a lot of people that come from the KC area. I even got to do a little early Christmas baking. I thought that they turned out quite festive.  They were also quite delicious. 

Here are the pics for the week:
 Several from Festival 

Santa Pictures

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

We clean up pretty nice

Sunday, 30 November 2014

A Week in Review (November 23-29)

A Week in Review (November 23-29)

Watched: Jack have a blast sledding.  On Sunday morning, we woke up to a little more than a dusting.  I knew it was coming so I had bought him a sled the day before.  That morning it took a lot to convince him to go try it. We have an nice little hill at the end of our block that slopes down to a green space so we don't have to drive anywhere.  Finally, I convinced him and we went out. We had so much fun that we decided we need another sled so that we could race. I haven't been sledding in years and I forgot how much fun it was myself.  I forgot my phone so there are no pictures, but I am sure I will have made up for it by the end of the snow season. 

Read:  I finished up The Unbecoming of Mara DyerWell this book was a pretty quick read for me. It got a bit weird at the end and I was left feeling like maybe I had missed something. It definitely ends with a cliffhanger, so if you decide to read it, have the 2nd one close by.  I am also about halfway through Dark Triumph, which is the second book in the His Fair Assassins trilogy. I am enjoying it much more than the first.

Listened: To Christmas carols!  Yeah, it's now officially okay for me to have them on all the time. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree is my absolutely favorite Pandora station this time of year.  On a sadder note, I also listened to the sound of breaking ornaments. It seems to be a rough year for it.  I am hoping we are done with it, but since the tree is in the room that we usually play in, I kind of doubt it. 

Made: Turkey plastic cups to go with Jack's class friendship mix for Thanksgiving. I think the kids had a ton of fun with it. The parents all responded and so we had way too much leftover (as all good feast should!).  We decided to share our bounty with two other classes too, but they just got their's on plates. The students had almost as much fun sharing as they did eating it themselves.

Felt: Sick. I caught a head cold from somewhere. Tuesday I could tell something might be coming on so I got some OJ and Cold-Eze. Wednesday, I was full of a runny nose and felt pretty worn out. You could never tell it by the number of games I played with the boy. I was extra thankful I had done my Thanksgiving shopping early!  Thursday was the worst and I did lots of lying around and hand washing while I cooked. Luckily it didn't take my sense of taste or that would have been a real bummer. Friday, I was starting to feel decent and Saturday, I was back at 95%. 

Planned: To get all my Christmas decorations up. It didn't happen, but we did have a good start. We were blessed with great weather for putting up the outside decorations. It makes me so happy when I drive home. I also love the auto sensor that they are on so I don't have to remember to turn them on or off! I will finish them up this week. They are only up for 3 weeks!  I want to enjoy them as long as possible. 

Loved: That Nick has actually been able to take off all of Thanksgiving break and just be with us.  I am afraid that he will have to pay for it next week and Jack and I will go through withdrawals. The boys have had a ton of playing Minecraft together.  Nick shows him how to build things and play in ways that I just can't.  I just love being around him. His presence is so calming for me. I'm glad that he has lengthened the fuse of my temper and coated the wick with something harder to ignite.

Here are the pics for the week:

Not much snow!

Cute, isn't it?

Well at least he understands that it doesn't come from a store. 

Thanksgiving day 

A good start on the decorations 

Elf on the Shelf. I am doing a separate most about him. You can read it HERE. I am going to update it daily. 

Elf on the Shelf

I'm not the blogger who does cute graphics or fancy pictures. I'm just an average mom who enjoys doing Elf on a Shelf with her son.  Below is a picture chronicle of our time with Elf.  Please note that while our elf likes to have fun and is sometimes a little ornery, I don't do naughty elf. I don't place him anywhere that will have to be moved in the course of our day.  I should also state that I have a pre-plan his adventures and have the vast majority of the supplies together in a box so that I can change him into his next place within 10 minutes or less.

Our elf, Conner, arrives 

Toilet Paper Snowman
      Jack loves this and hopes that Conner leaves the snowman to keep the bathroom decorated.  

Just chilling in the window sill

Apparently Jack's school picture needed a bit of improvement. 

Chilling in his hammock

He "elf"ed us

I think Spider-Man wins this round

Hiding in the tree 
  This was funny because Jack just knew he should be hiding in the tree, but just kept missing him. 

Stocking time

Maybe he was feeling homesick for that cold winter weather 

This looks like its was an uncomfortable way to spend the night

He sees you when you're sleeping

He reminds us that it's the season for giving

Better not hold it too long

Tonight he is brushing up on his reading

I am Spider-man

A special note for our boy

This idea absolutely thrilled Jack. He loved that he could pick up his elf without touching him. He just couldn't get over how funny this one was. 

I thought for sure that he was going to go nuts over this, but he didn't. Their is apparently no Lime Green on a creeper and he should have been a zombie. I guess it just goes to show you never know. 

I had to put him somewhere obvious so I wouldn't forget to grab him when we left on our trip. 

My quick placement so he could watch over him the remaining 14 hours of the drive.

Jack commented that it would be good for him to hide above the door, so that is where he hid. I didn't take a close up, but you can see him at the very right if you look super closely. 

Jack's aunt gave him a jersey for Conner to wear. Jack loved it. I just went for a quick stuck behind a painting look.