Monday, October 26, 2009

PS - stupid banner!

Next to the new pictures I've taken of the kids, my banner looks all out of focus and dark. We need new ones already. Guess it's a good thing I don't have to pay every time I feel like getting new pics, huh?! Expect them sooner rather than later.

Halloween, here we come!

Last night (this morning?) at about 1:30am, Dustin and I stitched and pressed the last of costumes for this year. It was so much better this year than last because we picked costumes that were easier. I knew that Sean's would be easier than Reilly's because his pattern said "1 HOUR" all over it. It only took about 4.5 hours. If we did it first, it would've made Reilly's easier, though. I am baffled at how many different ways there are to achieve the same shirt/pants/jumpsuit. His had significantly less stitching to it, but looks quite good! I think it's the best one we've made yet!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sad, sad story.

Last week, I got a call from a neighbor who was at the emergency room. She informed me that my dog had bit her daughter and they rushed there to treat and report the bite. As a result, Maya was put in quarantine for 10 days for observation. I'm not sure what they were observing, or why they had to retain her for so long, but we followed the law - literally - to the doggy impound. Today was the end of the quarantine, so Sean and I went to the Animal Shelter to pick her up. I paid the fee and followed the girl back to identify my dog. This is a necessity because they do a 'procedure' for release and they needed to do it on the right dog. Well, let me tell you, it was APPALLING! The circumstances that Maya was in for those 10 days are nothing short of abuse! She was wallowing in her own excrement and understandably upset over the whole thing. I went up to the front of the kennel to let Maya smell my hand so she knew it was me, but just as the girl was telling me I couldn't touch her, Maya growled and slowly coward to the back of the kennel. She wouldn't come to the front for anything. I mentioned to the girl that the kennel was incredibly messy and I was concerned that Maya had been in it for the whole 10 days. Dogs are naturally clean animals and don't like to hang out where the pee/poo, so if they cleaned it, they did NOT do a very good job. After the release procedure (and bath) was complete, we met the girl out back for discharge. Maya was excited to get outside, but was unsure about me and Sean. We put her in the car and drove home, but it wasn't until we got in our yard that she seemed to be relaxing into the Maya we knew before her horrific jail time.

Since this morning, she's been very lethargic and her nose is all dry. I'm worried that she may have contracted a bout of kennel cough from the low conditions she was kept in. But it made me and Dustin think. If we had put her under the same conditions as they had - small confines for an extended period, with minimal cleanup - we could be prosecuted for animal abuse. I hope that she doesn't have any sickness that needs to be treated. Firstly, because I would hate to see her suffer anymore for this. And secondly, because I had to pay nearly $200 for her quarantine, I can not afford to spend anything else.

Please, fast and pray for us.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reilly's Costume = DONE!!!

We worked a lot over the weekend to finish Reilly's costume. It wasn't hard, just time consuming. I am always worried about the kids staying warm while still being able to show off their costumes while they trick-or-treat, and this year was considerably easier than last year. Reilly wanted to be a 'blue' princess this time, however since we couldn't get the pattern she liked, she had to come up with a different plan. I don't know where the idea came from, but we settled on her being a hippie instead. I bought the fabric for 50% off, the pattern for $1 and between me and Dustin, it was done in a manner of hours (stretched across three days). So, we made her a tank-top and fleece sweatshirt, flared out her old jeans, added a patch and finished off with a handkerchief for her hair. I think it turned out great as-is, but Reilly's bent on adding peace signs to everything. I'm just going to push it off and then paint one on her face. Hopefully, that will work.

PS - I know the sweatshirt's forever big on her, but she'll be able to wear it more than for Halloween....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stuff, and some stuff... and some more stuff...

Other possible header? Which one's better??

Reilly has started and quit at everything she's ever tried... I'm getting worried about the kid. I put her in gymnastics, soccer and dance and she's hated all three. I need to know - when is it okay to push and when is it okay to let her give up? There's a fine line between pushing and encouraging and I don't think you find out which one you've done until the child turns 20 and resents the heck out of you.

So, recently she's taken to roller skating. I love it because I can do it with her. The roller skating rink here is pretty expensive ($6 per person plus a rental if you need it), but on Thursdays, it's only a dollar. I'm resolving to make my schedule accommodate that next semester so that we can make it a weekly thing. Cheapest sport - EVER!!! Well, if she decides to quit that one, it's swimming. That's the only other thing I can think of. She hated soccer because it was a team sport; she hated dance because she wasn't flexible enough; and she hated gymnastics because she had to be coordinated enough to stand on her hands for a split second. The kid sure is picky! ... Rollerskating it is!

Sean, on the other hand, has taken to many things lately - video games, staying up late, whining... wait, he was already a whiz at that one... Seriously, though. I don't know what to do with that one either. He's become impossible when meal times come around. Reilly's tastes have broaden through the years and she's started becoming very experimental with her taste. Sean is quite the opposite. He's become more and more picky. I'm not really sure how to reverse it, but forcing him to eat has CLEARLY not been working. I started a rule recently where he has to try everything I cook. If he's still hungry once he's done with that, he can have an apple, or a sandwich. It's not working... he's still horrible. :(

Okay, on the up side, both kids are doing GREAT in school!!! Reilly's ahead of her class in reading by two levels and she's right on track with math. We've neglected that at home, so her counting by 2's isn't the best. On our way to Great Grandma's house yesterday, she realized that counting by 2's is just skipping every other number. She'll figure it out soon. We had parent teacher conferences last week and her teacher kept saying how much she loves having Reilly in her class. She's a great example to her friends on behaving and getting her work done. She's a peacemaker among the kids in her desk group. She's also very willing to help her teacher with extra things in the classroom. I think her teacher just loves that she'll do whatever she's asked and doesn't talk much. I was SHOCKED to hear all that from her teacher because last year went so poorly. She hasn't fought with my ONCE to go to school and she has earlier and longer days this year. I'm so proud of the little monkey! :D :D :D

Sean started reading this year because he did so well learning all of his letters and sounds over the summer. He now knows some sight words that he rewrites on notes to give to me when he's mad at me. For example, last night, he didn't want to go to bed, so he turned on the light in his room (while Reilly slept) and wrote me a hate letter. I know you're not supposed to laugh at them when they're being serious, but you wouldn't believe how hard it was just to keep from busting out. Smiling the whole time, he told me why he wrote the letter (something like, "I didn't want to go to sleep because I already knew I would have a bad dream. And you are mean because you said, 'good-night' before I wanted to go to sleep.") and then he read it out loud. It said, "See Sean. I am Sean. I am me." It had a very scary picture of a blob with spikes coming out of it, too. I'm impressed that he's so into reading, but even more impressed that he's trying to write out his feelings. :D :D :D His teacher says he's doing very well in school and, while he doesn't socialize as much as I want him to, he's doing very well with a couple of the boys. We had a field trip last week and he actually sang the songs. His Halloween program is this week and I'm so excited to get it on video! I think it'll be the first program that he's really looking forward to. :D

Oh, and we did some family pics... they didn't turn out very well, but that's - okay.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Go! Fight! Winnnnnn!

Reilly participated in a Mini Cheer Clinic at Timpanogos High this week. Reilly had a blast with her friends learning some cheers to perform at the football game on Friday. We've really been struggling lately with what to do with her. She wants to do something, but has hated everything we've tried. Soccer was disastrous - by far the worst program for her! But she's been bored with ballet lately, too. She used to love it. It's super hard trying to get her there every week. :( So, we took a break from that to try cheering. She loved it, but it was only three days, so who knows if that would last either.

In the picture are two of the young women in my ward, Britney and Alicia (I teach Alicia piano/violin). Also, Rachel (Brit's sis), Brooklyn (also a student of mine) and Elleah (our neighbor).

Here's a video I put together of her pics and videos from the game:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Two months already?!?

I know it's been forever, but I've had a lot on my plate. After four classes and numerous papers, I have finished out my summer semester with ALL A's!! Hoorah! Things suffered - like the state of my house. It's never been as messy as it has been and that's saying a lot. I kept on top of dishes and trash, so it wasn't disgusting, but laundry and the basement got away from me. I don't think that this semester will be different, but we'll be on a better routine because everyone's in school. I hope that makes a difference. ... we shall soon see because SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW!!!

It's crazy that the summer's already over. I'm excited that we won't have kids around all the time, though. It's quite wearing to have kids screaming, laughing and crying ALL DAY. So, my neighbors both go to this school (North Ridge) that's supposed to be the best school in the district. Plus, it has an orchestra... but they suck! I mentioned that school is tomorrow, right? Well, we tried to transfer Reilly to that school so that she could participate in the orchestra and I could carpool with the other moms next door, but they won't let her in! They have pushed me off all summer and yesterday told me that I should call back on Thursday (the first day of school) to see if they had a spot for her. Well, screw that! I need to know ahead of time where she's going. I hate them.

Okay, one last thing - the backyard is DONE! We have grass and landscaping and a patio and FREEDOM FROM TRAFFIC! Finally! Here are the pics from before and after.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I do have some pictures and stories to blog about, but I haven't been prioritizing it lately. We moved a family into the duplex next door and she had next to NOTHING! It made me jealous because her house looks so polished, so I decided to tackle decluttering my house a little at a time. It's a lot harder than I anticipated it, though. So, it's taking a while to get through the junk. So far, I've done the hall closets, kid's room, basement and living room. I need to finish getting rid of crap in the basement (toys, shoes and camping stuff), but am having a hard time deciding what to keep and what to chuck... ANYHOO! While I'm up to my ears in homework, kids and chores, I still want something else to do in my down time... maybe something to help me fall asleep at night... I need a book! Preferably one that I can purchase on a CD or audiobook file, but I want it to be GOOD! So, if you have suggestions, please let me know soon. Thanx!

Monday, May 25, 2009

More Family Pics!

In March, our Young Women took a trip to the Draper Temple tour and while we were traveling, I noticed a bridge that was so cute! I thought it'd be a great place to take pictures; and, since we go up to Riverton (just west of Draper) every other week, it'd be an easy stop along the way. So, yesterday, we had planned to do it, but when we got out for church, it was raining. It rained all morning and into the early afternoon. I just about gave up when I noticed some blue peeking through the gray clouds. We got all dressed up, grabbed the camera and some allergy medicine, and left for Great Grandma's house. It was GREAT weather up there. Utah's crazy for weather changes! Not quite like Michigan-crazy, but just going up over a mountain, or through a canyon and you've got totally different weather. Just over the point of the mountain going into Salt Lake County, it was beautiful! We took some pictures in front of the bridge, but it wasn't as pretty up close. I thought it was brick, but it was stucco... yuck! We took a few pictures around it and then followed the path up and over the bridge to find an old railroad track. It was perfect! I didn't bring the tripod (I didn't plan on taking posed pictures of the whole family), so the ones of all of us aren't the best, but the pics of the kids wandering on the tracks were GREAT!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bad weather pool party

Last week Sean's preschool class was supposed to celebrate the end of the school year by having an outdoor water day, but the weather was bad, so it was postponed for today. The weather was better, but still not ideal. It was 75, overcast and windy! His teacher said he spent most of the time wrapped in his towel, but he did make out once or twice for a picture. :) He will be attending his first preschool graduation this week (Thursday).

Reilly's class has cramed in three month's worth of activities into the last two weeks of school. Today, she was supposed to bring a board/card game that could help the students work on math skills. Mrs. C. called it a Math-A-Thon. Reilly wanted to bring Monopoly, but I said no because it has too many pieces. After the longest and most pointless freak-out of her life, she agreed to bring Connect Four instead. I volunteer on Tuesdays so I got to see how it turned out. She plopped her game on the table and suddenly became the most popular kid in the class. All the other kids wanted to play her game. She turned bipolar and went from raging mad to deliriously happy in less than 10 seconds! She said it was so fun to play with all the kids she didn't know very well and was glad she brought that game afterall. Smart girl!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's DONE!!!

Last night we finished working on the duplex - FINALLY! We went into the project thinking that it'd take a month to do it, but between school, work and kids, it took three times that! We have someone moving in in two weeks and I'm so relieved it's over. :) Check out all of our hard work.

Okay, so the kitchen one doesn't look like anything's changed, but I did spend two days cleaning, so it counts! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Newest Pictures

When I got the camera back, I decided to try to get some pics of the kids. They're so cute! And doesn't Sean look like a little man with hands in pockets? Actually, I swore he was going to catch up to Reilly by now and she's still a good head taller than him. Hmmm...

Sean's field-trips

Last month we went to the firehouse for Sean's preschool field-trip. He was very reluctant to participate in the fireman's intro to fire safety... well, at first. Then, we got to see the fire truck with the lights on and sirens going and he was all kinds of excited! He even got a hat that he swore was going to protect him from the fires! What a boy!

A few months ago, we went to the dinosaur museum. We only stayed for part of the time because Reilly got sick on the way and Sean was working on getting sick. Actually, this was the sickness that I blogged about! It was horrific trying to drive home safe/fast enough to beat the puke! :) Hahahaha, it's funny now, but was totally NOT at the time.

PS - I did get pics of my kids, but this one was pretty cool. They're looking at a diarama of a bunch of dinosaurs. Sean's in there somewhere... I can just barely make out the back of his head.

Seems as though I'm puking out blogs lately, huh?!

On Easter, we went up to Dustin's grandparents house for lunch/dinner and an egg-hunt. I took the camera so that I could take pictures of the kids and forgot to bring it home. Shortly after that, Phil and Judy came into town and visited them. They sent the camera with them, but it never made it out of the RV. Instead, it took a detour through Michigan. :) So, now that I have it back, I'm going to puke out a few more blogs. Hahhahah! I'm cracking me up!

So, this year was the first year that Sean didn't need help looking for eggs. We walked around behind him while he ran everywhere looking frantically like he had competition. Reilly did really well finding all the possible eggs, but I am afraid that she's not going to like it for very much longer... unless we get more challenging with hiding places.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I cannot become that woman!

While Dustin and I were out this evening, I noticed a woman who didn't seem to be concerned how she looked. Is that a good way to put it? I'm not obsessed with my appearance, however, I am vain enough to care how others will perceive me. We caught her just as she was leaving the store. She may have been tired from shopping, but she breathed out of her mouth and I could hear her from a good 10 yards away. She wore a moo-moo, flip flops and a very messy pony-tail. Needless to say, she wasn't a very attractive woman. I always notice these women because, secretly, I fear that I will become on of those women that everyone points and laughs at. So, I turned to Dustin and said, "If I ever get that lazy, would you please shoot me in the face..." Without hesitating, he answered, "Yes." But I wasn't done. I continued, "If I don't die, then at least I'll have an excuse." Is that not the funniest thing I've ever said? Please say 'yes' because Dustin didn't even try to laugh to make me feel good. :-\ I'm still laughing at it!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Okay, last one...

We've had a lot of visitors this year! Rebekah came (and brought the taxi), Mom came (and brought the red-race-car) and Phil and Judy are expected in any minute! We love seeing family; I just hope Sean doesn't get too used to getting toy cars at every trip! :) They are all his favorites, though. Thanks, guys!
PS - the other toy is a bus that Beth brought back from Malta for Sean. Anything with wheels - and he's a happy camper!

Sean's Easter Program

Sean's a pro at his preschool programs now! He participated the WHOLE time and didn't whine AT ALL!! :) I also have pictures of his trip to the Fire Station... he didn't do as well there...

Easter Sunday

Mom bought the kid's Easter outfits this year and they're wayyy cute! I love Sean in orange now! I have better pictures of them, but I left my camera at Great-Grandmas house. I'll upload those later. Cuties!

Teacher Appreciation Project

Next blog - Teacher Appreciation Week! Reilly's class has a few moms that are not very motivated to help out in the classroom, but I'm so excited when I meet another mom like me! This mom has kids that are Reilly and Sean's same age and her oldest and Reilly are both of our firsts. (Maybe that's why were so involved??) She signed up to help with this project and the other moms bailed on the last minute, so she was looking for help. I didn't even know it was going on when she approached me about it. Our ideas for the door-decoration were off the wall, out of control! Neither of us had ever done it before... so we got some help and this is what we came up with. You can't tell from the pictures, but we had all the students come up with something they're thankful for and the 'speak'-bubbles have what everyone turned in. Our kids even helped with the clouds. I was very happy with how it turned out.

Catch-up Blogs

The next few blogs are short, but I just transferred all my pictures from my camera and found some events that were documented (shaky, but documented nontheless) that are very blog-worthy.

First one - Reilly's family birthday dinner!

We had it at Great-Grandparents house. We had pizza and cupcakes. I totally forgot about the cake for her friend party, so I'm glad I found this picture. Plus, she's still toothless in it! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fun with corn starch!

I remember learning about cornstarch and water when I was in elementary school. I used to do it at home... and got in trouble for using up all the cornstarch. :\ So, I taught the kids about it last week and we played for over an hour. Sean was especially into making his hands sink into the bowl, so he got considerably messier than Reilly.

Last time I checked...

Winter's over! Good grief... the snow is never ending. This is what I saw when I took Maya outside this morning. It's really pretty, but also very wet and cold!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Revisiting Radiohead

I heard a very cool song recently and couldn't tap my toe to it without noticing that it's not in the typical time signatures. I had to search it to hear it again and found that it was Radiohead. I always liked them, but I guess I forgot that they exsisted... and that they were very inventive with their music. The song 15 Steps from the In Rainbows album is awesome! It's got a great driving beat, but it's in 5! I'm a sucker for individuals in a sea of poser-faces. Love it! Go listen for yourselves.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What a performance!!

We are a family of performers! This past week/month (sorry for the delay), we've had a number of grand performances by the children. From Reilly's desperations for dropping out of school, to Sean's emense hunger that would soon take his life, I think we should be up for Emmy's! Okay, but seriously, I performed twice at the string masterclass. The first was pretty good, but nothing special. I had only been playing Vitali's Chaconne for just over a month and hadn't mastered much of it. I only played half the piece and none of that was from memory. The second time I played it, with accompaniment and without music, it was significantly better. For the most part, I think my biggest weakness for live performances is that the audience can tell where my 'trouble spots' are. Just by watching my facial expressions, I give it all away. So, this time, my teacher encouraged me to focus on the song, style and movement of the piece instead of section, after section, after section... it's a long piece with a lot to listen to. I tried my best, and successfully (for the most part) managed to pull the wool over the eyes of my fellow string players. I focused on how I wanted the sections to be expressed and didn't give myself time to get nervous. I struggled - that didn't change - but I managed to do something with the song. Hooray! My best performance ever! I guess the kids have helped me with that!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quick 'Nothing' Blog

It's been a month! A whole month! Sorry...

No pictures this time. I'm working on it. I've been busy with school, teaching and other such nonsense, and haven't had time ... well, I have had time... but don't wanna! *whines*

I went to visit the Draper Temple and got to see all the magnificant art work throughout. It was amazing! I've never been on a temple tour, so that was pretty fun for me. I went with the young women and got to know a couple of them better, too. Good times. Plus, I'm secretly 17! Hahah! School's fine except I think UVU highers bone-head professors... I think I'll do well this semester.

Reilly's still done with school. She keeps asking me if she's going to start first grade yet. One morning she went to the calendar and counted the days left in March thinking that April would mark the beginning of her first grade year. Funny! Well, actually it's not that funny... imagine fighting with a six-year-old every morning to go to school?! Now that HAS to stop!

Sean's got a girl in his class named Ella that's helping him learn his "L" sound. He loves her because she treats him like he's a baby, and who wouldn't love to be waited on everywhere he went?! He always wants to tell me what he's done in school (most of which includes Ella), but struggles to say her name. He's getting better every time he tries! :)

Dustin's doing really well in school. He and a girl from his study group continue to get the highest scores on tests and I think they have a little rivalry going on. It's great to finally see him excited about his future! Onlllly, I don't really like when he started siting medical terms for things that have layman terms that I can pronounce ... not to mention, KNOW!

There, HAPPY!?

Monday, February 23, 2009

At six and four, we're still having firsts...

Yesterday and today have marked the first time my kids were sick at the same time. I've always been lucky enough to suffer through sickness one kid at a time, but this weekend, we had no such luck... Especially today! All the whinning and crying... needs and clinging... TIMES TWO! I do NOT know how Mom did it! How can you handle more than that?

Reilly's sixth birthday!

I don't do parties! It's another Rolling Apple thing... Mom hated them, and so do I! Well, I caved and let Reilly have one. She invited 9 friends and 8 came. YIKES! Actually, it wasn't that bad. They just wanted to watch a movie the whole time. We played a few games, had pizza and opened presents. The end! It was good 'n' short. :)

The Beck and I go skiing!

Rebekah and I 'hit the slopes' while she was here and we ... literally... hit... the slopes. I'm not sure about her, but I had fun even though we spent more time in the snow than on it. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Most insightful Valentine's Day - ever!

While I was growing up, I thought it would be grand to be an adult! How glamorous! Everyone seemed so mature and intellegent! But, the problem is that people don't change. There is the same stigma as when I was in highschool. Politics and connections are EVERYWHERE! People are no more willing to go outside of their comfort-zone to meet new people. They're no more mature than a 16 year old. Why would I have dramatized getting older? It is true that young people long to be older (and 'free'), and vice versa. I guess I'm not wishing I was younger. Just that I wish that I knew it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. This bring me to the point! Find joy in each stage of life. It's a simple concept, but without happiness, you cannot have joy. I tend to think the 'as soon as...' way.

As soon as we finish school, all will be well in the Brown home. As soon as Reilly and Sean are going to school full-time, all will be well. As soon as we establish ourselves, all will be well. BUT! Here's the thing! All is well - now!

We have each other, our health, support from families who love us, etc. The list goes on. Find joy where you're at today. Here's my joy today. We spend the later afternoon into the night together. Watched a movie on my bed, tickled kids, ate fatty snacks, and cuddled! What could possibly be better? This happens every weekend and we rarely miss an opportunity to cuddle and watch a movie (good or bad - as was the case this evening).

Dueling Faces: The Ugly-Off

Rebekah came to visit and she and I have a similar bad habit... The two combined could only result in the following video! It was inevitable!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Home Alone!

I don't usually pick Reilly up from school on Mondays. The girl I carpool with does... therefore, I always forget that she gets out early on Mondays. So, since Rebekah is here visiting, I decided to skip my orchestra class today to hang out. The plan was to pick up Reilly from school, have lunch and do something fun. When we got to school, though, Reilly was gone. I called the girl that I carpool with and she had dropped Reilly off at the house. She was there ALONE for between 15 and 20 minutes. We rushed over to make sure she was okay, but when I got in the house, this is what I saw.

We made cookies yesterday to give out as Valentines for her class and she had started frosting them. She said, 'There wasn't anyone here, so I am finishing the cookies.' I'm so glad she doesn't freak out easily!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sean goes to the Bean Museum!

Sean's getting better and better with this preschool thing! They had another field trip and went to a museum that consists of stuffed animals. It's creeeeepy...

Sean learned a lot of sign language to show us while they were at the museum, but I couldn't get him to do it on camera. He'd do it with the class ... my camera wouldn't take the picture... and he'd refuse to do it just for me. So, I got creative!

Cat and the Fiddle

Today in Kindergarten, Reilly's class had Nursery-Rhyme Dress-up for Fun Friday. We found tons of options (loads of Marys, Miss Moffat, Bo Peep), but eventually decided that the cat and the fiddle from "Hey, Diddle, Diddle" was the easiest. This morning, I converted her headband into cat ears and she wore almost all black. We practiced what she'd play... just incase her teacher wanted her to... but she didn't wind up playing what we practiced. Oh, well. It still turned out cute! :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random Memory

While teaching Reilly to tie her shoes, it reminded me of some assessment tesing I had in Kindergarten or 1st grade. We were supposed to show that we could tie shoes. I didn't wear tie shoes, so my teacher said that I could tie her shoes... only, she had those loafers with the tiny laces! When I couldn't do it, all she said was, "Nice try." I remember thinking, 'how am I supposed to tie these???'

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kids say the darndest things!

Recently, I've been noticing all the -isms that we (Dustin and I) have created in our family. We both come from dramatically different upbringings, so we both have stuff to bring to the table. Along the way, though, we've made it our own. For example, we both had 'play clothes' and 'school' or 'church clothes.' Our children have 'Saturday,' 'school' and 'church' clothes. We say 'Saturday' because our kids didn't understand that playing at school is different than playing at home. So, if either of them try to put on 'Saturday' clothes during the week, we say, "You can't wear your Saturday-pants to school!" They almost always respond with, "But my teacher said we can wear our Saturday-clothes to school..."

BTW, I'm sick to DEATH of hearing, "My teacher doesn't like when we ..." or "My teacher said I have to ..." I have a new thing. Teacher sayings/advice stays at school! When they're at home, Mom and/or Dad are the teacher!

Dustin brought 'butt-kickings' ... which actually mean frantic tickling... not literally kicking butts.. ????? I brought 'bad-one' that Sean has embraced like you wouldn't believe. Everyone is a bad-one! It's too cute!

PS- Reilly took both of the above pictures. Talented, no?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reilly's Funny!

Reilly came home from school today with some random trivia. She said that Walt Disney was afriad of mice. I thought it was cute, so we made a video of more fun facts. Check it out on YouTube.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just blogging to myself... again...

I frequently talk to myself in the car while driving (holding my cell phone up to my ear to avoid gawking looks ... yes, I have received many...) in order to keep a focused thought. Do you do it? If you haven't ever done it, do try it. It's very good conversation ... yiiiikes... that sentence scared me a bit, too.

As many of you know, I volunteer in Reilly's class room twice a week for an hour or so each time. It is far above, beyond and around the corner from the expectation of 15-20 minutes a week, but I enjoy it so much that I don't mind in the least. This is where my talking to myself begins. Oh, before that, though.

This is a blog of my beliefs and opinions. It is NOT intended to sound condescending or strive to convert you, the reader. I am just sharing.

This blog will be broken down to two sections, with two... sections in each ... section... Let's say two categories with two subcategories in each. Better? Sorry...

Today, I realized I have two major reasons for helping out in the classroom.

1. I feel that the success or fail rate of the public school system is a direct result of parental involvement. The more a parent is involved with the child at home, the more the public school teacher can do in the classroom. I think we are put together in families with the same genetic makeup is to have to really deal with one another. I know that Reilly needs repetition because her dad learns best with repetition. I know that Sean has a horrible temper and is extremely picky because I have a horrible temper and am extremely picky. Without dealing with our similarities this way, how can I expect a teacher to guess how to best get through to my children? By knowing this ahead of time, I can help to fill in gaps that will undoubtedly form over the course of a year.

2. I also feel that the more support public school teachers get in the classroom, the more learning can be accomplished. In a perfect world, our public systems would have enough money to employ several teachers to a room, but we are far from that world.

Now, for part two of my conversation... with myself. I have to think that we, as a society, have the control to change the schools to accommodate our needs! I HAVE to! See, I cannot send my child day after day to something that is failing and has no hope! I don't exactly know what to do, but this blog... but I'm trying.

I thought of two problems with our society when it comes to schooling.

1. Lower taxes does not help in correcting the problems. When a politician says 'lower taxes' they don't mean that the taxes will be lowered anyway! They mean that the tax increase that was scheduled to happen... won't. So, why put your vote toward something that is shady to begin with? Lowering taxes hurts schooling way too much. It is my opinion that the jobs that are the most important pay the least. For example, law enforcement and fire fighters receive minimal wages for, essentially, saving lives. ?? Teachers, the leaders of our youth, are barely compensated for helping to shape them into well-rounded and successful adults (too much credit? well, you get the idea...). Wishful thinking, I guess. Maybe if there was more money given to schools, they would be able to be pickier about who they placed in such esteem positions. (I'm cracking myself up... I hope you're not taking this toooo seriously!)

2. Our society is too caught up in having advanced technology, big houses, bigger cars, the biggest hair! Not enough emphasis is put on continued education. Parents who continue their learning and/or show enthusiasm for their own education will produce offspring with the same passion for learning. So, turn off the computer and pick up a book? ... whatever...

Okay... I'm done!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Retail seasons

I was at Target in early November and noticed something very odd. Right next to the sweaters and heavy coats were ... bikinis?? I had a picture, but I think it got deleted off my phone. It was the craziest thing! I notice it every year, but this year it seemed to change to summer a bit earlier than usual. Before Thanksgiving, in fact. Anyway, weird, wild stuff. :\

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Remember College?

It's been a few years, but I find that few things have changed since attending WMU. The school of music is the same. It's a collection of students with the same major complaining about the same stuff and acting out the same way... Man! Music majors are WEIRD! :) Love it! Anyway, but the real thing that I keep thinking about is, 'Where do these people come from?!' Not like, where did they grow up, graduate highschool, etc. More like, why don't I see the same people? I remember walking to school from my dorm every day and seeing different people every time. I left at the same time, I went the same way to class and arrived at about the same time, but never saw the same person twice! So, I've only attended one class twice, but it happened. Both times, same thing.

I've always been really interested in other people... of course, from afar. I used to sit at the Dalton Center and people watch. It's fun to see how people deal with everyday things... like, two people walking toward each other. How will they correct it? Who will be the chicken? I'm lame. Well, it just got me thinking.

Another thing is - why do professors feel the need to tell you their life history on the first day of class? I really don't care! They should say, 'I'm the teacher, you're the student. Let's get down to business.' My first professor talked about himself for almost half the class and then said, "Oh, that's probably more than you cared to know, huh?!" I wanted to shout, "I don't care to know any more than your name, office hours and syllabus for the class!!!" Well, today, he was out done! I'm stupid and have to take a lame-o math class and the professor in that is younger than me. She didn't talk boastfully like the other professors have, but she mentioned that she has a three-week old son named Jayson (why do I know how to spell his name, you ask? ... well, don't ask) probably fifty times in the first hour!

So, Nina... they really do stay the same, huh?!

Toothless Wonder

Reilly had quite a week this week! She lost two teeth in two days. The whole ordeal probably wasn't that fun either. She started off the week banging her front teeth (that were already loose) on a dresser. The hit made one tooth incredibly loose and painful when she ate or talked. So, Dustin pulled it out. That part wasn't bad, but she was nervous for it. Then, the very next day, she banged her other tooth (the one that was being pushed out funny) on Sean's head. We always joke that his head is a weapon, but this time, it caused some damage. Reilly's tooth didn't fall out on it's own, though. Dustin had to pull that one as well. This time, it wasn't so easy. Reilly was nervous, but the tooth was pushed back toward her tongue. It was hard for her to do much without causing pain. She said she couldn't even close her mouth. She kept putting a 'bubble' in her mouth. It's what they do in kindergarten to keep their mouths shut. That was the only way she was comfortable. Dustin tied floss around the tooth and tugged it, but the floss broke. She cried and bled! It was tramatic for me, too. I can't stand when they're in that much pain. Plus, the whole losing teeth thing grosses me out, too. :\ Anyway, she had to prepare for the final pull, but was very brave and let him. That pull didn't hurt and her gums didn't bleed again once the tooth was out, so it's over... for now...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Late Christmas Pics

This Christmas was quite different from others. We stayed on a tight buget because we've blown it in years past and regreted it. We made it under budget and wound up spending a bit after Christmas during sales. We got some fun presents for everyone. I got a new camera (Canon Rebel) that will be coming in the mail shortly. Dustin got a very nice watch, a new jacket (thanks, Nina!) and a new wireless router... haha... just kidding. :) The kids got new clothes and some little things. Reilly decided that she wanted a Peek-a-Boo and Sean got a new airplane. We also got some great presents from family for the kids. Annie and Dharma got Sean Hot Wheels and he decided that they are his favorite Aunt and cousin! He is so funny about those cars! He thinks he can read because he knows when a car is a Hot Wheel! :) They also got Reilly a Pet Shop set. It had three pets and some small sports themed thingers... I don't understand why everything has to be SOOOOO small! She'll undoubtedly loose all the pieces, but has named the pets and will sleep with them for the next month. Thanks, Annie!

Sean didn't ask for anything this year. I had a hard time shopping for him because I don't want to house the stuff that he'd like. I don't have any more room for toys, so I got him a game for his Leapster. He was stoked! Anything Cars, right!?

Reilly just wanted to ask Santa for something. This was the only present she asked for... she's an easy kid! :)

I think they had more fun climbing on the couch than retrieving the cheap chocolate I gave them...
The most important thing for me this year was to teach the kids that Christmas isn't about getting presents and that even the presents they do get are from someone who cares a great deal for them. Their focus couldn't have been better! They were very appreciative for what they got and I was happy to see them so easily satisfied.
PS: The books were GREAT! Especially the Biscuit books. Reilly's so addicted to reading lately.

All she wants for Christmas...

Reilly's front two teeth have been teetering by a thread of skin that she is as emotionally attached to as she is physically attached! Today, she finally let Dustin yank (really, it was bumped) it out. It barely bled and she didn't notice that it was out until Dustin showed her the tooth... Now, because her other tooth is slowly being pushed forward, she looks, to me, like an ogre! Hahaha! We tried all night to try to get it out, but she wasn't having it. She's not ready to let it go, I guess.