Saturday, December 29, 2007

Our Christmas

Christmas Day was great at our house this year. I've already mentioned that my parents were here -- making it really special to share it with them.

Aside from the early wakings, I really don't think we could have had a better day!

We did not put all the presents out for the kids. We saved 5 presents each back for "Boxing Day" (December 26th). We always do this and it's really nice because it makes Christmas last a bit longer. Plus, it's bringing some of Rich's traditions into our family traditions. The presents aren't big -- just books or puzzels or DVD's -- but it's still nice.

Anyway, we kept five each back for boxing day and we kept 5 each hidden downstairs for "later" in the day.

And this was still how crowded our tree was!

Santa does not wrap his presents at our house. He gives one present and leaves it out. This is another "tradition" we've carried over from England. When Rich was growing up, Father Christmas only left one present and left it out unwrapped.

It's nice because the kids can see their big Santa present and play with it!

Both boys were really excited! Sam got his "Big GeoTrax" that he's talked about over and over since Thanksgiving! He loves it! It's a fantatic toy -- he loves trains so this is perfect! It's not Thomas, but it's "Trains"!

And remember how I said Josh asked for the Pokemon Battle Dome that was $59? And got HORRIBLE reviews? And we talked him out of it? Well about a week before Christmas, Amazon had it on sale for $10.99 plus free shipping. I can handle $11 for a crappy toy to see the look of surprise on his face. And after that boy in his class told him there was no such thing as Santa, this was a great way to put that belief right back there!

And it is a very poorly made toy, but he likes it. So does Sam. And oddly enough, this is the only picture I have of Josh with it on Christmas day -- I have lots of Sam playing with it (and I have lots of Josh playing with the GeoTrax) -- I guess Josh likes his new Nintendo DS Lite better!

But he told me that night he was really happy he got the Battle Dome from Santa. And even though we'd told him that he had to think of something else to ask Santa for, this was what he really wanted. So it was worth the $11 in the end!

It took us quite a while to open the presents. The kids wanted to stop and play with the things they had already recieved, then when the tree presents ran out, we brought a few others up and they were just as excited about the DVD or PJ's or whatever the "minor" present was at that time.

In the evening, we played some games and ate more food and had a great time! We were all tired when it was time to put the boys to bed, but the adults persevered! We watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on DVD (a Christmas present from the boys) and then went to bed fully content and happy!

My parents were supposed to be here through Boxing Day, but after a consultation with the Weather Channel, they decided to leave on Boxing Day and avoid the snow storms that were coming over the next few days. So, they packed up their car and left about lunch time on Boxing Day. It was sad to see them go, but it was nice to have them here for a week too!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Eve Recap....

Okay, so Christmas was three days ago, I know... I've been really, really, really slack.

My parents were here for Christmas. It was really nice having them here. The last three Christmases were "just us" so it was nice to have some family to share the holiday with again!
It's always fun when my parents come. I love going out to sushi with my mom. She knows what to order and the company is always fun! My dad sometimes comes, but he doesn't like it as much as we do! Anyway, we went out one day before Christmas (my dad and Sam came) and had some sushi! Yum!

We also discovered the most fantastice ever wine shop near us. It's just opened and it has the largest, and most reasonably priced wines I've ever seen. Rich and I actually went there on a "date" the Saturday before Christmas -- my parents babysat and we went out and spent an hour in the shop! Rich actually stopped the manager and thanked him for opening the shop near us! We found wines from Australia (like Grant Burge) that we have not seen since leaving there! And at reasonable prices. Plus, some of the cheap stock standard usual wines were about $2 cheaper than at the grocery store. We're going back tomorrow!

Anyway, Christmas Eve we did the usual -- we went to dinner and then drove around looking at the Christmas Lights in our neighborhood.
The best thing was watching my dad and the boys have dessert. We didn't have our cameras with us, but we did get some from the mobile phones. It was seriously a commercial moment!
Sam was sitting on my dad's lap and Josh was next and they were all three sharing the chocolate mountain of cardiac arrest!

I have to tell you, my dad was in seventh heaven with the boys there sharing with him!

When we got home, the boys wrote their letter to Santa, then spread out the reindeer food and it was off to bed!

Luckily, they both fell asleep quickly! And they slept for a long time too --- hahaha! Right!

Josh was up at 1:00, 2:30, 4:3o and 5:30. I made him stay in bed until 6:00! But more on that and Christmas Day tomorrow... or later...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ten days?

I can't believe it's been 10 days since I posted something! I guess the Christmas Season really made me lose track of time!

I promise to post more about our Christmas later -- an update and pictures from my NEW camera (hooray!)

But for now, a bit of pre-Christmas pictures!

We tried to keep the kids occupied and busy before Christmas. So one thing we did was get out some older toys that we don't play with much -- mostly because they take up room or need to be put together or both!

One of their favorite things to play with is our Thomas the Tank Engine train set. We play with it quite a bit, but normally don't put the whole thing together. We did this year. It took up our whole living room!
This picture doesn't show the whole thing. We added more so it would go around the tree -- it really did take up the whole room!

At one point we were all down working the different switches on the track and trying to keep all the engines running. It took all of us -- including my parents (who were here for Christmas) to keep things flowing smoothly!

We all had fun playing with it!

I'll be trying to catch up on all my posts and reading over the next few days! I hope everyone had a very Happy Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Time to Brag

I'm going to brag about Josh again. Sometimes I feel funny about it because so many people have issues with their kids and how they struggle with school. But I'm so proud of him I just have to "brag!"

Josh came home from school yesterday with a note in his backpack saying he was accepted into the "Gifted Program."

I have no idea what that means, other than he starts next month going once a week to a special class with other "Gifted" first graders.

He was a bit too cool...

Me: Wow Josh! You've been accepted into the Gifted Program! That's fantastic!

Josh: Yes Mom, I know, I went last week!

Me: What? You had your test? Why didn't you say something when I asked if you saw Mrs. Gifted Teacher's Name?

Josh just shrugged and started mowing down the Cheerios Snack Mix we got in the mail (review coming soon, but let me just say, YUM!)

So anyway, Rich and I are very excited for him. I mean, we knew he was smart, but this is fantastic. Apparently, they focus on "the process" rather than "the result" in problem solving. And they have quite high expectations placed on them. We have an "Open House" in January so we can meet Mrs. Gifted Teacher and find out more about the program.

Josh really likes going to Mrs. Gifted Teacher (he's had to go several times for tests) because he says she has fun problems for him to solve.

I don't want him to be overwhelmed, but I do want him to be challenged. Something that is clearly not happening in the "regular" first grade classroom. He is still learning, but he just picks up on things so quickly that sometimes he gets a bit bored with the repetition.

So, we'll see how well he does in the Gifted Program. He has to "qualify" every year -- keep his grades up and such.

So, that's my brag for the day!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Getting Out of The House

Well, there's only 8 more days left until Christmas and I'm now starting to feel like things are under control! Rich was sick this weekend so he stayed in bed for most of the weekend. Poor guy had a horrible sore throat and awful cough!

After a boring day at home on Saturday, the boys and I went to the Botanic Gardens with a friend on Sunday. It was not a very nice day outside -- it rained all afternoon -- but we were lucky enough to get there in the morning before the rain! We did get caught in it a bit on the way to the car, but we'd done what we wanted to do!

Before hand, we took the boys to Dunkin' Donuts. Sam enjoyed his. Can you tell?

Yummy Donuts!

The "Big Boys" rode in the back and played with their Pokemon Cards. Of course you can see traces of donuts on their faces too...

Goin' to the Botanic Gardens...

Here the boys are standing outside a fountain that was turned off. I just blogged about going to the Botanic Gardens last month. I think I mentioned there how the Gardens have turned off all their fountains to conserve water during the current drought we have here in Georgia. That's why the fountain is turned off.

At the Gardens

We rode the train... again...

Goin' for a ride....

We only rode it once because the line was really long... and while we were waiting in line it began to sprinkle ever so lightly. They will not run the train in the rain (that sounds like a Dr. Seuss book...) or even if it's sprinkling. Luckily, the sprinkles were short lived and we got to ride. I think there would have been at least one very upset three year old if we didn't get to ride it!

After the train ride, we went to the Children's Garden. This place is wonderful! All sorts of interactive displays and fun things for the kids. Josh and the other two played "explore" with my friend Sherry (the "other mother") running after them. Sam wanted to go all over the place and I followed him around. His favorite part was the Vegetable Garden. Here he measured himself
against plants,

Look how Tall I am!

rode a cow...


And rocked on the front porch:

Sam's Rocker

This is an actual conversation with Sam we had while here.

Sam: This is my house Mommy!

Me: It is? I like it!

Sam: Yes, I have cows in my back yard.

Me: You do? Cows?

Sam: Yes, cows and chickens.

Me: Well that's cool. Should we feed them?

Sam: Yes! (Then he hands me some pretend food and we go out back to the "animals")

Me: Should I feed the duck or the sheep?

Sam: No Mommy, they are already eating! (and they were -- they had their heads down in the dirt). Let's feed the chicken some eggs...

Hmmm... Something tells me a chicken would not want to eat an egg. But I'm no farmer, what do I know?

After Sam and I played in his house we went to find the others. They were giving a performance at the Ampitheatre.


I never did figure out what the play was about, but I know it had something to do with Pokemon.

Of course.

And on our way out, we even managed to run into Santa again! This time it was a "Garden Variety" Santa.

Garden-Variety Santa

And *phew* Sam asked for the "Big GeoTrax" again!

And that was the most fun we had over the weekend! I'm glad Rich is on the mend because it's one thing to tell the boys they can't play with Daddy when he's working, but it's much harder to tell them that when he's sick!

Friday, December 14, 2007


It's amazing how much there is to do this time of year! I have been so busy doing nothing that my head is spinning!

So, this week Sam and I had a Christmas Party with one of the Mom's Groups I belong to. It was lots of fun. I picked him up early from school and brought him over.

He was so busy playing that I had to force him to sit down and eat some lunch! Thankfully, there was Pizza there -- I think that may be his most favorite food ever! I can always get him to eat that. And grapes.

Anyway, the party was lots of fun. Mary did Story Time...

She's going to kill me for posting this!

Her son Jack and Sam played together very nicely. Of course there were several photo ops of them playing really well, but as soon as I got my camera, they broke up. Here's the one picture I did get.


The only thing that tore them away from that toy was a visit from "The Big Guy."


He looks a bit "shy" in this picture, but he was really excited. He ran right up to Santa and stared talking to him and asking him for his "Big GeoTrax" (which today he told me he no longer wants.... too bad kid!)

Jack then decided to entertain us all with some Karaoke...


He's a trip! So funny and cute and he rivals Sam for "Pickelpotamus" status! It's no wonder the two of them get along so well.

Yesterday, Josh came home from school and announced that a kid in his class doesn't believe in Santa!!!! He told Josh that the Mom's and Dad's put the presents out and pretend to be Santa. He couldn't believe this boy would tell him that!

He said, "But Mom! We know Santa's real, don't we?"

I said, "That's right! Poor (boy's name) he won't be getting any presents from Santa because Santa only brings gifts to who believe."

Josh: "Yeah, and do you know HOW I know he's real? The Santa Tracker on the computer!"

I have to tell you I was so upset after this conversation! I mean, I know he's a smart kid and I know this is probably the last year for him to believe, but I was hoping it would last just a bit longer!

I think he wants to still believe this year so he does. Next year I think he'll start to have his doubts.

It's so much fun to see how excited the boys get about seeing Santa and writing him letters and leaving Reindeer food out on Christmas Eve. And to see how their eyes light up on Christmas Morning when all the presents are under the tree...

I guess this year we'll just have to enjoy it and hope next year we can keep the magic alive... and keep it going for Sam as long as possible.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Several things are piling up so I'm going to get rid of them here.

First (and most importantly) Elizabeth at Mom Reviews is giving away a "My Friends Tigger and Pooh -- Super Sleuth Christmas Movie" DVD.

And, I know I've mentioned before that Sam LOVES Winnie the Pooh I would love to win this for him, just in time for the holidays! He's got a little Classic Winnie the Pooh stuffed doll he carries everywhere. He says, "It's my best."

Anyway, getting back to Elizabeth -- she's having a give away. If you are interested, go visit her and leave a comment (for one entry), either fave her, blogroll her or subscribe (for 2 entries) and/or post about the contest (for three entries). But the contest ends Friday, so be sure to be quick!

Okay, next order of business. I keep getting tagged for meme's. I'm a bit behind so I'm doing two at once here.

First, Shannan at Mommy Bits tagged me for a middle name meme. I was tagged for this on Maya's Mom last month already. Here's the post if you're interested.

I don't think I'll do it again, but I will pass on that Shannan has THE BEST Cookie recipe EVER!!!! Sam and I are making Shannan's Cake Mix cookies today and HOLY COW! They are delicious! And super easy!


We made some with holiday M&M's this time. I have some German Chocolate Cake mix that I plan on trying out with Heath Bar Toffee Crunch and I have a Carrot Cake mix that I'm going to try with raisins and white chocolate. Just for something different

Finally, I was tagged for another meme by my friend Cheryl at Maya's Mom. This time it's an either/or meme. Here goes.

Coke or Pepsi? Diet Caffeine Free Coke -- but really it's water or red wine.

Sweet or Salty? Salty

Night Owl or Morning Person? Morning -- I have to be, my kids get up too early. But I am anyway!

Bath or Shower? AM or PM? I prefer Showers in the morning, but I'll take it when I can get it! Don't like bath's at all!

Apples or Oranges? Apples

Algebra or Geometry? Neither. English

Left-handed or Right-handed? Righty

Cook or Bake? Cook, but I like to bake too -- see above.

Fruits or Veggies? Both

Mayo or Miracle Whip? MAYO. No contest. The other stuff should be outlawed.

Butter or Margarine? Butter, Unsalted.

Handheld or electric toothbrush? Handheld

Crest or Colgate? Crest for sensitive teeth

Deodorant: Roll-on or Solid? Solid

Do you call them Sneakers or Tennis Shoes? Depends on the mood. Boys are usually sneakers, girls tennis shoes.

Do you call it a Pocketbook or Purse? Purse

Do you sleep to the Left or Right of hubby (or significant other)? Depends. What ever side is closest to the bathroom. In our house now, I'm to the left of Rich.

Toilet Paper: Over or Under? Over, but as long as it gets changed I'm happy!

In what order: Sock, Sock, Shoe, Shoe OR Sock, Shoe, Sock, Shoe? What ever I feel like at the time.

There. I think that's it for now. I'm not tagging anyone, but feel free to do either the middle name or the either/or meme if you wish!

Now, I'm off to eat more cookies!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Parades, Leaves and Results

It was a warm, sunny weekend here in Georgia. And the whole week looks to be that way too.

It's a nice break from the cold to have the warm sun on our faces and no jackets, short sleeves and shorts on for a bit! That's one reason we live in Georgia!

Perfect weather for Parades and Yard Work -- which is just what we did. Okay, so really you got me there. There is no such thing as "perfect weather for Yard Work" but still... it had to be done.

Our town had their annual Santa Claus Parade. Normally we're all bundled up and running around to keep warm. Not this year, though. I did make the boys put on a fleece when we left the house -- silly me! But in my defense, Saturday was a bit overcast so it hadn't quite warmed up to the mid to upper 70's yet.

I did not get many parade pictures, but it was a good one. Lots of music and floats -- there was a distinct lack of candy this year, which I don't mind, but some of the folks around us kept commenting on it! Josh saw lots of friends from school there and we all had fun.

Here is Sam enjoying a Blue Candy Cane....


Sam had been sick and was still not feeling well. Poor kid had the worst cold ever! It seems to be better now -- he actually went to school today so I got a break from him clinging to me that was good.

Josh with his second Candy Cane of the morning...


Finally, Santa and his reindeer...

It's Santa!!!!

I think that must be Santa's brother herding the reindeer, because Santa's in the sleigh!

Santa and His Reindeer Arrive

The boys were very excited! They kept yelling, "Hi Santa! Hi Santa! Merry Christmas Santa!!!" It was really cute!

Since the weather was so nice, we decided to spend Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday raking leaves in our yard. The final leaf bag count for the year.... 91 bags.

Here is half the garage filled up with the bags. The other half is just as full....


And finally, I mentioned in my previous post, that Sunday was the final weigh in for the neighborhood Biggest Loser Competition I was in.

Well, I did well.

I lost 14 lbs for a total loss of 8.6983% .

I came in second. I won $100. Not too bad.

However... I missed out on the top prize by 0.0031%.

Yes folks, that's right 3/1000 of a percent gets me $100 instead of $275. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a wee bit bummed out -- more than 0.0031% even. But oh well -- I guess that's the way the fat burns. They are starting another one next month and running for 16 weeks. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to join that or not. I just think 16 weeks is a VERY VERY VERY LONG TIME. I guess we'll just have to see how much weight I gain over Christmas!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Busy Body's, Updates and a Give Away

Lots of little bits and pieces today. Just some general ramblings.

Sam is still under the weather. I brought him to the doctor today since he's had a temperature and cold for 3 days now. It's just a cold so there is nothing we can do but give it time and cough medicine. He is not too happy about the cough medicine. When we got home from the doctor I tried to give him some and he cried, "I'm tired and want a nap!" Then promptly ran upstairs, got in bed, put his covers on him and fell asleep -- where he is now.

Anyway, you may recall I mentioned yesterday that Josh had his musical yesterday. It was "The Little Bell Who Would Not Ring." It was very cute. Josh did really well. He said his lines clearly and loud enough to hear. He was Mr. Fidget up there though -- he played with his hands, his nose, his costume... everything. And to top it off, he yawned several
times on stage. While he was supposed to be singing. I think the excitement got to him.

I did try to get some video -- but there are lots of people in the way. A friend of ours was in the front row and promised to make us a copy of the video they took.

This weekend is shaping up to be a busy one. We've got our local Christmas Parade and we're planning on bagging up more leaves. It's going to be about 70 degrees here so it should be good to be outside getting some fresh air. It's also the last two days of my neighborhood weight loss competition. I
am so ready for that to be over.

Finally, the folks at Maya's Mom gave me a copy of the Busy Body Book to review. I have the review up on my Maya's Mom Journal. Go check it out. I'm giving away an extra copy of the BBB, but you must be a Maya's Mom member to win.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Yesterday -- or I can't think of a title....

Yesterday Sam had his first ever dentist appointment. He did really well. Better than I expected. He didn't like it much but he didn't cry and he let them clean his teeth and look in his mouth. He was sitting on my lap for the cleaning/polishing so that helped.

He was very excited about his new "Mater" toothbrush though!

I was really proud of him! Extra proud because he was coming down with a fever. As the day wore on he became clingier and clingier and his fever went up and up and up. We spent most of the day cuddled on the couch.

He wouldn't take any Tylenol. Rich had a brainstorm. He got his cell phone and started talking to Santa. Santa told Rich to tell Sam to take his medicine so he'd feel better and then Santa could bring him his "Big GeoTrax" for Christmas.

Stroke of genius! Worked like a charm!

When I was putting him to bed last night, he was asking me where he got the sick from. Poor kid looked so little and sad and asking such grown up questions...

He feels better today -- he still has a horrible cough but he's eating and talking and watching TV.

Josh had dress rehearsal for his school Musical yesterday. They performed it for the kids at the school. We go tonight to see it. I'm very excited for him. He's "Bell #6" and has 2 lines. No, they are not "Ding" and "Dong" -- they are proper lines! I hope to get it on video, but I don't know what the set up is going to be like so we'll have to wait and see.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Light at The End of The Tunnel

About 9 weeks ago -- 8 1/2 actually -- I signed up for a neighborhood weight loss competition. You pay $25 to join and then weigh in 3 times over the course of the nine weeks. The participant who looses the highest percentage of their body weight wins the money -- actually, there are prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

I haven't been very good and diligent over the 9 weeks. It was quite easy to get motivated in the beginning, and then we I got sick and couldn't work out and sort of lost my momentum, then we had Halloween, Sam's birthday and Thanksgiving! How's a girl supposed to live through all that on a diet?

Anyway, after the food fest that was Thanksgiving, I decided to take the last two weeks of the contest seriously. Our last weigh in is on Sunday morning.

It's been really hard the last two weeks to "Just say No" to that Latte, or blueberry muffin or slice of pizza at Costco, or whatever. But, when I weighed myself this morning, I was encouraged! It's paying off! As of this morning, I've lost about 10 lbs. It's a bit difficult to tell since when I weighed in the first day, I was almost 5 lbs heavier on "their" scale than I was on mine (I was also fully clothed and had eaten breakfast), so if I go by what I weighed on "my" scale, I've lost 10. If I go by what I weighed on "their" scale, I've lost almost 15, which may put me in contention!

I'll let you know the final results later. Rest assured, I'll look for my lightest clothing for the final weigh in. I may even go "bra-less" that thing weighs a ton!

But I can tell you this, we're having pizza for dinner on Sunday night! Hahahaha!

Monday, December 3, 2007

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

We've been having some sleep issues in our house lately.

It seems the boys don't want to sleep past 5:00/5:30. And the problem is, if one gets up, they make noise and it wakes up the other. It's a really quite tiresome and both Rich and I are ready for this little "phase" to end.

Sam has been known to wake up at 4:30. This makes him tired and cranky all day so we put him down for a nap. He'll sleep for a couple hours and be refreshed and wonderful. He'll go to bed a bit later (about 6:45-7:00) and lay awake in bed. Quiet, but awake. And he still wakes up early.

If he had NO nap, he's just tired and cranky all day and goes to bed early -- as late as we can keep him up but it's still 6:15-6:30 ish and he STILL gets up at the crack of a sparrow's fart!

And when he sleeps, Josh wakes up early. I swear, for a smart kid, he has NO common sense! He will come in at whatever time and ask us questions about the most ridiculous stuff. I really don't need to be woken up at 5:30 by a 6 year old asking which Pokemon do I think can beat Spiderman in a battle!

I hope this is a phase. I seem to remember Josh going through this "early morning" stuff when he was about Sam's age. Once he was old enough to read the clock and we could tell him to not get up until it was 6:00, things got (sort of) better (on occasion).

Anyway... I'm just waiting for the grandparents to come for Christmas so they can take the Early Shift and Rich and I can sleep!
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