Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Lies We Tell Our Kids...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Today marks the first day we can officially start singing Christmas Carols in our house.

We put away all the Christmas CD's and DVD's just after New Year and tell the kids we're not allowed to play them after January 6th.

We, meaning Rich, came up with "The Christmas Carol Police" -- they will come and give you a fine if they hear you singing Christmas Carols or watching Christmas TV shows after Jan 6th and before Thanksgiving.

Believe me, it's necessary. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to watch Mickey's Once (or Twice) Upon a Christmas -- and the number of times I've had to say "No, it's July." And, "No, we're not listening to Jingle Bells today, it's Easter."

Yesterday, the boys were all excited because today we could start listening to Christmas Carols -- which we did at 8:00 this morning -- and start watching Christmas TV shows and movies (they're watching Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas now).

I admit, "The Christmas Carol Police" is a convenient lie. But it works. It's going to be a long 4 weeks until Christmas!

So I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm counting my blessings today, and believe me I have many!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And Thanksgiving starts with a Bang (to the head)

I know tomorrow is Turkey Day not today, but wanted to get my wishes out early (for a change).

It's been a bit crazy around here this week. The boys have had the week off so we've all been chillin' out and relaxing.

I was not feeling well at all yesterday. I spent most of the day on the couch while the kids played. I'd just ordered a bunch of library books for the kids and they were ready to be picked up. So we went there, picked them up and sat on the couch and read them.

Luckily an early night sleeping in the basement guest room seemed to be all I needed. I was woken up at 7:00 this morning by Josh. Daddy needed me because Sam fell and hit his head.

He and Josh were playing; he fell, hit his head on the coffee table and was bleeding -- a lot. He is FINE! Running around and causing mayhem and disturbing Josh. He's just fine. No need to worry....

He never lost consciousness and was not throwing up so I suspected he was going to be okay. But gosh he was bleeding a lot. So I called our pediatrician and they told us we had to bring him to Scottish Rite/Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (the kid's hospital near us). Apparently, because it was a head injury they didn't want to take any chances.

So Sam and I headed down to CHOA. I'm always impressed with them when we go there for Sam's kidney ultrasounds and the Emergency Room visit was the best I've ever had. All ER's should be like this.

They have complementary, manditory valet parking so you drive up, get your kid out of the car and you're where you need to be. No fussing with finding a parking place, no wondering where to go or park...

As soon as we got in, we were taken straight to triage and back to a room. The nurse had hardly left when the doctor came in -- took one look at Sam said the cut was small enough it did NOT need stitches -- and we were done. She wanted to discharge us, but they were so quick they didn't have time to admit us yet!

It is a 30 minute drive to get there (when there is no traffic), and we do pass another ER on the way (where I brought Josh for his broken arm), but it was totally worth the trip.

So, hopefully that will be our last ER trip this year! Some how I suspect that with each passing year and with two active boys our ER visits are only going to become more and more frequent.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving and you all eat too much!

Monday, November 24, 2008

At Least He's Listening?

Last week Sam had a stuffy nose and I was a bit concerned so I kept asking him if he felt okay.

He was obviously annoyed by my constant questions so I told him I was just a bit worried about him.

His response....

Why don't you worry about you and I'll worry about me. Okay MOM!

And for those keeping track... our leaf bag "total" is 53. Hopefully, we're over half way!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: First Santa Sighting

With "Santa's Helper"

Okay, not quite "wordless" -- Josh had a chorus concert yesterday at the local grocery store. They were having a "holiday party" with lots of free food samples and the chorus from Josh's school and some other local schools came and sang Christmas carols.

We heard "Santa" was roaming around and Sam said he wanted to "give Santa a cuddle." Then when he saw Santa, he was looking and looking at him. Finally he said to Rich (who was holding him), "That's not the real Santa. That's Santa' helper. He's the Fake Santa."

And enjoy the picture because my camera is broken... just in time. The warranty expires tomorrow! Off to Sony for you camera!

More Wordless Wednesday posts here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Outside Fun

Saturday was Josh's baseball trophy party.

My Trophy!

It was quite cool and windy that day, but the kids had fun anyway.

Rolling down the hill

They were FILTHY from rolling and sliding down the hill at the amphitheater! Apparently a filthy kid is a happy kid because they were truly filthy and happy!

Sam, up the hill

And yes, that is Sam's Spiderman costume he's wearing. He's worn it more often than not since Halloween. Apparently it makes him strong AND fast!

Of course right before we were due to leave Rich's work called so he was a bit late. We were just getting ready to leave when he showed up. Which meant we stayed longer so the boys could run around with Daddy.

I'm coming! Cropped

That evening I took the boys to McDonald's for dinner -- because we had no food in the house clearly pizza for lunch and McDonald's for dinner will land me in the "Best Mom Ever Hall of Fame" as voted by my kids. On the way home from McD's we had to stop at the grocery store for more wine food.

The boys and I were telling the worlds worst jokes EVER to pass the time at the shop. Such classics like, "Why did the Thanksgiving Turkey cross the road? Because it was in the human's stomach."

When Sam looks up and says, "Mom, what did one Cheeto say to the other Cheeto?"
Me, "I don't know."
Sam: "Nothing! Everyone knows Cheetoes can't talk!"

Yes, my just-turned-4-year-old told the best joke of the night!

And for those keeping score -- Sunday we raked up 13 more bags of leaves. We got a late start (Rich's work again) so we only had a few hours outside. Our total so far is 22 bags.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Giveaway! Always and Everywhere

I have a give away for you over at Being Savvy Atlanta.

I first heard of Laura Bowman and Margie LaSalle through a mutual friend. Their story moved me so much I want to get the word out and am doing my part.

Here's the article from Savvy, to enter the drawing, please leave a comment with a valid email address on the SAVVY SITE (not here). You will probably have to sign in to leave a comment.


Laura Bowman, today's guest author, is a local artist, mother and friend. She has written her first children's book, Always and Everywhere, for her friend Margie LaSalle, who is suffering from Breast Cancer, and Margie's children.


This is my first children's book. I am a professional artist living and working in the Atlanta area and normally paint contemporary landscapes and figures. Writing and illustrating a children's book was completely foreign to me and a complete learning experience.

The inspiration for 'Always and Everywhere ' came from a desire to help raise money for my dear friend, Margie LaSalle and her family. Margie is the wife of Chris and mother of five year old John Mark and seven year old Claire. Margie was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2007. A few months after mastectomy surgery, Doctors informed Margie the cancer had metastasized. Statistically, the Stage IV diagnosis includes a life expectancy of two to four years. Margie's world is upside down right now. She is in continual pain from the cancer in her pelvis which makes it hard to navigate the stairs in their 2 bedroom condo.

I felt so helpless when it came to Margie's cancer. With two young children of my own, I couldn't contribute my time or money, but I could produce this children's book for her in my spare time. Initially, the book provided an opportunity to help the LaSalle's with expenses (for her continuing medical bills and for expenses involved with moving into a more manageable house). However, writing the book was a cathartic experience. I was able to collaborate on the book with Margie and our mutual friends, which makes the message so much more meaningful. I also painted quite a few of the illustrations at her house while Margie and friends watched my young children. This special time with Margie was unforgettable. I learned so much about courage, the importance of friends and family and the will-to-live.

Margie does not believe her fate is dependent on generalities or statistics. While Margie undergoes chemotherapy and radiation, she and Chris work to keep life normal and consistent for their children. The well-being of John Mark and Claire is their most significant concern and challenge. Margie also reassures her children; when she leaves the physical world - two years from now or fifty years from now - she will still be with them, always and everywhere.

"Always and Everywhere" is a light-hearted children's book featuring Margie and her two children, John Mark and Claire. It reminds us that even when mom isn't by our side, the lessons that she taught will always be there. At the end of the book the children ask mom about angels. Mom reassures Claire and John Mark that if they believe in angels, then they will always be by their side.

A wise friend of mine said that what we are doing is comparable to how dolphins behave. "When one is sick or injured another one joins them until they recover or die..they are never left alone to face trials of this nature. Very wise, Godly creatures are dolphins!" Writing and illustrating "Always and Everywhere" was such a powerful experience for me. I will definitely illustrate another children's book in the near future.

We are having a book launch event on November 20 where the book will be available for purchase and the original illustrations will be auctioned.

Book Launch Details:

Thursday, November 20
5 - 9 PM
Mason Murer Projects
325 E. Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30305

Live music, Book signing and silent auction of the original artwork from the book.

All proceeds go to the Margie LaSalle Cancer Fund

If you can't make the event but would still like to help the LaSalle's by purchasing a book or bidding on the artwork, please visit our website at


Win it: I have a signed book available. If you would like to win a copy of this book, please leave your name and a valid email address in the comments section on Being Savvy Atlanta. I will pick a winner at random on December 1st. If you have a blog please feel free to post about the contest. If you don't have a blog, be sure tell all your friends and neighbors about this book and this worthy cause!

ETA: Apparently the Savvy Site is having problems with comments. If you leave a comment there with an email, use "at" instead of @ -- if that still does not work, then leave a comment below and I will add you in.

Only one entry per person please!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

He's Four Now, you know...

Yesterday was Sam's 4th birthday!

And I think Monday and Tuesday were two of the busiest days in my whole life! Poor Sam has never had a birthday party before. But, to be fair, this is the first year that he's really been old enough to enjoy it. We have celebrated with him and made the day special for him, but this year we decided he could have a party.

Luckily, our subdivision just opened a really nice club house that I was able to rent out for a very reasonable fee! And, even though I only rented 1/4 of the clubhouse, they let us have free reign over the whole thing. Bonus!

Our big present to Sam was redoing his room. We took it from a "little boy room" into a "Big Boy Room." We got a new border for the wall, got him some StarWars Saga sheets and comforters and found some posters for the walls.

Our plan was to quickly strip the old boarder on Monday and get the room sorted for him on Tuesday while he was at school. That was the plan. The old border had other plans. It did NOT want to budge! It took all day to strip that darn stuff off! Sam slept in Josh's room that night. Not only was he excited about his birthday and the mini "sleepover" in Josh's room, but we were making noise getting that wall paper off until after 9:00.

And of course he was up and down all night because he was excited. I tell you, I have never seen such excitement in one little boy in my life!

Tuesday, his actual birthday, we got up earlier than usual (due to excitement) and let him open the present Josh had for him. Then we got Nanny and Grandad on the computer...

talking to Nanny & Grandad

So he could open the present they gave him.

GeoTrax Airport!

Wow! The one thing he wanted more than anything in the world! The GeoTrax Airport!!!! He was sooooo excited... I put it together straight away and it didn't work.

Poor kid. I'm so surprised he didn't throw a tantrum because I sure wanted too! He played with it -- even though it was broken -- before school. I got him off to school and ran back to help Rich get the room sorted out.

Then, because the GeoTrax was broken, I had to run to Target to exchange it for a new one (which works -- yay!).

By the time all that was done, it was time to pick him up from school, have lunch and let him open more presents. I was just about to go get in the shower, when I realized it was 2:30 and I had to get Josh from the bus stop and I still had not finished getting the things ready for the party.

As soon as Josh got home I rushed to the shower. I didn't even have time to blow dry my hair or put make up on -- so forgive the way I look in the picture -- and we ran down to the club house.

Thankfully, everyone had fun. I made a Lego Cake for him. It was lots of fun to make and a HUGE hit! The marshmallows were hard to frost and it was messy, but fairly easy. As you can tell though, I'm not a perfectionist!

Sam's Lego Cake

I brought a bunch of toys from our house -- mostly Legos and puzzles and just let the kids play. We had pizza and we played one game -- pass the parcel. I used up left over Halloween candy for treats and goody bags (cheap or resourceful, you decide?).

Pass the parcel

Here he is blowing out the candles...

blowing out candles

And here we are, tired and frazzled but very happy!

The four of us

The party was a huge success! The kids had fun, got fed and tired out. I didn't have to clean the house or cook dinner so that was a bonus. And the party itself, hall rental, goody bags, pizza, cake, decorations... all up cost me $75. Not too bad if I do say so myself!

We even had 2 pizza's left over. I brought one to my neighbor and Rich and I ate the other for our dinner when we got home. And yes, we opened a bottle of wine!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets...

The official "Fall Raking Season" at Casa J has begun.

We're Raking!

Last year, by the time we were done, we had 91 bags of leaves.

That's a lot of leaves!

We didn't have any plans to rake this weekend, but it was so beautiful, and the kids wanted to jump in the leaf pile...


This one just makes me itch looking at them in the leaves...

Nap time

We ended up with 9 bags of leaves yesterday. I think we usually have a lot done by Thanksgiving weekend or the weekend after.

So, place your bets, ladies and gentlemen... how many bags do you think we'll get this year?

Will we break 100?

Or will there be less than 90?

Leave a guess and the closest one may win something... bragging rights for sure.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What? The Weekend already?

It's been a weird week. With Josh home sick on Monday, then no school Tuesday... my week's just been thrown off kilter!

On Tuesday night Rich and I stayed up and watched the election results. Of course, we had to. And I've been processing the results. It was a bit surreal. While I did not vote for Obama, watching the crowd react was surreal. And the significance of the occasion was not lost on me. I really felt like I was watching an historical moment.

On one hand, I don't agree with Obama's politics so I was disappointed. But on the other hand, I was proud at what we've accomplished as a nation. The turn out for this election was amazing, that so many of us exercised our right to vote is part of what makes this country great. And the passion in the election too. I don't think I've ever seen an election with so much hype and following!

I did watch McCain's concession speech and I was really moved by it. I thought he did a great job and I thought it really showed what a stand up guy he really is. Made me proud that I'd voted for him.

I had to substitute 3 year olds the next morning so I did not watch Obama's speech. But, I knew I'd be able to find it on the internet -- which I did. I thought he gave a good speech too. Very passionate, which proved he's got a gift for oration.

So, I wish Mr. Obama well in his new job -- after all, he is now my President and I really want him to do a great job. He's got a tough job ahead of him.

Moving on...

Like I said, Tuesday just threw my whole week off. And then the substituting -- which is lots of fun, plus it brings in a bit of extra cash -- also shifted my week. Now it's Friday!

We're getting ready for Sam's birthday next week. So this weekend I'm sure I'll be baking cookies or cup cakes for his class as well as making a birthday cake and putting the final touches on the party. I think Josh has his baseball party/trophy thing this weekend too... but I'm not 100% sure!

Now, I'm just waiting for my new dishwasher to be installed (insert happy dance here) and then off to bring Sam to gymanstics!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And here's a nice fall picture that Josh drew at school for you all to enjoy...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted!

Yep, I went out and let my voice be heard.

I know how lucky I am to live in a country where I can vote. Where I can vote for the person I choose and where I can vote without fear. And where we can discuss politics openly.

Over the last few weeks we've had early voting here in Georgia. The lines have been long -- like 2-4 hour wait times -- and the weather last week was colder than normal. I decided not to do the early voting strictly because of the wait times and hoped that today would be better.

Thankfully, a friend took both the boys so I didn't have to worry about entertaining them while in line. Trust me, it could have gone horribly wrong! And, while the thought of trying to entertain the kids for hours while in line was not at the top of my to-do list.

Thankfully, I was in and out in less than 15 minutes.

While I was standing in line, I was chatting with the ladies near me. When we were up close to the front a young man came out, proudly wearing his "Georgia Voter" sticker and a huge grin! He said hello to the lady in front of me then asked her if she was voting. I thought that was cute and smiled. Because of course she was there to vote. Why else would she be standing in the line?

She turned around and said he just turned 18 a few months ago and this is his first election and he's so excited to be able to vote. She said he is so passionate about voting and the voting process and democracy. She said he talks about it all the time and not about the politics, but about the process and the right to vote.

I couldn't help but think, as I watched him walk away... the pride on his face, the spring in his step. What a fantastic election to be voting for the first time.

No matter who wins, this has been an interesting election year. The outcome will be historic, no matter who wins.

He's excited about being able to vote.

And that just warmed my heart. And made me excited about voting as well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Have you come down from the Sugar Rush yet?

Wow, what a weekend! Seems like Halloween was weeks away, not days!

The boys had a great time this year. Sam and I went in to Josh's class and helped with some fun Halloween activities. The kids in his class are fantastic. He's got a wonderful teacher -- but she's been out since mid-September (she had back surgery). Thankfully, the supply teacher is wonderful too! Apparently the teacher expects to be back after Thanksgiving. I know the kids will really miss Ms. Barlow, but it will be good to have Mrs. Waterfall back too!

Anyway, I want to share a few photos...

Here is this year's pumpkin. Since I seem to be the only one willing to carve them, I decided only one this year. Of course the kids picked out the pattern...

This years pumpkin

Josh and Sam in costume... Red Power Ranger and Spiderman.

Very serious stuff

I told the kids I was not buying any costumes this year and they had to make do with what we had. A friend gave us the Red Power Ranger suit in exchange for an old Buzz Lightyear we'd loaned her years ago. I got the better end of the deal!

Showing off

Sam then wanted to be Spiderman so they could be Superheroes together.

Filler Up

And thankfully he was Spiderman because at one point on Halloween night, he looked up at me and said, "It's a good thing I'm Spiderman with muscles so I'm strong enough to carry this bag of candy!"

We went to a friend's house and trick-or-treated with them. Here they are just before the candy fest began.


We were only out for an hour and the kids collected 3 1/2 lbs of candy! Sam had a melt down at 7:30 and Josh was exhausted so we left. I think Trick-or-Treating ended at 8:30 anyway. But there is no way we could have made it out that long! On the way home Josh looked up at me and said, "Man Mom, I feel soooo gooooodddd!!!" At that point I began to wonder how much candy he had eaten enroute. The boys were so excited they were up early on Friday and Sam even asked if it was time to Trick-or-Treat at 7:00 AM!

But they had fun and we have HEAPS of candy!

On Saturday we were lucky enough to discover we needed a new dishwasher! Yea us! Our dishwasher has been producing black junk/mold/disgusting stuff. We clean it off, it comes back. And it's not cleaning or drying properly either.

So this weekend we decided to take it apart to clean it properly -- and the whole thing was gross. We decided if it was broken, it wouldn't be worth it to fix. We checked on line and if the heating element is gone (what we expect) it wouldn't be worth it to replace. What sucks is it's only 4 years old!

So, off we went to the shops and now I'm waiting installation of a new Bosch -- it's a quiet one so I'm quite excited. We have an "open plan" and it's hard to hear the TV when the dish washer is running.

And Saturday was Josh's last baseball game. I forgot to get pictures. Rich wasn't feeling well so I was solo at the game with both boys. And eventhough Rich wasn't feeling well, he had to sort out our garage door. So not only did we just get a new dishwasher, but we may need a new garage door soon too. I know. Lucky us. Don't be jealous, I'm sure you'll have the "everything breaks at once close to Christmas" sooner or later too.

Sunday Josh and Rich were both sick (just keeps getting better doesn't it?). I kept Josh home from school today so he can have ample time to recover. But it threw the whole weekend right out of whack.

And when Sam got in the car after preschool today he said something about making an instrument and I realized today was "Home Made Instrument Day" and I'd forgotten completely and didn't send one in with him! Yeah, I know, my nomination for Mother of the Year is almost a lock!

Both kids are home tomorrow too -- with the election and all. I hope the lines aren't too long. If they are, then God bless those in line around me! Maybe I'll bring the bag of Halloween Candy and pass it out to the others in line.

Don't forget to go out and vote tomorrow!
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