Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day - with Kindergartners!

I know how an already fun day can get better--fill it with 20 Kindergartners!

I was lucky enough to be room mommy to Ethan's class today! Lo and I had so much fun. We were in charge of games, so about 12:30, we headed off to school!

We started in music class, where the kids were VERY excited to show us their Valentine's song!

Ethan and his little buddy Calloway. 
(I may or may not think she is the cutest little girl e.ver.
Doesn't it almost look like they could be brother and sister??)

Ethan's buddy Bennett

E and Calloway dancing!

"I love you little, I love you lots, my love for you would fill 10 pots, 
15 buckets, 16 cans, 3 teacups and 4 dishpans."

The kids were so cute, all hugging their teacher and telling her how much they love her!

On our way back to the classroom, we stopped off to see Cameron for a second.
He was SUPER excited to see his Sis!

I was in charge of the games, so we did a very quick and easy one: Heart-A-Stack! 
Stacking those little candy hearts was much more challenging than it appeared!

Ethan (who was frustrated because his kept falling over!)




Soon it was time to move on to CANDY--that made him much happier!

The chaos of 20 K-5'ers, most of whom needed help figuring out which 
Valentine was addressed to whom, passing out candy and cards was hilarious to me!

The kids were very gracious and shared some smarties with Lo. It was the happiest I saw her all day.

Reed was very excited over Ethan's candy and Star Wars Valentine!

Hilarious moment #47: Mr. Fretueg showing the kids how to bite off both ends of the
 Red Vine and use it as a straw to drink their special "Cupid's Floats"!

Adorable (and extra delicious) cupcakes, homemade by 
my very talented friend (and Cameron's teacher!), Rachelle!
Lips for the girls, mustaches for the boys. All out of chocolate. Did I say delish?

E goofing....

"Extra whipped cream? Red Vine straw?"

Lola was shared with....yet again!

Love these two!

Avery, ready to chow on those cupcakes!

Such cuteness...

Get it all girl!

All in all, another wonderful day at Catlin Grade School!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sick Sick Sick

We have suffered through quite a bit of sickness in our home over the past six/eight weeks. Well....suffered....that's harsh, I suppose.

Suffering is dirt floors, starving bellies, tin roofs; malaria or AIDS.

One at a time, each taking their turn, the boys and Lola went down. Just when we thought we were done, it came back around and started all over, taking them one by one yet again.  And then, a third time; this one, a completely different bug with new symptoms.  Thankfully, puke wasn't one of them that round. And then again....last night....Lola. A. GAIN.

In truth, I've been given a gift with the sickness.  It was hidden, and I had to dig a bit for it, but boy, I sure did enjoy it once it was found.

As the mother of sick children, I was given the gift of stopping without guilt.

I don't know about others, but I have a difficult time slowing down. My life is busy, what with (how many children do I have? Whoa) and a entrepreneurial, hard working husband who works sometimes many, many  hours so that we can enjoy many of life's wonderful pleasures. Not the least of which is the opportunity that he has given me to stay home with all of my babies from the time they were born until that dreaded day in August--when I have cried as I watched them leave me for the excitement of Kindergarten.

I enjoy staying home. I am happiest in my kitchen.  I fancy myself a decent (alright, pretty good), organized housekeeper and a fairly good cook. There is constantly something to be done to keep my family (and all that comes along with them) running smoothly. I don't need to list; you all know what those things are, and I'm sure between all of us, we could be here all day naming the things that keep us working from sun up till sun down (and most days, well beyond those hours).

There is so much to do that often, I feel guilty just enjoying my precious daughter during the day. Sitting means the other stuff isn't getting done.

Playing beauty shop. Doing nails. Watching Tinkerbell or Tangled or Veggie Tales. Playing Uno or Blink or dollhouse or "hold me like a baby" or dress up with the baby dolls. Reading.

That list could go on and on as well.

But being sick, especially when it hit me, has forced my hand. I had to stop. I had to be still, because it just hurt too bad to move too much!

And I found it was wonderful.

We did all of those things, and more. We laughed. We discovered some new things. We just enjoyed each other. And I said the words, "The house is kind of a wreck" to Shane as he came home from work more times than I probably have in the last year combined. He didn't seem to mind. He's awesome like that.

(Truth is, he has seen the value in my "being still" for some time and has been gently, patiently trying to work me toward it. Told you. Awesome.)

I've decided it was high time that I make more of an effort to live this way--even when my body (or theirs) isn't necessarily forcing me.

So, I've made my confession. I've said it before and I know I will say it again: I'm not a perfect mom.  How about you--do you struggle with this, and if so, how do you find your balance?


Friday, February 8, 2013

Heart at Home--that time again!

Hearts at Home encourages moms to embrace imperfection!

You always knew you would be the perfect mom. Then you had children.

Now that you know more, it’s probably safe to say that most days haven’t turn out like you imagined.

We’ve all been there.

When life doesn’t measure up to our expectations, it’s easy to feel like we’ve failed as mothers and we begin asking, “What’s wrong with me?”

The truth is nothing is wrong with you. You are normal. Your frustrations, your disappointments and your struggles are the same frustrations, disappointments and struggles that every mom is going through.

Hearts at Home is offering two opportunities for moms to embrace and celebrate their imperfections right along with others who are doing this “mom thing,” too!

No More Perfect Moms, the newly-released book by Hearts at Home Founder and CEO, Jill Savage, will help moms rid themselves of the “Perfection Infection.” With refreshing honesty, author Jill Savage exposes some of her own parental shortcomings with the goal of helping mothers everywhere shelve their desires for perfection along with their insecurities of not measuring up to other moms.

And, if you purchase the book any time between February 3-9 (online or at a store…and yes, electronic versions such as Kindle and Nook count too!) and send a copy of your receipt to, you'll be given access to well over $100 worth of resources that will help you on your mothering journey - absolutely free! 

What will you receive? Click here for a full list of audio workshops, printables, and books and all the details about how to buy the book!

Then plan to join thousands of moms, just like you, as they celebrate their imperfections on March 15-16, 2013, at the Hearts at Home 2013 National Conference, on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, IL.

Registration is open!

Choose the two-day Friday PLUS! option for a main session and three or four workshops on Friday, plus choose three or four additional workshops on Saturday or choose to attend either Friday or Saturday. Add Moms Night Out on Friday for a great day – or two – away!

Main sessions feature keynote speakers Candace Cameron Bure  – mom, producer, New York Times’ best-selling author and actress, and best known for her role as "D.J." on Full House – and Jill Savage – author and CEO and Founder of Hearts at Home.

Moms Night Out welcomes Anita Renfroe , well known for her pop culture parody of the William Tell Overture-Mom Style and special musical guest Meredith Andrews.

More than 30 workshops with titles including Seven Habits of Highly Effective Moms, Real Ways to Connect With Your Kids, Boys R Us--Raising Boys from 2 to 22, and Wise Women Raising Wiser Daughters, give you the opportunity to design the day around your own needs.

With a sell-out crowd at last year’s conference, early registration is encouraged. The Best Value Registration Deadline is February 20, 2013.

Click here for full descriptions of all speakers and workshops and to start the registration process. Group discounts are available!

I'm going....come, join us!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cameron has always been the funniest kid. I just get the biggest kick out of the things he says and does.

His survey of "101 days of school" being no exception. 

I would like to eat: 101 fish
I would not like to eat: 101 pease {peas}
(This coincidentally was the morning after a meal of delicious fish and apparently not so delicious peas)
My parents tell me 101 times to: "Stop it." {I rolled. Just rolled.}
I tell my parents 101 times: "I want a penut buter and jelly." {True. He'd pick them over candy. Over ice cream}.
When I am 101 years old....."I will die."  Hahaaaaa! This child!!

Oh Cameron. You are the reason for my deepening laugh lines and I wouldn't trade them for the world....

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ethan is SIX !

Yesterday, we celebrated this special guy's SIXTH birthday! 

I saw this on my friend's blog and thought it would be fun to do with Ethan....

1. What do you like to do for fun? I like to play the Wii and my DS. And, I like to play soccer. 
2. What is one word to describe you? Kind. {For the record, Colin said "nice" and Cameron said "playful". True, true.} 
3. What was the nicest thing you did for someone? Ummm...I gave someone a present on their birthday.
4. If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? A bear, 'cause I'd like to be a bear. Me: Why? Ethan: I just do. 
5. If you could have one special power, what would it be and why? I would turn into a guy like Hulk and be really strong but I'd also have a hammer nobody else could pick up. 
 6. Favorite candy? Those green things we had in Missouri that look like popsicles that had sugar on them {rock candy} 
7. What do you want to be when you grow up? A plane driver. 
8. Favorite color? Red.
9. Favorite things to do in school? Music {YES!} 
10. Favorite song? Blessed be Your Name {Double YES} 
11. Favorite book? The ants go marching. 
12. Favorite sport? Soccer 
13. Favorite Drink? Sprite 
14. Favorite Ice Cream? Green mint with the chocolate chips. 
15. What is your favorite food? Tacos and pizza 
16. Favorite Restaurant? Monicals 
17. What is your favorite thing about Colin? That he helps me sometimes when I can't get stuff and I can't do stuff. 
18. What is your favorite thing about Cameron? That he plays with me. 
19. What is your favorite thing about Lola? That she is cute. {Heehee} 
20. What do you love about mom? You make food for me. {Ah. A way to the man's heart....} 
21. What do you love about dad? That he plays with us at night time, he plays basketball in our bedroom and nerf wars. 
22. What are you looking forward to now that you're 6? I can't wait to do stuff when I'm six that I couldn't do when I was five. {Good thought process} 

We went about 9:30 and took--at Ethan's request--some muffins for his class at school. 
Lola was more than a little excited to see him! These two are the best of friends, but can also
 fight like cats and dogs sometimes...depends on their moods! I much prefer the good days :)

Lola was quite the hit with the boys in the class. Oh, dear.

Ethan was very excited to show me his "special birthday chair on the special birthday carpet". *grin*

A birthday crown from his teacher!

First bite of his favorite muffins....

The class all sang to him and he got his "birthday spankings". All in all, a successful morning!

Later that afternoon, I worked on his cake and some accessories. 
I found online how you could dye rice, so Shane worked on that, while I worked on decorating his cake.

Ethan requested a Bowser cake and I freaked out...but then I remembered Pinterest!
Thank you for the inspiration Pinterest!!

We had a lovely dinner....Ethan requested his favorite. Tacos :)

Right after dinner, Ethan got a phone call from Grandpa Danny! 
Then later, Grandma 'Nette and Grandpa.

After that, we started on the presents. We had a bit of catching up to do because
of some sickness over Christmas and Lola's she opened a few first.

She's still on that Hello Kitty kick. *grin*

I have to say....I just think that "present-reaction-pictures are priceless! The looks on their faces....


Ethan again


and Ethan some more.

Ethan loves sheets....last year, it was Mario Kart, and this year....

Angry Birds!

The best for last--his favorite, Super Mario for his DS.

Then, the rest of the family got here and we started in on Christmas celebrations!
Livy opening her Violet

Aunt Karen and her birthday snuggly blanket (those were 
a popular gift in our house this year, they are the best!)

Soon, Daddy led Ethan in to the was CAKE time!

The finished product. I couldn't wait for Ethan to see it!

His reaction was awesome. I don't think he could even believe it!

We sang Happy Birthday, and he got all the candles out in one whiff.

His birthday was very's to many, many more years with this precious little man!
We love you Ethan!